American Idol – Top 36, Round 1

I had no idea that tonight’s American Idol was two hours long, and considering that I was up most of last night with a stomach virus-stricken five year-old and just finished eating some great Mexican food with some sweet bloggy friends, the odds of me staying awake for this whole deal are pretty dicey. My only hope is that the DVR will enable me to fast forward through all the filler.

Not that Idol EVER has any filler, of course. NOOOOOOO.

So anyhoo. Here we go.

Jackie Tohn – “A Little Less Conversation” – First of all, 1984 called and wants its outfit back. FOR THE LOVE. I actually really like this song, but the arrangement and delivery were just bizarre. It also sounded like she was really short of breath, which stands to reason because, well, nerves, but the most telling part of this performance for me was that it seemed way longer than a minute and twenty seconds. She seemed comfortable, though, and she moved around the stage well. I’m trying to be positive.

Ricky Braddy – “A Song For You” – Elliot Yamin sang this song a couple of seasons ago in one of my favorite Idol performances ever, so I was doubtful that this version would measure up. But oh, I was wrong. LOVED IT. I know Travis could tell me all the technical terms and explain why it was so enjoyable, but all I know is that I thought it was phenomenal ’cause it sounded REAL PURTY. He didn’t oversing, didn’t overcomplicate it – and once he gets his stage presence lined up with his talent, he could be a real contender.

Alexis Grace – “Never Loved A Man” – Now y’all, it’s a bold move to sing some Aretha on the first time out. But if my hair was that sassy, I might break out some Aretha my own dadgum self. MY WORD she nailed it. It was utterly enjoyable to watch, totally eclectic and quirky and fun, and did I mention that her hair is SUPER SASSY? I just loved that she wasn’t afraid to make an unconventional song choice, and she sang it really well.

Brent Keith – “Hicktown” – He seems like a darlin’ guy. He does. But this just didn’t feel distinctive or original, and even looking at him as a country artist, there wasn’t anything about him that made him stand apart from the pack. Country fans may push him through to the next round, though – so it’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here.

Stevie Wright – “You Belong With Me” – Now she probably won over a large portion of the tween audience by singing a Taylor Swift song, but besides that? Oh bless her heart. It was seriously uncomfortable to watch because she never really found the key she was looking for. The bottom line is that it just wasn’t a successful performance. I wanted to hug her and then run and hide.



Anoop Desai – “Angel of Mine” – Anoop decided to go with a ballad, and his voice sounded incredible. I didn’t love this song choice – a little boring for me – but there’s no question that he can sing. I think it would’ve been fun to see him do something a little more lively, but good for him for showing that he’s got some big-time talent – and I’m hoping that he picks a better song for the next go ’round.

Casey Carlson – “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” – Before I heard the first note, I was thinking that this is a HUGE song choice mistake unless you’re Shawn Colvin and recording a CD of covers back in the early 90s. And while Casey is darlin’, she’s certainly no Shawn Colvin. Her gestures were very pageant-y and over the top, and I’m pretty sure that she winked at us. More than once, even. All in all it felt like karaoke to me (I typed that right before Randy said it – it’s like we share a mind).

(As a brief aside: why is it taking so long for them to put each contestant’s name on the screen once he or she starts singing? It’s driving me a little bit crazy.)

Michael Sarver – “I Don’t Wanna Be” – Now I love me some Gavin DeGraw, so I was immediately excited about the song. The performance was a little rough in the beginning, but he seemed to find his way about thirty seconds in. He wasn’t pitch-perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but he was definitely infectious. He seemed nervous, but if he continues to pick good songs, he could hang in the competition for awhile.

Ann Marie Boskovich – “Natural Woman” – In all honesty, I got sick of this song back in the late 80s after I’d watched “The Big Chill” for the four hundredth time. And while there was nothing about Ann Marie’s version of the song that made me want to stand up and shout, I did appreciate that she took control of the stage and performed with some confidence. She just never seemed to have control of the song – but I’m betting she gets another chance to show us what she’s made of.

Stephen Fowler – “Rock With You” – Okay. I’m just going to say it. I think we over-romanticize these early 80s R&B songs, and while yes, they were fun at the time, every single time someone drags out an old Michael Jackson song I just think MY WORD, COULDN’T YOU FIND SOMETHING A LITTLE MORE CURRENT? It’s going to be boring as all get-out unless you do a complete re-do like David Cook and “Billie Jean” – because it’s too tough to improve on some classic MJ. So all that to say: I was really underwhelmed.

Tatiana Del Toro – “I’m Saving All My Love For You” – You know what I just said about people breaking out some early 80s MJ? Ditto for people breaking out some mid-80s Whitney. IT’S BEEN DONE TO DEATH. And it’s not that Tatiana can’t sing, because she has some pretty decent skillz, but what we heard tonight was no different than what we could’ve heard in the piano bar at a really nice hotel. That being said, she was better than about half of the other contestants, so she’ll probably make it through the the next round.

Danny Gokey – “Hero” – I’m immediately questioning the Mariah Carey song choice, but I’m willing to trust that he knows what he’s doing. Plus, there’s a raspiness in his voice that I absolutely adore because it makes him distinctive. BUT – he’s better than this song. With a voice like that, he should be picking songs that don’t immediately make us think of Mariah and the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. He’s way better than a cheesy ballad, but that being said: he flat-out nailed it.

So, internets – what did you think? Who did you think were the best (and the worst) performers tonight?

Edited to add: I forgot all about the Mr. Linky – so I’m adding it now! Make sure that if you add your post to the list, you link to the permalink for that post – not the general blog URL. Thanks!

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  1. Definitely casting my votes for Alexis Grace & Danny Gokey tonight! I think she can sing A-N-Y-THANG, and he may choose the cheesy ballads but I’ll cut him some slack because he just lost his wife & he’s a church music director.

    Did I hear Ryan correctly about only 3 of each 12 making it to the next round? And then the judges choosing a 4th in the wild-card round? If that’s true, it’s sure gonna be a tough call. LOTS of people going home these first few weeks.

  2. Danny’s got my vote all the way, because, what can I say, I’m a sucker for the tear-jerker, and that raspiness is, ya know, kinda schexy! He is my favorite by far, although, NoopDog does have this crazy “likability” factor. I think I’ll keep my eye on him too.

    Great job on the recap, boo! And, I think you could totally rock that sassafrass hairstyle! Maybe then you could sing for us on the podcast, hmmm?

  3. Ok. I am usually a lurker, but AI has got me sucked in and your report was dead on. I love Danny. I think God put him right here at this time to stand out. Isn’t he awesome! And I think- honestly- he is probably saving some of the better song choices b/c hopefully he’ll be around for a while. I want to wrap him up and tuck him in my pocket for later.
    And we love Neil Patrick Harris for his obvious double first name and because he’s Doogy Howser. DOOOOGIEEEEE!!! Is what we shouted at the screen. Good times.

  4. I didn’t notice Neil Patrick Harris. How did I miss him?! I love Doogie! Man, you totally need to frame that diploma! You are so getting your money’s worth from that Reality T.V. degree! I kid because I would have been the Salutorian to your Valedictorian in that scenario.

  5. I am totally on board with Danny and Alexis….and I will be praying ALL NIGHT that Tatiana gets a ticket back to Puerto Rico.

  6. I wrote this week thinking you’d have Mr. Linky for voting. I was wrong.

    As for the show? I agree with you! Yea Danny!

  7. The show was kinda blah for me tonight. I’m not sure why so many of them picked Iconic songs to sing. It’d be like me trying to write a post about a Monkey Alarm. HELLO PEOPLE. ALREADY BEEN DONE. AND DONE REALLY WELL.

    I blinked and missed Doogie. Anybody see Ted Dansen? Or an awfully close look-alike?

  8. Can you say technical difficulties? Also, I HATE the format of them coming up the stairs, hugging everyone, then gabbing with the parents/spouses. BO-RING! That being said, I am in love with Danny Gokey. LOVE HIM.

  9. I love your recap. Only 3 people are going to get voted to continue you on from tonight. I did not vote, but if I was going to I would have voted for Anoop-I don’t think he picked the best song, but he can sing and he just has that likable thing about him, MIchael-I agree w/ you, loved the song choice, but he didn’t quite nail it-but I like him and think he deserves to go on and of course Danny-he is just AMAZING! I personally did not care for any of the girls. I still can’t get over Stevie’s and Casey’s performance. HORRIBLE and those expressions Casey had going on-CRAZY!!I did think Alexis Grace was good, but I like the other 3 guys better. I am hoping w/ the wild card thing they are doing that they will bring back Danny’s friend. He deserves to be there! I am still mad that he is not there and some of these other people are!

  10. Yep, I saw me some Doogie AND some Sam Malone (aka Ted Danson) sitting next to each other in the audience. Maybe Casey was winking at Doogie?!? I LOVED little Alexis Grace, plus, she has a perfect “star-quality” name, dontcha think? And she “dirtied up” just the right amount, too: sexy but still a doll. In my mind, there’s a disconnect between Anoop’s appearance, and his sound–just a little too “boy-band”-ish for me… Think Ricky deserves another chance to show some charisma to go with the talent. Tatiana was too “Fatal Attraction” for me tonight; like if she doesn’t get voted through she’ll start giggling hysterically and boiling Paula’s bunny, or something. Really, I’m frightened of her! Did anybody else think that Casey’s mom wants to be a star on TV even more than Casey? And my final thought: Danny. Aside from the somewhat unfortunate last name, he is a winner through and through. And if for some reason he doesn’t get to the finals and maybe go all the way??? He should totally be the next Bachelor!!! What say you, BooMama?

  11. Don’t have a clue — have it on DVR and strangely enough, I too was out eating Mexican food with friends…. although I don’t feel so good right now. Heard there is a stomach virus going around. JUST Kidding!!
    Now, I feel kinda lame for posting since I have no AI info or insight to offer.

  12. My vote goes for Danny Gokey. Actually, I was in class tonight so I didn’t get to watch it until later and the phone lines were closed so I technically didn’t vote but if I had voted, it would have been for Danny Gokey. :D

  13. I wrote my own idol recap, but I just wanted to say that I’m totally with you on Danny and Ricky. Loved both their performances. Anoop didn’t do as well as I was hoping, which is a disappointment because he was one of my favorites. I sure do hope that this new elimination nonsense doesn’t cause him to leave.

    I rewound my tivo to see Doogie again! I just love him!!

  14. Totally in a greement! So Danny is SO totally going through. If for some strange reason America doesn’t vote him through, he’ll be a wild card.

    I never vote until the top 12, but I did tonight. I kind of have a feeling America is going to forget him, but I love Ricky Braddy. I voted 10 times and got through every time (probably not a good sign).

  15. Southern Gal says:

    Only three are going through from this group? That’s what I kept hearing in between changing channels. I had to know who went home on Biggest Loser. Anyway, I know I missed something somewhere.

  16. I’ve been popping in on you from time to time, just never left a comment! I found you from “Bring the Rain”. I had to see what Boo Mama was all about.
    I too share your affection for our Beloved Bulldogs!!!

    Watched idol…..Love Gokey!!! The last girl, Taro maybe, really sang well, which, the truth be told, I wanted her to bomb it. She got on my nerves so bad from Hollywood. I’m guessing she got to see how ridiculus she acted and figured she better tone it WAY down! I also like the other guy who had on a sport coat, can’t remember his name.
    Love your commmentary, You should do this for Y&R (in case you’re not familiar that’s Young and the Restless). This is recorded daily at our house! A guilty pleasure I suppose!

    till next time, Melanie

  17. Danny Danny Danny Danny Danny Danny Danny. Yes, he could have picked a much better song….but MAN that boy can sang!

  18. My girl Stevie did not do well at all. Danny was my top dawg!!!

  19. Best – Danny
    Worst – Stevie

    Worst outfit – Jackie (by far)…oh it was just horrible!

  20. Totally agree with you! I did a review on my blog too. I voted for Ricky, Alexis and of course DANNY! Can’t wait to see the results tonight.

  21. ANOOP! We went to the same college, and everyone loves his a capella group. He totally made the group with that voice! Vote for Anoop!!! :)

  22. I am so glad you got to go eat some Mexican! I wish I had some bloggy friends close by!
    Anyway, I do not watch Bachelor, but I have to read your recaps, it is like a bad soap opera, is just keeps you captivated, and you make it SO FUNNY!
    I love your office re-do, and I am so sorry for whatever you are going through, but I want to tell you that you have a gift of making me feel normal.
    Love YA!
    Have a great week.
    Oh, there were so many things about last nights AI that made me cringe and go awkward!

  23. Sorry guys…..don’t hate me! But I was so disappointed by last nights show! It was horrible!
    I may have to give it up! I’m trying to figure out why the judges were claiming this was the most talented group yet (during the city tour try-out time).

  24. I believe you and I are in complete Idol agreement. Jackie Tohn = Bad Sandy in Grease? Anyone?

    Also, I actually watched The Bachelor for the first time this season, and found myself shouting to an imaginary BooMama when he said “her and I.” Laws. Plus, holy awkward with the hot tubs!

  25. Danny and Alexis were my favorites–hands down.

    It irritates me that Tatiana has a good voice, because I just can’t deal with her drama!

  26. I’m really not a fan of AI bringing 36 to the finals instead of 24. Only 3 of 12 advance? We hardly knew ya! Really liked Alexis and Anoop but am waiting for my girl Jasmine.

  27. All the way Danny!!!! I love Danny, I want him to win. I even made my Mother in Law use her new iphone to “text the word vote” for Danny at least 10 times. Go Danny! Otherwise I was really disappointed in last nights show. I felt very uncomfortable watching Jackie Tohn and those pants. I felt like I was violating her and I’m just not that kind of gal. Odds are, she and her pants, won’t be back. I don’t really like the way they are doing the show this year. There has been so much publicity on some of the contestants and none on others. How can like someone after only seeing them one time? Ricky Braddy is my case in point. It just seems unfair. But, Simon didn’t call and ask my opinion, so I’ll just live with it “Dawg”.

  28. My sentimental choice is Daney Gokey. He can sing and all but I sure love a good story and he has one!!

  29. I wasn’t able to watch but just a few minutes last night (stomach bug here, too), so I appreciate your recap.

    May the stomach bug be banished from all our homes forever! It interferes with AI and our other precious shows too much. And if it keeps me from watching LOST….

  30. Well “If I’m being honest” and “I wasn’t jumping out of my chair” okay who do I sound like? I too thought some of them could have done much better…I too like Alexis and Danny. Can’t wait to see the show tonight….

  31. so sorry, did this all wrong, I just wanted to be NUMBER ONE….. HOW embarrassing…..sorry

  32. Alexis was the best girl and Danny was the best boy. Hands down, no questions.

    And Danny without glasses totally looks like Robert Downey Jr.

  33. Girl, I think we mind melded through the internet! I tried to vote for Danny Gokey immediately after the show ended, COULDN’T get through for a while. In the meantime, I voted for Miss Sassy Hair herself Alexis & cutey pie Ricky from the Braddy bunch. Those were my tope 3 with AnoopDawg close behind. My husband said after Alexis “I just didn’t get that.” I said “Girl can SANG!” He just doesn’t get the blues or soul thing, too much country/farm boy from west TX. Through the whole show I kept asking my husband what the contestants name was & WHYWHYWHY hadn’t they put up their name yet? And Tatiana, ugg is all I can say; besides who is she really, does SHE even know? In all the show was a fair start for the season, but I didn’t see all the humongous talent they were talking about. A friend & I are wondering if the producers & judges stacked the show to get the contestants they want in the final. Ok, bye y’all.

  34. Oh girl. I stood up and pointed DYE- RECK- LEE at the TV and screamed Doogie Houser!!! AND TED DANSON!!! Look Husband !! Look!!

    To which my husband said, ” We really need to get more.”

  35. GREAT wrap-up Sophie! I agree with you whole-heartedly but you were much more positive than I. I linked! :)

  36. I LOVE LOVE LOVE DANNY!! He has got an awesome voice…and major hotness going on!! :)

  37. I had so many favorites going into last night’s episode–I couldn’t believe only 3 of them would make it through!

    Considering I missed out on the last 15 minutes, I can’t say anything for Danny, but I’m sure he was amazing, as usual. I didn’t like too many of the girls, but Brent and Anoop are at the top of my list.

    I’m praying (still) that Tatiana doesn’t make it through this week!

  38. I have not yet been WOWED by anyone, although I do need to root for Anoop Desai since he’s a local boy. I’m hoping for better performances in the weeks to come.

    I didn’t do a recap this week, but decided instead to predict a winner for the whole dang season…taking the risks, I am. :)

  39. Danny Gokey all the way. Hands down. No contenders. Anoop, apoop. He can make it if he wants, but only AFTER Danny.

  40. We thought Stephen Fowler’s performance might have been more believable if he had chosen to pronounce it the way it is meant to be pronounces… I wanna rock wichou

  41. I thought last nights American Idol was boring. I let my kids scream during the 1st half and made it home just in time to hear Michael Sarver. I really like him. Plus, he is from Jasper, which is about 30 minutes from where I grew up. I voted for Danny, Alexis, and Michael. I was really shocked with Tatiana. She was kinda good. I still hope she doesn’t make it through! Can’t wait to see next week! I am a Nick Mitchell/Norman Gentle and Nathaniel Marshhall (whiney headband boy) Fan. We will see!!

  42. I voted for Danny 10 times. :)

  43. YAY! I love your Idol blogs so much! I loved Danny and Alexis, too. I am SO WITH YOU about the song choices. There should be a memo about what you do NOT choose including Aretha, Whitney, MJ, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, etc. etc. JUST DON’T GO THERE, PEOPLE!!!

  44. And I just had to come back to say, WOWZERS, was the production and sound off, or WHAT?


    I could never “dirty up my look.” Unless, of course, “dirtying” involved spit-up or jam.

  45. And let me just be obnoxious and say, I have a real love-hate relationship with Christians On TV. It’s not like I don’t want our friend Danny to do well (I like him as much as anyone else), but I just cringe and wait for the I JUST MADE JESUS LOOK BAD moments, ex., where people start thanking God that so-and-so-Christian-person got the most votes and ISN’T THAT THE WILL OF GOD, amen and amen.

    I’ll return to my dark cave now, thank you.

  46. Wasn’t that the most awkward production on Tuesday? Sound problems. I have never seen so many bottoms to the camera in one show. One might think this was their 1st production. If you were lucky enough to have fast forwarded the fillers… you may not have had to suffer through the above.

    What the heck happened to miss del toro? Yikes!!!

    Best, Alexis and Danny

    Worst, Casey and Jackie (oh those pants!)

  47. p.s. I sure hope the little one is feeling better!

  48. I think the results for tonight should be:

    Top Girl: Alexis
    Top Guy: Danny
    Top vote-getter after that: Michael

    Someone else probably already mentioned this, but did you notice a white-headed Ten Danson next to Doogie? LOL

  49. Being a white haired person myself – sorry I missed Mr. Danson. Totally right on with Alexis Grace being in top 12 — and is it just me or in close ups – her face is JUST like Dolly Parton (not the rest of her body just face). Oh my goodness – Michael just through to top 12 – I’m begging – make Idol a noTatiana zone – woo hooo – Danny made it! and that little brat is still making it all about her.

  50. Great recap. And I just can’t help but be a fan of Alexis because she has pink hair. How cool is that.

  51. I was thinking you decided to not do the Mr. Linky this season, so now I am pumped that it’s back.

    Hope your little one is better.

  52. Totally LOVE Danny Gokey, from the start!! :D Kinda a rough night…and weird how they are eliminating this season. Anyways, excited about the new season…WHOOHOO here we go!!! :D

  53. Can I just say that I am so excited to have selected the correct three to be in the Top 12? YAY!

  54. I thought the “Dolly Parton” thing, too!

    And hallelujah, JESUS ANSWERED OUR PRAYERS. Danny is through and Tatiana is NOT.

    (Snark snarkity snark snark…snark snark!)

  55. Danny has my vote all the way :)

  56. Nicole M. says:

    Oh, Boo Mama – you are so much fun! My hubby loved Ricky – he can sing and I will miss Anoop. Will NOT miss Tatiana (personally, I think she got a hold of some bi-polar meds, not that there’s anything wrong with that). ;) Yes, Danny is our fave, too! Can anyone say “pre-drug era Robert Downey Junior”? Gotta love NPH in the hizz-ouse. And Ted Danson? That was just odd. No, he didn’t stand out at all. Hope your li’l guy is feeling better. That nasty bug must have travelled your way from the mid-west. We had it in December and MAN was it DISGUSTING! I think I’m still traumatized. Never thought I would hear my hubby sound so much like Chewbacha (sp?) from Star Wars when he hurls. EEEEKKKKHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

  57. Anoop was ROBBED!!! Maybe he’ll be the wild card winner.

  58. Danny is awesome! I think Anoop should have made it too!

  59. Go Danny Go! I’m rooting for him, BIG TIME! So happy Tatiana “bless her heart” was sent packing. I pray she isn’t the wild card, I really hope it’s Anoop!

  60. I love Danny!!! LOVE HIM! I want Anoop Dogg to be the wildcard as well…he is soooo smooth!!!!

    Great post.

  61. For the record, I’m SO HAPPY that Tatiana got the boot. She really ticked me off how she kept making sure her hair was in the right place (it looked like a bird’s nest anyway!) and how she kept crying after she found out she’d lost. Everybody else was smiling and she was hiding behind Stevie and wiping her tears. She couldn’t even congratulate Danny or give him a hug. So so so glad she’s gone… *sigh* That feels better.

  62. Your commentaries make these shows SOOO much more fun!!! Thanks!!!

  63. I’m so sad about Anoop not being picked. Great commentaries…love your blog.