Tuesday, March 3, 2009

AI- Top 36, Group 3 Performance

We open with a pan of Group 3. Unfortunately, Nathaniel hasn’t ditched the headband. Or the facial hardware. Lil and Kendall are color coordinated in yellow and black. Ryan is still nattily casual. Kara is sparkly, and Paula looks very pretty (and bright eyed- though what she says still makes no sense, she's been remarkably lucid in her nonsense so far). Ryan introduces the First 6, and Kris looks like there are other places he’d rather be.

First up tonight is Von Smith, 22, from Missouri. Von annoyed the bejabbers out of me during the auditions and Hollywood rounds. Sporting a red vest, matching shoes, and TinTin hair, he continues the tradition. He announces an intention to tone down the excess on Marvin Gaye’s You’re All I need to Get By, but The Purposeful Dialback is every bit as annoying (and unnatural) as his usual overkill, and twice as uncomfortable to watch. Note to Simon: Clay’s voice is much better.

Cher look alike, Taylor Vaifanua, 17 of Utah, is exotically beautiful and weirdly dressed. Is that an unholy marriage of leggings and rubber boots? Bleggings? Loots? She’s singing If I Got You, by someone whose name I do not recognize and cannot pronounce. She started out well, and then lost steam in the middle, and finally recovered a bit. I like the tone of her voice, but the judges think she sounds old. I suspect she’s outta here.

Alex Wagner-Trugman, 19, CA, is a hoot- smart and funny and self-deprecating in a way that does not also signal self-hatred. Oh Alex honey, don’t Google yourself- down that road lies madness. I like Alex a lot. It’s too bad that his singing is truly horrible. He growls and howls and dances dorkily (and drops the mike stand) on I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues. He has a good voice in there somewhere, and he embodies the Aiken Spirit much better than Von. But I fear that this is the last time we’re going to hear Alex sing.

Whether Arianna Asfar, 17, likes it or not, she truly is as cute as a button, with lovely hair, a great smile, and an adorable blue dress. She begins singing an abysmal song that I don’t recognize, and which does not resemble music in any way that is familiar to me. About halfway through, I finally realize she’s taken Abba’s The Winner Takes it All, and turned it onto a funeral dirge. Even her parents know how awful that was.

Ju’Not Joyner, 26, Baltimore, unspecified business owner and father of a sweet little boy, is resplendent in leather. He sings that Delilah song, and puts the suddenly popular funeral spin on it. Though he has a good voice, I think this performance is dull and pitchy. But the judges like him.

The show was not about to resist re-pairing Nathaniel (19, NY) and Kristen, of the Hollywood Round Group Drama. They obviously loathe each other, no matter how much they deny it.

Kristin MacNamara, a 23 year old Joy Hickey, sings Tracy Chapman’s Give Me One Reason. She’s wearing a confusing red and pink chiffon dress with rosettes on the shoulders. Kristen has a nice bluesy voice, and is the best girl so far tonight.

I cannot begin to express how much I hate Nathaniel Marshall’s headband. But that hatred pales in comparison to my feeling about his nose stud (which successfully impersonates nasal drip). Which doesn’t come close to how I feel about Nathaniel himself. Everything about him, from his tight pants, very pointy boots, and wrinkly jacket, to his chest tattoo (which I keep trying to read), rubs me the wrong way. I’m not the only one who feels like that- Simon would rather set his fingers on fire than touch the headband (much less put it on. I suspect Ryan risked a serious beat down for even suggesting it). Given the opportunity, Meat Loaf will probably whomp on him for murdering I Would Do anything For Love. So why did he get so much air time? Does The Show want him to move on?

Felicia Barton, 26, Virginia Beach, is the replacement for outsted Joanna Pacitti. She’s wearing all black- a leather jacket with 80’s shoulder pads, a sparkly tank top, leggings and boots. She reminds me of Rashida Jones as she sings Alicia Keys’ No One, adequately. Last week, she would have been a standout, but this week, it’s not going to be good enough.

I’ve been waiting to hear Scott MacIntyre, 23, AZ, visually impaired (just in case we forgot). He sings Bruce Hornsby’s Mandolin Rain, and sounds good, but not great. It’s a little odd watching him move on stage, knowing that the cameras have to follow him, rather than the other way around. His brother, in the audience, looks just like him. I was sure he was a shoe-in even before Simon’s ringing endorsement. It was kind of Scott to redeem Ryan’s biggest gaffe this season with a carefully choreographed high five.

Kendall Beard, 24, TX, is this year’s Kellie Pickler, without, I presume, the felon father. She’s wearing a strangely constructed yellow, strapless bubble dress that looks like it’s molting. Adding to an already inexplicable busy-ness, the dress is cinched at the waist with a musty purple shawl and a dried nosegay. She’s singing Martina McBride’s This One’s For the Girls. She’s a bit wobbly and shrill, but okay.

Jorge Nunez, 21, Puerto Rico, followed the judges' advice, and did everything he could to wipe out his native accent. Silly boy. He should have known that they would recant. He sings Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me (which I thought, for years, had a line that read: no more Augie Doggies), as though he’s reciting syllables, not words. He does have a nice voice though, and may be the best male singer of the night.

Finally, we get Lil Rounds, 24, Memphis, mother of three. She sings Mary J. Blige’s Be Without You, wearing a classy yellow and black strapless dress. Lil is not just good, she’s great. More than great. She’s fantastic! Simon is gobsmacked by her awesome performance. So is everyone in the audience. So am I.

I think Lil and Scott are definite Top 10’ers, and that Ju’not and Kristen will fight it out for the 3rd slot from tonight’s group.

Thursday night, we get the Judge’s Wild Card pics- I think Anoop is a definite, with the other 2 spots some combo of Jorge Nunez, whichever one of Ju’Not or Kristen doesn’t make it through on Wednesday. And let us not discount Tatiana. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of her.


dawn draper said...

I thought last night's performances were mostly bad. I had to look away during Nathaniel's performance (I was knitting, anyway, so I could keep myself occupied until it was over).

Lil was totally amazing. Jorge was good, too, and seems like a genuinely nice person. I loved your misheard song lyrics, Kathleen. There's a song I heard on the radio awhile ago that I'm sure has a chorus that goes "I'm only a man, in funny red shoes...", but that can't be right, can it?

Peglett said...

It is so boring to tell you that I agree with all of your comments on AI.

I think you may be right about Tatiana. It would be kinda like my cat does with a mouse...to toy with her just before dispatching her...again.