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American Idol Season 7 (2008)

 

April 1 - It's all wrong, but it's (turning out) all right (Dolly Parton songs)

 

Tonight we have the first mentor of the season - Dolly Parton.  Since I'm not a fan of country music, and I'm only familiar with a handful of Parton's songs (at least, of her singing them), I fully expect to know less than half the selections tonight.  As it turns out, I know three.  And Dolly is so nice that her comments are basically all variations of, "This person sounds really good."  Sigh...  But at least I should have some good performances, right?  Right?

Brooke White (sings "Jolene"): Dolly says Brooke is sweet and warm. Brooke says Dolly is a tiny person but huge.  Thankfully, I missed the computer keyboard when I spit up my drink at that comment.  Brooke performs competently enough, although I'm more impressed with the musicians than her singing.  The song just stays in a limited range for so long, and her face doesn't communicate much in the way of connection to the words, so it wasn't that exciting.  Randy doesn't think it was a stellar performance, but it was aiight.  Paula says that what's great about Brooke is that she's consistent.  She and Brooke then have a girlfest about how great their hair looks.  Ugh.  Simon doesn't feel that there was any emotion in the song, and he claims it wasn't one of Brooke's best performances.

David Cook (sings "Little Sparrow"): Dolly says that David seems secure in himself, and she thinks his voice is beautiful.  I'm not familiar with this song, but I guess it was okay.  I like the arrangement and what he did with his voice - which showed off his range pretty well - although I wish he would have enunciated a little better.  All I know from his sloppy pronunciation is that this is a song warning a woman to stay away from handsome men.  Randy calls it another hawt, consistent performance.  Paula admires David's haircut, then says his performance shows how well-rounded he is.  Simon doesn't think it was as impressive as last week, but he made a song about sparrows good, so congratulations to him.

Ramiele Malubay (sings "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind"): Dolly thinks Ramiele is cute and tiny.  Vocally, her performance is okay but not remarkable.  Ramiele bounces her way through the song, and, like Brooke, it looks like she has no idea what she's singing.  Or maybe she's still suffering leftover nerves from meeting Dolly.  Whatever the case, she's just totally out of her comfort zone here, and it shows.  Randy once again calls it aigght.  Paula is proud of her and thinks she connected with the audience.  Simon says the performance was cute but forgettable.

Jason Castro (sings "Travelin' Thru"): Dolly thinks Jason went a little outside himself, but it's a natural piece for him.  Well, he certainly looks like he connected with his selection more than anyone else tonight so far, and to me, he seems to be taking it a lot more seriously than last week.  He sounds stronger, too.  Randy calls the performance pretty good.  Paula says it's one of his stronger performances.  Simon, however, claims that he doesn't get it.  Then again, I distinctly remember him saying in a previous season that he doesn't get country music in general, so this comment is useless.

Carly Smithson (sings "Here You Come Again"): Dolly thinks Carly made a good choice and "killed" it.  Carly slows this down, and if you take out the sappy violins, I kind of like it.  In fact, if I don't look at her, it sounds pretty good.  But she keeps smiling inappropriately, making it look like she's more into her voice than into the song, and she applauds herself for it later.  Uhh...whatever.  Randy thinks that this will be one of the better performances of the night.  Paula salivates.  Simon calls the performance good but not great and says that Carly needs to talk with her stylist, because she doesn't look like a star.  He then insists that he likes country music, and I'm like, "Yeah, when Dolly Parton is around."

David Archuleta (sings "Smokey Mountain Memories"): Dolly says that he was so into it that she was having a hard time keeping her false eyelashes in place because she wanted to cry (side note: I do love that Dolly doesn't take herself too seriously).  David's voice is finally back to being really good for me - smooth and strong - and he looks like he connects with the words.  Thank goodness, because for a while there he just seemed to be like a little lost puppy that someone had left outside in the rain.  Welcome back, son.  Randy calls it the best performance of the night.  Paula says he has a beautiful aura about him.  Simon says that this week David's absolutely on the money.

Kristy Lee Cook (sings "Coat of Many Colors"): Dolly says Kristy's mom will be proud of her.  Kristy's head keeps bouncing like a bobblehead in the backseat window, but her voice is perfect for this straight-on country version.  Yee-haw.  I guess she'll be around for one more week.  Randy says that country music is definitely her "wheelhouse."  Paula calls it her best performance.  Simon calls it pleasant but forgettable.

Syesha Mercado (sings "I Will Always Love You"): Dolly likes the way Syesha combined her simple arrangement with the Whitney version.  I'm not sure that I'm that excited by it, because it just sounds like she didn't know what version she wanted to sing.  By the time she goes into full diva mode, it's clear she doesn't have Whitney's pipes - though she obviously has a great deal of lung power to hold that one note for so long.  But please, please, do not sit on the piano.  It's not a torch song, for crying out loud.  Randy says she did pretty good.  Paula stumbles over whatever it was she was saying.  Simon calls the performance good but not fantastic, and he thinks that the song choice hurt Syesha.

Michael Johns (sings "It's All Wrong, But It's All Right"): Dolly likes his voice and says she could write some good songs for him.  As for his performance, it's strong, bluesy, genuinely sexy... I'd go on, but I have to stop and fan myself now.  Whew.  Is he going to start surprising me like this every week?  If so, I'm going to need to invest in an extra freezer for all the ice I'll need to cool myself down.  Dang, boy, where have you been hiding this season?  Randy calls it a blazing hot performance.  Paula calls Michael a rock star and a blues star and probably every other kind of star in the sky.  Simon says that this is the best he's heard Michael sing.  Which, like, yeah.  [*insert heavy panting here*]

My rankings this week:

1. Michael - Could someone turn on the A/C now?
2. David Archuleta - He's ba-a-a-ck. Yay!
3. Carly - Very good as long as I didn't have to look at her, which is probably what I could say for almost every performance of hers.
4. David Cook - Strong vocals, but the song didn't have the punch of his earlier efforts.
5. Jason - Unlike Simon, I got it.
6. Kristy - She's definitely a country girl.
7. Brooke - The vocals were so-so, but I liked the arrangement.
8. Syesha - It would have been better if she could have decided which singer she wanted to be.
9. Ramiele - Oh...did she sing?

Bottom 3 (in order announced on April 2 Results Show):  Ramiele Malubay, Kristy Lee Cook, Brooke White

Eliminated:  Ramiele Malubay

 

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

 

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