Thursday, 23 February 2012

The One Where We Meet At Least One Of Series 11's Top Ten

This is the big round. 15 of the Top 24 are chosen in this first part of two programmes at the Green Mile. The 12 girls and 12 boys who will appear on the Live Shows and forever have the Series 11 tag, however well they do, will be revealed. Compared to earlier years and X Factor's Judges' Houses round, Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez are handling this really well. Good comments and judgments with, so far, at least, no Louis Walsh oddballs or Paula-Nicole emotional pleading for someone they fancy. The Top 24 is finally chosen and now I can remove the 'spoiler' alerts at last.

Jen Hirsh is first through. Her song was strange for such an important audition. Jazzy but not that impressive. She's quite confident and should be reliable and will perform well and naturally. With the right tracks she might surprise us but she's not an Idol yet.

Creighton Fraker is second through. He's a reasonable sort of guy with a good voice and, again, should be a reliable performer but, unless he has something new to bring to the tv shows, I'm not sure he'll be around that long.

Joshua Ledet is third though and one of the better final auditions. This guy sings well and is just a natural rythm guy who even sings his thanks to the judges when he gets the news. There's some tinniness in his voice at the top end but plnety of nice tone and he can add shade rather than simply belting it out like many others. A good choice. Now will the public take to him?

Haley Johnson is a very photogenic cover girl for the show that we've only started to see more of. A nice girl, confident attitude and, yes, a great voice. We'll see plenty more of her all right. The camera just loves her.

Elise Testone seems older than the other girls and gives us an earthy, bluesy, very professional performance. Mature but looking very good, she'll be a great contribution to the show and is one who should add some colour and, hopefully, some rock and roll excitement in amongst the more predictable stuff from some others.

Reed Grimm has an amazing 'quirky charm'. I'm quoting Ryan seacrest there as I couldn't put it any better myself. He is one of the few who have a back story that backs the idea of him being a star rather than some sad story or irrelevant something or other. It seems that he was brought up by a family who all sang and danced and you get the feeling he's never done anything else! I like this cheery and cheeky chracter and he'll be great fun to have around over forthcoming weeks. I have a feeling voters will love him as long as he doesn't take tracks he's given completely off the wall (or rails!). An excellent choice.

Erica Van Pelt has been a mobile DJ which you'd never have guessed from her quite traditional and almost 'normal American slightly older girl' appearance. She looks like she should be doing washing powder ads. She ventures into Elise's territory with a low voice and I have no idea what her final audition song was. I get the feeling she just edged into the final 24. The judges may have taken a chance and, whilst she'll be reliable and not one to worry about putting on the stage, much will depend on the tracks she gets and she may be one of the early departures.

Chelsea Sorrell is a good-looking country girl we haven't seen much of so far. Nice girl who I can see appealing to an audience and who may be able to break out of the pure country field into something wider. She'll have tough competition, though.

Baylie Brown will be one of those competitors, possibly even more good-looking but maybe a little weaker on stage when performing. So they're equally balanced but my feeling is they're both vulnerable to someone we've yet to see get through. More about that next time.

Heejun Han, of course, has to be through. we've already realised that this guy has that certain something that appeals to viewers. His battle with Richie Law (who we saw eliminated just previously) got us all on his side and the arm-wobbling seems under control now and the hoodies should be consigned to the bin. We don't hear much of his final audition but enough to know that he's not at all bad. His singing is a bit boring but he's going to be a big draw for the show and is one nice guy that we'll enjoy watching (if not listening to) for a while.

Colton Dixon didn't even intend at the outset to audition but was persuaded to join his sister when she started. She got eliminated in the Hollywood second cull and we now get a very clever and passionate Fix You by Colton as his final audition. That was possibly just what he needed to impress the judges. He could be popular on the Live Shows. A little uncertain as to what he'll do and where he'll take songs but a good choice.

Jessica Sanchez is a young one, just 16, but you'd never know as she is one big singer and has guts and style and very good indeed. I'd like to see her doing more modern stuff but that was still one stand-out audition. She's emotional and maybe a bit of a risk but if she can hold it together she is going far.

Phillip Phillips is through too. We don't hear a great deal of him but, with guitar on the stage, he has a raw, unusual way to deliver tracks and it'll be interesting to see how he shapes up against his obvious rival, Creighton and the extent to which he is overwhelmed by the force of Reed's personality. A very likable chap but not sure how long he'll last.

Brielle Von Hughes is the last confirmed Top 24 choice in the first part of the programme. She's another young girl with bags and bags of natural talent. This one also has determination and just goes for it each time. So very much will depend for her, though, on how they dress and make her up, the songs they give her and how she distances herself from the other girls in this tough field. One year she might have been the one and only young great singer and performer with an earthy, natural talent. This year she has competition. It'll be interesting, or a disaster.

The first part ends with David Brock saying how he must sing. He has a big voice but shows in his final audition an nice touch. His Georgia alst week was impressive and propelled him this far. This audition was messy in places and I don't think he's Idol material. The judges have their doubts too but he'll be through.

That's fifteen. Nine to go.