Wednesday, February 25, 2015

American Idol Season 14 Top 12 Males

It has been a brutally depressing 24 or so hours for me as a Chicago sports fan, so hopefully American Idol will offer a diversion for me tonight and for the next few months. I am going to have to take it week by week to see if I will have time to watch and blog about the performance shows the night they air. I will watch and write about them eventually, striving more than ever to be brief in my commentary.

Unlike the past few years, I really have not kept up with blog talk about Idol, going into the season, and likely will not be able to all that much as the season progresses. So, my opinions are less likely to be influenced by what others may be saying out there in the internet. Since I have not read too much about the season thus far, it seems to me like the competition this year may be wide open as to who could win. Nobody is really jumping out to me as an obvious frontrunner, although being a white guy who plays the guitar is definitely not going to hurt.

With ratings down, there is going to be less Idol than ever, as apparently the show will eventually have performances and eliminations during the one night it will air this week. Tonight, the are apparently planning to have all 12 guys sing in an hour. I bet this was prerecorded and that the judges comments will be heavily edited, in order to fit in the time slot. I am going to watch a recording, pausing in between performances and before the judges speak, to offer my thoughts, while also trying to rank them by vocal performance only, as I go.

Why did they go to Detroit for this? Is the franchise going bankrupt as well?

1. Adam Ezegelian- "I Wanna Rock"

With a 'from like that, he has to be Jewish right? However, many people believe that Dee Snider from Twisted Sister is Jewish and apparently he is not. This was a weird performance to me, kicking off the season. Adam definitely has some impressive vocal chops, but he felt like he was playing a bit of a cartoon character with this Twisted Sister anthem. Caleb Johnson was a somewhat hefty rocker who won it all last season, and while there is no denying that Adam can sing, I do not know if he is going to have won many fans over by this for a few reasons, some of them superficial.

2. Michael Simeon- "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You"

I think Michael may be able to generate at least the beginnings of a fan base, but this vocal was mostly just ok. It is a song that might appeal to an older fan base, but he may not have quite had the chops to really take on the big notes that it is known for. He did some nice falsetto things towards the end I assume. That High School football ring or whatever it is that he wears though is a bit distracting and looks sort of amateurish. It may time to let the glory days of High School go.

The editing between these performances is definitely a bit weird. It does not at all feel like a "live" broadcast, far less than any previous American Idol competition episode.

3. Savion Wright- "Hey, Soul Sister"

I do remember how upset a lot of Idol junkies were last year when he was cut during the "Green Mile" episode. Back for a second chance, I would have expected Savion to be a lot better than he was tonight. First of all, the song he picked may be one of the worst popular songs of the last decade. It did not really seem to suit him at all and the performance's timing felt off and quite clunky. I think he is capable of better, but really did not show much of anything tonight, in my view.

4. Mark Andrew- "The Weight"

I never knew the name of this song or who it was by. Mark started off fairly decently and it was clear the 29 year old has had a lot of experience performing before a live audience. While not mesmerized by the vocals, it definitely felt like he was easily the best one so far. However, towards the middle of the performance Mark wiped his nose or something and then might have gotten a bit too complacent with the vocals and could have possibly lessened the impact of a decent showing.

5.  Trevor Douglas- "Best I Ever Had"

This first ever cold-climate Idol show is quite weird. It is definitely freezing though here in the Midwest. So much for climate change, you Bill Nye wannabe.

The 17 year old Trevor definitely has the potential to gain a lot of fans among younger girls, but I felt his high energy performance of a lousy song did not really work to his advantage here. It was like he was trying to do too much vocally, playing whatever kind of guitar that was, and also moving around the stage. He may very well advance to the next round, but it was far from Idol caliber.

6. Clark Beckham- "When A Man Loves A Woman"

He only sang for about 90 seconds, but I thought there were parts that were very good, and other parts that were horrible. He was smart to also try to keep it old school and appeal to the cougar Idol voting base this early in the season. It seemed like he had a bit of a deer in the headlights look though at times. Furthermore, he seemed to be channeling Mr. Soul Patrol, Taylor Hicks himself, in the way he sang the song. Some people may really love this, and it looked like Keith Urban was giving a standing ovation as I went to pause the broadcast, but it also sounded to me like Clark was way off on a couple big notes.

7. Ravyon Owen- "Jealous"

While only 23, Rayvon comes across as a bit older. Since he is always wearing hats, I have to assume that his hairline is LeBronesque. I think he is certainly talented, but like a lot of these guys, really seems to be lacking star quality. He put forth a good effort tonight on a current song (had no idea it was by the increasingly sleazy Nick Jonas), the vibe was maybe that he was trying too hard to be "relevant." I think these guys and the Idol viewing audience would have been better off if they could have started off the first "live broadcast" singing in front of a smaller studio audience, like what used to be the case.

8. Daniel Seavey- "I'm Yours"

Where do I even begin? Daniel is 15, but looks about 12. Irregardless of that, I was surprised when he even got a ticket to Hollywood. I thought that after his segment showed this completely confident kid talking about how great he was, his audition was pretty bad, and I thought that was the whole wind-up, and that was actually a joke contestant. "J Lo" and behold though, the judges loved him then, and have put him all the way through to this point, mostly because Ms. Lopez keeps talking about how "cute" he is.

Maybe Daniel can become a better singer in a few years, but right now, I see absolutely nothing for him that justifies him having this spot. I thought his take on the Jason Mraz song was lousy and I might be even more bothered by the fact that Daniel always seems to think he is the shiz. I feel bad saying this because he is so young, but what is he doing on the show, besides the producers hoping that some 10 year old girls might tune in?

I have to say, that through eight performances, this has been a pretty substandard night for American Idol. Everyone that "The Voice" shows in the blind audition episodes, including those who get no chairs to turn around seem to sound a lot better than anything tonight thus far.

9. Riley Bria- "Homeboy"

Going into tonight, I had the thought that Riley was maybe as close to a front-runner as there was. A 17 year old guitar playing country singer from the south, he kind of looks like he could be Keith Urban's son, and in fact once played guitar for him at a concert a couple of years ago. Sort of crossing the judge and auditioner line of ethics perhaps, but people probably do not care at this point.

I did not know this song and it was mostly just ok vocally for me. I detected an appropriate amount of flaws, but at least Riley seems like someone who has potential to grow in the competition. Hopefully, his singing will become closer on par with his guitar playing skills.

10. Quinton Alexander- "I Put A Spell On You"

Another very weird one, but at least the vocals were solid. Quinton is always going to be known for his fashion choices, and he seemed to be wearing a coat that could have been from an albino cousin of Chewbacca. He also has crazy hair, a weird looking nose ring, and braces on his teeth. He may very well have scared a lot of people with this performance that seemed to maybe be an homage to New Orleans voodoo, but there is no denying that he showed a lot of vocal control and finesse in what he did and that it will be a memorable performance.

11. Nick Fradiani- "Thinking Out Loud"

This is one of the most played songs today and it was probably a good choice for Nick, who is one of the oldest guys in the competition to try to do, along with playing his guitar. I really do not know what else to say. His vocals seemed pretty competent, but I also have no doubt there are probably a lot of better, and more connected versions of people singing this song out there on YouTube right now.

12. Qaasim Middleton- "Uptown Funk"

The pimp spot goes to the second African-American singer with fairly unique hair whose name begins with a Q. I have a feeling they may be competing for the same votes before too long.

This Bruno Mars song has been leading the Billboard Hot 100 charts for several weeks now and I guess you can say that Qaasim's performance certainly felt "current." He is one heck of an entertainer, and I got that sense even during the audition rounds. The vocals tonight were mostly on point, considering the considerable amount of dancing and spinning around that he was doing. In a sense, he put on a clinic to the other guys about how to put on a performance. I sort of doubt that a black teenager from Brooklyn can win enough Middle America votes this year, but this was an impressive opening salvo by Qassim.

Rankings from Worst (and there were some pretty bad ones) to Best:

12. Daniel Seavey
11. Savion Wright
10. Trevor Douglas
9. Adam Ezegelian

8. Riley Bria
7. Rayvon Owen
6. Michael Simeon
5. Clark Beckham
4. Mark Andrew
3. Nick Fradiani
2. Quinton Alexander
1. Qaasim Middleton

Tomorrow night, the Top 12 girls will perform, and I hope that there may be some pretty good performances. Then, we are told that the Top 16 will be announced next week. So, I have to assume, it is going to be balanced by gender, and eight guys will advance. You can see above how I would have it.

When it comes to predictions though, this could go several ways. I am going to say that with one exception, my top eight will advance, but that Trevor will beat out Rayvon. I will also go out on a limb and say that Daniel Seavey will be a surprise early elimination, and deservedly so. Then, he can go on DigiTour or whatever it is that young girls pay to go see boys from Vine or YouTube who cannot sing or have any discernible talent. Of course, Daniel could make it to the Finale on Idol this year for all I know.

Get well soon Derrick and Patrick. : (


At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For future reference:
Actors of fully Jewish background: -Logan Lerman, Natalie Portman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mila Kunis, Bar Refaeli, James Wolk, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Julian Morris, Adam Brody, Esti Ginzburg, Kat Dennings, Gabriel Macht, Erin Heatherton, Odeya Rush, Anton Yelchin, Paul Rudd, Scott Mechlowicz, Lisa Kudrow, Lizzy Caplan, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Gal Gadot, Debra Messing, Robert Kazinsky, Melanie Laurent, Shiri Appleby, Justin Bartha, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Margarita Levieva, Elizabeth Berkley, Halston Sage, Seth Gabel, Skylar Astin, Mia Kirshner, Alden Ehrenreich, Eric Balfour, Jason Isaacs, Jon Bernthal, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy.

Andrew Garfield is Jewish, too (though I don’t know if both of his parents are).

Actors with Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers -Jake Gyllenhaal, Dave Franco, James Franco, Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Radcliffe, Alison Brie, Eva Green, Joaquin Phoenix, River Phoenix, Emmy Rossum, Rashida Jones, Jennifer Connelly, Sofia Black D’Elia, Nora Arnezeder, Goldie Hawn, Ginnifer Goodwin, Amanda Peet, Eric Dane, Jeremy Jordan, Joel Kinnaman, Ben Barnes, Patricia Arquette, Kyra Sedgwick, Dave Annable, Ryan Potter.

Actors with Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers, who themselves were either raised as Jews and/or identify as Jews: -Ezra Miller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alexa Davalos, Nat Wolff, Nicola Peltz, James Maslow, Josh Bowman, Winona Ryder, Michael Douglas, Ben Foster, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nikki Reed, Zac Efron, Jonathan Keltz, Paul Newman.

Oh, and Ansel Elgort’s father is Jewish, though I don’t know how Ansel was raised.

Actors with one Jewish-born parent and one parent who converted to Judaism -Dianna Agron, Sara Paxton (whose father converted, not her mother), Alicia Silverstone, Jamie-Lynn Sigler.

At 9:09 PM, Blogger Corey said...

I have no idea if the above comment is Spam or not, but I thought I might as well post it, since naming Jewish celebrities is what my family (and every other Jewish family) would often do at restaurants to pass the time.


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