Brooke White - "Jolene"
I'd agree with Simon on this one - Brooke didn't put a lot of emotion into the song. I didn't hear any desperation in her voice as she begged, "Jolene - JOLENE - Puhlleeez don't take my man!" To make a Paula-type comment, I'll say her hair looked nice. I was hoping one of the rockers would take on this song.
David Cook - "Little Sparrow"
This was David's best performance yet, I thought, probably because it was truly original. I'm glad he credited all the original performers who made the quirky arrangements of the other songs he's done the past few weeks in his interview with Ryan. It's not that he didn't admit it before, but it wasn't really emphasized, and I think a lot of voters were giving him credit for being more creative than he was. But tonight he came up with a fresh arrangement, a nuanced vocal, and he sported a much better haircut. However, I still can't stop picturing his alien baby photo when I watch him.
Jason Castro - "Traveling Through"
Jason did a decent job with Dolly's Oscar-nominated tune from Transamerica (great movie, by the way). Again, he didn't really stretch, well, maybe a little bit toward the end where the song went more uptempo and required him to be kinda animated. He's dreamy, but he could be in the Bottom 3 again this week. Then again, maybe his fans will mobilize and storm the phone lines after last week's scare.
Ramiele Malubay - "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?"
Simon is in a mood tonight. He should just admit that country music makes him cranky. Instead, he likened Ramiele's performance to one you'd hear on a cruise ship. I thought it was a decent vocal but unremarkable, and her outfit looked kinda waitressy. No, Ramiele, I don't think you'll ever cross my mind after you get booted off.
Carly Smithson - "Here You Come Again"
This is my favorite Dolly song, and I love what Carly did with it. She took a catchy uptempo ditty and spun it into a power ballad, and it worked. She has the biggest voice in the competition by far, but too bad she doesn't have much likability. She'll probably get some sympathy votes after Simon told her she needed to get somebody to dress her better. I actually thought this was one of her better outfits. I also recommend less close-ups of her husband - America isn't overly fond of dudes with tattooed faces.
David Archuleta - "Appalachian Memories"
David picked a more comfortable song for himself and delivered an emotional performance that inspired Randy to yell "David Archuleta is back!" Paula commented on his positive aura - cut to Michael Kors smirking in the crowd. Smirk all you want, Michael, but just listen to those tweens scream.
Kristy Lee Cook - "Coat of Many Colors"
Building on the emotional manipulation of Middle America she began last week by singing "God Bless the USA", Kristy Lee picks Dolly's saddest song, inspired by the true story of Dolly's mom making her a coat out of fabric scraps that the other kids in the one-room schoolhouse deemed a "fashion don't." Kristy Lee looked gorgeous with her peacock print dress and fetching up 'do. Her vocal was fine on a not particularly demanding song. I think she'll sail through this week.
Syesha Mercado - "I Will Always Love You"
This was the only song choice I predicted correctly, because, well, it was so freakin' predictable. Syesha tried to do a hybrid Dolly/Whitney version of this song, and while the Dolly part was okay, the Whitney part lacked oomph. She comes off like a very generic diva, and she better hope that America's love for this song is enough to carry her through (I'm skeptical). The yellow dress worked much better on Syesha than it did on Brooke, but one attendee at the Ape Culture Idol Watch likened her hairstyle to Condoleeza Rice's - ouch.
Michael Johns - "It's All Wrong, But It's All Right"
Wow, Michael blew me away. I thought this was the best performance of the night. As the only contestant who was born before Best Little Whorehouse in Texas was released, Michael seemed to have the best knowledge of Dolly. After all, he saw her in concert back in 1986. He had an understanding of the source material and the ability to reinvent it. I loved the bluesy, soulful vibe. I'm not crazy about the ascot look, but, still, as Randy said "blazin' hot!"
Dolly was fun but she wasn't a bit critical. Of course, she said she resisted going on the show before because she didn't want to be critical. So, she smiled a lot and told everyone they looked great. I still think she's awesome, though, and I liked hearing her songs this week. I'm stoked for the "Island in the Stream/Nine to Five" medley tomorrow night.
It's a tough call, but I'm thinking Jason, Brooke, and Syesha will be the Bottom 3, with Syesha going home.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008