Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Top 11 Perform: Songs From Movies Week

Welcome back. After a relatively disappointing week last week I am hoping for rebound performances from the majority of the contestants. Tonight's theme is songs from movies. Let's see what happens.

I'Dol Be The Judge's Weekly Rankings
This week provided a good amount of movement on the rankings. A few of the favorites didn't change only because other people didn't step up, and a few of the middle of the road contestants pretty much stayed where they were. Malaya had the biggest increase week to week, given her slight rebound from her atrocious performance the week prior. MK is in trouble unless she steps it up this week. 

1. Majesty Rose-Same As Last Week
2. Sam Woolf-Same As Last Week
3. Caleb Johnson-Up 1 From Last Week
4. Jessica Meuse-Up 1 From Last Week
5. Alex Preston-Down 2 From Last Week
6. Dexter Roberts-Same As Last Week
7. Ben Briley-Up 2 From Last Week
8. Jena Irene-Down 1 From Last Week (Officially Bottom 3)
9. Malaya Watson-Up 3 From Last Week
10. CJ Harris-Up 1 From Last Week
11. MK Nobilette-Down 2 From Last Week (Officially Bottom 2)

Top 11 Perform

Sam Woolf
Come Together(The Beatles/Across The Universe)
He pretty much chose a Beatles song and then found out it was in Across the Universe. This isn't a definitive movie song, no matter what anyone says. Sam decides to perform sans guitar and moves around the stage a little more and get into the song. He is a little awkward when he moves around, he just bounces up and down. I like that he is trying to very loose and cool and calm. The vocal wasn't 100% but it was still pretty good. B
Keith=Great to hear that side of him. Love the way he loosened up, and wants him to continue to be loose.
Jennifer=He needs to keep opening up. Wanted a little more personality from him and play with the song. Nice start to the show.
Harry=On the way to where he needs to be.  Pretty good job. Needs to get more of a vibe.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yep. He was good, but is still a little awkward on stage.

Jessica Meuse
Sound of Silence(Simon & Garfunkel/The Graduate)
She really slows down this song and makes it completly acoustic with very little band accomponiment. Her voice is incredibly on point, it has that gravely sound to it, and she seems to be more connected to her performance. The band messes up a little and it throws Jessica off but she regains her composure. I like some of the choices she made with the song itself, she held onto notes a little longer, let a few notes go that she could have went with. It was a pretty powerful performance. Very well done given a few glitches. B
Jennifer= That seems like the perfect song, tone wise, mood wise. Never got her full groove altogether. Wants to know if she thinks she can win.[Jessica says "Yes"]. Wishes she was blown away.
Harry=The band was off, and she kept her focus. Thought it was a nice job.
Keith=The love the way she looks. Needs to work on the dynamics of the microphone and dynamics of the stage.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Kinda. I think she did a really nice job given everything that occurred with the band.

CJ Harris
Can't You See(The Marshall Tucker Band/Blow)
This week CJ has a ton of passion, I can hear it. Last week he was screaming the song a little too much, and although there were times he screamed a line or two, he stayed back as well tonight. I feel like CJ knows his lane, and what songs he needs to choose. Keith gives CJ a standing ovation. Not sure if it was that great, but it was CJ's best job on the show for sure. B+
Harry=Picked and sang his way back to the forefront of the competition. That's the CJ from the first day. That was very very strong.
Keith=Killer. Nailed it.
Jennifer=So proud of him. Has the talent to change the world with his talent, if he continues this way he is a fore front.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. The judges were much more impressed than I was. CJ was very good, but I still didn't get blown away. Get it "blown" away cause the movie is from "Blow". Meh.

Dexter Roberts
Sweet Home Alabama(Lynard Skynard/Forrest Gump)
This was a pretty predictable song choice.  Other than him singing well, it was a standard version that got everyone happy, but it was a little safe and karaoke. I don't know if I saw enough of an original side or creative side to this one. The dude has a pleasant voice, and it was a nice version, but I don't know if I'd download this thing on Itunes even if it was free. Dexter did a couple interesting things towards the end of the song, but I was kinda bored by that point to care. C+
Keith=Starting to feel the whole thing. Needs to keep working on making it individual to you. With that song it's a such a well cover cover, but he needs to put his own spin on it. 
Jennifer=It's all about the personality for him. Can see he is starting to believe that he can win. 
Harry= Is smart because he is going down the checklist of picking a song people know, and sing it solidly. Thought it was a good performance but he needs to be bigger than that song, and needs to bring his own creative side to it. If he just adds some creativity to it while singing solidly he is tough to beat.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Mostly. Keith and definitely Harry said exactly what I was feeling about Dexter. He is a solid singer but I have yet to see him put a new twist on any song. He sings it straight from the original and that's it.

Ben Briley
Benny & The Jets(Elton John/27 Dresses)
27 Dresses? That's the movie he chose this song from. Again, this is a contestant that found a song and then found a movie that it happened to be in. Does anyone actually connect this particular song to this particular movie? Anyways, Ben decides to go full piano man(not Billy Joel) for this one. No guitar, no nothing, at least to begin. He plays piano with some light band accompaniment then gets up around mid song. It's tough for me to think of anyone other than Haley Reinhart singing this song amazingly a few years ago. I like that Ben keeps trying to switch things up. He is far from predictable. He goes falsetto at times, plays with the crowd, moves around the stage. He is a great performer, the voice is a bit hit or miss. But really not too terrible. C+
Jennifer=Watching his transformation is crazy. He is so country one week and Elton John the next. Good vocal performance, not sure if it suited who he is. 
Harry=He needed to really pound the piano and get into the song. Felt like their wasn't a purpose to the song. Lacked electricity. Never knows if we have seen the real Ben. Confused about his real voice.
Keith=Gets that he wants to be diverse, but is struggling with his authenticity. Not sure who he is as an artist yet.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Not really. I didn't think it was that bad that Ben tried to change it up and figure himself out. I don't know if Ben knows what kind of artist he wants to be, and that's fine. But he probably should try to figure that out sooner rather than later.

Majesty Rose
Let It Go(Idina Menzel/Frozen)
I knew someone was gonna sing this song. It's the biggest song right now, that Idina Menzel person has a lot of buzz going for her, given the whole Adele Dazim nonsense at the Oscars, and if you don't know what I'm talking about please Youtube it. Anyways, the song starts a little too low and it made Majesty almost inaudible at first. I like that she didn't go for the huge predicable note and instead kind of leaned into it at points. The song was a bit all over the place for her vocally. It was flat and sharp at times, it went too low then went a little too high. Not my favorite Majesty performance at all. Her worst is still pretty good, but for her it was a rough one. C+
Harry=She is a mystery because she goes from Janelle Monae to Coldplay to a Disney song. The downside is that she is spreading herself too stylistically thin. It was a strong performance, but because she is all over the place creatively she always has to be superb. She is on the right track.
Keith=That's a big song to sing. It moves around a lot. Most of it was good, thinks she needs to ease into a little more and not attack it.
Jennifer=She can be an animated voice. She can do anything she wants, genre wise. She has the capacity to do whatever she wants and that's a big positive.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Kinda. We didn't really agree or disagree. The judges talked more about her overall being on the show rather than this particular performance. I think this performance was subpar for her.

Caleb Johnson
I love this song choice for Caleb. He actually chose a song that is connected to a movie and not just by happenstance. This is the first time(I believe) that he sang a women's song. Sure it's from a Bond movie but the song is Adele. That said, until he got to the chorus it wasn't his best. He wasn't fully connected until the band really got going and the backup singers got with him. The middle-end was amazing, but I didn't really like the beginning. But, I love this song choice by him. So all in all pretty  good, not great. B
Keith=That was not predicable at all. Has such a great vocal gift. Great restrained but awesome power as well.
Jennifer=That was a perfect song choice. It took us away from the full rock but it was still him.
Harry= That was fantastic. Really hard to beat. The competition really started tonight.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Absolutely. Caleb's song choice was amazing. Sure he was a little off in the beginning but he does deliver on all cylinders all the time.

MK Nobilette
To Make You Feel My Love(Bob Dylan/Hope Floats)
When I think of this song I think Hope Floats starring the incomparable Harry Connick Jr. I mean, who doesn't? Right? Right? Anyways, this song is right in MK's wheelhouse. She still seems a little lost and stiff at times. I think her voice is one of the better ones on the show, it just is silky smooth, but her performance distracts me at time. If this was 1912 and MK was only on the radio and TV didn't exist then she'd be in good shape, but given that it's 2014 and we watch everything she is in a bit of trouble. B-
Jennifer=Put everyone in a nice romantic mood. Really loved that. Felt her trying to connect. 
Harry=Has star quality. When she sings and focuses it's great. She sits or stands when she sings. Cautions her to make sure she hits her runs well if she's gonna do them.
Keith=She looks like a star. Loved her voice, and she is still is working on her performance, but can see that she lost herself at some points in the song. Really really good.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. I don't know if she did quite enough to get herself out of the Bottom 3, or not be sent home, but if she is going out she is going out on a high note. 

Alex Preston
Falling Slowly(Glen Hansard/Once)
I first heard this song when Kris Allen performed it on Season 8. It's been done a few times since then, but never as good. Alex has chosen some stealthy songs, first Volcano performed famously by Idol champ Phillip Phillips, now Falling Slowly by another Idol winner Kris Allen. Alex tries to change it up a little, not with the full on melody or anything but he goes high when the notes low and vice versa. Once he gets to the chorus it's from the original. I like Alex's voice a lot, but some of the changes to the song took me out of it. I feel like he was trying to be creative for creative sake. Like he felt "I need to put my own spin so I'm gonna do this". It wasn't a naturally great performance by him. B
Harry=Nice that he can do something so simply stated and elegantly done. Is really proud of him.
Keith=His performances always hold his attention. He has a raw fragility to everything. Never phones it in and is always in the moment.
Jennifer=It was a perfect song. Sang it perfectly. Just beautiful.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Sorta. The dude can sing, he is a great artist, but I didn't like a few changes he made with the song itself, didn't feel like they were needed. 

Jena Irene
Jena really is so good when she is at the piano, and tonight was no different. I think this was a great song choice, from a really great band and lead singer. This song did a lot for Jena. It allowed her to show her rock side and vulnerability all at the same time. I love this side of Jena so much. This was by far he best performance of the season. She just pulled off everything. Jennifer and Keith give her a deserved standing ovation. A-
Keith=Love when she plays the piano, she has a ferocity when she performs, it's exhilarating. 
Jennifer=One of the best voices here. Most dynamics, gives great performances. She is the real thing. Best performance of the night.
Harry=Can feel that she had a big sigh of relief. She does her own thing. That was very very strong.
Do The Judges & I Agree? 100%. She killed this performance. Jennifer said "Best performance of the night" and I definitely agree.

Malaya Watson 
I Am Changing(Dreamgirls/Dreamgirls)
This song was more recently sung by Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls. I know Malaya has a big voice but it's not as controlled as Jennifer Hudson, so that made this performance tough to compare. But on it's own it was good. When she went for some of the runs it went off course a little. Some of the big notes were fantastic but some felt screamed. It was a little all over the place at times. Not as consistent as I would have liked. Jennifer and Keith gave another standing ovation. B
Jennifer=Perfect song. Perfect way to end the show.
Harry=Showed everyone that there is a big belter on this competition. 
Keith=Played to her strengths. Sometimes she needs to reign it in a little, but it comes with the territory given the show and the audience and getting caught up in it.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Sorta. The judges loved all of it, I loved most of it.

Bottom 3 Predictions/Going Home
1. MK Nobilette
2. Ben Briley
3. Dexter Roberts
Going Home?
MK Nobilette. I just feel she didn't do enough to save herself. I think she did a fine job, but I think so many of the contestants tonight stepped it up more. Nobody was atrocious, so I think that means if everything stays the same she will be going.

Final Thoughts

*First off Jena killed it tonight and I hope this propels her further because she has one of the most dynamic, exciting voices in the competition. Tonight I feel like I differed with the judges a good bit. I think that Alex, Caleb and Sam just weren't as good as they said they were. I still love them, and want them here but they just didn't sing their best. Dexter just sings karaoke every week, he is the best at karaoke but it's still the standard version at all time. CJ was good, not standing ovation worthy, same with Malaya. Ben could have cost himself. I think Jessica was pretty good, despite the band messing with her. MK is still likely in trouble given her track record.

*I feel like all night the judges were doing a lot of talking about the whole picture on the contestants rather than focusing on tonight's performance. Sure it's great to look at the past performances and see if they have grown or went backwards, but I would have loved to hear more critiques on the actual performance they did tonight. I think it's fine to talk about the future, but you can't forget the present.

*So instead of learning why the contestants chose the song they did, they decide to show us a 2 minute packaged clip of the other contestants imitating each other right before the contestant comes out to sing. I know it's an entertainment show and it's supposed to be funny, but I rather they show us the behind the scenes stuff that could possibly get us into the mindset of the contestant.I know Ryan tried to ask some contestants why they chose the song, but most just said they "liked it" or they "liked the movie". It didn't really get too deep. I not only wanna know why they chose a song but why perform it they way they do, why stand instead of sit? Why sit instead of stand? Why not move that much? Why move close to the judges? Those things would be interesting to see and hear.

*That whole real time voting thing continues and is still the worst thing Idol has done in awhile. Again, almost as soon as the final contestant leaves the stage they show us the results for everyone. Then "shockingly" the person who just went is in last place. Really? C'mon. It's such a waste of time. They are now also adding in the bonus feature of showing us how male voters rank the contestants and how female voters rank the contestants. I thought the Ford Commercials were bad, but this is idiotic.

That's it. Not a bad show tonight. A couple really nice performances, a few duds, but overall better than last week. Don't forget tomorrow's show is on at 9pm EST instead of 8pm EST. It's still a one hour show, just on one hour later. So until tomorrow, see ya!


  1. I have followed this site off and on for a few years and think you do an outstanding job with including photos, recaps, and how you format the content to make it easy to follow. Your comments are often on the mark with what I think. Keep up the great work and I hope you get a lot of views on this site (as it's well deserved). Unfortunately, I don't see many comments posted each week. I hope that changes someday. In regards to this season's idol, I'm happy they brought Harry in the mix to be more real and not so "I love every performance and want to cheer and stand up" like the other judges. It just seems so odd to see superstars that excited about amateur performances. In addition, the stage and screens and layout of the audience to me is very odd and takes away from the performance itself. Finally, I'm tired of seeing the family members (in some cases several times during a performance). Definitely getting old.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words. I am so glad you are reading the blog and enjoying it. I also hope that more people, like yourself, comment on the blog. I do hope that those that read the blog and come back to it are enjoying it, despite not commenting. I completly agree with you about Harry and him not giving standing ovations to these contestants. No matter what people say about Simon Cowell, in his 9 years on the show you can count on two hands how many times he stood up for a standing ovation. He didn't just give them away, someone really had to earn it. I think Harry is thinking (hopefully) the same thing. For me, no one has deserved a standing ovation this year. When you give them out all the time they lose meaning. It happened last year, and it happened a lot the year before with Steven and Jennifer. So I do hope that Keith and Jennifer are more selective with them, but I doubt it.