Idol Top Ten Underachieve

Find my latest American Idol article here.

Last night’s first appearance by the Idol top ten was in Randy’s word “alright, it was just alright for me.”  The highlights were not that high, and there were no true train wrecks.

Ramiele Maluby– “Alone”- First off, don’t sing a song that has already been done by someone else (Carly), unless you can sing it significantly better.

I thought to myself at the beginning, however, if she can sing this, she will be back in the competition.  Well, she couldn’t.  This was the first time in several weeks that she showed emotion in a song.  Unfortunately, it was also the first time in several weeks that she sang poorly.  She was pitchy and screechy throughout the song.  It was a mess and the worst performance of the night.  This brings me to the judges, who in one voice declared that she would not be the worst of the night, and should remain in the competition.  The obvious question is, “How could they know that?”  It is irresponsible and unfair for them to judge a contestant against the rest of the competition before any of the others have performed.  I don’t care how likable she is, just tell the audience honestly how she did, and she honestly sucked at the beginning of the show which is always a bad thing.  She should be gone.

Jason Castro– “Fragile”- It was a little boring, and it was an OK vocal, but it was definitely boring.  Randy correctly pointed out that the arrangement did nothing to show his vocal ability, but I have said that from the first week.  It’s never good to sing a boring song at the beginning of the show, but he has a big fan base, and he was definitely not the worst of the night.

Syesha Mercado– “If I Were Your Woman”- First of all, what the hell is up with that ‘baby cry’ thing she keeps doing.  I can’t imagine anything irritating me more.  Once was too much, so she had to do it again.  She also had replaced the beautiful Syesha from last week with the frizzy haired version.

As far as the song went, it was a good, very Motown sounding version of the song.  I was a little dated, but it was also one of the best vocals of the night.

Chikesie– “If Only For One Night”- He was back to the Billy Ocean sound.  It sounded nice and had nice runs, but the judges were right to say that it was boring.  It was also most forgettable.  I hope he goes forward, but this song could hurt him.

Brooke White– “Every Breath You Take”- She messed up the beginning, but recovered well.  She had the nice Carly Simon thing going on again, and it was good, but it was kind of boring especially compared with the original.  It was OK, but not great.  She will go on, though.

Michael Johns– “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions”- It was nice to see that someone has watched Revenge of the Nerds lately.  He cut off his big notes early and tried to cover it up with a rocker pose (fist in the air).  It was his best rocker song so far, but it was just OK, and the falsetto sounded bad.  The judges disagreed with me, but I think they were just affected by the light show.

The worst part of this song, and this cannot be blamed on him, was the back-up singers.  At one point they sounded like a group of cats caught in a paper shredder.

The more Michael sings rock songs, the less relevant he is for me.  He can’t hold David Cook’s jock strap when it comes to rock songs, and I can’t imagine him getting much farther with this style.

Carly Smithson– “Total Eclipse of the Heart”- This is a song that would be difficult for Carly to sing in a style unlike the original.  It is too much like her style.  In the end she sang it well, but it was just like Bonnie Tyler’s version except for the last note which was a mess.  When Randy said the song was, “not right for her,” I thought, “What the hell is he talking about?”  Since she has one of the better voices in the competition, I hope she goes on.

David Archuleta– “You’re the Voice”- This was a weird song for him, but he sang it well.  It was kind of ‘bubble gum’ for a guy who has the ability to emote the way he does, but it sounded nice, and the note at the end was strong.  He will go on, but he needs to pick a better songs.

Kristy Lee Cook– “God Bless the USA”- This was definitely not the worst of the night, and it was probably the best that she has done so far, but she is becoming a classic example of lowering expectations.  The judges loved it, but it was very karaoke.  And the run in the middle was all over the place.  I don’t know what will happen with her.  Grading her on her performances so far, she should probably go home, but graded on last night’s performance alone, she should stay at least one more week.

David Cook– “Billy Jean”- The super-villain remark was funny and sadly true, but most importantly it was good for his personality.  The wildly different version of “Billy Jean” was not my favorite thing he has done, but I respect the attempt.  It was a little slow and boring at the beginning, but it was much better toward the end.  He sang it well, and hit the big note.  The judges were floored.  If he can remain consistent, the top three should be an interesting mix of styles.


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