Tuesday, March 18, 2008

American Idol Report - Top 11

Before we talk about this week's show, I have to thank everyone for their nice comments about these AI posts. It made me feel good that several of you liked reading them and were even entertaining the idea of watching the show. And one of my friends told me on the phone this afternoon that she was going to read later and see what I thought. So nice.

I also need to dispatch one small worry of mine. If you don't know me and you are reading this, I worry that some of my comments may seem a little too critical. I'm not a critical, catty person by nature. By day, I am a very loving, encouraging music teacher and voice instructor. I have spent many hours of my life listening to middle school boys learn how to sing and loving every minute of it. However, when I start watching American Idol or beauty pageants or red carpets before award shows, this catty, snarky commenting side comes out. I have let that side run free for the purposes of blogging AI. Then I will go back to my positive, affirming music-teacher self.

I'm late posting this because I had to watch on Tivo. I was painting the first coat in our guest bedroom.

Tonight is an important night. The 10 left after tonight's elimination get to go on the summer tour. I was not excited about hearing more Beatles' songs, though I like the Beatles a lot. I just think they should have switched themes. Last week's show was extremely good and we can only go down hill from there. Still, I had some favorites. (pictures via Rickey.org)

David Archuleta - "The Long and Winding Road"
He's so stinkin' cute. I loved when he said "Dangit!" in his pre-performance video. What a great song. And he just sang it straight. Nothing too fancy. I know I'm a bit biased because I love him, but that was about as vocally perfect as he could have sung it. Truly. Every note was on. That was great. (The judges agree with me - 3 for 3!)

David Cook - "Day Tripper"
A Whitesnake arrangement? Yes. A Whitesnake arrangement. He reminds me of Chris Daughtry. In a good way. Perhaps predictable, as Simon said, but I did like it. I'm not sure how I felt about the voice box microphone thingy. It feels gimmicky. But it sounded cool. I think Simon was a little harsh here. I don't think David was being smug.

Carly Smithson - "Blackbird"
I love this song. She had better do it justice. Ooohh... I like her chest voice. So pretty. She should sing low in her range more often instead of belting and being so loud all the time. She's a little dead in the eyes, but it sounds great. Nice key change. I'm a sucker for a good key change. Simon compared her to Kelly Clarkson last week. Maybe vocally. Maybe. But not performance wise. Kelly Clarkson is way more fun to watch as a performer.

Syesha Mercado - "Yesterday"
As Rickey said, they must really want to keep her around - having her sing "Yesterday" and having her sing at the very end of the show*. And we went for the stool and the acoustic guitar right next to the singer setup. She's doing a good job, but I feel like I've heard the arrangement before. (I have. I just checked iTunes. We have another Eva Cassidy ripoff. They need to give her some credit. She's probably the most amazing vocalist ever. And she died way too soon.) I'm glad Syesha stepped up and did a better job. (And I loved that Simon told Syesha that she chose the song that Brooke should have sung. He's right. But I'll bet the American Idol overlords wouldn't let Brooke sing that one because they knew she would likely be safe no matter what she sang tonight. So Syesha got it instead.)

The Others:
Amanda Overmyer - "Back in the USSR" Fun arrangement. Pitchy in spots. At least she showed some personality and was a little sassy with Simon. Interesting that they put Amanda in the "going home" spot.
Kristy Lee Cook - "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" Ummm...you should know the Beatles songs. "I picked it from the title" and "I just heard it for the first time today." That's lame. There's no excuse for that. Also pitchy. Kind of horrible on the the long note going into the chorus. Lame arrangement. (No, Randy. Not an interesting arrangement. Lame.) Luckily, she got the last note. I was worried. (You know when Paula tells them they look pretty that it really sucked.) I love Simon. He's so right on target. "Musical wallpaper - you notice it, but you can't remember it." Awesome analogy.
Michael Johns - "A Day in the Life" I'm not sure if he is pulling this off. He hacked the song to death to make it short enough. I think that showing his excellent performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody" right before that performance was a bad idea. I think he over thinks his performances a little too much. Just sing. (Simon agrees with me again!)
Brooke White - "Here Comes the Sun" In the cutest sunshiny dress! (Here is a cute article about her growing up. ) Okay. I didn't love it as much as last week, but here's why I love Brooke - she loves music. You can tell when she performs that she loves what she is doing and she's vulnerable enough to show you who she is when she sings. Even though she is kind of a dorky dancer. :) And she handled the criticism quite well. Simon's comment about knowing she would be in a yellow dress with yellow lights behind her when he heard she was singing this song really made me laugh. Brooke - if you're reading this, I think you are great, but probably no more movement while we sing. Mmmmkay? I'm glad you know it's awkward. That makes it easier for me to tell you this.
Jason Castro - "Michelle" I love this song. I'm not sure it fits him very well. I'm not comfortable with him walking around with his microphone. He sounds good, but the walking and the little thing he did with his hand when he was singing in the horrible French - I'm not comfortable with that. He wasn't connected to the song. Randy's right. Paula agrees with me as well. Simon is right - doing the Beatles for a second week in a row was a BAD idea. Let's fire whoever came up with that idea. However, I didn't think it was his smile that sold the song. His smile made me uncomfortable.
Chikezie - "I've Just Seen a Face" No, no, no, no. I was with him during the slow part. I thought it was a bit cheesy, but when he took out the harmonica he learned how to play this week (he played two notes) and the tempo sped up - I was done. I didn't love it. The only good part of that was they had the Dobro going in the band and the Dobro is a very cool instrument. (Simon and I are right. You can boo us if you want. It doesn't make us any less correct.)
Ramiele Malubay - "I Should Have Known Better" Nope. She did not pick the right song. It's a little awkward at the beginning and she shouldn't be wearing that hat. It wasn't horrible, just awkward. And she'll probably make it through to next week. I liked the big note in the middle. Even though some of the other notes were a little pitchy. (This is a great word, pitchy. I like that it's part of the lexicon.) And Simon is with me again! Nice!

*The sacrificial lambs are always put at the front of the show. Usually the first two spots. People in the blogosphere call the final spot of the night the "pimp spot." It's reserved for the favorite. For the ones they really want to keep around. (This week - Ramiele was in the "pimp spot.") Anyone near the end is also considered to be favored for the week. (Syesha, Chikezie) So, since Amanda and Kristy were #1 and #2 in the lineup, they are the ones the producers are pushing to be sent home. (Rickey further discusses this phenomenon in this post outlining his prediction for tonight.) I'm sure they want Amanda gone because she is the candidate of choice over at Vote for the Worst. And Kristy's just horrible. She doesn't deserve to go on the tour. I think Amanda would draw more people to the show than she will.

If Kristy doesn't go home, I'm going to be very disappointed. They are showing the recap right now and after seeing the entire show and then having to watch her again, her horribleness is even more obvious.


Yvonne said...

Quite a re-cap--at least you're not telling them right to their face how you felt about their singing. (That's why I don' watch--I don't like watching people make fools of themselves ; ) But at least reading this helps me if I ever see a show or two.


Whitney Johnson said...

Love, love these posts.

Something about Brooke is that she is much more comfortable with an instrument. Moving out of that place makes you much more vulnerable. It's rather frightening. And yes, she should have sung yesterday.

INteresting about the sacrifical places in the line-up.


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