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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 8

'American Idol's second group of 12 semifinalists take to the stage


By John Bracchitta, 02/26/2009 

The second group of 12 semifinalists from American Idol's Top 36 took to the stage and performed during last night's live broadcast of the Fox reality competition's eighth season.

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Once again singing hits from the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the second group consisted of  Megan Corkrey, Kris Allen, Mishavonna Henson, Matt Breitzke, Allison Iraheta, Matt Giraud, Jasmine Murray, Kai Kalama, Jesse Langseth, Adam Lambert Jeanine Vailes, and Nick Mitchell.

"It's all about doing the best you can possibly do, there's no second chances," judge Kara DioGuardi said at the beginning of the broadcast. "That's what's harder about it now,  So you just have to 'Bring it' and show us your strengths."

Prior to the first performance, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest noted that judge Simon Cowell had swapped judging table seats with Randy Jackson and moved to its right side next to judge Paula Abdul, who had also switched mid-table seats with Kara.

"You've changed sides of the table [this week] -- is there something we need to know about that spot?" Ryan asked Simon of his switch.

"It's called fairness," Simon responded.

What do you think last night's American Idol broadcast?

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The following is Reality TV World's recap of the performance broadcast in the order which the second group of semifinalists sang.  Also included are comments from each of the four judges -- Kara, Simon, Paula, and Randy -- as well as additional information about each performance.

On Thursday night beginning at 8PM ET/PT, the male and female semifinalists who received the highest number of home viewers votes will instantly become a Top 12 finalist.  In addition, another semifinalist that had received the next-highest number of votes -- regardless of whether he or she is male or female -- will also become a finalist.

Jasmine Murray, a 17-year-old from Columbus, MS who currently resides in Starkville, MS

Song: "Love Song" by Sarah Bareilles

Randy said:
"There was some good moments and some bad moments.  It was pitchy all the way throughout and it's funny for me, when you pick songs like this -- I would have thought you'd have come out singing some Rihanna or something like that -- but when you pick songs like this that have these simple melodies and you try and make too much out of them, even with the attitude, it just kind of feels weird for me.  I don't know if it's the right song for you for me."
Kara said: "You know you're young, you're commercial -- there's something very commercial about you -- but it really was all over that place and you started very low and that's not really where your register should be so in the beginning you kind of lost it.  And it just -- it just wasn't your best performance, I mean there were moments but for me, I'm not sure honey."
Paula said: "Jasmine, Jasmine... I want to disagree with what they're saying but I have to agree with what they're saying.  You know you really gave it your all in trying to change the song in making it and interpreting your version of it but you sang all around it and it caused you to go off pitch.  But you know the confidence you had is great.  There's not much work that needs to be done with you but you still have to have the right songs."
Simon said: "I'm actually disappointed because I like you.  You've got a great look, you definitely have the attitude and the confidence, you just haven't got a great voice.  That's the only problem I have.  I think you're a couple of years too early but you'd be somebody I would have confidence for in the future. I just don't think you're ready for this now, and I don't think the song helped you either."

Additional Info:
"[Last year] my mom would say 'Jasmine are you watching American Idol, because you're probably going to be on there?' [And] I was watching it but I was just like 'Ya right, I'm not going to be on that show,'" said Jackie during a video package prior to her performance.  Simon objected to the studio audience's booing of his initial comments.  "Excuse me, I just said exactly the same as them and you boo me, I don't get that," Simon told the audience.  Jasmine told Simon she's "had a great time" when he asked her for her thoughts about her performance and told Ryan Sh. was "feeling it" and a little surprised at the judges' feedback.  Jasmine also admitted to try and cast phone votes for "every single person" in last week's semifinals show -- which Ryan called "a first."

Matt Giraud, a 23-year-old from Ypsilanti, MI who currently resides in Kalamazoo, MI

Song: "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay

Kara said:
"Matt, you blew mw away in Hollywood Week, I mean just blew me away, and tonight I'm just not blown away. You know, that song is just not the type of song that you should be singing. You're a bluesy, soulful guy and that was lost in that performance. I know you were trying to create that, but that song doesn't lend itself to that type of interpretation. And you're a really good singer and I'm not sure that showed the best side of you."
Paula said: "I think you were ranked right up there as my top, top, top notch from Hollywood, but then again we get to see you with your instrument playing and everything feels really comfortable. It was a risky song to pick, you're soulful and you're trying to instill that soul into a rock song. I saw your rehearsal, and I think your performance here was far better than the rehearsal I saw. So, yeah, I don't know if it was the right song to pick, but I did hear you go for it and bring what you brought to it. So I hope that you are here next week."
Simon said: "Um, Matt I'm actually going to repeat what the girls just said, it was verging on a horrible performance. It wasn't just the fact that the song was...  It wasn't just the fact that the song was so bad, it was how you performed it, because you turned from someone very cool -- at the piano singing Ray Charles -- into sort of a wannabe pop star in a very kind of jerky uncomfortable way, and it's really put me off for you.  Sorry. I mean I like your voice but you just did the wrong thing."
Randy said: "You know what, I gotta agree with Simon. The thing is you got mad talent, so I'm still pulling for you because you're one of my favorites in this too. But now, you watch that back with the Ray Charles and you have to sing difficult songs that you can go at vocally because you got it like that. The simple songs, stay away from [them]."

Additional Info:
"It was one of the coolest moments of my entire life" said Matt during a video package prior to his performance regarding his Hollywood Week performance using a piano. Matt added that he chose the Coldplay song to put a "soulful twist on a white boy rock song." Paula and Kara both reiterated that they wanted him to be more like he was during Hollywood Week and auditions following the judges comments and said that they had not said that Matt was "horrible" as Simon had implied.

Jeanine Vailes, a 28-year-old from Washington, DC who currently resides in Sherman Oaks, CA

Song: "This Love" by Maroon Five

Paula said: "Well Jeanine... great legs... it's season eight... Simon?" Simon asks her if that's all she wants to say, causing her to respond "I'm looking forward to what you have to say."
Simon said: "Right, I thought it was terrible, for you. Sorry, I don't know what's going wrong tonight, you're all choosing the wrong songs for you. It was painful at times, it was an effort, it was a struggle. Completely the inappropriate song for you, but you do have very good legs."
Randy said: "I gotta agree with Simon on the legs. The legs are definitely hot. But wait a minute, this song -- I mean I love Maroon Five -- [it was] completely the wrong song. That was, I hate to say it, but the best part was the end and that it was over. Oh my God I was dying over here, like 'Oh no!' What's going on tonight? Kara, come on..."
Kara said: "I'm trying to think of what else is pretty, so much about you is pretty, thank God." Simon says "Nice lips," causing her to respond "You know what, nice lips, so overdone! Well, we know what you're saying... lips. Anyway." "So I think that it was very overdone hun. Everything about it was wrong, really, and that's very hard to say because you seem like a nice girl."

Additional Info: Jeanine said that Simon's comment that he believed she could be a recording artist was "One of the best compliments I've ever gotten." Following the judges comments Jeanine said that she had felt like she was "so far under the radar" and had to come out strong to prove that she belonged there, an idea that Kara said was simply "Overcompensating." Randy added that she had been very pitchy and not in tune, with Simon adding that she would have been "better off under the radar." When pushed by American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, Paula said that Jeanine probably didn't deserve a spot as a finalist.

Nick Mitchell, a 27-year-old from Brookfield, CT

Song:
"And I'm Telling You" as interpreted by Jennifer Hudson

Simon said: "Look, I hope I'm speaking on behalf of America here where I pray you do not go through to the next round. I'm sorry, but why is your mom and dad looking at me like that, I'm doing you a favor! It was arguably one of the most atrocious performances we've ever had on this stage.  Because what it really is, is really horrific comedy, right?"
Randy said: "Listen, dude let me tell you something. It was definitely one of the most entertaining performances ever on American Idol. Yo, yo, you know what I love? Simon's right, the vocals were definitely not happening. But you know what I love dog? You got the uh-oh-uh-oh-oh-oh-owww. I was like what is this guy doing? Dude, that was funny though, that was funny. Kara you gotta admit that was funny..."
Kara said: "You know what, at least we remember him right? We remember you. At least you come out, you do your own thing, your own spin. You wear the same shirt, like Simon, every week. You [two] may have a little bit more in common. You know, for what it's worth, you're not a terrible singer. You're not, you know, I don't see you in the music market, but I enjoyed you. I enjoyed you tonight."
Paula said: "This is America, singers come in different sizes, shapes, sounds, looks, fashion, the whole deal. You know sometimes you're paying homage to Olivia Newton-John doing 'Let's Get Physical' or Jerry Lewis in all of Jerry Lewis' movies. But you know what Nick-Norman, Norman-Nick -- I like Norman Gentle -- you are a true performer. I don't know if this is the stage for you, however there are plenty of stages in Los Angeles. You're fun, you're memorable."

Additional Info: Ryan called Nick "one of the most provocative contestants we've ever had." Nick interrupted Randy's comments to admit that the notes he sang by the American Idol sign were "not on key." Following the judges' comments Nick reiterated that he was "feeling good" during the rehearsals but that something had happened when he got on his knees to sing that had messed up his voice. Paula said that he saw Simon smiling the entire time through the performance. After Nick called out Ryan for always asking him how he was feeling after his performances and if he thought he deserved a spot in the Top 12, Nick then turned the question around and asked Ryan if he thought he deserved a spot, to which Ryan responded "Probably not."

Allison Iraheta, a 16-year-old from Los Angeles, CA who currently resides in Downey, CA

Song:
"Alone" by Heart

Randy said: "Yo, yo, so this is a funny show tonight. First we had comedy, we got some bad singing... Yo you just blew out da' box right there.  So now we got real singing jumping off and how you blew it out da' box, see it don't matter what age you are or no matter who else is in here or who the contestants [are] up there or whatever, sixteen [years-old] and she blew it out da' box. This might be one of the hottest tonight!"
Kara said: "You're serious. This girl is serious. You don't even know how good you are, you really don't... But from now on you can be sure you're great. You don't need to worry about if you're great, you just gotta get comfortable, keep getting comfortable with being onstage. You still have a little stage fright you're working out, but you have serious chops. With the right song you could have a big hit on the radio, I'm telling you."
Paula said: "Allison, I think you can sing the telephone book. You're one of those... Each year there's a contestant that, and many, that can sing the telephone book. You're sixteen-year-old, but you're by far the best we've heard tonight on that stage. I wanna say something, at sixteen-years-old to be so seasoned, to work the microphone and the microphone stand as you do, it's really refreshing to see. So congratulations you did an incredible job. And I will say, another very Kelly Clarkson sound to you."
Simon said: "Well Allison, I disagree with what Randy said when he said you might be the best tonight, you're the best tonight by a clear mile. I mean come on, it's like the competition just started right now. For your age [of] sixteen and the confidence you have... and what's amazing is you were so boring upstairs with Ryan, you were, but then you started singing and you turned into a completely different person. So you've just got to get a bit of confidence and a bit more personality. But I think, as we said in that clip, you may be one to watch in this competition. I'm very, very impressed with you, great.

Additional Info: Allison admitted that her audition in San Francisco was "not the best I could've done." During the judges comments, Ryan noticed that Allison's mom was "doubled over" with tears of joy.

Kris Allen, a 23-year-old from Jacksonville, AR who currently resides in Conway, AR

Song:
"Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson

Kara said:
"So here's the thing with you Kris, the back half of that performance was way better than the front. The front was really rough for me. But it still does not come close to what you did in Hollywood Week where you were doing everything and you had the soulful voice and you had your own kind of changes in the song that were good. This was just the wrong song, completely wrong. You know I just did not see you doing this and I think that you actually have some talent. But this just didn't show me really what I fell in love with you in Hollywood."
Paula said: "Um, I'm gonna disagree completely. I think that you showed your personality , you took a song that [the song's writers] would have been proud of hearing you sing, they wrote that song and it's a beautiful song. And you nailed it, you nailed it. And I thought you were charming up there, when you're confident it really shows."
Simon said: "I'm going to agree... with Paula.  Look, I'm not going to say that you are the best singer in this competition, because there's a lot of guys -- particularly [Danny Gokey] who got through last week, he's a much better singer than you -- but what you did tonight is at least you did what we asked which was to show some confidence and personality. It's very easy to forget somebody like you, but I think you made an effort, you look good I think the chicks are gonna love you. So I was actually quite proud of you tonight that you actually gave it a go and I think you may have put yourself back in the running."
Randy said: "So check it out dawg. I think Simon's partly right there because here's the deal. Every time I see you I think about you with a guitar now and I think 'Okay can he do it without the guitar?' Tonight baby guess what, you won it, you did it without the guitar and I'm proud of you for having enough confidence to do that, you know what I'm saying? Nice jump off baby, nice jump off..."

Additional Info: Kris said he "felt good" after the judges comments and agreed with Ryan that he had relaxed more and more as the song had gone on. "I was a little nervous at the beginning, but I felt like I got more into it. The song gets more happy once it goes on, so..." he said.

Megan Corkrey, a 23-year-old from Taylorsville, UT who currently resides in Sandy, UT

Song:
"Put Your Records On" by Corinne Bailey Ray

Paula said:
"Megan, from the time we say you in Salt Lake City you won us over, and I gotta tell you tonight you picked the right song. You're just beautiful to look at, the camera is in love with you. You're interesting, you're relevant, you're hip, you're cool, you're beautiful. You did everything right.  Did I like her? hmm. I loved her. I heart you."
Simon said: "You're a funny little thing aren't you, I mean you look gorgeous. I thought it started off really well, and then maybe because she got overexcited I think you over sang the second part of the song where it started to become a little bit shouty. I really, really liked you the very first time I saw you, then you had kind of like a rough middle stage in the competition. I hope, actually, that America votes for you because I think that you do stand out. I think, as Paula said, you are relevant, you are current. I just wish the vocals were a little bit better tonight."
Randy said: "I gotta agree with Simon and Paula there. I mean, I'm a big fan of yours, you're very interesting with the whole thing happening over here with Duffy, Adele, Amy Winehouse. You definitely got that vibe jumpin' off, and I'm interested to see you in the other rounds with this whole kinda voice thing because I love the tone of your voice, it's this whole kinda smokey jazz thing. But you're definitely drop-dead and it was a nice, nice job."
Kara said: "You're what we call a package artist. You're very pretty, you stand out, you're unique, and with the right song you could be a breakout hit artist on the radio. It's all about what's the song? What's the defining moment that Megan has on the radio? Because with the right video you could be very viable in this market."

Additional Info: Megan said in her video segment that it was "really, really hard" to be in Los Angeles and away from her two-year-old son. Megan disagreed with Simon's idea that she over sang the second half of the song. "I sort of think I rocked that part" she told him. Paula said after her comments that Megan reminded her of Nelly Furtado, to which Simon agreed.

Matt Breitzke, a 28-year-old from Bixby, OK

Song:
"If You Could Only See" by Tonic

Simon said:
"Matt, Matt, Matt. Right. I really like you from when we first met you. I absolutely hated that song, I really, really am frustrated because if I had known you were going to choose a song like that I would've talked you out of it. It was boring, it didn't suit you, the performance I thought was quite uncomfortable, and I don't think you've done yourself any favors whatsoever with a song like that. And I'm really sorry because you're one of the few guys I really remembered and I wanted you to do well. But I'm frustrated because I hated the song."
Randy said: "Yo, here's the deal. Listen, it's a great song, the problem is Simon hit on it, the performance was so boring and didn't show you to be the great Matt that we saw in Hollywood. You needed something a little more exciting for me. I mean it was just okay, I mean it was like cool, it was like "Cool Matt," and on a rock song you want a little more edge and a little bit more energy than that, you know what I'm saying dawg? But I mean, you know, Matt I like you man. I think you're a very, very cool guy. Good luck."
Kara said: "We all like you Matt, we've all liked you. And the thing is it just didn't show us any side of you. There was so much promise in your auditions and it just fell really flat. But the thing is you can sing too, so that's what's most disappointing is that you weren't like 'Ugh, the notes were terrible,' you can actually sing so it really was about a poor song choice."
Paula said: "I know that you put everything -- your whole guts, your soul -- into that. The thing is, like everyone, we're saying you have a real good voice. Every note was in key. It's just the song did not celebrate who we all fell in love with. That's it."

Additional Info: Matt disagreed with Simon's assertion with he had chosen a bad song, and reiterated his feelings after the judges comments once more. "I probably would've done it anyway," he said when asked if he would have listened to Simon's requests to change songs.

Jesse Langseth, a 26-year-old from Minneapolis, MN

Song:
"Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes

Randy said:
(After Jesse winks at him) "Why you lookin at me like that? Listen, you know what, I thought it was okay of a performance, I thought the song was cool. But my problem is like in this round right now everyone here should come out and blow us out da' box. It was just another cool kinda performance. It was okay, but it just wasn't really exciting, so I don't [feel] like I saw the best Jesse." Jesse then asks him what he means by wanting to see more of her:  "Here's the deal, vocally I wanna see you stretch yourself, I wanna see where the range can go. I just don't wanna see a performance that's like in a five note range. It was like a five note range. It's like, it's cool but okay, what can she do? It doesn't show me who you are, you know what I'm saying?"
Kara said: "Well this is definitely your best look. I thought that at least [in] your performance you were kinda slinky and sexy. It was interesting to watch. I mean, you definitely had some issues with a  few notes but I think you took some risks tonight that you hadn't really taken throughout the auditions. And while that wasn't the rangiest song to pick to show us how high up you can go and how low you can go, I thought there were some moments that I liked."
Paula said: "I found you captivating, like all throughout this -- forget this performance here --  throughout the auditions, throughout Hollywood Week. You were the one I kept going back to. I kept going back to 'There's that little red-headed girl with that bright smile.' You're cool, you have an identifiable sound about you, and your phrasing is very unique and that's what we look for. It may not have been the most perfect song to sing, but I will always remember you. You're cool, you just got it, and I think that's a really great quality."
Simon said: "Well this is where I actually disagree with Paula because, and I don't mean this rudely, I think you're forgettable. I do, I don't think that people are gonna remember you or anything much about you other than they're gonna remember the performance. It was just kind of [flat]. You've actually got quite a nice voice, but it was too cool for school and I don't see any reason why anyone's gonna jump on the phones and vote for you."

Additional Info: Jesse admitted that it was "awfully tough" being away from 8-year-old daughter during her video segment. After the judges' comments she added that she was "thankful" that Randy had answered her questions and thanked him for it.

Kai Kalama, a 27-year-old from Redlands, CA who currently resides in San Clemente, CA

Song:
"What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" by Jimmy Ruffin

Kara said:
"I just like you, you're a really good guy... I mean I think you had some pitch issues, but you went out there and you gave it your all and I like that about you, you do that every time you step in front of us. But I think the song was a little old fashioned for me. I'd like to see what you can do with [something] that's more contemporary and kind of see that side of you as an artist, because we really haven't seen that. Those are kind of my thoughts, there were some moments where I thought 'hmm,' and there were some moments where you kinda fell off."
Paula said: "It's obvious we can tell that you like the throwback songs, I love them. You sounded really good on the song except for when you fell off pitch a little bit. But I didn't know you were quite the performer, you've got a lot in you and you held back. You've got the chops to really do well in this business if you really work on it hard."
Simon said: "Kai I'll be honest with you, I've heard so many performances like that over the years in a competition like this. It was very old fashioned, I thought the performance was quite corny, and I thought it was the sort of thing you would hear in a wedding or a hotel in most places across America, to be honest with you. There was nothing distinct, nothing original and nothing really memorable about the performance, to be honest with you. I think you'll be a very good backup singer."
Randy said: "Yeah I gotta agree with Simon dawg. It was just so safe man! And especially at this point, I'm saying, it has to be hot. That was so safe I don't even really know what to think of it. You're a cool guy but a very safe performance, not what I'm looking for."

Additional Info: Kai's mother, whom he cares for, was on hand for the performance. Kai said in his video segment that it "means everything" to him that she attended. Following the comments Kai said he hoped he got the chance to show that he was in fact a "contemporary guy."

Mishavonna Henson, an 18-year-old from Irvine, CA

Song:
"Drops of Jupiter" by Train

Paula said: "Well you know I'm a fan of your voice and you definitely can sing. 'Drops of Jupiter' wouldn't have been my choice for you. Although you sang it well it just didn't excite me. But you can sing."
Simon said: "Yeah look, it's a great song, and I think where we're having a slight issue with you here is that it sort of sums up you, which is you're very serious. I mean you're technically a very good singer, but something left me really cold about that performance. It was just that the song and the performance, I don't know, it just... How old are you?" Mishavonna responds that she's 18-years-old: "See, you act like a 50-year-old. I haven't seen [the younger] side of you. I just wish you had been a bit younger and a bit more fun."
Randy said: "Well that was my thing. I think the song is cool, and you know we're harping on all these songs but listen, you can sing whatever song. It could be the alphabet song as long as you sing it amazing. But the thing is that Simon's right, you feel so much older and you're 18! C'mon, you can sing something young. And I'm not sure I love the fact that the solo singer is singing band songs. It's not, you know, it didn't really quite show your voice off the way I wanted to hear."
Kara said: "Yeah I didn't mind the song, because I actually love that song. But it was more... it was just you're very put together. I wanted you to loosen up a little bit, and just shake it out. But you know, you're a good singer too, that's the thing with you that's tricky because you really are a good singer. But I think we're all having just a question of where do you fit in the music industry? What kind of song do you sing?"

Additional Info: Mishavonna told Ryan that she understood where the judges were coming from and had chosen the song because it was "different." She added that she had not yet shown off the side of her that could "loosen up" but maintained that she could. "I'm crazy," she said.

Adam Lambert, a 27-year-old from San Diego, CA who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA

Song:
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones

Paula said:
"Here's the thing, I don't even have words to express how much that I think I'm not even watching an American Idol competition, I'm watching an Adam Lambert concert. Your phrasing, your choices, what you do, you're in a league of your own and you're leaving some people in the rear-view mirror. Congratulations."
Simon said: "Adam I am really finding this one difficult, because there were parts I thought were excruciatingly bad and parts which I thought were brilliant. So this is a really weird one for me. I thought the end note was terrific but there were parts, particularly at the beginning I thought were terrible to be honest with you. This is going to be one of those 'Love it or hate it' performances, which is fine. I think you're gonna get through."
Randy said: "Well look dawg, check it out. I loved it! And here's the reason why, I mean from day one that we saw you I loved you because I think you're one of the most current artists we've ever had on this show. It's like a combination of Steven Tyler meets Fallout Boy meets Robert Pattinson from Twilight meets My Chemical Romance. I'm sayin' dude, you got it going and the thing you gotta watch, I mean it was a little bit manic, but it's Mick Jagger so it should be manic right? But it was a little bit manic, the performance and everything. Just don't overdo it. But dude, it was the bomb! I'm lovin' it."
Kara said: "One thing that tonight's performance showed me, your vocal technique and ability is outrageous. I mean you can go so low to so high. Forget about dramatic shchmatic, whether you're dramatic or not I'm not even gonna get into that, but who has a range like that? That's some crazy stuff he's singing, I mean it's craziness in a good way."

Additional Info: "I love those books and that movie. I love it. Thank you," said Adam after hearing Randy's comment that he reminds him of Robert Pattinson from Twilight. He said in his video segment that he chose the song because The Rolling Stones was his mom's favorite band.

(Photo credit Fox)


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