Tuesday, April 06, 2021

American Idol Top 24- Part 2

This is definitely going to be a liveblog that I do over the course of two nights. I was watching the NCAA Championship Game and it is too late at night to watch all two hours of the Monday Idol episode and blog about it. After all, I have work Tuesday (even on my birthday.) Then again, I am typing this here from my "office." Soon, it will be one year of working from home. I have rarely, if ever done this, so I am not sure if I will be able to save this entire entry as a "draft" or if I will just publish the first half of it and add to it in the future. It is not like very many people are reading this. I noticed that even the "What Not to Sing" website, with their inclusive database is not planning to cover Idol this season. Back in the day, there used to be hundreds of Idol blogs and websites. Somehow, I endure here.

Anyways, congratulations to Baylor University. The Bears are the Champions! Imagine that. When was the last time that could have been said in a sporting context? It was good to see the "One Shining Moment" montage after two years. Twelve more young singers competed on tape tonight hoping to see their own confetti moment in the near future.

At least I know the Idol format from Sunday night...

1. Jason Warrior- "Call Out My Name" and "How Deep Is Your Love"

The Chicagoan's backstory has been that he somewhat embarrassed himself a few years back on another reality singing show when he reacted badly to Meghan Trainor eliminating him. He should be concerned that  leading off the night might not be a great way to get enough votes and that the Idol Powers may be sending him a message.

Jason is a talented singer but might be on the wrong show. He goes full out gospel, down on his knees and everything at the end of every song apparently, and while he has a set of pipes, he may be trying to do too much. I believe the thing he is doing too much of might be called "melisma." Thirty years or so ago, he would have had a better chance. I do not know who P.J. Morton is for the celebrity duet (sounds like a restaurant chain) and they did not seem to mix very well together on the Bee Gees song. Jason was perhaps trying to win the vocal duel.

The judges loved it though. Perhaps, they were afraid he would come at them.

2. Madison Watkins- "Holy" and "Don't You Worry Bout A Thing"

I think I was more impressed with Madison's vocals during Hollywood Week. I might not get these two song choices. Perhaps it is too bad she had to perform the religious Justin Bieber number on the night after Easter. Then, she sang a Stevie Wonder song as a duet and Idol contestants used to be warned to stay away from Stevie.

For this performance, she sang with Tori Kelly, who was a Star Search contestant as a child, and then as a teenager, was cut during Hollywood Week on Idol. Despite that, she has gone on to have a more successful career than most Idol winners. Tori and Madison definitely have some impressive '80sish curly hair. This just seemed a bit off to me. Madison has a good voice, but I think if Simon Cowell were still around, he would say she was destined to be a "very good nightclub singer."

3. Beane- "Don't Stop Now" and "Angels"

The next contestant has been likened to the modern day gay hipster Mr. Rogers. His vocals were not perfect but I like the way he commits to each performance. His solo number sounded more relevant to today's music scene than the two who had gone before him.

I have to say, I thought Josh Groban sounded a bit weird on "Angels" but I am not supposed to be judging him nor his gold (perhaps silver) Elvis jacket that might have been left over from the Laine Hardy 2019 Idol Collection. Beane sounded decent enough, but the show made a big deal about how he changed the pronoun "she" to "he." Oh please, if he really wanted to be woke, he would have gone non-binary and used "they."

4. Hannah Everhart- "I Was Wrong" and "She's Country."

To the contrary, I think I am right and she would be better off singing Southern Rock (with her Axl Rose bandana) than Country.  Vocally, I thought this was rough (and I bet this was the one my mother did not like.) The teenaged Hannah seems like an interesting character but very raw as a singer and that came across on the "big stage." 

The duet with Jason Aldean was maybe a bit better, but not much. He has a history though of having left his wife for a young Idol also-ran, whom he is now married to, but I think Hannah is safe. Looking back at Hollywood Week, I think what would be more interesting is a reality show with Hannah and her then duet partner, the ultra-troubled Claudia Conway, taking a roadtrip across America.

5. Mary Jo Young- "Castle On The Hill" and "Foolish Games"

The next teenage singer is hoping to become the most famous Mary Jo since the former Mrs. Buttafuoco.  I have a hard time reconciling her performances. I almost want to dislike them, but I always come away thinking she is a better singer than I expected.

First, she sang an Ed Sheerhan song, which may not have been the right one for her, but somehow managed to pull it off. Mary Jo definitely has an affected way of singing and pronouncing words that so many female singers these days do. The godmother of that style may in some ways be Jewel from the mid 90s, and they were matched up on one of Jewel's songs. It sort of seemed to work.

6. Chayce Beckham- "Afterglow" and "Drive"

Last season, a white guy with a guitar, who had recently battled addiction, and who came from the working class part of California made it all the way to the Zoom finale and with that in mind, I have sort of pegged Chayce as a potential frontrunner this season.

He seemed to look and sound a bit nervous though during his solo in which he sang an Ed Sheerhan song as if Eddie Vedder was doing a country tune. The duet with Brandon Boyd of Incubus was better, but Chayce really is trying to milk the Eddie Vedder thing. I expected a bit better, but I think he is probably safe. Is he someone who will be able to perform on stage without the guitar?

7. Colin Jamieson- "Locked Out Of Heaven" and "Hollow"

I am really confused by Colin. I get that he is a former member of a minor-league boy band who sort of let himself go after that gig ended and changed his personal and musical style, but he still seems to have the same sort of cheesy/smiley pop thing going on stage that is not always appropriate for the song. I also think he has a really good voice, if he knew how to apply it.

I thought his solo performance was pretty lousy, despite the oddity of playing electric guitar for a portion of a Bruno Mars song. The transition from the bridge to the chorus seemed off because ABC/Disney surely made him cut out the risque lyrics. Colin's duet with Tori Kelly, like most of the duets these past two nights, were better, and he has an impressive high range, but he also seemed to not sing as much as her.

8. Liahona Olayan- "Just Friends" and "Say So"

The show has billed her as being from Hawai'i yet the Idol website says Utah. In any event, she is lucky to not have been cut during the duet round in Hollywood when she all but gave up, because she was upset her brother (who truthfully should never have even gotten a Gold Ticket) had been cut.

As a very young singer, she has an interesting tone to her voice and I think a lot potential to appeal to teens. I did not like the first song she did, but I can see how kids might be into it. Her vocals suffered a bit because she was moving around stage a lot, but that does help her stand out. Her duet with P.J. Morton was far more of a ballad. She proved that she can sing very pleasantly but might have had a hard time standing up vocally with her partner.

9. Ava August- "drivers license" and "Both Sides Now"

At just 15, Ava is the youngest singer in the competition and not quite old enough to obtain a divers license so she can drive through the suburbs and stalk an ex. The song she did for her solo was recently number one on the Billboard charts for a few weeks, and she more or less sang it exactly like the record. It is something that appears to be right up her alley. She knows her voice and is trying to be more of a Lana Del Rey than a pop star.

She then dueted with Josh Groban on a Joni Mitchell hallad I do not know. Vocally, it was stellar. She may not have the pipes that several other singers this season have but her stage presence and musical intelligence in the way she sings is way beyond her years.

10. Caleb Kennedy- "Midnight Rider" and "Fly Over States"

I can believe that young Caleb genuinely is a good ole' boy who might be the one hope this season for actual country fans. There is also the possibility he might show more potential as a songwriter of that genre than a singer himself. I was a bit surprised he did what Hannah should have done and sang a Southern Rock song for his solo instead of leaning in on the country audience. It might have sounded a bit too gruff.

Country fans might be more pleased with the duet he did on a Jason Aldean song, about fly over states, which probably sends the right "own the coastal libs" message to get the Trump voters to vote for this Kennedy.

11. Hunter Metts- "Chandelier" and "Who Will Save Your Soul"

Going into this week, Hunter was my early prediction for the eventual winner. He is a telegenic white guy who plays guitar from the South and of an apparently religious Christian background. All the pieces are in place. I do not necessarily think he will deserve to win, I just see a ton of votes headed his way. Also, nose rings are apparently a huge thing with the kids these days. Someone just needs to approach Ryan Phillipe about a paternity test.

His arrangement of the Sia song was quite interesting and probably the best solo of the night. Hunter does not have a huge voice but he sounds somewhat different than anyone else on this season and also "current." I think he will not come across as weird to some as Wyatt Pike for instance. The duet with Jewel on her song was not exactly enthralling but he sang it very well and it will be interesting to see what kind of music he gravitates to in the weeks ahead.

12. Casey Bishop- "Decode" and "Wish You Were Here"

Yet another teenage singer to close out the lineup tonight. I think she has a lot of potential as a rock singer, but would have been more intrigued if she would have sang songs I like better. She has a great voice, but it can be a bit tinny. I think she is going to improve a lot with age.

I thought she was somewhat better from a rock sense in the duet with Brandon Boyd but was a bit surprised that the producers would save her for the closing spot on the show. They must expect her to go far. I found myself wondering if the Alanis Morrisette loving mother of this season's Alanis Sophia maybe wants to swap daughters.


12. Hannah Everhart
11. Colin Jamieson
10. Jason Warrior
 9. Caleb Kennedy
8. Liahona Olayan
7. Madison Watkins
6. Chacye Beckham
5. Mary Jo Young
4. Beane
3. Hunter Metts
2. Casey Bishop
1. Ava August

Once again, we can see the eight I hope will advance and the four that fell short. My prediction though will be very similar to how I am predicting what will happen with the first group. I think the voters will put the young country male singer through, in this case, Caleb, over the female singer I have ranked number 7. That would mean bad news for 25 year old Madison, who is at least 6 years older than every other girl in this group.


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