It's Dolly Parton week on American Idol and someone sang what may be her best song “I Will Always Love You” popularized by Whitney Houston in the film The Bodyguard with Kevin Costner but no one sang “9 to 5” and I can’t tell if that was a good thing. I love Dolly Parton; she is a legend and a sweetheart of a lady but unfortunately this week on American Idol just wasn’t very exciting. I don’t know if the contestants just didn’t connect with her music or if they just chose conservatively from her 3,000 song repertoire but here they are in order:
Brooke White “Jolene”
She comes off nice, sweet, pretty, has great hair and overall a wholesome appearance but her performance wasn’t very inspired and I think that she would have done better without the guitar. She didn’t demonstrate much range or reach and once again stayed well inside her confirmed comfort zone. It’s not that I dislike her it’s just that she’s not doing anything performance wise that is setting her apart. The clock is ticking for Brooke.
David Cook “Little Sparrow”
In a word: awesome. Cook arranged this one himself and he did an incredible job. It wasn’t quite as good as some of his other performances (“Billie Jean” Chris Cornell arrangement or “Hello” his own arrangement) but it was stellar and he continues to lead the way.
On a side note, David Cook was taken to the hospital after the show for an undisclosed reason but he was released and back at the hotel last night. I expect that we’ll hear details tonight.
Ramiele Malubay “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?”
I spaced out in the middle of her performance and my attention wasn’t recaptured until I heard Randy Jackson saying, “I wasn’t jumping up and down but I wasn’t mad at you either.” Randy Jackson finding new and wackier ways to say it was ok but nothing special. No one should underestimate this man’s entertainment value. After replaying his comment 3-4 times I rewound and forced myself to pay attention to Ramiele’s performance and ultimately agreed with Randy. Ramiele is a good performer and at 20 she’s got a decent shot at a career in music but she doesn’t stand out in this crowd.
Jason Castro “Traveling Along”
The AI Troubadour was back at it with a peppy but uninspired little ditty that showed no vocal reach, nothing new and at this point he has just grown tiresome. Unfortunately the dreaded one will stick around for another week.
Carly Smithson “Here You Come Again”
It was a really beautiful performance but could have been better. She did smile this week and you could hear it in her voice; there’s just a different quality that comes through the song, hard to describe but real. Carly should be back next week.
David Archuleta “Smokey Mountain Memories”
I’m having a hard time getting past all the hoopla surrounding Archuleta. He’s seventeen, cute, bashful and has a killer tone to his voice; but his song choices and style are putting him in a category with Josh Groban and I don’t think that style fits an American Idol but he’ll be back next week.
Kristi Lee Cook “Coat of Many Colors”
Not challenging, safe, boring, uninteresting and even though country is her thing it was only ok. This was likely her swan song.
Syesha Mercado “I Will Always Love You”
Strong but some pitch problems, once again we know that she can belt but on the softer parts her flaws are quite apparent. Overall it was a good performance of a very difficult song.
Michael Johns “It’s All Wrong But It’s Alright”
Johns brought Rock and Soul to the stage when he ripped this one up. It was a very good performance and should be more than enough for him to stick around. Check out the video of his performance below.
Another side note: Johns fronted Film, an Atlanta based group that was showcased for labels but not signed. Johns left Film and joined The Rising which was subsequently signed to Maverick Records. Before being dropped by Maverick, The Rising recorded Future Unknown which was scheduled to be released in September 2003 but did not drop until recently when it appeared on Itunes. Looks like Carly isn't the only one with label experience.
Overall the show was not as exciting this week which is unfortunate because Dolly is a great artist and highly accomplished songwriter.