East Coast Semi-Finals & Finals
Episode 2 finds us at Disney World with the 30 people chosen from the east coast auditions. For the semi-finals the group had to learn choreography from “faculty”-member Tiana Brown. We only saw brief shots of the kids doing the number so I couldn’t judge how well anyone did. The show then moved to the vocal audition requiring each contestant to sing a “High School Musical” number. They only aired about half the auditions and, even then, we only got a snippet. On the plus side, this saved us from having to hear the same songs over and over again but, when the judges made their cut taking the group from 30 to 10, we had very little idea of what they based it on.
For instance, we saw a lot of Briana Vega’s audition because she forgot her words and had trouble getting back into the song. Based on seeing just this, it was hard to understand why the judges put her through to the final 10. I also felt badly that we saw nothing of Domingo Meneses in the semi-finals. Domingo was the young man who the show was auditioning when they discovered his duet partner, Tierney Chamberlain. He didn’t make it any further than the semi-finals but I still would have liked him to have had at least one more moment before he disappeared.
The judges’ (Tiana Brown, Montre Burton and Rob Adler) determined that Anthony Acito, Jessalyn Bertone, Ciara Wilson (who we barely saw in the audition episode), Isaiah Smith, Bailey Purvis, John Honaker, Briana Vega, Tony Russell, Tierney Chamberlain and James Wolpert were moving on to the finals. The show committed a major cliche when the judges informed this group that they were moving on in the competition. Rob Adler gave them such a set up that poor Bailey was actually sobbing by the time he finally told them they were the group staying. I will mention that Rob wasn’t as cruel with the kids who were cut. He did get directly to the point when speaking to them.
For the finals, the remaining contestants were divided into 5 pairs and were given one day to put together a duet that they would perform in front of a crowd at Epcot. We got some brief rehearsal footage of the teams where we learned the following: 1) Isaiah is a major flirt and has to remind himself to keep focused on the job at hand. 2) Anthony is a sweetheart who worries about messing up and harming his partner’s chances. 3) Bailey doesn’t like working with a partner because she likes to be in control and doesn’t like to trust anyone else. 4) Tierney can burp at will……..and does it a lot!
A stage was set up not far from Spaceship Earth at the park and it looked like they attracted a good size crowd. Irrelevant side note: It was a gorgeous day and seeing it made me nostalgic for Epcot – it’s my favorite park at Disney World.
Back to the show:
Tierney & James: They sang Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” and were absolutely fantastic. As the first team they set the bar very high. They have very different vocal styles but Tierney was able to give herself more of a “rocker” edge to match up with James. They both had good emotion and well thought out staging. Very impressive for one day’s work.
Bailey & John: They performed Back Street Boys’ “I Want it that Way.” There was no blending at all. Like Tierney and James, Bailey and John have very different vocal styles and neither seemed to make an attempt to match the other. There was a disconnect throughout the number.
Jessalyn & Anthony: Their song was Colbie Calait’s “Bubbly.” They were both very young and sweet through this number, but they reflected the mood of the song more when they weren’t singing then when they were. Once they opened their mouths, all the personality was gone.
Briana & Tony: They sang The Wreckers’ “Leave the Pieces.” I was surprised how well their voices blended. It sounded to me like Briana is the one who adapted to Tony’s style, but they both sounded good. They certainly were committed to their story of a couple fighting.
Ciara & Isaiah: Their number was Eric Clapton’s “Change the World.” I thought this was the number that came closest to matching Tierney & James. They had a good voice blend and a lot of connection. It was fun and flirty and thoroughly enjoyable.
My call for who should have been cut after this was Bailey, John, Anthony and Jessalyn. The judges also thought John and Jessalyn should go, but picked Tony and Ciara as the other two cuts. I can see where they were coming from with Tony. I thought Tony was the better singer, but Anthony is the better, overall, performer. I have no idea what they were thinking in cutting Ciara. I thought she out sang every other girl except for Tierney. On top of that, we didn’t get any background story on Ciara in either episode! Now we’ll never get to know her.
Unfortunately, I fear we may not get to know any of these kids much better if the ratings continue to decline. Sunday’s episode only attracted 4 million and last night’s installment sunk to just 3.2 million according to MediaLifeMagazine.com. Even with my outrage at Ciara being cut, I’m enjoying the show, so I hope it stays around. I suppose there’s a chance that, if ABC drops it, the Disney Channel may pick it up. That probably is where it should have aired in the first place.
I have one more complaint – I wish ABC would follow the lead of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and post clips of individual performances. I really wanted to be able to attach the clip of Tierney and James. If you would like to see it, you’ll have to watch the whole show online at the link below:
Instead, I did some searching on YouTube and found this great clip of my current favorite, Tierney Chamberlain, singing the role of Cassie in “A Chorus Line” at her Madison, Wisconsin high school: