According to Ryan, three of our final four have been number one in the votes at some point so far. Poor Syesha. Tonight our wannabe superstars are tackling “songs that shaped rock and roll,” as defined by the curators of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The last time AI had a theme this vague, we ended up with the curse of the living po-hawk. What everlasting horrors await us tonight? Well slip on your leather pants and pile on some eyeliner, and we’ll find out together.
Do-Do-Do-Dos and Don’ts
Do you know what rock and roll is? Do you know where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is? Yeah, me too! So let’s just dispense with that clip package, why not? Everyone’s tackling two songs again tonight, but Paula can rest easy because we’re not going to make her wait until after everyone’s sung to give her
prophecies nonsensejudgments. She’ll get to spout her sunshine as soon as it pops into her head. Score.
David Cook is starting us off tonight with Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf.” This is one of those songs I know, but I have no idea why. I also have no idea what it’s about, but for Cook it’s all about the musicality of it, and something undefined about this song that he thinks will fit his style. He’s on stage in a black leather coat because he is a rocker, making eyes and stalking around with the mic stand because he is a rocker, and singing too. His voice is nice in the mid-range parts and not in the lower, as per usual, but this is a pretty nondescript performance from him.
Randy didn’t like it; he thinks David picked the wrong song, and so it was “just okay.” I think every time Randy says “that was just okay,” he should have to give me five dollars. What do you think? I’ll split it with you if you back me up on this. Paula slept through punning class this week, as she says David’s “Hungry” left her with a big appetite. Simon thought it was copycat, but that it was good enough to get him through to the final three. Yeah, but he probably could’ve come on stage and just blown his nose for 90 seconds without ruining his chances at the final three, so that isn’t saying much.
Riding the Comeback Wave
Syesha gets to make like a sincere person and chat with Ryan tonight about how much she’s looking forward to the upcoming tour. She’s excited to meeting all of her fans. That’s sweet. Yeah, her fans are pretty awesome to have kept her in this all these weeks. She should take them out to dinner. Get a nice little booth and talk over good times.
It so happens that tonight Syesha, who never met an aspect of typecasting she didn’t like, is doing CCR’s “Proud Mary,” as immortalized by Ike & Tina Turner. She admits to being daunted by the massive amount of covers there are of this song, as well as by the inevitable comparison to Tina, but of course she won’t let that get in her way. To be honest, if I were in her place, I would jump at the chance to do this too. So she’s out on stage in a gold lame’ slip vamping it up, dancing around like wildfire, and having a bunch of fun. I can’t object to that. Her voice is even under pretty good control, especially in the first half, but even as she goes for the big yelling notes it’s still pretty well regulated. Randy, of course, loved it like pudding. He says that Syesha showed up and showed out, and just in time. Paula calls her pretty and tells Syesha that she is finally developing a presence. Better late than never? Simon must always be the swan amidst the ducklings, so he smirks that Syesha ended up a bad imitation of Tina. Agreed, but sometimes it’s about the journey, not the destination. Such as.
That’s One Dead Sheriff
Carly’s in the audience! Hi, Carly! Jason’s going to sing! Yay. He gets barely a minute to talk about his song choice, and in that time he says pretty much nothing. He is singing Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff,” which … is interesting. It’s a fine performance if you like Jason’s voice and style; this is pretty much what he always gives, lots of tension and back-phrasing and stuff, and his voice sounds like always.
The judges pan it. Randy calls it karaoke, and Simon’s probably pissed that now he has to call it cabaret. Paula says he really rocked the audience, which is good, but that she wasn’t crazy about his performance. Simon tells him to stand back. My guess is it’s because he’s about to throw flowers and coins at his feet! Let’s see. No. He calls Jason’s song atrocious, and resents that he mucked with Bob Marley’s arrangement, and says that the singing was the worst he’s ever heard. Simon also says “I don’t know what you were thinking.” Jason smiles and says, “I was thinking Bob Marley!” First time I ever thought he was cute. Ryan asks why they’re being such bastards to him, and they don’t have much to say except, top four, whatever. Paula does not want them to hurt her special little guy, so she cuts off the negativity and says she’s looking forward to Jason’s next song. I bet Jason’s not.
Standing a Chance
Archie’s still making slow but steady progress on the road to real boy. He interviews about picking Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” because he used to love to sing it in his room to himself. That’s very sad. The performance is great though. This arrangement is very bare and effective at showcasing David’s voice, with just tom-toms and cymbals (or triangles? something tinkly.) providing the beat. He inserts some Sean Kingston in there for a second for some weird reason, but other than that this is a return to everything I liked about “Shop Around,” which incidentally was the last time I cared for something he did. Which, incidentally, was like two months ago. Just saying.
Randy gushes like this kid just bought him a house. Paula congratulates him for being seventeen and listening to what the judges say. According to Simon, David could’ve whistled the whole thing and still been better than Jason. What did that boy do to Simon anyway? Threaten to overtake his favorite or something? Ryan asks Archie if he’s about to pass out, perhaps finally picking up on the plank of wood that David turns into whenever he’s waiting to hear criticism or results. David is gasping like a guppy up there and not that comfortable to watch.
Who’s On Second
David Cook again, this time in a silver-pinstriped jacket because he’s a star. He’s in the stools with Ryan trying to talk about how much he’s challenging himself, but girls keep interrupting him with their love. Too bad. He’s singing The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” posing with the guitar and doing the low growl thing again for the beginning, but just when you think the key’s going to change and he’s going to start rocker-screaming – it does and he does! Surprise! The audience loved it enough to never ever stop screaming about it.
The judges are all straight, no chaser with their approval on this one. Randy says this is the Cook he likes. Is that a message? Paula just wants more David Cook period, and she says "thanks for sharing," like this is group therapy and he’s just told a story about getting coal for Christmas. Oh, Paula. Simon says, simply, “Welcome back, David Cook.” I guess that message is clear then.
Syesha is putting a knife through my heart, singing “Change Is Gonna Come.” She says it means a lot to her because it was composed at “a pivotal time in history” and now she’s at a similar point in her life. Really, Sy? Your moving on in the Idol game is a whole lot like the world’s interminable struggle for civil rights? Well, okay! I’m sure this song is important to her, but I hate this. I’m sorry to be so unobjective, but yeah. No. To see her glory-noting through this just sucks. I’m sorry it happened. Her voice sounds all right, and she is very pretty in a gold gown. Moving on.
Randy thinks she overdid it and got too fancy with the melody trying to be affecting and emotional, but he didn’t think the final product was right. Paula gives her an ovation and tells Syesha that she turned in a superstar performance. She also says, “You have changed, and you have come.” Whatevs. That makes Syesha cry, for real. Ugly tear face and everything, so it must be real. Simon says he wants to be fair … and so he agrees … with … Paula. He thought she was fantastic. Syesha’s still crying and talking about meaning, and she’s saying some stuff about researching civil rights to do the song, and … moving on.
Hey, Mr. Mm-en-een-am?
Jason’s back in his folk niche and on his guitar again with Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.” He’s strumming and singing nicely, like he does and then, what the French toast? He mumbles through the whole “jingle-jangle morning” line, and I’m about to write this night all the way off. Excuse me a moment, won’t you?
*pours a cup of St. John’s Wort tea and sips deeply*
Well, all right! Hey, American Idol is on, whaddaya know. The judges are talking to Jason. Randy gives him the chance to slap his own self for forgetting the lyrics, and Jason, poor thing, takes it. Then Randy says he wasn’t feeling Jason tonight. Paula verbally pats him on the back with some stuff about him blowing her away in general. Simon says for him to pack his suitcase. Ouch. He’s sure brusque and to the point tonight. I guess he must be tired of all his analogies too. All the girls in the audience scream nice things at Jason. Jason looks like he’s crying inside. This is a really drear night. Sometimes Idol needs more cowbell.
Tender is the Sprite
Perhaps the pure heart and earnest soul of Archuleta can get us back right. He’s like, reading a book report to the camera about Elvis and “Love Me Tender.” He’s such an elementary schooler. So he says it’ll be fun and cool, because he’s not yet done a love song. Yeah, until I see a birth certificate, I’m working under the assumption that this boy is twelve, so I don’t really care about hearing love songs from him. But the constant squeals coming from the audience tell me I might be alone on that one. Archie’s version doesn’t sound anything like Elvis, but more like Brian McKnight.
Randy says Little David caressed each tender word. Ew. Paula says this was one of her favorite performances from him, and she felt his heart. Ew. Simon says he didn’t just beat the competition tonight, but he absolutely crushed them. High, high praise. Suspiciously high. Disproportionately high. OMG, he’s totally going home tomorrow. That’s how that works right? No, actually, I think it’s finally going to be Syesha. She’s the only one left who doesn’t play an instrument, and therefore she would impede the progress of the Idol All American Finale Family Band, so it must finally be her time.
At any rate, thanks to the judges’ ramblings, my DVR cut off right after we got David’s number, so that’s all for tonight! Tomorrow we’ll find out who’ll be packing their bags for those swell hometown parades, and who’ll just be sent packing. SHOCKING! results are sure to be afoot, and the always rockin’ AJane shall recount every overly melodramatic detail for your reading pleasure. Be there or be a circle. Which would definitely look weird, so just be there.
For some reason, I can’t get my AI to go past 10. Does yours go to eleven?