Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Top 10 Males Perform/Boot Camp Part 2

Welcome back. Last night's first live round got off to a pretty shaky start. 5 females were eliminated without any just cause and many of the 10 selected to perform had a rough time. The boot camp element of the show came off just like a regular mentor session, but with Idol name brands like Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry.

More of the same will occur tonight. The Top 15 males, including Ben Briley who was selected to continue over Neco Starr last night, will be sitting in a holding room(Ryan wants us to call it a "Chamber") until one by one the judges call their name to perform. 5 guys will never perform and will probably only get to wave goodbye. That's gotta be tough.But anyhoo...

Let's see how it all unfolds:

Top 10 Males Perform
1. Caleb Johnson-Stay With Me(Faces)
Daughtry doesn't want him to close his eyes and wants him to connect to the audience. Caleb wants to work on developing a "subtle over-the-topness". He has a huge voice, and he knows how to work the stage. This is a great song choice for him, especially given that he is the first guy to go, it really gets the crowd going. It wasn't a flawless performance, he shouted a little at times, but dude can sing and that last couple notes were amazing. I bet he would put on a great concert. Great way to start off the show. A-
Keith-That was killer. The soul and cool thing in his voice is just natural, can't learn that.
Jennifer-Amazing way to start the show. That was the real deal. So ready right now. Everything has it's time, and it's his time.
Harry-Gonna be tough for the guys following. An amazing way to start the show.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Absolutely. He started off the show as well as you could.

2. CJ Harris-Shelter(Ray Lamontagne)
Daughtry couldn't follow his guitar pattern, and wants him to sing sans guitar. The dude is a guitar teacher so it's probably a shot to his career that Daughtry dissed his guitar playing. Despite Daughtry's advice, CJ decides to perform with his guitar. I can completely see what Daughtry is saying,  CJ's voice is so soulful and pure that the guitar doesn't do anything for him. It's probably more of a comfort thing than having anything to do with really playing. At one point CJ stops playing and just sings and his voice really shines. He has such a great distinctive voice. B+
Jennifer-Makes everyone smile. It's a beautiful thing that his voice can take everyone anywhere.
Harry-Wants him to watch out being a little sharp, his performance overrides that, but sometimes it can be heard.Felt like he was gonna shelter him.
Keith-When you are connected it doesn't matter if it's a little sharp. It's such an original package that he offers.  
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yep. He did a great job, he is so good that they are nitpicking things that aren't that big of a deal right now.

                                                                     3. Emmanuel Zidor-The Best Of My Love(The Emotions)
I'm kinda shocked at this pick. Up until this point he might be entertaining but a singer he is not. We see Emmanuel working with the movement coach and vocal coach during the workshop and he had a real rough time. I guess the judges think the show is lacking a 'character', and that is sure what he is. Now I'm not saying his voice is a train wreck, because it isn't, but it's not strong enough to be a Top 10 male. He really gets into the song and working the audience, but his voice strains at times. A mixed bag kind of performance. C-
Harry-So much fun. Has a happy, infectious performance. Wants him to stay in his lane. The performance started to get out of control. Wants him to not forget to sing.
Keith- Adrenaline kicks in. He went a little too physical. He needs to reign everything back in.
Jennifer-Belongs on the stage performing. Wasn't the best song for him. He is a powerhouse singer and wasn't with that particular song, but knows he can be in the future.(Jennifer allows him to sing a little bit of another song).
Do The Judges & I Agree? We do. His performance overshadowed his ability to sing. This is how it's been the whole time. I think if this was a non-singing show then maybe he'd do really well. But his voice is seriously lacking. I don't like the fact that Jennifer allowed him to sing a few seconds of another song. He gets one shot, that's it. Doesn't seem fair.

4. Sam Woolf-Babylon(David Gray)
During the workshop he has a tough time with connecting with people and he needs to loosen up. You can tell he is nervous when he starts but once he got to the middle of the song you can see him get comfortable. When his voice hits a certain note and gets into a groove it really is quite good. I think Sam has a ton of potential, plus he is a cute kid that the teenage girls will love. B+
Keith-The people like him. His voice is just money. Really great song choice. Performance will get better along the way.
Jennifer-Such a sweet quality to him. Not surprising everyone's in love with him. His heart and soul come through. Perfect pitch. Great representation of who he is.
Harry-A really good performance and great song choice. As he goes on he hopes that Sam can get more confident as the competition goes on because he is terrific.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. Sam is someone that can really grow in this competition if he sticks around. He is young, but he has a ton of potential.

5. George Lovett-Grenade(Bruno Mars)
When Jennifer was describing George before his name was announced you can see based on her clues that he knew that it was gonna be him, he started putting his ear bud in his ear and was just waiting to ensure he was right. If he was wrong it would have been a bit embarrassing. It was pretty funny. The movement coach and Adam Lambert wants George to build the dynamic of his performance to go from small to really huge. I love George's voice. I'm upset that we didn't get to see a ton of George before this performance because we missed out. I think he can still work on his stage presence, it was a little herky jerky. That last note that he hit was just all in and amazing, but some of the other parts of his performance were a little too much. C+
Jennifer-That was really good. Felt his energy. Wants him to control his runs a little more. It was every other phrase and it's tough to follow every word he is saying. He's one of the best singers.
Harry-Got too emotionally invested and sung himself off the microphone. So passionate that it spun out of control. That's why his voice cracked and that's why it didn't have a lot of dynamic. He's sung better in the past.
Keith-Song choice is crucial. His range is such that finding the right song will allow him to play to his strength because that song didn't do anything for him
Do The Judges & I Agree? Kinda. Because they have heard George sing more than we, the audience have it's hard to say that he has sounded better in the past. I think George has a really strong voice but his performance and what he did to the song at times was distracting.

6. Dexter Roberts-This Ole Boy(Craig Morgan)
He's been a consistent country singer the whole time. If people love country they will love this guy, if they hate country then they are gonna skip him altogether. I think people will eat up his smile and nice personality. He is just as consistent as he always is.  He was very solid, nothing too exciting, but he did a nice job. B
Harry-A solid performer, a likeable performer. A typical modern-day performance. Wonders what will set him apart from other country performers out of Idol.
Keith- A good voice, the real deal. Easy to watch and fun. But there are a thousand guys just like him, and he needs to figure out what's different than everyone else.
Jennifer-Such an easy cool way. Didn't see any nerves about him. His whole performance was enjoyable. Hopefully he will have time to figure out what sets him apart.
Do The Judges & I Agree? We do. They also think he is a solid enough performer, but there are others out there that are just like him. He played it really safe.

7. Alex Preston-Volcano(Damien Rice)
The movement coach recognizes that Alex is a shy guy and hates eye contact. Daughtry reassures Alex that even he still gets nervous. This song was done famously a couple years ago by Phillip Phillips. This is the first time that I can really hear guitar playing by one of the contestants and he does a great job with it.I can see what the movement coach was talking about. He doesn't like to really focus his eyes on anyone or anything, he is a little fidgety, but his voice combined with his guitar playing is really good. B+ 
Keith-Best song choice of the night. One that he could have written, stayed in the groove. Really good performance.
Jennifer-Had such a groove to it. He is in his own lane. An interesting artist. He should stay in his lane.
Harry-Can tell that music is his religion. He ended the song in a really interesting way.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yup. He could have written that song and no one would have thought twice about it. The song fit him really well, and I think he did a great job with it.

8. Malcolm Allen-Comin' From Where I'm From(Anthony Hamilton)
Adam Lambert wants Malcolm to really commit to his performance and put it out there 150%.  The song starts off a little low and doesn't do anything to help him. I don't love this song choice for him. I thought it was kinda pedestrian. He has a ton of passion and you can feel that he feels every word, and it's a very believable performance, but I didn't like his vocal all that much tonight. I've seen him do better in the past. C+ 
Jennifer-Such a great voice. Those words hit the audience, but wanted his performance to hit more. Could have gone further given the lyrics that he had. She didn't feel it like she should have.
Harry-Good run singer, but the danger is he kept doing the same run over and over so it sounds sharp. He didn't focus on singing in tune tonight. He was emotional but not in tune.
Keith-How he performed the song with the band, and instead he should have stripped it down and focused more on his performance. He can make that choice.
Do The Judges and I Agree? We do. He has sung so much better the other times I have seen him. But this was the wrong song for him and his performance suffered because of it. It's all about song choice for Malcolm. If America doesn't put him through, and the judges selected him to perform for the Wildcard I think he can do well and maybe get selected by the judges...if he picks the right song.

9. Ben Briley-Soulshine(The Allman Brothers)
After being selected by America to move on against Neco Starr it's no surprise that he was picked as one of the Top 10 males. He decides to play electric guitar for this performance and it's pretty good. He decides to do a little riff with the electric guitar and stop singing for a few seconds, and then returns to the microphone without playing. Harry Connick Jr called him "Gumbo" in the past, and that's what he is. He does a little bit of everything and comes out good enough. B
Harry-Did a great job. Is really interesting and is a powerful singer. Loves his tie.
Keith-Great voice and that's his strong voice is better than his guitar playing.
Jennifer-He comes alive when he comes on stage. Even better now than during rehearsal.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. They like his voice a bit more than I do. I think he is a likeable guy with a nice voice. Not really jumping up and down about it.

10. Spencer Lloyd-Love Don't Die (The Fray)
Randy Jackson wants Spencer to stick with his guitar but the movement coach and Adam want him to go without his guitar. During the performance he goes without his guitar.His voice is lacking at times. He gets the crowd going, and has an ease around the stage, but his vocals didn't match his enthusiasm or how much the crowd seemed to love him. He is a good looking guy, but he shouldn't make it to Top 5 because of that. C 
Keith-Song choice is important, and doesn't think that was his best vocal performance. 
Jennifer-A good voice, moved the crowd.
Harry-His strong suit is singing a song like "Say Something". This was not good.
Do The Judges & I Agree? We do. I'm afraid that this guy is gonna make it based on his looks rather than his vocals. I don't care if he makes it if he had both, but just based on looks and being hot or being cute isn't a good enough reason to stay there. He's lucky the judges were running out of time with their comments because they could have slayed him.

5 Eliminated Men
1. Ethan Harris
2. Maurice Townsend
3. Jordan Brisbane
4. Briston Maroney
5. Casey Thrasher

Top 13 Prediction
1. Caleb Johnson
2. CJ Harris
3. Sam Woolf
4. Alex Preston
5.  Dexter Roberts

Final Thoughts
-I think the Top 4 guys were obvious tonight. I think Sam, CJ, Caleb and Alex did amazingly. That 5th spot was hard to pick. I think they were either not that good (Emmanuel, Spencer), underperformed (Malcolm, George) or were just middle of the line(Ben, Dexter). It'll be interesting how it all shakes out tomorrow night.

-The guys seemed far less nervous than the girls did, and I liked the picks of the judges much more than how they did with their females picks. I don't think that Emmanuel should have been there over Maurice, but that's my only gripe of the picks. I'm glad young guys like Jordan and Ethan, and Briston didn't make it, because they weren't ready.  I think they chose Emmanuel because he's entertaining not because he has a good voice. Given that this show is more about the voice than the act that goes a long with it I think it's a poor choice by them. 

-The inclusion of instruments doesn't make a ton of sense to me, thus far. The only person that even remotely had a great job with it was Alex Preston and to a lesser extent Ben Briley. The band overshadowed almost every single contestant with their guitars. This includes the ladies last night as well. If you want to be acoustic then be acoustic, if you want to be electric be electric, but the fact that the guitars are just accessories is kinda silly. I remember performances in years past that had the contestants have everything focused solely on them and their guitar with little-to-no band or back up singers. Maybe at this point the contestants aren't ready to tell the mentors and coaches to scale back, but that's something that hopefully will be addressed in the future.

-I like that Randy Jackson told Spencer to perform with his guitar, but then the movement coach and Adam Lambert told him not to, and then Spencer didn't listen to Randy. Some mentor Randy is. This should be a fun season.

That's all folks. 10 males performed, 5 eliminated, and all in 1 night. Tomorrow we will learn which 5 males and 5 females were slected by America to make the live shows next week and also find out who the judges pick to round out the Top 13. A lot to get to, so come on back here tomorrow night. Until then, see ya!

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