Tuesday, March 25, 2008

American Idol: Top 10 Perform

Okay, well a tad better than Beatles Week Part Deux wouldn't you say? Some of the underwhelming talent thus far stepped up their game a bit. And some of people's favorites may start to see themselves in that dreadful bottom 3 a la Carly last week. After tonight's performances, I might be able to finally throw my support behind one particular contestant whom I picked pretty early on. This contestant might be the only one that can take on the mighty Artichoke covered with Inspirational Cheese. This same contestant finally was worthy of my first TEXT VOTES this season. Very impressive indeed. Who will it be? Well I'm sure it's no shocker but we'll have to read on to find out! So the theme tonight was the ever popular "Songs From the Year They Were Born." What did I learn from tonight? I am older than the oldest contestant on that show (only by 8 days though)! Mostly everyone else was uber Young! I mean BORN IN 1990???? YIKES! Okay okay...enough! Let's break down the contestants!

Ramiele Maluby
Song: Heart - "Alone"

Maybe the only person that looked worse than Paula Abdul tonight. A very close and reliable fashion consultant informed me that Ramiele indeed dresses like she is a homeless person. Granted, I don't know many homeless people, but I could see them wearing something like this in the summer months! No offense to any homeless people who are reading this in an internet cafe' somewhere! Shouldn't you be investing your money in something else? Like Ramiele's clothes??? Anyway, I don't really feel like talking about her performance because it was probably the stupidest thing she could've done. Let's not even start with Carly performing it earlier this season in the Hollywood Rounds and knocking it out of the park. Anyone remember CARRIE UNDERWOOD'S defining performance in season 4? You know the one where Simon declared her the winner? On Idol, if you perform a song that defined a previous Idol, you're bound to be compared. This didn't even come close. Simon says she'll be safe, but I'm not so sure. I agree with Randy on this one. It wasn't good and she went first. But we'll see!

Jason Castro
Song: Sting - "Fragile"
Occupation other than Music: TRANSLATOR

I did love on the video clip Jason playing around with those guitars with the buttons that played tunes. Man, Guitar Hero wasn't even on anyone's radar of possibilities yet. But I definitely had one of those guitars in one of my grade school talent shows. For me? naaaaa I was playing my keyboard, but I wanted my friends up there with me, so we figured out a button to push that would sound good with my keys! Looking back it was very very embarrassing. I mean I had another friend using drumsticks on a text book! And yeah...we had dancers too. Ahhhh good times! Well we all couldn't have MY talent! Once again, nothing really impressive to talk about with Jason's performance. Like the judges said, he was being safe. He knows what he's good at and he's not stretching his imagination. Simon mentioned that Castro could be a serious contender if he tried to take on more ambitious efforts like Hallelujah. I agree, he could. But come on, Jason isn't going to win this thing, is he? If he likes what he does, he can keep doing it until there aren't enough votes coming his way! Unfortunately, if he wants to stay on the show, he better start taking those risks. Because, I have a fear he might be in the bottom 3 this week.

Syesha Mercado
Song: Stephanie Mills - "If I Were Your Woman"
Overused Gimmick: The Baby Crying!

Well, nothing too interesting for me to reflect on in Syesha's backstory. And there's not much for me to say about her singing either. Yeah, she really nailed that song I never heard before. The judges thought it was fabulous. And I guess it was, but I wasn't really interested in it. That being said, I'm sure there is enough of the voting public out there that will be still interested in Syesha to keep her alive in the competition. Building from last week's "Yesterday" she could be making quite a rally to stay in the game. But, she already lost me in the semi-finals. Too late to make me intrigued! Prove me wrong Syesha!

Song: Luther Vandross - "If Only For One Night"
Biggest Issue: Doesn't take the right advice

Oh Chickezie chickezie....why on earth did you listen to the crazy vocal coach and Ricky? Who wants to follow their heart? Apparently Chickezie decided not to be the guy that everyone started getting behind with his stage antics and deep southern grooves and went back to the unknown Luther Vandross ballads that no one wants to hear. And, it's probably enough to send him right down into the bottom 3 which he hasn't had a taste of since beating out Danny Noriega in the last semi-final round. He sang the song well, don't get me wrong. But people just aren't interested in that KIND of good singing. Well, maybe I don't quite have the pulse of America down. But I know that I don't like it! Hopefully he'll be spared this week, but I just don't know! We'll have to do our analysis down below.

Brooke White
Song: The Police - "Every Breath You Take"
Skill: Convincing the judges that starting a song, stopping and re-starting is PROFESSIONAL

Yep, she messed up, stopped and then just started over. I was willing to look past it because she did give a pretty darn good performance. But Randy and Simon saying that this was a GOOD thing? I don't know about that. That was weird. But let's look past it. When she eventually started the song, I was starting to expect a "LET IT BE" Part II. And while with people in Chickezie's position, he's better off sticking to upbeat crazy stage performances because the people like that. With Brooke, I've been looking for her to step out and do something crazy. It's a catch-22 I guess. She tried it last week with an upbeat tune and it wasn't so good. So stick to what works right? Well, she did speed up "Every Breath You Take" in the middle of the tune. I thought this was a good idea. I agree with the judges that the performance could've been really good if she kept it piano only through the whole thing. But then we'd hear the judges complaining that she is just repeating old success! I dunno. I still really like Brooke. I don't really see her winning this thing, but I wouldn't be upset if she did! I don't think her fans will give up on her now. She's safe and out of the bottom 3.

Michael Johns
10/20/1978 (8 days after me!)
Song: Queen - "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions"
Most Likely to Be: Queen's new frontman

Okay, so let's keep track. Times that we thought Michael Johns was amazing: Hollywood Week when he sang Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," Top 10 Week when he sang Queen's "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions." hmmmmm am I onto something? Well, putting that aside I must also note that Michael's rendition of We Will Rock You was MUCH MUCH MUCH better than Ace Young's re-envisioning of the song much to Brian May's disgust! I could definitely see Michael felt more in his comfort zone tonight. He really knocked that one out of the park. And I knew as he was singing it the judges would all say in unison that he finally connected with a song. Well what does this mean? Will Michael be able to sing Queen every week? Naaaa. But he has to find songs with the same energy! Good luck in Country and Broadway week!

Carly Smithson
Song: Bonnie Tyler - "Total Eclipse of the Heart"
Annoying Habit: Sleeveless Tops

Well, aside from the gruesome tattoo that won't go away and the Boy George look-a-like contest that she'd have a shot of winning, I thought she did pretty well tonight. Yeah, she had some rough notes here and there and the last note was not pleasant but I thought she did well enough to escape the bottom 3. Maybe the judges were expecting to be able to say the same thing that they said to Michael Johns about finally connecting with a song. And she just wasn't able to do that for them. Carly does have the vocal strength to still be a contender on this show. But she does have things working against her. We'll just have to see if last week was a fluke!

David Archuleta
Born: 12/28/1990
Song: John Farnham - "You're The Voice"
America's New Task: Let's get this kid to PROM!

Yep, that's right folks, if we can get him kicked off in the next couple weeks he might be able to ask that girl sitting next to his father to the prom. Otherwise, Paula Abdul might've been dressed for the occasion too! He really wants to go! I mean, couldn't you see his wonderful dance moves during his performance of yet another inspirational mess of a song in "You're The Voice?" Okay okay, I'm mean. The kid has some amazing vocal powers. But aren't you getting tired yet of this 17 year old punk trying to tell the viewing audience how the world is supposed to work and how to solve all of our problems? Sure he plays it off with that sweet innocent smile and his bashful presence but this kid just irks me! And yes, I'll say it again...it all started with him auditioning with John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change" my most loathed song in recent history (probably ever since Collective Soul's "Shine" or any Red Hot Chile Pepper's Song (when will anyone realize that they all sound the same????)). He loves the MESSAGES in these tunes. At least he thinks he does. He's just too young to understand what he's singing about! The world hasn't corrupted him yet! I mean he was born 3 days from 1991! I loved Simon's comparison to a Theme Park Performance with animated animals all coming out to join him on stage. I couldn't have said it better myself. But all the 12 year olds and Moms out there are dialing in a frenzy to prove Simon wrong. And that's why we all need to put our support out there with someone who has a fighting chance! (we're getting there!)

Kristy Lee Cook
Song: Lee Greenwood "God Bless the USA"
Occupation: Evil Genius

Well, who knew Kristy could concoct the most brilliant move in Idol history according to Simon Cowell? I'll admit it, this was a great chess move to prolong an eventual checkmate against Kristy Lee Cook. I mean, AMERICAN IDOL singing lyrics like "I'm Proud to be an American" with that country twang that finally fit. She couldn't do "Amazing Grace," she may as well do the next best thing. And yes, the song can tend to drive people crazy after hearing it a little too much and people can write it off as propaganda. But there are many out there in Voting America that will be touched by this performance with the American Flag flying in the background and will pick up their phone without even thinking about it and dial dial dial. Oh yes Ray, people will CALL! (sorry, Field of Dreams Flashback) Anyway, I don't even see Kristy as a threat in the bottom 3 this week. But with her track record of being close to elimination, it is possible that she'll be there. But she won't be the one going home. So who WILL it be? Yikes I still don't know.

David Cook
Song: Michael Jackson "Billie Jean" (in the style of Chris Cornell)
Mission he Accomplished: Earned my vote

That's right America (or the 50 people reading this!), I am pledging my support to the COOK who can make something in the kitchen! Yeah, I've only heard Chris Cornell's version of the tune a couple times. But that's good, it was a low enough number that I couldn't compare to the original. And they learned their lesson this year to TELL us up front that they aren't coming up with these versions by themselves (Remember Daughtry doing Live's version of Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" ?). Much easier to swallow when we know what they're attempting. As Simon said, David was brave to attempt it and it would've ended up being insane or amazing. Well, it WAS amazing. Seeing a performance like this makes me proud that I was able to recognize him out of the bunch in the early auditions. There were a couple weeks in there where I was losing interest. But I think he is in the zone right now. And if he keeps it up, he has the best chance to take down the mighty child and his cartoon character following. David A. got off to a strong start, but I think he may be self-destructing. While I do think he WILL miss his prom, a finale up against Cook could be a pretty good show. Of course, with this crazy songwriter's competition bound to give us another "THIS IS MY NOW," if Cook isn't able to change it up, then Artichoke may still run away with the competition. That's how Jordin won, it's how Carrie beat Bo (even though she was destined to win season 4 anyway!), Kelly beat Justin, Fantasia beat Diana, Taylor beat Katharine (still don't know how Ruben won season 2 but I didn't really care either!). Anyway, they all sang the best on the IDOL song. Those songs are killer! Sure, we have a long time before we have to worry about that. But as I'm thinking about it, I'm already worried that the Artichoke has the best chance of knocking that tune out of the park. Of course, this year, pretty much everyone can carry a big tune. So maybe it won't be an issue! Anyway, Cook has done enough in the past few weeks to earn my vote for the rest of the competition. Although I still do like Brooke White too! I'm still staying away from predicting a winner to the show just yet. I am just holding onto hope that my prediction that "David Archuleta will NOT win" remains true!

Man I am rambling tonight! Are you still with me? We have one more task ahead of us! And that is to get our bottom 3 and castoff! Here goes nothing!

Should be Safe from Elimination: David Cook, Artichoke, Boy George, Syesha Mercado, Brooke White, Michael Johns, Kristy Lee Cook

Should be Worried about elimination: Ramiele, Castro, Chickezie

Bottom 3: Ramiele Mulaby, Chickezie, Kristy Lee Cook Wildcard: Jason Castro

Elimination Pick:
Ramiele Mulaby - I'm taking a risk going against Simon. But I have to go with my Dawg Randy. It was baaaaaad tonight plus she went first, plus she tried to be Carrie Underwood! The song was waaaay too big for her. And while my heart tells me Chickezie is going home, I just don't have the heart to make the pick. Since I'm already 0-2 with my picks, I'm going to try to keep up my winless record for now! Farewell once again Ramiele! It's been boring knowing you!

Well, I think I've written you all to sleep by now so I'll keep this short. Pretty good night tonight. Hopefully, this is more of what we have in store for the coming weeks! I'll see you guys Wednesday Night for the RESULTS!


Ian said...

You managed to make me laugh several times with this recap, even though our assessments of a few performances are different.

I didn't think Ramiele was that bad and I thought Carly was terrible. I think Syesha might have to watch out for the Bottom 3 as well. If she hasn't interested you, there are probably lots of people in America who are similarly indifferent to her. I predict that Chikezie is going home, but since he's my favorite guy I really hope he doesn't.

Now about David Cook...I really don't like him. He can sing, but I know that if he has a music career he'll just clutter up the airwaves with more of today's crappy post-grunge "rock". David Archuleta may be a bit cheesy, but he comes across as much more likable to me than Combover Boy. I'm hoping for a Brooke-Chikezie finale, though Hell will probably freeze over before that happens.

Mike V. said...

Thanks for the biggest compliment of all Ian. My intention most of the time is to go for comedy in this blog!

yeah, I think I am letting my personal opinions cloud my judgement this season lol I think Chickezie is probably going home, but like you I don't want that to happen. If Simon says you're not going home, I don't recall a time when that did not come true. But it would make for some shocking TV if Ramiele DID go home after such a bold statement. So there's always hope! I do agree with Randy though that she was out of key for a majority of the performance!

Yeah, you're not the first to tell me they thought Carly was awful. I agree that she wasn't spectacular, but I still thought she sang MOST of it good. But definitely not an IDOL winning performance. The bottom 3 appearance last week was a shocker, but maybe that really does reflect America's thoughts on the Tattooed Irish Girl.

And I agree, Syesha might have to watch out fo the bottom 3. I wouldn't be shocked if she was there. But based on the judges' praise on her performance, I just don't see it!

I know a lot of people don't like David Cook. He rubs people the wrong way with his on-screen attitude. I think he's going to have a music career with or without the IDOL Title at this point. Personally, I'd rather have him cluttering the airwaves with post-grunge "rock" than having Archuleta sing inspirational anthems to me about how I should live my life better than I already do! lol He is a likeable guy, but he still rubs ME the wrong way! lol

I think Brooke and Castro are in the same boat where they know what kind of performer they are and have issues straying from that format. The problem is, eventually their unique and soothing sounds can tire on American if they don't change things up. As much as I like Brooke, I agree, I don't see her ending up in the finale. And same with Chickezie unfortunately even though he's probably the MOST likeable of contestants!

Well, look at that I went and posted another blog! lol

Thanks for posting your thoughts as always!