Chikezie was solid, but his music is just not my type. I like when he does the blues. Carly Smithson was good but couldn’t really hear her voice over the music and the arrangements sucked. I like her but she needs to find the right music and someone who can arrange it for. She did an Evanescence song that had potential but didn’t quite deliver. The Heart song “Crazy on You” was very good, especially the opening. Ramielle is a hometown girl and she sang well but I went and to get beer during her part. That says it all.
Once we got past these guys, the real talent started to arrive. First was Brooke White. I love the way she presents herself and the songs she chooses fit her well. She is a very strong talent with a bright future. She did “Let it Be” and Coldplay’s “Yellow” on the piano. She sounded great! Really felt she was into the music and worked well with the audience. A definite connection was made.
That brings up Jason Castro. This is a guy you either love or hate. I happen to love his quirky nature and unique talent. He has got a Jack Johnson kind of feel to him. I wish he did “Hallelujah” which was his signature song on AI, but he chose “Over the Rainbow”. Of course he played it with his mandolin. It was a great performance. Loved it! He took out the acoustic guitar and played a couple of nice tunes. "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley and "Daydream" by the Lovin' Spoonful. He was very good with the audience. Definitely a guy I’d love to have beer with. Probably would make you laugh the whole time.
Syesha Mercado, another hometown girl. She is talented and certainly showed off her voice. She has potential but I just can’t get into Rhianna and that type of music. She was very good but didn’t seem to grab the audience.
David Archuleta is a mystery. Here is this kid who looks like a kid and acts like kid. He goes out there and opens his mouth and out comes this incredible set of pipes. When he started singing, you could feel the difference from the previous singers. He has a very powerful voice but needs to get away from the hokey boring tunes and get more current. He started with "Angels" (Robbie Williams) and "Apologize" (One Republic) which is the kind of sound he needs to keep singing. He sounded great and seemed to have worked on his presentation. The songs showcased some edginess to his voice he will need to succeed. The rest was boring from him but you can’t help but like the kid.