Wednesday, February 18, 2009

36 minus 12 minus 9...

We're down to just 36, says Ryan Seacrest. That's easy for him to say, before the first twelve survivors start squawking.

Tuesday night's live competition opener won't go down as the worst semi-final episode certainly, but few of the first group gave anyone much reason to burn up the phone lines.

The judging panel is all weirded out. There are four of them now, Simon's on the left rather than the right. But at least Paula is normal. Paula-type normal that is.

Three of the kids will survive to sing again. There are a couple who might grab a wildcard invitation, but considering that this season, unlike the four seasons that preceded it, the kids have really one shot at stardom, which makes some of their performances and many of their song choices questionable at best and totally odd at worst.

But after a couple of watches (and a few clicks of the get-this-off-my-TV button) here are my thoughts, for what they're worth and, as usual, from worst to first:

Stephen Fowler (Rock With You). My mother always taught me that when you can't say anything nice, say nothing at all. Hi Mom.

Stevie Wright (You Belong With Me). Stevie decides to sing Taylor Swift because "it's really young" like she is, being 17 and all. Ever had a surge of pain in your head that only lasted really seconds but felt like agony for a week? Yeah. Me too. So long Stevie. Be sure to pick up your parting gift on your way out.

Jackie Tohn (A Little Less Conversation). I keep having to look up how to spell Jackie's name. I don't think after today I'll have to do that. After having just left the gym, the girl massacres this Elvis tune. Simon uses the word "clown." I use the word "gone."

Casey Carlson (Every Little Thing She Does is Magic). Casey wants to be Jordin Sparks. So she sings Sting. Or tries to. Even Jordin doesn't sing Sting. And Jordin can sing.

Ann Marie Boskovich (Natural Woman). Ann Marie chooses this song, she says, to let people know "who she is." And she is more Carole King than Aretha Franklin. Randy compares her version to the versions that have been turned in on the idol stage, and while I agree that Ann Marie doesn't have the big voices of Clarkson and Hudson, she wasn't trying to emulate Aretha. Simon thinks she ruined her chance. He may be right about tonight's vote, but I'm not entirely convinced for the competition as a whole.

Brent Keith (Hicktown). Brent does his best to secure the token country slot. Kara and Paula accuse him of playing it safe. Simon says he blew his chance with an "unforgettable" effort. Brent tells Simon that country fans won't forget the effort. I don't know how many country fans vote, though. Since I like variety in the end, I hope he pulls it through, but I'm not banking on a vote advance, but it would surprise me if he's one of tonight's three. If not, the producers would be fools not to bring him back in March.

Anoop Desai (Angel of Mine). I really like this guy, but wasn't over the moon about this song selection or his performance of it. Luckily he's had enough exposure to have enough credit in the bank to survive the night, but considering the qualified love coming from the judging panel, if he doesn't survive tonight, he'll make it through the wildcard round.

Michael Sarver (I Don't Wanna Be). Who can't root for an Everyman oil rigger with a lovely wife and cutie-pie baby who sings Gavin DeGraw. Who? Even Simon asks America to pick up the phone and "give him another shot." I hope they do.

Tatiana Del Toro (Saving All My Love for You). The country's favorite punching bad turns in a suprisingly subdued and pleasant performance. Simon hits it on the head when he observes that Tatiana just "wants to be famous." But, of the women in this group, she proves herself worthy of a place in the semi-finals. It remains to be seen if the combined forces of the VFTW crowd, who've crowned her queen and the average voters can pull her through, but she is an interesting character and sometimes that's what this show needs.

Ricky Braddy (A Song For You). Again I'm taking Simon's side. I really liked this interpretation of this beautiful song, but I'm not putting it in my list of top semi-final performances. Paula reminds him (as if he needs reminding) that Ricky was one of the sacraficial lambs in the Bikini Girl/Tatiana shows thus far, which could cost him in votes. But if he doesn't advance on votes, I think he's a wildcard pick for certain.

Alexis Grace (Never Loved a Man). A "dirtied-up" Alexis takes the eyeball stage with partially pink hair, a black teddi masquerading as a dress and the palest skin in the competition. And despite a few flat moments that ultimately are inconsequential, she restores my faith in this group. Simon invokes the holy name of Kelly. If she doesn't advance by votes, I'll dye my hair pink.

Danny Gokey (Hero). Danny is the lucky first recipient of the pimp spot, wrapping up the show with Mariah's classic and pretty much wrapping up a spot in the final 12. Paula stands. Randy says blazing hot. Kara screams into her microphone. And Simon throws some cold water on the hyperbole. And maybe the judging for Danny was a bit over the top, but on a mediocre, sometimes-painful night, it was okay.

Danny and Alexis should make it through effortlessly, but I never underestimate the voters. Who will fill out the third spot is anyone's guess.

So, who's your pick?

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Blogger Dave said...

My picks to get through tonight are Danny, Tatiana and Alexis.

Ann Marie, Anoop, Michael and Stephen will probably get a chance to sing for the Wild Card.

Stevie and Carly are definitely gone. Jackie, Ricky and Brent are on the outside looking and need a lot of help.

2:02 PM, February 18, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I think we all agree that the top male will be Danny and the top female will be Alexis.

Who is third? According to dial idol, it should be Michael Sarver, but I have a feeling it will be Anoop because of his popularity.

I would prefer it was Rickey Braddy; I would like to see and hear more of him. Elliot didn't have a lot of style or charisma going in and look how wonderful he turned out to be!

I disagree that they want Tatiana to stay any longer or she'll make AI a complete joke. To support my opinion, I present Exhibit "A", the way the judges were all so MEAN to her last night. Instead of judging her vocals, they tried to push her into an emotional breakdown - Paula came right out and asked her if she's crazy (to which I ask, would Paula like to be the pot or the kettle?) and Simon went on and on about how she's an attention hound. I don't think they like her or want her. She's served her useful purpose.


2:57 PM, February 18, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that it should be Danny, Alexis, and Ricky Braddy.

I wish it was Alexis, Ricky, and Anoop.

I think it will be Danny, Anoop, and Tatiana, and that we'll see Alexis and Ricky in the wild card.

3:05 PM, February 18, 2009  
Blogger Dave said...

I think Tatiana will get through on the strength of all her face time and the Vote For the Worst crowd, who is backing her wholeheartedly.

Without them, she's just another face in the crowd.

Unfortunately, that means that someone else is going to get shut out for her majesty, the drama queen.

3:27 PM, February 18, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Danny Anoop and Alexis are the only ones who even deserved to be on that stage, with Ricky right behind them. Total suckfest.

Thank god for tonight's performances by Michael and Carly.

4:37 PM, February 18, 2009  
Blogger Nelle said...

Jennifer, Your take was basically the same as mine. I really felt Alexis haircut was enough without the pink in it but then maybe if I were younger I would have a different take on that. I really like many of the contestants this year including Danny, Stevie and Michael. We'll see....

5:07 PM, February 18, 2009  
Anonymous chrisROCKS said...

"Paula came right out and asked her if she's crazy (to which I ask, would Paula like to be the pot or the kettle?)"

CLASSIC!!! lol! Good thing I wasn't drinking anything at the time I read this. hehehe ;P

5:15 AM, February 19, 2009  
Anonymous Vanessa Green said...


I think that Ann Marie has a great voice. A lot of people said that she picked the wrong song but I think she picked it because she wanted to come out of her shell. This shows that she is a person that is willing to take risks and become more confident. Remember her audition? She was seen as shy in terms of star persona but now she seems more confident. She also has a genuine personality evident, she is always smiling and cheerful and she seems like a really fun person. She seems like a really humble person! She took the judges advices well on! During the group 1 performance, she almost transformed! Completely different look from her audition. She is also very attractive and this all adds up to a very likeable star persona. Although I'm sure that she can perform even better.
Her brother Anthony actually added me on FB! He seems like a really nice guy as well and he has been working so hard to try and recruit people to vote for her. He has been commenting everywhere, on FB, joining grouops, spreading news, voting tips, joining pages.
Unfortunately it didn't work out but I really think that she deserves to be in the top 12. I feel like she would do really well if she were given another chance.
I personally think that Anoop Desai, Ricky Braddy and Ann Marie Boskovich are the best picks for the wildcard for group 1 choices.
I really love Ann Marie and lots of people love her as well! Everyone loves their favourite contestant but there is just something that I really like able Ann Marie. I think that it would be an opportunity missed not to pick her for the wildcard round.

Ann Marie singing 'God Bless America' Now this is something that I would love to see on American Idol!:

A reminder of her widely talked about audition:¤t=annmarie.flv

Hollywood group week:¤t=group3_hwood2.flv

I really liked the way she sang in the group song, nice tone!

In terms of her personality, there have been many affirmations, inclusing the popular one from her ex english teacher:

"I am so grateful for the incredible amount of support for Ann Marie. Many of you have messaged and asked how I know her...simply, I was her English teacher in high school. I started this FB page as a way for her friends and family to communicate their support having no idea that it would take off the way it did. I am not a professional, nor did Ann Marie ever ask me to start this page for her or ask me to put any information on it. In fact, she didn't even know I started the page and is still overwhelmed by the response.

If you have the privilege of knowing Ann Marie, you were a fan long before her involvement with American Idol simply because she is just one of those special people with an amazing heart. There is no publicity machine here-simply a group of people who love her and want her to have an opportunity to bless others through her voice."

Some people have been hating saying that she has done previous music...I think every contestant has had something to do with music in the past!

Please consider Ann Marie! <333
Petition for Ann Marie to be one of the Wildcard picks:

3:28 AM, February 22, 2009  

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Thanks Rob for the awesome image!