Audio Performances at the Bottom of this post.
There are some weeks where things just aren’t that cut and dry. The first two weeks, we were left with a clear top 2 that we knew were going to the finals. The standouts were just that. This week, we are not sure.
We are also confused because the judges were often off the mark tonight, but let’s get started and let the chips fall where they may.
1. Von Smith – “You’re All I Need to Get By”, Marvin Gaye — We give Von credit on this song. He has been a shouter and he is doing his best to control it. He did a commendable job. The judges liked the performance and so did we. He hit every note, he wasn’t pitchy and he got us listening. Problem, his look is atrocious. Red sneakers and orange reddish T-Shirt under a suit jacket and hair that makes him look like he was at the fun house in a carnival.
2. Taylor Vaifanua, ” If I Ain’t Got You”, Alicia Keys — We like Taylor’s voice, we like Taylor’s look and we like this song, so what is the problem. We had trouble staying awake through the performance. Taylor sang it well, but the performance did nothing at all for us. The judges seemed to pretty much agree.
3. Alex Wagner-Trugman – “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues”, Elton John — Lousy. His only hope is votefortheworst.com.
4. Arianna Afsar – “The Winner Takes It All”, Abba — This was a no-go from note one. Arianna could not find her voice, and despite being “cute as a button” was unable to pull off this song. She should be doing teen pop and instead chose a song we would picture being on at the local retirement home. Dull, off key, nonsense.
5. Ju’not Joyner – “Delilah”, Plain White T’s — This is a song we love and believe has the potential of becoming a classic that lasts for years. The judges perplexed us with their call on Joyner; they praised him. They were listening to their IPOD, not Joyner. He butchered this song. He should be ashamed about what he did to the song and the judges either were tone deaf for this one song or had some vested interest in promoting it.
6. Kristen McNamara – “Gimme One Reason”, Tracy Chapman — Kristen performed this with passion and was on pitch on every note. She gave it a fun twist and had us listening. Overall a commendable performance. Lousy outfit.
7. Nathaniel Marshall – “I Would Do Anything For Love”, Meatloaf — Better than Alex. Not by much.
8. Felicia Barton – “No One”, Alicia Keys — Felicia nailed this performance. She was dressed in a killer outfit with a Demi Moore look. Simon thought she looked like Alicia. She sang this with the best of them on this show and we feel it was the best female performance of the night, but the judges did not agree.
9. Scott MacIntyre – “Mandolin Rain”, Bruce Hornsby — Scott may have some talent instrumentally, but he isn’t that great vocally and that is what this is about. The judges gave a patronizing round of sympathy praise, and it was pathetic. Scott could get through on America’s sympathy, but it would be a shame to eliminate a true talent in favor of one that is just not in the same league. He was pitchy throughout and butchered most of the song.
10. Kendall Beard – “This One’s For The Girls”, Martina McBride — This is a fun and energetic country tune and it defines Kendall’s style. It wasn’t very original, but it was a commendable copy of the original. It may differentiate her among the country fans in America which makes her a tough call because they love their country (see Kelly Pickler and Carrie Underwood).
11. Jorge Nunez – “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”, Elton John — Two Elton tunes in one night but this one was done right. Jorge nailed it and his voice was the best male vocal of the night. We are just not sure his vocal can get past his look, which is just not that of a star. We hate to say that matters, but it does.
12. Lil Rounds – “Be Without You”, Mary J. Blige — We don’t get Lil Rounds nickname. While she is round, she ain’t little. And her performance wasn’t either. Strong vocals, and we heard the judges screaming their praise. Going last and getting praise from the judges makes her a shoe in, but we thought Felicia Barton was better tonight, but it was close.
So, the top 3 are ridiculously tough for us to call. We don’t agree with the judges, and we think appearance will have a bunch to do with the selection. But we can easily pick those that are at the bottom.
12. Alex Wagner-Trugman (2/10)
11. Arianna Afsar (2/10)
10. Nathaniel Marshall (3/10)
9. Ju’not Joyner (4/10)
8. Scott MacIntyre (5/10)
7. Taylor Vaifanua (6/10)
6. Kendall Beard (7/10)
5. Kristen McNamara (7/10)
4. Von Smith (7/10)
3. Jorge Nunez (8/10)
2. Lil Rounds (8/10)
1. Felicia Barton (8/10)
That leaves our top three as Felicia Barton, Lil Rounds and Jorge Nunez. The judges had other ideas, but did agree with us somewhat. They were way off on Ju’not and Scott.
We also have our reservations because, as you can see, there is a tight cluster of top performers. If there were more country fans, Kendall could burst to the front. Or Von Smith may do better than we think. It is a tight race, but we can’t do the sympathy vote for Scott like the judges did; he just was not up to snuff for this competition, and if me makes it, even his keyboard won’t save him.
[poll id=”64″][poll id=”65″]
American Idol tonight was slightly better than the lackluster and horriblyly confusing Hollywood round one and two last week. It started off with the 72 remaining hopefuls divided into 4 groups in 4 separate holding rooms awaiting their fate and like the movie “Memento” drove us back to the beginning, then forward, then back.
The contestants were to sing solo onstage with back-up singers, live instruments and the whole shebang. They could choose to play their own instruments if they wanted. Ryan Seacrest initially said that the contestants were free to choose any song they liked but the songs repeated itself again and again as the show went on so it became obvious they were given a song list after all.
Hera are the names of those who made it past the judges’ deliberation in round three with some notes on some.
First up who made it was 1 Adam Lambert. He sang great except that he was trying to be a Cher sound-alike singing “Believe” and it just became too gay for comfort as the performance progressed. It wasn’t good at all. His background is in Professional Theater and his performance came off very theatrical not Idol material. If he makes it to the Top 36, we’re not sure if America would welcome a Broadway-American Idol crossover.
2 Matt Giraud was next. Performed a raspy and soothing “Georgia on my Mind” topped with his own piano accompaniment enough to impress all three judges, Paula, Randy and Kara- giving him the standing O.
3 Jamar Rogers sang Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah.” He didn’t sing it bad, even gave the song his own twist but we’re not sure America is going to want to keep hearing “California Drea-e-e-e-ming” or “what you do to m-e-e-e” style of singing. It could grow old fast.
4 Danny Gokey’s “I Hope You Dance” has yet again put a giddy, school-girl with a crush, twinkly-eyed look on Paula Abdul. She gave him a standing ovation even before Danny finished his song. Danny Gokey as we have initially said is a very strong contender this season.
As well as 8 Kendall Beard (performed Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats”), 9 Stevie Wright (sang Colbie Caillat’s “Bubbly”),
and 10 Kristin McNamara -who belted it out with a huge Kelly Clarkson hit “Because of You”.
11 Lil Rounds did a flawless rendition of Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got you” -another strong contender.
12 Mishavonna Henson who we’re seeing for the first time was a Season 7 hopeful who got cut during last year’s round two in Hollywood Week. At least she stayed thru round three this year.
13 Jackie Tohn was shown playing her guitar but we never got to hear her sing! She made it along with 14 Frankie Jordan, 15 Alexis Grace and 16 Kenny Hoffpauer.
Say what?? The over-confident, mentally unstable(?) 17 Tatiana “annoying laugh” del Toro was in Top 54!
So was 18 Nathaniel “Emote King” Marshall who played his own guitar and sang Rihanna’s “Disturbia” while Idol played a montage of all his backstage drama in Hollywood.
This is where it got shocking! 19 Joanna Pacitti, a recording artist on her own couldn’t remember the lyrics to “If I Ain’t Got You.” 20 Casey Carlson, an early favorite forgot the words to Jordin Sparks “Tattoo.” It was painful to watch and hear them struggle as they fumble and eat the words of the songs. We now question the readiness of these two would be Top 12 contender. Of course Idol “saved” them here but if they couldn’t get over the nerves hitting them- it will be over for their Idol dreams.
21 Stephen Fowler, another good soulful singer also forget the words to Daughty’s “Home” and asked for a “Brooke White.” And he messed up again. He gave up, walks off stage and still managed to get into the Top 54!
We don’t really know what to make of 22 Nick Mitchell aka Norman Gentle. He is one character who could really sing but doesn’t fit all decorum of an American Idol. He sang “Georgia On My Mind” as his alter ego again and was entertaining but we really think he belongs in another show.
23 Ju’not Joyner is another hopeful whose only now making his TV appearance. He added some soul into “Hey There Delilah”, breezes through Top 54.
24 Jasmine Murray gave a disappointing rendition of “Tattoo”. We expected more from her.
If 25 Kai Kalama didn’t make such a good impression on his audition, we would have sent him packing. His voice is going. He needs to do something about it- FAST! The judges gave him a break and passed him through.
26 Anne Marie Boskovich, 27 Michael Sarver, 28 Arianna Afsar (wasn’t given airtime on this episode), 29 Matt Breitzke, 30 Cody Shelman, 31 Felicia Barton, 32 TK Hash, 33 Alexander Wagner-Trugman, 34 Allison Iraheta, 35 Angela Martin, 36 Ashley Hollister, 37 Brent Keith-Smith, 38 Chris Chatman, 39 Derek Lavers, 40 Devon Baldwin, 41 Jackie Midkiff,
42 Jeanine Vailes, 43 Reggi Beasley, 44 John Twiford, 45 Lacey Brown, 46 Jessica Langseth, 47 Megan Corkrey, 48 Von Smith, 49 Perrie Cataldo, 50 Ricky Braddy, 51 Shera Lawrence, 52 Keating Holland, 54 Taylor Vaifanua completes the list of Top 54.
Among those who were cut: Michael Castro, India Morrison, Kaylan Loyd, Muna Hiluf and Leneshe Young.
Tomorrow, the Top 36 is revealed in a 2-hour show! Oh brother. See you…
16 years old
Home: San Diego, CA
Audition: Phoenix, AZ
(Our bet going to the Top 24!)
We had taken a bit of a hiatus because there was nothing in reality television we have cared much for since Amazing Race finished its season. Amazing race, in our judgement, was great this year, but not as popular in the ratings. It just did not draw interest, which is a shame because it gets the adrenalin flowing.
Idol, though, is timeless. It could run forever. We will always search for that one singer that stands above the rest and drives towards a dream we all have as we crack on the high notes in the car on the way to work or in the shower.
We love Idol as it gets into the meat, but the initial shows are little more than entertainment. It reacquaints you with the judges. This year we did indeed get our fourth judge. It was obvious in this show that the intent was not to offset the other judges, but to create a kind of kinky girl girl thing behind the table. We will see how that plays out, but it was a nice change from the boring Simon/Paula nonsense.
The show brought on talent from Arizona. It was entertaining. One gal that not only had the pipes, but she had the thighs. Katrina Darrell came on with a bikini and wowed the judges with her body, then with her vocals. We are not sure what she will do to follow up on a bikini that barely covered her derrière. Kara DioGuardi noted that she had quite a nice one. (watch her audition below.)
There were a number of talents and fools. The usual rule was followed. If they look like a joke, they almost always are. There are occasional deviations from the rule, but in general, it follows. We are not sure if that is the intention of the show, however, in trying to find the beautiful people and discarding the not so beautiful even if they can wail. This is television.
This was just the start, and it gave us a feel for the judges, but it was nothing you have to watch just yet. The primary reason to watch the show at this juncture is to see those few people that may be standouts and the freaks that make us laugh or squirm with embarrassment.
It is also the phase in which we see that the judges are completely useless other than as color. Anyone could listen to ten seconds of the talented and put them through and can the rest. It takes no talent whatsoever. Honestly, it is perhaps the case that the judges do help later on in the season, but at this juncture they are pathetic. For one contestant they tell him he should be in a rock band and get more seasoned. Then they tell another contestant either you are born with it or you aren’t. When you think about the millions they make judging people with more talent than they ever had, it is kind of sad.
Still, they are part of the ‘greatest’ show ever on American television. So we still respect their tolerance of days of auditions for only a few million bucks each.
As a final note, as we sign off, we would like the show to add a new prop to eliminate the uncomfortable moments we consistently see at the end of auditions. As the failures are ejected, we see all kinds of pathetic begging and other awkward moments. We would love to see a trap door or stage hook incorporated. If after ten seconds or so, the performer sucks, you pull the handle, the trap door opens and they are gone. No begging, no whining, no swears or tears. Just off to the basement.
It is much too early to judge how this season is shaping up just yet. 27 performers were picked from Arizona alone and the most interesting shows will come when this has been whittled down to 10 in the entire competition. But if you like freaks and making early guesses as to who gets through to the finals, it is their time.
Our early pick for this week was Emily Wynne-Hughes of Los Angeles, CA, who brought some talented rock singing to the audition. She can rock and we think she could make it a ways, although we don’ see her becoming a finalist.
Another that caught us off guard was Arianna Afsar of San Diego CA, who we do see becoming a finalist. (Watch her audition video below) But Arianna makes us wonder. Where do all these people with teeth whiter than white come from? Are white teeth somehow correlated with American Idol and singing talent? Their choices seem a bit too perfect.
We are certain there are plenty of ugly folks with green teeth that can wail, and we are positive there are a ton of gorgeous people with pearly whites that sing worse than a donkey in heat. Somehow, Idol seems to conveniently eliminate those talents from the stage before we get to see them.
Arianna Afsar – Put Your Records On
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