For us there was a surprise. We knew last night there were two standouts, and sure enough, our choices vaulted to the vaunted top 12.
There are often surprises when the audience votes though and one contestant made it through that surprised us. We felt that Jackie Tohn or Anoop Desai blew away Michael Sarver, and we also believe Michael just isn’t American Idol quality. He confirmed it with a mediocre performance again tonight. Still, he pulled down enough votes to make it, and we respect that.
The two top performers were Danny Gokey and Alexis Grace, and there was no question these are the two to beat. We don’t think anyone can. Without wanting to sound too cliche, it is theirs to lose, and we know where we would put our money in Las Vegas.
This week looked like it would be difficult to call. Many of what we considered the best talents were on this first night, and we thought for sure it would be a tough competition. But at the end of it all, the calls were easy to make except for one horrific and poorly done play by the judges. Let’s begin. Here are the performers and our opinions of each one’s performance. We were, for the most part, in tune with the judges, but they did totally screw up a couple of times and we will let you know when those special cases occurred.
1. Jackie Tohn – Jackie chose to do an Elvis Presley song, “A Little Less Conversation”. The song is a classic rock tune and was performed before on the show by Daughtry, ironically, the week he was eliminated despite being the best talent that year hands down. Many said it was Daughtry’s lack of enthusiasm in that performance, but Jackie had the enthusiasm. Her outfit though?? Let’s just say, Jackie, you don’t have the body for that. The tight pants require some more thick to pull off and made the rock moves that were intended to be sexy just look spastic.
That said, the judges were idiotic on their first task. Jackie nailed the song front to back. She was on key the entire song, not a missed or pitchy note. The raspy voice was in character. She wasn’t our best of the night, but she was great and the judges were harsh. Our advice, give up the tights.
2. Ricky Braddy – Ricky has a goofy personality that just doesn’t come across as a star, but out of that rings this powerful voice. That said, stage personality is an easy thing to tweak. If you haven’t got the voice, you can’t do much for it, but we think Ricky does have the voice. He sang “A Song For You” by Leon Russell. Every note was on key, the voice strong, but the personality made it totally forgettable. We are not sure what tweaks can be done to bring Ricky to the front of the line, but someone should do it. His voice is worth it.
3. Alexis Grace – Alexis is a young mom that is better than she looks. Her hair cut is awful, and her outfit was overdone from the “trying to be sexy” perspective, but Alexis took her song and performed the set with star quality. She sang “Never Loved A Man” by Aretha Franklin. Singing an Aretha song can be daunting, but Alexis graced it. She is our number one woman of the night beating out Jackie Tohn for a top three selection. The 3 on our phone was worn out from voting for her so many times.
4. Brent Keith – Brent performed like a true country star. Problem is, country is fun, but doesn’t put you in the league of the top performers, so it didn’t make him stand out. Country is where Carrie Underwood has found her niche, but she won Idol with range and diversity. Brent is doing what he wants to do as a performer, but the song, “Hicktown”, while catchy and fun, didn’t make him stand out.
5. Stevie Wright – Stevie is a very young 17. She has a fresh and bright look and a warm personality. It has had us rooting for her. But it is sad to say, we think she may not survive this week. “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift was not the song to choose here. It is a song intended for teeny-boppers, and not for America as a whole. Stevie shocked us by not hitting a single note. It was painful to watch. Not only did she choose a horrible song by a mediocre artist, she sang it terribly. It just wasn’t wright Stevie.
6. Anoop Desai – OK, goofy is kind for this guy. He is so hard to take seriously, but he can sing. “Angel of Mine” by Monica was not his tune. He has nailed several performances we have seen in past weeks, but this was mediocre and will keep him from getting the top three pass to the next round.
7. Casey Carlson – There is only one thing that could save Stevie Wright in this show, and it is other performers having even worse performances. We didn’t think it possible, but when Casey blurted out “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by the Police, she proved us totally wrong. There is bad, and there is worse. This was worse. None of it was on key, every note had a “Sting” to it. Nothing she did was magic, but if looks alone could win, Casey would take the crown.
8. Michael Sarver – Michael cannot win this competition. He is quite simply not good enough, but he is likable and has a good voice. He did a mediocre version of “I Don’t Want To Be” by Gavin DeGraw. It was a bad choice because if you have watched Idol the past few seasons, some really top performers have nailed this song, so it needs to be nailed ever time you hear it. It is almost a challenge to those that performed it on the show before him. And while Michael is a sweet down home boy, he doesn’t have the edge required to pull off this song.
9. Ann Marie Boskovich – OK, so lose that last name already! Ann is kind of sexy, kind of warm, kind of good. She chose a very difficult song, not because it requires incredible range or vocals, but because it is so very well known. “You Make Me Feel” is a tune that has been belted out by numerous powerful artists and Ann Marie just isn’t that powerful. She did a commendable job, but it wasn’t top ten memorable.
10. Stephen Fowler – Every time we have heard Stephen sing we have been impressed. He has a bluesy style that fits him incredibly well. And tonight, of all songs he could have chosen, he decides to go with “Rock With You” by Michael Jackson. This was like watching BB King sing an Osmonds tune. Nothing could have been fowler and it may have blown an opportunity for Stephen, but we are hopeful it won’t be the last we see him because he is so very talented in his niche.
11. Tatiana Del Toro – Tatiana was certifiably insane the last several weeks leading up to tonight. She has this nauseating laugh and crazed personality, but it may be part of the entertainment factor she brings to the stage. She decided to sing an incredibly difficult song, “I’m Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney Houston. And she sang it quite well. She clearly had her moments during this performance and deserves major kudos after others blew much simpler performances. But we miss the insanity, she was too normal tonight!
12. Danny Gokey – Danny picked a song that makes you think “uh oh” before the singer even starts. The song is not one that matches his style. It is not a fantastic song that brings out a performer. And it is the last song you would think a man would want to sing. He chose “Hero” by Mariah Carey. Big Mistake!!! We thought. We were way wrong.
He took this song and massaged it with his voice into a melody all his own. He hung up the phone on the other contestants and will be the number one performer this week, hands down. This performance demonstrates Danny has the same talent that David Cook has. He can take a song and make it something new and different. Something you want to hear again. And that is the key to fame, making them come back for more. (Check out his unofficial fansite where massive photos and videos can be found!)
Here is the list of performers in reverse order from their performance scores.1. Casey Carlson (1/10) 2. Stevie Wright (1/10) 3. Stephen Fowler (3/10) 4. Michael Sarver (5/10) 5. Brenth Keith (6/10) 6. Anoop Desai (6/10) 7. Tatiana Del Toro (6/10) 8. Ann Marie Boskovich (6/10) 9. Ricky Braddy (7/10) 10. Jackie Kohn (8/10) 11. Alexis Grace (9/10) 12. Danny Gokey (9/10)[poll id=”58″][poll id=”59″]