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American Idol – Recap & Review – Rush Week

photo: fox
photo: fox
American Idol
Rush Week
Original Air Date: Feb 18, 2014

Patricia Morris Buckley – Sr. Staff Writer

Can you believe that in one week, Idol will whittle down 31 singers to a Top 13 (five men, five women and three wildcards)? It’s the exact thing this show needs – moving through the phases quickly.

This evening was vicious for five of the 15 top women. Five of them didn’t even get to sing. Yet they’d all prepared and went though the workshop, overseen by the Idol “Dawgfather” — Randy Jackson. They also got vocal coaching, stylists, movement coaches, plus mentoring by former idol contestants Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry. They also had a couple who are non-denominational spiritual counselors.

Then the judges called them one at a time onto the new set, which gave the contestants a second stage in front of the regular stage, so they’re closer to the audience. Nice! They sang a song of their own choosing. But at the end, there were five singers whose names were never called. Vicious, right?

Here’s how the Top 10 Women did:

She plays guitar and has a great energy. Yet the song didn’t really show her range.
JLo praised her confidence and how she made the audience get on its feet. Harry felt fortunate she set the tone. Keith liked her song choice and it felt easy and breezy.

KRISTEN O’CONNOR – Turning Tables
She was a bit flat until the chorus. It was kind of a lackluster song. Harry said it was a good job and Keith praised her “killer range,” but noted her nerves. JLo pointed out the timing was off with the band until she locked in.

Technically she was great, but she seemed too aware of herself being televised that she came off as insincere. Keith said she did well at the end. JLo thought she looked scared at first and hoped that she can relax. Harry thought she did fine, but she needed to not use high notes as an audience pleaser.

JENA IRENE — Paint It Black
Her voice sounded screechy and strained.
JLo said she pulled it out at the end and she gave a sultry feel to the song. Harry questioned that she knew what the song was about, but said she did a nice job. Keith thought it was well balanced and good.

BRIA ANAI — Wrong Side of a Love Song
Her voice shook through the whole thing. She hit the notes, but didn’t engage me.
Harry said there’s a difference between passion and shouting and she shouted. But JLo said she has “star” written all over her.

She was a bit pitchy, with more emphasis on style and attitude than on the vocals. She lost a shoe and worked it into the performance.
Keith thought it wasn’t the best song or performance for her and it came off karaoke. JLo wished she had done it with the guitar so they could focus on her voice. Harry said singing in tune is important and felt that the overproduced song didn’t show what they fell in love with.

This is a different type of song than anyone else, which was refreshing. I liked her rendition, even though she was a bit wobbly on several notes. Harry told her to watch her intonation and he didn’t feel she conveyed the meaning of the song. Keith felt a disconnect between the lyrics and her smiling, but he liked her voice.

EMILY PIRIZ — Paris Ooh la la
This is the song she first auditioned with, that made Harry uncomfortable because of her age. She did a pretty good job.
Harry said she just turned 18, so as long as she knows the meaning, it’s OK with him. Keith said she didn’t have to hide herself behind a character. JLo thought she did this well and she had one of the most relaxed performances.

I’ve never thought her voice was as strong as the other contestants. Her nerves showed, but she gave a heartfelt performance.
Keith thought it was the perfect song choice and liked the simplicity in the way she sang. JLo said it’s easy to pick the big singer. Harry called her an elegant singer who belonged there.

The lower notes were tough for her, but she nailed the top notes. Her pitch is shaky here and there, but it’s nerves.
JLo said she’s one of the big voices this year. Harry looked forward to seeing her settle after the frenetic pace. Keith said she makes glasses and braces look cool. He felt the song was over the top, but he can’t wait to hear what she does next.

We said good-bye to Jillian Jensen, Adrina Brogden, Brandy Neelly, Kenzie Hall and Austin Wolfe. We also said farewell to Neco Star. Remember that last week it came down to Neco and Ben Briley and the judges left it up to voters? Well, Ben won. But we’ll see tomorrow if Ben even gets a chance to sing again.

And then, after the Top 20 are chosen, there’s yet another cut to the Top 13.

Do you like the faster pace? Did you feel sorry for the women left in the sound booth? What guys do you think won’t get a chance to sing? Give us your TwoCents…

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