Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Missing 2009 Posts

Not sure why these posts from 2009 are no longer viewable in the archives, so I will just report them for posterity:

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

American Idol Top 36-Group 3

Let's see how quickly I can churn this out...

Can I say once again that this may be the weakest overall season of Idol ever? I said at the tail-end of last season that Season 8 would be a down year, but I do not think I expected the semi-finals to be like this. Sure, the show is always entertaining, but even I was losing some interest during a portion of the two hour program tonight. Again, a lot of people may just have turned it off. With just a group of 8 or 9 wild-card contestants set to allegedly sing (the same song they already did?) for their Idol lives on Thursday night to go, it will then finally be time for the Finals.

This week saw perhaps the most ecletic group of 12 American Idol singers ever assembled. I have to say that nobody really came close to blowing me away on this episode. One performance I would classify as very good. One other I would classify as very bad. The other ten were all in the same range of mediocrity or under-achievement. Thus, it was really hard to rank them this week as about 10 of them were really grouped closely together. But I know how much you all count on it and I soldiered through.

Here is how the show went down:

1. Von Smith- "You're All I Need to Get By"

I think it was just about a year ago, when I was over at my parents' house and my mother made me watch a YouTube clip of Von singing the infamous Dreamgirls song. She had seen him perform it on The View, as Von had been "discovered" on the internets by Rosie O'Donnell and brought on to do some screaming/singing in between Rosie's rants about the supposed 9/11 conspiracy during her one tumultous season on The View.

My mother said something at the time like, "This kid is so good. You have to watch this. He is better than anybody on American Idol this season. If he went on, he would totally win it." So, I watched the video and then decided that there would be no way in hell he could ever win Idol or was as good as many of the Season 7 contestants. While you cannot deny that he has a "powerful" voice, it is just way too Over the Top to appeal to a large segment of people. My mother really liked it at the time though. Then again, she also used to like Clay Aiken way too much, which is whom Simon Cowell compared Von to this evening, and to which Von did not look overly pleased to hear.

Anyways, Von's arc on this season of Idol is how he was blasted for screaming too much and then took that advice to heart and decided to tone things down. So how did he do tonight? At parts, I thought it was decent, but at others, I still could not get past the near screaming and the weird faces. I know I am judging on vocal abilities alone, but I think it affected the overall sound of his performance. Von has talent, but he still needs direction on how to dial it back. In many ways, he is similar to Adam Lambert with the oversinging, but for a variety of factors, including what seems to be a more trained voice and the ability to do nuance, Adam is not criticized for it nearly as much. The judges liked Von tonight more than I expected they would.

At one point, I would have thought that Von would stand a very good chance of getting into the Top 12, just because before his Idol audition, he probably already had the biggest fanbase of anyone who would be put into the Top 36 because of YouTube and Rosie. Still though, the gaydar of a lot of people are going to ping because of Von and while he comes across as more "mainstream" than some of the other males on this season with whom he might have that in common, that's almost going to work against him because all of the fans he may have already had going into this may have just become more captivated by the whole Lambert thing. Von just will never be able to do flamboyance as well as Adam or even another one of his fellow Group 3 singers. I think he has a narrow shot of being voted in tonight, but most likely, this was his one and only shot and it's over now. It's really tough going first in a two hour show.

2. Taylor Vaifanua- "If I Ain't Got You"

Simon Cowell may never remember Taylor again and she herself may wish to forget this performance. She was not horrible, she has talent, and the makover people did a good job on her (at least in making her look a little different than Jordin Sparks as she did in her audition) but this was the wrong song choice for her, and while she said she was tearing up out of joy after her performance, it looked more like sadness. Her parents were sitting pretty stone-faced in the immediate reaction shot as well. Syesha Mercado did this song better last season and that was not nearly as good as the original either.

So many teenage girls (and guys) get to this stage and just underachive in a big way and Taylor was not really an exception. It should make everyone appreicate the talent of Jordin Sparks and David Archuleta from past seasons and Allison Iraheta from last week even more.

I think Taylor may possibly be Mormon, (why is there a city in Utah named Hurricane? Do they have hurricanes there? ), so that factor never hurts on Idol and if there is a surprising number of Samoan Idol voters, that could help too. Also, I find her last name tougher to remember how to spell that than of American Samoa Congressional Delegate Eni F.H. Faleomavaega.

3. Alex Wagner-Trugman- "I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues"

Oh, Alex missed a golden opportunity here. I speculated last week that while there is probably nothing too great about his voice, his personality and sense of humor could really help him pull off an upset in the voting with the whole "adorkable" deal. (For the record, since I discussed my theory on Alex probably being Jewish last week, there now seems to be circumstantial evidence that Adam Lambert is also of a Hebrew background. Of course, Adam had some not very Kosher photos come out to the public yesterday which got a lot more attention on blogs.)

Anyways, back to Wagner-Trug, (and if he ever did get famous, he would probably have to drop part of the hyphenated name, I was happy when I heard what his song choice would be. It's a great Elton John tune, that I do not remember ever being sung on Idol before. The first two seconds of Alex's singing sounded pretty good and then... for whatever reason.... disaster. Alex was deliberately acting goofy and trying way too hard to sound like Joe Cocker and while it was entertaining in a trainwreck sense, it was vocally horrible. Whey they showed his dress rehearsal clip in the recap at the end of the show, it really was not very good either, but it was still a heck of a lot better than the live air performance. It's almost like AWT sabatoged himself. He may not be a fantastic singer, but he had to know what he was attempting Was he just trying to appeal to the Vote for the Worst website to get them to not support Nathaniel Marshall? Guess what? It worked! Nate has to be crushed! I really have to think that Alex decided to take this about as seriously (maybe less) than Normund Gentle did last week. Poor Cody Sheldon. He got passed up for this and all the teen emo girls/Jonas fans probably would have voted Cody into the Top 12.

I think the real irony is that if Alex had just sung it in a regular voice, the other factors of his Idol identity might have actually gotten him voted into the Finals. I would be really surprised though if this did the trick. At least he will live in YouTube infamy though, or until Freemantle Media takes all those clips down.

4. Arianna Afsar- "The Winner Takes it All"

I think Arianna may be the first Idol contestant of a Middle Eastern background to make it to this point and they said she would be singing the first ever ABBA song ever to be done on Idol. I expected something upbeat and thought that would be a good move considering the popularity of the Mama Mia musical and all that, but the song, which I did not know, was really kind of very somber and for the 17 year old girl, it was very High School musical theater like at the beginning. She did hit a pretty stong note at the end but it was probably nowhere near enough and Arianna and her folks both looked pretty upset during the judging. I think she is another one who blew an opportunity, perhaps because she seems to have an aversion to being referred to as "cute as a button", as if that is a bad thing in wanting to be voted through. If she made the Top 12, she might have been carictatured as the "good" teenage girl to the "bad" aura of Allison Iraheta, who we can already credibly see as maybe winding up in rehab one day.

5. Ju'Not Joyner- "Hey There Deliliah"

Let me start off by saying I hate the original of this song and do really prefer Ju'Not's version. However, they showed him performing it during Hollywood week and I thought it was actually really good then (and I thought it was better than Jamar Rogers' version of the same song in the same package clip) but I don't think this one was as good. It was pleasant for the most part but Ju'Not did seem to miss some notes and even sounded to me like he was a little sick. Sure enough, after the song, he volunteered the information that he had just been injected in the butt with a cortisone shot. I just want to know if A-Rod's cousin was somehow involved in that or if Bud Selig has any comment.

Paula Abdul was I thought surprisingly coherent much of tonight but there was some inconsistencies in how she criticized Taylor ( I think) for doing the same song she did in Hollywood week but was far more accepting of Ju'Not doing the same thing. I guess that has been done in past seasons, but I really do not think it happened at all last year. I do not blame Ju'Not or the others for trying to throw their best bullet out there, but it makes you wonder just how versatile they can truly be if they have to rely on one song.

Ju'Not seems like a nice guy, but musically, he may be the poor man's Chikezie. I think he may have needed his little son on stage with him to try to get votes but I have a hunch he could possibly be back on Thursday to get a chance for the wildcard, as the Idols Powers That Be may turn out to be desperate to try to inject some more racial diversity in the Top 12.

Horribe pun alert- Would a freshman Alaska state legislator be referred to as a Juneau Joiner?

6. Kristen McNamara- "Give Me One Reason"

This is one I think I liked a more than the judges who seem to be oddly pre-occupied with Kristen's fashion choices. She had previously been a contestant on Nashville Star but apparently fancies herself as more of a Kelly Clarkson or a Leona Lewis. I think she has a really strong voice and was able to really change this Tracy Chapman song around and make it sound more interesting. There just is no wow factor there and I do not know if her personality (perhaps she is not being fake enough) might be enough to get her voted in. Vocally though, it sounded pretty competent to me tonight, at least as compared to many of the others.

That's all I have to say about this one? Wow, odd. Let's hope the trend continues.

7. Nathaniel Marshall- "I Would Do Anything for Love"

As already mentioned, his once chance of getting through with the help of VFTW may now be gone, so I think that was an interesting song choice for Nathaniel. Vocally, it sounded good, and not very over the top, (Meatloaf himself perhaps has more vocally in common with Von and Adam) and Nathaniel seemed comfortable on stage. The kid looks like a freak of course but the performance itself was maybe too mainstream for what he wanted to accomplish.

I have to say though that I have always been a little surprised that such a self-admitted drama queen like Nate who during Hollywood week would cry at the drop of a hat has so many piercings and tattoos. Didn't they hurt? He must have cried like a bitch.

Let me also be nice to Nathaniel by saying that while he certainly is "out there", besides respecting his talent, I also have to give him some props for putting himself out there on American Idol the way he did (and apparently the schtick this year is going to be more of Simon Cowell as America's Favorite Homophobe). Life probably has not been easy for Nate but he has not been afraid to be himself regardless of what others might say. It was nice seeing his proud grandmother get a little bit of attention by Seacrest too. It's almost like Idol was trying to get him some more votes.

Anyways, the irony for this contestant is that if he had done "Disturbia" again as he did in Hollywood (although he would not have been able to use his guitar) or "Bleeding Love" as he once did in an airport YouTube video, he would have sounded even better and probably would have been the best male singer of the night.

8. Felicia Barton- "No One"

Speaking of YouTube clips, Felicia who was the late replacement for the dq'ed Joanna Pacitti, did the same song she had done before on a performance already found by many Idol junkies on YouTube. Of all of the contestants tonight, I think Felicia probably has the most natural talent of almost anyone and she certainly had good moments this evening. On others though, some notes sounded off to me and I was thinking that there maybe too many runs on this second Alicia Keys song of the evening and that it could not measure up to the original.

I think people will like Felicia though. She happens to have a Christian music background and maybe some Red State voters will pick up on that (despite her husband looking like a dirty hippie and her very little son looking unimpressed by the whole thing). But I also think that the "hipster" Idol voters may like her style and potential as well.

Why was she not chosen to go to the Top 36 in the first place though? That does not really make sense. She clearly has the talent but the producers and/or judges had first decided she was not worthy (which seemed to really shock her at the time). But now Felicia has her second chance and it may be enough to keep her going.

9. Scott MacIntyre- "Mandolin Rain"

I do not know this song either so I am not sure how it was supposed to sound. All in all though, I think Scott did a pretty good job and while it was a little rough at times vocally, you cannot help but be a little inspired by him and his story. Idol did not really dwell on it this evening but it should be pretty obvious to most people that Scott is severely visually challenged. I wonder though how many just absolutely dense or shallow people out there may have a hard time with Scott because of the apperance aspects of his handicap. More importantly though, Idol stylists should really consider getting him a hair straightener.

Of all the contestants, Scott, who is probably a brilliant pianist, was most hurt by not being able to play his keys as he sang. But he did the best he could and while there were some issues, it was hard to say it was not good. Randy Jackson started off by saying "look dog", which may have been a poor choice of words, so eventually all the other judges said "listen" instead. Scott giving Seacrest a chance to re-do their audition High Five was also a funny moment.

I think there is little doubt that Scott will be voted into the Top 12 tomorrow. It is great that he is getting to do what he loves, just like Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles were. He probably also already has a higher job approval than New York Governor David Paterson. A lot of older and more conservative minded Idol voters are really going to like the style and sound of Scott's voice. I do not know if he would ever be a huge mainstream star, but he could make a name for himself in singing some (perhaps boring) Josh Groban like fare. I think he will do even better in the Finals once he can play the piano or keyboard. As for now, I look forward to seeing him do the cheesy Idol choreography in the group number tomorrow night.

10. Kendall Beard- "This One's For the Girls"

This was a really tough one for me to judge, because I wanted to find things to critique about it, but when I heard her sing it, it sounded really decent to me. The judges really liked it far less though. What is it? Was I perhaps a little too focused on her apperance and resembelence to former '80s Growing Pains actress Julie McCullough? I guess part of me hopes she makes it to the Top 12. I sort of miss the Kellie Pickler dumb blonde act on Idol (and what the hell did she do to herself since Idol?). Maybe I want to see her father do The Gator as promised if she advances one more round.

I think it was a smart song choice for Kendall to sing country, and in particular this well-known girly empowerment anthem. I think it will get her a lot of votes as will her Texasness. Look at what happened with Michael Sarver. That is not to be ignored.

I really tried to be objective and judge all the contestants based on vocal performance alone, but I think most others who do rankings are going to wind up having her lower.

11. Jorge Nunez- "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me"

He was going to do what song? How many times has that been done on AI, usually in the last two weeks? Was he trying to get the Archuleta fan vote by doing it? Was it a dumb choice? This is a tough one for me. In some ways, it was better than I thought it would be, but still I liked it a whole lot less than any of the judges did and I have always sort of felt he was overrated. He might make somewhat a career for himself in the Latin market, but I don't seem him ever coming close to Ricky Martin or Enrique Iglesias levels of fame.

He sounded good and in tune on the song, but maybe because it has been done so much on Idol, I felt it a little lacking as well. I really expected him to sing something in Spanish and that could have been a smarter choice. (Simon apparently believes that any Latin person is "Spanish") Paula gushed about how his accent was less thick than before, which I did not really notice if it was. It's hard to determine if I find it distracting or not.

So, after getting all sorts of good reviews, Jorge busts out the Miss Puerto Rico routine and started seriously tearing up and was all verklempt. Are you kidding that the one Puerto Rican contestant to cry while being judged would not wind up being Tatiana Del Toro? The worst part is that I don't think Jorge was acting.

Here's my question; does the Island of Puerto Rico get to vote? If so, will they power-vote for Jorge and maybe put him through based on that alone? I really do not see the larger Hispanic-American population rallying behind Jorge. I understand that Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans have some issues with each other, but who knows. What are the Idol voting rules on this though? Can they vote in the semifinals (primaries) but not in the Finals (general election)? I am not sure if the male family member in the audience was his father or not, but he did look like the Puerto Rican Billy Ray Cyrus.

While I do not agree with it, Jorge has a chance to be voted in tomorrow. If not, he stands a very good chance of being brought back for the Wild Card group and it would be between him and Ju'Not from tonight because of the diversity factor.

Finally, am I crazy, or does Jorge very much look like the C. Thomas Howell character in the '80's movie "Soul Man?"

12. Lil Rounds- "Be Without You"

As expected, the pimp spot went to Lil, who is clearly going to the Finals tomorrow as clearly as Octo-Mom will be talked about on Entertainment Tonight the same evening. Lil Rounds would be a perfect rap name of course, but she is more of an R&B belter and while some think she is overrated, I think she is actually really talented and was by far the best of the evening, although it still lacked the sort of "wow" factor that Allison brought last week.

The Mary J. Blige song was a really good choice for her (and would have been for Anoop Desai as well). The only awkward moment is really related to the one bad word in the song that Lil was obviously not going to be allowed to sing,but she has to act like she was censoring herself by saying "we got real sh...", just say "real stuff" instead and be done with it.

I like Lil though. She and her family have been through some natural disaster related sh... I mean stuff, and they are obviously on their way to a better life now. I bet she finishes in third place as an African-American female every season almost always does (and she will be the only one). While she doesn't seem overly sophisticated or "put on" in talking, she is still quite likeable and not diva-ish, although she does seem to have a thing of referring to herself in the third person. Bob Dole may like that.

Finally, I think it is clear that she has earned the support of Sir Mix A Lot.

So, it's about time for the rankings. Again, spots 2-11 are all really not that far apart. I did not think this was a very strong group but for the first time this year, a group of girls was better than their male counterparts. That probably gives the producers great hope that they can get two females voted into the Finals this week and potentially wind up with a somewhat more reasonable 7-5 male advantage in the Finals.

1. Lil Rounds
2. Kendall Beard
3. Kristen McNamara
4. Felicia Barton
5. Scott MacIntyre
6. Nathaniel Marshall
7. Von Smith
8. Ju'Not Joyner
9. Jorge Nunez
10. Arianna Afsar
11. Taylor Vaifanua
12. Alex Wagner-Trugman

So, if it were up to me, Lil and Kendall (I still laugh at that one) would advance with Scott, all the way in a close 5th, picking up the slack for the guys. I would then give Kristen an automatic wildcard invite.

What will happen? Well, Lil and Scott are probably in for sure (haven't seen Dial Idol yet) and then the third one is really much tougher. It could be a few people, and while I think Kendall (Country Music/Hot/Texas) is going to be in the game, I will go out on a limb and say Felicia Barton gets the final spot.

And since they will probably announce the wild card round contestants tomorrow, I will predict (hard to rank all 36 against each other to see who would be most deserving) that if they give 9 people another shot they will be:

1. Anoop Desai 2. Ricky Braddy 3. Tatiana Del Toro 4. Matt Giraud 5. Megan Corkrey 6. Jasmine Murray 7. Ju'Not Joyner 8. Jorge Nunez 9. Kendall Beard (or Felicia if she doesn't make it instead)

Obviously, I want to see them sing first (and will rank them on Thursday night after the fact), but I have to think that Anoop, Megan, and Matt have the edge in being picked by the judges, even if they do not wind up doing that well.

So, that would make a Final 12 featuring one African-American, one Hispanic, one Asian-American, and nine white kids ranging from multiple church worship leaders to one whom the producers hope will fly his freak flag high in order to creative buzz and controversy for the show in order to help ratings.


At 4:39 PM, Anonymous Conservative Democrat said...

Corey, my predictions for tonight:

I see two African Americans, one Latina, and one Asian in the Top 12, but my money overall to win the Idol crown will be on Allison Iraheta, the girl with Red hair.

Idol will be PRESSURED to have a Hispanic winner since Archie didn't work out last year.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

American Idol Group 3 Results and Wildcard Show Reveal

Firstly, best wishes to Former First Lady Barbara Bush and family, as she recovers from some heart surgery. Also, I just saw that comedian Robin Williams may be having a heart-related issue as well, so hopefully he will be ok too.

On to Group 3:

Who should have advanced: Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre, Kendall Beard

Who I predicted would advance: Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre, Felicia Barton

Who did advance: Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre, Jorge Nunez

So, like for Group 1, I went two out of three in my predictions and 7 out of 9 for all three groups. I think all seven of the Finalists rightfully earned their spot, but the other two were sort of head-scratchers for me.

Lil and Scott were pretty easy to predict though, so not much more needs to be said about those results.

As for the third prediction, I was a little surprised after I did my write- up last night to show that Dial Idol was showing a tough race, but with Ju'Not Joyner holding a narrow lead over Jorge. Indeed those two were the last ones called out from the group to be given a spot and once again, just one female made it through this week. That's a bit of a disappointment to me as I thought that four of the females were better than any male this week.

It's easy to be happy for someone like Jorge, but I still do not get the love for him. Why do people even think he is adorable? I could not even see him making it into Menudo. Obviously, the Puerto Rico vote must have been allowed and that ethnic identity helped him through. Assuming it really did come down to Jorge and Ju'Not, I think Ju'Not was probably denied the spot because a lot of African-Americans would have voted for Lil. Overall, it is becoming a lot more difficult for African-American males to do well on Idol.

But back to Jorge, the main factor had to have been the crying. Like Hillary Clinton before the New Hampshire primary, Jorge shed some tears and I guess people ate that up. I have a hunch he might be the first one voted off in the Top 12 though. In a political sense, it might be a little problematic for him to have spoken tonight about Puerto Rico as his "country." Some people may be wondering why he should be the *American* Idol then. Apparently, Jorge would symphatize more with the Puerto Rico Independence Party or the PPD which favors continuing the island's Commonwealth status, rather than the pro-statehood PNP, but I am the only person in America to even consider this in any way.

The whole Wildcard reveal portion of the show was maybe even more dramatic. It turns out that just eight singers will get a chance tomorrow and I have to wonder if the three that will wind up going through (barring a twist like a Top 13 or Top 14 this year) have already been basically decided on. I would not have personally put through almost all of the eight that got invites, if that was the limit on people who would be brought back, but there were no huge shockers in who was given another chance by the judges. Of course, the most obvious bring-back, Anoop Desai, was saved for very last, which must have really had his fans worried, even though the wildcard rules apparently guaranteed him a spot anyway.

It was really interesting though to see how there was even a pre-wildcard round.. round, with several contestants from Groups 1 and 2 up in the balcony. It was hard to scan them all at first but I was sort of surprised to see Matt Brietzke up there. Of course, since Group 3 was already in town, they were invited up as well to take part in the facade that they still may have a shot.

In order to tie this all up neatly, I am going to make brief mention of the names of all the Season Eight Semifinalists whose journey is now apparently over... for good.

These people must have been informed by telephone that they need not return to Hollywood and there were no cameras there to record the tears:

From Group 1: Casey Carlson, Stevie Wright, Anne Marie Boskovich, Stephen Fowler
From Group 2: Jeanine Vailes, Mishavonna Henson, Kai Kalama

And now for those who were brought back to the studio, only to once again be crushed, assuming they did not already know that all they were getting out of the deal was another trip and a lot of Coca-Cola products:

From Group 1: Brent Keith, Jackie Tohn
From Group 2: Nick Mitchell, Matt Brietzke

For the really sad folks in Group 3 who had to face rejection twice in the same night, say goodbye to: Alex Wagner-Trugman, Taylor Vaifanua, Ariana Afsar, Ju'Not Joyner, Nathaniel Marshall, Felicia Barton, Kristen McNamara, Kendall Beard.

With Jorge making it through, this does have to be especially hard for Ju'Not to not have any other chances, as well as Kristen and Kendall, who I certainly thought were deserving of another chance.

But the snub that might get the most outrage out in the Idol fandom is probably going to be that of Felicia Barton. I think she has a lot of talent and did pretty well last night (better the second time I heard it) and a lot of her fans probably thought that she was either going to be voted in from last night or at least be brought back for the wild card show. But that's it. It's all over for her once again, just like it seemed to be when the judges/producers kept her out of the Top 36 to begin with. Maybe the show just though they already had enough church folk.

Of course tomorrow night we will see performances by four guys and four girls, with only three making it thru. I will rank their performances tomorrow evening, but it will be impossible to make formal predictions because the judges are going to announce the lucky three at the end of the show.

Since there are only 3 females with guaranteed spots in the Finals (unlike Seasons 3 and 6, the last two years have seen the guys be far more popular overall), I am positive that at least one Final selection from the wildcard show will be female. That would make the split 8-4, but the producers probably want to have a rationale to pick two ladies tomorrow night to make it 7-5.

So, before I see them sing again, who do I think has the best chances?

If there is one male slot from the wildcard show, I would seriously think that Anoop Desai has it in the bag barring an epic meltdown tomorrow. He would add some ethnic/religious diversity to the Finals and the Powers That Be clearly are aware of his large fan base and the fact that he just very narrowly lost out to Michael Sarver in his first shot.

As for the other guys, Von Smith will be singing (and he also sounded a little better to me the second time I heard the performance), but I really think he has an almost impossible task to advance. If either Ricky Braddy or Matt Giraud have a very good to great performance, they would be likely to get a spot in the Finals. Matt would probably be the preference though of those who put the show together.

When it comes to the ladies, one spot will go to either Megan Corkrey, Jasmine Murray, Jesse Langseth (modest surprise that she was not "too cool for school" to be invited back), or the infamous Tatiana Del Toro.

While Jasmine probably has the most commercial appeal out of any of them, she also will probably be on tomorrow night because of the diversity factor. Megan and Jesse sort of appeal to the same sort of fans so I think only one of them could possibly make it and assuming it is not a sing-off slaughter in favor of Jesse, Megan probably has the best chance of being the chosen one (I don't really get her vocally).

Idol would probably most like to find a way to get Tatiana into the Final 12 though in order to generate some hysterics and drama in the new Idol Mansion. She would though be the second Puerto Rican and third Hispanic in the Top 12.

So, to summarize, if I had to guess; Anoop will be in, and then it could be any two of the others, except two more males together, and except Jesse and Megan both, and oh, except Von.

That make sense?



At 1:18 AM, Anonymous VegasTaxiDriverDotCom said...

Robin Williams is one of my favorites. I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery.

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Conservative Democrat said...

Corey, Lil Rounds and Allison Iraheta in the Final 2 between a Latina and African American, battle of the girls this year.

Deal with it.

At 3:51 PM, Anonymous coffee said...

The two main contenders at this point seem to be Allison Iraheta or Danny Gokey

Friday, March 06, 2009

American Idol Wildcard Show

Here is a fairly quick recap of Thursday night's special Wildcard Show and the subsequent results... as if the outcomes were not pre-determined.

For the record, I already miss Kendall Beard.


1. Jesse Langseth- "Tell Me Something Good"

She can definitely sing and really looks better than her initial audition, but I was a little surprised they did bring her back over someone like Felicia Barton. She did a competent job tonight, but her song was really wrong and made it hard for her to shine. While it was true she only needed to impress the judges and not America, her fate was probably sealed to begin with. So, Jesse would finish the night hearing a no and her journey has ended. I am sure she thinks she wasn't cheesy enough for the show anyway.

Incidentally, what kind of cross tattoo does she have on her arm? It looked a little suspicious in some ways, but I am sure it was not anything too out of the mainstream as far as tattoos go.

2. Matt Giraud- "Who's Loving You"

I could care less about fashion, but this dude makes some of the absolute worst wardrobe choices. I will not say anything else. As for the singing, I thought it was quite good, although maybe not as amazing as the judges said. Those comments led me to believe that they may have already decided on him. It was definitely a better performance from a technical standpoint than his initial semifinal performance and more in his soulful style. He should be able to play his piano in the Finals now and perhaps can challenge Scott MacIntyre to a dual.

3. Megan Joy Corkrey- "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree"

This was maybe not a shocking song choice for her, but I have never understood what the lyrics were all about. I know that many people love her whole style and vibe and all that, but I just have never gotten her and frankly, I thought she was horrible again tonight. Katherine McPhee sang this weird and pretty annoying song much better on American Idol twice (and I had to listen to her do it in person at the tour that year as well). It's almost like Megan just sings two notes at most and is talking in a sing-song way rather than singing, much like a horrible commerical of people singing the same way that I saw twice today and I pray will never see again, but I am sure there will be no such luck.... Simon loves him some Megan though, so I was pretty sure she would be in the Finals. I just don't get it from the singing to the horrible dancing, but I guess America will get to decide now.

4. Von Smith- "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word"

Von really should consider himself lucky for the judges giving him so many chances, and advancing him as the only wildcard contestant from Group 3. That was interesting because I am pretty sure he was not the next highest vote getter not to get through in that group and that qualification was supposedly going to trigger an automatic invite. If Dial Idol is to be believed, that might have opened a spot for Ju'Not Joyner, but I wonder if the producers worried about his asthma.

As for the singing, Von who might have taken a little step forward with his upbeat performance on Tuesday night I felt took two steps backwards tonight, picked absolutely the wrong song for him, started off rough, then got weird and shouty as usual, and looked shaky and scared to death. Maybe he was having flashbacks of having to hug Rosie O'Donnell. He got blasted by the judges which made it even more obvious that he would be officially eliminated tonight, but he took the news well, so good luck to him. He will be heard from again perhaps if he can study and learn from what he does right and what he does wrong.

I do wonder though about song choice and this whole wildcard process. Did the eight kids really only have less than a day to pick a song, get it cleared, and rehearse? I have my doubts that was really the case, especially with the first two groups, but if Von had to do a completely new on such short notice, he was probably at a disadvantage.

Personally, I would have liked to have seen some more twists in this wildcard feature, such as all eight of them being on stage together and having to sing portions of songs that were thrown at them without necessarily knowing which ones they would be. Now, that would have been dramatic!

5. Jasmine Murray- "Reflection"

I was really surprised that Jasmine did not take the judges' advice to capitalize on her youth and good looks by doing something like a Rihanna (what's she thinking?) song. It's like they are trying to pigeonhole her into doing the music of African-American artists, but for the second time, Jasmine chose to sing a song that was not by a black artist (both Latin singers I suppose?). If that is what the judges, such as Kara DioGuardi were after with their "package artist" comments, I wonder why they cut that Lenesha girl (or whatever her name was) in Hollywood.

It seems like Jasmine sees herself as more of a belting balladeer than an R&B diva and that niche may be taken by Lil Rounds anyway. With that in mind, I think Jasmine did better than she did in her first performance, and this Christiana Aguilera song she did seems really hard to do as well. Jasmine hit some big notes, but to me it was still a little disappointing. I agreed when Simon Cowell hinted that at this stage in her career she may have to try to hard to pull something like that off. She just may not be ready yet, as Jordin Sparks was.

Jasmine did still get a lot of comments about how marketable she was, and it seemed like it could be that the judges were setting up a justification for a decision they already made to put her through. Indeed that is what happened, and while I think Jasmine has a bright future, she probably is only in the Finals because American Idol felt they needed more than just one African-American. Lil Rounds was not going to be the Roland Burris of Season 8.

6. Ricky Braddy- "Superstition"

Not to harp on the wardrobe thing, but he was wearing the same goofy get-up they showed him doing his Ricky Braddy Dance to after advancing in Hollywood. Singing Stevie Wonder on American Idol can always be risky and Ricky definitely put himself out there for this, but I actually thought it was very good vocally and that he had shown much improvement in confidence and working the stage. I was a little taken aback when Simon was so critical of the performance. Again, it felt like they already made up their minds and had too many males in the Finals to whom Ricky had some vocal style similarities and thus he would wind up being out of luck.

So, sadly one of the best technical singers in the entire Top 36, and someone who had two very good and consistent performances, was booted tonight.

I also wonder what might have happened for Ricky if he had not been in the same Group A with fellow North Carolinian Anoop Desai. Since Anoop was said to just fall statistically short of originally advancing, I think it is a given that all the Carolina votes that went to Braddy were what kept him from beating out Michael Sarver. Anoop was probably the heavy favorite of NC, but Braddy might have gotten a lot of more votes out of that state if he were in a different group.

7. Tatiana Del Toro- "Saving All My Love For You"

Didn't she just sing this a couple weeks ago? Guess she could not get anything else cleared in time that she wanted to do, but she should have known the judges might not have been as impressed the second time around. She surprised many back then by being fairly decent and demonstrating a powerful voice on this Whitney Houston tune, and while it might have started off a little rougher this time than the first time, she once again brought it home at the end, perhaps even better than the first time. Since I have to vote on vocal performance alone, I really tried to not dock her any points for re-doing the same song or for just being an absolute whack job/actress. All of a sudden she has a thicker Puerto Rican accent now. It's similar to how all of a sudden Michael Jackson had a deeper speaking voice in London today than he has ever had before.

It's hard to say that Tatiana cannot sing though and because of the drama factor, I figured that if the judges were to put two females through, she might be one of them, but alas it was not to be, and Tatiana had the predictable breakdown and will now go searching for some reality show deal.

Oh, and her dress was horrible! I'm really worried I am going to wind up on E's Fashion Wrap now or something.

8. Anoop Desai- "My Prerogative"

Last but not least was one of mine and many other's early favorites. He chose a very interesting song choice, one that received great interest when it was shown for about five seconds during the Hollywood episodes. It is true of course that several other contestants in the Top 36 reprised their best Hollywood number during their first performance, so it would have been hard for the judges to to criticize him too much for doing it on the Wildcard Show.

By a clear mile, Anoop was the best entertainer tonight, but as far as the voice alone, I do not think it was as great as many others did or what I might have expected. Anoop may actually not have too much experience at all as a solo singer in front of an actual band (and the band and the backup singers were visible for the first time tonight). Technically, I think Noop Dogg was better on the dreary "Angel of Mine" and that his take on this Bobby Brown number was a little manic and shouty at parts. It was still entertaining though and the irony is that had he done this song in the first place, flaws and all, he would have sailed into the Top 12 back then.

Anoop got great comments from the judges which led to little doubt he would be in the "Top 12", had a little bit of a moment with Kara about the Duke-UNC rivarly (I guess I have always preferred Duke in that from an outsiders perspective) and then gave a shout out to Chapel Hill, as this is apparently the one year anniversary of the tragic murder of the then student body President (and Anoop's friend) Eve Carlson. I thought it was a nice moment, but I wonder how many of the folks who roll their eyes on the whole Danny Gokey Dead Wife thing might have not liked this either.

To rank them:

1. Ricky Braddy
2. Matt Giraud
3. Anoop Desai
4. Tatiana Del Toro
5. Jesse Langseth
6. Jasmine Murray
7. Von Smith
8. Megan Joy Corkrey

Who should have advanced (based on what they said the number would be, ha ha): Ricky Braddy, Matt Giraud, Anoop Desai

I expected the three guys to be the best ones of the evening and they were, but I also knew that there was no chance that three guys would be selected. I thought during the commerical break that Anoop would be a given, and that Megan was going to be chosen as well. I then was somewhat torn about who the third one might be, but I was guessing it would be Matt. I did feel sort of conflicted in knowing that Anoop would go through and wanting to see more of him, while also thinking that two of the other guys were better vocally... and perhaps even wondering if he was really all that much better than Tatiana.

For several weeks now though there had been speculation about a "twist" at this stage in the game, perhaps with their being more than 12 to hit the big stage. That started to feel more and more likely as the night went on as I can read the American Idol Public Manipulation Strategery as well as anyone. I just knew it. Yes, you have to believe me, I just knew it.

So, Jasmine was the first to be put in, in a mild surprise..... Matt Giraud, knowing Simon's love for Megan probably proceeded to feel violently ill....then Megan was matched against Tatiana and made it in herself......and ultimately it came down to two guys... Matt and Anoop.

And as mentioned I saw it coming.... "Matt, you're in... and Anoop... you are in as well." The producers really like screwing with Anoop. It must be Pick on a Hindu Week or something, because they made him the last person to be announced as a wildcard singer on Wednesday, and by that point, Anoop looked like he was about to hurl. Tonight, he appeared to genuinely act that despite all the comments he received from the judges, when his buddy Matt was put through, that he was going home, and started to walk off stage, before Seacrest stopped him or something.

I'll have to watch the sequence of events again to determine if Anoop is really that good of an actor or if he was genuinely shocked that a "twist" could be added with a Top 13 this year. The contestants had to have been speculating about that amongst themselves.

So for all you tristadecaphobics, we finally had our Top 13 and to just make this official:

Who did go through: Anoop Desai, Matt Giraud, Megan Joy Corkrey, Jasmine Murray

Next week's show may be a cramped and rushed two hours with 13 singers and four chatty and self-indulgent judges. I have no idea what the the theme will be, but since there are 13, I am guessing it's going to be a double elimination spectacular. Maybe we will get rid of some of the deal vocal weight... I don't know... maybe Jorge and Megan?

Ridiculously early Top Three speculation from me...... Anoop Desai, Allison Iraheta, Lil Rounds

I also think that Kris Allen may wind up sticking around longer than most expect and that Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert will both be so polarizing that they both wind up as "shock eliminations" somewhere between # 6 and # 4..... and assuming the show is not rigged, the Powers That Be will be quite upset.

Let's just enjoy the manufactured rollar coaster ride.



At 4:23 PM, Anonymous Conservative Democrat said...

Corey, my Idol 2009 prediction:

Allison Iraheta (my pick since the Latinos will vote in DROVES) and Lil Rounds, let's see if the African American base will rally around her since Jasmine will fall in 7th.

At 6:47 PM, Anonymous Conservative Democrat said...

Corey, I'm predicting that Michael will get the boot THIS WEEK.