Wednesday, February 26, 2014

AI Season 13- Top 13 Performance, 02-26-14

(Note Added the Morning After Posting: I take notes while watching the show, and write up my recap immediately afterward, so we'll all pretend that garbling the song titles is funny...okay?)

We open with clips of the Top 13, and then some previous rejectees, including the jerk ass who insulted the judges and offered to help JLo with her boobs. I really didn't need to remember him. The Top 13, however, are happy happy happy to be here, though I still don't know why Emily Piriz or Kristin O'Connor are still around.

Tonight Ryan is wearing a gray shiny suit that looks like it's made of polished cotton, a white shirt open at the neckline, and a white pocket square. His vertical hair is slightly more blonde. He says that our new American Idol will be named in *three short months*. Oh Ryan, I do not think those words means what you think they mean.

He calls the kids out on stage, and Malaya is still hyper. All of them file through a gantlet of young audience members, high fiving them with various degrees of enthusiasm (Malaya being on the high end of the scale, Alex, who looks physically pained by the process, at the lower).

JLo is wearing a long-sleeved, blue lace belly shirt with a high, blue leather collar, and a matching short lace skirt. Her hair is braided back on one side and sort of swept to the other, and she has very smoky eyes tonight. Keith is in a denim jacket and his hair has been restyled into a sort of a highlighted, side-part bed head. HCJ is not wearing his glasses, but he is wearing a black jacket with leather shoulders.

Ryan announces that tonight's theme is This is Me. Then he signals a pre-taped clip of the kids describing the bazillion ways we can all vote. One improvement is that each finalist has been assigned a permanent number, which he or she will keep from week to week, as long as he or she survives the competition. One not-so-much-an-improvement is that we can begin voting now. I mean right now, before the show even starts. Before anyone performs. So, tell me again, why we should listen to them? Ryan also says that each kid will be ambushed and charged to name 5 things about him or herself in 20 seconds. This ought to be fun.

#1. Dexter is: scared of spiders, does do-it-yourself dentistry, got back on the horse right after he was bucked off, kissed his first girl at age 5, at the top of the slide. He's wearing a black, long-sleeved Henley and dog tags. His hair is almost aggressively curly, but it looks good on him. He's also sporting a bit of a scruff. He's using an electric guitar to play some upbeat twangy country song, and he does fine with it.
Keith: Dexter is likeable, and that was a good cover song. Now he needs to figure out how to put his stamp on it.
JLo: Ditto, and perhaps sing more in his lower register.
HCJ: Maybe the in-ear monitors caused the pitch issues because Dexter was out of tune.

#2. Malaya is: 5'2", afraid of dogs, plays lots of instruments, wears glasses, and loves everyone. She's wearing loosish red leopard-print pants, a short-sleeved black leather top, and gold high-tops. Her curly hair is soft and beautiful, and she has bright red lipstick. I have no idea what she's singing but it has lots of words. Lots and lots, of which I can only understand about one in twenty. But it's high energy, and Malaya is always entertaining, if just a tad exhausting.
JLo: Loves the energy, but not the best vocal.
HCJ: Mentions intonation, which is Connickspeak for pitchy.
Keith: Contagious energy, but stay in control of it.

#3. Kristin is: best friends with quadruplets, likes the Lindy Hop, is better at math. And then she ran dry. She's wearing a short sleeved waist length top and a short tight skirt which both look like they were heavily spattered with red and blue paint. She's wearing a necklace made of about 20 rings strung on a velvet ribbon. It looks heavy. She's singing Kelly Clarkson's Beautiful Disaster, and smiling throughout, just like a beautiful pageant princess.
HCJ: Says that Kristin is a perfect Pop Princess (Note: Kristin smiles as though that was a compliment.) but has no connection to the meaning of the song.
Keith: Showed dymanics.
JLo: Don't overthink, just sing.

#4. Ben loves: sports, Keith Urban, kangaroos, sky diving, and making trouble. He's wearing a black shirt and a black vest, a yellow tie, and a black leather ball cap. He's singing Folsom Prison Blues, which would have sounded better a whole lot slower. Ben is singing this like it's a race and he's in last place, shouting and often skirting the melody altogether. I have liked Ben in the past, but I don't like this at all.
Keith: Exact quote: That was particularly brisk.
JLo: liked the tempo.
HCJ: Best performance of the night so far. (Me: Seriously?)

#5. C.J. Harris does not like: heights, icy roads, shooting deer, or bad attitudes. He does like: religion. He's wearing a faded-looking black denim snap-front shirt, a black and gray ball cap, and tan pants. His guitar strap is very wide. He's singing Darius Rucker's Radio in a growly voice. I like this though mostly I'm taken with how much it sounds like "I'm Your Weatherman", from Groundhog Day. I have refrained from mentioning C.J.'s girlfriend because I never know quite how to describe her. She's certainly happy for C.J. and an enthusiastic fan, but she's a little... rough...
JLo: That was fun but there were pitch problems. (Note: when JLo mentions them, you know they were bad).
HCJ: Misses the cry in C.J.'s voice and thought it was only an okay song choice.
Keith: Likes the song and what it showed about C.J.

#6. M.K. is: a mediocre snowboarder, loves soccer, the song Single Ladies, and would like to be able to dance. She's wearing a pale rose tux jacket with black velvet lapels, and matching pants (slouched very low on her hips). She has yet another of those stupid backward ball caps perched impossibly high on her head. For the first time, she's wearing makeup. It's understated but the mascara is visible. She looks quite pretty, though I'm not sure *pretty* is her goal. She says she's singing Satisfaction, and I am confused when the song is plainly not the Rolling Stones tune. I have no idea what this song is, or what it's saying. There is not much melody, and M.K.'s voice seems uncertain and wavery here and there, though that may be the way the song is supposed to be sung. It's one of the oddest performances I've ever seen on this show.
HCJ: Notes the makeup, and enjoyed the performance.
Keith: loves the look, M.K. needs more confidence.
JLo: Dances in her seat, loves it.

#7. Majesty is: only 5 because she was born in a leap year, left handed, has a goofy foot, likes ballet, and loves her big hair. She's wearing a yellow, black, and sparkly flowery print top with openwork embroidery, and a really confusing black and white skort- the back is mostly black and obviously shorts with white hems, the front is like a half black skirt with a white pleated lower half. It's really odd, and it looks totally wrong with that top. Her hair is adorable though, in a curly updo with red highlights. I have no idea what Majesty is singing, but it's upbeat in a sort of retro-40's way, one of those songs with lots and lots of syllables sung quickly. I think a couple of her later notes are shrill, but she's so darn cute that I really don't care.
Keith: Killer song choice.
JLo: Loves everything about Majesty.
HCJ: His favorite thing is watching Majesty grow in skill and confidence.

#8. Jena is: BFF with her brother, really a brunette, loves The Wizard of Oz, and has changeable eye color (from gray to blue). Her coal black hair is curly. She's wearing a black studded vest over a gray studded knit top with cap sleeves, and gray acid washed jeans. Also black boots. She's singing a Coldplay song, the first sort of ballad of the evening. Some of it is good, some of it isn't.
JLo: Loves the nuances in Jena's voice, and was glad she could pull this song off.
HCJ: Felt Jena's connection to the song.
Keith: Pitchy at first, and then leaned into it.

#9. Alex: loves thrills, writes poetry, is a romantic, and loves coffee. He's wearing a maroon silk blazer over a blue print shirt with a mustard print collar. His skinny jeans are very much high-water, and he's not wearing socks. He's singing Jason Mraz in a very Jason Mrazy way. I like Alex's voice and I like this performance, though he keeps lifting one leg and jiggling like he has to go to the bathroom.
HCJ: Good song choice but slightly out of tune, and maybe a tad too introspective.
Keith: Felt pulled into the performance.
JLo: Caught up in the song as well.

#10. Jessica is: a clean freak, loves ghosts, loves animals, loves ponies, and is not a band geek. Her pink streaks seem a little subdued tonight, maybe slightly more pale shade. She's wearing a white jacket with chrome spikes sticking up out of the shoulders, a red top, and black, red, and white print pants. She's singing a Pink song, something about something chasing butterflies and the background projections are all very spooky and gothic and frenetic. It's a little distracting. I liked the beginning of her performance better than the end.
Keith: Bold but cool song choice.
JLo: Goosies!
HCJ: Mentions the crazy projections, nice job.

#11: Emily: went to chef camp, changes her eye color, and whistles weirdly. She's wearing a sparkly silver dress that screams Mother of the Groom. She stands by a piano and sings Gray & Gray. This performance is not even pageant, it's more High School Musical Review. Her vocals are fine, but her facial expressions are totally rehearsed. There's not an ounce of life or conviction anywhere.
JLo: It was a tough song but she liked the emotion and the fact that Emily stayed in tune.
HCJ: Emily did exactly what she was supposed to do here (Read: Not sing about sex for a change)(at least overtly).
Keith: Technically fine but don't forget to add some edge.

#12: Sam: does not like spiders, has smallish feet, stepped on a sea urchin once, and broke his ankle falling down stairs. He's wearing a brown leather jacket over a green tee, and cuffed jeans. His cheeks are still pink and his hair still lives in ClarkKentville. He's playing his guitar and singing something from Matchbox 20. Hey! I actually recognize this song! Sam began weakly but warmed into it. He bounces a lot while he plays, and is not actually connecting with either the song or the audience.
HCJ: Sam's voice is too perfect for the song. It was nice. (Note: again, not a compliment).
Keith: The whole thing was a tad slow.
JLo: Sam is a quiet storm and adorable, but a little like a deer in the headlights.

#13: Caleb is questioned while brushing his teeth, so his 5 things are totally garbled: Jason is a cow, something about squirrels, and bandage mush. He's wearing a black velvet jacket with spangly gold braid trim sewn in curlicues on the sleeves and down the front. His hair is cleaner than usual. He's singing Pressure in time by Rival Sons. This is a perfectly serviceable rock performance, with lots of shouting and head shaking, and mike-stand brandishing. The whole thing ends with multiple steam jets shooting up from the floor behind Caleb. Holy Whoa! Taylor Hicks is actually in the house!!!
Caleb gets a Standing O from Keith and JLo.
Keith: Love love love, find an original angle
JLo: Caleb is ready for life on the road.
HCJ: Caleb killed it.

Given that we're encouraged to vote early and often, this is now more than ever a popularity contest rather than a singing competition. So I have no idea how the votes will go, and absolutely no notion of which kid will go home tomorrow night (and since we have only *3 short months* until this is over, I have to assume they're going home one at a time from now on). But here are my rankings:

Top 3: Alex, Majesty, Caleb (in that order)
Bottom 2: Ben, Kristin

Most Perplexing: M.K.

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