“American Idol” took the show “live” this week — although the performances were actually pre-recorded and edited to cut the show to fill the one hour time slot — with the Top 24 performing in Detroit, Michigan, at The Fillmore, one of America’s most hallowed performing venues. The producers have divided the contestants into one dozen guys and one dozen girls, with the guys singing on Wednesday night and the girls the following night. And they’ve left the Top 16 up to America.
So who did best? Who was worst? With twelve singers to chose from, it basically came down to which four contestants least deserve to move forward.
Lyndsey Parker recapped Tuesday’s performances for Yahoo Music Feb. 26 and noted that Quentin Alexander stole the night with his version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put A Spell On You.” The young singer certainly provided a memorable listening experience with his rendition of the song, not to mention his eye-catching attire. Parker simply stated that Alexander’s performance was enough for the win — for the season. And she could be correct. Maybe. But one performance does not a season make. And… there were a few other standout performances as well.
Here’s the three more who gave admirable performances: Adam Ezeglian kicked off the night with, of all things, the classic Twisted Sister number (and you probably thought you’d never see those four words used together in a positive manner) “I Wanna Rock.” Dude has real rock chops, even better than last year’s champ, Caleb Johnson. And he put on on a crowd-rousing Performance. (That’s right: With a capital “P”.)
Clark Beckham slid into Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman” like a pro. He had the crowd in the Detroit theatre behind him and, when it was all said and done, gave Judge Jennifer Lopez “goodies all over.” That says it all about his powerful vocal performance.
Qassim Middleton ended the night by bringing down the house with his rendition of Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk.” Although not as smooth-voiced as the inestimable Bruno Mars, he gave the song the one quality Bruno Mars always reminds us of with his showmanship: James Brown-like stylings. Qassim also provided some James Brown-esque moves as well. Derivative? Sure, but who isn’t these days?
So there’s the four best on the night. Now, who should go home?
Straight to the point: The worst performance of the night belonged to Daniel Seavey. Only 15 years old, the teen showed that he is definitely someone to watch as far as musicianship goes. Playing the mandolin, he strummed Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” But his age, which has been a plus with the cuteness factor up until now, betrayed him as his vocals were simply not up to par with even the most lackluster good vocals of the night.
Those lackluster good vocals came from Rayvon Owen, who smiled through his entire cover of Joe Jonas’ “Jealous.” As the judge’s pointed out, the smiling was a distraction, not to mention totally out of synch with the lyrics of the song. Believability is huge in a singing competition. Rayvon Owen simply wasn’t believable.
And although he was believable, Mark Andrew, the oldest “American Idol” contestant to make the Top 24, brought no energy to his performance. In fact, he seemed to carry “The Weight” (The Band) of his song (pun totally intended). The Zac Brown look isn’t doing much for his stage presence, either, and his forgettable performance will likely cost him votes.
Trevor Douglas likely lost a few votes on his vocals as well. He launched into Gavin DeGraw’s “Best I Ever Had” as if his life depended on it. Unfortunately, his “American Idol” life just might. Although he got control of himself after the first chorus, it probably won’t be enough to keep the geekily infectious Douglas in the competition.
The other four contestants — guitar wizard Riley Bria, soulful Savion Wright, crooner Nick Fradiani, and breathy slow dancer Michael Simeon — all provided better-than-average vocals. They also fell somewhere in the middle of the performances, but should be relatively safe when the voting’s said and done.
But who knows? Maybe there’s a Sanjaya Malakar lurking in the pack. (Daniel Seavy? Trevor Douglas?) You never can tell. With this season’s new vote results delivery occurring a week after the performances, we’ll have to tough it out — and so will the Top 12 guys — until next Wednesday to discover who made the Top 16.
“American Idol” airs on Fox Television on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Broadcasts begin at 8 p.m. (EST).