Time For American Idol To Inspire You. Sort Of.

Kristy Lee has decided that gold sparkly shirts are lucky for her. That’s the only reason why that I can think of she’s wearing the same shirt she’s worn in weeks past. Once again, we start with the Idols belching out of the center of the stage. We learn that these poor slobs have to work the phone bank for Idol Gives Back. Welcome to the big time, kids — telemarketing! Now, hit your numbers or you won’t get your bonus!

Michael Johns — Dream On

Up first is Michael ‘I’ve got the cojones to wear an ascot AGAIN’ Johns. He takes inspiration from Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On.’ He doesn’t have the sharp screech of Steven Tyler, but he tries his darndest for it at the end. You can hear the nodes growing on his vocal chords. Randy thinks this is one of the important weeks of the show. Randy calls Michael on pitch problems, and thinks it’s just all right. Randy continues his quest to out-mean Simon and rags on him for not picking a better song for him. Paula & her crushed chest think that her chihuahuas are going to join him on stage. Simon doesn’t like Michael’s impression of a rock star; Simon calls it wannabe. Ryan makes some crappy comment about chihuahuas and an unnamed body part. Ryan, you’re just making yourself look stupid at this point. Stop it.

Syesha Mercado — I Believe

Syesha is up next and she’s the first person to get the ‘Ryan Stool Treatment.’ They spend their time talking about how they miss Ramiele. Hey girl! She’s singing Fantasia’s song, ‘I Believe.’ Hm, Simon always loves the finale songs, and loves it when new contestants do songs from previous Idols. Great strategy, Syesha! She starts off boring and I never quite believe that she’s waited her whole life for this moment. Sure she’s had obstacles, but she’s not a single mother who was once illiterate. I’m pretty sure Syesha’s had it better than that, and it shows in her performance. Randy says Syesha doesn’t connect with the audience as Fantasia did. Syesha gets a little put off by being compared to Fantasia. Syesha, that’s what was going to happen. It’s in the same category as doing Celine or Mariah. Simon thinks she technically sang it well, but she didn’t have the emotion Fantasia did.

Jason Castro — Somewhere Over The Rainbow

My favorite pot-boy Muppet is doing ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ and he’s admitting he’s doing the version by the late Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. It always makes me cry when I hear it at the end of yoga class. That line should not be read snarky — it’s true. Others, like my friend Stacey, may know it from the song that was playing when Anthony Edwards’ Dr. Mark Greene died on E.R. And Jason’s playing his own ukulele. Way to go, pot boy; Jason does a pretty good job of it. Randy says it’s ‘molten hot.’ Paula calls it the perfect song, and mentions his guitar. I wonder if she just thinks it’s a very small guitar. Simon thinks Jason was fantastic. Here’s Israel’s original take on the song:

Somewhere Over The Rainbow as originally done by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Kristy Lee Cook — Anyway

Ryan blah-blahs about iTunes again and says Kristy is determined to get out of the bottom 3 this week. She’s singing Martina McBride’s ‘Anyway.’ Blech. Sorry, not a country fan, unless it’s something classic like Dolly or Johnny Cash. This sparkly shirt gives me a brief moment of panic when I realize that there’s a flower design on it. I initially didn’t think I was seeing flowers. I’m glad my first impression was wrong. She sings the song well enough, I just can’t stand seeing her perform. Randy thought it was really good ‘for her.’ Paula thinks Randy should leave the pitchy comments out from now on. She loves Kristy. Simon also thinks she was very good, not incredible, but good. Ok, she got praise from Simon. Can she go home now?

David Cook — Innocent

For some reason a backstage guy is sitting on Simon’s lap. Simon calls him the Dark Lord of American Idol. Ok. David Cook is singing Our Lady Peace’s ‘Innocent.’ It starts out weird and doesn’t get much better. The chorus is ok. I’m not sure if the weirdness is coming from how the song was arranged or if he’s just really off tonight. He ends the song in front of the judges table & has ‘give back’ written on his hand. Deep. David’s performance fell short for Randy. Paula thinks he’s got the whole package. Simon thinks it was a teensy bit pompous, especially with the white jacket. It just wasn’t as good as he’s been in the past.

Carly Smithson — The Show Must Go On

Carly is singing ‘The Show Must Go On’ by Queen. Carly remembers watching Queen on Live Aid as a kid. I loved Live Aid. Except for the Taco Bell commercials. Those got to me after hour or so. She also dresses anti-pregnant with nary a flowy shirt in sight. Randy didn’t think there was a connection with Carly. Paula actually agrees with Randy. Simon says Carly looks good, but that she oversang the song & lost control at the end, making her sound angry. But Carly always sounds a bit angry, Simon. That’s not new. Simon thinks Carly may be in trouble this week. Could be, but I’d still like the surprise elimination of Kristy Lee instead.

David Archuleta — Angels

David Archuleta gets the Ryan stool treatment. David actually gets questions about himself instead of, say, Danny Noriega. He’s singing ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams. The only thing I remember about Robbie Williams was that video for ‘Rock DJ’ where he rips his flesh off. It’s train-wreck engrossing. Oh, yeah, Archuleta is singing. He sings well — then the camera cuts to creepy dad. Randy thinks it was his hottest moment of the season. Crazy hot! Loved it! Paula doesn’t add anything. Simon calls it the best song choice of the night. He also thinks it was one of the best pop songs written. Another creepy David Archuleta moment when a little girl holds up a sign saying ‘Lick Those Lips.’ Ew. She’s like 5. Ew. I hope she doesn’t know what her sign says.

Brooke White — You’ve Got A Friend

Brooke closes the show with Carole King’s ‘You’ve Got A Friend.’ But first Ryan has to be in the crowd hugging a security guard who’s terrified. Back to Brooke — she once sang this song with a couple of friends in a talent competition. Here’s hoping she doesn’t sound like she’s at a talent competition. But speaking of local talent, on NPR this morning I heard a feature on a Washington Post reporter who put one of the world’s best violin players, Joshua Bell, in a subway station to see if his talent would shine through. Nope. World’s best violin player, performing some of the hardest music for violin he could find for over 40 minutes still only cleared about $60. Sad, isn’t it? Talent can be anywhere, folks. Brooke does a nice job, but it’s a soft song, so it doesn’t get people going. Randy isn’t jumping out of his chair. Paula loves Brooke. Simon calls it a pleasant walk in the park. Not original, but pleasant. Thank you. Brooke looks like she wants to cry.

An interesting night — some strong folks like David Cook didn’t do as well as they have in the past. Kristy did probably the best she’s ever done. How will you vote, America? And how will you vote tomorrow night? Will you get to talk to an Idol? I know I’m on the edge of my seat.