‘American Idol’ Recap: The night belongs to David Cook

American Idol is down to seven contestants, and the songbook presented to them for the Tuesday night performances was that of five-octave diva, Mariah Carey, who mentored each one individually. 

No one tackled “Vision of Love,” the soaring song that put her on the music map. 

Ryan introduces the judges, then asks what can the Idols do since Mariah is one of those artists that they always warn the Idols not to attempt?

Music producer Randy wants to see some originality, ditto for Simon; for the hopefuls to make the song their own.  Simon makes a point to note that the boys may do better tonight because there won’t be as many comparisons to the diva herself.

First up is David Archuleta who sings,”When You Believe.”

Mariah likes his falsetto range and tells him to go for it.  David did a good job.

Randy and Paula love him, and say it was great. Randy says, “Check it out, David. I was a little worried about tonight because you know boys singing girls song. That was a tough one; If you can sing, you can sing anything. You can sing anything – that was the bomb, baby.”

Simon says  “I would’ve bet a million dollars you would pick that song. I just knew that was the one from the opening line. I thought that was very, very good…You sent the benchmark.”

Carly Smithson sings “Without You.”

Again, she holds back and seems to shout the lyrics, and has trouble with the lower range.

Randy liked that she challenged herself with a big song. “The only thing is you’ve got to believe and trust in yourself that you’ve got the lower range too. It was pretty good.”  Facial expressions say “meh.”

Paula was cagey, not overboard with platitudes.  Simon was the cold shower, “Can you pull it off. I don’t think you did.”  Cue the boos. 

Her styling was nice, and she shared that they all missed Michael Johns, she says. “He was like a big goofball…who’s going to crack a joke now?”

AI Producers, please stop panning to her husband in the audience too;  his facial tattoos are not pleasant to look at.  We are not Maori. This is not a trend I want to see promoted on TV with kids watching.

Syesha Mercado sings “Vanishing.”

Nice performance, for me it was forgettable.

Randy says she did a good job “all things considered,” Paula says, “I think you’ve been extremely smart. You picked a song that not many people know and you aren’t compared to. You’re knowing how to change up your voice. Overall tonight was unbelievably magical for you.something,”  Simon says technically it was very good, but not sure if the song choice will be risky since not many people know it.

Brooke White sings and plays piano to “Hero.”

It was pleasant, but again, did not bowl me over, and I love Brooke.  If I were a producer I would hire her to host anything, she’s a natural on camera.

Randy says he likes the singer-songwriter vibe, Paula blabs on about being authentic, Simon says, “I don’t think you had much choice other than to do what you did. Having said that, it was a bit like ordering a hamburger and only getting the bun. The bit in the middle was missing, the vital part. I don’t think your voice is strong enough to carry that song.” Cue the boos.

Kristy Lee Cook sings “Forever.”

She has great hair, I will give her that.  She does a competent job, but in all fairness I feel she is not the best of the lot.

Randy says,  “I gotta tell you man I didn’t think that was amazing but you definitely started stepping up toward the end.  Paula thinks she is a very smart girl. “You have this all worked out in your plan. I’m like blown away. It shows what a legacy Mariah can leave.”  Simon says, “You didn’t give me chills. You managed with what you could. A bit whiny at times. It just wasn’t great.”

David Cook won the night with his “Always Be My Baby.”

He was pretty amazing, he sang it beautifully, Mariah must have been proud.  The guy is a star, and gets how to take others standards and make them his.  His vocals are superb, he isn’t just some rock n’roll belter.  His voice has depth and range.

Randy stands up for the first time this season. “I think more than almost anyone on the show you’re ready to make an album. I’ve never stood up yet this season. (Stands up) That was the most brilliant performance yet.”  Paula has tears in her eyes, she notes the song could be in a movie soundtrack right now. “And maybe it just will. You’re it.” 

Simon had that look on his face like when he heard Paul Potts sing on the “X Factor” for the first time. “We went from karaoke hell into a breath of fresh air. That was original it was daring, it stood out by a mile. And this is the sign of a great potential artist. Someone who takes risks.”

David is in tears on stage.

Side note: The local Fox news afterwards shared the backstory that David’s brother, sadly, is fighting brain cancer and was in the audience at the taping yesterday. He is also expected at tonight’s results show.  Adam is undergoing chemotherapy for his second diagnosis of brain cancer, which has spread to his spine, according to the story in the Indiana Tribune Star. His friends arranged for a chartered medical jet because doctors prohibited him from taking a commercial flight.

Jason Castro sings “I Don’t Want to Cry.”

Very nice performance, was it the best of the night? No.  But in the top three.

Randy says he didn’t get it, “For me I didn’t really love it. I felt like I was in a weird beach luau and somebody’s playing music in the distance.”  Paula says she could listen all night long.  Simon says he agrees with Paula. Wasn’t the best vocal of the night, but it identified with you and it was a cool version.

Hands down David Cook took the night, and Simon was right, the men triumphed, the women were forgettable.  What do you think?

Cook’s performance from last night:

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