Monday, March 2, 2009

A Closer Look at Group #3

We are now down to the final group of 12. Here’s a closer look at who we’ll see…

Arianna Afsar, 17, San Diego
After her initial audition with “Put Your Records On,” I wrote that she was “way too effortless in her audition. And she’s got that charity thing going too.”

Felicia Barton, 26, Virginia Beach
We didn’t see very much of Felicia because the show never intended for her to be in the Top 36. She is the replacement for Joanna Pacitti. During the Green Mile episode, the judges told her that her elimination was not a unanimous decision. The FOX press release says her first public performance was at age 2.

Kendall Beard, 24, Austin, TX
She had a good audition, but a shaky Hollywood. Her final performance was a so-so “Before He Cheats.”

Kristen McNamara, 23, Napa Valley, CA
She’s been a magnet of drama since Hollywood, where she was a member of Team Compromise with Nathaniel and Nancy. Then she did a sing-off with Jen Corby, after which Simon argued that they should let the attractive one, Jen, go through. Paula told her she was having an identity crisis. Jen is familiar to “Nashville Star” fans for finishing sixth on season four.

Lil Rounds, 24, Memphis, TN
She is clearly the judges’ favorite coming into this thing. We’ve heard the mother of three sing Stevie Wonder, “I Will Always Love You,” and “If I Ain’t Got You.” Simon called her “fantastic and a good old-fashioned singer.”

Taylor Vaifanua, 17, Hurricane, UT
Her initial audition was with “Joyful, Joyful.” She forgot her words during Group Day, but recovered with her final performance of “If I Ain’t Got You.”

Alex Wagner-Trugman, 19, Studio City, CA
Alex is the guy that asked Randy to duet with him on “Baby, Come to Me” during his first audition. He got the most camera time during his sing-off with Cody Sheldon during the Top 36 episode when he did “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”

Jorge Nunez, 21, Cidra, Puerto Rico
After his first audition with “My Way” and “What a Wonderful World,” I said he had a “real Il Divo vibe.” In Hollywood, he nailed the perfect choice of “Angel” and “Closer.”

Ju’Not Joyner, 26, Baltimore, MD
His final Hollywood performance turned “Hey There Delilah” into a sultry R&B ballad.

Nathaniel Marshall, 19, Malone, NY
No stranger to drama, Nathaniel was the lone male member of Team Compromise. In Hollywood, he broke down after Simon asked him why he did “The Anchor Holds.” But he also did that cool acoustic version of “Disturbia” with a guitar. During his sing-off with Jackie Midkiff during the Top 36 episode, we learned he lives with his grandmother because his mother is in prison.

Scott MacIntyre, 23, Scottsdale, AZ
We’ve seen him do a great “And So It Goes” and, in my opinion, a pitchy “Home” with the keyboard. But Scott will always be known as the contestant who’s visually impaired.

Von Smith, 22, Kansas City, MO
After his first audition performance of “Over the Rainbow,” I wrote “Jiminy Christmas! What a voice Von has. But he’s a bit of a drama queen.” Simon trashed his Hollywood performance, which I called “way overblown.” During the Top 36 episode, we learned that he went against his parents and didn’t give an over the top final performance. Simon told him that helped him get through.

If Lil Rounds doesn’t give a good performance tomorrow night, I think the judges will break down and cry. And I have to believe that Scott MacIntyre is the favorite among the guys. As for others who will shine, I would say Arianna and Jorge.

Remember that Tuesday’s episode is two hours beginning at 8 p.m. on FOX…
Photo Credits: Chris Cuffaro/FOX, FOX, and Michael Becker/FOX