American Idol: Second 12 of 36 Compete

by Kona Gallagher, posted Feb 26th 2009 12:34AM
nick mitchellI love Simon Cowell for many reasons: He's almost always right, and while he can be a bit too harsh at times, he doesn't drown the contestants in useless platitudes either. When Seacrest asks the judges to give this second group of 12 advice for tonight, Kara blah blahs on about "bringing it," and "doing their best," while Simon tells them that it's too late for advice-- because it kind of is.

They've already chosen their songs, which is one of the most important, if not the most important factor in how well they'll do tonight. All you can really tell them at this point is "don't suck." Let's see how many of this twelve actually don't suck-- I'm sincerely hoping it will be more than last week, because if not, it's going to be a long two hours.

Jasmine Murray is first up. She really impressed me during the auditions, so I have high hopes for her tonight. She's singing "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles. I really like her attitude, but she just seems way too ... sassy for this song, if that makes sense. If you'll permit me to make an awkward Grey's Anatomy reference, this song is Lexie Grey, but she's definitely performing it more Meredith Grey, if that makes sense to anyone but me. Randy agrees with me and also calls it "pitchy" all the way through. Kara tells her that she started too low (which I also agree with). Paula agrees with the first two judges, but praises her confidence. Simon is disappointed and says that she doesn't have a great voice, which I disagree with. I think she just chose the wrong song.

Dueling piano player, Matt Giraud sings "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay, that really annoying song that I always hear in the grocery store. He's another one who I liked in Hollywood week, but this performance was really weird for me. He was good, but I don't know if the arrangement was weird or what, but the whole thing was just kind of uncomfortable. Kara tells him that it was the wrong song choice, Paula agrees, but tells him that he brought it. Simon says his performance was horrible and turned him into a wannabe pop star. Randy tells him that he's still pulling for him, but needs to sing more difficult songs.

Jeanine Vailes is singing "This Love" by Maroon 5 and seems to be having the same problem Jasmine did, in that she's singing a simple song too powerfully. She's also having trouble keeping up with the music and seems really off-tempo to me. Paula can't manage anything other than "you've got great legs" and, "it's season 8." Simon goes right to, "it's terrible." Randy tells her that the best part was the end because it was over, while Kara just says that it was "overdone."

Okay, I know a lot of people don't like Nick Mitchell and don't believe that he belongs in this competition, but I love him. His Norman Gentle character is completely ridiculous and I haven't the slightest idea how he'll have an actual recording career, but he's one of the only genuine entertainers I've seen so far in this competition. When he is on the screen, I'm completely captivated. Plus, he actually has a really good voice. He's singing "And I am Telling You I'm Not Going," (which is genius) and Simon has no idea what to do with it. He says that he prays he doesn't go on to the next round. Randy calls it one of the most entertaining performances ever. Kara says that she enjoyed him, and Paula calls him a true performer, although she doesn't know if this is the stage for him.

Allison Iraheta's pre-performance interview is one of the most painful things I've seen recently. That, coupled with the fact that she looks like a Hot Topic exploded on her, doesn't make me very hopeful for her performance. She's singing "Alone" by Heart, and she starts off really well. I'm really impressed until she gets to the chorus and sounds like a screechy cat. However, she has a lot of natural talent and the screech factor can probably be fixed. Randy tells her she blew it out of the box, Kara says that she's "serious," Paula tells her she can sing the telephone book, while Simon tells her she's the best tonight by a clear mile.

Kris Allen is bravely (stupidly?) singing "Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson. He slows it down and makes it more soulful, and I don't hate it. In fact, I think he does a pretty damn good job with it. Kara, however, is disappointed and calls it the completely wrong song. Paula completely disagrees with Kara and tells him that he nailed it. Even Simon agrees with Paula, which earns a kiss from her. Randy is impressed with the fact that he did so well without his guitar.

Megan Joy Corkrey sings "Put Your Records On" by Corinne Bailey Rae, and while she seems to be enjoying herself, it's underwhelming. She clearly doesn't know what to do with her body and she just sounds, dare I say, pitchy? The last note is great, though. Paula loves her, and tells her she did everything right. Simon says that it started out really well, but she became a little "shouty" in the second part of the song. Randy wants to see her in other rounds, and Kara calls her a "package artist."

Matt Breitzke sings Tonic's "If You Could Only See" and kind of creeps me out. He also loses points with me by completely missing the point of the song when he says it's about true love. And for dancing like my dad. Simon tells him that he really likes him, but absolutely hated the song. Randy calls the performance boring, while Kara tells him that it fell really flat. Paula tells him that he has a great voice but it didn't come together.

Jesse Langseth
is singing "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes. I hate to say it, but I honestly think Gwyneth Paltrow did a better job. This just didn't do it for me in any way. Randy tells her that it was an "okay" performance. Kara praises the fact that she took risks. Paula calls her captivating and calls her phrasing "unique." Simon calls her "forgettable."

Kai Kalama is another one who stood out for me during auditions. He's singing "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted," which is a great song. It's soulful and although he may be taking the whole "flirting" thing a little far, I think he does a great job with it. Kara, however, calls the song "a little old-fashioned." Paula calls him "quite the performer," but says he fell off pitch a little bit. Simon says the performance was "corny," while Randy agrees with Simon and says it was "so safe."

Mishavonna Henson sings "Drops of Jupiter" by Train. She slows it down and even though I don't like this song very much, she does a pretty good job with it. Paula says she sang the song well, but the song didn't excite her. Simon says she's very serious and while she's technically a great singer, something left him cold. Randy says she sounds a lot older than she is. Kara wants her to loosen up.

Adam Lambert is closing the show with The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction," and maybe this is just personal preference, but I hate it so much. It's theatrical and creepy and over the top. I'm sure there are a lot of people who will eat it up, but I am not one of them. Paula, on the other hand, is. She drools all over him in a more incoherent than usual way. Simon says there were parts he thought were excruciatingly bad and some that were brilliant. Randy calls him one of the most current artists they've ever had, while Kara is impressed with his range.

All in all, most of them kind of screwed the pooch, just like last week. NIck Mitchell was hands down my favorite of the night, which probably doesn't say much about the competition. Who do you think is going to make it through?

Of the 12 who performed tonight, who's going to make it through?
Jasmine Murray12 (1.0%)
Matt Giraud25 (2.0%)
Jeanine Vailes6 (0.5%)
Nick Mitchell224 (18.1%)
Allison Iraheta304 (24.5%)
Kris Allen84 (6.8%)
Megan Joy Corkrey79 (6.4%)
Matt Breitzke9 (0.7%)
Jesse Langseth13 (1.0%)
Kai Kalama17 (1.4%)
Mishavonna Henson24 (1.9%)
Adam Lambert443 (35.7%)

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Gladiators 2000 when Ryan Seacrest was at his best LMAO. What a tool! Yet he does keep the show
moving from some of the long winded judges.
So, I have say he come a long way since 2ooo.

March 12 2009 at 8:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can't stand Adam. He's smarmy and came across as if he was playing the role of Mick Jagger. Sadly, he'll probably go through.

I like Nick/Norman. Is this the right stage for him? Probably not, but the judges were the ones to put him this far. If he gets through it's because he was more entertaining then any of the other performers. The judges have only themselves to blame.

February 26 2009 at 7:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Let's see how many of this twelve actually don't suck-- I'm sincerely hoping it will be more than last week, because if not, it's going to be a long two hours."

You nailed it Kona - it was an incredibly long two hours. All I could think was "I skipped watching "LOST", "Criminal Minds" or "Life" live for this crap???" I also agree that the most entertaining person we got last night was Norman/Nick - and so I voted for him several dozen times. While I don't think he fits the AI mold, he's genuinely entertaining and the boy can REALLY sing. He's more relevant than anyone else we saw last night IMHO and I hope he gets through to another week's competition. No one else deserves to anyway.

February 26 2009 at 6:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Whoever compared Nick to Blake Lewis is simply crazy. Blake Lewis has talent and Nick just is making a joke out of it and it is frustrating because he is blowing his chances because he can sing.

February 26 2009 at 3:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Another night of mostly awful performances and a few good to very good ones. But first, I want to comment on Norman. Yes, Norman was somewhat entertaining, I will give him that, in a sort of what the hell was that kind of way. But he is not entertaining enough that I would tune in to watch if he was performing on, say, Comedy Central, because then he would no doubt come out and straight up sing. The thing is, that this is supposed to be, all together now.."a singing competetion". Norman is not a serious singer or a serious contestant and his presence in the competition mocks and insults the ones who are. And he damages the already tenuous integrity and credibility of a show whose stated purpose is to find the best singer. While the real contestants are working hard and sincerly trying to perform to the best of their ability, Norm is being a clown, or more correctly, playing the fool. If you find him entertaining, thats fine. I think it was Paula who said that there was a stage out there for him. But AI aint it. It is a slap in the face to other contestants with talent who could have been there in his place, and the longer he hangs around the more that slap stings. To me, Norman is one of those annoying guys who, lacking talent, try to get attention by being obnoxious and ridiculous. That the judges let him in the final 36 is really an insult and shows a lack of respect to the audience who tunes in to watch singing, not bad comedy, and the other contestants. Wouldnt you like to know what they think of Normans act and the excessive amount of attention and airtime he gets?
On the positive side, I like Kara. Her comments are usually relevant and show her music and music industry knowledge. She seems to keep Paula somewhat teethered to reality, though she looked like she was going to pass out a few times last night. And why does Paula clap like a seal begging for a fish? Randy got to finally say someone "Blew it out the box", which is nice. Simon was actually almost nice to some of the performers,when he wasnt engaged in his usual slash and burn honesty.
My top three would be Adam, mostly by default, since none of the other guys was impressive, Allison and Mishavonna. The guy who sang that awful Coldplay song made a huge mistake in songchoice. He really has a good voice but you couldnt tell it from that song. I didnt think Matt the welder did so bad on his song, but the judges trashed him a little harshly, if you ask me.
I'm glad they did away with that awkward deal they did last week where they did a post perfomance interview on the couch surrounded by family and friends or whoever. It was a waste of time and boring. I like it when they let the contestants have some time to interact with the judges and have some give and take about their performances.
As others have already mentioned, the band sounded horrible last night. They sounded murky and covered up the singing a lot of the time. This has been an ongoing problem over the years. A show as succesful as AI, which is all about music, supposedly, has no excuse for such poor sound quality and lousy performances from the band. They sound unrehersed sometimes.
When I watch the results show tonight it will be without much passion, because there was no one in this group who did anything to make me cheer them if they stay or miss them if they go. Except of course, Norman. He has to go.

February 26 2009 at 2:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to NightOwl's comment

Actually, comedy aside, Norman/Nick is a really good singer. Idol isn't just about singing, it's about entertaining; otherwise Blake Lewis, with his very marginal vocals, wouldn't have made it into the finals two seasons ago.

February 26 2009 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The irony is that Nick has a decent voice. Given the horrible competition last night, he could have sailed through with a straight performance.

February 26 2009 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh... and I think the band completely sucks this year. I don't know what's changed, or if the technical people need to tinker with the sound levels on various equipment, but the band sounds like a cheap background band in a low-rent casino bar. Sooooooo bad!!!!

February 26 2009 at 1:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Adam, Allison, and Nick are the 3(Nick getting the 3rd most votes)I definately see Adam as going on for a while but not winning he will probably go back to the theater as with his stage presence that is where he should be...Nick is funny but he was really all over the place last night with his vocals...liked him better in Hollywood week...Allison could go a long way thought that she did a very good job(except close to the end when she went way off key)with alone...Young Robert Dowey Jr.(Danny)is still playing off the smypathy thing...I am getting tired of it already...Don't know If it is a.i. that keeps bringing it back each time he is on but it really has got to stop...

February 26 2009 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm going to say to the contestants what the judges should be saying, instead of "It was pitchy, dawg." and "I wasn't feeling it." and "You're too old fashioned tonight." and "You didn't do enough with it, aaaiiight?"

If you're going to sing a classic (i.e. Motown, 70s or 80s hit), you've got to change and modernize it, to make it sound current. This can be done vocally (notes, runs, phrasing) and/or with the musical arrangement. But if you're going to take the easy route and try to sing it almost note-for-note like the recording, you'd better sing it as well as if not better than the original artist, or they'll hate it.

If you're going to sing something more modern, you'd better be good enough to sing the song in such a way that folks will want to hear more of you, even if they don't recognize the song well enough to hum along when they're sitting at home in a big comfy sofa with a mouthful of Cheetohs. Singing a great (but less-recognizable) song will maybe give you a better chance vocally, but unless you really wow the joint with your vocals, nobody will remember the song... or you.

Because, let's face it...
Most everybody loves these folks when they're singing material we're familiar with. The challenge is to find somebody so talented and so unique that we'll want to listen to them (and buy their CD) even when they're singing songs we've never heard before.


February 26 2009 at 1:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Although I think he will go through because he showed the most "energy" of the whole 12, Adam personally creeps me out. From the auditions until now. As was previously mentioned, he "acts" at being a rock star and fails miserably, and when he goes for the high notes he screeches. I won't even go into the posing or the facial expressions....eeeeewwwww

February 26 2009 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is it me, or did this second group of 12 just not seem to cut the mustard? The first group was so much better. Heck, I bet ever Tatina would have gone though in this group. I'm just not really blown away with anyone this season.

February 26 2009 at 12:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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