American Idol, 2009 – Episode 16 (3/3/09)

Idol LogoWell, hello there! I’m back for another Idol live blog. Welcome to Episode 16: Mass Promotion of the Blind Guy. Will it be him or Lil Rounds who gets coveted last spot as the producers shamelessly try to rig the game? Let’s find out.

Randy still has a gigantic clock on his arm–dude, everyone knows clocks are supposed to be worn around your neck, like Flavor Flav.

A minimum of pre-game crap this week, thank God. Straight to the singing!

Von Smith: They’re talking about his shouting, and they should be, since that’s all he’s ever done. Actually, they shouldn’t be, because he shouldn’t be here. “You’re All I Need to Get By” by Marvin Gaye. Let’s see if he’s improved.

Less than three seconds of singing to see that this guy’s gone. He’s not shouting, but this is weak. Some cringe-inducing notes, and problems staying with the beat. It’s not a complete disaster, and even good in spots, but it’s not enough to keep him around with the disadvantage of being in the cursed first spot.

I’m not surprised that he’s gettting some praise from the judges, but it really wasn’t anything special. I bet he’s back for the wild card show. It probably was good enough for that.

Taylor Vaifanua: I liked her Salt Lake City audition.

“If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keyes. She can’t handle the low notes at the beginning, which seems to be a common problem this year. She improves at the chorus, but the damage is done. And what on earth is she wearing? Her legs look literally made of rubber.

Kara’s talking about lack of personality. Usually I think that’s a stupid critique, but for once I agree. It was boring–just some girl on a stage doing an OK job singing. The other judges seem to be agreeing, and they’re right to.

Alex Wagner-Trugman: I sort of hope he gets eliminated just so I don’t have to keep typing his hyphenated name. I panned his audition and said he wouldn’t go any further. Oops! He seems to have a sense of humor about himself, though, which is nice.

“I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues” by Elton John. Good song, and I usually don’t like this period of Elton John’s endless career.

Is he going for the Normund Gentle fanbase here? This is ridiculously overdone and he’s acting like a spastic freak. My guess–he knows he’s dead so he’s just having some fun with it.

Here comes the roasting. Paula likes the spasms. Simon calls it stupid, which it was. Randy says “buck wild” but correctly trashes the vocals, which were appalling. Do we have our Vote for the Worst candidate for tonight? Good chance we do.

The funny thing is, I can actually see getting enough of a sympathy vote to get close to advancing. Not close enough, though.

Arianna Afsar: I liked her in the auditions as well. I hope she isn’t as disappointing as Taylor. “The Winner Takes it All” by Abba, not be confused with “Winner Takes it All” by Sammy Hagar from the soundtrack to the Sylvester Stallone motion picture Over the Top.

Ryan says this is the first time Abba’s been done? Really? How on earth did that happen?

She seems nervous and the whole performance is overly breathy, but she’s obviously got a decent set of pipes. There is a sin or two I can forgive here. Let’s see if the judges are generous.

Wow, Simon is really slamming this. I don’t think it was a great performance, but I don’t think it warrants this level of trashing. I find myself agreeing with Paula, except for the usual “old fashioned” crap.

Maybe I need to watch that performance again to see if all that crack I smoked affected my judgment.

Ju’not Joyner: That name is even more annoying to type than Alex Warner-Trugman.

“Hey There Delilah” by the Plain White T’s. A very nice vocal, easily the best of the evening so far. Randy notes the restrained performance, and he’s dead-on. The other judges seem to want a little more, but I don’t agree. I’m very impressed.

“I had a cortisone shot.” Classic.

Kristen McNamara: “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman. This is a terrible choice! I like the song, but how many notes does it have? Four?

Wow, this is even worse than I thought it would be. She’s winking and doing this vamping cute act, which is completely inappropriate for the blues vibe she’s unsuccessfully trying to achieve.

“Wooh!” She just yelled “Wooh?” Are you kidding?

What’s too bad about it is her voice is really good. Decent creative decisions and she might have had a future.

Kara is being much too kind. Paula, too. Simon is the first to pick on the song choice and Randy agrees.

Randy says “karaoke.” Drink!

Nathaniel Marshall: He has the reputation of the drama queen. I wonder why?

“I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meat Loaf. Oh, dear God, no. Well, I won’t fault him for lack of ambition.

Well, we now have competition for the Vote for the Worst candidate. While he’s got a decent voice, it isn’t remotely suited to Meat Loaf’s bombast. This looks more like an ’80s workout video than a serious song performance, with his fucked-up hair and headband.

Simon says people will remember him. Well, he’s right about that.

Simon says he should do a “keep-fit” video! Great minds really do think alike.

Paula reminds us that he did “Disturbia” by Rihanna in Hollywood week. That was an interesting and kind of cool performance. Much better than this one, from the tiny snippet we got.

Felicia Barton: She’s the one who got in because of Joanna Pacciti’s conflict of interest.

“No One” by Alicia Keyes.

This is a terrific vocal. Why on earth did they cut this girl? That was fantastic, and exactly what this competition would be about in a fair world. She hits the notes and her voice has a wonderful timbre to it. I am officially a fan.

Paula is gushing, Simon isn’t. Paula is right again tonight. What’s going on?

I want to see her back next week, definitely.

Scott MacIntyre: The blind guy sob story, which they haven’t pimped quite as hard as the dead wife sob story, but they’ve pimped it pretty good.

“Mandolin Rain” by Bruce Hornsby. What an obvious pick. He looks like Bruce Hornsby. He plays keyboard!

Nonetheless, it’s probably Hornsby’s only good song, so let’s see how he does with it.

There is no subtlety to this vocal at all. When you’re making Bruce Hornsby sound subtle, that isn’t good. He’s flat here and there, as well. It’s not the Hindenburg or anything, but it isn’t very good.

Disappointing. He’d been good up until now, even if I got sick of the sob story stuff.

Of course the crowd loves it. Ugh.

The judges are being way to kind. Simon, please bring the common sense.

Simon dials it down a little bit, but not nearly enough. I don’t get it. I really don’t.

Kendall Beard: She’s gotten almost no exposure.

“This One’s for the Girls” by Martina McBride. This is a really corny song and the fact that she loves it doesn’t say much for her taste.

The vocal is clunky and the arrangement isn’t delivering the schlock power the song needs to put itself over. That was not a positive experience. She is a looker, though, which helps mitigate the pain a bit.

Kara and Paula are way too nice. Simon brings us back to reality and talks about her singing instead of her outfit. But even he’s still too positive.

Jorge Nuñez: Liked him in Puerto Rico.

“Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” by Elton John. I think the first time I heard this song was Roger Daltrey’s cover on The Lost Boys soundtrack.

The melodrama of this song suits his voice, and if he’s off on a note or two, he still puts it over. A really solid performance. He just may get through.

I disagree with Simon that he shouldn’t work on his accent. A little bit of accent is OK and even interesting, but too much of one is distracting. I think he hit the balance just right tonight.

The ladies are gushing. They would, of course. But still, very good.

Lil Rounds: I only slightly resent the fact that the producers keep pushing her on me, to the point of putting her in the catbird seat tonight. I like her.

“Be Without You” by Mary J. Blige.

Love the dress.

And she doesn’t disappoint in the least. On a night with several good performance,s this one was the best. A bravura bit of singing, and she looks like an absolute natural on stage. Loved it. So do the judges.

All in all, a good night. I’m going to have a hard time picking my favorites. A shame that nine of them have to go, because there are more than three that deserve to stay. Best episode of the season so far, hands down.

See you tomorrow with my favorites, my predictions, and the results. And I’ll pay tribute to the great Paul Harvey, who we lost this past week, by ending with “Good day!”

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One Response to American Idol, 2009 – Episode 16 (3/3/09)

  1. EDunigan says:

    Great play by play of last night’s contestants. Our CTO has recently confessed his love for American Idol and we have proclaimed him the fifth judge (watch out Paula) based on his clever commentary.

    He decided to upload his comments into a database and share them through our blog. Who did he feel was cute as a button with the personality of a button? Check it out and see:

    http://www.trackvia.com/blog/2009/03/04/american-idol-judges/

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