Sunday, 30 March 2014

Now just 8 remain

So, who makes 9th place this Season? There are several less than enthralling contestants still around: Dexter, in particular, nice old boy that he may well be, simply doesn't cut it as a future major album selling, concert ticket selling act. Jena, too, has yet to fire up real enthusiasm and match her performances to what we'd been led to expect.

Randy tells us that he liked her, though, and put Jena with Caleb and Malaya Top 3. Ryan doesn't get people on stage but there's some camera thing that puts the face of those saved on the big screen. Jena, Malaya are first to be declared safe so Randy was right and I was wrong. (Janelle Monet sang but I didn't get to see that so that'll have to wait for another day.) Next safe are Alex and Jessica. Good. She survived the Rhiannon thing. Caleb eases through so Randy may well have been right. Dexter makes it through too. Oh dear. So it's Majesty, Sam and CJ as the Bottom Three. That's twice running for Sam and three times for Majesty. I would expect Majesty to have to sing again but it may be CJ's unknown track that didn't appeal. Surely Sam is OK.

Majesty is, indeed, the one that has to sing to try and convince the panel to save her.

She sings Happy but, I have to say, not very well. I really have admired this girl and hoped for so much from her. This was a breathless, uncontrolled performance with plenty parts out of tune and yu just felt that she knew she was out. If anyone were to be saved, though, I feel it might be her. But after that I am not at all sure she deserves it. Being on the Tour, of course, means she hasn't really lost much. Shame to see her go. It really should have been Dexter.

Sam must be wondering how he can match the others' popularity too.

The Top 9 Perform

This week they're 'with the band'. At first I thought that this was going to be an old-style Big Band show, which does happen at some stage sometimes, but no, this is much better - basically getting them to perform with the band on stage.

This should suit several like Jesse and Caleb better than others.

Alex starts with more of a solo with his guitar, much as usual, doing Don't Speak by No Doubt. He made a good job of it and he certainly has a talent and bags of support from the crowd. He doesn't change though, and we need to get just something to remember. Keith got it right - we need an 'edge'. That song didn't have any edge at all. It was nice but he needs to be a bit nastier.

Majesty needs a good week and doesn't deserve to be in the bottom two again. She does Florence & The Machine's Shake It Out - well, she tries but she could be in trouble again after all as that was not right for her. It was a brave effort but all over the place and the track just doesn't suit her. I would be worried that this may be her week to go if the others choose better. Harry is so right in saying how people can't latch on to who she is as she has such a vast range and may not appeal to enough people at the right time. She would have been my choice to make the final this year but it'll take some good fortune and much more careful song selection.

Boondocks by Little Big Town is another bit of a cheat by Dexter who stands there with his guitar singing a goof ol' boy Country song. Was there a band anywhere? He suggests we 'give it up for the band guys' but I think they'd given up and gone for a smoke anyway while he was on. To be honest, he was not very interesting and that was terrible forgettable. Harry hits him hard with the same point. It may be that Majesty gets saved by Dexter. For several minutes the conversation is about gummy bears and it's like the production team had actually forgotten him.

Malaya has lots of energy, you have to give her that. In the sing-a-long-rock at the start she was obvious, maybe too obvious, but at least she was making an effort and getting excited. I have always thought she tried to hard so far. The Long And Winding Road from The Beatles, mostly Paul, is her choice. Not exactly a 'band performance' but what a good choice to show us what she can do. The glasses are a hundred times better and she holds herself back, not doing the screech and trying over hard like before. Nice job. She ought to be safe after that. Best performance of the night so far and she'll be around a bit longer. I just hope she stays in control and doesn't revert to rubbish.

Sam is slowly growing in confidence and he has a great chance tonight. Hey There Delilah by the White Ts is simple but quite effective for him. He looks good, very comfortable - maybe just a bit too comfortable perhaps - and I reckon he's the act whose time has come. That's his style and I can see him surviving if he can keep the girls voting in big numbers.

Jessica talks about how she likes hunting again. She may actually win some votes over there with that! Rhiannon is a wonderful track but it is a tough thing - Stevie Nicks has burned that song into my brain. I hoped she would do more with it. This was the track that someone else I admire - Didi Benami - sang at about this stage in the competition, only to be voted out. She was spot on with the lyrics, tune and all that but nothing that grabbed us and she is suffering from the comparison. I like Jessica a lot and she really should have a chance to win this thing. She would be my choice to win and I would look forward to her album too.

CJ is another serious contender in my view. Such a natural talent. You can't imagine him doing much else really. If It Hadn't Been For Love is a track from the Steel Drivers that few seem to know. Good though and ideal for CJ. He should be through easily for another week. Nice job. Complicated review from Keith this time, matching Harry. The audience have to pause for a moment to try and figure out what on earth he meant before applauding! CJ just listens and looks increasingly confused. Harry tells him he has to work on his pitch. I can't really tell you what Keith said as I didn't understand him myself. Poor CJ just wants to sings tunes.

Caleb really should make the most of tonight. This is most definitely his theme. He has had a rock band for some years but hasn't done well with them. In a way you wonder why and what is now going to be any different. He chooses Led Zeppelin's Dazed And Confused. Not a number that many will know and not the band's best known track either. Caleb does, of course, belt out the lyrics and does so in tune and in time. he knows what he's doing but much of the track's success is from the band. Remarkable performance as he does get hos vocal chords screaming out eventually in an impressive ending. The audience were well in support which I was a bit surprised about, bearing in mind all the Country folk that I thought would have been there. It will be interesting to see whether people who liked that are also people who vote on these programmes.

Jena closes the show. Following Caleb isn't easy. I would have expected him to have been the last act. Jena should also be at home with this theme and has the Evanescence classic Bring Me To Life. Not the simplest of songs as it maybe shouldn't be hit so hard at teh start as most people are inclined to do. She chews up the lyrics a bit. Nice to watch her on stage but this was a messy performance and had a touch of desperation about it. Possibly the second worst of the night and I would put her and Dexter in the danger zone. Joining them might be Majesty. I also fear a little for the lovely Jessica, purely because Rhiannon is very risky.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Someone has to come 10th. And we meet Royal Teeth.

The production team give us a nice glimpse of the Top 10 after the show eating some food and joking around. For all their weirdness, they do seem to get on pretty well although one or two were noticeably not involved.

Randy is working pretty hard in the background and seems to be doing a lot of what Jimmy Iovine used to do. He guides all of them well and summarises well, too. Obviously he doesn't talk of anything being pitchy any more and Harry Connick Jnr has totally taken over the technical accuracy.

Dexter is the first in the Bottom Three. That's as I expected. Jessica, I am pleased to report, is the first person saved and Malaya joins her. Oh well. Majesty is in the Bottom Three again. Caleb gets through. I would have put them the other way round. So that leaves Jena, MK, Sam and CJ. I should think that CJ will be safe and Sam ought to have appealed as the only young, good-looking boy. So if MK survives she's done very well indeed. Jena was a bit heavy-handed but I reckon she'll still beat MK. If she doesn't it'll be like several similar artists who have bitten the dust at this stage in X Factor USA and last year's Idol.

Royal Teeth do the stage performance. A band I haven't heard of before who are pretty infectious with a number that grows really well. Nice job, introduced and promoted by Harry Connick Jnr. They're worth listening to again and are in the video below.

Yes, it's MK with Majesty and Dexter in the Bottom Three. Majesty does get to survive - that's good - and it's Dexter who came 9th, leaving MK to have to sing to be saved.

She does a superb job of All Of Me and the crowd sounds desperate to save her. The panel seem to be close to agreeing but one says no. I can only imagine that they're holding out to save someone else if necessary. So she goes. Sad because I think she had a chance of giving the others a good run for their money and had a chance to get to the Top 3. Still, she's in the Summer Tour and will be well remunerated come what may.

The Top 10 Perform

The full show is included in this post. Ryan Seacrest starts us off with a terrible 'selfie' - the track from The Chainsmokers being the link to all that stuff and that is taking off here too.

MK has chosen Perfect, the Pink song that may not quite reach as many votes as she needs. It was competent but I feel she yet has to let herself go, If she were to do that then I think we would have a moment and there would be someone to watch grow. As it is, she's good but that special star quality isn't coming across on screen. She has a nice solid fan base and is looking good too so I think she might survive - unless everyone else does really really well. I like this girl and wish her well.

Long, long comments from the panel. All sensible stuff, though. Harry is pretty intense but very accurate.

Dexter I am surprised to find still there. He just is Country and only Country. They're picking tracks from 2011 on which got to the top something. Pink's track made No.2. For Dexter's the camera had to pan the billboard charts to the Country section but I did actually recognise it - the one about windows down. Good song but surely this guy isn't going to win this thing? I suppose Taylor did. It was a very lazy performance. I guess that's to his credit that he didn't appear nervous or anything and all the notes were in the right place. Not something we're going to remember much, nor will everyone be downloading it. They might as well just get the real thing and, to some extent, the same could be said for MK's.

So far neither has shone nor messed up so le's see how it goes from here. It's an opportunity for someone to mark their mark.

Jena is going Clarity by Zedd and Foxes. No, nor had I. It suits her and she has quite a bundle of personality that comes across. Otherwise, though, this was neither one thing or the other. She sort of stopped to ask the audience to wave their glowsticks in the air. That didn't sound right. I don't know how you're suppose to shout out in tune but she didn't quite get that right. She does look good and has benefitted greatly from the makeover teams efforts. I don't see her getting many votes. So we're still waiting for something special.

Alex is the odd one in this Season. He is very talented and smart - not mainstream but he is so natural. He's doing a 1 Direction song! Now that's brave and good luck to him, being completely out of his normal zone. However you can never know what he'll do with songs. The Story Of My Life is a good example - he strips it down nicely and I think that worked well. It needed every note in place and they were there and he even got some emotions across. He just doesn't look like a star but he is most definitely an artiste. The audience loved it and the panel give him some great reviews. So what will the voters think? I hope they go for him and keep him around a bit longer.

Ryan tells us as they go to a break that there is a limit of 50 votes per method. That's interesting. I was going to say that would prevent any major fan buying a place by just voting all the time but I suppose if they are that rich they can just get a load of others to vote 50 times.

Malaya hasn't yet managed to get through to me. She is a bit too loud and 'in yer face' for my taste without really showing any talent. Bruno Mars' If I Were Your Man is a great song and she starts well, softly and very much in the right tone too. As it grows, though, she starts to wail and the tinniness in her voice at the top end and the masculinity at the bottom end both annoy. In the middle, and at the very end, she was impressive, though. At 16, and seemingly no experience of a relationship at all by her own admission, her lyrics were simply not credible. Harry says she was sincere and I go along with that in that she tried. She is pretty good and gets great reviews. So I shouldn't be too hard, I suppose. X Factor USA had 14 year-olds.

She gives a little away about her level of confidence when Ryan gibes her some flowers and when reading the note attached she is totally in control, including getting everyone to wait while she read a last bit. Interesting.

Caleb is singing Lady Gaga. That should be good. We need something to enliven this show. He chooses Edge Of Glory which is a super track. He can sing really strongly and in tune too. This was good but it just sort of started and stopped. He set off in top gear and stayed there. Not that interesting or as memorable as I had hoped. I still think he was better than all but Alex tonight so he ought to be safe. Keith was spot-on with his comments about how he is absolutely in tune vocally but there was no variation in feeling. The song is huge and he did just seem to be showing off vocally, as JLo said.

CJ chooses Hunter Hayes' Invisible. Do I know this? I should. It's a lovely song. CJ has surely taken the favourite spot after this performance. That was a quality act indeed. I felt that there were a couple of places where he missed something and wobbled. Keith said he was shaky, despite being perfect in rehearsals and blowing everyone away. I agree. But I have a feeling that he'll be well safe for all that. He was really the first to bring emotion across properly. (Alex probably could have done as well but not with a 1D song!)

Three to go: Jessica, Sam and Majesty.

Jessica has Pumped Up Kicks which brings out her Country style well and this is a very commercial track that she does well. That was excellent and she has a tone that is just right. She looks lovely, a great job from the makeover team and she is establishing herself as a genuine future star. It was a little easy-going and Harry does call her a bit one-dimensional, she was smiling when she perhaps should have been serious. He was right but she has a certain style that appeals to me. Keith calls it 60s style pop, ignoring the lyric. Hope she survives.

Majesty was in the Bottom Three last week - or even the Bottom Two. I had her down as a potential winner so that was a surprise and I am not too sure what she did wrong. This week she has chosen really well with Avicii's Wake Me Up, a tremendously commercial track. She sounds a bit nervous but hits the notes and has some clear emotion that I never noticed in this song before, She made me listen to the lyrics and all credit to her for that. For me, this was almost the best of the night, it could have been a lot better but I still think she was that good and could be even better. Harry calls her 'complex' - a good word for her as she has that sort of talent to work with what she has and do something interesting with it. She has a good look too, less doll-like and more like a performer. Nice.

Sam winds up the show tonight. Another Bottom Three person. He chooses We Are Young by Fun. This could drag a bit if he's not careful. It is a popular song, for sure, but he needs to do it well. I like his style and his voice is great. He does try hard to make this a bit special and he succeeds in places when he doing the slow, quieter part. He might have been better transforming it and keeping those quiet parts. The panel is rushed to comment so they don't get much chance! After the lengthy ramblings for all the others that was quite odd. I liked it but the 'Toni-i-ight' bit wasn't as strong as it should be.

Predictions? Hmmm. I think Dexter and Malaya and CJ may be at risk.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Top Ten - and who makes the Summer Idol Tour

I found the Results Show!

This determines the ten people who make the Summer Tour - and that is worth a decent amount of monthly income as well, of course, as plenty of good publicity for career progression those who didn't win but still did well. So for the one person missing out tonight this is a particularly rough deal - worse really than coming 8th, 9th 10th.

Ben and Majesty are the first two declared as in a bottom three this week. I would not have put Majesty there. We also learn that MK had been in the bottom two twice running so she must have not been as popular before as I'd expected. Having said that, she has clearly redeemed herself now, coming at least 7th. I must be missing something about Malaya who seems to be through pretty easily. After a timing problem with the band Jessica still makes it which I'm glad about as she has something special about her.

The Bottom Three this week are Sam, Majesty and Ben. Surely Majesty must be safe. But no, it's Sam who gets 8th place. Majesty gets 9th and that leaves Ben to sing for what is an option for the panel to save him. Quite what that means about making the tour I don't know. Maybe if they don't save him it won't arise anyway.

I think coming 11th is about right and still a damn fine achievement so well done, Ben, but no, there's not going to be any save.

Just a thought as I watch these shows with more of Ryan Seacrest than the auditions showed. he is looking decidedly older, or something has changed about his face that makes him look a bit odd now. Perhaps the makeover team need to sort him out a little. A fine host, though.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Top 11 Perform and it's beginning to get tough to choose.

Here is a run through of all the Top 11 performances without interruptions. I do quite miss the 'interruptions' in a way but at least this has enabled us to see who did what quite quickly and catch up with the States which I believe we have done - at last! Hurray!

OK. Who's first on what sounds like Movie Songs night? That, as we know, means they can sing anything as I am sure they'll locate some movie it;s been featured in! Tom is looking increasingly confident and happy on stage, with his eyes very much on the prize, and maybe the girl fans who really don't have much choice in the looks department.

I thought they would have kept someone whose name escapes me but who was around until the very last stage before this. He was ridiculously good looking but I guess this is a singing competition. Tom also has a striking resemblance to Prince William. That won't do him any harm over there either. He sings The Beatles' Come Together and makes a pretty good job of it. Nothing exceptional but solid enough and that ought to see him through to the Top 10.

Jessica is someone else who is looking really good now and the makeover team didn't have to do much to transform her into someone we'd be happy to pay money to watch. She is a superb singer and has an intriguing tone and very believable intonation to lyrics such as these. Her track is Paul Simon's Sound Of Silence. What a great track. Lovely. Something odd seemed to happen about two thirds the way through when a drum tick starts up but which seems totally out of sync with her rhythm. The camera turns to Harry who looks as if he's wondering about that too. It doesn't put Jessica off, though, and eventually settles in to her rhythm OK. A very good performance and a long gaze at the camera as she finishes. She had better not go.

Can't You See is CJ Harris's track. It's not one I know but that doesn't matter as he makes sure we all get the feeling behind this bluesy, dusty Country number. He is a strong, totally natural singer and this is the third excellent performance tonight. I can see CJ recording some old tracks that need to come around again and doing well in that as well as seeing that this sort of music is what he is all about. Good choice and he really should be safe with that. I don't see how he could have improved that at all.

Dexter does Sweet Home Alabama competently enough but this is a pretty tedious track and does nothing for me at all. To be fair he hits all the right notes and it seems to go down well. maybe there are lots of Alabama people there - and there is always quite a heavy Country bias in this programme that few can get over. He is not someone I would predict getting far and the strange turn-up on his hair at the front is a makeover fail but... he's not made any mistakes and smiles at people.

Ben Briley has B-b-b-Benny And The Jets which suits him. he looks quite old after the makeover, with a sort of maturity that sets him apart from the others so far. He knows this song well and luckily they managed to find a film it was featured in so he could perform it. His family knew all the words too so it looked like something he was used to performing. No problem with that, though, and shows some intelligence. I don't know whether he has the American Idol presence. But then Phillip Phillips didn't. A good, well-paced performance and if he goes it will be for nothing that he's done wrong there.

Majesty sings Let It Go. This seems to be something from a musical rather than a film. I didn't catch where it did come from and it's new to me. A brilliant performance again from this girl. She has to be favourite to win this thing. Her personality just shines out from the stage and every time she has performed since getting to the live shows she has just been in her element, thoroughly enjoying herself and giving it her all. For me, there were some bum notes and tuning issues and the track seemed to lose itself from time to time so it wasn't one that we'll all be rushing to replay later. However, I reckon she has built up a good following now and that will see her safely through a few less than spectacular performances.

Caleb has an amazingly powerful and accurate voice and uses it to great effect on Skyfall. Indeed, I would rather hear his version than Adele's which always used to annoy me. He has almost perfect pitch and manages difficult notes and transitions really well. This guy has to compete for votes with Dexter, Alex and Ben I suppose. That has to mean they all suffer a bit as few will vote for ll of them. He looks like a rock star from the 80s and if it's that genre's time then he's the one to deliver it. I just don't think it is. He is excellent and may outlast one or two of his competitors in this competition but go sooner or later he will.

Make You Feel My Love is something that MK Nobilette very much wants people to get and this is her track for the evening. She is excellent, and seems to be finding some extra reserves of confidence that had been missing before. A good, quite distinct voice and a style all of her own. She reminds me a little of Alex Park who won our Fame Academy many years ago mixed with some Annie Lennox, perhaps. Nice performance and one which I get the feeling had quite an impact on the panel, Harry in particular. I hope she gets the votes that she deserves.

Alex does Falling Slowly a nice ballad which is not an east track by any stretch of the imagination and needs a lot of emotion to get it across effectively. He manages that and may be the best singer of all his crowd when it comes to individuality rather than just sheer power or whatever. Alex just doesn't look like a star. I want to hear more from this chap and he really should be around a while longer. I just don't know who is going to make an effort to vote for him over Caleb, Ben or Dexter. Of the four, though, he's the one I would back.

Jena Irene has survived so far and meeds to pull something special out of the bag to stay in this competition. My goodness, she certainly has here. Decode is a phenomenally good track for her and is the stand-out of the night in my view, so far. A very, very emotional and powerful performance that cannot fail to have had an impact on lots of people watching. Will they vote for her, though? Has she made that big leap from showing that she is one classy singer to being someone they want to support and be a fan of? I thought she might have gone before but she didn't. I do hope that on a night she deserves so much to get through she isn't let down.

So Malaya made it through and the lovely Emily is the one that seems to have disappeared. That is quite a surprise and, once again, Malaya does a big number with an annoying voice that, whilst hanging onto notes much better than before, is still not something I want to listen to much at all. She seems to wobble around notes and never quite get it right. She is almost over-confident now and determined to belt things out in an attempt to prove that a girl with glasses and braces can do well. We know that, dear. Just get on with singing.

So she'd be my prediction to go tonight but if she has survived on much poorer performances I have to wonder who else she may beat after all. It could be Tom, Ben or Dexter. Tom might just get by. The other vulnerable one may be Jessica after Jena's extraordinarily good show. Now that would be so wrong if Malaya stays and Jessica goes. We'll have to wait and see. Unless I can find a results show!

Monday, 17 March 2014

The Top 12 Perform. Ben and Malaya look vulnerable.

Here are just the Top 12 performances with no commentary in between. Again, make your mind up! One has to go. Kristen left last week after a pretty poor effort. This week they all seem to have upped their game somewhat.

As before, I have included the whole show at the end of this post.


Another good performance. A bit desperate at the top of notes and not stunning. he has to stand comparison with Jessica and I feel she is losing.


He lost his way a little, maybe concentrating on the electric guitar more than he should have been. That made this a bit boring and not as inspiring as his first week. He ought to be safe though. He reminds me of a young Dylan and is definitely a stand-out in this competition. I reckon he stands a chance of winning, despite ths less than memorable week.


With No Surrender Jessica managed to equal Dido if not actually out do her. A very well-presnted track and she is reay ahving a good series so far. She is up against Jena in some ways and so far is winning. This is classy and you start to feel that you can believe her and also rely on her to come across well.


Good ol' boy doing Good Ol' Boy things. He does them well enough, but is this really what we want of an American Idol? In 2015.


Yes. She is piutting a very firm marker down in this competition with Let's Get Loud. marvellous and that was what the audeinec wanbted. real taleny and she seem to be diverse too.


Another strong and very competent number that is unlike anything else on this show. How can he survive? I suppose as the one and only of that genre he is mathematically more likely to survive than the three or four counry dudes. Except for the Texas vote.


A much better track this week but a much more nervous and flailing performance that showed lots of vulnerability. That may not do her any harm but she'll be gone if she continues in that vein. Nice genre but not well performed


He's OK, but needs better songs, This just started and stopped and he didn't get a chance to do anything much with it that we could remember. He shouldn't go just yet but he'll have to pull a lot more out of the bag to survive much longer. Maybe he's just cruising at the moment.


Definitely appealing to the girls and the Country scene with a gentle rolling number that was ideal for his voice and this stage of the competition. He could have put himself up there in the top 3 with that. well done. Not as good as Jessica but good, nevertheless.


Someone ust have had a word with her after last week. Better hair and stage presence generally and she is in more control. Well, up to a point. She is dreadfully off key most of the time and screeching at the top notes like a wailing mouse rather than hitting them like a decent performer that we might pay for should.


Great voice and so easy-going on stage as if he has been there for years. Nice tone and he makes some effort to get a message across but loses that and it finishes rather worse than he would have wanted.


With the blue painted guitar and the classic Fix You she ends the Top 12 show with a very, very clear lead. There was a major wobble as she sang I'll try... near the end but that will probably get forgiven and I imagine she won the week hands down.

The Top 13 perform, or just try to, as the case may be

With no transmission of the series now in UK I shall use this excellent set of clips which will give you a good idea of who did what. This excludes all the judges' comments but that's not such a bad thing at this stage. Make your own mind up! If you want to see the whole show, it's at the end of this post.

I spotted Alex & Sierra in the audience. There are two or three who really don't look like staying and one or two who have made a clear mark on the leader board.


Dexter kicks off this season's Live Shows. Not very well, though. He's a Country-style boy but this was pretty tedious and very uninspiring. Some would have turned off I imagine. He is competent but the song was rushed and just a mess to listen to. Not much to watch either.


Oh dear. This was awful. Malaya was running through this with no feeling whatsoever. Running too, far too fast and losing the rhythm and any hope that we might want to stay with her. An odd performance in many ways, with trousers that just looked grubby. She needs to start again.


Another nervous and wobbly performance from this girl. She didn't look too great this week either and won't have done anything to help gain the fans she'll need to survive. A beautiful disaster? No just a disaster. Sorry, Kristen but that was almost as bad as Malaya's.


The first to sound confident and at home. Good ol' Country stuff but with a bit of a hard edge. He can sing fine, this guy. He could be anything between 50 and 95, though. Not too sure about his audience being AI voters.


Another reasonably confident performance although was so uninspiring I almost fell asleep. The guy's pleasant and talented but I don't see him getting far. He deserves to get further than the first three though, I have to say, on present form.


A great singer but she is taking a huge risk with this number for her first live show performance. She really ahs an unusual, jazz-influenced style that could well be very cool and perhaps even the next big thing but it just seems a bit earlier to go to extremes with the voters she needs at this stage.

Majesty Rose

At last! This is someone who, as Randy would have said, is in it to win it. A speedy number that is almost flawless. Excellent. the best by far so far.


A little shouty but no more than can be fixed with some guidance. She has a strong voice that isn't too tinny like some and she has the power to convey emotion well as well as looking good on stage. She deserves to stay a while.


Superb performance! He doesn't look ike someone who would win Amrican Idol but this was so good, better than Majesty and she was damn good. That could be the performance of the night. Amazingly good first effort by Alex.


Another good one. maybe they saw the first few and realised they needed to do something a lot better. I like this girl and her tone is soulful and determined. She deserves to be around for some time yet too.


The prettiest girl and she can sing and hold our gaze for more than just the way she looks. Nice job, with feeling and if the voters are like X Factor USA then she stands a good chance of reaching the final stages.


Sam Woolf is another who deserves to keep going. He has a good voice and knows what he's doing. This wasn't as appealing as some of the others before him have been but so much better than many of them.


The rocker - like something from the 80s American Heartbeat era. He has a great voice and this was flawless and powerful up to a point, but only so far. Maybe the song was wrong but it didn't pull us in and, despite nice studio echo effects, it just didn't go anywhere and the ban sounded a bit thin as backing for him. A talented guy, for all that who may stay a while if the voters are into his thing.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

No stars for Channel 5*

Can you believe this? Channel 5 have dropped transmission of American Idol. In the middle of the series! This is ridiculous. I can only assume that they were being charged too much by Fox and not getting enough viewing figures for the advertisers. Having said that, there were one hell of a lot of advertisers signed up - did they just cancel contracts when figures weren't as expected?

I don't think I can recall a series being dropped midway. You'd think that they would have paid to broadcast the whole damn thing, or at least contracted to pay, then sold the spots and sat back to see what happened. Some you win, some you lose. They were never going to get many by putting it on 5*, which is off the page for most TV guides, and at 5pm most people who might be a potential viewer are probably doing something else if they do manage to spot it's on.

So I am going to have to try and carry on with a streamed version direct from the States. At least that will be up-to-date and not x weeks behind like we have been! That's assuming I can find a link. Hopefully someone will come up with one if I can't find a good one that works here myself.

Yup. Really annoyed. Sorry for the delay that'll be inevitable in keeping you folk posted but we want to know what is happening and I may well have to add the videos here too for you.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

This is your Top 13 for the Live Shows.

I'm confused again as the programme starts by saying that '20 have performed'. No they haven't. 10 girls have and 10 of 15 boys are about to. Or have we missed something in an effort to catch up with the States?

We get glimpses of some of the guys performing but no more and then Ryan is announcing the first person through. So here are the ten that get though on the votes of Idol fans: Malaya, Ben, Emily, Alex, Jessica, Dexter, Caleb, Majesty, MK and Sam. So they're the ones who have made the best impression on voters. The guys are an extraordinary bunch - not exactly guys who we'd expect on a model calendar!!

There are three wild card entries that the judges will decide. They get five more to perform. CJ Harris is first - a super performer and singer who I expected to have appealed to the public. He is totally natural, obviously loving the music and just such a nice guy. He gets a lot of criticism from Harry about something having gone wrong and both he and Keith felt he'd not maintained a contact with the audience. Interesting.

Next up is Jena Irene with a last chance. She did really well and surely won't be accused of not connecting. That was excellent.

Spencer Lloyd, the good-looking one, gets a chance. The show needs him, really it does, with its crazy male line-up at present. That was an underwhelming sort of performance of Ordinary Girl but he's popular with that crowd for sure. He is modern and in the time zone, unlike quite a few others.

Fourth with a shot is Bria Anai. She does It's A Man's World very effectively and oozes talent that none of the others have shown so far in a way to compete at all. Surely she must have saved herself with that performance.

Harry thinks it was all over the place, though. Hmmm, that was surprise.

Last is Kristen O'Connor. Her Unconditional is poor, however, as she is drowned by the band and begins to look a bit desperate.

I'd put through Bria, Jena and Spencer or CJ.

Jena makes it. Kristen does. Wow. Didn't see that coming. Last one - CJ! Great. Not what I expected them to choose but well done.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

First big stage performances for the Top 10 girls

Finally we get to the big stage - an impressive but slightly over-the-top set - and Ryan Seacrest is doing the host job as well as ever. For a long time he's been hanging around audition room doors with a whole range of parents and loved ones so I reckon he's very glad to be amongst people he can have some control over!

On come the panel, Keith and Harry in pretty casual, non-committal wear and Jennifer in something blue that fitted where it touched. There was quite a lot of thigh showing as she walked along and whoever designed the dress probably didn't intend it to behave the way it did so he or she may not be getting too many repeat orders. The top worked and I guess that was the idea as she should be pretty much behind the desk all evening. I don't know if there resolution on my screen was wrong but I remember how wide Britney, and especially Mariah, looked last year and for a moment the normally pretty slim by comparison Jennifer appeared to be heading in their direction.

Randy Jackson returns to the show, not as a judge but as a sort of super mentor and that's a role he'll be good at. The production team have also spent a lot more money and put a lot more effort into this stage of the whole competition by providing a big range of support and advice to the final 31. This is normally only for the last 10 or 12 and is a welcome move. I am particularly impressed with Adam Lambert being brought in as he has a superb understanding of what works, what a song needs and is good at communication too. There's also Chris Daughtrey who has done pretty well since his 4th place some years ago. I am not too sure about the non-denominational spiritual support couple but they're full of good intentions! With many of this lot being quasi-ministers or pretty heavily into church in one form or another they may well feel they already have God on their side but I suppose the couple even things up a bit for those who haven't.

Introductions over, we learn that, whilst all 31 are sitting in a backstage room watching procedures, only 13 will make chairs on the stage for the next Live Shows. So that's a lot that won't make it. It's not immediately obvious how the 31 become 13. First I think 31 have to become 30 by virtue of the public vote from last week to kick out one of the boys. After that, the judges pick five from each group for 10 finalists and I am guessing that voting is involved to bring the remaining 20 down to 3. In order to vote, though, surely the public will need to see and hear some perform but if they don't see all 30 perform how many do they see?

All, I suppose, will be revealed. It might have been a good idea to tell us first.

What we do know, though, is that Majesty is in the Top 13. She is the first chosen and comes on with great confidence. She has super style and it's an immaculate version of Happy. This girl is good and so much at home on the stage and with the audience, seemingly totally unfazed by the huge stage and event. Well done.

No.2 is Kristen O'Connor. She is the all-American looking girl that looks like she must have been a cheer leader and looks very clean. It was quite good to see her appear in a very 'non-starry' outfit. Yes, the top glittered but she had simple jeans and her hair was not perfect. Good decision by someone. She did an Adele number that was neither here nor there and she is certainly competent if not inspiring. Unlike Majesty, she gets some criticism which is fair. I don't know how well she'll do but she's done well to make it this far.

No.3 is Briana Oakley who is on her second or third attempt. She's seriously good - literally, very serious and seems to concentrate heavily on getting the notes right which, of course, she does. Warrior is a Demi Lovato song I don't know but it gives this talented girl a good chance to lay her emotions out on the stage. She's good, for sure, but I just don't see her winning. There is something missing. It might be personality which she may well have but she needs to communicate 'her' with us. I think I have figured out what is happening: 10 of the girls are performing, chosen by the judges. The votes will turn them to 5 and somehow another 3 (in total from the girls and boys) will be found! So I am still confused.

No. 4 is Jena Irene. She does Paint It Black for the mentors! Great, unusual choice. And she is doing that on stage too. I feel that she is trying just a bit too hard and the band is also painfully obvious. This is not as good a track as I had hoped - really too much shouted at us and with little or no shade in that at all. Nor was it sufficiently strongly performed to be a rock song either. Jennifer says she is one of her favourites. That's a surprise. Harry asked her what she thought the song was about. I am not sure she knew. She actually gets better reviews than I expected from Keith and Jennifer. Harry was just polite. Maybe they were too.

No. 5 is Bria Anai. Wrong Side Of A Love Song is her choice which, again, I don't recognise. This is a passionate number and she performs this really well - the best so far. You can see she was making a huge effort and that worked for me. Interestingly, she gets quite a bit of criticism from Harry and Keith which I would have thought Jena should have had. Maybe I missed her lack of control which even Jennifer commented upon. Harry gets the first boo of the Season for his remarks! Nothing major, though.

No. 6 is Marialle Sellars. She sings Roar. Adam slows her down. On stage she seems confident but this is a rubbish song and very difficult to get across effectively. There was no real 'roar'. She gets a lot of credit for rescuing things when she lost a shoe. I didn't even notice. It was not a good showcase as Jennifer said. Harry said that she was not the person they'd seen at the auditions and seemed to have been lost in a poor choice of song and over production too. I think she may well be one of the first to go. It needn't have been that way but maybe she'll be back another year.

No. 7 is Jessica Meuse. This is a talented girl, doing a Country number - the first tonight. She is one of the best too in terms of handling the camera and sharing herself with us at home. Nice. Chris Daughtrey tried to get her to leave the guitar to others to play but she appeared with it and I didn't notice the 'poor playing' that he hinted at. I thought that was a genuinely good performance and hope she gets through.

Ryan finally makes it clear that the public will choose 5 boys and 5 girls from the 20 performing. 11 simply won't perform at all. Then the judges will pick one each for the last 3 places that have not been successful with the public vote.

No. 8 is Emily Piriz. Not sure about the song but she's a cool chick and seems much younger than all the others so far! Adam is a brilliant mentor and gets her to do this well. Harry asks her about the words! It seems that what the song is about is not what he necessarily thinks she should have been singing about at 17! Luckily, she turned 18 a few days earlier. She goes bright red at Harry's comments. Just as well he wasn't on X Factor USA with the 14 and 15 year olds and their lyric choices!

No. 9 sees MK Nobilette. Now she's only 15! What will Harry say. She chooses All Of Me. Great choice. This showed her vulnerability. She is a superb singer and brings a massive presence to the stage, the crowd absolutely love her. I am not sure quite why - and I mean that well. It could be, as Keith points out, her simplicity. Here is a star for sure. Not your typical American Idol but she looks right on the screen.

Next we learn that Ben Brierley gets the 15th guy vote. So Poor old Nico has been hanging around for nothing. He was a good contestant - that's been two years now for him.

No 10. is Malaya Watson. She knows what she is doing - a very good singer and also aware of the artists and music she is singing. She chooses a Ray Charles number that is very bluesy. A little wobbly at the start. Maybe nerves were getting to her but she pulls through and gives her heart and soul to the major part of the song with amazing emotional appeal. Now, Harry really should criticise her for going over the top and missing notes and stuff. She does look a bit odd with a not particularly brilliant makeover. the hair is a mess and she dissolved into the dark blue and black. They're all a bit polite. She smiles a lot and Keith says she makes glasses and braces cool. Ah, well down, Keith, he mentions her going over the top. You have to feel sorry for the other five girls, Andrina, Jillian being two I thought we might have seen more of.

Looking back, Majesty and MK were the two that really stood out. Jessica and Emily ought to make the Top 5 too. After that, I have no idea who I'd choose.

Cutting them in half, though, is one hell of a cut in the week after next. Next week the boys will be down to ten too.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Oh Boy. Oh Girl. 31 One Step Closer on American Idol.

Emily sounds and looks fabulous, getting noticed in a major way for the first time as we get a full track from here to start this week's programme. Surely after that she makes the Top 15 girls? Yup, she does, easily.

Spencer has the looks for the guys and performed well at all the stages. In particular his version of Say Something was cool. The next, own track, was crap but nonetheless he'll be good TV and has some talent too so he's through to the Top 15 guys.

Jillian Jensen is back and we know she's good, if a bit emotional. We haven't seen a great deal of her this year so far. There's a snatch of a track she's written herself and that's all we still hear today too. In fact Harry takes longer in coming to announce a decision than we've heard her sing in total! She is through, though, and hopefully we'll hear her justify herself soon enough.

Madeleine Patterson screeched a bit in her last attempt to convince the panel. Plenty of passion but that's all for now.

George Lovett came across strongly and is through. He'll work hard and could give us some wow factors with his spot-on tuning.

Sam Woolf has an original song an people haven't done so well with them recently. His voice is excellent, in line with a lot of recent big successes here in UK and it may be his time over there now. He is definitely one to watch and one of the better 'own song' performers too! I like this guy. He's in the Top 15 guys all right. He's genuinely surprised which is nice.

Keri Lyn Roche sang on of my favourite numbers I Would Rather Go Blind very well. She has soul and a simple style. She's one I think I would have kept. So if she's gone the others had better be damn good!

Malaya, at 16, has some smart ways of performing and a big voice. She has something special about her, maybe a bit too much on the gospel front for my taste but she's through and quite deservedly so.

Maurice Townsend looks too old at times to be in the competition but then surprises us by looking cool on the stage and singing exceptionally well. He does, I feel, rely upon the choice of tracks and may fall if the sing-a-long tracks aren't for him in future. Anyway, we'll see soon enough as he joins the Top 15 guys.

Bria Anai has Malaya's voice but more style and experience with it.

Jessica Meuse had a lot of trouble in group round and takes a huge risk with an original song for her solo spot. Done is a cool number, very earthy Country. I like this girl who has a lot of basic gutsy survivor stuff about her and a mature attitude.

Jessie Roach, at 27, is another mature performer with bags of experience but didn't shine so much on her solo round. Good but risky choice.

Jessica makes it. Jessie doesn't but it is so close for the panel. As a viewer it seemed quite straightforward.

Dexter is dressed in grey and works on a farm. I don't know how but he makes it through. He's certainly genuine and well out of a comfort zone and may surprise us in the live shows. I guess he'll be getting all the Country votes!

Emmanuel is your classic gay, with all the affected behaviour and mannerisms. He's quite adorable and performs well. I don't like the tinny timbre that his voice has but he does have some talent. Top 15 guys? Just, perhaps. He and Ryan lift each other up afterwards. Yes, that's what I thought!

Someone we haven't seen or heard much from is MK Nobilette. She's an androgenous person. In fact, I thought she was a he for a week or two. Very very good and, whilst not a typical American Idol, she recognises the battle she'll have in some parts of the country. The panel most definitely support her and she is another of the leading Top 15 lights. I like her attitude and fluency. Serious talent there and possibly the one fot the others to beat.

Kristen O'Connor is the good, pretty, cheerleading All American girl. A little tinny at the top end which sounds quite hard work for her but she is a hard worker and performs very nicely. I may not have put her through but she will make good TV and is certainly a sound entry. She does make it. There aren't many 'pretty girls' in the Top 15.

Jordan Brisbane thinks he can 'shut American Idol down'. Very tinny, though. I wouldn't put him through. It's his 16th birthday. He does make it. he won't be around for long.

Casey McQuillan I don't remember at all. She sounds great but she doesn't make it. Nor does Nica Nishae who was good. Andrina and Leah next. Leah is very good but Andrina has a unique look on stage and is a great performer who we may well see a lot more of. She is 'interesting'. Leah just didn't make it this time. Andrina did.

Malcolm Allen has slipped off our screens so far. His solo was not impressive, Going Down needs a lot more passion - he's quite a lazy singer but I guess that can also mean confidence and ability. I would ask him to come back next year. He's in the Top 15 guys though. another scrape through, I reckon.

Alex Preston is an oddball along the lines of last year's X Factor UK winner, James Arthur. Actually he's a lot better and very original. He is not the sort you expect to go through but there he is - in the Top 15 guys. Good move, panel. Not sure what the audience will make of him.

Casey and CJ. Both country singers. Casey was the one we see in the Idol promos with his kid. So you'd expect him to be through. CJ is a good performer too, though, maybe a bit better. They have to sing to the panel again like Jessica and Jesse did. This time, though, both get through.

Marialle has some presence all right. One of the few girls who really impress and who tries so hard as well. She ought to be in the Top 15. She is. Good choice,

Jena Ascuitto is another quite original performer. Shades of some previous contenders. She has style and they call her the 'sleeper', they could be right. 'Jenna' not Jeena. She's in.

Caleb is a big fella, rock style. He is like a young Meatloaf. Great voice. Stands out. Not sure yet if he'll be a stand out but we'll find out as he is though to the Top 15 guys too.

Ethan has something special and could be a star. Another one to watch if he continues to perform well. He'll get the gorl votes too.

Sarina gets a No. Nalani too. Very attractive girls we'll miss not seeing more of. David Oliver seems so much like many others so doesn't have enough to get through.

Majesty is the pretty little young one we've seen in the Dorothy dress at the outset. She is very good and will have so much appeal to the viewers. Great girl, tipped as a possible winner. Nice job.

Briston Maroney has a style and sound all of his own. I would wonder if he has anywhere to go in this competition but if they like MK, Caleb and Alex they should also like Briston. He is just 15. The panel choose him nevertheless. Very brave decision.

Briana Oakley and Brandy Neely are in together. Brandy is trying so hard after refection last time. She is good and deserves a place this time. Briana might also just make it. She's talented enough and has a lovely personality. They're both through.

Kelnzie is a pretty blue-eyed blonde who has a similar style to Briston and a special way of singing that appealed to the panel. Sweet girl. I'd like to see her do well if she can apply that style throughout and appeal to the public as much.

Savion comes in with his ukelele. He has been totally original and confident throughout with excellent performances. They don't take him, though. I am not sure why.

Austin and Sandie - one space, two girls. Sandie has the big gospel voice. Austin is the pretty stage singer with style. Austin makes it. She's good. Another great decision.

Ben and Nico are the last two guys with 14 already chosen. Ben's an original sort of Country fella. Very normal-looking. not your average Idol performer. Nico Starr is almost the opposite, with the cool name and a stage presence where he is very much at home. He sings well and has a definite appeal which I don't feel Ben has.

The panel can't decide so they ask the viewers to vote! That must mean Ben gets through, with the mass of Country votes. That'll kill Nico for sure.

That's it for this week, though. Life starts to get interesting as we see some good ol' boys from previous series next week. And we'll learn who makes a Top 13. That's 18 getting cut. Oh boy. Oh girl.