~February 25, 2009~
The beginning of the show was like a horrible deja vu of last week. Several faces that I really hoped would make it through... and a terrible beginning to what should have been some promising performances.
Sheer disappointment to start
Jasmine Murray, 17 -- I've had my eye on this one ever since her audition. She has always showed promise and has consistently shined regardless of surrounding circumstances. (Think back to Group Day when she was the lone survivor of the Diva group.) But tonight's performance was seriously awful, especially for someone with so much talent. Jasmine sang Sara Bareilles' "Love Song" and I cringed at the choice. It's a very cool song when Sara does it but it is a horrible competition song. Jasmine was very pitchy on the verse and only somewhat better on the chorus. All I could think was, "She's so much better than this!" Based on this performance, she's not going through.
Matt Giraud, 23 -- I've been impressed with this dueling piano player for some time. I especially never thought he would be such a disappointment after his soulful performance of "Georgia" during Hollywood Week. Song choice will be his suicide. He sang, "Living La Vida" by Coldplay. His voice was soft, breathy and pitchy and I was dumbfounded, trying to find an answer as to why this was so bad. I'm still wondering if it was nerves or if he was sick. Paula nailed it: she said he tried to instill soul into a rock song. If people vote solely on tonight's performance, he's done.
Under the radar... and maybe there's a reason
Jeanine Vailes, 28 -- She hasn't been seen much yet, so I can't talk about past history or have dashed expectations. That leaves me with commenting solely on tonight's performance and it wasn't good. She chose Maroon 5's "This Love" and I immediately thought, How is she going to shine on this song? Well, she didn't. The song sits too low and she was pitchy throughout. Paula's reaction was extremely telling. All she said was, "It's Season Eight and you have great legs. Simon?" I've never seen Paula flip the talk to someone else so quickly. All the judges agreed on two things: her legs were great, her singing was not. Randy was brutal but told it like it is: "Best part of the song was that it was over." She's not going through.
The performance(s) we've all been waiting for
We waited with baited breath for two contestants -- one to see what he would do, and the other because we've been waiting for two weeks for someone, anyone, to blow us away. We'll start with Nick Mitchell.
Comedian Nick Mitchell, came out as Norm Gentle and gave another fun and funny over-the-top performance. His voice is a little nasally but, as anyone who sees him knows, this isn't about just his voice. He sang "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls, alternately caressing the American Idol logo and melodically pleading with Simon to love him. Simon said he hopes he's speaking on behalf of America when he says he's praying Nick doesn't make it through. But Paula pointed out that Simon laughed his way through the whole performance. The other judges called him funny, entertaining and a true performer. I say he performed the best of anyone to that point. It seems that Simon doesn't know what to do with him or how to market him and that's why Nick can't win him over. Compared to the steady stream of second-rate song choices, I welcome an entertaining performer who can also sing. I want him to go through. I really do.
We didn't know where it would come from, but we knew he or she was out there somewhere. Some Idol hopeful has been sitting on a stellar performance, waiting to wow the judges. That person was Allison Iraheta. The 16 year old sang "Alone" by Heart and already I was excited. That is a great song choice as long as you can pull it off. And she did. She really brought it with good, solid vocals and a great performance. That type of performance never happened last week and it took almost halfway through the show to get there this week. She should head to the next round without a doubt!
The two girls with the distinctive voices were put in the same round, probably on purpose. It's hard to imagine both making it through.
Megan Corkrey, 23 -- She chose "Put Your Records On", not a great song but it's a good personality voice song. Megan's performance threw me off -- she uses weird motions and shakes her hands a lot. I wanted her to yank the mike off the stand just to stop the odd movements. She did decently on the song and gave a solid performance but I was simply thinking, "I'm not enjoying this". The judges are big fans with Randy comparing her to Duffy and Amy Winehouse and Paula calling her interesting and relevant. Simon said he wishes her vocals were better but he hopes America votes for her. I'm not so much of a fan and would be okay with this being the end.
Jesse Langseth, 26 -- The other personality voice chose "Bette Davis Eyes", another good song for her unique voice. She did a decent job and it was a good fit for her voice, but I was not wowed. Randy said that it was not really exciting and the song had only a five note range. Simon called her forgettable. I don't think she did enough to make it to the next round.
Ones we probably won't see again
Kris Allen chose Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror". He should have changed the key because the beginning of the song was too low. The verse was fair but forgettable and I kept waiting for the song to go somewhere. He did better on the chorus. Kara said the song didn't show why she fell in love with him. The other judges were more complimentary. They think he should go through. I think song choice sunk this kid. He sang the song well but all of the parts together added up to a forgettable performance.
Matt Breitzke, 28 -- Likeable father and husband, I've been a fan of Matt's from the beginning. He sang Tonic's "If You Could Only See". His voice was soulful and husky, but his performance needed a lot of work. Judges found the song choice to be at fault and found the performance to be boring. I like him a lot but this was also not enough to get to the Top 12.
Kai Kalama, 26 -- This devoted son chose the song, "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted". I have to be honest and say I simply can't stand this song. It doesn't go anywhere, it doesn't do anything and when I listen to music, I want to be touched or moved or transported. That being said, Kai sang solidly but the song did not show a huge range. The judges' two main complaints: his performance was pitchy and they found the song old-fashioned. I'm pretty certain Kai won't be joining us next time.
Mishavonna Henson, 18 -- This hopeful tried out during Season Seven and made it as far as Hollywood. She sang Train's "Drops of Jupiter", not a song I would choose for a competition. She can sing - she hit all of the notes - but the performance felt just kind of *shrug* eh? Simon said, "Something left me very cold about that performance." Me too, Simon. Me too.
Adam Lambert, 27 -- The final singer of the night was also a great performer. Adam chose "Satisfaction" by the Stones which I was really concerned about. What can you possibly do with this song? But he worked it! From his Billy Idol sneer to his commanding presence to his interesting melody lines, his performance hit it out of the park. It's a performance I want to watch again. Critics are going to say it was too much, it was over the top. I found him interesting to watch and to listen to and he had an unbelievable range to boot. I fear American is going to polarize, either loving him or hating him and that may make it so he doesn't get through. As far as guys go, I think he should definitely head to the next round. His voice, range and performance are all reason enough to warrant that move.
The Top Three from this group are revealed tonight and I can't say definitively what's going to happen. Makes it fun, anxious and nerve-wracking all at the same time!