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American Idol Season 7 (2008)

 

April 15 - I don't wanna cry (so please make it stop) (Mariah Carey songs) 

 

Tonight, Mariah Carey is the guest mentor, and the contestants are singing her songs.  While I admit that Mariah has an incredible range and a unique voice, I'm not a fan of her songs at all.  So you can imagine how breathless with excitement I am at the prospect of tonight's show.

David Archuleta (sings "When You Believe"): David listens to Mariah's music all the time and is a quivering bundle of nerves when he meets her, even though she's proud of him.  And wow!  How surprising!  He picks a schmaltzy ballad with a positive message (just like every week), he sounds great (just like every week), and he makes all the pre-teens squeal (just like every week).  So it doesn't matter that he's in the dreaded #1 slot of the evening, where most contestants go to die, because all his fans will vote for him in droves.  Zzzzzzzz.  Just hand the crown to him now, okay?  Randy says David can sing anything.  Paula believes Mariah was beaming at him (what, she's looking down on him from heaven?).  Simon calls it very good and says David set the benchmark for the night.

Carly Smithson (sings "Without You"): Carly's tattoos are covered tonight, thank goodness, but in her interview with Ryan she talks incessantly about how boring life is without Michael Johns.  Shut up already.  Mariah thinks Carly did an amazing job in rehearsals.  Carly makes a smart choice by singing a song that Mariah covered - not an original of Mariah's - so she shouldn't necessarily be compared to Mariah.  And she's actually pretty good.  She doesn't pull her trademark scary face until the end of the song, and she never looks like she wants to take a dump on stage.  Randy likes that she challenged herself but wants her to have more confidence in her lower range.  Paula likes her vocal restraint.  Simon believes she's overthinking and the version was only okay when compared with Mariah's.  Gee, I guess he never heard of Harry Nilsson.  Ppphht.

Syesha Mercado (sings "Vanishing"): Mariah thinks that Syesha was cool and composed, even though she has to coach her on the correct notes.  Mariah's songs are right up Syesha's alley, and she'd definitely win a Mariah karaoke contest, because she sounds a lot like her on this song.  Scary.  Randy calls it the toughest song of the night and says she did a good job on it.  Paula calls her extremely smart for picking a song not many people know, so she can't be compared so easily to Mariah, and then blathers about tonight being magical.  There must be pixie dust in her Coke.  Simon says that technically the performance was very good, but he says it was a risky choice of songs because not many people know it.  Then he says that David Archuleta is the one to beat.  Winner, anyone?

Brooke White (sings "Hero"): Brooke missed her sister's wedding because she was rehearsing with Mariah.  Boo hoo.  Mariah thinks Brooke is genuine as a person and tells her to be real when she sings.  Brooke plays her safety blanket piano, and...well, I really don't like this song, and I like it even less with Brooke singing it, because there's not much variety in her voice and there are some pitch issues.  But she and David A. can headline a Save the Children fundraiser somewhere.  Randy likes the singer-songwriter vibe but thinks she started faltering at the bridge.  Paula says that every ounce of Brooke is unique to who she is.  Whatever.  Simon calls the performance a bit like ordering a hamburger and only getting a bun.  Sort of a reverse no-carb diet.  So then the judges go on about how much meat is between the bun, saved only by Ryan telling the audience that if they want to order takeout, vote for Brooke.  Oy vey.

Kristy Lee Cook (sings "Forever"): Mariah got goosebumps listening to Kristy.  And yee haw, she makes this song into an "I-Lost-My-Baby-At-the-Country-Bar" dirge.  Kill me now.  Randy doesn't think it was amazing, but he tells her she stepped up near the end.  Paula calls her smart, and she's blown away, and she keeps talking and talking and talking.  Simon says he didn't get chills, and he believes the performance was a bit whiny.  A bit?

David Cook (sings "Always Be My Baby"): Mariah was surprised at his selection but likes what he does with it.  The orchestra almost overwhelms him, but the arrangement is really unique.  Not so emo-rock that I roll my eyes at his predictability, yet not schmaltzy at all.  In fact, he almost makes me like the song. (I did not just say that, did I?  Slap me, please.)  Randy says David is ready to make an album and calls his performance the most brilliant one of the evening.  Paula says it could be in a movie soundtrack right now.  Simon says it was like coming out of karaoke hell and into a breath of fresh air.  This causes David to start crying.  Watch the votes flow in, folks.

Jason Castro (sings "I Don't Wanna Cry"): Mariah says his choice is interesting.  Hmm - sounds like the least enthusiastic she's been about a contestant.  However, Jason does his coffeehouse thing, adds a Spanish flair to it, and delivers the second-most unique arrangement of the evening.  Me likey, if for no other reason than it's different, and he looks like he's connecting with the lyrics (unlike his "Me-shell" love song debacle a few weeks ago).  Randy doesn't get it, though, and thinks he was at a luau.  No, Randy, that would be last week.  Paula says she'd love to be at that luau and listen to Jason all night long.  Simon agrees with Paula and says that the guys completely won the night.  Yeah.  What he said.

My rankings:

1. David Cook - For giving a totally unique spin to a song.
2. Jason - For giving a totally Jason spin to a song.
3. David Archuleta - For giving a totally perfect vocal rendition of a song.
4. Syesha - For giving a totally spot-on karaoke version of Mariah.
5. Carly - For giving a totally crap-free performance.
6. Brooke - For giving a totally boring performance.
7. Kristy - For giving a totally cringe-worthy performance. GO HOME!

Bottom 3 (as announced on April 16 Results Show):  Kristy Lee Cook, Brooke White, Syesha Mercado

Eliminated:  Kristy Lee Cook (thank you, America!)

 

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

 

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