Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Things "Come together" for Carly Smithson

Jason Castro is from Rockwall, Texas, and for the past two years, he's been a student at Texas A&M University in College Station. He declared a music minor this past year, he says he wanted to learn a little more, and it ended up being the only class he failed. He says his family is from Colombia and that he went down one summer with his brother to spend time with his cousins and he says they don't really speak English, but they love the Beatles and they would sing along with the music. He says he fell in love with "Yesterday" and as he's gotten older and learned more about music, he's really gained an appreciation for what the Beatles did - it was really revolutionary.

He sings "If I Fell," one of my favorites, and as usual, he looks utterly adorable. He brings the guitar back and almost immediately, the audience starts clapping along with the song. He actually changes the melody just a little bit toward the end and as much as I hate when people change classics, this was very subtle. I don't think I can say enough times how much I love Jason Castro. I think he's funky but simple and completely mysterious and intriguing. I don't think he's the best singer in this group, but he has character and I think that's what people are drawn to. He did a great job, but it wasn't as good as last week, I don't think. It was still way better than Ramiele, though.

Randy says he liked it but he didn't love it and the reason he didn't love it is because it's one of his favorite songs and he wasn't crazy about his changing the melody. He says it threw him and he found himself tuning out. But he says it was all right. Paula disagrees with Randy and says that she feels his heart and the audience feels his heart. She says that he doesn't do all the runs like the other singers and that he doesn't have to because he has an emotional connection to the songs he chooses and that's what America connects with. Simon tells him that last week he was incredible and that tonight it was all a little bit like a student in a bedroom at midnight. HUH? I have no idea what he means by that, but I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who would be just fine with him in a bedroom at midnight. OK - I'm getting sidetracked now... Simon says the song was quite boring. He says Jason is very unique, very different and that he's a big, big fan of his, but that he's not going to make the same impact this week that he did last week because it was the song that made it so special. He tells him he has pick brilliant songs that suit his style. He finished by saying that it was good enough to stay another week but that it was not as good as last week.

Carly Smithson is originally from Ireland but she's been living in San Diego for about three years and she loves it. She says all her family lives in Ireland and she misses them. She works 7 days a week, bartending and waitressing on and off and then Saturday nights, she plays music.

She sings "Come Together" and starts off the song doing this weird gyrating motion that's a bit disturbing for me. I'm a little disappointed with the camera work on this number because it looks like she's using the stage, but we don't really see it because of the camera angles - they keep panning to the bandleader and the screens up by him. I feel like we're missing out on the performance side of Carly and I've been grasping at straws to find something about her that's unique and not quite so blah, so I was hoping to find something positive to say about her tonight.

I mean, let's be real - she has a great voice, she rarely makes a mistake and she has a certain comfort level on stage that the others don't. But having said that, I still find her very bland and her voice isn't spectacular enough to make me go out and spend money on her album. So, while she's a great performer, I feel like there's nothing really special about her, nothing that separates her from the rest. I'm sure many of you out there completely disagree - but I can't shake my ambivalence.

Randy says what he loved was that she was strong and confident, she was having a good time and she sounded amazing. He says it was a stellar performance. Paula says that watching her felt like she was already watching a star. Simon tells her that week after week, so far, he thinks she has chosen the wrong song. Until now - he says this reminds him of, 6 years ago - exactly the same week, Kelly Clarkson.

David Cook is from Blue Springs, Mo., and he says he had a pretty standard upbringing - it's a nice, quasi-quiet suburban town. He says that before "American Idol," he was a bartender at a bar in Tulsa, Okla., which was also a music venue, so he was able to play shows there from time to time. He says it's the only job he's ever had where he can totally be who he is and nobody faults him for it.

He sings "Eleanor Rigby," and it starts out a little scary. I say scary, because I'm actually nervous for him - he's been consistently getting better and better and I feel like every time he steps on stage, the expectation just gets higher. The beginning is scary, simply because it doesn't immediately blow me away. It's just kind of OK... until the chorus. When the chorus hits, he comes completely alive, the song comes alive, it's like the verses were a slow crescendo to this explosion of greatness. I may be gushing a bit, but David has been my surprise love. I hope Jason isn't hurt by my infidelity, but David is so creative, so intelligent - his choices are flawless, his arrangements are fresh and interesting and unlike Blake Lewis, who slaughtered songs to make them his own, David Cook puts his signature on every song he sings without removing the essence of the original.

And what I love the most about David is that he's so good, he's made me forget how awful his hair is - when the show started, it was all I could think about when he was on screen - that awful hair, it's like a comb-over, when are the stylists going to fix it, etc... But it's like that doesn't even matter anymore. I'm usually so used to focusing on the visual - this one made a funny face, that one has on an ugly dress - but when he comes on stage, I'm listening. He's so good, I just want to stop everything and listen.

Tonight was not as great as last week's performance, but to me, he's still better than anyone we've seen so far tonight. Randy tells him that he proves that you can definitely rock out on "Idol." He said it started a little pitchy but once he hit the chorus, it was rockin'. Paula says she's been telling everyone he's the dark horse of the competition. I'm not sure what she means - he's been one of their favorites every week. It's not like he's come out of nowhere. Simon says he thought it was brilliant. He says if this show remains a talent competition and not a popularity contest, he actually could win the entire show.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jason: Well, as one of his "Dreadheads" fans (from the AI forums), I was looking forward to this all week. I had downloaded "Hallelujah" from I-Tunes and was loving every replay. Tonight, I have to say, I was very disappointed. Wrong song! I would have loved for him to sing half a dozen other Beatles songs. Why this song? Plus, his vocal was pretty bad. I voted for him anyway, b/c I am expecting better next week.

Carly: My husband loved it, I wasn't as impressed. There is something lacking in her voice and in her presentation. Maybe a lack of heart and soul, although most people would probably disagree. I just don't "feel" anything when she sings, but when Amanda sings, I do. What did strike me, though, was how she mastered the difficult lyrics. I guess performing it live for years with her band rally helped her tonight.

David C.: I don't know, I just didn't like it at all. I think he is a great singer, but I was not thrilled with this song choice or with his vocal. I agree, the second half was better than the first half.