Von Smith - Kris Allen has filled the "obscure white guy" role, thank you for playing. Also, Kris is cuter. Just saying. Marvin Gaye's "You're All I Need To Can Get By." Whatever, let's talk style. Suit pants and jacket. Red tinted sneakers to color match with an American Apparel red sorta-stripped V-neck shirt that IS NOT TUCKED INTO THE PANTS. Oh, my (later: yes, Simon is right about style... never thought I'd say that...) The only thing worse would be if he were wearing flip-flops. I enjoyed the performance, and in last week's sh!tshow he may have had a shot... I doubt it this week. But the judges loved it enough for wildcard. I'm not getting a ton of personality off of Von.
Taylor Vaifanua - I remember this girl from auditions! She's the one who needed to wash her hair. "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys. Nice song, but, um, the verses are pretty monotone / mellow, right? This is a really pretty, soulful song when Alicia does it. And I can tell from the first line that Taylor doesn't have the experience to understand WTF the song means and the emotion that should be behind it. It's not a disaster like a lot of the performances from weeks 1 and 2 of the semis... but there's no glory in that song. Not sure how I feel about those leather legging things (I think those alone say what it's like to go shopping with Taylor, Kara). Were they connected to heel boots?
Alex Wagner-Trugman - Um, he obviously wasn't paying attention to Brooke last week! Don't google yourself! Elton John's "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues." Remember when song titles were that long? Oh, lord, his video package is just screaming "please, teen girls, worship me! Love me! ... please?" Homeboy needs to learn to work a mic stand. And a stage. He has an... interesting growl note right before the first chorus. Seriously. Needs to work on working with that mic stand.
Ariana Afsar - WHOM?? And she's doing ABBA? And "The Winner Takes It All," well, at least it's not "Dancing Queen..." I don't get this choice, and there were some problems in the beginning (and a flat note or several near the end). But I'm digging the dress. That's a win, right? Oh, wait, I saw straps. I thought it was strapless. Sigh, we have our first unqualified disaster and disturbingly silent audience. I mean, Alex was bad, but I have to be honest I wasn't expecting much of anything and the judges were really disappointed with Ariana.
Ju'not Joyner - Plain White Ts' "Hey There, Delilah" is so not the song I expect to come from this guy. And it's already a really slow song. He makes it slower and softer than it needs to be, and I'd rather have an acoustic guitar than the piano. I predict Simon will say he was put to sleep. I kind of was, but at the same time I get that it was a different interpretation and that in and of itself warrants some positivity and getting used to instead of snap judgment. What's with the handcuffs hanging from his pants? Is that a thing now? There are a lot of pitch problems. But the judges were very happy with it. Hm. Ju'not is very, um... overshare (NOT "TMPI," Ryan...)
Kristen McNamara - "Give Me One Reason" by Tracy Chapman. Holy hell, a *fun* retro song that my friends sing at karaoke! This was the girl Simon completely disagreed with the other judges about in the "sing off" between her and some other blonde girl (because, y'know, they can only have so many?) Those shoes don't go with that dress (yes, I know, I'm kind of in a sartorial place right now, please forgive me in the morning). Kara... I'd love to see this girl sing "So What" by P!nk. Paula remembers what this girl sang in Hollywood Week, gives cogent feedback, yet can't pronounce ABBA correctly. Loves us some Paula. I enjoyed this. Hope to see more of her. And when she comes back for the wildcard... sing "So What" by P!nk. Oh, her post-performance / panel critique interview is precious. PRECIOUS!
Nathaniel Marshall - DRAMZ DRAMZ DRAMZ DRAMZ DRAMZ DRAMZ DRAMZ DRAMZ. I don't want to see goofy, good-natured, humble Nate. You were put here for TEH DRAMZ. "I Would Do Anything For Love" by Meatloaf! WTF, Nate? That's totally the other hammy queen's wheelhouse (seriously, Adam is so going to be belting out a Meatloaf song one of these weeks). Good lord, I can't even talk about what he's wearing (including not wearing his nose ring). I CANNOT. I liked the opening... ish? But as soon as it went more uptempo, the song overtook Nate. Why didn't Nate sing The Killers? Hm? HM? And now Paula is remembering something ELSE specific from Hollywood Week? Did someone give her Adderall during the commercial break before Kristen sang? Now *I'm* remembering Nate's "Disturbia," or at least the snippet we heard of it, and I remember being quite stricken by it in a good way.
COMMERCIAL BREAK - Jay Karnes is guest starring on House! DUTCH! And he was on Burn Notice last week! DUTCH!
Felicia Barton - They really do need to explain Felicia's presence here... though they're going to have to do it in the context of "she was the 37th choice and someone got disqualified so she's in on a technicality." Interestingly, she wasn't part of any sing-off. Hm. Odd, right? Alicia Keys song number two for the night... alrighty then. "No One." This girl has the pain in her voice. She sang the song the way Alicia does. Until the chorus when she can't, apparently, because her voice breaks perhaps? This girl has underdog written all over her sequined shirt and I want to love her. I do. It's probably top of the female stack for the night... thus far. But the ringer hasn't gone yet. Felicia's earned a wildcard performance, no?
Scott MacIntyre - Okay you guys, I know, I know. He's blind. But can someone fix his teeth PLEASE? I mean, I know vampires are in and all but the FANGS ON THIS ONE. And while we're at it... the hair? PLEASE? Bruce Hornsby's "Mandolin Rain?" What song dat? Alex should take notes from Scott on how to work a stage. Scott's good, ya'll. Looking forward to Scott being able to perform with the keyboard.
Kendall Beard - HOT GIRL HOT GIRL HOT GIRL. We don't have a "traditional" hot girl in the Top 12 yet. And she's got all the "aw, shucks" I can handle. Martina McBride's "This One's For The Girls." Yellow is clearly Kendall's signature color. The babydoll works on her figure, but I feel like just about anything would? I can't tell with country whether someone is flat, sharp, or just twang. Vocally she loses it towards the end and I feel she kind of gives up? But she has fun doing it?
Jorge Nuñez - Elton John "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me." And a second Elton song! The rules of "selections from the Top 100" baffles me. Y'know how last season all I wanted was for David Archuleta to open his eyes while he was singing? All I want is for Jorge to stop looking directly into the camera. I'm horrible, he has a lazy eye, I know. He's obviously got a good voice, but I don't know what this song says about him as an artist. Where was Simon's cruise ship / hotel lounge comment?
Lil Rounds (PIMP SPOT) - So, um, not only am I predicting who has been getting into the Top 12... but I'm predicting performance order? Go me... also, I'm scared. Okay, not really. They put the three ringers from auditions / Hollywood into the three semifinal weeks and then gave each the pimp spot. Anyway. The performance. Mary J Blige "Be Without You" I LOVE THIS SONG. GO LIL. But if you were gonna sing Mary J for me, could you do "No Drama" next time? Kthxbai. SHE EVEN SELF-CENSORS THE CURSE WORDS. She didn't carry the final note out, but, y'know what... WHO THE EFF CARES!
Top Female: Lil Rounds
Top Male: Scott MacIntyre
Next best... I want it to be a girl from this round to even the genders out a little more. I'd love for it to be Felicia Barton, and I think she has the underdog element, if not the screentime fanbase, to pull it off. We can get Kendall and Kristen (the show needs a female country singer and doesn't have it yet) in the wildcard round. If it's gonna be a guy... Jorge or Ju'not. But I'm hoping for Felicia. I dunno. This week there's only one standout in Lil, and no one even coming close.
Wildcard choice recap (we only get 8 or 9 total, but here's 4 from each week that I suspect covers the field)
Week 1: Ricky Braddy, Anoop Desai, Ann Marie Boskovich, Tatiana del Toro (lulz...?)
Week 2: Matt Giraud, Megan Corkrey, Jessie Langseth, Mishavonna Henson
Week 3: We'll see, but... Ju'not Joyner, Kristen McNamara, Kendall Beard, Jorge Nuñez