Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Top 13 Recap (from the Doc)

What a start to the "real" season. I am glad to finally be done with all of that Top 36 stuff. They really watered down the talent pool leading up to the final 13 so it's nice to see that there are still enough truly talented people to make it a great show. I was a bit nervous since I thought Michael Jackson week was a set-up. In the past, shows like Stevie Wonder week were awful since the judges invariably told the contestants there is no way to do any justice to the Greatest Singer in the Known Universe. Michael Jackson is so unique and is such an icon I figured it could be a rough week. It was not!

I was less than amused by all of the gimmicky nonsense at the beginning of the show. I know, let's show off the set and lights. Hey, check out the judges walking on stage. Wow! Ryan sure can descend that staircase. But because all of that took so long, the last contestants barely got any comments whatsoever. It's a Top 12/13 tradition!

Lil Rounds: So, she can sing. Although, it's not a good sign when by the end of the show I've already forgotten what she sang. I think she'll get old pretty fast since we've seen this act before in years past.

Scott: What a difference a piano makes! He seemed so much more comfortable behind the ivories than standing alone on stage. He reminds me of Billy Joel (and not just because he plays the piano). His voice isn't great, but when you put the piano and the emotion and all of that together you get a really good performance.

Danny: He's been great from the beginning. It's really nice to see him enjoying himself up there and doing something more up tempo. He has the ability to do quite well if he can stay humble and sincere.

Michael: This guy can actually sing, but I think he's going to get lost in the shuffle pretty quickly. In the early seasons of American Idol he would have been one of the top few, but this year the talent pool is so deep I don't know that he'll be around very long.

Jasmine: I'm done now. She seems nice, and she's definitely talented (thank goodness she showed this week that she deserved to at least compete at this stage), but she does not ooze enthusiasm and energy like so many of the other contestants. She needs some more seasoning.

Kris Allen: Guitar song or not, that was a really good performance. I was a bit surprised he made it out of the first week since he was a relative unknown at the time and the "unknowns" don't always do well initially. He's got some serious potential, though.

Allison: You can definitely see what kind of music she should be performing. I thought Kara's advice to keep doing rock so Allison can stand out was good. With a group this strong, finding a niche early and exploiting that could be a huge plus.

Anoop: This performance was a huge disappointment for me. He's so much better than what he showed tonight. I think he has a huge following already so he should be safe, which would be good for me since I want to hear more from him, but you never can tell with these things.

Jorge: Nice guy. Nice voice. Not a very strong showing tonight. At least he admitted this music is not his thing, though. I'd like for him to get another chance to show us what he can do.

Megan: Every year, one contestant causes me to respond to his or her performance viscerally. Megan is the one this year. She seems nice and fun. She has a pretty good voice. Her performances give me the willies. Not Sanjaya kind of willies, but something seems very awkward about her, like she has no clue what she's doing (and maybe she doesn't). And her song this week? Why on earth would you pick a 14-year-old Michael Jackson cover of a 50s tune? I thought it was a joke at first, like no one told her she picked the wrong song and they let her go out there anyway.

Adam: I'm with Paula--how has no one found this guy yet? He has a polarizing style in my opinion because I can see how someone may not like his style at all, but he is very talented. Tonight he was kind of reminding me of Michael Hutchence (INXS) for some reason. I thought it was really good.

Matt: I was really glad Matt did "Human Nature" because I thought it was a great piano song. Stacy's been saying all along that he reminded her of Justin Timberlake so it was kind of cool to hear Randy say the same thing. Of course, I'm never surprised to hear Randy repeat the opinion of someone who spoke before him so maybe he knew someone else already thought Matt was a Timberlake-ish performer. Anyway, it would be cool to see Matt around for a while.

Alexis: One thing is for sure--you do NOT expect to hear THAT come out of her. I can see what Simon was saying about it not coming off as well as one might initially think. Let's cut her a little slack this first week, though. It's a big stage and a lot of energy comes out up there.

I'd make predictions on which two are leaving, but it sounds as though there's yet another change to the rules and presentation of American Idol. My biggest worry is that the judges will have some way to manipulate the results. I can appreciate that they have strong opinions with at least a little basis in the industry (although sometimes you have to wonder what in the world they are thinking), but taking the vote away from America would be a HUGE mistake. Let's hope this little surprise is a silly one. Also, this group is so close together talent wise, and the crowd seems to love everyone (it seemed like everyone got a Standing O), so at this point it's anyone's contest.

THIS WEEK'S SIGN THE APOCALYPSE IS UPON US: Amanda Overmyer's debut album is now available.


emily said...

Dave has reactions like that to certain things (your reaction to Megan). He can't watch embarrassing things on TV, he literally has to look away. Must be a family thing.

April (Thorup) Oaks said...

I would LOVE to sit and watch the show with you two. It's fun to read your comments.

J Fo said...

I love hearing your opinions! I mostly agree with your insights. I'm glad that Jasmine and Jorge left, but I'm more nervous about next week. There really is a big pool of talent this year! I really liked Alexis, but I Also like Kris and Matt...You see why I'm nervous now? I guess they all have to go at some point.

bythelbs said...

Amanda has an album out? Seriously?

Love the he said, she said commentary! Hope you'll keep it up!

And Mark, you are SO RIGHT about Megan's dancing. I like her, but still. Dude.

Dr. Mark said...

Emily - I don't know if it's a family thing, but it very well could be. I've learned to keep on watching at times, but it takes a lot of effort.

April - I'm glad you like our comments. Stacy's a little particular about her American Idol viewing, though, so if you come you have to save your comments for the commercial break. ;)

J Fo - This year is going to be a tough one since there are more legitimate contenders than usual. It's all going to come down to a personal style preference.

bythelbs - Yes, Amanda has an album. It's being pushed more as an iTunes, downloadable type of thing, but it exists nonetheless. We'll try and keep the commentary coming. We've cut back on the complexity of our commentaries this year, but it's still fun to ramble on.