April 29, 2008

Idol Recap 4/29

You know how Ryan Seacrest talked on tonight's show about growing up riding in the back of his mother's big station wagon and listening to Neil Diamond? Well that was me too. I grew up listening to Neil Diamond's Greatest Hits on tape over and over on trips to New York to visit the grandparents sitting in the back of my parents' 1986 Ford Crown Vic station wagon. I bought Saving Silverman pretty much solely due to Neil Diamond's cameo (although the movie does have its moments). And I knew that I would take tonight's performance very, very, very personally, knowing much of the history and the meaning behind the songs, appreciating said history and meaning, and having a sinking suspicion that some of the contestants would not. Some proved me right. And Neil, unfortunately, was one of the most vanilla guest mentors we've ever had on the show. Maybe next year they can get Ozzie or Mick Jagger.

I'll rank the PERFORMERS overall performance from best to worst:

1) David Cook
He is quite simply the total package. He's got range. He made another Neil Diamond song completely his own. And I mean completely. Not by changing the word "New York" to "Arizona" and then referring to the shore of Arizona. If we did forced song selection, I would've forced David to take on Holly Holy because I think it's the perfect Neil Diamond song for him in its original form. Anyway, he's going to sell thousands of records. He's a frontman and a great musician. He's reasonably charismatic. I hope for his sake he finishes in second place because he doesn't deserve to be a slave to Clive Davis and BMG. Can we have Pearl Jam night just for David Cook to sing Black?

2) Syesha Mercado
She did a great job on Hello although she dumbed it down from the Neil Diamond version, taking advantage of the shorter set to skip quite a few of the complex octave changes in the original. Nonetheless, she showed a very controlled voice and wasn't belting for the sake of belting. On Thank the Lord for the Nighttime, Syesha did a fantastic job of convincing viewers who had never heard the song that it was originally a Motown song. She's a talented girl but she's a better performer/actress than singer. Which isn't a bad thing.

3) David Archuleta
He's just consistent. But talk about cherrypicking the Neil Diamond songbook. Sweet Caroline and America???? That'd be like picking I Alone and Lightning Crashes on Live week. Sweet Caroline was decent but I again didn't like how he simplified the range of it because he's better than that and could've pulled off the low register followed by the joyous chorus in the original version. And for those who don't know, David is as guilty of pandering as Kristy Lee Cook was in God Bless the USA. When he ended his version of America with a very loud chorus of "Let freedom ring!!!!" I defy any of you to tell me where in the original song that is. It's pandering enough to choose that song. But wow... add in that last line and next thing we know he's going to be landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier in George Bush's lap with a giant "Mission Accomplished" sign unveiled as the plane lands.

4) Brooke White
I should've put money on her to do a piss-poor version of I'm a Believer before the week even began. I knew it would be her or Jason. Brooke's version of the song was nothing special at all and not worthy of the Top 5. Her other performance, I Am I Said, was a stunning performance of one of Neil Diamond's most heartfelt, autobiographical, emotional songs. While I didn't like her little wordplay, that was Neil's suggestion, so whatever. I was hoping that nobody would sing this song actually because I like it too much. However, Brooke did it justice.

894) Jason Castro
Jason is content right now to mail it in. Last week proved to him that he can totally tank and he's charmed enough voters that he'll skate through regardless. He forgets one thing. Each week that a new contestant is eliminated, that giant pool of people who voted for that prior contestant votes for another contestant. Just like the electoral primaries. And I have news for Jason... not a single person who voted for Carly is voting for him. Those votes are going largely to Syesha, Brooke, and David Cook. Jason is in a very precarious position this week.

Predicted Bottom Two:
This is very tough and I've been horrible at this the past few weeks. I'm tempted to say Syesha because she's been in harm's way so much. But going last should help her out. Also, Simon made his usual reverse psychology ploy to keep her by making a big deal out of how she's in danger to get people to vote for her. Both Davids are definitely safe. I'm thinking it'll be Brooke and Jason this week. The version of I'm a Believer is going to be what people remember about Brooke. Jason got called out by the judges for being a one-trick pony and he's just not talented enough to be a top-4 Idolist. So there... Brooke and Jason.

14 Responses:

"ben" said...

1) I'm on the David Cook bandwagon again after last week and this week. Definitely an Idol finalist, potential winner. I don't know if he's destined for stardom (maybe he is) but he's certainly one of the best on this show.

2) I think Syesha has been getting better every week and, to quote Randy, she's in her element now. I'd like to see her in the top 2 with Cook, but I'm pretty sure she's gone because she never seems to get votes.

3) I thought Archuletta was no good tonight. If Syesha got ripped for being a 2nd rate Whitney, I don't get why Golden Boy isn't ripped for being a 3rd rate Neil Diamond. He doesn't have the big voice to carry those songs, especially America. That's not to say his voice isn't good, it's just not big and strong. And at first I didn't think he was doing the pandering to patriotism, but the let freedom ring thing was, uh, weird. It made sense for KLC being Country and all, but this made no sense to me.

4) I hate everything about Brooke. I don't even think she did the second song particularly well. Hope she's gone.

5) And if she's not gone, I'm done with Castro, too.

Nic said...

I know I'm in the minority here but I didn't like Syesha tonight. I found her voice annoying. I think pitchy might be the word.

Brooke and Jason were worse though.

Josh said...

I'm not crazy about Brooke these days but she does occasionally bring something to the table when she's behind the piano. Jason Castro is a little more limited than Brooke, and he's stopped trying. I'm still liking David Cook.

Tim said...


J-Red said...

This was the most painfully dull Idol for me. I'd rank the performances:

1a) Cook
1b) Archuleta
2) Syesha
3) Brooke
4) Castro

That being said, Syesha is gone for sure. I can't see a single member of Syesha's voting bloc making it all the way through last night's episode and voting. When Simon said she is in trouble, he couldn't bring himself to say what he really meant: You did very well but Neil Diamond the week after showtunes is just not going to get your people salivating to vote.

I would like to hear Paula's critiques of Archuleta's 2014 reprisal of Joseph in the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

big tuna said...

Archuleta really sucked last night. I think Idol is going to lose viewers when this dope ends up winning and people realize they have wasted months of their lives watching it.

J-Red said...

Archuleta won't win. It's going to be Cook and Archuleta in the final. They're going to have to sing the crappy written-for-Idol finale songs. Who do you think will be able to make theirs sound better? David Cook can turn it into some kind of contempory rock sock. Archuleta will just sing the crap as it's written.

Plus, I think Cook is the beneficiary of the elimination of each of the other contestants, with the possible exception of Brooke.

J-Red said...

sock=song. I'm tired.

Jeremy said...

rock sock Jayhawk Go KU

big tuna said...

Hey, no one has mentioned how drunk Paula was last night. After the first round of songs she said Jason's second song "left her empty". Uh, yeah, I would say so. Then she claims she was confused and reading the notes for David Cook. Then she said David Cook's performance was her favorite.

Brien said...

I loathe David Archuletta.

I'm also the only person in America who really likes Brooke, even though she sucked on the first song last night. Don't misunderestimate the votes she'll get just for singing "that song from Shrek."

Nic said...

Hasn't anyone else noticed that Syesha is becoming very very talkative?

J-Red said...

Brien, you might not the only person who really likes her, but it's safe to say after tonight that less than 20% of the country really likes her.

I can't believe Syesha snuck through again. She seems to be picking up just enough votes from the last person voted off each week.

Josh said...

Well, Syesha is getting better. If this were purely based on performance, at this point she should make it another week. Of course, it isn't purely based on performance.

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