Pocket squares and skinny ties abounded on the American Idol stage on Tuesday as the Top 5 took on the eternally cool catalog of Frank Sinatra. The ever-dapper Harry Connick, Jr. was this week’s mentor who not only composed the arrangements and orchestrations for the contestants, but also tickled the ivories during each performance.
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While some of the contestants gave disappointing renditions of some beloved tunes, others shined- especially Lee DeWyze. Exuding confidence, the cool and collected DeWyze closed the night with a shining performance of That’s Life. Connick, Jr., who admitted that his wife thinks Lee is cute and described him as a “new and improved version of me,” killed it on the organ while Lee worked the stage to the unanimous delight of the judges. Ellen put it best when she said, “If this was the last night of performances, you would have just won this whole thing.”
Not everyone’s performance was as inspired though. Taking on Fly Me to the Moon, Aaron Kelly sang his little heart out (while dressed up in big boy clothes), but it may not have been enough. Ellen DeGeneres thought he showed off beautiful vocals while Kara DioGuardi called out his need for charisma. “If [Sinatra] was a lion then you were a mouse,” said Simon Cowell, who earlier was referred to as a “softie for Sinatra tunes,” by host Ryan Seacrest.
After being in the bottom two last week, Casey James took his close call for granted as he was panned for a lackluster performance of Blue Skies. Although Casey tried to be slick with his greased-back ponytail, Ellen commented that he had no swagger. Noticeably absent this week was Casey’s guitar, which Kara mentioned was probably why he looked so uncomfortable. “It didn’t work,” repeated Randy, who claimed it was Casey’s worst performance.
Crystal Bowersox’s sweet rendition of Summer Wind was subdued, as Randy said, but strong. Overall, the judges gave the performance a thumbs-up, but they weren’t blown away. “I love this song, but I wouldn’t have chosen it for you,” said Simon.
Michael “Big Mike” Lynche commanded the stage as he powered through The Way You Look Tonight. He delivered smooth vocals and, as Ellen mentioned, was very charismatic. “The first three performances were just okay and now, with you, that’s all changed,” said Simon. “I think you just put yourself back in the game.”