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TV Review: American Idol – Top Ten

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American Idol's theme for their top ten show was "The Year They Were Born." I have to admit the idea appealed to me. After all, we were sure to get a wide variety of songs seeing as this was the only criteria. I already had my guesses for the "types" of song each contestant would choose, but couldn't wait to see what they actually sang.

The first singer of the night was none other than…

Ramiele Malubay – "Alone"
Ramiele is one of the two I don't think should have made the top ten. That being said, I'm more than willing to give a girl a chance. Unfortunately, I don't think she did that great with the song she chose, which is one of my favorites. All the judges mentioned she'd been sick this week, so taking that into consideration, I feel kind of bad for her. Simon said, "The first part of the song was okay. You're going to get through this week based on that performance."

Jason Castro – "Fragile"
Happy Birthday, Jason! Mr. Adorable is back, with guitar in hand. So, while I enjoyed the song (also one of my favorites), I don't think Jason did anything spectacular with it. It was nice and it was reminiscent of some of his other performances, but I want more from him. Was it a top-ten performance? I think so, but he needs to raise the bar soon. Like next week. Paula said, "I don't think we heard anything different that made us go, "wow," but you're staying true to yourself." Nicely said.

Syesha Mercado – "If I Were Your Woman"
It was only two weeks ago that Syesha was in my bottom three, and I have to admit that I never expected her to make it this far. She's completely picked it up and had an amazing performance. Her vocals were strong and she brought just the right amount of emotion to the song. I knew Syesha could bring it, and this week – she did. Definitely proved she deserves her top-ten standing. Randy said, "I think it was unbelievable."

Chikezie Eze – "If Only For One Night"
Hmm, once again I'm at a crossroads with Chikezie. While I think it was a great song for him, I also missed some of what he's shown us in the past couple of weeks. You know – a little personality, a little fun. Or, as Randy said, "I didn't love this for you. It wasn't hip and cool." Paula disagreed. "I think you did a great job and you did an amazing job with the textures of your vocals." Simon liked the singing, not the performance.

Brooke White – "Every Breath You Take"
Brooke is one of my favorites, and after last week, I was anxious to see her do well. Actually, I think she's the female version of Jason Castro, only a little more on the sweet side (is that possible?). She had some rough moments, but overall, I liked her performance better than last week's, but not as well as others. Paula agreed. She said: "I enjoyed this performance so much more than last week's."

Michael Johns – "We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions"
Finally! Michael Johns is back. His performance was easily one of his better, if not best, performances yet. I loved it and the crowd went wild. I've been waiting for Michael to raise his game, and it was nice to see him pull it off. Randy said: "That was the best performance for me since you've been on this show." Paula said: "This was your moment – your shining moment." Simon said: "This is the first time with you I saw star potential."

Carly Smithson – "Total Eclipse Of The Heart"
Was Carly stressing over her bottom-three placement last week? Her performance seemed a little over the top to me. I didn't enjoy it at all. I'm not sure what's going on with her, but if last week's performance put her in the bottom there, I'm guessing this one might do the same. Simon said: "Something didn't quite work. I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I'd enjoy it."

David Archuleta – "You're The Voice"
You know what? I didn't know the song, but I thought David did quite well. Not as well as last week, but way, way, way better than two weeks ago. Randy hit the nail on the head with his comment, "It was a strange song choice for me, but you can sing whatever." David does a better-than-average job on almost anything he sings. While not my favorite for the week, I'm certain he'll be safe.

Kristy Lee Cook – "God Bless The U.S.A."
Just like Ramiele, I truly don't think Kristy Lee has earned her top-ten spot with her singing talent (at least what we've seen the last several weeks). I keep hoping she'll blow me away and prove to me she belongs on that stage. This week, while not blown away, I think she performed the best she ever has as an Idol contestant. Simon agreed: "Your best performance by a mile." This is the first week in three that I think Kristy deserves to be safe.

David Cook – "Billie Jean"
The last contestant of the night brought his game to the table in a big, blasting way. David Cook's version of the Michael Jackson song was radically different – and it not only worked, it brought the house down. Amazing vocals, amazing arrangement, and an amazing performance. My number-one favorite of the night. The judges loved it too. Randy: "Dude, you might be the one to win the whole lot." Paula: "I think you're brilliant." Simon: "It could have either been insane or amazing. And I have to tell you, it was amazing."

For the first non-Beatle week in several weeks, the performances of the top-ten contestants were mostly hot. There were a few disappointments that I didn't expect (Brooke White, Chikezie Eze, and Carly Smithson), as well as a few performers that ramped it up a notch (David Cook, Michael Johns, and Syesha Mercado). Someone will be leaving tomorrow – my guess is Carly. Who do you think will get the heave-ho? Let me know!

Here's my personal ranking for the week:

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

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About Tracy Leigh Ritts

  • I, too, was glad to see Michael Johns pull the Queen out this week. I’ve adored him from day one and was beginning to fear he was on the way out.

    It’s interesting at this point in the game to see how things are turning. Some who I thought would surely end up in the final four, could possibly be in the bottom three this week (Carly?).

    Kristina’s performance was probably her best yet, however it wasn’t enough to win any points with me. I’d like to see her go this week, just because she should have left the last two. If we’re to judge just on this week alone, however, she will most likely be safe.

    Ramiele is another one I’m just not impressed with, and she is the one that would be my choice to leave.

  • While David Cook’s vocals were very good, his arrangement was a copy (once again) of Chris Cornell’s version. Apparently as well as being a wordsmith, Cook does his homework picking songs you’d normally not think of as rock, finding a version of it being performed as rock and delivering that version. That said, he was one of my favorites last night.

    Archuleta is seemingly falling out of favor with Simon. This song obviously picked out for him likely by his stage Dad. It was like Cowell described, sounding rather like something you’d find at Disney, little animated animals bouncing around. He did less lip licking, so I’m thinking someone is working with him to stop that habit, it’s very distracting and unpleasant to watch.

    Kristy Lee – who’d have thought the girl could get into the strategy aspect of this show? This week a brilliant choice and she should be safe.

    I adore Castro, but he’s got to do something amazing this next week or he’ll be gone.

  • Kristy Lee Cook was horrible. Even her trying to pull out the stops and play a patriotic song for Middle American Voted was pathetic. I saw some of the videos [Edited] and both David Cook and Michael Johns were awesome