‘Idol’ In Iraq: Welcome Back, David Archuleta;
Also, We’re Not Haters

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Editor’s Note: It’s crazy serious and difficult for the US Armed Forces in Iraq, but our soldiers still find time for a little fun and escape: just like many of you, they love their weekly dose of “American Idol.” We made friends on the Internet with some members of the Army’s 82nd Airborne division (Fort Bragg, what up!), who will be sending us their review of each “Idol” installment.

They get “Idol” a day later than we do, and their reports might not arrive until well after the show has aired (because, of course, things like communications blackouts do happen when you’re in the military taking care of URGENT BUSINESS). But you don’t mind because they are helping give you the freedom to watch “Idol” in the first place.

Our soldiers each week (L-R): PFC Joshua Miranda, 22 (Orlando, FL); PFC Nathan Puckett, 19 (Cynthiana, KY); SPC Cory Combs, 21 (Plymouth, MA); SSG Steve Cody, 27 (Los Angeles,CA)


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Hey, so what’d you think of the soldiers’ last entry? Wow, we haven’t seen such spirited “discussion” in a while. First we have to make one thing very clear: Our soldier-reviewers DO NOT hate David Archuleta. In fact, as Nathan pointed out, “He has been a front-runner in our minds for a while.” What they didn’t like was Archuleta’s song choice last week, a song none of them had even heard of, “You’re the Voice” by John Farnham.

“The song did not allow him to show off his great vocals,” Nathan wrote. But Archuleta redeemed himself this time around in the Dolly Parton hour, and it seems that all is forgiven. “This week was a lot better and he moved back in to the top three in my mind,” said Joshua.

But even with all the good feeling toward the young “Idol” contender, there was one note of caution from Cory: “I think he will make it big even if he does not win ‘American Idol.’ I am just not sure what audience he would appeal to, but right now I can see him selling millions of records to kids 10 to 17 (years old).”

Take a look at what our Iraq-based panel had to say about Jason Castro, Brooke White, Michael Johns and more after the jump.

All songs by Dolly Parton.

Brooke White, “Jolene”

Joshua: “She missed a few notes here and there but it was still a decent performance.”
Nathan: “Not her best performance, she should be in the bottom three.”

David Cook, “Little Sparrow”

Cory: “Another amazing performance, I think he is taking this show.”
Nathan: “I always look forward to his performance to see how he makes each song his own and he did not disappoint this week.”

Ramiele Malubay, “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind”

Steve: “It was not bad but she needed to step up this week after a few disappointing performances.”
Cory: “Very boring song choice, I just did not like anything about it.”
Nathan: “Even though she was my early favorite I do not think her great looks are going to keep her in this competition much longer.”

Jason Castro, “Travelin’ Thru”

Steve: “I was feeling his song this week.”
Joshua: “It was a very good song for him. Forget Simon.”
Nathan: “One of the best vocalist and performers in the competition. I think its going to come down to Jason and the Davids.”

Carly Smithson, “Here You Come Again”

Steve: “Awesome, she really nailed it.”
Cory: “One of the best vocal performances of the night.”

David Archuleta, “Smoky Mountain Memories”

Steve: “Much better than last week. He really nailed the song.”
Nathan: “He definitely showed he can sing and why he is the front-runner of this competition.”

Kristy Lee Cook, “Coat of Many Colors”

Cory: “Another very boring performance but not the worst of the night.”
Joshua: “Once again she probably saved herself from elimination.”

Syesha Mercado, “I Will Always Love You”

Joshua: “An awesome performance, one of – if not the best – of the night.”
Nathan: “Gorgeous girl, great song choice and she really nailed it this week.”

Michael Johns, “It’s All Wrong, But It’s All Right”

Steve: “He is really stepping up to be a great singer.”
Cory: “It was ok, not quite as good as other performances tonight.”

The consensus for Dolly Parton week was that David Cook rocked once again, and Ramiele Malubay was the one who had to go – with Kristy Lee Cook not far behind on the hit list. They totally got Ramiele correct, but since they get the episodes one day later than we do, we guess they’ll be finding this out sometime later today. Keep up the good work, boys!

We’re also curious as to what the soldiers think about a fallen Idol family member. Boys?

Previous ‘Idol’ In Iraq Entries:
‘Idol’ In Iraq: Soldiers Slam Archuleta – March 28, 2008

‘Idol’ In Iraq: ‘Baghdad Idol’ Is Off The Air So ‘American Idol’ Will Have To Do – March 25, 2008