Saturday, 16 May 2015

American Idol Season XIV Jax Doesn't Win

One of the problems with watching this series a day or two late is that it is almost impossible to avoid reading the results before seeing the show! I tried very hard but there it was on some headlines and my heart sank. Jax gets eliminated and, as it happens, it is at the start of the show so I'm not actually giving much away telling you that now. I feel so sorry for her, having had to rehearse the whole set of three songs and goodness knows what else only to be kicked off at the start. Bad production, folks; you need to change that.

It is so disappointing, though, as she seemed to me the only fresh artist in the last few of this Season and I genuinely could see Jax performing on huge stages and selling lots of albums to real big fans for some time.

As it is, let's hope Simon signs her up with SYCO and gets her well promoted. She may then actually do better than whoever wins.

So, it's between boring old Clark, wobbling a bit and never quite finding his comfort slot, or Nick, with his 90s revival stuff and strong but not exactly memorable performances. I'll let you judge for yourselves from their three performances shown here which is what occupied practically the whole Finale show.

To be honest, neither is going to have a massive impact on the charts over here and, I suspect, not much over the longer term there unless some exceptional writer comes along and pens some particularly fine tunes or they bring back Payola.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

American Idol: Season XIV. The Top 3 for the Finale selected.

Rayvon starts with a track that is sort of what we're getting used to hearing from him but he doesn't do this as well as some he has performed in the past. It's certainly not bad but not quite as good as I think he needs at this vital stage.

Clark did not have a great week last week but is still here and this time gets the U2 classic to perform. Once more I am hearing some lazy phrasing and not ideally placed notes. It is like he has reached a peak a few weeks ago and is either now trying too hard and losing it or just not picking the right songs to stay well within what he can do well.

He gets compliments from the judges but i felt the crowd were a little less warm. If you listen again to the judges they say it was 'pretty good' and 'I like what you did but you need to listen to the lyrics' and 'your voice is good but...' Make of that what you will.

Easily the best of the guys so far, could Nick be heading for the Final? I would never have thought that at the outset but he is consistently good, in tune and confident. A good choice once more, although this got a bit tedious after a while and ended poorly. Still, that's the song's fault not so much his. He made a good job of the main part and gets much better reviews from the panel than Rayvon and Scott. Nice guy. I see him as the runner-up now. Not a memorable runner-up but he'll get some hits and sales out of all this.

Really good performance by Jax. She just owns the stage and although My Generation wasn't the track I'd have picked for her, she did really well with it and surely has to be the winner of this whole show? Very impressed and knocks all the others into a very cocked hat. Brilliant.

Nick's second number is a sort of rock and country sounding Back Home that has never graced UK charts yet. I swear that there's a banjo in there somewhere. A jolly sort of number with a simple catchy line or two but nothing spectacular. It won't do him any harm, though. Depends what Scott does but he may even pick up some calls from Texas.

I see this as Scott's last chance really. Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay is such a classic song and, as Scott once was at the start of all this, it is exactly his sort of track. He just needs to take it gently, feel the lyrics and get the message across just like Otis did and he may make the Top 3. Unfortunately, he doesn't. It's a mess and not an attractive sound at all. Scott really has lost it, I'm afraid. he has become tedious and not even nice to watch. Pity, as I would have had him as the winner once upon a time.

Nice job, Rayvon. In complete contrast to Scott. This guy has scarped through each week for some time and may have to again but I do hope he makes it this time. That was a nice version of an interesting track for him.

Simply fabulous. Jax is really showing the others just how good she is and just how diverse she can be. You cannot get much further away from The Who than Evanescence. Brilliant choice and she can get away with just sitting there, a little vulnerable, playing the piano and there was a backing track I didn't notice it. Jennifer thinks she's amazing. Harry is clearly impressed too. Keith doesn't get a look-in. Well done, whatever. I'm sure he would have been very complimentary as well!

Better, Clark. Just standing there in a smart suit and singing a track from a modern film, '50 Shades Of Grey', this will earn him some much-needed votes. Whether they'll be enough to knock Rayvon off at last I don't know. At the end the song gets rather messy and I am still not convinced about his note selection. he would be so much better just delivering the song's message gently and in tune and with some real emotion.
Another excellent choice by Rayvon and he doesn't ruin the lyrics or notes by inclusing lots of decoration where it isn't needed. A good track to finish his entry request for the Top 3. Now, will it be granted? He deserves to be there in my opinion. Jennifer was looking for more emotion but Harry reckoned he had that and also complimented him on the arrangement, saying that was 'smart'. More than he said to Clark.

This is a judges' choice for her but I don't quite see why they chose this. It's OK but doen't do a great deal for me and I would say that Rayvon takes this last round. Jax still takes the whole day, though. She made as good a job of that as I think she could and my guess is that she can just do whatever anyone throws at her, which is quite an achievement. Jennifer says that they chose that because they thought it suited her but they felt that she was passing the attention to the guitarist and almost hiding behind him. That's not her style but if she wasn't that cool with the number I can well imagine it being a reasonable move to make. She'll still make it through.

Here's Nick chasing the Big Country vote now, and that's not a bad move at all. A good choice by the judges for him. they're on his side I reckon! A good, measured performance. he could have ruined it by going too fast or too loud but he controlled it nicely. Lots of good feedback there and he damn well should make it through. the question is: who won't get through to the Top 3 Finale?

It turns out that it was Rayvon's last day after all as he loses the votes this week. So it is Jax, Nick and Clark in the Finale.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

American Idol XIV: Top 5 perform and we get the Top 4

This week Clark, Jax, Nick, Rayvon and Tyanna show their colours to win this competition. One will go home and leave a Final Four to move on next week and also have the Homecoming events.

I'm not enjoying this. It could be Clark's pooerest performance and the style and song simply don't seem to be the sort of thing he should be doing. the screaming and general approach may show a much-needed animation in someone who has been a bit robotic on occasion but it all seemed a bit over the top and possibly shots in the wrong direction.

Having said that all the initial indications are that Clark will make the Top 4. No doubt. At least that's what I thought at the start of writing this!

Another stunning performance from this girl. The cracked voice work well with this track. Just watch the moment when she decides to get up from the piano - you can almost feel the excitement that she gathers up and then shares with the audience. She is so talented and I am so impressed. Harry asks whether she was horse and she admits that she was but she gets praise for not just continuing through but almost bringing more character to a good track anyway.

Nick makes it through to sing again. Well done, Nick. He has an earthy originality about him and I can see where he gets a good number of his votes from. Territory that perhaps Clarkwanted to steal but now, I suspect, can't.

This track does just go on a bit but it does give Nick a chance to show everyone how good-looking he is and, as Harry points out, that was easily the most 'comfortable' that he'd been. A good time to get things right.

I don't like the very short hair style which only seems to emphasis the eyebrows but what's that got to do with singing? Nothing. so never mind.

As if you hadn't already guessed, Rayvon and Tyanna are the bottom two. Again and again for Rayvon but he ought to survive again too with Tyanna really having let herself down last week. Rayvon does need to do well, though, and you can hear him putting everything except the kitchen sink into this performance of the Lady Antebellum song. He's good but I do worry that he is trying too hard. We've really yet to hear him just do whatever comes naturally. I fear we may not get the chance as, even if he makes it this week to the last 5,he needs something very special if  he is going to beat Nick or Clark. The judges say the same thing about pushing the lyrics and emotions a bit too much.

Oh dear. This is dreadful. The makeover team must have been on holiday when it came to her turn. But never mind her appearance; her voice is all over the place at the start and, whilst she makes some effort to get back on track, something isn't right. She starts dancing but then stops. The judges' sum-up make it fairly obvious that they must know the result. I can't see how they can but as it happens they are right and it's farewell Tyanna. Not a surprise or a loss at all.

This is where Clark falls down the popularity charts. Very pitchy, unusually for him but worrying as he is in a different zone and , despite the classy bits later, it doesn't get rescued. This is sould without much sould I'm afraid. A pity, as I had thought this would be where he closed the gap with Jax for the win.

Not on the video is an argument where Clark does not come across well. That will not have helped him either, showing a pompous side. He's not going to win now and I can even see him going home next week if Rayvon pulls his socks up.

Lovely. In complete contrast we have Jax in the mist with a beautiful version of the Christina Peri song. When she drops to her needs she perfectly interpreted the lyrics and it was a performance that you just stay with until the end. At one point I was wondering if the mist was going to take her over! A good job. Well done, young lady.

Here comes Rayvon! We'll ignore the fact that it's a Justin Bieber song but, like it or not, you have to respect the guy for the performance this time. He holds back for a change. soemone does need to teach him about breathing next to the microphone but he did a very good job tonight here and, with Clark's not doing well, I wonder whether he might not have just pulled himself into the Top 3 after all!

Impressed. Not as impressed as I am with Jax by quite a long distance but impressed nevertheless.

Good move, Nick. With Clark stumbling, he is now going for the Country vote. No-one else is so why not? There's usually enough in Texas to win the damn thing so if he can pull a few thousand of those in he'll be there next week.

Nice mixture of styles here. A fairly flat, uneventful performance but it worked for all that.

Jennifer has him as the star of the night. Didn't expect that. Keith says that will storm up the iTunes chart. Maybe judges shouldn't make these predictions that can so easiliy be proven wrong. I would predict Jax by a long way.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

American Idol: Season XIV - The Top 6 Perform, and we now have the Top 5

So Jax makes the Top 5 and, from this performance, deservedly so. If she decides to do a Wendy James number then I may even buy it myself! She is looking so much sexier than the others and, for that matter, more than most entrants I can recall in this show.

Good reviews too from the judges who didn't actually say that but you could tell it was in their mind. She gets fans and looks like keeping them. Nice job.

Nick is still in the competition after some excellent and well-chosen tracks. I am not so sure about this one that isn't particularly familiar and doesn't suit him as well as some others have done. reminds me of The Voice UK winner, Steve. He did win, though, i suppose, so maybe that's no bad thing but, if you had to choose between Nick and Jax, it would be Jax that took the crown.

I am been very complimentary about Clark so far. He has never looked very inspiring but he has sung amazingly well. Here he takes on one of the big standards that everyone knows almost by heart and so it is a big, big risk to play around with it. He may just have got away with this but I do worry when he slips on the notes which can destroy an otherwise excellent song.

I am now getting quite tired of Tyanna's out of tune numbers. She picks fun numbers and is quite entertaining when she gets things right but most of the time she just doesn't. I am surprisaed the judges don't comment on this at all. She ought to be the next to go. And 5th is better than anyone would have expected for her, surely.

It's Quentin in the bottom two with Rayvon again. A great track and Quentin didn't do a bad job of this. he performs well but it was a bit bland, to be honest, whereas he shouldn't be. he is one of the contestants that has been prepared to take some chances and has a good voice and sense of what's needed. One commentator has said that the new format of leaving everyone in the lurch until they get to the last two hasn't helped and leaves everyone nervous and I agree. It can't be good to hang around before you sing, knowing that one of you has already been voted bottom or next to bottom. The old format of announcing in a second results show worked best but was more costly, of course.

OK, so this wasn't too brilliant. What about Rayvon?

Good choice, Rayvon! Sam smith is currently ultra cool and a big act that many younger voters will be following, whereas The Doors were for an older generation and, when you're looking for votes, this is the way to go. He also did actually make quite a decent job of this, the notes being in place and, apart from some heavy breathing, he did well.

Looks like a different order so here's Nick doing a 70s classic from Rod Stewart and The Faces. OK, it was fun but not exactly the sort of stuff you win major competitions with.

Tyanna singing again. Oh, can I wake up now? That was very tedious and wobbly. Seriously, she should be the one going tonight but, of course, it is one of the two lads, each of whom sings far better than this girl. She is very well-presented but it's all too serious and just doesn't work at all for me. This is the sort of performance that will let down American Idol, especially as the judges don't seem to feel able to pick any fault with her.

Clark takes a slightly different route here and it works quite well. He is not entirely believable when he gets more down and dirty, though. I reckon he got away with it but it might have been a bit high for him. It wasn't something lots of people would rush out and buy. Harry is dead right in his comments. Still, the guy's in the Top 5 so that's cool for him.

Almost going from one extreme to another, well Wendy James to Dido is some fair distance, and staying in one place, Jax is showing just how good she can be. This was superb. I see her as a Lady Gaga in time. She has that uniqueness and talent. Notes are spot-on and her instinct for what people would like to hear is just right. I do hope she wins as she is simply so watchable and you can be pretty sure that she will have some impact on the world at large, entertainment and music-wise.

Quentin's final number is the Florence & The Machine's number which he does almost impeccably well. Good choice this time and shows a moody side but will this be enough to keep him in or will Rayvon get the votes?

Now that is a song! Love the Fleetwood Mac / Stevie Nicks number and Rayvon gives it his best shot. He does seem to be marginally behind the beat for it from the start but the audience clearly love it. A very, very clever choice again. He needs to control his breathing and timing but I do feel he deserves to stay in the Top 5. Quentin, indeed, is the one who gets sent home on the instant Twitter vote.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

American Idol Season XIV: Top 7 Perform

Two songs each tonight from the seven who have survived from last week, one of whom will go as the Top 6 are decided. Qaasim is the one missing tonight.

Tyanna still sounds a bit amateur to me and is very wobbly tonight. This ought to be right up her street but that high 'why' is really quite painful to listen to. She has made the Top 6 but I am not sure she should have done.

I think I've heard enough of Stevie Wonder songs and this isn't one of either his best or one that shows Clark off particularly well. For all that, the guy is looking increasingly like a winner and he's made the Top 6 easily.

This is quite impressive. Jax is so confident and, once more, shows us just how well she can interpret the Janice Joplin number. She was, once again, made up well and not too frightening for the voters. I can see her making the finale with Clark and she is the more interesting of the two.

What a great song choice for Nick. Well done whoever was responsible for that Tom petty classic. He has made the last 6 and deservedly so. Nice track which suits him very well. His supporters will like it and should keep him in for another week in comparison to Tyanna and Rayvon.

Are You Going My Way? A Good performance by Quentin and he's done well to get this far. I don't know how well that'll go down with the voters out there. Solid and in tune but, after a while, nothing spectacular. despite the makeover team's excellent work.

In complete contrast, Joey sings My Funny Valentine and whilst she is normally pitch perfect and just delivers each time, on this occasion, and actually quite an important one as it will be her or Rayvon going home, she just picked a key that didn't quite work. So unusual but very risky. A talent, for sure, but I ahve always queried whether this is the right show for her.

You can't deny that Rayvon puts everything into this and it does suit him so much better than several previous efforts. That was one of his best performances and he seems to be getting better each week. I reckon he might win through with that.

This version of Moon River was not up to his previous standards at all. Distinct wobbles here and there and that wasn't so good. He's fine and will be there next week but he needs to be a bit careful.

Better this second time, but the first slow bit and very last note would be enough for me to say that she is coming to the end of her AI run.

Another good song choice for Nick. Safely into the Top 6 and I think he'll make the Top 5 without too much trouble. He has a great ability to add power to his voice when he needs it and every note was spot on. Excellent.

So many cool second songs this week. This is quite unexpected and a strange, moody transition for the Paul Simon song.

Anyone doing Beat It must be brave and Jax is proving throughout this series that she will take on almost anything and turn it into an entertaining performance. This is pretty good and she's obviously having fun. I reckon that will go down very well with her fans and she'll be safely into the Top 5.

Another very good choice and this sees Rayvon through. It was in tune and he is beginning to look familiar as he stays true to image with the hat and the black shirt. I don't know how long he'll survive, having hit the bottom two twice now, but I wish him well. He may be in competition with Tyanna next time.

I like this song a lot and Joey tries hard but I think she realises that it isn't going to work half way through when she looks to one side very very briefly and, despite an excellent recovery, possibly realises that Rayvon's choice was the better one for the voters this year.

It is indeed her turn to go and so we move towards the final with just six. I don't recall the very young chap Daniel going. Obviously he has at some stage but I simply don't remember writing about it. The way the show is organised, it is not until the end that you realise that so-and-so hasn't been asked to perform and, without a performance, there's no video evidence of their departure. One week they're singing, the next week they're gone. 

Friday, 10 April 2015

American Idol XIV: Top 8 Perform

Jax sings Lady Gaga's Poker Face. She is competent but is neither sufficiently outrageous nor engaging to keep my attention. The audience are not so sure either from what little we can tell. She does make the effort to make songs her own and that she deserves credit for. I still want to hear what she can really do. She could make a big difference but hasn't yet.

Nick puts on a strong performance and reminds me of the guy who just won The Voice UK. he is on his last chance, age-wise, for this sort of competition and this must make him feel good to have got this far. I think he is more professional and in tune than several of the others still remaining and may make the last few. It was good but, like Jax, not sufficiently engaging or memorable. Of the two, though, Jax would be the better bet for a longer-term star.

Quentin sings a song that's new to me. Latch is neither one thing nor the other. I suppose it's current and that's in his favour but it seems to float from one key to another and is definitely not anything inspirational that would make me annoyed to have missed it. His falsetto bits are not that great either. The staging is sound but it just seems so average to me. Harry liked it and the judges generally give him a good review. Clearly I am not getting it on my small screen. Too much thinking about the show and not enough natural performance. He could be at risk after that.

Joey Cook is getting the full benefit of the makeover people these days. This was the first performance this week that captured me. She is also very competent and quite different, like Jax. Of the two she has done the better song this week. It was a little similar to the Miley Cyrus original. Not a problem as it is a very well-written song anyway.

Clark has done really well so far and, once again, it is an exquisitely tempered performance. A great voice and presence but there is something about him that makes him look uncomfortable on the stage. Sure, he can make the albums but I am not so sure about the stage shows. Jennifer hits the nail on the head by saying that the style and image have to fit. In other words, they don't. He is 'uncool'. He will almost certainly make the Final but he won't win unless something changes to make him stand out. All the judges say something similar. If he could have done it, though, I feel he would have done already. He is just a little too sweet perhaps. But then plenty of very 'sweet' guys have won in the past and beaten the interesting ones.

Tyanna has also benefitted from the makeover team's work. This starts well but ends a bit tediously having not really gone anywhere in the middle. She's a nice girl and can sing reasonably well. I do feel that Adunna should have had her spot and quite how Maddy Walker went in preference to Tyanna still frustrates me. She isn't a contender in my book, I'm afraid. Nice enough voice and that was not a bad performance but will anyone be inspired to vote? I don't know. Depends how bad the others are, I guess.

I keep forgetting the format of this show. Tyanna has, of course, made it to the Top 7. She was the last certain to make it. It is now between Rayvon and Qaasim. Rayvon is first up with a good song, Set Fire To The Rain is well known but I wasn't very impressed. He has a good tone and range and is pretty competent but he is a bit forgettable. Nice fellow, of course, but I don't know where he is going to fit if he proceeds further. Harry wants to know what is his 'gravy'. We get a glory to God response which is neither here nor there.

So this is the one special contender that the judges used their sole save for?  I like his performance style for Hey Ya but he can't sing well. It is all about the oddities of his entertainment act and I just don't see enough people getting excited to save him again. To be honest neither Qaasim nor Rayvon will be around long, whatever happens tonight. I wish them both well and hope they get a chance to go on a tour or something. They've worked hard to get this far but we're looking for a winner now, someone who will make a future star and neither are going to get that sort of big contract just now. One's too boring, the other is too weird and the facial expressions are not pleasant. The lips need some control.

Rayvon wins the vote and so it's farewell to Qaasim. I suspect the judges are wondering whether they wasted their vote earlier. We miss those girls.

OK. That's it. Down to 7 and I think we can see who the next two to go will be.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Top 9 Perform

Daniel's track is really not good. His singing is cracking up. He does look good on camera, as Keith points out and he gets on well with the audience. Clearly he is getting plenty of votes but he has to do better or we'll have a dud winning this thing.

A far better vocal from Quentin Alexander but still not one that convinces me that he deserves the Idol crown this year. A nice production all round, although far too short of course. This is one talented individual and I certainly see him selling albums and getting a contract. whatever happens on the show. Great song choices so far as well.

Joey tried to do Cindy Lauper this week. She looked great but her singing was a bit odd and Harry doesn't look too impressed. She is better than that.

Tyanna was one I was thinking might go home this week. She seems to have survived, though. This version of Whitney Houstons' I Want To Dance With Somebody is OK but a bit light and lacking in the passion the song usually has. Disappointing again.

Nick is a little more inspired with Man In The Mirror. I just don't see him winning either. I guess that was one of the better acts tonight but he will have to do a whole lot more.

Rayvon isn't making the grade either in this rather sad week for the show. He just sings along and does a little oohing here and there but it is actually quite boring. He hits the right notes but then most of the contestants are doing that. There is just not a lot I can think to say about that performance.

This could be a winning performance on a quiet tight. Nicely done. Every Breath You Take is not an easy Police song to perform but he got it just right. Well done. Streets ahead of the others. This guy could well take this thing after that sort of performance.

Doing Bon Jovi's You Give Love A Bad Name takes some courage but Jax can be relied upon and this performance has bags of originality and you can just tell that she is trying hard to reach people but has a great deal of confidence. She deserves to be here and will make an intriguing finalist.

Lucky still to be here and that means that the two girls, Maddie Walker and Adanna go home. That's quite a surprise, as I had Maddy down for the Country vote and Adanna as a potential winner with such great performances. So neither even get to sing as the panel used their only save last week. So sad,

I have to say that, apart from abit of Jax, some Quentin and Clark, this was a poor week.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

American Idol XIV Top 11 nearly become 10

Adanna seems to be appearing more confident and experienced each week and this performance is no exception to that progress. Looking immaculate in a short, shiny dress that reflects stars in the lens and interacting well with the audience, this girl looks set for the last few. She has star quality but needs to stop peering down the camera lens as much. She is a little frightening on occasion but very, very smart.

Daniel seems very out of place in this competition. He is very talented but I just don't get the connection with the emotion or words of quite a deep song that a 15 year-old like this young fellow is unlikely to comprehend at all. Nice tone to his voice and full marks for effort but I feel his days should be numbered, although he has clearly made enough fans to make the Top 10.

Rayvon does Barry Gibb and Staying Alive. OK. It was worth a try, I suppose. Slowed down it lost its urgency and I would expect Robin to be turning in his grave after that. He can sing well and the falsetto was in tune but Harry very accurately says how he needs to do something more as it is just a little boring now. Competent and it will have pleased his fans.

Nick has been picking good tracks and putting distance between him and the others which won't do him any harm at all. This should be one of his best weeks and he chooses Highway To The Danger Zone which is a nice number. He seems a little less than enthusiastic in the performance, just a bit casual. That could be because he gives the appearance of being very professional. The crowd really did go for that.

Joey has picked a cool song. It has done well for some past contestants on other shows. Alex Parks won many years ago with Mad Mad World on BBC's Fame Academy. She has the right look and attitude this week and it sounds like a great track for her. She doesn't bring as much light and shade to this as I had expected and it is all over a bit too soon. Not just because I was enjoying it but also I wonder whether she will have made enough of an impression. She is looking so much better this week but then so often that's what happens the week before they go home!

Tyanna is fun and enjoying her time on the show but seems to be falling a bit in Adanna's shadow now. She needs a better image. The Circle Of Life is not a great choice for her. It starts so low and it is unavoidably wobbly down there. Eventually she gets up into better notes but this is one drag of a song that you can't do a great deal with and, quite frankly, Tyanna ruins it with bum crucial notes and even a rasp where there should not be one. I can't see people voting in their droves for that. Keith notes serious pitch issues if America votes you through. Not good.

Quentin is planning to change You're The One That I Want and I admire his courage in taking this classic Grease number. This was the performance of the night so far. Very impressive. He held back and nurtured the lines carefully in a way I had never heard before and it worked very well. This guy is the one to watch.

Maddy makes the Top 10 too. She missed the mentoring sessions but let's hope her improved health will keep her on track. Let's Hear It For The Boy is a fun little number that suits her and has a nice little op feel about it that she can handle easily. She is better than she has been in the past and a delight to watch. The end line was a bit strange and almost added as an extra but up until then it was a sugary bit of fun. I think America will like it. Harry identified how she has scored well with Country and this was too 'Pageanty' and he thinks it was not good.

Clark makes the Top 10 which is hardly a surprise at all. He is very popular and has built a good fan club, competing, I suppose, with Nick in one sense and Daniel in another. He'll slaughter Daniel but not sure how many votes he can steal on Nick. Sunday Morning is not a track I recognise. I believe it was a Marooon 5 number. An odd choice and, despite his faultless rendition of what sound quite difficult notes, it didn't leave me feeling 'Wow' and he needs that factor to keep the votes. Harry, though, is totally impressed.

There are just two people left. Qaasim and Jax, so surely it is Jax that is through. Yes, it is. So Qaasim will sing for the save. First, Jax gets to do Grow Old With You. Nice. She does quirky well. How will the voters like it? I honestly don't know but she deserves to get through just on talent and nerve alone. That was quite a stunning performance and must have done her some good, making people warm to her more. A worthy Top 10 act.

Qaasim has to impress all three panel members to survive. He is some cool performer although I am not sure about his singing on this classic Beatles track. If the votes having come his way so far then this will not endear him any more to the American public. The crowd seem to be behind him but then I think the girls there are excited by almost anyone. Harry has it down as performance of the night. That's a surprise. He actually gets saved which I really did not expect. Wow. That's it. No more in the Season, so if one of the other acts messes up and slips down the vote ladder just once that will be it.

So the Top 10 remains 11 for a week.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

American Idol XIV: Top 12 become 11.

This show is going at some pace now! Just a few days ago there were 24 acts we were talking about, now there'll be just 11 today and ten after this.

Rayvon has made it through the night and has a cool number here that suits his voice well. Burn was not a number I'd expected he'd do well but it does work well for him. The falsetto is, perhaps, a little weak this time and I am not entirely sure he needs to use it that much as he has a strong mid-range and that's more comfortable listening too. Nice performance, generally, though. In tune and, as Keith says, his best performance so far. He ought to make the Top 10 but it'll be the lower half.

OK. We get it now. She's Country all right. The shorts, the boots, the legs. Not a bad performance although I am still not seeing anything in her eyes. Strange. they're quite blank. Pretty but vacant. Strong vocals and she's definitely deserving to be here and I'd like to be sure she makes the Top 10. She needs to find a niche at the moment but I guess that's not easy. We discover at the end that she was in pain and left almost straightaway to get some medical attention. Now, how often do we get all that focused on at the start? Much better to handle it that way. all credit to the girl and to the producers.Hope she's OK.

Another fabulous performance from Joey. She could make an album now and it would sell well. How and where she fits in the 2015 pop era I do not know. This clearly went down so well with a good proportion of the audience and her fellow competitors too. Great reception!! That will have made her proud. Harry gives an A+ for the arrangement and singing. She is a star, for sure. We just need to see whether she gets the public votes. In a way, I don't think it'll matter too much as she'll get picked up by someone like Simon Cowell.

Not at all fond of the Jussie & Yazz number. That hasn't hit the airwaves her in UK yet so maybe it improves with keeping. It is interesting to note that only one or maybe two of the contestants left could do that sort of number so if that's what is hitting #1 in USA are they choosing the right potential Idols nowadays? Hmmm. Let's move on.

A strange track to choose for this stage of the competition. It has a sort of 70s vibe that just doesn't seem to fit in 2015, even with Clark's good vocal abilities and effort. It has a great big crescendo at the end but that's about it really. again, however, the crowd seem very keen on that and he has so much support. Coming straight after the Jussie number I am at a loss to know what to make of this. He also looks just a little scared at times. A nice fellow, obviously talented but something is missing. Jennifer tries to identify it but makes no better attempt than I have! Even Harry tries but he's even more confusing! He'll still be safely into the Top 10.

Here she is again. This time she's covering Taylor Swift. It is quite a cover in places too. Nice enough and she makes an effort to get away but that's not easy, nor is the original easy to improve on so it's a tough job for Jax. I like her confidence on stage and with the audience too! She is very cool, a nice chick but I wonder how far she'll get. She should make the Top 10 but she's got tough competition and that special quality of hers wasn't there today. harry says how she can take some tracks and turn them into something cool but this was just a cover.

Right from the start you can see that Qaasim is just so happy to be there. What a great number too. Jet I don't recall hearing on any talent show so well done to him. It worked well enough but I felt he lost it in a few places. But all credit for trying and that sets down a good marker for what he can achieve. Nice job. Harry, though, is not impressed and calls him a one-trick pony! The other two loved it. They didn't care about the words. harry may have had a point but I missed it and, although I didn't appreciate it, these are supposed anyway to be 'party' songs. So that's all right.

Run Away Baby is the Bruno Mars number. Did this work for Adanna? It did show she can move and dance and deliver a fast up-beat tune but I don't know if it will get her those extra votes that she needs. She's good but I would have chosen something different for her. The star quality wasn't there this time and she seemed to be a full tilt all the way through with no shade. She does get great reviews, though, but the audience seems a lukewarm. She really should survive and I do hope she does.

In almost direct competition this week is Tyanna. I can see only one of Tyanna and Adanna surviving in future weeks. Maybe even this week could see one go as Tyanna was not at her most appealing this time. She tried hard and put everything she had into a very tough song. Working well with the backing and the band she may have saved herself as she gets a great reception. Possibly the best audience deal of the night. Interesting. Didn't expect that. The panel were also so complimentary. She is natural and deserves to stay. I guess, after all that, she will.

The one who should be at risk is Daniel. He does Happy and it's all cheery enough but this is such a big song that every knows his performance can only ever have been a simple cover. He was in tune this time and looked good but no, it's time he went home and maybe came back in a few years. Harry says he is immensely talented but I think he worries that we're watching a competition and rehearsed act by a good player than a natural guy. Nice enough fellow for all that.

Quentin will be feeling a bit vulnerable, I suppose, not getting the votes for a Top 10 place and needing the Panel assistance. This week will be the decider for him as the 'real' Top 10 is decided. Singing against Clark he compares well this week and I prefer him to Rayvon at the start too. Qaasim is in a different genre so shouldn't interfere with his votes. He ought to stay over Daniel but I am not so sure he will make it.

Nick chooses a very, very good track. Wake Me Up suits him down to the ground. It's a relaxed and good performance as well. I was thinking that he might be the one to go this week but I have to say that such a professional and genuine performance as that should keep him in after all. He is the last one called up so that leaves Sarina to sing in the hope that Panel will use their vote to save.

The Panel do have the chance to save Sarina but it is not to be. With just one chance throughout the XIV series it was never going to be the case. She must be really upset after so many years of trying and actually making it to a Live Show - so near but so far.

American Idol XIV; The Top 12 Perform

Much smarter venue - a proper stage and such an improvement on last week's odd affair for the Top 16. Four go today and another tomorrow. Heavy stuff. Sarina's performance was not good, off tune and I wonder how much was due to her being excited at being first through. Not a good start at all. She will really have to hope people remember her previous performances and that someone else does as poorly. That was definitely something that few will bother to check out on YouTube again! Sorry.

Quite a nervous performance from this guy but mostly in tune at least. Again, this is not something we will be recollecting in years to come as a classic Idol performance but it should be enough to see him through to the Top 11. Good reviews from the panel are encouraging. he is one of the few almost 'normal' contestants.

I suppose every Idol or X Factor needs a little kid in the Live Shows. Daniel has been performing very maturely, to be honest, and, once he gets going, he makes a reasonably good version of the a previous idol Panel member's track. There are touches of brilliance but also too many mistakes and dodgy bits that Harry points out. You can tell the panel were not very impressed but he clearly gets the votes. He looks good and, maybe with better coaching, he could stick around a while. That's if he's not first to go.

Maddie only just made it in the Top 24 but is now looking and sounding as if she should never have been in doubt. Stunning appearance tonight, especially the eyes, although I did feel she was missing out the audience and just directing everything at us! She is very likeable and in tune which is a first tonight! They need a good Country girl.

Tyanna looks young but performs like someone who has been doing it for years. The song doesn't do much for me but it is pretty up-to-date and suits her. There are times when I am not sure I see her as an 'Idol' but I do see her with a record deal. She would best suit being with some others as she is so young and needs that extra bit of breadth in her image but she deserves to succeed and I am sure she'll be here next week.

I might have thought that he was one who could have fallen at this fence but he's made the Top 12. Idol voters like this type of guy and there is no-one like him now. He is accomplished but not compelling. Keith says he needs to believe in himself more and I can see what he means. There's something missing between his performance and our emotions. That connection isn't yet made. I am a bit surprised he's through and not sure how long he'll last but he won't be the worst tonight, for sure.

Jax is the act I look forward to each week. I Want To Hold Your Hand performed in her style, starting at a piano being a good idea as well. At times she makes some pretty not pretty facial expressions. This is good - a bit of a cover rather than a complete makeover but with several little bits that worked nicely for me. A cool chick and she's good, well worth all the votes she's earned.

Qaasim is nicely different to all the others. This time, though, he seems to mangle all the words and I had trouble making out almost all of them at the start. thereagain, Stevie Wonder mangled them on this track too. At times this guy almost seems to do too much. He is a cool performer and very happy on that stage. Maybe that takes a bit away from what he's actually trying to get across but then perhaps that's what will keep him in.

Clark has the best voice of the guys by quite a long way. He delivers this track quite predictably. No bad thing as it requires a lot of talent to do well and he sure showed that he had that. The Panel love this guy. Clark will do well in this series. jennifer has him as the vocal of the night too.

I am still not sure what to make of Joey. She is adorable and very, very talented. always spot-on in tune and on the beat. This is a marvellous track for her and seems to sum up lots of her appeal. I think she is surprised to be there when people like Alexis and Adam and Adanna are still sitting on the waiting area to find out if they're in. She's great. Is she Idol material? Not sure.But well done to her for what she's brought to the show so far.

Quentin didn't make the Top 10 but does get the Panel's vote for the Top 12. That Panel vote for two people is really useful and I am glad it's there. So the two last choices are not from the public but the panel. Hmmm. Who else will the rescue? This was a good choice as Quentin has been consistently excellent all the way through. he's very emotional but still makes a great job of this current number. That worked well for him.

The last place goes to Adanna. Wow. Again. A simple mesmerising performance. She must have been so nervous but still came though with something pretty special. I didn't notice Harry's 'tuning' or Jennifer's 'performance' issues at all. I did notice that the four who didn't make it were playing along or singing along with her and that said a lot about her and them. By a long way the best of the night in my view and a real star-like performance with energy and rhythm and passion. It's a pity that she didn't get the public votes this week.

So you'll have figured out that these are the four eliminations. I'm sad to see Adam go, thought he'd got a good Live Show future, along with Alex Gomez who would win the Country Girl competition but it isn't to be. Loren was good but perhaps not unique in her appeal and up against some similar acts like Sarina. Not that Sarina really impressed this week.

Mark Andrew
Adam Egazelien
Alex Gomez
Loren Lott

So soon it'll be down to 11. It ought to be Daniel but It won't be.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

American Idol XIV: The Top 8 Boys

The Top 8 Boys will be revealed in the latest stage of American Idol XIV. Aretha Franklin starts off the show but may have been better advised to stay in the audience or as a mentor perhaps. We all respect how good she was 40 years ago but in 2015? Some people need to stop and not spoil our fond memories of them at their best.

Ryan is still looking like he's just got up and grabbed the first clothes he had lying around on the floor. It may be the video colour or my screen but he looks so grey!

I am surprised to see Daniel Seavey, the very young one, through. I know he's a cool young lad and will get millions of votes from the junior fans but, really, he needs another year or two. He's doing a Marvyn Gaye number How Sweet It Is and he sings very well but it is all a bit over-rehearsed and unbelievable. He is popular, though, so who knows what can happen.

#2 is Mark, one of the more mature guys. He knows what he's doing and is pretty professional with Papa Was A Rollin' Stone. It was good, not exceptional, but solid stuff. I just don't see this chap going a great deal further. The song was a bit plain. No faults so the fact that he's been voted through once may help him get through again. Clearly a lot do like him.

#3 is Rayvon who has been giving us some pretty good performances so far. This week he does the classic My Girl and stays in its original zone. He does it well and looks like someone who is confident of himself. There are some others he needs to compete with but this was a good start and made his mark much more clearly in this competition.

#4 is Adam. That's good. He has such a cool personality. His track is I Want You Back but he brings a totally different theme to the song. A bit weird and unnecessary but it shouldn't do him much harm. He is so likeable. Good reviews from the panel. Nice to see someone dressing appropriately too. Well done, Adam. He won't win but he'll be around for a while yet.

#5 is Clark. He does Tracks Of My Tears which needs to be as close to spot-on as anything in the Motown collection. He was disappointing with several missed notes and you felt it was too high for him. He tried to bring it back later in the number and certainly succeeded with the fast beat line repetition which was almost rap. I agree with the panel's view that he would have been better bringing out emotions by doing just great singing. That wasn't a stand out for me.

#6 is Nick. That's good. He's a bit older than some and has been trying hard all the way through. Signed Sealed Delivered is a bit of a tedious song at the best of times and that performance was just accurate but not inspiring. I didn't expect him to get through but that was quite professional and he did look and sound good.

Two more to go through. #7 is Qaasim who is just a great entertainer and totally natural on stage singing Stevie Wonder. An easy choice and surely a must for the Top 12. That was really the first proper performance we've had. Nice.

The last spot is Quinton. Now, he's good but I had expected to see either Riley or Trevor through for sure. Big surprise there. And disappointment for those two in particular. Quinton does Jammin' which I don't recall having a great connection with Motown but there we go.

So that's the Top 8 Guys sorted. It was Qaasim, Adam and Quinton's night. Next week, though, it could be any one of theirs.

American Idol XIV: Top 8 Girls

This is a major episode where 12 girls become just 8 girls.

Tyanna is first to get through with the public vote and is so relaxed and is enjoying herself so much that you can see why. It was very simple. Rocking Robin is another Jackson number and she just seemed so natural. No denying that talent and so different to many performances we've seen before when nerves or whatever just edge in and spoil what might otherwise have been good. Well done Tyanna.

No 2 through is Lauren. She isn't as fun and childlike as Tyanna, much more serious and mature with a more solid 21st Century number. She certainly put lots into it but that wasn't one of my favourite performances. Maybe the song wasn't as familiar or just a bit repetitive but she gets great reviews. She gets a lot of words in her 10 seconds after song time! I thought she was wobbly at some points and I am not sure how long she'll survive.

Maddy Walker makes it through and does another Jackson number I'll Be There. A bit unsure of her notes in places and the higher ones were a bit hard work and tinny. For all that she has a great personality and puts across the song well emotionally. Harry picks her up on a few points. I would have thought that a potetial American Idol should not, at this stage, be making these mistakes. Nice girl but doesn't compete withe either of the other two so far.

Ryan is in very casual clothes. Tedious top and grubby colour jeans. Odd. The whole image is a mixed one. The panel are smart and quite restrained. The set is mostly a bit dismal but with some very modern blue structures here and there. The audience also seems to be mostly auditionees and some parents. Quite small too which is strange.

Joey Cook is #4. She does Shop Around by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles is her own jazz style. She has style for sure but it didn't match the song well. All credit to her for trying and she may well stand out enough to get one tranche of votes that could keep her in for a while. She is quite a character and is a natural performer.

Saina-Joy Crowe is #5. Nice track - You Really Got A Hold On Me and she performs it very differently to what we're used to hearing but in a good way, a very good way, unlike Joey who may not have had that many people appreciating what she did. Sarina has a superb voice and control and that was the best so far by quite a long way. Good job. She had better be back next week. Jennifer comments that she could be one of the best singers there. Interesting but Harry says she was flat. I missed that.

Adanna is #6. I remember being very impressed with her Top 24 performance. She does Hello, the Lionel Ritchie number. This is stunning. She may well be on the way to winning this whole show. That was absolutely amazing and she looked attractive too. Harry, once again, picks her up on being flat. I was surprised that the panel didn't give her better reviews as that struck me as very pure, intense and valuable.

Two spots left for the girls and #7 is for Jax, another contender for the top spot in my books. You never know what to expect with this girl. Ain't No Mountain High Enough never sounded liked this before. She is an attractive little thing and is even wearing the blue and black dress that everyone thought was gold and white in a different image! Very original and lots of style. She's good. Jennifer wasn't impressed. Harry says she has incredible charisma and voice which is good news but he didn't like the arrangement.

Last to get through is Alexis. We see her with a new Mustang and so there is an interesting Country girl in the competition after all. I was beginning to wonder. Her track is The Four Tops' I Can't Help Myself. It's a bit bland but she's natural and makes one of the Top 4 performances but I give the night to Adanna, Saina-Joy and Tyanna. She gets some average reviews but I reckon she's safe for a while yet. Maddy was not looking that happy as Alexis did her 'vote for me' bit.

So that's the girls. Two possible winners there.

Friday, 27 February 2015

American Idol XIV: The Top 24 Perform

So here they are - at last, 12 girls and 12 boys get to sing live and the public will get to choose who stays. Rather than include the whole show, which might get deleted, I have used the 'just singing' video that someone has put together pretty effectively. Whilst we do miss the panel members' comments we get some good indications as to how people are doing from their expressions and the audience!

As the show progresses I will try to include full show videos that look reliable. Indeed, it is always worth checking back as I do change them when I find something better for earlier posts.

1. Michael Simeon – “Classic” by MKTO 

This is the chap that Jennifer seems very fond of and who has really benefitted from the backing she's provided. Now, has it all been worthwhile? Initially I am not sure as he just seems very average but he does manage to put his own slant on this modern track and somehow makes himself both relevant and deserving to be on the Top 24 stage. I don't know how long, mind. Much depends on the tracks he chooses and now he has to stand on his own to get through.

2. Loren Lott – “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion 

It is a small stage and you don't get the feeling there are many people there at all which is a shame because Loren puts on a stadium-filling performance. That was very very good, all the notes in the right places and she just stood still and let her voice do the work. She also looked good, not overly made-up although there is time for the makeover artists to have their way in weeks to come. She should definitely stay around after that. My only negative comment is to wonder whether she engaged with the audience or those watching on TV. Bridging those gaps between the person, camera, tv screen and us is often what determines who becomes the real star.

3. Adam Ezegalian – “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake 

Singing rock in a 60s shirt and tie is fascinating! You can only admire Adam's style and originality. He sings this, as everything he has done so far, well, apart from a note he perhaps would have been better advised not to attempt. He does bridge those 'gaps' I talked about before and certainly has bags of talent. He's likeable, sings well and knows what he wants to do and will be around for a while yet. Last year's winner, of course, had similar taste in music and a bit of an old-style air so I am not planning to predict Adam as a winner.He ought to be there in the Top 12 though, as and when they get to that point.

4. Lovey James – “Wings” by Little Mix

Starting a capella was brave and just showed how good Lovey can be. Not a brilliant song for her, though. She had lots of energy and seemed nice and young, compared to the three that preceded her in this video. That and an ability to perform well are all to her credit and she looks great in a simple short dress and minimal fussing with anything else. She does almost seem to be trying a bit too hard in places and the song gets a bit tedious towards the end with some rather mangled words and notes as she closes. I like the girl and she's good but I am not sure I am rushing to find out what she'll do next.

5. Clark Beckham – “Georgia” by Ray Charles 

Now here's a classic everyone knows which means he has to be ultra good to stay in. He is looking quite different to when he started, almost too respectable now. He sings very well and pulls every ounce of emotion out of the lines. He is old-style and I am not sure that'll win him the show but he will probably have more appeal than Michael with whom he might be competing for votes. You'll see Keith standing up as he finishes, clearly very impressed. Could be Keith v JLo for that vote.

6. Adanna Duru – “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” by James Brown

Compare Adanna to Loren. It's interesting as each is an excellent singer but this girl has just put a big marker down for her chances for the title. She moves every inch with that song - you can feel her feeling it and you almost want that stage to expand and let her free to move even more, That was impressive. One of the best versions I have seen of a woman doing that track and the best performance by a mile so far. I pity whoever had to follow that! That could affect Loren's votes too.

7. Daniel Seavey – “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul

Here's a happy little fellow. The first nervous performance of the night. He looked relaxed but didn't sound so sure. Paula would have loved him had he been on X Factor USA but unless there are only teenage girls in the voting pool he could struggle to get through with that. Lovely fellow and he's certainly doing well and, looking as good as that at 15, he can't fail to be a lot richer by the time he's 16. Just maybe not as the American Idol.

8. Maddy Walker – “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie 

You'll remember that Maddy just got through last week and so she'll feel she has to perform even better than her best to justify the faith Keith, in particular, put in her. Let's see. I am not so sure she started as well as she could but once she got going it was better. She is good but just a bit bland - nice shiny blonde American pretty girl and I don't think she did enough to stay. Again, a super person and nice singer, someone you'd be quite happy to see on stage for a while in between the acts that you'd actually paid to see at a concert. There are plenty more yet to play but I'd say she was likely to go unless the rest are a bit average too.

9. Rayvon Owen – “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith 

Good choice by this lad who I would say is a definite to stay in the competition for a while at least. He needed longer than he had, though, to get this across and I hope his vote doesn't suffer from the brevity.

10. Tyanna Jones – “Love On Top” by Beyonce 

Is Michael Jackson back from the grave? Oh no, it's Tyanna. She looks active and as if she is about to dance and bring the stage to life. But she doesn't actually seem to get going. The notes are sadly missing here and there and the beat is neither here nor there. Odd.

11. Mark Andrew – “Take Me To Church” by Hozier

Another 2015 classic that brings the old-looking fellow firmly back into a younger age group. This is a fabulous choice for him and suits his voice and personality well. We do tend to lose the meaning of the sond, though, and he can only bounce up and down for so long before it starts to look a bit tedious. 

12. Shannon Berthiaume – “Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin

Oh yes, I like this girl. Yet another extremely simple dress and minimal make-up on a small stage perfromance. She just doesn't look like the person who should be singing the Janis Joplin number, and you don't really belive that she means the words. She may not be innocent but she looks it. I do like her and how she performs but how credible will she be?

13. Quentin Alexander – “Youth" by Foxes

Here's a star in the making. This fellow is good. Modern and I see him going a long way in this competition. His only trouble will be if he too 'modern' for the voting public. He was only running at half speed but still impressed.

14. Jax – “You & I” by Lady Gaga

Jax v Quentin could be a good final. This girl is a totally natural performer, almost out Gaga-ing the Lady with You And I. The difference between Jax and Shannon is that you believe Jax. Too short though. But nice. The competition needs her for a while yet at least. there are times when I feel she's trying too hard and I would like to see her just as she is one week, no deliberate gaps, no odd words at the end, just some passion.

15. Savion Wright – “I Don’t Trust Myself (with loving you)” by John Mayer 

He's up against Rayvon and Quentin for votes in his category of style. In many ways he beats Rayvon and gives Quentin a good run for his money. The only problem is that track was so instantly forgettable. I cannot imagine anyone remembering enough to think that they really must vote for him.

16. Joey Cook – “Sweet Pea” by Amos Lee

This girl is different again. Nice jazz style and she is certainly someone people will remember. Very professional and a good, reliable musician that the live shows will benefit from having around for a while yet. I can't imagine the votes piling up big time but I like her.

17. Trevor Douglas – “Burnin Love” by Elvis Presley

Mr Cool Guy. I do like Trevor and admire his nerve in doing another Presley number. At the start I do wonder if he's not really overdoing it but once it settles he works well and I am pretty sure he will have bags of appeal out there in voting land. He is also extremely talented. Every note and beat was spot-on. That's quite an achievement.

18. Katherine Winston – "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac

I adore this song so can be a bit fussy as to how girls treat it. Katherine knows what she's doing but I have heard and seen better, notably Didi Benami several years ago. You felt she meant it but I feel that Katherine is just an actress. Good but that's all.

19. Nick Fradiani – “Drops of Jupiter” by Train 

They really do need a bigger stage. Nick almost steps on the stage lights as he tries to find his way around. It sort of spoils the performance a bit as well which is a pity as that was excellent otherwise. I would love to see him progress but there are almost certainly six more likely to survive than him this time.

20. Alexis Gomez – “Better Dig Two” by Band Perry

First Country number of the night! She will get a lovely big pile of votes for this. One, she's damn good and two, she's the only Country girl so far. She may be blonde and pretty and American but she has something else that I didn't see in Maddy.

21. Qaasim Middleton – “Satisfaction” by Allen Stone 

In the competition for original style it will be between the two Qs. Tonight Quentin wins as Qassim went a bit over the top with this and may well have turned off a lot of AI voters. This isn't their bag, no matter how good it actually is. Jennifer goes mad and clearly loves it.

22. Sarina-Joi Crowe – “Big White Room” by Jesse J 

This girl has had several goes at getting on the show. She has a lovely voice and great control, possibly as good as anyone in this competition and that can only help her. The song was a great choice too for her. Lovely. I hope she stays but her character and stage presence just may not keep her in people's minds. She deserves a chance but may well lose out to a wilder child.

23. Riley Bria – “Love this Pain” by Lady Antebellum

This chap just looks like he's a winner already. OK, he has to fight off Jax and Quentin and maybe Alexis and the Country vote and Trevor and the Nerd vote, after disposing of Adam and the Rock group! This was a bit bland and sort of rolled along but I am prety sure it will have rolled along well enough to keep him there.

24. Shi Scott – “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder 

This girl is a natural performer. She tends to chew the words more than she should but she isn't the nice clean blonde that we've seen earlier. I would have changed the shorts as she looks identical to last time and those legs are just a bit too long to allow us to concentrate on the song. When you do listen to the song, though, it isn't really up to much. I wasn't impressed and have seen her do a great deal better than that.

If this is the week when America votes and splits the 24 into 12 then it will be a hard cut for some but there are several who probably already know they're not going much further.

It is always difficult to predict votes across The Pond but my Top 12 would, assuming I have to have 6 Boys and 6 Girls, look like this based on tonight and one or two earlier performances. I've given the two oddballs ? as they may just make it but I don't know who they'd replace.



Friday, 20 February 2015

American Idol XIV: Showcase Pt 2. The Top 24!

This edition starts with Josh getting a 'No' but there is clearly some disagreement as Jennifer pointedly says she would have had him in the Top 24 and tells him too!

So Hollywood is back. He was fabulous earlier on. We didn't see much of his Hollywood audition. Now on stage he has to perform and I'm not so sure he did. He writes well and I am a bit surprised that he didn't make it. I suppose I should have checked my own Spoiler list published here! I was sure he'd make it. Big character that would have had the viewing numbers doing well.

Joey Cook has forgotten words in the past and taken some easy options but this time she does remember everything. I am not sure she is material for the Live Shows. She has the talent but I am not sure she fits in. She makes it, though. Girl No. 8.

Katherine Winston is a bit more 'normal' but sings Stevie Nicks so she's great in my book! Rhiannon isn't as easy as it may seem to sing and she nails that beautifully. I don't know how she'll appeal to the voting public but I like to see her get the chance and she's Girl No.9. That'll be interesting to see how long she lasts. I do worry about her not lasting long.

Maddy Hudson is the one Jennifer said could win it. She is only 16, though, and will get another chance. She is good and I am sure we will see her another year.

Alexis Gomez and Quentin Alexander next. Both are strong performers. They both make the Top 24. Girl No. 10 and Guy No.6. Alexis is a stand-out with very professional Country style.

Savion is quite similar to some others already through. Whether he can beat any of them I don't know. He doesn't seem to me to be someone likely to win. But he gets Guy No.7.

A couple more good girls, Hunter and Jaq, get rejected. Mark Andrew does an excellent Hozier performance and must get through after that. Nice job. Again, not a winner but he'll make the Live Shows reliable. he is all nervous about it. He is so glad to get Guy No.8.

Trevor Douglas has been adorable all the way through and you almost want him through because he is such a cool geek! He can also entertain and how on Earth can this guy be just 16? He comes from a totally different planet to the other 16-year-old guy in this thing. Guy No.9.

Emily Brook. Ah, Emily. I remember how little we have ever seen of Emily. At 15 she is a Country girl up against Alexis and Maddie. Let's hope we get to see more of her when she returns next year as she didn't quite make it.

Nick Fradiani is different to many of the others and gets the Guy No10 slot. I haven't figured out what his theme is yet.

Sarina-Joi Crowe has had three goes at this already, we're told. She sounds confident but has always failed at this point. This time she makes it. Girl No. 11.

Qassim is someone I can see doing extremely well and he is the last of the guys through. Guy No.11.

For the last spot it's a choice between Ricky Dale Hendricks and Riley Bria. Both are excellent, Riley with the more rock version of performance whilst Ricky is perhaps the better singing of ballads. Riley is a young Bryan Adams and has that special quality that I think will mean he could be around a while. Quite a while. Riley is Guy No. 12.

So now for the last girl. It's between Jelly Joseph and Chi Scott. No competition. Chi wins that easily and will be someone that the Live Shows will benefit from. Jelly was OK but there are already several like her and Chi seems that much more special and also reliable on the live stage. Chi. Girl No.12.

So that's it, folks. It's over to you now. I'll take the wraps off the list on this site and you can see some faces hopefully here too as reminders, although some are not particularly flattering at all. The public get to vote next week in what must be a massive show or two if each one is to perform fully. Sound good. From here the show really starts.

My money's on Trevor, Riley, Daniel and Jax at the moment.

American Idol XIV: Showcase Pt 1

Michael Simeon seems a bit average to me and I don't get the 'appeal' to girls that we're told he has. He is confident and should be reliable and is confirmed as the first to make the Top 24.

Lauren Lott is a far better performer in my book although there is some screeching going on in the Celine Dion track we see her doing. She's the first girl through.

Adam is interesting in many ways. he has a cartoon look about him and is actually a toy designer! His earthy rock voice is almost pitch perfect (although the track we see this time isn't!) and you can tell he's enjoying himself a lot. No. 2 guy through.

Cody Fry is the first not to make it. A talented fellow but I am not sure he fits the bill for the show. He is also up against a few who can put on a good performance but it is clear, as Ryan, informs us, that no-one is safe.

Lovey James plays and performs far older than her 16 years. She is very good and, although she does get a bit raucous, she could be a contender. I think I see her dropping out fairly early but she does make the No. 2 girl spot.

We see several not making it through.

Adonna Duru is someone I seem to have missed so far. She does It's A Man's World with real passion and some super singing. Real entertainment and if we had to choose between her and Lauren then she would win that battle of two fairly similar acts. She deserves to get No.3 girl spot.

Maddie Walker does Big Girls Don't Cry very well indeed. Surprisingly she is rejected. Eh? Even the panel don't seem too sure. I thought she'd be a certainty.

In contrast Rachel Hollick puts on a great show and that may be their preference as she does a great job. We get to hear that the panel is unsure which to choose between Maddie, who they do bring back, and Rachel. They get asked to do a sing-off more or less there and then! That's pressure for them. Maddie will be thinking she has nothing to lose. Rachel will be thinking she can only finish up where she is. They do just sing in front of each other with no backing. In the circumstances they both did well but the three judges decide that Maddie has the edge. That was tough for Rachel who doesn't take it well. I guess she won't be watching the next few weeks. So Maddie Walker is girl No.4.

Clark Beckham is going from strength to strength and is very very good in his showcase performance to a big audience. He would knock Michael Simeon off the stage as soon as the Live Shows start if he gets in. And he gets the No.3 guy slot. Another deserving case.

Daniel Seavey is the young one. It looks like a different TV show when he's performing. He does sound very mature, though, this time. A lot more modern than many of his competitors and he could have a major fan club develop. So I can't argue with his selection as guy No.4 at all. He's good and is even a potential winner. First one I've said that for.

Tianna is 'doing it for her family' which I think too many say, however true that may or may not be. I am sure she's genuine. I found her singing off key and strained in places and, looking at who she has to compete with, I wouldn't have put her through as I don't see her lasting long. There must be something that the panel can see that I've missed as they are quite clear about giving her the Girl No.5 slot.

Rayvon Owen is another very good singer who could do well and is so sound. Shannon  Berthiaume has never performed in front of an audience like that before and did a super job of a Janis Joplin number. Both make it - guy No.5 and Girl No.6. Both deserve that place and could be around for a good while.

Main contender that everyone has to try and beat, though, is Jax and if she keeps performing as well as she has throughout these shows so far that will be tough. She takes some chances but I think she's great and so do the panel. Girl No.7.

Hollywood is coming up next. You'll need to see the next show to find out who the remaining 11 are and there's something about a vote but I am not sure what that is. Do the public vote to decide who makes the Live Shows? Wow. I vaguely recall typing something like that at the very start but not at all sure, having got to know the Top 24 now, how I feel about that. I have always advocated as many as possible getting to perform for the public and having slower evictions at the start. That's simply because not everyone is a ready-made live show professional and some may just need a week or two to get their personality across. That can, of course work against them too as some personalities will be shown to be not so good and, whatever their talent, they'll get voted off but at least it'll be after a decent period of consideration. They'll have had a good chance is what I'm saying.

OK, Can't wait for the next instalment.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

American idol: Hollywood Round Pt 4 Solo Performances

Now we have the solo rounds, when the contestants just get to perform. This is the big chance for everyone, make or break for everyone!

Lauren Lott sounds very professional and actually good with Adele's Skyfall. A powerful song and current which helps her to appeal but she really did know what she was doing anyway. That was as a stunning version that ought to see her very safely home. Jennifer rightly calls that a superstar performance. Well done, Lauren.

Daniel Seavey is very young and even sounds very young. Ed Sheeran's  I See Fire he can sing well and he has a nice personality but I would give him another few years to learn about love and girls and the world. He is very good but it would be as some sort of cartoon teen idol if he were to go further in this competition.

Veyron gets a lot of good advice from the mentor guy. Over-singing is a common complaint and that's almost a certainty with the 70s Let's Get It On. He is pretty critical of the mentor and I would imagine he gets whacked behind the scenes. Not a clever move. We smile at him but also grimace a bit. He can sing but is he really an American idol?

Shi is nervous and bubbly but is a fabulous performer and seems to relax once she gets going. She sings an Etta James number I am not familiar with but wish I had been as it sounded superb. Too short; maybe it was edited down although that wasn't obvious. I like her but the panel didn't feel that was a particularly good job. She may survive as there is no-one quite like her.

Adam Lasher is at home on his own on the stage with an earthy Free Falling. Is it a bit bland maybe? Decent bloke but maybe that's the last we see of him. There are some competitors in that area.

Big Ron and Adam get axed at that point so some good people are still in there, including several that, frustratingly, we didn't see perform. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Quinton Alexander is one of the very visible candidates. He is just 20 but really does own the stage and put across tracks well. I don't know the song he does but it was good and the panel love him. Looks like he'll be around for a while.

Maddie Walker is the Country girl we need in the show. She also does pretty blonde in spades. Well done indeed.

Trevor gets a brief burst on our screen. He's a cool guy and seems to have found a place in all the panel members' hearts as well as many of my readers'. If he's through then he's got bags of support out there.

Alexis seems to have recovered a bit more and puts on a reasonable performance but to my mind she's out of key. Harry stops her anmd suggests she tries again which is a nice gesture. She has had to deal with a lot of nerves but still can't find the right note to start with. That's tough but she's out.

Jax follows and sings Let It Be. She manages to bring a massive amount of emotion and star quality to her performances. I don't know how or where it comes from as she is an odd little thing to watch but it works whatever it is. Easily and straight through.

Michael Simeon is the guy that has the cheeky look Jennifer finds very attractive. I don't really get it but I think we can assume he'll be through.

Nick is the 'old guy' at 28 and that is the cut-off age for the competition. He sings a great version of a David Gray number, Babylon. I'd put him through to the next round as he just seems to be totally reliable and the panel pick up on this and his likeability. A winner? No, but a good TV contestant.

Competing with him is Katharine Skinner at just 15. She looks a lot older. Not a good performance, though, of Alone. In fact it was quite painful and I am sure she's out for another year or two.

We see Michael, Nick and someone called Emily get through. Emily we will, presumably see another day.

Clark Beckham is a busker who is looking much healthier now. He plays a piano on stage this time and puts on a great version of Try A Little Tenderness. Nice.

Mark Andrews is 29 which I thought was past the age limit but maybe he was allowed to join at 28 earlier in the competition. He trundles along with a track that I didn't know and he forgot the words too but it was well covered. He says he was really tired and the panel remark that many people are just looking tired and failing because of that as much as anything else.

We get a glimpse of Alexis Gomez and Naomi too. Alexis and Mark and Clark get through with Katharine Winston who we'll see another day. I would definitely like to see more of Alexis Gomez.

Joey Cook is very individual and chooses Nothing's Going To Change My World. There are some cool Beatles tracks this year. Unless we miss a lot of her performance here, she wouldn't have had any trouble remembering those words this time! She gets all nervous but afterwards which is just as well.

Lovey James is one of the best really young ones. Just 16 but good. Rayvon is a clear favourite too. He is one of the stand out guys. Riley Bria started the whole Season off and does Keith Urban numbers that just work for him and, especially, America. Nice guy with cool tracks and a guitar.

Rayvon, Riley, Tiana, Lovey and Joey get through and we get a glimpse of several others, including Hollywood!

One more cut and then American gets to vote. The next cut is the really tough one.

There are some very good people this year. Some seem to have made it through so far on just fairly average but solid performances and may start to excel in Live Shows whereas others are quirky and make mistakes but have an adorable quality about them.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

American Idol XIV: Hollywood Round Pt 3

Alexis gets an all clear and Sal's gals are on again. Surprisingly, Alexis, who wailed a lot, gets through with one of the favourites in my book, Jax. Pity about Sal who put on a good show and was a decent fellow throughout but, I suppose, was never going to win the thing. He's had been entertaining on the Live shows though.

If the video is still available here then it is well worth watching in full as there are some great moments but each individual is come and gone so soon I can't really manage a commentary.

Hopefully, I can do better when we hit the solo rounds in the next instalment. That's really when people get to show what they can do and we'll start to get a glimpse of who could be that next American Idol.

American Idol XIV: Hollywood Round Pt 2

The Katherine Winston makes a good impression while Gabby Z recovers from freezing at the end of the previous episode.Both make it through for another day.

Andrew Annello is full of confidence but this could be the end of his road. Kylie look-a-like Maddy Walker may have reached the end of the line this year too. Alexis Gomez is the barefoot Country girl. Maddy and Alexis continue but it is, indeed, the end Andrew's road.

Cody Fry is the very old-style guy and he does Lilac Wine very well indeed. Glides through, as Ryan says.

Loren Lott says she thinks she can make American Idol a lot of money. She's not very good. But she's through too. OK, maybe the panel see more than we do.

Rayvon Owen has the name to survive and I am sure he'll do well. Shi Scott is nice and original but not so sure she'll go that much further although she joins Rayvon this time.

A really young lad, Daniel Seavey, is really too young to sign about being taken into lovin' arms. Clark is older and more likely to carry on further after an excellent sounding audition.

Dakota Suarez squawks and that may be the end for her.

Qaasim gets chatted up by a pretty blonde competitor and seems to get pretty well inspired for his performance. That was nice. He must be there for a while.

Next comes Group Round. I always find this odd and a bit frustrating when some bad luck can influence good people who just land up with annoying people or just those who don't want to be with them.

I have to say that they seemed far better organised this year. Maybe the producers had a bigger hand in helping them get started and there didn't seem to be the loud annoying ones or loads of mothers either, many acts making bed in good time and even those who stayed up did a reasonably good job. I cannot really pick out any individuals - there were many who excelled but we don't see much.

There's a nice touch from Sal, the Sicilian, who invites a lost girl to join his group. Unfortunately she faints during their practice and then again when they're about to perform. In that group are some of the best contenders so hopefully they'll not be affected. we'll find out next time.