The boys and girls took the stage this week for the first set of LIVE shows. Joseph B. has done a fantastic job doing a recap of the performances and ranking them accordingly. The producers are setting this up for a girl to take the crown this year but they’ve tried these tactics once before the year Crystal Bowersox ended up losing to Season 9 winner Lee DeWyze. Not only did Bowersox, who has head and shoulders above a lot of the competition that year, lose in the finals, but managed to be the last girl standing after the surprising Top 6 elimination of Siobhan Magnus. If the producers keep “letting us know” its a girl’s year, the tween-voters will revolt and go after their hearthrobs that are in the race. Devin Velez and Burnell Taylor could fit that criteria.
There’s also a good chance we are getting a wildcard show tonight since the show is scheduled for 90 minutes which doesn’t take that long unless someone’s (or some people) are singing. I’ll be looking forward to it since those shows are usually quite enjoyable. Think back to Stefano Langone and Clay Aiken episodes for reference.
Let’s take a look at the girls first:
As the girls took the stage on Tuesday evening, it was scary to see what some of them had produced as their song choices. Zoanette Johnson, with her broke down Macy Gray flavor, tackled Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” and televisions were bleeding across America. With her stank face ballad, Breanna Steer challenged herself with a Beyonce number while Aubrey Cleland struggled through Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” Once Janelle Arthur hit the stage and delivered a twanged up version of Elvis’ “If I Can Dream,” I had mentally checked out for the night. Tenna Torres’ changed up version of Faith Hill’s “Lost” was a breath of fresh air but yet again, nothing special in a pool of “talented” women. Enter Angela Miller (now Angie Miller evidently). Taking on Season 11 7th place finisher Colton Dixon’s “Never Gone” off his new album, Miller’s piano playing infused with a passionate delivery kicked the show into high-gear.
When Amber Holcomb delivered her version of “My Funny Valentine” two weeks ago, I wasn’t particulary about it. Good voice but poor diction didn’t exactly excite me to vote for her. This week, taking on a Whitney Houston tune, “I Believe in You & Me” was a big step in the right direction. While Amber has a very good set of pipes, she makes presumed rush choices in phrasing and notes that never allow her to take it to the next level.
Now Kree Harrison on the other hand…she’s my favorite person to hit the stage this season. Beautiful, relevant, and completely engulfed in every line, Kree is the real deal. On top of that, she’s cutely amusing as well as she delivers lesbianism and flirting back and forth with Nicki Minaj, I was all about it.
Poor Adriana Lotonio…gorgeous girl, but has no idea where she wants to be in the music industry. She should go for Miss America because that was exactly what that performance reminded me of. One thing, you never count out the Filipino vote for American Idol. Look at past contestants like Camile Velasco, Jasmine Trias, and Ramiele Malubay as prime examples of contestants that shouldn’t have gotten as far as they did in their respective years.
Candice Glover could be our Melinda Doolittle this year. Two powerhouse performances delivered back to back and her take on John Legend’s “Ordinary People” was simply brilliant. Hopefully she doesn’t age herself as she continues on in the competition and ends up as a shocking sixth place boot in favor of a lesser talented boy (yeah I’m looking at you Curtis Finch, Jr.).
Now for the boys:
Some of these boys aren’t worth my words on the page right now. Elijah Lau is terrible. Why they think he’s relevant and marketable is beyond me. Cortez Shaw choked big time on Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven.” Let this be a lesson to future Idol contestants, DO NOT sing a song that’s CURRENTLY on the charts. You’ll fail EVERY TIME. Charlie Askew may have received many pity votes last night after being in tears after his cover of “Mama” which didn’t bode well with the judges.
When it comes to Nick Boddington, I get him. I don’t think America does though. He lacks a lot of personality which is sad because he looks like he’s probably cool to hang with but just doesn’t translate on the TV screen. His rendition of “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls was a magnificent song choice but an early lineup spot with a lack of personality and pitch problems could cost him a spot in the finals.
Burnell Taylor is my favorite guy this year. Passionate, likable, and someone I can see being a longtime musical artist. He might be a bit “too young” for the competition and could have won it all in five years time. A lot of these competition shows require experience which Burnell doesn’t have a lot of. He’s still incredible though. “I’m Here” was a timely performance but Joseph said it best, he should have saved it for a final 3 performance. That would have done him wonders.
Paul Jolley is a poor man’s Phil Stacey from Season 6. Decent voice but in no way do I see him making a record that would sell. I could easily see him on Broadway and making a nice name for himself there but he’s not marketable, not exactly the most likable, and delivers very awkward performances. His “Just a Fool” was not too much of a standout.
Lazaro Arbos is gaining confidence. I can tell. His vocals on “Feeling Good” was leaps and bounds over his other performance last week. He already has a following and will likely sail through to the finals this week on his story alone but he’ll have to start giving us more than the sad stuttering story if he wants to stick around a few more weeks.
Curtis Finch, Jr. is someone I just don’t get. Arrogance is painted all over his facial expressions as he sings and for some reason the judges are smiten with him. According to WhatNottoSing.com which I follow religiously for ratings of the performances, the general public isn’t too keen on him since he currently holds a 48 rating for his “I Believe I Can Fly.” Since he did perform eighth in the lineup, I suspect he’ll have an easy time making the finals next week. Can I also complain about his “blessing” of the judges last night as they were giving him compliments? My God.
Devin Velez is a vocally magnificent singer. I LOVE his spanglish twist on the songs he’s singing. I recognize and appreciate it because I’m Puerto Rican. I’m not so sure Middle America will appreciate it. He needs to abandon it for a few weeks then come back to it.
Finally Vincent Powell. I like the guy. He fumbled the ball yesterday with his rendition of Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road.” He’s still a great singer and having the pimp spot last night should guarantee him a spot in the finals but he’s likely to either open or perform early in the show next week. He’ll need to get it together quickly.
Predictions for the Girls:
- Angie Miller – LOCKED
- Candice Glover – LOCKED
- Kree Harrison – LOCKED
- Amber Holcomb – NEAR LOCKED
- Aubrey Cleland and Janelle Arthur are going to fight for this spot. I’m giving the edge to Janelle since she is/was an early favorite.
Wild Card Possibilities:
- Aubrey Cleland
- Breanna Steer
Predictions for the Boys:
- Vincent Powell – LOCKED – had PIMP spot.
- Devin Velez – LOCKED
- Burnell Taylor – NEAR LOCKED
- Curtis Finch, Jr. – NEAR LOCKED
- Lazaro Arbos and Nick Boddington will be up for this spot. Lazaro is the popular favorite with lots of screen time before the LIVE shows. I think he’s got it.
Wild Card Possibilities:
- Nick Boddington
- Elijah Lau (cause he’s a “good singer” evidently?)