Idol Thoughts: Hollywood Week & The Top 24

The Top 24 Contestants of the Farewell Season of American Idol have officially been named and for the most part, I was in total agreement with their decisions (although honestly at this point we’ve only been exposed to what they want us to be exposed to – you know?). There are some contestants that still seem a little too green to me for this competition, but overall I’m excited by the amount of talent in the Top 24.

Here are the four people that have me the most excited right now. By no means a complete list – but these ones stood out from the pack for me:

Dalton Rapattoni had me at hello. I loved his first audition and I thought he held his own in Hollywood Week. He does occasionally border on the young and moody side but I love his voice and his artistry.

Mackenzie Bourg gives me John Mayer vibes in a very good way. They have a similar stage presence and attitude and I just kind of puffy hearts adore his voice right now. I hope America loves him as much as I do so far.

La’porsha Renae has a lot going for her. She has a big ole voice, memorable appearance and possibly the cutest child ever (and a survival story that America will love). But more than that she has a presence. She commands the stage in a way that isn’t cocky or showy – she’s just on another level. I’m looking forward to seeing where she goes from here.

Oliva Rox has a fun name, a great voice and pink streaks in her hair that make me want to visit a hair salon asap. I think she has a great vibe – and I’ve loved her since her audition. You know I love the people who can croon at the piano.

Are you watching this final season? Who are your favorites?

Idol Thoughts: The Farewell Season Auditions Begin!

I’ve been blogging on and off about American Idol for several years now, telling you guys who I loved and who I hated and it’s been fun to look back and see who I rooted for early on and who took my by surprise near the end. It’s hard to believe that this fifteenth season will be their last and though it’s bittersweet, I love how upbeat they are being about their cancellation and I’m glad that they were able to come back for one final farewell season instead of the show just grinding to a halt. It feels right.

And even better? There is already some phenomenal talent showing up for the auditions that are exciting to see. Here are a couple that made me sit up a little straighter on my couch and pay attention. I’m sure there were more, but these three were pretty memorable.

This guy blew me away and maybe I’m just biased because I love that song but I’m looking forward to seeing what he does next. And the fact that he works with young kids is just the sweetest.

I really liked her, too. I’m a sucker for an indie voice. I loved her confidence – she was humble but also professional which is cool for her age. She’s the real deal.

Her voice is just beautiful. I’m interested to see how she holds up in Hollywood week because her voice is solid but is it memorable? I’m not sure. It always seems a little harder for the girls that “sing pretty songs” especially when America starts voting because girls are so much more critical of girls. But I think she is promising.

Are you watching the auditions?

Anyone else you are super excited about?

Idol Thoughts: Top 5

idolthoughts

This week the Top 5 was revealed on American Idol. I’ve had to say goodbye to a few favorites this week (loved Joey Cook and Qaasim Middleton) but overall I’m pretty pleased with how America has been voting. I’ve been voting this year, too, which is relatively new for me as I never really had time to vote before voting closed in years past. They’ve finally accepted the large amount of DVR viewers though and allowed us plenty of time to chime in with our opinions.

Here’s how I voted this week:

idoltop5

They are doing the Round 1 / Round 2 thing now because there are so few contestants left to fill 2 hours and god forbid they cut down to one. I guess I like this though because there are contestants who basically bomb one round but absolutely slay another.

I thought Clark Beckham was overall strong in both rounds. I loved his first performance of Yesterday by The Beatles and although I’m not a big Biebster, I also liked his rendition of Boyfriend in round two – I disagree with the judges on this one. I liked his arrangement and I wish they would stop trying to change him. I did have to laugh at his interpetation of this week’s theme which was Arena Anthems – I think he just interpreted that as “really popular songs by these popular people” – but I digress.

Jax always wins me over. I adore her voice, so even though I honestly thought the energy in her first performance of Are You Gonna Be My Girl Guy by Jet was just off somehow – like the crowd wasn’t as amped as she was and I hate it when contestants change pronouns in songs – just own it, you know? But I love her voice so it still sounded good – and in round two she got back behind the piano where I love her and sang White Flag by Dido and it was just everything.

Rayvon was a lot more like the Rayvon I’ve known and loved from the beginning this week. His first performance blew me away and I was like “YES! HIM! THAT!!!!!!” after he finished singing  Sam Smith’s Not the Only One. I think it’s the first time he’s not smiled while singing and although I personally love his smiley songs, this was reallly good, too. I’ll be honest, his round two performance of Go Your Own Way was just meh for me for the most part until he’d get to the melody and you could actually hear him but it didn’t matter because round one was everything for me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I thought Quentin did really well this week – at least I  really enjoyed his interpreation of Shake it Out by Florence & The Machine which seemed weirdly perfect for him and I was pleased to see that he wasn’t acting like a thug that was about to mug Harry this week – and part of me sees him and thinks “He’s got that it factor!” but I’m not sure it’s an American Idol it factor at the end of the day so I wasn’t really disappointed to see him go.

Nick Fradiani is a conundrum for me because he seems like a sweet guy and he does have a good voice but he’s so one note to me – like he bores me to tears, honestly. I’m glad he’s doing well because he is working hard and “he’s got a great personality” but if I’m going to be honest with myself, I wouldn’t buy his CD.

I’m feeling guilty about not giving any votes to Tyanna because she has a princess name and she’s so talented but the truth is I didn’t like either of her song choices and I’m worried she’s petering out. I thought Party in the U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus sounded completely wrong for her voice and did her no favors because it’s shallow and vapid and she is clearly not – and then Heaven by Bryan Adams just seemed… too mature. She’s somewhere in the middle and she knows it and it felt like she was just trying to pander to other age groups / genres or something. I don’t know – it was just – off. But I’ll forgive her if she’s back next week and she probably will be.

Are you watching this season?

Who is your FAVE this week? Who are you ready to see go home?

jenloves

Idol Thoughts: Top 8 becomes Top 7

idolthoughts

Last night American Idol whittled down from Top 8 to Top 7 using their new elimination method dubbed the Fan Save. This means the bottom two performers get one last chance to sing and everybody watching live has a chance to to vote via twitter hashtags for 5 minutes – this determines who goes home. I have to say, I’m not crazy about this because it means the fate of the show is somewhat resting in the small margin of viewers that can watch the show live. That said, we’re only dealing with the bottom two so I guess you could argue we’re only talking about who goes home sooner. The rest of the performers still rely on the vote that you can make later when watching on your DVR. My favorite method of voting is still just searching for American Idol Vote on Google. I like the interface and it’s easy.

Here’s how my voting came down last night (an hour after the show had ended):

idoltop8

Best Performance of the Night: goes to Clark Beckham for sure. I’ve always been on the fence about him, frankly, but this performance gave me all the feels. You could tell the judges were excited by it too but they still gave him a healthy dose of constructive criticism which in some ways is the sign of a good performance – they think you are capable of upping your game and have something more to say than “Well, you look great!” Here’s what Clark sang last night for those of you who missed it:

Of course the John Mayer-esque guitar riffs were not hurting.

I continue to adore Jax,Joey Cook and Tyanna Jones who I thought all had solid performances (though I wish Joey Cook hadn’t stuck so closely to her personal goal of not changing up the arrangement on her song because she could have done better if she’d given herself more freedom).

Nick and Quentin both did good but for me weren’t fantastic – I think as a lot of the contestants try to push outside of their comfort zones we are seeing some of their weak spots for better or worse.

The bottom two this week included Rayvon and Qaasim: When I first heard the results I thought I knew for sure who I wanted to continue – I’ve been a huuuuuuge Rayvon fan for awhile but the truth is, he’s been slipping for me as he struggles to make the judges and America happy. He feels so far removed from the calm, confidence that shined when he sang My Girl a few short weeks ago and his hail mary performance last night was just okay for me. It felt frenetic and forced which is the opposite of Rayvon in my humble p.o.v.

Rayvon last night:

Rayvon singing My Girl:

What do you think? Wasn’t he better before? Maybe it was just the nerves? I don’t know… But it’s Rayvon so I was still rooting for him and then Qaasim did this:

And don’t get me wrong – I still prefer My Girl Rayvon but this was sooooo much better than Rayvon’s performance last night and he is such a stellar performer. In this moment, I’ll be honest I was rooting for Qaasim.

The truth is, I didn’t really want either to go – but I’m not sure who I did want to go because this Top 8 truly is my Top 8 – I like all of them, finally, which is a nice place to be but also sad because it means someone good is going home. Last night’s elimination was tough because I loved the person who stayed but also loved the person who went home. In the interest of not spoiling the results for anyone who hasn’t had a chance to watch yet, I’ll be all mysterious and not say who went home.

Who would you have saved?

PS: Who else is Team Harry?

Idol Thoughts: The Top 12

idolthoughts

This week the Top 12 was introduced and then whittled down ever so slightly to the Top 11. They sang the songs they auditioned with on Wednesday night and a “party” song on Thursday for the theme “Get This Party Started”.

The highlight of the week for me was Joey Cook’s rendition of ‘Fancy’ by Iggy Azalea. I’m always a fan of musicians taking well known songs and turning them on their heads – when done well, it’s always a lot of fun and Joey Cook did really well in my opinion.

Adanna Duru sang ‘Runaway Baby’ by Bruno Mars and continues to be fantastic. She was one of my Top 3 this week so either she’s rising the ranks or other people are falling behind. Or both.

The judges seemed super amped up about Rayvon Owen’s rendition of ‘Burn’ but honestly I didn’t love it. He sounded out of breath and out of his element. Wednesday night he sang his audition song, ‘Wide Awake’ and it was MUCH better and firmly in his wheel house. I didn’t think Rayvon could go wrong but he stumbled this week for me. That said, he’s still in my Top 3 because:

I was kinda disappointed in Jax this week and thought that Clark and Quentin were just okay even though the judges seemed super jazzed about them. I really like Nick when I’m watching him but I’ve noticed that I get less excited about his performances by the time I get to my computer to type stuff. But like the folks mentioned above, he also got all 20 votes from me this week. So.

Also can we talk about Daniel Seavey? I get it – it’s a novelty that he can pretty much sing even though  he’s basically a baby. But why is he still here? He’s a sweet kid but he’s nowhere close to the other contestants vocally. Also apologies to Maddie Walker who I’ve pretty much never blogged about. Her voice is nice, I LOVE her hair but her music simply isn’t my cup of tea. I will acknowledge that she did a good job this week – probably her best vocal to date.

Who are you loving on Idol this season?

Who are you so completely over?

jenloves

Idol Thoughts: The Top 16

idolthoughts

Here’s your cheat sheet to this week’s American Idol performances by the Top 8 guys and the Top 8 girls. There were a few disappointments for me this week as I knew there would be. We had to say goodbye to Trevor, Savion, Shi and Shannon.  😦 But a lot of my favorites are still in the competition.

My favorite performances by the guys this week were:

This performance had me literally fangirling. It was perfection. When Rayvon sings, I look like this:

68162_10100616914460686_7416765148115539340_n

True story.

I just adore him. I thought he did a great job. He always does a great job. Nick is already a front runner for me.

In some ways this performance bordered on frantic but he is so fun and charming and I’ve heard how well he can sing already. Super fun to watch.

Other guys I’m still loving that just had quieter moments this week, in my opinion, are Mark Andrews and Clark Beckham. Also I’m still deciding if I like Quentin Alexander or not. I think I do? Maybe. Yes. Definitely. Maybe. Your thoughts?

Last night the Top 8 girls performed. I really only have two clear front runners for the girls right now and a few other girls that I like a lot but not quite as much as:

She is just the funnest thing ever. I love her vibe, love her voice, love her hair. I love that she seems real and authentic and flawed but still brilliant.

Jax is probably my daughter’s favorite and I don’t blame her, she is neck and neck with Joey Cook for me as far as the girls are concerned. Both are really unique in their delivery with stellar voices. Team J & J here.

Also loving Tyanna Jones, Sarina-Joi Crowe and Adanna Duru. About equally at this point.

This week we also got to see the new elimination process this season. I don’t know if this is how they intend to do the whole show but I think it’s a nice change from making us sit through an entire episode solely devoted to finding out who gets eliminated.

My only real complaint with the process is that the contestants have to sing immediately after getting the news that they made it through (yay!) but it meant a lot of them were grinning like idiots throughout the whole performance even if the song didn’t really warrant it. It would have been nice to give them a little time to center themselves, but then I guess at the end of the day – it is a competition and they will probably get used to the format pretty quickly.

Are you watching this season? Who did you love? Who did you hate?