Wednesday, February 18, 2009

American Idol - Recap & Review - Top 36: Group 1

American Idol
Top 36: Group 1

Original Air Date: Feb 17, 2009

PMB - TwoCents Associate Staff Writer

First, let me get this off my chest. I wasn’t yet an American Idol fan when they last had the wild card round, but now that it’s back – well, I just don’t like it. Only three singers from last night go through? And we still have to choose the first two based on gender? It seems unfair.

How about letting everyone sing, then count all the votes up and the top 12 go through – no matter their gender or what group they got stuck in???

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  1. First, let me get this off my chest. I wasn’t yet an American Idol fan when they last had the wild card round, but now that it’s back – well, I just don’t like it. Only three singers from last night go through? And we still have to choose the first two based on gender? It seems unfair.

    How about letting everyone sing, then count all the votes up and the top 12 go through – no matter their gender or what group they got stuck in???

    OK, I feel a little better. So let’s get back to the first semifinal round, a round that did a good job of shaking out who has a real chance of going on. It’s no longer little bits of a song that we hear from the singers. Now they have to deliver a whole song, along with all the requisite performance elements. Most of the contestants did OK with this, although a few crashed and burned. Most importantly, it made it clear who is merely “good” and who has real potential to be “great.”

    Jackie Tohn: “Little Less Conversation”
    It’s obvious Jackie is a performer as her onstage presence is smooth and fun, although the same can’t be said of her outfit which was Minnie Mouse crossed with Olivia Newton-John’s painted on black pants from “Grease.” She struggled with her low notes, but the up tempo song suited her rough-edged rocker voice.

    Randy: I wasn’t blown away by the vocals, but you are a good entertainer.

    Kara: You can work the stage, but those weren’t the best vocals.

    Paula: You got me dancing. You are a true performer. You make everyone love you.

    Simon: You played the clown tonight. I don’t think you did yourself a favor.

    Ricky Braddy: “A Song for You”
    It’s sad that Ricky has gotten almost no face time on this show, because he has a fine voice. But he tried too hard with the vocals, often singing riffs instead of the melody. Paula has been pushing for him, so if he doesn’t make it through, he’s sure to be her wild card choice.

    Randy: That was wonderful.

    Kara: You killed that. That was a hard song. You have an amazing gift.

    Paula: You deserve to go far in the competition.

    Simon: You don’t have star quality. You have a great voice, but ultimately you’re a nice, shy guy with a good voice.

    Alexis Grace: “Never Loved a Man”
    Her’s was, by far, the best female performance of the night. However, she looked awkward on stage and wore what looked like a black lace slip. The judges are trying hard to get her away from her girl-next-door image and go “dirty.” Not necessary folks.

    Randy: You found the dirt and the blues. You worked it out.

    Kara: It’s a pleasure to watch you come out of your shell.

    Paula: You have an ability to show so much passion, soul and confidence. I thought you were wonderful.

    Simon: By far the best contestant of the night (out of three who have sung). You could be the dark horse of the competition. You remind me of Kelly Clarkson.

    Brent Keith: “Hicktown”
    Brent is country through and through. Too bad there was a glitch getting his intro tape going – can’t be good for the nerves. Still, his song felt karaoke.

    Randy: I liked what you did. You brought a new edge to country with old country swagger.

    Kara: You played it a little safe tonight. The song wasn’t rangey enough for me.

    Paula: I can definitely see you as a country artist.

    Simon: It wasn’t safe—it was forgettable. You may have blown a massive chance tonight.

    Stevie Wright: “You Belong With Me”
    This is the first contestant to crash and burn. She had quite a following up to this point because, while 17, she seemed to have an idea of who she was as an artist. But then she took the judges comments to be more “young” and tried a Taylor Swift song. From the beginning, she sounded off-pitch and, combined with a bad outfit, she didn’t make a good impression.

    Randy: That was not hot for me. It wasn’t really the right song for you. I thought you were a better singer than that.

    Kara: I think you’re having an identity crisis. Who were you? That song had nothing to do with you.

    Paula: It wasn’t the right song for you. You’re not the Stevie Wright we fell in love with.

    Simon: It was terrible. The song was OK, but you were out of tune and out of your depth.

    Anoop Desai: “Angel of Mine”
    I expected to blown away by Anoop once more. He is so likeable and has a killer voice. But while he did a good job (although a little sharp), it wasn’t remarkable and at this stage – each singer needs to be remarkable. However, online polls show he’s in the top three of favorite contestants so far.

    Randy: I like you. That was an interesting song choice. You were a little sharp, but I’m still a huge fan.

    Kara: Not sure you had the riffs. You have great potential and you connected with what you’re singing about.

    Paula: America has connected with you.

    Simon: That song is a little too grown up for you. Too serious. But you have massive likeability.

    Casey Carlson: “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic”
    Poor Casey, she really didn’t do a good job and her ultra-cute looks were voided by all the winking and strange facial expressions. And her song sounded karaoke. Not impressive at all.

    Randy: Not good for me. The song was completely wrong for you.

    Kara: Everything about that was wrong. It was so overdone. I had such high hopes for you – you are a package artist.

    Paula: You had no connection with the song. The phrasing was weird. Sting is iconic.

    Simon: That was simply atrocious.

    Michael Sarver (AKA Oil Rig Guy): “I Don’t Want to Be.”
    He performs a song that’s fairly rocking country, but once again, there’s nothing too original about it.

    Randy: You’ve definitely got an instrument, but I liked it better when you gave it soul. You didn’t perform it too well.

    Kara: That wasn’t your best performance. You’ve got more in you.

    Paula: You did a good job. You showed us who you are.

    Simon: This is a tricky one. You’re a good, honest guy who needs a break. But that wasn’t the best vocal we’ve heard from you. I hope America gives you another shot.

    Anne Marie Bosovich: “Natural Woman”
    This is another of my favorites who failed to impress at this stage. Why take on such a huge song? And why did they use an echo chamber on her? Despite a great dress, her pitch problems are what I remember the most.

    Randy: That song was not the right choice. It didn’t show who you are.

    Kara: That song is so big, you have to kill it. And you didn’t.

    Paula: You’ve done better but you gave it your all.

    Simon: Your voice is not good enough for that song. It destroyed you.

    Stephen Fowler: “Rock With You”
    I come and go on Stephen because for every good performance, he also delivers an equally bad one. Remember in Hollywood week when he forgot his lyrics twice? He doesn’t seem consistent, which is a shame because his voice has a lovely warm texture. But here he has serious pitch issues.

    Randy: That song wasn’t in the right place for you. It was pitchy.

    Kara: I got more from you when you were at the piano and forgot the lyrics. That song doesn’t get you.

    Paula: That song belongs to one artist (Michael Jackson).

    Simon: That was such a pointless song. It was corny. You’ve made a huge mistake here.

    Tatiana del Torro: “I’m Saving All My Love For You”
    Ok, I think, she’s singing Whitney and now she’ll totally crash and have a nervous breakdown. Great reality TV, right? But she’s actually fairly good. And she acts more mature (although it’s obviously an act – she’s probably been seeing what people have said about her drama queen antics on the web). If I hadn’t seen her before this night, I might actually think rather well of her. But I have been tortured too long by her hyena laughter and her oversized ego, so there’s nothing she can do at this point to get me on her bandwagon.

    Randy: There were some moments there where I thought, “she can actually sing.” But you didn’t pull it all together.

    Kara: It’s like a rollercoaster ride with you. You actually hit some of those notes.

    Paula: You’re probably the most talked about contestant on the show right now. You have some beautiful moments and then pitchy moments.

    Simon: You are a complete and utter drama queen. You are desperate to be famous. It wasn’t bad at all. Lose the demure thing.

    Danny Gokey: “Hero”
    Danny is definitely my favorite so far and, according to online polls, he’s a big favorite for many people. Not only does he hit all the notes, but his phrasing and delivery are something special. Tonight, he sounds like a professional singer compared to all the amateurs who went before him. Best of all, Ryan tries to get him to talk about his dead wife and Danny takes the high ground. Good for you. Oh, and did you see his pal Jamar Rogers in the audience supporting him? Very touching.

    Randy: You are the redeemer of the night. That was blazing hot.

    Kara: You are the hero of the night.

    Paula: You are stellar. I have two words for you, hyphenated—sold-out arenas.

    Simon: It wasn’t fantastic. You are a very, very good singer. I like you, I’m just not buying the hype right now.

    After this episode, I thought up a new drinking game: Drink a shot every time Kara says, “I agree with Randy.” She supposed to bring something new to the table and she spent all of the show agreeing with Randy. Oh, and take two drinks when Simon said the same thing (it happens so rarely).

    So here are my predictions: Alexis and Danny clearly won for their genders. Tied for third are Ricky and Anoop. My guess is Anoop’s popularity will give him the third spot, which makes me happy. But whichever doesn’t make it in, the judges will give him the wild card.

    So it’s time to say good-bye to the rest. Did you lose anyone you really liked? Do you have different choices? Is Tatiana gone for good? Did anyone believe her story that she’s “not like what we saw” during Hollywood Week? And how much are you looking forward to seeing Carly Smithson and Michael Johns perform together at the results show tonight?

  2. My hope is that Danny, Alexis, and Ricky go through. My fear is that those saboteurs out there clog the system and put Tatiana into the Final 12 (Sanjaya, anyone?). Sure, she actually did a fairly good job last night, but she is a complete WACK-A-DOO!

    And I am in TOTAL agreement with you about the voting rules... the Final 12 should be those contestants who had the top 12 votes. Period.

  3. Do you feel like maybe Danny is "the chosen one" this year? I kind of feel that way and I haven't watched in weeks.


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