Tonight's "American Idol" was all about the sexy and the sweetie — and, oh yeah, those other two people who are still here.
Maybe that's being a little harsh on Jason Castro and Syesha Mercado, but seriously folks, can we just move it along and get to what will likely be the most intensely contested "Idol" finale in history? Inquiring (and "Idol"-obsessed) minds want to know — which end of the fangirly voting spectrum will prove victorious — Archuletta-loving teenyboppers or Cookie-eating cougars?
Thankfully, while the wait continues, we at least got the benefit of a super-cool theme to distract us — The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 most influential rock songs. Even Ry-Ry was feeling it, ending tonight's taped video intro by declaring "Long live rock." Of course, in his heart, he really meant "Long live oxygen facials." But I digress.
I think talking about David Cook might, quite possibly, put me back on track. That's because during tonight's performance of "Hungry Like The Wolf," Cookie stalked the stage like the sexy beast he is. Between the extra-growly vocals and the dialed up facial hair, not to mention the fact that he chose a Duran Duran song, just… yeah. Let’s just say I spent the better part of the 8th grade repeatedly scrawling Simon Le Bon's name on my notebooks. And I think I'll spend the better part of tomorrow morning inking David's name all over that presentation sitting on my desk at work.
Nevertheless, I'll admit that despite the stellar vocals and, uh, other qualities displayed during both this performance and his second song, "Baba O'Riley," Cookie wasn't at his best tonight. Can't quite put my finger on what was off, although, believe me, I'd like to. (Sorry. That was uncalled for. I am now getting up to wash my mouth out with soap before I move on to discussing David Archuletta. Thank you.)
Yes, adorable little David A. deserves this gesture of respect because Elmo WAS OFF THE HOOK tonight. Wow. Evil Stage Dad should go and buy himself a really expensive new hat this weekend, because he did a bang-up job picking out those two songs. "Stand By Me" and "Love Me Tender" suited David's voice perfectly, and he more than sold them, delivering his most heartfelt and natural performances to date. The tone and clarity of the little guy's voice were really something to behold tonight. Although conspiracy theorists no doubt noticed that while David's falsetto went a little wonky at the end of "Love Me Tender," the dress rehearsal clip shown during the video recaps at the end of the show had him nailing it. Hmm… Nigel, let's keep this fight clean, shall we, ol' chap? I really don't think the boy needs your help.
On the other hand, two people sorely in need of help tonight are Syesha and Jason. The former opened with an adequate, but lackluster version of "Proud Mary," and finished with an adequate, but lackluster version of "A Change is Gonna Come." The latter offered up his take on "I Shot the Sheriff" and invoked the wrath of Simon like we've never seen. Settle down, dude. I mean, sure, it wasn't great, but Cowell took it like a personal offense. Maybe Jason was chatting up his woman before the show, who knows. Of course, true to character, Castro appeared totally unfazed by the harshness of his words — you gotta love the kid for that. And to his credit, he rebounded with a version of "Mr. Tambourine Man" that, if only he hadn't forgotten those oh-so-pesky lyrics, had the potential to be really lovely.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter who goes home this week, unless "Idol" wants to stick it to us and pull a Daughtry-like early boot shocker. But I don't think that's going to happen. Syesha or Jason will go home, someone will cry and someone will get high, and we'll be one week closer to a spectacular showdown. Let's get ready to RUMBLE…