Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Idol's Top 6: Syesha breaks out, Brooke breaks down

Andrew Lloyd Webber, you are a cheeky bastard. I kind of want to write this whole review around you. But I won’t, because no one would read it. They want to hear about how Syesha blew the roof off the place last night, Brooke continued her televised mental breakdown and David Cook almost moved me to tears.

I will say that ALW was by far the best mentor of the year. He didn’t coddle the contestants or blindly give them oodles of praise. He offered constructive advice and criticism, even suggesting (rightly) that Carly pick a different song. The best part, of course, was his thinly-veiled flirting with David Cook. Watching Rocker Boy blush and go “Well, I’m 25, so…” when ALW told him to sing to him like he was the most gorgeous 17-year-old girl in the world made me laugh until my sides hurt. ALW, good on you. Though last night proved to be rather polarizing and bewildering as a whole, you were absolutely fabulous, dahling.

Anyway, Syesha Mercado is up first, singing “One Rock and Roll too Many” from Starlight Express, a musical I have never seen or heard, though I’m told it’s about trains who come to life and fall in love. Also there are people on roller skates. I wish I were making this up. I have a sneaking suspicion ALW may have been going through a Sgt. Pepper period while conceiving and writing this. Just a thought.

Her performance was sexy, confident and absolutely crackling with energy and attitude. Syesha’s stance that she is an “actress-singer” was tested tonight, and man did she deliver. Musicals require a big voice and an even bigger stage presence. You have to act and emote with your entire body to a level that would be considered ridiculous on television or film. Syesha has always had attitude and personality to spare, but never in a good way. Last night, she found the perfect conduit for it. I was lounging on my couch in my pajamas at the end of a ridiculously long day, and I had to stop myself from giving her a standing ovation in my living room. The fact that the judges didn’t praise her like she was the second coming was a huge head-scratcher (of course, as the night went on that became a trend…ignoring the mistakes of the favorites and being far too harsh on the unchosen few).

Broadway star potential: realized

Poor Jason Castro was at a huge disadvantage from the get go this week. He and Brooke do not have the “big voices” required to sing Broadway numbers. So, I knew I wasn’t going to get soaring power notes and big runs and huge chest voice out of Jason’s version of “Memory.” I give him a lot of credit for deciding that the best way to go was to keep the emotion and power of the song but tone down the theatrics of it to make it something that suited his style. Unfortunately, his style is pretty much the anti-Broadway, which is perhaps why it was received so poorly by the judges. It didn’t fit the night, but it definitely fit him, and I think that’s more important. I felt like Jason connected to the emotion of the song very well and conveyed it in his voice and delivery. It was good, but it wasn’t great and it definitely wasn’t Broadway, which is probably why he’ll end up in the bottom three tonight.

Brooke White's tendency to warble a bit here and there during most of her songs is a part of why I could never fully jump on her bandwagon (that and the fact that she’s what I would become if my nightmares came true). Week by week, as she slowly breaks down before our very eyes on national television, the warbling has gotten worse. Last night, she sounded like she was gargling through “You Must Love Me.”

Of course, all of that came after she messed up the lyrics, stopped the band and then made them start over. I’m pretty sure my jaw hung open for about five minutes after that. The reboot obviously rattled her (but then again, what doesn’t these days? I’m pretty sure she’s the kind of person who leaps ten feet in the air and trembles when someone says “Hello.”). Her performance was a huge mess, warbly and uncomfortable and nervous and off kilter. The judges, obviously sensing that she’d break into a million pieces live on the air if someone said too harsh a word, were way too kind in their critique. Huge props to Paula for calling her out on starting over, though she’s Paula so it was said in the sweetest way possible. Simon patting her on the head by agreeing that he would’ve done the same thing in her position just meant my jaw hung open even longer.

Say bye bye to Brooke, America.

David Archuleta forgot the lyrics again, something I didn’t notice until my second viewing this morning on YouTube. Know why I didn’t notice? Because the camera conveniently cut away from his face the second he “went up” on his lines. Once is bad enough, Archie, but twice? And from a kid who has been performing since he could hold a microphone in his tiny toddler hands? Absolutely inexcusable. Look, props to him for taking a grand musical number sung by a girl (and a first soprano at that) and turning it into a crooning, adult contemporary song. We all know the kid can sing, and sing incredibly well, but I remain unconvinced that he should wear the idol crown…though the judges and producers obviously feel differently. Archie was given the lofty praise that should’ve been directed at Syesha, and the fact that not one judge called him out on his flub? Huge thumbs down.

Carly Smithson came back to life during last night’s performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” After weeks of looking uncomfortable and dour and tense, Carly let loose and put on a rousing, rocking show. As Simon said, she got a tad too shouty and borderline shrill on a few notes, but overall she was fantastic and reminded me why I picked her as one of my Idol frontrunners way back in Hollywood Week. Also, I want the shirt she had made.

This is what my brain did as soon as David Cook started singing and fixed those sultry eyes on me: G&^%&$R%Y$%^@!!!!! I was a little concerned with his song selection, but damn if he didn’t pull it off again. ALW said it was his most sensual, sexy song and I agree…if it’s sung well. Not only do you need to have the big, broad voice to pull this off…you really have to be able to just pour emotion into it. His “Music of the Night” nearly moved me to tears, and I’m definitely not the type.

I see you looking at me with those eyes...

I’m really glad he didn’t “rock it out” (with the exception of that last glory note). He’s already proved that he can rock, but this week he expand his range even further, showing that he can deliver a beautiful, soaring ballad with the same level of competency and success.

Bottom three is getting nearly impossible to predict this late in the competition, but I’m going to go Brooke, Jason and Carly…though I think it should be Archie instead of Carly.

1 comment:

danielletbd said...

Dude I just got Carly Smithson's first album. Its so poppy and not at all like what she sounds like now. I still think she got shafted this week, though.