Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Idol Season 8 Top 13 Perform

After initial auditions that included a special trip to Puerto Rico, expanded Hollywood auditions, Billboard Hits-themed rounds, and the reinstated Wild Card selections, American Idol has finally begun the main stretch of the competition. And with the legendary Michael Jackson’s songbook at their fingertips, this season’s Top 13 had a lot to work with, and a LOT to prove. While the majority of contestants offered up solid, consistent performances, some lost their frontrunner status, and others catapulted themselves into an entirely different league.

After three groups of 12 singers performed and were cut down into a Top 9, four more contestants were chosen by the judges in the Wild Card round to make Season 8’s Top 13:

Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre, Danny Gokey, Michael Sarver, Jasmine Murray, Kris Allen, Allison Iraheta, Anoop Desai, Jorge Nunez, Megan Joy Corkrey, Adam Lambert (pictured above), Matt Giraud, and Alexis Grace.

· 01 Lil Rounds- "The Way You Make Me Feel"
Paula got it right, proclaiming that Lil is “a force to be reckoned with.” And although Simon thought it was “a bit of a lazy song choice” and hated her outfit, Lil owned the stage with her undeniably big voice. It was a great way to start the show.
· 02 Scott MacIntyre- "Keep The Faith"
The visually impaired contestant is inspiring on stage when he sings and plays the piano. His has a lovely, controlled voice, but as Randy pointed out, Scott’s performance was “very safe.”
· 03 Danny Gokey- "PYT"
Hearing Danny growl, holler, and sing “Pretty Young Thing” was unexpected and surprisingly good. However, he shouted a bit at times and his dancing was hideous. He did show a fun, entertaining side, but he’s not as good as the judges and AI producers want everyone to think.
· 04 Michael Sarver- "You Are Not Alone"
Michael has a pleasant voice and is the kind of likable, regular guy you want to root for. But as Simon said, he’s not the best singer. Though the judges praise his passion and heart, Michael’s performance was just nice, and nothing more.
· 05 Jasmine Murray- "I’ll Be There"
17-year old Jasmine has a beautiful voice, but she hasn’t had her moment yet. This was a good song choice, but her performance felt disconnected and old-fashioned. As the Brit said, she “made a good attempt.”
· 06 Kris Allen"Remember The Time"
Both Kara and Paula pointed out that “the girls love Kris” and he’s “adorable-sexy,” prompting me to ask, “Did I miss something here?” Sure Kris is cute, fun, and likable with a “very Jason Mraz-y” feel, as Randy said. But when considering looks—and more importantly vocals—he is no David Cook or David Archuleta from Season 7, and he certainly doesn’t compare to fellow Season 8 contestant Adam Lambert.
· 07 Allison Iraheta- "Give Into Me"
At 16 years old, Allison definitely has a voice and stage presence that is beyond her years. She has such style, soul, and maturity to her voice. She’s an authentic rocker, and as Randy said, she’s “the one to watch.” One of the best of the night.
· 08 Anoop Desai- "Beat It"
Also known as Anoop Dawg, this crowd pleaser didn’t fare so well. He is fun and works the stage, but poor song choice kept him from showing off his vocal ability, and he came off as sounding karaoke. Paula said, “This song is untouchable” and Simon deemed the performance as “horrible.”
· 09 Jorge Nunez- "Never Can Say Goodbye"
I’m not a Michael Jackson expert, but I was definitely surprised by how many contestants picked lesser known MJ songs. Jorge’s song selection was by far the worst of the evening. He has a big, beautiful voice, but tonight’s performance was just corny.
· 10 Megan Joy Corkrey- "Rockin’ Robin”
Though Megan had the most unusual song choice of the night, she effectively injected her personality and quirky style into her performance. She’s original and cute, but she is in desperate need of picking a serious song that requires her to do more than bop around on stage.
· 11 Adam Lambert- "Black And White”
Following his awesomely audacious rendition of “Satisfaction” from the previous round, Adam continued to prove that he is a real performer. He’s got his own swagger, an incredible vocal range, and true star potential. As Simon said, “That was totally in a different league than everything we’ve heard tonight. It was an original version, and the vocals were terrific.”
· 12 Matt Giraud- "Human Nature"
The dueling-piano player from Kalamazoo, MI, returned to his more soulful sound, and while he was consistent, I wasn’t moved by his performance. Judges Paula and Kara, however, praised his talent. Randy liked his performance, and Simon said it was difficult to follow Adam.
· 13 Alexis Grace- "Dirty Diana"
Alexis has a gorgeous, sexy voice and style that makes her a serious contender. She’s talented, authentic, and current. While Paula and Simon advised her to avoid over-singing, Randy said he liked her attitude on stage, and Kara said, “You’re naughty, and I liked it.”

Who Stays & Who Goes
· Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta, Lil Rounds, and Alexis Grace were the strongest contestants of the evening, each offering up memorable and unique performances. As long as America remembers this is a competition about singing, they should all be safe.
· Following closely behind, Danny Gokey, Scott MacIntyre, Kris Allen, Michael Sarver, and Matt Giraud had decent performances tonight as well. They should all have strong enough fan bases to keep them in the competition.
· Anoop Dawg and Jorge Nunez were by far the weakest contestants of the evening, and both are in danger of elimination. Megan Joy Corkrey and Jasmine Murray, though cute and talented, were underwhelming compared to previous performances. They, too, could be at risk.

Tune in at 9pm Wednesday night for the results on FOX. Surprise twist! Simon said two contestants will be eliminated, so voting for your favorites is important. There’s more involving the judges, but that won’t be revealed until tomorrow’s show.

Note: Due to 1-866-IDOLS-13 being an inappropriate phone number (X-rated, in fact), Alexis Grace’s phone number is 1-866-43657-36. All other Idol numbers are as follows:
1-866-43657-## (01, 02, 03,…, 10, 11, 12).

P.S.- Critic’s Vote
While my heart aches for Anoop, and I assume he will be going home (he is definitely a favorite of mine), I have to send my votes to the strongest contestant both tonight and so far in the competition: Adam Lambert.

Your Turn!
So, who did you like and who do you think will go home? Comment below and let me know!

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