Season 7 Index | February 20 Review

 

American Idol Season 7 (2008)

 

February 19 - (Semi-Finals: Men) Try to set the night on fire

 

Here we are again, folks.  It's the "best talent ever" (isn't it always?) and Ryan talks incessantly about how the voting will work.  Randy blathers about dawgs, Paula is incoherently not answering Ryan's question, and Simon just wants the contest to start.  So do we, Simon. So do we.

They've decided to start themes early this year, so this week everyone will be singing 60s songs.  This will result in the judges arguing over whether or not someone sounds "current" singing a 40+ year old song, and Ryan taking every opportunity to insult Simon.  All to fill up two hours.  Aren't you glad you tuned in?

Let's get started...

David Hernandez (sings Wilson Pickett's "Wait Till the Midnight Hour"): He wants to prove that Simon was wrong in not voting him through to this round, and I'd say that he does a pretty good job.  The beginning in particular is strong, with an interesting gospel feel.  He's got a decent jazzy voice that sounds sort of like...wait, let me see...oh, yeah. Elliott Yamin from Season 5.  Well, except for that bum note at the end.  Ouch.  Randy likes the gospel vibe, yo.  Paula likes his vibrato.  Simon thinks it was better than he thought it would be, but tells him to loosen up.

Chikezie (sings Spiral Staircase's "(I Love You) More Today Than Yesterday"): I guess he felt the need to shorten his name to stand out.  This is necessary, because his rendition of this song is really boring.  And that orange suit?  Yikes.  Are you sure we're not in the 70s now?  Randy wants him to make his songs new and fresh.  Paula is happy to see him and thinks he's infectious.  If that's true, then someone had better grab the Lysol.  Simon calls him "Jacuzzi" and says he hated the old-fashioned performance, the suit, the wink, the woo, etc.  Chikezie disses Simon's clothing and insists on defending himself.  Oh, yeah, man, shoot yourself in the foot.  You are so gone.

David Cook (sings The Turtles' "So Happy Together"): Ummm...weird song choice for this rocker.  He starts it as a dirge and then goes all alt-rocker shouty.  Shall I cry or get angry?  It all seemed a little gimmicky to me, but the judges enjoyed it.  Randy liked the rock "edge."  Paula thought David made it original.  Simon thought he shouted it a little in the middle, but that he almost made it believable.  Well, he's certainly trying to stand out as The Alternative Rock Singer this year.  All he needs is a little more eye shadow.

Jason Yeager (sings [pick your artist]'s "Moon River"): His voice isn't quite strong enough to carry this song - at least not until he gets to the higher notes - and I really detest this lounge-y arrangement.  You'd think that by season 7, contestants would realize that they're doomed if they do an old-fashioned arrangement of an old song.  Duh.  Randy thinks he lost his concentration in the middle.  Paula has to tell us she did her first ballet recital to that song, and Jason talks about his grandmother who taught him that song.  Awwwww... [hack, hack, hack]  Simon felt it was very "cruise ship" and calls him a reliable dog.  Thank you for that reality check, Mr. Cowell.

Robbie Carrico (sings Three Dog Night's "One"): Why does he feel he has to wear a bandana?  Did he forget to wash his hair?  And oh, dear - I'm about to have a seizure from all the flashing lights.  He does well, although I can still hear his boy band background in his voice.  Randy was moved.  I wish Randy could have moved backstage.  Paula says that Robbie is authentic.  Simon says the performance is the only current one so far, but he also says he isn't quite convinced that Robbie's a rocker yet.  Maybe Robbie should see Carly's husband for some tattoos.

David Archuleta (sings The Miracles' "Shop Around"): I like this kid's voice - it's really mature and smooth.  This isn't quite the best song to showcase that, but he's so cute, you just want to squeeze the stuffing out of him.  I'm sure all the little girls will vote like crazy tonight.  Randy thought it was brilliant. Paula thinks it was a brave, bold choice.  And OMG, he's ONLY 17!!  (Where have we heard that before?)  Simon calls it the best performance of the night so far.  David gets all awww, gosh, wow, I can't believe this, giggle, giggle, giggle.  Is he 17 or 7?  Ryan tells us we can't adopt him.  And we go on and on and on about how cute and amazing he is.... Okay, we get that everyone likes him.  Take us to a commercial, please.

Danny Noriega (sings Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock"): Oh, yes, we have CHEEEEEESE!!!  The appearance...the performance....oh, how deliciously over the top.  It's like k.d. lang meets Elvis, and they landed at my high school in 1985.  I'd compare him to Sanjaya, except this kid has a better voice.  Randy wasn't enamored of the singing, but he loves that Danny has a good time.  Paula thinks the performance was "almost scalding" and believes there are a lot of "colors" that are going to come out of Danny.  (Bonus time for me: she's on some good drugs tonight.)  Simon says the performance was verging on grotesque, and the judges spend the next five minutes arguing about it.  Ryan reminds us that grotesque is what Idol is all about.  Yeah, baby, yeah!

Luke Menard (sings Harry Nilsson's "Everybody's Talkin'"): I like this guy solely because he looks like Hugh Jackman.  Okay, that's not the only reason.  He's got another nice, smooth voice, and that was a great falsetto at the end.  Unfortunately, he doesn't really do anything to distinguish himself from the other singers at this point, particularly since he just stands there.  Your vocals aren't that special, dude.  Randy wasn't too impressed.  Paula didn't think it was the best song for him.  Simon felt it was a forgettable performance.

Colton Berry (sings Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds"): Colton shows us why Broadway producers wait to nab the Idol losers, because his theatrical background is showing a bit in that performance.  It's more professional than Danny's Elvis, but let's just say it's the difference between a high school talent show performance and a college musical.  Nice smile, though.  And he's from my state, so I'll politely applaud.  Randy says he did a pretty good job.  Paula likes seeing a different side of him.  Simon calls it okay, but says he has no relevance and the performance was a waste of time.

Garrett Haley (sings Neil Sedaka's "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do"): Well, okay.  Leif Garrett or Peter Frampton you're not, though you have a resemblance to them both.  You're not very comfortable on stage, and it's affecting your vocals.  But there's a growing backlash against all the "professional" contestants this year, so you might have a chance of making it another round or so, because you have the least experience, you're shy, you're cute, and you have a very positive attitude toward the judges, despite the criticism.  Randy calls the performance boring and tells him not to be afraid to make a song his own.  Paula tells him to work with the band more to change up the song.  Simon says that he looked like he'd been shut up in his bedroom for a month.  Garrett scores points by saying that he'll learn from what every judge says.  Good answer.  Some other contestants could use a dose of this kid's humility.

Jason Castro (sings Lovin' Spoonful's "Daydream"): Here's another inexperienced singer, but he doesn't show his nerves quite as much as Garrett, and he changes it up by being the only contestant to play an instrument tonight (in this case, the guitar).  I had no idea what to expect from this guy, because he wasn't really featured that much in the audition phase, and dreadlocks on a white boy scare me.  But he's really a genuinely sweet guy, and the rendition of this song makes me smile, even with the rough ending.  In fact, this is the most relaxed I've been for the entire show.  Thanks, dude.  Randy proclaims it was aigghtt, while Paula was blown away.  Simon felt it was in the top two performances of the night and thinks the song was current.  Well, I don't know about "current" (could that really be a hit today?), but I do agree that it was one of the better performances.  Ryan has to prop Jason up, because he's about to fall over.

Michael Johns (sings The Doors' "Light My Fire"): I'm waiting for this guy to live up to the hype.  I mean, he's a more polished rocker than most of the other contestants, but having watched two seasons of Rock Star, I've seen some pretty darn good undiscovered rock singers, and while this guy isn't bad, he's not in that league.  In fact, what I'm seeing here is someone who probably wanted to be on one of those shows and didn't make it, so he's somewhere in between - too experienced for Idol, but not quite passionate enough for Rock Star.  His performance tonight is like a faint echo of Jim Morrison.  And then Randy has the gall to compare him to Michael Hutchence.  What the...?  Is it because he has an Aussie accent?  Not a frickin' chance, dude.  J.D. and INXS should come over and kick your butt. Paula calls the performance a "great, great ending" to the show.  Simon calls Michael the most consistent of the contestants and says he's "got it."  Which means, of course, that he's in danger of becoming complacent.  Or boring.  Or both.  I'm anticipating a potential shocking(!!) boot of this guy somewhere in the top five.

So there we have it.  One night down, umpteen to go.  My top three would be Jason Castro and...well, I can't decide.  I enjoyed Jason C.'s performance enough to want to see him again.  The others were mostly solid, and I can get a sense of what each singer is like, but I can't really rank them yet.  I'd say that Chikezie, Luke, and Jason Yeager are in the most danger of being voted off at this point, though, and I wouldn't miss any of them.  But bring back Danny, please.  I need a good snarkalicious punching bag this year.

Eliminated on February 21 Results Show (in order announced):  Garrett Haley and Colton Berry

 

Review 2008 by Patricia Lowhorn.  For comments, e-mail tricia@lowhorn.org.

 

Season 7 Index | February 20 Review