Click Song Link for Performance Video!
- Ryan Seacrest April Fools Joke
- Brooke White – “Jolene”
- David Cook – “Little Sparrow”
- Ramiele Malubay – “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind”
- Jason Castro – “Travelin’ Thru”
- Carly Smithson – “Here You Come Again”
- David Archuleta – “Smoky Mountain Memories”
- Kristy Lee Cook – “Coat of Many Colors”
- Syesha Mercado – “I Will Always Love You”
- Michael Johns – “It’s All Wrong, But It’s All Right”
thanks lawrence, for the video
Season 7 rules, y’all. This week’s performance show is a mostly entertaining–at times even thrilling–set of performances from the Top 9. I only have one question. What the hell is wrong with Simon? Did he miss a smoke break? He’s a total cranky pants.
Ryan opens with a lame April Fools joke, that I’m sure nobody bought. There’s no time for fooling around, though, because the show is only an hour. Hallelujah! On with the recap.
Oh look it’s…Vanna White in the audience. Does anyone care?
Dolly Parton is this week’s mentor. The short clip reviews her long career and her many accomplishments, before she greets the kids in the “piano room” for a little mentoring. She tells them how she wrote “9 to 5–by clacking together her acrylic nails. Weird! Then she leads the kids in a round of song. “That’s enough of that!” she stops them. She’s joking of course. Dolly’s “mentoring” during the night is all sugar. She finds something nice to say about each contestant.
Brooke White – “Jolene” – Brooke is not convincing me that she’s a woman about to become wronged. I’m guessing she’s never had anyone try to steal her man. Perhaps an R movie or two would help. The preternaturally sunny, optimistic, yet ultimately sheltered Brooke doesn’t have enough of an edge to bring the desperation this song needs. It doesn’t help that she’s pitchy, nervous and smiling in the wrong places. The result is a shaky and disconnected performance. At this point, she cannot afford a bad performance. Brooke could end up in the Bottom 3 this week, and perhaps be the victim of a “surprise” boot. We’re due for one of those. Randy thinks the performance was pitchy and felt rushed. Paula, oddly, believes she has a connection with each song that she picks. But, Simon calls it like it is. He says the song was lacking emotion.
David Cook – “Little Sparrow” – Ryan and David are sitting on stools when we get back from break. And, here it comes, the Big Talk, necessitated by the never-ending speculation on whether David’s method of finding song arrangements is kosher or not. David briefly describes how he put together his previous performances. He says he’s been really fortunate to find really good song arrangements online. He says “Eleanor Rigby” was inspired by two arrangements, from Doxology and Neil Zaza. So no, it wasn’t a note for note copy of the Doxology version, and in fact, if you listen, his vocal is completely different than Doxology’s lead singer. NOW, can we put this non-issue to rest, finally? THANK YOU. David says that he arranged tonight’s performance himself, and it’s pretty awesome. Gah, the stupid mosh pit and their hand waving. STOP IT RIGHT NOW! David’s phrasing on this song is absolutely exquisite. The song gives him the opportunity to show off his impressive vocal and emotional range and prove once again that he’s a real contender for the win. This isn’t a performance that will inspire lots of water cooler talk like “Billie Jean”, but it’s gorgeous nonetheless. Randy says, “Another hot, consistent performance.” Paula likes his hair cut. Go Paula. She’s also never heard a guy do the song. And, your point is, Paula? Simon doesn’t think the song was as good as last week. Then, he congratulates David for making a song about sparrows good. Metaphor, Simon. It’s a literary device. Idiot.
Ramiele Malubay – “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” – It’s time for Ramiele to join her bud Danny Noriega in Idol exile, but I don’t see that happening yet. Ramiele has people, and they vote for her. No excuses this week. She’s just plain proving that she’s way over her head in this competition. Off-pitch, out of breath, Ramiele bounces around the stage like she isn’t quite sure what to do next. She doesn’t have the confidence or musical chops to command the big stage. Her performance is instantly forgettable. Randy says he wasn’t jumping up and down, but “I wasn’t mad at you either.” He declares it just a’ight–a 6 1/2 out of 10. Paula says she was worried Ramiele wouldn’t connect, but feels she had a “great minute and 30 seconds.” Simon says it was forgettable, and reminiscent of what you’d hear on a cruise ship. Ramie is cute as button. However, it’s time for her to go home.
Jason Castro – “Travelin’ Thru” – Ryan and Jason read through some of his fan mail. Jason has a fan who sends many, many postcards to him via the show. To his credit, he doesn’t appear frightened. I like his performance a lot. I knew, though, as I listened to it, that he’d get reamed by Simon. Jason is most effective when he’s singing solo, without the band. Still, his most attractive qualities are on display in this performance. He’s both heartfelt and quirky singing this upbeat ditty. When the song gets spiritual at the end, I totally bought what he was selling. A solid performance. Randy says it started out a little rough, but then he picked it up in the middle. Paula thought it was one of his strongest performances. Simon says he didn’t like it “at all”, and that he didn’t get it. Simon appears to be off the Jason train, but I’m not.
Carly Smithson – “Here You Come Again” – Carly performs a very adult contemporary-ready version of this song–probably Dolly’s biggest crossover hit. Carly finishes it off with a nice glory note at the end, showing off her impressive pipes. It’s a good performance, but not exactly pop radio ready. Carly hasn’t quite found her niche in this competition yet. One week, she’s the rocker, next week, she’s all Celine Dion. One could say it proves her versatility, but it doesn’t help Carly. It just confuses the viewers, and most importantly, the money men who make the decisions. Randy thinks it will be one of the better performances of the night. Paula says it’s glorious. Then she scolds Randy for telling Carly her last note was off last week. Well it was, so STFU Paula. Simon, who hates everything tonight, thought it was good but not great. Then, Simon disses the way she’s dressed. He stops just short of calling her fat. I’m sure that’s next week.
David Archuleta – “Smoky Mountain Memories” – David’s performance of this nostalgic tune is beautiful. I’m not sure what else to say about it. The song is super schmaltzy. The old ladies at Branson would probably love it. And that’s my point. For all the salivating the judges do over young David, I can’t imagine where he’d fit in today’s pop music world. Singing Jonas Brothers type tweeny pop? He really hasn’t proven he could succeed with that kind of fare during this competition. He’s mostly performed the kind of stuff that makes yer granny weep. Not exactly accessible to the masses. At any rate, I’d love to hear David change it up, just a bit. He’s got a fine instrument, but his musical choices are kinda weak. Randy says David is back tonight and that he stands corrected, (hope you enjoyed that while you could, Carly) David’s performance is the best of the night. Paula calls him glorious. Glorious is Paula’s word of the night. Simon finally likes a performance. He says David’s song choice this week is absolutely on the money.
Kristy Lee Cook – “Coat of Many Colors” – I was sooo hoping Brooke would do this song. But, it fell into Kristy Lee’s hands instead. She could have brought more emotion to it, but it’s a decent performance that’s in her “wheelhouse” as Randy says. Kristy sits at the end of the stage in a long flowing dress and bare feet. Just like a hillbilly girl! She sounds sweet as she sings. She’s definitely done enough to stay one more week. She may not even be in the Bottom 3 this time. Randy thinks it’s a very nice performance. Paula says it’s her best. Simon thinks last week was her best performance, but this week is pleasant, but forgettable. Ryan loves Kristy’s French pedicure. He probably wants one himself. As the show cuts to break, Kristy says to Simon, “Thank you Simon! Love You!” and blows him a kiss. I guess that was all this week. Heh.
Syesha Mercado – “I Will Always Love You” – She just had to do it, didn’t she? Syesha goes with the obvious here. That song, made famous by Whitney Houston in the early 90’s is “I Will Always Love You.” Dolly’s version, so fragile and sweet it’ll break your heart is my preference over Whitney’s overblown histrionics. Even Linda Ronstadt had a better straight-up country rock version of this classic back in the 70’s. Syesha, knowing she can’t win going full tilt Whitney style tries to weld Whitney and Dolly together with very uneven results. Sitting on a piano, dressed in yellow, Syesha begins gently. But the simple beginning has pitch and phrasing problems. When she shifts into overdrive for the ending, it comes off like sub-par Whitney belting, with Syesha once again straining past her breaking point. Man, that last note is a killer. I mean that literally. If she were on at the beginning of the show, I’d say she was in real danger this week. Randy will have none of it. He’s got Whitney’s version stuck in his head and he can’t get past it. Paula thinks she’s growing and connecting with the audience. Simon wishes she hadn’t gotten the song, because he liked the beginning, but not the second half. He knew she couldn’t resist belting her brains out at some point during the song, and that it would pale by comparison to the Whitney version.
Michael Johns – “It’s All Wrong, But It’s All Right” – Michael tells Dolly that her concert was his first back in ’86. He’s really a fan. Michael, where have you been all this time? This week, he proves that his last performance wasn’t a fluke. Michael, accompanied by simple piano and guitar does a grown-up bluesy take on Dolly’s song. Michael sings with a soulful conviction we haven’t really heard from him on the show before. He’s simply fabulous. If he can bring it just like this every week, he’ll give the other front runners a run for their money. Not only is this performance the best of the night, it’s Michael’s best to date. Randy says he keeps on bringing it up a notch every week. “A blazing hot performance, ” he calls it. Paula tells Michael he’s a star, a rock star, a blues star. Simon says it’s the best he’s heard Michael sing through the whole competition.