Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"American Idol": Syesha shines ... finally

Did you catch Syesha Mercado singing on top of a grand piano last night during "American Idol," belting out a theatrical tune like nobody's business?

Were you just as amazed and stunned and shocked and awed as I was? Her performance may blow my earlier predictions of the Sarasota native being booted off soon out of the water.

If she keeps up the momentum, she could easily wind up in the top three.

Last night's theme was the "Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber," which meant show tunes galore. I wasn't sure what to expect, but Webber's honest and amusing comments kept things lively.

What wasn't lively was Jason Castro's performance of "Memory." The guy, who told America that he's never seen any of Webber's musicals, looked like he was suffering from immense physical pain when he was singing the tune — a tune that Webber couldn't fathom the dread-head Castro singing to begin with.

Next on the unpleasant list was Brooke White with "You Must Love Me." It wasn't her greatest performance. I think she was trying too hard. Then she forgot the lyrics and asked to start the song over before she began to sing it. When you try too hard, you don't come across well. Carly Smithson knows this, or at least has been told this several times. Last night, though, was the first time Carly actually looked like she was letting loose with her "Jesus Christ Superstar" tune. It was great to see her energized for once. Though it was kind of cheesy afterwards when she brought out a T-shirt that said Simon loved her performance (this week).

David Archuleta pulled a sort of David Cook by putting his own contemporary twist on "Think of Me" from "Phantom of the Opera." It was a very pleasant performance. I'm sure he swept the hearts of tweens across American by taking Webber's simple advice of keeping his eyes open during the song.

Speaking of David Cook, he didn't pull any musical twists with "Music of the Night" but the performance still sounded solid with his haunting, rich voice.

So based on last night's performances, it may basically come down to Jason or Brooke saying their good-byes next, with Carly — who has grown ever more slightly annoying each week — joining them for the bottom three.

Good times.

- January Holmes

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