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American Idol Season 7 (2008)

 

March 18 - I'd love to turrrrnnn youuuuu ooooffffff (Beatles songs)

 

America loves the Beatles so much (and Idol wants to take advantage of the rights it purchased so badly) that we're going to be treated to not just Lennon/McCartney tunes, but music by everyone in the band.  I'm supposed to be impressed that they've "expanded" the theme from last week, even though there's only one George Harrison song in the bunch.  Yeah, right.  Can't buy me love, Idol.  Seriously.

Amanda Overmyer (sings "Back in the U.S.S.R."): She claims she loves being on the big stage, but those flashing lights are taking more advantage of all that space than she is - she's only really working the people in the mosh pit - and the vocal performance is way too raw.  I like the energy in her voice, but now the Southern blues-rock thing is starting to get tedious, especially when it's more power than melody.  Randy says the song was pitchy in the beginning, which, you know, how can you tell when someone's screaming half the words?  Paula says it was a little ahead of the beat in the beginning, but when Amanda connects, she is who she is.  (I don't make this up, honest - Paula comes up with these pearls of wisdom all on her own.)  Simon calls the performance predictable and a bit of a mess at parts and says Amanda's in danger of being boring.  The judges suggest that she try a vulnerable ballad.  Amanda says ballads are boring and she wants people to see what her concerts would be like, so nyah to the judges.  Oh, brother.

Kristy Lee Cook (sings "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away"): She somehow manages to turn this into an overblown country ballad.  Ugh.  And where is her stage presence?  Oh, right...with her bottom-dwelling vocals.  Why, oh, why, did she beat out David Hernandez last week?  Please.  Go.  Home.  Randy calls it an interesting arrangement but wanted it to be more emotional.  Paula says this is the best that Kristy's ever looked (which is always a clue that the performance itself sucked), then says that the song was good but safe.  Simon says that Kristy needs hypnosis because she's not a good performer, although she's better this week than last.

David Archuleta (sings "The Long and Winding Road"): Ho-hum.  He sounds very nice, and I still think he has one of the best voices in this competition, but this performance is even more predictable and boring for me than Amanda's.  After last week's debacle, David comes across as, "I have spent hours and hours rehearsing this song, and I'm going to get it right."  But the judges are salivating over him.  Randy says he brought the hotness back, but he needs to take a few more chances.  Paula likes his purity and his ability to come back from adversity.  Simon thinks he's amazing.  The girls in the mosh pit are screaming.  Let the pimping begin.

Michael Johns (sings "A Day in the Life"): How can you condense this into a minute and a half?  The answer is: you can't.  That was a truly grotesque butcher job.  The camera circles him incessantly during his "aaaaah" segment, and I expect the cameraman to fall on the stage afterwards.  Michael's singing is as dull as always, but his stage presence will likely get him through to next week.  Randy says it wasn't his best performance or the best choice of songs.  Paula says he was better in dress rehearsal and blames the ear monitors - which Michael points out later that he's not wearing.  Oops.  Simon calls it a mess and too complicated for a minute and a half.  Michael says he chose the song in honor of his dead friend.  Look, I don't care.  Just pick the right song and deliver for once.

Brooke White (sings "Here Comes the Sun"): In that funky yellow dress, Brooke looks like she's wearing a banana peel.  She's all happy, happy, joy, joy, even if the song is in a key that's too low for her, which I guess was so she could do that little half-hearted high note at the end.  Bizarre little dance, too.  We love you, honey, but go back to the piano and guitar, please.  Randy thinks the performance was awkward, and it didn't quite gel for him.  Paula says you can't help but smile watching Brooke, but the song should have been more challenging.  Simon calls the performance terrible and wet.  Wet?  Brooke won't stop talking, saying she agrees with the judges, she's sorry, she knew this might not work, etc., etc.  Okay, we get it.  Shut up now.

David Cook (sings "Day Tripper"): He's doing the Whitesnake version of this.  Whitesnake.  Okay.  I'm thinking "Here I Go Again" meets the Beatles, and I expect Tawni Kittaen to writhe on stage in a red dress, but thankfully, that doesn't happen, and for the most part - shock! - this version works for me.  Well, I could have done without the Peter Frampton voice box thing; that was a bit gimmicky for the entire 10 seconds that David used it.  But the performance finally woke me up, even if - again - it was predictable.  What is it about the contestants this week?  Are they all going to stay in their nice, safe niches for the next ten weeks?  Randy calls it another solid "look" for him.  Paula says that David is ready to go sell records.  Simon says it wasn't as good as David thought it was and basically tells him to get over himself.

Carly Smithson (sings "Blackbird"): Well, thank you for mixing it up from your usual belting.  Unlike Brooke, she sings those low notes quite well.  Oh, whoops, she decided to have a key change that takes her back into belting territory, where she always looks like she's a Rock! Stah! in pain every time she hits a high note.  And the tempo feels rushed throughout, which I guess they did to fit the song into the 1.5 minute limit.  Eh.  For a while there, though, her voice was one of the best of the night.  Randy calls it a great, controlled, emotive performance.  Paula says she has an amazing tone to her voice.  Simon calls the song indulgent, and Carly talks about choosing it because all the contestants have been beaten down in the music industry, and now they're able to fly.  Oh, please - let's just prove Simon's point.  Later, she shows off her new tattoos.  Ugh.  Stop talking and get off the stage already.

Jason Castro (sings "Michelle"): Okay, he's predictable, too, and a bit campy with the performance.  He has this goofy smile on his face the whole time like, "Why are we singing Beatles again and why the heck did I choose this song?"  But he's so cute and laid back that I just want to hang out with him at a coffee house for a bit after the show.  Randy calls the performance too subdued and just aigghtt.  Paula says that Jason has a distinct charm about him, but he's getting disconnected from his songs when he's away from his guitar.  This actually makes sense to me.  Simon says that Jason's face sold that song, and he's lucky it's a TV show and not a radio show, because the voice would make Simon turn off the radio.

Syesha Mercado (sings "Yesterday"): If everyone else had been at the top of their game tonight, this performance would seem overwrought.  By default, though, it becomes one of the best performances of the night - it's different from her usual diva-esque selections, and she's at least portraying the emotion of the song.  But boy, am I depressed now.  What a dreary thing to sing on this show.  Randy says she gave a very, very good performance.  Paula likes how she showed her vulnerability but wants her to connect with the audience some more.  Simon calls it her best performance so far and says it should keep her in the competition.

Chikezie (sings "I've Just Seen a Face"): It was...different.  Sort of a slow R&B thing at the beginning, and then Chikezie breaks out the harmonica (which he just learned to play this week - and it shows) and goes into a speed-demon country version.  Did we not learn from Kristy's mauling last week that you can't do that to Beatles songs?  Step away from the country, please.  Randy says he didn't get the slow part, and he calls the harmonica strange, but he liked the fast part.  Paula thinks that Chikezie is showing who he is, which I guess is all over the place.  Simon says the song started out okay, but the harmonica was atrocious, and it turned into "Achy, Breaky Heart" at the end.  Oh, slam.  At least we don't have a stupid dance out of this one.

Ramiele Malubay (sings "I Should Have Known Better"): They usually save the best performances for last.  So why they stuck Ramiele's boring, straightforward rendition here, I don't know.  It was just all sorts of meh.  Randy likes the confidence Ramiele shows, even though the performance didn't do much for him.  Paula wants Ramiele to show what she's got.  Simon criticizes the harmonica player and the arrangement and then says the whole thing was amateurish.  Well, gee, thanks.  The band hopes they don't get voted into the bottom 3, I'm sure.

Overall, this week wasn't nearly as good as last week.  Most of the contestants were too predictable or just made some dumb choices.  But I'll attempt a real ranking this time:

1. Syesha - It was not the most exciting, emotional thing I've ever heard, but it was different, she showed some vulnerability, and she didn't go overboard in a diva dive bomb.  So she took more of a risk than...
2. David Cook - Ego notwithstanding, I did like his voice on this better than last week, even if that was a dumb use of the voice box.  And he doesn't look like he's trying to take a dump when he hits his high notes, unlike...
3. Carly - I'm impressed with her vocals more than her tattoos.  Her low notes were more interesting to me tonight than the usual ballad stuff by...
4. David Archuleta - He just didn't look as confident on stage as I'd hoped he'd be.  Still, his vocals are much stronger than...
5. Jason - I put him here just because I'd like to be his buddy.  And he didn't scream at me, which was the problem with...
6. Amanda - I'll acknowledge that she was true to herself tonight, and she was more consistent than...
7. Brooke - Bad song choice, and she's even imitating the way Meg Ryan wouldn't shut up in When Harry Met Sally now.  But she's cuter than...
8. Chikezie - That was a mess, although I have to give him credit for wanting to try something new.  I really wish that the contestants wouldn't try to pick up instruments (him) or effects (David C.) for the first time in their lives while being on this show, though.  If you haven't been doing it all your life, now's not the time to start.  Still, his weird arrangement and sad harmonica playing were more interesting than...
9. Michael - I'm so tired of this guy not delivering the goods.  Hit the bottom 3 already.  He has slightly better stage presence, though, than...
10. Ramiele - Just too boring.  But the person I really want to leave is...
11. Kristy - She's overstayed her welcome by about four weeks now.

Bottom 3 (in order announced on March 19 Results Show):  Carly Smithson, Kristy Lee Cook, Amanda Overmyer

Eliminated:  Amanda Overmyer

 

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

 

March 11 Review | Season 7 Index | March 25 Review