Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Top 5 Perform: Audience's Choice

Welcome back. Tonight the Top 5 will take on songs selected by America...sorta. The deal is that America tweeted in a number of selections and then the contestant's had to choose 2 songs from that list. So it's sort of America but they also get some freedom as well. We'll see how that goes. The contestant's get to have mentor Jason Mraz this week. Let's get to it:

I'dol Be The Judge's Power Rankings
After CJ's elimination we have a new bottom of our Power Rankings. I know that Jessica has been in the official Bottom 2 for 2 weeks in a row and Sam hasn't been there since he was eliminated then saved a few weeks ago, but he still isn't quite all there. He doesn't have enough emotion, and connection and vocal prowess that Jessica and the rest of the group does. Caleb had a big moment last week, and Alex faltered a little, while Jena continued her solid run through this show.

1.  Jena Irene-Same As Last Week
2. Caleb Johnson-Up 1 From Last Week
3. Alex Preston-Down 1 From Last Week

4. Jessica Meuse-Same As Last Week (Officially Bottom 2)
5. Sam Woolf-Same As Last Week

Top 5 Solo Performances #1
Alex Preston
(Sweater Weather-The Neighbourhood)
Jason Mraz likes that Alex switches things up even though Alex is kind of gun shy about doing so because he has gotten some mixed reviews from the judges. He tells Alex to project out instead of being inward. This was a pretty predictable song choice but it doesn't mean he didn't sing it really well. He adds his own little flares to it, but still keeps the original tune. It wasn't the most exciting performance, but it was solid, and just a tad safe. B
Keith=Wouldn't have minded hearing a bit more soaring. Has a good range and sometimes it gets a bit linear so wouldn't mind him going up.
Jennifer=It's an easy song for him. Wished he pushed it a little more to get it moving, especially given he is the first person.
Harry=A+ for remembering all the words. There are a lot of words. Sounds like the original singer's voice. Can hear him on the radio right now. Strong opening to the show.
Do The Judges & I Agree? We do. It was a very solid performance but it wasn't terribly exciting. I think he got a little nervous about going to far from the melody that he played it a bit safe.

Caleb Johnson
(I Don't Want To Miss A Thing-Aerosmith)
Jason Mraz thinks Caleb has an iconic voice all on his own.  Thinks he sometimes shuts down because he is so into the song, wants him to connect emotionally to the audience. The first few bars of the song were a little shaky. The way he presented this song was kind of an all or nothing, in that either the audience connects to him or they don't. The reason is because he sang it pretty straight. When Caleb hit the big note towards the end of the song he did it flawlessly, but it was all kind of one color. It didn't do much for me.  B-
Jennifer=That was a challenging song. Sang it beautifully. Took it more as a ballad and less scream and less Steven Tyler. 
Harry=Shows every week that he has a strong powerful voice. Needed to connect more to the audience in the room rather than just looking straight into the camera. Strong performance but could have been performer.
Keith=Great song for him. His voice and ability to perform is high but needs to go higher. Great range and ability but must let the feelings driving the ability not the other way around.
Do The Judges & I Agree? I Think So. He didn't connect that much and the energy was off. It strayed too far from the Aerosmith version.

Trio Perform
(Best Day of My Life-American Authors)
I thought we were done with trios and duets for a couple weeks, but that's not the case. Jena was the most comfortable and sounded the best, followed by Alex and Sam. It seemed the boys were being led by Jena.  Keith gives them a standing ovation but we don't hear from the judges this time.

Top 5 Performances #2

Jessica Meuse
(Human-Christina Perri) 
Jason Mraz toured with Christina Perri so he knows this song pretty well. He tells Jessica how to hold the guitar in different ways.  He wants her to open up when holding the microphone. I purposely listened to this song right before the show so I can get a good comparison. I think Jessica held her own. Her voice is just really beautiful and crisp and very distinctive. This song really allows her to bring the emotion easier. When she had to go for the big notes she hit them really well. This song has a lot of range and goes up and down and all around. I think she handled herself really well. B+
Harry=Could tell she was thinking about the input, favorite part was when you can see that she wants to get better . She was really focused on the meaning of the song. Really proud to see her try to improve.
Keith=Really good song. Is very country cool. Favorite part was when her voice started to break.
Jennifer=When she taps into the emotion of the song something happens. There was a natural moment when she got lost in what she was singing. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. I think the judges were a little understated, but they do that with Jessica every week. She has improved week to week. I don't know if she gained more viewers to stay out of the bottom, but she should.

Sam Woolf 
(Sing-Ed Sheeran) 
Jason Mraz thinks that he looks the same way all the way through the whole performance and doesn't change it. He wants Sam to groove a little more, but not focus on the guitar and just let go. This is a relatively new song. There is a point in the song that Ed Sheeran goes falsetto, Sam does not go that way, he just sings the same as he always does. He tries to release the guitar like Jason Mraz told him to, but it came off a little awkward. It was a little boring. He changed the song in the wrong way and made it standard. C+
Keith=That's a tough song. He didn't do the falsetto hook. Tough song.
Jennifer=Liked seeing him relaxed and comfortable on stage.
Harry=He did something different than what he usually does. He needs rhythm. He laid way too late on the vocals. Needs to be in the groove. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? Kinda. They didn't love the performance but didn't really blast it.

Jena Irene
(My Body-Young The Giant)
Jason wants her to not compromise her vocals for the big moments and moving around too much.  He just wants her to be comfortable. This is a big song, it's just all up. Jena moves around the stage and utilizes the whole place. She isn't jumping around, just walking around and getting the audience going. She makes the whole performance seem so easy, but that is one challenging song. Her voice was completely on point and made you think she was putting on a concert. Very well done. Keith gives her a standing ovation. A-
Jennifer=Sounded really good. Makes it her own. Likes that she is getting a signature style. 
Harry=Might be surprised about how the little things help her in the long room. Move more than anyone else in the competition and that's a huge thing. Moves to the beat, looks like she is having fun. 
Keith=Lean in performer and can play piano and can write songs. Is just killer.
Do The Judges & I Agree? For sure. She makes every performance seem as if we are at her concert and that she is the only one left in the competition..

Duet Performance
Caleb and Jessica
(Beast of Burden-The Rolling Stones)
I love that they are performing with each other and not just two solo people on the stage who happened to be standing next to one another. They sounded well together and really brought out the best in each other.

Top 5 Performances #3

Alex Preston
(Say Something-A Great Big World)
He sings it pretty standard but I don't mind because this song is so beautiful. It has a ton of emotion and it allows him to tap into that. He really nails it and stays in tune and just sings really well. One of my favorite performances of his in a really long time. Plus I really liked when the backup singer joined in with him, it added to the whole thing. Very nice job. A-
Harry= Fought the emotion of the song and didn't give into it. Performance of the night.
Keith=Perfect marriage of song and artist. Absolutely beautiful.
Jennifer=Looked amazing, the whole vibe and the whole performance was amazing.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yep. He just tapped right into the lyrics and the whole performance. The audience set Alex's song choice up on a tee and he hit a home run with it. 

Jena Irene
(Valerie-Amy Winehouse) 
Jena decides to make the song into a more funky version of the song.  It's not at all in the same rhythm or tone as the original and that's okay, but not great. I love the Amy Winehouse version but this was cool. There were a few moments that I wish she kind of took the song to a crazy place, but she maintained a ton of composure and delivered a solid performance. I was a little underwhelmed because I wish it picked up a little at one point, but it was still really good. B
Keith=Love that song, and loved the original version, but her vocals are killer and that kind of song is suited for her.
Jennifer=Not her best song. The tempo and arrangement wasn't entirely her. The song was a good choice, but expected more tempo from her.
Harry=Not her best or worst. Nice job by her. He was more interested in what her professional name will be after the show is over.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yea. I didn't dig the arrangement. Not saying she had to sing the song as the original, but her energy is bigger than the style allowed her. 

Sam Woolf
(How To Save A Life-The Fray)
Sam decides to sing this song as close to the original as one can go. He went off pitch a couple times when he tried to go off of the original. I have heard this song a lot in the past number of years so his version was not creative and it had some issues. Just like the other performance this was also a bit boring. C 
Jennifer=Shaky in the beginning, but then all of a sudden it got perfect for him. 
Harry=Perfect song choice. Some pitch issues, there is still a dynamic issue. All seems one volume. The last line of the song had a little bit of a cry and break to it. Wished the whole thing was like that.
Keith=The beginning was tough and then as song opened up he opened up and hit a new place.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Sorta. Again, the judges were a little muted with their criticisms. Them telling him that he sounded good at the end is absurd. You can't sound good at the end of a song and that makes up for it. The ends do not justify the means in this case.

Jessica Meuse
(Summertime Sadness-Lana Del Rey)
Jessica goes without her guitar, without the band, she is just out there all out on her own in a dress with her leg showing and her leg tattoo, it is a side of her we haven't seen of her. Really nice to see something different. She drags the microphone around the stage with her. Her voice hits some really beautiful notes, but it does get a little draggy at a couple points as well. The song isn't that great, but she did what she could with it. B
Harry=That is such a perfect song for her. Natural fit. Has an incredible voice. Stood there and sang. Was a perfect marriage of voice and song.
Keith=Good song choice. Has a deep part of her register that was brought out from the song. Wishes she could emotionally and dramatically lean into the song a bit more. 
Jennifer=Wanted her to dig in more. It all seemed to go somewhere but it didn't connect all the way, performance wise.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. I loved the dramatics of the performance and how it all looked but there were a couple points that didn't do much for me. It wasn't a complete performance.

Caleb Johnson
(Still Of The Night-Whitesnake) 
Caleb just rocked out on this song. This song was predictable and he didn't do anything different than what he usually does, but he knows exactly what to do with this kind of head banging crazy song. He screams and goes nuts, but then has some tender moments. No one does that kind of song better than him, they don't even try. Jennifer and Keith mid way through the song give him a standing ovation. I think I liked a couple of his performances a bit more than I did tonight, but this was still outstanding. A-
Keith=That was killer. Loves when he does those "tender ballads".
Jennifer=Brought down the house. Loves the band when they rock with him.
Harry=Can't sing that song any better than that. Fantastic. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? 100%. He really killed that song. He knows exactly how to bring the energy and intensity to a crazy level.

Bottom 2/Going Home Predictions
Bottom 2
1. Sam Woolf
2. Jessica Meuse

Going Home
Sam Woolf. He had 2 pretty boring performances and got some shaky critiques by the judges. I think the judges were a little more lenient on him than they were on Jessica and that gets me worried for her, but based on his performances alone he should be the one leaving the competition tomorrow night.

Final Thoughts

*Tonight was a good mix of some outstanding performances and some pretty good performances. I think Sam had the worst night of them all, but I think Alex, Caleb, Jessica and Jena each had at least one performance that was outstanding. They deserve to be Season 13's Top 4.

*Austin Mahone and Ryan Seacrest did an Idol Selfie. What? Who cares? Ariana Grande came out and gave Sam his microphone and gave him a hug, right before he sung? What? I don't see anyone hugging Jessica Meuse. This show's attempts at attracting younger viewers is silly. The ratings and demographics are what they are. Bringing in these "performers" to drop in and waste time are making the show look older than it is.It's one thing to be older and embrace being on the air for 13 years, it's another thing to try to look younger and stay hip. Being on the air for 13 years is a huge accomplishment. Sure the ratings are down but it is still FOX's biggest shows and bringing in Austin Mahone and Ariana Grande this week and Demi Lovato last week is unneeded.

*I wish we got to see what songs were on the contestant's list before they chose the songs they performed tonight. It would be interesting to see what their other options were and see if we agree or disagree with their choices.

That's it. Tomorrow we will find out which contestants will make the Top 4. It should be interesting to see who goes home and who lands in the bottom. So come on back here after tomorrow's show and until then, see ya!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Top 6 Results

Welcome back. Tonight another contestant will be eliminated. American Idol has been tweeting out that tonight's results are shocking. Given that 4 out of the 6 remaining contestants have been in the Bottom 3 or 2 that gets me a little concerned and curious about what's gonna occur.  Alex and Caleb have never been Bottom 3 or 2, Jena was Bottom 3 during Top 11 week so it's been awhile, but both CJ and Jessica have been nearly gone and Sam was actually eliminated and then saved.

So the most shocking results would be Alex, Caleb or Jena being eliminated, and that would be pretty terrible if they were gone before Sam or CJ who were picked as our Bottom 2 for last night, with CJ being selected as the one going home after having the weakest night of them all. We'll see how it all comes out. Let's get to it:

Ford Commercial
It was very Ford and very commercial. That means nothing and neither did the commercial.

Results #1 
Randy Jackson's Take=Caleb had an amazing night, took the roof off the place. Sam had a good solid night, Sam is starting to move up a little. With CJ the first song was good, the next song was not so good, he needs to give a better vocal performance.




Results #2
Randy Jackson's Take=Jena is looking incredibly strong, has the eye of the tiger. Alex continues to show his artistry, thinks he had a strong night. Jessica had a solid night but not sure if the performances gave the judges enough that they wanted to hear.



BOTTOM 2=Jessica

Bottom 2
1. CJ
2. Jessica


Going Home=CJ. America got it right this week. They really did. He had a tough night last night, and overall hasn't had any true moments in this competition. He has been solid, but never really was in the Top 3 at any point. I think he seems like a likeable enough guy, but the 5 people on stage left in this competition are the right 5. I am pleased with tonight's results.

Our Season Prediction Totals
Bottom 3/2= 1 of 2 Tonight. 15 of 23 Total.
Going Home=1 of 1 Tonight. 3 of 9 Total. 

Final Thoughts
*America did a good job tonight. Tonight's results were not shocking. If Caleb or Jena or even Alex was in Bottom 2 or sent home then I'd be shocked but this was correct and just.  Sam probably should have been Bottom 2 over Jessica, but the judges really aren't helping Jessica with their comments, even when they like what she does. CJ had a rough night last night, and despite Jennifer Lopez crying it was the right decision by America.

*I have to say America has gotten it right pretty much every week. Sure I wouldn't have minded Majesty or Malaya being around over Sam but it's definitely been  a good job by them throughout the Top 12.

*Next week's theme is America's choice. Supposedly America tweeted what they wanted each contestant to sing. I don't remember being asked. But despite the slight it'll be interesting to see what the public has chosen for them.

*The best performance of last night was Caleb's performance of "Sting Me" by Black Crowes. It was pretty crazy and all around really great. Check it out if you haven't already or want to again:

That's it. CJ has been eliminated and we are left with our Top 5. Not a bad Top 5. I'd say 3 of the 5 left have a great shot at winning and the other 2 can land at least in the finals if they pick great songs and are outstanding. I'll leave it up to you to decide which 3 and which 2 I am speaking of. Come back next week for another recap. So until then, see ya!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Top 6 Perform: Country & Rock & Roll

Welcome back. With last week's elimination of Dexter Roberts we are left with our Top 6. For the first time this season the contestant's will be singing 2 songs and be judged for both. Although the contestants have sung duets those "supposedly" haven't been judged and shouldn't be held for or against them when voting. In essence they were time wasters. Now, the contestants are going to sing 2 full songs on their own. Tonight they will sing one country song and then they will sing one rock and roll song. It should be interesting to hear some of these contestant's sing country, when they never have, and we'll see how more country-fied artists like CJ and Jessica do with some rock and roll. So let's get to it:

I'dol Be The Judge's Power Rankings
Despite not being in the official Bottom 2 CJ is still at the bottom of our list. He somehow gets by week after week and the judge's (mainly J.Lo) just eat it up. Jena had the best week last week by far and deserves the top spot on our list. Caleb and Alex are right near the top. Jessica had a tough time with the judges and her song choice and despite being in the Bottom 2 she can change it up quickly, while Sam continues to do the same thing week after week.

1.  Jena Irene-Up 1 From Last Week
2. Alex Preston-Down 1 From Last Week

3. Caleb Johnson-Same As Last Week
4. Jessica Meuse-Same As Last Week (Officially Bottom 2)
5. Sam Woolf-Same As Last Week
6.. CJ Harris-Up 1 From Last Week

Top 6 Perform Rock and Roll

Jena Irene
This is a cool song choice by Jena. She always gets into every performance and this one was no different. The band was up on stage with her and she plays around with them and works the stage like she owns it and then she sings with one of the back-up singers pretty flawlessly. This type of performance is right in her wheelhouse. She made the song even more rock than the original, I thought it was pretty amazing. A
Keith= Great way to start the show. Perfect song for voice and range. Killer performance. Only thing that could want is that she can release even more and cut loose.
Jennifer=Last week was a pivotal week, and it'll take any thing extra to push herself will help her win.
Harry=Great to sing that song. Such a strong voice and great match.
Do The Judges & I Agree? We do. Great way to start the show, she nailed it.

Sam Woolf
(It's Time-Imagine Dragons)
This is a rock song but not as fast and hard rocking as "Barracuda" was. Sam does a nice job with it. He sings on pitch and seems more focused on staying connected. I wish he let go a little more with his voice. It was a good song choice and that helped his performance, especially there was a really high note towards the end and he nailed it. One of Sam's better performances. B+
Jennifer= Got goosies on that one because she believed him in that song.
Harry=Perfect song choice. Great to see week to week how humble and sweet he is and keeps adding layers.
Keith=Good performance. 2 moments the high notes and last notes he just tapped into something. Has real pain and frustration and can tap into that because it will all explode.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. Sam was probably the best he has been, he loosened up, but can probably do more. 

CJ Harris
(American Woman-The Guess Who)
I like that CJ was forced to sing something other than country or mellow songs. I hate that before CJ even sings Jennifer is going nuts for him and dancing in her chair. This was more the Lenny Kravitz version of the song, rather than the original, so that was a smart choice on CJ's part. He still sings out of tune from time to time though. B-
Harry=Thought it was a good performance. Good song choice. Needs to keep working on intonation. Needs to sing more in tune and focus. Has done better. Pretty good.
Keith=That song was all attitude and CJ is a sweet guy, it was disconnected in that way. Needs to find that emotion somewhere.
Jennifer=Love the look, looks the part. Pulled it off. Started off a little shaky in the beginning but then it came together.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yep. He did a decent job, but nothing spectacular.

Alex Preston
(Animal-Neon Trees)
This song has never been performed on the Idol stage before so it's refreshing to hear something new and fun and current. I really like this song choice for Alex. I don't know if anyone else could pull it off as well as he did. He didn't change the song up or doing something crazy with it, he added his own personal style to it, and that's good sometimes. Sure he has sounded better at times, especially when he changes things up and personalizes it. B
Keith=Wanted him to release a little more. The band and song was on top of him a little. Wasn't quite dominating in that song.
Jennifer= With a song like that you expect much more, and there was something missing. It was a little contained.
Harry=Consistent and always a sensitive thoughtful performer. Can get a bit of a pass because he is so good all the time. Almost seemed he couldn't get centered and catch his breath. 
Do The Judges & I Agree?  Sorta. I can see what they are saying in that he didn't get  into the song as much as he should have. When you see Neon Trees perform that song the lead singer goes pretty much all over the place, Alex kinda stayed in one zone and one mode. 

Caleb Johnson
(Sting Me-Black Crowes)
There is nothing better than Caleb with the band on stage with him. He is one of, if not the most consistent performer that we have left. This was right in his zone and it couldn't have been much better than what he did. That last note was super high and very rock and roll and he nailed it. Jennifer gives Caleb a standing ovation. Caleb put everything out there and just delivered. So good. There was a point where he lost his microphone and it rolled away but Caleb continued on like nothing happened and just went with it. It for sure wasn't planned, it just sorta happened but he didn't lose a note or moment. He's a true performer.  A
Jennifer= He lost his mind out there and is just a true performer. Did an amazing job. Created a moment.
Harry=Perfect song choice and coupled it with an incredible performance. Virtually impossible to beat.
Keith=Killed that song, even though he had a moment when the mic went one way he went another he just owned that song and performance.
Do The Judges & I Agree? 100%. He really killed that song and laid it all out there. When the judges say that some of the contestants need to let go they should look at Caleb and see what he just did.

Jessica Meuse
(Somebody To Love-Jefferson Airplane)
This song has never performed on the show before and that shocks me because it's one of the greatest songs ever. Jessica seemed really into the performance, she had her comfort zone of the guitar with her, the band was out on stage with her and Jessica hit some crazy good notes. She was right in the pocket at every turn. This was a perfect song choice for her. B+
Harry= Presented her voice in the strongest way possible. Did everything what was asked of her. Super strong.
Keith=Vocally strong and played to her tonal strengths. Would love a little more release. 
Jennifer=Needs to be more free and wants her energy of her body to match the energy of her voice.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Maybe. Other than Harry they didn't give her a lot of credit for the song, they gave her feedback and tips to improve but didn't go too far into how well she has progressed.

Top 6 Perform Country

Sam Woolf
(You're Still The One-Shania Twain)
This was an interesting song choice. I know that this song is from a country singer but this was a song that brought her Pop fans, so it wasn't full country. Sam looked a little shaken on stage at times. He goes to the fans at one point and tries to move around. He is a sweet kid and this was a sweet performance, but it didn't provide me with thinking that it was spectacular. It was good.C+
Keith=Good song lyrically. Needs to relax more. That song is like a lullaby. Has some moments.
Jennifer=You're so cute it's crazy. Good song, sang it well. Needs to get better at tapping into moments.
Harry=Found the people, and not singing it so perfectly, didn't have any dynamics. Needs connection to the people, and now needs it for the lyrics.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Sorta. They never full out say he does something wrong, like didn't connect, they just say he needs to work on it. So they kind of agree that it wasn't great.

Caleb Johnson
(Undo It-Carrie Underwood)
This was a smart song choice by Caleb, because it was country but had some rock in there as well. He proved that it doesn't matter the genre, he is gonna go all out. It's tough to top what he did earlier in the show but this was a really solid performance. B+
Jennifer=Hard to top the last performance. Did a great job with the song. This was a great performance but the first one was so epic.
Harry=The magic happened on the first song, and this one seemed a little forced, but this was a great night. Difficult not to compare the two.
Keith=Can't wait to hear what country song he sings later...
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yup. He put so much emotion and craziness into the last performance so it would be tough to top it, but this was still solid.

 Alex Preston
(Always On My Mind-Willie Nelson)
This was like a lullaby and super sweet. He made it his own, but kept a ton from the original. I think the band messed him up a little, and he went off tune a bit in the middle of the song. It was really effective when he was on his own without the band. It wasn't a ton of band accompaniment, but enough to mess him up for a second. He rebounded really nicely though. B+
Harry=Feels lucky to have heard him sing this song. Exactly what it should have been. Sang it beautifully, changed it a little. He is an artist and did a terrific job.
Keith=Has a really strong style. That song is heartbreaking and would have loved a little more heartbreak in the performance, heard it but didn't feel it.
Jennifer=It was really beautiful. Had the perfect balance of changing it up but keeping true to the original.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. He did a nice job at changing it up but being true to the original version. He seemed more comfortable and at ease.

 Jena Irene
(So Small-Carrie Underwood)
I thought the beginning of the song was a little rough, it didn't flow for a second, but then she got to the chorus and meat of the song and she sounded so beautiful. Jena was very tender and sweet with the song, which is a stark contrast with how hard and energized she was for her first performance. That's a good sign for her that she can tap into both and do well with both. A-
Keith=Such a good singer. You're everything that Idol is about. Gets better and better every week.
Jennifer=The power of the vocal just takes over and makes her get into the story and the song. Got goosies again.
Harry=This song has a tough melody. Didn't really where she was going with it. A lot of people love her because of her fantastic voice and consistent performances.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Sorta. Harry didn't think it was so great but Harry and Jennifer did.

 CJ Harris
(Whatever It Is-The Zac Brown Band)
This is the style of song that CJ prefers to sing, but it doesn't take him out of his comfort zone. There were a few times that he didn't finish his sentences, like it just trailed off. One of the runs didn't work out so well and fell a little flat.  C
Jennifer=More his style. Expected more from him. Didn't hit the mark.
Harry=Wasn't his best performances. Needs to pick a song that will kill. That song was too easy and mellow. Can't get by with performances and song choices like that.
Keith= Love him as a guy. That song is a great song for the original not for CJ. Sang sharp a lot of the time. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yep. This was not a good song choice and not a good performance.

Jessica Meuse
(Jolene-Dolly Parton)
This was a perfect song choice, maybe a little predictable, but Jessica put a rock flair to it, it wasn't the original Dolly Parton version. I might have liked her doing the Dolly Parton version rather than have the band go pretty much all out. My favorite part was when the band was a little softer and we can really focus on her voice. I think it was a calculated risk and I don't know if it fully worked. B-
Harry= Did it again, stood there a delivered in a strong and convincing way.
Keith=It was a strong vocal and performance. Hated the arrangement of the song. Didn't need the darkness and weight of the band. 
Jennifer=Thought her vocal was really strong. Felt the connection behind her eyes. Her voice is magnificent.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Kinda.  Her vocal was so good, but I didn't like the arrangement, like Keith. I think she could have sang the original version really well or changed it up slightly. I think she did a little too much with it.

Bottom 2 Predictions/Going Home
Bottom 2
1. CJ Harris
2. Sam Woolf

Going Home
CJ Harris. I think he needed to step it up for country week and he didn't. He got mild reviews on his first song and not so great reviews on his last song. He probably should have been gone a few weeks ago, but I think after tonight he really should be the one going home tomorrow.

Final Thoughts
*There were so many really great moments tonight. I thought Caleb killed it, Jena was really powerful, on both of her songs, Jessica stepped it up after a disappointing week last week and Alex was very sweet on one of his performances.  Sam did a decent job but nothing outstanding and CJ is in some trouble. He is the most country and blusey contestant left and needed to stand out. He needed to do to country what Caleb did to rock and he just didn't.

*I say it week after week but that Super Vote update thing is nonsense. It needs to go, as does us being shown the judges dancing in their seats, mainly Keith and Jennifer, but mainly Jennifer. I want to see how these contestants perform not the judges.

*Overall a pretty strong showing tonight. Not too many complaints, not as many nonsense moments or filler moments. Last week was crazy with all the drop ins and time wasters. This one was more focused, probably because the contestants had to sing twice.

That's it. A good night tonight. It'll be interesting to see how the votes go. We are getting down to some really good contestants left. So come on back here tomorrow. Until then, see ya!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Top 7 Results

Welcome back. Last night's theme was "competitor's picks", but it really should have been called "same old same old", because some of the performances were very safe and predictable and have been seen week after week. We chose CJ and Jessica as our Bottom 2 and CJ being the one sent home. Jessica got some tough feedback from the judges, and only based on that do we pick her for the Bottom, based on last night and overall performances Dexter would be our choice, if there was a Bottom 3, which they don't do anymore. For CJ, he just hasn't progressed over the past number of weeks, he isn't terrrible he just has yet to connect and have consistent great performances while many others have. Anyways, let's get to it:

Ford Mustang Commercial
All the contestants want a Ford Mustang.  That's about it for that time-waster...I mean super fun commercial.

Results #1
Randy Jackson's Take=Dexter had a good performance and has a rangy voice and should take some chances and put a spin on songs.  Alex knows when to take simple things and make them bigger, he is developing into a great artist. Jena is the one to beat right now, everyone else needs to step up to the plate.



Bottom 2=DEXTER

Result #2
Randy Jackson's Take=CJ did a good job, wanted him to take more vocal liberties, wanted him to nail more energy at the end. Jessica took on a tough artist(Miranda Lambert), it should be interesting to see where she lands with the votes. Sam's performance was good, but he has to do more winning performances if he sticks around. Caleb started last night on a high, he has been consistent every week and is graded an "A".




Bottom 2=JESSICA

Bottom 2
1. Dexter
2. Jessica


Going Home=Dexter. I give Dexter credit he had a few solid performances in the past number of weeks. He started off really rough, then found a bit of a groove, but last night was not that good at all. I still think CJ should have went home before Dexter, but I am happy that Jessica did not before Dexter. So good run by Dexter a solid 7th place is nothing to be mad about.

Our Season Prediction Totals
Bottom 3/2= 1 of 2 Tonight. 14 of 22 in Total.

Going Home= 0 of 1 Tonight. 2 of 7 in Total.

Final Thoughts

*Who is voting for CJ? The dude does the same shtick week after week. He isn't any worse than he usually is, but he doesn't get any better, he doesn't push himself. Dexter had at least a couple better performances than CJ. I am not mad at Dexter going home, and am happy that Jessica stuck around, but CJ needs to step it up next week if he wants to have a rightful place in the Top 5.

*Only 2 of the remaining 6 have yet to enter the Bottom 3 or Bottom 2, Caleb and Alex. Every other person has been there at least once. Jena was there at Top 12, Jessica was there once tonight, and CJ and Sam have been there a couple of times. There have been winners that have entered Bottom 3 or 2, but not many, we'll see where history lands for this season.

*By a long shot Jena was out favorite last night. She is our pick for best of the night and is our choice of video of the week. If you didn't get to see Jena's performance of "Creep" please do so now:

That's it. Dexter is eliminated and we are down to our Top 6. Next week the contestant's sing 2 solo performances with the theme "A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock and Roll". Could be interesting to see how they handle singing 2 songs that are being judged equally, not like the silly duets. So until next week, see ya!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Top 7 Perform: Competitor's Picks

Welcome back. This week's theme 'could' potentially be interesting, it's "Competitor's Picks". The contestant's will receive their song selection from their competitors. Hopefully some of the picks will be creative and a little less predictable then what we have had the past number of weeks from some of these contestants.

With last week's elimination of Malaya we are left with 5 guys and 2 ladies, which is a far cry from last season's 5-week in a row elimination of men, leading to a Final 5 of all women.  I guess we will see what happens this week. Let's get to it:

I'dol Be The Judge's Power Rankings
This past week provided little-to-no movement on our rankings chart. The only reason those on the Bottom gained any movement up the power rankings is due to the elimination of Malaya. For instance, CJ, Sam and to a lesser extent Dexter have only have outlasted people more than done something to really move up. Alex, Jena, Caleb and Jessica each didn't have the best feedback by the judge's  last week but have yet to enter the Bottom 3 or 2 this past week, therefore their places on this list remain unchanged.

1. Alex Preston-Same As Last Week
2. Jena Irene-Same As Last Week
3. Caleb Johnson-Same As Last Week
4. Jessica Meuse-Same As Last Week
5. Dexter Roberts-Up 1 From Last Week
6. Sam Woolf-Up 1 From Last Week
7. CJ Harris-Up 1 From Last Week (Officially Bottom 2)

Explanation of Theme
Each contestant gives their picks for every other contestant, then out of that list the contestant gets to choose whatever they want. So it's not as narrow as I would have liked it to be, but it's something. I guess it's also possible that each contestant just tells one of their fellow competitor's what they want to sing, then adds it to the list and then they ultimately choose their own song. But maybe that's just the cynic in me, maybe I just watch too much Survivor and think there are alliances and colluding, but there are some ways around not getting stuck with a song you don't wanna sing.

Top 7 Perform

Caleb Johnson
Alex's Pick (Family Tree-King's of Leon)
We are told 5 Facts about each contestant. Caleb=Huge Tennis Fan. Snores Loud. Extremely terrified of the dark and spiders. Huge Fan of Horror/Cult Films. Wanted to be a Movie Director. This is one of the more current artists that Caleb has performed on the show. He is usually a very 70s/80s kind of guy, so it's nice to hear something just as rock influenced but current as well. I love Alex's choice for Caleb. He really jams with the band and gets going. Really good way to start the show. A-
Keith=Loves that song. Took it way up to highlight his strengths. Consistent performer week after week.
Jennifer=That was pretty amazing. Everyone else has to raise their game now.
Harry=Great to see him so happy to sing that song. He did his own thing, can see it on his own record. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? Absolutely. Caleb started the show off really well. It was current and fun and he looked really comfortable out there.

Jessica Meuse
Sam's Pick (Gunpowder & Lead-Miranda Lambert)
5 Facts=Has 8 Tattoos and designed 7 of them. Favorite animal is a Wolf. Got rejected from a music school. Chased by a pony.  Believes in aliens because there is no way we are alone, might have been abducted. Sans her guitar again the beginning of the song really focuses on Jessica's voice. I like how Jessica moved around the stage a little more naturally, it didn't seem quite as choreographed. Her voice is always on point for the most part, but tonight it wavered at a few points, it wasn't flawless, but it wasn't that bad You can tell she is really pushing herself to break out of her shell and try something different. But her voice at times didn't hit like it usually does. B-
Jennifer=Was a little off in the verses. Seemed a little bit uncomfortable. Didn't seem natural.
Harry=Not the best performance. Lack of rhythmic delivery, needs to go back to the hotel and listen to hip hop or funk so she can get some rhythm in her body. 
Keith= Loves her voice, when she gets the right song she can speak to her. Way better than that performance. Needs to get centered and get serious to commit to the lyrics.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Sorta. It wasn't her best, but they really slammed Jessica tonight.

*We Interrupt This Program*-In the middle of the show and these performances Demi Lovato, who just "happened to be backstage hanging out with Ryan Seacrest", comes out to discuss her just finished tour and her upcoming one in the summer. Then she goes and sits with Randy on the side of the stage. This was pretty ridiculous. I wonder if this was part of her X-Factor contract last season, some sort of incentive to sign on to that ridiculous show?

Duet #1
Sam and Alex
Let Her Go-Passenger
From the pre-packaged clips we learn that Sam and Alex jam all the time behind the scenes. So they wanted to bring that to us, but out on stage. It was fine. Probably the most correct duet pairing they could have. They work well together. Harry liked the couch they were singing on. It was a bit more saccharin, it was sweet, but it was just okay. Keith thought it was cute, but not a good duet. Jennifer thought the girls in the studio loved it. From her side perch Demi wanted them to do more with it, would have liked to see something more exciting. She was a former judge so I don't mind her opinion, at least on these nonsense/time-waster duets.

*We Interrupt This Program*-Terry Bradshaw is now on stage. Yes, FOX's football analyst Terry Bradshaw. Jeez. Who else from FOX can we get on this show...stay tuned

Solo Performances #2

CJ Harris
Caleb's Pick(Gravity-John Mayer)
5 Facts=Loves watching Sponge Bob Square Pants. Loves to Grill. Loves to Take Pictures. Would have been a comic if not a singer. Is a neat freak.  This is a pretty predictable song choice. He played it pretty safe, given that he has already sung John Mayer this season, a few weeks ago actually. I am not saying that this was a bad performance, in fact there we some moments that were quite pretty, it's just that I have heard him sing this kind of song and he has done this type of performance every week. I'm mixed about this performance. I don't think he did any better than last week or the week before. We will see how viewers think about CJ during the results tomorrow.  C+
Keith=Good song. Good performance. Wanted him to have more of an arc. His voice is a bullseye.
Jennifer=Getting more comfortable up there. Needs to start looking for the moments that lift the crowd.
Harry=Arguably greatest gift which is the ability to connect to the audience. Best performance to date.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. He did a nice job, but it was just one of the same as always kind of performances. The judges want him to give a bit more and make more of a moment.

Dexter Roberts
CJ's Pick (Muckalee Creek Water-Lee Brown)
5 Facts=Adrenaline Junkie and wants To Sky Dive. Loves Strawberries. Loves Crickets. 1st Plane Ride Sucked. Rode in Rodeos. I am not familiar with this song, but it's all country and it's in Dexter's comfort zone. I couldn't hear some of the words that Dexter was saying, maybe it's because I don't know the song, but I think that means he should have tried harder. This was a very easy song choice by Dexter. I know CJ picked it for him, but Dexter would have picked this song. He sang it well again, but it was again, so predictable. C+
Keith=Likes the song. The melody was down and he over-sung at times. Adrenaline pulled him out of the key.
Jennifer=This had a bit of an edge to it that showed a different side of him. These performances need to be spectacular. The room has to rattle and shake.
Harry=Liked the arrangement of the song. Didn't do anything differently from the original vocal. Not a whole lot of melody. Wants to hear him sing other things that singing along to the radio. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yep. It was a very predictable song choice that could have been found at a karaoke bar. He always sings well, just not original.

Duet #2
Caleb & Jena
Gimme Shelter-The Rolling Stones
I love this song, easily one of my favorite Rolling Stones' songs. I would have loved to see either one of them do this song as a solo.  They sounded great on it, I think Jena slayed the song. Jennifer thought that was a moment. Harry thought it was really cool. Jennifer also loved Jena's bangs. Keith thinks Jena killed it but is still waiting for someone to let loose. Demi Lovato thinks they killed it and was so excited from all the energy.

Solo Performances #3

Alex Preston
Dexter's Pick (The A-Team-Ed Sheeran)
5 Facts=Likes To Garden. Enjoys Cooking.Loves Freestyle Skiing. Would Have Been a Dermatologist if not a singer. Was Linebacker in Football. This is a song that Alex has done in his early Idol life, so it was an easy choice, but a really nice one. Alex seemed more at ease this week than how he did last week. If last week strayed far from the melody and original this one was the opposite.  He just sang it well and hit some really great high notes. I felt a little more emotion coming from Alex tonight. B+
Jennifer=Deserved all the applause and accolades. Perfect song choice.
Harry=Perfect song. Great beauty in small moments, his conviction in that world is so strong. Best performance of the night.
Keith=Got his signature things and makes things so natural. Responds naturally to make cover songs into Alex songs.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yup. He makes even safe choices into great choices and does more than just karaoke.

Sam Woolf
Jessica's Pick (Sail Away-David Gray)
5 Facts= Likes To Climb Things/Roofs. Not an Athlete. First Song He Wrote Was Called "Thinking of You". Pulls Pranks on his grandparents. Used to Skateboard. This week Sam is not in the pit of audience girls, so that's a step in the right direction. I think this was a really decent song choice for Sam. You can see him really trying to look into the camera. I wasn't jumping for joy or anything for this performance, but I was pretty pleased with his vocals as a whole. B
Harry=Work in progress. Making more progress week to week. Biggest issue was song choice. Good song, but it wasn't a huge familiar song so for him he needs bigger songs.
Keith=Liked the way he is trying to get comfortable. Keep doing what he is doing. 
Jennifer=Didn't feel the connection up close, but can see it on screen. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yep. He is definitely trying to do better. He just isn't fully there yet.

Trio #1
CJ, Dexter and Jessica
Compass-Lady Antebellum
These 3 are all from Alabama, so it's a good fit for them to be together. The performance for the most part was just OK. Harry didn't think this was good. It was out of tune, it was flat. Keith didn't think them singing together worked. Demi Lovato thinks Jessica has a beautiful voice, individually they sounded good, but together it didn't all come together.

Solo Performances #4

Jena Irene
Caleb's Pick (Creep-Radiohead)
5 Facts= Wrote 1st song in 6th Grade. Peed pants 1st show with band(age 12). Would be a makeup artist if not singer. Took ballet. Wants to get a skull tattoo when she turns 18. She starts the song at the piano. I love the song a lot. Jena's voice is so good. The way they go from the piano to the guitar and band was amazing. Jena stays at the piano the whole time but makes you feel the connection no matter if she is sitting and playing or standing up on stage. Jennifer and Keith give Jena a much deserved standing ovation. One of my favorites from Jena thus far. A
Keith=Loved it. Loved her fearlessness and bold. Owned the song.
Jennifer=Can sing anything. Jena-fy everything. So beautiful. Will be here for the long haul.
Harry=Phenomenal talent. Sings with great humility and intrigue. Unquestionably the best performance of the night. Extraordinarily talented and did some major damage tonight.
Do The Judges and I Agree? 100% Jena killed the song, the performance everything.Best of the night.

Bottom 2 & Going Home Predictions
Bottom 2
1. CJ Harris
2. Jessica Meuse

Going Home
CJ Harris. I just don't think he did any better than he did last week, and if he was Bottom 2 last week, and Malaya is gone, then I don't see him getting any more votes than what he has had, which would make him the least vote getter contestant. At this point other contestant's track records are more accomplished and more memorable. CJ has done pretty well at times, but he has outlasted a couple of competitors that probably shouldn't have gone home before him. I think if the audience doesn't get swayed by the judge's into thinking Jessica should be the one going home, then CJ will end his journey tomorrow night.

Final Thoughts

*Other than Jena's amazing performance this was a night of predictable safe choices.  I don't think it is a mystery or a big revelation that the 2 or 3 best performances were the least safe and the most current, Jena and Caleb. I thought Alex, CJ, Sam and Dexter each gave really standard, safe performances that I've seen week after week. Jessica tried to step out of her comfort zone but got nailed by the judge's a bit on her voice. No one can blame Jena for these song choices since no one picked one of her choices. Caleb got 2 selections. I wonder why Jena wasn't picked given how good she is at picking songs for herself.

* Because of the time wasters the judge's couldn't properly give Jena accolades and rain more great comments on her. Both Keith and Jennifer said they would say more positive things if they had time. There is no reason that any contestant, especially one that delievers such an amazing performance at the end of the show shouldn't get just as much time, or more time, spent on them than those that go earlier in the show. I am so tired of the time wasters. We had duets/trios that we are told don't mean anything, we had "special" drop ins from Demi Lovato and Terry Bradshaw, Martin Garrix(a singer/songwriter), Ronda Rousey(UFC champion). We learned 5 more things about these contestants, even though they did this segment a couple of weeks ago. It's just so much time wasted. If the show can't deliver 2 hours worth of really good stuff then make the show 90 minutes or an hour. With each song only about 90 seconds there is no reason they couldn't make this a really great 1-hour show, instead of really bloated 2 hour show. I know FOX doesn't have a ton of great programming but this could be one of the reasons that viewers are tuning out. 2 hours is a lot to commit to week to week, especially when those 2 hours aren't being properly utilized.

*I am so tired of seeing Jennifer Lopez jamming out to some of these contestants, and the camera really focusing on her. I rather hear what she has to say, rather than seeing what she is thinking. I also am trying to watch the contestant's to figure out if I like it, not be conned into liking something or not liking something based on the judge's faces, especially Jennifer Lopez's.

That's it. Kind of a mixed bag of a night. Some good, some not so good, some predictable and some unpredictable. We will be back here tomorrow when another contestant will be eliminated. So come back here then, and until tomorrow, see ya!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Top 8 Redux Results

Welcome back. Last night was not the best night in the competition, it was a little draggy, no crazy, ridiculous performances. There were some solid performances, but there were a few not so great ones that weren't really focused on by the judges. The judges probably had their worst night last night. We predicted Malaya, CJ and Jessica to be Bottom 3, with CJ going home. If they decide to do a Bottom 2 then we would pick Malaya and CJ. After reading some reviews and watching the clips back a little Malaya and CJ were pretty awful and the judges really didn't knock them for it. I didn't quite get it then, and I don't quite get it now. Because of that reason the person most deserving to go home might not. Without the judge's save someone most definitely will be going home, so we will see who that is. So let's get to it:

Results #1

Randy's Take=Dexter tried to give the judges what they wanted but he still has a lot of growth to do in the competition. Loved that CJ took the song to the high octave so you can hear the cry in his voice. He thinks Jessica had the vocals but not the attitude, she did enough to keep her safe with voters. Caleb showed a completely different side of himself.




Bottom 2=CJ

Results #2
Randys Take=Sam had a moment and proved why he should be in the competition. Malaya hit some notes but not some and could be in trouble with some votes. Alex went too far from the original with his arrangement. Jena was good enough to keep her out of the bottom.




Bottom 2=Malaya

Bottom 2
1. CJ
2. Malaya


Going Home=Malaya. She had a really rough night last night, was in Bottom 3 or 2 a couple of times and couldn't really rebound. I still think that CJ should have gone over her, just like Majesty should have stayed before him as well, but this is the way it is. She had a few really nice performances but her inexperience and tough song choices didn't favor well with the listening audience.

Our Season Prediction Totals

Bottom 3/2= 2 of 2 Tonight. 13 out of 20 in Total.

Going Home= 0 of 1 Tonight. 2 of 7 in Total.

Final Thoughts

*CJ is outlasting a lot of people that probably should be around. Majesty, Sam(who would have been gone if not for the save) and Malaya have all shown to be better performers and have had better performances than he has, yet he is still around. I don't quite understand why. The judges loved him last night, but he was really awful, not saying that Malaya didn't deserve to go home, because she also had a real tough night, but CJ's resume is a lot worse.

*Last season they didn't start going to Bottom 2 results, rather than than Bottom 3 results until Top 7 week. In Season 11 they didn't do Bottom 2 results until Top 5 week. It's interesting that they started a little early to do this. Not quite sure why we can't know who is in the Bottom 3 at this point. It's good to know where people stand.I wonder if Sam was in the Bottom 3 and the producers didn't want the judges to look bad for saving a guy that just landed right back towards the bottom. That's my thought.

*The best performance of last night was a tough one. But because I have yet to pick him as the best of the week I will pick Dexter. He has had a couple decent weeks in a row so I'll let him be our choice, even if it's a little bit by default:

That's it. Malaya is gone and we are left with a very male dominated Top 7. Next week hopefully will be more consistent and bring a little more energy than this week. So until next time, see ya!