This will be my last recap of the season, as I don't pay much attention to the finals (I haven't really since the second season). I watch the show for the performances, so seeing the last two rehash a bunch of stuff they've already done, and then sing the lame "winner" song holds no interest for me, I can find much better ways to waste two hours. So thank you all for being along for the ride this season, it was fun.
Okay each contestant sings a song they choose, one the producers choose, and one a judge picks for them.
1. David Archuleta-singing And So It Goes-Billy Joel, as picked for him by Paula Abdul. This is of course right in his wheel house and challenges him not in the least. The crowd goes nuts, he did sound very nice doing it, a good performance.
Judges-Randy is really happy that Paula chose a dope song for him and he can sing anything. He is in the zone, in it to win it. Paula-a pure and stunning performance, and tonight he was a storyteller, beautiful performance. Simon-very good, no surprises, a bit predictable (crowd is outraged, even though it's exactly like everything he's sung for the past two months).
2. Syesha Mercado-If I Ain't Got You-Alicia Keys-as picked by Randy Jackson. Gah, the damn crowd is waving their arms again, is there a "wave your arms like a bunch of morons" light right under the one for applause. Syesha sounds very good, she is right in tune with the backup singers on this one, she's doing Alicia justice (and given Ms. Keys recent militant turn, Syesha could be poised to usurp a good bit of her fanbase). Nicely done. Again, nothing too tough in there, but she performed it very well.
Judges-Randy thought that would work really well, she did an amazing job, she is peaking at the right time in this competition. Paula is very proud that she is the last lady standing, it's difficult to do a song so associated with one artist, so she applauds her for that. Simon thinks she sang it very well, but wishes Randy picked something so she wouldn't have to sound like the original. Overall, she looks gorgeous and it was very good.
3. David Cook-First Time Ever I Saw Your Face-Roberta Flack-as picked by Simon Cowell. He's doing this as a rock ballad, not an R&B one, but it's working, very nice sound so far. He tries to put a little extra vibrato in and goes a little flat, but quickly recovers. His mother (I'm guessing) is standing and staring, it's a little off-putting. Now the whole crowd is standing while he's still singing. Big, big last note, not too shabby. Good 1st performances by all three, they make the judges look good.
Judges-Randy has been a David Cook fan from day 1, loved the high note at the end, but Simon picked a song that was too predictable and old fashioned, Randy wants some rock. Paula says its about David, and not Randy, and it's one of her favorite songs, and he's now the second favorite person who sings it (behind her stuffed bear Mr. Snugglepuss). Simon says it may be a bit biased, but one of his best performances ever, round 1 goes to Cook and Cowell.
4. David Archuleta-With You-Chris Brown. David has upped the gay tshirt stakes this week, as he has a geometric design made of men touching fingers, wow. Heis trying to dance along with this one and looks like an autistic child, as he's basically just rocking back and forth. Okay, I guess this is a step up for the crowd, as they're just clapping in time and not doing the dum wave thing. Let me rephrase that, they are clapping, but there are many clapping participants that have no innate sense of rhythm, I think claps are happening on every beat. Another money Archuleta performance, what else do you expect, I really can't critique them anymore, everything sounds the same, and sounds like what his audience wants to hear.
Judges-Randy tries to couch it by saying it was a little young for him, but he basically says David is too white to sing a song like that. Paula thinks he did a great job. Simon applauds him that he didn't do a ballad, but it was a little like a chihuahua trying to be a tiger. It's not really you, a bit awkward with the dancing, Randy agrees with Simon. Memo to David-don't sing popular R&B, stick to R&B from 1975 and earlier and any and all ballads.
5. Syesha Mercado-Fever-Peggy Lee. Syesha takes it old school, and I'm sure she will vamp this up. Apparently a chair is going to be prominently involved. Syesha has decided to have a country twang to her speaking voice this week. She is in a nice little dress, yowza, I am thinking impure thoughts, thank God she's older than Archuleta. I'm pretty sure somebody else did this song on this show a few seasons ago, Syesha's version is very much like the original, and she is again right on pitch, I am distracted by her legs, but I'm back on board for the final falsetto notes, nothing bad about that one, but she might get dinged for "impersonating."
Judges-Randy-a very interesting song choice, but she sang it well, a great performance. Paula says she looks lovely, but she's surprised she picked this song, it doesn't show who Syesha is as an artist (but it does show who she could be as a stripper). Simon thinks she'll probably regret the decision tomorrow, as she could have proved herself as a contemporary recording artist, and instead did a lame cabaret performance.
6. David Cook-Dare You To Move-Switchfoot. He's got his guitar back, and he's biffed a few notes early on here, he's singing through his nose a bit, but straightens out as soon as he goes into his upper register. That wasn't fantastic, good song, but he could have done better. Ugh, a "Cougars for Cook" sign, that's disturbing.
Judges-Randy loves the song, but performance-wise, not his best. Paula says its tough to arrange a three minute song into a minute and a half (even though that's been done all season). Simon thought it was pretty much what he expected, everyone had an okay middle round, not much else to add.
7. David Archuleta-Longer-Dan Fogelberg. Oh man, this song is tailor-made for Archuletalization. Somebody threw a button down shirt on him, I can just picture his mom licking her fingers and smoothing his hair or wiping a smudge on his face with a tissue. Don't ask me where that came from. This song was way too saccharine when it first came out, after being Archuletalized, it's teeth-rottingly sappy. He is spot on, as usual, and grandmothers and tweens everywhere eagerly wait for itunes to have that available.
Randy-interesting song choice, but another hot one. Paula-lovely performance, she expects nothing more (they're officially in hurry up mode now). Simon won't criticize David because he sang it very well, but the song and lyrics are horrible, way too gooey. He does think David has done enough to get into the finals next week.
Justin Guarini is in the audience, I guess it might have been raining, and they let some homeless in.
8. Syesha Mercado-Hit Me up-Gia Farrell. Hmm, this isn't a great song for Syesha, this is Destiny's Child-esque, where the lryics are very repetitive, and not all that challenging, she adds some big notes in there, but I don't think that's enough to move her on, which is fitting, as a David-David showdown has been brewing since about week 4.
Judges-Randy calls it Rhianna-esque, and then says it was just ok. Paula adds that it was from the Happy Feet soundtrack, and of course she would know that. Once again, not the type of song that defines Syesha as an artist, but it might not be good enough to get into the finals. Simon-Better than the second song, but if he's being honest, she had her best moment with Sam Cooke last week. This song was young and fun, but forgettable (and about penguins-Simon really added that).
9. David Cook-Don't Wanna Miss A Thing-Aerosmith. Oh man, I thought I had blocked Antonella "whore" Barba mangling this song from memory, but it came right back. This is a dumb choice by the producers, there are dozens of songs that Cook could have given his treatment to and gotten a better reaction than this one's getting. The guitar is up way too loud, as it takes some effort to overpower D.C. in his upper range. The crowd goes bananas, but that was kind of lame, and I think David knows it. Of course Paula is standing and clapping like an idiot (I think it was just to show David her cameltoe).
Judges-Randy loves the song, but the performance was just okay, very predictable. Paula says see you in the finals after pointing out that Diane Warren is in the audience. Simon says one of the great songs of all time (please), and David Cook wins the night.
Okay, so they're obviously pushing for a David-David finale, and after tonight, that's what is should be.
My thoughts are David Archuleta needs to win this competition. Cook will be perfectly suited for 2nd place, he'll absolutely get a contract, and have at least a bit of a chance to make it like he wants. Syesha will get snapped up by somebody, she's too polished to falter like Tamyra Grey did. But, if Archuleta doesn't win, it's going to be more difficult to pinpoint his mass appeal. His target audience is out there, but it would be so much simpler for them to buy his album released as an idol winner. Also, he is perfectly suited to be totally controlled by 19 entertainment, and all the crap they shovel onto his plate will taste like cake to him. So, my hopes for all of them is for Archuleta to win (and who knows maybe idol and his dad will cancel each other out and he'll have a chance at a sane life), Cook to get a decent contract with some creative control, and Syesha to end up on Broadway, or with Jive records or something similar, she is talented, and if handled correctly, could be a big star.