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American Idol: The Top 3 Perform

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Typically, tonight's episode of Idol is one of my favorites, where the judges and producers each choose a song for the contestants to sing. I like the challenge of it, as well as getting a little glimpse into the judges' musical tastes and how they interpret the singers. So let's get into it:

David Archuleta:

JUDGE'S CHOICE: Paula chose Billy Joel's "And So It Goes," for little David. I'm not familiar with that song so much but Billy Joel seemed like a good pick for him: he's easy to listen to but the singer has the chance to put a little soul in it if he or she wants to. David sung beautifully, but as Simon said, there were "no surprises," and that it was "predictable." I thought it was funny that Paula chose the word "exploit" when describing how the song showed off David's timbre, the same week that David's dad got kicked out of rehearsals.

SINGER'S CHOICE: David went with "With You," by Chris Brown, another song I don't know that well but it's an uptempo little number that had me writing "I need you, boo?" in my notes. Yes, David sang "boo." Twice, I think. It definitely wasn't his greatest performance but I give him props for taking that opportunity and doing something different with it and actually choosing a youthful song (and I like that he dressed like his own dorky self, and not like Justin Timberlake or anything.) The judges agreed with me: good try but not a home run.

PRODUCER'S CHOICE: The producers of the show chose "Longer" by Dan Fogelberg, whose niece I went to high school with (hi, Kate!) Uhhh. It's a pretty song, but SO easy listening. Simon agreed with me, saying that David sang it very well but that the choice was way too gooey. Doesn't matter though, because the crowd went nuts as David sang "I love you" to the camera on his last line. Paula was convinced that he'll make it to the finals, and I am too.

Final verdict: I think David came out ahead. We already know he can sing well and his Chris Brown attempt wasn't a total flop and I thought it was a brave choice.


JUDGE'S CHOICE: Randy chose "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keyes for Syesha to sing, which was I thought was a good but somewhat telling choice as I don't consider Alicia to be the strongest singer ever. Actually I think Syesha picked it up a bit and sang better than I expected, although Simon thought it was a bit too much like the original.

SINGER'S CHOICE: Syesha chose Peggy Lee's "Fever", which I thought was a generic song choice involving a stupid, pointless gimmick of Syesha kind of dancing/sitting on a chair. She sang it serviceably, so I expected the judges to disagree with me fully, but I was pleasantly surprised when Paula (of all people!) called Syesha out on it, saying that it didn't really show us who she is. Then, Paula got booed! She really was on her game tonight, by the way—perhaps it was her bulletproof corset. Simon told Syesha that it was "lame cabaret" which was even more spot-on because I thought she was already kind of cheating last week with her singing/dancing routine on "Proud Mary."

PRODUCER'S CHOICE: "Hit Me Up," from the Happy Feet soundtrack, which I just had to look up to see that it's by someone named Gia Farrell. It's a faster, Beyonce-ish song, and to me, it exposed Syesha's weakness—she doesn't seem to want to do the grunt work when it comes to singing—she just wants to do the big runs and solos. I couldn't believe it but Paula declared that Syesha probably didn't do enough to push her into the top three.

Final verdict: I completely agreed with Paula, which must mean it's the end of the world. I don't really believe in any of these three kids, if I'm being honest—I'm not rooting for them or believing in them or even that entertained by them, but Syesha especially seems to be lacking in any idea of who or what she is, other than just a performer, so she rings very hollow to me.

David Cook:

JUDGE's CHOICE: Simon picked "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," which is either a song I don't know or I just didn't recognize because David drew it out so much. I thought it was Bryan Adams-ey, which to me means sung well but in a somewhat cheesy not-quite-power-ballad way. Simon declared him the winner of that particular round though.

SINGER'S CHOICE: David sang Switchfoot's "Dare You To Move," ANOTHER song which I don't know. I have to say that on the second half of the song, David did his thing (which is my way of saying "he rocked it" if I actually believed he rocked). The camera was treating him, in fact, as if he were doing his victory lap on the stage. The first half of the song, though, I thought was a little monotone and dull and, once again, Paula agreed with me, saying that the song lacked a beginning, middle and end.

PRODUCER's CHOICE: Michael Johns must have been just dying. The producers gave David "Don't Want to Miss a Thing," which apparently is one of the greatest songs ever written, according to the judges, but to me it's just the sappy song they sing in The Sweetest Thing when Selma Blair has a penis stuck in her mouth. Anyway, David did a good job with it, and Simon said that he won the night.

Final verdict: see previous sentence.

Like I said before, I am not feeling this final three at all. Maybe I've been watching Idol too long or it's been on too long or I'm too jaded, but really I just think these particular kids seem too hard and polished. They don't seem like they LOVE to sing, like Carly did, or that they get a boner just by being on stage, like Danny Noriega did. I'll continue to root for David Archuleta because I don't want his dad to hurt him next week if he doesn't win.

Grade: B

Stray observations:

—Tonight was also the night where the cameras followed the contestants to their home towns, which was contained in a mercifully short package this season.

—The real winner of this night? David Archuleta's mayor's mustache.

—I love David Cook's dad.

—There was something weird about the way Syesha said ""Fever', fun, happy, yeah," before she sang. "Fun, happy yeah" doesn't seem to describe anything about "Fever."

—I still think David A's voice is best-suited for a Christmas album.

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