Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Idol's Top 20: The Guys

I’m going to rank the men this week, because it seems like last night we really started to get a feel for who will end up in the elite “Top 6.”

David Archuleta

I can’t help it. I’m still searching for the tiniest glimmer of insincerity in this kid; for some little reason not to like him. I’m merciless (and, I suppose, slightly evil) that way. I just can’t believe that he’s that modest and that talented and that adorable and doesn’t also, I don’t know, kick puppies in his spare time.

This was not the week to find little Archie’s weakness. Not only did he take on John Lennon (and “Imagine” at that) but he set the Idol bar so unbelievably high with his damn-near-perfect rendition that I don’t know anyone will be able to top it for the rest of the semifinals. If he struck me as a normal human being, I would say that as soon as he finished his performance last night, he was proverbially looking down (from his pedestal as the littlest King of Idolonia) on those 19 other poor schmucks and going “beat that, suckas.” But no, he started a completely sincere round of applause for his fellow contestants when Simon announced that he’d blown everyone else out of the water.

Damn near perfect

Hang on…I think my tiny shriveled heart, despite my best efforts, is growing three sizes right now. It hurts.

His version of “Imagine” gave me goosebumps. My roommate and I, normally the biggest chatterboxes you’ll ever meet, fell silent and just stared, slack-jawed, while he sang. That is the kind of performance that will stay with you for a really long time. I stunned me and, as schmaltzy as it sounds (and I try to stay away from schmaltz as much as possible because it’s icky) it touched a part of my soul. He’s definitely the performer to beat right now.

David Hernandez

He won me over during Hollywood Week with his fantastic stage presence and vocal stylings. Then, last week, the 60s sucked out all of his soul. However, the second he gave me the sex eyes from the top of the stairs (yes me, not all of America…be quiet) and started in on “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” I knew he’d returned to form. I am beyond happy about this because for a while I felt like I was the only one who saw anything in this kid, but I think now he’s a serious threat to make the Top 6.

The song choice was fantastic (and definitely not safe) and his voice was strong and clear throughout. I had a minor quibble with the very end, but he was ON from the second he stepped on that stage and his charisma is undeniable.

David Cook

Oh, my Rocker David. You play left-handed guitar. You’re a “word nerd.” Last night settled it. We need to make little chubby-faced, rocker “word nerd” babies. You rocked the hell out of “All Right Now” and everyone knows it. Your vocals are strong, your stage presence is solid (when you winked at the camera halfway through I almost lost my isht) and you’ve officially wrested the “rocker” title away from anyone else who might try to claim it.

Keep the sexy, lose the 'tude

That love letter aside…please never cross Simon again. Let’s have a little talk, David. I think Simon was slightly off-the-point when he criticized you for admitting that you “liked doing crossword puzzles.” However, what got buried in the bru-ha-ha over the relevance of his remark was his other observation, which I think you should definitely take heed of: your charisma (or lack thereof). I don’t think you lack charisma at all: you make me all tingly every time you perform. However, I think you’ve got this aloofness that guys who want to be seen as “rock and roll” try really hard to cultivate. It probably works well for you when you’re touring with your band or when actually playing in a straight-up rock show. But this is American Idol, dude. You need to seem open and friendly and mass-marketable if you wants to win this thing. You need to be the kind of personality that the Idol phenomenon can hitch its wagon to.

I think that’s what Simon was trying, in his own “special” way, to point out. I cringed while David and Simon were having their little tiff: Rocker Boy came off as a bit petulant. He needs to pull out the bits of wisdom Simon buried in his character attack and learn from them next week. Don’t disappoint me, David: I hate having my soul crushed.


I giggled a little when I saw that he chose to follow up his much-maligned wardrobe choice last week with a lime green and electric blue polo shirt. He’s got a degree of confidence and bravado that borders on obnoxious, but he kept it pretty well in check tonight (awesome crack about Simon’s wardrobe aside). I love how he managed to visibly win back Simon’s favor by admitting that it was a mistake to let the curt Brit get to him.

I had to put in a picture because I loved the shirt.

The performance itself I liked...but I didn’t love. It was a vast improvement over last week. The song choice was excellent, his vocals were hot and no one thinks he has a problem feeling comfortable on stage. Still, something about it failed to wow me. If he keeps it up I don’t think he’ll have a problem making the Top 6.

Danny Noreiga

I breathed a sigh of relief a couple lines into his rendition of “Superstar.” It was leaps and bounds better than the disaster that was his Elvis karaoke show last week. I actually really enjoyed it. I did want him to tone down is vibrato a bit (Randy, I agree with you there, dawg). That was the only thing that really grated on me. But the rest of the song was very smooth and light and…impressive.

It was far from the best vocal of the night, but I think Danny definitely redeemed himself enough to go through to next week. I want him to stick around; he’s got a fun personality and his presence really adds something to the show as a whole. I do realize that such things only carry you so far, though, so he needs to step it up even more next week.

Jason Castro

Okay, I don’t really get the whole “We heart Jason Castro” thing. Vocally, at least. His package was downright hysterical and he came across as this adorably earnest and honest and possibly (okay, probably) high. I say “whatever” to those who cry stereotyping…he’s a white man with dreads. Deal.

It’s funny, because each of the last two weeks, I’ve liked his performance a lot better the second time I heard it. Possibly because I’m less startled by the serial killer vibe he gives off. Still, he had some problems with a few of the higher notes in “I Just Wanna Be Your Everything.” Neither one of his performances was any kind of a revelation for me, but I like the kid. I think he’s got a unique style that he brings to the show and I’d like to see more of it. Partly so I can settle the “cute or creepy” debate raging in my head, but mostly because listening to him is just…enjoyable.

Michael Johns

His mouth is gigantic. Has no one else noticed this? He was totally one of those kids who robbed people blind by betting them five dollars that he could fit his whole fist in his mouth…and then he fit both in. I was eerily transfixed watching his mouth move while he sang last night.

Sadly, this was mostly because his performance wasn’t memorable at all. It just sort of was. He was mostly on-key and sounded okay, but there was absolutely no “oomph” behind his performance. It was incredibly lackluster and a huge disappointment considering he chose to sing a great song: “You Can Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac. Since he makes the womenfolk and menfolk alike sigh dreamily because he is Aussie and attractive (supposedly) and well-muscled, I’m fairly certain he’s safe. But if he keeps going downhill…

Luke Menard

I thought that his “Killer Queen” was a definite, noticeable improvement over the disastrous performance of “Everybody’s Talkin’” last week. Mostly because I didn’t fall asleep while listening to it. Luke did an okay job. I was actually sort of impressed during certain parts. But here’s the thing: it’s Queen, man. Unless you bring some sort of new flavor to the material AND sing it impeccably, you’re going to get torn a new one. And that’s exactly what happened.

Also, his voice sounded really thin and reedy throughout most of the song. He doesn’t have the vocal power necessary to pull it off, so while he was on-key, the performance as a whole was unimpressive and forgettable.

Robbie Carrico

I feel really bad for the guy that the judges and Ryan won’t stop harping on the whole “are you REALLY rock and roll?’ thing. I understand that it’s possibly a subtle suggestion for him to switch gears if he wants to last longer in the competition, but it comes off as badgering and sort of mean.

That said, his rendition of “Hot Blooded” was tepid at best. There was no rock and roll fire behind his voice. I felt like he’d taken a tranquilizer right before he started to sing and, in his head he was shredding up the stage like a rock god…but in reality he was standing there bopping a little and trying to eat his microphone. Color me unimpressed and mostly bored.

Jason Yeager

Definitely the last time you'll see his face. Uh..."enjoy"?

Get off my television screen. Seriously. Your hair is tragic. Your clothes don’t fit. I thought you were having some sort of epileptic fit at the end of your performance. You looked incredibly silly through the entire number. I was busier thinking of ways to make fun of you than I was actually listening to you sing. That rendition of “Long Train Runnin’” is something I would hear on the easy listening station in my dentist’s office. (No kidding: the debate over whether the root canal I was getting or the song I was listening to was more painful would seriously perplex me).
My predictions? Jason Yaeger is gone. I'm having trouble choosing between Luke Menard and Robbie Carrico for the second ousting...I'll go with Robbie.

1 comment:

danielletbd said...

Okay, that settles it, I'm now officially the only one who doesn't like David A.

PS I think you need to Live Blog "AI" from now on!!!