AMERICAN IDOL Recap: POP Goes the Contestant!

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Last night, ‘Idol’ brought some contemporary pop to the stage in a mixed bag from the top seven.
Well, really it was Clark, one other person, and a pretty quick trip to the dregs for everybody else. Who was the other person who did will on pop night? It may surprise you…

Jax Sang “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga
Keith Said: I love your artistry.
J-Lo Said: You don’t wanna go so far left that people can’t relate. I couldn’t relate to that at all.
Harry Said: I have a problem with you not owning the arrangement.
The Verdict:
Jax has long walked the line between being a real sing and becoming an over-stylized Joey Cook joke of a performer. On this performance, she went over the line and turned Lady Gaga into a nonsense song that sounds like it was being sung in the back of a saloon in the Old West.
Yes, the may have played cards there, Jax. That doesn’t mean you need to ruin this song to that end.
Grade: D+

Nick Fradiani Sang “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry
Keith Said: It sounded like you. I love that you made it your own.
J-Lo Said: This was making the song your own the best way.
Harry Said: I like you singing a song with grittier lyrics.
The Verdict:
Nick added Creed to his repertoire and somehow made it work singing a Katy Perry song. The arrangement was enough on the record to not dismantle the song but original enough to be something completely new.
Even better for Nick, he actually seemed to believe what he was singing and had fun with it. Gone was that creeping sense of wanting to be a perfect alt-rock robot and in came a sense of freedom that actually made him appear to be a human man.
He gets a slight knock for doing my pet peeve of changing the lyrics to suit his gender, but this was pretty solid.
Grade: B

Quentin Alexander Sang “Latch” by Disclosure featuring Sam Smith
Keith Said: That was a great performance tonight.
J-Lo Said: You’re an artist with a capital “A”.
Harry Said: You’re a really good rhythmic singer.
The Verdict:
OK. After weeks of being obsessed with Quentin, I’m officially off the bandwagon. Kid can’t sing. Can’t sing at all. Pitch issues all over the place as he struggled with the verse in almost every measure.
Weirdly, his falsetto was actually without flaws – maybe he should have sung the whole song in that register? – but that was really it. Yes, he can find the flow really easily and has cool for miles, but that only goes so far with me when the technical flaws are so apparent.
I want to hop back on the bandwagon, but I just can’t right now.
Grade: C-

Joey Cook Sang “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus
Keith Said: When you went to the chorus, you held back too much.
J-Lo Said: You did a good job with the song.
Harry Said: Something needed to happen.
The Verdict:
I’ll give Joey some credit here. She didn’t hyper-stylize it as much as previous weeks. That’s at least a move forward.
That’s really the only good for this performance though. She could not hit the notes or really find the pitch of the more explosive parts of the song. Even worse, the soar of chorus actually became a huge bore as she just sucked the energy out of her performance when it was supposed to be at its most grand.
I never thought Joey would be dull (even if she was annoying), but this was a total lifeless bore.
Grade: D+

Clark Beckham Sang “Make it Rain” by Ed Sheeran
Keith Said: You killed it.
J-Lo Said: That is so amazing. It is so effortless the way you sing.
Harry Said: You need to sit in that pocket. Don’t rush it.
The Verdict:
So Clark can also play a blues guitar. Like a real honest-to-God blues guitar. Like the type of blues guitar that turns a crappy Ed Sheeran song into something Clapton might have made in the late 70s. What the hell is this kid going to do next? Rap? He’s just astonishing every week.
Grade: A

Tyanna Jones Sang “Stay” Rihanna
Keith Said: You have such a maturity in your voice for sixteen.
J-Lo Said: That voice is so heavenly. Everything just came together in the right way tonight.
Harry Said: You have this slow vibrato that just works on every song you do.
The Verdict:
It’s another Tyanna performance. Really good karaoke. It’s hard to say anything else about her at this point. She’s not yet mature enough to be comfortable onstage or really understand what she’s singing so it just comes out like somebody singing in a high school talent show every single time.
Granted, she’d easily win her high school talent show, but she should really get above that on national television.
Grade: B-

Rayvon Owen Sang “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele
Keith Said: That’s a guy singing for his life right there.
J-Lo Said: Was it the best song for you? I’m not sure.
Harry Said: What is your gravy?
The Verdict:
The astonishing mystery that is Rayvon’s continuing to be on this show unfolds with one more installment as he mixes breathy falsetto with the drummers from the pit in “The Lion King” on an Adele song in a bizarre mashup that didn’t work despite his ability to hit the big note toward the end.
I don’t know how this guy and his hat continue to fill the screen every week, but here we go again, I suppose.
Grade: C-

Qaasim Middleton Sang “Hey Ya!” by Outkast
Keith Said: You kind of killed it. You said, “this is what I do”.
J-Lo Said: You always wow us with your performance. You own that stage.
Harry Said: You sounded like Andre 18,000 or whatever his name is.
The Verdict:
It’s really confounding that the judges used their save on Qaasim so early. I mean, the guy cannot sing at all. Yes, he can act like a manic goofball onstage, but it’s almost a joke how poor of a singer he is. This was a total cruise ship for seniors performance that would do well to put a smile on some floating fogies’ faces, but that’s about it.
Luckily, America wasn’t fooled and didn’t give him the Twitter Save this week. Good save, judges. Good save.
Grade: D

Prediction:
This is easy, right? Rayvon has bottom-twoed in consecutive weeks. He’s got to be there again. I think he’s joined by Joey after her total dud. And to be fair, Joey may not have enough to overtake super Twitter Save Stud Rayvon.

And for me, there is only a net positive when it comes down to one of those two leaving.

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