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American Idol: The Top 9...


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All I can say after last night's performances, is that if I'm ever going to believe this is the truly the best group ever, this would've been the week to lead with, in convincing me. It was a very good week for the finalists...well for most of them. Regardless of what the judges said, and let's face it, Randy has become a joke, Paula is on drugs, and Simon loathes country music. So it's hard to rely heavily on their critiques for this week. In breaking down the performances, I'd have to say that the guys (which are a stronger overall group this year) did the best job of the night, but that's not to say there wasn't at least one of the gals holding her own...so, let's get right to it, and I'll try to deliver the "Straight Talk" in my assessment.

The Grand Ole Opry

There were four performances last night that were better than the rest...they stood out, and will probably stand out as the most memorable ones from this week. Both Davids, Michael Johns, and Carly Smithson all had themselves a terrific week. Archuletta was the only one that didn't try to alter the arrangement of the song, but his vocal performance was definitely a top shelf one. The other 3 had great success with their risky restructuring of some great Dolly songs...

At first, right after it was over, I had originally thought that Li'l Donny's performance was the best. However, upon further review, I'm going to say that it was actually Michael John's performance of "It's All Wrong, but it's All Right" that was truly the best of the night. He turned a country song, into a bluesy ballad that absolutely showcased his vocals. He's now officially a force to contend with in this competiton...whether or not he wins, I predict he'll be there in the final 4, and could actually make the top 2 before it's over.

David Archuletta's rendition of "Smokey Mountain Memories" was terrific, albeit, unoriginal in it's arangement. He hit every single note, and he hit them well. His voice is was sincere and his delivery heartfelt...the problem for me was, he's 17. His life experiences don't measure up the magnitude of that song. He delivered a brilliant performance...and he's a very intuitive singer. He knows where to inject each specific emotion, but at his age, I can't say that he's convincing me that he actually knows and feels the sad songs he's singing...when he gets a little older, his performances will seem less contrived and more believable. However, his performance was definitely one of the top 2 of the night, and he's reminded everyone again that he's still one of the ones, if not THE ONE, to beat.

Carly Smithson's rendition of the huge hit, "Here You Come Again", was stripped down and unbelievably powerful. She was the epitome of control last night, and her delivery and arrangement were both brilliant. I'm not sure what Randy and Simon were talking about in their criticisms, but to not recognize the genius in what she did, by taking the midlevel country/pop out of the song, and laying it bare over a simple arrangement with limited musical accompaniment, is just plain silly. She showcased her powerful vocals, and she exhibited the very amazing control that she possesses over that voice. Last night was the first night that I honestly believed she could win this competition.

David Cook really took a risk by taking a soft, simple country song and turning it into a rock ballad, but his version of "Little Sparrow" was great...and considering for the first time all year, the arrangement was truly his design, I'll give him all kinds of credit for it. It worked...it's one of my favorite Dolly songs, all time, and I absolutely loved what he did with it. He's been riding an unbelievable wave the last month or so, that's seem him come from middle of the pack to one of the 2 frontrunners in this competition. If he can sustain it, he'll be in the finale...and who knows, he could be the first rock singer to win...

Branson Missouri or Bust...

Brooke White was solid in her performance of "Jolene", which is a very hallowed song in Dolly Parton music library. The song could be considered her best song of all time, and generally is, by her most ardent fans. It's a song that shouldn't be tackled by anyone who can't sing it well. Brooke sang it well...problem was, she didn't hammer it home like she should've. It was good performance...maybe even very good...just wasn't great. Her biggest obstacles were the top 4 singers of the night...were it not for Michael, David, Carly, and David, then Brooke's rendition wouldn't have paled at all...as it was, it's still a strong enough one to see her through to next week.

Jason Castro's version of "Travelin' Through" was a great choice, because it's a song that definitely fits his style...problem is, all of his performances have begun to sound the same...as I stated last week, he peaked with "Hallelujah" and hasn't ever recovered. Since that performance, everything else has been bland...it's ironic that the song was nominated for an Oscar for its use in the movie Transamerica, which centered around a transgender person's struggle and soul searching to fit in, because when I see Jason, I immediately wonder if he's more she than he...:P Despite all of this though, I'd say that his performance was passable...but it's becoming very clear that his days in this competition are quickly drawing to an end. He shouldn't be sent packing this week...but he's definitely flirting with disaster.

Next stop...Cleveland Civic Center

What can I say...this was definitely not the best week for the ladies...these were, IMO, the 3 worst or most forgetable perforamances of the night...and for probably one of them, the biggest WHOOPS of the year...

Syesha did it again...she broke what should be the golden rule of AI...Don't attempt Whitney. Her version of "I Will Always Love You" started off as simple blend of Dolly's style and Whitney's soul, and then it became a very sad, sad, sad attempt to try and once again prove that she's capable of singing Whitney. She's not. ****, she's not even capable of singing Jasmine Guy at this stage of the competition. I thin she's deserving of getting her ticket punched for home, but she'll probably be saved because of one of the other 2 coming up...

KLC. Our very own Oregonian Presidential Assassin...proving yet again that she absolutely has no place in the remainder of this competiton. It was Dolly Parton week...country music should be this girl's bread and butter, since she's trying so desperately to emulate Carrie Underwood. Problem is, on a night that should've been her finest hour...she was simply forgetable...again. She sang "Coat of Many Colors" and her attempt to try and emulate Dolly's actual life experiences of growing up poor, resulted only in KLC singing poorly. Poor being the most appropriate word, I'd have to say that Kristy Lee Cook's chances of being back next week, should be very, very POOR...but then there's always...

...Ramiele. Who, absolutely was the worst performance of the night. I'm not sure she hit a single note right...and if she did, it was probably by mistake. I'm not sure how someone could go from a solid shot to make the top 6, to someone who doesn't deserve to be in the top 9, but she figured it out. She sang, "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind", and I expect that the answer would be a very resounding "**** No" for most of us...and for the handfull who do think of her, they'd have to be thinking, "What in the **** was she thinking..." She may become the next big sensation in the Phillipines...but on AI this week, she should be one of the bottom 2, and for those that don't remember because she took last week off from being in the bottom...anyone who is paired up against KLC in the bottom 2, usually ends up going home in her place.

So...my bottom 3 would be Syesha, KLC, and Ramiele. To be fair though, if Jason Castro found himself down there in the bottom 3, I wouldn't be surprised...however, if anyone other KLC or Ramiele gets sent home, I wouldn't neccesarily be shocked, but I'd definitely be disappointed. ;)

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I think Ramiele is going Buh-Bye tonight.

And agreed on Carly, she was great, but Micheal was the best of the night.

Oh yeah, and people can try to emulate Carrie, but in the end, there's only one Carrie, as has been proven as she will probably end up being the greatest Idol of all time and the future Queen of Country Music.

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Agree on most of what you said. Though I didn't particularly like David Archulette. I think Johns and Cook were the best. I think Ramele should go home but would not be disappointed if it was KLC. I kinda think the bottom 2 will be Ramele and Jason and KLC will prevail again.

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prolikewhoa (4/2/2008)
I hate when the stupid crowd in front does the arm wave thing every time a slower slong is played. It's so stupid. They do it every time.

Yep...it's annoying...I'd also like to add the phrase, "AI Mosh Pit" to the list of annoyances...especially considering that their "Mosh Pit" consists of tweenage girls and their moms...:P

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