American Idol S15 Top 6 Revealed

11 03 2016

There are just a few weeks away until the very last show of American Idol ever. Tonight they will perform a solo and then will be paired up in a duet with another contestant. Five contestants will go through based on America’s vote. The judges will hear the bottom 3 sing and then choose who will go through.

(Please note:  I write this as the show is on so I’m switching from past and present tense a lot).

Duets

La’Porsha Renae and Trent Harmon were paired up for a duet with “See You Again’ by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth.     She sounds a little different on this type of song. She started sounding a little nasal, but it worked itself out. I was not surprised that Trent was doing the falsetto part. What a powerhouse duo they make! I loved it. Keith said it was a great way to open the show. It was the perfect song that played to both strengths individually and equally. It was collaborative and great. Jennifer thought what a pair they made. It was magical. Harry said you couldn’t ask for a better way of opening the show.

Avalon Young and Sonika Vaid chose “Rise Up” by Andra Day. They were matched pretty equally vocally but I think Avalon brought the performance. Sonika has improved since Hollywood week. Avalon has a bit more experience in the performance arena. It was lovely. Jennifer said their voices are both so angelic and they were pushing each other to be better. She said it was such an inspirational song that she would have liked to see it come through their bodies a bit more, to let loose. Harry said if he had to categorize them Avalon is the more rhythmic singer of the two, and Sonika is the more melodic singer. The advantage though was to Avalon. Keith said it was an interesting collaboration. It was really great together.

MacKenzie Bourg and Dalton Rapattoni sang “I Want It That Way” by Backstreet Boys. I don’t think this song played to either of their strengths. It wasn’t awful, but I would have had the band played with them more than they did. It dragged without them in the beginning. There isn’t too much you really can do with this song. I’m bummed. Harry said he did not think it was a good song choice, not for them, not for tonight and not for Idol. Keith said he completely agrees. He said Dalton’s strength is not doing covers. He does best at taking apart songs and reconstructing them. MacKenzie does something similar in taking it to a singer/songwriter place. The way they did it did not benefit either of them. Jennifer feels the same way. At first she wondered how they were going to flip it, but it was so much like the original.

Teenagers Tristan McIntosh and Lee Jean were paired up. “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith. This is in neither one of their wheelhouse so I’m interested in seeing this. It started off okay and then I didn’t like it. It, again, was just a cover. I think Tristan did a bit of a better job than Lee although I appreciated each of them going outside of their comfort zone. Keith said he loves that song, but you have to really find a song that is in each of your key. He thought they did as good as they could with it. Jennifer said Tristan’s voice really shined in that song and Lee tried to hang in there and give it his best. Harry said this is one of those Diane Warren songs that you can really sink your teeth into. The problem was in the arrangement. If they had to sing the song, he would have slow-rocked it. They are both talented and creative and there was nothing special, but it could have been special. It was boring and bland and it didn’t have to be.

Solos

The theme for this round is the “American Idol Songbook.” The first person through is La’Porsha Renae. Tonight she is tackling “Come Together” by The Beatles. I have a feeling there isn’t a song she couldn’t do. She was even working the judges and Harry was digging the attention when she used the lyric about “good-lookin’” on him. I was giggling. Jennifer said she is giving them full diva every time she is up there. That was a great performance.   Harry agrees and said if she can make sense out of THOSE lyrics, he actually understood what she was singing about. He never understood what the hell those lyrics meant. He said she is absolutely incredible and she has been that way since they saw her. Keith said it was a terrific song for her but at the end of the day any song is a terrific song for her.

The next person who made it to the top 6 is MacKenzie Bourg.   He picked “You Are So Beautiful” by Joe Cocker. He ditched the guitar for a change. It was very lovely. It wasn’t anything that gave me goosebumps, but it was a nice change. Harry said this is all about song choice and he could not have picked a better song. He felt MacKenzie was really connected to it and that is all he cares about. Keith said it was written so long ago but he made it sound like brand new. Jennifer said there is a beautiful mix of old and new, but it is ultimately about his heart. When he sings, they feel like he is singing to someone out there (meaning the audience).

Nick Fradiani returned to the Idol stage to sing his new song “Get You Home.” It has a nice little groove.   I am not sure I would go buy the song though.  Scott Borchetta seems happy.

Trent Harmon was next to secure a spot in the top 6. He chose “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King. I got goosebumps!!! Keith said people really wonder if they see contestants grow during the competition and he is a great example. The way he is moving, looking, dressing, and the way he is aware of where he performs. Jennifer said he is bad ass. She loves what he does with his voice. Harry said it really was great. He had a lot of opportunities to play around. He thinks that if he sinks into the rhythm, it would be even better.

Tristan McIntosh made it through (and she deserves it; her performance was really great last week). She chose a Martina McBride song, “A Broken Wing.” I never heard this song so I don’t know if she is changing these songs up at all. Her voice almost cracked there at the end. Jennifer said she has a perfectly suited country voice. It was the perfect song for her. She did a really good job. Harry said she is a country singer and he agrees with Jennifer. He asked her “what happens to the girl in the story?” She said she thought that she just left.   Harry said there is a lot of emotion in that and she did a good job. Keith said that is the perfect song for her. She did amazing.

The last person who has a secure spot for next week is–SHUT YOUR MOUTH–Dalton Rapattoni. He is lucky he looks good. His song last week was not good. He chose “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles. I remember when David Cook did this. He is a bit pitchy on this song, but this is 1000000% better than last week. Goosebumps by the end!!!! Thank you Dalton. Finally! I’ve been waiting for that. Harry said he bet he felt better about that (versus his duet). It was a great song choice and a great key for him and he pushed it as far as he could with that song. Keith said it was cool. He said it was a great song for him. That theatrical part of him brings out undercurrents in there he had never noticed before. There is a dark undercurrent in that song he brought out really, really well. Like a good waffle iron, he has made an impression. Jennifer said she loved it because it was so him. He does bring the theatrical performance but there are a lot of great pop stars that have that. She loved the end because he has been shying away from doing those big endings. He usually just talks the last word. She thought he was going to do it again and he didn’t and he went for this big note and he nailed it.

That leaves Sonika Vaid, Lee Jean and Avalon Young to duke it out for the final spot. Avalon Young will go first. She has been here before; I think that gives her an advantage in some ways. She is singing “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” by Michael Jackson. I remember Danny Gokey singing this one. This is a great song for audience participation. She didn’t change the song up too much but put her own little spin on the notes and enunciations into the beat. Keith said it is confusing to him that she always connects to the audience but she is always in the bottom three. There is a connection thing missing between her and the people at home. He hopes that she can make an emotional connection with everyone if she goes through because her voice and coolness thing box is checked. Jennifer said if she does go through to next week go out of her comfort zone because they have seen this already and if they [the people at home] aren’t connecting to this then maybe it is because they need to see what else she has. Harry said it is very good advice. He would suggest maybe a ballad if she goes through but they have to talk only about tonight. He thought she needed to maybe have a bit more urgency, not so laid back.

The next person to fight for that final spot is Lee Jean.   He is going to sing “Let It Be” by The Beatles. This is a very special song for me because it was the favorite song of my friend who died and every time I hear it, I get all teary eyed because I miss her so much).  I don’t think this was the right song for him. It was so sharp throughout the song. I really like him when he is doing stuff like Ed Sheeran although I do appreciate that he wanted us to see a different side of him. Even the Kings of Leon last week was good. Jennifer said he has so much going for him. She said there has to be a little bit more composure in these do-or-die moments and she felt like it was a little bit shaky. Harry said it was very emotional and he committed to the lyrics but he was very sharp which was surprising to him because he has great ears. Keith said he did a TV show in Australia at his age and he was terrified and that can affect tone and pitch, but not to worry because he has a lot of time to work on that.

Sonika Vaid has the voice, but can she make the emotional connection and give a performance (which have been her weaknesses)? She chose “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston. I am already worried before she even. This really requires being in touch with that emotion (and the emotion of experience which she may not have being so young). It wasn’t too bad emotionally. Her strength is really in her ballads. I liked that she tried to change it up a bit. Harry says he thinks it is one of those high risk, high rewards types of song. He loved it. Keith said it was gorgeous. He wants her to release and let go. Jennifer said it is her favorite Whitney Houston sing ever. She did a good job with it.

Going through is: Sonika Vaid

I think the bottom 3 next week will be:   Sonika Vaid, Tristan McIntosh, and YIKES!!! I don’t know who number 3 will be.  Logic would dictate based on talent either MacKenzie or Dalton is going to be in that list because Trent and La’Porsha are the top 2, but we all remember the shocker when Chris Daughtry (who was the certain winner) was voted off.





American Idol Season 13 Top 12 Perform

6 03 2014

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

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

Jena Irene

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

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

Alex Preston

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

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

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

Jessica Meuse

Song: “White Flag” by Dido

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

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

Dexter Roberts

Song: “Lucky Man” by Montgomery Gentry

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

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

Emily Piriz

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

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

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

Caleb Johnson

Song: “Working Man” by Rush

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

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

MK Nobilette

Song: “Drops of Jupiter” by Train

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

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

CJ Harris

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

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

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

Sam Woolf

Song: “Just One” by Blind Pilot

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

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

Malaya Watson

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

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

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

Ben Briley

Song: “Turning Home” by David Nail

My thoughts: I have no opinion about this.

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

Majesty Rose York

Song: “Fix You” by Coldplay

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

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

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





The Following Season 2 Preview

18 01 2014

TheFollowingPreviewLogoThe first five minutes of The Following‘s episode “Resurrection” had my adrenaline rushing at warp speed. It’s a year later. Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) is trying to adjust to all the changes in his life and we find him in a much better space than he was at the beginning of season 1. He has a new job teaching criminology and is enjoying it very much. With the anniversary of Joe Carroll’s (James Purefoy) death approaching, people still loyal to Joe have hatched a plan to resurrect the cause in these very creepy Joe Carroll masks. Bronx trains are never fun to ride; this time is no exception.

There are many new faces joining the cast, including at least three alumni from Dexter: Keith Carradine, Valerie Cruz, and Sam Underwood. Sam was creepy as Zach Hamilton on Dexter and his role here raised the bar to a whole new sinister level. I found it odd that two cast members, Valerie Cruz and Connie Nielsen, look very similar to two cast members in season 1 of The Following. I doubt that is a coincidence, but you never know with this show. Joining the cast is Jessica Stroup who plays Ryan’s sister (not the same sister from last season). I like the brother/sister interaction that takes place between them.

What things are the same: Flashbacks to fill in storyline. If one looks carefully, there are little tidbits of things relating to Edgar Allan Poe throughout the episode. A lot of people die (and die horribly).

One criticism I have heard from people is that so many characters were followers of Joe Carroll in season 1 that it almost became ridiculous, especially the number of people within the law enforcement community. There is a fine line between fascinating and ridiculous. Oddly enough, it did condition my behavior as I find myself wondering while watching this episode which ones are friends and which ones are foes especially one particular individual.  I like that I cannot predict the outcome of a show or which characters are good or evil. It makes for a suspenseful television viewing experience. I know that by the end of the show a song for my childhood will never be listened to the same way again.

The Following returns on Sunday, January 19, 2014, after the NFC Championship Game.

(My thanks to Fox Broadcasting and Fox VIP for allowing me the privilege of watching the screener)





A Letter to My Child with Autism on His 18th Birthday

17 12 2013

At 11:57 a.m. on Sunday, December 17, 1995, you came into this world. Your birth was difficult. There were just a few months between 5 months and 14 months where I thought things were ironing themselves out. Life for your young 18 years has been grueling as you tried to navigate a world that overwhelmed you every minute of your waking day. My heart always aches for you. As your mom, I tried my best to try to make it better for you, like a mother putting a Band-Aid on a boo-boo. But your boo-boo is so deep and consuming that the task was just impossible. This was nothing I could fix and that has been the hardest thing for me to accept. I am not sure that I will ever be able to accept that you will not get to experience all the things my friends’ children will–college, a career, a significant other, marriage, children of your own. My faith in God is challenged at every turn. How could a God exist that allows you to suffer so much? God did not do this to you. I think it was a perfect storm of genetic predisposition and human errors. As what happened in my own life, God said, “Okay, this has happened to you–but trust me to find a different path for your journey.” Your path just happened to be through a tropical jungle that required a machete to move forward.

Either the day after you were born or the week after you were born.

Either the day after you were born or the week after you were born.

I have no doubt that we have pursued every avenue that gave you the best chance to overcome your challenges. As my mind tries to focus on all the things you cannot do for yourself, all I need to do is watch the video from Son-Rise when you were 3 years old where all you did was “mantra chant” and turn pages of your book. There was very little eye contact.

I am so proud of all the work you did coming from your world into ours. How scary that must have been for you. I think of the scene from Lord of the Rings where the fellowship crosses the bridge in the Mines of Moria, all the forces around them trying to stop them from crossing.

Autism is the Balrog.  YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!

Autism is the Balrog. YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!

I have described you often as my life teacher. I have thought that I was the conduit to help you achieve whatever your purpose is in this life. If it were not for you, I would not have created the special needs ministry at St. Anthony’s–the countless numbers of people who were helped that may not have been. Your life and struggles have been shared with thousands of people. There is no doubt in my mind that you have influenced some decisions they have made in their own lives. Perhaps they are grateful for things they never thought to be grateful for–like the gift of just eye contact. Because of you, I have met extraordinary people. I have achieved a superhero level of patience. I have become a warrior not only of your rights, but the social justice rights of all people. I have learned not to make judgments of people. I have more compassion. I have always had a survivor’s strength, but your issues caused me to find strength even deeper than I could ever imagine.

Patrick & me at his 16th birthday party.

Patrick & me at his 16th birthday party.

The tears that flow so easily from my eyes today are a mixture of joy and pain. No parent wants to see their children struggle.  I don’t know what our future together looks like, but as long as I breathe, I will do everything I can to make sure you have the best life possible and to help you fulfill your destiny in this lifetime.

The seas may be smooth or rocky, but we will navigate them together.

The seas may be smooth or rocky, but we will navigate them together.

I love you pumpkinator. Happy 18th birthday!

 

 





Almost Human Previews

12 11 2013

I know my international friends have been complaining that they haven’t been able to see the 8-minute preview on Hulu.  I thought it was not out there.  I don’t know if this is what Hulu has, but if you combine the first 3-minutes of the show with the additional 8-minute preview, this is going to give you a good idea what the show is like:

Here is the first 3-minutes of the show:

 

 

Here is another 8-minute segment of the show (not exactly right after the original 3 minutes, but HELL YEAH, you have just now gotten to see 11 minutes of the show.

Thank you to @SilkenSoul for testing the links to be sure our international friends could get access to these particular YouTube videos!

Are you excited? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section!





The Following Season 2 Teaser

25 10 2013

“The Following” returns to Fox Broadcasting on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 9/8 central!





Advanced Screening of Almost Human

17 10 2013

FOX and Eventful are giving fans in three winning cities that Demand it! the most, an advance screening of FOX’s fun, adrenaline-fueled drama ALMOST HUMAN. FOX is putting the power in the hands of the fans to Demand it! and win an exclusive free screening of ALMOST HUMAN anywhere in the country before it premieres Monday, Nov. 4 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

ALMOST HUMAN fans can vote for their cities online NOW at http://eventful.com/almosthuman. In the three cities that receive the highest online vote tally by Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 5:00 PM PT, FOX will host a free advance screening of ALMOST HUMAN at a local theater. Any city in the country has a chance to make it to the Top Three!

From Emmy Award-winning executive producer J.J. Abrams (“Fringe,” “Lost,” “Revolution,” “Person of Interest,” the “Star Trek” and “Mission: Impossible” franchises) and creator/executive producer J.H. Wyman (“Fringe,” “The Mexican”), comes ALMOST HUMAN. Starring Karl Urban (the “Star Trek” and “The Lord of the Rings” franchises) and Golden Globe Award nominee Michael Ealy (“Sleeper Cell,” “Common Law”), the new series is set approximately 30 years in the future, when police officers are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids. ALMOST HUMAN will follow the week-to-week missions of JOHN KENNEX (Urban), a detective and sole survivor of a devastating police ambush, and his robot partner, DORIAN (Ealy), as this buddy-cop duo solve cases and fight to keep the lid on dangerously evolved criminals in this futuristic landscape.

ALMOST HUMAN is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc., in association with Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television. The series was created by J.H. Wyman, who wrote the pilot. The series is executive-produced by J.J. Abrams, Wyman and Bryan Burk. Kathy Lingg (“Person of Interest,” “Revolution,” “Fringe”) and Reid Shane (“Fringe”) are co-executive producers. Brad Anderson (“Fringe,” “The Killing”) directed and served as co-executive producer on the pilot. “Like” ALMOST HUMAN on Facebook at Facebook.com/AlmostHumanFOX. Follow the series on Twitter @AlmostHumanFOX and join the discussion using #almosthuman. See photos and videos on Instagram by following @AlmostHumanFOX.

(Via Press Release)

Related Links: https://pbmom.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/jj-abrams-jh-wyman-talk-about-almost-human/

Related Links: https://pbmom.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/first-look-almost-human/

 

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