‘American Idol’ Says Farewell to the Kid

Aaron Kelly Voted Off 'American Idol' (Photo: Fox)

Aaron Kelly Voted Off 'American Idol' (Photo: Fox)

In honor of Wednesday night’s filler-filled elimination of ‘American Idol,’ I’m going to keep the recap of the voting results relatively brief; after all, on a night where the ‘Idol’ producers have to fill their time with not one but two group sings, anyone who watched the show is probably going to want to keep things as short and sweet as possible.

It finally was Aaron Kelly’s turn to go, with the anxious 17-year-old singer — whose nervous version of “Fly Me To The Moon” was praised by the judges last night — sharing space at the bottom of the pack with Michael Lynche, despite Michael’s past experience singing the songs of Frank Sinatra in his professional life as a party singer.

Aaron was a curious case on this year’s ‘Idol.’ A cherubic young warbler whom the producers clearly saw as this season’s heir to Season 7 runner-up David Archuleta — and the two definitely had some similarities, with their abashed grins and heartstring-plucking backstories. But where Archie, even at his most cloying, at least had something of a stage presence while singing, Aaron often seemed lost onstage. The complaint levied by the judges toward other young singers this year — that they needed more “seasoning” — seemed even more appropriate when applied to him. For some reason, the judges would warm up to Aaron after some of his weak performances; I was rarely sure if they were just being nice, or if this season’s paucity of talent had just rendered Simon Cowell, et al, desperate to at least be able to say something positive, while being handsomely paid to pass judgment on this year’s hopefuls.


How on Earth Casey James didn’t even scrape the bottom after Tuesday night’s disastrous performance is beyond me, though. Did the drubbing he received from the judges’ panel mobilize his fans? Did the last-minute campaigning for Casey by the ‘Idol’ wrench-tossers Vote For The Worst keep him alive another week? Or do that many people just find him attractive? If Aaron wasn’t as weak a candidate week in and week out, my mind would be a bit more boggled, but once again I note that this season of ‘Idol’ has been stuffed with enough weak contestants that only one or two eliminations can legitimately be called “shocking.”

Next week’s theme is the nebulous “Songs Of The Cinema,” and the list of available songs posted on iTunes suggests a roster of tracks that’s only slightly more current than the catalog of Ol Blue Eyes. ‘Dirty Dancing,’ ‘Top Gun,’ ‘Footloose,’ and ‘Caddyshack’ are all represented on the list — but I can’t seem to identify many songs from movies made after the turn of the century. Is this another instance of the producers being cheap with their licensing monies? Or are they just trying to make Rickey Minor’s last weeks as ‘Idol’ bandleader as easy as possible by giving him songs with arrangements that already sound dated, so he won’t have to worry about cheesing them up? It is a mystery!

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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