American Idol
Season 7: Top 7 Performances

Episode Report Card
Joe R: B | Grade It Now!
Season 7: Top 7 Performances

Ryan Seacrest is somehow under the impression that we still remember what Michael Johns looked like, much less continue to be traumatized by his "shocking" ouster last week. Really, America? You were honestly that attached to him in the first place? No matter, though, as Mariah Carey is here to make things all better. I'm being totally serious, this shit better be good.

We get the traditional mentor video package which tracks Mariah's journey from curly hair to straight and back again. Suddenly I'm longing for "Shake It Off" to replace Ruben celebrating the contestants home as this season's kiss-off song. It'd certainly be less maudlin. Mariah starts us off on what will end up being the evening's most unlikely theme, saying that she's approaching this mentor gig from the perspective of "an artist, a singer, and a songwriter." Look, I'm no snob when it comes to Mariah Carey, but even I'm going to have to draw a line at appreciating her as a songwriter, okay? Back on the stage, Ryan and Simon give Randy shit for his years and years of Mariah name-dropping finally coming to a head tonight. Ryan also basically orders Randy to not even try it with the "You can't live up to Mariah" stuff this week, seeing as it's a producer-mandated theme and all. Randy will heed this advice about 50% of the time, not to ruin the suspense for you or anything.

First up is David Archuleta, who will be singing "When You Believe." Yes, the only Mariah song that can be connected to an animated movie based on the Bible, that's what David's singing. Try to hide your shock. Mariah's advice to him, as it will be through much of the night, comes across a degree or two more control-freaky than it does when other mentors try to suggest key changes and such. It makes me appreciate her more as a musician, while at the same time making me worried about what happens if her latte is placed on the wrong table or something. As for the performance: vintage Archuleta. Which means a whole lot of making you understand how deeply he's feeling the song, with the eyes closed and the arm-clutching. It also means an unimpeachable vocal performance, this time full of runs and accoutrements and a bunch of Mariah-appropriate not-singing-the-melody stuff. He's good. There's also some business with leather pants, I am given to understand, but as with the whole season-long lip-licking extravaganza, I didn't really notice because I am not a creepy, creepy perv man. Randy annoys me right off the bat as he talks about how weird it's going to be to see boys singing girls songs tonight (you'd think after years of working with Whitney, Mariah, and Celine he'd be used to the concept of drag queens by now), but he thought David worked it out. Paula beams a ray of sunshine directly from her ass, as usual. Simon gets a dig in about what a predictably "Up With Archuleta" song choice that was, but he's back to stroking David's shiny hair as the prospective winner. Then Ryan -- who is in Super Duper Mother Hen mode tonight -- takes the stage and makes sure David's eating right and taking his Flintstones chewables and such. Then David's like, "Sorry, I don't do drugs," and runs off to tell his dad.

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American Idol




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