Wednesday, February 24, 2016

American Idol Top 14

I do not exactly know what the format tonight will be, but I am going to, as usual, watch a DVR recording of the broadcast and live blog it, making comments on the performances before the judges give their opinions. If there are "cuts" tonight, I will do my best to predict them before I watch them go down. Hopefully, this is a fairer process than the Nevada Caucus.

Ok, as I pause the recording, it seems that the judges have picked four contestants to automatically advance to the Top 10. They are super delegates, if you will. Then, it looks like 10 will sing tonight  and America will vote for the six to go on to the official Finals. Is there going to be a tour this year? I think they cancelled it last season.

Anyways, based on last two weeks, the four that should advance are:

La'Porsha Renae, Sonika Vaid, Dalton Rappatoni, Olivia Rox

Perhaps, they will go for gender equality so, I will "predict" that Trent Harmon gets the automatic spot over Sonika.

Let's see what happened.

Well, I called that. Dalton Rappatoni, Olivia Rox, Trent Harmon, and La'Porsha Renae are in the Finals.

1. Manny Torres- "Master Blaster"

Out of all the Stevie Wonder songs out there, this is probably not the best one to try to show off vocal skills. However, it was not as bad as I might have thought. He was better than that DeAndre kid when he did this song a few years ago. It still was not all that interesting to me, and while he brought high energy and a lot of movement in his first time on the big Idol stage, the producers may be trying to get rid of him by putting him first. After all, for contestants contestants are getting eliminated based on tonight. It looks like only one judge will talk after each performance.

2. Gianna Isabella- "I Put a Spell On You"

The kids are singing their "favorite moments of the season so far" so Gianna did the exact same song she did two weeks ago in the semi-finals. I am not sure that was a great idea, but I suppose it was either this or the song her mom did back in '80s. She is reminding me a bit of that young teenager from Las Vegas who was on in one of the early seasons. I am drawing a blank on the name and do not particularly care, but Gianna is at least slightly less annoying. Towards the end of the performance, she really did show off her voice and ended pretty impressively. It is fair to say that her early reprisal was an improvement.

3. Thomas Stringfellow- "Story Of My Life"

T-String is just a lot more underwhelming vocally than how he appeared in his first audition. I am sure he will have his fans, but he looked and sounded very much like an amateur in this performance. His stylized way of pronouncing words is just not going to cut it with many people over 25. Maybe even over 16. I could be wrong on that though. I am surprised he did not play the guitar while doing this One Direction song. It would have saved him from feeling the need to shake hands with the audience during almost the entire song.

4. Tristan McIntosh- "What Hurts the Most"

I think Tristan was sort of lucky to have made it past the last round, but she definitely has a lot of potential. I still question her strategy of trying to be a country singer instead of doing more of the Alicia Keys thing as the judges compared her to during her audition. We saw that she was very good singing this country pop ballad during Hollywood week and it was a good choice for her tonight. She sounded a lot better than last week. There are still a few rough edges though to her voice and she may not be quite as seasoned as Gianna, who is also 15.

5. Avalon Young- "Yo (Excuse Me Miss)"

She was slightly glammed up for this performance, at least make-up wise. I do not know this Chris Brown song, but Avalon definitely sang it in its original version directed as a female. I have to assume that is intentional and she is marking her niche in the competition. That is understandable. Her voice is not horrible, but I think it is kind of limited and she did not seem overly credible on this kind of modern R&B number.

6. Jenn Blosil- "True Colors"

I have already forgotten the name of that really quirky girl from last season who got a lot further than I thought she deserved. Jenn seems slightly more grounded as a person but I think she may have a similar arc. I really thought her solo performance was bad last week, but I actually did not mind what she did with this Cyndi Lauper song. I thought she sounded ok on it, but I literally think this is the perfect song for her voice and she will never be able to come close to doing as well on anything else.

7. Lee Jean- "Make It Rain"

He is the third contestant tonight to do a style of music that is not typically associated with one's racial identity. That is probably a positive thing though. Lee is very talented, though still quite young, and this was a very good vocal. It is unavoidable to compare some of these contestants to competitors of the same age and style of music, and Lee is leagues ahead of Thomas.

8. Sonika Vaid- "I Surrender"

I thought she deserved to get the free pass, but it is probably good for her that she got to perform tonight. She sort of looks like a young Nikki Haley. I do not see a young Marco Rubio in the crop of contestants though. If somebody is going to perform this song, they pretty much would be stupid to do so unless they can give it some degree of justice. I do not think this was as stellar as what Kelly Clarkson did on Season One, but Sonika performed very well technically. She has one of the best voices in the competition, but is she going to be stuck in the same lane and leave early like a Pia Toscano did?

9. Jeneve Rose Mitchell- "Ring of Fire"

I knew I would have to endure watching Jeneve perform eventually. It's nothing against her personally, I just do not think she belongs at this point. I wonder if her father though is for Trump or Cruz. Maybe Carson. When they showed her singing a few seconds of this song in Hollywood Week, it actually sounded kind of interesting. The full version though was just too weird. She has a decent voice but this arrangement was not to my liking. I wonder if Johnny Cash purists might hate this as much as they hated Adam Lambert's version.

10. MacKenzie Bourg- "Roses"

Great, I am going to have to hit the Shift Key to capitalize that K all season now. In the pimp spot, Mac sang his original song, which had impressed the judges so much in Hollywood. It is not really my style of music, but he definitely sang it well and seems very current and relevant. I think he will probably go quite far in the competition.


10. Thomas Stringfellow
9.   Jeneve Rose Mitchell
8.  Avalon Young
7.  Manny Torres

deserve to advance

6.  Jenn Blosil
5.  Tristan McIntosh
4.  Lee Jean
3.  Gianna Isabella
2.   MacKenzie Bourg
1.   Sonika Vaid

What will happen? There is not much that would surprise me in regards to any of my bottom four advancing, but I think most likely would be Avalon making the Top 10, perhaps instead of Gianna. Officially, I will predict that America will advance the six I say should make it, but since Americans are voting for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, I may be out of step these days.


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