Thursday, 16 February 2012

The One Where Jen Gets Bingo, Only Skylar Does Country and Reed Plays The Drums

Finally we get to see and hear what some of the better contestants can do. I counted group or single performances by 15 of those who make the final 24 which still leaves 9 of whom we only get the briefest glimpse (and I'm not sure we even got that for two). Part 3 carries on from the previous night when they were all trying to make groups, some successfully and some not.

Things start reasonably enough with Jennifer and Carrie from the first five girls getting through and then all five of AaronCreightonJen Hirsh, Reed and Nick getting through easily. Brielle, Joshua and Shannon get through in the next but the annoying All American Beefcake Kyle doesn't which, judging by his attitude to the others, would have been a popular decision.

Mathenet survives in the fourth group where Amy Brumfield's efforts to get over illness don't and so it's back to her tent again.

Then we get three girls who forget their words who don't proceed further and get told of a bundle more who didn't and do get through but with no idea who they are! In the next group we get to see it's Alicia (I'm a cop, d'ya like cops?) who has stayed up almost all night and tries hard but it doesn't work. A chap called Christian who we haven't seen before comes across well but fails to impress the judges. These are tough times. As we head for the break cue a door closing and, yet again, Alicia gets a bundle of publicity. I should ahve mentioned that, on being rejected, she did a quick ad for herself as a personal security guard and that will have helped her career, I'm sure. Just not her music career.

Eben, Ariel, Gabi, David Leathers (the young ones) and an older guy called Jeremy are all through in one of the better and well-organised groups. In complete contrast we then get a poor young girl called Imani who faints and appears to have lost hope of joining her group who redo their act to take account of that. Just before they go on she returns and wants to perform so it's almost understandable that they make a mess of it with only Johnny Keyser, one of the real experienced professionals in the field, virtually single-handedly holding the whole thing together. He deserves to get through and Imani faints again at the end of their performance. That gave the judges a tough decision to make as she wasn't at all bad and, in the circumstances you might have expected them to give her one more chance. However all credit to them, they made the point that it only gets tougher from here on and she was out.

There are several more indicated as going through that we don't see and then we get the final group, the extraordinarily pompous Richie Law trying to tell Heejun, Jairon and Phillip Phillips what to do. Heejun seems to have really appealed to Jennifer with his husky voice but the sound of anything beginning with b a or p in the lyrics from the Korean was clearly not as annoying to her on the stage set as it sounded on my tv set. Jairon did very well and Phillip was excellent, these three showing up the Cowboy who was not at all good after all the hype! For all that they all get through and we get some odd scene of Heejun, with tongue so much in cheek they both seemed to bulge (or maybe that's just the way he looks anyway) offering an apology for remarks he'd made about the Cowboy the night before. Hilarious.

We hear that Erica, Adam, Hallie and Elise also get through but with little clue as to who they are and that ends that day.
At last, in the second section of this show, we see several performing with an 'Idol band'. We meet Joshua who is good, very good and, for the first time, Colton Dixon who returns after failing to make it last year. Colton has nice shades, a natural talent. Phillip Phillips has an earthy voice that sounds way older than he looks. He has a unique and natural talent too and provides an interpretation of the tracks that is his and his alone.

Jen Hirsh is very professional and we see her in her element at last - excellent, quite different to many of her competitors and delivering Georgia On My Mind in style. She can do gentle and heavy, mixing seamlessly and effectively the two. Steven says "Bingo!"

Creighton Fraker shows us he's good but a bit off-tune for my ears. a clear talent, though, and apart from trying too hard and screeching a bit, that was not a bad version of What A Wonderful World.

Reed Grimm seems to have lost his nerve after being so confident in the past and we're led to believe that he had intended to sing on his own but was instructed that it had to be with the band. This bothers him and we get several minutes of him with a vocal coach just a few minutes before he's due to perform and, oddly, he calls his mum who sounded to me as though she would have simply told him to get on with it and stop being so stupid had someone not told her she'd be broadcast to several million. After all that show, Reed was brilliant, playing the drums in the band by way of compromise with the musical director and giving us an absolutely spot-on performance of Georgia and making us wonder just whether all the preceding stuff was one good act. Compare that to the fainting girl and you can see who gets through and why.

Shannon MacGraine follows. She's been great in the past but didn't sound so good this time and was heading for a disappointing performance but eventually, when she stopped trying so hard, she was considerably better and finished in excellent style and impressed the judges.

Skylar Laine had suffered from exhaustion the evening before and been taken to hospital but still insisted on getting her act together and appearing on stage. She was the first country girl we've heard and did a great job. a really great job. I was full of admiration for her, not just in getting up and performing but in doing so as if nothing had happened. Steven, unusually, says how good she is, too, at the end. Apart from a Bingo remark for Jen Hirsh earlier, no judges really gave such obvious preferences.

Rachelle breaks the run of star performances by messing up the words. She gets over that and has a nice voice and attitude but couldn't avoid her nerves flowing through her performance and was disappointing.

At the end we hear Adam Brock, a good singer with a big voice but weak at the top end when he sounds very tinny. His low roar, however, is quite appealing and that's what the judges seem to like. He doesn't look like Idol material, though, but has a mature attitude and will be around for a while yet.

The show closes with the division of the remaining people into four rooms. Three roomfuls get through and one doesn't. We say farewell to Britany Kerr and Rachelle as well as one or two others that previous shows had featured as interesting but I didn't spot any particular favourites in that room. The big and most painful cuts will be next as, presumably, they're whittled down to those that will be appearing on our screens and appealing for our votes, not just those of the judges in Las Vegas.