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TV Review: American Idol – Top Eleven

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Tonight's American Idol began with a blast from the past in a memory-filled montage of The Beatles' impressive career. While not quite as excited about the contestants singing from the Lennon/McCartney songbook as I was last week, I was still curious to see who would sing what and how well they would do. After the montage, Ryan introduced the judges, and off we went. The first singer of the night was…

Amanda Overmyer – "Back in the U.S.S.R"
I love this song! What a great way to begin the night. I thought Amanda did a great job and that it was a terrific song choice. Unfortunately, Simon's statement, "It was what it was. Predictable," was right on the money. As much as I like Amanda, I've been waiting to see a different side of her. Maybe not a ballad like Paula suggested, but definitely something a little softer than we've yet seen.

Kristy Lee Cook – "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away"
Okay. What can I say? Positives — it wasn't nearly as bad as last week. It was mellow without the crazy twang she brought to "Eight Days A Week." That being said, there was nothing to Kristy's performance that stood out for me. It was a little blah. It was a little pitchy. So, for me, Kristy is at the bottom of the list this week — again. Simon's critique of Kristy: "The problem is you're not a good performer." Ouch.

David Archuleta – "The Long and Winding Road"
Ahh, David, you're back! It was obvious from the first few notes that David Archuleta had regained his footing. The song was sung beautifully. And all three judges agreed he was amazing. My only concern is that this song is a ballad, and he's already proven he can bring his "A" game for ballads. Where's the fun side of Mr. Archuleta? Don't get me wrong, he's a top favorite for me, but I want to see what else he can do.

Michael Johns – "A Day in the Life"
The judges weren't really all that impressed with Michael this week. Randy: "It wasn't one of your good ones, baby." Paula: "You need to raise the game." And Simon: "It was a mess." I liked it though! I thought it was much better than last week and Michael remains one of my favorites. I hope he pulls off a great week before he runs out of time.

Brooke White – "Here Comes the Sun"
Okay. Well. It wasn't a bad performance at all! But it was slow and even a little boring. Brooke usually is on top, but I think this week's performance puts her solidly in the lower half. I agree with Paula though, who said, "You can't help but smile when you watch you and listen to you sing." Brooke's demeanor and personality made me smile, even if her performance didn't. Better luck next week, Brooke!

David Cook – "Day Tripper"
It's official. After tonight's performance, I'm loving David Cook. He tried something a bit different with a voice box, which I thought was kind of cool. Mostly, though, I just like how he delivers something every single week I really like. Randy liked it. So did Paula. Simon said, "I don't think that was as good as you thought it was." Personally, I can't wait to see what David C. brings to the table next week.

Carly Smithson – "Blackbird"
It was so great to hear Carly do something a little different than she's done in the past. She's also a consistent performer, which is another plus for Carly. So, while I appreciated her performance, and I liked it quite a bit, it didn't measure up to last week, in my opinion. Randy said, "Another great performance for Carly Smithson." My guess is Carly will stick around for awhile.

Jason Castro – "Michelle"
Isn't he just adorable? It's the eyes… it's the smile. And Simon agrees! Check out what he said: "Your face sold that. What you have is that you're very charming." I am forever a fan of Jason's, but I don't think this was his best week by far. I liked the song, though, and he did okay with it. But what I keep coming back to is — isn't he adorable?

Syesha Mercado – "Yesterday"
Oh! Last week I stated that I thought I could love Syesha's singing. This week brought it home. I've been wanting someone to take on "Yesterday," and Syesha did a really nice job with it. I'd say it was her best performance so far, and one of the best of the night overall. Sweet comeback from last week! The judges all liked it too, so a home run for Syesha.

Chikezie Eze – "I've Just Seen A Face"
So, I haven't been able to decide exactly what I think of Chikezie's performance overall. I loved parts of it, and other parts – not so much. What I DO like, though, is that he's mixing it up and bringing something different to the stage. Mixed reviews from the judges. Paula was the only one who liked all of it. "When you sing a ballad, it's so pure and on pitch, I love it. You did it again."

Ramiele Malubay – "I Should Have Known Better"
Randy's statement — "You did your thing. It was alright" — is right on target. I thought Ramiele was better than last week, but it wasn't the best song choice for her. I'd like to see her try something different, but she might be running out of chances. While Ramiele is not my pick for leaving this week, she is in my bottom three.

Overall, I thought it was a good show – thought not as good as last week. There were too many mediocre performances and too few really great ones. I'm sticking to my guess for last week – I think Kristy Lee Cook's time on American Idol is up. We'll find out for sure Wednesday night, so check back then for the results. Until then, here's my ranking for the week:

1. David Archuleta
2. David Cook
3. Carly Smithson
4. Syesha Mercado
5. Jason Castro
6. Amanda Overmyer
7. Michael Johns
8. Brooke White
9. Chikezie Eze
10. Ramiele Malubay
11. Kristy Lee Cook

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About Tracy Leigh Ritts

  • http://blogcritics.org/ Phillip Winn

    I disagree with some of your rankings, but you got the bottom two right, in my opinion, so I won’t complain too much. :-)

  • http://www.tracyleighwrites.com Tracy Leigh Ritts

    This was a difficult week for me to rank as a lot of them sort of blended together to me. Looking at it now, it’s the 7/8/9 positions I had a hard time ranking. I’m fairly happy with the rest though :)

  • http://www.butterflyfiction.com/journal Connie Phillips

    Nice recap, Tracy!

    Personally, I think your top three is right on. I don’t know, I just wasn’t as impressed with Syesha as you and the judges, but I’m not being real fair. I’m taking the whole season into consideration and not just this week.

    On the flip side of the coin I thought Michael Johns did better than the judges gave him credit for, but I really like him, so maybe I’m a bit biased.

  • Alice Jester

    I’m actually appalled that Carly took a sweet simple song like Blackbird and glory noted it. She completely missed the intention of the song, which was written for the civil rights movement. She did that song no justice and I’d rank her close to the bottom just for that, no matter how decent the singing was.

    Other than that, your review and rankings are dead on.

  • http://www.tracyleighwrites.com Tracy Leigh Ritts

    You have a point, Alice…and one that Simon agreed with (at least by his indulgent statement). I still thought it was a very good performance overall, though.

  • http://canadiancinephile.com/ Jordan Richardson

    Alice, are artists not entitled to rework and re-imagine songs to suit their own performance purposes? The intention of the song might have been that during the climate in which the song was written, but does that mean that all of the cover versions (of which there have been hundreds) need to have the same intentions and style?

    Surely Phish, Carly Simon, Dave Matthews, Elliot Smith, Doves, and the countless others were entitled to their own renditions of the classic tune. Is Carly exempt from doing her rendition of it?

    I personally thought she was one of the best of the night and I find it “appalling” that you don’t seem to respect individual interpretations of classic tunes. It was sung well and with feeling and she explained her own interpretation of the song after she had sung it. Not allowing for that is just silly.

  • Dan Joy

    America once again looks foolish to the rest of the world in its choices of talent. Whether the people are voting for President of the US or the top 10 American Idols to go on tour, America makes the uneducated decision. Amanda Overmyer is one of the most creative and talented performers among the Idols and should never have gone home. On the other hand it’s clear to me that politics and ethnicity played a major role in keeping Ramiele Malubay in the top 10 when she performed the worse of anyone for the past 2 weeks, (not to mention this pathetic little girl coy thing she does). I wonder if there will ever be a day I won’t have to be embarrassed when traveling abroad to say where I’m from. American people – WISE UP PLEASE!

  • http://www.tracyleighwrites.com Tracy Leigh Ritts

    Hi Dan — I’m still dismayed at the results. I would have bet money two weeks ago that Ramiele and Kristy Lee wouldn’t have made the top ten, and I would have lost.

  • Kaonashi

    Hold on a second Dan. What are you talking about when you say, “it’s clear to me that politics and ethnicity played a major role in keeping Ramiele Malubay in the top 10″. What does ethnicity have anything to do with it? You think that she’s in the Top 10 just because Filipinos are voting for her? I’m Filipina like Ramiele, and I sure ain’t voting for her. How does this explain Kristy’s unexplainable staying power? All white people from the South are voting for her?