Friday, March 20, 2015

American Idol: Season 14 - Top 11 Perform (again)

Hello Idol watchers!  Well, maybe it shouldn't have been shocking who ended up in that red seat last night.  It certainly wasn't surprising that the save was used.  But, we'll talk about that later.  Movie Night was an interesting night.  People that were really good last week didn't shine this week.  People that were bad last week did much better this week.   And others remained consistent (for better or worse).   Let's dive in!

  1. Adanna Duru - "I Love You I Do" by Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls - Okay, maybe I'm starting to see what the judges have been talking about with her.  She just needed a few weeks to get into her groove.  She really has a good presence about her out there.  Her voice is really good and she pretty much rocked this tune.  I love that Harry told her to win over the crowd in the room and don't sing to the camera.   Didn't they give the opposite advice last week?  
  2. Daniel Seavey - "Lost Stars" by Adam Levine in Begin Again - I just don't want to waste any more words on this kid.  He was not good.  He will be here next week. 
  3. Rayvon Owen - "Stayin Alive" by the Bee Gees in Saturday Night Fever - When looking at all of the contestants, Rayvon just doesn't seem to stand up to the competition.  Yeah, he can sing and he's impressive with his falsetto stuff.  But, all of that falsetto gets overbearing too and it gets drowned out by the band on songs and arrangements like this.  (Did Harry really say that not everyone knows what "an arrangement" is?  I know it was to Clark, but isn't that basic knowledge?  I'm a musician, but I didn't think I was in an elite crowd when it came to that word!)  On the other hand, Harry's advice for Rayvon to pick a song with some meaningful lyrics that he can chew on was good advice.  With his current trajectory, he might not be around much longer. 
  4. Nick Fradiani - "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins in Top Gun - Easily the worst song choice of the night!  Don't get me wrong, I love some Kenny Loggins soundtrack tunes just as much as everyone.  But don't they usually come in kind of a comical way referring to 80s Soundtrack Tunes?  Kenny Loggins was the go to guy!  And the fact that he was there last night makes me think maybe the producers forced someone to fall on their sword and do a Kenny Loggins tune.  At least no one did "Playin With the Boys" from the infamous Top Gun volleyball scene.  Again, a classic tune but in a more unintentional comedic way.   Anyway, Nick tool the song all seriously and changed it up.  But the lyrics are still ridiculous and doesn't give much range.   This guy just seems like a Chris Daughtry / Ed Kowalczyk (LIVE) knock off.  I've made it clear I'm not a fan.  But he does have some fans out there.  And J-Lo has outed him as the "hot guy" this year.  I don't see it.  My wife doesn't see it (She consistently says he's creepy and "why is he still there?".  But maybe someone does! 
  5. Joey Cook - "Mad World" by Michael Andrews in Donnie Darko - Well, Adam Lambert did do a memorable performance of this back in the day.   But I have to say, this Joey Cook has made me do a 180 on her.  She has shown a lot of range in a small amount of time.  This was a nice toned down performance with emoting and it really worked for her.  It showed less of her quirky side and how she could be a viable performer in today's world.  And of course, Harry did mention that the song has lyrics "you can chew on".  It's a good point.  If you can bring meaning to lyrics with your own interpretation, it can make for a memorable performance and a connection with the audience.  
  6. Tyanna Jones - "Circle of Life" by Elton John in The Lion King - I always think of Jennifer Hudson when I think of this song and American Idol.  She really nailed it back then and in hindsight, I wonder how she didn't win that season.  The judges loved that illiterate Craptasia, a role model for all of America!  (no offense to the illiterate!  Oh right, you wouldn't be reading this.  I stand my by comments!)   Anyway, Tyanna went from one of the best performances last week to one of the worst this week.  It was out of tune for a majority of the performance and the pacing was all off.   Harry brought up that it seemed like she was actually trying on this performance where the other ones seemed more effortless.  There is probably something to that.  Even through all of the negative criticism I can still hear that powerful voice in there.  It's undeniable.  She should be okay and when she connects on a song the next time it'll be really good. 
  7. Quentin Alexander - "You're the One That I Want" by John "Adele Dazeem" Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in Grease - I was actually really impressed with Quentin with his arrangement of this tune.  It certainly made me think of the song in a completely different way. Granted, the judges took him down a notch when Keith said he heard that version of the song before.  So, he didn't come up with that arrangement.  Fair enough.  Joey didn't come up with the arrangement of her tune last week but she still nailed it.  Quentin does have a powerful voice, and he still is a unique persona on the show.  He'll probably be okay. 
  8. Maddie Walker - "Let's Hear it for the Boy" by Deniece Williams in Footloose - I'm befuddled how this girl is still here and wasn't the eliminated one this week.  Okay, she was sick or in pain last week.  What was her excuse this week?  She's young and inexperienced and she showed why she wouldn't win a pageant's talent competition this week.  It was bad folks.  Harry spoke to how he can't identify who she is because she's all over the place with her performances.  Keith said a ballad would've hit better.  That's probably true.  I just don't see her sticking around much.  
  9. Clark Beckham - "Sunday Morning" by Maroon 5 in Cheaper By the Dozen 2 - That's an unfortunate movie for the song to have been found in.  I don't even know if I knew there was a sequel to that franchise!  But Clark certainly picked a great song to showcase his gifts.  Yes, and he picked a great personal arrangement of the tune with just him and his talented guitar noodling.  I've been supporting him since the earlier live shows.  I think he's one of the best talents this year.  There is no denying that he is very talented and I thought he brought more emotion to the table this week as well.  I think it was the best of the night, regardless of what that last performer did. 
  10. Jax - "Grow Old With You" by Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer - I've always loved that song.  I never thought I'd hear it on American Idol, but that's what makes Jax a unique contender on the show.  This was definitely more in her wheelhouse than trying to carbon copy a Taylor Swift song last week.  I did let out a snort when she did the tongue and cheek "remote control" lyric.  It's kind of silly when it's a girl singing it rather than a guy.  Harry spoke to Jax as a High Risk High Reward contender and it worked this week.  I agree.  And that's what you have to do to stand out in these competitions. She'll be safe next week. 
  11. Qaasim Middleton - "Come Together" by The Beatles in Across the Universe - Yeah, I should've known he might be a threat for elimination based on that awful performance last week.  It's clear this guy has one trick.  It's an impressive trick, but nonetheless the schtick will get old eventually.  He was saved tonight based on his ridiculously over the top performance of The Beatles' classic tune.  It was the right call to save him.  He shouldn't be eliminated this early in the competition, but it may speak to his appeal by the American masses.  I thought his attitude last night was pathetic.  The Mic drop may have been part of his performance, but I think it was more speaking to his disappointment in the voters like, "Do you see what your lack of votes did?  How dare you!"   And then when he was saved, he wasn't gracious, his facial expression stated, "Of course I was saved. I. AM. THE KING!"  Sorry dude, you haven't earned that kind of respect yet.   And if he keeps that attitude up, he'll find his way off this show much sooner than any of us expected.     Also, I wonder if it was even clear to everyone that now that he was saved that people should vote for him.   They didn't flash the numbers DURING the performance.  The second he was saved the numbers flashed up.  If Ryan spoke to it it was drowned out by the crazy crowd.   That might hurt him.  But, I'm sure he'll somehow manage to be safe next week. 

 Elimination Pick

Okay, let's sum up.

Clark - Best of the Night
Qaasim - 2nd best - gets knocked down a notch for attitude.
Other highlights - Jax, Joey, Quentin, Adanna
Not their best - Tyanna, Nick, Rayvon
Beyond comprehension that they're still here - Daniel, Maddie

I know they don't do a bottom 3 anymore, but it's still fun to do.

Bottom 3: Daniel, Maddie, Rayvon

Elimination pick: Maddie Walker - 2nd time is the charm, right?

Okay, that's it for this week!  I'll be out of town next week but may have a chance to get to this recap. If not, then I'll post a discussion blog if anyone wants to put their thoughts in.  If I see the episode, I'll certainly at least post my pick!   Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week! (maybe)


Leslie said...

I wish they would change up how they are doing the results. They clearly realize it's hard on the contestants. But, they didn't consult me! lol Mike, I knew you were a music lover, but do you sing and play?

1. Adanna - Yep, they did give the opposite advice last week. I think it was Jennifer then. Not a big fan of Adanna. She seems to have the same attitude as Qaasim to me, just more subtle.

2. Daniel - He can't go any farther on his cuteness!

3. Rayvon - I thought his performance of that song was just painful!

4. Nick - I completely agree with your wife!

5. Joey - I've changed my mind about her, too, after the last couple of weeks. Adam's version of that song was better, but she did a good job.

6. Tyanna - Yep, she had a bad night.

7. Quentin - That sounded like a completely different song! He's a much better singer than Qaasim.

8. Maddie - Agree, she just needs to go!

9. Clark - He's my favorite guy for sure!

10. Qassim - For me, his schtick is already old, and he's not that great of a singer! And, I didn't like his attitude at all!

Unknown said...

Honestly I'm pretty sure Qaasim's attitude is just a persona he plays. He actually was pretty gracious about being saved, it was just overshadowed by everyone coming on the stage and the crazy crowd.

Clark, Joey, Jax, Quentin, Qaasim - best of the night. I don't know what the judges were listening to during Quentin's performance, but he outsang a lot of people last night, as usual. I swear Quentin is not getting the recognition he deserves. At least Joey's getting more respect.

Somewhere in the middle - Nick, Adanna, Tyanna. Tyanna was rough last night, but previous performances should definitely save her.

The "Untouchables," as I like to call them - Daniel, Maddie

I really don't know where to put this guy - Rayvon

You should have seen the worry on my face for Quentin when I heard Rayvon get called up. Overall yeah, I gotta agree Daniel and Maddie really have no purpose being there anymore. I liked Maddie, I wanted her to do well, but she's just not measuring up to expectations. I think her days are numbered; I honestly don't think even the sympathy vote can save her this time around.

Rayvon is too mundane for my television screen at the moment. He appears to have a decent following, but I think his days may be limited. I'm hoping that he can stay on at least one week ahead of Daniel, although I think it's him and Maddie taking the fall.

I personally thought the use of the save was a little much. Even if Qaasim does turn in good performances from now and then on, I really don't see him lasting any longer than 7th or 6th place. But I think they used it because otherwise the tour would be incredibly boring, as well as the show. They should just let Sarina in anyway. I mean hey why not?

Not a fan of Adanna. What everyone thinks of Qaasim, I think of her. She just seems really over-the-top and overbearing. Regardless, she does have good potential if she can just learn to keep it all under control.

I think that a final 5 consisting of Jax Cole, Clark Beckham, Joey Cook, Tyanna Jones, and Quentin Alexander would be an epic one. Probably one of the best in a few years. Hopefully America chooses wisely. I voted for Quentin and Tyanna last night.

Mike V. said...

@Leslie - Yes I play piano (more Billy Joel, less Classical lol which is funny because Billy Joel is classically trained) ....I do sing, but no formal training or anything. Just for fun...I can hold my own in karaoke! I definitely can sing in tune which is more than I can say for some of these kids!

Adanna - Yeah but she's "EDGY" that's what they're going for this year! (obviously I'm being very sarcastic)

Daniel - no more words!!

Rayvon - I wasn't a fan either.

Nick - LOL!

Joey - Agreed.
Tyanna - yep

Queintin - i heard hints of the real song in there, but I liked the twist on it.

Maddie - YEP!

Clark - Yes!

Qaasim - Yep, I'm over it.

@Wallace -

Could be a persona, but it won't win over voters, I'll tell you that. I'm married to someone from the southern states and they don't put up with that nonsense. And we all know where the majority of votes come from if we look at the winners over the years!

I agree...I liked Quentin more than the judges gave him credit for. Things do sound differently LIVE than on camera though. But it's usually better LIVE, so it's strange when there is a different reaction.

The one thing Maddie has going for her is the "country love". The thing is, she didn't sing country this week so it's possible not playing into that niche may cost her. But, southern states and just country fans all across the country will unite and vote for their contestant. It's just tough to justify voting for that though.

Agree on Rayvon. He just doesn't hold up to the competition.

I don't think the save has ever been used for the purpose it is there for. The save was intended to be used to save people like Jennifer Hudson or Chris Daughtry who got eliminated way before they were supposed to (though I think both would've been ineligible for the save at the point in the competition they were). I guess they see potential in Qaasim and based on his first couple performances, maybe there was. But last week pretty much showed he only has 1 trick up his sleeve. Good point about the tour. I didn't even consider that.

I don't know if I can go as far as calling any combination of these finalists as epic at this point! lol I think the best crop of contestants they ever got was probably season 5 where there were a bunch that could've won the thing but the Soul Patrol took over. But man...Chris, Katharine, Elliot, Kellie, Taylor, Paris (though she never lived up to her audition) was crazy! I certainly remember final 2s that were memorable since then (cook/artichoke (yep), adam/kris)....but I don't remember there ever being such a talented, diverse group than that season 5 group. I'd say Seasons 1, 4,5 and 7 were my favorite seasons. They produced viable recording artists and were entertaining to watch. I can barely tell you what contestants were in seasons 9-13!

Thanks for your comments guys! Good discussion!

Leslie said...

Mike....I know we both like Billy Joel from a past conversation, but I didn't remember that you played piano. Funny fact, at least to me, when I was a kid, I took piano lessons from a guy named Little Anthony. He was a hopeful singer, but never played more than fairs and stuff, but I remember he had cut a 45, and I even got an autographed copy. lol

Unknown said...

I have to agree with you there, Season 5 was the first season I ever watched. I was absolutely hooked on Daughtry, and I think that those 6 were great picks for the final 6! I also really loved Mandisa. :) My favorite seasons are probably 4, 5, 7, 8, and 11. Season 11 was seriously so great, literally anyone in the top 7 could have won that year.

Yeah, the show seriously was in its prime the first 7 seasons, these last 7 years have been pretty rocky. I still get nightmares from Season 9. o.o Season 12 and Season 13 were unbelievably bland too. I think this year has a pretty good line-up, but I'm still waiting for the people I like to REALLY intrigue me in their performances. The problem I've always had with this show is that there are very few artists who've been on the show that actually make me want to listen to their own music. I think I just really like the competitive edge that these shows have. There are exceptions though, like Adam Lambert, David Cook, Chris Daughtry, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, etc. have great music. As much as I love Joey and Quentin (my personal favorites), I don't see how they would be marketed. Painfully ironic how the worst people each season tend to be the most marketable because of their genre and young appeal. But oh well. We'll see how the rest of the season plays out. I'm liking it so far.