'American Idol' Recap: Best song of the night is Billie Jean cover
By M&C Smallscreen Mar 26, 2008, 15:31 GMT
03/06/2008 - David Cook - 2008 American Idol Top 12 Party - Arrivals - Astra West, Pacific Design Center - West Hollywood, CA, USA © Tina Gill / PR Photos
"American Idol" is back with the top ten, and Ryan Seacrest is in fine form, as he should be, he takes in $12 million annually from hosting the Idol show and he recently inked a 3 year deal with E! for $21 million, and E! has a terrible reputation for underpaying their producers and on-air talent too.
The Top Ten theme for this week is "songs from the year of their birth."
First up is Miramar, Florida teeny tiny singer Ramiele Malubay (1987) sings "Alone."
Not a good performance. Randy and Paula tell her it wasn't her best, Simon thinks it was good enough to get to next week; first time I have thoroughly disagreed with him.
Next is Minnie Driver's long lost son Jason Castro (1987) who sings "Fragile."
Castro is accompanied by his guitar, and he does a pleasant enough job but it is a bit boring. Randy and Paula were so so, Paula loves him, but Simon tells him that he needs to pick it up, and if he does he could win. Jason seems like a bit of a slacker to me.
Pumping up the volume in a soulful R&B number is Syesha Mercado (1987), singing "If I Were Your Woman."
She can belt a tune, but I have to admit, R&B can get schmaltzy for me, just as some country. This song did nothing for me. Randy and Paula are effusive in their praise, Simon didn't love it as much and criticized her ending.
Hailing from driven Nigerian-American stock, Chikezie (1985) sings "If Only for One Night."
Again, schmaltzy old-school R&B for me, but Paula liked it, Randy called it and said it was too old-fashioned for him and Simon was bemoaning the loss of Chikezie's breakout performances the weeks prior. Seriously, when he gets funkified and a bit bluegrassy he nails it. Older folks who loved Teddy, Peabo and Luther would have dug this weeks snorefest of a love song.
Brooke White (1983) learned to play the piano by ear alone, and her mum is quite lovely too, like Carly Smithson's mother. She sings Sting's "Every Breath You Take."
Everything was cool until the crescendo from the accompanying orchestra, she should have kept it to her piano, and Randy and Simon note this in their critique. Paula was sweet and liked her niche performance.
Coming out like a rock star was Aussie Michael Johns (1978) he nails another Queen song "We Are The Champions."
He can sing the power ballads, his voice is true and clear, his stage presence is 100%. The judges were loving his performance. Randy was over the moon, as was Paula, and Simon was happy someone woke him up in the night's competition. "Most memorable performance of the night" so far he says.
Irish lass Carly Smithson (1983) had the curliest hair as a little kid. Her mum explains that she was named after Carly Simon on a mad-dash to the hospital whim.
She sings the eighties power ballad, "Total Eclipse of the Heart."
Undoubtedly she can belt a song. She has strong vocal power and range but she seems to be angry or forcing the tune, almost shouting at certain points. Randy also sensed an awkwardness to the whole performance, thinks it wasn't the right song for her. Paula was cagey, she loves Carly but she didn't love that song, Simon says her delivery was too tense and he didn't love it either. Her tattoo arm must be covered up, really, enough already. Give her some sleeves next week.
Youngin' (16!!) David Archuleta (1990), sings "You're the Voice."
The judges were mixed. Randy was like, hey, not familiar with the tune but okay, you did "your thing," Paula says he could sing the phone book and Simon was not bowled over either. Step it up was the general consensus.
Country gal Kristy Lee Cook (1984) has a hot dad! In all her baby pictures he is shirtless and ripped! Even as an older dude balding - he is a looker.
She sings "God Bless the U.S.A." by Lee Greenwood.
She does a great job but I am such a cynic (it was pointed out to me last night) I thought and still think that song is too corny. Save your talkback because I love my country, just not cloyingly pandering tunes about the US of A.
Judges were all, "hey welcome back" to the game. Paula was a bit stilted and guarded in her comments and Simon tells her it was her best performance by a mile.
Winner of the funniest baby pictures of the night was David Cook (1982), what a mug on that kid.
Cook does a Chris Cornell (Soundgarten) cover of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean."
He totally does this; he does covers of covers that apparently are unheard of by the judges who do cartwheels for his "brilliant" arrangements. Not knocking the guy, he had the best performance for the night, but lets keep it real you MUSIC PROFESSIONALS paid as judges. Cook has done well week after week. Simon tells him it was very brave, could have been insane or amazing.... and it was amazing.
See you after the bloodletting.