Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Blogging American Idol

So, I'll just keep some notes on the singing and try to avoid the rest. This is the best American Idol for talent in a while, I think ... and it is a guilty pleasure, for sure. The songs tonight will all be by John Lennon and Paul McCartney ... wow ... an old hippie's delight.

Syesha Mercado: Got to Get You into My Life

Boy, she took the wind out of that song ... seemed a little lounge-act to me. She's been deeper in the past, but this one was flat and not very much. Nice voice. I just don't think she had an idea of how to approach this. [Simon liked it, thought she was nervous, but the others were kind of split.] Sweet gal, everybody probably likes her ... but not an idol.

Chikezie: She's a Woman

Wow! Starts all bluegrassy, and then rocks down. He just cut right loose and let 'em have it. He was so restrained before, so night club. But this was just rockin. I have never heard that song like that before. [Randy loved it. Pauls oozed with joy. Simon too ... wow!] He just plain smashed that out of the park!

Ramiele Malubay: In My Life

Cheesy, cheesy ... the audience is waving. This gal probably has a big career in the Philippines if she wants it because they love this kind of smarmy schlock. But there is nothing exciting in this. The thing with this year is the thrills ... and she is trying to woo us rather than blow us away ["Kind of pretty but kind of boring" says Randy. And Simon was bored to tears. Right. Forgettable.] She is better than that ... but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Jason Castro: If I Fell

I think this was a bad choice for him because it challenged his voice ... and left him just being sentimental. I adore this guy, and his earlier pieces have been mindblowing. This one fell flat. Nothing really there. Really disappointing. [Randy isn't convinced. Paula adored it, of course ... she's like me, she just wants to sweep him up and take him home. Simon says "a little bit student in a bedroom at midnight" ... exactly.] I agree with Simon. This was a bad choice, and he needs to think it out a little more. Why didn't he do Yesterday?

Carly Smithson: Come Together

Competent, strutting, a little slow. I wish I could sing like that, but I don't think I'd buy the record. This seems like a retrospective for somebody who doesn't have a public past yet. Yawn. Half rocker, half vixen, mostly forgettable. [Randy loved it, Paula loved it ... said she felt she was already watching a star ... Simon liked it too.] Well, I was cold, but I guess I was wrong.

David Cook: Eleanor Rigby

This guy's rendition of Lionel Ritchie's Hello almost brought me to tears. Probably not the right song, but this guy uses his voice. He articulates and tells the story the way he sees it. So this is the most original version of Eleanor Rigby I have heard since the Beetles did it. Good, but not quite out of the park like his Hello. [Randy has the pitch problems things. Paula thinks he is a thoroughbred. Simon thought it was brilliant.] This guy has got a career regardless. Wow.

Brooke White: Let It be

No drama, but moving in its simplicity. She has a little country edge in her voice that would rock if she could let it rip. But this song seems too deep for her. She can't do the saffron version, she can't make it her own, so she just drove down the middle and tried to let the innate quality of her voice carry it. There's more to greatness than that. [Randy talks about conviction and heartfelt performance ... daming with faint praise. Paula feels her heart. Simon thought it was one of the best of the night!] I agree with Simon that it is believable, but I want to be moved and this didn't quite do it. Maybe it flew above my head.

David Hernandez: I Saw Her Standing There

I think he is trying to do too much with this. It is a good old hard-rockin song in the 50s sense of rock. It is challenging the lower registers of his voice, too. He had a little trouble figuring out if this was rock or blues. Last week, he rocked our worlds. A little confusing this week. [Randy thinks it was overdone. Paula thinks he overdid it too. Simon says no, no, no ... corny verging on desperate.] I think he is a little desperate because he is the one known to have been a gay stripper, so I think he might have been pandering. A real drag because his Papa Was a Rollin Stone was knee buckling. Hope he survives.

Amanda Overmyer: You Can't Do That

So damned professional. She makes you believe, and takes command of the song. I think also that knowing what she believes in it means that it strikes one note hard ... this is what she makes of the song, and you have to buy it. Really impressive. Rocks the house. [Randy says she rocked it out Southern bar style. Paula agrees this is the best season of talent. Simon thought not as good as last week.] You know, the more I think about it, I loved this one. Simon missed it.

Michael Johns: Across the Universe

This is just pure voice ... nothing's going to change my world ... you believe because the sweet styling make you need to believe. It is a little corny, and maybe it gets a little too orchestral. But it is sad, and the styling remind you of the man behind the lyrics. I believe. [Randy was waiting for something big. Paula gets the inner strength in doing nothing but sing ... she says brilliant. Simon agrees with Randy ... should have done something brilliant ... solid, but you have to let yourself go.] Hmmm. The guys are playing down a little this week, and maybe Simon is right.

Kristy Lee Cook: Eight Days a Week

Country style. What a voice ... but she's rushing it a little. Take it back a little, and this is one of the most original Beetles covers you could imagine. What's the hurry. Great inflection in that country style. But the rush to git on with it means that she can't ornament the moments. But what a voice. [Randy thought it forced. Paula thought it too country, didn't get it. Simon thought it horrendous ... Dolly Parton on helium.] I still think she should have stepped back and given it some time.

David Archuleta: We Can Work It Out

I call this kid "the Dimple" ... he has the most incredible raw talent. He almost has to win. He seemed to forget some of the words in a weird way ... but then he took it over and made it his own. This is teeny bopper pop at its best. Still, he had a lot of trouble with this song, and only his underlying strength as a singer pushed him through. Disappointing. [Randy says it is not on point. Paula still loves him. Simon says it was a mess.] It was his weakest performance so far. This is where being 17 is tough because there's no experience to fall back on when the raw incredible talent falls flat. I still think he should win it.

I figure that Ramiele and David Hernandez are gone. That said, this was disappointing, not nearly what I expected, especially of the guys. Still, Chikezie and David Cook were the winners, with Amanda and Carly close behind. On balance, the choice of Lennon/McCartney seemed right but was obviously wrong ... those are tough songs to cover and require a lot more polish than one might expect from newbies and wannabes.

BTW, I skip the kill 'em off shows and just check the Internet the next day ... I can't stand the pain.

Photos from the American Idol web site, of earlier performances.

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