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'American Idol': 8 Stabs at Inspiration

This week, the Idolettes are charged with singing inspirational songs to warm up the crowd to drop some serious coin less than 24 hours later on "Idol Gives Back," which, judging by the number of celebs who've signed on, promises to be the greatest orgy of excess in the history of television. It's gotten so out of hand Fox is going to have to start the show 30 minutes before prime time even begins.

Michael Johns gets all cause-y right off the bat, saying he's gonna sing Aerosmith's "Dream On" because he came to this country with a dream and if you dream and are willing to work hard you can achieve your dream. Mistaking us for someone who cares.

Judge Randy Jackson jumps on the Treacle Wagon, marveling at how important this week is because it will enable us to learn who the Idolettes really are. But then Randy starts to suck air through his teeth -- the international sign for "not great singing, just a'ight."

Randy says he doesn't buy Michael as Aerosmith. Me neither -- maybe it's the short-sleeved button-down shirt, ascot and vest -- a kind of aeronautical engineer's idea of a rocker look.
Michael's not taking Randy's lip. "You've got a 20-piece orchestra here -- I'm up here living the American Dream!"

"This show is about being the best singer -- not about dreams," Randy shoots back. Oh, Snap!
"I couldn't disagree more," Judge Paula Abdul says. Her spectacular shoes bob in agreement. In honor of "Idol Gives Back" week, Paula is dressed for a Renaissance festival.

Paula says "Dream On" was the perfect song for Michael -- so much so that her Chihuahuas nearly joined him on stage for the high notes. I think she meant that as a compliment. Judge Simon Cowell doesn't like it when Michael impersonates a rock star; he says he should stick with impersonating R&B stars.

Show host Ryan Seacrest wonders how Simon's Chihuahuas reacted to the performance. Simon says he doesn't have any Chihuahuas. "Take a tight shot -- you'll see," Seacrest cracks. Simon doesn't get it and, god help us, turns to Paula for guidance. Paula's shoes whisper to Simon they will explain later.

Syesha Mercado tells Seacrest she misses last week's bootee, Ramiele Malubay, because "she was the only one that really got me." Which is inspiring the other Idolettes to pray Syesha gets whacked this week. She says she's going to sing "'I Believe' by Fantasia" and then sings a very pale version of the song previous Idolette winner Fantasia Barrino slew. It's only slightly better than last week when Syesha did a pale version of a song Whitney Houston nailed.

Randy and Syesha get into a lot of crosstalk when Randy suggests she's no Fantasia. "Are you comparing me to her?" Syesha asks, incredulously.

Well, duh -- yes.

Jason "Dreamy Blue Eyes" Castro does the Israel Kamakawiwo'ole version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow. " Which is nice, except that, like the version he's covering, the lyrics are botched. Do not mess with me and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." This seems to be is totally lost on the judges who, we've been learning this season, have holes in their musical education the size of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.

"Jason Castro is back in the hot -- that was the hottest. Blazing molten hot!" Randy gushes.
"Honest to god it was the perfect song and I loved that version," Paula gushes as her shoes heave.

"The first time I heard that I wasn't sure; the second time I love it; and the third time -- fantastic," chimes in Simon.

DBE has become the Grim Reaper of "American Idol" -- both Kamakawiwo'ole and Jeff Buckley, whose version of "Hallelujah" secured Jason's safety weeks earlier in the competition, died tragically young.

Kristy Lee Cook comes on in her trademark sparkly tank top and tight pants. Is this her good luck outfit? She sings this week's country-gal tune, "Anyway." Randy gives her the "pitchy moment" line; Paula tells him to stuff a sock in it and calls it Kristy Lee's "best by far." Simon says, "You were very very good indeed. Tonight you look like a star."

Paula's shoes get so excited, they are in grave danger of wardrobe malfunctioning. They have our undivided attention for the rest of the night.

Fox reality programming chief Mike Darnell is sitting in Simon's lap. We love Mike, whom Simon correctly identifies as the "Dark Lord of 'American Idol.'" Sadly, no one ever explains why Mike is sitting on Simon's lap.

David Cook sings "Innocent" pretentiously. Randaula doesn't love it. Simon correctly calls it "a teensy-weensy bit pompous." Paula tries to give him points for daring to have written "Give Back" in ink on the palm of his hand, which he flashes, insufferably, at the end of his performance. Now Carly Smithson, she would have had it tattooed on her forehead. Nonetheless David C.'s fans in the audience are wildly impressed at his bravery and roar. He gives them a condescending Queen Mother wave.

Carly does not have "Give Back" tattooed on her face. But she delivers a very angry performance of Queen's "The Show Must Go On." Randaula doesn't feel connected with it. Simon says she looks great, which is true, but she oversang the song and lost control of it and her anger was "out of kilter with the evening" and he predicts she's in trouble this week. Carly says she lost it about halfway through the song when she saw Simon scowling.

This year's winner, David Archuleta, apologizes for practicing late at night and waking up the neighbors. He sings "Angels" because he's already blown through his inspirational song repertoire -- that's what he does -- and this is what's left. He says this song reminds him there's always a light at the end of the tunnel. Which is good to hear right about now in this evening of endless blandorama inspirational song singing. The smoke machines are in full gear during his performance but the song never takes off, so to speak.

Nonetheless, Randy calls it David's "hottest moment of the whole season -- crazy hot!" Paula says the screaming of the little girls in the audience sums up how she feels, too. Her shoes struggle for air in her bustier. Simon can't figure why this song has never been a hit in this country because it's one of the best ever pop songs. David will "sail through" to the next round, Simon boldly predicts.

And, finally, Nanny Brooke gets the chance to performs "You've Got a Friend" in the manner of the love child of Mister Rogers and Carole King, ruining the song for us forever. Randy didn't love it; Nanny Brooke, her Sad but Loving Look screwed firmly on her face, simpers that it's okay. Paula starts to yammer about how her sister used to play the song over and over, then collapses with "I love you" to Brooke, who "I love you, too's" right back at her. We resist the urge to take up smoking.

Simon calls Nanny B.'s performance "a pleasant walk in the park," adding, "Thank you." Nanny Brooke is so moved by her own performance she's shaking, as Seacrest notes, hugging her to comfort her.

As The Washington Post Team TV's Designated Backup 'American Idol' Watcher Tamara Jones notes, if we were playing Paula's All the Colors of the Rainbow Game, tonight's show is mauve. My cellphone ringtone is more inspirational. We won't think about that. We'll think about Brad Pitt, just hours away, on "Idol Gives Back."

By Lisa de Moraes  |  April 9, 2008; 6:12 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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Next: "American Idol": Give Till It Hurts Your Agent



Any guy who sings Judy Garland, with a ukulele, who's name doesn't start with Tiny or end with Tim, should be hit in the face with a snow shovel.

Posted by: wmsiii | April 9, 2008 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Jason Castro is really not very good. He gets by on the Teenie Bopper vote, I'm guessing. He mumbles horribly, hiding behind a guitar, and really doesn't have a voice that's anything more than ordinary.

He should be hit with Ruby Slippers

Posted by: Glenda | April 9, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Coroner Munchikin enters ... cue music

"We thoroughly examined her ....

Posted by: Glenda | April 9, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Talk about uninspired. Blah. Even the people I like bored me this week. I had to fast forward through KLC, I can't take her anymore.

Wow Paula, nice shoes. I thought for sure it would get Simon off his game as big of a distraction as they were, but he managed to hold it together. Maybe he's a leg man.

I like Jason and he has huge potential, but when he softens his voice, it comes across as weak. He needs to shake the shyness and man up. It is only a matter of time before he does a Jack Johnson song, if he lasts that long. And the teenies really love Jack, so doing it well will keep Jason around.

Brooke has to stop crying and I'm even more tired of David A., which I didn't think was possible.

Posted by: mdg | April 9, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Lisa! and thank g*d for this blog because after reading about HBO's documentary last night and this morning's story about abandoned animals thanks to the housing market, I seriously needed some levity.

I only watch so I can read here, the next day.

And, if Bono even gets on the stage with the Idolettes, I will totally barf. Unless, of course, he buries his nose in KLC shoes.

Posted by: con-e | April 9, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I thought Jason C. was good last night and he's cute.

Carly was too angry for the song she was singing.

Syesha has no personality. Singing big pop songs only highlights her limitations. She's gone tonight

Posted by: Brooklyn | April 9, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm picturing a national tour by Brooke White - sing, cry, sing, cry every night. Just came back from Disney World and they are watching the mail for David A's application.

Posted by: Kirsten | April 9, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I stand by my prediction last week of Syesha going this week. I'm already dreading Marah Carey week and Syesha had to throw in one of those annoyingly Marah like notes at the end of a song she bored me to tears with throughout.

Is it me, or did the show last night pretty much suck. Nobody, and I mean nobody hit it out of the park. I think Jason, David A, KLC, and Brooke did enough to stay. These four at least didn't make me want to change the channel.

As I mentioned Syesha needs to go this week. Boring singer with a pretty good voice. She's very attractive and should probably stick to acting. The talking back probably didn't win her any votes either. The only time you should talk back is when the judges get it all wrong. They didn't last night.

David Cook, my favorite from Hollywood week just plain was horrible last night. He poorly performed a pretty average to bad song. I kept asking my wife, "Who's he trying to sound like?" I don't care if that's your favorite band, pick a song that doesn't suck and sing it well.

Michael Johns, oh man. Dream On is one of my all time favorites. I have it on my short list of iTunes songs. He butchered the song, the short arrangement (not his fault) sucked, and it ended up sounding like a very poor, karaoke bar version.

Carly is just the same every week. Picks bad songs for her and does absolutely everything she can to make sure there is not one thread of connection with the viewing audience. I doubt she is going this week, but it wouldn't surprise me either. A shame too, such a good voice without one clue as to how to use it. Did she hurt her voice there at the end or just give up and stop singing. I was confused but she was just standing there while the backup singers finished the final note for 2-3 seconds more.

Posted by: Ron | April 9, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Jason Castro is my favorite this season, but I would really like to see him stretch himself vocally a little more. I love his simple sweet style, but some variation would be appreciated.
On Carly, I was excited that she was singing "The Show Must Go On", as it is one of my favorite Queen songs, but she totally butchered it. She went into a different key at least three times when she was not supposed to, and she overdid the "determined" feel that the song has. Dissapointing. Hope she stays though.

Posted by: Ambivalent | April 9, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I'll give CryNanny props for one thing last night: for the most part she shut up during the judging. You could tell she really wanted to blab too, but stifled herself - someone must have sent her the memo. I think the fake crying thing was her vehicle for not yapping through the judging.

Syesha is gone this week. The bottom 3 will be Nanny Brooke, Syesha, and Carly. It should be Michael Johns instead of Carly, but her song was frightening.

It's like she was trying to threaten us to be inspired, and it left me confused. Also, she looked 100x better this week, but the lack of sleeves is getting gratuitous - we get it, you have a (ink) sleeve.

I'm impressed that Paula wasn't kicking herself in the chin all night with those shoes.

Posted by: Duffman | April 9, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I'm so tired of the Syesha bashing, and even more tired of the praise the judges feel the need to heap on Fantasia years after she won. Fantasia may have shown emotion when she sang I believe, but her screeching is just painful to listen too. I think Syesha can outsing (really sing, not scream) her any day.

I really hope Jason goes tonight. He does the same thing every week, it's boring and his voice is by far the weakest of all the remaining Idolettes.

I agree that Carly had a rough night, but I like her and think she's shown us how great her voice is in many other performances, so I hope she sticks around.

Posted by: Amanda | April 9, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Carly is nasty; huge hips and those gross tattoos her dopey husband forced on her.

Posted by: H | April 9, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Paula Ab-boobie must have slipped Simon some of her happy pills. While he didn't act wacked out like Paula usually does, he certainly had very little bad to say. And no one was very good last night... no stand out performances. He even complimented Carly on her looks, 'though she didn't deserve it... hair and clothing style are always the same. Ugh!

Hope to see either BaNanny, Carly or Jason (spouse even made the Tiny Tim connection) go tonight.

Still think the top three will be David A., David C. and Michael.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | April 9, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Totally agree with you, Amanda. I never could figure out the appeal of Fantasia. I also don't understand the Syesha bashing. She's not going to win, but she is pretty good.

Jason's Tiny Tim tribute was the worst of the nite, but the judges obviously want him to stick around.

Carly looked great last nite, but her song was wrong. When I look at her I always think: When she becomes famous and divorces that inked-up weirdo husband she's going to be stuck with an armful of ink that she won't be able to get rid of. Ouch.

Posted by: Vandy | April 9, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Nice under-the-radar respect from Simon to Robbie Williams. Honestly, they need to get Robbie to guest-spot on the show sometime. Ditto with bringing Michael Buble back for some fun. Screw the contestants, let's see some real singers.

Posted by: 23112 | April 9, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I am in total agreement with Amanda about Syesha, Fantasia and Jason. I know I'm in the minority and maybe I was in a dark mood last night, but I liked the way Carly did her song last night.

Posted by: WI | April 9, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Amanda, I have never liked Fantasia's voice, it is VERY screechy but I do think that Syesha was one of the weakest contestants last night and is most nights but so is JC, KLC and MJ (when he's not doing R&B Blues) and please please when is David A going to get voted off! I can't take him anymore!

Posted by: MLF | April 9, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse


While I love your column each week and look forward to reading it, you write about American Idol in such a snarky, over the top way that you seem to come across as exactly what you also deride in both the show and the contestants on American Idol. As someone so full of themselves they can't see where they're going.

I've read your column for two seasons now and I have yet to read a genuine compliment or praise for a contestant, just your hipshot complaints and slams as you continue to impress yourself and your readers with how you're the smartest and funniest kid in the room. "Hey, look at me...I watch so you don't have to and thank God because I am way funnier!"

So if you hate Idol that much or just LOVE to hate it that much, perhaps you should move on and try your hand at political opinion or fashion...someplace where snarky and slang are still the preferred vernacular.

I still find you funny and I guess that's your overall point, but it's starting to sound like one note now. And that one one is starting to sound...well..."a little pitchy."

Posted by: Cary Harlow | April 9, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Brooke White bleated her way through Carole King like a baby lamb.

Posted by: baa baa black sheep | April 9, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Just FYI, the Israel Kamakawiwo'ole version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" also (intentionally) scrambles the lyrics, because it's half of a larger Rainbow/Wonderful World combination song.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 9, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"Brooke White bleated her way through Carole King like a baby lamb."


This is true, but I couldn't help but draw parallels between CryNanny and James Taylor. Both have that wonderful, pleasing "Tone" in their voice of a Folk singer. That said, Brooke is severely limited in her range when compared to Taylor. There were parts in that song where it was obvious that Brooke had pulled a key-change down to fit into her range, and in that effort something was lost.

To me, Brooke trying to sing a song made famous by a legend like Taylor and coming short was analogous to someone like Syesha trying to sing Whitney last week. It was fine, but all it really did was showcase that CryNanny is *no* Taylor or King.

Just my $0.02

Posted by: Duffman | April 9, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

You had me at "Chim-in-ey Tops."

damn you, Jason Castro.

Posted by: jpstang | April 9, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm starting a petition. Ban Cary Harlow from this blog (see 5 posts up). You must love our Queen or be banished from the island.

Posted by: say what? | April 9, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Like her vocal range, Brooke's emotional range runs the gamut from A to B. She must have read the criticism about smiling during "Jolene" - so she pulled a long tragic face during most of the mostly off-key "You've Got a Friend" - surely, Simon, one of the Greatest Pop Tunes of All Time.

It wasn't, contrary to Simon's polite observation, a "pleasant walk in the park" - her face looked like a trip to the Emergency Room after your release from the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, friend.

This angst was only topped by Carly's truly angry performance, redeemed, in my opinion, only by her saying that suddenly she looked out and saw . . . Simon.

Why give that man so much power, girls? Carly, Brooke and Kristi Lee have let him into their heads with generally disasterous results - except that I do think Kristi is smarter and seems, week to week, to be getting over it - and rightly "into" her own "audience". I've always thought she could actually sing well; and she is probably prettier than Carrie Underwood, that she might outlast both Carly and Brooke now is interesting.

Maybe she gives herself a pep talk before every performance, "I am kryptonite. I am kryptonite!" Whatever - it seems to be working.

Posted by: Jean | April 9, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Ron you're absolutely right--last night's show stunk. I was totally bored.

The Syesha bashing must end. She's not my fav. personality, but she's been singing pretty good the last few weeks.

Also, why continue to harp on Carly's tat's? In my experience people with bold, visible tattoos generally AREN'T ashamed of them. So why would she ever hide them? I am sure she loves them and feel that they represent her. Besides, unless that chick on her arm starts singing--they have nothing to do with how she performs every week. Get over it.

I was disappointed by David Cook last night, and think maybe this is all going to his head...Jason Castro was good.

Kristy Lee Cook is going to sneak right into the finals. She was awesome last night, and she's a smart gal choosing songs/styles that speak right to her voters!

I think it will be Michael, Kristy, and David squared in the final four.

Posted by: Sam | April 9, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

wmsiii....thanks for giving me a good belly laugh with your post. i must not know anything about music, because when jason castro was singing, i couldn't wait to hear the judges tear him apart. i don't get why they liked his performance.
i can't stand nanny brooke. she's not the worst singer but i hope she goes tonight.

Posted by: sophie's mom | April 9, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Jean, very funny on Brooke's emotional range. I found myself making her same wincing faces back at her, as I wondered why she was giving me a kindergarten lecture on understanding friendship.

In my household, we have confessed a sneaking fondness for Kristi Lee Kryptonite. She was her best last night, which isn't saying a great deal, but she had the glittery country singer thing going on, for sure.

Posted by: carol | April 9, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

If it were a radio show, Smithson wins by a mile. She and Syesha are the only ones who really can sing. (Maybe DCook too sometimes.) The others (including DCook) "perform" better, which I guess is the point,but they are incredibly annoying.

Posted by: Summing it Up | April 9, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"Also, why continue to harp on Carly's tat's? In my experience people with bold, visible tattoos generally AREN'T ashamed of them. So why would she ever hide them? I am sure she loves them and feel that they represent her. Besides, unless that chick on her arm starts singing--they have nothing to do with how she performs every week. Get over it."


I'm not suggesting she be ashamed of them, by any means. I'm just saying that purposefully showing them off *Every single week* come off as gratuitous. She should just wear clothes that look good on her, she has yet to wear sleeves during this entire competition, and it just seems unnecessary. A lot of times it seems as if she is sacrificing her wardrobe in an effort to show them off.

Posted by: Duffman | April 9, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Amanda, Vandy, April, and MLF -- right on!
I too am on board vis-a-vis the Syesha bashing and the Fantasia over-hype. For those who seem to think Syesha has a "bratty" attitude, please rewind to season-Fantasia for the original Idol diva. I was appalled at her "I deserve to win because of my tough life" stories, her street attitude (facial and conversaional comebacks) and her screaming vocals. Syesha can sing. Maybe not as well in the lower register (last night) but like any performer, I can totally see her producers guiding her style and picking the right songs. She is also the leading candidate to have combination of looks, stage presence and maturity for the position. Duffman and others -- get off hers and others case for singing Whitney (and Mariah and Aguilara, etc.) They are still songs at root, and the signature versions are not copyrighted against anyone else ever trying them. Syesha sure sang IWALY better than many would have.

Sure, David A can sing well, but he is NOT idolistic. Can you imagine a career of having to watch Smiley Gator on TV specials and awards shows? Yuck!

David C. phoned it in last night. Now, instead of taking obscure band-renditions of songs, he is simply taking obscure band songs. Regardless if you know Our Lady Peace or not (does anyone really care about that band?) David was drowned out by the band and backups, and the song refrain was repetively boring.

The rest --
Jason: a cute, kitschy version of OTRainbow but ultimately great only for You Tube or train stations. In Hawaii, they often "Uke-alize" mainstream songs for tourist ambiance in bars and elevators, but there's a reason island music doesn't fly stateside. Still, he delivered it with sincerity so it worked. But please, not again.
Carly: indeed was angry (and sleevless again) with a marginally known song everywhere except the U.K.
Brooke: say what you like, but her tone is husky-smooth and listenable.
Michael: we've heard that before. It's called Steven Tyler on a bad night.
Kristy: she was contestant-good but not AI-good.
My B3 is Kristy, Carly, and Syesha (but she doesn't deserve it, perhaps Michael does) with Kristy leaving.

Posted by: RedRocket | April 9, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Cary wrote:
"So if you hate Idol that much or just LOVE to hate it that much, perhaps you should move on and try your hand at political opinion or fashion...someplace where snarky and slang are still the preferred vernacular."

Huh? Why do you read Lisa's column? Are you a closet snark?

God save Lisa, the Queen of Snark.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | April 9, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"Syesha sure sang IWALY better than many would have."


That's fine, but she didn't bring anything new to it. That's the whole point, if you want to sing a song like that, you have to bring something to it that wasn't there before. Last week she sounded like she was trying to do an impression of Whitney, and failed miserably.

Her voice is fine, not great, and ultimately brings nothing new to the table. I could find 100 girls who sing as good or better than her and fit into that same "style niche."

You're kidding yourself if you think that KLC is leaving this week. You're just upset because Syesha is dead in the water, and trying to rationalize.

Posted by: Duffman | April 9, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

BaNanny Brooke: Somewhat insipid but "nice" version of one of my 70's favorites. She's been playing it so safe for weeks, and now has to get back to her "Let It Be" level soon. I suggest she do Dusty Springfield's "The Look of Love" ASAP. Her husky-whiskey toned voice would make for a truly memorable version that would go into my i-pod forever. As for now, a pleasant walk in the park is nice enough. And sang last, with lovely closing close-up. She will be safe.

Insufferably Cute little David Avocado: good performance of a fine song. But it wasn't as great as the judges made out.

David Cook: Awful from beginning to end. Should be in Bottom 3 but probably won't.

Carly: Stupidly Sleeveless as ever but the Arm not as distracting and annoying as usual, due to camera angles. One word for her whole performance: Unpleasant. Even Paula couldn't connect and Simon wrote her eventual ticket home.

Jason: Thought at the beginning it would be terrible but it turned out to be really good. Some strange attractive quality in his performances: much better than the sum of his parts.

KLC: Better and better, one has to admit. But she shoud have that handwritten note ready for Seacreast on Thursday.

M. Johns: Good performance of one of the best '70s songs.

Syesha: Another fairly good but forgettable performance. You have to have great vocals and personal aura to succeed in that musical genre, and she clearly does not: there are hundreds and hundreds just like her. Nice, but basically a dime-store Whitney or grade B Fantasia. She will sing this song one more time at the end of the Results show on Thursday.

Should be Bottom Three: 3. Cook, 2. Syesha, 1. Carly (eliminated)

Will be Bottom Three: 3. KLC, 2. Carly, 1. Syesha (eliminated)

Posted by: Christin | April 9, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree that David Cook's performance was bad, but it wasn't pretentious. I think he realized it was horrible about one measure in. He looked mortified the whole time he was singing, and resigned to the inevitable right after.

Posted by: ZF | April 9, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Someone please rescue Simon: He's being force-fed Makenice pills for the "Idol Gives Back" night! By all rights this evening should have had him in the foulest of moods.

Michael tried on "Dream On," but his ascot suggested "On The Street Where You Live." Syesha obviously hasn't learned her lesson about reaching beyond her grasp; maybe that's why nobody got her but Ramiele.

I, like Lisa, also knew by instinct that Jason jumbled the words to "Rainbow." He still managed to look pained while singing it (maybe Simon's pills will help until that kidney stone finally passes). I was more troubled by the mixture of strings. His one-chord ukelele playing -- were his fingers Super-glued to the neck? -- along with the violins were a musical version of peanut-butter wine. You don't hide behind that instrument playing, you hide from it. I began questioning my own sanity when the judges heaped praise on him, replaying the song like the title character in "The Emperor's New Clothes" might have, had he had TiVo.

Kristy just might break her bottom-3 streak, in part because there were so many other bad performances -- including David C's, which had me saying "Huh?!?" throughout. And when I saw his costume, my Pavlovian response was to order a martini.

Honestly, was Carly really that horrible? Simon has yet to say a kind word about her singing. She may not connect, she may overdo things, she may be inky, she may be too loud, and she won't win. But she's got a gift: Just listen to the yawning difference between her singing and speaking voices; it's Sinatra-like. I still maintain that Simon's automatic dislike for her is a visceral English-Irish thing, almost at the snake-mongoose level.

Likewise, I never got Simon's love for Brooke, especially after butchering a Taylor-made song (i.e., written by a hero and a half-octave range).

David A's concern about waking the neighbors was probably due more to his father screaming at him than anything else.

Posted by: JD | April 9, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

JD - Yes, Carly's song last night really was that bad.

Christin - You are so in the hole for BaNanny, you're just going to be inconsolable when she's booted in the next couple of weeks, aren't you?

Posted by: Duffman | April 9, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

say what? I'm usually all for free speech, but I'd sign your petition. Sorry Carly, but if you can't see Lisa's love of tv through the snark, then perhaps YOU should go read the fashion stuff.

Is it me, or did KLC break the shoes out last night too? Paula's dress made ME short of breath -- I can't imagine she chould breathe. YIKES!

I wondered last night if the contestants ever read the blogs about them, but I noticed too that Chaquita BaNanny zipped it during her critique. I really like her voice though - it's very folk-sy...

I thought Jason Castro nailed it last night. He IS Tiny Tim...and gosh darn it I'm a grown woman and I could stare at those eyes for a WHILE.

I'm over Syesha...have been for a while. I think that whole "she's the only one who got me line" will hurt her, and hello! You're need for people to "get" you in this competition! And how can you do a Idol Treacle tune and not expected to be compared to the original person? And I don't always love Stitch's voice, but she rocked "I Believe" during the finals.

My prediction for the bottom three -- Syesha, Carly, and maybe Brooke...I can only hope that KLC ends up there instead of Brooke. Even though I thought Kristy was good last night, she's not going to go all the way.

Posted by: tyeinmd | April 9, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Ouch, Duff. You really got your poison pen out! Maybe we should meet in a dark alley?

KLC may well survive, after further review, but it will probably be due to her perceived heavy southern voting block -- she alone now seems to have that going for her. I remain steadfast, however, that Syesha is a better singer.

Now Duff, in your time-practiced method of always having to get the last word in (three times already above) I suppose you will feel obligated to make a snappy comeback. Or can you you simply allow us our opinions?

Posted by: RedRocket | April 9, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

sophie'smom, you probably know this already, but the version that Jason sang (sung? singed? :)) mirrored very closely the release by Israel K's version...wrong lyrics and all.

Kind of like Simon, the first time I heard it, I was "wha...?", but I find it charming.

Posted by: tyeinmd | April 9, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

The moment I saw Paula's dress (torture device?, I could almost hear Lisa chortle. My husband commented, "what was she thinking? There are so many great ways to flatter ones [shoes]." Then the chihuahuas comment, and I nearly fell off the couch. Definitely the highlight of show, since "Inspiration" was not it. When I saw the theme announced a few days ago, I knew we were in for trite and annoying.

Sadly, my favorite female vocalist, Carly, just keeps making suicidal choices. I love her voice, but, like Simon, thought it was a mismatched choice, and came off as negative. Throughout, I kept thinking, "why this song now?" She did wander off at end of it, after trying too hard pushing big notes. I was looking forward to hearing her do Andrew Lloyd Weber, but I don't think she can make it that long. Ugh - I'll probably have to endure BaNanny, Jason, and Kristi Lee butchering his music. Oh well, Carly was never going to be AI. 5th was the best I thought she could do.

KLC probably saved herself another week singing well in her niche. Jason pulled himself back up too.

I have never liked Syesha's personality. She continues to come across as arrogant. I like her voice and think she has done okay with big songs. While the judges care about comparing her to previous idolettes and stars, I don't think the viewing public cares whether or not they think she is below Fantasia, Whitney, etc. Most people don't remember Fantasia, and I agree with previous posts that her (Fant) so-called "emotion" seemed screechy. Syesha comes across as a polished Miss America winner - not the greatest voice ever, but good enough to record and perform. But her call out to Ramiele was a blatant request for Rami's votes, intimating that they were soulmates. I think Syesha may be safe, and thus we will see more of her shoes and Halle Berry evening dress look next week. She is an actress after all.

I had been increasingly supportive of Dave Cook, but last night was boring and self-indulgent. The palm bit - oh, pullease. And Paula, SHUT UP!

I'm tired of Randy's pitchy comments. I have come to conclusion that unless you are a very well-trained and disciplined vocalist (think opera, musical theater, choir, etc.), pitchiness comes with territory - only question is how much and how bad. Every "star" who has performed on results night has been pitchy - in some cases embarassingly so. Or else their voice is gone (think Diana Ross). I think part of it is that when an amateur is backed by a big-sounding orchestra and back-up singers, they tend to lose track musically of their own voices. And then there are the nerves, and short amount of practice with often unfamiliar music. I don't think pitchy comments really offer useful feedback at this point.

Posted by: Idle fan | April 9, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"Her spectacular shoes bob in agreement." What does that mean?

Posted by: anja | April 9, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Cary Harlo--I totally agree with what you said about Lisa's snarky blogs. While they are funny, it's all getting a big old and ti would be nice to hear something positive from Lisa at some point. I mean, this contestants--even the ones we all (me included) criticize and make fun of--are all still incredibly talented. Making it as far as they have in this competition is an accomplishment. And AI is a huge deal for these singers--it's launched careers for so many others and made people's dreams come true. Lisa, it really would be ok to focus on all of these positives instead of the incessant references to "shoes" and criticisms of the singers' efforts.

Posted by: Amanda | April 9, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Interesting comments by all, even Cary, but the column has me LOL at work, dangerous.

Actually like Jason last night, suprised the judges did too because it was still more of the same. I too would like to see him try something new.

Syesha, I'm really middle of the road on her. Don't hate her or love her. Having never heard Fantasia's version before, I didn't think it was that bad.

KLC, what a suprise, and I never thought I'd say it, but she was the best last night. (Tells you how I thought everyone else did).

David Cook, still my fav, I was very disappointed in him. Horrible song.

David As song, the reason, Simon, it is not popular in the US is because it is BORING. Didn't much like it. Still don't get the hoopla about David A.

Agreed with the judges 100% last night about Carly. She was scary and not appropriate for a "feel-good song theme night".

Didn't like Brooke at all last night. She was too sad for a "feel-good song theme night". I actually think she is the one in the most trouble tonight. (Or she would be if I were voting---no take it back, David A would be gone).

Oh I forgot Michael....what does that say?

Posted by: hodie | April 9, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

According to Dialidol, only 3 performances are considered safe (David A, Jason Castro and Kristy Lee Cook).

As for the bottom three to contenders are David Cook (which is a surprise), Syesha and Carly with Carly being voted off. However, if you believe Dialidol's results, the numbers are too close to call.

Only time will tell if these results hold true.

Posted by: NYC Girl | April 9, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

[Snappy Comeback]

Posted by: Duffman | April 9, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"shoes" is a time-honored idol euphamism for boobs. It traces to when Ryan once stared at, and asked Kelli Pickler (who was returning to sing as a guest) "gee, how are you spending her money?" It was obvious she had, shall we say, a top-deck job that wasn't there in her previous incarnation as a contestant. She replied, "we'll, I bought some shoes." It has forever lived in Idol lore.

Posted by: nanopanda | April 9, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

RedRocket: Agree completely with you about Fantasia. She was by far the weakest of the 6 AI winners: her voice was unpleasant and screeching (I wonder if even "Summertime" would sound as good if I heard it again now). Both LaToya London and Jennifer Hudson far more deseved to be AI#3. Simon's shameless partisanship put her over the top. Syesha's voice is technically superior, but unlike Fantasia she is forgettable and that will doom her.

Incidentally, my comments on Syesha in my 12:03 were partly in response to your reply to me last week. I don't dislike Syesha, and actually think she should stay for a few more weeks. Deserves to be rated above Cook, Carly and maybe KLC this week. But she is unmemorable and her fan base is seemingly invisible, so she will likely go now.

Agree with you about Brooke,for reasons I've stated several times: there's something enchanting about the quality/tones of her voice. So want to hear her do Dusty Springfield's "The Look of Love". That could be one of the all-time great AI performances. And I totally agree with Simon: it's tragic that Syesha and not Brooke got to sing "Yesterday". Instead of a performance I've already forgotten, I'd be playing it on iPod all the time. Think it would have been great--maybe she'll get another chance if she makes it to the final 3.

But what can Brooke do on abominable Mariah Carey week? Ugh.

Posted by: Christin | April 9, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Amanda and Cary Harlow -

*Snap!* Be gone with you.

Posted by: say what? | April 9, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Was it me or were David C. Carly and others being drowned out by the background singers. Maybe there is some way to adjust that in Dolby 5.1 but they were really loud.

Posted by: Terp | April 9, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

last word

Posted by: Duffman | April 9, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: no it's not | April 9, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Christin -- Good comments. It's funny. There seem three types of Syesha reviews. One, like yours and others, is that she sings well but is forgettable. Another group absoulutely seems to hate her but it seems personal --based more-so on her supposed brash attitude and brattiness. (I don't see that. The producers and Ryan prompt her with questions and she answers. What is so offputting about that?). And a third is the silent group that often reviews others' performances but strangley leaves her out. (Perhaps relating to the first group above.)

When I add it all up, I am left with a performer who others are either catty or jealous of (group two) or have allowed her to sneak up on the competition. She's never drawn the vitrol that we've seen at times for Amanda, Kristy or Remeile. It's the "she's good" part that I guess I have been endorsing all these weeks -- I am on record saying she is a fine singer, and I have finally been given some support by others above (noted in my 11:53 post). In the past I noted her lack of any "front runner" label by the national press, and my perceived view she has never been given much props by the judges. Yet here she is, still in this thing. So . . there must be some "she's good" in the voting, right?

Maybe she will drop this week, maybe next, and I'm not holding out she will be a finalist, et al. But at the end of the day, I just want others to recognize that she hasn't embarassed this competition.

Christin - also thanks for supporting my views on Fantasia and Brooke. Brooke really has a whiskey-tinged tone to her voice. Everyone, if you don't like Brooke's face when she sings, keep in mind that she (or whomever wins) will sound even better behind a producer and sound board. Forget the supposed lack of range. I want someone who sounds nice -- not vocal exercises. With Amanda long-gone in the distance, Brooke's remains the most distinctive voice of the group.

Is it really Mariah Carey week upcomng? Is that fair to the guys?!

[Duff - :) you rascal!]

Posted by: RedRocket | April 9, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks. I got it when reading on. Next time I will finish reading the whole blog before asking, promise. My English is not perfect yet and I have only been in the US for about 3 Idol Seasons. :-)
Mariah Carey just visited the German version of "Idol". And there is a judge in the German "Idol" version who is Simon's counterpart - responsible for being the mean judge. Some German newspaper wrote he pretended he was throwing up while Mariah Carey performed because she didn't sing live. But whatever.

I like Lisa's blog. It is her job to sound mean, I think. Because, in the end, that's what we wanna read. Nobody would visit this blog to read some Paula-language.

Something was wrong with Carly last night. Her performance reminded me on that week when she later said her dress was too tight. She looked confused and unhappy and I personally did not like her outfit at all, green and black stripes, strange shaped top, golden belt. But that's just my opinion.

I think, Syesha will go tomorrow (as we have the endless "Give Back" show tonight instead of the "Results" show). She was smiling so much all the way through her performance - it made me feel like she feels she is the absolute best. She doesn't sing it naturally somehow.

Posted by: anja | April 9, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I think I know the reason Syesha is not given her props ...

It's the "Larry Fine" she normally sports; not a look that has people beating down their Hairdressers doors to emulate.

Posted by: Shep | April 9, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

How is syesha supposed to perform on Mariah Carey night if she is not allowed to sing Mariah?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 9, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Good point! Guess she'll have to talk to David C to get some obscure cover version of Mariah if there is such a thing.....

Posted by: hodie | April 9, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

no one gets booted off tonight. its idol gives back. they did the same thing last year. thursday will go all the way through the show, have the three lowest up on stage and since this is such an inspirational week, no one will get booted off, but the votes from the two weeks will be added together.

Posted by: 20008 | April 9, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

tyeinmd....yeah, i'm familiar with the israel version of over the rainbow. i like it a lot. i just thought jason sucked trying to duplicate it. to everyone who's harping on carly's sleeveless tops every week...i think you only notice that she's sleeveless because of the tats. all the other females go sleeveless most of the time too. i don't think she's showing off the tats..i just think that's what the wardrobe people put them in.
also, don't the AI people keep the themes a secret until the day of the show? i ask because i'm skeptical about this mariah carey week some posters are talking about.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 9, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"Which is nice, except that, like the version he's covering, the lyrics are botched. Do not mess with me and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." This seems to be is totally lost on the judges who, we've been learning this season, have holes in their musical education the size of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole."

The above in quotes has to be one of the more stupid and classless comments I've read on any blog. Fine to not like something, but seriously, then make it funny instead of showing you are just a mean spirited person. Your blogs have indicated you are more for making your point with derisive humor than tacky, classless comments. Why the hating?

There's a reason that part of the song was removed. For the version IZ sang, it's cheesy and doesn't fit. Jason stayed true to Israel's version and IZ stayed true to what he saw in the song.

But your worst comment by far is the size comment. WTF. Seriously, I'm not going to even explain it to you if you don't get it.

Posted by: Do you have to be classless to be funny? | April 9, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I think Syesha is safe because Carly was a deer caught in the headlights. I love her voice and her eyes, but her song choice was off kilter with theme as interpreted by other idolettes (as silly as it sounded).

I'm sorry to see Carly go; I prefer her voice to other idolettes, but she was never likely to be more than top 5 at best. I have no objection to tattoos, but her full sleeve is edgey for AI audience, and that it was of a female face (is it supposed to be her?) was distracting. What, her spiritual twin? I will miss her come Andrew Lloyd Weber week, especially given the other female voices - all okay for their niche, but not likely to transcend well, except possibly Syesha, who I do think is versatile.

That said, I don't like Syesha. "Sorrry," as Simon says. I do agree with previous posts that she has good vocal talent; is unfairly compared to Fantasia (whom I do not favor)and others. I think Syesha would be a credible Miss America: very pretty, poised, polished, and capable of singing well for a lot of audiences. I also think she is marketable and could be a success, because she appears smart (much smarter than her fellow idolettes)and strategic.

But what others have called "cattiness" is probably a visceral reaction to what I think is her Lady MacBeth vibe. If she was my roommate, I'd worry about getting my messages. Having fully watched 3 previous seasons of AI, I can't think of another contestant, similarly, even more talented contestant, who exuded such creepiness in interviews and judge repartee.

The nail in this coffin for me was, as pointed out previously by Idle Fan, her call-out to Ramiele. I don't think you need to be a genius to figure out that the previous week's booted candidate's votes are up for grabs. The "Hey girrrl", "she was my roomie since Hollywood week," and "she got me," were transparent vote trolling. Presenting herself as Rami's soul mate and thus deserving of her vote inheritance, was too much. I could barely listen to her after that, even though I thought her singing was credible.

I think she is saved for another week, and we will see more of her shoes and Halle Berry red carpet look next week. She would have done it this week, but would not appear humble enough for Give Back/Inspiration week.

David Cook was a disappointment - he had me going for him over past few weeks. He'll be bottom 3, but will probably recover somewhat. As Simon says, "Song choice." It will be the only way to beat David A.

In late 60's/early 70's, my mom worked for a record producer (big label) whose clients included The Who (Tommy), Country, emerging ethnic music (esp. Celtic), pop, etc. She brought home hundreds of demo records and first release albums that never went anywhere because the artists were unwilling to expand repertoire and be a little less "pure" in their niche/genre. I think this is Carly's problem. Great voice, but stuck and unwilling to budge.

Record companies/producers want to make money not facilitate artists' musical self-actualization. A great voice is not enough. We may all rant about the limits of Jason, David A., and Brooke, but each has an easy marketing hook. Hello, Britney Spears, anyone? No voice, but packaged to the hilt, and had the Disney hook to get her started. David A. is a marketing dream - willing to take orders, good voice, versatile, and safe to tween audience and their parents, where immediate big bucks are waiting.

Posted by: Holly | April 9, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

good points Holly on the marketing aspect of AI. However you (and you are not alone obviously)are awfully cynical re Syesha and her comments about Ramiele. Could it be she actually misses her friend and former roommate. Maybe I'm naive. Now David C (still my fav) was the one who appeared calculating with his little hand gesture. He could also be seen visibly biting his tongue or clenching his teeth during Simon's comments. He's no dummy

Posted by: hodie | April 9, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse


I think you are spot-on with your marketing comments, to an extent. I think that Jason Castro, as much as I might dislike him could be packaged and sold to College Chicks who dig that lone dude with a guitar, Jack Johnson type audience.

I even think BaNanny could be packaged into the "Coffehouse Chick" market that seems to be making a comeback (with that girl who sings "bubbly" and that other girl who sings the "don't wanna write you a love song").

However, I gotta disagree on your with David A. I think that his fundamental problem is that his audience and his style are starkly divergent. His style is Michael Bolton, his audience is the Jonas Brothers. He excels only when singing slow, adult contemporary-type songs, and that won't sell well with the tweenies. The one time he tried venturing out of his AC shell, he forgot half of the song and was notably flustered.

The only contestant on the show this year who I think could have broad-spectrum commercial sucess is David Cook. He's like a more current Daughtry.

Posted by: Duffman | April 9, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow...I'm sick for a day and come on late to find that we've doubled our normal weekly rant against AI.

Well, MomWannaBe and I think that there are four that are "safe" because they weren't as bad as the four that are in danger of leaving next week (if they repeat last year's voting pattern). All in all, one of the weakest week's of this season (and that's saying something after the second Beatles week).

Carly, Michael and Syesha all have great voices but suffer the most from bad song choices. They all have the problem that they sing songs they like instead of songs that are suited or fit their voices. Brooke and Jason, who are much weaker singers than these three, typically out-perform them due to good song styling and song choices. If Syesha wants to stop being compared to the iconic big-voiced divas, she's going to have to stop singing their classic showstoppers or completely restyle them. When you sing a song the same way an iconic singer sings it, then you will be compared to that performance ...and in her case, she does a pale imitation of all the major divas. It she were to break out and do something different (like when she did Yesterday) then she won't get those comparisons. This isn't exactly Mensa test material.

The safe ones, for us (in no particular order) are David A, David C, Jason and Brooke. Jason's song was truly awful but his fan base will love it and probably voted for 2 hours straight to save him. Brooke's song goes down as a very bad Karaoke version of Carole King. Paula said that Brooke was definitive...shows that he Coke cup was in fact drugged as usual. Carole King was definitive. Brooke is a Carole-King-Wanna-Be and is a poor copy. Hasn't anyone noticed that not a week goes by that someone doesn't comment on her Carole King-like sound and style? On a good week, any of these four could be going home (except David A, who's mind-controlled voting block is probably twice as large as anyone else's right now).

The four in danger are Michael, Carly, Syesha and Kristy. Of the four, I think that Kristy gave the best performance (**shudder**--I can't believe that I actually typed that).

Should be Bottom-3: Jason, Michael, Carly (eliminated)

Will be Bottom-3: Michael, Carly, Syesha (eliminated)

Posted by: DadWannaBe | April 9, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

great minds think alike Wanabees! (re KLC, see previous comment)

Posted by: hodie | April 9, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Yes. I did notice your comment about KLC, as well. As you said, Great minds etc...

Posted by: DadWannaBe | April 9, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Here we have the MOST boring AI season, ever, with the most lacklustre, bland *all American* contestants, and
who gets ragged on... Fantasia .She has moved on.

Posted by: atleastshewasnotbland | April 9, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Fantasia just owns that song. After the second note that Syesha sang I was in agony. Torture. David A has a the most luscious voice.

Posted by: jshu | April 9, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Remember, it's Idol Gives Back week, so no one will be eliminated tonight, and two will go next week based on two weeks' combined votes.

Posted by: Jack | April 10, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight, Holly . . you wrote: "Syesha is safe . . I love her voice . . I agree she has good vocal talent . . very pretty, poised, polished . . capable of singing well for a lot of audiences . . is marketable and could be a success . . appears smart." And yet you "don't like Syesha". Exactly how many of you are there that have written something to this effect? It MUST be the cattiness factor -- yours -- against a seemingly inobtrusive talent. And Hodie is right, you are cynical against her simple shout out to Ramiele, her former roomie. Even if she executed "transparent vote trolling" its not unheard of on reality shows. Perhaps it's . . oh, what's the word . . smart! But I tend to believe things are not always as calculated as one would think.

Duff--you and I agree on David A but I think we are swimming upstream. DadWannabe is right with his simple observation that Smiley Gator's "mind-controlled voting block is probably twice as large as anyone else's right now." He may be voted AI but that doesn't mean we have to accept him. (can anyone say Taylor Hicks? or the very [Un]Fantasia?)

Posted by: RedRocket | April 10, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Of The Girls I view Syesha as the best singer. However because of the racist views of the predominantly white viewing audience that's why she isn't getting the "props" that she deserves.
With that off my chest, I feel that David Achueletta will be the ultimate winner. Or David Cook may surprise me as the winner.

Posted by: DL Smooth | April 10, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

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