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May 7, 2008
Idol Chatter: Simon sez?


If "American Idol" voters even come close to listening to judge Simon Cowell's opinions Tuesday night, there will be no big shocker on tonight's results show (at 9 on Fox40).

Jason Castro may have dreaded (no pun intended) hearing it but, after his second song, Simon threw down the gauntlet: "I'd pack your suitcase."


The Final 4 performed two songs each from the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. However, after last week's flub with Paula Abdul, host Ryan Seacrest told the three judges they would critique after each song.
"Everybody got it right?" he asked. (Camera pans to Paula.)

David Cook surprised me (and apparently the judges) with both his songs: Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" and The Who's "Baba O'Riley." (Most folks might remember this song as "Teenage Wasteland.")

The judges definitely preferred the latter song. Randy Jackson said "Hungry" was an "OK choice," but "Baba" was great.

Syesha Mercado went all Tina Turner on us with "Proud Mary" first: shiny, short dress, hips swaying, working the band.

Randy said, "It was the third week in a row Syesha was in the zone!" However, Simon put a damper on the performance, saying it was a "shrieky version."

Her second song? A heartfelt rendition of Sam Cooke's 1964 "A Change is Gonna Come." Randy, however, said Syesha was trying for "things" that weren't there. "It was disconnected and fell flat."

Paula and Simon took sides against Randy, both loving it. Syesha was brought to tears by their praise - and also by the emotion of the song and its connection to the Civil Rights movement. While she cried, the judges bickered among themselves, to the point that Ryan warned that "Hell's Kitchen," which follows "Idol," was going to start any minute.

And then there was Jason, strummin' and chillin' to two "Bobs:" Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" and Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man."

Dreadlocks notwithstanding, Jason wasn't the bomb. He just bombed. He dropped the lyrics on the Dylan song and was told by Simon that the Marley song was one "you don't touch!"

"Stand back. That was utterly atrocious!" he said.

That left young David Archuleta (pictured), who seemed to have put a lot of thought into his selectiions, starting with Ben E. King's "Stand by Me," on which Paula said he delivered. Randy said he thought David A. was trying to win the whole thing. (Simon took another swing at Jason, who had just sung, saying, "David, you could have whistled better than the last song." Ouch!)

David's last song was Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender," one of the best arrangements I've ever heard. Randy said he "caressed each word." Paula said it was one of her favorite performances. And then, this from Simon: "You didn't beat the competition tonight, you crushed it!"

In the end, Ryan warned voters/viewers to not let down their favorite contestant by not voting.

"Remember, Tamyra Gray (Season 1) and Chris Daughtry (Season 5) both went home in the fourth spot," he said.

Predictions: wasted no time putting the "red light" on Jason, polling him as definitely headed home. I won't argue with that. But, his lock on the female vote could be a stunner for, say, Syesha.

I'm sticking with my two "Davids" for the finale. What do you think?

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