Halfway through the performances of the second week of the American Idol semifinals, I was beginning to wonder if the songs of the ‘70s were being wasted on the Top 10 men.
Being a product of the ‘70s myself, the music from this decade has a special place in my heart. And oh what music the ‘70s produced – from rock to Motown to disco and some funky combinations between.
But where was this great music on the American Idol stage?
Maybe the men were all distracted by revealing the “little known” fact about themselves. Or maybe they were saving the best for last. Either way, those that favored well tonight weren’t necessarily last week’s top performers.
In fact, my top picks of the evening were only mediocre last week.
But David Hernandez was ready for the ‘70s tonight. He came out and really rocked The Temptations. Hernandez’ “Papa was a Rollin’ Stone” had a modern Motown feel to it that made me want to listen to it again.
Also impressive was self-professed word nerd David Cook. Cook rocked his Les Paul to Free’s “All Right Now.” And after listening to Robbie Carrico attempt at rock earlier, all I could think was now that’s what rock should sound like. And while Simon thought Cook’s hobby was boring, I think a love of words is essential for a true songster.
David Archuleta gets the award for most consistent, putting in a solid performance of John Lennon’s “Imagine” sacrificing the first verse for his favorite third verse. All three judges loved his performance. While I thought it was a nice performance, it wasn’t my top pick.
We learned that Chikeze’s name is Nigerian for “well created by God.” But it’s his performance of Donny Hathaway’s “I Believe” that I’ll remember. Unlike the Chikeze from last week, this one had charisma. He personalized the song, literally. He had fun with the song and it showed in his performance.
Also on the most improved list is Luke Menard. I was sorely disappointed with my hometown favorite last week, but he redeemed himself tonight with “Killer Queen.” Although still not an outstanding performance, Luke’s rendition of the Queen hit showed a lot more personality than his ‘60s choice.
The Carpenters’ “Superstar” brought Danny Noriega a little luck this week. The cocky former punker admitted that his performance last week was lacking. I thought his performance this week was an improvement, but still not spectacular.
Middle of the Road
The tennis playing Michael Johns, my top pick last week, led off the guys this evening, but his performance of “Go Your Own Way” was not my favorite. I understand that he’s a Fleetwood Mac fan, but I don’t think the song really showcased his talent like “Bohemian Rhapsody” during Hollywood Week.
I really want to like Robbie Carrico, but so far he hasn’t had a performance that has won me over. He looks the part of a rocker, but I have to agree with Randy that he just doesn’t have the sound. Foreigner’s hit should have been a great song choice, but Robbie just didn’t have enough oomph to make “Hot Blooded” sound like a rock hit.
Singing a Swan Song?
During the interview, Jason Castro said he wasn’t good at the “not music stuff.” But tonight he wasn’t so good at the music part either. Last week the folksy, acoustic guitar sound worked well for Castro, but he couldn’t pull off the combo again with Andy Gibbs’ “I Want to be Your Everything.” I agree with Paula (wow, I never thought I’d say that) that I would like to see him try his next performance (if he’s still around) without the guitar. It’s a crutch now preventing him from stretching his talent.
I liked that Jason Yeager changed pace from last week with the Doobie Brothers. A fun song after the ‘60s ballad was definitely needed. But watching him perform “Long Train Running (Without Love),” I kept thinking of scenes from Boogie Nights. But despite the changes I really wasn’t any more impressed with his voice.
Let’s hope the ladies have a better night on Wednesday
Here’s a recap of the semifinals: