3/17 American Idol Top 11 Performance Night Recap: Country And Black Nail Polish Don’t Mix

There were some surprises tonight, and out of it all, not one performer in the entire show was bad. There was no single individual we could point at and say they were gone. There were our least favorites, and a surprise weak performer this week, but overall, a strong showing for everyone.

The theme was country and the group showed that talent can being out the diversity in any music style. Each performance was enjoyable, but someone has to go home… let’s see. [Listen to all the songs at the bottom of this article. Idol performance plus Full Studio recording]

Michael Sarver – “Ain’t Going Down ‘Til The Sun Comes Up” – Garth Brooks. This song is a tongue twister and Michael did well at remembering each word and hitting the verses with perfect timing. The performance did lack in a few areas though. It wasn’t unique. It did nothing to challenge Michael’s voice which he showed was powerful last week. And, while fun, it was not memorable, which is troublesome for anyone that is cursed with singing in the first spot.

Allison Iraheta – “Blame It On Your Heart” – Patty Loveless – Allison belted out his country tune with rock power. It was not her style and it was not her best performance but it was stellar overall for any 16 year old. We think she has a chance to get into the final five. She has to bring a more memorable song to get votes next time though.

Kris Allen – “To Make You Feel My Love” – Garth Brooks — Kris found his niche for us. He is a ballad singer. We do not think any ballad singer can win this competition, but those that are good at it often do hang around. Kris did a great job with the song, melding strong emotion with a powerful vocal. He won’t go home this week. But was he best?

Lil Rounds – “Independence Day” – Martina McBride – This was clearly Lil’s worst week so far. She belted out the song well, but the style wasn’t there. She did look killer though with the most professional look of any of the performers. That wasn’t enough to get her top spot, but we can’t see America sending her home.

Adam Lambert – “Ring of Fire” – Johnny Cash — If you recall, Daughty did a Johnny Cash song and rocked it by making it his own. Adam did the same, but twisted this one a bit too far. He took Johnny Cash and made it sound like it was being sung by Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame. The vocals were strong, the edge as edgy as it gets, but it just didn’t fit because the twist was so extreme. Maybe it was the black fingernail polish? Yuck. We didn’t like it much, but it still should keep Adam in the competition.

Scott MacIntyre – “Wild Angels” – Martina McBride – Scott is an excellent pianist, but we don’t care much for his vocal style. He has a pitch problem and while he had a fun performance tonight with a good finish, we don’t see him winning this. He will likely survive this week, but he isn’t a favorite.

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Alexis Grace – “Jolene” – Dolly Parton — We truly love Alexis, and we believe when she is on, she could be number one in this competition. It was hard to pinpoint this week, but we didn’t like the performance. Instead of the edgy, almost threatening style Alexis could have used on this tune, she chose a whiny begging performance that did not suit her. The song is all about a fight for her man, and it seemed Alexis wasn’t fighting all that hard.

Danny Gokey – “Jesus, Take The Wheel” – Carrie Underwood — Danny built up and hit this tune with style. Once again, this could be a hit on the radio right now. It wasn’t the best performance of the night, but it proves that consistency is what it is all about. Danny doesn’t have to be number one every week. But he will likely always be, at his worst, in the top three. When the judges are confronted by an artist like Danny, they have to search for bad things to say, because otherwise they sound like broken records. Danny was fantastic, but he wasn’t the best this week.

Anoop Desai – “Always On My MInd” – Willie Nelson – Anoop took the criticisms and the near elimination to belt out a spectacular performance this week. He had the advantage of being the underdog and played it beautifully. The judges all raved, and we were sold.

Megan Joy Corkrey – “(I Go Out) Walkin’ After Midnight” – Patsy Cline — Megan brought along her unique style and brought us into her world this week after driving is away with Rockin’ Robin last. She has such character and presence without being “over the top”. She doesn’t over perform and she finds that balance that keeps her “Always On Our Minds”.

Matt Giraud – “So Small” – Carrie Underwood — Matt had a finale to do, and if you don’t win when you get to go last, you lose. He won. He brought on the performance, he played the piano wonderfully, and ended on a fresh throaty falsetto. Nicely done to win our choice for performer of the night.

Our choices in order from first to last.

Matt Giraud (9/10)

top11_randytravisAnoop Desai (8/10)

Danny Gokey (8/10)

Allison Iraheta (7/10)

Adam Lambert (7/10)

Kris Allen (7/10)

Megan Joy Corkrey (7/10)

Lil Rounds (6/10)

Scott MacIntyre (6/10)

Alexis Grace (6/10)

Michael Sarver (6/10)

We realize this makes it a four way tie for elimination, but we don’t believe it was that close. There just is so much you can do with a 1-10 scale. We have to send home Michael this week. Alexis had a very bad week and could be at risk, but we think America will want to see her again. Scott, we just don’t see him getting much farther, so we wouldn’t miss him. Lil is way better and we think the audience and judges know it so she won’t go.

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3/5 American Idol Wild Card Winners! Four Becomes Finalists.

So, the finalists of American Idol are all chosen, and it was left to the judges to decide the fate of those that were chosen for the wild card competition. We question many comments by the judges and feel they were off the mark tonight.

Our calls for each performance are below (Listen to the audio performances at the end of this post):

1. Jesse Langseth, Rufus & Chaka Khan, “Tell Me Something Good” — Jesse got down deep on this song, bringing out a very sexy and soulful set. We got into it and loved this performance. Her only flaw was
having to go first, which is hard on any performer. She pulled off a great performance with a professional feel.

jesselanseth_wildcard2. Matt Giraud, Jackson Five, “Who’s Loving You” — After last week, Matt had nowhere to go but up. His performance last week should have been his death nell. Matt brought it this week with some very nice solid riffs and got us smiling a bit, so we give him credit for bringing back what he is good at. Sad to say that when the real competition hits, he won’t be able to pick and choose only the blues.

3. Megan Joy Corkrey, KT Tunstall, “Black Horse And The Cherry Trees” — You know, we like Megan and wanted her through to the final 12 on her last performance. This week was cute and fun because the song is cute and fun. She looked great, but she was flat and the song shows no range. She was also incredibly off key many times throughout the song. We like this song, but she didn’t do it well. She looked great doing it though and was entertaining.

4. Von Smith, Elton John, “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” — There has been way too much Elton John in this show this year. And we think Von could have picked something less cliche. He once again dressed shabbily and still looks like he is standing in a carnival fun house above the air blower. The beginning of the song is slow and requires strong pitch control. Von doesn’t have it. He was off key most of the first half of the song. He brought it home, but not enough for us to consider him.

5. Jasmine Murray, Christina Aguillera, “Reflection” — Jasmine tried to stretch her voice on this song and came up flat, literally. She was off key through the entire song and when she hit notes requiring strength in her vocals, they hurt our ears because she was just shouting. We did not like her performance.

6. Ricky Braddy, Stevie Wonder, “Superstition” — Now, this is a hard song to sing, not so much because we think Stevie is the end-all be-all, but because it is so well known.An If you don’t nail it and if you are off key, people will pick it up immediately. Ricky sang it great. He hit every note with ease and performed it wonderfully. Our only criticism is Ricky’s look. He looks like a scarecrow in heat. But he can belt out a tune.

7. Tatiana Del Toro, Whitney Houston, “Saving All My Love FOr You” — This was like deja vu all over again. Tatiana has done this tune three times in the competition and it is getting old. She did fine, her voice is quite powerful, and she is enjoyable to listen too, but she overstayed her welcome with this tune.

8. Anoop Desai, Bobby Brown, “My Prerogative” — Anoop has been a favorite of ours, so we were expecting him to excel. He did not. The song is a repeat, of a prior performance. He was flat nearly throughout the song and it is a silly song for a geek to sing. We did not like Anoop this week.

Our Scores for the performers are based on how they performed, not on the judges choices. THey are based on reality not practiced and already wrote decisions by the judges. We will list the group in reverse order of our overall score. We know the results already, but the judges were well off the mark on most of the talent this week.

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1. Jasmine Murray (5/10)
2. Tatiana Del Toro (6/10)
3. Anoop Desai (6/10)
4. Von Smith (6/10)
5. Ricky Braddy (7/10)
6. Megan Joe Corkrey (7/10)
7. Matt Giraud (7/10)
8. Jesse Langseth (8/10)

rickybraddywildcardThe judges robbed two great talents tonight and, for some reason unknown to us, placed two people through that just aren’t very good and did not deserve to be in the final 12. We have no idea what they were thinking. Our top 4 clearly outperformed the others, and would have brought more talent to the final 12 than the judges’ selections.

Our opinion? The judges had already judged. It was over before the fat lady sang, and probably before she knew what she was going to sing. We think that is a a shame.

The performer we feel the worst about is Jesse Langseth. She put in an excellent performance and was better than most in this show by a country mile. She was, quite honestly, robbed. The judges comments after her set were off the market and just plain not relevant.

Similarly, Ricky was unjustly eliminated, and we get the impression there were other factors than talent in this decision by the judges.

The judges tried a surprise twist by putting through four instead of three because they couldn’t make up their minds.

Their choices were Jasmine Murray, Anoop Desai, Megan Joe Corkrey, and Matt Giraud. That rounds out your final 13 for only 12 stools. Jasmine will go quickly. Anoop needs to go back to prior performances to determine what made him worth listening to; tonight he was not good and incredibly lucky. But Matt and Megan deserve to be here and we look forward to hearing them again.

We hope the judges will judge the remainder of the competition based on talent instead of whatever commercial factors they are considering when devising their very scripted and obviously rehearsed judging…