Rolling 'Idol'

Ok, so it’s like this…

On paper, I’ve never considered myself a huge Rolling Stones fan. I’ve always been Beatles all the way … Then I started delving farther into classic rock during my adulthood, I began collecting vinyl records and became friends with a die-hard Stones fan …

The more I listen to them, the more I love them -- and the more I realize their songs have become a huge part of the soundtrack for my life.

Needless to say, I was stoked going into tonight’s “American Idol” because it was Rolling Stones night.

Naming my favorite Stones songs off the top of my head, I’d tell you they’re “19th Nervous Breakdown,” “Under My Thumb” “Get Off my Cloud,” “Honky Tonk Women” and, of course, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Get me thinking harder and I could go on and on ...

Some big songs. So in a way, I was kind of dreading tonight’s “Idol” experience, fearing what some of the contestants might do to the songs … Add to that, nothing about this season has had an easy flow or predictability to it. The performers have been all over the board, and the judges feedback have been just as contradictory. My thoughts about this season have felt just as scatter-brained.

I sat up in my chair when I heard Tim Urban was doing “Under My Thumb” (Simon!? A boring song!? Wha!? Where‘s the love for your fellow Englanders?) … And then I slumped right back down a few moments later, sick of his reggae play on the song. Randy categorized it perfectly: Bizarre.

(For the record I put my Stones records on the moment the show was over -- mostly to get Urban’s coconut version out of my head, along with some of the unfortunate events on tonight‘s show.)

Casey James’ “It‘s All Over Now” was just ok. Andrew Garcia’s “Gimme Shelter” was too hokey for me. Aaron Kelly’s “Angie” didn’t do it for me. Katie Stevens’ “Wild Horses” was way too, um, mild.

I thought Lacey Brown killed “Ruby Tuesday” -- and not in a good way. I want to like Lacey, but the girl has such a fragility and uniqueness to her voice that her performances don’t work unless she picks just the right songs. I gave up halfway through her performance tonight and headed to my kitchen for a snack.

Michael Lynche falls into similar territory for me. Clearly he has gobs of talent and a smooth R&B voice that reminds me of Luther Vandross. At this point there’s no doubt he’s a force among the top 12 … But I’m just not that into him. Maybe it’s because I prefer the rock/pop vibe over the R&B/Soul. Maybe it’s that I get what Simon is talking about when he calls Big Mike’s performance of “Miss You” a little corny.

Didi Benami came out with “Play With Fire.” I didn’t love the song choice, but I was captured by the emotion and, as Kara noted, the intensity she gave her song. I really like that Didi’s starting to turn it on -- finally!

Siobhan Magnus. Really, should any of us have been surprised that she picked “Paint It Black”!? … I was totally having flashbacks of Adam Lambert -- only better. But Simon said it as I was thinking it -- like Adam Lambert, with that scream of hers, there are going to people who will really like her style and others who won’t. So far, I really like it.

Still, after Siobhan, the first performance to really get me smiling was Lee Dewyze’s “Beast of Burden.” I loved the arrangement; I loved the toe-tapping, laid-back vibe he gave it.

And then there was Paige Miles. Girlfriend broke out “Honky Tonk Woman” -- on top of her laryngitis! -- and rocked her way back to the top tier of the contenders. She used the stage, she hit some big notes, I was totally entertained. And yet Kara appeared so disappointed that Paige did so well, because we all know how the judges like to play favorites.

And then there was the grand finale. Crystal Bowersox singing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” … To that point, I had been wringing my hands in hopes that no one tried to tackle “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” It’s a huge song, and it’s one of my all-time favorite songs. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to take a wannabe toying with it.

When the time came, it occurred to me that only Crystal could have pulled off that song. She bottled the soul of the song and tinged it with just the right amount of her personality -- not to mention a bit of an Ani DiFranco vibe. And those horns! I’d have to disagree with Randy: I did think it was her best performance.

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