Monsters & Critics columnist Liz Long recaps American Idol Season 18 Episode 6, with a little help from a glass of pinot (or two) …
Well, Idol Addicts, the first night of American Idol Hollywood Week did not disappoint!!
We had show-formatting switch-ups — genre challenge say what?! We had favorites proving themselves — you go Shannon Gibbons and Arthur Gunn!
We had the people who just couldn’t cut the mustard go home — sorry Marna Michelle and Doug the Garbage Man!
And for you savvy Idol Addicts, we had matching contestant tattoos? (Did you catch it? Stay tuned… I’ve been watching this show for years and I don’t play.)
Bust out your finest wine and French/Stay Puff outfits (Katy Perry), and let’s recap, baby!
Idol’s Hollywood Week is Survival of the Fittest
After all, as Katy said, this is now the survival of the fittest. And only the truly unique, truly talented, truly hungry will survive! Man, I can just feel the excitement oozing from my fingertips as I write this. We are now untethered from auditions, and this is where Idol gets good.
Without further ado, I present to you, my Idol recap, Hollywood Week, set to the tune of J-Lo memes!
Yes. I said J-Lo memes. I searched for her on Giphy for one in which she got “goosies,” and I ended up coming across some real gems. And since the Idol producers didn’t make the whole genre thing as clear-cut as I would have liked for my writing organizational purposes, I am just gonna break it down, J-Lo meme style.
Here we go. Wish us luck. (And for the record, I am kinda liking this whole compete according to your genre thing. There is actual logic behind it. In other words, it’s not just a lame attempt to differentiate the season for the sake of differentiating.)
Idol Goosies of the Night!
“The goosies” are only given to contestants who check off the following 4 boxes:
- They are likable.
- They are interesting to watch.
- They have one helluva voice (when you close your eyes and actually listen).
- They have the hunger AND the confidence to go all the way. In other words, they be fearless, b**tch.
It’s a coveted category and only the strong survive. So who are they?
1. Arthur Gunn / Dibesch Is Still My Light (Singer/Songwriter Genre)
Oh, how I was so happy to see Arthur Gunn/Dibesch/still not sure what to call him when he came across my TV tonight. Sporting a fresh haircut but still as cute as ever, this sweetie from Nepal was someone I really hyped in previous posts. So, I was a bit worried he might disappoint me as I hadn’t heard him since Auditions, Night One.
He sang an Otis Redding song (YES!!) (albeit, Otis Redding/Black Crowes Hard to Handle and not one of Mr. Redding’s more obscure songs), and, as I close my eyes to double-check the voice goods, I can safely confirm, they check out.
The judges begged for more, and he’s so natural — a/k/a confident — that he easily pulled off the extra stage time. Likable to the point of Lionel comparing his spirit on stage to Bob Marley (not so far-fetched), Arthur checks off all the goosie boxes!
2. Shannon Gibbons STILL Gives Me Life! (Singer/Songwriter Genre)
I previously dedicated a post title to Shannon Gibbons, so I won’t discuss her too much now except to say, OMG, I still love her voice. She’s got the thirst, saying “I just need one shot,” AND she’s got the taste, singing Kodaline’s Take My Body (yes!).
3. Just Sam Rises to the Hollywood Occasion (R&B Genre)
I’m surprising myself a bit by putting Just Sam in the goosies category, but I have to. Heck, she is the inspiration behind the goosie category factors, so into this category she MUST go!
By far, she has the absolute hunger and confidence than perhaps anyone on that Idol stage tonight. What’s more, she actually has the vocal chops. And you better believe she’s likable. She even brought her lucky box with her!
Best part about Just Sam tonight: telling her grandma that “this is going to change our lives.” She is like our new little Fantasia, and, as I’ve been saying, she is what Idol is all about. Oh yeah, when she bounced off the plane all happy and grateful, saying, “I was looking in the clouds — in the air this time!” you could tell, this gift is not wasted on her.
By the way, note her neck tattoo with the fingers and eyes. We might see a different version of it later.
1. Julia Gargano
I already liked Julia because during her auditions she proved she’s original. And now, come Hollywood Week, I love her even more. Her voice is strong, and she was one who easily psyched out the other 160 or so contestants waiting in the wings, questioning and comparing their own voice to Julia’s.
Certainly, Marna — who went right after Julia — didn’t stack up. And, true to form, the judges did NOT treat Marna any differently. Julia made it through. Marna did not.
2. Louis Knight Brings a Harry Styles X-Factor Moment to Idol
Remember Louis Knight, our London pizza delivery driver? Better known as the missing member of One Direction? Katy rightfully compared him to Harry Styles tonight. Unlike Harry, though, Louis’s London accent comes through a lot more as he sings, which I love.
What I loved even more, though, was Lionel saying he “wanted a little more sausage on it,” to which Luke was all:
3. Francisco Martin
Francisco is a handsome, likable guy who Luke apparently predicted as the “winner” during the auditions. He sang Hold Back the River and rushed it a little. But, as Katy pointed out, he was NERVOUS. Remember, Francisco, confidence is key. (And it’s one of Lizzie’s goosie factors above. Take note.)
It felt like a lot was riding on him with the hype of the intro package, but he was good. The question is: Did he live up the hype? I’m not so sure. If it comes down to him and Nick Merico, though, I am hoping it’s Francisco who gets the stud slot.
4. Amber Fiedler
We just saw Amber Fiedler’s touching audition when she was 9 months pregnant, and now, seemingly one day later, we learn that she already had the baby three weeks ago! WOW! It was an open adoption, and the baby girl’s name is Nora Rose because of Amber’s red hair. Awwwww.
Amber sang (what else?) Andra Day’s Rise Up, and though this is the third time we have heard this song so far this season, I gotta give it to Amber. Her voice is incredible. Just Sam just so happens to be another contender who sang this song, and how crazy is it that both Amber and Just Sam also have… get ready for it…
THE SAME TATTOO!! Amber’s is on her arm, but by golly, it’s the hand/eye thing again. What am I missing here, guys? It’s not a Gatsby thing, is it? Or do they just go to the same tattoo parlor?? So many questions!!!
Just Go Already
1. Nick Merico
I realize this may not make me very popular, but something about Nick I just don’t need. I mean, when I compare him to people like Just Sam, who are downright hungry and authentic, yeah, I can do without Nick. Where’s the connection?
Even more annoying was how they seriously tried to make us think that Lionel actually told Nick he didn’t like Nick during Nick’s audition round. To clarify: Lionel did not flat-out tell Nick this. Rather, Lionel was just testing Nick during auditions to make him feel what most human beings feel — rejection.
Also annoying was how Nick said he just wasn’t ready to go through with Idol last season. Are we getting mixed messages or what with this guy? Over it. (Why do I feel like he will go through… Don’t do it Idol Judges! We already had Laine Hardy win last season… or did you forget in the midst of your 9000 Alejandro references?) I digress.
2. Kay Genyse
Kay was taking it to the streets girl, which bugged me, and now Kay is wearing a garden on her head just to get my goat even more. (I was doing so well. Wine please!) Best part about Kay tonight was this guy:
Ha!! I need more of THAT guy. Kay definitely doesn’t have the chops to back up any of this getup, and she should have left it in the streets. She doesn’t go through, and is left saying her daily affirmations: I’m smart enough. I’m talented enough. And gosh darn it, people like me.
3. Margie Mayes
Don’t worry guys. I’m about to get way more positive again. I just have to insert this one into this category real quick. I can do without Margie. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
On a side note, Margie makes a friend in Genavieve Linkowski because they both have been here before. Genavieve is better than her audition rounds because she seemed to reign it in a bit, and she certainly has the Idol look (great eyebrows, btw), but I’m not completely feeling it. Likewise, Margie’s boyfriend is fine. Katy is certainly a fan, but he doesn’t blow me away.
And (some of) the Rest!
Lauren Spencer-Smith: She apparently had a viral video, and that automatically made me feel meh… But she can sing alright! I don’t believe she has that unique tonal quality like a Shannon Gibbons has, though. There are those people who can sing nicely and hit every note but they just don’t have that instantly identifiable voice, and that is what we need.
Cyniah Elise and her entourage in blue t-shirts (R&B): She is another one who belts on key. And she might surprise me and be the next Jennifer Hudson. But for now, she doesn’t give me the goosies, and the goosies I need!
Makayla Phillips: You know this girl will go through past Hollywood Week while I feel she gives me Fiona Apple vibes (in a pretty, skinny girl, b**tchy kind of way).
In his country voice, Luke says she is the next Ariana Dang Gone Grande. I’ll admit, Makayla surprised me tonight with her vocal chops. And unlike the last time we saw her, some personality came through when she said, “I’m staying — I’m staying baby!” But does she have that likability factor? She might continue to surprise us… (And I will say, good looking out and giving our friend, Fred, props. Oh Fred. I feel like we’re BFFs ever since last night.)
Robert Taylor (Pop Genre): We just saw him last night, and Katy is still certainly a fan. I love what he stands for, as he proclaims, “In that difference lies my beauty.” His personality might just be enough to get him through over his voice (the falsetto was a little pitchy), but again, I circle back to his lovable personality.
Bilaal Navaz: He’s a new one! I don’t think we met Adam Lambert until Hollywood Week so there’s that. I don’t rule anyone out.
Lauren Mascitti: I still am liking this girl. She has her hair down, which might make her even more stunning since her audition round. If nothing else, she’s interesting for having that older Shawn guy as her fiancee.
Okay, Idol Addicts. There were more, but this episode was so jam-packed, I must bid adieu until next Sunday! Now that we’re getting into some depth here, who are your early favorites? Do you agree about Nick Merico and the likability factor? What about Dillon James and his previous life as a Lifetime movie star next to Dolly Parton!?
Finally, just what do these sneaky judges have up their little sleeves for next week? We are promised “bombshells” and “curveballs.” If it is something logical like this genre thing, I can go with it. Til’ next week!