Originally posted Monday, April 15, 2019 by RODNEY HOemail@example.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
The top 10 on “American Idol” features some real talent this season.:
There are two talented teen vocalists (Madison Vandenburg, Alyssa Raghu), an incredible stage performer (Uché), likable pop dorkiness (Walker Burroughs), talented singer-songwriter (Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon), gravelly rocker (Wade Cota), an R&B emoter (Dimitrius), an EDM lover with a laid-back style (Alejandro Arando) uber confident Louisiana-bred crooner (Laine Hardy) and a superb raspy singer (Laci Kaye Booth.)
The top 7 voted by the public featured just a single minority in Alejandro. For the second year in a row, the judges picked three minorities in the top 10 as wild cards.
But it’s nice to see Dimitrius (Luke Bryan’s pick) in the mix. He really sang for his life and earned it. Lionel Richie gave Uche a deserved shot in the top 10. And I suspect Katy gave Alyssa a shot over Ashley to help fill the minority mix. (Notice the final three wild cards get again were minorities).
Of the four left out in the cold, I’d say Ashley Hess was the one who got robbed big time. Riley Thompson might have made it through another year but this is a talented top 10 and would certainly be in a top 12. Eddie Island and Evelyn Cormier? Nah...
I will power rank the top 10 later in the week. Laine Hardy is still the one to beat, in my mind.
Madison Vandenburg “You & I” by Lady Gaga. She’s IN by popular vote. She was clearly happy to get the votes, then sang her heart out on a wonderful Lady Gaga song. I liked her even more tonight that last night. A little rawness does her well.
Evelyn Cormier “Dust in the Wind” Kansas. She, not surprisingly didn’t make the popular vote cut. Seems like an appropriate for her after tonight. She will be dust in the “Idol” wind before the two hours are up. This is not her worst performance. For me, it’s almost tolerable. And you all know how much I hate her.
Walker Burroughs “Love Bug” Jonas Brothers. He is the second IN by popular vote. He has a warm voice and an adorable hat. He did this weird wink when the camera swept in front of him. A lovely, happy-go-lucky performance. His hometown Brusters ice cream shop created a flavor for him called Good Heavens which includes Honey Nut Cheerios and peanut butter and vanilla ice cream. Afterwards, the judges and Ryan Seacrest sampled it. Katy, the junk-food lover, was in good heavens.
Riley Thompson. “It Must Be Love” Alan Jackson. Does not make the cut and has to sing for her life. No surprise. She is very attractive and sweet but is at least three years from being truly ready for the big stage. And she does a very pleasant rendition of this song but again, she doesn’t really bring anything new or interesting. The judges might still give her the wild card.
Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon. “Almost Heaven” by Jeremiah himself. He’s through, third one. He reprises his audition song in full.
Alyssa Raghu. “The One That Got Away” Katy Perry. Misses the cut for the top 7. She has to sing and await her fate with the judges. She takes a chance by doing a Katy song. She has such a beautiful voice. The judges will probably give either Alyssa and Riley a wild card spot - but not both. I wouldn’t necessarily choose either but I’d pick Alyssa over Riley.
Wade Cota. “Simple Man” Lynyrd Skynrd. No surprise. He’s in the top seven with the popular vote. He has something about him that clearly voters like, even if his super gravelly voice is divisive. He picks the right song for himself and it fits him well.
Dimitrius Graham. When the Party’s Over by Billie Eilish Given the likely demographics of who votes (probably older and whiter and not as much into R&B), the fact he didn’t make the top seven is not surprising. Last year, he judges felt compelled to make it more diverse by giving wild cards to three minorities to fill out the rest of the top 10, all who were immediately cut a week later. He really sings emotionally and with both technical and artistic merit. This is actually better than his performance last night. He should be in the top 10 but I’m not sure there is room. He is better than the two black male singers who made the top 10 last year.
Laci Kaye Booth. “As Long as You Follow” Fleetwood Mac. She’s in, the fifth of the seven slots now filled. Well deserved. She goes or a lesser-known Fleetwood Mac song. While Wade’s raspiness is often out of control, I prefer Laci’s. She is a pro. I hope she makes the top 3.
Eddie Island. “Use Somebody” Kings of Leon. Phew! Not in. He has zero shot of making it through via the judges. He sings in such a weird, sloppy manner. He, like Evelyn, is canon fodder, at this stage.
Ashley Hess. “Sir Duke” Stevie Wonder. What? She didn’t make it in the top seven. She tries an upbeat R&B song, which is not her strength. While it’s not terrible, it’s not exactly a vote getting type performance. Still, I hope Katy picks her as her wild card.
Laine Hardy. “Hurricane” Band of Heathens. He’s in, of course. And he barrels through another great song pick for himself. He makes it look so easy! He is still on track to win this whole thing.
Alejandro Arando. “Chloe Love” original. He’s through and fills the final top seven spot. His breathy style is oddly compelling and his confidence carries you along, even if it feels very smooth jazz. He has a clear base that carried him through. He could go far in this competition.
Uche. “Diamonds” Rihanna. He must sing for his life. Thanks America. He is almost guaranteed a spot in the top 10. How could they not put him through? He is clearly crest fallen and understandably so after such a bravura performance last night. Fortunately, Lionel Richie offers him his wild card pronto.
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