It's American Idol and Paula looks like she stumbled out of the "Very Special Prom Episode" of Dynasty. Just sayin.'
This week the contestants sing songs from the year they were born. You can also subtitle this episode "Make Us All Feel Old" week. Or, alternately, "80s Week".
Ramiele wistfully recalls her childhood where she would walk up and bite people. When she discovered music, she stopped the biting .. so now we are watching Ramiele on "American Idol" instead of "America's Most Wanted." I'm underwhelmed by this, as it gets shouty toward the middle. Ramiele - the little girl with the big voice - is talented. But the poor clueless thing still can't figure this show out. The judges grade on the curve mostly cuz her voice was going on her this week. Simon says to her, "after what you sang last week, which was appalling, and you survived... you'll get through again this week on that performance, no questions about it." Ramiele - proving her cluelessness - takes this as a a compliment (!) Those of us in touch with reality see that Simon just called a Sanjaya on her.
Is Jason an awkward interviewee or is he perpetually high? I say a little from column A and a little from column B. Jason does a good job singing Sting, but his performances have this tossed-off sameness to them. Jason at a coffee house singing? Sure. Jason as a major recording artist? Not so much. The biggest praise Randy can muster is "it was nice." That sounds about right.
Sayesha "If I Am Your Woman"
Sayesha was born in Bridgeport, CT just like me! Yeah, still not a big fan. She then does her creepy baby cry thing. Yikes. Sayesha confesses to be incredibly deep - having a serious adult/mature side, and then a goofy side. Oh the levels of this girl! Can we see the unprecocious non-annoying side? You got one of those, 'esha? The song is technically good. Randy and Paula love it to pieces and Simon calls her on the "limits" of her voice range. Very telling here, you see Sayesha have this look on her face - trying to smile but beneath the veneer, it's like, Sayesha is saying "the f---?" Picture Susan Lucci clapping at the Emmys for 16 years, and there you go.
Chickezee "If Only For One Night"
Chickezee decides to sing a ballad, despite the poor reception last time. This is a return to the lite R&B box he was originally intended for. Dance, puppet! It's a technically good performance, but its a little like musical wallpaper. I am moved to shrug. The judges hate on it, and this Chickezee story arc has done a strange thing - I feel bad for the guy. I initially didn't care for him either way, but he sorta grew on me.
Brooke "Every Breath You Take"
Brooke recalls being a freaky musical genius that inuitively knew how to play the piano by ear, like someone Professor Charles Xavier might have located with Cerebro. Brooke does a good job with the song. I like that she has her own style, even though she isn't the best vocalist in this competition. There's a few bum notes, but I enjoy Brooke's performances. They are real and honest, just like Brooke herself.
Michael "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions"
Michael was born in 1978. If this was Logan's Run, he'd be dead soon. Since it's American Idol, it just means he's extremely old. No, you aren't watching a hockey game - Michael dips back into Queen with two "Jock Rock" classics. Personally, I think the vocals are amateurish and Michael gets by on the "Rock Star" vibe he is aiming to perpetuate. I mean, this is originally by Freddie Mercury, peeps. The judges love on him, but they seem to judging his performance rather than his vocals. And God knows what Paula was judging, if you follow.
Carly "Total Eclipse Of The Heart"
She was named after Carly Simon while her mother was on the was to give birth. Strange trivia! Carly sings "Total Eclipse," which is the perfect song for her to sing. This is a little weird tho-- it's not as good as I'd imagined Carly would sing this. She doesnt do anything different with it, and some notes falter. The judges keep it kinda real, which is a bit shocking, because I thought "the show" was pushing for her - and especially after she bottom-three'ed last week.
David Archuleta "You're The Voice"
David reflects on his youth. David's mom talks about the fam while Daddy Archuleta holds the gun to her back. "Happy Words, Lupe," he whispers. David's clip is slightly shorter than "Roots", as if you didn't know "the show" wants you to love him. I don't recognize the song, but it has a vague "Up With People" vibe to it. It's like something Elton John would sing in a NuDisney toon. It has some vaguish message about togetherness and inspiration. It's ok-ish, but somehow generic. David's vocals are good. Simon calls it as a Theme Park performance, and says he doesn't think it's something David would have picked on his own. I think Simon just through the gauntlet down at Daddy Archuleta's cloven hoof.
Kristy Lee Cook "God Bless The USA"
Kristy talks about how she annoyed her family by singing when she was young. Now, she annoys America while singing when she is older. After subletting in the bottom-three every week, Kristy pulls the ultimate Red-State vote-grab and sings "God Bless The USA." It has stuff about God. It praises America. Hell, if she threw in a line denouncing gay marriage she'd sweep those Red States, easy as you please. Like all of Kristy's performances, it's ok-ish. The judges love on it, like Kristy was a war vet fireman in 911. Simon calls it the "most clever song choice in years." wink, wink.
David Cook "Billie Jean"
David Cook thinks he had a large skull as a child. And, yeah, he looks like that alien that gave Captain Kirk some tranya. Once again, David Cook reinvents a song we know and love. It's almost unrecognizable.... but you know what? This works. This is good. This is "Hello"-level good. It's original and the arrangement is hot. And the vocals are good, too. The judges rightfully love it.
Guess what Carly? You are yesterday's news. It's now about positioning a David v. David finale.
So who goes home? Despite a good performance, I think we might see Sayesha cry like a baby, for reals.