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Archive for January, 2008

Click here and you can catch up on what you missed! Take note that I’ll be back LIVE next Tuesday night ONLY – I have to work Wednesday so I’ll try to get a recap up after I see it. Thanks for sticking with me!

J

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Come one, come all! The Live Blogging experiment continues tomorrow night at 8pm EST/7pm CST/5pm PST. Just click here and join the fun! I make lots of irreverent comments, take polls, show videos, and everyone can add their own POV to the proceedings. What better way to watch IDOL than with others!

See you there — carry on!

J

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…since I can’t seem to get my act together to post my recaps in a timely manner (noticed that I skipped last week?). I’m going to attempt to Live Blog tomorrow night’s Omaha auditions so now YOU can get in on the action AS IT HAPPENS instead of just reading what I have to say. If it works, I’ll use this format for most of the series (there will be nights I have to work…sorry…) – if not, well, I’ll have to decide whether or not to keep up the blog.

Only one hitch…WordPress does not support iFrame, which is the platform used for live blogging.  That means I’ll have to redirect all of you to another blog on Blogger in order to try this.  Ugh – why can’t things just be simple??

Anyway, if you’re into experiments, then check out tomorrow’s live blogging attempt here 

See you there!

J

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“Yo, Adrianne…!” Idol is back and if the first two shows are any indication, it’s a leaner and less meaner edition of what we’ve come to know and love over the last six seasons.  A balanced package of good and bad auditions, more heart wrenching background stories from the get-go and Simon grows a sympathetic hearts?  YIKES!  It’s Christmas all over again! 

 

So far I’m digging what has come out of the first four hours and first two audition stops – ok, we had to have the obligatory bad impressions of Kelly Clarkson hits as well as shots of crowds in hot stadium seats singing for the cameras  but for the most part, the editing was tighter and moved through the worst folks faster than Taylor Hicks was dropped from this label (big mistake, Arista, but that’s another blog).  We haven’t seen anyone with instruments yet, but hopefully that is forthcoming.  I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing some good musicianship but I am struggling a little with the number of semi-pros supposedly auditioning and making it to Hollywood (Carly Hennessey and Kristy Lee Cook come to mind).  I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to wanting to find the best UNTAPPED talent in AMERICA but some of the back-stories  are  compelling enough on these folks to want to give them a shot.  I guess I’ll wait and see if Hollywood takes some of them out and see who makes the top 50(?) this season.  Now, I still wish they would bring back the wildcard round…

 

Let’s get on to my 10 second takes on the featured contestants from the first two stops.  First up…

 

“Philadelphia Freedom, shine on me…”

 

Joey Catalano – “the biggest loser…NOT!”

I was pleasantly surprised by the nice, smooth voice  because after the build-up I wasn’t sure what would come out of his mouth.  For a change I wasn’t disappointed by the great personal package/bad voice syndrome — and he’s a gentleman to boot!  Looking for more good things to come from this young man in Hollywood.

 

Yuka – “walk like an Egyptian”

Wasthis guy for real???  Likes Mr. Bee Gees, eh?  Ouch.  At least Simon didn’t totally blast him for being a bad singer.

 

Melanie Nyema – “Taylor’s Backup singer”

Up beat personality… nice voice… but Mindy Doo she ain’t.  Bit of a let down.

 

James Lewis – “the tour guide”

Anyone who says he’s unique makes me nervous – Moses couldn’t go down any further that where that dude sent him.  The canary yellow suit didn’t help, either.  Reminded me of LOUD MOUTH FROG

 

1st set of forgettables:

Nick Stano – “Clay Aiken, he ain’t”

Sybill White – “too many musical personalities to deal with”

Zhengzhong Yu – “too sing song for me…”

 

1st set of brief but great voices:

Junot Joyner – “now THAT’S what I call the blues…”

Jose Candelaria – Even in Spanish, it was good!

Jonathan Baines – I liked this kid a lot!

 

Temptress Browne – “Mama’s little Linebacker”

In waaay over her head but what a sweet girl.  Simon really was nice to her and I like that he’s showing  his humanity a bit more, particularly with those who aren’t trying to use the show for their 15 minutes of fame (nah…folks don’t really DO that DO THEY?)

 

Mark Hayes – “he thinks he’s funny… HA!”

Never sing a Christmas song to audition…doesn’t work unless you’re Bing Crosby.

 

“Udi” Sampat – “Hammer-time?”

Sings like an accountant and I should know (my hubby is one and he can’t sing either!)  Nice, delusional fellow who should stick to counting beans.

 

Alexis Cohen – “one scary vet”

Sings on pitch and could make it as a cover band singer but definitely NOT as an AI contestant. However, how much do the producers wind these people up?  It’s just not necessary and it’s NOT good TV, trust me.

 

Angela Martin – “a good mother”

Good, strong voice but I agree with Simon that she needs to lose the “wedding singer” posture and develop her own style.  Her back story will have everyone rooting for her and her daughter.

 

Loud — LoudER – LOUDEST!

Alyse Wojciechowski

Teresa Anello

Brandi Park

 

And in the totally WEIRD category…

Milo Turk – “the worst singer-songwriter EVAH!”

 

Kristy Lee Cook – “Outback cage-fighter”

Very country, mellow alto, more like Carrie than Kellie.  I didn’t notice the 60’s vibe but on second listen, I could hear it. She could also be our first “ringer” of the season – someone who has already tried to make it and failed.  We’ll see.

 

Ben Haar – “A Max Klinger wanna-be”

Any guy who dresses like Princess Lea and looks like Jabba the Hut is bucking for a Section 8!

 

Pedro Rivera – in a word, NO!

 

Shekhinah Bathyehudah – “Channeling Patti LaBelle…”

…and badly, I might add.

 

Paul Marturano – “Paula’s latest stalker”

He actually has a decent voice but the song was way too creepy – ingenious but creepy nonetheless.

 

Beth Stalker – “Little Liz”

Lovely alto voice that’s more suited for cabaret work but Randy & Paula put her through anyway.  Shouldn’t make it past the Hollywood Round.

 

Chris Watson – “A legend in his own mind…”

…but he CAN sing and he IS good.  Hubby thinks he’s a pretty boy and I agree.  Hopefully the judges will chew him up and spit him out in Hollywood.

 

Christina Tolisano – “Princess Lea, duh…”

A strangely, wooden performance.  She can sing but had no affect whatsoever.  The costume did in any legit chance of getting the judges’ attention.

 

Brooke White – “the Nanny”

Sweet voice and heartfelt deliver.  She’s GOT to be a Mormon.  Reports are that she’s another ringer.  Hummm…

 

After Philly, the groups heads south:

“It’s a kinder, gentler audition process deep in the heart of Texas…”

 

Jessica Brown – “Rehab Momma”

Compelling back story, seemed to catch the attention of the judges from the get-go,

nice, country sounding voice – sounds like a recipe for a golden ticket.  Wonder if she’ll get through the Hollywood Round unscathed? 

 

Paul Stafford – “big time baseball man”

Elliot Yamin he is NOT but seems like a lot of fun to hang with. 

 

Beth Maddocks – “Kelly wanna-be”

A “disaster” of an audition, fur sure.  High, shrill and lifeless. No ma’am.

 

Esteban Deanda

Victoria Metz                3 “bad” (and not in a good way) Amigos

Drucilla Wideman

 

Alaina Whitaker – “Carrie looks like her”

Big, strong country vocal with a big, strong country ego to match.  Will probably go out clubbing in Hollywood instead of practicing because she obviously doesn’t need it…*ugh*

 

Gregory & Mia Tobias – “Opera twins”

It sounded like a butchered version of something from “A Light in the Piazza” but it was so bad I really can’t be sure.  Opera it wasn’t.  Confusing it was!

 

Bruce Dickson – “The 19 year old Virgin”

Ok, this back story is the oddest one I’ve seen in the seven years of Idol.  I thought he shouted too much but I thought he had a good voice.

 

Pia Easley – “a model background singer”

Looks a bit butch for me but she has a great sound.  Ought to be interesting when she gets to Hollywood.

 

Brandon Green – “a most unusual collector”

I can’t resist but… at least it wasn’t like nails on a chalkboard!  I thought he shouted a tad and he didn’t need to because he could hit those notes but he sounded good.

 

Kayla Hatfield – “a true survivor”

Wow! Another Joplin clone but this one had more of the voice to handle the song and got the sympathy vote from Simon, no less.  Won’t last past Hollywood.

 

Another group of “thanks, but no thanks…”

Erick Maudlin

Charles Markham

Tristan Clements

 

Kady Malloy – “a very impressionable gal”

She has a great voice and can mimic some of the recent “greats.”  The advice they gave her should be taken as gospel before she gets to Hollywood.

 

Douglas Davidson – “I don’t want what he’s on”

Too weird for words and a monotone to boot.  Just what was in that water bottle? By the way, didn’t he look a little like Bill Gates to you?  

 

Angela Reilly – “the newlywed”

Another wedding singer but with worse moves.  At least she could carry a tune but not very far.  No need to but the new hubby on the spot – how rude!

 

Kyle Ensley – “the politico-in-training”

Broadway nerd meets QUEEN – yikes! BUT…he did have a decent voice and sang with conviction ( I disagree with the academic comment).  Won’t last past Hollywood but he will be interesting to watch. 

 

Tammy Tuzinski – “her heart will go on…but her voice…”

Is there a personality in this person?  Or a voice?  Talk about your “deer in headlights.”  Unfortunately, that was painful.

 

Colton Swon –

Whoa!  Strong voice, different hair but you can tell he’s in a bar band.  I’m glad he went through on his talent but Hollywood will be another story.

 

Ok, what was with all the cross-gender craziness?  Stoopid.

 

Drew Poppelreiter – “I guess his tractor’s sexy…”

All-American boy with a decent voice  who will get chewed up and spit out in Hollywood. 

 

Kyle Reinneck – “guy-liner from hell”

Rocker dude with a bottle tan?  I’m confused.  And the singing (or lack thereof) confused me even more.  Daughtry has nothing to worry about.

 

I was waiting for the Kelly Clarkson tribute and I wasn’t disappointed – drat!

 

Nina Shaw – “Kelly’s Homegirl”

What’s with the “old fashioned” critique?  I’m with Randy on this one – I liked her voice.  I think they made her a tad nervous with all the bantering before she sang (rewind it and see what I mean) and that may have taken some wind out of her sails but I figured she’d at least make it to Hollyweird.  From there, it’s anyone guess…

 

Renaldo Lapuz – “Liberace Meets William Hung!”

Well, at least he sang with conviction and reckless abandon…AND…he got a hug from Simon (priceless!).  Now, let’s all link arms and sing…”I AM YOUR BROTHER…”

 

Next stop – SAN DIEGO and the return of the Statute of Liberty…See you then!

 

 

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    Happy New Year!

    I know I have been away far too long from my AI friends and fans so I guess this is as good a time as any to start cranking up the creative wheels again and get this blog back on a regular schedule. Speaking of schedules, I’m sure most of you saw that FOX has released the broadcast schedule for season 7 of Idol and I was VERY glad to see the Hollywood rounds getting two episodes again instead of last season’s disappointing one. Now in case you’re one of the three people who haven’t seen the press release, I’ll post it here so you can reference it throughout the season:

     

     

    2008 American Idol Season 7 Schedule

    Tuesday, January 15

    Auditions (Philly)

    Wednesday, January 16

    Auditions (Dallas)

    Tuesday, January 22

    Auditions (San Diego)

    Wednesday, January 23

    Auditions (Charleston)

    Tuesday, January 29

    Auditions (Omaha)

    Wednesday, January 30

    Auditions  (Miami)

    Tuesday, February 5

    Auditions  (Atlanta)

    Wednesday, February 6

    Auditions (Could be “Best of the Worst” – I hate those!)

    Tuesday, February 12

    Hollywood Part 1

    Wednesday, February 13

    Hollywood Part 2 – Top 24 Revealed

    Tuesday, February 19

    Top 12 Males

    Wednesday, February 20

    Top 12 Females

    Thursday, February 21

    Top 24 Elimination

    Tuesday, February 26

    Top 10 Males

    Wednesday, February 27

    Top 10 Females

    Thursday, February 28

    Top 20 Elimination

    Tuesday, March 4

    Top 8 Males

    Wednesday, March 5

    Top 8 Females

    Thursday, March 6

    Top 16 Elimination – Top 12 established

    Tuesday, March 11

    Top 12 Perform

    Wednesday, March 12

    Top 12 Elimination

    Tuesday, March 18

    Top 11 Perform

    Wednesday, March 19

    Top 11 Elimination

    Tuesday, March 25

    Top 10 Perform

    Wednesday, March 26

    Top 10 Elimination

    Tuesday, April 1

    Top 9 Perform

    Wednesday, April 2

    Top 9 Elimination

    Tuesday, April 8

    Top 8 Perform

    Wednesday, April 9

    Idol Gives Back 2

    Thursday, April 10

    Top 8 Elimination

    Tuesday, April 15

    Top 7 Perform

    Wednesday, April 16

    Top 7 Elimination

    Tuesday, April 22

    Top 6 Perform

    Wednesday, April 23

    Top 6 Elimination

    Tuesday, April 29

    Top 5 Perform

    Wednesday, April 30

    Top 5 Elimination

    Tuesday, May 6

    Top 4 Perform

    Wednesday, May 7

    Top 4 Elimination

    Tuesday, May 13

    Top 3 Perform

    Wednesday, May 14

    Top 3 Elimination

    Tuesday, May 20

    Final 2 Perform

    Wednesday, May 21

    Season Finale & Winner

     

    Other than another installment of Idol Gives Back, which I have mixed feelings about, it should be another interesting year of bad auditions, questionable judging and America getting it wrong at least ten times, if not more. Has Idol become predictable? In a way, yes — but it still manages to provide enough angst and raw emotions from both contestants and viewers to keep it the main topic of water cooler conversation from January to May. Couple that with the lack of any viable competition due to the writers’ strike and it should top the Nielsen’s easily again this year. There will, however, be some changes and additions and I am looking forward to them. From what we already know:

     

    ****Less focus on guest mentors and more on the contestants themselves in an effort to get to know them better. I would hate to see the producers do away with mentors altogether (especially the music god himself, Barry Manilow, who is due for another visit this year) because some of them, like Barry, really do care about the kids and want to see them do their best. However, last year’s over-emphasis, I believe, did take away from getting to see the contestants as regular folks just like us and allowed one very charismatic individual to get more attention for his non-singing antics than he deserved. Let’s hope the producers have learned a lesson from this.

     

    ****Allowing the contestants to show other sides of their musical abilities is certainly a welcome addition. Most of the other big Idol franchises already allow this and I believe it does help show how musically well rounded an individual is or isn’t. As a musician myself, I think it takes a lot more than a pretty voice to make it BIG in music or to achieve longevity in this field. Building on skills and gifts, as well as the occasional reinvention of the artists, helps to keep their creativity alive and, hopefully, keeps them out of becoming boring or trite to the listening and buying public. Since most Idol contestants haven’t traditionally had much experience or “dues paying” prior to being on the show (there are exceptions, obviously), they seem to lack the staying power of others who have taken awhile to “make it.” However, the public seems to think that if a musician isn’t ALWAYS in the news or on TV or on the radio that they have somehow “failed” at making a career of music – which is not necessarily true. Being able to judge a contestant’s full musical potential may begin to tip the scales away from those with just great voices and towards the “total musical package” types – something that may not be a bad thing. I guess we’ll have to see what the producers put forward this year for us to judge (and it had better be better than last year…).

     

     

    If you’re like me, with the holidays now a fond memory and the writers’ strike making TV more of a vast wasteland, you’re just as anxious for Idol to get going. It’s only a little longer, folks… get those TiVOs and DVRs primed and ready… we’re almost there and I’M READY! Are you?

     

    Carry on!

    J

     

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