Ryan Toothpaste starts out this show -- which is a guy's night with a 1980s theme -- joking about all the terrible fashions 'we' wore in the 1980s. First of all, Mr. Striped Shirt with a Popped Collar, I don't think you have any right to criticize other people's fashion choices. Also, you were 16 when the 1980s ended, so don't front like you were all Members Only jacketing it.
LUKE MENARD, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go". This guy doesn't have a bad voice, really, but how is it possible to make a song by Wham! sound even wimpier than the original? I don't know, but he pulls it off. Also, when you sing about how you wanna hit that high, try to actually hit the high. Simon looks bored with doing the show and is being a lot more blunt with everyone, coming right out and (correctly) saying that Luke isn't going to win, so why even bother?
DAVID ARCHULETA, "Another Day in Paradise". Is this the kid with the fucked-up throat or is that kid gone already? Regardless, I like his voice -- it's strong and versatile. I understand that he tore it up with "Imagine" last week, but I missed it. I hate the song, but the performance carries it -- unfortunately, he doesn't have much in the way of personality, so I doubt he's going to last into the final rounds. Paula seems drunker than usual tonight; she's slurring like crazy and can't come to a point.
DANNY NORIEGA, "Tainted Love". Danny is this year's Sanjaya, I'm guessing. Here's the thing about Danny: he is the gayest person who ever lived. He is gayer than a hundred gays dipped in an industrial gayening agent. He is gayer than anyone has any call to be. He actually says the following words: "I turned as red as a cute little tomato." Sorry, Danny Norieaga, you are too gay to live among us. Go, chase that rainbow back to your homeworld. Happily, Simon despises this hapless caricature, so he won't last too long.
DAVID HERNANDEZ, "It's All Coming Back to Me Now". This is the stripper, right? Tonight's get-to-know-the-contestants question involves their most embarrassing moments, and strangely, his doesn't involve having a five-dollar bill stuffed in his banana sling by an overweight 40-year-old woman. He hits some good heights at the end, but he's not overwhelming me; I think he's probably got a better voice than this song indicates. I think I need to hear more of him to really make up my mind.
MICHAEL JOHNS, "Don't You (Forget About Me)". This is the Australian expat from Fuckhead, and he's really charismatic with an okay voice, but here's what I like about him: he seems to have an actual strategy. He knows he's probably not going to win, so he's performing the way he would if he had a record deal -- in other words, he's not singing for the judges, he's singing for the record company executives. Clever! He's a good performer, too, which compensates for the fact that he doesn't have the strongest voice.
DAVID COOK, "Hello". The judges (even Simon) go gaga over his stripped-down electric guitar arrangement of the song, but no force on Earth can make that thing not suck. That said, especially compared to the dull crop of 2007, the guys are pretty decent this year, and I like this guy okay. I'm glad he got rid of his wingnut face mullet, and he's got pretty good vocal chops, although not all the showmanship in the world. All the white dudes on the show, in fact, sound kinda like Ryan Adams clones, but I guess there are worse things to be.
JASON CASTRO, "Hallelujah". Everybody loves this guy, and even Simon is praising him to the high heavens. I guess he's pretty good; he's got a quietly strong voice and an interesting feel for his material. But I have an instant and somewhat irrational dislike of the dirty hippie stoner kid, possibly because of my longstanding hatred of white guys with dreadlocks. I should probably like him more than I do because he's not all samey like the guys were last year. He seems to be this season's choice as the contestant Paula most wants to do.
CHIKEZIE, "She Fills Me Up". Annoying: the single name. Endearing: his comprehensively geeky knowledge of the song. He's the only black guy on the show, and given my longstanding love of the soul belter types, you would think I would like Chikezie better, but I don't. He's got a terrific voice, no doubt, but that's about it; he's not a great dresser and his personality is subdued, so I don't know if he can stand out against all the quirky white guys even though he's a better singer. No staying power for this guy, I predict.
MY PREDICTION: Luke Menard bites the dust.