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!

1 comment:

  1. The show was "average" in my view. We had the usual better performers and the usual not so good ones. Not much changed on the ranking. I think Jena's performance at the end was overrated and not as good as the judges and this blogger claims. I watched it back twice and her voice was not that good in spots. I think she relies on the drama/edge and her good looks in her performances but when looking objectively I haven't been that impressed. It doesn't matter though because everyone has been hand fed by the judges to think she is the front-runner so nothing will probably change there because of the perception that she is so good. On the flip side, the judges have something against Jessica and seem more critical to her as time goes on. As always, I enjoyed the recap here.