American Idol – Final 9 (Almost) Live Analysis (Round 4)

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Dear readers, I will be late with this post this evening. I have a very important meeting that must take precedence. But fear not! I will offer my witty and insightful analysis after viewing the recorded version…. so make sure you check back here later…..and later……and later…..and later…..and, well, you get the idea. 🙂

OK Gang….I’m back. I’ve just finished a long, but invigorating and productive meeting. Everyone should have one of those every so often. Thanks for being patient and dropping back in for another helping of instant (but late) analysis. That’s the beauty of recording devices….heck, I can even program my own VCR…How’s that for technical genius? Anyway, Dolly Parton is our song mistress for the evening…sort of the good version of Elvira. I’m sure she’s fun to be around but I still have serious doubts about how much fun it will be listening to the gang do their thing with her stuff.

So let’s get to it—-

  • Brooke White – My favorite is first up tonight. Once again, she is delightfully surprising. Scaled-down works for Brooke. Unlike many of today’s overproduced, over-hyped, talent-challenged musical icons, BW can make it work with almost nothing. Less is more for her. The arrangement and strategy was quite enjoyable. I couldn’t disagree with Simon more on this one.
  • David Cook – Hair man comes out sporting a new coif (otherwise known as a haircut). What does that mean? Maybe that he’s all original tonight. According to his interview this is his own arrangement, and I gotta say, it’s working. I am distinctly NOT hearing Dolly in this song….but that’s a good thing. He has total confidence in who he is and what he’s doing. Number 1 with a bullet.
  • Malubay Barbie – How funny….someone Dolly’s size. She must mean height. Malubay Barbie is another contender I’ve had a hard time imagining doing Dolly. The opening had a distinctly gospel-type feel…..and surprisingly enough, it’s pretty good. This has got to be the best overall round for Barbie. Who woulda thunk? Mabye she just totally identified with another diminuitive songstress. Best for her so far.
  • Jason Castro – The dreamy-eyed boy (so my wife tells me) who should be a traveling troubador picks the totally appropriate song – Travelin’ Through. I think that is probably his theme song for this show….and may even be for this week. And yet….another suprise. I don’t understand how the most vibrant, half-way masculine song he’s done yet is from Dolly. I am completely thrown off so far by the developments so far tonight. There hasn’t been a train wreck yet, and I was expecting a complete derailment by now.
  • Carly Smithson – Here You Come Again….trying to get another record contract. Just sing it in your mind….it works. She has her work cut out for her to get there, but yet another suprise for tonight shows up center stage. This is the first time I’ve ever actually enjoyed what she did. Every week, I keep thinking that she hasn’t figured out how to connect to the ring-side audience, but tonight I think she may have finally figured it out….and if so, she could move into real contention.
  • David Archuleta – What do you do get when you combine two “Aw shucks” personalities? Gee…I really don’t know, but gosh….I’m sure it’s probably neato. Don’t you? DA reverts to yet another song in his strategic wheelhouse….the ballad. Was it good? Yes. But it’s still more of the same. However, the emotional content will probably win the day with the audience. The boy’s a contender, but he still has to find another gear.
  • KLC – The Oregon horse lady continues her charmed life tonight as she finally gets to pick from a list of songs that completely match where she has decided to go….straight into the country briar patch….kind of like the AI version of Brer Rabbit. A few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure whe was convinced of this track for her…but I think she’s getting more and more comfortable with it. She fit the song, and the song fit her, and I think we’ll be getting more still more KLC.
  • Syesha Mercado – Has Dolly thought anyone made a BAD choice yet? (“I really think she made a good choice.”) It’s almost like Paula saying “I like it”. Regardless of Dolly’s approval, she still has to win over the judges (that would be you). What a surprise that she would pick this Whitney Houston power ballad. How totally out of character for her. But…..it was reasonably well done. She continues to be good, but not great, and that may not be good enough.
  • “Double D” Johns – Down under goes country. Maybe this is just the outback version. Double D comes out trying to close down the joint with some soul and for the first time since Hollywood, I think he nailed a song. Even better than his last visit to Queen-land. Sheesh! What the heck has happened to everyone tonight. The expected train crash has turned into a bullet train. Another amazingly, unexepected solid performance for tonight.

SURPRISING PERFORMANCES OF THE NIGHT

  • Good
    • Dolly Parton – What I expected to be the most excruciating round of the competition so far, turned out to be the best. So that means that I have to give a hand to Dolly Parton. Either her songwriting is outstanding, or her coaching was highly effective or both. Either way, she wins thumbs up from me for tonight
    • Double D – Dingo Dude did down under proud tonight with a masterful effort in Round 4. I think it will pay dividends.
    • Smithson – First time I “got it”. What’s even more suprising is that the two people I expected to struggle the most delivered the most surpisingly good performances.
  • Bad
    • No One – I know it sounds like a cop-out, but I really didn’t think anybody was truly “bad” tonight. That may be the first time ever.
  • Most Enjoyable (a tie)
    • Brooke White – There’s just something inviting about her style. It just sort of draws you in and makes you comfortable. I dug it.
    • Double D – Great performance tonight. Plus, I’m a sucker for a real soulful music.

Final Round Four Scoring Analysis

  • Bottom three is really hard to pick tonight because so many raised their game. If this was a death-cage match, everyone would still be in the ring slugging it out. But still, someone has to get thrown out. So who? I’d have to rate JC, KLC, and Mercado as the most likely cellar dwellers for this week. And based on what I’m sensing from the ring-side seats, it will either be Mercado or JC and I’d have to put even money on them right now.
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