Sudden Death, Round I
Original Air Date: Feb 20, 2013
Patricia Morris Buckley — Sr. Staff Writer
It’s Sudden Death at the Mirage in Vegas. This year, it’s a little different. Ten contestants sing, then only five are chosen to go on. As the judges could split the vote, the tie breaker is producer/vocal coach Jimmy Iovine.
The first round is the women and they sang in front of an audience. The judges didn’t tell which contestants would be continuing on until the very end.
Contestant: JENNY BETH WILLIS
Backstory: She’s 17 years old and sings Country
Song: “Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love”
Impression: She’s good, but I don’t see her going far. KEITH didn’t think it was the best song for her, but liked her stage presence. NICKI didn’t feel she came alive until the end. MARIAH wished she’d been more dynamic on the verses.
Contestant: TENNA TORRES
Backstory: She had gone to Camp Mariah as a girl. She’s 28, so this is her last chance.
Impression: She misses quite a few notes and uses a lot of affectations. I’m not a fan. KEITH really liked it. NICKI praised her control, but advised her to lose the hair. RANDY called her the star of the night because she connected with the song.
Contestant: ADRIANNA LATONIO
Backstory: She’s from Alaska and 17 years old.
Song: “Ain’t No Way”
Impression: A few wobbly notes, but overall it was polished and great. She’s got strong pipes and she knows how to use them. KEITH thought is was “so damn good.” NICKI liked her poise. RANDY said she was born to do this. MARIAH gave it an A+.
Contestant: BRANDY HOTARD
Backstory: She’s 26 and a psych nurse. She’s been working to be on the show since she was 16.
Song: “I Don’t Love You Anymore”
Impression: Is it nerves keeping her from hitting the notes? She has a nice tone, but didn’t do well. KEITH felt her emotional connection felt inconsistent. NICKI called her delivery pageant-like. RANDY said it didn’t show the type of artist she is. MARIAH praised her big voice.
Contestant: SHUBA VEDULA
Backstory: She’s a 17-year-old from the Middle East.
Song: “Born This Way”
Impression: I’ve never been a fan. She accompanies herself on the piano for a few bars. I liked it with the Middle East touches, but when she stands up it became karaoke. KEITH thought she crammed a lot into the song. NICKI called her a mash up of Christina Aguilera and the ‘Gangnam Style’ guy. RANDY touted her potential, but suggested she cut back on runs. MARIAH would have preferred her doing the song from the piano because it felt less forced.
Contestant: KAMARIA OUSLEY
Backstory: She has sung background for other singers.
Song: “Mr. Know It All”
Impression: Her pitch is so bad it’s like she doesn’t what key she’s in. She was good during Hollywood Week – what happened? KEITH didn’t like the song or her lack of emotional connection. NICKI didn’t like the throaty, swaggy thing she did. RANDY said the pitch was all over the place and called it her worst performance. MARIAH thought she was struggling to hear herself.
Contestant: KREE HARRISON
Backstory: She’s a Country demo singer.
Song: “Up To the Mountain”
Impression: She has a beautiful voice filled with emotion. But she needs to not wear her father’s over-sized dress shirt on stage. She gets a standing ovation from Keith and Nicki. KEITH called her a natural born singer. NICKI said she was in love with Kree. RANDY called her performance effortless. MARIAH said her unaffected way of getting lost in the song is organic and beautiful.
Contestant: ANGELA MILLER
Backstory: She watched season two and decided she wanted to be on the show.
Song: “Nobody’s Perfect”
Impression: She continues to impress with an effortless, polished performance. KEITH hints she’ll stay with the show. NICKI said nothing compares the original song she sang in Hollywood Week, and said she’s a top contender in the competition. RANDY called her one of his favorites and she’s set to be a superstar. MARIAH thought her potential is limitless and encouraged her to keep writing songs.
Backstory: She was really overweight in high school.
Song: “God Bless the Child”
Impression: She has pitch problems on the lower notes. There were several klunkers. Too bad, she has a powerhouse voice. KEITH liked it. NICKI thought she sounded pretty. RANDY thought it was a little old fashioned, but liked the big voice. MARIAH said her heart is what sold the song.
Contestant: AMBER HOLCOMB
Backstory: She’s an 18-year-old who got cut in Vegas last season.
Song: “Funny Valentine”
Impression: She has amazing control on a really big song. It’s a home run! Keith, Randy and Mariah gave her a standing ovation. KEITH said she makes it hard on everyone else with amazing breath control and tone. NICKI called her vocal A+++ but she wished her personality jumped through the TV. RANDY said the vocal was amazing. MARIAH loved her voice and her interpretation. I think she’s a possible frontrunner.
No need for a tie-breaker, the judges all agreed on the five finalists.
YES: Tenna Torres, Kree Harrison, Angela Miller, Amber Holcomb, Adrianna Latonio
NO: Jenny Beth Willis, Brandy Hotard, Isabelle, Kamaria Ousley, Shuba Vedula
I liked that we got to know each contestant a little better. That will be especially helpful to those who are going on. And these five lucky singers have two weeks before they face another cut, knowing they will indeed make it to the live shows. Thursday the rest of the women perform and next week, it’s time for the men.
What do you think of the new format? Did you think the right singers went through? Did anyone leave that you wanted to stay? Give us your TwoCents…