Okay, Idol first.
Two songs – Rock N Roll Hall of Fame night. And I’m SO glad we have a variety of songs by DIFFERENT ARTISTS to be performed. It’s like being let out of cold, dark cave into sunlight, y’all. Theme weeks? Really Nigel, rethink them as they pertain to pimping single artists who are pimping new record releases. It says a lot when the traditionally tankfest week of country music was the stand out this season, and that’s purely a testament to Dolly Parton’s madddd writing skillz.
So, okay….Cook is up first and he takes on LeBon and Duran Duran. Who I love like no other. And he does a fine cover job of Hungry Like The Wolf, but where that “standing it on its head” part was I must have missed. I mean, a fine song, sung well, but nothing wowza about it. Judges more or less agree. I’m glad there’s another one coming. I agree with Simon, there is SO much he could have done with that, and the other Simon – LeBon – I bet would have been the first to cheer it.
Syesha is next and I, for one, really liked her little miss firecracker performance. It didn’t bring anything new to Proud Mary in terms of the song, and Tina Turner isn’t losing any sleep, but it sure as hell continued to bring us new Syesha. I love her as this performer. Where was this all season? I like watching her now. I’m entertained. Which was a far, far cry from what I was just mere weeks ago when she took the stage. Well done. Judges? What peformance were you watching?
Jason. Oh, my poor little beautiful woodland creature. Wow, you tackle Marley AND Clapton? Yikes. I Shot The Sheriff. Really? First, poor song choice, given the content, for a ‘family show.’ Second…just, where was that all over the place performance coming from? The only thing I liked about it, was that HE seemed totally into it. It was more animated than I can recall seeing him during any performance recently. Which had the unfortunate duality of also making me uncomfortable that he’s finally less awkward, singing a song about, well…that. Judges – pretty harsh, but essentially right on. Could have gotten the point across without flaying the kid, though. (Just a note: tearing into him like that just makes people want to vote more cuz they feel sorry for him. Just sayin.)
Archie. What can I say about him? He sings Ben E King’s Stand By Me and, sure, he’s all Archie up in our faces. He’s a fine young talent, but it doesn’t DO anything for me. And yet, I knew the tongue bath was coming from the judges. And I was right. The closest I came to agreeing with them was with Simon who said it was comparatively better than the others. Not a tough one to pull off so far. Although, for me, personally, Round 1, in terms of entertainment and enjoyability? Went to Syesha.
On to Round 2:
Now we’re talking – Cook takes on The Who’s Baba O’Riley and man, I cannot WAIT to download that one in it’s entirety. It was over just when it was getting started. I was like “No, more! Don’t stop now!” Judges – all on board the Cook train again.
Syesha comes out with the famous Sam Cooke song, A Change is Gonna Come and it’s clear it’s taken on a personal context to her. (Which I understand…if you ignore the whole part about how her making the final four on American Idol ranks up there with the Civil Rights Movement. I’m sure she didn’t mean it that way. I think.) She looked fabulous in both performances tonight, really has matured into her “look” and while this one didn’t grab me like the first one, the emotion in it was clearly there and I felt it for her, if not exactly with her. Then Randy jumps all down deep into her shit and she, who has stayed pretty stoic all season, just starts to tremble and cry. And you can see she’s really trying to keep it together, because this really meant something to her and she thought she stood by it and did it justice, and I think she just doesn’t know what to give them anymore. Her first one rocked and they picked her apart, and now this. And then Paula gives her a Standing O and tells her she felt the arrangement was powerful, and Syesha really starts to lose it.
Again, you can see this one was very, very personal to her, and she tried changing it up, taking a risk with it (because that’s what they tell them to do) and to have Randy jump on her because she dared to mess with a Sam Cooke tune I think just broke her. She’s finally getting confident enough to do her own take on things, and then wham. What was most interesting was Simon’s reaction. First, I know he was digging on the sex appeal in the first song, and it frankly surprised me when he dissed it. I thought it played right to him. But no. This time, when I thought he’d hang tough, her tears completely dismantled him. And he kept looking to Randy going, “You made her cry.” So, he was kind to her, and I think he was being sincere that he liked it, but mostly you could see where he really kind of hated that they’d finally managed to disintegrate her.
And I know this is a tough business, but most of the tough parts come behind closed doors – not in front of millions of people. Even when you’re razed in print, there’s a disconnect between you and the critic, and the public, for that matter. (Not that I’m speaking from personal experience here…) So yeah, wow. I also felt kind of bad for Randy, because he was being honest, and he should stand by what he thinks (which Syesha agreed and said several times as she was pulling it together that it was okay that he didn’t like it.) Tough one all around. But Syesha, I believe, will come through that ahead of the game, as I think she’ll get a sympathy vote, though I know that wasn’t the intent. With the tears or the criticism.
Now, we get Jason on his second round and at first when he said he was sticking with Bob, I about choked, but this time the Bob was Dylan. Tambourine Man is really a perfect song choice for him, so a big sigh of relief for me. Until he started singing. On a stool, guitar in lap, all is good..until he blows a few lines right off. Wow, such bad timing for that. And then it never really goes anywhere from there as he loses all confidence and essentially just sings it out. The judges more or less just shrug, because at this point, they’ve thrown him under the bus for weeks and now they’re just backing up and rolling forward, lather, rinse, repeat. And this week, he handed them the damn keys. A shame. But if he survives this round…. Well, even I think he should pack his bags. Heck, I think he thinks he should.
Archie is last up and I have such mixed feelings for this kid. I think he doesn’t really have any place in popular music, despite the teeny bopper mania that accompanies him every time he so much as blinks and smiles. At best, he’ll be the next Clay Aiken. (And Clay ain’t doin’ too bad, so that’s not a diss.) Except Clay can project a personality all the way to the back row, hence his tour of duty on Broadway. I’m not sure David has that kind of natural charisma or confidence in himself. I just don’t know what to do with him. So my solution? No kidding….give him the Idol title. Seriously. Cook is going to go places and probably will do it better going the Daughtry! route. Castro…wow, who knows and I’m not sure even Jason cares. I really see Syesha as a Broadway diva, a la Jennifer Hudson. No, really. So, just give Archie the win and let the Idol machina take care of him. And his dad. (Wow…have you read interviews with this guy? Whew. Glad he’s not my daddy.)
He sings Elvis. Not kidding. He picks Love Me Tender. And had to look it up since he didn’t know it too well. And really, I should just stop right here. See above. He does a lovely, lovely rendition. Truly. Let him win, America. Go ahead. I dare you.
So, there you have it. Cook was half with us. Syesha continued to come into her own for me. I actually really enjoyed her this evening. Jason self destructed completely. And Archie Archied himself right straight into the finals.
What did you think? Who leaves? Do you really think our lovely woodland creatures fans could save him this week? Because now if Syesha leaves first…I wouldn’t be happy. And whoda thought I’d be typing that sentiment. Like, ever.
Okay…now it’s time for FUN!!! Everyone comes back, and you know, sorry gang, but I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the 100th Episode Celebration of Dancing With the Stars. I’ll be back with the MAC when they get to the results part. Wow, is this going to be great or what?
Impressions from the Best 10 Dances Of The Series…. Yay, Emmitt! And how great to see Cheryl back when I think she was having more fun. Double Yay, Apolo/Julianne! Wow, I forgot how much I enjoyed those two together – what charisma they had – even on their worst night better than Juliane and Helio ever were for me. I’d have ranked that one higher in my Top 10. It really makes me sad we didn’t get more of her great choreo this season. I probably won’t ever get tired of seeing the Drew/Cheryl freestyle. It was fun seeing the original. Wow, I forgot just how long Stacy’s legs were. Dang. Yay, Free Your Mind made it in!! My personal Numero Uno. Hi Maks! Top Dance? Mario Lopez. Not kidding. I was all set to be smug when it looked like he was shut out completely. But no. I just rewound and watched Maks and Mel again. And all was good in my world. You?
Results show….and new stuff from our old faves! Yay!!
And we start off with an all star pro dance and right away HI ASHLEY!!! Yay, Del Grosso, the new mom, is back in the ballroom and that’s just warm fuzzies right there, y’all. And that dance? Ten kinds of hot. Damn. Julianne and Apolo dance while Rascal Flatts sings and…it’s gotta be really hard to come back and train again after being away from it that long. It was nice to see them again. I liked hearing from past stars on their fave moments. Loved seeing all the past stars in the audience. Wish the camera could have done at least one slow pan down the whole row. What’s up with that? I enjoyed The Chorus Line performance, if only because Mario? Yeah, not really a Broadway caliber dancer, as was witnessed by, oh, everyone else on the floor with him. (Still bitter? Me?) And ah, crap. Mel and Maks dance…but they have to do it to Rascal Flatts, too. Sorry, but I was hoping for something all about them. (Greedy? Me?) Not a Flatt’s Fan, sorry. (Props for not lip syncing though!) But Hi Maks! And Mel? Yeah, you bounce back just fine. Wow. That was fun! (Funnier was the lead singer not knowing what in the hell to make of either dancer. Didn’t anyone tell him what kind of show he was singing on? Hahahahahaa. Cute.)
In Safety Land first? Marissa/Tony. Wow. Just…wow. But she’s so freaking thrilled and stunned, and I do love our little Tony winner, so I’m happy for her. Really, how could you look at that absolute, over the top stunned joy and not be? It’s like she just won the pageant. Loved her moment. But…I just…who’s going home then? The camera goes to Mario and Karina, who looks like she’s telling him “yep, it’s us going home.” And I fear she is right. A shame – he really deserved better, our Mario. Have to say I wish he’d gotten a different partner. Kristi/Mark are also safe.
Who else is in the semi-finals? Wow, does Karina have her bitch face on now or what? I do understand – Mario is the better dancer, so it’s got to be hard. But be hopeful, Karina! Anything can happen. Yeah, she’s so not hopeful right now. And I feel not so much sorry for her (at all – the lack of professionalism with her started in her Mario #1 season and we see it hasn’t improved which, I truly believe is a huge factor on why this season’s Mario isn’t taking off with the fans. Just sayin. Karina.) I do feel sorry for Mario 2.0 though, he really gave it his all and took all the crap they’ve thrown at him with style, grace and good manners. Not bad for the kid of this season. Perhaps his (much older) partner could take a few lessons on humility from him…
Christian and Cheryl? Safe. So excited, but if I were Cheryl? Also terrified. Sorry. I would be. Yikes. But cool though. I like them, what can I say. Just keep the arm safe, Latin Heartthrob Guy!
Leaving Jason and Edyta (who looks sad, but not pissed.) Sheesh, could Karina BE any less professional right now? Waving good bye already, all the eye rolls? Not amusing or cute. Not with that face. Sorry, Mario, but she did you no favors. And if you stay, she might be killing whatever chance you have left right now. Seriously.
And…it’s Mario and Karina. I’m so sorry, Mario. Undeserved. Karina? Not so much with the sorry.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Mario is a complete gentleman on his exit. Seriously, such a classy young man.
SO! Whaddya think? Hard to hate on Marissa who is such an inspiriation to the never-will-be-Edytas of the world, and we could use a whole lot more of that in the public eye. Still feel bad for Mario. Wouldn’t mind a Kristi win since the women celebs? Seriously under represented on this show. But, secretly? I want Christian and Cheryl to find some way to pull it out in the end. Don’t see that being possible with no chance of an injury recovery, but it will at least add to the excitement of the finals, watching them try.
Don’t forget you still have two more shows to vote on for this week’s contest – see Monday’s post for details.