Our writer and Idol expert, Andrew Rogers is back this season covering the popular FOX reality show, “American Idol“. The pressure is on and the stakes are high as the musical competition searches for a real superstar in its fourteenth year. With weekly recaps discussing the contestants’ performances and choices, Rogers looks ahead at what’s in-store each week in his exclusive Idol recap series.
This year the producers decided to do things a bit differently with the Top 24 reveal. The Top 48 would perform on the House of Blues stage in LA and then, one by one, we’d see a little snippet of that performance, maybe some stuff from the rest of their Hollywood Week journey and then hear their fate. I’m going to talk a bit about everyone we saw make it through tonight, as well as who didn’t so here we go…
Those Who Made the Top 24:
Michael Simeon singing “Classic” by MKTO – Kudos to Michael for picking a song that’s actually current and hasn’t been done to death on reality shows (yet). I appreciate his effort trying to rap, it shows he’s willing to take risks from week to week which means we won’t see him coasting by on the same boring performance every week. I knew from JLo’s affection for him since he danced with her in his audition that he’d probably be a lock for the finals and I was right and, given that he’s impressed me the last few times we’ve seen him, I’m okay with that.
Loren Lott singing “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion – After Loren slayed her rendition of Skyfall last week, I was expecting something equally edgy this week, but instead she chose the most syrupy ballad of all time from Titanic… whomp whomp. That, combined with the fact that her voice didn’t sound nearly as good on it made me question whether Loren is the frontrunner that I had her pegged as. Hopefully next week she’ll return to her old self with a more interesting song choice and better vocals.
Adam Ezegelian singing “Here I Go Again” by White Snake – To be honest, I didn’t expect Adam to make the Top 24 because he had kind of disappeared since his audition and, as a result, we hadn’t seen any real standout performances from him. That being said, he sounded good in his rock groove, but I still worry that he’s like Caleb from last season and just more about personality and impersonating singing than actually singing, if that makes any sense.
Lovey James singing “Wings” by Little Mix – I still have no grasp on what Lovey’s style is going into the Top 24 and, like Adam, I can’t remember a single performance of her’s prior to this point. I think she too will have to rely a bit on her personality and a good, solid performance next week if she hopes to advance into the deep end of the competition.
Adanna Duru singing “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” by James Brown – Adanna, unlike Loren, took her opportunity on the big stage to choose a song that she could inject with soul and emotion while still giving killer vocals. I don’t know if the judges were really on the fence about her coming into the Top 48, but this performance definitely sold me on the fact that’s she’s capable of a good performance next week.
Maddie Walker singing “Big Girl’s Don’t Cry” By Fergie – I’ll talk a little bit more about the “Sing Off” drama when I talk about Racheal a little later, but suffice it to say that I wasn’t super heartbroken when the judges initially gave Maddie a no. I, like them, hadn’t really been blown away from her, so I could see what they were on the fence about her and, yes, she looks the part but she never seems to pick a song that intrigues me and makes me interested to see what she’ll do with it. It’s always just safe and blah. So there’s your challenge Maddie, rise to it.
Clark Beckham singing “Georgia on My Mind” by Ray Charles – In contrast, Clark is someone that blows me away every time he’s on stage. His good looks and humble personality, combined with a knack for slaying songs makes me wonder if he’s this season’s frontrunner. He definitely has a Phillip Phillips quality about him, but I would like to see him dial it back and avoid the vocal hyperboles at least once in the coming weeks.
Daniel Seavey singing “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul – I’m torn about Daniel because part of me thinks he might be too young for the competition and could use a few more use to develop his craft, but another part of me says that his voice can run in the races with some of the other competitors here, for sure. His Paula Abdul cover was better than his past few performances and his cheek-pinching adorable factor will definitely earn him a few votes in the live rounds.
Tyanna Jones singing “Love on Top” by Beyoncé – Like Michael, I have to give kudos to Tyanna for picking a currently song and doing it justice. Beyoncé is definitely a risk because she, like Kelly Clarkson on this show, has reached icon status so unless you are sure you can slay the performance, you may as well avoid it all together. Tyanna took that risk and rose to the challenge and it, combined with her past few performances, has made me think that she too is in the running for the title.
Rayvon Owen singing “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith – Rayvon’s voice remains so silky smooth and I have yet to get bored of it. He also seems like a really soft spoken guy, which suits his voice and I think endears me to him that much more. I had no doubt that the judges would have a hard time denying a guy as talented as him a spot in the Top 24, but I was still glad that he proved himself at the House of Blues.
Shannon Berthiaume singing “Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin – And the award for the most suited song choice of the night goes to… Shannon. Joplin was definitely the right thing to sing in the House of Blues with a voice like hers. It allowed her to dig in and show off a little which, I think, was what put her over the edge with the judges when it came to convincing them that she has what it takes.
Jax signing “You and I” by Lady Gaga – I, unlike the judges, appreciated the dramatic pause in her performance. It made have been a shade too long, but it definitely had me waiting for her to continue the song in that beautifully husky voice of hers which is not unlike Gaga’s own. I think Jax, like Tyanna and Clark, is definitely one to keep your eye on in the coming weeks.
Those Who Did Not Make It:
Cody Fry singing “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay – I’ve said several times that I just didn’t get the emotion from Cody when he sang, but I could almost forgive that because his voice was always spot on and his range made up for it. Tonight, his House of Blues performance seemed to derail and he gave me none of that vocal precision and, as usual, none of the emotion. In the end, he just had nothing going for him that made me root for him to make the Top 24.
We didn’t see performances from Hector Montenegro, J. None, Reno Anoa’i, Zack Kaltenbach and Hannah Mrozak, but none of them made it this year.
Rachael Hallack singing “Gunpowder & Lead” by Miranda Lambert – Poor Rachael goes in being told that the spot was hers but that Maddie’s look (I think?) is what convinced the judges to give her another chance, despite the fact that Rachael’s House of Blues performance eclipsed Maddie’s by a long shot, even if I could have used more grit to it. And then, in the sing off, I still thought Rachael was better – she chose a better song than Maddie and sang it well, but they give it to Maddie. I will say that, despite empathizing with her, I think Rachael didn’t handle it well. She should have just avoid saying anything and taken it graciously for the sake of her career, but she didn’t.
We ended the night with Hollywood Anderson entering the room with the judges for his fate. Tomorrow night, we’ll get the results for the remaining 30 contestants. Only 12 of them will go through, so it will be interesting to see who gets added to the mix with the 12 we already know.
Until tomorrow night, let me know what you thought of tonight’s episode in the comments and telling me which contestants are your favorites so far.