"Still no 'American Idol' stand-outs."

By Bob Zerull

A couple of years ago, David Archuleta performed “Imagine” by John Lennon very early in the competition and it gave everybody who saw it goose bumps. He didn’t do anything memorable after that, in fact he had one of the worst all time “American Idol” performances during Beatles week and he managed to make it to the final two. The guy who beat Archuleta was David Cook and he probably had four or five weeks in a row of goose bump worthy performances. Performances like these make me a little less ashamed to say my guilty pleasure is “American Idol.”

So far this season has yet to have that performance. What this season has though is potential. Tonight the guys performed and at this moment there are three guys that are the front runners for me. Big Mike Lynche is a man full of personality. He’s a great stage presence even when he is just ok. Tonight he nailed James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s World” and made it sound somewhat current. He opened the show and was a tough act to follow. The problem with Big Mike is that I’m not sure he’s capable of delivering that goose bump performance.

Casey James is the most talented guy on that “Idol” stage. Casey was tearing it up on guitar like no one on “Idol” has ever done. I remember David Cook played guitar and looked good doing it, but he was strictly a rhythm player. Casey James is a legitimate lead guitar player. It’s just a shame that both Kara and Simon crapped on his performance, because “American Idol” is not a singing competition, it’s a performance competition. I know that’s hard for them to swallow, but it’s the truth. Casey James is a true performer, he’s a little stiff still, but there could be great things there if he can just loosen up a little.

(Casey James)

Lee Dewyze is the third contestant that has a shot at being the front runner; the problem is he has yet to have a really great performance. The tone of his voice is just amazing. It’s better than Danny Gokey’s, Taylor Hicks and even Chris Daughtry’s. All three of those guys had distinctive voices, but they all threw down some memorable performances.

Hopefully Dewyze is allowed enough time in the competition to get his act together; because of all the performers he’s the most likely to give us goose bumps. So who’s going home? The rest of the group is a big bunch of mediocrity. Last week I thought Todrick Hall really stepped it up, but the judges tore him down to the point where he was pretty disappointing tonight. John Park should be an almost certain casualty in week two. Aaron Kelly and his out dated version of an out dated song (“My Girl”) may be on the chopping block along with Jermaine Sellers.

Comeback kid of the week was Tim Urban. Urban deserved to go home in a bad way last week; he came back this week with a solid performance. Three of the four judges disliked it, but Simon praised it. Simon’s praise should be enough to keep Urban here another week, but at best he’s in the middle of the pack. Hopefully tomorrow night the girls start to make this a competition, because so far it’s been OK at best.


Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.

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Anonymous said...

after watching these guys tonight, whether you think archuleta did nothing memorable after the still stunning ”imagine”, though i and millions disagree, it and he set a standard for male contestant performances none of these guys come close to. compare/contrast any of his performances, even ''we can work it out'', and he blows these guys off the stage. none of them could even carry archie's microphone on their best night.

anyhoo, moving on, this is the most boring, mediocre group of contestant on idol in years. andrew garcia is closer to becoming this season’s sundance head than kelly is to becoming the next archie. tim urban, alex lambert, casey james are there for eye candy, as musical chops, personality and charisma is lacking. todrick, jermaine, john park have no chance, they aren’t cute puppy dog eyed white guys who will cause the idol voter to forgive their obvious vocal deficiencies, and the rest is just meh. lee dewyze was so pitchy and undeserving of the pimp spot it made my head hurt.

these guys, as a whole, are subpar compared to past male contestants, as is this idol season. i think the show is done, because the girls aren’t that much better.

cowboys4 said...

I have to disagree with your comment about Archuleta not performing anything memorable after Imagine. I seem to recall Simon calling David's version of The Long and Winding Road a "masterclass", and indeed it was. Not to mention David's performance of Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me on finale night. I'm guessing that once you firmly established yourself in the Cook camp you just stopped paying attention to the talented Mr. Archuleta. That's okay.. Cook's a very talented dude too. I'm not seeing any Cooks, Archuletas, or or even Johns or Castro's this year. It's really too bad.

erikaemerika said...

If you rewatch his Hollywood week performances, his voice was awesome, he was drowned out by the back up music last night. He is still amazing in my book. I can see him jamming with Orianthi someday!!!!

Unknown said...
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Anonymous said...

Archuleta definitely set a standard with Imagine. But to say he didn't do anything memorable isn't accurate. I think he was consistently good. And yup, he had an awful Week 1 of the Beatles, but came back strong the second week with Long and Winding Road. Youtube it. Regardless...I see very little in the crew this year that can match that consistency.

However, if he ever hires David Cook's stylist who's first job is to FIX THE HAIR, Alex Lambert has some great material to work with. I'm rooting for him.

violet4ever said...

Archuleta had a ton of goosebump-worthy performances after Imagine. Long and Winding Road, Angels, Smoky Mountain Memories, When You Believe, And So it Goes, and how about the entire finale? Archuleta left me breathless over and over.

But you are right about this year.

Suzanne said...

I am so disappointed in this year's Top 24. I want someone, anyone, male or female to blow me away. So far they are just putting me to sleep. I thought last year's Top 24 was not so hot, but compared to this year, I would take them again. Season 7 is by far the best season of American Idol (in my opinion) as far as actual talent in the Top 10.

Last night I did not hear any stand out singers who can sing all the way through a song without being pitchy. No one has the stage presence of past idol contestants.

I remember by this time in 2008 David Cook and David A. started separating themselves from the pack. I remember I couldn't wait to see what DC was going to pull out next. He never disappointed and still doesn't.

With this year's group, I can tell you last night I couldn't wait for the show to be over. I have been watching AI since the 1st Season and this is the first time I have ever not wanted to watch the show.

There were much better singers that didn't make it than are on the show .After listening to these performances I am not sure if things bode well for the future of AI.

They should be looking for singers first. Everyone can be polished up and shown how to perform better. Carrie W. and Jordin S. were pretty stiff as performers and look at them now. I just want someone who can sing!

I will probably be switching to the X Factor next year unless the singing gets better in a hurry.

lesssha said...

To say that David Archuleta had no more memorable performances is laughable. He had so many!!!!!! This year is pathetic. I can't believe these are the best guys that they could find.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the talent this year doesn't hold a candle to prior seasons, especially season 7 as you pointed out. In my opinion Big Mike seems to be the only one that doesn't have to struggle with his stage presence.

I'm also annoyed with the messages the judges are sending out. One minute they are telling the contestants to change up the songs and make them their own, and the next minute they are telling them to just sing the song like the original. I found myself screaming at the judges to "MAKE UP YOUR MIND!"

Having said that, without talent it doesn't matter what you do to a song. And if you do have natural talent on the level of Archuleta, as Randy would say, you could sing the phonebook and it would still sound great.

Anonymous said...

The judges have got to go! They're abnoxious and take up way too much time. I'm bored to tears also by these sub-par contestants this year and have yet to watch a complete peformance without flipping the channels. Too bad the Olympics not longer available!

KathyH said...

David Archuleta had many great season seven performances beyond Imagine -- Angels, Smoky Mountain Memories, Stand by Me, Love Me Tender, Long And Winding Road. Since the show, he performed Contigo En La Distancia at the Alma awards and knocked me for a loop - that one compares to Imagine at the very least.

Anonymous said...

yeah, you are so right, ARCHULETA WAS ONE OF THE MOST OVERRATED CONTESTANT EVER! he had at least 4 pitchy performances (we can work it out, america, you are the voice, with you), and HE WAS BORING AS HELL, no versatile, i don't know how that guy became top2, i know.. he was too "cute" for disney girls.

violet4ever said...

For March 7 2:01 Anonymous. Haha. Right. I think Archuleta had the best pitch in 2007. And 42 million votes said he was not boring. You must be a Cook fan saying Archuleta isn't versatile. That's sort of a buzzword with Cook fans. My Idol is the hot young guy who can nail pop, pop rock, R&B, Bach/Gounod Ave Maria in Latin, and a Spanish love song in front of an audience of Latino celebrities. The versatile guy.


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