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

American Idol 9, March 30 – Ushering In the Top 10


Michael Lynche meets with Usher and is singing Ready for Love. Usher says he digs a guy who can play a guitar and sing. It’s a cool thing. For Michael, the guitar is about honesty, and it takes his voice to a different place when he hears those strings ringing. Usher wants Big Mike to give him that one-on-one energy and attention, but be mindful that everybody feels his energy projection. He wants him to think of the person in the farthest corner of the room and project his energy there, and that when he looks in the camera, to look through it. Michael knows that’s a big part of his game, connecting and performing. He’s sitting and playing the guitar tonight, from behind the judges, and for me it doesn’t connect until he hits the bridge. It’s just too slow and dreary. I like a happy Mike, not a mournful Mike.

Randy tells Mike he likes the guitar and him going back to that with a sensitive ballad. He thinks he’s in the zone, and he’s loving every performance. It wasn’t as exciting, but it’s good to pull it back every once in awhile. Ellen says she doesn’t like it when people take behind her back, or when they sing behind her back, but that was beautiful. Kara admits she never heard the song until he chose it, so went back and listened to it, and she thinks he did an incredible job with it. She thinks he got to the true emotion of the song and made it tasteful and lovely, and one of her favorites.

Simon tells Mike this is probably the first time since he got into the live shows where he can take him seriously as an artist. Even though it was a bit gloomy and not one of his favorites, what he demonstrated tonight, was the difference between being original and having a moment, and being a karaoke performer. Most importantly, he believed it. Usher says if he was a judge, he would have told Mike he connected.

Didi Benami met with Usher, and is singing What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted, as it really struck a nerve to her and she felt it. Usher calls it a very emotional song for a very emotional young lady. She cries after she gets done with the song. He asks if it means something to her, then says honesty is what an audience looks for and what they applaud. It’s personal to her, and the audience wants that. She wanted something that moved her, but is worried now that it’s too much. She sings live tonight, and is looking more beautiful than ever. It’s true her emotions come out more than ever before, but the pitch isn’t perfect. It doesn’t make up for it enough. I hope she doesn’t cry this time, as those false eyelashes will become a mess.

Randy tells Didi it wasn’t about the song, and he loves the song, but it all flatlined for him and never moved from “here.” It wasn’t great, and he was waiting for any kind of moment. Even the big note at the end was kind of sharp. Ellen boos herself, then says it was dramatic, and she loves her voice, but it was way dramatic and not her best. Kara tells Didi it was overdone, as she first came to them and sang Terrified and did the singer/songwriter thing, and since then she’s changed. Her vision changed, and she’s not the same anymore. It’s confusing and leaves her puzzled.

Simon cues lots of boos and says it was like swimming in jelly and should be something easy to get through, yet was so over the top and so old-fashioned and off-melody. It has a great climax at the end, but just didn’t do it. She’s no longer made herself contemporary, and if you listen to a dancing show, they always have a singer murdering a song like that. Did says she gets emotional singing it because it was a challenge to not get emotional with it. She did what she could with this theme, and it was her favorite song among the list. As Ryan grills her to say why it was so emotional, she says he is grilling her, as he wants her to say him. He covers it and says it’s because she sang this song for someone.

Tim Urban gets stool time with Ryan, who notes they’re now calling him Teflon Tim in the press, and it’s in reference to him smiling while getting beat up by the judges every week. Tim says Simon has a lot of wisdom and knows what he was talking about, yet it didn’t change the fact Tim had fun. Ryan notes with all that wisdom does come with that age of Simon’s.

Meeting with Usher, Tim notes he’s singing Sweet Love by Anita Baker. Huh? Even Usher says when he started singing, he didn’t believe him. His advice is for Tim to make believe he’s singing to him, but that’s too much of a stretch for Tim, so Usher tells him to sing it to an imaginary person in front of him. He thinks he finally hits it and tells him to hold onto it and own it. Tonight, Tim starts the song from Adam’s stairs and works on singing to that imaginary girl again in the camera. But the look in his eyes is just weird. I would hope that guy never calls me his sweet love. He’s creepy. My son compares him to that Burger King guy.

Randy tells Tim there are pluses and minuses. When he first started, he felt like it was a singing waiter thing, and was so pedestrian, but the good plus part, is that at least he sang in tune. Yet there was no vibe or swag, and it just kind of laid flat, with no vibrato. He needs to put a little grease on it. Ellen heard that there’s a drinking game out there where everyone takes a drink every time she calls him adorable, so she tells him that again, because those people may never drink again. But she just couldn’t understand why he chose that song. He was walking like he was sneaking into a bedroom.

Kara remarks it was like Broadway at times and Vegas at times. He took the soul out of the song and made himself so uncommercial and young and current, which is why all the people love him. Tim laughs, and Simon thinks it’s because it makes no difference what they say. It was a completely inappropriate song like a mouse picking a fight with an elephant. He’s not going to win, but it doesn’t matter, because he’s going to smile and people will vote for him and nobody cares and he’ll be a hit next week. So well done. Tim just wants to say they picked on him for a bunch of things, but he never thought smiling would be one of them.

Andrew Garcia brings in his guitar to meet with Usher. He’s singing Chris Brown’s Forever. Usher says when he first came in, he could tell he was nervous, and could tell he was analyzing too much. He told him to stop. User takes off his shades so Andrew can see his eyes, and says if he wants it, he has to make it into that acoustic experience he wants. He tells him to play it again, and it goes better this time. Usher tells him that was good and what he was talking about. This made Usher love the song even more. Tonight this is the closest Andrew has gotten to Straight Up. Suddenly he doesn’t seem so lost and desperate and seems like he’s back in the game. It’s his best since the live shows started.


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