It’s back and I’m back… I’m talking about American Idol and my fabulous recaps of course… I’m so happy Idol is finally getting down to business showcasing the good singers and tonight we begin with the top 12 guys…. Er, make that top 13 as the judges decided to bring back a surprise thirteenth contender in bass R&B singer and mama’s boy Jermaine Jones. He was a nice choice and clearly a fan favorite, but how did he measure up with the previously selected top 12? And who soared on the fancy new stage tonight? And who bombed their big shot? Well, let’s take a look at my rankings for the first night of competition of American Idol Season 11 below.
Idol Rankings~ The Top 13 Guys (2/28/12)
1. Creighton Fraker: holy heck can he wail. Arising as the second coming of Sam Harris (hello the original Star Search winner from the 80′s turned Broadway star), Fraker gave an emotional and beautiful performance on Cyndi Lauper’s # 1 smash from 1986 “True Colors”. The judges rightfully praised his impressive pipes and his individuality in this glorious interpretation of her inclusive self affirming ballad. Seriously loved him and I really hope this unique and powerful singer makes it through on Thursday.
2. Joshua Ledet: taking us to church, “Mandisa” rose the roof with his version of Jennifer Hudson’s anthemic hit “You Pulled Me Through”. Despite an odd musical arrangement at the beginning, he absolutely slayed the song and got a deserving standing ovation. He’s in.
3. Aaron Marcellus: with arguably the best technical vocal of the night, Aaron tore through Jackson 5′s classic hit “Never Can Say Goodbye”. He has looks, charm and performance ability to spare. I just hope his polished performance doesn’t get overlooked by showier contestants. He is really good ya’ll.
4. Colton Dixon: our sexy rocker gave an ebullient performance of Paramore’s hit “Decode” even ending the song stomping on the piano. He’s a showman and has chops. He’s not going anywhere.
5. Deandre Brackensick: he’s really pretty to look at, now isn’t he. But this boy is no Milli Vanilli poseur. He has a wonderful voice with a gorgeous falsetto and boy can he whip that hair as he proved tonight on a very strong version of Earth Wind & Fire’s “Reasons”. I hope he gets the chance to take on a better song, cuz he is one to watch and has a ton of star quality to go along with his impressive singular voice.
6. Jermaine Jones: his velvety smooth bass fit Luther Vandross’s “Dance With My Father” like a glove. It was a winning if somewhat safe performance. I really like this affable guy and his voice, but I wonder how far he can go in the competition. And he needs to lose the nerves stat.
7. Heejun Hahn: he’s probably the most popular contestant, but he’s certainly not the best singer. While I love his voice and he has such great potential, he was incredibly nervous and a little boring on stage. I hope his great and funny personality come through as he continues his Idol journey. Cuz seriously, he’s totally going through.
8. Jeremy Rosado: I like this guy too. He seems like such a great guy with a big heart. However, despite a good voice, he was rather forgettable tonight as he covered one of my favorite songs of all time, Sara Bareilles’s heartbreaking “Gravity”. Unfortunately, he didn’t give it the emotional heft it needed. He did, at least, hit some nice notes. But it’s probably not enough to stay on the show…
9. Chase Lydon: with a perfectly passable version of Hunter Hayes’ current country hit “Storm Warning”, Lydon looked like the latest country star. I think he could go far, but he needs to leave a stronger impression next time. And pick better songs… I’m not sure what will happen with him.
10. Phillip Phillips: I know I’m probably in the minority, but I really don’t like Phillips’ voice. Why does he growl and yell at me? Why is he so odd and maudlin in his delivery? Why did his take on Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” make me feel so dirty, and not in a good way? It was all just a weird, sleepy, creepy Dave Matthews Band morphing moment…. That said, he’s clearly talented and really attractive. So, he could be moving forward.
11. Eben Frankowitz: ok, pretty much everything about this sweet 15 year old’s performance of Adele’s recent # 1 smash “Set Fire to the Rain” was just wrong. He was sharp, then flat and he had no emotional connection to the song. It was such a bad choice for him. That said, he can sing and could improve quickly. He’s also a very likable kid and the tween girls will enjoy him. But I think it may be too late for him. I wish he had waited a few years and got more experience.
12. Adam Brock: wow, this was really irritating. It was like a drunk uncle cruise ship karaoke performance. And it’s sad, because Brock has a decent voice. He just has no business doing using it on television every week. And his cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Think” was all kinds of wrong too. Looks like Hokey Gokey 2.0 should’ve “thought” more about his song choice.
13. Reed Grimm: all I can say is that was one grimm performance. (Yes, big pun intended). Sorry but everything about Grimm’s take on last year’s ubiquitous # 1 hit “Moves Like Jagger” from Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera was just atrocious. He was awful. End of story.
So, there are my rankings, but what does any of that mean? Well, it may mean nothing, because we all know America doesn’t exactly agree with me at times. (If they did, it would’ve been a Haley v. Pia finale last season)… All I can do now is guess which men will make the final five on Thursday night. Luckily, several of them will be given a second chance “Wild Card” performance opportunity for the judges to add them to the overall top 13… Now, let’s take a look at my guesses, er um, predictions…
Who’s In: Joshua, Phillip, Heejun, Colton
Fighting for 5th spot: Creighton, Jermaine, Aaron
(All will likely be up for Wild Card spots if not automatically in)
Spoilers who could be up for Wild Card: Chase, Deandre
Who’s Out: Eben, Adam, Reed, Jeremy
There you have my two cents… What are your thoughts? Who did you love? Who do you think will make it in?
And finally, some Idol Thoughts: wasn’t Ryan looking dapper this evening with his nice suit and new hair? ….Also, did you notice both Reed and Steven swore? I’m sure Fox was not happy about that… What the heck was Randy’s shirt? … And is it me or did J Lo get more “Bronxy” tonight than usual? … Sound off below and check back here tomorrow night for my take on the ladies.
And here’s my fave from tonight~ Creighton Fraker’s “True Colors”