AmIdol: Top 3

For fans of music … no, not reality TV, not Mariah Carey, not musicals … than the format of tonight’s episode was easily the most accessible of the season. We got to see the three contestants from three angles: how the judge’s wanted to see them, how the producers did, and how they wanted to see themselves. This made for, of course, a bevy of odd song choices, good song choices, and unexpected song choices.

We decided not to liveblog tonight’s episode, and actually try to digest some of it. Here are my post-episode thoughts:

David Archuleta
“And So It Goes” by Billy Joel.
“With You” by Chris Brown.
“Longer” by Dan Fogelberg.

Randy said exactly what I was thinking after the “With You” performance — can anything be stranger than David Archuleta signing “ooh little mama, ooh you a stunner”? I understand what David was doing, and I actually applaud it. But, of course, the end result proved why David isn’t good for this competition: he’s not in the slightest contemporary. The performance was awkward and very forced. Of course, he juxtaposed that with a real good choice by Paula, if a predictable one.  David’s going to cruise, of course, but it wasn’t his best night as he didn’t truly connect on any song.

Syesha
“If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys
“Fever”
“Hit Me Up” by Gia Farrell

The problem with this season is that — outside the How Long will Kristy Lee last subplot — it’s been a very predictable season. We knew Brooke was going to lose, we knew David was going to lose, and now, we kind of now Syesha is going to lose. We know this because from pretty early this season, this was the David vs. David battle. I think the judges sort of convinced themselves of that before the episode, because Syesha didn’t get nearly enough credit for a pretty good night. Alicia Keys was a horribly predictable choice, and “Fever” was merely chosen for its sexified potential. But for not a great choice, I thought Syesha knocked “Hit Me Up” out of the park, showing us some legitimate potential.

David Cook
“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack.
“Dare You to Move” by Switchfoot
“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith

When I saw the Roberta Flack choice, I was utterly shocked. But Simon was onto something, as the song allowed David to show off his vocal chops, which will be important in a heads-up battle with Archuleta. Of course, the Switchfoot song was not very good, which raises an important question — why isn’t David hitting on the songs he should be, like Switchfoot and Our Lady Peace? That’s going to be his home base, so he needs to be doing better than that. The third song was predictably very good. Randy called it predictable, but I think that shouldn’t be considered an insult. The point is that we knew when David started the song that he would be fantastic, and he was. Unquestionably the best left.

But the biggest shocker, of course, was Simon putting “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” in the canon as one of the greatest songs of all-time.

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One Response to AmIdol: Top 3

  1. Jon says:

    I finally caught up with this episode, and I’ll add a few comments to yours:

    (1) SYESHA — Screw you, Idol execs, for sticking Syesha with a “Happy Feet” song for her money performance. I’ve never seen a more blatant attempt to pigeonhole an artist; they made her family-friendly, Broadway-ready and entirely sexless with one song choice. So to counter, Syesha made me sweat like a dog in heat during “Fever” — but she also made me think of David Hernandez, who did the song earlier this season to add to the Idol canon of artists who’ve taken it on. And “If I Ain’t Got You” was just another piece of evidence that Syesha isn’t quite as good as the modern diva. It’s interesting that first she fell short of Whitney, then short of Mariah and now short of Alicia. So even as she takes on smaller and smaller voices, she still seems to be singing underneath her potential contemporaries. For her sake, I just hope to God that some exec producer of the Broadway version of “The Lion King” was watching the show.

    (2) DAVID A — David’s dancing during Chris Brown’s “With You’ was just awkward. Add that to the fact that he said “Gosh” about 4,000 times during his visit home and slowly this kid is becoming too saccharine for his own good. And as Miley Cyrus will tell you, the whole aww-shucks thing only works for a few months on the pop charts, at which point racy Annie Liebowitz photos and questionable boyfriends do more to draw attention to your career. Even David’s take on Billy Joel and then Dan Fogelberg were once again technically fine but ultimately boring. This kid hasn’t wowed me since “Imagine” — which you can expect to see reprised during the finale. Sadly, that performance alone might be enough to win him this entire competition.

    (3) DAVID C — First, to echo the absurdity of Simon canonizing “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing”: his all-time best-of also includes the Righteous Brother’s “Unchained Melody” and Robbie Williams’ “Angels.” Can’t wait for a compilation disc of all those great hits. But moving to David Cook, I think he’s hit an interesting point in his Idol trajectory: he’s actually better at singing weird versions of pop songs than singing straight versions of rock songs. His take on Mariah’s “Always Be My Baby” remains my favorite performance in Idol history, but his takes on both “I Don’t” and “Dare You To Move” (awful choice, by the way) were instantly forgettable. This poses a particular dilemma because his career seems like it would go the way of the latter songs — so despite Randy’s unending suggestion that Cook should “rock out,” I don’t think that’s smartest for him come next week’s final episode.

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