I find it more than a little bit scary that I find myself agreeing with Randy Jackson more often then not in this new season of American Idol.
Randy’s seems to be the guy to step up and deliver the bad news to a hopeful who didn’t deliver the goods. But you know–somebody’s got to do it. To Steven Tyler, everything and everyone is “beautiful,” and Jennifer Lopez seems to be in a constant state of “amazement.”
So far, I’m a little disappointed in this new judging panel. Forget about hurting people’s feelings, and deliver the truth.
The good news is, it seems clear that the season is not going to be either boring or a dud. There’s some major talent/personalities taking the big Idol stage, and I find myself thoroughly engaged throughout the show. When it comes right down to it, NOTHING else matters if the cast is a good one.
Twitter complaints about the TV sound mix finally brought Nigel Lythgoe out to address the concerns, “I’m getting frustrated with our sound!” tweeted Nigel, “I don’t know where it’s going wrong. The mix between voice and band is okay when it leaves the studio.” There have always been sound issues with Idol. Why is it that the band always seems to overpower the singers?
My favorites tonight were Kendra Chantelle and Lauren Turner. I feel bad for Rachel Zevita and Julie Zorrilla both are much better than their botched performances on the Idol stage tonight would leave you to believe, but the average Idol viewer isn’t going to know that. This sudden death set-up sure can be cruel.
Live blog, Photos and Videosafter the JUMP…
The judges enter! Jennifer is all SPARKLY tonight. She says the girls are special, supremely talented and beautiful inside and out. The girls are just as “explosive” as the guys. Randy says America has a chance to pick the “ultimate” top ten. When you vote, ask yourself “Is this the American Idol”. “It is a full moon coming on, I sensed a little nervous, but they got to sing like there is no tomorrow,” says Steven.
Here come the LADIES.
Ta-Tynisa Wilson – “Only Girl (In The World)” by Rihanna – 1-866-436-5701 – Underwhelming. She’s breathy, off-pitch, and a little manic. She’s not bringing anything new to this very current song. Oh girlfriend. You’re fodder, you needed to kill it tonight, and you did not. Steven says, “Beautiful way to open the show. You sang the song, and the song sang you.” “It’s good that your over now, and your the first one,” says Jennifer, “You started off shaky, and you brought it all the way home.” Randy says, “I differ from them. I thought it was just OK. You didn’t bring anything special to it. It paled in comparison to Rhianna’s version. Notes were sharp in the the chorus.” Aaaaand once again RANDY AND I SHARE A BRAIN. This is SCARING ME. – VIDEO
Naima Adedapo – “Summertime” – 1-866-436-5702 – Naima gets a little sit down with Ryan. She designed the bright orange dress she’s wearing tonight. Singing “Summertime” on the Idol stage is a very risky move. But, Naima’s version is very unlike Fantasia’s. It’s cool, jazzy and upbeat. I’m liking this more than I thought I would after reading the spoilers. She’s doin her own thing. Nice big note at the end. Jennifer says, “You bring color, you’re like an exotic flower in a rose garden. ” Randy says, “It was a little lounge acty…we saw someone annihilate this a few years ago [Fantasia]…I enjoyed the second half more than the first.” Steven says, “I take you personally, it was like early Ella Fitzgerald. It was beautiful. I love you a lot.” – VIDEO
Kendra Chantelle – “Impossible” by Christina Aguilera – 1-866-436-5703 – Wow. I wasn’t expecting Kendra to have such a supple, powerful voice. Nice phrasing, beautiful tone. She’s got a distinct style. She does it up jazzy. Good stuff. Randy says, “I love that vibrato, it reminds me of Lauryn Hill, I felt connected” Steven says, “You did it again, voice hot clothes hot style hot song.” Jennifer says, “You have heart. You fought your way into the Top 12. You belong here. We’re just scratching the surface with you. Amazing.” – VIDEO
Rachel Zevita – “Criminal” by Fiona Apple - 1-866-436-5704 – Rachel throws off a black cape to reveal a little black beaded dress. She’s singing “Criminal” like she’s in a supper club. It’s an interesting idea, but her vocals are OFF. I like the idea of this arrangement, but the execution didn’t quite cut it. Steven says, “I loved your strut…it’s a little too Broadway for me.” Jennifer says, “How do you want America to see you? Do want them to see you as a Broadway performer or as a recording artist? For me, I wish we would have seen a little bit that tonight.” Randy does not mince words, “It didn’t work. I didn’t even know what that was. It wasn’t great.” Rachel looks crushed. – VIDEO
Karen Rodriguez – “Hero” by Mariah Carey (sung half in Spanish) – 1-866-436-5705 – Ugh. Not digging this song choice. Very generic. She sings parts of it in Spanish. I feel like I’ve been transported back to Gloria Estafan in the 90s. She’s got an impressive set of pipes, I just wish she wouldn’t bore me with lame choices. She gets a standing ovation. The vocal was great but…Zz. Jennifer says, “Yes, Karen. Wow. Goosebumps. I love that you changed into Spanish. Amazing.” Randy says, “I like that you figured out a way to make it you. I thought the Spanish was better than the English.” Steven says, “I think you ought to get together with Jacob Lusk over there and sing it again. I loved it. I think you’re fantastic. Beautiful.” – VIDEO
Lauren Turner sings “Seven Day Fool” by Etta James (Jully Black’s version) – 1-866-436-5706 – Lauren has a throaty bluesy alto and tons of soul. She’s got a great vibe. I hope she makes the Top 12. “That’s how you do it man. I love the feel that this could be Amy Winehouse meets Florence and the Machine.” “That was spectacular. That was like Lauren Turner meets Lauren Turner. I loved it. A perfect full complete sentence.” “you voice is undeniable. Phsyically you’re holding back, You were holding back. You were great, but don’t hold back.” – VIDEO
Ashton Jones – “Love Over Me” by Monica – 1-866-436-5707 – Great pipes on this chick. She works the stage well, seems confident. “Jonesy, you’ve got the confidence of a Queen, and you sing so sweet.” You have all the makings of a diva. You’re confidence is breathtaking.” “I get it from you,” says Ashton. “You should be very proud.” “I like you. I didn’t like the song. I think you’re broader, bigger than that. You’re Diana Ross baby. I agree with Randy. Great voice. Pick better songs. – VIDEO
Julie Zorrilla – “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson – 1-866-436-5708 – Attempting Kelly Clarkson is usually a big mistake. Yep. That hasn’t changed. This song is WAY too big for Julie. The judges do not look impressed. Eep. She’s off pitch. She had such beautiful moments in Hollywood. This is really a shame. Jennifer says, “I didn’t feel it was the best thing I’ve ever seen you do. I felt it a little bit more here…you need to connect to those words.” “Our orginal AI sang that song. You didn’t bring anything iknew to it. You didn’t sing nearly as well. What’s going to make me special and stand out? Not pale compared to Kelly.” Wrong song for you. – VIDEO
Haley Reinhart – “Fallin” by Alicia Keyes – 1-866-436-5709 – She’s a good singer, albiet a little hokey. She’s not bringing anything new to this song. Not a great song choice for Haley. If you’re going to pick a big hit like “Fallin” you got to shake it up. Randy says, “It didn’t do anything for you. It’s like a karaoke kind of thing.” Haley looks stricken. Steven says, “I heard just the right amount of style, the right amount of sexy.” Jennifer says, “I agree with Steven. We saw a lot of different colors in your voice. You need to get out of your head a little bit. You belong here.” Eep. Again. Randy speaks the truth. – VIDEO
Thia Megia – “Out Here On My Own” from Fame – 1-866-436-5710 – She starts out a capella (sorta like the movie). I dunno. Does this show off Thia’s ability to be a current recording artist? More like it shows off her ability to be a robotic pageant bot. This isn’t star search…or America’s Got Talent, Thia. Steven says, “A person’s pitch can be so perfect, it doesn’t matter what song she picks.” GROAN. WRONG. “That was beautiful.” NEW DRINKING GAME. “It was such a quiet moment…captivate every person in this room. It was really special.” “The mark of a great singer is the quality of the tone. The tone reminds me so much of the late Michael Jackson…this is what hot singing is all about.” Actually she turned 16 people. – VIDEO
Lauren Alaina – “Turn on the Radio” by Reba McEntire – 1-866-436-5711 – Lauren is so polished it’s scary. It’s easy to see why they want her to win. She’s got great chops, personality, she knows who she is. The complete package, as they say. They are probably already figuring out what they’ll do when they sign her. Jennifer says, “My little Lauren. Yeah! You look so beautiful. You don’t even have to try. The voice is so effortless. I know there’s more in there. Amazing.” Randy says, “You have a natural gift. You can sing anything. I don’t think you even know how talented you are.” OMG Randy calls her a cross between Kelly and Carrie. HELLS NO. She’s good, but not that good. “You kill me. I love you. You’re the best,” says Steven. “I want everyone to meet peaches,” says Lauren. Ryan’s got a nickname. – VIDEO
Pia Toscano – “I’ll Stand By You” by The Pretenders - 1-866-436-5712 – I love this song! Don’t f*ck it up! And she doesn’t. Pia has amazing control and a huge range. She nails every note. The only thing–she might be a little too controlled. I don’t feel a complete connection with her. Sorta the way I felt about LaToya London back in Season 3. She gets a BIG STANDING O. Pia has some serious talent. Randy says, “This is our first standing of our new season. You just put yourself in the top with that amazing performance. That’s how you do it.” Steven says, “That was unbelievable. that was so over the top. That was gorgeous.” Jennifer says, “I knew that you were a standout. You were saving that you were saving that for when it counts. Out of this world.” – VIDEO