American Idol 7: Michael Johns Was Born to Be My Baby (I Don't Know About the Other Na Na Na Nine)

if only for one night, if i were your woman 1987, if i was your woman 1987, if i was your woman, if i were your woman, luther vandross

As I mentioned yesterday, tonight's theme on AI is "Songs From the Year You Were Born." I keep wishing that I could sing so that my old ass could get on this show and impress everyone with my stirring rendition of "Bad Bad Leroy Brown." Actually, I would probably pick either "Little Willy" or "D'Yer Mak'er." Or maybe I would show some true originality and combine them for something along the lines of Oh, oh oh oh oh oh, Little Willy won't go-ho ho ho ho home. I promise you all now that you haven't heard the last of me! I will make it to the "Best of the Worst" special next year!

Randy and Paula are both sick and hoarse tonight. Hmm. I wonder if they were making out like there's no tomorrow? I bet Paula has hickeys all over her arms, which is why she's wearing those weird leather "arm casts" with the little wrist tiaras. Where is Christian Siriano when I need him? I can't tell if that look is fierce or if it's a hot tranny mess.

Ramiele Malubay is up first and no one seems to notice that she's dressed like Eponine from Les Miserables. The little twit defies me immediately. Remember when I told her not to sing Heart's "Alone?" Yeah, well guess what she's singing. I mean, guess what she's screaming. Er, I mean, guess what she's screaming off-key. Luckily for everyone, the background singers are really drowning her out during the chorus. The judges all look at her as if she just bludgeoned the Wilson sisters right in front of them. Good for her. This is what she gets for disregarding my advice. Randy immediately brings up Carly's superior version of this song earlier in the season but, surprisingly, no one mentions how Carrie Underwood completely kicked that song's ass during her season. Simon doesn't have much to say. Paula tries to force everyone to take pity on Ramiele because she's supposedly sick too. Wow, THIS IS THE SICKEST TOP 10 EVER!!

Go Jason, go Castro, it's your birthday, it's your birthday! The dreadlocked wonder celebrates his b-day by singing that '80s party classic, "Fragile" by Sting. Uh huh. I like Jason because he has a nice voice, and I'll be damned if he doesn't look more and more like Barbarino every day, but this is just so dull. Why would he pick this song?? One alternate that I almost picked for him was Sting's "We'll Be Together," which would have been much more fun. Anything would have been more fun than this. It's not bad, but he's just like some dude playing guitar in the quad in between classes or something. Randy and Paula are appropriately lukewarm about the performance and offer up a few meaningless words. Simon, on the other hand, is actually helpful and tries to impress upon Jason the importance of taking this competition a little more seriously. When Ryan asks Jason if he's taking it seriously, he does that goofy goober smile that everyone loves and is like, "eeeeee...yeeeeeeeah?" Well, I can't fault him for that. This is American Idol, not SxSW.

Syesha Mercado is up next and out come the earplugs. This will be loud. I almost fall off my chair when she doesn't sing a Whitney song, but quickly regain my balance when I find out that she's doing the Stephanie Mills version of a Gladys Knight song, "If I Were Your Woman." Men, if Syesha was your woman you would surely be deaf by now. Look, this is all in key and she has a nice voice, but I could hear this same performance from about 200 other wannabe divas. She bores me. Randy and Paula give her way too much credit, while Simon gives her just about the right amount by letting her know she's the best so far but that "we're only three in." My thoughts exactly.

Chikezie forgets that he developed a personality over the last couple of weeks and trudges through Brenda Russell's "If Only For One Night." Oh, if only for one night, no one was allowed to sing these cookie-cutter ballads. That would be wonderful. Much like Syesha before him, Chikezie's vocals sound perfectly fine but he is putting everyone to sleep. The Dawg opens with a "What's going down," and you know what that means! He did not love it. Paula talks until it's Simon's turn, and he blasts Ka-cheezy's lack of originality.

Someone finally takes my advice! Brooke White picks one of my "alternate" song selections, The Police's "Every Breath You Take." She has a false start, starts again and it sounds really nice with just her and the piano. Then, in the middle, the band comes in and ruins everything. Randy and Simon both feel the same way. They think she would've been better off just keeping it simple. For some reason, all the judges talk about how wonderful she is for flubbing the beginning. Apparently, starting off on the wrong note and correcting yourself is super-professional and ultra-hip.

Let the drooling begin - it's Michael Johns. He's wearing a skull cap in his pre-performance video. Wow, that's so gosh-darn cute. His baby pictures are cute. He also looks like he has some cute brothers. I bask in the glow of all this cuteness until I find out that Michael is going against my advice and taking on Queen's "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions." I'm not mad at him though. He knows he can handle it. I was a little concerned that the judges would give him a hard time for doing this after he already did "Bohemian Rhapsody" during Hollywood week, but as he starts rocking it out I can see that no one is going to have anything bad to say about this performance. (No one who doesn't want me to kick their can all over the place, anyway.) Luckily, he gets away from "We Will Rock You" pretty quickly, because it's not really a good vocal showcase. His vocals during "We Are the Champions" are hot. I always warn these Idols against covering Freddie Mercury unless they're sure they can bring even half of Freddie's charisma, and this is a perfect example of someone who has it. All the judges acknowledge Michael's "it factor" and finally stop griping that he never picks the right songs. The crowd goes wild. The Earth moves. The sky comes tumbling down. My heart starts trembling. My ovaries explode.

Since the AI studio is already a powder keg giving off sparks, it's only fitting that Carly Smithson follows Michael's saucy display with Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Carly gets points for sort of listening to me too, as this was one of my alternate picks for her. (This also fulfills my weekly need for a dose of Jim Steinman drama.) Carly sounds great, as usual, but every now and then even the best singers fall apart, and she really jacks up the ending. She conjures up some weird note that I've never heard in my life and shrieks like she's swinging from a vine. That note is enough to sour Randy and Simon on the entire performance, but since Paula has no idea what notes are, she proclaims that Carly can do no wrong.

David Archuleta sings "You're The Voice," a song no one has ever heard by a songwriter no one knows. Way to go, kid! Actually, he sounds good and I'm glad he did something uptempo. Still, it's just kind of "eh" for me. This is one of those annoying "Life is great, so let's all love each other" message songs that make me want to choke someone. Randy also doesn't like the song but praises David's "mad skillz," while Paula says something that sounds like, "zippity glorp glop." Meanwhile, Simon comes up with one of his best critiques in a while. Not content to stop at the "theme park" comparison, he tells David that this is like some "ghastly song" that you would perform with "animated creatures" dancing around. Heh heh. Yeah, Archuleta Enchanted.

Kristy Lee Cook proves that she's smarter than she looks by deciding to sing Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA." Is there a more hokey song? I think it might be slightly less hokey than the "Hokey Pokey," but not by much. You put your cowgirl boots in, you whip a patriotic song out, you put your blonde hair in barrettes and you shake it all about. You sing about our country to ensure you don't get thrown out. And that's what it's all about. Simon calls Kristy's song choice "clever," adding that it will definitely keep her in the competition for another week. No kidding.

Closing things out is David Cook, who's not my lover. He's just a guy who says that he is the one who will sing a Jacko song. Well, sort of. David chooses to sing the Chris (yum) Cornell version of "Billie Jean," a move that really irks me. He's becoming too one-dimensional and is turning into Daughtry: Part II. (Except that he actually gives the artists he covers proper credit.) He sounds good, as he always does, but it annoys me that the judges praise him so heavily for being "original" when there was nothing original about the performance! David didn't have to come up with a new "rock" arrangement for the song. Chris Cornell already did it for him. The more the judges blather on about how brave and brilliant David is, the more aggravated I get. It's not that brave or difficult to cover a cover of a cover. It is brave, however, to show your baby pictures on national TV, in which you look like that Batman villain, Egghead.

So, Bottom Three this week? It has to be Jason, Chikezie and Ramiele. Jason is too cute and likeable to go, so it's between Chikezie and Ramiele. Since Chikezie had two good weeks in a row before tonight, and Ramiele's just been kind of floundering, I think she will finally make her exit tomorrow night.

Whatever happens tomorrow night, could someone please make sure Michael finally gets around to singing "Kiss You All Over?" Cut out the damn medley and just let him sing.

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