Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Top 25: Top 13 Men Perform

After several weeks of sometimes torturous auditions, countless eliminations, and a few great performances, we are finally at the Live Rounds. As we all know by now the Top 24 this year is a Top 25 because another male will be re-entering the competition. It comes down to Johnny Keyser, Jermaine Jones, David Leathers Jr and Richie Law. My pick is David, but I think that they are bringing back Johnny after he was cut earlier than the other guys for a reason, so I think he's the one to return. 

Although I believe the females are stronger than the males this year there are a few really great males, so it should be interesting to see who shines and who does not.

If you are new to this blog the format for live rounds is that we'll give our opinion, give the judges opinion and then give our grade of the performance. There are also a few new features that we have added, so check em out. So without any further delay, let's get to it:

Loose Ends:
Ryan announces a few things tonight so let's clear them up first.

*5 males and 5 females will be selected by the audience, and then the judges will pick 1 wild card each rounding out the Top 13 on Thursday.

*The male returning to the competition is Jermaine Jones. We'll discuss later when he performs what we think of his return.


Reed Grimm(Moves Like Jagger)
He makes the song more bluesy and tries to make it his own. There is a certain curse word in the song, and apparently Reed decided to sing that word, because he was censored. Great start. Reed decides to bring his drum work into the performance which is a good attempt, but it makes the performance a bit chaotic.If you like Reed and his antics then this is right up there with what we have seen thus far of him. 
Randy= Very musical guy, very nice choice.  
Jennifer=Great way to show America who they are dealing with. Jazzy and musical. Good start. 
Steven=Love the Jazz. Loved Him. 
Our Grade=B

Adam Brock(Think)
Since he has said he has a black woman trapped inside of him, it makes sense that he sings this Aretha Franklin song. He has a nice performance, nothing spectacular, he doesn't hit that high note in the middle of the song like I wish he did. His voice is different than the other males in the competition, so that gives him a big advantage. The end of his song was better than the other parts of the song.
Steven=Loving it, sets a great precedence for the rest of the night. Calls him "White Chocolate".
Jennifer=Loved his big finish and he definitely delivered. 
Randy=Love the throwback vibe, he's a 70s guy. Job Well Done.

Deandre Brackensick(Reasons) 
The guy with the Milli Vanilli Hair, and the voice reminiscent of Prince. It's an interesting combination. I do not like the song that he chose at all. He relies way too much on the falsetto, I wish it was more balanced and he went to his middle range of his voice because that part of his voice is great. When he had that balance in the group round a couple weeks ago it was better overall. Sometimes less is more, and I think that would've been better for him.
Steven=Knew this would happen to him, all the success is much deserved.
Jennifer=Loves every note, and is so happy that he came back to this competition.
Randy=One of the most commercial guys. His voice is ready now. Lovin you. 

Colton Dixon(Decode)
It's an interesting ride for Colton after not making the Top 24 last year and not even wanting to audition this year. But he's here and he deserves to be here. He said in his package he would get away from the piano, but then starts the performance behind the piano. He does get up eventually. He sings a relatively lesser known song from Paramore. I don't love the song choice, it's rock and all that which I like, but I thought the music drowned him out at times. A little too much for the first live performance. Maybe a tad bit self indulgent.
Randy=Glad he returned because we need an Indi/Alt Rocker. He provides a lot of flavor.
Jennifer=Loves that he sings from the heart and he's a relevant artist.
Steven=Showed his true talent and wants him to keep being relevant.

Jeremy Rosado(Gravity)
He seems like a nice/decent guy, and his voice is equally as nice. He has a very tender sounding voice. It's not chaotic or crazy, just very pleasant and smooth. This performance was really well done, simple and quite effective.
Steven=Couldn't have picked a better song. Loves his big heart and sang his butt off tonight.
Jennifer=Thinks he is blessed with a voice from God that connects with people. Just a beautiful voice.
Randy=America needs to know about Jeremy. Was impressed with the tender and booming parts of his voice.

Aaron Marcellus(Never Can Say Goodbye)
Despite not getting a whole ton of screen time through the previous rounds, I've always liked Aaron.  Tonight's performance didn't disappoint. He lights up the stage. He does a lot with every moment he was out there. All 3 judges give him a standing ovation.
Randy=That run at the end was craaazy. He's an old school veteran up there. Beautiful vocals.
Jennifer=Always believed in him and knows he can sing anything.
Steven=Is the total package and has set the bar high so now he has to beat that next time.

Chase Likens(Storm Warning) 
He also did not get a lot of face time during the past rounds, but he is the sole male country singer this year, therefore it distinguishes him from everyone else. I did not enjoy tonight's performance at all. Nothing spectacular, to say the least. His voice dropped at points and then came back up, making it very uneven. It was a very generic performance and it felt like it just kept going, in a bad way.
Steven=Movie star good looks and a nice voice. Welcomes him to American Idol.
Jennifer=Sounded great, and showed America who he was.
Randy=Good range and great looks like he and Steven. 

Creighton Fraker(True Colors) 
He's had several decent performances, but then some off ones as well. Tonight was about the same as his track record suggests. He had some not so great moments, and then sounded really good. I don't know what America will think of him. Definitely not his strongest, but not his worst. Relatively solid though. We'll see what happens.
Jennifer=Thought it was so beautiful and doesn't know how America will choose who should stay or go.
Steven=Thought it was stupendous and put the song over the top.
Randy=He can definitely sing and definitely has the voice.

Phillip Phillips(In The Air Tonight) 
Am I immature cause I laugh every time I hear his name? Probably, but we move on. Tonight he definitely changed up this Phil Collins classic. Not sure if I liked the complete change that he did to the song. He definitely yelled through a few parts, but was still pretty decent.
Jennifer=The judges were talking about him as a contender after auditions, and they are talking about him again.
Steven=Has a crazy kind of voice(in a good way). Made this version of the song beautiful.
Randy=Wasn't jumping up and down over the change of melody but loved his voice and his uniqueness and pulls for him.

Eben Franckewitz(Set Fire To The Rain) 
I'm not gonna lie, I haven't been Eben's biggest fan, and in fact pulled for David to make the Top 24 over Eben, but he's here and we must go with it. His voice is weak, and because he chose an Adele song to sing tonight it sounds even weaker. There's no flow to the song, there's no dynamic element to it all. Really terrible job, I'm not even being biased because I haven't liked him thus far, it just was really bad.
Randy=It wasn't all perfect but the end was really good and nailed it like a pro. Calls it very nice.
Jennifer=Didn't like the middle, but the end really was the best of the song.
Steven=Thinks he has a good voice, but was pitchy in some spots.

Heejun Han(Angel) 
Easily the best personality of the season. His quirky personality doesn't match his strong, professional sounding voice. I've definitely have liked his past performances better than tonight's, but when he hit that chorus he sounded much better. Heejun has had a lot of screen time and is memorable, so that might send him to the Top 13, despite him having a less than stellar night.
Jennifer=Thinks his voice is smooth, but doesn't think the song showed off all that he can do.
Steven=He sure can sing, but doesn't think it was the right song for him, but still loves his voice.
Randy=He is mad talented but didn't really do it tonight all the way.

Joshua Ledet(You Pulled Me Through) 
He wants to be called "Man-Tasia", ala Fantastia, American Idol Season 3 winner. He had a steallar performance tonight and if he keeps doing what he's doing then being referred to as the male Fantasia would not be a far stretch. I'm sad that we only learned of this guy a few weeks ago. But he's made the most of it, especially tonight. Standing ovation by all 3 judges. Deservedly so.
Randy=He went to church and back. He just killed it.
Jennifer=Wants to punch him, can do anything he wants with that voice. Privilege to hear that voice.
Steven=The voice the world's been waiting to hear. Cannot believe where Joshua went and came back again.

Jermaine Jones(Dance With My Father)
 Definitely was not expecting this guy. Would have thought David Leathers or Johnny Keyser were going to get picked. Jermaine always had a very deep, soulful voice, but compared to the other guys that are in this competition he is just mediocre. Don't think he was that great before to come back now . Standing ovation by all 3 judges, but not really deservedly so. The judges are pretty much just patting themselves on the tush for bringing him back. They can't really say that he just did alright or it would seem they wasted their pick to bring him back.
Randy=Loves his different voice, proves how unique he is.
Jennifer=Has a special voice and great talent.
Steven=So pleased that he came back, has a beautiful voice.

Since America gets to pick only 5 males to go to the Top 13 along with the 5 females, here are our predicitions:

Who We Want Top 5:
1. Aaron
2. Jeremy
3. Joshua
4. Heejun
5. Phillip
Wild Card Pick=Adam

Who Will Make Top 5:
1. Aaron
2. Jeremy
3. Deandre
4. Phillip
5. Joshua
Wild Card Pick=Reed

Best Of The Night?:
Aaron Marcellus
. Close second is Joshua Ledet

Worst Of The Night?:
Eben Franckewitz. 

Final Thoughts:
*I liked when Ryan encouraged Steven to make fun of the fact that J.Lo might have had a nipple slip during her Oscar appearance. That was funny not gonna lie. If they weren't judging I'd actually like these guys. But unfortunately they aren't judges, they are cheerleaders. If this is how they are now, then I can't even think of how bad they are going to be at the "judging" when we get down to the really great. Not everyone is really great right now. Their job is to help us distinguish who can win, from those that are just pretty good.

*J.Lo's facial expressions tonight were crazy. The camera panned to her several times during each performance and she was just going nuts with them. If the show is supposed to be about the contestants then maybe they should pan to them a little more and less on Jennifer.

*Did not like the re-entry of Jermaine Jones. I don't think that he deserved a place in the Top 12, and don't think that making it a Top 13 to suit him was necessary. I've seen plenty of females this year and contestants in prior years be so much better, but they didn't change the format to fit them. This was completely a ratings stunt. X Factor did this with their eventual winner Melanie Amaro and American Idol wanted to do the same. Unfortunately, Jermaine Jones' elimination was nowhere near as shocking as Melanie's was and his return to the show is nowhere near warranted like hers was. I wish Idol would just admit that this was a ploy, but they never will. It is what it is, and I'll still watch the show, not sure what that says about me, but we'll carry on nonetheless.

Well if you are reading this now, then ya gotta come back tomorrow to read about what happened when the females perform, and come back on Thursday to find out the Top 13. Until then, see ya!


  1. I'm so disappointed that the producers didn't ask the judges to return to their critiquing this year. I miss the Simon element on the judge panel. You are right in that they are merely cheerleaders and it's exhausting to watch them gush over amateurs this early. It's gonna be a long season. :(

    My picks are (Definitely) Adam, Aaron, Joshua and (2 of 3 Toss Up) Deandre, Jeremy, and Creighton.

  2. Sorry, but I like Jermaine and I'm glad they brought him back, it brought a tear to my eyes and the song was beautiful. I also thought Eban was horrible, but dial Idol has him receiving the most votes, go figure. I'm also rooting for Reed. If you ask me, these judges are useless. Hope it gets better, or I'll be deleting it off my DVR and sticking with The Voice, the better of the 2 shows now.