Thursday, April 30, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 4

This week we learned who America chose as Idol's Top 4 singers for the year, and you might be a little surprised by the vote.  I was totally floored when Tyanna was sent home and Rayvon was once again advanced. I'm sure Rayvon is a nice person, I just don't get his appeal. I don't get anything from his voice.

Scott Borchetta took the Top 5 to Nashville to meet with folks at his label, Big Machine Records. While there, each contestant had a mentoring session with Scott and either Martina McBride or Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts. And the kids surprised Steven Tyler as he was recording for a country album. Steven asked Jax if he can sing with her at the finale.

There were two themes for this week's song choices: Song's from the judges' home towns and each contestant's personal choice which they feel best embodies themselves and their message. Personally, I got tired hearing so many songs about New York, since I guess there weren't many songs about New Orleans or Nashville for the kids to choose from. And I really hope that a couple of these personal songs aren't really what the contestants want us to know about them, unless they want us to know that they don't know how to choose the correct song.

I'm going to do this a little differently this week and just write about each contestant's two songs instead of following the flow of the show.

Clark
Living For The City by Stevie Wonder
This was interesting. I liked when Clark went to the piano to play part of the song. I agree with the judges, he should have stayed there instead of moving back to the mic stand. Clark has a good voice, but his performance is always enhanced when he plays an instrument. Otherwise he looks awkward just standing there. The performance was pretty good, just not awesome; which is what I am looking for at this point in the game.

Your Man by Josh Turner
OUCH! That was just painful to listen to. I like the song when Josh or Scotty McCreery sing it, because of their awesome bass notes in their voices, but Clark can't pull off bass. In my opinion, this song is not suited for Clark's higher vocal range. In the package from the mentoring session with Scott Borchetta and Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts, Scott told Clark this was the wrong song for him, but Clark insisted this is who he is and wants to be. You could have fooled me. His previous performances have never included country songs written for a totally different kind of voice. And the fact that Clark had an attitude towards Scott did not bode well for him this week. Standing up for yourself and being disrespectful are two different things. Lose the 'tude, dude. Sorry Clark, you don't get my votes this week.

Jax
Empire State of Mind by Alicia Keys
I loved seeing Jax seated at the piano again. This always signals something special is about to happen, and she did not disappoint. Jax sounded wonderful, even though she had a few cracks here and there, due to a little throat issue. This was definitely the right song for her.

Human by Christina Perri
This was a stellar performance, both vocally and artistically, even with the little imperfections with her voice and the fog about to swallow her up on the stage. It was easy to see that Jax has an emotional connection to this song. Some of the other contestants need to take notes on how Jax chooses songs. She almost always scores a home run with her picks.

Nick
Bright Lights by Matchbox 20
Nick fronting the band while playing his guitar, looked totally natural. Nick looks so comfortable on that stage now. Lots of power, attitude, and great vocals. Great job.

What Hurts The Most by Rascal Flatts
From the moment in the mentoring package where Jay DeMarcus plays guitar for Nick while Nick sings and Jay starts to sing along, I knew this would be an epic performance, And It Was. It is so obvious that Nick knows who he is and what he wants to be. I loved that Jay told him to let go of the guitar for this performance and just sing. Thank you, Nick, for letting the band take care of the instruments. For me, this song was the turning point in the competition. No one else came close to the performances that Nick gave this week. The competition is his to win right now.

Rayvon
Need You Now by Lady Antebellum
I don't know why it is, but I just can't seem to connect with Rayvon. His vocals are usually fine, but I just don't feel his songs like I should. There were other contestants this season, like Quentin, who didn't have perfect vocals but I could feel their performances , but I just don't get that feeling with Rayvon. Unfortunately, on this song choice, the vocals didn't work for me either.

Believe by Justin Bieber
This time there was definitely more passion in the performance, but for me, most of that passion came from Rayvon's mom, who he was dedicating the performance to. The audience seemed to like the performance. Jennifer was crying. Harry thought the writers of the song would be proud of him. I still don't get Rayvon.

This week, in addition to the contestant's performances, Harry sang a song he wrote about New Orleans. It was boring to me. The girl's Nashville mentor, Martina McBride, performed an amazing rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow.


For me, the rankings go:
1. Nick
2. Jax
3. Clark
4. Rayvon

And Idol has changed up the normal sequence another way this year. The Top 4 are all going for hometown visits this time. So next week will be even more intense than usual. We will be visiting New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, and  Tennessee.

See y'all next week. Don't forget you can still vote through next Tuesday, May 5,  using google search- American Idol Vote or americanidol.com .

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