‘American Idol’ review: Burnell Taylor, Vincent Powell, Lazaro Arbos take on Vegas

American Idol Judges“American Idol” fans, you knew it was coming: the letdown. Wednesday night’s show had some fantastic performances from the ladies, and we even enjoyed that “Circle of Life” performance from Zoanette Johnson that a lot of other people hated.

Don’t get us wrong here: nothing we said about applies to Vincent Powell, and there are a couple of other contestants who were good. We just think that around three or four eliminated girls (Melinda Ademi, Rachel Hale, and Shubha Vedula come to mind) that we would rather see in the top 20 than some of the guys that made it through.

The performances

Mathenee Treco – Wait, what was this? We have no idea why anyone on “American Idol” has ever had a desire to perform “A Little Less Conversation,” since nobody can really pull it off other than Elvis Presley himself. It’s just far too difficult a song to tackle. It’s a lyrical jumble, and it also doesn’t give you much time to accent your voice … otherwise known as that one thing that you are supposed to emphasize in this competition more than anything else.

Gurpreet Singh – Gurpreet’s a pleasant guy, and we were seriously pulling for him do something other than a happy mid-tempo number that doesn’t stretch himself vocally. So what did he do? A happy mid-tempo number that didn’t stretch himself vocally! We just don’t see how he has done enough to justify actually making it through to the next round.

Vincent Powell – Who are you. That. Was. Fierce. By far, Vincent just THREW IT DOWN and gave the best performance of the entire top 20 guys. It was not only R&B, but the sort of old-school, pure R&B that not enough people are doing these does. There was some real blues mixed in here with the soul, and it came from a place of spirit and passion. We totally get why Zoanette Johnson was rocking in the chairs.

Nick Boddington – Nick is pretty easy to like, and he also has a pretty nice voice to go along with it. As for what we are worried about, it’s rather simple: we don’t know if the guy pops enough to attract the voters who are typically after the quirky dude with the sense of humor. This was a very good performance, but not one that we imagine thousands of fans latching onto.

Josh Holiday – Performing an original song is typically a risk worth taking if you have a great song like Angela Miller’s “You Set Me Free.” We don’t want to be mean, but we just didn’t like the song. The melody was a little too fragmented, and the vocals were airy, flat, and just never came together.

David Willis – Dude was dressed straight out of a 1970s music video, and this easily wins the “dated performance of the night.” It wasn’t so much bad, but can you ever see this guy getting on the radio with anything like this? With his constant grin and his happy guitar, it was cheesier than swallowing a block of Gouda in one sitting.

Bryant Tadeo – Wait, did the guy from Hawaii literally just take on a song from Billy Joel? “New York State of Mind” was a weird song for him to do, and just the overall lack of heart was missing underneath the smooth, soulful tone. Bryant also came across as a bit conceited when he acted for a second as though Nicki Minaj’s criticism of him was some sort of sick joke.

Burnell Taylor – The guy seriously lost forty pounds since his audition, and in between the clean shave and the snappy duds, Burnell looked like a completely different guy. The good news? He was still a heck of a good singer. “This Time” by John Legend is a song that we absolutely love, and he did an admirable job with it. There were a few moments that could have been bigger, but considering the competition he was a clear standout on the night.

Lazaro Arbos – We certainly don’t want to be one who argues against the motion that Lazaro is a good singer, because he really does have a lovely tone, and he has an inspirational story. We do wish that the show would stop focusing on that, though, and let the guy just have a little bit of fun. We’d say that ultimately, this performance lands him squarely in the middle of the pack.

Cortez Shaw – We feel about Cortez’s performance the same that we felt about Burnell’s a little earlier in the evening: it was slightly lower than Vincent on the awesome-o-meter, but it was very strong compared to the rest of the guys. We’ve heard perhaps a little too much “Titanium” on singing competitions lately, and that may hurt our feeling about it … but considering that Cortez went last, he’s pretty much a lock to get through.

The results

The locks for us to advance were Cortez, Burnell, Nick, and Vince … and then the last choice was between Lazaro and Bryant. They’re both pretty good singers, but we don’t know how either would do in the voting round if it was judged based solely on performances. (Lazaro’s story guarantees him a few more weeks.)

At the end of the day, Lazaro’s body of work gave him the leg up in our mind, and for the first time through all four of the Las Vegas rounds, we actually had our picks end up being right. Cortez, Burnell, Nick, Vince, and Lazaro are all going to be singing for their lives moving forward on the show.

Who was your favorite guy from this episode? Be sure to share your thoughts below, and stay tuned for results. As for the ladies, you can check out some highlights from the ladies’ performance show here.

Photo: Fox


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