idol-14

This is it! Sudden Death Vegas Week(s) is over, and last night the final five contestants were chosen to go onto the Top 20. Here are the ten who competed: Mathenee Treco, Gurpreet Singh Sarin, Vincent Powell, Nick Boddington, Josh Holiday, David Oliver Willis, Bryant Taneo, Burnell Taylor, Lazaro Arbos, and Cortez Shaw.

Mathenee, 26, was up first, singing Elvis’ “A Little Less Conversation.” The professional dancer was certainly comfortable on the stage, and could really belt it out. Keith said, “You have a huge range vocally, and you’ve got immense power too as a singer. I love the fact that you want to entertain. Don’t underestimate the power of your voice.” Nicki said, “A lot of it seemed like more trying to please the judges. It didn’t feel current, it felt very cheesy and karaoke.” Randy said, “Here’s the issue: The song choice was so wrong for you it makes me questions who you are and what kind of artist you want to be.” Mariah said, “I personally felt a little bit of disconnect between what I expected and what you gave me.”

Twenty-year old Gurpreet from Maryland shares his love of music with his Indian family. He chose to sing James Morrison’s “Nothing Ever Hurt Like You,” and it sounded completely karaoke. It was hard to make out most of the words, and he smiled the entire time, which didn’t seem fitting with the lyrics. Keith said, “I didn’t think that was a great song for you tonight, but I love your voice.” Nicki said, “I don’t know what’s happening because you had something that was very intimate when you came into the competition.” Randy said, “Honestly, that was terrible.” Mariah said, “I was slightly disappointed because I didn’t hear your softer voice, which I think is what won everyone over.” It was embarrassing how he kept telling them what he would change if they let him through, which was clearly not happening.

Vincent, 29, from Texas also grew up playing music with his family. He sang Lenny Williams’ “Cause I Love You,” and the passion and emotion he put into it was chilling. His final two notes were so long that the crowd went wild. Keith said simply, “I loved it, I loved it Vincent.” Nicki said, “It was a sexy old-fashioned. That was a good vocal, that hit me somewhere.” Randy said, “I felt like the show tonight started right here. This is what I would call the whole complete package. Stick with that!” Mariah said, “All I can say is: Finally.”

Tennessee-born Nick, 27, moved to NYC to pursue his show biz dreams. He also chose a James Morrison song, “Say Something Now.” He is definitely more of that kind of singer than Gurpreet, and the song seemed to fit in his vocal range just right. Keith said, “There’s a timber in your voice that I really love. It’s so easy to listen to. The only thing I kept waiting for was a feeling of being connected to you as a person.” Nicki said, “There’s a very truthful thing about you that never seems to try too hard, and I like that. It just wasn’t your best.” Randy said, “This was not your best tonight.” Mariah said, “I heard a moment towards the end that was very nice. I do think you’ve very talented.”

Josh, 24, from Texas, moved to Nashville to pursue his music career. He sang an original song and played the piano a little. I liked his song a lot, but he was a bit pitchy and all over the place with his voice at times. Keith said, “Sometimes I wish you would just cut loose! I’m interested in your heart and passion.” Nicki said, “You really pulled me in when you first started. I felt like if you would have just chilled and stayed on the piano, you would have focused more and stayed in it more.” Randy said, “I just don’t know if I was wowed by it in this moment.” Mariah said, “I was really impressed by the audience’s response to the song.”

David’s style and musical choices are reflective of his much-older foster parents. The twenty-four year old played the guitar and sang “You Give Me Fever,” which has been sung by many people, but never quite like this. It’s impressive to take an old song and change it to make it your own successfully, but David pulled it off well. The judges didn’t seem to agree with me though. Keith said, “Nobody’s doing quite what you’re doing. I really loved it, despite the song.” Randy said, “I kinda liked that you’re a little bit different. I’m a little intrigued.” Mariah said, “I have heard you go vocally a bit more, but the crowd seemed to like it.”

Hawaiian born and bred Bryant, 24, wanted to bring some island flavor to the show, but that didn’t convey with his song choice: Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.” His voice sounded nice, but there wasn’t anything special about the performance. Apparently it sounds completely different in person, because Keith said, “You have a beautiful voice, I think that was a really good song for you, and you handled it really well.” Nicki said, “I loved that last note that you did. I didn’t like anything else.” Randy said, “I loved the beginning, but I was waiting for it to go somewhere by the end.” Mariah said, “The tonality of your voice was beautiful. I feel like there were a couple moments where you got lost in there.”

Burnell, 19, from Louisiana sang John Legend’s “This Time,” and it felt like a comical karaoke performance. His voice was okay, but his hand gestures and expressions were so strange that it through off the tone completely. Once again, the sound must be very different in the arena, because Keith said, “Gosh, I liked that performance. Your singing style is so original. I’m connected to this whole thing from beginning to end.” Nicki said, “Right now, today, I would pay to see you sing.” Randy said, “You’re very different is what I like about you. You feel something personal that you give to the public.” Mariah said, “I hope you just keep doing you and being creative with your choices.”

No one could forget Lazaro, 19, from Florida, who has difficulty talking with people due to his stutter, which disappears when he sings. Last night he sang Keith’s “Tonight I Wanna Cry,” and definitely did the judge justice with his graceful, controlled voice and soulful glances. Keith said, “Thank you so much for doing that song. You’re a really great singer, period. I don’t think that was a great song for you tonight. I never felt like you got comfortable with it. Despite that, you’ve got this spirit that burns through your vocal.” Nicki said, “What I love about you is you always give us Lazaro. You played it safe, but in a good way. It’s very truthful to you.” Randy said, “I think sometimes you get a little nervous. You’re a great singer.” Mariah said, “I’ve heard you do a stronger vocal, but I’d say there’s a purity and a simplicity that comes from the emotion of your struggle. I’m so proud of you for getting through it!”

Finally, Cortez, 22, from Texas sang “Titanium,” by David Guetta ft. Sia. It was a unique arrangement, and he brought so much emotion to a pretty song that sometimes comes off a little flat on the radio. Keith said, “That was a really bold and brave move to tackle that song into a ballad form, because there’s nowhere to hide. You’ve got the range…it hit the mark, in a big way.” Nicki got a bit flustered, and said, “Is it hot in here or is it just me? I liked you a lot tonight. Good song choice, sexy.” Randy said, “I like you, I think you’re very current. I’m a fan.” Mariah said, “I love the arrangement, and I love what you did. Of course nothing is going to be perfect. I really think you made some very good choices.”

After deliberation, the judges laid out the final results: David, Bryant, Mathenee, Josh, and Gurpreet were sent home. Vincent, Lazaro, Cortez, Purnell, and Nick are the last five members of the Top 20!