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.





American Idol Season 13 Final Judgment Part 1

13 02 2014

The talent is abundant; the spaces few. Only 15 girls and 15 boys will go through to the live rounds next week. They had one last chance to impress the judges with their own instruments or the full band or both.

Some standout performances for me were Jillian Jensen (FINALLY they show her!). Her original song was beautiful. Malaya Watson was out of this world. I cried listening to Sam Woolf’s original song that he wrote about his mother leaving. I had goosebumps. My opinion about him has radically shifted. I think it was a mistake letting Keri Ann Roche and Jesse Roach. They were unique.

Here is the list of those going through based upon what was seen this evening:

Guys

1. Spencer Lloyd

SpencerLloyd

2. George Lovett

GeorgeLovett

3. Sam Woolf

SamWoolf

4. Maurice Townsend

MauriceTownsend

5. Dexter Roberts

DexterRoberts

6. Emmanuel Zidor

EmmanuelZidor

7. Jordan Brisbane

JordanBrisbane

8. Malcolm Allen

MalcolmAllen

9. Alex Preston

AlexPreston

Girls

1. Emily Piriz

EmilyPiriz

2. Jillian Jensen

JillianJensen

3. Malaya Watson

MalayaWatson

4. Bria Anai Johnson

BriaAnaiJohnson

5. Jessica Meuse

JessicaMeuse

6. MK Nobilette

MKNobilette

7. Kristin O’Connor

KristinOConnor

8. Andrina Brogden

AndrinaBrogden

Going Home

Madelyn Patterson, Michael Simeon, Lebryant Crew, Sabrina Lentini, Keri Lynn Roche, Jesse Roach, Casey McQuillen, Nica Nashae, Leah Guerrero. A few others whose face/name I could not place and the names were not said.

Not Sure

They showed solos by Shelby Ann Marie Miller and Connor Zwetsch who performed original songs that were less than stellar. They did not go before the judges so I am assuming they went home.

Cliffhanger

They leave us on a cliffhanger. They ask Casey Thrasher and CJ Harris to come up together and sing more before they can make a decision. The previews say that only one of them will be going through. These guys are both very talented. I would very much for them both to go through.

CaseyThrasher

CJHarris

According to the press release, America will get to vote on who the final contestant will be to round out the top 30 on Thursday night, February 13, 2014.





American Idol Season 13 Hollywood Rounds Week One

13 02 2014

LogoThe contestants have no idea that there is a twist this year in the audition process. Some people will have to sing for their life in an airplane hangar. The judges were divided on the talent of these people. I’ll give you the short version (my opinions):

Johnny Newcomb: I do not think it was good enough.
Connor Swetsch: I liked it; first time hearing her.
Ali Jane Henderson: I loved it; first time hearing her.
Caitlin Johnson: I did not like it. It was bad compared to the first three. I was not a fan of hers in the San Francisco audition.
Adam Roth (the sound healer): I still do not like his voice.
Tristen Langley (Nikki McKibbin’s kid): Not bad.
Morgan Deplitch: No for me; off pitch; last time in Austin she was too breathy.
Stephanie Petronelli (the cheerleader): I still do not like her voice.
Rich Lafleur: Goofed up.
Eric Wood: Liked it; liked him in Austin, too.
Alyssa Siebken: Not good enough.
Neco Starr: Liked him.
Khristian D’avis (aka fake-accent girl): No from me.

They were broken up into two groups. One group would be returned to the airport; one group would be going to the next round. There were 20 people in group 2 who were taken to the hotel. Among those going home was Caleb Hartsfield who is from my sister’s city of Asheville. Too bad; I liked his voice.

There are 180 people going into Day 2.

Day 2

On this day, they put them in lines of 10 and have them sing a capella or with an instrument. In the first line, George Lovett, Sandie Lee, Brandy Neely, John Fox, and Majesty Rose York were through to the group round. Going home were Jack Janowicz from the Omaha auditions, McKenna Dennis from the Austin auditions, Viviana Villalon also from the Austin auditions, and very surprisingly Samantha Calmes who was one of my favorites.

Out of the next group all we know is that Spencer Lloyd would be staying.

In the next group, I thought Austin Wolfe had a good voice. I loved Bria Anai‘s song. I did not like Selena Moreno‘s song, not just because she goofed up but she is not on the same level as some of these other singers. Going through to group rounds were Austin Wolfe, Jessica Meuse, Bria Anai Johnson, Shanon Wilson. Selena Moreno and Lauren Ogburn from the Atlanta auditions would be returning home.

In the next group, I like Sam Woolf but he may not be ready for Idol (at least this year’s talent) Keri Lynn Roche‘s song I loved. I was a “no” for Ayla Stackhouse. I adore CJ Harris. John Martin Davis and Ayla Stackhouse as well as another male who was standing in the forward line in a blue plaid shirt who I cannot identify were going home. Keri, CJ, Sam, and a few others I cannot identify by face are through to the next round.

Alex Preston, Sydney Arterbridge, Jesse Roach (Cypress, Texas), Brian Watt, Jade Lathan, Lindsay Bell, David Luning and a few others are in the next group. I loved Alex. Sydney’s vibrato bothers me. I liked Jesse. Brian has a nice voice but when I listen to him compared with the others, it is just not as good as some. Alex, Jesse and a few unidentified individuals have made it through to the next round. Brian, Jade, Sydney, David and Lindsay are going home.

Madelyn Patterson is in her own segment for #IdolHollywood or #IdolHome. I felt it would be #IdolHome as I did not enjoy it. Sixty percent felt she would remain in Hollywood and 40% said she would be going home, but she is through to the next round.

In the next group, they showcased Kenzie Hall and Quaid Edward. I don’t think Quaid is ready but he will get there at some point. Kenzie has such an interesting sound and niche in the competition. Kenzie is through and Quaid is sent home.

Then there are 10 people who make it through (but they were in a bunch of different groups). Ben Briley (I did not like this version of “Stars”.) Briston Maroney (Royals? This is a “no” on the song choice for me but the sound of his voice is unique). Dexter Roberts (The one I liked the best out of these three men). Rachel Rollier (I like her voice). Maurice Townsend (Wonderful). Casey Thrasher (Very nice. He did so much better than his audition). Tiquila Wilson (Loved her). Emily Piriz (I did not like her voice today). Malcolm Allen (Goosebumps).

Munfarid Zaidi from a close-by town of Sugar Land, Texas always adds the fun factor to the show. I think Idol needs at least one. I liked Ethan Thompson‘s performance. Austin Percario was okay. Love the rocker Caleb Johsnon. I think Stephanie Hanvey‘s performance to too affected. I loved Kristen O’Connor‘s solo. I also loved Emmanuel Zidor‘s solo as well as Briana Oakley and Jesse Cline. Keith London made an odd choice in song. I loved his voice but I agree with the judges. Allie Odom, Symphony Howlett, Olivia Diamond, Keith London, and Donald Reed are through to the next round as well as Munfarid, Ethan, Austin, Caleb, Stephanie, Kristen, Briana, and Jesse.

For the last line, Malaya Watson was up. I am not sure about her based on this song. I enjoyed Jena Ascuitto‘s performance. Savion Wright, a local Houston favorite (as well as my own), sang a song for his brother who had recently died (at the time of Hollywood week). On February 5, 2014, the Sabine County District Attorney released a statement that said he has turned the ongoing Alfred Wright case over to the Texas Attorney General’s Office. I love Savion. I had goosebumps. All three contestants are through.

Groups

Immediately, Casey Thrasher, Ben Briley and Dexter Roberts teamed up to form the Backstreet Cowboys. Austin contestants Savion Wright, Ryan Clark, John Fox and Madelyn Patterson teamed up. Matthew Hamel, Jessica Meuse, and Clark King teamed up. Clark was losing his voice. Matthew and Jessica found other groups.  Malaya Watson, Christine Collins, Olivia Diamond and Queen Bulls teamed up. Clark King decides to drop out.

Veterans from Season 12 of American Idol, David Oliver Lewis, Sarina Joi Crowe, and Tony Foster Jr. teamed up to form “Three More Days“. They choose “Too Close” by Alex Clare. It was lovely! Well done! But not everyone can go through and this time it was Tony’s turn to go home. He was genuine when he expressed a desire to know why so he could learn from the experience. I thought that was pretty wonderful instead of pouting and demanding to know why. Harry tells him that he looked at his feet too much. Tony has a wonderful attitude. I hope he comes back next year.

Dexter Roberts, Ben Briley and Casey Thrasher, the “Backstreet Cowboys” sing “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. It was the first country boy band and it worked. I loved it. All of them are going through to the next round.

Neco Starr, George Lovett and another individual did “Treasure” by Bruno Mars. I enjoyed this. Paula Hunt, Andrina Brogden and another unknown individual teamed up. MK Nobilette and Briana Oakley were part of another group and they made it through to the next round. Brandy Neely, Emily, and Kenzie Hall were all through. Spencer Lloyd, Megan Miller and Alyssa Siebken teamed up. Megan forgot the lyrics. The group fell apart. Alyssa was sent home but she felt that she was set up by the others.

Other people leaving after group rounds were Madisen Walker, Keith London, Austin Percario, Stephanie Petronelli, and Adam Roth. Tiquila Wilson respectfully quits; she does not feel this is the correct path for her.

The next group consisted of CJ Harris, Caleb Johnson, Tyler Ahlgren and Matthew Hamel also sang “Too Close” by Alex Clare. Caleb reminds me of the rocker Meatloaf. CJ and Caleb are through; Tyler and Matthew are sent home.

Members of the group “Collision” were all through. The group “Clarity” was made up of Jena Ascuitto, Sikenya Thompson, Munfarid and Allie Odom. Sikenya barely had a voice. She had lost her confidence. The judges encouraged her to push through and she did. Unfortunately Allie was the weaker link and someone has to go.

Savion Wright, Ryan Clark, John Fox and Madelyn Patterson sang “Royals.” I thought it was fine. But John J. Fox of Magnolia, Texas (the town right next to me) is going home.

The next group was Nica Nashae, Stephanie Hanvey, Cara Watson and Jessica Meuse. Stephanie’s mom was overbearing, trying to run the show. I really dislike stage moms like this. The psychology behinds it suggests that they are pushing their children to achieve recognition for themselves. They sing Beyonce’s “All The Single Ladies.” Stephanie was terrible and she goes home, not without some final words from mom.

Terrica Curry, Carmen Delgina and Emmanuel Zidor teamed up to become “Love’s Angels.” Only Emmanuel makes it through.

Loud & Fierce members Malaya Watson, Queen Bulls, Christina Collins, and Olivia Diamond did not do very well. Out of all of them I liked Malaya’s performance the best. They, however, are all through.

At this point 77 contestants remain. Solo rounds start on Wednesday, February 12.