Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lee DeWyze's 'That's Life' Steals American Idol Show

YouTube - AI9 Top 05 Lee DeWyze That's Life - HD (5/4/10)

Emerging Favorite to Win the Season Channels Frank Sinatra

Lee DeWyze didn't just sing "That's Life" tonight on American Idol.

Lee DeWyze actually channeled Frank Sinatra tonight. He snarled. He sneered. He moved around the American Idol stage when he felt like moving around the stage and not before. He followed Harry Connick Jr.'s advice and spent "half an hour" on the lyric "pauper".

He did it all and brought the classic Sinatra tune to life and buried the competition.

He was helped by a great arrangement courtesy of Harry Connick, Jr. He also stayed true to himself, which was an unfair advantage in many ways for him considering the theme for the evening.

What many do not realize is that Frank Sinatra, ironically enough, was supposed to be 'anti-rock and roll', but the reality was he was the original rock and roll star when it came to attitude and perspective. And he was the original gangster rapper.

Lee DeWyze seemed to get all that tonight as he interpreted Frank Sinatra instead of imitating him.

DeWyze never tried too hard, it seemed, he just let it flow. Frank Sinatra was in many ways about being indulgent without being self conscious about it. Lee DeWyze nailed that part in particular. His emotion and feeling never got the better of him and certainly never got in the way of singing the song the way in which it was supposed to be sung. And yet DeWyze never seemed to be following a script written by Frank Sinatra; it was as if he took Sinatra's idea and realized that it was his story as well.

The judges all concurred; unanimously they praised both his performance as well as the lengths he has made as he becomes a star in front of America's eyes.

While it is difficult to gauge these things based on an edited snippet, it seemed that DeWyze was a favorite of Harry Connick Jr.'s as well. He cajoled, he coached and he kidded around with him.

Working in DeWyze's favor was song selection. His personal story (having worked in a paint store before this) seemed to fit perfectly and he was able to sing about life with equal parts awe and humility...a perfect
combination and a perfect ending to the show. The audience seemed strangely subdued, for some reason, even though the judges were not in their praise of his song choice and performance.

Lee DeWyze is probably going to win the entire American Idol season. And when he does, we will all look back on tonight's show stealing interpretation of Frank Sinatra's "That's Life" and think that's where he truly distanced himself from the competition.
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