Please be aware that I always write my opinion of the singer/song while they are singing. I often pause (Tivo remember?) and make sure I finish my comments before listening to the judges. I like to see how my thoughts compare with theirs. Of course this means that it takes a long time to watch the show.
Von Smith (22, Missouri) – Marvin Gaye. Okay, so he took me back to the age of Wheezie (aka: David Archuleta), If Von wasn’t singing all out he sounded out of breath. He sounded okay when he was singing all out, but not when he was doing the quiet soulful parts. I hated that last year, and I don’t want to hear it this year either. Randy was tickled pink. Kara said he was coming into his own. Paula loved it. Simon said he was reminded of Clay Aiken, but wasn’t sure if that was going to be taken as a compliment or not.
Taylor Vaifanua (17, Utah) – This girl seems MUCH older than seventeen. I have never liked this song. There were good parts and bad parts in this performance. I think she got off key in the low parts, but the end was okay. Kara said she had a voice, but wanted more of her personality. She actually said she wanted to know what it was like to go shopping with Taylor…can you really figure that stuff out by what a person sings? Maybe if they sing “Material Girl” or something…whatever. Simon also questioned the “shopping thing” and asked her what kind of cereal she liked. Simon said the song was generic.
Alex Wagner-Trugman (19, California) – Elton John (one of my personal favorite artists). This kid should cut out the dancing while singing. There was also a lot of weird grunting while singing. Pretty sure Elton never did that. First of all, he’s singing a song about having the blues because his love has left him. I don’t think it is a good idea to sing about something you don’t understand or haven’t experienced. I think he ended up singing this with the wrong emotion behind the song because he couldn’t understand that emotion. All in all…a terrible performance. Paula said he was entertaining. Simon said they had fun watching, but not listening. He also mentioned the “growling” (I called it grunting, but Simon is closer). Randy said he screamed the song and the movements were weird. Kara tried to put a positive spin on it, but I wasn’t buying it. They sounded like they were making fun of him.
Arianna Afsar (17, California) “The Winner Takes It All” by Abba (another personal favorite…didn’t know 17 yr-olds knew who Abba was and this is my favorite Abba song – yes, my heart has been broken before). She tries to make the song her own. I didn’t like the “histo-RAY” pronunciation. At least she showed the correct emotion for the song. She can sing (most of the time), but I had problems with the arrangement of the song, but then again, I’m a purist. No one can sing Abba like Abba can (although I really enjoyed Mama Mia). Simon said it was absolutely terrible and the song was too big for her and it was a dreary arrangement that made him feel like he was at a funeral. Randy said it was the wrong song for her. Kara said it was dark and depressing and not who Arianna is as a person. Paula, ever the optimist, said the song was old-fashioned.
Ju’not Joyner (26, Maryland) “Hey There Delilah” (not again!) – He takes a slow song and slows it down even more. Now it sounds like an old 80’s song. I really hated this arrangement. The other half of the BFF Boys did a better job with his arrangement. Randy said the arrangement was a smart choice and Kara agreed. Paula liked it (of course). Simon said it was better than he thought it would be, but it was a little safe. (no need to say that I disagreed with the judges…even Simon)
Kristen McNamara (23, California) – She's got that smokey-bluesy sound to her voice, and picks a song that really emphasizes that. I think was a great song choice for her. I think she did a great job, good voice, good stage presence. Kara thought her song needed more rock-edge, Paula also said she should be singing something like Kelly Clarkston. Simon thought it was an odd song choice. Randy agrees. I am wondering if I liked the song choice more than the judges because they have heard more from her than I have. None of them hated the song choice, but just thought she could have done something a little different.
Nathaniel Marshall (19, New York) – “I Would Do Anything For Love” by Meatloaf. This is the guy with all the facial piercings and crazy clothes. Super Drama Queen (yes, Queen). He even mentions that he’s a drama queen. He starts out totally off-key then goes into this weird Broadway musical version of the song. He was even snapping his fingers and pointing at the audience. Even if you liked the arrangement, he just didn’t have the vocals. Simon said it was verging on excruciating, but at least people would remember him. Randy asked him why he chose the song, and Nathaniel said he used to run around the house singing it with his mom, but they pan the camera to his mom who had a look on her face like she had no clue what he was talking about. Never mind…that was his aunt, not his mom. Paula said it was like a Boy George version of Meatloaf (that’s my favorite Paula line EVER).
Felicia Barton (26, Virginia) This is the girl that was cut, but then was called back after they had to get rid of one of the 36 because she had too many connections with AI staff. She sings Alicia Keys. She does a pretty good job. These were a few times that she got off-key and a few times when it seemed as if she was forcing it too much. All-in-all one of the better female performances in my opinion. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if this girl made it to the top 4…after being cut earlier! Paula loved her. Simon thought it was a bit copy-cat, but wasn’t too negative. Randy said it was hott. Kara thought she has “stepped into it” whatever that means, but it was meant to be good.
Scott MacIntyre (23, Arizona) – This is the blind guy. Just to remind you…I believe he will make it to the top 10, probably top 4 or 5. He has two things going for him: he can sing and he’s blind. Being blind wouldn’t normally be a good thing, but I think it will garner him some votes. He sang “Mandolin Rain” I used to love this song. His voice was not perfect, but there were worse tonight. It’s hard to rip him apart because I admire him too much. Randy said that the vocals weren’t perfect but the great parts were really great and he could feel the passion. Kara said he “moved mountains when he stepped on the stage”. (As a side note, I’ve decided that Kara is full of weird figurative sayings.) Paula said he blessed them with his gift. Simon said he wasn’t crazy about the lyrics, but that Scott was growing on him.
Kendall Beard (24, Texas) – Sings Martina McBride. She looked like she had a wig on… I’m not into country music, so I try to really focus on the vocals and forget the song. She did a pretty good job as a country singer. There were a few weird moments when she slid into some high notes and was way off key/pitch. Kara said she would start off with the positives…that’s never good. Paula commented on the clothes…also not a good sign, and she never said a thing about the music. Simon said that halfway through he couldn’t wait for it to end, and could have chosen a song better suited to her voice. Randy was okay with the song, etc.
Jorge Nunez (21, Puerto Rico) Elton John again…let’s see how he does with this classic. He does much better with the heavy accent, but I’m not sure it’s enough to break into the American market. He would have to sing Spanish-influenced songs. His voice is good though. The lisps in the accent make him sound a little “special” in my opinion. Paula said he sounded so good…I thought she was going to cry. Simon said they might have been wrong to tell him not to sing with an accent, that he has a good voice. Randy was all over Jorge. And yet another good line from Kara… “he was born to sing.”
Lil Rounds (24, Memphis) Okay, so I couldn’t watch her sing because she does this weird thing with her lips…pulling them way back. I really didn’t like the song. It had a weird rhythm to it and the words were sung in a weird way. Having said that, Lil has a great voice, very powerful. I’m not sure there’s anything super special or unique about her voice though, and sometimes that’s what it takes. Simon said it was brilliant and his favorite performance, but he didn’t like the song. Randy agreed with Simon (although I’m pretty sure he actually said, "I agree with Kyle"??), and said she “kept her swagger on.” Kara called her a power-house. Paula worships her…of course.
Wow. That took 2 nights! I’ll be glad when we don’t have to get through shows with this many performances. I don't even have enough time to fast forward through the reveal episode tonight...