The River's Badge

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

American Idol - BROADWAY!

I hate to admit it, but I was already getting a little bored with this season's American Idol. Maybe it was getting too predictable. Same comments from the judges, same weird desperate performances from some, same yackety yackety yack from Brooke. (yawn)

Well, I never would have guessed that Broadway week would shake things up! To me, this was one of the best weeks of the season. And I enjoyed seeing Andrew Lloyd Webber. He's kind of funny; not just funny-odd, but funny.

(I'm writing this before the results show, so I really hope I'm not in for an unpleasant surprise).

Before I dig deeper into the performances this week, let me just say this: I'm not jumping on the "Jason was a disaster" bandwagon. I thought (and apparently, I'm in the minority) that his was one of the best performances this week.

If you're going to choose a song like "Memory" to sing in this competition, the last thing you want to do is sing it the way we've heard it one bazillion times. I thought Jason's rendition was sweet and heartfelt.

But don't just take my word for it. A notable writer at Entertainment Weekly, Michael Slezak, wrote this:

"Here's the crazy thing: I've spent four seasons covering American Idol for EW.com, and never before have I been more in agreement with Paula, and less in agreement with Simon, than with regard to their respective opinions of Jason's ''Memory.'' Granted, the guy probably should've Googled his song choice at some point in the last week — thereby robbing us of his ''I didn't know a cat was singing it'' sound bite — but his performance, well, I'm not even gonna try to pretend it didn't touch me in a way that never would've happened if it had been trotted out in the traditional Big Diva Number fashion. Paula's point that there was a Joe Cocker quality to the performance made perfect sense; Simon's ''miserable'' label left me aghast. I mean, there's a purity to the dreadlocked dude's voice, and an emotional connection so deep, it transcends the occasional wobble of pitch."

So, while it may be the popular thing to do to nod in agreement with everyone else, it might be the right thing to do to listen and make up one's own mind.

So, I am hoping that Jason's departure won't be the "unpleasant surprise" I mentioned earlier.

EDIT: Whew!!

By far, the worst performance of the week was Little Archie's. OMG, it was so boring! Why do they (judges, producers) keep propping him up? They told him he did a good job! He didn't! He did a lackluster, Ambien-like performance. Good god, if someone held a gun to my head and demanded that I tell them what song he sang, I would say, "Just shoot me now" (which is sort of what I was thinking as I was watching him sing.)

I understand that, for economic reasons (keeping the tweenies calling and texting, and ensuring future viewers), AI kind of needs him to win, or at least place in the top two, but the judges could show a little integrity. Especially Simon, who is pretty much the only judge with any sense or lucidity.

But enough ranting for now.

Brooke. Well, what can I say? She does something like this every week. Either she's trembling uncontrollably, or she's messing up somehow. And she didn't disappoint this week!

Actually, her singing was fine (once she got going). But the start - stop - start was just too distracting. She owes her fans BIG TIME for allowing her to slip through this week.

Syesha did a really good job, and she's not one of my faves, by any means. Actually, her performance on the results show was even better than on performance night. But I think she figured she was going home, so she just threw caution to the wind. Funny what one can do when the pressure is off.

I'm not one bit surprised that Carly was sent home. And I thought her performance this week was rather good (better than her usual). It's just that Carly never developed a following. And I think that had a lot to do with the fact that she telegraphed her desperation every week. That just makes people uncomfortable.

I figured it would be either she or Syesha who went home, regardless of their performances. That's just the way it is. And yes, popularity does have a lot to do with it. It's only partially a singing competition.

Well, that leaves just one contestant to review.

I happened to catch only two performances live on Tuesday night, and since David Cook was last, I was lucky enough to see him.

I'll admit, I was a bit worried. I didn't know how he would handle a Broadway tune.

Well.

Can I just say he was AMAZING??

You know, he was going along fine. I thought, okay, he can pull this off. No damage done, even though this genre isn't (I thought) his element.

Then he hit that ONE NOTE in the middle of the song.

I raised an eyebrow and said, out loud, "Well!"

Then it just got BETTER.

Call me cuckoo, but I think this may have been my favorite David Cook performance of the season, and that's saying a lot.

I was flabbergasted.

Here it is, for posterity:

DAVID COOK - MUSIC OF THE NIGHT





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