Why is that all the Idol finalists sound so great on their own, but when they have to participate a group singalong, they instantly devolve to the level of a fourth-grade remedial school play? Egad. This is why I have never attended a concert on any American Idol tour. The elimination show-opening medleys are always tough to take, but tonight's was especially bad, as the final five continued their Neil Diamond-desecrating work from the previous night. Oh well. I guess I should just be happy that my man Neil is getting some attention. They say there's no such thing as bad publicity, and there's no better publicity than being on Idol, no matter what the context.
So after a hot-April-mess performance of songs from Hot August Night and other classic Neil albums, Ryan paid a quick visit in the audience with "rockin'" AmIdol alums/Fox Reality Channel talking heads Constantine Maroulis and Gina Glocksen. (Ooh, hubba hubba--David Cook is fine and all, but my heart still belongs to Constantine. It was nice to see that smoldering Blue Steel stare of his again.)
Then Ryan feebly attempted to defuse the crazy-Paula rumors stemming from her stumble last night (when she critiqued a second song Jason had yet to sing), defending her as a member of the Idol "family."
So then it was on to the business at hand: elimination. Jason Castro was summoned by Ryan first, and--true to my somewhat controversial prediction last night, and contrary to much message board speculation--Jason was once again safe. As was this season's other tween-friendly finalist, David Archuleta.
Ashley Ferl wannabes of the world, rejoice!
After a commercial break and some requisite Coca-Cola-shilling, David Cook was also sent through to safety (no surprise there). So my bottom-two prediction of Syesha Mercado and Brooke White was realized. But was my other guestimate--that Syesha would ultimately be the one to exit stage left--also correct? The suspense was killing me.
Well, naturally we wouldn't find this out for a while.
First Natasha Bedingfield performed and shamelessly flirted with David A. (I think she and David C. would make a better couple, personally), and then, during the call-in Q&A, Simon Cowell shamelessly flirted with his childhood sweetheart Tara, the first girl he kissed at age 9. It just might have been the first unscripted Q&A moment this season. It sure seemed a lot less scripted than Paula's odd Jason Castro critique last night!
Then Syesha and Brooke's misery--and my joy--was further prolonged with a pre-elimination performance by the man of the hour, Neil Diamond, crooning his pretty amazing new single "Pretty Amazing Grace." I'm sure some Ashley Ferl-aged viewers thought he was just some boring old fuddy-duddy, but I have to say Neil is one cool cat for a 67-year-old. He's still cooler than David Archuleta, who's like a fourth Neil's age.
Anyway, the axe finally fell--and, contrary to my prediction, it was Brooke who got cut, NOT Syesha.
Brooke actually started off as my top female pick of this season. I admit I had a bit of a girl-crush on her at first. And she certainly had some crushworthy moments over the past few weeks, most notably her acoustic take on Pat Benatar's "Love Is A Battlefield." But recently Idol had become quite a battlefield for Brooke, especially when it came to her constant babbling interruption of the judges. Anyway, I liked her, but she had to go sooner or later. After all, I've been saying since episode one that this season is all about the males.
Brooke's exit tonight was probably the most melodramatic and weepy since Alaina Whitaker's. The poor woman obviously didn't want to perform her swan song ("Can't I just say thank you?" she pleaded to Ryan, as he shoved a microphone into her trembling hand), but they forced her to sing anyway, even as Ryan himself was dabbing her runny eyes with Kleenex. Brooke choked back sobs throughout her performance, and to be honest, I actually preferred this version of "I Am I Said," because it had real raw emotion to it. And it was Brooke's emotional vulnerability that I admired about her in the first place.
However, I didn't admire the way she shrugged off David Cook when he tried to put his comforting manly arm around her. What a fool! I don't care if she's married...I don't care if she's married to Brad freakin' Pitt...NO right-minded, red-blooded woman should rebuff an advance from David The C.
And with that, Brooke left the Idol battlefield. I can't imagine Syesha will last another week--I'm pretty surprised she made it to the top four, really--but we'll have to wait until next week to see if I'm right. Next week is "Rock 'N' Roll Week," by the way, so Syesha will certainly have her work cut out for her.