Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Most talented top 24? Really?

Sure, after everyone gets to sing a few more times, my perspective could change. But after being able to see all 24 singers sing a full song the last few nights, I will say that at this point, claims of this being the most "talented top 24 ever" are greatly exaggerated. Better that last year's? Of course. As good as Season 5? Don't think so. And it's probably about even with Season 4's final two dozen. It does have an advantage, though, when compared to season 4 in that we didn't get anyone truly terrible in either the guys or the girls (unlike, say, Janay Castane that year.) But just like last night, we had a few strong performances, a few not very good performances and a bunch of OK.

I have also heard talk in a couple quarters that this was the best-looking top 24 in history. At least on the female side, we may have a winner there. True, this is the first top 24 I've watched in HD, but there's a lot of depth in the beauty department.

On to the show, although I do want to say that midway through tonight, I started to think that having a theme at this point in the competition isn't that great an idea. Nigel said that the reason they did that is because when they let the singers pick their own songs, there were often problems with clearances and people had to change their songs at the last minute--so they were just picking 50 songs from the 60s and wouldn't have those problems this year. But watching 24 singers sing songs in the same genre just seemed to get a little repetitive. But I know Nigel doesn't care about my opinion....

Kristy Lee Cook ("Rescue Me")--If you haven't heard, Kristy signed a record deal with Britney Spears' label a number of years ago, although it never really amounted to much. So the whole "I raise horses" story is sweet, but does leave out a little information. The thing I really didn't understand about her story, though, is why, if she lived in Oregon, she had to go all the way to Philadelphia for her audition. She couldn't have picked a closer city and not had to sell her horse? She couldn't have taken a long drive down the coast, or a train, to San Diego? Anyway, Kristy, based on her performance tonight, probably isn't going to earn the money to buy that horse back from a recording contract she gets after Idol. The singing was decent, but the performance was just incredibly lacking in any kind of energy. Very disappointing, considering we've been reading about her and her recording contract, etc. for weeks now. One other thing: Shouldn't Paula allow the singers to bring up the fact they're sick--if that's what they want to do--instead of pre-emptively making excuses for them? If Kristy wants to play that card, fine, but let her do it. Maybe she didn't want to bring it up and look like she was making excuses. By the way, my favorite "sick" story from Idol was two seasons ago, when that guy named Sway gave a poor performance and Randy and Paula acted puzzled at why it was so bad. (The real reason, of course, was that he wasn't that good.) They were so perplexed that Ryan said to Sway, "Were you not feeling well?" and Sway said, "Maybe I was a little sick." It was hilarious.


Joanne Borgella (Say A Little Prayer)--This song was just all over the place. Randy and Paula didn't use the word, and I have really never known exactly what the word meant, but wouldn't her performance be a good example of being "pitchy"? She was up and down and not good.

Alaina Whitaker (I Love You More Today Than Yesterday)--Wow, she does look a lot like Carrie Underwood. Her speaking voice kind of sounds like her too. And she can sing well. Unlike Kristy Lee Cook, she showed energy and excitement. Combine that with a relatively powerful voice, and we've probably got a definite top 10 competitor.

Amanda Overmyer (Baby, Please Don't Go)--I'm never going to criticize someone singing a song by one of my favorite singers, Van Morrison, but....I like to see people sing songs with strong melodies on American Idol, especially in the early weeks of the show, and this song doesn't have much of one. So she didn't really do much except kind of sing the same few words over and over and do some scatting, which didn't do much for me. Having said that, she does bring something different to the competition, so I hope she stays around a while and shows what else she can do.

Amy Davis (Where the Boys Are)--Amy is a very attractive woman. She's not much of a singer, at least judging from tonight. She picked an unexciting song and seemed flat most of the song. When I looked down at my notes while writing this, I said to myself, "Oh yeah, I forgot about her." That kind of sums it up.

Brooke White (Happy Together)--She looked great (those blue eyes were beautiful in HD), and her performance was fine and fun--if nothing particularly special. Her voice is kind of thin, but she did enough to advance to next week, at the very least.

Alexandrea Lushington (Spinning Wheels)--That first name is quite a mouthful, like her parents couldn't decide whether to name her Alex or Andrea and just went with both. She sang a song which, I believe, was last sung by Bo Bice on Idol, and I agreed more with Simon than the other judges, as usual. I didn't think it was that great. Did like her stair descent at the beginning, though.

Kady Malloy (Groovy Kind of Love)--Didn't know that Phil Collins apparently covered this song and that it's really a 60s song. Or maybe they just made an exception like they did for "Jailhouse Rock." Still love the Britney impression. And the Britney impression is better than her regular singing. But I really didn't think she was that bad--she's got a powerful voice and showed it off a little on this song--and don't think she really deserved the lengthy tongue-lashing she was getting tonight from the judges. Yes, she needs more personality when she sings, but that was a bit much.

Asia'h Epperson (Piece of My Heart)--We've heard the story about her dad enough already. What I want to know is, what's the deal with the apostrophe and "h" at the end of her name? Why is it there? As for her singing, I liked it--lots of energy, good voice, made it her own. In fact, the way Asia'a sings it, the song is apparently called "Piece of My Art."

Ramiele Maluby (You Don't Have to Say You Love Me)--Nadia Turner still did the classic Idol rendition of this in season four, and this wasn't as good as that. It was solid, but I'm not sure it was deserving of the lavish praise it got from the judges. But what do I know?

Syesha Mercado (Tobacco Road)--Not crazy about the song choice--as I said earlier, I like to hear a song with more of a strong melody--but liked its subject. My hopme for four years--Tobacco Road! Anyway, I did like Syesha. She struggled a little bit about two-thirds of the way through, but she worked it out and was a presence on stage. And she's got some pipes. By the way, she was previously on a record-setting television show. She was a singer on the reality show "The One," a reality show that aired on ABC a couple summers ago. It tied a record by only airing once and then being immediately canceled because of unbelievably low ratings. I watched the one episode to air because I love to check out American Idol copycats and can report that this show was awful. The twist was that all the singers went to "academy" each week between shows, working with all these various tutors to make them better singers and performers. That was nice, but like all Idol copycats it failed because there was no judge who was willing to take on the Simon role and tell people they sucked.

Carly Smithson (Don't know and too lazy to look it up)--Wow, what a surprise that Carly would get the first girls' pimp spot. You could see that coming three weeks ago. And I must say, I don't really get the love for her. Yes, she has a strong voice. But there's something about her that isn't warm and welcoming about her. There's nothing as a listener I want to latch onto about her and like--she always seems like she's having such difficulty singing. When you watched a Kelly Clarkson or a Fantasia or a Ruben, they made it look like they were having fun and the whole thing looked effortless. Carly just looked like she was in pain for half the song. I'm not sure if others get that same vibe from her (please leave comments with your thoughts!), but I also think she may not be the favorite that everyone thinks she is. She's already received so much publicity about having a record deal and yet selling less than 400 copies of her record, I just don't see America rising up and voting for her every week. I guess we'll see. And by the way, although it was good to see that Carly did talk about having a recording contract, saying that the record company "went out of business" makes it sound like it was some fly-by-night operation. It was a pretty well known label, MCA Records, which technically isn't around anymore, but was absorbed by another record company. It's not like they just disappeared and all their artists were release from their contracts or something. I doubt that will win Carly many points.

So who's going home? I think Amy Davis is one, because she was so forgettable and didn't get much screen time before tonight. The other one could be Joanne Borgella, could be Kristy Lee Cook. But Kristy probably got too much screen time the last few weeks to go out this early, so I'll say Borgella.

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13 Comments:

Anonymous John said...

You know, I thought this ep was much MUCH worse than the men.

Here we go:

Kristy Lee: dull and the wrong song for her. And she was doing all sorts of weird eye acting into the camera. Like when Kirsten Dunst was accused of sending "cheer sex" to someone in the stands in "Bring It On."

Borgella: kind of flat. She has a nice voice and a beautiful smile, but it wasn't anything special.

Alaina: my favorite of the night. Fun and breezy and a really good voice. That's the kind of stuff I like to see on American Idol.

Amanda: she was good and she's weird. But not really in an affected way, if that makes any sense. What I mean is that she strikes me as more of a Chris Doughtry than an Nikki Mckibbin...or whatever her name was.

Amy Davis: I thought her voice was very nice but it was a very boring song and presentation.

Brooke White: I liked it and I like her persona. At least I do now. I may start to hate it as weeks go by. Watching American Idol is like dating the wrong person--the things you like at the start are the exact things you hate down the road.

Alexandrea: I liked it okay but then either I got bored, it fell apart, or both. I'm leaning towards "both."

Kady: Outside of the fact that I hope to marry her someday, I thought that Kady did a nice job with a slow song (see Amy for the difference). She did not deserve the stomping that she received from the judges. Oh, and I'm pretty sure that the song was originally done by the Hollies in the 60s.

Asia'h: I liked her. Sang well and it was fun. And I'm glad you also noticed her dropping the "h" from this song. Maybe her major singing influence is Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins?

Ramiele: second favorite of the night. She sang it well, was impresively restrained vocally, and had nice little dramatics on the pauses, etc.

Syesha: the opposite of Ramiele, as far as restraint goes. She was okay, and as Randy says, she definitely can blow. But also, she kind of blows...

Carly: she was average, definitely not worst or best. She seems like a truly terrible human being, though, and looks more like Divine each week.

2/22/08, 11:14 AM  
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