2009 semifinal grades, 2009 semifinals, Alexis Grace, Ann Marie Boskovich, Anoop Desai, Brent Keith, Casey Carlson, Danny Gokey, Jackie Tohn, Ricky Braddy, Season 8 Contestants, Stephen Fowler, Stevie Wright, Tatiana Del Toro

Idol Semifinal Show 1: Song by song grades

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Okay, here we go, live blogging on episode one of the semifinals.

VoteForTheWorst.com posted a list of songs the contestants are supposedly going to sing tonight … one song per contestant.

Man, I hope they’re wrong. This is a two-hour show. In Idol-land, a song lasts 1:30. One song per contestant would translate into 18 minutes of singing in two hours. Say it ain’t so.

Jackie Tohn kicks things off with “A Little Less Conversation.” Good news, the VFTW list must be wrong. That’s not the song they had Jackie singing. Three judges liked it; Simon didn’t. I agree with Simon. Rather afflicted performance. Not a great vocal. On a grade scale: C.

By the way, feel free to post a comment at the bottom of the blog. I’ll get it up as soon as possible. Tell me I’m tone deaf if you want. My wife does it all the time.

Looks like the contestants are only singing one song, which strikes me as very unfair given this new semifinal format where only three of tonight’s 12 contestants will advance.

Looks like we’ll fill the two hours with nonsense. Introducing contestants who already should have been introduced, hearing too-long opinions from four judges, then talking to the families after the performance. Just let these singers sing.

Ricky Braddy: Much, much better vocal than Jackie, from a guy who really needed it. I mean, if you’ve got one chance to sing in the semis, you’d better show people you can sing, and Ricky did that. But can he overcome the fact that he got so little exposure prior to tonight? Simon says Ricky lacks star quality. On that point, he might have a point. Sang “A Song for You.” Grade: B.

Alexis Grace: Wow! I’d been waiting to hear more from Alexis. There’s that big voice from a little gal that was so surprising in the audition. Why, why, why haven’t we seen more of her before now? Oh, that’s right. Idol was wasting time on Bikini Girl and Tatiana instead of singers. Great vocal. More lively performance than Ricky’s. Best so far, but then, we’re only three in. Sang: “I Never Loved a Man.” Grade: A-

Brent Keith: I’m disappointed in Brent. I figure he has the combination of looks and singing ability to be one of the best male performers Idol has seen. But if he wanted to show his country roots, couldn’t he have picked a better song. “Hicktown.” That’s it. I have to agree with Kara. It didn’t show his singing ability. I hope he gets another chance to prove himself. But under this format, I doubt it. Grade: C

Stevie Wright: I hope that was a severe case of nerves from a 17-year-old. That entire song sounded off key. Her version of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong to Me” reminds me she isn’t ready for this competition. Bye-bye, Stevie. Grade: F

Anoop Desai: I think Anoop was psyched out by the criticism of Stevie. That performance seemed far shakier than I expected from a guy with his experience. He seemed out of tune half the time, too. If he’s to be judged on that performance alone, like so many other singers will be tonight … well very forgettable. But listen to the judges. They’re practically begging fans to vote for the guy. Forget the fact that Ricky Braddy just blew him away based on singing performance. Hey, it’s your format guys. If one of your favorites can’t make the grade in his one chance, admit it. Grade: C-

Casey Carlson: Thanks, Casey, for showing a beautiful girl can get on stage and be beautiful without stripping down to a bikini. But, wow, what was that performance? That made Jackie’s performance look great. Tough song to sing, gal, and you didn’t pull it off. Sang: “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.” Grade: F

Michael Sarver: Another guy I had high hopes for just flopped. Wow, why couldn’t Brent Keith have picked that song — “I Don’t Want to Be” by Gavin DeGraw? Michael has sounded so much better. That performance isn’t going to cut it. Hopefully, he’ll get a second chance somewhere along the line. Hey, if anyone out there is keeping score, Ricky Braddy has turned in easily the best performance of the guys so far. Grade: C-

Ann Marie Boskovich: OK, that was better, though Ann Marie benefited from following five very mediocre performances, and some of those big notes were awfully sharp. Still, her “Natural Woman,” is miles better than what we heard from Casey and Stevie. Didn’t go over great with the judges, though. Gee, they weren’t that tough on Anoop. Grade: B-

Stephen Fowler: This one chance, do-or-die scenario is killing these singers. Or else Idol did a very, very poor job of picking a final 36. That was the worst performance we’ve heard from a guy yet. His “Rock with You” was off target from the start. Grade: D-

Hold on tight, here comes Tatiana!!!!

Tatiana Del Toro: Okay, she wasn’t as horrible as I hoped. But she shouted the big notes, rather than singing them. And that wasn’t a top-12 singing performance. Sang: “I’m Saving All My Love for You.” Hey, she’s holding it together on stage. She’s keeping the laughing to a minimum. Wow, she’s showing incredible self control. Oophs, there she goes. Begging viewers to keep her dream alive. Grade: C

Danny Gokey: Singing “Hero.” Gee, strange that the judge favorite gets to sing last, just before the voting starts, huh? Hey, good job on the big notes, but rather inconsistent performance. Not great from beginning to end. Are these judges for real? What were they hearing? Sold-out shows? Are you kidding me? Simon, thanks for injecting some sense of objectivity into this nonsense I’m hearing. Grade: B

Who should stay?

Who should go?

Who should be invited back for a second chance?

Check back tomorrow morning for an episode one recap.

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