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THIS is American Idol… Top 12/11

AI XIVThis week there were two elimination nights in a row! Not sure how I feel about this – barely got to recover from the first one and we went barreling into the second a mere 24 hours later.  Just like that, we went from Top 14 to Top 11! Snap.

Now, considering there seem to be a number of changes to the show’s format, perhaps we’re heading into a double whammy every week – but for my own sanity, I hope not!  Firstly, this would make for quite a short season.  But more importantly, it doesn’t even give America the chance to grieve for each individual who parts ways with the iconic AI stage.  This is an important time in traditional American Idol that allows each viewer to realize the importance of their role in the contestants’ lives, as their favorite is so suddenly tossed aside and never heard from again. It is that very experience that makes each AI devotee commit to their right to vote – for fear of feeling responsible in another senseless American Idol cast off.  But I digress… too heavy?

Anyway, as a follow up to my predictions last week, let’s start there:

Guys – I was overall disappointed that both Nick Fradiani & Daniel Seavey were safe.  The most devastating loss, however, was Adam.  The fun, charismatic, insanely vocally talented but unfortunately overweight Adam met his doom on night two of eliminations.  And this is lesson #1: no fatties on the show. Even Ruben Studdard eventually slimmed down.  But Adam is quite the loss – amazing talent and runs circles around the mediocrity that makes up much of the remaining cast.

Girls: Overall no complaints – both girls I wanted to go home did.  Loren Lott and Alexis Gomez took their final bow – and were denied a spot in the Top 12. Woohoo!  The third girl to leave us, however, was a bit more of a shocker.  Sarina-Joi Crowe was the only red chair left tonight, and the judges did not use their one and only save.  I really liked her, but she often had strange song picks, and frequently got the “stay in tune” comment from more than one judge.  Not a recipe for success.  But we’ve got to give it to her – 4th year of AI auditioning was a charm for her.  She spent one night in the Top 12… not even one week.  *tear*

Now onto this weeks performances, and their chances for success next week.

AI14_Jax_MB0004JAX.  I’m starting with her because here I have the most to say.  Not only because she’s my favorite girl, but because I gained a lot of respect for her this week – and felt her pain as the judges spoke their mind.  Last week, her biggest critique when she made a popular song “her own” (as she always does so well), was to allow the song to be what it is, and not try to force a recognizable arrangement into something that is not.  Well- this girl is not only a great artist, but she is a great listener, and for that, she is a great student who proved she is here not only to win, but to learn and grow.  She came back this week fully prepared to give America and the Judges the sing-a-long-able Beatles song they’ve been wanting to hear from her.  Mad props little lady.  Too bad the judges seemed to forget every note they gave you last week.  And just when you think you’re trying so hard and making a wise choice, it’s thrown back in your face.  I feel you, sweetheart – it’s a bit stingy.  But no matter – you’ll bounce right back from this week, and at least you have eliminated any bit of curiosity in the judges mind.  You are now free to do what you do best for the rest of the season and expect nothing but praise!!

AI14_Clark-Beckham_MB0004CLARK. There is no doubt about it, he’s the best guy on this show. He will surely be one of the last ones standing.  In a similar vein to Jax, I think the judges were a little harsh on his decisions this week, but they definitely didn’t knock his ability.  If anything, they were pushing him further because they know how capable he is.  Harry proved to me that I agree with mostly all of his comments.  He’s the most constructively critical judge, but he recognizes the truth in the voice, the performance, and the person.  While Keith and JLo were busy telling Clark that they want to see him come out of his shell and share his deepest emotions with us, Harry recognized that Clark is doing just that, but instead of wearing it all on his sleeve, he is inviting us in to figure out his emotions and go on this journey with him.  Since day one I’ve thought he’s one of the most emotional and connected contestants on the show – he does go deep and he feels every note, lyric and chord.  This week, his comment when asked about his Doobie Brothers song choice, he responded “the chords are so gorgeous.”  Well, his clear appreciation for the music and the musicality is so gorgeous.  Boy, you are gorgeous.

AI14_Qaasim-Middleton_MB247QAASIM.  Here is another contestant to took notes from the oh-so-helpful judges only to have it somewhat backfire this week.  His first night was fine as he jumped around and performed all day to Sunday on that stage.  But his second night was more mellow – giving the judges to see him and his voice, and nothing else – not his crazy energy, not his sick dance moves, not even his stank face.  Well, the judges biggest criticisms were 1) I still don’t know what your voice sounds like and 2) the performance didn’t match the song.  I mean, he is one of my favorites – but mainly because I love watching him perform.  So, I hate to say it, but maybe the judges are right? I don’t want him to go home, but there is no better way to weed out the strong from the weak than to put them outside of their comfort zone.

And that brings me to the unbeatable…

AI14_Joey-Cook_MB869JOEY.  Maybe this is America’s year for a “Quirky with a capital ‘Q'” American Idol?  If so, it’s gotta be Joey.  After the first two mediocre performances this week, here comes Joey struttin’ her stuff onstage like nobody’s business, making the judges regret they wasted so many compliments on Daniel and Maddie (more on that later).  From a Cook Original to an Iggy Azalea pop song, this girl is the real deal – and as much as you may want to write her off as the token “weirdo” that is not American Idol material, that’s simply impossible to do no matter which way you spin it.  She is undeniably lovable and crazy talented, squeezebox or none.  The best part about her? She is so genuinely and honestly surprised when she gets a standing O from the crowd and the judges fawn over her.  It’s like she’s never gotten this sort of attention before – and she so clearly deserves it.  I’m rooting for you, girlie!

Overall, I foresee the rest of the talent getting dwindled down quite quickly.  Based on who is left in this Top 11, I think the next couple weeks will be very telling as far as how America likes its Idols nowadays.

Young, raw, but cute? (If Daniel and his over-rehearsed runs and choreography makes it past next week, I’m done.)

Old, Experienced, but boring? (Nick, your smile will only get you so far. )

Smooth but not edgy? (Rayvon, I’ll keep you on my good side if you do Prince)  That will look good on you ;)

Pretty face but unpredictable? (Maddie, you had me comparing you to Carrie Underwood *compliment* but you ruined it with your out of key Jason Aldean impression)

Or just naturally and effortlessly perfect? (Tyanna, I dream to sing like you. And you Hair!)

The one thing I’ve come to realize, as much as I LOVE this judging panel, they just don’t make em like they used to.  And all this hot air they blow makes it really hard to breathe.

Final note- Adanna. I didn’t get to you. But that’s because I’m afraid you may not be sticking around.  If you do – I owe you a big apology, and next week I’ve got JUST the paragraph for you, and only you.  Promise, my little diva)

Who do I want to go home next week: Daniel Seavey or Nick Fradiani

Who do I think will go home next week: Adanna Duru