American Idol

KB Richins, Will Moseley, Ajii shine on American Idol

<strong>Will Moseley performs during Hollywood Week on American Idol. (ABC Photo)</strong>

Will Moseley performs during Hollywood Week on American Idol. (ABC Photo)


To say American Idol shook up its Hollywood Week format this season would be an understatement.

The genre challenge: Gone

The group performances of duets: Gone

The four episodes devoted to Hollywood Week and the final judgment: This year, there’s just two.

As someone who’s watched every season of Idol and blogged about the show since Season 7, I have mixed feelings about the changes.

On the plus side, there’s less airtime for producers to manipulate by focusing on their favorites.

And I’ve always argued group performances aren’t very helpful when the goal is to select one American Idol.

On Idol, the group round was often highlighted by overblown drama. Like when someone can’t find a partner. Or someone breaks a guitar string.

Ah, but less airtime for Hollywood Week and the final judgments also means less airtime to devote to contestans who succeeded in snagging a golden ticket but aren’t top Season 22 contenders.

And it means we’ll see fewer performances from those who are top contenders before fans start voting for their favorites.

That voting begins next week. Because the biggest cut in Idol history continues tomorrow night when the show whittles the field to a Top 24.

Now, here is Idol Chatter’s picks for the Top 7 performance tonight.

Keep in mind, I only ranked performance where we saw enough to make a judgment. The snippets we saw of Justice Murphy and Kennedy Reid were also impressive.

But these seven, where we saw full performances or nearly full performances, were simply outstanding.

1. KB Richins, “How Could You” — Wow. Just wow. What a powerful performance. KB said it was a risk singing such a personal song. It was a risk that paid off. She has a great voice and a knack for delivering emotion. If you haven’t checked out her debut single, releasd Friday, please do. The song, featuring another heart-wrenching vocal, is called “Girl I Am Now.” KB released it under her first name Kaibrienne.

2. Will Moseley, “Whiskey and You” by Chris Stapleton: What a great country voice. Deep with a nice touch of rasp. And a real knack at delivery. Unless I’m surprised Will’s going to become a fan favorite. Again, remember how well country singers have done on this show. Katy calls him “the real deal.”

3. Ajii, “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd: This guy is just blessed with a powerful, raspy voice and knows how to use it. His mom was right. It was a great song choice for the occasion. Lionel called it a “fabulous performance.”

4. Nya, “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” — Nya turned in a great vocal and also got a standng ovation from the judges. Luke called her perfomance “tonal gold.” This young woman has a background in musical theater and undeniable star power.

5. Triston Harper, “Wrapped Up in Jesus,” an original: Triston was okay in the auditions. Singing an original, he established himself as a force to be reckoned with on a show where male country singers often become fan favorites. And he was just 15 when he auditioned.

6. McKenna Breinholt, “When We Were Young” by Adele — McKenna was one of the stars of the blind audition, partly because of such a touching backstory (her meeting of her birth family). She proved she’s more than a great backstory by making the Adele song her own. Luke called it one of his favorite performance.

7. Ziggy, “All I Want” by Kodaline: Ziggy dedicated his performance to his late father, who died of a stroke last year. It was another example of how an emotional connection can transform a cover into something special. I’m sure some Idol fans will think he’s a little too extra too. But that was a touching performance, and one good enough to bring the judges to their feet.

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