Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Live Blogged AI Season 13 Top 7-8 Performance 04-09-14

I'm still jet/time/travel lagged and there is no way I can watch the 2 hour show and then spend 2 more hours writing it up, so I'm going to try something tonight: live blogging the show. I have no idea how well this will work, but my propensity for typos should make for some unintentional humor. My plan right now is to upload at each commercial, adding to whatever I've already written.

We'll see how this goes...

I didn't see last week's episodes because I was in paradise, living in the lap of luxury and I'm at least marginally sane enough not to worry about American Idol while on the world's largest cruise ship. But I know that Sam was eliminated and then saved, which means 2 folks will go home tomorrow night. It'll be interesting.

Last week, Malaya, Sam and CJ were on the bubble, and Sam was sad. But he sang something well and the judges came through for him. Sam's life went from black and white to color and Frogger. ooh, Sam said something naughty. This week, David cook is here and no one can be saved... I'm glad it's over. Oh, it's 80's week. this will be interesting.

All of them are The Next American Idol... all To Tell The Truth Style. Ryan is wearing navy with a navy tie with little white polka dots.

Hmm, maybe Ryan is in black. It's hard to tell with those lights. Everyone else is dressed in versions of black and red, except CJ who is tan.

JLo is wearing a short black sparkly dress with a pretty skirt, and bedhead. Keith has a white tee and Harry is dressed dark. Keith has Billy Ray Cyrus extensions. Why is he wearing a mullet on purpose? Why would anyone?

I remember David Cook sorta. He wasn't my favorite and he mostly flitted in and out of my head. I do think he has had hair implants in the interim. He's bearded now and looks like a middle school history teacher. The kids are impressed with David's success, though they know almost nothing about the 80s, though I suspect Caleb can wail a few era ditties.

Jena will sing I Love Rock and Roll- I would guess she can deal with Joan Jett. It's going to be interesting, even with a weirdly slow start. She's wearing a short sleeved red and black plaid crop top, black and white plaid jeans and a heavy gold chain belt. I'm liking what she's doing with this. It's  a good innovation. HCJ is even swaying in his chair a bit. Keith, sans extensions, thinks the risk-taking worked. JLo thought it languished a little bit and wanted more growl. HCJ didn't love the arrangement but does love what Jena does with her songs and wanted a little more spontaneity.

Ryan takes a selfie with a brick-sized 80's cell phone, the kind we saw in the early X-Files episodes.

Dexter is going to sing Keep Your Hands To Yourself. David Cook mentions to Dex that he mumbles. I hope he listens. Dexter is wearing yet another backwards hat, a blue plaid flannel shirt, a dark denim vest and jeans. He's playing well but I don't think he's enunciating any better than usual, but as usual, he's chosen a song that gets everyone dancing. Good Karaoke. Really competent Karaoke. JLo thinks Dexter owned the song. HCJ still likes last week's performance (which I have not seen) better but has no complaints about this one. Keith says Dex eventually loosened up, and needs to live in the moment more.

Ryan juggles a Rubik's Cube and the staff plays with a Lite Brite.

Alex and Sam are singing Michael Jackson's The Girl is Mine. Alex is in a patchwork gingham shirt, Alex is in gray print. Wow, this is really good. Their voices blend very well, and Sam sounds better than I've ever heard him. I really like Alex's voice, and every week he loosens up and relaxes a bit more on stage. He still does the pee dance in rolled up pants, but I like him anyway. This may be my favorite performance of the entire season. I loved it! HCJ asked Sam how he feels to be here now. Sam practiced a lot more. Keith likes how their voices blended.

None of the kids were even born in the 80's. Thanks for making me feel even older, Ryan.

Malaya will sing something from Chaka Kahn. She blew David Cook away even in rehearsal.  Malaya starts, sitting on the piano in red baggy pants and a black and white top. Her hair is softly curly and she's wearing aggressively blue eyeshadow. This isn't nearly as good as it should be. Malaya is deeply talented, but she's still just a kid and she needs more control. She sounds kind of shrill, especially toward the end. Keith does not doubt Malaya's vocal ability, but she should be a bit more laid back and let the voice take over. JLo said mostly the same thing. HCJ is impressed with the notes Malaya can hit, but maybe she was concentrating on The Big Note instead of on the song as it progressed.

How much you wanna bet that the Maytag people said: Get someone who looks like Mike Rowe...

Caleb in red suede jacket and black shirt and acid washed jeans, and Jena in a slinky gold sparkly dress duet on It's Only Love. These two are playing off each other excellently and their voices are blending perfectly. This is a great duet, exactly suited to both of their talents. HCJ has a girl sitting on his shoulders, she looks really uncomfortable and Ryan seems worried. I have no idea why this is happening. The duet? Everyone liked it.

Jessica is doing Blondie's Call Me... hmmm... not a song that needed to be nasaled up.  David Cook likes the vocal but tells Jessica to show her enjoyment. Jessica needs this specific advice badly. She's wearing a red and black striped tunic shirt and black pants and very tall boots. Vocally, Jessica is nailing it, and she's trying very hard to implement David's advice. This is more life than I've seen in her face to date. This is not one of her usual dead-eye performances.

After the commercial, HCJ tells Jessica to feel the groove more. Keith still waiting for the rest of the release. JLo explains what the lyrics mean... HCJ uses his phone to video JLo.

Sam is tackling Cyndi Lauper. This is going to be really interesting. It might be train-wreck interesting, but it'll hold my attention. Have I mentioned that David Cook is a really excellent mentor? He has given great advice to everyone. So, Sam is in a limp blue and white spatter shirt with a hood under a blue blazer. His voice is okay but this is the wrong song for Sam. There's no plaintiveness (plaintivity?) in this performance. This is a yearning song, and I don't think Sam has yearned for anything yet. Keith liked the acoustic guitar but thinks Sam needs to loosen up more. JLo loves Sam's voice, and could see Sam's effort (she says that like it's a good thing). HCJ thinks Sam should go watch Ricky Nelson videos, and I think HCJ is on to something. Sam could learn a lot from Ricky.

I Knew You Were Waiting by CJ (tan shirt and tan pants) and Malaya (in white and black sparkles, and white pants). These two sound good together too. I think they should do nothing but duets. Change the format of the show entirely. Given the ratings drop, it couldn't hurt. HCJ thought it was "cute" (he didn't have to make air quotes for us to see them).

Alex is singing Every Breath You Take. David works with him on real technicalities. He's wearing a white leather biker jacket over a white and black shirt and the usual rolled up pants. There's a string quartet on stage and the changes Alex is making in this song are fascinating. I would definitely buy an album of covers from him, just to see what he'd do with them all. In Alex's hands, it's far less a scary-stalker song. It's actually sweet.

HCJ thinks it sounded like a new tune, which is a good thing. But he thinks Alex is not an entertainer yet. Keith agrees and wants Alex to work on nuance. JLo disagrees, she didn't love the changes.

Jessica and Dexter are singing Islands in the Stream. Jessica is wearing a long fringey black and white dress. It's weird. Dexter is dressed like Dexter. I like the Dollyness in Jessica's voice on this song. They rely on each other, ah ha. This is the least successful of the duets tonight. It's not bad, but there isn't quite the spark that the others had. JLo loved it.

Everyone sings Like a Virgin. And by *everyone*, I mean the judges and the audience. Once again, Ryan looked concerned.

CJ is going to sing Freefallin'  and David Cook liked it. CJ is wearing a blue and white print jacket and a gray tee shirt. This is the first time I've really heard CJ's propensity to sing off key- it was painfully obvious on the first verses, but man, that was unfortunate. I like this arrangement and I like CJ's guitar playing, and I really love the backup musicians on this one, but CJ's voice isn't cutting it. JLo roots for CJ note for note, and even she mentions the *offness* of the beginning (and if she hears it, it's really really there). HCJ liked what he could, but pitch matters. Keith agrees, that CJ has an amazing connection with the audience but that he needs to work on, you know, singing the notes.

Damn, I thought we were going to get by without any Randy Jackson. Man, he's awful. Just awful. However, he was in Journey, and Caleb is singing Faithfully, and he's under contract so they have to feature him once in awhile. Again, with the good advice from David Cook. Dear Show: hire him now.  Caleb is wearing a black jacket over a black and white shirt. He walks in under the spotlight and then just stands at the mike and begins singing beautifully. He's holding back exactly the right amount, and this song suits his voice perfectly. And when he lets go, he does it right. Keith is waving his phone lighter in the air. The audience is happy and even HCJ is smiling. HCJ loves it totally. Keith compared the song to a fanny pack and I'm almost certain that he meant it as a major compliment. JLo babbled. Babblebabblebabble. But at least she didn't compare him to a belt.

My bottom tonight: Dexter, CJ, and Malaya. I would like Dexter to go, but I suspect it'll be Malaya. Oh that's right, we're losing two tomorrow night. Malaya and CJ.

The best? Alex and Sam's duet, but that's not supposed to count. Best solos: Caleb, Alex, Jena

So, the live-blogging went fairly well. I think I'll do it again tomorrow night.

1 comment:

Catherine Ardrey said...

Alex's performance tonight is the first song I've considered buying on itunes. I think hes very special (in a good way).

I think Jessica is wrong about what kind of artist she is. She has decided that she's a rocker because her voice is similar to Stevie Nicks. But after hearing her do a country tune last night (in which she sang the best I've heard her all season), I think she's really got a future doing country or country/pop music.

Cj's pitch was terrible last night. That's a shame, because he is able to reach the audience with the pain and struggle in his voice. However, I didn't hear those pitch issues in the snippets of the song we heard when he was having a coaching session with David Cook. I even rewound the TiVo to hear his practice session again, and there were no pitch issues. Conclusion? CJ's pitch issues are a result of nervousness, and/or being unable to hear the backup band and vocalists during live performance.