American Idol Wild Card Show Season 8, March 6, 2009

Find my latest American Idol article here.

I was pretty underwhelmed with the wild card show last night.  It was clear from the choices from the night before that the judges already had in mind who would move forward.  The fact that Felicia was not one of the ones to make it was a red flag to me because I thought she was the best one who had not been voted-in so far.  That being said, I picked out the judges top three easily even though it would not have been my top three.  And let me say one more thing.  Ricky Braddy got screwed.  All he did was go out there and perform two very difficult songs very well.  His tone and inflection were consistently good, and his diction was amazing on songs that were more difficult.  I think Simon needs to be reminded of one of his own mantras.  “This is a singing competition.”  Putting Anoop through instead of Braddy was ridiculous.

Jesse Langston- “Tell Me Something”– I thought the beginning was awful, and that the song as a whole was way, way too affected.  It was clear by the end that she had a high opinion of herself, however.

Randy thought that she did not sing it well.

Kara thought there were bad notes, but liked the swagger.

Paula notes her tenacity and determination.  She also likes her soul.

Simon thought it was a lot better than her first song, but indulgent.

Matt Giraud- “Who’s Loving You”– The judges requested the blues from him, and that’s just what they got.  As far as the performance went, it was pretty good.

Kara thanked him for the blues and liked his riffs.

Paula thought that he did an amazing job on the perfect song.

Simon thought it was a billion times better than his first try, but hated his clothes and likened the performance to Taylor Hicks.

Megan Corkrey- “Black Horse in the Cherry Tree”– This is where I thought the judges went off the map.  This song was a mess.  She was flat and nasally for most of the song, and screeched the last note.  I thought it was horrible, but the judges were determined to put her through so they spent most of their time afterward telling us why we should have ignored that horrible vocal.

Paula said that the song fit.

Simon liked the fact that she is current.  He thought it was not the best vocal, but it was terrific.

Randy agreed that it was not the best vocal, but a good song choice.

Kara informed us that we need her.

Vaughn Smith- “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word”– I thought it was dreary.  The verse was not good, but he ended it well.

Simon thought that it did not start well, and that it was boring and too serious.

Randy agreed that it was too serious and that the middle of the song was better.

Kara agreed that it was a bad song choice.

Paula told him that he was too technical, and he thought too much.

Jasmine Murray- “Reflection”– She was much better than last time, and reminded us all that she is really very good.

Randy said that she was flat and sharp, but great in spots.

Kara did not know that she had that big of a voice.

Paula saw that she was determined.

Simon said that the song was pretty special, and a brave choice that put her back in the running.

Ricky Braddy- “Superstition”– It started well and got better.  His vocals were all over the place in a good way.  Also, this guy has amazing diction that allows him to sing some difficult songs.

Kara said that he had good chops and can sing his butt off.

Paula thought that he nailed it.

Simon thought it was a little light-weight and karaoke.

Randy thought it was a little self-indulgent.

Tatiana Del Toro- “Saving All My Love For You”– She informed us all that she was “ready to sing for you, America.”  Then, she showed us that in only a week’s time, she had discovered that she has a Puerto Rican accent (thank you, Jorge).  She showed, once again that she has pipes, but the accent was just weird.  It, however, was a very good vocal.

Paul noted that she grew an accent, but liked it.

Simon criticized her heavily for singing it for the third time.

Randy thought that it started off rough.

Kara still does not know who she is.

Anoop Desai- “My Prerogative”– I thought that this was the most karaoke performance of the season, and it was not much of a showcase for his vocals.  If anyone looked like Taylor Hicks, it was this guy.

Simon said that he was not the best singer, but was likable.

Randy thought that he was better than the last time.

Kara said that it was the best he has done.

Paula said that he is a showman.

In the end, the judges gave us a top 13 and added Matt, Jasmine, Megan and Anoop to the others who had already made it through.

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American Idol Season 8, February 17, 2009

Find my latest American Idol article here.

I will start this season off with an Idol Primer for those contestants who have not read this blog in the past (which is around 8 billion of you).  There are some things that you need to remember when you go on Idol: 1) If you are a girl, be careful not to pick a song that is too low for you.  2) Pick a song that is popular and has a catchy melody.  And, 3) never argue with the judges.

As far as last night’s show went, it proved mostly to be a gaggle of spares with a couple of good singers thrown in.  First impressions mean a lot on Idol, but it seemed that there were very few contestants who knew how important that really was.

Jackie Tohn– “A Little Less Conversation.”- I have not been a fan of hers from the beginning.  It has seemed all along as if the judges were giving her pass after pass even though she did not perform very well just because they liked here style.  I thought she sounded like she was singing at a karaoke bar.  To borrow a phrase from Simon, it was indulgent, and she was horribly dressed.

Randy- was not blown away by the vocals, but he was entertained.

Kara- did not like the vocals either, but thought she worked the stage.

Paula- had the odd statement that ‘sometimes perfect is boring’ regarding her vocals (What does that mean?).

Simon- thought she blew it by doing something silly rather than something good.

Ricky Braddy– “Song For You”- Ricky had a great performance of a song that was hard to sing.  The problem I have with him is that he forgot another of the Idol axioms: If you sing at the beginning of the show, it had better be a memorable performance, or people will forget you.  He may have sung great, but he chose a song that no one knows without a chorus.  It was definitely not a song that you could tap your foot to, or that would get in your head.  As a result, a guy who should sail through may have problems because he simply chose the wrong song.

Randy- thought it was great.

Kara- thought it was amazing.

Paula- thought that he deserves to go far.

Simon- thought he sang well, but that he had no charisma or star quality.

Alexis Grace– “Never Loved a Man”- She has a strong voice that does not match her body.  She sang the song well, hit all her notes, and was easily the best woman on the night.

Randy- loved it.

Kara- thought it was a pleasure to watch her come out of her shell.

Paula- liked her ability to express so much soul.

Simon- thought she was the best so far by a mile.

Brent Keith– “Hicktown”- It was OK, but not great.  He hit his notes, but it was nothing special.

Randy- liked his country style.

Kara- liked him, but found the song safe and not rangy enough.

Paul- saw him in a country band.

Simon- thought that he blew his one shot because it was forgettable and had no impact.

Stevie Wright– “You Belong With Me”- She fell into the trap that many ladies do when they perform on American Idol,  She picked a song that started too low, and she just could not sing it.  She then proceeded to sing out of pitch for the rest of the song.  It was a total mess.

Randy- thought it was not hot, and safe.

Kara- thought the song had nothing to do with her.

Paula- agreed that it was not the right song.

Simon- thought it was out of tune, terrible, and that she had zero chance of advancing.

Anoop Desai– “Angel of Mine”- It was a safe ballad, but he sang it well.  It was nice.

Randy- thought it was a little sharp.

Kara- did not like the song choice, and did not think he could sing it.

Paula- reminded us that America has connected with him already.

Simon- thought the song was too grown-up for him and too serious.  He did comment, however, on his massive likability.

Casey Carleson– “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”- She looked completely fake on stage, and the whole performance looked like karaoke night at Fudruckers.

Randy- thought it was not good, and the wrong song.

Kara- thought everything about it was wrong.

Paula- said that she was beautiful, but it was the wrong song.

Simon- thought the sing was atrocious, and did not know who she was trying to be.

Michael Sarver– “I Don’t Want to Be”- The beginning was weird, and he was way down in the mix.  This may be more of a production fault, but the lead vocal has to be prominent for that song to work, and it was not.  As a result, it sounded weak in comparison with past contestants who have sung it.  He also should have moved around more.  It was not great, but he did sing on pitch.

Randy- thought it was rough pitch-wise, and not that great.

Kara- thought it was not the best performance.

Paula- thought it was a ‘real good job.’

Simon- thought it was not the best vocal he ever heard, but asked America to give him another shot.

Anne Marie Boskovich– “Natural Woman”- I thought she had some good pipes and was on pitch.  Unfortunately, I think that I was the only one who thought so.

Randy- thought the song was not the right choice.

Kara- said that the song was not young.

Paula- thought that it was better than she had done so far.

Simon- thought that her voice was not good enough for the song.

Stephen Fowler– “Rock With You”- When I heard that he was singing this song, I thought, “He’s going to sing that?”  My fears were realized as, though he sang the song well, and added a soulful element to it, I was left with the contrasting images of Michael Jackson performing on stage, and Stephen just standing there like a statue.  Not the comparison that he wanted.

Randy- did not like the song, and thought that it was not good.

Kara- liked it better when he forgot the lyrics.

Paula- would have liked him to have sung the song he had trouble with earlier.

Simon- called it pointless and corny.

Tatiana Del Toro– “Saving All My Love”- It was obvious that someone got to Tatiana, and talked with her about her attitude.  She was a completely different person, but the damage from Hollywood had already been done.  I also thought she was pitchy several times in the song.

Randy- thought the song had some moments.

Kara- did not know who this new Tatiana was.

Paula- thought she was beautiful, but the song was pitchy.

Simon- thought she is a complete drama queen who is desperate to be famous.  He did say that the singing was not bad.

Danny Gokey– “Hero”- He reminded me of Elliot Yamin in a good way, and without the bad teeth.  I liked it, and thought that even the falsetto was good.

Randy- thought it was blazing hot.

Kara- thought it was great.

Paula- thought it was stellar.

Simon- brought it back to earth by saying that it was good, but not fantastic.  He liked the improvisation.

In the end, I think that Danny Gokey and Alexis Grace should sail through.  That leaves one other person which could be Ricky Braddy, Anoop Desai, Michael Sarver or Tatiana Del Toro.