Monday, April 23, 2018

TIP Reviews: AI16 Top 14

Chatbox denizens ePastorJames & SpoilerCat recap AI16's Top 14 performances...

Caleb Lee Hutchinson - "Midnight Train to Memphis"
ePastorJames: Decent if lackluster opening performance. There was less conviction in Caleb's singing than usual, so it started a bit shaky. Eventually, he pulled through. Overall, I'd say it's fairly forgettable but competent enough to warrant sticking around. 2.5 / 5

SpoilerCat: I just dig this kid's voice. He has all of the charisma and chops I wanted Scotty McCreery to show in AI10. I don't think most people cared for this one but I enjoyed it. With the brutal elimination cuts ahead, can a country artist survive with an okay-ish song choice? Probably. 3.0 / 5

Michelle Sussett - "Friends"
ePastorJames: Tragic. Michelle's basically a singing squeak toy. What she lacks for in vocals (and believe me, she lacks A LOT), she compensates with stage presence, gyrations, and hair. It's basically subpar, but oddly enough, not her worst. But GTFO. 1.5 / 5

SpoilerCat: An odd song choice that completely goes off the rails in the second half. Absolute mess. Sorry, Michelle. I like ya, but I think its safe to say you can pack your bags. 💩💩💩 1.0 / 5
Marcio Donaldson - "It's A Miracle"

ePastorJames: Ugh, what a misguided song choice. Marcio illustrated with this performance that he has no range or vocal power. But he certainly thinks he does! Paltry job overall, and overpowered by Bandzilla. Not to mention, super cheesy. GTFO please. 1.0 / 5

SpoilerCat: This was an okay time if you're a fan of cruise ship cheesiness. Also pitchy and breathy in parts. Super dated song. Not one of his best performances at all. 1.5 / 5

Mara Justine - "This Is Me"

ePastorJames: Mara has a voice, but she rarely uses it wisely. This was a breathy, overwrought rendition. She sounded awful in the verses, and essentially shrieked the choruses. This convinced us all that she's too high school musical. Just blah. GTFO now. 0.5 / 5

SpoilerCat: This is honestly pretty bad throughout. Not sure what else to say. Eeek. 0.5 / 5

Garrett Jacobs - "Raging Fire"

ePastorJames: Just because this is Garrett's least bad performance doesn't excuse this pathetic rendition from trying to slide under-the-radar. His voice sounded incredibly thin, and it failed to conjure up any true commendations. Very average. Still GTFO. 2.0 / 5

SpoilerCat: Another strange choice. Was he ever completely on key? This was certainly nothing mind-blowing. Garrett should have been eliminated a while ago and won't last much longer with superior WGWGs in the mix. 1.0 / 5

Ada Vox - "The Show Must Go On

ePastorJames: Upon rewatch, I didn't find as many glaringly off notes as some said there were when it first aired. It was the first performance of the night with any magic, and Ada mostly executed the song well. Clearly one of the best talents. Please stay! 4.0 / 5

SpoilerCat: I thought this was pretty loud and shouty. Ada's range is impressive but the delivery is a bit all over the place. Definitely not her best. 2.0 / 5

Catie Turner - "Take Me To Church"

ePastorJames: This was one of the night's most surprising. Catie did her own take, and aside from some phrasing problems in the first chorus, the overall effect was positive. Big improvement over her past performances. So all things considered, stay. 3.5 / 5

SpoilerCat: This wasn't the best song choice. It started off with potential but slid into shouty territory and landed a bit unevenly. Better than previous choices but this girl needs to start finding songs she connects with ASAP. 2.0 / 5

Cade Foehner _ "Black Magic Woman"

ePastorJames: Not Cade's best, but aside from him clearly being one of the most talented, this alone was still well done. He delivered the song in an expected fashion, but did it justice. Would like to see him break out of the box soon though. So, he must stay. 3.0 / 5

SpoilerCat: Cade has an awesome voice but the issue he is going to run into is showing different sides of it. Nothing particularly wrong with this song selection but its not my fave from Cade. Some nice, groovy bits that remind me of Philip Phillips. Competent performance but I was left kinda bored. Not that Cade has anything to worry about for a few weeks. 3.0 / 5

Dennis Lorenzo - "In My Blood"

ePastorJames: Perhaps the night's most refreshing song choice, Dennis stepped outside of his comfort zone and managed to deliver a strong vocal performance on this song. He's shown incredible versatility and promise. Really hoping he stays after this! 4.5 / 5

SpoilerCat: Awesome to see Dennis go for more of a rock sound and do a great job! Totally unexpected and really enjoyable. Love the rawness he displayed. More of this please. 4.0 / 5

Maddie Poppe - "Homeward Bound"

ePastorJames: Easily the shining gem of the night, Maddie delicately tackled this folky number with outstanding finesse. The alt-country arrangement was beautiful and her high notes were sublime. We need her in this competition. A most emphatic stay! 5.0 / 5

SpoilerCat: Far and away my favorite performance of the night. Everything was perfect. Her voice, the arrangement, the starlit backdrop. Maddie is arguably the best this season. I hope America notices and lets this songbird sail to the end. 5.0 / 5

Jurnee - "Bang Bang"

ePastorJames: While it wasn't her strongest vocal, this uptempo performance proved that Jurnee is capable of handling uptempo. It had great energy, good singing, and even a nicely done rap part. Losing her would be utterly wrong. She definitely must stay. 3.0 / 5
SpoilerCat: Jessie J isn't easy to tackle but Jurnee surprised me and managed to hold her own really well. And then to have the air capacity for that rap section. Wouldn't mind seeing this one continue to experiment with uptempo songs. 3.5 / 5

Jonny Brenns - "This Is Gospel"

ePastorJames: Sigh. Why, oh, why didn't he choose to do the piano version is beyond me. Such a missed opportunity and the poor execution on this screams blatant failure. He sounded terrible. And we were all rooting for you! After this, he needs to GTFO. 0 / 5

SpoilerCat: Really though, he would have been so much better off with the piano version. What a waste. 1.0 / 5

Michael Woodard - "Titanium"

ePastorJames: Michael continues his trend of astonishing song choices, but each time seems to be improving upon his last effort. He phrased this with nuance and was vocally superb, minus some enunciation issues. But he's just love. So he ought to stay!  4.5 / 5

SpoilerCat: I love the originality Michael has continually shown in the way he sings other people's songs, and this is no exception. Beautifully executed and my second favorite of the night. I hope the voters reward him because he certainly seems to be peaking at the right time. 4.5 / 5

Gabby Barrett - "The Climb"

ePastorJames: Despite not being a huge fan, credit where credit is due. This was a good performance. Not the best overall, but for her, yes. She sang it well and minimized the faux country twang. (Still present unfortunately.) Should go, but will stay? 3.0 / 5

SpoilerCat: I personally wouldn't mind if I never heard this song again but Gabby did a decent job here. Uber nasally, but she's singing Miley, so it works. Super safe song choice, if nothing else. 3.0 / 5

Combined Score & Closing Thoughts
Maddie - 10.0
Michael - 9.0
Dennis - 8.5
Jurnee - 6.5
Ada - 6.0
Cade - 6.0
Gabby - 6.0
Caleb - 5.5
Catie - 5.5
Garrett - 3.0
Marcio -2.5
Michelle - 2.5
Jonny - 1.0
Mara - 1.0

ePastorJames: The section from Catie to Cade could be swapped around easily, as they were relatively close together in my rankings. Certain factors like surprise and intrigue keep Catie higher and Cade lower, while Gabby vs. Jurnee, I'm torn. Gabby was more solid as a whole, whereas Jurnee may be better but her performance has a little less weight to propel it a tad higher. Still, again, they're all close. I could also easily switch Marcio with Mara, since both were bad. But the first 4 are amazing and accurate, Jonny is obviously the worst, and Caleb vs. Garrett just seem in the right lower middle range. Due to the best shining so well and the next 4 all acquitting themselves decently, I'd consider this overall to be a good night. There's a bit of promise for what's left of this season!

But I'm terrified of the results. I'm hoping and thinking at least 2 of the 5 are definitely toast tonight, even with their WCs. Maybe even 3 of them. But obviously all 5 can't go, meaning at least 1 but perhaps even 2 will survive and possibly result in one of the Top 8 landing in the Bottom 8, and thus being one of the 4 eliminated tonight. It'll be rough, but let's hope that somehow, 4 of those 5 who've continued to underwhelm all season leave now and spare us any further mediocrity. The ePastor has spoken!
SpoilerCat: I'm just sitting here hoping we're in the alternate universe where Maddie wins.