Susan Pierce: Before dissecting the theatrics of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s week, I have to mention that Lee University alum Phil Stacey’s self-titled CD hits shelves today.
The “American Idol” finalist from season six hasn’t forgotten his roots now that he’s made the big time — he credits his Lee University choir director, Dr. Walt Mauldin, in the liner notes as being his mentor and also gives a shout-out to Lee president Dr. Paul Conn.
His first single, “If You Didn’t Love Me,” is slowly but surely moving up the Billboard charts. It’s No. 30 this week.
Stacey is on tour now through September. He’ll be opening for Kenny Chesney on May 10 in Washington, D.C. — can’t get much bigger than that! — and according to his Web site he’ll be in Chattanooga on May 21.
Christine Simmons: It’s always good to see a home-grown talent make it big. I have to admit that I had my doubts about Stacey when he was on “Idol.” So I’m happy to have been wrong on that one.
But on to this year’s idols and David Cook’s performance Tuesday night. I really thought David was going to have a hard time with this genre but, wow, did he pull it off. I’m seeing major star potential there. I was shocked that he had that kind of range and he owned the stage. I don’t want to jinx him, but if he keeps doing this well he may be our next winner.
Susan: David C. is my front-runner as well, but I wasn’t that blown away by his performance last week. It was OK, until the end. When he chose to close by going up to the high note, he should have stopped there, I thought, because when he jumped the second time his voice really sounded forced and strained.
In fact I wasn’t blown away by anybody except Carly, who got the boot! It was a break-out week for Syesha Mercado, who showed she could have her name in lights on Broadway. How interesting that the two women who had the best performances were the bottom two.
How can Carly — who has a strong voice with good control, good range, can place notes and shows real talent — get cut and Brooke White stays, who has forgotten her lyrics twice now and has markedly gone downhill the last three weeks?
Brooke looked shocked when Seacrest declared her safe ... as did I. In my opinion, Brooke is just boring. I’ll predict she does a boring version of whatever her Neil Diamond song is this week, too. I can see her choosing “Song Sung Blue” and accompanying herself.
Christine Simmons: I know, Carly rocked the house, but I think we’ll be seeing her again. You can’t keep a good Irish girl down.
I’ll tell you why Brooke stayed: Simon Cowell likes her and has been extremely easy on her. If it had been anyone else that had screwed up like she has they would have been gone a long time ago. I think Simon has real influence on the voters. People listen to what he has to say more than any of the other judges.
And the reason David Archuleta and Jason Castro are still there is because the preteens like them. We have to remember Idol really has become a popularity contest even though the first few seasons Simon continuously reminded viewers that it was a talent competition. This year’s group of contestants, in my opinion, are the least talented overall from any of the previous seasons.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...