Tuesday, April 22, 2008

American Idol Top 6

Well, it was another pretty boring edition of American Idol as far as I was concerned but while a woman was beating a man in Pennsylvania this evening, I believe that a couple of the females got the best out of Andrew Lloyd Weber week, despite the fact that all the buzz regarding AI is that a male is destined to win and that there might even be three guys in the final three. While that might prove to be the case, I think things went a little differently this evening.

Last week, to the mild surprise of some, Kristy Lee Cook, at long last, was eliminated, at the same stage of the competition that Sanjaya was last year. But unlike that season, KLC was probably able to go out a note of improvement and reasonable credibility. She did not seem overly distraught over being eliminated, but it was a downer for me that American Idol was not able to work out a situation where just after being eliminated, she would have been greeted on stage by the horse that she sold in order to go to the auditions. That would have made for great television! So, instead, she decided to announce her engagement right after.

Anyways, I have never been a big fan of most of the themes that American Idol subjects themselves to and I was particularly not looking forward to the Andrew Lloyd Weber Musical Theater week, considering it a genre of music I really do not know much about and am not at all a fan of. I wish they could do a week like they did in the past two seasons with Queen and Bon Jovi. But this is the hand that the Idol viewing audience was dealt, and I just find it ironic that season after season Simon Cowell criticizes performances he does not like by saying they sounded too "Broadway", and yet, they made it the theme anyway. However, considering how many former Idol contestants, either losers or a couple who actually won their season (only to not really break out as recording artists) wind up performing on Broadway, perhaps this week served as more of an audtion for some than others.

As for this week, of the six performances, I feel that there was a huge gap between what I have ranked fourth and the other two at the bottom. I think that with the Finals halfway done now, the focus should not be on the "bottom three", but just on the bottom two. The four I have ranked highest this week also happen to be the most vocally talented of the remaining contestants.

1. Syesha Mercado- I certainly was not blown away, far from it, but I think she gave the most interesting and vocally proficient performance of the evening. Of course, I had never heard the song before in my life, so I do not know what it is supposed to sound like, but she made it seem like a throwback jazz club/big band sort of thing, and it reminded me of the week on Season 1, where the kids sang Big Band songs and I actually thought they did surprisingly well with those. Syesha, who is considered by most to be on borrowed time as far as this season is concerned, is extremely unlikely to win American Idol, but she did use the Broadway theme to her advantage this week and had a strong performance. I think that means that once this is over, and since she is unlikely to ever be a pop star as well, she may join those other Idols on Broadway and find a career for herself there. That would not be a horrible thing for a contestant who often comes across as very much the actress.

2. Carly Smithson- I sort of had a mixed reaction to her version of "Jesus Christ Superstar", perhaps once that is completely different than what some of the judges thought. I thought she was very good when singing the verses, but I found the chorus to be a little weird. She certainly showed off her vocal skills once again and it is worth noting that the two contestants who picked upbeat numbers were ranked higher than the balladeers (especially after nothing but ballads on Mariah week). I just do not think she was as strong on the chorus. She was yelling "Jesus Christ" as if she were getting ready to curse someone out (perhaps preparing for "Family Night" on Hell's Kitchen) and it seemed odd to me, and like next week's mentor Neil Diamond, I am Jewish.
So, while I think Carly did pretty well considering with the theme, I sort of wonder if she may remain in trouble nonetheless. Do conservative Christians who likely make up a large sector of Idol voters, find the entire JCS musical to be a bit disrespectful or sacrilegious? Would they hold that against her? I honestly do not know, but I think that is a possibility. I am mindful of that All in the Family episode where Archie Bunker reminded some hippy freak that he dug Jesus Christ long before the young folks turned him into a "superstar."

3. David Archuleta- was probably the best male performer of the night, but Simon was right to say that the performance was a little bit forgettable. He sang the song pretty well, as he would have been expected to do, but I really cannot remember too much about it and its only been about two hours. Also, I don't think it had a serious "message" in it, so that's probably a good thing. I was scared to death he would pay homage to Earth Day. I have no idea what the song originally sounds like, besides that it is apparently a big diva number from Phantom of the Opera but to Little David's credit, I actually think he probably did the best job of any of the contestants in changing the arrangement of a song to make it seem contemporary and relevant. It certainly did not sound like he was singing Broadway, so I think he probably accomplished what a lot of people wanted to see there. It sounded like a regular boring adult contemporary tune and that was probably a good thing.

4. David Cook- the other David/co-favorite also chose to do a number from Phantom of the Opera and I was a little surprised he did not change the arrangement around more. It seemed like he almost sang "Music of the Night" the way it would have been sang on stage (not that I have any real idea how it is sung on stage). Maybe he should have came out with a cape and been the Emo Phantom. I find his style creepy enough at times, but that would have really been topped everything. But the judges absolutely love him, the AI Powers That Be love him, and in fact, he may actually now be the favorite to take first place, and not just second. He hit some strong notes tonight, but I do think he is a little overhyped. Musical theater (which he apparently grew up doing) is not his strong suit and it just did not seem right to me.

5. Jason Castro- he sang "Memory", probably the most well known of the songs from this evening and while I thought the first few seconds were better than expected, it quickly turned into about what I expected. Not horrible, but certainly not great, with all sorts of vocal weaknesses apparent. To all those who criticize Archuleta for often breathing loudly between verses (which occurred tonight as well), should be consistent and realize that Jason also does it, and it was especially noticeable tonight. I might actually perfer the David Letterman version of the song with the classic line, "Midnight, and the kitties are sleeping." Jason also looked almost as stoned as Paula Abdul tonight. Well, maybe not almost.

Finally, he really missed a golden opportunity to have really embraced the Cats theme through wardrobe and makeup. A singing cat with dreadlocks would have been a classic American Idol moment!

6. Brooke White- based on spoilers on the internet, she really hit a home run during rehearsal with a song from Evita. I have the feeling she could have really made something big from her performance, but she messed up, big time, for the second week in a row.

Anybody who saw the show will of course realize the horrible awkward moment towards the beginning of her singing when she completely forgot the words, paused for what seemed like several seconds, and then asked the orchestra to start over. At that moment, I was convinced that she would be running off the stage in tears at any instant, but to her credit, she soldiered on and it was not a complete disaster. But still, she never fully recovered and it was pretty rough vocally.

Brooke had some really strong performances this season, but she is pretty emotionally fragile, and may have just hit a psychological and performance-related wall where she is not prepared to go on any further.

So, I think it is pointless to predict a bottom three this week, since half of them are going to be in it, but I am going to predict that Castro is lucky that Brooke was so bad, and despite being newly adopted by the Vote for the Worst folks, she will once again find herself in the bottom two, and I think she will be joined by Carly (unfairly) for the reasons mentioned above. Have the AI counselors on stand-by for either departure, but I do think it will probably be Brooke this week.


At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conservative Democrat:

My Bottom 3 picks for tonight:

1. Carly
2. Jason C
3. Brooke

GOING HOME: either Jason or Brooke, depending who got Kristy Lee's votes.


Post a Comment

<< Home