AI11 – Round of 9 – Idols Week

The following was written as I watched the show. Typed it as I watched it. Slightly distracting, but a lot of fun.

Nine songs, two hours — wow,this ought to be a well-padded show.

Ah, it includes trio songs and Tommy Hilfiger.

Tommy Hilfiger is back? Didn’t we ignore everything he said last week? Why did they bring him back? Oh, because there’s a branding partnership going on between IDOL and TH. That explains that…

This ought to be fun. Stevie Nicks is nutty.

Colton: Going first is never good, but then picking a song this slow-moving until it moves into an upbeat part that he’s pitchy all over is not a good sign. Might work well as a worship song, but I don’t think it plays well as an Idol song. Trouble. The judges completely disagree with me, though. Oh well.

They’re flashing Twitter handles now during the judging. Interesting.

I need to go back and listen to that one again, but there won’t be any time tonight.

Skylar: She could go Trademark Skylar Crazy on this song. And, sure enough, she does it at the end. It’s right in her wheelhouse, so I have nothing to complain about. She did it strongly. And lots of talk about bullets and guns, which is always good for a family show in 2012. When I was a kid, we were allowed to play with toy guns, you know. I’ve never shot anyone since, somehow.

TRIO 1: Colton, Elise, and Philip. Oh, god, no. Not this song again. “Landslide,” of course. So you just know another trio will get stuck with “Can’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.” UGH

Oh, wait, this is a medley. Elise doing Nickie makes sense, though.

Philip gets stuck with “Don’t Stop.” Poor kid.

Will another trio sing “Don’t Go Dragging My Heart Around?” Who gets the Tom Petty part?

Heejun: UGH. He’s still here. Doing Donnie Hathaway, an Idol staple. But by far, this is Heejun’s best performance on the show, with a standing ovation that was well earned. Man, if he just sang like this in the past three weeks, I wouldn’t be making fun of him every week.

That was impressive. It was darn near an Idol Moment.

Hollie: Steve Nicks just about leaned forward and ate Hollie. And it would have barely been a snack, since there’s not much to Hollie there… But, uhm, the girl who’s been singing Celine and Whitney is suddenly naming Carrie Underwood as her Idol? Something doesn’t feel right here, though the emotion in the second half of the song was strong. Still, it seemed very karaoke to me. Who is Hollie? I don’t know after that.

DeAndre: I can believe he idolizes Eric Benet. I also know that it’s not my thing, musically, and this will be boring and/or grating on my nerves. And the falsetto is back in full effect. Oh, god, he’s having a Justin Guarini moment here.

The last minute or so of the song saved it, when he went to full-on falsetto scream, but I was bored by the rest. But, like I said, this isn’t my thing, so feel free to ignore me.

Jessica: She sounds good on the Beyonce song. Very comfortable. Right in her range. Very controlled. At some point, though, the vote split between Jessica and Heidi will result in Heidi’s departure.

Random Thought: This is the night the producers start casting the finale and who they can get into the show to sing with the contestants who idolize them. Will they get Beyonce to visit? Eric Benet? Lifehouse?

TRIO 2: Heejun, DeAndre, and Joshua. Heejun doing Michael Jackson? Oh, boy… Heejun shouldn’t be choreographed.

That was painful. I missed Fleetwood Mac, all of a sudden.

But, man, there’s going to be a lot of high and long notes in the third trio, isn’t there?

Phillip: I wonder if Simon would be bored by Phillip and would say something like, “This is a kid I can hear in a thousand bar bands this weekend.” It’s really Taylor Hicks 2.0, though I love it here, too. His selection of idol makes sense, his performances are consistent, and he picks the right song. I like it lots. And it’s another standing ovation from the judges to go along with it. Can’t complain here.

It helps that the producers gave the contestants a softball this week. Their vengeance shall be swift next week when they give the remaining eight the Songs of the 1920s…

Joshua: His Idol is Mariah. I’m almost not surprised. But, wait, it’s not Mariah’s song. It’s that great song from “The Drew Carey Show.” I love this song. I hope he can pull it off. Can he turn this into a gospel song? Weird.

What’s with all the stuff standing around on stage this week? Doors before, dead trees now, smoke almost omnipresent…

Oh, boy, the band drops out and he can’t reach up for that note. Whoops. The magic trick failed. But everything else worked so well that he gets the standing O anyway. Go figure. Oh wait, he cried at the end. That always gets the standing O.

OK, so I went back and watched it again. Maybe I was a bit hard on the Magic Trick bit. He didn’t go big and broad for that note, but it worked in his style, so I’ll give it to him.

TRIO 3: Jessica, Hollie, and Skylar: Madonna hits. This might work the best of the three. Wait, they’re starting with “Like a Prayer”? They’re supposed to end with that. Hollie doing dance songs? That seems weird. Are any of these three taller than 5’2″? It’s three pipsqueaks with huge voices singing in mid-range.

Elise: Is doing Zep? I expect pyrotechnics on the stage for this one. Maybe confetti at the end. And the electric guitar guy on stage.

Needs a hair fan. They got the streaming smoke behind the guitarist guy on stage, though.

Well, that took steel cast iron balls. And she pulled it off. Yowza. That bit at the end where she paused a second and Randy was waiting anxiously for the ending? Pure genius.

That was the least Idol song ever on Idol, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t work.

So who’se in trouble this week? Colton is. Going first is never good. I think Elise might be, just because the main Idol voting contingent isn’t a 70s rock fanbase. And Hollie is in trouble. Who would I put in the bottom three? DeAndre, Hollie, and Heejun. (One song isn’t enough to make me forget, Heejun…)

We might see a Judges Save this week. It’s that loopy a week.

AI11 – Your Final 13

Dim the lights! Bring on the melodrama! Watch as I continue to NOT recap this season of American Idol!

  • Jimmy Iovine makes for a great Monday Morning QB with a script prepared. He’s the Simon this judging panel needs, dead on right about everyone. Even the judges agreed with him, though they soft-peddled it because, well, they’re all afraid of being the mean one.

  • Steven Tyler only needed to be bleeped once.

  • I nailed the list for the six female contestants to go through: Jessica, Hollie, Shannon, Elise, Erika, Skylar.

  • The guys were a lot shakier. To whit:

    • Reed Grimm did not make it through. As entertaining as he would have been from week to week as a truly wild card, he wasn’t worth giving a spot to.
    • Heejun got through on America’s vote and Jimmy I is right: He’s not good enough. He shouldn’t be there.
    • Creighton and Aaron both missed the list.
    • The country kid did not get the Country Vote, and we got spared Eben, in the end.
  • Who did make it through? Philip Phillips, Jeromy, Deandre, Joshua, Heejun, Colton,Jermaine.

  • We cleared the Hollie Decks, but the guys have Jeromy, Jermaine, and Joshua. It’s still better.

  • Both Deandre and Jeromy did a better job singing for their lives tonight than they did on Tuesday night, but I still think Deandre is not long for this contest.

  • Props to Erika for singing a Lady Gaga song, which you know Gaga only lip synchs to in live shows. Too much stuff going on in that song, and Erika vocalized it all. Impressive.

  • They laughingly said that Jermaine’s telephone number wasn’t 13 so it wouldn’t be unlucky. Yet they have a Final 13. Go figure. (Yeah, I know, giving him a telephone number of 36 instead of 13 was likely a limit of the telephone company’s and not the TV show’s…)

AI11 – The Girls Round of 12

Once again, I am here to remind you that I am not going to write up American Idol this season. And I plan on reminding you of that every week as I begin writing up another episode.

Onto the Top 12 ladies. . .

  • Chelsea ran out of breath singing a country song. And country songs this year mean you have to wear a certain style of mini-dress, as you’ll see Skylar go with later in a different color. Not strong enough. Good. Solid. But the Curse of Going First combined with nothing spectacular will sink her.

  • Erika Van Pelt is the mobile DJ who can belt. “What About Love” turns out to be a great song for her, and I hope America votes her through. We need a power rocker type.

  • Jen Hirsh: I’ve always liked her and she does well here, but nothing spectacular again. Finished strong, but the rest was passable. And, yeah, that’s the second Adele song of the week already, and it won’t be the last. Adele is the new Whitney/Mariah/XTina. Heaven help us all.

  • Brielle Von Hugel: Can’t leave fast enough. Awful rendition of that song. Shouted it. And then refers to herself in the third person.

  • Hallie Day: I’ve always liked her and rooted for her, but the second she started walking she started to lose her breath and control. If she stood still and sang a ballad, it might have worked better.

  • Skylar Lane: Forget Reed Grimm; for pure manic performance, she just beat him out, and with a better voice, too. Crazy. I want her on the show just for the entertainment value.

  • Bailey Brown: The first Crash and Burn of the season. Total trainwreck. Looks uncomfortable, never found the right note, and she and everyone else knew it. Pure cannon fodder. Too bad. You know it’s over when they’re only response to the judges’ criticism is “I had fun.” At least she didn’t ask the audience if they did, too, because she knew the answer wouldn’t be good for her.

  • Hollie Cavanagh: That’s a bad speed impediment. She’s worse than a New Yorker. She can’t make the “R” song when she talks, but it comes out just fine when she sings. And she’s got a ridiculously powerful voice in that little body. The shift from high to low is a little shaky, but that’s easily overlooked for everything else she does well.

So that’s Hollie, and we’ve already talked about Hallie, so we’re only left with —

  • Haley Johnson: Stay weird, Portland. This was another utter trainwreck. Horrible. Abysmal. Awful. Off tune, off note, off melody, off timing. She’s everything you’d expect a street performer from Portland to be, really. I’m sure they’d eat her up there, but she’s useless everywhere else. Except maybe Austin.

  • Shannon Magrane: She gets bonus points from me for singing a Kathy Tracoli song that was in regular rotation when I was on radio. I may have been part of a very small minority of Idol viewers who knew that song, and she sang it very well. Plus, we tall people have to stick together.

  • Jessica Sanchez: Starts with a Coca-Cola moment to set up how bad her vocal cords are, only to slay the song with every loud screeching power note. Made me want to drink a Diet Pepsi, that did. Still, very impressive.

  • Elisa Testone: Just found out before the show that she’s a local. And, sure enough, there was video of her in her package in front of Kinnelon High School, which is about 10-15 minutes up the street from here. Very exciting. Oh, and she’s good. Very very good. OK, so she won’t win points for doing an Adele song, but she made it sound good. Bonus: SHe’s a piano player. I’ll take all of those I can get.

So who would I like to see go through? It’s a little tougher with this show. I picked eight contestants on my first pass through. When it came time to eliminate two, I dropped off Jen H. and Hallie Day. I like them both and they’re both good, but they just aren’t strong enough compared to the rest of the competition.

That leaves me with, for my final Top 6 Girls picks:

  • Erika
  • Skylar
  • Hollie Cavanagh
  • Shannon
  • Jessica
  • Elisa

Now, it’s a Final 13 when all is said and done. Maybe Jen or Hallie might get there with a second chance, but I’d place my bets on those six. And I put Brielle in as my Dark Horse candidate for an America’s vote choice.

AI11 – The Boys Round of 12, er, 13

I have no plans to write up this year’s season of “American Idol,” but I do have five minutes tonight, so here are a few words on The Boys singing live for America for the first time:

  • The judges have abdicated their duties and their responsibilities.  They’re merely cheerleaders. It’s America’s time to decide, right?  So why get in the way?  Why take any of the blame?  Don’t give America any guidance.  Just tell everyone how great they are no matter how flat they are or how nervous they look or how horribly they misinterpreted that song.  Remember when Simon left and Randy tried to be The Tough Judge?  That didn’t last terribly long, did it?

  • Another season, another awful music mix where the band drowns everyone out.

  • Here are the six I’d pick to go through:

    • Reed Grimm: Because, in the words of Steve Jobs, “Here’s to the crazy ones…”  Every season needs the wild child who could go off and do anything on any given night.  Plus, he has a name that could easily put him on The Fantastic Four.

    • Colton Dixon: I wasn’t a big fan of the song choice tonight, but I thought the kid got robbed last year, and is still good enough to deserve a Top 12 spot.

    • Aaron Marcellus: Honestly, he’s the one I’m least sure about, but he’s good enough and I’d like to see him do more.

    • Creighton Fraker: He’s right up there with Reed for potential craziness, but he’s also the first one on the night who belted out his song and didn’t let the band drown him out.

    • Philip Phillips: Because, hey, I liked Taylor Hicks, too.

    • Jermaine Jones: I like the guy, and he did great under the circumstances tonight. Perfect song choice, belted it out, has great potential.

  • Here’s who I’m afraid of: Eben.  He has the John Stevens breakout potential.  He could be the one to make it through on the tweenies’ text votes week after week without any relationship to the level of his music talent. His song tonight was way out of his league.  He was completely flat.  And even that final note didn’t go up enough.  But he’s the Justin Beiber of the season.  Cute kid, young kid, and the type that all the valuable 10 – 16 year old girls will go crazy over.

  • One other wildcard, whose name I didn’t write down: The country kid who looks like Brandon Frasier.  Country artists get votes on American Idol.  Country fans protect their own.  It wasn’t that he was bad tonight, by the way, but that I liked the others more.

We’ll find out on Thursday.  Let’s hope the girls do better song choices tomorrow night, in the meantime.