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American Idol Season 8 (2009)

 

February 25 - And I am telling you, you are going (Semi-Finals: Group 2)

 

Zzzzzz...oh, is it time for Idol again?  I'm still trying to wake up from last week's snoozefest.  Let's see if this week's contestants can prop my eyelids open.

 

Jasmine Murray (sings Sara Bareilles' "Love Song"):  The song's too low for her, it has very little range to show off her vocals, and her attempt to infuse it with soul doesn't work.  At.  All.  Yep, we're off to a rip-roaring start, folks.  Sigh...  Randy says it was pitchy all the way through and not the right song.  Kara calls her commercial but says her performance was all over the place.  Paula agrees.  Simon is disappointed because he likes her, and he thinks she's not ready for this now.  She at least handles the criticism well; she basically says goodbye.

 

Matt Giraud (sings Coldplay's "Viva La Vida"):  I knew this would suck the moment he said he was going to add "soul" to a Coldplay song.  And now...  Oh.  God.  Make it stop.  Please.  I'm begging you.  If I had a dog, he'd be howling and running under the bed.  Kara points out that he sang the wrong song.  Paula says it was a risky song to pick, tries to say something nice about it, and fails.  Simon said it verged on a horrible performance.  Verged?  I'd go all the way.  Randy - who for some reason goes last this time - is still pulling for Matt and tells him to stay away from simple songs.  Uh, yes, Coldplay is simple.  Good one, Randy.

 

Jeanine Vailes (sings Maroon 5's "This Love"):  What the heck is wrong with the contestants tonight?  Picking all these songs that do nothing for them, going flat all over the place.  About the only thing Jeanine has going for her is those long legs.  Oh, and the last notes were okay.  Paula says nothing much.  Simon thought it was terrible.  Randy says it was completely the wrong song.  Kara says it was soooo overdone.  Everyone comments on her great legs, though.  I guess they're trying to shake up the judges' order tonight.  Oh, such an exciting switch to things!  Except not.

 

Nick Mitchell (sings "And I Am Telling You" from Dreamgirls):  It says something that I'm looking forward to the performance of someone who's supposed to be this year's comic relief.  And I am not disappointed.  Normund Gentle, uh, Nick Mitchell gives the most entertaining moment of the night, and probably of the season.  He's writhing around on the stage, he's camping it up, he's fondling the show's logo - and he's got me laughing like crazy.  I don't think he'll continue past this round, but I hope he picks up some comic gig somewhere.  Simon prays he doesn't go through to the next round.  Randy calls it one of the most entertaining performances of Idol.  Kara says at least they remember him, and she enjoyed him.  Paula compares him to Olivia Newton-John and Jerry Lewis.  For once, I actually agree.

 

Allison Irahita (sings Heart's "Alone"):  Unfortunately, she's got to follow Nick.  And she's 16 and singing a Heart song.  But then she starts the song, and I go... "Oh.  Finally."  She's got an interesting voice - very rock-oriented.  She's really pushing it, and she's practically shouting by the end.  She needs to watch it so she doesn't ruin that voice early.  But she reminds me of a young Dilana (for those who remember Rock Star: Supernova), and it's refreshing to hear someone like that on this show.  Randy says she "blew it out the box" and might be one of the hottest tonight.  Kara says Allison doesn't even know how good she is.  Paula says she could sing the telephone book.  Simon calls her the best tonight by a clear mile. 

 

Kris Allen (sings Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror"): This shy guy actually has a nice voice, especially in the second half of the song.  And he's projecting the most confidence he has so far, at least according to the show.  We have to take their word for it, since haven't seen that much of him until now.  Given that most of the other contestants have sucked so far, though, he might actually have a chance to make it to the top 12.  Kara says the back half of the performance was better than the front, but it doesn't come close to what he did in Hollywood week.  Paula disagrees and says he showed his personality.  Simon agrees with Paula, whereupon Paula kisses him.  Eeuw.  Simon says he thinks the chicks will love him.  Randy says Kris showed he can do this without hiding behind a guitar, which I guess he carried with him all through Hollywood week.

 

Megan Joy Corkrey (sings Corinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On"):  She's got some weird twitchy movements going on with her arms (maybe she's trying to twist loose from the glue that's holding her in one spot), and while the song is suited to her voice, her pitch is kind of weird throughout.  But the judges love her, so what do I know?  Paula says she picked the right song and that she's interesting, relevant, hip, cool, beautiful, etc., etc..  Simon calls her a "funny little thing."  He says the second part of the song got a little shouty, but he hopes that America votes her through.  Randy loves the tone of her voice and says she did a nice job.  Kara calls her a package artist who could have a breakout hit with the right song.

 

Matt Breitzke (sings Tonic's "If You Could Only See"): This big welder singing this song is a big disconnect for me, and his volume just stays the same for much of the song.  Again, another bad song choice.  His boring performance doesn't help, either.  Show some energy, man.  Simon really likes him but hated that song.  Randy says he needed some more energy.  Kara believes the song fell really flat.  Paula says the song didn't celebrate the singer they fell in love with.

 

Jesse Langseth (sings Kim Carnes' "Bette Davis Eyes"): At first I think this is a good song for her.  Her voice is suited for it.  But it doesn't have a great range, and there are enough moments where she goes flat that I end up mostly unimpressed.  Randy calls it okay, but not exciting.  Kara liked her slinky, sexy performance.  Paula found her captivating and calls her cool.  Simon, on the other hand, calls her forgettable and "too cool for school."  Snort.

 

Kai Kalama (sings Jimmy Ruffin's "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted"):  Eh.  It was there.  Boring song, boring performance.  Kara likes the way he gave it his all, but the song was a little old-fashioned for her.  Paula says he has a lot in him.  Simon calls him old-fashioned and corny.  Randy says the performance was too safe.  And that's about it.

 

Mishavonna Henson (sings Train's "Drops of Jupiter"):  She sings this quite well.  I think of all the singers tonight, she's the only one who didn't make me cringe somewhere along the way.  I'm not sure that the song choice is something the judges will appreciate, though, and I'm right.  Paula says the song didn't excite her.  Simon calls her very serious and says that something left him really cold.  Randy wants her to sing something young and not a "band" song.  Kara wants her to loosen up and wonders where she fits in the music scene.  You know, is there really something so wrong with an 18-year-old singing something serious?  Do they have to be all pop and froth?

 

Adam Lambert (sings the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction"):  He's got Zac Efron's dreamy eyes.  And black nail polish.  The stage lights are going crazy, and he's rocking out.  Wow.  It's like getting a transfusion of caffeine.  Yeah, baby, that's the way to close a show - thanks!  Paula has no words, she's so awestruck.  Then she proceeds to blather.  Simon found parts were excruciatingly bad and parts were brilliant.  Randy loves it and calls it "tha bomb," then and compares Adam to Robert Pattinson in Twilight.  Look out - here comes the teen vote!  Kara says his vocal ability is outrageous.  So basically he's in.

 

My ranking:

 

1. Adam Lambert - Everyone else paled in comparison, frankly.  And not because he drank their blood.

2. Mishavonna Henson - I don't think she'll make it through, but I thought she had the best, most consistent voice of the women tonight.  Hey, I was serious at her age, too. 

3. Allison Irahita - an interesting singer with a lot of potential 

4. Megan Joy Corkrey - in this slot because she chose the right song and oversang it.

5. Kris Allen - in this slot because, while he's got a nice voice that I wouldn't mind hearing more of, he's not as memorable as the people above. 

6. Nick Mitchell - funniest performance of the night.  I'm going to miss you. 

7. Jesse Langseth - could have been a contender with a slightly better song 

8. Matt Breitzke, Kai Kalama, Jasmine Murray, Jeanine Vailes - I've forgotten them already

12. Matt Giraud - crash and burn, baby

 

Proceeding to Finals (in order announced):  Allison Irahita, Kris Allen, Adam Lambert

 

Review 2009 by Patricia Lowhorn.  For comments, e-mail tricia@lowhorn.org.

 

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