Ugh. Not being able to vote in the American Idol Semifinals really makes a difference. It’s just not as fun. And it makes everything look so phony baloney and staged.
I thought I would prefer this second group of contestants but I found last week’s show to be more entertaining. This week my favorites were Olivia Rox and Trent Harmon.
It’s tough to predict what the show plans to do but I’ll guess the ones going through are Dalton (d’uh), Trent, Olivia, Tristan, Lee, CJ and maybe Jenn. I hope they give Jenn another chance but they may think she’s too out there and be worried she’d make it on the wildcard. But if it’s not Jenn, then I’m not sure who it would be. I like Adam Lasher a lot but the show doesn’t seem to like him. They weren’t encouraging to Shelbie or Manny. And Kory – hmm, they don’t seem to think he has the wow factor. So that brings us to Amelia and it comes down to whether they want a quirky girl or a very young quirky girl. Since they already have a very young quirky girl in Jeneve, I think that tilts it towards Jenn.
One more thing: if neither Adam Lasher nor Kory Wheeler makes it through, then none of Haley Reinhart’s duet partners would make it. We all remember how much the show likes to dump on the talented Haley Reinhart, don’t we? Just sayin’.
Night Two of the so-called Semi-Finals round of American Idol Season 15 was made up of duets between the contestants and idols from past seasons. Since the viewers weren’t going to have a vote, TPTB had to do something to keep our attention. Another night of solo performances without a viewer vote, wouldn’t cut it.
So without any need to think about voting, I settled in to be entertained. And for the most part, I was. I really enjoyed seeing the contestants from the past. Specifically, I liked seeing Fantasia Barrino, Ruben Studdard, Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina. Fantasia’s duet and on-air discussion with La’Porsha Renae was exciting. Ruben’s duets with Stephany Negrete and Avalon Young reminded me of how smooth he can be. I forgot how Scotty is really a hoot onstage and his duet with Jeneve Rose Mitchell was certainly out there but it was very entertaining. The biggest surprise to me was Lauren Alaina. She has matured vocally and she seemed very comfortable engaging in onstage banter/flirtation which also provided entertainment.
I have to say that I wasn’t really interested in Caleb Johnson or Nick Fradiani and I think that’s a symptom of the fact that the seasons after Season 11 were not really compelling. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed Caleb’s and Nick’s duets with the contestants.
Since the show already knew who they’d be putting through, they were able to give each past idol a duet with at least one contestant who would go through to the next round. So they were all able to end up looking like helpful mentors. The episode had the feeling of a variety show of the past. Again, I found it enjoyable but it was focused more on the singing strengths of the mentors rather than the contestants. It was however, a decent way to fill an episode that would otherwise have been kind of a lame duck episode, given that the audience had no say and it seemed clear that the cuts had already been decided upon by the show.
The changes at American Idol this season mean that the viewers do not get to vote during the semifinals. The semifinals are no longer aired live and the contestants are cut solely by the choice of the judges and producers. Watching the so-called semifinals last night, I realized that without an audience vote, this really is just another audition round.
As a result, I wasn’t feeling as invested as usual. No one was looking for my vote last night. I understand why the producers like this change – they get to further handpick the contenders, but it really goes against the original appeal of the show.
Another thing that has changed from the first season is that I remember how cool it was to see Kelly Clarkson singing with Reba McEntire and thinking “wow, this girl gets to sing with Reba – unbelievable!” Now we expect to see the contestants singing with celebrities. I’m excited that they are bringing back past Idols to sing tonight.
Last night, the judges’ comments seemed very scripted. A number of people online said the fix is in. I think that’s true because it’s the whole reason to cut out audience voting. TPTB want to give us a limited number of contestants to choose from. The feedback last night will likely tie in to the eliminations tonight, although I bet there will be at least one person who will be told that they were “saved” from elimination by a successful duet.
Who do I think is safe? I think Jeneve Rose Mitchell, La’Porsha Renae, MacKenzie Bourg and Thomas Stringfellow will be safe. I’m hopeful that Avalon Young will also be safe. It feels like a good bet that Sonika Vaid will make it too. For the remaining slot, I’m going to guess that Emily Brooke will advance despite her performance last night and that it will be linked to a successful duet with Lauren Alaina tonight.
I think James VIII, Jordan Sasser, Jenna Renae, Stephany Negrete and Gianna Isabella will be left out in the cold. If Emily Brooke doesn’t make it, Jenna or Gianna may get that spot, but I’m going with the saved by the duet prediction for Emily.
There are always American Idol injustices and Season 15 is no exception. In cutting down the field from 51 to 24, there were some head shakers. I was generally pleased with the results of the Top 24, but I would have liked to see Lindita Halimi and Malie Delgado make it through. Jessica Cabral’s cut was a bit of a surprise too. And I still think John Wayne Schulz should have been in there…
Ohhhh, too many favorites this season. The solo rounds gave us performances from a fair number of contestants (hey, they only had an hour). And there was a lot to like. I kept saying “oh, I forgot about him” and “yeah, I like her too” throughout. When we got glimpses of the three rooms, I realized how many more unseen contestants are ones I like. This is going to be a tough elimination tonight as they bring the group down to 24. Particularly amongst the girls if they plan to make it even.
Loved MacKenzie Bourg and Olivia Rox’s original songs. Still liking the country girls, Emily Brooke and Shelbie Z and I found myself rooting for Malie Delgado. And there are of course all the others I’ve liked all along, there is a good deal of talent. When I try to pick just 24, I go round and round, it’s not going to be an easy cut.
The sad note tonight was seeing John Wayne Schulz go home. I was very surprised. He seemed like a great choice for Top 24. Keith muttered “what’s missing?” after he sang and I thought “nothing really”, but I guess the judges disagreed. His version of The Dance can be heard at his website JohnWayneSchulz so that’s what we’ve got to hang on to for now.
Who didn’t we see? Quite a lot of people but here are some I really wished we had seen last night:
Jenna Renae, Adam Lasher, Lindita Halimi, Jordyn Simone, Collette Lush – we haven’t seen enough of any of them. There are others I would have liked to have heard (Trent, La’Porsha) but at least we’ve seen a lot of them so far. I had no idea Issac Cole was still there and even Amelia Eisenhauer (who looked like a producer favorite) has been scarce.
The Farewell Season of Hollywood Week was a good balance of successful performances peppered with the usual drama amongst some contestants. I love American Idol’s Hollywood Week. It’s exciting to see if my favorites get through to the next round. And yes, it’s a guilty pleasure, but I also like to watch the complications that always arise during the group round. This season didn’t disappoint. There are a lot of talented contestants and there were some entertaining conflicts.
Who turned out to be the biggest drama queen? Harry Connick, Jr.! I couldn’t believe when he went off on Joy Dove. She has such a positive attitude and wanted to see her group succeed. I resented that Harry made her feel bad for being nice. I also think he gave her bad advice. Joy Dove’s bright personality will benefit her more in this competition than getting in the last long notes in the group number. I’m not sure that last bit did much for Lindita anyway. It’s one thing to tell a contestant they need to show energy and fight for their spot in the competition. But that’s different from saying you should fight to stop your fellow group members from shining. That’s effectively what Harry said.
Then later in the show, the message from J Lo was that you should try to get along with everyone. On American Idol, that’s a better message. The people who were portrayed as bossy or out for themselves got eliminated. The group who didn’t accommodate Anatalia didn’t do anything so horrible. But I think their images may have gotten a bit tarnished. We’ll see if it affects them down the road.
My favorites at this point are Dalton Rapattoni, Trent Harmon, Tristan McIntosh, Tommy Stringfellow, Emily Brooke, Jenn Blosil and La’Porsha Renae. I also want to see more of John Wayne Schulz, Adam Lasher, Mackenzie Bourg and Avalon Young. Kacey Levels hadn’t been on my radar before and was impressive. Gotta also keep an eye on Manny Torres, he’s giving me an Elliott Yamin vibe.
On Wednesday’s show, there was a lot of talk about all the female talent this year, but at this stage, it’s still anyone’s game. We saw many talented girls last night. But they held back and didn’t show some of the guys who impressed during their auditions. Specifically, Mackenzie Bourg, Adam Lasher and John Wayne Schulz. Probably to hush any cries of WGWG!
We also didn’t see Amelia, Collette, Avalon, Lindita or Jordan. The one hour format only allows for so much, so maybe I’m reading too much into the absence of the three guys mentioned above. But I don’t think so. Trent Harmon and Dalton Rapattoni already look very strong, so you add in a few more WGWG and it doesn’t look so much like a girl’s year anymore, does it?
But Emily Brooke and Tristan McIntosh also look very strong at this stage. So yeah, it’s still anyone’s game.
Keep in mind that you only need one Scotty McCreery or one Phillip Phillips to run away with everything and win by a mile. That’s the rumor why they don’t release the vote totals, because some years, one person leads the whole time by a landslide. Let’s see how this season plays out.
On to Group Night tonight! Always a guilty pleasure of mine – a little drama can be a lot of fun…