Did the powers that be at American Idol sabotage Lee’s chances?
(SORRY ABOUT THE FORMATTING. SQUARESPACE IS SUCKING TODAY.)
I tuned into American Idol last night with great anticipation (after waiting 30 minutes, so I could skip the commercials, Tivo, I love you!). To my mind, the right two singers were competing, and I was ready for a CONTEST.
Before I go on, let me be clear: there is no comparison between Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox. Lee has a great voice, but he’s not an artist – yet. Crystal, on the other hand, is the ONLY singer I have ever seen on American Idol who can actually sing with soul and originality.
The rules for the night were as follows:
- for song one, sing a song you’ve already sung this year
- for song two, sing what Idol producer Simon Fuller tells you to sing
- and for song three, sing the song that would be your first single if you win.
The show opened with Lee singing The Boxer. I was bored and bummed. First, in order to fit the song into the show’s format, the arrangement had to be butchered, killing the song’s build. Worse, Lee did his own thing with the melody and proved without a doubt why he’s no Paul Simon.
Next Crystal sang Bobby Me and Bobby McGee, and though she, too, had to mutilate her song’s arrangement, her performance was great.
Lee followed “The Pillow Fighter” with “Everybody Hurts”, by REM. At first I mumbled to Catherine, “Hmmm, inspired choice.” But I quickly ate my words. Lee just does not have Michael Stipe’s low end and as he dipped down in his register he faded to nothing.
Crystal’s second tune was “Red Velvet”, which she belted but seemed disengaged by. And no wonder, it was a lousy song choice for her.
Finally, Lee was up for his last Idol performance and for it he sang U2’s Beautiful Day. As I watched him sing, I sensed a thought bubble above his head stating very simply, “WTF?” WTF indeed.
Crystal could have closed the show with the theme song from Barney and still clobbered Lee, but instead, she sang a gospel-type song that fit her to a tee.
As the roar of the crowd faded, I thought to myself that something seemed fishy. I mean, the song choices for Lee were so bad. Here’s my theory: Idol wanted Crystal to win, because it would allow Simon to leave the show on a true high, the discovery of a real artist, not just a melodious mannequin. Nothing against Lee, he’s good, but Crystal is something special. Hope she takes it all tonight.