Oh I just knew my days as a blogger were not over yet. I have a new villian (or maybe 2) and so I'm on a roll again! So, this is ME!
First, I have to comment on the voting changes. For years on the AI official forum (which as you recall banned me for life for quoting Dorothy Parker last year...but it doesn't matter now because they have discontinued it probably because they banned everyone interesting and people quit posting out of sheer boredom) people have been begging the show to limit the votes to avoid conspiracy theories about super smart Asians hacking the AI lines to vote for Filipinos. Or gay haters at AT&T throwing away all the votes for Adam Lambert so Kris Allen could win. Well, now the votes are limited to 50 with each method. And you can text with any carrier (is AT&T no longer a sponsor....I think that may be the answer to this long time coming change). And, a new twist announced tonight....each contestant will keep their number all season long or for as long as their season lasts. This may prove problematic for long time viewers or old timers. To make things harder for old timers, they have switched to putting the vote information in small print during the performances...something I didn't notice until half way through the show tonight. And you can spend the whole show now voting instead of watching.
Overall, I think all of them performed better than they did last week which is understandable given that they weren't on pins and needles in a holding area waiting to sing or be chopped. Also, last week was the first time most of them had used ear monitors which may account for some of the *intonation* issues. So...a new start for them all tonight and they were supposed to choose songs which would tell the audience *this is me* as an artist. Most of them got the message but some of them seemed to choose a song they liked (or already knew) and try to make it fit. And by the end of the show I was pretty tired of hearing about the *journey* they are on. Why not just pick a Journey song and call it a wrap?
Contestant #1, Dexter, at least got the assignment right. He is a *fun* guy and he wanted to sing a *fun* song. I believe Ryan forgot to tell us what song it was and the original artist(s). This was unfortunate because he sang it like a manure salesmen with samples in his mouth. I could not get one word of the lyrics. I suppose his voice was fine enough but what is country music without the story? The judges are harping on him being unoriginal and I have to agree with them. But he is likeable and I think will get votes.
Contestant #2, Malaya, was full of energy. I just love this girl but I had hoped she would get some of that energy used up before she basically made a track meet out of Runaway Baby. She screamed it seemed to me. Stop that screaming Malaya. Calm the heck down. I don't want you to go home yet but this was not that endearing.
Kristen O'Connor, contestant #3, sang a Kelly Clarkson song, Beautiful Disaster. She said she was taking the lyrics and singing it about her instead of some guy. I think she knew the song and wanted to sing it and came up with a goofy explanation about why she did. It is just too easy to call this performance a Beautiful Disaster but that is what it was. Harry said she was out of tune. I wouldn't be sad if she was out of the contest but she is not a villain, just not any different from any other pretty girl singing in the Miss America pageant whose real life path is working for world peace by becoming a news anchor and not being a pop star.
Ben Briley, contestant #4, sang the first song I knew tonight, Folsum Prison Blues. He sang it very fast. He sang it very well. I would have preferred him making it a touch slower but it was good and he loved doing it. I think he will get lots of votes.
Keith and Harry disagreed about my guy CJ's performance (#5). I wish it had been a little stronger because I adore him. But he at least got the assignment right and related it to him being a little kid driving in the car listening to the radio. I hope he sticks around awhile. I like his *crying* voice too and want to hear it but he is basically an upbeat guy so it would not have been him to be morose.
The judges loved MK Robilette's Satisfaction (#6). I could never hear that song again and be happy. She sang it well I suppose but because I didn't like the song and didn't get how it related to her at all (other than to show she could do something besides ballads) I wasn't thrilled with her performance. She is beautiful though. I want to hear her sing a better song next week.
Majesty Rose, #7, sang Tightrope and gave a pretty plausible reason for doing so. She is growing on me. I thought hers was one of the best performances of the night.
Jena Irene, #8 sang The Scientist. I have no idea what this had to do with her either other than she knew the song because she has been singing it since she was nine years old. I'm putting this song on the list with Hallelujah, I Who Have Nothing, and any Whitney Houston song, as one which should never be sung on Idol again. She reminds me of Lauren Alaina and not just because she dumped her last name. Micheal Slezak, the TV Line Blogger, loves this girl. I do not. I'm not a fan of belters and I don't see why the judges don't hear the screaming when these diva wanna bees start belting. But they don't.
Alex Preston, #9, sang *A Beautiful Mess*. I cannot remember why he chose this song but it was, to use an overused Randy Jackson expression *in his wheelhouse*. I like the staging. He did a fine job and I think his fish faces were minimal tonight.
My favorite, Jessica Muese, sang a song I do not know but which I loved...the Crow and the Butterfly. I loved it. I love her. I want America to vote for her and not all those young kids. I'm afraid they will not.
My new villian is Emily Piriz who is rapidly becoming the second coming of Angie Miller, fakey smiles, eye sexing the camera, and flipping hair extensions and all. Slezak and Melinda Doolittle didn't get why she was voted into the top 10 and could only explain it at American feeling sorry for her because Harry was hard on her for picking that stupid ooh la la song last week. Harry still doesn't like her and I thought he was restraining himself tonight when he praised her performance. She sang Glitter in the Air by Pink and belted it enough that she will get the votes from those people who voted for Angie Miller last year and Pia several years before. ARRGH. I don't like her and I KNOW she spent hours in front of the mirror perfecting her little facial expressions to appear oh so appealingly Angie Miller (she probably watched her Youtube videos ad nauseum). The good thing is my snark now has something to quench its appetite.
Dear sweet Sam Wolfe, #12, is not going home for a very long time. He sang Unwell (again I didn't get why it is him). I think it could have had more passion but he is a kid and probably hasn't experienced anything more painful than stepping on a sea urchin. If I had a pink cell phone with rhinestones on the cover, I would have voted for #12 even more than the 50 votes allowed. As I do not, I voted for Jessica instead.
Caleb the Rocker, #13, got the pimp spot. He proved he can sing a rock song. He can swing around the microphone stand really well too. He still sort of bores me.
So, let me know if you agree or disagree with me on this first show.
I have no idea who is going home but I'm afraid it might be CJ. My hope would be Kristin or Emily but I think there are enough people who get impressed by screamers to keep them in this week.
Correction: I went back to my early audition blogs and see that I am wrong about Sam Wolfe and his life pain. His back story (which mercifully we haven't heard about since the audition) is that he lives with grandparents because his parents are *out of the picture*. So as perfect as he looks, and as perfect as he sings he hasn't had a perfect life. I bet if he has any success here one or both parents will reappear with their hands out. Let us hope he doesn't give them any money.