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American Idol 2019: Top 14

The Finals on American Idol have always been the bread and butter of the competition where the contestants are all given the same tools to try and win the competition. It changes your strategy when you’re trying to beat out a couple of people each week instead of half of them. So, how did they do for their first week on the big stage?

Some rose and some fell. That’s to be expected. One thing I specifically noticed about tonight: SONG CHOICES were a mixed bag, but there was a nice diversity of genres. Oh, and can I just say how strong the talents are this season? It's not obvious from how I graded them this week, but watching them for the past few weeks gave me an idea that it's a strong batch. Hopefully, the performances in the next coming weeks will match their potentials.

Here we go!

14. Eddie Island
Bennie and the Jets
Nope.


13. Evelyn Cormier
The Middle
Never warmed up to Evelyn's vocal affectations. Sure, her voice is unique and easily recognizable, but with a tone like her, song choice is key and The Middle was a pretty strange pick. Her diction was awful, the cadence didn't fit her almost whispery tone, and it was just a complete mess.

12. Wade Cota
Trouble
Eh. I love myself some distinct vocal texture most of the time, but Wade had an extreme gravely tone that I genuinely just can't stand. I would've been fine with it - somehow? - if he was in control of his pitch, but the notes were all over the place. In fact, song was the perfect choice to somehow masked his terrible intonation, but even with that heavy rasp, the notes sounded horrible. Yikes.

11. Dimitrius Graham
Perfect
I appreciated the arrangement and the risk he took with the melody, but his pitch was goddamn awful. I've heard better from Dimitrius and this was not it. What happened? Maybe it was the coat? Haha. Also, why did the judges give this a standing ovation? I can't.

10. Alejandro Aranda
One Dance
I'm genuinely not convinced that Alejandro can sing notes outside of the few ones we've heard him do throughout the entire season. In fact, I don't think he can sing in his chest register and it's quite unfortunate. He's talented and incredibly creative, but how can I root for someone who's not exactly a great vocalist. Do you really see yourself listening to an entire album or attend his concert and hearing just that?

09. Laine Hardy
That's All Right
Look, Laine improved a lot from his intonation down to his confidence and it was pretty obvious from all his performances including this one. No, I don't think his cover of this Elvis Presley song did enough to put himself at the top of the pack - an obvious throwaway performance from Laine - but it's safe and predictable enough for him to sail through to the next round. He will need to change things up a bit in the next couple of weeks though.

08. Riley Thompson
Suds In The Bucket
Not going to lie, I didn't care much about Riley coming into the semifinals, but she came out fighting. Her duet with Brett Young last week was fantastic and the fact that she followed it up with this incredibly charismatic performance showed some interesting versatility. She had tons of personality with this one backed by strong vocals and that delicious country twang. Plus, she looked like she was having fun. Too bad she's way too young because she'd really be unstoppable in a couple of years from now.

07. Walker Burroughs
Climb Every Mountain
I honestly didn't think the song choice worked for Walker - he did struggle with some of the placing of his notes especially towards the end - but there were still some nice moments throughout the performance. I'm hoping that this odd song choice was just a fluke and he's better than this. I mean, he did pull out Youngblood a couple of weeks ago, so here's hoping he'd be more creative than Climb Every Mountain. 

06. Ashley Hess
Fix You
Ashley's take on Coldplay's Fix You was fine - she sounded great and the opening verse was strong. However, there was something about it that felt disjointed. Was it the lack of some real emotional connection to the song? Or was it the overbearing instrumental when the band kicked in? If she only kept the arrangement to a minimum and just let her voice and the piano be front and center, this would've worked a lot better. 

05. Uche
Finesse
Love him or hate him - yes, Uche's a pretty polarizing contestant - but one can't deny how visceral this performance was. It was flashy verging on showboating, it was different, and it stood out in a sea of ballads and whatnots. Not entirely sure how America will respond to him moving forward, but the show needs diversity - at the very least in terms of genre - and Uche's that breath of fresh air.

04. Alyssa Raghu
She Used To Be Mine
This was possibly Alyssa's best performance in two seasons! Haha. Her vocals were solid, her interpretation didn't seem forced, the vocal dynamics were there, and it was just a simple and understated vocal performance. She didn't need to try so hard with this one and it was quite arresting. 

03. Madison VanDenburg
Fallin'
One of the strongest vocal performances of the night. Fight me. Haha. Now, all I need for Madison to do is take chances and be less predictable with her choices. She has the vocal ability to tackle anything. Flip a song. Cover something unexpected. Make us excited. Fallin' was a hard song to sing and her vocal choices especially towards the end were exhilarating, but we need more creativity from her to really standout. 

02. Laci Kaye Booth
I Miss You
Smart. Strategic. Creative. Once again, Laci pulled another unexpected song choice and flipped it around to fit her voice and tone to great effect. Her take on Blink 182's I Miss You was absolutely sublime and the way her rasp navigated the melody was divine. There's tranquility to her voice that's strangely soothing, but strong enough to deliver some solid notes. Good job!

01. Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon
We All Fall In Love Sometimes
Pure magic. I don't know about you, but there was something about Jeremiah's crystal clear tone that gave me absolute chills. The emotions were palpable, the vocals were delivered with both nuance and intensity, and he just looked effortless doing all of it. Am I seeing the eventual winner of this season? I'm not sure, but he'll definitely stay a couple more weeks and then we'll find out. 
American Idol 2019: Top 14 Reviewed by DAM on 11:00 AM Rating: 5

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