Posted: 6:05 pm Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

‘American Idol’ recap: 10 of 15 guys perform and it’s much better than the ladies 

By Rodney Ho

AMERICAN IDOL XIII:  Sam Woolf performs in front of the judges on Wednesday, Feb. 19 (8:00-10:00 PM ET / PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting.

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: Sam Woolf performs in front of the judges on Wednesday, Feb. 19 (8:00-10:00 PM ET / PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting.

After the disappointing night we had last night with the ladies, the guys picked up the pace and gave us a fun night overall.

The men in general are a more seasoned group and that may have made a big difference. They also had the advantage of seeing the women the night before and that may have also helped them strategize themselves.

Ten of the 15 semifinalist males sang, including one Atlantan: Emmanuel Zidor, whose over-the-top style turned off a lot of viewers. I’m not sure he did enough to move on.

There were some solid performances tonight, including those by C.J. Harris, Sam Woolf, Alex Preston and Ben Briley. (My obscenely early prediction: he will win “American Idol” season 13. Why? Sam Woolf fits the WGWG mold perfectly. He’s young and sweet like Scotty McCreery with a similarly humble personality of a Kris Allen or Phillip Phillips coupled with confidence befitting of a David Cook. And he can certainly sing better than Lee DeWyze.)

I’d say those four are in, possibly with pretty boy Spencer Lloyd, since he was given the pimp spot and the girls seem to love him.

Worst performance of the night: George Lovett. One note, as Harry Connick Jr. said. He’s a goner for sure.

I’m not sure we missed much with the other five guys who didn’t perform. I thought the judges were fair and critiqued well tonight overall.

Here are the singers in order of performance:

First up: Caleb Johnson (“Stay With Me” The Faces). Smart to bring up first a guy who has spent a lot of time on stage, knows who he is and has no problem dealing with the lights and the cameras. He does a competent, old-school rocker performance. I’m not sure he brings anything really new to the equation but he’s entertaining. Grade: B-plus/A-minus

Second up: C.J. Harris (“Shelter” Ray LaMontagne) This Alabama soul-country combo singer is a favorite from the get go for a reason. He brings sincerity and charm to anything he sings. This song requires pain and longing and he does it effortlessly. Adam Lambert tells him to dump the guitar because it was distracting. It’s true. His voice holds its own. J. Lo said it’s beautiful. HCJ said he has a tendency to go sharp and should watch his intonation. Keith compared him to a unique combination of Jonny Lang and Dobie Gray. Grade: A-minus

Third up: Emmanuel Zidor (“Best of My Love” Emotions) He has confidence and likes to twist his hips around. It was fun and vocally okay. He didn’t go cray cray like he tried in rehearsals. HCJ: “You remind me of performers I saw in New Orleans… I’d recommend you heed the advice. Stay in your lane. The performance started to go off kilter.” J. Lo expressed her version of disappointment as well. I think he’s in trouble .given that type of negative feedback. Plus, he came after two strong performances and his may be long forgotten by the time the show is over. Grade: B-plus

Fourth up: Sam Woolf (“Babylon” David Gray). Here was another early favorite who the judges loved the instant they heard him. He looks cute, he brings youthful vigor but a quiet confidence. Plus, his voice is distinctive and clean. His David Gray cover just brings a smile to my face. He is a shoo-in for one of the five public votes, along with Harris. Keith: “You have that voice that is money.” HCJ wonders if he can gain more confidence. (does he lack it?) Grade: A

Fifth up: George Lovett (“Grenade” Bruno Mars) I don’t particularly like his style or his voice even though he has a slight Usher-ish feel. It just seems too much and lacks the sincerity Mars brought to the equation. And the swaybots are driving me nuts. J. Lo found his vocal stylings distracting despite how much she loves him. HCJ says he over-sang and “spun out of control… It didn’t have a lot of dynamic. It was very one note. I heard you sing better.” Keith critiqued his song choice. Grade: B/B-minus

Sixth up: Dexter Roberts (“This Ole Boy” Joe Nichols) I haven’t had a deep impression of him up to this point. He has an easygoing style that is pleasant but I don’t know if I feel a star here. HCJ said he’s a solid, likable performer, a typical modern-day country performer. He wonders what will set him apart from “Idol.” He’s going to have a tough time to garner votes. Grade: B-plus

Seventh up: Alex Preston (“Volcano” Damien Rice) –  Phillip Phillips has sung this song! Alex has an odd-looking face and seems the epitome of the phrase “band geek.”  That may hurt him in terms of generating votes. But he’s memorable. And that could help him. Keith said it was the right song for him and playing the guitar was smart. J. Lo said it had a great groove. HCJ said he really liked the fact Alex treats music like a religion. Grade: B-plus/A-minus

Eighth up: Malcolm Allen (“Coming From Where I’m From” – Anthony Hamilton) He is another one of the favored children. He is a little rough in terms of his stage presence but he has a ravishing R&B voice. It’s an uneven performance overall. He should have hit an emotional peak at the end but failed. Still, he may be good enough to get him through to the top 13. J. Lo felt he didn’t quite connect. HCJ said there were too many of the same runs and goes way too sharp. Grade: B

Ninth up: Ben Briley (“Soulshine” Allman Brothers) After all that brouhaha of almost missing the top 15 guys, he gets his shot. And can he outdo his buddy Dexter? He’s a more interesting vocalist, more soulful and more memorable, period. I think he has a better shot of bringing in the votes. I don’t think he is going to win the competition but he could end up in the top 13. “Idol” needs a country presence on the male side and he’s it. HCJ: “You did a great job. I think you’re really interesting and powerful.” He also found Ben’s tie knot ridiculously large. J. Lo said he came alive with the audience. Grade: B-plus/A-minus

Pimp spot is for pretty boy Spencer Lloyd (“Love Don’t Die” The Fray).  He is a man who knows how to work the crowd. Despite a bit of a “douche” arrogant quality to him, he has a good voice. Keith didn’t think that was his best vocal but he knows the crowd responded to him. HCJ said this was not his strong suit. “This was not good,” he said. Grade: B-plus

385 comments
Sam-A1
Sam-A1

Since Sanjaya was neither 'pretty' nor had any 'voice' of which to speak, I'd say Spencer was more like the really cute blonde guy who was a great guitar player and good singer (name just not coming to me now), with a good bit less talent and a way inflated ego.

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

Okay, so I like 6 of the guys from last night.  They are, in no particular order:


1.  Caleb.  If they're doing an oldies night they should have him sing "Go Down Gamblin'" by Blood, Sweat and Tears.


2.  CJ.  I can't put my finger on what style they would promote for him, but I do like him.

3.  Dexter.  Genuine person, but definitely Country, and maybe a dash of Western. :)

4.  Sam.  Seems like a nice guy and very talented.

5.  Alex.  After I saw his background story I could help but think of Van Morrison.  Not a pretty face (not ugly, either), introverted, but extremely talented.

6.  Ben.  Country, Southern Rock (if there still is such a thing)


Bottom 4, in order:


1.  Jacob Lusk....err.....uh.....I mean Emmanuel.  How he ever got to the Hollywood round is beyond me.  I imagine a family member hollering "Hercules, Hercules, Hercules" after he performs.

2.  George.  Meh. 

3.  Malcolm.  Meh

4.  Spenser.  Pleasing to a young girl's eyes and reasonably talented so sadly he will go deep.




Rickster_
Rickster_

Been reading that the online music service Pandora says it can figure out what political persuasion you are by the type(s) of music you listen to.

I listen to some Country, some Heavy Metal, Motown, Sara McLaghlin, Indigo Girls, Sara Bareilles, Evanesence, British Invasion & Southern Rock.

Good luck with that Pandora!!

RodneyHo
RodneyHo moderator

Final ratings of the Olympics Wed. vs. Idol. The Olympics: 20.11 million, 5.0 share 18-49. Idol: 9.88 million, 2.6 share 18-49. Olympics is now doubling "Idol" in ratings. Ratings last night were actually flat compared to Tuesday. "Idol" for Wednesday night may end up with about a 10.1 million viewers with a 2.5 18-49 share.

RodneyHo
RodneyHo moderator

I just Tweeted that Sam Woolf will win "American Idol." Why not make a bold, possibly foolish early prediction and place it on the record for the world to see? I included his Twitter handle (@samwoolfmusic) and he almost immediately favorited it. (I know. Is that even a word? In Twitterland it is!)

@ajcradiotv

Comically early prediction: Sam Woolf (@samwoolfmusic) will win "American Idol" season 13. Nice melding of recent WGWG winners!

03:22 PM - 20 Feb 14

Favorited by

Sam Woolf @samwoolfmusic

Acoustic/Singer-songwriter/Performer. Music is my life and I want to share it with the world. Currently on this season's American Idol.

See what else @samwoolfmusic is favoriting.

View their profile




Woodpappy
Woodpappy

Way too early to be picking the winner....jmo

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

Just got back from lunch with Rodney.  Very good to see him again.  We both predicted a Sam Woolf as the winner, both referencing Scotty McCreery.  Clearly, Rodney and I have been talking about Idol together far too long!  ;-)

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

Well, guess I'm not the only one here who hopes Emmanuel will do a bye-bye tonight! Hopefully he'll be flagging planes at the ATL Airport soon.

I missed a few minutes in the last 30 mins, but from the reviews and what Harry was saying to one when I came back in, guess there was another one or two that were pretty bad.

blkshepherd58
blkshepherd58

Clay Akien, Adam Lambert. Both very gay. But sorry they Gave you voice. I listened to Emmanuel not just last night. There are Many who I heard in the auditons that had much more quailty to their voices. The over the top mannerisms will work only but so long then you will be tuned out and forgotton.

Rickster_
Rickster_

Didn't watch either night. For some reason, my enthusiasm for this season (and Idol as well) has just tanked.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

Hey B-shep...welcome back!

blkshepherd58
blkshepherd58

Emmanuel without a doubt one of the worst performances I have seen in quite a while on AI.

Someone please pull that young man aside and tell him that he is turning off the viewing audience with the over the top mannerisms. If he has a good voice, its lost because of his over the top mannerisms which are a total turn off. 

Any over sized or undersized person swaying their hips is a complete turn off. Spend more time delivering and developing that voice rather than swaying your over sized out of shape hips. 

The guy with the sweater tied around his hips and all of those runs. Not good singing at all. I hope both have their bags packed. They will be on they way back  home next week.

FarTrain
FarTrain

Been gone for awhile, back now.  Looks like AI is really low on the totem pole as for talent this year.  I can usually pick out 2-3 I think will be in the top 10 but not this year. All just average or slightly above. Almost got the judges right(-JLo who is turning into Mariah right before our eyes) but are screwing up the format and selection process big time.  RoHo gave Emmanuel a B+.....Seriously?   Him being from Atlanta got anything to do with that?  C would have been very generous.  I felt most of his grades were higher than they should have been, at least on about 5 of them.   Was surprised to see that another article pointed out that Dexter and CJ have hometowns about 40 miles apart, and the AL girl, Jessica is not that much farther away either. AL may produce the winner this year, which could easily be AI's last year.  Hurry up, Voice, waiting for you! Hopefully Tessa Kate will show up there, since AI made her disappear after so much promise.

Woodpappy
Woodpappy

Such an improvement last night over the girls performances.  Girls gotta bring it when they get the next chance.

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

If Alex is the one I think he is, really good guitar player, pretty good voice but not so hot looking - I think he's the one that I think actually looks a lot like the dreaded Lee DeW - UGH, but luckily he sings much better

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

I'm not a big fan of Spencer.  As ROHO said, pretty boy.  Teeny boppers will love him, unfortunately.


I may be wrong but I believe he would be more interested in being a celebrity than being a performer.  Just my take..

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

Emmanuel is my least favorite guy.  He really irritates me and then it finally dawned on me as to why.  Geez O' Pete, he reminds me of that Diva from Season 10, Jacob Lusk.  Just imagine fingernails down a chalkboard.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

I think Sam, Caleb, CJ, Spencer and Alex make the cut tonight.  I agree that Spencer will get in based on his looks, I think Sam is the much more likely winner.  He's like the pop version of Scotty McCreery.

G_
G_

I don't believe there was any guy that I didn't like at least a little.  All of the guys had something positive to bring, so I didn't feel compelled to vote.  At this point, I don't have any favorites on the guys side, even though I believe they outshined the girls.  However, I think the following guys get through tonight:

  1. Spencer - Doesn't matter how good or bad he performs, the girls love him.  He's my early favorite to win the entire competition
  2. Caleb - As most strong rock singers, he'll make it through.  But eventually, there's usually not enough old school rock voters to those type singers through to the end.
  3. Ben - People like a guy that has fun on the stage and can sing......and play guitar well.  He'll be around for a while.
  4. Sam Woolf - Although I don't see anything special about him, he's a traditional Idol contestant.  He portrays an innocense about him that many Idol fathfuls like. 
  5. Dexter - He's just genuine about who he is and how he goes about his business.  The show needs a strong country singer.

If there is any shift above, maybe Sam Woolf? CJ may sneak in, but that's it.  I don't see any room for any R&B or soul singers from the guys this year.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

I try not to vote based on personality...especially a character trait that Idol has assigned to an individual during the edited portion of the auditions.  It's almost like saying we don't like a skier's personality so he shouldn't win the downhill just because he was the fastest.  

That being said, I'm not a big fan of Spencer's voice and, unless he improves dramatically, I won't be voting for him.  

G_
G_

For some reason CJ reminds me of Otis Redding. 

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Sam-A1  I don't remember his ego being inflated.  I remember Kara embarrassing him by getting him to take off his shirt.  Poor guy turned every shade of red.

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

@Sam-A1


You talking about Casey James?  Dude was one of the better guitar players the show ever had. 

Rickster_
Rickster_

@blkshepherd58 Over the top mannerisms seemed to work a few years ago for "the guy who finished second to Kris Allen (you know, the guy who actually won?")

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

@Woodpappy


Won't happen.  Not enough female talent still around, and I blame that on the judges.  There were some excellent female singers during the auditions.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Sam-A1  He does look just a bit like Lee.  He's seems to be the musician in the group.

RodneyHo
RodneyHo moderator

@DoubleNaughtSpy Spencer has "douche" written all over him. He looks like he enjoys staring at the mirror all day long. And he gets all the ladies to boot.

RodneyHo
RodneyHo moderator

@DoubleNaughtSpy Emmanuel is the type of singer that will annoy a lot of people. Yes, I'm giving the guy a break because I doubt we'll be seeing him anymore. So don't worry about him much longer.

G_
G_

@DeirdreC I forgot about Alex, and actually enjoyed his performance.  Someone really good is going to miss the cut tonight. 

G_
G_

CJ sings country, but it has a soulful underlining.  He seems to want to suppress the soul and probably get's in the way of the country music he loves.  He should embrace who he is and keep it moving.  I've always thought that there was a thin line between soul and country music. 

FarTrain
FarTrain

@DoubleNaughtSpy @Sam-A1    Casey James is actually doing very well for himself now,  with country, out of Nashville.  Saw where he had a fairly new CD and and was the opening act for some bigger acts not long ago.  Sometimes those who don't win AI come out better than the actual winners, especially if they're country.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@MercedesS @DeirdreC  My problem is that Idol "creates" the personality for our entertainment.  Spencer may be a perfectly nice guy or a total jerk.  Time and the live shows will tell us a lot more.  

For example, I didn't seem him behave badly at all last night, yet, Jessica's attitude toward her fellow contestants showed up on the live show.  It doesn't make Jessica a bad person...she feels more wounded than bad to me but her attitude was discussed on the blog. 

Spencer, on the other hand, was labeled before we even saw him and he did nothing last night to warrant it.

RodneyHo
RodneyHo moderator

@Rickster_ @DeirdreCYup. She and I are like two minds melded together when it comes to "Idol" after all this time. I hadn't had a chance to be on this all day and she beat me to the call that Sam Woolf is season 13's "American Idol." We can go back to this date and say we called it. And if we're wrong? We just ignore it! Because that's what good prognostigators do! Then again, I always remember season 8 when I predicted the first two out would be Kris Allen, followed by Adam Lambert. Oops.

Rickster_
Rickster_

@DeirdreC @Rickster_ Well, sure! He's been on the Internet (CineStars, and quoted in USA Today and other national media!

Not bad for a blogger from Atlanta.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@MercedesS  All I'm saying is that we need to keep an open mind and base how we feel about a contestant on his/her behavior when the show is not being edited.

Like JT...we really don't know how much rehearsal time Spencer had with his group.  We ONLY know what the show told us.