Friday, March 16, 2012

American Idol 11: Top 12/11

This group is SO strong, a weak performance of a front runner could actually be quite dangerous. There were no major train wrecks and there were a couple of pretty stunning performances. I, personally, think that this group is just FANTASTIC. Any other cast in the past 10 seasons would have had a very tough time being decent with the songs they got the first two weeks. So much talent. So much diversity.

Also, the judges took their job seriously this year, which I like. True, I don't always agree with them, but at least there's a reason for the audience and the contestants to listen to what they have to say. Oh, and to see Randy Jackson act like a real, grownup person with experience in the music business, for the first time in 11 seasons: Priceless! Haha.

As for Jermaine Jones story, I couldn't care less. He shouldn't even deserve to be in this mix of strong group of finalists. That said, I thought the show handled it well and that's all I'm going to say.

Anyway, here we go!

DISCLAIMER: I am no expert, but this is my opinion - to each his own - and yours will be in the comments below! Haha. 

11. Shannon Magrane
One Sweet Day
Sure, her take on this Mariah Carey song was so much better than her rendition of I Have Nothing from last week, but there was NOTHING remarkable about the performance aside from her sequin hot shorts. Haha. She sounded decent for the most part, but it felt mostly tentative, boring and I felt like she was trying way too hard. I don't know. Shannon, to me, was all bland wholesome empty yelling. She was totally outclassed by the rest of the contestants. 5/10

10. Heejun Han
Right Here Waiting For You
Here's the thing, I LOVE that little rasp in Heejun's voice, but this song - aside from the fact that it was a little drab - showed all his vocal flaws from his poor breath control, diction issues and he went off key in spots. His vocals were a little too breathy for my liking and the dynamics, vocally, were uninteresting. I thought he connected with the material quite impressively though, but was that enough? I don't think so. 6/10

09. DeAndre Brackensick
Endless Love
I have to thank Jimmy for making DeAndre sing this song! Seriously? You suck, Jimmy Iovine!! No, I don't think the Lion King theme song would work for him either, but at least give him a better material than this. The song was just way too old for the young Brackensick and I was left staring at a pretty young man that sounded pretty - albeit a little heavy on the vibrato - and that's about it. Given the situation, DeAndre handled it quite well, but I felt like this performance somehow ruined the momentum he got to establish last week. 6.5/10

08. Erika Van Pelt
Somehow, the performance felt like it was almost there, but not quite. I still enjoyed Erika's smoky alto, but the arrangement was awkward. I didn't think that the "cool break", which Jimmy suggested, actually worked in her favor because she was too far off the melody after that, which made her timing and rhythm a little behind. Plus, this wasn't a very dynamic performance that may somehow be a little forgettable than usual. 7/10

07. Skylar Laine
Love Sneakin' Up On You
Hmm. This was possibly my least favorite performance of her yet. While I did like the fact that she handled the mentor surprisingly well especially when they were pushing her to change the song, I somehow felt like the performance didn't go anywhere. I felt like the performance was saved purely on stage presence because while the vocals were good, it wasn't as on point as her previous performances. 7/10

06. Colton Dixon
Broken Heart
You know what, I begrudgingly liked Colton' performance. Yes, he still sounded a little whiny in parts and there were moments where his vocals went shaky, but this was a pretty smart and possibly the most inspired song choice of the night. It wasn’t well known, which was dangerous, but the song itself was a lot of fun! I thought he sounded really strong at the beginning, but the trouble started when the band came in stronger than his actual vocals. His voice didn't ramp up to match the band, and it made him sound muddled in the second half. But yeah, this was a pleasant suprise. 7.5/10

05. Jessica Sanchez
Turn The Beat Around
I knew it! The judges will be overly critical of Jessica after last week. I agree, this wasn't at par with her previous vocal performances as her runs and vibrato didn't fit the tempo and the punchy beat of the song, but at least Jessica wasn't afraid to go outside of the "ballad" box the judges wanted her to do. That took some serious courage to come out and try a whole different type of performance. I thought she showed versatility, the vocal dynamics were quite stellar and her stage presence - though a little mechanical at times - seemed like she was doing this for years. Personally, I enjoyed the fact that she dug into the melody and sacrificed a little bit of smoothness and perfect pitch here and there for the sake of bringing some outstanding energy to that stage. Oh, and I loved that she didn't whip out the Elise Testone b*tchface from last week when she got criticized. 8/10

04. Elise Testone
Let's Stay Together
Redemption arc, anyone? Elise obviously redeemed herself after last week's underwhelming performance. I thought the arrangement at the top of the song was great, though I hope she kept it more of that melody instead, and her vocals were spot on. I mostly liked her phrasing and there's something about her tone that made her interpretation a little more interesting than usual. Oh, and that plastic smile plastered across her face after her performance was priceless. Haha. 8/10

03. Hollie Cavanagh
Power Of Love
While I would like to see her change things up a little bit - just to show more variety other than those big ballads - I just can't get mad at her for giving another stellar vocal performance. It wasn't perfect as I thought she struggled hitting some notes, but she sang it beautifully. I love her tone and she performed this Celine Dion song effortlessly. Plus, she actually looked quite confident and there's some character and swag to her performance this week. Good job! 8.5/10 

02. Phillip Phillips
Hard To Handle
Yes, Phillip is charming and quite a musician, but I just can't imagine another white guy winner! I can't. To be fair though, I thought he nailed this performance. I mean, considering the fact that he just had a kidney stone removed - I can't believe I just typed that - this was fabulous. He didn't have his guitar, which I initially thought was becoming his crutch, he was smart not to change the song a whole lot and his vocals were actually very solid. It was strange though to see the exact same staging for him from last week. Haha. 8.5/10

01. Joshua Ledet
When A Man Loves A Woman
He just put all those b*tches to shame! Haha. I rolled my eyes when I heard of his song choice as I found it to be a bit overdone, but Joshua just gave the best version yet - at least to me. He felt every note he sang, showed great dynamics in his vocals and there's a certain energy that radiated through his body as I sat and watched the whole performance in awe. Also, I'm usually not a fan of singers who get all cray cray at the end of a song like that, but I didn't really mind it with Joshua. I disagree that this was the best performance on American Idol EVER, but it might be right up there with some of the greats. 9/10


Who should go? 
Shannon Magrane

Who will go?
Shannon Magrane


Kani said...

Thanks a lot for your effort to write this review! :)

I also agree with you that this group is so GREAT, and I love almost all of them. And we can see clearly that Shannon is so lost among those talented. I don't like her and I hope that she won't appear in American Idol Summer Tour!

Joshua did so great. I also enjoyed Colton & Hollie's performances!

And Jimmy, you ruined Deandre with your opinion! T/T

Anonymous said...

I personally thought they were over-critical with Jessica while Skylar, Hollie, and even Shannon seemed to went on a free pass. Anyways, I'm predicting Erika will get the boot, unfortunately.

KATE said...

Love your review <3.
But I'd like to switch Elise's to Phillip's. I think she did so great! :)

Anonymous said...

i hope no one will get cut.. And i hope all of them will go on tour! I so love this batch.. ;p

BENJ (bensquirtle -- youtube) said...

thanks for this review DAM.. youre so great.. and btw.. THANKS SO MUCH... you gave me an idea how to create collage of pics so that i can post my own review on my fb page.. hehe.. you're my idol.. =) and please post the studio versions.. dying to put it in my ipod..



SHANNON or ERIKA will go.. i hope not heejun or deandre..

Sendo said...

shannon shouldn't be on the show period.

elise...go girl! haha

Sendo said...

by the way...we all love heejun...his studio version of right her just lovely..just like his studio version of all is fair in smooth as silk...about his performance...struggling...hope he's not going home bukas :0 nyaha

X said...

I see you drank the Joshua kool-aid, too. I don't get it myself. Honestly, I didn't like it much at all. WAY too churchy for my tastes.
Despite not liking it (more about style than ability), I can still say it was sung well (just not as great as everyone is making it out to be)

I like it when the judges actually give feedback and don't just spout out crap that makes no sense (Randy and Steven are especially guilty of this)... however, they really need to be consistent.

Jessica was fantastic, and didn't deserved the harsh criticisms that the judges gave her. I would put her at #2 for the night.

Shannon... wasn't horrible, but wasn't as good as the judges made her out to be. This goes for Elise as well. She was good (or at least good for her... I'm not a fan). However, the judges made her out to be super duper awesome... which she was far from.

This kind of inconsistencies are not fair to the contestants.

My rankings go something like:
11. Shannon
10. DeAndre
9. Elise
8. Heejun
7. Erika
6. Skylar
5. Joshua
4. Phillip
3. Colton
2. Jessica
1. Hollie

Despite not originally liking Colton (and not even understanding why he made it into the top 24), he's starting to grow on me.

After watching the results show, the bottom 3 turned out how I expected (not really how I wanted, but how I expected) and the contestant getting the boot was more or less a given to most people I think.

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