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 Season 14 The Winner Is….

20 05 2015

And the winner is….

Just in case people have not heard who won this second to last season of American Idol, I will put the info at the end and discuss tonight’s hits and misses with musical guests. In some cases we were reminded that the voting for some contestants to leave was indeed the right thing to do.

Nick and Clark joined Fallout Boy to sing “Centuries.” In terms of performance, Nick was jamming right along with Patrick Stump while Clark still hasn’t been able to just let himself get completely out of control. He looked happy but he needs to get some rocking-it-out lessons.

Tyanna Jones joined three of the Jackson brothers to sing a medley of songs including “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” “The Love You Save,” and “(Dance and Shout) Shake Your Body Down to the Ground“. It was a fun opening and got people energized, but I would have liked to see her sing with Janelle Monae who is appearing later in the show. “Tightrope” was one of Tyanna’s better songs she covered over the course of Idol, but I could see the allure of singing with the Jackson brothers.

The top six ladies joined Nile Rodgers and Chic to do another medley including “We Are Family” and “Le Freak,” then their new record “I’ll Be There” and back to the classic “Good Times” and ending with “Rapper’s Delight.”

Ricky Martin took the stage to do a medley of his songs starting with “Mr. Put It Down.” He was joined by Nick, Clark, Qaasim, Quentin and Rayvon for “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” “She Bangs,” and “The Cup of Life.” I just love Ricky Martin. I have adored him since his days on General Hospital. I wonder why Daniel wasn’t performing with them?

Adanna performed with Janelle Monae. Janelle sang with “Yoga” featuring Jidenna. Adanna seems to fit right in and maybe this is a good niche for her. Maybe working with Janelle has shown her how to control that exuberant energy she has although she didn’t do much singing.

Prince Royce was joined by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull to sing “Back It Up.” That was incredible.

Echosmith performed “Cool Kids” with Joey Cook. I think this was a good match up. I have missed Joey.

Ryan polls the judges to see who they think will win. Jennifer quietly says Clark. Harry is noncommittal. Keith thinks Nick has a slight advantage. Keith Urban performed his hit “Even the Stars Fall 4 U.” If anyone could make me like a country song, it is Keith Urban. There is no doubt he wrote and performed that for Nicole Kidman who was in the audience. I may just go buy that song.

I thought Jamie Foxx was an odd choice but after hearing him sing “In Love By Now” with Rayvon, I thought it was a perfect match. I didn’t realize Jamie sang so well. It was a beautiful pairing.

Ford gave a car (Festive) not only to Nick and Clark but also to their mentors (Focus). Nick chose fellow bandmate lead guitarist Nick Abraham. Clark’s mentor Pastor Jim Phillips was his choice.

New Kids on the Block were looking for a new band member and they chose Daniel Seavey. Their medley included “Please Don’t Go Girl” and “You’ve Got It (The Right Stuff).” It was the worst one of the night. I know Donnie Wahlberg later tweeted that it was about having fun and that is fine. It made Daniel happy I am sure as well as his family, friends and fans. Even with the lyrics on two big screens it was obvious that when Donnie put then microphone out to the audience for them to the sing “the right stuff” no one sang back. Ryan puts them on the spot and asks if Daniel could go on the tour with them.

Quentin Alexander teamed up with Vance Joy for his song “Riptide.” Quentin needs to learn about singing a duet. You don’t mouth the words that the other person is singing. Grooving like you did was good; mouthing the words was distracting. And Quentin, I adore you so it is hard for me to say something critical. Otherwise the song was lovely.

Scott shared with Nick and Clark what will happen to the winner. One of them will go back to Nashville where their boots are going to hit the ground. They are going to hit reset and go to visit radio and retail. They will go to the CMA Music Festival with him to perform. One of them will be a presenter at the CMT Awards. And that just scratches the surface. They will start recording their first album. He said both of their songs were top 15 (which was inaccurate because when I checked at that precise moment, Nick’s song was at 21 and Clark’s song was at 42).

Chris Brown and Pitbull performed their new single “Fun” with Qaasim.  That indeed was fun!!!

Steven Tyler performed his new song “Love Is Your Name.” Jax came up from the audience to sing “Piece of My Heart” and like the superstar she is she held her own with him. That gave me goosebumps and the Idol judges were with them all the way, even when they finished the performance on the judges’ table. Jax thanked the fans and the judges to thunderous applause.

Clark joined Michael McDonald to sing “Takin’ It to the Streets.” They played side-by-side pianos. Where has THIS Clark been?? I haven’t seen him so passionate and animated in weeks. THIS is a winning performance. He needed to have captured this many episodes ago.

Andy Grammer and Nick sang “Back Home” and moved into “Honey, I’m Good.” It was enjoyable. I preferred Clark’s performance with Michael McDonald.

The judges played together on stage, Jennifer on vocals, Keith on guitar, and Harry on keyboards. Jennifer started off with “Diamonds” and moved to “Locked Out of Heaven” with Keith and Jennifer on vocals.

And the winner is….. NICK! And he looks a bit stunned. Congratulations!





American Idol Season 14 Top 2 Finalists Revealed

13 05 2015

The final 2 are revealed right out of the gate tonight. Between two of them the percentage is 0.4% (but they didn’t say if that percentage was between the top 2 or the bottom 2). The person leaving the competition tonight is…..WHAT THE???? Jax???????? No fracking way. Scott Borchetta–Sign her NOW!!!!! I am heartbroken. She has superstar written all over her. That still will be her fate.

Round 1: Contestant’s Favorite Song from the Season

I never liked this category. I would prefer to see something like “pick the song you did your worst on and here is your chance to improve it”–a variation of a theme I enjoy on Project Runway.

Clark picked “Georgia on My Mind” by Ray Charles from his repertoire on Idol, which is a song he did very well on a very long time ago. And it is exactly the same right down to the same head movements and eye tics. Not saying that is a bad thing but I like to hear and see something a little different not just from Clark but from anyone. Keith said it was like flapjacks drenched in syrup–southern and soulful. Jennifer said he was reminding them why he is here. She thought it was better than the first time he sang it which she didn’t think was possible. Harry David there is always an undercurrent of drive with him that he always wants to push it. It was a great way to start the show. Clark is a really nice guy (so it seems). I don’t begrudge him a win, but I think Jax is more current and unique.

Nick picked “Bright Lights” by Matchbox Twenty. I definitely think this is better than the first time he sang it. He took all the comments the judges gave him and applied it. Nick also brought the intensity up a notch. It was fabulous. I felt like I was watching a rock concert. Jennifer said that when Simon Fuller was thinking up this competition all those years ago, he was probably thinking of someone like him, someone who can be a true American Idol–someone who has the voice, who has the look, who has the presence–who has everything it takes–of what an American Idol would be. That was another performance that brought him up to another level. Harry said his (Harry’s) time was short so it was fabulous and people need to vote. Keith said the audience’s reaction says it all. It isn’t about having a great voice and being a great performer, it is about “can I relate to you?” Keith said he can relate to him.

Objectively in my opinion round 1 goes to Nick. Jennifer thinks it was a tie for round 1. Ryan says it is a cop-out to say it but she can. She refuses to change her mind despite the pressure by the audience to make the choice.

Round 2: Simon Fuller’s Choice

Simon Fuller chooses Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” for Clark to perform. I remember when this put Kris Allen into the category of a serious contender. And right when he starts to sing, a child abduction alert cuts him off my TV. I heard the last 15 seconds of it do I cannot tell you how I feel about it. Harry said it took a lot of guts to sing a slow song first and follow it up with another slow song. It was an inward, soulful performance. It was great. Keith said it was fantastic. Jennifer said the audience wants to know–who was he singing that to? It was awesome, beautiful, heartfelt, amazing.

Update: I found it posted on You Tube. It really was amazing.

For Nick, Simon picks “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz. I think this is the first time I have seen him at piano. It was lovely. It is a hard song to sing and to sing it well like that is impressive. I think I would have taken the last chorus up a step into a key change for impact. Keith mentioned the piano as well. He thought it was incredible. His heart and soul were connected. It was beautiful. Jennifer said she loved the way he sounded on that. She feels like Clark and he are toe to toe on this. Harry said he just lays it all out there on an emotional level and that is huge; they could feel it in the room.

Round 2 for me is undecided since I didn’t get to hear much of Clark’s performance This definitely goes to Clark. Ryan asks Harry who won round 2. Harry says, “It’s a tie.” Jennifer choked him. Harry said this is why–unquestionably Nick won the first round and unquestionably Clark won the second round.

Round 3: Winner’s Song (the song the winner will release).

If Clark wins, the song he is going to release is called “Champion.” I like the song, but I think it reinforces for me that Clark can sing songs others have created better than he can sell a new song. I truly love the lyrics and it could be a new anthem song, but it was lacking for me the passion of a winner. He sang it well but it was awkward in the delivery. The end part is where he found his magic but like he has been told all season, he has to channel the passion he finds at the end into the entire song. An anthem song needs to involve the audience. They can be involved even if they have never heard the song before. Jennifer said he sounded great on it; it is going to be a tough night. Harry said it was good but it obvious it is a new song and Nick will have the same disadvantage. Keith said the song was a great song. The song is inspiring. (I am noticing they are not saying much about his delivery of a new song though).

If Nick wins, his song will be “Beautiful Life.” When Clark was performing, it again was an inward type of performance. Nick worked the stage and looked comfortable doing so. He had the audience eating out of his hands. That was perfect and I am going to go buy that right now. Jennifer said before Harry commented that felt great. Harry said he really enjoyed it and it was really, really strong but he got lucky because it sounded like it was tailor-written for him and that is a big, big deal. Jennifer said it felt amazing. Her favorite part was when the audience was moving along with him with their hand up in the air, and he pulled the mic away and was like “wow.” it was him in the moment. That is what is beautiful about him and the way he performs. She loved it. Keith said this is the kind of song people will go out and buy. Keith wants to buy the record and see him in concert.

Round 3 for me hands down goes to Nick. Ryan asked which one of the night was their favorite. Clark picks the round 1 choice (which he has probably sung so many times I’m his life. Nick picks the last. That kind of tells me that Clark likes the stay in the comfort of the past. Nick looks forward. Ryan asks Keith who won round 3. He leans a little bit into Nick’s camp by a narrow margin.

Clark sings like a street performer (watch me, like my voice, drop money for me, I will perform for you). Nick performs like “you’ve paid for a ticket and I’m not going to make you regret that; this is an interaction between us).

My Jax votes will go to Nick. I also downloaded his song. As I type this up this morning, Nick’s song is 31 on the ITunes chart and Clark’s song is 41.





American Idol Season 14 Top 3 Revealed

12 05 2015

The Idol contestants returned to their hometowns during the past week. Next week is the finale. Tonight consists of three rounds. Round 1 picks will be the choices of Scott Borchetta. Round 2 will be the hometown dedications. Round 3 will be the judges’ picks.

Round 1–Scott Borchetta Picks the Song

Rayvon performs first. Scott chose “Want to Want Me” by Jason Derulo. It sounded a bit breathless doing all the falsetto which made him sound out of tune sometimes. It was nice though seeing him do an up-tempo song after so many ballads. I wasn’t sure about all the whooping noises he was doing. All in all I enjoyed it quite a bit. Keith thought it was such a great song choice for him. Jennifer thought it was perfect for his tone. Harry thought it was the best he has done on an up-tempo song. And then I heard singing coming from somewhere and Keith Urban decided to continue singing.

Clark’s song this week from Scott is “Beautiful Day” by U2. I liked his spiky hair. I got goosebumps. I haven’t gotten that from Clark in a long time. THIS is why you need to listen to people more experienced than you Clark. And it looked like he had FUN! Jennifer said Scott is 2 for 2 and she thought Clark did a really good job with it and it was a really good performance. Harry thought it was pretty good. Harry thought he needed to keep the emotion throughout the entire song. For example, he delivered the smile when he got to the chorus but he wasn’t getting the same vibe from the verses. Keith thought he should have risen up a little bit to the band. He hit the three-mile mark but needed to deliver the whole song.

Scott chose “Because the Night” by Bruce Springsteen for Nick. Major GOOSEBUMPS! I loved it!!!!! Harry thought it was fantastic. Keith said he looks forward to hearing his voice every week. Jennifer said she cannot stress enough about connection to a song.  It was the perfect song. He sang it great and they felt the energy but she just wanted more of a connection to the lyrics.

The song picked for Jax was “My Generation” by The Who. I love that she understands the performance aspect of it. It was fabulous. She WORKS that stage! I think she wins this round. Keith was woo-hoo-ing. Keith said it was friggin’ awesome. When she went up to the key change that is when the song exploded. That was her best performance right there. Jennifer 100% agreed. It was the perfect song for her. She had the whole audience with her. She had her with her and Keith and Harry. She killed that. Harry said she absolutely made the most of her opportunity there. It makes his heart happy. She is listening; she is growing. By far it was the best performance she has done.

Jennifer called Jax the winner of round 1.

Round 2: Hometown Dedications

The first featured contestant is Nick. Jennifer wiped a tear from her eye at the end of the footage. On stage back at Idol, he is singing “Back Home” by Andy Grammer. I bet you Harry will talk about wanting him to sing a bit more in the pocket. He got the audience involved. It was nice. Jennifer said it was another great song from him. Harry said sometimes a critique isn’t warranted and these are one of those cases. It was very strong again. Keith loved it too.

Next up is Clark. The hometown dedication is Otis Redding “(Sittin’ On) The Dock on the Bay.” The song had a good vibe and the very end was nice, but I am thinking that even with his fabulous voice, he doesn’t have that extra oomph that Jax has and Nick has now becoming comfortable with. Harry said he liked the video because he got to know him. He thought it was a nice performance. Keith said it still needs that little bit of something to make him feel. It had too much veneer and not enough angst. Jennifer thought this was his soul and it was a really good performance. She felt his heart on it.

Rayvon‘s hometown visit was showcased next. The hometown dedication song is “As” by Stevie Wonder. No goosebumps but it was entertaining. Keith said the song was effortless. Jennifer said the way he looked and how he was singing all sounded perfect to her. Harry said that when he saw him singing and dancing at the school in the hometown piece, that is what he wanted to see. He looked great up there. To see him mesh the vocals, the joy and the musicality–that really did it for him.

The last hometown visit belongs to Jax. She chose one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands, “My Immortal” by Evanescence. I love Jax but this was not one of my favorites from her. Jennifer said she loved it. She thinks Jax has a humility and confidence about her that is integral to being a superstar. Harry says that he defers to what Jennifer said and it was fantastic. Keith didn’t get to talk at all.

Keith thinks that Rayvon took round 2.

Round 3:  Judges’ Picks

The judges picked “Earned It” from the Soundtrack of Fifty Shades of Grey by Weeknd. They wanted Clark to do something modern in that bluesy tone. It sounded out of pitch at times especially when he sang “Girl you’re perfect.”  By the end, however, I did get goosebumps. Harry said one of the things he could have done to make that better is to take whatever he found at the end of that song and infuse it into the rest of the song. If he can find that intensity (which does not mean loud but intense) he would have knocked it out of the park. Harry is booed. Keith said he heard, felt and saw things he hadn’t seen from Clark before. It was very good. Jennifer said there is the Weeknd version of it and then there is a Clark version of it. She thought he did a great job with it and she was really proud of him. Towards the end it got electric and that is what you want to feel from the very first moment. She did get the goosies at the end.

Rayvon was assigned “You Are So Beautiful” by the late Joe Cocker by the judges. I had goosebumps from the start–goosebumps up the wazoo. Keith said it was a beautiful song for him and a beautiful arrangement. Jennifer liked it too, but she wanted him to sing to his mom again because something else happens. There are just so many lyrics in the song and the only variation comes with emotion. It was a beautiful arrangement. Beautiful, silky voice as usual. Harry said he disagrees–he felt like Rayvon was singing it emotionally. The arrangement was really smart.

The judges chose “Misery Business” by Paramore for Jax. That was…odd. Keith said it was an unusual arrangement. She sang it phenomenally. He said if she was going to go with an acoustic then change the vocal arrangement. The band was acoustic and she was rocking it out. It didn’t mesh together for him. Jennifer said they picked it because it meshed with her personality but to pull it back that far, they were like, “What happened?” Harry said that one wasn’t as strong as the previous two. As the lead singer she needs to drive whatever is on stage but she was using Hafa the guitar player as a crutch. She was looking away from the audience when she needed to perform for the audience. Jennifer added it was the week before the finale and it was about stealing the show. She yelled at her,”JAX STEAL THE SHOW!”

Nick was given “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain. A few goosebumps. It was decent. It was a great song for him. I still didn’t feel like he was singing it to anyone. Good solid performance, good solid vocal. I think it should be Jax, Rayvon and Nick in the final 3 because commercially speaking Nick will sell more records because of his unique sound. Clark is talented but his look is too clean cut. I could imagine him putting out a country CD or a gospel CD (I almost feel like him singing to God would tap into a deeper connection. Taylor Hicks had a bluesy vibe and although he went in to later success in Vegas, his CD was one of the worst selling. I don’t think bluesy is the way to go for him, especially with the market so saturated with Sam Smith.  But back to Nick.  Harry said that it was a good vocal but what was better is that he sang the underbelly of what those lyrics mean at least to him. Harry said he nailed that song. Keith said he pictures him as a rock singer/songwriter. If that was an original song and he cut it, that would be a hit. Jennifer said it was so perfect. It was amazing.

Harry thinks Nick won that round. (And Clark didn’t win any round).

Top 3 Revealed

And now for the announcement of the top 3. Nick is the first name called. Then…WHAT???? Clark! No, no, no. This is not right in so many ways. Now the final spot is between Rayvon and Jax. And it is Jax.

My words to Rayvon: The opportunities will present themselves and you will have to work your butt off but sometimes NOT winning is actually a blessing. You will have much more artistic freedom. Look at Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Katharine McPhee, and Kellie Pickler. I cried at your farewell montage.

My words to Scott Borchetta: If you know what’s good for you, you will sign this talented young man.





American Idol Season 14 Top 4 Revealed

5 05 2015

Tonight the “fan save” is no longer in play. The contestants have to sing a song from the judges’ hometowns–Nashville, New York, or New Orleans. The second song is what best captures the contestant’s soul. Russell Crowe delivers the results for the night (odd choice).

Clark Beckham gets the first spot in the top 4 which secures one of the hometown visits for him. He chose “Living for the City” by Stevie Wonder. That was really excellent. I like that he let go. It was good to see that he listened to the advice that the judges were giving other contestants last week about finding the moments to make it more special, like including the audience. Keith said it was a great opening to the show. He felt like Clark could have actually stayed at the piano once he went over there. Jennifer said it sounded really good, too. She thinks when he has his instruments it has a different groove that being away from that does–that it isn’t quite there yet. Harry said it was a solid performance. He needs to find the pocket and sing in that even more so when he is not playing an instrument. Jennifer added that he needs to manipulate the adrenaline to his favor.

Jax has a spot for the hometown visit. She sings “Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down” by Alicia Keys. She could not go wrong with a song that means so much to her. It ended a bit oddly though. I thought she was pausing for a final note or something. Jennifer said she tripped her up at the end there–was she done or not done? Jennifer thinks Jax finally believes that she can win the competition. Jennifer isn’t sure if it was the best song choice but she does see her potential to take the whole thing. Harry really dug the performance. He asked her if she was a bit hoarse tonight and she sort of said yes but downplayed it. He liked that she just sang through it. Keith loved the song for her. Even though she may not be at 100% her talent powers through.

Nick Fradiani gets the next spot. I have always thought his voice sounded like Rob Thomas from Matchbox Twenty and he finally decided to do one of their songs “Bright Lights.” he has really grown since the auditions. I would buy his CD. He really let loose tonight as well. I liked this performance the best so far tonight. Harry thought it was the most comfortable performance by far that he has done. He thought he sang the heck out of it. Keith said he keeps going up and up every time he performs. He is getting stronger and better. Jennifer said he was peaking at the right time. It was Nick at his best.

Harry Connick Jr performed “City Beneath The Sea.”

Will Tyanna be through to the hometown visits or Rayvon? This is tough for me. I always thought Tyanna was going to make it to the top 3. Rayvon is a bit more seasoned but he has had ups and downs especially with not being able to make a real emotional connection as of late, but the last two weeks he has really done better with that. It is Rayvon. But they say goodbye to Tyanna and for the first time this season, Harry stands up to applaud her. They surprise her by giving her a package of her time at Idol, the first one this season. Like a pro, she takes the stage to sing “Run The World (Girls)” by Beyonce. What a fantastic way to finish the show.

Rayvon tackled a country tune “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum. I got goosebumps–little ones but they were forming. Keith said he would have preferred less of the dramatics and more of the heart. Jennifer said the connection has to be there before the acting and the acting will feel real because it won’t be acting. Harry said that singers tend to overdramatize a lyric. He felt he was 100% on point with the delivery of the lyric. Harry thought he sang the pants off of it.

Round 2 is about the song of the contestant’s soul (or the gravy song). Jay DeMarcus from Rascal Flatts and Martina McBride were the mentors for this area. Martina takes the stage to sing her version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” It was pretty. And only Keith stood up to applaud.

Clark has been one of Scott’s favorite to win since the beginning but he gave a reality check to Clark. Jay said there is no doubt he can sing the crap out of the song, but where is his soul of the man delivering the song. (This has been a frequent criticism of the judges to Clark as well). Scott said they have argued about this–if he loses this competition it is because he is doing the wrong things. Clark came back saying that if this (the song) makes him lose the competition then he doesn’t want to win it. Scott said, “Fair enough.” Jay then said the only thing he would encourage him to do then in his position is to listen to the folks that he has been blessed enough to have put around you. Clark turns red. Scott adds “This isn’t American Musician. Okay? It isn’t. You keep throwing all these chords–all this stuff. You are on the fast track to a Holiday Inn with this kind of music. I don’t know what I have to do to make you understand.” Clark says at the end of the day he has to take what works for him and what he thinks as an artist is the best. Scott says, “Well…live by the sword my friend.” Jay said he respects his resolve. He doesn’t think it is going to work out for him, but he respects his resolve. This is not good. If Clark was good enough on his own not to need help, he would have already been on the charts. I think if I was Scott, I would see TROUBLE ahead if he won’t take the advice on songs in this competition. What would it be like for him to win? All I could see is a future of head butting. And a record company investing millions of dollars in someone is not going to tolerate that. I can tell you that the judges, seeing this, is not going to make them happy going into the song. He sings “Your Man” by Josh Turner. Oh no! It’s the Scotty song! Scott and Jay were right. He is singing the song really well. I think he thinks that squinting his eyes translates into showing his soul. But for me I liked that the song sounded different from the original or even Scotty McCreery’s version, but the emotion fell flat. I want the Clark back from the auditions. Jennifer thought he sang it well. Is this his gravy song? She thinks to his earlier songs and how they blew them away and this didn’t do that. Harry says it boils down to extremely hyperspecific song choice. The song was kind of tepid. Keith said he needs hit singles right now because he has the voice. Clark says he has no regrets singing that song. He talks about those minor chords being sexy and Harry chimes in that if he thinks it is sexy, sing it sexy. Clark felt he needed to clarify what he said in the package that he just believes this is what he is meant to play. Jennifer added that as an entertainer it is also his responsibility of creating an amazing moment for his audience. Keith said don’t confuse people liking him with the music that he is playing. If he gets it right they will love all of it.

Jax was mentored by Martina McBride. Martina had no noted for her. She loved it. She sings “Human” by Christina Perri. Finally some goosebumps. Serious goosebumps. That was awesome! Harry said “I think they liked it.” He said this was a perfect example of the technical versus the emotional. There were pitch issues all over the place but he felt what she was doing. She completely let herself go. Ultimately that trumps everything. Keith said it was such a perfect song because right now she is fragile-only human. He could see it. It was perfect tonight; she killed it. Jennifer said she loved it too. She loves that she connects to different people in the audience. That is what music should feel like. It was really great. Harry joked that he was worried they lost her in the clouds and that he was going to dive in to get her.

Steven Tyler wants to sing with Jax at the finale and she is ecstatic.

Rayvon had a great mentoring session with Jay and Scott. Scott tells him that was the best performance all season that they have had with a mentoring session. Rayvon dedicated “Believe” by Justin Bieber to his mother. I got goosebumps. Major goosebumps!! And tears. He made me cry. Keith said he sang phenomenally just then but the most incredible thing was watching his mom–she was at church–whew my boy! It was beautiful. Jennifer said that is what she is talking about–see the difference between what you did before and now. He said yes. She said that he has to do that every single time. She was crying, everybody was crying. Harry said there were about 15 people who wrote that song and each would have been very happy to have heard him sing that. Ryan invites mom up to the stage to give her son a hug.

Last up is Nick Fradiani and he takes on Rascal Flatts song “What Hurts The Most” and Jay picked up a guitar and joined in. Scott approved of his song choice. Jay tells Nick he has to go for the jugular–this is no time to back off. Jay suggests he just sing at the microphone versus being “that band guy.” he looked really awkward about singing without an instrument and I think he was trying to sing as if he did have an instrument. It was a bit distracting and didn’t allow me to fully get into the song with him. I still think he did a better job than Clark. Jennifer said she was going to go out on a limb and say he was the star of the night. Harry said he could hear him singing that on his CD. He thought it sounded great and he thought he killed it. Keith thinks his fans are going to show their support by making that climb the ITunes chart.

For me, tonight it was Rayvon, then Jax, then Nick, then Clark. In my opinion, Clark is in trouble.





American Idol Season 14 Top 6 Perform, 1 Goes Home

23 04 2015

Tonight is Arena Anthems night on Idol. The top 5 are only going to be on the tour? That’s new. The final fan save happens tonight.

The first person who has a spot on the tour is Jax. She sings “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet. I liked the energy. The vocals weren’t perfect but they were Jax. Keith said “Wow! That’s the way to open a show.” Keith said it was great at the end (took her awhile to let loose). Jennifer thought it was a great way to open the show. Harry said in the last few weeks he has gotten a glimpse of what it would be like with her touring. He said if it was like this performance, he would have a helluva time at the show. This was strong.

The next person performing is Nick Fradiani. He sings “Harder To Breathe” by Maroon 5. I was expecting not to like it, but it was actually very good. You have to understand my deep affection for Adam Levine. For me no one else can do better than the original, but Nick came very close. Jennifer said he gets more and more comfortable each time she watches. She gave him some advice about audience participation and that they were ready. In the end it is a party for them and you are leading it. Perfect song, he sounded great–just a missed opportunity. Harry thought that was pretty scary for the other people in the competition because he is one of these guys who is doing what they had hoped–he is getting better every week. It was a great song for him and it was terrific. Keith thought it was a really great song choice. He wants him to consider performance and centering.

Clark Beckham is also through. He chooses “Yesterday” by The Beatles. It started off rough but he found his groove halfway through. He didn’t make an emotional connection. He looked terrified. It is odd that Nick was the person in the beginning that was closed off, and Clark was better at it. Maybe following Nick did something to Clark’s psyche. The ending had pitch problems. Really bad pitch problems. I don’t think I have ever heard that from Clark before. Harry said he liked that he didn’t use any high notes gratuitously; they matched up perfectly with the lyrics. Harry thought it was terrific. Keith thought it was beautiful. He shouldn’t feel like he has to be so contained. Jennifer agrees with both of them.

Tyanna is next to make it through which means Quentin and Rayvon go up together for the fan save. She chose “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus. That was a good choice for someone as young as she is. That was fun! There were a lot of pitch issues, however, in her lower range. I love her new hairdo! Keith said it was fun and he doesn’t recall seeing that side before. Jennifer said she felt that she was more comfortable than she has been in a long time. She liked this song choice and felt she did a really great job with it. Harry said it was so smart to choose that song. He thought she killed it.

Quentin Alexander is up first for the fan save. He sings “Light My Fire” by The Doors. I enjoyed that a lot. It was the lighter side of Quentin. Jennifer said they all thought it was great but she is always wanting some vocal POW. Harry said he liked that he sang it conservatively on that and he thought it was a great arrangement. It sounded cool. Keith said he swims in his own stream. Quentin is definitely not plankton. (What? Plankton?)

Rayvon is performing for his now fourth fan-save match. He sings Sam Smith’s “I Know I’m Not the Only One.” The vocal was great. I almost feel like he pulled back again on the emotional connection. The emotion showed in his face but it didn’t reach me. Harry said he gave a fantastic vocal performance. His favorite part was when he had to take a quick breath to go back up on the note. Keith said that if no one had heard that song before and he would have cut it that would have been a hit. If he keeps singing like that he might be the only one left. Jennifer said if he keeps picking songs like that and singing like that he just might make his way to the top.

For his second song Nick sings “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart. He already looks like he is applying the advice to pick a spot in the audience like Keith told him. I like that! It was still great but the first song was stronger. Keith thought it was a really good song. Jennifer said it was a really good song choice. Harry asked him if he could sustain a 2-hour concert and he said yes he can, he has, and Harry said he could see that.

Tyanna is back up for her next song “Heaven” by Bryan Adams. She sang it well, but I did not feel she was singing the song from a place of experience. She has never known a love that deeply before–she is just too young. I like what she did with the ending. Jennifer said she liked this for her. It was a different side that people need to see. It was a good job. She is not sure if it was a favorite from her but she likes to see her in this light. Harry thought she sang it very well. He wants to ask her what kind of music she would record on her first album because he thinks everyone would like to know. She answered basically a mix of everything. Keith thought her answer was a sign of a great artist because it hasn’t been created yet.

Clark does his own thing with Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend.” I have nothing to compare this to because I don’t listen to the Biebs unless I am forced to by someone else. I enjoyed it as a Clark song. Harry said this was not the song to do what he was doing with it on. It was okay but in order to make it sexy he needed to stretch it out. Keith said it is getting it out of the head, then to the heart, and then the rest of the body. It wasn’t raw and dangerous like the Biebs is. Jennifer said for him for this she wasn’t sure it was the right song choice.

Jax sings “White Flag” by Dido. I was approaching goosebumps but it fell just shy of them even though I thought it was superbly done. Keith said his attention was held for the entire song. Jennifer said to Harry earlier she needed a gravitas moment, not knowing what she was singing next, and absolutely had achieved that. The song was so beautiful for her. Harry said it was phenomenal.

Quentin sings his second song for the save. He sings “Shake It Out” by Florence and The Machine. This was great. This is so tough. I love Rayvon and Quentin equally for entirely different reasons. Jennifer said he took her advice from the last song and applied it in this song. Harry said it was really good. He wants to know if he sang out of tune (like everyone does from time to time) would they let him autotune it out? Quentin said he would not. If he makes a mistake he wants people to hear that. Harry said that is something else they have in common. Keith said he would be very clear on what kind of record he would want to make. If he gets to do that, take the reins because he has great artist instincts.

Rayvon sings the second song. He takes on the mega hit “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac. His lower register is tough. The falsetto note gave me goosebumps! I didn’t think he was going there. Then I wasn’t sure he was going to make it and I am so glad he did. Harry has a question: “Would he be guided or does he already know what kind of record he would make?” Rayvon thinks it would be a collaborative effort (perfect answer). Keith said it was a really high note. Jennifer said it was a great way to finish the show and to fight.

Can we keep them both? Can they both go on tour?

Rayvon gets the Twitter vote to be saved and he advances to the next round. I love that Quentin is so genuinely happy for him. I hope that Scott Borchetta will give Quentin a recording contract.





American Idol Season 14 Top 7 Perform, 1 Goes Home

22 04 2015

Tonight they are singing from a set list of “American Classics.” Tyanna Jones is the first one through tonight. There are no official mentors other than Scott Borchetta. She chose “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” by Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers. She sang it very well but there was no stand-out moment. I love the way she is dressed tonight. Keith said it was an interesting song choice but not the greatest song to show off her vocal skills. Keith is looking for less perfect and more edge. Jennifer said, yes, something we can feel. She feels like she is beginning to get back into her groove (that she had at her auditions) when she wasn’t thinking so much. Harry said that Frankie Lymon was 13 years old when he wrote that song. The similarities between the two are their rhythmic ease. Tyanna agreed with that critique (I love that!). She said she felt confined.

Clark Beckham is also safe. He is singing “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder. It was an interesting opening. His look is evolving and I love his hair this evening. I enjoyed the twist on it. It was fantastic. I think he connected more with the audience and he was having fun. People respond to that. Jennifer said he looks good and glad he took some of her advice. She said it was funky. The band and him sounded amazing. Harry said it was as good as he could have done that song. Keith said he liked that they recommended to him to ditch the guitar and he was like, ‘no’ and he plays it again. It was great. Keith said the scatting was good. He wants him to drop the guitar about 6 inches and he will notice he moves differently.

Jax is through. She is singing what I think will be a great song for her, “Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin. She moved a little bit more on the stage tonight and I think that was great. Harry really liked it. Keith said she sings really well with the band. Jennifer thought it was a strong performance. She took a song like Janis Joplin and was able to make it her own.

Nick Fradiani is up next. Scott asks him if he thinks he can win and he says yes he can. His song is “American Girl” by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. He was trying to keep his eyes open again and I love it. I think last week’s mentoring really did make a difference for him. That was awesome. So far this was my favorite of the night. That was fantastic! I think he found a great formula. Keith said it was such a good song for him. He really loved it. Jennifer was rocking out the entire song. She thinks he has a radio-ready voice. It’s familiar yet his own. Seeing him take all their advice and grow is awesome. Harry said for him to go back to the hotel room and remember that feeling of exactly what he did because that is exactly what he needs to do. Tonight was the person they all felt he should have been throughout the competition. Harry said “great job.”

The next person safe is Quentin Alexander which means Rayvon is yet again in the position of needing a fan save and now, heavy sigh, Joey Cook. Quentin thinks he has been mellow and now is the time to let Pandora’s Box out and rock out. Scott asks him, “Who is the one to beat?” Quentin responds himself. If he can’t get over his fears and personal obstacles, I can’t get anywhere. Scott likes his answer. I’ve often thought he reminded me of Lenny Kravitz and he sings one of Lenny’s songs, “Are You Gonna Go My Way.” The judges were rocking out. I love ROCKER QUENTIN! He rocks out with Ricky Minor which always endears me to a contestant (love for the band). This is my new favorite of the night. Jennifer said the whole entire thing really worked. It was the perfect song for him. The pitch thing is all over the place sometimes but the performance made up for it. Harry says he is going to be as honest as he can. He loves his artistry and individuality but that some people can be more captivated by the band than the performance as he himself was. Harry gets booed. Harry said he did nothing different than Lenny did with the song. He said he has to push them (the band); they can’t push him. Keith felt he held his own. Quentin is sad about who is left to battle it out (Rayvon and Joey). He said it sucked. Harry didn’t like his attitude and called him out on it that it was highly disrespectful to Idol and if he didn’t like it he could go home. I respect Quentin coming back out and explaining that he is just upset that two people he cares are left. He was not disrespecting the competition. He shakes Harry’s hand.

Joey Cook takes the stage to sing for the fan save. She sings “My Funny Valentine” by Frank Sinatra. She watched her crab hands again and she tried to keep her eyes open more. As much as I love Rayvon, Joey is so unique and I adore it. This song got her back to her roots. Harry said it is hard being a judge sometimes because you can’t mentor. He’d love to have a discussion about 15 different things with her but he can’t on what could improve that very good performance. He thinks she is very smart and that she did a damn good job considering how iconic that song is. Keith said she goes to a place that may not be her comfort zone but that he loves that about her artistically and should be commended. Jennifer thought it would be a perfect fit for her. It didn’t move her the way she thought it was and she is sorry.

Rayvon is up to get that fan save. He sings The Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Runnin.” He’s got choreography! That’s different. I like what he is wearing tonight. Wow this is tough. I love this, too. Keith said it was good. He just wants to feel something a little bit more and that is something he has to figure out how to do. Jennifer said, “Way to step it up.” He’s fighting. Harry likes that about him, too. He thinks for him it is specifically about song choice. He said that when he gets the perfect song, he will shut the room down.

Round 2 begins with Clark Beckham. He sings “Moon River” by Frank Sinatra. He looks nervous for some odd reason. It was dreamy in the camera but it didn’t move me. I love Clark, too. Jennifer said it was really good. She felt like she was in a movie (smooth and creamy). Harry said he is an incredibly talented young man but what would separate him would for him to learn more chords—try challenging and different chords. He said Clark could hear it; don’t play all those major 7 chords all the time. Keith said it was warm and fuzzy like an epidural. It was great.

Tyanna comes up on stage for round 2 and sings “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. I have to remind myself she is only 16. WOW. This was FABULOUS. And she is working the audience. Her falsetto gave me goosebumps. That is hard to do without cracking. Harry that was as close to perfect as you can get. Keith said she is like this at 16? Her improvement is going to be astronomical. Jennifer said they got to hear her vocals. She got to stretch and play in there and that is where she lives. She should do that every time.

Nick returns to the stage and shares some lovely sentiments about his dad. Nick takes on “Only The Good Die Young” by Billy Joel. He sings it as a slow song and puts his own spin on it. I liked it. Nick keeps getting better and better. I think he might be in the final 4. Keith said it was amazing done like that and played to all of his strengths. Jennifer said he was waiting for him to get up and then she was happy. Harry applauds him for trying to completely different. He felt he wasn’t singing it to the guy or girl that only the good die young, but that he was singing it internally. He was an adventurous interpretation but the arrangement didn’t work for him.

Quentin performs next and had lovely things to say about his mom and when she discovered he could sing. Quentin sings “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel. It may sound like a simple song but with his pitch problems this could really expose him. The pitch issues did remain and I don’t think this was the right song for him. Jennifer said it was dramatically and moody. “Always put your heart out there first.” It was a nice performance. Harry reminds him about pitch and tells him to ask Ricky about how to sing in tune. Keith likes how he conceptualizes this performances.

Jax woke me up by singing “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. It felt like she was trying to rush the lyrics. Harry said the two things he liked was the static electricity in her hair. Harry was waiting to see her running around like an idiot and have fun because they all do just that (the judges?) and it was really fun. Keith said he likes there are two songs tonight. Jennifer said she made it look cool.

Joey and Rayvon will perform another song before the Twitter Fan Save becomes real.

Scott asks Rayvon “how does it go deeper?” Scott tells Rayvon to come out from a different perspective. Rayvon sings “Always on My Mind” by Willie Nelson. Yep this is going to be tough. I think he connected to the song emotionally which is what the judges (and I) have been wanting. Keith said it was the right song and he sang it beautifully. Jennifer said it was like they had been telling him and she felt it everywhere. Harry thinks he is a ballad singer. When he sings as lovely as he just did with his heart like he did, it stacks him up there with everyone else. He pities the people who have to vote on Twitter tonight.

Joey performs “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane. Jennifer this particular performance was so good for her. I think her downfall started when they picked apart her visual presentation—crabby hands and closing her eyes. She let all that go and we got the old Joey back. You could see it in her eyes for a split second—I’m not going to do crabby hands—and screw this—all at once. I loved this. How difficult this is going to be but I’m more partial to Joey. Jennifer said she did a really good job. Harry thought it was a solid vocal performance but it is her inventiveness and her presentation that impresses him. Keith said he got a sense, through the two songs, what he could see at a show at two different ends of the spectrum.

With 52% of the Twitter vote, the contestant who is going through to next week is Rayvon.

I have a funny feeling that Quentin will be in the bottom 2 next week because of the attitude he gave on stage.  Although he may have had those personal feelings about seeing one of his friends going home, America does not like to see that.  He should have saved those for a time off camera.  His second song was also not that strong.