Wednesday, April 02, 2008

parton me while we sing dolly...

It was no April Fool's joke that the nine remaining Idols were given the task of picking through the Dolly Parton songbook. And the result? Another night of pleasantry: nothing extraordinary but nothing near the level of wretched either.

Mediocrity bores me.

And while I appreciate the work of Dolly Parton, both as a songwriter and as an artist, I can't help but believe that the more broad theme of country music would have suited the final nine much better. And it's not like Ms. Parton couldn't have lent her considerable knowledge of the country music industry. The woman's been a staple of the field for a century. Or so.

But they didn't, so here are my thoughts on the night, a day late but as usual, from worst to first.

Ramiele Malubay (Do I Ever Cross Your Mind). Once again Ramiele turns in an unmemorable performance, at times drowned out by the band in the rafters, at times off tune and often wavering on those sustained notes that plague her. I don't know how she has escaped the bottom so often, but her time may be up after this.

Brooke White (Jolene). Simon was right when he told Brooke that she seemed to be just trying to get through the song, one of Dolly's most wrenching. It was performed sufficiently - I like Brooke when she's playing the guitar - but it left me empty, a strange departure for Brooke.

Jason Castro (Travelin' Thru). I have to give the guys a little latitude with this theme, but Jason continues to disappoint me with his sleepwalking versions over the past couple of weeks. Like Brooke, it was not bad. It was just 90 seconds of time that I don't remember.

Syesha Mercado (I Will Always Love You). When contestants become so predictable that we can review them before they sing, it's usually a sign their time is up. Who didn't expect this song from this girl? And ever idealistic, I had hopes at first that Syesha would stick to the Dolly version and not fall into the Whitney trap. Alas. Good front part, disappointing back part and a note overheld so long that it caused the show to run long.

Kristy Lee Cook (Coat of Many Colors). Kristy gets points for the bare feet. I think most people expected Kristy to thrive in her genre theme, and while Simon thought her flag-waving performance from the week before was better, I agree with Paula that it was her best. She was smart not to try to embellish with vocal acrobats a song whose lyrics tell a sad story. And while she may find herself singing into the credits tonight, she will go out on a high note.

Carly Smithson (Here You Come Again). This is one of the Dolly songs that I really like, and part of its appeal is the tempo. Carly takes the tempo waaaaaay down, which throws me a bit and after a few more listens I still don't really like, but she has made strides in correcting, at the suggestion of the judges, her facial expressions. Now work on the wardrobe, says Simon. Find sleeves, say I. I'm not a tattoo bigot, but even after all these weeks, I still find myself so distracted by them that I forget she's singing. And if I am doing it, I'm sure I'm not alone.

Michael Johns (It's All Wrong, But It's All Right). Michael gets the pimp spot, but because of an hour show, countless commercials, pointless banter and Syesha's five-minute glory note, his performance and post-performance moment feels too rushed. The judges gush, however briefly, over his bluesy interpretation of Dolly's song, calling it his best to date. I have heard him better, but on this night, pretty good is, well, pretty good.

David Cook (Little Sparrow). David Cook takes a moment pre-performance to satisfy all of those naysayers who are accusing him of stealing arrangements, and he takes pains to inform us that he arranged the version of Dolly's song by himself. He then turns in a heartfelt, acoustic version of a song I don't know very well in the style we've come to expect from him. And thankfully he is fine after a health scare.

David Archuleta (Smoky Mountain Memories). Archuleta seems to be off one week, on the next. This was beautiful, easily the best performance of the night. And his stage presence and facial expressions seem to be improving weekly.

So now the tough part. The group is clearly dividing itself into the contenders and the rest, led by the guys and Brooke, leaving any one of the others as the dispensable kid, so on a night when all things are pretty much equal, it's hard to pick the obvious boot.

So I'll toss a coin.

Who I want: Syesha, Ramiele, Kristy Lee
Who should: Syesha, Ramiele, Jason
Who will: Syesha, Ramiele, Jason

And Ramiele, you've slipped under the eviction radar for weeks, so be grateful for the time you've had. I had such high expectations for you, but you just didn't live up to them.

So who's in your bottom three?

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Anonymous tracyintpa said...

I was a fan of Ramiele in the beginning but its time for her to say goodbye. I am not a fan of KLC however, I have to give her props for last night, she was not the worst at all. Jason was BORING and his "goofy clueless" schtick is getting old. Syesha was soooo predictable. I liked her the last 2 weeks, but she really bugged me last night by playing exactly the hand everyone figured she would. Geeze... take a risk.

Best of the Night? Michael Johns, David A is phenomenal but he is boring me to tears. He can only do one thing...sing ballads.

Bottom Three

I want: Syesha, Jason, Ramiele
Should: Syesha, Jason, Ramiele
Will: Syesha, Ramiele, Brook
Ultimately Syesha will be saying buh bye.

8:38 AM, April 02, 2008  
Blogger Jenna said...

I totally agree with Simon's comments on Carly's wardrobe! Gosh isn't this when the stylists take over?? KLC was absolutely beautiful and Brooke was stylish although simple. Carly needs some serious help.

My bottom three: Ramiele, Jason, KLC

I say Ramiele will go home.

8:47 AM, April 02, 2008  
Blogger Jenna said...

Oh, and although I didn't put her in the bottom three because I don't want her to go...I hated that version of Jolene. It was too up tempo and why would you SMILE through the's not a happy song!

8:49 AM, April 02, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael Johns OWNED last night.

The End.

9:43 AM, April 02, 2008  
Blogger kjl said...

I really like Ramiele and I think she has a great voice, but for some reason her performances seem to be getting worse instead of better. Unfortunately I think she'll be headed home tonight. Syesha's song was ridiculously predictable, but I think she has a great set of pipes and I hope she'll stick around. I'm not a huge Carly fan, and yet I thought her performance was pretty incredible. While Michael was good, I still liked David Cook better last night. I think he was just forgotten since he went so early in the show!

10:35 AM, April 02, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you all hear that David Cook was rushed to the hospital last night right after the show? They wanted him to go earlier, but he wanted to stay and do the show. They said his blood pressure was high and his heart was racing.

They said he was upset about his brother, who has cancer. And add on the stress of the show, that didn't help either.

I hope he's going to be OK.


10:54 AM, April 02, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS: They said he's was sent back to the apartments after he was stablized. So he's OK.


10:56 AM, April 02, 2008  
Anonymous JessiJames said...

good analysis Jenn. I agree for the most part, especially on the not top 4 :) I would flip around your top 3 I think, as I preferred MJ to DA, and like you, DA was a touch better than DC.

The only problem I had with Cook was it was down tempo. It was wonderful to hear how solid he is vocally, but he didn't get in any big note or some sort of defining run to sell the song.

For me, just about everyone tonight did what might be considered B sides on an old 45, with only a couple of those B's being good enough to possible catch on. No one was terrible, but too many were simply average.

Also thought this was Brooke's worst night, and if I recall correctly, I was expecting a better payoff from Carly's. The song kept building like there was going to be a big arrangement and a powerful punch to the end, and it just hung there and fizzled, so I felt let down, but until that point, I'd thought she'd sounded great, she just didn't finish how it felt it should finish. :(


11:32 AM, April 02, 2008  
Anonymous i'm a jennifer junkie said...

My faves are moving around. While I've always liked MJ.. I LOVE him now. Great performance last night. I've also come to like David C a lot more and thought he looked quite handsome with his new hair cut.. thank heavens he's done something about that. He did a fabulous job with that song.
I still think David A has the most amazing voice but I dunno.. I'm losing interest in him a little and enjoy other contestants more.
I still love Jason C and would buy his cd in a second.
Ok that takes care of the guys, who, IMO were way better than the girls last night.
Carly was the best of them.. I'm starting to warm a little more to her and really appreciate how hard she's trying in this competition. I loved hearing a softer side to her voice last night. Very nice job. I also thought she looked lovely and tho I've bemoaned her wardrobe choices in the past, I thought Simon was way out of line and quite cruel to her last night. She took it well though. Has anyone ever critiqued Ramielle's clothing choices??.. they're often quite hideous and are certainly not "star" quality either.
Speaking of Smurfette.. it's time little one.. time to sing your final song on Idol.
Kristy Lee did her job last night.. she left me unwowed but nobody can say she sounded bad.
I finally realized who Brooke reminds me of... a young Hilary Clinton!! Something about her strikes me as phony and I WISH she'd STOP talking over the judges. I do, however, love her voice and think she'll go far in her genre!!
Syesha gave it a good try last night.. she is another "worker" and gives it her all at every performance. She has a great voice, is incredibly pretty but unfortunately, sounds like too many other singers. She's just not, to use of Paula's words "unique" enough.
Anyway, I think Smurfette is going home tonight!! Hope so anyway.

12:23 PM, April 02, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Archie sounded like a goose last night.

12:29 PM, April 02, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heart David Cook!! Didn't know about the health scare or the brother with cancer. Glad he is okay though and sorry to hear about his brother. I know one thing, when he releases an album, I will be first in line to buy it.
P.S.: Ramiele has to go!! So does KLC too though. I forgot she was still there actually.

12:34 PM, April 02, 2008  
Anonymous gavintiegirl said...

Did anyone notice or hear about Jason Castro's flub last night:

From Michael Glitz's post on Huffington Post:

Jason Castro -- He sang "Travellin' Through," the theme song from 2005's Transamerica. Castro is always amiable despite a voice that practically disappears while he was singing. The copious references to God and Jesus might win him a few extra votes from heartland Christians who don't realize the movie is about the dignity of transgendered people. (Dolly was robbed of an Oscar when her song lost to the far inferior tune "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" from Hustle & Flow.) Hilariously, Jason messes up the words. Instead of the couplet ""Im out here on my journey, trying to make the most of it/ I'm a puzzle, I must figure out where all my pieces fit" he sings "I'm a puzzle, I must figure out why I'm a piece of sh--" and then slurs the last word when he realizes something has gone horribly wrong. None of the judges comment on his live almost-cursing moment (maybe they thought Dolly had gone ghetto) but only Paula found something nice to say.

2:31 PM, April 02, 2008  
Blogger jennifer said...

LMAO. I just watched it again, and he DID!! That was TOO FUNNY. Maybe he shoulda not slurred. That would have gotten him votes from those of us cracking up.

And the writer was right: Dolly WAS robbed of that Oscar that year.

2:55 PM, April 02, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess while I like Michael Johns, I thought his timing was way off or something - I am glad he has lots of fans and I t hope he goes far, but I didn't think his performance was as great as they made it out to be. And Jason Castro needs to sing something like "Hey there Delilah" that is more his style. Anyway, this is the first Season I do not despise any of them but I'm guessin' a girl goes home tonight and any of them would be Ok.

5:38 PM, April 02, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone put some SLEEVES ON CARLY ...geeeeeeeeeeez....

7:01 PM, April 02, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just listened to Jason Castro's "almost swearing". He said, "I'm a puzzle/I must figure out where all my pieces fit".

7:49 PM, April 02, 2008  
Anonymous kristen said...

I agree with anonymous about what Jason said! His lyrics weren't very clear, but I didn't think it was an "almost swear."
I thought he did really well this week! (though I am admittedly a big fan of his) I thought he did something a little different for him - a little more uptempo. I guess I'm in the minority!

11:24 PM, April 02, 2008  

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