Thursday, May 15, 2008

American Idol: The David-David Finale

Last woman standing. Good on you, Syesha!

I was almost convinced that Syesha might manage to unseat one of the Davids for a spot in the Top 2. Almost, but not quite. I had to give her the benefit of the doubt, considering that she outlasted Brooke, Carly and Jason despite never completely winning over the judges, the critics or the American public. She was Idol’s version of the little engine that could, outlasting the competition and continuing to climb higher and higher despite having the odds stacked against her.

It helped that, as Randy said, she peaked late in the competition. Whether it was strategy or just the fact that it took her a while to really get comfortable up there (considering she’s an actress/performer, I’m a mite suspicious), Syesha shone brighter and brighter in recent weeks. Of course, that could have been the sequined outfits she recently became so fond of.

Regardless of her improved performances of late, even she didn’t think she had a prayer of breaking up the David-David finale. That was very obvious when the first shot of the show last night showed her without a trace of a smile, looking like she was counting down the 50-odd minutes until her doom in her head.

Her performances Tuesday night didn’t do her any favors, and a lot of it wasn’t her fault. Randy’s choice for her – “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys – was both blatantly obvious and uninspired. Syesha rocked it as much as she could; she’s a technically gifted singer with great stage presence. But a song like that didn’t give her much room to make it her own…and indeed, that’s been the root of her problem all season. She’s never really put a personal stamp on anything she’s sung. Even when she lights up the stage, I can’t help feeling that someone else could’ve done exactly the same thing just as well. Gifted but forgettable. That’s Syesha.

I thought her personal choice, “Fever,” was her best of the night, despite the panning from the judges. It was fun and sassy and beautifully sung. Unfortunately, she was forced to end the night on a very sour note. A song from Happy Feet? Could the producers have made it any more obvious that they were setting her up to fail? It irks me a bit that it appears Syesha wasn’t given a 100% fair shot at cracking the Top 2. I don’t think there’s any way she would have regardless, but for the sake of credibility…

Syesha took her elimination with class and grace, and I like her all the more for it. She delivered a powerhouse final performance and kept her head up high; the last remaining bit of Idol cannon fodder.

Will it be David No. 1...

David Archuleta and David Cook are left, as Simon put it, to have a “humdinger” of a battle next week. Despite having the same name, the two couldn’t have followed more different paths on their way to the finals. Archuleta, an immediate crowd favorite, skated through on his adorableness and sheepish puppy demeanor and a voice that is smooth, gorgeous and mature beyond his years. He never met a ballad he didn’t like and earned points for his consistency and mad melisma skills.

...or David No. 2? (You know my vote!)

Cook, on the other hand, was more of a slow burn. A rocker with a soft side, he earned points for being one of the most inventive performers the Idol stage has ever seen. His arrangements, borrowed or original, turned everything from Mariah to Andrew Lloyd Weber on its head…with utterly fantastic results. Neither of them ever saw the Bottom 3, and they’ll face off next week in what I hope will be the closest race Idol has ever seen.


danielletbd said...

Actually, if the producers weren't so dead set on fixing the David-David finale (something only emphasized by the poor choice of song for Syesha from both Randy and Nigel), I think she would have done well in the finale.

Normally Simon would have chastised a contestant for forgetting lyrics past the Top 12, but week after week, he let it slide that Archie would just mumble his way through lines he didn't know... even on Tuesday. Really, kid? You get to the Top 3 and you still can't remember the words-- to the song YOU picked; to a current hit that anyone who has the internet has already heard a billion times? WHAT are you going to do on tour?

I guess you'll have to let me know the answer to that last one.

danielletbd said...

PS what was the first comment you deleted on my My Five Cents: AI post?

dc said...

Today, we are all cookies.