Tuesday, April 20, 2021

America Idol Top 10- Night 2

I will now begin live-blogging a recording of tonight's American Idol, in which singers who were last on television about 11 months ago compete for a spot in this year's highly acclaimed Top 10. I have already coined the title for tonight's competition as the Arthur Gunn Invitational.

Before I begin, a world of condolence in regards to former Vice President Walter Mondale. He had very different politics than me, but had an honorable career and life.

This show is clearly not live. So, we are seeing competition episodes out of chronological order, but I doubt many people will care. There is also a full week for people to vote. That might be an Idol record. Will the show be on next Monday night? 

1. Cyniah Elise- "Edge of Seventeen (Midnight Sky Remix)"
A couple of days ago, I re-visited my blog from last year and I actually had her ranked first out of 20 for her at home performance. She did not advance any further though which I surmised was due to fans thinking she was too full of herself and also that her hometown of Atlanta had a lot of people she needed to vote watching "Real Housewives of Atlanta" at the same time.
Cyniah is no more humble than she was in the early months of the pandemic and I do not know what the hell the remix of this song is or why she choose to sing it. I am sure she is still talented but this was almost cringeworthy. I have already determined that 2021 is superior to 2020, at least in terms of Idol. Of course, a lot of people feel the same for many reasons, including the occupant of the White House.

2. Nick Merico - "City Lights"

How much PTSD do these kids have? I already cannot wait for this episode to be over. I guess I have still sit through Harry Connick Jr. and Lauren Daigle as well.

Back in 2019, Nick auditioned for Idol and received a ton of online buzz. The judges seemed to be critical of him for being too good looking and cocky. Then, he up and quit before Hollywood. Last year, he tried again but did not get many votes for trying to appear far more humble. Now, he tells us he took his elimination very difficulty and apparently took a scissors to his head and all his jeans as an act of penance or something.

This was a weird vocal and performance on an original song, Nick is trying to be an EDM artist now. There was an entire dance-break in this performance not seen since the days of Naima Adedapo. I did not get it. Nick is a former child and teen cable television sitcom actor and came across here as a poseur.

3. Aliana Jester- "I'll Never Love Again"

For her opportunity on the big stage, Aliana is bringing out a different look from last year in regards to her hair and make-up. She slightly resembles Meghan Markle but an Oprah interview is likely not in her future.

I do not know this song. Technically speaking, Aliana did her thing vocally better than the two that proceeded her. It seemed a bit shouty though. It was like she was trying to sound too much like Lady Gaga in her lower range on a Gaga song.

4. Franklin Boone- "Meant To Live"

So far, every singer tonight only had only one Zoom performance last year before being voted out. I think that might be the case for everyone but eventual runner-up "Arthur" and Louis Knight. 

Since last year, Franklin lost a lot of possessions to black mold, but happily managed to expect another child with his wife. This performance seemed completely different than the kind of old school R&B.. I really cannot even remember.. that he tried to do last year, that did not work out that well for him. Here, he played the electric guitar on what sounded like a horrible '90s song and seemed to be trying to channel Lenny Kravitz. Vocally, I thought it was pretty, pretty bad.

Again, maybe 2020 nostalgia is just not meant to happen. Not in 2021 nor ever. Even Dr. Fauci should take note.

5. Faith Becnel- "Cry Baby"

FB follows FB. In this case, Faith wants redemption on the song she messed up on last year at the Disney Resort (but somehow still was picked by Idol to advance.) I remember she had an interesting tone to her voice last season, but nothing is really impressing me this evening. Vocally, she definitely was not the worst of the evening, but it still sounded and felt amateurish.

6. Arthur Gunn- "Iris"

Since he was basically guaranteed to win this week-long vote, I wish he would have had a more inspired song choice.

Instead, Arthur sang the well-known Goo Goo Dolls tune sounding as he always does, very similar to past winner Phillip Phillips. At least for this competition, it puts him in his own lane but I think he has sounded better before. I am really struggling with having to rank him as the best so far tonight. It is close between him and Aliana but compared to last night, I am just down on this whole thing. I guess that is what working all day at home on a Monday will bring about.

7. DeWayne Crocker Jr.- "Voice Of God"

He was Idol fodder last season, where his biggest storyline was the frisky great-grandmother who wanted to jump Lionel Richie. Now, DeWayne returns with his hair (and part of his goatee) dyed blond and interestingly enough announces his desire to be a Gospel singer.

DeWayne certainly sang this religious song better than his basement attempt at James Brown last April. He has a nice voice, but it may just be a nice voice. In recent years, there have been other male singers on Idol who cam do Gospel much better. Perhaps, with a week of voting, there could be an organized online effort from church folk to give him a surprise win, but I think that might need some divine intervention.

8. Makayla Phillips- "Anyone"

All night, she has been sitting there in a white dress with a frozen smile on her face and I had no idea who she was. I knew I would eventually remember when they told us, and that what happened, when they told us her name and it was mentioned she had received the one judges' save last year. In the package, she seemed to make reference to a sister passing away last year, although the wording was a bit ambiguous and I do not  remember that as part of her 2020 story.

Last season, I thought she showed tremendous potential in the audition rounds. Returning to the big stage tonight, (or whenever this was taped), she sang pretty well, at least by the standards of what has gone on tonight on an emotional Demi Lovato post-overdose ballad. Towards the very end, Makayla seemed to get very emotional, and perhaps I am being cynical, but it seemed a bit contrived. It is likely she will wind up with the best vocals tonight, but even if she "wins", she would wind up  in a Top 10 with even better female belters.

Seacrest clarifies that the song was dedicated to her (I presume half) sister who lost her father last year.

9. Olivia Ximenes- "Say Yes"

I think this was possibly the third song tonight to mention Jesus and that is not even counting the Harry Connick Jr. Religious Acid Trip that was shown earlier. Lots of prayers are looking to be answered on this "Comeback Show."

Olivia did a lot of dancing on stage which is what she wants to be known for. Her vocals might have suffered a bit, as to be expected, because of that. I did not find her vocals impressive at all, but she seems to love to entertain and her hair, outfit, and dance-breakdown reminded me of the very popular movie (which now has a sequel) "Coming to America."

To finish up the night, it would be a perfect opportunity for British ex-pat Louis Knight to dedicate his own version of "Candle In the Wind" to Prince Phillip.

10. Louis Knight- "Maybe That"

I notice that his speaking voice, after another year of living in Philly, seems to have had his accent fade a bit (in constrast to Kansan Arthur whose accent seems heavier now.) 

Nonetheless, Louis's British accent was far more pronounced on the actual original song, which is perhaps by design. I thought it started off very nicely, as he once again played the piano, but then, like his bedroom and backyard performances from last year, it got a bit whiny and he went off the rails vocally a bit. Still, there are people that will really like it.

If I were a judge on "The Voice" I may not have turned my chair for a single performance tonight:

10. Franklin Boone
  9. Nick Merico
  8. Olivia Ximenes
  7. Cyniah Elise
  6. Faith Becnel
  5. Louis Knight
  4.  DeWayne Crocker Jr. 
  3.  Aliaina Jester
  2.  Arthur Gunn
  1.  Makayla Phillips

On the merits for tonight alone, Makayla should get the spot (and then promptly go out in 10th or 9th or 8th place) but of course it will be Arthur bringing a bit of ethnic diversity to the Class of 2021.


At 7:30 AM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Now that's intriguing.


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