American Idol: Top 4 Revealed

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 30th 2008 8:45PM
American Idol 7 - Top 5
(S07E36)
What an underwhelming evening for the most part. In fact, I'd like to scrub that first round of songs from my memory banks completely. The contestants should be ashamed that they took a good catalog of songs (Neil Diamond's catalog) and made it so interminably boring. As Simon said, luckily they had second songs to redeem themselves, and a few of them even managed to do so. Only Syesha had two strong performances with true heart and emotion, so we'll see how that plays out. Is it the end of the road for Jason? Brooke? Neil Diamond and Natasha Bedingfield are performing. Won't you join our live chat and let us know what you think, starting just before 9:00 PM ET? There's virtual cookies and milk.

You can join the chat by following this link. Look for the full episode review right here later tonight.

Right off the bat, I have to disagree with Ryan. I don't think we necessarily know more about this batch of contestants than any other. Sure, we know more than last year's batch. What do you know about Jordin Sparks besides her gridiron father, really? 45 million total votes came in, 40 million came from 6,407 twelve year old girls.

Top 5 Medley - Tribute to Neil Diamond
Once again, Jason Castro started off a Neil Diamond song sounding horrible. Jason's given up. Remember when Chris Slight just gave up and didn't want to be there anymore. That's the vibe I get from him. David Archuleta struck the same pose he always does, one arm out with hand raised in an "I guess" gesture. My final judgment is that this was the worst medley performance of any season ever. Neil should have been allowed to get up on the stage and punch each and every one of them in the mouth for butchering his collection two nights in a row. Of course, when he got to Syesha he'd just hug her again and forget everything else.

Idol Alumni
Constantine Maroulis and Gina Glocksen were in the audience. They're the co-hosts of FOX Reality's American Idol Extra. Ace Young was smiling right in front of them but Ryan didn't have time for him. Instead he went up to cuddle with Simon and recap last night's show. I didn't need to relive last night actually, guys. Some things are better left in the past, like platform shoes, leisure suits and Paula predicting that she wouldn't enjoy Jason's second performance last night before he sang it.

So You Think You Can Dance Promo
As someone with ten years of classical dance training, I've been a huge fan of the talent and range SYTYCD brings us every year. The perfect summer complement to the Idol, this promo totally sold me that this would be another summer of amazing dancers and amazing performances. Whether you know dance or not, it's incredibly entertaining and at times awe-inspiring television. I am so there!

Natasha Bedingfield - "Pocket Full of Sunshine"
Natasha should be grateful that Simon refused to judge her when Ryan went to him. He would have certainly told her that she shouted through a lot of her performance. It had a few nice moments, but overall just wasn't very good at all. Is it possible for the actual singer of a song to sound like karaoke on her own song?

Proof the Results Show Should Only Be Thirty Minutes Long Viewer Question Segment
First, stop asking the callers to say their questions and display the question on the screen behind Ryan. Why does Paula always give contestants a break? Because what they do is hard. Will Paula and Randy do any more music videos? There was no real answer to this question. The woman who gave him his first kiss called in and asked if that kiss was more memorable than his kiss with Paula. Simon wouldn't let her get off the phone. He was really enjoying chatting with his first crush. It was a pretty neat thing actually. I still hate the segment though.

Ford Commercial - "Catch the Wind"
Hybrids are all the rage don't you know. Jason drove the car while the remaining contestants magically brought life back to an urban street. Did you know they had superpowers? Some have the ability to generate votes even when they suck while others have the ability to come in last in polls for months and not get eliminated. But is her time up tonight?

Neil Diamond - "Pretty Amazing Grace"
He needed Kristy Lee Cook on back-up for this one. She's pretty. It's weird that Jack Nicholson subbed in for Neil for this performance, like a stunt singer. What was up with those eyebrows? And why did he also not sound very good to me. He half-talked his way through the song. I know Neil is a legend and an amazing performer, but he wasn't on his A-game here. I did love it when he rocked out on his guitar bobbing his head back and forth! Neil Diamond's mom was there celebrating her bicentennial. When Ryan talked to Neil, Neil did perfect political doubletalk. He said the judges were right about the contestants but then turned around and said they were great last night. You can't have it both ways, Neil.

Building the Bottom Two

First out was Jason Castro, who wasn't great last night, but wasn't necessarily terrible either. But he smiled and batted those blue eyes. Remember those little girl power voters? Of course Jason was safe. Next out of the gate was David Archuleta who's really starting to lose his sparkle with a lot of the commenters on this site. He sings technically well but does so more and more like a grade school talent competition than a consummate performer. And those little girls like him, too. Do we have our all-male Top 3 already?

David Cook came out third, so the plan then was to declare him safe and by default have our Bottom Two be the remaining ladies? Of course. The writing has been on the wall for the ladies for awhile now. So it comes down to Brooke White and Syesha Mercado. But could Syesha skate by another week? She certainly had an overall stronger night than Brooke, though Brooke's second number was one of the strongest of the night.

[ADDENDUM--An interesting point was brought up that I hadn't considered or noticed in the comments. Ryan never declared a "Bottom Two" or bottom anything. We always just assume that he has. DialIdol had Syesha as their top vote getter. Certainly it would create more drama next week to lead America into thinking Syesha is vulnerable so that when she makes it into the Top 3 over Jason or a David it's more "shocking." Very interesting and a great notice from several of you!]

Going Home
I don't think it's necessarily fair to Syesha that she was in the Bottom Two with Brooke this week, but it doesn't really matter as she's got no real shot of winning. But she does have another week to try and find a way to break that impenetrable wall of guys as Brooke White left us this week. Brooke is an amazing performer in her style and should do just fine. I love her when she does the vulnerable little girl behind the piano or guitar just singing from the heart.

My Picks
Once again, I was half right in my Bottom Two with Brooke but underestimated the power of Jason's smile and deep blue eyes. Looks like .500 is going to be out of reach for me as it's 8-12 now.

Your Picks
You guys had Jason and Brooke in the Bottom Two as well (Syesha came in second only to the Cook) with Brooke going. Dammit if that doesn't raise you to 12-8. I demand a recount. I made my picks in Florida!

Next Week's Theme: The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame (whatever that means)

Did the right person go home?
Should have been Jason1097 (46.4%)
Should have been David A94 (4.0%)
Should have been David C35 (1.5%)
Should have been Syesha238 (10.1%)
Brooke was the right choice902 (38.1%)

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74 Comments

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Amy

Either Jason or Syesha will go tomorrow night unless Cook or Archuleta completely bomb. I like Jason and Syesha both - different styles and enjoyable to listen to. I'll probably buy their music b/c they are enjoyable to listen to.
Cook has come on strong in the last half of the season. He is a mature, experienced performer, able to arrange songs to his style, a good rocker voice, a perceived man's man and the "sexy" guy. He has developed a fan base over the season. Some people like his genre some don't; I can appreciate his talent but I don't buy his genre of music. Nor do I go from site to site and trash him b/c he has competed well and enlarged his fan base. His music just doesn't do it for me.
Archuleta has been the front runner since Simon said he was the one to beat in the Top 20 performances (boys night)-no favor to him. He has run the gauntlet through the negative seeking & harsh entertainment press and national press; he has been both professionally and personally attacked in about as many ways as possible-the most sustained, vitriolic, acerbic attacks in the history of any AI contestants. I like his voice and talent now; nothing to do w/adorable, cute, etc. It is his musicality and rare interpretation of the music by his voice. Entertainment media doesn't know what to do with him b/c it isn't cool to like a nice, kind, humble kid so they take the easy way out and lampoon and bash him at every juncture. AI format has not allowed him to select nor sing the songs that show his gift except early on and when he leaves AI and gets to control of his song selection sand arrangement, all will be forgotten by the entertainment media as to his age. We will see some rapid turnabouts.
It is a sad commentary that some listeners/viewers of AI have such prejudice for age and a sad state of our entertainment culture that we don't recognize rare talent and support such. Archuleta has been as poised as a just turned 17 year old can be; he has shown rare courage week after week. He knows no matter what he does he will be vilified, called boring, disney-esque, etc.
Lets just step up to the plate and just say we prefer one style of music over another. Let's enjoy the performances, respect their choices and music genres and ADMIT that we are going to vote for our preference of music genre.
Give Archuleta some respect for what he has done, and then a little more b/c he is 17 - that is what you are doing for the other contestants and they haven't even had to navigate the long, winding media attack road.
Oh, btw, I am a music/communications major at a university. A lot of my friends in the collegial music world (those 20+ year olds you are talking about) are looking forward to David A's first album

May 06 2008 at 8:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Amy

"He sings technically well but does so more and more like a grade school talent competition than a consummate performer".

You aren't even original and are just like all the anti-archie media lemmings. This is the kid who sang "Imagine" and "Shop Around" and the other contestants were not even in his class then. And he has had some great songs since then - nothing wrong with ballads - if so, then the argument is for the best genre of music, not the best performance.

I'd say he set a bar that Cook, Castro and Mercado had to step up to so they'd get noticed.

You've been down on Archuleta for some time. Do you need to bash a 17 year old so you can push votes for a 25 yr old experienced, mature male performer? Sounds like you have some unresolved teenaged angst--counseling could help with that.

Archuleta is raw talent, extraordinarily so. If you don't like his genre, its ok to say so. To state your opinion as fact is the worst sort of reporting--if you can't bleach the bias from your reporting then you should just write an advice column b/c that is what you are reporting - your personal bias. Instead of scrubbing the performance from your mind, scrub out the bias and give some honest, fresh 360 degree insights.

May 05 2008 at 5:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott

MJM - are you both blind AND deaf?

May 02 2008 at 4:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
D

David A. is the bomb just like Randy says. The finalle should be David A. and David C. Unless of course we let the popularity contest win. Come on this is a singing competition.

May 02 2008 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mike

I, for one was sad to see Brooke go, though, I thought it was overdue. Being that my personal feelings are if, at this level, one forgets the lyrics then it is reason for immediate dismissal - Brooke should have been got last week. I truly enjoyed how she continually connected with her songs on an emotional level.

All that being said, we are now down to 4, and in my opinion it is clear the order in which they should go from here. Jason has survived on his "cuteness", which is a shame in that it has been unfair to others who deserved to stick around a bit longer. Talent-for-talent he is the weakest of the group.

David A. has a nice voice but lacks the maturity, emotionally and vocally, to go beyond the 3 spot. Unless his range and tone change dramatically he will never be more than a ballad performer... and there really isn't anything wrong with that.

The true match-up should be between Shyesha and David C. Personally, I think Shyesha should win the contest. David C. is extremely talented but fear the obligations that come along with winning would be a detriment to his career.

I am yet to figure out why Shyesha continues to get no respect from the audience. Vocally, both in quality and range, she is the best singer and has grown in her performance these past few weeks. I enjoy watching her more than any other contestant.

May 02 2008 at 7:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sjohnmassoud

To Dan:

I will say this much also. I think this years final 24 have been better than in pretty much every other season. I may not like to look at Jason Castro, but I will agree the kid has a good voice.

I do hope you will also admit that this years finalists were better than usual.

May 02 2008 at 7:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sjohnmassoud

Dan:

Sorry but he looks like one. I am probably much older than you are, and maybe a bit set in my ways now. I no longer like to look at men with long hair, nor do I think long hair on a man is "hip" anymore. (However I will admit when I first saw Aerosmith I liked it, but that was back in the mid 1970's, just so you can see how old I am lol) When I see it now, I just want to vomit. However I also understand it's generational.

Is Jason Castro a "blasphemous dope fiend"? Honestly I do not know, and for his sake I hope he is not one. But he sure looks like one to me.

Let's be honest, alot of this competition is how people look to others. It's not as important as the sound, but it's surely a 2nd place. And we all judge people by their appearances. Why did I cast votes for Brooke and Chikezie over Carly? To me they look like people who I'd wanna buy music from as much as their sound. And while I'd be nuts if I didn't admit Carly has a more powerful range in her voice, her looks and tattooed arm bothered me.

If you like how Jason Castro sounds and looks, then hey, that's your right and I respect that. I don't have to agree with it.

Like I said before, I'm an old guy. Mid 40's lol. My tastes are going to be alot different than yours. Also how I look at people is going to be alot different than how you do.

Keep it real and I enjoy the banter.

JM

(PS If you're wondering why I am not replying to your comments, it's because my computer won't let me do so, so I have to do it in this convoluted way. You seem like an honest guy, so I thought it important for me to tell you that)

May 02 2008 at 7:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sjohnmassoud

To Dan

The only problem with your theory (other than the fact it is blatantly untrue) is this:

Since the final 12 were announced, I have voted for the following contestants

Carly
Brooke
Chikezie

now is Chikezie a white guy? I don't think so. So do you care to rescind your most pitiful statement?

May 01 2008 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sjohnmassoud's comment
Dan

Okay, fine...you're not a racist, I rescind my statement.
What about your pitiful statement about Jason looking like a "Blasphemous Dope Fiend"?

May 01 2008 at 6:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sue

What's up with Jason? He should have been gone weeks ago. As Simon would say, I could see him performing in a local bar and that's about it. When he speaks, he really sounds clueless. David A. is young and will get a contract with someone nomatter what. I would like to see David C. take it all. He can sing whatever is thrown at him, besides the fact he is brilliantly creative. He'll go far in the industry with a lot more than just looks.

May 01 2008 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Europa

I just have to say, it's becoming a little cliché (and annoying) the way everyone seems to feel the need to say, "[Insert voted off contest's name here] you will do just fine and have a fabulous career!"

I know they're probably just trying to be nice and send whomever off in a positive way but, in reality, how often does that really happened? For most their names only pop up again when they get into legal trouble or (like with the alumni in the audience last night) they end up with some "peripheral job" to that "fabulous" singing career. Please. If they're not in the top two or three Just tell them good-bye and good luck.

May 01 2008 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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