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'American Idol': What the top 5 sang

Review tonight’s set list of Neil Diamond songs — then vote on who you think should go home

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Neil Diamond

Tonight on American Idol, the five remaining contestants each pulled a pair of tunes from the Neil Diamond songbook. Jason Castro kicked off the night with ”Forever in Blue Jeans,” which earned a ”just okay” rating from both Simon and Randy. But it got chilly for Jason after his rendition of ”September Morn,” when Simon declared him unrecognizable and forgettable. Maybe so, since after the conclusion of Round 1, Paula had a hard time remembering how many times Jason had performed. (For more on how this gaffe went down in the theatre, see Adam B. Vary’s on-the-scene post on EW’s PopWatch blog.)

The judges perked up for David Cook, who sang ”I’m Alive” and ”All I Really Need is You.” Calling himself ”a huge David Cook fan,” Randy complimented Cook’s strong vocals, while Paula predicted she was ”already looking at the American Idol” and Simon loved how he made his second song feel contemporary. Attempting to regain her footing after fumbling her lyrics last week, Brooke White chose to accompany herself on guitar and piano for her two performances. Her efforts were met with mixed reactions from the judges. Simon dubbed Brooke’s performance of ”I’m a Believer” a ”nightmare,” but changed his tune after ”I Am…I Said.” ”This is the Brooke we like,” said Simon. Once again the apple of the judges’ eyes, David Archuleta got a salute across the board for his second song choice, ”America,” while Randy called his earlier performance of ”Sweet Caroline,” ”’da bomb.” Paula, no doubt echoing the cries of Little David’s fan base, told him ”I love you, you were brilliant.” Syesha Mercado, who escaped last week’s bottom two, tried to get back on track with ”Hello Again.” Randy thought her vocals were ”nice,” but Simon panned her for being ”old fashioned.” More ominously, after her show-closing number, the rousing ”Thank the Lord for the Night Time,” Simon announced, ”I think you may be in trouble tonight.”

For a full analysis of tonight’s show and a forum to post your own thoughts on the Idol top 5, check out Michael Slezak’s American Idol TV Watch. And let us know who you think should go home by voting in our poll below.

NEIL DIAMOND NIGHT SONG LIST
Jason Castro: ”Forever in Blue Jeans” and ”September Morn”
David Cook: ”I’m Alive” and ”All I Really Need Is You”
Brooke White: ”I’m a Believer” and ”I Am…I Said”
David Archuleta: ”Sweet Caroline” and ”America”
Syesha Mercado: ”Hello Again” and ”Thank the Lord for the Night Time”

EW.com Poll

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