AI Finals Week 3 – “The Year You Were Born”

As with last week, comments were written live during the show…

Ramiele Malubay (1987) – “Alone” (Heart)
Welcome to the Death Slot. Ramiele, you’re not Ann Wilson. That said, you weren’t bad, either. A middle-of-the-pack song. And Paula is still delusional.

Jason Castro (1987) – “Fragile” (Sting)
It’s his 21st birthday. He started a bit thin, but picked up steam to go from blah to OK. The facial contortions were a bit much. He’ll probably hang in.

Syesha Mercado (1987) – “If I Was Your Woman” (Stephanie Mills)
FAR better than last week, and we get our first quality performance of the night. She made this song work for her, and it was a simply enjoyable performance. This week, she *deserves* to stay.

Chikezie (1985) – “If Only For One Night” (Luther Vandross)
It takes guts to do Luther’s music. It wasn’t a home run, but it was credible performance (well ahead of the jug band nonsense from last week**). I liked it, and think he’ll be back.

Brooke White (1983) – “Every Breath You Take” (The Police)
Nothing like a false start to inspire confidence. It’s just me, of course, but she completely missed the song. It wasn’t terrible, but this could put her in the bottom three.

Michael Johns (1978) – “We Are The Champions” (Queen)
Umm… *thud*. A bad-karaoke, trying to scream in place of singing, massacre of a classic. Bottom three with a bullet. What the HELL are the judges thinking? If you yell a jock jam, you get ahead?

Carly Smithson (1983) – “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” (Bonnie Tyler)
Thank you, Carly. That’s how to take a song we know and make it work. Where Michael screamed, you sang. Some might think it’s a little too close to the original, but so what? Best of class so far. At this point, I am convinced there’s something other than Coca-Cola in the judges’ sippy cups.

David Archuleta (1990) – “You’re The Voice” (David Foster*)
There was an enthusiasm here we didn’t see in Beatles weeks… and that enthusiasm made for a better performance. Solid, and he’ll be back, although Cowell had a point about this being an odd choice for him.

Kristy Lee Cook (1984) – “God Bless The USA” (Lee Greenwood)
Was this a transparent attempt to save her, so she’ll get the red-state yahoo vote? She gave this the same bland take she’s given everything. This was a chance to show something that wasn’t robotic and she coasted. It’s another bottom three performance. What was Cowell gushing about?

David Cook (1982) – “Billie Jean” (Michael Jackson)
Whoa. Acoustic guitar and a more soulful take on a song we all know than I expected. Wow. Wow. WOW. He decided to show his range, and he knocked it out of the park. He doesn’t have to win this to have a post-Idol career, but he’s got a DAMN good chance to be the seventh Idol.

THE BIG FINISH: Ramiele’s version of Alone grew on me the second time. Jason’s take on Sting was a bit thin. Syesha sounded good, this worked. Chikezie got to his strength tonight. Brooke did OK, but is still in the bottom three. Michael didn’t sing, he yelled. Bah. Carly’s top three tonight. David Archuleta took an odd song choice and made it work. Kristy avoided cheese-level, but didn’t get out of the bottom three. And David Cook is a star. ‘Nuff said.

BOTTOM THREE: Brooke, Michael, Kristy Lee.
SHOULD GO: Based on tonight, Michael.
WILL GO: Kristy Lee’s luck runs out as I think Michael’s Aussie charm will save him.

The * on “You’re the Voice” is because it’s actually a 1986 song (originally sung by ex-Little River Band frontman John Farnham, it’s the song that started his solo career, and I remember it from the “Whispering Jack” album), but Archuleta got to sing it because David Foster covered it in 1990.

** Yeah, I liked it last week, but I went back and listened again and it lost its charm. đŸ™‚


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