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 8 Guys Perform

5 03 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nThe results are in for the guys and four of them are going home. But first Aretha Franklin sings “I Will Survive.” I amazed how much weight she has lost. Not only is Ryan NOT in a suit, but he lets Aretha say, “This is American Idol.” I think that is a first for the show, isn’t it? Outside of that first season when there were two hosts?

The theme tonight is Motown. The first person going through is Daniel Seavey. He sings “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) by Marvin Gaye. He is adorable, but the stage just swallows him up. It was an okay performance. Nothing about it blew me away. Keith said it was a good song for him to do. Jennifer felt he was more relaxed and having fun. She felt the song was a little bit low for him. She thinks he is going to be a favorite. Harry said they all know he is adorable, extremely talented and a gifted musician. He gave him good pointers on how he needs to feel what the band is doing with the beat. Let the band dictate what his body does. I really like the advice they give.

The next person making it through to the top 8 is Mark Andrew. He performs “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by The Temptations. I liked that he changed up the beat on the verses and stayed true to the song. He was a great performance. No goosebumps, but a great performance. Jennifer loves his voice but she didn’t think that song in that way was moving her. Harry thinks his strong point is his voice. He liked the arrangement but it felt like a jam-band arrangement. He thought it was fine. Keith agrees with Jennifer about the arrangement but he loves the fact that America voted for him because they hear something in his voice and see something in him.

Rayvon Owen advances to the top 8. He sings the classic “My Girl” by The Temptations. I enjoy his voice. I think the vocals keep improving as they call new names. I thought this was the best so far tonight. I got close to goosebumps. I did have some eye closing and shaking my head thinking “oh that’s sweet!” Harry thought it was great. He also has such a nice presence. (I agree—he always seems to light up the stage). Harry wants to see the other side, too (the opposite of nice and sweet). Keith said he knew what Harry was saying—just a little more weight in the performance. He can hear a happy guy and it comes across great but he is interested to see what he is going to do next. Jennifer felt like when he went into the falsettos and hit those high notes he really made the song his own.

I am now worried. They are almost halfway through the names and Savion Wright’s name hasn’t been called yet. I think next year they should just let America decide all the names. Don’t make it an even split in gender. The guys are better this year and they should have more of the spots and more of the ladies go home.

With now half the names being called, Adam Ezegelian is called next to be part of the top 8. He sings “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5. This was a bad arrangement. He did make the song his own, but it had issues (for me). Keith thought it was the perfect song for him. Jennifer thought he did a good job on the song. Harry said he nailed every note, so good job.

Scott Borchetta will be a mentor this year. He launched the careers of people like Taylor Swift. Scott thinks Clark Beckham is the best singer the boys have this year. And a nice segue in because Clark has made it into the top 8. He sings “The Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. This is now my new favorite of the night. That gave my goosebumps. Jennifer agrees with Scott that he has one of the best voices in Idol this year. Now he has to let loose and feel it. She thinks he could go all the way. Harry thinks he is really talented. One thing that was lacking was a beginning, middle and end. He had strategic things but it just stopped in the middle. Keith said he would have just sung that song without the band and broken everybody’s hearts. He’s got the skills to do that, just don’t be afraid.

Nick Fradiani is next. This only leaves two more spots. He chooses “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” by Stevie Wonder. Nick starts without the band and I’m not sure I’m going to like it, but then they join in and I’m relieved. It was a decent performance. I like his voice. But at this point I’m so depressed that there are only two spots and there are four guys I like still sitting in the audience which sucks (Savion, Qaasim, Quentin, and Trevor). Harry thought it was strong and a great arrangement. Harry encourages him to smile more on these kinds of songs. Keith felt like it might have been better not to have the guitar on that particular song because he wanted to see him move more. Jennifer felt it was a good job.

Qaasim Middleton makes it through. He sings “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder. He has great dance moves. I think he should have danced a bit less and sang a little bit more on point. The problem with his crazy arrangements is that you can’t tell if his singing is off key or not. Keith said it was so good and seeing him perform in front of an audience is what it is all about. Having an audience is where he lives and breathes. Jennifer said he is so damn funky it is crazy. He owns that stage. But she wants them to know how great he sings, too. Don’t forget about the vocals. Harry didn’t think he lost the vocal at all and thought it was extremely good. Every single run was right on the money. He said they get asked “What are you looking for?” THAT is what they are looking for.

Only one more name. This really sucks. I say let’s take two more of the girls’ spots for the guys. I’m in tears. Savion is not going through. Savion deserves it and I don’t know if he can come back again next year. But Quentin Alexander had the stand-out performance last week and he advances (and deserves it). I really want two of the girls’ spots. It’s not right. Stevie Wonder songs are popular tonight and Quentin chooses “Master Blaster (Jammin’).” I like that he interacts with the band. I believe he had the standout performance once again. Jennifer it was so smooth and so perfect. It proves why he was the last one to be picked. He is one of her favs. Harry liked how he settled into the groove of that. Keith said he knows who he is. He knows it was a bulls-eye.

American Idol– Change your format. It is ridiculous that you feel it is still necessary to have to be an even number of girls and guys going through to the top 12. Don’t we want our most talented people in that top 12? If you are allowing American to vote for the top 12 guys and top 12 girls, then let us make those decisions across the board. After all, when they win, they will have to compete with talent across the board, not just in their gender.