Mac & MJ rank the 12 contestants who competed in last week’s semifinal 1. We rank the seven contestants who the judges advanced to the Top 14, and share a few thoughts on the departing signers.
Remember: This week the 2nd group of 12 from the Top 24 perform solos on Wednesday 2/17 and duets with returning Idol alums on Thurs 2/17. Five will be eliminated. Next week the judges advance 8 of the Top 14 to the Top 10 on Wed 2/24. The remaining 6 perform for viewers wild card vote. On Thursday 2/25 the two wildcard contestants are revealed to complete the Top 10. The Top 10 perform for your votes!
Studio tickets for next week’s shows are available NOW through On Camera Audiences! Next Wednesday’s show will be taped on Tuesday Feb 23 (Watch out for spoilers!) and they’re looking to fill seats for Thursdays LIVE results and performance show. Click for details.
MJ’s Power List
My list is basically an attempt to second guess the judges, who will advance eight singers from semifinal weeks 1 & 2 to the T0p 10. I also speculate a little on what voters are thinking.
1. La’Porsha Renae – La’Porsha enters the Top 14 strong, after a show stopping, albeit cheesy, performance of “Proud Mary” as her solo and a strong duet with Fantasia of the season 3 winner’s seminal Idol performance, “Summertime.” I expect the judges to advance her into the Top 10, but what happens after that is up to La’Porsha. If she stays cheesy, she’s going to have issues.
2. MacKenzie Bourg – MacKenzie’s duet with Lauren Alaina was weak, but it wasn’t entirely his fault. He was handed the wrong song, and a duet partner who was destined to blast him off the stage with her powerful voice. His solo cover of “Say Something” lacked energy, for me, but the judges LOVED IT and MacKenzie and his awk hipster deal seem to be a fan favorite.
3. Thomas Stringfellow – Young Thomas needs some work with the voice coaches! His vocal ticks are distracting from performances that are otherwise authentic and heartfelt. Still. He’s intriguing. He’s got a shot at advancing.
4. Jeneve Rose Mitchell – On one hand Jeneve plays a billion instruments, and has the ability to cut to the emotional core of a song. On the other hand, she hasn’t yet learned how to modulate those emotions, or refine a performance. Often she’s mugging for the camera (i.e. her duet with Scotty) or over emoting. The judges LOVE this girl, so I think she’s got a shot to advance to the Top 10. But will viewers vote for her? Unless she calms down, probably not.
5. Avalon Young – Avalon is my personal favorite out of this group. I didn’t care for her duet with Ruben (wrong song for her) but I LOVED her original and entertaining Chris Brown cover. If she doesn’t make the judges’ Top 8 I’ll be voting my fingers off.
6. Sonika Vaid – Sonika has a BEAUTIFUL voice and exquisite phrasing. But unfortunately, she has no stage presence. Although her delicate vocals can be mesmerizing, she lacks energy at times, which does not translate well in front of the camera. She’s got a recordable voice, but that’s not going to help her advance in a singing competition. I think we might be voting for Sonika in the wild card.
7. Gianna Isabella – A number of singers have clearly outsung and out performed Gianna (Jessica Cabral, Stephany Negrete) yet she’s still here. I think her famous mama has something to do with it. Will the judges advance her to the Top 8 ahead of better singers? I hope not.
A few thoughts on last week’s eliminated contestants: Early in the season, it seemed Emily Brooke would go the distance, but she kind of melted down during this latest showcase. Choosing to sing Cassadee Pope’s power ballad, “I Am Invincible” was a huge misstep, but I have to wonder if the judges hadn’t already settled on the country girls they wanted to advance, and Emily wasn’t one of them. Jenna Renae and James VIII had their moments in competition, but were always destined to be canon fodder. Viewers probably would not have advanced Stephany Negrete deep into the competition. The Idol faithful don’t connect to “package” singers like her (See: Pia Toscano) but I think she deserved to go farther than Gianna Isabella, who can sing but has much to learn about performance and emotional connection. Jordan Sasser thinks he’s a big voice diva like Celine Dion, but he’s not. His limitations were laid painfully bare in his “I Believe” duet with Fantasia, where he unfortunately approached the performance like some kind of battle he could win. If he had a more realistic view of his own abilities, the singer might have had a shot at the finals.
Mac’s Power List
1. La Porscha Renae
2. MacKenzie Bourg
3. Avalon Young
4. Thomas Stringfellow
5. Sonika Vaid
6. Gianna Isabella
7. Jeneve Rose Mitchell
I think the gimmick is almost up for Jeneve. I’d be surprised if she cracked the top 10. Her competition is stiff, and her duet was absurd. She’s really eager, and she’s a fairly good musician, but there’s something still off putting about how she continues to dress like she’s from the middle of nowhere and rejecting any kind of stylistic change. Whether the producers are making her stay like this or not, it’s the kind of decision that makes me think she’s not top 10 bound. However, for the most part, I agree with the eliminated contestants this week. I was sad when I saw the spoilers that Emily Brooke was leaving so early, but I completely agree. Neither her solo or her duet were strong. I thought Jordan got unfair feedback and I don’t even like him. Jordan did what he’s been doing the whole time, and just now finally got negative feedback. You can’t advance someone like him to the top 24, and then be mad at him for “doing his thing.” Same thing with Stephany, who has never really connected emotionally to a song, yet eliminate her for still not connecting (especially when RoboSonika continues to let the lyrics elude her also). I think Avalon is a sleeper, and she’s got potential to really do well in the competition. She’s pretty consistent.
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