Tuesday, February 17, 2009

American Idol - No (Group) One Knows Anything

American Idol - Top 36 - Group 1 - Performance Night

Boy, I may have to reevaluate everything all over again.

This is what I said last week when Group 1 was announced: "Group 1 has been announced. Crap. Danny Gokey, Anoop Desai, Stephen Fowler, Brent Keith, Matt Breitzke are all together. Ricky Braddy doesn't stand a chance. Poor guy.

Remember. It's top male, top female vote getters and the next highest (male or female) after that, that get to move on to the Top 12.

So while I can't stand Danny's personality, it seems like a lot of people love him and falling for his bleeding heart story. Yes, love his voice but again, everytime I see his smug face, I want to slap his face. On the other hand, he might be better with his BFF. I would originally rule out Matt but I think Hollywood Week really emphasized his teddy bear qualities. And does Anoop have enough fans? (I think he might). I'm feeling less confident about Brent now, mainly because of the lack of screen time in Hollywood.

For the girls, its Anne Marie Boskovich, Alexis Grace, Tatiana Crazy, Casey Carlson, Jackie Tohn, and Stevie Wright. I'm going to rule out Jackie and Tatiana. I don't think anne Marie will make it past this round, so it's between Alexis, Casey and Stevie.

I actually had to rethink my whole pool picks strategy with the strong group of guys all competing this week (which makes me wonder about Groups 2 and 3 since about the only other guys left that I think might have a chance are Adam Lambert, Kris Allen, Ju'Not Joyner and Matt Girard).

But boy, it's amazing how quickly some things can change with one live performance night. Man, no one knows anything when it comes to Idol (or at least I don't): (and thanks to Rickey who has all the mp3's and videos ALREADY)

Jackie Tohn
27 years old
Home: Silver Lake, CA
Audition: New York, NY
Song: "A Little Less Conversation" (by Mac Davis, made famous by Elvis Pressley)

Grade: C+

She does an original interpretation that's way more bluesy and soul rock but there's something about her that just bugs me. She's way too out there TRYING to be ORIGI-NAAAAAL. Good performance and I think if it was anybody else, I would have enjoyed it more but she's kinda like an annoying Punky Brewster (or is that redundant?). Her horrible outfit was like Minnie Mouse gone slutty.
Listen to mp3 here.

Ricky Braddy
26 years old
Home: Nashville, TN
Audition: Louisville, KY
Song: "A Song For You" (by Leon Russell)

Grade: A

This is the guy we haven't seen before yet. He sort of had no chance. Until he sang tonight. Holy sheeeeet. I kinda of got a Kelly Clarkson vibe there. As in the unknown that wasn't seen in the auditions at all and then blows us away during the live show. Paula had kept mentioning that he was great but you know, it's Paula, how much can you really believe? Apparently we should have believed her the whole time. Simon doesn't think he has star quality but I think a lot of people felt that way about Kelly at first too. Ricky is cute enough already but I think with another good makeover, he could be stellar and he seems genuine and humble which will be mucho important down the road.
Listen to mp3 here.

Alexis Grace
21 years old
Home: Memphis, TN
Audition: Louisville, KY
Song: "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)" (by Ronny Shannon, made famous by Aretha Franklin)

Grade: B+

Alexis was really great at the whole soul thing and it was a great performance but yet I still didn't love it. The judges were basically creaming over it and actually made the same Kelly Clarkson comparison I did above with Ricky but I I'm not fully buying it all yet. I had liked Alexis before but I still feel there's a bit of an identity crisis there.
Listen to mp3 here.

Brent Keith
28 years old
Home: Blanchester, OH
Audition: Louisville, KY
Song: "Hicktown" (by Big Kenny, John Rich, Vicky McGehee, made famous by Jason Aldean)

Grade: B

Country boy goes all out pronouncing his hickness but as the judges mention about 12 times, he played it too safe with the song and while his voice sounded pretty great, it seemed subdued and just emphasizes his general pretty country boy next door looks instead of making himself truly shine as a star.
Listen to mp3 here.

Stevie Wright
16 years old
Home: Phelan, CA
Audition: Phoenix, AZ
Song: "You Belong With Me" - (by Taylor Swift, Liz Rose)

Grade: D

What happened? Was it just a bad song choice? Or bad voice? She was good before wasn't she? Cause she was horrible here live. The live shows are always ones where you see who really can cut it and Stevie's youth (she IS only 16) probably unravelled her here. I still like her and I think she still could have a future, just not the immediate future on Idol. Give her 10 years, some more confidence.
Listen to mp3 here.

Anoop Desai
21 years old
Home: Chapel Hill, NC
Audition: Kansas City, MO
Song: "Angel of Mine" - (by Rhett Lawrence, Travon Potts, made famous by Eternal and then Monica)

Grade: B

Usually great voice. Horrible song. And he seemed off on some notes here. I didn't love the performance especially since we all know he can do better (like his "My Prerogative").
Listen to mp3 here.

Casey Carlson
20 years old
Home: Minneapolis, MN
Audition: Kansas City, MO
Song: "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" (by Sting, made famous by The Police)

Grade: F

What happened? Another girl-hopeful croaks. Wow. That was just BAD. And you can't even blame the song for it this time cause that was a GOOD song.
Listen to mp3 here.

Michael Sarver
27 years old
Home: Jasper, TX
Audition: Phoenix, AZ
Song: "I Don't Want To Be" (by Kenneth Dallavara, made famous by Gavin DeGraw)

Grade: C-

The guy's lucky he's built up enough support via auditions and being the rugged singer cause that was NOT good and a big disappointment for a likely hopeful.
Listen to mp3 here.

Ann Marie Boskovitch
22 years old
Home: Nashville, TN
Audition: Jacksonville, FL
Song: "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" (by Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Jerry Wexler, made famous by Aretha Franklin)

Grade: C

The audience seemed to love it but I thought she was REALLY off and she was NO Aretha. I did not like the performance.
Listen to mp3 here.

Stephen Fowler
26 years old
Home: Beachwood, OH
Audition: New York, NY
Song: "Rock With You" (by Rod Temperton, made famous by Michael Jackson)

Grade: D

This is becoming a bad trend here. Hopefuls croaking to old school soul. People. LEARN. SONG CHOICE. Stop going to some of these classics. They are CLASSICS etched in our heads. Stephen really disappointed. It was like bland R&B and his notes weren't even all there.
Listen to mp3 here.

Tatiana Del Toro
24 years old
Home: San Juan, PR
Audition: San Francisco, CA
Song: "Saving All My Love for You" (by Michael Masser, Gerry Goffin, made famous by Whitney Houston)

Grade: B+

Oh god. Crazy woman is actually pretty decent. Considering she was singing another crazy woman's song (though Whitney wasn't crazy when she made the song famous, or at least I don't think she was), Tatiana did REALLY well and she actually got into a LOT of the subtleties. There were still a few moments off but it was shockingly pretty good and at least
Listen to mp3 here.

Danny Gokey
28 years old
Home: Milwaukee, WI
Audition: Kansas City, MO
Song: "Hero" (by Mariah Carey)

Grade: A-

He's a church music director too? Good lord. Between the religious and the sympathy votes, he's going to do well isn't he? Okay, so he's got an excellent voice and knows how to pick the right songs and milk it for all the schmaltziness he can get. I still kinda hate him, but in the end I caved and picked Danny as one of my 2 pool picks (the other was Lil Rounds) so I've got to root for him, at least until about Top 6 to give me enough points.
Listen to mp3 here.

So, the final roundup?:

Wow, some BIG disappointments from hopefuls Casey, Stevie, Stephen, and Michael. Some bland performances from hopefuls Brent, Anoop and Alexis.

A great performance from the most hated contestant Tatiana. Even the annoying Jackie, in retrospect, wasn't as bad as those who came later. Still hate her but there were much worse performances.

And two great performances from white guys with spiky brown faux-hawks.

Best of the Night: Ricky Braddy
Second Best of the Night: Danny Gokey
Best Female of the Night: Oh, my, GAWD, but I have to admit it was Tatiana Del Toro

Who will get voted in:
Top Girl: Alexis Grace Tatiana Del Toro. Between VFTW and the fact that she actually sang the best, I'm having a worrying feeling she may actually get through.
Top Guy: Danny Gokey
Third Pick: Michael Sarver

Will get asked back for Wild Card Week: Anoop Desai, Ricky Braddy, Tatiana Del Toro/Alexis Grace

Let's see if I'm even remotely right. I doubt it.

(BTW, if you Right-Click on the mp3 link and Save Target As, you can download the track)
For more on American Idol:
Click here for the most recent posts.
Season 8:
Top 2 Performance
Top 3 Performance, Top 3 Results
Top 4 Performance, Top 4 Results
Top 5 Performance, Top 5 Results
Top 6 + Matt (Top 7 Redux) Performance, Top 7 Redux Results
Top 7 Performance, Top 7 Results
Top 8 Performance, Top 8 Results
Top 9 Performance
Top 10 Performance
Top 12 Performance, Top 12 Results
Top 13 Performance, Top 13 Results
Top 36:
Group 1, Group 2, Group 3
Wild Card, Wild Card Results
Pre-Top 36:
Who Are You Going To Vote For?
Handicapping the Alleged American Idols

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


Dame James said...

No no no. Danny Gokey's performance of "Hero" was nothing special AT ALL. I have no idea what Paula, Randy and Kara were on (well, I know what Paula was on but the other two know better) but that was merely an adequate version of a song whose original can never be topped. I can't believe they were acting like he won the damn thing already.

The whole show was rather disappointing; I didn't even like Ricky Braddy (I thought he was kinda boring and over-emphasized every vocal). Even Anoop was disappointing and he's my favorite right now. I hate to admit that Tatiana was actually quite good during her performance, considering I find her dreadfully annoying any other time.

Vance said...

hmm... I totally bought into Braddy's vocals but as much as I can recognize Gokey is good, I was surprised that the judges reacted THAT much to it. It was really good. It wasn't THAT great. But yeah, almost everyone else croaked, which is what I usually remember from these pre-Top 12 eps.