Once again, I have to hand it to the format adjustments they have made. The road to the top 13 has successfully weeded out those who really didn’t have a chance to succeed and get to #1 week after week, while letting us get to know many of those who are in the top 13 and who we will be rooting for week after week. Yes, there were some who went home last week that I liked, but I already can’t remember their names, and that has to count for something.
So here we go - I’m writing it as I see it, and as always, before I hear anything that the judges have to say about any of it. I’ve been pleased to note that last week my thoughts were very similar to those of mister Harry connick Jr, and that is great company for this season, that’s for sure.
“This Is Me” is the theme - hmmm… This is really putting the song choice under the microscope.
Dexter: “Aw Naw” - This was like big and rich without the big or rich. Well, maybe the big. Kinda boring, not particularly inspired. I like rockabilly pop country at some level, but this was too karaoke for me.
Malaya: “Runaway Baby” - Well so far the contestants are 0/2 on song selection. This is not a song for a female to sing - this seemed like a “sleepover lipsync” jam session. Not good. Too much for her to handle.
Kristen: “Beautiful Disaster” - So she does pick Kelly Clarkson, but she picks the least known, unhummable song she ever recorded, from the album that everyone told her not to make. Hmmm. This is me indeed. So far I am not impressed with how the nerves are impacting these performers.
So Harry thinks there is something going on with the sound mix which is why the first three have been performing out of tune. Quite possible. But I think it’s more nervous energy and lack of experience.
Ben: “Folsom Prison Blues” - He’s the first one so far to seem to sing within himself, and to actually seem to embody the notion of “This is Me” - My only complaint is that a baseball cap isn’t great for lighting to see facial expressions and whatnot. But this was fast, furious, and fun.
I don’t think I can hear Ryan keep saying “Head on over to the lounge” week after week. They need to rename it or give Ryan more ways to say it.
CJ: “Radio” - I haven’t heard this song before, but Hootie sure has taken a page from Everclear’s book - isn’t this just a countrified version of “AM Radio?” This one was slightly better than Big and Poor from before, but it was still not that great. He needed to enunciate in that rapid-fire chorus. I still like this guy in that I love the offspeed pitch of his style and what he’s passionate about.
How great is it that all of Randy Jackson’s bits are overshadowed by the applause in the house as the vocalist is getting ready to perform...
MK: “Satisfaction” - But not the one where you can’t get no. I actually like her voice a lot, but she has absolutely nothing going on in the face. She is not connected with her voice and body. But I liked the song and I liked it in general.
Majesty: “Tightrope” - Everything that Malaya was trying to capture by choosing “Runaway Baby”, Majesty has achieved and then some with this song pick. She stayed within herself, nailed the vocal, kicked tail and took names. Fantastic.
Jena: “The Scientist” - I like Jena, though I feel like she is vowel-challenged. Some of her choices for replacement don’t seem to be linked to accent or region, and they seem like a affectation that doesn’t seem authentic at times. But man can she belt.
Alex: “A Beautiful Mess” - Great pick for him. He is a diamond in the rough, what a clean and pure voice in the midst of a quirky artist hipster-nerd frame. Did lose the pitch a bit at the end for sure. He’s like a Bob Dylan with Art Garfunkel’s voice.
Jessica: “The Crow and the Butterfly” - Maybe I’m just a sucker for Leather Tuscadero, but I really like her voice and this song selection. The first verse had a lot of drama and interest, but by the end of the chorus, the Leather Tuscadero was wearing off a little bit. Didn’t go to the “next place.”
Emily: “Glitter in the Air” - She sounds great, very old school. She is calm and gets to the high notes with ease. Beautiful I thought.
“Don’t forget where the Yang is.” - Keith Urban, country australian sage
Sam: “Unwell” - I almost feel like Sam and Alex should join forces and become the Simon and Garfunkel of the next generation. He’s great, but he isn’t doing anything revolutionary with this song, it’s not turning into a moment the way that Emily, Jena, Majesty or even Jessica did. Boring, but OMGoodness he’s cute.
Caleb: “Pressure in Time” - Well there’s some band in CA that’s going to have some increased download traffic on iTunes… Still wishing he had picked “paradise by the dashboard light” instead. This is a great song for his rocker-ness, but it’s more a song about the guitar hook than it was the melody. But wow, what an ending. He’s a confident rocker.
So who’s going home? Or what about the bottom three? My money on bottom three is Malaya, Kristen and CJ - none of them did enough to escape their wildcard status…