Tuesday, April 29, 2008

American Idol Night: Neil Diamond

So my earliest memories of Neil Diamond are my mother's rabid appreciation for the guy - she actually owns everything he's done, on vinyl. Seriously. The sound of his music conjures up the smell of lemon Pledge and Pine-Sol, for this is what she played when she cleaned. It's also the top five. We have David "Radio Disney" Archuleta, Syesha Mercado, Brooke "Can I Get a Mulligan" White, David Cook, and local boy Jason Castro. It's also the first night each contestant will sing two songs. They won't be judged until the end of the second song.
Round One
First: Jason Castro He's singing "Forever in Blue Jeans" first. I'm not sure I like the opening...but he's kind of getting into it. He's also using the band more, which is something they've been asking him to do. Judging from body language, I'm not entirely certain the judges loved it. Either that, or Simon's got gas. Click here for the clip. Second: David Cook I don't think I've ever seen someone rock Neil Diamond....but what's creepy is that he kinda sounds like Neil Diamond. He's singing "I'm Alive." Click here for the clip. Third: Brooke White She's playing the guitar and the piano, respectively. She's starting off with "I'm a Believer." I don't think her voice is big enough to work over this arrangement, though. Maybe if it was just her and the guitar...or if she'd slowed it down? Click here for the clip. Fourth: Radio Disney "Sweet Caroline." Duh. Of course. Don't touch me, David. It's altogether just a big ball of ick. Who the hell is picking out your music, seriously? Is there not SOMETHING in the Diamond songbook that doesn't reek of Geritol this poor 17-year-old boy can sing? I mean, I know there is. Seriously. Click here for the clip. Fifth: Syesha Mercado She's singing "Hello Again." Neil Diamond has a crush on her. He hugged her. This song is pretty, but this rendition is altogether forgettable. Ooh, creepy hands from Nigel Lithgow. We do know that it's gonna be Syesha and Brooke in the bottom two this week, right? Everybody in agreement? Alrighty then. Click here for the clip of Syesha's first song. Randy thought Jason was OK, David C. was OK, Brooke better than last week, Syesha strong, Radio Disney was "the bomb." Paula said she wanted to write it down. She forgot they had to sing twice. "This is hard," she said. And she thinks David C. was fantastic. Simon said they're all "lucky they have two songs." He said David A. was "amateurish."
Round Two
First: Jason Castro Second song is "September Morn," one of "Diamond's more iconic songs. And he's doing a very slow, mellow version of the song, but I can't help but think that maybe he and David C. are just trying to do the best they possibly can so they can go on to next week and get out of the rough. Click here for the clip.
Randy: It was just OK. That was just an OK, whatever performance for me. Paula: You need to get outside your comfort zones. Simon: There was no intent to make the arrangement your own, this is not the Jason we put into this competition.
Second: David Cook He'll be doing "All I Really Need Is You." This is better than the first go 'round, where he sounded as if he was doing a Neil Diamond impression. Do you know how I know it's good? For the first time tonight, I do not smell Pledge. Click here for the clip.
Randy: Yo! You know what man, I'm a huge David Cook fan right now. Paula: David, I'm so proud of you. You were the only one that was able to pull that off. (Seriously. I can understand Paula tonight. Am I on drugs, or is she not?) Simon: David, I thought the first song was OK, I thought the second song was brilliant. You actually made it sound like that song was written first this year.
Third: Brooke White She's singing, "I Am, I Said." She really shouldn't smile during this song. It's about being homesick and stuff, and she's grinning like chimp. Click here for the clip.
Randy: Nice job, baby. Paula: I think what you just did...something something something....(spoke too soon) Simon: I really really hated the first song. This is the Brooke we like. It wasn't incredible, but it was a million times better than the first song.
Fourth: Radio Disney He's singing "America," because it's like hating the tiny infant baby Jesus and clubbing a baby seal to vote against someone who sings about America. Nevermind that if people did what this song is about now, they'd have to be a specialized engineer to get in ollie-ollie oxen free, or they'd have to like, wait on a list. Or you know, climb over a fence late at night and avoid Farmer's Branch, Texas. But I digress. Click here for the clip.
Randy: For a young man, you are definitely in the zone right now. Paula: You're voice is so on point. I love you. (Back up, Radio) Simon: That was a smart choice for a song.
Fifth: Syesha Mercado She's singing "Thank the Lord for the Nighttime." She's doing it all girl bandy, Brill Building style. This is better than the first one, I think. Click here to see.
Randy: You finally realized who you are. That is also in the zone. That's the way I like you. Paula: Something something...first song....second song different song..theatrical.....scallywag? Simon: This is officially the strangest show we've ever done. You are a very good actress/singer. I think, however, you may be in trouble tonight. There's only five of you left. I don't think you had a really memorable second song.
So I do think it will end up being Syesha and Brooke in the bottom two, however, since someone keeps forgiving Brooke for just about anything and Syesha tends to just barely avoid elimination, it's possible that Jason could replace either one of them in the bottom two.