The Verdict on Idol: Semifinals – The Guys

After concluding one of their best seasons, Idol is back to try and top it….meaning that for the next 14 weeks, my Wednesday and Thursday nights are officially booked. That right kiddos…The Verdict on Idol is back!

Now, this season, I decided to give up my typical fanboy antics. After the first few weeks of auditions bored me to tears, I decided to say “eff this.” I watched maybe 2 full audition episodes, and like half of the Hollywood group round. Other than that…I simply haven’t had the time or desire to follow this season. Seriously. Its been the most boring thing since season 9.

In a way, I’m quite grateful for this. For the first time, I’m watching the semi-finals without having  clue who the hell each of these people are. From the few episodes I’ve seen, I recognize…maybe 3 or 4 out of the top 24. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make some truly unbiased opinions this way. I will admit, that seeing the top 24 guys perform without really knowing them was a refreshing change of perspective.

Unfortunately, they all sucked pretty badly. Seriously? This was the best the judges could find? Oh dear…they really do want a girl to win this year. Anyway…lets rank them, shall we?

Reed Grim – Moves Like Jagger

Reed Grim went first tonight, with a jazzy rendition of “that-other-singing-show’s” hit single. I vaguely remember Reed from Hollywood week, when he was forced to change his song a half hour before showtime. He impressed me then. He failed to do so again tonight. This performance brought back memories of Jackie Thon a few season ago. Before the semi-finals, she was thought to be a lock for the top 12. Then she performed and threw it all away with a performance that was essentially a joke. That’s exactly what happened tonight.
The jazzy arrangement sucked all of the fun and swagger out the song. The chorus just fell flat, and Reed’s vocal delivery was just meh. The best part of the song was the drum solo…but it was so out of left field. Points for being the first Idol performance to be censured, but this performance left me thinking….what the fuck?
Adam Brock – Think
I was rooting for my fellow Pennsylvanian, but Adam gave a totally average performance. He chose a song usually reserved for soulful black women…which is ironic since he is none of those things. On stage, he was a bit stiff, and vocally, he lacked all of the soul that the song requires. What resulted was a totally average performance that I would have expected to see at a wedding, or a local talent show. By the show’s fourth performance…I had completely forgotten about him. Cannon fodder.
DeAndre Brackensick – Reasons
I vaguely remember DeAndre from last season. He sang a song that I’ve never heard before, and after his performance, I never want to hear. Ever.
He decided to sing in his native language…which is…umm….well, I’m assuming that he sang in a language of some sort. It could have very well been a minute and a half of random mouth noises. I have no idea. All I know is that he sang the entire song in his falsetto, and although he clearly has a great set of pipes, it was irritatingly bad. Sure, he executed some big notes effortlessly, but a few big notes don’t really do much when the rest of the performance was complete garbage. Aside from flipping his hair around a few times, the performance was stiff and lifeless. He wasn’t ready last season, and I don’t think he was ready this season. Great call, judges.
Colton Dixon – Decode
I remember being upset when Colton was cut right before the semi-finals last season. Now I’m glad that things worked out as they did, because while he never would have made the finals last season, he is clearly a lock this season.
When I heard that he was performing a Paramore song, I cringed. However, by the end of the performance, Colton had sold me on the song. He came out playing the piano in a dramatic display of restrained emotions. When the chorus kicked in, he ditched the piano, and totally rev’ed up the audience and put on quite a good show. Vocally, he had a few bum notes, but overall, it was really good! He sang from his heart and put on a show that was bot dramatic and theatrical. For the first time, I felt like I was watching a legitimate artist. I could easily see him fronting a really cool Indie band.
Jeremy Rosado – Gravity
Brilliant song choice. Too bad the performance was just ok. There’s something absolutely beautiful about the way that Sarah Bariellis can sing at a whisper and convey so much emotion. Unfortunately, Jeremy doesn’t have that ability yet. What he can do is belt, and unfortunately, this isn’t the type of song that lends itself to belting. It was a boring and safe performance that probably won’t earn Jeremy a spot in the top 12.
Aaron Marcellus – Never Can Say Goodbye
Aaron’s got some swag. His performance was cool and soulful. Unfortunately, the song choice was unispired, and he was off in quite a few spots. A mid tempo song at this stage of the game is an easy ticket home. There just wasn’t enough of an impact until the end of the performance when he wailed on a killer high note. Other than that, the rest of the performance was a bit forgettable, but on an off night…it was alright.
Chase Likens – Storm Warning
Two words; Country. Vote.
As we’ve seen last year, country singers typically do well on this show. Chase fills the resident “country boy” slot this year, and after this performance, I’m glad he’s in the competiton. Everything about this performance said “up and comming Country artist.” He sang well, played to the audience, and performed with conviction and charisma. Sure, he has a long way to go before becomming the next Blake Shelton, but he turned in a great performance, and showed some serious potential. A goodlooking boy singing country tunes could go very far in this competition.
Creighton Franker – True Colors
Creighton is a little quirk, now isn’t he? I remember his outstanding Hollywood performance, and he certainly has the most unique voice in the competition. I was hoping that he would pick a really cool indie song to show it off, but instead…we got “True Colors.” It was such a bland and uninspired song choice. However, Creighton really knows how to use his instrument. His vocal runs, growls, inflections and tone are all characteristic of a true artist. Overall, it was a decent performance. I just wish that he had chosen a song that was as unique as his voice.
Phillip Phillips – In The Air Tonight
I was rooting for Phillips. I thought his audition was awesome. However…I’ll say it. This was a complete fucking train wreck.
Phillip has a raw, bluesey, soulful voice. It doesn’t fit the song at all. Like…in no way, shape or form. At first, I thought “this might be cool,” but the arrangement was just terrible, and he clearly doesn’t know how to use his voice. His growls, grunts, and whatever other special effects simply ruined the emotional value of this powerful song. And quite frankly, he sounded terrible too. Normally, I would let a lyrical flub slide…but three? Really? Your going to butcher a song vocally, and mess up the lyrics three time? I call bull on that, sir.
Eben Frankewitz – Set Fire to the Rain
I blame the judges for this disaster. Eben is the youngest singer in the competition, and he clearly isn’t ready for this. The song was too big for him. The stage was too big for him. Vocally, this was a complete mess. Watching this performance was like watching a bird with a broken wing just floundering around as a hungry cat watches from afar. Its like watching someone bleed in shark infected waters. I was just praying for the song to end and put the poor kid out of his misery. What’s even more unfortunate was the fact that both Eben and the judges were completely unaware of how bad he really did. Sorry, kid…but you won’t be making the top 12. Stay in school.
Han HeeJun – Angels
Now, I’m not giving the guy a free pass just because of my obsession with Asian pop. However, he was one of the better performances of the night. He came across as a great balladeer with this song. He made a great emotional connection, he was on pitch, and demonstrated a smokey tone that was simply beautiful. However, I kept waiting for him to really belt it out, and that moment never came. He needed to push his vocals to about a 9, but never went higher than a 7. Still, on an off night, he was still one of the better performances.
Joshua Leddit – You Pulled Me Through
So…some dude gets on stage, and sings a Jennifer Husdon song. I’ve got to say, this was probably the best performance of the night. Joshua chose a great song that showed who he is as an artist. What’s better, is that he easily outsang everyone else tonight with his unique voice. At times, he had tendencies to go a little shrill, but overall, this performance stood out as being the best and most authentic performance. This powerful ballad really allowed him to let loose, which is what I had bee waiting for all night.
Jermaine Jones – Dance With My Father
Was I the only one disappointed that the Judges chose to save Jermaine over David Leathers? Oh well. Jermaine is probably the most awkward contestant to date. Between being uncommonly tall, having terrible hair, huge bow ties, a scraggly beard, and his constant ear to ear smile, I keep thinking that he looks like a clown. Like…a legitimate circus clown. Oh well, at least he can sing.
His voice is velvety smooth, and really is interesting to listen to. But here’s the things…it isn’t interesting like Creighton’s voice, where I may actually buy the record. It’s interesting because it’s so low that it’s almost freakish. Was it a good performance?  Ugh…sure…why not? However, I’m thinking that this is one of those moments when the song was better than the actual singer. Oh well.
And there you have it. Overall, this was a totally disappointing night. Most of these guys would have been cannon fodder in previous seasons. Normally, the semi-finals yield at least one stand out performance, but here…there were none. Hopefully the girls will be better, because the guys were boring as hell.
My final rankings;
13. Eben Frankewitz
12. Phillip Phillips
11. Reed Grim
10. Aron Jones
9. DeAndre Brackensick
8. Jeremy Rosado
7. Aaron Macelles
6. Jermain Jones
5. Creighton Franker
4. HeeJun Han
3. Chase Likens
2. Colton Dixon
1. Joshua Ledet
Unfortunately, I doubt that these will be the top 5. Phillip will sneak in there somehow, much to my own dismay. Oh well. This group is making me more and more interested in The Voice.
Till tomorrow!

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