Audio Performances at the bottom of this post.
We were surprised again. But only mildly. The two performers we picked to stroll into the finals did and were clearly the best of the twelve that performed last night. Kris Allen was helped by the judges comments last night, because the gals we chose were better. But America can be swayed when the competition gets too close, and Kris pulled it out. We are hoping that Megan and Mishavonna get another chance, because they are great and we feel bad that Kris displaced them. Still, Kris did an encore that was better tonight. He still started way off key, but he didn’t take as long to bring his voice to the right pitch. Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta were the clear winners. They have the real shot at winning it all. Kris is fun, but not in the same league. So, once again, we pick numbers one and two easily and could not judge the #3 vote when it comes to the final cut.
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Audio Performances at the bottom of this post.
Tonight’s American Idol looked iffy at first and blossomed into some talents that are going to give the currently selected a run for their money. The best weren’t any true surprise, but how badly some of this group performed was. Let’s start.
1. Jasmine Murray – ‘Love Song’ (Sara Bareilles) — Jasmine has a great unique voice. She was a bit nasal on this and it didn’t get us off our chairs, but it was also on key and well performed. The judges came out harsher than they should have on Jasmine, we think she did a respectable job. She has the look too. She dresses like a star!
2. Matt Giraud – ‘Viva La Vida’ (Coldplay) — Coldplay is just too unique, too “at the top” to be done right now. Coldplay has a style that takes what would be a boring song for almost anyone and make it a spectacular hit. Matt doesn’t have that quality. He sounded shaky and just not interesting singing it.
3. Jeanine Vailes – This Love’ (Maroon 5) — We love Maroon 5. The catchy tunes, the peak toned edgy voice, the surprise variations in the melody. Jeanine absolute destroyed this song. Not in the good way folks. Her only hope is to get voted in on votefortheworst.com, cuz she ain’t gonna get through on this performance.
4. Nick Mitchell – ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’ (Jennifer Holliday). That was Nick’s song but we have no idea what he actually sang. It was a comedy play and it was hysterical, well sung and fun. But he just can’t go anywhere other than a comedy club with this. He could get votes because he is consistently entertaining and makes us laugh. But that isn’t really what this about when it comes down to the real competition. It is about vocals and performing challenging songs that people will want to listen to over and over. It is time for the joke to end, but we hope to see Nick back playing to his niche, because he is funny and makes for great satire.
5. Allison Iraheta – ‘Alone’ (Heart) — There are some bands that perform vocals almost no one else can do properly. They have certain songs for which the voice is nearly impossible to recreate and also impossible to do any way other than the original and deliver it well. Heart is like that. Allison, at only 16, did the song proud. She is totally in this competition. And she clearly gave Ann Wilson a run for her money.
6. Kris Allen – ‘Man in the Mirror’ (Michael Jackson) — We give Kris credit for parts of this song because he really went for it. He pushed and controlled the song the best he could. But Michael Jackson is just not someone you do on this show and succeed unless you are David Cook, and Kris is no David Cook. Kris did a commendable job, but we think the judges were kind. He was very pitchy early one and overall, he just wasn’t good enough.
7. Megan Joy Corkrey – ‘Put Your Records On’ (Corinne Bailey Rae) — With a name like that, you had better be unique, and Megan is. Unique look, great hair, knows how to dress. And the gal has a rare talent when singing this style of song. Our only complaint is it really doesn’t show range. The tune doesn’t challenge the voice. But not all artists have to, and Megan is very pleasant to listen to.
8. Matt Brietzke – ‘The Way She Loves Me’ (Tonic) — Matt is the “Joe The Plumber” of this show. He dresses the part as well. Not a showman, dresses badly and performs with no personality. Then he chooses a song by Tonic that he sings exactly like you would expect some badly dressed guy on a Sunday night to sing at karaoke. We would be very surprised to see Matt advance. Everybody keeps telling him what a nice guy he is; that is already a bad sign.
9. Jesse Langseth – ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ (Kim Carnes) — Now, the judges sometimes are way off the mark, and we think they understated how great Jesse was on this tune. The ending wasn’t stellar for us, it was as though she rant out of gas, but the unique vocal style rings with us. Simon seems to think that Jesse isn’t memorable, but her vocal style is quite memorable and this song was her style dead on.
10. Kai Kalama – ‘What Becomes of the Broken Hearted’ (Jimmy Ruffin) — Kai pulled out a motown style tune that has soul. He sings so well, but like Matt, he has no pizzazz. His hair looks tacky, his unshaven look just looks unshaven, and his clothes look like they come from Good Will. Unlike Matt, he sings with a star quality, but he is lacking in his performance. The judges said it was too old fashioned. We disagree. It just was performed by a man that looks like he is a homeless person and that doesn’t know how to play to the audience. This wasn’t a matter of song choice; it was personality.
11. Mishavonna Henson – ‘Drops of Jupiter’ (Train) — We really enjoyed Mishavonna’s set. Well performed. She put an edge on the song and was able to make it a woman’s song when it is classically a male vocal. We found her voice unique, her performance consistent and on key, and quite entertaining.
12. Adam Lambert – ‘Satisfaction’ (The Rolling Stones) — It is so rare to see an artist pull out a big Rolling Stones or Beatles song, and Adam chose a rather odd one to do, or so we thought. The judges often mistakenly criticize singers for exactly the wrong things. The judges say they chose the wrong song or they chose a band song when they should be doing solos, but they are just stretching for words to explain why they didn’t like a performance like the Sunday football announcer has to fill in the blanks on his narration of the last play. Adam proves the point. He took a band song that seemed very wrong, especially at the opening of the first verse, and twisted it into a champion Idol performance. Adam could win this competition and was the killer act of this night. He has a talent we really haven’t seen much on idol. He can scream. And we mean a scream on par with Steven Tyler and Roger Daltry. A scream that that can identify a song. And he does it effortlessly. If he can get past his seeming hidden desire to be a female impersonator, he could be the next American Idol. Certainly no one else was close tonight.
So here you have our rankings from bottom to top, worst to best.
Jeanine Vailes (2/10)
Matt Brietzke (4/10)
Matt Giraud (4/10)
Nick Mitchell (4/10)
Kris Allen (6/10)
Kai Kalama (6/10)
Jasmine Murray (7/10)
Mishavonna Henson (7/10)
Jesse Langseth (8/10)
Megan Joy Corkrey (8/10)
Allison Iraheta (9/10)
Adam Lambert (10/10)
We are putting through Adam and Allison outright, but the battle for #3 is tight. Any performer we ranked 7 or 8 out of 10 could be in there and we were surprised by last week’s #3 pick. We are leaning towards Megan because she is more unique, but we give Jesse a good chance of beating her out. And Mishavonna was also good enough to pull down the votes. So #3 will be an interesting battle, but we feel, like last week, our 1 and 2 are shoe-ins.
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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…