Thursday, February 27, 2014

American Idol 13: Top 13 Performances

After a quick recap of the journey, Ryan introduces the top thirteen contestants: Malaya Watson, Ben Briley, Majesty Rose York, Sam Woolf, Kristen O'Connor, CJ Harris, Emily Piriz, Caleb Johnson, Jena Irene Ascuitto, Jessica Meuse, Dexter Roberts, Alex Preston, and MK Nobilette.

Ryan reminds us that the winner of season 13 will be showered with confetti in 3 months.

This week's theme: THIS IS ME
Keith says the contestants need to tell us who they are and how they feel about themselves as artists with this performance.

We get a clip featuring all of the contestants explaining the multitude of new ways to vote on Idol this season. Each contestant will have the same number for texts and phone votes for the entire season.

So the audience can get to know each contestant a little better, Idol surprised the kid sand recorded them giving 5 facts in 20 seconds. Idol translates the answers with their own silly interpretations of the answers, but I will leave those off.
Then Ryan will ask about the song choice for the night.
Then Randy Jackson (I know, I thought we were rid of him.) will tell us what the artist has been working on or needs to accomplish in this performance.

Dexter - surprised in the bathroom washing his hands
1- scared of spiders
2- took his braces off with a butter knife when he was 15
3- bucked off a horse when he was 7
4- got his first kiss on top of a slide
5- broke his finger playing football
Ryan - "Aw Naw" Chris Young - He is doing this because it is FUN and so is he.
Randy - Decided to play his electric guitar. If he performs like he did at rehearsals, he should be great.
*Playing electric guitar. This boy is all country. He has a major Alabama accent even when he sings. That makes it difficult to understand him at times. Not a bad performance. Just needs to be a little cleaner.
Keith - You are such a likable guy. That was an excellent cover of the song, now find a way to make it your own.
Jennifer - That was a really good performance, just make it your own.
Harry - The ear monitors must be affecting your pitch.

Malaya - surprised on the Blue Carpet at the Top 13 party
1- 5ft 2in tall
2- afraid of dogs
3- plays a lot of instruments
4- wears glasses because she can't see
5- loves everybody
Ryan - "Runaway Baby" Bruno Mars - "It's really up, like me."
Randy - She needs to over enunciate.
*Well, that enunciation thing isn't working for her. I had no idea what she said until the chorus. Her pitch is off too.
Jennifer - I love you and your energy. This song had a lot of soul, but this wasn't your best performance. You went off the rails at the end.
Harry - You're so talented, but intonation is huge. You seemed nervous tonight.
Keith -  Your energy is contagious, but you need to learn how to put that into your performance.

New this season - Ryan tells us that voting is already open. Phone and text will go until 2 hrs after the show. The power voting on line will be open until 10am Pacific time tomorrow.

Kristen - Surprised carrying her luggage into hotel
1- best friends are quadruplets
2- loves swing dancing
3- bad at all sports
Out of time
Ryan - "Beautiful Disaster" Kelly Clarkson - She tells Ryan this song is about taking risks and she has a lot to prove.
Randy - She has an amazing voice, but she needs to sell the emotion of the song to the judges and the public.
*Yuck! She is off pitch and is squeaky. Why did they save her instead of Casey Thrasher and Spencer Lloyd.  And this girl is so skinny. She is very awkward standing there in those platform heels too.
Harry - You are really a strong pop singer. I didn't feel the meaning of the song. I saw you take out your ear piece and know you can sing in tune. (Not the best time to discover that these kids can't sing with in-ear monitors. Harry said he doesn't personally use them. He likes to hear and feel the audience.)
Keith - I think it was a good song choice to show your range in a short time.
Jennifer - My advise to you,and all the others- stop thinking about what might happen and start thinking about what you know. Don't over-think it.

Ben - Before we get 5 things, Ryan has an audience question for Ben about incorporating social media into his Idol experience. Ben is still trying to figure out Instagram. Ryan takes a pic of the two of them on his phone.
Surprised on the Blue Carpet at Idol Top 13 party
1- can name every capital
2- favorite animal, kangaroo
3- good at throwing rocks and hitting things
4- wants to skydive
5- has a super-power
(And says none of that is true.)
Ryan - "Folsom Prison Blues" Johnny Cash - Every gig he has ever played he has opened with this song
Randy - he just needs to settle back and slow it down and he'll be good to go
*Playing guitar. Definitely not slowing it down. Very up tempo, but it sounds good. I can understand the words despite his accent. Good job.
Keith - I love that you did Johnny Cash. It was a little brisk. Be careful not to sacrifice artistry for entertainment. Don't come off as kitsch.
Jennifer - I like that you picked up the tempo. That made the song your own.
Harry - I didn't think it was kitsch at all.  Best performance of the night.

CJ - Surprised sitting in the garden practicing his guitar
1- doesn't like climbing high things
2- hates icy roads in winter
3- doesn't like deer hunting
4- hates people with bad attitudes
5- very religious
Ryan - "Radio" Darius Rucker - Reminds him of listening to the car radio as a kid.
Randy - He's pushing it a bit, but it's in his sweet spot.
*He's playing his acoustic guitar. He sounds a bit pitchy, Needs to ditch the ear monitors.
Jennifer -  Really good.
Harry - I love the cry in your voice and I wish I could have heard that tonight. OK song choice.
Keith - I liked the choice. It was good to hear another side of you tonight.

MK - surprised moving into her room
1- mediocre snowboarder
2- goal keeper in soccer
3- loves the song "Single Ladies"
4- wishes she was a dancer
5- dogs are her favorite thing in the world
Ryan - "Satisfaction" Allen Stone - It was hard to pick a song that was not a ballad
Randy - She's just got to believe in herself.
*Her clothes look better, but she still has on an awful backwards baseball cap. Ditch it. I don't know the song. It sounds ok. I don't like the backup singers.
Harry - You look beautiful. You need to figure out what to do between the phrases. I enjoyed the different song.
Keith - I love the way you look. Your confidence is growing.
Jennifer - it was smart to do a song like that. You are awesome.

Majesty - Surprised her while practicing
1- Born on a leap year
2- left handed
3- rides longboards
4- does ballet
5- likes to make her hair bigger
Ryan - "TightRope" Janel Monae - Life like a tight rope; trying to find the balance between humility and confidence.
Randy - If she can enunciate the words in the first verse, she's gonna kill it.
*She sounds good. Nice movement on stage.
Keith - Killer song choice.
Jennifer - You have your own style. There's nobody like you. You move naturally.
Harry - My favorite thing about you is the mystery and how it will unfold. You can do a lot of different music.

Jena - surprised her in the garden
1- hair is actually brown
2- she's best friends with her brother
3- favorite movie, Wizard of Oz
4- eyes are sometimes green and blue
5- really short
Ryan - "The Scientist" Coldplay - first song she learned to play om the piano.
Randy - The slowed down the song for her.
*She's screaming at me again.
Jennifer - You pulled it out. There were problems at the beginning.
Harry - You makes interesting melodic choices in the song. (He asks her about the meaning of the song again, and once again she doesn't know.)
Keith - A little pitchy in the beginning. Lean into it and take charge.
Ryan googled the meaning of the song for Harry.

Alex - Surprised while eating lunch
1- loves extreme sports
2- likes to write poetry
3- romantic
4- loves coffee
Out of time
Ryan - "A Beautiful Mess" Jason Mraz - Life is a mess. You have to go through different problem. Now I'm living my dream.
Randy - Make sure it's not slow and sleepy.
* Starts out with just Alex and his guitar. Slowly adds some of the band. Nice job.
HEY, Alex and Sierra from X Factor are in the audience and are labelled as Alex's friends. Hum?
Harry - This was a good tune for you. Check your intonation. The performance was so inward, it was hard for me to follow.
Keith - I felt the opposite. It pulled me into you.
Jennifer - I agree with Keith. Beautiful job. Different than what everyone else is doing.

Jessica - Surprised in garden
1- uses a lot of hand sanitizer
2- obsessed with the supernatural
3- like ponies
4- has way too many animals
5- failed band
Ryan - "The Crow and The Butterfly" Shinedown - I'm the crow chasing the butterfly, my dream.
Randy - She has to find a way to commit to the meaning of the song and find a way to translate that to the judges and the public.
*She has a dark and haunting sound on this song. it fits her voice very nicely. Good job.
Keith - Bold but cool song choice. Reminds my of your audition; dark and haunting.
Jennifer - The power of your voice at the start gave me goosies. Favorite of the night so far.
Harry - The crazy butterfly graphics behind you were distracting. Cool to hear you sing differently. Strong. Nice job.

Emily - surprised sunning at the pool
1- went to chef camp when younger
2- Eyes change colors with the environment
3- do a really cool whistle
Out of time
Ryan - "Glitter In The Air" Pink - Song is about taking a risk and following your heart and that's what she is doing.
Randy - She needs to put her own spin on the song.
*Her voice is fine but something seems off. I don't like her overly glittery dress for one thing.
Jennifer - It's a tough song. You did it beautifully.
Harry - Really great. You tied it all together well.
Keith - Beautiful vocal, but I missed the yin/yang of Pink's look and performance. (Maybe that's what is bothering me about the performance. Everything was just too sweet and polished. Pink has that rawness to her.)

Sam - surprised him at Idol School room
1- afraid of spiders
2- wears size 10 shoes
3- stepped on a sea urchin once
4- broke his ankle from falling down the stairs, twice
5- middle name is Joseph
Ryan - "Unwell" MatchBox Twenty - I'm not crazy, just trying to live my dreams.
Randy - Perfect match for his voice. He just needs to sell it to the public.
*I love his voice. He needs a little bit more edge to it for this song though.  He reminds me of David Archuleta's sweetness on Idol. The edge will come with time.
Harry - The song is about things being messed up. I wish your vocals could mirror that because your vocals are almost too good. It was nice.
Keith - The tempo was too slow for me.
Jennifer - You're like a quiet storm. You're very adorable and sing perfectly, you just need to come alive on stage.

Caleb - surprised while brushing his teeth and answered questions with a mouth full of toothpaste (I think these were his 5 things, although it was difficult to understand several)
1- was once chased by a cow?
2- Found a dead squirrel ?somewhere
3- Favorite band, Rush
4- was on cross country team in high school
5- loves biscuits and gravy
Ryan - "Pressure In Time" Rival Sons - They are a modern rock band and produce the type of music he aspires to make.
Randy - "Stay in the melody kid."
*He looks and sounds like a rocker. Surprisingly, I can understand the lyrics.
HEY, Taylor Hicks is in the audience. He looks bored.
Jennifer and Keith are on their feet.
Keith  - Killer! Killer! You have serious pipes. That song told me who you are, now make it your own.
Jennifer - You are so ready for the Rockstar life.
Harry - Great to hear rock and roll on Idol. If rival Sons ever need a singer, you've got the gig.

Ryan tells us on the results show we will also see performances form the reigning Idol, Candice Glover and a favorite of Keith's - Jake Bugg. Awesome. I look forward to hearing Jake.

Well, there you have the whole long, drawn out ordeal of the Top 13 performances. Maybe next week will go by a little faster than this thing did.

I need to say something personally. Part of the problem in getting my posts up so late is the fact I've been working injured this week and last. I fell and have a concussion and two cracked ribs that are slowing me down immensely. Maybe I'll be better next week.

My favorites for the week: Alex, Ben, Caleb, Sam, Jessica
Vote for going home: Kristen

We'l see how I did on that call tonight.

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