by Willie Clark
Ah, Baton Rouge. Idol heads even further south tonight, and I'm crossing my fingers for at least one high powered accordion act. If wishes were horses then beggars would ride though, so we'll see. If I'm super lucky, we'll get at least one act that includes an alligator. We only have an hour tonight because of some silly show called "Glee," so let's jump right into it.
Megan Miller, 22, Ethel, LA, was up first, coming out to sing right before surgery she was having on her leg. She sang "Something's Got a Hold on Me," and she didn't need a vocal crutch (and gets extra points for probably not being in top shape), but certainly wasn't showing any vocal weakness or disparity. If she can sing like this hurt, her in top form should be interesting. The judges were completely in support, and Megan will be off to surgery with that golden ticket in her hand.
Next up was Charlie Askew, who was kind of the opposite of a social butterfly (a social caterpillar?), and used music to connect with people. He sang "Breakthrough" by Queen, but really wasn't really connecting with me. Nicki asked him to move to a second song, which still really wasn't doing it for me. I don't this kid is ready for prime time, and I was surprised that the judges were falling head over heels for him. I don't think he's going to make it that long, but the judges gave him four votes to keep continuing on.
Oh man, it's time for another SUPER SECRET SURPRISE Idol contestant. Her surprise video had a tuba in it though (she was nominated by her Grandmother), so I'm going to be a little biased. Maddie Assel, 17, sang "Oh Darling" by The Beatles, and really dug into the song. I thought her overall sound and performance was average, but she ended up saving herself with those few powerful moments she really fell into. Four yeses, and Maddie will go to Hollywood.
We got another montage of the bottom of the barrel singers, cut in between fun little clips of Louisiana wildlife. It looks like this is going to be a constant shift to giving less TV time to the super unprepared singers, and I'm really curious what people think of this. Do you watch the show for good singing or the comedy acts? (Comment away at the bottom!).
Paul Jolley, 22, came out next, singing Rascal Flatts "I Won't Let Go." I thought his voice was a little overly raspy and dry, so I'm going to have to disagree with the judges again on this one. His four yes votes moved him to Hollywood, but his charm and smile aren't going to win this for him, that's for sure. Curious to see how he approaches other songs, and there is time for him to work on his tone.
Christopher Barthel, who claimed he had an alternate performing ego, (Nicki named that persona Mushroom) was next up and sang Adam Lambert's "If I Had You." So, Mushroom performed, and oh boy. It was bad. Almost words can't describe it bad, and it wasn't really singing, and poor Mushroom had no control over almost anything note wise. He did have passion, at least, but Keith put it best: "I like the keys that song was in." He got across the board no votes, and deserved them.
Did someone call for a doctor? Dr. Calvin Peters came out and sang Maxwell's "Whenever Wherever Whatever." He spent a bit of time in the higher register, and was able to move his voice around quite a bit, but still wasn't super impressed. He did have control over being able to shift registers and make jumps, but the mid-range just felt warbly. He'll have time to prove himself (and get his degree in musicology) in Hollywood.
We got our second head-band-wearing contestant with Michelle Montazeri,19, Florida, but we only got a brief glimpse of her, but what we did hear was pretty good. She was followed by two other decent female singers, who they again sped through (There seems to be one fast run of bad and good contestants each night now), and I'm guessing they are all off to Hollywood where we'll probably see more of them. There isn't TV time for everybody, I suppose.
Oh man. Look out female voters, but there's a firefighter in the mix this year! Climbing a ladder into America's hearts, Dustin Watts sang Garth Brooks' "She's Every Woman." He had a very solid voice, but all in all I thought it was a little too familiar sounding. That's not necessarily a bad thing, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but it seemed like he was doing more mimicking than he was his own twist on things, which he is going to need in the later stages of the show. I'll be curious to see him perform other material, and he'll have his chance, getting the four votes needed to continue on.
And now we're already down to our last contestant. These hour shows do go by fast, and was it just me, but was this a little less exciting than the past few episodes have been? Carrying the last contestant torch of the day was Burnell Taylor, 19, New Orleans, who sang "I'm Here" by The Color Purple. He did have a good voice, but, and I know I'm sounding like a broken record, was he really worth a standing ovation? I wouldn't say so, but he's going on to Hollywood. The judges seem to be easily to impress this season, to say the least.
Well, that's a wrap folks. 34 contestants will head to Hollywood, but overall Louisiana was a little (OK, a lot) disappointing. Idol will be back next week, and Eric will be taking the helm again. But enough from me, what did you all think of tonight's episode? The season so far? Sound off in the comments below.