Wednesday, March 12, 2008

hey dudes, don't make it bad...

Somewhere in heaven, John Lennon is crying.

The final 12 - the best. talent. ever. - took to the big stage to open the finals of the seventh season by getting the opportunity no Idol cast has ever had: to open the pages of the Lennon/McCartney songbook, tear out the pages and turn them into spitballs.

Because THIS is American Idol.

But more on that in a bit.

First things first. Ryan shows us the new stage. I'm not impressed. And I don't like the band in the rafters. And I hate the so-called "mosh pit" of screaming people posing a distraction to me and the performers. And I'm sad to see the traditional opening replaced by this new and improved model, although I will give it a few weeks to sink in before I decide I don't like it.

Those changes, however, were merely cosmetic, and should have prepared me for the whiplash of love and hate I was going to spend the next two hours experiencing.

Best. Talent. Ever.

Rethink that line, Randy.

Nevertheless, here they are, my impressions, biased and emotional as they are, a day later as normal and, as always, from worst to first.

Kristy Lee Cook (Eight Days a Week). Potentially the worst finals performance ever in the history of mankind. What she did to this song was unspeakable. Therefore, I will not speak of it.

David Archuletta (We Can Work it Out). Normally when a performer fluffs the lyrics in the finals, that performer is automatically put at the end (or in this case, the beginning) of the line, but David #1 is fortunate enough to go last, following Kristy, which is the only thing that saves him from the bottom. Flubbing the lyrics is unforgivable at this stage of the game, and it's especially unforgivable when it's a classic song. The wonderboy stumbles right out of the gate, never gets any semblance of footing and proceeds to thoroughly destroy this song, justifiably getting his guts ripped out by the judges for the first time this season.

David Hernandez (I Saw Her Standing There). Lucky for David #3, David #1 flubbed his lines. I give David #3 points for using the stage, both in front of and behind the judges, and I give him props for wardrobe, but that's where any praise begins and ends. This was an out-of-breath, over-wrought mess, which should land him standing on the stage tonight.

Ramiele Malubay (In My Life). This is a simple, beautiful, elegant, poignant song. And better suited for the studio than for the stage. Ramiele has a beautiful voice, and her vocals were fine, but she proved that a poor song selection, even performed adequately, does not keep you in the game.

Syesha Mercado (Got to Get You Into My Life). Oh what she could have done with the Beatles version instead of Earth, Wind and Fire's. But whatever. Leading off the show, her performance is not offensive, but not memorable either. In fact, I had forgotten all about her until the ending retrospective of performances. But in that retrospect, she wasn't all that bad. And on a night like this, that's high praise.

Amanda Overmyer (You Can't Do That). Simon was exactly right when he told the rocker that this performance wasn't on par with the performance from the week before, and I might have placed Amanda higher if I had understood at least 30 percent of the lyrics. But I couldn't. So I didn't. But on a night of song slaughter, she wasn't all that bad, and it was entertaining.

[The following six performances saved the show. I am struggling to order them, because I enjoyed each of them so much, that they really could be interchangeable, and I would be satisfied. So, while I will fall short of calling it a tie, it's as close as one.]

Michael Johns (Across the Universe). This is such a pretty song. And Michael delivered it exactly as it should be delivered: simply and elegantly. He gets unfairly slammed for not "making the song his own". Note to Simon: when the song is great, you don't mess with it. Otherwise you get Kristy Lee.

Jason Castro (If I Fell). I really enjoyed Jason's acoustic version of this song, even though he seemed to struggle in parts with the upper notes. But his almost folk styling is part of why I find him so attractive. And, if there hadn't been better performances, his would have easily found its way to the top of the list.

Carly Smithson (Come Together). While I'm not a fan of Carly, I can't help but become more and more enamored with her. This was wild, energetic, fun and unique, so much so that, in his praise, Simon invokes the holy name of Clarkson. That's a bit much, because Carly's got a lot more to prove before we can start making comparisons, but it was a great start. Note to Carly: wear sleeves.

Chikezie No-Longer-Eze (She's a Woman). I loved this. I loved this. From the sweater vest to the vocals to the stage presence to the enthusiasm, the guy I predicted first out totally rocked the house and went from being an afterthought to a contender in 90 seconds. Wonderful!

David Cook (Eleanor Rigby). My favorite Idol takes on one of my favorite songs. I must have done something good yesterday. And, while Randy was right, David #2 did struggle briefly with the front of the song, once he hit his stride there was no stopping him. Simon is right. If talent and not personality drives the vote, this David might have a shot of winning it all. But we know better.

Brooke White (Let It Be). First off, I admire any woman who takes the stage in her bare feet. Brooke did every single thing right with this song. She kept it simple. She stayed true to the melody, where a lesser singer might have foolishly attempted vocal acrobats. The beauty of this song, as it true with so many of the Lennon/McCartney songs, is its simplicity. It was perfection.

So there it is, the good, the bad and Kristy Lee.

Now is the time to boot off the last place finisher, amid a return from Kat McPhee and the announcement of the three mentors. (And there had better be a crappy Ford commercial in there somewhere and, with apologies to Paul McCartney, a group medley, if we have to sit for an hour to find out who's outta here.)

So who stays? And who goes?

Who I want: Kristy Lee, David #3 and David #1 because he forgot the lyrics.
Who should: Kristy Lee, David #3 and Ramiele (Kristy Lee)
Who will: Kristy Lee, David #3 and Syesha

Kristy Lee has already overstayed her welcome.

The tribe has spoken; it's time for her to go. Oh wait. Wrong show.

So, who's going home?

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Blogger Jerry Stutzman said...

Cook destroyed Rigby. This is not a song that should be rocked out. It undermines the sad and haunting tone and meaning of the song. While he sang reasonably well it was the wrong song to do that to.

9:37 AM, March 12, 2008  
Anonymous JenniferJunkie said...

Hey, Jerry, my sixteen yr old said almost exactly the same thing and walked out during his performance she was that upset!! However, David C does have a great voice and performs well and consistently every week. He belongs in the top 5 or 6.

10:01 AM, March 12, 2008  
Blogger Kristi Mantoni said...

I'm not in love with Cook either and didn't think he ranked that high last night. I put Chikezie in the number one spot. I love him!! I hope he blows us away again next week!

10:54 AM, March 12, 2008  
Anonymous tim said...

Brooke was amazing. She is one of my favorite contestants out of multiple seasons. Very refreshing in comparison to many others. Chikezie was surprising in a good way. Kristy was surprising in a very bad way. I think the band made it worse even. Strange arrangement. And I still can't believe how bad David A. was. Though there is no way he'll leave this week, I wonder how he'll progress now.

11:04 AM, March 12, 2008  
Anonymous Johanna said...

Jennifer --

I'm pretty certain you mean David #3, not David #2, in your ouster list.

12:01 PM, March 12, 2008  
Anonymous Johanna said...

I'm positive that the bottom three will come out of these 4 people: Kristy, David H., Syesha, and Ramiele... but I'm going to predict that it is not Kristy who goes home. Being outright bad is often preferable to being boring -- the boring awards go to Syesha and Ramiele. One of them will leave tonight.

12:07 PM, March 12, 2008  
Blogger jennifer said...

Good save Johanna. I owe you. I was just thinking of those performances and accidentally did a #2.


12:08 PM, March 12, 2008  
Blogger Sunshine said...

I was just thinking that Kristy Lee's performance last night reminded me of something: Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood's version of the Johnny and June Cash's "Jackson". The band was way too fast and hillbilly, and it seemed like Kristy Lee was just trying to keep up with them. I think she could've toned it down in a Faith Hill way, (definitely not twangy country-poseur Shania) and maybe done better. But alas, she didn't and I agree she'll probably get the boot!

1:53 PM, March 12, 2008  
Anonymous chris(daughtry)rocks said...

There was nothing wrong with the band on "Eight Days a Week." Even though the arrangement was too fast for the song, the band was playing it as Kristy wanted it. If she couldn't keep up, that was her fault. I've noticed that she holds some notes way too long throughout a song. She did it with "Faithfully" and she did it last night. In the places where she should've clipped or shortened the word/note, it would've helped her stay on beat. Ex: "Eight days a weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek," vs "..days a weeeek." Drove me crazy throughout the whole song. >: (

Jennifer, you're absolutely right about Brooke. The beauty of the song is its simplicity. The judges irritate me when they say, "Keep it simple," then when you do, they ding you for it and say you didn't do enough with it. (Like with Michael.) Brooke did it just right. No more, no less.

My favorite of the night was and is still Chikeze. He just blew me away!

2:06 PM, March 12, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with the David Cook dislikers (haters is too strong a word) he did his own version and I loved it - I even found David H. entertaining because her showed some life - and I felt sorry for little David A. I thought he seemed like he needed a nap. I really enjoyed Chakeezee as well. And, Amanda, I swear is the love child of Elvis and Rosanne - she is waaay different - According to Dial Idol there are three that could go home - Wouldn't be surprised if it was Syesha - But really hope it is Kristy.
Just my thoughts.

3:33 PM, March 12, 2008  
Blogger DrillerAA said...

Hey Jennifer,
I agree with your picks. However, I think Kristy has a large enough fan base to keep her in the game another week or two. I think David H is in big trouble tonight.
Like you, I thought Chikezie broght his "A" game tonight and captured a boat load of undecided voters for the time being.

3:43 PM, March 12, 2008  
Blogger BeckEye said...

I'm glad you put Michael near the top, where he should be. (Especially on top of me, but that's another matter.) I didn't get why they all gave him shit for singing the song as it was meant to be sung. Personally I didn't think Carly did anything all that original with "Come Together." At best it sounded a little more like the Aerosmith version, which was pretty true to the original! They can't decide if they want them to take risks with the songs or stay true to them. I think the judges just like to mess with the contestants minds.

5:32 PM, March 12, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The judges really are annoying, the way they say one thing and then contradict themselves on the next song! It would really be refreshing if they would actually give some good constructive technical advice instead of just their rambling confusing nonsensical opinions....

8:19 PM, March 12, 2008  
Blogger Nelle said...

I have never been a country fan but honestly this was a massacre of a Beatles song and I could hardly stand to witness it. I loved the performance by Carly Smithson and the one by Brooke. I enjoyed the others, especially Chikeze's (didnt' know he had it in him!) I am enjoying this season immensely!

10:07 AM, March 14, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Author of this blog-

If you are a fan of the show (as you claim to be), then why do you only have negative things to say about it?

10:15 AM, March 14, 2008  

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