AMERICAN IDOL 7: TOP 7 ANALYSIS

Well, I thought tonight might be a blood bath with the contestants doing Mariah Carey songs. Of course, with as many albums as Mariah has put out, the Idols had plenty to choose from. Alas, Mariah didn’t give advice like suggesting which rappers would be good to collaborate with or telling the ladies to wear less (although I did like the dresses the female contestants were wearing tonight). So let’s see what we got…

DAVID ARCHULETA – “When You Believe”

I didn’t recognize this song until David reached the chorus. I thought the first verse wasn’t that exciting or melodic, but he performed the chorus well. I especially got a kick out of the moment when David went from a low to a high note. But when compared to some of the performances to come, it pales in comparison.

CARLY SMITHSON – “Without You”

Carly wears sleeves for the first time, covering up the tatoos. She did some smart careful singing in the first verse, but then it was all chorus all the time. A song that’s been recorded by many, many artists and she didn’t really make it special. And while you’d think after last week, I’d know better than pick someone to go home, it could well be Carly we’re saying goodbye to tomorrow night.

SYESHA MERCADO – “Vanishing”

Finally Syesha picked a lesser known non-single, and while she turned it into more of a vocal showcase than an emotional song, I liked it. In fact, it was so close to a capella, she could have done it completely without instruments for a real wow moment.

BROOKE WHITE – “Hero”

What, Our Miss Brooke skipped her sister’s wedding? That doesn’t seem very nice of America’s Sweetheart. I didn’t like this performance very much. I think she could have really used the band to add a little excitement midway through, plus I think she had to concentrate so hard on her piano playing, it hurt her vocal. And she really should stop agreeing so readily with the criticisms. If she doesn’t think she was any good, why should we?

KRISTY LEE COOK – “Forever”

I thought she did a good job emotionally connecting to the song in the beginning, although by the end, it didn’t seem like she was singing to one particular person (and remember, this is a love song). Her version had a nice old-fashioned vibe, although someone with a better voice could have killed on the chorus. She really is getting better week to week, but it really doesn’t matter. I think she’s become popular enough that she’ll get signed to a country record label, and if Kellie Pickler can have hits, Kristy Lee certainly will.

DAVID COOK – “Always Be My Baby”

I wasn’t as wild about this as the judges were, mainly because I liked the sound of the song when he sang it for Mariah with his guitar. I thought he was a little off on the verse and I didn’t like the strings sawing away in the background. I do like David’s voice though, and I look forward to his eventual recording debut.

JASON CASTRO – “I Don’t Wanna Cry”

It’s like everybody is Blake Lewis this year, bending the songs to their own style. While a Spanish styled melody like Mariah’s number one hit, “My All,” might have been even stronger, this was fun and well sung. Jason brings sincerity to everything he sings.

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