American Idol 9 doesn't seem to be any different than any other season of the show, save for the changing of the guard at the judging table. We still had many of the singers in the Girls Top 12 picking the absolutely wrong song for them and their voice. There were a few surprises, though, and one of them was Siobhan Magnus with her version of Chris Isaak's Wicked Game. Crystal Bowersox wasn't much of a surprise, but she deserves to be noted just the same.
Siobhan is one of those we never got to see in her original audition. This could be for many reasons. She might not have done anything spectacular to make them think she'd go much further, or she could have sung a song that didn't have the clearance. Either way, it took until Group Night for us to notice her. Her group couldn't find a place to practice because they were too loud, and that was her voice alone that was chasing them away (note, though, that we'll see her group partner Todrick Hall tonight singing in the Guys Top 12). We got to hear her another time on her last night in Hollywood, singing Stevie Wonder's Living In the City.
While the judges gave Siobhan a bit of a hard time last night for her song choice, she sounded amazing on it. I don't know why they think that we want to hear artists belting it out all the time. Instead of displaying the power she did in Group Round, Siobhan sang the Chris Isaak tune, and sounded absolutely amazingly clear, with just a little power here and there when she needed it. Simon Cowell is right that she is a dark horse, whether or not she knows what it is.
Crystal has been someone we've noticed since the beginning. She's just different and doesn't blend in really easily, and that's okay. After eight seasons and winners, different is good. We noticed her and liked her in her original audition, but once she sang Natural Woman on her first night in Hollywood, that was a game changer. There hasn't ever been anyone that has been able to put that soul into that song in all these seasons, other than the original idol, Kelly Clarkson, in season one. Simon told her she was infections and real, and he nailed it.
Last night Crystal admitted that she hasn't really watched the show before. That's okay. She's not the first reality show contestant to admit that. And frankly, that's probably why she's so infectious and real. She isn't trying to be Kelly/Carrie/Jordin/Fantasia. She's just Crystal. She sang some Alanis Morisette, and the judges gave her a little bit of a hard time for being predictable. Regardless, her singing that sounded better than most of the other girls, and she still stood out. At this stage in the competition, that's what you need. You need to stand out to make people vote for you.
I have no doubt that both Siobhan and Crystal will still be there to sing again next week with the Girls Top 10. It's really hard to hazard a guess on who will be leaving, but at this stage, it's never the worst singers. It's always those that are so average and so-so we forget about them being there. The problem is, there were a lot of those last night.