Thursday, March 8, 2012

American Idol: Top 13

It’s been a long while since I’ve gotten into American Idol. For a while they were continuously adding all the twists and turns and the beginning of the show is just boring for me to watch. I like the battles between the top 13 and watch it dwindle down. Here’s MY recap of last night, which means these are solely MY opinions.
Last night the boys sang Stevie Wonder songs and the girls paid tribute to the late Whitney Houston. It was a tall order for the girls and I have to say that they blew me out of the water.
·         Joshua Ledet – “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder: There’s no denying Joshua has immense vocals. He’s spot on, can sing ballads and upbeat songs, and has a very humble attitude. His performance kicked off the night with a bang and did not disappoint. I would fall over in my chair if he went home this week, but in the future I think he will need to prove how he can fit into the recording industry if he continues on.
·         Elisa Testone – “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston: I have high hopes for Elisa, but I have to say that this just wasn’t her song. She’s very strong in her comfort zone, but Whitney Houston was a stretch, regardless of when the song was changed for her. Her jazzy, raspy, blues sound is one of my favorite kinds to listen to, but she will have to learn to adapt if she wants to stay in the competition. She may be in trouble this week.
·         Jermaine Jones – “Knocks Me Off My Feet” by Stevie Wonder: I think Jermaine can emulate Barry White perfectly, but I don’t know how that translates into a modern-day record. He can hit the notes, take direction, and sing a song, but at the same time he sounds the same when he’s talking and doesn’t quite have the performance part down. There’s no denying he can carry a tune but I’m not positive he’s American Idol material. We’ll see how he steps it up in the entertainment sector because I was pretty bored with this song from him.
·         Erika Van Pelt – “I Believe in You and Me” by Whitney Houston: Erika was a favorite of mine from the beginning. I love me some rocker chicks. What’s great about Erika and what I think puts her ahead in that genre is she can also sing. She has a beautiful tone to her voice but can hit those “rocker notes” with the growl and I love that. I hope she sticks around in the coming weeks so she can really belt it out. I wasn’t a fan of this song but I think she sang it with her own style which made it interesting – I wanted to see where she would go next with it.
·         Colton Dixon – “Lately” by Stevie Wonder: Speaking of rockers, this guy has the look to a “T” but he can actually sing too and I loved his performance last night. As the judges mentioned, his vulnerability is where he sings his best from, and he showed everyone that with this song. I didn’t expect it from him which made me like it more, and let’s face it, that last note was sick. I was really impressed and for me, he’s the frontrunner for the boys.
·         Shannon McGrane – “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston: Oh Shannon! She admitted she was shaky and the judges said it all, but I think her fan base is too big for her to go home this week, even though Jennifer pointed her out of the group at the end of the show as possibly being in trouble. If she does stay, she needs to figure out a way to shake those nerves and teach herself how to recover so the whole performance doesn’t go down the drain with one mistake.
·         Deandre Brackensick – “Master Blaster” by Stevie Wonder: When I first saw this kid I really wasn’t impressed. His performance in the Top 24 threw me for a loop because I didn’t understand how he had made the judges cut over and over again. Last night, however, he sure showed me! He truly performed that song from the tips of his curly swirly hair to his itty bitty pinky toe. He felt it, he moved, he entertained. I really liked it. I think he redeemed himself a bit for some of the “haters” and will stick around this week. Personally, I hope he avoids the Mariah Carey note in the future because it just isn’t fitting.
·         Skylar Laine – “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” by Whitney Houston: I have to admit, Skylar is one of my picks for the final two. I thought her performance of this song was amazing and I absolutely loved how she brought her country style to a song by Whitney Houston. Her climatic notes gave me goosebumps and if she goes home before the final two I doubt I will ever watch American Idol again. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next week!
·         Heejun Han – “All in Love is Fair” by Stevie Wonder: I don’t get it. I don’t see it. Heejun is an extremely hilarious person and brings some life to the otherwise dull conversations on the show, but his singing is only tolerable at the big notes, but before he hits those I think his lower register is “off” for some reason and I just don’t like listening to it. Sorry, kid. I’m not saying you’re a bad singer, just not cut out for this competition.
·         Hollie Cavanagh – “All the Man that I Need” by Whitney Houston: WOW! This was the first time I have heard Hollie sing and I was impressed that little person had a voice like that! Her performance was flawless and I really hope to see her advance very far in this season. I think she has the spirit and the willingness to take on any song given to her, and delivers.
·         Jeremy Rosado – “Ribbon in the Sky” by Stevie Wonder: Jeremy seems like a very sweet kid, and he can definitely sing to the swoony songs. However, I’m not convinced. I found him very quiet and safe, but hopefully if he sticks around he will prove me wrong. Otherwise, he may just be the boy in trouble this week.
·         Jessica Sanchez – “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston: I was telling my husband at the beginning of the show that I wasn’t sure if anybody would dare take on this staple song of Whitney’s. I heard Jennifer Hudson’s rendition and was extremely unimpressed, so I was prepared for another disappointing performance when they announced Jessica would sing it. Oh. My. God. She nailed it! She sounded absolutely perfect and it was a well-deserved standing ovation! My one constructive criticism for her, though, is that the judges give her a break in terms of her own style. She sang the song note to note, but I don’t feel like brought “Jessica Sanchez” to the song, which is what they were encouraging for every other contestant last night. I know she will be in the finals, but I’m hoping we see a little more of who she really is and some songs outside of the powerful ballads she can sing. Either way, this 16-year old has a bright future ahead of her in the entertainment business.
·         Phillip Phillips – “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder: They were absolutely spot-on when they said that Phillip is a rare breed of musician who can actually sing. He absorbs himself in the heart of each song and he is 100% performing from his soul. He has a very unique sound and I’m glad he made it to the top 13; I’m sure he will be around for the long haul this season and look forward to his interpretations of the songs week to week.
Well, there you have it, my two-cent rambling on American Idol contestants just because. I probably won’t watch the results because they drag on and on and although Ryan Seacrest isn’t sore on the eyes by any means, I get very bored with those shows. Hopefully I’ll be watching the show next week in its entirety and can retract, emphasize, or alter otherwise any of the above opinions.
If you were on American Idol, which Stevie Wonder or Whitney Houston song would you sing?

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