Monday, 29 February 2016

Deciding the Idol Top 10 Pt 1

Now it is beginning to look like American Idol. A big stage, lots more in the audience. We are no choosing the Top 10 from 14. Four people go straight through, decided by Keith, Jennifer and Harry, as those who they really do want to see proceed.

First selected unanimously is Dalton. Good. I am sure he'd be popular anyway and is my tip to win the Boys.
Next, Olivia makes it in. Nice. Third is Trent. That's a surprise. Maybe that's to make sure there is another guy as the girls are all so good. Last with a free pass is La'Porsha who is on track to win. Her hair has already won.

So the others have to perform. Six will make the Live Shows Top 10.

Manny is competent but I just don't see him selling records in the 2010s and 2020s. He can sing and do a stage act but I just feel he is a 70s guy and is a bit old. Nice enough but not someone whose albums I'd be rushing out to buy and if he came on the radio I suspect I wouldn't stop what I was doing. Something is missing in his relationship with the audience.

Gianna Isabella is young with a good voice and personality. She sings I Put A Spell On You and it is in a different class to Manny. That was very impressive.

Thomas Stringfellow sings One D's The Story Of My Life. Good choice for the group likely to be voting for him. It's a bit of a messy performance and he seems younger tonight but is definitely modern. He could easily take a position in One Direction if ever they needed someone. So this was OK but not as great as some of his previous efforts.

Tristan McIntosh is another youngster. She is semi Country and has a super tone to her voice. What Hurts Me Most is not a number I am familiar with but it was an interesting choice. In places she missed a note or two but she came across to the Country scene and that is no bad thing as piles of votes lie there. I felt she would otherwise be a bit vulnerable.

Avalon Young is the difficult one to judge. She is chatty and plays a relaxed song that is tremendously modern and her dress is just like she has walked in from taking the dog for a walk. Great voice but there is something I don't get. Has she got mass appeal? I really can't tell. No way can we fault her but that wasn't a performance that I'll remember for long. So far only Gianna has done that, to be honest.

There are six places. I think Gianna and Tristan may have secured two of them. Unless they makes a complete mess I would also predict Lee Jean and  will get places so that leaves two. One girl and one boy if they go 50-50. So Thomas may make it after all. The girl? Jeneve, the odd girl from the outback? Jenn with the 50s look and fascinating style? Of those two I'd give Jeni the place. Then there's Sonika. Let's see how they do.

Jenn brings Cyndi Lauper True Colors to life again. She is unique and holds your attention. I like her immensely but will America? There were odd notes that I wish she could avoid but Harry calls her lyric delivery flawless so that's OK then!

Lee Jean I had down as a potential finalist. So young but so talented. Make It Rain was brilliant. He is a superstar waiting to be ignited. Fabulous. he has to be there.

Sonika is the last doubtful one. So pretty and she sings really well but so far she has been just a little ordinary. Good, but uninspiring. And she didn't get across emotionally. I don't know the title but the song she, maybe Forever, was superb. That voice is one of the best and every note was spot on. She brought out something special there. I think she deserves a spot but who would she replace? It would have to be Gianna or maybe Jenn's after all. It may be between her and Gianna. I'd have a job deciding.

Jeneve sings Ring Of Fire. She seems a bit nervous. That didn't really work for me. She is a cool character and I can see that she would be great TV for the show. Her talent is highly musical rather than as an entertainer. I can't make my mind up but she would have to take Tristan's place and that I am not so sure is a good idea.

Last to sing is McKenzie. I have had him down as a Finalist all the way through. I don't know the song he does but it is brilliant. Very very good. Love this guy. That was a winning performance that will have Dalton wondering if he has competition. Ah, that was an original song too. My God. he has to get a contract whatever happens. We need him over here too as i am sure Brits will love this fellow too.

So here's my Top 10:

Lee Jean

I know, I have dropped both Country acts. I must be wrong but who else can be dropped?

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Top 24 Idol Duets Pt 2

By the end of this session we will know the Top 14. Five more go tonight. Joining then on stage will be some great folk from the past Seasons. I am really pleased to see Haley Reinhart, someone who ought to have won. Kelly Pickler, one the stars who only came 6th but did brilliantly afterwards, with a cool and fun personaility which has kept her in demand for presenting as well as singing. Chris Daughtry came 4th and has been a very solid and successful artist since then. A chap called Constantinos didn't do very well at all - maybe 7th at best, I think, but he somehow is still doing well!  And then there's Jordin Sparks who won. Nice group of helpers.

Amelia Eisenhauer joins Kelly for Suds In The Bucket. Should be fun! Real ol' Country style. They were superb together! Great fun to watch and listen to, even if you aren't bothered about that sort of stuff. Kelly is just one cool girl. Amelia is through to the Live Shows. Done deal.

That puts pressure on the others as still five to go.

Haley Reinhard and Kory Wheeler do Benny And The Jets which each of them have done in their own Seasons. Haley is a total natural. Kory is new to all this. Bit of a mismatch and she will dominate. I mean, just look at this girl. Beautiful. And her voice and timing is fabulous. Kory does his best but his days may be numbered. He doesn't share the stage with her. He never looks at her although she keeps looking his way to no avail. The lighting does not do Kory any favours. He looks pale, ill and sweaty. The job of the makeover team is to stop that happening. Or maybe it is the lighting team? Kory gets good reviews from the panel. We'll see.

Lee Jean is paired with Chris Daughtry. Lee is star struck. The song is Home which Chris wrote. Lee is super nervous but Chris works hard to relax him and is a great mentor. Chris dominates the song which is quite understandable I suppose and Lee doesn't get much of a look in really. For all that, I still expect to see him get through.

Oh, David Cook is there too. I hadn't realised. He's with CJ Johnson. They are a good pair. David is a winner and a great mentor too. He understands music in depth and is almost analytic but it works. CJ gets to sing first in the duet. Nice touch, David. Well done. When David does come in, though, it is rather noriceable and could this mean curtains for CJ? I don't see both Kory and CJ making it somehow.

These duets are so much better than the last ones and so far everyone is getting good reviews. Of all this was the least in the rave review listing but not bad.

Jordin is singing with Manny Perez. She may get him to stop smiling in sad songs. No Air requires emotion and if he can produce that it could even help him reach the Top 14. He has the voice. I had to smile as Jordin has lots of curls in rehearsals and then comes out with dead straight hair this evening and looking quite different!

Constantine and Jen are both pretty quirky. My Funny Valentine could work well for them but it is a risk. Jen has a superb attitude and tremendous talent. Whether it is really an 'Idol' talent I am not totally sure but she is really really good and ought to be included in the Live Shows. That actually worked very well and Constantine has become quite an accomplished performer. Harry didn't like the way it went but Keith was totally opposite and gave Jen a standing ovation. She will be through then, or he'll be disappointed.

Kelly is back with Tristan McIntosh doing a song that Kelly wrote with Taylor Swift. Tristan is becoming one of my favourites. i do hope she gets through, despite her youth and comparative lack of understanding the lyrics. Great performance by both but I am not so sure Tristan didn't outdo Kelly out there! Interesting. neither were brilliantly in tune and the band were terrible, banging away sort of in time in the background.

David is very complimentary about Olivia Rox and she gets excellent reviews. If she can find the right songs then she'll be around. Harry says that Idol is lucky to have her and so we can be sure that she's through!

Haley Reinhart is singing the classic Can't Help Falling In Love With You with Adam Lasher. Haley starts and that voice is just mesmerising. Amazing. Adam tries to match her and he does have a great husky tone but he is nt quite as believable and he looks a bit nervous. Understandably! Not a bad job and they did try so hard. Somewhat deadpan review. Maybe that's his end of run.

Dalton Rapattoni is pretty star struck by Chris Daughtry. They go very well together. Chris takes some keeping up with but Dalton manages, quite easily. he is certainly a potential winner in my book. The best of the boys and I see him in the Finale.

Jordin is singing To Love Somebody with Trent Harmon. Now that's one great song but I can't watch these two. Trent's shirt is hanging out and with short jacket he looks like a squaddie fresh off the battlefield. A complete mess. which is a shame as he can sing very well indeed. Awful hair cut and clothes. Just what are the makeover people doing this Season? Dreadful. But good singing. Harry was very complimentary which is a good sign for Trent.

Shelbie Z gets Constantine. Bohemian Rhapsody is a tough call but if she makes a reasonable stab at it it could do her no harm. It is likely to be a memorable moment. It sure was. Nice job. She handled that well. The reviews were not good, though. Surprising and a bit tough on the girl, I reckon. Even though I am not a Shelbie fan I thought she worked hard there. Does she deserve to get through? Maybe not as there have been some better efforts overall.


First safe is Lee.
Next is Olivia.
Next is Jen.
Next is Dalton.
Next is Manny. That's the first I was not sure about.
Next is Tristan.
One left. That's Trent.

Sad to see the end of the road for Amelia but the others I had predicted.

Now we know who the public can vote for. There will be four more to go next week and then the Live Shows start with  a Top Ten.

This is proving to be a great show.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Top 24 Idol solos Pt 2

As we saw last week, the solos tended to dominate the decisions as to who stayed and went for the judges. So these are important.

Shelbie Z is first on the stage. I have to admit that she is not one of my favourite characters in this competition. She brings, though, bags of talent and is a good Country singer. When she says 'Come on, now clap yer hands' you get the impression that she's noting who doesn't and they'd better watch out. She can entertain but I don't think the camera likes her as much as others.

Manny Torres hits us with a bit of religion but luckily moves on to sing pretty quickly. He is accomplished but looks scary on stage and whoever dressed him in 70s brown purple and dark blue needs their head examined. It's a boring number, more or less the same pitch all the way through. the Coldplay track is cool but that was boring. This is another good singer that the camera doesn't like much. There aren't many boys so he does stand a good chance of getting through but that's about as far as he'd go anyway.

Kory Wheeler is third up. He didn't get a great deal of limelight in the bootcamp week. Yet another ill-dressed and strangely presented performer. Nice performance, though, of the James Bay track which suited him well and that was easily the best so far. Harry wasn't moved by this. Jennifer says he looked most comfortable on stage and yet we see this pale, quite unwell and sweating fellow on the screen. Not a good look.

Amelia Eisenhauer does a remarkable job with Avicii's Wake Me Up. Perhaps she rushes it a bit but it was interesting and certainly a lot more contemporary than the others before her. She also looks good and is in a different league to the other three. She really should be there and I would hope to see her in the Live Shows. Nice personality too. I think she should be safe.

Jen Blosil does Bieber's Sorry. She is a very original girl and superbly talented. Here she is at the piano in some ancient-looking dress that my grandmother night have worn but you know what - it makes not a jot of difference. This girl is brilliant and should have very safely secured her place in the Top 14. Very good and as Harry says, a breath of fresh air but he found her out of tune and wasn't happy with that. Jennifer and Keith spoke up for her and I get the feeling that, despite the tuning, she'll be through.

CJ Johnson has also suffered at the hands of the makeover team. God, they've been bad this week. He sings a strong semi-rock, slightly earthy style of something that isn't really Country. It goes down well and is true American stuff that I can see being popular there but not ever making it across The Pond. Great performance for that crowd and he should have secured a place. Harry, once again, however, says he was out of tune! Not a winner but should be Top 14.

Lee Jean is young and does look like a kid compared to the others. He also sounds like a kid but I reckon he will get through because he is modern and has not just an amazing talent but also the ability to appeal to a whole pile of teens out there. Odd song. I didn't even recognise it as an Ed Sheeran number. No-one has chosen much successfully so far. I like this chap and the camera does too. Harry says that was one of the better voices of the night. He'll like that!

Trent Harmon is a soulful singer that looks like an unwell Olly Murs. He is quite unique and sounds great. Maybe this was the first good song choice of the night. Matched him well. What Are You Listening To? is a very nice Country number but he adds a lot to make it commercial. Jennifer says he'll be in the competition for a long time. Harry says he has one of the best voices. Looks like he'll be a surprise Top 14.

Tristan McIntosh is just 15 still but is cool. She takes on Carrie Underwood's Good Girl which has tough lyrics that you really would not expect and American 15 year old to comprehend or be able to put across. So the message did suffer a bit but she is very good indeed, putting on a tremendous performance, possibly the best of the night. The camera loves her too. Harry thought it was just 'OK'. Keith says she looks like a million bucks. True. I hope she makes it.

Adam Lasher is a great, earthy rock-soul guy. He is meatier than CJ. He looks good but the performance is all pretty much on the same level. Not at all bad and the audience seem to like that. The review isn't that great. None give him him much to hope for so he could be vulnerable to losing out here.

Dalton Rapattoni is one of my favourites this Season. Great look, great voice, great attitude. He brings out Billy Idol's Rebel Yell and that is a winning number if ever I heard one. Very short but, wow, he put a lot into that and the audience went wild. He is their favourite too. Jennifer could not contain herself. Harry was totally comprehensive and Keith says he can Daltonise things. Great!

Olivia Rox is one of those contestants taht seem a little too confident. Strangely, Confident is the title of the Demi Lovato song she performs. She is a natural on stage and, yes, she is pretty cool as well as being a good singer. She didn't match Dalton was very good and very strong. She ought to be there.

Unless something goes wrong with the Duets tomorrow, Dalton, Olivia, Tristan, Lee, Amelia and Jen should be through. That leaves just one space that I would give to Trent.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Top 24 Idol Star Duets Pt 1

Ryan Seacrest on stage at last. He's been around doing his thing comforting or congratulating people on their audition progress. Now the Top 24 get to perform in a professional environment in front of the audience. It looks a small venue but it must, of course, be scary stuff.

Last night they produced some solo performances which I have yet to see. I am hoping to do so very soon and will adjust the posting of these articles accordingly but if you're a quick follower then you'll see this before the solos. These are important times as five will be dropped this time. We're getting

Lauren Alaina and Emily Brooke are the first duo. They are quite similar. Nice pair. Emily is excellent. Very young but so talented and you'd never know she was younger than twenty something. She really did well with that and, of the two, I reckon Emily could have the best chance, despite Lauren's experience. Harry would prefer Emily less raucous and 'produced'. I agree. Hope she makes the Live Shows.

Next is Nick Fradiani with Thomas Stringfellow. Nick won last year and we haven't seen a great deal of him since over here but he is good and will help Thomas a lot. Good advice in the clips we see from Nick. Their track is Man In The Mirror. Thomas looks strangely vulnerable and very young. He survives but seems out of place. I like the fellow and still think he should make the Live Shows but he'll need to do something. What, I don't yet know! Get rid of the yellow braces at least.

Keith makes a good point about Thomas normally doing his own thing and Harry refers to his version of Creep in the previous show, more or less saying that was enough to put him through.

Third duo is Ruben Studdart, Season 2 winner, with Stephanie Ngrete. Odd mix. Quite a mismatch on stage! The song is a Carpenters' number, Yesterday. He drowns her out most of the time. She is a cool performer and very controlled but perhaps a bit too controlled fr my taste. I'd like to see her let her hair down and mess around a bit. Jennifer was complimentary, as were Harry and Keith. Although 'nice job' may not mean she's an automatic shoe-in to the Live Shows.

Caleb from the year before is back, rocking out with Sonika Vaid. She is the one who cannot possibly go through as well as Stephanie as they both cover the same ground. Well, they have been so far and even look a little similar.

Ryan reminds us that just seven out of 12 will be through. I guess another 12 will perform next week and 7 of them go through.

I like watching Sonika but she has fallen down on the connection with the public out there. She also needs to let go. She gets to start Skyfall. I like that. However Caleb's strong voice could have taken over the production, Sonika got a chance to show what she could do too. She did seem a bit in awe of the guy, though. Harry was laughing because all this is so new to her. Laughing in a nice way and he did enjoy it. Keith was kind as well and Jennifer picked her words carefully and said what I just wrote about how she should loosen up.

Scotty and Jenna Rae. They do one of Scotty's numbers. Not bad but this was the first I didn't feel meant a great deal. Her critique wasn't that great.

La Porscha is with Fantasia. An excellent match. I didn't like La Porscha's entry which seemed in a different key but there is no doubting her talent. Quite extraordinary and she easily matched her partner once they got under way. I am not a huge fan of this girl but she deserves to do well. No doubt abut it. The song was the classic Summertime but you sort of lot that along the way.

Lauren Alaina is back with Mackenzie Borg. She is cute with him and seems to have taken a genuine liking to him! Nice to watch. The song is I Hope You Dance which really Lauren takes over completely. Mackenzie is a great talent but he was wasted on that partnership. Harry reminds us that his previous performance was very very good and that should mean he still has a good chance. He has a great future.

Nick is back with Gianna Isabella. I have never been really sure of this girl. The song is Beautiful Life which was his single in the States. Not a great track, to be honest, but Gianna does it justice and I was quite happy seeing and watching her perform. Nick gives her more space than some of the other Idols have given their partners.

Ruben performs with Avalon Young. Flying Without Wings is the song. Avalon has a serious face and seems out of place now, despite being a very good singer. This time she seemed a little off key and the song was poor for her. She was just on stage with the guy, not really offering us anything new. The crowd seemed to like it. Jennifer thought it was incredible and that they were one of the only 'real' duets this evening. Avalon gets a lot of compliments so I must have missed something.

Caleb is with James VIII and they're doing Gimme Shelter. Great song, not easy. Great performance! To be fair, that was really Caleb doing lead + backing but James did a good job keeping in there. I am not sure how much further James will go but that was quite enjoyable. He can perform well too but most of the panel's comments were sort of polite in a nice way, Jennifer's particularly.

Scotty and Jeneve Rose Mitchell get on very well. The song is Gone. Jeneve is absolutely unique and certainly held on to her roots with that performance. Amazingly good. She looks like something from a 1930s musical in that enormous dress and hat. The panel recognise that she really digs into the lyrics but reckon it was quite bizarre! Chatting afterwards, Scotty says to her that he thinks she'll be around for a while yet and can't wait to see how the next few weeks develop. He had previously said how ready she was for TV etc.

Jordan Sasser and Fantasia sing I Believe. Jordan has to be the best singer in this competition. Very good and he matches Fantasia all the way. Do I see him getting far? No. It's not fair but I feel he will not last much longer, despite being so good. The panel are quite critical of his efforts - not the singing but he tried so hard to be noticed.

That's the last chance for these guys then. Seven will move forward and start to become well-known faces and names and build a career in this industry.

Tough for those who fall.

La Porscha is first declared safe. Sonika makes it. Avalon is third through. Gianna is fourth. Wow. Four girls. Fifth is Thomas. Sixth is Mackenzie. So was Scotty wrong about Jeneve?  No. he was right. She is Number 7 and so it's 5 girls and 2 boys. Shame to see Emily go.

Top 24 Solos Pt 1

12 of the Top 24 sing their own choice solo tonight and then tomorrow night duet with some Idols from the past series. 5 will leave this week and next, reducing the numbers to 14 which, presumably, will be the Live Show contestants.

Harry says that these solo rounds will be the most important, the solos being more a guide to how they can work with someone else but not as crucial as how they display themselves,

Stephanie Ngrete starts with a Jessie J number and does it justice for sure. She is a natural on stage and reminds me of Cher, especially in the black leather she has this evening. That was impressive. She has one match in Sonika Vaid and I don't see both going through. The judges seem to think she lacks connection although I thought she did a good job there.

Mackenzie Borg does Say Something which some will recall took Alex & Sierra to the top of X Factor USA. Comparisons aren't always so good and, much as I like this guy, I am not sure the song helped him as much as it might have done. He does put his own turn on songs and did a good job, just not a brilliant job. He is, though, one of the few guys with a chance of getting through.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell sings Angel Sarah McLoughlan, playing a harp too! Amazing. She is simply superb and this performance may be the one that we all look back upon when she is crowned the winner. She is extraordinary and I have a good feeling about this girl from the middle of nowhere where electricity is scarce and goodness knws what life is actually like.

Jenna Rae is also a Country singer. I am not so sure about her. She is clearly aware of the world and can sing superbly and put on a good show but it is a bit full on and lacking shade. She's fine and could be relied upon to perform well in Live Shows but she has a huge amount of competition.

James VIII sings Love Lockdown, a Kanye West song that has escaped my attention to date and, quite frankly, I feel none the worse for that. Pretty tedious stuff. James is sound and knows what he's doing but he doesn't strike me as someone who will make it through any further. Nothing wrong with the guy but I don't see him as an Idol winner. Harry isn't sure about how far he can go. Keith thinks he might be indulgent and needs to come out and kill it every time, not assume he'll go through.

Sonika sings a Taylor Swift number and puts a big gap between herself and Stephanie, dressed in a beautiful and glamorous dress and it's a standing, gentle performance that reaches out to people. I still want her to put across the lyrics better. Everyone loves her voice, though. She is very interesting and may be a surprise competitor later.

Gianna Isabella is the one whose mum was in the Live Shows some years back. Her version of I Put A Spell On You was great. She can really sing, possibly one of the strongest voices there with rock steady notes and seems to know how to appeal. I like her and think she'll do well. Win? Maybe not but she'll be there for a while.

Emily Brooke is possibly the only blonde this evening. She is not at her best, though, and the performance starts quite nervously and it takes a while before she can come across more comfortably. Harry says her talent is unquestionable but she missed the pitch and chose the wrong song. That could be sad for a previously potential star.

Avalon Young may not be as attractive as Emily but she is incredibly accurate with her notes and sings the Justin Beiber number extremely effectively. She seems very relaxed and quite mature on stage yet sings a teen song. She seems in tune with herself as much as anyone. Very reliable and I reckon she'll get through although I don't know how popular she'll be when the votes start being needed.

Jordan Sasser sings All By Myself which is a classic. He is a great singer, handling that very difficult track well. He is a true professional and it is difficult to come up with any reason he shouldn't make the Live Shows. Does he connect though? Keith didn't think he gets the emotion across and Harry didn't like the showing off. Interesting and quite sad for the guy when everyone else is being told to give it their all! He does and gets slammed for it! As I said, I can't think of a good reason for him not to make the Live Shows. But he won't.

Thomas Stringfellow must have guaranteed his place in the Live Shows with his remarkable Creep. He is excellent and puts his true self into almost every word. You can feel him sing even if he looks a bit silly in the check shirt and big hat. He is a potential Idol Runner Up. I see him in a Finale. Great reviews from Harry, Jennifer and Keith. Compelling stuff.

La Porsha Renae is the girl with the big woolly hair who looks round and either 14 or 44. Proud Mary is a classic for her and she is excellent. I can't fault this girl's singing or performance. I don't find her easy to watch but she is damn good and has to make the Live Shows, being head and shoulders above the others in terms of professionalism. Remarkable. Harry says she'll make the other competitors either want to do a lot better or quit!! I imagine she mist be the favourite but will she get the votes?

A good set of performances. Emily, Jordan and James would seem to be the obvious ones in trouble. Let's see how they manage with the duets next.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The Top 24.

Stephanie Ngrete starting the show again and looking very impressive again with This Girl Is On Fire. That will get her in the Top 24 for sure. Despite her obvious stage professionalism and being one of Jennifer's favourite performances, I still have a doubt or two about how far she can go.

Shelbie Z is strong and quite aggressive, not particularly feminine either. No denying that she can sing but do I want to see her on my screen? Not really. She makes the Top 24. That's deserved. Again, how much further I don't know.

Michelle Marie has been a bit annoying and I haven't been that convinced by her performances to date. She is talented and brave but I wouldn't give her a place on the Live Shows and I feel there will be better for the Top 24 too. She doesn't get chosen. She is very good about accepting this, though, and did herself a tremendous favour with all the audience with that attitude. Well done. She'll be in another talent show before long.

Collette Lush had been a strong contender before but her latest ones have not been so good at all and that last one in front of the bigger audience didn't work at all. You feel sorry for her and the judges were quite surprised and disappointed. Harry says he was shocked. Some you think are going to win and then they fade away. She doesn't make the Top 24.

Jessica Cabral is in the same boat. Some very good auditions but she doesn't make it.

Jessica Clark and someone called Ameet we hadn't actually seen that much of get bad news. One or two others are rejected too, including one or two we might have seen more of but mostly the producers have cleverly been showing us the future stars most of the time and not so many heading for home. One girl was shown talking to her mother on what I assume was 'facetime' but the image of her mother was scary and some!

Mackenzie Bourg changes the fortunes back to success as he sails in to the Top 24, the first guy through. Can't Help Falling In Love With You worked so well for his audience!

Trent Harmon was the one who had trouble with his voice, illness-produced, which was sad. But he pushed on through. I wasn't as impressed with his Tiny Dancer but he makes the second guy spot in the Top 24.

Jenn Rae, Kory Wheeler, Adam Lasher and James VIII get through. We don't see their performances.

Jeneve does Ring Of Fire quite strangely. I don't think she has seen so many people before! Yes, she's moving on. Top 24. Will she make the Live Shows?

CJ Johnson brings strong rock performance, not heard much elsewhere. He deserves that spot.

Amelia Eisenhauer has been interesting, Very smart. Just 16. A very accomplished stage performance, singing and with the fiddle. Nice. One of the best. She is so mature looking and sounding.

Lee John is another youngster but, again, one of the leading contenders in my book. Great guy and no doubt, he's on his way and shouldn't just be Top 24 but Live Show too.

That's half we've now seen accepted.

Avalon Young is one of the very few 'current' contenders. She makes it. Not yet sold on her personality but maybe she'll grow on us.

Dalton Rapattoni is one of the stars for me. If a guy wins it could be him. He's through and must go a long way.

Manny Torrens has been pretty good all the way through. Another Top 24 member.

Then we see several pretty good people go before Thomas Stringfellow comes in. His girlfriend dumped him the night before and the emotions come through strongly in his performance. Nice. He deserves his place and will be interesting to follow.

Just at the moment the guys are beginning to look more interesting than the girls. I can imagine Dalton or Mackenzie winning, for instance, and Lee being in a final with CJ in a Live Show. Several weeks ago it was almost the reverse with few guys impressing me but several girls. There are a few still to come, though.

Sonika Vaid is one that could do well if she can make that link with the audience that is still not there. Talented and I do like her but I am not sure how much further she'll get. Definitely deserves Top 24.

Malie Delgado worked hard on stage and you'd think she would just sail through. Quite a surprise that she didn't make it. Plenty of professional competence but we didn't see that much of her.

Olivia Rox has been coughing a lot and also pushes on through. Very good, she can hold and entertain an audience. Another contestant who really deserves her place in the Top 24. Good choices by this panel all the way through.

Emily Brooke is one of my favourites. She looks lovely, sounds great and is a very cool performer you enjoy watching and listening to. I can see her making records. She'll do well. very well. Definite Top 24 and No.1 girl.

We see a few more fall by the wayside. Lee's girl Sara doesn't make it. Quite a few more fail too. Gianna Isabella has had her mum around a lot and that has been a bit annoying and she is pretty good on her own. She is Top 24 and a judges' favourite! I'm not totally convinced yet.

Just four more to go by my calculations.

Jenn Blosil is one of the unique performers in this competition. If American Idol is to go out on a high and different note then Jenn should win. She is unusual. Mature beyond her years but so talented and original. Nice. Glad to see her there in the Top 24.

Tristan McIntosh has grown on me as the auditions have progressed and her last one was one of the best. She is one of those girls who looks different each time you see her. She's through. Two more places.

Kayce and Jordan compete for the last boy's place. Jordan is impressive. Kayce is too, not quite as strong but good for all that. I think I'd pick Jordan but I'm not sure either will go much further than 24. Jordan gets it.

The last place is a girl. Lindita does a spirited performance of Bang Bang and is pretty good. La'Porsha Renae is a performer extraordinaire and does full justice to The House Of The Rising Sun. Whereas Lindita says she lost 150lbs to make the show, La'Porsha comes from a bad area and looks like she has put on 150lbs. It doesn't matter. She is the better of the two and has a classic look that will be familiar to people over ensuing weeks. You have to feel sorry for Lindita but she isn't an Idol.

So that's it. Now let's hear them sing.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Hollywood Week: Solo Round. No surprises.

Solo round makes more sense. Contestants have to choose, rehearse and perform a track in a day.

Stephanie Ngrete is first on screen. Good solid performance of Adele's Set Fire To The Rain. For all that I don't see her winning, although she will make the lower numbers.

I don't know Thomas Stringfellow's number, nor Avalon Young's. Olivia Rox does an original song so I wouldn't know that anyway! She has plenty of style and is someone I would expect to go far this year.

John Wayne Schultz does a Keith Urban number without his hat. Pity about the hat which was his lucky charm too. Obviously someone pinched it which is a bit sad as he seems a decent sort of guy. sings well, if a bit 'ordinary' Country. Hat or no hat, he hasn't much competition amongst the guys this year but then I have noticed a distinct lack of good ol' boys getting through anyway. It is not, I feel, a year that a Country guy will win.

Mackenzie Bourg avoids the scrum to choose a number (apparently only three can choose any one track) and sings his own number Roses. He is good. Not only is that a cool song that he has written on his own but it was performed really well. He is definitely someone we will see more of.

Shelbie Z knocks a Heart number into the next park but looks very odd doing the slut drop.

Karl Hooper (or similar) does a reasonable Coldplay number.

James VIII is still there and has a good voice but not a great deal of presence, other than a cool name.

Tristan McKenzie was almost knocked off the list for the song she wanted, despite being one of the first three to choose it. Seems like another girl of the top three for it decided to help her by switching. Nice. Tristan herself is excellent and I feel she may have done well anyway and perhaps made a bit too much of it all as she could have done wonderfully well with almost any song.

Sonika Vaid is another super performer and I can't imagine her and Stephanie both being selected for the live shows. They are pretty similar. Both good. Sonika just lacks a bit of experience in being on stage.

Lee Jean rocked Stitches. Brilliant. Sara Sturm is like his girlfriend but she's just sort of OK. The panel seem to like her, though, so the two may stay together for a while longer. I see Lee in the Live Shows. Not sure about Sara.

So far Lee and Mackenzie have been the ones that have impressed me most. Olivia Rox a fairly distant third but I know there are many girls (but few boys) still to see.

Jenn Blosil did a fine job of True Colors. Emily Brooke is excellent, a real star, and she looks the part too. Just a little too much like Carrie Underwood, that's all, but that can hardly be criticism. She is not happy with her performance, though, but we'll see what the judges think.

Malie Delgado comes on stage and does her version of Stitches with a very scratchy voice that has suffered from her recent illness. Mionne is also struggling with her voice. Neither are that great, though, voices regardless.

Jessica Cabral has also been ill but puts on an impressive show. I still don't find her likeable but she is good.

Joshua Wicker I don't remember at all. He wears one of those odd caps that make him look like someone out of a 50s movie. An old-style guy. Quite good but not marvellous for me.

CJ Johnson rocks out with You Can Go Your Own Way and that's something lively that's been missing. Not an Idol but nice guy.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell is the girl from middle of nowhere and she is the big discovery of the year in my book. Great. Original Country.

Dalton Rapattoni does Hopelessly Devoted To You in a completely different way to Olivia Newton-John. Nice. Cool guy and he is another definite in my book. He has to be on the Live Shows, never mind Top 24.

There are 75 waiting to know who moves on. I would guess that there are a few 'definites' amongst them and if you find yourself in a room with them then it will be a room of people who will be going through. I am guessing that the three rooms will be 24, 25 and 26 so that will also be a hint as to who gets to the last 24.
No, I was wrong as two rooms get through and that looks like a lot more than 24 still. Yes, the trailer for tomorrow's programme says that 51 will perform in front of an audience and that is when the cut to 24 comes. OK. That should be worth watching and maybe we;ll get, at last a bit more from each of the leading contestants as recently there hasn't been much by way of performance really.

I am also guessing that the 24 get cut in half to the Live Show Top 12. Then the fun starts.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Oh dear. Group Round at Hollywood.

In my last post I had hoped that they might have done away with this part of the round; the Group farce. It is just so frustrating to watch. Some seem all set and just have a great time rehearsing and getting on but others struggle even to find someone or one of their band leaves or gets grumpy and the others are left to pick up the pieces and simply, with the best will in the world, cannot be expected to compare easily with those others with the trouble-free environment.

It is almost a bit like being born on the wrong side of the tracks. Some guys just can't help what happens to them but still suffer. Unless the panel spot the problem or get advised by the various staff on duty observing developments. Yes, there needs to be some stress test and it's good to see how people get on with others and can work together to get over challenges but this is unfair a lot of the time.

So, whilst it may make good TV, I am more than glad that this is genuinely the last American Idol Group round I'll have to report on.

The best I can do as we're shown some full tracks but mostly extracts, and mixed up at that, is highlight the names of those that I spot getting compliments, mostly from Harry. All those shown make it through and were captioned by the programme. Many others go through too but, with no captions, I guess they don't get too much further whereas the captions do.

Kory, Jenna Rae, Jordan Sasser, Kelsie Watts make a great start. Good work for a day. All four make it through.

Jenn Blosil, Bri Kay, Lynnzee Fray, Sara Sturm were another good group who managed very well. All through.

Amelia Eisenhauer, Tristan McIntosh, Lee Jean. Tristan gets a special mention.

Avalon Young, Jeneve Rose Mitchell, both get big appreciation from the panel.

Chynna Shyrod, Terrian,

Trent Harmon is still there with something he calls 'Mono'. whatever that is. It's contagious so he has to perform alone. He deserves to get through for all the effort he's making. Good talent and he is easily through.

Michelle Marie, Ashley Lusk, Lindsey Carrier don't match Shelbie Z in their group. Michelle maybe had something bouncy about her but Shelbie Z was the only one that really made it. Lindsey didn't make it. I'm not sure about any of them really.

Elvie Shane and Ashley Lillinore didn't survive after poor performances. Mackenzie Bouro does well. Cameron Richard doesn't make it.

Dalton finds himself with a couple of girls in a pretty chaotic time. The 'Poh' girl left and another girl Anatalia joined them. Kassy had been with him since the start. Not bad for an hour's rehearsal and no sleep. He was still the stand-out but they all go through.

Sonika and Stephany Negete sound great in their group. The Russian Andrew is impressive but Keith didn't think they performed very well. They all get through anyway so both groups with problems survived after all.

A group with some odd looking guys and the girl with green hair is uninspiring and almost embarrassing to watch as they have no rhythm or mutual understanding by the look of things. They're out.

Marcio, Jon Lasaasen, Kylle Tommasson, Kayce Haynes do Uptown Funk. They're through too.

Joy Dove, Daniel Farmer, Lindita. Oddly, Daniel loses out and the others carry on.

Eliz Camacho, Gianna Isabella, Dana did not get on. Eliz was annoying and a pain. She didn't make it but was fair and not nasty to the other two as we'd expected might have been the case. Jennifer remarked that the 15 year old Gianna out performed the two 24 year olds.

Joe Dahman, Alesani, Olivia Thai, Jessica Paige. Only Jessica makes it through.

CJ Johnson, Jessica Baker, Zach Joseph, Jess. Zach loses out.

Thomas Muglia, Joey Hendricks, Bryson Dunn, Thomas Stringfellow. The two Thamses survive.

Manny Torres, Malie Delago and Christian Eason put on a very good performance.

Laurel Wright, Marshall and a couple of others wreck Staying Alive

La Porscha Renae, Tonie and Marlena have the same song. Marlene had trouble in rehearsals. Once again she forgets the words, despite reassuring everyone that she wouldn't. However, she sort of pressed on and they all make it after all. The girl with the hair is the one you tend to remember, though.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Hollywood Week: Lines of Ten

I always find this part the worst to watch, never mind report on. In X Factor it is called Boot Camp but Hollywood Week is pretty much the same idea. Put everyone in a big room and see who gets on with others and can survive sufficiently well to impress the panel (and a few advisers we don't see!) and make the Top 40.

These 'Lines of Ten', as the sessions are called, work well. I still have memories of Scotty McCririck running around looking for a band to take him a few years back. Nightmare viewing and bad for the contestants too as some know each other well, some just naturally fall together but several are clearly individuals, and several will, I am sure, have suffered as a result. Scotty did, of course, go on to win and I think the judges make some allowances too. We did see a few dreadful 'group' performers still reach the Live Shows.

This seems better organised this year, as the come up on stage in groups of 10 but don't have to perform together. They just do a brief own thing and, if the panel hasn't already decided that they want them (as often they have) then this is their chance to influence the instances where they're on the cusp between in and out.

Interestingly, and no doubt because the producers can edit the show to highlight certain contestants, several names come to the fore as we watch. No doubt others are also through but these are definitely ones to watch, as those of you who have checked out the Top 24 spoiler might already have realised.

Dalton Rapatonni is really quite impressive in my book. He has the look and the attitude.

Jenn Blosil has passion and a super voice.

Thomas Stringfellow is good and a certain appeal that is modern like Dalton but with a touch less good looks.

Olivia Rox has star quality but probably doesn't match Jenn's tone.

Jessica Cabral gets airtime but is a bit average.

Melanie Tierce didn't sound anything like as good as she had in her superb first audition. (She falls at this stage. That was quite a surprise but she didn't do well enough. Simple.)

Sonika Vaid continues to sound lovely. She is a real contender. Great attitude too.

LaPorscha Renae is through. The hair you will not forget.

Manny Torres is one of the leading guys this year.

Harrison Cohen is not through. He seemed excellent. Oh well.

Daniel Farmer is a lesser version of Manny, quite good.

Lee Jean is cool and another major guy contender for the title.

Melanie Huber doesn't

Shelbie Z

Others fly through

Jeneve Rose Mitchell ' this is the girl who's off the grid' Brilliant.

Gianna Isabella confident and great personailty, Strong contender.

Tristan McIntosh very very attractive personality. Super voice. Definite contender plus plus in my book.

Kyrsti Jewel is 16 on the day. Wails a lot. Pretty but she wails a lot. She doesn't make it.

Michelle Marie is a bit boring and same tone all the way through. She does but I do hope she doesn't go much further.

Trent Harmon is ill but pushes on through. Good voice for all that and emotionally all there. He gets through and I hope he survives.

Miranda Poh Scott is lovely and sounds cool and modern. She's through.

Last up is Emily Brooke. Smart girl. Looks nice and has a mature attitude. I think she could go all the way this time. Nice girl. Great audition. She is through.

Oh dear, I think it is Group round next after all. Damn. That is annoying.