Mark my word, two of these guys — Heejun Han and Phillip Phillips — are sure bets for the semis. Heejun’s sense of humor is going to carry him a long way, but I wonder how versatile he’ll be vocally, and that’s almost a necessity to survive on Idol. Phillip makes great use of his small solo here, proving he can sound great even without a guitar. The voice that really caught my attention though was Neco Starr, whom we’ve heard little from. All four initially advanced; Jairon was later cut. A little sleepy compared to the numbers other groups chose. Grade: B.
Thanks again, Nigel, for putting these entire performances online. I wasn’t bowled over by this one with the snippet we saw on Idol. But watching the full performance — holy 1950s! This trio took a song that could have been sleepy and slayed it. I doubt there are many males in the competition who can hit some of the high notes Deandre just hit. Candice is one of those big-voiced gospel singers who, unfortunately, was apparently among the final Vegas cuts. And where has Idol been hiding Jessica? Talk about power vocals in a small package and someone who sings with passion. She certainly made the most of her solos on this song. Grade: A-
The solos here sound a whole lot better than when these two deep-voiced guys try to harmonize. Hey, the gentle giant known as Jermaine sure can sing. I could see him becoming a fan favorite. Richie? Well, the way Idol has portrayed him, he’s sure not be become a fan favorite. In fact, I can’t imagine anyone but his family and closest friends voting for him. So it’d be better not to waste a spot on Richie in the semis, Idol. But, for now, both guys’ Idol hopes are still alive. Funniest bit: Richie stands, and is barely taller than Jermaine. Grade: C.
The mystery trio, and shame on you for that, American Idol. We didn’t see Marissa sing a note on Idol, and she’s gone. We haven’t heard Hollie sing a note, and she’s still around. We haven’t heard Naomi sing a note since the auditions, and she’s still around, too. Naomi, from nearby Lancaster, Pa., sounds great in her solo in the “Mr. Postman” portion of the mini-medley. But look at Hollie. This is the teen who broke down in tears from nervousness in her Season 10 audition. She sure looks comfortable on stage now. Better yet, she sounds fabulous. Bring her out of hiding, Nigel. Now. Grade: B.
None of the three are still in the competition. Shame, I was hoping lovely single mom Ashley Robles would make the cut, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with her vocals here. But the two songs in this mini-medley seemed an odd mix, and the trio failed to breathe much life into “Raining in My Heart.” Shelby was only 15 when she auditioned and sings mostly country music, so I won’t be surprised if we see her again on a future season of Idol. Grade: C-