American Idol Season 14 Top 8 Perform, 1 Goes Home

13 04 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nThe fan save is back again this week. However, this is new to Idol and their title descriptions of the episodes need to change. All 8 ARE performing, which will leave us with 7 going forward (they have Top 7 Perform). Florida Georgia Line and Jason Derulo were the mentors for the Idol contestants during the past week and are the bearers of the Idol results tonight. This week is “Billboard Hits.”

The first saved contestant is Jax. She is singing “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga. It sounds from her rehearsal she is trying to put a Joey Cook twist to the song, but when she got into the song, it did sound like Jax and not Joey. I enjoyed it. It wasn’t the best I’ve heard her do but it certainly wasn’t the worst. I still love her. Keith said it was an interesting arrangement. He loves her artistry. She does that consistently from week to week (make it her own). Jennifer is all for that, too, BUT she thinks there is a line where it gets dangerous. She tells Jax she wants to be an artist who wants to be on the audience today. She said she knows she is a favorite and she gets a lot of votes, but she doesn’t want her to go so far left that people can’t relate. She could not relate to that at all musically. She warns her to be careful. Harry says she has magic in her voice. He doesn’t have a problem taking an arrangement completely to the left. What he does have a problem with is not owning it once you get there. What she did on stage did not match it. There is more to changing a song in tempo and groove; she has to change it up here (and he points to his brain). As good as the vocal was, he did not feel like she inhabited it emotionally.

The next person is Nick Fradiani. Florida Georgia Line told him to maybe practice in front of a mirror and see what it looks like. He says he IS comfortable on stage so he isn’t sure why the judges keep saying this. Personally if he says it isn’t this, then I’m thinking these are just bad habits he has picked up over the years performing with a band. He sings, “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry. Well, the beginning of the song his facial expressions were not like they have been so I am thinking standing in front of mirror HELPED him. His eyes were open more; his facial expressions were better. I like what he did to the song. He did actually look more relaxed on stage tonight whether he wants to admit it or not. Or maybe more confident. Jennifer said it was so good–that is changing a song and making it your own in the best way. It was amazing to her. Harry said he doesn’t entirely agree. There were things he did like. He liked the energy but he likes him singing songs that have grittier lyrics because he has this intensity about him. Keith thought it was a killer song for him only because the spirit of the song was more than the sum of the parts. It played to all his strengths vocally; he looked comfortable. Harry gets up on stage after some prompting and he chases Keith around. That was a riot. And Nick tells Harry that he did not think that was his best performance and Harry agreed.

Jason Derulo performed “Want to Want Me.” He is going to be a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance” along with Paula Abdul this upcoming season (Mary Murphy’s contract was not picked up–I’m so sad about this).

Joining the contestants next week is Quentin Alexander. He chose “Latch” by Disclosure with Sam Smith. Jason Derulo helped him achieve something Quentin didn’t know he could actually do. Quentin took the pointers about his wardrobe last week and he was still stylish but he toned it down. It looked like a real star up there. I like he took a risk with the falsetto but he still has some pitch issues but not terribly so. I still enjoyed it quite a bit. Harry thinks he looks unbelievable. This was lighter and away. He still said there are pitch and technical issues but it was a good song for him. Keith thought it was a great song choice. It was a great performance. Jennifer said in the beginnings the drums were overpowering, but he was an artist with a capital “A.” She loved it and thought it was a great choice for him.

Florida Georgia Line performed next with “Sippin’ on Fire.”

The next contestant through is Joey Cook! Oh YAY!!! She is singing “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus without changing the arrangement. Scott told her to open her eyes and Jason called her out on her crab hands. I love her purple hair. She hid her crabby hands in her dress, or she opened her hands instead of closing them. I adore her. I loved when she had her eyes open. She had her eyes closed a lot still though. I think it put up a wall though for her performance (Jason reminded her a little is a good thing, a lot is not).  I loved it, but just thought I’d mention it. Keith said she looked relieved. The verses were so good but he would have liked seeing her really going for it during the chorus. But the overall performance? He really liked it. Jennifer agreed with Keith. She thinks, however, she does stand apart in quality. Harry said what is cool, too, is even when she does an arrangement that is similar it is different. Harry thought Jason gave her some great advice. It was an okay vocal—maybe if it were a half step or a whole step higher it would have forced her to sing those choruses with more grit. When it came to the second chorus, Jason was right—something needed to happen. She needed to either step off that platform and take it somewhere else physically or emotionally, or as corny as it might sound, modulate the key. He got a little bored towards the end.

Clark Beckham makes it through to next week. He is singing “Make It Rain” by Ed Sheeran. Jason told him to sing not as a spiritual person praying, but as a preacher. Clark connected to that. Goosebumps! I liked that he was keeping his eyes open more, too and connecting and looking out at the audience. I still think he could have let loose a little bit more and gone crazy. Jennifer thought it was so amazing and effortless. She wants the style and image to match and find a swag. Harry said he has an amazing instrument. What would have made that even better to be in the pocket—don’t rush the rhythmic pocket. I agree with Harry now as he is saying it. That is exactly how it would have made it more soulful and added another layer of letting loose and really feeling the song. Keith said what was cool was in the end he killed it.

Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Hudson sing Iggy’s song “Trouble” together. It was terrific.

The next person making it through to next week is Tyanna Jones which means Rayvon Owen and Qaasim Middleton will sing to be saved by the people on Twitter. Tyanna chose “Stay” by Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko. That was so understated and beautiful. She did a terrific job. Harry admired her keeping her emotions in check. She did an amazing job and it was extremely touching. It was a fantastic emotional performance. Keith said she had her poise and it was beautiful. Jennifer said everything came together in the right way and congratulated her.

First up for the fan save is Rayvon Owen. He is going to sing “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele. Ugh. I’m not a fan of the song choice. He did better this week, but it wasn’t the best song of the night. He did let loose a bit during the performance and I liked that. Keith said it was crazy and thought he was singing for his life. Jennifer applauds the gravy but she didn’t think it was the best song for him. Harry asked him what was his gravy? What makes him tick? Rayvon wants to inspire people and give glory to God for his gift. He wants to convey emotion and honesty.

Qaasim Middleton chose “Hey Ya” by Outkast. It starts off off-pitch. I love his performance ability. There is so much joy there. But the vocal technical issues were too obvious. Jennifer said you always wow the people with his performance. Harry says American Idol is lucky to have him. His performance was good but it was sure entertaining to watch. Keith said it was a great song for him to sing because he knows how to hide any technical flaws in the bigger package.

Twitter decides to save Rayvon.

Qaasim should not worry. Jennifer Hudson finished in 7th place and look where she is today.





April 10, 2015: Check out the Dark Matter teaser trailer!

11 04 2015

PBMom:

If this 1-minute trailer is any indication, this show is going to be a huge success. I applaud Syfy for bringing back a space-based show. It has been away from its channel for FAR too long.

Originally posted on Josephmallozzi's Weblog:

1

It’s here!  It’s here!  The Dark Matter teaser trailer is finally out!  Share!  Share!  Share!

Head on over to IGN.com for the write-up and links:

http://www.ign.com/videos/2015/04/10/dark-matter-trailer

When SyFy told us they wanted to produce a one minute teaser trailer for the show, my initial response was “Impossible!”.  We only had two locked episodes with no finished visual effects.  How could they possibly produce a compelling trailer?

Well, I stand corrected.  This first teaser trailer is pretty darn terrific.  A big thanks to Gary Morgenstein, Katherine Nelson, Bill Trojanowski, Samantha Agnoff and the rest of the gang at SyFy Publicity & Marketing!  Great job on this one and I look forward to the next VFX-laden trailers to come!

SyFyFridays returns to SyFy June 12th with an SF triple header!  A two part premiere of Defiance kicks things off at 8:00 p.m.  And Dark Matter has the 10:00 p.m. slot.

Circle the date on…

View original 101 more words





April 2, 2015: Dark Matter casting announcements! David Hewlett! Ruby Rose!

7 04 2015

PBMom:

#Stargate fans rejoice!

Originally posted on Josephmallozzi's Weblog:

Well, finally!  It’s official!

http://io9.com/first-details-on-david-hewletts-return-to-syfy-in-dark-1695188609

“David Hewlett is returning to Syfy! This summer Hewlett will reunite with Stargate Atlantis writers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie on their new show Dark Matter.

Hewlett will have a recurring part as Talbor Calchek. In a slight change for Hewlett, Calchek is a sleazy agent for unsavory mercenaries who will appear in a four-episode arc.”

1

Who is Tabor Calchek?  Well…

“Slick, silver-tongued, and more than a little seedy. Tabor Calchek is the team’s handler and the ultimate agent. For the standard 10% commission, he uses his underworld connections as a broker to secure his clients their lucrative assignments. Tabor is sly, manipulative and opportunistic, and can always be counted on to look out for his client’s best interests…right after his own.”

Imagine a cross between Stargate: Atlantis’s Rodney McKay, Entourage’s Ari Gold, and Nic Cage’s Detective Rick Santoro from Snake Eyes, and you’d…

View original 426 more words





Stop Supporting Autism Speaks

2 04 2015

Autism Speaks Do Not Support BoycottMany people, including myself in the past, donate to Autism Speaks thinking that this corporation is the best vehicle to help support autism research and help those families who are financially crippled, who need respite desperately, who had to quit their jobs in order to care for their child, a family who may have gone through divorce because autism is TOO stressful on a marriage, etc. The physical and emotional toll is great on the entire family. Some parents have multiple children with this disease.

In about 2009 or 2010, I started paying attention to the organization that was getting all our hard-earned dollars.

John Elder Robison was the only person with autism on a board at Autism Speaks.  He resigned from the Science and Treatment boards on November 13, 2013. Read his post here. In summary he said that he could no longer be part of an organization who would not listen to his counsel. He felt Autism Speaks needed to be an organization that helped people with autism and not an organization who sought to cure him of something that is his identity. I do whole-heartedly understand this point of view. Autism is a full spectrum disorder. My son lives in a state of hell and is at risk for being abused because he is nonverbal and cannot read or write. Local author Elizabeth Moon, a mother of a person with autism, posed this very dilemma in her book “The Speed of Dark.” If a cure was available, would you take it? I would love my child no matter who he was.  If life could be easier for him, I would give him that cure even if that meant who he now disappeared. I do, however, appreciate that those people with autism who are able to share an opinion on that would not want to be changed.  I respect the feelings of the families of those people who support them.  It doesn’t mean there is a right or wrong point of view; we each have to make a personal decision about our feelings on this matter.

In March of 2015, Autism Speaks invited its 168,000 Twitter followers and 1.5 million Facebook fans to use the hashtag #AutismSpeaks10 to share how “AS has touched your life” to celebrate their 10th anniversary. Instead of receiving gushing responses on how their lives were helped, people with autism and their families took to Twitter to have a word-war with Autism Speaks saying that they don’t want to be cured and that they want their resources to making their lives better and not to “cure” them. In essence, Autism Speaks does not speak for them. Autism Speaks had delusions of grandeur if they expected people to respond because they have not helped many people at all. Autism Speaks helps itself.  Only about 4% of the money you send to them actually goes to help them.

The Judge Rotenberg Center in Massachusetts is under investigation by the Department of Justice and the FDA for the use of torture (see page 84 of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture). The State of Massachusetts and disability rights advocates have been working to shut this facility down. Even despite this information coming to light, Autism Speaks has allowed the facility to recruit new admissions from families seeking resources at their fundraising walks. If you don’t know or remember about this story, here is a clip from it and a link to the 26-minute story of someone who actually previously lived there and the reasons she was given shock treatments.  (The individual has disabled embedding so this link will go directly to her YouTube video).  I am warning you–this video below is awful to watch, but how one can support Autism Speaks when they support this center?

Show Me The Money

In closely examining the 2013 tax return Form 990 and independent financial audit, Autism Speaks took in a whopping $122,141,069. Of that, $15,300,709 went to research (or 12.5% of your money) and of that amount, only 1% goes towards research on the needs of adults with autism. Of that money, $5,532,344 went to projects associated with board members of Autism Speaks (or 36% of all grant money awarded). Families received only $4,631,690 (or 3.79%) of the money you gave to Autism Speaks. Advertising (for more of your dollars) cost you $52,229,994 (or 43% of their budget). Salaries took $18,771,965 of those donate dollars (or 15.3%) and $4,528,226 in benefits and payroll taxes (or 3.7% — as much as they give to families). Thirteen of their board members make six-figure salaries. See pages 9 and 10 on their Form 990 filed with the IRS.
The problem with the Autism Speak walks is that they do not give any of that back to the local communities. Money that people are giving to support people participating in that walk goes to Autism Speaks big machine. With state budgets cutting funding to people with disabilities in general, and is usually one of the first things on the cutting block because of horrible stereotypes of people with disabilities, money you give to Autism Speaks means they might lose those dollars if you only knew about their organizations. Local organizations usually are run by volunteers who draw no salaries and the majority of their resources going directly to helping in some way.

Board members have perks, too, like getting funding from Autism Speaks for their pet autism projects. Per Autism Speaks Financial Report of 2013:   “AS has arrangements to grant a portion of the net proceeds of certain fund-raising events to partners. Amounts representing the partners’ share of net event proceeds as described below are reflected as grants in the accompanying consolidated financial statements.

Event Partner Grants
Speeding for a Cure The Gillen Brewer School — 50% of net proceeds

Atlanta Walk The Marcus Institute — 50% of net proceeds

Phoenix Walk The Southwest Autism Research &  Resource Center (SARRC) — 50% of net proceeds

Westchester/Fairfield Walk Center for Autism and the Developing Brain at New York Presbyterian — 15% of net proceeds

Winter Ball for Autism New York Collaborates for Autism — 50% of net proceeds

The Atlanta Walk had net proceeds of $542,000, 50% of which was granted to The Marcus Institute, the co-founder of which is an AS Board member.

The Westchester/Fairfield Walk had net proceeds of $968,000, 15% of which was granted to the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain at New York Presbyterian. An AS Board member is on the Board of Trustees of New York Presbyterian Hospital.

The Winter Ball for Autism had net proceeds of $2,682,000 in 2013, 50% of which was granted to the New York Collaborates for Autism, the co-founder of which is an AS Board member.

Five members of the Board of Directors of AS and two management employees are affiliated with institutions that received funding from AS. At December 31, 2013, AS had grants payable and commitments to these institutions totaling approximately $5,532,344. During the year ended December 31, 2013, AS’s expenses included approximately $3,669,960 related to awards granted to institutions affiliated with an AS Board member or management employee. Certain members of AS’s Scientific Advisory Committee and Scientific Review Panel, which are involved in the grant appropriation process, are also associated with institutions that receive funding from AS.”

Why You Shouldn’t Light It Up Blue

We have enough “Autism Awareness.” In fact, it has moved into overkill to the point where people roll their eyes when they hear someone say, “My child has autism.” They see a child in a meltdown mode in a store because of some sort of sensory overwhelm and they shake their heads or mumble to another person in the store or share “looks” about bad parenting. People with autism who have the ability to express themselves do not like Autism Speaks. Parents who have had children with autism for awhile have learned about Autism Speaks and will not support them because of their lack of assistance. The “Light It Up Blue” campaign is a direct advertising campaign from Autism Speaks. When you buy a blue bulb from Home Depot, you are supporting them. The co-founder of Home Depot is a board member of Autism Speaks.

I would like to see more “action” come from this organization instead of raising funds to support themselves.

If after all of this information you decide you still want to contribute to Autism Speaks that is your business. All I want to do is inform people so they can make a more informed choice of where their hard-earned money may go.

My son Patrick.

My son Patrick. The center of my universe





American Idol Season 14 Top 9 Perform (Fan Save)

1 04 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nTonight the new fan save is in play. The bottom 2 will be announced and then fans can take to Twitter to save their favorite. It’s very similar to what The Voice was doing. Kelly Clarkson returns to the Idol fold to mentor and the contestants will be singing a song from her repertoire.

Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard delivered the Idol results tonight.

Nick Fradiani makes it through to the top 8. Kelly said this particular song, “Catch My Breath”, stretches the vocal range and is one of the toughest she has to sing. She also hopes that he “opens his dang eyes.” It was funny to see him close his eyes at first and then he caught himself. His lower range is a rough. I don’t think this was his best vocal, but his performance is opening up and that is a good thing. Now the two have to meet like they did last week. Keith thought the song was suited to his voice, particularly the beginning. Jennifer said it is good that he is aware of what they’ve been telling him. She suggests he sit down a bit more with their movement coach to get a groove for himself that he doesn’t have to think about. She thought it was a great way to start the show and it was a really good vocal. Harry said it wasn’t his favorite vocal but he liked that he sang this song. See–Harry liked the performance better, too.

The next person through is Jax! Jax picks “Beautiful Disaster” to sing. Kelly had no notes for Jax, that she was an artist. Major, major goosebumps! They continued all the way to the end of the song. That was phenomenal. Jennifer said that was very pretty, the pure version of Jax. She maybe wanted the arrangement to go a little bit more, but for the most part it was so beautiful. Harry said it was fantastic and he really, really loved it. Keith said he now holds a higher level of standard knowing what she is capable of. He still finds a little bit of inconsistency but some of that comes from the performance stuff she has to do and he can see all that going on in her mind.

Tyanna Jones makes it through next and she stays on stage to perform after the group number. Tyanna chose “Mr. Know It All” and wants to channel the anger she feels over being bullied in her past. Goosebumps!!! She nailed it. Harry was joking around about how he felt like she was singing to the judges and she’s right, he doesn’t know a thing about her. He said he thought there were some pitch issues, but sometimes it is hard to tell in their space, but it didn’t matter because she was singing from the heart. Keith said there was a really dark center to that song and it wasn’t just about empowerment but because she didn’t know that feeling of rejection from having had a boyfriend yet, that piece might have been missing a bit for him. Jennifer agreed but she did remind everyone what a great singer she was.

Candice Glover was in the audience. She looks fabulous. She in the studio doing album number 2.

Joey Cook made it through! I was scared for her. Joey picked “Miss Independent” to sing tonight. Joey put the Joey twist on it and Kelly loved it and predicted she will be one of the best performances of the night. Do you know what I love about this year? That the American public wants QUIRKY and DIFFERENT and to get out of that cookie-cutter model. I just loved this. Keith was on his feet. Keith adores her. Keith said she doesn’t just change a song, she completely rebuilds it. She makes him hear a lyric in a way he has never heard before. She has so much artistic weight and she does it some effortlessly. Jennifer agrees with Keith and with Kelly—that is one of the best performances of the night. It is individual and unique. She is in her own lane. Harry says she gets an A-plus from him for bravery and going sort of left of center of the arrangement. He just wishes she didn’t treat the jazz portion of the song as such a novelty, that she would have not presented it as such a film noire movie. Joey got engaged over the weekend! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Kelly performed “Heartbeat Song.” She sounds fabulous.

Quentin Alexander is through. He took away great lessons from Kelly that there was beauty in being quiet. Quentin chose “Dark Side” to perform. Goosebumps all the way through. I adored this. Jennifer liked it. She thought it was perfect for him. He killed it. Keith said he has a great poise on stage. Keith was on his feet. He said that there is also beauty in truth and that is how he performs. It is really beautiful. Harry said he needs to spend as much time on the creative as he does on the skill stuff. He is a great lyric interpreter. He doesn’t want him to be the guy who walks into a room and says how great he looks or how he sounds. There were notes, if he were producing the song, where he would say “you have to do that again.” (Harry is being a little bit too harsh—he never says that about Daniel). Kelly wrote him a note, “I want to make sweet love to those amazing eyes.”

Qaasim Middleton is surprised to see his name called (really?) He wants to sing “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).” He strips it down to an acoustic version. The chorus got a bit rough. The falsetto was good sometimes though. I like when people change the arrangements (most of the time). Harry said if you are going to do runs you have to sing them right. Just sing the tune but if you are going to sing the runs practice. It was okay but it wasn’t his best. Keith said the challenge was the transition in the chorus. Those falsetto notes are unforgiving. It really affected the performance for him which was a shame because he liked how it started and he liked the potential of it. Jennifer said it was what they were asking for—to sit there and sing and give us that moment—it just needs to be practiced so much.

Kelly returned to perform her audition song from season 1 “At Last.”

The next person saved is Clark Beckham. THANK GOD! I got nervous. I’ll be voting for Rayvon for the save and not Daniel. Clark chose “The Trouble With Love Is.” He shares the same problem that Nick has. He thinks closing his eyes conveys emotion. Goosebumps!!! Jennifer is up on her feet. She was singing along with him. That was the best vocal of the night indeed. Keith said his bar is way up here. He said to make sure he is leading with the feeling; if it does, everything else will follow. Jennifer said that is exactly what he did especially at the end. She was goosies from head to toe. He has movie-star good looks. Harry said he took a Kelly Clarkson song and directly followed a Kelly Clarkson song and he NAILED IT.

The fan save works like this: Both will sing and we will decide which one goes through on Twitter. First up is Daniel Seavey. He chose “Breakaway.” It sounds horrible. Maybe laryngitis is playing into it and maybe not. He looks like he is about to break down into tears, too. Jennifer said he did an okay job with it. Harry said just keep practicing. Keith said just do just that. It almost sounds like they are saying goodbye to him already. Rayvon Owen decided on “Since U Been Gone” but to sing it like a ballad. This is lovely. Rayvon deserves this. Why do I think I’ve heard him sing this song before? Harry said he has incredible chops but where is his gravy? Harry is booed. Keith said that was one of the best performances from him. Jennifer said he did a very beautiful job. Keep digging and keep pushing.

The fan save goes to: RAYVON!!!





American Idol Season 14 Top 9 Perform

1 04 2015

With Qaasim Middleton being saved last week, this week will include a double elimination. This week is 80’s week. Boy George will mentor. David Hasselhoff brings Ryan the results envelope this week. “The Hoff!” Oh no! He is going to sing. He murders “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen. There is no enunciation whatsoever and I would almost go so far as to say he was slurring the words. I know he sings and is a big phenomenon in Germany. I had to go refresh my memory and listened to some of the music. He sounds totally different on the records. So I looked up live performances and he did pretty decent on those, too. Hmmm. I’m stumped. This turned out to be a medley and I was glad when it was done.

Boy George told that Idol contestants that vulnerability is what is going to make it work because it allows you to sing from the heart. Maddie asks him what was the best advice he had ever been given and he said for them to enjoy the journey and don’t get involved in drama—leave that to him. The group medley just did not work. That harmonica player was a cutie!

The first contestant saved is—-ARGH—–Daniel Seavey. Listen people–the kid is adorable. He is probably a wonderful human being. He is immensely talented but HE IS NOT READY TO BE A WINNER OF IDOL. Scott tells Boy George the judges have been pretty critical of Daniel. Boy George tells him not to let it get into his performance. Scott tells him to breathe more. Boy George says he is more up here (and points to his upper chest). He tells Daniel to relax and trust that he can do it. Jennifer, in her speech before the singing, said he does have the musical chops, but he has to show that is ready to run with the big leagues. Daniel sings “You Make My Dreams” by Hall and Oates. Daniel is more loose on stage, but there is something weird about his voice. He messed up the lyrics a few times. It sounded almost flat. He bent down on the stage to sing directly into the eyes of a young lady and that will get him votes. His falsetto failed him early in the song. He finished off the song in a better place. Keith said that he looks good on camera but at 15 or 16 the experience just isn’t there yet, but towards the end of the song he started coming into the song. He’s still glad he is here but he has to get more comfortable quicker. Jennifer said obviously the audience and people at home love him because they are voting for him. She loved this song for him. It sat in the right place for his voice. She felt that he sang better than he did last week. Harry asks Daniel what he likes to do and Daniel replies “make people happy.” There were big “aww’s” in the audience which Harry thinks will translate into votes. The vocal was pretty good; better than last week. He said the little moves are choreographed and planned—just throw them away and have fun.

The next name called is Quentin Alexander! I am pleased by this. He said he was shocked. I loved Quentin’s face at the 5-1/4 floppy diskette. Did you know Quentin they use those in our nuclear silos still? Doesn’t THAT make you feel all safe? Boy George loved his style sense. Boy George tells him breathing is the key to everything. Pitch is about breath. Quentin sings “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins. I got goosebumps between the slow and faster parts of the song. That was awesome. He is SUCH a performer. Daniel should take some cues from him. Jennifer said his cool factor was on, like, a thousand. It was crazy. The mood, the drama. It really, really worked. It’s a home run. Harry says he digs into those lyrics every week as far as he can. The only criticism Harry offers is that 5 out of the last 6 songs were slow songs (hey Harry, Katharine McPhee sang a ballad just about every week and that got her to the top 2). He did enjoy it tonight though. Keith thought it was a killer song choice for him. Keith was thinking well what else could he did, and he just thought him owning it more and more because he has so much artistry. Just lay back the phrasing and have more authority with it.

Joining the top 9 is Joey Cook!!!! I’m super pleased by this, too. All quirky girls in the world love this woman including me. She says her look is “Madonna in Space.” Scott said that Joey was more excited than any of the other contestants to meet Boy George. Boy George wanted her to go a little bit more soft in places and if anything just contradicts everything there is about her. Joey picks “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper. I want to commend her for dancing around on stage because she is usually a street performer who stays pretty stationary. I normally love what Joey does but I don’t think this was the best song choice for her. I could see Harry was thinking the same thing. Harry said it seemed like she was distracted tonight—her eyes were closed, she was looking down a lot tonight—like she was trying to make that fun, iconic song but something was holding her back in her head. Something was separating the viewer from her performance. He thought it was good but not the Joey we’ve come to know. Keith said when you’ve set the bar quite high, any moment of inconsistency was just a moment of inconsistency. What it did make him do is think about his wife and girls at home dancing around that entire performance. Jennifer said she looked adorable and that her daughter is going to want that whole outfit. In theory it was a good song for her, almost perfect, but vocally it didn’t match. For some reason she could not find the groove in it. (I think I have a possible explanation. Cyndi Lauper has such a unique voice in the quirky sense of the word. When you hear Cyndi you instantly know it is her voice. When you hear Joey, you know its Joey’s voice. But maybe two quirky people trying to do the song cancel the second quirky out). Jennifer said always find what fits here (and she points to her voice) first. It fit the image but not the voice with the song so much. Boy George came out to give her a hug and to let her know she did great. That was sweet. I think he is smitten with her as a performer. I bet he doesn’t come out for the rest of them.

The next person is Tyanna Jones! Boy George said if she can take the piano performance and transfer it to the band it will be amazing. He thinks that with her she might, in the moment, show off. Tyanna takes on Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).” She hit the note. I just loved this performance. Tyanna is BACK (although she wasn’t gone for very long). Keith said it was great. If anyone can take on a Whitney Houston song it is her. He said there were moments were she looked worried and felt that, but she sings so good she shouldn’t worry about that at all. Jennifer said she can’t get into her head like last week. She said it wasn’t bad last week; it was fine. Things happen like that and no one is perfect all the time. Harry thought it was a really cool arrangement and made it sound like it could be on the radio today. Harry said he, as an audience member, likes performers who are in the driver’s seat. She knows how good she is but she needs to fight for it every time.

At this point I’m trying to figure out who might be in the bottom 2. I think Maddie might be there. I really thought Daniel would be. The only other person I could see might be is Adanna because she sang first last week. I enjoyed her performance last week and based on that performance she should go through, but people have short memories and forget how people sang by the end of the show. This year they aren’t showing a recap to remind us who sounded like what and it actually gave us a comparison of how they sounded among the others in a short amount of time. But Rayvon could be in trouble, too.

Jax is the next person through to next week. Boy George thinks Jax has the bones of a great performer but she has the tendency to go off the rails a little bit. She sings “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi. It was wonderful. It was a little minx-like. And everyone loves when things are thrown around on stage. She took the song and made it a Jax song. Jennifer loved the 80’s punk attitude. This was the Jax they fell in love with during the auditions. She got a little lost in the middle (which Boy George was giving her advice about) but the end was the attitude it needed and she ended it very, very strong. She was loving it. Harry said her originality is what brought her to Idol, and her intrigue is what kept her here. He thought it she had played the whole song on the piano that would have been better because she was playing with a lot of sound. He liked the beginning and the end. Keith said if she is struggling during rehearsal in the song change it because if she doesn’t it will come through. What he did like is she has so much originality. He felt like it wasn’t put together right, but he loved what he did see in there and thinks she is going to go a long way.

Nick Fradiani is also through to next week. Nick! A Skip-It was even popular when I was a young girl in the 1970’s. Scott mentions to him that they are working on connecting and here they are in front of him and they are not connecting at all. I noticed when he was singing in front of them he had trouble making eye contact (now, okay, I would have a hard time singing at ALL in front of them) but maybe he needs to pick a point in the audience and sing to it and put a face to it (maybe like the person he loves). Jennifer said the same thing in her speech before he sings—sing it to someone special. Nick chose “Man In The Mirror” by Michael Jackson to sing (it is one of my favorite songs). Bad habits are really hard to break and he’s been making that mistake I am sure for a very long time—closes his eyes when he sings—I think I remember the judges pointing that out to David Cook. It is a hard habit to break indeed. He almost looks uncomfortable when he tries to keep his eyes open. I got some goosebumps going on there. I think this was his best performance up to now. Harry thought it was the perfect song choice. He thought it was a fantastic vocal. He said that he thinks he figured Nick out. Everyone is going on and on about how handsome he is and that song is about humility and Nick is a humble kind of guy. Keith said he has a million dollar smile, too, and if he would just smile through the whole song basically (but I think Keith is wrong about that because if he did smile through the whole song, people would say it was a serious song and he should not have been smiling through it). Keith thinks, however, the smile would help him loosen up and not be so stressed out. He thinks that sometimes it looks like he is meeting his girlfriend’s dad for the first time. That made Nick laugh. Jennifer said she got caught up in it at the end because he was singing it to us. When he thinks about anything else except the song, it becomes something else. The minute he got caught up in the lyrics of the song, really started feeling the music, started to feel the swell of the arrangement, it became exactly what it was supposed to be and that is where he needs to be every single time (no pressure!).

They took a pause in the results to hear from “Push It” from Salt-n-Pepa. Harry was a riot trying to bump up against Jennifer. I think Pepa was wearing a wig. She was acting like she was worried it was going to come off during the performance. That was a great performance. They sounded great live.

There was no doubt Clark Beckham was going to make it through. Boy George thinks he has a beautiful voice. He felt like the beginning was good but when he gets to the end something doesn’t quite work for him. Clark decides to sing “Every Breath You Take” by The Police in the key of G instead of F. I got some minor goosebumps. That was a great performance. I think he definitely hit the right note. Keith thought it was beautiful. It showed a much more “heart” side of him that he hadn’t really felt. Clark took him on a journey chordally, melodically, and emotionally. Instead of making it sound like a stalker song, he brought the melancholy and pain to it he had never heard before. Jennifer loved it and got the goosies. Everything he did with it was absolutely beautiful. Harry said the bad news is that his competitors are really big performers running all over the stage; the good news is that he does not have to do any of it—just stand there and sing and he is going to be alright. Jennifer yells out “mesmerizing” at the end.

Four people are in the red chairs: Maddie, Adanna, Rayvon, and Qaasim.

Qaasim makes it through to the next round. Boy George loved his voice and he thought he was a real storyteller. Qaasim chose “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer. It was decent. I liked the Qaasim stamp towards the end the most. Jennifer loved it. Harry thought his weakness was his unwillingness to give up his performing part (ever), but here was his chance to stand there and be sexy (like Robert Palmer). Keith liked it. Keith thinks Qaasim doesn’t believe in his voice enough so he compensates with everything else. Next week he would like to hear something even more vulnerable because he has a big fragile heart in there.

The last person to sing tonight is Rayvon Owen which means Adanna and Maddie go home. He is singing “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears (I was just listening to that song yesterday). Scott felt like it was “too pretty.” Boy George said it was like he didn’t want to mess up but that is where the excitement is going to come (to take a risk). I like Rayvon but I am not sure I like what he did with the song with the runs and the vibrato. Harry said that he delivers a very strong vocal every time. What has been lacking has been a strong interpretation which are two separate things. He thinks this was one of his interpretive performances. He was connecting with the lyrics. Harry could do without the default falsetto every time. He would like to hear him NOT do that one time. He thought it was a pretty solid performance. Keith said it was a beautiful song that showed all the strengths in all the right places. Jennifer said not to be afraid of going outside his comfort zone. It is a good thing. The only way we grow is when we push ourselves.

April 1 starts the Fan Save!





American Idol Season 14 Top 11 Perform

25 03 2015

Ugh. A group number. But… it wasn’t too shabby! It’s “Movie Night” on Idol. Scott Borchetta brought in Nile Rodgers to be their mentor. Jeff Gordon delivered the names of the contestants going through. He invited them out to a race on Sunday to watch, sing the national anthem and start the race. The lighted seats remain this week.

Adanna Duru makes it through to the top 11. She sang “Love You I Do from Dreamgirls” by Jennifer Hudson. I don’t really have a comparison because I have never heard the original song. So I can’t really comment other than it was enjoyable. Keith said it was hard to hear her at the beginning. He thought she sounded great and looked amazing. Jennifer said she sounded really good on the high parts. Jennifer was missing the emotion behind the lyrics “you’re the perfect man for me, I love you I do.” Harry said she looked like a movie star. Harry thought everything was good and strong. He felt that she needed to look less down the barrel of the camera and connect more with the audience and in doing so, the emotion will come through to even those at home.

The next person going through is Daniel Seavey (good God—he’s adorable, but he is still too green). He sings “Lost Stars” from “Begin Again” by Adam Levine. The emotion didn’t come through. It was not good. It was sharp and flat all over the place. Right now I’m blaming the judges for putting this kid through. Jennifer said he did an okay job; it wasn’t his best. She actually felt a lot of emotion (really?). She doesn’t know if it was his best performance. Harry said it sounded like rehearsal is imperative but not at the expense of spontaneity. He said it sounded like he was in a practice room. It wasn’t strong tonight. Keith said the song suited him. He said it was a good performance, but now he needs to dig in a little more and not be distracted by the clapping from the audience.

Rayvon Owen!!! I am happy about this. He chose “Stayin’ Alive” from “Saturday Night Fever” by The Bee Gees. It started off a little rough. He put a little bluesy twist to the song and made it different. Harry admired the arrangement. It was a cool way to reinterpret the song. Harry asks him to consider how he can remain interesting in this competition because he has that sort of “Mr. Nice Guy” thing. Harry suggests he get a set of lyrics he can really chew on. He thinks there is too much falsetto and not enough substance (I’m kind of upset because Harry is being more critical of him than he was with Daniel). Harry gets booed. Keith said they are at a point in the competition where people say “Oh my goodness what’s happening up there.” Keith suggested from a performance standpoint he wouldn’t loiter around there (and he points to where the backup singers and band members are) unless he was in command of the stage. He said it was as if he was looking for somewhere to go. But when he came up to the front, he found it was better. Jennifer said when he was in the back she didn’t know how to feel. Jennifer said it is about how you capture the audience every time.

The fourth person who made it through is Nick Fradiani. He sings “Danger Zone” from “Top Gun” by Kenny Loggins. It was respectable. He looked uncomfortable without his guitar. Keith loves the fact that he played air guitar in front of Niles Rodgers. Keith said it was better than it was last week. Jennifer agreed. Jennifer said he’s their hot guy (which gets screams from the audience). The tone was perfect for him. She still sees him in his head. He needs to own his hotness. He just needs to sing and stop worrying about everything. Harry said that song didn’t give him anything to work with. Harry thinks the song is filled with silly words. Harry says he needs to pick a song that he can be sexy on.

AND A STUPID STORM BLOCKED MY SATELLITE SIGNAL AND I DIDN’T GET TO SEE JOEY COOK’S PERFORMANCE. UGH. Jennifer said it was really beautiful. Harry said she is finding ways to widen her lane. He felt it was a great choice. Keith said she is such an artist. He sees more depth of that artistry. She brings attention to the lyric of the song. I’ll have to go hunt down this performance on line somewhere.

Tyanna Jones is the next name called. I am already getting goosebumps because she is singing “The Circle of Life” from “The Lion King” by Elton John. It was a little pitchy especially at the beginning in her lower range, but she got into the melody and found the groove but it was went in and out of being in tune. Harry said she might have overshot the mark tonight just a bit. If she had taken a step back slightly (and the crowd boos) and relaxed into it. It had intonation issues and it sounded like she was yelling all the way through. Keith didn’t necessarily feel like it was yelled all the way through. Her tone and bravado are beautiful. Keith feels like she is the best singer they’ve got from his point of view. Keith did feel she had serious pitch issues tonight though. Jennifer said it is a very challenging song. She has no worries that she will do an amazing job next week.

After a wonderful performance by Jennifer Lopez of the theme song for the new movie, “Home” called “Feel The Light”, the next person through is Quentin Alexander!!! He chooses “You’re The One That I Want” from “Grease” by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta. Minor goosebumps. He had a little bit of a pitch issue, but so far this was the performance of the night for me (of course I didn’t see Joey Cook’s performance). Keith said he had heard that version before. He said it was an interesting performance. He has an amazing voice but he is still figuring it out. Jennifer thought it was haunting and beautiful. She felt it was very Quentin. Harry thought it was a very adventurous interpretation. He said it was horribly out of tune and he has to think about that.

Maddie Walker is through. She sings “Let’s Hear It For the Boy” from “Footloose” by Deniece Williams. This isn’t off to a great start either. The chorus is a little bit better, but the verses are rough. The ending is flat. I guess I’m a little disappointed overall with most of the performances. I remember back to the time when Candice Glover used to have phenomenal performances every single week and I am missing that this season for everyone week after week. Jennifer is glad she sang that song because it was her mother’s favorite. It was cute and good. It wasn’t a knock-out performance. Harry did not think it was good. Harry said she does not know who she is. On country songs she has an amazing country twang. On songs like “I’ll Be There” she has no twang, so he does not know who she is. It felt very pageant-ty to him. For a song like this she should be jumping up to the rafters. Is she a country singer? Is she a pop singer? Are you a pageant? (To be honest Harry, this sounded better even if she doesn’t know who she is than Daniel’s song). Keith thinks it is just song choice. She needs to find a song that plays to her strengths.

What would have been spectacular is to bring out Kevin Bacon to dance to Kenny Loggins singing “Footloose.” I like how he tosses it to the audience to say the lyrics and you hear nothing…crickets. That is because they are all too young (or the ones that did know the lyric weren’t numerous enough).

Clark Beckham makes it through. It’s my guess now that Qaasim is not going through. Clark chose Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning” from “Cheaper By The Dozen 2” to sing this week. My goosebump moment. I LOVED IT. This is now my new favorite of the evening. Harry felt his arrangement of the song knocked it out of the park. Keith said he is such a good singer. He just wants him to put a little bit of smile into it. Jennifer said that is when all the girls fall in love. She thought it was beautiful and it was so him. He did a whole different thing with it that she loved.

The last spot goes to—yep—Jax. She sings “Grow Old With You” from “The Wedding Singer” performed by Adam Sandler. It was a little rough at the beginning but I think she was still working out the emotion of making it through. It was Jax and it was cute. It was much better than last week but stand out? I’m not sure. Keith thought it was beautiful. Jennifer thought it played to all the quirkiness in her voice. It was a good choice and she did great on it. Harry said she is a high risk/high reward type of singers and he thinks it paid off tonight. He suggested that if the guitar stops and she continues singing to make sure it is in time with the beats.

Qaasim Middleton performs for the save. I do love Qaasim but last week he revealed that his natural singing voice needs a lot of work, even more so than Daniel (yep I just said that). It’s still too early for a save and I think the judges know that his singing voice is too weak. He is a wonderful entertainer, but vocalist? He sings “Come Together” from “Across the Universe” by The Beatles. The vocal this week is stronger than last week. Maybe last week he just chose the wrong song. Jennifer’s head is down so I’m guessing that she said yes and Harry said no (because he always says no) and who knows what Keith said because it has to be unanimous. Harry said it was the best performance of the night. And WOW! They give him the save!

(I saw Joey’s performance on-line and it was my favorite of the night).








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 64 other followers