The tomboy with a pretty voice is besties with Andrew Garcia, the 9th place finisher from season 9 who famously reworked Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” during the first Hollywood week round.
Avalon’s showcase performance:
Avalon has been a judge favorite from the beginning, but I’m skeptical of her chances to go deep in the competition. First, it’s a brutal group this year, but more importantly her style is so niche-y that every song she sings basically sounds just like the last one. I think she’s an underdog to make it past the first round, and if she does she is unlikely to make it more than a couple of weeks past that.
She could be this season’s Karen Rodriguez (season 10) – a good singer but a little too signature to stay interesting through the grind of week-to-week reinvention.
Here’s Avalon and Andrew singing together:
Semifinal performance: “Love Yourself” – Justin Beiber
I felt like she was trying to do too much – trying to ‘perform’ instead of just being natural – but her gumdrop tone came out and she finished strong. She always sounds like herself, which I think might be what the judges were saying unconsciously. They want her to have another facet. I don’t know if she does.
Avalon with Ruben Studdard “Flying without Wings” – Ruben Studdard
She was getting blown away most of the song, sounding weak and ineffective – then she did a towel wave at Ruben, relaxed, and did great the rest of the song. She carries a lot of nervous energy with her, and I doubt that she could sing a true ballad by herself without her nerves getting the best of her.
Avalon Young, “Yo (Excuse Me Miss)”
Her stage presence feels forced to me, but she’s trying and I think she’ll loosen up and look a little less play-acty as she gets some reps. Her voice stands out – even following Tristan she sounded strong – and her tone is as cuddly as a care bear wrapped in a Fabreze scented dryer sheet.
Avalon Young “Stitches” Sean Mendes
You would think Avalon was the one with the mother who sang in the 1980s the way she sings. Her tone, which stands out in today’s music for its almost helium-ish sweetness, wouldn’t stand out in the 1980s. Everyone from Lisa Lisa to Paula Abdul to Brenda Starr had that high-end tone.
Credit Avalon for trying to get out of her comfort zone and sing something with a lot of range and complicated rhythms coming thick and fast. She didn’t nail the song – she struggled with the low notes, some of the transitions were out of tune and the rhythms felt rushed – but it wasn’t a train wreck, either. She might be in trouble, depending on the rest of the singers, but she didn’t take herself completely out of it.
Judges: they basically said what I said – the song was not what she is used to singing.
And then there were 8
Avalon Young “Earned It” The Weeknd
Perfect song, sung damned near perfectly.
Judges: Jen sure hides her feelings, doesn’t she? I suppose we are all biased towards our own. I’m not sure Olivia or Gianna can beat this, even if they are perfect.
And then there were 6
4: Avalon – with Sonika, both were sweet but a little in and out of tune at times
Avalon Young “P.Y.T” Michael Jackson
At times she seems relaxed with all the stage theatrics, and other times it seems forced. Her voice came out well on this song, but there were a couple of spots in the melody where she didn’t have as much oomph as she might have had.
Judges: lots of ways to say ‘you always sound the same.’
Audience – loud and enthusiastic