Tuesday, April 29, 2008

American Idol Top 5

Idol show mentor Diamond uh telivison uh.... I'm sorry, can we start this again?

Ok, I think I have it now. With Neil Diamond as this week's guest mentor, I was expecting this to be most Jewish influenced American Idol ever, but instead I think it was simply the weirdest ever.

All sorts of goofy things happened. Ten songs in an hour with contestants rushing on and off stage, husbands with mancrushes on Seacrest, endorsements by Canadian nationals, contestants writing lyrics on their hands, contestants admitting having choking problems or bad notes, Jason Castro looking higher than ever, Brooke White acting crazy again, Paula Abdul appearing both high and crazy as she attempted to make comments on Castro's second performance before he even went. She thought he sang twice. Paula is so out of it, she does not know the rehearsal from the actual show! So, you had all that, plus Neil Diamond's ginormous ears. I could not believe those things. I never knew he had them. It must have been the hair all those years. But I think they might have been a bigger distraction for the contestants than a certain Dolly Parton feature. I guess Neil Diamond just must have always been told he had an ear for music. If Elton John is doing benefits for Hillary Clinton, Neil Diamond and his ears should totally do some stuff for Barack Obama.

So, the Idols sang twice (with the same outfit on) this week in a very rushed fashion with only enough time for the judges to give their individual critiques after song number two. The show felt very odd. It was more about the craziness than the actual singing. I was kind of dissapointed by that and hoped that Def Leppard performing "Pour Some Sugar On Me" on some goofy dancing show would be entertaining and instead they simply lip synched (and I think pretended to play) from the actual 1988 single. Half of the band on that record are dead.

Last week, Carly Smithson was eliminated which did not come as a huge surprise to me, but I think was the wrong call nonetheless. The show almost did not feel the same without her. She would have added to the craziness.

First, I will rank Round 1. Then, I will rank Round 2, which will basically be the same except for the bottom two, and then I will have to use a complex formula for my final rankings which luckily feature a tiebreaker introduced to determine who I think deserves to go home, and then I will be very happy when this is done.

So, Round 1..

1. David Cook- Those who saw the song spoilers and who are rooting for Cook were probably freaked out by the fact he picked obscure songs and were speculating that maybe he was trying to sabatoge himself as to not be burdened as the "American Idol" a few weeks down the road. But, after watching his performances, he was good and made the right decision, as the songs are going to be more associated with him. There have been times in recent weeks where I thought Cook was overhyped and I did not have him ranked as high as most others, but this week I thought he was very good, and appeared quite seasoned and comfortable on stage, while playing electric guitar on the first obscure Neil Diamond tune. I even detected some of Diamond's trademark gravelness in Cook's voice during that number. David C. can sure come across as smug at times though. Some people may not like that, but at this point, most people are convinced it will be a David vs. David finale, and the conventional wisdom is now that Cook will actually be a heavy favorite (and certainly the "critics" choice to win it all) over Archuleta. I have spent this whole season thinking that David A. was almost certain to win the whole thing, but Cook has to be considered the frontrunner now.

2. Syesha Mercado- she really upped her game tonight, considering how much jeopardy she is considered to be in. She sang a sort of boring ballad as her first number but did it quite well. Also, the sister was looking fine this evening. I just really wish she were wearing shoes. That is one of my Idol pet peeves and I want to deduct points for the lack of footwear.

3. David Archuleta- as opposed to the other David, the younger one picked perhaps the two most recognizable Neil Diamond songs and once which would be assumed to be likely audience pleasers and vote getters. Starting off, he sang "Sweet Caroline" (to the delight of Red Sox Nation I am sure) and that song is just not the same after learning that Neil Diamond wrote it about Caroline Kennedy, who was all of 12 years old at the time. That is a little creepy and it that sort of makes it an unusual Archuleta song choice. He sang it fairly well though, but I do not think it was his best. It was good to see him go away from a schmaltzy ballad, but this may not have really suited his style. He just looks awkward trying to move around on stage and he was wearing some sort of outfit that made him look like an extra from the movie "Jailhouse Rock." The screaming of the pre-teen and teen fangirls was quite audible during the performance though so something tells me his most dedicated fans really loved the whole vibe. I would be shocked if he was not safe for next week, but as this competition as progressed, he may not have been able to live up to all the hype that was set (despite what I think were a couple really stellar performances). Obama was once considered inevitable for his party's Presidential nomination and both he and the supposed inevitability of David A. as the American Idol winner may have been a little pre-mature. But time will tell.

4. Jason Castro- Big drop between the three above and the bottom two for Round 1. Castro sang "Forever In Blue Jeans" while playing his guitar once again and while it might have been good for coffee house standards, there were several missed notes and it just was not American Idol Final Five caliber. The judges have surmised that something has changed with Jason and perhaps his heart is no longer truly in the competition and that he is just going through the motions. That could be the case or he may just really have gotten some either really good or really bad weed. (For the record, I think it is highly possible that Jason, a supposedly very religious young man, is totally straight edge and is just the way he is naturally. I hope so.) Paula Adbul was not fond of it as as mentioned before, not fond of song number two either, even though he had yet to sing it. Talk about a confidence booster!

5. Brooke White- her singing "I'm A Believer" had train wreck written all over it and she did not really dissapoint! At least she remembered the words though as she strummed along on a guitar that was bigger than she was, and may have been almost as big as Neil Diamond's (who actually did not get enough screen time) ears. This song just did not work for her. It seemed extremely corny, especially with her "woo's!" making a return to the Idol stage and vocally it was pretty bad for this stage in the competition. Brooke also looked to maybe be a little resigned to the whole thing and not overly upset to sort of bomb. Good thing for her, and most of the others that there would be a Round 2.

Speaking of which...

1. David Cook- He was really good once again with another totally obscure Neil Diamond song. He played the acoustic guitar on this one and I thought it was very good. Get ready for the hype David C. Expectations are going to be sky-high. Look forward to having to go up against Archuleta with whatever horrid inspirational ballad wins the contest for both finalists to have to sing.

2. Syesha Mercado- Could she have please put some shoes on? She looked smokin' otherwise, but of course, we are only hear to judge the singing and she did pretty well (although not perfectly so) on the upbeat "Thank the Lord for the Nighttime." Of all the contestants this week, she probably did the best job in performing in two different styles. But last week she made comments that seemed to confirm she is more comfortable as an "actress" than being herself on stage and that might have been a strategic blunder when people vote.

3. David Archuleta- Is the song called "America" or "Coming to America?" Either way, David A. did pretty well on it, despite one pretty bad note in the middle. Talk about a politically expedient song choice though! He borrowed a page from the Kristy Lee Cook playbook by picking a feel-good American song (except maybe to those in the Constitution Party who think too many people are coming on the boats and on the planes and across the southern border into America). Despite the fact that it was Michael Dukakis's 1988 convention theme, how could be go wrong with that? The Idol producers even saw fit to give him a huge video-screen Stars and Stripes behind him when he sang. Message... don' t you dare vote him off. But again, he did pretty well, better than his first song, and he made some nice changes to the end. But still, it felt a little odd. The song is one that is supposed to start with an orchestra and build up to an emotional climax, even though it is not really one to show off vocal ability, and in the time allowed to sing, it probably did not get the chance to do so. It may have almost been too easy of a song for David A. to perform.

4. Brooke White- this time she sat down at a piano and sang a slower Neil Diamond number and it was extremely better than her first song. While it was a hint of how good Brooke once was when she did songs like "Let It Be" at the beginning of the Finals, it still had some problems tonight and once gets the sense that she has hit the proverbial wall. At least though, she had one semi-respectable performance. If she gets eliminated, are they going to have to quickly bring out a piano for her, or will she sing it (if she is able to) just standing up? It is very interesting that in this first season where Idol contestants are allowed to play instruments, all the ones who have on the show remain (putting aside Chikezie's brief attempt at the harmonica) and Syesha is the only one left who has not played an instrument. Let that be a message to those who will take part in Season Eight. One thing that bugged me though is how Neil Diamond told her to substitute in "I Am, I Said" (right was that the one?) that she was Arizona born and not New York born. For one thing, I thought I read once that Brooke was not actually born in Arizona, but that is less of a concern than the business about how Arizona and California are on "different coasts" in the song. The former Miss Teen South Carolina might even know better.

5. Jason Castro- no instrument for Jason on "September Morn." He just sat on a stool once again before standing up towards the end. It's a big deal apparently for him to get off a stool to sing. I do not think he has ever peformed standing up without a stringed instrument of some sort. As for his second performance, it was really sort of half-assed. He may really just not care anymore. After all, he was yawning in the results show (like those of watching them on television do not do the same thing).

So, after two rounds, we combine the scores, and like golf, lower is better. It was pretty easy this week since I had everyone in the same position except for the bottom two:

1. David Cook
2. Syesha Mercado
3. David Archuleta

and now, I was forced to do some more thinking and determine who sucked less when the two performances were averaged together and I came up with:

4. Brooke White
5. Jason Castro

Who deserves to go home? Certainly not the top three, who have proven they are far better at this point in the game than Brooke and Jason. However, Syesha has to be assumed to very much be in danger because the two Davids have such large fan bases and have been good, and because Brooke and Jason make for interesting television and a huge potential for wackiness. So, that could leave Syesha as the odd woman out and to borrow a phrase that might have appeared in the Neil Diamond movie "The Jazz Singer", that would be a shonda.

However, if I am forced to guess, I am going to say that Brooke is slightly the likeliest to go home this week. Syesha may have even been good enough to stay out of the bottom two. Like Presidential primary politics in 2008, I think a big factor this week will be how large of a segment African-American voters make and there is also the Mormon factor and if the LDS vote is significant enough to help two of their own get into the Final Four.

So, either Brooke or Syesha or Jason, will be leaving, and that is almost everyone of course. I kind of hope it is Jason, but think it might be Brooke, and that will make for interesting television. However, Paula Abdul will at least still be the loopiest woman in the studio.


At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corey, this is Conservative Democrat:

My Idol predictions for tonight:

Bottom 2

GOING HOME: Jason because the Texas A&M cronies in College Station and fellow Aggie Gov. Rick Perry (R) will NOT save him this time.

I really do see Syesha taking 3rd place.

My prediction for who will win: DAVID COOK, due to where ever Missouri goes, so does the nation.

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corey, I think Rev. Jeremiah Wright should be a guest judge on American Idol next week.

Conservative Democrat

At 12:00 PM, Blogger Corey said...

Rev. Wright on American Idol:

"Brooke, your pitchiness is coming home to rooooossssttt."

At 6:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Rev. Wright:

Look for David Cook to win Idol on May 21st because Archuleta will NOT carry the South at all due to being a Mormon.

At 11:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been waiting all season for Brooke to go home. I've thought she was amateurish all along. Finally it happened last night. What's up with American Idol voters?

As for Syesha, I've also felt since day 1 that she was the most talented. And it's pleasing to know she is the #1 female this season -- given she is the only one left.

But I do think David Cook will win. Because David Archuleta, despite his different song choices, sounds the same each week. And when he's pitted up solo against David Cook -- which is probably where this competition is going -- the over 16 audience will realize this.


Post a Comment

<< Home