AI6 – Round of 10 – Birth Years

American Idol logoI had planned on taking the week easy. I wasn’t going to write anything too lengthy up. I didn’t take notes.

And then they deliver what might be the best episode of IDOL ever. It has to rank up there. We can even float the possibility of MULTIPLE Idol Moments in one episode. When it was good tonight, it was very very good. When it was bad, it was still decent.

Ramiele is in trouble again this week. Going first is never good. Being sick is never good. Singing a song that’s a little bigger than even your own big voice is a bit of a mistake. She didn’t sound awful, but it was a bit shouty and forced. I felt the most sorry for her when the cable from the camera wrapped around her feet. She didn’t trip over it, though, so all is good.

Jason was Jason. He picked a good song, but we’ve seen his routine already. He’s the awkward kid behind the acoustic guitar with a light and airy voice. He’s never recovered from “Hallelujah.” Still, he sang it well. Not powerful, not an Idol Moment, but he didn’t trip up. He was Jason Castro, and that was it. Simon is right — he needs to take some chances.

So far, not so good, but not bad, either. Nothing embarrassing. Nothing that will be crash and burn material. Then things ramped up:

Syesha sang a song so clearly, so memorably, and so darn pitch perfect that I’m tempted to call it an Idol Moment. It was the perfect song for her. She delivered it without missing a beat. She paid attention to the lyrics and acted them out. She hit the big power notes, but also carried the melody and the transitions. There was absolutely nothing wrong with a note in that song. I didn’t quite get goosebumps, but I think it was, at that point, the best performance of the season for any contestant. It was just that good. Is it an Idol Moment? I’d love to hear what you think.

Chikezie sang a Vandross song. When I heard that the contestants would be singing songs from the years of their births, and then Chikezie mentioned a ballad, I knew it would be one of Vandross’. It’s almost cliche. That said, he sounded great. He looked comfortable on stage. He sold the song. Some parts were better than others, but he sang it well. The judges were all over him for being cheesy or safe or something, but I thought he showed off some great range to his voice.

Brooke White did The Police with her piano. It sounded great. Yes, it’s back to her Beatles Week 1 mold, but I like that mold. I even liked the way it picked up when the band came in. It might have worked well completely solo, but I liked the way the tempo picked up and she almost seemed to lose herself in the song at that point. It seemed less well-rehearsed and more raw. More real. I really liked it, moreso than the judges did. And the gaff at the beginning was cute, too. Anything beats that thing she did last week.

But her left hand looked like that of an 80 year old woman. It had to be a trick of the light. I thought she was wearing a glove from all the wrinkles that she had. Nah, just a lighting thing, I’m sure.

And she plays piano by ear, basically. I’m so jealous. . .

Michael Johns – I wasn’t as big a fan of his “Bohemian Rhapsody” as others were, but this Queen thing tonight was pure genius. Idol Moment, for sure. This is one people will remember for the rest of the season. Even when he was reaching hard for those power notes, he seemed confident and sold it. Great lighting, arrangement, and theatrics all around. Impressive. I even liked the slight hints of his accent that came out in this song.

Carly Smithson played the Jim Steinman card on me. “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” She sang it well, but it was pure karaoke to me. Even worse, she sang “power keg” instead of “powder keg.” OK, I’m being really nit-picky, and it might have even been the accent. She did look a little stiff on stage, but the bigger crime was in being so literal with the song. It’s tough to top Bonnie Tyler.

David Archuleta sang a song that was perfect for him. It was some weird kind of Up With People-like joint. While he had one bad voice crack in the last third, he sang it like he sings everything. Catchy little ditty. Not his best performance, but good enough.

Kristy Lee Cook, no doubt, ticked off the contingent of people who are sick of “God Bless the USA.” (Though even Simon admits it’s a well-written song.) She also cagily got all the votes from people who still love that song. Think of the song what you will, but it was her best performance so far. It was a perfect song for her voice, for the show, and for this round. I think I said it last week — odds are, she’ll have a good week and then be voted out. Uh oh.

And, yeah, it was a little karaoke.

David Cook – pure Idol Moment with “Billy Billie Jean”. I missed Ryan Seacrest’s introduction to it. Whose version of the MJ classic was this? I know I’ve heard it before, but I can’t remember who did it. Cook nailed it from beginning to end. It was amazing.

I’d rank David Cook, Syesha, and Michael Johns at the top of the charts for this week. Brooke White and Kristy Lee are close behind, with David Archuleta just behind them. Chikezie and Carly are next, with Jason close behind them. Ramiele is at the bottom.

Bottom three this week: Kristy, Ramiele, and one upset of some sort. Maybe Chikezie? I think Ramiele is really going home this week, though the sick excuse might get her enough sympathy votes to save her. Still, the patriotic vote for Kristy will trump that. Say good-bye to the girl whose closet is filled with high-waisted everything.

De Blieck Out!

10 thoughts on “AI6 – Round of 10 – Birth Years

  1. There’s a Chris Cornell version of Billie Jean in iTunes that sounds like it could be it…

  2. We’re very much thinking along the same lines this week. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who noticed Brooke’s hand. That thing was creeping me out! And for me, Syesha’s performance was an Idol Moment. She knocked it out of the park. By the way, I totally said “Augie’s gotta be loving this” when they announced Carly was singing Steinman. I could hear in her voice that she could nail that song..but she didn’t.

    I thought the judge’s criticism of Chikezie was interesting in that if Ruben had performed that song in that exact same way during season 2, they’d have fallen over each other praising it. I wonder if it’s a result of progress over 5 seasons, a game of expectations (wanting Chikezie to be upbeat versus expecting Ruben to be laid-back) or just a double standard.

    David Cook did Chris Cornell’s version of Billie Jean (and Seacrest did mention as much in his intro). The big note was all kinds of awesome. If we were discounting fan bases and going solely based on performances, Cook might be the new frontrunner. (But everyone knows Archuleta’s got the fans).

  3. David Cook didn’t make much of an impression on me early on, but he’s slowly become my favorite. Worst of the week were Ramiele, Kristy, and Jason. I’ll pick Ramiele to get the boot this week.

  4. Loving David Cook; I feel like he’s following the “Daughtry Formula,” didn’t he say as much? That he’s watched the shows over and over to see what works and what doesn’t? Didn’t Daughtry do a NIN version of Walk The Line or something? This performance reminded me of that.

  5. Me thinks Ramiele is in a heap of trouble this week. It’s not like she did bad but she definitely got drowned out by the other performances. I would like to see Kristy gone but like Simon said: “Clever song choice”…I think the song will appeal to the rest of America which will actually get her out of the bottom 3 this week. I’m go with Ramiele, Carly (slightly shocking), and Chiekezie as the bottom 3 tonight.

    Is it just me or is David Archuleta slowly becoming a little overrated? I’m starting to think he’s REALLY NOT THAT GOOD.

  6. My picks this week are Ramiele, Kristy and Syesha. I’ll be honest, I didn’t like Syesha’s performance. And while Kristy did well this week, I think it may have been a case fo too little, too late. I was torn with putting Jason in the bottom three, but I think he has too much of a following at the moment. Now if only we could get rid of David Archuleta… I don’t know why, but over the past couple of weeks I started not liking him anymore. And now I can’t stand him. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’ll be going any time soon.

  7. I agree on your top 3, Augie. And yes, Cook had an Idol Moment, and Syesha was REALLY close. Since she actually gave a decent performance, Kristy won’t go this week either — although she deserves to more than ever for that major suck-up to the Wal-Mart crowd. You’re probably right that it’ll be Ramiele leaving, if for no other reason than she performed first.

    Btw, I’m now majorly backing Cook to win. Now, don’t anybody ask me why I like Cook so much when I hated Chris Daughtry. I’m still trying to figure that one out.

  8. I’ll make a bold prediction: Ramiele, Jason, and Carly for the bottom 3. In a monster upset, Carly goes home!

    “Total Eclipse of the Heart” calls for the artist to be maximally vulnerable. It can’t be popped up, can’t be powered up. Perhaps more than any other song covered this year, this song has both a definitive original performance and a range of expected ways in which it can be covered. If someone departs from that range, it’s big trouble! (Not to say a radically different cover wouldn’t work, like a reggae cover.) But to sing it close to the original except to power it up is a treatment that isn’t going to resonate with most viewers.

  9. Justin posted: “Didn’t Daughtry do a NIN version of Walk The Line or something? “

    Right song, but it was by Live.

    I am really loving close to every one of David Cook’s performance’s, but I don’t really like him. I joked with Patricia that I feel like he really wants to be Jack Black’s character from School of Rock.


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