Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Top 10 on American Idol; or, Lee DeWyze Leaves Everyone in the Dust

Mount Prospect native Lee DeWyze made last week's cut on American Idol, which means he will be going on tour with the other members of the Top 10 this summer. He gave a strong performance of "The Letter" by the Box Tops, forgoing his guitar and instead riffing a little with the back-up singers.

This week's theme was R&B/Soul music, and singer Usher acted as mentor to the contestants. He thought Lee had a great voice but needed to get rid of his nerves and "own the moment." Before taking the stage Lee talked with host Ryan Seacrest about having that Moment the judges have been waiting all season to see. Watching the show, I immediately thought, "No! Don't talk about what you need to do to have a Moment!" I was thinking of past seasons where contestants who had a Moment did so because it was unexpected and just happened (think Fantasia Barrino's "Summertime," David Cook's "Always Be My Baby," Blake Lewis' "You Give Love a Bad Name," Elliott Yamin's "Song For You," Melinda Dolittle's "My Funny Valentine," Adam Lambert's "Mad World," or Kris Allen's "Heartless" to name a few).

Performing "Treat Her Like a Lady" on his guitar, Lee attacked the song and injected the lyrics with his distinctive rock growl. I love how the song built to a crescendo as the band kicked in to join Lee and his guitar. He completely made the song his own and appeared much more comfortable on stage than in past weeks. The performance was the best of the night, and will most likely be remembered as one of the stand-out performances from season 9. Judge Ellen Degeneres was correct when she said that "the night starts now." Judge Simon Cowell told Lee that if he watches the performance back he will be able to see the night his life changed.

The only other contestant who I thought came close to Lee was Andrew Garcia. I have continued to root for him even though he has struggled in recent weeks. I loved his take on the Chris Brown song "Forever." I am guessing that the bottom three contestants will include Didi Benami and Tim Urban. I'm hoping it's Tim that goes home, but I've wanted that to happen since week one of the semifinals rounds.

What did you think of the show last night?