In his first column for, the ''American Idol'' vet shares his thoughts on last night's performances by the guys
Chris Sligh

‘Idol’: Chris Sligh as judge

We have seen over and over again that American Idol can change lives. Every year, it’s exciting to see contestants come in and slowly transform from unknowns to celebrities.

First week is always the hardest — some kids come in having never been shown, while other contestants have been over-”pimped”…this year was no different. This week, though, Randy and Paula seemed to be on mind-numbing drugs that caused logic to go out the window (seriously, Randy, Jason Castro was just okay?!? Michael Johns is like Michael Hutchence?!?). And Simon finally returned to form!

So, let’s get to the performances.

Several performances stuck out for me: David Archuleta is an incredible singer and performer. Though I dread hearing ”OMG!!! He’s 17!!!” for the next three months from the judges, he is one of the few 17-year-olds that deserve the ”pimping.”</p.

Jason Castro‘s jazzy pop take on ”Daydream” was inspired and commercially credible, and Michael Johns gave a somewhat pitchy but credible performance of ”Light My Fire.” I think both of these guys will be around a while.

I personally am not understanding the judges’ love of David Cook. His arrangement of the Turtles classic was horrid, and Randy comparing him to Alice in Chains was one of the most groan-worthy comments in 7 seasons of Idol. And on top of it all, his voice is just okay.

To me, Robbie Carico is an okay singer, but I felt Simon’s pause about Robbie truly being a ”rocker” was deserved. In my opinion, Robbie is going to have to do a lot to separate himself from his days in Boyz N Girlz United.

NEXT PAGE: Chris Sligh on the debut performances by David Hernandez, Colton Berry, Garrett Haley, Jason Yeager, Chikezie, Danny Noriega, and Luke Menard

David Hernandez and Colton Berry both gave performances that I have a hard time remembering. David, I think, needs to tone down the melisma and find a way to seem more current, while Colton needs to tone down the Broadway side.

The only thing I remember about Leif Garrett look-alike Garrett Haley was his Sanjaya-like peach-fuzz mustache (though I admit his facial hair is way more impressive than mine). And Jason Yeager…I just can’t remember, which isn’t a good thing.

Chikezie, I think, will be remembered for the wrong reasons. In Hollywood last year I was a huge fan of Chikezie’s…but I know from experience that back-talking Simon, no matter how much the Brit deserves it, can hurt you.

Two others who’ll be remembered for the wrong reasons are Danny Noriega and Luke Menard. Josiah Leming was cut for these guys? Danny’s castrating of an Elvis classic was worse than anything I’ve seen in my Idol viewing, and Luke’s painful, off-pitch Broadway affectation was easily the worst singing of the night.

In conclusion, I think this is a good group. But they haven’t done much to prove they’re the best group ever. However, with the judges’ dialogue, Simon’s cheekiness back, and an overall good group of singers, I think we will have a great season of television. I’m personally looking forward to seeing these singers grow.

Chris Sligh finished in 10th place in season 6 of American Idol. One of the show’s most memorable contestants, he recently signed a record deal with Atlanta-based independent label Brash Music. His first album, Running Back to You, will be released on May 6, and his first single, ”Empty Me,” reaches airwaves later this week. He regularly blogs on his own website, From My Mind to Your Eyes.

Episode Recaps

American Idol

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.

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