* American Idol S07E26: Top 9: Dolly Parton Songs

AI season 7 episode 26.

I didn’t do so well with my predictions last week, going 0/3 for the first time ever. I was admittedly ranking ’em as I’d like to see them ranked rather than how I think America will rank ’em. And that’s what I’m going to continue to do. If you just want to see what America thinks, go to DialIdol and look at their predictions. It’s worth noting that DialIdol has yet to get the bottom three correct. Which is, I suppose, what makes all of this interesting.

I also avoided blogging yesterday, because it was April Fools’ Day. Waiting until today also gave me time to watch each performance twice and check my rankings against DialIdol and other bloggers. Guess what? I didn’t change anything.

It’s clear to me that there are performers that I like more than America does (e.g. Brooke White, Jason Castro). And there are performers that I don’t care for as much as America does (e.g. Carly Smithson, Kristy Lee Cook, Syesha Mercado).

I did change one thing. I have listed my results from best to worst. The number shown before each singer’s name is their singing order. Earlier singers are generally easier to forget than later singers. Going first is a curse, going last is a blessing.

I do feel that the order I’ve ranked them below is pretty close to how they should finish in the competition. If I had to pick a top 4, I’d say it would be this top four, but not in this order. I’d say the final order would be David Cook, Brooke White, David Archuletta, and Michael Johns. But it’s clear (to me at least) that this group is 9 is divided up into contenders and pretenders. Call me crazy if you like, but I think there’s a good reason why the first recording contact for Carly Smithson (then Carly Hennessy) didn’t turn out so well. And it’s got nothing to do with her record label “running out of money” as she suggested on American Idol earlier in the season.

See what happens when I have an extra day to blog? Too much rambling. On to the rankings. The number is their singing order. Here they are ranked from best to worst.

6. David Archuleta – “Smokey Mountain Memories.” Another ballad. This middle part of this show is putting me to sleep. Unlike Carly, David knows how to sing (and not over-sing) a ballad. This actually has some emotion, and a hint of country twang. David transitions effortlessly to falsetto and back. Smooth and strong ending. Great. Randy said it was the best of the night so far. Paula Abdul was a cheerleader for the LA Lakers. Simon thought it was on the money. He is safe by a mile.

9. Michael Johns – “It’s All Wrong, But It’s All Right.” Here’s a country rock ballad. With a little Aussie soul in it. He is nailing this one. Great tone, good backup singers. Tight arrangement. Every second is worth watching and listening to. A little Ray Charles vibe to it. I think he really connected on this one. Outstanding. Randy said it was blazing hot. Paula Abdul was a cheerleader for the LA Lakers. Simon said it was his best. I think he is safe.

2. David Cook – “Little Sparrow.” Before he sings, David gets a chance to credit all the artists who inspired his previous arrangements. He is singing higher than he has previously. And more restrained. More controlled. But is still sounds like an original (which this arrangement is). Nice acoustic guitar, nice arrangement, nice ending. Randy said it was hot, liked the high notes. Paula Abdul was a cheerleader for the LA Lakers. Simon said it was good. That’s an understatement. I think he’s safe.

1. Brooke White – “Jolene.” She is comfortable playing the acoustic guitar, and the arrangement is complimentary, not distracting. She manages to sound a little country and a little Brooke at the same time. I’m not familiar with the original, so I can’t compare. Nice ending. Very strong. Randy thought it was alright (in a good way). Paula Abdul was a cheerleader for the LA Lakers. Simon thought it wasn’t one of her best performances. I think she’s safe.

5. Carly Smithson – “Here You Come Again.” A ballad. She got ahead of the music at the beginning. She is over-emoting the middle part, pushing and yelling – dare I say forcing – too much. It’s more like a “look at me sing” kind of song than anything else (which is why singers love to sing ballads). She sung it well, but I hated it. Randy said it was a nice job. Paula Abdul was a cheerleader for the LA Lakers. Simon thought it was good, not great, also didn’t like her clothes, said she doesn’t look like a star. I think she is on the fence (leaning towards the safe side).

4. Jason Castro – “Travelin’ Thru.” It’s guitar night, and Jason is playing his acoustic. His vocal is a little bit stronger than last week, but he just seems to be skating through this performance. Maybe that’s his style. Well sung, good tone, a little country twang. Not bad. Randy thought it was pretty good. Paula Abdul was a cheerleader for the LA Lakers. Simon didn’t like it, didn’t get it. I think he’s on the fence.

7. Kristy Lee Cook – “Coat of Many Colors.” Is she still in this competition? She is smartly sitting on the edge of the stage and just singing. I think I know how she survives from week to week. She basically sings on key. She is never the strongest, but never the weakest. This song suits her and was the first time she sounded authentically country. Randy said she was in her wheelhouse. Paula Abdul was a cheerleader for the LA Lakers. Simon thought it was pleasant but forgettable. I think she is on the fence (leaning towards being in trouble).

8. Syesha Mercado – “I Will Always Love You.” Oops, Whitney Houston sang this song. That can’t be good. Too slow and forced at the beginning. Way too slow in the first chorus, like she is trying hard not to do the Whitney version. Or is she? She sort of tries to belt out the second chorus. This is weird. That long sustained note was painful (yet on key). Randy thought it was alright (in an alright way). Paula Abdul was a cheerleader for the LA Lakers. Simon thought the first part was good, the second part paled in comparison to Whitney. I think she’s in trouble.

3. Ramiele Malubay – “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?” This sounds like a bad church revival sing-along. Which is to say it sounds like karaoke, and I haven’t even heard the original. I just can’t wait for it to end. Not out of tune, just boring. Randy said it was alright (in a so-so way). Paula Abdul was a cheerleader for the LA Lakers. Simon thought it was forgettable, like something you’d hear on a cruise ship. I think she’s in trouble.

Bottom three:
7. Kristy Lee Cook
8. Syesha Mercado
3. Ramiele Malubay

Going home:
3. Ramiele Malubay

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2 Replies to “* American Idol S07E26: Top 9: Dolly Parton Songs”

  1. Not bad on your picks and I agree for the most part. I thought Ramiele was gone for sure. She was just too busy on stage for me, made me think of theme park entertainment.

    I also agree with your top 4 except I am not sure David Archuletta is strong enough to make it that far.

    I can hardly wait till next week to see what they do. I still like Carly and Kristy however I do not think Kristy is connecting with the public enough to last much longer.

  2. Results from S07E27.

    1. Brooke White
    7. Kristy Lee Cook
    3. Ramiele Malubay

    Voted off the island:
    3. Ramiele Malubay

    EJH’s score, this week: 67% (2/3)
    EJH’s score, cumulative: 57% (13/23)

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