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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

American Idol 9, March 16 – Making the Stones Seem Young Again


There have been many things said in the media this week regarding this particular top 12. No one thinks they’re as talented as groups in the past. It’s their time to shine tonight, though, and prove them all wrong. It’s not the time for Andrew Garcia to take a Rolling Stones song and change it up. It’s time to just take the song and sing the hell out of it. Katie Stevens and Paige Miles need to just figure out who they are as singers, etc. Some definitely won’t get it figured out, but I hope most of them do.

Michael “Big Mike” Lynche starts things off talking about growing up in St. Petersburg, FL, where he and the rest of his siblings were always performing. When he was 15, he was getting into his football, but his mom got really sick, and his focus shifted, with music becoming his savior, and he bought a guitar after not having one for such a long time. He feels having a baby has regenerated life and brought his family together again. He thinks his mom would be proud of the man that he wants to be and is getting close to being. Tonight he’s taking on the hit Miss You, and from the beginning it’s too whispery, but he brings it back out and hits his stride with it. Where he shines is always with the performance of a song.

Randy Jackson says Big Mike has been great every week, and while he wasn’t so crazy about the arrangement, it reminded him how great of a performer he has come. “Dawg, you slayed it.” Ellen DeGeneres asks what’s not to love about that, and says at some point she’s going to be disappointed, but not yet. Kara DioGuardi mentions the first night on the big stage is hard, and what is so great about the Stones is Mick is an incredible performer, yet that’s what Mike delivered tonight. He conveyed the message of the song and was hot on stage.

Simon recognized that Mike’s confidence is up, but if he’s being honest, he thinks the performance at times, particularly the dancing, was kind of corny. He sang it well, but at times it came off a tiny bit desperate. Ryan comes face to face to Simon, who gets uncomfortale, to find out what in particular seemed desperate. For him it was the middle part. That’s Mike being a ham, though, as he does as the show goes off to commercial as well.

Didi Benami gets some stool time with Ryan, who talks about her mom not being here, as Didi explains it’s because she can’t watch her perform. She gets too nervous, which in turn makes Didi nervous. She also can’t listen to her be judged, so instead she’s staying at Didi’s apartment out in L.A. taking care of things.

In Didi’s clip, she talks about being raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, and having an older and younger sister. She was always the dreamy one. Her mom says she screamed bloody murder when she was little and was always going to do what she wanted. She calls it nice to have her mom out here with her now, like a piece of home with her. Singing Play With Fire, Didi starts from what I only think of now as Adam Lambert’s stairs. For her style, I thave to think this is the perfect song choice for her, who I like to think of as a little less folksy Brooke White.

Randy tells Didi that for the first time in weeks, she’s on fire herself, with one of her best performances. It was nice work. Ellen thinks Didi has an amazing voice, and may have lost her way, but she didn’t let it spin her out. She was proud she got right back in the song, and that she made the word fire two sylables, which was “gr-eat.” Kara thinks sometimes when Didi pushes her vocals, she loses her way a bit, but what she liked tonight was an intensity that she attacked the song with, and that’s what the lyrics were about. There was something compelling about the sweetness of her voice with the eeriness of the song. For the past two weeks, she’s now beeing moving towards who she is as an artist.

Simon agrees with everyone. What he likes about her is that she’s beginning to show what kind of artist she is. It was a cool choice of song, and he thought she was going to lose it a few times during the song, but she held it togehter. It was a very solid performance, but he still thinks she can do better. As to where the darkness came from tonight, Didi jokes that Siobhan was her roommate for awhile and is maybe rubbing off on her. More seroiusly, she indicates there’s more grit to her than we usually see.

Casey James grew up in a little town called Cool, Texas. His parents were divorced when he was 4 or 5, and his mom calls raising her kids alone hard. He had a bad reaction to the pertussis vaccine and had seizures, with the the doctors calling him brain-damaged, making her worried when he didn’t talk. He hummed songs before he began to talk. His whole family is musical and he thinks he’s the least talented of all of them. His mom knows they went through a lot together, and Casey knows he wouldn’t be here without them. Casey’s singing It’s All Over Now and has a guitar with him as he battles some nerves in the beginning, but totally kicks it in by the chorus. I’m a johnny-come-lately fan of his, once the sex symbol stuff died down and he just started being an artist.

Randy says Casey is back to the Casey that he loves, and thinks he can make a great artist career just playing the bluesy guitar. He loved it. Casey is back for him. Ellen thinks for most women, their hearts are going to start racing just looking at Casey, but for people like her, meaning blondes, she thought it was fantstic.

Kara said last week he was trying to be a rock star, but was a rock star tonight. For him to pick this song that has a country kind of twang that has blues and soul, that’s what she’s been missing. It also shows soul and allows him to riff with his voice. She feels it’s his best performance since they met. Simon doesn’t agree, saying he looked great, played great, and sang well, but it was like an audition performance. Using the platform he ha tonight, he needs to see what other artists have done with it over the years. To do something incredible, he has to push himself for more. He’s good, but there could be more.


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