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.