Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Oh, "sweet Caroline," will David Archuleta ever take a risk?

David Archuleta is next and he is singing the most predictable songs of the night - "Sweet Caroline and "America," probably two of Neil Diamond's most recognizable songs. Diamond says that David is a little uncertain about how to end "America," so they show him going over a few options. He says that David is kind of a prodigy and with a little guidance and a couple of suggestions, which he hopes David takes to heart, he thinks David will do great.

He sings "Sweet Caroline" first and while this song is way overplayed, David is obviously not old enough to have gotten sick of it yet. I am. But, I will say it's cute to see his enthusiasm - he seems to really be enjoying the song, seems to be having such a great time on the stage - I'm not sure he's been this alive up there before. And he sounds great, as he does most every week. However, the thing with David is that he hasn't really changed through this whole competition - there's been no progression, no improvement. He started off a 10 and has remained a 10. He doesn't take chances - he doesn't seem to learn anything new. Other contestants have shown growth - I wonder which one America will prefer.

Last up is Syesha Mercado. She's singing "Hello, Again" and "Thank the Lord for the Nighttime." Neil Diamond says she did very well with both songs. He says "Thank the Lord for the Nighttime" is an infectious song, that it makes people just want to clap along. He says that she did a wonderful job and she'll do great in her performance, that he was very pleased.

She sings "Hello Again" and it's very nice. What isn't that nice is her hair - she has the most beautiful curly hair and she had it straightened this week - I mean, it looks OK, but why mess with a good thing? Plus, she's barefoot again. Has she always done this? Have I just missed it? Because here she is again, wearing a nice dress, looking very beautiful, and walking around the stage with no shoes - it just looks kind of out of place. I mean, if pulled a Joss Stone thing and wore long flowy, hippie kind of dresses, I would get it, but the dresses she wears should definitely be accompanied by a nice pair of shoes. But anyway, let's get to the singing - she sounds good, but not as good as last week. Plus, this particular song is a little dull, so it didn't help her, I don't think.

So, now all the contestants come out on stage, and Ryan asks the judges to quickly give their opinion on Round 1. Randy says Jason was just OK, better than last week, but just OK; David Cook was very good, very strong, in the zone, doing his thing; Brooke, better than last week, but still karaoke for him; David Archuleta, the bomb; Syesha was strong, in the zone, not amazing, but strong.

Paula says Jason loved hearing his lower register in the first song, since we never really get to hear it. Then she says, the second song, she felt like his usual charm was missing for her, left her a little empty and that the two songs made her feel like he's not fighting hard enough to get into the top 4. OK - let's rewind just a little bit - is Paula watching a different show? We've only seen one song from each contestant ...w hat is she talking about, the second song? I had read somewhere that they take notes on the dress rehearsal and go off those notes during the live show - I guess that's what she did here and just forgot that we were only halfway through. Only Paula ... only she would make such a huge and ridiculously stupid mistake like that. To make matters worse, instead of just owning up to it, when Randy tells her to comment just on the first song, she says, "Oh my God - I thought you sang twice." Huh? Idiot. Let's move past her ... Simon says, "Jason, forgettable. David Cook, just above average. Brooke, a nightmare. David Archuleta, I thought it was amateurish, and Syesha, I thought it was old-fashioned." He then tells the contestants that they are the top 5 and he wants to see and hear the performance of a lifetime coming up.

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