‘American Idol’ Recap: Only David Archuleta, Syesha Mercado Fab Enough On Second Beatles Night

Like a bitter ex-wife, “Idol” producers decided to wring every last dime out of the Lennon/McCartney treasure trove and presented viewers with yet another Beatles-themed episode Tuesday night. And although the parameters were expanded this week to include all four Beatles’ contributions, nobody elected to sing “Octopus’s Garden.”

So why the double-dipping? Seacrest claimed it was due to overwhelming demand. Too bad the top 11’s haphazard offerings and ill-informed song choices left me feeling like a Blue Meanie.

Amanda Overmyer
What She Sang: “Back in the U.S.S.R.”
What She Should Have Sung: “With a Little Help From My Friends” (Joe Cocker arrangement)
Verdict: Red scare

I’m officially over Overmyer. Amanda took Paul McCartney’s tribute to the Beach Boys and performed it like she was the Vince Neil in an all-girl Mötley Crüe cover band. The aggressive seizure-inducing strobe lights didn’t add anything to her performance either, other than fresh bite marks to wooden spoons across the States. After the judges responded with a shrug, the nurse got all WWE Diva on Simon and barked that she treats each weekly performance like a chance to sell concert tickets. Poor thing doesn’t realize that nobody’s purchased a ticket to a sleaze-rock hair-metal show in almost 15 years. Right, Bo?

Kristy Lee Cook
What She Sang: “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”
What She Should Have Sung: “Flying”
Verdict: Help!

After last week’s howler, I was hoping creepy animal-lover Kristy would pick “Flying” — a.k.a. the only instrumental the Beatles ever put on an album. But alas, we were stuck with “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” a song she chose based on the title alone. (If that was her only criteria, how did she not end up with “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?”) Exceeding last week’s cacophony, Kristy elevated her performance to downright blasphemy, giving John Lennon’s brilliant song a hideous Yanni-like arrangement. She saved face with a huge note at the end, but then immediately ruined it by saying to Simon, “I can blow you out of your socks,” when a normal English-speaker would say, “blow your socks off.” Big difference there, Dr. Doolittle.

David Archuleta
What He Sang: “The Long and Winding Road
What He Should Have Sung: “The Long and
Winding Road
Verdict: On the road to victory

Mr. Archuperfect is back, making America‘s ears (and, uh, loins?) tingle with glee. No lyric flubs to report, although we did get to see a clip from last week’s mess again, thanks to the evil “Idol” producers who included it in David’s preperformance package. (I’m sure Daddy Archuleta loved that decision.) But all memories of Davidgate were flushed out of my brain as soon as the teen started his pitch-perfect rendition of “The Long and Winding Road,” although, like the Beatles’ legendary concert at Shea Stadium, it was hard to hear most of it over the constant screams from the audience. If only the new stage setup came equipped with a cold shower for the mosh pit.

Michael Johns
What He Sang: “A Day in the Life”
What He Should Have Sung: “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window”
Verdict: His days are numbered

Michael faced the dilemma of wanting to sing one of the Beatles’ most epic songs (and his deceased friend’s favorite tune), but only having 90 seconds to do it. His solution? Botch the lyrics and the song structure beyond repair. “Hey, nobody will notice if I combine the first two verses, slash the middle section in half, move the third verse to the end and then make up my own lyrics when I lose track!” He was wrong, but not as wrong as Paula, who blamed a faulty ear monitor for the Aussie bum’s subpar performance. Turns out Crocodile Dundee wasn’t actually wearing an ear monitor. Forget dancing, Paula wants to spout gibberish like there’s no tomorrow!

Brooke White
What She Sang: “Here Comes the Sun”
What She Should Have Sung: “Blackbird”
Verdict: Here comes the crazy

Brooke reminds me of Miss Thomas, my elementary school music teacher who claimed to be a witch and drove around town with Cabbage Patch Kids strapped into car seats. It’s been awhile since we had that side of Brooke come out to play, but, boy, did it ever Tuesday night! First, she capped off the first verse of George Harrison’s classic by twirling onstage and letting out a fancy-free “Woo!” Then, while the judges knocked her twitchy disaster of a performance, White-But-Wearing-Yellow could not stop interrupting them with pointless anecdotes and mea culpas. This wasn’t a harmless sassing, folks. Her odd banter came off like an uncomfortable compulsion that Dr. Paul Weston would have a field day with. You know you’re a few marbles short when you have Paula trying to calm your crazy.

David Cook
What He Sang: “Day Tripper”
What He Should Have Sung: “Happiness Is a Warm Gun”
Verdict: Blech, smug and rock-and-roll

Word nerd David cooked up a seedy little slice of stripper rock this week with Whitesnake’s interpretation of “Day Tripper,” voicebox solo and all. Sadly, his vocoder skills were on par with his hairstyling ability. Here’s hoping T-Pain stops by “Idol” as a guest mentor before David ever tries that again. Wonky solo aside, David’s performance was passable, which seems like a revelation on such a hot-mess night, although I couldn’t help but nod along when Simon called David smug.

Carly Smithson
What She Sang: “Blackbird”
What She Should Have Sung: “Oh! Darling”
Verdict: Crash landing

Carly was dressed in her grandmother’s finest and, taking a cue from the old-lady threads, the Irish lass sang McCartney’s gorgeous acoustic ditty as a showstopper more appropriate for Elaine Stritch at the Rainbow Room. In other words, if it were any more cabaret, John McDaniel would be accompanying on piano. Even worse, she proved she had no idea what the song is about post-performance. When Simon dismissed the tune as a silly number about a bird, Carly said she felt like a bird broken by a tough industry. Hate to break the news to you two Europeans, but it’s well-documented that “Blackbird” is actually a song about the the civil-rights movement, which means Carly idiotically equated her struggle for fame with African-Americans’ struggle for equality. Is she still drunk from St. Patrick’s Day?

Jason Castro
What He Sang: “Michelle”
What He Should Have Sung: “I Will”
Verdict: Très tragic!

Jason followed up his awkward, hushed “If I Fell” with an awkward, hushed “Michelle.” So what if he can’t sing very well? He’s so dreamy! Even Simon was charmed by the dread-head’s goofy demeanor. But get past the hair, the smile and the sloppy French, and all that’s left was a vocalist who was consistently ahead of the music, who couldn’t hold onto any note for more than three seconds and who looked uncomfortable dancing onstage. Do we really need another Ashlee Simpson? (At least we know Jason doesn’t lip-synch.)

Syesha Mercado
What She Sang: “Yesterday”
What She Should Have Sung: “Yesterday”
Verdict: Tomorrow she’ll be safe …

In her taped interview, the straight-ironed-and-looking-like- a-young-Condoleezza-Rice Syesha said she wanted to “touch everybody” with her performance. Conversely, her outrageous plunging neckline had everybody hoping they could touch her, as well. (At one point, the cameraman even accidentally zoomed in on her Dolly Partons.) But the biggest shock wasn’t her revealing outfit. It was the fact that her stunning “Yesterday” defied all expectations and solidified her spot on the show through the rest of the week. Vocally, it wasn’t perfect. But what she lacked in vocal precision she nailed in emotion. Those acting lessons finally paid off, girl! Now bring the curl back and I might finally vote for you.

What He Sang: “I’ve Just Seen a Face”
What He Should Have Sung: “I’m Looking Through You”
Verdict: Same shtick, different week

My wife is in love with Chikezie (and I’m in love with Mama Chikezie), but Eze E. personified “sequel” Tuesday night. Last week, he brought an out-of-left-field twist to his performance that went over like gangbusters. This week, he applied a similar bluegrass feel to the second half of his song, and the results were very “Ocean’s Twelve” with a harmonica. Not that I would have preferred it if Chikezie had stayed with that hideous lite-jazz arrangement that ruined the first half. As far as his vocals go, at any given moment he could be rocking an Aaron Neville purr or an Adam Sandler growl. Yay for versatility?

Ramiele Malubay
Song: “I Should Have Known Better”
What She Should Have Sung: “Don’t Let Me Down”
Verdict: Most appropriate song title ever

Ramiele continued her story line as the most codependent person on the planet with her taped interview, where she talked all about how she’s “good stuck” with the other contestants. Funny that some “Idol” fans feel like they’re “bad stuck” with Ramiele, who still hasn’t lived up to her huge (although tiny!) potential. We know Ramiele has a voice bigger than Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection. Now she needs to find the perfect balance between sass and substance. “I Should Have Known Better” was a baby step in the right direction. She finally showed that she can perform without sounding like a pageant contestant who learned how to sing English phonetically. But the song — and the lame über-karaoke arrangement — left her doing a lot of Noriega neck snaps and not much else.

Hasty Predictions
I’d be surprised if Kristy Lee survived the next elimination. As Simon noted, “Eight Days a Week” was memorably terrible. Tuesday night’s “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” was forgettably terrible. I also fear for the rocker nurse’s safety. (It would be ironic if Amanda got eliminated this week, since she would then miss out on the summer “Idol” tour and all those attempts at selling concert tickets would look mighty silly.) I sense that her fans are starting to grow restless with her “rock on!” shtick, and her “no ballads allowed” rule certainly didn’t win her any new fans. Some may have been turned off by Chikezie’s retread, as well. And lastly, Michael Johns pissed off plenty of Beatle fanatics by taking far too many liberties with a pop-music masterpiece.

But who can predict anything in a week when Syesha was one of the highlights?!

Jim Cantiello


One Response

  1. […] Dynamic wrote an interesting post today on âAmerican Idolâ Recap: Only David Archuleta, Syesha Mercado Fab …Here’s a quick excerpt(At one point, the cameraman even accidentally zoomed in on her Dolly Partons.) But the biggest shock wasn’t her revealing outfit. It was the fact that her stunning “Yesterday” defied all expectations and solidified her spot on the show … […]

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