Idol Shakes Things Up With Sudden Death

February 23, 2013

American Idol started its Las Vegas rounds of Season 12 with an interesting twist: Sudden Death. In this round, over the course of two weeks, the top 40 of Season 12 will sing for survival. Each show will feature ten singers performing a song of their choice in hopes of being sent through to the Top 20 in Hollywood. The catch is: 5 singers will be cut at the end of the show! This week, the girls had the opportunity of opening the show’s new innovation, and they belted their hearts out. Nerves were a big factor in this week’s performances, and the judges did not lighten up on their critiques of the performances.

Wednesday’s Performances:

  • Jenny Beth Willis: Jenny Beth is a 17-year-old country singer with big dreams of becoming this season’s winner. Her rendition of “Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love” by Trisha Yearwood was decent at best. According to Mariah Carey, Jenny needs to work on everything but her endnote.
  • Teena Torres: Teena took on Natasha Beddingfield’s “Soulmate”. She’s a good singer but was off-key a few too many times for my liking. Despite the judges’ praise of vocal control, she was definitely overshadowed by those with bigger voices.
  • Adriana Latonio: Keith Urban describes the first Alaskan Idol contestant as being “So damn good”. Adriana gave a very enjoyable rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way”. She’s one to keep an eye out for this year.
  • Brandy Hotard: In her “pageant delivery of this song”, as Nicki Minaj said, Brandy struggled on her performance of Travis Tritt’s “I Don’t Love You Anymore”. Nicki said that Brandy exhibited “emotional-connection inconsistency” in which she found Brandy smiling when she sang some of the more sad lyrics.
  • Shubha Vedula: In one of the better performances of the night, Shubha’s rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” was received well by the live audience. It featured her playing the piano and giving the song a completely new twist. However, the judges seemed to not like her performance with Keith Urban calling it “confusing”.
  • Kamaria Ousley: Randy Jackson spoke for everybody when he said that Kamaria’s performance of “Mr. Know It All” by Kelly Clarkson lacking anything worth redeeming. In a round of tough critiques, Mariah was the only judge to say anything nice about Kamaria’s performance, complimenting her shoes.
  • Kree Harrison: In what is considered the highlight of Wednesday night, Kree delivered a great rendition of Patty Griffin’s “Up To The Mountain”. The judges liked her performance, with Keith giving her the compliment of being “such a natural singer”. According to Nicki, Kree “made sweet love” to the song. Many would say Kree is the judge’s favorite thus far.
  • Angela Miller: Despite a close call with a high note, Angela’s performance of Jessie J’s “Nobody’s Perfect” definitely makes the Top 5 for the first round of Sudden Death. Her vocal ability is not to be messed with as she continues to prove herself worthy to America. She’s an early favorite for Season 12 as well.
  • Isabelle: In her rendition of “God Bless The Child” by Billie Holiday, Isabelle delivered a solid performance. The judges and the live audience received the performance well but Randy deemed it “old-fashioned”.
  • Amber Holcomb: To close the night, Amber took on Rodger and Hart’s “My Bloody Valentine”. Vocal control was highlighted in this performance. A performance so well delivered that Mariah Carey threatened to smack her! The judges loved her performance and she is definitely one of their favorites, aside from Kree.

At the end of the night, the judges made their decisions:
Advancing: Kree, Amber, Shubha, Isabelle, and Adriana
Eliminated: Kamaria, Jenny Beth, Brandy, Teena, and Amber

Thursday night was the guys’ first shot at Sudden Death.

  • Paul Jolley: Paul opens up Thursday’s Sudden Death, which started the show with a bang, singing Keith Urban’s “Tonight I Wanna Cry”. Before his critique, Keith thanked Paul for choosing his song and then complimented his performance. Randy says that Paul has the vocal ability to sing any genre of music, something that not many male country singers can do. Paul did not disappoint as the opening act for Thursday’s show.
  • Johnny Keyser: Johnny takes his shot at Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up”. Despite being a little shaky in the beginning, Johnny redeemed himself later on, even getting Keith to say that it’s the “best he’s ever sung”. Johnny is one of the better-looking male singers on this season. But according to Nicki, however, he “doesn’t have a good vocal”. Honesty is the best policy, right?
  • J’Da: J’Da’s rendition of “Rumor Has It” by Adele was definitely one of the more interesting performances of the night. It was definitely my favorite. Wearing heels and a TON of glitter, J’Da worked that stage tonight and was received well by the judges and audience alike. However, according to the judges, J’Da seemed as though he was focusing more on the performance itself, rather than the singing. Like Randy said, “This IS a singing competition.”
  • Kevin Harris: Kevin takes on “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You)” by Bryan Adams. Kevin’s R&B style voice matched this song perfectly…according to half the panel. Keith and Nicki were floored by the performance, with Nicki saying, “Every single solitary musical choice you made tonight was perfection.” As soon as Randy referred to Kevin’s performance as being “karaoke”, Nicki was automatically dumbfounded. Mariah said she wishes for Kevin to perform songs where he can show off his voice like only he can.
  • Chris Watson: Chris performs “(Sittin On) The Dock Of The Bay” by Otis Redding. He connected well with the audience, but the judges, aside from Nicki, were not impressed. Nicki went on to say that she’s in love with Chris, while Randy continued to be bored. Mariah says she senses pain when Chris sings, and he is a triumphant singer (for lack of a better word).
  • Devin Valez: When Devin sings “Listen” by Beyoncé, Devin commands the stage. He breaks out in Spanish in the middle of the song, which was received well by the audience and the judges. Keith says that there are performers and there are singers…and Devin sang that song. Randy finally switches into his compliment phase and says that he loves Devin and loves the Spanish.
  • Elijah Liu: In what I thought was a struggling vocal, Eli took on “Talking To The Moon” by Bruno Mars. Keith and Nicki loved the performance, with Nicki saying that she wants to have Elijah’s babies. Randy agrees with me (Thank you, Randy) and says that Elijah didn’t have a good vocal, but he is definitely a ladies man.
  • Charlie Askew: Charlie took a shot at Elton John’s “Rocket Man”. With a plethora of missed notes and voice cracks, he somehow received a momentous reaction from the audience and the judges. Like Keith Urban said, “With that song choice, what the hell were you thinking?”
  • Jimmy Smith: Jimmy takes on “Raining On Sunday” by Keith Urban. It wasn’t the best vocally, but it certainly wasn’t the worst. Keith said he finds it really hard to critique people who sing his songs. Randy and Nicki both said that his performance was boring. And Mariah says there’s something about Jimmy that makes him worthy of being in the Top 20.
  • Curtis Finch, Jr: Curtis sings “Superstar” by The Carpenters in what could be considered the top vocal performance of the night. Vocal control is Curtis has, and he shows it by hitting low notes like Luther Vandross and then hitting an insane high note that only he can reach. Randy tells him to make it new since Curtis is only 25, but Nicki counters with, “[Being old school] That’s him”. Mariah said she was moved to tears.

At the end of the show, the judges made their decisions:
Advancing: Curtis, Elijah, Paul, Charlie, and Devin
Eliminated: Jimmy, Kevin, J’Da, Chris, and Johnny

The third and fourth rounds of Sudden Death begin next Wednesday, where the remaining guys and girls will sing to survive. Then, the live shows will begin and America will begin voting for season 12’s American Idol.

-Blake Moore


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