Wednesday, March 04, 2015

American Idol Season 14 Top 8 Males

Despite dealing with a cold for the past several days, I am a lot more upbeat than I was last Wednesday evening. Perhaps because Clinton scandals make me feel young again!

I am about to watch a recording of tonight's previously recorded American Idol semi-final performance round, featuring the 12 guys. They are all either black or white this season, no other ethnicity seems to be represented among that gender. For the first time ever, Idol is going to be making cuts, based on America's vote, on the same night as the other performances. It is going to be like this all season, with no more formal "Results Show", perhaps until the Grand Finale. The show will not quite feel the same, but low viewership is definitely the reason why. So, I am expecting to see four dudes get cut and eight others perform, and I will rank them based on that, while also looking back to my rankings and predictions from last week to analyze the eliminations. Hopefully, I can make sense about all this, at least for myself.

Thank goodness Aretha Franklin is dressed decently. Why is she covering someone else's song? Looks a little cold in that Detroit theater, Seacrest. Sounds like we are in for a Motown Records theme.

1. Daniel Seavey- "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)"

Really, America? I had him ranked at the bottom last week and hoped that he would not get enough votes to advance, considering I did not even think he should have been given a Golden Ticket to Hollywood. Apparently though, enough viewers want to keep him around for whatever reason, and somebody more talented and "ready" will be going home because of it.

To be concise, I did not think this was a strong performance. Of course, he may grow more into his voice as he becomes older, but his tone is even annoying. He does not enunciate words well. The performance felt like a 6th grade talent show. I bet the judges are about to praise him, but what would Simon Cowell have said? In Season One of Idol, I believe it was A.J. Gill, who was not all that much older than Daniel is now, who sang an average at best version of this same song, and Simon ripped it apart. This was a lot worse in my view.

2. Mark Andrew- "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone"

I bet he is an Elizabeth Warren for President supporter. How many more "hippies" will be joining him in that soon? Looks, this was obviously better than the first performance tonight. Mark has experience and credibility as a vocalist, but I still found the performance to be average at best. I guess it was good that he showed he could do something like this, without his guitar, on the classic R&B/funk arrangement from the '70s, but it's not really his best musical vibe. It felt like something he may have done in his own show as sort of a throw-away lighthearted performance. It's not really supposed to be a happy song though, and this has been done better a couple of times in past Idol seasons.

3. Ravyon Owen- "My Girl"

He deserved to advance to sing tonight, but I am a bit surprised he did. We are never going to see him without a hat though. It's like he is an Hasidic Jew.

The theme tonight for Rayvon was a fortunate one for him. He appeals to an older audience who might really be into Motown classics. The show definitely did not have to break a sweat in clearing songs for this evening, that is for sure. Rayvon had some nice vocal moments, but there was nothing truly memorable. No matter how far he advances this season, he is probably going to be continuing to do corporate singing gigs in his future. At least, its a paycheck doing what he enjoys.

4. Adam Ezegelian- "I Want You Back"

I am off on my predictions this year. It's tough to live up to my 2014 Midterms standard. I did not think Adam would advance to this week and based on my rankings, he would not have either, despite the fact that I thought he showed a ton of talent in the Hollywood rounds, for example.

Did Richard Simmons and one of his "Sweatin' to the Oldies" participants once have a love child? Could that even be possible? If so, I think we know who it is. I will give Adam some credit for rearranging this well-known Jackson Five number and while I was sort of glad when the performance ended, (for Adam's sake more than anyone), he did manage to infuse some impressive "Rock of Ages" type runs and all that. I suppose the performances tonight are gradually starting to get a bit better, but that still is not saying a whole lot right now for this group.

Daniel really likes to hug these guys. He's like a little puppy dog. I bet tomorrow night, when the girls are in this position, there will be some more fake smiling than the happiness the guys are seeming to show for each other.

It's clearly not cold in that theater anymore. Lazaro Arbos is thankfully not there to set a new sweating record.

5.  Clark Beckham- "The Tracks of My Tears"

The gradual, upward trajectory of the performances continue. I think this was a strong performance for Clark. In the beginning, it seemed a little laid-back, as the song typically is, but then he really injected some more soul and grit into it, as he jammed along on electric guitar.. He really seems to be trying to model himself after past winner Taylor Hicks.

At this point in the competition, Clark does not really scream out "winner", but considering the roster of talent, he might very well be one of the frontrunners already.

How are the judges being tougher on him than they were on Daniel? Qaasim has to be coming up soon. There's no way they would let him go last two weeks in a row. Should Quinton, Nick, and Riley be freaking out about now? It looks like at least one of them is very likely to go home. It's really not looking good for Savion, Trevor, and even Michael. Only three spots left.. barring some sort of "twist."

6. Nick Fradiani- "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)"

Well, I am glad Nick got through, but I am really sensing some pending disappointment for fans of African-American singers whose name starts with a Q, and perhaps a burgeoning story about racial politics and the Idol viewership these days.

In the meantime though, back to Nick (I can already tell, I am going to be thinking about the remaining results all season, while the performances are going on and I need to try to combat that), he also rearranged his song a bit, but in a slower format, at least at the start. It sounded decent, but did not feel like something that Nick was truly comfortable with.

7. Qassim Middleton- "I Wish"

Ok, he made it at least. I would have hated to have joined some sort of Al Sharpton protest about the Idol results. Qassim has probably already won the title of "Best Dancer" in Idol history, but the show is about singing of course,and all the dancing may take a bit away from his vocals. It will be interesting to see what he does on a ballad.

All things considered though, the vocals, while fairly playful and irreverent were good. He tried to do a lot of different things in the song. He definitely is good at remembering all sorts of choreography. As mentioned, the vocals were not perfect from Qaasim, but nobody has been close to perfect tonight. His performance and Clark's are the only ones so far tonight that people may even remember tomorrow.

Qassim is certainly a bit full of himself. Maybe it's a New York thing. Different people will have different reactions to it. I really do not mind his "swagger", but that is going to be one of the reasons why he will eventually be eliminated at some point of the season.

Just one spot left. Quinton should get it, based on last week, but I think it is going to go to Riley, who I thought would easily make it to the Finals. Nope, it's Quinton. Maybe the Kardashians are voting after all.

Wow, some of the audition room favorites to go far in the competition for the guys are gone. The only teenage white guy left is Daniel Seavey. The voting demographic must literally be those under 12 and those over 50.

Let's make this official:

Who should have been eliminated: Daniel Seavey, Savion Wright, Trevor Douglas, Adam Ezegelian
Who I predicted would be eliminated: Daniel Seavey, Savion Wright, Adam Ezegelian, Rayvon Owen
Who was elminated: Savion Wright, Trevor Douglas, Riley Brea, Michael Simeon

If I had to guess a few weeks back, I would have assumed that all four of those guys would have made the Top 12. Bad or average performances and similar singers who others voted for spelled the end of the line for all of them though.

Michael has to stand there in his tux now like a guy who just got stood up on Prom.

Also, no male country singers left this year. Quite a difference from last season.

8. Quentin Alexander- "Master Blaster (Jammin')" 

I apologize for how many times I have already spelled his name wrong. This Stevie Wonder song is not one I really like (although at least I was able to make out some more lyrics than the time DeAndre Brackensick did it on Idol), but Quentin managed to deliver what he wanted to, in what had to have been emotional circumstances, if the kids truly did not know the results beforehand. He clearly can sing and he definitely knows how to perform on stage. There will be some continued disconnect between him and a good swath of the Idol viewership, but in what might be a less than stellar group of male vocalists, he definitely has shown the ability to compete and succeed.


8. Daniel Seavey
7. Mark Andrew

6. Rayvon Owen
5. Adam Ezegelian
4. Nick Fradiani
3. Clark Beckham
2. Qaasim Middleton
1. Quentin Alexander

By merit, the oldest (maybe he is the second oldest) and the youngest should be cut, although there is a huge disparity between those two. I tend to think it will not happen though and the two who will fail to advance to the Finals will be Rayvon and Adam. I was already wrong about them once though.


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