So Boomama has started her liveblogging of American Idol, and she's invited other kindred bloggers to share their thoughts. I'm pretty sure that all 3 people who are reading my blog will appreciate reading my informed and invaluable opinions of the AI gang. Only tonight it won't be so informed. I mean, I have a degree in music education, with a vocal/choral emphasis, and I have taught both elementary music and middle school choir, but I am the only person born in the (VERY late) sixties, who hasn't made the Beatles her life's soundtrack. My husband, Brian, bought a Beatles CD collection several years ago, so I've been exposed to them, but I'm just not an expert on all things Beatle, know what I mean? Now if you want to know some of the finer points of The Oak Ridge Boys, I'm your girl. I know. I was country when country wasn't cool. But still. I know what I like, and I like American Idol. Oh yes I do. And my sweet husband, bless his heart, lets me watch it while he does the dishes. Amazingly, he's not a fan. But he's a GREAT husband, and hey, he likes the Beatles.
Are you ready? Here we go!
Syesha Mercado - Got to Get You Into My Life - I like Syesha a lot, think she's cute as a button, but this just didn't work for me. I thought it had a disco-ey feel, and I felt she had some tuning issues. I didn't think it showed off her personality or voice very well, either. Interesting that Simon liked it. I usually agree with him.
Chikezie Eze - She's a Woman - Speaking of cute as a button, I think Chikeze is A. Dorable. Groovy. I like the "jam session" feel at the beginning of the song. I could hear Rascal Flatts doing this version. I love this song for Chikezie. Strong vocals. Really shows him branching out and cutting loose. I mean it. I love his confidence and how much fun he's having. And see? Simon does agree with me!
Ramiele Malubay - In My Life - Ramiele is a doll. So tiny, and such a big voice. I like the sensitivity she brings to even the smokin' songs. She sounds pretty on this song, but it seems a little lackluster for her. A little disjointed. It almost felt like she didn't get it, in spite of her introductory remarks about it. I wish she'd started in a seated position, and drawn us in. Again, I agree with Mr. Cowell.
Jason Castro - If I Fell - Jason is one of my top two this season. I've liked him, dreads and all, since his first appearance on the show. I think the guy is a musical genius, and I think he "gets" the songs, and he gets who he is, musically. He blew me away with "Hallelujah" last week. Interestingly, both last week and this week, I've felt that his interpretation of the song was more sensitive than the original (and other) versions. Such a sweet and gentle voice. Even the thin notes are sweet. As a former music teacher, the "h" on "you" (hyou) bothered me. I agree with Simon, sort of. I felt it was not as good as last week, but still very good and very different from the rest of the pack.
Carly Smithson - Come Together - I missed this one, because of a little power problem at our house (Which had nothing to do with the fact that my husband doesn't really dig the show. Really.), but I heard snatches. Carly is not my favorite, but I think she's got the chops. Can't say much more, since I missed most of this one.
David Cook - Eleanor Rigby - David is the other in my top two. Like Jason, I believe he has a strong sense of who he is musically, and has done clever interpretations of songs (similar to Daughtry). I thought he was brilliant last week. I didn't like this one as much as last week's choice, but I thought the chorus rocked. The verses were a little bland for me, but on the chorus, he got to the heart of the song, and he schooled the audience. Really. Look at all the lonely people. Like Simon, I feel that David has the maturity and the musicality to be a winner in this competition.
Brooke White - Let it Be - Brooke is just a sweetheart. I think she's talented enough to win, but I am guessing that she's going to be more popular with a slightly older or less teeny-bopper audience. I'm thinking that fans of Carole King and Sheryl Crow fans will vote for her, but that the edgier singers will win over the younger set. I thought this was a beautiful and quietly passionate performance. Randy used the word "conviction", which I think descibed her performance beautifully, and Simon said "brilliant" again. I agree.
David Hernandez - I Saw Her Standing There - I'm not familiar with this song. David has a nice voice, but I didn't think this song showed it off at all, and I don't think he really did the song justice. It just felt lame. And, again, as a former music teacher, I didn't like the breaths in the middle of words "saw (breath) her stand (breath) ding there". I agree with Simon, it was a little corny.
Amanda Overmyer - You Can't Do That - Amanda has never been one of my favorites. I agree, she's unique, and she does her style well, but her style is not my style. I don't get it and I don't particularly like it. But does anyone else out there see a strange resemblance to Jodi Foster? Maybe I'm just weird. My husband doesn't see it. I will say that I like her with the lighter makeup tonight. She looks younger without the scary makeup. Her voice hurts my throat, though. And I hear some pitch problems here and there. She made it her own, and it's very different, but it's still not me. Simon thinks she's a breath of fresh air, but even though her hair is better tonight, she still looks like a skunk. I'm sorry...just sayin'. Simon and I will agree to disagree here.
Michael Johns - Across the Universe - I like how organic Michael is. No schtick. Just good singing. Like Brooke, I suspect Michael might be a bit more popular with an older crowd -- Michael Bolton and Phil Collins fans -- but he's solid and not affected, and the accent adds a nice dimension. I'm not familiar with this song either, but I liked it. I thought it was beautiful and lyrical, yet contemporary. I didn't think it was stand-out, but I liked it a lot. I think that's kind of what Simon was saying. Michael seems so original, but he's not doing anything original with the songs.
Kristy Lee Cook - 8 Days a Week - Kristy is adorable too, and I like her a lot. I didn't think this song worked, though. I liked the concept, but it needed to be a "cooler" country version. I thought the instrumentation made it sound cheesy, and I didn't think she kept enough of the originally melody in it. On the whole, though her singing was pretty good, the song seemed weak to me. I think it had a lot of what country music haters hate about country music. I would have liked to hear a more Faith Hill type of interpretation. Simon was harsh, but in theory, I agree.
David Archuleta - We Can Work it Out - Who doesn't love little David Archuleta? He is such a cutie. I didn't like the start of it...too low, the stairs were cheesy. He seemed overwhelmed by the song. He made a valiant effort, but this song seemed to big, too old for him. And it lacked his usual exuberance and joy, probably because of the nerves. He needs to get past the fear and really get to know the song. His lack of maturity shows here, but he has so much potential. I seem to remember Jordan having a moment like this when she came into the top 12. Simon's right...he has to step it up to keep up with the big boys (and girls), but he can do it.
OK...even though Jason & David Cook are my top 2, and even though Brooke's song was gorgeous, Chikezie stole the show for me tonight.
Here's my ranking of the top 12, based on tonight's performances:
(Carly)-didn't see her...power failure
I think David Cook is the strongest, overall. I think he's brilliant, and cool, and appeals to a broad audience.
What do you think?