Rants from an American Idol Addict – Singing the Forbidden Artists

Image source: American Idol

Welcome back to our regular Idol corner!  Consider me to be your raving fourth judge (thanks Patricia Sands).  Here we chat about all things Idol.  Whether you are a long-time show viewer or started this season, there is a place for you.  Agree or disagree, just join in!  🙂

Placement time!

  •  “I’d listen again” means it was good stuff.
  • “Meh” means it was average drool.
  • “Here’s your door prize” means they should be toast.

Joshua Ledet (“I Wish”) – This was a bit of a throwaway performance for me.  I get that he can sing, but his is a stylized voice that, like Creighton Fraker’s, will be love it or hate it.  Joshua’s gospel-flavored voice did way more than was written for the song—and I’m not sure that was a good thing.  Hey, contestants, don’t just tack a scream or long run onto the end of a performance and think I’ll be impressed.  Meh.

Elise Testone (“I’m Your Baby Tonight”) – Her first inkling was to sing “The Greatest Love of All,” but in her initial rehearsal, it was a screaming train wreck.  Confession:  I hate that song.  Always have.  So Jimmy Iovine and Mary J. Blige set her on the course for “I’m Your Baby Tonight.”  Not much better.  Elise comes off as unsure and not liking what she’s singing.  Her post critique interview complaining about how she could have made it more her own if she’d known the song longer than four to five days did nothing for her in terms of likability.  I’m a fan, but here’s your door prize, Elise.

Jermaine Jones (“Knocks Me Off My Feet”) – Another confession: This is one of my favorite Stevie Wonder songs.  I have three versions of it on my iPod—the original and versions by Luther Vandross and Tevin Campbell.  Jermaine was karaoke for me.  I felt nothing from him.  And what was he wearing?  Here’s your door prize.

Erika Van Pelt (“I Believe in You and Me”) – A very pretty rending of the song by her, but a little dull for the beginning.  She gets credit for taking the advice of Mary and Jimmy to sing in a way that makes the song fit her voice.  I’m glad she made it into the finals via the Wild Card.  She’s got a fierce voice and is a deserving competitor.  I’d listen again.

Colton Dixon (“Lately”) – I call shenanigans on Jimmy and the producers for letting Colton get on the piano during rehearsal and play some lines from an original song.  That is giving him an advantage over the other contestants.  His performance of “Lately” made me cry…from the pain of my bleeding ears.  A pox on the houses of the judges for then pimping and saying it was great.  It was off-pitch dungeon torture.  Here’s your door prize.

Shannon Magrane (“I Have Nothing”) – I will give Shannon that the styling is far better this week and youth appropriate.  She rushed the song, which is what Mary warned her about, and slid into notes.  She pushed the technical part to the point of psyching herself out.  And as a teenager singing the song, she’s disconnected from meaning.  Here’s your door prize.

DeAndre Brackensick (“Master Blaster”) – This isn’t a good song for him.  And, DeAndre, baby, why did you put a fake Rasta accent onto the chorus parts?  Oh, dude.  I hope he makes it through to be able to find some more suitable material to really showcase what his voice can do.  Meh.

Skylar Laine (“Where Do Broken Hearts Go?”) – Surprisingly, she sounded good on this song and follows Mary’s advice to start off singing quiet.  With the votes of viewing country fans behind her and winning new fans, she’s a contender for the title.  I’d listen again.

Heejun Han (“All in Love is Fair”) – Heejun is a comic fool.  His pics of eating the other contestants and declarations of love for Jimmy and Mary were hilarious.  Those that enjoy that aspect of his personality will continue to be fans and maybe vote.  They’ll need to since this came off as a bit of a snoozer for me.  Meh.

Hollie Cavanaugh (“All the Man that I Need”) – One of my Whitney faves.  I agree with Randy that she nailed it.  She is amazing and a contender if she can keep growing a fan base of voters.  I’d listen again.

Jeremy Rosado (“Ribbon in the Sky”) – He’s another case of someone trying to do too much with the song he was given.  He did stylistic phrasings that cut off lines and made it feel a bit staccato.  It killed the beauty and flow of the song for me.  Sweet kid, but here’s your door prize.

Jessica Sanchez (“I Will Always Love You”) – Of anyone in the competition, she’s got the voice to be able to even make an attempt at this.  It was also a big risk since the memory is still fresh of Idol alum Jennifer Hudson singing this as tribute at the Grammy Awards and hearing the original play at the end of Whitney’s funeral.  I didn’t like the arrangement because to edit it down to fit timing cut off the soaring momentum and build of the song a bit.  That said, Jessica’s voice is beautiful.  Just beautiful.  She is another top contender.  Wouldn’t it be cool if all the best voices stuck around and we don’t end up with a lackluster one (see Colton or Phillip) still in the mix?  I’d listen again.

Phillip Phillips (“Superstition”) – Why did Jimmy say Philip was a great blend of musician with singer?  In what tortured alternative universe?  This was not good.  The fact that Philip is doing a few different things as he screams on guitar does nothing for me.  He is not truly “reinterpreting” people’s songs.  Winner Kris Allen did a much better job with that.  Here’s your door prize.

Based on performances, I think Elise, Jermaine, Colton, Shannon, Jeremy and Phillip should be in trouble.  Since Colton and Phillip have strong fan bases already, I guess they won’t be.  Buggers.

Other thoughts:

  • Oh the cruelty of Idol to make the singers delve into the catalogs of two artists they are historically told to leave alone: Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder.  How many times have we heard, “don’t touch Whitney”?  It is a testament to the strong voices this year that it wasn’t a crash and burn night.
  • Love, love, quadruple love Mary J. and she’s a great coach.
  • Jimmy is brutal.  Too bad we can’t hear his take right after they perform.  He’s a much truer voice then what the judges are spewing.
  • The results night group number wasn’t bad.  Again, in part to the majority of good singers.
  • I don’t get why they gave the judges special powers to choose between the lowest male and female contestants.  Why not just let the lowest person go?  Did the producers think, from seeing rehearsals, that something screwy might happen in the voting and they wanted to give themselves an out?  Will the judges still get a save to use later on?

The Results:

  • Bottom three girls: Shannon, Erika and Elise, with Elise getting the lowest votes
  • Bottom three guys: Jermaine, Joshua and Jeremy, with Jeremy getting the lowest votes
  • The judges send home Jeremy.

Do you agree with Jeremy going home?  What are your thoughts on allowing the judges to decide?  Did you find yourself agreeing or disagreeing with Jimmy’s commentary?

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8 Responses to Rants from an American Idol Addict – Singing the Forbidden Artists

  1. I can’t read this post yet because I haven’t watched the results show yet but in the words of Arnold: “I will be back!” LOL!!

  2. S. J. Maylee says:

    Love your run downs!! I think you’d love watching idol with my DH; he’s a musician. It’s easy for him to hear the off pitch and I just hear the obvious or the tones that I like. I thought Shannon should have gone home. Oh well, it will be interesting to see if she grows at all. My husband thought Jeremy was actually a solid singer, but that it was hard to see with his performance. I don’t know, but I know I’ll be watching next week!!

  3. ok, I admit it, I watched. mostly so I could know what you were talking about here, Barb. and yes, I agreed with the final 2 in the bottom and I didn’t care which of them went home. Seems to me we have some great vocalists in this group and then some not so great. i’ll keep watching so I can keep reading.

    • Big smiles, Louise! We love to get more folks watching in the Idol Rants corner. Join us. 🙂 I’m hoping the rest of the contestants can shake off their nervous energy. I think the shows will step up even more when they do. I have little hope for a few though.

  4. Pingback: Rants from American Idol Addict: Legends and Top Two Finale Recap | Barbara McDowell's Blog

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