American Idol: Top 24 Pre-results

idol_top24_lead.jpgTuesday and Wednesday brought us the top 12 guys and the top 12 girls, and it’s pretty clear that the talent runs deeper this year than last year. Stick around all season long for my takes on the performances and my predictions on the day of the results show, and my commentary on the results the next day. I write down my comments on the performance before Simon speaks, so let’s see how I compare to the great Simon Cowell. Here is how the week went:

Guy’s Night

David Hernandez

David had a very original rendition and his vocals really carried the song, but he was a bit pitchy at the end, and it detracted a bit from the performance.

Simon says: Loosen up.
Jesse’s grade: A-

Chikezie Eze

His vocals were decent, but not as good as David’s, plus his orange suit was distracting. It was nice, but I wasn’t impressed.

Simon says: Hated the whole performance: suit, wink, wooos, and it was corny.
Jesse’s grade: B

David Cook

The first rocker of the year took the stage with a very original tempo and cadence to his song. He actually moved and looked like he belonged there, rather than standing and singing. It was a very good performance.

Simon says: It was good, but he had a bit of yelling… almost believable.
Jesse’s grade: A

Jason Yeager

Dang, man! He’s old enough to have figured out that he just put millions of people asleep. Moon River has one place: dentist offices. If he had gone any later, I would have passed out from my long day, because he wasn’t doing anything to keep me awake.

Simon says: It was very ‘cruise ship.’
Jesse’s grade: C-

Robbie Carrico

This former boy-bander can rock! I really liked his performance the best so far for the night. It was so original, I called him “Dawg” and said “yo” twice.

Simon says: It was the only performance that made any semblance of sense, though he’s not convinced he is a rocker and not a pop singer.
Jesse’s grade: A+

David Archuleta

The boy has the pipes, the smile, the charisma… the whole package, and at only 17. It seems like the young people who make it this far have such a natural talent, that it’s hard for the others to beat them. His singing was effortless. Top 6, for sure.

Simon says: When you’ve got it, you’ve got it. Was by a comfortable mile, the best of the night.
Jesse’s grade: A+

Danny Noriega

This year’s Sanjaya. Did anyone in this country really enjoy that? Oh. My. Goodness. He needs to wake up and realize that he’s either trying to be Mandy Moore or Jessica Alba. Seriously! What 18 year old dude stands up there and gives a pouty lip and does a head weave to Simon after a performance that sucks that bad? I had no complaints about the vocals, but everything else about it was revolting.

Simon says: That performance was verging on the grotesque.
Jesse’s grade: C-

Luke Menard

Another senior citizen that should know better than to sing a slow song and try to get by on vocal merits alone. He was doomed as soon as he started going pitchy. I was ready to fast forward.

Simon says: It was forgettable.
Jesse’s grade: C-

Colton Berry

Original composition accompanied by good singing. I liked it, even though he wasn’t really in the auditions or Hollywood week. I really wanted to see the nerdy guy, and I’m still convinced he would have done better than Colton.

Simon says: It was OK… he has a non-recording artist sound.
Jesse’s grade: B+

Garrett Haley

I don’t know where to start on this one. It was slow, and made slower by his expression. The performance came across as generally boring and I did actually fall asleep before the end. We went to bed and continued in the morning.

Simon says: It was whiney and that he looks pale like he’s been shut up in his bedroom for months and needs some fresh air.
Jesse’s grade: D

Jason Castro

The first contestant to bring out an instrument: a guitar. I thought it was very good until the last few seconds trying to resolve the song. I liked it, but I’m not sure how far he’ll get.

Simon says: It was in the Top 2 for the night, he’s got it, and he’s a good person with the camera.
Jesse’s grade: A

Michael Johns

I’m not sure if he’s going to win, but he will dang sure be in the Top 6, barring a big mistake. Mark it. Now. I’ve spoken. Great song choice, awesome vocals, very comfortable on stage… finally an old guy who knows how to plan a performance.

Simon says: Most consistent contestant, and the song wasn’t as good as his final Hollywood performance, but he’s got it.
Jesse’s grade: A+

Voting prediction: Garrett Haley and Jason Yeager

Girl’s Night

Kristy Lee Cook

Kristy put out quite a song for having the flu. Several people were affected, but I couldn’t guess that she was one of them until the song was over. I could hear that song on the radio.

Simon says: That song didn’t suit her and the performance was robotic, with the flu not being any excuse for that performance.
Jesse’s grade: A-

Joanne Borgella

The plus-sized model sang a decent vocal, but it was lacking flair and originality. It was a couple of steps down from Kristy’s song.

Simon says: I didn’t like it at all. It was an average cabaret song.
Jesse’s grade: B

Alaina Whitaker

I think I can sum her performance up in two of Randy’s oft-used words: “Hot!” and “Dawg!” Technically, she falls under his “man” saying, but I digress. Wow! It was an original song, she moved around, and she was brilliant for the camera.

Simon says: I loved it, despite the nature of the song. (a love song -ed.)
Jesse’s grade: A+

Amanda Overmyer

A fallen favorite from the auditions and Hollywood week, in my book. Her song was hard to understand, hardly had any lyrics, did nothing to showcase her voice, and her dancing was spastic at best. Pick a better song next time and stick to what you know, girl.

Simon says: I really like you, but it wasn’t your best performance.
Jesse’s grade: C

Amy Davis

She lost just about any appeal she had last night, as far as I’m concerned. She picked a slow song (getting the hint yet, people?), kept it old-feeling, and kept sliding up into the notes as if she wasn’t able to hit one to save her life. The effect was quite pitchy for the majority of the song since the slides lasted longer than the correct pitch.

Simon says: It was what it was: it didn’t sound good, it was a bad arrangement, bad song choice, and came across as very cabaret.
Jesse’s grade: D+

Brooke White

She came out and delivered a solid performance with a nice tempo to her song, though it seemed too long for that segment of the show when things start to drag.

Simon says: It was a good song for her and she sang it well.
Jesse’s grade: A

Alexandrea Lushington

Yeah, I’m too lazy to look up the code for the accent over her second “e.” Oh well. I thought it was good singing with high energy, but the arrangement didn’t do anything to help her. It seemed quite awkward and really detracted from the overal impression. I like her, but that song didn’t help her cause.

Simon says: I didn’t get it… horrible vocals and awful 60’s musical feel.
Jesse’s grade: C-

Kady Malloy

Another young person with talent. I thought the vocals were good, but the song really started to drag toward the end. It could have been considerably shorter or had a much faster tempo.

Simon says: It was Night of the Living Dead. She needs to lighten up. They would have to use a pencil to do an impersonation of her.
Jesse’s grade: B

Asia’h Epperson

We fell in love with her in Atlanta for her auditions. The way she pulled off that major song (was it Whitney or Celine?) just a couple of days after her dad died… wow! She did it again, and she still has that rasp at the beginning of her phrasing that is so unique, and a thousand times better than Macy Gray’s voice.

Simon says: It was his favorite of the night. She let herself go and had fun.
Jesse’s grade: A+

Ramiele Malubay

Just as cute as a button, she didn’t deliver. I was expecting more from her, but it was a deadly combination of a karaoke bar song and a seemingly distant mind, apart from her body and soul. I was disappointed in her performance… but…

Simon says: She outsung every single person so far.
Jesse’s grade: B+

Syesha Mercado

Great vocals again! She finally got the show hopping again. She’s a clear contender. Top 6.

Simon says: It wasn’t her best performance, but it doesn’t matter. She’s probably one of the best talents in the show.
Jesse’s grade: A+

Carly Smithson

Good vocals from the Irish tattoo artist. I’m not sure why they saved her for last, other than she may have sung better earlier, but was ravaged by the flu. She definitely is a great, natural talent, but she wasn’t the best of the night. I fell asleep listening because the composition didn’t do anything new for me.

Simon says: I didn’t get it. The song was way too old for her and he strangely criticized her professional mic technique.
Jesse’s grade: A-

Voting prediction: Amy Davis and Amanda Overmyer

  • Charis

    Oohh.. this will be fun to read over the course of the season! My faves so far are David Archuleta, Michael Johns, Ramiele and Syesha.

  • Charis

    Oohh.. this will be fun to read over the course of the season! My faves so far are David Archuleta, Michael Johns, Ramiele and Syesha.