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.
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UPDATE: 12 February 2009
Joanna Pacitti is out of the competition! We just visited the Idol site and Joanna Pacitti’s name wasn’t on the roll but Felicia Barton’s name was! We poked some more and found this short explanation for it: “It has been determined that Joanna Pacitti is ineligible to continue in the competition. Felicia Barton has replaced Ms. Pacitti as part of the Top 36.”
A source close to the show now tells us that Pacitti was disqualified to “avoid the appearance of impropriety.”
In the past week, tabloids had been reporting on a private relationship between Pacitti and executives of 19 Management – one of the companies which oversees “Idol.”
Just when we thought Idol couldn’t be any more interesting, this BIG news came to us! That should settle down all doubts on Idol’s credibility and issue of conflict of interest.
– o –
UPDATE: We found ourselves going back to this post after the Idol Season 8’s over and it is interesting how the contestants change over the course of time and how idol plays to the “hype” as it got closer to Top 12 picks and the finale. Clearly, nobody saw it coming that KRIS ALLEN was going to be the next American Idol! Even FOX didn’t give him the time of day in the audition. He wasn’t highlighted and nothing about a back story. He wasn’t mentioned in any major news and his name doesn’t come up as early front-runner. So we said here as he was picked that he was “Forgettable at this point. Maybe that will change. But he is through.”
He is the most reluctant winner we have ever seen, saying live in front of millions of people, after being announced as winner that “Adam deserves this.” We think Adam should’ve won, Kris thinks Adam should’ve won. But hey, doesn’t really matter who wins right? It is coming out with a commercial album that makes hit after hit wins in the end. Idol title or not.
W hen it gets to this stage, it is difficult to eliminate people. Many are quite good and you are not sure if they got the break they needed they could get to the finals.
In general, this phase will weed out some that should stay and some that should go, but it rarely knocks out anyone that we think could be the winner or even in the top 10. Tonight was not that different, except maybe for one or two that we really thought might have a shot.
We would like to explain our title. The problem with this show is one performer that consistently forgot her words, to the point where in one performance, she wasn’t even singing the concocted babbling sound she was making. What makes her more pathetic is that she is already a recording star. We question whether a person that already has a performance history should be in the show to start with, but if they can’t even remember the words they should be sent packing. As we understand it though, this girl has connections within Idol, which makes her selection to go on to the next round even more pathetic. We will get to her later.
The show did a format change where some people had to sing on the spot in a competition against another contestant. It added a bit of spark, but at the same time to make these people remember words to a song on the spot without rehearsal time when they put through a girl that didn’t remember a single complete verse seems totally unfair.
1. Anoop Desai – The ulitimate singing geek. We have no idea how he could ever be made into a star because of his look, but man, he can sing. He is in!
2. Von Smith – Von Smith did a Stevie Wonder song in the last round and he did it well. His primary problem is he is a shouter. He seemingly cannot control his voice. He did the Stevie song well, but if he gets challenged with a song that is more low key, we think he will find himself back on the bus. But he through this week.
3. Alex Wagner Trugman – Placed into a sing-off with Cody Sheldon, Alex pulled off a mean vocal to take it away from Cody. We don’t think either is a top 10 singer, but Alex is a notch closer than Cody.
4. Adam Lambert – Adam did a Cher song last week. He sounded like a female impersonator. He has an incredible voice, but he is a guy and, call us biased, but we prefer guys to sing like guys. His voice and range got him through, but we think he has to work a bit on his sexuality to be liked enough by America to win. He is through.
5. Taylor Vaifanua – Taylor sang the roof off last week and there was no question for us. Judges agreed. She will be with us into the next phase.
6. Jasmine Murray – Short and sweet, she is talented and she is in.
7. Arianna Afsar – Great singer, great look, very possibly a top ten contender.
8. Casey Carlson – We are on the fence right now with Casey, but she is through.
9. Megan Corkrey – She is In. We never got to hear her sing anything in Hollywood!
10. Stevie Wright – Another huge favorite. She is definitely top 10 material if she plays her cards well.
11. Mishavonna Henson – Not a favorite, but she is good enough to be in this crowd.
12. Joanna Pacitti – Here is total Idol hypocrisy. This woman completely blew every set she did. She was put through only because she has inside connections on Idol. She may be better than we think, and she is practically a professional, but if the judges are going to eliminate other talents when they cannot remember their lyrics, they should not put through their favorites. It is sad she got through when others deserving and harder working did not.
13. Kendall Beard – Kendall has a great overall presentation when she sings and with her personality. She isn’t a champion, but she could pull a dark horse ride into the top 10 on those traits.
14. Jenn Korbee got into a singoff and lost to Kristen McNamara. It was close and we are not sure of this decision. Neither was Simon. Still Kristen can wale when she gets the right tune.
15. Alexis Grace wins worst haircut in the show this year. It looks like someone took a cheap pair of barber shears to her head and two cans of spray paint. But she is a top ten singer and going through.
16. Scott MacIntyre – Good vocalist, not great. He is through.
17. Lil Rounds – She is round all right. We caught Ryan Seacrest glancing at her derriere after she was put through. Lil has a great smile and carries herself perfectly. She is top ten all the way, but she better watch out for Ryan.
18. Frankie Jordan could not hit the notes strongly enough in a sing off with Jesse Lanseth. Jesse outsang her and moved on sending Frankie packing. We think this one a shame because she deserved it more than Joanna Pacitti even if Joanna turns out to be better in the long run.
19. Allison Iraheta – At 16, this girl has a future that is nearly infinite. We are not sure if she can carry the pressure to the top 10, but she is in.
20. Danny Gokey – Our favorite to take it all.
21. Ricky Braddy – In
22. Matt Giraud – Was there a doubt?
23. Ju’Not Joyner – Not a top 10, but definitely top 30.
24. Jorge Nunez – Great voice. Needs a less in how to dress, but he could get into that top 10.
25. Brent Keith – Another of the wardrobe challenged, but his singing got past his T-Shirt attire.
26. Stephen Fowler – Stephen had a battle with his lyrics last week, but his voice is so soothing and smooth, if he can get past it, he is an easy score for the top 10. Unlike Joanna Pacitti who did nothing right, Stephen just got nervous on his last performance. If he wasn’t so good though, he could have been sent packing.
27. Nick Mitchell – He is a crazy and he is funny. He is the champion of the freaks, and he plays the part to a T. He is not a strong enough singer to compete into the top 10, but he is a strong enough performer because he is such a nut it could get votes.
28. Jackie Tohn – Doesn’t that sound like a stage name to you? She has a great voice that sounds much like Janis Joplin, but proved her range last week. Top 10.
29. Tatiana Del Toro – Simon said it all. “Tatiana, just try for once not to be annoying”. She was still annoying, but she also is a winner and got through.
30. Nathaniel Marshall, who is a bit of a freak, beat out Jackie Midkiff in a sing off to move on. This one was well off the mark. Jackie outsang Nathaniel and again, he was a performer more deserving than Joanna Pacitti.
31. Jeanine Vailes – Not unanimous, but through.
32. Kai Kalama – He can definitely sing and could be a top ten performer, but there is something in his appearance that is holding him back from the top 10 for us.
33. Anne Marie Boskovich – A great singer with a nice look. Not top ten for us, but definitely deserved to get through here and did.
34. Kris Allen – Forgettable at this point. Maybe that will change. But he is through.
35. Matt Breitzke – Through on a staged sing-off.
36. Michael Sarver – Also through on a staged sing-off.
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…
Louisville, Kentucky is home to “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports”: the Kentucky Derby, the first race for three year-old thoroughbred horses, held annually in May. American Idol played that out in the show but really there was no race or excitement at all in this episode. Thank heavens they squeezed the 2-day audition to an hour instead of 2! Over 10,000 hopefuls showed up and only 19 made it to Hollywood.
Contestants to watch out for: Traveling musician: Brent Keith-Smith and Dueling Piano player Matt Giraud.
Idol’s “emotional story” for tonight was that of Leneshe Young, 18 years old from Cincinnati, OH who sang an impressive original R&B composition. She takes care of her siblings and helps out her single mom, struggled through most of her life living in shelter homes and poverty. Does she have talent?! If we were watching America’s Got Talent, we could easily picture David Hasselhoff exclaiming the only line he knows, “you’re what this show is all about!” Yes, she’s got it!
One more hopeful to take notice is 23-year old Joanna Pacitti from Philadelphia, PA who sang “We Belong” by Pat Benatar. We could say she shouldn’t be in Idol because she’s had a record deal already and had her chance but records and cds doesn’t seem to bother American Idol anymore.
As in usual, they showed a bunch of contestants who are so out of it and then there are those who plead “one more song, please…” when all we could say, why show this on national TV in the first place?! And then finally some hopefuls who could really sing! Let’s just say, you didn’t miss much on this one and be glad you didn’t have to sit through it all…
One final note: we think the judges specifically Paula Abdul and Simon Scowl Cowell should learn about Southern hospitality! They totally misjudged poor Mark Mudd, 25 year-old guy from Coxs Creek, Kentucky. Mark we thought was nice and gentlemanly in his demeanor even when they all turned him down. As Mark was leaving he bid our ignorant judges farewell and said “take care and be careful.” Paula then stopped him and repeated “be careful?” All four decided as initiated by Simon that Mark gave them a threat! Paula lectured Mark Mudd about how that’s not a normal thing to say and you don’t say that to people. Oh please!
We hear you Mark, we know you meant well and these judges ought to apologize to you and the people of Kentucky!!
UPDATE: January 28, 2008
Here’s something for you: American Idol makes a quiet but better-than-nothing statement of apology to Mark Mudd and the people of Louisville for misinterpreting Mark’s final words to the judges as he was leaving. So we were right in sensing that the judges may have misconstrued the whole thing as threatening when it wasn’t. Idol issues this short note on their website:
“We apologize to any viewers who were offended by the misinterpretation of the contestant’s comment to “be careful” upon completion of his audition in Louisville, KY. Our visits to audition cities are relatively brief and sometimes regional greetings and salutations are lost in translation. We had not heard that phrase from any other contestants during the day, so it took everyone by surprise. We now know better and look forward to visiting Louisville again someday.”
Very well. Hope we all learn from that…