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The Buzz with CCX - Season 20 Episode 8


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A live episode! The obligatory "someone faints" teased in the opening; it happens once a year. Angry Orchard Strawberry Cider tonight; it's not something I'd have bought myself, but it turns out it's actually pretty good. We see everyone find out their partners, but I'd have to rewatch the segment over and over to get the information down in type. First up is Leah Marlene and Fritz Hager, who went with "Team Green" because they were both wearing green on the day pairings were handed out. They apparently don't get along, or maybe they do; it feels more like "friends who insult each other a lot." They sing a folk version of Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven", it's wonderful, and they both move forward. Now we get to find out the Platinum Ticket winners' partners, or at least the first one. Kenedi Anderson picked Jordan Chase because she's obsessed with his voice; she says if they don't sound good together, that's on her because she picked him. They're singing "Lean On Me" by Bill Withers and their first rehearsal did not go well. We go to break.


Kenedi feels that being the Platinum Ticket winner puts even more pressure on her. Their duet name is "Hot Mess", and it's anything but. Honestly, if I'd heard this in her audition, I...still probably wouldn't have considered her worthy of a Platinum Ticket, but I would've easily considered her worthy of a Golden one. Allegra Miles and Taylor Fagins are our next duet, "Satin Soul", and they're both singer-songwriters--Taylor had the memorable BLM song. He says that as a songwriter, he's out of his comfort zone doing a duet. Already the famously limited setlist for Duets Night is showing as they, too, are singing "Locked Out of Heaven". I didn't catch what Leah and Fritz did with it, but they make it more G-rated. Lionel thinks they haven't figured out how duets work. Allegra moves through, but Taylor doesn't, and Lionel says that the only thing wrong was "the competition before us"--in other words, he did nothing wrong, but cuts need to be made and he's one of them.


Huntergirl was having a nervous breakdown looking for her duet partner, until Cole Ritter came up to the mic. They're playing "At Last" by Etta James in the background, and it took a question from a production assistant for her to realize that she's talking in terms that almost sound like she's in love--"This isn't the Bachelor; I'm on American Idol!" Since they're singing a Fleetwood Mac song ("Dreams") and are both rednecks, they go by "Backwood Mac". They both go through, by unanimous decision; they sounded good together and did nothing wrong. After they leave, Luke says "There were times where she didn't sound country; she just sounded how the song needed her to sound".


Sam Moss was the one who was initially rejected in the Austin auditions with Katy telling the two male judges they made a mistake, only to get through with three yesses in Nashville. Also, she's pregnant now--four months along. She's paired with Haley Slaton, who is eight months pregnant; I  saw her last episode but didn't see anything of her so I thought she might've been eliminated. They're calling themselves "The Watermelon Smugglers" and singing "Dancing On My Own". Katy mentions that things got emotional a bit earlier with all the hormones. Sam goes through, but Haley is sent home--probably for the best given how far into her pregnancy she is. Sure enough, as we go to break, we see a video message from her introducing her newborn baby.


Jay picked Morgan as his duet partner, and she chose their song--"Shallow". Suddenly we get a sports metaphor as we introduce vocal coach Nick Cooper. Jay doesn't quite know the story of the song, but he does well enough that they both blaze through. Next is Noah Thompson and Olivia Faye, also doing "Lean On Me". And then they make a late switch to "July" by Noah Cyrus. Ah yes, another of the old tropes--"the late song switch". Commercial break.


They make yet another change to their performance, cutting out the instruments because Noah's not confident in his guitar playing. We're reminded that he's a father. Their duet name is "Kentucky Idol". I'm not sure I like this performance. Noah doesn't like his performance, either. He says he messed up. Luke seems to think it wasn't their best performance and they let it have a domino effect, but they're still in it--both of them. Next is the quirky duo of Tristen Gressett and Cameron Whitcomb, "Both Crazy" (they previously considered "Both Nuts", but decided it was too racy). They're doing "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?". I love them, though I think Cameron's voice will be polarizing. And then after starting off with a fairly straight cover, they launch into a fairly drastic upbeat remix before returning to the original for the very end. Lionel loves what they did, saying that they took themselves seriously this time. They're smack dab in the middle of the competition.


Kevin Gulage and Yoli Mayor are "Dysfunctional Duo", and they start out seemingly arguing before revealing that they're doing "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better". Luke mentions that he did that song at Lee County High School, and we roll the tape of a 19-year-old Luke Bryan. 19 in high school, huh? We see our next duet, but they haven't performed yet as of the commercial break and I've got my attention split by r/place.


Scarlet has gone missing--oh, check another one off the bingo! She comes back and tells Douglas that she separated herself so she could become her best self. They're singing "Rewrite the Stars", and they're both amazing and deserve to go through. It's a shame I didn't catch las names, because they've caught my attention. Cole Hallman and Cadence Baker are "'C' Major", and they're singing "How Sweet It Is to Be Loved By You". It's soulful and I like them both and think they deserve to go through, though if I had to pick just one, it'd be Cadence. They think Cole's overworked his voice, and that Cadence has backslid since auditions where Luke said she could be the winner. Cadence does continue while Cole goes home.


Next up are Christian Guardino and Nicolina, two contestants whose voices I love but I worry about their marketability. And apparently Christian has severe light sensitivity and needs to wear special sunglasses on stage. They're "Cantante Fuerte", Italian for "Sing Powerfully", and they're singing "The Prayer" by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion, honoring their Italian heritage and Nicolina's Canadian nationality. They get an ovation from the audience of fellow contestants before they're even done. Twice, with a third at the end. My words are honestly unnecessary after that. Lionel fakes them out with a metaphor about "in a duel, someone gets shot. With voices this powerful, it's about who cut through. *beat* You both cut through." Our last duet is Kelsie Dolan and Betty Maxwell, who are in many ways opposites--the former shy and lacking in confidence, the latter a former Miss America. They're singing "Just Give Me a Reason" by Pink and Nate Reuss. Betty wants to help Kelsie, but she's unsure if she can build Kelsie up in such a short time.


"I'm so glad Katy and Betty believe in me. I wish I could believe in myself a bit more". This is why we doubt Kelsie's long for this competition. Their duet name is "Mining For Peaches", But once again, when she's on stage, it doesn't show. I still think Kelsie's better, though they're both good. She did this last time, too; the mic was shaking in her hand, but when she's actually singing, I think she must be able to completely block it all out because she still sounds beautiful. Lionel admits that he wasn't sure if she'd be able to rise to the occasion because she was too scared. Both go through. And I don't think I actually saw anyone faint, like it looked like happened in the opening. Tomorrow is the Showstopper Round.

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