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American Idol Recap: The Top 10 Do '80s Night Again

American Idol Rundown: The Top 10 Do '80s Night Again

Ask a bunch of 20-somethings to sing songs from the year they were born, and you're going to end up with an American Idol that's basically '80s Night: Part Deux. Thankfully, mercifully, there was no Whitney Houston in this round, just a lot of Heart, stadium rock, and Sting.

The night overall was a mixed bag for me, with some great performances, some terrible ones, and one that seemed like little more than an obnoxious stunt to me. Am I being too harsh? Don't forget to tell me your pick for who's going home tonight, and you can let me know if I'm being too cynical if you


Ramiele Malubay — She became the second contestant of the season (after Carly) to take on Heart's "Alone," and it was definitely not the right call for her. The backup singers utterly outsang her on the chorus, for one thing. When she hits, her voice is great, but that only makes it more obvious when she misses. Randy said it was shrieky, Paula gave her a pass for being sick, and Simon said it wasn't as bad as Randy made it seem.

Jason Castro — Aw, it was his birthday. He took on the Sting song "Fragile," and, well, here's the thing. If you've been liking Jason's stuff up till now, you probably had no problem with this; if you haven't, then you didn't like this one either. It was exactly the same as the rest, with the guitar strumming and the earnest looks and the campus-pothead vibe. Randy liked it but said it was nothing different, Paula said he was way too safe, and Simon likened the performance to busking outside a subway station.

Syesha Mercado — Is it bad that my first thought when she took the stage was "wow, she's still on this show?" I wasn't as into this performance as the judges were, but it was good; "If I Was Your Woman" was a boring choice, but she sang it well, and when she's on, she can probably outsing any of this year's contestants on a ballad. It just didn't really wow me. Randy, on the other hand, said it was stellar and the best he'd ever heard her sing. Paula said she's the new dark horse, and Simon concurred that it was her best.

Chikezie — Chikezie said in his intro that he was wary of going back to ballads after getting slammed the first week, but he had to follow his heart. The thing about that is, the guy needs to stay away from ballads. His voice doesn't handle them the way you'd expect, and for some reason he becomes automatically lounge-y when he sings something slow. His crooning of "If Only for One Night" was a big letdown after his fun performances of the past couple of weeks. Randy said it was too old-school, Paula thought the throwback-ness was good, and Simon thought it was cheesy.

Brooke White — I got nervous for her after the false start, but she pulled it together for her quiet rendition of "Every Breath You Take" at the piano, where she's clearly more comfortable. It was good when she started alone and quiet, and when it first changed into the faster part with the band, I actually liked it more — but when it switched into the weird key-changing stuff at the end, she lost me a little. Randy liked the start but not the finish, Paula said she's distinctive and consistent, and Simon agreed with Randy and said Brooke should have stuck to just voice and piano.

Michael Johns — OK, here's where I think I was watching a different show than everyone else. His combo of the stadium-rock classics "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" just didn't work for me. Both songs seemed a little like he was just singing them in a bar with his friends, and I just don't think there's that much singing in either one (well, certainly not in "We Will Rock You"). He did prove he had stage presence, though, and singing Queen is clearly something that works for him. Randy thought this was his best performance yet, Paula thought this was his big moment, and Simon said he saw star potential.

Carly Smithson — I'm now convinced Carly was born in the wrong decade, because she's at her best when she's doing '80s rocker stuff, and for about 80 percent of "Total Eclipse of the Heart," I loved how she sounded. But there was a misguided (and off-key) attempt at a big Idol glory run at the end, and the whole performance seemed a little off; it's like you can see the gears turning with her every move. Randy suddenly doesn't like her as a rocker anymore, Paula said Carly could make her like songs she hates, and Simon said she seemed really tense.

David Archuleta — Was born in 1990. Ohmigod, I'm old. Anyway, I spent most of this performance googling the lyrics to figure out what he was singing; "You're the Voice" is one of those weird social-conscience hand-clapping songs that seemed like it should be played during the Olympics or a Benetton ad. However, despite the song's cheesiness, I have to give Young David some credit, because he sang it well and even got down like a funky little white boy in some parts. The judges were confused by the song, but Randy and Paula said it proved that if you can sing, you can sing; Simon, on the other hand, thought it was a theme park performance (though that really seemed to be about the song itself, too).

Kristy Lee Cook — So, it's probably un-American to criticize Kristy's performance . . . and that's exactly my problem with her singing "God Bless the USA." Maybe I'm overly cynical, but I could almost see her thought process: "Well, they didn't like when I did twang, and they didn't like me when I ripped up my jeans, but maybe the country crowd will get on board when I sing about America!" To be fair, she didn't mess up the song, but it still seemed like something out of a high school talent show. In Montana. Randy said it was nice, Paula called it poignant and respectful, and Simon said it was her best by a mile and called the choice "clever," which I think means "manipulative — and I like it."

David Cook — Awright, a little good and a little bad here. First off, if you introduce him by saying he's doing the Chris Cornell version of "Billie Jean," you don't get to praise him for being original. It's not his rock "Billie Jean." It's Chris Cornell's. You just said that. On the other hand, it was a strong performance, and he knows exactly how to play to his audience without pandering (*cough* Kristy). All the judges praised him for being brave, which I still don't get, but I like that there seems to be a competition shaping up between Young David and Old(er) David.

My favorites: The Davids and Brooke

Bottom three: Ramiele, Chikezie, and Carly — if "God Bless the USA" can't keep Kristy out of the bottom three, nothing can.

Going home: Chikezie. Tear.

Photos courtesy of Fox

Noinden Noinden 9 years
Ok a tad late but screw it. Go down load a Queen concert. Singing galore. On both songs. We will Rock you and Champions in the USA at least have always been paired. They were released as a double A side single and played back to back. QED in the USA the songs "go together. During a queen concert often they were separated. WWRY also often was played in it’s fast and slow versions at different times.
nadya226 nadya226 9 years
Seriously, who thinks Brooke white can actually sing???
eileenbeans eileenbeans 9 years
Carly I like. David A. is a chode and I'd rather ram a piping hot glass dildo in my ears than listen to him and his lip-licking tic makes me want to rip out my own eyeballs and eat them. I liked David Cook's performance and I was glad he finally didn't look too bald this week. Brooke White is teh shiz and Ramiele is just too cute to go away. I can't stand Michael "Dons" Johns either, he looks so pompous and no one should act that much like Jim Morrison. Kristy Lee Cook should not be praised for FINALLY singing one song right. It was a smart song choice but that doesn't mean that I don't want to string her up from a hook in my garage and gut her. Jason C. is cute as a Pop Tart and he's too cool for AI. Syesha is friggen hot and she has a great voice, she just needs to find the perfect songs. There you have it. My opinions are better than yours because they are mine.
aoitenshi aoitenshi 9 years
KLC has to go! That was such a manipulative move to get all the country fans to vote for her. If she's on the bottom 2 again and she doesn't get voted off, I might have to stop watching Idol for fear of getting hypertension lol.
JennaV JennaV 9 years
I agree with you all that KLC is an evil genius. As soon as I heard her sing that, I (along with many peeps) was like....yup, she is safe another week because of that song. I was amazed Simon was so impressed....she didn't sound good at all compared to the other peeps.
duck-duck-goose duck-duck-goose 9 years
Hmmmm. To be fair, (in reference to the comment about David A.) I don't agree that a personality trait ("annoying") is indicative of a particular religious affiliation (LDS or "Mormon"). But, then I don't view Mormons as a superficial stereotype, either. (Also, I don't happen to think that members of that particular Christian religion are necessarily any more "goody-goody" than any other Christian faith -- but that's just me.) Brooke is also LDS, but doesn't strike me as annoying in the least. (Neither does David A, for that matter; I'm just not particularly drawn to him -- not at all the way that I'm captivated by Brooke. She's endearing.)
kristyrk kristyrk 9 years
I heart Chikezie! But he TOTALLY let me down this week. I DON't heart KLC and her crazy sneaky song selection tactics! I DON't heart Rama-laba-ding-dong singing Heart. Ever! I hope KLC goes home, but I have a really bad feeling Chikezie will be the one to peace out this week.
fireyelectra fireyelectra 9 years
I think Carly ended up in the bottom last week because of her tattoos, and I will continue to think that if she ends up there again, as there's no other reason for her to be there. Ever.
PollyPrissyPants PollyPrissyPants 9 years
Wow...KLC's performance. There are just no words. I gaped, then I giggled, then I went back to gaping. God Bless the USA...seriously? Despite that though, I have to agree with Simon (which I do way too often to be comfortable with) was one of her best (in a severely manipulative way). But she should still go home... As for Mr. others have said, I would buy his music and go to a concert right now. I love him. I think he's been very smart to choose the arrangements he has - choosing lesser known versions that work for him (that the judges have clearly no idea about, if their "original" chat is any indication) and owrking the audience as any good band front man would. If I could vote (damn no voting in Canada rules), he'd have mine every week.
brittanybe brittanybe 9 years
I thought KLC's performance was unbelieveably cheesy and I was expecting some major snark from Simon. The judges glowing reactions and high praise of the song choice sounded scripted to me.
hmcmcd hmcmcd 9 years
I totally agree that David Archuletta is ANNOYING. I was, at first, impressed with his beautiful voice. My problem with him is not whether or not he can sing, he definitely has that, it is that over the top humility that erks the heck out of me. I get that he is young, but there is a way to graciously acknowledge compliments with out being sooooo goofy! Originally I thought that someone on the show might help him with that, but now it is clear (sigh) that it is his marketing tool
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
Technically, it wasn't 80's night, it was 'birth year' night. Not all of them were born in the 80's.
azulskies azulskies 9 years
i'm so sad but i think chikezie will go home too :(
laneylaney laneylaney 9 years
I'm so grossed out by KLC. Such a pathetic move. And she sucked.
blondie829 blondie829 9 years
here's hoping that chikezie is safe so he gets another week to show his personality!
Courtney82 Courtney82 9 years
I am not a fan of david cook, i dislike his pompous attitude. why do you have to go on american idol if you think your stuff never stinks. shouldnt you already have a deal (kind of think this about shyetha too but i liked her performance this week). he is an okay singer and sorry sounds the same every week. i really like brooke, she is so cute and humble. i love how she loves what she is doing and truly knows when she did good/bad. i loved michael johns in the begining and am starting to think he doesnt do good in front of large crowds. i have zero issues with Kristy as a person she seems very nice, and is cute so i think it causes people to be a bit jealous but she isnt doing good at all. geniuses for doing that song though cause it will keep her in, also she does have the keep the worst vote, so that helps. i like chikezie, he is fun. ramielle doesnt live up to her big voice, jason tries to hard to be a hippie, laid back guy and david well he is a heck of a voice but he kind of irks me. i think ramielle will go home this week but if i could have any one off the show it was be david cook cause he thinks he is too cool to be on the show in the first place.
Briandiesel Briandiesel 9 years
KLC's reign of terror must end!
Phasekitty Phasekitty 9 years
CJaneTyp- I'm SOOO glad that someone said the "Mormon good kid" thing about Archuletta and it wasn't me!!!! :-P
jillpitt jillpitt 9 years
Chikezie, Sayesha, Ramiele, Jason, David A, should go home.. in that order :)
Entertainment Entertainment 9 years
Oh yeah, I totally don't blame David Cook — he didn't claim to be original (in fact, he's always been totally honest about his arrangements, even the Whitesnake thing last week). That's all on the judges. It was a really good performance, and I agree that he'd sell tons of records right now; I just wish the judges wouldn't put so much emphasis on how "brave" he is.
CJaneTyp CJaneTyp 9 years
If you judge this thing by who would actually sell some music (and isn't that what this is about?), David Cook would win by a mile in my book. He is not the one who claimed to be "original" by singing Cornell's version of Billie Jean, the judges said that. So you can't fault him. Was it Bo Bice or Daughtry that sang some Live version of some song and got shellacked for it? So now they make sure to say if they are covering a cover. I thought Archuletta was great at first but I agree that he is too goody goody... it's the mormon good kid in him, he's all appropriateness and social consciousness and it's starting to seem fake to me. At any rate I'd never buy his stuff. Jason Castro is my second fave after David Cook because again, I'd buy his stuff. He has a college kid / bar vibe- that's his thing. It's like Jack Johnson or Elliot Smith. It's just what they do. I love Brooke. She is also of the goody goody tribe but actually seems sincere about it rather than Archuletta's somewhat starting to be crafted seeming goodness. Michael Johns has been a disappointment. KLC- I HATE that song, patriotic or not. I can't stand her, she is so cheez. I'd like to see her go asap. Chikezie at least manages to be original and fun once in a while. Ramielle... has no personal musical style and is only memorable for being cute. I agree with whoever said Shyetha looks perpetually surprised that someone so pretty can't just get by.
TinkerbellSF TinkerbellSF 9 years
OMG I figured it out: Kristy Lee Cook is now the Karl Rove of American Idol.
splayer splayer 9 years
I would also totally go see David Cook in concert right now. Love him. Love his emo/rock versions of pop songs. Love love love.
askmetostay askmetostay 9 years
my fiance and i decided that KLC is an evil genius. because even if you sing it poorly...all the country music idol fans will vote for you because you love america. i gotta give her credit for being "clever". ramiele and michael johns can just go away. a long time ago. and agreed with simon about archuleta's performance, i could see chartoon characters dancing while he sang....he's bothered me from the beginning, and this was no exception. i LOVE brooke and david cooke. love love love. and who knew brooke could play by ear?? i loved that david admitted his parents dressed him up in everything to take pictures of him as a baby!!
Phasekitty Phasekitty 9 years
As soon as KLC was finished I paused the TiVo, turned to my boyfriend, and said, "That was the PERFECT song choice for her and here's why..." saying exactly what all of you are saying- how can you criticize her for it?? I think she may have made her way out of the bottom three this week with that sneaky little trick. When Michael Johns started all I could think was, Man- what is this guy's fascination with Queen? And then I, this isn't exactly a "singer's" song, but when he transitioned to "We Are the Champions," I softened. This is the first time I've really liked him and now I want him to stick around long enough to sing "Somebody to Love." :-P I actually thought Carly was a lot better than the judges gave her credit for. I think that stunned look on her face was because it was so well received by the crowd, and then the judges were pretty harsh. It's no secret that I HATE David Archuletta and this week he gave me even more of a reason to. Whatever that song was, didn't it sound like something that would be sung in a church camp or youth group? Like a big sing a long song with everyone joining in and clapping their hands? No offense intended to anyone in church camps or youth groups, but it's just not a stage-y "Idol" type of song. I know we're far from seeing him in the bottom 3, but eventually it's songs like that that will lead him there. Plus I wish they'd had time to ask him who chose the song because, like Simon, I truly don't believe it was him. Sigh...David Cook. You can do no wrong in my book and even if you sang the "Chris Cornell version" of Billy Jean, I love Chris Cornell and I love you. Don't let it go to your head...stay right where you are cause you're awesome. :kool: :-P
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