Friday, May 1, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 4

WHOA. Did Clark Beckham just lose his frontrunner status? I may have believed since Top 24 that Mr. Beckham will eventually win the title of American Idol without even trying that much, but after tonight, I'm more convinced that I'm dead wrong.

Say what you want about Season 14, but despite the underwhelming performance and odd song choices, this has to be one of the more unpredictable seasons in years. We lost the best vocalist in Top 12, we had quirky and polarizing performers lasting longer than usual, we eliminated the weakest performers earlier than usual, we had a verbal smackdown between a contestant and a judge, and now an intense debate between a frontrunner and the in-house mentor.

I seriously just sad on my chair and stared. I looked around the room to see if someone was playing a trick on me because I felt like I was in a twilight zone. Not sure if that was all just to set up a competition environment in the next couple of weeks as they desperately needed a competitor so Clark Beckham wouldn’t run away with it and they were very lucky that Clark gave them the ammunition to use and they have Nick Fradiani and Jax to step up and fill that plateau. It's a complicated scenario, but an exciting one.

On with the show!


04. Clark Beckham
Living For The City
Nothing about this performance felt inspired. On paper, Living For The City would've played to Clark's strength as a soulful performer, but it came off too similar to his other performances and he overreached by doing too much. The vocals sounded good towards the second half of the song when he finally found some passion, but other than that? Nada. It's not terrible - in fact, it's a pretty adequate performance - but nothing I could really jump out of my chair and get excited about. 6

03. Rayvon Owen
Need You Now
Rayon snag a very nice take on Need You Now and managed to stay true to himself while at the same time succeeding with the genre of his chosen song. He's just so comfortable with a ballad that he thrives on it. His vocals were consistent, but my one big point of criticism would be for him to watch his breath support. Some of the lower notes were falling off the table. Other than that. Good effort. 6.5

02. Jax
Empire State of Mind
The vocal was honest and simple, but also one of the more mature and well-rounded performances of the evening. Her phrasing was exquisite and she really seemed to latch on to the beauty of the verses and took her time. The first half was absolutely brilliant, but then I had to take off points because, she got up of the freaking piano and tried to work the stage. Why? She was doing so well, but once again, just missed being great. 7.5

01. Nick Fradiani
Bright Lights
Nick sounded so incredibly current and accessible with this performance. It was focused, his vocals were solid, there's  power and emotional connection to his delivery, and he just looked like a credible star. It sounded so right coming from Nick and really showed America what a success he could be if marketed by some competent producers. Bravo, Nick Fradiani. 8


04. Clark Beckham
Your Man
Quite frankly, Clark sticking up for his choices and staying true to his voice as a person in his artistry was appreciated. I wouldn't mind that it had some element of arrogance and stubborness had he nailed the performance and really proved to America that his instincts were right and Scott Borchetta's just trying to derail him. That would've been epic. Sadly, he was not able to do that. Clark sang "his own" version of Your Man and it had me pretty confused. His vocals were uneven, he didn't really connect with the song, and what was up with that arrangement? True, it's important to stick to one's true musical self, but make some strategic choices along the way. Indulgent. 6

03. Jax
She sang a stirring version of Human accompanied by some horrid back-up singers and a completely unnecessary fog machine that almost swallowed her up at the end of her performance. Haha. But seriously, this was emotional, dramatic - almost too much - and played to her strengths. There were plenty of moments when she sings where I admit that a few sharp notes come into the picture, but she sang it with such an unbridled intensity that I simply couldn't care less. 7.5

02. Rayvon Owen
This was a very impressive showing from a contestant I had pretty much left for dead. Rayvon sang Justin Bieber's song Believe and he sang it with such conviction and passion that I have to applaud him. No, his vocals weren't perfect as it began to crack towards the end - likely from emotions? - but this guy wants to go down swinging and he plans on landing a few more punches before his body hits the floor. 8

01. Nick Fradiani
What Hurts The Most
What a wonderful surprise! This was practically sung almost to perfection and it was powerful and there's intensity to his delivery. After the performance was over I was breathless. If Nick continues to build up steam and catch a few lucky breaks, he could seriously finish very strong even outlasting the perennial frontrunner Clark Beckham.


Tyanna Jones
Run The World (Girls)
Not sure if I had to review this as she was obviously emotional during this upbeat song (!!), but she did the best she could do with it. Her vocals and pitch were shaky, but I thought she handled the song surprisingly well. There's enough attitude, the opening part was spot on, and the rapid fire lyrics was all executed pretty well. I'm going to miss Tyanna. I guess, no more upbeat song from here. 6

Clark Beckham

Clark Beckham (!!)
(I hope I'm wrong though and he should really start to listen)


Anonymous said...

I seriously hope Clark is going home... that would make my day. I don't understand all the love for the guy. To me, he's an average (at best) singer. Hopefully, his attitude towards Scott Borchetta (and the Rascal Flatts guy) and his poor performance this week will lose him enough votes to send him home.

Now that Joey is gone (still bummed about that), I would love to see a Nick+Jax finale (with Jax winning).

Anonymous said...

I'm seeing Jax and Nick at the FINALS woohooo!

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