Tonight the Top 11 celebrated The Beatles – again – on American Idol with even more songs from John Lennon and Paul McCartney – and one by George Harrison. But who would stand out this week?
It’s as if the contestants took their cue from the producers of Idol who erred on the side of caution by repeating the theme from last week. Tonight the name of the game was safe and the performances reflected with reliable standby sounds for the most part.
Where last week there was a clear cut line between the top performers and those that didn’t measure up, this week few stood out.
It’s clear I’m a David Cook fan. So, it’s no surprise that I enjoyed his performance of “Day Tripper.” He got a sound that I’d pay to hear again. Plus, he did a great job of mixing it up by adding in the voice box this week. As far as I’m concerned Cook is the guy to beat.
But giving Cook a run for his money is Chikeze. When he started “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” it sounded like just another tired ballad. But then he kicked it up a notch and out came this cool, funky bluegrass tune. Sure it wasn’t as good as last week and I’m not sure that Chikeze has a career as a harmonica player, but it was the lone attempt at originality this week.
Right on the tail of these leaders is Jason Castro who literally charmed his way through “Michelle.” Jason stepped out from behind his guitar, took on a foreign language and still looked like he had a good time. The performance, not necessarily the singing itself, was captivating in an adorable way.
Another night, another ballad from Syesha Mercado. But she did manage to make it stand out by taking some risks with the arrangement. The acoustic rendition allowed her to showcase her vocals, but will the performance stand the test of time? It should at least keep her out of the bottom three.
“Back in the U.S.S.R.” was a great song choice for Amanda Overmyer but it was also a safe choice. The performance was what we’ve come to expect from Amanda. Therein lies the problem – predictability. She’s going to need to find a way of talking a risk, but still playing to her strengths. Overall a decent performance, but not my favorite of Amanda’s.
Carly Smithson continues to dazzle the judges, at least some of the judges. She put in a sound, if not safe, performance with “Blackbird.” Unfortunately, her voice itself does nothing for me, even if I’m in the minority.
Also playing it safe after last week’s lyric-forgetting train wreck, David Archuleta chose yet another ballad. Sure Archuleta did a nice job on “The Long and Winding Road,” but I’m beginning to wonder if all he can do are the soft, slow songs.
“Here Comes the Sun,” the lone George Harrison penned song, was a predictable, but perfect song choice for Brooke White. She looked like she was having full all dressed in sunshine yellow. That said, the performance itself was lackluster. You could easily tell that she felt out of her element with dancing substituting for her keyboard.
Michael Johns needs to stop picking songs that have special meaning for him and pick a song that will accentuate his vocals. I know I keep harping on the “Bohemian Rhapsody” performance, but that’s the only song that Michael has done that blew me away. Tonight’s “A Day in the Life” just didn’t do it.
Kristy Lee Cook did not “blow me out of my socks” with You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” but I thought it was one of her better performances. It might have been a little safe, but after last week I can’t fault her for going with what she knows.
And finally, Ramiele Maluba promised to pick up the tempo after “boring” the judges last week. But all her performance of “I Should Have Known Better” did was remind me of a bad version of some kind of one-hit wonder from the ‘80s. I for one am ready to say so long to Ramiele.
And that pretty much wraps up the Top 11 performances. Of course there was more shameless promotion of the iTunes downloads and we were told that Kellie Pickler will be performing at the results show this week.
I think he bottom three should be Ramiele, Kristy Lee and Michael with Ramiele going home. Who do you think should be in the bottom three?