So I've been thinking about the performances from Tuesday's not-all-that-rockin', so-called "Rock Night"--the night that "rocked" in at least one sense, as it rocked the vote more than any other night this season, according to reliable source Ryan Seacrest.
At first, I kept thinking how much Jason Castro deserved to go, based on his horrible showing last night. Because, yes, he was truly bad, and I don't mean Michael-Jackson-bad. I mean just plain old dictionary-definition BAD. His two songs this week by the Bobs, Marley and Dylan, brought new meaning to the word "dread"--because, yes, I was literally starting to dread performances by the dreadheaded kid I once adored.
But then I mulled it over some more. And you know, based on his entire body of work, I decided Jason still had the edge over this week's other obvious at-risk contestant, Syesha Mercado. See, by this point, Jason had at least three memorable performances (notably "Daydream" and "Hallelujah") under his hemp-rope belt, while Syesha's "Yesterday" was really the only one of her numbers that stood out in my mind. Plus, throughout this season it was Jason who was always a real character, an original, a breath of fresh air (or some OTHER kind of air, heh heh). Meanwhile, Syesha seemed more like the typical baby-Whitney contender we see every AmIdol season. So I was beginning to think maybe Jason did deserve one more shot.
But apparently America didn't agree with me...because tonight, after record voting numbers, Jason finally went home.
To be honest, I'm surprised Syesha has made it this far. After all, I predicted her downfall way back when Asia'h Epperson and Alexandrea Lushington were still in the running. But for whatever reason--call it luck, call it fate--Syesha has stayed on, outlasting more aggressively hyped frontrunners like Carly Smithson and Michael Johns by many weeks. And during the course of those weeks, she has had the chance to grow and develop. That's right, grow and develop--just like major-label artists had the luxury of doing back in the day, before the music business changed and artists started being pressured to sell 10 gajillion albums right out of the starting gate or risk being dropped. And so, over time, Syesha has evolved from somewhat forgettable also-ran to true superstar-diva-in-training. She's lucky that the voting audience has given her so many chances--chances that other promising candidates sadly didn't get--and she's been very wise to take full advantage. Syesha has never been my favorite this season, and I don't know if she deserves to be in the top three, but she's proved herself to be a formidable and worthy opponent at this point.
So...back to the subject of Jason. Unlike Syesha, JC started off soooo strong. His very first performance, "Daydream" during Sixties Week, still remains one of the hands-down season 7 highlights (it was even that week's most-downloaded Idol song on iTunes). And he followed that with other starmaking showings, like his tender take on Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and his ukulele-strummed "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" (a rendition that nearly eradicated all fond memories of Katharine McPhee and Kimberley Locke's famous versions). But then, something happened to Jason. He lost his way. Maybe he smoked too many bowls? Maybe those Internet rumors that he was deliberately trying to throw the competition were true? Maybe, as Jason himself so eloquently worded it during the Q&A tonight, it was just a problem with his "brain being dead"? I really don't know what his deal was. But he started to deliver such phoned-in performances, I wondered if he was secretly securing an endorsement deal with Boost Mobile. Where you at, Jason, indeed. Seriously, the dude was just LOST.
So, that's how it goes in AmIdol land. Some finalists evolve, others just devolve. But hey, since other fourth-placers in AmIdol history include Tamyra Gray, Chris Daughtry, Josh Gracin, and LaToya London, Jason's in pretty good company, really.
The only thing that's a real bummer is JC didn't deliver another great performance as his swan song. It's kind of a drag that he didn't leave with his dreadhead held high, and that our final memory of him is his failure to remember an entire bar of "Mr. Tambourine Man." So instead, I will choose to remember his duet with Renaldo "I Am Your Brother" Lapuz.
Jason, you are my brother, my best friend forever, indeed. Peace out, dude.