The skillz of the final group competing to be in American Idol’s Top 12 were more even than the past weeks, but I was totally unimpressed. Am I just a scrooge about things or is this year’s bunch really cardboard-bland?
From top (l-r):
Arianna Afsar (”The Winner Takes It All” by ABBA) - She tried her best to mix up the melody, but why do these children pick such cobwebby songs? ABBA is dated enough, but “The Winner Takes It All” is one of their snooziest works! The judges also sighed at the lame song choice, although the kept saying that Arianna was “cute as a button.” Unfortch, all I could focus on was her odd, pinched, button nose.
Alex Wagner-Trugman (”I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” by Elton John) - This kooky dweeb reminds me of Charlie Korsmo, the kid actor from “Hook“. His singing was terrible - tons of exaggerated throat-growling and note-fouling. And the “dancing”! He was just a clumsy, flailing ragdoll. No more, please.
Felicia Barton (”No One” by Alicia Keys) - After finalist Joanna Pacitti was nixed for having too much experience and too many music industry connections, Felicia won a first-class ticket to Hollywood, where she gave an overdone rendition of “No One”. She looked fab, but I couldn’t stand her over-the-top lounge-singer style. I may be alone here cuz the judges were nay-sayless and seemed to like her.
Jorge Nuñez (”Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” by Elton John) - He ain’t a looker but I thought Jorge did a nice job with this American Idol standard number. But what is up with the judges’ offensive suggestion of, “Hey, you there from Puerto Rico - stop sounding so Puerto Rican.”?? Not to mention nutball Paula saying maybe he should keep his accent because it sounds funny? Paula, you’s got some ’splaining to do!
Kendall Beard (”This One’s for the Girls” by Martina McBride) - Kendall is so bubbly and adorable to the max, but she isn’t the best singer by a loooong shot so I don’t really think she’ll make the Top 12. But I’m sure people will start a Facebook fan group for her anyway– oh wait, they already have.
Ju’Not Joyner (”Hey There Delilah” by The Plain White Ts) - HEL-LO! Ju’Not took a song that I pretty much hate and turned it into a silky-smooth, sultry, R&B number. I don’t think he’s right for American Idol (he’s just a little too cool for these jokers) but he was one of the best performers last night.
Kristen McNamara (”Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman) - Yet another weird-shaped nose in the bunch. I know Kristen was once a contestant on Nashville Star, so I was relieved when she didn’t choose a country song. She did a really decent job and gave the jam an interesting spin. Sidenote: she’s in her early twenties, but something about her screams “cougar“. Is it just me?
Nathaniel Marshall (”I Would Do Anything for Love” by Meatloaf) - Nope. Nathaniel didn’t even come close to having the vocal strength to pull off this song. He wins points for his *it’s so wrong that, huh, maybe it’s right* style (lady-headbands around his dome & way too tight pants), but Adam Lambert has a lot more stage presence and power in his voice.
Lil Rounds (”Be Without You” by Mary J. Blige) - The judges LOVE this lady. I really WANT to love her, but I’ve never been that blown away with Lil Rounds (PS - best name evs). Idol’s had some psychotically-fantastic soul, R&B singers in the past, so even though Lil is strong this season, I don’t think she holds a candle to some of the peeps we’ve seen. Something about her performances just doesn’t connect with me. Well, even if America won’t vote her in, the judges will definitely choose her as one of the Wildcard winners - she’s probably guaranteed a Top 12 spot.
Scott MacIntyre (”Mandolin Rain” by Bruce Hornsby) - Scott is the infamous blind guy. He’s genuine, sweet and sang ok, but I agreed with Simon who said he wasn’t the strongest. This is when it comes down to the “whole package” thing, so I feel like America will keep Scott in just because he’s got some talent and is aw-shucks-gosh-durn likable.
Taylor Vaifanua (”If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys) - Omg, I can’t remember her performance - that’s not a good sign.. If this is who I think it is, Taylor nailed some tough notes toward the end, but it just wasn’t enough to “WOW!” I think she’s the gal that “needed to show more personality.” Yeah, I agree. Who is this chica?
Von Smith (”You’re All I Need to Get By” by Marvin Gaye) - Von annoys me for some reason. Was it the oversized gray suit he was wearing? Maybe the too-short haircut? I couldn’t put my finger on it, but then Simon pointed out that Von has the same vibe as Season 2’s Clay Aiken. Maybe THAT’s it (sorry, 45-yr-old moms, I’m not a fan or “Claymate”). I was amused that, rather than be gracious about it, Von was totally offended about the comparison. Well, he earns some of my respect then.
A tough night to pick a really obvious Top 3, but I’ll go with Scott MacIntyre, Lil Rounds and Ju’Not Joyner.
Who would I like to see win the 3 judges’ picks as wildcards? Anoop Desai (Group 1), Mishavanna Henson (Group 2) and Taylor Vaifanua (Group 3).
Catch American Idol tonight to see how it all goes down!