American Idol XIV Top 8 Guys Revealed + Performance Recap (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for American Idol 14, “Top 8 Guys Perform”! Tonight, we not only do we watch the Top 8 perform, we find out just who the Top 8 guys are, as a whopping FOUR guys will be eliminated on tonight’s show!
But will your favorite be one of the unlucky eliminations? Which four of these twelve guys will be cut?
Give us your four picks for elimination in the comments as we wait for the show to begin! And 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!
-We open the show with Aretha Franklin singing “I Will Survive,” since even the superstars are doing covers now. But I really enjoy this, because really, Aretha is becoming a rare treat in this day and age. And apparently, the performance is in promotion of her new album, in which she sings the diva classics of yesteryear. I dug it. Still, it’s not enough to cheer me up over the spoilers revealing that my pick to win this season is eliminated tonight. I’m really terrible at predicting things for Idol. But whatever, it’s Motown night, so we get to the results. Ryan Seacrest will reveal the names of the eight guys moving forward, one at a time, as the night rolls on.
Seacrest reveals the first result of the night: DANIEL SEAVEY IS SAFE!
-In his pre-performance package, Daniel talks about his old, little yellow guitar that he played as a kid. Daniel’s baby pictures reaffirm that while he has a babyface now, it’s got nothing on how he looked as a kid.
-Daniel sings “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” and it’s a perfectly acceptable performance. His voice is getting a lot stronger, even if his stage presence really isn’t. I like Daniel well enough, and I can kind of understand why he’s made it this far, but he really doesn’t do it for me. But I don’t begrudge anyone for liking him. Hell, I wouldn’t even rule out Daniel possibly changing my mind on him in the future. But right now? I think he needs a few years. They put him through way too soon. That said, I really do think he could be an amazing talent in just another two years or so. He’s already got the building blocks now.
-Keith thinks this is what Daniel should be doing, but he warns against Daniel sticking too hard to the melody. J-Lo loves seeing Daniel more relaxed up there, but she feels the song was pitched a bit low for him. However, she expects he’s going to be a big favorite in this competition. Harry tells Daniel that while he’s talented and cute and all that, he didn’t really move to the beat. Harry says Daniel needs to let the band dictate the rhythms of his body. Backstage, Daniel says he’s happy with the performance, since he feels he really came out of his shell. The interview is conducted in the wings, and it’s really awkward looking because it’s half in front of the audience, and half to America. So we can see everyone frozen in the background, waiting for Daniel to finish, like Zack Morris just called “time out” or something.
-And now, Seacrest reveals Result #2: MARK ANDREW IS SAFE!
-In his video, Mark talks about the back-breaking labor he’s endured in his regular job, noting that he thinks he might have tendinitis from all his work with a shovel. Hey, at least it’ll strengthen his fingers for his guitar-playing.
-Does Motown Night mean no one can play an instrument? Because it seems weird seeing Mark without his guitar. Still, it’s not hard to get used to, since Mark seems genuinely comfortable up there singing “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” another really smart song choice for him in this competition. Seeing him groove out to the song shows he has a little more stage presence than I thought he had. With that said, Mark hasn’t blown me away in these live shows as much as he did in Hollywood, so I’m worried that he might have peaked too early. Then again, he’s the sort of soulful, classic folk contestant that this competition sort of needs right now. So I’m hoping he sticks around. If nothing else, he’s got my vote.
-J-Lo likes Mark, but didn’t enjoy the song choice or the arrangement. Harry actually liked the arrangement, and thinks Mark has a great voice. But Keith agrees with J-Lo, although he’s glad America voted for him, since he’s a talented guy who deserves to be here. Mark thanks America for voting for him, and thanks the Fillmore for having him.
-From there, Seacrest announces Result #3: RAYVON OWEN IS SAFE!
-In his video, Rayvon talks a bit about how he’s been singing since age 5 or 6, and has never looked back since. He’s played weddings and corporate gigs virtually all his life, but he wants to do more with music.
-Rayvon sings “My Girl,” and it’s easily his best performance of the entire competition, for me. It’s insane, some of the runs he hits here. And his falsetto is downright incredible. I’ve always been impressed by Rayvon, but never as much as I was impressed here. He feels like a real package artist. He’s the kind of singer I feel would have gotten lost in the shuffle on The Voice, but who sticks out in the best possible way here. As a side note, does he remind anyone else of Jamal from Empire?
-Harry praises Rayvon for his vocal skill, while Keith expresses how really interested he is to hear what Rayvon does next. J-Lo thought the runs and falsettos were terrific, and adds that Rayvon did a great job. Backstage, Rayvon is positively buzzing with excitement as he chills alongside Daniel Seavey, who appears alongside him for some reason. Rayvon thanks America, and honestly, I think I might have broken up with America had they sent him home.
-Seacrest reveals Result #4: ADAM EZEGELIAN IS SAFE!
-In his video, Adam talks about being the same guy offstage as he is onstage: big personality, with an enthusiasm to get everyone moving. He’s even been compared to a cartoon character before, and yeah, I could see that. I can also empathize, since I’ve gotten that comparison before too, although for good reasons, since I tend to wear the same sorts of clothes a lot. I got that Doug Funnie swag going on.
-Adam sings “I Want You Back” by the Jackson Five, and I feel like the only person who didn’t actually like this. It felt like he was trying to force a hair metal vocal onto a Motown classic, and while there ARE some really nice, understated moments here, it all felt like way too much. It would have been one thing if the band had gone for a more bombastic arrangement, but it simply seemed like Adam was shouting the band down. I like Adam, but I didn’t love this performance.
-Keith loved it, feeling it was the perfect song choice. J-Lo agrees, and even throws a shoutout to the band, which Adam is all too happy to back up (“Let’s give it up for the band!”). Afterwards, when Seacrest compliments him on his outfit and asks what he’d wear if he made the finale, Adam suggests he might wear a tutu. So now we need to get him there to make this happen.
-After break, Seacrest introduces us to Scott Borchetta, the new mentor for Season 14. Borchetta says the key for these finalists is to go from singer to artist. He feels this is the best group of contestants Idol has ever had, and claims he’s been hearing buzz about the season all over the place. I’m sure he has.
-Seacrest then asks his thoughts about Clark, and Scott says he’s one of the best singers in the competition. And that turns out to be Result #5: CLARK BECKHAM IS SAFE!
-In his video, Clark recalls that while he was big into football in his youth, he says he felt he was always “meant for the big stage,” and I don’t disagree with him. I’d predict him for the win, but given my track record this season has been about as far from good as one’s prediction record could possibly be, so I won’t jinx the guy.
-Clark sings “The Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and it’s one of his best performance of the competition. If I had been Clark, I would have done this acoustically, but I’m not sure how much that distinction matters when you deliver a performance that’s this good. Dude just rocks out towards the end after delivering a flawless falsetto. I couldn’t possibly be more satisfied with what Clark delivered here. I love this guy.
-J-Lo said that the key to being onstage, according to Aretha, is not to think so much and just feel. She feels Clark is getting there, but she wants to feel more. However, she notes that he’s so amazing, she feels he really can go all the way. Harry concurs, saying Clark is an amazing talent, but the song was missing a proper beginning, middle, and end. He felt it would have been better if Clark had another minute and a half. Keith then serves up the best critique of the night by saying Clark should have ditched the band and just played the song with his guitar. I agree. Sure, you’d be moving in on the sacred territory of Adam Lambert’s version in Season 8, but I think he’s got the talent to pull it off. I mean, really, did you hear that falsetto? Backstage, Clark says he was happy with the performance, since he got to chill with his guitar in the beginning and rock out at the end. But wait, I thought Harry said it didn’t have a beginning or end?!?!
-Back from break, as Seacrest hangs in the balcony with the girls. I’m more nervous for them than I am for the guys. A lot of my favorite contestants are in that lineup.
-Seacrest has the girls reveal Result #6: NICK FRADIANI IS SAFE! (Man, Maddie Walker was REALLY stoked to announce that name. On a related note, whatever happened to Nick’s girlfriend from auditions?)
-Nick is from Guilford, Connecticut, and talks about how growing up with a father who’s a musician meant Motown music was a critical part of his musical development. Really, while I don’t love this theme, especially after 13 seasons, I do think Motown music offers great building blocks for anyone looking to really learn music.
-Nick sings “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” by Stevie Wonder, it’s a damn good vocal. I think Nick is a total dark horse candidate that a lot of people are underestimating. He has a lot of natural talent and ability, and tons of likability to go along with it. I hope Nick advances, because this competition would be undoubtedly weaker without him in the lineup.
-Harry thought it was a really strong performance, but advises Nick to smile even more, since that’s how he’ll win people over. Keith liked the performance, but asks if Nick normally plays the guitar, since he seemed uncomfortable doing it tonight. Nick says he plays it all the time, so I guess it was just an anomaly. Keith wishes Nick had left the guitar behind for that performance though. Backstage, Nick says he is at a loss for words, and simply asks America to help keep him around since he doesn’t want to go home.
-Seacrest reveals Result #7: QAASIM MIDDLETON IS SAFE!
-We see Qaasim with his family in his pre-performance video, but really, it’s a way of building up his outrageous charisma. This dude has got personality for days, and a lot of stage presence to back it all up. I can’t wait to see what he does as the competition rolls on, because this season absolutely NEEDS him.
-Qaasim sings “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder, and I continue to love what he does onstage. He brings that James Brown funk that’s unrivaled in this competition, or on any other show, really. I mean, I haven’t seen a contestant on The Voice who’s quite like this, nor have I seen a contestant on Idol with this much natural stage presence. That said, I did think he got a bit too wrapped up in the dancing, and it ended up hurting the vocal. Still, I’d be SHOCKED if this cost him any votes. Qaasim HAS to go through.
-Keith says watching Qaasim in front of an audience is what it’s all about, since he just explodes onstage. J-Lo loves how funky Qaasim is, and says he owns that stage. However, she does want him to show America what a good singer he is, since he occasionally loses the vocal when getting caught up in the stage performance. Harry didn’t feel Qaasim lost the vocal at all. He thought Qaasim did a great job, and adds that this is exactly what they’re looking for. Backstage, Qaasim mean-mugs the camera in a funny moment, before thanking America for keeping him here. He shouts out his mom and dad while also shouting out Brooklyn and Detroit. I love Qaasim. He’s just a consummate performer, and one of the most purely exhilarating contestants this show has had in years.
-So seven guys are safe, but there’s only one spot left. Seacrest reveals Result #8…QUENTIN ALEXANDER IS SAFE!
RILEY BRIA, TREVOR DOUGLAS, MICHAEL SIMEON and SAVION WRIGHT have been eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL XIV!
That’s what I get for predicting Trevor and Savion to go far. I’m CRUSHED to see them go. It speaks volumes of how crazy the talent is this season that these four are getting the boot already, particularly since I can think of who I’d trade them for without thinking long and hard about it.
-In his video, Quentin talks about being a bit of an outcast. He encourages all the weird people out there to keep being weird. It’s a really lovely message, and it backs up that Quentin is about more than just slick fashion and smooth vocals. He’s got a great personality that shows what a good guy he is. Dude is super likable.
-Quentin sings “Master Blaster (Jammin’)” by Stevie Wonder, and while I don’t love the vocal, I do love the entirety of the package Quentin is presenting. He’s more than just a vocalist with wild fashion, he’s got terrific stage presence. Much like Rayvon, I feel as though Quentin is a complete package performer who deserves to go far in this competition.
-J-Lo is super excited that Quentin is here (and Quentin is excited right back!), but she’s sad to see the other four guys go. She tells them not to let this stop them from moving forward. Harry echoes that sentiment, and adds that Quentin did a great job, but seemed to have reservations as a result of his shock over being the last guy saved. Keith adds his praise to the pile, and also his love for the other four guys. Backstage, Quentin thanks America for saving him, and pleads with the voters to keep “dragging” him along. This guy is so great. Seriously.
-Seacrest offers his best wishes to the four eliminated contestants, his thanks to Scott Borchetta and Aretha Franklin, and the Fillmore/the people of Detroit.
And that’s a wrap! To recap, here are the results…
What did you think of tonight’s results? Did America make the right choices? If not, which safe artists would you trade out? Sound off in the comments! I’ll see tomorrow night when the Top 8 Girls perform! Until then, thanks for reading!