HE KIND OF UNDERSTOOD IT, I THINK . . . I THINK: I am surprised indeed. Tonight there was a clear divide between the can-dos and the cannot-dos-and-shouldn't-even tries, and I could not possibly have predicted two of the residents of my top three. Syesha and Carly? Seriously? I have never seen Carly Smithson actually have fun with a song before -- bless Andrew Lloyd Webber's beknighted little heart for making her ditch the Phantom treacle and pull a Laura Osness. When Carly isn't ripping her own heart out of her chest for dramatic flair, she sounds quite good. And Syesha: the part on the piano was a little dicey, but once she hopped down (and kudos, by the way, for pulling that off in a tight dress without showing us which day of the week was printed on her panties), she was terrific, singing a song I have never heard in my life.
Oh, and David Cook. David Cook! I am actually starting to get angry that the Mormon Tabernacle Fan Club may prevent him from winning. So happy that he sang the song straight, and so happy that he can hit the note. I know that the judges like to haul out that old saw about a good singer being able to sing the telephone book, but in this case it happens to be true. I just really enjoy hearing him sing, no matter what he sings. (And, just to make the point: can you imagine Chris Daughtry trying to sing Music of the Night?)
And then there's everyone else. Brookie, you get one false start per season, not two, and if you're going to declare a mulligan, you need to not spend the entire performance sitting there petrified that you're doing to drop another lyric. I personally enjoyed the muppet's version of the world's most overplayed and underinterpreted Broadway song, but his lower range couldn't handle it, and at this point I think we all know the full alphabet of what he's capable of, from A to B. (I was amused to hear ALW confirm my view that this is one dumb-as-a-brick muppet.)
Oh, and YDA. YDA. I think you all know how much I haaaaate him, but I really was all set to enjoy him tonight. The sweetness of his voice is just right for some of the nicer tenor ballads Webber has written, and so I was expecting him to do what Cook did. And instead, we got this weirdass non-melodic muzaked up rendering of a Sarah Brightman song? He might as well have sung Another Suitcase in Another Hall. In drag. (And I am irate at Randy for being unable or unwilling to recognize any of this.)