American Idol Does Neil Diamond

The one and only Neil Diamond.

Simon hit the nail on the head when he said, “This is officially the strangest show we’ve ever done.” Indeed it was a strange night on “American Idol” with Neil Diamond being this week’s mentor. I know; it sounds like the subject of an “American Idol” sketch on “Sunday Night Live”. But it wasn’t…it actually happened.

The Top 5 sang not one, but two Neil Diamond songs…it was, uh, interesting.

Look at this kid! He cracks me up!

First up was Jason “I’m Not Sure What’s Going On” Castro, who started off strumming his guitar to “Forever in Blue Jeans”. It was just hilarious–there’s no other way to put it. It was so cheesy I couldn’t help but erupt into laughter. ‘Tween girls everywhere ate it up I’m sure. His second song was a miserable rendition of “September Morn” which lacked passion, enthusiasm…it pretty much lacked everything. As I listened to Castro sing, I wondered, “Do the hair dressers get grossed out doing his hair for the show?” If this kid makes it through another week, it’s only because America is as clueless as he is.

Sigh. Swoon.

Next was resident resident David “Too Hot For Words” Cook who chose to sing “I’m Alive and “All I Ever Needed”. While the first song was OK, I mean, it was David Cook singing; he nailed the second one. I think he was totally playing on his sexual appeal during “All I Ever Needed”, but then again, it was kind of a sexy performance. Cook used a white electric guitar during the first song and an acoustic on the second, which was weird when he totally rocked out. I still think he’s going to go all the way; Paula apparently agrees.

I love Brooke’s expression in this photo!

Brooke White decided to play two instruments this week–guitar and piano. She started out playing “I’m A Believer”, which was a poor choice of song. Not only did it sound like “girls night out at the karaoke bar” as Simon so delicately put it, but it was just so “unBrooke”. However, Brooke seemed to regain the confidence she’s been lacking the past few weeks. Her second song, “I Am I Said” was wonderful. She took her place at the piano and belted out a passionate song with Brooke-like sincerity. That’s our girl, Brooke!

Seriously, who dressed this kid?

Even though David Archuleta received acclaim from the judges, I didn’t think he was that great. I suppose his vocals were on, but the musical arrangements sounded hooky to me. “Sweet Caroline”, Archie’s first choice, seemed like a happy bubblegum song as opposed to a passionate love song and “America” seemed to lose intensity with the jovial background music. Neither song really seemed to fit David’s age bracket, but I knew he’d pick “America”. I just knew it. He’s a cute kid, but seriously, who’s gonna buy his album (should be make one) at this point?

Syesha’s steamy performance from last week.

Simon thinks it’s Syesha Mercado’s week to go home and I agree. While she is a talented vocalist, her voice is better suited for Broadway, not pop music. Her version of “Hello” again was all over the place, which made the vocals messy and unappealing. Showing excellent stage presence on “Thank the Lord for the Nighttime”, her vocals weren’t stunning. In fact, I felt like I was watching a nightmarish version of “High School Musical: Neil Diamond Edition”.

Neil Diamond’s releasing his 26th album on May 6, so obviously he’s on the show for publicity. But, my goodness, what are the producers thinking? I say this week after week and it just keeps getting worse. I’m glad there are only a handful of contestants left. What’s next? Marilyn Manson night? Anyway, adding to the strangeness of the night were the goofy psychedelic stage lights, which just made everything seem surreal. The only thing worse than watching it on T.V. would have been being there LIVE…GO BROOKE!

Another blogger brings up a good point, how *did* Paula have her notes on Castro’s second song ready to go when he hadn’t sung it yet?  Read it here.

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