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Who I think will advance: Danny Gokey and Alexis Grace for sure. Maybe Tatiana Del Toro or Anoop Desai. Dial Idol is ranking Michael Sarver ahead of Anoop and Tatiana–he could be the spoiler.
The theme? Contestants choose a Top 10 song from the Billboard Hot 100 from any year.
The judges order is changed! From left to right (looking at your TV (Simon, Paula, Kara, Randy) But they still start with Randy. In their video packages, the contestants reminisce about their Idol journey so far. Afterward, the kids sit down in the red room with Ryan Seacrest and their families afterward, to talk about their performances.
- Jackie Tohn – “A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis Presley – VIDEO
- Ricky Braddy – “A Song For You” – by Leon Russell – VIDEO
- Alexis Grace – “Never Loved a Man” by Aretha Franklin – VIDEO
- Brent Keith – “Hicktown” by Jason Aldean – VIDEO
- Stevie Wright – “You Belong to Me” by Taylor Swift – VIDEO
- Anoop Desai – “Angel of Mine” by Monica –VIDEO
- Casey Carlson – “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by the Police – VIDEO
- Michael Sarver – “I Don’t Wanna Be” by Gavin DeGraw – VIDEO
- Anne Marie Boskovich – “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin – VIDEO
- Stephen Fowler – “Rock With You” by Michael Jackson – VIDEO
- Tatiana Del Toro – “Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney Houston – VIDEO
- Danny Gokey – “Hero” by Mariah Carey – VIDEO
Tonight’s performances, with a few exceptions, were horrible. The best were Alexis Grace, Ricky Braddy and Danny Gokey. The worst were Stevie Wright and Casey Carlson. Everyone else was a big pile of meh.
I suppose sitting the kids down with their parents in the red room to talk about their performances was supposed to be DRAMATIC! But it was mostly boring. The only “moment” was when Stevie Wright teared up after her tuneless rendition of “You Belong to Me.” Gah. That was sad. She showed so much promise in her audition. Worse, though was Casey Carlson–song choice, vocals, performance–she was an epic fail on all fronts.
And holy cow, Jackie Tohn? What the hell was that? Her stage antics were neither fun nor funny. It was like she doubled her dose of adderall by accident. Seriously. Tatiana Del Toro was tame by comparison. Speaking of which–Tatiana did not totally suck tonight, but she really needs to stay away from the big songs. Her runs and her upper register are not good.
Disappointing: Anoop Desai. I thought his song choice was OK, but he seemed nervous, timid. And Randy was right. He was sharp through the song. Still love his smooth vocals. Brent Keith was utterly forgettable. Not a great song, and his stage presence lacked star power. Michael Sarver needs to stick to R&B. He really biffed Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Wanna Be”–but Simon’s plea for votes on his behalf may have saved him.
Anne Marie Boskovich’s rendition of “Natural Woman” was straight out of Branson. Yuck. And she’s another one whose attempts at runs and big notes miss the mark. Stephen Fowler picked the wrong song, and then botched it. He may be gone for good now.
Ricky Braddy is a fine singer, but has no stage presence or charisma. He’s toast. Alexis Grace is the package–beautiful, great vocals, charisma. But she’s not so polished that she doesn’t have room to grow. Dark Horse.
Danny Gokey is a solid singer and good performer, but he ain’t all that and a bag of chips. Tonight’s pimping by Randy, Paula and Kara was shameless. Thank jeebus Simon stepped in to calm everyone down. “I’m not buying into the hype, ” he said. Danny’s performance of “Hero” was schmaltzy and pandering. Yes, Danny, we know your wife died in July. You told us. Don’t milk it for votes. Yuck.
And it’s obvious the kids got the “personality” lecture from the producers. Anoop, Brent, Anne Marie and more talked back to the judges. Plus, were the kids really able to choose any Top 10 song from the Hot 100? The song choices were so lame, I’m thinking the kids really had a short list to choose from…
Jackie Tohn – “A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis Presley – Lots of wacky faces and cheesy dancing. She’s trying too hard. – Randy and Kara think she’s a good entertainer, even if the vocals suffered. Paula says she got her up dancing. Simon says she played the clown tonight. Called her performance “ungainly and gimmicky”. She may have blown a great opportunity, he says.
Ricky Braddy – “A Song For You” – by Leon Russell – This dude is a really good singer. I don’t think it’s enough to overcome his lack of screen time. Plus, going 2nd is not good. “This is the start of season 8” says Randy. “You killed that, ” says Kara, “You have an incredible gift”. Paula is glad America finally saw him. “I’m not jumping out of my chair, ” says Simon, “You don’t have star quality or charisma.”
Alexis Grace – “Never Loved a Man” by Aretha Franklin – She’s got a great look. She sounds great too. Wow. Great phrasing and interpretation. “You done worked it out…I’m loving you right now, ” says Randy. “The genie is out of the bottle with you, ” says Kara. Soul, confidence, passion are words Paula use. Simon thinks she’s the best so far. “You may be the little dark horse, ” says Simon. He compares her to Kelly Clarkson and declares her the one to watch.
Brent Keith – “Hicktown” by Jason Aldean – OOPS Brent’s tape had a glitch. He’s OK. Not a ton of star quality or stage presence. Not a great song choice. Randy thinks he’d make a good country artist. Kara didn’t like the song choice. She thought it was “safe.” Paula thought it was safe too, but also thinks he could be a country star. Simon knocks Bucky Covington then calls him forgettable. He says he “blew” his chance by picking the wrong song. “Country fans won’t think that’s forgettable, ” says Brent. Backtalk!
Stevie Wright – “You Belong to Me” by Taylor Swift – Oh pitchy! This song has no melody. WRONG SONG. This chick can sing, but you’d never know it tonight. Awful. She just blew her chance. Not one note in tune. Pity. “That was not hot for me, ” says Randy. “You have an identity crisis going on, ” says Kara. Paula says “ditto”. Not the Stevie Wright we fell in love with, says Paula. “It was terrible, ” says Simon. “Zero chance of you making it to the next round, ” he says. Aw, Stevie is crying.
Anoop Desai – “Angel of Mine” by Monica – I like the song choice. A bit pitchy, but nice smooth vocals. Needs a little work on his stage presence. “Interesting song choice, but a little sharp, ” says Randy. Kara agrees, but says there’s lots of great potential. “America has connected with you, ” says Paula. Simon thought the song was “too grown-up” and “too serious.” But says he’s go “massive likability.”
Casey Carlson – “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by the Police – This is very hard to watch. Stiff, awkward, boring. She pulls corny faces. Very amateur. She looks good, though. “That was kind of weird for me, ” says Randy. “Everything about that was wrong, ” says Kara, “You fell really flat.” Casey looks devastated. “Your phrasing was weird, you weren’t connected, ” says Paula. “The singing was just atrocious, you couldn’t have picked a worse song, ” says Simon.
Michael Sarver – “I Don’t Wanna Be” by Gavin DeGraw – Hm. Really odd phrasing on this. Not the best song choice. He’s a better singer than this, I think. All these kids are nervous and trying too hard. “You got an instrument, ” says Randy, “the first verse was weird.” Kara says, “There’s more in you.” Paula thought he did a good job. “We like you, ” says Simon, “If you get through it’s because people like you.” Simon hopes people give him another chance. Simon and Randy prefer him singing soul music.
Anne Marie Boskovich – “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin – This song is WAY too big for her. These kids can’t pick songs! Oh man, the runs–not good. Not crazy about her phrasing either. Randy says, “Not the right choice. Sub par, ” says Randy. Kara says if you do that song, “You have to kill it.” “Old fashioned, ” says Kara. Paula thinks she’s improved. Simon calls her a “hotel singer.” “Your voice isn’t big enough for that song, ” he says. “You may have ruined your one chance.” says Simon.
Stephen Fowler – “Rock With You” by Michael Jackson – Man. The kids aren’t bringing it tonight. Stephen is pitchy, nervous, tentative. Randy says, “I don’t know what’s going on.” Randy doesn’t like the song. Kara says he wasn’t connected. Stephen says he’s not comfortable singing without playing. Paula thinks he should have tried the David Cook song again. Simon says, “I with you had forgotten the lyrics.” Terrible song, terrible arrangement, he says. Aw. No family in the audience tonight for Stephen.
Tatiana Del Toro – “Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney Houston – Tatiana is semi normal in her video package. I hate to say this, but she’s not terrible. She’s pitchy in spots and pushes the high notes. She shouldn’t try to do big songs. But compared to some of the suckage tonight–not bad. Randy says, “You had some moments there.” Kara says, “Tonight it’s a very reserved Tatiana…is she a character or is she an artist?” Paula thought she had beautiful and pitchy moments. Paula misses the crazy. Simon calls her a drama queen. “You are desperate to be famous, ” he says.
Danny Gokey – “Hero” by Mariah Carey – Thank Jeebus for on-key singing. He sounds like he’s got to clear his throat. Getting past that–he’s putting on a good performance. Nice phrasing, good range, confident. Paula and Kara are going nuts. “The redeemer of the night, that was blazing hot, ” says Randy “You are the hero, ” says Kara. “Stellar, sold-out arenas, ” says Paula. “It wasn’t fantastic, it was good, ” says Simon. “I’m not buying the hype right now.” he says. Hm. Neither am I. Too much dead-wife pimping for my tastes. Just get out there and sing, please.