Inspiration Week on American Idol, April 9th

Find my latest American Idol article here.

As Randy pointed out, the contestants could have chosen any inspirational song that they wanted to sing this week (that is, any song that the show has the rights to or has been allowed to use which is still a huge number of songs).  That being said, the song choices and performances left me feeling decidedly uninspired.

An inconsistency in the judging has bothered me for years.  They harp about the need to be original, but half the time when someone really sings a song differently, they savage it, whether it is a good vocal or not just because they hate the arrangement.  This makes singing a song as it was originally recorded a much safer option.  The only problem there is the judges’ selective criticism of some contestants for sounding like the original and giving others a pass who do the song just like it was first recorded.

You’ll notice that in the past few weeks I have simply begun to ignore Paula.  I have decided that if she is not going to give any more objective opinions than she has, then I am just going to act as if she does not even exist (except to take the occasional shot at her).

Michael Johns– “Dream On”- This was a good ‘straight up’ cover of the original.  He sang it well, and it was a great song to open the show with.  There was nothing original about it, and the falsetto, though like the original, was screechy and harsh.  The judges criticized some pitch problems and once again criticized him for drifting into the ‘rock’ genre even though he pulled it off pretty well.

Syesha Mercado– “I believe”- There was a nice bit of inflection at the beginning, but it seemed to only take her a few bars before she took all of the feeling out of this song too.  The high screech near the end was awful.  The judges were right to note the lack of connection with the meaning of the song, and Simon may have made the best observation of the season when he asked who she was.  I expect to see her in the bottom three if she does not go home this week.

Jason Castro– “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”- This was the fairly recent Hawaiian version of the song.  I thought it sounded like everything else he does.  I could just cut and paste what I right about him every week.  He sang it good, but he always does the same thing. As far as originality goes, there was none.  Israel Kamakawiwo Ole (say that name three times fast) is the one who made this version unique.  Castro did a straight cover of it.  For me it was OK, but not great.  The judges, however, loved it.

Kristy Lee Cook– “Anyway”- She was a little down in the mix at the beginning of the song, but by the end it was clearly her best vocal, and maybe her first ‘Idol worthy’ performance of the season.  She still has no stage presence, though, and I will be surprised if this one good performance allows her to cancel her season tickets to the bottom-three stools.

David Cook– “Innocent”- So, you have the entire Idol library to choose from, and you choose this?  It was a horrible song choice, and he made a mess of it on top of that.  He was also down in the mix for a lot of the song.  However, it was not absolutely terrible, but it was definitely his worst performance, and was possibly the worst of the night.  The “Give Back” thing on his hand made me throw up in my mouth.  The judges did not like the performance either.

Carly Smithson– “The Show Must Go On”- This was another bad song choice.  I was definitely not inspired by this angry performance, and neither were the judges.  That being said, her voice was strong throughout the song with her usual ‘Heart-like’ sound.  It did get a little pitchy toward the end, as Randy pointed out, and the judges did not like it in general.  Though I think she and the Davids have been the most consistently good performers in the competition, this was not a good week for her.  She could be in the bottom three, but I hope she makes it through for another week.

David Arculeta– “Angels”- While it was not a terrible song choice, I expected better from him.  This week should have been right in his wheelhouse, and I expected him to blow this performance away, which he did not do.  It was a little low for him in the beginning, but it got better as it went along.  It was definitely one of the best of the night, but it was nowhere near his best performance.  The judges liked it as well, with Simon being slightly critical.

Brooke White– “You’ve Got a Friend”- Her interpretation of this song was awful.  She succeeded in making a happy, inspirational song into a mournfully sad song.  Her problems were mostly in her facial expressions.  I don’t know why she did it, but either it or Cook’s song were the worst of the night.  Her vocals were not good either.  This was definitely her worst, and the judges did not like it either.  She he may be in the bottom three, but I will be surprised if she is.

Get ready, tomorrow is Idol Gives Back: the only way the producers could find to extend the torment of the results show even longer.



One Response

  1. paula is the best judge.. just look at all the evidence. she has actually been right about every winner. simon was only right about carrie. honestly, simon is clearly a better speaker than paula. But speaking is his only real talent. paula is the best judge, the one with the best ear for singing. even simon has admitted that. he said she is technically a much better judge than him.

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