About LauraBelle

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

American Idol 9, Apr. 20 – Taking It to a Whole New Level


After a year’s hiatus from Idol Gives Back week, American Idol has decided to bring it back. That means tonight’s theme is inspirational songs. Alicia Keys will be mentor, but I’m not sure if any mentor could do any more for these contestants than what has already been done for them by the other mentors. They’ve all been fantastic. Let’s see how Alicia does tonight.

Alicia meets with the seven finalists, and Big Mike lifts her up in a big giant hug. She states music is so amazing the way it goes along with how people feel, so to talk to the Idols about how to bring out the truth in a song is pretty cool. Along with her music, she also helps out families and children in Africa devastated by HIV and AIDS. She brings that to the Idols, wanting to find out whet they’re made of, and wants them to see if they can be a part of something that’s even bigger than just them.

Casey James is up first with Alicia and is singing Don’t Stop, which Alicia calls one of the biggest songs in the universe. She wants him to really connect with it. Since it’s so well-known, she wants people to not dismiss it. He says it’s about him being present in the song and making the crowd feel. Alicia realizes they would say they love him, not they love that song, and as long as he puts his personality into it, she thinks they’ll be into him tonight. I have to say this song is a great fit on his voice. And he surprises us with a great electric guitar solo which sounds fantastic. Three fans in the audience have three huge guitars spelling out Casey James Rocks.

Randy Jackson tells Casey it was a good performance, but not his best, as he feels like they get the same thing from him every week. He wants to see him step out of his comfort zone a little bit. He knows he’s the bluesy rock guy, but he wants to see a little something different. Ellen DeGeneres starts off saying it’s great guitar playing, but she has to be a little tougher now. You have to be great, as someone will be going home each week now. She doesn’t think people will be talking about this tomorrow.

Kara DioGuardi points out that with Jealous Guy, Casey was amazing, sensitive, and showed vulnerability and range. But tonight he came out and and was like “jam band.” It’s not showing them what makes him different, and he made himself like everyone else tonight. Simon Cowell is just amazed he chose that song, because it wasn’t particularly inspriring and showed zero emotion. He just stood there and played the song again and showed no originality. He saw it as a lazy song choice. Casey loves Fleetwood Mac and is even playing “his guitar.” I assume he means Lindsey Buckingham?

Lee Dewyze gets stool chat with Ryan Seacrest again. He talks about saying goodbye to his good friend Andrew Garcia last week. He’s talked to him in the last week, and he’s supportive of everything Andrew’s doing. He didn’t talk to him about his choice of song for this week, though, The Boxer. He chose the song as it inspired him and it speaks to him. He listened to this kind of music with his parents when he was growing up. He hopes it will in turn inspire others.

Playing the song for Alicia, she mentions it’s a classic and a beautiful song. She tells Lee the words are beautiful, and people need to feel that he is that boxer and the fighter. He realizes that’s a good point, that he can’t lose sight of what the song is about. She feels if he can bring people into him, then he will make them feel something. I have to say I’m with Lee on this. I, too, grew up with my mom singing and playing this music. My mom was a huge Simon and Garfunkel fan and played the guitar and sang the music while I watched her on her bed and tried on her rings. So the song definitely speaks to me. I so appreciate he stepped out and did something different with this song, sintead of singing the same ole same ole.

Randy tells Dawg that he may not realize it, but he’s one of his biggest fans. The reason is because this season the show is really different and it’s really about artists this year, and he thinks Lee is a great artist and ready to make music. He thinks he’s going to go on to have a big career, and he found this performance to be a great job. Ellen notes first of all it was a beautiful song choice, and he has so much soul and depth to him that we’re seeing more and more of. It’s surprising to see there’s more and more to him, as she thinks he already has a lot of depth. Ellen thinks this is his best performance by far.

Kara recalls Simon saying a few weeks back that Lee had his moment, but she thinks he just had it tonight with that performance. She also thinks it shows clearly the difference when someone feels connected to a song and performs it and when they don’t. Her advice is to keep pickng things he’s connected to, as it takes him to a different level. Simon cracks that even though we’re only two in, it was the best of the night. The difference between Lee and Casey is staggering, as that was sincere, emotional, and inspirational. He was never a massive fan of the song, but Lee made it sound as if it was written a week ago. Simon found it absolutely brilliant.

Tim Urban met up Alicia and played his version of Better Days by the Goo Goo Dolls. She admits she really likes it on him. He talks about her wanting him to really show that he meant the words. She wants him to reiterate it and really feel inspired by it. When he’s singing it, she thinks it could very well be his own song, as it feels really good. Tim has a few pitchy moments in the performance, but he’s definitely taking her advice and really feeling it. I think it’s a really difficiult song to sing with notes that are going up and down a lot. But he ends it well. It’s just not as good as last week.

Randy tells Tim that for him it was an interesting choice. It was just okay karaoke and didn’t really do anything. It just laid there and sounded okay. Ellen compares Tim to the soup of the day. Sometimes she likes the soup, and sometimes she doesn’t like the soup. She’s liked his soup before, but tonight she didn’t like the soup. Kara tells Tim he finally found his lane, and he’s in it. It’s a new time, and where he belongs, but not the best execution. At times he did sound commercial.


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