American Idol XIV – Live Blog and Recap – Showcase No. 2 – Top 24 Revealed (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for American Idol 14, “Showcase No. 2”! The search continues for the next American Idol! Tonight, the remaining Top 48 contestants perform at the House of Blues, as the final names are announced for the Top 24!
Before we get started, let’s recap where we’re at.
The contestants who advanced last night: Michael Simeon, Loren Lott, Adam Ezegelian, Lovey James, Adanna Duru, Maddie Walker, Clark Beckham, Daniel Seavey, Tyanna Jones, Rayvon Owen, Shannon Berthiaume, Jax
The contestants eliminated last night: Cody Fry, Hector Montenegro, J. None, Reno Anoa’i, Zack Kaltenbach, Hannah Mrozak, Rachael Hallack
The remaining contestants waiting to hear their fates tonight: Alexis Gomez, Ellen Petersen, Emily Brooke, Erica Washington, Erika Davis, Hunter Larsen, Jaq Mackenzie, Jelly Joseph, Joey Cook, Kalynne Schoelen (aka Kalynne Michelle), Katherine Winston, Lovey James, Maddie Walker, Maddy Hudson, Monica Mendoza, Najah Lewis, Nalani Quintello, Sarina-Joi Crowe, Shi Scott, Hollywood Anderson, Josh Sanders, Mark Andrew, Michael Simeon, Casey Thrasher, Nick Fradiani, Qaasim Middleton, Quentin Alexander, Ricky Hendricks, Riley Bria, Savion Wright, Tion Phipps, Trevor Douglas
Who will advance, and who will have their American Idol dreams come to an end?
Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be updating the post with live, running commentary and analysis, along with videos of tonight’s proceedings.
Let’s get this show on the road!
-We kick things off immediately as JOSH SANDERS is eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL XIV! I suppose it’s just as well, since we haven’t really seen much or any of him this season. We also have a lot of eliminations to get through in just one hour.
-We pick up where last night’s show left off, as Hollywood Anderson comes in to find out his fate. His House of Blues performance was another Adele song rendered into something completely unrecognizable. Seriously, why even do “Hometown Glory” if that’s what you’re going to do with it?
-Hollywood is expecting good news from J-Lo’s smile to see him, but it’s about as far from good news as you can get.
HOLLYWOOD ANDERSON is eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL XIV!
-Hollywood fights tears as he says he’s only here because someone believed in him. He thanks the judges for seeing him for who he is, and they encourage him to keep writing. He breaks down as he heads back to the holding room. The other contestants are upset to see him go, particularly Joey Cook, who is getting more and more worried about her chances as she sees more people get eliminated.
-Joey sang “Sweet Pea” by Amos Lee, and I ADORE THIS. Seriously, I thought this was just the perfect song for her, and it was played with such wonderful aplomb. Her stage presence and tone on the song were perfect. With an indie-type contestant like this, you tend to get a personality who’s a bit aloof and above it all, but Joey has such an infectious enthusiasm about performing, and about being in this competition, that I can’t help but root for her.
-In comparing apples to oranges, the judges say that we all need a kiwi in the fruit salad, and so Joey will be that unique little kiwi. It’s a bit of a tortured metaphor, but I don’t even care. I’m too busy celebrating.
JOEY COOK is through to the Top 24!
-YES! She completely falls to pieces in celebration, mouthing out an “I did it” when she gets back to the holding room. I couldn’t be more happy with this decision.
-Katherine stresses she has no backup plan, and says if this doesn’t work out, she’ll have to wait tables for a while. Her performance of “Rhiannon” at the House of Blues sounds pretty terrific. She’s been great literally every time we’ve seen her. She’s one of the most consistent performers in the competition, and I’d be stunned if she didn’t get through.
-And, sure enough, J-Lo says that each time they’ve seen Katherine, something magical has happened. And so they’d love for her to join them at the live shows.
KATHERINE WINSTON is through to the Top 24!
-I love this choice. She reminds me a bit of Kelly Clarkson, in that she’s not an obvious frontrunner at this stage, but she’s been good every time we’ve seen her. I’m not necessarily saying she’ll go far, but I’d watch out for her.
-Maddy talks about how she’s used to nerves, as a street performer, but she isn’t so used to performing onstage. And it’s apparent from how awkward she is on the stage while performing “Diamonds” by Rihanna at the House of Blues.
-J-Lo says she’s a great performer, and was considered a frontrunner. However, they think she needs a little more time to develop confidence onstage. So it’s a no…
MADDY HUDSON is eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL XIV!
-Maddy says that it’s hard not to be pessimistic in a time like this. She admits that while now isn’t her time, that doesn’t mean her time won’t come. I’ll miss her, but this was the right call.
ALEXIS GOMEZ and QUENTIN ALEXANDER
-Alexis took J-Lo’s advice and added a little Latin flair into her performance of The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two,” singing some of the lyrics in Spanish. Quentin, meanwhile, performs a really solid version of “Youth” by Foxes. I think it’s his best performance of the competition so far.
-The judges praise Quentin on his risk-taking, and we then see a clip of them doing the same for Alexis. So the result is fairly obvious…
ALEXIS GOMEZ and QUENTIN ALEXANDER are through to the Top 24!
-They’re both solid talents, and I could easily see Alexis making the Top 12, although I’m worried for Quentin. I like him a lot, but I don’t know if America is going to put him through.
-Savion is nervous but positive. He’s learned a lot since last year, and it’s evident that he’s grown a lot as a performer as well. He sang “I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)” by John Mayer, and yeah, there’s no way he doesn’t get through. And I would say that even if I hadn’t seen the “tomorrow night on American Idol” promo last night, in which Savion is seen in this exact outfit, celebrating like a madman in front of the judges.
-Keith talks in hypotheticals about whether or not Savion is ready for the challenge of this competition. Aaaaand…they think he is.
SAVION WRIGHT is through to the Top 24!
-He leaps from his seat and starts running laps around the little platform before rushing out to greet his family in triumph. You know, cutting him probably was the right call last year, because he’s grown exponentially as a talent in the year since he was last here, and I think he has a better shot of going far this season than he did last.
-In a quick montage, we learn that JAQ MACKENZIE and HUNTER LARSEN are eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL XIV! I’m super upset to see both go, since I really liked Jaq and thought Hunter had heaps of potential. But we don’t see their performances, so I don’t really know how they did to gauge whether the judges are wrong for cutting them or not.
-Mark is already in tears, anxious with worry about whether he’ll make it through or not, since — at age 29 — this is his last shot. He stresses that music is his life, and he wants to make a career doing it. That said, he adds that he’s had a lot of setbacks and No’s in his life, so he could really use a yes right now.
-The judges don’t mince words. Harry straight-up tells him, “You’re in, bro.”
MARK ANDREW is through to the Top 24!
-Given how emotional he was in the holding room, you’d think there’d have been a bigger explosion of sentiment, but Mark mostly just smiles and laughs. I’m guessing his reaction was entirely internal, because it’s clear how much this means to him. I’m glad he made it through, since he has a hell of a voice.
-Trevor talks about being a science geek, and we get a brief recap of his time in the competition. He’s still my pick to win this thing, since he really ticks off all the right boxes for the type of person who’s been winning this show in recent years. However, he goes a bit unconventional with his song choice at the House of Blues, singing “Hunka Hunka Burning Love,” a song I’d have never picked for him, especially if he’s going to do an Elvis song. It’s alright, but far from his best performance.
-J-Lo asks again if he’s really 16, and Trevor says he’s almost 17. Harry says that while Trevor is talented, he didn’t think his vocals were up to par at the House of Blues. He isn’t sure if they should take someone who’s young and somewhat inconsistent. But there’s just something about him, so…
TREVOR DOUGLAS is through to the Top 24!
-He’s happy to make it through, and his mother is proud of him, but she reminds him how much homework he’s going to have when he gets home.
-Emily talks about how long she’s been doing this, and how badly she wants to make a career of this. At the House of Blues, she does a really solid rendition of “Stupid Boy” by Keith Urban, and if we’re looking for blonde country singers, I find her leagues better than Maddie Walker.
-The judges cut right through to it…
EMILY BROOKE is eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL XIV!
-Emily is disappointed, but J-Lo reminds her that she’s only 15, and is still young enough to keep working at this.
-Meanwhile, this is Nick’s last shot at making it to live shows. We only get a brief clip of his version of “Drops of Jupiter” by Train, and while it’s not perfect, I do love the tone of his voice. There’s a ruggedness that matches his look, but it’s never rough. His voice is pop rock but with hints of soul.
NICK FRADIANI is through to the Top 24!
-And now we’ve only got a handful of spots left, and way more people to get to.
SARINA-JOI CROWE and QAASIM MIDDLETON
-We return from break in the middle of an outstanding vocal from Sarina-Joi Crowe, who’s never actually made it past this final judgment in any of the previous three times she’s auditioned. She sings “Big White Room” by Jessie J, and it’s one of my favorite vocals of the Final Judgment round. It’s outstanding.
-Harry says they need to find the best singers to represent each genre, and Sarina is one of those singers…
SARINA-JOI CROWE is through to the Top 24!
-Sarina loses it, finally letting four years of struggle out. She even throws in a twirl, like she promised she would. A great decision by the judges.
-Meanwhile, Qaasim is wearing gold sneakers, and looking like a million bucks from head to toe for his performance at the House of Blues. He sang “Satisfaction” by Allen Stone, and it’s amazing! It’s not only vocally on-point, it’s a full-scale show. He dances, he makes full use of the minimal stage space, even dodging from one end of the stage to the other and doing a slide on his knees. An awesome, awesome performance.
-J-Lo asks if Brooklyn is in the house, and Qaasim assures that it is. J-Lo then lets him know the good news…
QAASIM MIDDLETON is through to the Top 24!
-Qaasim celebrates as his family sings and stomps a song for him. I love that entire family.
RILEY BRIA and RICKY DALE HENDRICKS
-We see their House of Blues performances, as Ricky sang “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Keith Whitley, sounding for all the world like Scotty McCreery. I didn’t catch Riley’s song in time, but I thought he sounded leagues better than Ricky. I can’t see why Ricky would get chosen over Riley, even though they’re both good singers.
-The judges come to their decision, this time without a sing-off!
RILEY BRIA is through to the Top 24!
RICKY DALE HENDRICKS is eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL XIV!
-In a bit of a heartwarming moment, Ricky says if there’s anyone he could have to represent country other than himself, it’d be Riley. Seriously, what a good guy. He vows this won’t be the last you see of him, and I hope he’s right.
-And with that, all the male spots are spoken for. The Top 12 males are: Savion Wright, Mark Andrew, Trevor Douglas, Qaasim Middleton, Riley Bria, Rayvon Owen, Daniel Seavey, Nick Fradiani, Quentin Alexander, Adam Ezegelian, Michael Simeon, and Clark Beckham. If you want to know what they’ll be singing next week, check out the song spoilers for the Top 12 Guys!
SHI SCOTT and JELLY JOSEPH
-Only one spot left in the Top 24. Jelly sang “Bang Bang,” and I think she shows a lot of fire and stage presence, even if this wasn’t my favorite vocal of hers. She’s got style and diva cred, to the point where I think this competition needs her. Shi, meanwhile, sang “Higher Ground,” resulting in one of her better vocals of the competition, mostly because she’s not really emulating anyone. She feels like her own artist, for once. She breaks down backstage after the performance, hardly able to believe she got to perform at the House of Blues with her dad in the audience. Her father embraces her backstage, and as we go into the Final Judgment, we’re reminded just how confident both women are about their final performance.
-Jelly thanks the judges for giving her this shot, and Harry says it means the world to him that Jelly represented his city so well. Meanwhile, Shi tells the judges how nervous she was, to such an extent that she didn’t even look at the judges. We cut away before the result is revealed, as Jelly looks ecstatic, and Shi is in tears. But it’s a double bluff!
JELLY JOSEPH is eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL XIV!
SHI SCOTT is through to the Top 24!
-Jelly has a great attitude about her elimination, saying how happy she was for the chance, and how America got to see her. Meanwhile, Shi hugs her father, who congratulates her in a truly touching moment.
-And that’s a wrap, as we finally see (and hear) the Top 24 in the “Feeling Good” video, but with their identities now revealed. In order, the Top 24 are…
It wasn’t until I saw all those names and faces in that ending video that I came to the realization…this is an INSANELY talented group of finalists. In fact, I have no idea how they’re going to narrow it down to 12. It really is going to depend on how they do in next week’s live show.
But what did you think? Did the judges make the right choices? And which singers do you think will advance to the Top 12? Sound off in the comments! Until next week, thanks for reading!