Oh, joy, an entire night of singing Mariah Carey songs. *eyeroll* And most of the singers aren’t really Mariah-style singers – which I think actually turned out well. It meant they had to come up with their own takes on the songs because they didn’t have a chance of singing her version.
David Archuleta – "When You Believe"
Good song choice for David, and he brought it home. Whatever I may think of Mariah (and to be honest, I don’t think about her at all, really), her suggestion to go into the falsetto on that one part was dead on. A bit too many vocal acrobatics at the end, but it is Mariah night. Someone had to do it.
Carly Smithson – "Without You"
I quite liked the low-pitched portion of this, but I always feel like she tries too hard on the high parts. Her low range is really strong and powerful but she’s not as good in the high range as she (or the judges, apparently) think she is. And I think Simon’s comment about her overthinking is exactly right, and I think it’s part of what I sense as a lack of authenticity. It’s like she’s always just performing and never really letting herself go to the music.
Syesha Merado – "Vanishing"
Technically solid as usual, but I just can’t bring myself to care very much. It’s really nothing about her, though, I don’t think. She’s just sort of on the bland side in terms of arrangement and originality.
Brooke White – "Hero"
I was really worried for Brooke having to sing Mariah Carey, which is completely outside her zone. And it wasn’t perfect; she did get a little nervous toward the end, I think, but got it under control. Overall, she remains one of my favorites, and I thought doing the acoustic take was a gutsy move which worked much better for her than any of her options would have.
Kristy Lee Cook – "Forever"
She’s getting stonger every week, which is nice to see. Really good job on the ending especially; I found my attention drifting before that. She doesn’t, I don’t think, have the chops to compete with the top three or four here, but it’s been good to see her improving.
David Cook – "Always Be My Baby"
Holy mackeral, that was incredible! Seriously, I think it’s time a rocker won the title. He’s original, he’s smart, he knows who he is and what he does best, and he capitalizes on it just about every single week. Best performance of the night by a country mile (which is appreciably longer than a city mile, dontcha know). I felt like I wasn’t watching a competition anymore, I was watching a concert.
Jason Castro – "I Don’t Wanna Cry"
Jason’s no longer one of my must-save favorites (that title now being reserved for Brooke and David C), but I do still like him, and I thought this performance was quite good. He kept it where he could handle it and handled it well. He seems to be getting more comfortable every week, too.
Best Tonight: David Cook, David Cook, and David Cook. And David Archuleta. The others were all good but not great for me.
Bottom Three: Syesha, Kristy, and…don’t know.
We can discuss the results in the comments after tonight’s show.