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American Idol Recap – Top 7 Perform

Tonight’s theme, songs of the 21st century, which I’m sure will include at least one song that was remade by someone this century but originally written in another one.

An Idol first tonight, as they have the six already booted contestants (Ashton Jones, Karen Rodriguez, Naima Adedapo, Thia Megia, Paul McDonald and the lovely Pia Toscano) come out and do a version of Pink’s “So What” which was probably best suited for a local Six Flags engagement.  But anything that puts Pia on my TV for a few minutes is all right by me.  Nice quick shot of her potential boyfiend/my #1 enemy Mark Ballas in the audience.

Scotty McCreery (“Swingin’ by Leann Rimes) – I feel like this qualifies as an older song that was re-made, but that’s just a guess.  Best part of this was all the other contestants making fun of Scotty for the way he holds the mic like a flute when he sings.  Performance wasn’t too shabby, but it’s starting to feel redundant with him, he needs to step out of his comfort zone and change it up a little for one week.

GRADE:  B

James Durbin (“Uprising” by The Muse) – sweet song choice and James absolutely kills it.  Having several drummers marching behind him was a sweet touch too.  Tonight might have been the first time I actually believed James could win Idol.  Hopefully he can build on this and keep up the high quality of his performances down the stretch since he’ll be safe for a few weeks.

GRADE:  A

Haley Reinhart (“Rolling In The Deep” by Adele) – ok, great song choice since this is probably my favorite current new song and one of the coolest songs that has a strong build like Led Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” (my all-time favorite).  So I’m not sure if it’s because of the song, but as much as I’ve been Haley’s #1 anti-fan, I really enjoyed this and her performance, and this is two straight weeks (and 3 straight performances if you count her duet with Casey last week) that I’ve really dug.  Maybe I underestimated her, but I think she’s found her groove and might have some life remaining in this race.

GRADE:  A-

Jacob Lusk (“Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross) – wow, now that’s a terrible song choice.  It’s so bad, that Jacob butchers the song by forgetting the second line of it, but thankfully half of America might have been asleep already.  As much as Stefano doesn’t belong here and should have been voted off for weeks, I think it’s Jacob’s time to go.  Actually it’s similar to Paul’s elimination last week.  It’s gotten to the point where we’ve already seen the best Jacob has to offer and he’s just trending downward now and it’s probably best for his career to go home now and save face.

GRADE:  D

Casey Abrams (“Harder To Breathe” by Maroon 5) – this is like the exact opposite of Haley’s performance, here’s a terrible song that instantly sours me on the performance.  But this was at least a lot more upbeat and alive than last week’s snooze fest.  I feel like saying any more would give too much credibility to Maroon 5, so I’ll stop here.

GRADE:  B-

Stefano Langone (“Closer” by Ne-Yo) – what the hell is a ne-yo?  I’m just going to give Stefano a C for every performance he has remaining in this competition since he sings the exact same way every time and never really does anything to stand out and doesn’t really do anything to crap the bed either.

GRADE:  C

Lauren Alaina (“Born To Fly” by Sara Evans) – Maggie said it best, “that was boring for her.”  Yep, agreed.  You have the pimp spot with only 7 people left, you gotta do something that makes you stand out like James did tonight.  Very disappointed.

GRADE:  C+

BOTTOM THREE PREDICTION:  Stefano, Jacob and Casey (only because I can’t stand Maroon 5)

GOING HOME PREDICTION: Jacob

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American Idol Recap – Top 13 Perform

After a one-week voting period which resemble a popularity contest, we’ve got our Top 13, or otherwise known as 12 runner-ups and one winner.  It’s been six long days since we’ve had to say goodbye to…um, oh crap what are their names?  Let’s see there was the gay Archie (Brett Loewenstern), hot blonde (Kendra Chantelle), not-hot brunette (Lauren Harris) creepy homicidal black guy (Jordan Dorsey), really untalented black girl (Ta’Tynisa Wilson), crazy not-in-a-good-way Broadwa girl  (Rachel Zevita), token Latino guy (Jovany Barreto), big-nose (Robbie Rosen), Waldo’s twin brother (Clint Jun Gamboa), and the king and queen of plain (Julie Zorrilla and Tim Halperin).

Here’s how I have the Top 13 ranked going into this week…

MY OVERALL TOP 13
1. Lauren Alaina
2. Casey Abrams
3. Pia Toscano
4. Paul McDonald
5. Thia Megia
6. Stefano Langone
7. Scott McCreery
8. Naima Adedapo
9. James Durbin
10. Jacob Lusk
11. Karen Rodriguez
12. Ashthon Jones
13. Haley Reinhart

Tonight’s theme, sing the song’s of your own personal idol.  If I was on Idol, I’d probably be singing something by either Bobby McFerrin or Rob Zombie, tough call.

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American Idol Recap – Who’s Going Through?

I don’t normally write about the recap shows, so I’ll make this a quick one.  Kudos to the American voters for doing an admirable job of voting in a solid group of 5 guys and 5 girls.

TOP 5 GUYS VOTED IN (in no particular order, except alphabetical)
Casey Abrams
James Durbin
Jacob Lusk
Scotty McCreery
Paul McDonald

TOP 5 GIRLS VOTED IN
Lauren Alaina
Thia Megia
Haley Reinhart
Karen Rodriguez
Pia Toscano

After the judges, gave 3 more guys (Stefano Langone, Jovany Barreto and Robbie Rosen) and 3 more girls (Ashthon Jones, Kendra Chantelle and Naima Adedapo) one more chances to sing for a 3 wild card spots.  Which means it’s the end of the road for Jordan Dorsey (no Artest meltdown), Clint Jun Gamboa (shouldn’t have been mean to Jacee Badeaux), Tim Halperin (who?) and Brett Loewenstern (who might have gotten zero votes).  Also leaving for good is Lauren Harris (not made for TV), Ta-Tynisa Wilson (ta-ta), Julie Zorrilla (not gorilla) and Rachel Zevita (woooooo, victory!)

Ashthon Jones – terrible performance when singing for one’s career, but I have a feeling the judges love her too much to not let her thru.

GRADE:  C-

Stefano Langone – awesome, he resurrected my faith in him, should be a lock for the Top 13.

GRADE:  A-

Kendra Chantelle – Maggie loves her voice (more than Pia), and this was good, but it’s hard to mess up “Georgia On My Mind”

GRADE:  B

Jovany Barreto – we have some lovely parting gifts for you, thanks for boring us again.

GRADE:  C-

Naima Adedapo – shaky beginning, but picked it up towards the end.  Steven Tyler loves her no matter what, so she could have sang just about anything here.

Robbie Rosen – ok, but man I’m gonna miss that gigantic honker of his.

GRADE:  C+

Not surprisingly, Ashthon, Stefano and Naima are thru, so here are your Top 13 in order of how I rank them….

MY OVERALL TOP 13
1. Lauren Alaina
2. Casey Abrams
3. Pia Toscano
4. Paul McDonald
5. Stefano Langone
6. Scott McCreery
7. Naima Adedapo
8. James Durbin
9. Jacob Lusk
10. Karen Rodriguez
11. Ashthon Jones
12. Haley Reinhart

American Idol Recap – Top 12 Girls

For a recap of last night’s Top 12 guys performing (most rather admirably), check it out here.

It’s the ladies turn to take the stage tonight, as all the guys (and Brett Loewenstern) get the night off before finding out their fate tomorrow.

Tatynisa Wilson – (“Only Girl In The World” by Rhianna) – uh, apparently she’s now known as Ta-Tynisa Wilson.  What a coincidence, I’m now going by Jar-Rett Fischer.  The opening chorus was decent, but from there it was a downhill train wreck, kind of similar to Jordan Dorsey trying to do Usher last night.  Also, what’s up with her hair?  Did she just wake up from a six-day nap?  Between her and Lauren Turner later, it’s apparently bed-head theme night.   Oooh, Seacrest made a fat joke at Randy Jackson, I guess no more gay banter now that Simon Cowell’s not here anymore.

GRADE:  C-

Naima Adedapo – (“Summertime” by Ella Fitzgerald) – you have to have balls, or whatever girls have, to take on arguably the greatest performance in the history of this show (Fantasia – Season 3), and impressively she made it her own version, completely different from Fantasia.  It was a little too much like a lounge act, like Randy said, but I’ll give her credit for holding her own, a solid start.  I’m still trying to figure out what Naima Adedapo spells when you un-jumble the letters.

GRADE:  B

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American Idol Recap – Top 100

After two-hours of group performances last night filled with drama, tension, tears and probably a mild case of diarrhea for some of these contestants, we’re left with 100 hopefuls hoping to become one of the 50 hopefuls to make it to next week, who will then become one of the 24 hopefuls to make it to the preliminary voting rounds to become one of 12 hopefuls to make it to the Kodak Theater to become one of 10 hopefuls to make the Idol summer tour to become one of 3 hopefuls to get to go home and celebrate with their family and friends to then maybe become an average-record selling Idol winner.  In other words, we’ll still mixing the Idol batter and this cake has yet to bake, but damn if it ain’t fun to lick the batter (unless it involves Tiffany Rios, shudder).

Last night saw one of my hopefuls, Rob Bolin, crack under the pressure and be sent home, so here’s my new Top 10 after Group Week.

CURRENT TOP TEN (Previous ranking in parenthesis)
1. Lauren Alaina (1)
2. Stefano Langone (2)
3. Deandre Brackensick (NR)
4. Casey Abrams (4)
5. Pia Toscano (NR)
6. Chris Medina (5)
7. Brett Loewenstern (10)
8. Clint Jun Gamboa (NR)
9. Denise Jackson (NR)
10. Matthew Nuss (NR)

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American Idol Recap – Group Week

Fresh off a solid Hollywood round week last Thursday, Idol is back tonight for what might be my most favorite episode each season…the dreaded Group Week. Those unfamiliar, just think back to when you were in school and the teacher gave you a group assignment and made you pick your own groups. Sometimes you’re in a group where all of you gel and deliver an outstanding performance on the task at hand, and then other times, you’re stuck in an awkward mish-mash group with competing personalities, or people who don’t want to do any work and get all the credit, or someone that actually tries hard but is the obvious weak link on your team and you and the other members of your team secretly plot to have that person framed for murder and deported to Siberia. Not like I was ever a part of that…

Two hours tonight of drama, 168 contestants left from the first cuts of Hollywood Week, so let’s get right to it. Here’s my current Top 10 of those who I know made it thru from last week.

MY CURRENT TOP TEN (last week’s rankings in parenthesis)
1. Lauren Alaina (1)
2. Stefano Langone (2)
3. Rob Bolin (8)
4. Casey Abrams (3)
5. Chris Medina (5)
6. Robbie Rosen (6)
7. Jackie Wilson (4)
8. Thia Megia (NR)
9. Caleb Johnson (7)
10. Brett Loewenstern (9)

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