American Idol Judges’ Messiah: A Toothy Wolf in Choir Clothing?

There were few clear front-runners in the American Idol guys competition last night, and I vacillated between snoozing and feeling like I was under the drill at the dentist’s office. My big question is — why can’t anybody just SING anymore? My daughter called from North Carolina to let me know she wouldn’t be discussing the show. She was going to bed. “There’s nobody there I care about,” she said. “They HAD some good ones, but they let them go.”

I know the judges were looking to give some variety, but, come on. It was obvious from the first that Zoanette had singing problems that could not be overcome in a couple of sessions with a vocal coach. So someone good had to give place to her — not once — but several times. And dear little mixed up Charlie, though a “better” singer, had the same problems with consistency. Both have cute, quirky personalities, but both also fly close to the edge of beyond.

Charlie’s meltdown was case in point. He didn’t want to stay as Nicki’s babe in arms and was continuously reinventing himself, hoping one incarnation would click with a broad fan base. And who can blame him. He obviously wants to be the COOL, quirky guy with a capital K, not the socially challenged young man people have always made fun of. Nicki was disappointed and said she felt like somebody stole her kid. “I don’t want to see your bare arms, or your earring, or your ponytail,” she said. “I just want my kid back. I’ve gone from obsessed to upset.” Everybody felt sorry for his problems, but to parade them upon a national stage is probably not doing him any favors. The exposure could go either way – it can make him or break him – depending upon who wants the exploitation rights.

Nothing gelled for almost the entire first hour last night, the show plodding through the first four singers, their interviews, their judging, etc. I think even the judges were bored and the audience was nice and polite. Rather than singing for their lives, Elijah, Cortez, and Nick played it nice and safe. Charlie was indefinable. Elijah Liu made off with the same old, same old about how “marketable” he is – like another boy band group or the Beiber. Cortez Shaw just fell off the Idol edge with wrong song choice, wrong key, wrong clothes, wrong look, even with a much-needed up-tempo song. Nick Boddington came out ahead of the other three, but didn’t pull into the mainstream. He sang “sweet” and “pretty” at his piano, giving a “solid performance”. The same could be said for a high school musical. This is American Idol for Pete’s sake. Oh, my gosh! I’m beginning to sound like Simon Cowell. Quick, somebody! Find me an exorcist!

Burnell Taylor, who has a “never-say-die” spirit and background, was the first to bring some semblance of consciousness to his viewers, though he sang his original audition song. That would have been great, but it was not quite the same and not quite as good. Nicki obviously felt the same, but pulled back before voicing it, probably not wanting to jeopardize Burnell’s chances, who is one of her heroes of the competition. And with good reason. I want him to come back and go far, too.

Paul Jolley is another one who wants to go with whoever the audience and judges want him to be. Last night he insisted that he saw himself as pop-country. And I can’t be sure because I didn’t quite catch it, but I think he muttered “If that’s who people want me to be”, or something like that. He has been accused of being too theatrical, and not believable, and last night Randy observed that he even changed horses in mid-stream (changing his tone in the same song). One of the judges questioned him on his “pop-country” style announcement, commenting he/she had never noticed that before.

Candyman Lazaro Arbos, ice cream parlor employee, stuck with the luscious look that suits him best and doesn’t apologize for it. He connected with the crowd, and Nicki, though feeling it was a bit slow, liked the fact that he “put some attitude on it”. I liked his singing, but kept waiting for him to let go and just soar with it. I know he can. I know a lot of these singers can. But they’re scared to death to take a chance. Which brings them to a Catch-22 – take a chance and maybe go home — or play it safe and probably go home. I want these singers to get my blood up and my heart beating before Mike has to call 911 for a transfusion and a jump-start. I can see the obit now. “Died of boredom during American Idol.” Come on, guys! I feel like the Phantom of the Opera as his voice rang out and echoed through his subterranean world, “SING FOR MEEE!”

Then there is the guy with The Voice that I wouldn’t vote for if he stood on his head and sang the Star Spangled Banner a cappella in perfect pitch. Curtis Finch, Jr., a self-proclaimed church music director, was worshiped by the judges as the new messiah, bringing them hope and praising God after his powerful rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly”. Isn’t this the same jerk who said he would “walk all over” some poor schmuck (was it Charlie Askew?) in his group round to get a position on American Idol? He later somewhat “explained” or something. Said he didn’t mean it like that. How else can you mean “walk all over” somebody to get ahead? It was a moment of “True Colors”. I go to church, and I praise God. But Curtis Finch, Jr. is no brother of mine. He’s the toothy wolf in choir robes of American Idol 2013. Finch has a perfect pitch, alright, and the judges bought it. I hope the voting public have longer memories.

Now Devin Velez — he’s the real deal. He may not have the pipes or the range of Mr. Finch, but he has the heart and the soul. The quality and definition of his voice grabs from the beginning and carries you all the way through and you know you’ve heard something beautiful and it touches your heart. There’s a lusciousness to his tone like sweet ripe fruit, and there’s a realness to it you can almost touch. And he doesn’t have to strain for it. It’s just there. He’s the kind of American boy you would be proud to see confetti falling around as the crowds cheer and the band plays as he accepts the title of American Idol. If a guy has any chance at all of winning it this year, it should be him.

Vincent Powell raised the roof in his last performance, but it kind of fell in on him this week. Trying to top his all-time best, he announced he was through with the “emotion” part of singing and putting it all behind him. He was now pumped and just ready to get up and sing it. I guess he meant emptying a song of its beating heart and replacing it with an echoing tin can. Where does he think a song comes from and why does he think people listen to them? EMOTION, for heaven’s sake. I love you Vincent Powell, but for the love a Mike, get a stinkin’ clue.

Okay. Those are my humble opinions and I’m stickin’ to ’em.


9 thoughts on “American Idol Judges’ Messiah: A Toothy Wolf in Choir Clothing?

  1. First of all, I agree with your daughter, “They had some good ones, but they let them go.” How true! Makes me wonder if the judges go blind and deaf sometimes.

    ~Elijah – Boring…like Bieber. He doesn’t finish his phrases and he treats his low, ending notes like throwaways.
    ~Cortez….meh. For all the reasons you stated.
    ~Burnell – Meh…he does nothing for me.
    ~Nick – More meh. The men aren’t nearly as good as the girls, but I was starting think my time would be better spent reading a book. ANY book.
    ~Paul – FINALLY someone I could like. I just like him, everything about him.
    ~Charlie – Oh dear. He looked and sounded awful. I don’t see him continuing, in fact I’m hoping he doesn’t because there’s no way he’s emotionallyh strong enough to go the distance for the entire competition. I thought he was going to break down and cry after Nicki’s comments.
    ~Lazaro – I liked him a lot and the song choice. But whenever I hear this song, all I can think of is Adam Lambert strutting down the stairs and absolutely KILLING this song. I hope Lazaro makesit through.
    ~Curtis – Well, the judges sure love him. He was the only guy to get a standing O. I think he COULD be good, but seems to me he’s always trying to hard. And his humility doesn’t ring true for me. His comment about “walking all over” someone to get to the top was definitely not humble.
    ~Devin – Best of the night. Mariah said he could have an international career. I think she’s right. Ricky Martin, you’ve been warned.
    ~Vincent – Meh. He does nothing for me.

    I just hope America got it right when they voted, especially where the women are concerned. The only men I want to see go through are Paul and Devin. For the women, I’m sad that only five will get to go through. Why does it have to be decided by sex when it should be decided by whoever is the best? If that’s just women or just men, so be it.

    • Loved your comments. Mike says he agrees with you that the top ten should be whoever is best, not male or female. It’s not a dance competition. Nobody is being paired up. Have more to say, but have had company. More guests to come this weekend. Will get back later. Oh, but I will take time to comment on the results show. I can’t complain at all on that score.

      • No, it’s not a dance competition. Which reminds me, “So You Think You Can Dance” will be back in May. “The Voice” returns March 25th.

        I may as well toss out my comments on the results show here. America definitely got it right this time….at least IMO. I LOVED the new format for introducing the contestants who got through and each one doing a “victory” song. We want to see the contestants perform, not some “who cares” celebtrity…unless it’s Adam or another former contestant.. It’s much better than having everyone standing around on stage. However, I don’t see why the contestants in the holding room were prevented from seeing the victory songs by the winning contestants. They might have learned something.

        The judges looked genuinely thrilled with the winners, especially Keith.
        ~Paul – He seemed terribly nervous and I suppose he had every right to be. It showed in his voice and made him pitchy. Glad he made it though.
        ~Burnell – I just don’t like all his embellishing. I feel he overdoes it, but at least he isn’t “windmilling” as much as before.
        ~Curtis – Much better than he was when competing the night before.
        ~Devin – I didn’t like the song choice, but I do like him.
        ~Lazaro – The key was way too low. Maybe it had to be because he doesn’t have a high range. I’m mixed about him. I really don’t think he has a very good voice, but he does have charisma and, of course, a great back story..

        ~Janelle – VERY nice. I really do like this girl. She has great charisma, confidence and performance chops.
        ~Candice – Good job!
        ~Angela – VERY nice. She sure was amped. LOL Keith was cute; he loves this girl. She and Amber are both only 18. So talented and so young.
        ~Amber – Weird song, but I like her.
        ~Kree – What can I say. To quote Randy, this girl is in it to win it and I wouldn’t mind at all if she does.

  2. PS – I would add Lazaro to Paul and Devin as guys I’d like to see go through.

    I almost fell off my chair when Nicki complimented Keith for his comments and told the contestant he should listen to Keith. Surprise!! Maybe Nicki’s world doesn’t revolve around Nicki as much as I thought. Mariah reminds me of Paula Abdul and Ellen Degenerous in that she can’t bring herself to say anything critical. She’s like a kid who wants everyone to like her. And I hated Mariah’s straight, stringly hair last night. Ughh!.

      • Sorry I couldn’t read your comments on the results show before, but I was in the middle of putting the post together. I was not disappointed in the results and mostly loved the new format. Just a few bugs to iron out. Also, viewership has apparently picked up. Didn’t notice Mariah’s hair the other night, but her full, flowing hair is one of her best assets. I love it that Keith gets emotional, and I agree he’s the best judge this year. I mostly like Nicki’s candidness, which has been sorely needed since Simon. Her’s is simply candid and honest. His were way over the top to the point of being extremely offensive.

      • “His [Simon’s] were way over the top to the point of being extremely offensive”

        Definitely. Contestants waited, barely breathing, to see what Simon would say though as if no one else’s opinion mattered. Both Randy and Nicki can tell it like it is, but they do it without being offensive.

  3. You’re right. Randy does judge well and fairly. I love it when he gets excited about a performance, and there have been few occasions this season. I also love his little asides to Nicki. I still don’t know what there was about Simon that caused everybody to hang on his every word. It was a type of charisma, I guess. People longed to please him.

    • Yes, contestants did want to please Simon. He was a challenge because he was so difficult to please that his praise was all the more desired. . I loved Randy in season eight. He totally ran out of superlatives to describe Adam.


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