We get a new set. "Bigger and better than ever," says Ryan. Does the set make the singing better? One would hope but it is highly doubtful. Tonight Randy was in black and Simon wore a white collared dress shirt, slightly unbuttoned. Paula was there too.
The theme tonight is the "Lennon-McCartney Songbook". We get the obligatory Beatles retrospective. This of course used time the contestants could be using to sing. They seem to want to prevent "too much" singing.
Syesha Mercado - "Got to Get You Into My Life" - Her first attack was tentative. She recovered quickly. Pitch and tempo were good after that. She made a good run at the end and did a great finish. Randy "Started a bit rough. You got to it in the middle. All Right" Paula "Started off pitch, midway you found your pitch." Simon "I thought is was better than all right, Randy."
Grade B +
Chikezie "She's A Woman" - He started out like it was to be a Blue-Grass song then turned it into a Pop-Rock tune. It was a very good arrangement. Unfortunately he is just a little better than average singer. Randy "I was thoroughly entertained. Chikezie smashed it." Paula "The reward paid off, my dear." Simon "I am really surprised that I agree with these two. I thought you were terrific"
Ramiele Malubay "In My Life" - She seemed to be tentative throughout the performance. It was a bit flat for the ability she has shown before. She was a bit flat on the final note. Randy "It was kind of pretty and pretty boring" Paula "You look lovely tonight. It was pretty safe. I feel like you are holding back." Simon "I was bored to tears throughout the whole song. It was forgettable. I expect a lot better from you, you are better than that."
Jason Castro "If I Fell" - He played his guitar and it seemed to distract him some from the song. He had real pitch problems. He let the guitar overpower the singing at times. His final attack was very breathy. Randy "I liked it, I didn't love it" Paula "I disagree with Randy. I feel your heart" Simon "Last week you were incredible. The song was boring. I am a big big fan. Not as good as last week."
Carly Smithson "Come Together" - She nailed the first note. She demonstrated her control of pitch and tone on loud and soft passages. She made the song fun to listen to and even watch. It did "Come Together." Randy "You were strong, confident, not a note out of tune." Paula "I thought I was already watching a star." Simon "Every week, I thought you have chosen the wrong song - until now. This reminds me of Kelly Clarkson."
Grade A +
David Cook "Eleanor Rigby" - He had pitch problems to start. He tried to sound like a Beatle. He isn't one. He does not have the power in his voice for a song like this. Rather ordinary performance of this song. Randy "Started out with pitch problems." Paula "I think you are a dark horse" Simon "I thought it was brilliant"
Brooke White -"Let It Be" - She played the piano as her accompaniment to start. Her pitch was very good. It was a nice presentation by a girl with a pure voice. A good arrangement. Randy "I don't know if this was your strongest performance. You gave a heartfelt performance" Paula "This is your niche." Simon "I thought it was one of the best performances of the night. Three weeks running, great."
Grade A -
David Hernandez - I Saw Here Standing There - He has his usual pitch problems. This was a real "karaoke" performance. He did not have enough to drink and neither did I too make this really enjoyable. Randy "I was lost from the jump. You tried to do to much." Paula "You know I love your voice, you overdid it too much." Simon "I thought it was corny verging on desperate. It was not a particularly strong performance."
Amanda Overmyer - "You Can't Do That" - She made her own arrangement out of it as she promised. It was fun to listen to. Much more entertaining than she is usually is. Randy " I love it." Paula "You are a star up there." Simon "I didn't think it was as good as last week. I think it is a good thing you are in this competition."
Grade B +
Michael Johns - "Across The Universe" - He had some pitch problems. His performance seemed a bit mechanical. It was an okay performance for this stage of the competition Randy "I was waiting for something great to happen. It was a little sleepy." Paula "It takes courage to stand on stage and do nothing." Simon "A little bit monotonous, I am big fan. I am disappointed that you have not shown what you can do."
Grade C +
Kristy Lee Cook - "Eight Days a Week" - She tried to make it a bit country. She seemed to be rushed through the performance. She had all kinds of pitch problems. Randy "it sounded like you tried to force some runs. It was a half and half." Paula "I did not like it. i didn't get it" Simon "I thought it was horrendous. Dolly Parton on helium."
Grade C -
David Archuleta - "We Can Work It Out" - He was right about it being a bit difficult for him. He seemed to forget the words or at least lost confidence in them. He had pitch problems. It was very ordinary for him. He did NOT "work it out". Randy "This week it was not on point. It felt very forced. It didn't work." Paula 'It was not your best. You did not let forgetting the words show." Simon "It was a mess. It was your weakest performance so far."
Grade C -
Paula really needs to go. She gives no real criticism on the songs. She does the contestants absolutely no good. She rudely interrupts Simon when he is trying to give the criticism then thinks it is funny. Randy is little better at times. The audiences are very rude when Simon tries to give honest feedback. What they forget is that they are actually harming the singers not Simon. Ryan seems to be getting a bit full of himself these days. There are other people that can read a teleprompter and shamelessly promote the junk he does.
The early "favorite" to go home is Kristy Lee Cook at 52%. Amanda is second at 22%. The rest seem safe enough. The favorite to win on the MSNBC poll is David Archuleta at 40% with three men following him.
My favorite continues to be Carly Smithson (she reminds me of the young Cher) followed by Brooke White. David Archuleta is third in my mind. Amanda may squeak through this week but she likely will not next week although there are some others fading badly. Ramiele Malubay seems to be wilting under the spotlights. David Hernandez is sagging as well. Syesha Mercado needs to get back to the bluesy thing she does so well.