Thursday, March 31, 2011

American Idol The Top 11 again

Quite what America made of the very strange choice of Elton John interview - a session with Michael Parkinson from 1971 or thereabouts - I have no idea! Of all the clips that must be available in the Fox library why on earth choose one that had neither a question or answer of any meaning? Oh well. We then get a collage of hairstyles and some strained link to some of the Top 11 at a photoshoot at which nine of them must have been wishing they were as photogenic as Pia and Lauren. At least they didn't have them prancing gaily down a Yellow Brick Road or a girl-boy mimed rendition of Don't Go Breaking My Heart with each getting a line each and smiling at the camera afterwards.

Scotty ♪9 ☼9
Country Comforts.  Kinda says it all really. One clever last note! Grandma'll also get him a pile of notes. A natural performer, he'll get through and snaffling 100% of the country-style notes will make him difficult to beat until the numbers are well down to two or three choices.

Naima ♪7 ☼5
I'm Still Standing, reggae style. OK but uninspiring. She put her own stamp on the track but it lost it's meaning and urgency in the process. Can't imagine anyone really wanting to buy that.

Paul ♪7½ ☼7½
Rocket Man. Odd choice - reasonable enough track sung quietly and thank goodness his legs stayed in one place for two minutes. Very recognisable voice and he's got fans. Not a memorable performance in a neither one thing or another way. Whether he survives depends on what Haley, Stefano and Naima do, really.

Pia ♪8½ ☼8
Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me. I was hoping no-one would go for this and wish Pia hadn't despite the applause she got from an audience she seems to really appeal to as The All American Girl Who Sings The National Anthem At Baseball Matches. She's good but I still find her top notes tinny - I guess it has to be my speakers as the judges seem to have no criticism at all. She does dress well and has confidence and almost all that an American Idol needs - I just want to see some personality and feel like liking her more. She has to be around for a lot longer though and I really do look forward to changing my mind if she can show another side that's, oh I don't know, a bit more natural and less controlled.

Stefano ♪8  ☼7½
Tiny Dancer. This is an important week for the tiny Stefano, someone I predicted as a finalist back in the early days. He looked good, dressed exactly as he should have been but most of the performance was a little muted and, yes, he was trying to get it across but it wasn't until near the end that he finally began to get through to people. That gentler side is different to most of the others and I can see him appealing to the young girls who vote too. He may have done enough to steer clear of the bottom two but still has to find that real natural something he needs to survive longer. He hasn't had a 'moment' yet.

Lauren ♪9  ☼8½
Candle In The Wind. Oh well, I suppose someone had to do this one too. Wish they hadn't but if anyone was going to I guess her version was the most bearable. Nice performance - gentle and well-interpreted. Definitely through to the next round, no question about that. I like the way she doesn't seem to turn tracks into anthems and just delivers them her way with the natural air that Pia needs.

James ♪9½ ☼8
Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting was the track I wanted him or Lauren to do and it suited him. It was about time the place came alive and I think everyone was glad about that. For that reason alone he deserves to stay on board and, provided American voters don't mind a track comprising 56 Saturdays delivered by a guy with a silly hairstyle, he'll be fine for a while yet. Totally natural, he enjoyed himself and was spot on the notes as usual.

Thia ♪6 ☼7
Daniel was a difficult track for her and I have no clue as to why she chose it. She started off trying too hard but actually got it right half-way through and didn't overplay the notes at all. Quite a mature performance which won't have done her any harm. I was prepared to be scorchingly critical after she transformed my Twitter feed to a Thia nonsense stream for a brief time before I unfollowed her. However, she redeemed herself by listening to her advisors on the night. She was, surprisingly, missing notes more than the others which probably indicates just how much she was trying to interpret words she probably didn't really get but got away with that and has an ability to rescue herself rather than offend our ears anyway. Lots of talent. Still don't see her getting past 5th or 6th place though. If Haley were to really impress everyone then she may find herself panicking a bit. She also has to deal with the ongoing Pia comparisons.

Casey ♪9 ☼8
Your Song. I had this down for Scotty but it was ideal for Casey, especially after the OTT efforts of last week. Nice interpretation - if anyone can read the words and make them make sense then this guy can and all credit to him for that. This balanced the excess he'd let himself in for to date. He was a contender and now could be again. He needs to get through so we can see what else he can do as well.

Jacob ♪6 ½ ☼ 6½
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word. Another track I'd wished no-one had attempted. It just has too many opportunities for the heavy warbling that this guy is getting a name for. Fair enough, he avoided the obvious to start with and I still get Anthony & The Johnsons but without the subtlety. He's no American Idol, though, in my view, but still doesn't deserve to go this week. He may be bottom three, though.

Haley ♪8½ ☼7½
Bennie And The Jets - I'd never have expected that! She needs something good, something to distinguish her from the other girls and make us want her back for more. There's great talent there and she's got a great personality that Pia and Thia need and a style that's hers rather than rehearsed or instilled by a hovering parent. Giving her the closing spot usually means the producers have seen something a little special so all of this had me wishing and hoping. A great performance and I just hope the American public recognise just how good this girl is. She's been struggling so far, close to the bottom each week I think, and may just not be getting through to enough people that vote. In a world of anthem-deliverers she may still suffer but I do definitely see her with a good future, Kellie Pickler-style perhaps.

Do I dare predict who's going? No. Naima would be my choice. Jacob next. Thia's vulnerable. Then Haley or Stefano. I reckon Jacob and Thia have a big enough core following to survive, though, which leaves Naima and Haley really. Stefano scraping through again. Pity if that's the way it is. We'll see soon enough. America probably knows already. But I won't look.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A bird that tweets far too much...

Thia Megia is certainly a talented young lady and, whilst I don't see her winning, I have been pretty kind in my reviews to date. However, although I don't get to see the Elton John track show until tomorrow here in the UK and the betting seems pretty firmly to indicate that it'll be Haley and Naima who disappear this week, Thia really does need to sing not tweet and won't have endeared herself to supporters today!

I think she is only the second person I have had to 'unfollow' on Twitter following my stream being virtually taken over by scores of pretty meaningless and silly tweets from her (or maybe her helicopter mother).

The excellent MJ's blog airs exactly the same sentiment. So she's now going to have to be pretty damn amazing to make up, assuming she survives, of course!

I have no idea what songs they'll all be doing but I can imagine Scotty, still out as the favourite, doing Your Song and Pia standing still and throwing Candle In The Wind at us. Please don't let Paul Crocodile Rock all we'll all get confused watching his legs move independently of either the music of the rest of his limbs. I'd love to see Lauren or James hit Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting but they probably won't. Nikita is probably my favourite but I don't expect anyone will do that. The Bitch Is Back  now there's an option for someone and, of course, Someone Saved My Life Tonight will suit Casey really well, all things considered. I just pray that Jacob is kept well away from Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me and everyone from The Circle of Life.

Friday, March 25, 2011

American Idol 11 stay 11

Well, I seem to have got that right. The voters sure hammered Casey but he got saved in a pretty remarkable evening that, rightly in my view, saw all through to the all-important tour. Stefano and Thia were the other recipients of the lowest votes but my guess is that there probably wasn't a great deal separating Thia from the others and I wouldn't draw any conclusions from that.

Next week two will go. On current betting it would be Haley and Naima who, at 70-1 and 120-1 respectively, really do seem to be regarded as having no chance whatsoever. Scotty, Pia, James and Lauren are the only contenders according to Betfair at the time of writing. I update the odds on their pictures in the separate page of this blog.

American Idol 11 - Motown week

Steve Tyler is proving to be an inspired choice for AI10. He was even getting applause and cheers when asked to talk about Motown which would be more Randy's specialist topic you'd think. Some very cool people in the audience and playing on stage too in what should be a good show. This is going to be one hard week to call. Only a point and a half separate everyone other than James at the top and Casey at the bottom. Surely he can't go? Perhaps he'd be saved and judgement deferred. An interesting part two beckons. It might be Haley.

Casey ♪7 ☼4
I Heard It Through The Grapevine. An odd choice - all too predictable and he simply didn't look right tonight. I think he sounded OK but, as last week, it's so difficult with the backing drowning out the vocals on tv. Dunno about this. I'm beginning to have doubts, having had him down as a sure-fire finalist. This was no good in my view. He ought to be fine but...

Thia ♪8½ ☼7
This girl's really beginning to shine. She had fun with Heatwave and looked comfortable. It was like something on the radio rather than a performance that grabbed you and said 'Hey listen!' but she'll be back next week for sure. If she could add that vital extra spark of star quality she'll be a contender.

Jacob ♪8 ☼8
You're all I need to get by needs two people but he got away with the help of some backing singers. A nice song and this had to be his good week. It was, apart from an ill-fitting jacket! He took the advice and just managed to keep the warbling at bay with a truly excellent 2 minutes. Forget his instructions and screeched at the last second but he'll be back all right.

Lauren ♪8 ☼8
You keep me hanging on. This was a great track for her. An excellent performance - and boy, has she matured since the auditions! Very competent. That could have been a single.

Stefano ♪9 ☼6
I can't actually recall what he sang which kinda sums up this accurate and beautifully sung track but it lacked anything by way of connection. He may be in a spot of trouble and got a good telling off from the judges which was a huge contrast with all the others to date. Felt a bit sorry for him. Hope he survives.

Haley ♪7 ☼7½
You really got a hold on me. The Smokey Robinson number will either work for her or it won't. No half measures. She sure made an effort and brought out those great legs for all the men out there but I'm not convinced. It was just a little desperate, as if she knows she's approaching leaving time. She's not at all bad but I just can't say she's sure of survival despite all the effort.

Scotty ♪5 ☼9
I thought he'd be well out of his comfort zone but For Once In My Life was fairly readily converted into a country song along with harmonica backing. To be honest it wasn't great when he headed for the higher notes and he can't sing 'loud' but I could imagine it working in a slower and maybe slightly lower vein.

Pia ♪9 ☼7
A track by Stevie Wonder I didn't know. She managed to find a ballad that suited her more than it probably suits Motown. No-one can deny that she can sing but I still don't see where she fits in. Still too serious, maybe a little too 'perfect'. I want to like her but there's a barrier that has to come down first - if she can. She seems pretty popular and maybe suits the 'all American' crowd taste and, as Jennifer cleverly pointed out she ticks so many boxes " but..." I'd say she'd struggle this week but I'm probably going to be the only one and she is unlikely, even if bottom three, to lose a sing-off. And I still find her top notes tinny. Maybe it's my tv.

Paul ♪7 ☼8½
What a great track. Tracks Of My Tears. I had great hopes for Paul in Motown week as he has an infectious style and true natural rhythm. This was not a track to do quick-time with a smile, though. It sounded good but looked wrong. I guess if you forget the meaning of the song then it worked and he did get there at the end. Not bad but not fabulous as he could have been with a different number. He's got a great stage style for all that and should be safe.

Naima ♪6½ ☼7
Dancing In the Street. This was a very good performance and she looked ten times better than she has all through so far. A good choice that worked well, well, except for the sudden arrival of some African dancers and she went a bit native for no good reason. She was fine without that and it is unlikely to have got her any extra votes. Some of the high notes weren't there and she's not really a long-term contender but doesn't deserve to go based on that performance.

James ♪9 ☼8½
Living For The City possibly the best performance of the night. Not at all one of my favourite tracks but he did really well, owning the stage and thoroughly enjoying the whole thing. Spot-on notes in a difficult number and genuine interaction with the band and singers as well as the all-important audience. Impressive.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

American Idol 2010 betting

The first couple of weeks have seen big changes in the betting here in the UK, with the 'all American' boy and girl now favourites - Scotty at 3-1 and Pia at 4-1. Lauren, Casey and James are tucked in pretty closely behind them but that's about it. There's then a big jump to odds in the region of 20-1+ for Jacob, Stefano, Thia and Paul and Haley and Naima trailing way, way behind at odds implying they're as good as gone, in the region of 130-1.

I have to say I find these surprising. Whilst Scotty and Pia are clearly confident professionals and could stand on a stage anywhere and put in a good performance neither seem like winners in my book. Casey should win and, if the same votes as went to Lee last year go his way, he will. Stefano is gathering support and remains one of my outside chances for a final three but he'd need an extraordinary song selection to get further.

Thia stretching out to 20-1 doesn't make much sense to me and I have a suspicion that, in a head-to-head competition with Pia, she would win but circumstances probably won't conspire to give us such a charming battle of the -ias.

So, if you're looking for long shots, go for Thia and Stefano and, if she can settle on a style, Haley isn't beaten yet and 120-1, assuming she does survive the next week or two which the punters say she won't, will prove a rare opportunity.

American Idol 12

Could someone have a word with the producers to quieten down the backing volume. It may just be my tv but the percussion especially seemed to drown out almost everyone - even Jacob, and that takes some doing when he's in full flow!

So this is my take on the Top 12 - late this week - and I'll watch the results show as soon as this is finished to discover how wrong my predictions have been. I may finally then be able to look at my Twitter feed again too! Like some of the contestants, I've been suffering from some really bad cold or something. Right, cough, splutter, here goes:

Naima ♪5 ☼6
She brought a lot of style again this week to the stage and she stands out - quite a unique contestant but missing notes didn't help her. She survived last week and fast numbers with plenty of life suit her. Unfortunately this number slowed and that's when she showed that she's not really all that special.

Paul ♪3 ☼7
Totally drowned by the backing. This song has bags of meaning but I didn't get anything from this performance at all. His timing was all over the place and, quite frankly, it was a mess. He's different - highly original and you could tell what he had in mind but a combination of poor health and lack of good guidance let him down. He has lots of support, though, so should survive this round.

Thia ♪8½ ☼6
She's a class act. Really good. I'm not sure how much modern appeal she's got but this was one good, if a bit inconsequential, performance that will see her safely through to next week and probably several more weeks too.

James ♪9 ☼8½
A Bon Jovi track - suited him well and he produced a marvellous performance, spot-on in all respects. His initial screech seems to have been well placed on the back burner, being produced at the end in this track. He deserves to stick around or a while and could surprise everyone if he can demonstrate that he can also deliver a gentle track with feeling.

Haley ♪6 ☼6½
This was a lively performance. Clearly, she's realised that she had to do something to stay in the competition and showed a lot of individual talent here. Unfortunately she managed to confuse us all at the same time as to exactly what kind of artist she is and I really don't know what to make of her chances. I have a feeling the voters won't either.

Stefano ♪9 ☼8½
One of the few who overcame the backing and came across brilliantly. Excellent control of a track that wasn't easy but he excelled and is someone who could do well in this competition, quietly getting through without anyone actually noticing.

Pia ♪9 ☼8
This girl's proving to be really reliable and is a first class performer. You could tell somehow she was pleased with the way things were going and she good rave reviews once more and the crowd seem to love her. There's something I can't relate to, though. and, coupled with a tinniness at the top end, I just rate her as a good stand-by for big occasions but not an 'idol'.

Scotty ♪9 ☼9
He stuck to his country guns and presented this trach really well. This guy doesn't need this show - he's already a star and should be able to sell albums no problem. He's not my idea of what AI10 should be finding in 2011 but I can't knock the guy. He's good and will be around a good time yet.

Karen ♪2 ☼5
She was really all over the place tune-wise and struggled a lot. She could well struggle to stay in and this week showed that she simply isn't a contender. She made a good effort appearance-wise but I can't see anything saving her except a Latino landslide vote this week.

Casey ♪10 ☼9
Superb performance of Nirvana's Teen Spirit. Absolutely brilliant performance of something you wouldn't have expected on AI any number and this earned him huge respect. It was still difficult hearing even Casey's searing voice above extraordinarily badly balanced broadcast track, though.

Lauren ♪7½ ☼9
Good strong performance showing why this girl is one of the favourites this year. She's going to be around for a good while yet.

Jacob ♪8 ☼8
Good choice of song from Top Gun could keep this big guy around for a bit longer. It was well-performed but I do find him a bit overpowering still on occasion.

Update, later the same evening...

Sure enough, Karen went. She made a good effort at her 'save me' song and even showed Pia what the high notes ought to sound like but it wasn't enough to persuade all the judges to give her another chance. I was disappointed to see that one of them had been prepared to do so - surely they need to retain that option for someone really talented who falls foul of the public one week.

Friday, March 11, 2011

American Idol 13 become 12

30 million votes. I'd love the see the breakdown. That'll earn the producers enough to keep the set looking sparkly and pay the contestants their $3000 a show. I wonder if they still get that if they're voted off? Anyway, here we go - the first one to go is ...

Karen, Ashton and Haley were the bottom three. The judges could have used their one-off 'save' but they didn't, probably just as well. Ashton was never going to win. I'd have preferred them to have given Tatynisa a chance.

The 'let's all dance around and smile a lot' intro was an odd Michael Jackson affair. Poor old Scotty must have wondered what on earth he was supposed to do but luckily the cameras didn't pick him up for more than a couple of notes which he was probably actually singing while the rest mimed along. Pia got a good centre-stage spot again and the others flapped about. It didn't last long, thank goodness and wasn't terribly out of tune like most of last year's efforts.

Ryan had a new script to follow for the "Dim the lights" bit and was none too comfortable with it. He pulled two groups of three out and confused everyone pretty pointlessly. Strangely seven found themselves safe by simply not being called out and he even had to persuade them to celebrate a bit. Weird. Bet they change that next week. Casey's suffering still which is a bit sad. With possibly the same problem myself I feel for him and wish him well.

Adam Lambert was superb with a new version of one of the songs he's written himself. A totally assured guy, possibly one of the greatest finds of the series, showed the others how to get notes right and a message across. Someone else with a weird name performed too - the only memorable bit being the groovy intro girl.

Interesting to see that they'd put a farewell package together for her before knowing that the judges wouldn't save her. Suppose they could have done that for all of them. A quick bit of David Cook, too, with a reasonable-sounding version of Don't You Forget About Me at the end.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

American Idol: the real shows start

Now we get to see what some wardrobe, make-up and vocal coach experts can do and this was a quality production all right. You can usually write off a good half of the hopefuls in this first week but not this year - I'm a pretty critical observer but have to say that there were no duds tonight. It really is anyone's guess at the moment. Such a massive voting audience can produce strange results when one or two genre favourites get backing whilst others get split so it'll be really interesting to get some clue. Stefano, Karen and Ashton at risk. My guess is Ashton goes. Or Naima if the kids don't vote.

Lauren ♪8 ☼8½
Lauren does Shania does Country. Confident - a little bit either on or off with the volume and not a lot of shade but solid enough and enjoyable to watch. She'll be around for a while for sure. She is the favourite, too, although the odds will be lengthening after tonight I suspect.

Casey ♪10 ☼10
Now normally I would stand up and walk out when yet another contestant in a singing show does Joe Cocker and they usually really do need a little help from their friends! Casey's preformance, though, was brilliant. 100% professional. The old Cocker would've been proud. Good backing from the band too - although maybe just too close to the original in the background. This guy's heading for the final. Not sure where he fits in on the 'pop' scene but very impressive.

Ashton ♪6½ ☼5
Taking the Diana Ross thing a bit far with the dress and the hair, perhaps. Trouble with copies is they are just that and you want to hear the original sometimes. No feeling in what was originally in a sensitive song. Not bad - and she did hit the notes. I remember how many of last year's lesser contestants did.

Paul ♪7½ ☼7½
Original and very competent performance. Lots of character. i'm not sure he chose the right number but America may not have a James Morrison so he could fill that gap for them.

Pia ♪9 ☼8½
She got rave reviews and the crowd really do seem to love her. I felt she was trying a bit too hard. She has a slightly harsh look - I'd change the middle parting - and lacks a soft, natural something that would make a hge difference and make her more endearing. I want to like her immensely but something's stopping me and after the third very loud and tinny All By Myself I was getting bored. A nearly very beautiful girl and possible new favourite but I'm really not sure I agree.

James ♪9 ☼8
Another very talented guy with an ability to hit the right notes across several octaves and you can see he cares. Now that he's sorted his hair out better he's looking more of a contender. He could be around a good time. Great rendition, far more in tune than Paul McCartney was too.  Like so many of the others, though, there's a soft side, some shade missing. Just a little needy.

Haley ♪8 ☼7½
Loved this girl at the start and even though the bookies have her down amongst the early exits I hope she sticks around a while as she has a brave attitude and is a bit special. Nice performance and it had the right feel. Randy thought it was sleepy but that's how it should have been in my view. She's got really tough competition and may struggle to win votes against all but Ashton that have gone before.

Jacob ♪6 ☼6
I was wondering if I'd get bored with this guy or whether he'd rise about the warbling and screeching trick. He didn't and I did. No, sorry. Nice guy and, sure, he has a good voice and loves singing but not my choice on this week's performance. He'll probably be around a while longer but needs some new approach next week.

Thia ♪8½ ☼7
Really well presented, making this youngster look and sound so much older. Absolutely spot-on vocally at the start. There was one massive gap at one point which I didn't quite get but she can sing and she's around for a good few performances yet. The voice is superb. She should drop, or at least reduce, the band who didn't do her any favours.

Stefano ♪5 ☼6
Disappointing. Notes were a bit awry and he didn't look that sure of himself. Great reviews from the judges make me wonder if I saw the same performance. Oh well. I had this guy down as a possible finalist but he'll need some poor performance from someone else to keep him safe this week.

Karen ♪4 ☼7
Weak start and an unusual song that was not at all easy to get across. She didn't really manage it and didn't seem as confident as I'd expected. There wasn't that communication that it needed either. If she didn't have a massive unique backing then she'd be very much at risk but she'll probably survive. She'll definitely have to up her game if she does.

Scotty ♪10 ☼8½
Played it very safe with a good ol' Country song. An unchallenging number with notes that I reckon even I could manage to get right. All good stuff but he'll need to do more than this as the weeks go by. He's always been a potential winner by virtue of the huge Country vote and his clear experience and talent but I just don't see that special something I want a winner to show.

Naima ♪6 ☼7½
Great choice for her and really good first glimpse of what this girl can do. I hadn't expected much of her and she was favourite to exit first. If the voters like the more up-to-date stuff then she gets the 21st Century vote this week. The question is how big is it? Nice to see someone a bit different and having some fun along with Casey.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

American Idol The Top 13

So we finally got to know who made it to what is a Top 13 after a good three shows where we did actually get to hear what each of the 24 could do when left to their own devices for more than a few bars.

My predictions were pretty damn good, I must say! For the boys, the public voted through Casey, Scotty, James, Jacob and Paul with Stefano added by the judges. The girls: Haley, Pia, Thia, Lauren A and Karen on public votes and Naima and Ashton from the judges.

Paul and Karen clearly got more public support that I'd expected, Paul for a pretty quirky performance too that I didn't expect to appeal much at all. Karen wasn't outstanding but does have this thing about appealing to the Latinos each week and will probably be doing Abba in Spanish in a few weeks. I'm a bit surprised that neither Tim, Brett or Jordan got to have another go as they all seemed to have a lot of support individually and had been pretty impressive in previous rounds. Anyway, now it's down to who gets to the last four. I am scratching my head trying to recall who won last year - I know Crystal was second but, and this just goes to prove something, I have no clue who beat her!

Betfair have the following odds at the time of writing:

Lauren 5.4
Casey 7
Scotty 8
Pia 8
Jacob 9.4
Paul 10
Thia 10
James 12
and the others between 30 and 55

Naima or Ashton being tipped as the first elimination. No real surprises so far, therefore.

I think it's between Lauren and Thia for the girls, maybe Haley if she chooses well. And between Casey and Stefano for the boys. Jacob's great but I can see the American public getting tired of the big old chap's meandering style after a while. The outsider is James who is damn talented but we've yet to see anything controlled and not every round will suit the screaming. Adam Lambert was brilliant and should have won in his year. I don't think James is as good nor does he have the intelligence or star quality but . .  who knows? This, as Ryan would say, is American Idol! Enjoy.

Friday, March 04, 2011

American Idol 10 12 minus 7 girls

Nerves dominated the girls' night out. All but a few really were nothing like as good as I'd expected. You could almost sense the relaxation amongst the boys as they could sit back for the night and have the added luxury of watching some good looking girls perform. During auditions, I could find plenty of candidates for the male Top 12 but struggled with the girls, at one point having only three I could generate much enthusiasm for. In the latter stages we began to see one or two who'd been hidden on MySpace previously or just hidden by the producers for effect perhaps, and I could add a couple more to the possibles list.

Ta-Tynisa  ♪ 4 ☼8½
Pretty and comfortable in the spotlight but unfortunately she was really 'pitchy' as Randy would say and, in fact, did say. I like this girl but that performance may not be good enough to see her through. She's an act that will have to depend on how well or not so well the others do.

Naima Adedapo ♪ 5½ ☼7
Now that's what I call 'being comfortable on the stage'! A highly original girl who puts her own stamp on everything she does. Again, some notes were way off which no-one  should be allowed to to Sumertime and I don't see that being that well received. She got there in the end which might help her.

Kendra Chantelle ♪ 1 ☼5
Someone I didn't really think should have made the Top 24. It's Impossible was the title and that sure was how I felt trying to find something to like in this performance other than watching her with the sound down. That was not good and she'll only deserve to get through on looks.

Rachel Zevita ♪8 ☼6
A superb stage presence, surprising as I hadn't seen that before in her. Unusual song, panned by the judges but I thought she'd shown real talent and the whole thing was professional and endearing. She may not get the votes from a traditional AI audience, though.

Karen Rodriguez ♪4 ☼7
I thought she was playing it safe with Hero and a little bit of Spanish too. The audience seemed to like it but I found it boring and, quite frankly, tuneless. She seems a popular girl but I just don't see her going far even if she does make the Top 5 girls. To give her the benefit of the doubt this week I'll hope it was all just nerves.

Lauren Turner ♪9 ☼6½
This was the first real performance that worked and made me feel as if the girl was entitled to a place in this competition. Well done. I would never have predicted that Lauren would be the first one I'd rate with a more than average score tonight.

Ashton Jones ♪6½ ☼7
Started well and with some confidence but the song dragged a bit. She ought to get through and perhaps she'll get some new promo pics sorted now.

Julie Zorilla ♪3 ☼8
This lovely girl brought a ray of sunshine to the stage but, oh dear, all the wrong notes came with her. This was one of my early favourites but something seriously went wrong tonight. So sad but she won't make one of those five places. Almost everyone seemed disappointed with the dark-haired Barbie.

Haley Reinhart ♪9 ☼8½
Love this girl more and more every time I see her. Another of the few that really did show original talent and actually sounded good. In fact, I'd so far as to say she was the outstanding act of the night - although I haven't heard Pia or Laura Alaina yet.

Thia Megia ♪10 ☼7
They certainly savd the best til later. Thia is a fabulous singer and so showed up the rest tonight. Very very good. She is through. A winner? I'm not sure. But we'll hear a lot more of her.

Lauren Alaina ♪8 ☼9
Bags of energy. Great. Complete contrast, in a good way, to Thia. Natural talent. She'll do well. She and Thia have just blown two more out of the competition in 5 miinutes!

Pia Toscano ♪7 ☼8½
I heard her performance as an mp3 yesterday. It was a lot better to watch her. I just wish she'd actually hit those big notes. Love her but need all fingers crossed to get her through. Another of my earlier favourites who really impressed in auditions and exuded what I'd hope would be real talent and professionalism that's needed to get to the final few. Another who, sadly, just didn't either choose or prepare well tonight and in the harsh cuts ould be one of the 7, not one of the 5.

My prediction? A tough one, this. I'll go for:
Haley | Thia | Lauren A | Pia | Lauren T and hope Rachel or Ta-Tynisa or Ashton get the wild card.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

American Idol 10 12 minus 7 boys

Ryan Seacrest kicks off with "only five will make it through" so this is some big cut for the 12 guys that have made it this far. The 'Voice' wasn't a patch on X Factor's Peter Dickson and I do hope they drop that bit of the intro or give our guy a call.

In front of what Ryan described as "700 screaming fans" were lined up 12 guys all in black, none looking as if they expected to get through never mind win, but Jacob stood out with his suit and tie, I suppose.

The preview I gave a few days ago was pretty accurate although I hadn't reckoned the running order producing such a poor start to what should be an exciting and challenging part of the whole thing - that 12 down to 5 with one 'Judges' choice' rescued is some barrier and they really should have been coming out with their best numbers firing. Some did, eventually, but we had to sit through quite a lot of disappointment until then.

Here's my take on how it went: I'm rating for ability to sing ♪ and for what I perceive as star quality ☼ this year.

Clint Jun Gumboa ♪6 ☼3
Superstitious. Drowned by the band for most of the song. Quite glad in a way as, whilst he gave it his all it wasn't enough to make me want to hear any more and I don't now see him as a long-term contender. Basically a bit annoying to look at and listen to too. Liked the Noddy shoes, though.

Jovany Barretto ♪8 ☼4½
Greatest Man Of Your Life. Boring start to a song I didn't recognise at all. It built as he went along and well-presented but nothing special.

Jordan Dorsey ♪7 ☼7½
OMG. The crowd love this guy. He'll need their support translated into phone votes, though, as this lousy number didn't work at all well for him. An instantly forgettable performance from someone I expected so much more from. He'll be lucky to stay on board but really ought to have a chance to show what he's really made of. Strange choice.

Tim Halperin ♪8 ☼6
Come on over. Another little known track. Boring. Expected so much, so much more from this early winner prediction. It was accurate but just didn't do anything and I am already, a few minutes later, trying to remember anything about what he did.

Brett Loewerstein ♪9 ☼7½
Light My Fire. At last, the programme comes awake if not alive. Great, distinctive voice but still pretty feeble compared to Jim Morrison. Disappointing as this number had the potential to make him a certainty but it was only half-taken. He may just have done enough and was the best so far and deserves something for that alone.

James Durbin ♪10 ☼8½
Something by Judas Priest. Great, confident performance of this little known hard rock number that really suited him well and stood out as clearly far better than the others that had gone before. Excellent, but will it appeal to the old folk sitting on their boarded verandahs in the mid-West? A definite for the Top 5, though.

Robbie Rosen ♪4 ☼4½
The Arms Of An Angel. Yet another odd number, a ballad to try and win some votes. Some dreadful notes as he warbled around and screwed what might have once been a fine song. He's no Idol, I'm afraid, although the audience do seem to like his 70s Latin Lover looks and the nose.

Scotty McCrirrick ♪10 ☼9
Baby Lock Them Doors - no, letters From Home this time! This was classic old country style and if they've had telephones and watched the programme he'd win and we needn't bother with the other programmes between now and May 16. Unfortunately they don't so he needs to carry on. A beautifullly presented performance and you just felt comfortable with him, even with the strange thing he does with his mouth. He may seem out of place but really is one of the best and will be around for a while. Personally, I think someone should give him a contract and we'll get on with the Idol thing with the others.

Stefano Langone ♪9 ☼7½
Just The Way You Are. Nice performance. Good singer and super personality. Starting off like Matt cardle and he won but I think Matt's a whole lot better. He beat his rival Jovany hands down. Good job. A winner? No.

Paul McDonald ♪ 7½ ☼5
Maggie May. A natural but quite odd performance. His unnaturally white teeth were quite disturbing at times. He jerked around and did his thing pretty well. His voice has a character of its own and he's quite different but I have real uncertainty about just where he fits in this type of show. Competent, definitely but odd, odd, odd.

Jacob Lusk ♪ 8½ ☼ 9
A House Is Not A Home. One of the stand-outs throughout the auditions. A fabulous performance yet again although I do find his wandering runs a bit annoying myself and he even reminds me of Anthony & The Johnsons at times! He's a clear star all right. is he Idol material? He'll go a long way and may upset some of the girl's chances in later weeks.

Casey Abrams ♪10 ☼8½
I Put A Spell On You. Brilliant song. Totally controlled yet wild performance that worked and worked on all levels. It's difficult for anyone to be original with so many versions but he managed that. A cool guy, possibly the best of the night and the contender that the girls need to get prepared to compete with in the final.

So, my prediction is:

James | Scotty | Casey | Jacob through
Jordan | Brett | Stefano battling for the 5th place and Judges' save.

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