- Joshua Ledet - "You Pulled Me Through" - When we got glimpses of this guy during the Hollywood rounds, I actually indicated that the competition might already be over. This first live performance did nothing to make me think otherwise. This guy is amazing. He took the country to church and I don't think many minded going on that ride! Now, rumors from the southern contingent report that this guy already has some street cred in the Gospel circuits. In my opinion, that doesn't count. If he wants to break out into a pop star, this is still a good format for him to try. Really good singer.
- Aaron Marcellus - "Never Can Say Goodbye" - It was the first performance of the night that gave me hope in this year's crop of contestants. Everything that preceded him was just "eh" and he really brought his game. He seemed to be an already polished star, working the stage, emoting and singing really well. Now, we've seen the "already polished people" exit early in previous seasons. So, we'll just have to keep tabs. But he's really good.
- Creighton Fraker - "True Colors" - A big trend with a lot of our boys this year. They all picked songs made famous by female stars. It's probably no coincidence that a lot of these guys have higher pitch voices and feminine qualities. (not that there's anything wrong with that) But, of all the girly singers, Creighton was by far the best. He's definitely a weird dude. Abandoning his family for the big city lights of NYC. It looked like he's one of those random freaks you see on the sidewalk when walking down those busy streets. But man, his voice is inspiring. I believe he was one of the "Hollywood 5"....easily the best group from group night in Hollywood. I figured everyone from that group has a good shot of winning this thing this year. They were great together and separate. Anyway, this guy is definitely in.
- Phillip Phillips - "In the Air Tonight" - Phillip definitely already has a huge following and he's most certainly going to be in. He may even get the "Scotty McCreery, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze" vote from the past few years. i.e. the teenagers will make him win. I still have a beef with them letting him play his guitar in the auditions. That has never been done before and definitely created an unfair advantage. But, he is talented if not completely original. His whole schtick is ripped right out of the Dave Matthews playbook from his posture and his closed eyes with shaky head syndrome, to his growly voice. The version of the Phil Collins "wait for the drum fill to start rocking out" classic sounded like something Dave would have done in concert or something. That doesn't make him any less talented or deserving of being the competition. But, it's definitely worth noting.
- Jeremy Rosado - "Gravity" - Another girly song! But another girly song sang well. It's tough not to like this kid. And he defintiely can sing. That's about all I have for him!
- Colton Dixon - "Decode" - Paramore is fronted by a female singer as well, by the way. Colton obviously has been getting a lot of hype this season for being so close last year and him "not really planning to audition". And, I won't lie, it has made me interested in his story and wanting to root for him. The Idol machine has done well on manipulating me. I didn't think this performance was fantastic, but you could hear hints of brilliance in his voice. Just not a good song to showcase it. My favorite part of the performance was from the clip when he said many people will be surprised at what he does tonight because they're so used to seeing him playing piano. The next cut, Colton behind the piano. Way to get out of your comfort zone there buddy! (and yes I know the "surprise" was that he stepped away from it and onto the piano.)
- Jermaine Jones - "Dance With My Father" - I think everyone assumed the "surprise" returning contestant would be that Johnny Whatsisname guy that was so good in his audition. My wife was secretly hoping it was Jermaine. I thought he was a likable guy during the earlier rounds but I didn't think he was THAT good. Of course, it may have been his pairing with the cowboy that turned me off. Anyway, being a new father, the song really hit home for me and I thought Jermaine sang it really well! I think a lot of people fell in love with this guy in the earlier rounds and this may seal a berth for him into the Top 13. I hope so.
- Heejun Han - "Angels" - The problem is, I hope Heejun is in that top 13 too! His full vocal range wasn't on display in the Robbie Williams tune (I know, you're thinking Jessica Simpson was the original, right?). But, come on, this guy is hysterical! His personality alone should get him in there. The whole rivalry with the cowboy from Hollywood Week made it worth bearing through the endless cliffhangers before we got to the actual performances. This guy is a gem. He won't win, but they need him around.
- Reed Grimm - "Moves Like Jagger" - First of all, a song performed by judges/coaches on "THE VOICE"? Interesting. Reed is clearly talented, but this song and performance wasn't a good showcase of those talents. And what was up with the drum solo on a vocal competition? He was also part of the "Hollywood Five" but something tells me unless he gets in on a wildcard pick, he will not be joining the Top 13.
- Adam Brock - "Respect" - Aretha really? This performance was incredibly blah. It didn't help that I totally lost "respect" for him when he became a blabbering idiot in front of the judges when they were announcing their veridict last week. Then, he awkwardly showed them pictures of his daughter. So weird. I don't see him making it.
- Deandre Brackensick - "Reasons" - Yes, the love child of Milli (from Milli Vanilli) and Kenny G. I'm sorry. I can't stand the falsetto dudes. And this guy has a bit of a hop to his step when he hits those high notes. The whole thing is just cringeworthy for me. But, I'm sure some ladies will look beyond the cringe-factor due to his amazing locks of hair and his what could be perceived as "cuteness". And they may melt when they hear that voice. The problem is, if Deandre gets in someone above needs to go.
- Eben Franckewitz - "Set Fire to the Rain" - That is correct. Little Eben sang Adele. Not sure what he expected to accomplish there. But that was the ultimate red flag. Sorry Eben, you don't have the soul to pull that off and it came off sounding really bad. It's tough to be hard on a kid, but that was really bad. See ya!
- Chase Likens - "Storm Warning" - I don't think our "country" contestant is going to be a guy this year. Definitely the worst performance of the night. Not even worth talking about.
So 5 get in on votes and then the Judges will pick 3 between the guys and girls. So I guess I'll just consider my wildcard picks as ACTUAL wildcard picks! Here are my picks to get in:
Voted in: Joshua Ledet, Aaron Marcellus, Creighton Fraker, Phillip Phillips, Colton Dixon
Wildcard Picks: The judges could really pick anyone so I'll list a few that I think they'd consider.
Jermaine Jones, Heejun Han, Reed Grimm
Jermaine Jones, Heejun Han, Reed Grimm
Tough call. I figure Jermaine will get in on votes, but I don't know which one of those 5 wouldn't make the cut. Maybe Aaron or Colton. It will be interesting. Maybe I'll revise my picks after the girls perform tonight! But for now, that's all I have!
If you're reading this, feel free to start commenting again. Nothing worse than talking to myself here! And, if you're up for some scripted television commentary check out the TV Addicts Blog for Fringe, Walking Dead, and Alcatraz recaps along with lots of discussions on other shows going on in the comments. It's no LOST blog, but we have fun! Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week!