AI: The top 5 hang with Harry Connick Jr.

(Despite the flooding in my city and my broken heart, life must go on. But I do encourage you to read a post I wrote late yesterday afternoon that really captures a lot of how I’m feeling. Go here.)

Because the most important and interesting part of tonight’s “American Idol” is that Harry Connick Jr. is the mentor. I mean, Harry Connick! I heart him! Even if the crooner style of music is my least, least, least favorite.

And it appears that the Top 5 have taken the whole singing-Frank-Sinatra songs to heart. Their all in vests and Crystal’s wearing a beautiful mermaid style dress. And then, boys and girls, there’s Harry. Harry talking about music. Harry talking about Sinatra. Harry gazing into the camera. Harry.

Come to find out, Harry is doing the arrangements for what the contestants are singing this week. I’m impressed. He’s playing for ever song. OK. Best mentor EVER.

Another nice moments: Simon’s genuine surprise when Sinatra’s daughters present him with one of Sinatra’s hankies. Aww.

Now, let’s get on with the show!

Aaron Kelly “Fly Me to the Moon”
Harry teaches Aaron about dissonance and harmonics and says Aaron’s voice is sweet.
• His hair looks like a first grade picture of my brother • beginning is vocally good, but boring • I think they’ve put too much makeup on Aaron tonight • he does some really nice, smooth runs on some of his extended notes • if anyone will excel tonight, it will be Aaron • ending is MARVELOUS except for one sort of iffy note • Harry looks happy, but a little disappointed
Randy: Dude, you did a really good job.
Ellen: “I thought the piano was a little pitchy.” (HA!) Beautiful vocals.
Kara: I thought it was good, but wasn’t as good as last week. (Do not agree.)
Simon: I adore Frank b/c Frank was the king of cool. . . if he was a lion, you were just a mouse. It didn’t have the conviction for me.

Casey James “Blue Skies”
Harry welcomes us back from commercial by telling Casey “Don’t screw this up!” During the mentoring session, Harry jokes around for a bit and it’s a little awkward. Harry digs the Casey isn’t really about the lyrics of the song, but the vibe. I’m not so sure.
• I wish he’d hit the note of the first skies a little more precisely • hate his hair • I feel like the song is a little slow • Casey’s vocals seem OK • I feel like I’m seeing him working to perform; it’s not effortless
Randy: This didn’t work, baby.
Ellen: The whole thing is about being smooth and having swagger and that felt very stiff.
Kara: Work on your vibrato.
Simon: You weren’t fantastic. I thought you came over a bit embarrassed and awkward.
(Harry defends Casey and says he was better in rehearsal and that it’s hard to hear on stage. I like Harry. He’s nice.)

Total aside: Anthony Hopkins is in the audience. Weird.

Crystal Bowersox “Summer Wind”
Harry: I knew she was singing about something, I just didn’t know what she was singing about. “When I heard you sing it, it sounded like you.” “I still don’t know what that song means to her, but I want to hear it again, and I want to try to figure it out.”
• starts out siting on piano bench with Harry • her hair is LARGE • That dress does wonders for her figure and not much for her shoulders • beautiful simplicity and control of her voice • This is beautiful • I never thought Crystal could do Sinatra, but simply subdued and beautiful.
Randy: I don’t know; it was a little sleepy for me.
Ellen: I wanted you to loosen up a tiny bit more. You’re so impressive.
Kara: It’s out of your element, but I kind of liked it. I liked your phrasing.
Simon: I loved this song. I don’t know if I would have chosen it for you. The first half was too jazzy, the second half got a lot better.
(I agree this wasn’t Crystal’s best performance, but it was good. And I think the judges came down a bit too hard on her. What do you expect when you choose Sinatra as the theme—a style of music that is not in any way CURRENT? I mean this style is only maybe working for Buble these days and it’s hard to take a Sinatra song and make it all different yet still retain the Sinatra-ness. I’m just saying.)

Michael Lynche “The Way You Look Tonight”
Harry: Think about your girl, bro. “If he’s lucky enough to find that fleeting moment of truth, there’s nothing anyone can say because it will have been perfect.” (Look at Harry, using the pluperfect tense. Sigh. Swoon.)
• Oh, Big Mike, why are you wearing the fedora? • beautiful opening vocals, even if the hat and suit looks dumb • After the beginning, it feels a little loungey and schmaltzy • Big Mike does a lot of annoying things with his mouth when he sings • not a whole lot of original, but very good vocals • Probably his best performance in weeks, which is ODD
Randy: Unbelievable arrangement! Unbelievable vocal!
Ellen: You seem to have the most comfort on stage. . .  really good.
Kara: You found the drama in this song. . . but above all you didn’t lose yourself in the song.
Simon: The first 3 performances have been OK, and now with you, that’s all changed. I actually felt that you listened and everyone worked together on that performance.

Lee Dewyze “That’s Life”
Harry: “I like Lee Dewyze a lot. My wife thinks he’s really cute. And after meeting him, he looks like a new and improved version of me!” (Hee, that’s just funny!) Harry even says: “I’m not saying I think you’re hot!” Harry’s advice: “You need to give half and hour to the word puppet and you need to give half an hour to the word pauper. We need to know that.”
• Harry’s playing a Wurlitzer. I love it. • love Lee’s vocals at the beginning; he sounds better than he ever has before • Lee seems comfortable! • The slower part was a bit too draggy and Lee looked a little confused • great ending and so much fun!
Randy: Another great arrangement. You stayed your rocker self. I loved it.
Ellen: I think if this was the last night of performance, you would have just won this whole thing.
Kara: Do you think you can win? Lee: Yeah Kara: You can win this thing!
Simon: Harry, you’ve been absolutely incredible. I really love is the fact that you gave it 110 percent and it was by far the best performance of the night.

Best of the night: Lee Dewyze (I’d rank Big Mike second, then Crystal, then Aaron)

In trouble: Casey.

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One thought on “AI: The top 5 hang with Harry Connick Jr.”

  1. Yes, I agree that I thought Harry was a great mentor. I wish others would give the contestants more time and show them little tips on performing and songs. I love watching EW’s Idolatry, and they really didn’t give Harry props for all he did. I think they thought he concentrated more on the instrumentation and not on helping the contestants. But you know, even if that was his focus, he did so much more than any other mentor. Perhaps it will show the producers that they should do something like that more often.

    I’m really proud of Mr. Aaron. Pretty much every American Idol contestant that has been a solidly in the country genre has gotten at least a hit if not an album and touring. So I feel like he has a good shot to do well in country music. I’m excited for him. He’s young, but I think he could go a long way.

    First on his list of things to do though… fall in love and get his heart broken. Seriously, this boy needs it for his country career.

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