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.