American Idol Season 13 Rush Week Boys’ Night

21 02 2014

LogoThe judges had a difficult time deciding on the 10 contestants that would be given the opportunity to perform for America’s votes this evening. They finally finished in the dressing room before the show started.

First Pick

Caleb Johnson (from Asheville–did I mention my sister lives there? Yes I have!) He sings, “Stay With Me” by Faces. The thing he needs to work on is closing his eyes while he is singing. Chris Daughtry says that he does not want Caleb’s intense face to distract them and to smile.” Caleb sings again, this time smiling. Chris adds, “Okay, halfway.” Adam Lambert hears that he wants to be “subtle over-the-topness” and laughs. I think Caleb looks great, sounds fabulous and he definitely improved with his eye-closing issues. He had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. He was in command! Keith said it was “killer dude.” He has soul, a cool thing in his voice that a person is just born with. There are some things you can’t learn. It was the perfect song and a great way to start the show. Jennifer said it was amazing, a real rockstarish, the real deal. “It’s your time.” Harry said it will be tough for the guys following him. It was a strong way to start the show and congratulations.

Second Pick

CJ Harris. He defines himself as country soul. His guitar and voice were self-taught. Chris Daughtry said he was having a hard time following the guitar pattern, that it distracted from his amazing vocals and to ditch it. It would free him up to sell the song. He sang, “Shelter” by Ray LaMontagne. CJ ditches Chris’ suggestion to ditch the guitar. I’m not a guitar expert so I can’t comment on his guitar skills. I thought he slayed the song. He did a fantastic job and I like his new look, too. Jennifer said he makes her smile. She said he makes her feel so many things which is a beautiful thing. Harry said he was a great talent. He advised him to watch his intonation. Harry thought he had a tendency to sing really sharp. He felt like he was singing to him and that he was going to shelter him. Keith said it was a great mix of Dobie Gray and Jonny Lang blended in to this package that was so original.

Third Pick

Emmanuel Zidor. He tells Randy Jackson that he has been “humming since the womb and singing since 5.” He wants to sing “Best of My Love” by The Emotions. The rehearsal clips looked rough. I was entertained by his performance and I love his positivity but he has a lot of work to do. I would put him in the middle of my pack. I am also glad he did not try for the falsetto that bombed in rehearsals. Harry said it was so much fun. It reminded him of the performers in New Orleans–happy, infectious energy. He recommended the same advice he gave to everyone else: “Stay in your lane.” Keith said, “I agree with Harry.” Harry said, “That’s my girl right there.” And things got awkward. I wonder if they are trying to capture the Adam Levine/Blake Shelton bromance vibe? Keith advised him to watch his adrenaline level because he was singing above the note; rein it in. Jennifer said, “I Zi-dore you. You belong on a stage.” She said it was not the best song for him. Then she asks him to sing a little bit of “I’m Going Down” and he does. That’s cheating a bit, Jennifer.

Fourth Pick

Sam Woolf. He was just accepted to Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA). He sings, “Babylon” by David Gray. Michael Orland, the vocal coach, says that he is doing a lot of eye closing and looking down which can look like insecurity. I think he is nervous but he listened to the advice and I like when the contestants do that. I could hear his voice on the radio right now. I would even consider buying his record. He did a tremendous job. My favorite so far of the night. He has really won me over during the last two performances. Keith said, “The people like you Sam.” His voice is money. His tone is great. It was a good song for him. His performance will get better and better. Jennifer said he has a sweet quality. She hopes he can gain small degrees of confidence as the show goes on.

Fifth Pick

George Lovett. He chooses “Grenade” by Bruno Mars. Adam helped him with some stage movement. He was very nervous. I did not like this song as a ballad. It sounded like he was dragging a bit behind the band. His voice cracked a few times. His pitch was rough at times. Jennifer said it was really good but he needs to control the runs; there were just too many. Harry said it was easy to come so invested that you can sing yourself right off the microphone. His passion spun out of control. Harry has heard him sing better (and Harry gets boo #2 for the Idol season). Keith said song choice is crucial and that this song did not play to his strengths.

Sixth Pick

Dexter Roberts sings “This Ole Boy” by Craig Morgan. I like his makeover. I have no reference to compare this to, but I did find it enjoyable. Harry said there were good things about what he did. Keith said he was the real deal, a fully fledged country boy from Alabama. He was fun and easy to watch. He agreed with Harry about him needing to find out what separates him from all the country voices that sound just like him. Jennifer said it was easy in a cool way. She remarked that if he was nervous she did not see it. For American Idol, he did his thing.

Seventh Pick

Alex Preston. YAY!!! He plays 11-12 instruments? Whoa. He sang, “Volcano” by Damien Rice. His challenge is also making eye contact. I could tell during his performance that he was really trying to apply the lessons he learned during the workshop. I LOVE IT. It was better than the original. My new favorite performance of the night. He has such a unique sound among the boys. Keith said it was the best song choice of the night and a good performance. Jennifer said it had such a groove that was different than anything else. He is in his own lane. If he stays there, he could go very far. Harry said music is a religion to Alex. He said his favorite part was that he ended on the “9” and that Alex knew what he meant. Ryan asked for Harry to explain and he did with Alex’s assistance.

Eighth Pick

Malcolm Allen singing “Comin’ From Where I’m From” by Anthony Hamilton. I have never heard that song before. I think he still needs a lot of work on his stage presence. The stage swallows him up. He sings well, but there are some really talented guys in the mix this year. Jennifer said he has a great voice. She wanted his physical performance to hit her more. She said she should have gotten goosies on that–to hear the pain that is in that song. She needs him to bring his heart and soul to it next time. Harry said he is a good run singer, but the danger is singing in the exact same run over and over and over; it was the same five notes and he needs to sing it in tune which elicits boo number three for Harry. Keith said–oops he ran out of time to talk. He felt like he was at the Grammy’s. He told Malcolm he needed to make artistic choices and gave him a suggestion on how that could have worked.

Ninth Pick

Ben Briley (aka “Gumbo”) I LOVE his makeover. He is singing “Soulshine” by The Allman Brothers Band. He also tends to close his eyes while he is singing. I really liked it. My judgment of him getting through over Neco Starr might have been premature and incorrect. I really truly enjoyed that. Harry said Ben seemed to like it and thought he (that he thought Ben thought) nailed it. It was a great job and was interesting. Keith said he has a great voice which was better than his guitar playing. Keith thought it was the first shredder solo on Idol. Jennifer commented that some people come alive when they are on stage versus in the rehearsal which is a sign of a true performer.

Tenth Pick

Spencer Lloyd to the delight of all the teenage girls in the room. He sings, “Love Don’t Die” by The Fray. He asked for advice about whether to use the guitar or not with the performance. Randy said for him to sing with it. Adam Lambert and vocal coach Melissa Garcia said without the guitar. The song started off rough with a lot of notes out of key. Midway through though I felt he found a groove. Being a worship leader, I know he can get a crowd going and this crowd was going, going, gone. Keith said that song choice is important and this was not his best vocal performance tonight. Jennifer said he moved the crowd and that when he is up there, he is a star. Harry said the song, “Say Something” was his strong suit; this was not. He reminds Spencer to stick to what he knows. This was not good (and Harry was booed again). He told Spencer that singing ballads is good.


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