If American Idol is all about people trying to make a name for themselves by covering other artists' work, then who better than Andrew Lloyd Webber to be this week's celebrity mentor?
In general I thought this was one of the better weeks, which is usually the case when the contestants have to sing songs with real melodies. Okay, a lot of the notes were lifted from Giacomo Puccini but still, they were actual compositions (as opposed to last week's screechfest).
Jason Castro didn't know "Memory" was sung on stage by a cat. I guess the fact that it was from the musical Cats wasn't enough of a clue for him. What a complete moron. He sang the song not as a cat but as roadkill. Could be going home this week to resume his career as a village idiot.
But Syesha Mercado - hubba hubba!! I've never been a fan before but zowie - the slinky red cocktail dress, the sultry moves - I loved her. She dirties up well. Syesha sang "One Rock n' Roll Too Many" and clearly she has a future in musical theatre. She'd be great as Dorothy in The Wiz or Gary Coleman in Avenue Q.
Brooke White's schtick is that she makes every song so personal, which is why I laughed for five minutes when Sir Andew listened to her rehearse and said "she didn't have a clue as to what she was singing about." For the second time in the competition Brooke had a false start and had to begin again. It was one of the few reminders that this was live. But I fear it may cost her. America likes its spontaneity polished and rehearsed. She sang "You Must Love Me". I think with Webber's help she finally understood that the true meaning of this song is a desperate plea for votes.
David Archuleta sang "Think of Me" from Phantom of the Opera, making it his own - and by that I mean turning it into "Beauty and the Beast". It's a song normally sung by a woman but we may find out in ten years that it was.
I loved Carly Smithson's version of "Jesus Christ Superstar". The key to her staying in the competition is not letting her scary tattooed-covered skinhead husband get on camera. Remember, the kids are voting for American Idol not American Psycho.
And finally, David Cook did a mesmerizing version of "Music of the Night" from Phantom of the Opera. He sang it pretty much like Michael Crawford but since no one who votes knows who the hell Michael Crawford is, or Phantom of the Opera, or Andrew Lloyd Webber, or Puccini, or Evita, or maybe even Jesus Christ (although that could just be Jason Castro), I'm sure they felt David's version was original.
All in all, good performances and no one sang Don't Cry for Me Argentina. I don't think I could ask for anything more...okay, maybe a Syesha wardrobe malfunction. But that's just me.
You can read more from Ken at kenlevine.blogspot.com