So this is it! The last group to perform before we have our finalized list of semi-finalists! Last week, the guys gave us a weak showing, so I had high hopes for this group. Overall…well, they were leagues better, but that honestly isn’t saying much. Since when did Idol become a race to the bottom?
Honestly, there were a few surprises here. Some true competitors did emerge, and we did get to see the season’s strongest male performers. Also, Zoanette made her presence in the audience known though her bat shit crazy antics. Honestly, it was more interesting than half of the performances. Oh well, forward!
Mathenee Treco – A Little Less Conversation
Mathenee has the ability to both sing and dance, so I was hoping that he would do something really great. The Idol stage hasn’t had a performer like that since season 10’s Naima Adeapo. Unfortunately this was just all over the place. He tried to demonstrate his range by doing all kinds of weird vocal gymnastics, but none of it worked with the song. This is a song that needs to be sing in a lower range, and his choices were just over the top…and not in a good way. I kind of hated this. Also, the dancing was lame.
Gurpreet Singh – Nothing Ever Hurt Like You
Gurpreet sure is an interesting contestant. Lets not ignore the elephant in the room…he’s wearing a turban, and he has a beard that would put any lumberjack to shame. Simply put…he has no chance of being a pop market success. There’s no where to market him besides India. But…he could still do well on this show if the talent is there, right? Well…thats the thing. It isn’t. I love this song, and I wanted him to do well. Unfortunately, Nicki said it best when she said “Honey child, HELL NO!” It was weak. That’s the only word to describe it. There was no soul, no power, no emotion, no nothing! It was just….weak.
Vincent Powell – ‘Cause I Love You
RnB seems to be the genre of the year, and Vincent Powell might just be the best soul singer of the season. His rendition of some song I’ve never heard of was nothing short of spectacular. It very well could have been the best vocal demonstration we’ve seen this season. He controlled his voice like a pro, hitting low lows, high highs, and soaring notes that tore the roof off of the place. At the end of the performance, Ryan asks him what he was feeling. “I was feeling soul!” is his response, and that much is apparent to anyone who saw this performance. Truly spectacular. Just ask Zoanette, who can’t help but scream “GET IT PAPA SMURF!” Whatever she’s on…I want some.
Nick Boddington – Say Something Now
I love James Morrison, so I was very happy to hear yet another one of his songs being performed. While Nick turned in a solid, if unspectacular performance, I can’t help but feel like it was the wrong song choice. His upper register was on point, but I feel like his voice lacks the soul that James uses to make his songs to distinct. There was something missing from this performance…call it charisma, stage presence or the X-Factor…but this guy just doesn’t have it. Still, it was a decent performance, and he has potential to be great.
Josh Holiday – Better With You
I didn’t initially recognize the song…but that’s because it was an original! That’s right, this guy decided to debut a new song to the world! Was it any good? Nope. Not really. Should we really expect anything from a song that was written a whole seven days ago? Look, I appreciate the face that he has the ability to write a song, but this lounge song was just boring and uninspired. His vocals were also pretty unremarkable. Overall, it just came off as pandering to the judges, hoping to earn some brownie points. It was a risk that didn’t pay off.
David Willis – Fever
If this were The Voice, I have a feeling that David would have sailed through to the next round…and that’s not just because he’s a Black cuy who can play the guitar. His take on Fever was actually great! He injected some funky Latin flavor into this overdone, sleepy jazz number. His vocals were cool and natural, and dare I say…he had some swagger as well! I was really digging what he did with he performance!
Bryant Tadeo – New York State of Mind
I don’t get Bryant. In his introduction, he goes on and on about his Hawaiian heritage. Two seconds later, he’s singing about New York pride. At least his singing is decent. He has excellent control over his voice. It comes across as effortless for him. Unfortunately, the song choice is kind of sleepy and boring. It goes nowhere, and he must know it, because he is flailing his arms around like a lunatic to get our attention. What is it with these guys!? It’s not enough to just sing well…you have to market yourself! What kind of artist is he? I dunno. At this point in the show, I’m just so bored that I don’t even care anymore.
Burnell Taylor – This Time
Burnell is an interesting dude, isn’t he? He gets points for being the most distinct performer so far. He voice has a smokey, southern soul quality to it that really stands out. His phrasing in unique, his vocal is nuanced, and the way he performs is very subdued, yet charismatic. He’s simply captivating! Burnell comes off as a contemporary soul performer that could sell records alongside Maxwell and John Legend.
Lazaro Arbos – Tonight I Want to Cry
The only auditions that I watched were Lazaro and Zoanett. Zonett made me want to throw my television at an old lady, but Lazaro’s story genuinely made me tear up. Okay…I cried. I just feel so sympathetic toward him. He’s a good looking guy and has a great personality, but his speaking disorder keeps him from having a normal life. You just want to root for him, and when he sings…magic happens. I fell in love with his story, and I know that America did too. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that he totally bombed this performance. It was a weak vocal that was off in numerous spots. The final falsetto note was painful. Painful! I really hate when a contestant coasts by on their back story…and I feel like this guy is going to stick around for awhile despite sub-par performances. Hopefully this performance was just a fluke.
Cortez Shaw – Titanium
At first, I didn’t recognize the song…and thank god, because I hate it. Still, his decision to turn a trance hit into a stripped down piano ballad was interesting. It put the song’s lyrics and melody at the forefront, and as it turns out, without David Guetta’s high gloss production, Titanium is actually a beautiful song. Cortez was a bit off on the song’s first half, but once the second half hit, he definitely fell into a groove. This performance had a few issues, but tonight, it was definitely in the top half. Nicki is horny by the end of the performance, and creates a new “Jersey Girl” persona to critique him. Just bring out Roman already, Nicki….
The final rankings…
10. Gurpreet Singh
9. Lazaro Arbos
8. Josh Holiday
7. Mathenee Treco
6. Bryant Tadeo
5. Cortez Shaw
4. Nick Boddington
3. David Willis
2. Burnell Taylor
1. Vincent Powell
However, the judges disagree with me on David Willis, so they send him packing in favor of Lazaro Arbos. Yep…this is just what I was afraid of. The kid with a (genuinely) heart wrenching sob story makes it over a truly talented and deserving performer. Each year, a truly fantastic contestant gets shut out of the semi-finals, and unfortunately, David was this year’s sacrificial lamb. I’m a bit bitter about this. Good luck to you and your future career, David!
And so, with that, our top 20 has been decided! Yay! Er…meh. This group is pretty underwhelming. But still…we could see a turn around as we lose the dead weight. Look forward to my coming analysis of the top 20, when I predict who will make the top 10, and who will win!