Thursday, April 30, 2015

American Idol Season 14 Top 4

The judges' save is gone. The Twitter save is gone and five will become The Final Four. Once, again I will be watching the DVR and liveblogging what I see and hear. Hopefully, I will not start to fall asleep, as I almost did last week.

Who should be eliminated: Nick Fradiani
Who I predict will be eliminated: Rayvon Owen

The five contestants take a trip to Nashville, home of what will be the winners' record label. Big Machine Records seems to have strictly artists who at least start out as country. None of these singers are country musicians. I wonder if they will be steered in a different direction.

Nashville is also Clark Beckham's hometown. He would probably be returning once again fairly soon, as the "Hometown Visits" always occur for the Top 3. I am not sure how that will all happen this year with the format changes.

Condolences to Nashville on their Predators being taken out of the NHL Playoffs by Chicago.

Round 1 will be songs from the judges' hometowns and Round 2 will be the "Gravy Song." Couldn't they have gotten Meat Loaf to mentor for that?

1. Clark Beckham- "Livin' For the City"

Is this a song about New York City? I am not so sure about that. I have compared Clark to Taylor Hicks several times this season and I know Taylor did this song. Did Clark also do it earlier though or was that a different song?

It sounded like the key was too high at the start. It was decent enough though, but it seems like Clark might be slowing down a bit momentum wise after some great performances weeks ago. There was a weird part here when he ran to a piano and played a bit and then ran back to the microphone to finish singing. He ended fairly strongly I suppose.

2. JAX- "Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down"

I am copying the song title from what the screen said. I had never heard these verses before as part of the song that used to play on the radio a few years back.

JAX is not a perfect singer, but she is coming on strong in this competition. She did this really well and she knows how to perform and work a crowd better than anybody else left this season perhaps. It felt like she had a real connection to this song. With two songs now presented as a tribute to Jenny From the Block's beloved NYC, (and with JAX having ties to the city as well), it is worth nothing that American Idol history has not been kind to contestants from or around the Big Apple.

It sounds like all four survivors will be getting a hometown trip. Both JAX and Nick have dogs named "Jeter." The Yankees' fan votes will be split. Luckily enough for their former shortstop, nobody has ever come forward to claim that they are the mother of Derek Jeter Jr.

Does this Scott Borchetta guy only have white females working for his record label? There's something vaguely creepy about him.

3. Nick Fradiani- "Bright Lights"

Good song choice for Nick and definitely one of his better performances in my view. His manic style seemed to fit well with the parts of this song that he sang. I definitely would have liked to hear him sing even more of it. All this goes to my theory that Nick and the year 2005 would have gone together better than the current year of 2015, but he must really have a lot of people voting for him. Tyanna better come on strong tonight.

Why did they not just make this a "Songs About New York" round? So far, that's all three. Are there any songs about Nashville or New Orleans that would qualify?

Who was eliminated: Tyanna Jones

You know, I do not know if in 14 seasons of watching this show, if I have ever been more disappointed in a result. I did actually cast my votes for Tyanna on Google last week, so I have a right to complain.

What in the world? I have no idea how Rayvon, who we have been told has consistently been in the Bottom Two got more votes than Tyanna. This makes JAX the last remaining female on the show, and with this voting pattern, perhaps Rayvon and Nick will outlast her too.

I thought Tyanna was not at her best the past couple of weeks, but I really did think she was destined for the Finale for quite a while this season. I thought that last year about Sam Woolf though too. While she is only 16, there is no doubt in my mind that Tyanna is the most talented singer out of anyone this season. Hopefully, she will have opportunities to make it and better the situation for her and her family. She seems like someone who deserves it.

Once again, this is a very disheartening result, but it is only a tv show after all. I can only hope that the American electorate in November of next year fails to vote for a female supposed front-runner.

Tyanna is the first contestant this season to get a goodbye video and she tearfully gets to sing a final performance as well. Since she is no longer in the competition though, I will not be judging it. I think her arrangement of "Heaven" last week was a huge mistake.

4. Rayvon Owen- "Need You Now"

Wait a minute, Rayvon did an interview without a hat on? He is not as bald as I thought either. Maybe there was some magic marker involved. He's still clinging to the hat on stage though tonight. Rewinding a bit, his hair did not look natural.

Like Clark, I guess he will also be returning quickly to Nashville for a hometown visit. I really need to try to not hold it against Rayvon personally that he beat out Tyanna. He made this pop-country song more ballady to fit what he does best. Some of it worked, some of it sounded a bit whiny, but obviously he has been surviving with that formula.

I really do not care anymore about the results this season. Just let Nick win at this point. Tyanna was robbed.

Round 1 Rankings:

4. Clark Beckham
3. Rayvon Owen
2. JAX
1. Nick Fradiani


5. Clark Beckham- "Your Man"

He went from Taylor Hicks in the last round to Scotty McCreery here. He sang this country song in a much higher register did than Scotty did on "baby lock them doors." There was an interesting segment beforehand in which Scott Borchetta an either Rascal or one of the Flatts flat out told Clark that he was making a big mistake and that this would not work for him. I think the only time we ever saw that before was when Gwen Stefani basically told the camera that Sanjaya had no chance. This was more of a confrontation type thing though and Clark made a statement that he was willing to lose the competition rather than compromise his vision for the performance. How mavericky.

Clark demonstrated musical talent with this performance but it was not something that I was really feeling. It's a country song but Clark is not really a country singer, so he changed it up a bit, but it did indeed seem sort of ordinary. He also stopped singing for a guitar solo. Maybe the mentors were onto something telling him not to do this, or maybe that was just all for the cameras.  After the Tyanna elimination, I am starting to wonder what other surprises might be in store this season. Could Nick, another white guy with a guitar, overtake Clark? It's not helpful for Nick that he is from the East Coast and Clark is a Southerner however.

Clark is trying to explain his words from the mentor session and seems to be campaigning a bit for votes.

Idol has not said anything about this week's situation in Baltimore up to this point. Maybe that is because there are several African-American singers who were eliminated this season who left too soon.

6. JAX- "Human"

From what I understand, JAX might be dating Nashville resident Riley Bria, whom she met through the show. I was surprised when he got cut in Detroit.

This song is starting to get way overdone on reality music shows, and I think that whomever sang it on "The Voice" this week was superior technically to JAX, but as far as American Idol is concerned, JAX likely only helped herself. There were definite spotty moments with her voice (and she might be under the weather this week), but her stagecraft and performance skills tend to overshadow that to an extent. You can definitely imagine her as a current act in the music industry.

Michael Simeon, who was also cut in Detroit, seems to be in the Hollywood audience every week. Is he stalking the show?

7. Rayvon Owen- "Believe"

I have never heard this Justin Bieber song before. It sounded and felt like one of those "winner single" things from the Finale that I never really like. Rayvon started off fairly well but then went off the rails and it was a bit too overwrought. His voice cracked a few times towards the end.  I wish he would have thrown his hat into the audience a la Michael Jackson or something. This song was dedicated to his mother. I wonder if that will save him yet again.

8. Nick Fradiani- "What Hurts The Most"

The order in Round 2 was switched up only for Rayvon and Nick, so Nick has the "pimp spot" for the first time this season.

This song has to be from about 2005 as well, right? It has been quite a surprising and successful night for Mr. Fradiani. This was really good as well. When the show began, I thought he deserved to be voted off based on the merit of last week's performances, but tonight, he was certainly at his best in the competition. He pulled off a pop country song pretty well and seemed a lot more comfortable on stage in both of his performances. In my view, he totally dominated the other white guy this evening.

Round 2 Rankings:

4. Rayvon Owen
3. Clark Beckham
2. JAX
1. Nick Fradiani

Composite, including tiebreaker for last:

4. Rayvon Owen
3. Clark Beckham
2. JAX
1. Nick Fradiani

For weeks, I was hoping for and expecting Tyanna vs. Clark, but now, JAX vs. Nick? I do not know if America is going to advance two people from New York Yankees country though. Clark is going to be tough to dislodge.

As surprising as many of the performances were tonight, the biggest semi-surprise and most disappointing thing that happened is of course the defeat of Tyanna Jones. When the Finals began, half of the competitors were African-American, and all of them quite talented. Now, Rayvon is the only one of them left, and his musical stylings are really a lot more in line with what white people dig. There's definitely a story here somehow about racial voting patterns and if the black audience might have dropped off in a big way once some of the performers, such as Qaasim Middleton were cut.

Idol will almost certainly have a caucasian winner this season, so I am predicting that Rayvon finally goes next, although he is like a cockroach after nuclear winter at this point.

I have little doubt that the Powers That Be really want JAX to take it all at this point, but I also think that Clark is still the front-runner. To my surprise, I am off to vote for Nick, at least this week.

If only it really were 2005 and George W. Bush was still President.


At 4:36 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Corey, I've been predicting for months that an Anglo is going to win the Idol crown this year.

Multiple African American contestants dividing the African American vote HURT them!

At 9:17 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Rayvon is OUT having been eliminated from Idol tonight!


Post a Comment

<< Home