Wednesday, April 09, 2008

American Idol- Top 8

American Idol is airing for 37 hours this week. It's neverending. Do you have Idol burnout yet?



So, this was the new annual "Idol Gives Back" week, with performances comprised of "Songs of Hope and Inspiration", (followed fittingly by Hell's Kitchen) and then the big mostly-pretaped telethon in which all kinds of money is raised for very good causes in an event sponsored by several companies including the greedy corporate bastards at Exxon Mobil and the evil facists at Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp.



Last week, Ramiele Mulabay was eliminated. I actually predicted that correctly. Sort of shocking to me.



What I want to know is if they are going to toy with our emotions like they did last year? I knew darn well that nobody would be voted off after all that Hope and Inspiration. The results show is airing tomorrow night and maybe someone will actually be kicked off. Maybe they all get a mulligan and two go next week as was the case last year, I think, cannot seem to recall for certain, with the votes carrying over and having it be a two week thing.



In any event, we will pretend that the performances on Tuesday night were for real and this is how I saw it, if I can even remember over 24 hours later...



None of the contestants were bad, but none were amazing either or at least no one managed to specifically raise above expectations for their song and performance.



From best to worst, I ranked them this way:



1. David Archuleta- ok first of all, who is he kidding to make it seem like he was undecided about his song choice or that he suddenly had an ephihany to do Robbie Williams' "Angels." He has sung this song before as any Idol or Archuleta fan is probably aware, because thousands and thousands of people have seen those performances on YouTube at what look like school or church-related talented shows complete with screaming girls and crappy audio. Yet despite that, I have to say, the kid was damn good in those performances and thus expectations were pretty high to see him doing it on the big Idol stage at this point in his burgeoning career.



And yes, he was very good, as expected. However, a couple notes towards the beginning were not exactly perfect and the fact that young David played the piano for the entire song did not allow him to really belt out the chorus as many expected. But that is no way able to take away from the fact that for the second week in a row, he put together a very strong performance and solidified himself as the front-runner to win it all. The fact that he did do it at the piano maybe saved him from some blogosphere criticism that he had done the exact same performances before on this particular song. I have a feeling that the full-length studio version of the song is going to be really good too.

Of course, Archuleta sings a song of Hope and Inspiration practically every week and he is always talking about "what a great message" is contained in the song. So, this was supposed to be his week and I understand he is just playing to his strengths and may be really idealistic and good-hearted and all of that, but it can be a little annoying at times. To avoid a backlash, he needs to forget about the bleeding heart stuff and come out next week and sing something pretty vapid and hedonistic. Mariah Carey should be the perfect mentor!

Finally, he seemed really subdued or maybe even upset after he sang the song though when he readied himself to listen to the judges. It could be that he, as well as the other contestants, are just exhausted on this Idol Overload Week, he had a fight with his creepy father, or he was totally unnerved by Paula's chihuahas..



2. Michael Johns- The Aussie started off the show and I thought did a pretty good job on Aerosmith's "Dream On", a great song by a great band, but one that I never really associated with Hope and Inspiration, but ok, I guess it makes sense and Johns also played the Immigrant in Search of the American Dream card when questioned by the judges. (I bet we can guess which Neil Diamond song he will do if still around later in the season). So, the judges prefer Johns as a blues-type singer and I actually like it better when he attempts rock. Thus, I liked him a lot better this week than last week. He did not live up to Steven Tyler at the end of the song by trying to hit the high notes, but at least he tried. If Simon can get all over Carly for her outfits, I should point out that whatever Michael Johns was wearing was ridiculous too.



3. Brooke White- she sang "You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor or Carole King or whomever and surprisingly did it without a piano or guitar and I thought it was pretty good. Some others disagree with me and I realize she does not have the strongest voice of the contestants but I like the way she does songs like this. I suppose that now that I am sadly out of the 18-29 year old demographic, I am embracing my inner geezer and enjoying the adult contemporary thing, where I think she has a future. My goodness though, the girl is a nervous wreck, as seen by her last week on the results show when she was in the bottom three and tonight when she got some criticism by the judges. She looks like she is on the verge of losing it. I feel sorry for her husband.



4. Carly Smithson- nobody can deny she has a great voice, but this was not her best performance by a long-shot. She took on Queen's (a lot of Queen on AI this year, which is good) "The Show Must Go On", and it was definitely the wrong choice for the whole Idol Gives Back theme. She came across once again as intense and desperate, which I kind of like, but it was not what people were expecting with the (wooo, there was some sort of freakin' explosion outside as I was typing this. Don't ask what Mom, I have no idea, and my power went out for like two seconds and the computer shut down. It is now about 10 minutes later and I am thrilled beyond belief to discover that Blogger saved what I had typed and I did not lose all this brilliant insight). So, where was I? Yeah, her performance seemed too angry for Idol Gives Back week, but it would have been perfect for Hell's Kitchen! Carly is sadly in a lot of trouble as far as not getting voted off this week. I hope she survives. The girl is another emotional nutcase.

5. Kristy Lee Cook- My oh my, people have been predicting her demise longer than they have been for Keith Richards. I was really expecting that this was maybe the week she would be the worst one and after her ill-conceived attempt to piss people off with her "Kristy's Seat" sing in regard to her owning a time-chair on the bottom three stools, this would be the week where order was returned to the universe and she would finally go. But lo and behold, she is actually getting better. She very smartly picked a Martina McBride country song that suit her style and she did it justice; at least middle of the road among the other Idols justice, and she probably is going to stick around yet again. I look at her fan base the same way the liberals must have looked at all those who they never thought would show up in heavy numbers to reelect President Bush in 2004. So, Kristy is probably going to be around for at least one more week and she may get such an ego she will have an eye on a new horse all together.

6. Syesha Mercado- I believe she made a mistake by trying to sing the song "I Believe" by former Idol winner Fantasia (and I believe written by Season One Idolist Tamyra Gray). Yes, Syesha sounded decent and was credible enough on the song, but it just could not compare with the impression that Fantasia put on everyone with her emotional rendition of it a few years back. I am not even sure that Syesha even managed to match the performance of it by the forgotten runner up that year, Diana DeGarmo. It seems like Syesha knows she is going to remain in danger and is trying to play up the "diva niche" for all it is worth and maybe that really is her only and best strategy. But that is very risky.

7. David Cook- he has been so consistent for so long and I really have started to like him as a person, especially since learning last week of his high blood pressure and trip to the hospital and also the fact that his brother is very sick with cancer. But as most people are admitting, he swung and missed this week with a song called "Innocent" that I had never heard before. There was something a little off-putting about his performance too that came across as a little arrogant. Based on his demeanor when the song was over, I think he realized it was not his best as well. It was just like he tried too hard and couldn't quite make a connection in the 90 seconds or whatever it was he had to work with. Based on this week alone, he certainly deserves to be in the bottom three, but since he has a very large fan base, I think they will forgive him and he will avoid that pratfall.

Very surprising though that this Cook would be ranked lower than the other Cook for the first time by myself and just about everyone else. And let's not even get started on all those pathetic cooks on Hell's Kitchen.

8. Jason Castro- I don't know. I thought it was certainly not horrible but vocally his take on "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was just not Idol-worthy as compared to some of the others. All the hipsters and just about everyone you hear from really loved it though. It surprised me to hear the judges fawn over it as they did. Again, I thought he did well, but I just do not get the hoopla. When I first heard the song choice spoiler, I thought he was totally going to be in trouble, but he did a particular version, complete with ukelele, that is apparently quite a cult classic, and that was originally done by a 700 pound Hawai'ian guy named Israel something. So, by choosing that song, he guarantees both the Aloha State vote and the GLBT vote. If this were coffee house Idol, I might have him ranked higher. I don't know, to quote Randy Jackson, "dawg, it was just ok for me, but I wasn't mad about it."

So, bottom three this week (if there even is a bottom three): Syesha for sure, probably Carly for sure, and either Kristy out of force of habit, or Michael Johns making his first trip to the stools.

Who will go home? I think it will be a female for the second week in a row and will either be Carly or Syesha. Both are very talented, but I would be a bit dissapointed if the crazy Irish lady does not get a few more weeks.

So, based on risking a song done by a former Idol winner, it will be Syesha, who is seranaded in a video tribute by another former Idol winner, Mr. Ruben Studdard.

To conclude with a couple comments on tonight's "Idol Gives Back" telethon and sob-fest, let me say again how much I admire everything that people are doing to help children in Africa and the U.S., but as was the case last year, it was a bit tough to stay riveted to the tv set. One thing I was watching for and either did not air as expected (maybe because they had to include a few more jokes about Simon's man-boobs) or that I totally missed were video messages by the three Presidential candidates. I wanted to rank them as Idol worthy, like I do with the singers, but it just was not on as far as I can tell.

So by default, I declare the American Political Idol (at least based on this year's competition) to be just like the reigning (and much younger) American Idol, a Pro-Life Arizonan.

John McCain is ranked at the top and I predict an ultimate double rejection from the American voting public for the shrill tones of Hillary Clinton and the empty and often pitchy statements of Barack Obama.

But seriously, kudos to all of them and everyone, regardless of politics who pitched in to help "Give Back." If I remember, I will have to log onto the Idol website in the days ahead and send them a few bucks myself.

2 Comments:

At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corey, this is the real Conservative Democrat:

My predictions of the Bottom 3 tonight:

1. Syesha
2. Carly
3. Michael-GOING HOME TONIGHT.

It will be a guy this week because the producers cannot afford to piss of the girls.

 
At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Corey said...

Ok, Conservative Democrat/PJK/whomever you are:

How the heck do you do it? Have you been right every week?

Are you Nygel Lythgoe?

 

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