Yikes...I just got home, and the show's already started. Sounds like they're doing songs that inspire them, as part of the "American Idol Gives Back" thing. This should allow them to make really personal choices, which is good. They need to choose songs that are meaningful, and inspirational, while still being appropriate for their voices. That will be interesting.
Michael Johns - ? - I missed Michael's performance. We ate dinner at California Pizza Kitchen on the other side of town, and we didn't make it home in time. I couldn't tell much from the clip at the end. I may update this post with comments on his performance after I find the video on the internet.
Syesha Mercado - I Believe - I haven't heard the Fantasia version of this song...I didn't watch much of that season. I thought Syesha did a great job, though. She's a brave girl, taking on the giants, and I think she does try to make the song her own. However, if she's going to continue and rise above the crowd, she'll have to do a powerhouse song that hasn't been made famous by a powerhouse. I thought she connected with the song and with the audience, but she didn't elicit a powerful response...it lacked conviction. I think Syesha will go on to be a star, but I don't look for her to win this competition. She's so likeable and adorable, I hope we'll see more of her after American Idol.
Jason Castro - Somewhere Over the Rainbow - I don't like it when singers add "h's" in the middle of words where the notes should be slurred (lullabye-hi-hi-hi-hi, true-hu-hu). Didn't like that. I thought the ukulele was a cute touch, but this wasn't my favorite Jason effort. I think Jason is very original, but I'm surprised the judges liked it that much. And, cute as he is, his sweater looks kinda girly. Not diggin' that.
Kristy Lee Cook - Anyway - I liked what Kristy had to say about the song. It's almost autobiographical for her, and it reveals her convictions and a bit of her personality. She looks great tonight. This was a good song for her...a smart choice. The girl has talent, and so much potential. I'd love for her to work with a vocal coach, to listen to recordings of herself, and to work on strengthening her range and her ear. She's a good singer, but she can become an even better musician if she applies herself. I think this was her best performance, by far, but I don't think it will dwarf the giants of this competition. Nevertheless, I expect we'll see more of her, in the country genre, after this competition is over. Kellie Pickler didn't need to win to make it to Nashville, and I think Kristy Lee is more likeable than Kellie.
David Cook - Innocent - Brian says, "Hitler had a good heart at the end of the day?" He makes a good point. Weird jacket...sort of a straight jacket look. I don't know this song. Didn't love it. The walk out into the audience and the little hand gesture at the end were cool, though. I still think he's excellent, but I agree with Simon, this wasn't nearly as good as the last few weeks.
Carly Smithson - The Show Must Go On - I think her look tonight is good...sleeves would be nice, but I'm thinking that won't happen. I liked the first part, but the chorus seemed to have a few pitch problems on the licks. The song seemed to get away from her a little and she oversang. I'm not sure what was inspirational about the song. This girl has great pipes, but it seems like she doesn't have a strong sense of what will work for her. That will have to improve if she's going to stick around.
David Archuleta - Angels - Wow...didn't know little David played the piano! Still a great voice, and a sensitive and emotional performance, but he almost gets lost sitting behind the piano. I think he lost some of his stage presence. Randy's right, the runs at the end were excellent. This is one very gifted young man. He makes it seem so effortless. The lyrics are odd, some weird theology, but he communicated them well.
Brooke White - You've Got a Friend - That dress is kickin'. I love it! She looks beautiful tonight. Great song choice, too. Her voice sounds a little tired tonight, but this was still a very tender, sweet performance. I love this song. There was nothing terribly unique about this performance, but Brooke is unique in her gentleness.
So I wasn't blown away by anyone tonight, though David Archuleta's performance was my favorite of the night. And, surprisingly, I really liked Kristy Lee Cook tonight. I was ready for her to go this week, but I thought she actually showed Carly up. Usually by this point in the season, we're down to 3 stars and 5 that we're ready to see go. But this season, I see 4 or 5 stars, and several emerging stars who just need another year to mature as performers. And since Kristy Lee stepped it up this week, I'm not sure who we'll see go. Based on tonight's performances, I think Carly should go, but since Kristy hasn't been consistently strong, she may go. Brooke could also be in the bottom this week, I'm afraid.
Edited to add: I'm such a doofus. I forgot, AGAIN, to add a link to the AI Hostess Extraordinaire, BooMama. She offers a MUCH more entertaining take on the evening! Do stop by and pay her a visit!