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American Idol: The Judges Have Spoken

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American Idol's Lee DeWyze, Crystal Bowersox and Casey James are visiting their respective hometowns of Chicago, Toledo and Dallas today for getting to the Top Three. Along with being cheered on by hometown fans, the contestants also found out which song the judges had selected for them to sing next week.

Lee DeWyze, Crystal Bowersox & Casey James.Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi picked John Mayer's "Daughters" for Casey James to sing. This is actually a perfect song choice for him. I am willing to bet money that Kara wants Casey to just strip down the song like he did with "Jealous Guy." I think as long as Casey keeps his vibrato under control and emotionally invests in the song, he should have a really good performance. He seems to excel with his stripped down, acoustic performances, so hopefully he will do well and show the audience that he deserves Siobhan Magnus' spot in the Top Three. (I'm kidding. Kind of.)

Ellen DeGeneres picked "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney for Crystal Bowersox to sing. What an amazing song choice for Crystal. I had kind of hoped that whichever judge that was picking for her would throw her a curve ball, and maybe force her to rock out next week. I really think that Crystal should put down the guitar for this one, though. I would really love to see her try her hand at piano again, but I would settle on her singing sans guitar with a piano player on stage. For me, that would be pretty ideal. (And props to Ellen for a fantastic song choice!)

And finally, Simon Cowell picked Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" for Lee DeWyze to sing next week. "Hallelujah" is an amazing song, however Tim Urban already sang it this season. Also, this is a song that Idol viewers have come to associate with Jason Castro, who had a memorable performance of the song during season seven. So, I am hoping that Simon works with Lee with the arrangement and hopefully they stay far, far away from the Jeff Buckley version which has been done before.

I am actually shocked that Simon chose this for Lee to sing, because usually Simon would be the first one to say that the song's been done already. Of course this being the season of singing songs from prior seasons, I probably shouldn't be so surprised. Also, Simon tends to always pick songs for the contestant he's pulling for, this season he made it known very early on during the Top 24 that he was rooting for Lee. I am excited and nervous about this performance all at the same time. I really hope that Lee can pull this song off.

What do you think about the judges selections for the contestants? What songs would you have chosen for Casey, Crystal and Lee to sing?

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About Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is a writer and editor from the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit her long-running music blog, Wait...WHAT, at waitwhatmusic.net. Follow Kirsten Coachman on Twitter: @KirsCoachman
  • Mario

    I think Lee should have left the show a long time ago.

  • Tish

    Limiting Casey to “stripped down” performances doesnt play to his strengths. He sings out in the You Tube studio version of the duet he and Big Mike sang (Did you ever really love a woman) and thats what he should be doing more of. I was moved also by the guitar accompaniment he did on the studio version of the duet. Looks to me like Lee and Crystal were given very strong choices. John Mayer’s song is not Casey’s style at all. But he has the best personality on the show, very humble and gracious. Crystal is abrasive, and Lee smiles now, but otherwise blah. Casey brought the most votes last performance because people like him and know when the judges treat him unfairly.

  • Maria

    Lee singing “Hallelujah” would be AWESOME.

  • Bette

    wow odd choice for Lee who can’t stay on key to save his soul. I know the judges like when Casey is stripped down and vulnerable but after seeing and hearing him at his home coming Idol has missed the best part of Casey James. That boy can rock the blues, but of course he can’t ever win with the judges. I hope he takes the crown he has the best voice, personality and attitude.

  • Joan

    I agree with Bette that the judges like Casey stripped down and he does a great job on ballads, but blues/rock is his soul. I watched some of the videos of him performing yesterday in Texas and man, the limited song choices they get to pick from on Idol have not even shown what he can do. I’ve loved his voice all along, but he has so much range that he showed yesterday. He has am amazing falsetto. I think he’s a huge talent and his humble attidude makes him even more appealing.

  • chris ford

    Kirsten – “so hopefully he will do well and show the audience that he deserves Siobhan Magnus’ spot in the Top Three. (I’m kidding. Kind of.)”

    I’m not kidding when I say I am sad that Siobhan Magnus is not Top 3. She made a few mistakes, but people forget she was a teen contestant when she started, and mistakes were inevitable. But more than Siobhan’s small mistakes, she had none of the pimp packaging and constant adulation given to Big Mike, Lee, And especially Crystal the Great by Cowell and Dioguardi. We saw instead an attack on girls not named Crystal from Top 24.
    It didn’t help matters any that Magnus went on fire on her tour after being voted off. Not just the performances on Letterman, Ellen, and Wendy Williams but throwing off some crazy sort of she-draws-you-in star charisma in interviews.
    And her piano playing was great. Didn’t know she was a good pianist wait-listed for a scholarship at a top music college when she tried out for Idol on piano skills as well as vocal potential?? Idol never managed to mention that….

  • Jennifer C

    My own theory on Magnus is that if she had been LESS TALENTED, she would have been Top 3. The young lady had power and extra range come into her voice, natural creativity, wanting her own unique style to be created, an ability to understand and sing in several music genres she knew from childhood on.
    The range and power meant there was a lot more to wrestle and tame, creativity created more challenge as she tried to understand making it all combine in performance into a coherent whole. And ability to sing in several genres hurt focus of herself and audience who liked her in one sort of song, then the next week she was off in theater and then week after in pure vocal stuff. And taking on hard stuff and missing a note here and there from challenging herself.
    None of the other contestants could have taken on some of her selections.
    If Magnus had had LESS RANGE, LESS POWER been less creative and stayed in just one genre…her odds would have actually been better.
    But not true to herself or developing into who she wants to be in a few years.

  • Pete

    Casey is from Ft. Worth, not Dallas.

  • TF

    I’m convinced some of the Idol audience is tone deaf. Siobhan could hit 1 amazing note well, but she was off key way more often than Lee. Lee needs to work on his pitch, and Casey needs to come alive (maybe some speed???. Casey also needs to leave the shepherd life in Texas… your sheep are not here. Crystal is great, but she hasn’t challenged herself. I’d like to see her diversify. She comes across as only being able to rock 1 style… which is great, but won’t keep her selling records. As for the songs, Casey will do well with “Daughters.” It won’t show a new aspect of him. At its best, it will come across as too “safe.” At the worst, it will be “karaoke.” Crystal will rock “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Neither of these choices are challenges, really. In fact, they seem like lazy choices. “Hallelujah” for Lee comes across as extremely repetitious, trite, and… well, lazy. That’s right, Simon made a lazy song choice. Lee’s success will depend on him changing the key of the song to make sure it is within his range (his earlier problem). I’d like to hear him do it a capella with very minor strumming on the chorus, but this leaves a HUGE issue if he is even minutely off key. Casey will do country, and Crystal will do her Janis Joplin thing. They’re predictable… let’s face it…