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The Buzz with CCX - Season 20 Episode 9


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One of my brother-in-law's homebrews. Okay, so the Top 24 is revealed tonight. I thought as much. They're in Malibu for this; I heard that this time the Hawaii round is the Top 24 itself. They advertise "some new twists", and then show Katy asking two contestants to have a singoff which is the farthest thing possible from "new". Leah Marlene is the first to receive the judgment, or the first to have their judgment shown (we know full well they show these out of order), and she's in full rocker mode for some reason--she mentions her dad being in an 80s rock band called "Honeymoon Suite". Katy gives her the usual fake-out, though it's not executed nearly as well. Next is Jay, one of our three Platinum Ticket winners. Is there a chance that a Platinum Ticket winner will miss out on being put before the public? I doubt it. I always found it annoying when the judges call someone "potential Top Ten", because if the judges want it enough, they can force someone to be Top Ten. The American public doesn't get a chance to vote until one round before the Top Ten and there are judges' wild cards in that round! He's singing Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts", and he deserves to advance again. They cut to commercial before giving him his proper judgment, though it ends sounding like a no.

 

It's a yes, this time done in proper fashion. Nicolina's up third, doing "Rolling In the Deep". I'm amazed; at one of the beltiest moments, she decided to go ballad. They tell her "No need to sit down; you're going to the Top 24". Well that was nice of them. Ryleigh Madison and Emyrson Flora are coming in together, so they're probably going to have to sing off. The latter is shown first, doing Kehlani's "Honey". Ryleigh goes with "Blue" by LeAnn Rimes--if they are indeed going head-to-head, my vote's with Ryleigh. They're both 16, and apparently one of them is more developed than the other, and they choose...Emyrson.

 

Katyrah Love is carrying around a microphone and pretending to be a news reporter. She sings "Sweet Thing" by Rufus and Chaka Kahn. She admits her voice is a little iffy and she's not sure if she'll hit the high note. I do feel like she's not right for this show. I'm not going to say she's bad; I think this year, they weeded out all the bad ones early. But she's probably not going to go far if she does advance. Which she does. Wait, Ryan, "sings for your votes next week"? Are we actually voting on the Top 24 this time? Fritz Hager is up next, singing "Inconsequential Love", by Fritz Hager. Singing an original in the Showstopper Round, could be risky but the payoff is high. I like him. He's already in tears before even getting his results; he doesn't want to go home. Katy says there have been a few people who did originals on Showstoppers and says that "7 out of 10 times it doesn't pay off". But of course, we don't see those, do we? Then Katy gets him with the good fake-out. "We didn't put you in the Top 24. You put yourself in the Top 24." Jacob Moran, who made Hollywood in a previous season, and Allegra Miles are both also bound for the Top 24. We hear the former's song but not the latter's, which means one of three things: they don't have clearance to show it (yes, that's presumably still an issue), they put her through in spite of her Showstopper performance rather than because of it and want to protect her from having a poor performance shown (as happened in Season 16 with eventual winner Maddie Poppe), or she's meant to be Top 24 fodder.

 

Cameron Whitcomb and Ava Maybee hit it off in Hollywood. Cameron said "How are you doing" and Ava said he talked stupid and he responded that she looked stupid. The latter is singing "Falling Again" by Harry Styles. The former's singing "It Ain't Me Babe" by Bob Dylan. I think Cam's going home and Ava's advancing. Katy thinks he's too fidgety, and isn't sure if he'd put in the 10,000 hours, and then says he's not making the Top 25...but there is no "Top 25", there's a Top 24, and he's in it. Damnit, judges! Ava's also going in alongside someone else, namely fellow hair-dye advocate Yoli Mayor, who sang "Human" by rum.gold...never heard of them. And here's our sing-off. Ava's going first, singing "Roxanne" by the Police. It's not bad, but not great; then again, I'm not necessarily expecting the best performances because it's so sudden. But then Yoli does "Honey", and it does sound good. The judges send them out so they can discuss. Katy says Ava's more marketable; Lionel says from that display, he liked Yoli...they call them back in. Luke says this is the first time they've done that before in real time...I don't think that's true, unless previous "sing-offs" were just for show and they'd already made up their minds. Ava advances and Yoli goes home. Also leaving are Douglas Mills Jr., Sam Moss, and Betty Maxwell...no, Sam!

 

Sir Blayke is the next to get his judgment. I want him to advance. He says "Nobody should treat themselves like I treated myself." He's singing "Honesty" by Pink Sweat$; never heard of that artist, either. It's a little..."safe", I'd call it? No mistakes, but no wow factor. Katy trolling again, eliminating him from the Top 59 and putting him in the Top 24. Ellie Rowe and Mike Parker are also in the Top 24, without the Showstopper shown. Ryan's voiceover says that a lot of contestants are wondering if they did enough, but 17-year-old Tristen Gressett is wondering if he did too much. He's singing "Come Together" with a bright red electric guitar. I think it's perfect; he looks like a rock star, sounds like a rock star, commands the stage like a rock star, and the later-era Beatles songs are perfect for his weirdness. He goes through. Instant favorite for me. I'm going to say this right up front; normally I tend to gravitate towards the female contestants. Yes, I'm a straight male, and the dominance of white males on this show is attributed to straight female voters, but I don't think that that's necessarily the reason. But this year, there will surely be female contestants I like as well, but I think my #1 is going to be a guy, because Tristen is just so crazy. I wish I could've carried myself with that much swagger when I was 17.

 

Montage of "judges think they chose the wrong song". Christian Guardino is singing "Sex On Fire" by Kings of Leon. A production assistant asks him what the song's about, and he sputters about how to say it in a proper manner before eventually just saying it's about sex. F***ing banger. I think he did it justice, too. Meanwhile, Dontrell Briggs is performing "Hello" by Lionel Richie, and it's also amazing. Christian goes through to the Top 24, but Dontrell doesn't. Noah Thompson is stepping outside the box...he's doing "Stay" by Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko. It's a mistake in my opinion, but it turns out that the judges are pulling out the fake-out card yet again. They do it with nearly every contestant that isn't being brought in with an actual no voter! Maybe it's to test their resilience, because as Lionel says frequently, you've got to hear a lot of noes before you hear a yes.

 

Cadence Baker is singing Brandi Carlile's "The Story". I think she was the one that I thought last night would be one of my favorites? This was just so-so. Katy says lately when she's been coming on stage, there's been fear in her face. One of the tamer fake-outs this time as she goes through. Speaking of fear, we haven't seen Kelsie Dolin yet...oh, wait, here she is. I swear I started typing that before they showed her. Oh, wow, yeah, there's a real audience here! She's singing "Before You Go" by Lewis Capaldi, wonderful as always. But she is going home. Next is Huntergirl singing "Girl Goin' Nowhere". Luke confirms what Ryan suggested: "It's up to America now". When's the last time that many contestants came before America's votes? The only time we got to vote before Top 14 in the ABC era was kind of an emergency situation in Season 18, and Season 15 had contestants auto-advanced to the Top 10 before America got to vote on them, so...Season 14, I think? And before that, Season 11?

 

Sage and Danielle Finn The latter is singing "Evergreen" by Yebba. Never heard it. Katy says it was her worst performance Sage is singing "I Hate It" by Tenile Arts; likewise, never heard of the artist. Katy says they've been bringing in pairs all night, and one of them has to go home...and it's yet another fake out, as they both advance! Jordan Chase is up next, and we're reminded that he was Kenedi Anderson's pick for duets. He sings "Cold" by Chris Stapleton. It seems good, but he's sent home; they show Kenedi being sad about this. And now it's Kenedi's turn; she sings "Talking to the Moon" by Bruno Mars. She says backstage that she "got friendzoned by the guy she was talking to a couple days ago", so I guess yeah, they're not even pretending that she's not into Jordan. They also don't bother messing with Kenedi, telling her straightforward that it's in America's hands now and they've gotten her as far as they can. Oh, well done, producers, you're back in Season 8 form! And given that she evidently featured enough in commercials for the season that my mom recognized her before her audition even aired, and was looking forward to it, it's obviously worked. Listen, after the rough audition, I do think that Kenedi has stepped it up. But could the producers be any more blatant that they want her to be the winner?

 

Scarlet (no last name given) is up next; we're reminded she struggled in her duet round alongside Douglas, who was already eliminated this round. She's singing "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette, and WOW! She's got the voice, but more importantly, she's GOT the STAGE PRESENCE! Girl was down on all fours looking animalistic out on the stage. Katy says she's got the Eye of the Tiger and because of her stage routine I'm going to call that a pun. She's in the Top 24. She won't scream because she'll blow out her vocal cords, so she asks to hug them. Then she goes out and celebrates by doing the worm. Lady K singing an Etta James song; sounds good to me. Classics are classics for a reason. She goes through...I think. Short attention span.

 

Dakota Hayden and Dan Marshall are our last two contestants competing for one spot. Remember, there were 59 contestants coming into this round and they squeezed this into one episode when normally they're at 40 and stretch it over two. They're just trying to trim as much as possible, aren't they? As always, when two contestants are mentioned together, the one mentioned second gets their performance shown first. Dan's singing Hard Workin' Man by Brooks & Dunn. Dakota sings "Pretty Heart" by Parker McCollum. We're getting a sing-off. Dakota's up first, and it doesn't sound good. Dan's up second, and he's much better; I think he should be the one advancing. The judges make the right choice and put Dan through. Can't wait for the voting.

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