American Idol S12 Top 9 perform

21 03 2013

I’m back!!! Well I never left but I have been without a computer to do blogs since March 3th. My favorite 3 were the top 3 last week. As much as I love a story of someone overcoming adversity, I was surprised Lazaro came in 4th since he did not have a strong performance. I was not shocked that Curtis went home. His notes were slightly off the entire song. I think people just could not relate to the overdramatic theatrics that can provide a powerful show in a gospel choir but does not translate well to a pop performance.

Tonight the top 9 perform songs by The Beatles. I bet you Angie sings “Imagine.”

Charlie Askew and Aubrey (what’s her name) were invited back to the stage where the #11 slot in the Idol tour was to be awarded.  Aubrey Cleland won that spot.

Kree Harrison–A Little Help From My Friends

Sounded great. Good way to start off the show despite her having a cold. Keith loved it. Nicki feels she has started to become a superstar in front of their eyes. Randy thinks it was da bomb. Mariah thought it was fan-friggin-tastic.

Kree

Kree Harrison

Burnell Taylor–Let It Be

He does not know this song??? This could be a disaster. I think he screwed up the lyrics. I’m not really fond of how it turned out. It sounded like a constipated version of the song. Nicki felt he caressed the song. Randy said he made it his own. Mariah really proud of him. Keith felt he was soulful.

Burnell

Burnell Taylor

Amber Holcomb–She’s Leaving Home

She looks fabulous. It was different enough from the original that I liked it. Amber has a fantastic tone to her voice, but sometimes I think she gets too nasal and the enunciation falls off especially in the lower ranges. There were times the emotional connection to the song disappeared. But instill love bet and she is still in my top 5. Randy said it started slow and unsure but once she got into the power notes, then she was in her element. What? She did not know this song either? Come on! Mariah did not know this song either? These are classic Beatles songs, not the obscure ones. Geez! Mariah thought it was fearless and fantastic. Some parts were detached though. Keith said it was his absolute favorite Beatles song of all time. He reminds us that the songs 46 years old now. She made it as fresh as if it was just written this morning. Nicki said her vocals are unmatched, but she was too much in her brain thinking about it.

Amber

Amber Holcomb

Lazaro Arbos–My Life

Slightly off-key in spots. A little sleepy although the key change was a good thing. I wonder if he is only going to be able to sing ballads. His confidence is improved this week. It did not “wow” me. And Lazaro, I know the feedback is hard to hear, but the only time you can cry is if lyrics move you or you have won. If you cry, people will think you cannot handle the pressure of the music industry. Mariah commends him on his bravery. She may have preferred an acoustic guitar. Keith said choosing the key of the song is important. The key change would have been the place to start at and modulate from there. Nicki still feels that Lazaro is not back to the old Lazaro and they need to stop putting him in a room with Jimmy (oh snap!). Randy said it was his worst performance ever and that it was out of tune from beginning to end.

Lazaro

Lazaro Arbos

Candice Glover–Come Together

She is my favorite in the competition. I loved that she did an up-tempo Beatles song. It was even different from Michael Jackson’s version. Oh my! She can sing ANYTHING, even ROCK! I might like her rock image the best. Keith loved seeing this vibe. It was killer. Nicki loved her vocal but sometimes she wants Candace to wear it on her face always. Randy thinks her voice is CRAZY. Mariah said it was like a prize fighter. She murdered the song.

Candice

Candice Glover

Paul Jolley–Eleanor Rigby

Rough start. He did not nail that falsetto. I did not like this song for him until he hit that power section. The falsetto at the end was nice. Nicki did not like his performance because it was safe, bland and forgettable. I think Lazaro’s performance was more that than Paul’s. Randy said he felt Paul was disconnected from the song. Mariah thought it was a great song choice. He has to give as much emotion on the softer notes that he gives on his power range. Keith said this is his second-favorite Beatles song. He was not a big fan of the end falsetto note, but there were moments in the middle where he has a pop/rock edge that he likes (which goes with Mariah’s feedback, too). Keith does not hear country with him.

Paul

Paul Jolley

Angie Miller–Yesterday

Well, well I was wrong. Why does everyone applaud when a singer holds a note for more than 5 seconds? Some of her notes were flat and sharp, but it was okay. She did things that were different enough from other versions I have heard, but it might have been too slow. She is still in my top 5 as well. Randy said it was stellar. Mariah said it was a respectful version of it but showed her voice. She loves her look tonight, too. Keith said it was his favorite Beatles song (oh, Keith, you are so funny). He said there were moments where he could tell she was thinking of all the things people told her to stop doing, then she would stop and become Angie again, and it drifted in and out of those things. But in the end it does not matter to him. Nicki said it was unbelievably amazing and then something that was bleeped out.

Angie

Angie Miller

Devin Velez–The Long and Winding Road

He is my favorite male contestant. He can do so many amazing runs with his voice. That last run gave me goosebumps. Devin is back! Mariah has no words for his performance. It would be a travesty if he did not go through. Keith said, “THAT is my favorite Beatles song”. So funny. Keith says all he feels is missing is a little bit of emotion. Nicki looked at him like he was crazy. Nicki gets bleeped again! She thinks he IS connecting emotionally. His performance is truthful. Randy thinks Devin is back tonight. (I said it first Randy).

Devin

Devin Velez

Janelle Arthur–I Will

Confession–it’s been a long time since I heard this. It’s hard to go up and down on the notes like that, but I was bored. Sleepy, sleepy bored. Almost as much as LAZARO’s song. Keith thought it was beautiful. Nicki said she looks like a swan goddess. The performance made Nicki more obsessed with Janelle. Randy says Janelle is back tonight. One of the best performances of the night. Mariah thinks she gave an eloquent performance.

Janelle

Janelle Arthur

My top 3 for tonight: Candice, Devin and a tie between Angie and Amber.
My bottom 2 for tonight: Burnell and Lazaro

And thank you to ALL the contestants for NOT doing “Imagine” tonight.





American Idol Season 12 Chicago Auditions

18 01 2013

AmericanIdolLogoA lot of great talent blew through the windy city during the Chicago auditions. The little skit at the beginning was cute where the person on the phone thought their friend got through but she did not. It was a nice change of pace, but I wondered how much it was staged or actors were involved. And the rivalry between the divas, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey continued to evolve, while Keith Urban felt like a scratching post. Meow. Nicki, while having some constructive comments, also left me thinking “what is she on tonight?” Nicki giving contestants nicknames is also going to get old real quick.

With her father playing piano for Vince Gill, Mackenzie Wasner, age 17, got a lot of experience on stage because Vince would let her perform. She had a beautiful voice but I felt her vocal range was limited from what I heard. There was no “wow” factor for me. I felt like I was listening to some Joan Baez.

Mackenzie

Mackenzie Wasner

It was a quick “no” from the judges for Austin Earles who massacred Mariah’s song, “Fantasy.” If you are going to Mariah, especially in front of her, you have to try at the very least not to insult her.

Coming off a birthday fundraiser for Barack Obama, Kiara Lanier came in confidently and performed “The Prayer” by Celine Dion. The best part was that Nicki Minaj was talking, talking, talking, and Kiara said, “Could I say something?” Then she turns to Mariah Carey to share she was a huge fan, and which point Nicki quickly shut up. Keith Urban said she sounded a little like Aaron Neville. I thought it was good, but it was a little bit off-key and her vibrato cracks at times (maybe nerves?).

Kiara

Kiara Lanier

Nicki was not “wowed” by Stephanie Schimel who sang “Dream A Little Dream Of Me” by The Mamas and the Papas. Once the other judges put her through, Nicki said she said “no” because she was wearing purple eye shadow like her and felt they have a rivalry going on. WHAT????????? Nicki is beginning to act like Paula.

StephanieSchmiel

Stephanie Schmiel

If you have to wear a costume to your singing audition, it is 99.99% likely you are not going to be able to sing well. Melissa Bush sang “Downtown” by Petula Clark. I hope she is a better massage therapist. Then Nicki leaves her with the comment, “You’ll always be my bush?” WHAT??????????????

Melissa

Melissa Bush

Gabe Brown brought his rock-and-roll/best-of-Jack-Black imitation and cookies! This led me to wonder if they have official taste-testers for the judges. Nicki said she would call him “Curly” because of his hair I imagine. He is a really funny guy, but I did not appreciate the loudness of his voice which made the song “Give Me Shelter” border on a screamfest. I think if he dials it down a little bit, he could represent the rock-and-roll crowd well.

Gabe

Gabe Brown

Computer animator/dancer Kevin Nabity ruined “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies and then went on to “Come Sail Away” by Styx. This is “not for you probably.” Probably? Randy Jackson was more to the point: “Let the singing go.”

KevinNabity

Kevin Nabity

Isabelle Parell, age 15, was channeling Mandy Moore’s character from the movie, A Walk To Remember. She asked for someone to sing a duet with her to “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and both Keith and Mariah were happy to help. I like her personality but I would like to see more range from her. It was a “no” from Randy without any further explanation, but she is through to Hollywood.

Isabelle

Isabelle Parell

At this point, Keith Urban had to leave for a Vegas concert, leaving Randy Jackson to referee between the ladies.

Griffin Peterson is very good-looking but he has just an average voice. Nicki has nicknamed him, “Grrr.” He sang “Washed By The Water” by Need to Breathe. Meanwhile outside, we discover where he gets his flirting genes from–his mother. Ryan fulfilled a bucket-list request for her for a kiss (on the cheek). Randy said “no” as well to him, but Mariah and Nicki found common ground for a yes.

Griffin

Griffin Peterson

I love Curtis Finch, Jr. He is a tutor at a private school in St. Louis. He sang, “God is Able” by Smokie Norful, who coincidentally Randy Jackson spoke to the night before. Testify! I got goosebumps! You know what that means. Nicki has nicknamed him “Finchy.” Curtis asked if his friend could meet Mariah because it would “change her life” and they were happy to accommodate. There was finally a nice moment between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey where Nicki complimented her and she said “thank you.”

CurtisFinch

Curtis Finch

I liked Mariah Pulice‘s audition with “Let It Be” by The Beatles. Mariah Carey said the name is now the 62nd most popular name. I checked that statistic and it is more like 98th in 2011. It was 78th in 2008 (which was the best year for the name). I also liked that Mariah Pulice shook the judges’ hands and thanked them for giving her a chance.

MariahPulice

Mariah Pulice

And at this point, the show goes into the day 2 auditions. Keith Urban is back but not between the ladies!

Although I am not a particular fan of country music, Brandy Neely, age 17, sang with a lot of power to the Hank Williams’ song, “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” She is very confident.

Brandy

Brandy Neely

I also like Josh Holiday. He sang “Back At One” by Brian McKnight. I liked his runs.

Josh

Josh Holiday

Courtney Williams is also a very nice singer and was put through with four yeses.

Courtney

Courtney Williams

Andrew Jones sang “Knock on Wood” by Amii Stewart. I have not heard that song in a long time and enjoyed it.

AndrewJones

Andrew Jones

I thought a looming disaster was about to happen with Clifton Duffin whose parents have never heard him sing before. A secret squirrel. He sang “Superstar” by Luther Vandross, his mother’s favorite song. Ryan sneaked the parents in and his mother became very tearful at hearing the beauty of her son’s singing. Mariah cried. Keith Urban said he got all teary-eyed seeing his mother cry. Theme music plays, “Secrets” by OneRepublic (I’m not joking).

Clifton

Clifton Duffin

Ieisha Cotton is a professional dancer who dances better than sings. She tried Ashanti’s “Thank You”. Mariah tells her stay with her dancing. Then Mariah claimed to be distracted by Nicki when Nicki asked her for a yes or no and Mariah said “yes.” When Ieisha comes out, she informs her family, “They said I’d be better off dancing….so hopefully I can make it on next year.” WHAT???? What part of stay with dancing means you can make it on next year. Try out for “So You Think You Can Dance” instead (but her dancing was not that great either).

Ieisha

Ieisha Cotton

What planet the judges on when they gave four yeses to return contestant Johnny Keyser I just don’t know. I did not think it was good enough anymore for the level of competition that they have in season 12. Nicki says to Mariah, “You’re dismissed.”

JohnnyKeyser

Johnny Keyser

The most unique act of both the New York and Chicago auditions was Kez Ban (pronounced Bahn) Sauerbier. She is a street performer and has recently started doing fire performance. Keith made a funny comment about “old flames” when he asked her if she was seeing anyone. She is different and I LIKE HER A LOT, especially when she sang her original song. I’ll remember her. She is in total shock that she made it through because she is quirky. Randy loves her.

Kez

Kez Ban Sauerbier

A montage is played of Les Miserables–those who did not make it through. I blame the people in their lives who never told them they did not sing well.

A lot of time was wasted on Ashley Curry, a delusional college student who attends St. Mary’s University in Minnesota studying musical theater. I guess any college will take your money and find ways to keep it. She has a twin and apparently singing is the only thing that separates the two of them. The look the twin gave Ashley in the holding room was more of, “Girl, you are going to crash and burn” even if her words are encouraging. I think the twin is the smarter one. Ashley ruined “Mamma Knows Best” by Jessie J. Randy was laughing the whole time. She asks to sing it again because she sang it in the wrong key and it is done in the SAME DAMN KEY. The judges cannot keep their laughter contained anymore. Mariah actually got up to try to contain herself and went to look out the window. Randy tells her someone should have told you before (that she cannot sing). Security walks her off as she tries to sing it a third time. Her sister says, “She’ll never stop singing (then a pause)….ever.” Mom reinforces her AGAIN, “It is for you.” Ashley blames the judges’ response on them being tired. Sweetie–I was not tired. I listened to it twice, once on one day and again on another, and you need to move on to a different career. Perhaps your acting is better. Please don’t contribute to noise pollution.

AshleyCurry

Ashley Curry

Last was a story about Lazaro Arbos. He has been stuttering since the age of 6 when he and his family lived in Cuba. When they moved here when Lazaro was age 10, the stuttering got worse. He has had a lot of therapy but has never improved. I think that he should seek out a speech therapist that specializes in stuttering. He sang, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel. A few of his words were wrong, “I will leave me down” instead of “I will lay me down” but it is okay. He has to be nervous and indeed after the song he is sweating quite a bit. I was curious why people who stutter while speaking do not stutter while singing. This is what I found: “The reason for not stuttering while singing is the prolonging of the syllables.”

Lazaro

Lazaro Arbos

Forty-seven contestants in total are through from Chicago to Hollywood. Next week is Charlotte, North Carolina, the site of the breaking story about the feud between Nicki and Mariah.