Friday, March 13, 2015

American Idol: Top 11 Perform

Hello fellow Idol watchers!  Well, after being spoiled with 1 hour episodes, we got blindsided by a 2 hour episode last night!  I'm sure this is how they will be from now on.  1 2 hour episode a week.  It definitely gave the show more room to breathe, and allowed me more control over fast forwarding the nonsense!   Things felt more at home.  But, these performances?  I think I fall for the hype every year that "this is the best crop of contestants, full of potential of tons of stars."   Last year they had people that could sing but had no charisma.  This year they're just full of stage performers who can't carry a tune!  Maybe they're just adjusting to the live shows and it'll improve.  But, I spent more time cringing last night than anything.   We lost a contestant too and we'll discuss that a bit as well.  Let's dive in!

  1. Rayvon Owen - "Burn" by Ellie Goulding - Ugh.  Not a very good performance.  I think Rayon's time on this show might be limited.  As Harry said, he has a pattern of building to a climax and high notes.  He had already lost me in the beginning of the performance.  He was breathing heavily and throwing in whispery (is it a word?) high notes for no reason.  It was a mess. 
  2. Maddie Walker - "She's Country" by Jason Aldean - But not as big a mess as this performance was!  I'm not sure how a Jason Aldean song could turn into looking like a Pageant performance!  But, Maddie pulled it off.  Every choreographed move was felt in the performance.  I'm sure the new mentor guy (that brought us Taylor Swift! don't you forget it!) determined all of these moves.  And yes, she probably wasn't comfortable adding that into her show, but it all felt so forced.  The judges tried to give her a pass saying her amazing voice will come out.  She may not have the gift of time on her side for that to happen. 
  3. Joey Cook- "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea - And the girl we referred to as Ronald McDonald a few weeks ago continues to impress me.  What is happening to this world??  We found out by the end that she did not come up with the arrangement and it was by a band called Post Modern Jukebox.  Eh, who cares?  At least she owned up to it unlike some of the people in the past (even Nick Fradiani with "In Your Eyes" being totally the Jeffrey Gaines version).   It was still a crazy good performance and a smart choice for her.  We all questioned if her schtick would get old.  It was a smart move to take a popular song and turn it inside out.  I wondered if she could survive in the mainstream market.  Then I thought about Adele (no I'm not comparing the 2.  Adele is one of a kind.).  She brings a sort of old fashioned vibe to the modern era and excels at it.  So, maybe there is room for someone like Joey Cook to find a niche in the market.  
  4. Clark Beckham - "Taking It To The Streets" by The Doobie Brothers - Whenever I hear this song on this show, I just think of Taylor Hicks with that speeding highway video background behind him and can't help but laugh.  I like Clark, but I don't know about this one.  It sounded like a carbon copy of Michael McDonald with a couple ad-libbed sing-screams at the end.  I'm sure he'll be fine.  Harry compared the dude to Ray Charles in how he's introspective and to keep doing that.  Hmm, not sure if that's good advice for this show, where you need to win over America.  But we shall see.   
  5. Jax - "Blank Space" by Taylor Swift - So, it's a fine line to walk.  If you build a reputation of changing up songs and putting your own spin on it, it's probably not advisable to take one of the most popular songs out there right now and sing a sub-par karaoke rendition of it.  If she came out and nailed the performance, that would've been one thing.  But the song ate her alive. As J-Lo said, the special quality of her voice got lost in the song.  I'm sure she'll survive, but she better rethink those song choices! 
  6. Qaasim Middleton - "Jet" by Paul McCartney and Wings - Well, we wanted to see another side of Qaasim and aren't we all terrified that it happened?  Everyone acknowledged that his voice is not the greatest and that certainly was on display in this performance.  The whole conversation about Suffragettes vs. Giraffes was comical but the point was he didn't feel connected to the song.  He'll probably resort to the antics again next week.  He might not be the talent I thought he was! 
  7. Adanna Duru - "Runaway Baby" by Bruno Mars - Scotty P (who brought us T. Swizzle y'all!) said that Adanna and her Duru Nation have a chance to win this thing because she has "EDGE".  Woaaaa.  I've tried to kick her off the show a couple times now, but maybe there's a little bit right about what he's saying.  She is a very manic performer, but she was able to get some control over the performance last night.  And with a Bruno Mars song like "Runaway Baby" there is huge potential of overdoing it.  She somehow made it work.  Love that song too.   
  8. Tyanna Jones - "Tightrope" by Jangle Monae - I'm not very familiar with the song but Tyanna certainly knows how to handle a stage and work the crowd.  Her singing chops are pretty good too.  I don't think she's in any danger of going anywhere just yet. 
  9. Daniel Seavey - "Happy" by Pharell - Ugh, it's happening again.  The cute kid keeps getting a pass.  Even worse?  He knows it!  The pre-performance clips had him saying "I can't keep relying on being cute."  I mean, he tells himself he's cute too?   Maybe that'll lose some of his appeal.  Because now I'm just seeing some punk kid with an ego that needs to be knocked off his pedestal.  We all know he's not winning the show, so it's just a question of when America will wake up.  I have nothing else to say. 
  10. Quentin Alexander - "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele - He sang it well, changed it up just enough to distance it from the original, worked the crowd.  Good performance.  Nothing spectacular, but he's fine for now just wearing weird things and singing well.
  11. Nick Fradiani - "Wake Me Up" by Aloe Blacc - You'll be hearing this a lot from me.  I just don't get it.  He's an average performer with average looks (I got confirmation from the wife that he's just flat out creepy).  It was informative to know he used to be in a band.  I'm sure I could've guessed.  But standing out there with no band surround him certainly could affect his performance.  Because the stage was definitely swallowing him whole.  But even the vocal is a little much.  Lots of extra vibrato where it's not needed.   Harry wants to feel the weight of the world when he sings lyrics with those words.  I'm not sure it'll do it for me, but I'm sure he'll be back again next week.  Sidenote: I don't think because he went last means he was necessarily in the bottom 2.  I think the whole concept of bottom performances is gone with this new format.  


The curse of going first returned and claimed Sarina-Joi Crowe after a crazy quick and rushed hour show where she didn't have time to get her bearings.  I did feel bad for her, and maybe still do a little. But she had a commercial break last night to get her composure and sing for a save.  If she had the right song picked, she probably could've impressed the judges.  The problem was, it was PARTY SONGS night and she unfortunately had Demi Lovato's "Neon Lights" in her arsenal.  That and the One Republic song were not well suited for her voice.   And just like that....she's gone.  Farewell Sarina-Joi! 

Okay, onto the pick from the Top 11!

Safe: Joey, Clark, Qaasim (for now), Adanna, Tyanna, Daniel (ugh), Quentin, Nick 

My bottom 3: Rayvon, Maddie, Jax

Elimination Pick: Maddie Walker - Just when I thought she was turning things around on Wednesday, she lost all of that redemption value with the Thursday performance.  She's the next logical pick.  

Jax had a bad night, but I'm sure she'll bounce back.  She is certainly one of the more interesting characters this season.  

That's all I have for now, except we all must prepare for April 1st!  It better not be an April Fool's Joke but it's going to be Kelly Clarkson night on Idol! She'll be arriving with her new #1 album in her back pocket (Good album, not her best, but still full of catchy and powerful anthems) to guest mentor the kids.  She even suggested in a recent interview that she'd be totally up for being a judge on American Idol one day.  Judging by her performance on the ill-conceived Duets show on ABC, she could totally pull it off if it ever happened.  

Okay I'm really done now.  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week! 


Leslie said...

Oops! I posted this in the wrong spot because I went back there to check the comments:

I'm so glad to hear you were cringing, too! At one point, my fiance asked of something was wrong with our TV because we were obviously hearing something different than the judges! lol

I have to admit that I like Joey's performance! She showed she can really sing and still had a little quirkiness in there without being overwhelming with it.

Not Clark's best performance, but he can sing unlike Qaassim which is where I was cringing the most! Jax didn't have a good night either, but she is still interesting. Adanna did better, and Tyanna is really good. Quentin is good, but personally, I didn't like the change up he did on that song. It lost something for me.

Daniel just needs to go already! Nick makes weird facial movements when he sings that are distracting!

I know you predict what America will do, but my choice for bottom 3 is Daniel, Qaasim and Nick. I wouldn't miss any of them!

Mike V. said...

Sometimes I pick what america will do, sometimes I pick what I want! This week was a bit of a combination. lol

I wouldn't be surprised at Daniel or Nick....Qaasim would be surprising just based on his last 2 performances. We shall see!

For your comments..I basically agree with all of them!

Unknown said...

LOL, I was reminded of Taylor's rendition of Clark's song too. Clark was one of the best, but I feel like he lacks inspiration when he sings. He's clearly the strongest of the bunch, and probably has the best chance of winning as of right now, he just needs to keep that momentum going. Tyanna was phenomenal, and I think she's probably Clark's biggest threat at this point. Not much else to really say about these two, they're not going anywhere.

Adanna and Joey were definitely the most pleasant surprises of last week. Adanna started as the odd one out in the Top 12, but is slowly climbing to dark horse territory. She's starting to match her singing control with her performance skills, which is good and necessary at this point of the competition. Joey was brilliant, her performance was a real game-changer, and I think she might be someone to look out for if she turns in more serious performances like that. Top 4 at this point.

I'm very concerned about Jax and Quentin. They're two of my favorites this year, and they were both a little lackluster last week. Usually that doesn't mean much, but hey if one bad performance is enough to get Sarina eliminated, the same thing could surely happen to those two, especially since Quentin has technically been voted off already. These are the two I vote for, I am always psyched to see what they have in store, and I really hope America can look past one bad week and get them through. Jax has always been one of the most popular, so she SHOULD be okay... right? :/ I'm more worried about Quentin honestly.

Qaasim... oh boy. What a mess. I like watching him but that was not good. Daniel was actually better than him last week. These two have pretty much established themselves as "the weak ones" of the top 12. But Qaasim has the NBB crowd to follow him, and his entertainment factor. Daniel's not leaving. Regardless I do think Qaasim might be in danger.

Nick's been pretty consistent so far, and I think he's built a credible fanbase to get him on to a few more rounds. He's gotta give more winner-worthy performances though. He gives me a very Daughtry kind of vibe, and the dude has sick potential. He just needs to really put himself on the map.

Rayvon and Maddie are arguably the weakest links of last week. The problem with these two is that while they're both good singers is that they lack star quality. They have the stage presence of a chair, and are growing more dull each week. And the fact that Rayvon also performed first is not a good sign. Maddie at least has the country following to get her by for a little while, but she needs to start stepping it up if she wants any chance of being a contender this season.

So obviously Daniel should be the one going, for he's massively overstayed his welcome, but that ain't happening. I think Qaasim and Maddie should be the other two joining him soon. Regardless, this is how I see it playing out.

Bottom 3: Maddie Walker, Rayvon Owen, Qaasim Middleton.

Wildcard: Adanna Duru, Quentin Alexander (I hope not!)

Going Home: Rayvon Owen. I don't believe it's his time, but it's just the most likely scenario I see occurring. Besides Daniel, he doesn't match up to the artistry or skill of the other guys in the competition, and he's also not as interesting.

Also, just for funziez, my ranking of the people left based on how I think it'll play out:

01. Clark Beckham
02. Tyanna Jones
03. Joey Cook
04. Jax Cole
05. Quentin Alexander
06. Nick Fradiani
07. Adanna Duru
08. Qaasim Middleton
09. Daniel Seavey
10. Maddie Walker
11. Rayvon Owen

Any of the Top 6 are subject to change. :)

Unknown said...

Also, for the record I'm rooting for a girl to win this year.

Mike V. said...

Thanks for the comments Wallace! I'll comment in mor me detail to your comments and rankings later but I had to say I'm always rooting for a girl to win. Too many dudes win this things lately. And the most successful winners were 2 females that I still support to this day. Though I don't really see anyone at this juncture that could rival the legendary kelly/Carrie combo. But that's usually the case!

Unknown said...

Yeah, I'm kind of sick of the same kind of cookie-cutter males who seem to win this. Although Clark does have some skill, and I really like Quentin. If a girl were to win, I'd be fine with any of Tyanna, Jax, or Joey.

Yeah, I'm curious to see what you have to say about my rankings and comments. :)

Mike V. said...

@Wallace - I agree on Clark. He has a great voice and gift but definitely is very introspective and I don't think it translates well to TV regardless of what the judges say. Then again, Carrie Underwood was called a "fembot" in her season but her voice was incredible and she had an appeal about her and it won over America. I can't compare Clark to Carrie at this point!

I'm not as high on Adanna as you, but the judges do say that she is a force to be reckoned with this season. If she controls her performances better in the future maybe I'll see it. I think Qaasim may fizzle out. He showed his big moves and may not have much else to him. But we'll see! I doubt he's in danger this week though.

We agree on Rayvon and Maddie. Definitely the weakest. We'll see which one is right on who goes home! As for bottom 3s....doesn't look like they're going to do that anymore. Maybe when the pool gets smaller they'll return to it because they'll have time during the 2 hours to get to it.

Rankings - I don't think I've ever done a power ranking on these blogs (we'll I guess I indicate who's safe!). I've certainly read them before. It's too early for me to declare who's in the lead for winning the thing. I don't think Clark is quite there yet though. Let's see if I can come up with a slightly different list here.

01. Tyanna
02. Clark
03. Jax
04. Qaasim
05. Quentin
06. Joey
07. Adanna
08. Nick
09. Daniel
10. Rayvon
11. Maddie

Based on stage presence I have to give Tyanna the edge I guess. Jax is popular so she is up there for now. Same with Qaasim. But, if they keep turning in performances like last week, I'd probably drop them lower. I've made no secrets that I'm not a fan of Nick! But he is a boy with a guitar, so maybe that voting population is still out there. We'll see what happens!

Unknown said...

Wow, man... surprises tonight. Can't wait to see what you have to say about all that. :P