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American Idol Recap – Top 5 Results Show

For some reason, my DVR didn’t record the first 15 minutes, so I tuned in tonight while Coldplay was performing.

I also tuned in to the news that Joshua is SAFE.

Hollie and Phillip are up…
Jimmy thought she killed it on River Deep and was neutral on Bleeding love.  Jimmy thinks Phillip should be in the bottom two but that he probably won’t be.

Hollie is in the bottom two.
Phillip is SAFE.

So far, I am correct.  Joshua deserved it, Phillip didn’t, but neither are a surprise.  If Phillip could advance last night, he has no chance of not winning this thing.  Then again, I could see him somehow withdrawing from the competition because he has no desire for the crown.

Idol’s favorite daughter, Carrie Underwood performs her new single.  Is this a crossover album?  Doesn’t sound very country to me.

Skylar and Jessica are up…
Jimmy says Skylar is really bringing it.  But he didn’t like “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me”.  Jimmy thought Jessica slayed “You Are So Beautiful” but that “Proud Mary” was a disaster.  Uh oh.  She goin’ home.  Wait…

D’oh.  I’m wrong.

Jessica is SAFE.
Skylar is in the bottom two.

Coldplay performs again.

And for the first time, I am genuinely sad, as Hollie is SAFE and Skylar is going home.  Awww.  She didn’t deserve to go home tonight and she really, truly brought her best every week.  She just became a victim of Hollie’s late surge.  It really was either Phillip or Jessica’s night to go home.  But I don’t think it matters for Ms. Skylar Laine.  If Kellie Pickler got a bona fide Country career from her stint on Idol, there’s no question in my mind that Skylar will as well.

So we’ve got our top four – PhilPhil, Mantasia, JChez, and Hollie.  Never expected Hollie to make it this far, but at least she has earned it the last couple of weeks.  It would really be amazing if she sang her way into the final three, pushing Jessica aside.  I can’t say it’s not possible at this point.  But I’m still putting my money on a PhilPhil-Mantasia finale.

Wertheim out.

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American Idol Recap – Top 7 (Take Two)

We are treated to a (justifiably) emotional recap of last week’s stunning turn of events, which is deemed “a new beginning for all.”  Well, hopefully not for Hollie, who needs to go no matter how good she may be this week.  Ryan then does a short tribute to Dick Clark, which felt inevitable given that he has been touted for the last ten years to be the new Dick Clark, and he has done a good job already of taking over.  RIP, Dick Clark.

Tonight’s themes are one song from today and one song from “back in the day” from Soul Train.

Hollie – “Rolling In The Deep” by Adele
OK.  I vote her out simply for choosing an Adele song.  She clearly learns nothing week-to-week.  That being said, it was her best performance in ages.  She didn’t look terrified, likely because she wasn’t in the bottom three last week.  I fear that in the new world order, she may last a lot longer than anyone thought she would.

Colton – “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga
Bad song choice, Colton.  It doesn’t work to go down an octave in all those parts.  Blech. The judges again like him more than I do.  I promise that Tommy Hilfiger did not outfit him tonight.

Elise – “No One” by Alicia Keys
Great choice of song.  She looks beautiful tonight and is treated to a wind machine to enhance the aura around her.  I thought she was great.  America isn’t likely to.  I agree with Jennifer that when she smiles it really opens her up.

Phillip – “You’ve Got It Bad” by Usher
Phillip is BACK.  As Jennifer said “That was so sexy.”  Randy says that this year there is a true artist on the stage.  He has not one thing whatsoever to worry about.

Jessica – “Fallin'” by Alicia Keys
RIDICULOUSLY GOOD.  Ridiculous.  How could the judges have not given her a standing-o after they just gave Phillip one?

Skylar – “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga”
Cool version of the song.  And I love Skylar.  But not my favorite of her performances.

Joshua – “I Believe” by Fantasia
Mantasia does Fantasia!!!!  Hard for me to listen to anyone else sing this song, since I (embarrassingly) know every nuance of Fantasia’s version.  I mean, he did a great job.  And he got a standing-o from the judges.  I love you Joshua.  But it’s ‘Tasia’s version that will always make me cry.

Hollie – “Son Of A Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield
A very strongly sung, largely soul-free version of Son of A Preacher Man.

Colton – “September” by Earth, Wind, & Fire
A very, very cool arrangement of September.  Basically a completely different song – in a good way.  Pretty shocked by the judges’ very tepid reaction.  I thought it was one of his most creative and well-done performances to date.

Elise – “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye
Come on, you idiot judges.  Stand up for the woman.  That was great.  They basically skewered her, and I think sealed her fate.

Phillip – “In The Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett
Magnetic, fun, sexy Phillip is back.  I’m buying tickets to his concert.


Jessica – “Try A Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding
Just stop the competition right now.  This woman can sing ANYTHING.  Come on.  How ridiculous that she won’t wear the crown.

Skylar – “Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye
Again, good Skylar performance.  Not my favorite.

Joshua – “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke
Way more transformational for me than his version of “I Believe”.  The judges gave him a standing-o, but I suspect that it was driven in part by the need to school America into saving him this week.

My Ranking of Tonight’s Performances:

  1. Jessica – “Fallin'”
  2. Joshua – “A Change Is Gonna Come”
  3. Jessica – “Try A Little Tenderness”
  4. Phillip – “In The Midnight Hour”
  5. Joshua – “I Believe”
  6. Phillip – “You’ve Got It Bad”
  7. Elise – “Let’s Get It On”
  8. Colton – “September”
  9. Elise – “No One”
  10. Skylar – “Heard It Through The Grapevine”
  11. Hollie – “Rolling In The Deep”
  12. Hollie – “Son Of A Preacher Man”
  13. Skylar – “Born This Way”
  14. Colton – “Bad Romance”

My Results Predictions:

Well, all bets are pretty much off after last week.  That being said…

  • Colton and Phillip are SAFE SAFE SAFE.
  • Elise will most DEFINITELY and undeservedly be in the bottom three once more.
  • Based on last week’s shocker, Hollie will not be going home
  • While she may not escape the bottom three this week, Jessica most likely will not go home because her supporters will vote like mad.

Other than that, tough to say anything that would be reliable.  Bottom three should be Hollie, Skylar, and Colton, but Elise will take one of their places, and Jessica or Joshua are just as likely to fall back in as well.

My prediction to go home tomorrow night is Elise.  Boy, is Hollie lucky Elise doesn’t connect with America.

Wertheim out.

Categories: Uncategorized

American Idol Recap – Top 24 (25) – The Results

Two hours of American Idol starts…NOW.  Jimmy Iovine is back tonight and finally tells it like it is.  He’s playing the Simon role now.

Chase, Phillip, and Jeremy take the stage.  Jimmy is not a Jeremy fan, and I feel a bit vindicated (sorry Lisa!).  Jimmy REALLY is not a Chase fan.  Jimmy LOOOOOOVES Phil Phillip tho.  And I am losing my shame about loving him too.

Jeremy – NOT in the top 10
Chase – NOT in the top 10
Phillip – SAFE!

Jessica, Hollie, Brielle, and Hallie are the first of the girls.  Jimmy thinks Hollie “could do some real damage in this game.”  Jimmy thinks Brielle has a lot of charisma but had a bad song choice.  Jimmy likes Hallie, but isn’t convinced America did.  Jimmy wants to sign Jessica on the spot tonight.

Brielle – NOT in the top 10
Hallie – NOT in the top 10
Jessica – SAFE!
Hollie – SAFE!

Joshua, Heejun, and Adam are up next.  Jimmy thinks “this Joshua is the real deal,” but wants to make sure Mantasia doesn’t turn it into Sister Act 3.  Jimmy thinks White Chocolate needs to integrate his multiple personalities.  Ha!  Heejun completely confuses Jimmy, but astutely points out “this isn’t American Comedian, it’s American Idol.”  Dude is funny, actually.  I hope he doesn’t make it through, because I bet he has a career in comedy.

Joshua – SAFE
Heejun – SAFE
White Chocolate – NOT in the top 10

Skylar, Baylie, Chelsea, Shannon.  Jimmy thinks Skylar blends soul with country.  Jimmy thinks Baylie had all the pieces but that they didn’t come together – “outta tune, outta here!”  As for Chelsea, Jimmy thinks Carrie Underwood karaoke just isn’t going to fly.  Jimmy likes Shannon, but thinks she needs help in the styling area.  Oh boy I can’t stand Shannon.  Please stop crying and pandering to the audience.  Good for Baylie.  She says if she had it all to do over again, she would have “sang on key.”

Shannon – SAFE
Skylar – SAFE
Baylie – NOT in the top 10
Chelsea – NOT in the top 10

Aaron, Creighton, and Reed are the second-to-last group of boys.  Jimmy likes Reed, but thinks he is way too Cabaret and never gonna make it.  Aaron confused Jimmy – he thought Aaron was just cheesy.  Jimmy felt like I did about Creighton – top end of his voice was screechy.  Didn’t like him.

Aaron – NOT in the top 10
Creighton – NOT in the top 10
Reed – NOT in the top 10

Damn.  That hurt.  Them, not me really.

Elise, Erica, Hayley, and Jen are the second to last group of ladies.  Jimmy thinks Jen has a great voice but adds wisely that folks need to stay away from Adele.  Jimmy likes Erica as much as I do.  He thinks she can go all the way.  Please please please be safe.  As far as Hayley goes, Jimmy was deservingly harsh.  “She sang out of tune the whole time,” he says.  “I can get around that.  What I can’t get around is robotic mimicking.”  Jimmy likes Elise as much as the judges and I do.  Hayley says she has no regrets and that she performed to her best ability.  Oh, keep quiet Hayley.  This is your swan song.

Hayley – NOT in the top 10
Erica – NOT in the top 10.  DAMN.
Elise – SAFE
Jen – NOT in the top 10

The final group of guys are Deandre, Eben, Colton, and Jermaine.  Could it really go the way it should, with Eben and Jermaine going home?  I can’t believe it is going to be that easy.  Jermaine has his awful white pants on again!  Eben’s girlfriend is in the house.  Jimmy is so glad the judges brought Jermaine back – wow.  I guess that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise since they brought him back.  Jimmy thinks Deandre needs a coach and is not ready yet.  Jimmy too nicely says that Eben is not ready for prime time.  Jimmy thinks Colton is one of the most talented kids in this show.

Deandre – NOT in the top 10
Colton – SAFE
Jermaine – SAFE
Eben – NOT in the top 10

Now 15 folks are eligible for 3 wild card slots.  The judges pick 6 to sing for their lives.  And they are…

Jen Hirsch – “Oh Darlin'” by The Beatles
I’m not sure she did herself any favors with that performance.  She was strident and pushing way too hard.  It just seemed to me like a repeat of last night’s performance.  The judges are nice, but measured.

Jeremy Rosado – “I Know You Won’t” by Carrie Underwood
Guy has some pipes and he tugs on the heartstrings.  But I am not feeling it.  Still.  JLo is just going to lose it.  They all love the person he is.  He seems like a lovely guy.  And Heejun is a funny guy.

Brielle Von Hugel – “Someone Like You” by Adele
What a wasted choice by the judges.  How could she choose Adele?  And pale in comparison.  I want her to go home simply because I cannot bear seeing her mother for the rest of the season.  Steven shockingly said he just wasn’t hearing it.  Randy said it wasn’t great.  JLo said she should be proud.  Again, a waste.

Deandre Brackensick – “Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles
I hope he just becomes Deandre, because I cannot keep writing that last name all season.  Now he should have sung this last night.  Much better when it’s not all falsetto.  Please use that sparingly, Deandre.  I still find him a bit cheesy, but I think he had the best sing-for-your-life performance.

Erica Van Pelt – “Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga
I LOVE HER VOICE.  I love how she performs.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PICK ERICA.  It sounds like they’re going to.  Whew.

Reed Grimm – “Use Me” by Bill Withers
As I figured.  Creighton wasn’t going to win in the quirky duel with Reed.  Sad for him.  This guy really is a good musician, but also a total freakazoid.  The judges say a lot of nice things that sound like a kiss-off.

Now “each judge will pick one contestant to stay in the competition.”  I find it hard to believe that each will not be a group decision.  And they are…

Randy picks…Erica Van Pelt.  YES!

Jennifer picks…Jeremy Rosado.  NO SURPRISE.  Can’t be disappointed.  Dude is too nice.

Steven picks…Deandre Brackensick who looks just so overwhelmed with emotion and grateful that

And America, your top 13 are…

  1. Phillip Phillips – my pick & prediction
  2. Hollie Cavanagh – my pick & prediction
  3. Jessica Sanchez – my pick & prediction
  4. Joshua Leddet – my pick & prediction
  5. Heejun Han – my prediction – NOT my pick
  6. Shannon Magrane – my prediction – NOT my pick
  7. Skylar Laine – my pick & my prediction
  8. Elise Testone – my pick & my prediction
  9. Colton Dixon – my pick & my prediction
  10. Jermaine Jones – a surprise to everyone (sorry Lisa & James!)
  11. Erica Van Pelt – my pick & my prediction
  12. Jeremy Rosado – neither my pick nor my prediction
  13. Deandre Brackensick – my pick & my prediction

So I feel pretty good about this group.  I picked 11 out of the top 13, and only 4 are folks I would rather not have seen in the finals.  I can deal with Shannon and can learn to like Jeremy, but I think that both Heejun and Jermaine took slots that could have gone to a lot stronger folks.

Farewell to six women:

  • Jen Hirsch, whose performance of Georgia On My Mind during Hollywood Week was astoundingly good, but who didn’t bring it during the live shows
  • Hallie Day, who was so positioned as a front-runner that her not-so-perfect performance and body that made her look like a giant next to Skylar Laine and Jessica Sanchez just did her in
  • Brielle Von Hugel, who might have been able to triumph over her horrific mother had she not chosen to butcher one of the most frequently played and loved songs in the world right now
  • Baylie Brown, who was a sweetheart of epic proportions and had such a great personality that I hope she turns up somewhere
  • Chelsea Sorrell, who had big boobies (sorry, that’s all I am taking away)
  • Hayley Johnson, who should try to erase this whole experience from her memory and never try to sing again

And farewell to six men:

  • Aaron Marcellus, who was definitely a little cheesy and not memorable enough, but no question should be taking the place of Heejun Han and is also just the latest victim of ‘cism.
  • Chase Likens, who not only looked like Brendan Fraser, but who also had great stage presence and a better voice than they gave him credit for.  Chase could easily have appealed to Shannon’s fan base.
  • Reed Grimm, who was never going to win the competition and was a good musician, but WAY too freaky and not as unique as everyone said he was.  To me, Reed was Taylor + Casey on speed.
  • Creighton Fraker, whose true colors may have been a bit too much for the first time America got to see him but really whose performance just wasn’t that great, unfortunately.
  • White Chocolate.  Please come out of the closet.  Don’t put your wife through this.
  • Eben Franckewitz, who is luckily too young to realize how bad he actually was, and who inexplicably was the contestant Jimmy Iovine used as his opportunity to make the most obviously planted comment of the night…

During Jimmy’s comments about Eben, he said that Eben just isn’t ready and that he would like him to come back, but gosh darnit, he can’t.  It’s against the rules.  “The producers have got to change the rules,” Jimmy says.  Well, Uncle Nigel would never let that comment through if he weren’t planning to change the rules next season.

So does that mean that next season we’ll see former top 24 contestants allowed to audition again among new auditionees?  Or does it mean that there is going to be an American Idols: All-Star-Ejectees edition?  Hmm…  Either could be interesting and probably help with the ratings.

But for now, I am happy to say that I think this is the best top 12/13 I can remember and I am excited for this season.

And I am excited about next week.  Not only are they singing the songs of Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston, but Mary J will be performing.  At least we know all the songs will be good songs.

Would love to hear what you think.

Wertheim out.

American Idol Season 11 Recap – Top 24 – The Girls

February 29, 2012 1 comment

Let me begin tonight by saying once again that I refuse to believe that no African-American women were strong enough to crack the top 24.

As I expected, the women on the whole had a much, much, much better showing than did the men last night.  And of course, the judges chose tonight to decide they were being too easy on folks and spent most of their comments criticizing the far superior women.  It seriously made it crystal clear how ridiculous the commentary was last night.  Randy even admitted flat out that they were too soft on the boys last night.

Anyway.  On to an evening of Hayley, Hallie, and Holly, and blondes, blondes, and more blondes.

Chelsea Sorell – “Cowboy Cassanova” – Carrie Underwood
First – Boobs.  OK.  That being said…ballsy to choose a Carrie Underwood song for your premiere to America.  Just inviting comparison.  And…there it comes from Randy.  Annoying, but she asked for it.  She was really pretty good, though overshadowed by the band, I think.  But I still think stronger than most of the guys.  But the judges didn’t pop whatever they popped last night and they were flowing with the criticism.  She shouldn’t actually let us her her speak, however.  Sounds like she swallowed helium.

Erica Van Pelt – “What About Love” by Heart
Props for choosing a Heart song.  And I thought she was terrific.  So did Steven.  JLo thought she could have pushed even more.  I tuned Randy out.

Jen Hirsch – “One And Only” by Adele
If Jen were a stunner, I would say she could be the front-runner in the competition.  She reminds me of a not-as-pretty Lea Michele.  In contrast to Eben, Jen’s decision to sing an Adele song was not a train wreck.  Hardly.  She is an incredibly talented musician.  The judges agreed.

Brielle Von Hugel – “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay” by Otis Redding
Oh boy.  First, I need to get past the fact that she has the worst stage mother in recent memory.  Second, I need to get past the fact that she’s from Staten Island (sorry, Tracy Pattison!).  Then I need to get past the fact that she got a bunch of the boys to surround her for the beginning of the song.  Finally, I need to get over the fact that she looks like a slightly less guidish Snooki.  She actually sounded pretty good.  Hate to admit it.  Let’s see if her whole personna doesn’t hurt her.

Hallie Day – “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone
Baltimore in the house!  Another daring choice of song given how often it has been sung on Idol.  But I thought she was tremendous.  I expected that though, given how they have been positioning her all season.  But I think she really delivered.

Skylar Laine – “Stay with Me” by Faces
Damn.  Did we really have to suffer through Lauren Alaina last year?  Skylar on her first performance was everything we hoped Lauren would turn out to be.  Wow.  I now completely understand why the judges have been saying she reminds them of Reba McEntire.  The judges loved her.  Randy of course had to point out that he recorded this song with Travit Tritt.  What is going on with me this season?  I’m liking all the country folks!

Baylie Brown – “Amazed” by Lone Star
Baylie already had my vote.  She’s adorable.  She actually waited four years between Idol auditions.  Then she had such a charismatic opening package.  Oh, but Baylie.  You just don’t have the chops.  What a disappointment.  I really wanted you to be so good.  But you’re just not.  Steven has heard her sing better “and you’re very pretty”.  Jennifer thought the same “and you’re beautiful”.  Randy said the same “and you look amazing”.  Oh, Baylie.  Go be a model.  Sorry.

Holly Cavanagh – “Reflection” by Christina Aguilera
Adorable.  And again – BALLSY.  Tackling Christina is ridiculously risky.  It wasn’t Christina, but it was pretty damned good.  I can’t believe I am saying this, but I would have liked to see her connect with the song more.  Despite that, she sang the hell out of it.  Jennifer thinks she is one of the front runners.  And I think that she has got the voice and the personality and would have to agree.  Adorable.

Hayley Johnson – “Sweet Dreams” by The Eurithmics
What a cool but weird song choice.  Not one that is really made to show off your vocals.  I have to believe she’s just too young to understand how iconic that song was.  JLo agrees with me.  Randy is finally honest and correct – “It was kind of a nightmare for me instead of a dream.”

Shannon Magrane – “Light Your Candle” by Kathy Troccoli
Katie – you’re totally right.  She reminds me of Ayla Brown.  And I’m trying I’m trying I’m trying to put aside the fact that she’s singing Contemporary Christian music.  I’m really trying.  Yes, she gave a very strong performance and she gave JLo (the Scientologist) “goosies”.  But I am going to have a difficult time pretending she isn’t a bible-beater.  Sorry.  But she actually wasn’t that good, was she?

Jessica Sanchez – “Love You I Do” by Jennifer Hudson
If that was Jessica with sore vocal chords, imagine how she’ll be when she’s healthy.  I was pretty bowled over by Jessica during Vegas week, and I’m glad that she got to show her chops tonight.  She is absolutely a front-runner.  I read some recap saying she reminded the recapper a bit of Thia Megia.  Come on.  Ridiculous.  And racist.  Zero in common.

Elise Testone – “One And Only” by Adele
Geez.  I wasn’t expecting that at all.  Where did that come from?  Elise was amazing.  Stellar vocals.  Such personality and charisma – even behind a piano.  I don’t care who sings that song.  She made me forget about Adele.  Completely.  She actually reminds me a little of Gaga.

My ranking of tonight’s performances:

  1. Elise Testone
  2. Jessica Sanchez
  3. Skylar Laine
  4. Hollie Cavanagh
  5. Jen Hirsch
  6. Hallie Day
  7. Erica Van Pelt
  8. Brielle Von Hugel
  9. Chelsea Boobie Sorell
  10. Shannon Magrane
  11. Baylie Brown
  12. Hayley Johnson

I paid close attention to the recap clips at the end of the show and I stand by those rankings.

My prediction for what WILL happen:

Well, if the judges have any sense in their heads whatsoever, the top 13 will be comprised of 5 boys and 8 girls.  Or at least the top 7 girls on my list and 6 boys.  But sense isn’t one of their strongest qualities, and America also has a history of poor voting, so here are my thoughts:

  • Skylar Laine & Hollie Cavanagh are locks for both America & the judges
  • Elise Testone, Hallie Day, and Jessica Sanchez are locks for me and I believe for the judges as well, though not necessarily locks for America.  America is likely to put Shannon Magrane through based on her faith and may put Baylie Brown through based on her looks.  And despite her front-runner status, America may not choose on its own to put Jessica Sanchez through because America is racist.
  • I really fear that Jen Hirsch and Erica Van Pelt may get lost in the shuffle, even though they both deserve to go through.  And despite being not so bad, Brielle Von Hugel may suffer the same fate.  I think the judges may need to save others.
  • Hayley Johnson shouldn’t bother to show up at the results show, and Chelsie Boobie Sorell should have her bags packed.

So my daring prediction (not hope) for the top 13 is…

  1. Skylar Laine
  2. Hollie Cavanagh
  3. Elise Testone
  4. Hallie Day
  5. Jessica Sanchez
  6. Shannon Magrane
  7. Erica Van Pelt
  8. Joshua Ledet
  9. Phillip Phillips
  10. Chase Likens
  11. Deandre Brackensick
  12. Colton Dixon
  13. Heejun Han

I will hope against hope that Heejun and Shannon do not claim two spots that could go to many others in what is the best pool of Idol semi-finalists I can remember in a decade.

Wertheim out.

Categories: Uncategorized

American Idol Season 11 – Top 24 Recap – The Boys

February 28, 2012 2 comments

First, I have to very briefly address my last post, which was apparently made at the beginning of X-Factor.  Wow.  I guess X-Factor did have promise before it devolved into a complete train wreck.  I could fill ten blog posts with details of how much I could not stand that show.  But I will simply say that Steve Jones reminded America that Ryan Seacrest is actually the glue that holds American Idol together, and should not be underestimated.  Steve Jones also managed to finally, irrevocably replace Brian Dunkleman at the top of the reality show host hall of fame.

With that, THIS is American Idol.

And I have been religiously watching the early shows this season for the first time in a long time, and my impression thus far has been that this is a very talented group this year.  The last couple of weeks had some of the best performances I can remember on Idol in awhile.  Let’s hope that impression continues.

JLo’s non-wardrobe malfunction is the subject of several jokes this evening.  First Ryan deftly notices that JLo is wearing “another dress” tonight.  Later, Steven in his never subtle way reenacts JLo’s dress and exposes his nipple to America.  Gotta love that guy.

The show starts off in Idol’s “new home”, which looks…just like Idol’s old home.  They are already on the big stage, which I don’t think they have ever done at this stage in the competition before.  Then again, the format has changed once again.  Announced so casually I missed it the first time and had to rewind, Ryan tells us that the boys perform tonight, the girls perform tomorrow night, and on Thursday night, they will announce the top 5 of each gender and the judges will each choose a wild card pick.  Interesting.  So we have fewer weeks with American choosing, which may be a good thing.  Then again, it’s also fewer weeks to get to know these contestants.  Though I feel like they have shown us a lot more of them this year than before.  For the first time I can remember, I actually feel like I know who these folks are going in to the top 24.

Pia Toscano is in the house.

Reid Grimm “Moves Like Jagger” – Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera
Very very cool jazzy arrangement of the song, and he gets his drum thing going as well.  I think he sounded great.  I do, however, think he may be too awkward for America and not masculine enough for people to warm to his jazzy vibe.  Then again, Jacob Lusk made it quite far last year.  The judges seemed to really like him.  And I’m sure there are other odd folks in the mix.

Adam Brock – “Think” by Aretha Franklin
“I have been told that there is a large black woman living inside of me…and I think it’s time for America to really see what ‘What Chocolate’ is,” Adam says in his opening package.   Oh, boy.  Did that really come out of a straight man’s mouth?  Nah.  His wife can’t really think he is straight, can she?  Anyway…as my friend Katie says, Adam is Danny Gokey redux.  I quite agree.  I thought Adam was b-o-r-i-n-g.  Seriously.   Steven thought it was “brilliant”.  JLo said he definitely delivered.  Randy said “job well done, baby.”

DeAndre Brackensick – “Reasons” by Earth, Wind and Fire
Brackensick?  Wow.  Dude needs to get a stage name.  Dude also has an amazing voice.  I don’t think people know how tough it is to sing falsetto that well.  Props to you, DeAndre.  I’m not sure how well it’s going to go over with the American public, although it seemed to go over well with the studio audience.   The judges of course failed to comment on the cheesy ’70’s arrangement.  Randy says “you’re one of the most commercial guys that I’ve seen” and compares DeAndre to Maxwell and Philip Bailey.  Um….ok.  I mean, Maxwell and Philip Bailey are astounding talents, but also pretty niche.  But they are clearly pimping DeAndre.  JLo reminds us that they mistakenly passed on him last year and suggests he is going to have an amazing year.

Colton Dixon – “I Think I Know” by Paramore
Poster child #2 for trying out again.  People are used to seeing me behind a piano.  I’m gonna surprise them.  Really?  By starting out behind the piano?  And then getting up from the piano?  Oh, by standing ON the piano?  SHOCKING.  Does he really want to be a rocker?  The year after James Durbin?  I don’t see how he can avoid comparisons if this is the direction he’s taking.  He’s no James Durbin.  Just fine.  The judges pretend they like it, because Colton Dixon is another favorite, but their compliments are a bit more muted with Colton.

Jeremy Rosado – Gravity by Sara Bareilles
Pretty voice.  Sweet guy.  Eh.  Steven thought it was beautiful and that Jeremy couldn’t have picked a better song.  “As beautiful as beautiful gets.”  JLo thinks that he is one of those people who is blessed by God through his voice.  Randy says “America, you need to know about Jeremy.”

Aaron Marcellus – “Never Can Say Goodbye” by The Jackson 5
Great song.  Great voice.  Great performance.  Judges liked it.  Not much else to say.  Solid.  But I am just not sure I see him being a star.

Chase Likens – “Storm Warning” by Hunter Hayes
Uh-oh – are we going to have ANOTHER country winner?  Great looking.  Great voice.  Great performer.  I think he was absolutely one of the most engaging performers so far.  He’s clearly not one of the judges’ favorites (I’m sure Uncle Nigel told them they can’t have another male country winner this year), but they say nice things because that’s what they do.  I think this guy is going to be around for quite awhile to come, Nigel be damned.

Creighton Fraker – True Colors by Cyndi Lauper
One of my favorite songs.  Points there.  He’s positioning himself as quirky and offbeat.  And that’s how he comes across.  Strong voice.  But a bit odd.  And I think that as far as odd goes, Reid’s got it all over him.  Jennifer thought it was “so beautiful”.  Steven thought it was “stupendous”.  Randy says he can “definitely sing”.

Phillip Phillips – “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins
Yeah.  I like me some Phillip Phillips.  I can’t help it.  Against my better judgement.  Does the world REALLY need another Dave Matthews?  It’s not what I’ve been looking for, but for some reason I love me some Phillip Phillips.  The judges do too.  As does Phillip Phillips senior.  Something raw and real.

Eben Franckewitz – “Set Fire To The Rain” by Adele
“Idol’s youngest contestant this year.”  Eben is what Michael Wertheim would have been had he tried out for Idol when he was fifteen.  Which is not very good.  A cute little boy with too much hair (can you believe that?) and not much style or charisma.  Adele?  Are you kidding?  Eben is so far outside of his element.  Please, please, please, America.  Please do not make us have to endure Eben this season.  Please.

Heejun Han – “Angels” by Robbie Williams
The Idol producers are obsessed with Heejun.  I am not.  EWWWWWWW.  Really, Jennifer?  “Smooth as silk”?  At least the judges all agreed that the performance was not very good.  I love finally having some Asian contestants on the show, but the girls are the ones with a potential winner on their hands.  That Jessica Sanchez can sing.  Heejun is just nothing special.  And that performance made me re-think Eben as my bottom pick for the night.

Joshua Ledet – “You Pulled Me Through” by Jennifer Hudson
Wow.  I get it.  Apparently, Joshua is nicknamed “ManTasia”.  Now given Fantasia’s career, I cringed a little bit.  But as Jennifer says, his voice is from another world – just like Fantasia’s is.  And at least he chose a Jennifer Hudson song instead of one from Fantasia’s oeuvre, which includes classics like “Hood Boy”, “Baby Mama”, and “Baby Makin’ Hips”.  Steven says Joshua’s is the voice America was waiting to hear.  Hands down, best voice among the guys.

Finally, it is on to THE BIG REVEAL.  Who have the Idol judges decided to bring back as the 13th male semi-finalist?

And to no one’s surprise, it’s Jermaine Jones – the “Gentle Giant”, who is literally twice the size of Ryan Seacrest.  But why?  It’s never explained.  Did they pull an X-Factor-era Simon Cowell and turn away the eventual winner in order to curry favor for him and avoid the curse of the early front-runner?  Nah.  That was my early suspicion, but that’s clearly not the case.  I think they really just did feel SO BAD for him when they turned him down that they brought him back, partially out of pity for how sad he was.  Which is weird.

Jermaine Jones – “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross
OK.  I’m crying.  How can you not?  The back-story + the song + the emotion.  What an amazing bass voice.  So much power.  Not the best performance of the night, but pretty darned good and better than a bunch of the “official” semi-finalists.  The judges confirm my suspicion by saying virtually nothing about how he belongs in the competition or about how good he was.  They very clearly said they are so glad he got his chance.  And then they let his mom come on stage to solidify the weird pity party.  Which just isn’t really fair.  So the dude is emotional and a gentle giant?  He’s also WAY better than Eben Franckewitz or Heejun Han.  But I do suspect that this may simply have been a one-night reprieve for Jermaine Jones.

My ranking of tonight’s performances:

  1. Joshua Ledet
  2. Phillip Phillips
  3. Aaron Marcellus
  4. Chase Likens
  5. Reid Grimm
  6. DeAndre Brackensick
  7. Colton Dixon
  8. Jermaine Jones
  9. Jeremy Rosado
  10. Creighton Fraker
  11. Adam Brock
  12. Eben Franckewitz
  13. Heejun Han

Who will make it through?

  • I think Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips, Chase Likens, and Deandre Brackensick are a lock.  They were great and seemed to have both audience support and judge adulation.
  • I think Reid Grimm and Colton Dixon are both very likely to go through, but if it comes down to it, the judges are clearly pulling for Colton.
  • Despite having one of the strongest performances of the night, I have a feeling that America isn’t going to come out to support Aaron Marcellus, partially because he didn’t connect well enough and partially because of the dastardly Fantasia-LaToya-Jennifer situation that did Jennifer Hudson in years ago.  The judges may consider saving him, but only if all of their favorites are already safe.
  • Heejun Han SHOULD go home, but whether he is saved by the “Vote For The Worst” crowd or by the berzerker judges, I sense that he is likely to make it through, sending someone far more deserving home too soon.
  • Definitely going home are Jeremy Rosado (Who?), Creighton Fraker (loses the odd competition to Reid), Adam Brock (sorry, dude), Eben Franckewitz (seriously?), and sadly, Jermaine Jones.

All in all, a strong group.  Not a lot of “moments”, but it’s early in the season.  And at least there weren’t multiple cringe-worthy performances as is usually the case.  The judges are repeating last year’s lovefest and not actually critiquing anyone – at least until they find their Haley Reinhart to undeservingly flagellate because he or she doesn’t fit into Uncle Nigel’s master plan.  But I do think that this year, Uncle Nigel’s master plan involves a woman winning.  And despite the men being very strong, I think it’s the women’s game to lose.

On an unrelated note, I am training for the New York City Triathlon again this year and in conjunction raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Thank you to those of you who sponsored me last year.  It was an amazing experience.  If you are in the position to do so this year, I would greatly appreciate your help with a donation of any size.  You can visit my page at: .  Thanks so much.

Wertheim out.

Categories: Uncategorized

American Idol Recap – Top 13 Results Show

Oh no!  The show starts off with Ryan saying that Casey is sick and in the hospital.  I guess the good news is that it’s clear that he was not voted out this week.  Get well soon, Casey.

Group numbers are back.  At least this one is a Michael Jackson medley.  A few notable things:

  1. I love Pia.  She sounds amazing.
  2. Ashton actually sounds GOOOOOOD.
  3. They are pushing Stefano hard.  Always front and center, with the most solo lines.
  4. Thia sounds terrible.  She may now be my least favorite finalist.
  5. Unfortunately, I have to own up to the fact that Jacob Lusk has quickly gone from my favorite to my second least favorite finalist.  Just creepy.

Adam Lambert performs.  He pulls off two earrings much better than Jacob Lusk does.  I never particularly liked Adam, as evidenced by my “gays for Kris Allen” campaign a couple of year back.  Tonight helped me refine my dislike.  Dude is really just a very good musical theater performer or cover artist.  He’s an actor, not an artist.  He is better performing other people’s songs than he is his own.  Just my opinion.

Ditty Dirty Money performs, and in my opinion is more entertaining than Adam Lambert.  A bit weird to see JLo’s ex up there, but I guess that was a long time ago.

The Results…

  • Jacob, Karen, and Stefano are up first.  Lucky gents.  Only Karen is in the bottom three.
  • Lauren, Ashton, and Haley are up next. Ashton and Haley are in the bottom three.
  • The rest of the folks are safe.
  • And Ashton has the least number of votes, as we head toward the very annoying Judges’ save, as if there is any way they would save contestant #13.
  • The judges decide not to exercise their save, and Ashton goes home.

Lesson for future contestants – I think it was largely her attitude that got Ashton booted.  The same could probably be said for Mr. Magoo – aka – Clint Jun Gamboa.  No huge loss here.

Wertheim out.

Categories: Uncategorized
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