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Archive for the ‘Andrew Lloyd Webber’ Category

I was dreading tonight. Seriously. As much as I love Broadway I have NEVER wanted the contestants on Idol to ever come anywhere near the stuff. Trust me – I never once thought that they couldn’t handle the genre. Maybe it was one too many times hearing the Brit tell some poor kid that he or she sounded “too Broadway” – like that was some kind of vocal malady that no respectable singer should be subjected to. While most of my friends were looking forward to this week, I was silently praying for it to be over in a quick and painless way.

Now, I may some song suggestions for tonight like I did for the Beatles weeks and I’m happy to say I got one right. How I wished I had gotten at least one more correct because one contestant could have benefited from my insight – but, what do I know? Anyway, the night wasn’t a total bomb but I truly felt for ALW having to sit there while these kids had a go at his songs. That HAD to be tough.

One more thing – I truly believe that the judges have outlasted their usefulness. There are becoming caricatures of themselves and thus irrelevant. I won’t go into this too much in this blog but maybe it’s time to get some new blood in those chairs and I might have a few suggestions as to how to go about that – but not right now. Later. Like anyone would listen anyway…

Anyway, let’s get to the view from my comfy red leather couch, shall we?

Syesha MercadoOne Rock N’ Roll Too Many (STARLIGHT EXPRESS)

My, oh my! Talk about kicking butt and taking no prisoners! That performance was exactly what I needed to believe that this night might not be so bad after all. She was vocally on target, stylistically effervescent and paid attention to the lyrics and story of the song, which made her performance authentic. It also helped that she picked a song that few people could identify with another singer. Smart girl. Now, if the “curse of the first” doesn’t kick in she should be around for another week. That performance certainly doesn’t warrant a trip to the chairs this time around.

Jason CastroMemory (CATS)

Three words: ABOSLUTE. TRAIN. WRECK. Need I say more. He had NO business attempting that song and from the delivery to the choice of key it was just plain WRONG. I hear he was feeling ill tonight but even if he was running on all cylinders he still couldn’t have pulled it out of the nose dive it was in starting on the first note. Deserves to be and should be in the bottom three this week, if not finally sent home but, unfortunately, his fan base won’t allow it.

Brooke WhiteYou Must Love Me (film version of EVITA)

Well, well…I got one right – but it went sooooo wrong. While I can give her many props for handling the false start with great professionalism, it shook her enough to directly affect the performance. She sounded detached and out of breath most of the time, even though the song fit her range and vocal color. I’m not sure how much she’s acted before but ALW saw something in her performance that she might benefit from by tapping into in the future. Sadly, this performance will land her in the chairs this week and could send her home even though she could have one or two more weeks in her.

David ArchuletaThink of Me (PHANTOM OF THE OPERA)

Ok, I REALLY wasn’t sure that this was going to work but in a weird sort of way it actually did. He sang it in true boy band style and he was spot on vocally, gymnastics and all. It wasn’t my cup of tea but it was “aiiight” and shouldn’t get him into the bottom or “das boot” for the week.

Carly SmithsonJesus Christ Superstar (JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR)

Boy, am I glad ALW talked her out of singing All I Ask of You because that could have been a bigger disaster than the dreadlock man doing CATS. I had not entertained this song for our Irish Miss but after reading an article today I remembered that another young lady had recently sung this on another reality show and really impressed the hell out of ALW. And guess what? SHE DID IT WAAAAY BETTER AND IN HIGH HEELED LEATHER BOOTS! While I didn’t care for some of her vocal embellishments, she was solid otherwise and actually looked as if she was having a good time. I hope the t-shirt gag doesn’t make her lose votes because she doesn’t deserve the bottom this week but the fans and the judges have been fickle with her throughout this competition and it could go either way.

David Cook The Music of the Night (PHANTOM OF THE OPERA)

A theatre geek? Really? I haven’t been even close to picking up that vibe. Is he another Constantine in rocker clothing? While I ponder that one, I have to say that he was doing a halfway decent job with both the vocal and emotion of the song UNTIL THE VERY END, and then it was like he jumped into hyperspace and landed in a totally different musical universe. I didn’t care for THAT at all. I’d love to see him land in the chairs for that little maneuver but his fan base may be too big for that to happen.

All in all, here are my choices to occupy those uncomfortable chairs for this week:

Jason Castro

David Cook

Brooke White

with “das boot” going to the dreadlock master Jason Castro. I got it all right last week but I doubt that I can make it two in a row – but I’d like to come close!

And I hope that Idol has learned its lesson and will stay away from this genre in the future. It’s the kindest thing they can do for all of us – contestants and viewers alike.

Carry on!

J

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Ok, gang…here’s the blog you’ve been waiting for – J’s song suggestions for this week’s Andrew Lloyd Webber night. Being the “Broadway baby” that I am, I was very happy that our Idols would FINALLY have to tackle songs that HAVE TO sound like Broadway! Simon will certainly be “Mr. Cranky Pants” for this part of the competition and if you think his comments for Country night and Mariah night were surly, I’m sure he’s thinking up some new ones for this outing. Either way, it takes a great singer to successfully master a ALW tune and it will be interesting to see how this year’s group succeeds…or not…

First of all, let me suggest a few songs from this very complex and difficult songbook that NONE of the contestants should try and take on:

Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina (EVITA) – needs a powerful and dramatic vocal that would immediately draw the comment “sounds too Broadway” from the Brit. Besides, comparisons to Patti Lupone or Madonna would most certainly be drawn. Who needs that problem at this stage of the competition?

NOTHING from Phantom of the Opera – None of these kids have anywhere near the chops to pull any of these song off, even if they change them up a la David Cook. Again, it’s just asking for trouble.

NOTHING from Sunset Boulevard – Another show that is just too heavy for the pop treatment. Just because the show is more well known doesn’t mean the singers are vocally competent to handle the music.

Now, let’s get to some songs that could make these singers stand out:

David ArchuletaClose Ev’ry Door (JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHOCOLOR DREAMCOAT)

One would think that Archie has the best chances with ALW songs but he’s a little to young vocally to handle most of them well. Give him a few more years, however, and he’ll be able to master them because they are melodically perfect for him. Having said that, my only suggestion for him is one he can do very well with – another perfect power ballad that, if sung simply and convincingly will send chills down everyone’s spines. Plus, it might just get the kid a gig playing Joseph in the next revival of the show. It worked for Donny Osmond…

Jason Castro No Matter What (WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND) or Only You (STARLIGHT EXPRESS)

Boyzone did an arrangement of the first choice that I can just hear our dreadlocked wonder singing so that one could be a slam dunk. It would also cement the fact that he might be perfect as the front man for a boy band when he’s done with Idol. The second choice would probably sound just as great but the song may not be as familiar with the viewers.

David CookSuperstar (JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR) or Love Changes Everything (ASPECTS OF LOVE)

This is a tough night for Mr. Cook because ALW songs are waaay out of his comfort zone. However, I think our chameleon could benefit best by staying in the rocker mode and the first song would be absolutely perfect for that. If he really wants to show a different side and still get some growl in, the second one could serve him well with some modifications.

Syesha MercadoMemory (CATS) or Next Time You Fall in Love (STARLIGHT EXPRESS)

You KNOW our diva-in-training is always looking for the power songs and the first one is right up her alley. If someone has to sing it, it might as well be her. The second one would also suit her and even though most are not as familiar with this roller skating show (seriously, the actors sing and dance on roller skates!) the quasi R&B feel to the piece would work for her.

Carly SmithsonI Don’t Know How to Love Him (JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR) or Anything But Lonely (ASPECTS OF LOVE)

I can just hear the Irish lassie taking on the SUPERSTAR classic and giving it the soaring vocal and tender treatment it deserves. She’s got the emotion for it – she just needs to channel it correctly and maybe the Brit will finally give her the due she deserves. The second one is a bit more dramatic and biting and, again, needs that big vocal energy that she has to make it a winner. My personal favorite is the first one and I’d just love to hear her take it on.

Brooke WhiteLearn to Be Lonely (movie version of PHANTOM) or Take That Look Off Your Face (SONG AND DANCE / TELL ME ON A SUNDAY) or You Must Love Me (movie version of EVITA)

Our folk singer extraordinaire was the hardest one to pick for so I ended up with three different story songs for her, all of which sit well within her vocal range. The first one was written for the movie version of PHANTOM and is a simple but haunting song; the second is a little more up-tempo (for ALW, that is) and is a story-song type that she does well; and the last one is right up her alley if she wants to sing it with only a piano for back (preferably with someone else playing so she could get a little more contact with the audience on this one).

Now, with my track record, I’ll be lucky to get one of these correct – I only got one right with the Lennon/McCartney songbook (thank you, Cookie!). What I hope happens is that whatever songs our Idols choose will be the right one for them. It should be all about the songs and the singers. But…this IS American Idol…product promotion is part of the fabric. I really want this to be a great night of singing but I am beginning to have my reservations. I guess we shall soon see. Good luck, gang!

Carry on!

J

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