Sir Mac and MJ’s Hollywood Power List. We pick our five (or so) favorite auditions of the week…and more.
MJ: It’s so hard to pick favorites when we only catch glimpses of contestants here and there singing solo and sharing the spotlight with others in a group, but I’ll give it a shot.
La’Porsha Renae – I am more and more impressed with this singer. Calling her a big-voiced diva is almost trivializing her talents. She approaches her performances with skill and finesse. I was impressed with both her line performance of “Roar” and her part in Team Sistah’s “Staying Alive” performance. But enough of the kid backstory. We get it. She’s a single mother. Now let’s concentrate on the singing.
Manny Torres – His group, Team Rebirth, was arguably the best of the night. Kill me now, but I think Manny is a talented singer, even if his “swagger” comes off asarrogant. If his edit doesn’t change, or he doesn’t present a side that’s more likable and authentic, there’s no way America votes for him.
Speaking of Villain Edits – I still love Sonika Vaid’s delicate, delicious vocals. But boy did she ever get the bitch edit during groups. Every time the camera cut to her, she was rolling her eyes. Her laid back approach to music may hold her back from advancing, but I still believe in her.
So Many Girls – The producers seem to be laying up for a girl to win the competition. There were back to back segments on girl groups that included Tristan McIntosh, Jenn Blosil, Avalon Young, Jeneve Rose Mitchell, and Chynna Sherrod. I’m still impressed with young Tristan, even if she is a little green around the edges. Avalon and her expressive alto are growing on me. Jeneve Rose Mitchell’s group lines in “Need You Now” showed a striking vulnerability. Jenn Blosil. What a kook, but I love the way she phrases a song. Also, a little shout out to Kelsie Watts, the Team Blue Eyes member who got the least attention (Kory Wheeler, Jenae Renae, Jordan Sasser) but delivered the best performance.
But Boys…If young Lee Jean’s performances are as sweet and tender as the vocal he displayed in his line audition, I’ll be fully on board the Lee train. Dalton Rapattoni is clearly a favorite of the judges, but I’m still not sold on his boy band affectations. I am sold on his personality, which seems sweet and down to earth. The judges also seem sweet on Thomas Stringfellow, a singer that has impressed me. The thing about the boys: They impress with less. If Idol is really serious about a girl champ, they need to be careful about how and who to pimp.
CASE IN POINT. Trent Harmon and his mono storyline. OK. first, he says he can sit out in the auditorium with the rest of the singers, because it can only be transmitted if he “kisses” ya. Next episode, the mono is so contagious, he can’t practice or perform with other singers. So which is it? Let’s set aside the question of whether it was fair to allow him to perform solo in a GROUP round. I’m smelling some manufactured drama. And yeah, brave boy battles his way through Hollywood with mono is as positive an edit as a singer can get. If Trent winds up the front runner, he could be hard to bus. That group round performance sounded awful. I hope he got some rest afterward.
Melanie Tierce’s cut during the lines was a real surprise. Harry Connick Jr. went from being so moved by her performance that he had to walk out of her audition, to axing her at an early stage of the competition. I thought she sang well enough to at least make it to the next round.
Sonika’s fellow Team Envy member, Andrew Nezerbakian’s (the Russian dude) otherworldly falsetto and odd phrasing is kind of freaking me out.
Dalton Rappatoni– I’m still a fan of this dude. I love that he reworks songs. I’m surprised he didn’t have more of a “moment” in Hollywood. Maybe we’re gonna get a Round 3 performance that blows our mind.
Jenn Blosil– Round 1 performance was stellar, Round 2… she slayed her group. She’s a star. I’m excited for her in this competition.
LaPorscha Renae– Had a great edit this past week, and really is a fierce singer. I’m not sure she’s the best we’ve ever seen, but she might be one of the best this season. She also has a natural presence on stage.
Shelbie Z– This girl is not here to play, she’s here to win. She’s got a fierce personality, and I’m wondering how America will react to it with votes.
Gianna Isabella– Mixed results this week. Strong round one, weak round two. This girl has a lot of potential, but needs more focus and guidance. I’d love to see her connect to a song.
Emily Brooke– Love her. She’s got a real shot at this. She’s gotten so much better since last season, and America loves a good redemption arc.
Avalon Young– Still love her too. She’s really unique and has a unique tone, like Jenn. I think she could be a contender with the right song choice at the right time.
Lindita and Joy Dove– I actually loved their group. I’m not really sure why Daniel got cut, but all three sang their butts off. There was way too much hype about Lindita finishing the song. Someone has to finish the song. I think the judges were wrong.
Changing my mind…– Jeneve Mitchell– I’m not sure she has a strong enough voice beneath the gimmick of her cello playing. When we actually hear her without her cello, I think it’s going to be really telling. We only really saw her sing in the group for round 2, and not solo.
On My Radar More Now….– Olivia Rox had a strong round 1, Thomas Stringfellow had a strong round 1 and 2. Lee Jean had a good week, much better than his audition. I’m more on the Trent Harmon train now after seeing two more solos from by him. He’s a strong ballad singer, like Rayvon from last season. Kory Wheeler had a strong round 2, and got me paying attention. He performs a little like Alex Preston did, a little awkward, but it worked for Alex. Jon Klassen and Marcio Donaldson from Trick R Treat both had strong solo segments. Tonie Starr from La’Porsha’s group did a good job, and didn’t forget her lyrics like the third girl did.
Still not on board for…– Jordan Sasser, who is coming across as really goofy. I can’t take him seriously. He seems like either a guy who is faking being nice, or a really overly nice guy. Either way, his personality is having a hard time translating on stage. There are better singers than Sonika Vaid. I’m really trying to like Manny Torres, but I just don’t right now. There’s something about his personality. I’m not really loving Tristan McIntosh either. She had an OK round 1, but she doesn’t look like she knows what her song is about, or even really comfortable on stage. These become big problems at the top 24. She sang the crap out of her Round 2 song. She’s barely on this list. If she can find a round 3 solo that she connects to, I’ll pull her off this list. She just has a really vacant look on her face when she sings. Michelle Marie is giving me nothing. I can’t imagine she gets voted through to top 12 right now.
Would not have cut– Melanie Tierce. Some pitch issues, but a lot more artistry than pitch problems. Her pitch problems could have come down to poor guitar tuning too. I know it’s the little things, but I would have let her have group rounds as a potential redeemer. She’s good enough to get a pass in Round 1. I’m also not sure why Daniel Farmer was cut in groups. Oddly, I would have let him through that. His voice broke in Round 1, and they still kept him, but they cut him in round 2? Odd. John Arthur Greene was cut but not Laurel Wright? Ummm… he was the only one in the group not shown forgetting his lyrics, so I can only assume he was the only one who knew them? Yet he was cut? Not fair. Sorry.