What a difference a week makes! With Jason Castro eliminated, all memories of mediocrity were strangely absent last night, as if Fox had called a shaman to exorcize the Ghost of Losers Past…
How professional our three hopefuls looked! Each contestant sang three songs selected by the judges, themselves, and the producers, in that order. Both of the Davids delivered outstanding performances, trumping Syesha, who looked elegant despite some stumbling. Yet Idol would be nothing without awkwardness and self-inflicted embarrassment. Despite the talent displayed, glimmers of the prior and incidents of the latter showed up. It’s a crucial moment in the contest. After the jump you’ll find examples of our contestants at their strongest and their suckiest.
1. Credit goes to both Paula Abdul and David Archuleta for his shining moment last night, a performance of Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes.” Our favorite pubescent prodigy’s voice sailed right through the song’s tricky melody. Grace and sweetness were everywhere. The Piano Man’s songs are an excellent match to David’s timbre; let’s hope he gives another one a shot next week.
And while we’re thinking about the future, let’s pray David never utters another Chris Brown lyric in his life. Left to his own devices, Archuleta’s father constructed an intricate maze of embarrassment for his son to his way sing out of, a performance of Brown’s “With You.” Only four words into the tune – “I need you, boo!”- and he seemed mortified. ”It was a little bit like a Chihuahua trying to be a tiger,’” proclaimed Simon. Unfortunately, David was given little opportunity to recover with the producer’s song choice, a sappy arrangement of Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer.” Oy. Not to worry, though. I’ve no doubt that little Davey’s 13-year-old fans ran to the phone to vote despite the two flops.
Syesha looked great last night. Her smartest move of the evening was to wear the golden sequined number she donned for her glide through Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You.” Even Simon proclaimed that she looked “gorgeous.” The budding starlet explained that at this point in the competition, she was trying to relax and be herself more. And it shows! Except when she’s singing.
But poor Syesha. Those producers are going to have her eliminated no matter how much she’s begun to show her feathers. What else but sabotage could explain their song choice of “Hit Me Up,” from that kids’ penguin flick Happy Feet? Admittedly, cartoon animation voices might be a career path that Syesha explores given her penchant for theater, “quirkiness,” and lack of on-stage charisma. The judges were perplexed by the obscure song choice as well – Randy and Simon didn’t even recognize it. Paula did. Maybe one of those penguins is pals with MC FatCat.
David Cook and Simon Cowell were sitting in a tree last night, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. Our favorite cranky judge chose Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” providing our rocker with an exquisite opportunity to showcase his range and make the ladies melt. Cook’s voice soared during his performance, which was without a doubt one of his best of the season, and surely two of the sexiest minutes ever to take place on Fox. The camera could not get away from David’s mother, who stood, mesmerized by her son¹s talent… According to Ryan Seacrest, someone backstage cried. Cook’s delivery was creamy, no doubt, and afterwards, Simon could barely contain himself, declaring Cook and Cowell victors of the night! Awww!
Cook’s following performances were also musically sound. But moments of arrogance, however, strutted across the stage, and Cook from my perspective warrants a few negative points. His grandiose spin through “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” demanded so many string musicians the stage looked cramped. Cook applauded their performance while the audience applauded his. That’s called gilding the lily of pretension.
Everyone pretty much agrees it’s Syesha‘s last night tonight, so tune in to bid farewell to the last lady standing!
- Amy Beecher