Welcome to Night 2 of Rush Week on American Idol season 13. Last night, there were plenty of nerves to go around when the girls performed. Will the same happen tonight with the guys? Let’s see…
We’ve got 15 guys in the semifinals, but once again only 10 spots. Five won’t even get to perform. I’m still furious that Kenzie Hall was cut without getting the chance to sing. Big fat double boo! (You can’t tell how bitter I am at all, right?)
Here are my thoughts on all the performances from the Top 10 guys:
1. Caleb Johnson: “Stay with Me”
He’s been one of my favorites of the guys. He may not win, but he needs to be in these live shows because he entertains and he’s the only male rocker this year. I expected Jessica Meuse to perform a song like this last night. “Stay with Me” is right in Caleb’s wheelhouse, and this is the type of music I expect him to sing. He knows who he is, and I always love watching him perform.
2. C.J. Harris: “Shelter”
I have to hand it to him–he’s doing really well. Being able to emote that much soul and depth is rare, but he pulls it off. His voice strains a lot, and I think that’s just part of how he performs (and I don’t consider it a distraction). He plays his guitar when Chris Daughtry advises not to–obviously that’s a crutch of his and a safety blanket, and maybe he hasn’t learned yet to listen to the advisers. But that’s neither here nor there for now.
3. Emmanuel Zidor: “Best of My Love”
Like Malaya Watson last night, Emmanuel only got to this point because of personality moreso than the voice. He uses this performance to only create entertainment and be fierce. His voice is fine for the most part (okay, maybe I’m being generous), but I’m hearing nothing spectacular. His favorite former Idol contestant is Vonzell Solomon, who performed “Best of My Love” back in season 4. Emmanuel, listen up: your version is not even close to matching her’s. (Since we’re bringing her up, I’ll say this: I love Vonzell’s voice and always really get into it when her cover of “Best of My Love” comes up on my iPod.) Emmanuel needs to go home–just walk off.
4. Sam Woolf: “Babylon”
I’ve never been on board with Sam because I personally don’t find anything special about him. He’s got the look, which is a big reason why he’s here. This performance falls a bit flat for me–there’s a lot of nerves coming through, and it doesn’t seem like he’s quite ready for the live stage. But on the flip side, there are moments where I’m thinking he probably has a good recording voice. The final couple notes are really strong. He could be a stable presence on the show, giving Kris Allen-like performances (low-key, competent, but nothing over the top).
5. George Lovett: “Grenade”
I don’t think he’ll make it. I don’t remember any of his prior performances. If you’re gonna take on Bruno Mars (one of the best out there today), you really gotta bring it. He screeches a couple times. This should be an easy elimination.
6. Dexter Roberts: “This Old Boy”
Dexter does a solid and competent job. I can’t really say anything else because he’s very much a generic country singer–he won’t sell in the real world (in the same way that X Factor season 2 winner Tate Stevens’ album bombed). Tonight, he does good for what it is, but there’s no potential with him.
7. Alex Preston: “Volcano”
Alex has been my favorite guy of the season. Didn’t Phillip Phillips do “Volcano” in season 11? If so, I think I remember not liking it when everyone else did. Alex’s voice is so distinguishable from every single singer tonight. I’m still not sure if I like this song, but it suits his style, so he knows what works for him.
8. Malcolm Allen: “Comin’ from Where I’m From”
In a way, he’s kind of been under the radar–even though I do remember him from before–because others like Caleb, Emmanuel and Alex are more memorable. But I’m enjoying this–he’s got a great voice, very smooth. The judges don’t like it–will enough voters sign on with Malcolm or side with the judges? I think he deserves to stay. Maybe a Wild Card pick if he doesn’t make it?
9. Ben Briley: “Soulshine”
Comparing the two male country singers, Ben’s much, much better than Dexter; he’s not generic, and I’d rather hear him sing every week than Dexter. He already got America’s vote for the final spot in the Top 30, so it might give him an advantage for people to automatically continue voting for him.
10. Spencer Lloyd: “Love Don’t Die”
Darn, I wanted Maurice Townsend to get the final spot–he might have been the older one of the bunch (at 26 years old–so old!), but his voice is fantastic. Oh well. Spencer is one who I recognize the name but don’t remember him. He makes an impression here, though. He knows how to entertain, with a fun, upbeat song, and there’s a voice there that has potential. He has the pimp spot, which will help.
Favorite Performances: Caleb Johnson / C.J. Harris
My Votes: Caleb Johnson (50 votes) / Alex Preston (50 votes)
Top 13 Predictions:
It’s tough that there’s only five spots because there are others I didn’t list above who should stick around. When I was narrowing my list down before getting to these five, I had six with Ben Briley on there. In a way, I should probably keep him on the list and get rid of C.J. since Ben had the second to last spot and people already know who he is because of last week’s vote. But C.J. is just so good that I’d hate to lose him.
If either of those two (C.J. or Ben) are eliminated, I wouldn’t be surprised if the judges choose him for a Wild Card spot. And Malcolm Allen should be in contention for a Wild Card as well.
Outside of those seven, the rest should be easy eliminations. There’s no getting around that.
What did you think of the performances by the Top 10 guys? Any favorites? Was Maurice Townsend or any of the others robbed?