Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Las Vegas Part 1: Top 10 of 20 Women

Welcome back. We are getting pretty close to getting to those live rounds. The format for Las Vegas rounds is as follows:

Tonight:Sudden Death= 10 of the Final 20 Women will perform, 5 will move on to Live Rounds, 5 Will Be Cut
Tomorrow: Sudden Death=10 of the Final 20 Men will perform, 5 will move on to Live Rounds, 5 Will Be Cut
Next Wednesday, February 27:Sudden Death=10 Remaining Men Perform, 5 will Move on to Live Rounds, 5 Will Be cut.
Next Thursday, February 28:Sudden Death= 10 Remaining Women Perform, 5 Will Move On To Live Rounds, 5 Will Be Cut. Top 20 Revealed.

Then we get to Top 20 of Live Rounds. When we get there I will go over the schedule for that. So that means tonight we will see 10 ladies perform, and we will find out right away which 5 move on to the Top 20 and which 5 will be sent home. We have seen a good amount of these contestants, some more prominently than others, some not at all so it should be an interesting night. Let's get to it:

Sudden Death
We see that the women will compete in front of a Live audience. The show isn't live for us, but it's still performing in front of people, and the judges. It also gives the new judges a chance to get comfortable in critiquing the contestants in a certain amount of time in front of an audience.

1. Jenny Beth Willis-Don't believe we ever saw her before, and if we have heard or saw her it was extremely brief. She is a country girl. Her voice is pretty flat. She doesn't really have much stage presence or charisma. She is probably nervous, but it is showing way too much.Her last note was a good one, but not sure if it makes up for her full performance.
Keith=Has mixed feelings about if this is a good song choice, but loves the way she performs.
Nicki=Liked her voice, but didn't come alive until the very end.
Randy=Felt a little jerky. Never got in sync rhythmically with the band. Loved the last note but the rest wasn't.
Mariah=Nice performance, but wanted her to be more dynamic. Wanted the more lower richness of her voice.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? Half. Nicki and Randy also believe that despite the last note being great, the rest of her performance was lackluster

2. Tenna Torres- Her name is pronounced "Tina" but spelled a bit differently, just FYI. We remember her as a former participant of Camp Mariah when she was younger.  She was very into her performance, she had the facial expressions and hand gestures going but the song choice was very poor. I think she put ill advised runs in the song, and didn't hit them, and the high notes didn't go anywhere. Mediocre at best.
Keith=Thought it was a beautiful song but the performance needed a ton of control and she had it.
Nicki=Reminded her why she loved Tenna Torres before. She had a ton of control throughout the whole song, and she reminds her of 1980s R&B singers. Didn't like her hair, thinks it ages her.
Randy=Feels that this is the start of the night. Came out controlled and connected with the emotion of the song.
Mariah=Gave every bit of her emotion. Wasn't even trying, just naturally gave it.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? Nope. They all heard something I didn't. Given we haven't seen much of Tenna before I don't really know what she usually sounds like, so maybe it was better than she has been in the past, because to me it was boring.

3. Adriana Latonio-Don't remember this girl at all. I feel I would have remembered her if I had seen or heard her before because she did a really great job with "Ain't No Way". I would have loved a little more power, but that last note provided some of the power that I think she has. A ton of potential for this girl. Keith and Randy give her a standing ovation.
Keith=Thinks now the night has started. Channels into all the soul the song requires.
Nicki=Thinks she commands the stage despite her 5 foot nothing stature. Had no fear. Poised and ready to go.
Randy=Has a ton of confidence. She's a pro at 17.
Mariah=Took on a big song, and it turned out great. Loved her interpretation of the song. A+
Do The Judges Agree With Me? Definitely. Never heard this girl before, but won't forget her. I think she just showed America who she is and she didn't disappoint.

4. Brandy Hotard=Another country girl and one that is pretty but also pretty forgettable She looked scared and her voice sounded it. Had some pitchy moments and a little shaky at points as well. Some of her notes hit really nice, but it was just all uneven. I didn't love the song choice.
Keith=Loved that she chose that song, and her voice is really good, but she didn't connect emotionally to it.
Nicki=Didn't connect at all to the song. Thought it was a pageant performance of the song. She was smiling when she was singing "tears and resistance". It didn't make sense and didn't work.
Randy=Has a big voice, but the song didn't tell him enough about what kind of singer and artist she wants to be.
Mariah=Didn't notice if she was smiling or not, but has seen her more emotionally connected before.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? Yep. They saw that it didn't work, and it just didn't. She's in trouble.

5.Shubha Vedula-I have liked Shubha's voice in the past, and still love her name. She decides to start her rendition of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" on the piano, and it sounds pretty great. But then as soon as she leaves the piano and leaves the really stripped down version of the song it all goes a little haywire. She has a lot of fun, and has charisma on stage, and she has a great vocal sound, but the version of the song doesn't do a ton for her altogether. Woulda preferred the super stripped down version.
Keith=Crammed a lot into that performance. Thinks it was confusing,  but still loved her voice.
Nicki=There was way too much going on. Thinks she has a strong voice, but it is a weird mix of Christina Aguliera and the Gagnam Style guy. Very confusing.
Randy=Has a ton of potential. She way overdid the runs. Would have preferred her staying at the piano.
Mariah=Would have loved her staying at the piano because it allowed her to stay a bit restrained and less forced.  
Do The Judges Agree With Me? They all do. They also agree she should have stayed at the piano and that it went a bit crazy once she left the piano. But she still has a nice voice. She is a border line kind of contestant tonight. 

6. Kamaria Ousley=We only saw a bit of Kamaria but I remember her being very strong. Tonight she comes out with an attitude like she knows what she is doing. I don't like her song choice of Kelly Clarkson's "Mr. Know It All". Although it allowed her a chance to get to hit some high notes, I feel there are so many other great songs out there. She could have chosen anything. Anything! The whole performance was a bit too dramatic. She had a lot of sass and it didn't really connect her to the audience.
Keith=Didn't think it was a good song choice. She can really sing, but the song didn't allow her to emotionally connect to the song. Thought it was unnecessarily theatrical.
Nicki=Thought she looked lovely styled, but didn't think the vocal worked at all tonight.
Randy=From the start it just never caught on. It was all over the place. Worst performance from her ever. Nothing redeeming about it.
Mariah=Struggled to hear herself. Thinks she is adorable, but didn't like her song choice.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? They all do. Kamaria had a bad night. Randy went on and on about it, but all the judges pretty much said the same thing as I did. Too bad.

7. Kree Harrison-We saw Kree during the last round of Hollywood and she did a brilliant job. Tonight is basically the same and maybe even more. She is very unassuming. She just wears a regular shirt and some leggings. She let's her voice do the job, no extra anything needed. She knocks this song right out the park. Her last note breaks through and hits perfect. Standing ovation from Keith and Nicki.
Keith=Is a natural born singer. Doesn't over try, has an effortless vulnerability.
Nicki=All the other girls should be afraid of her. Thinks she made love to the song.
Randy=Another natural born singer[editors note=Keith just said the same thing 30 seconds earlier]. Felt that he was at her show.
Mariah=Feels she got lost in the song and it's a beautiful thing to watch. Isn't affected at all, is just organic. Sang the hell out of that song.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? They all do. Kree is top contender and the judges and I all think she is someone to really watch in this competition.

8. Angela Miller-We saw Angela a few times thus far and every time she has been right on the money, especially when she performed her original song. I am not in love with this song choice at all. I don't think it allowed her voice to shine as much as it has in the past, but when she gets to the middle of the song it picks up for sure. Angela's voice saves the performance, because the song itself was just okay.
Keith=Thinks she has a big gift. She does a lot with even a little.
Nicki=Nothing compares to her original song in the last round, so it makes it tough to compete, but she has to try not to compete with it, she should just let it go and don't force anything.
Randy=One of the favorites of the entire competition. She can sing anything. Loves her intrepetations of the lyrics. The real deal.
Mariah=Has limitless potential. Wants the world to hear her original song. Needs to keep writing because it was phenomenal.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? Pretty much. They all believe she has had better performances and this one was good, but not as good in the past. She is a lock to move on based on past performances.

9.Isabelle-She got lost in the mix during Hollywood rounds but her voice has been strong every time we heard her. Her voice is very strong, almost a bit too strong tonight. She has some booming moments and not enough soft moments to balance it out. But she was very in tune and her tone was beautiful.
Keith=That performance was a key to the side of the car to all the boys that never asked her out.
Nicki=Looked like a Diva. Sounds and looks very pretty. Shined tonight.
Randy=Loves that she is an inspiration to others. The performance was a little old fashioned. Thought he was at a pageant for a minute.
Mariah=Her vocal sold her, and her heart sold her as well.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? Kinda. They liked it even a bit more than I did. Great voice, and one that has some potential.

10. Amber Holcombe=We learn she was cut at Las Vegas rounds last season. So this spot isn't entirely unnatural for her. This performance seemed pretty old fashioned to me. I don't think it allowed her to really to get into it like it should. Her voice quality is incredibly high though. So it is all about song choice. If she chose a better song I probably would have thought she was over the top. Keith, Randy and Mariah give her a standing ovation.
Keith=Makes it hard for everyone else. Made the old timey song timeless.
Nicki=Proud that she came out of her shell this year. Thinks her vocal was A+++, but is unsure if her inner  self will come out and not be as shy, because her voice is top class.
Randy=Feels she doubts herself, but she shouldn't because the vocal was amazing. Made the most important run the best run.
Mariah=Thought it was incredible. Loved her interpretation of that song.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? Sorta. They loved Amber a ton more than I did, but I liked Amber a lot, she just needs to connect a bit more with the audience.

Eliminated=Jenny Beth Willis, Brandy Hotard, Shubha Vedula, Kamaria Ousley, Tenna Torres

Moving On To Top 20=Adriana Latonio, Kree Harrison, Angela Miller, Isabelle, Amber Holcombe

[I feel that Tenna and Isabelle are equals, so that's my toss up]

Judges Decide: Who Stays?/Who Goes?
Jenny Beth Willis=Eliminated
Brandy Hotard= Eliminated
Tenna Torres=Top 20
Kree Harrison=Top 20
Angela Miller=Top 20
Kamaria Ousley=Eliminated
Amber Holcombe=Top 20
Shubha Vedula=Eliminated
Adriana Latonio= Top 20

 Final Thoughts

*I think tonight was pretty successful. I think Kree, Angela and Adriana had great nights. I think Tenna was the weaker of the Top 5, and I think Amber has potential but didn't win me over completely yet. I think Isabelle and Tenna were just as good as each other, and both had off moments, so that was a toss up. I think all in all there were very solid decisions made.

*Mariah is gonna be a tough one. She tends to go on and on a bit, and doesn't give as much feedback as she should. She tells the contestants they are beautiful and asks them how they feel. When we hit Live shows the judges are gonna have to be brief and concise, this might prove difficult for her. I think Nicki proved to be incredibly insightful, and funny, and genuine. I think Keith wasn't as dynamic as he was during the pre-taped stuff, but he was still very good and provided a few nice moments. Randy pretty much repeats what others say, and doesn't offer a substantial amount of feedback. Solid outing by this judging panel as a whole.

*Next week notable female contestants such as Janelle Arthur, Candice Glover, Melinda Edami, Rachel Hale, and Cristabel Clack perform. We will see how it all shakes out then.

That's it. What did you think of the first 5 ladies moving on? I think it was pretty much right on the money. I hope this stays the same for tomorrow with the guys and the rest of the contestants next week. Come on back here tomorrow for the guys performance. So until then, see ya!

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