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American Idol Rundown: Mariah Times Seven

If you asked me if I wanted to sit through an hour of Mariah Carey karaoke, my answer would be an emphatic no. But there I found myself on Tuesday, watching the top seven American Idol contestants warble their way through the singer's catalog. Frankly, it wasn't as bad as I expected — mostly thanks to the guys, who had no choice but to change up their songs rather than go for straight-up Mariah impersonations.

Mariah herself seemed genuinely happy to be on Idol, and it was good to hear her giving actual constructive feedback to most of the contestants, asking them to change up the chorus or try some falsetto. Some took her advice and got good results; others ended up looking like poor Mariah imitators. Which contestants fell on which side of that line? Don't forget to vote for which singer you think is going home, and to hear my take, just


David Archuleta — This may be horribly unpopular, but the longer the season goes on, the more I wonder why Archuleta has such a teen following. He really isn't terribly charismatic, either when he talks or (especially?) when he sings. That said, this song was technically perfect, as virtually all of his performances have been; it's just a shame that it didn't make much of an impression otherwise. Randy said David can sing anything, Paula said he made Mariah proud, and Simon said he'd set the benchmark for the evening.

Carly Smithson — Her feedback from Mariah was that she needed to be confident singing "Without You," but when it came down to it, she still seemed to be forcing things. The lower notes at the beginning seemed to be hard for her (it was almost like she was trying to flee from that section as fast as possible), and the runs sounded good but looked so labored. Interestingly, the judges' comments were also mostly about confidence: Randy said she needs to trust her voice, Paula liked that she showed some restraint, and Simon said she was holding herself back and didn't meet the Mariah standard.

Syesha Mercado — Speaking of vocal runs, how much do you like them? Because if you love them, you probably loved Syesha's performance of "Vanishing," and if you hate them, well, there wasn't much in that one for you. She's likely lucky that she tried a lesser-known song, because I couldn't for the life of me remember how Mariah's version went and so it was harder to compare. Randy said it was a tough one but she pulled it off with just a few pitchy moments, Paula said she was wise to pick a relatively unknown song, and Simon disagreed and said the song choice was risky.

Brooke White — You know, I wish she'd stuck with what she was doing in rehearsal and performed "Hero" on the guitar. That would have at least changed it up a little, rather than make it sound like she was doing a pale imitation of the original. I keep thinking back to Brooke's "Love is a Battlefield" and wondering why she can't do that kind of thing with all her performances. Randy said he liked it up till the bridge, Paula said it was authentic, and Simon said it was like ordering a hamburger and only getting the bun because her voice wasn't strong enough to provide the meat.

Kristy Lee Cook — First of all, where can I buy that dress? As Mariah songs go, "Forever" was probably a good fit for her voice; she doesn't quite have the depth to pull off the chorus, which sounded somewhere between flat and screechy depending on the note, but she certainly sounded better than she did a few weeks ago — though it's hard not to think about what a stronger singer would do with that song. Randy said it wasn't great but she hit some of the tricky notes well, Paula was blown away, and Simon said that Mariah week was never going to be a great one for her so it's just good that she held her own.

David Cook — OK, now this was cool. David Cook singing "Always Be My Baby" took the silliest, poppiest song and made it into some kind of weird, dark stalker anthem. Voice-wise, the song seemed a little too low for him again, but he more than made up for that with a few Mariah-style glory notes and a pretty great chorus. He got so emotional after (possibly because of his brother being there) that I just had to root for him this time. Randy said David's the only contestant ready to make an album, Paula said it sounded like a movie soundtrack song, and Simon said it was like leaving "karaoke hell" behind for some fresh air.

Jason Castro — He also made his song, "I Don't Wanna Cry," into something utterly different from the Mariah version; I suppose his was the "barefoot on the beach version." It's actually pretty cool, very pleasant, and I want to steal Simon's "pleasant walk in the park" description of Brooke last week, because that's exactly how it felt to me. Randy thought it sounded like background music at a weird luau, which I don't think was meant to be a good thing; Paula responded that she'd like to be at that luau all night long (ew). Simon brought some sanity by saying it wasn't the night's best vocal, but it was very Jason.

My favorites: David Cook, Jason Castro

Bottom three: Brooke, Syesha, and Carly, with a possible appearance from Kristy Lee.

Going home: Carly. I don't think she was as bad as the judges said, but she seems to be struggling so hard each week that I think it's turned off a lot of potential fans.

Photos courtesy of Fox

Join The Conversation
lily8206 lily8206 9 years
I love Brooke's voice and am disappointed that she isn't blowing it out of the water. David Cook was amazing. Can't stand Syesha and think she might be the one to get the boot. Or Carly.
aoitenshi aoitenshi 9 years
David Cook's version of Always Be My Baby gave me the shivers! Who knew it could be sung like that? Jason Castro's performance was also really good! I'm disappointed with Brooke's performance though. I don't know why she went that route, she's capable of doing so much better. I want Syesha and Kristy Lee gone. They are not fun to watch at all.
hollylyn hollylyn 9 years
I completely agree with you on Archuleta. As a performer myself, I can appreciate his technical skill but in my mind he isn't cut out right now to be launched into the 6 month media frenzy that an Idol winner faces. Maybe in a few years, but right now he just is really a 17 year old kid. Jordin was very polished and charismatic for her age. David doesn't have that right now. Unfortunately, he'll be sticking around. Ideally I'd like to see somewhat different from the typical Idol template as the winner, like David Cooke or Jason Castro. I also love, love, love Carly but she just doesn't seem comfortable with live performance right now. Brooke, Syesha, and KLC are all on my last nerve. While KLC has stepped it up the past few weeks, she hasn't got the chops to rule a cross-over pop/country role like Carrie Underwood. Syesha just rubs me the wrong way, she always seems so pompous and really quite obnoxious. And Brooke is just so blah.
duck-duck-goose duck-duck-goose 9 years
Oh, and Mariah Carey still drives me batty. So very artificial. (But it's all about the voice, so I guess that shouldn't matter. Good thing I'm no big fan of current popular music.)
duck-duck-goose duck-duck-goose 9 years
Yikes. I think our beloved Brooke is toast. Major suckage. (I want Sayesha out, not because she was the worst, but because I cannot stand her. I also cannot get with KLC, but she's sticking around, I think. Double suck.) Not a super cheery night for me (AI results show begins in fifteen minutes), but I'll survive.
marys2020 marys2020 9 years
David Cook was, once again great. I still love Jason and David A. was fine. I thought Carly sounded really good, definitely my favorite girl. KLC was really weak last night and I'm not sure why she is still here. Brooke wasn't very good last night and Syesha is just not memorable enough. I wish the judges would lighten up a bit on Carly, I mean, how much confidence can you have when no matter what you do or how good you sound you still get criticized more then you deserve.
nikecold nikecold 9 years
David Archuleta has the personality of a slice of bread.=S Kristy Lee was finally decent, Carly I actually liked for a change but I agree that she always seems to uptight and stiff on stage, I can sense how nervous she is. I don't understand why people hate Syesha that much, I mean come on the girl can sing, sure she's just like every other girl who has a decent voice but at least she's consistent. I don't get why people eat up everything Brooke does either, its nuts she seems so fake to me she kind of annoys the crap out of me, and if Syesha is boring she's even worse. David Cook and Jason, I LOOOOVED them.
RCLdesigngirl RCLdesigngirl 9 years
I know I'm in the minority, but I hated - HATED - the David Cook version of "Always Be My Baby". I don't really like the original that much either, but it was like a death march or something, slowing it down that much. I was surpised that I actually liked Mariah Carey in person - since she wasn't acting like a busted up drag queen. Poor Brooke. That's just all I can say.
cethomdv cethomdv 9 years
DC Is my guy. To me he had the greatest performance of the night. His voice his style and his persona fits. He is americas next big rock star. He has to win
zombielove zombielove 9 years
david cook can sing this version while stalking me whenever he wants, i'd welcome it, haha
fireyelectra fireyelectra 9 years
I was so unsure of Mariah Carey night, but I think it turned out surprisingly well. I'm so done with Archuleta. Talented singer, but a completely dead-behind-the-eyes, uncharasmatic performer. David Cook, on the otherhand, blew my mind last night by taking the most innocuous song and turning it into a song I can imagine a serial killer or stalker singing in a musical just before he does something terrible to his victim. You took the words right out of my mouth, Buzz.
dntusassme2000 dntusassme2000 9 years
Love David Cook ans Jason Castro. I think Brooke is probably going home.
linnb linnb 9 years
I really like all three of the guys different styles (4 including missing michael johns). but...what do the so-called judges or the producers have against Carly? Last night she wore long sleeves, a low cut, classy dress and didn't scream a note. I'm not her biggest fan, but her voice is pure and stong. Plus she seems so dang worried about what Simon etal think of her. Give her a break.
Underdog Underdog 9 years
The Guys all Three Did Great, all Four of the Girls Did Poorly I suggest The Bottom 3 only Brooke White will avoid that Slot Toinght, Syesha and Carly will be safe Again after the Bottom 3, Likely Kristy Lee Go Home Its not your Opinion Its a Fact the Results don't Lie
bealotus bealotus 9 years
LOVED David Cook's performance and take on the song. Amazing!
zombielove zombielove 9 years
I LOOOOOVE DAVID COOK!!! He did AMAZIIIING last night, it was great to see him happy again, unlike last week he looked way bummed. When he cried at the end, I totally cried too, it was so touching he is such a wonderful person.
Briandiesel Briandiesel 9 years
David Cooks was great, I thought Jason's was great also. I hope Kristy Lee goes home although I am sure it will be Brooke, which hurts my heart.
kwikwit kwikwit 9 years
LOVED David Cook's performance last night. I went on iTunes to buy it (yes, I loved it that much) and it's not up yet. I'll keep checking! It was a bad week for Brooke - why does she keep making bad decisions in her arrangements??
kwikwit kwikwit 9 years
David Archuleta, for some reason, gives me the heeby-jeebies. I'm sure he's a very nice and good person but he just comes off as odd to me. Like serial killer odd.
askmetostay askmetostay 9 years
buzz, i was thinking the same think about david cook....DEFINITELY kinda stalker-ish....but also way awesome. and in my head, brooke white can do no wrong. i love love love her. and i'm so proud of kristy for doing her thing....i think she's fianlly getting that she might as well go for it, she's been close to going home SO many times already. and mariah was too freaking cute. the whole time. i love her.
AliCherri1 AliCherri1 9 years
I'm a BIG fan of DC and I think he did an awesome job! I am also continually suprised with everyone's reaction to Jason Castro... he isn't very good ppl, while different, he is still bad and creepy looking. KLC is starting to come back and I hope it keeps her out of the bottom 3 for once :)
Phasekitty Phasekitty 9 years
OMG- sorry to write a novel!!!
Phasekitty Phasekitty 9 years
Based on last night, the guys left could be the top three this season, hands down. Everyone knows my unbridled love for David Cook so I won't gush about how awesome he was last night. I love Jason as well and I'm glad that he was able to make it through last night with a great performance as well. These are easily my top two. And we all know how much I hate Archuletta, so I won't complain about how annoying I thought he was, though I'm soooo glad to see with Buzz and Renee's comments that other people are realizing that he has no personality. :) Okay, so on to the girls. I thought Brooke was easily the worst last night- she just doesn't have the voice to sing a song like that. The only girl left with a "blow you away" kind of voice is Carly and she just can't win with those judges. Every week I think she's better than they give her credit for. But I definitely think it'll be her or Brooke leaving tonight, even though I'd love to see Syesha go. Who is voting for her still?!?! I really just can't stand her at all, so I choose to ignore the fact that she's still there. I'm going to talk about Kristy Lee for a second because there are so many haters on here. I loved her in her audition so I carried that love over to her through the top 24. It was then that I recognized that she wasn't as good as everyone else and should probably get voted off. But I continued to love her. It was only when she butchered "8 Days a Week" that I started to realize- okay, it's time for her to go. But she didn't, of course, and a few good contestants (like Chikezie and Michael Johns) got voted off before she did and it wasn't right. That being said, I just can't see why everyone STILL hates her so much. She's been noticeably and definitely improving every week, and that's kind of what Idol is all about. I have to give her some credit- last week she was definitely better than Carly and this week she was better than Brooke, two girls who I love but just didn't put in great performances. So no, I'm not the one who is voting for her, but I still can't understand why she is detested so much. Just thought I'd throw in a little argument for the other side of Kristy Lee ;)
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
I said it earlier, but I was really disappointed in Hero by Brooke. Her voice just didn't cut it. I agree about David having like Zero personality. I'm officially rooting for David Cook. I love Jason, he's different, but I don't think he can win it. I don't think eough people appreciate his voice, or his persona for that matter. I wanted to root for Carly, but I feel like she's gone downhill recently, I think she's trying too hard. Syesha an KLC are forgetable and boring.
shernic82 shernic82 9 years
Seriously? I didn't get to watch, but how many years have they been DISCOURAGING the idols from singing Mariah songs??
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