Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Top 10 Females Perform/Boot Camp Part 1

Welcome back. Well we are finally at the live aspect of the American Idol season. As much as I have enjoyed a lot of this season you can never really tell how the judges really are gonna do, or for that matter, how well the contestants do when it's pre-taped and edited. As we posted last week the Top 30 that we were told would be performing tonight and tomorrow will in fact be a Top 20. Only the Top 10 Females will perform tonight, with the Top 10 Males performing tomorrow. On Thursday night we will learn which 5 males and which 5 males voted by America will make it to the Top 10 and the final 3 spots will be chosen by the judges to round out the Top 13.

Tonight we will find out which females won't get to sing for America due to the judge's decision after taking in how the contestants have done thus far and after watching the contestants through their Idol boot camp with Randy Jackson, Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert.All 15 women are prepared to sing but only 10 names will be called.

We will also find out which of Ben Briley or Neco Starr makes it to the Top 15 for the guys. A lot to get to tonight. So let's get started:

Explanation of The Rush Week Workshop
-Along with Randy Jackson the contestants also get help from Vocal Coaches, Stylists,  Musical Advisors, Movement Advisors, Spiritual Advisors and Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert.

Top 10 Females Perform 
1. Majesty Rose-Happy (Pharrell)
We learn from the workshop clips that she grew up with the church but her genre isn't gospel. Adam Lambert loves the song choice for Majesty but thinks in rehearsal she sometimes goes a little too fast. She decides to play guitar. It doesn't do anything for her. Her voice sounds amazing on it. The guitar is really only their as an accessory. I love how easy she makes things. A-
Jennifer-That's how you're supposed to come out here. Ready for show time. Voice sounds amazing. Made the whole place get on its feet.
Harry-Continued how great she has been the whole way. Fortunate that she set this tone for the competition.
Keith-Has a breezy thing about picking the right song. There were moments of her vocal range that we'll see later.  
Do The Judges and I Agree? Definitely. Hopefully she really set the tone for the night.

2. Kristen O'Conner-Turning Tables(Adele)
She wants to leave it all out on the table by singing Adele. Daughtry advises Kristen on how to perform better on stage and gives her a way to make her voice more captivating. It's weird we haven't seen a ton of Kristen a long the way. The snippets we had seen were pretty darn good. Tonight she made some interesting choices with the song, she went restraint when you think she's gonna go big, and went big when you didn't think she would. I felt like she was a little unsure of herself at times, but ultimately it came out well. B 
Harry-Delivered a powerful performance. Takes a lot of nerves to come out so well.
Keith-Has a killer range. Noticed that she had a lot of nerves and it disrupted the song until she got into the zone.
Jennifer-Has one of the most special tones of voice. Can hear her recording songs tomorrow. The beginning with the timing was off, but half way through she locked in and people took notice.
Do The Judges and I Agree? Exactly. She did a great job, but her nerves got the best of her at times.

3. Briana Oakley-Warrior(Demi Lovato)
Randy remembers her from last year and thinks she was amazing then. Briana thinks she needs to let go of her need for perfection. The vocal and movement coaches thinks she needs to come out her shell, but she's intense at the same time. The tone of her voice is exceptional.She's very sure of her voice and where it can go. The song is very wordy, and doesn't allow her to really groove and get into it fully. The lyrics are amazing, and the chorus and high energy part of the song was good, but there were moments that just kinda laid there. A mix of really good to just alright. B-
Keith-The hard part is that it takes a bit to settle in. She has clarity to her tone. The last quarter of the song she found her zone. She didn't commit fully throughout the whole song until the end.
Jennifer-Looked a little scared in the beginning. There's no doubt that she's like a young Whitney Houston with a big voice. The performance quality and connection to what she is singing needs to come together.
Harry-Cautions her to not always go to the big note. She did a fine job, but she just doesn't need to always go big, it is a trap.
Do The Judges and I Agree? Pretty much. I didn't see her not connect, but I did see that she never fully found her way, despite having a great voice.

4. Jena Irene-Paint it Black(Rolling Stones)
I feel her name was something like Jena Ascuitto this whole time and now it's something very different. Her choice. Maybe her last name being hard to pronounce coupled with her first name being difficult to pronounce correctly was too much. Her first name is spelled like it should be pronounced Jen-na but it's actually pronounced like Gina, so Randy along with the judges have had a tough time saying it right. Daughtry thinks that when she locks into the performance she hypnotizes the audience, when she breaks away she loses them. Jena sounds amazing. I love her voice so much, it's very strong. It goes big when it needs to, and has restraint as well. She hits the high note at the end and it's pretty amazing as well. A-
Jennifer-Had a nice sultry quality to it. Differentiates herself from the others. One of my favorites. Kind of a bad ass.
Harry-He is trying to see the connection between the song and why she chose it.
Keith-There's a poise that is calm and confident. Just has a cool balance of everything. 
Do The Judges and I Agree? We do. Although, I was confused about Harry and him not understanding why she picked this particular song. Sometimes a song is a song. Sure it's a little dark, and it's older than her years, but that shouldn't mean everything.

5. Bria Anai-Wrong Side of A Love Song(Melanie Fiona)
I haven't loved Bria along the way but will say she's had a couple nice moments. I still probably wouldn't have picked her in my Top 10 females. She has more notable stood out because she has the sparkly lip stick than her great talent. I don't really know the song she is going with. She's a very dramatic performer, and really gets into it. Her voice is good, not great, but her performance and energy is top notch. The voice hit a few pockets of strain and she sometimes did too much with it. I think the poor song choice didn't help her. C- 
Harry-There's a difference between being passionate and shouting and she was shouting. Sometimes you have to be big and loud but this was way too much. The specificity of what she was singing got lost.
Keith-She's good but she overshot the wrong way of how good she can be. But she still has the lips.
Jennifer-Has star written all over her. There are first night jitters, so it's understandable. Had more control in the beginning of the song and by the end she got out of control.
Do The Judges and I Agree? Actually yes. They also think she did way too much. I am surprised they didn't mention the poor song choice.

6. Marrialle Sellers-Roar(Katy Perry)
After being prominently featured throughout some of edited portion of this season it's not surprising that she is one of the 10 . Adam Lambert wants Marrialle to slow it down, and not be so rushed. The performance is very karaoke to me, the voice just doesn't do anything. In the rehearsal, with Adam, she had her guitar and I thought this performance was gonna be kind of acoustic, which would have been cool, but she instead goes the full out version, and it's pretty unsuccessful. The high notes were flat, the low notes were too low, and the middle was shaky at best. Really poor performance.She ends the song with holding her broken high heel next to her face. D
Keith-Her voice is much better than what we have seen tonight. Not a good tempo for her, it all came out too karaoke. She's much better than this.
Jennifer-Would have loved to see her play it on her guitar. Wanted to see her real pure and simple voice, not a good showcase of who she is. The crowd really got into her head.
Harry-Didn't sing in tune, didn't sing in the pocket. Was impressed first time we saw her. The big production number made her not seem like the superstar she has been before.
Do The Judges and I Agree? 100%. They actually said the same thing I did, that she should have done the song with her guitar and the song got away from her. The fact that the judges picked her and she showed up doing this is unfortunate.

7. Jessica Meuse-Drink A Beer(Luke Bryan)
Daughtry questions her guitar playing, and thinks her voice is so much better than how she plays. He wishes that she would step away from it and not use it as a crutch. She ends up playing her guitar. With the band, her playing was overshadowed, so it didn't matter much. Her voice is really quite good, but again, I didn't like the song choice. There were some moments of her not singing, and that's because the song didn't allow it, not because she messed up. This is her once chance, and when she can pick almost any song out there it's tough to understand her choice. So good voice, not a great song choice. C+
Jennifer-Can feel she was nervous. There is a softness that is easy to connect to, despite her rough exterior. Her country tone is really appealing.
Harry-Brings something completely different and exciting. Has to watch going sharp and didn't really feel like she settled into the song. There was a wall between her and the audience.
Keith-Loves the song, but didn't like that she smiled when the lyrics don't match. Can tell a story with her voice.
Do The Judges and I Agree? Pretty much. She is better than that performance. I would like to see her again and see how she does in future rounds.

8. Emily Piriz- Paris Ooh La La (Grace Potter & The Nocturnals)
She knows that in a past audition Harry hated that one of the contestants sang this song, yet she thinks she'll be able to convey emotion rather than story. Adam Lambert wants her to be more aggressive and bring more dynamics to her performance. Gotta say Adam gave her great direction for where she wanted to go. She doesn't seem as nervous as some of the past contestants and she really gets into the song and settles in. I think she really does well. B
Harry-Still doesn't understand why she chose the song. Asks her to repeat the first line of the song which is "you got me down on the floor, so what'd you bring me down her for", and asks her if this is the kind of song she wants to be singing as an 18 year old. Emily wants to be singing that kind of song.
Keith-Gets that she wants to be a rock chick, but he wants her to just be, not pretend to tap into something she isn't. Loves when she bares her soul, rather than hide behind that kind of song.
Jennifer-Love what she did in Hollywood with a ballad, and did this song as well. Had the most relaxed performance up there. Really loved it.
Do The Judges and I Agree? Kinda. I get that Harry and Keith don't want her to be something she's not, but I also don't want her to be stuck in a box. She should be able to pull out a ballad one time and be a rocker chick, if she wants also. I get what Harry is saying given her age, and given the lyrics of the song, but it's not that extreme and he almost made it that way.

9. MK Nobilette-All of Me(John Legend)
Randy Jackson tells MK to "give her best performance". So if he didn't tell her to do that she would have just sat crisscross on the floor playing jacks. Anyways, despite Randy's non-advice, her voice is so beautiful, her tone, her dynamics are just right where they should be. I liked how she didn't have to do too much to make an impact. It's tough doing a John Legend song because of how amazing he is, but she does a really great job. I remember Jennifer saying in past rounds that her voice is like a "quiet storm" and that's really what it was tonight. Let's just hope that everyone in America votes the way they should, not based on anything but this performance, because based on tonight she should make it to the Top 13. A-
Keith-That was such a perfect song choice. There's such simplicity. There's transparency in her humanness. It's so effortless. Really beautiful performance.
Jennifer-She gave a true sentiment, true feeling, it didn't have to be big, it just was.
Harry-Elegant, articulate singer. For the first time she wasn't defeated, she belongs here.
Do The Judges and I Agree? Definitely. She sounded beautiful. Really impressed.

10. Malaya Watson-Hard Times(Ray Charles)
This was a tough pick for me. I thought that Jillian, Kenzie and Austin have sounded better than Malaya at times, but we didn't see a ton of them, at least not as much as we saw Malaya. I gotta say she has passion and knows how to perform, especially for a 15 year old. The song allows her to do some crazy stuff with the melody and harmony. I love her energy and her enthusiasm. It was crazy at moments which ended up hurting her vocal, but not too bad. B
Jennifer-One of the big powerhouse singers in the competition. Every time she gets up there it's epic. The nerves got to her at times, but she's amazing.
Harry-Can't wait until she settles into a song because it's understandable that she was under pressure.
Keith-Makes braces and glasses cool because of her confidence. It was a little over the top because of the night, but America should vote her through because of what she do in the future.
Do The Judges and I Agree? Yep. She was definitely over the top, but still had a nice vocal.

5 Females Eliminated(Without Explanation)
Kenzie Hall
Jillian Jensen
Andrina Brogden
Austin Wolfe
Brandy Neely

Top 5 Predictions for Top 13
Briana(based on past performances, not tonight)

America Decides Between Ben and Neco?
Who Makes Top 15 Men? Ben Briley
Who Goes Home? Neco Starr

Final Thoughts
-I'm disappointed with some of these picks. I think Bria and Marialle were very poor choices in what we have seen of them in some of the past edited rounds. Sure they could have been better than what we saw, but then why didn't they show us that. We didn't see a ton of Jillian or Kenzie or Austin, and that should have been our first clue that they weren't making it, but the little we did see of them was really good. I don't know. It's tough, I was disappointed with Briana tonight, she was one of my favorites and I think she could be in some trouble. Let's hope that if she doesn't get picked by America that the judges rescue her in the Wild Card portion.

-I would have liked to know what went into the decision between the judges not picking some of these girls. I know we saw bits and pieces of the girls that got to perform, but we didn't get to see anything from the girls that didn't perform tonight, so we don't know why they didn't make it. If we had seen everyone then maybe we can understand some of the judge's picks, because based on what we saw of people like Bria and Marrialle it doesn't compare to what we have seen in the past of people like Jillian or Kenzie. I'm let down. I think a whole night should have been us seeing the Top 30 during the workshop, working with the coaches, working with the mentors. Then we would be able to understand what happened and why. If you're gonna bring back Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry and make a big deal about this workshop then show us more than a minute of it and show us how the final decisions came to be made.

-The live commercials are back. They show continues to stay live despite the commercials being on 85% of the screen. I guess this is a way for people to not fast forward through commercials. Not a ton happens between breaks. It's all behind the scenes stuff. We see the back of the judge's heads, no sounds, at times the producers come down to talk to the judges, Randy Jackson comes down, Ryan is walking around looking at notes. This is a pretty brilliant idea for the marketing people. If it grabs even 25% of the audience from fast-forwarding through the commercials then it's worth it. It doesn't cost them a thing.

-That new Idol stage is crazy big. It's brand new, the credits are brand new, where the judges sit is brand new. It's larger, but also is closer, so it's a bit odd. I don't get that caught up in it, I'm sure it's fun for the contestants, but I remember watching in the early seasons when there were about 50 people in the audience during the earlier rounds. In that way we got to see them start in a super small setting and then bridge to a larger setting. Now they go big right off the bat. This might contribute to the first night nerves of the contestants. If they can kinda ween into the big audience it might help, but I guess there can be something said for throwing them out there and seeing who has what it takes.

That's it. Were you as disappointed in some of these contestants tonight? Were you happy with how a few of these contestants withstood the pressure? Come back tomorrow night when the Top 10 men will sing for America. So until then have a great night, and until tomorrow see ya!

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