Posts Tagged With: CJ Johnson

American Idol – The Remaining Dozen

It’s kind of like the dirty dozen. I did almost call this post “The Mono-filled Dozen” because was it just me or did a lot of tonights crew look mono-ridden? Especially the boys!

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Tonight was really interesting. It’s hard for me to compare it to last week because honestly it’s hard for me to think back to last week. I think I have stomach flu PTSD. But from what I recall there were a handful of good performances, and last night was no different. There were exactly 4 contestants that I really liked, and then one more that I hope still makes it through. I feel pretty good about that because it means that the judges can allow in those 5, and then they can still allow 2 more without me blowing a gasket. It’s a win win for everybody.

So let’s go through the contestants from tonight and I’ll try to do another “say one nice thing/one criticism” for each contestant and we’ll see how it goes.

Shelbie Z – Work Hard, Play Harder

+ I thought she was a great way to start the show because I knew she’d be really energetic and most likely, a solid performance.

– While the performance was solid, it was also somewhat forgettable. To me, it was just like every other performance she’s done to date. I just want to see her maybe connect with a song, do a song with some emotion and not just one with a good glory note at the end.

Manny Torres – Adventures of a Lifetime

+ He was one of my favorite guys going into tonight.

– Well… the minus is with myself I guess. I’ve been poo-pooing so many of the guys this season, and I think the only reason I really liked Manny was his energy and his attitude. Listening to his song tonight (and after hearing the remaining contestants), I thought he was actually one of the worst performances by a guy tonight. These things happen though. I wasn’t that attached at this point so now is probably the time to drop off this bandwagon.

Kory Wheeler – Let it Go 

+ I didn’t have anything against the performance itself.

– And as for the minus… nice-to-meet-you-i-already-forgot-your-name

Amelia Eisenhauser (or is it Eisenhauer? I’ve seen it both ways) – Wake Me Up 

+ I learned to like this song when Majesty Rose sang it last year (two years ago? really? that was two years ago?) and I thought Amelia made it sound even better. She really picked a good time to come out with a great song! And she was one of the very few that picked a great song to sing tonight so I feel like that deserves a little bonus clap!

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– I really don’t have any. I guess my only negative is that I worry that she’s competition for Jeneve, and vice versa. I hope people don’t forget about her because I feel like she’s gaining a good momentum at this point. I hope it continues!

Jenn Blosil – Sorry

+ I really really really wish I had one. And if anyone was wondering about that one person I want to go through even though they didn’t have a good performance, if you didn’t guess Jenn, you don’t know me very well.

– It was just… it was not good. It was so out of tune. Part of me wondered if she had some kind of Adele mic issue going on but I think we all know that wasn’t it.

brit kinda bad

CJ Johnson – I’ll Be. 

+ He sang very well.

– That song… oh god that song. Do you know HOW MANY times that song has been performed on idol? If ever there was a time to discuss poor song choice, it was with CJ. Nothing against CJ, but seriously, everything against CJ. Know your idol history, brah. He could’ve done so well with some kind of rock song (even slowed down to an “I’ll Be” pace) but this song was terrible, and he changed nothing about it so to me, it was just a guy who’s pretty good at karaoke singing a song I’ve heard 100 times at karaoke.

Lee Jean – Runaway

+ Good song choice, and Lee is a cute kid.

– Much like Kory Wheeler… I just thought it was forgettable.

Trent Mother Fucking Harmon – What Are You Listening To? 

+ What most surprised me tonight… and I know, this is shameful what with all my resistance to him getting to this point in the competition. I hate myself a little bit for even saying this… but I really liked Trent tonight!

– Just me over here hating myself for liking Trent. Hopefully it goes away. Lord knows his mono hasn’t. More negatives, this was the best performance of the night, if you ask me.

Know my Pain

Tristan McIntosh – Good Girl 

+ When compared to Gianna, who I think is her biggest competition, I thought she was stellar.

– I feel like she was really sharp at points of her performance. She didn’t really have a good amount of stage presence (though I felt I could say that about a lot of people last night) and compared to the rest of the girls in this competition, she just isn’t Top 10 material for me. Maybe in a few more years or something.

Adam Lasher – Black and Gold 

+ Adding to the list of people I thought I was “so over” that I ended up really liking, is Adam. I genuinely enjoyed his performance tonight and for me he was second only to Trent.

– I did agree with Harry’s criticism of his tempo but for me it was negligible. I just hope he keeps singing songs like this (a song I don’t think I’ve ever heard).

Dalton Rapattoni – Rebel Yell 

+ Dalton is one of the very few people this season who really know how to pick a song. He is so creative with his song choices and it’s something I genuinely REALLY like about him. If I had to pick a Top 7 for myself, he’d definitely be in it. And I didn’t have that feeling going into tonight.

– I’m obsessing over whether his eye color is real because the blue eyes throw me off. They don’t look natural to me – but if they are – then maybe he’s just a Cal Ripken/Frank Sinatra/Bradley Cooper type with strikingly blue eyes, yet dark features? I mean it has been known to happen.

Olivia Rox – Confident 

+ I wasn’t familiar with the original song but after listening to it, I think I actually liked Olivia’s version more.

– She really doesn’t have the vocal power that Demi has and it really showed in this performance. I think had I not listened to the original song, I would’ve liked Olivia’s performance a lot more, but I can’t un-listen to it.

So, with that, I think if I had to pick a Top 07 (and boy do I wish I could do something like, I dunno… VOTE!?!?!?!? I would) I would pick:

Olivia, Amelia, Trent, Adam, Jenn (with hopes that tonight was a screw up), and probably Dalton and CJ. So many more guys than I thought I would root for, but it is what it is! Being as they only kept 2 guys last week, it’s probably appropriate that I have 4 guys that I think are worth saving this week.

And for the duets tonight, who do you think will perform with whom? We’ve got David Cook, Chris Daughtry, Constantine Maroulis, Kellie Pickler, Haley Reinhart and Jordin Sparks. That’s a lot of rock and not a lot of rockers tonight. And I pity whoever gets paired with Haley because they’re probably going to sound terrible. Here are some guesses from me, but their just wild guesses. No grounding in actual fact or reasoning…

David Cook – Olivia and Kory
Daughtry – CJ and Dalton
Constantine – Trent and Adam
Kellie – Shelbie and Amelia
Haley – Jenn and Tristan
Jordan – whoever is left? Manny and Lee? Actually that isn’t too bad a pairing.

We’ll see how many I get right but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the answer is zero.

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American Idol – Room With a New American Idol

I don’t know about you but as soon as I saw who was in each room. I mean, I definitely recognize one of these girls as the one who auditioned with the guy… screams

But when you really looked at the breakdown of talent in the 3 rooms, it was pretty easy to see that Room 2 was probably on the way out… Take a look for yourself. I even highlighted the ones I thought were talented 🙂

room 1

roop 2

room 3

If you ask me, the next American Idol was in Room 3. I mean, there was a solid pool of talent there! Look at all those red arrows! I mean, if I have to accept Michelle Marie in order to have  the rest of contestants in room 3 be safe, it’s a price I’m willing to pay.

So with that lets talk about favorites of the night (in order of appearance)! Spoiler alert, they’re all ladies 🙂

Olivia Rox – Original Song “Crazy Love”

For your choice to debut a new song

SeriousClapping

(same for you Mackenzie Bourg – and truth be told, I thought your song was better). Good call to do it on this night. Break out the originality a little further into the competition, when you’re looking for one more wow. Not only that though. Her voice is still solid and this being the 3rd time performing on tv, I think she’s proving that she is consistent, which is really important.

Sonkia Vaid – One Last Time by Ariana Grande
Jessica Cabral – Up to the Mountain by Patty Griffin 

I put these two girls together because they just have the most beautiful voices of this competition. I will say that during Sonkia’s performance, the background singer was a little distracting but I think overall, her voice showed through and I think she’ll be fine. I think they probably both need a little help with the actual performance part of their jobs, but they’ve got the voice thing down. Though lack of ability to perform does eventually make me hate contestants (not as much as poor song choice) so they probably should get to working on that before the live shows.

Jenn Blosil – True Colors by Cyndi Lauper

Oh my sweet flower, Jenn. What a perfect song choice. I hope she’s not having a breakdown because I really like her. And she has no need to be that sad because her performance, of what I heard, was fantastic! Honestly I thought I’d just be happy she made it through group night, because unique flowers like Jenn don’t always… but at this point I really want her to go further. I need to see her sing live! Come on Idol fans! Let’s make sure Jenn gets to the live shows and stays there!

loveyou

And now for a few comments about the remaining contestants we saw:

Stephaney Negrente – Set Fire to the Rain I think this girl has a really good voice, but when she sings, she sounds like she had a problem with saying the letter R. It was like “I set fiyah to the wain”. Was that just me hearing that?

Thomas Stringfellow – A Thousand  Years Ah yes, Newsies guy… This was my least favorite male performance of the night, but his hipster vibes gave me a strong feeling he’d be safe. He just reminds me of a younger Alex Preston. And where the hell is he, nowadays?

Avalon Young – One Last Time I don’t feel like I really got to hear her performance but for a little snippet, but I’d like to believe it was solid. The last note was a little rough though. Hoping it was a fluke and you’ll be back to belting shortly.
One Last Time by Ariana Grande – She thought she could have done better, although the little snip seemed fine!

John Wayne Schulz (sans hat) – John 3:16 John, sweet John. I know you didn’t make it through. And I hate that (I think) an idol producer stole his hat, so that he wouldn’t wear it. But seriously though – It’s crazy how much younger and hotter he looks without the hat. It’s a totally different look. Do I think he should try singing without it more often?

hint yes

Tristan McIntosh – What Hurts the Most Crying because of her emotional connection… really? This early in the season? Seemed a little contrived to me. Sure you didn’t just figure out a story? Maybe she should’ve sung “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”? How’s that for a life lesson? Man how long can I go without finishing a sentence with a question mark? haha.

Mackenzie Bourg – Original Song “Roses” Briefly mentioned him above but he should know, he was the only guy I really liked tonight. I mean I liked John Wayne, sexually, but I liked Mackenzie, musically. Sure Lee and Thomas were fine, but Mackenzie was where it’s at.

Shelbie Z – Alone Listen, truth be told, I just can’t decide if I like her. It’s mostly that I know she’s already tried out for The Voice. I just think that if you made it a certain distance in one show and didn’t make it, what makes you think you’re going to make it on this one? I know that’s mean, and she has a voice like a mack truck so I do think she deserves to be where she is at this point, I just don’t know how much further I want to see her go. We’ll see. She could always win me over!

 

 

Kory Wheeler – Fix You Love this song, do not like Kory Wheeler. Darren Criss still has the best version of this song.

Well that just lead to a “Glee Music” shame spiral. Who am I kidding? There’s no shame in my Glee game. haha.

James VIII – Wicked Game Oh that guy is still here!

Lee Jean – Stitches Ok well… Lee is cute. He’s pretty good, but I still feel like he’s really young. I mean he’s 3 years younger than Sarah. I think he’s full of potential, I just wish he was a year or two older.

Sara Sturm – Somewhere Only We Know Sara is fine. She does have a good voice, but compared to the competition, I don’t see her in a Top 5 situation. I could see her Top 24 though. I if I hadn’t seen her pre-performance, I would’ve guessed she was one of the people with mono laryngitis

Emily Brooke – What Hurts the Most Great voice. She gets better every time I hear her. I didn’t even notice the key problems. Also I loved her dress.

Malie Delgado – Stitches / Mionne Dynasty – Chains (Laryngitis girls)
Have we seen either of these girls, to date? They were both fine through their respective illnesses that aren’t mono. Something tells me this will be the last time we’ll see these two…

Joshua Wicker – 1000 years  I didn’t really remember this guy was still on the show, and his performance wasn’t anything that special, but I was sad seeing him say goodbye as a Room 2-er. He seems like a real good guy.

CJ Johnson – Go Your Own Way Honestly, CJ should’ve been in my Top. I think he would’ve probably been my 5th. I just liked the enthusiasm he brought to the performance. I would’ve liked to see more of it.

Jeneve Mitchell – Danny’s Song Oh Jeneve… I really really wanted you to be in my Top 5 again… but this was truly not your best performance. I really hope that this was just a minor set back and you’re good enough and that’s why the judges kept you – because they know this. I’m still rooting for you, Jeneve!

Dalton Rapattoni – Hopelessly Devoted to You I know he was saying group night was tough on him but dude, I’ll tell you what I told Tristan… man up. Life is hard. The music industry is hard. Get used to it. I did really like the song choice because we all know I love a song from a show, especially a show I just watched live! To be honest, I liked Sandra Dee a lot more.

There were definitely some people I missed seeing *cough cough* La’Porsha *cough cough* but it’s nice to see they’re still through so we’ll hopefully see them one more time tonight (or next week, whatever).

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American Idol – Wasted on the Young

Listen, if I had a choice, to only pick people in their 20s or only pick people in their teens on my final season, I’m sorry but I’ve got to go with the 20 year olds. They’ve put in their time. They’ve committed to this passion, and to some extent, they’ve probably spent some time trying to make it on their own before they decided that maybe the only way to get that big break, is on Idol.

Sure, maybe that also means they were never good enough and that’s why they are in their 20s with no record deal, but I’d argue that’s not the case. The thing with teenagers is proven time and time again, there comes a point where it’s proven that they just aren’t ready. Sure I will see a 15 year old from time to time that I would definitely beg to put through, but just let me be mad about you not letting them through. I will probably forget their name within the week anyway.

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It’s really not that big a deal. Think about the past winners. Even when they lowered the age you could try out, we’ve still never had a winner younger than 17. There’s a reason for that. And even with those numbers, only 3 of those contestants were under the age of 20. At this point it’s pretty clear that Idol won’t learn from their mistakes, but to all you young children who get kicked off the show, just know that it’ll be ok. You really were just not ready, as the judges probably told you when they let you through anyway. So with that, lets talk about some of my favorites from last night.

There were 14 ticket winners and I couldn’t pick a top 3. I went with a Top 4.5 instead which I think you’ll just have to deal with. Also where last time I picked almost all girls, I think it was mostly for the guys last night. I only had 1 girl in my Top 5 (though I think Mary was close).

Amber Lynn – 28 year old from Provo, UT
Song: Unaware
James VIII – 23 year old from Provo, UT
Song: Sun Comes Up 

So Amber Lynn is my for real Top 5, while James is the half I spoke of. For a first audition, I thought Amber was going to be very tough to beat. Her voice was wonderful and she has a sweet quality that reminds me of Molly Syverson from the first season of Fargo. Like a hipster version of her. Or troubadour version of her?  The thing about James is that when I wasn’t looking at him I liked him a lot more. Maybe he can be Ambers guitarist on her tour? I mean, he’s a solid back up vocalist I’m sure. And definitely deserved the ticket in his own right. I just think it was a little difficult going after Amber because she was great. An excellent way to start the show!

Thomas Stringfellow – 17 year old from Bentonville, AR
Song: Give Me Love

This kids look needs some work, but I’m not going to hold it against him. It’s mostly just that his hair reminds me of the Joker or something. I can’t put my finger on it. What he really reminded me of is a character from Newsies. He’s like a really colorful newsboy. But anyway, I thought he picked a great song and he played it quite well. I know, another teenage white guy, but he was good. I can’t discount him.

John Wayne Schulz – 27 year old from Salt Lake City, UT
Song: The Dance

I did remember him and I thought I liked him but looking back at my notes, I couldn’t find anything about him so maybe I didn’t, but if it came down to you and McCreery and he won, you couldn’t have been that bad. I think he’s a perfect “come back” contestant and I do hope he lasts a little longer this time! His song was super great. I even looked back at his first audition for comparison and this one was definitely better. I think it was the guitar he brought with him this time. His look certainly hasn’t changed a bit!

CJ Johnson – 28 year old from Memphis, TN
Song: Dreams Come True

Here’s the thing, that whole spiel earlier in this post, it was for Chris. To me, this is the guy that American Idol is about. Well, one of the contestants. He does remind me of a lot of winners (Kris Allen, Lee Dewyze, David Cook) but on that same note, I guess maybe that’s why I figured he’d be a shoo-in. I mean, he’s been practicing this craft a while and he’s got stage presence. He doesn’t seem like the type that would freeze up on stage or forget lyrics. Those are the contestants I appreciate.

I’d like to give an honorably mention to Tank Jackson as well. I think had he not done all that dancing first, he probably would’ve sounded a little better (being that he seemed really out of breath when he started). Although, you do have to do some dancing on stage so maybe it’s good to get a little workout in before you sing to make sure you’re up to par?

Finally, just some little notes to mention/thoughts to leave you with as we get ready for a 3 day weekend…

  1. I’m a little surprised we didn’t just cancel Idol altogether last night to pay tribute to Alan Rickman and just rewatch the entire Harry Potter series. It’s something I’m considering doing this weekend. Or just an Alan Rickman marathon since my favorite roll of his isn’t Snape anyway, it’s Metatron from Dogma. Obvs. But the only character I ever loved was Snape. Always.
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  2. If I HAD to pick an under 18 year old, I’d pick Ethan Kuntz. He looked like a human version of Bobby from King of the Hill and I can appreciate that.

    bobbyethan

    I also wonder if it was just that he had a baby face that made him seem so much younger. I mean, don’t get me wrong – he IS young, but I also think he looked younger than he is, compared to other boys his age.

  3. And then I just need to talk about Mary Williams really quick. She was very good. Like I said, she was probably my 5th or 6th pick. But honestly, her audition was almost lost on me (I had to rewind) after her line about “I’ll ride anything, I mean, #YOLO”. I know that’s out of context (she was talking about how she rode a foxtrotting mule) but it made me love her so much more… I just find her very amusing and I hope to see her again, since I won’t get to hear that girl that wouldn’t stop talking about her chickens.

And with that, we are complete week 2 and I believe (please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) that the auditions conclude next week and then we’re on to Hollywood Week! Things sure are moving quickly for this abbreviated season (which will probably still feel like what a season is supposed to feel like and not some kind of long drawn out madness that it usually is)!

 

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