The National Anthem is a very difficult song. The vocal range needed to sing the anthem properly is vast, and even good singers can have a hell of a time performing it well. American Idol contestants, after their season, often get the chance to perform the anthem at sporting events. Both David Archuleta and Syesha Mercado performed it at a sporting event during their Top 3-prescribed trip home (Syesha for the Tampa Bay Rays, Archie for the Utah Jazz). Last night, David Cook performed it on a grand stage (though nothing compared to your typical episode of American Idol), singing the anthem before Game 3 of the NBA Finals at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Since we’ve seen all three sing the anthem (and since I’ve received a healthy amount of criticism for an Archie remark I recently made), it seemed like the right time to grade the respective performances of the American Idol top 3.
I’ve embedded YouTube videos for each performance. It appears that all good versions of Archuleta’s performance has been taken down by the TV networks, which is unfortunate, but the audio is good enough to give us the gist.
He starts the anthem out of tune, but recovers from there. He doesn’t show much subtlety here, really just powering through the whole thing. It’s a confident performance, but not a very good one. Cook has some nice moments on the high parts, but he doesn’t connect with the song. It also appears that he’s losing his voice a bit, which is understandable, given what he’s been though the last four or five months.
Archuleta is a natural anthem singer; it’s a song that allows his voice to shine. He sings it in tune, and Archuleta fans loved what he did with it. I have some problems with the unnecessary runs he throws into the performance, but this is a criticism I’ve had of almost every one of his performances. At some points, he belts out a note that has nothing to do with the actual song. Overall, solid performance.
Syesha always had a tendency to sing out of tune and, with the a cappella nature of the anthem, I was expecting some cringe-worthy moments. There were none. I thought Syesha’s rendition, form beginning to end, was stellar. Like Archuleta, there were a couple of spots that contained unnecessary vocal Olympics, but besides that, it was a great performance with some minor, yet effective moments of creativity.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of ABC)