The ladies kicked off Las Vegas week in big bold fashion. There were some super fantastic acts last night, and some flopped, as usual. The cream certainly did rise to the top. Its getting quite talked about that this is a “girl’s year.” With such a set up, and such great talent, it really should be a girl’s year. It’s totally overdue. However, there are some really amazing guys in this. And let’s not forget: America loves a country star! Per this year’s setup, we’ll hear 10 guys, and 10 girls each week until all 40 have been heard. The judges will eliminate 5 from each show, narrowing the cast down to our Top 20. This time, we see the first 10 guys… can they match up?? Read on!!What I’m starting to really like is the friendship between Mariah and Randy being apparent and even talked about on the show. For example, they mentioned how they had discussed some of the contestants together, and they agree on a lot of their feedback. I appreciate the level of quality and experience that Mariah, and Randy for that matter, bring to the panel. These two have been doing it for many years, and doing it very well. While Nikki is totally an established star, I feel the history and years of experience Mariah has really shows with her comments. She doesn’t just say “yeah it was good, I liked it” she really gives feedback people can go and use, like “be more dynamic in the verses.” Brava!
Paul Jolley is in the tough #1 spot. He’s singing a Keith Urban song! He’s got a solid voice, but I’m really not blown away by anything he’s putting out here. He looks scared! This guy seems total smallt-town white bread. So regular I’m almost bored. He goes through the song, typical… no real high points or low points for me. Keith is super appreciative that he sang his song. He asks that Paul not underestimate the quality and power in his voice, and he shouldn’t compensate by overperforming. Uhh… I didn’t see any overperforming there. Nikki says he has theatrical eyes, agrees on the overperforming. Randy applauds his potential and says he really took a risk taking on this song. Mariah agrees with Randy that he has a flexible voice within a country genre.
Johnny Keyser is up next… is he still here?!! I totes thought he was voted off… oh wait, that was last year! This guy’s a fighter y’all. Okay, he’s singing Jason Mraz… sorry but I don’t find this a very dynamic pick. It’s slow, he’s painfully regular, there is no excitement! Why are the guys being so boring tonight? He’s got a voice in him, but again, I’m just not wow’d by any of this. This is more boring than a county fair side stage performance. Keith said “that was good.” …. yeah it was just good. He laughs a little, he saw moments of nervousness, but moments of greatness when he was really into the song. I agree with Nikki “look you didn’t have the best vocal in the world. But you’ve got a sparkle in your eye, and girls are going to love you.” Randy calls it just an okay performance. There weren’t enough spots that were amazing, he wishes he had slayed it, tonight wasn’t it. Mariah appreciates his focus but notes that this is a competition!
Ok y’all.. it’s JDA time. I feel like we have really not gotten a glimpse of what this guy is all about. He’s been very hidden so far, but he’s here to be the star of his own life, y’all! I am so ready for him to turn this mother out, it’s been snoresville up in hrrr! OK. The show has now begun. He’s singing Adele’s “Rumor Has It”… and he’s totally in shiny costume with dramatic makeup and choreography…this is how it’s DONE y’all. He is a little shaky in the beginning, pitch wise, but halfway through the song he lays down in a Fantasia-like way on the stage and lays into the song. He gets up and throws that jacket down… the judges (Nicki) are really loving this excitement. Sometimes the faces he makes are so fierce it’s a little scary, but overall… best so far!! The audience is on their feet. Keith loved the performance, saying it was right at home in Vegas. Nicki of course says he “worked it, girl.” JDA responds that he’s gotta “give it up for the gays…I love the gays.” “Of course you do,” Nicki replies.. and I think this is one of the first times that we’ve been able to see such openness of homosexuality on the show!! I mean Adam Lambert even had a sense of not wanting to be too vocal about it. Love that he’s not leaving it unspoken. Nicki says he is first and foremost a performer.. the way he played to the audience was like a pro. She says his vocal wasn’t spot on, and Randy chimes in that it was more because his performance overshadowed the vocal. Randy says he didn’t see any originality. Mariah chimes in that he wasn’t wavering, but his confidence level was sky high. “Whatever you want to call your brand of masculinity, or whatever you’re giving us is fantastic.” WELL SAID MIMI.
Next up is Kevin Harris… and ugggh! I realize that it might be impossible to follow that, but this is just… falling apart! He’s singing a real snoozer: “Everything I Do” by Bryan Adams… and granted it’s probably a good pick for his voice, which sounds like Bryan’s. It’s just boring and safe, especially following the fireworks we just saw. It’s slow and plain, nothing really standing out. I’m not saying he needs to dress in drag and sing some Lady G, but really??? What about this am I supposed to fall in love with? He has a redeeming falsetto at the end.. nice… but too little too late bro! Keith loves that song.. thought it was a good pick for him UGH. Keith says he didn’t like the falsetto! He understands it but didn’t necessarily love when he did that. Nicki says he was very controlled, and felt very relaxed and natural on stage. She loved the vocal, though he was 100% on. Randy says it’s going to be a night where they agree to disagree. Randy was bored, he thought it was karaoke, and that he threw in the high note to add something. I’m with you, dawg. Mariah says he didn’t feel that song really allowed him to show all that he can do.
Chris Watson got some different flavor going on. I am excited about him because he’s been another one the spotlight hasn’t been focusing on. Tonight he’s singing “Sittin On The Dock of the Bay”… OMG he is SO Prince. He’s got the studded vest and pant ensemble going on. Although I have to say, this vocal while steady, isn’t exactly spectacular. It’s plain, and unexciting! WHYYY are you singing this if it’s not going to WOW us. He’s got a voice, but it’s just not dialed in tonight. Sad, because I think a DOVES CRY would have nailed this. He’s very good looking and pretty, but the whole thing seems unaffected and he doesn’t connect with the song at all. What a wasted opportunity. Keith calls him out on that, saying that he knows the guy has a voice but tonight this song really didn’t showcase that. Nicki of course disagrees, she says he’s the “prettiest man she’s seen in her life”. She wants to marry his vibrato, she admits that this might not be the best song choice, but she LOVES HIM. She hears pain, soul, struggle… RLY?? Where did you hear that? Randy again disagrees… he sais “NO, Listen.” He loves the look, loves the vibe, but didn’t see anything special vocally. He says the song went nowhere for him, and Chris didn’t take the song anywhere… Randy was bored. Mariah agrees with Randy.. of course… she was surprised by the song choice, but also gets what Nicki sees when she sees pain and struggle in him. She loves the charisma with the crowd, and agrees he is indeed, very good looking. True dat.
18 year old Devin Velez is another one we haven’t seen very much of so far this season. OMG Hes singing Beyonce. WOW. The vocal is great, he’s on pitch, everything is right. The only thing about him that makes me a little uncomfortable is how stiff he seems. He’s standing at the mic stand, it’s a very simple setup. He is definitely killing the song, but I almost want him to loosen up and get into it more. Halfway through he transitions to singing in Spanish, and this is where he seems most comfortable. I wonder if he has an accent, maybe that’s why the previous part was choppy a little bit? The Spanish portion is effortless and he seems much more connected to the song. Keith says he loves that he didn’t do an over the top performance, he just sang the song, and was in the song, and gave a great impression of himself in the song. Nicki appreciates the Spanish also, as it makes him more marketable. She seems less excited about him, is glad his family is here. Randy loved the Spanish too, loved the arrangement, BIG PROPS. Mariah also loved, loved him. The all loved the Spanish!
Next is another hidden gem: Elijah Lu! He is singing Bruno Mars… perhaps fitting. He’s very young looking, half Chinese half Mexican. The vocal seems rather pre-teen.. like pre-puberty. He goes into a falsetto in some parts, which is also weak! Aggh.. I feel for this guy because it’s like someone who’s just not on par with the other singers. Keith says it was a shaky performance, but he loved the song choice. Keith says he looks like a pop-star.. which I can see, he really kind of does. Nicki calls him a super-super star. She wants to have his babies. He’s only 18. She calls him sexy, and says she’s obsessed with him. I get it that he ‘s got the pop-star look, but I just think his vocal is weak! Randy agrees! He loves him too, but says this is not a great vocal.. no moments! Randy says he’s swagged out, but GOTTA HAVE MOMENTS! Mariah likes his powerful mid-range… calls him “New Edition-y”. She says she agrees with everyone… a couple of moments. Disagree! I didn’t see it.
Weirdo Charlie Askew is next… and I wonder how long his “I’m awkward” schtick will last. He’s definitely not the first contestant coming through here milking the weird. Tonight he’s singing “Rocket Man” so he better bring a whole lot more than ‘socially awkward.’ Ehhhh.. he’s got some work to do here. His vocal is not powerful enough to live up to this song. He is shaky, off pitch… woahhh, come on guy. He is struggling to keep up with the song. He just seems like a little kid shouting the song, like wearing dad’s too big shoes. He’s got a long way to go. That was ROUGH. He is really weird at the end and does some overdramatic bowing… this guy needs to get his awkward ego in check. Keith says he bets nobody left the television set during that performance. He loves Charlie’s originality, weirdness, unpredictability. Um, Ok. Nicki says it’s rockstar, it’s fresh, it’s crazy. Can we be real please? It was WEAK! Randy says he doesn’t know where he is right now… he loves Charlie, loves the wildness. But, calls it stage school theatrics, Randy can’t figure it out. Mariah says it’s very nostalgic for her and realizes he wanted to bring his own thing, but thinks there have been better moments for him. She thinks tonight it wasn’t as honed. Why do they blow all this smoke up his ass like he’s got it goin on???
Some guy named Jimmy Smith is up next…. singing “Raining on Sunday.” I guess this is a Keith Urban song? No.. maybe he just sang it. Woah.. this is ROUGH. What is this guy doing?! It’s pitchy, and shaky from the get go. The chorus is totally lacking… this is definitely even more boring following Charlie’s weirdness. What is going on tonight for the guys??!! The vocal starts to even out towards the middle, but the whole thing is rather boring, it’s just not jumping out at me. Forgettable. Keith says it’s hard to critique a song that he sang. Nicki says it was an okay vocal, she guesses, she was bored, and thinking about… Charlie. OMG please stop. Randy is actually dialed in.. he says he agrees it was boring, didn’t come together tonight. Mariah also sees something great in him, but tonight wasn’t his best vocal.
I am guessing they saved the best for last with Curtis Finch Jr. here in the final position of the night. GOD is he good… and what a super great choice, he’s singing “Superstar”… Luther Vandross y’all!! He gets some really deep notes in here, and then also plays up in his falsetto to round out the song. It’s an amazing performance, he totally has the strength to control that song. He connects with the song, and was very preacher-esque in that performance. BEST of the night. Hands down, this guy knows what he’s doing. Keith loved it, he felt cleansed. Nicki says he takes the competition to another level, raising the bar every time. She says he’s on his way, it’s his time. Randy says his voice is unparallelled, loved the low register, and high register. However, the one piece of feedback Randy gives, is that he keeps it young, and stays away from the old-fashioned. Mariah says he is amazing, uncritiquable, and he knows how he did. She was moved to tears, and as far as Randy was saying, he should loosen up the tie and relax it a little bit. His “voice and his musicality” is who he is. He loves her too.
NOW that is it!! The judges huddle to deliberate which 5 were good enough to go on, and which are at the end of the line. First up to get his news is Curtis. I mean… is this really that hard?? He’s a friggin pro. Nicki says “will you stop with this act Curtis… you know damn well you going through.” He loves it. Next out is Jimmy Smith. This one is definitely not so simple. Randy gives him the news: “tonight you didn’t make it, sorry.” Good call. Next out is Kevin Harris… this could really go either way, but I feel like they liked him? Mariah is giving him the news that he is not going through tonight. Next up is Elijah Liu…. I mean.. I really have no idea how this will go because they all acted like he was great? OMG and the fakery continues: he’s going through!! Unbelievable. JDA is up next… and i’m almost upset because I feel like they’re going to axe him. No JDA, but ELijah? I mean I couldn’t deal with it!! and it’s true… they’re sending him home! This is truly unbelievable, and unfair. He may not be great, but Elijah is definitely not as good as him. It’s almost sick that they’re sticking with teeny bopper marketability and sending home culture-current JDA who represents a much better market. Next up is Paul Jolley… and theres a tie! Jimmy boy Iovine is called up, and we know he tells it like it is. He says Paul is a good singer with the wrong song. He has a great instrument, so Jimmy recommends that he go on.
Next up, it’s Chris Watson. I feel like this is going to be a no. He is another example of a good singer with great potential, who did the wrong song tonight. Randy of course is up to give him the news… it didn’t go in his favor, he didn’t make it! Next out to hear his fate is Charlie Askew… woahhhh… this could really go anywhere. I mean… he was terrible tonight but they seem to love him. Charlie looks sick.. says he’s “dazed and confused.” She says they had to let go a lot of performers tonight, but he’s saying IN THE COMPETITION! OMG. His body is so tiny as he hugs Mariah.. LOL. Johnny Keyser and Devin Velez are the final two… oh COME ON. They have to choose Devin.. he was WAY better. Nicki tries to give them the “be proud of yourselves no matter what” talk… she says the decision was not unanimous, but Johnny’s journey is over… Devin is going through!
WELP… thats the first 5 guys: Curtis, Elijah, Paul, Charlie, and Devin. Next week we see the next batch for “more sudden death eliminations.” Thanks Ryan.