Wednesday, April 09, 2008

the final 8: inspire me...

It was billed as a night of inspirational music. So I fully expected to jump from my chair at the end of the hour, grab my superhero's cape and save the planet.

Saving the planet will have to wait. I went to bed.

After a promising start to this season, it seems we may have hit the plateau, where the show starts to lag a little, the kids become a little more tired and the weeks until the finale seem like years.

Or maybe it's just me.

It was another night of pleasantry, with only a couple of poor performances thrown in, but, as has become the norm the past few weeks, nothing memorable, nothing that I'll be rewatching for days. I want to be grabbed and shaken by the throat again. Is that too much to ask?

But, at least, by the end of the week, aside from being constantly reminded how many gazillions of dollars was raised, we can kiss goodbye to the back-slapping, self-congratulatory thing that is Idol Gives Back. There is that.

So anyway, here are my reviews from the evening, a day late and a dime short, but as always from worst to first:

Carly Smithson (The Show Must Go On). It was Carly at her oversinging angriest. Simon's observation that she lost control of the song was spot-on, and his prediction that Carly could be in trouble is right. I don't know what else to say about this performance except to say that it was a trainwreck. And trainwrecks don't inspire me.

Syesha Mercado (I Believe). This is the seventh season of American Idol. Among the cardinal rules for this show is that an Idol wannabe does not choose to sing the crappy coronation song of an Idol winnerwas. You just don't do it. Just say no. The judges will compare you to the original, and you will pale in comparison. The voters will either be offended that you thought you had the chops to imitate their beloved champ or be offended that you evoked wretched memories of that Idol that they believe should never had made the finals, much less won. You can't win. Enough with the Whitney, enough with the Fantasia, Syesha. You are doing yourself no favors.

Brooke White (You've Got a Friend). I hate saying this, but Brooke is teetering on boring. I like this girl, best of the remaining women, but I knew in my gut that she would find something in the Carole King library to choose. And when one becomes predictable, well, one becomes overlooked. Brooke needs to pull out a performance that forces people to want to vote for her. Instead she pulled out a snoozer that made me want to go to bed instead.

David Cook (Innocent). David #2 has been applauded all season for his "originality," pulling out little-known arrangements of well-known songs to great success. Last night he pulled out a little-known song, which can turn voters off by itself, but, for the first time, performed it weakly, often being completely deluged by the band and enormous throng of background singers. The "read the hand" moment was a nice touch, but the jacket would have been perfect on Beatles night. Luckily for him, he should have enough cash stored in the bank to avoid any trips to the stools tomorrow.

Kristy Lee Cook (Anyway). Who knew? Okay, she's no Martina McBride. Hell, she's not even Martina Hingis, but after a season's worth of less-than-staying-worth quality and countless escapes from the final sing-out, Kristy's was the only performance that really made me smile. Not because it was Grammy-worthy, but because, for her, it was her shining, memorable moment. It will either be a good note on which to leave, or it will buy her a "get off the stool free" card. Which one is yet to be seen.

David Archuleta (Angels). I'm not a big fan of this song, but I did appreciate Archuleta's understated and simple approach to it. His voice was strong, the piano was a good touch and his facial expressions have improved tremendously, allowing his talent to become the focus of the performance.

Michael Johns (Dream On). What's up with the ascot? There was just something contradictory about performing Aerosmith whilst wearing one. But I digress. I don't know why the judges (save Paula) didn't appreciate this outing. I do understand that, in comparison with David Cook, MJ doesn't come off as the true "rocker" of the bunch, and I still don't think we've seen the showstopper he's capable of, but, aside from the Hollywood rounds, this was my favorite Michael moment thus far.

Jason Castro (Over the Rainbow). Okay, I'll be honest. In a wicked, almost perverse way, I was really hoping that Castro would perform this song sprawled out on the floor with bare feet, so that I could erase memories of the last time this song was sung on this show. But, truthfully, I preferred the sprawled out on the stool with a simple ukulele. And after having heard myriad overwrought, oversung versions of this classic, the simplicity of this arrangement was refreshing. It was Jason's best performance in weeks.

So there they are for what they're worth. So now comes the hard part, because going home could be any one of four women.

Who I want: Carly, Syesha, Brooke
Who should: Brooke, Carly, Syesha
Who will: Carly, Syesha, Brooke

Maybe it's just me, but ever since her visit to the bottom three, Carly has had a desperate air about her. She has to know that against the guys, she won't win. But she seems to think she does not deserve to sit on stools. And the minute voters get wind of any sense of entitlement from these kids, the urge to vote seems to wane.

And for that reason, I think Carly's in for the shock of her life.

So. What do you think?



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12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is it with Randy this year??? How could he slam Michael Johns performance??? It may not have been exactyly "him" style-wise but was excellent. Randy! Lighten up! I am getting tired of him!

8:55 AM, April 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't figure out why the judges are so consistently hard on Ayesha. She was far and away the best of the night last night - and better than "nails on a chalkboard" Fantasia ever was.

Always hated that version of Rainbow, and Jason sounded pretty much the same as he always does - mediocre.

Top 3 for me: Ayesha, David A, Kristy. Bottom: Jason, Carly, Brooke

9:32 AM, April 09, 2008  
Blogger Kristi Mantoni said...

I thought Michael was horrible! And since when was "Dream On" inspirational? It seems more desperate like a "hurry up and get everything you can before someone takes it away" vibe. I’m hoping that it’s Syesha’s turn for the bus to LAX. I’m very tired of her Whitney-esque vocals. I don’t think this week will end the talk of Idol Gives Back. Ryan will have to remind us of how much money was raised each week along with announcing that they are doing it again next year! YUCK!

9:45 AM, April 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For some reason, I just don't like Kristy. Her voice to me, sounds very whiny. I know it is most likely her country type way of singing, but that seems to be the ONLY thing she can sing. That and patriotic songs. I am tired of her.

Syesha is ok. She is from my hometown, so I can't say I want her to leave. I think she is better than Carly and Kristy. Brooke is my favorite out of the girls. I thought Jason's was the best performance, followed by David A. I was surprised David C didn't do a better job and I like Michael's Aerosmith. I would have rather seen David C. do that song. Oh well.

I honestly hope Kristy leaves, but I have a feeling that it is Carly's turn.

9:50 AM, April 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your right Randy was annoying. According to him just about everyone had a pitch problem. Maybe he needs to get his ears checked. lol

Jennifer I think your right about Carly, I'll be surprised if she doesn't go home, but who knows, its "American Idol".

I think my two favorites now are David A and Jason. David A's has a beautiful voice and he truly seems like a nice kids. Jason's vocals aren't as stong but his voice is good and he has a real charm about him. He's differnt, I like that.

I think Kristy did a good job, I thought she looked great.

My least favorite last night was probably Carly and I also thought Brooke was boring. They are both very talented, but I didn't like their song choice. I think they BOTH need to dress better!

I really like David C, but wasn't crazy about his song choice either or the get-up. Same for Michael. He's such a good looking guy, the scarf or ascot made him look like he was trying too hard to look like a pretty boy.

I think Syesha did a good job on the song, but it was a stupid song choice. Of course the judges will compare her to Fantasia. They think Fantasia is great. I'm not a Fantasia fan, can't stand her. YUCK!!!

I probably will watch the show tonight, unless something better comes up.

Dori

9:55 AM, April 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your bottom three are the same I have chosen. I predict that Carly is the one listening to Rubin tonight....

10:01 AM, April 09, 2008  
Anonymous i'm a jennifer junkie said...

I'm afraid many of you are right and that Carly just might go home tonight.. I hope not though. I think Syesha needs to go first.. she brings nothing new to the competition and as I've said before, sounds like SOOOOO many other singers out there. Kristy Lee, based on earlier performances should be gone by now, but she's hanging on and did a nice job last night.
Brooke was so blah last night!! I'm getting really really tired of her and I agree with Dori that her wardrobe needs to improve as well as Carly's. I just don't get Simon.. Carly looked better last week than this and he told her she looked good???? What's up with that??
All the guys, except David C were good last night. I didn't like his performance one bit and got that "I'm already a big famous rock star" vibe from him again which I find extremely annoying. I think he should be in the bottom three tonight and I want Syesha to go home!!

10:30 AM, April 09, 2008  
Blogger anne said...

*kristy lee - can't freakin' stand this girl. she's like a robot and i think she knows she shouldn't have even made it this far.

*brooke - boring and acts like she's 60 years old, although i can't deny that she is talented.

*carly - great voice, but i can't stand looking at her when she wails on high notes. yikes.

*david archuleta - this kid has a ton of natural ability, but i don't think he can pull out a win. his modesty used to be endearing, but now its annoying. i'd like to see him in the final 3.

*david cook - strong singer and a great performer which should carry him through for a while.

*jason castro - simply adorable. how can you not like this guy?

*syesha - seems the most geniune to me. i enjoy watching interviews of her almost more than i like hearing her sing, but she lacks originality.

*michael johns - i've enjoyed several of his performances, but he's just a smug bastard.

1:22 PM, April 09, 2008  
Anonymous i'm a jennifer junkie said...

I think you're getting Michael and David mixed up!! And Syesha genuine??? It feels to me like she's acting all time. I have to say though, I agree with you on everyone else though :-)

2:16 PM, April 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the girls get picked off one by one the next few weeks - But I think you are right Jennifer we probably won't see anyone go home until next week
And I thought David Cooks jacket looked like the one Heph wore on Casablanca night on the "Girls Next Door" - (no I do not watch that show!)
Connie

4:06 PM, April 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I had any money, I'd put it on Carly going home next. Your review was perfect, Jennifer.

6:21 PM, April 09, 2008  
Anonymous Chris(Daughtry)ROCKS said...

You know...I didn't realize how much I love inspirational songs til I listened to last night's show. The kids were great (for the most part). I'm such a sap!

Here are my picks, worst to first:

David C. - Ummm...a very uncharacteristic clunker from my favorite in the competition. I hated the song...and hated him singing it. He seemed out of sync the whole time. But he's not going anywhere. Maybe this will be his week to hit the bottom 3 and get a much-needed wake up call. But props to him for the hand-written message he flashed at the end.

Brooke - I love this song when James Taylor sings it. But Simon was right; it was just pleasant. Pleasant but boring. She didn't do herself any favors.

Carly - Before Simon even said it, I thought, "Wow...she just sounds kinda angry." I don't think that's the tone she was going for. Still, her vocals are pretty darn good. I liked the first 1/2 of the song better than the 2nd half. The song seemed to get away from her a bit.

Syesha - Vocally, she was pretty darned good. I thought it was one of her best...technically. But she didn't connect at all to the song. Randy was right; Fantasia sang the heck out of that song. Syesha just sang it.

Kristy - WTG girlfriend! If, as Ryan said, her goal this week was to stay out of the bottom 3, she may have just ensured that with this performance. I thought she sounded fantastic! I liked it better than "I'm Proud to Be an American." The girl really can sing, when she's staying within her wheelhouse. And holy cow! she can hold a note! I loved it.

David A. - My favorite cutie-pie! I didn't really like this song; I thought it was kinda smarmy. But David has such an amazing, pure voice, and I could tell he really connected with the song. He made me a believer.

Michael - I don't care what Randy said, I thought Mr. Oz ROCKED IT! It was a great choice of song for him...and he sounded Auss-ome!

Jason - I absolutely LOVE this arrangement of "Over the Rainbow," and Jason cemented his place within the folksy genre with that performance. I thought this was his best performance of the entire competition. Well done!!

Who I want: Syesha, Brooke
Who should: Syesha, David C.
Who will: Syesha, Brooke, Carly

Hmm...Syesha?

7:22 PM, April 09, 2008  

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