AmericanIdolRound1.JPGTonight’s American Idol kicks off the first of four elimination rounds that will whittle the field down to the Top 12 contestants. I’m going to blog LIVE tonight during the performances, and I want you to join in!
Tonight’s contestants are:

The Girls:
Casey Carlson
Tatiana Del Toro
Jackie Tohn
Anne Marie Boscovich
Alexis Grace
Stevie Wright
The Guys:
Brent Keith
Michael Sarver (first it was Michael, then it was Matt Breitzke, now Michael .. hmm)
Danny Gokey
Ricky Braddy
Anoop Desai
Stephen Fowler
Chime in during the show and share your thoughts. To see the updates, just refresh the page.
Before we start, did you know Michael Sarver is involved in the music ministry at his church?
8:00 And we’re off! Ryan compares the judges panel to The View. My question: who’s dressing him these days? It’s Kara’s first live show. She’s nervous. I’m sure she is.
I don’t like this new system to get the top 12. Tonight’s song choices are Billboard hits. This is a one chance shot so song choice is going to be so important. They get 1 min 20 secs to wow viewers.
Up first, Jackie Tohn with Elvis’ “Little Less Conversation”. What on earth is she wearing? She looks ridiculous. She’s got a good voice but that was just … not great. Randy was entertained & likes her trousers, Kara thinks she can work a stage even if it wasn’t great vocals, Paula was up dancing (nothing new) and said perfect is sometimes boring, and Simon said she played the clown, she was ungainly, and the song was gimmicky. I agree with Simon. And he hated her outfit, too. The best feedback: Simon told her he thought she blew a great opportunity by doing something silly.

Ricky Braddy is up next. He’s singing “Song For You” by Leon Russell. I love this song, but I know the Carpenters’ version. Wow, he has a geat voice. He didn’t get much air time up till now, so hopefully he has a good base of fans from his time at Belmont U. Get ready to dial. Randy says THIS is the start of season 8. Kara loves it. Paula acknowledges that he wasn’t featured much over the last few weeks and tells him he deserves to go very far. Simon said it was very very good, but he wasn’t jumping out of his chair. He tells Ricky he has a great voice but no star quality. Do you agree? I don’t know. This guy is really good.
After the break, Alexis Grace is up. She’s the single mom. Is she the one who left her husband just before her audition? I can’t remember. No, her husband is in the military, that’s right. Alexis is singing “Never Loved A man” by Aretha Franklin. Not a fan of her red lipstick, but otherwise she looks like a star and she sounds fantastic. The judges had told her to “dirty herself up” and she really took it to heart. Kara said the genie is out of the bottle. Paula is rambling … let’s count how many times she says “quiet confidence” this season. Simon tells her he thinks she’s the best by a mile and calls her the dark horse, likening her to Kelly Clarkson. The competition just went up a notch.
Up next, Brent Keith. WHO?? I feel sorry for some of these contestants who had zero air time and thus didn’t have the chance to really build a national fan base. I mean, just from what I’m seeing on my blog and other blogs, Danny Gokey could have this night sown up without singing a word.
We’re back! Oh, poor Brent. They go to his tape and it’s screwed up. Gotta love live TV. Oh yeah, this is the guy who had the girls all goofy in the audition. He’s singing “Hicktown” by some country band. He says this is his last chance. Hmm, he’s got a nice voice, but I don’t know enough about country music, It all sounds alike to me, guys singing about cars and beer and being … well, hicks. Randy says he could see him at a chili cook off and he would make a good country artist. Kara says he was safe and has more in him. Paula says it was safe, too, but she likens him to Bucky Covington and Josh Gracen. Simon asks: “What has happened to Bucky Covington?” and tells Brent it was forgetable. Brent tells him, “Personally, I don’t think country fans will forget that.” I don’t know. Maybe he’ll be the next Bucky Covington or Josh Gracen, but is that really something to aspire to?
Stevie Wright is up. I like her. She’s singing Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me.” Clearly she’s nervous … poor thing. She looks uncomfortable on stage and her vocals are totally off. I think her nerves got the best of her. Randy says she’s better than that, Kara agrees and tells her she has an identity crisis; Paula agrees, not the right song. Simon says “They’re being quite polite. Stevie, it was terrible.” He says it was the wrong song, there’s not chance of her going through, but at least she got some experience. You gotta give her credit. First time on a live show, 17 years old. She may get the sympathy vote.
Anoop Desai is up. I like this guy’s voice. My husband doesn’t like his look. Sure he looks like a computer nerd, but let’s not forget Clay Aiken. Anoop sings “Angel of Mine” by Monica. It’s nice, he’s hitting the notes … for the most part … but it’s boring. Bummer. I like this guy. Oh, Anoop. You picked the wrong song! Randy loves him but says the song was a little sharp but he’s still a huge fan. Kara agrees and says he has a lot of great potential. Paula notes that America has connected with him already, compares him to Brian McNight. Simon asks why he picked that song and says it was a little too grown up and serious for him. Anoop says it was one of the first R&B songs he remembers hearing and liked the message. Simon says he has massive likeability, so they’ll forget this song and remember what they’ve seen from him before. Like I said, I think Anoop may end up as 2nd highest vote tonight. Michael Sarver will give him a run for his money but … well, we’ll see.
(If you’re watching in Rochester: how sick are you of these Mark’s Pizzeria commercials? I don’t ever want to eat another Mark’s pizza after watching the commercial so many times. Good grief!)
Casey Carlson is up next singing “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by the Police. Good grief. What was she thinking? She cute and she has a great voice but she sounds like a wedding singer. Casey, Casey, bad bad song choice. I mean … THE POLICE?? Randy says that was not good for him says it’s weirdly karaoke. Kara agrees, everything was wrong, no one touches those songs, had such high hopes, it fell flat. Paula says guys think she’s exquisite and that’s part of the package, but the song was wrong. Simon says he’s trying to find something positive. Says the singing was atrocious, and she shouldn’t have been allowed to sing that song. Casey says in the red room that the advice is dead on and she could have chosen a different song, but she had a blast. Well, there’s something to be thankful for, I guess.
Michael Sarver is up next. I think the producers really like him because they’ve been giving him tons of air time. He’s singing “I Don’t Want To Be” by Gavin McGraw. There’s something about this guy that just doesn’t connect with me. He’s got a nice voice but I don’t see him as an American Idol. I guess I could see him on the country stage. Randy says he can sing, started out pitchy and weird, liked the soul thing better. Kara says it’s a great crowd pleaser song but it wasn’t his best performance, but he’s likable, but not his best. Paula says it was real good but he changes hands with is mic, she says he probably made McGraw proud. Simons says the show gives people like him an opportunity and they like him, He’s a good honest guy who needs a chance, and if he gets through it’ll be because people like him. I think he and Anoop are going to vie for the likability vote tonight.
Anne Marie Boskovich is up. I really liked her audition but we didn’t see much of her after that, unfortunately. She’s singing “Natural Woman”. She had a good voice but I don’t know if it was a great performance compared to Alexis. Anne Marie just didn’t have enough power behind it. Randy didn’t love it. Kara agreed, wanted something younger. Anne Marie says that kara is her hero. Paula says that compared to what they’ve heard she thinks Anne Marie did better than her earlier auditions. Hmm. Really? Simon, being honest, says that if they were searching for the best hotel singer in California that would have been good enough, adding that it was old fashioned and irrelevant. I’m still putting my money on Alexis as the top girl so far tonight.
Will Stephen Fowler forget the words? He has a good voice, but left a bad impression after he left the stage after he forgot the words during his solo performance. He’s singing “Rock With You” by Michael Jackson. He seems like he’s a half beat behind the band, doesn’t he? Wow, he’s pitchy and … just totally weird and off. Poor Stephen. That was terrible. Randy says the song was totally wrong, it was pitchy, wasn’t good. Kara says there was more from him at the piano when he forgot the lyrics. Stephen says he’s still not comfortable without the piano. Paula says he would have been better to come out and sing that David Cook song, the song was the kiss of death. Simon says he actually wishes he had forgotten the lyrics because it was so terrible, the whole thing was atrocious and corny.
Tatiana is next. Sigh. Sites like Vote For The Worst are putting their efforts into voting for her just to mess with the competition. She’s just so mentally unhinged that I don’t know how much we can take. Let’s hope these live shows limit the amount of time she has to have a meltdown. She’s singing “Saving My Love For you” by Whitney Houston. Despite her emotional problems, she has a great voice and she might just pull this off. Randy said he was worried when he heard she was singing this song, but there were moments when he was impressed, moments! Kara says it’s roller coaster with her but tonight’s it’s a reserved Tatiana but where does she fit in the industry. Tatiana says its everywhere, world music. Paula says she’s the most talked about contestant on the show and good or bad if they’re talking it’s a good thing. She added that there were beautiful moments in her song, but no one knows who Tatian is today. Simon says she is a complete and utter drama queen, he’s never met anyone 9other than Paula) who’s ever wanted fame as much as Tatiana. He says she’s desperate to be famous. Tatiana says she’s just marketing herself. Simon says surprisingly her song was better than he expected, but she needs to lose the demure thing she’s got going on because it’s making him nervous. Tatiana reminds me of Rose on “Two and a Half Men.” Tatiana, as always, gets the last word: “Thank you America. Please vote. This is my dream and it’s up to you to keep it alive.”
And last, but not least, Danny Gokey. He’s singing “Hero” from Mariah Carey, recapping his wife’s story. As I expected, he knocks this totally out of the park. Oh, there’s Jamar in the audience!! Randy calls him the redeemer of the enight, it was blazing hot. Kara says he’s the hero of the night. Paula says ‘sold out arenas’. Simon, back to the real world. It was good, it wasn’t fantastic, he hit it, likes him, not buying the hype. Everyone else is completely psyched. Maybe because no one else really kicked it that good.
So that’s it. My predictions, after seeing them all perform?
Top guy: Danny Gokey
Top girl: Alexis Grace
2nd highest of the night: Anoop Desai. I think he has more likeability than Michael Sarver, and while I think Ricky Braddy really has a great voice and could have really vied for a top spot, he’s going to suffer from the lack of air time in previous episodes.
I will say: it’s entirely possible that Tatiana might take that third spot. Oh, please, please, I hope not. I’d rather see Anoop or Ricky Braddy.
So there you go. What do you think of tonight’s performances?
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