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TV Recap: American Idol – Top Three – They Say Things Come in Threes

There’s a lot of threes on tonight’s show. There are three contestants left (or maybe just one with any chance, if you believe the blogs), and tonight they are doing three songs: One picked by the judges, one picked by the producers, and one that they picked themselves. Everyone will be on the lookout tonight for what David Archuleta will pick, because this was the week that his dad was told his backstage pass was no good and would not be allowed to participate in rehearsals. Last week, it was David’s dad who made him add Sean Kingston’s lyrics to “Stand By Me,” thereby costing American Idol producers a serious amount of cash for the right to the song, which they told the Archie camp NOT to do. Listen, you can be an annoying stage parent, but once money gets involved, you’re out! So let’s see how the week before the big finale goes down:

David Archuletta- The Mayor of David’s town (who has a wacky handlebar mustache) tells David (who’s father is hanging very close to his son) that Paula has chosen “And So It Goes” by Billy Joel as his song. Between the cheesy mustache and David’s dad standing center stage, Murray City must have the largest population of attention whores per square mile in Utah. Paula says she chose it because it has a level of difficulty he could handle, and he just says it’s a beautiful song. He makes this song a little too dramatic, like it’s the big number in a Broadway musical. This is one of my favorite Billy Joel tracks, but it’s hard to compare to the original because, sadly, David’s voice has more tone and range than The Piano Man’s does. I just wish he would show as much emotion in his body language as his voice does. Randy says he was in the zone tonight, Paula is stunned by its beauty, and Simon gives it just a very good and thinks it was a bit too predictable.

For his song choice, he picks “With You” by Chris Brown, so he can do something more modern. He messes the words up a little bit, and his confidence is off. I think Idol really has to turn the crowd mikes off, because the screaming girls are becoming a bit distracting. You think anyone is really paying attention to him singing when 90% of the audience is ready to faint? David needs a little more soul to do a song like this, a point that Randy makes as well. Paula thinks the song fit right for him, and Simon compares it to a Chihuahua into a tiger. It was pretty funny to see David doing to Chris Brown what Pat Boone used to do to Fats Domino. The Billy Joel performance will make people forget this one, so he’ll really have to slam the producer’s choice later on.

Song #3 is a producer’s choice and David Archie gets “Longer” by Dan Folgelberg. Why Idol’s crew would saddle their favorite son with a Fogelberg song is beyond me. This is a terrible choice, mostly because it is so bland. David does all the same old face motions and note runs he does every week. This song could have been from any episode from the season so far. Randy says he could sing the phone book, Paula can’t say anything bad about him, and Simon thinks the song choice was terrible and called it “gooey.” What made this interesting was that Simon was trying to defend David, and the stupid girls in the front kept booing him. Trust me girls, it is almost impossible to say something nice about Dan Folgelberg, so just be thankful David Archie is almost bulletproof at this point.

Syesha Mercado- Syesha is told by Randy that she’s doing “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys. Sadly, she is told this by text, alone in a limo. So David gets a screaming crowd with the mayor of his town, and Syesha doesn’t even have a friend with her. Seriously, has even the show given up on her? Randy says he picked it because he knows she loves Alicia Keys as much as he does. Syesha is making this song sound like it was written in 1958. She looks and sounds like she’s singing this as part of the talent competition of a beauty pageant. I really wasn’t feeling this one at all because it was pretty boring and by the numbers. Randy tells her she’s amazing and he’s happy she peaked at the right time, Paula’s proud she’s the last woman standing, and Simon says she sounded too much like the original. The three judges liked it more than I did, but then, will it really matter when it’s time to go to the phones?

Her second song, chosen by her is “Fever” by Peggy Lee. This is a smart choice for her because it’s a very theatrical song, and has just the right touch of sexy and sass. She also has a chair as a dancing prop, and does a little choreography as she sings. Now unlike the last song, she makes this old song sound new. I will also admit the miniskirt doesn’t hurt either. Her voice sounds really great on this once, and the way she handles herself on stage blows David Archie away. Randy gives Syesha another great review; Paula is surprised she picked the song because Paula doesn’t think it shows who Syesha is, and Simon compares it to a lame cabaret performance. I thought it was the second best of the show so far, and wish that people would take into account how comfortable she looks on stage. If Syesha is going home tomorrow, I wish she could go straight to Broadway, instead of having to perform on some Pop Tart-sponsored tour.

The producers pick for Syesha is “Hit Me Up.” She looks like she’s having the most fun on this one, even if it’s not the best song performance. She’s not hitting the home runs she hit on the first two. She’s a little flat, but maybe people will be distracted by her dance moves to not notice. Randy gives it just an OK, Paula points out that the song is from “Happy Feet,” but it’s not her type of song, and Paula (of all people) tells her she’s not going to make it to next week. Simon tells her that she did not have a defining moment tonight, and she may have peaked last week. I thought this was the weakest of the three songs, and everyone knows she needed to have three amazing performances to avoid a David-David thrashing. It looks like she didn’t get it, but at least she put to rest all the second-guessing about if Carly Smithson should have been the last girl left.

David Cook- David gets his Simon-Gram while on the local news. Simon texts him that he’s singing “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack. I can’t tell if Simon is purposely trying to get David Cook off the show by doing a song he couldn’t possibly know, or if after his world-famous rendition of “Hello,” Simon thinks David can pull of anything. Simon calls it one of the greatest songs of all time, and wants David to show some originality. David starts off a little shaky, and his voice is doing some weird twittering. This could be David’s worst performance on the show, and part of it is because of the arrangement. I’ll give him credit for finishing strong, but I really hated the first 60 seconds. Randy loves the high note as the end, but he hated Simon’s song choice, Paula says he did her second-favorite rendition of the song, and Simon thinks it was one of his best performance. I really thought it was terrible, but, like I said before, he’s already a lock for next week so far.

David’s song choice is “Dare You To Move” by Switchfoot, which David says reminds him of his whole Idol experience. I don’t know if it’s just me, but David’s voice sounds weak again. Some of his notes are pretty shaky, but again he has a huge finish. He’s screaming a lot of the vocals, and I think he might be sick or something. Randy gives him props for song choice, but gives him the pitchy tag, Paula thinks it was hard to do a short version of the song, and Simon says it was just OK, but the whole second round was like that. While I understood that Syesha should have picked a more modern song, her “contestant’s choice,” hers sounded better than the boys, so maybe going younger wasn’t such a good idea.

David gets Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing,” which is considered one of the Toxic Twins’ worst songs. This is the best one he’s done all night. It’s like the first two songs were just a warm-up for this one. I really like David, and I’m disappointed it took him so long to get it together. He’s hitting all the right notes, and he’s stopped all the screaming. Randy feels it was just alright and too predictable, Paula tells him he’ll be back next week, and Simon gives the whole night to him. So if Paula is saying good-bye to Syesha, and locking David Cook, I guess there’s no need for predictions. We’ll see you here next week for the big finale, complete with the debut of the Idol single, and all the trimmings.