American Idol 2011 – Top 12

Guitar Super StarsIt seemed to me that there were some sound balance problems. The channel for the performer’s mic made all the performers’ voices sound thin. At least that’s how it came across on my home theater system’s sound. Maybe for those getting the sound straight out of the TV there was no such issue. But it was very noticeable for me, anyway.

Honestly, the only standout for me last night was Thia. There’s something very pure, simple and powerful about how she just stands there and sings; and it sounds beautiful. She doesn’t have to rely on a lot of embellishment. (Jacob is her antithesis.) As she moves forward in the competition, I think Thia needs to loosen up a bit and sing with a deeper and wider range of emotion, though. She really needs to connect more emotionally within the song.

I give props to Pia’s power and range; but I’m not moved much by either her tone or phrasing, which don’t really sound very distinctive or original to me.

James sang well, although I’m not into the type of music he sings. He does what he does very well. And he’s different. I expect him to go far in the competition. Again, not a favorite of mine because of the style, but I acknowledge that he could actually pull off a win.

Casey is just plain fun, obviously super talented and creative from what we saw in Hollywood week, and I would imagine that for now he’s pacing himself to save his best for later.

Stefano sang great as always, although I don’t really care for his bag musically. I’m not much of a fan of modern R&B. He runs close to over-embelleshing nearly every phrase.

Scotty and Alaina were fine. I like their simple, unadorned country styles. Both have a great tone and personality/energy. They gave solid performances and song selections, but nothing really memorable.

Naima had an off night pitch-wise. And I think she made a poor song choice. But I do like her sound and her energy overall. She truly shines as a jazz singer. I’m not sure if R&B will give her any traction.

I get what Paul is about with the Ray LaMontagne thing, but then he needs to be singing introspective, deeply sensitive, soulful songs. (The way Tim worked that material a couple seasons back.) The pop songs he’s singing make him painful to watch. He’s terrible at that stuff. His two performances have hardly been better than Brett Lowerstern’s “Light My Fire” debacle!

Karen is adorable, but her style is a bit bland. Unless she gives a performance that truly make her stand out from the pack she’ll be sent home very soon.

Jacob will probably be around for some time. But I literally laughed out loud with that performance last night for how over the top he was with over-embellishment. He’s a walking caricature.

I like Haley’s personality, and she sings fine; but I doubt that her performances are wowing anyone. My guess is that her sound and style won’t get enough traction for her to make it into the top 10.

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