American Idol S12 Top 8 Perform

28 03 2013

Music of Motown. Smokey Robinson is guest mentor.

Candice Glover–Smokey cried at her performance last week. This week she chose “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye. Preach girl! She is always spot on. She laid down the gauntlet! I believe she is untouchable. Keith said tonight was her best performance (for her). Nicki said she stayed in it emotionally completely. Randy said she was crazy good. Mariah said she wants to hear more of that jazzy sound.

Group song–Kree and Janelle–country version of “Like a Prayer” by Madonna. I preferred Kree over Janelle. This song was not a good choice for Janelle’s voice. Nicki said that Kree looked like she flew in to sing with an Idol contestant. OUCH. Randy said Janelle’s pitch was off night and Kree outshined her. Mariah said it was a sisterhood moment. Then I walked out of the room to ask my husband a question and Mariah was still talking when I got back in. Keith said it worked really well. He felt they could have walked around more but he was glad they had each other’s back in that lyric-slip moment.

Lazaro Arbos — “For Once In My Life” by Stevie Wonder. I think Jimmy was going easy on him this week because he has gotten such flack the past few weeks about his mentoring of Lazaro. Lazaro has enunciation issues but this is the best he has done since the auditions. Randy thinks it was better than last week. Mariah said she hears Randy about the pitch problems. His confidence was back. Keith thought Smokey’s advice was fantastic. This week was better than last week. Nicki feels he was back this week. Nicki said he gave her everything she needed and wanted. She said when he stopped listening to Jimmy, he did a great job.

Janelle Arthur “You Keep Me Hanging On” by The Supremes. I was bored. Mariah said it was her at her finest. Keith thought it was fearless. He thought it was beautiful. Nicki thinks she shines when she has her guitar. She seems to be smiling a lot more (but is smiling during this song appropriate?). Nicki does not think that her voice is where it normally is. Randy thought it was one of her best performances.

Devin Velez–“Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles. Flawless to me. I like this but Adam Lambert’s is still my favorite Idol cover of the song. Keith says he has to stop thinking about things so much and relax but he has style. Nicki said he looks like a ripe banana and that is a good thing. Amazing job. YES sir. (He was wearing a red jacket, but I think she meant she wanted to eat him all up figuratively speaking). Randy thinks Devin is back tonight. Best performance from him in weeks. Mariah loved it.

Group number:  Amber, Candice and Angie–I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” by The Supremes & The Temptations. Fantastic and they get a standing ovation except for Mariah. Mariah said it was A-plus amazing.

Burnell Taylor“My Cherie Amour”–Stevie Wonder. He had a nice voice but there’s nothing about it or his performances that stand out. He always sounds like he is right under the note and I think he mispronounced the word “amour.” Nicki thinks he is artsy. Randy loves his choices. Mariah loves him looking debonair. He gave it a modern twist. Keith said where is Ron Burgundy when you need him (and what the hell does that mean, but I love that Keith loves Anchorman). Keith likes him too.

Angie Miller“Shop Around”–The Miracles. She needs to work on her stage presence when she is not behind the piano. I felt there were opportunities to interact with the good-looking guitar players that would have made that performance stand out more for me, but I think because of her faith and her age, she is reluctant to do that. Nicki said she tried to show a different side of Angie and she does not need to do that. Randy thought it was pitchy.

Amber Holcomb–“Lately“–Stevie Wonder. I loved it. My second favorite performance of the night. Mariah: She is a tour de force. Mariah was bleeped! That’s funny. Keith agrees. It was the right song. She felt it (the song). It was beautiful tonight. Nicki said it was out of this world. When God created those vocal cords….. Randy said it was the best vocal of the night.

Group number:  Devin, Burnell and Lazaro–“I Can’t Help Myself” by The Four Tops (which ironically is at this moment playing on Shark Tales on my son’s DVD). This performance was TERRIBLE. Their voices do not complement each other. Nicki hated it. She told them to get off the stage. I LOVE HER HONESTY.

Kree Harrison— “Don’t Play That Song” Aretha Franklin. Her voice is really growing on me. Randy says she was one of the best in the competition. She is here to stay. Mariah commends her for doing the song. She loves her and she is here to stay. Keith loves her. Nicki says she is a queen.

My top 3: Candice Glover, Amber Holcomb, Kree Harrison.

My bottom 3: Burnell Taylor, Lazaro Arbos, Janelle Arthur





American Idol Top 7 — 21 Century Week

21 04 2011

The world complained week after week about the judges and finally they WOKE up, well perhaps just JLo and Randy, but the 5-second delay has come in quite handy for Steven Tyler’s comments. When the judges start getting booed, you know you are getting close to providing the appropriate amount of constructive criticism. However, you could see Jennifer Lopez cringe when the audience booed at her for the comments she made to Scotty.

Tonight’s theme was songs of the 21st century. I think it was a smart pick. Overall, last night was the best I’ve heard everyone sing with a few exceptions.

I think Scotty misunderstood the assignment. The song “Swingin” is a 1983 hit from John Anderson originally, not Lee Ann Rimes. For Scotty, upping his game is switching hands to hold the microphone. He needs to step out of his comfort zone and surprise us with being able to sing something else, for example, when David Cook sang “The Music of the Night.” Instead of making it a rock tune, he sang it as if he were singing it on Broadway. It made him stand out as a well-rounded performer. David Cook will be performing tonight on Idol, so be sure to tune in. Scotty looked very uncomfortable getting constructive criticism from the judges. I put that on the judges. He needed constructive criticism the week he sang the Elvis song.

Certain to be within the top 2 or 3 in the finale, James Durbin chose “Uprising” from Muse. I love James. “Uprising” has been sort of a theme song for me of my rebellious streak. I love Muse. The music started off rough. His lower vocal register needs some work. The chorus was great. The marching band was crazy weird.

I have been very vocal about not being a Haley fan. When I heard she was going to tackle an Adele song, I was worried….for the song. She chose “Rolling in the Deep.” I agree with Jimmy Lovine that she can sing the song, but she has to FEEL the song. I think at her tender age, she has not had the life experience to pull this off. There were parts of the song that were great; the growling is getting old. One growl would have been fine, but she just kept on and on. I did like her dress tonight. I would say it was Haley’s personal best.

“Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross was Jacob’s pick. His story was filled with emotion and I was with him feeling his pain during the rehearsals. There was a pause within the song and we all thought it was because of his emotion. The judges had some constructive criticism for him, especially Jennifer, about needing to find the line between showing his emotions and becoming so emotional you cannot sing the song. At the end, Jacob blamed it on the equipment. It very well could have been the equipment, but it made it look like he was deflecting the criticism by putting blame on an external source.

Casey was up next. I enjoyed the video where the other Idols are imitating things about him. It was the funniest one of the bunch. Casey chose “Harder to Breathe” by Maroon 5. I like Casey’s voice a lot when he is not growling. What IS it about the growling this year? I have a hard time with his facial expressions because I don’t believe in their sincerity. It’s a dichotomy between wanting to be serious in his singing, and wanting to be a clown in his performance. It comes off very strange at times. The kiss given to Jennifer Lopez was creepy, but it might save him from being in the bottom 3 this week.

Also achieving a personal best this week was Stefano singing “Closer” by Ne-Yo. On Twitter, when Joey Guerra, music critic of the Houston Chronicle, suggested that he was like a member of a boy band trying to go solo, I responded, “Yes, yes, like a replacement player for O-Town.”

I think they put Lauren at the end of the show not because she was the best performance but rather because they desperately want to keep one of the last two girls on the show. Lauren looked beautiful and said “Born to Fly” by Sara Evans. I am not familiar with this song because I don’t listen to country music, but it sounded good. My eye, however, was turned more towards the musician on the violin. He was outstanding.

My top 2 for the evening: Casey and James.
My bottom 2 for the evening: Stefano and Scotty

Who do you love? Who do you think will go home?





American Idol Top 8 — Songs of the Cinema

14 04 2011

When American Idol first started this season, I chalked up the judges not giving constructive criticism as them trying to get comfortable in their new roles. A few weeks in, Jennifer Lopez began giving really great advice to all the contestants. Randy chimed in with the occasional outright criticism about how he didn’t like it, but no real advice on how to make things better. Steven Tyler is jazzed just to be there. That period of constructive criticism did not last very long; now all we see week after week is a love fest. I know there is a discrepancy between what they hear in the audience versus what we hear on the television (and at times Simon would come back and say how something was horrible or better after he listened back to it later), but it cannot be that much. What exactly is in their drinks and why do they keep dubbing out comments (I experienced this on Directv and a friend on Comcast said the exact same place was dubbed out on theirs). The judges need to do their job–judge. It is not pleasant. It is not easy. But Scotty doing an Elvis song last week was excruciatingly painful for me to listen.

Tonight it was “Songs of the Cinema.”

Paul opens for the show with another loud outfit. It does set him apart in the style department, but this is not Project Runway. He chooses “Old Time Rock N Roll” by Bog Seger. He stated that every time he goes out there, he imagines he is doing his encore. I think he needs to dial it back a bit and think about just performing a good show. Paul seems like a happy, upbeat, pleasant individual–the kind of person I like to hang out with. The question is this: Would I spend my very tight budget in this hard economic times on music he makes after Idol? My answer would be no.

Anyone can sing a Miley Cyrus song better than Miley Cyrus. She has a good recording voice, but every time I have seen her perform live, I cringe. Jimmy Lovine tells Lauren that she sang the song “The Climb” from The Hannah Montana Movie better than Miley Cyrus. Again, not hard to do. Lauren has a good voice, but she was all over the place. I had such high hopes for Lauren when I saw her at the audition. This was better than Paul, but still no goosebumps.

If American Idols of days past have learned, never ever sing a song that talks about “leaving”, “goodbye” etc. Stefano wants to take it to the next level with another ballad, this time from Boyz II Men. Singing “End of the Road” might just seal his fate as the person who goes home this week.

I cannot comment about Scotty. I just do not like country music. Scotty has a good voice and people like him despite him sounding exactly the same on every song. I went to get my dinner at this time.

Presenting “Nature Boy” or “In the Air Tonight” to Jimmy Lovine and why-am-I-here Will.i.am, they tell him to go with Phil Collins. Casey sticks to his guns and does “Nature Boy.” While I am partial to the Celine Dion version, I was not sure, at first, if I liked it or not. I listened to the song later without watching him and I enjoyed it a great deal more.

Haley needed to go home weeks ago. From seeing Nigel Lythgoe’s reaction to her a few weeks ago when they panned the camera over to him, I think he is her biggest fan and might explain some of what is going on with her. I feel insulted as a woman the way she acts–slutty. Singing “Call Me” by Blondie from American Gigolo did not help her cause with me one bit. It was a blonde mess. This must be the year of Idol grunting: Casey does it and Haley does it. In order for Haley to win me over, she needs to: 1) get through this week and 2) dress simply and sing without all the gimmicks. Let me hear your natural voice.

Someone found the guts to say what needed to be said: Jimmy Lovine. He told Jacob not to lecture the American people. Jacob appeared to take this to heart. I was worried about Jacob’s choice: “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel. After Clay Aiken did an amazing job on this song, it was bound to be compared to it. I tried very hard to judge it just on its own merits. If I closed my eyes and just listened to the song, I enjoyed it a great deal.

Closing the show was James Durbin singing Heavy Metal, a Sammy Hagar song that he was doing for Cole from Make-A-Wish. On the guitar was Zakk Wylde from Ozzy Osbourne’s gang. I love James and have him in the top 2 spots on the show. This performance was not his best, but it was a crowd-pleaser. James just loves being a rock star and brings in the whole audience.

My top 3 (in order): Casey, Jacob, James

My bottom 3 (in order): Paul, Stefano and Haley with Haley going home (my wish) but I think this might be the “End of the Road” for Stefano.

Who are yours?