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American Idol Flashback: Season Seven, Lennon/McCartney Songbook

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I figured in honor of this week's theme on American Idol once again being "Lennon/McCartney Songbook" that I would go back to the season that first got to work with this theme, season seven.

In case you haven't been able to tell from my previous columns, where I attempt to plug season seven winner David Cook every chance I get, season seven is my absolute favorite season of Idol. It's the one season where I had my favorite contestant, and still loved every other contestant, give or take someone else with the last name Cook and David Archuleta. Don't get me wrong, I love Archie now, but during the season he was the competition. Speaking of Archie, he will be returning to Idol this week to perform during the results show.

Carly Smithson during season seven's Top 12 performing, "Come Together."It was during season seven that the Top 12 would be the first group of contestants ever allowed to sing songs from the Lennon/McCartney songbook. Of the 12 performances, I am bringing back the six that stood out to me as the best from that week.

Let's start off with Chikezie, who performed "She's A Woman." Chikezie had struggled a bit with song choices during the semi-finals, but when it was time to bring it to the main stage, he did not disappoint. "She's A Woman" was definitely Chikezie's strongest performance during his run on Idol.

Michael Johns, who was ousted way too early during the Top Eight, gave a solid performance of  "Across The Universe." He definitely had better performances during the season, but he still was one of my favorites during the Top 12. This performance was just the tip of the iceberg for Michael.

It was during this week, that I found myself very taken with Jason Castro's voice during his performance of "If I Fell." He has such a subtle uniqueness to his voice that really played to his strengths on the show when he picked the right songs to sing. I think that this performance really showed America what kind of vibe that Jason was going to be bringing to the show that season.

The first time I heard Brooke White sing on Idol was during the semi-finals and I thought she was just a breath of fresh air. She didn't have a big diva voice like the other female contestants, and you could sense that there was not any pretense about her. During the Top 12, Brooke sang "Let It Be" and had her first big moment on the show.

Carly Smithson was the contestant I hoped would go head-to-head with David Cook in the Final Two of season seven, but she was unfortunately eliminated during the Top Six. Carly's performance of "Come Together" is one of my favorite performances of all time on Idol. Her voice and her stage presence were absolutely spot on.

My final favorite performance from the Top 12 during the "Lennon/McCartney Songbook" theme week comes from none other than the season seven winner of Idol, David Cook. (I know. Surprise, surprise.) He performed "Eleanor Rigby," and after his performance was told by Simon Cowell, "You actually could win this entire show." The week prior to the Top 12 during the semi-finals, David made his mark on the show by performing a rocked out version Lionel Richie's "Hello," and to follow it up with another stellar performance showed the audience that he was in it to win it all.

Going into this week's performance show, I can only hope that the season nine contestants finally step up. They have one of the best songbooks in music's history to work with this week. Do I think they'll be anywhere near as good as the performances from season seven? Probably not, but I do hope that the contestants seize this opportunity to try their best and create a moment for themselves.

Season nine needs a pick-me-up something bad. I don't know if throwing this songbook at them is going to be an instant remedy (okay, probably not any kind of remedy if we're keeping it real), but I am really hoping to see improvement from those who need to show why people should continue to vote for them.

It is refreshing to look back on performances from seasons past and remember that Idol wasn't always a complete train wreck. There were contestants who gave everything they had and left it all on the stage for the viewers to see and vote on. I miss seeing that.

Do you agree with my choices for the best performances from the "Lennon/McCartney Songbook" theme week from season seven? Which contestants would you add or remove from my list?

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About Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is an Entertainment Writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has interviewed a variety of people from across the entertainment spectrum, including singer-songwriter/Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas, Andrew Dost from the Grammy Award-winning band fun., singer-songwriter Christina Perri, and acclaimed writer-director Derek Cianfrance.
  • glena

    I agree with everything you wrote. As a matter of fact, I think I love you!!!

  • http://iheardemsay.blogspot.com Kirsten

    Glena: Thank you! I hope you stay tuned to my column for the rest of the season!

  • http://computertutorflorida.com Scott Johnson

    Cook was absolutely amazing when he performed Billie Jean in Season 7 – I remember thinking, “This guy is brilliant!”. That was the pivotal moment for him I think.

  • Katie

    Outstanding article and thanks for taking us down memory lane. Season 7 was the best IMO. And David Cook was great EVERY WEEK. The judges had to smack him around a bit to keep the show going, but I am amazed at how good he was in retrospect. Still can’t believe how many times I voted for that man!

  • http://iheardemsay.blogspot.com Kirsten

    Katie: Thank you so much! I voted my butt off for Cook during season seven as well.

  • Amber

    Love your blog and agree 100% with your conclusions. After more sucky Idol ineptitude (although slightly better performances tonight)it is so restorative, refreshing and amazing to revisit the Season 7 brilliance. That truly was the very best season all the way to the crowning of the phenomenal David Cook.
    Too bad it has been downhill since then but we can always remember.

  • http://www.thesmogger.com Mike

    I think last night’s episode was probably the strongest of the competition thus far. Almost everyone seemed to improve over last week, and there were few moments I felt the need to mute my television (a rarity this season). I thought Casey, Lee, and Katie were especially good. While I’ve normally tuned Katie out… I was intrigued by last night. Could she be someone to start watching out for?

  • Toni Schram

    Thanks for bringing us back down the sweet memory lane of
    Season 7. My faves were M J, Carly and of course, The man,
    David Cook!