The stage is bigger, the contestants edgier, the crowd louder, the cross-promotions more brazen: It’s officially Finals Season on American Idol. Our big 12 took a crack at the Lennon/McCartney songbook this week, to such acclaim (and 29 million votes) that next week we’ll continue butchering the Beatles’ legacy.
But first things first — somebody had to go home last night. After some grandstanding from an elephant-nosed Jim Carrey (Horton Hears a Who — as Ryan pointed out in one of his more incisive gestures, also a Fox venture — is the cause celebre of this season’s Idol) and a group performance of a Beatles medley (which shows, as always, that Idol mints solo stars, not group talent), the bottom three were revealed:
Syesha’s career on Idol has been marked by her virtuoso wail, the sort of head-back, mouth-wide clarion call that the Beatles songbook doesn’t cater to very well. Syesha’s take on “Got to Get You into My Life” was John and Paul as interpreted by Mary J. Blige on a bad day, and got poor reviews from the judges (and from my co-blogger Amy yesterday). Randy, at least, expressed regret that Syesha had found herself in the bottom three, though Simon declaimed that America had chosen the three worst contestants absolutely accurately. (Paula, with characteristic clarity, proclaimed, “I’ve never seen a more stronger bottom three.”) Syesha’s reprised performance of “Got to Get You” was fine, and she was sent gratefully back to her seat, spared this week of the axe that hung over Kristy Lee Cook and David Hernandez.
Kristy Lee Cook
Poor Kristy Lee and her country charms can’t get a break from the judges, who, in fairness, can’t really decide what they’d like from her. Simon told her last week to amp up her country spirit to differentiate herself, but when she delivered a honky-tonk “Eight Days a Week”, fiddles ablaze, he found that Nashville Lennon was not to his liking. Nor to America’s, who voted her into the bottom two. Kristy Lee took it bravely, quipping “Where’s my microphone?” and delivered, once again, a draggy, country-western rendition. Kristy Lee has the good fortune to be the prettiest of the lady contestants, but she’s got the stage presence of laundry detergent and her hip-swiveling barely constitutes dancing. Say what you will about last week’s vote-off Asia’h Epperson, at least she could move. Nevertheless, America’s Grand Ole Opry contingent has spoken, and Kristy Lee is safe for one more week. Which makes tonight’s loser . . .
Uneven, grimacing David Hernadez has never really been able to lock a following in on Idol, performing terribly one week and wonderfully the next. He’s been one of the least adaptive of the contestants, extremely good in his comfort zone (as in the Temptations’ “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”) and possessed of enough vocal ability to pull off Celine Dion songs, but off-balance and uncomfortable as often as not. His “I Saw Her Standing There” was all pained expression and raised eyebrows, well sung but badly performed. Coupled with the revelation of his very recent past as a stripper and lap dancer at the subtly-named gay establishment Dick’s Cabaret, David’s exit wasn’t much of a surprise. A fighter to the end, David left insisting we’d hear from him again, then joined the annals of Idol history as the rest soldier on to give us more Beatles next week.
Join us then!