Katie Stevens struggled during her time on season nine to define herself stylistically. Strutting around the stage confidently, she made a case for herself as a belter with Christina Aguilera's "Fighter." Though it didn't amount to much more than an straight copy of the original version, Stevens worked up a pretty good head of steam. Speaking with her before the show, she expressed a desire to follow in Aguilera's footsteps. Covering Demi Lovato's "Here We Go Again" as her first song seemed to hedge the bet by reaching out to a much younger audience.
Tim Urban was next and sent the younger females in the audience into delirium. Urban's good looks and winning smile should assure him some work in Disney musicals or perhaps Broadway. As an arena rock performer, however, I'd say his prospects are definitely more limited. "Better Days," an old Goo Goo Dolls number, was a decent choice but Coldplay's "Viva la Vida" was a bit of a stretch. He sang well, in as much as all the notes were pitch perfect. But he didn't bring anything original to his interpretations.
A surprise elimination during season nine, Siobhan Magnus opened her set with one of her signature songs from the competition, The Rolling Stones' "Paint It, Black." Magnus, clearly out to make a dramatic impression, brought a high level of energy to her performance. Amidst a haze produced by smoke machines, she stalked the stage with a natural performer's confidence. While it was a great way to kick up the sagging energy level following Tim Urban's lackluster offering, she didn't maintain it with her other two songs. No Doubt's "Spiderwebs" seemed out of left field, leaving the audience rather nonplussed. Attempting to reestablish some modern rock credibility with Muse's "Stockholm Syndrome" was a sensible idea, but she over sang the song considerably.
Even so, Siobhan Magnus seized the spotlight in a way few of the finalists did during the concert. When I asked her before the show about her previous performing experience, she mentioned musical theater as an influence in shaping her style. Her various 'battle of the bands' contests, performing with her rock group Lunar Valve, also built confidence as a performer. It showed last night.