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The Buzz with CCX - Season 19 Episode 10


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So we're getting 24 performances in two hours, but we're also getting both solos and duets...oh, I see, half now and half later. Oh, and we've got the ability to vote right now. 8 get through from each night. Alanis Sophia will be kicking it off with Sia's "Alive". The first performance is never an easy place to be, but especially in the first performance episode of the season--I tend to always end up giving the first performance a kind of "meh" rating, and this is no different; 54 seems right. Then we go right into her duet, with Jimmie Allen who apparently auditioned in 2011 and didn't make it through to America's vote but still had a career. They're doing "Shallow" by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, and this is much better, I'd say 76. Katy seems to think she was overwhelmed by Jimmie, though, and was better on her solo. Okay, looks like none of the voting methods close right at the end of the show. Cassandra Coleman's doing "Find Me" by Sigma featuring Birdy. See, this is why I tend to be meh on the first performance--we have to fit the curve. This is an 80, based on the last one. She's dueting with OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder on "Apologize", which she auditioned with--she's embarrassed by that performance, but I remember loving it. In fact, I'd say her audition with it was better than this performance; in fact, it's already time to reassess some of my numbers, because I still think it was better than "Alive" but I can't give it a rating as high as the one I gave that performance! "Alive" now gets a 44, "Shallow" a 64, "Find Me" a 69, and "Apologize" a 49. Remember, the numbers for all the other performances go in relation to each other. This actually feels a lot better, though, since "Find Me" didn't really feel like an 80--it just got there because of its relation to the previous two.


Alyssa Wray is up next, doing "Something in the Water" by Carrie Underwood. She's got pipes, but points off for the facial expressions. She's too much, even though she's also just standing there (although maybe they were directed to do that, since we've still got COVID protocols to worry about?). 70. We keep up the Idol royalty, as her duet partner is none other than Katharine McPhee! They're doing Whitney Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight", and it's so much more natural. Am I allowed to say that? I feel racist for thinking that a black girl seems so much more natural covering Whitney than Carrie, but...Alyssa's performances were two very different genres. The second one fit better. Well, Katy says Alyssa was the first to hold their own with the star, so I feel vindicated. 83. We're going to another break, so I finally get my chance to get my drink for the night.


Fireball is the drink for tonight. Wyatt Pike is up fourth, to be joined for his duet by Ben Rector. First, he's doing Tate McRae's "rubberband". Ooh, another all-lowercaser! ...And much like Alyssa on her solo, the singing is good but I'd enjoy the performance much more on the radio than with a visual. 76, though--it'd be a 5-star on the vocals alone but he also has bad stage presence. They'll be singing Ben's song "Brand New". ...Ben's stage presence isn't great either, though at least he's moving about a bit. 39, and an edit to my rating for "Alive". Maybe the fact that I hadn't started drinking yet at the start of the show was depressing my ratings? I do tend to enjoy this show more with a little alcohol, which is why I do this the way I do.


Alana, no last name, is doing Dua Lipa's "Blow Your Mind (Mwah)". Ryan introduces her as having "traded in her tennis racket for a microphone". He also says that we're voting on "solos" by 12 contestants. Katy comments on the same thing I noticed: STAGE PRESENCE! Alana was a contestant that I kept expecting to not still be here, but that was great. 88, and she's dueting with Brian McKnight on his song "Back at One", which he says he's never done as a duet before. It shows; she outshone him86, but it would've sailed past 90 on Alana's contributions alone. The judges, on the other hand, seem less than impressed. Ah, I see; the reason I didn't perceive her as being a contender before this is because she was one of the ones that they kept around without showing much of so that there'd be obvious candidates to not advance. Sorry, producers, your "fodder" is outshining your favorites...again. Anilee List will be up after the break, and her duet partner will be Joss Stone.


Speaking of all-lowercase titles, Anilee's doing Billie Eilish's...I forgot which song. Well, it'll show up on WNTS eventually. It was beautiful; I'll give it an 84. She and Joss will be doing "Tell Me Something Good" by Rufus featuring Chaka Khan. ...Okay, given that last performance, and what I know about Joss Stone, and for that matter what I know about the original artists and the original song...why is this a bad rock performance? Absolutely none of the ingredients that went into this would've indicated "rock". I was ready to give instant votes to Anilee after the solo but this is an 18-rated mess. Also, Joss is cursing at the mentor monitor backstage as the judges' critiques came in. Luke makes note of the fact that both of them were barefoot--oh, right, that's a thing Joss Stone was known for. The judges were very complimentary...it's weird, the judges' critiques have largely been focused on the duets even though we're allegedly voting more on the solos.


Sadly, I was too caught up in the discussion topic (apparently Idol Forums favorite Benson Boone didn't miss the Top 24, but dropped out, and Anilee only made it as a replacement) to notice what song Deshawn Goncalves was doing, but he did it beautifully. 86. He's also dueting with Ryan Tedder, on "I Lived". I forgot there was this much of a slow part to start the song. Still, after two of my early favorites among the girls in this episode disappointed, I'm glad to see that one of my favorite male contestants in the Top 24 slayed it. 83 for being too sleepy for my tastes but being great anyway.


Graham DeFranco is still in this and is doing John Splithoff's "Raye". It is good, but it doesn't seem right for American Idol. You're supposed to be appealing to Millennials and Gen Z, not Boomers and Gen X! 82 for sheer quality, though. Ben Rector's back to duet with him, I'm not sure the song, but it's...also good, I think. 80, but despite getting good ratings from me, he's not getting my votes. Andrea Valles is singing in Spanish on "Lo Vas A Olvidar" by Billie Eilish & Rosalía (oh, thank god this got saved; trying to put in the accent took me off the page.) It's beautiful; 90. She's joined by Brian McKnight for "I'm Never Gonna Dance Again", and he sounds much better on this one; I'd consider this even better; 93. She also explains to Brian why she's got an eyepatch; she had surgery on a detached retina. (Her eyepatch for tonight is pink and bedazzled. Ryan asks her if the eyepatch throws off her equilibrium, and she says it does.)


Cecil Ray is doing "Paint Me a Birmingham" by Tracy Lawrence. Ryan reminds us that he's a father. "Alive" gets another upwards edit so that this one can land at a 42. He's joined by Jimmie Allen for "Freedom Was a Highway", which Jimmie originally did with Brad Paisley. It's well performed...but that's the problem. Even when he does nothing wrong, it's capped out at about a 56 because of that voice. The judges do give him a negative critique, though, so maybe he really will be gone soon. Lionel also points out the lack of stage performance, saying he had his hand stuck in his pocket. Ryan, likely with the producers in his earpiece, has to sum it up with "They're rooting for you", basically telling America "yeah we know he wasn't good tonight but vote for him anyway". Sorry, no.


Willie Spence is up 11th, doing "Wind Beneath My Wings". And it is...acceptable to me! 75. Not outstanding, but I'm generally a harsh critic on songs my mother used to sing to me as lullabies when I was little, so that's pretty good. He and Kat McPhee are doing "The Prayer" by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, and he's dedicating it to his grandfather, and this takes Kat aback so she dedicates her performance to her father. This is a big risk...I think it was too big a risk. I give it a 72, but on a song with this much showstopper potential, you don't want to be putting up "only" a 72. Well, the judges love him.


Oh, right, Grace! The one whose name I keep messing up--I keep wanting to write Kintsler, but it's Kinstler. She's singing a song about body positivity. Given her own struggles with self-image, this is good. 95. She and Joss Stone are doing "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight and the Pips. 95 again. Grace slays it.

Edited by ScarletDevilCCX
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