Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for February, 2016

Again with the pace stepped up so the show can end in April, we move right along to the announcement of the Top 10. I did my duty and voted for my those I felt should move forward and other than one contestant I felt it was a decent and deserving Top 10 for the final year:

Top 10

Dalton Rapattoni

Olivia Rox

Trent Harmon

La’Porsha

Tristan McIntosh

Sonika Vaid

Gianna Isabella

MacKenzie Bourg

Avalon Young

Lee Jean

With Ms. Kelly Clarkson in da house as a guest judge and performer — at 8 months pregnant no less and at least taking an entire minute to say goodbye to the 4 departing contestants — the show gets right down to the business at hand. Here they are in order of appearance:

Olivia Rox – Unconditionally (Katy Perry)

She has such lovely colors in her voice and knows how to switch between head tone and power vocal without screaming, however I fear for her survival because she was picked to start off the night. Many a good performer has left early because of this positioning.

Gianna Isabella – Listen (Beyonce/ Dreamgirls: The Movie)

I normally like her but I wonder if the song was a bit too big for her at this point in the competition. She wasn’t as consistent through the song as she usually is and I agree that she might have been overthinking the performance. I hope she can hang on for at least another week because she’s got talent for days.

Lee Jean – Skinny Love (Bon Iver)

This kid is a natural performer and it shows in how comfortable he is both vocally and visually. His pitch problems might have to do with playing guitar and singing at the same time – the posture behind a guitar is different than just standing erect. If he stays I’d like to see him get out from behind the 6-string and move a little.

Avalon Young – Stitches (Shawn Mendes)

I honestly wish I could warm up to her because she’s not half bad but I’m just not buying what she’s selling vocally. Her song choices are all over the place and not any that would be found in my playlists but she doesn’t draw me in and I think that’s more me than her. I wouldn’t miss her if she goes.

Dalton Rapattoni – Hey There Delilah (Plain White T’s)

For a rocker he has some of the best diction I’ve heard in years and I appreciate it. He also sings more than he screams and actually shows respect to the  melodies. He successfully flips arrangements like David Cook and Adam Lambert and that can take him far in this competition – and it doesn’t hurt that the girls are ga-ga for him.

Tristan McIntosh – Nothin’ Like You (Dan + Shay)

It might be a smart move for her to concentrate on country music because it both sets her apart and shows off her warm, rich vocals. It may not have been her best performance but she so good at her age that it’s frightening. She got some of my votes this week for sure.

MacKenzie Bourg – I See Fire (Ed Sheeran)

Another consistently good performer who knows how to sell a song – whether he wrote it himself or is interpreting someone else’s. Clean, clear vocals each time he sings and I agree with Kelly that he knows who he is as a performer. His song choices are spot on as well.

LaPorsha Renae – Diamonds (Rhianna)

I’ve liked this big, brassy lady with the “high hair” since the beginning but I didn’t think this song choice did her any favors. Look, she could sing the phone book and get away with it but she is way better than this song and while the others loved it I just sat there and said “meh.” To each his or her own, I suppose.

Sonika Vaid – Bring Me to Life (Evanescence)

Her vocals are stellar and I was a little afraid this big song might get away from her but she really killed it – not by throwing caution to the wind like some would but by showing great control with the emotions (except at the very end but we’ll forgive that). I’m starting to warm up to her.

Trent Harmon – Like I Can (Sam Smith)

Well, it seems La’Porsha threw down the mic and the show really came to life with the last two singers stepping up their game and going after her. Trent came out with vocals blaring and really sold that song. His facial contortions can sometimes (read: most times) be annoying to me but I think he’ll be around for awhile.

So I did my part again and spread my votes around to those who I think should continue, hoping that Avalon will be knocked out in the process. Did YOU like what you saw and heard this week? Let’s talk about it…

Until next week, America!

Read Full Post »

Finally we arrive at the live shows and between the fast pace and surprise twists this is going to be more of a roller coster ride that in previous years. Right from the get-go we discover that the judges are going to “fast pass” four of our singers into the coveted Top 10 positions so they unanimously choose:

Fast Pass

Dalton Rappattoni – ok, he’s got that unpredictable factor that can take him far

Olivia Rox – this year’s rocker chick

Trent Harmon – He’s been consistent enough to deserve the rest

La’Porsha – no question from me because she’s killed it every time

That leaves the remaining 10 contestants to slug it out for the votes tonight and then they’ll cut four of them before the Top 10 sing-off  Thursday night in front of KELLY CLARKSON (it’s about damn time she gets a chance to judge!). Let’s see if our singers did enough tonight to move on:

Manny Torres – Master Blaster (Stevie Wonder)

I thought the vocals were great but I didn’t feel like he got into the funky groove of the number. I want to warm up to him but I’m not sure he’ll be around after the combination of going first and a so-so song choice.

Gianna Isabella – I Put a Spell On You (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins/Annie Lennox)

Going back to the well a second time on this song, I was a little worried that it might not be a good strategy for this youngster. However this time around she really got into the lyrics and sang the ever-loving crap out of that number! She listened to Harry for sure and I agree with J-Lo that she does have the most potential for growth.

Thomas Stringfellow – Story of My Life (One Direction)

As far as I’m concerned this is a MUCH BETTER song choice than the last one. I heard a few slips in pitch but that could have just been nerves. I like his vocal tone and they are pimping him to be the boy-band singer but I didn’t like his deer-in-headlights performing style. Harry called him out for cracking notes and he’s right – sometimes too much of a good thing (???) is just too much.

Tristan McIntosh – What Hurts the Most (Rascal Flats)

I guess I didn’t realize that this gal wants to concentrate her talents in the country genre. Might be a good fit but I believe she can sing just about anything with that voice of hers. It was a great song choice (I agreed with Keith) but I was a little concerned that she was just on the edge of screaming so I’ll chalk it up to nerves and work to vote her in.

Avalon Young – Yo (Excuse Me, Miss) (Chris Brown)

Not one of my favorites in this competition, she tends to have the quirkiest song choices, this week’s included. She’s singing all these guy-rapper numbers that I just don’t think suit her and I can’t figure out what her vibe really is. Maybe I’m getting too old to understand these youngsters…

Jenn Blosil – True Colors (Cyndi Lauper)

I just don’t get this one, either — and she was sliding around notes tonight like she was slipping on the Utah ice. If this is a vocal competition she needs to hone in on the pitches and Harry, why didn’t you call her out on it this week? Even though he chose his words carefully (“flawless lyric delivery”) he should have pointed out the slippery slope notes. Sheesh…

Lee Jean – Make It Rain (Ed Sheeran)

Here’s a youngster with talent for days and he can dig into lyrics like nobody’s business, making this a great song choice for him. He shows his youth by bottoming out on the low notes but that can be fixed. Another one I’ll be voting for.

Sonika Vaid – I Surrender (Celine Dion)

I’ve had some problems with her up until now but that performance was spot on both vocally and emotionally. She’s got nerve to take on Celine but she handled it well. Won’t be surprised if she keeps on going a few more weeks.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell – Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash)

I’m surprised these contestants are going back to songs they’ve done in previous weeks and I think perhaps she shouldn’t have revisited this one. It showed her inexperience and, yes, I agree that she may have been either holding back or scared out of her mind. I’ve said it before and will again — the kindest thing that can happen to her is that she go home and hone her craft for a few more years but she should definitely try for a career in music.

MacKenzie Bourg – Roses (MacKenzie Bourg)

I’m really glad he went with his own composition because that is his strong suit at the moment and can give him an edge in the competition (remember Angie Miller?). He’s another favorite of mine at the moment and I hope he continues.

Time to go vote so I’m gonna make it count for the ones I think should move on. If you’re smart you’ll do the same (and get rid of the RIGHT ones, please?)…

See you tomorrow, America!

Read Full Post »

Go big or go home, eh? Well, by this time in the competition they should be used to this routine. From the solitude of my comfy couch I witnessed Wednesday night’s frustrating song choices that threatened to do some good singer in. Then on Thursday night I marveled how some of them bounced back with the help of their AI alumnae mentors. Very mixed bag this week in terms of performances — let’s take a look:

Shelbie Z

Solo – Work Hard, Play Harder (Gretchen Wilson)

The country gal that takes-no-prisoners was firing on all pistons tonight and is definitely the yin to La’Porsha’s yang. Not knowing the song I was kinda surprised when Keith started talking about her not doing so well with the lower key but after listening to it again I have to admit he may have been correct about her sacrificing a more biting vocal in order to get the big money note finish. Sometimes you have to go all-in in this competition…

Duet with Constantine Maroulis – Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Are you REALLY kidding me??? The camera flirt just lost a thousand points in my book – it was totally self-serving on his part and as the mentor he should KNOW BETTER! He didn’t help her out AT ALL!! And for the first time I had to agree with…ahem…J-LO! Way over the top and a totally waste of her talent. I hope she can weather this shipwreck.

Manny Torres

Solo – Adventure of a Lifetime (Coldplay)

This guy knows who he is as a performer and is very comfortable in his own skin, which makes for a very mature performance – something that can be lacking with the boy-band wannabes. I liked the song (didn’t know this one, either) but Harry said out loud what I was thinking — he needs to pay more attention to the lyrics so DICTION is very important!

Duet with Jordan Sparks  No Air (Jordan Sparks and Chris Brown)

I loved her back in Season 6 and I still love her more mature vocals nine years later. Now here’s a true power duet and while it was a little hard for Manny to get vulnerable at first he really brought it to the stage when he needed to. He needs to work on connecting more with the lyrics but I think he’ll be around for a bit more to  hopefully learn that.

Kory Wheeler

Solo – Let It Go (James Bay)

Third song – third one I’m unfamiliar with (I MUST be getting old…). Anyway, I thought the song suited his style, he was very comfortable behind the piano and I understood every word. But I agreed with Harry – it was just OK.

Duet with Haley Reinhard – Bennie and the Jets (Elton John)

It took him until the second time around to really rise up to Haley’s performance level and I was starting to worry because it was looking like he was her backup singer/guitarist at one point. It was an OK song for them because while they both sang it well it was almost like clash of the genres. I should be safe.

Amelia Eisenhauer

Solo – Wake Me Up (Avicii)

I actually had to look up the name of this performer because I had NEVER heard of it before (outta touch…outta time…). I’ve actually heard the song before (that’s a plus) so I can say it was NOT a good choice for her voice. Not. At. All. I’ve liked her before up until now so I hope she can hold on and do better in the duet so she can stay.

Duet with Kellie Pickler  Suds in the Bucket (Sara Evans)

I’m glad she decided to play the fiddle on this and with the Pickler’s quirkiness this duet was heads and shoulders above her solo performance from last night. I could have used a little more diction form Amelia but Kellie sure knew how to make to her comfortable enough to do her best and she did. Great song choice.

Jenn Blosil

Solo – Sorry (Justin Bieber)

Another song from the Biebs shows up this week and I think I liked it better than her vocals on in. I haven’t like this gal since the beginning and this performance did not change my mind one iota. Harry called her out on the pitch problems and I’m glad he did.

Duet with Constantine Maroulis – My Funny Valentine (from PAL JOEY – Rodgers & Hammerstein)

The camera flirt returns! But…I’m not happy he’s paired with this chick because, to me, this was a big old quirk fest! I just didn’t feel it, man. His voice was way too big for hers and when she tried to match him she started to scream – and Harry called it out as a shouting match as I was writing the exact same thing he was saying (and he should know about those lyrics because he’s sung them before)! Oy. Can she just go home, please?

CJ Johnson

Solo – I’ll Be (Edwin McCain)

OK, now we’re getting into songs that should have been retired by Idol contestants some time ago. He actually did a decent job making the song his own and it worked with his voice – good song choice. Harry was really calling them out on bad pitches and I thought I heard a few bum notes but overall I thought he did well.

Duet with David Cook – The World I Know (Collective Soul)

Interesting pairing vocal-wise but their harmonizing was spot on and each held my attention both in solo or duet. They matched on performance level as well and I loved seeing Cookie again on the Idol stage.

Lee Jean

Solo – Runaway (Ed Sheeran)

I’ve liked this kid since Day 1 and he is way more mature both vocally and performance-wise than some of his older counterparts. Needs to work on his falsetto but he’s still young. The judges were spot on regarding the song choices for these 12 singers but, again, not knowing the song it was tough for me to judge whether or not it was good for him because it didn’t seem to hurt his vocals.

Duet with Chris Daughtry – Home (Daughtry)

I thought this would be an odd paring but surprisingly they sounded and performed liked they’d been together for years. Lee rose to the challenge and Chris was the gracious older mentor and it worked in SPADES! It. Was. Great!

Trent Harmon

Solo – What Are You Listening To? (Chris Stapleton)

And the obscure song choices continue…and I didn’t like his vocals on it. At. All. Nope. Didn’t work for me. Harry’s been killing it all night with his critiques and I just find myself nodding along…

Duet with Jordan Sparks – To Love Somebody (The Bee Gees)

Going old school on this one really showed off both Trent’s voice and performing style – the first was great and the second…well…needs some work. They were believable together and blended their sounds very well. Good comeback.

Tristan McIntosh

Solo – Good Girl (Carrie Underwood)

This über talented 15 year old decided to tangle with a Carrie Underwood song and I thought her naturally warmer tone was not a great match for the normally lighter yet powerful CU country number. She performed it well but it wasn’t a great song choice. She has much more talent than that.

Duet with Kelly Pickler – Best Days of Your Life (Kellie Pickler)

This was a new song for me and it did sound T. Swift influenced but Pickler did really bring the best and the fun out in her. However, the judges are making those noises like they want to drop her and I really hope that is not the case.

Adam Lasher

Solo – Black and Gold (Sam Sparro)

Whoa…yet another unknown song choice. Didn’t like the song or his interpretation of it. By the way, what was he wearing on his feet?

Duet with Haley Reinhard – Can’t Help Falling in Love (Elvis Presley)

OK, let’s crush on our mentor…but then don’t look so scared when you’re singing a love song with her! I was uninspired by his voice on this song while she sounded really great. Very uneven performance that didn’t help his cause much, IMHO. I’m glad at least Keith agreed with me somewhat…

Dalton Rapattoni

Solo – Rebel Yell (Billy Idol)

Boy decided to go old school with a twist and…I liked it! Different take on the song and it worked in his favor. Kid takes risks and they seem to work for him. He’ll stick around for awhile

Duet with Chris Daughtry – Higher Ground (Stevie Wonder)

An odd combo on an even odder song choice for those two that actually wasn’t half bad! He’s as quirky as Jess but Dalton’s version doesn’t weird me out as much. I liked it and he won’t be going anywhere (but I’ve been wrong before).

Olivia Rox

Solo – Confident (Demi Lovato)

Didn’t know the song but with that performance I didn’t care. While the vocals were a bit unique her performance was so strong that she should be a force to be reckoned with in the weeks to come. Think Jax 2.0…

Duet with David Cook – Light On (David Cook)

Rocker dude and Rocker chick unite and even though she looked a bit “fan girly” singing next to him Olivia was able to match him vocally and sounded really great.

So, when all was said and sung, here’s who went home and who was left to sing another day…

Safe and staying:

Lee

Olivia

Jenn – UGGGGGHHHHH!!!!

Dalton

Manny

Tristan

Trent

Buh Bye:

Shelbie Z – you can blame Constantine for this one!

Amelia – I would have traded Amelia for Jenn any day of the week!

Kory

CJ

Adam

Do yo agree with the final choices? I know I don’t where Jenn, Shelbie and Amelia are concerned. Judges know best? Maybe. Maybe not. But the viewers will begin next week letting their voices be known. Can’t wait to exercise my right to save a contestant!

Until next time, America!

Read Full Post »

Ya know, I have to admit that I’m actually enjoying American Idol this season, with their tighter packages and their quicker pace. It actually seems like they’ve found the right mix for this struggling little show — too bad they finally discovered it during the FINAL SEASON!!! Even the judges are doing their job and keeping it real with the contestants. Why did we have to endure some of the shenanigans of the last 5 years (I’m looking at you, Nikki Minaj!)? If they had cleaned up their act sooner we might not be looking at the end of the road but, hey, what do I know…

But I digress.

This week we had the 1st 12 of the Top 24 hit the stage by themselves and then in partnership with a former Idol winner or contestant (again, why weren’t they doing this BEFORE now?). It’s great to one again see some of the folks we grew to love and invest in over the last 15 seasons and pairing them up with this year’s crop of singers can really allow them or either shine or sink this early on. Seven will stay and 5 will go at the end of the day so let’s see how they all did:

Stephany Negrete

Solo – Mamma Knows Best (Jessie J)

This gal seems to always lead off the performers and sets the bar for the others to follow. Strong vocals, looks the part but need to loosen up a little more in the performing area, she could be a contender for sure. Maybe a little more attention to diction would help as well.

Duet with Ruben Studdard – Superstar (Delaney & Bonnie/The Carpenters)

It was nice to hear another side of Stephany’s voice and Ruben helped to bring out some of that sweetness. He’s still the great “Velvet Teddybear” and it was a great treat  to see him on the Idol stage again. His mentoring of her was also spot on – it brought out the best in her (except in the very beginning where you could tell she was over thinking her singing and went off a tad).

Mackenzie Bourg

Solo – Say Something (A Great Big World)

He’s one of the cute “boy band” contestants that get the teen girls’ hearts all a flutter. Good vocals, comfortable on stage and always the correct song choice — he’s not going anywhere for awhile.

Duet with Lauren Alaina – I Hope You Dance (Lee Ann Womack)

Another interesting pairing with a curious song choice that actually worked. She was sorta crushing on him through the whole song as well so you know how America’s teenage girls are going to react with him. Keith was correct when he observed that Mac makes every song his own. Good job.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell

Solo – Angel (Sarah McLachlan)

At 15 years old she has some mad talent but her awkwardness is going to become a liability shortly and I am afraid for her both because of her age and her real life situation. I had to disagree with Harry (a rarity) on his critique but was surprised at J-Lo for not being a fan. How she did in the duet round I think would be the deciding point for her.

Duet with Scotty McCreery – Gone (Montgomery Gentry)

She’s so awkward on stage and for her that was a bad song choice. I’m just not sure she is AI material at this point in her life. I will agree with the judges that she does work the lyrics really well and that she has definite talent but the kindest thing they could do for her is send her home.

Jenna Renae

Solo – My Church (Maren Morris)

I had never heard this song before and while it may have been something she wanted to perform it wasn’t the greatest choice for her vocal range. She bottomed out on the low notes and screamed the high ones — not good timing if you want to advance in the competition.

Duet with Scotty McCreery – See You Tonight (Scotty McCreery)

I loved Scotty on Season 10 and he has matured into a very accomplished performer. Jenna seemed a little uncomfortable to me during the song and was overcompensating a bit. I didn’t care for it and the judges tried to be nice.

James VIII

Solo – Love Lockdown (Kanye West)

Personally, I can’t take any singer seriously if they are willing to use a Kanye song to show off their skills. Sorry. He was just all right.

Duet with Caleb Johnson – Gimme Shelter (The Rolling Stones)

Rockers gotta rock and these two sure did. It probably was the best performance I’ve heard from James but he’s definitely not a front man and it showed. He hides behind his guitar too much.

Sonika Vaid

Solo – Safe & Sound (Taylor Swift – feat. The Civil Wars)

She really does have a beautiful instrument but I’m not sure she knows who she is as a singer/performer yet. She’s more concerned with the vocal sound than making it her own but that comes with age and experience. Not sure about her.

Duet with Caleb Johnson – Skyfall (Adele)

The oddest pairing of the night by far with an extremely emotional song to tackle which actually showed off some really strong chest voice from her (without screaming too – those octaves are hard!) She held her own so well and they actually blended well. It worked!

Gianna Isabella

Solo – I Put a Spell On You (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins/Annie Lennox)

This was the first time I wasn’t sure about this little dynamo’s performance. That song was a little big for her age and sometimes for her voice. I know these kids are trying to show what they have but sometimes a little less can go a long way. I think she dodged a bullet but going forward she needs to choose her music carefully.

Duet with Nick Fradiani – Beautiful Life (Nick Fradiani)

This was a big challenge for the little dynamo but she actually rose to the occasion and held her own. It wasn’t a great song for her but Nick seemed to work well with her and got a good performance out of her.

Emily Brooke

Solo – “I Am Invincible” (Cassadee Pope)

Man, she was anything BUT invincible on this song! First, NEVER choose a song does by the winner of a rival reality singing competition and second, she was all over the place pitch-wise. I’ve never heard her choke like that before and now was not the time to have that happen. Serious doubts about her continuing on.

Duet with Lauren Alaina – Flat on the Floor (Carrie Underwood)

Well, you’ve got to have guts to choose a Carrie Underwood number and my, oh my, has our little Season 10 runner up grown in the past five years – an even more seasoned performer. Emily tried to keep up with her and for Lauren’s part she tried to showcase the contestant but, again, I’m not sure the song was right for her.

Avalon Young

Solo – Love Yourself (Justin Bieber)

Personally, I have not really warmed up to this singer and I can’t put my finger on why. Her voice is pleasant and she has a natural-ness to her performance but there’s just something I can’t relate to. She did OK but there are stronger singers in the competition.

Duet with Ruben Studdard – Flying Without Wings (Westlife/Ruben Studdard)

I want to know who chose the parings for the show and some of the songs. Her laid back style and his big persona just did not mesh for me but she sang her little heart out and it wasn’t half bad. I would like to know what the judges see in her because I don’t see it.

Jordan Sasser

Solo – All By Myself (Eric Carmen/Celine Dion)

I could hear Simon screaming in my head “BROADWAY” and sadly, he’d be right. That might get some mileage in a mega church service but not on the Idol stage. That was even a little too over-the-top even for me. He’s a goner.

Duet with Fantasia – I Believe (Fantasia)

Fantasia seemed to really connect with her partners and wanted the best for them and that impressed me. I wish she could have helped Jordan show a little restraint with his performance but I think his church work is very intrenched in him. Keith hit it right on the head.

Thomas Stringfellow

Solo – Creep (Radiohead)

O Lord, so I hate this song and the little boy-bander creeped it up even more. I usually find him to be a good vocal storyteller but couldn’t get past the song choice on this one. The teen girls won’t let him go anywhere either.

Duet with Nick Fradiani  Man in the Mirror (Michael Jackson)

I thought this to be an odd pairing with an equally odd song choice but I was very pleasantly surprised at how well they sounded and performed together. Their voices were very similar but Thomas was a little shy at performing next to Nick so he was a little underwhelming.

La’Porsha Renae

Solo – Proud Mary (Creedence Clearwater Revival/Ike & Tina Turner)

Could she be the one to beat this year? I don’t know but she comes at it with everything she has and does a great job each time. I wish I could get past the retro “high hair” but I’m still struggling. She’s the epitome of “go big or go home!”

Duet with Fantasia – Summertime (from the musical SHOWBOAT)

I thought Fantasia was wonderful with La’Porsha and that the pairing was killer but, personally, I did NOT like the arrangement on the song itself. The crowd went nuts and the judges loved it but I felt it was a bit of overkill. Off topic – I think the hair is going to have its own memes as we continue with the competition…just sayin’…

So, when all was said and sung, here’s who went home and who was left to sing another day…

Safe and staying:

La’Porsha

Sonika

Avalon (I would have kept Stephany over her but what do I know…)

Gianna

Thomas

Mackenzie

Jeneve (they did her NO favors by keeping her on)

Buh Bye:

Stephany (this should NOT have happened – what were they thinking???)

Emily

Jordan

James

Jenna

Do you agree? Do you think someone was robbed besides Stephany? Let me know in the comment box while we wait for the next 12.

Until next time, America!

Read Full Post »

51 performers made it this far and only 24 get to go on from here. I certainly have my favorites (especially one I’ve been very vocal about) so, as I continue to keep it short and to the point, let’s see who had the goods to keep moving forward:

Stephany Negrete – she’s been a consistent performer with a strong, mature voice that reminds my hubby of a young Cher. I think she was a good choice for the T24 but I would have taken those shoes off.

Shelbie Z – I’ve had mixed feelings about his chick but she can sell those HEART songs she been serving up. Not sure she’s T24 material for me but they thought so and there it is.

Michelle Marie – a very young singer with a very quirky personality. I wouldn’t have moved her forward and I’m glad the judges agreed. She showed great maturity and grace in rejection – that will get her far in the performing arts! I hope she continues to get better at her craft.

Colette Lush – uneven performances with an equally uneven voice did not endeared this one to me. I agreed with the judges that this was not her time.

Jessica Cabral – DAMN IT!!! I wish they had showed her live performance so I could see if something went wrong. She had the best voice going and I disagree that she wasn’t that strong a performer. She should have gone through because I believe she would have gained momentum. Pffffft…

Other girls who didn’t make it to the T24 –

Jessica Clark

Ameet Kanon

Terrian – I wasn’t enamored by any of these ladies

Mackenzie Bourg – this kid is an artist, even if his voice is not the strongest. The young girls are just going to love him so it was just a natural fit for the judges to put him through.

Trent Harmon – ah, yes…Mono boy…he fought through illness and he is a good performer with a equally good voice. I don’t think he got the pity vote from the judges

Jenna Renae – I heard enough from her that I can agree with the judges putting her through but she didn’t stand out for me. I hope she gets better

James VIII – IMHO, not a good choice — at all.

Kory Wheeler – just OK

Adam Lasher – same here

Jeneve Rose Mitchell – they’ve been looking for the odd ones this year and this child fits the build. I sincerely hope her family support is strong because she might just be in for a huge culture shock. She DOES have talent but at her age and with her backwoods background this may not end well.

CJ Johnson – if you like seasoned, bar room performers this cat has it in spades. He’s ok but the vocals are rough-edged at times and I still like to think this is a vocal competition. I wouldn’t have put him through but what do I know…

Amelia Eisenhauer – this ginger-haired 16 year old violinist is certainly a firecracker but her song choice for the live performance was not my favorite. But I’m glad that didn’t hurt her chances because she did make it through. She could be my new favorite.

Lee Jean – here’s another young buck I’ve liked from the beginning. There’s a lot of talent in that young package and I’m so happy he made it through. We’re going to see some good things from this one.

Avalon Young – she has definitely NOT been my cup of tea but her voice can be pleasant at times – particularly in the live performance. She may have made it through but she won’t make the T10.

More NOs

Chynna Sherrod – not a favorite

Mary Williams – didn’t even remember her

Zach Person – meh

Dalton Rappattoni – they are into the boy band sounding and looking kids this year, aren’t they? He reminds me of one of the Carter brothers and his performances have been inconsistent. I do like his voice and they like his inconsistencies so he goes through. He could make T10, through.

Manny Torres – I liked his smooth vocal style in the beginning and then saw very little of him afterwards. The live performance sounded good so I’m glad he made it through.

And still more NOs

Laurel Wright

Anatalia Villaranda

Issac Cole

John Klausen

Kassy Levels

Andrew Nazarbekian

Thomas Stringfellow – I’ve like both his voice and performance style since the beginning and I think he has the makings of a true artist. I’m glad he made it into the T24 – we should see some good things from him.

Sonika Vaid – this one has had a little bit of an attitude problem but she does have a great voice. I’m not happy she made the T24 after they let Jessica go but it is what it is. Pffffft…

Malie Delgado – I’ve liked this gal’s voice and spunk as a performer but the judges and I have not been in agreement in this last year so, again, I am not happy that she didn’t make it, especially since others who did weren’t half as good.

Olivia Rox – another of the sweet 16 set with a very mature set of pipes and a penchant for using vocal fireworks. If she wasn’t so affected I’d like her more but maybe she can learn something as she continues on the journey.

Emily Brooke – a little redemption can go a long way and I’ve liked this one since last year so I’m really glad they put her through this year. Watch this one carefully.

Another round of NOs

Sara Sturm

Jordyn Simone

Tiffany Lamay

Kayla Michalson

Mionne Destiny

Gianna Isabella – I was praying that picking her Mom’s song to sing in the live performance would not be a bad song choice. She sounded a little tight on it but she has such talent that they had to put her through. Another one to watch very carefully – but, Mom, please back away and let her come into her own artistry (but keep watching her back in other ways!).

Jenn Blosil – this one has been a little on the strange side and just a little too quirky for my taste (besides I don’t care for her voice) but since the judges have been all over the place this year I kinda expected them to put her through and they didn’t disappoint me.

NO-ville once again

Christian Eason

Ariel Sprague

Kelsie Watts

Shevonne Philidor – I don’t even remember this one!

Tristan McIntosh – Now, to me, this gal is as special as my favorite Jessica Cabral so I held my breath through her live performance and hoped the judges saw and heard what I did. Thank you, Jesus, they did! She is now my favorite and, IMHO, the one to take it all!

Kayce Haynes – he performs from a place way down in his soul. Couple that with a weathered vocal style and I was sure he’d make it through. I am just not calling it correctly this year…

Jordan Sasser – actually I liked his wife more than him but his live performance was really good. I wish he hadn’t beat out Kayce but I don’t think he’ll make it any further.

Lindita – I’ve been on the fence about this one for the last month and while I can’t deny her vocal talent there was just something about her that I couldn’t warm up to. Not sorry to see her go.

La’Porsha Renae – big, brassy and bodacious…with the largest afro I’ve ever seen! I must say for the record that I did NOT like her House of the Rising Sun performance but there was never a question in my mind that she wouldn’t be in the T24.

Now, next week 12 of them will get to perform solo and, as advertised, they will also duet with past Idol winners and contestants. That should prove to be very interesting and I am definitely looking forward to hear this mix of old and new.

So, what do YOU think? Let me know if you agree with me or the judges (or none of us!).

Until next week, America…

Read Full Post »

So, here we are at another final event on the AI 15 Going-Out-With-A Bang Tour – The Solo Round. Luckily they caught up with my personal favorite, Jessica Cabral, and I was happy to see she had made it past the Group Round. Now the pressure was on for the contestants to really WOW the judges one last time before the always dramatic room cuts — let’s see how some of your favorites did:

Stephany Negrete  – Very exotic looking but I just didn’t feel it from her – no real emotion and the sound was strong but colorless

Thomas Stringfellow – A little boy band sounding but the young girls will love him

Avalon Young – Thin sounding voice and bad song choice

Olivia Rox  – Kudos for singing an original song because it always plays to the performers strength

John Wayne Schultz – Good solid performance with a pleasant sounding voice

Mackenzie Bourg – Another one picks an original song and shows off the various colors in his voice – some of these kids are very talented

Shelbie Z – Channeling Carrie Underwood with that big voice but she is an in-your-face performer and sometimes that wears on me

Kory Wheeler – Just ok, sorry…

James VIII – His voice is a little too hard edged for me, sorry…

Tristan McIntosh – a very believable performer with a great set of pipes and a killer backstory

Sonika Vaid – She’s got a really good voice but she’s a little overconfident in attitude and a little flat in the performance mode which could be her undoing

Lee Jean – Very confident (in a good way), strong performer and great young voice

Sara Sturm – Relaxed, genuine but the voice is very young and somewhat fragile – I like her style though

Jenn Blosil – It sounded a little like a Cindy Lauper imitation and not in a good way, either…

Emily Brooke – The performance was all over the place but I like her voice quality

Malie Delgado – I’ve liked her past performances and it was painful to hear her fight a closed throat – poor thing

Mionne Destiny  — I haven’t heard her before but she wasn’t bad – I’d want to hear more (but is that name for real?)

Jessica Cabral – Portuguese girl power triumphs! She reminds me so much of me at that age it’s scary. Beautiful colors in her voice even when sick. Atta girl!

Joshua Wicker – Whoa – that was PITCHY! Nerves must have kicked in

CJ Johnson – Interesting song choice but it was a little bar room heavy sounding for me

Jeneve Rose Mitchell – Terrible song choice for her  – she’s much better than that!

Dalton Rappatoni – That boy’s song choice came from the Constantine Maroulis School of Odd Selections – it was so strange it could actually work in his favor

So who went through, who went home and did I agree (these are the ones I could identify:

Going on to the next round

Jenn Blosil – she should NOT have gone through – she’s quirky but not in a good way and the voice is not pleasing

Malie Delgado – thank goodness she gets another chance

Jessica Cabral – I knew she’d make it – can’t wait to see what else she does

Saying “Buh Bye”

John Wayne Schulz – I don’t agree with him going home – he had a strong male voice but needed a little work in the performing area and would have gotten better with time

Coming next – the live performances that lead to the equally dreaded LONG MILE walk to find out who will go on to the Top 24 (or whatever number it is this year since they will be ending the show 5 weeks early). My gal, Jessica, should be up for this challenge but will they find her appealing enough to keep going? We’ll see – stay tuned, America!

Read Full Post »

Note: Because I was out of town for week this past weekend the post didn’t make it to the blog on Friday. Here it is, finally, even though it’s a tad late and basically in outline form. Sorry!

Ah, yes…the dreaded and drama-filled Hollywood week on American Idol commences for the last time. I’ve always like this week – sorta like a car crash you can’t avert your eyes from…

This year they’ve called the 1st round the LINES OF TEN (190 contestants) 

Day 1

Jordan Sasser – kid has wicked blue eyes to go with the easy performing style

Dalton Rappattoni – clear, tenor voice

Jaci Butler (she of the green hair) – big, powerful voice with really good diction

Verdict – all three make it through – good!

Jenn Blosil – a little screechy this time around

Thomas Stringfellow – meh

Olivia Rox – a little affected

Verdict – all three again – but I would have left the girls behind…oh well…

Jessica Cabral – (my top pick) – a pure, warm tone without all the vocal fireworks – love this gal!

Melanie Tierce  – passionate singing

Sonika Vaid – still one to watch – really strong singer

Verdict – I agree with Melanie not going forward – not as strong as the other two

La’Porsha Renae – (she of the BIG hair and cute baby) – blues-ing up ROAR and killing it  – if she didn’t go through this round it would be stranger than strange

Harrison Cohen (guy with the cute grandpa) – I just like the kid’s voice and vibe – I think the judges blew it on this one – I DON’T AGREE!!!!

Daniel Farmer – he seemed a little nervous but

Manny Torres – a seasoned performer but not my cuppa tea

Verdict – Manny was OK to go through but not Daniel – must have been the end of the day…boo…

Lee Jean — he’s still a solid choice

Melany Huber – not my cup of tea

Shelbie Z – just ok

Verdict – I would have lost both girls but that’s just me

Day 2

Jeneve Rose Mitchell – she knows how to work that cello – and she’s a natural – good choice!

Gianna Isabella – ok, she has a “momager” in her famous female parental unit (Brenda K Starr) but she still shows a strong voice and presence – I just don’t care for some of the theatrics

Tristan MacIntosh – I liked her in the auditions and I still like her now – clean, genuine sound

Verdict – Good thing they went through but I fear for the first one in the group round

Kyrsti Jewel – trying too hard will NOT get you through – and thank the Lord the judges and I agreed on this one

Michelle Marie – she’s very young  but that’s one big ‘ol voice – afraid for her in the group round

Trent Harmon – (aka Mono boy) – tough break but still sounds decent

Miranda “Poh” Scott  – didn’t impress me much

Emily Brooke – pretty, folky sound

Verdict – I wouldn’t have put Poh through but that’s just me – I’m worried for Trent’s health and the rigors of the Group round.

And now…what we die hard fans of AI wait for all year (other than the finale)…the GROUP ROUND!!! (108 contestants)

It’s all drama, all the time! Musicians can be a cruel bunch when they are out to outshine others and the group round exploits those emotional diva wars to the Nth degree.

Team Blue Eyes (Jordan Sasser, Kory Wheeler, Jenna Renae, Kelsie Watts) – They all did well and I don’t remember hearing Kelsie before but she was very good indeed – they all deserved to go through

Milk and Cookies (Lynnzee Fraye, Jenn Blosil, Bri Ray, Sara Sturm) – nice ensemble sound but Jenn drove me a little cray cray with her quirkiness – I might not have put them all through (looking at you, Jenn…)

OohX2 (Amelia Eisenhauer, Tristan MacIntosh, Lee Jean, ???) – Tristan and Lee were the only ones I cared for in this group but why did AI not acknowledge the 4th member with her name and stats? I hate when they do that.

Then we had groups were we only heard one or two of the performers so all I can do is comment on what I heard…frustrating to say the least…

Avalon Young – as Randy would say “just aw’aight – you did ya thang…”

Jeneve Rose Mitchell – her uniqueness may start to wear on me as well as her style choices…

Chynna Sherrod  – I still like her sound and how effortless it looks

Terrian  – sort of reminds me a little of Lisa Bonet of Cosby Show fame…definitely a free spirit with a decent voice…

Just Trent (Trent Harmon) – That was tough because they sometimes don’t bend the rules for illness so I’m glad they put him through – now go get some sleep!!

Singing Out Loud (Michelle Marie, Shelbie Z, Lindsey Carrier, Ashley Lusk) – Tough to do a Carrie Underwood song but they did well enough to sell it – and Lindsey got the shaft after they took on another member but I had to admit she was the weakest link…

Now for a few in the “NO…”

Elvie Shane – meh

Ashley Lilinoe – also meh

Cameron Richard – sometimes it just comes down to the wrong song and I believe that’s what did all 3 singers in…

Chicken Noodle Soup (Dalton Rapattoni, Anatalia Villaranda, Kassy Levels) – nice, tight harmonies – good job

Envy (Sonika Vaid, Stephany Negrete, Andrew Nazarbekian) – He has some crazy falsetto going on there – yikes! However, I wouldn’t have put them all through (I’m looking at YOU, Sonika, I don’t care if you come from my neck of the woods – lose the attitude!)

Trick or Treat Tribe (Marcio Donaldson, Jon Klaasen, Kylle Thomasson, Kacye Haynes) – I thought for four very different male voices they did a good job – together and solo-wise!

Smooth Soul (Joy Dove, Daniel Farmer, Lindita) – The Kosovo chick annoyed me and I did like Daniel’s smooth sound so I’m not happy he didn’t make it…

Las Whaaat (? – They should have put the name up on the screen) (Gianna Isabella, Eliz Camacho, Dana Ordway) – Another diva self destructs – I love it when that happens! That b*tch wanted to sink the other two and she got hers alright…

The Good Vibes (Joe Dahman, Alesana Tolai, Olivia Thai, Jessica Paige) – Not bad but I didn’t think the song choice showed off their voices – none of them seemed to be experienced performers…

????? – (CJ Johnson, Jess Kellner, Jessica Baker, Zach Joseph) – Harmonies were good – solo spots just OK…

????? – (Thomas Muglia, Joey Hendricks, Bryson Dunn, Thomas Stringfellow) – Different take on the same song as the last group – a little quirky in the performance area – voices were ok…

Rebirth – (Manny Torres, Malie Delgado, Christian Eason) – No wonder she had no voice the way she grated on it during her solo…easy, girl – they did work well together and the song worked for them…

And, finally, the battle of the Stayin’ Alive groups…

Soul Cats – (Laurel Wright, Marshall Cunningham, Drew Angus, John Arthur Greene) – Did anyone in that group know the words? To that classic? Yikes!!! I wasn’t  impressed…

The Sisters – (Tonie Starr, Marlena Johnson, La’Porsha Renae) – If you’re gonna mess up then own the stage and these gals did! Give them props for that…and they didn’t sound bad either…I just didn’t like the song on them…personal taste…

The one contestant I didn’t see perform in the groups was my favorite Jessica Cabral – I really hope she made it through because if she didn’t then I’ll be REALLY TICKED!

Until next week, America!

Read Full Post »