What an inspirationally boring night! That's all I have to say, well plus the thousand and a half words to follow! As predicted, entering Idol Gives Back week has brought us to "Songs that Inspire" or the "David Archuleta Special." Some of the contestants picked some good tunes, but that didn't make the night any more exciting for me! Some favorites took a step back. But on a night like this, it probably didn't matter. I'm sure they had their work cut out for them this week with 3 nights of performances to prepare for. Which brings me to my soapbox moment of the week. I read today that the WEDNESDAY Charity episode entitled "IDOL GIVES BACK" has already occurred! It was pre-taped on Sunday! What on earth is THAT about? Who wants to tune into a 2.5 hour pre-taped concert on Wednesday night and fork over cash? Maybe there are some live aspects that I don't realize. But it was in the Kodak theater and there were PHOTOS of Ryan and judges all decked out in in their penguinware. It discussed Carrie Underwood's performance, Brad Pitt's appearance, etc... Oh well, I'm sure I'll still be tuning in due to lack of anything else on! But I've made up my mind that no blog will be written! So let's get to work for the week. Here is the rundown of our Top 8 performances:
1. Michael Johns
Song: "Dream On" by Aerosmith
Song: "Dream On" by Aerosmith
Well, I can't say that Michael didn't take a step back with his performance this week. Last week was on the money with that bluesy vibe he brought to the Dolly Parton tune. This week was a carbon copy attempt at Steven Tyler's vocal track on "Dream On." I really don't think the screaming at the end was necessary. Yes, impressive that he was able to almost clone Stevie. But did it do him any favors? Probably not. Regardless, I think Michael is still riding the wave of success from that fantastic performance last week. This Aussie dreaming the American Dream is safe!
Song: "I Believe" - Fantasia (written by season 1's Tamyra Gray)
I couldn't help but laugh at this song choice. Good ol' LAKITHSHA (yep lisp and all) took this ditty on last year during Idol Gives Back. Are they really struggling for tunes for these POWER VOCALISTS (i missed that word!) to belt out during Inspirational Week? The song was NEVER a great song. But it is well known from season 3 (worst season next to season 6) for being Tamyra Grey's attempt at songwriting and Fantasia BORINGo's attempt at being a TRUE American Idol. That being said, I totally agree with Simon and even wrote it in last year's blog. That song is SO identifiable with Fantasia, that hearing anyone else sing it just doesn't really do much. I'm repeating myself, but it was a year ago no one will remember. All I can picture when I hear the song is Fantasia jumping up and down with confetti all around her and the Idol Choir surrounding her singing the grand ol' IDOL SONG. And you picture all of this and the ghetto tears of the ghetto "chosen one" of season 3, then you look at Syesha singing the robotic version of the same song and then belting out a Whitney-like high note at the end. Well...that sums it up doesn't it? Trying to be her 2 favorite idols. And I'm sorry...but Fantasia is her Idol? I think I found a new person to dislike!
3. Jason Castro
Song: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" - The IZ version
Castro impressed me with his ukulele skills this week. Sure, I'm sure it's not much different than the guitar, but he was able to show some versatility but still be who he wants to be up there. I rank this performance up there with his "Hallelujah" performance. Mainly, because I dig that version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Jason still isn't going to be winning any Idol trophies, but I still like the dude. I think he should be okay this week.
4. Kristy Lee Cook
Song: "Anyway" - Martina McBride
Song: "Anyway" - Martina McBride
I'm sure the untrained viewer probably thought Kristy Lee Cook wasn't too bad tonight, especially after hearing the praises of the judges. But I wasn't sure that she deserved THAT much praise. She has gotten a lot safer since her destruction of "8 Days a Week" on Top 12 night. But does that mean she should be getting praised for what she's performing now? Should she be told that she's being smart for singing country songs when that's what she wants to sing? And if people on this show are compared to Whitney when they sing Whitney, or Fantasia when they sing Fantasia (ugh...I still gag at the thought!), why wouldn't Kristy be judged against Martina one of the best country vocalists out there? (of course, we should include Carrie in that list too!) Martina is amazing on "Anyway" and we heard her sing it on Idol just last season and she was amazing then too! And Kristy comes along and gets by on it and gets praised by the judges? Come on, I could've gotten up there and sang in my best girl voice what Kristy Lee Cook did! (of course, she flew from Oregon to Philly and auditioned, i live near Philly and didn't! so I guess I should stop complaining!) Her goal is not to be in the bottom 3 this week. I don't know. She's been there 3 times now. Will America listen to the judges or their hearts? COME ON HEARTS!!!!
5. David Cook
Song: "Innocent" - Our Lady Peace
Song: "Innocent" - Our Lady Peace
David David David....what were you doing out there? Well let me get started with the song. I LOOOOOOOOVE that song. Our Lady Peace is a very underrated band! And I was glad to see David bringing them some publicity. But what was up with the starting Low then going high in mid-verse then returning to the lows? That was weird dude! Gotta agree with Simon....came off a bit pompous. The "Give Back" on the hand? Eh, I guess it's for a good cause, but for David, it just seemed like it was for the votes. Pains me to say all of this, because he is my one true hope of keeping Archie boy from the Season 7 throne! But I couldn't vote for that performance. So if Cook ends up in the bottom 3, it's my fault! But let's be honest. With all of the performances tonight, it's all relative. David has been on a streak lately and has built up a nice fan-base. He should be fine this week.
6. Carly Smithson
Song: "The Show Must Go On" - Queen
Ouch Carly. I really thought she was going to send this one flying out into the bleachers. But all I heard was flat note after sharp note after dull note! Never in the run of American Idol has PITCHY been more relevant than in that performance! Especially when she started doing her runs. It was really scary. Simon commented on her improved appearance. Really? Maybe he WASN'T talking about the tattoos after all. Of course, he might just be trying to save face from last week still. Because those Tats were still fully on display and so was her husband! Carly is in a lot of danger this week. Enough danger to go home over Syesha and Kristy Lee Cook? Yikes, I don't know. It was pretty bad and well it doesn't seem like many people like her either! We'll have to run through our analysis below (that has been so successful so far this year!)
7. David Archuleta
Song: "Angels" - Robbie Williams (no not Jessica Simpson!)
Ugh, pains me when he does something that I semi-enjoy. Good ol' Artichoke wasn't too bad this week. But come on! Like I said above, this was HIS week! How could he not come off well? He's been singing inspirational tunes since his audition! I had to laugh at his video clip when he was complaining about picking a song out of so many. I really believe it! All of those beautiful messages out there! But he picked a fantastic song. And yes "Angels" was HUUUUUUUUUGE for Robbie Williams in the UK. And when Robbie Williams invaded the US, he never saw much success past his first single "Millennium" even though "Angels" was on the CD. I loved that tune. And then Jessica Simpson had to go and use her popularity to try and make the song big here. Poor song! Anyway, I guess if I had to compare U.S. versions, I'd have to say Archuleta's was better than Jessica Simpson's! (see people? I can be nice!) I won't comment on his bland piano playing. Being a "pianist" myself, he just sat out there with the Grand piano for the LOOK, not for the skill. He knew the 12 year old girls would melt by seeing him behind the ebony and ivory. And the Mom's that brought them there would be like "awwww such a sweet boy and he can play the piano too!" Okay, he played like 3 chords over and over again people! Yes yes, I know he's not there to show off his skills on the keys, but Brooke convinced me that she could really play. And I don't want to hear all this crap that he's 17 and I should be impressed with that. I was playing at 17 too and could play circles around this kid! (that's right, PIANO CIRCLES!!) Anyway, what DID impress me about Davey tonight was what Randy touched on. Those crazy RUNS. They WERE very good. And he reminded me why he still is a favorite in this competition. I still don't want him to win, but I'll hand it to him. He made a good song choice and gave a decent vocal tonight. But talk about POMPOUS performances, how about that PIANO?
8. Brooke White
Song: "You've Got a Friend" - Carole King (no NOT James Taylor!)
Speaking of me playing the piano, "You've Got a Friend" was always one of those tunes that I found myself rocking out to on my keys whenever I sat down to mess with the piano. Why? Oh I dunno....."I LOOOOOOVE THE MESSAGE! It's such a WONDERFUL SONG!" Whoops, wrong contestant! So Brooke White chose to tell the world that the song was written by Carole King and NOT James Taylor. Well, thanks Brooke! Some of us knew that though! Anyway, she clearly was singing the version that was on that VH1 Divas Live (oh man, have I said too much? Seriously, I'm straight!) that Carole sang with the likes of Celine, Gloria Estefan and Shania Twain. I thought it was a perfect little ditty for Brooke to be singing. Like we've said before, she's never going to be impressing anyone with POWER VOCALS, but she impresses with her emotional performances. And I thought it was good. That being said, good enough for being out of the bottom 3? Well, she was there last week and a lot of people still love this girl. I gotta think they'll still bail her out! I think I've already made up my mind on the bottom 3 which can never be good! or Can it??
Okay, so if I were to choose MY bottom 3 before going through my analysis it would be Kristy Lee Cook, Syesha Mercado, and Carly Smithson. And I always say I should go with my gut right? Well let's see if I stick with that after the analysis:
Previous residents of the Bottom 3: Kristy Lee Cook (3), Syesha Mercado (2), Jason Castro, Brooke White, Carly Smithson
Never Been in Bottom 3: David Cook, David Archuleta, Michael Johns (and won't be this week)
Worst Performance of the Night: Carly Smithson
Best of Night: David Archiebunker, Jason Castro
Bottom 3: Kristy Lee Cook, Syesha Mercado, Carly Smithson Wildcards: Brooke and Jason duh!
Eliminated: Carly Smithson - Not really her time to go...but it just seems that many people are not big fans of the Irish girl. And if you give them a reason not to vote, they will NOT vote. Plenty of reasons tonight! And America really has been voting off the worst performer every week (with exception of Kristy Lee Cook in the Top 12 week but that was during the David Hernandez scandal). I'm going with my gut on this one and we'll just have to see! Goodbye Carly, go get that tattoo removed, work on that accent and try again next year!
Okay kids, that's all I have for tonight. Who do you think is going home? Are you excited for the pre-taped Idol Gives Back-a-thon Wednesday night? Are you mad I'm not going to write about it? Maybe I'll post a comment in this blog with my very brief thoughts but that is IT! Until then, see you Thursday night for the results. Enjoy the show Wednesday!