Posted: 6:26 pm Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

‘American Idol’ recap: top 15 women perform (or most of them) 

By Rodney Ho

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: Majesty Rose performs in front of the judges on Tuesday, Feb. 18 (8:00-10:00 PM ET / PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting.

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: Majesty Rose performs in front of the judges on Tuesday, Feb. 18 (8:00-10:00 PM ET / PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting.

Nerves clearly got the best of the ladies tonight.

I think the set up where only 10 of the 15 were going to perform live made the situation even worse. Uncertainty is not a good set up for great performances. There’s already enough pressure going on a live stage for the first time.

I hope they don’t do this again.

There were no real blockbuster performances, nothing to get Jennifer Lopez to feel those “goosies.” There was some mediocrity, some over-reaching and a few bad notes.

The producers saved the best for last in Malaya Watson, the teen girl with glasses, braces and lots of youthful verve. She busted out some Ray Charles and gave it enough power to energize the crowd.

There was only one real dog of a performance: Brialle Sellars just tortured Katy Perry’s “Roar.” What a mess!

On the bright side, the judges continued to work well together now that we see them live and Harry Connick Jr. provided some sage advice.

We also found out if Ben Briley or Atlanta’s Neco Starr made it to the top 15 based on public votes. No surprise based on the polling I did last week, but Briley got the votes.

First up: Majesty Rose (“Happy” by Pharrell Williams.) She has cool hair and exudes confidence. She starts slow and doesn’t seem quite so confident while on stage while using the guitar. Once she dispensed with the guitar, she felt freer and broke it open. Overall, I felt the song, while upbeat and befitting her personality, did not really showcase her vocals well.  J. Lo was all positive. HCJ: “I feel very fortunate you have set this tone and did a fantastic job.” Grade: B

Second up: Kristen O’Connor (“Turning Tables’ Adele). Cute and professional looking, but she didn’t really bring out the emotion. It was just okay. HCJ: “Nice job.” Keith: “You have a killer range. You had a lot of nerves going on.” Grade: B/B-minus

Third up: Brianna Oakley (“Warrior” Demi Levato). For a teenager, she feels very old. She’s a good singer. It was a solid performance but ultimately forgettable because the song doesn’t really bring much special to the table. She will struggle to get votes from that performance. J. Lo noted her nerves. Grade: B/B-plus

Fourth up: Jena Asciutto. (“Paint it Black” Rolling Stones). She’s very sultry and she sings it that way. It’s a little overdone but I found it entertaining. Keith: “There’s a poise about you. You’re very calm and confident.” Grade: B-plus/B

Fifth up: Bria Anai Johnson (“Wrong Side of a Love Song” Melanie Fiora) . Our Lithonia girl made the cut! “It felt very very shouted,” HCJ said. “The specificity of what you were trying to sing was lost.” Keith: “You overshoot the wrong way… but you still have the lips.” JLo: “You have star written all over you.” Grade: B

Sixth up: Brialle Sellars (“Roar” Katy Perry). Oh my gawd. That was just horrid. Her voice sounded weak and shaky all over the place. Keith: “Not the best song for you or the best tempo for you. It was too karaoke.” J. Lo:”You should have done that with the guitar.” HCJ: “You have to sing in the pocket. I didn’t see any of that superstar.” Grade: C-minus

Seventh up: Jessica Meuse (“Drink a Beer” Luke Bryan) . I found her natural and comfy with this song despite some nerves. With me grading on a curve tonight, she wasn’t bad. HCJ said he intonation meant she tended to go sharp. “I wanted to feel what you were singing. I didn’t feel you were settled into what th song was about.” Keith: “Be really really careful when singing a song about that subject matter. I can’t believe you’re really gone and you’re smiling. That’s the disconnect. You have a believability in your voice.” Grade: B/B-plus

Eighth up: Emily Piriz (“Paris (Ooh La La)” Grace Potter & the Nocturnals) – I remembered her doing more soulful singer songwriter stuff or maybe my memory is faulty. She goes aggressive with this edgy Grace Potter song. She does an okay job with it but it feels very karaoke. HCJ really questions her hard about the rather sexual lyrics and whether they’re apropos for someone who just turned 18. She defends it saying it’s a female empowerment song. Keith said don’t hide behind an act, bear your soul. J. Lo said she loved what she did on the piano and the ballad but also did this very well. Grade: B/B-plus

Ninth: MK Nobilette (“All of Me’ John Legend) She has a pretty voice and she’s open. But she lacks dynamism on the big stage. She isn’t quite ready for prime time. I’m shocked she made the top 10. It was good enough for her to make the top 13, I’d fathom. Grade: B-plus

In the pocket: Malaya Watson (“Hard Times” Ray Charles). She brought it with energy and conviction. Sure, the notes weren’t all that clean at times but she knew she was the last one in and that’s a compliment. HCJ: I look forward to seeing you settle and finding your space.” Keith: “You make glasses and braces look so cool.” Grade: B-plus/A-minus

432 comments
MercedesS
MercedesS

Finally got to see the whole show from last night. Rodney's comments were very appropriate.

This is the year Idol hates blondes. All the girls have dark brown or black hair. Even MK - only the dyed tips outside her cap are light.

I judged last night's performers on how well I wanted to hear them again.  Three stood out:  Jessica, MK and Malaya. I also want to see Majesty Rose again, and Brianna Oakley.  And Nurse Kristen, if she can let go of her pageantry "surprise" face.

Absolutely hated Marialle and her "Roar". 

Jene Irene - someone called her "sultry" - I was thinking, when I heard her sing "Paint it Black", that she needed a veil and harm pants to fulfills someone's fantasy.

Bria Aai sounded lovely at first, until she started to shout. 

Emily Pirits has excaped from a pageant. Awful song choice, poorly performed.

Rickster_
Rickster_

Have a good evening, everyone!

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

Wouldn't put it past them to fake a "live" show. At least Thursday's would seemingly have to be live to throw out the ones not chosen.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

I have questions.  Was last night's show live?  Or was it taped in front of a live audience?  So it was a live show of which we saw the tape.

Why do I ask this question?  The Idol spoiler site TIP posted the names of the 5 girls not singing at 6:46pm last night eastern time.  


Sam-A1
Sam-A1

Good to see you joining us, K&CF!

KellyandCarrieFan
KellyandCarrieFan

Hi all, 


Well, last night was an interesting concept.... but it felt rushed and pretty awkward for me. In theory, I think it would be an interesting concept, but the execution wasn't for me. Liked: Majesty Rose, Emily, MK and Malaya. 

I'm on the fence with Jessica Meuse. She needs to change up her attitude a bit because she's not winning any personality points. I can understand trying to make a living as a musician is hard... but it's what you're choosing to do. I do have a theory about her. Perhaps it's because she reminds me of many girls I've known before, but I think she might have somethings in common with MK... I'm basing it on her vibe, demeanor and how emotional she seemed to get when MK performed. 

Speaking of MK, I liked her performance. I might be biased, but I found it refreshing in the middle of the "scream / glory note" fest to have a more controlled performance. Were there issues? Of course. I do think nerves got to her (and really, everyone). Did she do enough to make it? We shall see. If she doesn't move on, I'm just glad for her to have made it and perhaps it serves a motivation for some scared kid in Podunk, USA to see a girl like her sing on TV and be cheered on and accepted by an audience. (Ok, enough with the sappiness!)


DeirdreC
DeirdreC

Not trying to start anything but, in the "not as friendly as here" forums, there have been some insinuations of racism.  Almost all the girls left sitting were white.  

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

Mercedes: I don't think "DA" is 'poorly written' this year. I'm quite enjoying it. And the Beibs moving in your neighborhood - YIKES!

I think Jessica has probably been beaten down a lot in the industry, and is just a bit scared and bewildered that someone actually likes her for a change. I did notice the girl beside her pat her arm in congrats, and she more or less ignored it - kinda seemed in a bit of a shock - hope she responded to the girl later. I wonder if that girl was one of the ones in Jessica's group, who took up for her when that witch of a mother tore her apart - which in itself could be one reason she's "like a deer caught in headlights" and fragile right now.

G_
G_

All musicians that happen to sing, are not always "the best" singers.  Many of them are better writers, instrumentalist, or both.  They usually sing well enough to properly interpret the song.  I felt that way about PP.  The top 30 are full of musicians that happen to sing okay; not great, but okay.  I think that all the girls chosen are talented in their own right, but they were greatly exposed under presure last night.

Rickster_
Rickster_

In other entertainment news.... CeeLo Green announced on "Ellen" that he is quitting "The Voice."

Talk about someone scary!

Woodpappy
Woodpappy

The "DAWG" just has nothing to add to the show anymore...sorry dude.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

Here's a bit of Michael Slezak's opinion of last night.  After ripping Randy Jackson's mentoring ability into teeny tiny pieces he went on to say:

Even more distressing was the fact that the show cut one-third of Season 13′s Top 15 girls — before they’d sung a single note — based in large part on footage of Randy’s pre-season workshop (which, mercifully, was heavy on footage of glowing, talented Idol grads Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry). Ryan also noted that contestants’ dress rehearsals played a part in the decision. And — I’m just gonna assume it was all Randy’s fault — five really promising vocalists (Kenzie Hall, Austin Wolfe, Andrina Brogden, Jillian Jensen and Brandy Neelly) were all slashed in favor of the a couple women who’d given no prior indication of being ready for primetime singing stardom. (Spoiler: Their names respectively rhyme with Pia Buh-Bye and Larry Hell Cellars.)

A funny thing happened, though, on the way to creating a dramatic “Rush Week” forum. None of the 10 women who would eventually sing for America’s vote knew in advance of the live show whether or not she’d actually get a chance to take the stage. One at a time, the judges would introduce a singer, ask her to run through a backstage gauntlet, grab the mic and perform her ditty.

And as J.Lo astutely noted, the long run to the stage, the adrenaline and fear of the last-second announcements and the inability to fully prepare for a major television debut resulted in an evening of uneven, tentative, out-of-tune performances. In other words, reality TV drama was the night’s big winner; but lost in the contrived setup was the feeling that we were looking at multiple legitimate contenders to own a piece of The House That Kelly Clarkson Built.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

One thing for sure:  Idol has us talking again.  I guess that is an indication of success!

JTesla
JTesla

It seemed last night that, in terms of the lounge, Jessica is rather cold. Or she just doesn't play well with others. Miley wanted Jessica to sit close, but she didn't. The next girl then kept her distance from Jessica.

MercedesS
MercedesS

STill haven't seen all the girls.  meanwhile, very good article in today's  paper AJC about the poorly written DA season.

MercedesS
MercedesS

That should be harem pants, obviously.

KellyandCarrieFan
KellyandCarrieFan

(apparently my post was too long....) Here's the rest:

As for the Dawg? Oy. Why? Dude hasn't given useful critiques in years. Can we just swap him out and keep Adam and Chris Daughtry? I mean, really. Their advice was way more useful. 

I'm guessing the boys will do slightly better. If only because they now know what the process is. Also, does anyone know what the deal is for the wildcards? They said one pick from each judge. I'm guessing this means we might be seeing one (or more?) of the girls who didn't perform last night, make it to the Top 13? Maybe they perform tomorrow as some kind of last chance? 


Btw, @RodneyHo, I believe it's Marialle Sellars. I get it, tho, there are too many "B" names this year. Was that on the checklist? 

DanJohn
DanJohn

@DeirdreC I wonder if the shouts of racism is based on Randy and his workshop? I'm sure the judges along with Randy and the producers chose the singers that not only had talent but personality that would benefit the show. How much input each had is debatable. As an old white guy I don't see any racism reverse or otherwise.

G_
G_

@DeirdreC LOL! Can't please everybody.  I remember a couple of years ago when there was a "blonde invasion" on the girls side.  There wasn't that much of an outcry, but more of an eyebrow raiser by some.  But I'm not surprised about some circles being a bit miffed at the results so far.  But racism?  Kind of hard to prove looking at the judges. 

DanJohn
DanJohn

@DeirdreC I don't think race played a role. I think a lot of the white girls were too similar. Now I would bet that the five chosen will be genre diverse that's why I think Jessica will make it as a WC.

JTesla
JTesla

@DeirdreC You mean except for the ones that were not white right?

Or are they finally taking up the torch of "not enough Asian's and Latino's" in Idol? Nah, I bet they aren't.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Sam-A1  Did you know DA ends next week?  The season is almost laughably short.  It feels like it just started.  I am enjoying it very much but I also agree that the writing is shaky.  Scenes end abruptly.  Men are falling all over Mary and seriously, she's just not that charming.  Lord Granthem heads for the USA with almost no explanation at all.  It feels off to me.

DanJohn
DanJohn

@G_ You're right about musicians who sing not being great singers. Several of my favorites such as Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne and Van Morrison aren't great singers. Neither were James Brown or Rick James. However they were distinctive and had IT!

DanJohn
DanJohn

@Rickster_ I wonder if now being a part time mentor is the reason. It could also be that losing the best artists to Blake and Adam might be part of it. The singers who have a choice are more likely to chose Blake or Adam since they've mentored winners or Xtina because of who she is. CeeLo has had some good singers but never one that had a real chance to win other than Juliet Simms.

MercedesS
MercedesS

@Rickster_ You want to hear scary? Scary is reading that Frizzle/Twizzles (I'm watching too much ice dancing) - the child previously known as Justin Bieber - might move into your neighborhood.  

Rickster_
Rickster_

@Woodpappy The "DAWG" ceased to be relevant about three years ago. For me it was his declaration that Josh Ledet was "the greatest singer" in the history of any TV music show.

MercedesS
MercedesS

@DeirdreC The SInk or Swim method - a bit too much of that on Idol right now.  There were two girls I REALLY wanted to hear sing and I was denied the pleasure.

JTesla
JTesla

Was that "mentoring"? Glad they had some real mentors, Adam and Chris did a great job.

Rickster_
Rickster_

@DeirdreC Idol definitely disproves the old adage "any publicity is good publicity"

DanJohn
DanJohn

@JTesla In all seriousness I think Jessica isn't so much cold as she is thick skinned. Getting doors slammed in your face while pursuing a dream can do that. However that attitude doesn't help the chase of the dream, it hinders it. The hair is an attempt to stand out IMO!

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@JTesla  

Agree about Jessica.  I think that girl has either been badly hurt or perceives that she has been badly hurt.  She doesn't seem to trust people at all.  Her near crying last night when Ryan asked her about singing with the band...real or fake?

JTesla
JTesla

Agree on MK and Randy.

I doubt they will pick from those that didn't sing. They opted to not have them sing for a reason. So, if they do it, it will only be for drama, cheap X-Factor type drama.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@KellyandCarrieFan @RodneyHo  

And yes please to getting rid of Randy and keeping Chris and Adam.  They seem to know what they're doing.  Randy just seems to want to stay on camera....or keep an Idol paycheck.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@KellyandCarrieFan @RodneyHo  

Agree about MK.  She has a lovely voice and the audience reaction was heartwarming.

Yes we will have a top 13 but the wildcards must be chosen from the ones who sang...which seems strange to me since the audience will have already rejected them.  I can't help but wonder if Idol will pull the "we shouldn't have eliminated so-and-so" card and let the judges pick from the top 15 in each group.

RodneyHo
RodneyHo moderator

@G_ @DeirdreCFrom a diversity perspective, I didn't think Malaya was going to make it at the end, thinking in my mind there were a lot of white ladies left in the mix there.

JTesla
JTesla

@JTesla I got that backwards. You mean except for the ones that got to the lounge that were white, right?

Yeah, that makes more sense. Oh how I miss you edit function.

KellyandCarrieFan
KellyandCarrieFan

@DeirdreC I'm agreeing with you on the season being over way too soon. As far as Mary having so many suitors? It's amazing what a ladyship and being Matthew's heir does for her appeal... I'm not sold on Gillingham. I recall he had money issues and was part of the reason why he was engaged to Mabel. As always, the Dowager Countess stole the show for me. 

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@JTesla  

Agree!  I wonder if Idol brought in Adam and Chris to help improve Randy's skills.  To me, it looked like Randy did nothing.  His "chats" with the girls seemed to indicate, at least to me, that he had never heard them sing.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@DanJohn @JTesla  

The hair is pretty common these days.  Many singers and a lot of 20somethings are adding interesting colors to their hair.  

RodneyHo
RodneyHo moderator

@G_ @RodneyHoYou have wonder who really made the choices: the producers or the judges?

G_
G_

@RodneyHo You make a very honest and valid point.  Based on what I'm used to seeing on Idol, I didn't expect for Malaya to be chosen.  Too many cute blondes were left in the mix. I'm thinking the previous producers wouldn't have let it go down that way.  ijs

JTesla
JTesla

@DeirdreC As long as they keep showing the mentor that was helping the Idol's move on stage, it will all be fine.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@JTesla  

To tell you the truth, I just think there's a faction who are disappointed that there aren't more blondes.  ;-)

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@DanJohn @JTesla  

Re the hair...I would MUCH rather see girls dye their hair odd colors than tattoo their current boyfriends' names on their arms.  Much easier to change.  That's a trend I can live with and sometimes, it's very pretty.