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

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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 Tuesday March 3, 2009, Season 8

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For the most part, last night’s American Idol presentation was pretty good.  It was nice to see the contestants singing songs that were more well known, and, for the most part, they sang them well.  There was, however, little greatness seen on the night.

Vaughn Smith- “You’re All I Need to Get By”– I thought he produced the best lead-off performance of the three shows.  That probably says more about the other two shows than it does about Vaughn, however.  He hit his notes, and it sounded good, but the whole thing came off a little like Wham does Marvin Gaye.  It just did not seem right, but he really sang pretty well.

Randy thought it was very hot.

Kara said that he was coming into his own.

Paula loved it.

Simon thought he reminded him of Clay Aiken (in a good way).  He thought that he sang the song well, but was dressed badly.

Taylor VaiFanua- “If I Ain’t Got You”– The first thing I thought was, “Why is she wearing an inner-tube on her legs?”  I thought that the beginning was a little low for her.  She hit the notes, but her tone on that part was not great.  In the end, I thought it was OK.

Kara thought that she hit her notes well, but the performance was cold.

Paula criticized her because she already had sung the song in Hollywood.

Simon thought it was very generic and bland.

Randy found it to be boring.

Alex Wagner-Trugman- “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues.”– This guy made the most of his off-stage moments by showing that he has a great personality.  As far as his performance went, it was too affected, too low for him in the beginning, and came off like a guy singing karaoke after a few too many beers.

Paula found him entertaining.

Simon thought that the growling was ridiculous, and likened him to a “hamster trying to be a tiger.”

Randy thought it was wild and that he screamed it.

Kara thought that he was a fun guy.

Arrianna Afsar- “The Winner Takes it All”– For a while it was hard to tell if she was on pitch or not, but something was obviously wrong.  Then, she was definitely off pitch.  For the most part, it was a ‘runny’ mess, but she ended it strong.

Simon said that most of it was terrible, and that it was too big and dreary.

Randy said that she tried to do too much, and that vocally, it was not good.

Kara found it to be dark, depressing, old and serious.

Paula also thought that the song was too old-fashioned.

Ju’not Joyner- “Hey There Delilah”– I liked it overall.  I thought that he sang it well, and his tone was good.  However, I don’t know how memorable it was.

Randy loved it.

Kara thought it was smooth.

Paula was glad that he changed it up from Hollywood week.

Simon said that it was better than he thought it would be.

Kristen McNamara- “Give Me One Reason”– I was surprised that the song was not too low for her, and she sang it well, but it was really, really safe and did nothing to show off her voice.

Kara thought that she was a great singer, but did not choose the best song.

Paul thought that it was safe and did not show her range.

Simon said that he does not know who she is, and that, though the song choice was poor, she sang it well.

Randy thought it was an easy song, and that she tried to do too much with it.

Nathaniel Marshall- “I Would Do Anything For Love”– My first thought was, “He is going to sing that?  Oh, my.”  Then, I thought he was leading an aerobics class.  It was not badly sung, but it was no where close to being as good as MeatLoaf.  I also found it a little dry.

Simon thought it was excruciating.  He said that it was a weird song, and he had a weird look, but he was memorable and fun.

Randy found the song choice to be curious, and could not imagine making a record with him.

Kara encouraged him to pick a more serious song.

Paula thought that it was the Boy George version of the song, and that was not cool.

Felicia Barton- “No One”– I thought it was very, very good, and perhaps the best of the night up to that point.  It started well, she showed good inflection.  Her voice broke in a good way, and she looked like she belonged on stage.

Paula thought it was unbelievable.

Simon thought that the first part was better than the second part.

Randy thought she had an amazing voice and was hot.

Kara said it was good, and that she noticed her for the first time.

Scott MacIntyre- “Mandolin Rain”– I thought he had a nice tone to his voice.  He had a nice voice-break and inflection.  He was good on the strong notes also.

Randy thought he was passionate, and that the parts that were great, were really great.

Kara said that he moves mountains and sings from the heart.

Paula felt that he had blessed her with his gift.

Simon did not like the song, but said that Scott was growing on him.

Kendall Beard- “This One’s For the Girls”– I was worried that it might be too low for her, but she smartly moved the key up a little.  She was a little pitchy, but overall she sang it well.  She sounded, and looked pretty good as a country singer.

Kara thought that she had a big personality.  She also said that it was the right song, but was flat part of the time.

Paula thought that she had the best outfit.

Simon agreed that it was the right song, but was a little shrilly toward the end.

Randy thought it was a good song choice, but not her best vocal.

Jorge Nunez- “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”– The accent was weird in an Elton John song, but this guy has a really good voice.  He was the best of the night so far, and endeared himself even more with his humility at the end.

Paula said that he has worked hard, and sounds good.

Simon likes his accent, and agreed that he is a very good singer.

Randy said that it was not the perfect vocal, but it was really, really good.

Kara told him that he was a singer with a gift for touching people.

Lil Rounds- “Be Without You”– I thought she had the most professional sound and look of the group.  She was a little pitchy on the “oohs”, but her voice has a nice smoky tone to it.

Simon thought it was brilliant, but a little too close to the original.

Randy thought she was one of the best, and was glad that she kept her swagger.

Kara said she was great, and a powerhouse.

Paula called her first class.

If I had to choose who I thought would go on it would be: Jorge, Lil, and Scott or Felicia.