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OK!’s Elizabeth Herr recaps your fave show of the night: American Idol!

 

We’ve made it folks: Idol Gives Back 2: Electric Boogaloo! Don’t let the exclamation point fool you — I wasn’t actually excited about last night’s inspirational songs theme. Self-righteousness and big “messages”? I’d rather pass, thanks. And I would have too, if it weren’t for this meddling recap.

Charles Nelson Reilly. Thurston Howell III. Fred from Scooby Doo. Michael Johns. What are: famous ascot wearers throughout history? Can we, as a nation, ever fully comprehend the hot Aussie’s obsession with Hefner-ish neckwear? Regardless, memories of his triumph on Dolly night were still dancing in my head when he took the stage to give Aerosmith classic “Dream On” a whirl. It was clear from the get-go that it wouldn’t be as good but, in the final analysis, it goes down as one of the best of the nights. I reflexively cringed when he got to the falsetto part, so certain was I that he’d whiff it, and yet, it was decidedly more awesome than atrocious. Simon decried him as wannabe rock star. (In that cravat? I don’t think so.) Then we got some jibber-jabber from Michael about how they’re “all up on this stage making dreams come true every week.” Spare me the platitudes and just sing, dude.

Syesha Mercado was apparently really close with Ramiele, who she mentioned was in NYC and yup, she was here in our offices yesterday. Homegirl is short, and her utter adorableness in person made me feel just a little bit bad for some of the less flattering things I’ve said about her over the weeks. Anyway, where was I? Syesha, right. She sang that Fantasia song. What’s it called again? “I Believe.” Whatever, you know you call it “the Fantasia song” too. Look, it’s crappy and obnoxious, but Syesha was miles better than last week. Randy and Simon thought she lacked the necessary emotion, and Syesha got pissy over whether they were comparing her to Fantasia or just saying she sucks. Um, both? Also, is anyone really surprised she can’t connect with real emotions? Girl doesn’t have a genuine bone in her body. She’s an actress for goodness’ sake!

Jason Castro did that cool version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” that’s been used in lots of commercials and TV shows (it’s by the late Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, and I don’t mind admitting that I always have to Google that every time it comes up — there’s no way I’d ever remember how to spell that). Its laid-back vibe was, of course, absolutely perfect for our Jason, who acquitted himself nicely with the ukulele. And um, that’s about it. Go read, like, everything I’ve ever written about him if you want to know how he did. Judges: loved it.

Kristy Lee Cook did Martina McBride’s “Anyway,” and it… didn’t entirely suck. Listen, ya’ll, country is clearly her thing, and, yeah, she had a bum note or five, but this didn’t make me want to stick sharp things in my ear. Paula loved it. Simon thought she was “very, very good indeed.” Randy hated it, along with just about everything else last night. What crawled up his butt? And why was Simon so happy and lah-di-dah all evening? Did he and Randy watch Vice Versa, Freaky Friday and Like Father Like Son back to back and decide it would be rilly, rilly cool to switch personalities for the night?

Something is terribly wrong with David Cook. I’m serious. He was scarily subdued on Our Lady Peace’s “Innocent.” He sang in this weird register that didn’t even sound like him, he did some ghastly point up to heaven, and he had “Give back” written on his palm, which he revealed with this doe-eyed look at the end of the song. It was a strange, off-putting performance, and he looked like he was on heavy meds. Not a good night for him by just about anyone’s measure (except for Paula, but she’s an idiot). The song choice was a lot of it; he’s much better putting his emo spin on classics than he is singing this contemporary stuff. But also? I’m really worried about him. His brother’s illness must be taking a toll. David, call me, I’m a really good listener.

I will be totally fine with Carly Smithson going home on Thursday. She took on Queen’s “The Show Must Go On,” and there was just. so. much. belting. Not only does she never connect with the audience, but the big notes always feel gratuitous and tacked on. I get it, you can sing. Now can you try something different? Maybe blow my mind with a vulnerable ballad or something? Because this constant aural assault is not working.

Can David Archuleta ever love a song just ’cause? Does it always have to be about the damn message? Can it just be, like, “It’s got a great beat and I can dance to it?” So, “Angels” by Robbie Williams, with David at the piano, and I actually like him better there, where his robotic pageant shtick isn’t quite as egregious. What to say? If you’re a David fan, you loved this. He ended strong, but I object to him for, like, every reason. This was just the kind of melodramatic, melismatic performance that the judges lap up.

 

What a relief that Brooke White closed the show. She made me so, so happy by singing Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” for what is Brooke if not a latter day Carole? She should have been at the piano, though. This performance was everything I love about Brooke that’s been missing for the last couple weeks. It was emotional, slightly off-kilter and totally winning. She hasn’t looked this comfortable since “Let It Be.” Simon thought she was pleasant but unoriginal and, you know, that’s okay with me. Brooke is comfort food. She makes me feel all warm and squishy inside.

Syesha, Carly and, sad as I am to say it, David C. look to be in trouble. I think we’ll be saying bye-bye to Ms. S come Thursday night.

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