American Idol S15 The End…Or Not?

9 04 2016

And the winner is…….

I’m just kidding. There are 2+ hours of filler before we find out who wins the very last spot as an American Idol.

President Obama made a speech at the beginning in a pitch to get people to vote and exercise their rights as citizens to vote in elections.

The opening number included Idol contestants from previous seasons. My mind instantly went to one Idol who will there be in spirit, Michael Johns. His death was so sad. The song started with the top 3 of this season and then moved out of to the broader focus that included all the contestants from this season. Then more contestants. I recognized Nick Fradiani, Diana DeGarmo, Katharine McPhee, Jessica Sanchez, Colton Dixon, (was that David Archuletta, too, next to him), Taylor Hicks, Chris Daughtry, Allison Iraheta, Kellie Pickler, Jordin Sparks, Ace Young, James Durbin, Carly Smithson, Jasmine Trias (from season 3 who wore a flower in her hair), Bo Bice, Scotty McCreery, and Caleb Johnson. I am sure there are others I will see and be shocked at how much they’ve changed (like Bo Bice).   Tonight I believe more often than not we will be saying to ourselves, “Oh yeah, whatever happened to” fill in the blank.

Brian Dunkleman, the co-host of season 1, joined as a surprise guest, a nice book-end to the beginning of Idol history. But the jokes he continued making got old and they didn’t get many laughs in the audience. Awkward.

Trent and La’Porsha teamed up to sing “It Takes Two” by Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston with pictures of their journey this season playing behind them.

Season 10 and 11 judge Steven Tyler began a series of retrospectives of their participation in Idol. Later Nicki Minaj shared her wishes. Notably absent was diva Mariah CareyEllen DeGeneres sent a video.

Former seasons 8 and 9 judge Kara DioGuardi performed and I wished she hadn’t. She is a better songwriter than singer.   Also among the people in this medley segment were Colton Dixon from season 11; a duet with season 1’s Justin Guarini and season 6’s Jordin Sparks; season 2’s Kimberley Locke; Tamyra Gray (season 1); Allison Iraheta (season 8); Larry Platt from season 9 (“Pants on the Ground” song fame but was never a contestant); finally ending with Pia Toscano (season 10). Sanjaya was spotted in the audience in a “Where’s Sanjaya” segment.  Glad he didn’t sing.

When Kelly Clarkson was visiting a few weeks back as a mentor, since she was pregnant and it was unlikely she could attend the show, she pre-recorded a montage of all her most popular hits. It showcased why we love her and the show that served as a gateway to all the music she brought to our lives. The medley ended with the song that started it all, “A Moment Like This.

Male Idol rockers did a medley of songs. The members included Bo Bice from season 4 (the biggest physical appearance change I have seen yet this evening); Caleb Johnson from season 13; Constantine Maroulis (season 4); James Durbin (season 10); and Chris Daughtry (season 5).

Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood (season 4) joined forces to sing “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” originally by Stevie Nicks featuring Tom Petty (Tom Petty actually wrote the song). I wish Carrie would have had a crossover rock career. When Carrie sang rock songs on Idol season 4, they were my favorite and had me looking at her like a winner.

Next was a country medley of songs starting off with Diana DeGarmo (season 3); Skylar Laine (season 11) who wasn’t sounding so great; Kree Harrison (season 12) who I loved during her season also sounded not so great either (you were pitchy dawg). They were then joined by the boys are of country Bucky Covington (season 5); Ace Young of season 5 (who is married to Diana DeGarmo); and confusingly Constantine Maroulis (season 4). Constantine filled in for Josh Gracin who declined their invitation because he didn’t want to sing a medley of covers with other contestants (per his report on tasteofcountry.com). Then Lauren Alaina (season 10) and Kellie Pickler (season 5) came on stage. Lastly Scotty McCreery (season 10) came out.

Harry Connick Jr presented a very emotional segment along with his friend, Marley Fletcher, from The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in the heart of the 9th Ward in New Orleans to sing “What a Wonderful World.”

He then introduced some of the best singers Idol has had on center stage.   Katharine McPhee (season 5) and Casey James (be still my heart from season 9) singing a duet; Carly Smithson (season 7) doing a solo; Clay Aiken (season 2) doing a solo; Ruben Studdard (season 2) and Amber Holcomb (season 12) doing a duet; and finishing up with Jessica Sanchez (season 11) in a solo of ‘The Prayer” where the others joined at the end.

Jennifer Lopez sizzled up the stage with her new song “Ain’t Your Mama.”   I would have loved to see that in person. That was stellar. And she ended with “Let’s Get Loud” to get Idol pumped up, the perfect halftime song. This whole thing left me breathless.

Season 3 ladies Latoya London, Fantasia, and Jennifer Hudson performed a trio “Bridge Over Troubled Water. Jennifer Hudson sang a solo of her song from Empire “Remember the Music.Brandon Rogers (season 6), Clark Beckham (season 14), George Huff (season 3), Danny Gokey (season 8), and Elliott Yamin (season 5) banded together to sing a medley of Motown hits.

Fantasia came back to do some of her song, “Ugly.” Latoya London (season 3) came back on stage with Taylor Hicks (season 5) “Knew You Were Waiting for Me” by Aretha Franklin and George Michael. Season 11 Joshua Ledet took the stage; wow he looks fantastic. He sang “It’s a Man’s World” by James Brown. He rocked that stage!   And more Idol joined in. Candice Glover (season 12) and Melinda Doolittle (season 6) along with a variety of other Idols including many of the season 15 contestants to sing “Joy to the World.” Even Harry Connick Jr was up dancing.

A tribute to David Bowie was done featuring Idol winners Phillip Phillips (season 11), Lee DeWyze (season 9), Nick Fradiani (season 14), David Cook (season 7) and Kris Allen (season 8) which included Bowie’s hits “Starman” from 1972, “Rebel Rebel” from 1974, and “The Jean Genie” from 1972.

Next was a playback of the worst or funniest auditions or moments during the early years with Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, and Ryan Seacrest including that awful Simon and Paula kiss. Randy and Paula came on stage and of course you were just waiting for Simon to make a “surprise” appearance. Paula and Randy gifted Ryan with the American Idol sign that Ryan will put it on his nightstand. Simon didn’t have a black T-shirt on. He dressed up for the occasion. Fatherhood looks good on him. And just when you thought the surprises were over out pops the non-surprise, William Hung who performed “She Bangs.” He ultimately released an album which sold 200,000 copies and made it to number one on Billboard’s Top Independent Album chart. He now works for the LA Sheriff’s Department as a technical crime analyst. Ryan Seacrest did a little dancing with him on stage.

Contestants throughout the 15 years shared how much they loved doing the Ford video segments. Trent and La’Porsha received keys to their cars for this year.

Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood sang her song “Something in the Water.”   She got tearful when talking to Ryan Seacrest.

Now it is time to learn who is the winner is of the very last American Idol. The winner is TRENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am just as shocked as he was. With everyone chanting La’Porsha’s name in the audience the night before I felt certain the win was hers. He deserves it just as much as she did but I thought it was hers. I thought Trent was going to pass out. Jennifer pointed to Keith as if she was saying, “you called it.” Jennifer looked shocked and Harry looked shocked too and mouthed “wow” to Jennifer. Trent was sweet when he said that La’Porsha pushed him during the competition.

Ryan Seacrest then signs off the show by saying, “We say to you from Hollywood, goodnight America.” The room goes dark and you hear him say “for now.”   For now? What the hell does that mean? Do they think in 10 years from now, they’ll bring back like X-Files for a limited event? Let American Idol die in peace and go out on a high. They weren’t going out on tour for that very reason so what makes them think bring the show back is “going out on a high?”

I heard later on during the Twitterfest that the producers were going to shop the show to another network. If this is true, it is a mistake. American Idol is forever associated with Fox Broadcasting and to try to resurrect it as the same show or anything that has the name American Idol even if it is in a different format, is just a mistake. American Idol had a great run but like all things, they come to an end, and so should this.

Thank you American Idol for the many years of entertainment; you will live on in television legend.  Guess I will need to get back to blogging about other things, too.





American Idol S15 Atlanta Auditions

9 01 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 





The X-Factor USA Is Cancelled

7 02 2014

SIMON COWELL TO DEPART U.S. VERSION OF “THE X FACTOR”

Entertainment Mogul to Return as Judge on “The X Factor UK”

and Focus on Continued Global Success of International Formats

The award-winning international phenomenon THE X FACTOR has concluded its domestic run after three seasons, it was announced today by Syco, FremantleMedia North America and Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX).

“I’ve had a fantastic time over the last 12 years, both on THE X FACTOR and AMERICAN IDOL. And apart from being lucky enough to find some amazing talent on the shows, I have always had an incredible welcome from the American public (most of the time!),” said Simon Cowell. “Last year, for a number of reasons, I had to make a decision to return to the U.K. version of ‘The X Factor’ in 2014. So for now, I’m back to the U.K. and I want to thank FOX for being an incredible partner and I also want to thank everybody who has supported my shows. America, I’ll see you soon!”

“To all of us at FOX, Simon is more than one of the most prolific TV personalities of our time –he’s part of our family. A consummate showman and partner, there’s no one more passionate or creative than Simon, and we feel so fortunate to have enjoyed such a wonderful, collaborative relationship with him over the past 12 years,” said Kevin Reilly, Chairman of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “Unfortunately, there is no X FACTOR USA without Simon Cowell, but we understand and support his decision to focus on the international formats and on the next phase of his personal life. We wish him the very best, and it’s our sincere hope that we work together again soon.”

“‘The X Factor’ has become a true global hit entertainment format produced locally in 45 countries, and since its launch in 2004, has been watched by more than half a billion people around the world,” said Trish Kinane, President of Entertainment Programming and Executive Producer, FremantleMedia North America. “The U.S. version of THE X FACTOR has had a great run dominating the social media charts and discovering internationally successful artists, but Simon’s return to the U.K. ‘X Factor’ has been long anticipated. We have long-running partnerships both with FOX and Syco Entertainment and very much look forward to what the future holds for our ongoing relationships with them.”

In 2013, Alex & Sierra won Season Three of THE X FACTOR, and during the live shows, the duo reached No. 1 on the iTunes singles chart twice with six singles also breaking into the iTunes Top 20. Emblem3 and Fifth Harmony became international stars after Season Two of THE X FACTOR. Emblem3’s first album, “Nothing To Lose,” debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Fifth Harmony’s EP, “Better Together,” debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard chart and reached Top 10 on iTunes in 41 countries, giving them the biggest debut album from any U.S. television competition series in 2012. Fifth Harmony were listed on MTV’s “Artist to Watch” for 2014 and also were the voices of Barbie’s new anthem, “Anything Is Possible.” They are on tour this spring with Demi Lovato, Little Mix and Cher Lloyd. Emblem3’s debut album, “Nothing To Lose,” reached No. 1 on iTunes in 14 countries.

THE X FACTOR won three TEEN CHOICE 2012 Awards for Reality Competition Show, Breakout Show and Simon Cowell – Male Personality. In 2013, THE X FACTOR won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite TV Competition Show and Demi Lovato won for Favorite Celebrity Judge. It also took home seven TEEN CHOICE 2013 Awards, including Reality Competition Show, Simon Cowell – Male Personality, and Emblem3 – Breakout Group, to name a few.

ABOUT SYCO ENTERTAINMENT

Syco Entertainment is one of the world’s leading global music, film and television production companies responsible for some of the world’s most successful global TV and music franchises. Syco Entertainment is also the world’s most successful producer of international talent with Syco Music being the record label home for such diverse international recording artists as Labrinth, One Direction, Leona Lewis, Susan Boyle, Little Mix, IL Divo, Emblem3, Fifth Harmony, James Arthur, Ella Henderson and Alex & Sierra. Syco’s television assets include the global franchises “The X Factor” and “Got Talent.”

Local versions of “The X Factor” are commissioned in 45 territories and around the world, “The X Factor” is now watched by more than a half billion people. The show has increased the average demographic for many broadcasters by up to 250%. The single, “Impossible,” from the 2012 U.K. winner James Arthur, became the fastest-selling single of the year, and was the biggest worldwide “X Factor” single ever – selling over 2.5 million copies. Artists discovered by the “X Factor” format have sold more than 150 million records worldwide, including 130 No. 1s and 250 Top 10 records.

In 2010, “The X Factor UK” discovered and put together One Direction, who have since sold more than 30 million albums worldwide and have won countless awards across the globe. One Direction have made U.S. chart history as the first group to ever have their first three albums debut at No. 1. Little Mix’s – the first group to ever win “The X Factor” – debut album, “DNA,” made history as the highest-charting debut album for a U.K. girl group – even beating the Spice Girls. Leona Lewis has sold over 30 million records and her hit single, “Bleeding Love,” reached No. 1 in over 30 countries and was the fastest-selling debut album of all time in the U.K. Lewis is the first British female solo artist to score eight U.K. Top 5 singles.

(Press Release)





The X-Factor USA S3 Audition 2

23 09 2013

The X-Factor USA S3 Audition 2

We jump back to the Denver auditions. Yosselin Marquez is up first singing “Girl” by Rhianna. This is a horrible start. This is not some night out for karaoke (she was using the phone for the lyrics)–this is an AUDITION! Stop it. Stick with modeling. She got four “no” responses. She does not know SIMON? A person auditioning is expected to do their homework.

Thomas Weiderspoon came out singing country hit “Your Man” by Josh Turner. Baby lock ’em doors and turn the lights down low. He is no Scotty. He is not good. All no’s.

Carrigan Bradley was next. They did not show much of the song, but I doubt there is a talent category in the beauty pageants she enters. Amber Ferrari tried to channel Janis, but got Janis’ untalented twin instead. The Group K&B gave it their best effort, but they were not Living’ La Vida Loca. This is very disappointing. Sean Harris knows he can win. Perhaps Lotto but definitely not singing.

Rylie Brown singing “Clarity” by Zedd. For someone who practiced the song everywhere she went I can’t believe she forgot the lyrics!!!! She is upset and her voice cracks. She is very breathy. She has potential if she works hard with a good vocal coach for a few years. I would not have put her through. But the judges did. She better not forget her lyrics again.

Jeffrey Brinkman is from Longmont–the place in Colorado recently ravaged by flooding. This audition likely occurred before those tragic events, so I hope he and his family and friends are okay. He runs a dog day care. I already like him. “You Are So Beautiful” by Joe Cocker. I was not expecting that voice to come out of that man. I got goosebumps despite his odd phrasing choices. Four yeses.

Back to Long Island, Jocelyn Hinton, self-proclaimed diva, singing Katy Perry’s
“Firework.” Absolutely no. This is a terrible audition song to begin with. This is not a career option for her. She should find employment elsewhere. She became annoying and refused to stop singing. Simon walked her off stage.

Young Rachel Potter was up next. It surprised me that she was almost 30. She chose “Somebody to Love” by Queen with a country twist. She has a fantastic voice. I really like her too. I got goosebumps when she got to the bridge. I don’t know why she reminds me of Lea Michelle from Glee who plays Rachel. The ladies gave her a standing ovation.

Jorge Pena, age 22 who sells ice cream and calls a female “woman.” Pig. He is funny., though and then–yep–creeped out again singing a song “Amame” by Kelly Clarkson & Alexandre Pires. He was average. But I hate his attitude. The judges put him through.

Simone Torres, a Port Jefferson Station resident, was up singing “Mustang Sally” by Wilson Pickett. She has a lovely deep voice. Simon looked very surprised. Moshe has a higher speaking voice. I love her. She is a definite yes from me. And she got four yeses from the judges.

Russ Pouliot spent 4 years with a classically trained vocal coach (why do I think this is going to be a disaster?). “(I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You” by Elvis Presley. I think he needs to get his money back. It was awful. The ladies tried to get Simon to sing and he tries to imitate Russ. That was great!

Back in Denver, three sisters form the group Roxxy Montana. Singing “One Night Only” from Dreamgirls by Jennifer Hudson. They are superstars!!!! I love them too. Temperance has the better voice by far and could have a great solo career. Simon agrees with me. He asks them to sing an a capella song which again shows Temperance to be the best vocalist.

Back to Long Island, Al Calderon who is designated hostess at a restaurant. He chose “Sara Smile” by Hall and Oates. He is a little pitchy but I like what he did with the song. I attribute the off-pitch notes to nerves. I would say yes to see more of him. He received four yes responses.

Denise Weeks, a subway singer. I like her and her story. She picked “Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston to highlight her vocal talents. It was not a good audition. Simon gives her a second chance without the track. It sounded so much better. Now I got goosebumps. Four yeses from the judges.





The X-Factor USA S3 Audition 1

23 09 2013

The X-Factor USA S3 Audition 1

There is a new panel of judges and what seems like really good chemistry between the judges this year. Returning are Demi Lovato and Simon Cowell. The new judges are Kelly Rowland (who was part of Destiny’s Child) and Paulina Rubio.

The first audition is from Los Angeles. Our first contestant from Chicago, Illinois is Carlito Olivaro, age 23. He wants to be the Latino Chris Brown. I really get annoyed when people say that. Does that mean you approve or dismiss his domestic violence? He sings, “Stay” by Rihanna. It was just okay and very average, but he was also very nervous. He gets four yeses.  I would have said no.

Over to the auditions from Charleston, South Carolina, first up is Sally Hessnice, a 55-year-old registered nurse who has been married 35 years. She sang, “Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston. She should reserve her singing for comatose patients. If I was in a coma, I would endeavor to wake up just to tell her to please stop. All 4 say no. At least they are sane so far.

Valeria. Just Valeria. (Valeria Colombo) She is a karaoke DJ. She tries singing “Without You” by Nilsson. Oh geez! Please do not make these auditions about the train wrecks. I want the focus to be on the good ones. She is a definite no.

K-Nected is a group of mom and 2 teenage girls. They try to sing, “Waterfalls” by TLC. They should stop singing. Period. This led into a montage of horror of unknown singers who Paulina called “peachy” (its pitchy dawg) including the recent graduate from high school John Tanner Davis.

Still in Charleston auditions, Rion Paige was up. I LOVE her mom. Rion is differently-abled with a congenital condition but her bubbly personality bursts through and blinds us to the physical challenges. She sings “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood. She was pitchy in spots but I would put her in the “potentials” category. She may have been nervous because she improved as the song went on. Four yeses.

Over to Long Island, Lillie McCloud who shocked the crowd by telling everyone she is 54. She has three children and seven grandchildren. She chose “Alabaster Box by CeCe Winans. Lillie could win this competition. I got major goosebumps. I don’t know why she is not already professionally singing. I was tingling from head to toe. I have not felt that way for a very long time. All four judges were on their feet.

In New Orleans after a run of horrid groups, duet boyfriend/girlfriend Alex Kinsey and Sierra Deaton who are madly in love with each other. Alex is funny. Singing “Toxic” by Britney Spears. They almost reminded me of Sonny and Cher on their variety show. I really liked them. They had a unique sound. Who doesn’t melt seeing two people in love singing to each other but bringing the audience in as well? I definitely put them in the final group selection. Four yeses.





XFactor Season 2 Finale Performances

20 12 2012

With the judges and the audience feeling like Emblem 3 would be the group to go through to the finale, they were stunned at the results.  A strong performance by Fifth Harmony guaranteed them a spot in the finale.

I am tired of filler stuff in these singing competitions. Doesn’t matter to me what it is or what network it is on, I don’t see the point of singing a song again that was already done. The exception for me for this would be if they were completely rearranging the music so it felt like a song with a very different vibe from the last time they sang it. Or it was something very, very early in the competition. With Fifth Harmony, it was a song that was just done last week. Granted it was their best performance ever, but I want something new. I want to be blown away–something that makes me want to pick up the phone and WANT to vote for somebody. Keep it to two songs and cut a half-hour off your show.

The evening did start with a lovely tribute to the Sandy Hook Elementary victims and their survivors with a modification of a lyric for “You Are Not Alone” by Michael Jackson.

They introduced the judges and the remaining contestants. I could not help but remember what I said last week to someone on Twitter: Demi would still have someone in the competition if she had not sent Jillian Jensen home.

ROUND 1: RESING A SONG YOU’VE ALREADY DONE AND MOST OF US TUNE OUT OR GO EAT DINNER OR GO TO THE BATHROOM

Since I have no comments about any of these because they were no different for me than the originals, I will just list the judges’ comments.

Carly Rose Sonenclar chose “Feelin’ Good” by Nina Simone. Since I have no further comments about their performance because it was exactly like the last time, I’ll just mention what the judges said. LA Reid said she had topped everything she had done. Demi said she was going to inspire so many young girls to follow their dreams. Simon said she sang it better tonight than the first time and he likes her competitive spirit. Britney said it was shocking how bright her star was.

Carly1

Carly Rose Sonenclar

Tate Stevens chose the song from the audition, “Anything Goes” by Randy Houser. Britney said when he does country down the middle he is right on. Demi said that the audience still loves him. This was the first time he turned it into a stadium performance. Simon said he agreed with Demi tonight. LA Reid said he was still lovable tonight.

Tate1

Tate Stevens

Fifth Harmony performed, “Anything Could Happen” by Elie Goulding. LA Reid said it was magical, that magic happens when they perform it. Demi said they were underdogs but they pulled through. Simon said they made him so proud. He likes sometimes being the underdog.

FH1

Fifth Harmony

MY RANKINGS: Fifth Harmony, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Tate Stevens

****************

ROUND 2: SING A DUET WITH SOMEONE FAMOUS WHO WAS AVAILABLE THIS CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS

Apparently they were short on time for anyone but the mentor to give comments which, of course, will be glowing. If they cut out that third song, they would have had time for the full panel to give critiques. I won’t list in this section what the judges said because of that reason.

Carly Rose said with Lee Ann Rimes (odd pairing since she is a country music star). They sang Lee Ann Rimes’ famous, “How Do I Live Without You.” Every time I hear this song I think of the ending of the movie, “Con Air.” It is a beautiful song, but this was not the right song for Carly. I think it was her weakest song ever. It showed all her vulnerable vocal areas that need developing.

Carly2

Carly Rose and Lee Ann Rimes

Tate sang “Pontoon” with Little Big Town. I had fun watching him with these ladies. He was eating it up. Watch out wife! God, I dislike country music but his song was better than Carly’s.

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Tate Steven and Little Big Town

The next one I could just SCREAM about. Fifth Harmony sang ANOTHER SONG THEY SANG IN THE PAST, “Give Your Heart a Break”, but this time with Demi Lovato. It was as pitchy as it was the first time they sang it. Demi sounded like she had run from her seat backstage because she was very out of breath, but the true performer she is, she pulled it off.

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Fifth Harmony and Demi Lovato

MY RANKING FOR THIS ROUND: Tate Stevens, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Fifth Harmony (mostly because they sang two full songs tonight they sang in the past).

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ROUND 3: THE FIVE-MILLION-DOLLAR SONG (OR NOT)

Carly chose the very overdone “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. In fact, I heard it just yesterday on The Voice. Simon looked all teary-eyed and given the tragedy in Sandy Hook, people’s emotions for songs like this are high. I do know it is one of his favorite songs from what he said on American Idol. It started off very, very rough. She needs to work on the lower end of her vocal range. But the second verse got better. It does not hurt having a choir behind you either. It was her best performance for me tonight. Was it her best performance of the series? No. LA Reid said it was an angelic performance and she did not oversing it. Demi said she sang like a ridiculously talented angel. Simon said she looked great and it was a beautiful version of the song. Britney said that song was worth $5 million so Simon should get out his checkbook.

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Carly Rose Sonenclar

Tate chose “Tomorrow” by Chris Young. It was a lovely song. It did not blow me away. No one is giving me chills. My goosebumps are my indicator that I’ve been wowed. Britney said it was great and she always enjoys what he does. Demi said she was almost crying because it is the last time she will see him perform on that stage. (Well, not really, he’ll sing in the results show). Simon said it was a fantastic night for talent; that it was a really, really good night. LA Reid said he consistently comes out and delivers.

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Tate Stevens

Fifth Harmony sang “Let It Be” by The Beatles. This song has special meaning to me because it was friend Diane’s favorite song. She has been gone for almost a year now from this earth. It was played at her funeral. This is the first time I wanted to turn off the TV (at least when it first started). Normani did a lousy job. The others did better, but their $5 million song was “Anything Could Happen.” Again, this is another one of those emotional songs given the grief the nation is feeling. LA Reid said they’ve come so far and it was beautiful. Britney said they have blossomed as a group. Demi said they have evolved and grown. Simon said he could not be more proud. Although biased, they deserved to win.

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Fifth Harmony

MY RANKING: Carly Rose, Tate, Fifth Harmony

So where does that leave us? Fifth Harmony was my first round pick as favorite, Tate was my second round pick as favorite and Carly was my third round pick as favorite. I guess any one of them could win. But all in all when I turned off the television, I left not being blown away enough to buy any of those last songs. What I would have liked to see is an original song that no one has done ever before and hearing what THAT would have sounded like as a $5 million song. Perhaps they can think about doing that next year.





The XFactor Season 2 Semifinals

13 12 2012

Last week, CeCe Frey was finally sent packing along with Diamond White, with her own mentor agreeing that she should go home. The rankings were: Tate Stevens, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Emblem3, and Fifth Harmony. Tonight, one song was the contestant’s choice and one song was the mentor’s choice. After seeing the Pepsi Challenge choices the public made and hearing the contestant’s choices tonight, I think the mentors need to rethink their choices; the contestants and the public are picking better songs.

CONTESTANT’S CHOICE

Contestant: Carly Rose Sonenclar
Twitter: @CarlyRoseMusic
Song: “Your Song” by Elton John

My thoughts: Her very low range needs some work when she is singing quietly and not belting out a note. I was surprised. It is a very difficult song to sing. It was not her best but it was enjoyable. I think this is a good thing because the constructive criticism from Simon should be taken to heart. She is not perfect. But she is still going to win.

The judges: LA Reid said it was a risky song but she did things with the song he had never heard before. At first, Demi thought it was going to be very predictable, but it became her favorite song she has ever performed. Simon said it was a beautiful version of a fantastic song. However, it was not her best performance. He thought she was very nervous and he thinks she can do better. Britney said she has blossomed into a superstar and she is so proud.

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Carly Rose Sonenclar

Contestant: Tate Stevens
Twitter: @TateStevensCtry
Song: “Bonfire” by Craig Morgan

My thoughts: I thought there was a disconnection between the song and his performance. He talked about bonfires being about guitars being key at these events, but he was not playing one. It was a good song choice and it was entertaining even though I hate country music.

The judges: Britney said she did not think it was his best. Demi disagreed and said it was a “freakin’ amazing performance.” Simon said he bought into the song being the type of music he wants to record. It was one of his favorite performances. He looked like a man who believes he can win. LA Reid said he lit this stage on fire and it was the most fun he has had doing the show.

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Tate Stevens

Contestant: Formerly LYLAS, then 1432, which meant “I Love You Too” , and now “Fifth Harmony”
Twitter: @FifthHarmony
Song: “Anything Could Happen” by Elie Goulding

My thoughts: I don’t know why I didn’t see this until now–maybe it was the way she put her hair in the ponytail to the side, but Camila Cabello looks like what Carly Rose Sonenclar might look like when she gets older (or they are sisters or cousins). I liked this song a LOT. This was definitely their very best performance. To coin a phrase from Randy Jackson, “They are in it to win it.”

The judges: LA Reid said it was the very best vocal performance they had ever done. Britney loved everything about it; it was inspiring girl power. Demi said they pulled out the sparkle that they needed and it felt great. Simon said they were the underdogs but “anything now can happen.”

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Fifth Harmony

Contestant: Emblem3
Twitter: @EmblemThree
Song: “Baby I Love Your Way” by Peter Frampton

My thoughts: There was a Jamaican reggae feel to it. Drew sticking his tongue out was very odd. It was pretty good but their individual vocals, when they are not rapping, are not quite polished.

The judges: LA Reid said they are charismatic and so charming. They just had their 5-million dollar moment. Britney said their performance was special and they were way more than just a boy band. Demi said for the first time since the auditions that reminded her of what made them special to begin with. Simon said if this did not get them through to the final, nothing will.

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Mentor’s Choice

Emblem 3: “Hey Jude” by The Beatles

My thoughts: It was good. I noticed Drew was not singing that much. It was a modern version of the song, but nothing can beat The Beatles.

The judges: LA Reid said they are teen heart throbs just like The Beatles. Britney said it was an “A”-level performance. Demi thought they weren’t yet The Beatles but they were getting there. Simon felt so proud. He said they had steel in their eyes and nailed both songs tonight.

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Emblem 3

Carly Rose Sonenclar: “Imagine” by John Lennon

My thoughts: David Archuleta’s performance was pretty good so I was not sure about someone else doing this song. Carly was worried about playing the piano. Seriously? A 15-second stint? That first big note was sharp. She looked angry singing the words, I believe trying to convey emphasis and conviction, but it was the wrong feeling for the lyric. It was lovely. Not great, but lovely. I lean more towards Simon’s criticism here.

The judges: LA Reid said she always knew how to go in and find that note. Demi thought it was amazing and loved that she took a risk. Simon said he would have kept her at the piano. It made a beautiful performance fussy. He did not like the arrangement and said it was overcomplicated. Britney said it was time for her to go beyond the stage (and into the real world).

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Carly Rose Sonenclar

Fifth Harmony: “Impossible” by Shontelle

My thoughts: What is Simon thinking? Did he just throw them under the bus? He criticizes others when they repeat songs. Just last week, he complained Diamond White did the same song again. The song, unfortunately, was just as pitchy as the first time they sang it. They’ll be the ones going home Thursday night.

The judges: LA Reid thought the song choice was lazy, but they did a decent job. Britney said it was pretty good and would be surprised if they did not make it through. Simon said it was a reminder of why he fell in love with them as a group in the first place.

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Fifth Harmony

Tate Stevens: “Fall” by Clay Walker

My thoughts: It was good. This genre seldom moves me so it’s not his fault. I don’t like the overaffect of his face when he tries to emphasize a feeling/meaning in the song lyric. His eyes almost go crossed. I’m certain he’ll be through in the finals, though.

The judges: Britney thought it was a direct hit. Demi said he deserved this. He did amazing and he was so talented. Simon said it was a great song, that he had made his mark here and he did enough to get himself into the finals. LA Reid said he was great every time.

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Tate Stevens