The Top 11

The Beatles are the theme for the evening, a bit different than last week but for most people pretty much a rehashing of the Lennon McCartney theme from last week. A very cool mini documentary on the Beatles. It will be interesting to see what happens this week as song choice and arrangment last week was so hit and miss. The Beatles is a tough theme as they are almost all iconic songs and many of them are bandcentric rather than vocalcentric. Right now strategy isn’t as important but starting next week contestants need to start thinking about fans. People will all have chosen their fave from the top 10 next week. This means that everytime someone is eliminated about 3 million people will be looking for a new favorite. The contestants have to start looking at song choice and arrangement even more closely to make sure that they keep their fans and bring in some of those from the outgoing contestants.

Amanda Overmeyer. Back in the USSR. Amanda is great at setting up arrangements that highlight and complement her bluesy rock vocal style. I still think that she is going to struggle for relevance. She won’t win, but if she did would go the way of Taylor and Reuben. Simon mentioned something I have mentioned several times with regards to changing things up.

Kristy Lee Cook. You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away. She never heard this song before. That was a shock. Seems like she worked a little bit better with the band to make the arrangement her own but still sound good. She messed with the melody a bit and didn’t hit all the notes. It was a tad dull, but all in all it was a good performance and the ending was excellent. It was pretty safe though, so if someone else does poorly she will do move on, but again, she will be at risk.

David Archuleta. The Long and Winding Road. What can I say? He is amazing. Just absolutely nailed it. Hit every note, showed some emotion, took some risks with some runs but remained true to the song, wow. David will probably be the next American Idol unless he has a repeat of last weeks performance blunders. He has not just the performance and the skill, but also the youth and boyish good lucks that will drive young girls to text 6 million times a piece.

Michael Johns. A Day in the Life. This is such a long theatrical and multi layered song his arrangement ended up sounding a bit schizophrenic and difficult to understand. A few pitch problems as well made for a pretty blah performance. He will be ok tonite, but needs to pull off a great song next week. Not wearing an earpiece on a stage that size and with that huge of an audience seems crazy to me especially since they don’t have any stage monitors. Could explain the pitch problems.

Brooke White. Here Comes the Sun. She always adds a touch of folksy coffeshop sensibility to the songs. Its fun and so is she. The performance might have overpowered the vocals tonite which can then appear cheesy. She can’t dance. I think that she could be in danger if there are alot more great performances, but she certainly was not bad. She should be doing more emotional ballads. She has a lot of potential after the show ends whether she wins or not.

David Cook. Day Tripper. Awesome choice to find someone else’s unique arrangement that the vast majority of AI viewers probably haven’t heard. I mean really, aside from me how many American Idol fans are listening to White Snake. The talk box solo was awesome. The arrangement was awesome. A ton of fun and a workable single. To Simon’s point, David is predicatable. He comes out and does a fun rock and roll show. This was not a song with a ton of vocal range as last weeks was. So while it was a great performance it didn’t stand out as better than previous performances or even neccesarily as good. Again, song choice and arrangements make the difference between the good and the great. He definitley has the arrangements down. Not totally consistent on the song choice.

Carly Smithson. Blackbird. Ballads are always a risk as they can come across boring. She did it in such a low key that it didn’t give her a chance to show off her skills up until the key change. It was pretty good after that but still not that much fun. Very understated and low key. She has a great voice and the vocalists were probably pretty impressed but the general viewing audience were probably using it as an opportunity to run to the restroom or grab a beer or a soda. She didn’t gain any new fans tonight. But she will be fine.

Jason Castro. Michelle. No guitar tonight. He has a great voice. Sounds a bit like a Jack Johnson or a Ben Harper. Add to that the language of love and his looks and I am sure the ladies are swooning. He did the song very laid back and relaxed. He will be just fine this week but needs to nail the next performance to keep it going to battle David A. in the end.

Syesha Mercado. Yesterday. Very cool to bring the guitar player up front and do the song as such an understated ballad but then nail some of those high notes. She has no concerns for next week. A lot of emotion. She really put a lot of thought into how to do a big song and sell it well. Many times songs like this bite contestants in the rear because you either do a carbon copy of the original and come across kareoke or you flub the arrangement and it doesn’t hold a candle to the original but she nailed it.

Chickizie. I’ve Just Seen a Face. Did really well vocally, but it seemed a bit like he just rehashed last week. The two parts didn’t really match up. His harmonica playing was silly. Came across as being all over the place. He may be at the bottom next week. I like Chickizie alot but he doesn’t seem to have a knack for arrangement and song choice. Since every liked last week he just tried to revisit it rather than catch on to what everyone liked, which was uniqueness and excitement. Its no longer new and exciting the second time in a row.

Ramiele Malubay. Should Have Known Better. She sang it really well but their was a disconnect between the arrangement and her vocals. She doesn’t work well with the band. They played the song just about identical to the original but she was singing more of a country feel. She needs to work on song choice and arrangement big time to stay in for more than a few weeks.