'Idol' thoughts

Let me start by saying this: If there’s one reason I keep watching “American Idol” this season, it’s to see what Andrew Garcia will bring each week.

I've never declared myself a fan of Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar We’re Going Down.” But Garcia’s acoustic take on it tonight was sweet music to my ears -- much like his much-talked-about Hollywood Week performance of “Straight Up.” I wholeheartedly disagreed with the judges on "Sugar," and I was completely surprised to hear all four of them say they weren't impressed with the performance. (Simon: "Not original enough" ... Have you heard the original!?)

Up to the moment Garcia started singing Wednesday night, I’d been thinking I was thisclose to being over and done with “American Idol.”

Not one of the 24 Idol wannabes gave a performance that had me feeling so giddy I’d risk -- quoting a recent description of me from my friend Tom -- “passing out from a music-euphoria-induced coma.” And believe me folks, I can be a sucker for some pretty raunchy music sometimes … (Now I’m starting to wonder if I'm crazy for liking Andrew Garcia’s “Sugar” performance as much as I did ...)

Maybe it’s that I’ve got so much going in my life right now to care. Maybe it's that there’s a dozen other things I could be doing than wasting two hours, three nights a week, watching what feels more and more like a karaoke singing competition.

Maybe it’s that I’m not feeling the kind of attachment to any of the contestants this year that I remember feeling during past seasons for a Chris Sligh, a Gina Glocksen or a Brooke White ...

Maybe it's that I've been watching "Idol" for too long and the novelty has worn off for me.

Wednesday night’s guys night performances were dreadful. Aside from Garcia, none of them made an impression on me.

I haaaaaated Todrick Hall's performance of “Since U Been Gone.” Sure, I give him props for changing it up and taking the kind of risk the judges lust for. But I haaaaaated it.

Jermaine Sellers (“Get Here”), Tyler Grady (“American Woman”), Lee DeWyze (“Chasing Cars”) and John Park ("God Bless the Child") -- I couldn’t wait for their performances to finish.

I’ve never understood what the judges see in Tim Urban and was utterly dismayed when I read the judges had decided to bring him back to the competition. Interestingly, everything Simon said in his critique about Urban’s performance was what I’d been saying during his previous performances.

And Kara’s flirt fest with Casey James was just wrong, even if his rendition of “Heaven” was decent.

Ok, Michael Lynche’s smooth rendition of “This Love” made a slightly more positive impression on me. The judges were just lukewarm on Lynche’s take, too, even though he did a commendable job of making the song his own without “murdering it” (ahem, Todrick).

For the girls on Tuesday night, I had higher expectations than the boys. But all the girls offered were two hours of mostly bad song choices, terrible runs and forgettable performances.

Haeley Vaughn? Have I mentioned I don’t understand what in the world the judges hear in her voice? Truth be told, her version of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” was better than I could have predicted, and it might have been her best performance to date. But seriously, she’s like a little school girl wailing off-key in the shower. She’s gotta go.

And Lacey Brown made a valiant effort trying something different on “Landslide,” but there’s no lying -- it was awful. Like Simon, I was ready for it to end after about 15 seconds. Haeley might actually be safe, thanks to Lacey. And thank you, Randy, for reminding the younglings that Fleetwood Mac made “Landslide” famous, not the Dixie Chicks … And Kara, pulling out the references to Sixpence and The Sundays -- nice!

I had seen Janell Wheeler and Katie Stevens as frontrunners until Tuesday night. Now, I’m not so sure. And I’m not getting the "dark horse" fuss about Siobhan Magnus.

As for my bright spots from Tuesday night?

Didi Benami stole my heart singing Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am.” My thoughts about Miss Ingrid are no secret, and I thought Didi‘s version was a charmer. I totally disagreed with Simon; I get a strong Brooke White vibe from her, which might be good sign that Didi could go far. That’s not so good for winning the whole thing, though, and I get what the judges meant about her being too sleepy.

Crystal Bowersox, I thought, was the best of the girls with her coffeehouse take on Alanis Morissette’s “Hand in My Pocket” -- one of my all-time favorites. Loved her vocal, loved her acoustic guitar, loved her harmonica-playing, and I’d totally download her version from iTunes. I’ll bet Crystal is in the top 12, easy.

Here's a good read from The New York Times: On ‘Idol,’ Shifts in Power, Not Talent

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