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TV Review: American Idol – Top Eight

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Inspirational songs were the theme of the top eight American Idol show. I'm sure this particular theme was chosen with Idol Gives Back in mind, which airs on Wednesday night. There's an unsubstantiated rumor floating around that several of the contestants already let go will be on stage at some point during Idol Gives Back. We'll have to wait and see, but if it's true, it could be interesting.

Ryan chatted a bit about tomorrow's show, along with a reminder that the results show would air on Thursday this week, and then introduced the judges. I couldn't wait for the show to get started because the theme intrigued me. After all, what's inspirational to one person isn't necessarily inspirational to another. I was curious to hear why the contestants chose the songs they did. Of course, in pure AI style, we learned why via video before each contestant began their performance, so my curiosity was satisfied.

The first Idol on stage tonight was…

Michael Johns – "Dream On"

Michael's performance, in my opinion, was one of the top ones of the evening. It's also one of his best personal performances. I thought he did a great job with a great song. Randy said, "Pretty good song choice." Paula said, "You sound as good as you look." Simon said, "It was a pretty good performance."

Syesha Mercado – "I Believe"

Syesha's take on Fantasia's song was pretty good. Unfortunately, it was missing some of the emotion I'm used to hearing in the song. All in all, though, it was a decent performance and nothing for Syesha to feel bad about. I'm feeling she should be safe this week. Randy said, "It was just okay." Paula said, "I think hands down this is one of your shining moments." Simon said, "I think you sang it very well."

Jason Castro – "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

Okay — I LOVED this version of the song. While he sang, I closed my eyes and realized that, as adorable as I think the guy is, he sounds better to me when I'm not looking at him. Maybe I just get too distracted. His performance was awesome, simple as that. Randy said, "That was blazing!" Paula said, "Perfect song and I love that version." Simon said, "The first time I heard that version, I wasn't sure. The second time, loved it. The third time, fantastic!"

Kristy Lee Cook – "Anyway"

I enjoyed Kristy's performance tonight. Really. I'm a little amazed myself, but there you have it. It was a great song choice for her, but I don't think it will be enough to keep her out of the bottom three. Randy said, "There were a couple of pitchy moments, but it was really good." Paula said, "This was your best." Simon said, "I thought you were very good, indeed."

David Cook – "Innocent"

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. I love David Cook and am a huge, mega-fan, but this week was bad. Really bad. As in, he's in my bottom three. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but it was definitely not a good night for David C. I guess it has to happen to everybody, but I hope he makes it this week. Randy said, "I'm not sure this was one of your strongest weeks." Paula said, "You are the full package." Simon said, "This was your weakest performance."

Carly Smithson – "The Show Must Go On"

I liked this performance even less than David Cook's. Carly could be in trouble this week. So, to be fair, I'd have to say her performance was really, really bad. I'm not liking the affected voice thing at all. Randy said, "It was just okay for me." Paula said, "Didn't feel engaged with you." Simon said, "You over-sang it and lost control of the song near the end."

David Archuleta – "Angels"

Oooh, David A. does it again. He sang an absolutely beautiful rendition of this song. I really loved his performance tonight, and I won't even harp on the ballad thing this week. Besides, when I think of inspirational songs, I think of ballads. Randy: "That was your hottest moment all season!" Paula said, "Fantastic!" Simon said, "Best song choice of the night. Not your best vocal. You are going to sail through to the next round."

Brooke White – "You've Got a Friend"

I thoroughly enjoyed Brooke's performance of this song. The emotion was there and she sang it well. I think she did well enough to definitely not be in the bottom three, but we'll find out what actually happens on Thursday. Randy said, "I don't think it was your best. It was alright." Paula said, "I think it's the perfect way to close the evening." Simon said, "It was like a pleasant walk in the park."

That's the end of the top eight show. We won't find out until Thursday this week who's staying and who's going, because Wednesday is the second annual showing of Idol Gives Back. Who do you think had the best performance of the week? Who do you think had the worst? Let me know!

Here are my personal rankings for the week:

  1. Jason Castro
  2. David Archuleta
  3. Michael Johns
  4. Kristy Lee Cook
  5. Brooke White
  6. Syesha Mercado
  7. David Cook
  8. Carly Smithson
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About Tracy Leigh Ritts

  • pamela davis

    Jason was adorable.

    David C….I am A fan…keep your chin up for next week.

    LOL…David A. You are a dear kid, with much talent, but an old gal like me [who, btw, loves me some Clay Aiken] just cannot see you out in the pop music world…maybe I shouldn’t have watched those Youtubes of you singing those ballads when you were much, much too young on SS.

  • Grandpa Idol

    Accurate assessment and I more or less agree with your rankings. I think this week’s bottom three will be Brooke, Kristy, and Syesha and even though David Cook and Carly were weak I think their bases will carry them for another week. Who will go is anybody’s guess but I believe it will be one of those three. I think Jason has finally established his style with the judges and will hold his place in the middle of the pack. I think he is this season’s Chris Richardson. I also believe Carly is running out of steam and will probably find her exit in the next three weeks. Lastly, the more I hear David Archuleta the more I see him as another Josh Groban. He is incredible and I believe he will go all the way.

    I actually am beginning to believe that we may have another all male finish like Season 2.

  • Tracy, I agree with your assessment 100 percent. I loved Jason. I’ve always been a fan, and I think he does the best song selections out of anyone. It irks me that the judges don’t like him because he isn’t “pop star” material. He’s just different and a breath of fresh air. I know he’ll never win this competition, but I love seeing him on my TV every week. I’ll buy his album when its sold at my local Starbucks.

    Carly needs to be put out of her misery. With every single performance, she doesn’t look like she’s having fun and is trying too hard. She butchered one of my favorite Queen songs, and I know she has the vocal ability to sing it. Her confidence is tanking.

  • Great wrap up, Tracy! I think your evaluations of the performances are right on.

    I’m not sure what happened to David Cook, but you’re right. It was painful to watch. I’ll be surprised if he’s in the bottom three though. By this point they all have an established fan base, and those fans will stick by him.

    Carly may not be as lucky.

    Kristy did okay last night, but I still haven’t forgiven her for the whole “Eight Days a Week” slaughter. I don’t understand why she’s still here!

    Grandpa idol — I agree with what you said about Jason as well. He may not be a ‘pop star’ but he has that wonderful acoustic singer/songwriter style about him that I adore. David A will also appeal to the fans of Josh Grobin for sure.

    Whose going home? I want it to be Kristy. Based solely on last night’s performance it would be David Cook, but if I have to venture a guess, I’m afraid it might be Carly.

  • Calgary Jazz

    Carly was absolutely terrible. Mercury was rolling in his grave if he was hearing it. Cook was bad as well. Jason and David were top 2 yesterday, others didn’t stand out that much.
    My bottom 3:
    Carly, David Cook, Brooke.

  • Hillary

    U go david archleda! I am sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo*infinte in love with u! ur soooooo cute plus i love ur voice! I think u would sooo make it into the pop world! I loooooove u! Sorry.. Thats like the 4 th time i said that!! Anyways, i looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove u! keep up the good work and i know u will win!

  • Is somebody comparing Josh Groban with David Archuleta? The latter sounds like he belongs on High School Musical, which is fine for his set, whereas Groban’s voice is much deeper and more controlled. The two aren’t even close to being comparable, in my opinion.

  • Julie

    I think everyone was surprised that Michael Johns went home but, after reading the comments in which nobody mentioned him, it looks as if people just forgot to vote for him. Weird. David Archuleta is cute and sings wonderfully and may, one day, be as good as Josh Groban but I’m not counting on it! David Cook is great…only the beginning of his song was bad. And I LOVE Jason!