Idol Chat 2008 (Part 5)
My American Idol post is late this week because I wasn't able to watch the show Tuesday night. I finally caught it on DVR last night, fast forwarded through all of Ryan Seacrest's inane remarks and just got right to the songs. The theme this week is Inspirational songs to tie in with the big Idol gives back brouhaha. It's actually a really good theme because the songs have some meat to them and test a singer's performance mettle. Okay. On with my top and bottom three picks for this week:
David Archuletta-- "Angels" This is the first time we've seen David get behind the piano to sing. This always presents a challenge for a performer because there is literally a thousand pound obstacle in the way of his connection with the audience. David, however, has so much stage presence he seemed to shine from the piano bench despite his diminutive size. The vocal was effortless and the run he did at the end was absolute perfection; every note seemed to float in perfect cadence. This kid is unbelievably talented.
Michael Johns--"Dream On" I don't understand the judges' lukewarm reception of this song. Randy complained of pitch problems, but I really didn't hear any. Granted he was the first singer of the night and I was still getting settled with my note pad and snacks when he started singing, but usually an off-pitch note will stick out like a sore thumb to me, so if there were pitch issues, they were insignificant. He was also criticized for song choice, Simon saying that the rock style didn't suit him. What? Since when is Michael Johns not one of this year's rocker boys? Isn't this the kid who got on the show by singing Bohemian Rhapsody? I thought he sang it great. He seemed confident and comfortable on stage and the falsetto notes at the end were fabulous! He took a risk going for them and it paid off. I thought he was great.
Syesha--"I believe" I had trouble coming up with a number three this week. There were a bunch of performers who sort of fell in the middle range. I chose Syesha because technically she sang this song very well. She has a very pretty voice and sounded great on this throughout. The problem with Syesha is her song choices. Choosing a Fantasia song was not smart, just like last week when she invited comparisons to Whitney Houston. Part of talent is choosing the right song. My complaint with Syesha is the same every week; she sings well, but she's not a star. There's just something lacking in her presence.
Kristy Lee Cook "Anyway" Even though this was a good performance for Kristy, again, her pitch is terrible which is why she's in my bottom three again. BUT, she chooses the right song week after week and as I said, that's part of talent, so she does have some. There was a lyric in the song she sang though that sort of summed up Kristy's performance for me "Tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang." Yeah. That's pretty much it.
Jason Castro "Over the Rainbow" Jason's long hair and ukelele evoked images of Tiny Tim for me. I was waiting for him to start singing Tiptoe Through the Tulips, but he sang Over the Rainbow instead. He chose a very distinct overplayed arrangement by a singer with a very distinct voice, one that due to its richness and character makes the song work. But Jason has no richness or character to his voice or anything else. He barely has an intellect. This was another low-ball, derivative performance. I'm convinced he has no desire to win this thing.
David Cook "Innocent" Ick! Ick! Ick! I hated this song. It was weird. The vocals were bizarre and disjointed. He was so pretentious and smug I felt like throwing up. This guy takes himself too damn seriously. One of the worst of the night by far.
WHO SHOULD GO: Jason Castro. He's just not in the same league as the other singers. Even Kristy Lee manages to choose good songs, but Jason seems checked out of this competition and so he should go. Bub-bye.
UPDATE: Whoa! Total upset! Michael Johns goes home. Way too prematurely if you ask me. But then I think his appeal is an older market, not the one that is voting right now which explains why Jason Castro is still around and not even in the bottom three tonight.