Wednesday, May 2, 2018

TIP Reviews: AI16 Top 10

Chatbox denizens ePastorJames & SpoilerCat recap AI16's Top 10 performances and results as the contestants go head to head on Disney night...

Maddie Poppe - "The Bare Necessities" - advanced

ePastorJames: I remember being a tad bit worried, but I must say Maddie pulled this off with delightful panache. The way she stretched her vocals was excellent, and it was a fun ditty that stood out amidst a sea of ballads. Speaking of which, moving forward, I'd say that's what we best see next from her! 3.5 / 5

SpoilerCat: While I would have rather heard Maddie spin a Disney ballad, I knew she would be quirky and jazzy enough to pull off this classic from The Jungle Book. Doing an uptempo while everyone else is slowing it down might have been smart. Though she did a great job, I'm concerned that this slightly boring choice didn't help her gain any new ground.  3.5 / 5

Jurnee - "How Far I'll Go" - advanced

ePastorJames: The reggae breakdown and a slight strained moment near the end aside, this was overall a good performance. Her tone shined nicely here, and she navigated the song with relative ease. Her time is limited, but she's remaining consistent. 3.5 / 5

SpoilerCat: Jurnee and Disney night fit like a glove, as expected. Overall, a better effort than last week, but still some thin spots in the vocal performance. Jurnee still has a lot of potential but I'm now concerned that she has already hit her ceiling. As the last remaining Wildcard, she'll have to pull out all of the stops next week to survive. 3.0 / 5

Cade Foehner - "Kiss The Girl" - advanced

ePastorJames: I was torn about this one, as I appreciated the rearrangement from Cade as opposed to a more predictable rock choice. But the vocals were exposed and, unfortunately, paltry. This highlighted his limitations. Never a good thing. Yet, I'd say this was a wise game move from him in this competition. 2.5 / 5

SpoilerCat: Uh oh, Cade brings out the acoustic guitar. He took this classic from The Little Mermaid and transformed it into a 1990's acoustic rock ballad reminiscent of the Goo Goo Dolls. This was a great display of originality. 3.0 / 5

Ada Vox - "Circle of Life" - eliminated

ePastorJames: While I do like the lion-esque Chaka Khan-meets-Lainie Kazan look a bit more than the ill-fitted gowns of previous weeks, this was a misguided song choice from the get-go. "Poor Unfortunate Souls", Ada! HOW could you pass that up?! 1.5 / 5
SpoilerCat: Though it was apparent that Ada's chances of making top 7 were slim, this performance was better than I expected. The restraint and lower notes were good choices and nicely done. Less is definitely more, Ada. 2.0 / 5

Michelle Sussett - "Remember Me" - eliminated

ePastorJames: I liked this more than I expect to, upon rewatch. Part of it was the song, but Michelle acquitted herself better here than ever before. Her singing was improved, though not without flaws, and hooray for Spanish! But, 'twas too little, too late. 2.5 / 5

SpoilerCat:  The irony of being unmemorable. As low as Ada's chances were of surviving this vote, Michelle's were even lower. It started off well with the stripped down approach, and I wish she kept it there because all of her performances kinda run together, and this could have at least stood out from the others.  Hasta la vista, baby.  1.5 / 5

Gabby Barrett - "Colors of the Wind" - advanced

ePastorJames: Putrid on so many levels, this sloppy mess of a performance featured Gabby slurring through half the lyrics apathetically and no amount of belting could rescue this tragedy. Reviling on so many levels..........Vomit. 1.0 / 0

SpoilerCat: This is one of my all-time favorite Disney songs and I found Gabby's version to be disappointing. It was boring when restrained and a bit sloppy when not. Yet, she appears to have the luxury of coasting through the show despite not really showing she deserves it. All of this is starting to boil down to 2 words, for me: Underwhelming and overrated. 1.5  / 5

Michael Woodard - "Beauty and the Beast" - advanced

ePastorJames: Although Michael's performance contained a few questionable phrasing moments, all in all, it was a strong performance that left the right impression. Loved his tone in certain spots, with the r&b flavor. Would enjoy a mid-tempo or even uptempo from him soon though! 3.5 / 5

SpoilerCat: Gotta say, this was very well done. I've never been a crazy fan of this song but Michael's vocals made it all the more magical. Going forward, I would like to see him focus on his enunciation. It's a small flaw, but if worked on, would make him stand out even more. 3.0 / 5

 Caleb Lee Hutchinson - "You've Got a Friend in Me" - advanced

ePastorJames: This was pleasant. Yes. Caleb gave a pleasant vocal and avoided the more obvious Cars soundtrack to choose a more timeless song. But he's beginning to grow redundant, and it's high time he makes a more inspired effort. 2.0 / 5

SpoilerCat: It is refreshing to see a country contestant pick something outside of his comfort zone. Caleb's voice and this Randy Newman classic actually compliment each other rather effortlessly. This was a charming performance that managed to shine a light on Caleb's overall likability. 3.5 / 5

Catie Turner - "Once Upon a Dream" - advanced

ePastorJames: I liked this. Catie embodied the princess theme better than anyone else. She was a modern, nerdy princess! She sang it very well, although I would've preferred the Lana Del Rey version. But she's pacing this competition nicely, thus far. 3.0 / 5

SpoilerCat: Catie tackled this tune from Sleeping Beauty with ease, despite some small pitch problems and moments of humming-where-you-should-be-singing, her voice really shined here. Now that she's getting the hang of this song selection thing, it will be interesting to see how far her fanbase can carry her. 3.5 / 5

Dennis Lorenzo - "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" - eliminated

ePastorJames: Vocally speaking, Dennis slayed the rest tonight by a mile. Although it was a safe arrangement, he executed it with terrific phrasing and tender singing. Dunno if the pimp spot harmed him or he was doomed regardless. But it's a fine final performance, for sure. He shall be missed.
4.0 / 5
SpoilerCat: Dennis' smooth vocals combined with the blues-inspired guitar playing and the underlying organ really brought out the soulfulness in this song. The last third is a tad cheesy, but the overall product is very good and worthy of closing the show. It is a shame Dennis never caught on with the voting public because he deserved to go farther. 3.5 / 5

Combined Score & Closing Thoughts
Dennis - 7.5
Maddie - 7.0
Catie - 6.5
Jurnee - 6.5
Michael - 6.5
Cade - 5.5
Caleb - 5.5
Michelle - 4.0
Ada - 3.5
Gabby - 2.5

This was particularly difficult to rank, given that so many of the performances were about even with one another. Even now, I'm questioning who's above who else and whether or not I should adjust it, but w/e. The rank doesn't matter so much as the score does, which is what's more significant here. We say goodbye to Dennis (wahhhhh), Michelle (about time), and Ada(m) (he kinda asked for it), and now are left with 7 heading into Prince week.

I hope to see wise choices from some of these contestants, but also would enjoy some poor decisions from Gabby, who is proving just how mediocre she truly is. :) Do not want a growth arc in her case, just a wave goodbye. I don't see what more Jurnee is capable of accomplishing, and she feels like toast. But there are several Prince songs she could nail, so I hope she chooses a smart song to cap off her ~journey~, haha. And Caleb...eek, I have no clue what could work for him. I'm sure he'll pick something dull.

Ada(m) could've slayed "Purple Rain" in the most gloriously over-the-top way, but I'm sure Cade will end up with that one. Someone has to. Not sure if it'll be praised to high heavens just for being what it is (regardless of how tepid) or will transcend that, but we'll see. And for Catie, I expect something bubbly in the vein of perhaps "Raspberry Beret".

I would love nothing more than to see Maddie tackle "Nothing Compares 2 U", the Sinéad O'Connor version. There are a couple of others, but that'd be my ideal selection. And let's see....For Michael, there are a number of options that could fit nicely, but perhaps "I Would Die 4 U" would apply well to his vocals and be a bit of a change of pace as well. But I'm open to all sorts of suggestions!
SpoilerCat: Disney night was kinda boring in the sense that no one really knocked it out of the park, but the live vote ended up reaffirming last week's voted-in top 6 and voting out 3 of the Wildcards. We will also be going from 7 to 5 so I would say Jurnee specifically has her work cut out for her. Gabby stumbled while Catie and Maddie put in strong performances. Cade and Caleb are still in their own lanes, though borderline monotonous, and I expect Michael to do well on Prince night next week so, I'm not sure. Seems like it could be anybody's game right now.


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