Tuesday, March 11, 2008

American Idol - the top 12

I wasn't gonna blog tonight due to time constraints, but I have been so blown away by some of the performances tonight that I just had to get my thoughts down in writing.

Syesha Mercado - Yeah, she was pitchy to start but she was also the first performer on the new stage. I liked the arrangement too. I still think she's one of the best singers, but I'm really worried about her based on this performance.

Chikezie - for the first time tonight, I was really impressed with him. Now if they could just get him into some better outfits! You can't be a rocker in an argyle sweater and a sweatband watch!

Ramiele - Boring, ordinary, and forgettable. She's a good singer, but this song didn't show it. I'm still not a fan, and I think she should probably go home this week.

Jason Castro - OK, so the song was forgettable, but he is one of the most talented in the group. He has a great voice, and I think he may be the only contestant who can give David A. a run for his money, but he needs to hit one out of the park SOON.

Carly Smithson - WOW. OK, so she's been singing that song every week for years, so it should be good. But I loved the arrangement, and she finally got a chance to really show her talent. Hm... she could challenge David A. too, but she's got to keep it up every week.

David Cook - Elanor Rigby is one of my least favorite Beatles songs, but David's arrangement was fantastic too. I finally believe that he could be a real rocker, not just a wanna-be. I still don't like the drugged-out eyes look.

Brooke White - Yep, she picked the perfect song for her voice. And it's so cool to see these people playing and singing. This year is truly a talent competition, not just a singing competition.

David Hernandez - Hm... it's just a very ordinary, amusement park-ish performance. It's just not a song that really showcases his voice. I still don't think he's the worst tonight, but I can see why he's towards the bottom of DialIdol currently.

Amanda Overmeyer - She should be singing Sgt Pepper's, but I'll have to fast forward through some commercials to find out if I'm right. OK, she's singing a song I've never heard of -- at least not by name. It's a good, solid performance... actually, it's pretty good. I'm getting a bit tired of her voice, but I love the way she made the song her own. (Or, if she didn't change it up, then she picked a brilliant song for her style.)

Michael Johns - He's my least favorite of the guys -- he's had some really awful performances in past weeks -- and while this week's performance was better, it was still ordinary and boring. He needs to go home soon.

Kristy Lee Cook - I'm still amazed that she made the top 12, but I guess there are a lot of country fans out there -- look at Carrie Underwood and even Kellie Pickler. Her country version of "Eight Days A Week" is actually damn good. Wow, I can't believe none of the judges liked it! I hate country, and I don't really like that song either, but I liked that version better than the original, and I thought the performance was great.

David Archuleta - Once again they've saved the best for last. This is a Beatles song I actually like, and I'm a bit disappointed that he chose to do the Stevie Wonder version. And he's stumbling over the words all over the place! That's his age and inexperience showing. He's lucky he has such a huge fan base. If he does that again in a later week, he'll be gone.

So, based on the performances tonight, I have to say that David A. will NOT win, because I suspect he will have another slip-up in future weeks. I wasn't so sure he could hold that front-runner spot all the way to the end anyway.

So who can win it? Jason Castro can, but he needs to do something amazing in the next week or two. David Cook can if he continues to give stellar performances like tonight's. And probably the best shot right now is Brooke White, who keeps giving solid, consistent performances. She also has a great personality and a unique sound, which makes her memorable every time she sings. That counts for a lot.

As for who's going home this week, it will probably be Syesha or David H, who had the weakest performances of the night and have had weak performances over the last few weeks as well. I'd rather see Ramiele go, but I think Syesha's time is up.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

American Idol top 8 girls

It's Wednesday! Time for the final 8 girls to perform on Idol as we whittle them down to six tomorrow night. Let's hope they have better song choices than the guys did last night!

Asia'h is up first tonight, singing "I Wanna Dance With Somebody". Didn't we hear her do this before? She sure does have a lot of spunk and energy. Good way to start off the show. She did it so well that it almost seemed like a "safe" choice, but we all know Whitney is not easy to sing! Probably not as good as Paula felt, but I think Simon was a bit hard on her.

Kady Malloy is up next. She certainly does need to redeem herself from last week, when she should have gone home -- and it doesn't look like she's gonna. She does Queen's "Who wants to live forever" and once again, it's boring and pitchy. She's flat from just about start to finish! Unless she gets the support of VoteForTheWorst, she's certainly going home this week. What??? Paula thinks this was her best performance to date? Wow, the past weeks must have been REALLY bad.

Speaking of VoteForTheWorst, up next is Amanda Overmeyer. At least she picked a song more suitable for her voice this week, Joan Jett's "I hate myself for loving you". But for some reason she just looks really uncomfortable on stage this week. Meh. Better than last week, but certainly not her best performance. Wow, Simon loved it? Interesting.

Next up is Carly Smithson, singing "I Drove All Night". It's a pretty good song choice for her with some big, powerful notes right in her mid-range that let her belt it out. She got a little screechy on the highest notes, but it was probably her best performance so far.

Kristy Lee Cook, another one who should probably go home this week, is up next singing Journey. That scares me. Holy vibrato, batman! Of course she gives it her country twang too, and then she can't hit the high notes. Poor song choice, mediocre execution. She should go home this week too.

Sixth up tonight is Ramiele, who apparently doesn't have (or want to share) a truly embarrasing moment, so she shares some boring childhood story. (But really, why do they ask the contestants to share their most embarrasing moments? And why would anyone want to answer that in front of 30 million people?) I'm not blown away by Ramiele this week -- she's just a touch flat at times -- but I guess I've never really been blown away by her. Still, it's another good, solid performance. Wow, you know it's bad when Paula starts off by saying "you have a beautiful face."

Next up is Brooke White, singing Pat Benetar. It's a good fit for her voice, and I like the stripped-down version with just acoustic guitar. This is probably the best we've seen from her so far. After that performance, I'm finally convinced that she deserves to be here, and should be in the top 12. Simon loved her choice too.

Syesha Mercado is last to perform tonight. She's my early favorite, but she really needs a breakout performance. She picks another Whitney tune and does a very nice job with it, although still no goosebump moment that I was hoping for.

Watching the recap... Asia'h wasn't as good as I would have hoped; Kady was just as bad as I had expected; Amanda was boring and mediocre; Carly finally impressed me; Kristy was forgettable yet again; Ramiele was solid but nothing stellar; Brooke was original and impressive; and Syesha sounded like a pro, but showed nothing extraordinary.

It should be cut and try this week, with Kady and Kristy Lee going home as they were by far the worst tonight, although Amanda is right there with them -- not sure how the judges could think she was one of the best of the night! But even Asia'h or Syesha could be in danger.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

American Idol top 8 guys

It's Tuesday night -- that means it's time for another session of Idol liveblogging! Tonight's the last chance to make the top 12 and move on to the "big stage", as Ryan puts it. It's 80's night tonight, so it should be a good one!

First up is Luke Perr.. er, Luke Menard. Everyone expected him to be gone last week, so it's no surprise that he starts off very shaky. Man I hope he goes home this week! Paula is in rare form this week, babbling on and on and on... it's only an hour show this week, Paula! Uh oh! Simon just gave him the golden blessing -- he said there's no way he makes it through to the top 12 and can't possibly win. That makes him a shoe-in for VoteForTheWorst (as if he wasn't bad enough already).

David Archuleta is up next... and apparently has to pee. Is that his secret weapon? He's singing AND playing Another Day In Paradise. If you watched the show, you don't need me to tell you that he is absolutely amazing. Wow. He makes some great changes with the melody that make it seem like he's been performing this song for 15 years. Randy just thinks it was "nice" but I'm not really sure what was wrong with it. Simon does make a good point that he needs to pick an up-tempo song sooner rather than later. But there's no doubt he's still the one to beat.

Ugh... it's time to sit through another performance of this year's Sanjaya, Danny Noriega. Boy, he is flaming hard tonight! Work it, girl! He does Tainted Love in kind of a cross between the original and Marilyn Manson's version. The vocals actually aren't bad, but the performance as a whole is just so ridiculously over the top. There goes Paula again... what is she on? He has GOT to go.

David Hernandez is fourth to take the stage tonight. He gives a solid performance, but it's not his best and he doesn't really do anything original wth it. Hm. I still like him... still probably in the top three guys, but he may not have the one of the best performances tonight.

Apparently there are some technical difficulties, so Michael Johns is going on next. Will that change the voting phone numbers for DialIdol.com? He's singing Don't You Forget About Me, one of my favorites. It's too bad he can't carry a tune in a bucket. Just because you're from "down under" doesn't mean you have to sing down under every note! Man this guy has got to go too... whch sucks because only two can go home this week. By far his worst performance of the competition.

After the break is David Cook, another wanna-be rocker who should go home sooner than later, playing guitar again tonight. He's doing a rock version of Lionel Richie's "Hello". (I wonder if this was someone else's cover of this song, like when Chris Daughtry did Live's version of I Walk The Line?) He was just ok last week, but I think he's even worse this week. The judges seem to like it, but they seem to like everything tonight. Even Simon's gone to the dark side! But apparently it really was an original arrangement, at least as far as the judges know.

Jason Castro lives up to his reputation of awkward interviews, before launching into a great rendition of Hallelujah. I didn't know this was an 80's song... I only know it from the Shrek soundtrack. I like the way he intentionally gets a little ahead of the beat at times, giving it a sense of urgency. It wasn't clear to me if Randy really liked it or not, but Simon loved it. I liked it, but I didn't think it was as good as Simon thought.

Last up tonight is Chikezie, doing yet another ballad. What's with the song choices tonight? Haven't the guys learned yet that BALLADS ARE BORING AND FORGETTABLE! It's a very safe performance, although he changes it up a bit at the end. It's actually pretty good, and luckily for Chikezie, there were three or maybe four people who were far worse tonight.

Overall... wow, I'm not sure what Randy was listening to when he says the song choices for the guys were far better this week. I honestly thought most of the guys were worse this week, whether it was bad song choices or just poor performances. The weakest performance of the night clearly goes to Michael Johns, followed by either Luke Menard or maybe David Cook. Unfortunately Danny Noriega actually wasn't one of the worst tonight, and, coupled with support from VoteForTheWorst, will ensure him a spot in the top 6.