1st Group 10 Females
Although Channel 10 has dropped production of Australian Idol, they have gone large in promoting this year’s series of American Idol. No end of promos, in every ad break for the last few months, did more to put me off the series than encourage me to watch it.
However, as I enjoyed The Voice so much last year, I decided to have another look at the show that I have been avoiding for the last few years.
Not much has changed, the early rounds still rely heavily on ridiculing wannabes, destroying their dreams and showcasing the nut jobs. For that reason we decided not review the early rounds. But the show has now moved onto a “semi-final” format, where the contestants have already been through several rounds of auditions and presumably can sing.
The judging panel for this series is made up of Randy Jackson, the only original series survivor, who now seems to have taken on the Mr Nasty role. Hip hop Queen, Nicki Minaj and mega diva, Mariah Carey are the female judges and they genuinely do not seem to get on, but it could all be staging for the cameras. The final spot is taken up by Australia’s own Mr Nice Guy, Keith Urban, who has been traded from Australia’s The Voice to American Idol. He must have enjoyed the talent show format so much last year that he decided to go for the big time, or maybe there’s just a lot of cash involved. I’m a cynic, so make your own decision.
Nicki Minaj, as most will know, is the Queen of the wigs, she has appeared in blond, brunette and rainbow colours so far this series. For the semi-final she chose a rather fetching number with dark roots on her blond wig, an interesting concept.
So the format for the semi-finals is that 10 contestants sing in each show and 5 go through, a rather vicious culling. The first semi final featured 10 girls.
Jenny Beth Willis – Was first up she sang a good lively country tune. I thought that she was way better than the judges gave her credit for and although I don’t remember seeing much of her before this, I already began to think she had been pre-judged.
Tenna Torres – Was next, she sang a very dramatic slow song. I didn’t like it much, but the judges gave her the big ups
Adriana Latonio – was much better and sang a more soulful song. It was really well sung. She got a standing ovation from Keith and Randy and most of the audience. She got the right degree of plaudits from the judges.
Brandy Hotard – sang slow dramatic country song. It was well sung, but it did nothing for me. The judges caned her for lack of emotional connection, which I thought was a bit strong, as she sang very well.
Shubha Vedula – started her song at the piano and started slow and deep, then she got up and started bouncing. She sang well but I was not a fan of the bouncing, or her presentation. The judges were about right in their appraisal.
Kamaria Ousley – pretty much summarised all that is wrong with these TV talent shows. The tendency for singers to slide over the notes is something I hate. Kamaria was sliding all over the place, it was not good, and she was off key and tuneless, awful. Once again the judges were about right in their assessment.
Kree Harrison – sang a slow bluesy country song, she started really well had a bad off key moment, but finished well. She looked a bit under dressed compared to the other girls, but she got huge praise from all of the judges.
Angela Miller – gave another dramatic performance, with a little too much movement, but there is something I like about her and the judges love her.
Isabelle – Sang the old standard God Bless the Child. She started well, but then went off key and all over the place. Strangely none of the judges mentioned that.
Amber Holcolmb – also sang another old standard Funny Valentine, it was not a great performance, but was very good and definitely good enough to go through. The judges loved it too.
The judges put Tenna, Kree, Angela, Amber and Adriana through to the next round
Personally I wouldn’t have put Tenna through and would have picked either Jenny or Shubha Vedula instead. As I said previously, I think Jenny was pre-judged and she wasn’t going through no matter what she did tonight, but you would think a name like Shuhbha Vedula would go further.
Friday night’s semi-final features the first batch of men.
By Max Power