David Cook, American Idol

Frank Micelotta / FOX

Don't miss one song—or one note of British sarcasm—with our performance-show liveblog:

The five remaining American Idol aspirants will double dip into the prolific songbook of guest mentor Neil Diamond. Now that their numbers are dwindling, each finalist will take on two of the "Sweet Caroline" crooner's standards.

(Yes, we're mourning the premature departure of Carly Smithson—like her personality or not, the lass never sounded bad—but we're just going to have to press on.)

Anyway, we know Kristy Lee Cook would have gone with "America"—she was crafty, wasn't she?—but prepare to be reacquainted with some old favorites, as well as a whole host of tunes you had no idea belonged to Diamond and some tunes you probably never heard before but your mom just loves.

8:06 p.m.: Jason Castro is wielding his guitar again and, unlike last week, is not sounding ridiculous while singing "Forever in Blue Jeans." The judges won't comment until after his second number, but so far so good...

8:12 p.m.: Diamond got goose bumps listening to David Cook rehearse "All I Really Need Is You," which he'll sing...later. First up is "I'm Alive," and the perky, contemporary-ish tune complements Cook's rasp quite well. He could be the lead singer of Lifehouse, or Edwin McCain...

8:14 p.m.: Oh, Brooke White..."I'm a Believer" was meant for someone else, but not for you. (The Monkees' 1966 recording is the go-to version, but it was Diamond who penned it and recorded it first.)

8:22 p.m.: Leave it to the "prodigy" (Diamond's word not ours) to take on "Sweet Caroline."

OK, the guest mentors really need to stop gushing before the contestants hit the stage. David Archuleta was composed (did he flub the words early on? It was hard to tell because he didn't, um, start and stop or anything), but we doubt the Red Sox are going to be commanding a performance at Fenway anytime soon.

8:26 p.m.: "Hello Again," Syesha Mercado. That was beautiful. We hope you don't get rewarded for your second straight lovely performance with another trip to the bottom two.

8:27 p.m.: The judges are starting to weigh in. As far as Randy is concerned: Jason, just OK; David C., good; Brooke, better than last week; David A., "the bomb"; Syesha, very nice.

But it isn't just the contestants having a rough time of it—Paula thinks Castro has already performed twice.

8:34 p.m.: And on with the second go-round...Castro is up again, this time with "September Morn."

The song seems a little low for him, and his sweetness factor isn't really registering.

8:37 p.m. And Simon agrees, telling Castro he thinks the singer will look back at this performance and not "know who this person is."

8:39 p.m.: Whether he wants to or not, Cook is totally ready to join Daughtry on the adult-contemporary rock stations.

Hey, we just mean he could sell records, that's all. "Brilliant," Simon deems his heart-tugging take on "All I Really Need Is You."

8:45 p.m.: After her first song was called "a nightmare" by you-know-who, White's gonna try again, this time on piano, with "I Am...I Said."

After a few bars it's already so much better than her other song, but...why did Carly get kicked off again?

8:47 p.m.: "This is the Brooke we like," Simon says. (Could Ryan Seacrest be reciting those numbers any faster? And that, my friends, is how you cram 10 songs into 48 or so minutes.)

8:51 p.m.: Simon acknowledges how smart it is to choose a song like "America." The judges seem to like Archuleta's version, but as far as we're concerned...eh. And with that black and white-striped shirt, it looked as if he was "coming to America" after escaping from prison. The kind where you work on the railroad with a ball and chain around your ankle.

8:55 p.m.: "I Thank the Lord for the Night Time," and we thank the voters—some of them, anyway—for Mercado's continued presence, however slim a thread she clings to.

A cross "between Corinne Bailey Rae and Minnie Riperton," Paula says, apparently to really draw the youth vote into Neil Diamond night. Meanwhile, Simon thinks Mercado's a fine singer-actress, but fears (well, thinks, because Simon doesn't actually fear anything) she could be in trouble after tonight.

So, who sang it out of the park, and who should be tuning into Idol next week from the comfort of his/her own home?

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.