After making the Top 24, it was time for the weekly performances. This post will include the first five Casey James American Idol performances. These performances were crucial as they helped him move through the next significant hurdle on the show — to become part of the Top Ten and thereby make it to the American Idol Summer Tour.
The first performance was Bryan Adams’ Heaven. It was extremely well-received by all the judges, but was also notable for the silly behavior by Kara Dioguardi and others who seemed more focused on Casey’s looks and the Kara-the-Cougar storyline than on his singing.
The next week, Casey sang Gavin DeGraw’s I Don’t Want to Be. I thought this was an electrifying performance that would establish Casey as the frontrunner in this competition. Randy seemed to agree with me and was wowed by Casey’s performance. (As apparently was Gavin who called into the Kidd Kraddick show and spoke to Casey about his performance). But Ellen made an odd comment about wanting a little more (after acknowledging that he sang great and played great). Then it went rapidly downhill as the next two judges gave insupportably negative comments. I maintain that this was one of his best performances of the season.
Week 3, Casey took on Keith Urban’s You’ll Think of Me. He seemed a little sad, which fit with the song, but his vocals were spot on. He sang with heart and longing — it was as if he wrote he song. Again, he received mixed, somewhat tepid, responses from the judges for what was an emotional, moving, and winning performance.
The next week, the competition was down to 12 and the boys and girls all performed the same night for the first time. Casey sang It’s All Over Now, most famously performed by the Rolling Stones. Everyone except the grumpy Englishman enjoyed this performance very much and it has gone on to be one of Casey’s signature songs during the American Idol tour.
Top 11 week must have been nerve-wracking for all of the contestants. Whoever lasted this week made it to the tour, whoever was eliminated was leaving just one spot shy. Casey chose the cheesy Power of Love, a song that was trite and over-played when it was first recorded back in the eighties. He sang it well, but the song itself is so old-fashioned it was an unfortunate choice. Perhaps it is the sign of how good a vocalist Casey that I don’t cringe when I listen to this. Great, spot-on vocals, really horrible song.