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American Idol Season 7 (2008)


April 29 - Thank the Lord for the Night's End (Neil Diamond songs) 

Tonight we are treated to not one, but two Neil Diamond songs from each contestant.  Gag me.  The only saving grace here is that the contestants are limited to singing probably one to one and a half minutes of each song, and the judges don't comment fully until after everyone's performed.  Unfortunately, they're also permitted to speak very quickly after the first round.  At that point, we learn that Randy doesn't like Jason or Brooke.  Paula starts rambling about Jason's second song, which he hasn't sung yet.  Simon mercifully cuts her off as she blasts into space.  Simon hates everyone and tells them to do better.

As for Neil, he acts and talks like he's 100, not 67.  He's so not there for the mentoring sessions.  Sigh...  This show can't be over soon enough.

Jason Castro (sings "Forever In Blue Jeans" and "September Morn"): Neil thinks Jason - who forgot his lyrics at the mentoring session - will do great.  Gee, that's helpful advice.  "Blue Jeans" is predictable but kind of cute, in that sickly 70s way, complete with Jason on guitar and a sappy string section.  "September Morn"...well, only Neil can get away with that shtick.  And Jason knows it, too.  After the second song, Randy says Jason was just okay.  Paula wants him to get outside his comfort zone.  Simon says this isn't the Jason they put into the competition.  At this point, Jason just looks like he wants to go home.  After singing that dreck, I don't blame him.

David Cook (sings "I'm Alive" and "All I Really Need Is You"): Neil got goosebumps at David's "gutsy" choice of unknown songs.  The first song David rocks out, but it's such a tedious, repetitive tune that one minute of it is one minute too many.  "All I Really Need" is better, even though it's clearly meant for Neil's voice.  I like the vulnerability in David's performance, though, and the fact that it sounded fresher than anyone else's performances tonight.  Randy is a huge David Cook fan now.  Paula is so proud of him (*sniff*).  Simon thinks the first song was okay but the second song was brilliant, as he made it sound contemporary.  Agreed.

Brooke White (sings and "I'm a Believer" and "I Am...I Said"): Neil was pleasantly surprised by Brooke and allows her to change the words of the second song to suit her background better.  Brooke tries to do the Shrek version of "I'm a Believer" and it sucks, because it's too low for her.  Well, except for the "woo."  Help me.  "I Am...I Said" is just boring, although at least she tried to put some emotion into it and didn't forget the words this time.  Randy says she did a nice job.  Paula likes her vulnerability.  Simon really hated the first song, but says the second song - while not incredible - was a million times better.

Someone in the audience has a sign that reads "My husband has a man-crush on Seacrest."  Take that as you will, America.

David Archuleta (sings "Sweet Caroline" and "America"): Neil says David is uncertain about how to end a song, but he calls him a prodigy.  David is okay on "Caroline" - he at least looks like he's having fun.  On "America," his voice is fine (except for one noticeable crack), and singing this tune is sure to bring in all the patriotic votes, but - and I really, really hate to say this - Neil Diamond brought more grit to the original version.  This was sort of "America Lite" for me.  For the most part, though, the judges don't think little David can do any wrong.  Randy says he's in the zone.  Paula calls "America" the perfect choice for him.  Simon agrees, but probably more because the choice was smart rather than the vocals were stellar.

Syesha Mercado (sings "Hello Again" and "Thank the Lord for the Night Time"): Neil thinks Syesha did very well and wants to clap along with her.  Syesha sounds the best of the singers in the first set of five, at least until she goes into diva mode.  Must...kill...seventies...key...change.  "Thank the Lord" is a good choice for her because of the gospel groove, and she enjoys herself with it, even if it's not a particularly original arrangement.  Randy thinks she's finally realizing where she belongs - in theater.  Doing!  Paula rambles something.  After calling this the strangest show they've ever done, Simon says that Syesha is a very good actress/singer, but he thinks she may be in trouble tonight because she didn't have a really memorable performance.

My rankings:

1. David Cook - I wasn't impressed with the first song, but the second song was the most original and contemporary-sounding one of the night.
2. Syesha - Two solid if not overly impressive performances, and the best, most consistent vocals of the lot tonight.
3. David Archuleta - His voice is good, but these songs need more edge than he was able to provide.
4. Brooke - The first song stank up the place, but she at least put a little heartfelt emotion into the second song.
5. Jason - Jason, Jason, Jason. Please let him go now so he can start making some hippy-dippy CDs, mmkay?

Bottom 2 (as announced on April 30 Results Show):  Syesha Mercado and Brooke White

Eliminated:  Brooke White


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


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