TV Recap

'American Idol': Mersey Killing

A second week of Beatles songs proves to be too much, with most of the contestants revealing -- or confirming -- some potentially fatal flaws

David Cook, Syesha Mercado, ... | LUCKY DAY Syesha Mercado nailed ''Yesterday''; David Cook rocked ''Day Tripper''
LUCKY DAY Syesha Mercado nailed ''Yesterday''; David Cook rocked ''Day Tripper''

''American Idol'' recap: Beatle leftovers

Anyone want to take a bet that right now, American Idol's producers are wishing they'd followed up last week's triumphant Lennon-McCartney night by taking the advice of Brooke White's memorable number and simply letting it be? As we sat down tonight for a second helping of Beatles tunes, it was pretty clear someone forgot to refrigerate the feast over the last seven days, and the resultant 11-course musical meal mostly tasted dry, stale, and, in some cases, downright fetid.

In honor of my food-themed opening paragraph, I'd like to file tonight's various performances from least appetizing to most delicious. (Apologies in advance if you can taste the DayQuil in tonight's column; I'm fighting a cold while I write this!) Let's get started, shall we?

Someone call 911 — I think I need my stomach pumped! Okay, maybe Kristy Lee Cook's ''You've Got to Hide Your Love Away'' wasn't bad enough to put anyone's health at risk, but following the runaway train of last week's ''Eight Days a Week,'' it's pretty clear that it's time for Idol voters to flush the congenial blond country gal from the stage. You'd have had to hire a private investigator to find Kristy Lee's lower register as she stalked the stage in her peculiar black V-neck minidress (with sheer arms stolen from Joan Collins' Dynasty wardrobe), and the rest of the performance was about as flat as David Cook's hairdo. I'll admit I felt a pang of sympathy for K.L. when she delivered the lyric ''I can see them laugh at me,'' but it was canceled out by her admission that her song choice was based solely on the title. As for her promise/threat to Simon — ''I can blow your socks off, and you know it'' — unless next week's theme is gospel, and Kristy Lee wins a three-way draw with Brooke and Carly for ''Amazing Grace,'' I rather doubt it. Could it be that after eliminating one of three Davids last Wednesday, this week America will whittle down the top 10 to include only one Cook?

I think the milk is off Just keeping it really real, I'd be happy to pour Ramiele down the Idol drain this week — if I weren't already down at the ER dealing with my Kristy Lee ailment. About the only thing right with Ramiele's performance of ''I Should Have Known Better'' was the prescience of the song's title. Everything about the performance — Ramiele's weird button-y belt-bustier thingie, the song's hokey arrangement, her ''follow the bouncing ball'' delivery — said ''tenth place on season 2 of Idol.'' Seriously, while her competitors are at least making an attempt to try out interesting arrangements and interpretations, Ramiele is busy dedicating ''In My Life'' to her fallen Idol comrades and saying that making friends with her fellow finalists has been the most memorable part of her Idol journey. (Ugh. Apologies for using the term ''Idol journey.'') Simon was right that the harmonica accompaniment was all wrong, but when I spend the entire 90 seconds transfixed by a contestant's dazzling eyeliner and troweled-on lip gloss, then there's something essential missing from the performance.

Also fast approaching his Idol expiration date is Michael Johns, who wisely mentioned his Hollywood-week performance of ''Bohemian Rhapsody'' in his interview package, the better to remind voters why they put him into the season 7 finals in the first place. Unfortunately, his rendition of ''A Day in the Life'' was once again an utter disappointment by comparison. Sure, Michael was bound to fail in his attempt to condense a long and winding number into 90 seconds — it all ended up very ''three songs for the price of one!'' — but you can't blame song arrangement for that gruesomely botched falsetto or a general lack of emotional connection. It seems like every week the judges try to tell us Michael is worthy of our votes — how hilarious was Paula's one-two punch of saying that Michael was great during dress rehersal, then blaming his nonexistent earpiece for his shortcomings (whoops!) — but how many chances are we supposed to give him before we just give up?

I've got similar feelings about Amanda Overmyer, another contestant who seemed so terrific during Hollywood Week. Oh, Rock & Roll Nurse, I hate myself for loving you. Because, really, your rendition of ''Back in the U.S.S.R.'' was, to quote the quote of the week, ''a hot tranny mess.'' The way you seemed to be gasping for breath at the end of every big ''note'' (And I put ''note'' in quotation marks, because if I didn't, it might imply you were trying to sing an actual tune, rather than howl like the world's most dangerous former health-care provider.) But as Simon noted, personality counts in this competition, and I cannot resist howling with laughter when you say things like how you want to tease up a Beatles song really high and put some black eyeliner on it, or when you paint yourself as the anti-Archuleta by declaring, ''Ballads are boring!'' Simon was right that ''your tickets aren't on sale yet,'' but here's hoping you survive one more week. The Idol top 10 tour needs you!

NEXT: Falling, yes, I'm falling...

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