Originally posted Tuesday, April 9, 2019 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
The first night of celebrity duets featured what I felt was a much stronger pool of 10 singers than Monday night. Three of my favorites - Laine Hardy, Ashley Hess and Laci Kaye Booth - were on Sunday night and did not disappoint.
Tonight was a let down in comparison. There were really only two performances that really got me excited: Dimitrius and Jeremiah. Otherwise, there was a whole lotta mediocrity going on.
Three eliminated: Racquel Trinidad, Logan Johnson and Ryan Hammond. Although I placed Evelyn Cormier, Eddie Island and Alejandro Aranda at the bottom of my rankings, I understand why the judges gave them top 14 spots. They were all memorable, for better or worse.
1. Dimitrius Graham. “Love Someone” with Lukas Graham. Dimitrius clicked in perfectly with Lukas. The harmonizing was amazing. And Dimitrius held his own. He has such a presence and his vocals are so beautiful. Grade: A/A-minus
2. Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper with Cynthia Erivo. She gives him plenty of great advice to move forward as an openly gay man. And he brings all the right dramatic notes and melds together well with Cynthia’s voice. He is earnest almost to a fault but it works in this duet. Grade: A-minus
3. Wade Costa “broken” with lovelytheband. Wade’s Joe Cocker-type rasp is so singular, it’s hard to match him up in a duet without some incongruence. The lead singer of lovelytheband has a pretty typical smooth pop-rock sound. It doesn’t quite work but Wade brings his charm and sincerity. He is an interesting, worthy addition to the top 14. And it’s great to see him gain confidence. Grade: B
4. Alyssa Raghu. “Issues” with Julia Michaels. This is Julia’s biggest song and Alyssa managed to keep up with Julia, which was impressive. It’s hard to beat Julia’s interpretation of her own song but Alyssa brought enough on stage presence to cement her spot in the top 14. But overall, I just don’t see distinctive artistry in Alyssa just yet. B/B-minus
5. Ryan Hammond. “Hold on I’m Coming” by Sam and Dave with Cynthia Erivo. I keep forgetting this guy, which is odd given he has that massive weight loss story. The problem: great voice, no stage presence whatsoever. I preferred watching Cynthia. I did spend a lot of time staring at his knees through his ripped pants and wondering about that jacket he stole from the Pink Ladies in “Grease.” I suspect as someone who used to be 300 pounds, he’s not sure what to do with his newly thin body. And that discomfort translates. It’s also probably why the judges didn’t give him a spot in the top 14. Grade: B/B-minus
6. Logan Johnson “What a Time” with Julia Michaels. He has the benefit of singing an actual duet. And he had to blow it out of the water after he had such a poor showing during the solos. He does much better this time and I love his tone but he needs to really push harder. He doesn’t. He isn’t selling it hard enough. Grade: B-minus.
7. Racquel Trinidad. “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John with lovelytheband. Yikes. So many runs, to little time. Why do three runs when you can do seven? Outside the oversinging, she is fun and quirky weird as a performer. So it was... interesting. Lionel actually gave constructive criticism: look at the audience! Grade: B-minus
8. Alejandro Aranda “There Will Be a Light” with Ben Harper. This was kind of soporific. Ben seemed to play into Alejandro’s worst tendency to just lay back to the point of diaphanous nothingness. But the judges fall over themselves. Based on his previous performances, he actually does deserve to be in the top 14. Grade: C-plus
9. Eddie Island “7 Years” with Lukas Graham. Eddie seems more interesting on paper than reality. That goes with both his performance and his vocals, which really came clear with someone who is as vocally intriguing as Graham. The judges love him far more than I do. Grade: C-plus
10. Evelyn Cormier “Wicked Game” with Chris Isaak. She sang this song during her audition. Hmm... she is now paired up with him. Producers clearly want her to go through. I find her enunciation distracting and annoying and, as I’ve called her before, cloying. Grade: D
Here is the official top 14, which will be trimmed to 10 this Sunday during the first live vote:
- Alejandro Aranda
- Laci Kaye Booth
- Walker Burroughs
- Evelyn Cormier
- Wade Cota
- Dimitrius Graham
- Laine Hardy
- Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon
- Ashley Hess
- Eddie Island
- Alyssa Raghu
- Madison Vandenburg
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