Thursday, February 20, 2014

American Idol 13: Top 10 Boys (Rush Week)

How did the boys do tonight? Actually, I thought this was a decent first live show for the guys. Yes, there were some missteps here and there, but we finally had a chance to see which contestants were smart and which ones believed their own hype. Remember: nothing is written in stone. I went into tonight KNOWING who was going to make it to the finals, but I'm not so sure anymore after tonight.

Oh, and one more thing I didn't mention yesterday, I thought the stage and the judges looked amazing; probably the best it has ever looked. The design crew deserves a serious raise for making this studio look brand new year after year. In fact, everything looked really sharp and new, clearly there is a concentrated effort afoot to make the show seem fresher.

On with the show!

10. Emmanuel Zidor
Best Of My Love
What was that? Somehow, I felt violated on several levels. Haha. While the song choice was very spirited for Emmanuel, the vocals just weren’t present - well, it was but it was all over the place. I don't know why the judges felt the need to make him perform, when there were a couple of better vocalists left in the cold. 4

09. George Lovett
This was a bold song choice from George, and while it did slightly show a very current side of the young man, it also showed a lot of weak vocal habits. Not sure if it was nerves, but he hit a good amount of clunky notes throughout his performance. Yes, there were a couple of nice flashes of vocal ability, but nothing that made me want to root for him to move on in the competition. 5

08. CJ Harris
I get it. His delivery of the song was incredibly impassioned and he has this interesting soulful tone, but CJ's vocals sounded weak and lazy. So while there were some shining moments during the whole number, they were vastly overshadowed by some pretty deafening cracks in his voice, which sounded unpleasant to me. 5.5

07. Spencer Lloyd
Love Don't Die
This was a savvy performance, and while Spencer obviously isn't the best male singer this season, he has somehow locked down a particular style. I'm not sure if this specific performance will garner him enough support to make it to the next round as the song and production ate him alive, but America has a tendency to let mediocre performances sneak into the finals. So yeah, you’re still in this thing. Haha. 5.5

06. Malcolm Allen
Coming From Where I'm From
This was actually a good choice for Malcolm as this was close to the type of music he would be trying to sell after the show. Malcolm, unfortunately, was swallowed up by his nerves, and his shaky vocals despite a rich lovely tone, which slightly made his performance a bit lackluster. I seriously don't see him getting many votes after this showing, and that's sad because Malcolm has such potential. 6

05. Dexter Roberts
This Old Boy
The number was bright, upbeat, and authentic, but this was way too easy. I don't want to denigrate, because this was probably a good strategic choice, but vocally this song was incredibly simple and it almost came off as lazy. I’m sure he'll lock down a lot of country votes or something, but I don't see an inner strength in Dexter that will make him a contender for the title. 6.5

04. Caleb Johnson
Stay With Me
This was a welcome addition to the evening's performances and it felt nice to have a little rock thrown into the mix. It was powerful yet a tad restrained that his usual shouting mess especially when he was trying to go way over to top to leave an impression. Here, we saw a glimpse of what he can do when he limits himself. Yes, everything clicked: stage presence, the voice, the dynamics. It all fit that cheesy mold he's trying to envelop. Haha. 7

03. Ben Briley
Ben strolled onto the stage, wearing an orange bow tie the size of Sam Woolf's head, to sing Soulshine. There’s a part of me that appreciates Ben because he's an ultimate under dog. He's a dark horse contestant, and with this performance, we were treated to a solid, well-sung song that came across as authentic. It was rich and genuine, and it left a mark. The song was perfect for his voice, and if he can manage to find a personality, he might be able to do some damage in this competition. 7

02. Alex Preston
I admit, Phillip Phillip's version was SO MUCH better than this, but Alex still ripped apart Volcano in a pretty awesome blaze of glory. The soulful tone, the fiery intensity, the constant commitment to keep himself in that special "place" where he could connect with the song: it was all well done. I think I can say that whether or not he is voted in tomorrow, he will definitely be chosen as a wild card. 7.5

01. Sam Woolf
Future American Idol Season 13 Winner, Sam Woolf, just nailed Babylon. The way I see it, people will have a very hard time knocking him out of this thing. He’ll have the votes from Grandmas, teenage girls, and casual viewers pretty much locked up. The other major factor? Out of all of the guys tonight, Sam was the only contestant I saw who would be ready to go into the studio tomorrow and make a record and then go out and promote it. The way he emotes and connects with the audience is another ability he seems to have in spades and it really enamors him to viewers at home. The performance wasn't flawless, but there's no denying that he's a very powerful contestant. 7.5


Sam Woolf
Alex Preston
Ben Briley
Caleb Johnson
Dexter Roberts

Sam Woolf
Alex Preston
Ben Briley
Spencer Lloyd
CJ Harris


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