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Archive for March, 2007

…I want to give MAJOR props to Dancing with the Stars for being the classy reality show they are and wasting their first seven minutes of their first results show to allow AI to squeeze even more advertising dollars into an already commercial heavy show.  DWTS has tried to play fair with AI and not go head-to-head but FOX wanted to push the envelope a little and try to derail them by pulling this “over by 7 minutes stunt.”  I don’t have the overnight ratings yet but I’m curious to see what happened.

With a DVR set on both shows it was a no-brainer for me…

BTW, I thought Shandy should have been shown the door over Paulina.  BUT there’s always next week!

Carry on with all the singing AND dancing!

J

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I wasn’t sure what to think of tonight’s theme, or lack thereof, so all I prayed for was good song choices and not-too-over-the-top performances. 

 

I wasn’t as disappointed as I could have been.

 

That made me happy.

 

But I’m beginning to worry about the direction this show is heading in.  Seems like some folks are trying to compromise the credibility of the competition while the producers seem more interested in good TV rather than good musical head to head battles.  It really hits home when I watch AI Rewind and reminisce about how the first season was all about finding a SUPERSTAR.  That doesn’t appear to be happening this year and I am not the only one upset about this, if what I read on and off the Internet is any indication.  I don’t want to see this show “jump the shark” but even according to Nigel the show is losing viewership (however, he won’t worry until it’s more than 50%…or so he states).

 

More on this later…

 

So, let’s get on to how our Idols did this evening with a very eclectic mix of music.  Here’s the view from my red leather couch on this fine spring evening in the northeast:

 

Lakisha Jones / Last Dance – Donna Summer

Vocally this woman is killer,  however, tonight I thought she was a little karaoke with the song. With Donna Summer’s unique disco flare it’s hard for a performer to put their own stamp on it  but I’m not sure she even attempted to.  Also, I have a tough time watching her perform because I don’t think she’s very comfortable on stage.  In any case, she did well enough with the big vocals to keep her singing here for many more weeks.

Safe yet again.

 

Chris Sligh /Every Little Thing She Does is Magic – The Police

I love the Police and this song is a favorite.  Now, I thought he did a great job on the vocal and it was a super song choice for him but I think he was distracted with the fact that he was trying to stay on beat and wasn’t, at times, very successful with it.  Seems to me he’s more of an instinctual musician with not much formal training — but that shouldn’t hamper his ability to keep time.

I wouldn’t vote him off yet but he needs to step up his game.

 

Gina Glocksen / I’ll Stand By You  The Pretenders

Now that gal was in her strength tonight and did a super job both emotionally and vocally with a great song choice.  She’s starting to make me a believer in her talent and that hasn’t been easy given I didn’t care for her early on.  Let’s see if she can keep me interested in the weeks to come.

Should be the safest she’s been all season.

 

Sanjaya Malakar /Bathwater – No Doubt

Ok, I have to say it first — WHAT was up with the hair??????!!!!! Oh my HECK! Did he hope it would distract everyone from his vocals and sometimes mumbled lyrics?  Given what happened to Nadia Turner when she tried this look (and she was a much better singer) I wouldn’t have pulled this stunt.  This boy needs to go home now and I wish America would buy a CLUE and send him packing.  Even the judges have given up on really critiquing him because it seems to do no good.

Can he PLEASE get “das boot” this week??????

 

Haley Scarnato / True Colors – Cyndi Lauper

I think she tried to “Disney-tize” the song a little much and really stripped it of its edge.  She has a nice, clean voice but she has a tendency to layer every song she’s sung with an “easy listening” vibe – making the judges call her on not being current or young…and they are correct.  She’s sinking fast and no amount of making her hot and sexy will save her at this point.

On the bubble and could go at any time.

 

Phil Stacey / Every Breath You Take – The Police

Strong vocal but I can’t watch him perform either — it was a little too bug-eyed for me tonight.  I’ll admit it was a very good song choice for him but I’m not a fan and losing my objectivity on him by the nanosecond. 

I’m not a fan but he’s probably safe.

 

Melinda Doolittle / Heaven Knows  – Donna Summer

This woman comes so ALIVE when she sings it’s such a joy to watch and listen to her.  She makes it look so effortless and that’s the mark of a truly gifted professional.  I just love her but won’t proclaim her the winner just yet — this show is waaaay too fickle (two words – Clay Aiken) and I don’t trust the voters either.

Perpetually safe – for now.

 

Blake Lewis /Love Song  The Cure

He has a great voice when he just concentrates on the melody and lyrics — and I am SO glad he left the beat-boxing out tonight (and I wasn’t BORED either!)  He is the best of the boys and I wouldn’t count him out of the finale but there’s still too many weeks ahead to start predicting who’ll end up there.  I still like his style and appreciate his musicianship a whole lot.

Should be safe unless others were bored as I wasn’t…

 

Jordin Sparks / Hey Baby  No Doubt

She’s a musical daredevil with no fear whatsoever.  She takes chances and changes things up every week and it WORKS for her by always showcasing her power vocals.   I agree with Simon on her improving from week to week but I have a feeling she’s just getting warmed up.  She’s the REAL dark horse considering how the women stack up this year and she gets my vote again this week.

Safe and sound!

 

Chris Richardson / Don’t Speak  No Doubt

Find this guy a boy-band and let him imitate Timberflake until the cows come home.  Yeah, he has a good voice and a good song choice but he’s so affected with that boy-band sound that I can’t take him seriously when he sings other genres.  It all sounds the same.  I think he’s outlived his 15 minutes.

I’d put him on the bubble but Sanjaya needs to go first.

 

 

So…my selections for the bottom du jour?  I’d go with Sanjaya, Haley and Chris R with “das boot” going to Haley.  My fear of seeing Sanjaya around for another week will probably be realized unless someone — or God– intervenes.   

 

However, in my business, I DO believe in miracles…  🙂

 

Vote Jordin!

Carry on!

 

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Music is subjective, dear readers. Some folks will just LOVE a performance and others will pan it. If you’re Simon Cowell, you’ll just want everyone to agree with you because you think you’re right. However, it doesn’t quite work that way my dear Brit and that is why there are as many styles of music as there are performers.

 

Anyway, enough of my waxing philosophic — let’s get to tonight’s British Invasion Theme Night on AI! Both the darling hubby and I love this genre of music and we made sure we sat down together after a long, hard day at work to speed through the commercials (gotta love our DVR) and watch this stage of the competition. So, without further ado, let’s get down to what we saw from our red leather couch this evening:

 

Haley Scarnato / Tell Him – The Exciters

It’s nice when they take the advice of the “masters” and she did just that! It was a great song choice for both her voice and her stage persona. Add that to the fact that she’s definitely been “McPhee-a-sized” and I’ll agree with Randy that she just put herself back into the competition.

I’d be surprised if she wasn’t safe and THAT’S a surprise!

 

Chris Richardson / Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying – Gerry & the Pacemakers

Nothing like getting bagged by the guy coaching you — OUCH! However, he actually listened and restrained himself from getting all “Timberflaked” with the song — almost. This boy has just not grown on me at all but I’ll have to agree that it was the best he’s sounded yet this season.

Has too big a fan base NOT to be safe.

 

Stephanie Edwards /You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me – Dusty Springfield

Not a good song choice, IMHO — it was too big for her. She started out too light and then tried to force the power ending. Sprinkle some pitch problems and running out of breath at the end of phrases and it adds up to not a great performance. Not sure where that puts her in the voting but I’d be worried.

Might be on the bubble after this one.

 

Blake Lewis /Time of the Season – The Zombies

One word – BRILLIANT!!!!!! He’s got to be the most original musician in the competition and I hope they put that song on the compilation CD. Even the hubby thought it was hot and loved it. This kid is growing on me because he’s got the vocals and the musical savvy. I believe he’s this year’s dark horse.

SAFE! No question.

 

Lakisha Jones / Diamonds are Forever – Shirley Bassey

Personally, I would have listened to LuLu and gone with You’re My World because it would have fit her big, powerhouse style better than this forgettable song. I felt that she was a little ahead of the music most of the time and unfortunately, at least on my HDTV with surround sound, the band actually seemed to drown her out. Not her best but not enough to get “das boot.”

No matter what, she’ll live to sing another day.

 

Phil Stacey / Tobacco Road – The Nashville Teens

Ok, so we tried to rock it out tonight and he did “aiiight” in my book. I just haven’t figured this boy out yet. I can’t warm up to his vocals and his stage persona does not compute with me. What else can I say?

Might be on the bubble once again.

 

Jordin Sparks / I Who Have Nothing – Tom Jones

TOUCHDOWN!!! (I couldn’t resist…) Man, that was a challenging song and she rose to the occasion. Controlled, powerful and believable. Even with a minor screw up of words at the beginning of the second verse she held it together and kicked it through the uprights for the extra point! I’ve like this young lady since the beginning as I did with Paris last year but I think she may do better than Miss Bennett did. Definitely a contender.

Looking forward to seeing more from her…all the way to the final four!

 

Sanjaya Malakar /You Really Got Me – The Kinks

Well…he took a HUGE risk and I have to admit…I think it paid off. Looks like we’ll be seeing him on the tour…but…I predict he’ll be gone by next week…or Simon will slit his wrists on national TV…well, he DID say he’s for showing executions on the telly…

He won’t need VFTW this week to stay…but he really should go…

 

Gina Glocksen / Paint it Black – The Rolling Stones

Raising the song a half step? Interesting. I think it worked for her and she wasn’t as gravely as she can be. I felt she could have let loose a little more and NOT sacrifice the vocals but she was playing it safe and I think it was because she wasn’t comfortable with the key adjustment. They don’t seem to know what to do with a girl rocker so I think Simon was positioning her to get “das boot” this week since he knows Sanjaya will be safe. I hope that doesn’t happen.

Could see the bottom three this week but I really think she needs to be on the tour.

 

Chris Sligh /She’s Not There – The Zombies

THAT was his best vocal of the competition and while he was sometimes a little ahead of the beat it was a great song choice for him. Loved the “audience participation” entrance but I was afraid it was going to work against him because he was becoming too cautious and tentative but once he got the mic stand he was more playful and relaxed. I still like him but how far he goes will depend on his song choices and what he does with them because some contestants are starting to ramp up their game and he’s staying about the same.

Lots to be safe about here.

 

Melinda Doolittle / As Long as He Needs Me from the musical “OLIVER!”

She got the coveted “pimp spot” this evening and she KICKED it out of the studio!!! You can ‘t teach interpretation skills and instinct — it’s a true gift from God and this gal has it in abundance. She’s in a class all by herself and no matter what happens she will come out a winner.

I can say she’s safe but that’s obvious.

 

So…tonight’s bottom feeders look like Stephanie, Phil and Gina but don’t count out Sanjaya making another appearance there. My vote for “das boot?” Phil — however a gal could go so that the sexes are evenly represented on tour. I could care less if I see more gals than guys because, let’s face it, the gals ARE better but this is AI and anything goes.

 

Can’t wait for those results — so, go vote!!!

Carry on!

 

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I was on American Idol (feat. Blake Lewis)

OK, this has got to be the pinnacle of Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame — but it’s also DAMN FUNNY! Rock on, Ethan!

And, maybe, I’ll vote for Blake…

Enjoy, folks!

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… to BRANDON ROGERS, our first guy who got “das boot” from the competition.  I can’t believe I finally got one right this season — whoo hoo — and I got 2 out of 3 in the bottom three.  Not bad.  I didn’t understand why Phil was down there but I hope it serves as a wakeup call for him to up his game, if he can.

And did I see some relief in poor Sanjaya’s face when he thought he might have a chance at going home?   I’m really feeling for this kid and I must agree with the venerable MJ over at MJ Big Blog — just have some pity VFTW and let the kid go home!

Speaking of that site, I may not agree with their motives but they posted something that I want to share with all of you.  They may be on to something here:

 GRADING THE IDOLS

Okay, enough pleasantries.  I am introducing a new feature to Grading The Idols.  It’s called “The Curve.”  I’m sure all of you are familiar with grading on a curve.  It’s not fair to the Idols to be held up to some ridiculous pedestal each and every night.  These people aren’t Stevie, Whitney or Aretha.  They’re semi professional singers that are forced to learn 2-3 new songs each week.  So I’m ignoring how the Idol sings the song weighed against the original.  I’m more concerned with how well they sang their song when weighed against their competitors.  And if they lived up to their own standards.

Simple, huh?

If the three stooges judges could only think and act the same way we might have had a different group of contestants on stage this season.  I might have said here that I felt this year was as bad as Season 3 — well, I’m beginning to think that this year is WORSE than Season 3.  Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong…maybe…eventually…

Carry on and a Happy St. Paddy’s Day to all you Irish and pseudo-Irish out there!

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“Overture!  Dim the lights.  This is it, the night of nights!” Yes, Idolites, NOW it really starts to get interesting!  I always look forward to the REAL singing competition on IDOL and that starts tonight with the Top 12.  They may not all be the best of the best but maybe the regular voters can turn this ship around and start taking this whole thing seriously.  One can only hope.

 

Well, the dog and I sat through all two hours of this first real show and here’s what we saw from our red leather couch this evening:

 

Brandon Rogers / Can’t Hurry Love

Ok, the band was a BIT loud on this first number but be that as it may, I just can’t warm up to Brandon as a performer.  The singing was a little shaky in the beginning but his nerves got the better of him and while he did stay on pitch the vocals lacked color and “umph.”  Plus, at this point in the game you can’t go and forget the words, no matter how good you sound.

Might just get “das boot” for his lack of lyric memory.

 

Melinda Doolittle / Home (THE WIZ)

I’ll go out on a BIG LIMB and say that NO ONE in this competition this year can sell a song like she can!  There is a specialness about the way she translates the lyrics and melody to the listener and she is a sheer joy to listen to!  A true professional already and totally worthy to win this competition.

Very safe and I’ll buy her first CD!!!

 

Chris Sligh /Endless Love

I’ll give him credit for taking this syrupy, over-sung song and giving it a new vibe.  I may not have liked it but he sang it well and it fit his style.  I hate it when they browbeat the contestants to be “original” and “different” and then slap them down when they do.  He gets props from me and I hope America can at least appreciate his effort.

Shouldn’t go home this week but needs to “play the game” a little more before he can step out and be his original self again. 

 

Gina Glocksen / Love Child

Good song choice for her and I’m glad she took Diana’s advice with the enunciation, but she was concentrating so hard that the performance suffered a bit. She was a little pitchy at the tippy top but a solid vocal overall. 

Needs all the votes she can get to next week but I think she’ll get them.

 

Sanjaya Malakar /Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Vocally I thought this was the best rendition of this song done on IDOL in a very LOOOONG time (that’s because most have butchered it in the recent and distant past).  I can see he’s trying to up his performance game but he’s too green in the experience department to play catch up to the others.  He’s definitely a “fish out of water” but he’s so sweet I’m sure some can’t help but root for him. 

He should be put out of his misery and sent home but VFTW is backing him so it may be a few more weeks before that happens and there is enough other deadwood around that could go first.

 

Haley Scarnato / Missing You

She was doing better than I expected UNTIL she met with the dreaded “forget-the-lyrics-its.”  I didn’t find her pitchy (actually I thought it was the best I’d heard her sing) but I agree with Miss Ross that her voice is more studio than stage worthy.  But the big surprise?  Simon was NICE to her when the others had just trashed her.  Go figure.  BTW, did hell just freeze over?? 

I think she’ll live to sing another day because she was genuinely contrite over her shortcomings. 

 

Phil Stacey / I’m Gonna Make You Love Me

A little confidence can go a long way and in his case whatever he came away with from his session with Miss Ross helped not only his vocals but his overall performance.  That was the strongest and best I’ve heard him yet in this competition.  I agree with Simon on the screechy glory notes but it was a perfect song choice for him regardless.

Surprisingly safe, I hope.

 

Lakisha Jones / God Bless the Child

So Kiki’s a helluva jazz singer!  This year is truly going to be the battle of the divas if this keeps up.  I wish I liked her performing style more but there is NO denying the vocals, which were very controlled this week.  Great job.

Look for a solid Top 4 finish, at least. 

 

Blake Lewis /Keep Me Hangin’ On

A REAL musician — how refreshing — and I thought the updated vibe for this song was killer!  I really liked it.  SHOCKER!  His vocals were solid (when I could hear them clearly but that is the overzealous band once again) even if he was trying to channel MJ there for a bit.  Another slap by the judges for being “original” — I’m just not getting that. 

Has enough fans to weather this week’s bump in the road.

 

Stephanie Edwards /Love Hangover

Well, she had some fun with that performance — besides which she took Miss Ross’ advice and worked it out well.  My question?  Why slam the child for not singing the disco section when there is only a minute thirty??  I thought she did a fine job and held her own against the other ladies. 

She’s should be safe but the voters are fickle at this point in the competition. 

 

Chris Richardson / The Boss

Bad song choice — his vocals were too light for the driving disco beat.  I also noticed that the white boy has no rhythm.  Did anyone else catch that?  To me, that was a big old mess and ties for the worst performance of the night.  Simon and I are agreeing more than disagreeing this week — YIKES!  At least I’m feeling validated…

Could I hope for his departure tonight?  Please?

 

Jordin Sparks / If We Hold on Together

The youngster got the coveted “last song” tonight and while I’m not sure it was the best song choice for her, she sang it quite well and gave a very heartfelt performance.  It was a tad screechy on top (again, the band was louder than they should have been) but her control of dynamics was great for a 17 year old.  She is a serious contender for sure and I love how perky she is without being obnoxious. 

One word: SAFE!

 

IMHO, my picks for the bottom three are all boys: Chris R, Brandon and Sanjaya with Brandon going home to the Daughtry song tomorrow night.  HOWEVER, two girls might figure into the equation — Stephanie and Haley.  One never knows with the many factors that go into voting these days.  My hope is that the voters remember that this is a SINGING COMPETITION first and foremost and we are trying to find the best overall singer/performer of the bunch.  No other agenda should prevail or this show is in great jeopardy of losing its credibility.  Come on, folks — let’s get real and vote for the best, not the worst.

 

Catch you after the results — Carry on!

 

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At least the gals did NOT disappoint tonight, unlike last night’s narcoleptic nightmare known as the Final 8 guys.  It’s shaping up to be a lopsided Top 12 with guys most likely leaving first, but I’m getting a little ahead of myself.  Let’s see what I saw from my red leather couch on this night of glorious girl singing:

 

Jordin Sparks / Heartbreaker – Pat Benitar

Give that kid HUGE props!  She can rock on withOUT screaming!  I love it and I love me some Pat Benitar!   She has a power voice yet some great control for one so young. This child is a dark horse and might just make it into the Top 5.  She gets my vote tonight for sure. 

Safe and Top 12 bound!

 

Sabrina Sloan / Don’t Let Go – En Vogue

Now THAT’S a voice!  It’s a large, controlled instrument that she knows how to use but I will agree that she seems to be holding back a little in the performing department.  Something tells me I should vote for everyone EXCEPT the ones I think should go home tonight.

She should be safe but she may not have as big a following as some others.

 

Antonella Barba / Put Your Records On – Corrine Bailey Rae

Yes, let’s put those records on to drown her vocals out!  She is clearly out of her league vocally but Simon is right, she has gone as far as she can go in this competition and it would clearly be a shame if she makes it to the Top 12 and a more deserving singer gets “das boot.”

Can we be done with her now?  Send her back to Jersey, please!

 

Haley Scarnato / If My Heart Had Wings – Faith Hill

A safe, popish song that was most likely intended to show that she sings well but there was no WOW to it.  I didn’t like the song choice either and I usually like Faith Hill.  I haven’t been able to warm up to her style

On the bubble BIG TIME and should go home, IMHO.

 

Stephanie Edwards /Sweet Thing – Chaka Khan

I saw her nervousness for the first time tonight and that made for a shaky performance.  She’s been solid the last two weeks and this was not the time to make mistakes but she is only 19.  I like her and I hope she has enough support to make it to the Top 12 because she deserves it, unlike some others.

She’s could be on the bubble but I hope not.

 

Lakisha Jones / I Have Nothing – Whitney Houston

What can I say?  She held her own on that BIG signature number and sang it very well without over emoting like some do.  She’s been a lock for the Top 12 since day one so why would she NOT make it?  See you next week, honey!

If she’s not safe, no one is.

 

Gina Glocksen / Call Me When Your Sober – Evanescence

That WAS edgy but it WAS pitchy in many spots.  Screamers are not my favorites in the competition but she is fun and comfortable in her own skin – an asset for sure.  I’m still not totally sold on her but she is Top 12 worthy.  BTW, I’ve never heard that song before and may not want to again.

Should be safe unless the “VFTW factor” kicks in.

 

Melinda Doolittle / I’m A Woman – Maria Muldar

She looked and, more importantly, SOUNDED like a winner tonight!  We might just have our Season 6 Idol right here because she IS the complete package and a genuinely nice gal to boot.  Simon is so sold on her and Lakisha it isn’t funny. 

One word: SAFE!

 

I’ve got to admit that the gals have it all over the guys so the next level of the competition should be very interesting, to say the least.  The cast offs from this week will tell us just what kind of influence VFTW has over this show and if the rest of America can’t compensate for the power voting, then the show and it’s format are in jeopardy.  I’d hate to see that but, perhaps, the producers have brought this on themselves.  More on that later.

 

So what are my choices for the ever precarious “das boot – ladies’ style?”  Gotta be Antonella and Haley, based solely on vocals and performance.  Anyone else would be a travesty – but then again, that would be in typical and frustrating AI style. 

 

I can’t wait to see the outcome of this!  Carry on!

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