Wednesday, February 18, 2009

AI – 1st Round of Top 36

Top 36

AI…we’re live now! Well, they were, but I watched it an hour late (Tivo) because I was at a basketball game.

The contestants get a minute and 20 seconds.

They are dividing the 36 contestants into 3 groups of 12. Only 3 will go through to the next round, the girl with the highest votes, the guy with the highest votes and whoever has the next highest votes. Then those 9 will compete. Then the next 3 spots are given out on the wild card show. This is a little different from previous years. I’m wondering exactly how they chose these groups. I already see a few of my possible top 10ers in the same group. Maybe wild card night will get some of them through.

Theme: Hits from the Billboard top 100 since the charts began. I wonder if they really got the rights to all those songs.

Tonight’s contestants: Jackie Tohn, Ricky Braddy, Alexis Grace, Brent Keith, Stevie Wright, Anoop Desai, Casey Carlson, Michael Sarver, Ann Marie Boskovich, Stephen Fowler, Tatiana Del Toro, and Danny Gokey.

FYI: When I say “Judges”, I am almost always talking about Randy, Kara and Paula. Simon is always on his own and so I will often talk about the judges and Simon.

Jackie Tohn (28, New York) She’s got that smokers voice. She sang “A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis. I was disturbed by her outfit…especially the pants and shoes, but then the 80’s are coming back (that’s a whole other post!). I think she tried too hard and ended up sounding like she was yelling. Randy and Kara liked her excitement, but said the vocals weren’t the best. Paula loves her, but she loves everyone. Simon said she “played the clown” and the adjectives ungangly and gimmicky were used. I agree with Simon.

Ricky Braddy (26, North Carolina) I don’t remember him from the previous rounds. Don’t remember what he sang. Good voice, maybe a little kitschy. The judges liked him. Paula mentioned the fact that he hadn’t been “featured” in the last 3 weeks. Simon said he had a great voice, but not the star quality (too shy).

Alexis Grace (21, Memphis) “Never Loved A Man” by Aretha Franklin. I think she could have done without the background vocals; they were as loud as she was and covered up her voice when they were used. Good singer; we’ll see if she’s good enough. The judges loved her and said she had come out of her shell. Simon said she was the best so far (out of three) and might be the “dark horse” of the competition.

Brent Keith (29, Ohio) “Hick Town” (country song, so I don’t know it) Haven’t really seen him either. He kept losing the low notes, and you couldn’t hear them. He didn’t really sing them, but spoke them. I think they were out of his range. The judges were a little ambivalent in my opinion. Simon said he was forgettable. I, once again, agree with Simon.

Stevie Wright (17, California) “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift (who I don’t like). Stevie had a terrible start. I think the song started out too low and she couldn’t really sing the first few lines. I don’t know if she was really nervous or what, but her voice was really shaky throughout. It sounded like bad karaoke to me, and there’s no chance she’ll be back. You can always tell when Randy’s going to give a bad review by how he starts out. “Yo…see…” He also uses the “wow” in a bad way. Randy also brought back the “Not hott” from previous years. The judges didn’t like her, Paula said the song was too low, Kara said that Stevie was having an identity crisis. Simon said she was terrible.

Anoop Desai (22, North Carolina) He’s the Indian guy that I think is a top 10er. “Angel of Mine” by Monica. I just don’t think you expect a voice like that out of him. I’m not sure this was the best song. I would have liked to see a more exciting song. Randy thought he was a little sharp, but still a “fan”. Kara didn’t like how he performed the song either, but likes Anoop. Simon said he had “massive likeability” going for him.

Casey Carleson (20, Minneapolis) “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by The Police. She might have tried too hard to show good stage presence; there was a lot of weird winking going on. I think she sang this song like it was a totally different type of song…and she was off-key. It was a little “pageanty” to use one of Simon’s words. Randy didn’t like it and said it sounded like Karaoke. Kara said everything about it was wrong. Paula said it didn’t work for her. Simon said she couldn’t have picked a worse song. Everyone said that people should stay away from Police because they are too iconic.

Michael Sarver (27, Texas) He’s the rough neck on an oil rig…not the Jeff Foxworthy kind. “I Don’t Wanna Be” Not a good start. Bad Karaoke. He didn’t make this song his own and he really did look and sound like a drunk frat guy up there singing. It was painful. Randy and Kara said it wasn’t his best performance, but I think they should have been rougher. Paula took the easy way out of course. Simon said if he gets through it’s because people like him and hopes that America gives him another shot.

Ann Marie Boskovich (22, Nashville) “Natural Woman” Her voice was a little shaky at times. She tried to put her own spin on the song, not sure it was to the best effect. The judges didn’t think it was the best song choice for her. Simon called her a hotel singer.

Stephen Fowler (26, Cleveland) “Rock With You” by Michael Jackson Before he starts, I’m wondering if he will remember his words. He has a good voice and plenty of what AI looks for in contestants. Randy and Kara said it was the wrong song for him and didn’t showcase his song. Simon said the whole thing was atrocious and corny.

Tatiana Del Toro (24, San Juan) “I’m Saving All of My Love For You” Whitney Houston (a crazy, singing a crazy’s song) She’s back! Please let this be the last time we have to see her. The new haircut makes her look less crazy. She seemed much calmer during her interview. I wonder if she saw herself on TV and decided to take it down a notch or 500? I hate to admit that she can sing, but she can. I can only hope that she’s driven America as crazy as she has me and that she doesn’t get the votes to stay in for another round. She didn’t disappoint at the end with a typical “Tatiana look”. The judges said that she was really reserved tonight and that she surprised them with her abilities, although it wasn’t perfect. Simon called her out on the carpet and said she was a drama queen. I am now convinced that she decided to dial down the crazy from now.

Danny Gokey (28, Milwaukee) “Hero” by Maria Carey (love this song btw). Of course they save the best for last. If Danny doesn’t win this, it’ll be because something big has happened to prevent it. I didn’t know until today that Danny is a church music director…one more reason to love him. I think he was able to make the song his own, especially considering that it was originally sung by Maria Carey… The judges are in love with Danny. Paula’s on her feet. Kara is slamming her fist on the table. Simon brought us all back to reality. He said it was good, but said he wasn’t buying the hype.

I want both Danny and Anoop to go through from this round. My female pick would have to be Alexis Grace because Casey Carleson chose such a bad song for her.


Gina Marie Wake said...

I agree with Simon 99.9% of the time. The other judges are totally useless in my opinion. Love Danny - there are times I hear some Joe Cocker in his voice and I love that. He's like David Cook's voice but less creepy looking. ;)

Smalltown Girl said...

@Gina - I almost always agree with Simon too. The others are just either too stupid or too "nice" to say what needs to be said. And Paula's in love with everyone. I often wonder what she would say if she had to go first instead of waiting to parrot everything Randy says.

I David Cook is not creepy looking. You must need new contacts.