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Archive for the ‘Constantine Maroulis’ 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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Notes from the Couch for this first semi-final round:

 

David Hernandez – The Midnight Hour

It’s really tough for some to go first but not this one – I’ve like this guy since I first saw him.  Powerful tenor voice that can rock without screaming but he blew it at the very end. Too bad – I think his nervousness got the better of him.  Simon sounded like he was eating a little crow on this one after he basically said last week that he wouldn’t go far without a miracle   The song’s arrangement suited his style and I happened to like it, too.    One thing – what’s with the overpowering reverb? 

 

Chikezie – More Today Than Yesterday

Not sure if it was the song’s bad arrangement or just overwhelming nervousness but he spent the first half of the song under pitch – something no one picked up on.  I liked the tone quality and ease of singing but not the presentation of this song. 

 

David Cook – Happy Together

Weird hair, strange vocal sound – haven’t figured this one out yet but thank God they didn’t fool around with this song’s character too much!  One of my favs and he  did a decent job on it.  I liked it.  His camera work and mic stand work could make him this year’s Constantine incarnation.

 

Jason Yeager – Moon River

I love a smooth, effortless male voice and this dude has that in spades.  Started out a little hesitant but came on strong after the key change – could have been too low to start with.  Personally, there are worst things than being called “cruise ship-like” – at least it was a “lounge lizard” impersonation. 

 

Robbie Carrico – One

Most polished performance of the night – knows how to command a stage.  Soaring tenor with a sparkling tonal quality. 

 

David Archuletta – Shop Around

This year’s token LDS entrant and a former STAR SEARCH winner.  Most natural performer of the lot and he’s only 17!  I love his soulful voice. This one is a contender for sure and  COULD. GO. ALL. THE. WAY!

 

Danny Noriega – Jailhouse Rock

2 snaps up for this dude – very uninhibited performer.  Interesting song choice that could have backfired but didn’t.  He and David will be competing for the teenage vote for sure. BTW, can you say SANJAYA?  Just watch…

 

Luke Menard – Everybody’s Talkin’

Lots of tenors this season and this handsome tall drink of iced tea has the sweetest and easy-to -listen-to one.  Great job on this song (can you tell I don’t agree with the judges) with an effortless falsetto – didn’t understand the “pitchy” part.  I think I’ll vote for this boy just b/c Simon dismissed him.  He should stick around and did a LOT better than a few of the others before him. 

 

Colton Berry – Suspicious Minds

Talk about not connecting with the meaning of the song – that was a “cabaret performance” if I ever saw one.  And the judges LIKED him and not Luke – well, except Simon who is at least honest to admit he only looking for a recording artist. 

 

Garrett Haley – Breakin’ Up is Hard to Do

Frampton/Leif look-a-like that we haven’t seen much of up to now and with any luck, will be gone after tonight.  Not a great song choice even if he did sound like Sedaka.  I’ll agree with the boring comment.  What get’s me is that they put him through and not Kyle…I don’t get it…

 

Jason Castro – What a Day for a Daydream

Give the boy credit for bringing his axe on stage for this song – good job with a very familiar old song and boy was a surprised when Simon agreed with me! 

 

Michael Johns – Light My Fire

OK, Randy compared him with another Aussie Michael Hutchence from INXS and I have to strongly disagree.  He wasn’t all that with the song and I felt he was holding back.  He’ll be around for awhile.

 

Let’s see how the girls do…

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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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    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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I about lost my hot chocolate over this GREAT video by Grey Blackwell found on the Raleigh News and Observer website. I just HAD to share this with y’all so ENJOY!

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Even though I’m not a huge fan of country music, I do enjoy listening to those who are both “a little bit country & a little bit rock and roll.”  Martina McBride is one of my favorite in that vein and it was good to see her work with the remaining seven contestants.  Her performance tomorrow night will surely be a highlight.

 

BTW — what was Constantine doing there on Country Night??  Scary.

 

In the last couple of seasons country night has been very good to some of the Idols and tonight was no exception — even though it was apparently obvious that a few singers were our of their depth.  But there were more ups than downs, thankfully,  so without further ado here’s my take on tonight’s singfest from my comfy red leather couch:

 

Phil Stacey / Where the Blacktop Ends – Keith Urban

Well, well, well!  I think we’ve found the genre that this boy excels at!  That was a solid, soulful performance and I’ve haven’t seen him this relaxed since this whole gig started.  It was a great song choice, he worked the vocals and the crowd with ease and he made me forget about his “Uncle Fester” look for the first time.  I’ll disagree with Simon and say this HAS saved him for at least another week…that is, unless American is deaf…or the script is wrong…

I’d say he’s safe but he could end up on the bubble or out on his…

 

Jordin Sparks / Broken Wing – Martina McBride

In a word — FANTASTIC!  She built that song from the ground up vocally and emotionally and sold it BIG TIME!  It even made Simon a believer (probably for all of 10 seconds) and I hope he didn’t jinx her by proclaiming that she could win based on that performance (think Clay Aiken and a host of others).  Guess I’ll be spending another Tuesday night voting for this fearless seventeen year old.

SAFE…if y’all know better…

 

Sanjaya Malakar /Let’s Give ‘Em Something to Talk About – Bonnie Raitt

I used to love this song…sigh…

It’s all been said before.

 

Lakisha Jones / Jesus Take the Wheel – Carrie Underwood

Got to agree with Martina on this one.  Her believability on the number was undeniable and I may have detected a little pitch movement but not to the extent the judges were blowing it out to be.  It may not have been a great choice for her but not much in this genre would have worked with her style anyway.  I thought she did as well as she could have and I liked it.

Hopefully not on the bubble because she really did well.

 

Chris Richardson  / Mayberry – Rascal Flatts

Another week of “I don’t like this kid’s voice” and the nasal problem really was prominent.  Since all three of the judges panned him, he might be in trouble this week.  One can only hope…

Hopefully on the bubble.

 

Melinda Doolittle / Trouble is a Woman – Julie Reeves

GREAT song choice and one that I just might download for my iPod.  I loved it!  Along with Jordin that had to be one of the best performances of the night – no doubt about it.  She’s so good it’s scary and I’m glad Simon asked her to refrain from the “you really like me” look and response to the judges’ comments — that was getting a tad old.  How can you NOT vote for her?

Safe.  Safer.  Safest.

 

Blake Lewis /When the Stars Go Blue – Tim McGraw

Country is not his “cup of musical tea,” that for sure but he did try to make it his own.   It was a valiant effort and he did sound nice in his upper register but I wasn’t as sold on it as the judges were.  One tip: don’t wear argyle when singing country — just not right.

Should be safe but stranger things have happened.

 

Overall a decent night of singing BUT WHAT was up with Ryan & Simon???  Sniping does NOT suit either of them.  Plus, I think Simon has had enough of all the hype, is losing any objectivity toward the whole Sanjaya thing and in acknowledging that “this has been funny for awhile” pretty much pleaded with the public to end the insanity.  Will they?  They should.  Please?

 

So my choices for tonight’s bottom three are: Phil, Chris and Sanjaya with “das boot” going to Chris (in a “shocking” move even though it should be you-know-who).  With this year’s Sanjaya factor I have been not been as accurate in my predictions but this is a strange year for the “singing” competition and one, I hope, doesn’t get repeated in the near future — if there IS a future.  Sometimes, too much of a good thing is just too much.  I pray this is not the case here. 

 

Carry on!

J

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    Ok, gang,

    are we ready for celebtv.com’s Top 10 of the sexiest contestants on American Idol EVHA? Well, get a load of this list:

     

    #10

    Taylor Hicks (Season 5) Really?

    #9

    Clay Aiken (Season 2) Nice to see he made the list but I would have scored him a little higher

    #8

    Bo Bice (Season 4)

    #7

    Ace Young (Season 5)

    #6

    Carrie Underwood (Season 4)

    #5

    Blake Lewis (Season 6)

    #4

    Chris Daughtry (Season 5)

    #3

    Nadia Turner (Season 4)

    #2

    Ryan Starr (Season 1)

     

    And…the #1 sexiest Idol is…Katherine McPhee (Season 5)!!??

     

    Uh…I’m not so sure who conducted this poll but I beg to differ on quite a few of the placements, including #1.

     

    Now, among the missing on this list are:

    Constantine Maroulis

    Season 4 Now this was the one trying to bring sexy back that year.

    Anthony Federov

    Season 4

    Tamara Gray

    Season 1

    Justin Guarini

    Season 1 – How could they leave the original “hairboy” off this list?

    Matthew Metzger

    Season 3 – This guy was so hot he landed on a daytime soap!

     

    And what about the original Idol KELLY CLARKSON??? She seems to be doing all right for herself in this area — have you seen her videos?

     

    Well, I guess that beauty and sexy are in the eyes of the beholder. But, isn’t this a SINGING COMPETITION first and foremost????? More on that later…

     

    Carry on!

    J

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