American Idol: The wildest of wild card rounds

Last night on “American Idol,” the judges wielded their authority on the show by choosing the final three contestants out of eight wild card nominees who performed with their best foot forward. Only the wildest card of all was that they chose four finalists instead of three, making the Top 12 a Top 13. I actually loved that they did that, even if I didn’t agree with at least one of their selections. Here is how it went down…

Jessie Langseth kicked things off with Rufus’ “Tell Me Something Good,” a somewhat odd song choice but Jessie wanted to bring her sexiest best to the table. But it was really just okay. Randy said as much, calling it “not great and just aight,” Kara said she likes Jessie’s swagger, Paula said she likes her tenacity (uh-oh, swagger and tenacity?), and Simon said that while it was better than her previous performance, it was a bit self-indulgent.

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American Idol: The judges really do have an influence

If you people thought the judges on “American Idol” have less influence now that America is doing the talent evaluation, last night’s results show was proof of just how strong their comments can be. Here is how it went down….

First, there was another group performance of a song I didn’t recognize but Mrs. Mike liked. I think she liked the song and not the delivery, because these group numbers are just bad musical theater. Anyway, it was straight to the results….Lil Round, in the Top 12. That left 11 others dangling and only two chairs to fill. Ryan Seacrest had Arianna, Taylor, Alex, Kendall and Scott all stand up and announced that one of them was in the finals. Uh-oh…by my notes, only Scott really had a chance to make it, with Kendall being a long-shot. So Arianna, Taylor and Alex were all told to sit back down, and it came down to Kendall and Scott. Naturally, it was Scott who made it, and not because he’s a great vocalist, because he’s not. Scott is something like 95% blind, and the judges did this fake drooling over Scott on Tuesday night to ensure that America voted him through. I know this because I’m halfway done reading “Chart Throb” and becoming more and more cynical about how this show works behind the scenes. And I’m getting pissed because I know Felicia or even Kristin deserved that spot more than Scott did.

Then it was Nathaniel and Kristin to stand up and both get the boot together, and then the same with Felicia and Von. Bummer, they were both decent. Finally it was Jorge and Ju’Not. I thought they were both great but that Jorge had an extra special something on Tuesday. We’ll find out what happens after the break….but wait, Ryan Seacrest wasn’t going to break, and there were 20 minutes left in the show….he announced Jorge was going through and Ju’Not was going back to the couch. So there you go….Lil, Scott and Jorge. I’m not upset about Lil and Jorge, but I am upset about Scott. Way to go, judges, you got what you wanted.

Then it was on to the wild card selection, and the judges brought back some of the semi-finalists who were voted off the last two weeks…there would be 8 wild cards who are going to perform tonight for the last three seats in the finals…and since there is no results show tomorrow, I’m guessing that this will totally be the judges’ call, and that scares me. Here’s why….

The judges selected Von Smith first, and while I can understand why, they didn’t select either Kristin or Felicia, and in fact chose no one else from Round 3! The others were Jasmine Murray, who had show such promise but chose an awful song last week….Ricky Braddy, who I thought was amazing in Round 1…Megan, who sang last week and has some appeal but not that much…Tatiana, who, we all know, was picked by the show’s producers to get more amazing footage of her telling us it’s “her dream” and crying and panting and crying some more (sorry, go read “Chart Throb” yourself!)…..Matt Giraud, who has a great voice but butchered Coldplay last week…Jessie Langseth, who has some good qualities but who really shouldn’t be a finalist….and finally, Anoop, and I admit I was pulling for this kid more than anyone.

If the judges really do have the final say tonight, your wild card finalists are going to be Jasmine, Tatiana and Anoop. It doesn’t matter what Von, Ricky, Megan, Matt or Jessie sing or how good they sing it. My cynic meds taste good, and I’m taking them because I hate seeing very good talent go home at the expense of TV ratings. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…see you all tomorrow with the recap!

  

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American Idol: this round better

Last week on “American Idol,” there were some horrific performances of some bad song choices. How long could it go on? Well, this week, that was answered, because the song choices AND the performances were far better. That was good for us and good for the judges, but when you think about it, not really fair to everyone that sang last night because now that middle round that went last week may water down the finalist talent. But it is what it is I guess. With that, here is our recap of the good, the bad and the in-between from last night’s semi-final round:

THE VERY GOOD

Quite frequenly on this show, the performers who sing last make the best impact on voters, but last night the final two who sang were just lights out anyway. The first was Jorge Nunez, the kid from Puerto Rico who the judges had told to work on his linguistics and sound more American. Are you kidding me? Well, Jorge chose a white bread song in Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” and accent or not, it was excellent. And I mean, this dude has a spectacular voice. Paula said she’s proud of him, Simon said Jorge has a good voice, which is an understatement, Randy said it wasn’t perfect but really good, and Kara said Jorge was born to sing.

Lil Rounds closed the night with Mary J. Blige’s “Be Without You” and it was not just the best performance of the night, but I would dare to say it was the best semi-final performance of the season. Lil is not a contestant on “American Idol,” she is already a recording artist going through the necessary motions, kind of like standing in line to get her license like everyone else. Simon said “in one word, brilliant” and that it was his favorite of the night, Randy said it was one of the best this season, Kara said Lil is a powerhouse, and Paula said Lil is “first class.” Yeah, all of the above. See you next week, Lil.

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American Idol: A warning shot fired to next round of semi-finalists

And that warning shot is “DON’T UNDERESTIMATE SONG CHOICE!” Last night on the results show on Fox’s “American Idol,” it was painfully clear to some contestants who chose the wrong song to sing Wednesday night, and as a result one or two made it through to the finals that may not have otherwise. The recurring theme on Wednesday was, “I hope America gives me another chance.” Well, you have to treat every chance like it’s your last, so let that be a warning to next week’s 12 semi-finalists.

So anyway, there were results last night after some banter between host Ryan Seacrest and judge Simon Cowell. Then there was a look back at the journey of the 12 that sang Wednesday as well as a ridiculous group performance. Then the first three were brought out…Allison, Jessie and Matt B. Matt was asked if he regrets disagreeing with Simon disagreeing with his song choice, and he said he didn’t. Yeah, okay. Allison made it, Jessie and Matt didn’t.

The next group was Megan, Kris, Matt G and Jeannine. Matt G and Jeannine were sent packing, and it was between Megan and Kris. Megan I thought might have a shot but she really didn’t do very welll Wednesday, while Kris did a nice job with Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” and odd choice but a good job nonetheless. Kris made it through, Megan did not.

Then there was a retrospective of the 7 previous seasons….good lord, they really can cut this to 30 minutes if they wanted to. Then last season’s finalist Brooke White sang her new single, and I have to say, it really wasn’t very good. Sorry Brooke, I like you but I didn’t like what I heard last night.

Then the remaining five came out…Mishavonna, Kai, Nick (Norman), Adam and Jasmine. Mishavonna, Kai and Jasmine all sent home, and may I add all a victim of poor song choice.
So it was down to Nick and Adam. The showman or the dude with the theater background and heavy metal voice. Adam made it and Simon breathed a sigh of relief. As they did last week, each new finalist sang their way onto the thrones set up for them and there was no Tatiana-like melting down of those who didn’t make it, some of them still hopeful they will be wild cards.

So there are now six finalists, half the field….Danny, Alexis, Michael, Adam, Allison and Kris. No real surprises last week, but you might say all of last night’s winners were borderline choices. We’ll see you all next week….and I hope you semi-finalists are studying carefully that you need to pick the absolute right song. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  

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American Idol: Did you have to pick that song?

Okay, before we get to the recap of last night’s performances on “American Idol,” can I just say, WHAT ARE THESE CONTESTANTS THINKING? It seems like they are choosing the wrong songs with regularity, not understanding the urgency of giving it their best shot while they have the opportunity. It just makes me crazy and I think it makes the judges crazy as well. Last night the performances were less than stellar. In fact, many of them were flat-out awful. But it wasn’t always that maybe the judges mis-calculated and sent the wrong singers through to this round. It was mostly about poor song choice. With that, here were the good, the in-between and the bad from last night, with a prediction for tonight’s results show.

THE GOOD

Alison Iraheta is only 16 and as Simon Cowell correctly pointed out, she looked out of her element when Ryan Seacrest was interviewing her, and then when she took the stage she was a completely different person. This girl has unbelievable vocal ability at such a young age, and last night she sang Heart’s “Alone.” Randy said she “blew it out of the box,” Kara said Alison doesn’t know how good she is, Paula said she was the best so far (she went fifth), and Simon said she was the best so far by a mile. Alison would not have advanced last week, but with the way last night’s semi-finalists performed, she has a great shot now.

Kris Allen is a 23 year old dude from Arkansas, so you wouldn’t expect him to sing Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” would you? I was scared, but dude pulled it off nicely. It was rough at the start but he really nailed it as a whole and could be a dark horse. Kara said she thought it was the wrong song, Paula disagreed and so did Simon, saying Kris showed confidence, and Randy said he did a nice job without his guitar, as he had done before in Hollywood.

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