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22 Apr

American Idol tackles Andrew Lloyd Webber

Tonight American Idol had the daunting task of taking on the songs of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. This is Broadway music, folks, not pop-songs, and I wasn’t sure the Idols were going to pull this one off.

Paula Abdul seemed unsure as well, as she was rather subdued and for her, not too wordy in her comments. Or maybe she switched to some downers this evening. Yes, I like poking fun at Paula, god love her.

Syesha Mercado - “One Rock and Roll Too Many”: Syesha gets the top points for the night for her showmanship. She moved around on stage like she was a Broadway actor/singer, even doing a little sultry dance step or two with the orchestra leader. She was obviously comfortable and in her element as far as performance is concerned. Her vocals were good, but I found it a bit old-fashioned. Not so much in a “bad” way…but more in a “boring” way. Like just about every song in the film The Fabulous Baker Boys. If Syesha hadn’t had to go first, I think her showmanship would have made her memorable enough to make her safe, but since she did go first, it might be too little too late. So Not Safe.

Jason Castro - “Memory”: Jason is a likable guy, no doubt. He’s also a fair singer/performer, with oodles of quiet soulfullness that many groove on. Tonight however, he seemed nervous and out of his element. It wasn’t a bad performance - towards the middle he started to sound more confident and vocally with it - but he definitely doesn’t have a power-style voice. It was too soft and a little breathy/squeaky, which imo doesn’t fit the song at all. Paula tried to soothe Jason by saying it was kind of like how Joe Cocker had a soft/rock/pop style to “You Are So Beautiful.” When she did, there was a huge guffaw from my left as my husband expressed his amused disbelief at that comment. Sorry, Jason, I have to agree with my hubby - you’re no Joe Cocker. Not safe.

Brooke White - “You Must Love Me”: Brooke messed up the lyrics or something at the very start, stopping the band and starting over. This is the 2nd time she’s done that this season, and I think it’s going to cost her. I think she knew it, too, because after that she seemed so nervous and uptight that it affected her vocally. She didn’t sound bad, but it was a bit shaky and strained. During the judges comment section Brooke looked like she wanted to cry again, but not in joy this time. Poor gal. Not safe.

David Archuleta - “Think of Me”: Mr. Webber advised David A. to keep his eyes open. David managed to do that most of the time, and his vocal, once again, was pleasant and professional. But also again, it was as boring as dried out dog-poop. Is it just me, or is David A. becoming more and more dull as time goes on? He needs to break out and do something besides these dull predictable melody ballads. This performance barely had any power notes or vocal runs, either, so it was especially snooze-inducing. Here is where I think the AI voting system shows it’s broken-ness, since I think he’ll be safe, but shouldn’t be.

Carly Smithson - “Jesus Christ Superstar”: All right, someone is going to sing from my favorite Webber show of all time. And Carly’s the one to do it. I just knew with her particular voice she’d do well with this one, and I wasn’t disappointed. Strong vocal, good stage performance, great smiling/”I’m having a blast” attitude - Carly cooked. I’m not sure if the voters will think this one great performance is enough to erase some of her lesser ones, but I can hope so, so I’ll say she’s safe.

David Cook - “The Music of the Night”: This is the night where David Cook finally made me like him at least a little bit. I don’t care if Simon prefers David C.’s “gritty” aspect, I like the emoting-stage-persona much better. He didn’t project alternative-cocky attitude and I actually felt the song, so to speak. Vocally, one has to admit that David Cook doesn’t have the best “stage” type voice - the lower notes, for instance, didn’t have the kind of projection needed - but it was very good. He’s safe…and David A. looks more and more like he’s gonna lose to David C.

So…bottom three - Jason, Brooke, and Syesha, with Brooke going home. I don’t think the voters are going to forgive her 2nd false start and her strained performance. I like Brooke and would probably buy at least her first record to check it out, but she is not America’s Idol. ‘Til next time.

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