Thursday, April 30, 2015

American Idol: Season 14 - Top 4 Perform

Hello Idol friends!  We are out of the crazy "twitter save" era and down to the top 4!  It was a pretty great night of performances, but also a little concerning.  There have been some surprising exits in the past at the Top 5/Top 4 week.  If we went by the commentary from the judges alone, there might indeed be a surprise exit.  But, in the end I have to have a little more faith in America to spot the true talent!  Lots of things at play here and we'll get to it below.  Let's dive in!


  1. Clark Beckham - "Living for the City" by Stevie Wonder, "Your Man" by Josh Turner - Clark has been the favorite contestant for a long time.  He performed first and 5th last night.  If we went by the first performance, I would have said "competition over!  He is winning!"  But, then we had other contestant performances, judge commentary and then that incredibly skewed pre-performance package for song 2.  It even included an "out of context" quote from Clark that said something like, "If this song doesn't connect, I don't want to win."  He had to backpedal after his performance to say he desperately wants to win.  I understood what he meant.  He feels this type of music.  But, come on Clark.  I know he changed it up, but why on earth would you sing the infamous Scotty McCreary audition tune "Your Man"?  He probably should've taken the advice from Scott Bruchetta (Spelled wrong intentionally) and Jay Demarcus from Rascal Flatts.  But, his talent is evident.  And he's a Nashville boy.  If the fans from the South know anything, they know how to vote for their home grown southern folk!  On the 1st tune, I thought the judges were being hard on him because they want to make him that much better.  But, now I wonder if they think he'll be marketable after the show is over.  I'm fully prepared for a surprise exit next week, but it would be unfortunate.  I'm fairly confident 2 of these contestants shouldn't even be here anymore.   
  2. Jax - "Empire State of Mind" by Alicia Keys, "Human" by Christina Perri - I'll say it.  Jax was hands down the best performer of the night.  My jaw dropped when J-lo said it was Nick.  Sure, she had a lot of help from lighting and smoke machines but her voice sounded incredible.  They said she was hoarse?  Well, then it only helped add some nice character to the performance.  Maybe it's like when Phoebe actually started to be able to sing when she was sick.  Jax connected with her songs and told her stories to the audience.  She "bared her soul/gravy" on the Christina Perri song.  I thought she pretty much guaranteed one of the slots in the final 2.  But hey, maybe America wants Nick vs. Rayvon in the final.  That would be a hoot!     
  3. Nick Fradiani - "Bright Lights" by Matchbox Twenty, "What Hurts the Most" by Rascal Fatts - So Nick is just taking a page out of my karaoke book to win this thing.  I've sang "Only the Good Die Young" a couple times.  "Bright Lights" is my go to Karaoke staple.  I tend to get positive reviews from performing it.  So, can I be in the top 4 of American Idol?  I probably bring just about as much stage presence to the performance.  I'm being sarcastic, because I really don't bring much!  And neither does he.  Sure, he acts like he's trying to with that whole manic foot step back and thrust forward towards the mic stand 36 times per 1 minute performance.  I mentioned this last week.  If Nick has done anything right, it's picking good and popular songs.  Keith gave good advice to Clark.  We need singles not album cuts.  You have to win over the audience.  It's the same advice Proximo gives Maximus in Gladiator, "Win the crowd!"  I guess that's what he's doing.  I still find him so generic and bland.  But, maybe it's like CBS TV shows.  The more generic and bland you are, the higher ratings you get because it appeals to all types of people (I say this and I still watch Big Bang Theory).  I've been trying to boot this guy off the show since the top 10.  Clearly he has fans.  We've seen this before.  Many times before.  A man with a light complexion sporting a box with strings has consistently won this show.  People are attracted to a man with a guitar.  Clark plays guitar too, but it's skill over connection with the audience.  And this is where that is going to start to matter.  Needless to say, this is a bit worrisome! 
  4. Rayvon Owen - "Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum, "Believe" by Justin Bieber - Ahhh Rayvon.  If this were a traditional Idol season, Rayvon would've been gone long ago.  I picked him last week as who would get the boot, but even had a strong suspicion he would survive.  It makes sense that he'd get to live at least 1 more week without the help of a save.  He certainly has improved over the weeks and found himself.  He is the great balladeer.  The Lady Antebellum song was good.  He may have gotten a little overly dramatic at the end, but it was still performed well.  But then, he went ahead and drew the MOM vote with the 2nd tune.  I love Harry's subtle slam at Justin Bieber with his critique of the 15 writers of that song being made happy by Rayvon's performance.  No one will be able to convince me that that wasn't a Bieber slam!  But, it was total crowd manipulation.  Camera pans to the crying mother, the big hug at the end.   How does he not go through?  He certainly sang it mostly well and connected with the crowd.   But it all spells trouble for Clark!     


Eliminated This Week: Tyanna Jones - I think I mentioned last week that depending on the week she could be the best performer or the worst performer.  America decided.  Farewell Tyanna!  Still a promising future for you!  

I think I did all of my analysis in the recap above.  I can't in good conscience pick Clark to go home, even if that's the way it goes.  I do give Jax the win for last night though.   Maybe Clark gets a bottom 2 scare.  So, since I'm pretty confident this guy won't win I'll go with this:

Bottom 2: Clark, Rayvon

Elimination Pick: Rayvon Owen - Has to happen eventually, right?  It at least makes me feel better not to pick Clark.  I do think he has a lot of support out there regardless of judge/Bruchetta commentary.

Okay, that's all I have for this week!  We're getting closer to the end!  Hometown week is next for the Top 3.  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week! 


Leslie said...

LOL on Phoebe singing! Jax definitely had a great night. She is good at showing her vulnerable side.

They sure were hard on Clark! Usually they tell people they need to know who they are and what kind of artist they want to be. Clark knows that, yet when he sticks to his guns, they pushed back. Will that steer America not to vote for him or will they respect him for what he did?

I think it should be Clark and Jax in the finale, but who knows what America will do!

Mike V. said...

I agree it should be Clark and Jax. I think the 2nd performance wasn't his greatest and he probably should've listened to his advisors. But, I think america will respect him for sticking to his guns. Plus, I think he'll get a lot of the southern vote too. I still don't know how Nick is still on this show. Maybe the fact that I didn't pick him or put him in danger means he'll go home. :)