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 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 Season 14 San Francisco auditions

3 02 2015

Day 1

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nAmerican Idol Season 14 finished up their auditions in the city by the bay. Mustafa inspired the next contestant to audition. Yep. Her cat. Why does this remind me of an episode of Glee (Brittany’s ‘Fondue for Two’ web series)? She’s ready to be a rock star. I’m betting she isn’t. She takes on Florence and The Machine’s “Shake It Out.” Fifteen-year-old Katherine Skinner surprised me. She has a fabulous voice. She does need a fashion makeover, however. Jennifer thinks she’s talented but also crazy (not in a good way). She thinks she is made for the stage but whether that is American Idol or not she is not sure. Harry likes the crazy because it kept him off balance. Keith thinks she is bold and fearless. Three yeses. I think she needs to reign in the crazy because she is going to get on my nerves quickly.

Erika David, a 25-year-old hotel representative wants a ticket to Hollywood and takes on Alicia Keys. Jennifer thought she was sassy. Chandler Leighton, a 20-year-old student from Los Angeles also wants to go sings “New York State of Mind”. Jennifer got goosebumps. Ryan Pinkston, age 27, from San Francisco sings a cappella. Harry thought it was pinpoint perfect. Chandler gets three yeses from the judges and is my favorite out of this group. Erika gets a no from Keith but Harry and Jennifer say yes (with Jennifer adding that she has a lot of work to do before getting to Hollywood).

Seventeen-year-old Andrew Bloom from Yorba Linda, California sings “Too Close” by Alex Clare. He sounded good. There were a few sharps and flats but pretty good for his age. Keith thinks he has a good spirit and it comes through in the way he sings. There were some things that he could work on. Jennifer days he has what feels right which is something that is required of a performer. Harry likes his spirit and thinks hens pretty good, too, but cautions him to watch the blues licks. Three yeses.

Vocal teacher Kellyeann Rodgers, age 24, from Memphis, TN sings an old Carpenters has a lovely voice. Three yeses.

Forty family members in one house??? Holy cow! Sixteen-year-old Reno Anoa’l sings Rod Stewart’s “I Don’t Wanna Talk About It.” First goosebumps for San Francisco. While he was singing, Jennifer says “pretty voice.” Keith thought it was beautiful. Jennifer days what she likes is that when he is singing she believes him until he did the runs and then she didn’t. Harry thinks he has a great voice but he had an issue with it in that it needed to show some variety. After Keith gave him a mild scolding that he needs to stop praying and listen to the feedback, he gets a ticket to Hollywood.

The next contestant bows to Jennifer Lopez, the queen of Puerto Rico. He says Harry is the king. What does that make poor Keith? He wants to do a soap opera scene with Jennifer, and instructs Keith and Henry (BIG OOPS!) to their places. The Improv 101 that ends with Jennifer slapping him which was highly entertaining. And “Henry” hits Keith Urbano. Let’s hear Samuel Prince sing “As Long As You Love Me”. His voice is nice like my husband’s voice is nice but he should probably keep the acting gig. “Henry” says his vocals are not strong enough. Jennifer appreciated the fun but she agrees. Keith said it was like a person acting like they were singing. He didn’t feel like it was true to him. Three no’s.

Matthew Sequoia, a 15-year-old from Merced, CA did not do so well and he looked terrified. Luke Randall, age 23, from Enterprise, Utah tried to sing “Radioactive“—rather screamed–for his audition. These two did not make it through. Sade Shine, a 28-year-old singer from Branson, MO, sang “Dancing In the Street”. I really enjoyed it. Harry liked the feeling in the room, but he is not sure it is an American-Idol-winning voice. Harry says no. Keith says yes. Jennifer says no. Zach Dire has a cool voice but he does not make it through either.

Rayvon Owen and I have something in common—Spam in our childhood because we did not have a lot of money. But Rayvon you got it with cheese and me? Fruit cocktail. Makes me want to barf just thinking about that now. He sings “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry. He is a23-year-old singer/vocal coach from Richmond, VA. It was sweet. Second set of goosebumps. Jennifer got goosies as well. Keith loves his voice. Three yeses.

Ezekiel and Jeremiah Cárdenas are twins from Long Beach, CA. They have never auditioned before and it shows. The guitar should have been left at home. It was off pitch the entire song. Jennifer lets them down easy by telling them they need more practice. No ticket for them.

Maddy Hudson does not look 16 years of age. She hails from Pleasanton, CA. Third goosebumps of the night. Jennifer had goosebumps all over her legs. Jennifer said she was fantastic. Maddy is one of her favorites. Keith loved her inside and out; he heard and felt every bit of it. Harry said she has all of the ingredients to be a superstar. She yells at Harry that he is so nice. She has heart and a ticket to Hollywood.

Day 2

Harry entertains us at the piano before Adanna Duru performs “You and I” by Lady Gaga. She is impressive for a 17-year-old. First goosebumps of the night for me but I did feel like she was shouting towards the end of that. Jennifer calls her the full package. Harry cautions her to know what the lyrics are about. Keith thought it was great. Three yeses.

Is that Carly Smithson with Michael Orland doing the pre-auditions? Christopher Michael, age 26, from Los Angeles impressed them enough to get an audience with the judges. It was not what I was expecting (not in a good way). Keith loved the passion but that was it. The singing wasn’t there for him. Harry said the point was to move people and Christopher fired him up but the music wasn’t there. A contemplative Christopher thinks maybe it was too hard rock.

Sporting a Willy Wonka umbrella tattoo, Hunter Larsen, a hostess slash nanny slash florist is 20 years of age and is from Malibu, CA. She belts out “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra. I got goosebumps. Jennifer likes her gritty voice which sets her apart from others. It’s memorable along with her look. Keith loved it. Harry also. She gets a ticket to Hollywood.

Tara Honda sings Carole King’s “It’s Too Late.” She is a 22-year-old server/cook from Murrieta, GA. It was nice but I am not sure if it stands out from all the other people. Harry said she sounds great and he would buy her remake of that song. Jennifer thinks she has a soul of an artist. Keith likes it too.

Daniel Seavey, age 15, from Portland, OR can play a lot of instruments. I wasn’t sure I liked his voice when he started singing “Hallelujah”. It did start to grow on me as it progressed. They talked about his voice breaking. Jennifer thinks he had a beautiful voice in there. The performance wasn’t complete and she could tell he was very nervous. Harry says he is handsome and talented but because of his age he doesn’t have the maturity yet. Will he have it? Eventually but not right now. So Harry votes no. Keith wants to see how he stacks up with others in Hollywood week so he says yes. Jennifer is on the fence but she says yes.

Rocky Peter, age 27, had a wild story. He was born in the USA but his father brought them to Africa and then abandoned them. There was no money and they begged for food. He ate food from the trash and drank water from potholes. Music was the one thing there for him. He sings an original song called “Wrong Places“. The falsetto in the song felt odd to me. Was he the best voice we’ve heard? No. But he deserves a break even if he just goes to Hollywood. Harry thought his choices within the song were very clever. Jennifer loved the song. She could hear the pain. He has something special. Keith’s only concern is what Rocky does may be incompatible with Idol. For his beautiful voice, really original, beautiful heart Keith says yes. Jennifer is a yes. Harry asks him if his opinion matters and Rocky sincerely wants to hear what he has to say. Harry says yes.

Sophia (unknown last name):  Jennifer says yes, Harry says no, and Keith says no.

Jaq Mackenzie is a student in a performing arts school. She brings in a guitar and wants to do an original song but then puts her guitar down. I will never understand people who do this especially if it is an original song. It isn’t very good. Maybe she should have used the guitar to get the notes right. Jennifer thinks she has the makings of a really great artist one day. It is already forming but she is worried how her style would fit with Idol. Harry thinks she is talented but he isn’t sure if Hollywood would help or hurt her. Keith likes her distinct singing style. She gets three yeses—cautiously but yeses.

Tyanna Jones was homeless for about 2 years when she was about 5 years of age. I love the black hair with blue highlights. She has a Janelle Monae vibe to her look. She sings “Little Mix’s Wings”. This 16-year-old is better than Jaq Mackenzie. Jennifer thinks she is very talented. Keith asks her if she is working on anything at this time and she said her pitch because when she gets nervous she messes up. This impresses Keith. Harry said she has a lot of talent and is a special young lady. Three resounding yeses.

Next up: Hollywood Hell Week