Posted Monday, April 23, 2018 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
There was really only one big surprise in the top 10 tonight on “American Idol” and it was the one woman I liked a lot last night but hardly anybody else did: Michelle Sussett, who the judges put through despite sometimes shaky vocals. They simply like her personality, stage skills and star potential in the Latin crossover market.
The first six in the top 10 are Catie Turner, Michael J. Woodard, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Gabby Barrett, Maddie Poppe and Cade Foehner, all based on America’s vote. I got five out of six right. I thought Ada Vox would have gotten the sixth slot but Catie pulled it out. Ada was ultimately was saved, along with Jurnee, Michelle and Dennis Lorenzo by the judges.
Largely, the six America voted in proved themselves during performances after they were let through. Cade is getting a bit monotonous but he was super solid in his old-school rock way. Gabby showed plenty of energy and Maddie was patently quirky with “Walk Like an Egyptian.” Caleb capably performed a boring Chris Young song. Michael brought the captivating with a “Wiz” song. Catie’s pure weirdness has been diluted over time, as proven with her “Havana,” but fans clearly like her stand-out personality and clean vocals from day one.
Those in danger in the first half hour were Michelle and Marcio Davidson. Again, that was to be expected. Michelle had the guts to perform an original and she had her moments but her lower register is kind of weak. The public seems to dislike her but will the judges save her? I think they like her enough to place her in the top 10. (And indeed they do.)
Marcio over-reached during “Jealous.” He seems more desperate than “jealous.” It’s hard to say what his identity is and I doubt he did enough to make it to the top 10. (He doesn’t.)
Garrett Jacobs then came on and he didn’t make the top six either. He was underwhelming yesterday with a song that needed more edge. This time, he opts for Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Seen the Rain,” which isn’t a bad choice. His arrangement opens languid and again, lacks grit and feels merely pleasant. He does pick it up midway. “Way to state your case,” said Luke, who notes pitchiness and gets booed. Katy felt he rose to the occasion. Lionel said he lacks style. “Who are you?” That’s not a good sign. Will they pick him? We’ll see how Jonny does first. (He ultimately doesn’t make it.)
Dennis Lorenz didn’t make the cut either for the top six, no surprise. While I liked him a lot Sunday night, he will need the judges to push him through. He channels Maxwell and his falsetto is just adequate. I like his mid-range far better and his runs work. A very clean performance. The judges will save him. “This is stepping up to the plate and slapping it out of the park,” Lionel said. (Indeed, he is saved.)
Jonny Brenns stumbled Sunday night. His lack of experience working a stage and a band showed. So he didn’t make the top six. He goes for “Demons,” a slower, mellowed version. It works. He starts largely a capella and brings all his soul. That was powerful. “That style song suits you best,” Luke said. He noted other songs hit too high of his range. I think he may have saved himself over Garrett. (Surprise! Neither he nor Garrett make the cut.)
Peppy Mara Justine also missed the top six. Her primary problem is she is too young to have really created a solid identity. She can take on personas but lacks her own. Her “Love on the Brain” is exceptional karaoke. Katy said she learned a lot in this competition but “all things have to align.” She basically implied she’s not ready. Lionel basically implied she lacks the total package in the nicest of terms. I doubt she’ll make the cut. (And she doesn’t.)
Jurnee was godawful last night but has been largely pretty good up to this point. She picks a “Greatest Showman” song, as Mara Justine had one the night before. This ballad fits her better than “Bang Bang” but I don’t know if I see an artist here. She strikes me as a bit undefined and dull. The judges love her and will probably put her through. (And they do.)
Ada picks the most obvious song for her: “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.” He truly blows it out of the park like he is truly singing for his life. He missed a note or two and it’s not quite as good as Jennifer Hudson. But plenty good enough to be saved. (And she is in!)