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The Buzz with CCX - Season 18 Episode 8


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Playing catchup because I didn't boot up my computer in advance and it kind of took awhile. Trying out a new brewing company, "Southern Tier". I've got a variety pack, which is good because I'm not really a fan of the "Nu Juice IPA" that I pulled for tonight. For solo round, they've brought in a "mentor" of sorts to talk to the contestants: the one and only Alejandro Aranda! Although I've noticed that they've maybe mentioned his last name once in the entire season, if even that, whereas his first name gets mentioned at least once an episode. Up first is 17-year-old Kimmy Gabriela, whose wardrobe is, as usual, trying to hide the fact that she's only 17. She's doing "I'm Here" from The Color Purple, and while I disagree with the judges' reprised proclamation that she's "top 10 material", she's certainly good enough to stick around. This was the round where Genavieve Linkowski was cut in Season 16, so she's really emotional. She does Sean Mendes's "In My Blood", and I love it, more than the proclaimed "Top 10 material", though I can't help but laugh at the fact that a female singer had to modify it to avoid the high notes in the male-sung original.

 

29-year-old Jovin Webb, of Gonzales, LA, has appeared to be a judges' favorite for quite some time, and I haven't quite seen it. He's doing "Parachute". And he finally won me over! Nice job. Perrin York is doing Lizzo's "Good as Hell", and hers is the "room" to watch for, because while the judges' comments seemed mildly positive, I'm almost certain that she's going home. Faith Becnel says she's been in a band since she was 10 so she was waiting for this round, but I don't think she nailed it. Jeb Vonderbruegge is doing "Rocket Man". He messed up the lyrics but he didn't let it affect him. Arthur Gunn is reprising his audition song, CCR's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?", but with a different arrangement. But the band can't learn his arrangement in time! So he'll be doing it without the band, just him and his guitar. I like it! He's creative. It sounds much better than in the clip of his rehearsal.

 

The judges gave a speech trying to discourage contestants from doing original songs because they're a bit of a risk. Robert Taylor's doing one, and it's amazing. The judges disagree. Amelia (no last name) also is doing one, and again, the judges aren't pleased. Not as good as Robert, but not bad. Julia Gargano was impressive with an original in her audition, but she forgets the song title when announcing it and she honestly wasn't good. That's disappointing; she seemed like a contender until now. Jimmy Levy is doing an original and he's downright awful. Lauren Mascetti also did an original for an audition and she's doing one now, "God Made A Woman". She's getting an extended pimp piece right now so obviously she's sticking around. And it's not a bad decision at all! She sounds really good.

 

The beachfront concert at Aulani is returning this year. Sophia Wackerman and Sarah Isen were roommates even before getting to the hotel where the Idols are staying, having met in college (they were both in their a capella group, "The Scattertones"). They admit that their Hollywood duet was "the worst they'd sung together". Sophia's doing "Somewhere", and it's not good at all, but the judges give her a standing ovation. Well, I liked her in the past, so I guess I wouldn't mind if she stayed. Sarah's doing "Leave The Light On" and it's much better. And now it's Kat Luna, still sad that her boyfriend got cut last round. I think she's a bit too overwhelmed; I hear the power in her voice but I don't think she's hitting the notes. Franklin Boone was one who was especially inspired by Alejandro, as he, too, is kind of "low-energy" and Alejandro never felt pressured to change. I definitely understand the Alejandro comparison, but I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing! As we go to a commercial, we're again teased with the "someone's getting taken to the hospital" bit that they teased at the beginning of Hollywood Week. I guess we'll finally get that.

 

Ah, it sounds like it's going to be Just Sam who might get stretchered out. Her voice has been hoarse and she's been nauseous. I'm not sure what to think here. I don't want her to get sent home because of this, but I don't want her to be a "pity keep", especially since this is a cutdown with a specific target. Luckily it's no issue! If this is what she sounds like sick, then she is absolutely a contender, or would be if the color of her skin wasn't an automatic death sentence in the ABC era. Okay, I heard a little bit of struggle as the song went on, but it was still plenty good enough to get in. She says in her post-performance interview that she feels like she may never need that box again. But apparently everyone's a tad hoarse. Marcus Tinsley is...not good. He asks for a restart. Funny, I don't think I even remember that name, though the listed profession of "Chalk Artist" is distinctive enough that I think I vaguely remember it from auditions? Sheniel Masonet is also bad, and I'd remember that name so I think this is another piece of fodder. Talin Everett even sings "I don't care if I sing on key", which is good because he didn't. He, too, is an unfamiliar name. But Nick Merico isn't, and he butchers Bryan Adams' "Heaven". Ari Saagé hits some...interesting notes. I might remember her? She looks good, but she doesn't have it. I'm pretty sure this is just a montage of not-good. Katy actually goes backstage to advise the contestants to calm down and stop trying to hit high notes that they've never done. I recognize this person...ah, it's Makayla Brownlee. She's singing Kacey Musgraves' "Rainbow". And she misses her cue? No, she's walking off stage, she's the one who's going to be stretchered out. They're asking if anyone has any candy, is she diabetic?

 

No, actually, it's a rare condition called...well, she's got a condition that causes her to react differently to stress. She was diagnosed in seventh grade. In that case, maybe it's for the best if she doesn't stick around. Camryn Leigh Smith wants to show that she can do powerhouse songs too. Only problem is, I'm not entirely sure she can. Makayla has stabilized, but they're not sure if she can return. Devon Alexander hits some big notes, and he goes into some falsetto, but I'm not sure he's quite right. Lauren Spencer-Smith is doing Brandi Carlyle's "The Joke". She says she hadn't heard of it until yesterday but she saw it on the list and she wanted to sing it. She nails it. She's definitely a contender. The judges always call every contender "Top Ten material", and I suddenly remember that no matter what America tries to do, a few members of the Top Ten will get there without having ever been voted through by America, and furthermore, due to the way America's votes overwhelmingly favor whites, those contestants have been unanimously minorities...like Kimmy Gabriela. *sigh* I guess I can't argue with them, then. If they say she's top ten, she's top ten. She's certainly not bad. Easy to look at, too. Makayla's back, and it's a little shaky, but I like it. I wouldn't mind if she stayed after all.

 

Dillon James, whom we are again reminded is two years sober, is doing an original, but he wasn't part of the "originals" montage so I guess he'll be good? ...I have no idea if that's good or not. It's very...stylized. Country yodels and what I think was Spanish, although if I heard correctly, the last two words were "tierra doce" which translates to "earth twelve." I probably heard that wrong. Louis Knight is up, and he's still thinking about his friend, the one who committed suicide. His parents are in the audience and his mother's quite enthusiastic; Katy takes note of her. He's singing Louis Capaldi's "Hold Me While You Wait". Naturally it's wonderful. His mother is in tears, but it's clearly not out of sadness. His father, too. They can tell that their boy has become a star.

 

The theme of the intro to this segment is "song choice". Lionel says "stay in your lane, but make sure you represent your lane perfectly". Olivia Ximines is going to be singing "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)", the infamous "Idol Death Song" in early seasons, and she says she's not the only one. YZ and Geena, and Cyniah Elise are those. Geena's worried about YZ because he's so good, and YZ's worried about Geena but he feels that because he's doing a male version, he might stand out. Of those, I'd say Cyniah was the best, and Olivia might have had a slight edge over the other two. Makayla Phillips is singing "Cause I Love You" by Lizzo, an unexpected song choice. She wants to step out of her comfort zone, as she'd normally be doing ballads. I think the risk paid off, though it might be a bit underwhelming; doesn't show off her ability well enough. But she said she wanted to have fun with it, and she did! But the judges say that "she's not out of the race, but it's the worst song she picked."

 

Jonny and Margie are up next. Jonny's doing another original. I think it's good. Margie says she doesn't want to be "left behind", but she feels like she's supporting Jonny; I think she'd rather go home herself than watch him go home. She's not going anywhere, though, except to Aulani again. She doesn't realize it, though; she didn't get enough of a reaction from the judges. It ended strangely, I guess? It's rooms time. I'm praying that my favorite, Shannon Gibbons, is another Maddie Poppe situation (where the producers didn't show a couple of weaker performances in Hollywood because they knew she was going through anyway and didn't want it to look undeserved), because I haven't seen her at all these past two nights! We also see Peyton and Madison again, after not seeing either of their solos tonight. Jonny says that if he had to choose, he'd say Margie deserves it over him. Of course he'd say that, too. They're so sweet.

 

Sophia, Jonny, Francisco, Dewayne, Lauren, Cyniah, Kimmy, and Arthur are all in Room 1. Kat, Sarah, Madison, Arii, and Margie are in Room 2, along with some other names I missed because it goes too fast. And Just Sam, Shannon, and Jovin are among those in Room 3. I'm stunned; all three rooms have what seemed like sure shots! I think it's gotta be room 2 going home; Margie's really the only one in Room 2 that seemed like a sure thing. Room 1 goes through. And Room 2 is going home. Heh, I guess those spoilers were wrong. I could've sworn I'd seen a spoiler that Margie was going farther. And Room 3 does go through. Yay! Just Sam is quickly becoming a favorite, and my girl Shannon's still alive!

Edited by ScarletDevilCCX
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