Wednesday, April 30, 2008

American Idol - Diamonds Are Forever, and Ever, and Ever... When Are These Songs Going To End?

Top 5 Performance Night - Theme: The Songs of Neil Diamond (groan).

You know I'm generally a much more positive person than some out there (okay, maybe not! I just delude myself into thinking so) and I'm willing to give things the benefit of the doubt (that I think is true). You also know that I've been loving these Idol finalists probably more than the ratings indicate the rest of America does, but seriously, I was kinda bored tonight and barely had the energy or will to finish this post (but luckily since I get anal about completing things in full sets, I'm going to complete this for completionist sake).

Were the Idols bad? Not really and not necessarily, but I knew they were going to have a lot to overcome when they announced the theme was going to be Neil Diamond this week.

Not be an ageist but COME ON. SERIOUSLY? GAWD. Aren't we supposed to be trying to find a modern American idol? Forcing them to sing Andrew Lloyd Webber crap, then Neil Diamond isn't helping us weed down the correct people to the finals (we've already lost Carly Smithson and Michael Johns... HELLO).

And now the singers have to sing TWO songs from stuff my mom listened to? Memories yes, but I think I was in diapers at the time.

Jason Castro sings "Forever in Blue Jeans" and "September Morn". It's not as bad as it could be and he does have a sweet voice, and I felt he had a bit of the male singer/songwriter vibe going at times but it's time for him to retire. He didn't have the worst performance of the night (that would be Brooke) but overall, he SHOULD be the one leaving (which means nothing on Idol). I still think he's better than people give him credit for and I've enjoyed him far more than I anticipated in the last few weeks, (and he's not as bad as Sanjaya, Nikki McKibbon, Taylor Hicks etc. etc) but at this point, I prefer the other 4 singers left in the game.

David Cook sings "I'm Alive" and "All I Really Need Is You" and I thought he did his usual great rocking job on songs I didn't really care for. Yes, he made the second song sound modern but mediocre modern with little fault to his own voice or performance. It was just a weak song. Sorry to be a bummer. Didn't love it overall, at least compared to my usual ecstatic reactions to David Cook but I'm blaming the theme for this week.

Brooke White sings "I'm a Believer" and "I Am... I Said" and she was pretty bad and awkward in the first song (which always felt more like a parody to me) but the Brooke we love was back in the second. It wasn't fantastic but again, she did what she could with the old fashioned material and though I doubt she will be in the finals, I hope she lasts longer than Jason at least. Her style basically dictates that when she's on, she's on, but when she's off, she's TOTALLY off.

David Archuleta sings "Sweet Caroline" and "America". If there was one song I was hoping the Idols would avoid, it was "Sweet Caroline" because I figured it would turn into a hack job. At this point, you're either a fan of Archuleta and his cherubic face or you're not. I am, and I thought he turned what could have been a sloppy sappy song into something still sappy but crisper than I imagined. He nailed the second song for exactly what it was, a big loud boisterous bolstering ode to "America"n cheese and while this wasn't his best week, it was no one's, and he made the material seem as young as fresh as one could possibly do. (Don't get me wrong, I think many Neil Diamond's tunes are good but they are particularly famous for dating back to a certain time and I'm not sure the Idol's should be forced to try to work it their own way at this point in time. Why not let them pick anything at this point in the game to show who they really are about?).

Syesha Mercado sings "Hello Again" and "Thank The Lord For The Night TIme" and I always thinks she's lovely with a nice voice but I've never been glued to my TV in past performances, so it's funny that Simon calls her out for probably getting voted off this week when I finally thought she gave performances that were somewhat memorable (at least with what she was given). She worked a bit of the Diva magic (but not too much to be off-putting) and she sang it crystal clear with finally, some emotion into the performance. Her best yet, and finally convincing enough that she COULD possibly be a finalist (if she had pulled this off every week up until now. It may be too little too late at this point but I'm glad she finally showed what she had in her).

Best of the night: David Archuleta though for tonight, it was DEFINITELY relatively speaking. (Wait, it's always relatively speaking when one ranks a "best" isn't it? Anyways, you know what I mean).

Next best: Syesha Mercado

Worst of the night (performance): Brooke White

Worst of the night (overall): Jason Castro

Most forgetable of the night: I really hate to say this but I seriously have forgotten BOTH performances already (I write this after I've put together the rest of the post), but I've already forgotten David Cook's. It hurts just to write that since he's probably zooming in for the win this year.

Going home? Well, since I finally like Syesha, I betcha it's going to be Syesha and not Jason. I still worry about Brooke though, especially after the weak and awkward 1st song.

All the videos of the performances are after the jump:

Jason Castro - "Forever in Blue Jeans":

Jason Castro - "September Morn":

David Cook - "I'm Alive":

David Cook - "All I Really Need Is You":

Brooke White - "I'm A Believer":

Brooke White - "I Am... I Said":

David Archuleta - "Sweet Caroline":

David Archuleta - "America":

Syesha Mercado - "Hello Again":

Syesha Mercado - "Thank the Lord for the Night Time":

For more on American Idol Season 7:
Click here for the most recent posts.

Top 6 Performance Night -
[title of song] (includes videos of all the performances), Results 6 to 5 - Broadway Bound Or Bust

Top 7 Performance Night -
MC² = David x 2 = #1 (includes videos of all the performances), Results 7 to 6 - One Sweet Day Or When Idol Guesses Our Second Guessing On Our Second Guesses

Top 8 Performance Night -
Cause They Are Give'ers (includes videos of all the performances), Idol Gives Back - Giving Us The So You Think You Can Dance Dancers, Results 8 to 7 - Idol Gives Back SyeWHAT???

Top 9 Performance Night -
Dolly and the Two Big Ones (David and David) (includes videos of all the performances), Results 9 to 8 - Third Time Was A Charm

Top 10 Performance Night -
Okay, Now there Really IS A Race! Or I'm Just Getting Soft (includes videos of all the performances), Results 10 to 9 - Chikezie, Meet Daniel Powter... Back in Obscurity

Top 11 Performance Night -
That Old Awkward Phase (includes videos of all the performances), Results 11 to 10 - When The Stylists Finally Called In

Top 12 Performance Night -
Death Race 2008 (includes videos of all the performances), Results 12 to 11 - Strippers and Prostitutes Are Not The Same Thing

Top 16 -
Girls Night - Brooke's and Done, Boys Night - He Plays Piano Too?

Top 20 -
Boys Night - Who Are Those Hotties - American Idol Hairdo's Edition

Top 24 -
Boys Night- American, Should I Do Idol?

Thanks to Rickey for the photos.


Linz McC said...

OK, new guest/mentor rule: If the only video we can find for your package is of you wearing sparkly shirts, you are not allowed (Neil Diamond and Barry Gibb come to mind). WHAT are they thinking? Instead of ALW, how about "current B-way shows"? While I know the judges weren't crazy about having Mariah on, at least it is someone current (like Gwen last year).

Anonymous said...

I'm 57 and loved, loved Neil Diamond....WHEN I WAS 15, for crying out loud! Let these kids sing what they want to sing. Nobody's going to buy "Jason Castro sings Neil Diamond" but I'd buy his covers of Jason Mraz, Amos Lee, Jack Johnson in a minute. Bonus points for taking a classic and making "your own".

Vance said...

Thank you Anon! ND was great for his time but let's move on! (Granted, its my same beef with "classic rock" stations because it essentially means to celebrate the stagnation in music without any progression or support to nurture new artists). Granted, Mariah wasn't my fave either of new artists but at least they are getting closer to the point.

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