American Idol S15 Top 4 Revealed

26 03 2016

I’ll have to catch up another time with last week’s Idol. I did see Tristan McIntosh was the one to go home. My life is insane right now during tax time.

Legendary Steven Van Zandt mentored the contestants this week. The first contestant through to the final 4 comes as no surprise – La’Porsha Renae. I LOVE her new hairdo. Now she looks like a rock star. They have to sing hard-rock songs this week. She chose Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.” I don’t think there is anything she cannot sing. She is amazing. Keith said she killed it. She brought out the blue undertones of the song and it was really good. Jennifer said her voice is so undeniable she could sing the phone book. Harry says her ability as a singer transcends every genre. Her vibrato was in time and he had never heard anyone do that before.

MacKenzie Bourg chose “I Want You to Want Me” by Cheap Trick. He started out a little pitchy. I like that he tried to do something different with the song, but there were sections where the band swallowed him up. But his pitch problems remained throughout the song. Jennifer is not sure if she liked how he “MacKenzied” it. It wasn’t as exciting as she wanted it to be. Harry thought it was alright. His vocal was fine but it wasn’t one of his favorite ones. Keith hated the arrangement.

David Cook returned to the Idol stage to sing “Heartbeat.” I really liked it. The beginning of the song though sounded like bits and pieces of his other songs.

Trent Harmon made it through to the final four. He chose “Sharp Dressed Man” by ZZ Top. The first verse was very Louisiana deep-blues sounding.  He kept the chorus familiar for the audience. I loved everything about this. Jennifer and Keith were on their feet. Harry said he was so content with the groove in the beginning. In concert, he could have sung the same song twice. It was really smart. Keith said it was so freaking good. At this point they need a song to show off their attributes and it was a 10 out of 10. Jennifer said she has been waiting for him to have this performance. It was perfect.

Sonika and Dalton stood together to hear the results of the final person who makes it through to the top 4. I hope it is Dalton. AND IT IS!!!!!! He was going to sing one song, but it never really came together so he went with his backup song, “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys. This is NOT a hard rock song. After what I saw with Trent, this is kind of anticlimactic. For me to say that is tough because I’m a big Dalton fan. Keith said it was as pure as it gets. Jennifer said it is great that he took the advice. It was a really good moment for him. Harry said this one was the most complex harmonically and vulnerability. It wasn’t about a strong vocal but for him to get completely into the lyrics and he did that.

Katharine McPhee returned to sing “Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland.

Sia was the mentor in the second half of the show. I enjoyed getting to know her more on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke.

La’Porsha is up first. Sia was blown away by La’Porsha’s rendition of her song “Diamonds” on a previous show. She chose “Elastic Heart” tonight. I loved the drum accompaniment, too. I loved it. Jennifer said she feels like she isn’t doing a job anymore. It’s so nice to watch. She has grown. Harry asked her if she sang in her head voice before and she said no. He says he feels like he is a passenger in a NASCAR seat when she sings. Keith said it is beautiful to come in with raw talent turn into a performer. He feels like he is at an award show watching her do an original song.

MacKenzie chose “Titanium.” I liked this song better than the first-round song. He took Sia’s advice and went for the falsetto for the high note on the first go-round and then took the note down later. Harry said it was nice. He gave him advice not to make it about a single note. Keith liked it as a singer/songwriter moment. Jennifer said there is more that he can do with his voice. Life doesn’t begin until you are out of your comfort zone.

Sia performed “Cheap Thrills.” She is such a performance artist with the dancers who work with her and how she presents in her songs in such a unique way.

Trent chose “Chandelier.” Wow. I really loved what he did to this song. I had goosebumps, more than Sia’s goosebumps on her legs. These were full-body goosebumps. I’m speechless. He has had a stellar evening with two fantastic songs. Keith thought it was beautiful. It played to everything he has that is so special to him. It was exquisite and he loved every minute of it. Jennifer said the voice is consistent but the wardrobe is like two. Harry thought it was phenomenal. He felt Trent was completely in another world with that. He gives it a 100 out of 100. (Wow, you can’t get higher praise than that).

Geeze, Dalton. I would hate to follow that. Dalton chose “Bird Set Free.” They discussed how they are both bipolar. It was a touching moment. I got goosebumps. That was a great performance for him. He was so emotional and I started crying with him. Jennifer said it is beautiful to watch him. He touches their hearts but especially tonight. Harry said this song was the best match up. He sure liked it. Keith said he is up against some insane singers, but he is always pushing through his limitations. It’s so inspiring.

I think Trent, La’Porsha and Dalton deserve the top 3. I have enjoyed MacKenzie’s work, but his growth hasn’t been as much as the others and I really haven’t seen him take risks other than try to make songs different acoustically. Also, I don’t see him as a book-end to Kelly Clarkson to close out American Idol.





American Idol S15 Top 8 Revealed

8 03 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The person going through is Avalon Young.

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





American Idol S15 Hollywood Week No 2: Group Night

4 02 2016

Only 108 contestants remain after round 1 of solo performances.   It’s the dreaded group night that begins at 3:21 p.m. on the day before performance. They need to break up in groups of 3 to 4.

Scott Borchetta is going to be around for group to give them much needed feedback along with the vocal coaches of American Idol. He is telling it like it is; one group he told if they did what they did for him they are definitely going home tomorrow.

Shelbie Z, Marlena, and Tonie were struggling. Instead of trying to work it out, Shelbie walked off and left her group in search of another. Whether or not that was a wise move is yet to be determined. Shelbie sort of comes off as conceited a bit; I felt that way when she was on The Voice. Christian, who is in another group, overhears their dilemma, and he goes back to his group, who has four members, to see if someone would be willing to move to Marlena and Tonie’s group. Christian talks with La’Porsha, Malie and Manny. Malie doesn’t want to split up. And La’Porsha originally agreed, but then had a change of heart because she could not get them out of her head. Manny and Malie felt blindsided by that decision.

Dalton and Kassy were looking for their third member, Poh Scott. But the pressure was too much for this young lady and her father informs a crew member that she just can’t do this. They have to search for another group or a stray person who needs a group.

Team Blue Eyes consist of Jordan Sasser, Kory Wheeler, Kelsie Watts, and Jenna Renae. Their song is “Treasure” by Bruno Mars. The boys were stronger on this but the girls were close behind and Kelsie belted out this wonderful high note that would make Mariah Carey proud. They tell Jenna and Jordan to step forward and then do a fake-out and put all 4 of them through.

Milk & Cookies practiced in the toilet stall because the acoustics to them were better.   They chose “Drag Me Down” by One Direction. The ladies who make up the group are Jenn Blosil, Bri Ray, Lynnzee Faye and Sara Strum. Jenn reminds me too much of Joey Cook from last year. I thought they sounded nice together and no one forgot the lyrics. The choreography was bizarre. Keith tries to play them by saying “when I call your name please step forward” and follows with “who am I kidding, you’re all going through.”

The next group is “Ooh x 2” who choose “Need to Breathe” by Alex Clare. Amelia Eisenhauer, Tristan McIntosh, Lee Jean, and an unknown person. They are through to the next round.

Another group was composed of Avalon Young and a few others. They sang “DJ Got Us Falling in Love Again” by Usher and Harry complimented her that she could be in a video for that right now. They are through to the next round.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell was in another group. “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum. Harry told her that she made the lyric the most important thing. She and her two group mates are through to the next round.

Chynna Sherrod is in the next group which chose “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit to sing. Terrian is also in the group. It’s unclear if any made it through.

Trent Harmon was diagnosed with mono while he is there. He was cleared to continue in the competition, but he has to avoid spreading it, so no group rounds for him. His group name is called “Just Trent.”   He also sings “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit. He has a very unique voice and I give him kudos for staying because this is the last chance for Idol. Harry jokes and he says, “I know one thing about that song; it sounds better in mono.” People groan. But Trent is through to the next round.

Michelle Marie and Lindsey Carrier of “Singing Out Loud” (with Ashley Lusk). After 5 hours, they decide on a song and pick up the defector Shelbie Z. Michelle was off pitch at the beginning part of that song and I’m just going to frank at this point—I don’t know how she is still in this competition with all these other more talented female voices other than she has a personality that makes her likable. They were singing “Undo It” by Carrie Underwood. They didn’t blend well as a group. Shelbie Z has a good voice without a doubt. Jennifer thought it was a good group job. Shelbie Z also has resting bitchy face. LOL. Ashley, Michelle, and Shelbie Z are through and Lindsey is going home.

Elvie Shane, Zach Person, Jessica Cabral and another person I don’t remember formed a group and they sang “Too Close” by Alex Clare. They were admonished that they looked tired and it came through, but this is what it is really like and their job is not to let the audience see that. Elvie is going home.

Ashley Lilinoe looked exhausted and seemed to not know the lyrics of her group’s song “Renegades” by X Ambassadors. Mackenzie Bourg did well. Juno, MacKenzie and Kayla are going through; Ashley is going home.

Cameron Richard was part of a group singing “Too Close” by Alex Clare. It wasn’t good enough and the judges send him home.

Chicken Noodle Soup’s Dalton Rapattoni and Kassy Levels lost their group member Poh Scott. The group “NV” consisted of Sonika Vaid, Andrew Nazarbekian, Stephany Negrete and Anatalia Villaranda.   Anatalia’s mom takes matters into her own hands and tries to convince the group that her daughter is not the problem; it’s the song. According to Anatalia, her group left her so she is looking for another group. She joined Chicken Noodle Soup. But Dalton found out that that the other members said she was not kicked out; Anatalia left.  Chicken Noodle Soup sang “Treasure” by Bruno Mars. I thought Dalton and Kassy sounded great. I’m a little iffy on Anatalia. But their voices complimented each other. All three are going through.  NV chose “Problem” by Arianna Grande. Sonika Vaid sounded good. Stephany Negrete sounded great. Andrew Nazarbekian has a crazy voice. They sounded great as a group. Keith felt Stephany was the only one who looked like a performer. They are all going through as well.

Josiah Siska, Jaci Butler, and Brian Dale Brown were sent home because they didn’t have great dance moves.

The next group “Trick or Treat Tribe” consisted of Kylle Thomasson, Kacye Haynes, Jon Klaasen, and Marcio Donaldson. They chose “Uptown Funk” by Mark Bronson. I think Kylle maybe sounded the best out of the four, but I’m not feeling them as a group. Keith thought they did good. Jennifer thought the same. Harry thought it was a good to see people feel rhythm. They are through to the next round.

Smooth Soul chose “Domino” by Jessie J. Joy Dove, Daniel Farmer, and Lindita. Lindita was all over the place. Harry said he was surprised Joy let Lindita do that. It is a competition. Joy and Lindita are through and Daniel is going home.

Eliz Camacho, Gianna Isabella, and Dana Ordway had issues being a group because of the overbearing personality of Eliz. She decided what song they were going to sing and then went to bed for the night. Eliz said for herself that she considered them backup singers that are going to let her rock it. Michael said it was one of the worst they have seen so far. If she even makes it through, Eliz is not going to win over America’s hearts that that piss-poor attitude. You can want to do your best without belittling others. “Hit ‘Em Style (Oops)” by Blu Cantrell. Jennifer said there was obvious tension that could be felt in the performance. This was supposed to be about collaborating. Gianna and Dana go through and Eliz was dismissed. But she goes away with conceited words, not learning a thing–humility.

The Good Vibes consist of Alesana Tolai, Jessica Paige, Olivia Thai, and Joe Dahman. They were singing “Me and My Broken Heart” by Rixton.   They all have nice voices. Some forgot the lyrics. It sounded off though. Not exactly sure where. Harry said there was no joy in their performance. Jessica is the only one going through.

CJ Johnson, Jess Kellner, Jessica Baker, and Zach Joseph sang “Renegades” by X Ambassadors. They were lively and sounded great. Harry said it was a great group song but it didn’t show him which one of them were a superstar. CJ, Jess, and Jessica are through and Zach is going home.

Thomas Muglia, Joey Hendricks, Bryson Dunn, and Thomas Stringfellow also did “Renegades.” It sounded kind of depressing. Thomas Stringfellow was the one who stood out for me. Harry looked like he was falling asleep during the performance. Both Thomases were through to the next round.

Rebirth including Manny Torres, Malie Delgado, Christian Eason chose “Too Close” by Alex Clare.   Malie was suffering from pretty bad laryngitis. Keith gives them a standing ovation. The audience was clapping as the song was playing. All three of them go through and Jennifer said it was one of the best groups of the day.

Staying Alive” by The Bee Gees is the song. Soul Catz included Laurel Wright, Marshall Cunningham, Drew Angus, and John Arthur Greene. They forgot the lyrics. I would say when choosing a group song, you should go with the song that has the least amount of words to have to remember. There are a lot of words in that song. Keith felt none of them took charge. Harry says, “If you forget the lyrics and turn around to ask for help – bad move.” Marshall and Laurel are through.

The last group round number ever for American Idol was performed by The Sistas (Tonie Starr, Marlena Johnson and La’Porsha Renae) who also chose “Staying Alive” by The Bee Gees.   Even though Marlena messed up and substituted gibberish, they had stage presence and sounded like they blended well with each other). Harry said, “That is how you forget words.” The three are through to the next round.





American Idol Season 14 Top 2 Finalists Revealed

13 05 2015

The final 2 are revealed right out of the gate tonight. Between two of them the percentage is 0.4% (but they didn’t say if that percentage was between the top 2 or the bottom 2). The person leaving the competition tonight is…..WHAT THE???? Jax???????? No fracking way. Scott Borchetta–Sign her NOW!!!!! I am heartbroken. She has superstar written all over her. That still will be her fate.

Round 1: Contestant’s Favorite Song from the Season

I never liked this category. I would prefer to see something like “pick the song you did your worst on and here is your chance to improve it”–a variation of a theme I enjoy on Project Runway.

Clark picked “Georgia on My Mind” by Ray Charles from his repertoire on Idol, which is a song he did very well on a very long time ago. And it is exactly the same right down to the same head movements and eye tics. Not saying that is a bad thing but I like to hear and see something a little different not just from Clark but from anyone. Keith said it was like flapjacks drenched in syrup–southern and soulful. Jennifer said he was reminding them why he is here. She thought it was better than the first time he sang it which she didn’t think was possible. Harry David there is always an undercurrent of drive with him that he always wants to push it. It was a great way to start the show. Clark is a really nice guy (so it seems). I don’t begrudge him a win, but I think Jax is more current and unique.

Nick picked “Bright Lights” by Matchbox Twenty. I definitely think this is better than the first time he sang it. He took all the comments the judges gave him and applied it. Nick also brought the intensity up a notch. It was fabulous. I felt like I was watching a rock concert. Jennifer said that when Simon Fuller was thinking up this competition all those years ago, he was probably thinking of someone like him, someone who can be a true American Idol–someone who has the voice, who has the look, who has the presence–who has everything it takes–of what an American Idol would be. That was another performance that brought him up to another level. Harry said his (Harry’s) time was short so it was fabulous and people need to vote. Keith said the audience’s reaction says it all. It isn’t about having a great voice and being a great performer, it is about “can I relate to you?” Keith said he can relate to him.

Objectively in my opinion round 1 goes to Nick. Jennifer thinks it was a tie for round 1. Ryan says it is a cop-out to say it but she can. She refuses to change her mind despite the pressure by the audience to make the choice.

Round 2: Simon Fuller’s Choice

Simon Fuller chooses Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” for Clark to perform. I remember when this put Kris Allen into the category of a serious contender. And right when he starts to sing, a child abduction alert cuts him off my TV. I heard the last 15 seconds of it do I cannot tell you how I feel about it. Harry said it took a lot of guts to sing a slow song first and follow it up with another slow song. It was an inward, soulful performance. It was great. Keith said it was fantastic. Jennifer said the audience wants to know–who was he singing that to? It was awesome, beautiful, heartfelt, amazing.

Update: I found it posted on You Tube. It really was amazing.

For Nick, Simon picks “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz. I think this is the first time I have seen him at piano. It was lovely. It is a hard song to sing and to sing it well like that is impressive. I think I would have taken the last chorus up a step into a key change for impact. Keith mentioned the piano as well. He thought it was incredible. His heart and soul were connected. It was beautiful. Jennifer said she loved the way he sounded on that. She feels like Clark and he are toe to toe on this. Harry said he just lays it all out there on an emotional level and that is huge; they could feel it in the room.

Round 2 for me is undecided since I didn’t get to hear much of Clark’s performance This definitely goes to Clark. Ryan asks Harry who won round 2. Harry says, “It’s a tie.” Jennifer choked him. Harry said this is why–unquestionably Nick won the first round and unquestionably Clark won the second round.

Round 3: Winner’s Song (the song the winner will release).

If Clark wins, the song he is going to release is called “Champion.” I like the song, but I think it reinforces for me that Clark can sing songs others have created better than he can sell a new song. I truly love the lyrics and it could be a new anthem song, but it was lacking for me the passion of a winner. He sang it well but it was awkward in the delivery. The end part is where he found his magic but like he has been told all season, he has to channel the passion he finds at the end into the entire song. An anthem song needs to involve the audience. They can be involved even if they have never heard the song before. Jennifer said he sounded great on it; it is going to be a tough night. Harry said it was good but it obvious it is a new song and Nick will have the same disadvantage. Keith said the song was a great song. The song is inspiring. (I am noticing they are not saying much about his delivery of a new song though).

If Nick wins, his song will be “Beautiful Life.” When Clark was performing, it again was an inward type of performance. Nick worked the stage and looked comfortable doing so. He had the audience eating out of his hands. That was perfect and I am going to go buy that right now. Jennifer said before Harry commented that felt great. Harry said he really enjoyed it and it was really, really strong but he got lucky because it sounded like it was tailor-written for him and that is a big, big deal. Jennifer said it felt amazing. Her favorite part was when the audience was moving along with him with their hand up in the air, and he pulled the mic away and was like “wow.” it was him in the moment. That is what is beautiful about him and the way he performs. She loved it. Keith said this is the kind of song people will go out and buy. Keith wants to buy the record and see him in concert.

Round 3 for me hands down goes to Nick. Ryan asked which one of the night was their favorite. Clark picks the round 1 choice (which he has probably sung so many times I’m his life. Nick picks the last. That kind of tells me that Clark likes the stay in the comfort of the past. Nick looks forward. Ryan asks Keith who won round 3. He leans a little bit into Nick’s camp by a narrow margin.

Clark sings like a street performer (watch me, like my voice, drop money for me, I will perform for you). Nick performs like “you’ve paid for a ticket and I’m not going to make you regret that; this is an interaction between us).

My Jax votes will go to Nick. I also downloaded his song. As I type this up this morning, Nick’s song is 31 on the ITunes chart and Clark’s song is 41.





American Idol Season 14 Top 3 Revealed

12 05 2015

The Idol contestants returned to their hometowns during the past week. Next week is the finale. Tonight consists of three rounds. Round 1 picks will be the choices of Scott Borchetta. Round 2 will be the hometown dedications. Round 3 will be the judges’ picks.

Round 1–Scott Borchetta Picks the Song

Rayvon performs first. Scott chose “Want to Want Me” by Jason Derulo. It sounded a bit breathless doing all the falsetto which made him sound out of tune sometimes. It was nice though seeing him do an up-tempo song after so many ballads. I wasn’t sure about all the whooping noises he was doing. All in all I enjoyed it quite a bit. Keith thought it was such a great song choice for him. Jennifer thought it was perfect for his tone. Harry thought it was the best he has done on an up-tempo song. And then I heard singing coming from somewhere and Keith Urban decided to continue singing.

Clark’s song this week from Scott is “Beautiful Day” by U2. I liked his spiky hair. I got goosebumps. I haven’t gotten that from Clark in a long time. THIS is why you need to listen to people more experienced than you Clark. And it looked like he had FUN! Jennifer said Scott is 2 for 2 and she thought Clark did a really good job with it and it was a really good performance. Harry thought it was pretty good. Harry thought he needed to keep the emotion throughout the entire song. For example, he delivered the smile when he got to the chorus but he wasn’t getting the same vibe from the verses. Keith thought he should have risen up a little bit to the band. He hit the three-mile mark but needed to deliver the whole song.

Scott chose “Because the Night” by Bruce Springsteen for Nick. Major GOOSEBUMPS! I loved it!!!!! Harry thought it was fantastic. Keith said he looks forward to hearing his voice every week. Jennifer said she cannot stress enough about connection to a song.  It was the perfect song. He sang it great and they felt the energy but she just wanted more of a connection to the lyrics.

The song picked for Jax was “My Generation” by The Who. I love that she understands the performance aspect of it. It was fabulous. She WORKS that stage! I think she wins this round. Keith was woo-hoo-ing. Keith said it was friggin’ awesome. When she went up to the key change that is when the song exploded. That was her best performance right there. Jennifer 100% agreed. It was the perfect song for her. She had the whole audience with her. She had her with her and Keith and Harry. She killed that. Harry said she absolutely made the most of her opportunity there. It makes his heart happy. She is listening; she is growing. By far it was the best performance she has done.

Jennifer called Jax the winner of round 1.

Round 2: Hometown Dedications

The first featured contestant is Nick. Jennifer wiped a tear from her eye at the end of the footage. On stage back at Idol, he is singing “Back Home” by Andy Grammer. I bet you Harry will talk about wanting him to sing a bit more in the pocket. He got the audience involved. It was nice. Jennifer said it was another great song from him. Harry said sometimes a critique isn’t warranted and these are one of those cases. It was very strong again. Keith loved it too.

Next up is Clark. The hometown dedication is Otis Redding “(Sittin’ On) The Dock on the Bay.” The song had a good vibe and the very end was nice, but I am thinking that even with his fabulous voice, he doesn’t have that extra oomph that Jax has and Nick has now becoming comfortable with. Harry said he liked the video because he got to know him. He thought it was a nice performance. Keith said it still needs that little bit of something to make him feel. It had too much veneer and not enough angst. Jennifer thought this was his soul and it was a really good performance. She felt his heart on it.

Rayvon‘s hometown visit was showcased next. The hometown dedication song is “As” by Stevie Wonder. No goosebumps but it was entertaining. Keith said the song was effortless. Jennifer said the way he looked and how he was singing all sounded perfect to her. Harry said that when he saw him singing and dancing at the school in the hometown piece, that is what he wanted to see. He looked great up there. To see him mesh the vocals, the joy and the musicality–that really did it for him.

The last hometown visit belongs to Jax. She chose one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands, “My Immortal” by Evanescence. I love Jax but this was not one of my favorites from her. Jennifer said she loved it. She thinks Jax has a humility and confidence about her that is integral to being a superstar. Harry says that he defers to what Jennifer said and it was fantastic. Keith didn’t get to talk at all.

Keith thinks that Rayvon took round 2.

Round 3:  Judges’ Picks

The judges picked “Earned It” from the Soundtrack of Fifty Shades of Grey by Weeknd. They wanted Clark to do something modern in that bluesy tone. It sounded out of pitch at times especially when he sang “Girl you’re perfect.”  By the end, however, I did get goosebumps. Harry said one of the things he could have done to make that better is to take whatever he found at the end of that song and infuse it into the rest of the song. If he can find that intensity (which does not mean loud but intense) he would have knocked it out of the park. Harry is booed. Keith said he heard, felt and saw things he hadn’t seen from Clark before. It was very good. Jennifer said there is the Weeknd version of it and then there is a Clark version of it. She thought he did a great job with it and she was really proud of him. Towards the end it got electric and that is what you want to feel from the very first moment. She did get the goosies at the end.

Rayvon was assigned “You Are So Beautiful” by the late Joe Cocker by the judges. I had goosebumps from the start–goosebumps up the wazoo. Keith said it was a beautiful song for him and a beautiful arrangement. Jennifer liked it too, but she wanted him to sing to his mom again because something else happens. There are just so many lyrics in the song and the only variation comes with emotion. It was a beautiful arrangement. Beautiful, silky voice as usual. Harry said he disagrees–he felt like Rayvon was singing it emotionally. The arrangement was really smart.

The judges chose “Misery Business” by Paramore for Jax. That was…odd. Keith said it was an unusual arrangement. She sang it phenomenally. He said if she was going to go with an acoustic then change the vocal arrangement. The band was acoustic and she was rocking it out. It didn’t mesh together for him. Jennifer said they picked it because it meshed with her personality but to pull it back that far, they were like, “What happened?” Harry said that one wasn’t as strong as the previous two. As the lead singer she needs to drive whatever is on stage but she was using Hafa the guitar player as a crutch. She was looking away from the audience when she needed to perform for the audience. Jennifer added it was the week before the finale and it was about stealing the show. She yelled at her,”JAX STEAL THE SHOW!”

Nick was given “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain. A few goosebumps. It was decent. It was a great song for him. I still didn’t feel like he was singing it to anyone. Good solid performance, good solid vocal. I think it should be Jax, Rayvon and Nick in the final 3 because commercially speaking Nick will sell more records because of his unique sound. Clark is talented but his look is too clean cut. I could imagine him putting out a country CD or a gospel CD (I almost feel like him singing to God would tap into a deeper connection. Taylor Hicks had a bluesy vibe and although he went in to later success in Vegas, his CD was one of the worst selling. I don’t think bluesy is the way to go for him, especially with the market so saturated with Sam Smith.  But back to Nick.  Harry said that it was a good vocal but what was better is that he sang the underbelly of what those lyrics mean at least to him. Harry said he nailed that song. Keith said he pictures him as a rock singer/songwriter. If that was an original song and he cut it, that would be a hit. Jennifer said it was so perfect. It was amazing.

Harry thinks Nick won that round. (And Clark didn’t win any round).

Top 3 Revealed

And now for the announcement of the top 3. Nick is the first name called. Then…WHAT???? Clark! No, no, no. This is not right in so many ways. Now the final spot is between Rayvon and Jax. And it is Jax.

My words to Rayvon: The opportunities will present themselves and you will have to work your butt off but sometimes NOT winning is actually a blessing. You will have much more artistic freedom. Look at Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Katharine McPhee, and Kellie Pickler. I cried at your farewell montage.

My words to Scott Borchetta: If you know what’s good for you, you will sign this talented young man.





American Idol Season 14 Top 4 Revealed

5 05 2015

Tonight the “fan save” is no longer in play. The contestants have to sing a song from the judges’ hometowns–Nashville, New York, or New Orleans. The second song is what best captures the contestant’s soul. Russell Crowe delivers the results for the night (odd choice).

Clark Beckham gets the first spot in the top 4 which secures one of the hometown visits for him. He chose “Living for the City” by Stevie Wonder. That was really excellent. I like that he let go. It was good to see that he listened to the advice that the judges were giving other contestants last week about finding the moments to make it more special, like including the audience. Keith said it was a great opening to the show. He felt like Clark could have actually stayed at the piano once he went over there. Jennifer said it sounded really good, too. She thinks when he has his instruments it has a different groove that being away from that does–that it isn’t quite there yet. Harry said it was a solid performance. He needs to find the pocket and sing in that even more so when he is not playing an instrument. Jennifer added that he needs to manipulate the adrenaline to his favor.

Jax has a spot for the hometown visit. She sings “Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down” by Alicia Keys. She could not go wrong with a song that means so much to her. It ended a bit oddly though. I thought she was pausing for a final note or something. Jennifer said she tripped her up at the end there–was she done or not done? Jennifer thinks Jax finally believes that she can win the competition. Jennifer isn’t sure if it was the best song choice but she does see her potential to take the whole thing. Harry really dug the performance. He asked her if she was a bit hoarse tonight and she sort of said yes but downplayed it. He liked that she just sang through it. Keith loved the song for her. Even though she may not be at 100% her talent powers through.

Nick Fradiani gets the next spot. I have always thought his voice sounded like Rob Thomas from Matchbox Twenty and he finally decided to do one of their songs “Bright Lights.” he has really grown since the auditions. I would buy his CD. He really let loose tonight as well. I liked this performance the best so far tonight. Harry thought it was the most comfortable performance by far that he has done. He thought he sang the heck out of it. Keith said he keeps going up and up every time he performs. He is getting stronger and better. Jennifer said he was peaking at the right time. It was Nick at his best.

Harry Connick Jr performed “City Beneath The Sea.”

Will Tyanna be through to the hometown visits or Rayvon? This is tough for me. I always thought Tyanna was going to make it to the top 3. Rayvon is a bit more seasoned but he has had ups and downs especially with not being able to make a real emotional connection as of late, but the last two weeks he has really done better with that. It is Rayvon. But they say goodbye to Tyanna and for the first time this season, Harry stands up to applaud her. They surprise her by giving her a package of her time at Idol, the first one this season. Like a pro, she takes the stage to sing “Run The World (Girls)” by Beyonce. What a fantastic way to finish the show.

Rayvon tackled a country tune “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum. I got goosebumps–little ones but they were forming. Keith said he would have preferred less of the dramatics and more of the heart. Jennifer said the connection has to be there before the acting and the acting will feel real because it won’t be acting. Harry said that singers tend to overdramatize a lyric. He felt he was 100% on point with the delivery of the lyric. Harry thought he sang the pants off of it.

Round 2 is about the song of the contestant’s soul (or the gravy song). Jay DeMarcus from Rascal Flatts and Martina McBride were the mentors for this area. Martina takes the stage to sing her version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” It was pretty. And only Keith stood up to applaud.

Clark has been one of Scott’s favorite to win since the beginning but he gave a reality check to Clark. Jay said there is no doubt he can sing the crap out of the song, but where is his soul of the man delivering the song. (This has been a frequent criticism of the judges to Clark as well). Scott said they have argued about this–if he loses this competition it is because he is doing the wrong things. Clark came back saying that if this (the song) makes him lose the competition then he doesn’t want to win it. Scott said, “Fair enough.” Jay then said the only thing he would encourage him to do then in his position is to listen to the folks that he has been blessed enough to have put around you. Clark turns red. Scott adds “This isn’t American Musician. Okay? It isn’t. You keep throwing all these chords–all this stuff. You are on the fast track to a Holiday Inn with this kind of music. I don’t know what I have to do to make you understand.” Clark says at the end of the day he has to take what works for him and what he thinks as an artist is the best. Scott says, “Well…live by the sword my friend.” Jay said he respects his resolve. He doesn’t think it is going to work out for him, but he respects his resolve. This is not good. If Clark was good enough on his own not to need help, he would have already been on the charts. I think if I was Scott, I would see TROUBLE ahead if he won’t take the advice on songs in this competition. What would it be like for him to win? All I could see is a future of head butting. And a record company investing millions of dollars in someone is not going to tolerate that. I can tell you that the judges, seeing this, is not going to make them happy going into the song. He sings “Your Man” by Josh Turner. Oh no! It’s the Scotty song! Scott and Jay were right. He is singing the song really well. I think he thinks that squinting his eyes translates into showing his soul. But for me I liked that the song sounded different from the original or even Scotty McCreery’s version, but the emotion fell flat. I want the Clark back from the auditions. Jennifer thought he sang it well. Is this his gravy song? She thinks to his earlier songs and how they blew them away and this didn’t do that. Harry says it boils down to extremely hyperspecific song choice. The song was kind of tepid. Keith said he needs hit singles right now because he has the voice. Clark says he has no regrets singing that song. He talks about those minor chords being sexy and Harry chimes in that if he thinks it is sexy, sing it sexy. Clark felt he needed to clarify what he said in the package that he just believes this is what he is meant to play. Jennifer added that as an entertainer it is also his responsibility of creating an amazing moment for his audience. Keith said don’t confuse people liking him with the music that he is playing. If he gets it right they will love all of it.

Jax was mentored by Martina McBride. Martina had no noted for her. She loved it. She sings “Human” by Christina Perri. Finally some goosebumps. Serious goosebumps. That was awesome! Harry said “I think they liked it.” He said this was a perfect example of the technical versus the emotional. There were pitch issues all over the place but he felt what she was doing. She completely let herself go. Ultimately that trumps everything. Keith said it was such a perfect song because right now she is fragile-only human. He could see it. It was perfect tonight; she killed it. Jennifer said she loved it too. She loves that she connects to different people in the audience. That is what music should feel like. It was really great. Harry joked that he was worried they lost her in the clouds and that he was going to dive in to get her.

Steven Tyler wants to sing with Jax at the finale and she is ecstatic.

Rayvon had a great mentoring session with Jay and Scott. Scott tells him that was the best performance all season that they have had with a mentoring session. Rayvon dedicated “Believe” by Justin Bieber to his mother. I got goosebumps. Major goosebumps!! And tears. He made me cry. Keith said he sang phenomenally just then but the most incredible thing was watching his mom–she was at church–whew my boy! It was beautiful. Jennifer said that is what she is talking about–see the difference between what you did before and now. He said yes. She said that he has to do that every single time. She was crying, everybody was crying. Harry said there were about 15 people who wrote that song and each would have been very happy to have heard him sing that. Ryan invites mom up to the stage to give her son a hug.

Last up is Nick Fradiani and he takes on Rascal Flatts song “What Hurts The Most” and Jay picked up a guitar and joined in. Scott approved of his song choice. Jay tells Nick he has to go for the jugular–this is no time to back off. Jay suggests he just sing at the microphone versus being “that band guy.” he looked really awkward about singing without an instrument and I think he was trying to sing as if he did have an instrument. It was a bit distracting and didn’t allow me to fully get into the song with him. I still think he did a better job than Clark. Jennifer said she was going to go out on a limb and say he was the star of the night. Harry said he could hear him singing that on his CD. He thought it sounded great and he thought he killed it. Keith thinks his fans are going to show their support by making that climb the ITunes chart.

For me, tonight it was Rayvon, then Jax, then Nick, then Clark. In my opinion, Clark is in trouble.





American Idol Season 14 Top 6 Perform, 1 Goes Home

23 04 2015

Tonight is Arena Anthems night on Idol. The top 5 are only going to be on the tour? That’s new. The final fan save happens tonight.

The first person who has a spot on the tour is Jax. She sings “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet. I liked the energy. The vocals weren’t perfect but they were Jax. Keith said “Wow! That’s the way to open a show.” Keith said it was great at the end (took her awhile to let loose). Jennifer thought it was a great way to open the show. Harry said in the last few weeks he has gotten a glimpse of what it would be like with her touring. He said if it was like this performance, he would have a helluva time at the show. This was strong.

The next person performing is Nick Fradiani. He sings “Harder To Breathe” by Maroon 5. I was expecting not to like it, but it was actually very good. You have to understand my deep affection for Adam Levine. For me no one else can do better than the original, but Nick came very close. Jennifer said he gets more and more comfortable each time she watches. She gave him some advice about audience participation and that they were ready. In the end it is a party for them and you are leading it. Perfect song, he sounded great–just a missed opportunity. Harry thought that was pretty scary for the other people in the competition because he is one of these guys who is doing what they had hoped–he is getting better every week. It was a great song for him and it was terrific. Keith thought it was a really great song choice. He wants him to consider performance and centering.

Clark Beckham is also through. He chooses “Yesterday” by The Beatles. It started off rough but he found his groove halfway through. He didn’t make an emotional connection. He looked terrified. It is odd that Nick was the person in the beginning that was closed off, and Clark was better at it. Maybe following Nick did something to Clark’s psyche. The ending had pitch problems. Really bad pitch problems. I don’t think I have ever heard that from Clark before. Harry said he liked that he didn’t use any high notes gratuitously; they matched up perfectly with the lyrics. Harry thought it was terrific. Keith thought it was beautiful. He shouldn’t feel like he has to be so contained. Jennifer agrees with both of them.

Tyanna is next to make it through which means Quentin and Rayvon go up together for the fan save. She chose “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus. That was a good choice for someone as young as she is. That was fun! There were a lot of pitch issues, however, in her lower range. I love her new hairdo! Keith said it was fun and he doesn’t recall seeing that side before. Jennifer said she felt that she was more comfortable than she has been in a long time. She liked this song choice and felt she did a really great job with it. Harry said it was so smart to choose that song. He thought she killed it.

Quentin Alexander is up first for the fan save. He sings “Light My Fire” by The Doors. I enjoyed that a lot. It was the lighter side of Quentin. Jennifer said they all thought it was great but she is always wanting some vocal POW. Harry said he liked that he sang it conservatively on that and he thought it was a great arrangement. It sounded cool. Keith said he swims in his own stream. Quentin is definitely not plankton. (What? Plankton?)

Rayvon is performing for his now fourth fan-save match. He sings Sam Smith’s “I Know I’m Not the Only One.” The vocal was great. I almost feel like he pulled back again on the emotional connection. The emotion showed in his face but it didn’t reach me. Harry said he gave a fantastic vocal performance. His favorite part was when he had to take a quick breath to go back up on the note. Keith said that if no one had heard that song before and he would have cut it that would have been a hit. If he keeps singing like that he might be the only one left. Jennifer said if he keeps picking songs like that and singing like that he just might make his way to the top.

For his second song Nick sings “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart. He already looks like he is applying the advice to pick a spot in the audience like Keith told him. I like that! It was still great but the first song was stronger. Keith thought it was a really good song. Jennifer said it was a really good song choice. Harry asked him if he could sustain a 2-hour concert and he said yes he can, he has, and Harry said he could see that.

Tyanna is back up for her next song “Heaven” by Bryan Adams. She sang it well, but I did not feel she was singing the song from a place of experience. She has never known a love that deeply before–she is just too young. I like what she did with the ending. Jennifer said she liked this for her. It was a different side that people need to see. It was a good job. She is not sure if it was a favorite from her but she likes to see her in this light. Harry thought she sang it very well. He wants to ask her what kind of music she would record on her first album because he thinks everyone would like to know. She answered basically a mix of everything. Keith thought her answer was a sign of a great artist because it hasn’t been created yet.

Clark does his own thing with Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend.” I have nothing to compare this to because I don’t listen to the Biebs unless I am forced to by someone else. I enjoyed it as a Clark song. Harry said this was not the song to do what he was doing with it on. It was okay but in order to make it sexy he needed to stretch it out. Keith said it is getting it out of the head, then to the heart, and then the rest of the body. It wasn’t raw and dangerous like the Biebs is. Jennifer said for him for this she wasn’t sure it was the right song choice.

Jax sings “White Flag” by Dido. I was approaching goosebumps but it fell just shy of them even though I thought it was superbly done. Keith said his attention was held for the entire song. Jennifer said to Harry earlier she needed a gravitas moment, not knowing what she was singing next, and absolutely had achieved that. The song was so beautiful for her. Harry said it was phenomenal.

Quentin sings his second song for the save. He sings “Shake It Out” by Florence and The Machine. This was great. This is so tough. I love Rayvon and Quentin equally for entirely different reasons. Jennifer said he took her advice from the last song and applied it in this song. Harry said it was really good. He wants to know if he sang out of tune (like everyone does from time to time) would they let him autotune it out? Quentin said he would not. If he makes a mistake he wants people to hear that. Harry said that is something else they have in common. Keith said he would be very clear on what kind of record he would want to make. If he gets to do that, take the reins because he has great artist instincts.

Rayvon sings the second song. He takes on the mega hit “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac. His lower register is tough. The falsetto note gave me goosebumps! I didn’t think he was going there. Then I wasn’t sure he was going to make it and I am so glad he did. Harry has a question: “Would he be guided or does he already know what kind of record he would make?” Rayvon thinks it would be a collaborative effort (perfect answer). Keith said it was a really high note. Jennifer said it was a great way to finish the show and to fight.

Can we keep them both? Can they both go on tour?

Rayvon gets the Twitter vote to be saved and he advances to the next round. I love that Quentin is so genuinely happy for him. I hope that Scott Borchetta will give Quentin a recording contract.





American Idol Season 14 Top 7 Perform, 1 Goes Home

22 04 2015

Tonight they are singing from a set list of “American Classics.” Tyanna Jones is the first one through tonight. There are no official mentors other than Scott Borchetta. She chose “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” by Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers. She sang it very well but there was no stand-out moment. I love the way she is dressed tonight. Keith said it was an interesting song choice but not the greatest song to show off her vocal skills. Keith is looking for less perfect and more edge. Jennifer said, yes, something we can feel. She feels like she is beginning to get back into her groove (that she had at her auditions) when she wasn’t thinking so much. Harry said that Frankie Lymon was 13 years old when he wrote that song. The similarities between the two are their rhythmic ease. Tyanna agreed with that critique (I love that!). She said she felt confined.

Clark Beckham is also safe. He is singing “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder. It was an interesting opening. His look is evolving and I love his hair this evening. I enjoyed the twist on it. It was fantastic. I think he connected more with the audience and he was having fun. People respond to that. Jennifer said he looks good and glad he took some of her advice. She said it was funky. The band and him sounded amazing. Harry said it was as good as he could have done that song. Keith said he liked that they recommended to him to ditch the guitar and he was like, ‘no’ and he plays it again. It was great. Keith said the scatting was good. He wants him to drop the guitar about 6 inches and he will notice he moves differently.

Jax is through. She is singing what I think will be a great song for her, “Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin. She moved a little bit more on the stage tonight and I think that was great. Harry really liked it. Keith said she sings really well with the band. Jennifer thought it was a strong performance. She took a song like Janis Joplin and was able to make it her own.

Nick Fradiani is up next. Scott asks him if he thinks he can win and he says yes he can. His song is “American Girl” by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. He was trying to keep his eyes open again and I love it. I think last week’s mentoring really did make a difference for him. That was awesome. So far this was my favorite of the night. That was fantastic! I think he found a great formula. Keith said it was such a good song for him. He really loved it. Jennifer was rocking out the entire song. She thinks he has a radio-ready voice. It’s familiar yet his own. Seeing him take all their advice and grow is awesome. Harry said for him to go back to the hotel room and remember that feeling of exactly what he did because that is exactly what he needs to do. Tonight was the person they all felt he should have been throughout the competition. Harry said “great job.”

The next person safe is Quentin Alexander which means Rayvon is yet again in the position of needing a fan save and now, heavy sigh, Joey Cook. Quentin thinks he has been mellow and now is the time to let Pandora’s Box out and rock out. Scott asks him, “Who is the one to beat?” Quentin responds himself. If he can’t get over his fears and personal obstacles, I can’t get anywhere. Scott likes his answer. I’ve often thought he reminded me of Lenny Kravitz and he sings one of Lenny’s songs, “Are You Gonna Go My Way.” The judges were rocking out. I love ROCKER QUENTIN! He rocks out with Ricky Minor which always endears me to a contestant (love for the band). This is my new favorite of the night. Jennifer said the whole entire thing really worked. It was the perfect song for him. The pitch thing is all over the place sometimes but the performance made up for it. Harry says he is going to be as honest as he can. He loves his artistry and individuality but that some people can be more captivated by the band than the performance as he himself was. Harry gets booed. Harry said he did nothing different than Lenny did with the song. He said he has to push them (the band); they can’t push him. Keith felt he held his own. Quentin is sad about who is left to battle it out (Rayvon and Joey). He said it sucked. Harry didn’t like his attitude and called him out on it that it was highly disrespectful to Idol and if he didn’t like it he could go home. I respect Quentin coming back out and explaining that he is just upset that two people he cares are left. He was not disrespecting the competition. He shakes Harry’s hand.

Joey Cook takes the stage to sing for the fan save. She sings “My Funny Valentine” by Frank Sinatra. She watched her crab hands again and she tried to keep her eyes open more. As much as I love Rayvon, Joey is so unique and I adore it. This song got her back to her roots. Harry said it is hard being a judge sometimes because you can’t mentor. He’d love to have a discussion about 15 different things with her but he can’t on what could improve that very good performance. He thinks she is very smart and that she did a damn good job considering how iconic that song is. Keith said she goes to a place that may not be her comfort zone but that he loves that about her artistically and should be commended. Jennifer thought it would be a perfect fit for her. It didn’t move her the way she thought it was and she is sorry.

Rayvon is up to get that fan save. He sings The Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Runnin.” He’s got choreography! That’s different. I like what he is wearing tonight. Wow this is tough. I love this, too. Keith said it was good. He just wants to feel something a little bit more and that is something he has to figure out how to do. Jennifer said, “Way to step it up.” He’s fighting. Harry likes that about him, too. He thinks for him it is specifically about song choice. He said that when he gets the perfect song, he will shut the room down.

Round 2 begins with Clark Beckham. He sings “Moon River” by Frank Sinatra. He looks nervous for some odd reason. It was dreamy in the camera but it didn’t move me. I love Clark, too. Jennifer said it was really good. She felt like she was in a movie (smooth and creamy). Harry said he is an incredibly talented young man but what would separate him would for him to learn more chords—try challenging and different chords. He said Clark could hear it; don’t play all those major 7 chords all the time. Keith said it was warm and fuzzy like an epidural. It was great.

Tyanna comes up on stage for round 2 and sings “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. I have to remind myself she is only 16. WOW. This was FABULOUS. And she is working the audience. Her falsetto gave me goosebumps. That is hard to do without cracking. Harry that was as close to perfect as you can get. Keith said she is like this at 16? Her improvement is going to be astronomical. Jennifer said they got to hear her vocals. She got to stretch and play in there and that is where she lives. She should do that every time.

Nick returns to the stage and shares some lovely sentiments about his dad. Nick takes on “Only The Good Die Young” by Billy Joel. He sings it as a slow song and puts his own spin on it. I liked it. Nick keeps getting better and better. I think he might be in the final 4. Keith said it was amazing done like that and played to all of his strengths. Jennifer said he was waiting for him to get up and then she was happy. Harry applauds him for trying to completely different. He felt he wasn’t singing it to the guy or girl that only the good die young, but that he was singing it internally. He was an adventurous interpretation but the arrangement didn’t work for him.

Quentin performs next and had lovely things to say about his mom and when she discovered he could sing. Quentin sings “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel. It may sound like a simple song but with his pitch problems this could really expose him. The pitch issues did remain and I don’t think this was the right song for him. Jennifer said it was dramatically and moody. “Always put your heart out there first.” It was a nice performance. Harry reminds him about pitch and tells him to ask Ricky about how to sing in tune. Keith likes how he conceptualizes this performances.

Jax woke me up by singing “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. It felt like she was trying to rush the lyrics. Harry said the two things he liked was the static electricity in her hair. Harry was waiting to see her running around like an idiot and have fun because they all do just that (the judges?) and it was really fun. Keith said he likes there are two songs tonight. Jennifer said she made it look cool.

Joey and Rayvon will perform another song before the Twitter Fan Save becomes real.

Scott asks Rayvon “how does it go deeper?” Scott tells Rayvon to come out from a different perspective. Rayvon sings “Always on My Mind” by Willie Nelson. Yep this is going to be tough. I think he connected to the song emotionally which is what the judges (and I) have been wanting. Keith said it was the right song and he sang it beautifully. Jennifer said it was like they had been telling him and she felt it everywhere. Harry thinks he is a ballad singer. When he sings as lovely as he just did with his heart like he did, it stacks him up there with everyone else. He pities the people who have to vote on Twitter tonight.

Joey performs “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane. Jennifer this particular performance was so good for her. I think her downfall started when they picked apart her visual presentation—crabby hands and closing her eyes. She let all that go and we got the old Joey back. You could see it in her eyes for a split second—I’m not going to do crabby hands—and screw this—all at once. I loved this. How difficult this is going to be but I’m more partial to Joey. Jennifer said she did a really good job. Harry thought it was a solid vocal performance but it is her inventiveness and her presentation that impresses him. Keith said he got a sense, through the two songs, what he could see at a show at two different ends of the spectrum.

With 52% of the Twitter vote, the contestant who is going through to next week is Rayvon.

I have a funny feeling that Quentin will be in the bottom 2 next week because of the attitude he gave on stage.  Although he may have had those personal feelings about seeing one of his friends going home, America does not like to see that.  He should have saved those for a time off camera.  His second song was also not that strong.





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 Season 14 Top 8 Guys Perform

5 03 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nThe results are in for the guys and four of them are going home. But first Aretha Franklin sings “I Will Survive.” I amazed how much weight she has lost. Not only is Ryan NOT in a suit, but he lets Aretha say, “This is American Idol.” I think that is a first for the show, isn’t it? Outside of that first season when there were two hosts?

The theme tonight is Motown. The first person going through is Daniel Seavey. He sings “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) by Marvin Gaye. He is adorable, but the stage just swallows him up. It was an okay performance. Nothing about it blew me away. Keith said it was a good song for him to do. Jennifer felt he was more relaxed and having fun. She felt the song was a little bit low for him. She thinks he is going to be a favorite. Harry said they all know he is adorable, extremely talented and a gifted musician. He gave him good pointers on how he needs to feel what the band is doing with the beat. Let the band dictate what his body does. I really like the advice they give.

The next person making it through to the top 8 is Mark Andrew. He performs “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by The Temptations. I liked that he changed up the beat on the verses and stayed true to the song. He was a great performance. No goosebumps, but a great performance. Jennifer loves his voice but she didn’t think that song in that way was moving her. Harry thinks his strong point is his voice. He liked the arrangement but it felt like a jam-band arrangement. He thought it was fine. Keith agrees with Jennifer about the arrangement but he loves the fact that America voted for him because they hear something in his voice and see something in him.

Rayvon Owen advances to the top 8. He sings the classic “My Girl” by The Temptations. I enjoy his voice. I think the vocals keep improving as they call new names. I thought this was the best so far tonight. I got close to goosebumps. I did have some eye closing and shaking my head thinking “oh that’s sweet!” Harry thought it was great. He also has such a nice presence. (I agree—he always seems to light up the stage). Harry wants to see the other side, too (the opposite of nice and sweet). Keith said he knew what Harry was saying—just a little more weight in the performance. He can hear a happy guy and it comes across great but he is interested to see what he is going to do next. Jennifer felt like when he went into the falsettos and hit those high notes he really made the song his own.

I am now worried. They are almost halfway through the names and Savion Wright’s name hasn’t been called yet. I think next year they should just let America decide all the names. Don’t make it an even split in gender. The guys are better this year and they should have more of the spots and more of the ladies go home.

With now half the names being called, Adam Ezegelian is called next to be part of the top 8. He sings “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5. This was a bad arrangement. He did make the song his own, but it had issues (for me). Keith thought it was the perfect song for him. Jennifer thought he did a good job on the song. Harry said he nailed every note, so good job.

Scott Borchetta will be a mentor this year. He launched the careers of people like Taylor Swift. Scott thinks Clark Beckham is the best singer the boys have this year. And a nice segue in because Clark has made it into the top 8. He sings “The Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. This is now my new favorite of the night. That gave my goosebumps. Jennifer agrees with Scott that he has one of the best voices in Idol this year. Now he has to let loose and feel it. She thinks he could go all the way. Harry thinks he is really talented. One thing that was lacking was a beginning, middle and end. He had strategic things but it just stopped in the middle. Keith said he would have just sung that song without the band and broken everybody’s hearts. He’s got the skills to do that, just don’t be afraid.

Nick Fradiani is next. This only leaves two more spots. He chooses “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” by Stevie Wonder. Nick starts without the band and I’m not sure I’m going to like it, but then they join in and I’m relieved. It was a decent performance. I like his voice. But at this point I’m so depressed that there are only two spots and there are four guys I like still sitting in the audience which sucks (Savion, Qaasim, Quentin, and Trevor). Harry thought it was strong and a great arrangement. Harry encourages him to smile more on these kinds of songs. Keith felt like it might have been better not to have the guitar on that particular song because he wanted to see him move more. Jennifer felt it was a good job.

Qaasim Middleton makes it through. He sings “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder. He has great dance moves. I think he should have danced a bit less and sang a little bit more on point. The problem with his crazy arrangements is that you can’t tell if his singing is off key or not. Keith said it was so good and seeing him perform in front of an audience is what it is all about. Having an audience is where he lives and breathes. Jennifer said he is so damn funky it is crazy. He owns that stage. But she wants them to know how great he sings, too. Don’t forget about the vocals. Harry didn’t think he lost the vocal at all and thought it was extremely good. Every single run was right on the money. He said they get asked “What are you looking for?” THAT is what they are looking for.

Only one more name. This really sucks. I say let’s take two more of the girls’ spots for the guys. I’m in tears. Savion is not going through. Savion deserves it and I don’t know if he can come back again next year. But Quentin Alexander had the stand-out performance last week and he advances (and deserves it). I really want two of the girls’ spots. It’s not right. Stevie Wonder songs are popular tonight and Quentin chooses “Master Blaster (Jammin’).” I like that he interacts with the band. I believe he had the standout performance once again. Jennifer it was so smooth and so perfect. It proves why he was the last one to be picked. He is one of her favs. Harry liked how he settled into the groove of that. Keith said he knows who he is. He knows it was a bulls-eye.

American Idol– Change your format. It is ridiculous that you feel it is still necessary to have to be an even number of girls and guys going through to the top 12. Don’t we want our most talented people in that top 12? If you are allowing American to vote for the top 12 guys and top 12 girls, then let us make those decisions across the board. After all, when they win, they will have to compete with talent across the board, not just in their gender.