Okay, it's Neil Diamond night on American Idol and each contestant is singing two songs. Wow, they really had to squeeze to get all that done in a hour! If they only had to sing that would be one thing, but you've got to allow time for the mentoring from ND, Ryan's cheesy remarks, critiques from the judges...well, the hour went by quickly!
After I went to all that trouble to pick songs for the contestants they just up and did whatever they wanted, except for Jason's valiant attempt at "Forever in Blue Jeans."
Hey, I just realized I've never done an AI recap blog before. I'm trying to type real fast like someone's going to be waiting for my insights with bated breath. Okay, slow down...hmmm...does this need any particular format to work right? Ah, who cares, we'll just dive in.
Jason: 1st song: "Forever in Blue Jeans" I felt like he did a pretty good job on this. He showed off his "lower register" as Paula and Randy like to say. He played guitar and he always manages to keep the tempo up a little better when he plays and sings at the same time. This wasn't a big show-stopper, and it didn't have anything particularly distinctive about it, but it wasn't BAD either.
2nd song: "September Morn" Oh, well, I guess he couldn't be up-tempo on two songs in one night. This one was just okay. I mean he didn't do anything wrong (he said afterward he coughed or choked or something right before he started singing, but I didn't notice that). But he didn't do anything exciting with it.
Jason is reminding me of Bo Bice right now. Their styles are different, of course. But Bo got to a point near this stage of the show where it seemed like he was just too mellow to compete. Every week he came out and sang his songs and every week they sounded like "Bo songs", and when the judges criticized him he smiled graciously and said "It's all good, man!" Now, Bo did come in second, so maybe Bo knows Idol and maybe this is a fine little strategy. We'll have to see how it works for Jason.
David C. 1st song: "I'm Alive" Awesome! He played electric guitar on this one, with the initials "AC" on his jacket and on the guitar...is that in honor of his brother? I listened to this song on Youtube this afternoon after I saw the spoilers of what they were going to sing tonight, and I thought at the time David could do it justice and "make it his own" as they like to say.
2nd song: "All I Really Need Is You" Again, awesome! I was not familiar with either of these songs, and apparently they're not very popular, but that works out so well for David. The way he sang this one reminded me of someone else...maybe Bryan Adams?
David Cook is either the only one of the contestants with the musical ability to adapt these old songs and make them sound fresh, or he's the only one with the savvy to realize that it's the best strategy. I'm really torn because I would like to see him win the whole thing because I believe he's the best one out there, but I also worry about what kind of nasty dreck they'll make him record.
Brooke 1st song: "I'm A Believer" Oh, oh my. Brook is wearing jeans and a ruffly shirt and has her hair flying all over the place and she's playing guitar and singing like she's at a hoedown. Did she somehow get the impression that this was a country song?
2nd song: "I Am...I Said" This is one of my least-favorite ND songs. That line about the chair just to make it rhyme...eek! Brooke changes it up, following ND's advice and instead of pretending to be born and bred in New York she instead travels between the "two shores" of Arizona and Los Angeles. Okay.
I liked Brooke in the early rounds, but she's become tiresome. I'll give her points tonight for not crying and not being too mouthy while the judges tried to talk. But she never seems to quite get it. Tom said she was singing like Dolly Parton tonight; I thought she was going for Sheryl Crow...either way, it didn't work.
David A. 1st song: "Sweet Caroline" Oh, someone please hit me over the head with something! First of all, in order to fit some semblance of story into the time available someone had to chop big pieces of the song out and cut and paste other parts together. Which made it look like David was forgetting the words. Or maybe he really was forgetting the words, but I don't think so this time. This was dreadful, he was not in tune half the time. This was too much song for him.
2nd song: "America" Heh...heh..heh...Simon and I agree about this strategy. :) Oh, how nice, he even got a flag background behind him. "Ticking all the boxes" indeed.
David A. proves, like several others before him, that you may be a prodigy in your own little world, but it just isn't enough when you're placed up against older more-seasoned performers with some life experience. He's probably a nice kid, and if the stories of him being pressured by family are true, well, that's just sad and disgusting. But it's time for him to go home, and AI really should raise the lower age limit a few years.
Syesha 1st song: "Hello" Syesha shows more personality tonight on both her songs than she had been earlier in the season. I think she figured out last week that she could act like she was enjoying herself and people would buy it. She has a good voice, and she's a pretty girl, and this was a good song choice for her.
2nd song: "Thank the Lord For the Night Time" Another good choice, this showed off her voice well. Of all the performers I think she came closest to singing the songs the way Neil Diamond intended them to be sung. You can take that however you want to!
Syesha seems to do really well with the Broadway numbers and she might be a good actress. Several AI alumni have gone on to Broadway, maybe this will be her route to fame. The problem I have in judging a performer like her is that her style of music is one I probably will never love, no matter who performs it.
At our house someone else does the phone dialing on AI night, so it's not up to me to decide who to vote for. :) I think amongst the four of us we all liked David Cook best, but I think Jason is getting some sympathy votes from the dialer, too.
Tomorrow night, Neil Diamond and Someone I've Never Heard Of will perform. Plus a cheesy group number...will they do "Crunchy Granola Suite" or "Red, Red Wine"?