American Idol: Top 16 Week – Guy’s Predictions 3/6/2008

Hey folks! I’m sorry for the delay, but I’ve been down with the flu this week. I did manage to watch our favorite Spring show and work out my thoughts on the performances. Due to the complete disregard the miscreants over at “That Site Which Will Remain Nameless,” I am giving my rating prediction and my “what I think will really happen because the voting system is busted.”

comparison_tn.jpgMy wife thinks, and we’ll all have to agree, that Jason Castro looks like Jar-Jar Binks from Star Wars. It really only comes across this obvious when he pulls his hair back, so keep your eyes peeled. He’ll do it again.

Since I’m short on time and energy, here are my girls’ picks:

Actual prediction: Kady Malloy and Ramiele Malubay
Wishful prediction: Kady Malloy and Brooke White

Luke Menard – 9.0

Bad song choice. I’m not even sure that song was in the top 500 Billboard Hits for the 80s. Great voice, but that was dang karioke-like. Go buy some personality.
Simon says: I didn’t like it. It was a bit girly [ed. UMMMM… WHAT THE HECK IS DANNY!!?? Full-blown pansy freak-boy getting voted through for being the worst!]. You won’t make it to the Top 12 and no way will you win it.

David Archuleta – 9.5

Phenomenal vocals again, but it was a strange song choice.
Simon says: It wasn’t as good as last week. Stay at the piano. You’re starting to get a bit gloomy with your song choices. You’re probably going to be in the finals, but it will be depressing.

Danny Noriega – 5.1

I’m done trying.
Simon says: It was horrible. The whole thing: the arrangement, vocals, the whole thing.

David Hernandez – 9.3

Great song, arrangement, vocals… omg! The vocals were hot!
Simon says: It wasn’t as good as last week. I like the soul songs better. 100% secured place in the Top 12.

Michael Johns – 9.3

Excellent song for him, but I just don’t think it was the best arrangement.
Simon says: I liked it. I loved it. Huge talent. You still haven’t connected with the right song.

David Cook – 9.5

Good rock song. A bit pitchy.
Simon says: That was a very brave thing to do… and I… loved it. Lionel Richie will be proud when he hears that.

Jason Castro – 9.7

Boring, but good vocals. Pick a better song.
Simon says: It was absolutely brilliant. One of the best of the night.

Chikezie Eze – 9.2

Boring… good vocals, but another strange song.
Simon says: Was that a Whitney song? Yes? Then I didn’t like it. More cabaret than last week.

Actual prediction: Luke Menard and Chikezie Eze
Wishful prediction: Luke Menard and Danny Noriega

American Idol Top 20: Guy’s Night (2/26/2008)

It was a fantastic show last night. One thing that must not go unnoticed is the sober lucidity that has been long absent from Paula Abdul. She was amazingly helpful and coherent with her judging and comments. Paula, if you read this, keep it up. We like you this way.

It is apparent to me that I need to come up with a new rating system for the performances. The caliber of the singers has risen to the point that to grade them with letter grades is getting to mishy-mashy. How many people can you give an “A” in a night and still have some distinction? Everyone will get lost in the crowd.

I am adopting the Olympic point system. A “10” will get someone the crown in the season finale. Really good singing with a bad song choice will get a “9.” Everything better than a bad song with good singing will receive a decimal point between 9 and 10. If there was room for improvement for the vocals, will receive a “9” or less. Clear? Good. Let’s get going, because time is ticking away on my lunch break.

Michael Johns

Once again, he proved that he has excellent vocals and a dang perfect vibrato that is oh so enchanting for the ladies (I’m guessing here).

Simon says: It was an okay job, but it was his weakest performance of the competition for him so far.
Jesse’s grade: 9.6

Jason Castro

He used his guitar again, and had a great intro interview video that really endeared the audience to him.

Simon says: The song was horrible and all out of sorts. He looked uncomfortable and the song choice didn’t do him any favors.
Jesse’s grade: 9.2

Luke Menard

There was only one way to go from last week’s snoozer: up. The vocals were good and it was a far better choice for him.

Simon says: The song choice was a mistake (a Queen song), because the original had charisma, but he doesn’t.
Jesse’s grade: 9.1

Robbie Carrico

I really liked his singing again, but the song didn’t quite show him off much. I still have hopes for him down the road, but his quality isn’t that of a finalist.

Simon says: The vocals were “ok” tonight.
Jesse’s grade: 9.2

Danny Noriega

Would you just go away? I stand by my comments last week. I don’t care what you sound like when you move, talk, dress, and act like that. It’s revolting to witness and it has no place in the Top 12, let alone Top 20.

Simon says: It was better than last week, but he tried too hard and concentrated too much.
Jesse’s grade: 8.6

David Hernandez

David is great. His vocals are smooth, on target, and he’s got charisma that Simon keeps harping on. His rendition of Papa Was a Rolling Stone was fantastic. Paula’s comments were especially cogent. He really took Simon’s advice last week to loosen up. He must have been drinking WD-40 shakes this week.

Simon says: It was the best vocal of the night so far.
Jesse’s grade: 9.8

Jason Yeager

Well, it was better than last week, but he introduced new problems. He used a mic stand for the beginning and did the ‘walk in place’ dance in front of it, with some weird shoulder movements. It wasn’t working for you, Dawg. Better song, terrible performance if you had to watch it. Last week, Simon said it was ‘cruise ship.’

Simon says: It was awkward and ordinary. The end was almost drunken.
Jesse’s grade: 8.9

Chikezie Eze

Hey! Normal clothes tonight! Much better performance, and he appropriately sang a song directed at Simon to get his name right. It was pretty funny if you were paying attention to the lyrics.

Simon says: You looked better and sounded better. One million times better.
Jesse’s grade: 9.5

David Cook

Busted out an electric guitar and really sold the ‘rocker’ image. The vocals and playing were well-choreographed and it was a very entertaining performance.

Simon says: It was solid, but I didn’t like the intro video of you being a ‘word nerd.’ That doesn’t have any charisma and it didn’t do you any favors.
Jesse’s grade: 9.5

David Archuleta

Everybody. Needs. To. Quit. Now. No one stands a chance against this kid. He’s a 17 year-old Josh Groban. You can’t possibly not adore his voice, charm, humility, sincerity, or anything about him. He’s going huge places that American Idol won’t be able to contain. Randy said it was one of the best vocals in American Idol history.

Simon says: It was very risky to sing a Lennon song, but it worked. You’re the one to beat. There are 19 miserable contestants here tonight.
Jesse’s grade: 10

Voting prediction: Danny Noriega and Jason Yeager

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