With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Idol had the chance to show off the best (good clean guilty pleasures) and worst (corny and irrelevant oversinging) of itself tonight. While I was complaining about Idol's refusal to stay fresh and contemporary, a part of me looked forward to seeing what the night brought. After all, belting out a big musical onstage does seem like fun...doesn't it?
Syesha: Syesha sang "One Rock and Roll Too Many" which I did not recognize even though I saw Starlight Express on Broadway when I was a kid on my first trip to New York. I think it was telling that she said she "finally" had the opportunity to show some personality in her performance. Isn't it a little late in the competition for that, Sy? It was a cute, personable and strong performance although I didn't feel like she had full control of the song, and it was lacking a big 'ta-da' moment. Also, it was the first song of the night that made me realize that Lord Andrew isn't really a fan of complex lyrics.
Jason: We all knew this was going to be good, and by 'good' I mean horrible. Jason seemed to know that he made a poor choice of song--not only could he not emotionally connect to "Memory," it showed off some of the more irritating aspects of his voice. It sort of sounded like what would happen if the film incarnation of Danny Zuko suddenly had to sing stuff from Cats. Simon noted that Jason seemed miserable singing it (although he did look good). Paula thought it was a "very wise choice." I bet she would have liked it if Jason had come out with a big swishy tail and sat in her lap while he sang, too.
Brooke: I think it was a telling yet wise move on Brooke's part to choose a song that Andrew Lloyd Weber had to write for Madonna to sing in Evita. I also thought it was appropriate that Brooke's song was basically an order to the nation: "You MUST Love Me." I was getting ready to feel some real emotion because she told us that singing the song to Webber was the most powerful moment in the competition. But, then, she blew it by losing her lyric and restarting the song. As Simon noted, restarting is probably a better option than muddling one's way through, but this is the second time Brooke's done this. Shouldn't she get automatically disqualified if she does it one more time, or something? Paula, surprisingly, hated that Brooke had a false start, and actually made a good point that she didn't overact the song. How did she actually sing, you ask? She was fine--she seemed to have some problems in the lower registers of the song which means that perhaps Madonna is a more capable singer than her, which is not a good thing.
David Archuleta: While Simon was right in that David's interpretation of "Think of Me" (from Phantom of the Opera) was little more than "pleasant," of everyone tonight he seemed to get the concept of taking one of Webber's songs and making it relevant.
Carly: The judges loved her take on "Jesus Christ Superstar" but I thought, as Simon said, the whole thing was "shouty" and that the band and backup singers were better than her. It might just be a personal thing but I feel like it doesn't really count if you're not actually singing the chorus yourself, plus her riffs anyway weren't that fantastic. Still, it was a better choice than her original selection, "All I Ask of You."
David Cook: David's performance of "Music of the Night" was probably the most solid of the evening, but I couldn't get around the fact that he chose to sing not in his own accent, but that of the Phantom, that is, over-ar-tick-u-lated and vaguely British.
The show ended on a pleasant note as Ryan decided to sing a few bars tonight, which I thought was cute. But otherwise, I felt a little let down--I didn't get to gay out on Andrew Lloyd Webber the way I wanted to, and yet other than Jason Castro, the trainwrecks were kept to a minimum (Brooke's really wasn't that bad technically, although we get closer to breaking her spirit.) Maybe tomorrow we'll get the big colorful number from "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," and if it's done right, it will make my mother leave the room halfway through, just as she left at intermission when we saw the musical, starring Donny Osmond.
--The audience's swaying was really not on point tonight, especially during Brooke's number. That is not a sway song.
--I just learned something about Paul Stanley tonight. I noted him in the audience and made a WTF? note, and then via Wikipedia learned that he himself played the Phantom. End of story.
--Boy, Andrew Lloyd Webber sure loves his eyeball-related puns, doesn't it? Eye should say so.
--I approve of David Cook's goatee.