Sanni M'Mairura, 16, screamed "X Factor contestant" to me in that complete-package sort of way. Barring a complete vocal breakdown in Hollywood I see no reason he shouldn't go really far. The Tanzanian-Kenyan wants to teach dance, dreams of becoming a role model (ick?), and boldly took on Michael Jackson's "Who's Lovin' You" complete with well-choreographed full-body gestures. He seemed too good to be true, almost artificial in a way -- not his fault, I guess, just sensory overload on my end. Or as Nicki so eloquently put it: "Candy canes, strawberries, whipped cream, rainbows, and sunny skies." Damnit, now I'm even hungrier, and a touch closer than ever to diabetes. Sanni will really have to distinguish himself vocally down the line or all of this extra stuff will be moot. He speaks Swahili!
Adam Sanders, 19, is a wide-eyed innocent with a big ol' butt and a big ol' lady voice (Papa Peachez is totes jealous) who wants to "bring back the soul thing, like what Mariah has." Mariah was all "honey, Etta James is a loooong time before me," a comment which both honored Ms. James and shamed young Adam for considering Mimi an ancient historic figure. "You got that thing inside of you -- you got that soul," he assured Mariah. That was uncomfortable. Luckily Adam launched right into "I'd Rather Go Blind" and blew everyone away -- most visibly Nicki, but apparently not enough for her to join in on the judges' standing O. Nicki has not once stood up with the others. The judges didn't even bother to comment on his voice, which was a cross between Adam Lambert and a coked-up gospel singer. I too was pleasantly surprised by the tone and fierceness of Adam's voice, but wasn't a fan of the rushed nature of the song.
Now here's someone truly promising: 17-year-old Shubha Vedula (cue Randy shouting out her name the wrong way six times) quickly captivated Randy and Keith with her cover of "Something's Got a Hold on Me" -- but let's be honest, she had them at "No, this is amazing right now" after being asked whether she was disappointed Mariah and Nicki had yet to show up. I was sold on this cutie as soon as she pulled off the super-low register on "I get a good…" -- most people just mutter that part and hope for the best. I dug the way she snapped to the rhythm, too, on a song where you typically need to focus all your attention on having a powerful vocal. There's an ease about her that will be completely endearing to all ages, guys and girls. I think this one's a keeper.
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