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.