Thursday, April 23, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 5

Thousands began the journey on the road to stardom, but only a very few have succeeded to reach their goal. This week Idol announced the Top 5 contestants for season 14. The 5 people who will travel the country this summer to entertain the masses. At least, they hope the crowds will come out to meet their Idols. I think the last season where crowds filled the stadiums to see the Top 10 was Season 7; the year of David Cook, David Archuleta, Jason Castro, Michael Johns, Brook White, Carly Smithson, and the rest of the most talented season ever for American idol. yes, other stars have come to fame from AI, but Season 7 was the one that all Idol fans claim as the best. The season all others have been measured against. The season that put all others to shame.

So this week the theme was Arena Anthems.  Or as Ryan described them "Epic songs from super stars." You will be surprised as to what songs these contestants chose as arena anthems. Most don't even come close to qualifying. And TPTB didn't have any big-name stars drop by to help mentor the kids this week.

So here are the Top 4 and the Bottom 2 who vied for the Twitter save this week. Two songs from each contestant. And a little of each contestants back-story.

Her father was a firefighter injured on 9-11.

You Are Gonna Be My Girl by Jet
Jax looked like she had fun singing this song. It didn't really do anything for me. No pizzazz. No anthem power. Keith seemed to like it.

Recruited to play college basketball but was injured and decided to concentrate on music instead. Dad is a musician and his career has taken off now because of Nick.

Harder To Breathe by Maroon 5
Much better on song choice. Good song for Nick. He looked so much more comfortable on the stage. Good job.

As a kid, Clark used to perform at nursing homes with his parents. That's when he realized his voice could affect people.

Yesterday by The Beatles
Not sure if arena anthems have a grand piano and violins accompanying the singer on a ballad, but it was different. Unfortunately, Clark had some major intonation problems. He cracked several times and was flat at other times.

Her parents and all of her siblings have names starting with "T."  The family was homeless for a while.

Party In The USA by Miley Cyrus
New, young look for Tyanna. Unfortunately she had intonation problems in the beginning. I wasn't blown away by the performance.

Vying for the Twitter Save:

Grew up in the 9th ward in New Orleans, just mom and two sisters. His mother was very protective of her kids because of the dangerous area where they lived.

Light My Fire by The Doors
The song choice had possibilities, but Quentin's interpretation was very laid back. It wasn't bad, but Quentin had intonation problems throughout the performance.

Grew up singing in church. Just mom and his sister.

I'm Not The Only One by Sam Smith
Definitely not a arena anthem. Much more like a ballad. It was ok, but I just didn't get any spark or connection with this performance.

Song Number Two:

Maggie May by Rod Stewart
The perfect song choice for the night's theme. Nick sounded great. Possibly the best performance of the night and definitely the best so far from Nick this season. Keith loved the performance. JLo loved the performance. Harry said nice job.

Heaven by Bryan Adams
Totally different look for this song; more grown up. Tyanna had intonation problems again on this song. Maybe the pressure is starting to get to the 16 year old. It was ok, but a long way from perfect.

Boyfriend by Justin Bieber
An acoustic performance seated center stage. Not really an anthem. It was in Clark's style but not following the theme. And it had intricate guitar work, but not much else. Harry didn't think it worked and neither did I.

White Flag by Dido
Jax played the piano next to a cello. A beautiful ballad, not an arena anthem. I loved the performance even though it didn't follow the theme. The judges loved the performance also.

For the save:

Shake It Out by Florence + The Machine
More intonation problems for Quentin. The production part of the performance was good, but he needs to work on staying in tune. But it was better than the first song.

Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac
Really shaky start. Pitch problems. Better on the chorus with the backup singers but off again when he started the second verse. Ends on an unnecessary falsetto screeching note. He murdered a perfectly good song. Blah. I don't understand why the audience thought it was so good. Just because he can sing a high note, does not make it a great performance.

And the Twitter save goes to, you guessed it, Rayvon.

So the Top 5 moving on and going of the summer tour are Nick, Clark, Rayvon, Tyanna, and Jax.

My rankings for these performances considering both songs from the Top 5 are:
1. Nick
2. Jax
3. Clark
4. Tyanna
5. Rayvon

Maybe Rayvon will finally go home next week.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 6

So this week the Idol contestants were cut to 6 and the Twitter Save was used again.

This week's theme: American Classics as chosen by Idol fans.  There were two songs performed by everyone this week.

Top 5:
Why Do Fools Fall In Love by Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers
Odd song. I guess the concept was good, but I wasn't bowled over by the performance. She creaked some notes here and there and she looked very glued to the mic stand. Keith wasn't into the song choice either.

Superstition by Stevie Wonder
Very cool harmony scatting with his guitar in the intro. Really good performance. Lots of energy. The audience and the judges loved it too. Clark's guitar was played by his dad when he was performing with The Righteous Brothers.

Piece of My Heart by Janis Joplin
Good song choice for Jax. Her voice has enough edge to it to deliver on a Joplin classic. Her has a lot of pain in her voice and that makes this kind of song even better.

American Girl by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Nick was definitely in his element with this song. He rocked it. Keith loved it. JLo was rocking out. Harry said that was exactly what he needs to do.

Are You Gonna Go My Way by Lenny Kravitz
Great set for this performance and outfit. Quentin overall did a good job. Lots of energy, but an occasional dropped note here and there. Probably one of his best performances. Unfortunately Quentin shot himself in the foot when he had a momentary meltdown and questioned how the two contestants in the bottom two could be there. Harry misunderstood his comment as disrespecting the show and problems ensued.

Bottom 2 vying for the Twitter Save:

My Funny Valentine by Frank Sinatra
Joey looked beautiful. The voice was fine, but her spirit seemed to be missing. Technically it was a good performance but I think the bottom 2 got to her. Harry liked it. Jennifer didn't feel anything either.

Long Train Running by The Doobie Brothers
Voice was ok, but the choreographed dance moves looked dumb. Some of the words were mushed together. Keith didn't get any feeling from the performance.

Round 2 of songs:

Moon River by Frank Sinatra
Clark played the piano. Wearing a suit and tie. It was good, but it not anywhere close to his best. It needed something more. He looked kind of uncomfortable. Harry said Clark needed to challenge himself musically with different chords. Bill Medley from The righteous Brothers was sitting in the audience with Clark's dad. Clark called him Uncle Bill.

Proud Mary by Credence Clearwater Revival
Nice slow beginning and then she cut loose. This was so much better than the first song. Lots of energy and great vocals. The judges loved it.

Only The Good Die Young by Billy Joel
Started seated, but eventually stood. Slower than the original version, almost a power ballad. Easier to understand the lyrics. Great job. Keith loved the arrangement and performance and so did JLo. Harry not so much.

Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkle
Ouch. Not a good performance.Very pitchy, as Randy Jackson would have said. No applause from the judges on that one. Blah!!!

Beat It by Michael Jackson
Another good performance from Jax. Not stellar, but it had energy. She was running around the stage. Harry like the energy.

For the Twitter Save:
Always On My Mind by Willie Nelson
Well, this is one of my all time favorite songs and Willie Nelson is one of my all time favorite singers, so Rayvon didn't really stand a chance with me on this performance. Blah! The judges liked it though.

Somebody To Love by Jefferson Airplane
It was quirky. It was fun. It was Joey for sure. I loved everything about it: great vocals, crazy bohemian dress, mandolin playing, combat-looking boots, big ol' flowers in her hair. I Loved It.

And the Twitter Save went to Rayvon. 52 % of the vote
Shame on you America. How could you let this happen? Joey Cook is so much more entertaining than Rayvon. Did American even listen to the performances tonight? BOOOOOOO!!!!! And now Joey won't be on the summer tour.

And all that I can hope for is that Rayvon finally goes home next week.

My Top 2: Nick and Clark
My bottom 2: Rayvon and Quentin

Friday, April 10, 2015

American Idol Top 7

So Idol seems to like the Twitter Fan Save and used it again this week.

The week's theme was Billboard Top 200 so the kids are all singing hit songs from the past few years. I've saw a list of the songs ahead of time, but not who would be performing what, and I was not impressed. This week's co-mentors were Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line and Jason Derulo. Sadly for FLG, there aren't any country singers left in the competition. But they are smart guys, and were able to give some good advise.  Jason's style was more suited to several of the contestants, and he had good advise for those he helped.

Florida Georgia Line sang their new single, Sipping On Fire.

Jason performed his new single, Want To Want Me.

Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Hudson sang Trouble.

Top 7:
Poker Face by Lady Gaga
Huge change-up on the arrangement. Brian Kelley said it might be better to not make such a drastic change. I agree. This was not one of my favorite songs before the change, and I liked it even less after. Jennifer looked very uncomfortable while watching the performance. Keith said the arrangement was interesting. Harry didn't like the performance. Sorry Jax, this was a miss in my book.

Teenage Dream by Katy Perry
Brian told Nick to watch himself perform in a mirror and see what he is doing. He can get more comfortable looking on stage. I wouldn't have chosen this song for Nick, but it was a pretty good performance. He definitely looked more comfortable up there. He's using his eyes now and connecting better. Good job Nick.

Latch by Sam Smith and Disclosure
Jason showed Quentin how to get a higher falsetto. Quentin said he was doing something different and he actually did. This was interesting. I'm not sure I love the high falsetto Jason suggested, but overall the performance was alright. Jennifer said she could tell he was thinking too much and he doesn't have to do what others suggest if he is uncomfortable with it.

Joey Cook
Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus
Jason told Joey she has "crab hands' all the time and they can be off-putting.
I can't stand Miley's version, but I liked this performance. Joey's quirky voice made it so different. And her outfit for the night was the opposite of Miley singing in underwear or nude. Good job Joey.

Make It Rain by Ed Sheeran
Jason told Clark he is spiritual, but right now he is singing like a prayer, more inward. He needs to be more like a preacher, singing more outward. Clark played his guitar again. The voice is great, but Clark looks uncomfortable with his eyes open. He doesn't know where to look. Harry said the voice was good, but he rushed the song. JLo wants him the get more comfortable.

Tyanna Jones
Stay by Rihanna
Relating the song to her grandmother who passed away instead of a relationship. Beautiful song for her voice. I could tell Tyanna became very emotional during the song, but she held it together until she finished. Harry complimented her on completing the song. Good job.

For the Twitter Save:

Set Fire To The Rain by Adele
Scott said Rayvon is a great technical singer, who isn't as great performing.  Rayvon was ok. I love Adele on this song, but Rayvon isn't as powerful. It was just ok for me. JLO wasn't sure if it was the right song for him.

Hey Ya! by Outkast
Scott said Qaasim is a great performer, but not as great on vocals. Scott was correct. Performance part was good, vocals were not so much. Sorry Qaasim. Your journey on Idol is over with that performance.

Rayvon gets the Twitter Fan Save once again this week.

Ryan said the Top 5 go on tour this summer. That's different.

Considering the overall performances this week, my top 3 were Tyanna, Nick and Joey. My bottom two were Jax and Rayvon.

See you next week.

Friday, April 3, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 8 Sing Kelly Clarkson Songbook

This week American Idol paid homage to the original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson. Kelly was on hand to mentor the kids as each performed one of her songs and she also performed two songs live. The also eliminated one of the contestants. I'm actually surprised. but pleased, by the elimination. I really thought this contestant's fan base was bigger and stronger than some of the others, but I guess not.

Idol tried something new this week and had the audience vote on twitter for the person from the bottom two that we wanted to save. Even though the choice was obvious, I didn't expect it. But we will get to the bottom 2 vote in a little while.

Oh, and Ruben Studdard, winner of season 2, was in the house and brought the results envelope out to Ryan.

First, the Top 8.
Nick FradianiCatch My Breath 
Simple backing band on stage with him. Nick sounded great. He seemed more comfortable and had a lot more eye contact. Kelly told him to open his eyes. The judges want him to loosen up even more.

Jax - Beautiful Disaster
Piano and cello on stage with her was nice. I didn't like the outfit she was wearing; too much to deal with dragging a cape/train thing around while competing. She sounded nice though. Harry loved it. Keith thought the production stuff, like the costume, was too much.

Group performance of People Like Us. 

Tyanna Jones - Mr Know It All
Kelly tells her to get bold or mad at someone to sing this song. Tyanna says she was bullied and she is going to channel that feeling. She gives a pretty good performance. I don't like the background singers voices' with her voice. Someone seems off. Harry and JLo felt that Tyanna was singing that to the judges.

Joey Cook - Miss Independent
Joey made it into a funky jazz performance.Jazz band on stage with her. It was a little old school, but I really like it. It didn't sound anything like the original. Joey is definitely an original. Judges loved it.

Kelly Clarkson came out and sang Heartbeat Song. Kelly looked beautiful and sounded awesome. I think it's time for the haters that have been criticizing her post-baby weight to be hushed. Not everyone is a size 0.

Quentin Alexander - Dark Side
The clothes are a little more tame than usual. Another really nice performance from Quentin. Lots of passion in his voice and eyes.

Qaasin Middleton - Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger)
Seated center stage, playing his guitar. This was a good choice on paper, but Qaasim didn't quite deliver. He started off strong, but lost the intonation when he went for the upper register on the runs. Not his best.

Kelly came out again and sang At Last. Once again she was awesome.

Clark Beckham - The Trouble With Love Is
Kelly wants him to let go and open his eyes. Clark gave a very soulful performance. And he actually opened his eyes more. Easily the best performance of the night.

And the bottom 2 are Daniel Seavey and Rayvon Owen.

Daniel Seavey - Breakaway
Poor Daniel had shot his voice. He had laryngitis and his performance shows to. Poor kid was doomed from the start. The good news is he is only 15 and made it to the Top 9 of American Idol. we will hear more from him in a few years.

Rayvon Owen - Since U Been Gone
I wasn't too sure about his slowed down version of this song, but he actually sounded better than he has. I think it might be the pressure was off when Daniel sank and he just let go a little more. He still hasn't won me over. Harry said "all chops and no gravy." I agree.

And the first Twitter save went to Rayvon.

So my favorites of the week: Clark, Nick, Joey
Bottom 2: Qaasim and Rayvon with Qaasim going home.

Next week's theme: Billboard Hits
Mentors: Florida Georgia Line and Jason Derulo.

See you next week to see if I am even close on the elimination.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

American Idol 14: And Then There Were 9

The judges' save was taken of the table last week when Harry, Keith and Jennifer decided to save Qaasim Middleton, so this week two contestants had to go home.

This week's theme: The '80s
Idol had told us to watch for special surprise guests on this show. I wondered which '80's relics they would dig up.

The answer came quickly as David Hasselhoff brought Ryan the official results envelope. In case you weren't around in the '80s, "The Hoff" was the lead actor for the TV shows Knight Rider and Bay Watch. He also sings. Well, he tries to sing, which was evident on this show.  He sang a medley of '80s songs. "The Hoff" was never considered a successful recording artist in the U.S., but in Europe, he is very popular.

This week, '80s icon, Boy George, helped Scott Borchetta mentor the kids. After a clip about Boy George, the contestants helped Boy George sing his hit, Karma Chameleon.

Later in the show we were "treated?" to a performance of Push It by Salt-n-Pepa.

The Top 9:

Daniel Seavey
You Make My Dreams by Hall and Oats
The young girls must be voting this season, or young master Daniel would have been headed home after the lackluster performances he has delivered recently. He sounds better this week than last week. The judges seemed to like this performance a little better too.

Quentin Alexander
In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins
Very mesmerizing performance. I really appreciate when an artist can deliver a performance in a way that I hear the words to an older song in a new light. He is very original. The judges loved the performance, too.

Joey Cook
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper
Joey looked like '80s Cyndi Lauper dressed her. Unfortunately, the performance didn't measure up to the outfit. Joey seemed to be a little reserved or off somehow. Harry said he thought she was distracted too. Keith said she had moments of inconsistency. Boy George came out and gave her a hug.

Tyanna Jones
I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston
The arrangement was more EDM then classic Whitney. Tyanna was dressed like a 16 yr old again this week and she looked so much more comfortable up on the stage. Good performance.

You Give Love A Bad Name by Bon Jovi
I liked the beginning and the end when it was just Jax on the piano. The band in the middle kind of drowned her out. Not a bad performance, she just needed a little different arrangement.

Nick Fradiani
Man In The Mirror by Michael Jackson
No guitar for Nick again this week, but he had a nice acoustic backing for the first verse. I liked this performance a lot. Nick had a nice energy about him. You can still see that he is a little shy and reserved, but his vocals are great and I think he is growing in confidence.

Clark Beckham
Every Breath You Take by The Police
Boy George and Scott wanted Clark to change the key but he kept his first choice. Clark accompanies himself on the piano. This made the performance very personal. I loved it and JLo got "goosies."

Qaasim Middleton
Addicted To Love by Robert Palmer
Qaasim told us he wanted to concentrate on his vocals and not jump around the stage this week, and that's exactly what he did. His vocals were pretty good. The "pop" was gone from the performance, but that worked for this song.

Rayvon Owen
Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears For Fears
Kind of a boring performance. Yes, he sang the lyrics just fine, but I didn't feel any connection to him or the song. I think since he is a vocal coach, he is more tied up in the technical part of the song than in the emotional part of the performance. He is technically fine, but there isn't any life in his performances.

So this week we said good bye to Maddie Walker and Adanna Duru. I won't miss Adanna, but I really wish Maddie had stayed in the competition. We have now lost the only country artist in the competition.

Ryan told us to look for something new with Twitter next week. I guess we will be able to vote with Twitter now.

My favorites of the night and the one I want to see leave next week.
Top 3: Clark, Nick, and Quentin
Bottom 3: Rayvon, Daniel, and Qaasim
Going home?: Rayvon

Thursday, March 19, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 11 Vie For Ten Slots

This week we had the Movie Night theme. Nile Rodgers from the band Chic helped mentor the kids and performed "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers with the kids to open the show. (I think this was a tacky, inappropriate song to perform considering at least three of the kids are minors. JMO)

Jeff Gordon brought Ryan the envelope with the official results and invited the kids to perform the National Anthem at the race this Sunday.

Final we get to the Top 10 results:
Adanna Duru - "I Love You, I Do" from Dream Girls by Jennifer Hudson
The beginning is very difficult to hear. She needs to work on projecting when singing in her lower register. I felt this was a fairly boring performance.

Daniel Seavey - "Lost Stars" from Begin Again by Adam Levine
He sounds flat. His voice just isn't matching Adam's falsetto and just sounds off. I don't feel any connection to the song.

Rayvon Owen - "Stayin' Alive" from Saturday Night Fever by The BeeGees
Very boring arrangement. It was too slow, and much of his falsetto vocals were buried in the backup vocals. Blahhhh

Nick Fradiani - "Danger Zone" from Top Gun by Kenny Loggins
No guitar for Nick this week. He does a nice job. He seemed to be loosening up on the stage.

Joey Cook - "Mad World" from Donnie Darko by Michael Andrews featuring Gary Jules
No instrument for Joey this week. She gives a very haunting performance of this song while seated on a stool, center stage. Simple yet riveting performance. Beautiful.

Tyanna Jones - "Circle of Life" from The Lion King by Elton John
Very shaky start on this song, and she never really recovered. She had pitch issues for the first time this season. And the poor girl looked so uncomfortable in the platform stilettos she was wearing. Let her be 16 and wear flats if that's what she likes.

Jennifer Lopez performed the song "Feel The Light" from her new DreamWorks movie, Home, that's coming out this week. It's a very pretty song and Jennifer looked like a princess in the ball gown she was wearing.

Quentin Alexander - "You're The One That I Want" from Grease by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
He totally revamped the song, giving it a very slow tempo.  His performance highlighted the lyrics and it would have been very haunting, if his pitch would have stayed on point.

Maddie Walker - "Let's Hear It For The Boy" from Foot Loose by Deniece Williams
We are told that Maddie had been sick all week and didn't have much practice time. We weren't told what was wrong. Her vocal s were ok, but the song had no pop. No energy.

Kenny Loggins dropped by and performed "Foot Loose."

Clark Beckham - "Sunday Morning" from Cheaper By The Dozen 2 by Maroon 5
This was a wonderful acoustic performance with just Clark and his guitar. Great job. Second to Joey's as best of the night.

Jax - "I Want To Grow Old With You" from The Wedding Singer by Adam Sandler
This was a cute song and just right for Jax. It was a laid back performance without any power moments though.

Qaasim Middleton sang for the judges save.
"Come Together" from Across The Universe by The Beatles
He gave a very passionate, intense performance. Definitely one of the best performances of the night.
The judges used their one save of the season on Qaasim.
Based on that performance, I agree with them. (And now we don't have to worry about the save any longer.)

My favorites on the night: Joey, Clark, Nick, Qaasim
Least favorites: Rayvon, Daniel, Adanna, and sadly, Tyanna

Ryan told us that next week we will have a double elimination.
Next week is '80s theme. Oh boy. I think the only one of the contestants who had even been born in the '80s is Nick.

Friday, March 13, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 12 become Top 11

American Idol Season 14 is just flying along now. Wednesday night the Top 16 became 12 and on Thursday night their numbers were cut by one again. I'm getting dizzy from the whirlwind process Idol is using this season. I can only imagine how the contestants must feel. Hopefully, the rest of the season won't be as crazed as this week was.

Thursday night's theme: Party songs
Here are the results:

Rayvon Owen
Burn by Ellie Goulding
Beginning was kind of awkward. The syncopated rhythm was weird for him. Too much of the song was in a really high falsetto that I didn't like at all. But I guess I'm wrong, because the judges loved him.

Maddie Walker
She's Country by Jason Aldean
Good song choice for Maddie. She had the right attitude and energy for the song. She did a really good job. Ryan told us afterward that Maddie was sick and in a lot of pain earlier and she headed out for medical help. Whatever was wrong, she didn't show it during the performance.

Joey Cook
Fancy by Iggy Azalea
The arrangement was a jazzy, big band sound version of the song. Joey looked beautiful and was so much more comfortable on this song. Great job on this song. The audience loved it and so did the judges.

Clark Beckham
Takin' It To The Streets by The Doobie Brothers
Clark played piano on this song. He was great. Sadly, it was an Idol "chopped" version of a great song. I wanted much more. It would have made the performance even better.

Blank Space by Taylor Swift
Sadly, I didn't like it as much as her previous performances. I like the remake of older stuff that she usually does. Her voice isn't as cool as it normally sounds either. I wonder if Scott Borchetta is trying to make her into Taylor. Judges agreed with me.

Qaasin Middleton
Jet by Paul McCartney and Wings
Qaasim plays the electric guitar? Who knew! It was really weird watching the one person who normally is all over the stage just stand in one place. I didn't like the weird arrangement of a great song. His vocals are still rough, but it wasn't terrible. Just odd.

Adanna Duru
Runaway Baby by Bruno Mars
She didn't move around as much as in past performances and her vocals stayed more on point. She stayed in control. Judges agreed with me.

Tyanna Jones
Tightrope by Janelle Monae
She was spot on with the syncopated beginning of the song. She was very comfortable with this song, even as far as dancing around during part of the performance. Best of the night.

Daniel Seavey
Happy by Pharrell Williams
Daniel played the guitar again. The song was ok. He seemed comfortable, but he just isn't as strong as some of the other contestants. He is just 15. I think he should have waited a year or two. He is a cutie and will stay in the competition for a while, but he does have a lot of work ahead of him.

Quentin Alexander
Rolling In The Deep by Adele
Not sure if I would call this a "party song," but I liked the performance a lot. Quentin is a very interesting guy.

Nick Fradiani
Wake Me Up by Aloe Blacc
Nice acoustic version of the song. Nick held back and didn't play his guitar until the chorus set in. He spoke a couple lines of the lyrics too. He got a little shouty in the middle but reigned it back again. All things considered, I thought it was a really good performance.

And that left Sarina-Joi Crowe singing for the judges' save.
Neon Lights by Demi Lovato
Her voice was shaky at the beginning and she never really reached the power needed to deliver this song. Her movements on the stage looked very awkward this time, too. The judges said NO SAVE.

My rankings on the night:
Tyanna, Joey, Nick, Quentin, Clark, Maddie, Adanna, Daniel, Jax, Rayvon, Qaasim

Thursday, March 12, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 12 Revealed

So last night Idol pulled off a major feat. They managed to chop the Top 16 down to the Top 12, have each of the Top 12 sing a redo of their audition song, and crammed all of this action into a one hour show. At times it seemed to progress at break-neck speed, discombobulating to the poor contestants, but Ryan just hustled everyone along anyway. In trying to reformat the show to keep the audience "happy," I feel that the performances by the kids are suffering. More than once, a performer stumbled on the beginning of their song. This new Idol on fast-forward is a little too much for me. Tonight we are scheduled for a two hour show, so I hope the kids have time to breath for this one.   In the meantime, here's the results of the audience votes from last week. We have the voter choices for the Top 10 plus 2 judges wild cards.

Sarin-Joi Crowe
Love Runs Out by OneRepublic
Sounded off key to me. Even worse when the backup singers came in. Good to see judges acknowledge pitch problem too.

Rayvon Owen
Wide Awake by Katy Perry
Kind of boring at first, but got better farther into song. He was good, but didn't blow me away.

Daniel Seavey
Straight Up by Paula Abdul
Poop kid was scared to death when mentor Scott Borchetta called his name and he had 10 seconds to get on the stage and sing. My least favorite performance from Daniel, who I normally like.

Maddie Walker
Suitcase by Gwen Sebastian
Started off ok, but it didn't really go any where. Unfamiliar song won't help her any either.

Tyanna Jones
Wings by Little Mix
I think her pitch is a little off too. Lots of power and energy, but Idol has this all too messed up tonight with their ear pieces or something.

Nick Fradiani
In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel
Starting off by himself playing guitar was a good choice. He found the right key that way. Nice job.

I Want To Hold Your Hand by The Beatles
She started off playing the piano and was totally captivating. Not quite as good when the band joined in, but still a nice performance. Keith and Harry didn't think she needed the band at all.

Qaasin Middleton
Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder
I don't know what key that song was supposed to be in, but that was awful. And I like Qaasim. The audition with the band was so much better. Lots of energy though.

Clark Beckham
It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World by James Brown
Once again a stellar performance by Clark. Very soulful and powerful.

Joey Cook
King of Spain by the Tallest Man on Earth
She is so cute and awesome, playing her mandolin, with this quirky song. And she didn't freak out before the end of the song this time.

Quentin Alexander
Royals by Lorde
He is very emotional before he takes the stage so the performance is a little shaky and he starts crying before the end. I actually love him. He is so different than he normal Idol contestants. I hope he is in the running for a while.

Adanna Duru
You And I by Lady Gaga
I'm really trying, but I just don't like this girl. And there are the growls again. And the off key screaming. Why her?

Top 6 Girls:
Sarina-Joi Crowe
Maddie Walker
Tyanna Jones
Joey Cook
Adanna Duru

Top 6 Guys:
Rayvon Owen
Daniel Seavey
Nick Fradiani
Qaasim Middleton
Clark Beckham
Quentin Alexander

Good bye to Adam, Mark, Alexis and Loren. At least two of you were robbed. Can't wait to see what tonight's two hour show brings us.

Friday, March 6, 2015

American Idol Season 14: Top 16

Well, this week we got the first results of America's votes revealing the Top 16 and I must say, I am not completely pleased with the outcome. The girls' results are about as I thought, but the guys' results are not. Two of my favorites were eliminated and the one guy I thought sold not have even made the Top 24 advanced. BOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!  Oh well, that's Idol for you. Here's what happened this week.

Idol was still in Detroit this week. First, Aretha Franklin performed "I Will Survive."
We also meet the Season 14 mentor, Scott Borchetta. Ryan tells us he launched the career of Taylor Swift. I did a little research and found out that Scott is the president and CEO of Nashville-based Big Machine Label group.

It was MoTown week.

Top 8 guys and what they performed this week:

Daniel Seavey - How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) by Marvin Gaye
Good job. Maybe the key was a touch too low, but he pulled it off. Judges agreed with me. Wearing a brown suit and bow tie. Too cute.

Mark Andrew - Papa Was A Rolling Stone by The Temptations
The absolute right song for him. His age is a definite advantage. He knows who he is and what works for him. Oddly, the judges didn't love the song choice. They all thought it was too jam-band.

Rayvon Owen - My Girl by The Temptations
He had on a new hat. I didn't like it. The performance was very sweet. His voice was good. He can definitely hit the high falsetto notes. It was good, but didn't blow me away.

Adam Ezegelian - I Want You Back by The Jackson 5
YUCK!!! My least favorite Top 12 guy advances, so that means one of my favorites goes home. I don't like this guy screaming and growling at me. What is wrong with America? Who voted for this guy?

Clark Beckham - The Tracks of My Tears by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles
Started off with just Clark and his electric guitar, which sounded great. Then he was joined by the band and back up singers. He had a couple of rough spots with intonation, but over all, he was really good. He knows what he is doing, if TPTB don't mess him up. Keith said he should have skipped the band altogether. I agree.

Nick Fradiani - Signed, Sealed , Delivered (I'm Yours) by Stevie Wonder
Nice intro, just Nick. Jam picks up with the band. Very nice job. Great vocals. Nick is the other "old man" of the group and he also knows what works for him. He is my favorite.

Qaasim Middleton - I Wish by Stevie Wonder
Qaasim was definitely into the song. Lots of movement, but it might have been too much. Vocals weren't perfect. But he is a great entertainer.  The audience loved him and so did the judges. Jennifer tells him not to lose the vocals when he dances.

Quentin Alexander - Master Blaster (Jammim') by Stevie Wonder
Quentin's outfit has a tribal look to it and he be reggae "jammim' to the song." I liked it. He is different, but in  a good way.

Sadly, we say good bye to Savion Wright, Trevor Douglas, Michael Simeon, and Riley Bria. This was a hard night. I really liked all four of these guys and wish that any one of them had continued instead of Adam. Oh, well. There are still some extremely talented guys in the competition. Now, for the girls.

Top 8 girls and what they performed this week:

Tyanna Jones - Rockin' Robin by Michael Jackson
I really appreciate the fact that this girl dresses her age. Cute and conservative. Her momma is doing a great job. For someone so young, this girl is very smart. This was a great song for her. Strong performance. I loved it.

Loren Lott - I Wanna Be Where You Are by Michael Jackson
Her voice is good, but her goofy demeanor is getting to me. She is just too "oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh"and giggling all the time. The performance was good though.

Maddie Walker - I'll Be There by The Jackson 5
This was a really good performance. It was great to hear something not country from her so we could hear the quality of her voice, especially after her last flat performance. Keith liked that she didn't try and do Michael's runs in that song. I agree with him.

Joey Cook - Shop Around by The Miracles
This was a very funky performance. I liked it a lot, although Joey looked like she was about to explode at any moment by the end of the song. I'm glad she held t together. Very unique. I hope America keeps her around for a while.

Sarina-Joi  Crowe - You've Really Got A Hold On Me by The Miracles
Accompanied by a solo guitar only. Really nice job. Great song choice and arrangement. I like her voice. She is growing on me.

Adanna Duru - Hello by Lionel Richie
I liked the song choice, but her arm movements were distracting and I hated the dress she was wearing. It was way too tight and too short. And she wasn't singing in tune either. Blah performance.

Jax - Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
The arrangement was changed to a major jazz piece. Very different from the original song. Not bad but so different it will probably offend some die-hard MoTown fans. Jax does have a fantastic voice though, so I hope America keeps her around for a lot longer. JLo and Harry didn't like the arrangement either.

Alexis Gomez -  I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) by The Four Tops
She looks cute, even though she is barefoot on stage. For some reason she is singing with a weird southern accent, which I don't remember her speaking with normally. The singing wasn't in key either. Another blah performance.

So we say good bye to Katherine Winston, Lovey James, Shannon Berthiaume, and Shi Scott.

My favorites for the Top 12 are:
Daniel, Clark, Nick, Mark, Quentin, Qaasim

Tyanna, Joey, Jax, Sarina-Joi, Maddie, Loren

We'll see what next week brings us. Hopefully, not another major disappointment. Send Adam home America.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Top 12 Guys and Top 12 Girls Perform

I had company all last week so I'm running way behind with this post, so here is a short review of what happened.

Idol took the Top 24 to Detroit to perform before a live audience for two weeks. This was the first day of the audience vote. We get the results next week and cut 24 to 16.  First up, the guys.

Adam Ezegalian - I Wanna Rock by Twisted Sister
Very scary. He looked like a mad scientist in a suit and sweater vest screaming at the audience.

Michael Simeon - How Am I supposed To Live Without You by Michael Bolton
Sadly, it was kind of bland for me. Michael has a better voice than that.

Savion Wright - Hey, Soul Sister by Train
I like Savion and this was a good performance, but not great. I think TPTB had the kids out in the awful cold temperatures in Detroit for too long. Three rough vocals so far.

Mark Andrew - The Weight by The Band
Perfect song for his raspy, gravely voice. The cold didn't get to him.

Trevor DouglasBest I Ever Had by Gavin DeGraw
I like this kid. He's talented and funny. Cracking voice. Cold or 17. Nor sure. Definitely not his best.

Clark Beckham - When A Man Loves A Woman by Percy Sledge
Awesome. Hopefully the young voters recognize his talent. Best so far.

Rayvon Owen - Jealous by Nick Jonas
It was ok. High notes didn't always sound right to me.

Daniel Seavey - I'm Yours by Jason Mraz
Played a Vox Mandelin. He did a really good job on the intricacies of this song.

Riley Bria - Homeboy by Eric Church
Not bad, but needed something.

Quentin Alexander - I Put A Spell On You by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Very eccentric looking young man, but I like him. He's different. Very soulful, emotional performance. I hope America voted for him.

Nick Fradiani - Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
My absolute favorite to win the whole thing. Perfect song choice. Great performance. I would have loved to hear the whole song. The best of the night.

Qaasim Middleton - Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
A showman in the making. Very entertaining to watch. Great choice.

And the girls.

Lovey James - Love Runs Out by OneRepublic
She used to look more country, but now she is a pop singer. I'm confused. It was ok but not great.

Adanna Duru - Rather Be by Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne
I've never heard this song before. Slow start, then she starts screeching at me. Not my cup of tea.

Alexis Gomez - Gunpowder and Lead by Miranda Lambert
Too much twang and not enough attitude. Miranda she is NOT.

Joey Cook - Somebody Like You by Keith Urban
Playing her accordion. She is so quirky, but it works for her. Song sounds like a polka, but it is actually good. And Keith loved it too. Best so far. for the girls.

Katherine Winston - Safe and Sound by Taylor Swift featuring The Civil Wars
Definitely a folk singer. She sounds pretty good, but she looks so scared or sad or something. I really haven't been blown away by her, but this was much better.

Shannon Berthiaume - Who Knew by P!nk
Bad song choice. Needed to be in a different key, at least. She has a decent voice, but she is so inexperienced. Idol is going to kill her.

Loren Lott - Note To God by Charice
Never heard the song before and can't stand Charice. Sounded shaky at first but the power kicked in at the key change.  Good job.

Shi Scott - Umbrella by Rihanna
Scary see-thru dress. I didn't like the performance. Way too screechy. Totally the wrong song.

Maddie Walker - Love Gets Me Every Time by Shania Twain
She has a great country voice, but this song wasn't a great choice. Kind of boring.

Sarina-Joi Crowe - Momma Knows Best by Jessie J
Great job. Attitude and vocals both worked with the song choice.

Jax - Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) by Nancy Sinatra
Perfect beginning. Great power and attitude.

Tyanna Jones - Lips Are Movin by Meghan Trainor
Popular song. Needs to be in a higher key for sure. Decent job, but would have been even better in a higher key.

My choices for the Top 16.
1) Nick
2) Clark
3) Savion
4) Mark
5) Daniel
6) Quentin
7) Trevor
8) Riley (or Qaasim or Rayvon)

1) Jax
2) Joey
3) Tyanna
4) Sarina-Joi
5) Loren
6) Maddie
7) Katherine
8) Lovey (or Alexis)

I still believe the guys are much stronger than the girls this season. The only girl I see with a chance of winning is Jax. Several guys have a shot at winning the whole thing, including Nick and Clark.