Wednesday, March 26, 2008

American Idol - The Year They Were Born

The top 10 on American Idol tonight had to sing a song from the year they were born, so it was really another '80's night, with the one exception of Michael Johns who was born in 1978.

Before the recap a few thoughts on the show:

  • The show is now sorting out into the singers who are contestants who sing songs straight, and the contestants who are more musical and will play around with the arrangement more. The master of this is David Cook.
  • Paula Abdul clothing looked like she had had an accident with a disco ball, and Madonna in her Desperately Seeking Susan Days.
  • A bit off topic, but it is all over the internet - do we care if Ryan is gay? So what if he is, it is not like he plays the romantic lead in movies he is a TV host. Or is he viewed as some sort of heartthrob?; and
  • Won't John Farnham be stoked that Simon Cowell has actually heard of him.

First up for the night was Ramielle Malubay who was born in 1987. She sang "Alone" by Heart.
Tonight she did not look like an office worker, but they are clearly having trouble dressing her. Maybe it is a height thing. The shorts and nearly knee high boots were not a good look.

Apparently Ramielle has been ill so that may have been why her voice was not as strong as previously. Having said that her vocals were still good, however she lacks stage presence and really does not know how to work the huge stage she is on. She will bottom 3 it this week.

Randy Jackson said - "Not right song choice", "To big a song", "Little pitchy - all over the place".
Paula said "Major talent in small package" Paula hopes she stays in the competition.
Simon Cowell said "I don't think it was as bad as Randy said.", "You are going to get through this week with that performance."

Next up was Jason Castro born in 1987 who sang a Sting song called "Fragile". This song must have been written around the time when Sting discovered the issue of the destruction of the South American rainforests, and to be fair he did stage some issue raising and money raising concerts. However he seems to have fallen off the environmental band wagon at the moment (wouldn't want to give up that greenhouse guzzling private jet) , or may not be able to get any media time because Bono is the activist rock star at the moment.

After that rant - I hate this song. And Jason Castro playing guitar and singing some of it in Spanish was not going make me like it.

Randy Jackson "Good choice", "Nice and pleasant" and "Still waiting for a jump out vocal performance."
Paula said "Safe in your zone"
Simon said "Two bad weeks - I think it is time you started taking it seriously", "It was the equivalent of busking outside a subway station."

I think Jason Castro is good looking, can sing a little, and play guitar a little. However, I am coming to the conclusion that he is not as talented as I first thought.

Syesha Mercado was next she was born in 1987 and sang "If I Were Your Woman".
How skinny did she look tonight? Has she lost weight or had I not notice before?
It was a much better performance from her tonight, with strong vocals, but she too lack stage presence.

Randy said "Best I have ever heard you sing"
Paula said "This is the moment that people remember where she flipped it and Syesha became the dark horse."
Simon said "Definitely best so far, but only three in." "There is a limit on your vocals and that song stretched it."

Chikeze was born in 1985 and sang Luther Vandross "If Only For One Night".
Firstly Chikezie outfit was a mess, far to much going on, the shirt with the drawing on it, and the jacket which looked like he had been painting in it.

I liked the vocals however I hated the song. Also I found it disconcerting as the mosh pit were waving their hands out of time. Was this why Chikezie started shaking the hands to get them to stop?

Randy said "Old school", "Didn't love this for you."
Paula disagreed "Good throwback"
Simon said "Thought you sang it well, performance was cheesy", "Nothing original", "I miss your personality".

Brooke White was born in 1983 and sang "Every Breath You Take" by the Police.

Brooke in her pre song package was nearly in tears talking about her family. She wins the most emotional Idol contestant ever award.

She played the piano which was much better, and it was interesting in her package she revealed she was self taught.

Her performance was good, but it did not blow you away. However I am sure she will easily get through.

Randy said "Did not love arrangement."
Paula said "Enjoyed it more then last week."
Simon said "Just you on the piano would have been cool, when band came in it became old fashioned." and "First half was fantastic."

Michael Johns was born in 1978, and the only one tonight singing a '70 song. It was a medley/remix of two Queen songs "We Will Rock You", and "We Are the Champions".

He was trying to recapture his earlier mojo from top 100 week, where he blew everyone away with his rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Better performance and he had less Michael Hutchene type movements in it which was a good thing. The crowd loved it and were exuberant in their applause.

Randy said "Best performance since you have been on the show."
Paula said " Your shining moment"
Simon said "First time I saw star potential", and "Tonight You Got It Right"

Next was Carly Smithson who was born in 1983 and she sang the iconic "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler.

I must confess I spent half the song looking at her stomach to try and work out if the wild rumours doing the rounds of her being pregnant are true. Celebridiot has some details on the rumour.

She did look a bit chunkier, however that dress would make Kate Moss look big.

She does have Bonnie Tyler esque huskiness to her voice, and I thought the rendition was ok (it is one of my favourite songs). However that wild voice trick note at the end did not do it for me.

Randy said "Liked it did not love it" and "Did not like end note"
Paula disagreed " I loved the last note"
Simon said "Something didn't quite work", "You were tense and uptight" and "Need to lighten up"

I also did not get the interchange between Carly and Ryan she said something about going to the toilet before hand it all got confusing from there.

David Archuleta was born in 1990 and he sang "Your The Voice" by John Farnham.

Now this song is from Australia, NOT Austria Paula. And the why couldn't you pick an American composer comment from Paula was a tad xenophobic.

This song was on high rotation on every radio station, so it was going to have to be good if I was going to like it. It wasn't. In fact it highlighted how strong John Farnham's voice was, and I am not a fan.

As the other couch potato in the house said "I thought this guy was a contender?" I had to agree.

Randy said " Strange song choice", "Very nice"
Paula did the whole Austria thing.
Simon said "Sang well in parts," "I didn't like the performance overall, and "Reminiscent of a theme park performance, the kind where there are animated creatures running around".

Kristy Lee Cook was next she was born n 1984 and she sang "God Bless America". She guaranteed her safety by sing this patriotic song. It was a bit like Carl Risley in last seasons Australina Idol where he sang Waltzing Matilda at the time I thought it would back fire but I underestimated Australia's nationalist fervour.

She did a better performance this week, she appears to have knocked off the widelegged stance dance movement.

Randy said" Very nice performance."
Paula said "Good choice", "I have seen better performances from you, but your voice was better."
Simon was extremely positive "Your best performance by a mile" and "Most clever song choice". Maybe she did blow Simon's socks off this week!

Last was Daniel Cook born in 1982 singing Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean". At first I thought WTF, but he turned it into a ballard, and it was sensational.

This week he grabbed the competition by the proverbial and said to the other contenders your going to have to improve immensely if you want to beat me.

On the negative side - his baby photos were not great. What a huge forehead he has.

Randy said "The most original and bold contestant we've ever had," and "Blazing molten hot"
Paula standing up and refusing to sit down said "Brave, willing to stretch the boundaries."
Simon said "Brave, it was either going to insane or amazing, and it was amazing."

By far the best performance of the night.

My pick for bottom three are Carly Smithson, Ramielle Maubay, and Syesha Mercado.


soobee said...

Top three:
David Cook (by far my favorite performer, and he just might beat out David Archuleta, b/c he is far more consistent and not a baby)
Sayesha (yep, have to disagree with you there; I was very impressed)
Michael Johns (awesome performance of Queen, which EW and I guessed he would perform, but he is a bit cocky, though an amazing entertainer).

Bottom three:

Chickeze (what a mess; he cannot do ballads)
Ramiele (sorry you have a cold, but that was awful)
Kristy Lee (I know, shock, and very coy for her to do the I Love the USA number, but it was so transparent) or Carly (she is a goner soon, and I'm totally over her)

Jason Castro did nothing with his song (I am not longer impressed with him, alas, feeling he is a one-trick pony), and Brooke was boring, too. I also thought David Archuleta was weak, and I no longer think that he is going to win it all, but I could be wrong. I'm going with David Cook, who is establishing a big fan base as well (yay), and is worthy of winning.

Tonight should be interesting. I think Ramiele, Kristy Lee, or Carly are outta here.

Reality Raver said...

Soobee I think you could be right about David Cook. I was a bit ho hum about him, but I certainly are now looking forward to his performances each week. Even though Billie Jean was a take off of someone elses version.

But so what - how much time do they actually have to rehearse and I suspect it is spent working out how to cut the song back to 2 minutes.

soobee said...

Well, Ryan did point out that it was Chris Cornell's version of the song (though I could only hear mumble mumble's version) b/c I think they were out of time, which is why he barely got any time at the end, after the judges spoke. (They need to work on time management.) David C is a very entertaining, diverse singer. I think he could win. I will vote for him (remember, no cost :-)). I am so over David Archuleta. One trick pony. He is clueless with song selection, too. If his dad picks out his songs, he better rethink his choices. And Michael Johns should just sing Queen every week. :)

I don't think they get much time to rehearse. Maybe a couple of hours with the band? And they have lots of "Idol" p.r. time and maybe a day off, I think. I think 90 seconds is not enough time. When they are down to 10 contestants, I wish they could get in a full song (e.g., three minutes). I guess they aren't going to do that, though.

soobee said...


S (but no loser disclosed)

You were one for three, but I won't say who and I will say none of these women were eliminated.

Reality Raver said...

Thanks Soobee, I will watching the show in five hours! I hope they do the same with the telecast with the US version of SYTYCD.

Normally if I name a contestant in my bottom three it just about guarantees they are safe.

Anonymous said...

A causal AI viewer here. I do not think David or Jason are one-trick ponies.

David has really good vocal, I think he is choosing songs that are meaningful/have a message, but unfortunatley those songs tend to be too serious for the show.

Jason has the coffee-house vibe. That is his style...not a trick. I think his vocal is limited but he seems to be aware of it too.

I love Carly's is so rich. I keep reading comments about how she looks strained when she hits the high notes...well Celine Dion does too, but looking strained and being strained are too different things!

David Cook is doing well and is very marketable. It is amazing what a few good weeks (with good judges comment) can do to hype up a contestants. Everybody seems to be on the David Cook train now whereas in the beginning viewers (bloggers) were making snark remark about his hair.

soobee said...

I'm not a casual viewer. Sadly. ;-)

From the very beginning, with the top 20, these are the three I voted for:

David Cook
Michael Johns
Jason Castro (in that order)

David Cook has become my favorite (okay, he actually always was) because I think he is original, has a big, powerful voice, and just seems to enjoy himself (and humble/self-deprecating). Plus he likes word games. :) (I happen to think he's very cute; I didn't realize bloggers felt otherwise.)

I hope David C does something interesting with Dolly Parton's songs. I'm curious. And he didn't rip off Chris Cornell, you just couldn't hear Ryan's note b/c it was blocked out by the band and those stupid "mosh pit" tweenies and their annoying arms. An interview today with Simon makes mention of his (and EW)'s irritation with that faux pit. I think Nigel will be smart and tone it down (i.e, make those kids SIT DOWN)

Michael Johns has a huge voice as well. He hadn't performed well recently, but scored a big comeback last night. Queen is his friend. He does great with the more grandiose songs, and I hope he can find one from the Dolly Parton songbook.

I, too, love Jason--yes, great coffee house vibe--but he does have to step it up, and he acknowledged as much. He can be laid back, and should be, but not sloppy.

I don't get how Ramiele escaped bottom three status (she just isn't that good, cold or not). I thought Sayesha was fabulous Tuesday night (Simon didn't), but she just isn't connecting with the viewers, the way Brooke is. I liked, did not love, Chikeze, but he was fun. At least he'll be on the tour (I won't, but...I'm not 10. My niece was 10 when she went to see it.)

Kristy Lee could do well with Dolly Parton's songs, but I can't believe she even made the Top 10. She is this season's Haley Scarlato with a bit less pitchiness.

I do like Carly, but she, too, isn't connecting. Too intense, maybe? Her voice is amazing, far more so than Amanda's (who has been nothing but gracious in her exit interviews).

And as for David Archuleta, he is clearly talented, but he is in no way a newbie. Maybe he really did pick out the song (a poor choice, IMO) and not his dad (who has been banned from the AI lot), but he needs to go younger and more soulful. His "Imagine" almost made me cry, but Tuesday's performance was forgettable. I've already forgotten it. I think David will go top three, but I don't think he is going to take it, and I don't think it matters. Top 5 is key.

Look at Chris Daughtry. No problem. Clay Aiken. Fine. Elliot Yamin. Becoming fine. Of course, you can also look at Blake. Runner up in 2007, releases a dud CD (he rushed it; Jordin's came out a month later and it's doing really well), it tanks, he claims he was pressured into releasing the first track, per his blog (yeah, right). All of the tracks are weak (I was going to buy it, but sampled the tracks on iTunes and decided otherwise). Too bad he didn't do more beat boxing and go the R&B/hip hop route. He went the dull route.

Anyway, I think the top five will be (in this order):

David Cook
David Archuleta
Brooke White
Jason Castro
Carly Smithson

I guess we'll see. RR, I know you'll make a comeback with the top 10 SYTYCDA contestants. :)