the first Idol Anal-ysis show of the 2011 Season. Joining me on my quest is
Mr. Jason Block, as well as the beloved Grandma Pepper. We'll be having some
special guests drop in from time to time...
CBS Television City
...but right now, we start with Clint Jun Gamboa, with 'Superstition'. Going
first in these things usually is not a good sign, and he may have reason to
The Good: He didn't pick a bad song to start with. It's a challenging piece
of music and the lyrics section is strong if that's what he focuses on.
The Bad: Unfortunately, he doesn't. I hated the edit of the song. There was
a lot of screaming of the lyrics up there - and the screaming wasn't in
tune. It was almost like he was running for the high screaming notes, lyrics
be damned. Jennifer said that he had some jitters, but it didn't affect his
vocals. I beg to differ.
The Jason: Not a good way to start as he mumbles the lyrics and looks like a
Harry Potter wannabe. He doesn't look like comfortable and is screaming up
there. The judges loved him but I didn't.
Grandma Pepper: Good kickoff! Keep it going.
The Verdict: If you're the first singer up, you have to give the voters a
reason to remember you. I don't think this performance is going to be good
enough to do that.
Jovany Barreto wants to escape the shipyard. He's hoping Edwin McCain's
'I'll Be' will help him do it.
The Good: I liked the runs when it was at the end of the song, and not the
beginning of it.
The Bad: When you have an end note, it has to go up in pitch, not down. When
The pitch, especially at the start of the song, was horrific enough to
shatter some hulls.
The Jason: This I liked. Not loved. It felt a little Vanilla to be.
Technically sound but needs to FEEL this a little more. Randy was spot on.
Grandma Pepper: I'm with Steven and Jennifer. I love Jovany.
The Verdict: I have to agree with Randy. It was very Karaoke and Jovany did
nothing with it. And for a first performance where potentially less than
half in the group will move on, I don't think his performance will be good
Jordan Dorsey was all over the place during Hollywood Week, and that's
attitude included. Can he redeem himself with 'OMG'?
The Good: ...if Usher needed a backup dancer, Jordan is available.
The Bad: And I say that because he's not going to be available for singing
performances on the show. The vocals were all over the place as he looking
like an over-caffeinated jumping bean and sounded like someone who had way
too much coffee. The title is a very good representation of the performance.
What? Was? That?
The Jason: OMG alright. This is a total bad KARAOKE version of the song. Way
over-enunciating his words. This is not looking good for the guys.
Grandma Pepper: Jordan has done and can do better. I'm hoping he will if the
voters allow him, but I don't think they will.
So grandma thinks he was terrible.
Grandma Pepper: I really don't want to say it the way that you're saying it.
I'm saying the same thing, but in a nicer way.
The Verdict: This is the first time that I truly miss Simon, because he
would have said something that would have accentuated the disaster that was
We get out first sit down interview with Tim Halperin, who thinks all of his
competitors are his brothers. Can he get his brothers behind his 'Street
The Good: He did show some life near the end of the song. I'd say the last
The Bad: The first 85%, however, he was a zombie. He needed some of the
caffeine thst Jordan had. This was a flat, emotionless performance that he
added absolutely nothing to. And that is the standard version of karaoke.
The Jason: Meh. Average. Didn't do anything for me.
Grandma Pepper: It's always unfortunate when a wrong song choice is made.
The Verdict: I really like his vocals, but I completely agree with the
judges. If this is the first time that America is listening to you, you're
in a lot of trouble.
Brett Loewenstern is the 'Green Apple' in the pile of red apples.
The Good: You know, I liked this. Maybe it's because it was original and
unique after listening to 5 mediocre performances. Or maybe it's because
I've run out of whatever Charlie Sheen is taking right before he addresses
The Bad: Pitch, pitch, pitch, pitch, pitch, pitch, pitch, pitch, and he
missed the second money note. And if he continues to do the hair sashays, he
could be a contestant for RuPaul's Drag Race if this whole Idol thing
doesn't work out.
The Jason: WTF is this? Is this a joke? While the judges loved him, I
I see him as the Sanjaya of 2011.
Grandma Pepper: The hair worked okay with the rendition. But I liked the
The Verdict: I'm going to completely disagree with Jason. This was the first
performance I actually liked. I thought the performance aspect was bizarre,
but if you closed your eyes and heard the vocals, it was the best
performance of the night. That being said, he has zero chance of advancing
without the judges help and I really hope this isn't the best performance of
the evening or Idol is going to be in a world of trouble.
James Durbin is going to be a rock star. We hope, because he's going to do
some Judas Priest.
The Good: He's got this 'Adam Lambert, but masculine' vibe going on. He
absolutely nails the money note in the middle of the song. It's a great song
choice, because no one's ever done it before and he did it well. And he got
some cursing from Steven Tyler, so if you got him to do it, that's a good
The Bad: I'm not going to rip James, but I will rip the background vocals,
which seemed to drop out while he was singing. So maybe we need to use his
tail and strangle the audio coordinator with it.
The Jason: This is the first person who showed stage presence, passion,
energy and potential to be the next American Idol! I sensed a lot of Adam
vocal style. And I liked him.
Grandma Pepper: Way to go James, and I'm sure the audience is going to
The Verdict: I think he's a lock to advance. There's no way he doesn't get
in, either by the judges or the fans - but I think the fans will put him in
No, Robbie Rosen is NOT the person who lost on the first question on
Millionaire (that's Robbie ROSEMAN), and he's looking to not duplicate that
feat with 'Angel' by Sarah McLachlan.
The Good: He's the first person to slow a song down and try to appeal to the
women in the audience. And for that he should get some kudos.
The Bad: But this song? You know how I feel about guys doing women songs.
And on this song, the vocal range is why - he clearly doesn't have the range
to hit this song. And without that, it doesn't matter how much emotion you
put into it - it sounds like a muddled mess.
The Jason: Nice take on the song. A few missed high notes, but he will have
time to grow. This kid has IT.
Grandma Pepper: I'm with Randy on this one. I hope Robby gets the vote he's
looking for because he has the vocal range, but he didn't do a good job.
The Verdict: I'm going to disagree with Jason again. Yuck. I hated this. If
he's the only person who sings in this genre, he's going to get in because
the women will vote for this. However, I agree with Randy that he could have
some problems on Thursday.
We're going to get our first country song of the night, care of Scotty McCreery. Can he bring us home with John Michael Montgomery's 'Letters From
The Good: Wow. Just wow. This is the best country voice ever on the show.
EVER. This is THE first person who put everything together - great look,
great song choice and great performance.
The Bad: I'm just chuckling evilly on what disasters are going to befall him
when he's stuck doing Disco Night. Mwa ha ha ha ha ha.
The Jason: Best pure voice in the competition. Wow what a bass and country
voice. Holy cow.
Grandma Pepper: Scotty is a joy to listen to.
The Verdict: It really doesn't matter how he does in the competition. This
kid is going to be a superstar. This could be your first male country winner
on American Idol.
Stefano Langone is going to be 'Amazing (Just the Way You Are)', we hope. Can he take the Bruno
Mars song and make it such?
The Good: I did like the song choice. It's very relevant and the vocal range
really shows off his voice. He also added a ton of emotion - something
that's been lacking in most of the competitors this evening.
The Bad: It was a picture perfect performance of a song with no changes
whatsoever, which means no originality. The only original part of the song
were the cringe-worthy high notes that made my ear drums want to puke.
The Jason: KARAOKE, but very good KARAOKE. The money notes were off....but I
Grandma Pepper: He's a vote getter for sure. He'll get in via the audience
or the judges.
The Verdict: This time, I agree with Jason. It was Karaoke, but good
Karaoke. He may have issues later on if he can't adjust to that, but he
should be able to make it to the next round.
Paul McDonald is ready to rock America with...'Maggie May'? Really?
The Good: It's not going to be Karaoke. And the jacket is nice.
The Bad: If Maggie May was listening to the warbly voice and off key runs he
puts in the song, she would have smacked him upside the head with her purse,
taken his wallet and stormed away from their picnic, with no chance of a
The Jason: And the good singing goes bye bye. His stage movement and bad
song choice send him packing.
Grandma Pepper: Paul's voice and his look should give him staying power.
The Verdict: I completely disagree with the judges. The character of his
personality doesn't overcome the light performance that he had. However, the
judges could sneak him in as a Wild Card as they completely saw a different
performance than I did. The other factor: Paul was the lead singer of
Hightide Blues / The Great Magnolias, so he's got a fan base that will put
him in, and if they don't, the judges probably will, regardless of what I
Jacob Lusk is an emotional, powerful human being. He's going to make you
submit to 'A House is Not A Home'. Don't even bother to say anything bad
about his performance. Just submit to the music and performance that is
The Good: Yeah, it's an emotional powerful performance. But what I liked the
best was that he wasn't screaming out the notes. He also nailed the song
from a technical standpoint, and that has to concern a lot of contenders
The Bad: The beginining of the song didn't sound like a house. It sounded
like the bottom of a swimming pool, as the vocals sounded like he was
singing underwater. He needs to be really careful about that later on.
The Jason: Incredibly soulful and what Jordan Dorsey dreams he will be.
Passion, energy and presence. A force to be reckoned with.
Grandma Pepper: Unique is the word for Jacob. That was truly great.
The Verdict: The scary thing is it sounded like he was restrained. Just wait
until Mr. Iovine refines what he can do. He's going to be a major player in
Finally, we have Casey Abrams, who wants to do something that hasn't
previously been done. Hopefully, it won't be bombing from the last spot in
The Good: I liked the choice of song, for a number of reasons. It's
completely different from what anyone else has done and it has a huge vocal
range to it. And he's got that Galifanakis look that the ladies will adore.
The Bad: He completely over-performs the song and completely underperforms
(or forgets) the lyrics.
The Jason: Forced, and over the top....too much. Not a good way to end it.
Grandma Pepper: That performance by Casey will keep him around. it will be
interesting to see who the votes bring in. This is a good group.
The Verdict: I think his performance is going to bail him out on this one.
But I have a sinking feeling that THIS could be the Sanjaya 2011 of Idol if
the judges or audience are silly enough to let him through.
Overall: This was not the worst Idol performances I have seen. You did have
a handful of really good performances - which is good, because we're only
allowing 5 people to go through. I thought there were only good 5
performances, so that's going to fit.
LOCKS: James Durbin, Scotty McCreery, Stefano Langone, Jacob Lusk
JUDGES CHOICES: Casey Abrams, Paul McDonald, Brett Loewenstern, Robbie Rosen
SEE YA: Jovany Barretto, Clint Jun Gamboa, Jordan Dorsey, Tim Halperin,
The Jason: IN - James Durbin, Robbie Rosen, Jacob Lusk, Scotty McCreery, and
WILD CARD POTENTIAL- Jovany Barreto, Jordan Dorsey, Tim Halperin,
Grandma Pepper: In: Scotty, Paul, James, Jacob, Casey