Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Top 7 Revealed & Perform: Billboard Hits Week

Welcome back. Last week was sort of crazy with the introduction of a new twist and the elimination of a contestant we thought wouldn't leave that soon. For those that didn't read our blog (and where were you...just kidding...not really) and those that didn't watch the actual show, the Fan-Twitter Save was introduced by American Idol. It works as follows: The Bottom 2 contestants are revealed, they sing their song of the week, and then for the last 5 minutes of the show the audience tweets for the contestant they want to save with the hashtag of that person's name. Last week Rayvon and Daniel were Bottom 2 and Rayvon was saved and shockingly, Daniel was eliminated.  Idol hasn't revealed how long this Twitter Save will be in effect for, but if it's a ratings ploy it sort of worked, the show didn't lose any ratings week to week and got about 8.5 million people to watch. It's not great, but it's far from bad. Daniel absolutely deserved to go home, but his "adorableness" and being told he is "cute" all the time was seemingly unstoppable, that is until he was stopped. 

This week the Idol contestants will be singing Billboard Hits. That is a very broad theme and could lead to almost anything. We chose Rayvon and Qaasim as the Bottom 2, and believe that Qaasim SHOULD go Home, but Rayvon WILL Go Home. Though, anything can happen with this twist.

As a side note, since the beginning of Top 12, the contestant that sang first in the night was eliminated the following week, first Sarina-Joi, then Adanna, and 2 weeks ago it was Daniel. Last week Nick sang first, now we aren't predicting him to leave the competition, but it is an interesting fact to look out for.

Country artists Florida-Georgia Line and Jason DeRulo are the mentors for the week. Each of them will mentor 4 of the contestants, chosen by permanent mentor Scott Borchetta. So without further ado, let's get started:

Top 8 Weekly Rankings 

1. Clark Beckham (Same As Last Week)
2. Joey Cook (Up 1 From Last Week)
3. Jax (Up 2 From Last Week)
4. Tyanna Jones (Down 2 From Last Week)
5. Nick Fradiani (Down 1 From Last Week)
6. Quentin Alexander (Same As Last Week)
7. Qaasim Middleton (Same As Last Week)
8. Rayvon Owen (Same As Last Week)  Officially Bottom 2 Last Week

Top 8 Revealed and Perform

(Poker Face-Lady Gaga)
Scott and Florida-Georgia Line mentored Jax. Florida Georgia Line wants her to nail the song and make a connection. Scott needs to find a strong performance to make it her own over just being a Lady Gaga copy. The song has a burlesque sound to it. She flips the song into her own thing, it has some of the signature aspects of the original but it's pretty different. I think Jax might have done too much to change it up though. It's not that it was unidentifiable, but all the changes weren't needed to make it a good performance. It really wasn't one of her stronger performances. 
Judge's Comments=Keith-Interesting arrangement. Loves her artistry. Jennifer-All for changing things up. But there is a line that it gets dangerous, wouldn't hear that on the radio today. One of the favorites, it is hers to lose. Couldn't relate to that song at all.Doesn't want her to go too left. Harry-Has magic in her voice. No problem taking the arrangement to the left, but has problem with not owning the performance. Didn't inhabit the whole stage. It's more than just rearranging the song. Need to completely inhabit the song. 
Our Grade=B-

Nick Fradiani
(Teenage Dream-Katy Perry)
The mentors want Nick to feel comfortable and relaxed. They give him a tip to look into a mirror while playing. They want to add a different beat to the song so people can vibe to the song. I kind of like this choice for Nick. He changes the lyrics up to fit him and the small pronoun changes are big. He actually does look more comfortable on stage. His voice is on point. He has a very Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty thing going on with his voice an stage presence, and that's a great thing. Very nice job by Nick. After the comments Harry was asked, actually forced, guilted into singing Teenage Dream, and somehow it ended up with Harry basically chasing Keith around the stage and not knowing any of the words, except the ones that Nick graciously fed him. It was pretty silly and a little out of control. Not sure really what happened.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-So good. Changing the song and making it your own in the best way. Could hear that song on the radio today. Harry-Things were good, especially the energy, but likes when he sings more intense, grittier songs. It was fine. Keith-Killer song choice. The spirit of the song was right and played to his strengths. Sounded like him.
Our Grade=A-

Guest Performance #1
Mentor of the week Jason DeRulo is singing "Want To Want Me". I guess we shouldn't mention that Jason is now the ex-boyfriend of Season 6 Idol winner Jordin Sparks. So because we aren't talking about their seemingly awful breakup we can talk about his performance tonight, and it was alright. Jason's dance moves are far better than the song itself, but it was what it was.

Quentin Alexander
(Latch-Sam Smith)
He was mentored by Jason DeRulo. Jason gives a couple suggestions, wants him to go full voice and not lay back and then go falsetto. Scott thinks that if he hits it right then it will be great. Quentin's voice is so smooth when it's in tune, it just glides. He goes for the falsetto, which is different than he usually does. It was just a little bit, but it was enough, I am glad it didn't go on too long, it made it more special. Quentin's voice does go out of tune at parts, but he made up for it in other parts of his voice.
Judge's Comments=Harry-Looks unbelievable. Strong suit is how easy he can fit into a pocket. This was a little lighter, still some pitch issues, but a strong song choice. Keith-Great song choice, particularly the way he brought out his vocal. Jennifer-Drums overpowered in the beginning, but he got into it when he didn't think about anything. Loved it and the song.

Guest Performance #2
Singing "Sipping on Fire" is Florida Georgia Line. It sounds kind of like most of the songs I have ever heard them sing, but I admit I don't know them that well. So we will just say they were fine and move on.

Joey Cook
(Wrecking Ball-Miley Cyrus)
Jason tells Joey she has crab hands, her hands get all claspy when she sings. He wants her to do everything in moderation or it could get boring or off-putting. Joey wants to show that she can be current and on the radio today. Joey's dress is a mess and her hair is kind of a mess and purple, but it somehow sort of works together. Joey leaves the arragement alone and doesn't mess with it too much, she just uses her very unique tone to put her own spin on some of the wording and breaks in the song. I probbaly dig her more noir/old-school kind of performances more than this one, but I like that she is showing different sides to herself and her voice. Not great, but not terrible.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Looks relieved. Always does something different, didn't do anything different and when she got to the chorus she held back a little. Liked it. Jennifer-The epitome of uniqueness. Liked the verses but the chorus was too like Miley. Did a good job with it. The quality of her voice stands her apart. Harry-Even when she does a similar arrangement it was still different. It was an okay vocal, but something needed to happen to change the chorus, and it got a little boring towards the end.
Our Grade=B

Clark Beckham
(Make It Rain-Ed Sheeran)
Jason mentors Clark and tells him to share what he is feeling inside with everyone else and command the stage. Clark wants to be brave and unafraid and show his emotion. This song allows Clark to tap into his emotions very fast. Clark has a great talent of choosing great songs, plus it allows him to have a solo with his guitar, which was very cool. There is no doubt that Clark's voice is one of, if not the best in the competition, but he needed to connect with the audience and look comfortable, and I think he did that pretty well tonight. I think last week was better, but Clark's effort is always there.
Judge's Comments= Jennifer-Effortless for him to sing. Needs everything to work together, the style and image have to fit as well as the voice. Has a finale that he could be at, but he needs to have swag to get him out of his comfort zone. Harry-Has an amazing voice, highly gifted. What would have made it better was he needed to sit in the pocket, he rushed the whole way through. Was good but wasn't great. Keith-The guitar got in his way. The end was a killer.
Our Grade=A-

Guest Performance #3
Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Hudson are performing their song "Trouble". This is a coming home reunion  for Season 3, 7th place finisher Jennifer Hudson and a work reunion for Iggy who worked on the crazy, weird, horrible music video "Booty" with Jennifer Lopez. This song was much more tolerable. Hudson's voice is still one of the best out there, it's just effortless and strong.

 Tyanna Jones
Jason thinks the dynamics of her voice is beautiful, and finds her very mature. Scott thinks sometimes she doesn't put in the extra effort to put in the emotion. There is no doubt that Tyanna's voice is amazing and this song allowed the audience to focus only on the voice, no theatrics, no running around the stage, just pure voice. I said it last week, but I think Tyanna's biggest strength is when she is moving a little more and stays young and youthful, this was definetly a mature performance. I enjoyed that it revealed major strengths in her voice. It's cool that she is showing different sides to herself.
Judge's Comments= Harry-Held her emotions in check, extremely touching. Did a fantastic emotional performance. Keith-Extreme maturity in her voice. Would be a hit song for her. Beauitufl. Jennifer-Lost her way the past couple weeks, but this week everything came together in the right way.
Our Grade=A-

Bottom 2
Qaasim and Rayvon will sing their Billboard Hit song and hope to get saved by the audience.

Rayvon Owen
(Set Fire To The Rain-Adele)
Florida Georgia Line wants Rayvon to wait and not put everything out there in the beginning. They want him to simplify his falsetto, but don't drop it completely. The songs starts off really small, just a piano and his voice, then the guitar starts, the background singers and when he gets to the chorus it was pretty amazing with the drums. It was subtle and powerful at the same time. I really enjoyed the arrangement. I think his voice was a little all over the place at times but he did keep himself in check.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Crazy. A guy singing for his life. Missed something in the chorus. Jennifer-Applauds that he took the notes. Felt him dig. Not sure if it was the best song choice. Harry-Sees he has what it takes, but just wants to keep striving and pushing.
Our Grade=B-

Qaasim Middleton
(Hey Ya-Outkast)
Florida Georgia tells Qaasim to keep being comfortable and play around with it. Qaasim admits that last week was his worst night of his life. It's been awhile since Qaasim let loose and performed and not just focused on his vocals. This was a fun performance, and I am sure it was fun to perform, but it did lack some originality and creativity. He got to sing last and he got to perform, rather than worry about his vocals this week. He is what he is at this point and the audience will tell us what they feel about him.  
Judge's Comments= Jennifer-Huge fan of his, that was a tough song but he wowed with his performance. Owned the stage. Harry-Groove is incredibly strong. The vocal wasn't dissimilar to the original. It was good. Entertaining to watch. Keith-Played to your strengths. Great song. Killed it. Makes the most of the moment.
Our Grade=C+

Twitter Save Results/Who's Going Home?

Saved? Rayvon Owen

Going Home? Qaasim Middleton. The voice just wasn't there compared to Rayvon. Qaasim was a great performer, but this is a singing show first. Qaasim was saved by the Judges at Top 11, he made it 3 more weeks. That's about or close to average for the Save. It's not my call to determine if the save was properly utilized or not, given Qaasim didn't get that close to winning, but he was a different kind of contestant than anyone else, so that was something.

Best of The Night=Nick. I think Tyanna delivered a really powerful performance, but I liked Nick's song choice more, and I think he performed the song as well as he ever has. He took a risk picking a Katy Perry song but it worked out. Sometimes big risks fail hard, but this risk paid off.

Bottom 2/Going Home Predictions
1. Rayvon Owen Should & Will Go Home
2. Jax

Final Thoughts

*I think tonight was very middle of the line. I think Nick and Tyanna were the best of the bunch. I think Clark and Quentin were good, but not as great as they could have been. I think Jax, Joey and Rayvon each had good parts of their performances, but also could have done more.

*So far I think the Twitter-Save has worked exceptionally well. The two people that should go home went home in the past two weeks. The general audience has done a great job of creating the correct Bottom 2 and then the smaller, twitter using audience has done a nice job saving the person that really should stay. So far so good.

*This is creatively, vocally and uniquely a really great Top 7. Each contestant has something special about them, and on any given night they could be the best. It might really come down to who steps it up that particular night, and who doesn't step it up nearly enough. It could really be that close. That's kind of exciting.

*For those that care, or go to the American Idol tour, only the Top 5 will be going this summer. In the past it was Top 10, I think one year it was Top 13, or Top 11, but this year only the Top 5. The tours just don't sell like they used to, so less people that are on tour less Idol has to pay them.

That's it. After next week we will only have 6 people left, this season is starting to really fly by now. It's getting really down to some great contestants, let's hope everyone keeps stepping it up. We'll see you back here next week, until then see ya!


  1. Not sure why this blog doesn't get many comments posted. It's a good and comprehensive site.

    My top 4 in no specific order are: Clark, Tyanna, Jax, and Nick

    I think Clark offers the most talent at this time and is the most consistent. The judges, in my opinion, had to reach deep in offering Clark criticism this week and some of it was really silly. Jax also received a little too much criticism and has the disadvantage being the first performer. Not sure if this will impact her ability to stay in the mix next week.

    Quentin, Joey, and Ravon are the bottom 3 and I think Joey/Ravon should be the bottom 2. Ravon survived two consecutive twitter save votes but won't survive a third.

    I think the 2 hour format is too long for less than 10 performers and I hope they shorten it next week. Thanks again for the recap!

  2. I appreciate the great comments. I am glad people are reading the blog, even if they don't want to comment. The fact that every week a lot of people are reading the blog is a great thing, and I hope that continues.

    Next week the Top 6 will be performing 2 songs each. I don't actually know how this will work with the Bottom 2. My assumption is everyone will sing once without revealing the green chairs. Then after everyone has gone once they will announce who is Safe, those contestants sing again for the following week's votes, and the the remaining 2 singers will make up the Bottom 2, and then they will sing again for the Twitter-Save. I feel like that's the only way this all makes sense, but the Twitter-Save twist is brand new, so I have no definitive information on what will really happen. But at least we get to see the contestants sing more, rather than watching so many guest performers fill time.