Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Very Early Thoughts on the American Idol Top 24

Since I only intermittently watch the auditions, and Hollywood Week was cut so short this time, this is extremely preliminary, but here are first thoughts on all the American Idol contestants. I don't really care about any of the ones who were eliminated, except that I loved poor Sarah Burgess and was really hoping she would make it through. Alas, there's always next year. Here's the finalists:

Jared Cotter
Paul Kim
Nick Pedro
Chris Richardson
A.J. Tabaldo
Stephanie Edwards
Leslie Hunt
Amy Krebs
Sabrina Sloan
Nicole Tranquillo

They gave way more face time to the guys this year, so presumably they are angling for a guy to win. Anyways, these are the finalists who I don't care about at all one way or another at this point. They didn't get enough face time so I'm gonna have to wait and see.

Quick thoughts on the rest of the candidates, the ones I do remember:


Rudy Cardenas: Like to see more non-African American minorities on this show. I like this guy, I think he may go far.

Sundance Head: Extremely powerful voice, but really belts it out during the songs. Kinda shouty. The kind of voice and singing style that can be amazing if done right, but just mess up one or two small things and it can sound completely awful too (e.g. Katharine McPhee, but without the hotness, of course). This guy might not go far, because on an off night he could give a truly awful performance, like he was doing in Hollywood.

Blake Lewis: A beatboxer with a mohawk, and a cocky little bastard. We've hardly heard him sing so far, though he sounded OK when he did. His "group sing" with Chris Sligh and 2 others was a lot of fun, and this guy is amazing at beatboxing. Love this guy right now, will have to see how well he can do as a pure singer. The incongruity of it all is making me really want to root for him though. He seems like a good guy, apart from the cockiness.

Sanjaya Malakar: Seems like a nice guy, but no way is he gonna make the finals. Likeable cannon fodder. He'll probably be one of the first 2 guys out, unless he can improve a lot.

Brandon Rogers: Apparently an internet favorite already. A former backup singer to many star acts, including Anastasia, who I don't really like at all. He's a good singer, but has bored me so far. I may start to hate him as the competition goes on.

Chris Sligh: One of my favorites so far, and it has little to do with his personality. Even if he doesn't have the technically best singing voice, he seems to be the best song interpreter of the top 24. Really feels the lyrics and seems to convey them well. There's a lot more to singing than being able to hit the glory notes (ahem: Sundance Head). Possibility for greatness. Funny guy too, of course.

Phil Stacy: Great singer. Missed the birth of his child to try out. Early favorite in the competition. Boy band. Creepy stare though.

Favorites: Blake, Chris Sligh


Alaina Alexander: Her performance of "Without You" in Hollywood, based on the brief clip they played, was horrible. Please do not attempt to sing Mariah Carey songs on American Idol, very few people can pull off the vocal gymnastics with emotion like she can. (Song originally by Nilsson of course, but she was doing the Mariah version). Not good.

Antonella Barba: You know, I really love her and can't explain why. Seems like most people hate her and think she's bitchy (like Katharine McPhee!!!). All I can say, I guess, is that I don't get that impression at all and think she's a great singer. Seems a bit abrasive, but it's hard to tell her personality from what they showed. I think they want you to hate her. She handled the whole acceptance very well, I think she's got a grounded head. Great tone to her voice, but a tendency to give into the vocal gymnastics a bit too much. Possible greatness. My favorite so far.

Melinda Doolittle: Another background singer, like Brandon Rogers, and like him they are pounding that story hard. Former background singer becomes star in her own right! She's just OK to me, but I think she's gonna go real far.

Gina Glocksen: Lots of early buzz on her and deservedly so, as she's fantastic. Has a great pop/rock voice. Has to be considered a favorite to win at this point, based on face time and looks and singing voice. The best singer of the top 24 based on what I've seen, but haven't seen enough of her personality really want to root for her yet. Possibly another Kelly Clarkson.

Lakisha Jones: This season's Mandia/Jennifer Hudson. Like them she has a very powerful, soulful voice. Technically good singer, but may have troubles, as they did, connecting emotionally to the songs. Jennifer seems to have gotten over that, and good for her. They were both shockingly eliminated in 8th place in their seasons, and I doubt Lakisha can make it farther than that. I don't like her. Not my thing.

Haley Scarnato: I remember her name, and I remember when she was on the show that I liked her, but now I can't remember a damned thing about her. Apparently likeable but forgettable.

Jordin Sparks: Heh, a former America's Most Talented Kid winner, and that show has officially had about 20x the impact I ever thought it would. Cheyenne had her own MTV reality show, Jojo is a great and really popular singer (and going into acting too!), Diana DeGarmo was a runner up on American Idol (and sang the National Anthem at every Atlanta sporting event for a year straight), now Jordin Sparks is on American Idol too. Very young, which never portends well, but she sings great. Likeable. Possible greatness.

Favorites: Antonella Barba, Gina Glocksen

I'll update my thoughts on these guys in another couple weeks, once we've gotten some real substantial performances out of them. Right now, as I said, I'm liking Blake, Chris S., Antonella, and Gina. It always changes once the actual shows start though.



Blogger Dave said...

Actually, original version of "Without You" was by Badfinger, though Mariah was probably doing Nilsson's version and this person was probably doing Mariah's version (didn't see Am Idol tonight).

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Antonella Barba is the most beautiful contestant ever on American Idol. She makes Katharine McPhee look average.

4:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately we have yet to see real talent here, it has been overshadowed by the clowns that typify what American Idol has become. The only guy I see that record companies would drool over is Richardson. His voice and looks are definatly marketable. A recording companies dream to get another Timberlake. This guy in his interview seems down to earth and talented, just havent seen enough of him to make a judgement on his talent yet but so far could be a huge sucess in the future.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Dave: Good to know, though I'm not a big fan of the song in any version. One of my less favorite Mariah singles.

Anonymous 1: I disagree with you on that, but certainly she's an attractive woman.

Anonymous 2: I actually disagree. Based on early returns, I find this to be a more talented/entertaining group than we had last year. We'll see if time proves me right.

I posted this in my next post, but it should be here too for posterity: "I said that I didn't know why I loved Antonella Barba, but actually it's pretty clear. She is (by far) the most attractive female finalist, she's got a really great soulful tone to her voice, she's confident without being cocky, and she comes off as genuinely likeable. It still seems like AI wanted me to hate her, but I think she's an almost lock for the top 12 (I'd say her, Gina, Melinda, and Jordin seem very likely to make the final 12 at this point). Doing a bit of research at lunch today I noted there is a strong correlation between Antonella fans and McPhee fans, which makes me feel better."

9:35 PM  

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