Wednesday, February 18, 2009

American Idol - The First 12 of the Top 36 Perform

Tonight's show began with some banter between Ryan and the judges. Paula seemed drugged out again. She had been looking better to me during the earlier shows this season. I guess that shows the magic of editing - not much they can due to hide her glazed over expression and slurring on Live TV.

Jackie Tohn - "A Little Less Conversation"

OK, Jackie, you can mug and prance around the stage all you want but you'll never outdo Jon Peter Lewis on this song! Her outfit was not very flattering, and Paula stated it reminded her of Randy's "Journey pants." Pretty sure that's not a compliment. She gets points for being an oddball but her Karen O type performance is not going to win over the dialing fingers of many Idol viewers.

Ricky Braddy - "Song For You"

Wow, I was impressed with Ricky's voice. It was gorgeous and reminded me a little of George Michael. He really delivered on this difficult song. Too bad he's lacking in the looks and personality department and we don't have any impression of him since he's had no coverage on the previous shows. I fear this great performance, coming early in the night, won't be enough to carry him through.

Alexis Grace - "Never Loved a Man"

Alexis is cute as a button, but I feel she is trying too hard to get "the look" the judges want her to have. She is coming off like a cross between Nikki McKibben and Amy Winehouse and Gwen Stefani. This was definitely a good performance although I didn't feel she was really feelin' the song, and I was less enthused than the judges who slobbered all over her. Simon delivered the coveted comparison to Kelly Clarkson that will no doubt have her sailing through to the next round.

Brent Keith - "Hicktown"

Brent is cute, but this was pretty standard country fare and unlikely to help him stand out. The judges felt he didn't showcase his range. He also perhaps studied with Chikezie since he too talked back to the judges too much, which is never appealing.

Stevie Wright - "You Belong With Me"

Aww, poor Stevie. I was rooting for her. I think she has a good vibe. But this teenybopper song did nothing for her. It was a very generic song and she struggled with it and seemed nervous. Maybe she has enough teen fans to carry her through, but I'm gonna doubt it. I'm sending her a virtual hug.

Anoop Desai - "Angel of Mine"

Ahh, Anoop. I dig this guy. He's handsome in a gawky way and oh-so-likable. However, this was a bizarre song choice. The chorus basically reduced him to a backup singer harmonizing type role, and it seemed awkward. He was also guilty of talking back to the judges. He's definitely popular but this bad song choice may keep him out of tonight's top 3.

Casey Carlson - "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic"

Casey really seemed to be trying too hard. I didn't expect to bring up Nikki McKibben twice in this blog post, but Casey's winking and face pulling certainly recall the cheesiness of Nikki. She was all over the place on this one and the song was just way bigger than her, as the judges all pointed out. That being said, she's freakin' beautiful, and thus she may get a pass.

Michael Sarver - "I Don't Wanna Be"

Hmm, not sure about this one. Michael is one of my favorites. He's got that Matt Rogers / Sundance Head big cuddly bear appeal. However, this song didn't really suit him, and he looked kind of silly trying to dance. Also, this song was delivered by Bo Bice in one of the all-time great Idol performances, so that is a hard thing to live up to. Still, Michael proved he can sing, and he has a ton of likability, so I predict he will be in the top three. Possible note of concern: his mother's extremly long hair and long skirt made her look like a member of the "Big Love" polygamy cult, but they're probably just Pentecostal.

Ann Marie Boskovich - "Natural Woman"

She's an attractive girl but this performance was shouty and boring to me. Once again, a bad song choice. These kids are overreaching by taking on icons. It smacks of desperation.

Stephen Fowler - "Rock With You"

I really objected to this guy being in the Top 36 after his complete meltdown in the solo audition where he forgot his words and stalked away from his piano. He blew his second chance here, fumbling around the notes on this MJ classic. He did hit an impressive high note, but the song choice was just so very, very wrong. I felt kind of bad for him that his wife didn't come support him in the studio and he had no other family or friends there. But maybe they all told him he was crazy to sing Michael Jackson.

Tatiana Del Toro - "I'm Saving All My Love For You"

Only Tatiana could make this song sound like the anthem of a stalker, with her creepy intensity. She did tone it down a bit but a few hysterical giggles came out during her post-song interview. She also came off very defensive, stating that her friends said her Hollywood Week behavior was very uncharacteristic. The girl can sing, and she handled this song okay, and obviously it ain't easy to sing Whitney. However her personality is so grating that I can only imagine her getting through to the next round by "Vote for the Worst" efforts.

Danny Gokey - "Hero"

Ahh, Danny - cute, likable, good singer, and touching backstory. No wonder the Idol producers love him so much that they let him sing last and the judges (other than Simon) fell all over themselves praising him. Let's just give him the golden ticket to the Top 12 right now, shall we? Sarcasm aside, Danny did turn in a very good performance. He's like a mix of Joe Cocker and Eliot Yamin and I love the soulful gravel in his voice. He took on a very tough song and, unlike many of tonight's puffed-up contestants, he made the song his bitch.

Predictions

Top Boy - Danny Gokey
Top Girl - Alexis Grace
Third Top Finisher - Michael Sarver

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