Sunday, April 21, 2019

American Idol Top 8

It is Sunday night and I am going to begin watching a DVR recording of tonight's live American Idol broadcast which would have just recently ended. I know that tonight is "Disney Night", as for the second year in a row, Idol's ABC overlords pay tribute to their parent company. This might be a good theme for families with young children watching, but I am likely to not be too enthusiastic about the songs selected, having passed that demographic. My own family might enjoy it though, as I have several relatives visiting Disney World in Orlando this coming week. (Not me however.)

At the moment, I am not sure how many singers will be eliminated tonight.  I hope it is just one, but Idol may want to rush through this season once again. The African-American singers should fear the results tonight because only votes that come in throughout the two hour broadcast will count. That means that the already likely low audience of black voters was seeing this episode compete with CBS's Motown 60th Anniversary special, which I was watching myself and enjoyed. That program probably generated a large African-American viewership (plus the Real Housewives of Atlanta.)

I expected Katy Perry to be dressed up as a Disney character, but she looks most like Chef Ann Burrell.

Two people may be leaving. They just released the voting numbers, but left out #2? Uh-oh. The judges' save is unfortunately back.

Rebel Wilson is the mentor for some reason.

1. Uche- "I 2 I"

I had a feeling he would go first, after all the drama last week. American Idol probably does not expect him to stay around too long. I do not know this song, but it seems fitting that Goofy would be Uche's favorite Disney character. This was an entertaining but somewhat manic performance. It is exactly what Uche excels at. He managed to bring sort of a Morris Day and the Time vibe to it, which made it sound more "current" (or 1980s's) at least and less like a song from a kids' movie.

2. Laci Kay Booth- "I See The Light"

She is dressed in full Disney Princess regalia, but I would have to ask my five year old niece which one she is. Of course, this is another song I do not know from another movie I have not seen. I think people either love Laci's unique vocal tone or simply do not get it. I can appreciate her talent and originality but it is not my favorite voice to listen to and this performance was a bit on the sleepy side.

3. Alejandro Aranda- "Remember Me"

It makes sense that he would do a song from "Coco" which is the recent Disney movie about a Latino family.. at least as far as I know. This was another song and performance that I found a bit boring but at least Alejandro seemed to make somewhat of an effort to sing some notes in his lower register and change it up a bit. Usually, he sings in a much higher than natural tone (the exact opposite of Laci who sings in a lower than natural tone) and that is how much of this song went. So far, everything tonight is just "ok." At least Uche had some energy going.

4. Alyssa Raghu- "Colors Of The Wind"

We see her being "surprised" by her little sisters at Disneyland. There seems to be some sort of a different separated family dynamic going on there that maybe the show should have left out. I remember last season though, part of her story was that she was being raised by a single father, but this year, the mother has also been there. In any event, this was a good vocal with a couple off key moments. Most of it was sang in a very pretty way but at least I got the sense that Alyssa was going for something more dramatic than the two that had preceded her on ballads and degree of difficulty was higher. I also was able to decipher the lyrics to this song for the first time, which I do not recall from Thia Megia's Idol performance several years ago. This song of course is from Elizabeth Warren's favorite Disney movie.

Next, all 10 kids join Lea Michele in singing a few lines in unison on a Little Mermaid song. Since there were no solos, thankfully I do not have to judge or rank this performance. Alejandro does not know the words and is not even trying. They all would have made the oddest looking cast of "Glee" ever though.

5. Wade Cota- "You've Got A Friend In Me"

If this performance worked, it was mostly because Wade's particular voice actually sounds like it could be from a cartoon character or a talking toy or something like that. My feelings are kind of mixed. At times, this felt like a novely/joke performance that I wanted to quickly end, but then towards the end he hit some impressive notes. I have to remember they are actually trying to sing kids' songs and not necessarily impress adults with moving musical performances. I guess I am just not into the Disney theme this year. I liked the Motown special better.

Luke Bryan in inferring that Wade be a voice-over singer in the future. I am not sure that should be taken as a compliment.

Walker is openly yawning as Seacrest talks to B.Bones. Despite the wholesome character he is playing on television, he may not be into this theme either.

6. Dimitrius Graham- "You;ll Be In My Heart"

 Dimitrius is up next and he looks way too serious backstage. He recounts that when he met Rebel Wilson, he "sniffed" her. Somewhere, Joe Biden is furious. Rebel tells him to not look so stonefaced (aka "angry black man.")

I actually know this song and think it could work for him. I remember I had a very sentimental college professor once who played this for the class while basically in tears at the end of the last session. If that professor is still alive (which I hope), he would be applauding this performance. Dimintrius has some very odd outfits, (it looks like he is wearing some sort of Oregon Ducks workout gear, which would go along with the trees tattooed on his neck) but I continue to really like his voice and the emotion he puts into performances. He has quite a dynamic range and with this number, sang circles around everyone else who has gone thus far.

Dimitrius breaks down emotionally after he finishes. He better hope that white people are voting for him tonight. If he is cut, since I am not taking the steps to vote, will I be able to complain?

7. Walker Burroughs- "When She Loved Me"

There is another bow-tie and a white piano for this performance. I found it very good from a technical standpoint and I thought he showed impressive vocal restraint and phrasing. Still, it was kind of on the boring side for me. I think I look at Walker on this show the way that people who did not like David Archuleta looked at him 11 years ago. There's a very good voice there for Walker, but something just feels missing. Also, "Archie", would have never done the incessant dumb thumbs up and face-mugging.

Maddie Poppe and Caleb Lee Hutchinson, the reigning winner and runner-up take the stage next. They have apparently lasted far longer as a couple than Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini ever did. I think they look a bit too much like brother and sister though.

8. Madison VanDenburg- "How Far I'll Go"

Kelly Clarkson meets Moana! Great song choice for Madison. I am glad she did not try to dress like Moana. This was an impressive performance on a song that allowed her to show off some of her vocal power.  She is always consistently good and it is hard to imagine her ever having a bad performance. I also get it now that she is probably from the same area of New York that produced Martin Van Buren. She better hope she can appeal to the country at large, because Idol has been unkind in past seasons to contestants from New York City. At least she has the Upstate thing going for her.

There is a two hour Idol special on tomorrow night? It sounds like it is just going to be full of filler and recap stuff. If ABC was giving them the Prime Time, why did they not just do a Results Show tomorrow night?  I do not understand that at all. I guess I have to watch actually watch it, having not missed an Idol episode since 2002. (I think I forgot about one of the audition episodes in Season 1)

9. Laine Hardy- "Oo De Lally"

No! What kind of song is this. I have heard this somewhere before and buried it deep in my subconscious. I like Laine but this has to be the worst song to ever be chosen to perform on American Idol. Not even Scotty McCreery would have done this.. I guess vocally Laine made it work as best it could. I do not think he has any fear of being voted out this early in the competition. I really, really, hated this song but Laine delivered what he intended. It felt and sounded very much like something from the 1950's that my father listens to on satellite radio in the car. My parents probably loved this. Some Hollywood producer should consider a movie pitch that involves Laine traveling back in time to the '50s.

10. Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon- "Candle On The Water"

I do not know this song. Did the candle get in the water before or after it was finished being in the wind? Tonight, JLH is wearing some kind of quasi-Disney Prince jacket, which might make him the first openly gay man to ever dress as a Disney character in the history of prime time television. He has to already feel like a winner.

Ok, maybe it's just a regular jacket. His voice is effortless once again. I can literally hear him on some easy listening radio station. It would be very interesting to see him try to do an hair metal power ballad. He might have the pipes for it. Once again, he is consistently singing at a top level.

At least nobody bombed tonight. This was far from my favorite theme, and I did not like many of these songs, but everyone in this group can sing.

Rankings on vocals alone from worst to best:

10. Laci Kay Booth
 9.  Alejandro Aranda
 8.  Wade Cota
 7.   Laine Hardy
 6.   Uche
 5.   Walker Burroughs
 4.   Alyssa Raghu
 3.   Madison VanDenburg
 2.   Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon
 1.   Dimitrius Graham

Who should be eliminated: Laci Kay Booth and Alejandro Aranda

I doubt either will be cut though. I think they have enough pimping from the judges and a large enough fan base.

Instead, I "fear" for the wildcard contestants. I just hope Dimitrius will get enough votes. If not, it would probably be the most legitimate time to ever use the "save."

Who I predict will be eliminated: Uche and Alyssa Raghu

Who was eliminated or at least in the Bottom Two: Uche and Dimitrius Graham

Darn. Both of them deserved a better fate, especially Dimitrius. Alyssa, the third of these three wildcard survivors may or may not have been in the Bottom Three.

What this tells me even more is that the Idol voting audience is pretty heavily caucasian these days. although there is enough "cholo love" to keep Alejandro around.

This does not look right though. Both of these African-American singers deserved more time. We saw that last year too. Would their fate have been any different if the show was not competing against Motown 60 and the Real Housewives of Atlanta Reunion? Even putting race aside, Uche and Dimitrius both come across in their personal appearance as far left of center.

In the history of the "Idol Save", I am pretty sure this is the first time ever the person I have had at number one has been cut when it was on the table. Will Dimitrius be saved? He already was last week. So was Uche.Clearly, neither has a prayer of winning this season.

Lionel Richie announced the vote will be held. No save. This has to be exactly how House Democrats feel when Nancy Pelosi announces "no impeachment."


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