Tuesday, April 16, 2019

American Idol Top 10

I will now begin watching a DVR of tonight's (finally) live broadcast of American Idol, stopping to make comments on the performances immediately after they are done and before the judges opine. I will have to see just how exactly all this is structured in regards to if they will announce who is "safe" all at once or individually as they go.

1. Madison VanDenburg- "You And I"

She is safe, as she easily deserved to be and as I expected. There is some confusion as to whether she is to sing right away or not. Madison appears to not exactly want to go at the moment, but a microphone is produced and she sang this Lady Gaga song, which was once debuted by a contestant on AI before it was ever even released. I have seen a YouTube version of Kelly Clarkson covering this number and I bet Madison has to. For the most part, she sounds really good but there are some nerves early on. She skipped over the word "whiskey" which I think was intentional but left in another possibly age inappropriate lyrics. As the performance progresses, she demonstrates the power in her voice, but then has a mini-break down at the end out of emotion. Madison, wait until you get your "This Is My Now" moment for that!

2. Evelyn Cormier- "Dust In The Wind"

So far America is two for two. Evelyn is informed she is in the "Danger Zone." This was a very interesting song choice, more more in line with her vibe. Evelyn sings this far better than she did on the song that aired last night, but still, her vibrato is a bit weird in my view and I just think there are better singers. Her time as a reality show contestant may soon be "dust in the wind" but at least she supposedly get to keep the husband.

I just realized something and I know I also faced this "blogging issue" in a past season. Is there going to be a performance show and a results show next week or just a combined episode on Sunday? If so, my ratings for the people that are "safe" are moot. They will get another chance. At the moment, I am not sure though, so I might as well just rank everything. Seacrest is not giving any voting information, so I guess the people that do go through are just getting to sing out of celebration and those at risk do not have to worry about the vote next week. Since they are still technically contestants and some are trying to stay in, I will critique and rank everyone.

3. Walker Burroughs- "Lovebug"

I did not think he deserved to make the Top 14, but thought he deserved to make the Top 10 based on that performance, and as I predicted, he did. Now, I think he took a step backwards. Walker also looked incredibly nervous as he awaited the result and then sang a very different kind of song than the musical theater number he did, dressed differently as well. However, I think there is similarity in that he seems to be going out of his way to be ultra-wholesome and appeal to grannies and pre-teens alike. Many will like him. I did not think this vocal was on par.

The judges are not even talking about the performance, but are just eating ice cream.

4. Riley Thompson- "It Must Be Love"

Four for four. America did not pick her as I expected and as should have been the case. You have to feel a bit for Riley having to perform immediately after getting bad news. She went about it like a trouper though in a performance where the stage was filled with pink hearts. This song, which I had never heard before is definitely the  most likely to be annoying stuck in my head tomorrow. Riley's vocals were not great. If she is going to get better, she is going to need a couple more years. The competition is just too steep.

5. Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon- "Almost Heaven"

Once again, America got it right and my prediction streak remains intact. For this performance, Jeremiah sang an original song, which I am almost certain is the same one he did in his audition to win a golden ticket. Why not? This would be the perfect time to do it, but isn't the song the same name as the ice cream that got named after Walker? Once again playing the piano, as he has typically done, JLH sounded really good on just about every note. On a couple of occasions, he ran right up to the limit of perhaps sounding a bit shrill, but nonetheless, you cannot deny how good his voice is and that he is a frontrunner in this competition. Will his being openly gay hurt him more than it should or help him more than it should?  I guess we can call that the Buttigieg Question.

Idol seems to be holding off on the "shocking results" until later.

6. Alyssa Raghu- "The One That Got Away"

Based on "last night", she most definitely deserved to advance, but I predicted she would not get enough votes. Indeed that is what happened. Alyssa was undeterred though and announced she would be singing a Katy Perry ballad with a prophetic title, basically daring Ms. Perry to not make her a wildcard Finalist. The thing is though that Alyssa sang it pretty much flawlessly. I would rather listen to her rendition than that of the original artist. I think America may not exactly like how overly confident she is for being so young. There is a bit of a double standard for females and Alyssa will need to keep that in mind. Based on this performance though, she will more than deserve a Wildcard opportunity.

7. Wade Cota- "Simple Man"

I had little doubt he would advance to the Top 10 and that is what happened. However, I felt his voice sounded way off during the performance that aired on Sunday night that I did not believe he deserved the spot over others. Tonight, was much better and this is the kind of song that music fans (at least of a certain age) know and can appreciate. The gruffness and for that matter pain in his voice is more palatable when the song is intense and there are electric guitars going. Once again though, Wade starts every performance looking terrified and once he gets into it, he visually eases into it and is far more effective as a performer.

Ok, next week is "instant voting" with results coming at the end of the show. I remember that from last yer now. I think it's a lousy system. It's also Easter and Passover next Sunday. ABC used to air "The Ten Commandments" during that time slot. This year, it will be "The Ten Finalists." So let it be written. So let it be done. 

8. Dimitrius Graham- "when the party's over"

Apparently, the song title is stylized in all lower-case, so whatever. My prediction streak is now eight for eight. I did not think America would automatically put Dimitrius into the Final, but I thought he deserved the slot. He also seemed disappointed but not surprised. I gather this is a very current song that all the hipsters know. I do not know it but could not help but be extremely impressed by Dimitrius's range and passion. It might be up in the air as to who would actually buy it, but I think he is ready to make a record. Hopefully, he gets the chance to continue.

I think Uche should be pretty nervous now about their not being a Wildcard slot for him.

9. Laci Kay Booth- "As Long As You Follow"

I thought she would be voted in, though narrowly be undeserving of the honor. Once again, that is what happened. I have to give her credit for taking on this number without her guitar and doing something mid-tempo at least. This is probably the best I think she has sounded yet. Still, there is something about the way she sings raspily (if that is even a word) that just does not quite sound pleasing to my ears. I also feel like I am struggling to understand what the lyrics  might be.

10. Eddie Island- "Use Somebody"

After the botched takeoff of "Bennie and the Jets", I wanted off the Island and I knew America would too. Why is Katy Perry acting surprised that is how the people voted? To try to stay in the competition, Eddie took on Kings of Leon and once again sucked. It was far too screamy. I genuinely think he is better than this. Is there something about this particular studio that causes Eddie to be so lousy or might be actually be trying to get off the show?

11. Ashley Hess- "Sir Duke"

I finally got one wrong.  I thought Ashley deserved to advance and assumed she would have enough fans out there to make that happen. She is 27 though I believe and American Idol females over the age of 21 rarely get very far these days. This was a surprising performance. She definitely needed to show a different side of her on something faster and away from the piano, but taking on Stevie Wonder and dancing on stage was about the last thing I expected from her. She has a nice voice, but this seemed a little on the desperate side and she did not seem that comfortable. Towards the end, her vocals suffered as a result. For Ashley, it might be a quick transition from being talked about as a potential winner (a la Maddie Poppe) to saying goodbye tonight.

This also means that either Alejandro or Uche have been voted in after all.  I have little doubt Laine failed to make it.  Did the ceaseless pimping of Alejandro actually work or are there enough Idol voters who secretly want to get freaky on stage with Uche?

12. Laine Hardy- "Hurricane"

This was an easy call for both aspects. I think Laine has done this in an audition round before. He sounded really good. For someone as young as he is, he really has a sense of musical originality and would definitely have a career in southern blues rock. I do not know how big that genre is these days though. He is very much a contender to take it all this year. The comparison I would make for Laine is to past winner Phillip Phillips, who went on to have a semi-decent career. This  season's contestant  is younger, better dressed, seemingly healthier, and sings far more consistently in tune.

I am rooting for Uche to beat out Alejandro, but if that happens, they are just going to give AA a wildcard slot and somebody who deserves it more will be left out. I did not think either were among the seven best last night, but Uche was definitely closer.

Uche is wearing something that somebody might have tried to pull of in 2002 during Idol's first season during the semi-finals and Alejandro is wearing something that might get him deported by the Trump Administration. 

13. Alejandro Aranda- "Cholo Love"

Homey made it after all. My parents will never understand him. I am probably too old to fully get it myself. This has to be one of his original songs. Instead of strumming the guitar though, he played this at the piano, with a backing track that sounded disco-ish. It all felt a bit disconnected. He continuously sings though in exactly the same style, which is very high. He sounds more like an African-American Eric Benet R&B type singer than anything else. I admit he is talented but after about 30 seconds I am waiting for the song to end.

For housekeeping purposes:

Whom should have automatically advanced: Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, Madison VanDenburg,  Alyssa Raghu, Laine Hardy, Ashley Hess, Walker Burroughs, Dimitrius Graham

Whom I predicted would advance: Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, Madison VanDenburg, Laine Hardy, Ashley Hess, Walker Burroughs, Laci Kay Booth, Wade Cota

Who did advance: Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, Madison VanDenburg, Laine Hardy,Walker Burroughs, Laci Kay Booth, Wade Cota, Alejandro Aranda

So, America got it right on four out of seven, but I correctly predicted six out of seven.

14. Uche- "Diamonds"

He looks crestfallen to be in this position. Uche is "singing for his life though." He has great range, certainly a larger one than many of these other kids. That also means he overdoes it and delivers inconsistent vocal performances. This is definitely in that category. He is such a captivating performer though and makes for great television. This is more dramatic than the performances from the Drag Queen last season. What will the judges do?

Intense competition this year, but the time has come to get rid of some fodder.

Ranking everyone tonight on the vocals alone:

14. Eddie Island
13. Riley Thompson
12. Walker Burroughs (safe)
11. Alejandro Aranda  (safe)
10. Evelyn Cormier
 9. Ashley Hess
 8. Laci Kay Booth (safe)
 7. Uche
 6. Madison VanDenburg (safe)
 5. Wade Cota (safe) 
 4. Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon (safe)
 3. Alyssa Raghu
 2. Laine Hardy (safe)
 1. Dimitrius Graham

Whom should be selected for three wildcard slots: Dimitrius Graham, Alyssa Raghu, Uche

As for the judges and possible predictions before they are announced. I note that the Top Ten will already have five males and just two females. Even with my predictions, it seems odd they would be satisfied with a 7-3 split. I think they may want to get it to 6-4. Wow, this is hard. I know Eddie and Riley and Evelyn are gone for sure. No issues there. It is very likely they put through Alyssa. An additional female would be Ashley. So, are they are actually going to cut Dimitrius who has crazy good vocals or Uche whom people will want to see perform on tv for at least one more week? They may make this a Top 11.

Whom the judges will choose, if only three: Dimitrius Graham, Alyssa Raghu, Ashley Hess

Uche is crying. Is Dimitrius regretting not crying himself? Now, possibly, Lionel is trying to let Uche down easy... nope, he walks him over to the Top 10. Manufactured Idol moments at their best! If two of the seven males are gay, does that make it easier for a 7-3 gender split? (Jury might be out on Dimitrius too.)

Bobby Bones said he would pick Dimitrius and Riley. He does not get a vote though. He also was apparently the sham winner of Dancing With the Stars recently. There are going to be a lot of pissed off people if someone picks Riley. This also means that if someone else does get picked, they might have a legit grudge against their "in house mentor" for what he just said.

Luke Bryant picks Dimitrius. If Katy does not pick Alyssa, the 17 year old returning contestant should get to slap her. Katy orders the Sauce.

Whom the judges picked: Dimitrius Graham, Alyssa Raghu, Uche

The judges seemingly listened to me a lot more than last season at this point.


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