Friday, February 26, 2010
American Idol 3 times a week!
Today is the first of three weeks of where we'll get to watch American Idol 3 days in a row. We're now at the piano show rounds where we whittle the Top 24 down to your Top 12. Girls will sing every Wednesday night while the boys will sing Thursday nights. Each week, Friday's results show will see 2 girls and 2 boys going home until we hit the sweet number 12.
Top 24 Girls
The girls took to the stage on Wednesday night, kick-starting AI9's voting machine. It was dubbed the '2-Hour Live Event', imo, it was a non-event. For all the talent and unique tones many of the girls had, their piano round was simply boring.
Some of my favourites were Lilly Scott, Didi Benami, Janell Wheeler and Ashley Rodriguez, whose performances I was looking forward to watching. I wasn't a huge fan of Crystal Bowersox, and her adding her harmonica to the mix again, just didn't endear her to me. Like Simon, I had expected more from her. Same goes for Ashley. I had expected more from her, she was the first contestant I fell in love with from the early audition shows, and the fact that she wasn't featured much during Hollywood rounds made me look forward to her piano show debut even more. But alas, her "Happy" performance fell a little short.
The girl that opened the show was Paige whatshername. And therein lies the problem. I can't even remember her last name. She was hardly featured until now, so even with her great voice (which sounded like any other black diva vocal), she failed to leave an impression on me.
Haeley Vaughn annoyed me with her frozen smile and Katie Stevens annoyed me with her granny song, despite stellar vocals. I dunno, maybe its the Blair Waldorf headband or the prom dress, but imo she appeared a little cocky, hope she goes back to likeable in the next show (I'm sure she'll make it through - cute enough and good enough vocally to gain votes).
Michelle Delamor is another contestant you never really heard of. They suddenly turned the spotlight on her when they did the room-to-room results and I was like, Michelle who again? I actually liked her singing 'Fallin'', and from some angles she actually looked like Alicia Keys! Her sister who sat in the audience is GORGEOUS btw! But thats beside the point.
Lacey Brown, the comeback kid from Season 8 did ok. Not the best song choice for a first show, not very wow, but imo enough to make it through. Same goes for Didi 'my fave' Benami. She has a gorgeous tone and she's very likeable and genuine, so I'm sure she'll make it through to the next round. Likewise Katelyn Epperly seems like someone America would vote for despite her 'old-ish', cabaret-ish performance. I have to agree with Kara, I liked her better when she was au naturel cos this girl is gorgeous with that curly hair and sunkissed skin. She SO did not need that PVC tube dress (but its cool that it had pockets) and bright red lipstick. I woulda preferred if she sang like a Taylor Swift song.
Lilly Scott was pretty unique, and confident and comfortable onstage. She should be going through. Janell Wheeler was totally forgettable this time. Like Kara said, when she sang 'American Boy' at Hollywood Week, you could hear her unique tone, but the song she chose this time round just buried it.
The surprise of the night was Siobhan Magnus. Simon said she's a 'quirky little thing' and I think that totally works for her now. The song she chose was kinda dark, but again it worked for her. I just wanna say, girl, get rid of the nose ring, you look like a cow, how 'bout a stud instead? I mean, she's quite pretty right? I actually find her quite fascinating to watch - she seems unpredictable and its kinda like you never know when she's gonna freak out or have a breakdown.
So outta all the girls - who's in trouble?
Imo, Haeley, Paige and Janell could be goin' home. My gut wants me to type Ashley, but I'm willing it NOT to happen - I really hope America gives her another chance - she so preety la!
The rest should be relatively safe. I think between Haeley and Paige, most likely Haeley will go, despite having a story, because Paige has the stronger voice. As for Janell, well, this is an out-there theory, but she and Didi are really similar, and you just need one of them on the show, and based on likeability, exposure, story and performance, Didi trumps Janell this time.
Which two girls do you think will be going home tonight?
Top 24 Guys
Last night, it was the guys turn to take to the stage and maybe its because its the first live round and everyone has the nerves, but again it was SO NOT an 'event'. However, saying that, compared to the girls' show, it had a few more bright sparks.
I totally enjoyed performances from Joe Munoz, Casey James and Michael Lynche. As usual, Big Mike's bubbly larger-than-life personality gave the grumpy panel a much needed perk-me-up midway through the show. And hey guess what, I wasn't the only one who thought Mike's guitar looked like a ukelele next to him! Thank you Ryan Seacrest for the validation! LOL!
Joe Munoz got next to no backstory previously, and 'meeting' him for the first time last night, I thought he was genuine, sincere and a sweetheart. I liked how he looked straight into cam and it felt like he was looking right at you. Nice. Hope he gets through. Although, when he kinda played the 'race/nationality' card by giving a special shoutout to 'mexico' (or somewhere), I got a bit worried. Hope that doesn't have any adverse effects. Remember the flak Sylvia got for acknowledging her Filipino heritage? tsk. Hello, mass appeal, mass appeal, don't pigeon hole yourself so early on k! You'll alienate voters!
Lets all be...*shiny happy people holding hands*
Producers totally milked the Kara/Cougar angle for Casey James. Aiyo, so over it liao, lets move on. I thought he did well. Totally agree with judges that it was the perfect song choice for him. Good job - definitely going through to next week. No way in h*ck will he be out.
Likewise, fellow country crooner Aaron Kelly is also a shoo-in to carry on. I thought he did a good job on the vocals and I followed the performance despite not being too interested in the song - I was just enjoying his voice.
I was also looking forward to seeing how Lee Dewyze would do. I actually really like his voice. Its so manly! Woot! But when I heard he was singing 'Chasing Cars', my first thought was Jonathan Leong, followed by 'omg what a boring song'! I would've liked to hear him sing something else from The Fray or like Hoobastank or even Daughtry. Or like Randy suggested, Kings Of Leon. But he had presence, and he's so likeable. I was on the fence about him before, but when Ryan asked how he was feeling and he replied, "I don't wanna lose this feeling, ever" - he totally won me over. Surprisingly Simon liked him a lot and thought he did great.
I was majorly disappointed with three favourites - Todrick Hall, Jermaine Sellers and Andrew Garcia. Todrick cos he totally butchered Kelly Clarkson's 'Since U Been Gone'. It wasn't that I loved the song (cos I do), it was just that it was so overdone, it might as well have been a new song with the same title. Totally lost its essence. But I do give him props for trying to be different.
Likewise Jermaine Sellers. He totally oversang his song. Agree with Randy, the melody is so beautiful, he shoulda just sung it straight with sincerity - woulda worked.
I lost interest half way through Andrew Garcia's song. I had been looking forward to his performance all night and he closed the show with a song that not many could connect with. I love his voice, but I have to agree with Simon, it came across a little indulgent.
I hope these three will continue on next week.
Alex Lambert seemed awkward onstage and for some reason reminded me of Judd Nelson/Andrew McCarthy. He has a real 80s vibe about him. But I do love his tone which we never really got to hear in earlier rounds. Hopefully he can up his game next week otherwise its bye bye.
Tim Urban was totally 'buried' (Kara's words) by the music. A last minute replacement for dropped Top 24-er Chris Golightly (check out the screenshot from Hollywood week's announcement of Top24, Chris had made it!), Tim was probably the weakest performer last night, but I have a feeling he'll last another week or two because he's cute. The judges said so themselves, and in saying so, I think have spurred on even more little girls to vote for him mindlessly. I don't mind - eye candy for me too. His performance was like that of an actor who is asked to sing for those Charity shows eg like Tay Ping Hui being asked to sing for President's Star Charity, except it wasn't pre-recorded - maybe it shoulda been :P. But I like him, so I don't mind seeing him again next week, hopefully with a new gameplan.
Tyler Grady. Aiyo. Ouch. Did not work lor. Nice boy. But that song/performance just did not work. I think he could be going home.
John Park. Lagi Aiyo. I get the song meant a lot to him, but it sure didn't seem that way when he sang. He was deadpan most of the way. I thought he had a great voice, but imo that song was totally self-indulgent. I could hardly hear the lyrics in the opening verse, I could not make out what he was singing til we got to the chorus. I only recognised one word 'Jesus' somewhere in there.
Imo, the ones in trouble tonight are Tyler and John, and possibly Jermaine? But we'll see.
Which two guys do you think will be out?
How did Ellen do on her first live show?
Again its pretty obvious that producers are trying to get the viewers acquainted with Ellen. She's getting double the airtime that the other 3 judges are getting, because most times, Ryan will throw her an extra question after 'judging' is done.
Imo, Ellen fits in quite nicely on the panel. She seems to know her music well. She mentioned in interviews before that she wanted to be honest but also be nice. I think she really is doing her best to personify this. However in doing so, it comes across like Chandler's inability to break it off with a bad date. There's this episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. where Chandler goes on a date with Rachel's boss and totally hates it but doesn't know how NOT to let her down gently. He ends the horrible date by saying he'll call (but he doesn't intend to). Its the same with Ellen. She says, "I like you but you sounded terrible, that was the wrong song for you, didn't quite get it there, don't think you had presence etc, but, you know, I like you." Its like she's cushioning the blow. I geddit, its a typical human thing to do to not hurt people. It was ok the first few times, but after 12 rounds, it got a bit old and insincere and honestly, a little befuddling - so did you think he was good or not?
Simon, Kara and Randy I thought were in top form.
As the years have gone by, the quality of contestants joining Idol has improved and its gotten so much more technical than in previous seasons. Especially with Kara on board, she and Randy are so technical, its nice to see. And even Simon now talks about creativity and making a song your own etc. In earlier seasons, you would always hear him say, 'that sounded like bad kareeokee' - it was truly just a singing competition. But now, its about finding someone who can be a successful artiste. Thank you David Cook for changing things up and Adam Lambert for amping it even further!
Just 3 hours to go before we get to watch the 1-hour Results show. NO SPOILERS PLEASE :) Kris Allen and Allison Iraheta are on. Woot!
ps. Survivor 20 on in 2 and half hours!
pps. The only drawback of having 2-hour Idol episodes is America's Next Top Model being taken off the schedule for a while :( I need my Tyra fix!
American Idol Season 9 airs in Singapore on Wednesdays/Thursdays/Fridays at 6pm (repeats at 8pm and 12am) on Starworld and on Channel 5 at 10.30pm.