May 19, 2010

American Idol Finally Has Its Moment

Lee DeWyze finally brought the talent back to American Idol with his performance of “Hellelujah.” While most of the top 10 contestants had fine voices, none of them (not even front-runner Crystal Bowersox) had a “wow” moment. That is until last night.

Lee’s version of “Hallelujah,” which was chosen for him by Simon Cowell, is just what Season 9 needed heading into the finale to make it an actual competition. There’s no question Casey James will go home tonight, and we will be left with Lee and Crystal battling it out for the title.

Still, even with my appetite for a goose bump-inspiring performance satisfied, I am left questioning if Lee’s performance was amazing because he is a great artist or because the producers are pushing him forward. Take away the beams of light that look like they are streaming from heaven, mirrors and a fantastic chorus (who let’s be honest sing better than him), would Lee be able to carry that song with just his guitar and an empty stage?

The producers could have just as easily thrown a chorus and fancy strobe lights behind Crystal during her rendition of “Maybe I’m Amazed” and turned it into a show-stopper.

All of this conveniently enough closed out the show, making viewers unable to even remember what came earlier in the night from Lee – a mediocre version of a song whose name I don’t even remember.

Randy Jackson said it best, “I have to give it up to my boy [Simon] because he set you up.” Indeed, I’d call it a setup.

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