A Taste of What Could Be
As uneven, and in some cases, bad, as some of the performances were, the Andrew Lloyd Weber episode had me wistful for how much fun a real Broadway Idol would be for a musical theater geek like me. Preferably done on PBS, where the emphasis would be more on the music and art of musical theater performance, and less on the glitz. That would be sweet.
But if ALW Idol for a night is all I get, I'll take it. So - how'd the kiddies do?
Syesha Mercado - "One Rock and Roll Too Many"
Don't know the song, thought she did a great job with it - selling the sex and sassiness and attitude for all it's worth, and showing how much better use her pipes could be put to in doing Broadway stuff. She even pulled off the "start standing on the piano" thing, which is hard to do without just being dopey.
Jason Castro - "Memory"
Huzzuh? How did someone not steer this kid to a song he could actually do something interesting with? He could have rocked the coffeehouse vibe big-time with "Pilate's Dream." As it was, this was pretty bad, denuding a pretty theatrical melody into nothingness.
Brooke White - "You Must Love Me"
The start-stop was, of course, deadly, just in terms of what it did to her confidence, and the sad thing is I think her take was actually quite good, minus the nerves. That said, what I think made the song a hard one to do really well out of context is how character-based it is - Evita is desperate and needy as she is near-death, and shrill ("you MUST love me"), and those qualities don't work as well outside of the context of the show.
David Archuleta - "Think of Me"
Every damn time I hear this kid sing I feel like I'm living in a bad update of The Emperor Has No Clothes. Why do these people (the judges, the audience, the voters) think he can sing!? He took a delicate little melody and made it into syrupy bland muzak. Ugh.
Carly Smithson - "Jesus Christ Superstar"
Not perfect, and it's one of those odd songs where the instantly identifiable chorus isn't sung by the lead singer, but full of wonderful energy and fun. She did seem to muff some of the lyrics though. I could see this working in a Vegas version of the show.
David Cook - "Music of the Night"
Tactically brilliant. Take the night when everyone was expecting you to bust out an alterna-version of a Superstar song - "Heaven on Their Minds" or "What's the Buzz" - and instead tackle head-on a straightforward interpretation of probably one of Webber's top-five most beloved songs. And nail it. He really couldn't hit that low not the melody keeps dipping to, but it was worth it to make that high note accessible.
Who goes home? At this point, as long as it's not Carly or Cook I'll be fine. I like Castro and Brooke, but they ain't winning, and have run a fine course. And Syesha earned mucho goodwill, so I'm fine with her around for another week or two.