Well we're back folks! Exactly one week since we thought that the show had absolutely no hope this year. What else happened in the past week? Well the girls showed up the guys and gave a little hope back. Then, the weekend provided yet another IDOL scandal (Antonella Barba and some racy photographs) and another Idol Award Winner (Congrats Jennifer Hudson on the Oscar!). Just another week in the life of American Idol. But we're here today to break down the 10 male performances from this week. And, I must say, it was MUCH better this week on a whole. That doesn't mean some kids didn't stink up the joint.
This week was all about dedications. Sometimes the dedications worked for the contestants. More often than not, the dedication caused a backlash by the judges on song choice. A few sidestepped this issue with dedicating the PERFORMANCE instead of the actual SONG and it seemed to work out for them. You'll see in my notes below! Speaking of which, even though my real-time blogging failed me last week, I did type up my notes real-time again as I was watching. You can see my thoughts as I watched the show, and then we'll gather back to tally up some final results!
- Phil Stacey - Dedicates to Navy Band Southeast - "I Ain't Missin You" - Dedicates to the Navy then tells them he isn't missing them? Ahhh Good times. Started off kinda slow, but then he kicked into gear. Phil has the problem of not being very bad, but also not fantastic.
Judges: Randy and Paula loved. Simon: So- So "Unoriginal voice, but popular"
- Jared Cotter - Dedicates to Mom and Dad (awwww) - "Let's Get It On" - Jared is attempting to "channel Marvin Gaye"....fantastic! He's still pointing his fingers....arrghh! Drives me crazy! Seems like he's trying way too hard to be sexy. If it doesn't come naturally, it aint gonna come dude. I guess he thought once Justin Timberlake brought Sexy back, that everyone automatically had it from there on out? His voice was okay though, but the performance didn't do much for me (of course, that could be because I'm straight!)
Judges: Randy says it was aigght. (Also, Did I catch a McSteamy in there? Wrong show dawg!) Paula says "You don't have to 'PUSH,' No pun intended..."(paula, paula paula.....)Simon says Very Corny and Cabaret. And Ryan adds " And the things we've all done to that song...memories." And thus, the Ryan and Paula cross the line on what is acceptable on a family show!
- A.J. Tabaldo - Dedicates to Mom and Dad - "Feeling Good" - Seriously, A.J. just put on an evening gown and let's move on! What self-respecting guy swings his arms around like that? Great Voice, but way too womanly for me.
Judges: 3 thumbs up. Simon states that he did the right thing with the song choice. Showed personality and stood out.
Me: I just don't get it. Simon hates cabaret, and that song couldn't have been MORE cabaret if it tried! I thought it was pretty bad and based on other performances he might be on the chopping block.
- Sanjaya Malakar - Dedicates to grandfather and wears his wedding ring (interesting) - "Steppin Out" - Decent voice, less boring than last week, but seems like he's missing some kind of emotional requirement to his performances.
Judges: 3 Thumbs down. Randy relates to a bad high school talent show. Paula has a problem putting a good spin on it. Simon doesn't get the song choice.
Me: Here is where the dedication backfired. He actually performed a song that his Grandfather would've wanted to hear him perform. May work for a sympathy vote, but didn't work with America. And based on the other performances, this could be a lesson learned too late for Sanjaya.
- Chris Sligh - Dedicates to wife Sarah (woaaa how did he get her?? oh wait he just said the same thing) - "Trouble" Alright....well this is the Chris I think we wanted to see! The song worked well with the pre-performance dedication, not to mention him singing to his wife in the crowd. Great stuff. Chris is back in the good graces of America and the top 12 is looking inevitable!
Judges: 3 Thumbs up. This is the Chris we all wanted to see.
- Nick Pedro - Dedicates to girlfriend Kaitlin - "Fever" - I Loved the quick shots of the drummer being so cool. Nick definitely has a distinct voice. I still say it's not powerful enough. But Paula is nodding along to the song, so something tells me he's okay for now.
Judges: Randy says kinda nice, Paula says she loves his tone, Simon thought it was good but he lacks charisma. Oh yeah, and he liked the drummer too! NIIIIICE!
Sidenote: The "Vote for Pedro" comment was a nice shout out to Napoleon Dynamite last week and was funny. Now, it's just OLD!
- Blake Lewis - Dedicates to Parents - "Virtual Insanity" - Once again Blake is performing pretty well out there. He threw a pseudo beat box into it. Definitely can hear some pitch problems though on some of the big notes. Not as good as last week, but far from the worst tonight.
Judges: Randy loved the Falsetto Joint, scatting, beatboxing etc... Paula says he's making smart chocies and explains to American what UNIQUE means (yes Paula, that means no one else is like him! thanks!) Simon was disappointed citing that only the middle of the performance was original.
Me: I agree with Simon a bit. But Blake's uniqueness has pretty much ensured himself a top 12 spot. And he deserves it. We don't want to have to sit through these boring people belting out old soul songs year after year. We want something new. Blake represents a NEW SOUND for Idol. He and his "Vocal Entoundry?" will be here for awhile.
- Brandon Rogers - Dedicates to Grandmother - "Time After Time" - I always have been a big fan of the Cyndi Lauper song. Actually just added it to my itunes collection recently (oh leave me alone! I'm straight!) Well, he definitely stayed in tune. May have been a bit boring, though.
Judges: Randy and Simon didn't feel the Wowness and were bored. Paula felt Brandon's heart and was begging for the crowd to support her in her disdain for Simon. Biggest thing we learned was that Simon loves puppies!
Me: Well, here is where the DEDICATION backfired. Sure, I like the song, but man did Brandon turn in a snoozer. He claims he was trying to show how much the song meant to him and his Grandmother. I can see where the contestants may have gotten confused with the dedications, but this is at the stage of the game where you can pick whatever song you want (as long as Idol has the rights). You gotta pick something the crowd will remember! I had Brandon pegged for a top 12 spot by default, I may have to rethink things.
- Chris Richardson - Dedicates to Grandma "Spunky Big Mama" - "Geek in the Pink" - Never heard of the song, but I have heard of Jason Mraz. This tune worked for Chris. It was fresh, current and appealed to the crowd. Mostly was on key, but the personality and delivery hid any bad notes for the most part. He did sorta whisper some of the melody, but again, performance won out. He, along with Blake, represent unique styles in the competition this year (stuff we haven't seen on idol before) and because of that, they are both are bona fide top 12 contenders.
Judges: Best tonight by a mile. And Paula had fun with arts and crafts making little pink hearts. awwwww!
Me: Here's an example where Chris dedicated the performance to his Grandmother but then just picked a song that really showcased himself. And it paid off for him. He even stated his grandmother would've preferred a country tune!
- Sundance Head - Dedicates to Son Levi. (Sundance brings the tears cause he misses his son. Yeah Sundance win those votes!) - "Mustang Sally" - Alright Sundance! He finally brought it! He was upbeat, soulful and hit some very nice and memorable high notes. Not much to the song Mustang Sally, but he still brought the SUNDANCE feel to it. Seems like a step in the right direction.
Judges: Randy and Paula LOVED it. Simon was glad we got the old Sundance Back but is looking for more.
Me: Based on the results of dialidol.com last week (which seems to have proven itself pretty accurate), America WANTS to root for this guy. He was the top vote getter of the guys. And with this performance being much better than last week's, he seems like a safe bet for the top 12 at this point.
So definitely some better performances tonight. It's coming down to simple math here now. There are some people that are just going to stick around and others that are not. Here's how I see it.
Earned their Top 12 Spots tonight and/or last week: Chris Sligh, Chris Richardson, Blake Lewis, Sundance Head
Should be safe tonight: Phil Stacey
Forgettable performances: Jared Cotter, Brandon Rogers, Nick Pedro
Judges say was good, but I disagree: A.J. Tabaldo
Worst Performance of the Night: Sanjaya Malakar
Elimination Picks: Sanjaya Malakar, Brandon Rogers Wildcard: Nick Pedro
Well, I really wanted to give Brandon that spot in the top 12. But tonight was pretty rough. And yes, it's not always the worst 2 performances that get sent packing. But Brandon has had 2 rough performances in a row now. So has Sanjaya. I think Nick is right on the edge of getting the boot too. I just don't think he has a powerful enough voice for the long haul. But time will tell.
So if my calculations are correct, 4 are a lock for the 6 male spots. Which means 2 spots are open and 4 will be vying for them next week. It's really going to come down to next week's performances to see which 2 will grab them. And of course, the 4 locks just have to make sure they don't screw up too badly!
Hope everyone enjoyed the blog. See you tomorrow!