Group 3 of the new format and even though these first rounds have been up and down (more down than up, for sure) I still think I like it this way quite a bit. I dig the “75% of you are going home” thing, as it adds a level of do or die (which likely is the reason for all the horrible performances). Let’s see if we can get 2 girls and a guy this week, or if the pre teen estrogen lands us another cutie for the third. You start to wonder if they just took the top 3 vote getters if we would have all dudes. Hey, if it means Norman Gentle would still be in, I’m all for it.On to the show…
Von Smith, “You’re all I Need to Get By” – I like this Von Smith kid, not sure even why, but he stood out as one I might root for. His performance tonight was really pretty good, certainly better than the other firsties. Started out a bit shaky but some really strong notes in there, and he really sold it, even though you could tell he was a bit nervous. Yep, I like Von. (B+)Taylor Vaifanua, “If I Ain’t Got You” – Not a bad voice, but here we go again with the over performing. Solid vocal, but not sold on the presence. (B-)Alex Wagner-Trugman, “I Guess That’s Why They Call it The Blues” – Yes, he is a dork, and I kinda like him for it. It’s hard to take him seriously when he sings lines like “rollin’ like thunder, under the covers” and then throws the mic stand (while at the same time trying to keep it from falling over). Point being he sang ok, but he’s adorable right? God bless our favorite Hamster-Tiger. (C+)Arianna Afsar, “The Winner Takes it All” – Sorry Arianna, you will have to do much better than this to capture us. Pleasant enough voice, but even when it was “strong” it was shaky. I couldn’t even tell if she was in beat with the music. (C)Ju’not Joyner, “Hey There, Delilah” – Dude’s pretty smooth, but if this song doesn’t pick up it will just be another forgettable performance. Well, it kinda went somewhere, I don’t know, Ju’not? I think he made enough of an impact to have a shot, but I’m not sure there was anything super special about that. (B)Kristen McNamara, “Give Me One Reason” – There we go. A little weak at the end, but I thought that was a great performance. I’m not sure if America will buy it, but I did. (B+)Nathaniel Marshall, “I Would Do Anything For Love” – Oh dear. That was like a Norman Gentle performance, except if Norman wasn’t in on the joke and couldn’t sing quite as well. MAKE IT STOP, SOMEONE, PLEASE MAKE THE PAIN GO AWAY. (D)Felicia Barton, “No One” – The stay at home mom who got the second chance. If she can throw a decent performance into the mix with that story it will be hard to vote against her. Unfortunately for her, every time she tried to go big she missed the note, but other than that she sounded really good. (B)Scott MacItyre, “Mandolin Rain” – I have to be honest with you, I haven’t heard a single performance from this guy that I thought was that good. It beyond obvious to me that the ONLY reason he is on this show is because he is blind. I apologize if that is insensitive, but I find it patronizing that Idol has put him through this far. Tonight’s performance did nothing to change my view on this (it was mediocre at best), and the judges fawning was transparently tainted. Give the man some respect and treat him on an equal level with the others. (C-)Kendall Beard, “This One’s For The Girls” – Hey, it’s our first drop dead vocal of the night, as in, I would rather drop dead than listen to it anymore. That was nasty. She would have fit much better in week 1. (D-)Jorge Nunez, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me” – This song will always be associated with Clay Aiken, Wild Card week, Season 2, so it’s hard for me not to compare. Clay blew me away with that song. Jorge just managed to sing it well. I’m biased, but it was just ok. (B-)Lil Rounds, “Be Without You” – Interesting, you can usually count on that last performance to blow you away. Not so much tonight. Not that Short Round, er… Lil Rounds was bad, she was really good. But not head and shoulders above the rest. This will be a very interesting vote. (A-)Should be in the Top 12:Lil RoundsVon SmithKristen McNamaraOther Possibilities:Well, all of them except for…Chewed up and spit out by the Idol stage:Kendall and AriannaOfficial prediction for who will be in the Top 12:This is an impossible week to predict. If I manage to go 3 for 3 this week, give me your cash and send me to Vegas, cause it’s a complete crap shoot tonight. I think Lil will go through for the gals both because she deserves it and because she got that coveted final slot. Other than that, there are only two names I would be genuinely shocked if they made it through, Kendall and Arianna. Sure I thought Nathaniel was terrible and am tired of his shtick, but can’t you just see him squeaking through (hold on, I need to stop shuddering so I can type again). My fear is that Kristen and Von will get passed over for one of the sob stories; the blind guy, the dork, the puetro rican, the single dad, the second chance stay at home mom. Not that all of these would be awful choices, just not as deserving as Von and Kristen. Official guess: Short Round, Blind Guy, and Crying Puerto Rican. We are nothing if not suckers for a good sob story. Hopefully the judges will put through some of the more deserving singers with the wild card picks, you know, like that NickNorm guy.