Tuesday, April 1

AI7 - Top 9: Dolly Parton Week (4/1/08)

This week we have our first mentor of the year, Dolly Parton. I was really wondering how some of the contestants would find something of hers to fit them, but it turned out to be one of the best performance nights of the season!

started off with "Jolene," playing guitar & surrounded by a couple other acoustic band members on the stage. She did it faster than Dolly's & very upbeat, but it was good. Randy said it was pitchy; Paula liked how she always connects emotionally w/her songs; then Simon said there was no emotional connection!

David Cook
is next, and before he performs we get a "Ryan interview on the stools" giving David the chance to address the latest Idol controversy (that most people probably don't even know exists). They clarify that 3 previous "risky" song arrangements David did were based on what other performers had done, as opposed to being original (which he never claimed, and sometimes he even gave specific credit, but the judges still worded their praise misleadingly). However, tonight he *is* in fact doing his own arrangement, of Dolly's "Little Sparrow." I'm not very familiar w/this, but David does well, and the falsetto is nice variety. Randy agreed and liked that he showed more vocal range. (I missed Paula & Simon's comments.) Oh yeah, and I like the new 'do!

Ramiele - "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?" It was ok. Mixed reactions from judges. I hope she goes home this week, but I'm not holding my breath.

Jason - "Travelin' Thru" This was a great choice for him! Dolly said she thought it was quite a departure from his previous songs, and I don't agree, though the vocals were a bit more intense (especially on the religious 2nd verse - very cool!). He played guitar while standing. Paula noted his confidence; Simon didn't like it, saying it was too similar to his other performances (eg step out of your box).

- "Here You Come Again" (of course!) Actually a good fit for her voice, and it was a good performance. The arrangement was slow w/just an acoustic guitar accompanying her at first, and strings later. Randy & Paula loved it.

David Archuleta
- "Smoky Mountain Memories" Well, as I said, a great night! Another great vocal performance, probably partially because David connected with the lyrics (though he claims to do that most weeks, it doesn't always come through). He also gets to sing about Jesus. (I think the 2 categories of contestants who can get away with that - you know, without lots of 'stop preaching' criticism - are gospel divas and teenage Mormons! Oh, wait, I just remembered Mandisa... so, *just* teenage Mormons!) The crowd (of course) & judges loved it.

Kristy Lee
- "Coat of Many Colors" Probably my favorite Dolly song, so I was glad she didn't destroy it. It was soft until the end, & she even started out sitting on the stage. Had a couple nice glory notes at the end. Paula said this was her best yet; Simon said it was "pleasant but forgettable."

Syesha - "I Will Always Love You" I wonder if Rami also wanted this song (&/or Carly's)? If she leaves I'm sure we'll find out. Anyway, back to Syesha... also starts subdued, sitting on the piano (& stays there the whole song). The 2nd chorus though is full-blown Whitney-esque, with a major, major glory note. Paula loved it, but unfortunately Randy & Simon still said she didn't measure up to Whit (maybe not, but for an Idol contestant? Great performance!!) Could be in trouble again.

Michael closed the show with "It's All Wrong but it's Alright," another one I don't know. I wondered what an Australian rocker would do w/Dolly's catalog, but it turns out he's a big fan! (Was maybe 2nd on the starstruck scale behind Ramiele!) Michael is at his best (IMO) when he just stands there and sings, which he does tonight. The song is somewhat bluesy, a perfect style for him (I don't know if that's how Dolly did it??). Very good; surprised me but really was deserving of the 'pimp spot.' The judges loved it & Simon said it was his best performance.

I think the bottom 3 will be all girls: probably Ramiele, Brooke, and Syesha, with (hopefully) Ramiele going (2nd choice Syesha).

No comments: