The gulf between the guys and girls in terms of talent is so wide, it’s actually laughable. Geez, Idol producers, has it come to this? You’ve got to put through boys who are basically 3rd string players to the girls in this competition? Tonight’s eliminations were really tough, because there were a couple of really talented girls that got left out of the Top 20. Honestly, if you’re so hell bent on a girl, why insist on making the Top 20 an even gender split? Why not trade in, say, Elijah Liu for the talented, Jett Hermano?
Speaking of which, I am SO HOPING there are going to be a couple of wildcards coming up. Both Jett and Rachel Hale deserved to go through tonight. Rachel didn’t have the best performance, but it probably didn’t matter. It was obvious from the way the judges put Janelle Arthur through despite a mediocre performance that the country artist who would survive the week was already set.
I am resigned to Zoanette Johnson advancing, because she is basically this year’s Heejun. And as such, I would not underestimate her. I expect she will make the Top 10. She may be mid-pack at best, but she will make the tour. I don’t find her as amusing as I did Heejun, but it seems there are plenty of people who love her. She’s polarizing–something to talk about around the water cooler and on twitter. I imagine Nigel is pleased.
Aubrey Cleland and Breanna Steer are Season 12’s pop princesses. And I don’t mean that disparagingly. They really are both ready to go. Both singers would be easy to package if they won the competition. And honestly, it would be really cool if Idol could launch a female pop star. But of course, historically, pretty pop girls have had a hard time attracting votes in Idol land. Personally, while Aubrey has a lovely voice, I think Breanna has the more distinct personality. So Aubrey will be called boring and Breanna arrogant if they make the voting rounds. Ha. At least one of them will make the top 10. We’ll see how far they get after that.
There was very little WTF from the judges tonight. Yeah, even their pimping of Zoanette was understandable. Don’t worry. When the producers are done with the singer, the hammer will come down.
Nicki being “obsessed” with singers is the new “beautiful.” She needs to cut that out. Nicki also needs to be aware of how she tangles up her own sh*t with some of these singers. It should never be about you Nicki! But other than that, I thought she was pretty spot on tonight. Particularly her thoughts on Aubrey and Breanna proved that she knows what it takes to be relevant in the music business today. That was actually pretty good advice she gave them about creating a girl group. Nicki really plays an important role on that panel.
As far as Keith is concerned: I still love him, but he’s pulling his punches a little. These kids need to hear the truth. For instance, he needed to serve a little more tough love to Melinda Ademi, who did not have a good night.
Randy was back to being Randy this week–advising performers to over sing, and doing a complete about face on something he said just last week. So, as far as Zoanette is concerned, singing isn’t all the important after all. Whatever.
It’s going to be painful watching the girls hand the guys asses back to them on a platter week after week. That eventuality is NOT going to be pretty.
Oh, one other thing–Idol began a new feature where twitter users could literally participate in live polls that showed up on screen during the show. It was used sparingly tonight–fans were asked to vote on whether they agreed with the judges or not for a few contestants. That’s actually a great way to engage a live audience. They should be consistent and poll all of the performances every week. That could be some really interesting data.
I’ll be live blogging the Top 40 girls in Las Vegas as 10 more sing for their lives. By the end of the night, 5 contestants will be sent home.
The guys are watching from the audience. And here come the ladies!
Melinda Ademi – “Nobody’s Perfect” by Jessie J. – Wow this sound familiar. Didn’t somebody just sing this? Yes, judges fav, Angela Miller, just last week! WHAT IS SHE WEARING. She’s got on some leopard print thingy, with purple leggings and knee high boots. Yikes. This performance isn’t very good. Her vocal is pitchy and wobbly and it’s obvious she’s REALLY nervous. She’s going for the pop star choreo, but she’s moving with so little confidence–it just ain’t working for her. Keith loved the performance, even though she seemed nervous. He loves her potential. Hm. Don’t go soft on these contestants, Keith. Oh. Nicki compares her to Angela. That was inevitable. She didn’t feel Melinda connected to the song as well. I agree. Randy thought she had no big moments. He thinks she’s in trouble. Mariah feels the nerves got to her.
Candice Glover – “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin – This is a very safe song choice. Nevertheless, Candice has tremendous power and a ton of confidence. Her last big note had the crowd screaming and on their feet. Keith says, “Baby that was beautiful! Great song choice.” And then he literally croons, “You’re a natural singer,” It boggles Nicki’s brain that she didn’t make it past Vegas last year. YOU and EVERY OTHER FRICKIN PERSON ON THE PLANET NICKI. Randy says last year “was a different time.” Randy badgers Candice into agreeing that she’s grown, as if she were acknowledging that she wasn’t really ready last season. Oh, Randy and his vague back pedaling. I love that Nicki called him out, though. Randy thinks she should have shoved in EVEN MORE RUNS into the tune. I disagree with that. She was powerful, but not overwrought. Mariah feels she’s a “bonafide singer.” Candice reveals that the arrangement was hers.
Juliana Chahayed – “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato – She’s only 15. Too young. She’s strumming a guitar that’s so big, it looks like it’s going to eat her. This is an interesting arrangement, kind of slowed up. It’s more vulnerable than Demi’s version, but very affecting in spots. But, Juliana is underbaked at this point–she has pitch problems and does not own the performance totally. However, I appreciate that she changed up the original arrangement and made it her own. There is great potential there, but she needs a few more years to grow. Keith loves the purity in her tone. Nicki notes her signature sound–but also that she’s timid and may have a hard time competing with bigger voices. Randy loves the honesty of her delivery. Mariah calls her “celestial”. Her vulnerability was “a beautiful thing to witness.” Ah, Juliana thanks the band. So polite.
Jett Hermano (With Piano) – “Only Girl (In The World)” by Rihanna – Jett accompanies herself on piano. This is re-arranged substantially. Jett is not only a good singer, but she’s obviously very musical as well. I have a feeling we’re only seeing a fraction of what she can do. There’s some strain on the high notes, but overall, this is a very good performance. Her phrasing is beautiful. She’s definitely got it going on. Keith loved the unique arrangement. He notes that she brought out the sexiness in the song. Nicki also loved the arrangement, but felt there needed to be more of a climax. Randy was waiting for her to get up from the piano. Keith argues that he liked the restraint. TEAM KEITH FOR THE WIN. Mariah finds her style very intriguing.
Cristabel gets a little interview with Ryan in the red room. She reveals that at one point, she was so nervous, she considered dropping out. For a second.
Cristabel Clack – “No One” by Alicia Keys – She’s 29 years old! She looks younger. She’s got a very distinct, raspy quality to her voice. But again, with the pitch problems! But unlike Jett or Juliana, I’m not hearing a unique style. The song felt very karaoke in spots. I’m a little bored, to be honest. Randy is on his feet. Keith loves her voice. He calls her voice “soul croaky cool.” and that she has crazy potential. Nicki hesitates. She notes her unique voice, but felt her vocal was a little out of control. She was not as impressed. I’m on Team Nicki. Randy is VERY enthusiastic. He likes that she gives herself permission to, basically, over sing. Mariah wants to hear more gospel from her.
Aubrey Cleland – “Sweet Dreams” by Beyoncé – She’s kind of a Beyonce knock-off, but her voice is as lovely as she is. She’s tall, with great stage presence. She’s marketable, albeit not very original. Keith loves her balance of poise and fire. Oh. Nicki is obsessed with yet another singer. Yes, Nicki totally notes how marketable she is. She “looks and sounds the part.” Randy is obsessed with everything. Except for maybe Ryan. “You are a great commercial artist…you have the whole complete package,” says Randy. He argues with Nicki. He doesn’t think it was the perfect song for her. Nicki does. Mariah calls her “limitless.” This girl is a lock. Yada yada yada. She’s is the perfect package, yet I remain bored. Like Cristabel, I’m not hearing a distinct style from Aubrey.
Twitter Vote: 65% Agree with the Judges Decision. 35% Disagree
Rachel Hale – “Nothing But The Water” by Grace Potter And The Nocturnals – I’ve loved this girl in the past, but something is going wrong here. Her vocal is off. I don’t think this was the right song to highlight her vocal gifts. She’s a little wobbly in spots. A straightforward country song might have served her better. Keith loved her song choice, but maybe the song got on top of her in parts. He loves her spirit. Nicki sees a new confidence and is excited that she came alive. Randy welcomes an uptempo song. Mariah loves her smile. But this was not her favorite performance. It wasn’t mine, either. Ryan reminds us that she was in the sing off in Hollywood. It made her more determined than ever.
Breanna Steer – “Bust Your Windows” by Jazmine Sullivan – Whoa. Where did this girl come from? Breanna matches a great GREAT voice with a current sound. And she’s got MAJOR MAJOR swag. Easily the most confident performance of the night. She’s got a few rough edges, which makes her interesting. But it could also hurt her with voters, cause she’s got a bit of a tude. Personally, I think that’s a good thing. Keith does not know that song. But likes it, despite its “violent nature.” He believed she’d totally eff up that guy’s car. Nicki says both she and Aubrey could make a record and should maybe consider working in a group together. What is this…the X Factor? Ha. She notes her swag, and her fantastic in-the-pocket vocals. Randy is ready to sign her. Mariah loved her presentation.
Janelle Arthur – Just a Kiss by Lady Antabellum – OMG. She’s getting the Carrie Underwood treatment in her video package (feeding the cows!) I’ve liked Janelle very much in the past, but I’m not really digging this particular performance. Really, this treacly pop country is doing her no favors at all. A simple country tune with a beautiful melody would have allowed her sweet, honest tone to shine through. Keith thinks the chorus is limiting, but the melody kept pulling her back down. Ah. That’s a perfect assessment. Nicki thought it fell flat and that she was not connected. She warns her not to over do it. Randy admits that Janelle is his favorite country singer in the competition. Mariah thinks she should have tried something simpler. Janelle needn’t worry. The judges make it clear they are going to put her through anyway. These decisions are obviously pre-determined.
Zoanette Johnson – “Circle Of Life” – Her family fled Liberia when she was two. She also works as a health care specialist. Reports from last night had Zoanette making some miraculous turnabout. But I don’t think so. Her vocals are STILL A HOT MESS. But the judges refuse to acknowledge that SLIGHTLY IMPORTANT ITEM. Here’s the thing, Zoanette could possibly have a career on TV or on stage. Her vocals would probably work in a musical where what matters is portraying the emotion in a song. She’s actually pretty good at that. But as a pure singer? She’s NOT good. I can’t imagine what kind of recording artist she’d be. But does it matter? She’s being advance purely for her entertainment value, which I have to admit is pretty high. Keith loves that he has no clue what she is going to do. “You just served it,” says Nicki. A big bowl of crap? Nope. Nicki really liked it. Zoanette begins ugly crying after Nicki says she’s proud of her. Nicki is going on and on about how she identifies with her feeling of being an outsider. Oy, Nicki is no good as a judge when she goes all co-dependent like this. Randy says, “Zoanette showed you tonight, this is the reason she’s here.” No. She continues to prove that she can’t sing. “That emotion is what it’s about.” So Randy, it’s not about singing anymore? Mariah says her feeling was too big to be contained. And Zoanette continues to cry. Geez.
Twitter Vote: 50% Agree with the Judges Decision. 50% Disagree
THE JUDGES RISE UP FROM BELOW THE FLOOR. The judges didn’t need Jimmy to break a tie, but it was not always unanimous.
Zoanette is up first. Randy delivers the news. He tries to fake her out. RANDY GET TO IT says Ryan. She’s through. Melinda is next. Mariah delivers the bad news. Melinda is going home. “AWWW” says the audience. Juliana is next. It’s Keith’s turn to deliver bad news. Juliana is going home. Aubrey is up. And it’s no surprise that Nicki tells her that she’s going through. Nicki does a pretty good job of trolling her. “If I had my way you’d be going though. Oh. I DID GET MY WAY. You’re going through.” Randy tells Cristabel that she’s going home, despite being an amazing talent. Candice is next. Mariah gets to deliver some great news–she’s going through.
Back from break. We have 4 more contestants waiting to hear their fates. Jett is next. Keith commends her on the artistic choices she made BUT she’s going home anyway. Nicki talks as if she’s going home…but of course Breanna is going on to the next round. Nicki is getting pretty good at the fake out. There’s one more stool to fill and the two country singers, Janelle and Rachel, remain. Randy breaks the news. Rachel goes home. Janelle advances to the Top 20. Based on the performances, I would have sent Rachel through. But I think Janelle had this in the bag.
Advancing to the Top 20
- Zoanette Johnson
- Aubrey Cleland
- Candice Glover
- Breanna Steer
- Janelle Arthur
- Melinda Ademi
- Juliana Chahayed
- Cristabel Clack
- Jett Hermano
- Rachel Hale