Tuesday, April 10, 2018

American Idol Top 24 Group A Part 2

Now, I will watch a recording, stopping to liveblog the Monday night episode of American Idol featuring the contestants dueting with famous singers, only some of whom I have even heard of.

1. Catie Turner- "Good to Be Alive"

I suppose she meshed well with Andy Grammer and she is capable of singing in tune, but I just found this song really annoying and I could not wait for this performance to be over. It might be that kind of night. I miss the way Idol used to do Semifinals in its earlier years. This is all just too gimmicky.

2. Cade Phoener- "Never Tear Us Apart"

I have no idea who Bishop Briggs is, but Cade's mentoring session seemed to mostly be him telling her how to sing this song. They put a harder rock twist on this tune from INXS and I do not know if that really suited the song. Cade sang it well though and of course looks extremely authoritative in his guitar playing. Idol will obviously be portraying him as the "rocker" this season, but so far vocally he has been a few steps behind Caleb Johnson and probably James Durbin as well.

3. Layla Spring- "Stuck Like Glue"

Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland used to be one of the judges on ABC's Duet competition show. She is a very talented singer but I have always found this song sort of odd. Layla did ok with it though and I think having Jennifer there to sing with helped her improve on her performance from last night. The facial expressions both when she is singing and when she is not are weird though.

4. Dominique- "Wake Me Up"

This is an example of if somebody had no idea whom either singer was, they would reach the conclusion that Aloe Blacc easily outsang Dominique. I think the Idol contestant had some nice moments towards the end, when maybe his nerves subsided a bit, but for the type of music he wants to do, his voice sounds sorta ordinary, like he will likely wind up doing weddings and corporate gigs.

5. Brandon Diaz- "Despacito"

To answer Luis Fonsi's questions to Brandon,  yes, I have heard this song, and yes, I am sick of it. However, I have to admit that Brandon handled it better than I expected, just like he did with his solo last night, although I really would have no idea if he messed up all the Spanish or not. He seems like a seasoned performer and considering how long this song was at #1 in the U.S., there obviously might be a market for him if he wanted to do Latin music.

6. Kay Kay- "Drive By"

At least they didn't make her sing "Hey Soul Sister" with the dude from Train. Still though, this was not a great song for K squared and she is getting the diva edit from the producers already, and not in a good way. Still, she managed to make it work for her as best she could, especially in light of some really shaky vocals during rehearsal. Pat Monahan seemed to be holding back a bit, but like Catie, it is a bit tough for these young girls to be heard over the original male artists of these songs.

7. Trevor McBane- "River"

I have heard this song somewhere before and it is one done by Bishop Briggs. For the first part of the song, she seemed like she was maybe trying to show off Trevor and he was a bit in the background. Then, when his portion came, he was able to bring his grit and intensity. He is just extremely good vocally. I hope he gets to stick around so we can see what else he can do on different kinds of songs.

8. Michelle Sussett- "I Can't Make You Love Me"

The other Hispanic contestant is paired with Luis Fonsi as well. This was an interesting song choice. I think Michelle outsang Luis. It was nice to see her do something other than a big dance production type song. Her voice is a bit breathy but it has an interesting, and somewhat unique tone. It is really hard to think whom the judges will wind up cutting tonight, because none of these performances are truly amazing, but they are acting like they all are.

9. Jonny Brenns- "Back Home"

I thought Jonny did well with his solo, but he struggled with his duet. There must be something about singing with Andy Grammer, because both of his matchups felt a bit overshadowed. That is interesting because I thought that Nick Fradiani more than held his own on this song when he sang with Grammer during the Finale on the night he won. Jonny just did not look comfortable on this number though and it is easy to forget he is only 18 and may not have a lot of experience singing in front of crowds. If they ever do a Broadway version of "The Karate Kid" though, he would be perfect as one of the Cobra Kai.

10. Dennis Lorenzo- "Unaware"

I had no idea what Allen Stone looked like. He is sort of like a young Chris Elliot. Anyways, this is the same song that Dennis did in his audition, and I think it might have had more of an impact the first time, rather than having to share the stage with someone who is also playing guitar and hitting the same very high falsetto notes. Dennis sang it very credibly, but the song just does not seem to go anywhere.

11. Michael J. Woodard- "Angel in Blue Jeans"

This was so much better for MJW than his solo last night. This duet, with Pat Monahan, really does not work as a duet, and I would have liked to have heard Michael sing it himself, but he sounded really good and there is something corny but endearing about his stage presence. I have no idea though how he would translate in the "real world" of popular music though.

12. Gabby Barrett- "Stay"

I got a laugh out of the fact that in a baby picture they showed of Gabby, her father was wearing a Sore-Loserman shirt from the 2000 Presidential recount. I guess that means there were blue collar Republican types long before 2016.

This was another impressive vocal for Gabby, although it is really hard to stand next to Jennifer Nettles and not be outsung on a song like this. Gabby did what she had to do though and easily earned a spot over Layla, if the two were somehow in direct competition in the judges' minds.

Ranking the duets only from worst to best vocal performances:

12. Jonny Brenns
11. Catie Turner
10. Dominique
9.  Layla Spring
8.  Kay Kay
7.  Brandon Diaz
6.  Dennis Lorenzo
5.  Michelle Sussett
4.  Cade Phoener
3.  Michael J. Woodard
2.  Gabby Barrett
1.  Trevor McBane

Next, to combine the two evenings, with some thought behind a couple tie-breakers, including one for the seventh and final spot-

12.  Dominique
11.   Layla Spring
10.   Catie Turner
 9.    Jonny Brenns
 8.    Michelle Sussett

 7.    Michael J. Woodard
 6.    Dennis Lorenzo
 5.    Kay Kay
 4.    Brandon Diaz
 3.    Gabby Barrett
 2.    Cade Phoener
 1.    Trevor McBane

In my view, the guys in this group are somewhat better than the girls, on average. However, I do not think the judges will advance five guys compared to just two girls. My prediction is that the only different decision they will make from what I would do is that they will pick Catie Turner and her acting skills over Brandon Diaz. Let's see what happens...

What the heck? Recall these judges.  Bring back "The Dog." Bring back JLo. Bring back Kara DioGuardi. Bring back Nikki Minaj. Bring in Merrick Garland at this point. I don't get it. You let me down Lionel. Your single "Truly" was the first non-Sesame Street record I ever bought when I was about 5.

Who should have been eliminated: Dominque, Layla Spring, Catie Turner, Jonny Brenns, Michelle Sussett

Who I predicted would be eliminated: Dominique, Layla Spring, Jonny Brenns, Michelle Sussett, Brandon Diaz

Who was eliminated: Dominique, Layla Spring, Kay Kay, Brandon Diaz, Trevor McBane

I expected Catie over Brandon and I could even shrug off Jonny over Kay Kay, or Michelle going through, because I thought that was a close call for her, but how in the would could they cut Trevor? I thought he was easily the best of the 12 over these two nights. Did they fear he could get the cougar vote and win, and be another unmarketable, and also non- telegenic Idol winner? He really deserved better, and unlike past Idol (pr Presidential) "outrages", I cannot blame this one on America.

Oh well, it's just a tv show. I am sure my disappointment will mean something to Trevor and his goats. (Curse of the Billy Goat? I thought the Cubs broke that...) Someone Tweet Trevor a link to this blog....


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