Thursday, April 2, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 8

Wow. Tonight was quite amazing! I need a moment to catch my breath. This was easily the best episode of the live rounds this season, and it's not just because the contestants seem to have finally found their groove or that THE original American Idol came back to mentor or even the launch of Twitter save, but because America finally came to their senses and sent the kid back to school.

Now, we're left with eight interesting contestants and this might be the start of the actual competition. True, we still have Qaasim - he's vocally inferior than the rest - but again, he's terrific performer.

On with the show!

08. Qaasim Middleton
Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)
This is starting to get tragic. Sigh. Vocally, Qaasim isn't in the same league as anyone on this show. There were flat notes littered throughout every line of every verse, his transitions were rough, and he has bad diction. It's time, America. You managed to eliminate the kid, now it's time to let this poor guy go home. 4

07. Nick Fradiani
Catch My Breath
Somehow, Catch My Breath once again landed Nick in the middle of the pack - almost bottom actually. He seems to have only two gears: good and mediocre. Well, that's better than dropping stinker after stinker onto the American Idol stage every week, but this was completely uneventful that I was tempted to take a nap. I knew exactly how this performance would go because I've seen him do it several times already. Good vocals, nothing special. 7

06. Tyanna Jones
Mr. Know It All
This was a very well done performance. I love Tyanna because she takes the lyrics of each song she is given and turns them into a real story that I want to be engaged with. Vocally, the choruses were beautiful and confident, and how she managed to keep her vocals on point with a lot words during the verses were pretty impressive. The only problem? She didn't stand out as the rest of her competitors. 7.5

05. Quentin Alexander
Dark Side
Yes, there were a few moments in the number where his support wavered and his lack of technique trampled some of the notes, but when it soared I was left looking at a phoenix rising from the ashes. Quentin's voice always hits me hard, and this song and its arrangement was a good match to his haunting tone. The mood was intoxicating, and the performance was just mesmerizing. 8

04. Jax
Beautiful Disaster
Her voice sounded like butter through each verse, and the subtle quirks she added created a performance that was miles better than some of her previous ones. Jax has been getting more and more control over her instrument, and it's fascinating to watch. The arrangement was gorgeous, her tone was effortlessly unique, and this was possibly one of her best lyrical interpretations we've seen in the past few weeks. 8

03. Clark Beckham
The Trouble With Love Is
While I thought he gave one of the best vocal performances of the night, this was a bit of a let down for me for Clark's standards. Sure, I love to see him expanding out his comfort zone, and he's certainly in a comfortable groove in the competition, but it's starting to feel a bit safe. That's not to say this was terrible because the performance was actually pretty riveting especially when he opened up towards the end, but the first part felt like he was singing at me instead of to me. 8.5

02. Joey Cook
Miss Independent
Welcome back, Joey Cook! I really thought I'll lose you this week. This was a fantastic comeback after the mess that was Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. That was fun and all, but she put the quirk too thick that it came off like a joke. Miss Independent, on the other hand, was like the sister of Fancy. It was a stellar vocal performance paired with intricate phrasing and undeniable connection with the song. I'm not sure what Harry was whining about, but I digress. 8.5

01. Rayon Owen
Since U Been Gone
Not going to lie, I had some serious doubt that this will be good as the end result of his Hollywood week performance of the same song was rough. Bu then, he came out and sang a really beautiful rendition of Since U Been Gone and this string-driven arrangement made me sit up and take notice. He was caressing each sentence and each phrase tenderly. He allowed himself the vulnerability to back off a note or two, allow a few vocal cracks, and create an honesty that some of his performances often lack. This was really good. 8.5


Daniel Seavey
Last week's performance was a slight improvement from the usual but that bar was so low you could shuffle your feet forward and still clear it. His performance of Breakaway, however, was probably one of his worst to date. I don't know. I was hoping he'd go out on a high, but that's too much to ask, I guess. I must say though: I nailed it! 2

Qaasim Middleton

Qaasim Middleton


David Dong said...

I think your being extremely generous with Daniel, a 2. If ever a negative score is needed its now. Not only did he pick one of her hardest songs he picked the one that completely didn't compliment his voice. Jax FTW!

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