The finish line for American Idol is in sight, and to quote the overused Leonard Cohen classic, hallelujah! Tuesday, the Top 3 visited their hometowns and sang two songs each – one chosen by them and one by the judges.
Casey James: Cougar Bait chose Eric Hutchinson’s “OK, It’s Alright With Me,” a bluesy number that allowed him to play guitar while not having to stretch vocally. Like its title, the song was just “OK, alright,” and the judges slammed him.
For the judges’ choice, he got saddled with uber-douche John Mayer’s “Daughters,” picked by Kara DioLaguardiaAirport and useless Randy. It was a sleepy, uninspired performance that surely will end his run on “Idol.”
Crystal Bowersox: Mama Sox picked Melissa Etheridge’s “Come to My Window,” opening with a little harmonica and then giving a straightforward reading of the song. Her voice absolutely soared, although the arrangement was muddled.
Ellen picked Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” for Mama Sox’s second song. She pushed her voice into new places and gave the song a big dose of blue-eyed soul. It’s looking like a Crystal-and-Lee finale.
Lee Dewyze: Deweezie chose Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man,” and it was rough, dawg. One note and often off-key, it sounded like he was struggling to reach the notes he hit. I’m wondering if the judges are wearing earbuds and listening to the iTunes version? Their pimping of Lee makes no sense at all.
Simon chose Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and if the song seems ubiquitous on “Idol” lately, you can blame Mr. Cowell, who owns the publishing rights. According to a newspaper article in the UK, Cowell makes ?250,000 pounds a day in royalties for “Hallelujah.” Lee even got a choir to sing with him to make up for the fact that Jason Castro did it better two seasons ago.
Who’s going home tomorrow? Pack your bags, Cougar Bait.
Collin Kelley is a poet, Atlanta-based journalist and author of the recently released novel, “Conquering Venus.” Follow him on the Modern Confessional blog at collinkelley.com.