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American Idol Season 9 Top 12 Studio Recordings


  1. Michael Lynche – “Miss You”
  2. Didi Benami – “Play With Fire”
  3. Casey James – “It’s All Over Now”
  4. Lacey Brown – “Ruby Tuesday”
  5. Andrew Garcia – “Gimme Shelter”
  6. Katie Stevens – “Wild Horses”
  7. Tim Urban – “Under My Thumb”
  8. Siobhan Magnus – “Paint It Black”
  9. Lee Dwyze – “Beast Of Burden”
  10. Paige Miles – “Honky Tonky Woman”
  11. Aaron Kelly – “Angie”
  12. Crystal Bowersox – “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

Let’s file this under “I listened to the sorry lot so you don’t have to” shall we? The short version is – if you are a Rolling Stones fan – don’t waste your $1.29 getting the AI covers. Nothing they did will compare favorably against the real thing doing your sentimental song favorites, okay? And somehow, majority of this crop decided that instead of rocking it out, the best way to cover Rolling Stones is to wimp it out by sucking out all the energy from (virtually) all the songs by converting them into lullabies or something. Imagine all that edge, bravado, darkness & in-your-face quality to the music of the Stones, and well, strip it all away, and you get the AI Studio covers. You could say that I’m unfairly generalizing of course, but basically, what happened was that I listened to the entire set one track after another and I got sleepy as hell. So WTF right? I got real sleepy listening to Rolling Stones songs… it’s a bizarre parallel universe right there.

Now, if you’re not really a Rolling Stones fan and have nothing to compare the covers to anyway – check out these tracks… For whatever it’s worth, I downloaded these three tracks in the end (mostly out of support for these finalists).

Didi Benami’s “Play With Fire” is much better recorded than live – I’m one of those people who can appreciate Didi’s quirky vocal tone and phrasing, even in the context of a Rolling Stones song. There’s just something about her voice that I find really appealing. She sounds stronger than usual here, and manages to infuse her vocals with a little ‘edge’ and intensity.

Siobhan Magnus’s “Paint It Black” is also much better recorded than live – Siobhan’s ‘scream’ is much more palatable in the recording for one thing, and she doesn’t sound as nasal as usual either. I do like the tone of Siobhan’s voice, and I’m looking forward to future studio tracks from her. She makes interesting artistic choices, and the moody & dramatic feel of this recording suits her.

Crystal Bowersox does a gospel-ized version of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, and in this full length recording, she gets the chance to build up the song (that she didn’t get the chance to do in the truncated low-key live version). She’s ready for the big bad world out there right now – not sure how she’ll sell since she’s not Top 40 for sure – but she’s a pro already.

Casey James’ countryfied rock cover of “It’s All Over Now” and Lee Dwyze’s acoustic John Mayer-ized “Beast Of Burden” were not exactly my cup of tea, but I do consider their tracks the best of the rest, and these two guys sound like they could (at least) belong in today’s recording world. And in a bizarro way, if you don’t really care about lyrical context and all that – Tim Urban’s cluelessly happy reggae’d version of “Under My Thumb” might be appealing to some young people – my young cousins thought it was this pretty, cool, light-hearted song (which is all wrong of course, since this is ‘Under My Thumb‘! a creepy song about how an abusive man subjugates ‘his’ woman…) Michael Lynche sounds cheesy and dated singing “Miss You” – sort of Michael Jackson circa ‘Off the Wall’ time – but his version might have fans, I don’t know. The rest of the tracks made me fall into a mild coma, so I have nothing more to say 😉

You can check out the American Idol Top 12 studio recordings on iTunes (do a search for ‘American Idol’). You can also listen to the recordings on this YouTube channel.

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