Neil Diamond and the Top Five


OK, I sit down to write my review/sum up, and I think to myself, where’s my kitchen sink? In other words, pretty much all of my editing material is gone….not good. Or, in the words of that funny little man on the Incredibles, “I’m not happy, Bob. Not happy.”

Well, this was an interesting night, to say the least. I was expecting great performances from Jason and Brooke, seeing as Neil Diamond is more their genre than pretty much anything else they’ve been able to choose from the last couple of weeks. But I was doomed to disappointment.

Jason Castro opened the night with “Forever in Blue Jeans”. I thought this was definitely his genre; while I thought it was ‘nice’, I found myself telling him emphatically to “OPEN YOUR MOUTH!” He looks like he’s singing through his teeth. I honestly think he’s losing his ‘charm’….I like the kid, but he should be the one leaving tomorrow.
Jason’s second song was “September Morn”; and it was only OK. I think he did regain a bit of his charm on this one, though.

Randy thought both performances were “just OK”. He said he wasn’t sure “what’s happening tonight”, but wasn’t impressed.
Paula was rather confused tonight, to put it lightly. She thought (from what I could gather) that Jason is losing his charm, and isn’t “fighting hard enough”.
Simon called them both “Forgettable” and said “You’re not the Jason we put through; we don’t recognize you”. I agree with Simon; this doesn’t seem to be the same kid I was rooting for in the beginning of the season.

David Cook started with the little known “I’m Alive”. I was skeptical the first time through, but after my second hearing, I rather liked it.

Randy declared it “Very good. In the zone; Very strong. You were doing your thing.”
Paula, in all the muddle, said (I think) that she “loved your notes! You’re fantastic!”
And Simon, well, Simon thought it just above average.

David’s second song choice was also little known or heard, “All I Really Need Is You”. That one was beautiful. At first, I wondered if I was just showing partiality, so watched it through again, and it was even better the second time. It gave me chills, and actually brought tears to my eyes; Imagine your baby saying those words to you…and an awesome arrangement.

Randy voted himself “a huge DC fan now-Rocked the house! Blazin’!”
Paula was “so proud of you. I feel like I’m already looking at the American Idol.”
Simon said “the first song was OK; the second: Brilliant! You made it feel like that song was written this year; changed the arrangement, and made it work for you. Smart; well done!”

Brooke White sang “I’m A Believer” which was cute, but not very good. She sounded nervous to me; but overall much better after the key change.

Randy said it was “better than last week; but still a little kareoke for me.”
We don’t know what Paula thought, and
Simon thought it was “A nightmare”.

After that, she sang “I Am…I said”. I liked it; she made it her own by changing the lyrics up some. It was much better than her first; really quite sweet, and one of my favorites of the night.

Randy thought her “very vulnerable” and said this song was “one of the tougher songs to sing; nice job, though.”
Paula thought she “had fun”, and that she showed her “vulnerability. Works.”
Simon said “that’s the Brooke we like. Not incredible, but a million times better than the last.”

David Archuletta sang “Sweet Caroline”-was only Ok for me.

Randy said he was “the bomb.”
Paula-well, again, we don’t know…
Simon said it was “amateurish”.

David’s second song was “America”. It just didn’t quite sound like the David A. I love. He was only OK tonight for me.

Randy thought him totally “in the zone; another good performance.”
Paula said it was the “perfect song to sing. Love you; brilliant. Your voice is so on point. Have fun!”
Simon said it was a “smart song choice.Ticked the boxes. The right choice.”

Syesha Mercado sang “Hello Again” first. I thought it lovely, clear and sweet. But just a bit old-fashioned.

Randy said she too was “in the zone; very nice vocals, was strong. Wasn’t amazing, but strong”.
Paula liked the vulnerable side to her voice she showed, calling it “Beautiful. Touching. That’s your magic.”
Simon thought it “Old-fashioned”, like myself. He also addressed the whole group; “You are the top five; I want to see and hear the performance of a lifetime.”

Syesha’s second was “Thank The Lord For The Nightime”. It was fun, spunky; and the vocals were right on!

Randy told Syesha she’d “finally realized who you are. This is the way I like you. In the zone!”
Paula said it showed “a whole different side. You’re good at the theatrical and the pop singing. I love her!”
Simon thought Syesha a “very good actress/singer”. However, he also mentioned he thought she would be in trouble tomorrow night; just “a calculated guess”.

Tomorrow night, we’ll see who goes and who stays. My vote would be for Jason, but after the disaster last week with Carly leaving, and Michael Johns before her, one can’t say anything for certain this year. My ‘calculated guess’ would have Jason and Syesha in the bottom. Not because Syesha is bad, but because many Americans prefer vocals that are not, as we say, ‘top-notch’ anymore. Jason is a shining example. Yes, he’s fun and charming, but he should listen to the people (Andrew Lloyd Webber, Mariah Carey, etc) who come in to work with them, and take their advice. Syesha is a great vocalist, and should go far in her musical career, even if it is off A-I.

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