Emotion Idol Results Show Sets Up a ‘Ding Dong’ Finale

May 14, 2009

A close race and visits home make the Top 3 American Idol results show a very emotional one.  And with only a million votes separating the Final 2, you can bet that next week’s finale will be an exciting one.

Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks returns to the Idol stage to sing "Battlefield"

Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks returns to the Idol stage to sing "Battlefield"

And after 88 million votes, it’s going to be Kris Allen and Adam Lambert in the finale.  Personally, I think this pairing will make for the better finale.  But given the looks on the judges’ face, I’d say they were expecting to see Danny Gokey next week.

According to Simon, the finale should be a “ding dong” of an affair.  Without making us consult our British-to-English dictionaries, Simon informed us that it was a good thing.

However, before we got to any results, we got to see footage of each of the Top 3’s visits to their hometown.  I don’t know what it is about this part, but I always get teary eyed when I watch the contenders deal with their new found fame at home.

I know we only saw clips, but it sure looked like Kris worked the hardest on his visit home.  Is it me, or did the guy sing everywhere he went.  And I loved the footage of Adam with the children’s theatre group.

The hour was so jammed pack with guests and visits that the traditional group number was skipped this week.  After the Ford video to “Break My Stride” where the guys got to embrace their comic self, Alicia Keys, the global ambassador for Keep a Child Alive, appeared to introduce Noah from Kigali.  Noah was asked to singing “I’m the World’s Greatest” on Idol by Simon after the two met at KCA’s Black Ball in New York.

Then Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks returned to the Idol stage to sing “Battlefield.”  It doesn’t seem like it’s been two years since Jordin was awaiting her fate on the stage.  I thought she looked beautiful and sounded great.  But I have to wonder if she was in this year’s pool of contestants, would she still have won?

And finally we heard Katy Perry singing her new single, “Waking Up in Vegas.”  This performance is my first exposure to the colorful singer and I didn’t think it was half bad.  And judging from her cape, she’s an Adam fan. 

I’ll be pulling for Kris next week, but regardless of who wins we should be in store for one spectacular show.

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The Davids to Battle it Out in Idol Final

May 15, 2008

And then there were two.  In a very predictable finish to the American Idol Top 3, Syesha Mercado is eliminated leaving David Cook and David Archuleta to vie for the title next week.

Syesha MercadoWhile the pairing of the Davids in the final is something fans have been predicting for weeks, I am surprised by Syesha’s third place finish.  For several weeks in the middle, I was sure that she was marked for an early exit.  But the last few weeks, we have seen Syesha pull out all the stops with Broadway-worthy performances.

Although I’d much rather see Syesha over Archuleta in the final, I’m not surprised to see her go.  Cook has stood out as a favorite among fans looking for originality and the complete package while Archuleta is a favorite of the judges and teenage girls.

In addition to the group number to “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” – an appropriate title for the night if not a mediocre performance –  the Ford “Heaven” video and a performance by Idol winner Fantasia, we were treated to videos of each contestants tearful homecoming.

Archuleta headed home to Murray, Utah where he performed at his high school and, of course, visited the mall where he was surrounded by – what else – throngs of teens.  His big concern – where did they all park?

Syesha was so welcomed in Sarasota, Florida that the mayor was doing handstands.  She rounded out her very emotional visit with stops at Bradenton and her alma mater Booker High School.

Cook’s trip to Blue Springs, Missouri read like a wish list – he did the weather on the local TV station, gave a concert downtown where even the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the masses, got to thank his elementary school music teacher for inspiring him to get into music and threw out a pitch to for the Royals.

It should be interesting to see how next week pans out.  I still think that Cook deserves the title more, but that it’ll be Archuleta walking away with it.

What do you think?  Was Syesha the right person to send home?  What are your predictions for next week?

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Idol Top 3 Fail to Wow with Lackluster Performances

May 14, 2008

American Idol is down to its Top 3 contenders and the contest should be heating up, but the competition tonight was uninspired and predictable.  With three songs a piece, did any of the contestants really stand out?

David, David and SyeshaTonight each contestant got to sing one song chosen for them by one of the judges, one song of their choice, and one song chosen by the producers.  Let’s just say that the producers should stick to producing and not selecting song (as if the themes from this season are proof enough).

The sole bright spot tonight was David Cook, but even his performances weren’t top shelf.

Simons’s choice of a Roberta Flack song for Cook seemed off the wall at first.  But I have to give Simon credit for picking something outside of the box and let’s just say that once again Cook rose to that challenge with a tear-jerking performance of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”  I had no idea how was going to pull of such an old-fashioned song, but he not only did, he made it sound current and hip.

Next was Cook’s song choice.  The fact that he picked a Switchfoot tune didn’t surprise me, but it did disappoint me.  His rendition of “Dare You to Move” sounded exactly like something I’d expect to hear from Cook.  But I was hoping for more – more originality, more extraordinary – another “Hello” or “Billie Jean.”  And I didn’t get it.

And as for the producer’s choice, Cook definitely served up the best performance in this category.  I’m pretty sure that an Aerosmith tune wouldn’t have been what I would have picked for Cook, but he nailed the performance of “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” and did songwriter Diane Warren (who was in the audience) proud.

Syesha Mercado, on the other hand, didn’t fare as well.

I can see why Randy picked an Alicia Keys balled for her.  Syesha definitely has the voice to carry off a powerful song like “If I Ain’t Got You.”  And Syesha even gave the number a little pizzazz.  But just like the Whitney Houston and Celine Dion songs that she gravitates to, it’s hard for Syesha to stand out against the originals.

Now Syesha made an excellent song choice for herself.  Tunes like Peggy Lee’s “Fever” are a perfect fit for her.  Not only does she get a chance to showcase that nice bluesy-soul sound with her voice, but she gets to flaunt her stage skills.  I know the judges didn’t like this performance, but I think it played to her strengths.

Now the song that the producers picked for Syesha did just the opposite.  The tune from the movie Happy Feet was a nice dance number.  But when you get up and dance it’s easy to forget who’s performing and unfortunately that’s exactly what happened with Syesha’s rendition of “Hit Me Up.”  It was fun while it lasted, but it was easily forgotten.

And finally, David Archuleta showed us all the same moves he’s been using all season.

Archuleta was right about one thing – the Billy Joel song Paula chose for him is a pretty song.  And Archuleta’s rendition of “And So it Goes” wasn’t bad.  But the performance wasn’t really any different that every other song he’s every performed on the show – nice, but forgettable.

Picking a Chris Brown song was a smart choice for Archuleta if he was trying to appeal to his teenage fans.  But unfortunately Archuleta is not Chris Brown.  He lacks Brown’s smooth moves and performance skills, leaving his version of “With You” looking and sounding like bad karaoke.

Archuleta concluded his set with another uninspired choice – the producers chose yet another ballad for the 17-year-old – “Longer” by Dan Fogelberg.  As expected, Archuleta performed the song in exactly the same format that he’s performed all the rest of his ballads – no surprises and no wow factor.

I thought Archuleta was the least impressive tonight.  It’s not that he doesn’t have a nice voice; it’s just that every song sounds the same with him.  But since he’s a favorite of the judges, I’m going against my better judgment and predict that Syesha will be going home on Wednesday.

Who do you think had the better night?  Who should go home?

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