Tuesday, April 29, 2008

diamond night: idols on speed...

It's down to five kids. It's up to two songs each. And the diamonds in the rough meet the Diamond for all ages.

It's Neil Diamond. On American Idol!

And so to honor his visit, the intrepid and always brilliant producers decide to cram ten songs into one hour, rushing the kids through the first round so poorly that none of the first round performances had the time to make any impression. Hell, they even shut the judges up until the five performances had concluded, which played havoc on Paula's fragile mental state.

I have watched every episode of every season. This was, without comparison, the poorest excuse for a performance episode ever. If they're going to insist upon selling 45 minutes of commercials and yet have the five remaining kids singing two songs each, expand the show to 90 minutes or stick to single performances and give the kids a few extra seconds of stage time.

This was unforgiveable.

But here they are, my initial impressions, subject to review and revision after a night of rest and reflection, cause honestly I couldn't keep up and don't wanna watch again so soon, but they are, as always, from worst to first.

Brooke White (I'm a Believer). Brooke chooses a guitar for this song, and starts horribly off-key, probably because she's singing far lower than she's comfortably able. I've decided they're rushing the first round of songs to fit the show into one hour and still have time for 45 minutes of commercials, because there is no nuance to the song. But there are a lot of Whoos!

Jason Castro (Forever in Blue Jeans). With his guitar in hand, Jason opened the show and struggled a tad, it seemed, with his key, before finding it quickly enough to deliver a standard, not extraordinary nor memorable, rendition of the song. It has seemed, of late, that Jason's main goal is to get his song over in the quickest way possible.

Jason Castro (September Morn). I'm trying to decide if Jason simply thinks this show is getting old, or if he just wants to go home.

Syesha Mercado (Thank the Lord for the Nighttime). Syesha still has lost the shoes, but has added the background singers to the stage. Nice touch. Too bad they can't save this song, a very poor choice of song with only five singers remaining.

David Archuleta (America). The only thing missing from this performance was the Statue of Liberty arising from the mosh pit (preferably wiping out a few dozen of the waving maniacs along the way). Simon was right; it was a clever song choice, but, despite the fact that it was flat throughout, it was typical Archuleta. The song is the same. Only the words (and occasionally the tempo) changes.

David Archuleta (Sweet Caroline). In David's first choice of the night, had I not known the lyrics I would never had recognized the song. It wasn't until he hit the chorus that it started to resemble anything remotely like the original.

Syesha Mercado (Hello Again). Syesha again gets points for bare feet and starts her first song sitting at the edge of the stage. Her vocals are strong, she's by far the best of the two women tonight, but because they're rushing this show so mercilessly, it all just seemed very forced. And fake. And that's not necessarily her fault.

David Cook (I'm Alive). Neil Diamond tells DC that he gave him goosebumps, but that he's choosing songs nobody's ever heard of. I know this song though, and David turns in a fine, if rushed version of it, staying true to the Diamond version but giving it the traditional Cook twist.

Brooke White (I Am ... I Said). This was very nice, even though it was a bit rushed, but that's the recurring theme of the night. It's very heartfelt, but that's Brooke's strong suit, even when her notes fail her. Or the lyrics. But neither did.

David Cook (All I Really Need is You). I know what's going on my iPod first thing tomorrow. Or whenever it's available. In a poorly-executed, chaotic and underperformed night, this was the highlight. But that's getting to be the tradition this season.

So, who's on the bubble?

With only five singers, they'll pull out a bottom two. And considering it's gonna take a Mack truck and the national guard to get either of the Davids off the show, the other three just have to survive at this point, and Brooke may have just done enough.

Therefore, I'll predict, not that I'm ever right, that Jason and Syesha will hit the stools and Jason will win out by a dreadlock. Not that he deserves to.

So, what did you think?

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Blogger Kristi Mantoni said...

I'm putting Brooke in the bottom two with Jason simply because he first song was so bad that the memory of that is going to out shine her second song. Plus, I'm tired of putting Syesha in the bottom and her not going home. I hope you're right and she goes home but I think it might be the end of the road for Jason. He does seem done with the whole thing.

They better do Brother Love for the group sing tomorrow!!

10:15 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Kristi Mantoni said...

YEAH!!! I was ACTUALLY first!!!

OH! Happy Belated Birthday Jennifer!!

10:16 PM, April 29, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree kristi.. that was really not good!! And I've been sick of Brooke for a few weeks now.. I missed Carly tonight!! She and Michael Johns left far too soon!
Both of David C's performances were in the top two tonight!!
David A did well with America but I don't like Sweet Caroline.. never had so I wasn't impressed with his version.
Syesha did ok on both her performances.
Jason.. not so great, but hopefully his fans will keep him in because I want Brooke gone yesterday!!

10:21 PM, April 29, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Kristi too. I was disappointed with the show. They rushed the kids and what could of been a great night was just OK.

I thought the best part of the show was Paula not knowing what the hell was going on. Tonight she was even MORE wacked out.


10:32 PM, April 29, 2008  
Anonymous Melissa in TN said...

I told my husband that David A. would sing "America" and he did. I really don't like that song and I'm not really wild about him either.

Syesha was a bit sassy to Simon. I am ready for her to go!!!

It is going to be a David C. and David A. final.

10:52 PM, April 29, 2008  
Anonymous JessiJames said...

I'm wondering if we're all watching the same show? ;) hahaha

I think Jason was better than last the past couple weeks, but that's not saying much. Very forgettable other than his glare, oops eyes, so I give him 2 thumbs down

Brooke was as Simon said, a mess on the first song. Vocally I thought it was horrible, and it was hard for me to miss how bad it was considering how loud I had it playing :) haha Her second song was wonderful, and the Brooke I liked so many weeks ago. If there's justice this year, that song will save her and Jason will go.

Syesha wasn't memorable with the first song, but it was good none the less. The 2nd song was great, I'd say 3rd or 4th best of the night.

Archie Archie Archie, hmm. I agree Sweet Caroline seemed to start unfamiliarly, but it ended well, and was pleasant enough. America was much better and it never hurts to go patriotic. Good performances, maybe not great, but better than the previous ones, except probably/possibly Syesha's 2nd song.

The COOK. Anyone know what the AC on his guitar and jacket stands for? Both songs had nice beats, though I found the first song not so memorable, the beat and rhythm of the song seemed to make it enjoyable. The 2nd song was very well done and definitely the best of the night. No one else truly deserves to win this year, Cook is the only one that actually tries to redo the songs in a current fashion , and maybe it was just me, but did anyone else notice he sounded very Daughtry-esque tonight?

I'm sure I'll be wrong since the voting this year has been so screwy, but I say Jason and Brooke should be in the bottom 2 and either should go over the other 3. Whichever isn't gone this week should go next week, and the David's and Syesha should be the Top 3. Interestingly, I think Syesha is starting to find her groove and is starting to improve each week, which could spell upset finale instead of a dueling David's finale. You just never know with this show and the strange voting :)


11:21 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger DrillerAA said...

I couldn't agree more about Jason Castro. He seems to be just going through the motions and counting the minutes before he can go home.
They will probably accomodate him tomorrow night.

11:51 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Sunshine said...

I think we're going to end up with a Season 2 repeat. Either Jason or Brooke with go home tomorrow, leaving the other for homeward bound next week (ie Trenyce and Josh). Syesha will end up in 3rd place, (Kim Locke) cos she can't beat either of the Davids. The 2 David's will be the Ruben and Clay of this season, with David A winning even though David Cook is MUCH better and much more deserving of it, just like how Ruben beat Clay.

Tonight was boring to me as well, but then again, I'm just bored completely with this season. I look forward to David Cook each week, and wish that I knew him before he went on Idol. He just seems like an all-around awesome guy (and has gotten much hotter post-makeover).

I watched an interview with Kevin Covais on the TV guide channel and he said he liked Cook the best, was disappointed and shocked with Carly's ouster, and thought Jason needs to go home, especially since he doesn't even seem interested (like when he yawned backstage last week). I agree, I'm done with Jason, but I was done with him after finals week 2.

We'll see what happens tomorrow.

12:28 AM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jessijames, I think I read someplace that the AC was for Davids brother, who is sick, initials. But I'm not possitive.


1:05 AM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger SuzS80 said...

Jessijames,, the AC IS for David's brother, Adam. He is battling brain cancer and it's been really tough on David, so he uses his initials as a tribute.

David Cook just has to win, he blows everyone else out of the water. He is just down right phenomenal!!! Even when you don't know the song you love it. This guy has "IT" big time.

David A has a great voice but he is so darn immature, I just can't get past that. He seems socially deprived. He has no charisma on stage. But I agree, it will be a David vs David finale.

I like Brooke, I have from day one. Yeah she's messed up here and there, but I just find her so refreshing. She shows you don't have to scream to sing. Brings me back to the Carol King & Carly Simon days. I want her to stay.

Syesha is adorable and has a good voice too. But the screaming kills me. I agree she could move right into Broadway. She has the charm and personality for the stage.

Jason,,,, YUCK! Other than his pretty bedroom blue eyes,, what does this guy bring to the table? He sings awful, makes hideous faces while he tries to sing, he has no range, and he is BORING !!! PLEASE SEND HIM HOME TOMORROW !!!!

1:46 AM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Chris(Daughtry)ROCKS said...

"The only thing missing from this performance was the Statue of Liberty arising from the mosh pit.."

LOL! I couldn't agree more. And I soooooo want that mosh pit GONE!

Jennifer, your comments are spot-on (as usual). I was really disappointed with how rushed everything was. And Paula? What a doofus! lol

As far as song choices go, Syesha was the only one who sang songs that I picked out for anyone. So I was a little disappointed. I really wanted to hear DC sing "Play Me," or "Holly Holy." But I loved what he sang, anyway, so the night was saved somewhat for me.

As far as performances go, I liked Syesha on "Thank the Lord for the Nighttime." I thought she was strong tonight, but here's how I put everyone.

DC - "All I Really Need is You"
DC - "I'm Alive"
Everyone else.

I really think we're looking at a David vs David finale, with Brooke being the 3rd. She seems to have a raging fanbase that won't let her go. Oh well.

I'd love to see Brooke go, but I think her 2nd song probably did save her. Jason, as much as I like him, is ready to go. He's out of his league, and I think he knows it. Simon's comment to Syesha that she may be in trouble may just be what was needed to light a fire under her fans fannies. I don't think she's going to go.

Bottom 2: Jason and Syesha
Going Home: Jason

2:21 AM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be in favor of a double elimination this week for both Jason and Brooke just to put us (and them) out of their misery.

I think it should probably be Jason - he doesn't even seem to be really trying anymore. It was painful watching this week.

Agree with Jennifer that the rushed format was absolutely ridiculous. If I were Neil Diamond I'd say don't bother asking to use my material ever again. Most of the songs just didn't even have a chance to develop - they were just too short. Especially David A's Sweet Caroline. I think it could actually have been good, given more time to build.

Worst to first for me: Jason, Brooke, Syesha (tie), David A (tie), David C.

7:49 AM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what the heck was up with Paula? Critiquing a song that hadn't been sung yet is bizarre, even for her.

"Oh my God, I thought you'd sung twice."


8:08 AM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just checked DI and the bottom three are, (starting with #3 David A, #4 Jason, #5 Brooke. I know DI isn't very reliable, but I hope this isn't a freak week and David A doesn't get the boot.

I really want the finals to be the David's. They're the best. I'm not even sure who I'll vote for that night.

I think they're both great guys. David C seems like a really caring person.

I worry a little about David A, I've read a lot of negative things about his dad. The guy sounds like a real jerk, but that's not David's fault.

I know this is going to sound stupid, but I'll say it anyway. For the pass seasons I've pick an idol that I thought was great and voted for them no matter what. This year I've voted for who ever I thought was the best "that night". It helps to close your eyes and just listen. Its been hard to do, but my blood pressures been a lot better this year. lol Although I sometimes wonder if what I hear and the judges hear are totally different.


9:53 AM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS: My husband told me Paula's was on the news this morning. Everyone is talking about her. Poor Paula. LOL


9:56 AM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger MP said...

I SO want David A to go home but he won't.
I think Jason and Brooke or Jason and Syesha will be on the bottom two.. I think Jason goes home this week..

10:06 AM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

The only good thing about the rushed format was that we didn't have to listen to Paula's rambling too much; as it was, she still qualified for a trip to Betty Ford.

10:17 AM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jason should get a free pass this time---poor guy had to sing right after Paula had slammed a performance that hadn't even happened yet. He did look like he had checked out during that last number.

What is Paula on? Talk about the judges phoning it in! Is she even paying attention?

And instead of complaining about a tickle in his throat, Jason should have honestly said, "yeah, it was hard to sing after you gave a horrible critique of a song I hadn't even sung yet."

Who will go tonight? Brooke.
Who SHOULD go tonight? Paula.

10:22 AM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jason has given new meaning to sleep walking through a performance. He can always find a career in providing elevator music, though without the aid of television, the teeny boppers wouldn't be able to vote for his cute little dredlocked self. He could always be the poster child for asthmatics....does this guy have breathing issues?

Brooke has become snotty, and will blame anyone but herself for her singing and shortcomings in learning lyrics. I've wanted to see her go home for weeks. Since when did Arizona have a shore, by the way? She keeps getting the Pickler red state voters to keep her on the show...a travesty.

Lay off Syesha, at least she's awake when she sings.... a little phony yes, but still lively. She also hit her notes, which is something that can't be said about Mr Dreadlocks or Ms Sunshine Space Cadet.

If David Cook loses this popularity (it surely isn't a singing) contest....consider half the voters are on crack.

11:08 AM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there's talk of conspiracy theories - Paula was actually reading from notes that were prepared before the show even started...she was drugged out and thought she was supposed to read both reviews...the show then being even more fixed that anyone realized before...

I'm sorry to say it, but it probably is Jason's time to go - he's in over his head. But I'll for sure buy his album when it comes out. HE just doesn't have the sense to do what David Cook does, and go on line, research the song choices, choose one that's really right for him and arrange it so that it's more modern. He doesn't even check to see if Memories was sung by a cat, for god's sake. If he would just have some STRATEGY he could win this thing, but he's flailing around just blindly picking songs and not doing enough with them. The times he's stood out is when he's chosen the right songs - Hallelujah, Somewhere over the rainbow, and I don't wanna cry. Last night was just horrible and bland.

I looked forward to Neil Diamond night ALL WEEK and was very disappointed by the whole mess.

12:12 PM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto. I was so disappointed by Neil Diamond night after looking forward to it all week.

Where was "Play me", "Song Sung Blue", "Cracklin Rosie", "Brother Love[]" etc...ANY of those would have been great song choices, especially for Jason who kinda blew his shot at doing something really cool.

Despite his mediocre performance last night, Jason REALLY deserves an apology tonight from Paula and the show. What happened was pretty bad. They should be ashamed -- given how hard these kids work all week, at least pay attention when they sing!...

2:10 PM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger Mike Adams said...

"The only thing missing from this performance was the Statue of Liberty arising from the mosh pit..".....I love that. I said that the only way he could be cheesier is if he were wearing an E.T. t-shirt while singing Heartlight.

Hey, great blog! I got your link from HighLordDave's blog. I also blog about Idol if you get bored sometime. Although I will warn you, my blog is rated NC-17.


2:33 PM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments but I have to say...You have to take a look at who Jason Castro to explain his recent behaviors. He's a total mellow, laid back kind of guy and I'm sure the craziness and sleepless weeks that AI is has got to him. He has a musician personality, not an "rock star" personality. I think he's great and he'll sell lots of records despite the fact that he's not going to win this show.. Give the poor guy a break.

2:37 PM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He's a total mellow, laid back kind of guy and I'm sure the craziness and sleepless weeks that AI is has got to him."

Yeah. That, and the weed.

3:33 PM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Chris(Daughtry)ROCKS said...

Paula, as to what REALLY happened:

"It was so confusing," said Paula. "The whole thing is like, 'Hello?' It was crazy for us. In seven years, we've never had to do that." So, the kids are coming out, and I'm like 'Oh my God, what do we do?' " recalls Paula. "I just started looking at what I had written down and we've never had to do this before. I was reading the critique of what I had written for Jason Castro, and on the same page, I also wrote David. I got lost on my notes. And that's as simple as it was."

Okaaaay. So if you wrote "David," on the same page, how'd you mispronounce it, "your 2nd song,"??


3:55 PM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Lee (a.k.a. LEN) said...

Re: Paula's puzzling pre-review: could it be that she was simply reading (or thinking of) notes from the rehearsal which she mixed up because of (insert your favorite explanation of her goofiness here)? Though it's less obvious and less frequent than in previous years, AI still shows recap performances at the end of performance nights which were taped during rehearsals. They are taped under all the same conditions, from what I have seen, as the broadcast show, so that means they are probably the dress rehearsal performances. No conspiracies necessary.

4:51 PM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So recaps are from rehearsal? That explains why sometimes the recaps sound better than the live performance.

4:58 PM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing I really like about this seasons contestants is how musically gifted they are with instruments as well as singing.
youtube has a video of David Archuletta from a few years ago singing "A Thousand Miles" and playing the piano at the same time. All you Archuletta fans should check it out. If he were my kid, I'd be proud!

5:22 PM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Lee (aka LEN) said...

Connie - you can sometimes tell that a recaps was taped during rehearsals based on things other than singing (expressions which weren't there the first time, mosh-pit wavers waving differently, the on-stage guitarist's, ummm, not-so-covert glance at Syesha a week or two ago, etc.) - but other times, you're right - the singing just sounds different during the recaps, and they usually sound better. The producers do their best to make the camera angles line up, etc., but you can't hide the differences in the notes, especially for particularly bad performances. It used to drive me nuts in earlier seasons, because it seemed so blatant to me. I haven't noticed it so much this year - not sure about last year.

In a word: manipulation...

5:59 PM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger jennifer said...

I think the fact that the recaps are filmed during dress rehearsal came out in season 3 when Fantasia really deviated on the live show from her dress rehearsal footage. People screamed. But it makes sense that, since it's a live show, they don't have time to edit together a recap reel, so they use the next best thing.

I saw a big difference last week between David Cook's live performance and the recap, but other than that, they've been pretty consistent.

6:40 PM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Lee (aka LEN) said...

Very true - it would be difficult to do all that editing on the fly... Another conspiracy down the drain :-)

But it's still annoying!

8:28 PM, May 01, 2008  

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