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American Idol 2018: Top 14

Welcome to American Idol 2018's Top 14! Yes, it’s that time of the year again where America gets to vote - although with Wildcards coming from the judges - and come up with a winner after four (4) short weeks. The growth arc of the contestants this season wouldn't be as obvious as say Haley Reinhart's journey or Kris Allen's surge to the crown or Elliott Yamin's rise to become everyone's favorite back in Season 5, but what can we do.

All I know is that we have some pretty interesting group this year and I'm excited to see how they will all fare in the next coming weeks!

Oh, and the stage looked fantastic and sharp! Yay

14. Jonny Brenns
This Is Gospel
Jonny came off as an audience member who was entertaining the crowd during the commercial break. Seriously. The first half of the song was almost entirely flat, and although he tried to pick up some steam towards the end of the number, it just didn't happen. He didn't have the strength in his voice to belt this song out that it ended up a total train wreck. Yikes.

13. Marcio Donaldson
It's A Miracle
He's slowly becoming the most stereotypical American Idol contestant this season. I mean, he's so incredibly "cookie-cutter" from the song choice to his vocal choices and inflections and down to his overall vibe that it made me want to gouge my eyes out. Marcio's basically a Season 3 contestant trying to compete on Season 16. It just didn't work for me.

12. Michelle Sussett
Truth be told, Michelle's vocals were terrible and while the song choice was simply too weird for this program, I appreciated that fact that she did try to infuse some much needed contemporary song to the mix. The execution was almost embarrassing, but I was oddly entertained.

11. Mara Justine
This Is Me
Where's Rachel Platten when you need her? Mara brought plenty of power to the performance while showcasing some of her newly found confidence from last week, but her vocal control was strangely inconsistent and her emotions didn't feel authentic. She seemed to be fully aware of this competition that somehow the performance came off as an aimless turn that brought technical prowess but lacked any long-term significance.

10. Garrett Jacobs
Raging Fire
Garrett was in a weird place because while he turned in a decent performance, nothing about it really made the greatest impression. His tone still sounded lovely and some of his vocal choices seemed inspired, but the vocals were almost too tentative. Still, I can't count him out yet in this competition.

09. Caleb Lee Hutchinson
Midnight Train To Memphis
Do I think he's a threat for the top spot? No, that would be silly. Caleb Lee just lacks the star power that, say, Scotty McCreery had. Sure, this was a solid performance - his vocals were mostly decent and he looked comfortable on stage - but he's not someone you're going to race home to watch on your television or listen to your radio, right?

08. Ada Vox
The Show Must Go On
Look, this performance was powerful and her thunderous vocals filled the studio, but why is it that I'm having a hard time finding myself completely wowed by this performance. I'm wondering if she just doesn't have the emotional depth to really connect to some deeper material. There's a difference between theatricality and showmanship and I'm not sure which Ada is at the moment.

07. Cade Foehner
Black Magic Woman
Consistency is key for Cade, but it also made this performance safe and predictable. Yes, it had its own groove, but the song didn't allow him to really do anything other than appear slightly slimy. While it might have sounded cool, his vocal style and incredibly muddled diction was a little distracting at this point of the game.

06. Jurnee
Bang Bang
The song choice, to me, was a bit of a stroke of genius. It was current, relevant, hip, and asserting the fact that she's one of a kind this competition - yes, we still have Michelle, but Jurnee's a lot more consistent vocally. She finally looked like she was having a bit of fun out there and trying to own the stage. Her vocals were uneven, but she had some really good moments and the Nicki Minaj section was quite stellar. I felt like she showed some good growth this evening.

05. Gabby Barrett
The Climb
This was a traditional American Idol performance. It was a modern power ballad that finished on a powerful glory note. Quite frankly, this was a "by the book" type of performance, but that's exactly what she needed at this point of the competition. Gabby needed to sing something simple and connect. She can obviously sing and if she can sneak for the next couple of weeks, she will only become stronger and stronger.

04. Catie Turner
Take Me To Church
I wasn't so sure about the song choice at first, but Take Me To Church actually suited her voice perfectly and allowed Catie to send in a much needed solid performance before the Top 10. The beginning was a little tentative, but after the midway point, the arrangement changed and she was wonderful. She's very much capable of delivering really good stuff when she has the right material and the right amount of focus. This was a perfect example of that.

03. Dennis Lorenzo
In My Blood
This was an extremely impressive showing from a contestant I had pretty much left for dead. Dennis' rendition of this new Shawn Mendes tune was raw, emotional, and vocally superior to anything he has shown us before. The beginning somehow plodded along, but as soon as the song picked up, he came alive! There was an edge to his vocals that conveyed a sense of pleading and he didn't sacrifice any technical prowess to showcase emotion as it found a perfect sweet spot.

02. Maddie Poppe
Homeward Bound
This felt like a pure Maddie performance! She made sure that the performance had an arc to it, she knew where the climax of the song was, and she infused it with enough emotions, nuance, and terrific singing. Maddie just solidified herself as the true dark horse of the competition with this performance.

01. Michael J. Woodard
Quite frankly, Titanium has been sung over and over again with varying degrees of success and this one was quite outstanding. It was packed full of emotion, the song rose and fell perfectly, and the vocals were stellar paired with intricate phrasing and incredible stage presence. Michael's changes really worked and it was impeccable.

Jonny Brenns
Marcio Donaldson
Michelle Sussett
Mara Justine

Jonny Brenns
Garret Jacobs
Michelle Sussett
Dennis Lorenzo
American Idol 2018: Top 14 Reviewed by DAM on 1:23 AM Rating: 5


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