Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ranking American Idol's Top 10 Guys: Archuleta Wipes the Floor With the Competition


Is David Archuleta gonna run away with this whole thing?

Right now, it's looking like American Idol's 17-year-old wonder boy is gonna wipe the floor with the competition, as his rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine" was head and shoulders better than any of the other Top 10 guys. (They also showed an adorable video of David performing in front of Season 1 contestants, including Kelly Clarkson -- click here to see that video).

As was the case last week, and again perhaps due to the restrictive 70's theme, there were very few stand-out performances, and lots of solid-but-not-spectacular showings from the rest of the guys. Some improved over last week's performances; others fell short of the promise they've showed in prior rounds.

Here's my rankings of the Top 10 guys:

1. David Archuleta
(Last Week: #2)
I mean! This kid is just unbelievable, with a voice so pure it defies description. After hearing Ruben Studdard and Jennifer Hudson sing this song on this show I was waiting to be let down -- and that was so not the case! The purity of David's voice (so pure!) elevated it to levels of true greatness (at least greatness within the realm of Idol). This is actually my favorite non-Lenon version of the song I've ever heard. Though I do think David is gonna win this competition and will become a huge star, I would advise the judges from anointing him champion too quickly -- there's still months left of the competition, and we know what happens to frontrunners (ahem, Senator Clinton).

2. David Cook
(Last Week: #4)
Why don't more of you like David Cook?? He's got an understated charm, he's not all me-me-me, and he sounds freakin' fantastic every time he sings. Fall in love with him, people! I thought tonight was actually his best performance yet, though I would advise against taking extended guitar breaks during a 90 second song. Still, definitely a triump, and a Top 12 without him would be a real shame. (And as for the "film" that Simon hated -- I loved it! The geeky rocker? Perfection!)
Grade: A-

3. David Hernandez
(Last Week: #7)
Wow, this kid is sure hot and cold -- his Hollywood week audition was great, but last week's show-opener was stiff and awkward. Tonight he was back on form, showing off great vocals and even a dash of panache. If he keeps this up, he could find himself Phil Stacey-ing his way into the Top 10.
Grade: B+

4. Chekezie
(Last Week: #9)
Far and away the most improved guy of the week, Chekezie finally lived up to the billing I've been giving him for weeks. Despite another questionable outfit and some awkward dance moves, he greatly improved his stage presence and vocals, sounding, actually, quite excellent (if not as good as Elliott Yamin, who sang this song back in Season 5). Will it be enough to overcome that rough first performance (and even rougher suit that he continues to defend)? I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Grade: B+

5. Michael Johns
(Last Week: #3)
The guys does have charisma, he's cute, and he can sing, but there's something almost too effortless about his performances. It might end up backfiring on him -- the contestants who end up doing the best on this show are the often the ones who seem like they are really working (think Fantasia or Taylor Hicks). If he had sounded a bit better I might be more forgiving, but this was, as Simon said, definitely his weakest performance by a mile.
Grade: B-

Continue reading for #'s 6 through 10

AMERICAN IDOL POLL: Which of the Top 10 Guys Was Your Favorite? Who's Going Home?


VIDEO: David Archuleta's "Imagine," David Hernandez' "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" and David Cook's "All Right Now"

Read American Idol's Ten Best Semifinal Performances of All Time


Anonymous said...

How could anyone find anything appealing about David Cook?

The vocals are limited and he looks like a slob.

wen said...

The song Imagine is basically a very pretty song about communism. When kids pick this song to show how "in touch" or whatever they are with the human condition, they loss points with me for not realizing what the song is mostly about.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately a great diversity of styles and sounds are available to us because appreciation of music is highly personal. For that reason I rarely comment on the tastes of others but in the case of Imagine I have to respectfully disagree with your praise.
The voice may be pure [quite thin however]but the performance of Imagine was not.
Imagine is a powerful song that needs no adornment and indeed suffers from the use of vocal gymnastics of which there were a never ending supply. If you have a pure voice and a pure song, have the guts [maturity ?] to just lay the song out there and save the "embroidery" for another day.

Sunny said...

I think that Archuletta is much like a show pup, he's been trained and presents himself as such. His entire life has revolved around singing. He had no clue about what the song is about, for with his religious affiliation, it's not such a fitting selection.

Your second pick's only redeeming quality the fact he enjoys words, I found that interesting and a good point for him.

My favorites are Mulabay and Castro. Neither are trained or schooled performers and are certainly not "plants" such as Carly and Michael(Lee)Johns, Robbie, Kristy, et al.