Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Terrific Top Ten

Paul is dead. Ok he isn’t actually dead, but Beatles week has gone the way of Heather Mills’s integrity. The Idol producers probably made a mistake when they tried to get two weeks out of the Fab Four, but let’s face it, itunes gotta get paid yo! This week the Idols may select any song from the year they were born. Unforuntately for Michael Johns, that means he is picking a song from the 1960s again. What, he is only 29? Whoops my bad. This is the first week we really get to see what type of artist the Idols might become; they aren’t limited to a specific genre anymore. Of course, that assumes any of them recognize a song from the year they were born. Let’s hope someone knows what they are doing this week.

Ryan is in full suit mode tonight, which is good, you can’t introduce the top 10 without wearing a tie. I wonder if they script out his wardrobe at the start of the season or just makes it up as he goes along. Ryan became the show at the back of the audience but after the credits he is standing behind the moving stage doors, which means he just moved pretty quickly for a metrosexual. Our first shameless plug of the night – Brad Garrett, star of a crappy Fox show, is in the audience. The judges look happier than they did before the show last week. I hope that’s a good sign. If they are going in the order they are standing Ramiele is first and Kristy is last. Last week they let Kristy show pictures of all her animals and now the pimp spot? They really want to keep the tom boy around.

Ramiele - Alone

She was born in 1998 in Saudi Arabia. Ok she is actually a little older. She stopped biting and instead picked up singing when she was three years old. But she started singing in front of people when she was 13, and now she wants to prove she deserves to be in the top 10. Uh oh, this song is going to be too big for her voice. A little pitch problem near the start, but this is the easy part, here comes the hard stuff. Nope, her voice is too small for this song. Ann Wilson just laughed at her pathetic attempt to emulate greatness. Ramiele is clashing with the back up singers. I’m guessing the back up singers are hitting the right note, which means Ramiele is off pitch. This is just barely ‘ok.’ The song is clearly too big for her and she is straining to hit the big notes, and when she does she is lacking any real power. I would be shocked if the judges don’t say she picked the wrong song. The crowd seems subdued. Randy says she is under the weather, but it still wasn’t the right song choice. He says it was a little pitchy all over the place. Paula is really glad that America got to hear her voice, but she is so sing she barely has a voice right now. Paula gives her a tremendous amount of credit for doing such a tough song while she is sick. Simon doesn’t think it was quite as bad as Randy. The middle part went shrieky, but if she survived last week when she was horrible, he thinks she will survive again this week. Ryan tries to start something between Randy and Simon. They both defend their opinions, and in doing so Randy points out he didn’t think Ramiele was good last week either. Way to help Ramiele out Ryan, let’s get all the judges saying she sucked last week too; this is the worst redemption Ryan has ever attempted. If Ramiele advances it will not be based on talent, potential, or performance. No, if she advances she is simply more popular than at least one of the remaining ten.

Jason – Fragile

Ryan is telling us about the song-writing contest; I hope they are better than last year’s winner. Tonight is his birthday and he still remembers how people loved his eyes ever since he was a little kid. They show video of him jamming out at the age of 8, but he didn’t have dreads back then. He is sitting on a stool strumming the guitar. I’m not sure why he felt the need to have the guitar with him if all he is doing is playing a few simple chords. His voice sounds pretty good on the first part but at the end of his phrases he doesn’t finish off the notes. One the back up singers enter his voice disappears and then he starts singing a foreign language. Huh? Really? Is he obsessed with foreign languages after last week? The entire last half of the song he is covered up by the back up singers and it’s just a mess. The last half is so bad I think it negates the decent first half making this a really weak performance. He finally stands up when the song is over. Randy loves the song, but he doesn’t know if he did anything different vocally, but he did dig the Spanish; it was nice. Paula thinks he stayed true to who he is and she loves Sting, but she doesn’t think she saw anything different that made people say wow. Simon thinks Jason has had two bad week and that it’s time for him to take thing a little more seriously. He says he could hear the same thing outside of a bus station. It was too laid back and too much in his own world. He doesn’t think Jason can win if he does this week after week. Ryan asks Jason if he is taking it seriously, and he says “yeah.” He does admit his playing was a little sloppy and he could spend more time practicing. At least he doesn’t admit he is stoned right now.

Syesha – If I Was Your Woman

She finds a way to do her baby cry again; if all else fails she can fall back on the whole pretending to be a baby thing. She was on a dance team when she was a kid and they won a lot of gold medals. She has her hair out big again tonight. You can already tell she is more comfortable with this song than any of the Beatles stuff. She sounds really good and, unlike Ramiele, is blending in nicely with the back ups. She shows off a little falsetto near the end. This is probably her best performance in weeks. She is in tune, doesn’t scream, emotes, and connects with the audience. However, the song is so boring it prevents her from having a ‘moment.’ I bet Randy or Paula welcomes her back with one of those ‘that’s the Syesha we met in Hollywood.’ She is the best of the night so far, which is sadly not that impressive because of the first two performances. Randy thinks this is great because this is the best he has ever heard her sing, even better than her auditions. He thinks she was unbelievable; he is shocked! Translation, “I thought you sucked until now.” Paula says this is her ‘moment.’ She loved everything about the song, calling it brilliant. Simon says it was definitely the best so far, but he doesn’t think the ending was as good as Randy. He believes that song stretched her vocals to the very limits. Ryan ends up saying the ‘she is back’ line. I knew someone had to say it to remind us how horrible Syesha was the last two weeks.

Chikeze – If Only For One Night

Isn’t it time for an itunes in show commercial? He gets the first interview of the night. Ryan asks him about song selection. Chik says he has been afraid to do a ballad again, but the voice coach explained to him that he must follow his heart. He paid attention and picked a song that really resonates with his heart. He was born on September 11th. Dang that must have been a crappy birthday 7 years ago. Unfortunately, we get to hear his mother sing. I hope that never ever happens again. Ever. I’m just saying. She cannot sing at all. Chik says he is still just a big kid. He sounds like Reuben at the start and goes into his falsetto nicely. He is showing off a lot of range. Like Syesha, this song is boring, but he is singing it really well. The song’s tempo picks up a little near the end and he hits an intune pick note. Wow he goes really low at the end. I haven’t heard him down there before. Step back Syesha, this is the new best of the night. Randy says for Syesha she moved it around and made it feel younger, but this one felt really old school; he didn’t love it for Chik. Randy was bored. Chik has a ‘why the **** did I sing a ballad this week, I knew I shoudn’t sing a ballad, but the stupid voice coach talked me into singing the ******* ballad’ look on his face. Paula of course liked it more than Randy and thinks he did an amazing job. She calls him a really great singer. Simon thinks he sang it well, but the performance was very cheesy. Simon says he didn’t like the reaching out the audience during the song. Chik defends his hand movements saying he did so because he was singing for the audience. Simon misses Chik’s personality tonight.

Brooke White – Every Breathe You Take

Here we go, we finally get a plug for itunes. Brooke is the oldest of four children. She remembers the day they got their piano. Her fingers just knew what to play. She could hear something and play it; to this day she only plays by ear, which explains why she simplified the piano playing on “Let it Be.” She has a false start or something at the beginning; she starts singing and then starts again. It looks like someone off stage told her to play and she wasn’t sure exactly when to begin. She is wisely not doing the original version. Instead, she is doing a piano heavy arrangement. She changes up the melody just a bit adding her own vibe to the song. More than anyone else in this show, she knows who she is and what she should sing. During the bridge the song gets a little too big for her and she runs out of breathe and at the end has to take down the big note. Her piano playing is ok, but she honestly isn’t very good, at least not that she has shown us so far. She ends the song pretty well. Again, she isn’t the best singer or the best performer but how can anyone not enjoy listening to Brooke? Randy says it was an interesting song choice. He is glad that she started again and liked the front part, but when she got to the bridge he didn’t like the arrangement. Paula enjoyed her a lot more this week than last week. She says Idol wants unique people like Brooke. Simon totally agrees with Randy. He thinks if she had stayed with just the piano it would have been much better; he agrees with Randy that it was great in the first half and with Paula that she was better than last week. He thinks she will be safe. Ryan compliments her for screwing up at the start of her song.

Michael Johns – We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions

Ryan says we can help pick a new design for the Coke cups. Thank god I’ve been waiting for this my entire life. Michael was born in 1847. His mother says he always had to be the best at everything he tried. He again brags about how awesome he is with a tennis racket, but can he sing Queen? I wonder if David Cook is upset he didn’t get to sing this arrangement. When he starts off I really don’t think I’ve ever seen the Idol band having more fun – they are rocking out. He sounds pretty good, until the end of the first phrase when he runs out of breathe. The transition into the next song sounds weird without the guitar solo. He also sounds good on the first part of Champions, until the song gets big, then his voice feels too small. He is really struggling near the end to hit the notes; his voice even crackles – perhaps a tribute to Live Aid? At least he finishes up the song nicely. But Michael needs to stop singing songs he loves and instead sing songs he sings well. This is just ‘ok’ and if the judges are consistent they will give him the same treatment they give the girls when they try to sing Whitney songs; if you cannot sound as good as the original do not even try to sing this stuff. The crowd is going super nuts. Randy says Michael finally believes in himself and thinks this was the best performance from him this season. Paula says he finally found his right song and had his shining moment. She is so proud of him tonight; she calls it fantastic. Simon says this is the first time with him he saw star potential, because tonight “he just got it right.” For him it was the only memorable performance of the night so far. I guess I’ve just heard the Queen version one too many times – for me, he did nothing super impressive tonight.

Carly – Total Eclipse of the Heart

Wow she is Irish? Her mom got the name Carly from Carly Simon because Carly was playing on the radio when she got the idea. It’s a darn good thing her mom wasn’t listening to Engelbert Humperdinck that day, because man that would have been a difficult childhood. She starts the song dueting with the back up singer. Carly sounds good singing very subtle. When the big chorus comes in she sounds even better. She is at her best when she can really belt out the notes. This is a really good song for her; she can show off what her big vocals. With the exception of maybe one note she is in tune the entire song and then finishes it off with a big note. So big in fact she needs to almost kneel down to force it all out of her lungs. She is really good tonight, maybe the best so far. Randy says it was an interesting song choice but he only liked it, he didn’t love it; he thinks the last note went sharp (I thought she started above the note and rolled down to it on purpose). He also says he doesn’t like the ‘whole rock thing.’ Huh? Paula loves her and thinks she is willing to stretch herself; she thinks Carly can do no wrong tonight. Simon says something didn’t quite work. Maybe because she was so uptight she couldn’t enjoy the song; he suggests she lighten up a little bit. Ryan asks her if she was relaxed. She says she went the bathroom before. Huh? Ok well that’s something I didn’t need to know.

David A. – A song his father probably made him sing

Not surprisingly David gets an interview with Ryan. He is missing normal school and he might end up missing prom. Ryan asks him David who he will be taking to prom and apparently his girlfriend is sitting in the audience. David was born in 2003. His mother says everyone loves him. His dad is wearing a hat in the clip, does he ever take that thing off? David liked to dance with his sister when he was younger. Wow this song sucks. It starts off way too low for David’s voice. This song sounds like something you’d find on a Christian rock album. Did I mention I hate Christian rock. This cannot be the best song from his birth year. Yes he hits some big power notes, but other than those, this is just not good, in fact this is one of the worst performances of the entire night. Near the end I think his voice broke up a little, but with the back up singers and the band playing loud I cannot be sure. Randy says this was a strange song choice, but guess what, he thinks David has mad skill. Paula says they were all trying to figure out the song and kids him for not picking a song form an American writer. She says he could sing the phone book and they would love it. Simon says he didn’t like it at all; it reminded him of a theme park performance. He says it is one of those ghastly songs you sing when you are surrounded by animated characters. Simon guesses David did not select the song himself – is this a not so veil insult towards David’s controlling father? I’m so proud of Simon for not sucking up to David, you go girl!

Kristy – The Best Song Choice in the History of Television

Ryan once again tries to get us to buy some itunes. They show her dad topless. Maybe he can be a male stripper like a certain ousted Idol contestant. Kristy says her singing doesn’t annoy her parents now like it did when she was a youngin. She starts the song sitting on the stool, and we know she will stand up at the ‘big part.’ I don’t know who she bribed to get this song. How can the judges say her song choice was awful? They can’t unless they hate America! The beginning of the song is in her lower register and she sounds really good. She stands up when she hits the chorus and still sounds good. She is added some country flair to the song with a little twang here and there. I honestly thought this song came out during the Gulf War, whoops. I think she sounds better than she ever has, yes even more so than Amazing Grace. She shows off some great vocal control hitting some notes on the half step Elliot style. Randy loves the song and really liked it other than the pitchy parts. Paula thinks the song was a very good choice but she has seen better performances from Kristy. Simon calls it her best performance by a mile. He says this is the most clever song choice he has heard in years. He thinks her pefromance will keep her in the competition. Kristy hasn’t been this happy since she was riding a horse.

David Cook – Billie Jean

Ryan is sitting in the audience to introduce David Cook’s video. David had a massive skull when he was a kid. He got his first guitar when he was only two years old. Growing up music was available to him, but never forced on him – like I was on David A.! Wow no guitar for David tonight. Is that legal? This is laid back and subtle. I hope he doesn’t make the song into a rock anthem when it hits the chorus. This is exactly what I’ve been wanting from David. He isn’t hiding behind the guitar and it’s power chords. Instead he is actually trying to connect with the audience and emote. He hits a really impressive note near the end that I never would have thought he could hit. Wow, I’m really impressed. He has definitely passed Michael Johns as the best male rocker and he might have just become the one to beat. This isn’t only the best performance of the night, it’s the best of the entire season. Randy asks him to check it out and says he has to say that David is the most original on the show. He says David might be the one to win the entire thing! He says it was blazing molten hot. Paula is so happy she cannot sit down. She says David is brave to stretch the boundaries so far without going over. Simon says that was brave and could have been really bad or amazing – he says it was amazing.

Final Thoughts

Ramiele still sounds horrible. Jason, now that I’ve heard David Cook tonight, sounds like he needs to go home. Syesha sounds pitchy this time around. Chik is still regretting singing a ballad. I hope he doesn’t beat down the vocal coach after the show. Brooke still can’t play the piano that well. Michael is still swallowed by the song. Carly still sounds better than the judges said. David A. looks like he is singing in his high school talent show. Maybe he can get David Hernandez to strip at his prom. Kristy still loves America and David still sounds awesome. Paula still will not sit down as Ryan is closing the show. So who ends up in the bottom three tonight. For the first time, I think, in season 7, there are not three people who obviously belong at the bottom. Despite her improved performance, I think Kristy returns to the bottom three. In fact I bet Ryan puts her in the bottom three first and then tells her she is safe first. I hope, assuming she doesn’t go home, they do not make her endure the ‘I’m just about to go home’ feeling again. If Carly ends up in the bottom three again then last week was not a fluke, rather, a trend, which would really be a shame; America is dumb, but not that dumb (I hope). Ramiele was horrible tonight. Not even the sympathy votes will save her this time. She has to go home, but who will be the final person in the bottom three. By default (she sang better than several other people) Syesha will round out the bottom three. I would not be shocked if Syesha went home instead of Ramiele. Nor would I be shocked if Kristy went home, not because of this week, but the bad performances from the last two weeks might still be on the minds of voters. I would be TOTALLY shocked if someone other than these three went home, even thought I would be thrilled if it was David A. The teenage girls of America would never recover.


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