Friday, March 13, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 12

It’s American Idol 14’s Top 12 and it's terrible! What the hell do I do now when there's about eleven (11) good contestants this season? Yes, they have flaws - just like tonight - but this group has already proven that every single one of them can, in one way or another, produce some showstopping performances.

I’m about to jump to my rankings, but I’d like to point out three new universal truths for this season of American Idol.
- The new American Idol format may lead to a couple of unstable performances. These kids should calm down.
- Jennifer Lopez is officially a very strong judge
- Daniel Seavey is the Tim Urban/Sanjaya Malakar/Lazaro Arbos of this season.

On to the show!

12. Daniel Seavey
Straight Up
He's singing Straight Up for the third time this season. Why? Quite frankly, Daniel started out sounding great - probably the best I've heard him sing - and then the second half came and everything went straight to hell. He missed his cue, he flubbed his lyrics, his pitch went all over the place, and he suddenly defied all music theory. He's a talented little kid, but he's just not ready for this. 3

11. Qaasim Middleton
Sir Duke
Look, Qaasim is clearly a natural performer and has no problem appearing confident in front of a large audience. Unfortunately, this was another explosion of energy with no regard to the actual vocals. There were flat notes littered throughout the performance, the unnecessary adlibs were, well, unnecessary, and the mumbling effect on his lower register during the quick paced verses sounded terrible. I did, however, like how he started things slow with just a slightly more controlled vocals, but that lasted faster than my last relationship. Haha. 4

10. Sarina-Joi Crowe
Love Runs Out
Oh, boy. How the mighty have fallen! This was a huge misstep for Sarina-Joi and I'm not sure how to deal with it. She's obviously a very strong vocalist, but Love Runs Out was her worst performance yet. Heck, Lovey James' version two weeks ago was stronger than this one. She came in at the wrong key, kind of lost her focus, and the entire performance just melted away. She couldn't recover from that error and it went from turning something that was poised to be a slam dunk to something very uncomfortable. She's in big trouble. Big. Trouble. 4.5

09. Nick Fradiani
In Your Eyes
Again, this was just straight down the middle for me. The arrangement was subtle, but not different enough to be a true game changer, and there were points in this song that I was completely drawn in and others that I wasn't that interested. I don't know. His vocals were impressively on point, however, I wished the song had gone somewhere instead of lulling me to sleep. 7

08. Adanna Duru
You And I
I must admit, I really pegged Adanna to be a quick kill in the early rounds because there's not much going on with her, but she's proved her worth throughout the competition. Her You And I version wasn't perfect vocally - she needs to work on her vocal control. stat. - but it was still very entertaining, raw, unbridled, and a tad rebellious. She's looked very comfortable working that stage and did not look fake doing so. Adanna is a surprise. Simple as that. 7

07. Maddie Walker
Suitcase was the perfect song to showcase exactly where Maddie can prosper on this program. She needs to market herself as the lone country singer left and lock on to a solid country voting block. Her voice was perfect for this genre. Here's Maddie's huge problem: she has absolutely no charisma or performance ability. The way she performed was so hesitant and lacked any real boldness. So, throughout the next few weeks she will have to consistently improve on this front as she can really be a contender. 7

06. Jax
I Wanna Hold Your Hand
This had all the makings of a great American Idol moment, but the decision to leave the piano and turn the song into something a lot more edgy than it should be doomed it. The entire first minute of the song was beyond lovely. It felt true and connected and I was completely drawn in, but then the raucous band came in ruined everything. Such a shame. This was so close to being a stellar performance, and it is incredibly frustrating to see it ruined by a bad decision with the arrangement. Sigh. 7.5

05. Quentin Alexander
Between the passion and intensity, there's something that happens when I watch Quentin perform. He's so grounded and deeply rooted to his artistry that it's weird to think he's even on this show. But seriously, the rise and fall of his voice, the unexpected and completely organic choices he made with the melody, and how he made the song his own but still maintaining a solid groove - all of it was fantastic. True, his vocals weren't spot on, but I somehow didn't mind. 8 

04. Tyanna Jones
Tyanna sang Wings and showed us, once again, that she was a born performer and seemed quite ready to take the next step and become a star. Her voice sounded awesome with great vocal phrasing choices and good modulation, and her pitch rarely wavered. There was attitude and sass, and she managed to bring a fabulous young vibe to the whole proceedings. 8

03. Rayvon Owen
Wide Awake
Absolutely. Gorgeous. Rayvon painted such a beautiful picture with Wide Awake that I think I actually ended up enjoying it even more than Katy Perry's version. The subtle changes, the nuances, and the interesting tone were made all the more powerful by the amazing dynamic ending of the song. I seriously can't help but smile when I listen to Rayvon. Really. 8.5

02. Joey Cook
King of Spain
This was a brilliant choice for her voice. King of Spain left a lot of room for creative interpretation, and Joey used that to her advantage. She nailed every note square on the jaw, how she added nice little flourishes to the melody line was terrific, and despite being a little crazy, she managed to calm down and deliver something a lot more put together than her previous performances. Solidly awesome. 8.5

01. Clark Beckham
It's A Man's Man's World
True, Clark needs to do something more younger than our grandpa's grandpa, but what's there to complain when I get this? After the performance was over, I was breathless. This was an outstanding vocal performance and the best he's ever sounded since The House of Blues round as this showcased his insane vocal instrument. Yes, I'm talking about his range. And yet, even with all of that strength, his runs were still full of subtle choices, and his tone effortlessly unique. Oh, and can I throw also the fact that he's looking better than ever. 9

Daniel Seavey

Sarina-Joi Crowe


Anonymous said...

You nailed it!!! Sarina's a good singer, just not that great. Though I love to see her in a few more weeks. Oh well, this is AI, and one off-key performance can send you packing...

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