American Idol Takes a New Stage: First 12 Perform

Tonight, one-half of the Top 24 took to the stage alone for the first time and it was interesting. Yep, we’ll go with interesting. It’s also worth noting the new setting. Something Ryan called the Vibiana, a wedding and performance venue in downtown LA. It was a beautiful space and well suited for this very rushed hour of performances.

Until tonight, we have only seen clips and 15-second versions of auditions and group-round songs but tonight was our first chance to see what these twelve are made of. I’m just going to go ahead and give you my ranking of tonight’s performances, but I can already see the producer’s writing on the wall. Based on judge feedback and comments tonight, there are already a few early favorites that I’m guessing are on the line tomorrow.

12. Jordan Sasser – Nickname: Reptile Lover because he loves Turtles
Chose a Celine Dion song but, let’s face it, was kind of an odd choice. Didn’t do terrible, but not great.  He was very gracious and thanked the judges for their constructive criticism. Bonus points for manners.

11. Stephany Negrete – I didn’t catch her nickname because no DVR tonight and I didn’t know we were nicknaming. I’ll say it again. Stephany is a great singer but there is something disengaging about her that I can’t get over. She did a Jessie J song and reminded me of Nicole Scherzinger.

10. Sonika Vaid – Nickname: Keeper of Tabs because she likes sheet music even though she doesn’t use it. She is beautiful like a Disney princess but I still don’t feel anything when she sings. Her prom dress didn’t help. She chose the haunting tune “Safe and Sound” from the Hunger Games. I don’t feel any of the feels that the judges talk about and wasn’t haunted at all.

9. James VII – Nickname: The Last Boy Scout but I can’t remember why. Something manipulative in a good way. James always surprises me because he is better than I remember. I just think the boy field is too full for James to make it to the top seven this week. Did Love Lockdown by Kanye and it was cool but I think the boy card is full.

8. Gianna Isabella – Missed her nickname too. It’s hard to Tweet and take notes without a DVR. She chose “I Put a Spell on You” but didn’t really put one on me. She is a great singer but I can’t help but think she got Jessica Cabral’s spot because of the whole JLo connection to Brenda K. Starr story so I dock her points just for that. #Sorry

7. Jeneve Rose Mitchell– Nickname: One Woman Band because apparently she can play 25 instruments. I didn’t want to put Jeneve in the top seven but I think she will end up here because, for whatever reason, people love her. I’m not as touched by her talent as everyone else and am already tired of her schtick. That’s a little harsh but a Harp and cowboy boots singing “Arms of an Angel” was just all kinds of weird for me from a girl who has never had any electricity.  How can she even have life experiences to draw from to get goosies from JLo already. #FIX

6. Avalon Young – Nickname: Skater Chick because, well, obvi. I want to love Avalon for her no make-up, refusing to dress up self. My problem is that her dressing in outfits worse than I would wear to the grocery store distracts me from noticing her singing. I’m all for natural beauty (I too am make-up free) but I just want her to try something a little nicer than a sweatshirt and leggings. I didn’t even write down what she sang.

5. Emily Brooke – Nickname: Super Fan Girl (I think). I was so sad and distracted by Emily’s performance tonight that I forgot to write anything down. I know that she sang “I Am Invincible” but she wasn’t at all. I’m scared for the one I had previously deemed the “Chosen One” because it seems like they are heaping the praise on Jeneve and poor Emily is stumbling at the wrong time.

4. Jenna Renae – Nickname: Your Fav Homie and I have no idea why but she is one of my Fav Homies. I couldn’t help but feel like Jenna got the dreaded comments that try to turn our vote tonight. Oh, wait, we aren’t voting. She did a fine job on a country song that I did not know (My Church) but Harry thought it was shouty and lost pitch. I have a feeling Jenna is in trouble but not because we don’t like her!

3. Thomas Stringfellow – Nickname: Oink Oink because he and his sister speak PigLatin (is that one word or two). He is still adorable but he had some interesting pitch issues that the judges thought were tremendous. Plus they know the girls will love him so I’m pretty sure he’ll be fine.

2. Mackenzie Bourg – Nickname: DJ Mack Daddy but don’t know why because I was looking at his hair. He chose a slower version of “Say Something” and it was good. Not one of my favorite performances of his because so many were better but he’d be number one on my list if Renae #2 didn’t kill it tonight.

1. La’Porsha Renae – Nickname: Screen Diva because film scores make her life feel like a movie. Do we have a nickname for her that is cool yet? La’Porsha channeled Tina Turner tonight and did Proud Mary so Proud! I don’t see any way she isn’t in the finale. The original Idol Queen Clarkson tweeted tonight “Okay if @laporsharenae doesn’t win Idol there’s something seriously wrong w/America!” This is kind of what I said last week about Jessica Cabral…look, not America’s fault KC! We’ll do our best. La’Porsha Power!

I realize this list is probably really far from how the judges will rule tomorrow but I feel good about it. I’m excited to see how the duets go on Thursday and can’t wait for the walk down memory lane. I’ll be watching on the East coast again, which surprisingly doesn’t make me feel any better. I thought it would. Oh well, the grass is always greener.

Peace out.

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