After the surprise departure of Michael Johns, what shockers does American Idol have in store this week? I’m going to go ahead and say none. No one would be surprised if Carly Smithson, Syesha Mercado or Kristy Lee Cook got eliminated Wednesday. One of them probably will. This week is Mariah Carey week at American Idol, and it’s the kind of theme show that I don’t like very much. Each contestant will be performing a Mariah song, and this significantly narrows down the options for a lot of singers. Syesha and David Archuleta should be fine, but there’s no reason for someone like Jason Castro to ever sing a Mariah Carey song. But, I suppose, therein lies the fun. I’ll be here throughout tonight’s episode, updating live as the performances come.
We are underway. Mariah Carey week. Somebody will crash and burn horribly tonight. Guaranteed.
Paula, rocking some mad bangs tonight. Thought you should know.
Did you know Mariah has sold over 160 million albums world wide, and has had 18 #1 singles. And her new album came out today. Oh, and if you saw her Cribs episode from a few years back, you also know that she’s crazy. She seemed lucid when she met the singers, however.
Randy is looking for “identity” tonight. Simon says, given Randy’s history with Mariah, tonight could be make or break for Randy’s career.
David Archuleta is taking the stage first. The modesty from Archuleta punches me in the face in the behind the scenes clip. They didn’t announce the name of this song, so I don’t know it – this will be a problem for me tonight. Guess what? He’s singing a slow, cheesy ballad. Again, he’s doing it quite expertly, but this could be any of his performances from any of the weeks. Same thing every time. If you like his style, he delivered tonight. Randy loves it, says David can sing anything. Simon would have bet a million dollars that David chose that song, and he did, and Simon loved it.
Carly Smithson will be performing next. She was shocked when Michael left last week. It was unexpected. Carly is singing “Without You.” Hey, I know this song. It’s actually a Harry Nilson song, originally, I think. He may have covered it too. When I hear this song, I can only think of the devastating scene in The Rules of Attraction when Dawson’s secret admirer commits suicide in the bath tub. Great movie, by the way. Good choice for Carly, if only because it’s a great song, and since it’s not originally Mariah’s that should deflect comparisons. She may have powered it too much, considering it’s a sad song. But solid, aside from a lack of tenderness. Randy would have liked more vocal support in her lower register. Simon didn’t think she pulled it off, though he believes she is capable of it.
OK, did some Wikipeding – the song was originally a Badfinger song (the band that sounded exactly like The Beatles) and Harry Nilson covered it one year later in 1971. BTW, nobody on Idol mentioned that the song wasn’t a Mariah original.
Syesha Mercado is singing “Vanishing,” another song I think I know. Wait, no I don’t. This will be very difficult for Syesha to pull off. Syesha’s been impersonating iconic singers all season, and tonight is no different. However, I think she kind of kicked ass tonight. It was another big song, a very tough song, and she pulled it off. Randy thought she did a good job. Paula babbles, but she loved it. Simon says it was technically very, very good. Simon wonders whether she should have chosen that more people know.
Brooke White will perform next, and I am worried. Mariah isn’t really up her alley. Brooke missed her sister’s wedding last Sunday. Brooke is singing “Hero” and I most remember this from middle school dances. Mariah says she originally wrote this for Gloria Estefan. Cool fun fact. Brooke is playing the piano for the song. Her first not is wildly out of tune, but she recovers. It turns into a vintage Brooke performance. The fact that it’s a good song helps, and playing the piano always brings authenticity. Besides a few out of tune notes, I really liked the performance. Randy thought it was pretty good. Paula uses the word “authentic.” God, Paula and I are thinking alike. I don’t know what to think about that. Simon says it was a bit like ordering a hamburger and only getting the bun. Interpret that as you will.
Kristy Lee Cook is singing “Forever.” Mariah either is truly impressed with KLC, or she’s blatantly lying to her. Let’s see. She’s going for a little Patsy Cline-esque take on the song. Someone must have slipped me some qualudes tonight – I’m kind of digging this performance. It’s like an old school country ballad. A little cheesy, performed pretty well. Kristy Lee Cook, I don’t get it. I used to hate you, and now I don’t. I’m just indifferent. Randy was kind of impressed. Paula was blown away. Simon thought it was a smart performance, not great.
David Cook is going to sing “Always Be My Baby” and performing with his guitar. Or not, that was just in the mentoring session. Just Cooksie and a microphone stand. This could have been slow and haunting, but there’s too much orchestration. Still, not a bad job by Cook. He hits a nice big note near the end of the song, but that was the best part of the whole thing. A little underwhelming. Randy loved it. He calls it the most brilliant performance of the season. Simon absolutely loved it. Maybe I was wrong.
Jason Castro will do his thing on “I Don’t Want to Cry.” Mariah seems to actually give Castro some good ideas during their session. Jason is not playing the guitar tonight. The song has a Spanish, laid back acoustic vibe. Jason is bringing it again tonight. If you like Castro, then you’ll love the performance tonight. He seems to be trying a lot harder then he was, say, three or four weeks ago. Maybe he wants to win this thing. Randy didn’t really love it. Thought it was weird. Paula loved it. Simon thought it was great.
I’ll be back with my performance rankings later tonight.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of FOX)