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The Buzz with CCX - Season 18 Episode 9


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The episode starts with a special message from Ryan addressing the crisis and reminding us that this episode was filmed in January. So not directly addressing the fact that there aren't going to be any live episodes, but still making sure nobody thinks they're flouting the recommendations to avoid large groupings. Then we get an extended silliness opening with the judges, Mickey and Minnie, and Ryan and Bobby both buried in the sand up to their necks, the latter with a pail over his head. Well at least they acknowledge the fact that nobody in America really wants to see Bobby Bones on this show. Nick Merico did "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars, and it's...not great. He's off key and kind of airy. Well, at least Lionel taught Nick a good life lesson. Lionel gives him the news...that he's in the top 20! I'm stunned and kind of disappointed. He wasn't good last episode either. Oh, and as we go to commercial, they're advertising a brand new twist. I suspect there's going to be a lot more commercials and a lot more flashbacks to auditions and stuff, because this was supposed to be a single 3-hour episode and it's being split up into two 2-hour episodes.


Bobby's talking to Makayla Brownlee about that scary incident in Hollywood. She says that she can usually tell when one of those seizures is coming on, but only by about 30 seconds. Makayla's singing "More Hearts Than Mine" by Ingrid Andress, and Bobby, being a big deal in the country music scene, says that Ingrid's a good friend of his and calls her up to introduce Makayla to her. This is also a slightly shaky performance imo. Okay maybe more than a little. She's overwhelmed afterwards. Luke is amazed at what she did with the song; I'm not familiar with it but apparently she really changed it up and it's a hot, current song. Lionel feels the adrenaline overtook her a bit too much, and Luke says that it wasn't her best performance and she's not going through. I think this is the right decision given what happened in Hollywood, but it still stings that they opened with such a weakling going through. It's going to sting all throughout the show, I'm sure, because given the level of the competition, I don't think Nick Merico was top 30. Hell, I didn't really think he was Top 40 material last week and he did nothing to change that opinion! I think they made a clear misstep having his verdict lead off the show; I'm pretty sure that just like the auditions, they show these judgments in any old order they feel like. Last year they had two of those "one stays, one goes" situations, same as in earlier seasons (where it was still obvious because they were gender-equal ensembles), but the first of them wasn't actually when we already knew 18 of the 20. I always felt like the third-to-last person got no suspense, because it was always obvious that the last two would be one stays, one goes.


DeWayne Crocker Jr. and his line of female ancestors are all here. His performance was near the end of the concert, after the sun had gone down. He did the remix of "Old Town Road", Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus. He's got Lionel on his feet! This seems like a surefire advancement, though there are so many good singers that a lot of seeming locks will have to go home. But he is indeed going through. And we're going to commercial. Maybe they edited together the raw footage they originally cut, and we're actually going to see all forty performances and judgments over the two nights.


Okay, finally got my drink. I've been rambling so much that I was writing clear through the first two commercial breaks. Going to the bottle of Grey Goose we keep in the freezer. 16-year-old Camryn Leigh Smith is up next, and we see that she had trouble in Hollywood. So, a non-advancer, then? I don't really remember her standing out to me that much. She's doing "Break Every Chain" by Tasha Cobbs Leonard, a gospel song. I'll, uh, recuse myself on that one. I'm Jewish; Jesus is just another prophet to me, not the Messiah. This was a good performance though! Maybe the best we've seen tonight, though Dewayne was pretty damn good too. Katy says that the judges were looking more for a risk and that she retreated too far into her comfort zone and that they wanted more growth. Bullshit. The judges have never demanded growth in the ABC era. Well, she's not going through, though Katy says that the Lord has a plan for Camryn. And of course, it's right then that (on the judgments end) a thunderstorm starts. Camryn jokes that the Lord is speaking right now. Amen. Devon Alexander is up next, singing a Demi Lovato song. Badly, I'd assume. Nick Merico going through was bad enough; if Devon goes through, we have a problem. And now cut back in time to Jordan Jones performing with the sun still up; I didn't see the song title because I was still typing, because this was the first time we'd even had two singers in the same segment. He's...better than Devon and Nick, at least. And Makayla B. (I still have to specify an initial, right? Both Makaylas made top 40?) And now we get the irrepressible Geena, doing "Finesse" by Bruno Mars. She's certainly a unique one. She's the best of this trio, but the fact that they montaged them makes me think that she, too, is gone. And she is; they all are. We've seen 7 contestants and only two have gone through, and one of them was Nick.


I was just mentioning that we hadn't seen any of the ones that really caught my eye in previous rounds, like Robert and Louis, and like magic, here's Louis Knight! Doing "Castle on the Hill" by Ed Sheeran, the same song they played on the audition episode after it was announced that he'd made it. This should be a knockout, but apparently his rehearsal didn't go well. The only complaint I have about this performance, however, is that the band is drowning him out! ...Actually he's not doing very well. At all. Damn it! He's been good enough in past weeks that I might give him a pass, but this isn't good. The judges agree that it wasn't his best performance and think he got too far into his own head. We go to the commercial with Katy saying "Your future, based on last night, was not there". Which is decidedly not a "no", so I'm assuming he's going through.


Sure enough, he does go through. I figured as much. I've gotten good at reading judgespeak after all these years. Louis's emotional. And now for his friend/rival, Francisco Martin. Who apparently has a dark story of his own? He's singing "Falling" by Harry Styles. It's pretty. Luke is dancing like an idiot. Katy says she hardly recognizes him up there and that's a good thing; she compares him to Bruno Mars, and as much for his on-stage presence as for his singing. He's going through and will still be a favorite. We haven't seen a single girl go through yet, have we?


And we still won't, because up next is Jovin Webb, singing "You Are the Best Thing" by Ray LaMontagne. And he was the best thing! I didn't like him until just last episode, but I love him now. The judges, on the other hand, say that it wasn't his best performance, but of course he still goes through. Guys 5, Girls 0. Come on, girls! ...Wait, never mind that! Up next is Faith Becnel, who in my opinion has been awful every step of the way. They just showed her audition and I'm wondering how she ever got a golden ticket in the first place, other than looks. She's doing "Ain't Nobody" by Rufus and Chaka Khan. Luke says that last night was not a step up for her, but they still love her personality and she's in the top 20. freak! Next is Amber Fiedler, who was 8 months pregnant at her audition. She seemed to think she needed to step it up because she was struggling in Hollywood. She's doing "Good Kisser" by Lake Street Drive. Mission accomplished; she's wonderful, exactly the type of artist I'd listen to. We don't get an answer before the commercial.


They reduce her to tears before even rendering the verdict. I was all ready to get mad at them for taking the "fake-out" thing too far, but...she's actually gone! They've now shown five females and the only one to make it through was the worst by far. But that's all about to change, because Just Sam is here! ...Damn, it's kind of too bad that they're canceling the season; anywhere in the country is probably safer than NYC right now. She's singing Selena's "Como La Flor". and in the pre-performance segment, Bobby tells her it's a risk to sing in a language she doesn't know. But holy crap, she pulls it off! It honestly doesn't sound like she's just singing it phonetically. That was beautiful and if there's any justice in the world, she'll be in the Top 10. No, that wasn't a typo. The judges aren't even making it suspenseful; we see Lionel basically saying that she'll make it before she's even gotten into the room, and we see another clip of her grandma back in Harlem. She reminds us that her last name is Diaz, but she doesn't know Spanish. Lionel says he couldn't be more proud of her if she was his own child. Of course she goes through. They didn't even bother trying to hide it, and we get another clip. The producers are giving her the full "THIS PERSON BELONGS IN THE FINALE" treatment. I won't argue.


We get the montage of the contestants enjoying Hawaii and then it's Jonny West. He still can't believe he made it and Margie didn't, and he's doubting himself, and this is the round where Margie was cut last year. And the thing is, he's probably going to get cut here! His initial audition was really cool, very creative with the original song, but he's been far from overwhelming. He's singing "You Found Me" by the Fray, and it's a little weak at first, but it's not bad. Certainly better than some of the people who've gotten through. Maybe? Actually he's kind of all over the place, even though I don't dislike it. Katy says she gets why Margie is so obsessed with him. In the judgment room, she says she thinks he's self-sabotaging. Lionel says he needs more ego. And Jonny is in the Top 20. We get more of Margie and Jonny being adorable together.


Next up is Dillon James and His Cowboy Hat, though for the pre-performance talk with Bobby he's switched to a trucker cap. This is probably the last one of tonight's episode and we've seen two damn female advancers, and one of them is atrocious. He's singing Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'", and of course it's good because he's a WGWG and that's perfect for a Bob Dylan song. He, too, will go through; I'm not even waiting until the judgment to call that. But seriously, was the Top 40 that lopsided or did they just edit it weird and put most of the girls in tomorrow's episode? The successes are 7-2 male, while the rejects are 4-2 female. Wait, make that 6-2, because Dillon's fate will have to wait until...next Sunday!? I thought it was supposed to be tomorrow! But I guess it makes sense because they didn't schedule for American Idol still being on Mondays this late. Also the twist they're talking up, but I'm guessing it's just the fact that the Top 20 will have to wait for the crisis to pass to complete their run.

Edited by ScarletDevilCCX
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