Someone asked me last week how I thought this season was going. Here’s where I am with it:
I think so far this part of the show is suffering from a over-promise and under-deliver. Each of these potential stars seem to be a bit of deer in the headlights, and all the promise of the new judges is long gone and used up. I still think there’s the possibility that a genuine star can rise from this group, we just haven’t seen a journey with any of them. When I think about the growth curve we saw back in the day with a Carrie Underwood, or even a Scotty McCreery, you just don’t seem to see that kind of evolution with this group. It’s just kinda there for them. Someone needs to break out of it.
That being said, I think this year the choices they are making with the video packages have never been better. The “hanging out at the dinner table” scenes seem pretty authentic and they shed light on these performers. Much more so than any of the Ford commercial creations did in the past. (and that being said, they have to stop doing the spots while holding their voting numbers…)
Here are my thoughts on each performer this week, brought to you, as always, prior to hearing any of the judges’ feedback.
Alex: “Don’t Speak” - fantastic beginning. He’s turned No Doubt into Jason Mraz. Loved the arrangement. This was great, but just imagine how much better it would be if he gave even one dynamic facial expression.
Majesty: “Shake it Out” - This arrangement feels like Whitney + the Machine more than Florence. That romper isn’t helping. Of the ones left, she does have spark in her eyes and has the potential to grow into a star. But she has been better than this.
Dexter: “Boondocks” - This was a great pick for him in that it feels just like what he should be doing. I still would kill for just any contestant that looked like they had something going on in their eyes.
Malaya: “The Long and Winding Road” - Lisa Bonet from a Different World? Anyone? She did very well. I like her and of course, it’s a great song. I still question whether or not she can survive the long haul, but my prediction would be that if she goes home and the “save” is still in play, the judges would use it on her.
Sam: “Hey There Delilah” - I think the light choices for this song were manipulative and an unfair advantage for mister dreamypants. And JLo’s face proved it. He did fine. But again, I am waiting for someone to come out of their well-polished shell.
Jessica: “Rhiannon” - I like the choice of a Fleetwood Mac tune, but I might have chosen a different one, like Silver Springs or Dreams. She sounded great and she was very comfortable onstage, the vibe of the song though was a little too wispy to be memorable over time.
CJ: “If It Hadn’t Been for Love” - Okay, that’s enough, he is not even singing anymore. He was so sharp on that chorus that I got a paper cut. Sometimes raw talent is just raw.
Caleb: “Dazed and Confused” - This was the best performance of the night. A perfect pick for a Zep tune, and if they cut to Jlo dancing one more time they're going to have to pay her choreographer a royalty check. It was the perfect pick because it was rock but it was also blues and gave him the opportunity to wail and make the song his own within that structure. Fantastic. He is the only one who is evolving.
Jena: “Bring Me to Life” - I thought this was a great performance. She is evolving too. Especially with the false ending moving into the money notes at the end. Strong. Enjoyable. She almost got to Caleb level. They would make a great double bill.
CJ. He’s got to go. That is all. The ones who have a shot at becoming stars are Caleb, Jena, Majesty and Alex.
What do you think?