Hello Idol Fanatics! Welcome to the 2008 Season 7 FINALS! New Stage, New Lights, New Opening Credits and some new and decent talent! I was quite impressed with some of the performers tonight and feel this show is ANYONE'S for the taking (well with the exception of the awful ones!) And I am super excited that my initial prediction is closer to coming true with a "peaking too early" favorite! That sounds like a positive endorsement when it couldn't be further from the truth! All in all...very excited and impressed with Lennon/McCartney night. Do you recall the last time I was actually EXCITED by American Idol? Man...I sure can't. Tonight was BEATLES NIGHT (kinda) with selections from the Lennon/McCartney songbook. Of course, if you haven't read this interview with vocal coach Debra Byrd and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe you should. Apparently the 12 contestants could only choose from 25 songs total and this is a common occurrence on Idol. This explains so much about some songs that have been selected in the past! Anyway, lots of contestants to break down, and we need to figure us out a bottom 3 and kick off somebody! Let's get to work!
1. Syesha Mercado
Song: "Got To Get You Into My Life"
Always tough being the first person to perform on the big stage. Borrowing from Simon Cowell, she really let the stage control her. I thought the big band drowned her out for the majority of the tune. And when she finally found her footing, I had already lost my interest. Syesha won't be turning anyone's heads with that performance. And I think she might find herself in bottom 3 territory. Simon thought it was decent though or at least better than last week. If she can improve her nerves she might be able to last a few more weeks, but I don't see her winning this thing.
Song: "She's a Woman"
Well, this was the first shocking performance of the night for me! Starting off with that bluegrass southern vibe (or as Paula dubbed the "O' Brother Where Art Thou" style) was very cool and then he just went and ROCKED the house! You could feel his excitement through the TV and he just sang his heart out and enjoyed the whole performance. I sound like Paula, but that energy really adds something to the show. I was ready to write off Chickezie...but now I want to see more! He's totally safe this week. And how about RYAN going a little nuts with Chickezie after the judges' comments? Good times!
3. Ramiele Mullaby
Song: "In My Life"
I still can't figure out why the judges keep telling her "you're better than that." Eventually they have to realize that maybe she's only cut out to be pouring sauce at a Sushi Restaurant! I mean....she joked about not wanting to be called "LULLABY" but then she performed the dullest rendition of "In My Life" that she ever could've tried. I agree with Simon. Forgettable and eventually this will catch up with her!
4. Jason Castro
Song: "If I Fell"
I really predicted him performing "Yesterday" which was funny because he said he loves the song. But what we got was okay this week. It's crazy though, it seems like every other week he's either GREAT or "Been there done that." When he is just sitting there with his guitar it just seems to get old for me. Also, I agree with Randy a bit. He was changing up the melody to the song a bit much for his own good too. My favorite part though was when he channeled Jewel and instead of saying "YOU" it sounds more like "HUGH." So then the song took on a whole new meaning when he sang at the end "I Fell in Love with HUUUUUGH!" Anyways, he needs to figure out what he does that really makes America root for him and then he could be in good shape. I still like the guy and think he'll be around for awhile. He's safe this week!
5. Carly Smithson
Song: "Come Together"
Well, I gotta say...Carly was AWESOME tonight! I just wish she would cover up that crazy Tattoo!!! It really is ugly! Anyway, she came out with a little rockier version of the Beatles Classic and it was just solid from start to finish. I actually did get a little Kelly Clarkson vibe from her similar to Simon. But I think Simon was referring more about her not really connecting with a song until she got to the Top 12 (or Top 10 for Kelly) Stage and then BAM!!! Whole new competition. (I just thought the screamy notes sounded like new-fangled screamy Kelly Clarkson). Carly was comfortable and commanding out there. It really was a stellar performance. Now, if she could just drop that Irish Accent and act AMERICAN, maybe she CAN be an "AMERICAN" Idol!
6. David Cook
Song: "Eleanor Rigby"
But wait kids we're not done yet! David Cook came out and blew the roof off with yet ANOTHER modernization of an old tune. He turned a Beatles classic into an Alternative-Rock masterpiece. And let me say, since we're supposed to compare him to Chris Daughtry, David Cook definitely has found better use of his Mic Stand than Chris did for his affectionate "MOLLY" (yep...Molly the Mic Stand..check the season 5 blogs you'll understand!). While Chris couldn't seem to part with the mic stand, David used it as part of his performance and used it very well! Some of these contestants were just BUILT for the main stage. Do you get the feeling some of our heavy hitters were holding back until they got here? I mean, this is just nuts! I'm still a COOK fan and apparently Simon is coming around on him. Maybe I wasn't so far fetched way back in the auditions to think he had a chance of winning???
7. Brooke White
Song: "Let it Be"
Yep, now there's 3 in a row that I couldn't help but be impressed with. I've said it before. I just enjoy Brooke's musicianship on a week to week basis. This time she brought the piano out (fittingly so) and sang a touching and gut wrenching rendition of "Let it Be." Yes, it was simple and she didn't try to add any crazy notes to it. She just sang it and "LET IT BE" the song that it was. And props to Randy for making her cry and getting her to talk about how appreciative she is to be there. That really shows a side of her that everyone wants to root for. GO BROOKE and get your shoes from Ryan!
8. David Hernandez
Song: "I Saw Her Standing There"
Well, that was just awkward hearing about his Pizza Boy days wasn't it? My bad PIZZA BISTRO! (is that what we're calling it these days???) A very forced interview to not talk about his days at "Richard's Cabaret" (Yeah, I used the full name and not Nickname to keep this a family blog!) Anyway, while last week I was supporting his cause because he sang pretty well. This week was just horrendous. The song was barely recognizable with all of the runs he threw into it. Very unnecessary with one of the most COVERED Beatles Songs ever (don't quote me on that...I made it up! But I know Billy Joel performed it at concerts!) That's a song that you sing the melody and work the crowd. Hernandez should know a thing or too about working the crowd! (man, the jokes just don't stop coming!) Anyway, I'm not too sure he'll be going home this week, but he might have to worry about flirting with the bottom 3.
9. Amanda Overmeyer
Song: "You Can't Do That"
Another shocker for tonight. I was ready to write off Amanda too. And granted she is not going to be winning any titles this season, but she really has bounced back from this first couple semi-final weeks. Her hair looked better (although, still a little too bleachy), she looked better (more like the Amanda we had expected to see) and she actually SANG better! Sure, she still has a limited range but it was a little broader this week than I had expected. And she still has a great sense of timing and ROCKness about her that as Simon said...she brings a "Breath of fresh air" to the competition. Vote For the Worst can keep promoting her, but she's getting by on her own for now. I think there's someone else they should be targeting and we'll get there soon! Amanda is safe this week!
10. Michael Johns
Song: "Across the Universe"
Randy and Simon are really hating on Michael. I guess I see their point. No one is arguing that the Aussie has a huge voice and great talent. But he sang that song straight up when he has the ability to do so much more with it. I still thought it was amazing and while he has a lot of competition for the top spot, I still think he'll be around for quite some time. I mean, maybe it's just his quiet confidence right Paula??? I mean, what does that even mean???
11. Kristy Lee Cook
Song: "8 Days a Week"
There really are no words to explain what Miss Cook did to that poor song this week. It was a disgrace! She thought "well, I guess I need to make it country because Simon said so" and then she went with the weirdest arrangement you could possibly thing of! Totally didn't fit the song and was very very forced. I'm sure she thought she was doing a really impressive thing to it but it was just an INSULT to country music to call that a COUNTRIFIED version of a Beatles song. I sat there dumbfounded while watching and listening to that horrendous display of non-talent. This is what separates the Kristy Cooks from the David Cooks. David Cook was able to change the song to something that still worked. Kristy? did not. She seems like definite bottom 3 if Paula couldn't even come up with anything nice to say. I'd say it was worthy enough to get eliminated, but it was SO bad that she might get a sympathy vote. Ugh....here's where my indecision comes in!
12. David Archuleta
Song: "We Can Work it Out"
Oh man, I really hate it. REAAAALY hate it when I'm right. Can you guys remember what I said about Mr. Archuleta? That his age would eventually show in SONG SELECTION? That there's no way he's going to win this competition? In the great words of David Hernandez last week "It's all coming back to me now!" Yes...it's a bit early to be stating that my prophecies are coming true. But tonight was a good reality check for all of those fans out there that were convinced David had already had this thing wrapped up! I mean, forgetting the words? Not just 1 time but multiple times??? NOT KNOWING BEATLES SONGS?????? How can you be HUMAN and not know Beatles songs? I don't care if you're 17! But if you think "We Can Work it Out" is a Stevie Wonder song, something is wrong! I had a feeling theme nights would bring out David's weaknesses and it didn't take long to find that out. I am loving life right now because there is so much other great talent this year and I don't think Artichoke is the best of the bunch. Sure, he is definitely safe this week and probably won't even see the bottom 3. But Simon is right...if America votes on talent and not on popularity, this competition is wide open this year. I'm sure ARCHIE will bounce back next week. But in my opinion, the damage has been done. I am now convinced he's not invincible.
So here we are, the fun part. It's been a long time since I've been guessing my bottom 3's and elimination picks so I may be a bit rusty. But here goes nothing!
UNTOUCHABLE this week: Chickezie, Carly Smithson, Amanda Overmeyer, Michael Johns, Brooke White, David Cook
Good enough to get by: Jason Castro
Only getting by because of his forseeably shrinkable fanbase: David Archuleta
Worst Performance of the Night: Kristy Lee Cook
Forgettable Performances: Syesha Mercado, Ramiele Mullaby, David Hernandez
Bottom 3 Picks: Kristy Lee Cook, Ramiele Mullaby, David Hernandez Wildcard: Syesha Mercado Bonus Wildcard: David Archuleta
Elmination Pick: Ramiele Mullaby - It's been fun while it lasted, but you are needed elsewhere! You were just born to pour Soy sauce! Tomorrow night we look forward to hearing you "Sing us a lullaby" paraphrasing another great Beatles song "Golden Slumbers"
I'm sorry, but I'm going to just keep picking her until she is finally voted off. How is anyone still supporting her? She's incredibly boring and needs to go! But I won't be upset either if Kristy Lee Cook goes. Really was bad!
Okay okay..hope no one is sleeping out there! Overall, very impressed with tonight's show. It's hard to crack jokes in the blog with all of this good talent this year. Thankfully, there are a couple "semi-talents" that might be sticking around for awhile. I'm looking at you Artichoke! Anyway, Katharine McPhee sings on the results show Wednesday night. See you then!