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American Idol Season 7 (2008)
March 11 - Got to get you out of my life (Lennon/McCartney songs)
We have new opening credits and a new stage, the band is up in the rafters with the mother ship, and Simon is wearing a new white shirt unbuttoned halfway down his chest. Oooh. Ahhhh. Ick.
The rights holders of the Lennon/McCartney songbook wanted to make a quick buck...er...were supposedly so thrilled at the talent of the top 12 this year, that they decided to allow them to sing Beatles songs. Let's see how the kiddies who barely know who the Beatles are going to manage with this theme.
Syesha Mercado (sings "Got To Get You Into My Life"): She does a variation of the Earth, Wind & Fire version, and it's...okay. Just okay. There are pitch issues at the beginning, and she's sort of meandering around the stage a little like she's not quite sure how to deal with all that space. Not the most exciting way to start the show, but about what I expected. Randy recognizes the EW&F version and then says it was aigghht. Paula calls Syesha a good singer, points out the early pitch problems, and says she was great midway through to the end. This is the last coherent thing Paula says all evening. Simon calls it a great choice of song but says that Syesha looked nervous.
Chikezie (sings "She's a Woman"): Well. I'm shocked. And not because of that ugly argyle vest. That was good. I mean, really good. Who'd have thunk it? It starts off with a Southern bluegrass flavor, then goes to this rocked out version that surprises me so much, I don't type a word until he's through. He's got falsetto, he can rock, he's got soul. Wow. Good job, dude. Randy says, "Who knew?" and claims that Chikezie "smashed" it. Paula says "the reward paid off" (yeah, she means the risk paid off - I warned you). Simon is surprised because he actually agrees with the other judges for once. Then Ryan and Chikezie jump around the stage together like human pogo sticks, and I think Ryan is on Paula's drugs.
Ramiele Malubay (sings "In My Life"): The people in the mosh pit are waving their hands with no discernible rhythm. Stop that. As for the song...this is a very pretty, butterflies-and-puppies-and-flowers arrangement, and Ramiele's voice is sweet, but it's not really much of a challenge for her. It's like Celine Dion-lite, less filling with half the power. And the judges are having none of it. Randy thinks the performance was boring. Paula says Ramiele looks lovely, then says that the selection was too safe. Simon claims that he was bored to tears and that he expects a lot better from her. Randy then feels he has to point out once again that it was really, really boring. I'm thinking they're a bit harsh here - she didn't go off pitch like Syesha, and she has a more interesting voice. She just needs to pick a song to really distinguish herself.
Jason Castro (sings "If I Fell"): He's back to playing the guitar, and this time he's sitting down. He's doing his folksy thing with this song, of course. I like his quirky voice, and I'm thinking that I could listen to a recording of this, but I do think that him just sitting with a guitar and doing the same sort of arrangement week after week is going to get boring after a while. Randy likes it but doesn't love it because of the little switches in the melody (um, okay, but didn't others do that, too?). Paula feels Jason's heart and thinks the audience does, too. Simon thinks the performance was "student in the bedroom at midnight," and he was bored, but he thinks that Jason will easily get through to next week.
Carly Smithson (sings "Come Together"): The stylist filled out her pencil-thin eyebrows a little, which makes her look more human, although I wish they could do something about the ugly tattoos on her arm. So distracting. As for her singing...hooray! She's finally starting to live up to the hype! She's confident, she looks like she's connecting with both the song and the audience, and the vocals are her most solid yet (of course, that might have something to do with the fact that she says she's been performing this song forever, but we'll overlook that for now). That was pretty hawt, to borrow one of Randy's overused words. Randy calls her strong and confident, dude, and says she was stellar. Paula feels she was already watching a star. Simon says that Carly finally chose the right song and compares her to Kelly Clarkson. Carly won't stop gushing over the judges, which sort of leaves me with a little slimy feeling. Eeuw. Go away now.
David Cook (sings "Eleanor Rigby"): They got that emo-boy skunk look out of his hair, thank goodness. Naturally, he does what he always does and rocks up the song. He does a good job, and the arrangement is decent, but I'm a little disoriented. Everyone likes this guy, and the audience is screaming over him. But I'm thinking, "Does he understand the lyrics? If so, why is he smiling? Why is he yelling about the lonely people? And why do all these rockers think a fast vibrato sounds good?" Randy says that this proves you can rock out on Idol (I guess Chris Daughtry didn't do that, huh?). Paula says that this proves there's more than one horse in this game. Simon calls the performance brilliant and says that David could win the entire show.
Brooke White (sings "Let It Be"): Brooke plays the piano and gives a bit of a country twang to the song. I like the vocals - there's a lot of emotion there - but she needs to learn how to perform when sitting at the piano, because she looked a little frantic trying to watch both the camera and the keyboard. Still, she's a definite keeper. Randy loves her conviction and says he's a fan. Paula likes the way she connects with her songs. Simon says it's once again one of the best performances of the night. Brooke is crying now from the entire overwhelming experience of being in the top 12, and I actually don't roll my eyes. She comes across as that genuine. Sheesh - maybe I need to start taking Paula's drugs.
David Hernandez (sings "I Saw Her Standing There"): Not the best song for his soulful voice, and he tries to save it by adding a few wails and runs, but it doesn't really work. Maybe if he incorporated some of that gay stripper act that all the news sources were talking about last week, I'd be more interested. Randy feels it was a little too overdone. So does Paula. Simon calls the performance "corny, verging on desperate." David promises to tone it down next week...if he's there.
Amanda Overmyer (sings "You Can't Do That"): Amanda is smiling tonight, which is a refreshing change. I don't recognize this song (it was apparently the B-side to "Can't Buy Me Love"), but I like the bluesy-rock thing she does. She just needs to utilize the stage some more and e-nun-ci-ate, because I'm pretty sure that "eyuh, eyuh, eyuh" is not English. Randy says she brought the song to a Southern bar and rocked it out. Paula is blown away. Simon doesn't like this song as much as last week, and he and Paula start getting catty with each other. Kids, kids, kids. The litter box is outside.
Michael Johns (sings "Across the Universe"): He spends the entire song looking like he's in pain, and the orchestra is a little overwrought in this arrangement. Vocally, he's still not doing much for me. He sings, he's on pitch, but he just sort of stands there - there's nothing exciting about his performance at all. Randy finds the song a little sleepy and says that Michael could have changed some notes around (but I guess Jason isn't permitted to do the same thing - whatever). Paula thinks he showed quiet confidence and calls it a brilliant performance. Simon agrees with Randy and calls it monotonous. He tries to compare it to Carly's performance and has to ask Randy what "that Irish girl's name" is. I'm sure Carly appreciates that backstage.
Kristy Lee Cook (sings "Eight Days a Week"): Well, yee haw. Just when I thought I had no one to throw popcorn at tonight, Kristy comes out with this absolutely horrid, rapid-fire country performance. For something that's so fast, it can't be over with fast enough. I'm sure it's being played at the speed at which John Lennon is spinning in his grave. Please. Stop. Randy calls it a half-and-halfer for him - half of him liked it, the other half didn't. Paula actually admits that she didn't like it and didn't get it. Simon calls it horrendous and says Kristy sounded like Dolly Parton on helium.
David Archuleta (sings "We Can Work It Out"): Oh. My. The Chosen One actually forgot the words. Several times. And he shows it. The kid's uncomfortable, he's not doing well with this Stevie Wonder version, and I'm so embarrassed for him right now that I can barely look at him. What a turnaround. Randy says that this wasn't David's vibe. Paula tells him never to let forgotten lyrics show on his face. Simon calls it a mess and his weakest performance so far. And now I'm thinking that the door's just been kicked wide open for someone else to win this thing. Yikes.
Even though we ended on a rather bum note, this week turned out to be far better than I thought it would be. A few people delivered, a few people surprised me, and there was only one real clunker in the bunch. As such, the rankings are really close for me, and I'm having to put people in groups rather than give them a straight one-through-twelve ranking. (And within each ranking, I'm listing them alphabetically, because they're just that close for me.)
The top performers:
Brooke - real emotion, although the performance skills need work
Carly - finally starting to deliver
Chikezie - the biggest surprise of the night
The "I Don't Know Where the Heck to Place This Guy" second tier:
David Cook - because I'm so confused
The solid third tier:
Amanda - I like the arrangement and her attitude, but I need to understand the words
Jason - as reliable as always, but he's starting to get too predictable
The "Boring But Will Be Back Next Week" fourth tier:
Michael - solid vocals and nice eye candy, but zzzzzzz
Ramiele - nice but safe vocals
The "What Were They Thinking?" fifth tier:
David Archuleta - come here, little puppy, and I'll hug you for a while
David Hernandez - not a great song selection, but at least he stayed on pitch
Syesha - pitch issues and nerves will kill ya
Go home now:
Kristy - but her country fans will probably rally around her to save her, which means that someone from the fourth or fifth tier is likely to go home. Rats.
Bottom 3 (in order announced on March 12 Results Show): Syesha Mercado, Kristy Lee Cook, David Hernandez
Eliminated: David Hernandez
Review © 2008 by Patricia Lowhorn. For comments, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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