For an artist I wouldn’t name as one of my favorities, I sure have a lot of affection and respect for tonight’s mentor, Neil Diamond. I always put Neil at the top of my list when it comes to the best concert I ever saw (chronicled on his album, “Hot August Night 2”) and often pull out one of the three “Greatest Hits” albums I have. So of course, of the two songs I wanted to hear most tonight, “I’ve Been This Way Before” and “If You Know What I Mean,” neither was performed.

Each contestant got two songs tonight. Let’s see how they did…

JASON CASTRO – “Forever In Blue Jeans”

A nice simple folk based version of this song, and boy, does Jason look like the part of a teen idol. But this isn’t one of Neil’s better songs, and Jason missed out by not doing “Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon” or “Red Red Wine.”

DAVID COOK – “I’m Alive”

David brings a bit of Neil Diamond’s guttural roar to this fun rocker. In fact, I heard David was a bit worried he would sound a little too much like a Neil Diamond impersonator on this one, but it sounded great.

BROOKE WHITE – “I’m A Believer”

Brooke brings her good spirits to this fun song, but it didn’t blow me away. Obviously you have to dig in a bit emotionally to impress the jusges at this point.

DAVID ARCHULETA – “Sweet Caroline”

Nice to hear him do something upbeat again, even if his voice didn’t quite match the song in that balls out Neil Diamond way. Still he gave it his best.

SYESHA MERCADO – “Hello Again”

An impressive reimagining of this song, plus I liked her long haired look.

After the weirdest moment in “Idol” history (what, Paula doesn’t even make up her own inane critiques?), we got…

JASON CASTRO – “September Morn”

Nice enough. No mistakes. Better than I expected, considering how much Jason seems to be struggling with the various theme weeks.

DAVID COOK – “All I Ever Really Need Is You”

David brings a bit of U-2 to this one, which in his version even sounds like “All I Want Is You.” And the girls go wild…


Maybe they should give her a harsh critique before every performance, because this was very good (although she could have brought a little more drama to the last line). Brooke picked the best written, most interesting song of the night. The song was the star and should help her stay another week.


As someone with immigrant roots, this was a perfect choice for David. While it didn’t match the drama of Neil’s version, I liked the way David played around with the melody at times. he also gets points for the rearrangement of the end of the song.

SYESHA MERCADO – “Thank The Lord For The Nighttime”

Straight out of the sixties, you could imagine this being a performance on “Amercian Bandstand” way back when. Perfect vocals too. She certainly deserves another week. Maybe with Simon saying she’s in trouble, her fans will have voted all the more. We’ll find out tonight…



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