American Idol S15 Top 8 Revealed

8 03 2016

The songs performed tonight will honor The Grammy’s. The first one through is Dalton Rapattoni. He chose “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons. I don’t think this is a wise choice. It is rarely done well to the point I have ever thought “This is so outstanding.” While Dalton is one of my favorites, this was not his best performance and I am worried for him next week. He is also going first and by the end of the show people forget those who are put on stage first. Keith loves how hungry and passionate he is but this was not a great song for him. Jennifer said that he understands the art of the show. She doesn’t want him to get inside his own head. Harry said that he wasn’t as present as he has always been every other week. Very good performance but the electricity wasn’t there.

Lee Jean is also through. His song choice for tonight is “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon. I’m glad he broke out of his Ed Sheeran rut. I liked this upbeat song for him. He is a very talented young man. Jennifer liked the song choice, too. She still thinks there is more voice in him that he doesn’t know about. She wants him to let go a little bit more. There were some moments lacking in power. Harry thought it was pretty smart. Keith said he didn’t think it was a good song for him, but it could have been if he would have done something with it that suited his voice. But he loves that he is trying something different.

Demi Lovato teamed up with the Idols to perform “Confident.” She went on to perform “Stone Cold” without the Idols. That was another powerful performance from a guest.

Sonika Vaid secured a spot for this round. “Since You’ve Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson. She was very pitchy during the verses. She needs to stop the self-worship with the hair touching. She’ll learn how to fine-tune that as she gets more experience. The performance was pretty good. Harry said that it sounded like she was digging her own voice versus trying to sing those words. Keith said he wanted more attitude. He wanted more fire and angry girlfriend. Jennifer said she needs to get lost in the character that she puts in her head. She then has to let go and not think about things so much.

MacKenzie Bourg goes on to the next round. He performed “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston. I really like the arrangement of the song. Of all the songs done so far tonight, this was my favorite, but then towards the end it was dragging. Keith liked it. Jennifer said that some switch-ups don’t work, but that one did. She wants him to play with his voice a bit more. Harry said it was an amazing song choice. It was fine. It was nice and pleasant, but it is a competition and to get their votes you have to do something special. He would have found a more inventive way of doing it.

There was no doubt La’Porsha Renae was making it through.   Tonight she is taking on Beyonce’s “Halo.” I love the wings that were behind her. It looked like they were coming out of her back. Goosebumps!!!! Oh my!!! The biggest goosebump experience I have had all season. Jennifer says she loves watching her every week coming into her own. She is a hard act to follow. She is the one to beat. She is so talented and so blessed. She is becoming a star in front of their eyes. Harry said every time she sings he has to look at the song from a different perspective. She is also a master at arcing a song especially in a competition. It was incredible as always. Keith said she is a phenomenal singer.

Harry Connick, Jr. came on stage to sing his current single “I Do Like We Do” by Harry Connick, Jr., featuring Butch Walker (of The Floyds). I’m not so sure about this song. I’m a big fan of Harry’s, but this sounded too much like country music, and I’m not a fan of country music. He has a new show coming to TV called “Harry.” It will be a syndicated daytime show coming out in September.

The next safe person this week is Trent Harmon. Scott Borchetta is working with him on his vocal expressions.   Tonight Trent is singing “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Michael Bolton. I think he is the male version of La’Porsha this year. That was great! I can understand why Dalton feels anxious. Harry loves his voice particularly on high, sustained notes. Keith said it was a really good song for him. Jennifer said the faces are him, the bravado is him, and she had a flash of him and La’Porsha at the finale.

The final person who is safe based on the voting is Tristan McIntosh. Song choice was an issue for her last week. This week she chose “Clarity” by Zedd. She went into rehearsal feeling confident and Scott Borchetta said he didn’t like it (that wasn’t elevating her performance). She changed the song to “Go Rest High on That Mountain” by Vince Gill. This sounded much better than what I was hearing in the package on the song “Clarity.” That was lovely. I think she needs to stay in her genre. Jennifer and Keith were standing. Keith said it was a terrific song and she did a great job. Jennifer said that is the Tristan that America fell in love with it and she did an amazing job. Harry asked if she had someone in mind when she was singing that song and she mentioned her grandfather.

The judges now get to decide whether Olivia Rox, Gianna Isabella, or Avalon Young will be going to go through to the next round. Only one will be chosen. Keith said they need to deliver it. They have to make people at home feel something.   Avalon sang first. She picked “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” by The Weeknd. It sounded a little sharp throughout the song unless that is exactly how she wanted it to sound. She had the swag she was talking about throughout the song, but the sharp pitch was distracting to me. The audience loved it, however. Jennifer said when she is in her comfort zone there is no one like her in this competition. Harry said she needed a performance that was fantastic and that was the performance. Keith said what is good is that she knows what she can do and what she is comfortable with.

Olivia Rox chose “Trouble” by P!NK. I loved it but the squinting was distracting in her performance. She looked like she wasn’t feeling well still and I felt really bad for her. That has to be horrible to have to perform when you are feeling so ill. Her voice cracked on that last note. Harry said she gave it 100%. However, she is competing with someone who chose a song that has much more to chew on (Avalon’s song). Song choice is absolutely everything because her talent is absolutely undeniable. Keith said her vocal range is insane. Jennifer said it is not easy. Everything about that performance said she wanted to be there, but if she was talking about being “trouble” the audience needed to feel that she was trouble (as Harry was trying to say). That is the key. The songs have to be believable regardless of how beautiful it may have sounded.

Gianna Isabella chose “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys. She said she is going to try to imagine what her mom and dad feel being in love. In my opinion that isn’t going to work. Unless you have personally experienced that feeling, you can’t fake it. After she started singing the song, she was okay in the upper range but when she went into the lower range, it was rough vocally. She didn’t get the emotion in there. Now in comparing the three side-by-side, I can see where Avalon is the person who did the emoting whereas the other two just had good vocal performances. Keith said her voice is gorgeous, he was a little hungry wanting more emotion from that. Her pitch is beautiful. Jennifer said she has a truly blessed voice. Harry said everyone stepped up. He thinks she is so adorable and she has an incredible vocal gift.

The person going through is Avalon Young.

Next week I think the bottom 3 will be: Dalton (I know!!!! ARGH!), Lee and Sonika.





American Idol S15 Philadelphia Auditions

22 01 2016

The City of Brotherly Love was the next stop in the Idol audition tour and on hand to help screen the people auditioning was Clay Aiken who should have won Idol in Season 2.

Jennifer Lopez knew the mom (Brenda K. Starr of the late 1980’s hit song “I Still Believe”) of the first contestant, Gianna Isabella, a 15-year-old student from Jackson, NJ. She chose “House of The Rising Sun” as her song. She has a beautiful voice but the breaths she took were very loud and distracting and didn’t seem to be in natural spots in the song. Perhaps that was from nerves. She made it through.

Derek Huffman was not so great at Clay Aiken trivia (getting every single question wrong). He chose “Angel” by Shaggy to sing (and brought in karaoke music with him versus having musical accompaniment by Idol staff). Unfortunately he was no better singing. Keith gives the boom box a yes, but it is a no for the singing. He doesn’t handle the rejection well.

Country boy Isaac Cole chooses to sing his a cappella song with his guitar (he may need to look up the definition of that phrase, but that sends Keith into a fit of laughter). The song is “Love Like Crazy” by Lee Brice. He has potential for the future, but right now I don’t think he is ready, especially for the level of talent in the competition this year. I know Harry is going to get him on the fact that he does not speak with a southern twang but is singing with one. Jennifer liked him. Harry liked him, but pointed out exactly what I anticipated he would say about the twang. Keith feels like he is a work in progress. He is close to being ready but not quite. Despite all that, he gets the nod of approval from all three judges. He is going to get eaten alive during Hollywood week.

Sara Sturm from Centreville, Virginia picked “Lips Are Moving” by Meghan Trainor for her audition. It was a fair audition. She was flat on a lot of her notes. She also had a lot of wonderful notes. Jennifer liked it. Keith liked her confidence and felt it was one of his favorites that day (wow that must have been a bad audition day). Harry thinks she is adorable. She is through to Hollywood.

Ellis Banks wants his spot in Hollywood. What walked through the audition door was not the person who walked into the auditorium. My immediate reaction was this was a callback to the days when they showed the weird acts that came through who knew they couldn’t make it through to Idol but hoped for some national attention for other things. Keith asked him what “thong” he was going to pick. Obviously this kind of auditioning does not make Keith happy. He chose Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” The judges were having fun with it though. It was a no for all of them, but Jennifer told him he had a sweet spirit.

Perceived airhead (or high) Jenn Blosil chose “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons on the piano and not the guitar she brought in to the audition. My first perceptions of her presentation of herself were so off from her actual talent. She has SUCH an unique voice and I think she is one of the first contestants that sang that song over all these years where it sounded good during an audition. She put her own spin on it. Jennifer said she finds her very interesting, compelling almost, and she liked it a lot. Keith said there is a good storytelling quality about her voice and has an easy presence about her. Harry said he wasn’t expecting the voice to come out the way it did based on her quirkiness. She is going to Hollywood.

Harrison Cohen decides to sing an original song called “No Time.” He is interesting but those “seduction” eyes have to go. They are creepy and he uses them too much.   Keith liked the song and Jennifer liked the Latin undertones. Harry thinks he is talented but is he the powerhouse bookend to Kelly?  He says yes along with the other two.

The last contestant featured was John Arthur Greene who had a tragic story about playing cops and robbers with his brother when they were young. The guns were always not loaded in the house (grew up on a farm around guns all of his life), but for some reason that night they were. He held his brother and him die. (I can’t even imagine that pain). He chose Keith Urban’s song “I Wanna Love Somebody Like You.” He is currently working in the Broadway show “Matilda.” Harry is a no, but Jennifer and Keith are yes votes and he is through to Hollywood.

Next up: Little Rock and Denver Auditions (Again)





So You Think You Can Dance Top 18

3 07 2013

Yes it happened again. My DVR did not record the show last week. I think I finally got it fixed though. I still do not like the way we are getting the results. All 20 have to put their best efforts forward even though only 18 will remain by the end of the show. But it is what it is.

Tonight joining resident judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy was Christina Applegate.

Opening number

Song: “The Heroic Weather-Conditions Of The Universe, part 1: A Veiled Mist” by Moonrise Kingdom (Original Soundtrack)
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio

That was fabulous. They look like a real dance troupe that have been working together for years. It is one of those odd dances–like a circus with so much going on you are not quite sure where to look and when you do look you do look out of the corner of your eye you find you are missing a lot.

Group

Yikes! Cat Deeley is already announcing the bottom 3 guys and girls. That is going to either dampen their psyche, or make them dance better in their couples’ routines. Bottom 3 girls: Mariah. Makenzie, Brittany. Bottom 3 guys: Alan, Jade, Carlos.

This season the judges get to save 2 contestants right away. This week it is Alan and Makenzie are saved.

Solos

Mariah danced to “Hard In da Paint” by Waka Flocka Flame. I adore a female hip-hop dancer. Carlos danced a solo to “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons which I just knew would show up on this season’s show somehow when I heard it. It is the ringtone of my timer on my IPhone. I thought it was a fabulous solo outside of a little but too much rolling on the ground. Brittany danced to “Hacksaw” by Ooah. Was that Ballroom or Jazz? Hard to tell, but there was a lot of self-worship with her hands on her body a lot–something I know the judges dislike from previous seasons’ auditions. Jade danced to “De Novo Adagio (Intro) by Alicia Keys. He is an amazing animator. I felt like he was a maestro pulling on our strings, but in a way it was very smooth like the water. It is very hard to describe.

Oh GEEZ! They are actually telling us who is going home before the couples dance? That is not right at all. I do not like this format. Nigel said he was disappointed in their solos. He did not feel they were dancing for their lives at all. The decision is made by the choreographers’ input as well as what they saw in Vegas and how they feel the contestants would grow. Carlos and Brittany will be leaving the show.

Couples

Dancers: Hayley and Curtis
Choreographer: Ray Leeper
Style: Jazz
Song: “Mama Knows Best” By Jessie J

I loved it when she was pushing him down. What back control and strength. Some of Curtis’ lines need work. I also think he needs to emote more, like Hayley does. It seemed like he was trying to remember the steps too much.

The judges: Nigel could not take his eyes off Hayley but felt Curtis was a good partner. Mary loved it and felt Hayley was a force to be reckoned with on the show. Christina forgot Curtis was a tapper. She felt like maybe everyone should leave to give them some privacy. She gave some helpful points they could take away and put into their work the next time around.

HayleyCurtis

Dancers: Aaron and Jasmine H. (who I affectionately have named #JasTurns)
Choreographers: Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo (NappyTabs)
Style: Lyrical hip-hop
Song: “Tears Always Win” by Alicia Keys

The story is he is a man going in and out of her life. He expects her to be there for him when he does. For a tapper, Aaron does a great job with hip hop. I am so glad he was #11 and someone dropped out because of an injury. There is a lot of chemistry between these dancers. Jasmine conveyed the feelings of being upset with him yet longing for him at the same time. I LOVED it. When he flipped her over into a backbend it was so fluid. It was beautiful.

The judges: Mary loved it. Jasmine is a star. Aaron was sexy. Christina had notes written from the dress rehearsal that she tossed away. She thinks they are the couple to beat at this point. Nigel felt an honesty in the routine. He feels that Aaron is a major asset to the series this year.

AaronJasmine

Dancers: Malece and Jade
Choreographer: Nakul Dev Mahajan
Style: Bollywood
Song: “Radha” by Student Of The Year (Original Soundtrack)

The girl plays hard to get and the guy woos her back in. I know that every movement had purpose including positioning. Would I know if they made a mistake? Nope! I love Bollywood because it is always interesting and full of energy. It makes me want to get up and move. You have to be in superb physical shape to survive those songs.

The Judges: Christina gave Jade some words of encouragement. Nigel is shocked that Jade picked up the choreography as well as he did. He thought Malece is like a little pixie. Mary felt Jade was having fun and Malece did a really great job.

MaleceJade

Dancers: Alexis and Nico
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Style: Contemporary
Song: “Old Skin” by Olafur Arnalds & Arnor Dan

This piece is a sequel to Robert Roldan and Kathryn McCormick’s dance from season 7. Kathryn’s character left to go to war; in this piece, she (Alexis) is coming home. These are big shoes to fill. In a sense you can say she had returned from war a changed person quite literally. I cried. I tried to imagine the joy of what real families go through when their loved ones return from war. I think Alexis and Nico found the joy.

The judges: Nigel thinks Nico gets better every week. He felt that Alexis had the hardest job this week because as a tapper they don’t straighten their legs. He felt she did very well but she is going to have to work harder. Mary said they let the music take them some place. She felt Nico was fabulous and Alexis’ performance was so honest. Christina thought it was great and that Alexis has “it.”

AlexisNico

Dancers: Brittany and BluPrint
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Style: Broadway
Song: “It’s Oh So Quiet” by Ice Princess (Original Soundtrack)

Two students in a late-night cram session and they fall in love. The vulnerabilities of BluPrint’s dancing are obvious, but he does get an “A” for trying and being a good partner.

The Judges: Mary adored this piece. She felt like BluPrint was really going to have to make sure the lines get hit. Christina gave BluPrint advice if he gets Broadway again. Nigel agreed with Christina.

BrittanyBluPrint

Dancers: Jasmine M and Alan
Choreographers: Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo
Style: Tango
Song: “Escape From Slavery” by PP Music (UK)

Innocent girl wooed by an evil man. Alan had a powerful male presence but I felt like it was overacting a bit. I believe he did not believe he was evil. The footwork looked good. He did a great job on the lifts.

The Judges: Mary gave them a standing ovation. Christina joined her. Christina thought they had a “moment” like they did last week. Nigel agreed. Mary said it is all about passion and they spilled it all over the stage.

JasmineAlan

Dancers: Makenzie and Paul
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
Style: Jazz
Song: “‘Mannequin (Skeet & Tito Remix) by Trish

Mad scientist Paul creates Makenzie. Paul has some good moves there, but he also had some awkward ones, too. His face doesn’t seem to match the story. He looks angry–has that weird pouty face. He also looked out at the audience like you would do in ballroom which I kind of felt was out of place. Mackenzie was doing a great job.

The judges: Nigel loved the routine. He thought they both did fantastic. Mary loved it. She called Makenzie a dance diva without the attitude (hmmm…in order to be a diva you must have attitude). Christina loved it. She urged Paul to get of his carriage in these kinds of numbers.

MackenziePaul

Dancers: Mariah and Carlos
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Style: Contemporary
Song: “Dead In The Water” by Ellie Goulding

Carlos has been in an accident and lost his memory. Carlos is supposed to have this glazed-over look and with the emotion of having to go home tonight, that has to be so very hard to do, but does speak volumes to his professionalism. I could feel the pain in Mariah’s movements. I would never think she was a hip-hop dancer. I got goosebumps! This was so beautiful!

The judges: They were on their feet. Mary told Mariah if she kept dancing like that she will make it to the other side of the rainbow. Christina thought it was like they had an umbilical cord between the two of them. The chemistry was the best she had seen tonight. Nigel said Mariah did a brilliant job at emoting.

MariahCarlos

Dancers: Amy and Fik-Shun
Choreographer: Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo
Style: Hip-hop (ratchet?)
Song: “After Party” by Dorrough Music

The story is about two bellhops who love their job. For a contemporary dancer, she did a great job. The audience loved booty dances, too. That will definitely bring in the votes. And what I can I say. There is still #TruthInFikshun! (Yes, I first said that on Twitter).

The Judges: Christina loved that so much. She thought Fik-Shun is something special. She thinks Amy brings him up, too. Nigel said he knew that he was going to love this routine. Both of them light up the entire studio when they dance. He predicted if they kept dancing like that this and they would be in the finale. Mary said they were the pre-party, party-party and after-party.

AmyFikshun

Dancers: Jenna and Tucker
Choreographer: Dmitry Chaplin
Style: Cha-cha
Song: “I Like It Like That (Aaron Jerome Remix) by Pete Rodriguez

Story about a guy who knows everyone in a nightclub and thinks he owns the place; Jenna’s job is to put him in his place. It was very good. It didn’t blow me away but it was respectable. They both played their parts well. It seemed they had the right posture for Latin dancing. It sizzled in spots but it did. It move me emotionally in any direction.

Judges: Mary thinks Jenna is a chameleon. She missed rhythmical action from Tucker. She thought he had it in moments. Christina was thoroughly entertain and loved the story and the characters they portrayed. Nigel felt Jenna did not give enough cha-cha and she was in heroin genre. He actually wanted it to look more like “Dancing With The Stars.” He blames Dmitry.

TuckerJenna

It is hard to predict who might be in the bottom two. I would say for the guys Tucker and BluPrint. For the girls, Jenna and maybe Malece? Picking out the girls is a bit more difficult.