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American Idol Rundown: The Top Four Try to Rock You

The remaining four American Idol contestants had a chance to prove they could rock out on Tuesday. By picking songs from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame songbook, they had a huge portion of music history open to them. So would you have expected one of the song picks to be "Hungry Like the Wolf"?

Beyond that, Tuesday's performance night fell flat in a lot of ways; nobody really impressed me — including this year's anointed "rocker." Were you similarly let down? Don't forget to vote for which singer is going home, and for my take, just


David Cook
First song — "Hungry Like the Wolf." OK, I was kind of excited when I heard he'd be singing this; it's so cheesy that I figured he'd take it and turn it into something entirely unexpected (see also: "Always Be My Baby"). Instead, he delivered a version that sounded very close to the original — partway between karaoke and a slightly edgier Duran Duran cover band. Randy said it was just OK, Paula said something gross about it leaving her with a big appetite, and Simon said it was good enough.

Second song — "Baba O'Reilly." This started out all slow and ballad-y, then kicked up a notch going into the chorus, then seemed like it was going to go up another notch and become totally awesome — but then it just abruptly ended. It's always interesting to hear a song that shows he can actually sing rather than just growl, and this song did, but for me, it lacked the excitement or connection that David's been so good at bringing all season long. Randy liked his rocker style, Paula said it made her want more David, and Simon simply said "welcome back."

Syesha Mercado
First song — "Proud Mary." I'm surprised that Syesha didn't try to play up her performance capabilities earlier in the season, because none of the other contestants have managed to take command of the stage, and Syesha did that pretty well here. OK, so some of the dancing was awkward, but at least she didn't sing sitting down. Her voice wasn't fabulous, but the energy was, and overall she kept my opinion of her on the rise. Randy said she's peaking at the right time, Paula said she's come into her own, and Simon called it "a bad, shrieky version."

Second song — "A Change is Gonna Come." Um, I'm going to assume that Syesha didn't really mean to compare her journey on Idol to the civil rights movement. The thing about Syesha is that she thinks she's a better singer than she is — thus all the warbling at the end, proving she can hit those glory notes. I wish she'd changed up her style to fit the song, but she still mostly pulled off what she attempted. Randy said it wasn't very good, Paula said it was beautiful, and Simon agreed with Paula. Then, tears. It was almost shocking to see some actual emotion from Syesha.

Jason Castro
First song — "I Shot the Sheriff." Oh man, he had the dreadlocks in full effect and was making this "oh yeah, I'm funky!" face through the whole thing. Worse from a competition perspective, he let the backup singers carry most of the chorus. He got points for at least trying to connect with the audience but lost them by being lazy and not trying to show how well he can sing. Randy said it was really karaoke, Paula liked how he played to the audience, and Simon called it atrocious and "a first-round audition massacre."

Second song — "Mr. Tambourine Man." OK, I'm starting to agree with Pop that forgetting the lyrics should be automatic disqualification. There's just no excuse for it at this point, and it all but proved what the judges have been hinting at for weeks: Jason doesn't seem like he's trying. I thought Randy and Simon might jump on stage and try to shake some life into him, they were so angry. Randy said he was just off, even Paula didn't love it, and Simon just told him to pack his bags.

David Archuleta
First song — "Stand By Me." Which he sings to his dog! I actually did like how he changed the arrangement, and he sounded good — but to me, it was the same as every other Archuleta performance. The cheers, though, went on forever. Randy said it's good that at least one person was bringing it, Paula loved it, and Simon declared it the best of the first round.

Second song — "Love Me Tender." Awwww, little Archie's first love song! It didn't really connect with me, but I'm not 14. Again, he sounded good, but I thought he really struggled toward the end with some of his bigger notes. Randy still loved it, Paula said it was one of his best, and Simon said he crushed the competition.

My favorites: Syesha? I don't know; nobody really blew me away.

Bottom two: Beyond Archuleta, it could be anyone. I think Jason Castro has got to be there, unless his fans rally in crazy numbers. And I'd suspect Syesha would be there, just because of her run in the bottom two. But I'm worried about David Cook: On a night like this, sometimes it's better to be bad than to be mediocre.

Going home: It's got to be Jason, right? Though I think a surprise David Cook elimination is possible.

Photos courtesy of Fox

Join The Conversation
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 9 years
I think Jason or Syesha should go home. Jason even told Entertainment Weekly that he wants to leave!
MsDee1 MsDee1 9 years
I would agree Hadassah, except she said it twice once on video and if im not mistaken again on stage THEN she tried to fix it
Allyace Allyace 9 years
I've liked Jason from the beginning but he was awful yesterday. I know Simon is the mean one and that is what he does, but even he was a little too much. If you are going to be that mean, wait until he has performed the second time! But I think he's heading out tonight. Sayesha has stepped up her game and the Davids are always good.
hadassah hadassah 9 years
I thought the same thing about Syesha's comment... but at the same time I think it was just a thought process that came out wrong. Nobody could possibly think a run on American Idol could possibly match in importance something like the civil rights movement.
juju4 juju4 9 years
And I totally agree that it was sickening that Syesha compared her American Idol journey to the civil rights movement. People DIED and were beaten trying to fight for equal rights in this country, and she compares it to singing songs on TV?? That song doesn't not need to be reinterpretted in order to be a tear jerker.
juju4 juju4 9 years
I feel bad for Jason. I think he is a very low-key, coffee house kind of performer. He definitely knows that he doesn't have the most vocal range or technically proficent voice in the bunch. His strength has always been that he emotionally connects to a song. I don't think he even expected that he would get this far. It's the time in the course of the show that people come out belting huge numbers, and he just isn't that kind of performer. I do think it is time for him to go home because ultimately the American Idol finale is all about big songs and big voices, and because I don't want to see the judges be so harsh to him anymore. It's like they are punishing him for getting so far. It's not his fault, folks! He's just doing his thing and people have voted.
wolfpackgal wolfpackgal 9 years
"vote vote"
wolfpackgal wolfpackgal 9 years
poor jason.. the judges have wanted him out forever. its hard enough for him to stand there and take the beating they give him every week. at least he didnt cry like syesha (who actually got praise, she is SUCH an actress).. and i garauntee that first round beat-down by the judges is what made jason forget his words. imagine having to sit up there and sing, knowing that the judges don't want to even give you a chance. jerks. oh well, i will still buy his album, cuz at least he isn't a cookie cutter idol, like everyone else. boooring. ps- jason said "please vote" actually
xrawk_starrx xrawk_starrx 9 years
David Archuleta acts so annoying on stage!!
pumpkinb pumpkinb 9 years
Man, oh man, am I tired of David Cook's smug face! Even more so than I was tired of Brooke's overbearing sweetness. He thinks he's too cool! Argh! I agree, the more talented performers are gone, but of those left, Archie has the best voice.
MellyBChappyChap MellyBChappyChap 9 years
Am I crazy or did Jason mouth, "Don't vote" when his phone number went up? And "No" the second time? If so, it kind of makes me like him a little more. I mean, yeah, F the establishment, man! I mean, I'm not really rooting for anyone on the show because I like my musicians with a little edge. Where have those people gone? I'm sick of the upstanding, yes sir, thank you sir, pander to the audience contestants on American Idol. My idol would punch Simon in the face after a bad review, spit on the stage and storm off. Then maybe I'd watch the show and not just the highlights on You Tube.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Wow, how thrilled would I be if the Smarmbucket was a surprise elimination this week!?! He thinks he's much sexier, much more clever, much more edgy, and much more talented than he really is and it bugs the shite out of me!! I've loved David Archuleta the whole season, but lately he's getting less adorable to me. I don't know if I've just hit my cute and cuddly limit or what. I thought what Syesha meant with the whole "it took on a whole new meaning to me" was that she had researched the song and found out how tied it was into the civil rights movement, and that made it mean more to her...? Maybe I totally misunderstood that. I like Jason, but I have to say that I really don't think he is trying at all. It seems like the farther they go and the more familiar he gets with this whole pop star scene, the less he cares about being involved.
SofiaNYC SofiaNYC 9 years
One of the David's is going to win and i hope it's the best one: Archulete! I LOVE COOK but little Archie's vocals are just too perfect! Sorry Syesha & Jason, it's time to go home...buh-bye!
polly17 polly17 9 years
i don't know why, there is something about syesha that i really dont like... i know she has a good voice but weeks after weeeks.,. i stil cant like her, i hope she goes home....i really want to see guys semi final!
nicole121482 nicole121482 9 years
I'm ready for AI to be over this season's nothing but boring! None of the singers have really gotten to me like seasons past where I'm a hardcore fan...but Jason definitely needs to go tonight!
MsDee1 MsDee1 9 years
Man how mangled was my last comment!!!!!???? I meant to say I don't assume she compared but I KNOW she compared her journey on Idol to the civil rights movement because she herself said it. She said, This is why the song took on a whole new/different meaning."
MsDee1 MsDee1 9 years
Buzz said-"Um, I'm going to assume that Syesha didn't really mean to compare her journey on Idol to the civil rights movement." Girl you are not alone. I don't assume I know taht she compared her jounry to the civil rights movement becuase she herself said and the said, "This is why the song took on a whole different meaning" How superficial and self centered can this girl be The real pity is that last night she did better than Jason so we will have to deal with her for at least another week arggghh!
bchicgrl bchicgrl 9 years
I watched the first round of songs but then tuned out after that as they were all pretty blah to me. All the exciting singers have been already booted in my opinion. I watched the recaps on yahoo today and wished I had caught Jason's major screw up. He's been needing to go home for weeks now and I cannot understand how girls can like him (ugh at his dreadlocks for starters). Hopefully it is him tonight and I highly doubt Cook will be going anywhere at least until the finale night.
tarabara1229 tarabara1229 9 years
pianoteacher: I totally agree! It's time for So You Think You Can Dance! American Idol is just so boring these days. P.S. I hope it's Jason leaving tonight
fireyelectra fireyelectra 9 years
I hope its Castro or Archuleta. I don't know if I can take another week of good songs rearranged to sound like elevator/dentist-chair pop.
ktc71 ktc71 9 years
If Jason is safe this week then I think they really need to look into changing the voting process.
pianoteacher1 pianoteacher1 9 years
The judges have got to stop being mean to Jason Castro because this will make all the teeny-boopers vote for him to protect their "god". I wish this show would be over soon so it would make way for "so you think you can dance". This year is just ridiculous and boring. At least the dance show has Talent and Eye candies...(hi Travis and Neil:)
SaRaH-22 SaRaH-22 9 years
Please oh Please let Jason Castro go HOME!
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