Von Smith (22, Missouri) You're All I Need to Get By - Marvin Gaye. The song started too low for him. Von should just sing things like this song forever and ever. He was kind of odd on the song. His low notes were too low, and some of his high notes were just slightly off key. He is confident on stage, at least, and some of his notes were good. Not bad, not bad. Randy said dude, it was the way to kick off the show. Kara said he was coming into his own. Paula said that it's hard being first, but he made a memorable first. Simon said he was reminded of Clay Aiken. Kara said he's spicier than Clay. I don't see it, Simon. Not at all.
Taylor Vaifanua (17, Utah) If I Ain't Got You. Some people leave for the strange ennunciation. It was boring, and too low, and off key all over the place. I don't particularly like the original song, and Taylor didn't do it any favors. She was better than some of the girls that went before her, but she's just not good. I'm not even going to mention her horrid dress that looked like she made it in home ec. Kara said she has a voice, but she wanted more of her personality, and wanted to know what it would be like to go shopping with Taylor via song. Paula is perplexed, saying that Taylor sang the song in Hollywood, and wishes that she had tried something different. Simon was confused about Kara's shopping analogy. Simon called it generic and bland, and said that she was unmemorable. Randy was nearly cut off by the bwah-wah music, but managed to get in that he was nothing special.
Alex Wagner-Trugman (19, California) I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues - Elton John. He gives good interview, and he makes me laugh, but can he sing? He looks very tired, with giant circles under his eyes. The beginning was much better than the end, which got very shrill. The song was not good for his voice at all. He's entertaining, with some very strange stage moves, including knocking down the microphone stand after trying to be cool with it. Paula said he was entertaining. Simon said they had fun watching him, but not listening to him, and mentioned the ridiculous growling. Agreed. Simon said he was like a hamster trying to be a lion. Kind of also agreed. Randy said it was "crazy in a buck wild kind of way," and said "Dude," in a bad way about the vocals, saying he screamed the song. Kara said "at least you do you," and said that you can't pay for that kind of choreography. True enough. Kara asked him to ditch the growling. I would totally agree. I don't know - I root for him, even if he had a kind of horrible performance tonight, because he is entertaining, and not in the Norman Gentle kind of way. Ryan finished the interview section by breaking the microphone stand.
Arianna Afsar (17, California) The Winner Takes it All - ABBA. Sadly, she took a ballad and made it even slower. She added all sorts of unneccessary runs. It's Shatneresque. Arianna, learn something. ABBA was genius. Don't mess with it. Runs are not ok for the sake of runs. That was dreadful, and I am saddened that this was ABBA's first appearance on the Idol Stage. Simon hit it right on the nose and said that it was like a funeral dirge. Ariana said that she tried to make it contemporary. Um, don't. Randy said it just wasn't good. Kara said that they fell in love with a ray of sunshine, and this was dark and depressing, and she needs to be young and touch people. Paula said there were some bright moments to the song, which I didn't hear. Paula also liked riffs, which I totally disagree with, but she also said that sometimes it's better to stick with the melody. Absolutely.
Ju'not Joyner (26, Georgia) Hey There, Delilah - Plain White Tees. He dragged this dang song down, and I hate that. I love this song, and he made it dreary. His ennunciation was awful. He's got a good voice and knows how to use it, and his high notes were natural, but ... I can't get over the unnecessary apostrophe, and the slowness of the song. He had the best performance so far, but still. Randy said yo yo, and appreciated how he pulled back. Kara liked his spin, and called it fluid. Paula wanted to know where Ju'not's son was, and he is with his grandma. Paula liked it. Simon has already forgotten Taylor, but thought that it was much better than it was going to be. Ju'not mentioned a cortisone shot in his butt. What? I think he was my favorite of the night so far, but the others have been awful, so...
Kristen Macnamara (23, California) Give Me One Reason - Tracy Chapman. She's got a great set of pipes on her, but the arrangement was like elevator music version of the song. She has really good stage presence, and though she wore a dress that my daughter might like for her 6th birthday. Kara said that she wanted to see Kristen do something with a little more rock edge. Paula liked her, but didn't like the outfit, and Simon said that she can sing, but isn't sure who Kristen is. Randy said it was karaoke. I disagree. She does, however, look a bit like Charo. Kristen said that she wishes she could afford a stylist.
Nathaniel Marshall (19, Malone, NY) I Would Do Anything for Love - Meatloaf. I can't handle Nathaniel. He has way too many tattoos which don't jive with the rest of his strange bizarre look. He has too many piercings, and his obsession with pointless headbands that look like ribbon. The performance was super cheesy, and he doesn't have the depth of voice to carry off this song. He's certainly proud of himself. Simon said that some people would probably like that, but the majority would think of it as verging on excruciating. He admitted that Nathaniel is fun. Randy wondered about the song choice, and he said that he used to dance around to it with his mom. I. Don't. Care. Randy was confused, and repeatedly said that it was an "Elton John" headband. Um. Olivia Newton, dear. Kara said she wanted to see a different side of him, and right now she just thinks of him as a karioke buddy. Paula loves him, and loved his song choice in Hollywood, but called this song the Boy George version of the song. Oh my God, I'm agreeing with Paula. Ryan had Nathanial go over to be close with the judges, and sit on Simon's lap. What? I'm confused.
Felicia Barton (26, Virginia) No One - Alicia Keys. Is she worthy of the second chance she got? Why do people keep singing Alicia Keys? There are other songs, people. Her sparkly top certainly caught the lights, and I liked her very well in the beginning, but she hit a couple very strange notes in there. She seems to have a really low voice, but has troubles up higher. She was pretty good, but I wish she had chosen something else. Paula called her gift unbelievable. Her son is adorable. Simon agreed with me that the first part of the song was better than the second half, and worried it was copycat. Randy thought she had an amazing voice, and wants her to go with her own thing. Kara said she had a few problems with some notes, but she noticed Felicia tonight. I did, too.
Scott Macintyre (23, Arizona) Mandolin Rain - Bruce Hornsby. I think that Scott is not nearly as good as the hype about him is. He proved how good Bruce Horsby is, and his high notes were bad. I didn't like it at all. Not at all. It was nearly painful for me. Randy said that it wasn't the most perfect vocal, but the good parts were really really great. I disagree. (Can I just say Scott's brother is super attractive in the audience? I wonder if Scott straightened his hair if he would be more attractive.) Kara said that the bum notes didn't matter so much because he has passion. I don't want to listen to his passion, I want to listen to good singing. Paula wants him with his piano. Simon said that Scott is beginning to believe in himself, and he's memorable. The judges all kissed his shoes. He gave Ryan a high five, harkening back to faux pas at the original auditions.
Kendall Beard (24, Texas) This One's For the Girls - Martina McBride. She's like Country Singer Barbie, complete with her bright yellow dress that looked a bit like a fitted sack. Her high notes are bad. I'm sure that country lovers will love her. I do not. She missed many notes. Her low range was pleasant enough. Kara said she has a big personality, and she's really a country girl, but said that she had some issues with the notes. Paula liked her dress, and thought that she was adorable. Simon thinks she chose the right song, but wanted it to end, because it got shrill. Randy thought that the song choice was good, but the vocal performance was not all there. I wouldn't be surprised if she goes on, because of the country thing.
Jorge Nunez (21, Puerto Rico) Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me - Elton John. Dude needs some serious eyebrow maintenance. Vocally, he's not bad. In fact, surprisingly good. He's got some good depth to his voice. He got a standing Paula. She is in love with him, and wants to squeeze him. Simon said "You Heart Him, don't you?" and said that it's ok for him to sing with an accent. Randy said accent or not, it was really really good, and he vindicated himself since Hollywood week. Kara said that Jorge is born to sing, and you can feel it. Jorge started crying with joy, and had a hard time answering Ryan's question in English.
Lil Rounds (24, Tenessee) Being Without You - Mary J Blige. She is dressed like a bumblebee, with an easy-zip bodice. I didn't like her much previously, thinking that she was totally overrated in previous rounds, but she is very comfortable on stage and does a good performance with really good vocals. I don't know about her Something About Mary hair. Simon called it brilliant, but thinks that she should have chosen a different artist who she doesn't sound so much like. Randy said she had her swagger on. Kara said she was a powerhouse, and loves that she's been consistant in her performances. Paula called her first class, and said that she thinks we'll be seeing her for many many lil' rounds. Wonder how long she's been holding that one.
Surprisingly, after a couple weeks of suck, there were many good performances tonight Lil (12), Jorge (11), Kristen (06), Ju'not (05), Felicia (08). Von was ok, but I'm not voting for him.
What did you think?