Friday, March 01, 2013

American Idol Top 40- Group B Males

Technically, only 25 remain, but by the end of the night, we will be down to the final 20, and allegedly, America will get to vote next week. I will not be doing so. This was pre-recorded, I believe yesterday, but I have avoided all spoilers.

I have yet to see the show, so like last Thursday, I am going to watch my DVR recording and live-blog it as I go, offering commentary on the performances before I hear what the judges say, and then I may add a few more thoughts after hearing the judges. It will be after midnight by the time this wraps up, so if I make reference to "tonight", I mean what happened on Thursday.

Seacrest is in cahoots with dolphins now. I would have lost money on Lazaro getting the pimp spot.

Here we go-

1. Mathenee Treco- "A Little Less Conversation"

I do not remember much about him at all from the audition or Hollywood episodes. His singing an Elvis song seems a bit odd. This particular one has been done to death on the Idol stage.

Starting off, I did not like it at all, but I cannot help but he somewhat impressed by his ability to pull off a bit of an '80s hair metal scream thing during parts of the song. I thought it was weaker during the verses, and it seemed at the beginning like he was more of a dancer trying to be a singer. I don't know, I think he is probably going to be fodder. Time to hear what the judges had to say.

Why do they have Diet Coke cups this year instead of regular Coca-Cola? Is this Michelle Obama's doing?

2. Gurpreet Singh Sarin- "Nothing Ever Hurt Like You"

He has been known thus far on Idol as the "Turbanator." I think every Sikh guy who grew up in the 1990s or after grew up being called that as well. We certainly had one at our school.

Rocking the canary turban tonight, Gurpreet sings like a nice guy, and I thought he had shown vocal promise tonight, but I just was not feeling the song he did this evening, which I had never heard before. He looked kind of nervous and sounded out of pitch at various parts and overwhelmed by the band.

Yep, the judges sort of saw it like I did and felt that he made a big mistake by not playing the guitar and singing something more "intimate." He basically begs for another chance to come back with the guitar but it's probably too late for that.

3. Vincent Powell- "Cause I Love You"

Damn. Looking up the song title, I think I may have accidentally caught a glimpse of the names of  three people who advanced.

Anyways, Vincent is 29 years old, a worship leader, and has sang backgrounds for some famous artists. He also seems to be the first Idol contestant with visible gray hair since Taylor Hicks. Maybe that is why he shaves his head.

He started off this song singing some smooth R&B which I thought sounded good, but I doubted would really move a lot of people to remember him. As the song progressed though, he really let loose with some soulful riffs and while he may not have gotten a lot of screen time up to this point, he definitely impressed. The judges were shown feeling his performance and on the verge of a standing ovation and Zoanette Johnson was even more excited. Accidental internet spoiler glimpses or not, I am guessing he is going to advance.

Zoanette implores Vincent to "Get it Papa Smurf!" She's going to have her own show on Bravo a year from now, isn't she?

4. Nick Boddington- "Say Something Now"

Like Vincent, Nick is bald, but I think he is probably always going to be wearing a hat on the Idol stage. I sort of find him a bit creepy looking but will work past that.

He had been given a good amount of screen-time last season before being eliminated in Vegas, and this season, he returned to the city and I thought delivered a solid performance. I do not know this song, but felt that Nick did a good job of showing off his falsetto and also going low with his voice as well. I cannot really think of anybody who has been on Idol before that sounds exactly like him, so that is probably a good thing.

The judges were not as kind as I would have been.

5. Josh Holliday- "I'm Better With You"

Josh is white, male, hails from Texas, and may possibly be straight. All that adds up to him being a frontrunner to win the season. Does he play the guitar though?

In his "sing for your life" Hollywood performance he made Idol history by splitting his pants. Tonight, he made more Idol history by singing an original song for the first time ever in a "live" round. Assuming the song goes over ok, that is smart strategy, but certainly better to do so when the judges/producers have to decide, instead of relying on viewer voters.

Starting off at the piano, he may have been better singing the entire song from there. I thought it was alright, though I was not blown away by the song or his performance. In what seems to be a bit of a theme among the guys this season, he went up in his falsetto at various points. I will be interested in seeing what the judges thought.

Their opinions were pretty blah on the performance, while agreeing with what I thought about the piano thing. Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj act like the other one is not even present. I think that will probably be the case all season. Josh comes off a tad on the arrogant side, but whatever happened to him tonight, he might be able to make some money with his fans buying his original song online (if Idol allows that.)

6.  David Oliver Willis- "Fever"

I am not sure if his name sounds more like a child actor or an old time Supreme Court Justice. Basically, I have no memory at all of him earlier this season. DOW is also a worship leader and his father was born in 1906. Wow. He has to easily now hold the Idol record for the oldest and longest-ago born Dad and I do not think that will ever be broken.

He is playing the acoustic guitar and wearing a vest. If he were caucasian, perhaps we could already give him the trophy. I will say though that he absolutely impressed me. I do not know if maybe there is a version of this older song out there in the same arrangement that he might have borrowed from, but it sounded totally original and current. I thought he sounded really good and looked confident. If the judges disagree, I will be quite surprised.

Yeah, I definitely disagree with them, especially Nicki.

7. Bryant Tadeo- "New York State of Mind"

The video introduction piece is all about how proud Bryant is to be from Hawai'i and then he comes out and sings a song about New York, while in Nevada, hoping to advance to perform in California.

Nonetheless, I thought this was a pretty good vocal of a fairly well-known Billy Joel song. There may have been some notes he could have further perfected, and perhaps some may have found the performance a bit sleepy, but there is no doubt that he has a soulful and well-established voice. I wonder though since Elijah Liu already went through last week, if the Idol Powers That Be, will feel they have reached their quota on Asian-Pacific males.

8. Burnell Taylor-" This Time"

Like Breanna last night, Burnell endured a Louisiana hurricane without losing the ability or desire to sing. I am not sure if I get why Nigel Lythgoe is so interested in hurricanes, but I am glad these kids are able to have this opportunity.

Since his audition, Burnell has lost some weight and gotten a bit of a makeover. When he interviews though, it seems pretty awkward still. When he sings though, it is clear he has a voice. To be totally honest, I am not sure I loved everything about his performance and vocals on a song I have never heard before, but there is no doubt that he can sing and the judges clearly were going to be into him. Perhaps, I just do not get this particular type of music, but I think he has talent, and the guys who performed this week seem a good deal stronger than those that did last week.

Ok, Nicki Minaj has finally managed to get me to roll my eyes at her. It was inevitable. He was overweight because of Katrina back in 2005? Sure, blame Dubya for that. He lost 40 pounds. It was not like he was that fat. Honey Boo Boo's mama has allegedly lost a lot more recently. Who is going to praise her new spirit?

Burnell has stolen his signature kiss sign thing from Sammy Sosa. Test him for steroids now.

9. Lazaro Arbos- "Tonight I Want to Cry"

From the very beginning of the season, we have heard so much about how this vulnerable Cuban-American immigrant (who we might have been told in Hollywood had no knowledge of American music) stutters. I definitely have compassion for him in regards to that, but I wonder if he has really been through all the speech therapy necessary to try to remedy that. Joe Biden used to stutter as a kid and now he never shuts up. Also, how is it that the only job he can get is in an ice cream shop? There are a ton of different fields where he could work in an office setting and basically never have to speak to anyone.

Lazaro does not stutter when he sings, but he does sweat. That was kind of distracting. He sang the same Keith Urban song that Paul Jolley sang last week. While he absolutely has a nice tone to his voice but I thought he has been overpraised to this point so far this season and when I unpause my DVR recording, I am sure the judges will gush all over it. Frankly, I thought he was less impressive than almost everyone else tonight and while talented, needs to work on his enunciation a bit if he is going to sing in English. I think he will likely be around for several weeks at least this season. The Cuban-American voting bloc is powerful.

How come he was barely stuttering when talking to the judges and Seacrest. The judges were a bit restrained in their praise of his performance, but still, I cannot imagine they would not put him through (and I think I saw his name on the Google story I wish I had missed.)

10. Cortez Shaw- "Titanium"

Ending the performances is Cortez, who had impressed the judges up to this point, while also leaving Nicki "disgusted" during a Hollywood performance, in what was sort of an extreme criticism.

It was smart for him to sing a current song and he definitely has an interesting and powerful voice. I think he may have overshot some notes tonight though that kept it from being as good as it could. However, since he had the pimp spot and because he is probably the most marketable African-American male singer Idol has had in quite some time (and because I think I saw his name on the spoiler list while writing this blog entry), it appears he will make it to the next round.

Rankings for a somewhat surprising night:

10. Gurpreet Singh Sarin
9. Lazaro Arbos
8. Mathenee Treco
7. Josh Holliday
6. Cortez Shaw
5. Burnell Taylor
4. Nick Boddington
3. Bryant Tadeo
2. Vincent Powell
1. David Oliver Willis

I have yet to even see the judges' comments on Cortez, but I think I can predict who they chose to advance, and I also really do believe these would have been my predictions even if I did not accidentally see the spoilers. It looks like only two out of my top five people tonight will make it.

Who should be eliminated: Gurpreet Singh Sarin, Lazaro Arbos, Mathenee Treco, Josh Holliday, Cortez Shaw
Who I predict the judges will eliminate (even if I had stayed off the internet): Gurpreet Singh Sarin, Mathenee Treco, Nick Boddington, Bryant Tadeo, David Oliver Willis

The only spot I am unsure of would be the one I think they will give to Josh. Let's face it, without him, next week's group of guys would unlikely to have a single white heterosexual (or possibly one that is not underage.) Obviously, Idol really wants a girl to win this year. I do as well, but I think talent should be the determining factor. With that in mind, I do hope that David Oliver Willis somehow makes it through. I would want to hear what else he can do.

Yep, David gets cut. I think that's unfortunate. Before rewinding I thought he snubbed Randy Jackson when saying goodbye to the judges, and the Dog was pissed, but it looks like he did shake hands with Randy first. I guess that won't be a controversy that gets discussed, unless a lot of people missed that brief moment. If anything, he should have snubbed Nicki.

Bryant deserved better too, but I was not surprised.

Who was eliminated: Gurpreet Singh Sarin, Mathenee Treco, Josh Holliday, Bryant Tadeo, David Oliver Willis

So, somewhat pleasantly surprised that Nick made it through. Only one white singer from each gender was put through this week. I will not speculate further on his orientation. While I do believe Nick and several others outperformed Josh tonight, I have to wonder if the Idol producers were leery of putting him through to the voting rounds fearing he could possibly spoil their plans. The same might be said about Johnny Keyser and Jimmy Smith.

We now have a Top 20 and Idol will be on three nights next week. Hopefully, there will be some good singing and interesting entertainment.