American Idol – Andrew Lloyd Webber Night – Music Of The Blight

It’s a dark night for American Idol fans like me. Why? Because tonight is the first show without Kristy Lee Cook, which means its going to be harder for us recappers and bloggers to decide who’s in the bottom two from now on. I’m going to miss having a contestant who was always a lock to have a lousy performance. Although there was that one time she was good, but she sang “God Bless The USA,” which meant if you didn’t vote for her, you might as well have joined up with the Taliban. So here’s to you Kristy Lee Cook, you will be missed, at least until next week, when we won’t even remember that you were in the Top Ten. Anyway, enough with the past, it’s time for tonight’s episode, which featured the Broadway songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Will we see half-masks and someone singing on roller skates? Let’s find out:

Syesha Mercado- She is finally happy to be “animated.” Even though her “animated” face looks stupid, Webber seems to like that one the best. When we go from the taped piece to the live performance, she’s still making those dumb faces. She sings “One Rock N’ Roll Too Many.” She’s hitting a lot of flat notes, but at least she looks classy in the red dress she wearing. She’s using the whole stage to perform, which may be a way to distract the judges from the bunch of notes she’s missing. Randy says she found her element, Paula thinks she brought the house down, and Simon found it very sexy. They all say it’s her strongest performance, but she’s still the weakest of the field left so she’ll have to hope someone makes a major tumble if she’s going to make it through.

Jason Castro- Jason says he had never seen any of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musicals before, so the whole theme makes him go, “Uh.” He’s singing “Memory,” which he didn’t even know was from Cats. Of course, he ends up doing a soft-rock-Lite-FM version. It is coming across quite clearly that he really doesn’t want to do this song. He is actually sighing his way through this performance. His voice is weak and he sounds too unsure. This could be Jason’s worst showing on Idol so far. Randy calls it a “train wreck,” Paula thinks it’s hard for a guy to do the song, and Simon compares Jason to a kid forced to sing the song at a wedding. Simon calls it the longest two minutes of his life, and it did feel like it lasted ten minutes. Jason’s fans are going to have to come to his rescue this week in order to save him. Remember the last paragraph when I said someone is going to have to tumble to save Syesha? Jason didn’t just tumble, he took a header down a flight of stairs.

Brooke White- Brooke is doing the song “You Must Love Me,” which Webber wrote for the movie version of Evita. Brooke stops the band and makes them start over, which I think has only been done once, and I think Brooke was the one who did it. The pause Brooke takes between take 1 and take 2 feels like an eternity. I would think that having to be compared to Madonna would be easy for Brooke, but this is just painful. She never really recovers from the shaky start, and she sounds like she’s going to cry. Brooke almost tries to act the song and not sing it. Randy thinks some parts were OK, Paula is speechless and criticizes the start/stop, but likes the emotion, and Simon tells Brooke she’ll be disappointed when she watches it back. She admits that she forgot the words in the beginning, and Simon says it was brave for her to restart the song. So far, it looks like we are watching the last Andrew Lloyd Weber night the show will ever do, because with all the articles about how Idol is dropping in the ratings, they can’t have disasters like this happen again.

David Archuleta- Ryan invites random girls to run onstage to hug David. David is singing a song from Phantom Of The Opera that was originally sung in the show by the female lead. Some people might find that weird, but since last week when the guys did better with Mariah Carey than the girls, it’s not such a bad idea. David is the smartest guy person on the show tonight, because he’s not doing a Broadway version of this song. He made this into a ballady-radio-friendly love song, which is completely amazing. This is the David performance I was waiting for all season. David may have saved tonight’s show from being a complete mess. Randy calls it “the bomb,” Paula says it was perfect, and Simon says it was one of his weakest performances. I think it could be his best, mostly because I really like the original “Think Of Me,” and didn’t think it was possible to improve it. Finally I can say, David deserves to win American Idol.

Carly Smithson- She started singing “All I Ask Of You,” and ALW hates it. He makes her change to “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and she rocks it. So that’s what she’s doing tonight. Again, she turns it into a pop song, which it was kinda meant to be. But she’s really having fun with it. It might be screechy in parts, but at least she doesn’t look like a scared puppy the way Jason and Brooke did. The band even sounds like it put a sprinkle of Motown into this version. And Carly was wise to point out her hippy 60s dress, which is perfect. While David’s performance was amazing, this one is the most entertaining. Randy says it was not her best, but it was cool, Paula likes that it was unexpected, and Simon excuses her screaming and says he enjoyed it. Carly then holds up a T-shirt that says “Simon Loves Me (This Week),” which puts a nice cap on the most freewheeling segment of the night.

David Cook- We couldn’t have a ALW night without “Music Of The Night,” so David steps up to the plate and does it. When he starts, he sounds almost like Josh Grobin, or at least what Grobin probably sounded like on his demo tape. It’s weird to hear David be so faithful to the original since his specialty is to take songs and “rock” them up a little. It’s pretty good, but the way tonight has gone, it truly stands out as one of the best. Randy calls it “molten hot,” Paula gushes over it, and even though he prefers David’s grittier side, Simon thinks he did the best with it. While I was surprised that David could hit Broadway notes, I was lukewarm on it, but David’s making it to the next round.

So it looks like the bottom two this week will be Jason and Brooke, and it may depend on which of their fan bases will rally to their defenses to keep them on the show. While most people declared David Archuleta the winner of this contest weeks ago, I remained unconvinced, until this week. Now, unless he has a blunder that rivals the one Brooke had tonight, he can’t lose this competition.