Top 16: Cue Early Outrage

Ryan started tonight with so much math that I lost track, and I’m good at math. Good thing he used visuals, which I typically don’t need. This blog will follow the way Monday night’s show was organized. The Top 10 Idolists will be designated based on the votes. There is a Danger-zoned category for the other ten Idolists. Finally, the judges chose four of the Danger-zoned Idolists to go onto next week, and six were eliminated.

All the Idolists sang immediately upon receiving their results. The adrenaline of good news or bad news made the performances very uneven, especially for the Idolists who had to perform right after getting the news that they failed to get the Top 10 votes.

I have judged each Idolist on the merits regardless of the challenge of performing under these awkward circumstances. That, along with my atypical grade inflation for Sunday night, accounts for my comparatively lower grades Monday night. But I am including +/-‘s to add some nuance to my evaluations.

Here are my rankings for the Top 20. Do not infer anything about the order in which the names are listed. The grading is as follows:

  • A – Superior
  • B – Good, often meaning positive moments out-weighed negative ones
  • C – Meh, nothing memorable or distinctive
  • D – Ugh
  • F – A Gots-to-Go Situation

And to say that I was outraged by the voting results is an understatement. That this is happening so early in the season doesn’t bode well for me this season.

Top Ten

Ava Maybee (Cuz I Love You Lizzo) No distinctive musical personality or vocal style. I don’t know who she is, and at this point, I’m not interested in finding out. D

Christian Guardino (Special Radiohead) Apparently he forgot how simply he sang Imagine, because this is a cruise-shippy mess. He lost all of his soul over-arranging and over-singing this. And he lost the feeling of the song, too. D

Lady K (Bust Your Windows Jazmine Sullivan) Nothing special. Nice tone at times but uneven at times, too. Nothing that says “Idol winner potential.” C

Huntergirl (Vice Miranda Lambert) I thought I would like this more than I did, given her Miranda Lambert vibe. I still think she’s good and should go far in the competition. B

Dan Marshall (Stuck on You Lionel) I am disgusted (see Katyrah, below). He has no business in the Top 10, much less the Top 100 or Top 1000. D

Leah Marlene (her original song Wisher to the Well) Too over-charged to get a feel for her or her song, but I’m happy to see her in the Top 10. C

Nicolina (She Used to Be Mine Sara Bareilles) Beautiful. Beautiful. A

Noah Thompson [Cover Me Up Jason Isbell] That was very good. He’s growing into this. Look for him to make a deep run. A-

Emyrson Flora (Love in the Dark Adele) I like Emyrson, but surely some federal judge can order a ban on Adele songs. C

Fritz Hager (Golden Harry Styles) He’s consistently good and entertaining. A

Danger Zone

Cameron Whitcomb (If It Hadn’t Been For Love The Steeldrivers) Please, judges, end his crimes against music. F

Allegra Miles (her original song Tainted) I’m disappointed she didn’t make the Top 10. Did voters not enjoy her imaginative interpretation of Free Fallin’? Lionel made a good point about her that she comes across better on her own material as a singer-songwriter rather than singing covers. But that Free Fallin’ was so good . . . B

Katyrah (Chaka Khan Through the Fire) I said something naughty when I heard she didn’t make the Top 10. It hurts my soul how difficult it is for excellent R&B singers to get votes on this show. A

Cadence Baker (I’m Your Baby Tonight Whitney) The reprise of her audition song started rough, but she fought hard for this performance and ended on a high. B

Sage (Allen Stone Brown-Eyed Lover) No nerves here! Lionel: “That’s the way you come out after bad news! Who said no?” Yes, Lionel. Good soulful song choice. B+

Jay (Believer Imagine Dragons) GREAT song choice! I loved the verses in his lower register. I didn’t like the choruses in his higher register. But it was an AMAZING, HIGH ENERGY stage performance. B+

Jacob Moran (Rise Katy Perry) Lots of vocal fireworks but often without clear direction or meaning. C+

Ellie Rowe (All I Want Kodaline) Meh. C

Mike Parker (Bed on Fire Teddy Swims) Dan Marshall over Mike Parker? Seriously? [insert a long series of really awful words that may not be forgivable here] It’s not just Dan. Mike is one of the best in the competition. A

Tristen Gressett (Are You Gonna Go My Way Lenny Kravitz) Well, go out big if you’re going to go out. Much like Ava Maybee, his wide net of song choices makes it hard to know what kind of artist he is. C+

Saved: Allegra, Jay, Mike, Tristen

Eliminated: Cameron, Katyrah, Candace, Sage, Jacob, Ellie

Saving Allegra and Mike were correct calls. I’m shocked that the judges didn’t save Katyrah, especially since Luke all but said he would be voting to save her. I can’t help but think that the producers were playing a role in the judges’ saves. After all, they are scripting a TV show. Based on talent, Katyrah should have been voted in (Dan??? Seriously???), and I would have picked her out of the Danger Zone over Tristen and Jay, although the latter with some consternation. I’m sad to lose Sage, too.

Ray’s Top 10 so far (in no particular order): Huntergirl, Leah Marlene, Nicolina, Noah Thompson, Fritz Hager, Allegra Miles, Sage (sigh; we’ll always have her exquisite version of Jolene), Mike Parker, Katyrah (sigh), Christian/Lady K (tie).

See you next week.

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