American Idol 8 Semifinals: Second Flight

Once more into the breach… Simon Cowell has confirmed in an interview that the Wild Card round next Thursday is not limited to semi-finalists.  So if there’s someone the producers judges really want to bring back from Hollywood Week, they can.  There’s also word that Anoop Desai has an automatic spot in the Wild Card as the fourth-highest votegetter from last week – although “an ‘Idol’ spokesperson” (via MTV and is now denying this, which was mentioned in a December press conference, making it clear that the producers are flying without benefit of a clue at times.  The spokeperson says each judge gets to bring back 2 contestants.  Or maybe 3.

And in case I didn’t make it clear last week, I want to be entertained as much as I want to hear pitch-perfect singing (not that I know what that is)… so I’ll tend to react to fun performances more than good but safe ones.  One other note – I write my capsule toward the end of the song and before the judges speak.  Really, if I sound like the judges, it’s coincidence.

That said… here we go… one day late (thanks, Mr. President!)… THIS… is American Idol!

Staging notes: the judges have been flopped left-to-right on stage this week.  They aren’t starting with Randy after each singer (the judges are taking turns on leadoff), and the excruciating Red Room has been downsized.

Theme (again): Billboard Hot 100.

Jasmine Murray (17, Columbus, MS) — “Love Song” (Sara Bareilles) – Pitchy, dawg (sorry).  Really rough opening few lines.  She recovered a bit, and put a bit of a soulful touch on the song.  Good overall, but the judges were down on her… which might be a bigger problem than the song.

Matt Giraud (23, Kalamazoo, MI) — “Viva La Vida” (Coldplay) – Kind of breathy and thin… not sure this was the best choice of song… OK, I guess, but I didn’t quite get it… the Big Idol Finish might get him pulled into the Wild Card, but I think he dropped it here…

Jeanine Vailes (28, Washington, DC) — “This Love” (Maroon 5) – Interesting take on the song.  A little safe for my tastes, but quite enjoyable, and I think she does have a shot if things break right the rest of the evening.  We’ll see…

Nick Mitchell as Normund Gentle (27, Brookfield, CT) — “And I Am Telling You” (Jennifer Holliday/Jennifer Hudson) — Hmm… buried in mid-show? Absolutely freaking horrible.  Possibly one of the worst Idol performances ever.  Vote For The Worst are going to vote for him.  I hope nobody else does.  Someone deserving lost their chance to be here to make room for this idiot.  And sorry, Randy, it wasn’t entertaining, it was pathetic.

Allison Iraheta (16, Los Angeles) — “Alone” (Heart) – I knew this night would start eventually.  Thank goodness it started before the show ended.  A little rough on the edges, but fun.  I liked it.  Nicely done overall.

Kris Allen (23, Conway, AR) — “Man In The Mirror” (Michael Jackson) – Could be a near-miss.  He was a little slow getting into the song, but once he did, he tore into it.  Might sneak through, but more likely needs the Wild Card.

Megan Joy Corkrey (23, Sandy, UT) — “Put Your Records On” (Corrine Bailey Rae) – I was hoping for more.  Good, not great, solid voice… I liked it, but I just don’t know if it’s enough.  If two women get through, she’s got a shot.

Matt Breitzke (28, Bixby, OK) — “If You Could Only See” (Tonic) – Safe, solid, a bit generic, and probably not enough to showcase him.  Could get lost in the shuffle.

Jesse Langseth (26, Minneapolis) — “Bette Davis Eyes” (Kim Carnes) — Jonny Lang’s sister. And so she’ll stay.  While it’s sometimes good to put your own stamp on a song, she completely missed it.  A bit shrill, and certainly not going to put her through.

Kai Kalama (27, San Clemente, CA) — “What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted” (Jimmy Ruffin) – Now this is a pleasant surprise.  Risky doing a ‘60’s song tonight, and he pulled it off really well.  Might have gotten himself a look in the Wild Card, and might even catch a Top 12 spot.  Not sure why the judges downed it so much.

Interesting, they’re Pimping Mishavonna, but there’s no surprise at all that Adam gets the last song…

Mishavonna Henson (18, Irvine, CA) — “Drops of Jupiter” (Train) – Didn’t we learn last week that gender-bending a song is risky?  She had a rough time through the first half of the song… wound up OK, I guess… again, probably not enough to go through.

Adam Lambert (27, Hollywood) — “Satisfaction” (Rolling Stones) – Well, it’s a risk.  It was like Adam was playing someone playing Mick Jagger.  This is a rough, ragged song and he sang it like a Vegas lounge singer.  He’ll probably go through because of the Pimp Spot, but this wasn’t even a Wild Card performance.

THE LAST WORD: While it wasn’t as bad of a train wreck as last week, these guys still don’t get it.  Too many safe performances.  Too many bad song choices.  Two of the three performances I liked are rather unlikely to go through.  Those who believe the judges are told who to pimp and who to bash, regardless of performance, have a TON of evidence tonight.  One promise.  If Nick Mitchell gets through, I won’t mention his “Normand” performances any more.  Period.   There’ll be blank lines in the blog.  Results tomorrow night… and now, my Predictions Sure To Go Astray…

SHOULD GO THROUGH: Allison, Kris, Megan Joy.

WILL GO THROUGH: Adam, Nick, Allison.

EYES ON THE WILD CARD: Kai, Matt*, Jeanine.

Your late local news is… next.

*edit on 2/26 – for the life of me, I’m not sure which Matt I was referring to.  I liked Matt B’s performance better, but I think I was picking Matt G because it was a more “Idol” performance.


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