American Idol Winner – Crystal vs. Lee by kentsterling

by Kent Sterling

For two hours and seven minutes tonight starting at 8:00 p.m., tens of millions of people will watch the Fox Network for what will be revealed during the last ten-minutes.

We will be regaled with stories and songs from people we didn’t want to see anymore, and some pop stars will sing some hits.  The 10 finalists America didn’t vote for will be back, so we’ll put up with Smilin’ Tim Urban for another night, along with Screamin’ Siobhan Magnus.

Departing judge Simon Cowell will be eulogized, as should the show.  I sit and watch Idol like most people in front of their TVs, and I have my picks.  My taste is generally the same as the judges.  Evaluating talent isn’t too tough.  Who makes you pay attention?  Who do you compels you to hope for them?  There you go.

Simon gets that.  As much as the other judges talk about pitch, Simon knows that thedifference between a singer and performer is that the performer makes the audience feel something.  There needs to be a baseline competence in singing, but the money is made by those who establish a connection with the audience.  There are a lot of people with perfect pitch singing in church choirs, and some others who are flat more than once in a while making millions.

Singers get as many takes as they need to get the pitch right, and in concert, who can tell?  If you don’t hear perfect pitch, you can’t tell if someone is singing in perfect pitch.  Bruce Springsteen and Frank Sinatra aren’t close to perfect pitch.  Who gives a shit?

So there will be a winner tonight.  Half will agree and half won’t.  Lee Dewyze has the best story.  Crystal Bowersox is the best performer.  In the end the winner doesn’t matter because if history is any judge, both will get rich singing in front of big audiences before their careers peter out or blossom.

My guess from the beginning has been Crystal, just as last year I thought Adam Lambert and the year before that David Archuleta would win from day one.  I picked Carrie Underwood, but other than that, I seem to be better at picking the contestant poised to enjoy the best career, not the winner of the contest.

Whether or not Crystal wins, she will out-earn Lee by five-to-one.

Without Simon, the show will lose its anchor and most passionate participant.  It’s been a great run for a show that every network passed on.  I doubt it survives Simon’s absence for more than a season.

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Sports From the Couch–Lee Dewyze Wins Idol and News From the Couch by jshowal2

By Jeff Showalter

In what will be considered by many as a major upset, Lee Dewyze has won American Idol. Per Digitalidol.com, which uses technology to decipher the phone system busy signals within American Idol’s voting phone numbers, has already declared that Dewyze is the winner. Lee wins Idol

The Couch lost interest in Idol a few weeks ago. The overall talent was week, and there was really no new ground being broken on the show. I don’t see how Idol, without Simon, will be around for more then one more season. 2010 ratings have been down and 2011 will not get any better without the brilliant and temperamental Cowell.



Idol Finale Review by kentsterling

by Justin Whitaker

Simon Cowell really knows how to jump from a sinking ship. Now noticeable more so than any other season, American Idol’s run is nearing the end.

Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox are both quality singers, but lack mainstream appeal and the superstardom that has been evident over the years on America’s nationwide talent search.

As this season winds up I just hope that some how next season Idol reinvents itself to avoid being stale. The show drastically needs an injection of fresh air so hopefully they find new contestants or something to freshen up the show.

Now here we go, the most underwhelming season of American Idol comes to an end!



American Idol – Finals – Crystal Bowersox vs. Lee Dewyze by kentsterling

by Kent Sterling

This is a much different final than last year.  Adam Lambert was such a compelling performer that wondering what he was going to do was reason enough to watch the show.  Kris Allen won, but to be honest, I have to look up his time in every post I reference him.  I couldn’t tell you whether he has released a CD or whether I’ve ever heard it.

Adam Lambert is a star.  He lost the final, but has become on of the most talked about performers in years

Lee Dewyze – “The Boxer”

I grew up loving Simon & Garfunkel’s music, and so its a tough hill for any singer to climb to win me over singing one of their songs, and just as was the case a few weeks ago, this rendition of “The Boxer” left me wanting.  The judges want him to punch harder, but it’s a soft song, and I’m not sure how you do that.  Simon wants Lee to get aggressive.  Can you imagine the nerves inside this 24-year old former paint salesman from Mount Prostect, Illinois?  Four months ago, no one knew who the hell he was.  Now he’s one night away from winning a singing contest in front of 30-plus million people.

Crystal Bowersox – “Me and Bobby McGee”

My upstairs neighbor in Chicago used to sing this song at the top of his lungs every morning, so I automatically cringe anytime I hear it.  Crystal is very comfortable with the Janis vibe, and this was a nice way to start the night for her.  She knows that song is a hit for her, and she was very good.  It kills me what a great songwriter Kris Kristofferson is.  His songs paint such a clear picture.  And then he sings like a freight trains brakes.  Brutal.  Some ancestor must have pissed off God to produce that combination of talent and complete lack of talent.

First song goes to Crystal based on her energy and unique performance abilities.  There is just something about her that makes it hard to turn away.  Empathy, charisma, authenticity, or whatever you want to call it, Crystal has a gob of it.

Lee Dewyze – “Everybody Hurts”

Oh boy.  That was pretty good.  Right in Lee’s wheel house.  The backing choir, and the arrangement were amazing, and the song is one of the best rock ballads ever.  The performance was really good in spots.  I wish the format of the show allowed for the completion of the song.  I think it’s difficult to sing a very well known song that builds emotionally, but only in parts.  So far, it looks like Lee is enjoying himself rather than focusing on the task at hand.  That might be a great idea being that winning or losing in the finals really doesn’t seem to be that important.  There are plenty of runners-up or worse who’ve done exceptionally well, and just as many winners suck it after the initial splash after winning.

Crystal Bowersox – “Black Velvet”

This was really ordinary for me, until the second half where I thought Crystal crushed it.  What a voice.  She should never started walking as I think that was the problem with the first bit.  Note to Crystal – no walking down steps and sing at the same time.  That wound up being very compelling for a very ordinary song.  That is such a borderline Soft AC song that Jefferson Starship would have been very comfortable massacring.  I can’t believe I used to listen to the Jefferson Starship album that spawned “Jane”.  What the hell was I thinking in 1980.  Yikes.

So far Crystal is up 2 rounds to none.  Lee needs to score big, in the third round, if it even matters.  The voters are weighted so heavily demographically to women that it will be hard for any women to win again.  Lee has that whole cute thing working where he’s just a little bit ill at ease.  Women love that shit a lot more than angry sarcasm, as I learned in high school.

Lee Dewyze – “Beautiful Day”

Tough competing with a voice and performer like Bono.  He is so singular in his energy.  Lee could be made entirely of speed, and never be able to compare to Bono.  By comparison, it was totally ordinary.  Maybe if I had never heard of U2, I might have really liked this, but my only thought through the entire song was that I wish U2 was on instead of Lee Dewyze.  That can’t be what he wants people to think.  The judges are positive because this will be a single, and the show is all about selling the performers and their records.

Crystal Bowersox – “Up to the Mountain”

I didn’t know this song, but now I do.  Some people sing, and others channel.  Some try to sound like others, but some can only sound like them.  How in the hell did this woman not find success before this.  She’s been singing out and about for years.  There are videos of Crystal on youtube singing all over Chicago, and nobody thought she was worth recording?  This is why Idol works.  The record guys who are looking for talent are idiots, so every year Idol launches 5-7 careers that make lots and lots of money.

No doubt who won the third round.  Crystal pitches a shutout so dominant that I don’t think Lee’s cuteness that embitters me a little bit more each week.  Actually, Lee is probably one of the few guys who can get away with the cute thing and still be a guy that you could drink a beer with.  Still, if there is any justice, Crystal wins.

For me, the show ends tonight.  Simon Cowell was as individually outstanding, unique, and compelling as any of the singers in the nine seasons of the show.  He was honest in a world that doesn’t have much, but needs more.  He was intolerant, just like the people watching, and his presence made the show great.  The business model is also crazy smart.  Without Simon, I can’t imagine sitting through the auditions.  Watching that jaded judge melt when greatness opened its mouth was worth all the contrived boobery like William Hung.



American Idol Review – Final Three by kentsterling

by Justin Whitaker

As this season of American Idol comes to a close, I have asked myself this question multiple times.

Is America out of talent?

Compared to every other year of American Idol this season has been lackluster. Sure Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox are good, but are they Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson or Kris Allen good?

No, I do not believe so.

Lee and Crystal are both extremely talented singers but they lack that special quality those singers had on the show.  Casey James has not been in this conversation because if he was in any other season of American Idol he would be lucky to get to the Top Ten.

But the contestants sing two songs this week, let’s see what they have!

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Final Three Week:  Singer’s and Contestant’s Choice

1. Casey James – “Okay, It’s Alright With Me” by Eric Hutchinson

Why would Casey pick this song? Casey has made his reputation on playing the electric guitar and rocking out. This song had neither of it. The arrangement for this song was terrible. I did not expect this out of Casey at all. Casey tried hitting a high note or too but it was very awkward. The ending of the song was very abrupt too, it just ended. Thankfully. Randy was dead on, the song was just alright. What a terrible song choice. He is an embarrassment to this competition.

2. Crystal Bowersox – “Come To My Window” by Melissa Etheridge

Before the song starts, this was a perfect choice for Crystal. She knows what her niche is and she has stuck with it all season. The harmonica was out of place at the beginning of the song, I didn’t know what was going to happen. It started off slow but she picked it up in the chorus. Her voice got stronger and seemed to be more emotional. Outside of the chorus her voice was not as good. The end of the song was well done too. The arrangement was sort of subdued and I wish that it had a harder, deeper sound to it.

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American Idol Final Three – Casey James Will Go Home by kentsterling

by Kent Sterling

Down to the final three, but who knows what happens when nut-cutting time comes.  Crystal is still the front-runner, but Lee is coming like a Chicago Northwestern barreling toward the Loop.  Casey is going to have to do something especially special to be anything but an afterthought once tonight’s episode of “Glee” starts.

The first song for each performer is selected by them, and the second is chosen by one of the judges.  Song choices will go a long way to determining the final two as well as the winner next week.

Casey James – “Okay, It’s Alright with Me”

Casey is alright with me too.  He’s a lot like the guy he beat out to make the final three last week – Big Mike.  Nothing that Casey sings sticks.  I remember going to see the Bangles at Murray State University in 1986.  They were four girls in their early 20s who sang “Manic Monday” and “Walk Like an Egyptian”.  Nice harmonies.  Good looking.  I was right in front of the guitarist, Vicki Peterson, and I thought, “Hmm, that is kind of a good looking woman.”  When I looked away, I had no recollection of what she looked like.  I thought that was odd, so I spent the rest of the concert trying to stare at her, so I could remember any of her features.  Murray State is in a dry county, so being all liquored up was no excuse.  I still can’t picture that woman after looking at a picture.  That is Casey to me.  He sings well enough, but nothing in the performance sticks yet.



American Idol – May 11 – Final Four – Who Wins by kentsterling

by Kent Sterling

It’s nut cutting time on “American Idol”.  So close to the final prize, and all definitely talented.  Nice to have all the weak contestants gone, but there is still a wide divide between the two haves and other two have-nots.  Let’s see if this week holds any surprises.

Lee Dewyze – Kiss from a Rose

Ol’ Lee Dewzie came with the signature Seal song and had a tough time.  Why?  Because as he said after singing it – he sand it in rehearsal and liked it.  Sing what can be entertaining for the audience.  Save what you like to sing for the shower.  I listened to it without watching, and it was quite close to bad.  Going bad and watching it wasn’t quite so unpleasant.  I think Lee should wind up in the finals no matter what he does tonight.  He’s definitely come the furthest in terms of performance.  Lee started as a shy guy who just without sharing.  Since then, he has figured out how to bring some transparency to his interpretations.

Mike Lynche – “Will You Be There”

Big Mike is going home unless someone loses their voice.  He performs in the same way each and every week.  Mike is what he is.  He doesn’t emote beyond what is comfortable for him.  There is never a moment of revelation with Mike’s performances.  There is a reluctance to be who he is.  He performs knowing that he’s performing, and never seems to feel the song.  Mike interprets every song in the same way.  If he ever tours, half the audience will be asleep from the monotony of his performance.  The other half of the audience would ask each other, “Didn’t he already sing that?”  I’m not a Big Mike fan because he doesn’t reveal how the song connect with him, and he’s not a compelling enough performer to fake it.

Lee & Crystal – “Falling Slowly”

Okay, now what the hell do we do with that?  I suppose this duet business will count toward the voting because how do we forget that.  They can’t admonish America like a judge tells a jury to put a piece of testimony aside as they weigh the testimony of a case.  Even if they did, it wouldn’t stick.  These two will be in the finals, and good for them.  They both seem like decent people who genuinely care about the others in the competition.  That’s a big leap after watching them only while the cameras are on.

Casey James – “Mrs. Robinson”

Maybe Big Mike survives.  I love Simon & Garfunkel, and almost always enjoy different interpretations of their songs.  This was not one of those.  I didn’t see anything that mattered to Casey about this song.  This would have sounded good at Daddy Jack’s or some coffee house.  This is not the time to be cute or subtle.  These contestants are playing for a spot in the final three, not trying to sell coffee to wayward, beret-wearing doofuses.  Casey has done well to make it this far.  He’s musically competent, and sort of ragged looking in the way girls like.  That got him to the Final Four, but he and Mike will be in the bottom two, unless Crystal’s teeth fall out, and she sings like Moms Mabley.

Crystal Bowersox – “I’m Alright”

This is a great “American Idol” song that I’ve never heard anyone sing before.  Kenny Loggins is so annoying, but the song so good that by comparison Crystal has to sound great.  Jamie Foxx said a very smart thing before the song in that he said with eye contact, a song becomes testimony.  That’s the difference between a preacher yelping at a congregation of 12 parishioners, and Joel Osteen filling an arena in Houston.  Crystal is THE performer of this group, much like Adam Lambert last year.

I cheated earlier this week and watched a couple of youtube clips of Crystal singing in Chicago.  She was just as good then.  That was in 2005, I believe.  Just goes to show that if you believe in your talent, you have to stay committed to it, even if you are playing in the streets as Crystal was.

Casey & Mike – “Have You Ever Really Loved a Women”

Completely different vibe from the first duet.  Obviously, there was no real sexual tension, but they did sound pretty good.  Lee and Crystal, I would think could sell records.  Casey and Mike were not commercial.  Interesting that the pairings featured the two pairings that will wind up being in the finals and those two being voted off next.

Maybe I’m getting cocky after predicting the results almost perfectly throughout the season, but here is the absolute order of finish for this week and for the season:

1 – Lee Dewyze (Lee follows David Cook and Kris Allen as the people who should have finished second to win the big prize)

2 – Crystal Bowersox (The best almost never wins, but Crystal will win in the end as she becomes a star)

3 – Casey James

4 – Mike Lynche