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 S15 Atlanta Auditions

9 01 2016

(I know the Atlanta and Denver auditions were in the same show, but I’m splitting them up because the blog was just too long).

And so it begins….the beginning of the end of a 15-year run on American Idol. There will be surprises galore this season. Back of the judges panel are my favorite three judges: Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. While some will argue that the original three judges, Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell were the best, I prefer the constructive criticism that is given to the contestants versus the ridicule that left some contestants baffled as to what went wrong with their performance. I have been blogging about American Idol in one forum or another (including on the Fox 26 Houston blog site) since season 2 of the show when I first began watching.

If you are a newcomer to my blog, there is just one thing you need to know. My goosebumps never lie. Music truly rocks my soul. My mother had a beautiful opera voice and had auditioned for the NY Met, but didn’t make it. Because of her influence, I have been singing my whole life. I went to music school and my last public performance was at Hamman Hall at Rice University here in Houston. Stage fright got the best of me, my recital bombed, and I decided that this field was not my career path. My vocal coach was going to do a road trip and asked me to come along to be her background singer, a compliment that was not lost upon me, but the idea of being on the road, in gross motel rooms, singing in smoky environments (because there were no smoking bans in bars back then) just didn’t appeal to me. My childhood had been unstable and I decided to keep my stable day job. That didn’t mean, however, I gave up singing, writing songs, and challenging myself. My stage fright, however, has never left me. When I see singers crash because of stage fright on Idol, my heart truly feels empathy for them.

The first stop begins in Atlanta. Michelle Marie has been waiting to audition on Idol since she was 4 years old. She is 15 years old and is from Daytona Beach, Florida. Her song choice is “Blue” by LeAnn Rimes. I got goosebumps when she sang the opening “Blue” inflections. Jennifer thought it was pretty. Harry thought she did a good job with a song that is technically difficult to do. Keith loved it too. She is through.

Some of the previous contestants came to do screening judging on the audition part of the tour including Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, Taylor Hicks, Lee DeWyze, and Kris Allen. I am not sure if that was a gift or a curse for them.

Showing off classic country is 18-year-old Josiah Siska from Dacula, Georgia. Singing Johnny Cash’s “Riders in the Sky” in the key of Johnny Cash, this big old deep bass voice came out of this young man. It was interesting, but I am not sure he would make it far in the competition; he would need to learn how to change “theme” weeks into a range he could sing and people would enjoy. Harry got up and did hand clapping and sound effects for him. Keith loved his voice. Harry said they have never heard anything like him yet. Three yesses.

Lindita is a 26-year-old personal trainer who was ridiculed her entire life for being obese. They would say, “She has a great voice but she is fat.” She decided to make lifestyle changes and dropped 150 pounds in preparation for her audition. She also married her own personal trainer. She is from Kosovo. She sang “This is a Man’s World.” Goosebumps! Jennifer says to Keith that she has soul. I loved it. Harry thinks she is a powerful singer. Jennifer and Keith loved it. Keith thought she had too many runs, but she will learn to cut some of that out. She receives three yesses.

Billy Bob Evett, 25 years of age from Punta Gorda, Florida, is a self-described honky-tonk man who is quite the Jennifer Lopez fan. He picks a Waylon Jennings song. He is another contestant with a deep bass voice. He was a lot of fun but it was not as good as Josiah. Keith likes him as a person but felt the singing wasn’t strong enough (the pitch was all over the place). Jennifer and Harry agreed.

Fifteen-year-old Lee Jean, from Bluffton, South Carolina, sang “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran. Immediate goosebumps for me. His voice is so pure. I think when he added the guitar his voice went off pitch quite a bit. My suggestion would be to lose the guitar so he can concentrate on the vocals. Jennifer wants to squeeze him he is so cute (and she loves his talent). Harry thinks he has a tremendous amount of talent. The singing-in-tune part needs a lot of work which is doable. Keith loves his tone and has a singer/songwriter quality about it. They all give him a yes.

Sylvia Lee Walker, a 16-year-old that likes to talk (A LOT), from Rayle, Georgia got a standing ovation from Keith for her tales of her life that were told at the speed of light. Her song choice: Yodeling. And at the end of that Keith did a “mind blown” reference and collapsed in a ball of laughter. Jennifer and Harry thought it was awesome. Keith thought she had an amazing accent and he could listen to her stories all night long. Keith said she is entertainer as a person, but this was a singing competition and her pitch was all over the place. Jennifer thought she would be a lot of fun at Hollywood week but she also was a no.

Joshua Wicker, age 25, is the creative director at his church. His wife is 3 weeks away from her due date of their first child. He decides to sing, “Stay” by Rihanna. Oh my gosh. From the first note, I had goosebumps. I don’t think it was from the ice on my foot either. Jennifer said it was an interesting voice with a lot of pretty colors. Harry said it was compelling and that is all he cares about. Keith thought he sang it like he wrote it which is the highest compliment you can give someone who didn’t write a song. Three yesses. And three weeks later their daughter Branch was born.

This adorable couple with a new baby are both auditioning. First up is Alex Sasser, a 23-year-old worship leader from Raleigh, NC. She sings Bruno Mars’ song “Count on Me” while playing a ukulele. She is cute and has a sweet voice. Harry thought she had a pretty voice but it was just not passing it at all. Keith felt it was just too light for him as a performance. Jennifer needed to hear more of a compelling voice. It’s a no from all three. Jordan Sasser was next up. He chose Celine Dion’s song, “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now.” He too is a worship leader at his church. He is definitely the stronger voice in the couple. I got some goosebumps. He has a nice face and a nice smile, too. Jennifer thought it was really good. Harry thought he is incredibly talented and smart. Keith thought it was great. Three yesses. What was sad to me is that I think she really believed she was the better singer in the family and it wasn’t just a joking around in the package before the singing. When she left she blamed Jordan for dancing around with the baby which made the judges not like her singing as much because it was distracting the judges. She says to him that she has never been good enough—she’s sat and watch him follow his dream and it’s heartbreaking. He looked shocked at her words. But he reassured her how proud he was of her and that he loved her. He really is the better singer Alex. It wasn’t the distraction of your baby in the room. And no offense, but you are a worship leader and we just witnessed one of the seven deadly sins:  Envy.

 





American Idol Season 13 Top 12 Results Show

6 03 2014

Seventy million votes came in last night. You know I think Jennifer Lopez can wear just about anything but that thing she was wearing tonight did not fit right. Phillip Phillips returns to the Idol stage tonight. Randy Jackson is going to introduce us to Kodaline from Ireland.

At the postshow dinner, the contestants talk about when is it okay to be sharp and when it isn’t because they are confused. I can understand that they are getting mixed messages.

Emily, Sam, Jessica and Ben are in the first group to hear the results. Emily is in the bottom 3. The rest are safe.

Phillip Phillips sang “Raging Fire” and as he did I was thinking something is really wrong with the Idol sound.  His intonation (smile Harry) was all over the place.

Majesty, Dexter, Jena, and Alex are up next. Dexter, Majesty and Alex are safe. Jena is in the bottom 3. That just is not right. None of them deserved that spot.

Kodaline played next. They have an interesting sound.

Last to learn their fate are Malaya, MK, CJ, and Caleb. Caleb is safe (OF COURSE HE IS). CJ is also safe. MK and Malaya were in the bottom three last week. One is safe and the other is in the bottom three again. Malaya is safe and MK is not.

The person leaving us tonight is:    EMILY PIRIZ

EmilyPiriz1

MK, you need to really bring it next week. We want you to succeed. And (no surprise) the save is not used.





American Idol Season 13 Top 13 Results

28 02 2014

LogoIt was not too much of a surprise to me that Malaya Watson was in the bottom three for the evening, but I was SHOCKED that MK Nobilette was. Malaya was rattled that she was there. I remember during the top 13 picks that she kept saying to her fellow contestants that because they were in the “top 10” they were going on tour, they were going on tour. Someone needs to clarify for her that the people going on tour are the top 10 after the public votes, and the top 10 from 13 is left. Those are the people going on tour. Rounding out the bottom three was Kristen O’Connor. I didn’t dislike her performance, although I had heard better, but it made sense. Although Dexter and CJ were in my bottom 2 (along with Malaya for the number 3 spot), Dexter and CJ are immensely likable. Part of winning American Idol is to connect with the audience. The audience is tremendously forgiving if their favorites have off nights where their vocals are not spot on.

The “singing for your life” thing should be trashed. We all know the judges have their favorites and we all know that they are not going to use the save this early in the competition. It is just cruel. The judges can make their decision about who should get to stay should American people vote one of their favorites off, but I just cannot watch someone have to sing a song when their hearts are in their throats. You know what else needs to be trashed? The group number.

I failed to mention in my Top 13 Performs blog that American Idol needs to adjust the performance show so that we can actually hear what Randy Jackson has to say about the contestants. You could not hear it at all over all the applause in the audience and my closed captioning couldn’t even get it. That should tell you something.

Candice Glover was on fire and I adored her new song. Jason Bugg was interesting. I had never heard his music before.

We say goodbye to Kristen, but she should be tremendously proud of how far she came in the competition.

KristenGoodbye





American Idol Season 13 Rush Week Boys’ Night

21 02 2014

LogoThe judges had a difficult time deciding on the 10 contestants that would be given the opportunity to perform for America’s votes this evening. They finally finished in the dressing room before the show started.

First Pick

Caleb Johnson (from Asheville–did I mention my sister lives there? Yes I have!) He sings, “Stay With Me” by Faces. The thing he needs to work on is closing his eyes while he is singing. Chris Daughtry says that he does not want Caleb’s intense face to distract them and to smile.” Caleb sings again, this time smiling. Chris adds, “Okay, halfway.” Adam Lambert hears that he wants to be “subtle over-the-topness” and laughs. I think Caleb looks great, sounds fabulous and he definitely improved with his eye-closing issues. He had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. He was in command! Keith said it was “killer dude.” He has soul, a cool thing in his voice that a person is just born with. There are some things you can’t learn. It was the perfect song and a great way to start the show. Jennifer said it was amazing, a real rockstarish, the real deal. “It’s your time.” Harry said it will be tough for the guys following him. It was a strong way to start the show and congratulations.

Second Pick

CJ Harris. He defines himself as country soul. His guitar and voice were self-taught. Chris Daughtry said he was having a hard time following the guitar pattern, that it distracted from his amazing vocals and to ditch it. It would free him up to sell the song. He sang, “Shelter” by Ray LaMontagne. CJ ditches Chris’ suggestion to ditch the guitar. I’m not a guitar expert so I can’t comment on his guitar skills. I thought he slayed the song. He did a fantastic job and I like his new look, too. Jennifer said he makes her smile. She said he makes her feel so many things which is a beautiful thing. Harry said he was a great talent. He advised him to watch his intonation. Harry thought he had a tendency to sing really sharp. He felt like he was singing to him and that he was going to shelter him. Keith said it was a great mix of Dobie Gray and Jonny Lang blended in to this package that was so original.

Third Pick

Emmanuel Zidor. He tells Randy Jackson that he has been “humming since the womb and singing since 5.” He wants to sing “Best of My Love” by The Emotions. The rehearsal clips looked rough. I was entertained by his performance and I love his positivity but he has a lot of work to do. I would put him in the middle of my pack. I am also glad he did not try for the falsetto that bombed in rehearsals. Harry said it was so much fun. It reminded him of the performers in New Orleans–happy, infectious energy. He recommended the same advice he gave to everyone else: “Stay in your lane.” Keith said, “I agree with Harry.” Harry said, “That’s my girl right there.” And things got awkward. I wonder if they are trying to capture the Adam Levine/Blake Shelton bromance vibe? Keith advised him to watch his adrenaline level because he was singing above the note; rein it in. Jennifer said, “I Zi-dore you. You belong on a stage.” She said it was not the best song for him. Then she asks him to sing a little bit of “I’m Going Down” and he does. That’s cheating a bit, Jennifer.

Fourth Pick

Sam Woolf. He was just accepted to Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA). He sings, “Babylon” by David Gray. Michael Orland, the vocal coach, says that he is doing a lot of eye closing and looking down which can look like insecurity. I think he is nervous but he listened to the advice and I like when the contestants do that. I could hear his voice on the radio right now. I would even consider buying his record. He did a tremendous job. My favorite so far of the night. He has really won me over during the last two performances. Keith said, “The people like you Sam.” His voice is money. His tone is great. It was a good song for him. His performance will get better and better. Jennifer said he has a sweet quality. She hopes he can gain small degrees of confidence as the show goes on.

Fifth Pick

George Lovett. He chooses “Grenade” by Bruno Mars. Adam helped him with some stage movement. He was very nervous. I did not like this song as a ballad. It sounded like he was dragging a bit behind the band. His voice cracked a few times. His pitch was rough at times. Jennifer said it was really good but he needs to control the runs; there were just too many. Harry said it was easy to come so invested that you can sing yourself right off the microphone. His passion spun out of control. Harry has heard him sing better (and Harry gets boo #2 for the Idol season). Keith said song choice is crucial and that this song did not play to his strengths.

Sixth Pick

Dexter Roberts sings “This Ole Boy” by Craig Morgan. I like his makeover. I have no reference to compare this to, but I did find it enjoyable. Harry said there were good things about what he did. Keith said he was the real deal, a fully fledged country boy from Alabama. He was fun and easy to watch. He agreed with Harry about him needing to find out what separates him from all the country voices that sound just like him. Jennifer said it was easy in a cool way. She remarked that if he was nervous she did not see it. For American Idol, he did his thing.

Seventh Pick

Alex Preston. YAY!!! He plays 11-12 instruments? Whoa. He sang, “Volcano” by Damien Rice. His challenge is also making eye contact. I could tell during his performance that he was really trying to apply the lessons he learned during the workshop. I LOVE IT. It was better than the original. My new favorite performance of the night. He has such a unique sound among the boys. Keith said it was the best song choice of the night and a good performance. Jennifer said it had such a groove that was different than anything else. He is in his own lane. If he stays there, he could go very far. Harry said music is a religion to Alex. He said his favorite part was that he ended on the “9” and that Alex knew what he meant. Ryan asked for Harry to explain and he did with Alex’s assistance.

Eighth Pick

Malcolm Allen singing “Comin’ From Where I’m From” by Anthony Hamilton. I have never heard that song before. I think he still needs a lot of work on his stage presence. The stage swallows him up. He sings well, but there are some really talented guys in the mix this year. Jennifer said he has a great voice. She wanted his physical performance to hit her more. She said she should have gotten goosies on that–to hear the pain that is in that song. She needs him to bring his heart and soul to it next time. Harry said he is a good run singer, but the danger is singing in the exact same run over and over and over; it was the same five notes and he needs to sing it in tune which elicits boo number three for Harry. Keith said–oops he ran out of time to talk. He felt like he was at the Grammy’s. He told Malcolm he needed to make artistic choices and gave him a suggestion on how that could have worked.

Ninth Pick

Ben Briley (aka “Gumbo”) I LOVE his makeover. He is singing “Soulshine” by The Allman Brothers Band. He also tends to close his eyes while he is singing. I really liked it. My judgment of him getting through over Neco Starr might have been premature and incorrect. I really truly enjoyed that. Harry said Ben seemed to like it and thought he (that he thought Ben thought) nailed it. It was a great job and was interesting. Keith said he has a great voice which was better than his guitar playing. Keith thought it was the first shredder solo on Idol. Jennifer commented that some people come alive when they are on stage versus in the rehearsal which is a sign of a true performer.

Tenth Pick

Spencer Lloyd to the delight of all the teenage girls in the room. He sings, “Love Don’t Die” by The Fray. He asked for advice about whether to use the guitar or not with the performance. Randy said for him to sing with it. Adam Lambert and vocal coach Melissa Garcia said without the guitar. The song started off rough with a lot of notes out of key. Midway through though I felt he found a groove. Being a worship leader, I know he can get a crowd going and this crowd was going, going, gone. Keith said that song choice is important and this was not his best vocal performance tonight. Jennifer said he moved the crowd and that when he is up there, he is a star. Harry said the song, “Say Something” was his strong suit; this was not. He reminds Spencer to stick to what he knows. This was not good (and Harry was booed again). He told Spencer that singing ballads is good.





American Idol Rush Week Girls’ Night

19 02 2014

I’m very upset. I don’t understand some of the judges picks. But let’s start with what we have before I go on a rant.

I like the new stage and the new feel. Jennifer Lopez looked stunning tonight. Harry and Keith are also looking great. Only 10 people will sing based on who impressed the judges saw during dress rehearsal and 5 will be going home. This year Randy Jackson will be the mentor and conduct workshops. He wants to see the contestants learn from their experiences the prior week. The workshops bring together vocal coaches, musical director Rickey Minor, stylists, movement coaches, and….spiritual advisors (?????) Billy and Julie Mauldin. Well, okay, but what if we have atheists among the group? Also coming to share wisdom with the contestants are Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry.

First pick

Majesty Rose York: Adam Lambert happens to be her favorite American Idol. She sings “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Adam thinks it is the perfect song; it fits her personality and style. I thought the guitar is more like a crutch for her right now as I watched her performance. I think she would have done better without it. Her clapping was out of time with the audience (or vice versa) and it was distracting. She ditched the guitar finally towards the end of the song. The vocals were great though. Jennifer thought her voice was amazing. The whole place was on their feet and it was a very good start. Harry said she did a fantastic job. Keith said she has this breezy thing about her and had good vocal range.

Second pick

Kristen O’Connor sings “Turning Tables” by Adele. Chris Daughtry said he got chills on her first note. He offered her some great practical advice regarding stage presence. As I listened, I heard weird breaks in her phrasing and that she ran out of breath (it seemed). But there was nice control in her voice towards the end. Harry thought it was a really powerful performance. Keith said she has killer range but the breathing issues were likely from nerves. However, she got control of it halfway through. Jennifer felt she had the most special tone to her voice. She could hear her recording records tomorrow. The timing was off with the band but about halfway through she locked in and got it together.

Third pick

Briana Oakley. “Warrior” by Demi Lovato. Vocal coach Antonio Sol said that in her movement she was either not feeling it or seeing it coming through from within herself. I think she is still having connection problems. I used to be a big fan of her voice, but there are times where there are issues but then she shows a good stretch for a little while. It was inconsistent. The part I had issues with made me want to close up my ears. Keith loved the clarity in her tone and compared it to Irene Cara. The last quarter of the song she found the voice. He reminded her that she cannot be smiling when she is talking about being a warrior. Jennifer said she looked scared. She had the sound of a young Whitney Houston. The thing that has to come together is the performance quality and the connection to what she is singing. Harry said the high notes are not triple axels. She did a fine job but to be wary of it (the high notes) just because they get applause.

Fourth pick

Jena Irene (that’s GINA, not JENNA). She wants to sing “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones. Chris Daughtry said she has to work on her confidence. There were moments where she was questioning everything she was doing. Oh poor Randy. He pronounced her name incorrectly. She is a rocker girl!!! I loved it. She had a very powerful voice. It seems she took Chris’ advice. I think she almost sounds like Ann Wilson from “Heart.” At this point, this is my favorite of the night. Jennifer said it was sultry and one of her favorites. Harry asked her in one sentence what the song was about and she replied, “Darkness.” Keith said she was one of his favorites since the audition cities. He likes how she holds the microphone stand.

Fifth Pick

Bria Anai. She hopes to get some styling advice. Adam said there was a lot of arm pumping going on. She sang Melanie Fiona’s “Wrong Side of a Love Song.” I had goosebumps. The last note was rough in her lower range but otherwise I thought it was fantastic. Harry, however, thought it sounded like she was shouting, but otherwise was fantastic. Keith said to try not to overshoot the runway, but she still has the lips (a reference to her signature style). Jennifer said she had “star” written all over her. She needs to work on staying in control.

Sixth Pick

Marrialle Sellars: Let my rant begin. WHAT do the judges find SOOOO fascinating about this girl? I have yet to see any performance that I have liked. More talented singers have been sent home because she took this spot. She decides to sing “Roar” by Katy Perry and I do not even like what I hear in rehearsals. Adam tells her to slow it down (too frantic). He told her she has the goods but she needs to learn how to take her time. I do not see it. I don’t know how she keeps getting picked over and over. I did not think she deserved the spot in the top 15. I really dislike this song. It is totally off key and amateurish. It is my least favorite vocal so far of the night. Keith said her voice and ability to perform are much better than what they saw tonight. It was not the right song to shine on. It was not the best tempo. “It was karaoke baby.” (The first “baby” of the evening I believe). Jennifer wished she would have brought her guitar out. This was not the best showcase of who she is. She let the crowd get away from her a little bit and it affected her performance. Harry said her intonation needs working on (the ability to stay in tune). She must start singing in the pocket. He wished she would have brought her guitar and wished she showed more of the “superstar” that he knows she is. (REALLY????? SUPERSTAR????? WHEN HAS SHE EVER DEMONSTRATED SUPERSTAR ON ANY OF THE PERFORMANCES WE’VE SEEN????)

Seventh Pick

Jessica Meuse wants to sing “Drink A Beer” by Luke Bryan. Chris Daughtry felt her voice was better than her guitar playing and wanted her to step away from it and challenge herself. However, she opts for the guitar. For me, sometimes she sounds like Stevie Nicks. She is in the middle for me in terms of where I like her. However, it was very nice to hear something soft instead of going big. Jennifer said she was nervous; however, the soft and the heart she connects to. She loves her country tone. Harry said she brings something different to the table that is fresh and exciting. Technically she needs to watch for intonation, too. She goes sharp (per Harry maybe nerves). He wanted to feel what she was singing about, but again it may be nerves. He felt there was a wall between them. Keith said he was going to root for someone from Slapout, Alabama. There was, however, a disconnection between lyrics and the facial expressions.

Eighth Pick

Emily Piriz. She decides to sing “Paris (Ooh La La)” by Grace Potter. This shows me that she does not learn from others’ mistakes. Randy calls her out on it too reminding her that he is not sure the judges are going to like that song. Adam says she has to start the song more aggressively. The chorus is the punch line. The song will only work if she sings it like a rock star. She sang it well but I felt weird watching it on stage but I am not sure exactly why. Perhaps it is because it is not a song for the Idol audience. Harry asked her to say the first two lines of the song (which she does) and he says he understands she is not interested in the storyline (based on what she said during the interview). He asks her now that she is 18 does she really want to be singing that kind of song? Keith said to Harry, “It’s a touchy subject, Harry.” Harry responds, “Literally!” Keith said one of the things is this–about standing in front of the mirror for hours to bring out the rock chick. He gets that but a real artistry is through expression. It is not about standing in front of the mirror and pretending to be anyone or tapping into anything. Jennifer said she did very well. She liked it and that it was the most relaxed performance thus far. She loves her and hopes she is in the top 5. Ryan said to Emily that “Harry is in Daddy mode there.”

Ninth Pick

MK Nobilette. Her challenge is to stay connected to the song. She chooses “All of Me” by John Legend. Her lower range is rough. I liked her voice about 75% of the time. She had the emotional connection to the song so took those words and her challenge to hear. Keith said it was the perfect song choice. Jennifer said it was making people feel something. It was true sentiment and she loved it so much. Harry said she was an elegant, articulate singer. The defeatist attitude he saw during Hollywood week was gone. She belonged here.

Tenth Pick

Malaya Watson. Adam loves her runway style and Chris says her voice is stupid (good). I had goosebumps. She sang “Hard Times” by Ray Charles. It was the best performance of the night. She has such a personality for such a young woman. Jennifer says the second “baby” of the night. Jennifer said she is one of those powerhouse singers and is amazing. Harry wants to eat a donut (it was so sweet). He looks forward to watching her settle.

Neco or Ben?

Ben. I’m shocked.

Rest of My Rant

Final part of my rant. How can these judges put through Marrialle Sellars time after time after time and not see the talent in Jillian Jensen is so much more? I just don’t get it. It is the same thing I felt about Savion Wright being cut. I will say a prayer that she is one of the judges’ wild card picks. The comeback kid!!!!





American Idol Season 13 Final Judgment Part 2

13 02 2014

The CJ Harris and Casey Thrasher cliffhanger starts the show. Casey is going through to the top 15. AND SO IS CJ Harris!!!! That was the right decision.

Solo Performances

I was not thrilled with was Marrialle Sellars doing “Wrecking Ball.” It was off-tune. Jena Ascuitto‘s original song was lovely. The first one that sounded good singing “Radioactive” thus far this season was Caleb Johnson. Kenzie Hall has a beautifully unique voice but her solo was terrible. I thought Sandie Lee‘s solo was much better than Austin Wolfe‘s solo but when both had to face the final judgment together, they chose Austin over Sandie.

Rest of The Boys

10. Caleb Johnson

CalebJohnson

11. Ethan Harris

EthanHarris

12. Briston Maroney

BristonMaroney

13.  CJ Harris

CJHarris

14.  Casey Thrasher

CaseyThrasher

15.  ?? Neco Starr or Ben Briley

NecoStarr

BenBriley

Rest of The Girls

9. Marrialle Sellars

MarialleSellars

10. Jena (that’s GINA, not JENNA) Ascuitto

JenaAscuitto

11. Majesty Rose York

MajestyYork

12. Briana Oakley

BrianaOakley

13. Brandy Neelly

BrandyNeely

14. Kenzie Hall

KenzieHall

15. Austin Wolfe

AustinWolfe

Going Home

Sarina Joi Crowe, Nalani Quintello, David Oliver Willis, Savion Wright (are you FRIGGING KIDDING ME???), and Sandie Lee.

Savion Wright deserves to be there. I could do without Briston Maroney. His voice is like sandpaper on my ears. Personal thing. I’m sure others find his voice pleasant.

Twisted Fate

America will decide the fate of Neco Starr and Ben Briley as to who will be the 15th boy contestant. If I have to choose, I prefer Neco’s style of music. I will be voting for him.

Next Week

Next week, AMERICAN IDOL XIII’s“Rush Week” will be LIVE for two nights of performances and the season’s first results show. In a new twist, not all 30 singers will get to perform, as the judges – Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. – will choose only whom they think are worthy of America’s vote, leaving some packing their bags before they get a chance to sing. On Tuesday, Feb. 18 (8:00-10:00 PM ETlive /PT tape-delayed), Randy Jackson returns as in-house mentor, and the Top15 girls will take the brand-new stage designed by acclaimed designer Baz Halpin (Britney Spears’ Piece of Me, Pink: Funhouse Tour). On Wednesday,Feb. 19 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live /PT tape-delayed), the Top 15 guys do the same.

Then, on the first results show of the season, Thursday, Feb. 20 (8:00-9:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed), the Top 10 finalists chosen by America – five girls and five guys – will be revealed, followed by the judges’ wild card picks to round out the Top 13 finalists.