The five contestants will sing two Neil Diamond songs tonight. We hear that David Archuleta will tackle Sweet Caroline and America. David Cook will do I'm Alive and All I Really Need Is You (what's that one?) and Jason Castro's Forever in Blue Jeans and September Morn. [Syesha, pictured, fared the best.] I was hoping Cook, the most masculine of the three, would do Neil's Solitary Man or Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon (songs Michael Johns would have been excellent on) rather than the '80s tune he picked.
I wish Randy would stop booing Simon during introductions. After seven seasons it's not funny anymore (never was) and just makes him seem like such a moron.
"For me it's the chance to encourage the singer, the performer," Neil Diamond said.
The contestants will be judged after their second song this time. But not on this blog! We'll get right into it!
Jason: This kid's lack of musical knowledge (has he heard of anyone???) is grating. His performance of Forever in Blue Jeans, one of Neil's jauntier late '70s pop numbers, was the equivalent of hospital tapioca: no body, no flavor, utterly forgettable.
David Cook: "David went for two songs most people haven't heard before," Neil said. That's daring. I know this 1982 Heartlight album track, I'm Alive. I still don't think has a natural rock voice, he forces it, it's not fluid, but that said, I liked his rendition of I'm Alive. He saved it from its original slick production and put grit in it. Good job. But I still don't like Cook's attitude.
Brooke: Not a great vocal on I'm a Believer. Love her look (I would have preferred watching this without the sound) and that she did an uptempo for a change. But so far, Cook's leading tonight.
These songs are just better than these performers and Neil is not coaching, he's just being a nice guy. If anyone has experience it's Neil. Start coaching!
David Archuleta: "Uncertain how to end the song," Neil says of David. He got a little coaching at least. Maybe it's that Neil has such a commanding, deep voice, but hearing all these songs tonight by these lesser talents is rather disappointing, these all feel like sodas without the fizz, including David's strained Sweet Caroline. I'm getting kind of tired of the tone of his voice too.
Syesha: Doing Hello Again from The Jazz Singer and Thank the Lord for the Nighttime from his 60s catalog. Did a rather sweet Hello Again, contemporary R&B ballad treatment. Would I buy it or select this version over Neil's on my iPod? No. But given what we've heard tonight, Cook and Syesha so far are the most pleasing. She did a good job. Edges David C, in fact for round one.
Why is Paula reviewing Jason's second song BEFORE he sung it!! Lane, you were right: She would get all confused and not remember the songs. So embarrassing! "This is so hard!"
Jason: The romantic adult ballad September Morn is so far beyond this little boy's reach it's just plain embarrassing. Would anyone ever believe this guy singing this song to a woman? Would anyone believe this kid's ever BEEN with a woman? He sure doesn't sing this song as if he has any conception of what being in a relationship is about. And afterward, he doesn't even act as if he cares. The time has come to end this joke and vote this kid off. He doesn't belong on a singing competition. Not funny anymore. "This is not the Jason we put into the competition," Simon said after two disastrous weeks.
Cook: All I Really Need Is You. I'll have to check my CDs to find the origin of this song. But it certainly isn't a jewel in Diamond's catalog. Where's the hook, the melody, the tempo? Cook's mediocre voice, smug delivery, certainly didn't save it. Weakest song of the night and only thanks to Jason, not the biggest train wreck. "I feel like I'm already looking at the American Idol," Paula said and Simon pronounced it "brilliant, made it feel that song was written this year." I don't agree.
Brooke: Is Ryan trying to prompt Brooke's dismissal by reminding viewers of Simon's negative comment on the previous song? Not fair. As for I Am, I Said, kudos to Neil for suggesting that she change the "New York" reference to Arizona since that is her homestate. And her smile, after remembering to do so, was rather infectious. Brooke's I Am, I Said certainly lacked the heft of Diamond's powerful original, but it was not bad. As Randy noted, this song is difficult with all the octave changes and melodic shifts. This performance is in the Top 3 tonight. She connected with the song.
David A: "They're coming to America," he sang, and after this cloying, syrupy Archuleta performance, I'd like to move to Canada. He sings every song the same I'm starting to notice. Calculating move, not unlike Kristy Lee doing God Bless the USA a month ago, playing to the masses.
Syesha: Thank the Lord for the Nighttime. Thank the lord for Syesha tonight. The only one to score twice on her selections. She, like Brooke on I Am I Said, connected with the song and also picked a good one with soul. She's not a great singer but she's got a winning personality, lovely smile, and she's a good performer, maybe the best of the remaining bunch. Cook has his fans, but he's got a cocky side I find to be a turnoff. Syesha, lately, has been a pleasure. Simon says she's a good actress/singer but thinks she might be in trouble tonight owing to less than memorable second song. He might be correct in that she could be voted off, given viewers' lack of taste (keeping foolish Jason in, for instance) but if she goes, it's not because she should.
Prediction: The absolute pits, on both songs, Jason. I'd like to think America has its eyes and ears open and can see the total lack of talent here and save us from another week of this drivel from this contestant. But since this is a popularity contest and Syesha wound up in bottom two last week despite a strong performance maybe Simon's right. Shame.