Finally! An hour episode! I never remember them trying to fit 9 contestants in an hour before. I always thought it started at 8. Nevertheless, these 2 episodes (this and next) have to be the most stressful for the Idol Producing team to keep things moving quickly. They still ran over into HELL'S KITCHEN. But you have to think that's intentional too to pull in the ratings to the next show! Anyways, it was DOLLYWEEK! And, I was a little concerned about it going in. I was hoping Dolly would just be a mentor and they could choose to do her songs or any country songs. But you know what? When you're a talented songwriter, you're a talented songwriter and these contestants really couldn't pick a bad song! In fact, I think iTunes will be getting some major Dolly Hits tonight for her new album and for some of these old gems. It's going to be another tough week to pick folks. Because, some of the performances that might be hitting the bottom 3 were actually still enjoyable performances for me. It really is going to depend on how the rest of America views the performances and how much they listen to Simon! Because tweedle dee and tweedle dumber were saying pretty much the same thing about everyone. It was a GLORIOUS night wasn't it Paula? Did we start out kinda rough but by the end pull it off Randy? Yikes, maybe it WOULD be interesting to bring in a new crop of judges to breathe some life into this show. I guess you just can't mess with the successful formula! Anyway, you're not here to read my ramblings! (hmmm then why are you here?) We have work to do!! Let's break this down!
So maybe you've been reading for the past week about David getting backlash for his renditions of songs the past few weeks. Last week Chris Cornell's rendition, Eleanor Rigby was a version of Doxology that he found online. And one week he did a Whitesnake version of something. I read somewhere that this should be a compliment. The backlash is coming because David has reached frontrunner status. And yeah, Idol should be upfront about the renditions he's using. Of course, they always love to do the little interviews with Ryan and Contestant to clear the air. For anyone that's not keeping up with the backlash, it's just an informative little event. And for anyone keeping up with it...they'll know it's because DOXOLOGY wanted credit where credit was due. Translation: they want people downloading THEIR version of the tune on iTunes. Anyway, David thanked the judges for their generous feedback (in other words, giving D.C. credit for doing his own renditions of the tunes...besides "Billie Jean") Sure it was all a little cheesey, but you gotta give Idol credit for being able to resolve a week of backlash in 1 minute's time. And to top things off....Cook comes into Dolly week with his OWN rendition of "Little Sparrow" and he really pulled it off. It didn't sound like another alternative/grunge version of a song. It just sounded like David Cook's version of a country song with a rockish edge. And I gotta say, the haircut helped take him more seriously too didn't it ladies? I'm still sticking with D.C. through until the end. But after tonight, I'm starting to think that I might not even have to worry about D.C. overtaking the ARCH-MEISTER in the final 2! Oh yes kids, there is someone else with some serious skills that's finally come out of his hiding place!
3. Ramiele Malubay
Song: "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind"
Maybe if I spell her name correctly, they'll finally kick her off! I mean, this is clearly one of two contestants that do not have a shot at winning the whole thing. Yeah, there are clear favorites to win it, but then there are others who become contenders on a given week. Ramiele has NEVER in all the weeks in front of a live audience, been one of those contenders. This week was no different. Yeah she hit some big notes, they weren't spectacular. And how about the smaller low notes that no one heard? I've said my piece with her. She's not going to win, and she'll get kicked off whenever the rest of America realizes that! My vote would be for this week! (again)
4. Jason Castro
Song: "Travelin' Through"
Poor Jason, we said it last week. He can only be the type of singer/musician that he is. And I really enjoyed his rendition of "Travelin' Through." Sure, I never heard Dolly's rendition but that's not the point. His performance made me want to buy the song! It was just enjoyable. But as a SINGER in a singing competition? Yikes...I don't know. I had some of the same complaints about Jason as I did Ramiele. Low notes were almost a whisper. But the dude is just so likeable. And he really is a good performer for the type of musician he wants to be. It's a tough call. American Idol can be able the total package too not just the voice. And it's really up to America. Simon was still in his grumpy mood on this one and didn't get Jason's performance. Which camp do you all fall in? I'm undecided, but based on other performances Jason may have to worry about a 2nd trip to the bottom 3.
5. Carly Smithson
Song: "Here You Come Again"
Well I only wrote down one word when I was listening to Carly tonight because that's exactly what I was doing, listening not worrying about notes. That word? AWESOME! She really did nail that song tonight. I don't know what else she needs to do to win over Simon. But the thing is, I really did agree with the one comment Simon made. She really does need a wardrobe adjustment. Come on, we all know it! That tattoo is hideous!!! There has to be a way to cover it up! I really think if she did, she may be more appealing to voters. But really, if she doesn't get ANOTHER record deal out of this show, there's probably something wrong with the world. I think she'd sell more than 500 copies this time around.
6. David Archuleta
Song: "Inspirational Ballad #7" oops "Smokey Mountain Memories"
I give up everyone. I just don't get the appeal. I know he can sing and yeah I say that every week! But I think Dolly said it best this week. He has the vocal ability to "BECOME A GREAT SINGER." Do you know what that word BECOME means? It means he's NOT THERE YET! Oh and that Smokey Mountain tune sure gave him chills when he heard it. Made him think of home and his parents. Awwww all the Mommies and Tweenies crying at home with their speed dials already set to go right at 8:59pm. And then the JUDGES...oooohhh the Judges. What is wrong with them? They were all over Davey (or should I call him ARGYLE ARCHIE this week?) on this performance. They loooooooved it. Simon finally come out of Oscar the Grouchville and just was ordering barrels and barrels of Artichokes off of the menu. What can I say that I haven't said already? He's got a great voice, he is NOT going to win!!!! And I have the same complaint with him that I did with Ramiele and Jason. LOW NOTES can't hear 'em! Wait a minute, even the front runner of the competition can't sing the low notes over the band? hmmmm maybe when he eventually "BECOMES" a great singer, this won't be a problem! 2008? He ain't there yet!
7. Kristy Lee Cook
Song: "Coat of Many Colors"
Well here she is America. Country girl on Country week. She's in her WHEELHOUSE! (what Randy?) I mean she wasn't baaaaad I guess right? She wasn't great either. I thought she nailed the end of the song which is what people may remember. But you know what I'll remember? When she said that she'd rather impress Dolly Parton than her Mother. Hmm...I don't care how awesome Dolly is. You always want to impress your Mom! Even ARCHIE wants to impress his Mom! My Mom reads these blogs and yeah I want to get recognized by Entertainment Weekly to replace Michael Slezak one day (God he can drive me nuts. That Fantasia loving nut!) but I still love to get my mother's feedback on the blog! Anyways, I don't know. I thought Kristy had this one in the bag this week. But based on the other performances, I think she may still have to worry about the bottom 3. Of course, I put her in that bottom 3 last week with that mindset and she was safe by a mile. Ugh tough call!
8. Syesha Mercado
Song: "I Will Always Love You"
Well, you want to talk predictable. Let's take a girl that would sing Whitney Houston every week if she had the opportunity and put her in Dolly Parton week. Now I'm sure there were many of the 30 million viewers out there that still did not know that Dolly Parton originally wrote and performed that song before Whitney made it the smash #1 hit from the "Bodyguard Soundtrack" (seriously, Kevin Costner as a Bodyguard??? That's hysterical isn't it??). But all that said and done, you have to give credit to Syesha for knowing that she shouldn't do the song straight-up Whitney (sorry for the accidental Paula Abdul song reference.) She did some kind of melding of the Dolly version and the Whitney version and sat on top of a piano and just belted away. Yeah, tough to live in the shadow of two greats on that tune. But I thought she did her thing. And if the majority of the song didn't impress America, maybe holding out that last note for that lengthy period of time did the trick? Of course, is Syesha running out of fans? She found herself in the bottom 3 last week after a decent outing. But will that mean her fans will get her back into safe havens this week? Tough tough call again!
9. Michael Johns
Song: "It's All Wrong but it's All Right"
1st Concert ever was a Dolly Parton concert in 1986. Must've been a baby? Yeah right Dolly! That boy was 8 years old! I saw Billy Joel when I was 8. I wonder if he became an obsessive Dolly fan for the rest of his life! Anyway, when I was saying earlier that there may be 2 threats to take down ARGYLE ARCHIE it should be no surprise that I was referring to Michael Johns. We thought that last week's Queen resurgence was just that. His ability to only perform the hell out of Queen songs exclusively. Well that perception was all wrong and Mr. Johns tonight was ALL RIGHT! All I can say is what I say on my LOST blogs every week. WOW! That was one heckuva performance! Ooozing with soul and emotional lyrics. Maybe even a little inappropriate for a family show with the way he sang "Sexy Lovin' Lies" but man was it powerful! And to put the man LAST with that powerful tune? It can only help propel him forward into destinations we thought were already fictional territory for him. That's right everyone, MICHAEL is back with a vengeance! And I voted for 2 contestants tonight. D. Cook and Michel Johns (yep that guy I thought had a goofy voice throughout the auditions only to discover that goofy voice was just his Australian accent!). Come on, you watch David and Michael perform these WONDERFUL mature renditions of Dolly tunes and then you look at David Archuleta's performance. Can't you all see the difference? Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm the idiot. But then again, my track record on picking idols and weeding out the pretenders speaks for itself! So I'll just keep sticking to my guns.
Of course picking Idols is one thing, picking my bottom 3 and elimination pick has been a nightmare this year! And it's not looking to get any better anytime soon. Will we get a surprise elimination this week? Or can we finally start weeding out some of the people that have overstayed their welcome? I'm going to do some more analysis on this this week. I don't want to go through the embarrassment of last week again!
Contestants in no fear of the bottom 3 this week: David Cook, Carly Smithson, David Archuleta, Michael Johns (based on tonight, should be our final 4)
Bottom 3 last week: Syesha, Castro
People that have graced bottom 3 since top 12: Kristy Lee Cook (2), Syesha Mercado (2), Carly Smithson, Jason Castro
People that have escaped the bottom 3 but should not have ever: Ramiele Malubay