Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Two Midwest Rockers and a Cali Local Dude Show Us that the Beatles Live Forever!
The final 12 contestants took the stage tonight, for one of the best American Idol episodes that I have seen across all seasons. Each one had to give their rendition of a Lennon-McCartney Beatles song, (no pressure there). All twelve contestants were born after the last Beatles song single (Let It Be) was released in 1970. How did they do?
The midwest rockers, David Cook and Amanda Overmeyer both brought the house down with original, riveting and unexpected renditions. But the biggest surprise of all was Inglewood, Cali local dude Chekezie, who I have been rooting for from day one. He surprised everyone with the most amazing and twisty Beatles song take of the night. Here's the recap, along with Jane's Nose-o-meter score which is entirely subjective and capricious and calculated by the amount of goosebumps I get for each performance multiplied by song choice and stage performance and then divided by the number and quality of the glasses of chardonnay I've consumed while viewing. You do the math:
Syesha- 3 Stars: She sang "Got to Get You Into My Life" and was pitch perfect and gorgeous out of the gate, but did nothing to stand out. It's hard to be first.
Chekezie-4 stars!: Different, thrilling, original take on "She's a Woman". He started country/bluegrass (how wonderful for a Beatles song!) and he rocked it out and owned the stage for the rest of the number. His joy is palpable. We love him. I'm heading to iTunes for a download.
Ramiele-3 stars. A sweet and heartbreaking but too slow version of "In My Life". This song can bring people to their knees, but Ramiele needs to bring more to her stage performance. I adore her and hope she can put more on the stage next week. Mabuhay, Ramiele, we are rooting for you!
Jason Castro-3.5 stars. Jason has been one of my front runners from the beginning. There is no doubt in my mind he's making it to the top 5. He is amazing to look at. The camera loves him. He is original and talented and the total package for TV, Film or an American Idol. I don't think there is any doubt that he'll be a huge star in media, no matter what. But his falsetto version of "If I fell In Love" did not work for me tonight.
Carly-3 stars. I'll say it up front, I just don't get it. Everyone loves her, and her performances are technically perfect. But I just don't feel the passion ever. She sang "Come Together". I'd rather listen to her talk because the Irish accent is lovely. Maybe she should try singing in the accent.
David Cook-4++++ stars. He's the new front runner. Long shot gamblers, find your Vegas bookie now, because this is the dark horse to beat. I knew this mid-west rocker had it all from the beginning. He's a phenomenal, talented once in a lifetime baritone like Jim Morrison, in fact I wish he had sung the Doors song in the early part of the competition and not Michael Johns. "Eleanor Rigby" is my favorite Beatles song ever. I've probably listened to it 1000 times in my life. David Cook's rendition tonight was as good and as weirdly sad and powerful as the original. I'm heading straight to iTunes right after I write this blog to download it. And I am making David's video the feature tonight on the Nose for all to see. Absolutely brilliant. Note to AI producers...please get DC one of those $500 Hollywood haircuts soon, because he is going all the way and you know you're going to want him to look his best when he gets there.
Brooke White: 3.0 stars: Sang a teary version of "Let it Be" and played the piano. I hate it when I don't agree with Simon, but I just don't feel the love here. Too overwrought, forgot words and squeaky.
David Hernandez: 2.5 stars: It is probably not a good idea to try and put an Elvis twist on a Beatles song (I Saw Her Standing There), whether it's on national TV or in a karaoke bar. David has a great voice, but this was his weakest night. I don't care about the stripper thing either, Diablo Cody won an Academy Award for writing "Juno" and she was an "exotic dancer" too, so who cares.
Amanda Overmeyer: 4++ stars. She owns the stage, she has the most riveting personality, and exciting performances in the competition. I would never want to take a bathroom break when she is on the stage. Absolutely the opposite of boring. Amanda is the Midwest rocker queen to beat and she brought the house down with "You Can't do That". She's awesome. She keeps us coming back for more. And she has one of those rare, distinctive voices that you can't get out of your head. If you close your eyes, you know immediately..., that's Amanda. She should change her name to MANDA. She rocks.
Michael Johns: 2.75 stars. What can you say about an off night and a bad song choice? This guy has always looked powerful enough to knock one out of the park. Lennon's dreamy "Across the Universe" did not showcase his talent at all. Still hoping for more next week...
Kristy Lee: 2.5 stars. What happened? I have loved her voice from the beginning, but this was a disaster. If she wanted to do a country song from the Beatles songbook, why not "Rocky Racoon?" Jeez, it was painful to see this rendition of "Eight Days a Week". I feel really sad, and hope she gets another chance. And I really want her to get that horse back!
David Archuleta-The Kid: 2.0 stars, lowest rating of the night: Here is living proof that conventional wisdom (whether political, or entertainment) is not always rock steady. David was the kid to beat 2 weeks ago after his rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine". Now, a few weeks later, he has weathered the flu and is fighting back. Tonight was a major off night for the kid, as he forgot the words and otherwise tortured "We Can Work it Out". Is it a FOX ploy? If it is, this kid is the greatest actor ever. No matter what, we will all be on the edge of our seats until tomorrow...
Great, great night for American Idol. Thank you, Fox TV. It may be only Tuesday, but you made us feel like it's the weekend already with this show.