Paula didn’t dub her s-YES-ha for nothing.
Indeed, the Contestant Most Likely to Ruin Your Chances in the Office Idol Pool, Syesha Mercado, is now just one week and about a million swing votes away from cracking the American Idol season 7 finals and, in the process, forcing the folks at 19 Entertainment to do something I suspect they never wanted (or thought they would have) to do — give the woman a record contract.
Tonight, in the aftermath of Tuesday’s lackluster, poorly sound-mixed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame night, Syesha had to wait till the end of the episode to hear her fate but ultimately outlasted yet another early front-runner, dreadlocked troubadour Jason Castro, who appeared somewhat elated when Ryan Seacrest informed him that he was headed home.
In fact, by the end of Ruben Studdard’s ”Celebrate Me Home” — which, after nine weeks, is still making me wistful for Daughtry’s ”Home,” or even Daniel Powter’s ”Bad Day” — Jason admitted to being a little relieved, especially since he would have had to learn three more songs before next Tuesday’s top-three performance show. ”I don’t know what I would’ve done,” he said with a chuckle, alluding to his prior comment that his inexperience had started to catch up with him, causing him to forget the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s ”Mr. Tambourine Man.”
And though I was disappointed, perhaps even a little angry, after Jason seemingly threw in the towel on Tuesday, I have to admit I howled when he cheerfully recounted to Ryan that ”somebody told me I shot the tambourine man.” After all, it was Jason’s refreshing lack of camera readiness, his random, bewildered sound bites, that made me a fan in the first place. And let’s not forget that for a guy who didn’t get a second of significant airtime until week 1 of the semifinals, Jason exceeded expectations, leaving behind a pretty long list of memorable performances, including ”Daydream,” ”I Just Want to Be Your Everything,” ”Hallelujah,” ”If I Fell,” ”Travelin’ Thru,” ”Over the Rainbow,” ”I Don’t Wanna Cry,” ”Memory” (which I still contend was touching, and misunderstood by Simon and Randy), and ”Forever in Blue Jeans.”
Jason’s exit package and onstage banter tonight further highlighted his goofy folkster charm: watching him duet on ”Since U Been Gone” with Renaldo ”Brothers Forever” Lapuz while waiting his turn to audition; succumb to the will of that crazed kissing bandit while arriving at the Beatles’ Love show in Vegas; and, of course, nervously ask Ryan if he was planning to reveal the voting results just 30 minutes into tonight’s telecast. (If only!)
NEXT: The possible spoiler