If this year were a typical year of American Idol, I'd say nearly all the singers in Wednesday's second group round were good enough to make it through. There weren't a ton of outright terrible performances (though also few outstanding ones), and — especially in the second half of the show — most of the contestants proved they deserved another chance.
Unfortunately, in this wild card year, second chances aren't going to be very easy to come by. To move on for sure, you've got to knock your performance out of the park. As far as I'm concerned, two people did that on Wednesday — one I expected, one I definitely did not — and beyond that, it's kind of anyone's game. Which three contestants do you think are making it through tonight? To see my thoughts on each of the 12 singers and my guesses for who's moving on, just
Jasmine Murray: She's a cutiepie with a good voice, but "Love Song" was all kinds of wrong for her. She had to start way too low, and in general her voice has too much attack for a gentle song like this. Randy would have rather had her sing Rihanna, Kara said it was all over the place, Paula said she worked to sing around the song, and Simon was disappointed.
Matt Giraud: I was excited to see this year's Timberfake take on an actual modern song, but his "Viva La Vida" was a letdown. All through the first verse, I maintained my hope that he'd bring it home, but the chorus was wobbly and off-pitch and — worst of all — largely monotone. Paula said it was better than his rehearsal (ouch), while Simon said it verged on horrible.
Jeanine Vailes: Speaking of monotone, I think picking "This Love" for the first showcase performance of her Idol experience was a mistake. The background singers overpowered her at times, and she seemed to be working way too hard, especially during an odd wailing part. Paula wouldn't even give a critique; Kara said she's pretty but the song was overdone.
Nick "Normund Gentle" Mitchell: Can a joke contestant ever win Idol? If so, Nick/Normund will be the one. I mean, the guy practically made love to a light-up sign during "And I Am Telling You." The funny thing is, he's actually done better vocal performances before; this one wasn't great. Simon called it horrific comedy, but the other judges seemed entertained.
Allison Iraheta: Something about her personality rubs me the wrong way, but that doesn't matter when she opens her mouth to sing. She absolutely killed "Alone," with a stage presence and awareness that we haven't seen on this show in a while. I could imagine her in concert. Kara said she's serious, while Simon called her the night's best at that point "by a clear mile."
Kris Allen: With "Man in the Mirror," Kris gave us our second Michael Jackson song of the semifinals. The start of this seemed out of his range, but it picked up on the chorus; it's what I expected from Matt Giraud, actually. It's not exactly full of personality but definitely decent. Kara liked him better soulful, but the other three thought he nailed it.
Megan Corkrey: She's a font designer, and she knows how to pick a song? I couldn't possibly like her more. "Put Your Records On" was a great choice because it worked with, not against, her unique vocal style. Girl's gonna be awkward if she ever has to move around the stage, though. Simon thought she got shouty at the end, but all the judges wanted to see her again.
Matt Breitzke: I'm sorry, did he sing something? His "If You Could Only See" just bored me to tears. It was . . . fine. Fine like good karaoke. It was almost too clean; the song calls for some growliness, and he was totally straightforward. Simon liked him personally (another hard-working American man in the Sarver vein) but hated the performance; the others agreed.
Jesse Langseth: She's an interesting one. Her "Bette Davis Eyes" was kind of cool and breathy, and I liked the arrangement, though I don't know how much credit to give her for that. I didn't love the chorus, but when she had time to really hit a note on the verses, she sucked me in. Randy thought the range was too limited but Paula found her captivating.
Kai Kalama: Yawning again — his "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" was just a standard, straight-ahead Idol performance, unmemorable in almost every way. Simon said he's seen that kind of performance a million times and wasn't impressed, but Kara and Paula thought there was something to him.
Mishavonna Henson: I think I figured it out: She's this year's Gina Glocksen, a past Idol reject who wants so badly to get it right this time. I liked Gina, so that's not a bad thing. But "Drops of Jupiter" wasn't the right song; she seemed to be playing it safe the whole way through. Kara said she's almost too put-together, and Simon wanted her to be more fun.
Adam Lambert: OK, he said he reads Twilight, so the competition can probably just end now. He's obviously in another league in terms of stage presence and professionalism. His "Satisfaction" was bizarre at times, brilliant at others, but it definitely left me intrigued. Randy called him Fall Out Boy mixed with Robert Pattinson, Kara admired his range, and Simon couldn't decide if it was awful or fantastic.
Here are my guesses for the results:
Going through: Adam for the boys, Allison for the girls. I think the third spot is likely Jesse, Megan, or Kris, though Matt Giraud has a big fan base already and could slip in . . . as could Nick/Normund.
Potentially back for the wild card: Any of the above, plus Mishavonna and Jasmine
Don't forget to give me your guesses before tonight's show!
Photos courtesy of Fox