First of all, the Idol Gives Back episode raised more than 45 million dollars for children's aid in the US and the world over. And that's pretty snazzy.
Last night, only four weeks from announcing a new American Idol champ, the remaining contestants were mentored last night by someone who holds another incredibly impressive record: The award-winning cross-over diva, Shania Twain, claims the best-selling album by a female artist (all-time, any genre) with her third album, Come On Over.
Her goal for the Idol contestants was to have each take a song so personal to her (all written by her, simply, on a guitar) and--say it with me--make it their own.
Explaining, "it's a singing song... I don't think I've sang
yet," CJ from FW
Twain schooled him, with her super strong Canadian accent, eh, on showing his confidence through the way he expressed the song--and she even sang a little harmony with him in the video package.
Casey, with acoustic guitar, took to a stool on a little ramp behind the judges. And with eyes closed and some of that "Jealous Guy" emotion, he totally nailed it.
It's a pleading, at-the-end-of-the-road sort of song and he did a good job conveying that; whether it was real or put-upon, I don't know. And it doesn't matter. Vocal note: His voice has a slightly nasal quality that shows up more in a ballad like "Don't," but it grows on you. Also, CJ's falsetto effort was ever-so slightly timid, but effective and appropriate.
Randy loved it. Said it was, "for [him], one of the best Casey James performances EVAR!" Ellen said that while he's got his usual Bob Seger thing going for him, this felt like a natural style for him and called it his best to date (as Shania looked on proudly). Kara felt he showed it all and didn't cover it all up with his guitar. She liked his vulnerability--that seems to be her big thing this year--and said if he kept showing it, he'd lead the pack. Simon said that clearly, last week served as a much needed wake-up call and this was his best performance.
Then, in a strange turn of events, Simon said he didn't feel like Casey had been singing someone else's song (awww, shit, he made it his own, people!) and suggested that CJ head into the audience and give Ms. Twain a big ol' smooch on the lips.
She met him halfway and gave him a hug. He clearly still wanted the kiss (at least it was awkward enough to seem so) but she gave him a maternal hand to the face and looked proud and then scampered off. She's small and stylish and can totally scamper. If she ever mentors me on performing, I want to learn the Shania Scamper.
Anyway, as apparently I'm a huge jinx for NTX boys, I'll say nothing about CJ's fate. But I will say that I'm worried about the dreadlocked front-runner. Crystal Bowersox is a badass, but she got the least enthusiastic judges panel this week.
Again, I predict nothing, but hope for the best.
Oh, and for the record, no contestant of either gender sang "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!"