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April 16, 2008
Idol Chatter: Guys outsing gals


I'm not a huge Mariah Carey fan - certainly not to the degree "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson is. Heck, I only recognized three of the songs the Final 7 (pictured with Mariah) sang Tuesday night!

Right off, I was glad host Ryan Seacrest asked the judges how they would rate the contestants since Mariah's songs typically would be discouraged at any other stage of the competition.

(Oh, did I mention Mariah has a CD coming out, titled "E=MC2"?)

Randy spoke for all three: "We'll judge it fairly. I'm looking for identity."

He initially was worried about "boys singing girls' songs." David Archuleta was up first with "When You Believe" and, even though it had sort of an "anthem" feel to it, he's definitely safe.

Oddly, all four remaining gals sang one after another. Carly Smithson took on "Without You." Interestingly, my "Idol"-watching companions and I actually prefer the Harry Nilsson version over the Mariah version - and certainly over the Carly rendition.

Syesha Mercado's "Vanishing" was, according to Paula Abdul, a song "not many people know." Simon Cowell thought it was technically very good. No surprise, Brooke White took on "Hero." Paula liked the "unplugged" version, i.e., Brooke on the piano. Loved Simon's theory:

"It was like ordering a hamburger and only getting the bun. The vital ingredient was missing."

Of course, the where's the beef? reference deteriorated into a lack of condiments, etc., leaving Brooke confused - or hungry - and Ryan telliing viewers, "If you'd like to order take-out, call ...."

I liked Kristy Lee Cook's version of "Forever." She's starting to remind me of a young Lynn Anderson. Paula loved the arrangement; Simon thought it was "whiny at times."

The performance of the night? No question, it was David Cook's bluesy/R&B version of "Always Be My Baby." Randy gave him a standing "O." Paula thought it could be turned into a movie soundtrack. Simon delivered a bit of a scare, saying, "We are coming out of karaoke hell - into a breath of fresh air."

"It was original, daring and the sign of a great potential artist."

Tuesday was definitely an emotional night for David C. He got choked up. And, with good reason. His brother, who is battliing cancer, was in the audience.

Closing things out was Jason Castro, with "I Don't Wanna Cry." The arrangement certainly fit Jason's laid-back style. But Randy compared it to being at "a weird beach luau, with music playing in the distance." Paula and Simon liked it.

But, no matter. Simon was spot on at the end of the show when he said the remaining three guys "completely won the night."

Predictions on who gets the boot tonight (at 9 on Fox40)? I've got Carly, Brooke and Syesha in the bottom 3 with either Carly or Syesha headed home.

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