By Lorilee Craker | The Grand Rapids Press
Okay, I admit it. Lee DeWyze really did deserve to win “Idol” this season. I was cheering for Casey James or Crystal Bowersox, or even Big Mike Lynche, but at Saturday’s “Idol” stop at Van Andel Arena, Lee really lit up the stage with fantastic vocals.
The only problem was, it took forever to get to Lee, even though most of the runners up turned in pleasing performances. By the time Lee took the stage, it was 10 o’clock, way past the bedtimes of many of the 5,000 or so concertgoers. Those who left early missed the best part, too.
Rewinding to Didi Benami, who opened the show: the girl can sing. Why did she get kicked off so early? Her cover of “Terrified” was coffeehouse-infused, Lilith Fair-ready, acoustic gold.
Andrew Garcia ambled onstage next, with an overly varnished “Straight Up” and an amiable “Sunday Morning.”
Rocking stilettos, Katie Stevens turned on her vocals full blast, injecting a rocker-girl edge (Kelly Clarkson Junior?) into her image, and a gritty version of Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter.”
When Tim Urban was announced, it was plain there were plenty of ladies enthralled with him. He delivered an enjoyable, confident set, highlighted by Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida.”
Siobhan Magnus, resplendent in punk princess attire, showed her true colors with an eerie, quirky, screaming but cool redo of the Stones’ “Paint it Black.” Her whole set was moody pop with spikes of metal, just like the things sticking out of her shoulder pads.
Taking things in a completely different direction was the very talented Aaron Kelly. The teen owned the stage, charming everyone with his soulful, shiny tenor on such songs such as Keith Urban’s “Somebody to Love.” The kid can sing like crazy, and he’s got a stage presence way beyond his years.
After the intermission, a velvet-voiced Michael “Big Mike” Lynche again took a U-turn, swerving in a distinctly R&B direction. His falsetto on Justin Timberlake’s “My Love” was quite impressive, and his whole set was jazzy, spiritual and calming.
Casey James, of course, went 90 miles an hour in the opposite direction, employing four or five guitars and shredding the daylights out of “I Got Mine” by the Black Keys and “It’s All Over Now” by The Rolling Stones. He sold the song “Don’t!” by Shania Twain as a sweet, bluesy ballad. He’s a stellar guitar player, with a lovely voice, despite the cold he was fighting.
Then there were two, Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze. MamaSox was an obvious crowd favorite, and she did not disappoint. Her church-organ infused “Up to the Mountain” was as uplifting as it sounds, while “Piece of My Heart” was jagged Janice with the brightness of pure Crystal.
Lee was greeted to screams as finally the sedate crowd got on its feet to hail the winner. His luminous “Rocket Man” soared to the ceiling, while “Hallelujah” ascended even higher. Gorgeous, mesmerizing and memorable, Mr. DeWyze’s voice banished all doubts.
“I miss my family and friends,” he said, “But every time I come out here (onstage), I feel like I’m home. I love you!”
We love you, too, Lee. Come on back anytime.
via Grand rapids Press,
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