Idol Rich: The NTX2 Search Their Souls

Last night, we got to see the Top 10 taking the stage with soul and R&B hits from the likes of Chaka Khan, Aretha and domestic threat Chris Brown. Oh, and we also got to watch the weirdest backstage camera shots ever.

Mmm, creepy voyeurism...

Usher served as the mentor this week and something tells me it had more to do with his album release of Raymond vs. Raymond than his actually wanting to guide young stars in the ways of rhythm and blues.

But he was cool and smooth and he had some good suggestions for several of the contestants--they just didn't seem to take said suggestions. 'Cause you know, clearly, Idol contestants know better than a five-time Grammy winner how to connect with record-buying 'Murikuh...

Fort Worth's ponytailed "blues" dude, Casey James, pulled off what was actually a really strong, entertaining rendition of Sam & Dave's "Hold On, I'm Coming." He played guitar again, but was way more animated and definitely more comfortable in the soulful genre. Usher gave him props for carrying on like a rock star in rehearsal even though he'd forgotten the lyrics, but he forgot nothing on stage. I wouldn't say it was the best vocal of the episode, but it was definitely my favorite performance by James (about whom I've been a bit apathetic--save the Huey Lewis, which I truly hated).

Randy said, "This was another hot night for you... I thought it was a perfect selection and choice for you." Ellen complimented his consistency and vocal performance but felt like it was a touch on the generic side. Kara was concerned that he wasn't using his full range and wants him to go back to an acoustic performance and explore that range. Simon offered, "This week, in my opinion, it was your strongest week you've had so far." He thought it sounded authentic and showed a different, impressive side.

Duncanville's mop-headed Tim Urban, on the other hand, went for what was probably the weirdest choice ever: Anita Baker's "Sweet Love." I'm serious. He really picked that song. "Sweet [effing] Love." WTF, TUrban? Did you grow up listening to KVIL? C'mon! Be current for crying out loud. UGH.

Usher said he didn't "believe" him, when he started his first rehearsal of the song, and asked Urban if he'd ever been in love. Then he made him sing to him as though he was the lady he was in love with him. Tim wasn't having it. Usher discussed how audiences want to see something more than just singing a song and hitting the notes. And, dear god, all he did was sing the song and hit the notes. There was not a bit of emotion in that performance. I felt like he was emitting nothing but toned air. And really, it was more like a lounge act than an Idol performance.

Randy called it "singing waiter" and "pedestrian" and lacking "swag" but gave him credit for singing in tune. Ellen had my favorite response: "Tim, I heard that there's a drinking game going on at home every time I call you 'adorable' so I'm going to call adorable right now, because those people may never drink again." She praised his pitch but told him he was "walking like [he was] sneaking into a bedroom." She closed with, "So, good for you for taking that on, but oh boy, why?" 

Kara said, "It was like Broadway at times and Vegas at times and you took the soul out of the song...and I just don't understand why you keep doing this." To which Tim laughed--visibly and audibly. And Simon, my sarcastic love, explained, "I tell you why he's laughing because I don't think it makes any difference whatsoever what we say. Completely inappropriate song--it was like a mouse picking a fight with an elephant. You're not gonna win, but it doesn't matter because you're gonna smile, the audience are gonna vote for you, nobody cares and you'll be here next week so well done."

And the crowd applauded like he was actually supporting Tim. 

Oh, and on creepy backstage cam, Tim really said the judges were nicer than he expected. And he smiled more. I got scared.

I mean, seriously, though, Simon can't be right. TUrban's been in the B3 twice already, so why can't this atrocious performance earn him a kick to the curb? Please, let there be justice in the world because I just can't take Mr. Smiley anymore.

In fact, I'm feeling the exact opposite of "Sweet Love" for him.

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Merritt Martin
Contact: Merritt Martin