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Archive for the ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Category

Neil Diamond night, eh? Ok, he’s not one of my favorite performers but I have liked a lot of his songs through the years and our Idols did a decent job overall with the ones they chose. Tonight’s format was a little different and I did like the fact that the judges had to wait until after the second performance before they could comment. I did keep down on the insane commentary but it left poor Paula a tad confused.

It doesn’t take much, does it?

BTW, I hear she wants to be a contestant on the next season of Dancing with the Stars. That would be interesting. Maybe Clay Aiken could be one as well and then THAT would make for interesting TV – a former Idol and a judge battling it out for a mirror ball trophy. Interesting…

Anyway, let’s get right to that view from my comfy red leather couch for this week, OK?

Jason Castro

Forever in Blue Jeans

Is it me or does this boy have no stage presence whatsoever? It’s not that he’s just phoning in the performances but that there is just no “ummph” to them. Don’t get me wrong – he has a pleasant enough voice and the little tweeny girls love him to pieces but that alone does not an Idol make. On the positive side I will say that his lower register is in fine form and he should use it more often instead of just staying in his breathy head voice. It would give him more vocal colors to choose from rather than singing one dimensionally like he has been the past month or so.

September Morn

Does he even know the tune to this song? Or was he overly pitchy in spots? I just couldn’t tell. He is just waaay too laid back for me but it’s also beginning to look like he really doesn’t care to be there. Or maybe he knows he doesn’t have to try so hard because his fan base will keep him there no matter what. Personally, I believe his 15 minutes are up big time but I may not get my wish due to tweens with cell phones who are texting their fingers off. If there IS a God…

David Cook

I’m Alive

Gutsy choice! I haven’t heard this one in a long while and he did great! He really tried to take the path less traveled when it comes to choosing music and it pays off for him each and every week. It sounded like even Neil was impressed with both his choices and his interpretations – it’s good to get the mentor on your side early!

All I Really Need is You

He seems to have captured the spirit of Neil’s songs even though he puts his own spin on them – THAT’S the mark of a great musician! He is really making me a believer! Should be safe yet again and firmly on his way to the finale.

Brooke White

I’m a Believer

Ok, Mr. Cranky Brit – it was NOT a nightmare. Far from it. BUT, because she chose to hide behind her guitar, it wasn’t as good as it could have been. The song’s limited vocal range did nothing for her vocally and for the first time she may have been trying too hard to be perky. I think she is tiring of all the phoniness on the show and it’s starting to show in both her performances and in her response to whatever negatives Simon throws her way.

I Am…I Said

She did much better on this song and, it should be noted, she didn’t drop a lyric in either on this week. I thought the song’s tempo was a little faster than I like it but that could have been the producers’ doing and not hers. She should be in the bottom two this week and might be listening to Ruben’s song by the end of Wednesday’s show if Jason’s fans have anything to say about it.

David Archuleta

Sweet Caroline

He had to stay away from the ballads this week and attempt the up-tempos and he chose two of the biggest ones in the songbook in which to do just that. He sounded really good on this one and probably won every Red Sox fan’s vote in the process (the song is played during the eight inning of every home game – “whoa, whoa, whoa!”). This was the strongest vocal he’s had in the last few weeks so it looks like he’s gearing up for the finals.

America

Shades of Kristy Lee Cook! I was hoping this would have been the group number because I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear one of the contestants take it on. He did well but it kinda boarded on cheesy for me. It wouldn’t have matter who sang the song it would have had the same effect on me. He’s so safe he might have to end up in the bottom two just to shake up the fans.

Syesha Mercado

Hello Again

This gal has turned things around and for the last few weeks has really come on strong – she is in it to win it, even though I think her best finish will be third. Hey – it worked for Kim Locke! She showed her sweet, controlled vocals on this song and without too much gymnastics, conveyed the empty hopefulness of this song quite well. I really liked it.

Thank the Lord for the Night Time

It was a great way to end the night and go out on a high note. She took on an early hit and made the audience stand up and take notice. But please, don’t keep harping on the “Broadway” bandwagon with her because that could hurt rather than help her. She should be safe but then it really could go either way with her, depending on her fan base, or lack thereof.

With all that said and done, my choices to occupy those uncomfortable chairs for this week are:

Jason Castro

Brooke White

with “das boot” going to Brooke White even though it SHOULD go to you-know-who. With my gal Carly gone my allegiance has switched to Cookie but I’d watch out for Syesha who is the real dark horse of this season.

Carry on!

J

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 It was party time at my house this evening as I invited a few of my favorite people to come on over and watch both the Idol Final 2 Showdown and the Dancing with the Stars Results show with the hubby and I.  During commercials we were also watching the Red Sox /Yankees  baseball game  (Sox won, of course!!!) and consuming mass quantities of food and drink.  Can you say multi tasking at its best?  I think I can say that a great time was had by all and I was able to get a chance to watch and listen to others take in the competition. 

 

Btw, this show can NEVER again say that it is strictly a SINGING COMPETITION after last week’s “das boot” of Melinda Doolittle.  They need to own up to the fact that it’s a total package of decent vocals, commanding stage presence and the ability to form a solid voting fan base.  If a contestant has only one or two of those criteria then they CAN lose to someone who has all three yet has weaker vocals.  After the new Idol is crowned I will have more to say on how the show can be more honest and perhaps return to some of elements that originally endeared it to all of us.  But getting back to the real reason why you came to read my blog, here’s how my friends and I hear the sound of music from our positions on the red leather couch and chairs:

 

 

Blake Lewis

You Give Love a Bad Name – (“Do over” from this season’s performances)

He made a very good song choice to start the night off with and certainly knows how to work the audience, that’s for sure.  My hard rock loving friend STILL didn’t like this rendition but I thought he did a good job, despite some weak singing (gotta agree with Simon and Randy ).  I think Paula thought she was judging Dancing with the Stars with her wanting to give him three 10’s for his performance (we’re weren’t sure if she even KNEW where she was tonight but it didn’t really matter because she just isn’t a credible judge any more).  All in all, a good start and a solid performance.

 

She Will Be Loved – (Personal Choice)

Maybe he will get hired to tour with Maroon 5 because I sounds a lot like their lead singer, colored with a hint of Sting now and again.  He tried to showcase his vocals in this slower, laid back number yet I found him to be a little screechy in the upper register, to which the others watching with me agreed.  We also agreed that Simon was absolutely right when he said the song was safe and a little boring.  I’m sure it delighted his fans but after hearing this groups songs over the last two weeks and seeing them live last week, I’m not too impressed with them.

 

This is My Now – (Selection from the Songwriting Competition)

 Ok, no one has every started from all the way back on the set before — that gets artistic props for sure — however, his vocals were weak for the song, which I thought was also weak (it was a split decision with the group overall on the winning number).  The judges were correct that this is not the type of song that suits his voice and style.  Something also tells me he may have purposely sabotage his own chances of winning by giving a less-than-impressive performance of this song.  But, I could be wrong about that.

 

Overall, he did well on the first number, but lost steam by the end of the third.  Perhaps he wants to come in second?  We’ll see…

 

 

Jordin Sparks

Fighter – (Personal Choice)

She chose a current and solid rock song to start her night off.  It did little to show off her great pipes but she needed to come out strong and show her marketability with the buying public.  To her credit, I could understand every word she sang better than the original but to my dismay I didn’t like her facial expressions on this number. 

 

A Broken Wing – (“Do over” from this season’s performances)

PERFECT CHOICE and a good vocal contrast to Blake’s second number!!!  This was a great song for her earlier on and it suited her to a T tonight as well.  She may not have all the subtleties and vocal nuances down yet but she has lots of room to grow given her age.  She just loves to take risks and it usually works in her favor.

 

This is My Now – (Selection from the Songwriting Competition)

Now this was “Taylor” made for her and she gave it every bit of emotion she had. It really is a schlocky song but I think her arrangement was a tad more rock n roll and she used her power vocals wisely to bring it all home.   She SHOULD be singing this number again tomorrow night if I have anything to do with it.

 

So, from our vantage point, everyone here agreed that Jordin DID wipe the floor with Blake vocally but that he was better at connecting with the audience.  I’m not sure how that’s going to translate with the voting public but if this has ANY shred of a singing competition left in it, Jordin just might pull it off and win.  I know I’ve done my part in voting for her this evening and even with her again, she stands the most to gain by winning Idol this season.   Blake, at number 2, will of course get a recording contract and make his own kind of music which will suit him better. 

 

So, I won’t be watching the finale live tomorrow night as I will be working but I will be using my hour ride home to stay connected to someone who will be watching and telling me who wins.  Now that we’re at the end of this season, I don’t plan on going anywhere until January.  In fact, I plan on ramping up my video podcast and keeping all you Idolites informed and entertained as we wait for Season 7 to roll around.  I guess we’ll all be STUCK IN IDOL together until then, eh?

 

Stay tuned and carry on!

J

 

PS — CONGRATS TO APOLO AND JULIANNE for winning Dancing with the Stars 4!!!  You two were my favorites from Day 1 and I am SO glad you won!! 

 

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After six seasons of American Idol one would think I would know better than to get all upset over the predictable and inevitable “stacking of the deck” against one of the contestants.  It seems we’ve all “heard that song before” and this Top 3 night was simply more of the same old script.  Could Simon have BEEN more obvious in his quest to manipulate a Melinda/Blake finale and send Jordin packing?  We all know that he HATES teenagers in the finals and if I recall correctly gave Diana DeGarmo a similar hard time in Season 3 (not like she could have really beat Fantasia anyway).  I just can’t abide trying to make America vote in a way that validates the judges’ wishes and not the will of the viewers.  We are NOT that dumb.  We know what we like and who we like. 

 

Ok, I’ll get down of the soapbox…for now…

 

I was also VERY disappointed tonight by the absence of the one and only Mr. Clive Davis.  While I personally think his is as swarmy as they come for music executives, he is the definitive Idol-maker and still wields major clout in the biz.  His master touch was sorely missed and the ensuing bad choices testified to his absence.  BTW, since when do the producers of this show have the music creds to choose songs for the contestants???  Are you kidding me?  The songs chosen for Melinda and Jordin were deplorable while Blake was given a song that was handpicked to make him look as good as possible. 

 

More obvious manipulation.

 

Can you tell I’m really HOT tonight over what transpired?  Of course, having this show scheduled one hour before finding our who made the finals of Dancing with the Stars didn’t help my mood much, either (Yeah, Apolo!).  Note to TV programmers: Don’t let these two shows go up against each other next year — I can’t take the stress of TWO competitions at one time! 

 

All of that being spewed, here’s how I heard tonight’s vocal cornucopia from my red leather couch:  

 

Jordin Sparks

Wishing on a Star – (Simon’s Choice)

This is not one of my favorite songs but she sure sang the heck out of it.  I was waiting, however, for the “K” word but Simon slammed the arrangement (and thus her vocal of it) where I thought the jazz vibe couldn’t help but improve an otherwise insipid song.  Randy rightly acknowledged that she came to secure a place in the finale and she did make something out of very little with her performance. 

 

She Works Hard for the Money – (Producers’ Choice)

You have GOT to be kidding me!!!   Ok, she sang it the best she could  but WHY choose a song like that for her?  It did NOTHING to showcase her talent and EVERYTHING to bring her down a notch or two with the voters.  Way to go, PTB!  You showed your hand with that one!

 

I, Who Have Nothing – (Personal Choice)

I was glad to see her pull out ALL the stops and sing her heart out (even besting her first outing with this song) but I believe TPTB have stacked the deck against her making the finals.  That would be a tragedy because of the last three standing, she would have the most to gain by being in the finale.  I’ve like this child from the get go and while I go back and forth as to whether she should win or not, she needs to place at number 2 in order to get a decent recording contract.  That may not happen now and we have the producers and Simon to thank for that.

Definitely on the bubble but I’m voting as much as I can for her to survive.

 

 

Blake Lewis

Roxanne – (Paula’s Choice)

Now THAT was Karaoke with a big K.  He didn’t seem to be comfortable with the song from where I was sitting but as you saw, the judging troika did not see it the same way I did (hubby was the one who pinpointed the uneasiness with the song).  Don’t get me wrong — his vocal was decent but it sounded almost like a Sting copy most of the time.  I also thought he dropped a few lyrics.  Didn’t matter, I suppose.

 

This Love – (Producers’ Choice)

Ok, now he gets a GOOD song from them, especially so he can beatbox? We knew that would come out tonight only he needed to be careful not to overdo.  He was truly in his element and with his edgy, current vibe will make a great recording artist no matter where he places. 

 

When I Get You Alone – (Personal Choice)

I have never heard this song before tonight but I have only one comment it — what a way to butcher Beethoven!   UGH!  Hooked on Beethoven was better in its day.  Having said that, I have to say that Blake brought his “A” game tonight and went at it with everything he had.  He deserves a place in the finale given his performances but only if everything was equal.  In my view, it was not.

Could be on the bubble but only if other voters feel like I do.  If not, he’s safe. 

 

 

Melinda Doolittle

I Believe in You and Me – (Randy’s choice)

Subtle and soulful — I loved it!  She came through Randy’s little test with flying colors and at least for one night we didn’t have to hear the “never do a Whitney song” mantra.  Way to go, girl!

 

Nutbush City Limits – (Producers’ Choice)

WHAT????   YIKES!  They had to be searching pretty to try and come up with something that she might bomb on but as usual that was NOT to be the case!  She was able to show her “inner Tina” again and it worked.  We’ll probably never hear that song again for 20 years but at least it was given a proper rendering at the hands of a master singer.

 

I’m a Woman – (Personal Choice)

I absolutely LOVED it!!!  And bringing out the backup singers has to be a little homage to her humble beginnings.  How fitting.  I agree with Simon for the first time tonight — she does deserve a place in the finals, hands down.  We all know that no matter where she ends up she will be a winner but for consistency and sheer vocal brilliance, she does deserve to win it all.

She WILL be safe — Simon has made sure of that.

 

 

Where does that leave us?  Well, my prediction for the “odd person out” has to be, and I HATE saying this in print, Jordin  but I hope and pray that won’t be so.  Honestly, folks, any two from these three will make for a great finale in a season of so-so performances all overshadowed by the “Sanjaya factor.”  My advice for next season?  Return to some of what has made this show a great success:  better selections for the Top 24 (less backstage drama, more obvious vocal ability), more focus on the contestants themselves (what ever happened to the “Halfway Home” show?) and bring back the WILDCARD show!!!!!   That might help if the shark hasn’t already been jumped…

 

Carry on as we wait for the results and kudos to the Top 3 for leaving us with some of the best performances of the season!

J

 

PS — looking forward to hearing Elliott tomorrow night! And if you can guess what song I got my title from this evening (and who sang it), well, you obviously spend waaaay too much time on Google (just like I do!).

 

 

 

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

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

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

Carry on with all the singing AND dancing!

J

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