American Idol: Third 12 of 36 Compete

by Kona Gallagher, posted Mar 4th 2009 12:36AM
idol alexI feel really sorry for this group right off the bat. Not only has it been so long since we've seen them that I've completely forgotten who they are, but we've sat through two weeks and four hours of airtime devoted to 24 people singing, and only about four of them make me not want to kill myself.

The whittling down to the top 12 is always the most tedious time in the competition, and with the performances of the past few weeks still fresh in everyone's mind, these poor contestants are facing an uphill battle. If I'm feeling this cranky about tonight's prospects, I can only imagine what Simon must be feeling right about now. I predict some harsh criticism in the Kodak theater tonight.

Von Smith
screamed at us in Hollywood, and has made it through to sing "You're All I Need to Get By." He looks vaguely like my cousin and would be a really great wedding singer. Other than that, I have pretty much no opinion on him. Randy, however, thinks it was a very hot performance. Kara is impressed that he did it "when it has meaning," whatever that means. Paula loved his performance, and Simon says he reminds him of Clay Aiken.

Taylor Vaifanua is singing "If I Ain't Got You," because Lord knows the judges haven't heard that in the past five minutes. Her body language is really awkward and twitchy. She does a decent job with the song, but maybe because it is because I've heard every single Idol contestant sing that song, but I'm just not blown away. Kara tells her she has talent, but that she wants more of her personality to come through. Paula is perplexed because she sang this in Hollywood week and they want to hear something new. Simon says he has no idea who she is and that she's very generic. Randy says it "was just kind of boring."

Alex Wagner-Trugman has been reading what people are saying about him on the Internet, so he's been working out. He's kind of adorable and sadly hilarious, so I hope he does well. He's singing "I Guess That's Why They Call Them the Blues," and it's not the greatest performance ever-- he has a couple of rough patches, but ohmygod he is like a sack of puppies, that one. He's so cute and fun that he's just a pleasure to watch. Paula tells him that he gave them their money's worth. Simon says that they had fun "watching you, but not listening to you." Randy says he can sing, but he just kind of screamed that song. Kara tells him that he has moves.

Arianna Afsar is singing Abba's, "The Winner Takes it All." I'm not really familiar with this song and it's a little too maudlin for me, but she does a great job with it. She's also cute as a button and I think she's a shoo-in for top 12, but the judges disagree with me. Simon says it was terrible and dreary. Randy says that it wasn't the right song for her. Kara says it was dark and depressing, but Paula says that there were some bright moments.

Ju'Not Joyner is singing the ubiquitous "Hey There Delilah." He turns it into an R&B song and does a better job with it than the other Idol contestants from earlier rounds. He didn't really do much for me during Hollywood week, but I'm pretty impressed with him tonight. Randy loved it, while Kara loves his take on the song. Paula says he had a nice vocal, and even Simon says it was better than he thought it would be.

Kristen McNamara is singing "Give Me One Reason," in a sped-up jazzy fashion. It really works, and I'm always surprised that she can sing. I look at her, and I always think she's going to suck, but she keeps on impressing me. Kara tells her that she can sing, but wishes that she sang a Kelly Clarkson song. Paula says she has a hell of a range. Simon, like me, is puzzled by her, and Randy says that she tried to do too much with the song.

Nathaniel Marshall is completely insane and is singing "I Would Do Anything for Love" and turns it into a Donna Summer song. I am not a fan. Simon says that it was "verging on excruciating," but that he's fun. Randy says it's hard for him to imagine what kind of record they would make. Kara says they want to see a more serious side of him. Paula says she loves him, but this was the Boy George version of this song.

Felicia Barton was actually cut from the competition, but is back. She's singing "No One," and while she's clearly having fun, she kind of overdoes it a bit. Paula says she has a gift, while Simon calls her performance a bit "copycat." Randy thought it was hot, while Kara says she had attitude and presence.

Scott Macintyre is singing "Mandolin Rain," which is kind of a perfect, dorky song choice for him. He has problems with a few notes here and there, but overall he's pretty good. Randy tells him that it wasn't a perfect vocal, but the parts that were great were really great. Kara tells him that he moves mountains when he steps on that stage. Paula says that he's blessed them with his gift, while Simon says he's growing on him.

Kendall Beard is singing "This One's For the Girls." She's really funny to me (oh man, I'm sounding like Randy) because she has a really tinny and annoying speaking voice, but her singing voice is vastly richer and different. It's not a perfect performance, but she's different from everyone else who performed tonight, and I think that could get her far. Kara says that she had some issues, but she likes her personality. Paula says she did a good job and is adorable. Simon says that it got a bit "shrilly" toward the end. Randy says it wasn't her best vocal performance, but that she told them who she is.

Jorge Nunez is singing "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me." While his facial expressions are completely terrifying, he does a great job on this song. It's schmaltzy, sure, but the song is kind of schmaltzy so I can excuse it. Paula is proud of him, Simon calls him a "very very good singer," Randy says it was "really, really good, dude." Kara tells him that he was born to sing.

Lil Rounds has always confounded me. The judges love her, but she's never really impressed me. She's singing "Be Without You," and while I'm still not completely sold, this is the first time I've seen her perform and I want to see more. My main problem with her is that she was so shouty a lot of the time, but for the most part, she's pretty restrained tonight and it works for her. Simon calls her performance "brilliant," Randy says she has unbelievable vocals and knows who she is. Kara says she's a powerhouse, and Paula says she's "first-class."

All in all, this round was very similar to the last two, in that it started out rough, but there were more contestants who stood out this round. Lil Rounds impressed me for the first time, Scott Macintyre was pretty good, and Jorge Nunez getting all emotional and not being able to think in English was very cute. But I also enjoyed Kendall Beard and Ju'Not Joyner, as well as Kristen McNamara, not to mention adorable Alex, but I'm afraid they're going to get lost in the shuffle. Who do you think is going to go through to the next round?

Of those who were featured in this episode, who has the best chance of winning American Idol?
Von Smith17 (2.0%)
Taylor Vaifanua1 (0.1%)
Alex Wagner-Trugman11 (1.3%)
Arianna Afsar12 (1.4%)
Ju'Not Joyner66 (7.8%)
Kristen McNamara38 (4.5%)
Nathaniel Marshall4 (0.5%)
Felicia Barton41 (4.8%)
Scott Macintyre124 (14.6%)
Kendall Beard28 (3.3%)
Jorge Nunez69 (8.1%)
Lil' Rounds436 (51.5%)

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Alex Wagner-Trugman was a pleasure? Really? I was glad I had recorded the show because 20 seconds into his performance I was fast forwarding to the end.

March 04 2009 at 10:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hope people don't NOT vote for Scott because they want to show how they don't pity him. Saying he'll get the pity vote is insulting and may seem hip but is simply stupid.

March 04 2009 at 4:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

can't wait for blind guy and dead wife guy to fight it in the final 12.

March 04 2009 at 3:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would have to vote for Lil, Ju'not and Jorge. Didnt like the song Lil sang, but she sang it well and you can tell she has talent and I want to see what she does as the contest goes forward. "Hey There Delilah" has been played to death on the radio and muzak and I didnt like it to begin with and am sick to death of it now. So I was really surprised that I liked Ju'nots' version as I much as I did. Although he had some rough notes hear and there, he sang it with real feeling, which, for me, makes up for a few bad notes. Jorge took a song that I like but have heard for so long and so often that it has become background noise that I dont really listen to anymore, and made me listen. His vocals were rich and smooth and he brought a lot of emotion to the song without overdoing it.
Most of the others were forgettable for me. I have to look at their name and the song they sang to recall them at all, for the most part. Scott was a big disappointment. Mandolin Rain is a good song and a good choice for him, but he didnt live up to his billing or all the hype he has gotten. Kendall sang well but for some reason her performance didnt grab me. I was interested when Arrianna said she was going to sing the Abba song, but she wasnt at all good and I was just anxious for it to be over. I agree with some of the other posters who say this nights performers where better overall than the other two groups, but still, of the final 36, there were a lot of flat out bad singers.
One final comment about song choice. The category they had to choose from in the final 36 was extremely broad, with a huge amount of songs and genres to pick from. And yet, a lot of the contestants chose awful songs. What do you think is going to happen in the final 12 when the categories are much more restricted? Anyhow, I am looking forward to seeing and hearing the final 12.

March 04 2009 at 3:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think Lil was the only vocalist last night who should advance. The rest sucked. I've heard better singers in cheap casinos than most of the lot last night. Felicia wasn't too bad, but none of the guys were any good. I'm not saying this to be b*tchy, but are these REALLY the best and brightest young singers in America? If so, what a dismal testament to the future of recorded pop music. LOL

March 04 2009 at 12:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I had to fast forward through the first four singers. They did not impress. After that I really enjoyed the show and found myself really liking seven contestants: Lil, Scott, Kendall, Ju'Not, Felicia, Jorge, and Kristen. Scott is not the greatest singer, but like Brooke White of last season, I really like him and want him to do well. I realize that is a contradiction since this IS a singing competition, but I want to see what else he can do.

March 04 2009 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well the only two girls who have made it to the Top 12 have been compared to Kelly Clarkson. And once again Kelly Clarkson was brought up during one of the singer's judging: Kristen McNamara.

This time though Kristen didn't remind the judges of Kelly, but they definitely wanted her to be MORE like Kelly Clarkson.

I doubt she'll make it, but it's just interesting that three weeks in a row Kelly Clarkson has been mentioned.

March 04 2009 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ryan's comment

Didn't Kelley Clarkson come out very critical of AI until just recently? Seems she made a turn around and they have been bringing her back up since then.

March 04 2009 at 5:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I liked Von, Junot and Lil Rounds. I hope people don't keep voting for the blind guy just because he has a handicap.

March 04 2009 at 10:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

On DialIdol it says that Lil Rounds and Scott are safe. While I agree that Lil was very good, Felicia Barton sang very well and Taylor Vaifanua has a really good voice. Scott was particularly unimpressive last night while Jorge, Von and Ju'Not sang much better than him.

The problem with this show is that the judges pick a few favorites and praise them regardless of how they sang while the others are criticized relentlessly and therfore have no chance when the voting happens. People will tend to vote more with how the judges feel especially Simon since he has a brain. Scott is getting the sympathy vote plain and simple on a night when others were clearly better - the judges stated that his vocals were not great but isn't this a singing contest.

This is why I like and hate the show - I think very good singers lose out to the popular ones. I also think the 12 tonight were way better than the other two groups which makes it a shame that Scott and Lil will go through and others will not.

March 04 2009 at 10:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Big Butt girl is a shoe-in, because she was awarded the pimp-spot.
Blind guy is going to take the male spot, because he gets the pity vote.
The other spot will either be Puerto Rican gay guy, the Delilah guy, or the hot blonde.

March 04 2009 at 9:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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