American Idol S15 Top 24 Revealed

5 02 2016

Fifty-one contestants took the stage for a final performance in front of the judges and a live audience. Now they wait for their judgment.

My thoughts on their performances (the ones they showed):

The Ladies

Stephany Negrete looked and sounded great “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys.   Shelbie Z sang another Heart song for her final performance “Barracuda.” I think she needs to ditch country and embrace the rocker inside of her. I think she has been fortunate to have gotten a lot of tips and help on “The Voice” that definitely gives her an edge up over some of the more inexperienced Idol contestants when it comes to stage presence. Michelle Marie sang “Little Toy Guns” by Carrie Underwood. She had great stage presence but she sounded sharp and flat on many of the notes. With the stiff competition, I would say no, but the judges may say yes because she has charisma and stage presence in addition to previous positive performances. Colette Lush sang “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” by Meghan Trainor. Her voice was cracking a lot. Jessica Cabral’s performance wasn’t shown, but I was SHOCKED that she is not in the top 24. She was one of the stronger female voices with such a unique voice. Wow. I don’t know what to say about that one. Jenna Renae sounded okay from the small clip they showed of her singing “Flat on the Floor” by Carrie Underwood. Jeneve Mitchell sang “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash.   She has the great ability to feel her song. She has a unique place in all of this. Would I buy her music? No—because I don’t like country music (but I don’t buy Carrie Underwood’s either even though I was rooting for her on the show but on the show she didn’t sing strictly country). Amelia Eisenhauer sang “New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel.   Her vocal was mediocre and her stage presence was not developed quite as much as the others. Avalon Young sang “Yo (Excuse Me Miss)” by Chris Brown.   She has such a pretty voice. Sonika Vaid sang “Surrender” by Celine Dion. She gets swallowed up by the stage. She has a beautiful voice but she really needs to work on that. Malie Delgado sang “Little White Church” by Little Big Town. She has a great voice, but I didn’t like this song for her. Olivia Rox came down sick, but she had to rally to do her showcase round. She sang “Love Somebody” by Maroon 5. She did a fabulous job. That one gave me goosebumps!! Emily Brooke sang “So Small” by Carrie Underwood. She did better than I anticipated and some of that nasal twangy thing was gone. Gianna Isabella chose to sing her mom’s song and Gianna was talking to her mother in the audience during rehearsal and Rickey Minor set mom straight about needing to let them handle this. She sang “I Still Believe” by Brenda K. Starr (her mom’s hit song).  Jenn Blosil sang “The Hanging Tree” sung by Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games series.   She is so unique. I adore her. Tristan McIntosh sang “Stronger” by Faith Hill. She felt that it was the first time she has ever “performed.” She also is one of my favorites.

The last two ladies are La’Porsha Renae and Lindita. Is there ANY question who this is going to? Not for me. La’Porsha. Lindita performed “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj. La’Porsha Renae did “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals. That gave me goosebumps.

 The Guys

Mackenzie Bourg is the first one of the guys to receive his fate. He sang Elvis Presley’s hit “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” I really like his voice and he had the ladies in the audience singing along with him for the chorus. Trent Harmon sang “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John have a mixed feeling about. He has a great voice, but his performances are often internalized where he is not even making eye contact with the audience. He is performing but not connecting. CJ Johnson sang “Parachute” by Cheryl Cole. Okay, I admit. I loved it. I know it was country. I do have exceptions. Lee Jean sang “Make It Rain” by Ed Sheeran. It was adorable but I was put off by him telling the audience to be quiet not just once but twice. Daniel Rapattoni performed “It’s Gonna Be Me” by NSync. He is one of my favorites. He has star written all over him. He has the full package. Manny Torres sang “Master Blaster” by Stevie Wonder sounded great and frankly this competition could use his Latin flare. Thomas Stringfellow sang “Story of My Life” by One Direction. I like him but he was doing this weird thing that almost sounded like a hiccup-like noise at the end of every measure. It was annoying. The girls went crazy for him though.

Kacye Haynes and Jordan Sasser were the final two guys who were competing for that last spot. I think it is going to go to Jordan Sasser (even before I heard the performances). Jordan sang “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic. I got goosebumps. Kacye tackled “Hold On, We’re Going Home” by Drake. Rickey Minor complimented him that he was one of the few performances that actually felt what he was singing that day. Wow, he did bring a better performance than Jordan.

 Going Home

Not going through: Ameet Kanon, Anatalia Villaranda, Andrea Nazarbekian, Ariel Sprague, Christian Eason, Chynna Sherrod, Colette Lush, Isaac Cole, Jenna Renae, Jessica Cabral, Jessica Clark, John Clausen, Jordyn Simone, Kacye Haynes, Kassy Levels, Kayla Mickelsen, Kelsie Watts, Laurel Wright, Lindita, Malie Delgado, Mary Williams, Michelle Marie, Mionne Destiny, Sara Sturm, Shevonne Philidor, Terrian, Tiffany Lemay, and Zach Person.

Top 24 are:

Ladies: Amelia Eisenhauer, Avalon Young, Emily Rose, Gianna Isabella, Jeneve Rose Mitchell, Jenn Blosil, La’Porsha Renae, Olivia Rox, Shelbie Z, Sonika Vaid, Stephany Negrete, Tristan McIntosh

Guys: Adam Lasher, CJ Johnson, Daniel Rapattoni, James VIII, Jordan Sasser, Kory Wheeler, Lee Jean, Mackenzie Bourg, Manny Torres, Thomas Stringfellow, Trent Harmon

Next week: The top 24 sing solos and then duets with former American Idol contestants. Five will be going home.

 

 

 

 





American Idol S15 Hollywood Week No 2: Group Night

4 02 2016

Only 108 contestants remain after round 1 of solo performances.   It’s the dreaded group night that begins at 3:21 p.m. on the day before performance. They need to break up in groups of 3 to 4.

Scott Borchetta is going to be around for group to give them much needed feedback along with the vocal coaches of American Idol. He is telling it like it is; one group he told if they did what they did for him they are definitely going home tomorrow.

Shelbie Z, Marlena, and Tonie were struggling. Instead of trying to work it out, Shelbie walked off and left her group in search of another. Whether or not that was a wise move is yet to be determined. Shelbie sort of comes off as conceited a bit; I felt that way when she was on The Voice. Christian, who is in another group, overhears their dilemma, and he goes back to his group, who has four members, to see if someone would be willing to move to Marlena and Tonie’s group. Christian talks with La’Porsha, Malie and Manny. Malie doesn’t want to split up. And La’Porsha originally agreed, but then had a change of heart because she could not get them out of her head. Manny and Malie felt blindsided by that decision.

Dalton and Kassy were looking for their third member, Poh Scott. But the pressure was too much for this young lady and her father informs a crew member that she just can’t do this. They have to search for another group or a stray person who needs a group.

Team Blue Eyes consist of Jordan Sasser, Kory Wheeler, Kelsie Watts, and Jenna Renae. Their song is “Treasure” by Bruno Mars. The boys were stronger on this but the girls were close behind and Kelsie belted out this wonderful high note that would make Mariah Carey proud. They tell Jenna and Jordan to step forward and then do a fake-out and put all 4 of them through.

Milk & Cookies practiced in the toilet stall because the acoustics to them were better.   They chose “Drag Me Down” by One Direction. The ladies who make up the group are Jenn Blosil, Bri Ray, Lynnzee Faye and Sara Strum. Jenn reminds me too much of Joey Cook from last year. I thought they sounded nice together and no one forgot the lyrics. The choreography was bizarre. Keith tries to play them by saying “when I call your name please step forward” and follows with “who am I kidding, you’re all going through.”

The next group is “Ooh x 2” who choose “Need to Breathe” by Alex Clare. Amelia Eisenhauer, Tristan McIntosh, Lee Jean, and an unknown person. They are through to the next round.

Another group was composed of Avalon Young and a few others. They sang “DJ Got Us Falling in Love Again” by Usher and Harry complimented her that she could be in a video for that right now. They are through to the next round.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell was in another group. “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum. Harry told her that she made the lyric the most important thing. She and her two group mates are through to the next round.

Chynna Sherrod is in the next group which chose “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit to sing. Terrian is also in the group. It’s unclear if any made it through.

Trent Harmon was diagnosed with mono while he is there. He was cleared to continue in the competition, but he has to avoid spreading it, so no group rounds for him. His group name is called “Just Trent.”   He also sings “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit. He has a very unique voice and I give him kudos for staying because this is the last chance for Idol. Harry jokes and he says, “I know one thing about that song; it sounds better in mono.” People groan. But Trent is through to the next round.

Michelle Marie and Lindsey Carrier of “Singing Out Loud” (with Ashley Lusk). After 5 hours, they decide on a song and pick up the defector Shelbie Z. Michelle was off pitch at the beginning part of that song and I’m just going to frank at this point—I don’t know how she is still in this competition with all these other more talented female voices other than she has a personality that makes her likable. They were singing “Undo It” by Carrie Underwood. They didn’t blend well as a group. Shelbie Z has a good voice without a doubt. Jennifer thought it was a good group job. Shelbie Z also has resting bitchy face. LOL. Ashley, Michelle, and Shelbie Z are through and Lindsey is going home.

Elvie Shane, Zach Person, Jessica Cabral and another person I don’t remember formed a group and they sang “Too Close” by Alex Clare. They were admonished that they looked tired and it came through, but this is what it is really like and their job is not to let the audience see that. Elvie is going home.

Ashley Lilinoe looked exhausted and seemed to not know the lyrics of her group’s song “Renegades” by X Ambassadors. Mackenzie Bourg did well. Juno, MacKenzie and Kayla are going through; Ashley is going home.

Cameron Richard was part of a group singing “Too Close” by Alex Clare. It wasn’t good enough and the judges send him home.

Chicken Noodle Soup’s Dalton Rapattoni and Kassy Levels lost their group member Poh Scott. The group “NV” consisted of Sonika Vaid, Andrew Nazarbekian, Stephany Negrete and Anatalia Villaranda.   Anatalia’s mom takes matters into her own hands and tries to convince the group that her daughter is not the problem; it’s the song. According to Anatalia, her group left her so she is looking for another group. She joined Chicken Noodle Soup. But Dalton found out that that the other members said she was not kicked out; Anatalia left.  Chicken Noodle Soup sang “Treasure” by Bruno Mars. I thought Dalton and Kassy sounded great. I’m a little iffy on Anatalia. But their voices complimented each other. All three are going through.  NV chose “Problem” by Arianna Grande. Sonika Vaid sounded good. Stephany Negrete sounded great. Andrew Nazarbekian has a crazy voice. They sounded great as a group. Keith felt Stephany was the only one who looked like a performer. They are all going through as well.

Josiah Siska, Jaci Butler, and Brian Dale Brown were sent home because they didn’t have great dance moves.

The next group “Trick or Treat Tribe” consisted of Kylle Thomasson, Kacye Haynes, Jon Klaasen, and Marcio Donaldson. They chose “Uptown Funk” by Mark Bronson. I think Kylle maybe sounded the best out of the four, but I’m not feeling them as a group. Keith thought they did good. Jennifer thought the same. Harry thought it was a good to see people feel rhythm. They are through to the next round.

Smooth Soul chose “Domino” by Jessie J. Joy Dove, Daniel Farmer, and Lindita. Lindita was all over the place. Harry said he was surprised Joy let Lindita do that. It is a competition. Joy and Lindita are through and Daniel is going home.

Eliz Camacho, Gianna Isabella, and Dana Ordway had issues being a group because of the overbearing personality of Eliz. She decided what song they were going to sing and then went to bed for the night. Eliz said for herself that she considered them backup singers that are going to let her rock it. Michael said it was one of the worst they have seen so far. If she even makes it through, Eliz is not going to win over America’s hearts that that piss-poor attitude. You can want to do your best without belittling others. “Hit ‘Em Style (Oops)” by Blu Cantrell. Jennifer said there was obvious tension that could be felt in the performance. This was supposed to be about collaborating. Gianna and Dana go through and Eliz was dismissed. But she goes away with conceited words, not learning a thing–humility.

The Good Vibes consist of Alesana Tolai, Jessica Paige, Olivia Thai, and Joe Dahman. They were singing “Me and My Broken Heart” by Rixton.   They all have nice voices. Some forgot the lyrics. It sounded off though. Not exactly sure where. Harry said there was no joy in their performance. Jessica is the only one going through.

CJ Johnson, Jess Kellner, Jessica Baker, and Zach Joseph sang “Renegades” by X Ambassadors. They were lively and sounded great. Harry said it was a great group song but it didn’t show him which one of them were a superstar. CJ, Jess, and Jessica are through and Zach is going home.

Thomas Muglia, Joey Hendricks, Bryson Dunn, and Thomas Stringfellow also did “Renegades.” It sounded kind of depressing. Thomas Stringfellow was the one who stood out for me. Harry looked like he was falling asleep during the performance. Both Thomases were through to the next round.

Rebirth including Manny Torres, Malie Delgado, Christian Eason chose “Too Close” by Alex Clare.   Malie was suffering from pretty bad laryngitis. Keith gives them a standing ovation. The audience was clapping as the song was playing. All three of them go through and Jennifer said it was one of the best groups of the day.

Staying Alive” by The Bee Gees is the song. Soul Catz included Laurel Wright, Marshall Cunningham, Drew Angus, and John Arthur Greene. They forgot the lyrics. I would say when choosing a group song, you should go with the song that has the least amount of words to have to remember. There are a lot of words in that song. Keith felt none of them took charge. Harry says, “If you forget the lyrics and turn around to ask for help – bad move.” Marshall and Laurel are through.

The last group round number ever for American Idol was performed by The Sistas (Tonie Starr, Marlena Johnson and La’Porsha Renae) who also chose “Staying Alive” by The Bee Gees.   Even though Marlena messed up and substituted gibberish, they had stage presence and sounded like they blended well with each other). Harry said, “That is how you forget words.” The three are through to the next round.





American Idol Little Rock and Denver Part 2

27 01 2016

Best friends Amber Lynn and James Gray Dawson (the 8th) came down from Utah to sing for the judges. Amber chose “Unaware” by Allen Stone. I finally got goosebumps. That’s all that I need. The Philadelphia auditions for me were lacking of goosebumps. Harry said she is talented. He gave a critique to James that he was rushing the song. He needs to give her the foundation. Jennifer thought she had a lot of soul. She likes her whole vibe. Keith said he liked that she was in her own world. James VIII was also singing.  He picked John Legend “Sun Comes Up.” You could tell he was nervous because his cheeks were getting all red. I didn’t get goosebumps, but I LOVE his voice. Harry said it was refreshing to see people who were born to do this. Keith likes his groove. They both receive tickets to Hollywood.

Can Emily Wears sing as well as she auctions (and whoa—can she do that well)? She takes it down a notch singing “Bring on the Rain” by Jo Dee Messina. Sometimes she was just under the note. It was a pretty tone, but I don’t think she has enough though to make it to Hollywood. Harry said her singing needs a bit of work. Jennifer thought the voice was sweet but it was missing things that would make it whole and complete. Keith said the pitch was drifting everywhere. She said she was really nervous (oh man my heart feels for her). She does not get to go to Hollywood.

CJ (stands for Chris Johnson) is a professional musician from Memphis. He decides on a Hall and Oates song “You Make My Dreams.” I really like him. He has a great look and a nice sound. No goosebumps, but I’m hopeful. The judges sing some background vocals for it. Keith and Jennifer thought he sounded good. Harry thought it was cool. He gets a ticket to Hollywood.

Ethan Kuntz is quite an accomplished young man for 15 years of age. He trains hunting dogs as part of his family hunting breeding kennel business. He also is lead guitarist and singer in a blues band. He chose “Stormy Monday” by the Allman Brothers. He is an interesting kid. I like what he was doing. I think he would get eaten alive during Hollywood Week, but I am not sure he is quite 100% ready yet. Keith did not expect that voice and has mixed reactions. Jennifer thought he was a natural. Harry has no doubt in his mind that he is supposed to do this, and advises him not to doing anything else with the rest. That being said, however, it would be very difficult for him to get around the wide range of repertoire that American Idol requires of him. Harry does not think he is ready. Jennifer thinks he is. Keith is in the middle. He doesn’t think he is ready, but he thinks his voice is so good and gives him the yes.

Horse trainer Mary Williams wanted to sing old-time country for the judges. She chose Tammy Wynette’s “Until I Can Make It on My Own.” She surprised me. I didn’t expect that she was going to do well based on how she was being presented in the packet. I hate country music, but I love her voice. No goosebumps, but close. Jennifer had goosies on her leg. Keith was missing the feeling so it was more of something being performed than something being confessed. Harry thought the performance was a little bit clinical, but she gets a yes from him and Jennifer. Keith didn’t say anything since it didn’t matter, but she did press him for a yes or a no, and he said he would have been a no.

Xavier Soller is the end-game host for the Denver Nuggets had a warm up for the judges and Jennifer was the only one who got the basketball. He sang Garth Brooks “Friends in Low Places.” The singing was not terrible, but it was more of a hobby kind of singing. Jennifer and Keith both said no so there is no ticket.

Terrian Bass would like to make a statement to the world that you can be surrounded by misery but still find the good. She chose appropriately “Happy” by Pharrell. I felt badly for her. She has a nice voice, went off pitch quite a bit, and the energy was dragging in the song. Harry and Jennifer like her. Three yes votes.

Her name is Leann “Blue” McIsaac and has the blue hair to match. She is a self-described singing nomad. She specializes in coming up with songs for people on the spot. She planned to do that for the judges. Harry thought it sounded like a Jewish prayer song. Harry doesn’t think singing is for her but that shouldn’t take the wind out of her sails. Jennifer does not think American Idol is the right lane for her. Keith said no to the suitability for Idol.

Thomas Stringfellow’s parents takes in foster children and he would like to be an example to them to follow their dream no matter where it takes you. He chose “Give Me Love” by Ed Sheeran. Wow I did not expect that voice to come out of that young man. He is so unique. I got goosebumps. Yes, yes, yes from me. Harry admired him changing it up. Keith likes his vibe and liked that he changed it up. Jennifer said it was pleasing to her ear and a lot that was saying artist. Yes votes all around. I hope he makes it to the top 10.

Tywan “Tank” Jackson was up to 400 pounds and decided to take charge of his health. He has lost 60 pounds doing Zumba and then developed his own exercise routines that he calls Tankercise. He entertained the judges with his dancing, but then refocused and sang his audition song “Superstar” by Luther Vandross. He should have ditched the dancing before the singing audition because he was out of breath for the music. He has a nice voice (except for a bit of improvisation in the middle). Jennifer said he was one of his favorites. Harry asked if he knew Rev James Moore. His ability to dance, sing and entertain are powerful weapons in this competition. All three judges say yes.

John Wayne Schulz auditioned in season 10. He is part of the Marine Corps and is a flight instructor. In season 10 it had come down to him and Scotty McCreery making it through and they picked Scotty who went on to win that year. He was glad it happened because his mother’s cancer had returned and he was able to spend those last months with her before she died. He sang “The Dance” by Garth Brooks and with the story of what happened with his mom made me cry. Keith said it was refreshing not to hear a cover of Garth. Jennifer was enjoying listening to him. Harry thought it was the perfect, succinct performance. He is through to Hollywood.

Leah Harbert taught herself to sing with Britney Spears. She decides to tackle “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin. Jennifer looked like she was bracing herself for a massacre of the song. Frankly so was I. And it lived up to my expectations. Her vibrato and her effective nature of her voice were annoying me greatly. Harry suggested that she work with a vocal coach. It was a definite no. In the post interview she blamed a cold and her voice cracking on the reason why she didn’t make it.

Jordyn Simone chose “Who’s Lovin’ You” by the Jackson 5 to audition. I WISH I could sing like that at 15. WOW! I got goosebumps at the end of the song. She was born to sing. Jennifer is speechless. Harry said she showed them a complete set of skills. Jennifer said there was something special there. Keith said she had something unique. She is through to the next round.

The next group is a montage of female singers which included Kassy Levels (who Keith said there are people who want to be a singer and who just are and she belongs to the latter group); Rhea Raj is a 15-year-old student in Princeton, NJ (Jennifer liked the breathy quality of her voice). Both are moving to the next round in Hollywood.

Jake Dillon is hoping to leave his plumber apprenticeship behind and open a path to a music-making dream. He chose “Danny’s Song” by Kenny Loggins (one of my favorites of all time). I like his voice a lot. Keith and Jennifer were mouthing the words along with him. Harry thought it was good but good isn’t going to cut it for them. They are looking for spectacular and he didn’t see it in that performance. Keith likes him as a guy. He is worried that he is going to get killed out there in Hollywood. He can see the fire in him and he sees that. Harry is a no, Jennifer is a yes, and Keith is a yes.

The next contestant’s full name is a mouthful: Ashley Lillinoemaineleipuananiokaloni Adams-Soderbegh. She chooses “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles. Oh yes. I love her. She is unique. Jennifer said there were a few things she liked but she wanted a little bit more of output from her soul. Harry said she is interesting but she doesn’t fit in anywhere. He likes that sort of mystery there. Keith said he liked it. Harry and Keith say yes; Jennifer says no.

The next contestant is either brave or stupid in choosing an Adele song, “Make You Feel My Love.” He was born in New York but grew up in Moscow. Andrew Nazarbekian started singing and captured my attention right away. Goosebumps!!!!   Oh my God. He is awesome. Harry said the best part of that is that he came in here and sang. He receives three yes votes.

Elvie Shane is the next contestant. He chose “House of the Rising Sun” by Animal. He is incredible. I had goosebumps throughout the song. Harry said he has this quality about him that he is about the music first. Jennifer thought he had a spectacular voice. It cuts through the whole entire room. Keith loves that he loves to do this and it is contagious. He gets the yes vote from all three.