I’ve been watching American Idol since Season 3, so that means I’m an expert. Because of this, we’re going to pretend I was sitting there between Paula and Simon (or between Randy and Paula, your choice), and this is what I tell each finalist after their performance on Andrew Lloyd Webber night.
Syesha Mercado: This was definitely one of your stronger nights. Where you couldn’t sell the song based on your voice, you sold it on interpretation. Your performance of “One Rock ‘n Roll Too Many” was exciting and sensual. The judges say that this is your element, but the truth is that there are many a voice on Broadway stronger than yours. Keep working on the instrument.
Jason Castro: This was definitely a leap. There are a number of Andrew Lloyd Webber songs that would have suited your voice very nicely—perhaps something from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. “Memory,” however, requires a stronger emotional outpouring, which your voice just doesn’t have in it. It would have been better to attempt something more light-hearted and fun. You can’t rock your head back and forth and smile through “Memory.” Someday, you’ll see a production of Cats and look back on this night with dread. I think this will be your final night. You’ve had a good run, I’m sure they enjoyed you, but you can go back to school.
Brooke White: I don’t think your starting again was a big deal because everyone loves you. You can get away with something like that if you’ve earned it. The song as a whole, and “You Must Love Me” is a great song, wasn’t a terribly strong performance because your voice just didn’t have the power to sell the emotions. You have a beautiful voice with tremendous depth, but it wasn’t served right by this song choice. It was square peg in a round hole.
David Archuletta: This is really what a Broadway-themed night on American Idol should be. You took “Think of Me,” a great theatre song, and attempted to present it as a pop hit. The song didn’t appropriately build and climax and the verse was a little boring, but you got the idea. It was a nice fit; as has often been the case this season, the arrangement could have used some work.
Carly Smithson: Admittedly my favorite of the season, you really rocked out “Jesus Christ Superstar.” I think you could have rocked out more with it, but you picked a song that perfectly suited your voice. I bet it was an electric performance in the studio. To me, this was the best performance of the night.
David Cook: “Music of the Night” was a daring choice for you, but it was a wise one in terms of taking full advantage of showing off what you can do. Honestly, it was a little boring, but you sang it perfectly. It would have been nice to see some of the rocker you brought out in the final note elsewhere, but this was your night to show off, and that you did.
the Broadway Mouth
April 22, 2008
P.S. Paula, her name is Betty Buckley.