The Idol team put out (they hoped) another media-fueled fire last night, by letting David Cook casually come clean that he'd copped his last few arrangements "on the internet" - citing inspirations like Whitesnake and Chris Cornell's arrangement of "Billie Jean" which the judges had pronounced oh-so-original sounding. And this week, for the Dolly Parton themed night, Cook swore his treatment of "Little Sparrow" was actually his own. It turned out pretty decently, after all was said and done.
Carly Smithson, previously outed (and forced to 'fess up on TV) for the sin of having a failed recording career, did really, really well by "Here You Come Again." Slowed down and embellished with strings, the treatment could be a a hit all over again. Or at least a popular, tear jerking Disney movie soundtrack theme.
Brooke White's show opening, suicide spot performance of "Jolene" was just alright for me and the increasingly testy Randy, though I believe she'll survive. She puts on that earthy naturalness aura really well - a contradiction in terms, but what the hey.
Ramiele Malubay was less convincing as a country singer with "I Wonder Do I Ever Cross Your Mind." I think she's getting crossed off by most - making her very vulnerable for elimination.
And when the competition gets a little tighter, Jason Castro also is headed for the dumpster. He did better than last week (when he really should have been offed, not Chikezie) but the dude can't hold a candle in the cute and cuddly department next to arch rival David Archuleta. Back on his game, D.A. had all his ducks lined up in a row, co-minglling his warmth and virginal vulnerablity and spiritual essence just perfectly with "Smokey Mountain Memories." This little guy is so popular, he could win a lot of States in a Presidential election, except for that, um, pesky age problem. And as far as Idol is concerned, I'm still convinced he's going all the way.
And talk about political strategery. After her calculated comeback last week with that flag waving Lee Greenwood song ("Proud to Be an America"), Kristy Lee Cook proved she actual does have "legs" (and bare feet) with "Coat of Many Colors." Thank heavens they've stopped trying to "tress her" like a Barbie Doll. Oh, and that grin and bear it "thank you" to critical Simon was also refreshingly au-natural, though comporable competitor Brooke still does it better.
In the second to last spot, Syesha Mercado dared to take on a Parton song made even bigger by Whitney Houston, "I Will Always Love You." Doesn't she know the Idol judges hate it when anyone attempts to ape that Divine Diva? Such sacrilege! Of course, even Whiitney can't do Whitney these days, but that seems to be beside the point.
I felt like Michael Johns was channeling Joe Cocker in his country soul show closer of "It's All Wrong But It's Alright," a Parton song I've never heard before. Maybe it was an Australian only release? The guy looked stoic and worked it out well, but just seems so generic. If he somehow manages to win, I'm migrating to Melbourne.