American Idol Final 12 – Round 1

The preseason is over and it’s time for the real game to begin.  This is a 12-round championship bout.  (I know….I’m mixing my sports metaphors, but WORK WITH ME PEOPLE!  Sheesh!)  It will be interesting to see who’s in top form tonight and who’s susceptible to the hook (get it?  Hook?  Come on…that was pretty good).  I think the four at the bottom of my power rankings (Cheezit, “Busted” Hernandez, Malubay Barbie, and KLC) are the most vulnerable which is why I placed them there.  But there are always the potential surprises.  Which is WHY WE PLAY THE GAMES!  So, in the immortal words of Michael Buffer, “LLLLLLET’S GET READY TO RUMBLLLLLE!” 

  • Syesha Mercado– First out of the corner and into the middle of the ring is the queen of ‘fro, Syesha.  This is one of the more fun songs that we will hear tonight in all likelihood.  Sounds mostly like the Earth, Wind & Fire version of the late ’70s, which rocked.  Unfortunately, she’s taking some body punches with this song and seems a bit wobbly.  She finally got off a punch or two at the end, but she didn’t do the rocking, she got rocked!  Could be nerves, but this was tough for her.   The judges scored it 2-1 against.  Cowell must have been watching something else. 
  • Cheezit– This box of Cheezits has been a bit stale over the last few weeks.  If he doesn’t bring out a fresher box for this round, he’ll be the first one down for the count.  In his favor, this is not only a fresh box, it’s a “SPICY” box.  he must have gone out and bought a brand new stock, cause this dude has not been in the competition so far.  ALERT!  ALERT!  The Luther Van Dross vibe is in serious trouble.  This box of Cheezits is in it for AT LEAST another round.  THIS….is how you come out swinging!  Well Done Dude! (Edit Note:  It was fun watching Ryan run out of breath too!)
  • Malubay Barbie – She’s had a good voice, but very poor presentation so far.  She’s been too timid to push herself and push the envelope.  It’s not that she’s not capable, she just hasn’t gone there.  She’ll have to break that mold if she’s going to advance.  She’s got a bit more sparkle tonight, but still choosing songs that are too slow with no vibe.  Once you’ve established yourself as someone with personality and energy, slowing it down works to your favor.  But she’s running the risk of being too low-key to energize voters.  Seems like the judges are going in the same direction.  She was in my bottom four power rankings.  This could be trouble. 
  • Jason “Dreadin’ It” Castro– Finding his way out of his corner and into the ring with a guitar in hand is JC.  This is an equally slow and potentially boring song as the one Malubay Barbie just did.  The difference is that he seems to be able to infuse personality into his music, which is what she is still struggling with.  He has a genuineness that will appeal to many and will keep him swinging for several more weeks.  If he ever gets his dreads twirling, he could be hard to beat. 
  • Carly “Take 2” Smithson – She’s #2 in my female power rankings.  Since she’s singing a song she sings on a regular basis, she should be able to knock this one out.  I still haven’t made a connection with her in spite of the fact that she can sing her butt off.  Lot’s of people love her, and she’ll make it a long way, but I still don’t see her wearing the belt at the end.  This song was like an old pair of shoes for her, it was comfortable and it fit well.  She’ll make it to round 2 without breaking a sweat. 
  • David “Help me With My Hair” Cook – The bartender with bad hair decides to sing sans guitar.  He strides right to the middle of the ring and starts swinging.  Although he sounds a bit punch drunk.  As he gets to the chorus, he breaks out a flurry of punches and really seems to be taking control.  He seems to have landed a winning punch and will make it to the next round easily. 
  • Brooke “I Dare You, Simon” White– Brooke is at the top of my Women’s Power Rankings because she is unique, original (at least in today’s music scene) and completely charming.  She’s sneaky good.  She seems like such a polished, mature, and self-assured performer.  She’s got the genuineness and quirky appeal of JC, but with way more talent.  While this was not her absolute best performance, it was thoroughly enjoyable.  And she gets bonus points for being barefoot.  Nice job! 
  • David “Busted” Hernandez – He noticeably DID NOT discuss his former employment.  His vocals and presentation are both strong.  Maybe one of the best performers in the competition, but his past may jump in the ring and hit back.  Based on this performance though, his past may not need much help.  This was SUPER CHEESY, not even close to his previous performances.  This felt like it might be more in line with his past than his present.  Didn’t like it….AT ALL!  He’s in my bottom four of the rankings, not because of his skill but because of the total package and circumstances.  The hook may be coming. 
  • AO “The Rock ‘n Roll Nurse”– My favorite part of her singing is when she “screams”.  It’s not exactly singing at that point, but for some reason, it’s cool.  Screaming is always good when you’re in a fight, and this is the fight of her life.  So, screaming out of the locker room is AO in a prison suit.  Either that, or she beat up an NFL ref, not sure which.  But she’s in a fighting mood.  Best part of the song was the repetitive screams just before the end.  She NAILED that part.  She’ll make it to the next round.  She reminded me a little tonight of a female Elvis, one of the original daddies of R’n R. 
  • Michael John “Double D” – He’s a big puncher.  He definitely has the potential to deliver the knock-out blow in this comp, but he’s been out of shape for half of his last ring appearances.  He’s going to have to get in fighting shape and stay that way to get to the last round.  Since he is “Double D” or “Dingo Dude”, this song makes complete sense, but this is more of a jab strategy than real punching.  But he’s good enough to get through a round or two with only jabs. 
  • KLC– Comes out with a country-fried attack strategy.  But it seems a bit half-cooked.  There are times when being really different works to your advantage, but the flip side is that it makes you stick out like a sore thumb.  And I think this one may feel like a jammed thumb for KLC.  She was at the bottom of my power rankings for the gals because she hasn’t been able to put together a coherent fight strategy before now.  And in this case, I think her strategy may have had a fatal flaw.  She’s on the floor and struggling to get up. 
  • David “Aw Shucks” Archuleta– #1 in the guys Power Rankings because of the total package.  A solid performer all the way around.  Plus, he benefits from the speed-dial teenies.  However, the pressure of being in a title bout is getting to him.  He got hit early by an unexpected sucker punch by the lyrics and it has wobbled him through the whole round.  Fortunately for him, he’ll be able to regroup between rounds.  That’s what being a strong contender will do for you.  And he’ll need it.  It was a tough round for him. 


  • Good
    • Cheezit – Rocked the house and completely switched boxes.  Now promoting the SPICY brand
  • Bad
    • “Busted” Hernandez – Really over the top and loaded with cheese
    • KLC – Completely didn’t work
    • “Aw Shucks” Archuleta – Worst effort by a mile so far by him. 
  • Most Enjoyable (a tie)
    • Cheezit – Love the new version
    • BW – Something about her just resonates

 Final First Round Scoring Analysis

  • I think two of my bottom 4 in the power rankings are the most likely to suffer the hook – KLC or “Busted” Hernandez.  both had bad performances and, with other variables to overcome, either would be reasonable.  My first choice would be to see “Busted” take his club act and go home. 

One Response

  1. I think it will come down to David Hernandez and Rameile Malubay, personally. Though Kristy Lee Cook could be in danger, as well.

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