Thursday, March 12, 2015

Top 11 Revealed and Perform: Party Songs

Welcome back. Last night was pretty crazy, we had the reveal of America's Top 10, then they performed, then the Judges picked 2 Wildcards, who then performed, eliminating 4 other contestants. That was a lot to get to in only an hour. Tonight's episode is 2 hours and we will only have 11 performances and 1 elimination, so things should be at a better pace. The Judge's Save is in play, so that can be used at any point during the season until Top 5 week. Tonight is also the first real live show. So no editing of the judges or contestants. Last night we predicted Adanna, Daniel and Maddie as our Bottom 3 and we Predicted(hoped) that Daniel would be eliminated. In most likelihood he won't be, but he was definitely the 12th best performer out there last night. Tonight we will also finally get a look at Idol's new in-house mentor Scott Brochetta as he works with the contestants. 

Next week on this blog we will begin our Weekly Power Rankings. It's been tough to do that with the format and schedule as it has been, but next week will be like tonight, a 2 hour show. So without further ado, let's get started:

Top 11 Revealed and Perform

 Rayvon Owen
(Burn-Ellie Goulding)
Scott Borchetta tells us that Rayvon needs to push himself and run to his strengths, he says he has been just going through the motions. He says he has a great sense of himself but needs to step it up. During his performance Rayvon was trying to show a little more intensity. He relied on his falsetto a little too much and put it in spots that didn't work. He sounded out of breath at times. He found the groove when he hit the big note at the end, but it wasn't a fully great performance overall. 
Judge's Comments=Keith-Killer song choice. Sees him progress week to week. Jennifer-It was better than what she expected. Harry-Stronger performances but wants to challenge him to not have the same arc every-time, but wants to give the passion and fire from the first note, don't make end the climax every time.
Our Grade= B-

Maddie Walker
(She's Country-Jason Aldean)
Scott Borchetta tells us that Maddie is a future country siren. He gives her tips on how to perform and get better each week. She is the lone country singer left in the competition and the song tonight proved how country she is. I think she sounded off at parts. Her voice sounded strained at points and it didn't flow at other points. She looked more comfortable on stage and sounded more comfortable.We learn that she is sick and once she gets off stage she will see the doctor.
Judge's Comments= Jennifer-Great job, really good performance. Loves her attitude of sassy and sweet. Surprised at how strong her vocals are. Harry-Really can sing. Biggest concern is emulating and imitating. Sounded like she has imitated the original record from time to time. Keith-Good song. Taking chances. Sometimes she is overwhelmed by everything, but has an amazing talent.
Our Grade= B-

Joey Cook
(Fancy-Iggy Azalea)
Scott says that Joey is so uniquely cool and a real artist. She has been pushed last number of weeks and has grown from it. She takes this particular song and turns it into her own special unique way that only she could pull off. She spins it into a bluesy, funky, big bandish 1920s/1930s kind of song. I love her artistry. It started off a little weird, but I really got into this version. It was so different and creative. I really enjoyed it. Keith gave her a standing ovation.
Judge's Comments= Harry-Gives her A+ on the arrangement and sang it beautifully. Has started to finally believe that she is a star. Phenomenal. Keith-Has an artist presence. Like a moth to a flame. Pulls people in. Took the song because of the lyrics and made it her own. Jennifer-Smart choice because it is so popular. Would have loved a little more melody to it, but can see her doing an album like that one day.
Our Grade= A-

Guest Performance= From Empire, singing "No Apologies" is Jussie Smolett & Yazz.  I haven't started to watch Empire yet, I am waiting to binge watch it after the seasons ends. But my real question is WHY DOES AMERICAN IDOL THINK WE ARE STUPID? Ryan Seacrest comes out to introduce the guys, and we see the Judge's Chairs are empty and he says the Judges are "Watching from the balcony". This is crap. The performance was done yesterday, and the judge's are not in their chairs because they weren't there for the performance. You can also tell this isn't live because the audience was given Party Balloons for the theme of the night, and no one has a balloon in the audience during the performance. I don't get why Idol just can't be honest and say that this a pre-taped performance? Why the charade? Anyways it was a cool performance, but the lying really distracted me. It's American Idol Season 14, if anyone is half paying attention they know that things aren't what they appear on screen. 

Clark Beckham
(Taking It To The Streets-The Doobie Brothers)
Scott says that Clark is one of the best singers they got. Only struggle he has is can the rest of him catch up to his voice? Has been leaning on comfort songs, but time will come to step up to prove he is the next American Idol. Clark seems most comfortable on the piano, and he does that again tonight. His voice is on tonight and he seems to really get into the performance. He just hits certain crazy notes with such ease. I love his voice and his power.
Judge's Comments= Keith-Nice seeing him play piano. Be careful not to get confused by what he can do as a singer and what he must do as a performer. Wants to feel what he is trying to get out. Jennifer-He is awesome. Loves that he is really good on the piano. Has something natural already but it's keep adding to it and getting comfortable. Harry-Not favorite performance, but likes that he doesn't just perform he is an introspective guy, he tries to make the audience try to understand him.
Our Grade=B

(Blank Space-Taylor Swift)
Scott thinks she is the epitome of the great stuff in the 1980s mashed up into 2015. Is original and has great ideas. Thinks she has what it takes. This is one of the more popular songs out there right now, so that was a smart job by Jax. She doesn't turn the song into something we can't identify, so that's good, but she didn't make it entirely special. Her voice is really good, and it's interesting to hear her take on the song. There were parts of the song that were really good, but it went off the tune a little too much that it took away from the rest of the performance. I wish she did something different with the song.
Judge's Comments= Jennifer-Has a lot of fans. Super talented. Not sure if that was the right song choice for her, didn't really hear Jax. Got overtaken by the music. Didn't feel the special quality of her voice. Harry-One of her talents is to take an old song and make it new, and take a new song and make it different, this time it sounded like a carbon copy of Taylor's version, plus needs to pull the beat along. Keith-Good song choice because it's popular, but there was no Jax in there, was out of the melody and played the harmony at one point. The song held her back.
Our Grade= C

Qaasim Middleton
Scott says that Qaasim is one of best performers on the show, and he makes the show great. Not the strongest singer but has huge artist potential. Needs vocal ability to match his performance skills. This is the first time we have seen him play guitar and stay centered on stage and not running around. The guitar was more like a prop, because the band was so loud you really couldn't discern his guitar playing with anyone in the band. I don't know if this was a strong song choice to really place focus on his vocals, which was his intent tonight. Some of the low notes were too low, and it didn't flow sometimes. I liked when it was just the drums and the piano and he jammed a little and grooved. This was a mix of good and not so good. It was cool to see him try something different, but it also showcased his vulnerabilities too.
Judge's Comments= Harry-Don't think his performance matched what the song was trying to say. Is starting to turn into a one-trick pony in having crazy energy performances. Keith-Loved it. The guitar helped his singing. Jennifer-Makes every song a party. Waiting for the moment to really hear him sing. 
Our Grade=C+

Adanna Duru
(Runaway Baby-Bruno Mars)
Scott thinks she is broody, moody, dangerous. Convinced that next big American Idol is edgier and she is on the edge. The Bruno Mars version of this song is super fast, but Adanna slows it down just a bit, and it pays off because it helps her vocals to stay in control. She has great stage presence and her vocals were very strong tonight, best she has sounded in awhile. 
Judge's Comments=Keith-That is why she was saved. Is cool like Tina Turner. Jennifer-Stayed in so much more in control and was the master telling us how to feel. Everything was so much better. Harry-Coasted on the groove. More in control, so much more in tune. Better performances.
Our Grade=B+

Tyanna Jones
(Tightrope-Janelle Monae)
Scott loves her because everytime she hits the stage everything goes up a level. She knows when to throw it down and gets better every week. Has wisdom beyond her years. Her age is not a deficit. This is a very quick song, in terms of a lot of lyrics in a row without much breath, but Tyanna handles it really well. She tries to throw some Gospel out there, and does a little choreography. It was almost too much but because she has so much control she reigns it all in. It's pretty amazing actually. I feel I have heard her sing a little better before, but not by much. Jennifer and Keith give her a standing ovation. 
Judge's Comments= Jennifer-Sparkles on camera. Then got the goosies. So in control of everything, the vocal, style, the audience. It was so complete. Harry-If he was an Olympic judge he wouldn't have clapped or stood up but would have given her a 10. Keith-Loves that she wants to do this forever. Some people sing, but she sings like is privileged to be there and gets to do this. 
Our Grade=A-

Daniel Seavey
(Happy-Pharrell Williams)  
Jeez, he made it again...Scott thinks that when he smiles the whole room lights up. But he needs to back everything up vocally. Like Qaasim before, Daniel plays the guitar, but you can't hear him at all. It was nice, but super unspectacular.
Judge's Comments=Harry-Spent half an hour last night going over Daniel's past performances to figure him out. Reminded himself of how immensely talented he is. Just wants him to know it seemed more comfortable tonight. Keith-Gonna hear him next week, has great likeability, enjoyable to watch. Jennifer-Impossible not to root for him, even with some great competition left in the competition.
Our Grade=C-

 Quentin Alexander
(Rolling In The Deep-Adele)
Scott thinks he has great New Orleans vibe about him. He adds a funky beat to the song and although he makes it his own he keeps the song identifiable. I didn't love the arrangement as much as I wanted to. He started the song really strong, with just him and the backup singers and playing off one another, but when it got a little more funky it got a little ordinary. He is still a cool guy, and should stick around, but not his strongest performance or vocal.
Judge's Comments= Harry-Loved the way he started it. Loved the way he made the song his own and sang a female song. Jennifer-Brings a different flavor, always cool and soulful and solid. Harry-One of his greatest gifts is digging deep into the lyric, but felt it was a little shallow interpretation. Didn't see him get really into it, just floated around too much.
Our Grade=B-

Nick Fradiani
(Wake Me Up-Aloe Blacc)
Scott thinks Nick is a Pop hunk. Has a ton of experience but has always been in a band, now needs to be a solo star. A big time contender. He goes super acoustic with this version of the song. Unlike Daniel and Qaasim, you can hear Nick play the guitar, so that's a plus. The negative is that Nick was out of tune at times. It went a little off the pitch and off in general. It was okay, but not great.
Judge's Comments= Jennifer-Knows that there is so much emotion to be last to be told to go up there. Got a little screamy. Great song choice. Got a little away from him. Harry-Solid performance. Needs to crack open and be less shy. Keith-Strange to get away from the band. Gonna see him next week.
Our Grade=B-

Eliminated Unless Saved By The Judges= Sarina-Joi Crowe. So basically last night was a mess, but she has been so good so many other night's. Plus she went first yesterday, so she could have been overlooked. Sarina-Joi must sing for the Judges. She sings Neon Lights by Demi Lovato. This was the song that Sarina would have sung this week if she was picked for Top 11. This was definitely a better job by her than last night when it was messy and out of tune, but I wasn't completely impressed. Those big notes were still so good.

Is The Judge's Save Used? No. It was just too early in the season and competition for the Judges to use the save. But she is still fantastic and I'll miss her on the show.

Best of the Night= Joey Cook. I think Tyanna was stellar, Adanna stepped it up and Clark was solid, but Joey turned a rap song into a 1920s, jazzy/bluesy song and still left it incredibly enjoyable. She sang well, looked great, and really showcased herself amazingly. Great night by her.

Going Home Predictions

Should Go Home=Daniel Seavey
Will Go Home=Quentin Alexander

Final Thoughts

*Tonight was a really weird night. First off Sarina-Joi Crowe was eliminated too early. Then, there were some really great performances, but there were some stumbles as well, by some fan favorites and past front runners. I think Rayvon, Jax, Qaasim and even Nick just to name a few had off nights. I think they tried really hard, and try to please the judges and change things up or do things differently, but it ended up not working out that well for the most part. Tyanna stayed great, Adanna stepped it up and Joey was amazing. I loved her interpretation of Fancy. 

*We already spoke about it above, but Sarina-Joi being the first eliminated out of this Top 12 is so unfortunate. I know it's still early to use the Judge's Save, but I feel if this was Top 5 or Top 6 and she was on the verge of going home they would have saved her, but because it's way too early they couldn't. It's bad timing because she is really so good, and has delivered so many great performances.

*The Chairs Turn Green, The Chairs Turn Green! So a new feature to the show is that while the contestants are sitting on the side of the stage awaiting their fate their chairs are lit red, as soon as they make it into the Top 11 their chair turns green. Basically for the money American Idol wasted on those silly chairs I probably could pay off all of my college loans, just saying. Plus to add to the unnecessary, instead of the audience standing and waving their hands so high and out of tune right in the front, the producers gave them balloons to hold and wave, so now we get the balloons being out of sync with the music and being really distracting. Awesome job by the Idol producers tonight. Oh, and like I mentioned above, they lied about the Guest Performance being live. So the Producers should be in a Timeout for the terrible night they had.  

*I am gonna have to accept it...Daniel Seavey might be here to stay for awhile. He is a nice boy, he really is, but with Sarina-Joi going home and not him I start to dislike him more and more. The more great singers go, the more I will dislike and be spiteful of him staying. It's not particularly his fault, he is just doing what he has been doing this whole time. I felt it a few weeks ago, that although he should be gone he won't, when he stayed over some great talent that left, and now we are really into the nitty gritty of the show and it's still happening.

Next week the Top 10 will be revealed and perform and 1 contestant will be eliminated. The show will not air next Wednesday due to the Empire Season Finale, so come back here after the next new episode next Thursday 3/19. Until next time, see ya!

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