American Idol is down to its Top 12 and the competition just heated up with performances of songs from the John Lennon and Paul McCartney Library. But can the Top 12 handle the pressure?
Tonight I expected everyone to bring their A-game to the brand new stage, but 12 top notch performances were not what we saw this evening. In fact, we saw some of the worst performances in weeks.
But we also saw some of the best – and surprisingly these top performances weren’t from the favorites.
I absolutely loved the bluegrass start that Chikeze gave “She’s a Woman.” I have to admit that I didn’t expect this ingenuity from him. And then he amazed me even more by rocking out the rest of the song. This performance was Chikeze’s best by far. He might have been an underdog coming into tonight, but he pulled out all the stops and blew us away.
Then David Cook rocked “Eleanor Rigby” and proved, as Randy said, you can rock on Idol. Still, this week’s performance couldn’t measure up to last week’s “Hello,” but it was a close second. Is Cook the next Chris Daughtry? I hope so.
I’m not a big fan of Carly Smithson something about her voice just doesn’t do it for me. But I was impressed by her rendition of “Come Together.” She finally found a song that worked for her and it showed. I think this evening was my favorite Carly performance.
Also hitting big tonight was Brooke White. She took on a big song with “Let it Be” and performed it well. But I was a little disappointed that we didn’t see anything a little different from her. Her song choices – and even her performances – are a bit predictable. I’d like to see Brooke take a risk or two.
And speaking of risks, Amanda Overmyer took a big chance with her arrangement of “You Can’t Do That” and it really worked for her. I really liked parts of the song, but overall, it wasn’t her strongest performance. She has a unique sound, but she’s going to have to work hard to appeal to the general audience if she wants to stay in the competition.
It was nice to see Syesha Mercado try something up beat with “Got to Get You into My Life,” instead of another ballad. But the song seemed to start out a bit rough and it’s too late in the competition to have this kind of flaws. However, when she finally found her groove, she seemed to genuinely have a good time.
Unfortunately, we didn’t see the fun side of Michael Johns. Michael picked a song with an emotional connection for him – “Across the Universe.” While the song had special meaning for him and he performed it beautifully, it just didn’t seem to be enough. I’m waiting for another performance like “Bohemian Rhapsody” where Michael blew me away.
Jason Castro is another who played in safe this week reverting to his old standby – an acoustic song behind the guitar. Jason’s “If I Fell” was a pretty song but it doesn’t compare to his performance last week when we saw him venture out from behind the guitar.
On the other hand, Kristy Lee Cook took a big gamble by turning “8 Days a Week” into a country song, but I think she overdid it in a big way. As a big fan of country music – both traditional and modern – I was not impressed with the arrangement. Kristy Lee needs to go back to last week where she subtly worked her country influence into a song.
Likewise, David Hernandez went also overboard this week. “I Saw Her Standing There” is one of those songs that you could rock out on and Hernandez really missed the boat on this one. This song is one of my favorites, but I couldn’t even follow along because I was distracted trying to figure out where David was going with it.
Conversely, Ramiele Malubay totally underperformed this week. Clearly she is still missing Danny Noriega, who she obviously dedicated “In my Life” to. But is she doesn’t kick it up a notch she’ll be joining him on the sideline. Tonight’s performance didn’t cut it. Not only was it a safe performance, it was forgettable.
Lastly it was nice to see David Archuleta actually venture out from his ballads with “We can Work it Out.” But that said, it’s too late in the game for performers to be forgetting lyrics to the song. A real contender can’t make a basic mistake like that.
Although Archuleta obviously had the weakest performance tonight, he’s had too many good nights to be voted off. My pick for being voted off is Ramiele. She hasn’t wowed me in a while and definitely seems more timid than ever.
Who would you send home and why? Who blew you away this week?