Talking Shit

Idol Elimination Recap: Casey Abrams

My bottom-three predictions were way the hell off last night, because last night there was no bottom three. Apparently, when there are only six people left, dividing the contestants in half seems uncouth -- and makes it too, too easy to predict who's gonna be left standing in five weeks.

We know that anyway. Barring some bizarre twist of fate, it's gonna be James Durbin and Scotty McCreery. Which will be boring.

The show already took a turn for the boring last night with the dismissal of Casey Abrams. Which tells us two things. One: Even though American idols are very often idiosyncratic (Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain), American Idols cannot be. Two: American Idol isn't a singing competition but a voice competition.

Because Casey Abrams had the weakest voice on the Idol stage, that forced him to become the best, most inventive, most strategic

singer. He covered up a weak timbre with a series of tricks and

affectations, most of which worked brilliantly in the service of

whatever music he attempted. (He did overrely on his growls, which was

probably a sign of nervousness -- he made it to the top six in a vocal

competition singing genres he'd ordinarily never touch with a voice that

was never meant to touch them. He was far, far out on a limb. To hear

what he sounded like when he was comfortable, check out "Nature Boy.")


didn't look surprised to leave. He exited classily, dashing through

the audience, hugging his fellow contestants' mums and dads, slapping

five with the fans, giving Steve Tyler a kiss on the cheek. He was

singing "I Put a Spell on You" as he did this (see the above video), and

for the song's closing line -- "Because you're mine" -- he returned to

the stage and looked straight into the eyes of his reported love

interest, Haley Reinhart. Which was sweet.

Next week, contestants sing two songs -- one current and one from the 1960s.

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Brandon K. Thorp