Thursday, February 26, 2009

Group #2

Why oh why does it feel like my beloved Idol is falling apart at the seams? The combination of the jumbled judging table, the band’s weird karaoke arrangements and the abysmally misguided performances all has the effect of creating a rather amateurish show. Though the elimination of post-performance family talk was much needed, the other changes in format make it feel like the producers can’t make up their minds. Could Idol be regressing back to its early seasons? Perhaps I’m being too harsh and all will be right once the fat is trimmed for the Final 12….

Until then, here’s how I hope things shake down tonight:

Top Three

Allison Iraheta—“Alone.” Her performance literally had me talking to my Tivo—THANK YOU! After four unwatchable messes, Allison reminded me why I watch this show: undiscovered, surprising talent (and dangly pinky rings)! Sure, “Alone” is one of the most overused and abused songs in the Idol songbook, but if you can pull it off, more power to you. Allison was raspy, confident and she’s already got her diva hand motions down pat. She’s the first contestant I feel genuinely excited about (despite the bizarre pre-performance interview with Ryan).

Adam Lambert—“Satisfaction.” I find myself liking Adam only because of what he might potentially bring in the future, not based on what he’s actually sung so far. His high notes are undeniably awe-inducing, but his performances are all over the place. I also don’t think there’s a shred of relevance in him, and was shocked to hear Randy say so—Adam is so 80s! He screams Flock of Seagulls with that awful chopped haircut and the gold chains—and were those male shoulder pads?? At the very least he’s interesting, which is more than can be said for most of Group 2’s contestants.

Mishavonna Henson—“Drops of Jupiter.” I found myself charmed by the lovely Mishavonna; I thought her performance was understated, controlled and quite elegant, and I don’t think the judges gave her enough credit. She was much better on the simpler opening verses than the booming chorus, but she’s just so damn likeable. And is it just me or does she kind of look like a dark-haired Taylor Swift? I really hope we see her again.

Wildcard Worthy

Kris Allen—“Man In The Mirror.” Not spectacular, but relative to the rest of Group 2, this guy may just have a shot. He’s cute as a button (you could already hear the girls in the audience screaming) and possesses quite a clean voice (despite the crackling nerves). And he hit the ever-popular Idol power note mid-song, so I’m sure this isn’t the last time we’ll be seeing Kris…

Jasmine Murray—“Love Song.” Despite this disappointing showing, Jasmine definitely deserves another shot. She did pick the wrong song, but she still sounded pretty damn good in parts, and even though her attempts at conviction involved far too much hair tossing, I still maintain that she has what it takes to shine in this competition.

Jesse Langseth—“Betty Davis Eyes.” If we’re picking a retro-pop contestant to push, move over Megan, because I find Jesse to be far more interesting. Her performance was shaky vocally, but still kind of puzzling (in a good way). And Jesse’s got personality for days—I almost picked up my phone on virtue of her vigor alone, but thought better of it. Kudos for making Simon resort to “too cool for school.” Where did that come from?

Matt Giraud—“Viva La Vida.” Jerky indeed. Filled with misplaced runs, miserable falsettos and botched high notes, this was just a straight mess. He took the ever-desired Idol risk, which is admirable, but fell flat on his face. He only deserves a second chance based on that brief moment of Hollywood bliss.

Homeward Bound

Jeanine Vailes—“This Love.” Why, why, why would anyone sing this? It’s a great song, but not one that many singers can replicate, as Jeanine’s flailing vocals demonstrated. The bridge showed a little of what she’s capable of, but the rest was a pitchy disaster. And everything about her felt desperate, from the overdone gesticulations to the “I’m so much older” pleading.

Megan Corkrey—“Put Your Records On.” Did anyone else find this as painful as I did? The contrived attempt at style seemed really silly to me—that odd hip twisting made her appear like a two year old throwing a tantrum. And the vocals just weren’t strong. She’s all idea and no execution, and I’m surprised the judges didn’t see this.

Kai Kalama—“What Becomes of the Broken Hearted.” I adore this song and have always thought it could deliver Idol gold, which is probably why I found myself wishing Megan or Jesse had stumbled across this gem instead of the thoroughly mediocre Kai. So forgettable!

Matt Breitzke—“If You Could Only See.” The song is the least of this guy’s problems. I actually thought it was a smart choice despite the awkward performance, but Matt is just untranslatable as far as the music industry goes. Refer to one Taylor Hicks.

He Who Shall Not Be Named—“Blank.” Go home, before I become violently angry.

I think it’s safe to say Adam and Allison earned the top spots of the night, but third place seems thoroughly up for grabs. I fear it may go to that headband-wearing mess, but I think Kris or Mishavonna could take it too. I’d also say we’ll probably be seeing Megan in the Wildcard instead of Jesse, though I hope not.


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