Idol Chat 2008 (Part 10)
I got home from work very late tonight, so I actually missed David Archuletta's and most of Syesha's first songs. But no matter, I don't necessarily need to see each contestant sing three songs to get the gist of how the competition is shaping up at this point. It was a pretty unspectacular night considering this was the semi-final round. As I mentioned in my last post, Entertainment Weekly seemed to sum up what amounts to Idol burn-out this year. Something is definitely lacking--proof of that is the fact that I haven't picked up the phone once this year to vote for my favorite singer.
Further contributing to my Idol fatigue, when I tuned in tonight, Randy and Simon were bickering and making the competition about them and their song choices for the singers rather than the singers themselves. The petty infighting is getting old by season 7. Also, and I can't stress this enough, I am SO SICK of Ryan Seacrest gay baiting Simon all the time! Seacrest is so paranoid of the gay rumors (or truths) circulating about him that he tries everything to deflect attention away from himself and on to others--usually Simon. He resorts to typical juvenile homophobic innuendo which is neither funny nor clever. It's just sad and smacks of desperation. Besides that, the youth of America is watching, Ryan. Please don't poison their minds with the same self-loathing that torments your own pathetically self-important little world.
In case you're wondering, I'm making reference to the fact that Simon had chosen the Roberta Flack classic "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" for David Cook. Ryan predictably tried to attack Simon's masculinity by implying that he chose the song because he's hot for David. These kinds of comments from Ryan have been going on for a couple of seasons now. (Ever since Terri Hatch outed him on David Letterman.) And I'm over it! GLAAD or someone needs to call this guy out, I'm serious. It's really starting to ruin the show for me to have to listen to childish homophobic quips from the host of a show I have enjoyed for many years and has a HUGE gay following, especially when someone as young as David Archuletta, who could very well end up being gay, is listening in the wings. Shame on you, Ryan! Grow up and learn to play the gracious host.
Well. Now that I got that off my chest, here are my picks in order of preference based on the performances I saw:
David Cook: "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" was gorgeous! It was so different from anything we've seen from David before and it was impressive. This is exactly the kind of versatility and talent that American Idol is all about. However, by his second song he suffered from serious pitch problems with a song that seemed to peter out and had no ending. Besides that he seemed to be back to that same old affected, smarmy David from the beginning of the competition which seemed to follow him through his third song ("Don't Want to Miss a Thing"). Still, he's an exciting performer and has real musicianship and versatility which should place him among the final two.
Syesha Mercado: I only caught a bit of the Alicia Keyes song that Syesha performed, but it sounded great. She chose "Fever" for her second tune continuing her habit of choosing overused signature songs of other great singers. Further, "Fever" is not a song that ever shows a singer off well. It's a style piece which Syesha had plenty of in this, staging the number like something from a musical rather than a pop tune. But it wasn't the kind of vocal showpiece we want to hear at this point and I'm not sure it's what the public is looking for in their American Idol. Her third song "Come Hit Me Up" (?), although not a great tune, was fresh and modern and young, a side Syesha needs to show if she wants to go to the finals. Truth be told, she sings everything well. She is an exceptional singer with great talent and technique and seems to get better and better each week. But she may have plateaued this week--one week too soon.
David Archuletta: I've said it week after week: David has the voice of an angel. But his song choices this week were pretty bad. (I missed his first song though) It was nice to hear him sing an up-tempo song for a change ("With You") but it came off cute rather than sexy or genuine. Still, he sounded great. Finally he chose "Longer" by Dan Fogelberg which I think is the song "light" radio stations use as an example of something too corny and old-fashioned even for them. It was nice and sweet and he sang it beautifully, but David showed us nothing new this week. Who knows, maybe it was the pressure of all the bad press about his father this week, but David didn't present a performance tonight worthy of being in the final two. And I love the kid.
Who Will Go: Syesha. Despite a lackluster performance from David A, I think it will be a David and David in the finals. The love has been with these two all season.
UPDATE: Well, as predicted, Syesha goes home and it's a David/David finale. I think we all knew it would end up this way weeks ago. Still, Syesha has a lot to be proud of. She was not one of the favorites coming into the competition but she met challenge after challenge and kept growing beautifully as a performer. Her notoriety from Idol will no doubt get her lots of Broadway offers and honestly I think she'd rather be Broadway star than a pop star anyway.