Welcome Back, Idol

Eleven seasons, people. ELEVEN SEASONS. Whatever I’ve said about American Idol (and I’ve said a lot), they’ve got some staying power. Are you ready? I confess, I don’t know if I am. But ready or not, here we are.

I don’t know what it is about the transition from the audition rounds to the live shows, but it seems like most of the contestants go from “amazing” to “underwhelming” in one fell swoop. Maybe it’s the nerves? Maybe it’s the fact that my expectations are too high based on past performances? Maybe it’s the sound guys? So, I’m trying to keep my projections for the first live show to a minimum.

I have two hopes and dreams leading into tonight’s performances by the top 12 guys:

1. That I won’t have to cringe during any performance or feel nervous for the performer.

2. That Jennifer has left her green sequined nightmare of a mermaid dress in Las Vegas, where it belongs.

So far, I’m one for two! Let’s get this started!

Name: Reed Grimm

Song: Moves Like Jagger by Adam Levine with Christina Aguilara

Why you remember him: I don’t know why you remember him, but here’s why I remember him. During Hollywood week, dear Reed learned 20 minutes before he was going to perform that he couldn’t sing his song A Capella like he had planned. So, Homeboy proceeded to track down a vocal coach and try to re-work his selection with this new piece of information. But about 10 minutes in, Reed couldn’t take one more step (metaphorically, of course) until his spoke with his Mom. 10 MINUTES before he was going to perform with no rehearsal with the band. C’mon, guy! Pull it together. Finally emerging from his heart to heart with mom, Reed seemed to get his groove back. He stepped on stage, told the band that he was going to play drums, and managed to pull off a pretty amazing audition. So, mad props. But seriously, I’m curious to see how far young Reed can go without Mom.

Quick takes:

  • It’s gutsy to sing a song debuted on the stage of a rival vocal competition (ahemTheVoiceahem). I’m just sayin’.
  • I love Reed’s voice, even though his personal traits sometimes make me want to twitch. In the words of my friend, Todd, “Reed is not yet self-aware”. I think truer words were never spoken.
  • Vocally, I think the performance was great! It was more the delivery that I had a problem with. Reed is kind of the adorkable, quirky, artsy weird guy and I think he tried to pull off a song cooler than he is. At least in the way he performed it.
  • I do think that Reed is an authentic, true musician in his heart of hearts and I’m a fan. I just hope he can become more self-aware throughout this process.

Name: Adam Brock

Song: Think by Aretha Franklin

Why you remember him: Apparently because there is a large black woman in his body. And he’s a family guy and cried when he left his baby daughter Also, his time with the judges to find out if he made it into the top 24 was a cliffhanger. Plus, he has cool glasses.

Quick takes:

  • Adam’s performance tonight was extremely solid and had a great finish!
  • I hate the term “white chocolate” and wish I could go back in time and un-hear it.
  • So far, my only strike against Adam is that he’s a Pittsburgh Steeler fan. But since fantasy football season is over, I’ll let it go.

Name: Deandre Brackensick

Song: Reasons by Earth, Wind, and Fire

Why you remember him: Mostly because he’s got a huge mess of hair. To me, he kind of has a Jason Castro vibe about him. Except I liked Jason better. We didn’t actually see a lot from him in Hollywood. My first recollection of Deandre was in the Las Vegas group round.

Quick takes:

  • I thought his video intro, especially the home videos were sweet. I like that he’s so close to his sister.
  • Dude relies WAY too much on his falsetto. At least of half of each song he sings is in falsetto! It seems like he’s got a good voice in certain glimpses, but the rest is just so terrible that I have a hard time taking him seriously. And let’s be real, the hair doesn’t help.
  • Clearly, Idol wants Deandre to be a heart throb. Heaven help us now.
  • I do NOT understand the glowing response from the judges. Yikes!

Name: Colton Dixon

Song: Decode by Paramore

Why you remember him: I remember him from last year, actually. I was bummed when he got cut. This year, he didn’t even plan to audition but the judges talked him into it while listening to his sister Skylar’s audition.

Quick takes:

  • Direct quote from the video intro: “Tonight I’m going to change it up a bit. People are used to seeing me at a piano, and I think I’m going to shock a few people.” Um, dude. Not enough people know you to be ‘shocked’ by anything at this stage. I think you are severely overestimating the time and energy we as a public have spent thinking about how we see you.
  • I was a fan from last year, so I’m on board with Colton. I just think there’s a slight touch of entitlement in his attitude that I could definitely do without.
  • I liked Colton’s performance tonight – I thought it had a lot of progression and showed off his voice. And, I heart Paramore, so this was right up my alley.
  • Did anyone else notice how skinny Colton’s legs are? I was seriously concerned that they would not be able to sustain his weight! I kind of missed half the song because I was so focused on his health and well being.

Name: Jeremy Rosado

Song: Gravity by Sara Bareilles

Why you remember him: Sweet, sweet Jeremy works at an infectious disease clinic and is a germaphobe. Shudder. That’s about all I know.

Quick takes:

  • I LOVE THE SARA BAREILLES SONG THAT HE SANG! Gravity is one of my favoritest songs ever. Ever ever. Ever ever ever ever. So, points for him that he can spot a good song and be smart enough to use it.
  • Jeremy told us in his intro video that people he interacts with at work love him because he’s huggable. Inquiring minds want to know: how many people would YOU hug if you worked at an infectious disease clinic? None, am I right? Thank you.
  • I think his performance tonight was good. Some nice moments and a good voice but I didn’t think it was a super strong showing. There were a few slight pitch problems. And I’d rather listen to him than Deandre or Eben any day of the week. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
  • I totally get a Stefano Langone vibe from this guy. Who’s with me?

Name: Aaron Marcellus

Song: Never Can Say Goodbye by The Jackson 5

Why you remember him: This guy came out of nowhere for me. Did I see his audition? Hollywood performance? If I did, I don’t remember it.

Quick takes:

  • No question that Aaron has a great voice. He was pitch perfect throughout. But, I thought his performance felt kind of generic. I didn’t feel like his voice was distinctive or interesting enough to capture my attention throughout.
  • He seemed super at ease on the stage and certainly has the look of a star.
  • Maybe if I had some previous recollections to go off of, I’d have more to say.

Name: Chase Likens

Song: Storm Warning by Hunter Hays

Why you remember him: I don’t. I think I caught a glimpse of him during one of the group rounds, but that’s about it.

Quick takes:

  • It seems like Chase is not super “country”. He’s kind of got a vague style…not quite pop and not quite country. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of country artists that straddle the country/pop line quite successfully. But his style just seems so weak compared to other artists in this genre.
  • I confess, part of the reason I dislike Chase is his hair. I didn’t say I was proud of it.
  • He COMPLETELY DOES have a Brendan Frasier look about him!

Name: Creighton Fraker

Song: True Colors

Why you remember him: Um, how could you NOT remember him after this performance?!? Phenomenal.

Quick takes:

  • I’m totally on board with Creighton. I think he’s got major chops and does amazing things to refresh classic songs (see above). The texture in his voice rocks my face off. And his phrasing!
  • I wasn’t as impressed with tonight’s showing from him as with the audition rounds, so I was bummed about that.
  • If you close your eyes, you might think a girl is singing.
  • Please, in the name of all that is right, don’t let him rock a mullet each week. I don’t think I could take it.
  • Now I want to watch Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.

Name: Phillip Phillips

Song: In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins

He works at a pawn shop, his dad is his biggest fan (it’s so cute), and…oh yeah. I think THIS speaks for itself. Took me back to the good ‘ole days of Andrew Garcia’s version of Straight Up.

Quick takes:

  • In my opinion, Phil had the best performance of the night. He’s definitely my favorite guy at this time in the competition. In fact, I even predicted his place in the top 12, so I hope I’m right!
  • He is clearly a musician and has some gigs under his belt. Still, I think his main area to improve in will be connecting with the camera/audience.
  • I love the way he interprets his songs. Sigh.
  • I may or may not have watched his performance three times.

Name: Eben Franckewitz

Song: Set Fire to the Rain by Adele

Why you remember him: Okay, well, he’s super young. He looks like Justin Bieber back in the day. We’ve seen quite a bit of his Idol journey to date, actually.

Quick takes:

  • I am not a fan of Eben’s. I think this has Tim Hightower disaster written all over it. I just think he’s too young to know who he is musically at this point in his life.
  • After watching him perform this song, I am now less of a fan than I was before. Please. Make. It. Stop. Massacreing Adele is no way to start out your time on the Idol stage!
  • He’s a perfectly lovely person, though. I’m strictly speaking musically.

Name: Heejun Han

Song: Angel by Robbie Williams

Why you remember him: If you don’t remember Heejun, you’re totally crazy. This guy is hilarious! During the Hollywood round, he was in the now infamous group with “the cowboy” and survived. That’s gotta count for something. He also works with disabled kids. In each consecutive round, I’ve grown to love his voice more and more. Team Heejun!

Quick takes:

  • Only someone like Heejun could make fun of his mother on national television and not seem like a jerk.
  • His reaction to his arrival in the top 24 was the sweetest thing I think I’ve ever seen. Poor guy just cried all the way back to the holding room.
  •  I hope America realizes that finding the next American Idol is a long haul, and that we’d do well to have some humor along the way.
  • Tonight’s performance was not Heejun’s best, and he definitely needs to work on losing his accent when he sings. But what can I say? I still love ‘im.
  • I have no idea what is going on with his hair nowadays. But I hope it gets better.

Name: Joshua Ledet

Song: Pull Me Through by Jennifer Hudson

Why you remember him: I remember his solo during Hollywood week. That one song made me remember him because of the emotion that he was able to convey through it. Amazing voice. And apparently, his nickname is “Mantasia”. On his behalf, I feel sad about that.

Quick takes:

  • My opinion of Joshua didn’t change with his performance. I think he’s a strong competitor and completely deserves to make it into the top 12.
  • Praise the heavens that he’s not a Jacob Lusk. The reason I know this is that his vibrato doesn’t make me want to claw my eyes out and there was no “whale tongue” going on.
  • What an amazing voice!

Name: Jermaine Jones

Song: Dance with My Father by Luther Vandross

Why you remember him: He’s incredibly tall, has a super deep bass voice and had the unfortunate distinction of singing a duet with “the cowboy” during the Vegas round. His elimination was maybe the most heartbreaking elimination I’ve ever seen. Hopefully for him he doesn’t have to relive that pain.

Quick takes:

  • There are so few true basses these days. I think he brings a nice variety to the line-up. I haven’t yet connected with a performance by Jermaine. I mostly think his song choices are kind of boring.
  • I like him a lot as a person…he’s the kind of guy you just want to root for.
  • I love how he dwarfs Ryan.
  • I was, however, kind of surprised that they didn’t bring back Johnny Keyser. But I was so relieved that “the cowboy” didn’t make a return, that I can be happy that they chose Jermaine. 🙂

If wishing made it so, the top 6 guys would be:

  1. Phillip Phillips
  2. Creighton Fraker
  3. Reed Grimm
  4. Heejun Han
  5. Adam Brock
  6. Joshua Ledet
  7. Colton Dixon

Okay, so that’s seven. I couldn’t choose! There’s no way “America” will be level-headed when picking the top six guys, so I’m bracing myself for impact. I have a sinking feeling that we won’t be able to lose both Eben and DeAndre. Anyhow, who are your favorites? Anyone from the auditions that you miss?
Haddock out!

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2 thoughts on “Welcome Back, Idol

  1. Jennifer says:

    U r on fire tonight! Love love your wit. Sooooooo funny. Good one Todd BTW. Agree w/ top guys…just not in that order 🙂 oh and Adam cries too much

  2. Linda Haddock says:

    M,
    I totally agree about Colton’s legs!!! And I thought it was funny that he was going to change it up and then when the camera came on him and he was at the piano!!
    I loved the adorkable word….describes Reed perfectly!!
    By the way, I picked Phillip Phillips from the very beginning and I don’t even know anything about music! I’m just sayin’.
    Love, Mom

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