American Idol S12 Boys’ Hollywood Week

10 02 2013

AmericanIdolLogoAfter these two evenings, I have judged the judges: Keith Urban: The Witty One. Nicki Minaj: The Realist. Randy Jackson: Phoning It In. And Mariah Carey: Working It Out. Some choices left me absolutely baffled, both in a good way and not in a good way. Nicki seemed to contradict herself quite often on Wednesday night.

Round One: Sudden Death: A capella

They would be judged in groups of 10.

Made it (may not a complete list): Adam Sanders, Adrien Madison, Bill White, Bryant Tadeo, Burnell Taylor, Charles Allen, Charlie Askew, Chris Watson, Christian Lopez, Clifton Duffin, Cortez Shaw, Curtis Finch, Jr., Dan Wood, Darien Moses, David Leathers, Jr., David Willis, Devan Jones, Devin Velez, Elijah Liu, Frankie Ford, Gabe Brown, Griffin Peterson, Gurpreet Singh Sarin (The Turbanator), Jason Jones, JDA, Jessie Lawrence, Jimmy Smith, Joel Wayman, Johnny Keyser, Joshua Stephens, Kareem Clark, Kayden Stephenson, Kevin Quinn, Lee Pritchard, Lazaro Arbos, Mario Jose, Marvin Calderon, Mathenee Treco, Matheus Fernandes, Micah Johnson, Nate Tao, Nicholas Mathis, Nick Boddington, Papa Peachez, Paul Jolley, Peter ?, Ryan Conner Smith, Sanni M’Mairura, Scott Fleenor, Tony Foster, Jr., Trevor Blakeney, Vincent Powell, Zach Birnbaum.

Who did not (for sure): Brian Rittenberry, Dr. Calvin Peters, Dustin Watts which were all surprises to me. Karl Skinner was not a surprise, but he is so gracious about it. No tears, no drama. Just a thank-you.

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Round 2: Groups!

Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe announce that THEY would be deciding the groups and that you could not change your group. They did, however, get to choose their name and song from a list of 20 songs. Even though they were performing in groups, the judges would make decisions on the individual performance.

Group: Nick Boddington, Gabe Brown, Mathenee Treco, Matheus Fernandes
Song: “Somebody to Love” by Queen

Comments: I thought they did a good job. Nicki did a fake-out for Gabe and made our hearts skip for a minute; however, they were all sent through.

Group: “Normal Hills” with Johnny Keyser, Kareem Clark, and 2 individuals I cannot identify.
Song: “Reach Out I’ll Be There” by The Four Tops

Comments: Although he picked the song, Johnny was singing a different tune when he realized he was not ready. He said “they” picked a song that he did not know. Johnny sounds horrible. He forgot the lyrics. Kareem Clark is off-key and forgot the lyrics. Forgetting the lyrics should mean automatic disqualification. When Johnny says he has “never” heard the song before, Keith Urban asks, “What planet are you from? I’m from AUSTRALIA and I know that song.” Kareem is sent home and the other three, including Johnny “Why Is He Still Here?” Keyser.

Group: “Couch Potatoes” with Curtis Finch, Jr., Charlie Askew, and Nicholas Mathis
Song: “The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars

Comments: Charlie was not feeling well. While Nicholas rallied with his teammate, Curtis says that he would like to show him the bus home because he is there to win. Okay then; we know where he stands! I got goosebumps. Sarcastic Keith: “That was alright.” All of them made it through.

Group: “Four Tones” with Micah Johnson, Vincent Powell, Marvin Calderon, and David Willis.
Song: “Hold On, I’m Coming” by Sam & Dave

Comments: They all made it through.

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Four Tones with Houston’s Vincent Powell

Group: Zach Birnbaum, Nate Tao, Cortez Shaw, Elijah Liu.
Song: “She’s Some Kind of Wonderful” made famous by Grand Funk Railroad

Comments: I got goosebumps on this one, too. All of them are through.

Group: I don’t recognize any of these guys other than Jimmy Smith.
Song: “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction

Comments: They forget the lyrics and I am not sure who makes it through other than Jimmy who I see later in the solo rounds.

Group: “The Taylors” Paul Jolley, Bill White, and two people I don’t recognize.
Song: “Amazed” by Lonestar

Comments: They all forgot their lyrics. Keith said, “Somethin’ like that.” Randy said, “I’m so happy that that ended.” Paul and Bill make it through. The other two are sent home.

Group: “The B Side” with Gurpreet Singh Sarin, Mark ?, Chris ?, Peter ?, and ?
Song: “Payphone” by Maroon 5

Comments: This was HORRIBLE. They also forgot the lyrics. Randy: “Hang up the damn phone.” Keith: “Adam Levine is still alive and he’s already turning in his grave.” Then the shocker: The judges believe they can all get better and PUT THEM THROUGH? SAY WHAT? Nicki goes out in the hallway and tells them that they were her favorite group there. What are they mixing in the Coca Cola that day?

The judges take a break and when they come back, Keith Urban is the voice of sanity: “Let’s raise the bar a bit here.” Nicki says, “This is not about entertaining; they have to have the voices.” Dear Nicki: I gave you exhibit A, Taylor Hicks. He was entertaining while having an average voice.

Group: Jason Jones, Dan Wood, Jessie Lawrence
Song: “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction

Comments: Dan was horribly off key. I would not have dedicated that song to Mariah and Nicki if you didn’t plan to blow them away with it. Harmonies were sour, too. Keith: “If the word ‘wrongest’ can be used, it was the wrongest song for you guys. The song is by One Direction but you were Four Directions.” Nicki: “All were equally bad actually.” All of them go home.

Group: Ryan Conner Smith, Devan Jones, Devin Velez, Adrien Madison
Song: “Payphone” by Maroon 5

Comments: Ryan suggests they sing it a capella but they sing it slowly. Keith did not like they chose to sing it that way (either choice). Ryan goes home.

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Group: Burnell Taylor, Tony Foster, Jr., Mario Jose, Darien Moses
Song: “She’s Some Kind of Wonderful” made famous by Grand Funk Railroad

Comments: Burnell is the weak link in this group; the others have stronger voices. The judges, however, send Tony and Mario home. What the hell? They let the group that forget the lyrics go through with Nicki telling them they are her favorite, yet they let two talented people in this bunch go home and let sleepy Burnell go through? Letting Mario and Tony go home was a true injustice.

Group: “Super 55” with Lazaro Arbos, Joshua Stephens, Scott Fleenor, and Christian Lopez
Song: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys

Comments: Lazaro did not know the song. Joshua said that Lazaro was “holding them back.” But, Joshua, you sounded off-key and it was not good at all. You cannot blame him for your own performance. Scott forgot the lyrics (and Keith says, “Close enough.”) Lazaro muddled through the lyrics but was at least on key and had a great ending note which seemed to take the others by surprise so I’m guessing it was a spontaneous change. It was a yes for Lazaro and Christian and a no to Scott and Joshua. Afterwards, Josh says, “I feel like I helped this person that ended up taking the slot that I wanted, which is frustrating.” “Wanted” and “deserved,” dear Joshua, are two different things. You have to be responsible for your own performance.

Group: Country Queen with Trevor Blakeney, Lee Pritchard, JDA, Joel Wayman
Song: “More Than Words” by Extreme

Comments: None of them were good in my opinion. Lee forgot the words. Jda was off-key. Trevor forgot most of the words. Trevor was visibly upset, “I’ve never failed anything in my life.” You did not fail Trevor; you made it this far and that is quite impressive. Keep trying, buddy.

Group: DKSK with Kayden Stephenson, David Leathers Jr (who was in the final elimination in the 2012 Vegas round), Kevin Quinn, Sanni M’Mairura (Pearland BOY!)
Song: “Longest Time” by Billy Joel

Comments: The judges were surprised by the key change which got the judge’s attention. When Kayden started singing, Mariah’s face said it all: “Oh God, please do not let this be happening; I don’t want to say no to that young man.” Sanni and David are through; Kevin and Kayden are not. Nicki: “If you’re going on just the voice, just the voice, we made the right decision.” WHAT??? Her “favorite group” was not about “the voice”, it was about, what she considered strictly on entertainment.

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DSKS with Pearland’s Sanni M’Mairura

Group: Papa Peachez, Adam Sanders, Frankie Ford, Charles Allen
Song: “American Boy” by Estelle

Comments: Frankie has a power struggle with the group and pushes ego when his musical knowledge does not match the groups. Excuse after excuse. Asthma issues, then sobbing. The only one who is decent at all is Adam Sanders and maybe Charles Allen. Nicki asks Papa Peachez and Frankie to step forward. Nicki: “Frankie you fell apart for me today. Keith fought for you, Frankie. Your spirit filled up this room.” To Papa Peachez, Nicki shared this, “If it were not for 1 person changing their vote you would be going home. You are too complacent right now in the competition. You have to step up.” And then she tells Frankie he has to go home. Keith says, “Frankie Returns to Hollywood.” Then Frankie, in a grief-stricken rant, says, “You will not deny me.”

Other people who did not make it through group round: Griffin Peterson and Clifton Duffin.

Thursday Night: Solos with the Band

The solos will be performed and decisions will be made in groups of 8. They can let the band play or they are allowed to play their own instrument with the band. Forty-three remain and half will be cut.

First group of 8: Paul Jolley is a nervous wreck and overcompensates with words which annoys the judges. He sings, “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood. I did not think it was good enough; it was just under the note. Nicki begs of him, “Give us 1 minute of professionalism!” Keith quirks, “Be Jolly.” Lazaro Arbos sings “Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga. It is better than the group performance, but I don’t know if it is good enough for the top 10. Curtis Finch, Jr. sings, “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri. It was not as good as we have heard him before. I did not like his song choice. All three of these guys are through.

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Paul Jolley

The second bunch included featured songs by Devin Velez singing, “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. I had goosebumps. It was awesome. I bet you he makes the top 10 boys. Gurpreet Singh Sarin had a chance to redeem himself and chose to play guitar with the band. He sang, “Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles and did a smashing job. Cortez Shaw of Dallas sang, “Sunny” by Bobby Hebb and did well. He also redeemed his group performance. Matheus Fernandes has begun to make me feel uncomfortable.  He seems to keep playing the “The Glee Project” part. Whether this is his genuine personality or the persona he played for “The Glee Project” and served him well there, so he felt there was no need to grow from that, I am really not sure. He had an excuse about not singing with a band before and then was cracking jokes again about his appearance. He sang “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson but it sounded angry. He seems to feel the need to drop to his knees with every song he sings. It was a very bad song choice. It was terribly executed. He was always under the notes. This “Glee-like” drama does not belong in American Idol. Nicki gave it to him straight, “Sometimes things go from being inspiring to becoming you wanting a pity party. Once you’re great, we don’t even notice your height. You don’t have to milk that…ever again…ever. Be you. Be great. And just rest in your talent after today. Devin, Gurpreet, Cortez, and Adam Sanders (performance not shown) were sent through but Matheus was sent home.

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Devin Velez is one of my favorites

The third bunch included Nicholas Mathis who sang “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars. Keith Urban was so cool doing background sound effects (of what the music would do) for him. He was always just under the note, not quite flat, but not quite there. Then he dropped to his knees but for different reasons I think than Matheus did. He looked like the song was wearing him out physically because it requires a lot of breathing, lung power and breath control. He was just visibly out of breath. Keith said, “When you said chasing a dream, I felt like you were chasing the song.” Nicholas asks for one more chance because he is doing this for his kids (and I think Keith’s point was he should be doing this because it is his calling in life). As he exits, he says, “Get me a song to sing.” I did not understand that comment. He got a song to sing in the solo rounds–one he picked in fact. Nicki kept a watchful eye on Papa Peachez. He decided to sing, “You and I” by Lady Gaga and Nicki rolled her eyes when he started singing. It is the best I have heard him sing in Hollywood but it is not good enough for a place in the top 20. Nicki says, “I’m pretty sure that flame is completely burnt out. I am so disappointed. I don’t know why you would choose that song.” Jimmy Smith tries to redeem his group performance and sings “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. He has a sweet voice and he did a great job.

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Jimmy Smith’s redemption

In the fourth bunch, Nick Boddington, who made it to the Vegas rounds last year, chose to take a risk and play the keyboard and did one of my favorite songs, “Stars” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Although he was no Amanda Brown from The Voice it was still a good performance and I got goosebumps. I hope he finds a place in our top 10. Charlie Askew uses his charm to win over the judges. He decided to do a talking intro to the “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye. He is an interesting quirky person (and I’m quirky and I like that) but he does not have the best voice. Nicki said, “I am obsessed with you.” His response? “Baby I could say the same thing.” And then my favorite line I’ve heard all year, “I glorify weirdness.” Can I use this as my catch line, Charlie? LOVE THAT LINE! Both of these guys go through as does JDA and Mathenee Treco.

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Nick Boddington is another of my favorites

The fifth bunch started with two singers doing the same song, “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri: Burnell Taylor and Marvin Calderon. Burnell is not doing too well. He is more right under the note than he was singing on the note. Marvin was not great, but was better than Burnell, even when he cracked on that end note. I’m upset that Burnell is going through. Is it just because he’s from Baton Rouge? Marvin is also going through as well. Micah Johnson then performs. He sings, “I Told You So” by Randy Travis. It was good but there were no vocal Olympics. He was far better than Burnell. Then they tell him no for this year. This is just NUTS.

They also let go: Gabe Brown, Sanni M’Mairura (WE STILL LOVE YOU IN HOUSTON SANNI!), and Nate Tao. And Johnny Keyser is still there? WHY IS HE STILL THERE?

Top 28 (I’m showing 32 names, the ones in bold are the ones I know are through; not sure if others are through and/or others are missing)?: Adam Sanders, Adrien Madison, Bill White, Bryant Tadeo, Burnell Taylor, Charles Allen, Charlie Askew, Chris Watson, Christian Lopez, Cortez Shaw, Curtis Finch, Jr., Darien Moses, David Leathers, Jr., David Willis, Devan Jones, Devin Velez, Elijah Liu, Gurpreet Singh Sarin (The Turbanator), JDA, Jimmy Smith, Joel Wayman, Johnny Keyser, Josh Holiday, Lee Pritchard, Lazaro Arbos, Mario Jose, Marvin Calderon, Mathenee Treco, Nick Boddington, Paul Jolley, Peter ?, Vincent Powell, Zach Birnbaum.

There is a twist to the boys, however. Next Thursday they will not have to perform, but 8 of them will still need to go home.

Next week: Hollywood Week Girls Style. Let the Hunger Games begin.





Fringe: The Boy Must Live Preview

5 01 2013

FringeS5Pic2FRINGE on Fox returns on Friday, January 11, 2013 with an all-new episode, “The Boy Must Live”, the last episode before the 2-part series finale on January 18, 2013 with “Liberty” and “An Enemy of Fate.”

This is an emotionally charged episode that starts with a naked Walter in the sensory-deprivation tank trying to unravel clues to finding Donald. Windmark is off to a meeting in New York City in the year 2609, but who exactly is this individual? The scenes between Walter and Peter (especially at the beginning of the episode) filled me with joy and made me cry. Love is such a powerful force, isn’t it? One thing that is not a spoiler, but is funny, is that apparently Peter, as a child, did not like to poop in a public restroom. Too funny.

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We discover what happened to a special character of FRINGE. We learn of Michael’s origins and why he is important. Windmark also has some self-discovery.

The team races forward trying to stay one foot ahead of the Observers. Towards the end, there is another emotional scene with Walter that made my cry, so definitely bring the tissues. And at the end, there may be a snag in their plan which propels us forward to the 2-part series finale on January 18, 2013.

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Thanks again to Fox Broadcasting and the Fox VIP program for allowing me the opportunity to preview the show and sharing with you some of the episode without spoiling it.





Fringe: The Bullet That Saved The World

25 10 2012

Fringe fans! Make sure you have PLENTY of tissues for this episode. The episode begins with explosions and ends with explosions and is filled with forward momentum with The Observers snapping at their heels the whole time. During this episode, our team finds another tape with another clue on how to defeat The Observers which leads them to another city. An old friend returns. Is this friend on the side of The Observers or the resistance? You find out later in this episode. There are more wonderful scenes between Etta and Peter and Etta and Olivia. Etta discovers the meaning behind the keepsake she wears around her neck.

There is a wonderful scene that resembles something that happens in The Matrix. And once again, the Betamax tapes remind me so much of the Dharma Initiative recordings with Dr. Pierre Chang.

Get ready for a twist at the end that you will not be expecting and will blow your mind (and not in a good way). If you aren’t going to be able to watch it live, I suggest avoiding Twitter until you get to see it because fans are going to go crazy and Twitterscream.

Guest stars for this episode include: Peter Abrams, Sean Baden, Noah Beggs, Nathan Dales, Edward Foy, Andrew Hedge, H.A. Hunter, Kasey Kieler, Terrance Leigh, Steve Makaj, Austin Middleton, Phillip Mitchell, Jaren Moore, Graham Myers, Michael Rogers, Jordan Schartner, Alan Silverman, David Thompson, Charles Zuckermann. Very special guest star? Take a guess!  The episode was written by Alison Schapker and directed by David Straiton.

Thank you again FOX VIP for the preview recording of this fantastic episode.  Here is a promo for Friday night’s show:





Fringe “In Absentia”

4 10 2012

Season 5 of FRINGE does not waste a single moment of its remaining time, whether it is moving us forward to stop the Observers, or filling us in on the past 20 years of storyline. In order to unlock Walter’s mind to the plan to stop the observers, they decide the next step is to get to Walter’s lab at Harvard. Unfortunately, it’s an Observer stronghold so they will have to break in. Walter enjoys that idea very much and runs into an old friend along the way. We get some scary glimpses into Etta, the freedom fighter. Apparently fighting our future begins with saving an obsolete item from our real-time history. There are some interesting ways to torture people in the future as well. Once you think something is going one way, you are totally surprised that you are wrong, and give me a new appreciation for the phrase “in a pig’s eye.” Olivia and Etta learn more about each other. The team gains a possible new ally. In the end, we are left with a puzzle that resembles another show that has already aired and a story that resembles a real-life parallel.

Do you really expect me to tell you ACTUAL spoilers? In a pig’s eye.

Tune in to FRINGE Friday night at 9:00 PM Eastern/8:00 central time on FOX.   Guest star is Eric Lange.

Thank you again to OFFICIALFOXVIP for the privilege of seeing the episode in advance.





Fringe Season 5 Preview

25 09 2012

It’s 2036. The Observers now rule. The big question is “Where’s Olivia?”

The 13-episode final season of Fringe begins Friday, September 28, 2012 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

When we left off in “Letters of Transit” in season 4’s “Letters of Transit”, we discover that the Fringe team was preserved in amber for 20 years. Peter is reunited with his daughter, Henrietta (Etta), who is now an adult.

Thanks to FOX VIP I received the wonderful privilege of viewing the premiere episode of season 5, “Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11.”

Things are quite different in the future. It’s a world full of bad air, egg sticks (Walter: “What a miserable future”) and amber gypsies. We learn more about things that happened to the original Fringe team both privately and as a unit. With only 13 episodes, the writers quickly get to the point and keep the momentum going, stopping only for important intimate moments between our characters, which left me crying several times. Some questions are answered by the end of the episode and others are raised. Although the episode remained dramatic, there were always moments of levity with nods to other science fiction/fantasy shows. I swear I saw a Daggit in the marketplace. “It’s always the red wire…unless it’s the white wire.” “Resistance is futile” and Etta’s response was priceless. Fans will be fed fabulous clues and symbolism.

The hashtag on Twitter for this episode will be #TheyAreHere. The Twitter protocol (from http://morethanoneofeverything.net/2012/09/19/we-were-warned-they-are-here-fringe-premiere-twitter-event/) is this (you can read it in more detail at the link):

Be sure to make your first tweet of the night a thank you to @FoxBroadcasting and @WarnerBrosEnt for making season five possible.

1) Don’t use #TheyAreHere before the designated time: 1 HOUR before Fringe airs. The event will take place 1 hour before Fringe airs – 8pm EDT.

2) One # term per Tweet. Use only #TheyAreHere

3) Lots of people tweeting matters more than the number of tweets.

4) Those with lots of followers help out a lot!

5) We want to pique the interest of non-Fringe fans.

6) We can discuss aspects of the show in our tweets.

7) Private accounts must have their locked status removed, as the tweets from locked accounts do not count toward the trend tally.

8) Retweets are the easiest way to help out the trending effort.

9) Remember to check in at GetGlue for cool stickers and so that Fringe will trend there as well.

Let’s all tune-in live to give Fringe the send-off it deserves (and leave the door open for movies?)