Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Best Top 12 EVER!!

So claims Ryan Seacrest every chance he gets. It's worse than a politician's stump speech. Keep selling it, Ryan.

"American Idol," the most popular television program in America, DAVE, showcased its Top 12 contestants on Tuesday night, so before the Wednesday results show can air, I'll weigh in with an evaluation of each performer and tell you who's goin' home.

For the first time ever, "Idol" got its grubby mitts on the Lennon/McCartney song catalog, so Tuesday featured the kids butchering some Beatles classics. It's a wonder they didn't all wear white aprons with hunks of meat and doll parts all over.

Oh it wasn't that bad. Or was it? Let's see.

Syesha Mercado -- "Got to Get You Into my Life." Syesha is as cute as can be and that might keep her around for awhile, but her voice is substandard, even by "Idol's" dubious measure. She took on a big brassy number and got swallowed up in it. Randy, Simon and Theodore all praise her too much. The producers must like her. As a pin-up, sure; as a singer, I'm afraid not.

Chikezie Eze -- "She's a Woman." Chikezie (he goes by one name now, just like Aristotle), dressed in the same sweater-vest they put on Gus in "Psyche" whenever they want to make fun of him, starts off with a jug band version of the song, then transitions into a blues belter. And by golly, it ain't half bad. Randy, Simon and Drinky all plotz for it. For once, there close to right.

Ramiele Malubay -- "In My Life." Taking on one of John Lennon's most personal and beautiful songs, Ramiele gives it a lovely, subdued treatment, so naturally Randy, Simon and Sleepy all hate it. Where's the bombast? I like Ramiele, but I have the feeling she's gonna be on the bubble. America likes bombast.

Jason Castro -- "If I Fell." For a truly beautiful cover of this song, go rent (or buy) Julie Taymor's Across the Universe and enjoy Evan Rachel Wood's plaintive rendition. Jason ain't my favorite, but like Ramiele, he treats the song well, if a little too Jordan Knight for my taste. Randy, Simon and MC Skat Kat think it's okay.

Carly Smithson -- "Come Together." Carly is the old "Idol" pro in this year's batch and it shows; she knows how to push the judges' buttons. Except for some token Simon constructive criticism, she hasn't heard a discouraging word so far. She does a rousing job on the Beatles' twisty, surreal, slithering original. Randy, Simon and Patient Zero all jump up and down.

David Cook -- "Eleanor Rigby." Apparently turning a brooding chamber piece into an arena rock bore is exactly the kind of edgy risk Randy, Simon and Deputy Droop-a-long have been aching for. Not me. Captain Comb Over is my second least favorite "Idol-er" this year. Ick.

Brooke White -- "Let It Be." I know I have no way of proving this, but I bet Brooke and Kristy (see below) had a screaming cat-fight to determine who got to do the Beatles most spiritual song. Brooke must have outscratched her fellow bland blonde. Her piano and vocal are sweet and dull. Randy, Simon and Pharmacy Girl all shout Brooke's praises to the rooftops. Whatever.

David Hernandez -- "I Saw Her Standing There." Is it a coincidence that after several weeks of allegations concerning Hernandez's sexuality and professional working relationship with -- ahem -- a male clientele, is it a coincidence that after that stuff, he chooses to do one of the most heterosexual songs in the Beatle canon? I'm just asking. Randy, Simon and The Somnambulist all hate it and for once, they're right.

Amanda Overmyer -- "You Can't Do That." I'd have put money on the table betting that Amanda would have taken on "Helter Skelter." But this one works too. Of all the "Idol" kids this year, Amanda's the only one I would ever consider supporting with a purchase. She does her usual gravel-voiced thing with this early Beatle rarity. I also notice that she doesn't change the gender of the object of her affection in the song. Interesting. Randy and Boozy like it. Simon wouldn't know rock & roll if a girl with Bride of Frankenstein hair screamed it 14 feet in front of him.

Michael Johns -- "Across the Universe." Our "Australian Idol" takes a crack at John Lennon's paen to transcendental meditation. He pronounces "Jai Guru Dev" funny, but I'm sure I do too. Dull. Randy, Simon and Strawberry Shortcake are underwhelmed. Moi aussi, Aussie.

Kristy Lee Cook -- "Eight Days a Week." The other wholesome, religious blonde good girl in the competition, the one who didn't get to do "Let It Be," Kristy makes a huge tactical error: she actually takes the judges' advice to heart. Kristy, Kristy, Kristy. They NEVER actually want you to do what they tell you to do. Blondie #2 takes the lightest, frothiest of Beatle tunes and turns it into "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." I like it. Seriously. "EDAW" is not sacrosanct and should be messed with. Her mile-a-minute country throwdown is wild and fun. Randy, Simon and Poopdeck Pappy don't see it my way. And speaking of seeing it my way ...

David Archuleta -- "We Can Work It Out." The "Idol" Powers That Be have been pushing this 17-year-old dip ever since Hollywood Week and I really hate him. He destroyed "Imagine" earlier and now he doesn't even bother to know the words to this one. The surviving Beatles should use their gigantic piles of money to put out a hit on this kid before he can strike again. Even Randy, Simon and Better Living Through Chemistry can't figure out a way to put a good spin on this, though all but Simon try. If there were any justice in the world of reality TV, that would be that for Archuleta.

Justice. Yeah, right.

David A.'s performance was horrible enough to earn him a spot in the bottom three (if the Vote for the Worst guys don't give him a push), along with Kristy, who for the first time doesn't deserve it, and Ramiele, who really REALLY doesn't deserve it.

So who's out? I have a feeling between the judges' tut-tutting and the fact that there's another wholesome blonde to vote for , this may spell the end for Kristy Lee Cook. It's too bad, kiddo. You were gutsier than most this week. Posting at 6PM my time. The results show is at 9PM tonight. See if I'm right (for a change).

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