Wednesday, May 28, 2008

david domination...

The David Cook World Domination has begun.

Okay, maybe not the world, but certainly the Billboard charts.

Shattering Hannah Montana's debut record of six titles on the Billboard Hot 100, David Cook debuts on the chart with 11 titles showing up on this week's list, the first time that the Idol's downloads have been included. (We all knew that between the Davids, they were probably taking up a huge chunk, but now we have that verified.)

Cook's eleven titles also is the most titles on the 100 list since the Beatles claimed 14 spots back in 1964.

Cook's domination is, of course, spearheaded by Time of My Life, his coronation song - magic rainbows and all - which will debut at #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on Digital Downloads. Fourteen titles will land on the Hot Digital Songs list.

David Archuleta isn't doing too shabbily either. Three of his titles will be included on both lists.

For more information, find the article here.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

an idol-free tuesday. ACK!!...

It's Tuesday. Do you know where your Idol is?

Oh the first Tuesday after the last Wednesday is so melancholy. On one hand, it's a relief that the competition is over and a winner has been crowned, but on the other hand I'm always left with the feeling: What the hell am I gonna do on Tuesdays now??

So, I'm hauling back out a custom that I abandoned last season - because I prefer to think season six was just a nightmare that I've long forgotten.

Yes, that's right. I'm gonna count down my fave performances of the year. Remember, they're my favorites, not necessarily the "best." And while I could easily fill all ten spots with David Cook, I'm going to impose a limit of three performances per contestant in the top ten. Otherwise it would be all David Cook. With honorable mentions going to, well, David Cook.

Here we go.

Honorable Mentions:
We Are the Champions (Michael Johns). And So It Goes (David Archuleta). One Rock & Roll Too Many (Syesha Mercado). Superstar (Carly Smithson). The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (David Cook). You Don't Have to Say You Love Me (Ramiele Malubay).

Come Together (Carly Smithson). At the time I wasn't real thrilled with the idea of the top 12 diving into the Beatles songbook, and half of them proved me right, but the other half of the field saved the day, most especially Carly who, for the first time, actually wowed me with this rousing and gritty performance. I never ended up being a "fan" of Carly, but after three disappointing performances in the semi-finals, this was the first time I saw how much talent and potential the girl had.

Let it Be (Brooke White). This was Brooke's defining moment. I heard it described elsewhere as "organic." That word fits this performance perfectly, as it was raw, but restrained, performed simply as it should be and, most importantly, she remembered the words!

Imagine (David Archuleta). In his semi-final performance, Archie made his first step in proving that he was capable of living up to the pre-show hype about him. Yeah, he got hammered for skipping over the first verse and yeah he got skewered for the runs and the riffs (moreso during his finale reprise), but, surprisingly, until his final performance night, this performance was his best and carried him through some of the pitfalls he was yet to encounter.

She's a Woman (Chikezie). Who knew the one-named Eze guy had it in him? Despite flashes of true talent in the semi-finals, no one really gave Chikezie much of a chance to make the tour, and many were shocked he had made it into the finals. But this performance made it clear that the man was a lock for top ten. I still smile watching it. It was his finest moment (and one of Ryan's weirdest). It's just too bad that two weeks later he would venture back into ballad-ville and get drop-kicked in 10th place.

God Bless the USA (Kristy Lee Cook). This performance will not go down in the annals of showstoppers, but after the horrid thing she did to Eight Days a Week, and having homesteaded one of the bottom three stools, Kristy showed her mettle by playing the game as strategically brilliant as any other contestant in history, pulling out the apple pie, the flag and Mother's Day all in one, securing her a vacation from the stools and buying her a few more weeks than she probably deserved. And it was a turning point for her, a transition between her time as season seven's punching bag to become the contestant people began rooting for, however reluctantly.

Hallelujah (Jason Castro). The dreadheaded surfer dude was certainly one of the most unique semi-finalists this show had ever produced, but with this beautiful performance, he also became one of this season's early favorites, at least to make it deep into the field. It was so memorable, in fact, that he was asked to reprise it, alone, on the big finale stage.

Eleanor Rigby (David Cook). I battled with myself whether to choose this performance or Hello, the one that immediately preceded it, but what tipped the scales on the Beatles side was the end. I knew by final 20 week that Cook was my favorite contestant of the season. By top 16 week when he remastered Lionel Ritchie, I thought that Cook might be, potentially, my favorite contestant ever. But Rigby sealed the deal. Perfectly performed, exquisitely directed and lighted, watching David #2's pure glee at the end of the performance, as the lights went up on the big stage after weeks of the tiny studio, is a moment that will live in my mind for a very long time.

Billie Jean (David Cook). I went into this episode knowing that Cook had chosen, for his birthyear night, this Michael Jackson classic and scratched my head wondering why on earth he had chosen such a strange selection. Of course, I had never heard of Chris Cornell or his version, which would have answered that question. It was one of those once-in-a-season moments, and proved that, by finding little-known arrangements of well-known songs, David was going to be the season's biggest risk taker. And he was going to be around for a very long time.

Over the Rainbow (Jason Castro). Jason was an enigma. When he was off, he was off. But when he was on, he was brilliant. And this was Jason at his finest. Of all of the iTunes purchases I downloaded over the course of the season, this is the one I listen to most often.

1. Always Be My Baby (David Cook). When observers of the show point to a contestant's defining moment, usually Cook's is measured by Billie Jean. But for me, this was the week that David proved to the naysayers that he was more than just a musician who ripped off covers of covers, taking this saccharine pop ballad and turning it, himself, into a smoky, sultry masterpiece, and he did it with his ailing brother in the front row, receiving rave reviews not only from Mariah Carey but the three judges, ending the evening teary-eyed. And that, to me, was a storybook moment, my favorite of the season.

So now it's your turn. What were your favorite moments?


Monday, May 26, 2008

12 million votes...

That's a landslide. A conquest of massive proportions. Or as I called it last week: a blowout.

And yet the Duel of the Davids was supposed to be Ruben/Clay, part two, where the last two men were separated by a relative handful of votes.

What happened?

Here's an
interesting analysis that, as a charter viewer of this show, I can't disagree with.


behind the scenes...

Want a glimpse into the makings of Idol's final week? The LA Times takes you there in this lengthy, but worth-the-time diary.

And for those who contributed to that mad dialing, Cook has a message to his fans.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

busy, busy, busy, but #1...

It didn't take long for Cook fans to put their money where their votes were Tuesday, as The Time of My Life is flying up the iTunes charts, and I don't think the guy has even gotten a chance to sleep yet.

Cook has made typical appearances since his coronation last night, but he won't have any down time, with appearances scheduled from coast to coast over the next week.

Here's a rundown:

Thursday (today):
The Tonight Show w/Jay Leno
TMZ on Fox

Friday, May 23:
Larry King Live (w/Archuleta) on CNN

Tuesday, May 27
Regis & Kelly

Wednesday, May 28

Both Davids will be appearing and performing on the Plaza on the Today Show (NBC) next Thursday, May 29. If anyone finds out other appearances, please let us know in the comments.

And while you're watching, keep an eye out for this:

Priceless! American Idol now ranks right up there with the Super Bowl.

(A better version of the commercial is here.)

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seacrest is talking...

cook's new single...

The Time of My Life, David Cook's American Idol winning single is available on iTunes for purchase, but is also debuting on Popeater.

Take a listen. Or two.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

david wins: a SIMULBLOG!...

Five months of investment, both from their side and from ours, comes down to tonight in the Nokia. The finale, if done properly, is always a fun send-off to a successful season as we get to see the kids we haven't seen in ages come back and strut their best Brady Bunch selves to cheezy choreography and fun and fluffy group numbers.

And we get to find out which of the kids gets to jet all over hell's half acre to hit the talk show circuit.

Because THIS, for the last time this year, is American Idol!

And this is a simulblog, so I'm gonna sit through the whole two hours, trying to describe what I'm seeing as the action is happening on the east coast, so if you are in the west and want to wait, here is not the place to be. But come back and cheer or weep after the results. With the rest of us cheerers and weepers.

Simon is already backpedaling on his KNOCKOUT assessment last night, still giving the night to Archie, but not by the margin he originally thought, after having watched it back. (Or checked Dial Idol, whichever.)

And let's all just have a moment to hope there are no more boxing references.

Thank you.

Ryan opens the show asking what the closest finale ever looks like as the Davids, dressed in white, stare each other down.

The vote was incredible, he says: 97.5 million, smashing the old record by 23 million. One David got 56 percent, the other 44 percent. And even Ruben got some. Ruben, in the audience, smiles. Holy crap. That's a blowout.

Mikalah Gordon is in KC with the Cookie people and Matt Rogers is in Utah with Camp Archuleta.

We start the night with a group number with the So You Think You Can Dance kids. So the choreography doesn't suck. Too much. They're telling us to Get Ready, because here they come. Tweedily dee.

David Cook hits the stage and is joined by Archuleta with Hero. Dang, those boys can sing well together. Lovely harmony. Yay! Please let that be on iTunes tomorrow.

Too bad that great performance is followed by a Guru Pitka segment.

Syesha Mercado gets to sing with her "special guest." And her guest is Seal. Now that's cool guest. Not a good combo. Dave and Dave should have sung again. But Syesha looks FAB, and she's having fun, so all is good.

Jason Castro is back, singing - by himself - Hallelujah. He's still so cute. And that was phenomenal.

The Ford commercial is a retrospective of video bloopers, which segues into the time the boys get their Escape Hybrid keys. Archie assures us he has a license.

Here come the girls. They are doing a Donna Summer collection. Brooke soloes, followed by Kristy, and Amanda looks like she's actually not wanting to die. Yay Amanda! And Carly looks great in red, but not nearly as great as Ramiele Malubay. And out comes Donna Summer herself to sing her - wait for it - new hit single. It never stops, does it? I like Donna Summer and all, but I would rather have seen more of Amanda Overmyer.

Carly Smithson and Michael Johns get to duo on The Letter. Great idea. Great pairing. MJ has a haircut. And he's still hawt. Oh they are terrific. Please, please let this be available on iTunes!!

Jimmy Kimmel is called upon to provide us with a review of the season, and he can't wait for the first Sanjaya joke. Sanjaya, sitting in the audience, laughs. That was quick and clever.

Things are moving quickly.

The guys get to "rock out." Michael Johns starts the Bryan Adams medley, handing off to David Hernandez, who gives way to Jason Castro then to Chikezie. The other Davids enter down the staircase together singing Heaven. Then, as expected, the guys give the stage to Adams himself, with our guys singing backup. And they all look like they're having a ball.

It's time for David Cook to sing Sharp Dressed Man with ZZ Top. And he has a new guitar, but with the same familiar AC initials. Hell, even I am clapping. My dog thinks I'm nuts.

KC is going crazy and Mrs. Gentry is wearing a classic DC tee shirt. She's my fave elementary school teacher.

Now it's time for Brooke White with Graham Nash and Teach Your Children. She is barefoot (Yay Brooke!) and her guitar. And I want this on iTunes too.

Okay, this is shaping up to be the Best. Finale. Ever.

These little boys must be the Jonas Brothers that I've heard so much about. I wouldn't know because the tweeners screamed over Ryan's intro. Have I mentioned yet how I am hoping for a mosh pit "accident?" Dare I say that Archie sings better than all of those brothers combined?

Now, of course, we get to revisit the reason I didn't watch the first five weeks. Auditions. Ugh. Except James Lewis. I lurrved him. Let My People Go... But they bring back Renaldo, our brother, complete with marching band and the USC cheerleaders. Ricky Minor must have refused to accompany him. But Paula and Randy do. Whatever. No iTunes, please.

One Republic has taken the stage to sing the "smash hit they wrote" Apologize. And the appearance of David Archuleta explains the reason. (I'm still trying to figure out the reason for the brothers...) I am not fond of this song. I think it has a one-sentence lyric. Utah likes it though. David's grandfather is proud. Matt Rogers needs to cut out the caffiene.

Jordin Sparks is in the house, skipping down the stairs in gold. She doesn't sound like she's suffering too many ill effects from the vocal cord injury she had. Good on her.

Oh goody. Nigel should not be allowed to play with special effects. We have a circa 1970 Gladys Knight heading up try-out Pips Jack Black, Ben Stiller and Robert Downey, Jr. yay. Okay, there were some amusing moments, but I would have rather heard Amanda Overmyer.

The screams are starting for Carrie Underwood. Jordin could take some fashion advice from Miss Carrie. Is it me or does her new song sound pretty much like her last song? I know. It's just me.

Did y'all catch the Guitar Hero commercials featuring the Davids? Tom Cruise who? But there was just something about seeing Archie in his undies that was just. not. right.

The girls are back on the stage, this time dressed in black, setting up George Michael. Now the guys take over, dressed dapper in suits with Father Figure. (Always think of Ace Young when I hear that song.) I love this group, but dang, they don't sing well together. George Michael is introduced. He looks creepy. Sorry.

Finally it's time. Eleven percentage points separate the two Davids, as Ryan told us at the top of the show. I'm surprised they revealed the magnitude of the win. The judges give them pep talks, and Simon apologizes to David Cook.

I want to slap the vote bringer-inner. The boys have their arms around each other's shoulders.

Ryan builds up the suspense before giving it to David Cook! He's crying. I'm crying. The crowd is nuts. His mom is on stage to hug her son.

Now we get to hear the real winning song. The confetti flies.

Congratulations Cookie. And thanks.

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miscellaneous mutterings...

With less than three hours remaining until we mark the end of season seven, I feel the need to say stuff, especially considering this blog will pretty much wrap up shop and take a hiatus for awhile after the hoopla surrounding this most intriguing year dies down. So you can either keep reading or resume your regularly-scheduled life, cause I'm gonna cuss.

The choice is yours. But this is for me.

I keep reading spoilers and predictions about tonight's finale. And I can't help but get a little antsy. The talk is all about guest stars, guest stars, surprise appearances and guest stars. I swear, if the producers forget that tonight is not about holograms and fancy special effects, that it's not about opening the stage to the "biggest star in the world" I will swear. I swear I will swear.

This is the show that celebrates those kids. Those twelve kids and those two guys who have given of their sweat, have forsaken sleep, have cried, have been applauded and have been humiliated over the past few months all so we can cry, laugh, criticize, condemn and applaud them. It's their show. Give them their limelight one last time.

My ideal opening? I want the Davids to stand center stage, with a single spotlight illuminating them and I want them to sing the damn phone book. Maybe then Randy Jackson will shut the hell up. Or buy a damn thesaurus.

I want there to be confetti, cause confetti is cool, and I want there to be flames like they had for Leona Lewis. And I want the cannons that shoot the confetti and flames to be in the mosh pit. Immolation assures good ratings.

There. Got that off my chest.

It's been a very interesting day (thank God for vacations!) reading the various message boards (some of which are very scary places for which I do deserve combat pay). The Archie fans are basking in the glow of their boy's success last night, and the Cookie fans are still a little ticked at the unbalanced attack on their boy by the judging panel.

I don't dispute that Archuleta won the evening, but I hardly think - even after a rewatching this morning - that it was close to a KO. (And was that boxing metaphor taken, perhaps, about 50 minutes too far?) And it's bringing out all kinds of conspiracy theories because, let's face it, aside from a stripper past and a DUI arrest, there hasn't been that much in the way of controversy this year. And this show wouldn't be American Idol if there weren't at least one conspiracy theory floating around.

Were last night's judges comments scripted to vault the young Archuleta into the crown because Simon Fuller, et. al. are anxious to get him ready for the Disney channel pilot season? Or were those comments an attempt to ass-kick the Cook fans out of complacency, so they would flock to their phones to dial and text their fingers bloody?

After all, Simon did make the rounds of the talk shows this week, assuredly making the Cook victory prediction and he did give David Cook a "you and I have a secret" wink after his last critique. (And it's not the same kind of secret he has with Seacrest.) So why the switch after praising Cook the week before for taking risks then ripping him a new one last night for not playing it safe with the last song?

Was that a bus? Or was that a clever ploy to ignite his fans to powervote and get ambivalent fans to get off the couch when they otherwise might have thought Cook had it in the bag? Or might they want to boost the suspense to see the front-runner Cook get TKO'd by the previous frontrunner Archuleta, that little upstart who finally broke free of those shackles that had been confining him.

I don't know how much validity any of these theories have, but they sure have contributed to interesting speculation while we await the final verdict. And it really shows that, after seven seasons, we all tend to watch this show with incredibly cynical eyes.

What is interesting is that, if you listen to the media, tonight's going to be a slam dunk for Archuleta. And I can see it going that way. After all, he's a cute kid with a great voice and the entertainment world is filled with cute kids with not-so-great voices who are making gazillions of dollars. Get his daddy out of the picture, get him some performance experience, and he could become a marketable commodity.

But if you go beyond the media, the prediction pundits are all calling for a Cook victory. I am not the biggest fan of DialIdol as a prediction tool when there are more than five contestants, mainly because it's a self-selected sample of users and the margin of error is something along the size of the Atlantic. But I can't argue its accuracy when there are three or less contestants, and it's never been wrong at two. And right now David Cook is sitting on an 11-point lead. Of course it can't account for text votes and whether the users are a representative sample of the overall voting population is an issue. A four-point lead, I would shrug off. But double digits says something. Like maybe people did pick up those phones (or, more accurately, fire up those phone modems) with a fervor.

But the most telling are the betting sites. Now we're talking cash, not pride. The online betting sites still have David Cook as the overwhelming favorite to win tonight, last night notwithstanding. That I don't take lightly. Betting sites don't part with their money easily.

So tonight could shape up to be a real barnburner (that's kinda like a humdinger) after all. We haven't had one of those since Ruben edged out Clay in season two, after Clay was told, by Simon, that he'd probably won the competition on the strength of his closing number.

Cook should win. Of that I feel strongly. He came out of nowhere, totally unpimped and has had the most innovative, risky, edgy performances consistently throughout the season. Archuleta started strong, faded a bit in the middle but came back as a true fighter (sorry for the boxing pun) in the final round. Simon told David Cook that he didn't have "that winning moment." He was right. But so what.

This is a marathon, not a sprint. If all the winner needs is a moment, why did this thing start in January? If all we want is a moment, let's just run a three-week summer mini-series. Thankfully this ending isn't like some of the past seasons, where we ended up with one deserving and one less than deserving contestant. This year we have two deservers.

It's just that one deserves it more.

If Cook does win tonight, what a perfect scenerio last night provided. The kid got his glory moment on the stage - one that he earned and deserved. He will be remembered for that, as well he should. The other gets his glory moment tonight. Both get contracts, both get media attention. It will be billed as the upset, the show gets extended attention, more than just the Thursday chatter, as fans battle it out for weeks, rushing the stores (or iTunes) to prove, monetarily, that their David was the true winner.

If last night was a set-up, it was well-played.

But I guess we'll find out tonight.

Now will somebody please hurry and install that killer cannon.

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nigel is speaking...

With Ryan Seacrest. And David. And David.

It's worth a listen.

we haven't heard the last of the songs...

So Paula let another cat out of another bag after all. Did y'all catch when she said on air that the song Archuleta had just performed "wasn't the winning song?"

Guess she was right.

The actual winning song will be unveiled tonight, after David is crowned the winner. And it's called Time of My Life.

The guys, apparently, were able to choose from the 10 runners-up? Well, at least they got to choose.

So that was the twist Nigel & Company was hinting about.

Oh goody. This means there's another song out there even more crappy than what we heard last night.

This is My Now Moment For I Believe I'm Flying Without Wings Just to Make You Proud.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

it's down to 2: david wins...

What would happen if they threw a boxing match and one competitor didn't show up? What would they do if they threw a boxing match and the judges had already decided in advance who was going to win?

Kinda like Paula knew Jason's performance was crap before he had even had a chance to sing it.

I don't know when I've ever seen such a one-sided final performance show in the seven seasons of this show.

There is no argument that David Archuleta turned in probably the best string of performances he's had in weeks. I won't even argue that he won the night. And I won't argue that David Cook was just missing something, even though I can't find the right word for it. Spark, maybe. Fight, maybe. Desire, probably.

Maybe he got the memo from Daughtry that not winning has all kinds of benefits. (Which it does.) And he took a dive.

Whatever Cook didn't bring to the table, though, Archuleta brought extra. After peaking in the early episodes, Archie has been plagued by dropped and forgotten lyrics, ballad boredom and watched his stock drop as quickly as David Cook's stock skyrocketed.

But there was none of that tonight, as young David, perhaps feeling free of paternal pressure finally, showed more spirit, more animation, more personality and more presence than he has all season. And that was just in one song.

My complaint about this episode is not with the Davids. It's with the panel of judges, one of whom cannot seem, no matter how much money he's paid, to stray from the hot molten zoned phone book, who tonight made it abundantly clear which of the Davids is supposed to win. Hell, they couldn't even make it close to heighten the suspense.

But here they are, my initial impressions, subject to review and revision and, for the first time, separated by "rounds," in the spirit of the "match" instead of the traditional worst to first.

Clive Davis round, the living corpse with the golden ears.

David Cook (I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For). Clive Davis tells Cook that this song represents a generation searching. Cookie doesn't play around much with the arrangement, which is smart considering it's a U2 song, using the stage and the "judges stage" to good effect. Unlike last week his voice is strong, but there's just a fire that I've grown used to that just isn't there.

David Archuleta (Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me). Clive always seems to choose this song for the guys. Okay, so maybe just once before, so Archie runs the risk of being compared to the versions that preceded him. He plays it very smart, switching it up from the versions Idol addicts recognize, showing more animation and more stage presence than he has all season. By far. The judges call it (sorta) his best performance of the season, and I can't disagree with that.

Judges: Round One to Archuleta.
Me: Round One to Archuleta.

David Cook (Dream Big). Considering the batch of songs Cook had to choose from, Simon was right: he did the best he could. It was sung well, but it just didn't "fit." The ending made the song, but seriously, can't there be a better song out there somewhere?

David Archuleta (In This Moment). Again, I'm not gonna slam Archie for the poor song - good heaven's could those lyrics be any worse? - but Archie's issue all season is that he stumbles with complicated lyrics - too many syllables, perhaps, if they're sung in quick succession. He's fine with the chorus, but not fine enough, even though Randy pulls out that insipid "phone book zone" comment.

Judges: Round two to Archuleta.
Me: Round two to Cook.

David Cook (The World I Know). Cook has his acoustic guitar, takes this one slow and easy. And beautifully. He ends his last song in tears, to thunderous applause and gets told he should have taken the easier road and chosen a proven winner like Billie Jean or Hello. That's stupid. He gets extra points from me for not giving us a retread that is easily available on iTunes.

David Archuleta (Imagine). Taking on a song performed already to great reviews is always risky. (Ask Diana DeGarmo.) But Archuleta knows his season was defined, in many ways, by this song performed back in February, throws in some extra vocal acrobatics, and turns in another fine performance.

Judges: Round three and match to Archuleta.
Me: Round three a draw.

I don't know who's gonna win, and I don't care. Both are guaranteed a contract, and, as has been proved, there is a ton more freedom with second (or third or fourth) place.

David will win, that's for certain. If David wins based only on tonight, it will be the youngster. If David win based on a body of work throughout the season, Archuleta will get Cooked.

So, who will win? Answer the poll and please leave a comment, showing the respect you always do to fans of both Davids.

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CAUTION: song spoilers...

This entry will be updated as the Clive picks and the crappy coronation song titles are revealed.

But here's the scoop so far:

David Archuleta: Imagine, Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me and (coronation song) In this Moment.

David Cook: Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, Dream Big (coronation song), and The World I Know.

Other stuff:

David Cook's brother Adam, an attorney from Terre Haute, IN, will be in the audience watching, once again, his little brother. This time he's there thanks to the generosity of Cookie fans everywhere and an anonymous donor who helped foot the bill for the trip to LA.

Rumors are swirling that the two crappy coronation songs the Davids have chosen are Here I Am (Archuleta) and No Turning Back (Cook).

Sample of insipid lyrics:

Here I Am/My Arms Are Open Wide
Here I Am/I've Nothing Left to Hide
...I'm Where I'm Supposed to Be
Here I Am.

Poor kid.

A little better, but not much...

There's No Turning Back
Giving Me a New Sensation
Giving In to All Temptation
There's No Turning Back
Need to Feel Acceleration
Need to Feel the Elevation

Making me prone to hyperventilation.

Oh well. The coronation song isn't called crappy for nothing, I suppose.

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this just in...

It's down to hours before the last performance episode of the seventh season, and spoilers are coming in.

Here's what we know about tonight:

Archuleta will sing Imagine, a reprise from his semi-final competition.

NEW! David Cook will become the first American Idol to get clearance for a U2 song in competition, and will sing Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

As more song spoilers come in, they will be added here.

But while we're waiting for tonight's news, how about one more trip down finale memory lane, ending with my personal favorite moment - evah.

It was season four, which had been a refreshing one after the dismal season three. The finale promised the "biggest medley yet" and did it ever deliver. Each of the 12 kids got time with a celebrity guest, including a stunning performance by Vonzell Solomon with Billy Preston, but the highlight was the end.

Whouda thunk Skynyrd would ever perform on the Idol stage?

I never get tired of watching that.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

nigel is speaking...

And he's talking with Ryan Seacrest.

The Davids are singing three songs and can choose to either sing a new one or reprise a song performed already this season.

Archuleta is singing Imagine. Imagine that.

Here's the "twist" we were promised from the Crappy Songwriters Coronation Song Contest: The boys get to choose from among the top ten voted songs for their crappy coronation song. I'm sure both of them were tickled pink.

Clive Davis is choosing one song for each of the Davids. I thought he was dead. Or at least shelved.

The "biggest star in the world" is gonna be at the finale, along with some dead people. Remember the Celine/Elvis duet?

The top five are singing duets with "somebody." Boy that somebody is gonna be busy.

They're going to verify the vote totals thousands of times, because Nigel can't help himself from reminding Ryan how numerically challenged he was during the season two finale, when the vote margin changed after every commercial break.

Ryan drinks champagne and Nigel drinks Jack.

So now you know the rest of the story.

finale memories...

Spoilers for Wednesday night's annual finale extravaganza are trickling in. Some things have been verified; others are rumors.

What we do know is that the top five - David, David, Syesha, Jason and Brooke - will be paired, like the past two seasons, in an individual performance with a celebrity artist. We also know that the Jonas Brothers will be appearing.

And we know that two contestants from each of the previous six seasons will be on stage. But that's nothing new. It's become a tradition to welcome back past and the reigning idol, and it's always a highlight of the finale production.

Which brings us to today's memory, and the first time a past Idol joined the two remaining contestants. It was also the first final featuring two guys. And it was the last until now. It was the closest vote in the history of the show. Until now.

Tomorrow: my favorite finale moment ever.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

miscellaneous musings and memories...

Craig Berman explains why David Cook will win.

But Marc Hirsh warns not to count out
David Archuleta.

Got disposable income? Wanna bet?
Odds are on David Cook. Unless you're betting in Las Vegas, which gives the edge to Archuleta.

And since we're reliving finale memories from the past, who could forget - ever - Kelly Clarkson's winning moment in the very first season?

I swear I thought her mom was gonna pass out.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

finale memories...

Still counting down the days until the seventh season finale, I'm filling in the wait flashing back to finales past.

Here's my favorite memory from season three, not because it was all that enjoyable - after all season three was laden with women, few of which I liked and suffered from letdown after the FAB season two - but because it's pure, unadulterated cheeze, from the Partridge Family-ish outfits to the Brady Bunch-ish choreography.

This is how to do a cheezy medley!

And it's just really nice to see George Huff again.

Friday, May 16, 2008

finale memories...

Since we're talking finale memories around here, and since Kristi summed hers up in two words in the comments, I decided to think back to the things I remember.

So as we're counting down the days until new memories are made, I'm gonna relive some of the past.

Good times.

My favorite moment from season five's:

I loved those guys. Yeah, even Kevin.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

the morning after...

I have a love/hate relationship with the final three results shows. I love watching the footage of the kids' trips home. They're always filled with such emotion and such celebration. But I hate watching that last contestant leave thisclose to the end of the competition. Even if I'm not a fan.

I must say that Syesha was a class act throughout the entire show, even though, I think, she knew the writing was on the wall and no one could have stopped the inevitable David finale.

Trying to write and watch at the same time often leaves me missing some of the best parts of the show, though. So, after rewatching this morning, I just felt the need to comment on the last non-extravaganza results show of the seventh season as we prepare to head into the final week.

It was a treat to see all of the cast there in the audience. It took me a minute to recognize David Hernandez though. Has it really been that long since we were cracking jokes about male strippers and identifying Davids by number? Seems like a lifetime.

And exactly who was that raving, red-haired, red-lipped animal zipping all over the stage leaving Simon with the most classic WTF look on his face. That couldn't have been the same Fantasia that we all still remember sitting center stage singing Summertime. If this is what Broadway does to Idols, Syesha better think again.

One thing the hometown highlights really showed with all three is just exactly how exhausted these kids are.

My favorite word of the night: Gosh.

Note to Ryan Seacrest: stop reading the little cards and start comprehending them. And please stop blaming the staff on live television for mistakes. A simple "oops, our bad" would have been sufficient once you realized that Roberta Flack and Chaka Khan are not the same person.

It was nice to see so much footage of Mom-chuleta after all of these weeks of nothing but Dad-chuleta.

My favorite line of the series: Where did they park?

The funniest moment of the hometown visits wasn't even shown on the air: the Florida lady doing the handstand for Syesha. The stunt was well planned, but executed poorly. And after her first attempt to do the full handstand that had to be aborted and redone, she glanced at Syesha and said softly "that was my Brooke attempt." They shoulda kept that line in.

Mom Cook apparently has had enough of American Idol. Did y'all catch her emphatic "no" when Ryan told Cook brother Andrew they would see him next year?

My favorite teacher: Mrs. Gentry. Just goes to prove if you want to be worshipped, skip American Idol and go straight to elementary school teaching. Honest.

So we're down to the two guys, and people are going to have a field day figuring out all the various ways we can play on the David/David theme. Archuleta won the traditional coin toss following last night's live show and has chosen to go second, natch.

And it's time to start speculating about next week's grand finale, which is always filled with surprises, cheesy group numbers, and really bad dancing.

What are some of your best finale memories?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

setting the table: a SIMULBLOG!...

The end of another very long season is in sight, but not before we slash and dash the hopes and dreams of one more kid on the way to final week of the seventh season.

Because THIS is American Idol.

And this is a simulblog, which means I'm typing and publishing as the action is happening live on the east coast, so if you don't wanna know, it's time for you to leave. If you want to be totally spoiled - or bored - for the next hour, then hang out and chat!

After all we only have one more week left. And the show is about to start...

Ryan tells us that 56 million votes were called in last night to decide the fate of the three remaining kids. Andrew Lloyd Webber is in the house, as are most of this season's contestants. Fantasia is also in the house and will be singing.

Syesha and the Davids combine because there ain't no stopping them now. Kool choreography and it helps that they've dropped about nine people, because this year's group sings have been nothing short of, well, bad.

The crappy Ford commercial asks how far heaven is, as the kids dream about getting keys to Pontiacs. Just foolin'.

We get the recap from last night. And as soon as that's over, it's time to bring out Fantasia, because we have hometown visits to see! Fantasia has hair that is constantly changing color. Tonight it's kinda pink. Or orange. Depending on the angle of the light.

She's as shy as ever. I honestly don't know know what else to say about that appearance.

The kids are backstage. Ryan calls Archuleta to the stage. We get to see his visit to hometown Murray, Utah. He went to his high school, the television station, the Jazz game and the Gateway Mall. And he cried. And he has a really cool mayor with a really cool moustache.

David says he's embarrassed about all the tearful footage, gets his reviews from the night before and gets his funeral video before he's even been declared dead. Smart move considering they won't have time next week to show each of the remaining kids' journeys, so they'll just do them tonight.

Syesha Mercado is summoned. She says her trip home was "amazing." She visited the television station, the museum, hugged a baby or seven, got a parade, visited her high school and got to take a helicopter ride. She cried a lot too.

She is reminded of her reviews. Simon says Paula was too hard on her. Simon is so funny.

And she gets to watch her funeral video to the sound of Fantasia's crappy coronation song.

David Cook is next. He says he didn't mean to audition, but to accompany his little bro Andrew, who gets called to the stage. The Cook brothers and Ryan get to watch his hometown highlight reel. David got to do the weather at the television station, surprise his elementary school music teacher, have a parade and throw out the first pitch at a Royals game. He cried too.

Cook gets reminded of his reviews. And he too gets to watch his funeral video.

The three kids are standing center stage as we get thrown to commercial.

The kids are holding hands with Syesha in the center. Randy tells them they all did an amazing job. Paula pretty much repeats what Randy said.

The lights are dimmed. They're holding hands again. Ryan announces the two going forward, and their names are David.

Syesha gets to sing more more time, as we get reminders of her journey on the big screen behind her.

Syesha, you set the record for most appearances in the bottom and yet you hung in there. You are a fighter. And Broadway is waiting for you to finish that tour. Congratulations, well done and so long.

Please discuss!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

three singers, two openings...

It was a chance to take on songs handed to them, rather than chosen by them. It was a chance to sing on the last show of the seventh season. It was a night when the judges and I were on (almost) complete opposite sides.

But the bus was all gassed up and aiming for the stage. And pieces of Syesha are hanging from the rear view mirror.

The ballad-heavy episode certainly wasn't the best final three episode ever. It was, though, safe. If your name is David.

But anyway, here are my impressions, subject to review and revision, but as always, from worst to first:

David Archuleta (Producer's choice: Longer): Yes, this was a crapper of a song choice, but he didn't have much say in the matter. Again, he does what he can with the song, but sitting squarely again on a stool midstage does not help sell it. The judges assure him he'll be in the finals. Because they know the bus is getting ready to back up and make sure Syesha is under it.

Syesha Mercado (Randy's choice: If I Ain't Got You): Syesha looks stunning in a sequined gown and delivers a well-sung, but unoriginal version of this Alicia Keys song. She gets tepid reviews, and I'm so unmoved that I can't think of anything more to say.

David Cook (Personal choice: Dare You to Move): Paula finally recognizes that sometimes songs just don't work in the split-second allowed for the live performance, and never was there better proof than this. David is just "off" in the first part of the song, but once he's back in comfortable range, the song ends.

David Archuleta (Personal choice: With You): David Archuleta said "my boo." If you had told me that six weeks ago, I would have laughed. The judges applaud his attempt at a song about a hundred miles out of his comfort zone, but make it clear that his choice was a bad one. Okay, so he missed some notes, and the song fit him like mittens fit a dog, but, and maybe I'm seeing things that aren't there, it looked as though he was actually having fun for the first time in weeks. And that made me smile.

Syesha Mercado (Producer's choice: Hit Me Up): Finally something upbeat! Too bad she seems to be chasing the beat, never quite able to catch it. The judges, expectedly but inexplicably tell her she's toast, either in an attempt to spur her voters to dial harder or to convince them it's not in their interest to try.

David Archuleta (Paula's choice: And So It Goes): First a disclaimer. I do not like this song, even sung by Billy Joel. It's bland, and it's boring. But David does the best he can with it. Randy slobbers all over him, like usual. Simon though, is right: it was predictable, nothing spellbinding, but pleasantly fine.

David Cook (Producer's choice: I Don't Want to Miss a Thing): After an awesome open, David closes the show - with composer Diane Warren in the audience - a bit out of tune in the front part, but wraps it up in true David Cook style. It wasn't bad, it wasn't good, and it was better than most of the others on this night, but I guess I was hoping for more. Simon calls the night for him anyway.

Syesha Mercado (Personal choice: Fever): I knew that somewhere in the judges' critiques we would hear cabaret the minute I saw the chair on stage. This is another song that I've grown tired of, but, for possibly the first time ever, I got it. The judges have apparently been sucking out of Paula's cup, or they've been told who to praise and who, umm, not to, but this was Syesha's performance of the season, despite the universal panning that she received from the scoring table.

David Cook (Simon's choice: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face): Okay, does it make me a nerd to say I had tears? If so, then I'm a nerd. With wet eyes. The only downside to this performance was that it's a tough song to condense into the alloted 60 seconds, but David sings the first verse flawlessly before powering into the ending, hitting high notes I don't think he's hit all year. Simon tells him it's one of his best performances to date. I just hope it's the studio selection on iTunes.

I hate the final three results show. I always cry, even if I don't really like the third-place finisher. My brain is telling me that the David fans X 2 will be seeking emergency finger care in the morning, leaving Syesha the odd-woman out. In fairness, she deserves a spot in next week's show, as do both of the Davids, but realistically she hasn't much of a chance.

Or will we be treated to that shocker that has eluded us this season? Will the glowing David reviews leave one David in the lurch. Oh hell, I don't know.

As much as I want to call for an unexpected Archuleta boot, I am expecting Syesha to hear Ruben singing.

So what do you think?

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UPDATED! last three standing...

It's arguably the most stressful night of the season: final three night. Two of the kids will sing in the last show of the seventh year. The other, coming oh so close, will be relegated to one of the aisle seats, watching from the audience and after months of putting in as much effort as the other two, will play nothing more than filler during the grand finale next Wednesday. (And as an added kick in the butt, #3 doesn't even get to make the talk show circuit, because rehearsals for the finale start right away.)

So after tonight, all three have a chance of winning. After tomorrow night, one just loses.

Three contestants, three songs. One of the songs is his or her personal selection, no restrictions (except clearance issues). One of the songs is chosen by one of the judges. And the third song is drawn from a fish bowl, errr, chosen by the producers.

Of course, history and superstitions still abound. Until last year when Jordin was first up on final three night, every singer who led off final three night got kicked to the curb the following day. I still maintain that the order of performance on this night is dictated by vote accrued during the season, from least-voted to most-voted. That's why #1s always got the boot. It wasn't some lead-off curse; they just didn't have the votes in the first place to stand a chance.

And if that's the case, I strongly expect Syesha Mercado to lead off tonight, followed by Archuleta and ending with Cook. But we'll see. UPDATE: Performance order is Archuleta/Syesha/Cook.

And then there's the Paula curse. In five seasons of judges choosing song selections (individual judges did not choose songs during the first season), Paula has never chosen a song for the kid who eventually wins. Clay Aiken finished second in season two, Jasmine Trias got totally thrown under the bus in season three, Bo Bice couldn't overcome the Underwood express in season four and Elliott Yamin got shortchanged in season five.

Tonight Archuleta gets to sing a Paula selection. Seems the kid is just not having a good week.

Now for the song spoilers. We've known of the judges' selections since the three contestants visited their respective hometowns, and some of the other choices are making the rounds as legitimate. I am not making any claims as to their validity; I'm just passing along the titles that seem to be the general consensus, but I have yet to see any single source, so take them for what they're worth.

Song selections are now official. Seems that Cook has pulled a fast one on us with a switch.

Syesha Mercado:

Personal choice: Fever (audio by Peggy Lee)
Randy's choice: If I Ain't Got You (video by, well, Syesha. Seems she's familiar with the song.)
Producer's choice: Hit Me Up (video by Gia Farrell)

David Archuleta:

Personal choice: With You (video by Chris Brown)
Paula's choice: And So It Goes (video by Billy Joel)
Producers choice: Longer (audio by Dan Fogelberg; video of record player)

David Cook:

Personal choice: The World I Know (video by Collective Soul).
Simon's choice: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (video by Roberta Flack)
Producer's choice: unknown
David's other two selections are Dare You to Move (I suspect his personal choice) and I Don't Want To Miss a Thing (I suspect the producer's choice.)

The fact that Syesha has already performed Randy's choice on television is interesting. Did he know that? Or did she just get lucky? And will she sit - again - on the piano to deliver it?

Simon's choice for David Cook is fascinating. It has the potential to be spellbinding. Or to put an entire voting audience to sleep. The choice is David's.

David Archuleta gets the short straw. Not only did the kid get thrown a curve by having his little league parent abruptly yanked after all of these months breathing so incessantly down his neck, but he gets possibly the worst Billy Joel song imaginable. (I like the Fogelberg tune, and if he can pull off the Chris Brown song, I'll be the first one applauding.) If any of the three is at a disadvantage, therefore, it's him. (Although the continuous coverage of Dadchuleta-gate could garner him some extra sympathy votes.)

All of the makings for a David-squared finale have been in place since Beatles week. We haven't had an all-male final since season two, and we haven't had a same-gender final for three years. Somehow I have a gnawing feeling that we're due for that shocker we've been deprived of so far.

So, what do you think?

As soon as song spoilers are out, I'll update it here.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

david loses daddy...

I have avoided all season discussing the stage monster that, allegedly, is Jeff Archuleta, David's dad. But it seems Daddy Archuleta stepped over the line, and has now been banished from the backstages of American Idol, much in the same way he was reportedly barred from the backstage of Star Search when young David was a contestant there.

One thing you do not do, aside from allowing your 17-year-old son to actually breathe on his own, is cost American Idol money. And, reportedly, when the senior Archuleta insisted that David insert a little Sean Kingston, which he had been strictly prohibited from doing, into his Stand By Me on Tuesday night, the additional dollars added up.

And, as a result, Daddy got booted.

Read about it here.


Friday, May 09, 2008

following the kids back home...

It's Syesha Day in Florida! And her FOX affiliate is following her with live streaming video.

UPDATE: Randy has chosen Alicia Keys' If I Ain't Got You for Syesha's judges choice selection.

And it's David Cook day in Missouri where he'll be in a parade with Ronald McDonald!

And his FOX station is giving fans two - TWO - "Cook Channels" to keep track of the boy, complete with chat. And according to this station, Simon has chosen The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Roberta Flack) for Cook's judges choice. And David, reportedly, has chosen The World I Know, by Collective Soul, as his personal selection.

And in Utah, it is D-Day, rain or shine. Archie has his own tracker and live streaming video.

UPDATE: Paula has chosen And So It Goes by Billy Joel for young David.

If I learn any more song selections, I'll be adding them to this entry.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

they're heading home...

Friday is the big day for the remaining three Idol kids, Syesha Mercado and Davids Archuleta and Cook, as they get to be royalty for a day in each of their hometowns. And the hometowns are eagerly awaiting their prides and joys - and the untold amount of publicity each town will receive when the homecoming videos are aired next week.

David Archuleta is heading home to Murray, Utah, where he will sing the national anthem at the Jazz/Lakers game, meet the governor and a couple of mayors during homecoming at his high school, and appear on Good Morning Utah, the morning show on the local FOX affiliate.

David Cook will be dropped off at Blue Springs, Missouri, which has been in contact with Bothell, Washington, Blake Lewis' hometown about how to handle this year's moment of Idolmania. Cook gets to sing at the Kansas City Royals game, will present a mini-concert at the local high school before his parade starts at 3:30 p.m. and will get the keys to the city from the mayor.

And Syesha heads to the warmth of Sarasota, Florida, where she will sing at the Tampa Bay Rays game, get the key to the city and put on two concerts, one at the high school and one at the Ringling Museum of Art.

And we should know at the end of the day which judge has chosen what song for each of the singers. That's always a highlight.

If anybody is planning to attend any of the functions, we'd love to hear a first-person account!

And, of course, next Tuesday is the infamous final three night, where the kids will each sing three songs, one of their own choosing, one selected by one of the judges and a third, normally chosen by Clive Davis. (The recent shelving of Clive Davis at Sony BMG may change that, but since he doesn't have anything else, apparently, to do, they may roll him out for tradition's sake.) Maybe the mosh pit will choose the third song. It's anybody's guess.

But one thing is certain: at the end of the final three show, we will know exactly who the show wants in the finale.

It's tradition.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

parades are a-waiting!: a SIMULBLOG...

It's been 24 hours since the Idols hit the Rock and Roll Hall. Or was that the wall?

In a nutshell, Archuleta crooned, Cook coasted, Syesha cried and Jason crashed. And burned. After shooting the sheriff.

Yes. That pretty much sums up the night.

It was, quite arguably, the worst final four episode in seven seasons.

And somebody's gonna pay the price tonight, because it's time to chop off the dread weight. Maybe.

Because THIS is American Idol.

And this is a SIMULBLOG, which means I'm typing as the action is happening live on the east coast, with a publishing break at every important stop, so if you don't wanna know, here's not the place you wanna be. If you want to be spoiled though, stick around, chat in the shoutbox and hit the refresh button occasionally to see what's going on.

Because the show's about to start!

Ryan calls last night's show "dramatic." And he promises more drama. Plus Bo Bice.

Ryan begins grilling Randy on his Syesha-hate from the night before. The other judges get a moment to reflect on the performance episode before we get a group song.

The kids are "reeling in the years." And, as usual, the audio guy is asleep at the controls. But Judge Judy and Howie Mandel are in the crowd.

We get the retrospective from last night. The kids are backstage looking at the monitor. Archuleta is called out first. He gets grilled by Ryan about nonsense as it's clear the kid just wants to know if he can go sit on the sofa of safety. He can. And he does.

And after a series of directorial missteps, we get sent to a commercial.

The four kids got to visit Las Vegas, and we are treated to the highlights. Because they have only four kids and an hour to kill.

David Cook gets his command to appear onstage. He is reminded of his reviews from the night before. He says his head just wasn't in the right spot last night. But he's told to send his head to the sofa to join the other David.

Syesha Mercado and Jason Castro are called center stage. So it looks like this odd season (and I mean that in more ways than one) will not have the traditional final four shocker.

The Idols are matadors fighting a Mustang in the crappy Ford commercial that is, at least, entertaining.

It's time for phone calls. Cook gets put on the spot by a woman wanting a date and Syesha gets bleeped when she gives more information than she was supposed to. And there were others, but I was too uninterested to listen. [The word they bleeped on Syesha was "commercial." Guess they don't want us knowing the kids are forced to pimp products.]

Now it's time for Maroon 5, because we only have four kids, two of them have been called safe, and we have 25 more minutes to kill.

Bo Bice is back! I love Bo! But I'm not real fond of his new single. Maybe it needs time to grow on me. He tells the remaining kids to "practice, practice, practice."

All the filler has pushed the show to seven minutes till the hour. Syesha and Castro are standing on the stage with Ryan.

Jason is reminded that he shot the sheriff, spared the deputy and got thoroughly panned for it. Ryan makes a funny about his flubbed lyrics. Jason makes a funny about shooting Mr. Tambourine Man.

Syesha gets her reviews from the night before. No funny remarks about about her tears.

Both of them get to discuss last night. Syesha gets deep and political.

Syesha is told she's getting a parade. Jason applauds and hugs her sweetly. He looks happier than she does.

We all get to remember Jason's journey to the sound of Ruben. And he sings the show out in the wildest, happiest sing out I have ever seen.

So long Jason. You were fun to watch.

Good luck.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

they're gonna rock this show...

"You can rock out on Idol."

Randy Jackson said so earlier this season. And Paula nodded.

And so to prove it, the final four were allowed to frolic in the list (or the pared down list in all probability) of the songs that "shaped rock and roll" according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Three of them will get parades. One will get to meet Ellen next week.

Because THIS is American Idol.

And after this episode, I will be cleansing my ears. And then I will be trying, again, to figure out how and why they're still insisting that this group is the best group in the history of the show. Cause I am just not seeing it. Or hearing it.

But here they are anyway, my initial impressions, subject to review and revision but, as always, from worst to first, including a four-way tie at the end:

Jason Castro (Tambourine Man). Well, at least he didn't stop and ask the band to restart after forgetting the lyrics. His "lah-lah-lah" was a nice coverup. If anyone suspected last week that Jason wants off of this show, this week that is confirmed. Unfortunately for him Simon tells him to pack his bags, which typically is a call to the phones for many people.

Jason Castro (I Shot the The Sheriff). Simon compares this performance to a first-round audition massacre. Randy calls it a bad Bob Marley karaoke performance. That pretty much sums it up for me.

David Cook (Hungry Like the Wolf). David starts the show and doesn't blow me away like I've come to expect from him. He says in the intro that he's going to "turn the song on its head," and he doesn't come close. He gets a tepid response from the judges, justifiably, but considering he's all but a lock for next week, perhaps he decided this week was the time to play it safe.

Syesha Mercado (Proud Mary). Syesha looks lovely and continues to display that long-hidden personality, but instead of using the Tina Turner rendition of this song as a guide and turning it into Syesha's version, she decides to duplicate Tina, clear down to the choreography. The judges are split, but I am siding with Simon's view that it was an imitiation, even though I think it didn't deserve to be called "shrieky."

[The following four I'm just calling a tie.]

Syesha Mercado (A Change is Gonna Come). This song started promisingly, but the more powerful she tried to make it, the more strident it became. It was better than her first effort, even though Randy pans it, but the Jasmine Trias tears upon Paula's glowing words, followed by Simon's, may have touched the hearts of potential voters everywhere.

David Archuleta (Love Me Tender). So Little David didn't know this song. :::wipes tear::: The beauty of this song, aside from the sweet lyrics, is the glorious melody. And it's one of those songs that really shouldn't be messed with. The judges call in a U-Haul full of praise up to and including Simon's observation that he "crushed" the competition. Sorry Simon, but I beg to differ.

David Archuleta (Stand By Me). Archuleta is fortunate to anchor the first round with this song, because after a bomb and two mediocre outings, this one does stand out, despite the insertion of a little Sean Kingston that I do not think was in the original version. It was not near to the extent that Randy slathers the pimping praise, but little David does take the first round But that's not saying much.

David Cook (Baba O'Reilly). After acknowledging that the judges were right to pan him for his first performance, DC takes his "Les Paul" and delivers another trademark David Cook performance, but on rock night doesn't come close to comparing with his earlier-season performances.

So who's leaving. Well if the voters have any compassion, they'll send Jason on his way, but voters have a history of evil. Might Archuleta's voters sit back and watch Dancing with the Stars, their boy having done "crushed" the competition? Will Syesha's heartfelt and touching tears earn a few phone calls?

I'll call a Jason/Syesha bottom two and predict that one of them will be hitting the talk show circuit starting Thursday.

So what do you think?

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CAUTION: song spoilers...

It's rock and roll night on American Idol, and TMZ has the song selections. (No mention of performance order, not that it matters much when we're down to four kids.)

So if you don't want to know what they're singing, avert your eyes. If you do want to know, keep reading.

Castro: Tambourine Man (Bob Dylan) and I Shot the Sheriff (Eric Clapton)
Cook: Baba O'Reilly (The Who) and Hungry Like a Wolf (Duran Duran)
Archuleta: Stand By Me (Ben E. King) and Love Me Tender (Elvis)
Syesha: Proud Mary (Ike/Tina Turner) and A Change is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke)

This could be interesting. See you then.


odds at four mean tamyra...

The field is down to four, and that only means one thing: a shocker could be afoot.

Historically this is the week of the unexpected. In season one, Tamyra Gray looked to be a lock for the final three showdown with the other front runners Mr. Guarini and Ms. Clarkson. Little did anyone expect that upstart Nikki McKibbin would turn in two memorable performances to great reviews and Tamyra, after not missing a note throughout the season, would turn in a memorably bad rendition of New Attitude and find herself the first victim of the final four curse and the creator of a new verb.

We still refer to talented contestants waving goodbye while considerably less talented ones remain to sing another day as being tamyra'ed. And fourth place just seems to be the place where all the cool kids hang out. At least in the odd-numbered seasons.

Just ask LaToya London, who got tamyra'ed in season three by the entire state of Hawaii. Or season five's Chris Daughtry, who got blindsided by Elvis.

It's pretty much a consensus that the show is aiming for a battle of the Davids for a season seven finale. Hell, even Simon is going on the record. So that leaves Jason Castro and Syesha Mercado to battle it out for that valuable third spot, the eligibility to make the finale and, most importantly, a trip back home to parades and proclamations.

Or does it? It is an odd-numbered season, after all. And with ratings down, what better way to stir buzz than to see one of the presumed Goliaths struck down by a rock - on rock and roll night.

The spoilers are creeping in and, as usual, Jason's songs have been leaked early. There's no verification, but this source hasn't been wrong all season, and it seems Mr. Castro has chosen I Shot the Sheriff and Mr. Tamborine Man.

TMZ should have the verified song spoilers in a couple of hours, and when they're up, I'll be writing 'em down.

Friday, May 02, 2008

three guys, a girl and rock & roll...

And there's something in it for each of them.

The reported list is here, but we all know the list of 500 will be pared to about 7.

So, who should sing what?


Thanks Rob for the awesome image!