American Idol Season 8- March 3rd Live Blog

Well, here we are for week three of the American Idol Season 8 semi-finals.  So far, the new Top 36 format has not lived up to expectations.  The performers have mostly disappointed.  Christian music artist Danny Gokey and teenager Allison Iraheta delivered exceptional performances.   Christian music artists Michael Sarver and Kris Allen surprised everyone by delivering strong performances and making it to the Top 12.

Another Christian music artist, Mishavonna Henson a delivered a deep, cool, strong performance but could not overcome her lack of coverage in the early episodes.  Gospel group member Ricky Braddy beautifully sang  “A Song for You” during Week One of the semi’s but did not make it directly to the Top 12. Christian recording artist Matt Giraud was one of the favorites but fumbled his lead away by selecting a terrible song, “Viva La Vida”, to showcase his formidable R&B talents.

At One21music, we are covering Christian music artists competing on America Idol Season 8.  Tonight we have three singers who have declared themselves believers: Kristen McNamara, Felicia Barton (who despite virtually no coverage is number 3 on PopWatch’s American Idol power poll), and Scott MacIntyre.  Other than judge favorite Lil Rounds and Nathaniel Marshall, none of the other performaers have received an inordinate amount of exposure.  Check out this morning’s article previewing American Idol Season 8′s third semifinal.

We can only hope for good song choices, please.

So the opening credits are rolling and we are off!

Ryan points out the first six finalists and discusses the song selection from the first two shows.  Most popular girl, most popular girl and next highest go through to top 12.

Von Smith, kicks off the Billboard Hot 100 parade with “You’re All I Need”.  A great, great song that starts off slowly.  He struggles with the low parts and is pretty pitchy.  He finishes well with a good falsetto.  Overall, pretty good.  Nice performance.  Mom liked it.

The judges liked it as well.  Simon compares him to Clay Aiken.  Kara compliments him on taking and using Simon’s advice from Hollywood.

Taylor Vaifanua is up next singing “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys.  She nailed the low register opening but struggling with the rhythm.   She gets it back and carries the bridge very well.  Great start to the show

Kara thinks she can sing but she doesn’t know who she is is and the performance left her cold.  Ooh, I didn’t know she sang this in Hollywood.  Simon continues to poke and taunt Kara but thinks the performance was bland.  Randy gets his feelings hurt when the transition music starts before he gets his opinion in.

Alexander Wagner-Trugman, the resident “nerd”, addresses his dorkiness in a red room interview.  I like this guy, good sense of humor.  He is singing Elton John’s “Guess Why That’s They Call It The Blues”.  He adds a growling, bluesy twist to it and this song does not go down well with a spoonful of grit.  He took a chance, good for him, but it didn’t really work.

The judges are laughing with him but Paula is speaking in past tense.  As Simon put it, “we had fun watching you but not listening to you” and proceeded to skewer him.  Randy, crazy in a “buck wild sort of way”.  Is that a new entry in the Randy Jackson dictionary?

Next on the stage, Arianna Ayesha Afsar brings us “The Winner Take It All”, the first Abba song on American Idol.  She struggles with pitch and tempo from the beginning and slides around the high parts.  I think she has lost her way. Nice big finish but I think it is too little too late.

“Terrible in most parts” from Simon.  Is any Abba song too big for a singer?  Kara rambles but I don’t know what she is trying to say.  Overall, the judges think it was gloomy and old fashioned.

Ju’not Joyner, a soul singer, is choosing “Hey There Delilah” by the Plain White T’s.  Really, another bad song choice?  Nice quiet arrangement with a good soul voice.  Nice job taking over the song.  He really added some depth to the performance without over singing.

Randy likes what he did with it.  The Dawg loves it.  He did this song in Hollywood with a much better result and he surprised Simon.  Does American Idol have a performance enhancing drug problem?  Ju’not took a cortisone shot before the show.  Drug testing!

Christian music artist, Kristen McNamara,comes to the stage to sing “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman.  She has jazzed this song up and is delivering this song with a little jazz soul.  Nice stage presence, I think she is taking the song over.  Great job Kristen, you really showed what you got!

Kara likes her voice but does not like the song and her look.  Why are they so focused on her looks?  None of the judges know who she is.  I disagree with the judges.

I am not sure America is ready for the self proclaimed drama queen, Nathanial Marshall.  He sings “I’ d Do Anything for Love” by Meatloaf.  I don’t know what to think of this.  What is this, a Vegas review?  I did not care for that.

Simon starts it off, thought it was excrutiating.  The judges have lost it tonight.  Kara is right, he needs to work to be taken seriously.  I think the judges are trying to be nice to this guy, but they did not like the performance.

Worship leader Felicia Barton is up next.  I am rooting for her.  She is singing Alicia Keys “No One”.  I have heard her sing this before.  She looks striking and, except for a little blip in the middle, she is carrying the song with a lot of soul.  She looks extremely comfortable on stage.  Great performance, Felicia!

Paula acknowledges that her gift is unbelievable.  Randy and Simon recognize that she has something a little different and they all like her as an artist.   She came back with something to prove and she proved it.

The show is much better than the first two weeks.

Scott MacIntyre, the last of our Christian music artists performing tonight will sing “Mandolin Rain” by Bruce Hornsby.  I very much do not like this song.  The vocals stay pretty low for most of the song and he finishes with some big notes.

Randy wants us to check it out.  It wasn’t great throughout but the good parts were very good and he loves his passion.  Kara thinks he moves mountains.  The judges are almost cheering for him and pleading with America to vote for him. I think it is a given he will at least make it to the “Wild Card” round.

Texan Kendal Beard sings “This One’s for The Girls” by Martina McBride.  It is a shame she is taking on Martina because I don’t think she quite has the power to deliver here.  It was okay, not great.

When the judges start with “I am going to start with positives” you know you have problems.  Once again, Paula is talking in the past tense about her time on American Idol.  Simon thinks she chose the right song but she did not deliver.  Randy thinks it was okay.   Summary: she chose the right song, she looks good, but she needs to work on the vocals.

Now American Idol brings us Jorge Nunez from Puerto Rico.  He will sing “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down” by Elton John.  After tonight, I hope the judges weren’t planning an Elton John theme night.  He starts perfectly.  Beautiful vocal.  He is a little stiff on stage and finishes weak but it was really good.

Paula stands for him and extols all the work he has done.  All they can talk about is his accent.  At least Randy acknowledges the quality of his vocals.  Kara brings him to tears with her compliments.  Kara, “you are a singer”.  She moves Jorge to respond in Spanish because he cannot think in English when emotional.  Nice moment to see someone standing in their dream.

Lil Rounds finishes us off.  She has been a judge favorite from the start.  She is singing “I Never Wanna Live Without You” by Mary J. Blige.  It is one of the modern, rythmic R&B songs.  Her big voice and confident phrasing slay this song.  She is very, very good.

Simon says “brilliant”.  Randy and Simon think  she is one of the best singers of the season.  The judges are using phrases like swagger and powerhouse. Lil Rounds is formidable.

Ryan reminded us earlier that we can own these performances for our very own, forever, or at least until our computer crashes and we lose our iTunes library. We want to make it easy for you so use the link below to download Kristen McNamara, Felica Barton and Scott MacIntyre as they deliver some of the best performances of the night. You can also download Danny Gokey’s show stopping performance. Own Michael Sarver and Kris Allen performing the songs that captured America’s heart. Do not miss Mishavonna Henson’s excellent performance of “Drops of Jupiter” and pray she gets another chance. All with a simple click on the icon below.

Apple iTunes

I will be back before you get to work with my wrap-up of the show.  I will see you tomorrow night for the results.


  1. I thought Alex was kind of good! Von would have been a top 3 last week.

  2. ju’not was pretty bring on the Christians!

  3. Kristen did a pretty good job but the lyrics to that song were not a good witness for a Christian girl.

  4. I love felicia..she will have a hard time beating out producers fave Lil Rounds but maybe she can get the third spot.

    Scott was a little pitchy but he’s authentic and should be able to beat out Von for top mens spot.

  5. Jorge was pretty solid and likeable..that might throw a wrench into Felicia getting the third spot.

  6. chuck says:

    Jim, thank you for your comments. I will watch the show again later and put up my impressions. I am exhausted. How do you comment on this blog and do your own? You are good.

  7. Lil was fantastic..its going to be a tough not seing her in top 3 of the entire competition.

    I think this format is unfair. As much as I was happy to see Kris and Michael go through the last 2 weeks they wouldn’t have had a chance in this batch. cases could be said for Jorge, Felicia, Scott, Von and Ju’not to join Lil. My heart wants Scott and Felicia but I think Jorge will edge out Felicia by pulling in the hispanic vote.

    Thanks for the direct link for downloads..are those full length versions are just a live performance from TV? Thats what happened last year on downloads until it reached top 12..

  8. i go back and forth like crazy Chuck..and I don’t even have a laptop to do it while I watch the show..its all done in the commercials!


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  3. [...] seeing her performance in American Idol’s show on March 3rd ( see our live reactions ), I cannot believe Lil Rounds has never commanded a stage at least semi-professionally. She [...]

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