A thought on singing order: according to Vote For The Worst, the first two and last two spots on each show are the most likely to advance. So we’ll get an idea as to who 19 and Fox are pushing as the performers hit the stage.
Two of tonight’s singers, Anoop Desai and Danny Cokey, are widely believed to be two of the most likely to go deep in the finals. And, of course, we have Drama Empress (she’s too grand to just be the Queen) Tatiana Del Toro.
So… from somewhere in Hollywood… this… is the American Idol semifinals…
Side note: the judges are in front of a backdrop this season instead of in front of the audience. No more mugging by fanboys (and fangirls) behind the judges…
The theme: Billboard Hot 100 hits.
Jackie Tohn (28, Silver Lake, CA) — “A Little Less Conversation” (Elvis Presley) – Wow. Rock the spandex, girl. 🙂 Not bad. Definitely trying to make an impression. She’s got some stage presence (she should, she’s been touring with a band for a while…). She put her own stamp on the song, and I enjoyed it. We’re off to a good start.
Ricky Braddy (26, Elizabeth City, NC) — “A Song For You” (Leon Russell) – Very nice. Very pleasant. Unfortunately, very generic and very forgettable. Tonight’s about making an impression. Ricky really didn’t. Technically good, but this won’t get him to the Top 12.
Alexis Grace (21, Memphis) — “Never Loved A Man” (Aretha Franklin) – I could just repeat the previous comments. She didn’t jump out. It was a nice, bland, generic cover. Again, she’s technically sound but I don’t see this performance putting her through.
Brent Keith (29, Blanchester, OH) — “Hicktown” (Jason Aldean) – Interesting song choice, definitely a risk. He wanted to show himself as a country singer, and did. Good performance… if there’s no other country tonight, he might get some votes. Top 12? Not sure.
Stevie Wright (17, Phelan, CA) — “You Belong With Me” (Taylor Swift) – You can hear the nerves in her voice… unfortunately, she sounds far too much like Ms. Swift (who also has problems when she sings live). You can sum this up in 5 words: “See you next year, Stevie.”
Anoop Desai (22, Chapel Hill) — “Angel of Mine” (Monica) — Wow. They buried Anoop in the middle of the show? Wow again. Where did the energetic singer from Hollywood Week go? Nice vocals, and he might sneak through because the guys haven’t been strong… but man, he needed an uptempo song tonight. This is a risk that may backfire. He’s a pretty sure bet to get through the Wild Card if this does fail.
Mid-show editorial comment – don’t they get it? You’re here to make an impression – not to karaoke your favorite song! Singers in the second half can steal spots in the finals if they come out and grab the audience…
Casey Carlson (20, Minneapolis) — “Every Little Thing (He) Does Is Magic” (Police) – Aw, man… I wanted this song choice to work, really… but she meandered all over the song. She tried… but she never got there. End of the line.
Michael Sarver (27, Jasper, TX) — “I Don’t Want To Be” (Gavin DeGraw) – The big country boy goes pop-rock… I really liked it, and while it wasn’t perfect, it’s well ahead of the other guys so far. Could steal the “third highest” spot in the voting…
Ann Marie Boskovich (22, Nashville) — “Natural Woman” (Aretha Franklin) – The Queen is not being treated that well tonight. Nice, safe, and dull. She really needed to knock one out… and didn’t. She’s not going through on this…
Stephen Fowler (26, Cleveland) — “Rock With You” (Michael Jackson) – Wow. How did he get here again? That was… not good. No, it was bad. Wrong song, wrong time, just wrong.
Damn – big surprise about the Pimp Spots (tm Vote For The Worst). The Drama Empress and the Widower Gokey.
Tatiana Del Toro (24, San Juan) — “Saving All My Love For You” (Whitney Houston) – Of COURSE she did Whitney… and she did a better job than I expected. Not a home run, but given how many singers have blown it tonight, and given that she has the Pimp Slot, she might actually deserve her shot at the Top 12.
Danny Gokey (28, Milwaukee) — “Hero” (Mariah Carey) — Honestly, does it matter? He’s going through. The backstory ensures it. Too bad the performance isn’t quite there. Good, but kind of flat in spots. The Big Finish was OK, not quite worthy of the pimping he got. But he’s going through.
I never want to hear Seacrest talking about anyone’s organs again.
THE LAST WORD: Let me get you up to speed. This was a train wreck. You are now up to speed. And I won’t use that joke again. Seriously, this is a night of blown chances. Too many singers chose songs that had no chance of getting them over. And the producers did Anoop no favors by putting him at the top of the second hour… where good singers go to fail… and a mediocre performance is going to send a pre-show favorite to the Wild Card. I’m going to go vote for Jackie now. Results tomorrow night… and now, my Predictions Sure To Go Astray…
SHOULD GO THROUGH: Jackie, Brent, Michael.
WILL GO THROUGH: Danny, Tatiana, Jackie.
EYES ON THE WILD CARD: Tatiana (if she misses Top 3), Michael, Alexis, Anoop, Brent.