Half the field for the American Idol Top 24 is set after the first part of the brand new Showcase round, with seven females and five males making the grade. We also saw seven singers get the ax, meaning there are 29 singers left to compete for the other 12 spots.
Already preparing to sing for America’s votes are Michael Simeon, Adam Ezegelian, Rayvon Owen, Clark Beckham and Daniel Seavey on the guys’ side and Loren Lott, Lovey James, Adanna Duru, Tyanna Jones, Maddie Walker, Shannon Berthiaume and Jax for the girls.
I’ve already said my piece about the format and my dislike for all previously-featured singers who disappeared into the abyss (David Oliver Willis) vs. the people in the Top 48 who we haven’t seen (Where you been, Casey Thrasher?), so no need for a preamble this time.
American Idol Recap: Who Wins the Showcase Showdown? >>>
I am hopeful, though, that we’ll at least get to see all 29 remaining singers, even if it’s only in montage-rejection form. And if not, I’ll list who didn’t make the cut at the bottom.
Hollywood Goes to Hollywood
We left off with Hollywood Anderson preparing to take the stage at the House of Blues in an attempt to recapture the magic of his audition after a sub-par Hollywood Week. But first, the only-seen-in-an-audition-montage Josh Sanders is sent home. I’m sure he was great.
Hollywood sings a song I don’t know and don’t hear enough of to properly identify through Google or determine its quality. Verdict: It’s a no. He tearfully thanks everyone and tells them he loves them.
His departure ramps up the pressure on everyone else, and it hits Joey Cook hardest of all. I’ve never been a huge fan, and her song choice of Nick Cave and the Bad Seed’s “Rock of Gibralter” seems bizarre, but I guess that’s her style. The judges ask her how they’re supposed to compare apples and oranges, but it doesn’t matter because she’s a kiwi and they don’t have any other kiwis. Uniqueness wins out. Verdict: Top 24.
Katherine Winston takes on Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon,” and I like that she puts her own spin on it. It’s not perfect, but her sound is clearly a cut above a lot of those who are on the fence. Verdict: Top 24.
Two in and two out leaves 25 for 10 spots, but with Joey and Katherine being female and with seven girls already through, there are only three spots left for the better gender.
‘Who’s Next to Face the Chair?’
It’s a cryptic reference at best from Ryan Seacrest, but Maddy Hudson is about to learn her fate. She’s always made some interesting makeup choices, but her pale blue lipstick makes her look like a corpse. I guess it makes all that execution talk more on point. Her showcase performance is all over the place and just not very good. Verdict: Eliminated.
Alexis Gomez listened to advice from Jennifer Lopez after the judge said her performances were too similar, so she puts a Latin flair on a song by The Band Perry. Quentin Alexander also takes a chance by singing the seldom-heard “Youth” by Foxes. Verdict: Top 24 for both.
Savion Wright was one of the last people eliminated before the live shows during Season 13, and he’s excelled at every level thus far. He sings John Mayer’s “I Don’t Trust Myself,” and it’s similarly good. It doesn’t wow me, but he deserves a chance to compete for America’s votes. Verdict: Top 24.
Three more in and only one out means there’s 21 for seven spots. Maybe it’s time for an elimination montage?
A (Brief) Elimination Montage
Jaq Mackenzie and Hunter Larsen are sent home.
Mark Andrew, previously of The Voice, tackles Hozier’s “Take Me to Church,” and it’s just okay. Sounds like karaoke. The judges think he has a unique sound, but they wonder if he’s different enough. Not sure if it played into their thinking that it’s his last chance because he’s at the high end of the age scale, but no matter. Verdict: Top 24.
Resident nerd and Bill King favorite Trevor Douglas is next, and to keep the crowd having fun, he does his own rocked-out version of Elvis’ “Burning Love.” No chance this 16-year-old is eliminated. Verdict: Top 24. Love this kid.
Emily Brooke is another youngster taking a crack at the Idol stage, and she’s been performing live on weekends for years. She takes a big risk singing Keith Urban’s “Stupid Boy,” and it does not pay off. It’s a big of a surprise, because she was an early favorite. Verdict: Eliminated.
Beach Avenue frontman Nick Fradiani sings Train’s “Drops of Jupiter,” and it’s another good-enough-but-not-blown-away performance. Verdict: Top 24.
Fifteen singers left for just four spots, and methinks we won’t be seeing everyone unless there is a giant elimination montage.
A Giant Elimination Montage
Okay, that would’ve been awesome, but it’s just not how this show rolls these days. Instead, we see Sarina Joi Crowe making yet another attempt at Idol greatness. Will this time be different? Verdict: Top 24. Fourth time’s a charm.
Qaasim Middleton’s mom made his shoes, perhaps to make up for spilling the beans about his virginity, and his high-energy performance is too over the top for me. He’s like James Brown on speed. Verdict: Top 24. Jax will be happy.
That leaves just one spot left for each gender, and the dude race comes down to country boys Riley Bria (who once played on stage with Keith Urban) and Ricky Dale Hendricks. The latter sounds a bit off key with Keith Whitley’s “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” while Riley’s “Love is Pain” by Lady Antebellum is a bit more solid. Verdict: Riley Bria is in the Top 24. Ricky is eliminated.
The battle for the final girls’ spot is between Jelly Joseph and Shi Scott. Jelly’s showcase song is “Bang Bang,” and it’s good but pedestrian for someone trying to tackle a song originally recorded by a slew of powerhouse voices. The always-nerve-wracked Shi takes on Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground,” and it strikes me as more polished, professional and energetic, even if off stage, she’s a wreck. Verdict: Shi Scott is in the Top 24. Jelly is toastless.
And there’s your Top 24 for Season 14 of American Idol. You might think that the live shows are up next, where each gender will separately hit the stage to pare us down to the Top 16, but there is no chance they can fit 12 live performances into a one-hour show.
You’ll still be voting, of course, but I imagine it’ll have to be taped in order to squeeze in that many songs. Including commercials, we’re looking at three singers per 10 minutes of show time.
And as promised, here are the nine singers from the Top 48 who you never saw or heard from. They deserve some recognition too.
Casey Thrasher (repeat performer and montaged audition)
Nalani Quintello (repeat performer and featured audition)
Tion Phipps (montaged audition)
Erica Washington (whose audition and Hollywood Week performances were featured; Named One Singer to Watch by BuddyTV’s Jeff Dodge).
Ellen Petersen (Another One Singer to Watch).
Erika David (featured audition and during Hollywood Week)
Najah Lewis (One Singer to Watch honorable mention)
Kalynne Schoelen (did not see her once all season)
Monica Laire Pidoy Mendoza (more names than performances)
So thanks, American Idol. I’m sure none of these people were better than Daniel Seavey.
You can watch American Idol on Wednesday and Thursday at 8pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)