Sarina-Joi Crowe is eliminated.
OK. I’m trying to wrap my head around the fact that we lost arguably the best singer in the Top 12 in the first week. Last night, Sarina-Joi performed first, and it was an uncharacteristically poor performance, full of pitch problems. You would think the young singer would have some fan bank saved up to get her through ONE bad week. But, I think there was some vote splitting going on here. Sarina-Joi, Tyanna, and Adanna are probably drawing from the same pool of R&B fans. She might have been splitting with some of the boys too–Rayvon, Qaasim, Quentin and Clark. There is a preponderance of soul singers in this bunch, and one was going to get knocked off tonight. Before the two pop rock guys (Nick and Daniel). Before the country singer (Maddie). Before Joey and Jax who each have a crazy lane to themselves. If Sarina had performed first, and Adanna last, I think we would have had a completely different result tonight. In fact, I think Adanna performed worse than Sarina, but the pimp spot and good judges comments saved her.
There was NO way the save would have been spent this early. It’s too useful a tool to use to create TV drama. Besides, the judges WILL be saving it for one of Scott’s favs. Honestly, I don’t think Sarina was on his short list at all.
So that’s how it goes in Idol land.
ETA: One other thing. I am really relieved Idol is live again and has expanded to two hours. The highly edited one hour shows felt rushed and chaotic. Having said that, combining results and performances has added a completely unwanted dynamic to the mix. Now the nerves a contestant feels are doubled down–between anticipating a performance and a possible elimination. It shows in the performances. I think that partially tanked Sarina last night. She was so excited to get through, she lost control of the performance. Nick was kind of a mess up there tonight, performing shortly after being saved, but seemingly (but not really) at the expense of a friend. Hey, it’s show business and everybody has got to deal. SYTYCD and DWTS has had to cope with this issue too. But still, I’d rather not.
THIS IS NOT A DRILL! Kelly Clarkson will appear on the April 1 episode to work with the contestants!
ALSO: Pick the songs for an upcoming theme “Idol go-to Classic Songs” via twitter with the hashtag #IdolClassics.
The American Idol 14 Top 12 return tonight, but only 11 singers perform Party Songs, for your votes. One contestant will be eliminated and then will sing for the judges save.
We kick off the episode with the Top 12 on the red carpet at last night’s Top 12 party in Hollywood! It’s party time, as the crowd waves balloons in the air.
Whoah Jennifer Lopez’s outfit–a one piece that is literally sculpted to her body. The Top 12 hang in the lounge. “One of them could be going home tonight.” Hm… Looks like The Save will be in play tonight.
Ohhhh. It’s Cookie Time! Taraji P. Henson appears to hand Ryan Seacrest the results card. Oh. We learn next week that another member of the Lyon family has/will serve time in jail. Spoilers!
Fancy red chairs! When the singer is called, their chair in the lounge will turn green.
Tonight’s Contestant Phone Numbers Will be Permanent.
Rayvon Owen – “Burn” by Ellie Goulding – Scott thinks Rayvon is going to have to step up and push himself–he needs a kick in the butt. He has a great sense about himself, but it’s not enough. Harry is waiting to see if Rayvon can bring the angst. This is not a perfect vocal. It cracks a little in spots and at times he seems winded. This is a deceptively difficult song to sing. The melody is rangy and unexpected. Not my favorite Rayvon performance, but there are some great moments. As always, his falsetto and tone are lovely. Keith calls it a killer song choice–his best song performance yet! Jlo also loved it. Hm. Harry challented him to mix up the arrangement, so he doesn’t have the same arc on every song. Don’t make the end the climax every time, Harry says. 1-866-436-5702 – Text 2 to 21523
Maddie Walker – “She’s Country” by Jason Aldean – Scott calls her a “future country siren.” Scott motivates Maddie, who must think she’s in heaven as she receives advice from the man who made Taylor Swift. Keith thinks that if anything brings her out of her shell, it will be this song. This is a big improvement over some of her other upbeat performances, but there’s still this blank affect she can’t seem to work past. The voice is there, but the personality is not. Not yet, anyway. Very good vocal performance, though. Jlo says, “great job.” She loved her sassy, sweet attitude. She compliments her strong vocals. Harry also loves her voice. He’s concerned that she knows the difference between emulating and imitating. He felt it was a little karaoke. Keith thought it was a good song for her. She took a chance. She seemed overwhelmed by the performance, says Keith, but her voice was stellar. Oh, she’s sick. That could explain some of her blank space. She’s going straight to the doc! 1-866-436-5704 – Text 4 to 21523
Joey Cook – “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea (feat. Charlie XCX)’s – Scott calls her uniquely cool and a real artist. He’s been pushing her vocally. “It’s time I show America that I’m more than quirky quirk with a capital Q. Harry hopes she doesn’t become overwhelmed with emotion. Joey does the Postmodern Jukebox version of “Fancy.” It’s completely different from the Iggy’s version, but I’m not mad. This is interesting. This girl CAN SING. Rickey is behind her on an upright bass. Not sure folks are going to be rockin out in the clubs to this. But from top to bottom, that was terrific. Controlled, full of personality, great vocal. Her weirdness is feeling less like a coat of armor, finally. She’s special. I’m becoming a Joey fan. Harry loved the arrangement. He thinks she sang it brilliantly and is settling into herself. Keith loves her presence and energy. It’s so “artist.” “You pull people in,” he says. He really felt she made it her own. Jlo thought the song was a smart choice. She wanted more melody, though. She can see her doing a whole album like this some day. 1-866-436-5710 – Text 10 to 21523
YAAAASSSSS. Jussie Smollett and Yaz from Empire sing the theme song, “No Apologies.” I LOVE THIS SHOW SO MUCH. Killing it, son.
Clark Beckham – “Takin it to the Streets” by The Doobie Brothers’ “Takin’ It to the Streets” – “Clark is one of the best singers, a vocal powerhouse,” says Scott. But he feels that Clark has been “leaning back” on comfortable songs. He eventually he has to step up if he’s going to win. “Powerhouse vocals,” says Keith. Clark sings sitting at the piano. It’s another great vocal from Clark, but this performance is safe safe safe. Scott is right. If Clark is going to go the distance, he’s going to have to take some risks. Go out on a limb. Still, Holy cow. Those runs. That rasp. There’s no denying his vocal chops. Keith appreciated the piano playing. He thought it was cool. But he wants to feel inspired, wants to feel Clark is striving toward something in his performance. Jlo feels he needs to expound on his great vocals. Not Harry’s favorite performance, but he loves his introspection. It draws people in, he says. 1-866-436-5709 – Text 9 to 21523
Jax – “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift – Jax is all the great things about the 80s mashed up into 2015, Scott says. He finds her unique and charismatic. Harry wonders if Jax will push the band, or will they push her? Not a good song pick for Jax. “Blank Space” is a great record, but it doesn’t provide an opportunity for a great vocal. I’ll give her credit for singing a song without completely rearranging it, but this is like really bad karaoke. She really struggled to mesh with the band, and there were pitch problems galore. However, there was one lucky boy in the audience that got a personal Jax serenade. Jlo didn’t think it was a great song for her. She missed her special quality. Harry didn’t like that it was a carbon copy of the original. She got lost in the band mix. Keith felt her struggling with the melody. It held her back. Ryan turns to Scott to ask what HE thinks. He called the song choice brave. He thought she did a great job. He also notes that she wanted a shot at singing a pop song without a major re-arrange. That was a pretty transparent attempt by Scott to save Jax’s ass. 1-866-436-5707 – Text 7 to 21523
Qaasim Middleton – “Jet” by Paul McCartney & Wings’ – Scott calls him “one of the coolest cats we’ve got.” Huge artist potential. Not the best singer, but definitely the best performer. Keith is really interested to see Qaasim play guitar. So yeah, he’s standing still. Playing the guitar. There’s no getting around it, he’s got vocal issues. He makes the most of what he’s got, but his range is limited, and there are mega pitch problems. I wonder if he’s had vocal lessons? That was a whole lotta caterwauling going on there. He completely loses all control at the end, becoming even sloppier. I think he should stick to singing and dancing, because his performances are so entertaining, I don’t care that he can’t sing. Harry aks the “what do you think the lyrics mean” question. Qaasim has a pretty good handle on its meaning, but Harry didn’t think the performance matched the lyrics. Jlo and Keith DO NOT AGREE. Keith loved it. He doesn’t care what he was singing about. He thought it was the best he’s heard him sing. Jlo agrees too. That exchange got a little testy! 1-866-436-5708 – Text 8 to 21523
After the break, Ryan introduces an upcoming theme, “Idol Go-To Classics” and invites fans to tweet their favorite classic songs with the hashtag #IdolClassics. Harry’s go-to classic is anything by Ray Charles. Jennifer loves “Born in the USA” and Keith Urban likes “Jack and Diane.”
Ryan asks about Harry’s t shirt that says “You’re Talented” in big white letters. Before he explains the meaning, he shows us his “guns” at Jlo’s request. STRETCH were the instructions to Ryan from the director after the break. All kidding aside, Harry wants all the contestants to know that they’re all talented. He reminds them that he’s avoiding puffery at this point. He wants to get straight to comments he thinks will help the contestants. “If I critique you, it’s because I love you,” he says. “I want you to grow.”
Adanna Duru – “Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars – Scott calls Adana, broody, moody and dangerous. Hm. He finds Adanna ‘Edgy.” Really? Harry wonders if Adanna will be able to sing this very fast song in tune. And indeed, it turns out…she can! She’s staying in tune this week. This is her best vocal to date, in fact. And she’s working the stage and it’s not cheesy! She’s fierce. Adanna has gone from zero to hero in my eyes (Eta: although in retrospect, I would have rather lost her than Sarina-Joi) That’s why we saved you, says Keith. He compares Adanna to Tina Turner. Jlo is also impressed. “You stayed so much more in control. You were the master,” she says. Harry thought there were still some issues, but so much better than the last few performances. 1-866-436-5712 – Text 12 to 21523
Tyanna Jones – “Tightrope” by Janelle Monae – Scott loves Tyanna, because she keeps getting better every week. She has wisdom beyond her years, he says. She’s wearing the Monae suspenders! So cute. This song is tailor made for Tyanna. She’s working the stage like a boss. A mature, energetic performance from Tyanna! So much better than last night. She’s pitch perfect, and that last note was awesome. So much sass. I love it. The crowd goes wild. Jlo says she sparkles on camera. She loves her control of everything. GOOSIES. “It was so complete.” If Harry was an olympic judge, he would give Tyanna a 10. Keith loves her gratitude. Tyanna is a little teary! 1-866-436-5705 – Text 5 to 21523
Daniel Seavey – “Happy” by Pharrell Williams – Scott says Daniel is charming, but he’s going to have to back that up with vocal ability. Ugh. A much better singer is going home tonight. That pisses me off. Daniel accompanies himself on the guitar. He’s obviously musical, but his vocals just aren’t there. Maybe in a few years, but not now. His voice cracks constantly–it’s not pleasant listening. This might be the most boring version of “Happy” I’ve ever heard. Blargh. Harry spent time going over every single one his performances last night. Seriously. He said this! He thinks he’s immensely talented. The performance felt comfortable–like a young kid having a good time. Keith thinks his likeability and musicality will carry the day. Jlo wonders if the competition is too stiff, but feels that it’s impossible not to root for him. He was 3 years old when he began watching Idol. Sigh. 1-866-436-5703 – Text 3 to 21523
Quentin Alexander – “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele – Scott says he’s got these great piercing eyes and a cool NOLA vibe. Rolling in the Deep is a big New Orleans party song, says Quentin. I wouldn’t call this version a “party” song, but the arrangement is different enough to allow Quentin to make it his own. And it’s perfect for him. The lyrics have all of the requisite drama and angst. Quentin tells a dark story and I’m riveted. It’s a good vocal, too. Keith loves the easy way he performs. Jlo says he brings a different flavor–cool and soulful. Harry loves the way he can dig deep into a lyric. But he felt his interpretation was shallow. Hm.
I’m not sure I agree with that. I don’t agree with that at all. There were moments of real intensity in that interpretation. 1-866-436-5711 – Text 11 to 21523
Nick Fradiani, Jr. – “Wake Me Up” by Avicii – Another solid performance from Nick. But it could have used more melody. Shouting the lyrics didn’t bring more emotion to the song–it just made it sound yelly. But, still, Nick doesn’t have a thing to worry about at this point. He’s got the Idol formula down pat.
I’m too pissed to live blog right now. OK. I’ve calmed down a little. When I saw that the last spot came down between Nick and Sarina-Joi, I new Sarina didn’t stand a chance. Jlo thought it was a great song choice for him, but the performance got a little bit away from him. Harry thought it was solid, but a little yelly. Harry’s not feeling the emotion. Keith thinks not having his band is probably tough. – 1-866-436-5706 – Text 6 to 21523
Sarina-Joi Crowe will sing for her life WHAT IS THIS MADNESS.
Sarina-Joi Crowe – “Neon Lights” by Demi Lovato – This performance is better than last night, but it’s still not Sarina at her best. She must be a mess inside. I can’t imagine they will use the save this early, and indeed they don’t, despite the crowd SCREAMING for the save. Sigh. Sometimes I HATE Idol. And America.
Sarina-Joi Crowe is eliminated.. Damn. I knew she was in trouble last night when she delivered an off performance, first in the lineup. Yeah, she wasn’t good, but was better than both Daniel and Adanna. In fact, Adanna was terrible, but she performed last. DAMN.