Fri. April 18, 2008 12:00 AM
by Jim Verraros
American Idol: Season Seven; Mariah Carey Week
April 15, 2008—This week, the Top Seven Idols had the distinct pleasure of having the legendary Mariah Carey as their mentor. Insert jealous face here.
However, with Mariah comes an awful big pair of shoes to fill; the ladies, I imagine, had a much more difficult time not being compared to her than the guys. The males' renditions naturally came off as original, since they were coming from a male perspective.
David Archuleta chose the Whitney-Mariah duet "When You Believe." A predictable choice for him because he's Mr. Ballad. But I have to give
credit where credit is due: He knocked it out of the park. Although, the pleather pants were not what I would've chosen for him to wear.—-The show's stylist is either consistently high, not present or just plain stupid. Some serious changes need to be made [in that regard].
Carly Smithson sang "Without You," and it immediately took me back to when Kelly Clarkson performed it on my season [Season One], and Clarkson was amazing. However, with a theme such as this week's, you'd have thought Smithson would've sailed through and chose a song that she could show everyone up on. As a matter a fact, she did the complete opposite. Her eyes looked as though she was thinking too much—-as if she's starting to feel the pressure of the prize being within reach, and she's buckling. If she doesn't get it the hell together, she'll be out of the competition next week.
Syesha Mercado, who looked amazing in her form-fitting cocktail dress, chose a lesser-known Mariah song, "Vanishing." An amazing song, and one
of the more difficult ones to sing, she gave a standout performance. She was truly morphing into her own in this round. The thing I love most about her is that she chooses hard songs to sing and never bats an eye about it. She consistently pushes herself, both vocally and emotionally, and has truly shown growth as a performer. She'll be in the final four.
Brooke White, and her obvious choice, "Hero," started out nicely sitting behind a grand piano. However somewhere along the way, she started to lose her pitch and her overall confidence. I wouldn't have minded this so much if it weren't written all over her face and she covered it, but she obviously knew she lost it and she didn't cover it. And anyone watching this performance would've seen that too. It was the right song for her, but, at this point, she's so out of her league. It's hard to see her becoming the next American Idol. She'll most likely be the next to go.
Kristy Lee Cook is also coming into her own and getting progressively better as each week goes by. She sang "Forever," another secret goodie from Mariah that most might be unfamiliar with. She, as usual, went with a country-tinged arrangement, which is always a smart choice for her. Admittedly, she got on my nerves in the beginning of the competition, but she's grown on me like a fungus that no cream or ointment can get rid of. Of course, I mean that in the nicest possible way.
David Cook was the standout performer of the night with his rendition of "Always Be My Baby." As is usually the case with Cook, his rendition revived the song as a haunting, dark rock ballad, and every moment of it was amazing. He's original without trying too hard, and he's consistent. Most of all, he isn't Chris Daughtry, the last rocker from "Idol" that's had huge success on the charts. There are definite similarities, but just enough differences that may leave people ready for another "Idol"-rocker.
To close out the show, Jason Castro performed "I Don't Wanna Cry." I enjoyed his very summery, light-yet-not-cheesy arrangement. It was hip and forward thinking without being obnoxious. There were bongos in the background, which he chooses in his arrangements quite often, and I don't hate him for it. It was a nice rendition. Although he does not have the strongest voice, again, [as cited in this column's previous installments,] Castro's able to connect with his choices of song, [making his styling] "believable" to the viewer. He's got a huge fan base of women that are totally into his singer/songwriter vibe. I don't think he's final three material, but he's got another week or two left in him.