American Idol Season 8 Top 13 Performance Live Blog

We are live, blogging the start of the American Idol Season 8 Finals live show.  At One21music we are covering the six Christian music artists competing in Season 8: Danny Gokey, Matt Giraud, Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre, Kris Allen and Michael Sarver.   Read my power rankings article to see how these Christian music artists stack-up against the rest of the field.

The American Idol finalists will be singing the songs of Michael Jackson tonight.  It looks to be a minefield.  See my article about song choice for each of the American Idol contestants. I think there are only two or three contestants (Lil Rounds, Matt Giraud, Anoop Desai) who can perform these songs straight-up, so we will probably see some disastrous performances.  It is also risky to try to adapt theses songs because only a few (Danny Gokey, Kris Allen, Matt Giraud) have demonstrated the arranging or interpretive skills to bend these songs to themselves.  I think American Idol Season 8 faves Meagan Joy (rumor is that she dropped the Corkery and is using her maiden name), Allison Iraheta, Alexis Grace and Scott MacIntyre could struggle tonight.  On the other hand, might Jorge Nunez be the Latin Michael Jackson?  I am talking about the good Michael Jackson with the silver glove, not the Michael Jackson in exile.

Enough speculation let’s go to the American Idol Season 8 Finals!  It should be a quick show with 13 performances.

Boy the contestants look nervous, almost grim in the opening montage.  Bigger crowd, bigger stage, who will trip over the next step?

What is this live announcer intro of the judges?  Who cares.  Ryan has dressed for the occasion.  The stage looks good, live band and 500 fans in the audience.  Kara is sweating, I thought she was pro.  Good advice from Paula, “don’t let the stage consume you.”

Intro of the Top 13, does Lil get the money spot to close the show?

We are eliminating two contestants tonight.

Wow, the opening montage of MJ brings back what was so great about him.  What happened?

Lil Rounds starts us off?  These contestant bios are long.  “The Way You Make Me Feel” is not the song I would have chosen, but who cares.  This neophyte is a fully formed soul singer.  I will go buy this on iTunes now.  She is awesome, perfect!

What can the judges say?  Randy says she made the song new again,with a bluesy, old soul vibe.  Kara says she belongs on the radio now.  Of course, Simon thought it was okay.  He thought it was lazy.  I disagree.  Questions about her arrangement skills were answered tonight.

Scott MacIntyre, what can he do with this book of music that is completely out of his musical style?  He sings “Keep The Faith” and he is at his piano.  This is a Michael Jackson song?  Are we sure Scott did not write this song?  Not a perfect vocal but a great, great performance.  The gauntlet is thrown down.

The audience is going wild!  Kara is blown away that he just learned the song on piano this week.  I agree with Paula that it was magical.  Simon hates the song.  “It is fine being artistic, just not on this show.”  Simon admits it!  Simon and Randy think it was safe and old-fashioned.

Can Danny Gokey keep up the momentum?  They are going to go through an intro without mentioning his wife.  I am tired of the criticism he has been getting for American Idol exploiting his tragedy. Good.  He is singing “PYT”.  I am not excited about the song choice.  Danny throws down some rocking moves and creates a sing-a-long.  He can sing better than I thought.  I am surprised how these guys have taken these songs and made them their own.  We see the new, rocking Danny Gokey.  That was fantastic.  Kara says he has joy.  We know he does, don’t we.

Michael Sarver is walking around the oil field in his dancing shoes.  I think he may surprise everyone tonight.  He is singing “You Are Not Alone”, a great song.  He shows a lot of soul in this performance.  A good, if not great vocal performance but the audience will love him.  He will be back.  Great job, Michael.

Simon loves this guy.  He says he is not a great singer but loves his heart and passion.  Randy says he is one of the best.  Kara loved the vocal.

Four singers in and the competition is strong.  No one can afford to stumble.  The last 9 better come strong.  Great show so far.

Jasmine Murray steps to the stage next.  She better bring it bigger than she did during the semi’s and the Wild Card.   This Mississippi beauty queen is singing “I’ll Be There” a perfect song for her that I bet the judges criticize.  Nice vocal, maybe a little off key in parts.  Problem is she does not bring the excitement we have seen in the first four performances.  It was her best so far, but only okay tonight.

Of course, Randy remixed that with Mariah and he liked it?, “not that bad”?  The judges are luke warm.  I disagree with Kara that she has great stage presence.  Simon call it a good attempt that was a little bit robotic.  I agree.

Will Kris Allen do “Man In The Mirror” again?  That will be dangerous.  There is a large catalogue of songs he can use to his talents.  Based on what we have seen so far, he better capture the stage and win the TV audience.  With his guitar he is singing “Remember The Time”.  I would not have used guitar on this song.  Cool, jazzy take on this song.  His vocals are stronger than I remembered.  He is totally comfortable up there.  Great stage presence. Tonight has been great, great tonight.

Kara calls him out as a good guy, like we are surprised.  I agree with Paula that he is engaging, I will pass on the sexy part.  Simon thought it was a little clumsy with the guitar.  Randy thought it was cool with the guitar, sort of like Jason Mraz.  Maybe like Jason Castro?

Allison Iraheta is a 16 year-old who sings at department stores.  Tonight she sings “Give Into Me” like Heart.   Well, more like Allison.  She is a big, old blues singer.  Wow, she is incredible.  From the department store to the big stage.  This girl is chill.

She boggles Paula’s mind.  I agree that she is a rock star.  I agree with Simon that she has the confidence.  Randy loves her, “if you got it, you got it”.

Anoopdog is rocking the “Thriller” swing going into the break.  He isn’t, is he?  Does he get zombies on stage?

Can Anoop Desai recover from two okay performances?  He is, I cannot believe he is taking on “Beat It”.  This is called swinging for the fences.  I was wrong in suggesting he sing this song.  “Beat It” loses something without MJ’s high pitch.  I don’t think he was up to this song.  This is the first let down of the night.

The judges will use the word karaoke.  According to Paula “Beat It” is untouchable and his performance was karaoke. Simon says it was horrible and lightweight.  Will all four use the word? Not Kara, she breaks the string.  I think he is in trouble.

Don’t forget to download these performance on iTunes.  We will give you the icon to use below.

Jorge Nunez is singing another soft ballad “Never Can Say Goodbye”.  This song is kind of boring compared to the other songs we have heard.  The singing is a little off.  Ho hum.

Randy hates it, but just cannot bring himself to say so.  Randy and Kara and Paula  think this was the wrong song.   Simon is writing him off.  He thought it was awful.

The show started great.  It seems to be losing steam.  Someone needs to dazzle us soon.  I am not sure Meagan is the one to dazzle.

Nice intro video for her.  The puppet, Megan, is it Joy, or is it Corkery is onstage to sing  “Rockin’ Robin”.  Sassy vocals but dancing  that would make Brooke White feel better about herself .  She is goofy!  That was fun.

Paula and Kara were lukewarm.  Simon was not.  He thought it was stupid.  Randy hates the song choice.

Fasten your seat belts, Adam Lambert is singing “Black & White”.  This is an interesting song choice.  He is singing the song fantastically, but does he even know what he is singing?  He hits every note but does not connect with the meaning of the song.  Do we get hair metal screams every week?

Paula is dazzled.  I don’t understand what they see.  According to Paula the finals will be Danny and Adam.  Simon thinks he is in a totally different league?  They all love him.  I know he can sing, but I just don’t get their love for him.

They better hurry, we have two more performances, plus the close in the next fifteen minutes.

Matt Giraud better knock this out of the park.  This is his music so my expectations are high.  He sings “Human Nature” from his piano.  I think he is missing an opportunity to dazzle America with his R&B chops.  His falsetto is not strong enough to carry as much of the song as he tried.  It was okay.

Randy and Kara and Paula love it.  Simon thought it was a solid, good performance.  They rush through Matt’s judges so they can force another commercial in.

Evidently there is something funky about Alexis’s number.  Pay attention.  She shouldn’t go home because people are calling the wrong number.

Alexis Grace sneeks into the end singing “Dirty Diana”.  Will she bring a blues take on it?  Yes she does and she does it big.  She is much better than in the semis.  She is answering my questions. Great command of the stage, great rocking, bluesy vocals.  Everything Adam is trying to be.

Sweaty Kara likes her naughty side, but Simon and Randy don’t like it very much.

Very good show.  Much better than I thought.  Great job guys.

I will go back and watch the performances and write a wrap-up. Check it out in the morning.

Join us tomorrow night. We will report on the results show.  Ryan is talking about some change in how the results will be determined.

Tonight, enjoy the performances.  Download them from iTunes below.

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  1. Hey..couldn’t use the computer until now…

    Lil and Danny were amazing tonight! They brought out all the heavy hitters and Christians right off the bat! I loved Scott’s song choice, but Michael sang a little better tonight. Both should be safe..we are due for a few disasters! Jasmine didn’t embarass herself.

  2. Allison is the best female rocker ever on this show..a natural. Kris was outstanding as well..if he doesn’t win his wife and himself could be models. I dare to say this could be the best top 12 (13) ever? There are usually a couple of stinkers like Sanjaya or Amanda..this year is STRONG so far.

  3. I gave the kiss of death when I said the best group ever..3 stinko’s in a row. Then comes Adam,,who I don’t care for either Chuck. I thought it was so far over the top..and since those internet pictures came out of him kissing a guy he has really dropped in my eyes. Sadly we are stuck with him for a very long time.

  4. I agree..I think the judges liked it better than we did. Still, he was better than the middle three people. Looked like a clip from Church in his video, did you notice? I hope people don’t forget to vote for him after Adam.

  5. I wonder what the changes will be..maybe like Dancing With the Stars where our vote only counts for half and the judges half? Alexis is quite the performer..almost gets the show a PG-13 rating all my herself.

    Now I have to do my wrapup for myccm.

  6. chuck says:

    I hadn’t thought about Alexis in that way but I agree. I think maybe she is taking the judges coaching a little too seriously.


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