Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Top 5 Revealed & Peform: Arena Anthem Songs

Welcome back. We are inching closer to the finale and are left with 6 contestants, and after tonight only 5 will remain. Last week Rayvon, for the third time, staved off elimination and Joey Cook went home. It's quite interesting that he has enough fans to save him each week, but not enough to keep him out of the bottom at any point. This week the contestants will be performing Arena Anthem songs. 2 members of the U.S.A soccer team will be stopping by Idol, so I guess it's an appropriate theme.

Tonight any contestant that is SAFE will make the Idol Summer Tour. Plus tonight is the last night of the Twitter-Fan Save. So at Top 5 it's whoever is Bottom goes home. So a couple big issues going on tonight.

We chose Rayvon and Quentin as the Bottom 2, and (again) Rayvon as the one going home. Tyanna probably had a tougher time last week, but Quentin had that weird/awkward/uncomfortable moment with Harry Connick Jr, and the general audience sometimes can't get around those kind of things.  Let's see what happens:

Top 6 Weekly Rankings
1. Clark Beckham (Same As Last Week)
2. Jax (Up 2 From Last Week)
3. Tyanna Jones( Down 1 From Last Week)
4. Nick Fradiani (Up 1 From Last Week)
5. Quentin Alexander (Down 1 From Last Week)
6. Rayvon Owen (Same As Last Week) Officially Bottom 2 Last Week

U.S.A Soccer Announcement
The reason that two members of the U.S.A Women's Soccer team is here tonight is to announce that the winner of American Idol will perform the theme song for FOX's coverage of the Women's FIFA World Cup. So that's a pretty big honor.

Performances & Bottom 2 Revealed Round 1

(Are You Gonna Be My Girl/Guy-Jet)
We learn that Jax's parents thought she was going to be so much that they just kept the name they originally planned. We also hear more about how Jax's Dad was a First Responder on 9/11, so he is really everyone's hero. Tonight I think Jax's song choice was pretty perfect for her. It was fast at times, but it allowed her to add her own personal choices in there. This song is originally called "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" but she changed the pronoun to fit her. It's not bad, just a note. I liked her energy, I liked how she moved around and interacted.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Love the song. Did great. Took a little for her to get loose but once she does it she is great. Jennifer-So ready for tour. Perfect combination of being aware she's performing for an audience but also total abandonment. Harry-Getting a great idea of how great she is on tour because that was strong.
Our Grade=B+

Nick Fradiani
(Harder To Breathe-Maroon 5)
Nick's parents tell us that Nick was a great athlete and actually got a scholarship for basketball. He only gave up basketball when he got injured and then put all his efforts into music.  I think Nick missed his first note and his cue to get into the song. He recovered good enough, but it didn't come off that great, just sounded off. It took a little while for Nick to get into the groove of the song, the beginning was really messy and didn't gel well, but once he hit the chorus it got more calmed down and familiar. It still sounded like he was catching up at times to the veracity of the many electric guitars surrounding him and his playing. It was an uneven performance. Dude got through it and he made it pretty good given everything else going on, so good on him.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Getting more comfortable. It was pretty awesome, but he should have gotten the crowd more involved. Harry-That was really scary for everyone else in the competition because he is getting better every week. Great song. Really nice. Keith-Good song, finding his lane. But now it's about centering and stay focused. 
Our Grade=B

Clark Beckham
(Yesterday-The Beatles)
As a young boy Clark and his parents performed for all the residents of his grandma's nursing home, and that's where he first saw that his music gave joy to others.  Not sure how "Yesterday" is considered an arena anthem. Sure Paul McCartney and The Beatles have played this in concerts but how is this an anthem? Hey Jude? Yep. Come Together? Sure. But Yesterday? Don't think so. Great song? Absolutely. Anyways, Clark sounded great, but his stares off into space were a little off. His vocals combined with the violin accompaniment was beautiful, just beautiful, just wish he connected to the audience, and into the camera a tad more.
Judge's Comments= Harry-Didn't use any high notes gratuitously, matched up perfectly with the lyrics. Terrific. Keith-Beautiful. It sounded current, despite being an older song. Doesn't have to be so constrained, release even more. Jennifer-It was risky because everyone knows that song, but his strength is when he moves the audience. Did a beautiful job.
Our Grade=B

Tyanna Jones
(Party in the U.S.A-Miley Cyrus)
Tyanna's mom explains that the letter "T" is everywhere, every kid in her family has a "T" and there are a ton of them. Tyanna explains that although her and her parents were homeless at points she is proud they rose above it. Tyanna took the note of last week to move around the stage more and interact with the audience more. The only thing lacking at first was a great tone to her voice. It was very low and didn't do much. Once she got back on stage and stopped playing with the audience it got a tiny bit better. I still think this was a generic kind of performance. It was good, nothing spectacular.
Judge's Comments= Keith-It was fun. Saw a new side of her. Great choice to hear it in that context. Wishes she chose something with more weight. Jennifer-Saw her the most comfortable. Should be having fun. Harry-That was a smart song choice, so relaxed and killed it. 
Our Grade=B-

Bottom 2 Twitter-Save Performances  #1

Quentin Alexander
(Light My Fire-The Doors)
Quentin tells us he grew up in the 9th ward of New Orleans where people were getting shot randomly, so he stayed inside a lot with his older sisters.  Quentin's mother protected Quentin and worked long hours to support him and his sisters. Quentin gave this song a very Prince, groovy kind of twist. He interacted with the audience and was moving around the stage more than he ever has. His voice really grooved and he got into the song more than he has before. I do think he could have done a few more things with his voice, hit the big notes harder, gel with the lower notes a bit more. But he still did a solid job.
Judge's Comments= Jennifer-Looks super comfortable, just wants a little more vocal POW, his chorus is everything and it didn't hit as much. Harry-It's a rangey song. Sang it conservatvitly but the band did a great arrangement. It sounded cool. Keith-He is his own guy. He is so original. 
Our Grade=B-

Rayvon Owen
(I'm Not The Only One-Sam Smith)
Rayvon was a super organizer. He speaks about the sacrifices his mother did for him and his family.  He is happy he can hopefully pay her back for all that she has given him. Not sure if this is an arena anthem, but it sure is a popular song and great song for Rayvon. His vocals are so pretty, maybe the prettiest left in the competition. When he does ballads his emotions are right at the surface, he looks right into the camera and gives it all. I appreciate that kind of commitment. Really nice job by him.
Judge's Comments= Harry-Favorite part, other than the fantastic vocal performance, was when he flawlessly was able to breathe and hit notes at the same point. He is a true ballad singer. Keith-Perfect song choice. Might be the only one left. Jennifer-Vocals like that will keep him in the competition and maybe bring him to the end. Vocals like that will get him really far.
Our Grade=B+

Performances Round 2

Nick Fradiani
(Maggie May-Rod Stewart)
This is a nice song choice. It's retro but he makes it current. Opposed to the last song which was very hard and all electric guitars this one was more acoustic and relatively gentle guitar playing. Nick sounds great on this song, he really gets into it and I enjoyed it a lot.
Judge's Comments= Keith-Looking cool and is way better. Jennifer-Good song choice. Picking great song choices. Now it's about making moments. Don't want every single song to sound the same. Harry-Wonders if he could sustain a 2-3 hour show on the road, thinks he can.
Our Grade=A-

Tyanna Jones
(Heaven-Bryan Adams)
This was a crazy juxtaposition next to her last song. The other one was her running around a little and the band rocking out with her, this one is her in all the smoke and standing pretty much in the center of the stage and just belting it out.I think she had some really lovely parts but this wasn't her best.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Liked this. Different for her. Didn't feel like it was perfect, but it was nice to see different sides. Good job. Not her favorite, but nice. Harry-Wonders what kind of artist she is, because she does so many different types. She's more natural in dancing but comfortable with singing ballads. Keith-Great fusion of different types of genres.
Our Grade=B

Clark Beckham
(Boyfriend-Justin Bieber)
I think this was a smart song choice, it was unexpected and made Clark seem fun. He has been seen as a pretty serious dude, but this was a good change. It was basically just Clark and one other person playing acoustic guitars and slowing it down. I liked the creativity of changing things up, but again he didn't sing the song as an anthem or arena song, he was very mellow with it. I know Clark isn't a stadium kind of singer, but this was as opposite of theme as you can get. So points for picking the song, but points taken away because he didn't make it fit the theme of the week and change things up even more.
Judge's Comments=Harry-Did a disservice by making his bar so high and singing this kind of song. It's fun to change things up, but this wasn't the right song to this on. Should have made it sexy. Keith-Needs to get it out of his head and in his heart and everywhere else. Once he gets it out it will be more natural and sexy and dangerous, as was the original purpose of the song. Jennifer-This wasn't the best thing to show a big performance. Needs to create moments. Not sure if this was the right thing. 
Our Grade=B-

(White Flag-Dido)
Jax is back on the piano for this version of Dido's one hit song. Jax takes it really gently with this song and makes the lyrics count. She uses her emotions in all the right spots. The fact that Jax can get the crowd going before and then do a really tender, emotional version of this song is so smart. Just really well done. One of, if not,  the best performance, by anyone, this season.  
Judge's Comments= Keith-Perfect song choice, was completely riveted. Jennifer-Said she needed more gravitas and she delivered. Tells her that her instincts as an artist is perfectly ready to be in this business. So beautiful. Harry-It was phenomenal, great song choice. Nothing to even say.
Our Grade= A+

Bottom 2-Twitter Save Performances # 2

Quentin Alexander
(Shake It Out-Florence and the Machine)
Scott Borchetta tells us that Quentin is an edgy contestant and he just needs to be intense and do his thing. This was a much more Quentin stylized song, it actually was pretty intense and dramatic, but it was also sung well.  It was a nice solid effort. I wasn't blown away like in past weeks, but it was better than his first performance.  
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Wants to see him on tour. Riveting. Stays glue to him the whole time. Much better vocal performance than the last one. Harry-Pretty good. Harry wonders if the producers would allow him to auto-tune him because he does sing out of tune. Glad to know that Quentin wouldn't allow it. Keith-Is clear in what kind of record he wants to make because he has great instincts.
Our Grade=B

Rayvon Owen
(Go Your Own Way-Fleetwood)
Scott likes that Rayvon keeps getting looser and looser and his experience in this situation might work to his advantage. The band or Rayvon came in a little early, the first verse took a little while for him to settle in. Rayvon's strength is a ballad, and every time he has been saved it was on a ballad, this is not a rock song, but it's not slow either. This isn't as much of a strength for Rayvon as his first performance. He put it all out there for sure, that last note was crazy high. 
Judge's Comments= Harry-Wonders if Rayvon knows what kind of artist he wants to be. Is glad to hear that Rayvon is open to listening to Jennifer-Great way to finish the show. Is such a fighter. Doesn't go down. Wants to be here. Loves seeing him loosen up.
Our Grade=B

Twitter Save Results/Who's Going Home?

Saved? Rayvon. This guy really earned his spot. He has fought so hard every week. Next week there is no save so if he really is the Bottom then that will be it.

Going Home? Quentin. I am not saying he wanted to go home, but the way he was cheering on Rayvon, the way that he just seemed kind of non-chalant about being around any more was apparent. I think we lost 2 of the more creative contestants left in the competition in Joey last week, and now Quentin. Not saying there isn't a lot of talent left in the Final 5, but it's just a different vibe now. 

Best of The Night?=Jax. No doubt about it. Her first performance was fun and cool and an actual anthem, but her second performance was so tender and emotional and powerful. She just needs to keep doing these kinds of performances for a few more weeks and she can really be a contender to win this whole thing.

Bottom 2/Going Home Predictions
 Bottom 2
1. Rayvon
2. Tyanna

Going Home?
Rayvon. No other contestant left has been in the Bottom, so without the save who knows what will happen, but we do know for certain he has had lower vote totals than all of the remaining contestants for several weeks.

Final Thoughts
*Rayvon is the man. He really battled so hard the past several weeks. He sang the right songs, said the right things but just was a little short with the votes.He took full advantage of the Twitter-Save. We will see if his fight and determination will pay off in a few more votes to get him away from the Bottom because there are no more seecond chances.

*On that note, I am so pleased that the Twitter Save is through. I have been so curious the past number of weeks to know who the actual Bottom contestant is, but Idol hasn't told us that.We will know from now on where everyone stands.

*I feel like Jax and Nick are hitting their strides right now and are making a real push to the finals. Clark has been consistently the most consistent every single week, but it's getting a little predictable and a little safe at times. His vocals are still insane but it's very one dimensional in a lot of ways. On the other hand Jax has been really switching things up and taking chances, even if she fails. She pushes herself, and I like seeing that in contestants. I have seen Nick also take the criticism really well and strive to get better. Tyanna has been hit or miss, and we all know Rayvon's situation. So it's gonna be interesting what the final few weeks bring.

That's it. Come on back here to learn who the Final 4 will be. This is a very strong Top 5, should be interesting to see how it all shakes out. So until next time, see ya!

1 comment:

  1. Next week will determine if we get the final 4 that I was expecting (Jax/Nick/Tyanna/Clark) and if there will be a reason for Scott's freaky camera stare to continue. Jax gets points this week for her father's story and her two performances being very opposite. Her slow and intimate performances are amazing. Clark continues to be strong but showed some flaws for the 1st time with his pitch in "Yesterday". I loved his 2nd performance but the judges didn't seem to. Nick is picking the right time to peak with very good performances and is very comfortable on stage. Tyanna continues to shine with her lovely voice but showed some flaws with "Heaven". I thought both of Quentin's performances were very good and collectively better than both of Rayvon's this time. I felt like I was in the twilight zone after Rayvon's final performances. During that performance, I was thinking he was singing too low of a key and was very off key but he seemed to get huge cheers because of that final note alone. Not fair and my thoughts on the performance were validated further when I played it back and even the last crazy note was wavering and off-key a little. Too much credit for a luke warm performance. Hated to see Quentin go but it's going to be pretty much the same feeling each week for the remainder of the competition. As much as I love low-cut tops on beautiful women, I wish I could tell Jennifer to save those for another show with all of the young kids watching. Harry continues to be my favorite judge but I think he is increasingly trying to take some of the spotlight with his extra comments and screen time.