Thursday, April 11, 2019

American Idol Top 20 Celebrity Duets Group 2

It is time to do the same as I did last night and watch a recording of the pre-recorded show that aired on Monday night. I have seen no spoilers about the performances or the results. In years past, when the show was a much bigger deal, those would have been all over the internet and even the newspaper

I did see online the other day that Ryan Seacrest was sick and missed the show. While he did tape a greeting, this was technically the first performance show he has ever missed in Idol's history dating back to 2002. That is quite an "Iron Man" streak. Bobby Bones, the in-house mentor, hosted in his place. His hair is somewhat similar to Seacrest. I guess it was either between letting him host or the Colin Kaepernick look-alike in the band. Brian Dunkleman was probably already booked elsewhere.

The "All-Star" duet partners tonight are not as well known as the ones that took part the night before.

1. Alyssa Raghu- "Issues"

My issue with this song is that it is pretty boring. Alyssa sang it as a duet with the original artist, Julia Michaels, and she sounded very decent. At this point in the competition last year, the contestant looked nervous and was eliminated after the Celebrity Duet with a male artist. This season, Alyssa has been the picture of confidence at all times on stage. That may be a good thing, but at 16 might not have her come across as an endearing personality, say for example as compared to 17 year old Madison VandenBurg who whether genuine or not, seems overwhelmed with gratitude by the whole thing.

2. Eddie Island- "Seven Years"

I feel like the people who support Beto O'Rourke would most like Eddie. He has a very nice voice though. It suited him well on this song and having heard it maybe 10 times on the radio a couple years ago, it seemed like Eddie's lyrics in the duet with Lukas Graham were all original to him. There was a bit of a weird dynamic between the two of them on stage that did not really line up with the story of the song. They may have gotten confused over whose turn it was at a point, as Lukas was singing more than Eddie. Vocally though, the Idol hopeful sounded good.

3. Wade Cota- "Broken"

I had never heard of lovelytheband, and while the whole band appeared to be up there, Wade only dueted with the lead singer who was never named. As always, his voice impressed although I would still look forward to hearing him covering a song I actually knew and liked. He sounds a bit like a cross between Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Vedder, and the combination might work better for me than those others as individual singers. Wade also tried to enthuse a lot of stage energy into this performance.

4. Ryan Hammond- "Hold On, "'I'm Comin"

I wonder what percent of viewers had ever heard of Cynthia Erivo or knew whom she was .For some reason. Ryan was given this high tempo song from the '60s I was a bit tired watching the performance but he sounded quite decent as well with strong power in his voice. I have a feeling though that the show is likely to find a way to cut him.

Despite the last song, I cannot hold on. Sleep is coming and is basically here.I will have to pick it up again, hopefully tomorrow.

Ok, welcome back. I re-watched the Ryan Hammond performance and I stand by my half-conscious impressions.

5.  Evelyn Cormier- "Wicked Game"

I disliked this song in the early '90s when it first came out but have come to sort of like it. Eveyn dueted with Chris Issak on the song she sang to gain a ticket to Hollywood. Chris sounded really good. For the contestant though, there were strong moments and then weird ones involving her tone. All in all, I thought she did well but if this is her "signature song" and cannot break out beyond it, her run might be  a boring. Her parents look like they are same age as their daughter. That means Evelyn looks a bit older than she is said to be.

6. Logan Johnson- "What A Time"

Last week, I thought his solo performance was a little better than the judges thought. I have yet to their comments about his duet with Julia Michaels, but I felt like it was a bit of a lost opportunity. She sang what seemed like the first 30 seconds of the song before he had a solo portion. He looked and sounded a bit nervous and hesitant. As it got towards the end, he had some nice vocal moments and I think he is definitely "current" in terms of today's music world but something seems to be holding him back on this competition.

7. Raquel Trinidad- "Tiny Dancer"

At times, she seems more like an SNL parody. There have been more annoying characters than her though in Idol's recent past. This is a song most viewers will know, but it's always a bit surprising when the kids have never heard the song.  I am also still trying to figure out the concept of lovelytheband. For the most part, I liked this performance. Raquel went a bit crazy with some vocal runs at the end and some may find that she attempted to do too much. She is probably a severe underdog in this competition though and really had nothing to to lose.

8. Alejandro Aranda- "There Will Be A Light"

Am I musically ignorant if I know nothing about Ben Harper? So many of these mentors tonight have huge amounts of tattoos.  AA started off the song and sounded very chill and pleasant. As the duet progressed though and Ben joined in, Alejandro then seemed to sit back a bit and let Ben run things. That is probably not how it was supposed to work. He is very talented and has a nice voice. My sense though is that Alejandro only has one lane that he will never be able to veer out of and that anything other than small doses of his singing will be tiring. The one lane thing worked once for Scott McCreery though.

9. Dimitrius Graham- "Love Someone"

I went to look up Lukas Graham's bio and it says that that is the band's name and his name is Lukas Forchammer  He seems to be going by Graham himself now and dueted with Dimitrius of the same last name. They are not actually related to each other (or Senator Lindsey Graham for that matter) but accomplished their goal of performing a memorable duet. Dimitrius's voice is stellar. He reminds me of Dennis Lorenzo from last season, whom I thought was eliminated too early. Dimitrius may be even better and he really sounded great on this ballad. He was able to show off his range and deliver intensity.

10. Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon- "Time After Time"

Cynthia Erivo, whom I had never heard of, was described earlier on the show as the "Queen of Broadway" and it is interesting they teamed her up with the two openly gay males in competition.. who also both happen to be the sons of ministers. As far as songs are concerned, it is hard to get a better one for a duet than this one time number one hit for Cyndi Lauper. It really is a great song. So, in the pimp slot, the expectations are high before I even begin watching..

It was really good, but perhaps slightly behind Dimitrius. Maybe a coin toss. Considering how much Idol is pushing JLH and his story, I wonder if they tried to actually book Cyndi Lauper for this. Cynthia Erivo more than fit the bill though. I can imagine Ryan Hammond watching his backstage and knowing the end for him on Idol was near. JLH has a truly memorable and somewhat unique voice. I almost wonder if he should have thrown caution to the wind and wailed a bit  more towards the dramatic conclusion. The final high note probably sufficed though.

Ranking these duets from worst to best- so much talent this year makes it somewhat hard to do, but of course it must be done

10. Alyssa Raghu
 9. Logan Johnson
 8. Eddie Island
 7. Evelyn Cormier
 6. Alejandro Aranda
 5. Raquel Trinidad
 4. Ryan Hammond
 3. Wade Cota 
 2. Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon
 1. Dimitrius Graham

Culmulative ratings with solo including tie-breakers which will lean towards solo:

10. Alyssa Raghu
 9.  Eddie Island
 8.  Alejandro Aranda
 7.  Evelyn Cormier
 6.  Logan Johnson
 5.  Raquel Trinidad
 4.  Ryan Harmon
 3.  Dimitrius Graham
 2.  Wade Cota
 1.  Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon

This feels really tricky for me. I have Alejandro and Evelyn tied but felt her solo was a bit better. Nonetheless, my rules are my rules. I have Alyssa dead last here and yet she is very much improved from last season. For this particular group, there is a wide chasm between my Top 3 and everyone else.

Who should be eliminated:  Alyssa Raghu, Eddie Island, Alejandro Aranda

Before I see what happens, whom I predict wil be eliminated: Eddie Island, Evelyn Cormier, Ryan Harmon

First of all, the chances they kick off Alejandro are about as likely as Sean Hannity ceasing to kiss Donald Trump's ass. I also do not think they can get rid of more than one female tonight because they would want at least a 8-6 split for males in the Top 14.That means that it would be between Alyssa and Evelyn and I cannot see them doing that to Alyssa again. They would prefer her for the pop aspect while Laci Kay and Ashley can do what Evelyn does, and do it better. Ryan Harmon simply picked the wrong year to be an openly gay preacher's kid, especially since his parents still are supportive of him.., plus there's Uche.

Who was eliminated: Logan Johnson, Raquel Trinidad, Ryan Harmon

Ok, this was weird. None of them should have been eliminated and I only predicted one out of the three. "Last night", I predicted two out of three and only one deserved it. I already knew Ryan was out of luck and they went for both Alyssa and Evelyn over Raquel. Logan getting cut is perhaps a bit of a surprise, but the show is probably invested in pushing Laine Hardy as the "young heartthrob" contestant.

Since the talent is so good this year, it's hard to go way wrong, but my Top 14 would have had Shawn Robinson, Bumbly, Logan Johnson, and Ryan Harmon over Riley Thompson, Walker Burroughs, Alyssa Raghu, Eddie Island, and Alejandro Aranda. It would have been just as diverse too.

The time to start voting is next week for those that care enough.


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