Friday, April 17, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 6


I have seen ALL episodes of American Idol since Season 3, and yet, this was the first time I felt so uncomfortable watching the show. EVER. Yes, I'm talking about Joey Cook's flower head piece. Haha. I kid. But seriously, that Harry Connick Jr-Quentin Alexander smack down was both strange and compelling live television. I don't want to witness anything like that again on American Idol, but it made the show a lot more unpredictable. Oh, and as for the performances? There were A LOT and I felt exhausted after sometime, but I digress.

Disclaimer: my rankings were so close. I agonized about my decision, and I'm not even sure if I'm right about them now.  Haha.

On with the show!

12. Jax
Beat It
To be perfectly honest, I think that Jax had one of the smartest song choices of the night. As much as the performance felt below average, everyone knows Beat It and people love to vote for songs they are comfortable with. It was fun, infectious, and of course, that epic battle with a wind machine. That said, as a performance, the song is just not made for singing competitions. 6

11. Tyanna Jones
Why Do Fools Fall In Love
This was a fun, youthful vocal that allowed Tyanna to show her undeniable charisma, but Why Do Fools Fall In Love sounded a little lightweight especially at this stage of the competition. Her vocals were solid - especially how she would switch to her head voice - but it also lacked a certain degree of creativity. It came off as a good karaoke performance and nothing more. 6.5

10. Quentin Alexander
The Sound Of Silence
Yes, The Sound Of Silence was yet another dark and intense yet mesmerizing performance fro Quentin, but it was also, again, rough vocally. He fell off his pitch multiple times in the verses and when he reached the for his higher register he stopped supporting his vocals. The song was simple, but it felt all over the place. What carried this performance a notch higher than the other two was his commitment to the words and his interpretation, but this was technically lacking. 6.5

9. Jax
Piece Of My Heart
While Piece Of My Heart made Jax showcase loads of style and flair to her performance, there was something about it that didn't feel right. Was it her presentation that came off as trying way too hard or maybe it was the overdone song choice? I don't know. Good thing, the gritty flavor of her vocals were a nice surprise and the way she phrased the song was pretty interesting. I would've liked a more inspired song choice than this one. 7

7. Tyanna Jones
Proud Mary
Again, another solid uptempo performance from Tyanna. It had a nice groove, her timing was impeccable, her vocals were strong, and her stage presence was remarkable. My only problem with it was that the slowed down verses were too long that just when it was starting to peak, it just ended. The arrangement didn't really allow her to build up to something more substantial. 7

8. Nick Fradiani
American Girl
I was hoping the performance had a bit more dynamics, but taken as a whole, this was a solid solo performance from Nick. There's urgency to his delivery that's pretty compelling to watch, his vocals were on point, and this just proved how radio ready he sounds. He's getting there. I can sense it. 7.5

6. Rayvon Owen
Long Train Running
Rayvon's rendition of Long Train Running was a cheese-filed delight and I absolutely enjoyed it. Haha. His vocals were strong and consistent, disregarding some minor slip ups here and there, the performance was well-crafted, and the back up singers/dancers were really complementing Rayvon from beginning to end. Possibly one of the more entertaining performances of him to date. 7.5

5. Clark Beckham
Moon River
Was Clark's Moon River perfect? Absolutely not, but there was drama, strong vocal elements, enough slivers of light, enough cracks in his emotional armor that had me leaning forward and wanting to hear more. How he pulled back from his usual vocal fireworks was unexpected, and his interpretation was sweet, sensitive, and precise. Short story? It was beautiful and the arrangement was classy and subtle. 7.5

4. Quentin Alexander
Are You Gonna Go My Way
Well, Quentin just turned a supposedly throwaway number into a legitimate argument for why he should last a little longer in the competition. He connected with the audience, the cameras, the band, and the judge. His stage presence was infectious. Sure, his pitch was still pretty much inconsistent, especially towards the end, but it wasn't as obvious as his second performance. This was a pretty solid upbeat number and a good departure from his usual moody and midtempo performances. 7.5

3. Clark Beckham
This was indeed a strong blend of all of Clark's talents. The soulful wails, the fiery intensity, the constant commitment to keep himself in that special place where he could connect with the song; it was all so well done. The control and grace in his voice made this song sound slightly new - given that this song has been covered a million times - and his musicality was front and center here. 8

2. Rayvon Owen
Always On My Mind
Rayvon is back with a vengeance. One of the things I loved about him was his ability to drive himself forward. He pushed himself even harder this week, and delivered an almost flawless vocal on Always On My Mind. The purity in his vocals was just impressive. Tonight was an astounding example of how great a ballad can sound when it's prepared with thought and had a real emotional weight. 8.5

1. Nick Fradiani
Only The Good Die Young
Nick hasn't delivered any showstopping performances that immediately puts him in a strong position to reach the Top 5. He's been close, but has always come up short. Until now. I'm not going to hand him "best vocal of the night" - that would go to Rayvon - but I gave him massive points for creating a very lovely rendition of the track. Only The Good Die Young was a rousing success and it was a strong step out of the midpack position. 8.5


Joey Cook
My Funny Valentine
This was an interesting song choice for Joey Cook. My Funny Valentine did allow her to showcase her versatility and while I thought she overreached some of her vocal choice, this was a lovely and grounded performance. It was just about telling a story and Joey succeeded. 7.5

Joey Cook
Somebody To Love
There was something just so inherently quirky about this performance and I found myself really getting into it and to that off kilter vibe that was radiating from the incredible Joey Cook. It was a fitting swan song for her and I will miss her terribly. 7.5


Quentin Alexander


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