Two “American Idol” Performances That Actually Inspired Me

I cringed a little when Ryan Seacrest announced last night that it was “Inspiration Week” on “American Idol.” It’s something they started a few years back to coincide with their “Idol Gives Back” charity mission. Although I think it’s a nice concept, the performances usually stink. The cheese factor goes way up and originality factor goes out the window as the contestants struggle to make their song moving and meaningful. Blech. For the most part, that’s exactly what happened on last night’s show—it was full of songs that I had to fast forward through, like “I Believe I Can Fly.” Pleasekillmenow. But there were two performances that actually inspired me. One in particular had me cuddled up with my box of Kleenex. I can only describe Crystal Bowersox’s rendition of the gospel hit “People Get Ready” as legendary. It was one of those rare “Idol” moments when you forget that you are watching a singing competition and are transported, dare I say inspired, by sincerity and talent. When she cried at the end, I cried. How can this girl not win the competition? She needs to get ready for super stardom. Seriously.

While it wasn’t quite as spectacular, Lee DeWyze’s version of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” perked my ears and tugged ever so gently at my heartstrings. Aside from the fact that I have always been a huge S&G fan and this just happens to be one of my favorite songs, Lee really nailed the emotion behind the song—a complex and elusive sense of loneliness and desperation. I didn’t know that Lee could go there, but he did. He also brought something new and fresh to the song. I’m starting to think that this dude might make it all the way to the top two. Check it out, below.

Who was your favorite last night?