American Idol XIV Top 12 Revealed + Performance Recap (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for American Idol XIV, “Top 12 Revealed”! Tonight, we learn which 10 singers have advanced based on America’s vote, and which two eliminated singers will be rescued as the judges’ Wildcards!
But which 10 singers will be guaranteed a spot in the Top 12 based on America’s vote?
In order from most likely to least, Rickey.org readers predict that the five guys who will advance to the Top 12 will be Clark Beckham, Rayvon Owen, Nick Fradiani, Quentin Alexander and Qaasim Middleton. Meanwhile, our readers predict that the five girls who will advance to the Top 10 are Jax, Sarina-Joi Crowe, Tyanna Jones, Adanna Duru and Joey Cook. Will the readers be right?
Yes, I know the spoilers are out, but let’s try and keep this post spoiler-free. Anyway, the 16 singers hoping for a spot in the Top 12 are…
Be sure to keep it locked right here, as I’ll be updating the post with live, running commentary and analysis, along with videos of tonight’s performances.
Let’s get this show on the road!
-Ryan Seacrest is out, abandoning his casual look for the dapper emcee style that lets you know he means business. He intros the judges, and I swear, J-Lo is wearing the shortest damn skirt in the history of hemlines. Okay, that’s hyperbole, but not by much. Anyway, tonight’s theme is Audition Songs, so the Top 12 will be reprising the songs that got them to Hollywood.
Onto the results, as Ryan reveals Result #1: SARINA-JOI CROWE IS IN THE TOP 12!
-We don’t even get a pre-performance package, but given that this is only an hour-long show, I can see why. Sarina looks shocked to have made it through, and I guess having failed three times before, she might not have expected to get through. That said, I have no idea how she could have doubted her spot in the Top 12.
-Sarina sings her audition song, “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic, and it’s nowhere near as good as her audition. I mean, yeah, it’s still decent, but I thought she was all over the map with this. However, I chalk it up to the rush of adrenaline from making it through, coupled with nerves and lack of breath from having to go from the stools to the stage. Seriously, they rushed her like crazy.
-Keith warns Sarina about pitch, and J-Lo agrees, although they’re both ecstatic for Sarina. The general opinion seems to be that Sarina was a bit breathless from making her way from the stools to the stage. Harry opts not to get on Sarina’s case about intonation, simply saying he thinks this is going to be a really good competition with her here. I agree.
-We get Result #2: RAYVON OWEN IS IN THE TOP 12!
-Not a big surprise, but I jumped out of my seat just the same. I love Rayvon, and I’m excited to have him in the Top 12. Granted, probably not as excited as Rayvon appears to be.
-Rayvon immediately launches into his encore rendition of “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry, and while I still preferred the audition version due to its intimacy, I can’t front on his vocals here. This was insanely impressive, owing largely to a killer, drawn-out note towards the end. His voice has such a powerful, rich tone, but with an underlying tenderness that makes him somewhat versatile. Once again, dude totally reminds me of Jussie Smollett on Empire. And since Jamal is one of my favorite characters on that show, that should say a lot about how much I love Rayvon. I’m so stoked he made it through.
-J-Lo loves how Rayvon keeps his voice in shape, while Harry is impressed at how good Rayvon sounds when he’s only been singing a little bit. He shudders to think how good Rayvon will be when he’s been singing a lot. Meanwhile, Keith keeps it short by praising Rayvon for making the Top 12.
-We return from break with a video package on Scott Borchetta, which features everyone from Tim McGraw to Reba McIntyre and The Band Perry talking about what a legend he is, and how he’s the very best in this business. Steven Tyler looks about a thousand years old in this package, in a rare instance of a goatee making a dude look ancient.
-Ryan reveals Result #3: DANIEL SEAVEY IS IN THE TOP 12!
-I stand by my assessment that Daniel is just not ready for this yet. But I’m interested to see him give this a try, if only because other younger contestants have proven me wrong in the past (Aaron Kelly, Kevin Covais — what, I liked Kevin Covais!).
-Daniel reprises “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul. This was okay for about the first half, but he seems absolutely terrified the entire time, and it sort of falls apart at the mid-way point. He loses his place in the song and struggles to recover. His voice just isn’t there for this, although it tries like hell to make it land. I sincerely doubt he’s going anywhere. Hell, if anything, his fans will vote harder for him after this, because if he were just about anyone else, he’d be in trouble after a performance like that.
-Harry says that Daniel has been good in the past, but his inexperience is really showing through here. Keith feels if Daniel can just find an emotional song, he’ll knock it out of the ballpark. J-Lo agrees, and thinks he’s a better performer than that. I agree, but it wasn’t in evidence here.
-We keep the show moving as Ryan reveals Result #4: MADDIE WALKER IS IN THE TOP 12!
-I wasn’t thrilled about her soaring through, since I’m kind of over the dominance of country music on these singing shows. But Maddie is likely going to be the only contestant in the finals this year that’s even remotely country, so I don’t really mind. It helps that she has crossover potential, since her voice is fairly diverse. At least, I think so.
-Maddie sings “Suitcase” by Gwen Sebastian, and I liked this far more than I expected I would. Not because I don’t like Maddie, because I do. But I just thought this theme would prevent her from really showing all of her range, since she was locked into a fairly one-note song. Actually, “one-note” is a bit unfair to the song. It’s not bad, but it’s just not the kind of song I’d pick for a singing competition. But Maddie pulled it off well, and added her signature country vibe to it without having to alter the arrangement completely.
-Keith likes Maddie’s song choice, even though it’s a song not a lot of people know. J-Lo liked it, but feels Maddie might have been focusing a little too much on her technique and not enough on the emotion. Harry agrees, and thinks if she loosens up, Maddie will be one to look out for.
-Back from break as Ryan interviews Caitlin Doubleday and Trai Byers from Empire about what it’s like being on the No. 1 show in America. He then throws shade at Idol by saying he remembers what it used to be like to be No. 1. Don’t we all, Ryan. Don’t we all.
-Speaking of Ryan, he reveals Result #5: TYANNA JONES IS IN THE TOP 12!
-I’ve been back and forth on her, but I’m honestly thrilled Tyanna is here, since I think this competition needs someone like her. She’s not just a great singer, she’s a consummate performer, like a version of Qaasim Middleton that can actually maintain her vocal while dancing around onstage.
-Tyanna delivers the first audition reprise of the night so far that I think is better than the original audition. I liked her version of “Wings” by Little Mix before, but this surpassed the first version. She works the stage like an absolute pro, and the way her voice just mixes with the band is perfect. This is my favorite performance of the night so far.
-More than her voice, J-Lo is impressed with Tyanna’s composure onstage. Harry feels the same way, while Keith adds that if you look like a star, act like a star, and sing like a star, then you’re a star. And Tyanna is a star. It becomes really clear how the editing helps keep the show moving, since the judges are cut short at nearly every turn, to maybe 5-10 seconds of critique, tops. I like it though, because we can’t have another person like Mariah Carey who talks forever.
-Ryan reveals Result #6: NICK FRADIANI IS IN THE TOP 12!
-YES! Nicks of the world unite! I think this is the first Nick to make this stage of the competition in Idol history. But yeah, I’m really glad he’s going to be here for the competition, because he’s one of the most polished performers in this entire lineup.
-Nick sings “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, and I didn’t think there was a single bum note in the entire performance. I love his voice on this song, and I think it was perfect for him. Seriously. Even if audition songs hadn’t been the theme, I think it would have been smart for Nick to reprise this anyway, considering this is Nick’s chance to put his best foot forward.
-Harry feels that while Nick is twice as old as some of the people he’s competing against, he feels Nick brings a lot of experience to his performances. Keith likes Nick a lot and wishes he’d believe in himself a bit more. J-Lo seems to agree, saying she wishes he’d pick songs that emphasize all the best parts of his voice.
-Back from break, as Ryan reveals Result #7: JAX IS IN THE TOP 12!
-This was a total no-brainer. A Top 12 without Jax would be no Top 12 at all. She’s one of the frontrunners right now, like a more mainstream Angie Miller (to be clear, I quite liked Angie Miller).
-Jax sings “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” at the piano, and about halfway through, the tempo picks up. I have absolutely no idea why though, because I think it was a gorgeous rendition when it was just the stripped-back arrangement. This band has a habit of kicking in tempo where it doesn’t belong. That said, I really can’t front on this performance. Jax has a gorgeous voice, and plenty of stage presence to go along with it. I don’t think she’s faltered once since this competition began, and I’m excited to see her continue in this competition. She simply HAD to make it through.
-The judges are once again edited down to virtually nothing. Keith wishes Jax had stayed at the piano, but loved her regardless. J-Lo agrees, and is glad to have Jax here. Harry, meanwhile, basically thinks she’s a great addition to the Top 12, as it becomes clear that this is really quite the lineup. Seriously, even if you don’t agree with some of the picks so far, this is easily a better group of talent than some past years.
-Ryan reveals Result #8: QAASIM MIDDLETON IS IN THE TOP 12!
-Qaasim! I may have ragged on him a bit during Tyanna’s performance, but I do believe he’s someone who NEEDED to get through for this season to be any fun at all. He’s so lively and energetic that I just can’t get enough.
-Qaasim reprises “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder, and did anyone else wish he would have just kept the cooler piano vibe? It was Jax’s performance all over again. With that said, he delievered one hell of a show once the tempo picked up, dancing his ass off and working the hell out of the stage. I do wish he’d focus a bit more on his vocals, but I think Qaasim is one of the most exciting contestants of this season. His beatboxing alone was enough to wake me the hell up.
-Keith and J-Lo love Qaasim’s energy, but Harry is worried that Qaasim is getting a bit carried away. He wants to see if Qaasim can deliver a performance that isn’t just a huge explosion of energy and showmanship. I get what he’s saying, although I feel like if Qaasim had kept it low-key, Harry might have ragged on him for not being lively enough. I mean, he might not have, but it just feels like something that would have probably happened.
-Ryan reveals Result #9 after we return from break: CLARK BECKHAM IS IN THE TOP 12!
-Another no-brainer. He’s one of the best pure vocalists of the competition, and although he’s had a few stumbles here and there, I think he’s one of the frontrunners in this competition.
-Clark delivers a stellar rendition of “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” by James Brown. His voice here is arguably better than it’s ever been, outside of his version of “Georgia On My Mind”. I think Clark is an old soul who has a lot to offer the music industry, even if his mainstream appeal might not be immediately apparent. Dude just has something special about him.
-Harry says it’s quite the accomplishment for Clark to make him forget about the chauvinistic undertones of the song. Keith adds, “But he says it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman!” J-Lo settles the non-argument by calling it the vocal of the night. And I agree 100%. It’s going to be tough for anyone to top this. Hell, it’s going to be hard to top Clark, period, as this competition rolls on. I think he just ticks all the right boxes for a contestant in this competition.
-Ryan reveals the tenth and final singer to make it through to the Top 12 on America’s vote. Result #10: JOEY COOK IS IN THE TOP 12!
-YES! YES! YES! Seriously, I could take or leave just about anyone else, but I NEEDED Joey in this competition, personally. She’s the frosting on the cupcake, for me.
-Joey sings “King of Spain” by The Tallest Man on Earth, and this is another audition reprisal that I found to be better than the audition. Her voice sounds lovely in the acoustics of the building, and she delivers a take that’s different from her audition with her ukulele (or is it a mandolin? I know little and less about instruments). I think it’s alluring how easily she gets lost in the feeling of a song. It makes her compelling to watch, even if some of her performances feel kind of insular. Hopefully, she opens up more as the competition rolls on.
-Keith is surprised that Joey is shocked to make the Top 12. J-Lo says she was wondering how Joey’s cutesy style would work on the big stage, and notes that it was one of Joey’s best performances. Harry agrees, saying Joey really delivered and earned her spot up there. As she heads backstage, Joey spikes her hat like a football and breaks into tears when she embraces the rest of the Top 10. Adorable.
-Back from break as J-Lo reveals their first Wildcard pick…QUENTIN ALEXANDER IS IN THE TOP 12 AS A WILDCARD!
-I’ve been iffy on Quentin in the past, but I think he’s a real underdog in this competition. He’s got a lot of natural artistry and musicianship in the choices he makes vocally, and the things he does to arrangements, making it his own while preserving the melody (his “Riptide” during Hollywood Week was weird but great).
-Quentin sings “Royals” by Lorde, and you know what? I think this was the performance of the night. It wasn’t perfect, but it was filled with passion and vibrancy. He gets so wrapped up in the song that he can barely finish it, since he’s in tears. There’s this great, ethereal quality to the arrangement, and Quentin was able to deliver a soulful, otherworldly take on a song just about everyone knows.
-J-Lo says that Quentin deserves to be here, and that he’s bringing tears to everyone’s eyes. Harry is happy to have Quentin in the competition, noting that while there were pitch problems, none of that really mattered because the entire package was so good. Keith thought Quentin was great, and I completely agree with him.
-Keith then reveals the last Wildcard pick…ADANNA DURU IS IN THE TOP 12 AS A WILDCARD!
-Adanna was a late bloomer in the competition, for me. But she definitely deserves to be there, I think. She feels like a package artist, someone who not only has a great voice but a great look. Adanna just feels more current than some of the other artists in the Top 12.
-Adanna sings “You and I” by Lady Gaga, and she’s so thrilled to be in the Top 12 that she lets her energy run rampant. It results in a performance that’s pretty much all over the map. I do like her though and think she’d have delivered a far better vocal if they’d just revealed the results at the top of the show and given each finalist the chance to prepare backstage, rather than reading the result and then putting them on the spot. It seemed to affect a lot of performances tonight, honestly.
-Adanna squeals onstage and has a minor joygasm onstage during Harry’s critique, prompting him to say, “I know you’re happy, but listen…”. He then tells her that she needs to find a way to channel her energy as opposed to letting it run wild. J-Lo and Keith agree, but they’re both glad to have Adanna in the competition, otherwise they wouldn’t have put her through in the first place.
So that’s a wrap!
YOUR TOP 12 ARE…
ADAM EZEGELIAN, ALEXIS GOMEZ, LOREN LOTT and MARK ANDREW are eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL XIV!
-I’m pretty Adam didn’t make it, since I really would have liked to have had a rocker this season. I’m also kind of surprised Loren didn’t make it, since she seems tailor-made for this competition. But it speaks volumes of just how deep the roster of talent was this season that so many good people have gone home in the past two weeks (and earlier).
But what do you think? Did the right contestants get through? If not, who would you have liked to see make the Top 12? Which of the 12 singers will be voted off, and which will be in the bottom 3? Vote in our poll to add your predictions for tomorrow’s elimination!
Until tomorrow night’s two-hour live show, thanks for reading and hanging out! It’s been a blast, as always.