Rock! Week! Yea! This is kind of the week I’ve been waiting for, overall I feel like the contestants have been varying degrees of complacent with their song choices this season and I really wanted something to push them in new and unique ways. Rock may fit like a glove to Dean Ray and even Caitlyn Shadbolt, but I am curious to hear Rochelle Pitt with hopefully some grit and Marlisa brought to a whole new level that I know she is capable of. These or the sort of things that can make or break you. A great contestant will be able to rise above the theme and make it work for them and this is that fire on the iron to test them. I think this was part of the problem with American Idol 13 (and every iteration of the Voice), they were playing to softball with the themes on the contestants, push them and show their worth. So anyway on with the show!
Dean Ray‘s “New Sensation” I’ve been obsessed with the INXS catalogue since Rockstar on CBS, man was that an amazing show. At the final 24, I’ve never would have thought I would be so strongly rooting for Dean, but man this guy is an artist and deserves to win. And man oh man Dean Ray delivers a-freaking-gain. This boy is destined for stardom. His vocals have always been solid, and his stage presence stellar, his risk-taking on point. Damn how is Dean not already a multi-platinum artist, I’m literally not even joking.
Reigan Derry‘s “Boys in Town” Reigan once the queen of my countdown has been slipping a bit and unfortunately this performance didn’t quite do it for me. It checked off all the boxes, great vocals, great stage presence, great outfit, great arrangement, but it felt a little too clean to be rock. I wanted it to be dirty, I wanted seething passion, and instead I just got a very solid straight on vocal of this performance. She did it very well, as good as anyone could ask, but this genre exposed her weakness which I say hints of during “Stay With Me” Reigan cannot fully commit herself as the narrator of the song she is singing, there is a disconnect and that disconnect is costing her. Of course she is great, I don’t want to be misconstrued, but with performances like this Dean deserves to win over her.
Jason Heerah‘s “Seven Nation Army” Jason was in a bad spot coming into this week, but this dude redeemed himself with this performance. I felt the fire, the passion and the correct pitch. I seriously considered even putting this performance even higher, but I took into account his overall performance track record and despite killing it, this was the highest I could place him. The package with the kids was great, the conversation with Redfoo was relevant (and that is all you can ask out of him), but most importantly that performance had exactly the right amount of girth for him to avoid the bottom 2, for sure.
Brothers 3‘s “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” this performance was good, but didn’t have the polish that made “Pompeii” soar. I liked what they brought to the song with their pub rock-a-like roots. And I thought the arrangement and song choice was on point, but the biggest flaw here. Those stellar harmonies were a tad bit off in places. I wanted it to be amazing and instead we got good. Good enough to avoid the bottom 2, but they need to perform at a higher level and earn their spots in the finale. I do not want them to be Christopher Mahoney, because A. duh and B. they are better than that.
Marlisa‘s “Nothing Else Matters” I love quriky Marlisa, I love psychic Marlisa, I love Bjork Marlisa and I love Disney Marlisa. I have faith I am going to enjoy Metallica Marlisa, it is this versatility from her that makes her stand out as not just another Ellona Santiago or Jessica Sanchez, this is Marlisa and she is just that. That was stunning. I have Jennifer Lopez trademarked goose pimples all over my arms. Too bad for that sharp glory note, but I am loving what I am seeing on the stage and Marlisa could be a dark horse for the all but predetermined final 3 showdown of Dean, Bros3 and Reigan. As far as I am concerned Marlisa is the only one with a prayer besides those three to even get in there.
Rochelle Pitt‘s “Heavy Cross” this song is literally my favorite song from Gossip, I love this album, I love this song and every time that Maybelline Paris commercial comes on with this song I just love it. Rochelle you got some big shoes to fill, but hearing the choice I’m happy, this song requires a big voice and Rochelle certainly has that. There is a bit of interesting strategy going on here. Forget the lyrics once and be forgiven with pity votes, remember them the second time and engineer yourself a growth arc. Very deceptive if that really was the plan, but I think Rochelle is frankly better than that, but I don’t hate her for making the best of situation. Despite loving this song, I can’t help but hear Rochelle shouting through the song completely and that is a major knock on this performance. It had all the elements of greatness, but that level of shouting throughout the entire song is unforgivable at any stage of the competition.
Caitlyn Shadbolt’s “Closer to the Edge” I’m not really sure what was happening at the beginning. She was literally being drowned out by the arrangement and this performance overall wasn’t very good. I have higher standards for Caitlyn, and this did not deliver. I have called her a professional time and time again, but this was amateur hour. I think ultimately it came down to the wrong song choice, which is unfortunate, country and rock as so closely related with their folk roots that I thought Ronan would do well in this arena, but it just didn’t work out. Maybe something like a rocked out version of Florence + the Machine’s “Kiss with a Fist” or Switchfoot “Stars” or Oasis “Champagne Supernova,” or really pushing the boundaries of rock First Aid Kit’s “Silver Lining.”
Tee’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” damn straight I am literally loving the song selections so far. Queen is amazing and every show should always have a Queen week. Always. Was awesome on American Idol 5, on X Factor UK 8, on American Idol 11, all the time every season, every year. Tee is in a bad spot this week, coming out from a bottom 2 appearance and then last week only one spot out of being in the bottom 2, this boy has a lot to prove tonight. How do the judge’s say it, Tee never quite got into the pocket with this song, consistent pitch problems from start to finish. I’m sorry Tee this did not go well. You looked like the rock hero on stage that I wanted you to be, but you didn’t deliver and no amount of emotion or feeling can compensate for basic problems you are having. He certainly was having fun and I wanted to like it, but alas, best prepare your bottom 2 sing-off song “just in case.”
1. Dean Ray
2. Reigan Derry
3. Jason Heerah
4. Brothers 3
6. Rochelle Pitt
7. Caitlyn Shadbolt
I’m feeling pretty good about my prediction of a bottom 2 of Tee versus Caitlyn. And I feel even more solid about Tee leaving tomorrow. He has been outclassed for weeks and his abilities are hitting their limits in this competition.
Thanks for reading,
Bottom 2 sing-off!
I think there was really no wrong decision to make here, both Rochelle and Caitlyn have delivered at almost the same level throughout the competition. Caitlyn may be marginally more marketable so I’m glad it went the way it did. I am disappointed for Rochelle to go out on this week, I would have preferred her going out on a stronger week, hate to leave on a bad night, but that is sometimes how the cookie crumbles. Tune in next week to find out if Tee can avoid elimination again somehow.