It’s week two of Idol Chat with Mac and MJ! This week we pick our 5 favorite performances of the week! Check it out, and add to the discussion in comments.
MAC: I couldn’t narrow it down to a Top 5 solos, and a Top 5 groups (mainly because I hated most of the groups). I think this week, a few people I was on the fence about after their audition came out and hit a home run, and a few people that I liked were just average this week (I’m looking at you Sam Woolf). I also lost a few of my Top 10 picks last week, like John Fox, Samantha Calmes, and Ayla Stackhouse. I actually disagreed with all three cuts, but…
#1) Spencer Lloyd- Say Something by A Great Big World
I think what I loved about his performance was that I didn’t see it coming. I thought Spencer was a pretty face who sang well, but not like a star, in his audition. I think Spencer came out and proved that he can be a contender. He’s a pretty face who knows what kind of song his audience would like to hear, and that says volumes about your ability to sustain in the competition.
MJ – Spencer surprised me too. What he lacked in vocal chops, in this performance, he made up in his ability to connect to the audience. I’m not convinced yet, that he has what it takes to sustain through the competition. His initial audition was pretty mediocre. I’m going to wait to see if this Hollywood performance was more than just a fluke.
#2) Majesty Rose - 1234 by Fiest
Majesty is still my favorite contestant, I’m just giving the “week” to Spencer for surprising me. Majesty has had two amazing performances so far, and really should be “the” contender moving forward. She’s totally different from anyone whose ever won Idol before, and I’d love to see what she’s going to do with many weeks ahead of her.
MJ: OHMYGOD. Majesty is definitely in my Top 5, and I grow to adore her more and more with each performance. She’s the full package, from her amazing vocals to a personality that just crackles on stage. I cannot wait to hear more.
#3) Kenzie Hall- Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
OK. Kenzie shut me up about last week. I said she was Top 25, but not my Top 10, and then she did a super cool arrangement of a Macklemore song, and I totally get it now. Kenzie is fun, entertaining, and knows how to channel that into being an artist. It reminded me of when Andrew Garcia stole the spotlight with his reworking of Straight Up. It puts her on the map.
MJ: I did not expect THAT from Kenzie. I thought she was good after her audition. But who knew she’d be able to handle the melody AND the rap in “Can’t Hold Us?” I’m wondering what else she’s got up her sleeve. Hopefully, she’s able to write good songs. She’s definitely Top 5 this week.
#4) Dexter Roberts- Alabama Clay
In the battle of the country boys (Dexter, Ben, Casey), Dexter edged out the win this week for me. I thought his solo was the strongest (even though Casey gets an honorable mention). Is there room in the Top 10/12 for two country boys? THREE country boys? Probably not.
MJ: I would tend to agree with you here. Dexter was the best of the three–his performance was compelling. But I would give Ben extra points for his song choice. Covering Grace Potter’s “Stars” was inspired, even if it was not a perfect rendition.
#5) Jena Ascuitto – Video Games by Lana Del Rey
Loved her at the piano. I think when she’s sounding like Adele, but not singing Adele songs, she comes off more as an artist, than a knockoff. I think she should avoid Adele songs for the rest of the competition, because I like it more when I can hear that same tone on a different song. This was the right song to pick, and she nailed it.
MJ: Jena was in my Top 10 last week. Still love her this week! Not only does she have impressive vocal range and dynamics, but she knows who she is as an artist. In the years she has fronted a rock band, she’s developed her own style. Her expressive performance made me like a song I didn’t really care for previously. Definitely Top 5.
Probably Controversial Honorable Mention: Briston Maroney- Royals
I liked it? Even I’m surprised I liked it, but I will say I like that he sounds different from the rest of the competition, and I’d like to see how Idol treats/reacts to someone like him. He seems like someone who would have been on Canadian Idol, and done fairly well.
MJ: Nope. I can’t with Briston’s affected phrasing. He’s trying way too hard.
Probably Not Controversial Honorable Mentions: CJ Harris- Trouble, Kristen O’Connor- Halo, and Casey Thrasher - He Stopped Loving Her Today
I just wanted to name drop these three. I liked them all, and they just missed out on my Top 5. For Kristen and Casey, who didn’t make my Top 10 last week, it was a nice surprise to see strong performances from them.
MJ: CJ is definitely in my Top 5. I loved his raspy, soulful version of “Trouble.” He’s quickly becoming one of my favorites.
Mac:And… the only two groups I liked, which I also suspect will be the only two groups MJ liked…
Backstreet Cowboys- Dexter Roberts, Casey Thrasher, Ben Briley
Three Mo Days- Tony Foster Jr, David Willis, Sarina Joi Crowe
I think Tony Foster shouldn’t have been cut. Sometimes, when a group is as strong as Three Mo Days was, you have to just let the whole group through, and if Tony isn’t making the cut in the 3rd round, then cut him.
MJ: Eh. None of the groups really impressed me this year. I will give Backstreet Cowboys props for working against type. Three country boys singing a cheesy pop song was a smart way to get the attention of the judges. And it worked! I thought the performance was solid, but not amazing.
“Three Mo Days” was the best of the day, for sure. I was surprised Tony didn’t make it through, until Harry explained that he stared at his feet the entire performance. But honestly, I think his vocals good enough to let the smaller stuff slide.
Rounding Out my Top 5:
I liked Sam Woolf this week, better than you did, but I wouldn’t put him in my Top 5. There’s certainly the possibility that Sam is a one-trick pony, delivering performances that have a samey quality. If that’s the case, he won’t last long. But there’s something I really like in his voice, and for now, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Mac: Either that or he’ll win. I wouldn’t call Scotty and Phillip’s song choices necessarily dynamic in choice. Sure, they each had a week or two out of the box, but most of it were songs perfectly set in their wheelhouses. Not saying this is a bad thing. Both established themselves as artists on the show by doing so.
MJ: My controversial pick may be putting Alex Preston in my Top 5 this week. I thought his jazzy rendition of “Scream and Shout” was inventive. Plus, he’s got some guitar skills–I appreciate that he’s more than a strummer. The song choice was risky, but I thought he pulled it off. He’s willing to go out on a limb, and that’s a good thing.
Mac:I keep wanting to like Alex’s performances, because I like Alex as a singer. I think he’s got some great original music. I think he’s probably the most talented guitarist we have, as well as the most “musically educated” performer we have. I’m glad he’s connecting with some people, because I want him to have a real shot at the Top 12.
MJ: I’ve also got my eye on Malaya Watson. She’s young, and a little raw, but she has an amazing instrument. I’m not surprised that she plays several instruments–she brings an intelligent musicality to all of her performances.
Mac: I feel like Malaya could come out and surprise me. I liked, but I didn’t love her this week.
Hollywood Week Preview Part 3
Hollywood Week Preview Part 4