American Idol 7: Top 8 Performance Rankings
I can only explain it like this: I would rather listen to Modest Mouse than Christina Aguilera.  I would rather listen to Bright Eyes than Ne-Yo.  I would rather listen to Wilco than Michael Bolton.  My point is, I would rather listen to a mediocre singer sing good songs that a great singer sing mediocre songs.  This was the thought that most came to mind as I watched tonight's episode of American Idol.  Across the board, the performances were technically sound, so how am I supposed to rank them?  The answer is easy: in a completely subjective manner.  The rankings below pretty much only reflect how much I liked the song each contestant sang as opposed to how well they sang it.  Maybe that's not how we're supposed to judge American Idol, but it's all I got.

1. Jason Castro - “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

I love this song.  The slowed down ukulele version is my favorite version of the iconic tune and I thought Jason rocked it.  There's not much more I can say.  I can understand people who don't like what Jason brings to the table, but I do.  He's one of the two or three singers on American Idol who I'd consider buying an album by.

2. Brooke White - “You've Got a Friend”

This is the same thing as with Jason.  Either you like Brooke or you don't.  Nothing she does is going to change your mind at this point.  I love Carole King, and I love that Brooke is actively trying to be a new Carole King.  What choice did I have but to like this performance, despite there being nothing spectacular about it.

3. Michael Johns - “Dream On”

Song choice, again.  It was a great one.  The beginning of the song was a little rough, but after watching it for the second time, Michael really nailed the second half, that last bit of falsetto included.

4. David Archuleta - “Angels”

This was maybe the most technically sound performance of the night, but I didn't enjoy it.  Archuleta (and I can't believe more people aren't pointing this out) is singing the same song every week.  Slow, cheesy, big ballad.  He sings them extremely well, as he did tonight, but it's redundant.  It doesn't help that I'm not fond of Archuleta in general, but I wish he'd at least try to switch things up. 

5. Kristy Lee Cook - “Anyways”

This was a great song choice and another solid performance from the indestructible girl from Oregon.  I wasn't a fan of the song, and you could sense Kristy's lack of vocal power in the chorus.  But, this will be good enough to keep her around for another week (and, wow, I never thought KLC would make it to the Top 7 and it wouldn't be a travesty). 

6. Syesha Mercado - “I Believe”

I'm not all that familiar with Fantasia's work (OK, not at all) so I didn't know this song.  And, with this being my first time hearing it, I wasn't impressed with the song.  Syesha sang it fine, though, so I have to give her props for that.  Unfortunately, I think Syesha may be going home on Thursday.

7. David Cook - “Innocent”

This is all about song choice.  It was terrible.  After a string of great performances, I'll give Cook a mulligan.

8. Carly Smithson - “The Show Must Go On”

If it isn't Syesha going home on Thursday, it will be Carly.  There was nothing terrible about her performance vocally, but Simon's criticism was right on: it was an angry performance.  Weirdly so.  I didn't get it.

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of FOX)