'American Idol' Live! at US Airways Center Last Night

American Idol Live!
August 12, 2010
US Airways Center

For Valley residents who always wanted to make it out to the American Idol studios but never did, last night at US Airways Center was their opportunity to see the top 10 contestants from 2010's season perform on the big stage. Like the show, each contestant got to put their own spins on popular songs. Like the show, there were group numbers with choreography. And like the show, there was a commercial break.

Well, an intermission, but seriously, what kinds of rock shows have intermissions these days?!

Not that this concert was a rock show. There wasn't a lot of spontaneity to the production, just perfectly timed performances and a lot of, "Thank you so much for helping me get to this place." Because these teens and 20-somethings never have, and most likely never will again, play arenas after this tour. Having said that, despite the lack of experience of the performers, despite the lack of strong ticket sales (some seats were sold for $10 a pop) and despite the sometimes robotic tone, the audience that was there seemed to have a great time. And the kids sure did the best they could.

While everyone sang at least as well as they did on the show, there were some definite stand-outs during the concert. Each contestant got two-five songs each, depending on where they ranked in the Top 10, and the cast performed some group numbers as well.

The third person to appear, Katie Stevens, really injected some energy into the crowd with her version of Demi Lovato's "Here We Go Again." The song was a perfect choice for Stevens, considering how age-appropriate it was, and she really engaged the audience by encouraging dancing. She also had incredible range, something that never really resonated on the show but was evident live. She could definitely hold her own in the ranks of other teen pop stars.

Aaron Kelly really changed his direction by singing an all-country set and even donning some nifty new cowboy boots. He seems to be making the transition to country pretty well, even throwing in some "y'all's" in his banter.

Crystal Bowersox was by far the best performer. She was probably the only singer to really exude confidence, and she acted so relaxed and natural on-stage that she has a strong future in singing. She proved once again that she deserved to win this season, considering Lee DeWyze shouted his whole set and sang horrible arrangements of his songs.

It was sort of sad to see most of the arena sitting during the show, though a swarm of teenage girls (and some cougars) flooded the stage for Tim Urban. It was a very low-energy night throughout, and the intermission within the nearly 3-hour show just made it drag even longer. It would have been better if there weren't as many ballads sung (here's looking at you, Michael Lynche), and if the whole concert had started out more energetically (blame the sleepy Didi
Benami for that.)

The atmosphere was still fun and positive overall, though. There were plenty of signs, mostly for Urban and Casey James, and just about anything can make a little kid smile these days. James announced he got signed to Sony yesterday, so he'll still be making the musical rounds, as well as Bowersox (Jive Records) and DeWyze (RCA Records). As for the rest of 'em, at least this was their big chance in the spotlight before they go back to doing whatever it is they used to do.

Personal Bias: This was probably my fourth time seeing an American Idol tour, so obviously, I have some personal interest in the show.

The Crowd: Mom's, kids and the occasional grumpy boyfriend.

Overheard in the crowd: "Her voice could go for days," said a fan behind me about Bowersox.

Random Notebook Dump: Former Idol contestant Scott MacIntyre was wandering around with sunglasses, a cane and a hot blonde girl on his arm.

Set List:  Didi Benami- "Lay It On Me" by The Rescues, "Terrified" by Katharine McPhee  Andrew Garcia- "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul, "Sunday Morning" by Maroon 5
Katie Stevens- "Here We Go Again" by Demi Lovato, "Fighter" by Christina Aguilera
Tim Urban - "Better Days" by Goo Goo Dolls, "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay
Siobhan Magnus - "Paint it Black" by the Rolling Stones, "Spiderwebs" by No Doubt and "Stockholm Syndrome" by Muse 
Aaron Kelly - "Somebody Like You" by Keith Urban, "Walking In Memphis" by Marc Cohn, "Fast Cars and Freedom" by Rascal Flatts
Didi Benami, Andrew Garcia, Katie Stevens, Tim Urban, Siobhan Magnus, Aaron Kelly- "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus


Michael Lynche- "Woman's Work" by Kate Bush, "Ready For Love" by India.arie," "My Love" by Justin Timberlake
Casey James - "I Got Mine" by the Black Keys, "Don't" by Shania Twain (acoustic), with Michael Lynche- "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman", "It's All Over Now" by the Rolling Stones
Crystal Bowersox - "What's Up" by 4 Non Blonds, "Come To My Window" by Melissa Etheridge, "Up To The Mountain" by Patty Griffin, "Piece of My Heart" by Janis Joplin
Lee Dewyze- "Beautiful Day" by U2, "Rocket Man" by Elton John, "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen, "Treat Her Like a Lady" by Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose, "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon
All the contestants- "It's My Life" by Bon Jovi;  "My Life Would Suck Without You" by Kelly Clarkson

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Nicki Escudero
Contact: Nicki Escudero