Tuesday, February 18, 2014

American Idol Top 10 Females

Ok, if I am going to blog about the show on the night it airs, this is going to be very quick and informal. Punctuation, grammar, and spelling will not be priorities.

I am going to watch the performances from my DVR, and then pause it, before the judges speak to give my thoughts. For time reasons, I will be trying to keep this as brief as possible.

As the evening gets underway, we learn there is a "twist." Only ten contestants will be asked to perform tonight for "Idol Rush Week." That might make my blogging duties a bit easier, but that's really pretty lousy for the five who might have thought they were official Idol semifinalists, but who will not even get a single opportunity to sing live on television. That is an Idol first and seems kind of cruel to these ladies who were hoping to be pledged into the Idol Season 13 Sorority tonight. Would it be considered hazing for them to be turned away simply on the basis of dress rehearsal or whatever factors the producers were using? At least those who are going home tonight (and who will not even need to be mentioned here) will not be forced to drink until they throw up and pass out. If they do that later this evening to console themselves, it will be their choice.

Time for the first Rushette-

1. Majesty Rose- "Happy"

She has been one of the most positively talked about contestants thus far from Idol fans online and many have stated that she could be a contender to win it all. She picks a very current song, which I have noticed was very much a theme during Hollywood week. I do not really like this song.

I think she has a really good voice and did ok here, but the performance just seemed a bit frantic to me. She played guitar for the first half of the song, and then stopped playing, but basically stayed planted during the whole song. I bet most of the people who have already bought into her will like it. I would like to see what else she has to offer this season, but I hope there is better yet to come tonight.

2. Kristen O'Connor-"Turning Tables"

They sure foreshadowed her selection to sing next before cutting to commercial break. Harry Connick Jr. announced the pick by saying that the next contestant is a nurse and Kristen was very confident she was the only nurse in the bunch, because she was halfway on stage before he even said her name.

Before I listen to what the judges have to say, I will state that this felt a bit subpar to me. She did show some noble ambition by going for some big notes but throughout her vocal, it seemed a bit flat I suppose. She's certainly not on Adele's level. Unlike Majesty, I do not think a lot of people are still going to remember her when the show ends tonight. However, I am sure that if as a nurse she has male patients, they tend to remember her.

Harry Connick Jr. is going easy on her already. Either my take was off-base, or this may be another season of the judges going soft. The other judges are slightly more critical. People are going to be calling for Harry to "keep it real."

3.  Briana Oakley- "Warrior"

I would have preferred to here the '80s tune with the same name by Scandal but instead it was a current Demi Lovato song. I guess the edict for them to all go current it out there.

Briana, who has auditioned for Idol before, seemed perhaps a bit shaky at parts and did not deliver a perfect performance. However, it was a very good vocal for the most part. She showed that she has real skill and can probably be expected to get even better with some more experience on the big Idol stage. In terms of her look and vocal style, she is probably going to remind a lot of people of past winner Jordin Sparks.

4. Jena Irene- "Paint It Black"

Everybody keeps mispronouncing her first name, and now she has switched things up suddenly by dropping her ethnic sounding last name in favor of "Irene." I forget if she is Italian or something else, but maybe she could have used those identity votes. I wonder if people are going to confuse her new stage name with that of a somewhat similar contestant from the past; Allison Iraheta, who I understand is now a backup singer on Idol. Irene Jean perhaps sounds better.

Anyways, I think this High School student is a very promising talent, and I like the fact that she did an old song here. I just think that maybe she was trying to push it too much and she might have been better coming out of the box for a first live performance with a song that is not so "dark." The talent is there, but I sense a lot of people may have a hard time warming up to her.

5.  Bria Anai- "Wrong Side of a Love Song"

Having already heard from Briana, it is now time for Bria Anai, who has to be named after a synagogue. Having such a Hebrew name might get her some Jewish votes. Maybe she should just shorten her name further to B'nai.

 I do not know this song, and perhaps some will pan her performance, but I was pleasantly impressed with Bria, having not remembered much about her vocals thus far in previous episodes. She certainly put her everything into the performance and perhaps Harry will fault her for going for as many high notes as she did. I think she is certainly a bit rough around the edges, but there is no doubt that she can sing.

Indeed, the judges thought she overdid it. I can see that point, but I will stick with my first impression that it was fairly solid.

6. Marrialle Sellars- "Roar"

The entire season of Idol began with them "pimping" her audition in Detroit. They even showed it again the next week. That led many people to ask if this African-American Miley Cyrus semi look and speak alike was "The Chosen One."

If so, they ought to anoint someone else.While she may look a bit like a star, I thought this vocal was pretty weak. The first verse in particular was really bad. If she was on "The Voice", I am certain that not a single chair would have turned for her. In fact, they never would have even invited her to audition for that show. A better bet for Marrialle might have been to play her guitar, as they showed in the rehearsal with Adam Lambert, and do a slowed down acoustic version on a well-known current (and likely overplayed by this point) Katy Perry song.

There was a mishap with her shoe that apparently was not intentional but at least she did not stick her tongue out or twerk.

So, I was doing some dusting during the judges' comments and accidentally unplugged my DVR. Now, I need to wait for the thing to reboot. Just what I needed...Ok, now it's back. I just need to fast forward thru the first hour and 15 minutes.

7. Jessica Meuse- "Drink A Beer"

She looks a lot more like she would be a rock singer than a country singer, but apparently she thought it was a good idea to sing country (perhaps a smart strategic move to get votes) and she also went against Chris Daughtry's advice and played guitar.

I know that a lot of people were very impressed with her from her audition and I was expecting more from her. This whole performance was just so laid back and underwhelming. She also looked extremely nervous, which may be understandable, but considering her relatively advanced age (23) and how much experience playing gigs that she claims to have, she maybe might have been able to have more stage presence. The main thing for me though was that the song and the vocals were underwhelming. Somewhere, that really horrid stage mother of that 16 year old girl from Hollywood Groups Day is probably going to celebrate if Jessica gets cut this week.

I have already reached the conclusion that the girls last season were a lot better. At least the guys will be better this year. They could not be any worse than Season 12.

8. Emily Piriz- "Paris (Ooh La La)"

We learn she sings in an '80s cover band. I was really psyched that she would do something from that era. Instead, she picked this song which I really dislike.

Nonetheless, I think it was one of the better vocals of the evening. She seems to have combated stage fright better than most others thus far and as one of the contestants who have not gotten as much airtime who were singing tonight, I think she may have impressed some people. I just think I would have liked her more if she did a different song.

Harry Connick Jr. tends to agree. Is he a Republican?

Just a couple spots left. Will we hear from the first formally openly gay contestant? The first ever contestant from North Dakota? I know that I was sort of looking forward to hearing what Kenzie and Austin might do.

9. MK Nobilette- "All of Me"

Well, I guess they had to select her to sing tonight or the show would have gotten bad press. That might bode well for Michael Sam in the upcoming NFL Draft.

When she was talking to Randy Jackson, while wearing a shirt with a kitty on it, I wondered if she might win the votes of young females who might notice how much she resembled Justin Bieber.

I can tell that she has a nice voice, but I really do not see any star quality there. Her mother, or someone in the audience, was literally crying her eyes out from the first note however. I do not know this song. Is it some kind of gay anthem? It might have been a good strategic move for her to have sung that Mary Lambert lesbian ballad or something like that in order to rev up the base for votes or to make the show select her as a wildcard. She did better tonight than some, but I do not know if it will be enough to put her in the Top 5 for votes.

Now, the outcome of the final spot for the guys. Why don't they just cut both of them at this point? Only 10 are going to be singing tomorrow night anyway.

Who I predicted would get the spot: Ben Briley
Who got the spot: Ben Briley

I guess Neco can go party with all the chicks who also got cut without getting to sing.

10. Malaya Watson- "Hard Times"

The other ladies look really sad and/or upset right before and right after the announcement. There's one girl in there with tattoos whose name I cannot even remember. I think they knew Malaya was going to get the last spot. I cannot imagine that a few of the now eliminated five could not have been more entertaining than what we saw tonight. Austin and Kenzie had some really interesting moments in Hollywood, but I guess that's all they can give to Idol XIII for now.

As for Malaya, I am trying to not be annoyed too much by her at this point. She has a lot of talent but I think she is going to be quite polarizing. She was one of the few tonight to pick an old song and gave an old school, bluesy somewhat gospel take on a Ray Charles number that I do not know. The show certainly felt like they were putting her last for a reason tonight.

Mostly, it worked for what she was trying to accomplish, but if Harry and the other judges criticized Bria for shouting too much, they need to be consistent and do the same thing here.

My rankings for vocals alone, worst to best, with the Top 5 deserving to advance directly to the Top 13 Finals:

10. Marrialle Sellars
9.  Kristen O'Connor
8. Jessica Muese
7. MK Nobilette
6. Majesty Rose
5. Jena Irene
4. Emily Piriz
3. Mayala Watson
2. Briana Oakley
1. Bria Anai

All in all, I expected more. There is a long season ahead though.

Who I predict the top 5 vote getters will be, in no particular order: Briana Oakley, Mayala Watson, Jena Irene, Majesty Rose, and Jessica Muese