It’s a new stage that looks like it came straight over from Europe. It reminds me a lot of the European Idol stages I’ve seen videos of on YouTube.
New opening graphics — looks like a congressional meeting in the Star Wars universe.
And Ryan is reading off the teleprompter, which is sadly just to the right of the camera. It’s very distracting to see Ryan looking off to the side of me instead of at me.
Syesha Mercado – “Got To Get You Into My Life” – I like the little jazz riffs. The quiet opening is weak, but the power notes mid-way through the song are going to sell it. Overall, a little weak. Not memorable.
Chikezie – “She’s A Woman” – This one will be remembered. I never would have pictured him singing a song like this, nor inspiring Ryan into the madness of prancing in circles around the stage before exchanging barbs with Simon or breathlessly trying to read the phone number.
In any case, I was a bit worried in the prepackaged piece when Chikezie said he was “putting my own funk on it,” but it works. It was a bit weird to see him running across the stage like that, but you can’t deny the entertainment value.
And Paula is trying to do a “high risk, high reward” metaphor tonight that just isn’t working, no matter how many times she tries to drag it kicking and screaming towards her.
As Simon said, “You looked like you were completely drunk.” Now THAT is rock and roll.
Ramiele Mulabay – “In My Life” – Pleasant vocals. Very pretty. But boring. It’s a great sample of her vocal talent, but a bad American Idol song. It won’t move anyone to vote for her.
Jason Castro – “If I Fell” – This is his schtick. It’s wearing out, though. He’s way too close to the microphone. He’s practically swallowing it with every syllable, which is audibly distracting. He avoids any long notes, pulling out of them as soon as he starts them. He’s just boring, honestly.
Hell’s Kitchen is returning on April First! Yay! This is one of the pleasant side effects of the Writer’s Strike, right up there with Winter Big Brother.
Carly Smithson – “Come Together” – HEY! Isn’t that bar in the Gas Lamp District? I think I’ve walked by it multiple times during previous San Diego Comic Cons. I’ve never eaten in it, but I know I’ve passed by it before. Wild. In any case, the song is good. She can sing. She does a weird little cutesy sexy dance thing with it, and the front row of the mosh pit must be getting an upskirt eye full.
I’m not sure this compares to Kelly Clarkson’s Round of 10 performances six seasons ago, though. It’s good, but not that kind of break through.
David Cooke – “Eleanor Rigby” – So this will be his schtick. It works. Yes, he’s creepy, but he can do this rock thing. And Simon is right: if this is a talent competition and not a popularity contest, he stands a very good chance of winning it. Sadly, we know better.
I feel guilty doing such a short writeup on such a great performance, but let’s move on.
Lots more after the break, including my Bottom Three predictions.
Brooke White – “Let It Be” – I wanted to like it more than I did. The judges and the crowd loved it. I think her tears at the end of the song really helped sell it. It was solid, but I was too distracted by how distracted she appeared to be trying to sing while she played the piano. She didn’t know where to look — towards the crowd, the camera, the piano, off to the side. I liked the country twang in her voice, but I was expecting something a little more with this song.
David Hernandez – “I Saw Her Standing There” – Crash. And. Burn. This is awful. The opening bars were good, but everything after that fell flat. It’s not an Idol song. It’s a good song on an album or in concert, but I don’t see this as the kind of song you sing to prove your vocal skills. It’s kind of flat. And it’s a really bad idea for the man who is facing a controversy over being a lap dancer at a gay bar to sing a song so much about dancing and having to show off his moves on stage. I was uncomfortable. Thankfully, he kept his clothes on.
“Corny, verging on desperate,” says Simon. Agreed.
Amanda Overmyer – “You Can’t Do That” – Yup, this is an Amanda song. Her delivery reminds me of the classic impersonation of Katherine Hepburn. That’s what bugs me. Other than that, she’s nailing it. She looks comfortable and the delivery is believable. Nice pseudo-skatting.
Michael Johns – “Across the Universe” – Wow, that’s a lot of lyrics to remember to jam into a short space of time. Credit for not oversinging it and playing with it too much. He’s selling it well. Simple, direct, spot on. I liked it. I like the way he didn’t do an Over The Top rock song this week. Just simple, straightforward. Might be a little too karaoke for Simon, though. Definitely safe.
Whoops, Simon forgot Carly’s name.
Kristy Lee Cook – “8 Days A Week” – Country time. She has a good voice for this. Not sure that this song doesn’t sound too cartoonish as a country tune. Too twangy in the background. Those banjos! ACK! Her voice is great, but the arrangement is a little TOO country.
The judges hated it, soup to nuts. Ouch.
David Archuleta – “We Can Work It Out” – He’s too cute, isn’t he? Oops, forgot a lyric. He’s toast. He’s stumbling now. This is bad. The nerves are painful to watch. You can see him thinking very hard now. He missed a couple of musical cues. Ouch.
Crash and burn. But I feel sorry for the kid. That’s too bad. He’s done so well so far.
“That was a mess.” – Simon.
He’s safe, though. The voters — teenaged girls and their mothers — love him too much to let him go now.
How did they rank? Carly, David, Amanda, and Chikezie are at the top. I’d put David at the very top, but any order for those four would suit me fine.
Many of you would likely put Brooke up there, but I’d dock her one level. I need to watch it again. Maybe I missed something, though.
Michael Johns falls just short of the top level, alongside Brooke. I like that he played it safer and cleaner this week, but that’s slightly less memorable, in the end.
Syesha and Ramiele played it safer and less exciting, but they sang well.
Jason Castro’s act is getting old.
Kristy Lee Cook is near the bottom. That corny arrangement would probably put her at the bottom most weeks, but two guys took bigger swan dives instead.
Worst: Archuleta didn’t get his song at all and it showed. Hernandez just blew his. They’re both the worst this week.
Who’s going home? Your bottom three will be Ramiele, Kristy, and Jason. David (Hernandez) is the dark horse, but I think the judges’ negative comments will spur his voters into action. The country voters will be enough to save Kristy. Jason has a large fan base amongst the teenage girls with cell phones who vote the most, and will be saved.
Ramiele goes home.