American Idol Season 14 The Winner Is….

20 05 2015

And the winner is….

Just in case people have not heard who won this second to last season of American Idol, I will put the info at the end and discuss tonight’s hits and misses with musical guests. In some cases we were reminded that the voting for some contestants to leave was indeed the right thing to do.

Nick and Clark joined Fallout Boy to sing “Centuries.” In terms of performance, Nick was jamming right along with Patrick Stump while Clark still hasn’t been able to just let himself get completely out of control. He looked happy but he needs to get some rocking-it-out lessons.

Tyanna Jones joined three of the Jackson brothers to sing a medley of songs including “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” “The Love You Save,” and “(Dance and Shout) Shake Your Body Down to the Ground“. It was a fun opening and got people energized, but I would have liked to see her sing with Janelle Monae who is appearing later in the show. “Tightrope” was one of Tyanna’s better songs she covered over the course of Idol, but I could see the allure of singing with the Jackson brothers.

The top six ladies joined Nile Rodgers and Chic to do another medley including “We Are Family” and “Le Freak,” then their new record “I’ll Be There” and back to the classic “Good Times” and ending with “Rapper’s Delight.”

Ricky Martin took the stage to do a medley of his songs starting with “Mr. Put It Down.” He was joined by Nick, Clark, Qaasim, Quentin and Rayvon for “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” “She Bangs,” and “The Cup of Life.” I just love Ricky Martin. I have adored him since his days on General Hospital. I wonder why Daniel wasn’t performing with them?

Adanna performed with Janelle Monae. Janelle sang with “Yoga” featuring Jidenna. Adanna seems to fit right in and maybe this is a good niche for her. Maybe working with Janelle has shown her how to control that exuberant energy she has although she didn’t do much singing.

Prince Royce was joined by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull to sing “Back It Up.” That was incredible.

Echosmith performed “Cool Kids” with Joey Cook. I think this was a good match up. I have missed Joey.

Ryan polls the judges to see who they think will win. Jennifer quietly says Clark. Harry is noncommittal. Keith thinks Nick has a slight advantage. Keith Urban performed his hit “Even the Stars Fall 4 U.” If anyone could make me like a country song, it is Keith Urban. There is no doubt he wrote and performed that for Nicole Kidman who was in the audience. I may just go buy that song.

I thought Jamie Foxx was an odd choice but after hearing him sing “In Love By Now” with Rayvon, I thought it was a perfect match. I didn’t realize Jamie sang so well. It was a beautiful pairing.

Ford gave a car (Festive) not only to Nick and Clark but also to their mentors (Focus). Nick chose fellow bandmate lead guitarist Nick Abraham. Clark’s mentor Pastor Jim Phillips was his choice.

New Kids on the Block were looking for a new band member and they chose Daniel Seavey. Their medley included “Please Don’t Go Girl” and “You’ve Got It (The Right Stuff).” It was the worst one of the night. I know Donnie Wahlberg later tweeted that it was about having fun and that is fine. It made Daniel happy I am sure as well as his family, friends and fans. Even with the lyrics on two big screens it was obvious that when Donnie put then microphone out to the audience for them to the sing “the right stuff” no one sang back. Ryan puts them on the spot and asks if Daniel could go on the tour with them.

Quentin Alexander teamed up with Vance Joy for his song “Riptide.” Quentin needs to learn about singing a duet. You don’t mouth the words that the other person is singing. Grooving like you did was good; mouthing the words was distracting. And Quentin, I adore you so it is hard for me to say something critical. Otherwise the song was lovely.

Scott shared with Nick and Clark what will happen to the winner. One of them will go back to Nashville where their boots are going to hit the ground. They are going to hit reset and go to visit radio and retail. They will go to the CMA Music Festival with him to perform. One of them will be a presenter at the CMT Awards. And that just scratches the surface. They will start recording their first album. He said both of their songs were top 15 (which was inaccurate because when I checked at that precise moment, Nick’s song was at 21 and Clark’s song was at 42).

Chris Brown and Pitbull performed their new single “Fun” with Qaasim.  That indeed was fun!!!

Steven Tyler performed his new song “Love Is Your Name.” Jax came up from the audience to sing “Piece of My Heart” and like the superstar she is she held her own with him. That gave me goosebumps and the Idol judges were with them all the way, even when they finished the performance on the judges’ table. Jax thanked the fans and the judges to thunderous applause.

Clark joined Michael McDonald to sing “Takin’ It to the Streets.” They played side-by-side pianos. Where has THIS Clark been?? I haven’t seen him so passionate and animated in weeks. THIS is a winning performance. He needed to have captured this many episodes ago.

Andy Grammer and Nick sang “Back Home” and moved into “Honey, I’m Good.” It was enjoyable. I preferred Clark’s performance with Michael McDonald.

The judges played together on stage, Jennifer on vocals, Keith on guitar, and Harry on keyboards. Jennifer started off with “Diamonds” and moved to “Locked Out of Heaven” with Keith and Jennifer on vocals.

And the winner is….. NICK! And he looks a bit stunned. Congratulations!





American Idol Season 14 Top 11 Perform

25 03 2015

Ugh. A group number. But… it wasn’t too shabby! It’s “Movie Night” on Idol. Scott Borchetta brought in Nile Rodgers to be their mentor. Jeff Gordon delivered the names of the contestants going through. He invited them out to a race on Sunday to watch, sing the national anthem and start the race. The lighted seats remain this week.

Adanna Duru makes it through to the top 11. She sang “Love You I Do from Dreamgirls” by Jennifer Hudson. I don’t really have a comparison because I have never heard the original song. So I can’t really comment other than it was enjoyable. Keith said it was hard to hear her at the beginning. He thought she sounded great and looked amazing. Jennifer said she sounded really good on the high parts. Jennifer was missing the emotion behind the lyrics “you’re the perfect man for me, I love you I do.” Harry said she looked like a movie star. Harry thought everything was good and strong. He felt that she needed to look less down the barrel of the camera and connect more with the audience and in doing so, the emotion will come through to even those at home.

The next person going through is Daniel Seavey (good God—he’s adorable, but he is still too green). He sings “Lost Stars” from “Begin Again” by Adam Levine. The emotion didn’t come through. It was not good. It was sharp and flat all over the place. Right now I’m blaming the judges for putting this kid through. Jennifer said he did an okay job; it wasn’t his best. She actually felt a lot of emotion (really?). She doesn’t know if it was his best performance. Harry said it sounded like rehearsal is imperative but not at the expense of spontaneity. He said it sounded like he was in a practice room. It wasn’t strong tonight. Keith said the song suited him. He said it was a good performance, but now he needs to dig in a little more and not be distracted by the clapping from the audience.

Rayvon Owen!!! I am happy about this. He chose “Stayin’ Alive” from “Saturday Night Fever” by The Bee Gees. It started off a little rough. He put a little bluesy twist to the song and made it different. Harry admired the arrangement. It was a cool way to reinterpret the song. Harry asks him to consider how he can remain interesting in this competition because he has that sort of “Mr. Nice Guy” thing. Harry suggests he get a set of lyrics he can really chew on. He thinks there is too much falsetto and not enough substance (I’m kind of upset because Harry is being more critical of him than he was with Daniel). Harry gets booed. Keith said they are at a point in the competition where people say “Oh my goodness what’s happening up there.” Keith suggested from a performance standpoint he wouldn’t loiter around there (and he points to where the backup singers and band members are) unless he was in command of the stage. He said it was as if he was looking for somewhere to go. But when he came up to the front, he found it was better. Jennifer said when he was in the back she didn’t know how to feel. Jennifer said it is about how you capture the audience every time.

The fourth person who made it through is Nick Fradiani. He sings “Danger Zone” from “Top Gun” by Kenny Loggins. It was respectable. He looked uncomfortable without his guitar. Keith loves the fact that he played air guitar in front of Niles Rodgers. Keith said it was better than it was last week. Jennifer agreed. Jennifer said he’s their hot guy (which gets screams from the audience). The tone was perfect for him. She still sees him in his head. He needs to own his hotness. He just needs to sing and stop worrying about everything. Harry said that song didn’t give him anything to work with. Harry thinks the song is filled with silly words. Harry says he needs to pick a song that he can be sexy on.

AND A STUPID STORM BLOCKED MY SATELLITE SIGNAL AND I DIDN’T GET TO SEE JOEY COOK’S PERFORMANCE. UGH. Jennifer said it was really beautiful. Harry said she is finding ways to widen her lane. He felt it was a great choice. Keith said she is such an artist. He sees more depth of that artistry. She brings attention to the lyric of the song. I’ll have to go hunt down this performance on line somewhere.

Tyanna Jones is the next name called. I am already getting goosebumps because she is singing “The Circle of Life” from “The Lion King” by Elton John. It was a little pitchy especially at the beginning in her lower range, but she got into the melody and found the groove but it was went in and out of being in tune. Harry said she might have overshot the mark tonight just a bit. If she had taken a step back slightly (and the crowd boos) and relaxed into it. It had intonation issues and it sounded like she was yelling all the way through. Keith didn’t necessarily feel like it was yelled all the way through. Her tone and bravado are beautiful. Keith feels like she is the best singer they’ve got from his point of view. Keith did feel she had serious pitch issues tonight though. Jennifer said it is a very challenging song. She has no worries that she will do an amazing job next week.

After a wonderful performance by Jennifer Lopez of the theme song for the new movie, “Home” called “Feel The Light”, the next person through is Quentin Alexander!!! He chooses “You’re The One That I Want” from “Grease” by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta. Minor goosebumps. He had a little bit of a pitch issue, but so far this was the performance of the night for me (of course I didn’t see Joey Cook’s performance). Keith said he had heard that version before. He said it was an interesting performance. He has an amazing voice but he is still figuring it out. Jennifer thought it was haunting and beautiful. She felt it was very Quentin. Harry thought it was a very adventurous interpretation. He said it was horribly out of tune and he has to think about that.

Maddie Walker is through. She sings “Let’s Hear It For the Boy” from “Footloose” by Deniece Williams. This isn’t off to a great start either. The chorus is a little bit better, but the verses are rough. The ending is flat. I guess I’m a little disappointed overall with most of the performances. I remember back to the time when Candice Glover used to have phenomenal performances every single week and I am missing that this season for everyone week after week. Jennifer is glad she sang that song because it was her mother’s favorite. It was cute and good. It wasn’t a knock-out performance. Harry did not think it was good. Harry said she does not know who she is. On country songs she has an amazing country twang. On songs like “I’ll Be There” she has no twang, so he does not know who she is. It felt very pageant-ty to him. For a song like this she should be jumping up to the rafters. Is she a country singer? Is she a pop singer? Are you a pageant? (To be honest Harry, this sounded better even if she doesn’t know who she is than Daniel’s song). Keith thinks it is just song choice. She needs to find a song that plays to her strengths.

What would have been spectacular is to bring out Kevin Bacon to dance to Kenny Loggins singing “Footloose.” I like how he tosses it to the audience to say the lyrics and you hear nothing…crickets. That is because they are all too young (or the ones that did know the lyric weren’t numerous enough).

Clark Beckham makes it through. It’s my guess now that Qaasim is not going through. Clark chose Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning” from “Cheaper By The Dozen 2” to sing this week. My goosebump moment. I LOVED IT. This is now my new favorite of the evening. Harry felt his arrangement of the song knocked it out of the park. Keith said he is such a good singer. He just wants him to put a little bit of smile into it. Jennifer said that is when all the girls fall in love. She thought it was beautiful and it was so him. He did a whole different thing with it that she loved.

The last spot goes to—yep—Jax. She sings “Grow Old With You” from “The Wedding Singer” performed by Adam Sandler. It was a little rough at the beginning but I think she was still working out the emotion of making it through. It was Jax and it was cute. It was much better than last week but stand out? I’m not sure. Keith thought it was beautiful. Jennifer thought it played to all the quirkiness in her voice. It was a good choice and she did great on it. Harry said she is a high risk/high reward type of singers and he thinks it paid off tonight. He suggested that if the guitar stops and she continues singing to make sure it is in time with the beats.

Qaasim Middleton performs for the save. I do love Qaasim but last week he revealed that his natural singing voice needs a lot of work, even more so than Daniel (yep I just said that). It’s still too early for a save and I think the judges know that his singing voice is too weak. He is a wonderful entertainer, but vocalist? He sings “Come Together” from “Across the Universe” by The Beatles. The vocal this week is stronger than last week. Maybe last week he just chose the wrong song. Jennifer’s head is down so I’m guessing that she said yes and Harry said no (because he always says no) and who knows what Keith said because it has to be unanimous. Harry said it was the best performance of the night. And WOW! They give him the save!

(I saw Joey’s performance on-line and it was my favorite of the night).





American Idol Top 12 Perform; One Goes Home

13 03 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nThe chairs the contestants are sitting in are light Christmas trees now, green and red. If the chair is green, they are allowed to sing for your votes. This year, there are no result shows. Rayvon Owen’s name is called first—but wait!! His chair is still red. I’m going to have some fun with this. I think they should ditch that chair light thing next week. His song is “Burn” by Ellie Goulding. Was he out of breath before the song even started? He had a difficult time keeping breath control and dancing around on stage. When he needed his breath for his falsetto, it almost failed him. Keith said it was a killer song choice. Keith felt that was his best performance. Jennifer agreed. The song turned out even better than she thought. She said Rayvon caught the energy of the room. Harry thinks it was one of his stronger performances, too, but Harry wants to challenge him not to have the same arc on every performance. Harry says he shouldn’t make the climax at the end all the time because that is his arc. Instead start out strong. After Rayvon finished singing and getting feedback, he got to return to his green chair. Okay, now I see what the function is of it—in case someone is tuning in late, they can see if their favorites have made it with just a quick glance.

Maddie Walker is now part of the top 11. Because Scott Borchetta is helping her work on the performance portion of her song, I will watch it. Maddie (and probably Scott) picked “She’s Country” by Jason Aldean. It was a little flat, but her performance did improve. She looked more confident and was channeling some sexy. Since she is the only country singer in the group, she’ll get all the country votes and that will keep her in the competition. Even though she was flat, that was the second best song I have heard her sing, the first being her audition song. Jennifer said it was a great job and a really, really good performance from her. She is surprised at times at her strong vocals (just in a reminder kind of way). Harry thinks she needs to learn the difference between emulating and imitating. Emulating is to surpass your heroes; it sounds, however, like she is imitating them exactly. For example, this song she sang is exactly like the record. He wants to hear her interpretation of the song versus a direct copy of the song. Keith lightens things up by saying Maddie needs to stop going through Harry’s wardrobe. He commended her for taking chances and trying to come up out of her shell. But he thinks she is getting overwhelmed with what she is wearing, and how she is going to move and how she has to work to the camera, and her voice is going to come out more and more as they go through. Ryan brings up that she was not feeling well and she just said she was in pain today (didn’t say where) and Ryan shoos her off to get medical attention. I hope whatever it is will clear up soon for her. I am not sure why they bring these things up though. She handled it like a pro by performing and the audience didn’t even know anything was wrong until Ryan said something. Does that take away from her performance (finishing on a high note) or does that help to gather sympathy (and sometimes that backfires, too)?

Joey Cook makes it through. She is so funny. She wants to kiss everyone in the group before she gets to the stage. She is singing “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX. It is totally unrecognizable except for the lyrics and I LOVE IT. I think this is what Harry was trying to explain to Maddie. THAT WAS AWESOME. There are chants of Joey that brings tears to her eyes. Harry said he has to give her an A-plus (say what???) on a couple of fronts. The arrangement was brilliant. She sang it brilliantly. He thinks she is starting to feel that people think she is a star now on stage. Keith said she has this energy and presence about her that is “so artist.” Keith felt like a moth to her flame. She pulls people in. It’s extraordinary—the way she looks, the way she moves, the way she feels confident about that. She took the song, too, not because it was popular, but because she made it her own. Every week they see more facets to her that they have never seen before. Jennifer liked that she picked it because it is so popular. It was a really smart choice for her. To take a mainstream song and to put her own stamp on it. She would have liked to have heard a little bit more of the melody in it because people know it and they wanted to sing along with her to that but she could see her doing a whole album like that one day.

There was a slight break in the night to hear the song “No Apologies” by Jussie Smollett & Yazz from the Empire Season 1 Soundtrack performed by the two brothers on Empire, Jamal and Hakeem.

Clark Beckham is the next one to be called into the top 11. He sits at the piano and performs “Takin’ It to the Streets” by The Doobie Brothers. It was great. Not his best, but great. Keith said for him not to get confused with what he can do as a singer and what you must do as a person who needs to express. He has a phenomenal voice but Keith wants to feel like there is something he is trying to get out versus just having this incredible voice (I understand that—he needs to make an emotional connection. I think that is what he did do on his audition song which made us feel goosebumps). He wants to be inspired and he does have that in him. Jennifer liked him on the piano. She thinks Scott is right that everything needs to catch up to his vocals, like feeling as Keith was saying, his performance quality, He has something natural already; it is just expanding on that and getting more comfortable with that. When that happens it will be out of the park. Harry said it wasn’t his favorite performance (of his or of the night?) but says what he likes about Clark: He likes that he does not perform. He is a very introspective, inward-pointing guy. Instead of us watching Clark’s wheels turn, Harry thinks Clark is making their wheels turn to try to get inside his head. It wasn’t his favorite, but keep doing what he is doing. That has to be very confusing to all the contestants getting two opposing pieces of feedback).

Jax is up next. She is singing one of the song of Scott’s discoveries, Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” This is the first time I have heard her struggle a little bit in a song. But I still love her. She sounds out of breath, too. Jennifer didn’t think this was the right song for her. She didn’t feel really “Jax” on that song. She thinks she got overtaken by the music—she didn’t get that special quality that she has in her voice—it got swallowed up somehow. Harry said that one of her talents is taking an old song and making it new or taking a new song and making it different. That song sounded like a carbon copy of Taylor’s song. He also agrees with Jennifer. Keith said it was a good song choice as far as it being popular, but she was struggling to keep Jax in there. There was one point where she actually sang the harmony to it which is an example of either taking the song up in key or choose another song.

Qaasim Middleton is through. The theme tonight is “party songs” so I’m sure he is going to do just fine. Performance is his strong point. Qaasim takes up the electric guitar to sing “Jet” by Paul McCartney and Wings. This is the first time we are hearing his real singing voice. It is okay. I still enjoy his performances. I am glad he took the risk to show us this now. He has difficulty in the lower range of the song. I don’t mean for this to sound mean, but I think if he had sang like that for his audition, he would not have made it through. Harry asks him what he thinks the song lyric meant and Qaasim thought it was about women’s struggles and their suffrage, but he had heard it was about a giraffe. He thinks he is starting to turn into a one-trick pony. Harry receives his first boo of the season. Keith loved it. Keith felt his guitar helped his singing. He felt like that is the best he has heard him sing. Jennifer said that tonight was about party songs and for her Qaasim makes every song a party. Jennifer thought it was a great performance and she still doesn’t think they have heard him singing, but when he does it is going to be something really special.

Adanna Duru makes it through. At this point, I suspect Daniel is going home. She sings “Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars. That was outstanding (except the last few notes). I have a much improved opinion about her. Keith felt like she had a lot of Tina Turner going on. Jennifer said she did everything they asked her to and she could see Adanna was trying so hard. Jennifer said the vocal was much better—the whole thing. Harry wants to echo what Jennifer said. Intonation—there were a few little issues but it was so much better. Good song choice. He liked the choreography. For him it was one of her better performances (I agree).

Tyanna Jones is in the top 11 (oh yay!) Week after week I keep saying she needs to do a Janelle Monae song and tonight we are getting one!!! “Tightrope.’ Tyanna happens to be a big fan of Janelle. It is a little flat at the beginning. Keith and Jennifer are standing! (I TOLD YOU IT WAS THE SONG SHE NEEDED TO DO!) And the crowd goes wild. Jennifer said she got goosies. Jennifer thinks Tyanna is so in control of everything. Harry said if he were a judge in the Olympics, he wouldn’t have clapped, he wouldn’t have stood up; he would have just given her a 10. THAT is high praise from Harry. Keith said in the opening piece she said, “I want to be able to do this forever.” She didn’t say, “I want to be a star.” She didn’t say “I want to be famous.” She said, “I want to do this forever.” Also something that touches him is that some people sing and they have this attitude of “look what I can do.” Some people sing and moan “Look what I have to do.” She sings and says, “Look what I get to do.” And that is beautiful.

Only three spots are left. One of those spots goes to Daniel Seavey. Oh boy. Now I’m worried for Quentin Alexander. If I had to pick Qaasim or Quentin, I would choose Quentin because he has a better singing voice but I am afraid his artistry doesn’t translate well for this kind of show. Daniel does not deserve that spot. His performance was the worst last week. He is singing “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. If I didn’t know the lyrics, I would not have been able to understand the lyrics from Daniel (at least at the beginning of the song). It is flat. Damn those teeny boppers. It was out of tune the entire song and his voice was cracking. He looks like he should be on American Idol Junior. Harry said he is immensely talented. This performance felt the most comfortable to him out of everything he has done so far. Is he going to be able to hang with some of more experienced? He doesn’t know. Keith said he thinks they’ll hear from him again next week because he has such likability, he has great musicality. He is going to progress; he has already been doing it. Jennifer says that is the question: Is the competition too stiff? But it is impossible not to root for him.

Quentin Alexander MADE IT!!!!! I am so happy. I wonder if this means Nick is going home because Sarina-Joi is not. “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele – Adele is tough to sing, but I think he is up for it. Bad song choice. I love Quentin and I love his voice but this song was not my favorite of all he has done. Keith loved the way he started it. He loved the different arrangement of the song. There was a spiritual thing he does with songs and he did it again. Jennifer says he brings a different flavor. It is always cool, soulful and solid. Harry says one of his greatest gifts is to dig down extremely into a lyric. He felt, though, it was a relatively shallow interpretation. He felt like he coasted over the song and they didn’t get to see what Quentin does every week. Harry said the song to him was about saying screw you to a lover and he didn’t think his smiling through the song was a good interpretation.

Nick or Sarina-Joi? Who will it be? Nick is safe. Sarina-Joi should have gotten Daniel’s spot. I’m sorry. She is too talented to be going home and they never use the save this early. Nick is singing “Wake Me Up” (Acoustic) by Aloe Blacc. Tonight I hear more Rob Thomas in his vocal. Jennifer thought it was a great song choice for him. It got a little away from him but he got it back in the end. Harry thought it was solid. He wants him to stop being so shy. Keith said that if he is used to playing with a band regularly it is a strange thing for a performer to stand out there a million miles from the band. It’s a strange feeling.

Sarina-Joi is singing for the judges’ save. I feel awful for her. After trying out all those previous times and now leaving way too soon. She is singing “Neon Lights” by Demi Lovato. She was a bit flat again, but how can you criticize that when I would be falling apart in tears right now and would not even be able to perform for a save?  They are not using the save this week and Jennifer says she knows that breaks her heart. Sarina-Joi needs to remember that Jennifer Hudson did not win either and look how far she went.





American Idol Season 14 Top 12 Revealed

12 03 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nFive top girls and five top guys will be revealed from our votes. The final two spots are judges’ choice. I wonder if the judges can bring back contestants like Savion Wright? The theme tonight is to sing the song with which the contestants auditioned.

Sarina-Joi Crowe is the first name revealed. She sings “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic. She is flat. I love her but this was not a good performance. She was warned about that her pitch last week. Keith tells her to be careful with her pitch but it was a great way to start. Jennifer is excited for her. She mentions the pitch as well. Harry is happy she is here and says she is very talented. I guess he did not feel the need to mention the pitch again.

The next person making it into the top 12 is Rayvon Owen. His song at the audition was “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry. Goosebumps. It was perfect! He is so awesome. Jennifer said he felt that moment and tells him that they had a close-up on him. Harry said he sounded terrific. Keith said he got exponentially better at the end.

Scott Borchetta announces Daniel Seavey as the next finalist. His audition song was “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul. His performance was rough. I imagine his nerves were on overdrive. He was awkward. He didn’t know where to place his hands. I think he thought (or maybe they were told) to just stand in one place, but he felt out of place doing that. He forgot a few of the lyrics. He loosened up a bit when he got the audience to clap. By the end of the song he seemed to find a groove, but his intonation was still a little off. Harry said he was going to be honest with him. Daniel is young and inexperienced. His performances haven’t been strong of late and as cute as he is, his inexperience is showing. Keith said he thinks if Daniel finds an emotional song, he’ll just kill it. Jennifer agrees. She says whatever he picks, let’s make sure he is strong the whole way through.

Maddie Walker is now in the top 12. They do need to have a country presence. Her song was “Suitcase” by Gwen Sebastian. This is the best I have heard her since her audition. Oh wait! That’s because it is her audition song and she probably practiced it a few hundred times before the audition. I do love her hair tips. Keith said it was great from a stylistic standpoint. Jennifer saw her getting into own head about the singing of it. If she loves a song, just sing it and it will come out exactly as you want. Harry agrees the song was kind of in her head but he thought it was a solid performance.

Ryan lets someone in the audience read the next name: Tyanna Jones!! Oh yay!! She sings “Wings” by Little Mix. She walks around the stage and I enjoy seeing that. She belongs on that stage and I had goosebumps by the end. Jennifer what strikes her besides her phenomenal vocals which are undeniable but her composure on stage at 16 years of age? Harry applauded her comfort on stage. Keith said if you move like a star, sing like a star, and dress like a star, you ARE a star.

Nick Fradiani makes it through to the top 12. He sings one of my favorite songs of all time, “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel. When he is playing his acoustic guitar he reminds me of Chris Daughtry with a little Rob Thomas thrown in. Harry said he brings a lot of experience to it and they (the audience) screamed at the end which they should have. Keith said he has a great look and voice but he thinks Nick needs to believe in himself as much as America. Jennifer said she wants him to pick a song where every part of the song is undeniable. I don’t think that is really fair to the contestants because they don’t get to choose the song this week.

That leaves 2 spots for both the girls and guys left before the judges’ picks.

Jax advances (thank GOD). She sings “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles. She starts off slow and then speeds it up which is a bit different from her audition song. She reaches down to hold someone’s hand in the audience. Keith said it was very clear to see why America voted for her. He would have been fine with the whole song at the piano. Jennifer said she is just as compelling now as the first time she sang the song. Harry thinks she didn’t need a band at all. I think Jax was trying to switch it up because last week she heard that maybe she needed to branch out from her trademark style.

Qaasim Middleton is in the top 12. He is singing, “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder. He starts off slow and moves into his Qaasim style. He is a great performer. Jennifer loves his energy. She jokes, “He’s going to own all of this stage. We get it.” Harry wonders if they are going to hear an entire performance that is not just an explosion of energy. Keith said he made the best of the moment. Qaasim showed everything he could do. Keith felt that he killed it.

Clark Beckham also is in the top 12. His song was “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” by James Brown. That boy’s got soul. Jennifer is grooving to the performance. That is how Clark needs to sing EVERY WEEK. He reminded me how much I loved him. Harry said if he can take the ultimate most chauvinistic song in the world and make him forget about the message and enjoy the performance, that’s quite an accomplishment. Nice job. Keith reminds Harry that it says “it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman” in there. Keith tells Clark it was an amazing job—it was killer. Jennifer said it was so, so great and for her that was the vocal of the night—amazing.

The next person who goes straight through to the top 12 is Joey Cook! Woo-hoo! She sings “King of Spain” by The Tallest Man On Earth. I enjoyed that performed without the accordion. She is talented. She doesn’t need that as a crutch. Keith said she looked shocked to be up there and she agreed she did. Jennifer said she wondered what her performances would be like on the big stage and she thought she filled it up great. It was one of her best performances. Harry said as much as he likes her style, and she is really stylized, after what he saw today she might be finding a spot up there.

The judges save Quentin Alexander first. He sings “Royals” by Lorde. That was a smart choice. When he sings the word “royals” I got goosebumps. And then I got all misty-eyed when he started crying. Qaasim comes out and gives him a hug. Jennifer says to him, “You know that you deserve to be here.” (He does!) His emotion is part of what makes him a great artist. She cannot wait to see all the performances and all the colors they will get from him this season. Harry said his favorite part of Quentin is how deeply in touch Quentin is with his own artistry and emotion. Were there pitch problems? Did it matter so much? No. Keith said he brought a real spiritualism to that song. Keith is so glad he is here.

Keith announces the next person: Adanna Duru. Too bad they couldn’t have saved another guy. I would have picked Mark if American Idol didn’t feel constrained to splice in down evenly in gender. She sings “You and I” by Lady Gaga. There are those Bollywood hand movements again. I think I’ll just close my eyes and listen to her instead. I like her voice when she isn’t screaming for notes and notes at a time. Harry said she has to find a way to take that energy and channel it through a very specific musical place because it was really, really out of tune. If she can do that, then she’ll be fine. Jennifer said it was amazing, but the only thing she is going to have to work on is really having control of her performance. Keith said when she gets like that and she gets her fellow competitors up out of their chairs, she’s got something going on.





American Idol Season 14 Top 8 Girls Perform

11 03 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nWe get right into the mix with the announcement and performance of the first girl making it through to the top 8–Tyanna Jones. She chooses “Rockin’ Robin” by Michael Jackson to get the Motown-tribute night started. It was lovely. I think her nerves were better tonight. She was better hitting those notes. It was a fun song to start the evening. Keith thought it was a great way to kick it off. He thought it was the perfect song to play to her vocal strengths. Jennifer felt like she was in a time warp to when Motown was all the rage. Harry thought it was subtle and strong. His biggest question is what can’t she sing?

The next contestant who moves onto the top 8 is Loren Lott. She also sings a Michael Jackson song, “I Wanna Be Where You Are.” When she isn’t hitting the power notes, it was terrible (she is hitting those notes off). There is only one performance that impressed me—when she sang “Skyfall.” I think it is the tonality of her voice that bothers me. It’s just a personal preference. It is very much like her speaking voice. Jennifer said she really enjoyed that; it made her smile. She thought it was a strong vocal and strong performance. Harry feels she may have nudged the bar up a little bit. Keith thought she was really good.

Maddie Walker advances. This probably doesn’t surprise me. There is a country-block voting out there. ANOTHER Michael Jackson song (well a Jackson 5 song). Do the ladies know that there is more to Motown than just Michael Jackson? She chooses “I’ll Be There.” I don’t like it. I decided to close my eyes and just listen to it because I thought maybe I was reacting to her performance of it versus the vocal on it (because she looks terrified). It sounded a bit better that way. I know she is only 17 and needs some performance experience under her belt. The end part of the vocal about 30 seconds before the song ended was very rough. Harry said if there was any doubt she should be in this competition that has been erased. Harry points out two technical things to her. Sometimes when she holds those notes out she is dead-on but other times she goes sharp. He also teaches her about dynamic so it isn’t just loud all the time. Keith thought it was a good song choice to make it her own (Really? It sounded like Mariah Carey’s version.) He thought she looked nervous. He said if she thinks about the song she is singing, and the lyric, and forget about the execution of the vocal, those nerves will go away. Jennifer said the song takes a lot of control even if it has that innocence about it, but she did a really good job even with the nerves.

Ryan pulls out another card with another name. It’s Joey Cook!! Yay!! Finally–NOT a Michael Jackson song. It’s “Shop Around” by The Miracles. She sheds the accordion. That was a smart move. It almost has a scat kind of sound to it. I like that she made the song her own. Keith always looks forward to seeing and hearing what she does. Jennifer said she is so unique and that it’s so beautiful that someone has all that emotion and not be afraid to show it and to channel it into a performance. Harry loves her artistry, too. He feels she is very unique. His only concern is that she is so stylized that he wonders if people will grow tired of that hyperstylization. Maybe not, maybe so.

Sarina-Joi Crowe makes it (was there any doubt about THAT)? She chooses a song from The Miracles as well: “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me.” Goosebumps!!!! Major goosebumps. That was fabulous. Jennifer said she really, really sings. It is fulfilling to her. She believes in her and thinks she is the best singer here. She is super special and super gifted. Harry thinks she is terrific. She has a world-class smile. He liked the performance with the guitar but his comment to take away was intonation and pitch. I think Harry needed to give that speech to a few others and not this particular contestant. He felt the whole song was consistently flat (when I heard it back again later, I heard it then). Keith said the tone of her voice is beautiful. She also didn’t get distracted by the audience cheering where a lot of people would.

Adanna Duru makes it through. Again—what do people see in this girl? She chooses a Lionel Richie classic “Hello.” I expect Harry to criticize her for singing a ballad like he did Katherine Winston last week. Although if I have to choose between her vocal tonight and Loren Lott’s vocal, I prefer this one, until her voice cracked on that final note. And she has to stop doing those Bollywood hand gestures. They drive me nuts. Harry gives her an A-plus on singing those lyrics. On the flip side, intonation is imperative. The whole thing was out of tune. Keith said he was into the lyric. Jennifer said that she is so capable of taking the audience there emotionally but she has to choose the exact right thing to sit in her voice. Song choice has to be important.

Only two spots left. The next to last spot goes to Jax!!!! THANK GOD! She sings “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. She did her own thing with the verses but returned to the standard melody for the chorus and it gave it the real Jax vibe. Goosebumps part deux. Keith what he loves about her is her artistry. It is so original. Jennifer said she is already one of the favorites in this competition. She said making the song your own is good, but taking it so far away from the original iconic song is not. This song just didn’t work in that way. Harry said incredible voice, unbelievable charisma but he agrees with Jennifer 100%. It is a great song and he thinks the arrangement was dull. She cannot go for dull right now. I didn’t realize it until Ryan pointed it out but she was wearing the dress that broke the internet. When I see it on Jax, it is blue and black, but when I saw it on the internet it was gold and muted white.

The last person who makes it through is Alexis Gomez. She sings “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” by The Four Tops. She is singing a song I hear in my house at least 20 times a day because it is on Shark Tales, the DVD my son watches all the time. It was terrible. Jennifer said it was really out of key and it actually bothered her (which is rare for her apparently). She apologies and says it is integral. Harry says there is no doubt she deserves to be there. There were many things he did not like about that performance but she has to figure out a way to control herself emotionally. Every week will be like that. She needs to settle down and do her thing. Keith said it wasn’t a good song choice but they can figure it out from here.

My votes will go to Tyanna, Jax, Sarina-Joi Crowe and Joey Cook.





American Idol Season 14 Top 12 Girls Perform

27 02 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nTonight the top 12 girls of Season 14 perform in Detroit. First to perform is Lovey James. She sings “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic. It was a very, very rough start. Her low range is a hard place for her. I didn’t care for it. Jennifer thought it was a great start. Harry thought it was a strong job. Keith said it got better and better as the song went on (so that made it great). Again, where is the critical feedback so they can learn?

Adanna Duru is next. I’ve had mixed feelings about her along the way. She is singing “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne. I applaud her effort to make it sound different, but it was not good either. Sorry. Keith thought it was a really good performance. Jennifer thought she was going for blood. She said she will learn when she gets that excited to learn how to stay in control. Harry said when it got loud it got slightly out of control. However, the first part of that tune was the best he’s actually heard her sing. He called her dangerous.

Ohio native Alexis Gomez is next. She sings “Gunpowder and Lead” by Miranda Lambert. I don’t like country music, but that is MUCH better. The show for me starts here. That was excellent. Harry said she is so lovely and talented, but he doesn’t remember having a twang like that. He cautions her about it because it made her sound like she was imitating the record. That is a valid point. Keith loved it. He said when she isn’t comfortable playing the guitar, get rid of it. Jennifer loved it and loves her.

Joey Cook brings her accordion to the stage. I think this may not be a smart move for Idol.  That will only last so long before a judge says something about it.  She sings “Somebody Like You” by Keith Urban. That’s brave. Keith is laughing and clapping. I don’t know what the original sounds like. She has such a wonderfully unique voice. She is so quirky, too. Keith is standing up. Jennifer says to him, “I bet you never heard the song like that.” Keith lets out a “wooooo.” Jennifer said that was all of the best things about her—incredibly unique. Harry said that if Keith and he ever had a kid that is what the music would sound like. Keith said it was fantastic. She took a song and made it hers.

Katherine Winston goes next singing “Safe and Sound” by Taylor Swift featuring The Civil Wars. It was a little bumpy during those first few notes but I love her voice. Keith said it was really nice but don’t forget to feel as she is singing. Jennifer said she has a magical quality to her voice and it is special. Harry thinks she is a phenomenal vocalist but questions her song choice with respect to the show (by singing ballads)? What? Other people sing ballads. When has this been a problem? She is getting all my votes tonight just because of that bizarre comment from Harry.

Shannon Berthiaume sings “Who Knew” by P!NK. It was not good. When it speeded up, she did not keep up with the band. Oh my—make it stop. Harry said they have seen a lot of polish especially from the guys who look like they belong there. One nice thing is the fact that she is so green but that novelty is going to wear off so she needs to be more energetic and more committed to the lyrics and things like that. Keith said that P!NK is such a phenomenal singer. Her songs sound like anyone could sing them but they can’t. He did not think it was a good song choice. Jennifer said they (Harry and Keith) hit it on the nose and she is a phenomenal singer and she is here because of that.

Loren Lott sings “Note to God” by Charice. It already sounds flat when she starts. Then I liked it for awhile. Then I think I didn’t like it again. I went back and forth about it the whole entire song. Jennifer said it was very brave and good job. Harry said it was powerful. Keith said it was good and she was going to give them a run for their money.

I was looking forward to Shi Scott’s performance. She choses “Umbrella” by Rihanna. I think this was a bad song choice. Keith said it was powerful, gutsy, and it was a bold performance but she didn’t get him with that song choice. Jennifer said they didn’t get the best of her with that song. Harry said she is very talented but it wasn’t the right song for her.

Another country girl is Maddie Walker. She sings Shania Twain’s “Love Gets Me Every Time.” Parts of it were fine; parts were not, but not horribly so. There were moments when she was just under the note. Harry says that sometimes her voice sounds a lot older than she is. He thought it was a good solid performance. Keith said that out of all the Shania songs that particular one is not great to show off her abilities but there is a character in her voice that is compelling. Jennifer agrees. She didn’t think it was the right song to pick on the first night to wow America.

Sarina-Joi Crowe picks “Mamma Knows Best” by Jessie J to sing. This gave me goosebumps. I was grinning from ear to ear. She is going to go far in the competition. Jennifer said she rivaled Jessie J on that song. It was pretty impressive. Harry said that was really, really strong. Keith said it was the perfect combination of loose and tight. It was right on point.

Jax is another one of my favorites. She chooses to sing “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) by Nancy Sinatra. Goosebumps again. That was fantastic. Keith loved it. He loves her artistry and originality. Jennifer said they are so lucky to have her this year. Harry agrees and that she is one to watch. Two powerhouse performances in a row.

Tyanna Jones is another favorite. She sings “Lips Are Movin” by Meghan Trainor. It was a rough start. I think she was nervous. When she got to the chorus it got better. But it seemed like she was just under the note. I’d love to see her sing a Janelle Monae song. It was solid. Harry said she is in the ridiculously talented category. Keith said don’t be afraid to tell the band you can sing something in a slightly higher key. Jennifer said for her to just be her. There is something beautiful about her and her voice is from God himself.

The guys are much stronger this year. I had a hard time yesterday picking four for my bottom guys; I don’t have a problem here with the ladies. My bottom girls are Lovey James, Adanna Duru, Shannon Berthiaume, and Maddie Walker. My top favorites were, in order, Sarina-Joi Crowe, Jax, Tyanna Jones, Joey Cook and Katherine Winston tied for the next spot.





American Idol Season 14 Final Judgment Part 2

23 02 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nWe left off last night with a pause in discovering Hollywood Anderson’s fate. Hollywood had a mixed experience in Hollywood, some of what could have been from his slacking off. But we tune in to find Josh Sanders approaching the judges instead. He receives a no. Jennifer says, however, that she would have been a yes as she is a real fan of his. Hmmm. Harry looked a little annoyed and does say something to her but then flicks her hair and smiles.

Now we discover the answer for Hollywood Anderson. He sounded good at the House of Blues. Keith tells him he has a real gift but it is a no this year. Judging from his face, Hollywood was expecting a yes. Obviously that makes the emotion of the moment even more difficult.

Joey Cook is showcased next singing “Sweet Pea” by Amos Lee. She has such a unique sound and I hope she receives a yes. They talk about apples and oranges and that she is the kiwi of the bunch and they don’t have any kiwi. She is so surprised.

Katherine Winston sang “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac. It sounds wonderful. I especially liked the way she went up on the note for “state of mind” lyric. Jennifer felt like something magical happened when she got up to perform and she is part of the top 24.

Maddy Hudson walks the floor way to the judges. She says she didn’t anticipate the nerves she would get on stage even though she is a street performer and sings to strangers. She had a rough night at the House of Blues singing “Diamonds” by Rihanna. She sang the entire song off-key. Jennifer tells her she was a frontrunner but she needs more time to get comfortable on stage. Today is a no for going forward.

Alexis Gomez got some advice from Jennifer that she was sounding the same in every song and perhaps she should get in touch with her Mexican side or something that will help her stand out. She put a Latin twist on The Band Perry’s song “Better Dig Two”. It is nothing personal but I am not a big fan of her voice. She has the desired look for Idol and she has a country voice they also need to have a big enough mix but they were many other people with better voices who did not make it through. She makes it into the top 24.

Quentin Alexander sang “Youth” by Foxes. I have heard this song a few times. He sounded great. Keith mentions he has had some ups-and-downs in the process. They invite him into the top 24.

SAVION!!!!! Please, please let him into the top 24. I don’t know if my heart can break again. He sings “I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)” by John Mayer. Goosebumps! How CRUEL!!!! A damn commercial. Keith is terrible dragging this out. Woooooooooo Hoooooooooooo! He made it through.

People we will not be seeing this year are Jaq Mackenzie and Hunter Larsen.

Mark Andrew has his last chance for Idol and having a newborn son on top of that must exert tremendous pressure. He sings “Take Me to Church” by Hozier. I have liked some of his performances but this was okay. Some spots were rough. Harry said he has a unique sound but is he different enough? He is in! As a hard-rock vibe foes, I prefer Mark over Adam. (Postnote: I just listened to the Vevo version of the full song and he did really well. It was just what Idol edited in that didn’t sound great).

I hope Trevor Douglas makes it. At the House of Blues he sings “Burning Love” by Elvis Presley. Hmmm. I don’t think that was his best song I have heard from him. But I think he has been stellar enough to have made it. Harry says they think he could have done better too. Harry says they wonder if he will have consistency. He says 16-year-olds are unpredictable. Harry is just toying with him now. He gets a spot in the top 24.

Emily Brooke has been singing for 6-1/2 “whole years” (giggles). But she has nerve doing Keith Urban’s “Stupid Boy.” It sounded rough. She did not make it through but Jennifer said she is phenomenally talented and she hopes they see her again.

Another person who only has this year to claim a spot in Idol is Nick Fradiani. He sings “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” by Train. He sounded great. He is in.

Sarina-Joi Crowe is next and has been at this point three times before. I got goosebumps as she sang “Big White Room” by Jessie J. This is her year!!! She is in.

Qaasim Middleton is quite the character. And he is from Brooklyn (born there baby) He sings “Satisfaction” by Allen Stone. Not only can this young man sing but he entertains as well. He had Jennifer chair-dancing. Keith and Jennifer were standing up at the end. I can just fast-forward through this because he is in. He vows to get Harry standing up by Jennifer tells him he never stands so don’t worry about that—only Keith and her stand. Hmmm I will have to check my notes on that because I think he stood up once at least.

Ricky Dale Hendricks and Riley Bria are going up against each other for the final spot. Riley performed with Keith on stage at the 2012 American Country Awards. Ricky sang “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Alan Jackson. He seemed to be just over the note. Riley sings “Love This Pain” by Lady Antebellum. He did a better job. Riley gets the spot.

Jelly Joseph goes up against Shi Scott. Jelly had a panic attack at the House of Blues. Her song “Bang, Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj. It was rough. Shi doesn’t have a lot of experience singing in public and has a lot of nerves every time she does. But when she sings the right song, she is phenomenal. She too has a unique voice. She sings “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder. She slays it. I think Shi has the slot. And I am right.

What an amazing top 24 with a diverse amount of talent and sounds.