American Idol S15 The End…Or Not?

9 04 2016

And the winner is…….

I’m just kidding. There are 2+ hours of filler before we find out who wins the very last spot as an American Idol.

President Obama made a speech at the beginning in a pitch to get people to vote and exercise their rights as citizens to vote in elections.

The opening number included Idol contestants from previous seasons. My mind instantly went to one Idol who will there be in spirit, Michael Johns. His death was so sad. The song started with the top 3 of this season and then moved out of to the broader focus that included all the contestants from this season. Then more contestants. I recognized Nick Fradiani, Diana DeGarmo, Katharine McPhee, Jessica Sanchez, Colton Dixon, (was that David Archuletta, too, next to him), Taylor Hicks, Chris Daughtry, Allison Iraheta, Kellie Pickler, Jordin Sparks, Ace Young, James Durbin, Carly Smithson, Jasmine Trias (from season 3 who wore a flower in her hair), Bo Bice, Scotty McCreery, and Caleb Johnson. I am sure there are others I will see and be shocked at how much they’ve changed (like Bo Bice).   Tonight I believe more often than not we will be saying to ourselves, “Oh yeah, whatever happened to” fill in the blank.

Brian Dunkleman, the co-host of season 1, joined as a surprise guest, a nice book-end to the beginning of Idol history. But the jokes he continued making got old and they didn’t get many laughs in the audience. Awkward.

Trent and La’Porsha teamed up to sing “It Takes Two” by Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston with pictures of their journey this season playing behind them.

Season 10 and 11 judge Steven Tyler began a series of retrospectives of their participation in Idol. Later Nicki Minaj shared her wishes. Notably absent was diva Mariah CareyEllen DeGeneres sent a video.

Former seasons 8 and 9 judge Kara DioGuardi performed and I wished she hadn’t. She is a better songwriter than singer.   Also among the people in this medley segment were Colton Dixon from season 11; a duet with season 1’s Justin Guarini and season 6’s Jordin Sparks; season 2’s Kimberley Locke; Tamyra Gray (season 1); Allison Iraheta (season 8); Larry Platt from season 9 (“Pants on the Ground” song fame but was never a contestant); finally ending with Pia Toscano (season 10). Sanjaya was spotted in the audience in a “Where’s Sanjaya” segment.  Glad he didn’t sing.

When Kelly Clarkson was visiting a few weeks back as a mentor, since she was pregnant and it was unlikely she could attend the show, she pre-recorded a montage of all her most popular hits. It showcased why we love her and the show that served as a gateway to all the music she brought to our lives. The medley ended with the song that started it all, “A Moment Like This.

Male Idol rockers did a medley of songs. The members included Bo Bice from season 4 (the biggest physical appearance change I have seen yet this evening); Caleb Johnson from season 13; Constantine Maroulis (season 4); James Durbin (season 10); and Chris Daughtry (season 5).

Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood (season 4) joined forces to sing “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” originally by Stevie Nicks featuring Tom Petty (Tom Petty actually wrote the song). I wish Carrie would have had a crossover rock career. When Carrie sang rock songs on Idol season 4, they were my favorite and had me looking at her like a winner.

Next was a country medley of songs starting off with Diana DeGarmo (season 3); Skylar Laine (season 11) who wasn’t sounding so great; Kree Harrison (season 12) who I loved during her season also sounded not so great either (you were pitchy dawg). They were then joined by the boys are of country Bucky Covington (season 5); Ace Young of season 5 (who is married to Diana DeGarmo); and confusingly Constantine Maroulis (season 4). Constantine filled in for Josh Gracin who declined their invitation because he didn’t want to sing a medley of covers with other contestants (per his report on tasteofcountry.com). Then Lauren Alaina (season 10) and Kellie Pickler (season 5) came on stage. Lastly Scotty McCreery (season 10) came out.

Harry Connick Jr presented a very emotional segment along with his friend, Marley Fletcher, from The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in the heart of the 9th Ward in New Orleans to sing “What a Wonderful World.”

He then introduced some of the best singers Idol has had on center stage.   Katharine McPhee (season 5) and Casey James (be still my heart from season 9) singing a duet; Carly Smithson (season 7) doing a solo; Clay Aiken (season 2) doing a solo; Ruben Studdard (season 2) and Amber Holcomb (season 12) doing a duet; and finishing up with Jessica Sanchez (season 11) in a solo of ‘The Prayer” where the others joined at the end.

Jennifer Lopez sizzled up the stage with her new song “Ain’t Your Mama.”   I would have loved to see that in person. That was stellar. And she ended with “Let’s Get Loud” to get Idol pumped up, the perfect halftime song. This whole thing left me breathless.

Season 3 ladies Latoya London, Fantasia, and Jennifer Hudson performed a trio “Bridge Over Troubled Water. Jennifer Hudson sang a solo of her song from Empire “Remember the Music.Brandon Rogers (season 6), Clark Beckham (season 14), George Huff (season 3), Danny Gokey (season 8), and Elliott Yamin (season 5) banded together to sing a medley of Motown hits.

Fantasia came back to do some of her song, “Ugly.” Latoya London (season 3) came back on stage with Taylor Hicks (season 5) “Knew You Were Waiting for Me” by Aretha Franklin and George Michael. Season 11 Joshua Ledet took the stage; wow he looks fantastic. He sang “It’s a Man’s World” by James Brown. He rocked that stage!   And more Idol joined in. Candice Glover (season 12) and Melinda Doolittle (season 6) along with a variety of other Idols including many of the season 15 contestants to sing “Joy to the World.” Even Harry Connick Jr was up dancing.

A tribute to David Bowie was done featuring Idol winners Phillip Phillips (season 11), Lee DeWyze (season 9), Nick Fradiani (season 14), David Cook (season 7) and Kris Allen (season 8) which included Bowie’s hits “Starman” from 1972, “Rebel Rebel” from 1974, and “The Jean Genie” from 1972.

Next was a playback of the worst or funniest auditions or moments during the early years with Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, and Ryan Seacrest including that awful Simon and Paula kiss. Randy and Paula came on stage and of course you were just waiting for Simon to make a “surprise” appearance. Paula and Randy gifted Ryan with the American Idol sign that Ryan will put it on his nightstand. Simon didn’t have a black T-shirt on. He dressed up for the occasion. Fatherhood looks good on him. And just when you thought the surprises were over out pops the non-surprise, William Hung who performed “She Bangs.” He ultimately released an album which sold 200,000 copies and made it to number one on Billboard’s Top Independent Album chart. He now works for the LA Sheriff’s Department as a technical crime analyst. Ryan Seacrest did a little dancing with him on stage.

Contestants throughout the 15 years shared how much they loved doing the Ford video segments. Trent and La’Porsha received keys to their cars for this year.

Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood sang her song “Something in the Water.”   She got tearful when talking to Ryan Seacrest.

Now it is time to learn who is the winner is of the very last American Idol. The winner is TRENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am just as shocked as he was. With everyone chanting La’Porsha’s name in the audience the night before I felt certain the win was hers. He deserves it just as much as she did but I thought it was hers. I thought Trent was going to pass out. Jennifer pointed to Keith as if she was saying, “you called it.” Jennifer looked shocked and Harry looked shocked too and mouthed “wow” to Jennifer. Trent was sweet when he said that La’Porsha pushed him during the competition.

Ryan Seacrest then signs off the show by saying, “We say to you from Hollywood, goodnight America.” The room goes dark and you hear him say “for now.”   For now? What the hell does that mean? Do they think in 10 years from now, they’ll bring back like X-Files for a limited event? Let American Idol die in peace and go out on a high. They weren’t going out on tour for that very reason so what makes them think bring the show back is “going out on a high?”

I heard later on during the Twitterfest that the producers were going to shop the show to another network. If this is true, it is a mistake. American Idol is forever associated with Fox Broadcasting and to try to resurrect it as the same show or anything that has the name American Idol even if it is in a different format, is just a mistake. American Idol had a great run but like all things, they come to an end, and so should this.

Thank you American Idol for the many years of entertainment; you will live on in television legend.  Guess I will need to get back to blogging about other things, too.





American Idol S15 Showcase 2 Duets & Elimination

24 02 2016

American Idol brought back favorites from years’ past to perform duets with the current contestants. They want to see how they handle that type of environment because more and more these kinds of collaborations are occurring.

Lauren Alaina and Emily Brooke were paired together. They chose “Flat on the Floor” by Carrie Underwood. I was at that finale with Lauren and Scotty battling it out for the title that year. Well, the results show at least. She has changed so much in those 5 years. Lauren sounds FABULOUS!! Emily sounded better than she did last night, but Lauren blew her out of the water and revealed all the vulnerabilities in her voice. Not that this was a competition, but Lauren carried her in this performance. Harry said he could hear the difference in age in their performance just because Lauren’s been doing it a little bit longer but hung pretty well with her. Keith agreed. That she has another lane with the thing she does. Jennifer said she has the makings of something that will grow into something like Lauren at some point.

Thomas Stringfellow sang “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson with last year’s winner Nick Fradiani. He gave him some great tips about singing in the mirror and seeing habits you didn’t realize you had (I remember him working on that last year). Nick went back to some bad habits with his eyes in the interim. Thomas was digging singing with Nick. It was enjoyable. Keith thought he was struggling since it wasn’t really in his lane. Jennifer said it didn’t feel quite right for him. Harry is grateful for his performance last night because it was extremely strong. He is willing to bypass this because last night was phenomenal.

Alumni Ruben Studdard was paired with Stephany Negrete. During rehearsal Ruben felt he needed to get more emotion from her. Michael felt like she needed to look at him more versus closing her eyes. They chose “Superstar” by The Carpenters. The velvet teddy bear still has it. She has a beautiful voice but even with Ruben’s mentoring she looked a little stiff. It sounded beautiful, but she definitely keeps holding back (but so did Nick last year until something clicked for him). Jennifer said it brought tears to her eyes. She thought their voices sounded super beautiful together. Harry thought it was strong even though there were some note issues. Keith thought it was just beautiful. He thought Ruben brought out the best in her.

In quite the odd pairing, they put Sonika Vaid and Caleb Johnson together. Ugh, yet another ballad for her even though it is with Caleb. I would love for Caleb to have chosen an upbeat song for her. The song is “Skyfall” by Adele. It was a great duet, but Sonika didn’t move too much. It made me want to yawn. She did seem to take notes about her performance level and that is a good sign though. Harry enjoyed it a lot but he is giggling a lot because he thinks she is just nervous because this is so new for her. He finds it adorable. He felt she held her own with it. Keith felt it was a great song and they were great together. It was a really great performance. Jennifer said it was a well-suited song. Jennifer basically said she needs to push past her nerves because the sky is the limit with that voice of hers.

The next performance paired Scotty McCreery and Jenna Renae. Scotty has grown up since I saw him at the finale. They sang Scotty’s song “See You Tonight.” I didn’t know Scotty was a songwriter. That was a fun revelation. He sounds a lot better than the year he won. Wow. They sounded terrific tonight. It’s a big compliment from me (because I hate country music) to say that was a wonderful song and a wonderful performance. It was a little flat at the end, but that didn’t matter. And it was NOT a ballad. So refreshing. Keith said it was very hard to critique that song and he added that she has a lovely voice. Jennifer said the song was suited well for the two and she did the best she could on it (not sure what that means). Harry was as entertaining as it was a solid performance. He said it looked like she had a blast doing it.

La’Porsha Renae and Fantasia re-created Fantasia’s performance “Summertime” by Ella Fitzgerald. I think La’Porsha showed up Fantasia. La’Porsha is going to win American Idol. I’m saying it now. This was the best duet over the past two nights. MAJOR goosebumps. Keith was on his feet (guess he loved it). Jennifer thought it was mind-blowing; La’Porsha did a fantastic job. Harry said it reminded him of an old cutting contest. It wasn’t so much about “Summertime” but a battle of runs and they both killed it. Keith said it was an unstoppable force meets a moveable object. It was a great job.

Lauren Alaina was paired with Mackenzie Bourg to do “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack. It was a strange pairing, but it was nice both of them could keep their style of singing. There was nice chemistry between them as well. Harry wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the amazing talent that has come through American Idol. Harry thought this was sweet, but he was thankful for his solo performance of “Say Something” because that set the bar. Keith said that was the first time she had seen Alaina blush. Sparks were flying up there. They were all joking how she was reaching for his elbow and he just didn’t even notice and they were screaming to themselves “hold her hand buddy.” Keith loves the way Mackenzie does things. Jennifer said it felt really nice, mismatched but still nice together.

Nick Fradiani and Gianna Isabella sang Nick’s song “Beautiful Life.” Gianna looked uncomfortable with the performance part of the song even though her voice sounded great in the song. Keith thought it was good. Jennifer said it was a nice song to sing together. Harry said he is still trying to figure her out. It’s like she is this goofy young kid or… (and she piped in a little bit of both).

Ruben Studdard and Avalon Young were paired to sing Ruben’s song “Flying Without Wings.”  She started off rough but by the end she let go and did so much better. It was really beautiful. Jennifer thought it was incredible, it was very equally matched. Out of all the duets she had seen, she felt like they were actually doing a duet, not just singing it together, but feeling it together. Harry said that there is something that is so incredibly likeable about her. She has an incredible instrument. Keith said she is just so real. When she was standing next to Ruben she didn’t look at all intimidated. That was an incredible performance.

Caleb and James VIII chose “Gimme Shelter” by Rolling Stones. I like it when the former Idols let the new contestant start the song first. That was the first time I have seen James really let it go. He had the best time up there. Keith let out an “oooo.” Harry thought it did a pretty darn good job hanging with Caleb. Keith said he did a good job hanging with the big man. He liked the way he performed and he gave it up for the crowd. Jennifer said they complimented each other and it made for a really good performance.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell and Scotty McCreery picked some Montgomery Gentry music “Gone.” She looked really awkward in her movements but out of all the country music ladies in the competition, I think she is the best. Keith said it was bizarre. She doesn’t know how she got saddled with that song. He liked the song but it did nothing for her. Keith is just going to forget that performance. Harry said she is unique out of all the competitors of all the seasons of idol. She is extraordinarily musical.   Last night’s performance was better and he agrees with Keith that the performance was just bizarre. Jennifer said the solo performance won her over, but today it was reinforced even though the performance was really out there.

Jordan Sasser and Fantasia performed her song “I Believe.” Fantasia gave him some good advice about making contact with the audience instead of looking elsewhere when he is hitting those notes. Wow. Take me to church. Fantastic pairing. This redeems his performance from last night. The one mistake he made was crossing in front of her to reach out and shake a fan’s hand. She looked a little perturbed. Jennifer said her voice brings tears to her eyes. He did a good job; he held his own; it was no easy task. Harry can’t add anything to that other than be careful not to try to upstage the person you are on stage with. He pointed that moment I described out as well. Keith said he felt he was shooting up all over the place to try to be on par with her. He didn’t need to do that. He would have believed it more if he reigned and centered it more. In essence, he didn’t need to try so hard.

THE CUT

Staying:   La’Porsha Renae; Sonika Vaid; Avalon Young; Gianna Isabella; Thomas Stringfellow; Mackenzie Bourg. At this point I am pretty sure it is going to be Stephany. And I am totally shocked. Jeneve Rose Mitchell

Going home: Emily Brooke; Stephany Negrete; Jenna Renae; James VIII; and Jordan Sasser.





American Idol Season 13 Top 12 Results Show

6 03 2014

Seventy million votes came in last night. You know I think Jennifer Lopez can wear just about anything but that thing she was wearing tonight did not fit right. Phillip Phillips returns to the Idol stage tonight. Randy Jackson is going to introduce us to Kodaline from Ireland.

At the postshow dinner, the contestants talk about when is it okay to be sharp and when it isn’t because they are confused. I can understand that they are getting mixed messages.

Emily, Sam, Jessica and Ben are in the first group to hear the results. Emily is in the bottom 3. The rest are safe.

Phillip Phillips sang “Raging Fire” and as he did I was thinking something is really wrong with the Idol sound.  His intonation (smile Harry) was all over the place.

Majesty, Dexter, Jena, and Alex are up next. Dexter, Majesty and Alex are safe. Jena is in the bottom 3. That just is not right. None of them deserved that spot.

Kodaline played next. They have an interesting sound.

Last to learn their fate are Malaya, MK, CJ, and Caleb. Caleb is safe (OF COURSE HE IS). CJ is also safe. MK and Malaya were in the bottom three last week. One is safe and the other is in the bottom three again. Malaya is safe and MK is not.

The person leaving us tonight is:    EMILY PIRIZ

EmilyPiriz1

MK, you need to really bring it next week. We want you to succeed. And (no surprise) the save is not used.





American Idol Season 13 Top 12 Perform

6 03 2014

LogoTonight’s theme was “home.” The contestants were to do a song that defines that and what it means to them. Does it mean their town, their family members, or something else? What does “home” represent to them?

Was I the only person who was hoping the ladies would grab Ryan Seacrest and put him in the mosh pit with them?

Jena Irene

Song: “Suddenly I See” by KT Tunstall: Symbolizes her family and how she was raised.

My thoughts: I liked it. I really like the uniqueness of her voice. I also like that she makes it a little different so it does not sound like the original.
The judges: Keith: Likes her stage presence, that she was coming to life. He was not mad about that specific song for her, but liked the way she started to move around. Jennifer said she is on the precipice of really blossoming on the stage. She loves how she can make the song her own. It is the mark of an artist. Harry said he liked the switch in the melody. He wanted to see more energy from her especially at her age.

Alex Preston

Song: “I Don’t Wanna Be” by Gavin DeGraw

My thoughts: I adore his grandmother. I’m such a fan of Alex. He had a few little breath issues. And it was a bit pitchy for him. But I still loved it because he tried to change the song for himself.

The judges: Jennifer said he looks like he belongs on stage. It wasn’t his best vocal performance. The arrangement did not quite fit the song. It overtook his vocal and performance. She advised him to be careful with that balance. Harry said he is so used to hearing him at an intimate context (yet last week he didn’t like the intimate performance). It sounded similarly to what Jen said. He didn’t think it was a home run but admires him for trying to do something different this time. Keith thought the word instability came to mind for the performance. The song was around him instead of him being “in” the song. Another giveaway is the loss of breath at the end of phrasing.

Jessica Meuse

Song: “White Flag” by Dido

My thoughts: If this song has been in her set for years, it should have sounded better. I prefer when she sings from a dark place. This was not a good song choice for her.

The judges: Harry said she normally is so in tune. She was so off here. She really wasn’t present in the performance. Harry gets booed. Keith loves her musicality. With pitch and that (what Harry was saying), he does not always agree. Jennifer said she is with both of them. She feels like she is comfortable but it is not coming off that way to the audience. It was so sharp through the whole thing. But if she would have been singing with so much more conviction, it wouldn’t have mattered.

Dexter Roberts

Song: “Lucky Man” by Montgomery Gentry

My thoughts: It was nice. I’m sorry that I’m not a big country music fan. I like him and the puppies are adorable.

The judges: Keith said it was the perfect song. He took liberties with the phrasing. He showed his vulnerable side. Jennifer said she feels like they are being a little hard on everybody tonight. She liked that he surprised her. Harry wants to be completely honest. It was unquestionably the best performance of the night (so far). It was a great performance.

Emily Piriz

Song: “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez

My thoughts: I have mixed emotions about the Marine boyfriend video. On one hand, they could just be celebrating and being grateful for his service. On the other hand, people feel obligated to vote for her just because of that and sometimes it pays off and sometimes people hate being manipulated and refuse to vote because of that. As far as her performance, the band guy looked uncomfortable when she was singing and dancing next to him. It was in tune but it did not have enough oomph to get me up and want to dance or sing along with her which is the purpose of the song.

The judges: Jennifer said she did a really good job. She loved it but she is biased. Harry said he thought it took a lot of courage but she has to match the intensity of the locomotive train. She has to drive the train and the production was too big for her tonight. Harry gets booed again. Keith loved it. Harry says back to Keith that he wants her to improve. Keith said to be more confident.

Caleb Johnson

Song: “Working Man” by Rush

My thoughts: My favorite so far tonight. He could honestly go on tour right now.

The judges: Harry: He is the most consistent performer on the show. Always consistent, but he knows how he feels before he goes on to sing. What can he bring to rock and roll to make it modern? How can he not be predictable? Keith said he is one of the best singers he has heard in a long, long time. It was a bold thing. Keith talks about rock and roll and the need for a band. His challenge to Caleb was how does he get that thing going on without the band around him. Jennifer said it is what she has been waiting for all night. Great job tonight.

MK Nobilette

Song: “Drops of Jupiter” by Train

My thoughts: Once again, they put her name up as MK Nobillette. She looks terrified. I don’t know if that is what caused her to lose breath control and be off key. The message that came across to me was she feels defeated and feels like what is the point (because she was in the bottom 3 last week).

The judges: Keith said she needs to connect with how she looks with how she sings. If she isn’t going to not use the guitar, throw it behind her and grab the microphone. Jennifer said she needs to keep pushing herself. She will get there. It was a sweet performance. Harry gets the feeling that she does not want to be there. He advises her to work on the things that are hard, that make her uncomfortable and she will improve.

CJ Harris

Song: “Waiting on the World To Change” by John Mayer

My thoughts: He is still sharp over the note. I’m starting to think it might be a bad habit that is just hard to change. But I loved the emotion and connection he had with the song that we could feel as well.

The judges: Jennifer said he looks great tonight. She loved the performance of that song. Harry said he sang consistently sharp, but it was alright because he had conviction. Keith said all that is missing now is to make the song more of his own and not just do a straight cover. Where is his artistic take on it?

Sam Woolf

Song: “Just One” by Blind Pilot

My thoughts: It was a sweet performance. I think putting him in a more intimate context was better than what he did last week where he was lost on stage. But I worry about this. Will he be able to play in a big venue or is this more coffeehouse?

The judges: Harry: Emotional dynamics–there has to be a change–there is just one beat with him emotionally. He needs to try something else. Keith: He understands what Harry is saying. The tone of his voice is like “butta.” If he made an album of original songs, he would buy that record. Jennifer said he has to push outside his comfort zone.

Malaya Watson

Song: “Take Me to the King” by Tamela Mann

My thoughts: It was a better song and performance from last week. More mature. There was a lot of heart in that. But there were still moments that were really rough.

The judges: Keith stood up. Keith said it was a beautiful song baby. (First baby tonight). Encompassed vulnerability and range. Great job. Jennifer had goosies. She was all there for the story. And she had tears in her eyes because she is so proud of her. Harry said this felt very focused and it was risky. There were a few little problems but the message was there.

Ben Briley

Song: “Turning Home” by David Nail

My thoughts: I have no opinion about this.

The judges: Jennifer said the feeling was there. Harry did not connect with it and he felt it was shouted. Harry has a record number of boos in one evening. Keith lost the story and emotion from him. He wants him to worry less about the technicality.

Majesty Rose York

Song: “Fix You” by Coldplay

My thoughts: The emotion was there, but the song was off key in parts it needed to be in key. I liked it in the beginning but when she tried to go big, that is when her voice failed her. She reminds me more of a Tracy Chapman type of singer.

The judges: Harry enjoyed the beginning. Jennifer said she tried to do something but it didn’t work. Keith said they would see her next week.

So in summary, tonight’s Idol was VERY disappointing. The only person who nailed it tonight was Caleb. MK is in serious trouble. She has a lovely voice but her lack of confidence in herself will ultimately be her downfall. Jessica might be in trouble as well. Picking a song is so crucial. And having a theme and having to pick a song that reminds you of home but may not be a good song for your voice all have to be considered.





American Idol Season 13 Top 13 Perform

27 02 2014

Tonight’s theme is “This is me.” The contestants have to choose one song that defines them as an artist and as a person. The sequence with the contestants on how the voting works this season was cute. There is a new voting platform on Google.

Dexter Roberts

5 in 20: Scared of spiders, fell off a horse, did something with a butter knife (?), first kiss was on a slide, broke his finger during football.

Song: “Aw Naw” by Chris Young

My thoughts: That was rough for me. It was out of tune (sharp). He looked great though.

The judges: Keith said he was a likable guy. He thought it was an excellent cover version of the song but now Dexter needs to figure out how to make it a Dexter Roberts performance. Jennifer said something similar. Harry wonders if the ear monitors are causing him to sing out of tune. There was a pitch issue. Jennifer added that it was not the sweet spot for his voice so much.

Malaya Watson

5 in 20: Afraid of dogs, plays a lot of instruments, wears glasses because she can’t see and she loves everybody.

Song: “Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars

My thoughts: Nice upbeat song. I don’t think it was the right song for her. It did not showcase her voice well. I felt like I was watching a high school talent show. I really like her though. I hope she will do better next week.

The judges: Jennifer loves her energy. Her performance was A-plus. The song had soul. It, however, was not her best vocal performance but says she is a contender. Harry agrees. He said intonation is huge. He mentions that she appeared nervous. Keith said what can you do from here forward? It’s about growing and learning. Her energy is contagious. She needs to figure out how to get on top of the song and not floating around it.

Kristen O’Connor

5 in 20: Her best friends are quadruplets. She loves swing dancing. She is bad at all sports.

Song: “Beautiful Disaster” by Kelly Clarkson

My thoughts: I like Kristen but it was off key. I don’t think this was the right song for her. Everyone is having pitch issues tonight. I felt like she was just singing. I didn’t feel any emotional connection from her to the song she was singing (and because of that, I did not feel anything).

The judges: Harry thought that she was a really strong pop singer but she is singing out of tune. Keith thought it was a good song choice for her. She was able to show the range and show control and dynamics in a short space of time. Jennifer said to stop thinking (after seeing 3 contestants now). Start thinking about what you know versus what they are afraid of what may happen.

Ben Briley

5 in 20: He can name every capital. He loves Tennessee football. His favorite animal is a kangaroo. He is good at throwing rocks at hitting poles. He wants to sky dive. He has a super power. And then states none of this is true.

Song: “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash

My thoughts: Finally a better performance this evening. Who knew I would like it too (because I don’t like country music). So that is how much I did love it.

The judges: Keith said it was particularly brisk. He told him not to sacrifice his artistry in the midst of entertaining. Jennifer liked the fast tempo. She said it was a good example of taking a song that represents you and changing it up to make it yours. She loved it. Harry said he did not think it was kitsch (as Keith mentioned) at all. He liked the up-tempo. He felt it was the best performance of the night so far.

CJ Harris

5 in 20: Doesn’t like climbing high things, hates icy roads in the wintertime, does not like to deer hunt that much, hates people with bad attitudes and no personality, and is very religious.

Song: “Radio” by Darius Rucker

My thoughts: I love CJ but this was the worst performance heard tonight so far. He was always above the note.

The judges: Jennifer thought it was a lot of fun. She acknowledges there were pitch issues going on for everyone. Harry said CJ has this “cry” in his voice that he loves to hear but this song may have been among other ones during a concert. It was just an okay song choice. Harry is then booed. Keith disagrees. He thinks it was a good song choice and it was good to hear a different side to him tonight.

MK Nobilette

(Okay, the web site says it is Nobilette but the name was Nobillette on the TV screen–look!)

MK

5 in 20: She is a mediocre snowboarder, played soccer her whole life, loves single ladies (and adds “the song”), wishes she was a dancer, loves dogs.

Song: “Satisfaction” by Allen Stone

My thoughts: It was average. She looked scared. The stage kind of swallowed her up. A few times it seemed out of tune (not on purpose), especially in the end part when she is singing “Satisfaction” a lot. I do like her new look and style. She looks wonderful in pink.

The judges: Harry loves watching her grow. He gives her some pointers about her performance. Keith said he loved the way she looks. He said there were patches of good and patches of “deer in the headlights” but it will come. Jennifer loved how she delivered it. She was awesome.

Majesty Rose York

5 in 20: Born in a leap year. She is left-handed, does the longboard, does ballet and likes to make her hair bigger.

Song: “Tightrope” by Janelle Monae

My thoughts: The beginning verses were rough. Too bad. I am a really big fan of hers and I would put her in the middle of the pack.

The judges: Keith said it was a killer song choice. Janelle is a great place for her to tap into. She is just becoming more confident in what she is doing. Jennifer loves her individuality. She said the song was perfect for her and that she is blessed. Harry said his favorite thing about her is the mystery and how it will unravel. He thought it was terrific.

Jena Irene

5 in 20: Her hair is actually brown. She is best friends with her brother. Her favorite movie is “The Wizard of Oz.” Her eyes are sometimes green and sometimes blue. She is really short.

Song: “The Scientist” by Coldplay

My thoughts: It started off rough but she found her groove in there. I liked it. This is my second favorite female performance of the night.

The judges: Jennifer said she has such a unique voice, filled with dynamics and nuances–a powerhouse singer, too. It was a tough song but she pulled it off. Jennifer loved it. Harry said he felt the emotion of the song and that she makes interesting choices on a pre-existing melody, that her melodic choices drive the lyrics. Keith said it was pitchy in the beginning but once she leaned into it, she owned the song.

Alex Preston

5 in 20: He loves extreme sports. He likes to write poetry. He is a hopeless romantic, loves coffee, and has never been…..(cut off).

Song: “A Beautiful Mess” by Jason Mraz

My thoughts: I had goosebumps. I loved it. My favorite performance of the night so far. He is so unique. A couple of notes were off, but not horribly. It was such an intimate performance.

The judges: Harry said he was brave to do that but cautioned him to try to sing it in tune. He felt it was too inward and that he did not feel what Alex was singing about. Harry is booed again. Keith said he had the complete opposite reaction. It pulled him in. He wanted to know what Alex “had never been” but Alex does not even remember. Jennifer agrees with Keith that she got caught up in the emotion and mood of it. Jennifer did a nice job. She felt it was a nice change from what everyone else is doing.

Jessica Meuse

5 in 20: She uses a lot of hand sanitizer and is obsessed by the supernatural. She likes ponies and has way too many animals. She failed band in school.

Song: “The Crow and the Butterfly” by Shinedown

My thoughts: I LOVED IT! I had goosebumps. Rocker girl after my own heart. It was my favorite female performance of the night.

The judges: Keith said it was a bold but cool song choice. It reminded him of the first time seeing her from the audition cities. There was a dark, haunting quality to it and that is what she has as an artist. The edgy rasp is appealing. Jennifer said that the sound and power of her voice gave her goosies everywhere. It was her favorite vocal performance of the night so far. It was perfect. She would love to see Jessica’s body relax a little bit. It was dope. Harry was distracted by the graphic butterflies. He thought it was strong and that it was cool to hear her sing slightly differently. She did a nice, nice job.

Emily Piriz

5 in 20: Went to chef camp when she was younger. Her eyes change colors depending on environment and clothing. She does a cool whistle.

Song: “Glitter In The Air” by P!nk

My thoughts: She was wearing way too much makeup (not her fault). I did not care for it. I felt like she was singing it and never made an emotional connection to the song. She was hitting the high note (which always brings out the applause) but her lower register was rough. I really don’t know what the judges heard because they had a very different take on it.

The judges: Jennifer said it is a tough song to take on but she did it beautifully. She thought it had a lot of emotion and her pitch was beautiful. Harry said it was great and she sang the melody well and conveyed the emotions well. Keith said it was one of his favorites of the night. He wants more yin-yang though. There was too much yin.

Sam Woolf

5 in 20: He is afraid of spiders. He wears size 10 shoes. He stepped on a sea urchin once and broke his ankle once falling down the stairs. His middle name is Joseph.

Song: “Unwell” by Matchbox Twenty

My thoughts: It was okay. It seemed to drag a bit. I almost had the feeling that he wanted to sing it faster but the music was lagging behind. He’s in the middle of the pack for me, too.

The judges: Harry said he wished his vocal mirrored the lyrics (that it wasn’t so clean and tight). It was nice but not great. Kevin said the tempo was slow. Sam had a great way of holding the center of his performance. Jennifer said he was a quiet storm. He needs to come alive. Sometimes he is a deer in the headlights.

Caleb Johnson

5 in 20: Unfortunately they caught him brushing his teeth. Did he say he once kissed a cow? The second one was something about a pancake? His favorite band is Rush. He was on the cross country team in high school. He loves biscuits and gravy.

Song: “Pressure and Time” by Rival Sons

My thoughts: GOOSEBUMPS!! (And hey look Taylor Hicks is in the house). Is Idol ready for a rock star winner? My favorite performance of tonight. This looked truly professional.  I felt like I was attending his concert.

The judges: Keith and Jennifer were on their feet. Keith said he has some serious pipes and it was a cool song. He said he needs to figure out now how to put on that twist–retro with a twist. Jennifer said he was so ready for the rock-star life. Harry said it was great to hear rock-and-roll on Idol. If something happened to Rival Sons like what happened with Journey, he could be it.

My top picks for tonight

Guys: Caleb and Alex; girls: Jessica and Jena

On the bottom for me

CJ Harris, Dexter Jones, Malaya Watson

Thursday Night

Candice Glover sings!!  And Jake Bugg.





American Idol Season 13 Top 13 Picked

23 02 2014

LogoAfter watching both groups perform, I believe the stronger singers this year are the boys.  Ryan Seacrest wasted no time Thursday evening announcing the top 10 performers that were going through to next week’s show. In no particular order, the following names were called:

Malaya Watson is first through. She has SUCH a personality.

Ben Briley (ditch the plaid dude).

Emily Piriz. This surprised me. She has a good voice, but I didn’t like her song choice.

Alex Preston. YAY!!!!

Jessica Meuse

Dexter Roberts

Caleb Johnson (YAY). Note to Caleb: Do NOT maul Ryan Seacrest.

Majesty Rose (YAY!)

And they finally took a commercial break.

MK Nobilette

Sam Woolf (awesome!)

Wild Card

Jennifer Lopez explains. Of the 10 left, they are going to choose 5 to sing tonight so that from that they can pick 3 of them.

CJ Harris. It was good. Singing for his life? Not really. Harry said both the band and CJ screwed that up. It was not a strong start; it was average. He did not feel any of the magic. Jennifer said the specialness of his voice and soul still came through for her. Keith said he has to stay emotionally connected to the song the entire way through; he was drifting in and out emotionally.

Jena Irene. Playing keyboard. I hope she gets picked. I had goosebumps. Keith said it was a really good use of that moment.

Spencer Lloyd. I think he should have chosen the “Say Something” song (as they pointed out to him just the night before). Jennifer thinks he picked the wrong song to sing again.

Bria Anai. She was awesome. I know she will get a spot. Harry said she sang for her life but it was all over the place. She was clearly not expecting that comment.

Kristen O’Connor. She was ahead of the band. It was not her best.

Wild Cards Picked

Jena Irene

Kristen O’Connor

CJ Harris





American Idol Season 13 Rush Week Boys’ Night

21 02 2014

LogoThe judges had a difficult time deciding on the 10 contestants that would be given the opportunity to perform for America’s votes this evening. They finally finished in the dressing room before the show started.

First Pick

Caleb Johnson (from Asheville–did I mention my sister lives there? Yes I have!) He sings, “Stay With Me” by Faces. The thing he needs to work on is closing his eyes while he is singing. Chris Daughtry says that he does not want Caleb’s intense face to distract them and to smile.” Caleb sings again, this time smiling. Chris adds, “Okay, halfway.” Adam Lambert hears that he wants to be “subtle over-the-topness” and laughs. I think Caleb looks great, sounds fabulous and he definitely improved with his eye-closing issues. He had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. He was in command! Keith said it was “killer dude.” He has soul, a cool thing in his voice that a person is just born with. There are some things you can’t learn. It was the perfect song and a great way to start the show. Jennifer said it was amazing, a real rockstarish, the real deal. “It’s your time.” Harry said it will be tough for the guys following him. It was a strong way to start the show and congratulations.

Second Pick

CJ Harris. He defines himself as country soul. His guitar and voice were self-taught. Chris Daughtry said he was having a hard time following the guitar pattern, that it distracted from his amazing vocals and to ditch it. It would free him up to sell the song. He sang, “Shelter” by Ray LaMontagne. CJ ditches Chris’ suggestion to ditch the guitar. I’m not a guitar expert so I can’t comment on his guitar skills. I thought he slayed the song. He did a fantastic job and I like his new look, too. Jennifer said he makes her smile. She said he makes her feel so many things which is a beautiful thing. Harry said he was a great talent. He advised him to watch his intonation. Harry thought he had a tendency to sing really sharp. He felt like he was singing to him and that he was going to shelter him. Keith said it was a great mix of Dobie Gray and Jonny Lang blended in to this package that was so original.

Third Pick

Emmanuel Zidor. He tells Randy Jackson that he has been “humming since the womb and singing since 5.” He wants to sing “Best of My Love” by The Emotions. The rehearsal clips looked rough. I was entertained by his performance and I love his positivity but he has a lot of work to do. I would put him in the middle of my pack. I am also glad he did not try for the falsetto that bombed in rehearsals. Harry said it was so much fun. It reminded him of the performers in New Orleans–happy, infectious energy. He recommended the same advice he gave to everyone else: “Stay in your lane.” Keith said, “I agree with Harry.” Harry said, “That’s my girl right there.” And things got awkward. I wonder if they are trying to capture the Adam Levine/Blake Shelton bromance vibe? Keith advised him to watch his adrenaline level because he was singing above the note; rein it in. Jennifer said, “I Zi-dore you. You belong on a stage.” She said it was not the best song for him. Then she asks him to sing a little bit of “I’m Going Down” and he does. That’s cheating a bit, Jennifer.

Fourth Pick

Sam Woolf. He was just accepted to Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA). He sings, “Babylon” by David Gray. Michael Orland, the vocal coach, says that he is doing a lot of eye closing and looking down which can look like insecurity. I think he is nervous but he listened to the advice and I like when the contestants do that. I could hear his voice on the radio right now. I would even consider buying his record. He did a tremendous job. My favorite so far of the night. He has really won me over during the last two performances. Keith said, “The people like you Sam.” His voice is money. His tone is great. It was a good song for him. His performance will get better and better. Jennifer said he has a sweet quality. She hopes he can gain small degrees of confidence as the show goes on.

Fifth Pick

George Lovett. He chooses “Grenade” by Bruno Mars. Adam helped him with some stage movement. He was very nervous. I did not like this song as a ballad. It sounded like he was dragging a bit behind the band. His voice cracked a few times. His pitch was rough at times. Jennifer said it was really good but he needs to control the runs; there were just too many. Harry said it was easy to come so invested that you can sing yourself right off the microphone. His passion spun out of control. Harry has heard him sing better (and Harry gets boo #2 for the Idol season). Keith said song choice is crucial and that this song did not play to his strengths.

Sixth Pick

Dexter Roberts sings “This Ole Boy” by Craig Morgan. I like his makeover. I have no reference to compare this to, but I did find it enjoyable. Harry said there were good things about what he did. Keith said he was the real deal, a fully fledged country boy from Alabama. He was fun and easy to watch. He agreed with Harry about him needing to find out what separates him from all the country voices that sound just like him. Jennifer said it was easy in a cool way. She remarked that if he was nervous she did not see it. For American Idol, he did his thing.

Seventh Pick

Alex Preston. YAY!!! He plays 11-12 instruments? Whoa. He sang, “Volcano” by Damien Rice. His challenge is also making eye contact. I could tell during his performance that he was really trying to apply the lessons he learned during the workshop. I LOVE IT. It was better than the original. My new favorite performance of the night. He has such a unique sound among the boys. Keith said it was the best song choice of the night and a good performance. Jennifer said it had such a groove that was different than anything else. He is in his own lane. If he stays there, he could go very far. Harry said music is a religion to Alex. He said his favorite part was that he ended on the “9” and that Alex knew what he meant. Ryan asked for Harry to explain and he did with Alex’s assistance.

Eighth Pick

Malcolm Allen singing “Comin’ From Where I’m From” by Anthony Hamilton. I have never heard that song before. I think he still needs a lot of work on his stage presence. The stage swallows him up. He sings well, but there are some really talented guys in the mix this year. Jennifer said he has a great voice. She wanted his physical performance to hit her more. She said she should have gotten goosies on that–to hear the pain that is in that song. She needs him to bring his heart and soul to it next time. Harry said he is a good run singer, but the danger is singing in the exact same run over and over and over; it was the same five notes and he needs to sing it in tune which elicits boo number three for Harry. Keith said–oops he ran out of time to talk. He felt like he was at the Grammy’s. He told Malcolm he needed to make artistic choices and gave him a suggestion on how that could have worked.

Ninth Pick

Ben Briley (aka “Gumbo”) I LOVE his makeover. He is singing “Soulshine” by The Allman Brothers Band. He also tends to close his eyes while he is singing. I really liked it. My judgment of him getting through over Neco Starr might have been premature and incorrect. I really truly enjoyed that. Harry said Ben seemed to like it and thought he (that he thought Ben thought) nailed it. It was a great job and was interesting. Keith said he has a great voice which was better than his guitar playing. Keith thought it was the first shredder solo on Idol. Jennifer commented that some people come alive when they are on stage versus in the rehearsal which is a sign of a true performer.

Tenth Pick

Spencer Lloyd to the delight of all the teenage girls in the room. He sings, “Love Don’t Die” by The Fray. He asked for advice about whether to use the guitar or not with the performance. Randy said for him to sing with it. Adam Lambert and vocal coach Melissa Garcia said without the guitar. The song started off rough with a lot of notes out of key. Midway through though I felt he found a groove. Being a worship leader, I know he can get a crowd going and this crowd was going, going, gone. Keith said that song choice is important and this was not his best vocal performance tonight. Jennifer said he moved the crowd and that when he is up there, he is a star. Harry said the song, “Say Something” was his strong suit; this was not. He reminds Spencer to stick to what he knows. This was not good (and Harry was booed again). He told Spencer that singing ballads is good.