The first twelve of the top 36 contestants performed tonight on Season 8 of American Idol. This year is different than in years past, the 36 contestants have been split into three groups of 12. The top guy, the top girl, and the next top vote getter from each group of 12 will move to the final round of 12 contestants. After the three weeks, there will be a wild card show for the final three spots available. Tonight, the contestants performed songs from the Billboard Hot 100.
(I will score the contestants on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best)
01 Jackie Tohn performed "A Little Less Conversation" made famous by Elvis Presley -- What I really like about Jackie is her originality as a singer; she is a pro on the stage, nothing amateurish about her. She also has a huge personality; Simon called performance "gimmicky" which I don't really understand. Check out Chris Daughtry's performance of this song from Season 5, it's a good one-- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=806eovKEQ_8 .
02 Ricky Braddy performed "A Song for You" made famous by Donny Hathaway -- What Ricky did on the stage was magic; his interpretation of the song was absolutely beautiful. "A Song For You" is one of the most difficult songs to sing, and in the words of Kara, "he killed it". Beautiful falsetto, and for someone who has never really had a lot of air time through the Idol audition process; Ricky impressed me immensley. I even saw shades of Elliott Yamin in him, and that's pretty awesome! Check out Elliott singing this same song, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yKG0M4Gx64 .
03 Alexis Grace performed "Never Loved A Man" made famous by Aretha Franklin -- Little lady = Big voice; Alexis does have a lot of soul, and I have to admit that I was skeptical of her singing an Aretha song. However, as a singer and as a woman, Alexis proves to be wise beyond her years. The thing I do not understand though is that Sabrina Sloan performed this same song in Season 6 and never advanced into the top 12 which I think to this day was criminal, hopefully Alexis will have more luck. Here's Sabrina singing "Never Loved A Man" -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFoLtKUe-9M
04 Brent Keith performed "Hicktown" made famous by Jason Aldean -- Brent is a good singer, and I think he's a pretty likeable guy. My question is, is Brent really the next American Idol; I believe he has bankability as a country singer. I really do question his song choice though, couldn't he have done one of those Keith Urban ballads?
05 Stevie Wright performed "You Belong With Me" made famous by Taylor Swift -- This young lady seems really sweet, but this performance was a trainwreck from start to finish. She went flat, she was out of tune, and the song just did not seem to fit her.
06 Anoop Desai performed "Angel of Mine" made famous by Monica -- Simon is right about one thing, Anoop has tremendous likeability. He is polite, classy, and his vocal ability really shows no bounds. I predict Mr. Desai will go far in Season 8. His song choice was smart, and Paula was right in saying that he is a vocal style similar to that of Brian McKnight.
07 Casey Carlson performed "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" made famous by The Police -- This performance was really disappointing; I was expecting so much because I love this song so much, but it was really not good. The phrasing was all wrong, the song just was not right for her at all. The judges actually thought that this was a "sacred" song that shouldn't be sung by anyone on Idol, but Constantine actually sang it in Season 4, and he was good. If anyone has a web address for Constantine singing the song, please feel free to post it.
08 Michael Sarver performed "I Don't Wanna Be" made famous by Gavin DeGraw -- I cannot emphasize it more, Michael has what so many of the guys this season have, the likeability factor. Michael has a good voice, and although I do not believe it was his best performance by any means; I do believe he deserves a second chance. As a side note, "I Don't Wanna Be" has become a staple on American Idol, previously performed by Bo Bice, Elliott Yamin, and Chris Richardson. Check out Bo -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QViM2BRlqB4
09 Ann Marie Boskovich performed "Natural Woman" made famous by Aretha Franklin -- All I could remember was Kelly Clarkson singing this all the way back in Season 1. I think "Natural Woman" is a song that requires soul and great vocal ability, and I just don't think it showed on her with that song. I think this performance was a bit old fashioned and therefore irrelevant, as Simon said. Listen to Ms. Kelly Clarkson sing this song --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DzHcAs8mMY amazing!
10 Stephen Fowler performed "Rock With You" made famous by Michael Jackson -- I actually have to disagree with all of the judges on this. I went into this thinking, oh this is the guy from Hollywood weak who forgot his lyrics; but I was not disappointed. Stephen is a musician and he has a great voice; he was nowhere near as bad as the judges thought he was.
11 Tatiana Del Toro performed "Saving All My Love For You" made famous by Whitney Houston -- The most talked about contestant on this season of American Idol thus far; Tatiana was better than expected. She had some great moments, as well as some awkward ones, but what is a Tatiana performance without drama; not bad at all.
12 Danny Gokey performed "Hero" made famous by Mariah Carey -- Forget the fact that Danny has a touching story; his wife died four weeks before he auditioned for American Idol. He auditioned with one of his best friends Jamar Rogers who I believe should have made it into this top 36, but didn't. Put aside all of that because this church music director sure can sing, and he inspires me too.