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.
In Wednesday’s telecast, the first where America will get the chance to vote on the remaining contestants, we found out that Idol was coming at us live from Detroit’s Fillmore Theater. There, the twelve guys would get no more than a minute and a half to deliver a performance that would rally America into dialing their number or, you know, the billion other ways we can now vote. But enough about that, let’s talk about how each of them did with the spotlight and America’s eyes on them:
Adam Ezegelian – “I Wanna Rock” (Twisted Sister) – Since we found out very quickly that the judges wouldn’t be able to give wholesome critiques, I’ll try to keep my critiques equally short but a little more insightful. I thought Adam did his usually rock-shtick and nothing more. It was very reminiscent of Caleb from last season, but I don’t know if he has the same overwhelming performance ability and talent to pull off a come-from-behind victory. Rating: C
Michael Simeon – “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” (Michael Bolton) – How does a guy with all the contemporary swagger of a diet Justin Timberlake picked such a dated, boring song? Vocally, it wasn’t a train-wreck, but I just got no emotion from him and I really, really wanted him to pick something creative rather than something old, but semi-predictable. Rating: C-
Savion Wright – “Hey Soul Sister” (Train) – I kind of disagree with Keith that this wasn’t a good song for Savion. Sure, Savion has soul out the wazoo, but I think he was trying to show some diversity by picking a song with a bit of a pop-reggae vibe and having fun with it. Was it the absolute best performance he’s capable of? No. But he did give us some great vocals in the process. Rating: B
Mark Andrew – “The Weight” (The Band) – Mark is still one of the contestants that’s flying under the radar but the judges gave him high praise for a good song choice and called him unique from his competition and I have to say I agree. While it wasn’t the most exciting performance of the night, it was certainly in his wheelhouse and showed that his type of voice is something no one else has. Rating: B
Trevor Douglas – “Best I Ever Had” (Gavin DeGraw) – I’m sorry Trevor, but avoid up-tempo at all cost. This is the second performance in a row that we’ve seen him try to go uptempo and it just derails his vocals. If he survives, he needs to pick a song that he can slow down and focus on just hitting the notes. Rating: D
Clark Beckham – “When A Man Loves A Woman” (Percy Sledge) – Sure, Clark had a few bomb notes but his voice is so unexpectedly great that I can’t help but love him. He was one of the few people who could pick an old song and make it work. I think there’s no question he’s safe after this performance and the high praise he got from the judges. Rating: B+
Rayvon Owen – “Jealous” (Nick Jonas) – Rayvon, on the other hand, played it smart and picked a modern song that played to his vocal strengths. He got to show off his falsetto and soulful tone, but I agree with the judges that he could have injected the performance with a little more attitude. I think his “smiling through every performance” thing is starting to wear on people. Rating: A-
Daniel Seavey – “I’m Yours” (Jason Mraz) – As much as Jason Mraz should seem like a perfect choice for Daniel, this lyrics of this song (e.g. about nibbling on some poor girl’s ear) were a bit too much for a 15 year old. Still, busting out the mandolin and delivering a decent vocal to a hoard of screaming girls makes me think that Daniel isn’t going anywhere. Rating: C
Riley Bria – “Homeboy” (Eric Church) – Mini Keith, or Keith “Suburban” as Harry calls him, didn’t depart dramatically from his previous performances. He picked a country song and broke out the electric guitar, but botched some major notes on the way. I don’t think he’s going anywhere though, considering he’s the competition’s only male country singer. Rating: C-
Quentin Alexander – “I Put A Spell On You” (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins) – Quentin delivered the drama in a performance that milked his minute-and-a-half for all it was worth and, truthfully, less was more in this performance. The vocals that he did give us were spot on and the dark delivery of the song suited Quentin. I, like the judges, just hope America gets him because he’s too cool to lose. Rating: A-
Nick Fradiani – “Thinking Out Loud” (Ed Sheeran) – Something about Nick is just too basic for me to latch on to. Yes, his experience has made him consistently good over the last few rounds, but never great. I need emotion, some more creative vocal or song choices, or both in the coming rounds if he’s going to make any impression on me. Rating: B
Qaasim Middleton – “Uptown Funk” (Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars) – On the complete opposite end of the spectrum and proving me right on all accounts is Qaasim. Qaasim knows he isn’t the best vocalist in the competition. That’s not to say he doesn’t have a voice, but he isn’t a vocal acrobat like some of the other competitors, but what he does bring to the table are performances infused with the entertainment value. He’s always bringing something unexpected and that’s what I love about him. Rating: B+
After a fairly solid night of performances, the Top 12 guys will be narrowed down to just 8 before next week’s show. I’m honestly having a hard time choose who will go home, but if I had to pick four based on tonight it would be some combination of Trevor, Michael, Daniel, Riley, Adam and Nick. In actuality, I’m worried we’ll lose one or two of the guys who actually delivered decent performances tonight.
That being said, let me know in the poll below who delivered your favorite performances tonight and I’ll see you tomorrow for the girls performances!