We have finally hit the voting rounds for our Top 24 on American Idol! This week our group is dueting with “celebrities,” and I use the term loosely, as their chance to be voted into the live rounds next week. We finally are able to cast our votes from our couches and I can neither confirm nor deny I have begun a SuperPAC to support Beane’s campaign.
From here on out, the recaps will be much more succinct and even more opinionated. I’ll be scoring the performances out of 5 to help reckon with the good, bad, and the pitchy. We have a live audience, 24 songs to get through, and only two hours. Will I make it through? Probably no!
Alanis Sophia – Her solo performance was the fault of bad song choice and trying to capture the magic of her “Uninvited” performance. It was inconsistent, especially since the power and emotion in her voice wasn’t felt until the end of the song. For her duet, she takes on the Gaga “Shallow” juggernaut. The same problems arise, where when Alanis is required to be quiet and soft, the emotion in her voice isn’t as noticeable. Solo – 3 out of 5 / Duet 3 out of 5
Cassandra Coleman – The nerves that have been consistently referenced throughout her journey are in full display. Her signature warble is usually quite controlled, but it felt shakier than normal. However, when she jumps into her duet, the confidence grows and the control is there. Her voice works really well on the OneRepublic track. Solo – 2.5 out of 5 / Duet – 4 out of 5
Alyssa Wray – Her Carrie Underwood performance was…not good. She strayed from the melody consistently, over enunciated, and added a fake country accent at various points. (My roommate and I verbally went “Oh no!”) Alongside Katharine McPhee, she tackled a Whitney Houston classic. McPhee’s voice shined, and while Alyssa was much better with this performance, her voice is just hollow. There’s no basis to any of her choices. Solo – 1 out of 5 / Duet – 3 out of 5
Wyatt Pike – This is the least “put-on” performance he has given us this season. It felt natural and his voice was just smooth. Wait, did I like a Wyatt performance? His duet with Ben Rector showed that he needs a lot of help with guitar-less stage presence. However, the performance was somethin’ special! It made me want to get up and dance! It made me want to drive with the windows down! It made me…still want to burn Wyatt’s hat. I was surprised with Wyatt this week and I am quite excited to see the rest of his Idol journey. (Who have I become?!) Solo – 4 out of 5 / Duet – 4 out of 5
Alana – We didn’t get a chance to know Alana until last week and I am all in. While her solo didn’t allow for vocal theatrics, the star power was there in full supply. She has infectious stage presence. Her Brian McKnight duet was equally great. It was nice to see such a difference between the two choices: a big pop hit and a 90s ballad. While the latter was a little too low for her comfort zone, we were able to see different sides between performances and it was so welcome. Solo – 3.5 out of 5 / Duet – 3.5 out out of 5
Anilee List – Anilee singing a Billie Eillish song as if it’s a 80s R&B tune has me gagged and gooped, in the words of Monique Heart. It was lively and unexpected and sort of thrilling? Joss Stone, one of the prettiest people ever, sang “Tell Me Something Good” and was able to bring out some STANK from Anilee. While her stage presence wasn’t fully there, her rather forgettable journey to the Top 24 has dissipated and I am intrigued by her future song choices this season. I’m on the STANK train! Solo – 3 out of 5 / Duet – 4 out of 5
Deshawn Goncalves – Coming in acapella on your first performance in the Top 24?! That is a risk. Luckily, he executed it perfectly. He is hella scared on that stage, as he keeps his eyes locked on a singular place and doesn’t move from there. His voice was quite nice, but it was sort of boring? I want to love him, but I think he needs more time to get comfortable. His voice has a baseline of greatness, but due to the nerves, he’s scared to stray. I just need more. Solo – 3 out of 5 / Duet – 3 out of 5
Graham DeFranco – This man belongs in a local coffee shop, not on Idol. He is gaining the Wyatt-Pike-Try-Hard-Quality as the competition progresses. Both performances I forgot as I listened to them. I know I’m in the minority, so stop yelling at me! Solo – 2.5 out of 5 / Duet – 3 out of 5
Andrea Valles – Her solo performance of a bilingual Billie Eillish tune was eerie, but it didn’t fit Andrea at all. She felt out of place within the performance, even though it wasn’t necessarily bad. However, when she tackled George Michael alongside Brian McKnight? I was vibing and bouncing and swaying and feeling it. Her harmonies were so smooth and I was on board. I just really wish the solo was as smooth. Solo – 2.5 out of 5 / Duet – 4.5 out of 5
Cecil Ray – This hurt me. Cecil should not have advanced, we’ve known this. However his solo performance solidified this. His nasally voice is just not good. Paired with Jimmie Allen, his voice was better, however his comfort level on stage was non-existent. Solo – 1 out of 5 / Duet – 2 out of 5
Willie Spence – He sang Bette Midler, so I can’t be mad. However, once again, we get the same type of performance from Willie. There’s no variation ever, especially with this being one of his lesser performances. His duet continues the trend of song choice, but I can’t deny that I had full body chills. A perfect match and a perfect performance. Solo – 3.5 out of 5 / Duet – 5 out of 5
Grace Kinstler – Her Jessie J solo performance was vocally wonderful, but the song choice left me bored? I think that’s more of a me-problem, to be honest. Joss Stone tells Grace before their duet to pull back on the runs until the end, which is so needed. Grace is someone who can be prone to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. The duet, though? OH HONEY. It was nuts. I was throwing shoes at my screen a la Jennifer Hudson. It was perfect. Solo – 4 out of 5 / Duet – 5 out of 5
This group had a wide range of good and bad, but I am hoping that tomorrow night brings us a little more good and a little less bad. Be prepared for Beane stanning. See you tomorrow!