A Rash of Nerves Strikes Girls in Rush Week; Top Singer M. K. Nobilette

M. K. Nobilette, best singer of 10 girls in Rush Week

Nerves got the best of the American Idol girls during Rush Week last night, in spite of the fact they had Adam Lambert, Chris Daughtry, and Randy Jackson as voice coaches and direction for stage presence. Even a workshop for wardrobe and make-up.

Only one girl looked relaxed and sang beautifully, and that was M. K. Nobilette with her version of “All of Me”. She just got up there and sang it. “This song has to mean something to you,” said Randy Jackson in his new position as coach, “or it won’t mean anything to anyone else.” Well, she sang it like she meant it and the crowd went wild with a long, long standing ovation. Harry Connick, Jr. called it elegant and articulate, and for the first time M. K. did not a project a sad, defeatist attitude.

The second best singer of the night was Jessica Meuse with “Drink A Beer”. Though nerves nipped at some of her song, it was definitely better than the other eight. Jennifer Lopez called her country tone appealing, and Keith Urban said he just had to root for someone from Slapout, Alabama. Before she went onstage, Daughtry said her voice was better than her guitar playing, and that she should step away from it and go with her singing voice. She, like many of the others, ignored the advice of her coach. After her performance, Harry said she tended to go sharp, and that he wanted her to feel what she was singing. “I feel like there was a wall between you and me,” he said. Keith echoed that when he said she “disconnected” when she smiled while singing the line, “I can’t believe you’re gone.”

Jessica Meuse, second best of 10 in Rush Week

The first girl out of the chute was Magesty Rose, whose tutor was Adam Lambert. Another who coached her on her stage performance told her the guitar was too much. Majesty disagreed and kept the guitar, which she barely used. It looked like she was hiding behind it, and when not playing, using it as a prop. She was only okay and so-so. I’ve heard much better from Majesty before.

Though I loved Kristen O’Connor’s early performances, her bundle of nerves bungled her version of “Turning Tables”, Even though Randy advised her to “emote outward”, she sounded breathy and Jennifer said her timing was off with the band. Connick said she had a powerful voice and was proud of her. Keith blamed the performance on nerves, while Jennifer still loved her special tone, and still averred that Kristen could record tomorrow. Was Connick just being kind?

Jennifer called Briana Oakley a young Whitney Houston. Before her performance of “Warrior”, Randy Jackson cautioned Briana about coming across as too professional. Harry Connick said the emotion in her voice was there, but it didn’t come across in her eyes, [keeping her distanced from her audience].  Keith said she took a few moments to settle in, but found her stride toward the end. Jennifer said she looked scared and needed “performance quality”. Harry told her to beware of her high notes. “They are not triple axles,” he said, referring to the Olympic skaters. “High notes can be a trap.” Connick also quipped that nobody was watching the Olympics while American Idol was on.

JEEEna not JINNa (Jena Irene) sang “Paint It Black”, prompting Harry to quiz her on what the song was about. “I’m not sure what you were singing about,” he said. In other words, vocals are great, but it’s only a singing exercise if you don’t make your audience feel and understand what you’re singing about. Before her performance, Daughtry told her she needed to “lock it in”, and “work on her confidence”. Jennifer said she “pulled it out at the end”, and Keith praised her poise, calm, and cool balance as well as having the vocals to back it up.

Harry Connick, Jr., got the first boo of the season when he told Bria Anai (Wrong Side of a Love Song) that there was a difference between being passionate and shouting. But Keith backed him up by advising her not to “overshoot the runway”. Jennifer told her she had “star” written all over her, but advised her not to run before she sang next time. All the girls who were picked were naturally excited and ran down the long hallway between exuberant fans, leaving them a little breathless at the end.

When Adam Lambert listened to Marrielle Sellars sing “Roar”, he advised her to slow it down, take her time, and “stick to what you know”. Keith called it “not the best song, and too karaoke. Jennifer praised her poise after she had a “shoe incident” onstage. Harry said she needed to stay in tune; in the pocket. “I didn’t see a superstar tonight,” he said. “It was over performed.”

Though many voices advised Emily Piriz against singing “Paris La La”, she dug in her heels. So Adam Lambert did the best he could and told her the chorus was the punchline. “Contrast it,” he said. “It’ll only work if you sing it like a rock star.” When Harry Connick asked Emily what the first lines of the song were, she said something about a man and her on the floor. (I don’t know the song). “You’re 18 years old now, is this really what you want to be singing about?” Keith called it a “touchy subject”, and Harry quipped, “Literally.” After Emily said she practiced her songs in front of a mirror, Harry advised her to concentrate more on her song, not “standing in front of a mirror trying to be something you’re not. Connick went on to say, “In Hollywood you bared your soul. You were an expressive artist.” The remarks later inspired Ryan Seacrest to say, “Harry kicked it into daddy mode.”

Though Daughtry was impressed with Malaya Watson’s vocals in practice on her song “Hard Times”, her performance was the last and the worst of the lot, screeching off-key loudly. I’m sure it was her young age (16) that prompted the judges to give her a lot of slack, Jennifer calling her a “powerhouse”, Harry Connick saying he looked forward to seeing her settle into her space. Only Keith dared squeak a little bit about the elephant in the living room saying she was “a little over the top”.

And last but not least — Ben Briley won the vote-off between him and Nico Starr. (And, honest, I don’t know where I got the idea that Ben was from Alabama. He’s from Tennessee. My bad). But I must say I loved Nico, too. Especially his smile, style, and great personality as well as his singing. Good luck for your future, Nico. Love ya. And don’t forget there will be three wild cards picked this season.

I’m also left wondering if the five girls not picked should have been.

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32 thoughts on “A Rash of Nerves Strikes Girls in Rush Week; Top Singer M. K. Nobilette

  1. I was truly underwhelmed by the girls. There were none I’d have bothered to pick up the phone for. I thought the guys were much better last night. They included more natural performers which made them more entertaining to see and hear. Just for the heck of it, I jotted down the five from each group that I think will garner the most votes from viewers. I’ll find out tonight how close I came

    I can’t sign off without mentioning the judges. I think this season’s panel is BY FAR the best Idol has ever had. They are REAL, well-trained musicians and it’s a delight every time they speak. They actually zero in on how the singers perform, give valuable advice, and don’t just shower praise on them for everything. Harry, in particular, is very astute, but is never cruel. And boy! do they ever enjoy working together. They are a treat to watch. I hope to never see the likes of Simon Cowel on this show again.

    The Voice comes back this Monday and I’m GREATLY looking forward to that show as well. . .

    • I agree with all of the above. I’m really excited about this season because the judges don’t just roll out the same old hackneyed phrases time and time again. They do give valuable advice and they not only know music, they can speak the language of music, like Harry did when he said the guitar player/singer finished “on the nine”, then went on to explain it to the audience. Loved it.

      I just settled down to write today’s blog. Had to do a rush job yesterday because I was out all day.

      • I’m so glad you agree with me. Woohoo! I LOVED what Harry said about ending on the nine then went on to explain it I think Keith is quite musically knowledgeable, too, but J-Lo, not so much. Hoever, she does know A LOT about performance skills. I dont recall his name, but I think the man involved in the nine comment is very, very good. He’s a wicked good guitarist, too. I hope he lasts a while. I liked the country guy with the curly red guitar and baseball cap a lot, too. He’s a natural performer.

        Just a quickie about Frank. The 80+ staples were removed yesterday and a new cast put on then he went back to the rehab place. He has an appointment on March 6 to have the cast removed and a brace put on. The brace locks at increasing angles as his knee gets flexible again and his range of motion increases.. He will be in rehab another week after he gets the brace. As it stands now, the earliest he’ll be back home is March 11.

        Meanwhile, we spent three hours today with me in the office on his computer and him on the speaker phone. We went through the 294 emails he’s received then went to Quicken and the bank accounts so he could talk me through making e-payments, updating Quicken, and doing backups. It was a rather hair-raising experience for me. While I’m very computer literate, he has always handled the financial stuff and it was quite a learning experience for me. Got through it though and now I know a lot of new things to do on a computer. Nonetheless, it’s been a stressful day because I was so scared that I’d do something wrong.

        You do what you gotta do, right?

      • Just published my post. Will get back with you in a sec. I’m having to really concentrate to get these names, places and who said what correct. I mistakenly had Ben Briley from Alabama rather than Tennessee the other day.

      • I agree about J Lo. She’s the weakest judge on the panel but has the most clout. I was incensed about her giving Emmanuel a do-over. I hope the Idol producers’ ears are getting set on fire. Yeah. I missed the red curley guitar on Rush Week. Must have been when I went to the bathroom.:) Now, you see, that’s just the mistakes I have nightmares about doing. But when you do a blog you stick your neck out. You should know. I wrote three whole posts about Ben being from Alabama and had to go back and edit way too much later. But your little typo was way funny.

        Mike said, GOOD GRIEF WHAT HAPPENED!! when I told him about the 80= staples. I told him it was still Frank’s knee. Mike thought something else bad had happened.

        Then I couldn’t keep my big mouth shut and read the stuff about the finances, which prompted him to get all excited about teaching me all that crap. I said, “You know I won’t listen.” To which he replied, “How are you going to manage my insurance money when I kick off.” I told him I’d cash it out and run.:) Hey, you do have to do what ya gotta do.

      • I agree that it wasn’t fair for J-Lo to give a chance to sing something else, but that happens all the time on The X Factor, both the UK and now canceled

      • This isn’t my day. I started this comment and while reaching for the Delete key, hit Enter by mistake. I’ll try again.

        I agree that it wasn’t fair for J-Lo to give Emmanuel a chance to sing something else, but that happens all the time on The X Factor, both the UK and now-canceled US versions. If Simon doesn’t like the song choice, he says, “What other songs do you know?” I don’t think that’s at all fair.. I hope Jennifer never lets this happen again.

        Amusing about Mike’s reaction to the 88 staples in Franki’s knee. All my friends have been saying “ouch!” about removing them, but he said it felt like pin pricks, not actual pain

        “Then I couldn’t keep my big mouth shut and read the stuff about the finances, which prompted him to get all excited about teaching me all that crap.”

        Uh-ohh 🙂

        I guess the difference between you and me is that I LOVE computers and learning new things. I know things Frank doesn’t, too, like how to use an image server, edit and change the size of a photo, embed a video, set up a blog like Live Journal….things he’s never done just like I’d never worked with financial software. oops, I take that back. He has Photoshop on his computer so he must know how to change photos. Like you, I might be tempted to “take the money and run.” However, Frank is alive and kicking, even if momentarily incapacitated, so the bills have to be paid. I enjoyed doing it; I was just afraid of doing something wrong and ending up with Frank yelling at me. He is very, VERY impatient, but I told him that while I’m happy to learn to do all this, if he loses it and yells at me, I’ll leave him high and dry and become history. Much to my satisfaction, he behaved beautifully. Maybe I should issue threats more often. 🙂

        I desperately miss having a preview option and a spell checker at Word Press. It takes so much longer to write anything because I have to go over and over everything. And yet, I still make mistakes and typos. *sigh*

        .

      • Tell me about it. That’s why it takes me so long to get things done on WP. I have to switch back and forth, back and forth and up and down. It’s a wonder I get anything done. But, good old WP is free.

        Speaking of being impatient, did you get a chance to read the post about the snow and having to help Mike get his truck up the hill? An aunt of mine from Florida said she laughed till she cried.

      • No, I haven’t read that one. It was done when Frank was first hurt and I was so occupied elsewhere. But I will since it’s apparently highly amusiing.

      • Gosh, I figured the spell checker and preview feature were available to you as the owner of the blog. Does Word Press have a paid version? If so, how much does it cost? Maybe you should consider it because you do such long, involved entries. LJ is free, but is $35 a year for the paid version and worth every penny because of all the additional features you get. About six years ago they offered a one-time, lifetime deal for $125 and I jumped right on it. It’s been a blessing.

      • Yes, I have spell checker and preview, but there are other complications. Plus, Mike says a curly red guitar are valid words. Spell checker has so many blind spots. When I hit publish, it gives me the option of checking through the post and anything suspicious is highlighted. Sometimes it catches a boo-boo and I’m so grateful. Sometimes it tells me I’m wrong when I know I’m right — like Mike does.:)

      • “Sometimes it tells me I’m wrong when I know I’m right — like Mike does.:)”

        *snork*

        I agree, if the words are real, spell checkers won’t catch that you’ve said something wrong. But I make so many other kinds of typos like missing letters or added letters, that I’d still like to have it.

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