Find my latest American Idol article here.
Last night, the Idol guys gave their best performance yet as a group. While there are still two who regularly stand out from the rest, once again on a night when it could have been done, no one put his stamp on the competition. On the other hand, decent performances by most of the contestants leave questions as to who will be the next two to go.
Luke Menard- “Wake Me Up!”- I’m having buyer’s remorse with my pick of Menard for the top three guys at this point. One would think that it would be difficult to make this song sound more gay. Not for Luke. His weak-assed version of this song left the audience with a collective yawn. Once again he sang his notes well (though Randy claimed he was pitchy), but he put no feeling into the song. It’s a shame too, because this guy has a rare, high tenor voice. He picks bad songs, and then performs them badly. I would have liked to have heard him sing a Peter Cetera, Rush, Boston or Foreigner song, but he probably would have left them sounding as bland as the rest. Good Bye, Luke.
David Archuleta- “Another Day in Paradise”- I, personally, thought it was a great and different rendition of this song. Once again, the tone of his voice and his inflection separate him from the others in the competition. On the other hand, the Judges used this opportunity to bring him down to earth a little bit. Randy liked it, but noted pitch problems (I did not hear these either). Simon said that it was not as good as last week’s brilliant version of “Imagine.” This may have been true, but that does not mean that it was bad, though Simons tone may have left the audience feeling that he meant that it was not too good. Simon called the song “gloomy” and encouraged Archuleta to be more fun. He’ll have not trouble going on in this competition.
Danny Noriega “Tainted Love”- This guy put the taint in “Tainted Love.” The song was a bad, gay, karaoke version of the original, and that’s saying something. Also, for the five minutes or so of camera time that he was given before and after the song, all he did was send every GADAR in America off the charts. The story about the “crush,” using TMTH (“Too Hot Too Handle”- I so hate text speech), and his antics after the song to Simon were hopefully enough to alienate him from most of America.
Simon hated it. There were some great quotes, “Horrible,” “Absolutely useless,” and “hated the arrangement and the vocal.” With the last two bad performances, I feel more comfortable with my dislike of this guy and am past ready for him to go. The only thing that could keep him around, at this point, is the “worster” vote that he will undoubtedly once again receive this week.
David Hernandez- “It’s All Coming Back To Me”- It seems that producers of the show are going to allow to continue after a scathing report about his past activities was released this week (see the story- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,334740,00.html ).
Hernandez took a big chance singing a Celine song, but did a decent job of it. It was the kind of song that could have separated him from the pack, but his performance was not quite good enough to accomplish that. One problem was that he was “down in the mix” until he reached to chorus. While this is a technical problem (sound guy) and not a performance issue, it never sounds good, and left a powerful Celine Dion song sounding sort of flat (not pitchy) at the beginning.
This was reflected in Randy’s comment that it was pitchy. Simon said that he was also “not as good as last week,” but was “100% secure for next week.” I agree.
Michael Johns- “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”- It was rough at the beginning, and he gave up on some of his notes. Compared with the original (Simple Minds) that punches out the ‘Don’t You’s, he sounded weak, and when he got to the chorus he tricked it up to set up the high note, but ended up backing away from it. It was not great. The judges liked it, though. I, personally, think that as long as David Cook is in the competition, Johns is the second best rocker there, and that is not a good place to be. He could be in real danger on Thursday, especially if Noriega gets a good boost from the “worsters.”
David Cook- “Hello”- I really liked this alternative version of the original. The guitar was a good addition and lent rock cred to the performance. This guy is the closest thing to Blake Lewis (I’m not putting him in the same category talent wise or stylistically as Blake) that this competition has this year. He consistently rolls out a fresh, new version of the songs that he does, and they sound good. The judges loved it, and proclaimed that he will be back next week.
Jason Castro- “Hallelujah”- A couple of side notes first: 1) I don’t know how long this guy can survive in a state where pot is almost legal. Man, he looks so stoned every week. And 2), Was anyone surprised that one of his nappy dreds came out on a date? Some animals have an annual shedding of hair. I used to have a border collie that I would have to curry every year. His hair would come out, and I would have to brush it out to keep him from looking bad. That dog’s hair looked just like Jason’s. The reason it came out on the date, was because it was, and is, nappy dead hair.
As far as the performance went, I’m still waiting. Every week this guy comes out with the same type of song. He repeatedly shows good diction and an ability to sing songs with lots of accidentals, but never shows us his voice. I want to hear him hold out a note, and use some inflection. Eventually, he is going to be left behind by the guys who sing songs with strong melodies. Jason, if you have some pipes, I want to hear them.
The judges loved it once again.
Chikezie- “She Fills Me Up”- This was another good soul song that he sang well. Randy and Paula liked the vocal, but Simon criticized him for not doing it as well as Whitney. He referred to it as cabaret, and not a smart move. He could be in trouble, just because he has done nothing to jump out and grab the audience.As I said, It was a good week for the guys. Luke and Danny should go home, but with the influence of the worsters, we could also see the last of Michael or Chikezie.