Tuesday, March 25, 2008

American Idol - Coolia on the Top 10

This week's the Idols performed songs from their birth years. I think this is done just to make those of us watching at home feel really old.

Performances

Ramiele Malubay - "Alone" - 1987

Ramiele takes on former Idol winner Carrie Underwood with this song choice. I had to go back and watch Carrie's performance on YouTube to confirm what I already knew - as much as I disliked Carrie, she and her big 80s hair would blow Ramiele off the stage. This was the performance that made Simon say, "Carrie, not only will you win this show, you'll sell more records than any previous Idol." This is the performance that could make Ryan say "Ramiele, you are leaving us tonight," although I suspect her cuteness, viewer sympathy for her being ill, and her big voting bloc may keep her safe. The song was just too big for her, and she shouldn't smile while wailing in desperation about lying in the room pitch dark ahhhhlooone!

Jason Castro - "Fragile" - 1987

Well, I love this Sting song, and it's a song I'd never expect to hear on Idol before Jason Castro came to Hollywood. I love the original song choices Jason makes and the emotion he puts into his performances. However, I have to agree with the judges that this wasn't dissimilar from the usual Jason laid back troubadour routine. He did inject a little latin flair. There's no reason he can't be successful in the James Blunt/John Mayer mode with these types of songs, but I don't know if he can win this competition being so mellow. Also he should realize his laissez faire vibe in combination with his dreads conjures up a certain image: pothead.

Syesha Mercado - "If I Were Your Woman" - 1987

Yikes, Syesha, did you have to do that baby cry impression again??!? That is so creepy. I wasn't familiar with this Gladys Knight tune, but I was impressed with Syesha's belting. I can't say I'll remember it tomorrow, though.

Chikezie - "If Only For One Night" - 1985

I think the problem with Chikezie as a crooner is that he just has zero sex appeal. When he reaches into the crowd, I'm surprised the girls want to touch him. He does have a nice tone to his voice, and I couldn't find much fault with the vocal. Still, I was a bit bored. I prefer his jug band routines. I think he's in danger of being sent home, especially after sassing back to Simon once again.

Brooke White - "Every Breath You Take" - 1983

Brooke had a stutter at the beginning but kept her composure and delivered a mostly smooth vocal. She kept her eyes shut a lot, which made this feel stiff to me. She does have presence, I'll admit, and this was a good song choice for her. She still irritates the hell out of me, but that probably says more about me than it does about Brooke.

Michael Johns - "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions" - 1978

Finally, we get to see what Michael can do! He's not just a stud - he can rock. He wisely returns to Queen, since the judges had lauded his "Bohemian Rhapsody" from Hollywood Week as his best performance, at least until this week. Michael delivered these rock anthems with a lot of gusto and owned the stage. There was a bit of Broadway in the delivery, but overall, this performance shows why he deserves to be in the Top 10. However, I still feel he'd be a better front man than a stand-alone artist. Girls went wild for him - maybe even wilder than they did for young David?

Carly Smithson - "Total Eclipse of the Heart" - 1983

Hmm, did Carly sing this in tribute to her former roommate Amanda who should have sang this during 80s week? It's a bold song choice, and I thought she delivered a confident and powerful vocal. She didn't personalize the song at all, but still I thought the judges were overly harsh on her. I wonder if their comments will plunge her back into the bottom 3 or if America's affection for this song will keep her safe.

David Archuleta - "You're the Voice" - 1990

Answer: Unskinny Bop, We Didn't Start the Fire, Humpty Dance, Opposites Attract / Question: What are lame songs from my high school graduation year 1990 that would have STILL been preferable to the song David picked?!? David looked like a robot up there, trying to stir the crowd up with an unfamiliar John Farnham anthem. For the first time, I could picture him ending up singing in a church alongside Mandisa and George Huff. He really needs to watch the cheese factor - this performance was cornier than an episode of Hee Haw. He also made a teen idol faux pas by admitting to having a girlfriend, or at least a potential prom date. Come on, David, it's up to Tiger Beat to find a prom date for you!

Kristy Lee Cook - "God Bless the USA" - 1984

Kristy Lee is a freakin' genius! This is one of the smartest song choices in the history of Idol. I won't call it a completely shameless vote grab, because she did deliver a strong, emotional performance. I personally have a soft spot for this tune as it was the soundtrack for every Fourth of July fireworks display and air show under the Arch when I was growing up in St. Louis. The performance may not have been better than any 10:00 AM musical revue show in Branson, but I think it will definitely keep Kristy out of the Bottom 3 for once.

David Cook - "Billie Jean" - 1982

Wow, as an infant, David looked like an alien baby. He's right - he did have a "massive skull." As this song started, I groaned, fearing he was just repeating his "Hello" gimmick. But as the song progressed, I grew impressed with his growling vocal power and felt he was in Daughtry's league for the first time. I still am not really a fan, but I have to give David props for the most original and confident performance of the night.

Predictions

I'm gonna have to sleep on this one, but right now I'm thinking Chikezie, Syesha, and Ramiele are in the Bottom 3, with Chikezie going home.

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