Idol Chat 2008!
And so it begins! Another season of American Idol for me to review, dissect and speculate. With apologies to my non-Idol watching readers, I love this stuff so please indulge me. Anyway, let's launch into it, shall we?
The theme this week was Lennon and McCartney songs, a first-ever for American Idol. I believe till now the rights to many of those songs have been tied up in litigation or were being held hostage by Michael Jackson or some such non-sense. At any rate, it was long overdue and provided the contestants a wealth of excellent materials to choose from. All in all it made for an entertaining evening.
While the number of contestants remains high, I will restrict my comments to who I think are the top three and the bottom three of the night. That said, I was hard pressed to choose a top three despite the judges gushing that this is the most talented crop of singers on the show to date. True, I think the bar has been raised across the board, but I didn't find that there were three clear top contestants last night. But I'll take a stab at it:
Chikezie--I'm as surprised as anyone to be naming Chikezie as one of the top three. Frankly I thought he should have been ousted in favor or Danny Noriega last week. But, like Hillary Clinton on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, he finally found his voice. The arrangement of turning "She's a Woman" into a country tune, then taking off 180 degrees in the other direction as a hard-rock tune was quite a risk. It paid off in spades for him though as he managed to pull off the transition seamlessly.
Carly--The Irish lass sang "Come Together" an atypical Beatles tune with risky lyrics for primetime, but she breathed new life into it by committing to the hard-rock nature of it. Also, being a woman, she offers a new perspective on the song. Performed like a pro--one of the best of the night.
Amanda--Another class-A rocker chick singing "You Can't Do That". I put her in the top three by default--I felt she was only slightly better than the rest of the pack last night. She is unique, committed and interesting, but I want to start seeing more variety from her.
Syesha--"Got to Get You Into My Life" Perhaps it was because she was the first to perform on the new stage and all, but she seemed overwhelmed by the space. The arrangement was a watered down 70s variety show version of the song and the performance milquetoast. Unimpressive.
David Hernandez-- "She was Just 17". Poor David Hernandez has had a hell of a week with rumors swirling around about his gay-stripper past. (And they tried to make us believe he used to work in a pizza parlor!) That said, the poor boy was trying way too hard. There was no bite to the song. It was a cheesy, lame arrangement. Karoake.
Kristy Lee--"Eight Days a Week" Oy. This was bad. She took the suggestion to go country too literally. The song didn't quite work with this "Hee-Haw" arrangement and she spent a lot of the time fighting the old rhythms. Perhaps she deserves credit for taking a risk, but in this case it didn't pay off.
Who Should Go? Kristy Lee--definitely. She probably should have been gone already but her pretty face (and possibly a strong block of country enthusiasts) have kept her in the competition. But it's time to go.
UPDATE: Well, my bottom three were spot on, but unfortunately David Hernandez is out. (No pun intended) I think his exit from the show is a bit premature. I suspect he was the victim of bad publicity. Pity.