The Vegas sudden death rounds began Wednesday, Feb. 20. The elimination process means that half of the contestants stay, while half of them go. In an effort to find this season’s top 20, this new format features 10 contestants singing each night.
The first sudden death round on Wednesday proved to be an intense competition. However, it was fairly clear from the judge’s initial comments who would be advancing, and who would be getting the ax. Some contestants simply weren’t as strong as others, and this is the round when pitch problems and weaknesses aren’t so forgivable. If any given singer simply doesn’t emotionally connect with a song, the judges notice, and call them out on it.
Kree Harrison however, passed the connection test with flying colors. She wowed the judges with her version of Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain.” It was obvious that they would keep this girl around, and they did. At this point, Harrison is a clear frontrunner.
Amber Holcomb sang “My Funny Valentine,” and based on the judging panel’s comments….she brought it. Minaj deemed her performance as an A+, and subsequently, she made it to the next round.
Kamaria Ousley just wasn’t as lucky. She chose “Mr. Know It All,” and it just didn’t suit her. She struggled to hit the vital notes, and the panel simply wasn’t feeling it. Predictably, Ousley’s journey on the show ended last night.
Angela Miller is another standout talent with positively strong vocals. The panel clearly respects her as an overall artist and sees the potential. Even though they raved about her original song “You Set Me Free” more than last night’s performance, they were still impressed. Miller will be going forward on the show.
Shubha Vedula chose Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” Oddly the audience deeply embraced it, while the judges felt completely different. Minaj felt like it was too many styles combined into one. Though they applauded her for being such a talent at just 17, it was clear that Vedula was skating on thin ice. In the end, Vedula was sent packing.
Jenny Beth Willis was the first performance of the night, and just simply didn’t kick off the sudden death rounds on a strong note. Her version of Trisha Yearwood’s “Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love” was nothing special. Except for the last note, the judges weren’t thrilled with her performance. Though Willis was eliminated, she left the stage with class.
Brandy Hotard chose Travis Tritt’s “Anymore.” Like Kamaria learned…choosing a song that doesn’t fit you is bound to seal your fate. “Anymore” is an incredibly sad song filled with deep emotion. Hotard showed no such emotion, and the judges couldn’t look past it. Hotard’s constant smiling put them in mind of a pageant girl. They encouraged her to keep on being a Psych nurse and sent her on her way.
Adriana Latonia, the first contestant from Alaska to advance to the top 40 chose, “Ain’t No Way.” Though she may be short, her vocals are fierce. Latonia has lovely stage presence, and could wind up being a fan favorite. Yes, Latonia will be back for more.
Tenna Torres seemingly had an advantage from the beginning as she once attended Camp Mariah. However, she continues to prove that she is worthy of a spot on the show. Randy said that the night had officially started when Torres sang. She connected well with the song, and impressed everyone. Minaj’s only criticism? Lose the big hair….it’s aging you.
Isabelle hit the stage with “God Bless the Child.” Though Isabelle sang the song well, it wasn’t enough to keep her moving forward.
We now have the names of five of the ten girls that will be among the top 20. Tonight, it’s the boy’s turn to prove their worthiness.
What did you think of American Idol last night? Did the judges make the right decisions?