Wednesday, February 20, 2013

AI Season 12- Vegas Top 40 Week First Girls Elimination

So, the only time I don't flip the channel instantly from Jon Stewart, I actually miss something that matters-the explanation of a new format for winnowing the Top 40 down to the Top 20. I did catch the words *sudden death*, *only five* and *live audience*. Oh well, knowing this show, they'll tell us a dozen more times tonight.

Ryan, dapper in a nice suit, pompadour and baby-butt-smooth forehead, isn't kidding about that *live audience* stuff. They're at The Mirage in Las Vegas, and the audience is huge. Evidently ten of the ladies will sing tonight and the judges will send five of them home. I like this notion.

Randy is wearing a red jacket with white piping over a blue shirt. Mariah is in a short, tight, strapless leather dress. Nicki has almost real-looking blonde hair (it's not obviously a wig) and a pretty white blouse with a necklace that appears to be made of white ladder rungs.

Ryan explains that Jimmy Iovine, looking particularly burnished tonight, will cast the tie-breaker vote, if one is needed.

#1. Jenny Beth Willis, is 17, and I do not believe that I've seen her before. She has long brown hair, and is wearing a pink and black frothy saloon dress and cowboy boots. She has a country growl, no stage presence, no depth to her voice, and she had to work a bit to get that last note. Keith thinks she's effortlessly confident, which is not exactly the same as thinking that she sings well. Nicki is blunt about not being thrilled. Randy is also not thrilled. Mariah begins by asking how Jenny Beth thought she did, which is never a good sign.

#2. Tenna (pronounced Tina) Torres, 28, is the Camp Mariah survivor. She's wearing a one-shouldered, navy dress with one very sparkly sleeve. Add a swirly skirt and Tenna would be ready for her long-program. She's singing some somber, plaintive love song. I like this better than Jenny Beth's performance. Tenna has a richer voice, and she's showing more emotion. She's getting good critiques form the judges, but she looks terrified. Nicki tells her to ditch the hairstyle, that it ages her.

#3. Adriana (no last name that I caught) is 17 and from Anchorage, though I don't think she looks Eskimo. I also don't think that I remember her. She's wearing a red satin dress with a mullet skirt and a rhinestone accent on the waist bow. She has a nice, bluesy voice with depth.. Nicki asks outright if Adriana is Filipina  and she says yes (I knew it!).

#4. Brandy Hotard, is a 26 year old psych nurse from Louisiana. She has shiny brown hair and looks easily ten years older than her actual age. She's wearing a black wrap-top and matching shorts. She mostly hits the notes but she smiles throughout the sad sad country song. Keith mentions the emotional disconnect. Nicki says that the song screams pageant (and I think I am starting to love Nicki). Randy babbles in agreement. Mariah didn't mind all the smiling. Brandy's face shuts down during the critique, though she later admits to Ryan that she felt no connection to the lyrics.

#5. Shubha Vedula is 17. She's wearing a black strappy top and ill-fitting, unflattering shiny pants. Her black hair is in ringlets. She starts out low and slow at the piano and then gets up and awkwardly dances around, and I realize that the first song of the evening that I recognize is Lady Gaga's Born this Way. Oh my, this is really not very good. Keith says there was too much going on but that he likes Shubha despite the poor song choice. Nicki- wow, she's being brutally honest, saying that Shubha comes off as a blend of Christina Aguilera and Psy. Randy likes her potential but did not love the performance. Mariah dittos Randy.

#6. Kamaria (again, no last name that I caught) is from California, and she sings backup for some Big Names. She's wearing tight black and white houndstooth pants, a white zip jacket, a black leather cumberbund, black lace glovelettes, and a sparkly raspberry bustier. Her hair is in a complicated arrangement with a pinkish bun perched rakishly at an angle just behind her bangs, and the rest of her hair pulled up into a really curly pony tail. Wow, this is not great. It is seriously not great. Keith says Kamaria had no connection to the song. Nicki gives another real critique (imagine that- a judge who judges), Randy: nope. It's just as well that Mariah talks last because she never has anything to say.

#7. 27 year old Kree Harrison, is a demo singer who looks a bit like Rumer Willis. She's another brunette, with an oval face. She's dressed for a quiet evening at home in a peach shirt (I want that shirt) and blue jeans. She has a wonderful gospel-style voice. This is my favorite performance so far. Keith and Nicki give her Standing O's. Randy says she has a natural talent and repeats *Well Done* four times. Mariah was lost in the song.

#8. Mini-Miley Angela Miller is still with the wide and wide-open eyes, huge masses of curly hair, and a thousand teeth. She's wearing a black studded top and black short shorts, black hose, and very high heels. She looks and sounds pageanty to me, and maybe just a bit screechy. Keith gently tells her to dial it back a bit. Nicki brings up Angela's stellar performance last week and compares this week's unfavorably to it. Randy liked it. Mariah also preferred last week's outing.

#9. Isabelle (another no-last-name), from Georgia, is our only blonde tonight. But she wasn't always blonde- back before she lost a whole lot of weight, she was a brunette. She's still nicely solid- and I'm not saying that to be snarky. I think she looks just fine. Unfortunately, she's wearing an unflattering, tight, cream-colored sheath that also only needs a skirt to make it ready for the skating rink. She's singing God Bless the Child and she starts out slow and soulful, but all too soon she turns it into a jazzy shoutfest. Keith and Nicki loved it. Randy didn't love it. Mariah thought she oversang. Oh my, Isabelle towers over Ryan.

#10. Amber Holcomb is 18 and from Houston. She's a return from last year and has the most adorable dimples. She's wearing a red skirt, a black floaty top over a sparkly bustier and blue heels. Amber has an amazing voice. She sings too many runs, but then any runs are too many for me. She's singing My Funny Valentine and I think she's pushing just a bit too hard, but still: wow! Keith, Randy, and Mariah give her Standing O's. Nicki liked it too, so I'm not sure why she didn't stand.

So, we've heard all 10 Ladies. My guess as to The Keepers: Amber, Angela (based on previous performances, not tonight's showing), and Kree for sure. And Maybe Adriana and Isabelle.

Ryan says that Iovine will not be breaking any ties tonight, that the judges were unanimous in their choices. For the first time this season, we see The Silver Stools of Joy- five of them.

In a hilarious bit of stage business, the judges don't deliver their verdict from their usual seats, they rise from below the stage on an elevated platform, all four of them sitting on director's chairs. I see that Nicki is actually wearing a really cute white dress with a flared skirt, and Randy has on shiny silver shoes.

Keith sends Jenny Beth home. She is graceful, though teary as she exits.
Nicki sends Brandy home. She is pageanty to the bitter end.
Randy tells Tenna that she's staying.
Mariah tells Kree that she's staying. (I still want that shirt)
Keith sends Isabelle home.
Nicki tells Angela that she's staying, but mostly based on previous performances.
Randy sends Kamaria home. Kamaria smiles and smooches everyone.
Mariah toys with Amber, but of course Amber is staying.

That leaves just Shubha and Adriana to duke it out for the last stool. Adriana is crying. Shubha says that they're great friends. It's painfully obvious that Shubha knows what's coming.

So, I got 4 of the 5 right, which is not too bad. I like this new format. And I like the notion of judges who give actual critiques. Tomorrow night, we do it again with 10 of the guys.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

I like this new format too. My only fear is that they crowd maybe seven really great singers into a group of ten and someone gets eliminated who shouldn't!