The top five performed from the songbook of Neil Diamond on Tuesday night. With only five Idols remaining, each contestant was able to perform two songs instead of their normal one. I thought Neil Diamond as mentor was a terrific choice. In a one-hour timeslot, there wasn’t a lot of room for chatting and jokes, and in fact – the judges didn’t even comment on the first go-around of performances. With no time to waste, Ryan got right to it by introducing Jason Castro.
Jason Castro – “Forever in Blue Jeans”
Jason seemed really comfortable on stage, which was nice to see after last week. I thought it was an enjoyable performance, but maybe not one of his best. He played his guitar, which is a plus for Jason. For some reason, he tends to have more solid performances with his guitar in hand.
David Cook – “I’m Alive”
I have been a huge fan of David Cook’s from the beginning, but unfortunately his performance of “I’m Alive,” while definitely well-done, wasn’t nearly as hot as past performances. I did like it, but I was happy there would be a second song from him before the night was over.
Brooke White – “I’m a Believer"
Brooke’s performance of “I’m a Believer” wasn’t exceptionally well done. The ending was okay, though. I have always loved watching Brooke perform, but for her – this first song just didn’t cut it. Again, I was looking forward to the second song, hoping to see something stronger.
David Archuleta – “Sweet Caroline”
Wow. David A. had a tremendous performance with an upbeat song. I completely enjoyed seeing him get into something with a happy tempo. I couldn’t help but wonder how he’d do on his second performance singing another upbeat song.
Syesha Mercado – “Hello Again”
I really liked Syesha’s performance of “Hello Again.” Her vocals were amazing! Though I missed seeing the personality she showed us last week. I was hopeful her second song would bring some of that personality back out again.
Next, Ryan spent a few minutes talking with the judges. Randy gave his rundown quickly, but Paula didn’t make a heck of a lot sense. Luckily, Simon gained control and gave his comments. I really didn’t enjoy the show in this format. It was difficult to get a sense of the judges’ opinions so far removed from each of the actual performances. Hopefully, AI doesn’t use this format again.
Moving on… Ryan introduced Jason Castro to begin the second round of performances:
Jason Castro – “September Morn”
Jason might be in trouble on results night. While I enjoyed his performance, it really wasn’t anything more than “okay.” In addition, he didn’t appear as if he was enjoying himself all that much – never a good sign. Randy said, “It was just okay.” Paula said, “I thought you took the same liberty on both songs.” Simon said, “Both songs were forgettable.”
David Cook – “All I Really Need Is You”
Wow. Wow. Wow! Awesome performance! In fact, it was easily the best performance of the night. I am definitely envisioning David Cook as winning American Idol. If he is able to keep turning out performances like he did on Tuesday night with this song, there’s little question that he’ll win in my mind. Randy said, “You rocked the house again tonight!” Paula said, “I feel like I’m looking at the next American Idol.” Simon said, “I thought the first song was okay. I thought the second song was brilliant.”
Brooke White – “I Am…I Said"
Okay, I loved her with the piano. I think most, if not all, of my favorite Brooke White performances have included her playing the piano. She did a really nice job with this song. She’s really going to need to take it up a notch to stay in the competition, though. Randy said, “That Neil Diamond song is one of the tougher ones, but nice job.” Paula said, “Everyone loves who you are.” Simon said, “I really hated the first song, but this is the Brooke we like.”
David Archuleta – “America”
Another wow! I liked his second upbeat performance even better than I liked the first. It was so nice to see him sing something other than another slow ballad. We’ve known for awhile he can croon, it was nice to see he could do more than that. Randy said, “You are definitely in the zone right now.” Paula said, “Perfect song to sing.” Simon said, “That was clever. It was absolutely the right choice.”
Syesha Mercado – “Thank the Lord for the Night Time”
Here was the personality I felt Syesha was missing in her first song. Every week, she seems to move up another notch performance-wise. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure she has the supporters she’s going to need to stay on American Idol. Randy said, “That is also in the zone.” Paula said, “The second song showed a whole different side and that’s your theatrical place.” Simon said, “I think you might be in trouble tonight, because there are five of you left and you didn’t have a memorable second song.”
So, that wraps up the top five show. As normal, my ranking from the week is below – but tell me what YOU think. Who do you think will be leaving American Idol on Wednesday night?
Here’s my personal ranking for the week:
1. David Cook
2. David Archuleta
3. Syesha Mercado
4. Jason Castro
5. Brooke White