I 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!