American Idol – Final 8

And Then There Were Eight 

For a show that was supposed to be “inspirational”, the 8 performers by and large picked some fairly uninspired choices or sang them rather poorly, or both.  There were a couple of surprises, both good and bad. 

Thankfully, no one sang Wind Beneath My Wings or You Raise Me Up.  That might have been just too much to handle, and quite honestly, there isn’t a Josh Groban in the bunch.

And after a couple of weeks of Paula being somewhat lucid and seemingly sober and even making sense on occasion, she was back to standing and swaying and randomly clapping her hands.  Much of what she was saying seemed confused.  I think her dress was too tight and was cutting off the air to her brains.  Or she had rum in her Coke cup again.

 Here’s how I think they did, best to worst.

 First surprise of the night:

1) Dreadlocks Jason – Abandoned his guitar for a ukulele and gave not only his best performance since he’s been on the show (yes, even better than Hallelujah), but also the best performance of the night doing Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow (as heard in 50 First Dates) nearly flawlessly.  I know, I was shocked too. Judge #1 said this is his pinnacle moment and after this he’s done.  She also wants to change his name from Dreadlocks Jason to Tiny Tim, but I have veto power on that one.

 2) Young David – Went with yet another song that was a hit outside the US with Robbie Williams’ Angels and delivered again.  This ballad was actually a much better song choice for David A. than when he sang John Farnham’s You’re the Voice, a big hit in Canada.  Maybe next week Mr. Archuleta will look through some actual AMERICAN hits and give us something that most of us recognize.  Despite that, it was a very nice ballad to listen to and once again, it is very surprising to know that he’s only 17 years old. 

Second surprise of the night:

3) Country Kristy – I cannot believe that I’m ranking Kristy so high.  First, I just don’t like her.  Second, as I’ve said before, I hate country music.  However, the girl was most definitely in her wheelhouse last night singing Martina McBride’s Anyway.  This was her best performance by a country mile, if you’ll excuse the expression and will save her for at least a couple of more weeks.

4) Syesha – I had considered ranking her higher because she sang very well, but it was her choice of song that put her in the middle of the pack.  It wasn’t as big of a star as Mariah or Whitney, but Fantasia’s I Believe was a huge song for her to tackle, and it wasn’t just any old song that Fantasia sang, it was Fantasia’s winning Idol song.  With standing ovation and confetti pouring down on her and tears running down her face.  It was loaded with emotion.  And that’s exactly what Syesha was missing.  Not the confetti, although that would have been a nice touch, but the raw emotion that the song needed to carry it.

5) Brooke – When is this girl going to learn: She does her absolute best work behind the piano.  Last night’s performance was no different.  Carole King’s You’ve Got a Friend is perfect for the piano, like most of the songs from the Tapestry album, yet Brook decided to go it alone and gave a somewhat solid, but bland rendition.  Judge #1 felt it lacked emotion. I have to agree.  On the bright side, we learned that it’s one of Paula’s sister’s favorite songs.  I’m so happy.

6) Carly – Sang The Show Must Go On by Queen, a song that’s absolutely perfect to show off range and vocal prowess.  At first I thought she did just that, but after hearing it a second time I changed my mind.   She actually started off great, but by the end of the song she had completely lost it.  I put Freddie Mercury in the category of vocalists that you just shouldn’t try to take on because with very few exceptions it will make you look bad.

 Third surprise of the night

7) Rocker David – One Question:  What the hell was he thinking?  Has anybody who lives in the United States except for Securb (our resident beer expert and music authority) ever even heard of Our Lady Peace?  And that aside, it was a lousy song choice.  They must have better songs to choose from than Innocent.  I guess he’s allowed to have an off week periodically after several stellar weeks in a row.  He should have worn the white band jacket when he sang Billie Jean a few weeks ago.  Even though it wasn’t the MJ version, it would have been a nice homage.

 8- Aussie Michael – After the past two weeks’ very good performances (Queen’s We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions 2 weeks ago and Dolly Parton’s It’s All Wrong, but It’s All Right last week, it appeared that the boy from Down Under was back.  Unfortunately, it was a quick flash because last night’s performance of Aerosmith’s rock anthem Dream On was dreadful.  The verses were ok at best, but when he attempted the Tyleresque chorus, it was all over.  I understood his reasoning for Dream On as an inspirational song, but there were hundreds of others that would have served him better and kept him in the competition.  This one won’t.