It's Beatles Week, but the contestants almost never pick any good songs, so I won't waste any time complaining about the sacrilege of it all. Let's get right to the meat.
SYESHA MERCADO (“Got To Get You Into My Life”). Syesha looks like the younger daughter in some late-‘80s black sitcom or another. I really don’t like her performance of this song – she takes weird pauses (almost as if she’s trying to cover for breath control problems) and never really belts anything out. This ain’t the year for the R&B cats I usually fall for, I’m afraid. It's nice that it opens up the field for quirkier vocals, but I'll miss not having a Melinda/Fantasia/Ruben type. This is typical Syesha – competent but totally uninspiring.
CHIKEZIE (“She’s a Woman”). Just before he came on, I was thinking, Chikezie is really charismatic in his interviews; I don’t know why he can’t sell that personality when he sings. But goddamn if he didn't sell me as soon as he hit the stage. He promises to bring the funk with this arrangement, and it really ain’t funky, but it’s definitely the most fun performance he’s ever given. He’s clearly having good time and he really pushes the vocals, which he hasn’t done before. He really won me over with this one! He hit it out of the ballpark, dammit!
RAMIELE MALUBAY (“In My Life”). I can’t remember who said it – Kuda? Dora? Claire? I’m already drunk, who knows. But someone said that Ramiele may stick around for a while because she seems like the only contestant who really believes in the songs that she sings. That may be true, but all the songs on this show are horrible floodtides of base, shameful emotions that no decent human being should admit to having. Sincere or no, Ramiele bores me, and it’s just a matter of time before she bores America too. (If even Randy thinks you’re dull, you’re dishwater. Paula busts out her “you’re pretty” as her first comment, which is the closest she ever comes to saying she hates you.) I want to like her because she was born in Saudi Arabia, but I don’t. I DON’T.
JASON CASTRO (“If I Fell”). Phew. Jason really nabbed me last week, and he's been strong throughout, but this performance seemed really spotty. His quiet, breathy delivery can be pretty effective, but it can also be used to mask his vocal inadequacies, and that was patently the case this time. He’s super charismatic, but as much as the ladies love him, he can’t win unless he learns to sing better and use his voice to overcome the rough spots instead of hiding them. Best part of the performance was watching how badly Paula wants to fuck this kid.
CARLY SMITHSON (“Come Together”). Everyone love Carly! I COMMAND IT. This wasn’t a blow-‘em-away great performance in terms of just sweeping the stage – that honor goes to Chikezie this week, I think – but it was still terrific. She doesn't have the massive vocal chops of my all-time favorite Idol contestants, or the ability to charm the hell out of you every time, but she goes up there every week and manages to turn in a fine performance. She took a song that is really, really easy to fuck up and she delivered on it like hell, showing every aspect of why she’s the class of the women this year. AND YES, SHE IS HOT, SHUT UP.
DAVID COOK (“Eleanor Rigby”). Oh, so that’s why everyone hates this guy! I didn’t see it before, but it could not be more clear after this stink bomb of a performance. The most boring 'rocked up' version of the song imaginable, and Cook acting a total douche both before and during the song: the crowd seemed to be going bats, but maybe they were just having seizures because of the overkill pyrotechnics. I really, really hated this. How could I have been so blind to his deficiencies? I’m really surprised that Simon dug it so much – this wasn’t even remotely in the same league as Carly or Chikezie tonight.
BROOKE WHITE (“Let It Be”). Did my TV cut out, or did Brooke’s voice crack in the first verse? I guess it must have been some technical difficulty, because the judges didn’t mention it and there's no way they would have missed something so obvious. This was a bit slick and predictable – very well-sung, especially in the later passages, but it didn’t sneak up and grab me the way she did last week. She’s not going to be voted off, because she's still got a lot of chops, but I know she’s capable of better than this.
DAVID HERNANDEZ (“I Saw Her Standing There”). Why is this dipshit still on the show? And what is with his ‘preppie who owns one Go-Gos album’ outfit? And why didn’t he mention that his typical day involves getting his naked jiggling ass slapped by bearish computer programmers from the East Valley? So many questions, so few answers. Anyway, this is another totally boring performance by the worst male contestant remaining. David is so dull he makes me wish the show would be canceled.
AMANDA OVERMYER (“You Can’t Do That”). Rocker Amanda sings one of Lennon’s finest odes to domestic violence. She’s really pushing the Janis Joplin thing, right down to the terrifying pants, and she sure seems to have a lot of fans, but I’m just not seeing it. I think she did a better job this time around than she did with last week’s rock-‘n’-snore performance, but I just don’t think she’s all that great, and I can’t see why so many people including the judges are gaga over her. She'll keep on, but I don't think it'll be for very long.
MICHAEL JOHNS (“Across the Universe”). Boy, this seems like the week where the guys who impressed me last time around really let me down. Michael still seems to be pursuing his strategy, which is all well and good, but it doesn’t make for much of a performance this time around. Loath as I am to admit it, I’m with Randy on this one – "a little sleepy" is a perfect way to describe it. Michael can do better, and he probably will, but he never got big on this song. Also, what was with his interview? It was a little...disturbing.
KRISTY LEE COOK (“Eight Days a Week”). Turning this into a country song is a ‘big risk’? She turns everything into a country song. That’s not a risk. Contra what Simon had to say, this actually isn’t that bad, and it would have been even better if she’d sped it up and sung it bluegrass-style, stretching her vocal chops with a little yodeling action, but the fact is she’s the worst female singer left on the show, and she’s not gonna last because we’ve pretty much seen the best she can do. If Carly is a second-rate Kelly Clarkson, Kristy is a ninth-rate Carrie Underwood.
DAVID ARCHULETA (“We Can Work It Out”). Uh, ha ha, I GUESS YOU WEREN’T FUCKING KIDDING ABOUT BEING NERVOUS, eh, David? He totally botched the lyrics at least three times, and that ain’t good. I think he might survive, because he’s catnip to the tweens and oldsters and he’s got a swell voice and no mistake, but boy did he botch this thing. Worse, he didn’t ever seem to recover – he got rattled and he was really drifting at the end. This performance was bad enough that it would have fatally sunk anyone but Archuleta.
PREDICTION: I'm torn between David H. and Kristy, but I think it's gonna be Hernandez who gets the big boot. He's got a bum voice, he's not charming enough to survive on his personality, and the gay vote wasn't enough to save Danny Noriega, who was fifty thousand times gayer than David. So long, chump.