American Idol – Final 6

And Then There Were 6

 You never know what you’re going to get when certain theme-nights occur on Idol, and Broadway is probably chief among them.  For some reason, the oft-used axiom of “if you can sing, you can sing anything”, doesn’t necessarily apply here.  There also has to be an element of acting involved and some selling the song a bit more than your average ditty. 

 All of that being said, last night’s Idol show was somewhat of a treat with Sir Andrew Lloyd-Webber as guest mentor.  By the way, I’ve decided that having a guest mentor who works with the contestants during the week and then just sits back watching them is far better than the past couple of seasons where the “mentor” also went on to become a “guest judge” that same week.  Very pointless and added nothing to the show but more fawning.  They get enough of that from Paula. 

 It was also very interesting watching Ricky Minor conduct an orchestra rather than head the multi-piece band he usually leads.  It added a whole new element to the show and gave it a little more elegance than it usually has. 

 For the most part, the contestants handled the complexities of Lloyd-Webber’s arrangements quite well. 

 What follows is how I think they did, from best to worst:

 1)       Rocker David – OK, this guy is truly gifted.  On Tuesday morning we found out that his 2006 self-released CD, Analog Heart, was re-released  this past Friday by Amazon MP3s and had more downloads over the weekend than Mariah Carey’s new CD E=MC2 (2nd) and REM’s new CD Accelerate (3rd).  After last week’s amazing performance of Mariah Carey’s Always Be My Baby, can he really do anything wrong?  The answer seems to be, no.  Last night Rocker David actually left his rockin’ roots for the first time and showed a new side of himself.  He sang a very passionate Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera and it was as good as anything that he’s done so far.

 2)       Carly – Lloyd-Webber advised against her first choice and suggested that she go with her second choice, and it paid off in a big way.  She belted out Jesus Christ Superstar and she had fun with it, and we had fun listening to it.  It wasn’t her best performance, but it was close.  When she lets herself go, you can really see the difference in her performance.  She should do it more often.

 3)       Syesha – For the first time in several weeks, she was not boring, not by a long shot.  She may have found her niche.  From the very beginning, with the fingersnapping, to the flirting with the guitar player, this was not typical Syesha.  She employed some of that acting and selling I mentioned earlier, and it worked as she moved effortlessly through One Rock N’ Roll Too Many from Starlight Express.
 4)       Young David– Once we got past the interview with Ryan and the girls running onstage and hugging him like he was a member of The Beatles (I’m surprised none of them fainted), we finally got to the singing part.  He gave us a very typical, Young David version of Think of Me from Phantom of the Opera.  That is, nearly perfect yet disconnected, primarily because I don’t think he “got it”, and a song like that requires a certain amount of feeling that he hasn’t experienced yet.

 5)       Brooke– The only person in Idol history who has had not one, but two false starts, and will probably get away with it.  Her absolute sincerity both in her singing and her overall demeanor, will garner her votes, if nothing else.  Interestingly, my very problem with Young David is one of the things that I love about Brooke, and Sir Andrew had to explain the song You Must Love Me from the Evita movie to her last night so she could fully appreciate it.  Even with that, she still seemed off, most likely due to the false start.  It well certainly put her in the bottom 2 tonight, but not send her home.  Judge #1 (Lynn) can’t stand her facial features while the judges are talking to her, and doesn’t quite believe the sincerity quite as much as I do.


 6)       Dreadlock Jason – Here’s a question:  WHAT THE HELL WAS HE THINKING????  He’s in the top 6, and he chooses now to totally destroy one of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s most famous songs?  No upper register, no lower register, no passion, no emotion.  He obviously had no idea what the song was about, even after Webber told him.  Grizabella is turning over in her kitty grave as he decimates Memories from Cats.  Even Judge #2 (Daughter Nikki) couldn’t say anything to defend him other than how cute he is.  Well, cute don’t win American Idol.