American Idol Season 14 The Winner Is….

20 05 2015

And the winner is….

Just in case people have not heard who won this second to last season of American Idol, I will put the info at the end and discuss tonight’s hits and misses with musical guests. In some cases we were reminded that the voting for some contestants to leave was indeed the right thing to do.

Nick and Clark joined Fallout Boy to sing “Centuries.” In terms of performance, Nick was jamming right along with Patrick Stump while Clark still hasn’t been able to just let himself get completely out of control. He looked happy but he needs to get some rocking-it-out lessons.

Tyanna Jones joined three of the Jackson brothers to sing a medley of songs including “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” “The Love You Save,” and “(Dance and Shout) Shake Your Body Down to the Ground“. It was a fun opening and got people energized, but I would have liked to see her sing with Janelle Monae who is appearing later in the show. “Tightrope” was one of Tyanna’s better songs she covered over the course of Idol, but I could see the allure of singing with the Jackson brothers.

The top six ladies joined Nile Rodgers and Chic to do another medley including “We Are Family” and “Le Freak,” then their new record “I’ll Be There” and back to the classic “Good Times” and ending with “Rapper’s Delight.”

Ricky Martin took the stage to do a medley of his songs starting with “Mr. Put It Down.” He was joined by Nick, Clark, Qaasim, Quentin and Rayvon for “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” “She Bangs,” and “The Cup of Life.” I just love Ricky Martin. I have adored him since his days on General Hospital. I wonder why Daniel wasn’t performing with them?

Adanna performed with Janelle Monae. Janelle sang with “Yoga” featuring Jidenna. Adanna seems to fit right in and maybe this is a good niche for her. Maybe working with Janelle has shown her how to control that exuberant energy she has although she didn’t do much singing.

Prince Royce was joined by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull to sing “Back It Up.” That was incredible.

Echosmith performed “Cool Kids” with Joey Cook. I think this was a good match up. I have missed Joey.

Ryan polls the judges to see who they think will win. Jennifer quietly says Clark. Harry is noncommittal. Keith thinks Nick has a slight advantage. Keith Urban performed his hit “Even the Stars Fall 4 U.” If anyone could make me like a country song, it is Keith Urban. There is no doubt he wrote and performed that for Nicole Kidman who was in the audience. I may just go buy that song.

I thought Jamie Foxx was an odd choice but after hearing him sing “In Love By Now” with Rayvon, I thought it was a perfect match. I didn’t realize Jamie sang so well. It was a beautiful pairing.

Ford gave a car (Festive) not only to Nick and Clark but also to their mentors (Focus). Nick chose fellow bandmate lead guitarist Nick Abraham. Clark’s mentor Pastor Jim Phillips was his choice.

New Kids on the Block were looking for a new band member and they chose Daniel Seavey. Their medley included “Please Don’t Go Girl” and “You’ve Got It (The Right Stuff).” It was the worst one of the night. I know Donnie Wahlberg later tweeted that it was about having fun and that is fine. It made Daniel happy I am sure as well as his family, friends and fans. Even with the lyrics on two big screens it was obvious that when Donnie put then microphone out to the audience for them to the sing “the right stuff” no one sang back. Ryan puts them on the spot and asks if Daniel could go on the tour with them.

Quentin Alexander teamed up with Vance Joy for his song “Riptide.” Quentin needs to learn about singing a duet. You don’t mouth the words that the other person is singing. Grooving like you did was good; mouthing the words was distracting. And Quentin, I adore you so it is hard for me to say something critical. Otherwise the song was lovely.

Scott shared with Nick and Clark what will happen to the winner. One of them will go back to Nashville where their boots are going to hit the ground. They are going to hit reset and go to visit radio and retail. They will go to the CMA Music Festival with him to perform. One of them will be a presenter at the CMT Awards. And that just scratches the surface. They will start recording their first album. He said both of their songs were top 15 (which was inaccurate because when I checked at that precise moment, Nick’s song was at 21 and Clark’s song was at 42).

Chris Brown and Pitbull performed their new single “Fun” with Qaasim.  That indeed was fun!!!

Steven Tyler performed his new song “Love Is Your Name.” Jax came up from the audience to sing “Piece of My Heart” and like the superstar she is she held her own with him. That gave me goosebumps and the Idol judges were with them all the way, even when they finished the performance on the judges’ table. Jax thanked the fans and the judges to thunderous applause.

Clark joined Michael McDonald to sing “Takin’ It to the Streets.” They played side-by-side pianos. Where has THIS Clark been?? I haven’t seen him so passionate and animated in weeks. THIS is a winning performance. He needed to have captured this many episodes ago.

Andy Grammer and Nick sang “Back Home” and moved into “Honey, I’m Good.” It was enjoyable. I preferred Clark’s performance with Michael McDonald.

The judges played together on stage, Jennifer on vocals, Keith on guitar, and Harry on keyboards. Jennifer started off with “Diamonds” and moved to “Locked Out of Heaven” with Keith and Jennifer on vocals.

And the winner is….. NICK! And he looks a bit stunned. Congratulations!





American Idol Season 14 Top 8 Perform, 1 Goes Home

13 04 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nThe fan save is back again this week. However, this is new to Idol and their title descriptions of the episodes need to change. All 8 ARE performing, which will leave us with 7 going forward (they have Top 7 Perform). Florida Georgia Line and Jason Derulo were the mentors for the Idol contestants during the past week and are the bearers of the Idol results tonight. This week is “Billboard Hits.”

The first saved contestant is Jax. She is singing “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga. It sounds from her rehearsal she is trying to put a Joey Cook twist to the song, but when she got into the song, it did sound like Jax and not Joey. I enjoyed it. It wasn’t the best I’ve heard her do but it certainly wasn’t the worst. I still love her. Keith said it was an interesting arrangement. He loves her artistry. She does that consistently from week to week (make it her own). Jennifer is all for that, too, BUT she thinks there is a line where it gets dangerous. She tells Jax she wants to be an artist who wants to be on the audience today. She said she knows she is a favorite and she gets a lot of votes, but she doesn’t want her to go so far left that people can’t relate. She could not relate to that at all musically. She warns her to be careful. Harry says she has magic in her voice. He doesn’t have a problem taking an arrangement completely to the left. What he does have a problem with is not owning it once you get there. What she did on stage did not match it. There is more to changing a song in tempo and groove; she has to change it up here (and he points to his brain). As good as the vocal was, he did not feel like she inhabited it emotionally.

The next person is Nick Fradiani. Florida Georgia Line told him to maybe practice in front of a mirror and see what it looks like. He says he IS comfortable on stage so he isn’t sure why the judges keep saying this. Personally if he says it isn’t this, then I’m thinking these are just bad habits he has picked up over the years performing with a band. He sings, “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry. Well, the beginning of the song his facial expressions were not like they have been so I am thinking standing in front of mirror HELPED him. His eyes were open more; his facial expressions were better. I like what he did to the song. He did actually look more relaxed on stage tonight whether he wants to admit it or not. Or maybe more confident. Jennifer said it was so good–that is changing a song and making it your own in the best way. It was amazing to her. Harry said he doesn’t entirely agree. There were things he did like. He liked the energy but he likes him singing songs that have grittier lyrics because he has this intensity about him. Keith thought it was a killer song for him only because the spirit of the song was more than the sum of the parts. It played to all his strengths vocally; he looked comfortable. Harry gets up on stage after some prompting and he chases Keith around. That was a riot. And Nick tells Harry that he did not think that was his best performance and Harry agreed.

Jason Derulo performed “Want to Want Me.” He is going to be a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance” along with Paula Abdul this upcoming season (Mary Murphy’s contract was not picked up–I’m so sad about this).

Joining the contestants next week is Quentin Alexander. He chose “Latch” by Disclosure with Sam Smith. Jason Derulo helped him achieve something Quentin didn’t know he could actually do. Quentin took the pointers about his wardrobe last week and he was still stylish but he toned it down. It looked like a real star up there. I like he took a risk with the falsetto but he still has some pitch issues but not terribly so. I still enjoyed it quite a bit. Harry thinks he looks unbelievable. This was lighter and away. He still said there are pitch and technical issues but it was a good song for him. Keith thought it was a great song choice. It was a great performance. Jennifer said in the beginnings the drums were overpowering, but he was an artist with a capital “A.” She loved it and thought it was a great choice for him.

Florida Georgia Line performed next with “Sippin’ on Fire.”

The next contestant through is Joey Cook! Oh YAY!!! She is singing “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus without changing the arrangement. Scott told her to open her eyes and Jason called her out on her crab hands. I love her purple hair. She hid her crabby hands in her dress, or she opened her hands instead of closing them. I adore her. I loved when she had her eyes open. She had her eyes closed a lot still though. I think it put up a wall though for her performance (Jason reminded her a little is a good thing, a lot is not).  I loved it, but just thought I’d mention it. Keith said she looked relieved. The verses were so good but he would have liked seeing her really going for it during the chorus. But the overall performance? He really liked it. Jennifer agreed with Keith. She thinks, however, she does stand apart in quality. Harry said what is cool, too, is even when she does an arrangement that is similar it is different. Harry thought Jason gave her some great advice. It was an okay vocal—maybe if it were a half step or a whole step higher it would have forced her to sing those choruses with more grit. When it came to the second chorus, Jason was right—something needed to happen. She needed to either step off that platform and take it somewhere else physically or emotionally, or as corny as it might sound, modulate the key. He got a little bored towards the end.

Clark Beckham makes it through to next week. He is singing “Make It Rain” by Ed Sheeran. Jason told him to sing not as a spiritual person praying, but as a preacher. Clark connected to that. Goosebumps! I liked that he was keeping his eyes open more, too and connecting and looking out at the audience. I still think he could have let loose a little bit more and gone crazy. Jennifer thought it was so amazing and effortless. She wants the style and image to match and find a swag. Harry said he has an amazing instrument. What would have made that even better to be in the pocket—don’t rush the rhythmic pocket. I agree with Harry now as he is saying it. That is exactly how it would have made it more soulful and added another layer of letting loose and really feeling the song. Keith said what was cool was in the end he killed it.

Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Hudson sing Iggy’s song “Trouble” together. It was terrific.

The next person making it through to next week is Tyanna Jones which means Rayvon Owen and Qaasim Middleton will sing to be saved by the people on Twitter. Tyanna chose “Stay” by Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko. That was so understated and beautiful. She did a terrific job. Harry admired her keeping her emotions in check. She did an amazing job and it was extremely touching. It was a fantastic emotional performance. Keith said she had her poise and it was beautiful. Jennifer said everything came together in the right way and congratulated her.

First up for the fan save is Rayvon Owen. He is going to sing “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele. Ugh. I’m not a fan of the song choice. He did better this week, but it wasn’t the best song of the night. He did let loose a bit during the performance and I liked that. Keith said it was crazy and thought he was singing for his life. Jennifer applauds the gravy but she didn’t think it was the best song for him. Harry asked him what was his gravy? What makes him tick? Rayvon wants to inspire people and give glory to God for his gift. He wants to convey emotion and honesty.

Qaasim Middleton chose “Hey Ya” by Outkast. It starts off off-pitch. I love his performance ability. There is so much joy there. But the vocal technical issues were too obvious. Jennifer said you always wow the people with his performance. Harry says American Idol is lucky to have him. His performance was good but it was sure entertaining to watch. Keith said it was a great song for him to sing because he knows how to hide any technical flaws in the bigger package.

Twitter decides to save Rayvon.

Qaasim should not worry. Jennifer Hudson finished in 7th place and look where she is today.





American Idol Season 14 Top 9 Perform (Fan Save)

1 04 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nTonight the new fan save is in play. The bottom 2 will be announced and then fans can take to Twitter to save their favorite. It’s very similar to what The Voice was doing. Kelly Clarkson returns to the Idol fold to mentor and the contestants will be singing a song from her repertoire.

Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard delivered the Idol results tonight.

Nick Fradiani makes it through to the top 8. Kelly said this particular song, “Catch My Breath”, stretches the vocal range and is one of the toughest she has to sing. She also hopes that he “opens his dang eyes.” It was funny to see him close his eyes at first and then he caught himself. His lower range is a rough. I don’t think this was his best vocal, but his performance is opening up and that is a good thing. Now the two have to meet like they did last week. Keith thought the song was suited to his voice, particularly the beginning. Jennifer said it is good that he is aware of what they’ve been telling him. She suggests he sit down a bit more with their movement coach to get a groove for himself that he doesn’t have to think about. She thought it was a great way to start the show and it was a really good vocal. Harry said it wasn’t his favorite vocal but he liked that he sang this song. See–Harry liked the performance better, too.

The next person through is Jax! Jax picks “Beautiful Disaster” to sing. Kelly had no notes for Jax, that she was an artist. Major, major goosebumps! They continued all the way to the end of the song. That was phenomenal. Jennifer said that was very pretty, the pure version of Jax. She maybe wanted the arrangement to go a little bit more, but for the most part it was so beautiful. Harry said it was fantastic and he really, really loved it. Keith said he now holds a higher level of standard knowing what she is capable of. He still finds a little bit of inconsistency but some of that comes from the performance stuff she has to do and he can see all that going on in her mind.

Tyanna Jones makes it through next and she stays on stage to perform after the group number. Tyanna chose “Mr. Know It All” and wants to channel the anger she feels over being bullied in her past. Goosebumps!!! She nailed it. Harry was joking around about how he felt like she was singing to the judges and she’s right, he doesn’t know a thing about her. He said he thought there were some pitch issues, but sometimes it is hard to tell in their space, but it didn’t matter because she was singing from the heart. Keith said there was a really dark center to that song and it wasn’t just about empowerment but because she didn’t know that feeling of rejection from having had a boyfriend yet, that piece might have been missing a bit for him. Jennifer agreed but she did remind everyone what a great singer she was.

Candice Glover was in the audience. She looks fabulous. She in the studio doing album number 2.

Joey Cook made it through! I was scared for her. Joey picked “Miss Independent” to sing tonight. Joey put the Joey twist on it and Kelly loved it and predicted she will be one of the best performances of the night. Do you know what I love about this year? That the American public wants QUIRKY and DIFFERENT and to get out of that cookie-cutter model. I just loved this. Keith was on his feet. Keith adores her. Keith said she doesn’t just change a song, she completely rebuilds it. She makes him hear a lyric in a way he has never heard before. She has so much artistic weight and she does it some effortlessly. Jennifer agrees with Keith and with Kelly—that is one of the best performances of the night. It is individual and unique. She is in her own lane. Harry says she gets an A-plus from him for bravery and going sort of left of center of the arrangement. He just wishes she didn’t treat the jazz portion of the song as such a novelty, that she would have not presented it as such a film noire movie. Joey got engaged over the weekend! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Kelly performed “Heartbeat Song.” She sounds fabulous.

Quentin Alexander is through. He took away great lessons from Kelly that there was beauty in being quiet. Quentin chose “Dark Side” to perform. Goosebumps all the way through. I adored this. Jennifer liked it. She thought it was perfect for him. He killed it. Keith said he has a great poise on stage. Keith was on his feet. He said that there is also beauty in truth and that is how he performs. It is really beautiful. Harry said he needs to spend as much time on the creative as he does on the skill stuff. He is a great lyric interpreter. He doesn’t want him to be the guy who walks into a room and says how great he looks or how he sounds. There were notes, if he were producing the song, where he would say “you have to do that again.” (Harry is being a little bit too harsh—he never says that about Daniel). Kelly wrote him a note, “I want to make sweet love to those amazing eyes.”

Qaasim Middleton is surprised to see his name called (really?) He wants to sing “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).” He strips it down to an acoustic version. The chorus got a bit rough. The falsetto was good sometimes though. I like when people change the arrangements (most of the time). Harry said if you are going to do runs you have to sing them right. Just sing the tune but if you are going to sing the runs practice. It was okay but it wasn’t his best. Keith said the challenge was the transition in the chorus. Those falsetto notes are unforgiving. It really affected the performance for him which was a shame because he liked how it started and he liked the potential of it. Jennifer said it was what they were asking for—to sit there and sing and give us that moment—it just needs to be practiced so much.

Kelly returned to perform her audition song from season 1 “At Last.”

The next person saved is Clark Beckham. THANK GOD! I got nervous. I’ll be voting for Rayvon for the save and not Daniel. Clark chose “The Trouble With Love Is.” He shares the same problem that Nick has. He thinks closing his eyes conveys emotion. Goosebumps!!! Jennifer is up on her feet. She was singing along with him. That was the best vocal of the night indeed. Keith said his bar is way up here. He said to make sure he is leading with the feeling; if it does, everything else will follow. Jennifer said that is exactly what he did especially at the end. She was goosies from head to toe. He has movie-star good looks. Harry said he took a Kelly Clarkson song and directly followed a Kelly Clarkson song and he NAILED IT.

The fan save works like this: Both will sing and we will decide which one goes through on Twitter. First up is Daniel Seavey. He chose “Breakaway.” It sounds horrible. Maybe laryngitis is playing into it and maybe not. He looks like he is about to break down into tears, too. Jennifer said he did an okay job with it. Harry said just keep practicing. Keith said just do just that. It almost sounds like they are saying goodbye to him already. Rayvon Owen decided on “Since U Been Gone” but to sing it like a ballad. This is lovely. Rayvon deserves this. Why do I think I’ve heard him sing this song before? Harry said he has incredible chops but where is his gravy? Harry is booed. Keith said that was one of the best performances from him. Jennifer said he did a very beautiful job. Keep digging and keep pushing.

The fan save goes to: RAYVON!!!





American Idol Season 14 Top 9 Perform

1 04 2015

With Qaasim Middleton being saved last week, this week will include a double elimination. This week is 80’s week. Boy George will mentor. David Hasselhoff brings Ryan the results envelope this week. “The Hoff!” Oh no! He is going to sing. He murders “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen. There is no enunciation whatsoever and I would almost go so far as to say he was slurring the words. I know he sings and is a big phenomenon in Germany. I had to go refresh my memory and listened to some of the music. He sounds totally different on the records. So I looked up live performances and he did pretty decent on those, too. Hmmm. I’m stumped. This turned out to be a medley and I was glad when it was done.

Boy George told that Idol contestants that vulnerability is what is going to make it work because it allows you to sing from the heart. Maddie asks him what was the best advice he had ever been given and he said for them to enjoy the journey and don’t get involved in drama—leave that to him. The group medley just did not work. That harmonica player was a cutie!

The first contestant saved is—-ARGH—–Daniel Seavey. Listen people–the kid is adorable. He is probably a wonderful human being. He is immensely talented but HE IS NOT READY TO BE A WINNER OF IDOL. Scott tells Boy George the judges have been pretty critical of Daniel. Boy George tells him not to let it get into his performance. Scott tells him to breathe more. Boy George says he is more up here (and points to his upper chest). He tells Daniel to relax and trust that he can do it. Jennifer, in her speech before the singing, said he does have the musical chops, but he has to show that is ready to run with the big leagues. Daniel sings “You Make My Dreams” by Hall and Oates. Daniel is more loose on stage, but there is something weird about his voice. He messed up the lyrics a few times. It sounded almost flat. He bent down on the stage to sing directly into the eyes of a young lady and that will get him votes. His falsetto failed him early in the song. He finished off the song in a better place. Keith said that he looks good on camera but at 15 or 16 the experience just isn’t there yet, but towards the end of the song he started coming into the song. He’s still glad he is here but he has to get more comfortable quicker. Jennifer said obviously the audience and people at home love him because they are voting for him. She loved this song for him. It sat in the right place for his voice. She felt that he sang better than he did last week. Harry asks Daniel what he likes to do and Daniel replies “make people happy.” There were big “aww’s” in the audience which Harry thinks will translate into votes. The vocal was pretty good; better than last week. He said the little moves are choreographed and planned—just throw them away and have fun.

The next name called is Quentin Alexander! I am pleased by this. He said he was shocked. I loved Quentin’s face at the 5-1/4 floppy diskette. Did you know Quentin they use those in our nuclear silos still? Doesn’t THAT make you feel all safe? Boy George loved his style sense. Boy George tells him breathing is the key to everything. Pitch is about breath. Quentin sings “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins. I got goosebumps between the slow and faster parts of the song. That was awesome. He is SUCH a performer. Daniel should take some cues from him. Jennifer said his cool factor was on, like, a thousand. It was crazy. The mood, the drama. It really, really worked. It’s a home run. Harry says he digs into those lyrics every week as far as he can. The only criticism Harry offers is that 5 out of the last 6 songs were slow songs (hey Harry, Katharine McPhee sang a ballad just about every week and that got her to the top 2). He did enjoy it tonight though. Keith thought it was a killer song choice for him. Keith was thinking well what else could he did, and he just thought him owning it more and more because he has so much artistry. Just lay back the phrasing and have more authority with it.

Joining the top 9 is Joey Cook!!!! I’m super pleased by this, too. All quirky girls in the world love this woman including me. She says her look is “Madonna in Space.” Scott said that Joey was more excited than any of the other contestants to meet Boy George. Boy George wanted her to go a little bit more soft in places and if anything just contradicts everything there is about her. Joey picks “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper. I want to commend her for dancing around on stage because she is usually a street performer who stays pretty stationary. I normally love what Joey does but I don’t think this was the best song choice for her. I could see Harry was thinking the same thing. Harry said it seemed like she was distracted tonight—her eyes were closed, she was looking down a lot tonight—like she was trying to make that fun, iconic song but something was holding her back in her head. Something was separating the viewer from her performance. He thought it was good but not the Joey we’ve come to know. Keith said when you’ve set the bar quite high, any moment of inconsistency was just a moment of inconsistency. What it did make him do is think about his wife and girls at home dancing around that entire performance. Jennifer said she looked adorable and that her daughter is going to want that whole outfit. In theory it was a good song for her, almost perfect, but vocally it didn’t match. For some reason she could not find the groove in it. (I think I have a possible explanation. Cyndi Lauper has such a unique voice in the quirky sense of the word. When you hear Cyndi you instantly know it is her voice. When you hear Joey, you know its Joey’s voice. But maybe two quirky people trying to do the song cancel the second quirky out). Jennifer said always find what fits here (and she points to her voice) first. It fit the image but not the voice with the song so much. Boy George came out to give her a hug and to let her know she did great. That was sweet. I think he is smitten with her as a performer. I bet he doesn’t come out for the rest of them.

The next person is Tyanna Jones! Boy George said if she can take the piano performance and transfer it to the band it will be amazing. He thinks that with her she might, in the moment, show off. Tyanna takes on Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).” She hit the note. I just loved this performance. Tyanna is BACK (although she wasn’t gone for very long). Keith said it was great. If anyone can take on a Whitney Houston song it is her. He said there were moments were she looked worried and felt that, but she sings so good she shouldn’t worry about that at all. Jennifer said she can’t get into her head like last week. She said it wasn’t bad last week; it was fine. Things happen like that and no one is perfect all the time. Harry thought it was a really cool arrangement and made it sound like it could be on the radio today. Harry said he, as an audience member, likes performers who are in the driver’s seat. She knows how good she is but she needs to fight for it every time.

At this point I’m trying to figure out who might be in the bottom 2. I think Maddie might be there. I really thought Daniel would be. The only other person I could see might be is Adanna because she sang first last week. I enjoyed her performance last week and based on that performance she should go through, but people have short memories and forget how people sang by the end of the show. This year they aren’t showing a recap to remind us who sounded like what and it actually gave us a comparison of how they sounded among the others in a short amount of time. But Rayvon could be in trouble, too.

Jax is the next person through to next week. Boy George thinks Jax has the bones of a great performer but she has the tendency to go off the rails a little bit. She sings “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi. It was wonderful. It was a little minx-like. And everyone loves when things are thrown around on stage. She took the song and made it a Jax song. Jennifer loved the 80’s punk attitude. This was the Jax they fell in love with during the auditions. She got a little lost in the middle (which Boy George was giving her advice about) but the end was the attitude it needed and she ended it very, very strong. She was loving it. Harry said her originality is what brought her to Idol, and her intrigue is what kept her here. He thought it she had played the whole song on the piano that would have been better because she was playing with a lot of sound. He liked the beginning and the end. Keith said if she is struggling during rehearsal in the song change it because if she doesn’t it will come through. What he did like is she has so much originality. He felt like it wasn’t put together right, but he loved what he did see in there and thinks she is going to go a long way.

Nick Fradiani is also through to next week. Nick! A Skip-It was even popular when I was a young girl in the 1970’s. Scott mentions to him that they are working on connecting and here they are in front of him and they are not connecting at all. I noticed when he was singing in front of them he had trouble making eye contact (now, okay, I would have a hard time singing at ALL in front of them) but maybe he needs to pick a point in the audience and sing to it and put a face to it (maybe like the person he loves). Jennifer said the same thing in her speech before he sings—sing it to someone special. Nick chose “Man In The Mirror” by Michael Jackson to sing (it is one of my favorite songs). Bad habits are really hard to break and he’s been making that mistake I am sure for a very long time—closes his eyes when he sings—I think I remember the judges pointing that out to David Cook. It is a hard habit to break indeed. He almost looks uncomfortable when he tries to keep his eyes open. I got some goosebumps going on there. I think this was his best performance up to now. Harry thought it was the perfect song choice. He thought it was a fantastic vocal. He said that he thinks he figured Nick out. Everyone is going on and on about how handsome he is and that song is about humility and Nick is a humble kind of guy. Keith said he has a million dollar smile, too, and if he would just smile through the whole song basically (but I think Keith is wrong about that because if he did smile through the whole song, people would say it was a serious song and he should not have been smiling through it). Keith thinks, however, the smile would help him loosen up and not be so stressed out. He thinks that sometimes it looks like he is meeting his girlfriend’s dad for the first time. That made Nick laugh. Jennifer said she got caught up in it at the end because he was singing it to us. When he thinks about anything else except the song, it becomes something else. The minute he got caught up in the lyrics of the song, really started feeling the music, started to feel the swell of the arrangement, it became exactly what it was supposed to be and that is where he needs to be every single time (no pressure!).

They took a pause in the results to hear from “Push It” from Salt-n-Pepa. Harry was a riot trying to bump up against Jennifer. I think Pepa was wearing a wig. She was acting like she was worried it was going to come off during the performance. That was a great performance. They sounded great live.

There was no doubt Clark Beckham was going to make it through. Boy George thinks he has a beautiful voice. He felt like the beginning was good but when he gets to the end something doesn’t quite work for him. Clark decides to sing “Every Breath You Take” by The Police in the key of G instead of F. I got some minor goosebumps. That was a great performance. I think he definitely hit the right note. Keith thought it was beautiful. It showed a much more “heart” side of him that he hadn’t really felt. Clark took him on a journey chordally, melodically, and emotionally. Instead of making it sound like a stalker song, he brought the melancholy and pain to it he had never heard before. Jennifer loved it and got the goosies. Everything he did with it was absolutely beautiful. Harry said the bad news is that his competitors are really big performers running all over the stage; the good news is that he does not have to do any of it—just stand there and sing and he is going to be alright. Jennifer yells out “mesmerizing” at the end.

Four people are in the red chairs: Maddie, Adanna, Rayvon, and Qaasim.

Qaasim makes it through to the next round. Boy George loved his voice and he thought he was a real storyteller. Qaasim chose “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer. It was decent. I liked the Qaasim stamp towards the end the most. Jennifer loved it. Harry thought his weakness was his unwillingness to give up his performing part (ever), but here was his chance to stand there and be sexy (like Robert Palmer). Keith liked it. Keith thinks Qaasim doesn’t believe in his voice enough so he compensates with everything else. Next week he would like to hear something even more vulnerable because he has a big fragile heart in there.

The last person to sing tonight is Rayvon Owen which means Adanna and Maddie go home. He is singing “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears (I was just listening to that song yesterday). Scott felt like it was “too pretty.” Boy George said it was like he didn’t want to mess up but that is where the excitement is going to come (to take a risk). I like Rayvon but I am not sure I like what he did with the song with the runs and the vibrato. Harry said that he delivers a very strong vocal every time. What has been lacking has been a strong interpretation which are two separate things. He thinks this was one of his interpretive performances. He was connecting with the lyrics. Harry could do without the default falsetto every time. He would like to hear him NOT do that one time. He thought it was a pretty solid performance. Keith said it was a beautiful song that showed all the strengths in all the right places. Jennifer said not to be afraid of going outside his comfort zone. It is a good thing. The only way we grow is when we push ourselves.

April 1 starts the Fan Save!





American Idol Season 14 Top 11 Perform

25 03 2015

Ugh. A group number. But… it wasn’t too shabby! It’s “Movie Night” on Idol. Scott Borchetta brought in Nile Rodgers to be their mentor. Jeff Gordon delivered the names of the contestants going through. He invited them out to a race on Sunday to watch, sing the national anthem and start the race. The lighted seats remain this week.

Adanna Duru makes it through to the top 11. She sang “Love You I Do from Dreamgirls” by Jennifer Hudson. I don’t really have a comparison because I have never heard the original song. So I can’t really comment other than it was enjoyable. Keith said it was hard to hear her at the beginning. He thought she sounded great and looked amazing. Jennifer said she sounded really good on the high parts. Jennifer was missing the emotion behind the lyrics “you’re the perfect man for me, I love you I do.” Harry said she looked like a movie star. Harry thought everything was good and strong. He felt that she needed to look less down the barrel of the camera and connect more with the audience and in doing so, the emotion will come through to even those at home.

The next person going through is Daniel Seavey (good God—he’s adorable, but he is still too green). He sings “Lost Stars” from “Begin Again” by Adam Levine. The emotion didn’t come through. It was not good. It was sharp and flat all over the place. Right now I’m blaming the judges for putting this kid through. Jennifer said he did an okay job; it wasn’t his best. She actually felt a lot of emotion (really?). She doesn’t know if it was his best performance. Harry said it sounded like rehearsal is imperative but not at the expense of spontaneity. He said it sounded like he was in a practice room. It wasn’t strong tonight. Keith said the song suited him. He said it was a good performance, but now he needs to dig in a little more and not be distracted by the clapping from the audience.

Rayvon Owen!!! I am happy about this. He chose “Stayin’ Alive” from “Saturday Night Fever” by The Bee Gees. It started off a little rough. He put a little bluesy twist to the song and made it different. Harry admired the arrangement. It was a cool way to reinterpret the song. Harry asks him to consider how he can remain interesting in this competition because he has that sort of “Mr. Nice Guy” thing. Harry suggests he get a set of lyrics he can really chew on. He thinks there is too much falsetto and not enough substance (I’m kind of upset because Harry is being more critical of him than he was with Daniel). Harry gets booed. Keith said they are at a point in the competition where people say “Oh my goodness what’s happening up there.” Keith suggested from a performance standpoint he wouldn’t loiter around there (and he points to where the backup singers and band members are) unless he was in command of the stage. He said it was as if he was looking for somewhere to go. But when he came up to the front, he found it was better. Jennifer said when he was in the back she didn’t know how to feel. Jennifer said it is about how you capture the audience every time.

The fourth person who made it through is Nick Fradiani. He sings “Danger Zone” from “Top Gun” by Kenny Loggins. It was respectable. He looked uncomfortable without his guitar. Keith loves the fact that he played air guitar in front of Niles Rodgers. Keith said it was better than it was last week. Jennifer agreed. Jennifer said he’s their hot guy (which gets screams from the audience). The tone was perfect for him. She still sees him in his head. He needs to own his hotness. He just needs to sing and stop worrying about everything. Harry said that song didn’t give him anything to work with. Harry thinks the song is filled with silly words. Harry says he needs to pick a song that he can be sexy on.

AND A STUPID STORM BLOCKED MY SATELLITE SIGNAL AND I DIDN’T GET TO SEE JOEY COOK’S PERFORMANCE. UGH. Jennifer said it was really beautiful. Harry said she is finding ways to widen her lane. He felt it was a great choice. Keith said she is such an artist. He sees more depth of that artistry. She brings attention to the lyric of the song. I’ll have to go hunt down this performance on line somewhere.

Tyanna Jones is the next name called. I am already getting goosebumps because she is singing “The Circle of Life” from “The Lion King” by Elton John. It was a little pitchy especially at the beginning in her lower range, but she got into the melody and found the groove but it was went in and out of being in tune. Harry said she might have overshot the mark tonight just a bit. If she had taken a step back slightly (and the crowd boos) and relaxed into it. It had intonation issues and it sounded like she was yelling all the way through. Keith didn’t necessarily feel like it was yelled all the way through. Her tone and bravado are beautiful. Keith feels like she is the best singer they’ve got from his point of view. Keith did feel she had serious pitch issues tonight though. Jennifer said it is a very challenging song. She has no worries that she will do an amazing job next week.

After a wonderful performance by Jennifer Lopez of the theme song for the new movie, “Home” called “Feel The Light”, the next person through is Quentin Alexander!!! He chooses “You’re The One That I Want” from “Grease” by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta. Minor goosebumps. He had a little bit of a pitch issue, but so far this was the performance of the night for me (of course I didn’t see Joey Cook’s performance). Keith said he had heard that version before. He said it was an interesting performance. He has an amazing voice but he is still figuring it out. Jennifer thought it was haunting and beautiful. She felt it was very Quentin. Harry thought it was a very adventurous interpretation. He said it was horribly out of tune and he has to think about that.

Maddie Walker is through. She sings “Let’s Hear It For the Boy” from “Footloose” by Deniece Williams. This isn’t off to a great start either. The chorus is a little bit better, but the verses are rough. The ending is flat. I guess I’m a little disappointed overall with most of the performances. I remember back to the time when Candice Glover used to have phenomenal performances every single week and I am missing that this season for everyone week after week. Jennifer is glad she sang that song because it was her mother’s favorite. It was cute and good. It wasn’t a knock-out performance. Harry did not think it was good. Harry said she does not know who she is. On country songs she has an amazing country twang. On songs like “I’ll Be There” she has no twang, so he does not know who she is. It felt very pageant-ty to him. For a song like this she should be jumping up to the rafters. Is she a country singer? Is she a pop singer? Are you a pageant? (To be honest Harry, this sounded better even if she doesn’t know who she is than Daniel’s song). Keith thinks it is just song choice. She needs to find a song that plays to her strengths.

What would have been spectacular is to bring out Kevin Bacon to dance to Kenny Loggins singing “Footloose.” I like how he tosses it to the audience to say the lyrics and you hear nothing…crickets. That is because they are all too young (or the ones that did know the lyric weren’t numerous enough).

Clark Beckham makes it through. It’s my guess now that Qaasim is not going through. Clark chose Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning” from “Cheaper By The Dozen 2” to sing this week. My goosebump moment. I LOVED IT. This is now my new favorite of the evening. Harry felt his arrangement of the song knocked it out of the park. Keith said he is such a good singer. He just wants him to put a little bit of smile into it. Jennifer said that is when all the girls fall in love. She thought it was beautiful and it was so him. He did a whole different thing with it that she loved.

The last spot goes to—yep—Jax. She sings “Grow Old With You” from “The Wedding Singer” performed by Adam Sandler. It was a little rough at the beginning but I think she was still working out the emotion of making it through. It was Jax and it was cute. It was much better than last week but stand out? I’m not sure. Keith thought it was beautiful. Jennifer thought it played to all the quirkiness in her voice. It was a good choice and she did great on it. Harry said she is a high risk/high reward type of singers and he thinks it paid off tonight. He suggested that if the guitar stops and she continues singing to make sure it is in time with the beats.

Qaasim Middleton performs for the save. I do love Qaasim but last week he revealed that his natural singing voice needs a lot of work, even more so than Daniel (yep I just said that). It’s still too early for a save and I think the judges know that his singing voice is too weak. He is a wonderful entertainer, but vocalist? He sings “Come Together” from “Across the Universe” by The Beatles. The vocal this week is stronger than last week. Maybe last week he just chose the wrong song. Jennifer’s head is down so I’m guessing that she said yes and Harry said no (because he always says no) and who knows what Keith said because it has to be unanimous. Harry said it was the best performance of the night. And WOW! They give him the save!

(I saw Joey’s performance on-line and it was my favorite of the night).





American Idol Top 12 Perform; One Goes Home

13 03 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nThe chairs the contestants are sitting in are light Christmas trees now, green and red. If the chair is green, they are allowed to sing for your votes. This year, there are no result shows. Rayvon Owen’s name is called first—but wait!! His chair is still red. I’m going to have some fun with this. I think they should ditch that chair light thing next week. His song is “Burn” by Ellie Goulding. Was he out of breath before the song even started? He had a difficult time keeping breath control and dancing around on stage. When he needed his breath for his falsetto, it almost failed him. Keith said it was a killer song choice. Keith felt that was his best performance. Jennifer agreed. The song turned out even better than she thought. She said Rayvon caught the energy of the room. Harry thinks it was one of his stronger performances, too, but Harry wants to challenge him not to have the same arc on every performance. Harry says he shouldn’t make the climax at the end all the time because that is his arc. Instead start out strong. After Rayvon finished singing and getting feedback, he got to return to his green chair. Okay, now I see what the function is of it—in case someone is tuning in late, they can see if their favorites have made it with just a quick glance.

Maddie Walker is now part of the top 11. Because Scott Borchetta is helping her work on the performance portion of her song, I will watch it. Maddie (and probably Scott) picked “She’s Country” by Jason Aldean. It was a little flat, but her performance did improve. She looked more confident and was channeling some sexy. Since she is the only country singer in the group, she’ll get all the country votes and that will keep her in the competition. Even though she was flat, that was the second best song I have heard her sing, the first being her audition song. Jennifer said it was a great job and a really, really good performance from her. She is surprised at times at her strong vocals (just in a reminder kind of way). Harry thinks she needs to learn the difference between emulating and imitating. Emulating is to surpass your heroes; it sounds, however, like she is imitating them exactly. For example, this song she sang is exactly like the record. He wants to hear her interpretation of the song versus a direct copy of the song. Keith lightens things up by saying Maddie needs to stop going through Harry’s wardrobe. He commended her for taking chances and trying to come up out of her shell. But he thinks she is getting overwhelmed with what she is wearing, and how she is going to move and how she has to work to the camera, and her voice is going to come out more and more as they go through. Ryan brings up that she was not feeling well and she just said she was in pain today (didn’t say where) and Ryan shoos her off to get medical attention. I hope whatever it is will clear up soon for her. I am not sure why they bring these things up though. She handled it like a pro by performing and the audience didn’t even know anything was wrong until Ryan said something. Does that take away from her performance (finishing on a high note) or does that help to gather sympathy (and sometimes that backfires, too)?

Joey Cook makes it through. She is so funny. She wants to kiss everyone in the group before she gets to the stage. She is singing “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX. It is totally unrecognizable except for the lyrics and I LOVE IT. I think this is what Harry was trying to explain to Maddie. THAT WAS AWESOME. There are chants of Joey that brings tears to her eyes. Harry said he has to give her an A-plus (say what???) on a couple of fronts. The arrangement was brilliant. She sang it brilliantly. He thinks she is starting to feel that people think she is a star now on stage. Keith said she has this energy and presence about her that is “so artist.” Keith felt like a moth to her flame. She pulls people in. It’s extraordinary—the way she looks, the way she moves, the way she feels confident about that. She took the song, too, not because it was popular, but because she made it her own. Every week they see more facets to her that they have never seen before. Jennifer liked that she picked it because it is so popular. It was a really smart choice for her. To take a mainstream song and to put her own stamp on it. She would have liked to have heard a little bit more of the melody in it because people know it and they wanted to sing along with her to that but she could see her doing a whole album like that one day.

There was a slight break in the night to hear the song “No Apologies” by Jussie Smollett & Yazz from the Empire Season 1 Soundtrack performed by the two brothers on Empire, Jamal and Hakeem.

Clark Beckham is the next one to be called into the top 11. He sits at the piano and performs “Takin’ It to the Streets” by The Doobie Brothers. It was great. Not his best, but great. Keith said for him not to get confused with what he can do as a singer and what you must do as a person who needs to express. He has a phenomenal voice but Keith wants to feel like there is something he is trying to get out versus just having this incredible voice (I understand that—he needs to make an emotional connection. I think that is what he did do on his audition song which made us feel goosebumps). He wants to be inspired and he does have that in him. Jennifer liked him on the piano. She thinks Scott is right that everything needs to catch up to his vocals, like feeling as Keith was saying, his performance quality, He has something natural already; it is just expanding on that and getting more comfortable with that. When that happens it will be out of the park. Harry said it wasn’t his favorite performance (of his or of the night?) but says what he likes about Clark: He likes that he does not perform. He is a very introspective, inward-pointing guy. Instead of us watching Clark’s wheels turn, Harry thinks Clark is making their wheels turn to try to get inside his head. It wasn’t his favorite, but keep doing what he is doing. That has to be very confusing to all the contestants getting two opposing pieces of feedback).

Jax is up next. She is singing one of the song of Scott’s discoveries, Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” This is the first time I have heard her struggle a little bit in a song. But I still love her. She sounds out of breath, too. Jennifer didn’t think this was the right song for her. She didn’t feel really “Jax” on that song. She thinks she got overtaken by the music—she didn’t get that special quality that she has in her voice—it got swallowed up somehow. Harry said that one of her talents is taking an old song and making it new or taking a new song and making it different. That song sounded like a carbon copy of Taylor’s song. He also agrees with Jennifer. Keith said it was a good song choice as far as it being popular, but she was struggling to keep Jax in there. There was one point where she actually sang the harmony to it which is an example of either taking the song up in key or choose another song.

Qaasim Middleton is through. The theme tonight is “party songs” so I’m sure he is going to do just fine. Performance is his strong point. Qaasim takes up the electric guitar to sing “Jet” by Paul McCartney and Wings. This is the first time we are hearing his real singing voice. It is okay. I still enjoy his performances. I am glad he took the risk to show us this now. He has difficulty in the lower range of the song. I don’t mean for this to sound mean, but I think if he had sang like that for his audition, he would not have made it through. Harry asks him what he thinks the song lyric meant and Qaasim thought it was about women’s struggles and their suffrage, but he had heard it was about a giraffe. He thinks he is starting to turn into a one-trick pony. Harry receives his first boo of the season. Keith loved it. Keith felt his guitar helped his singing. He felt like that is the best he has heard him sing. Jennifer said that tonight was about party songs and for her Qaasim makes every song a party. Jennifer thought it was a great performance and she still doesn’t think they have heard him singing, but when he does it is going to be something really special.

Adanna Duru makes it through. At this point, I suspect Daniel is going home. She sings “Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars. That was outstanding (except the last few notes). I have a much improved opinion about her. Keith felt like she had a lot of Tina Turner going on. Jennifer said she did everything they asked her to and she could see Adanna was trying so hard. Jennifer said the vocal was much better—the whole thing. Harry wants to echo what Jennifer said. Intonation—there were a few little issues but it was so much better. Good song choice. He liked the choreography. For him it was one of her better performances (I agree).

Tyanna Jones is in the top 11 (oh yay!) Week after week I keep saying she needs to do a Janelle Monae song and tonight we are getting one!!! “Tightrope.’ Tyanna happens to be a big fan of Janelle. It is a little flat at the beginning. Keith and Jennifer are standing! (I TOLD YOU IT WAS THE SONG SHE NEEDED TO DO!) And the crowd goes wild. Jennifer said she got goosies. Jennifer thinks Tyanna is so in control of everything. Harry said if he were a judge in the Olympics, he wouldn’t have clapped, he wouldn’t have stood up; he would have just given her a 10. THAT is high praise from Harry. Keith said in the opening piece she said, “I want to be able to do this forever.” She didn’t say, “I want to be a star.” She didn’t say “I want to be famous.” She said, “I want to do this forever.” Also something that touches him is that some people sing and they have this attitude of “look what I can do.” Some people sing and moan “Look what I have to do.” She sings and says, “Look what I get to do.” And that is beautiful.

Only three spots are left. One of those spots goes to Daniel Seavey. Oh boy. Now I’m worried for Quentin Alexander. If I had to pick Qaasim or Quentin, I would choose Quentin because he has a better singing voice but I am afraid his artistry doesn’t translate well for this kind of show. Daniel does not deserve that spot. His performance was the worst last week. He is singing “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. If I didn’t know the lyrics, I would not have been able to understand the lyrics from Daniel (at least at the beginning of the song). It is flat. Damn those teeny boppers. It was out of tune the entire song and his voice was cracking. He looks like he should be on American Idol Junior. Harry said he is immensely talented. This performance felt the most comfortable to him out of everything he has done so far. Is he going to be able to hang with some of more experienced? He doesn’t know. Keith said he thinks they’ll hear from him again next week because he has such likability, he has great musicality. He is going to progress; he has already been doing it. Jennifer says that is the question: Is the competition too stiff? But it is impossible not to root for him.

Quentin Alexander MADE IT!!!!! I am so happy. I wonder if this means Nick is going home because Sarina-Joi is not. “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele – Adele is tough to sing, but I think he is up for it. Bad song choice. I love Quentin and I love his voice but this song was not my favorite of all he has done. Keith loved the way he started it. He loved the different arrangement of the song. There was a spiritual thing he does with songs and he did it again. Jennifer says he brings a different flavor. It is always cool, soulful and solid. Harry says one of his greatest gifts is to dig down extremely into a lyric. He felt, though, it was a relatively shallow interpretation. He felt like he coasted over the song and they didn’t get to see what Quentin does every week. Harry said the song to him was about saying screw you to a lover and he didn’t think his smiling through the song was a good interpretation.

Nick or Sarina-Joi? Who will it be? Nick is safe. Sarina-Joi should have gotten Daniel’s spot. I’m sorry. She is too talented to be going home and they never use the save this early. Nick is singing “Wake Me Up” (Acoustic) by Aloe Blacc. Tonight I hear more Rob Thomas in his vocal. Jennifer thought it was a great song choice for him. It got a little away from him but he got it back in the end. Harry thought it was solid. He wants him to stop being so shy. Keith said that if he is used to playing with a band regularly it is a strange thing for a performer to stand out there a million miles from the band. It’s a strange feeling.

Sarina-Joi is singing for the judges’ save. I feel awful for her. After trying out all those previous times and now leaving way too soon. She is singing “Neon Lights” by Demi Lovato. She was a bit flat again, but how can you criticize that when I would be falling apart in tears right now and would not even be able to perform for a save?  They are not using the save this week and Jennifer says she knows that breaks her heart. Sarina-Joi needs to remember that Jennifer Hudson did not win either and look how far she went.





American Idol Season 14 Top 12 Revealed

12 03 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nFive top girls and five top guys will be revealed from our votes. The final two spots are judges’ choice. I wonder if the judges can bring back contestants like Savion Wright? The theme tonight is to sing the song with which the contestants auditioned.

Sarina-Joi Crowe is the first name revealed. She sings “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic. She is flat. I love her but this was not a good performance. She was warned about that her pitch last week. Keith tells her to be careful with her pitch but it was a great way to start. Jennifer is excited for her. She mentions the pitch as well. Harry is happy she is here and says she is very talented. I guess he did not feel the need to mention the pitch again.

The next person making it into the top 12 is Rayvon Owen. His song at the audition was “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry. Goosebumps. It was perfect! He is so awesome. Jennifer said he felt that moment and tells him that they had a close-up on him. Harry said he sounded terrific. Keith said he got exponentially better at the end.

Scott Borchetta announces Daniel Seavey as the next finalist. His audition song was “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul. His performance was rough. I imagine his nerves were on overdrive. He was awkward. He didn’t know where to place his hands. I think he thought (or maybe they were told) to just stand in one place, but he felt out of place doing that. He forgot a few of the lyrics. He loosened up a bit when he got the audience to clap. By the end of the song he seemed to find a groove, but his intonation was still a little off. Harry said he was going to be honest with him. Daniel is young and inexperienced. His performances haven’t been strong of late and as cute as he is, his inexperience is showing. Keith said he thinks if Daniel finds an emotional song, he’ll just kill it. Jennifer agrees. She says whatever he picks, let’s make sure he is strong the whole way through.

Maddie Walker is now in the top 12. They do need to have a country presence. Her song was “Suitcase” by Gwen Sebastian. This is the best I have heard her since her audition. Oh wait! That’s because it is her audition song and she probably practiced it a few hundred times before the audition. I do love her hair tips. Keith said it was great from a stylistic standpoint. Jennifer saw her getting into own head about the singing of it. If she loves a song, just sing it and it will come out exactly as you want. Harry agrees the song was kind of in her head but he thought it was a solid performance.

Ryan lets someone in the audience read the next name: Tyanna Jones!! Oh yay!! She sings “Wings” by Little Mix. She walks around the stage and I enjoy seeing that. She belongs on that stage and I had goosebumps by the end. Jennifer what strikes her besides her phenomenal vocals which are undeniable but her composure on stage at 16 years of age? Harry applauded her comfort on stage. Keith said if you move like a star, sing like a star, and dress like a star, you ARE a star.

Nick Fradiani makes it through to the top 12. He sings one of my favorite songs of all time, “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel. When he is playing his acoustic guitar he reminds me of Chris Daughtry with a little Rob Thomas thrown in. Harry said he brings a lot of experience to it and they (the audience) screamed at the end which they should have. Keith said he has a great look and voice but he thinks Nick needs to believe in himself as much as America. Jennifer said she wants him to pick a song where every part of the song is undeniable. I don’t think that is really fair to the contestants because they don’t get to choose the song this week.

That leaves 2 spots for both the girls and guys left before the judges’ picks.

Jax advances (thank GOD). She sings “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles. She starts off slow and then speeds it up which is a bit different from her audition song. She reaches down to hold someone’s hand in the audience. Keith said it was very clear to see why America voted for her. He would have been fine with the whole song at the piano. Jennifer said she is just as compelling now as the first time she sang the song. Harry thinks she didn’t need a band at all. I think Jax was trying to switch it up because last week she heard that maybe she needed to branch out from her trademark style.

Qaasim Middleton is in the top 12. He is singing, “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder. He starts off slow and moves into his Qaasim style. He is a great performer. Jennifer loves his energy. She jokes, “He’s going to own all of this stage. We get it.” Harry wonders if they are going to hear an entire performance that is not just an explosion of energy. Keith said he made the best of the moment. Qaasim showed everything he could do. Keith felt that he killed it.

Clark Beckham also is in the top 12. His song was “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” by James Brown. That boy’s got soul. Jennifer is grooving to the performance. That is how Clark needs to sing EVERY WEEK. He reminded me how much I loved him. Harry said if he can take the ultimate most chauvinistic song in the world and make him forget about the message and enjoy the performance, that’s quite an accomplishment. Nice job. Keith reminds Harry that it says “it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman” in there. Keith tells Clark it was an amazing job—it was killer. Jennifer said it was so, so great and for her that was the vocal of the night—amazing.

The next person who goes straight through to the top 12 is Joey Cook! Woo-hoo! She sings “King of Spain” by The Tallest Man On Earth. I enjoyed that performed without the accordion. She is talented. She doesn’t need that as a crutch. Keith said she looked shocked to be up there and she agreed she did. Jennifer said she wondered what her performances would be like on the big stage and she thought she filled it up great. It was one of her best performances. Harry said as much as he likes her style, and she is really stylized, after what he saw today she might be finding a spot up there.

The judges save Quentin Alexander first. He sings “Royals” by Lorde. That was a smart choice. When he sings the word “royals” I got goosebumps. And then I got all misty-eyed when he started crying. Qaasim comes out and gives him a hug. Jennifer says to him, “You know that you deserve to be here.” (He does!) His emotion is part of what makes him a great artist. She cannot wait to see all the performances and all the colors they will get from him this season. Harry said his favorite part of Quentin is how deeply in touch Quentin is with his own artistry and emotion. Were there pitch problems? Did it matter so much? No. Keith said he brought a real spiritualism to that song. Keith is so glad he is here.

Keith announces the next person: Adanna Duru. Too bad they couldn’t have saved another guy. I would have picked Mark if American Idol didn’t feel constrained to splice in down evenly in gender. She sings “You and I” by Lady Gaga. There are those Bollywood hand movements again. I think I’ll just close my eyes and listen to her instead. I like her voice when she isn’t screaming for notes and notes at a time. Harry said she has to find a way to take that energy and channel it through a very specific musical place because it was really, really out of tune. If she can do that, then she’ll be fine. Jennifer said it was amazing, but the only thing she is going to have to work on is really having control of her performance. Keith said when she gets like that and she gets her fellow competitors up out of their chairs, she’s got something going on.