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"American Idol": A Pitchy Battle

While Lisa de Moraes is watching the television networks unveil their new season schedules in New York, Designated "American Idol" Pinch-Blogger Teresa Wiltz gives a play-by-play of this week's Final Three singing competition.

Rough week for David Archuleta on "American Idol," what with all that Stage-Dad-possibly-banned-from-rehearsals hoo-ha. (Was Stage Dad behind last week's lyric change? Ooooh, the scandal!)


Contestant Syesha Mercado performs. (Ray Mickshaw/FOX)

But the Cherubic One rallies on last night's performance show, electing to take a walk on the wild side and "sing something youthful." Which is to say, to perform something recorded in this century. Something a teenager would (and did) sing (better): Chris Brown's "With You." There is perhaps nothing more terrifying than the sight of Archuleta getting all pitchy wit' it, warbling off-key, "I need you boo ... Hey! Little mama ..."

Aw-kward.

Or, as judge Simon Cowell puts it, "I applaud you that you didn't do a treacly ballad. ... However, it was like a Chihuahua trying to be a tiger."

This is to be the big showdown, the big windup to the finale, the night the Final Three strut their stuff for the last time before being whittled down to the Final Two. But no one really brought it.

Syesha Mercado, hair pressed into submission, does her best to convince viewers that what she really wants to do is sing ... on Broadway. (Note to producers: Bring back the 'fro!)

David Cook takes on a Diane Warren classic, slathering it with all sorts of cheesy stadium-rock histrionics. (Cut to requisite audience shot of a beaming Warren.)

And perhaps most disappointing of all, Paula Abdul shows up sane. Though at one point, she does, as Ryan Seacrest puts it, stand up and start "spinning her finger in the air like she just don't care."

So all in all, one big snooze.

Judges Randy Jackson and Simon do the standard pretend-bicker thing, fussing over who picked the more staid and stolid song in Round 1, the Judges' Pick. Was it Simon, who chose "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" for David C.? Or Randy picking Alicia Keys's "If I Ain't Got You"?

Paula and Simon get testy about the subject matter of Syesha's choice for Round 3, the Producers' Pick ("Hit Me Up" from "Happy Feet").

Paula: "That was from the 'Happy Feet' soundtrack.

Simon (derisively): "It's a song about penguins."

Paula (defensively): "It's a movie about penguins."

Round 1: David A., without the presumed influence of Stage Dad, sings Billy Joel's "And So It Goes." Paula's pick. Sounds like an angel, bores us into wondering if he spends a lot of time in the mirror, using his hairbrush as a microphone, practicing moony faces. Paula, all somber and earnest, declares him a "storyteller." Randy tells him he was "in the zone" and "in it to win it." Simon all but yawns and calls it "predictable," which is true.

Randy announces he picked Keys's song for Syesha because "she's like young, hot, unbelievably talented and in charge." Regrettably, only the hot part was in evidence. Simon's consolation: "You look gorgeous, by the way."

Round 1 goes to David C. and his surprisingly effective, rockerish take on "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," a tune made famous back in the day by the fabulous Roberta Flack. Goose bumps.

Round 2: David A. ruins the aforementioned Chris Brown song. Syesha inexplicably chooses to do an old Peggy Lee number, "Fever." Simon pronounces it a "lame cabaret performance," saying, "I think you will probably regret that choice tomorrow." We hate to agree, because we've been a fan, but we don't think she'll make the cut this week.

Round 3: Does it really matter? I mean, really? Syesha's out, leaving the boys to battle it out next week. Bet on it.

By Rose Jacobius  |  May 14, 2008; 7:44 AM ET
 | Tags: transfer  
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Next: 'American Idol': Sayonara, Syesha

Comments

Nice job, Ms. Wiltz. "Cherubic One." Heh. I liked the fact that "Easy Listening" David A. tried something youthful, but I don't think that was the right song. (Does anyone remember the radio station WGAY? All his stuff sounds like what that station used to play.)

I think Paula is right--David C. suffers from having to cram rock songs into a shortened form. I liked his Roberta Flack rendition.

I've never been a Syesha! fan...she's technically very good, but she just doesn't do it for me. I also didn't like that long gold dress which looked like it had escaped from an episode of "The Golden Girls."

Next up: David vs David!

Posted by: Sappho | May 14, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Boy, I REALLY REALLY REALLY hope Syesha's voters go for Disney David next week and save Cool David from winning. I wonder why he even tried this week. Maybe next week he'll be horrible.

Posted by: atb | May 14, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

!!!

Posted by: first | May 14, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

It looks like David vs. David, which everyone predicted weeks ago. It's a little surprising that Paula was so upfront about her preference for that matchup.

What was the point of the criticism of the songs picked by the judges and producers? The Idolettes had no choice! The judges' comments always focus too much on the song anyway because they don't have enough to say about the actual singing.

Posted by: Rob | May 14, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I voted for David Cook, then realized it was a mistake. I like him too much to put the idol curse on him.

Posted by: Kris | May 14, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Hey - I always enjoy reading the Idol recap but today's article has left me a little baffled: was Cook's cover of Warren's song "cheesy stadium-rock histrionics'' or "surprisingly effective, rockerish''? I come away feeling like two different people wrote this.

Posted by: MaryBrown | May 14, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I am not cool, which is why I don't sing Chris Brown songs. But can someone please explain what boo means and why it is such an embarrassment to little David?

Posted by: SaraBeth | May 14, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Although Syesha will be voted off, I think she will have a career but not on Broadway but in Hollywood. The camera loves her and she would be a vast improvement over the current crop young stars in Hollywood.

Posted by: Brooklyn | May 14, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I've always like Syesha but she just didn't do it for me last night. I also liked David C's rendition of the Roberta Flack song. Then again, I love that song!

Posted by: WI | May 14, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Okay, I don't really think that David A. is going out, but a girl can dream can't she? I don't know why but I find him SOOO annoying. He has a technically beautiful voice, but he sings like the soloist in the glee club.

The very first thing I said to my daughter when I heard the producer's pick for him was "what, do they think he's 90-yr old man?" So I was extremely gratified that Simon commented how it was a song for a 90 yr old. I don't even remember now what it was, but it was definitely an OLD song. I keep telling daughter that David C (our favorite) will be better off not winning, but I can't stand the idea of David A. winning either.

Posted by: HM | May 14, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Having Smiley Gator utter those words "I need you boo" was painful. He wouldn't know a boo if it bit him on the butt.

Like many who've posted here, I've come around and have become a I'm Syesha Mercado! fan. I liked her rendition of "Fever." And I'm not old. Well, not that old anyway.

DC did well with Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." Of course, I'm old school and love anything from that era.

Posted by: jpstang | May 14, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

My kid wondered why, if judges and producers get to pick Idol songs, then why shouldn't the contestants do it as well -- and pick one for the opponent so as to undermine him (or, OK, her). She said David C. would have a good one for David Archuleta: "Macho Man."

Posted by: JD | May 14, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

This recap really confused me. It didn't follow the songs in order, and it was really short (considering they sang 3 songs, even though we get nothing about Round 3)...and it wasn't funny...and it sucked.

And, ok, I'm going to say it. Three words about I'm Syesha Mercado!: Tramp, tramp, tramp.

Yes, I'm setting back women's lib and the sexual revolution, but too darn bad. The whoring herself out for Song #2 - her song choice, by the way - was just ridiculous. The camera was kind enough to avoid letting us witness the Basic Instinct-moments, but I bet the Mosh Pit Sorority Sisters got an eyeful. Where are the American Idol Decency Police when you need them?

Posted by: bring back lisa | May 14, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

"But can someone please explain what boo means and why it is such an embarrassment to little David?"

Boo is just a term of endearment, like honey or sweetie. It was probably an embarrassment to David because he's never had a girlfriend.

Posted by: not a watcher, just a lurker | May 14, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

If you listen carefully, David A starts to explain why it was "embarrassing" - he starts to say something to Randy about "for a white guy." "Boo" is a term of endearment, pretty common now but it's definitely rooted in urban slang...and is probably far too cool a term for our little Archie.

(I kid.) (Sorta.)

Posted by: bring back lisa | May 14, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

David A, a 17yo boy, was excruciating listening while trying to sing a song by a 17yo.

This is why he won't be a commercial success. I've been saying this for weeks, tweens are voting for him b/c he's "cute." but his musical style doesn't fit the musical tastes of his audience. He sings Michael Bolton, They buy the Jonas Brothers.

When he tries to sing Jonas brothers, it's like nails on a chalkboard.

Posted by: Duffman | May 14, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Ok. A month ago your (Lisa De Morales) reviews were at best "giggle worth", now however, all you seem to do is bash each and every contestent each and every week. I feel as if I am reading the same exact review, and you have the audacity to say David A. sounds the same? If you dont find any enjoyment what-so-ever in this dying show, why watch at all? Because your getting paid? Your reviews are borderline obnoxious as if I am reading an email from a 10th grader. LAME.

I do agree it will be the two Davids, however, I think Syesha is better than David A. David A. sounds exactly the same every week, everyone agrees, why is he still there??

Posted by: Alfie | May 14, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Alfie: it's not Lisa. That's part of the problem. She keeps having a "pinch-blogger" fill in for her...and the sub is not nearly as good.

Posted by: bring back lisa | May 14, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

OHHHHHHHH, Sorry Lisa. Whoever is filling in needs the BOOOOT!! Like David A.!!

Posted by: Alfie | May 14, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, have to agree. I saw the show and still couldn't really follow the recap. Disappointing.

Posted by: Kris | May 14, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

The last pinch-blogger was Tamara Jones and she was very good. Unfortunately, Teresa Wiltz, today's pinch-blogger was not so good. Her writing is confusing and unfortunately falls between the rails of humorous and snarky. As has been pointed out, references were not attributed well and seemed to be self-conflicting, her snark fell short of being humorous and then she didn't bother to review the second and third rounds, so it sounds as if she just got bored and decided to cut her blog entry short.

Fortunately, this week I actually did watch the show since the blog review wasn't nearly as entertaining or informative.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | May 14, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

duffman hit the nail on the head: DA doesn't sound like or have the stage presence of 17yr hottie ie Chris Brown! DA belongs on the Disney channel not on Hot99.5 which is where most crossover type youngins are heard. Who will be this guys audience? GOOD GRIEF!!!

Posted by: ldjackson58 | May 14, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

HM - couldn't agree with you more. And I agree with others: Cook is only one I like. I have changed my mind and am now hoping he'll win since being AI is not necessarily a curse: Kelly C. or Carrie anyone? And maybe a rocker winning would send a message to AI - lose the LoveBoat bias.

Really folks, can you imagine standing at a store checkout and having to look at David A.'s bizarre dead-eye stare/grin pop out from People,Us, and all the other rags? Or turning on tv and having him pop up all Baby Elmo (with Dad at his side), as stupid as ever?

I think Davd A. has a nice voice, but a terrible style, and his warbling last night was NOT "in the zone" as Randy insists (week after week).

While I didn't like the producers' choices (are these guys paying any attention to music?), I did feel sorry for contestants being lambasted by judges for the song choice. NOT THEIR FAULT! I kept waiting for Simon to look directly into camera and say, "Producers, what were you thinking?" The Happy Feet song choice tells you all you need to know about AI producers. If they wonder why they are losing audience share, well, hello, stupid decisions like that are the answer. And poor David A.'s song was directed at cruise ship deck chair inhabitants.

I enjoyed Teresa's take on last night. The show was almost a total yawn, except for David Cook. Loved these comments: "hair pressed into submission, Cherubic One, and Aw-kward." One of best Simon quotes of season, "chihuahua trying to be a tiger." That says it all about the Cherubic One.

GREAT idea JD: contestants pick each other's songs. Much better reality show competitive dynamics. In some ways, the contestants' "we are family" vibe is becoming nauseating. Would love real dirt on that. Oh for a "Tell All" by David Hernandez and Amanda Overmyer. They are only ones to pull it off since their entertainment goals have no need for AI support. We are OVERDUE for this book.

So what's the scoop on continuing saga of Scary Stage Dad?

Posted by: Idle fan | May 14, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

"DA belongs on the Disney channel not on Hot99.5 which is where most crossover type youngins are heard. Who will be this guys audience"

Well, you're partially right. My point was that DA wouldn't cut it on the Disney Channel.

Idol needs a Hot99.5 artist, David A is a WASH FM artist. He needs to be *more* Disney Channel to be sucessful, and he doesn't cut it.

Posted by: Duffman | May 14, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I agree on the comments about this review. Lisa, come back and stay! Don't leave so often :-( I told so many people about this blog and said that it is hilarious - and now, if they check this blog out this week they won't understand what I'm talking about.

Posted by: anja | May 14, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Lisa not here? During the MOST IMPORTANT week in the History Of Television? Unthinkable... like Wolf Blitzer vacationing in Branson on election night. That being said, it seems that the judges are totally in the tank for Baby Elmo. He could go up there and burp the ABCs and they'd still fawn all over him. Too bad for Syesha, but ultimately good news for Cookie. Winning AI would be the worst possible outcome for him.

Posted by: Earl Hofert | May 14, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

"Boo" is a term of endearment, pretty common now but it's definitely rooted in urban slang...and is probably far too cool a term for our little Archie."

Boo, Chris Brown- cool?

What's funny to me is that while many people on this blog continually say how David A's sappy ballad preference will not resonate with a marketable youth crowd his undeniable popularity on the show (with those silly little girls) is constantly disproving that. Look, Zack Effron, Miley Cyrus, Hillary Duff, premonster Britney Spears, all of these people are wholesomely attractive, with vocal talent, and a camera charm. David Archuleta will fit just fine into that world.

Also as much as I dislike Syesha (which is a lot) I think she got the shaft last night.

Posted by: repricer | May 14, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

David A vs David C is the ultimate reason that I think that AI needs to modify its voting policies. Some other reality shows (I think one of the modelling ones) limit the number of phone votes per phone line. Based on most of the reviews, blogs, Internet polls, etc show that David C is much more popular by the numbers. However, David A has a very devoted group of fans who vote for 2 hours solid.

The problem is that this does not help the market value of the Idol. 10 million fans for David C voting 1-5 times each is better than 2 million fans for David A voting 10-20 times each. Obviously, I'm making up numbers, since AI won't reveal their numbers. However, the more fans for David C will buy more albums/music, more concert tickets and make them more money than the rabid fans. It's in their best interest to find out which idolette is more popular by numbers rather than by votes.

That combines with people voting for the image who override the people voting for the performer. Those voting for the image create stars like Taylor Hicks (woeful ticket and album sales). Those voting for the singer create stars like Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, and Carey Underwood.
And Duffman's comments about David A also fold into this.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | May 14, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I don't like it when the judges, particularly Simon, make a comment like "I don't think that was good enough to make it to the next round". Or in reverse, "That was definitely good enough to make it to the next round", before the other singers get their final ups. In fact the latter is more insulting as it means "because I'm sure the others singers will stink".

a) It makes the show seem fixed. "Alright drones, here are your instructions".

b) It allows the judges to downgrade a seemingly good performance (or upgrade a seemingly bad performance) without giving a real reason why. This also makes the show seem fixed. What can the singer take from "That was a good performance, but I don't think it was good enough to go to the next round". How can the singer improve off of that type of criticism?

Judges should instruct why a performance was good or bad. Make it insulting, make it funny. But leave the voting directions to the voters


Posted by: AmericanIdolFan | May 14, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"Wholesomely attrative" hmmm the one guy on that list could actually be considered HOT by teen standards. DA hot? I think NOT. Besides the people on that list do not sing "sappy ballards". They have some sex appeal. DA may be cute but in that puppy dog kinda way. I still ask who is his audience?

Posted by: ldjackson58 | May 14, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

repricer, I tend to disagree with you here. In addition to be wildly popular with the Teen Beat crowd, those performers that you cite are modern. David A tends to do more older genre stuff and when he does something like "You're the Voice" and "With You" (the two more recent songs), he sounds out of his comfort zone. The performances that people rave the most about are "old" people songs (for my generation). They are songs and styles that appeal to 35-55 year olds and not to 16-35 year olds. So, the music appeals to older listeners who aren't that interested in the performer and doesn't appeal to the younger listeners who are interested in the performer. Doesn't sound like a good star-making combination. And in a couple of years, when he gets "too old" for the teen beat, he'll have trouble.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | May 14, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who had a hard time following last night's recap. It was boring and lazy. Lisa's reviews are easy to follow and hilarious. This one was yuck!

Syesha seems to be the only one who has any spark lately. David C is good but performs like he's just going through the motions. David A is the same old same old.

I'll watch the last five minutes tonight to see Syesha get the boot.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | May 14, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Repricer, I agree with you. There is a market for David A. with the tweeners, not to be mistaken for the young teeners. Having reared 2 daughters (now 22 and 19), I can attest to the fact that they change music tastes every year (at least) along with their hair, clothing, you name it. The 9 to 12 yr. olds want to be "into music", and very safe pop singers help them transition from Disney kid-music into Disney teen - Miley style music, then Jonas, etc. The guys they like are asexual, basically, their teddy bears come to life. And of course mothers of girls this age WANT their attractions to be as safely asexual as possible. Annoying as it is, this is a HUGE market, esp. since young music buyers are more likely to seek out spin-off products just as they did Disney stuff (Little Mermaid sheets).

Example, my son's high school performed High School Musical last year. Sold-out success. The audience was 79% tweeners with moms, not the high school students who actually go to that school. My son, his friends, and his older sisters completely mock HSM.

Obviously, this isn't the only big market, but it sure is predictable, and lower risk than an adult performer aimed at adult audience.

I think David Cook is hands down the best singer/performer left but if I were a big label record producer, I would be worried about him as an investment. I think he can be a commercial and musical success (ala Daughtry), but he will not be easy to control, which is what a producer wants to be able to do.

I've never been a Syesha fan, but I think she has good, not-great talent, poise, pageant/acting good looks, and versatility.
She doesn't have the big gifted voice, heart/passion of so many other idolettes, but she is pleasantly commercial. There is a very professional tenacity about her that I admire. I liked, not loved her first two songs last night, but agree with Simon, that "Fever" was not marketable choice. I also think she is smart enough to know that last night was her last platform, so she sold herself to the theatrical industry - good decision. But the producers screwed her on the Happy Feet choice, and the judges should have been sympathetic.

And finally, have any of you listened to or watched Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers?
They are TERRIBLE and they aren't particularly attractive either. Miley Cyrus is only a success due to her father. Period. And anyone who knows the industry, gets that. The father/offspring connection is so obvious as a success factor, it's unbelieveable that critics in music and film don't admit that the Emperor has no clothes. To digress, Tori Spelling? Without Daddy Aaron, deceased power tv producer, Tori would be clipping poodles at a No. Hollywood doggie salon sans the many plastic surgeries she has had to try to appear attractive to the camera. She can't act and she is shudderingly unattractive, but she is famous daughter. Ditto Nicole Ritchie. The list is endless.

So I suppose I should be grateful that at least Cherubic One has a decent voice and hope for the best from his future career. And pray that his Dad doesn't do to him what Michael Jackson's dad did to his family and famous son.

Posted by: Holly | May 14, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Syesha SHOULD get the boot tonight. From a marketing standpoint, I wouldn't buy her music since she sounds like all the other 20-somethings trying to get their chance in Hollyweird. Nothing about her voice (or certainly her canned, must-be-scripted comments) is distinctive.

Archie isn't ready for big time. Question: Are there any rules that prohibit him from trying out again next year?

Cookie is by far the best bet of the three remaining, although his career would be better run by non-Idol management. Too bad he can't win it and then say, "I decline this nomination..."

Bring back Carly!! She was enthusiastic and seemed genuine.

Posted by: bingobangobongo | May 14, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

dadwannabe (and for the others that think Archuleta will go the way of Taylor Hicks) I completely agree with you that David A's boring ballad strategy will not lead him to a succesful commerical career. I also would agree that certain personalities have their hard core groups that give a flash in the pan personality (like Hicks) their AI stardom/post AI failure.

My arguement is that David A is like those other disney company stars in that he has a certain attractive youthful look and talent. After the show he's going to get a handler (and most likely the full treatment) who will be savvy to the fickle tastes of a youthful crowd. I doubt (even if it's his favorite music) that he will be singing Stevie Wonder songs once he has people writing music specifically for him.

The real question (after last nights Chris Brown song) is whether he has the ability to actually perform contemporary music and while it seems like most people would deny this I think that it's way to early to tell. He's going to need things like dancing lessons, a few months of non Mormon Utah time, and marketers to transform him from where he is now to Chris Brown.

My guess is that the Disney, Nickelodian (people should spread their Disney disdain towards them as well), and other companies will be more than able to do this.

Posted by: repricer | May 14, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

While David C. can probably record something right now and be commercially successful, David A. has a lot of potential. He's 17! And he seems like a really "young" 17 year old. The kid has absolutely no street cred - he's from a Mormon family in Utah, for Pete's sake. But...he really has an amazing voice. Maybe someone like Clive Davis will take the boy under his wing and he'll mature into an amazing performer. Plenty of dorky 17 years olds have turned out differently later in life.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Great points American Idol Fan, I recoil too when judges make those judgments. And it is lazy.they may as well say, "I don't like you, go home."

Dadwannabe, totally agree about AI voting policies - they are hurting themselves and are turning it into a tweener contest.

I think David A. is initially marketable to the tween niche, but also agree that he is unlikely to have any lasting commercial impact/success. He is simply too young and immature, and I think, lacking intelligence necessary to create a musical career for himself. At 17 he has so many developmental stages to go through, which could be rocky.

Posted by: Idle fan | May 14, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I like Syesha, but we all know that she is getting the hook tonight. The real question is - who else is going to be in the bottom two? From this board, it would appear to be Archuleta, but this board is hardly representative of the AI fan base.

Posted by: AmericanIdolFan | May 14, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Great comment, AmericanIdolFan, about judges predispositions. Many of us agree.

Judges -- just comment on the singing of the song! -- not-so much the song choice (es-PECially when it is mandated to them!) and not the comparison to the original artist! How did they perform the damn song? That's all that really matters. Don't inject advance opinion that it was "the best of the night" when the night isn't over!

My wish : Syesha is voted AI for my perception that she can certainly sing, can out-perform either David, is mature enough to hold the title, has future-promise as a singer/celebrity, and has the styled-look of an AI. David C wins "most likely to succeed" for chart success, and David A wins Miss Congeniality, plus a contract to sing for Disney movie soundtracks.

Some nice comments above on Sy's behalf, but some very snarky ones (tramp!?) too that typically seems from women, including, today, Ms. Wiltz and (usually) LisaDeM too. Get over it women! Syesha is prettier than you, sings better, and is in position to benefit from her celebrity. Meoww!! I can hear the catfighting already! What have you got against someone who has advanced this far, is receiving better-late-than-never reviews and seems personable? Do you REALLY want Smiley Gator (I charge a fee for others to use my copyrighted nickname for him) squinting at you and giggling his way throguh a career in the public eye?

Posted by: RedRocket | May 14, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"I like Syesha, but we all know that she is getting the hook tonight. The real question is - who else is going to be in the bottom two? From this board, it would appear to be Archuleta, but this board is hardly representative of the AI fan base."

DialIdol has DavidC with a score of 33 to DavidAs 22 to Syesha's 15.

Posted by: Duffman | May 14, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

"Syesha is voted AI for my perception that she can certainly sing,"

My thing is, I don't think she can sing. I mean, she's fine, but she's not that great. When she tried to belt, she goes off-key every single time.

She needs songs that are low, and slow. Anything else and she's average at best. Hence, the broadway suggestions. There are plenty of roles out there that would fit her range and singing style very nicely.

Posted by: Duffman | May 14, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

So, RedRocket, we can insult/snark Smiley Gator, but not I'm Syesha Mercado!?

Come on, we're HERE for the snark!

As for Syesha, if by "personable" you mean "full of herself," and by "mature" and "styled" you mean "great shoes" - then I entirely agree!

My problem with Syesha (since I'm a big fan of many women who are prettier, more famous, and better singers than I am) is that she has the can't-stop-talking-when-the-judges-are-talking-I-love-my-fans-I'm-Awesome-lookitme quality. And her dress was too short.

Posted by: bring back lisa | May 14, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and she sucks on fast songs. Couldn't hit the notes.

Posted by: bring back lisa | May 14, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Brace yourselves - a blog complaint w/backhanded compliment to follow:

It's disappointing to pop up the blog and see the same abbreviated version of what we get in the published edition. Popping onto this blog is one of my secret pleasures because I know that Lisa is unconstrained by word counts and limits.

Posted by: Doorknob | May 14, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I have also wondered what would be best for Cookie- to win or not to win. But then last week he seemed genuinely very happy to be safe... so GO COOKIE! Or maybe he was just happy to get to do the homecoming thing?? who knows...

Posted by: Thea | May 14, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for making my case bringbackLisa. Knew I could count on YOU! :)

Posted by: RedRocket | May 14, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

That's what I'm here for!

Posted by: bring back lisa | May 14, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I have got to admit that the kid has a great voice - fantastic really.

However, he sings with the same dead-eyed, expressionless face, standing there with the mike in his left had standing in the middle of the stage for nearly every darn song.

He bores me to tears. Simon is right about him being predictable. You know exactly what you are going to get out of him every time.

The only reason I would hate for David C. to win is that I would hate to see him ruin his career by sining that god-awful song they make the winners' record. +

Posted by: DavidAnomore | May 14, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Gotta comment on Syesha dispute. Said before, I like some things about her and think she can have a successful career. I too, was initially turned off a bit by the "full of herself" attitude, but I don't think she is really arrogant. And I have come to appreciate it her scrappy confidence.

There are really two ways most stars in entertainment (including sports)can have a media impact: "humble pie" (Smiley Gator,Brooke BaNanny, Carrie, Elliot Yamin) or very self-assured, performance psychologist coached "I'm proud of myself" with PR script (sound bites). Either may work in media depending on person.

Having watched a lot of solo sports performances (ice skating, golf, most Olympic sports, etc.), I have learned that most top athletes consult sports psychologists to "get their head in the game." When interviewed, top echelon athletes NEVER admit weakness. If pointed out that they fell on triple axle, they respond, "I'm proud of myself for landing 6 jumps, including my triple-triple toe loop combination." They don't allow anyone to put focus on an error, and thus keep their mind in "winning" script. Some studies back up this strategy. This "I'm proud of myself" media strategy is very apparent too now in music/theater, and certainly in pageants.

I always thought Syesha was perfect pageant contestant and could have won Miss America. I think she is smart and chose the AI as faster platform for herself, but I am certain she has prepared for it using a pageant plan. This is not criticism. She has calculated just enough down-to-earth humor comments to have broad appeal, but w/o sacrificing her confident "winner" vibe. If you are as beautiful as Syesha, people aren't going to buy the Melinda DoLittle ("I was just a back-up singer")or Jordin Sparks (I'm a size 16)humility line.
So, INMHO I think Syesha has taken right approach. She is very confident and deserves to be, and tries to soften it with perky goofiness and a million dollar smile.

If I were a magazine editor, I'd already have sent her a contract to do a cover and article spread. I appreciate that Syesha has enough talent to make it in entertainment AND appears to have some down-to-earth normalcy.

That said, she is going home tonight, but won't be crying, because I bet her mailbox is already full of offers, as it should be.
I wish her well.

Posted by: Holly | May 14, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I think Syesha is beautiful and has a nice voice, but she doesn't blow me away like Kelly did. Kelly was incredible. Syesha's voice is pretty generic.

David A's voice is beautiful. They are going to have a hard time figuring out what to do with him, but he's capable of being a puppet with a great voice.

David C is an entertainer with some real talent. He's got an obvious audience, and we will be hearing a great album out of him.

Posted by: atb | May 14, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Holly. When you are in the entertainment business, there are at least 10K talented people vying for the same thing you are (in the case of AI, 100K). If you don't have confidence in yourself, it shows and you get eliminated. Think back to the early auditions. What do *YOU* think of those people who don't know if they are any good...most of them aren't. Some have some talent, but don't know how to harness it.

One of the first things taught in any auditioning, singing, performing class is that you have to have confidence in your own abilities. When you don't, you rarely can show off your talents to their best. Even the ones that are shy and reserved and "Aw shucks" have confidence in their abilities, they're just surprised someone else recognizes it or appreciates it. Everyone knows their Mom loves the way they sing. It's when someone else loves it that it can be a surprise.

When I perform, I know that I can sing well and that people regularly pay money to hear me perform. I obviously get cast in shows, but I have to say that when the last week of rehearsals hits or when the lights dim...stage fright sets in and you always think...what if they don't like me? But you have to put on that stage confidence and sell it like you mean it or it will dim your performance. And when you don't think you performed at your best, you can still be surprised when someone raves about "your best performance" or "I loved it!"

It goes with the spotlight.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | May 14, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. I think some of blogging confuses snarky with legit. criticism. Overall, I think we all are trying to share our analysis and reactions, and when a "snarky" comment is possible, as in renaming a contestant ("Smiley Gator being one of my faves, btw -thanks RR) it lightens up the dialogue.

Lisa does an incredible job of synthesizing a show, quoting the best, and providing some great critiquing through clever snarky renaming and comments. And I too, warm up with print edition but then go to website for the rich, unedited version - delicious. Maybe poor Teresa didn't know the unspoken rules: what's fit to print can be enhanced on-line with critical detail and snark. Just a thought.

It occurs to me that the people most deserving of snark at this time are Randy, Paula, and Ryan. We have dissected and wrung out the final 3 contestants beyond their worthiness of snark. Just a bunch of nice singers trying hard to make it.

Come on folks, we all agree that Paula is the village idiot, but isn't it about time she get slammed? She couldn't survive the judging, and is a washed up pop singer NOT in the R&R Hall of Fame to my knowledge. And definitely not HOT. Randy? All self-serving, inarticulate, inconsistent blather. Can someone enlighten me as to why these two are worthy of being judges? I don't get it. Simon I get and adore. And Ryan, well better than past, BUT, talk about arrogance and annoying..

In addition to the great suggestion to limit calls, I think AI needs to revamp its judges. I also watch DWTS, and the judging there is excellent and comments by judges and hosts very entertaining w/o being silly/pandering. A different world.

I think we have convinced ourselves that laughing at Paula is good entertainment. It is now, simply BORING.

Posted by: Idle fan | May 14, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I think it's odd that they'd reassign Lisa to something else during the finale time of Idol. I've been reading her helarious articles regarding Idol all season and to switch to reading someone elses stuff right at the end seems like a rip off.....there is not the same humour or connection.

Posted by: Mary Brown | May 14, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

When AI is over, I'm going to miss you all. Can we have an off-season AI, talk about music blog under Lisa's guidance? Please? ;-)

Hey, where's Jean? Jean - I miss you, tune in now please from wherever you are on the Ballston corridor.

I think there should be a bloggers night out for the final results show at some venue with a big screen. Margaritaville for all.

Posted by: Holly | May 14, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

As I predicted 2 weeks ago, post-BaNanny AI has become a predictable bore. Talentless Jason out last week. Forgettable Syesha out this week. Then the Double David Finale, where Archie Bubblegum is crowned the new winner of Teen Idol. er ... American Idol. It's the same thing nowadays anyway, n'est-ce pas?

I told all you Brooke-bashers here at HootatNanny that you'd miss having BaNanny to kick around. Now we're consigned to merciless mediocrity and terminal tedium until the End mercifully comes next week.

Posted by: Christin | May 14, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Truly deep analysis from Holly and D-W-be. Liked it.

Holly - you may have left out a third category of "making it" and that is having undeniable, knock-out talent (read: Barry Bonds, Terrell Owens, Tiger Woods, Mia Hamm, John Daly, Amy Winehouse) which we may or may not have to suffer their destructive or put-off personality (Bonds, Owens,Daly, Winehouse). There's nothing wrong with confidence if it is backed by talent (Woods) or tempered by humility (Hamm). I won't suggest Syesha is in this category, but by the same token I just don't see -- never saw -- the "I'm all that" attitude. Not like Fantasia. Not like Danny N. Not like many of the crying losers who can't fathom that they weren't put through the auditions, such as D-W-be alluded to.

So where does that leave us? Bottom line -- who do we WANT as AI to carry the brand forward? Smiley Gator? Please. Musician/artist Cook? Maybe if you like moody talent. Or performer Syesha? She's no worse than any of the interchangable Rihanna/Ciara/Caillet/Barielles/Sparks/Pussycat Dolls soundalikes, and with practice and a producer, may suprise us.

IdleFan -- right on! we really should be uniting against the judges. No one should ever forget Paula's review of a performance that hadn't occured!!

Posted by: RedRocket | May 14, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

For what little it's worth, it pains me to hear Simon (and my brother and sister bloggers here) refer to "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" as being "by Roberta Flack." While Roberta's '71 cover was undeniably great, the song was written by Ewan MacColl around 1957 for his wife, Peggy Seeger. I first heard it (whoa, dating yourself here, dude) by, of all people, the Kingston Trio in '61 or '62 (I was a mere tyke, yo). Prior to Roberta's brilliant cover, it had already been covered by a gazillion people including, among others, Gordon Lightfoot, Peter, Paul, & Mary, Marianne Faithfull, and the great Shirley Bassey. So there's that.

Posted by: philip | May 14, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Phillip! Thanks for the history. This is why this blog is worthy - folks actually contribute knowledge. My husband and I discussed it last night and while we knew it was a Roberta cover, couldn't remember the others. Now I want to hear them. THANKS!

Posted by: Holly | May 14, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

P.S. Just happened to think: it's a good thing Paula wasn't around in '62. She might have tried to judge Roberta's '71 cover.

Posted by: philip | May 14, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Just a thought: Does anyone think that another AI flaw is condensing every song to 1.5 minutes?
Yeah, I know, more than .5 minutes of some singers is too much. But seriously, I think David Cook would have been even better last night if he had at least another minute on his songs.
I think the time limit favors many weak song choices but penalizes many great songs (and thus those who perform them).
We might still have Carly and/or Michael if they could have sung longer, given their skills.
Shallow singers can skate by sounding better when we are only exposed for short durations.
I hesitate to promote this because I couldn't stand 1.5 minutes of so many of the performances. But the alternative, is AI blather. Anything can sound/look good when exposure is limited.
Just sayin..

Posted by: Idle fan | May 14, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

"

As I predicted 2 weeks ago, post-BaNanny AI has become a predictable bore. Talentless Jason out last week. Forgettable Syesha out this week. Then the Double David Finale, where Archie Bubblegum is crowned the new winner of Teen Idol. er ... American Idol. It's the same thing nowadays anyway, n'est-ce pas?

I told all you Brooke-bashers here at HootatNanny that you'd miss having BaNanny to kick around. Now we're consigned to merciless mediocrity and terminal tedium until the End mercifully comes next week."

---

Christin! Baby! OMG, I 'm so glad you are OK. I was worried after CryNanny got booted that you would have an unfortunate incident with a bottle of Tylenol PM.

That said, I love your suggestion that having one Terrible singer still remaining on the show would somehow make things more interesting.

"Everyone tonight was pretty 'meh' I bet you are missing Brooke and her complete suckitude right about now - that would have livened things up!"

Posted by: Duffman | May 14, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

IdleFan,

I disagree. 1.5 min should be long enough for a singer to show his/her stuff. In this day and age, people's attention wander. Poor song choices or poor performances really don't need more than 20-30 seconds (and the other 60 seconds seems like an eternity). Good singers can make 1.5 min work. If the song needs more than 1.5 min to make it work, then they really need to pick better songs for a competition. Yes, no Harry Chapin for anyone. Michael Johns was not good at song choices. He frequently chose very long songs that took too long to "set up" and was just getting warmed up at the 1 min mark. That's a lot of warm-up time for a competition and why eventually viewers stopped voting. They tuned out in the first 60 seconds and not enough were around for the good 30 seconds.

These guys are lucky. Most auditions for musical theater you get 16 bars. That equates to about 15-20 seconds. Although more time would help one or two, personally, I think it would cause a ratings crash.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | May 14, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Hey-I didn't see if anyone caught Simon making an ignorant comment about David Archie's mayor and his moustache.

The mayor had one of those old-movie-villian handlebar moustaches, and Simon says to Randy, "That would be a good look for you next season!"

Something like that.

I thought that was waaaay obnoxious to openly make fun of the guy.

Posted by: Debbie | May 14, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Dadwannabe - You convinced me. Great reality check. You're right about impressions. I know in first few bars if I want to listen more. If it sucks at beginning, it is usually unredeemable.

Posted by: Idle fan | May 14, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Idle Fan,

I've heard the argument before and the problem is that when something is good, you want more of it. For those performers that can wow in the first 15-20 seconds, and then build, you want their song to go on for the full 3-? minutes. The problem is that there is usually at most one or two songs in a night of 8-12 songs that will do that to you. The rest, would not be pretty if they had the chance to do the full song. Do we really want to here the full length version of Kristi Lee's "Eight Days a Week", Jason's "I Shot the Sheriff" (the audience would be asking him to shoot us to put us out of his misery), Brooke's "Here Comes the Sun" just to name a few?

:-(

Posted by: DadWannaBe | May 14, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Holly at 1:45 PM ...great analysis.
Syesha hedged her bet on being discovered, I think she won.

Posted by: jamjp | May 14, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Idle fan: Actually, I agree with you about the judges AND about the 1.5 minute thing. I've often felt this year that Randy and Paula take up the most time and have the least to say. Randy has a repertoire of catchphrases that has gotten annoying. I also have often been left the feeling that the better singers have no time to create a mood or atmosphere around a song, or show their "originality" and "personality" as the judges are asking them to do. It happens, then it's over in a fraction of the time it takes for one of those endless commercial breaks. Granted, maybe "Dadwannabe" has a point about the earlier weeks of the competition, but when we're down to the last phase of the competition, where we supposedly have the cream of the crop, why not give them some more time to really put on a show?

Posted by: owingsmills | May 14, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

...but when we're down to the last phase of the competition, where we supposedly have the cream of the crop, why not give them some more time to really put on a show?

Posted by: owingsmills | May 14, 2008 4:58 PM

=====

Because then we wouldn't be able to get enough of the splendor of the first winner of the Emmy for Prime Time Reality Host?

Posted by: DadWannaBe | May 14, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Owingsmills, hmmmmmmmmm. Dadwannabe, thoughts?

It would be nice to hear ONE FULL SONG other than the treacle tune trotted out for next week's finals. But, in a contest, a full song can lose more viewers who are quickly bored, something AI can't afford.

On the other hand, what can possibly be more boring than Randula, Ryan, phone calls, shallow idol interviews/montages, etc.?

Can't wait to see how bizarre tonight's Ford "video" (not commercial?) will be with just these three left. There is no obvious vibe between them other than Cook-Syesha glad they don't have Scary Stage Dad. Btw, check out his banishment from rehearsals this week due to tinkering with lyrics of Stand by Me (google SSD).

Posted by: Idle fan | May 14, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Christin - LOL - I miss Brooke for entertainment's sake. She had a personality -like it or not. David A. - lights are on but nobody's home.

Posted by: Holly | May 14, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I don't even live in DC but log on to read Lisa's reviews. Very funny stuff. This writer needs to learn to tell a story. Too worried about being funny than say what happened. There was no way anyone could follow this re-cap. The show was horrible last night and it's all now about how the judges can be cutesy and bicker amongst themselves.

Posted by: Girlfriend | May 14, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Idle Fan, I agree about the judging and hosting being much better on DWTS these days--isn't that shocking? I used to detest Tom B's mean streak, but now he's refined it into something witty and charming. And the judges all have brains on that show and are *actually watching the performances* (unlike Randaula, apparently). Poor Seacrest--last season, I would've tossed that Emmy in his face in a heartbeat, but now, as much as I loved him, he's just become... blah. And soul-less, but I guess Hollywood will do that even to the nicest guy after seven years. And the lack of banter/UST in the air between Simon and Ryan does make for a duller show, I have to say. Simon's completely lost interest in Seacrest, hasn't he? And these days, I really can't blame him... ^^;;

As for the kids, I like someone's idea that Syesha, knowing this would be her last time on AI, decided to strut her Broadway with "Fever." I love the song (but then, I love Broadway/theater) and enjoyed the performance, but it's true, Syesha isn't the best singer (despite the incredible notes she does hit sometimes). Potential there, I guess, but we've had enough cute girls win AI (and they all had more "it" factor than poor Syesha-chan). But she *is* awfully pretty and her singing talent is enough to make something of it, I think. But probably on Broadway (which I, personally, think is awesome).

As for the Davids... I actually really liked Prince Archuleta's first song; yes, it's old, and yes the Dawg's tired-out "you could sing the phonebook" comments made it seem lackluster, but the performance itself was soulful, beautiful. But no, it's not the exciting, in-your-face sort of pop that will fill up Simon's coffers even further, so perhaps he isn't Idol material.

But the boy is talented and will definitely come to life once he's in a quieter setting again, I think. All of you who complain about his glassy-eyed expression, go back and watch the youtube vids of his Hollywood audition and first few weeks of competition--he didn't have that blank look or incoherent interviews back then. I think the pressures of suddenly becoming a teen heartthrob and being second guessed, picked apart, etc, by the media are what's caused him to close up that way. Poor kid--not everyone can handle sudden fame at 17, and I'd imagine it would be especially hard on a quiet, simple kid like David A. I would wish David C to win simply so that our Prince can go back to a quieter, simpler life.

Which is not to say that David C doesn't deserve it--he has the maturity, the charm, the poise and the voice to be crowned American Idol. Prince Archuleta deserves to be in the finals, but you can bet all my votes will go to David C in the end. Anyway, it's about time a rocker won, and I think Cookie is ready to "hit the ground running on Day One," to quote a certain someone. :D He'll be a great Idol, and I think he's got enough direction and competence to keep his own style despite being under the Idol shadow. He entered this competition knowing what he'd have to face and he looks like he still wants to win--so I say, let's help him!!

Posted by: Cy | May 14, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I miss Jason.

Posted by: jasonfan | May 14, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

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