Sunday, 14 March 2010

Is Big Mike the man to beat on American Idol ?

Micheal Lynch wow'ed the audience and Judges with a heartfelt rendition of "This Woman's work". It had Randy Jackson beaming with satisfaction, Ellen DeGeneres impressed, Simon Cowell soberly appreciative and Kara DioGuardi in a flood of tears.

Sean Fennessey in his GQ blog breaks down the reaction to Big Mike's Big Moment.

There are but eight men left, and many of them are even better than we initially predicted. But two more have to go. Song choice was the crucial theme tonight. Tim Urban went predictable and preposterous with Leonard Cohen's "Hallejuah." Lee DeWyze dipped into electro-pop with Owl City's Postal Service redux, "Fireflies." Andrew Garcia attempted to rekindle the flame he first blazed with his cover of Paul Abdul's "Straight Up" by reconfiguring Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle." It all mattered very little. This was all prologue to Michael Lynche's moment. So maybe he deserves some extra attention.

THE GOOD THING: Michael Lynche's astounding, near-moving vocal performance of "This Woman's Work." So many things were right with this; it was so gripping so as to be emotional. The bulky, log-necked Lynche, best known as the guy whose wife gave birth during Hollywood week, has been a gregarious but deceptively unlikable force in these first few weeks. Last night's performance shifted everything. It nodded at Maxwell's famous and revered cover of Kate Bush's gobsmacked original about responsibility and family, from the bracing soprano open to the throat-slashing, heartbroken closer, so delicate and strong simultaneously. Listen and hear how Lynche throws in a little Luther Vandross, a splash of Sinatra, and a lot of femininity. This was a savvy choice by Lynche, who is so big he has become known, unfortunately but predictably as "Big Mike." By paying tribute to his wife and newborn child, nodding at two different and essential artists, and wrestling the spotlight upon his burly shoulders, Lynche gave this season the sort of charge that always happens, but never feels less than thrilling.

THE BAD THING: Everything else about Michael Lynche's performance. The way he swaggered around the stage. His hand motions. The smug, knowing smile that crept onto his face at song's end. Even the tacky red handkerchief in his coat pocket. Whether hustling low-rent James Brown or sloppy, babyfaced Maroon 5 in past weeks, Lynche has been a classic Idol groaner all year. He grins, he chuckles, he riffs with the judges. Just the sort of loathsome garbage that looks as natural as a two-billed duck and flies like one, too. The quickness with which Lynche zapped the good will from his performance was like a lightning bolt metaphor for American Idol: Good thing, then, in a flash, bad thing. No matter, he'll fly through to the Top 12 and likely be cursed by his wondrous performance until he is eliminated.

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