Last night was the last group of 12 performers who will make up 9 of the top 12 spots in this season’s American Idol. Why is this so confusing? Anyway, yeah, apart from the Wild Card episode where I am under the impression that the judges will pick whoever they want to sing one more time and then vote for whoever they want to go through, this was the last group that we’ll choose for our Top 12. Per usual there were some wowing performances, some boring ones, some painful ones and some people I didn’t recognize at all.
I’m not going to go through every performance, because well this post would get really boring if I did so I’ll focus on the people I liked and loved. The first performance that made me say, “Hey this one doesn’t suck!” was Ju’not Joyner, who sang Hey There Delilah by The Plain White Tees. I LOVE this song. So while I thought he gave it an interesting twist and made it his own, I’m still going to be all stubborn and insist I prefer the original. My husband disagreed and thought Ju’not was awesome, had a great voice and sang it better – according to Dan The Music Man, this rendition made him stop and listen to (and admire) the lyrics. And I was like, “That’s nice sweetie but Ju’not can’t take credit for the beautiful lyrics.” Don’t get me wrong – I am trying to tell you that I liked it. I liked him. I just felt unenthused in comparison to my husband and the judges. Like Janderson @ Blissfully Domestic, I kept waiting for him to kick it up a notch and throw some real emotion into the song, to blow me away. But Ju’not did not.
The next performance was by Kristen McNamara who sang Gimmie One Reason by Tracy Chapman, a song I’ve always liked “in spite of myself.” I actually preferred McNamara’s version of the song better in some ways, although her performance wasn’t flawless, I liked her energy. The judges were pretty harsh on her, telling her she had poor fashion sense and other stuff which seemed irrelevant, but overall I liked her a lot.
After Nathaniel Marshall’s painfully strange performance Felicia Barton came out and knocked my socks off with No One by Alicia Keyes. Felicia was the girl who was sent home and then brought back and I didn’t really know who she was but then she opened her mouth and a power house came out! She was so good my husband’s jaw dropped (I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before but my husband is a huge music snob, from a long family line of talented musician / music snobs and Simon is pretty much his idol judgment wise. He’s not an easy one to please.). I’m not going to be able to say this any better than, “She was really really good,” so I won’t bother. You get the point. If I voted for this show, she’d be getting a vote stat.
Next Scott MacIntyre sang Mandolin Rain (Bruce Hornsby). What is it with blind guys being terrific musicians? MacIntyre is no exception, his performance, though not flawless, was really really good also. I can see him going far and hope he pulls through to the Top 12, if not by votes then by a Wild Card (where Anoop had better be!). I think his odds are about tied with Ju’not though and I’m relatively fine with that, because…
For me this was a ladies night that ended with a bang. Lil’ Rounds was the last performer, singing Without You by Mary J. Blige and she was flipping phenomenal. I’ve liked her since the beginning and while this certainly wasn’t her best performance it was good and I think it really showed who she is as a musician – her voice is so powerful and her stage presence is fierce. If she doesn’t make it through to the Top 12 I will be very surprised and disappointed in America. Because she’s awesome.
So once again, the show ends and I’m left with more of a Top 5 than a Top 3 and no intentions of narrowing it further. I think overall Lil’ Rounds and Felicia Barton were my favorites, the others all being in the still really, really good category.