Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Carly Smithson’ 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

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

Ok, so Idol Gives Back wasn’t any better than last year, IMHO. Following a couple of inspirational songs with Ben Stiller’s potty mouth was definitely WAY out of line and pretty much sealed for me the feeling that this “charity” event is all about ratings, nothing more. Two and one half hours is not enough time to even glance through the Jerry Lewis playbook on how to put one of these shows together so while I can give one prop for trying to do something to better the world, maybe it would be better if this effort was aired AFTER the Idol season as a one night special, putting all the emphasis on the cause and not just letting it be an asterisk during the competition, Besides, having it as part of the regular season just screams “ratings gimmick” to me and then to delay the results for one more night is simply cruel for the contestants…unless they do like last year.

As far as for Inspirational Song night, I think it’s just too broad a category to be successful unless these types of songs have been in your repertoire for years and then it depends on what one believes is an “inspirational” song. Titles alone don’t always connect with the lyrics, that’s why some of the choices for this week fell a little flat. You’ll see what I mean in my reviews.

So let’s get to that unique view from my comfy red leather couch for this week:

Michael JohnsDream On

How can I not like a guy who takes on Aerosmith and has to go first for the night? He even got away with a passable high falsetto screech! Why Randy decided to take him to task for picking the song is beyond me. Ok, maybe there were better songs for him to choose but I thought he tried to make it his own and for once I understood all the words to the song. On second listen, I didn’t hear any pitch problems but I did hear that he was trying to change the familiar stylized patterns to fit his own vocal range and color, which IMHO he didn’t do badly. As for appropriateness of choice, I’d say it was just “aiight.” He might end up in the bottom but I really think not since he’s still riding last week’s high.

Syesha MercadoI Believe

Taking on another Idol‘s winning song, eh? The comparisons would be endless on this one and they sure were, even though she took it and made it her own in a lot of places. But the judges kept knocking her lack of connection with the song – not choosing to remember that the uncut version has a lot more time to build than the stripped down one minute thirty hiccup. I only heard one place toward the end where she lost the pitch but then followed that with a spot-on trip into her whistle voice (that was the high note only dogs could hear). As for appropriateness of choice, I’d say it was on the money as pop songs go.” She will hit bottom this week but may be saved if Ramiele’s peeps throw their votes her way.

Jason CastroOver the Rainbow

Talk about your gimmicks – why did I know he would bring out the uke for this one? And was Randy on some kind of mind bending drugs tonight or what? And the other judges thought it was great as well? Was I the only one who didn’t care for it? Why am I phrasing everything in the form of a question? Getting back on track, this kid has more facial ticks than Clay EVER had on Season 2 and not one judge has ever called him on it. It’s annoying to say the least. As for appropriateness of choice, I’d say he could have dug a little deeper than the Wizard of Oz for his inspiration, especially with the lyrics he kept repeating. To echo the judges – “I just didn’t get it” – but that doesn’t matter because every little tween from here to Peoria is gonna vote for him and he’ll be safe for another week. Rats.

Kristy Lee CookAnyway

This song was way too big (and low) for her and it wasn’t until the end that she actually kicked it into some kind of high gear. To quote another country artist “that don’t impress me much” and it didn’t. I think I heard the pitch warbles that Randy called pitchy but my guess is that she was going more for the country twang than off the pitch. As for appropriateness of choice, I might want to borrow a phrase from the Brit and say that it was a bit “self-indulgent” rather than inspirational but then again, music is subjective. She seems to be gaining a little strength each week and that just might keep her safe this time out but since she has her own bottom three chair we will probably see her there nonetheless.

David Cook Innocent

Give the man props for marching to his own drum. I have been more and more impressed with him as the weeks go on and while I might not have dug the song selection, he was true to himself and his craft. I even appreciated the “hand signals” at the end. As for appropriateness of choice, I don’t know the song well enough to rate it’s relevance so I’ll pass on this one. Since he’s on a high he should be safe, even without doing too much this week.

Carly SmithsonThe Show Must Go On

Helluva a song to take on but our gal did have the chops to make it memorable – unfortunately in the wrong direction. I have to agree with the judges on this one and I don’t want to. She started out strong and then just fell apart in the middle – and NEVER tell us why, even if the Brit stared you down! As for appropriateness of choice, this song needsa touch of righteous anger to get it’s message out and that had to be where Simon’s comment about her being angry came from so I would have looked for something a little less controversial. My bigger fear here is that she is beginning to come across as a very insecure performer and she shouldn’t because she has OODLES of talent! IMHO our Irish lass needs to get her lack of ego under control, strap on an acceptable diva attitude and get out there and dazzle the heck out of them if she plans on sticking around much longer. I even took my dialing finger out of moth balls ( I hadn’t voted yet this season – baaaad girl) and voted like hell for her because after that performance, she really needed it. If getting through without encountering a busy signal is any indication, she could be getting the dreaded “das boot” this week – and that would be a shame.

David ArchuletaAngels

He may not win but I just love this kid’s voice and stage presence. Now I took some flack last week for daring to compare him to the venerable Mr. Aiken, but while I totally understand that their voices are in two different places (DA is younger and still finding his sound while CA is in his prime and exploring how best to use his) it was more the similarities of their IDOL journeys that I was trying to highlight – neither have been in the bottom, their fandoms are fiercely loyal and power vote like crazy and they are both very charismatic singers that draw the listener into the music, again with varying degrees of proficiency. Please take my words as a complement to the talents of BOTH singers, OK? Getting back to topic, as for appropriateness of choice, I’m not sure it was a good choice, even though I like the song very much. However, it won’t matter because he sang and played well – earning him yet another week of many more in the competition.

Brooke WhiteYou’ve Got a Friend

She will singlehandedly bring back folk singing in this millennium, for sure! In one respect it is really nice to hear someone just stand center stage and SING! No gimmicks, no vocal gymnastics – just pure melody and a sweet, unpretentious vocal. As for appropriateness of choice, it was a good one for her vocal style and personality so while it may have come across to some as “aiiight” I’m not sure she could have done any better with something else. She could be in trouble because she really hasn’t “shined” in a few weeks so I think I’d look for her in bottom feeder land this week.

Then, if I were a betting gal, I’d go with:

Kristy Lee Cook

Carly Smithson

Brooke White as our bottom feeders this week with “das boot” going to, and ONLY if you base it on this week’s performance…Carly Smithson (I can’t believe I just typed that…).

Let’s see what happens…oy…

Carry on!

J

PS – whatever happened to picking a 11th Idol to go on the tour? April Fools? Hummmm…

Read Full Post »

Let me start off this blog with an apology – I fully intended to give my song picks for Andrew Lloyd Webber night by last weekend but I didn’t think I’d have to do as much research as I am doing for it.  Whether you realize it or not, he has a very extensive musical catalog so I’m really sifting through it carefully.  With any luck I should have it nailed down before Idol Gives Back  – keep your fingers crossed!

 

Now for an upfront observation about last night’s show:

It would seem that Mr. Cranky Pants was back in unusually fine form, knocking down every contestant in sight.  The Brit just doesn’t like country night, period, and that was VERY obvious – even Ryan pointed it out!  If that is the case, then why do the producers keep putting it in?  Or, perhaps we could get a replacement judge for one night and give Simon the time off?  It IS something to think about.

 

In any case, I was somewhat surprised at how versatile Dolly’s songs are, seeming to adapt to any musical genre  and still sound relevant.  She deserves more credit for being a prolific songwriter.  I was familiar with at least half of what was sung and pleasantly surprised by the rest.  Her catalog was a good choice for the competition so hats off to the producers.  It made me actually enjoy country night for once.

 

So, not suffering any fools on this April first, here was the view from my comfy red leather couch for this week:

 

Brooke WhiteJolene

She hasn’t had the opening spot yet and this song was the perfect choice for her.  Nice, basic arrangement, good vocal but I always find that her production suffers when she sings hunched over a guitar.  She may not have had a lot over emotion in her body but it was there in her voice.  Depending on how the others did, she might just be forgettable and could find herself in bottom feeder land this week.

 

David Cook  Little Sparrow

After basically addressing the “controversies” that have been dogging him the past few weeks, he strikes out with his own arrangement of this song and really shows just what a talented musician he is.  He has proven particularly in the last two weeks that he has a good strong vocal behind the rock growl.  I didn’t think he’d grow on me but he has and that’s because he’s proven his musicianship.  He’s safe yet again.

 

Ramiele MalubayDo I Ever Cross Your Mind?

Well, it’s nice to see our little firecracker back in fine form.  Good vocal, good energy, connected with the song and audience – I liked it a lot!  It would seem that two of the three judges have totally dismissed this singer and that’s too bad because I think she’s mounting a comeback after illness and could prove to be a spoiler.  She has a strong Asian fan base and they have demonstrated before (remember Jasmine Trias in Season 3?) that they are a powerful voting block.  At least this time around the singer is worth the votes IMHO.  Could be bottom feeding this week.

 

Jason CastroTravelin’ Thru

Dolly thinks he’s funky looking…interesting.  Anyway, it was a cute little song for an equally cute guy but I noticed a little bit of vocal reaching as he went up in his register.  The song definitely suited his style and personality but all I can think when I see him is — SPICOLI!!!  BTW, is Simon living in the same universe as the rest of us tonight?  I didn’t think so.  His massive fan base will keep him safe. 

 

Carly SmithsonHear You Come Again

Ah…the slow version that a certain Mr. Clay Aiken first sang on his cover CD A Thousand Different Ways…but he didn’t get the credit, now did he?  I didn’t think so.  No matter.  She killed it and definitely in a good way!!!  She has a beautifully powerful voice and a riveting stage presence but I will admit with the Brit that whoever is dressing her does NOT have her best interests at heart – however I would have found a more tactful way of stating that in front of America.  She should be safe but she’s seen the bottom before.

 

David ArchuletaSmokey Mountain Memories

This is the type of song that he excels in – emotionally charged, lyrically smooth and guaranteed to make you shake your head and state “is this kid really only 17?”  He’s an old soul with a killer vocal talent and I will state for the record that he IS the next CLAY AIKEN!  Mark my words – he’s fan base will give the Claymates a run for their money.  He’s very safe this week, next week, etc…

 

Kristy Lee CookCoat of Many Colors

Just call her this year’s Kellie Pickler but at least she got a few more cells in the gray matter to carry on a conversation.  She also knows how to bring it home in order to get votes and she did it again this week.  It wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad and coming later in the hour helps her stay in folks minds.  I’d like to see her in bottom feeder land but I’m not so sure.

 

Syesha MercadoI Will Always Love You

May I go on record to say that she actually tried to make the song her own and I think she just about almost succeeded.  She truly has the pipes and you could see her trying NOT to be Whitney by finding different places to emphasize.  Problem is:  that song is SO identified with Ms. Houston that you find yourself making the comparison even when you don’t want to.  I liked what I heard but will others?  Could be making a return to the bottom again this week.

 

Michael JohnsIt’s All Wrong, but It’s All Right

HE FINALLY PICKED THE RIGHT SONG!!!!  And was it a doosy!  I can’t believe Dolly wrote that song!  He was totally in his element tonight and he made it work.  Of all the contestants I secretly worried about his chances on Country Night but he did just fine.  Strong, throat-grabbing performance that will keep him out of the bottom for this week and even Simon liked it!  HUZZAH!

 

It’s very difficult this week but I think the bottom feeders are:

Kristy Lee Cook

Syesha Mercado

Brooke White

with “das boot” going to either Syesha Mercado or Kristy Lee Cook  – I can’t really choose!

 

Next week is Idol Gives Back and if anyone has a lead on the theme, let me know.  I’m looking forward to seeing which of the five dismissed Idols will be vying for the 11th spot on the tour and I applaud the producers for bringing back a Wildcard competition – they are always exciting and unpredictable.  Now, with all that I’d be surprised if the theme would be the music of Lloyd Webber but anything is possible so I’d better get that list finished by THIS weekend.  Wish me luck!

 

I’m also thinking of live blogging next Tuesday’s show – any opinions on that?  Let me know.

 

Carry on!

J

 

Read Full Post »

Well, I’m back in the land of the living after a whirlwind month of RL work events and all I can say is — BRING ON THE IDOLS!  I’ve been looking forward to being able to sit down and enjoy the performances without worrying about my work and tonight I wasn’t disappointed by what I heard.  There were some stellar performances with no real klinkers but with a few early leaders are slipping in the rankings, as usually happens.  Randy and Paula looked and sounded as if they were suffering from the flu this week – that’s what you get for Dancing Like There’s No Tomorrow…  😉

 

Anyway, let’s get to the business at hand – here was the view from my comfy red leather couch for this last Tuesday in March:

 

Ramiele MalubayAlone

Give her MAJOR props for taking on this song and vocally beating the stuffing out of it.  She sounded a little sick and then they mentioned she WAS so that has to account for her being flat at the beginning and then a little shreiky in the middle.  But I agree with the Brit – it was better than last week (which I did like anyway).  What bothers me is that she just doesn’t have much stage presence and I think that is hurting her as far as being memorable.  Unless she has a bigger fan base that I believe she has, she might be on the bottom feeder fast track this week – and kicking off the night doesn’t help her, either.

 

Jason CastroFragile

Is this boy as vapid as he appears to be?  He seemed to connect better with this song that he did last week and getting back behind the guitar did help.  Good song choice and the Spanish twist worked well.  He is playing it safe and that might not work for much longer, as the Brit so aptly pointed out – and he was right.  However, the screaming girls in the background aren’t going to let him go away ANYTIME soon.  He’s just so…so… SPICOLI! (for those of you who can’t figure that out – see FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH and you’ll see what I mean)

 

Syesha MercadoIf I Were Your Woman

Where did THAT come from?  That was GREAT!  Very mature performance vocally and presentation -wise!  I would have liked her to sing more of the original melody but the liberties she did take stayed true to the essence of the song.  Isn’t it nice that Simon tried to deflate the entire happy moment…ugh…  Anyway, she should be safe unless others do way better than her but I agree that she just might be the new “dark horse” of the season.

 

ChikezieIf Only For One Night

Smooth as silk and that’s how I like this boy.  Except for a few off-center lower notes he was spot on and emotionally connected.   Randy’s not liking it made me like it even more – I don’t understand the “old school” business and all this “singing it for yourself” crap from the Brit.  Neither judge seems to understand that singers have many different facets of themselves to be used at different times.  And, besides, if the producers are going to have the audience up that close to the stage (which I feel is a BIG distraction) then the contestants may as well play up to them and use them as they sing.  Just trying to keep it real, boys!  Anyway, this one is gonna be a toss up – I don’t think he should bottom feed but other might.  Too close to call. 

 

Brooke WhiteEvery Breath You Take

Interesting that she plays by ear – I started that way as well and she’s correct when she says there’s something intuitive about it.  Give her props as well for restarting when she knew it wasn’t right.  Gutsy at this stage of the game.  The vocal was better than I thought it would be and I agree with Randy and the Brit that the arrangement was not great and perhaps she would have done better without the band.  I think her fan base won’t let her slip into the bottom this week and I don’t think she deserves to be their either. 

 

Michael JohnsWe Will Rock You / We Are the Champions

Pulled out ALL the vocal stops tonight and despite a few over-shouting moments, he was KILLER!  The audience jumped in his corner right away and stayed with him until the last note.  It’s about time for him because he needed a boost or he was in danger of being boring – but there was NOTHING boring about this performance.  Based on tonight he should stay but it may not be enough.

 

Carly SmithsonTotal Eclipse of the Heart

Vocally she was great even though she was a little weak at the top of her range but the performance itself was a little flat and lifeless for me this week.  She has grown on me over the weeks and she is consistently on her game but tonight I wasn’t so sure.  Tired, ill, bored…who knows…but she still can sing just about anything and make you stand up and take notice.  She didn’t deserve to be in the bottom last week but I’m afraid she might make a return trip there this week if America listens to the bookend judges.  I hope not.

 

David ArchuletaYou’re the Voice

Not one of my favorite David Foster numbers but at least it was more upbeat than his previous selections.  Vocally there were very few flaws and he was emotionally connected  – he just has a maturity beyond his years and is the one to beat.  If the screaming teens have anything to say about it, he ain’t going nowhere.

 

Kristy Lee CookGod Bless the USA

So much in her comfort zone she could do no wrong but I don’t think she knocked anyone’s socks off, even if it was her best so far.  Yes, there were pitch problems but they were slight and overshadowed by the song’s poignancy and , yes, flag waving lyrics.   She just might surprise us all and NOT end up a bottom feeder this week after that song.

 

David Cook  Billie Jean

That was WAY PAST KILLER!!!!  OMG!!!  It was…dare I say… a THRILLER!  He is a very serious contender for sure and may be the only one who can beat the little David.  His star continues to ascend while others’ descend.  And I was pleased with him vocally tonight as well – scary.  I have friends who believe that he shouldn’t win because then he can be more successful like Daughtry but I’m not sure TPTB would let that opportunity slip through their fingers again.  In any case, he is very safe and still climbing up the star ladder.

 

 

So, this week’s bottom feeders are:

Ramiele Malubay

Syesha Mercado

Chikezie

with “das boot” going to  Ramiele Malubay

 

Check back later this coming weekend when I’ll be posting my song picks for the contestants to sing on Andrew Lloyd Webber week – right up my Broadway alley!

It’s gonna be good… 🙂

 

Carry on!

J

 

Read Full Post »

Ok, folks, this is going to be a “drive-by” review of tonight’s performances because I am in the throes of preparing for the holiest three days of the Catholic Church year (that’s the day job, y’all!).  Good thing Idol airs before things get cranked up.  So, without further ado, here was the view from my red leather comfy couch for this evening:

 

Amanda OvermyerBack in the USSR

I had considered this for her but wasn’t sure she’d do the melody proud, which she didn’t.  It was a bit of a rhythmic mess, a little screechy around the edges and a bit of the same ol’ stuff we’ve seen her do since Day 1.  I agree with the judges – she needs to show us another side… if there is one…

She’s safe because I few others need to go before her.

 

Kristy Lee CookYou’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away

She didn’t even know this song…am I old or what?  Vocally, she was bottoming out on the low notes and, if I can be a purist, I didn’t like her tinkering with the well-known melody.  Performance-wise, she is a bit wooden on stage and has trouble connecting with the emotions of the songs she sings.  She WAS better than last week but ANYTHING would have been.  She’ll be a bottom feeder again this week.

 

David ArchuletaThe Long and Winding Road

I wanted him to do an up-tempo but after last week I just wanted him to nail the song and performance and he did so with room to spare!  Talk about redemption!  Great vocal, nice nuances, emotionally connected to the lyrics – THAT’S what he does best and he showed he is mature enough to come back and do it up right.  If the screaming mosh-pit is any indication, he continues to be safely in the lead.

 

Michael JohnsA Day in the Life

I didn’t choose this one for any of the contestants because I wasn’t sure they could cut it down to a minute thirty successfully – and I was right!  He sang it well and gave a safe, yet respectable performance but the song was so disjointed I did nothing for me.  Just another time the Brit and I see eye to eye, I’m afraid.  He needs to knock one a song of the park and soon or he won’t even make the Top 5.

 

Brooke WhiteHere Comes the Sun

I’ll say right up front that I’ve never liked this George Harrison number  however this is the second week in a row I haven’t liked her performance and this week I believe it was due to the dreaded wrong song choice.  She didn’t do much with an extremely simple melody, it sat too low for her and it was just a boring performance overall.  I guess getting her out from behind instruments isn’t a good idea after all?  I don’t think she’ll bottom feed unless the rest of the lineup sings like there’s no tomorrow…  😉

 

David Cook  Day Tripper

I GOT ONE RIGHT!!!!  HUZZAH!!! And it was MAGNIFICANT!!!   I knew he could blow them away with this one and that he did!  Throwing in the voice box was an interesting twist and while that was the least favorite part of the performance for me, the rest was outstanding.  He is the true dark horse of this season and is no danger of becoming a bottom feeder any time soon.  Rock on, dude!

 

Carly SmithsonBlackbird

A ballad from the Irish Lassie and she nailed it BIG TIME!  It’s an odd little song but she found all the nuances and her vocal command of the highs and lows was spot on.  Absolutely beautiful.  I knew the Brit would hate it because anything with strong, true emotions gets the “over indulgent” criticism from him – definitely not a sensitive guy that Mr. Cowell.  No matter – she continues to fight the Davids for the top position and I predict that they will be the Top 3 when all is said and done. 

 

Jason CastroMichelle

I understand getting in as much in as one can in one minute thirty but the tempo of the song was a bit too fast and that altered the true meaning of the song.  Then to top it off, he grinned way too much as he was singing and that tells me he didn’t get what the song was all about – a shy boy trying to get out his feelings for this girl.  If he would have used his shyness to help sell the song, we would have heard hearts melting all over the land.  I will say the best thing about the performance was his vocals – his tone color was perfect and he sang it with ease – but that was lost in translation.  He’ll be safe but maybe he shouldn’t be.

 

Syesha MercadoYesterday

What a vulnerable and heartfelt performance!  Vocals were almost spot on (I’ll be she was a bit nervous after her trip to the bottom last week) and the melodic liberties were subtle and effective.  A better song choice for her than Brooke

 

ChikezieI’ve Just Seen a Face

OK, we went back to the same well again this week and it didn’t “shock and awe” this week as it did last week because the song itself just didn’t lend itself to it.  JMHO but he should have stayed in the slow lane time around – I did NOT like the bluegrass bend tonight.  And what was with the harmonica?  He’s no Taylor Hicks, that’s for sure.  He needs to establish himself vocally and then take risks.  Right now, he could end up bottom feeding if others feel the same way I do about it. 

 

Ramiele MalubayI Should Have Known Better

Nice job!  I wouldn’t have picked this for her but she was connect vocally and emotionally with the piece and he looked like she had fun with the it.  I was having a problem with the arrangement because it didn’t help her with the delivery AT ALL but despite that, I think it saved her for another week. 

 

So, this week’s bottom feeders are:

Chikezie

Kristy Lee Cook

Michael Johns

with “das boot” (hopefully and finally) going to Kristy Lee Cook. 

 

One last thing — the contestants are now allowed to wear ear monitors????  I wonder how contestants from other seasons would have faired with such a technological helper…

 

Carry on!

J

 

Read Full Post »

And so it begins again…Season Seven’s Top 12 showdown commenced tonight with a new intro and a new soundstage.  Mildly impressive on both accounts if I do say so.  Very futuristic looking but after about five seasons of looking the same, anything is a welcomed improvement.

 

However, what I wanted to be impressed with was the way the contestants would handle the very impressive Lennon and McCartney songbook.  With more number ones than any other songwriters, bar none, these songs are very well known and have been covered time and time again by countless singers, as well as slaughtered endlessly by many a karaoke barfly.  As I thought, there would be some passable performances, a few large clunkers and a BIG surprise performance or two.

 

I wasn’t disappointed in the least.

 

So, without further ado, here was the view from my red leather comfy couch for this evening:

 

Syesha MercadoGot to Get You Into My Life

Not what I had picked for her and while her vocals on the verses got lost in the orchestration (and lost their pitch along the way), she funked it up enough to make a decent impression.   Randy and Paula were lukewarm but Simon loved it – who knew?  IMHO, Chikezie  might have done it better but we’ll never know.  The big question – did she make a good enough “going first” impression  to keep her in the competition another week?  We shall see…

 

ChikezieShe’s a Woman

Now here’s a real obscure one and the twist from bluegrass to punk was brilliant!  He handled both ends of the vocal spectrum like a seasoned performer – I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!!!   Even Simon agreed!  That was a slam dunk vocally, visually and totally made up for him not singing my pick.  I think I may have underestimated this boy and I’m looking for much more from him in the weeks to come.

 

Ramiele MalubayIn My Life

I wasn’t sure someone would dare trot out this weeper but I’ll admit that she sang it with true heart and conviction.  It was downright sweet with no vocal problems I could hear.  I thought she was smart to give it a straight delivery but as I could have predicted, the judges hated it thoroughly.  These three don’t like anything that smells of B-O-R-I-N-G and I hope she gets the sympathy vote because it wasn’t that bad!!!!

 

Jason CastroIf I Fell

I had considered this one for him but I wasn’t sure what kind of shape his falsetto was in to pull it off successfully.  He might have done a little better job with it had he been standing and not sitting to play his guitar (which I do give him props for using on the first finals show).  As for the song itself, I have to agree with Randy about not changing up such a familiar melody and with Simon that it was good enough to keep him another week but nothing more.  He’s young…he’ll learn…

 

Carly SmithsonCome Together

Interesting…and absolutely SMASHING!!!  It was vocally amazing because she didn’t scream it but rather sang it with conviction and diva strength power.  That was the RIGHT song for her, it really was and with the Brit-stamp-of -approval, she should be around until the bitter end.  I’m liking her a lot, even if she IS a ringer  😉

 

David Cook  Eleanor Rigby

Well, I held my breath on this one – afraid that I would experience the grunge version of this classic and instead I got the Daughtry version of it.  The orchestration overwhelmed his vocals on the verses and I had to strain to hear the words but he did rock the refrain AND he did it sans the axe.  I give him some props for that.  I wouldn’t go so far as to call it brilliant but he didn’t kill it so he’ll be around for awhile.

 

Brooke WhiteLet it Be

Was she struggling to breathe sitting at the piano and playing or was that song sitting too low for her – or both?  I just did NOT dig her performance tonight at all even if it was heartfelt and sincere.  I really like her but I may be the only one who didn’t what she did with this song tonight.  Remember, music IS subjective…

 

David HernandezI Saw Her Standing There

I accidentally left him off my list last night but I had chosen either Yesterday or Help for him and since I haven’t done well at all tonight in matching the songs with the singers I didn’t expect to score big here.  Little did I know the child would take one of my favorite Beatle songs and run it literally into the ground.  Vocally it was weak, the runs were overdone, and it wasn’t a convincing performance overall – thank you, Randy, Paula and Simon (I’ll buy the desperate angle on this one) for agreeing with me!  He could be bubble material tonight for sure. 

 

Amanda OvermyerYou Can’t Do That

Another obscure selection that got the sassy rock treatment from Ms. Gravel Voice.  It sure stirred up the crowd but I would have preferred Get Back from her.  It was just “aw-ight” for me and maybe because I knew the original well, coupled with the fact that she blew the roof off last week I just didn’t warm up to it as others did.  Well, at least Simon agreed with me…what does THAT say?

 

Michael JohnsAcross the Universe

To quote the Brit, “are you serious?”  Not one of my favorites from the collection, that’s for sure, but I will admit it was sincere, compelling and for the first time, a strong vocally melodic performance.  I disagree with the boys and firmly agree with Paula (yikes!) – it takes a lot to step to center

stage and sing with quiet conviction and in spite of the vapid song, he did rather well.  He’s a keeper for the time being.

 

Kristy Lee CookEight Days a Week

Hummm…a country version complete with fiddles and choo-choo train rhythms…I don’t think it worked because her vocals were not up to the task at all – the arrangement overshadowed anything that she could have done.  It was more of a train-wreck than anything else and since she’s been on the bubble a bit the last few weeks she might just have cancelled herself out with this one.  She was the vocal “weak link” of the evening for sure.

 

David ArchuletaWe Can Work it Out

The heir apparent gets the pimp spot this week and when I heard he was singing the Stevie Wonder soul version of this tune, I just wasn’t sure the young one could pull it off.  Unfortunately, for the first time, he let them see him sweat.  Ouch!  He dropped the words in both the first and second verses and was a little all over the boards vocally.  He obviously was NOT comfortable with the song or the genre and he did let it show in his performance.  This is where we finally saw the 17-year-old insecure teen that I knew was in there somewhere.  Will this performance get him “das boot” this week?  Hardly.  But he has to watch his back now because no less than four other contestants are moving up the ladder rapidly and could pass him if he has another bad week or two.  PS – he should have done Can’t Buy Me Love…but what do I know…

 

So, my first bottom feeder three of the Season Seven finals are:

David Hernandez

Kristy Lee Cook

Syesha Mercado

with “das boot” going to the train wrecked Kristy Lee Cook. 

 

Carry on!

J

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »