Friday, April 11, 2008

Idol Gives Back Week Takes From Michael Johns

Ryan Seacrest, he of the shiny smile and surprisingly adept dance moves, became a schoolyard bully last night: first he knocked the wind out of Michael Johns by announcing that he’d received the fewest votes, then he kicked him while he was down with a “will we or won’t we boot you?” tease that ultimately ended in Johns being sent packing.

Lookit! He can't believe Seacrest either!

C’mon Seacrest, was that really necessary? It’s bad enough that you told Michael America loved him the least. Poor MJ, who’d never been in the bottom three before, looked like someone had sucker punched him (it was you, Seacrest, it was YOU!). Then you lifted his hopes by reminding everyone that no one got eliminated last year during Idol Gives Back week. By the time you got to the “but…” part of your little speech, Idol’s top Aussie looked positively green. I was far from Michael Johns’ biggest fan, but shame on you, Seacrest. That kind of cruelty is beneath you.

Michael Johns wasn’t going to win American Idol. Through the semis and his time on the big stage, he never really positively identified himself as a singer and fought a (losing) battle to straddle the rock-and-roll/blues line with varying degrees of success. Following his two strongest performances outside of Hollywood Week (his “Wee Will Rock You/We Are The Champions” medley and Dolly Parton’s “It’s All Wrong, But It’s Allright”) his rendition of “Dream On” was weak by comparison, but by no means awful.

Johns will join Chikezie on the list of “contestants who went home a couple weeks too early.” I can understand how Kristy Lee Cook avoided the axe this week: her performances over the last couple weeks have shown growth and improvement. Indeed, her “Anyway” was her strongest performance to date. She looked comfortable and confident on stage for the first time and it showed. I’m definitely not jumping on the KLC bandwagon (I still think she’ll go in the next two weeks) but she was good this week.

KLC loves America, America says, "eh, she's growing on us."

Syesha Mercado and Carly Smithson, on the other hand, deserved to be in the bottom three. What the heck happened to Carly over the past few weeks? She’s on a scary, self-destructive downward spiral. Each week, she stinks more and more of desperation while her performances just plain stink. Her version of “The Show Must Go On” was just an utter mess. She was off beat, awkward, vocally scattered and unhappy. It was wince-worthy and I hate to have to say that, because I really like Carly. She and KLC seem to be following opposite trajectories and I wish they’d switch places already. Bring Back “Come Together!” Carly!

The only other person worthy of any commentary (I was under whelmed by pretty much everyone this week) is David Cook. Who is ridiculously lucky that he didn’t end up in the bottom three. Rocker Boy has proved that he can give stellar performances of other people’s fantastic arrangements and last week he grew even more by delivering a slightly out of character, self-arranged version of “Little Sparrow” that stretched his already broad range of abilities even further. But “Innocent” was just plain bad, Rocker Boy. It was out of your vocal range, which you seemed to realize and attempt (badly) to correct mid-verse. The arrangement was shaky and, for the first time, you looked uncomfortable on stage. I have no doubt that he’ll come back stronger than ever next week but, well…he’s lucky he’s a hottie is all I’m saying.

A small footnote. I don't really have anything to say about Wednesday's Idol except "please give." But I wanted to showcase Annie Lennox's performance of "Many Rivers To Cross" because her performance and video package were the most powerful parts of the event.

1 comment:

DC said...

Annie Lennox was great! I thought her and Carrie really stole the show.

I think a lot of people are upset about Seacrest, but I didn't actually see anything that was that wrong or mean-spirited about it. It is what it is.

I bought 3 songs on iTunes from Idol Gives Back to "Give Back" so far :) Just waiting to get paid because I am poooooor...