Again, I'm not going to do song-by-song analysis until at least next week, if not the finals. (If you want thoughts that are, as always, eerily similar to what I would write if I cared enough to do so, go read Fienberg.) A couple of thoughts, though:
- For a group that's allegedly the most talented in "Idol" history, they sure put together a lousy night. Carly started off with what I thought was a middling Heart cover, and by the end of the evening, she seemed like one of the best. The only performance I felt unreservedly good about was Brooke the nanny's "You're So Vain," and even there I'm second-guessing how much of that was about the vocal and how much is my affection for the song, plus Brooke's infectious personality.
- I've been a fan of Amanda Overmyer for most of this season. I don't know that she's a great singer, but she has real stage presence (and awesome pants), I love her influences (Janis, Grace Slick), and "Idol" has never had a woman contestant like her before. She's sort of like a female version of Bo (still my fave "Idol" ever), albeit not nearly as gifted vocally -- which could not have been more apparent during her butchering of "Carry On Wayward Son." It sounded like she had a cold or sore throat or something (she was noticeably better during the dress rehearsal footage they showed during the final montage), but even if she were fully healthy, I think that would have been a mess. Given that they put her on the seal with Joanne last week, I'm really worried for her. This competition needs variety -- how boring would it be if all the blonde Carrie clones made the finals? -- and I'm hopeful she'll survive a while still, if only because so many people were so terrible tonight.
- Speaking of Bo, one of the many reasons I hate this shift to themed semi-finals (complete with what sounds like a very limited list of available songs) is that it makes it harder for the contestants to assert their talent and identity by picking a song they know they can kick ass on and that says "This is me, this is the kind of music I want to do." Think of Bo on "Whipping Post," or Elliott on "Moody's Mood For Love," or George Huff on "Lean On Me," or even Daughtry on "Hemorrhage" (a song that an "Idol" producer would never in a million years have thought to put on an approved song list if Daughtry hadn't done it first). While some of the contestants are getting to do songs they know and love (even if they're not brilliant at it, like Carly on "Crazy On You"), for the most part you can tell they've never heard of these numbers before and are struggling to connect with them. We're already stuck with the stupid themes once the finals start. One of the nicer things about the semis was the unpredictability of what kinds of songs you might hear. Way to ruin a good thing, producers.