And then there was one — one female that is. Brooke White left us last week, leaving Syesha Mercado as the only female remaining on American Idol for Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame week.
I have to say, if someone had told me that the last girl standing would be Syesha, I would have told them they were crazier than Paula Abdul. And then I would have been wrong. It goes to show you how much I know.
Last night, contestants chose songs from the Hall’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, and in the wake of Paula-gate, the judges went back to their normal format of critiquing them after each performance. It’s too bad, really. Last week was so entertaining.
The resident rocker — David Cook — started off with "Hungry Like the Wolf" by Duran Duran, which kind of surprised me. I had him pegged for some Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin or at least the Rolling Stones. Perhaps he should have started off with one of those, because all three judges gave him lukewarm praise at best.
Next, our lone lady hit the stage in a sparkly gold dress that would make any drag queen jealous.
After hearing she would sing Tina Turner’s "Proud Mary," I squealed a little inside. And to steal an adjective from Randy Jackson‘s vernacular, I thought the performance was completely "hot, dawg." She even threw in a little bit of Tina’s choreography, but it wasn’t enough to impress Simon Cowell. He called it a "bad, shrieky version," to which Syesha simply said: "I was trying to have fun. I’m sorry." You don’t have to apologize to him, Syesha. We loved it.
Jason Castro sang "I Shot the Sheriff" by Bob Marley for his first song, but it was kind of all over the place, and none of the judges got behind him. I didn’t think it was quite as bad as they thought, but it was definitely not worthy of Idol‘s top four. I was a little confused as to what purpose that guitar he was holding served, though. He didn’t play it for most of the performance, and the few times it looked like he was strumming, the brass section was playing and it was impossible to hear the guitar anyway.
Jason did actually warm my heart a little bit when he told Simon: "I was thinking Bob Marley! Yeah!" He seems like someone I would actually be friends with.
To end round one, David Archuleta chose Ben E. King’s "Stand by Me," which was absolutely perfect for his voice. This was probably one of my favorite performances from him, and Simon declared it the best of the night so far. Is there anything this kid can’t do?
For his second song, the other David (Cook) picked something a little bit more like what I expected: the Who’s "Baba O’Riley." Though half of his allotted time to sing was utilized in building up the song, it paid off. Paula mumbled something to him about being "humbled to sit [there] and watch [his] soul," which weirds me out a little bit. But this song was definitely what I expected out of David C. on rock week, so I was happy to see it. As much as I lament the fallen women of Idol this year, I really do think David C. is incredibly talented. I’m sure I will buy his CD when it comes out.
That song was a hard act for Syesha to follow, but she came out strong with one of my all-time favorite songs: Sam Cooke’s "A Change Is Gonna Come."
Randy didn’t like it, but Paula did, and as she began telling Syesha how great it was and that she (Syesha) truly had changed, tears started rolling down Syesha’s face. It wasn’t like the annoying way Brooke always cried, but a moment where Syesha became obviously overwhelmed by what she had sung and where she was.
In agreement with Paula, Simon had fantastic things to say about her performance, too. But Syesha kept crying. When Ryan Seacrest came onto the stage, Simon called Randy out for being completely wrong, and then Ryan asked Syesha to explain her emotions, to which she had this to say:
It seems like every week I become more and more impressed with her. That was so poignant.
OK, back to the boring. After gratuitous iPod product placements, Jason sang "Mr. Tambourine Man" by Bob Dylan and probably sealed his fate by forgetting the lyrics. Not surprisingly, none of the judges liked it, and Simon even told him to pack his suitcase.
Last but not least, David A. chose Elvis’ "Love Me Tender" and got the night’s highest praises. Randy oddly said he "caressed each word," Paula "felt his heart" (of course), and Simon said he "crushed the competition" last night.
Given that both Davids seem to be made of pure gold, I think it’s obvious that either Jason or Syesha (please, no!) will be going home tonight. However, the top four has a history of providing unexpected results (see: Chris Daughtry, LaToya London and Tamyra Gray), so I am hesitant to offer a guess.
Jason has more fans than Syesha, but he was horrible last night, and I think her show of emotions will get her some sympathy votes. That said, if it is Syesha who leaves us, then don’t expect an Idol post for the last two weeks. After all, who at AfterEllen.com really cares about those icky boys?