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American Idol 8 Recap: Group Three With Lil Rounds, Nathaniel Marshall, Felicia Barton, Scott MacIntyre

American Idol Rundown: The Third Group of 12

We've now heard all the singers in American Idol's top 36 sing at least once, and I have to say, I'm not sure this season is blowing me away. A few favorites have emerged, but — maybe it's just because there are so many people — most of the singers seem stuck at the same level of mediocrity. Tuesday's performance from the third group of 12 continued that trend: A couple of performances stood out for being good, several others stood out for being terrible, and the rest was just one big, unwieldy glob.

One thing's for sure: The producers know at least a couple of folks they want in the finals. Nobody surprising has gotten to sing in the final "pimp spot" yet. First week: Danny. Second week: Adam. And this week, Lil Rounds, a judges' favorite from the early rounds. Hmm, think our hand is being guided there? Though honestly, I think they needn't have been so worried about America's voting, at least tonight — Lil was clearly in a class of her own. But I thought a couple of other singers could be worthy of joining her in the top 12. Vote here for the singers you think are going through, and for my rundown on the group's performances,


Von Smith: Singing first hasn't been a good luck charm this season — all three nights there's been a mid-level singer (Jasmine Murray, Jackie Tohn, now Von) who's been competent but forgettable. His "You're All I Need to Get By" puts him in that category, I think. Is it possible that he's more musical theater than Adam Lambert? The judges were mostly positive, though, with Kara saying he's coming into his own and Simon comparing him (favorably) to Clay Aiken.

Taylor Vaifanua: Taylor reminds me of Jordin Sparks, but she didn't make quite as big a splash with "I Ain't Got You." She hit her groove on the chorus, and I respect her for not letting the backup singers take over, but the verses were wobbly and sounded too low for her. Kara and Randy wanted more personality; Simon literally couldn't remember her name 30 minutes later.

Alex Wagner-Trugman: Wow, who told him the best idea would be to overcome his natural (adorable) dweebiness by growling "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues"? I mean, he made me smile — that's not nothing — but I can't say it was singing I ever want to hear again. Simon called him a hamster trying to be a tiger, and Kara said at least he's entertaining.

Arianna Afsar: Oh, choosing "The Winner Takes All" was not a good choice, because this performance was no winner. She was warbly, and seemed to be having trouble enunciating the words, and was all over the place on the notes — for someone they said had great control, we didn't see it. Simon said it was terrible and dreary; Kara said it was too dark for her.

Ju'Not Joyner: "Hey There Delilah" was what first got me to notice Ju'Not, so not a bad all to sing it again. He performs it as a stripped-down ballad almost the whole way through, and while hie doesn't get every note, he's also the first person of the night I'd like to hear again. Simon would have liked it even more stripped down, while Kara asked him to let loose next time.

Kristen McNamara: My boyfriend calls her a Kim Catrall character played by Anna Faris, and she's still a mess with her image, but if I just close my eyes and listen to her voice, I really like it. Her "Gimme One Reason" was pretty good (maybe a little karaoke), despite bombing a few of the final notes. Overall the judges said she should embrace who she is and sing more rock.

Nathaniel Marshall: You know, if I wanted campy, I'd bring back Normund Gentle. Nathaniel's "I Would Do Anything for Love" was total camp, and the actual vocals were just all over the map. Simon found it excruciating but said he's a fun guy; Paula called it the Boy George version of a Meat Loaf song. Also, the judges talked forever after this performance; he's definitely the night's winner on screen time.

Felicia Barton: Felicia has a new rock look since Hollywood Week, and it's working for her. I thought most of her "No One" was fine, but when she was off, she was way off. Overall, it was a little pedestrian, but I could see her coming back for the wild card at least. Paula was thrilled they brought her back, while Simon said it was a bit of a copycat performance.

Scott MacIntyre: I can't decide if it's good or bad that Scott had to perform without the piano. His voice has a great tone, and for the most part his "Mandolin Rain" sounded fine, though the high part of his range seemed to fall apart, but he's clearly more comfortable when he's playing piano. Randy and Paula loved his passion, and Simon said he liked Scott's new confidence.

Kendall Beard: Kendall's "This One for the Girls" wasn't necessarily terrible, but it just seemed completely flat and fairly boring, and by the end, she was just wailing. I thought she'd be able to work the country angle more. Kara liked her but not the singing, Simon just wanted it to end, and even Paula basically says she hoped Kendall enjoyed being on stage this one time.

Jorge Nunez: Jorge's version of "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me" is pleasant enough and decent enough and pretty enough, and it would clearly get him through to the next round in any normal year, but I'm not sure how it will fare in this voting system. Simon and Paula basically debated how much accent was OK for Jorge to have, while Kara just said he's born to sing.

Lil Rounds: I hadn't gotten all the fuss over Lil Rounds till now, but consider me on board. She was just miles beyond anyone else in this group, the only one I could see recording an album right now (and "Be Without You" could be on it). She's not the most original voice in Idol history, but this was a great performance. Nothing but praise from the judges.

Here are my guesses for who's going through tonight:

In the top 12: Lil's a lock for the girls' slot; I think Scott or Jorge will get the guys' spot, and the other might have a shot at the No. 3 position. But I also wouldn't count out Ju'Not, Felicia, or Kendall.

Potentially back for the wild card: I think the judges might want to see Nathaniel again, and Kristen's voice should get her a second chance even if they're not sold on her personally.

Which contestants do you think are moving on?

Photos courtesy of Fox

Join The Conversation
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
I hope Lil Rounds, Alex Wagner-Trugman, and Scott MacIntyre make it through. I know Alex sounded ridiculous with all of the growling, but besides that he was good. And he's so endearingly cute!
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 8 years
Oh and Lil, of course. I like her- she is a great singer, but humble and endearing.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 8 years
I voted for Junot, Jorge, and Kristin.
bchicgrl bchicgrl 8 years
Last night was probably the best week overall but still these new singers aren't really that impressive and they let a few of the really impressive ones get away. Hopefully in the wild card round they will be back. As for last night, the only ones I liked were Felicia, Nathaniel, and Kristen. I very badly hated Ju'Not's performance, it was very dull and I think Lil Rounds is just so so.
lemuse20 lemuse20 8 years
I'm so glad they brought back Felicia Barton. Everyone else was just blah to me.
Yv Yv 8 years
I don't get all the Lil Rounds hype. Her voice is so mediocre. She can sing but so what? Not original at all. There are hundreds of girls singing like that. Boring. And what's up whit all the excitement and audience craze every time someone hits the high note or finish with a long scream. It's so pathetic. That's not what being a good singer is all about. If I had to choose, I'd go for Alex, Felicia And Scott or Ju'Not.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
i so hope scott goes through that guy has serious vocals, and behind that piano its magic, and simon was honest with him he didnt sugar coat anything, lil that girl has so much talent she blows everyone away, i wish she had sang a whitney houston song, jorge and, ju'not and felicia were equally good to come back on the wildcard
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
see, but I think Scott actually IS better with his instrument, whereas Brooke wasn't great either way (IMO). I do think that Scott is given a little extra, but overall his vocals Were good, except a few notes, which was the case with almost all the better people of the night.
Phasekitty Phasekitty 8 years
The judges have such double standards with Scott. For everyone else, if the vocals aren't good, they're not good, despite whether it "comes from the heart." Additionally, the excuse of "I'll be better when I have (insert musical instrument here)" has not flown either. The judges even scolded people like Brooke last year for relying on her piano too much. If they're not good without it then they should not be advancing. It's so irritating, as I'm sure he'll get through tonight based on the judges fawning over him.
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
I liked kristen, scott, jorge and lil. Some of them were good, but really boring.For Scott, I think he'll really show himself when he gets his piano. Some people are just better with an instrument and I think it definitely makes him feel more comfortable. Jorge was great, although little on the boring side. I expect some flair from him after his dancing in hollywood week and it just wasn't there. I was totally with Simon about Kendall, like 1/2 way through I was like Jeez how long is this song?!!? Nathaniel was entertaining but not idol material. I think he sounded better in hollywood week. Lil has a Great voice, but I think she's kind of boring. Simon (i think) said it sounded just like Mary J, and I feel like we don't need more singers that sound Exactly like someone else. I hope she breaks out a bit and shows more of herself.
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
I voted for Ju'Not, Nathaniel and Lil. Ju'Not and Lil were by far the best, creatively, vocally and performance-wise. Nathaniel is just fun and I think he's a great performer with a great voice, but I don't think he'll make it in (middle America, etc. - he's just so flashy). Kendall was SO off-key it was like fingernails on a chalkboard!!!! Alex sounded *horrible* with that growling - he's trying to make his voice something it's clearly not. Everyone else was kinda forgettable. I wasn't a fan of Scott's song - I'm sure he'll make it in, but he's pretty boring without a piano. I'm sure I'll like him better with piano. I'm hoping it's Ju'Not, Lil and Scott tonight.
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