Wednesday, March 26, 2008

screams, queen and billie jean...

The ten finalists dug through the musical history books Tuesday to scour the charts on a very special year: the year of their birth. Our present? A night of 80s music with a 70s song and a 90s number thrown in for spice.

And our gift? A night of pleasant performances and the resurrection of Kristy Lee Cook. At least for now.

In a group this deep of talent, no one stood out as being the absolute worst - except, perhaps, the increasingly-annoying-screaming-waving "mosh pit" and the jewelry box that vomited all over Paula.

But here are my opinions, a day late and a dime short, and as always from worst to first:

Ramiele Malubay (Alone). Ramiele, we found out post-performance, had lost her voice, so even though sick puppies don't normally get sympathy from the judges, I give her some leeway. Told the song was too big for her, I can't help but agree, and, in the inevitable comparisons with Carrie Underwood, who turned this song into her season four signature, the short one pales in comparison.

Chikezie No-Longer-Eze (If Only For One Night). Chikezie admits he knows it's a risk to pull another ballad out of his hat after the disaster of the orange suit, but decides to do it anyway. And while it's not bad at all, it doesn't have the "sit up and take notice" vibe that this guy, of all the guys, needs to hang in there much longer. He has to know he's on borrowed time and that it's in his best interest to perform like there's no tomorrow. And there may not be.

Kristy Lee Cook (God Bless the USA). Simon calls her song choice the most brilliant in possibly forever. And despite the traditional flat notes, she turns in her best performance of the season, surrounded by images of flags and amber waves of grain. Who doesn't love a good, old-fashioned, apple pie patriotic moment? Kristy, you're safe.

Carly Smithson (Total Eclipse of the Heart). Carly appears still stunned over her appearance in the bottom three the previous week. The judges pick up on her "tenseness". I sensed a bit more desperation in this performance than I've seen in the past, and that final run to wrap up the performance was really not necessary.

Jason Castro (Fragile). Simon calls this performance Jason's second poor one in a row. I don't think it was quite as high on the bad meter as last week, and even Jason admits he should have practiced the guitar more. He's accused of not taking the show seriously, and I can see the merits in that accusation, but Jason's style is his style.

David Archuleta (You're the Voice). David #1 could use some tips on working the stage, but he's making vast improvements on some of the facial distractions, so that's a good thing. Paula tells him he could sing the phone book, and she's probably right, but Simon calls his song choice crappy and one better suited for a theme part, and he's right too. David, wasn't there another song from 1990 that you could have chosen?

Syesha Mercado (If I Were Your Woman). When I hear this song, I think, of course, of Gladys Knight. And while this arrangement left me wishing the Pips would jump out from the band rafters (or up from the annoying moshers), the judges were right in calling it Syesha's finest vocal performance of the season.

Brooke White (Every Breath You Take). After an initial oopsie, that wisely causes her to stop and restart, Brooke pulls off a soft version of this Police classic. The judges praise and pan the performance, praising the front part which featured just Brooke and her piano keys, but panning the second half when Ricky Minor brings in his band, increasing the tempo.

Michael Johns (We Are the Champions). The first time Michael made a huge impression on this show was with the Queen classic Bohemian Rhapsody during Hollywood week. So after being told he still hadn't found his premier song, he decides to dip back into the Queen catalog and turns in his best performance to date. Finally the Aussie makes an impression, after standing the shadows for all these weeks.

David Cook (Billie Jean). Yes David #2 turns in another cover of another cover. And yes, the judges fawn all over him, calling him original, either not knowing that he's borrowing someone else's arrangement or, fully aware of that, commending him for taking the road less traveled. I am well aware of all of that. But he does make a brave choice here, choosing the well-known Michael Jackson song, but taking the lesser-known Chris Cornell take on it, just like he's done in past weeks. It pays off. And he shows in 90 seconds that maybe this race isn't as clear-cut as most of us thought.

So there they are, for what they're worth. So now the question is who is leaving, since we know Kristy Lee is safe.

Who I want: Chikezie, Ramiele, Kristy Lee (for old time's sake)
Who should: Chikezie, Ramiele and Kristy Lee (because my keyboard is on autopilot)
Who will: Chikezie, Ramiele, Syesha

This is a tough call, but I think Chikezie will regret choosing that ballad.

So, who's in your bottom three?

See you tonight for a crappy group sing, crappy Ford commercial and the FAB Kimberley Locke!

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Blogger angelof_mercy81 said...

I think Kristy saved herself a trip to the bottom 3 this week. While it wasn't the best performance of the night, it was her best so far, and that should be enough to keep her in this week.

Meanwhile, I think Ramiele made a bad choice in taking on "Alone." Not only did she suffer in comparison to Heart, she also suffered in comparison to Carrie Underwood, who blew us away with her vocal in Season 4. I think she might find herself in the bottom 3 tonight.

On the good side of the spectrum, Michael Johns & David Cook were my favorites last night, if for no other reason than they were memorable. I liked what Michael did with his selection, starting off with one song and then finishing with another. Now THAT was the performance I've been waiting on from him.

As for David C, smart choice to do the Chris Cornell version of the song instead of the Michael Jackson version. It was definitely good, and he'll be here next week, without question.

I'd never heard the song that David #1 did, but Paula was right when she said he could sing the phone book. His fanbase is incredibly huge and devoted, and I think we'll be seeing him for quite a while.

9:17 AM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger MP said...

I think the bottom 3 will be Jason, Ramilie and Chickeze. I think Chickeze will go home, even though I would prefer Ramilie.

David A... Aggghhh, he is turning into my Scott Sabol..meaning he's OK if I close my eyes. He bounces up and down and like Simon know Daddy picked that song for him..WTF was that? I loved Paula calling him out saying "couldn't you find a song by an American artist?"

9:34 AM, March 26, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My bottom three based on last night and last night alone (let's pretend we don't know about the size of fanbases) is:


Two subpar performances back to back, he should be scared.

9:35 AM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

I like the way Kristy Lee is playing the game. I think it shows that she's taking the show seriously. Unlike Jason who seems to be a little too cavailier (or maybe too much Cheech & Chong) about the show.

David C. is making a strong charge with no signs of letting up. The rest were just a big meh for me.

10:11 AM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger jennifer said...

Dave, I am in total agreement about Kristy. That was a brilliant, calculated move to choose that song. It will rally the patriots and I highly prefer it to the "show legs" tactic that's worked before.

And I also agree that Jason is either too confident of his own worth or is just going along for the ride. I hope neither is right, but it sure looks that way.

10:19 AM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger BeckEye said...

Michael makes an impression on me every night. But I actually melted last night. I'm still in liquid form as I type this.

10:30 AM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger Jenna said...

Gosh, this year is hard for me. I've never NOT had a favorite by this time. My bottom three: Jason, Chickeze, Ramiele. I hope Jason goes soon...I don't think he's a good singer or musician and I can't stand those nasty dreds.

David Cook has suprised me. I've loved his performances. But I don't think is VOICE is memorable. If he had a song on the radio I don't think I'd be able to say, 'oh, that's David Cook from American Idol'. I'm still a fan of David A., Brooke & Carly, too. Just don't know what to think this year!

10:51 AM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger laura said...

Ramiele deserves to go instead of Chikezie, but I think her Filipino voting blocks will keep her in at least until next week. Jasmine Trias 2.0? I hope not.

10:57 AM, March 26, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MB said: "I loved Paula calling him out saying "couldn't you find a song by an American artist?"

Which seems pretty disingenuous considering they have an Irish woman and an Australian singing in the competition.

As for David A's song... I think he probably picked it. He seems to like songs about peace and love, like Imagine. It drives me nuts when the judges criticize because they don't know a song. What difference does that make if the song is sung well?

11:18 AM, March 26, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jason was definitely the worst of the night. Boring song, boring performance. Other than his cute eyes, he has nothing to recommend him. I hope he goes, but I'm afraid he won't even be in the bottom 3.

As for David A., I'm beginning to despair about this boy. One week he's super, the next he lays a klunker. He needs a trip to the bottom 3 just to wake him up. As it is, he seems to perform like they're going to hand him the title on a platter.

12:04 PM, March 26, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

according to dial idol, ramiele, jason and chikezie are the bottom three, with chekezie in last place.

I think David A is a great singer and a sweet young man, but how boring can you be?! And the lip licking thing is such a turn off he's hard to watch sometimes. I can't imagine ever wanting to buy one of his albums. He needs more maturity to develop a style.

Jason's style may be boring to some people, but at least he HAS a style. I actually like him very much, although I agree with what Simon said.

I pretty much agreed with everything Simon said all night.

The top three according to dial idol are (in order) david cook, david A, and carly smithson - I guess she got the sympathy vote this time, along with Kristie who's in fourth.

12:09 PM, March 26, 2008  
Anonymous JessiJames said...

overall I'd say it was a good night, not a great night, as too many of them were so so.

but I'd have to agree this is the best final 10, because it's the first one I can't immediately throw 5 of the kids away from for being undeserving.

So for me and my wife, this is how we think they faired:

Ramiele - suffers from being first and sick, and while not sung badly, was simply outsung by the rest

Syesha - it may have been her best vocal, but it wasn't memorable, especially after Chikezie sung next. For me, Syesha just stood there, while Chikezie moved around, interacted with the audience, he "performed" better. This is the problem with ballads, it's too easy to be forgettable.

Chikezie - didn't blow us away, but again, it wasn't sung poorly. Better stage presence than Syesha too. But it's as I have always said about this show, upbeat is always better than slow tempo, unless you can deliver the power notes. Very few ballads pay off, especially this early, right now keep me entertained, ala Michael Johns and KLC

Jason - I really think this kid could be special, but his personality seems to be getting in the way. He hasn't figured out how to command the stage and audience, and I'm not sure he ever will. Perhaps he's destined to become a great songwriter who never learns how to perform?

David A - I know, no one can believe he'd be this low, well, last night, yeah. NEVER pick a song NO ONE knows. If the audience can't connect with the song and you because they are too busy trying to figure the song out, you've lost 'em, er us :) Still not sure about his voice, if I had to guess, his voice is at a tweener stage, between his kid and his adult voice.

KLC - I have not agreed with how some here have knocked Kristy. Vocally, she's easy on the ears, and that's important (unlike Amanda, who was deadly to the ears). This was a perfect performance to stay in the game, and at this point, that's what it's all about. Pick songs that will keep you alive, you can't win the show this early on, but you can get yourself booted off. And I was rofl when Simon commented about the "song choice". That was the first thought I had when I heard her :)

Carly - I have hated that song for years. I listened to that song waaaaay too much when it came out, to the point I can't stand to hear the original now. But Carly made it listenable, and other than that last note, I liked it. You can really tell she has had professional training in just the way she acts on stage. I don't think she'll win, but top 4 very likely.

Brooke - I loved it. I like the contestants starting slow and building to uptempo, so I, the viewer, am not so bored by bad songs. But, Brooke was soo good with the piano portion, she could have kept it there just fine. Brooke has the memorable voice and she's my top female at this point.

M.J. - more queen, wonderfully done. I'd actually like to have heard some Foreigner from him, the one about picking up the used six string guitar. It's been so long, I can't remember it's name!! haha This was the most passionate performance he's done since he did Bohemian Rhap, and it's obvious he wants to be the new front man for Queen (hahaha) I was sure this would be the best of the night, I love those types of songs on this show, especially early on, because they are usually memorable, and if not, at least I'm not itching to skip ahead so I don't doze off :)

David C - he's going to win, simple as that. He's Bo Bice and Chris Daughtry in a package that willing to "play the game" and doesn't have a Carrie Underwood to fend off. CD wouldn't or couldn't sing differently, so he was a one trick pony. Albeit a very good one. DC isn't going one speed every song, has chosen enough variety so far that I don't expect to hear the same thing every week, and his stage presence is great. And vocally, each time he sings, I like him more and more.

Everyone else better pay attention to Cook, because by the top 5, if he keeps up with the song choices he's making now, he's going to dwarf the rest for support. If you can win over the kids, the teens and young adults, while not annoying the granny crowd who aren't going to vote for shrieking, you get more votes than anyone else :) David looks to be hip enough to get a young crowd, but polite enough and easy enough on the ears for the older crowd to like later when it really matters :)


12:42 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger DrillerAA said...

I agree with your bottom three "Who Will" and I think Syesha may be the one without the fan base to keep her in the game.
And yes, the Mosh pit should be banned forever.
Paula's top looked like it got hung up in the dryer and someone had to use the jaws of life to extract it. I'm still not sure what those fingerless glovey things were all about. She needs professional help on so many levels that we can't begin to discuss it all here.

12:58 PM, March 26, 2008  
Anonymous JessiJames said...

hey for fun, let me add my guesses to where the kids finish this season, that's always a lot of fun at this stage :)

1st - David Cook
2nd - Brooke White
3rd - Michael Johns
4th - Carly Smithson
5th - David Archuleta
6th - Kristy Lee Cook
7th - Syesha Mercado
8th - Jason Castro
9th - Chikezie
10th - Ramiele Mulaby

now, the bottom 5 could go in any order, but as I see things right now, none of that group will make the top5 without showing something none have so far. KLC maybe, if she is able to pull more songs like this week. Jason if he realizes it's time to be serious, or Syesha if she were to pick great songs for 3 weeks.

Thing is, this top 5 has been so strong, even though Carly was in the bottom 3 last week, I don't think they'll mess up bad enough to go early. Carly's tattoo could be her undoing though, as there is a very real possibility certain portions of the voters don't like a big tat like that on a lady. If she somehow ends up in the bottom 3 this week, we'll know for sure that her tat has alienated her, because nothing she's done singing wise deserves to be so low.

I suppose David A could pull off an upset, but I think his limitations in picking songs and such are going to keep him from overtaking the top 3. Brooke, MJ, and DC just seem to be stronger. For me, Brooke would be the person I'd give the 2nd best chance to win, her style is very good for the show, and her voice has a sound you recognize as her, so I'm definitely expecting her to be around awhile, and I don't think she's be a nanny anymore :)


1:13 PM, March 26, 2008  
Anonymous i'm a jennifer junkie said...

Not sure how to categorize everyone at this stage of the competition. It's like watching a horse race and seeing most of them clumped together with an occasional nose sticking ahead of the others while poor little Rami consistently trails behind.
Of all the contestants this year, she's the one who really has not lived up to her potential. I keep hoping, each week she'll 'bring it" but it just isn't happening.
After hearing David C last night, he immediately jumped ahead of my fave of the night -- MJ. Some of it was how he sang the song but mostly it was because of how he (I thought at the time) changed it up. Then, when I read today that somebody else had dreamed up that arrangement, he slipped from 1st place to 2nd and MJ handily stepped into that position.
Everyone after that just lumped together.. again.
Syesha sang beautifully, but she sounds like soooo many other singers that are already out there. Brooke was fantastic as always, if a little samey. However, I know how any CD she makes will sound and I'll most likely buy it.
Same goes for Jason. He does come across as laid back and not hugely into this, but he has his own style and it's one I like. I'd buy his CD in a heartbeat.
Carly, as always was on top of her performance, but like Simon said, she really needs to lighten up a lot!! She's so INTENSE when she sings and it comes across as angry or something!!! And, I hated her dress, not that it should make any difference, but SOMEONE, PLEASE help that girl with her wardrobe!!! If she wore a pretty dress like Syesha wore last week, she'd look so much better. I don't think the tattoos are much of a distraction but I must be alone there.
Chik showed a lot of versatility with his voice last night.. lots of lovely warm low notes and proved again that he can belt with the best of them. However, I hated the song and don't think his is a CD I'd buy.
David A did a very very nice job again but he's losing some of his charm/appeal.. not sure why. He belongs with the teen crowd in Disney until he's matured a little more.
KLC – Simon was oh so right… what a perfect song to choose. There's no doubt she can sing but again, would I buy her CD??? Absolutely not!!

2:09 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger Kristi Mantoni said...

I think that since it was basically 80's week again, Paula decided to raid the archives of her closet and brought it old school! LOL

My bottom three is the same with Chikezie drawing the short straw too.

Is the show and hour tonight??

3:36 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger jennifer said...

An hour. Yes. We must take phone calls after all.

If they're gonna go to an hour all season, I wish they would start it at 8:00. That Moment of Truth show is not fit for families and AI likes to tout itself as the FOX family show.

Somebody start an 8 p.m. petition, mmmkay?

3:40 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger Kristi Mantoni said...

the only problem with 8 is that I'd miss America's Next Top Model...that show is fierce!

6:32 PM, March 26, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The red stater Bush supporters will vote for Kristy, like they came out to vote for Kelly Underwear. People who can actually claim to having a few brain cells to rub together, will see through this rally round the flag ploy for what it is: a pathetic attempt to save her butt.

7:19 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger jennifer said...

I think that's Carrie Underwear.

And it wasn't a pathetic attempt. It was smart! On her part. If the objective is to advance then you do it by whatever means necessary. I am not a fan by any means, but I admire her thinking.

7:40 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

I also like that she pandered without feeling the need to hike up her skirt or spill out of her top. While I am generally in favour of that sort of activity on the part of attractive young (but legal) women, at least she tried sucking up with a song, not a pouty look and some skin.

8:28 PM, March 26, 2008  
Anonymous Chris(Daughtry)ROCKS said...

JJ said, "I'd actually like to have heard some Foreigner from him, the one about picking up the used six string guitar. It's been so long, I can't remember it's name!!"

lol The song is "Jukebox Hero." One of my faves. Great idea! That song will get the crowd on their feet!

P.S. @ Cheech and Chong!

4:27 AM, March 27, 2008  

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