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.