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Archive for the ‘Idol’ Category

Phabulous Philly

Hola, friends! This week we move on to Philly and with Clay Aiken in attendance — how can we lose? Clay’s never at a loss for words, especially when he’s at is snarky best. It’s also nice to see the show paying attention not only to winners but those who made a big splash in music/entertainment without having the title.

My only burning question of the night is — what’s with Harry trying to rock the white t-shirt a la Simon Cowell? Please don’t give into the dark side, Harry! You will NEVER be Simon and that’s a good thing!

Ok, then – let’s see who impresses the judges on this stop:

Gianna Isabella — 15 — Jackson, NJ — House of the Rising Sun
Mom is Brenda K. Starr (80’s pop star – I Still Believe)
Reminds me a little of her mom – big, strong voice
pretty vocal colors when not screaming (why do they all try that?)
hopefully not too young – would like to see her survive Hollywood

Derek Huffman — 21— Coventry, RI — Angel in the Morning
Obviously NOT a Claymate (or even someone who as actually watched Idol)
1st to bring in a boombox as accompaniment
Not great vocals
Reminds me of too many kids I’ve bumped into in RI

Issac Cole — 15 — Emlenton, PA — ?
The country version of the Bebs
“acappella song with guitar”
I think he’s too young — voice needs to mature
Harry gave him great advice but they shouldn’t have put him through

Sarah Strum – 17 – Centerville VA — Lips are Moving
bright, bubbly and full of personality
she has a solid but young voice
confidence a mile long

Ellis Banks — 25 — Indianapolis, IN — Born This Way
a Nicki Minaj impersonator? Ouch!
Didn’t do GaGa an justice at all

Jenn Blosil — 23 — Brooklyn, NY — Radioactive
Very nasal but a unique sound
Quirky, free spirit
Can’t figure her out — is it an act or not?
Hollywood will sort it out for sure

Harrison Cohen — 17 — New York, NY — No Time original
good guitar player and the song is really good
not a bad singer – a little on the boy band side mixed with Jewish runs

John Arthur Greene — 27 — Raleigh, NC — Somebody Like You
one heck of a backstory but great attitude
Broadway Baby but really didn’t sound that way
nice voice and great stage presence
credit for singing a Keith Urban tune

Carry me back Denver and Little Rock

Something tells me they saved the crazies for the second week of auditions and if the coming attractions are any indication there will be even more next week. Great… (sarcasm) Let’s not worry about that now and take a look at this interesting group:

Amber Lynn — 28 — Provo, UT — ?
a little Ricki Lee Jones like with a lot of soul
just ok for me

James Gray Dawson (the 8th) — 23 — Provo, UT — Sun Comes Up
I don’t like the faces he makes but the voice is good (yet somewhat affected)
good guitar player

Emily Wears — 25 — Solon, IA — Bring on the Rain
professional auctioneer – not bad, either
pretty little voice but slightly under supported at the beginning (nervous?)
got better as she felt more comfortable but I agreed she shouldn’t go on

Chris “CJ” Johnson — 28 — Memphis, TN — Make My Dreams Come True
working musician
yes, he’s a guy with a guitar but he was really engaging going old school with a Hall and Oates song
good voice

Ethan Coots — 15 — Nashville, AR — Stormy Monday
breeds American Fox Hounds
Blues/Southern Rock
VERY young voice but he does feel the music
needs a lot of work, however
a really tough one – even the judges were torn on this (I agreed with Harry that he is too young for AI)

Mary Williams — 23 — Belfast, TN — ’Til I Can Make It On My Own
definitely an old school country singer
nice, warm sound and a good delivery
Even though Keith didn’t like her I’m glad they put her through

Xavier Soller — 26 — Newtown, KS — Friends in Low Places
(one of my favorite songs 😉
great personality but pretty affected (almost sounded like an imitation)

Terrian — 18 — North Memphis, TN — Happy
a real natural singer with a sincere, warm voice

Leann “Blue” McIsaac — 23 — Traveling Nomad — original
she actually had a decent voice but too colorful for this show

Tommy Stringfellow — 17 — Bentonville, AR — Gimme Love
Nice, easy, true tenor voice
just different enough to make it through

Tywan “Tank” Jackson — 29 — Ashtabula, OH — Superstar
if it can work for Ruuuuuubin it can work for this boy
he was a little out of breath so he shouldn’t have busted a move
before he sang
not a bad sound – smooth tone on a big voice

John Wayne Schulz — 27 — Salt Lake City, UT – The Dance
I DID remember him (Season 10) and now with a heartbreaking backstory
still sounded as good as I remembered
great performance

Leah Harbert — 24 — Moriarty, NM — Chain of Fools
She lost me at rewinding and singing to a Brittany Spears cassette – ouch!
Was there even a melody present???

Jordyn Simone — 15 — Los Angeles, CA — Who’s Lovin’ You
Whoa!!! That was really unexpected
A real natural singer and performer – an old soul

Kassy Levels — 17— Dallas, TX — ?
good performer but highly affected from what little I heard

Rhea Raj — 18 — Princeton NJ — How Will I Know
different take on the song but voice was a little weak

Jake Dillon — 22 —- Sandsprings, OK — Danny’s Song
such an easy voice to listen to and thank you, Keith, for sending him through – he may just be a dark horse ***

Ashley Lilinoe — 20 — Kane’ohe, HI — Black Velvet
she sings with clenched teeth and I was not impressed
can you believe I agreed with J-Lo?

Andrew Nazarbekian — 20 — Moscow, Russia — To Make You Feel My Love
Too much vocal calisthenics but he has a really pleasant voice when he sings it straight

Elvie Shane — 27 — Caneyville, KY — House of the Rising Sun
They bookended this show with this number – oy!
But this guy was really smokin’ – a barroom singer but highly engaging
***

So, my watch list for Hollyweird continues to grow – here’s who I added on after this week’s tryouts:

Harrison Cohen
Terrian
John Wayne Schulz
Jordyn Simone
Jake Dillon
Elvie Shane

Let me know who you liked and passed on this week and whether or nor you’re agreeing with our judging panel by adding your comments to the comment box. Next week will be the last 1st round auditions before the Hollywood phase so we’ll be going back and forth again between the five cities. Personally, I’d rather we concentrate on one city at a time but what do I know… 😉

See you all next week!

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Happy New Idol Season, folks!

I had planned to be back in the blogging saddle earlier than this but yet again my best laid plans were interrupted by real life and God’s will.  I’ve learned not to argue with either of those two realities so I’m simply happy to be back giving my POV to all things Idol.  In any case, as I was preparing to watch tonight’s first installment I heard the news that my favorite Brit is leaving the show at the end of the season.  What gives?  First, Paula jumps ship and is replaced by Ellen DeGeneres (I’m still not over that – even though I couldn’t stand Paula’s antics and lack of concrete critique at least she was a musician of sorts).  Now the Brit decides he wants to make more $$$ selling and starring in his X Factor’s American franchise rather than sticking with the vehicle that made him who he is today.  And everyone is now tolling the death knell for the show itself – again.

Interesting timing, don’t you think?

Ya know, this could actually work out for AI in both the short and long run.  Everyone will want to tune in for Simon’s last season so that will keep ratings from slipping this year.  Then, everyone will want to see who gets chosen to replace him and how well (or not) said replacement will do in Season 10.  My two cents on who should fill the seat?  Perhaps one of the former IDOL contestants – either Clay Aiken or Justin Guarini would be an interesting choice – so that the once judged would now be in the position of judging the next generation.    How Ellen does this year will also factor in on the judging equation so at least there will be plenty to talk about this year.

Speaking of plenty to talk about, let’s get to tonight’s first auditioners.   As I’ve done in the past, I will give you my uncensored impressions as I wrote them while watching the show from the confines of my comfy couch.  The “darling hubby” (DH) was watching with me and sharing his views as well so you might see those comments here and there.  My two dogs didn’t lift their heads from slumber at all during the show so no one was totally terrible to get their attention.    😉

So, from my neck of the woods ( I actually live an hour from Boston), here’s what I heard and saw this first IDOL night:

1 -Janet  McNamara // pull up those jeans up, girlfriend, because we almost had embarrassing butt-cleavage.  I just knew that she was gonna be a trainwreck from the word GO.  Too bizzaro for me. Buh-bye!

2 – Maddy Curtis // “tug at your heart strings” back story.  Only 16 year old but she’s  got a sweet voice and demeanor to match with a little bit of soul as well.  Off to Hollywood with her!

3 – Pat Ford // Ok,  a GLEE geek if I ever saw one – complete with bad riser choreography.  Not happening here.

4 – Jennifer Herch //she has a nice jazz feel to her voice – loved the unusual version of  “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead”

5 – Claire Fuller // strong country sounding vocals but could be a forgettable performance

6 – Jess Wolfe — soulful voice with good control. I wouldn’t mind hearing more from her

7 – Amadeo DiRocco // this gumba is from Providence, go figure – (looked more like Johnston to me and I was correct!) – he’s actually pretty good – a little affected but a good strong voice – Hollywood won’t know what hit it…

8 – Derek Hilton //  white guy can’t sing like black guy trying to sing a gay Brit’s song – that may not have been politically correct but it is a pretty accurate assessment of what I heard.

9 – Mere Doyle // ok, screaming is NOT my cup of tea and I’d love to talk with her vocal coaches about that audition.

10 – Luke Shaffer // 1st guy tonight with some real vocal chops.

11 – Ben Bright // nice, old school vocals

12 – Andrew Fenlon // too much ‘tude for me – Simon & Kara had every right to get in his face – trying to be Michael Buble and failing miserably – and yet he was totally clueless as to why he didn’t make it.  Needs to buy an attitude adjustment or enroll in a charm school course.

13 – Bill Bloom // uh, no.  Just no.

14 – Michael Ryan // musical theatre geek in the negative sense of the term – NO

15 – Ashley Rodriguez // big, solid soulful sound with definite commercial value.   She could be a contender

16 – Tyler Grady // white boy with soul – BIG surprise – retro hip with a good voice to match and very polite, too.  I liked this one.

17 –  Lisa Oliveira // I had a vision of this chick not going to Hollywood – by the way, she mispronounced the town where she is from (Bill-er-ric-ca??).  Not a real New Englander, if you ask me.

18 – Ryan Keane – ouch

19 – Mike Davis // he’s got the Bahston accent down, that’s for sure – a little rough in the  pitch department to start but he settled down and actually grew on me.

20 – Katie Stevens // another touching back story.  It’s a  young voice with lots of different colors and she’s 1/2 Portuguese, too!  That gets points in my book.  She’s one to keep an eye on.

21 – Joshua Blaylock // thin but good country vocal sound.  Also a very likable guy.

22 – Justin Williams // Another LDS boy with a good back story who was also in the top 50 last year.  However I do LOVE  this guy’s voice!!!!!  Was the talk of Twitter this evening so that should help him.

23 – Norberto Guerrero // what’s with the hair, dude? – weird, surreal voice (DH said it was like fingernails on a blackboard)

24 – Bosa Mora // easy listening voice – a little lacking in the stage presence department but that could be fixed by Hollywood.

25 – Leah Laurenti // one big, old voice with lots of control and color. I would watch this one very closely, however she needs more stage presence and confidence if she wants to succeed.

There you have it – my first review of the new season.  Can I keep up with the pace?  How long will it take me to write my next installment since I can’t watch it live tomorrow night?  How many times will Simon and I agree this season?  Can I ever agree with Ellen?  Will my gal Kara keep raising the bar for both contestants and judges?

You gotta come back for those answers and more!  See ya!

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OK, I’ve taken some time to breathe since AMERICAN IDOL 7 finished last month but I came to the conclusion that I don’t want to wait until Season 8 to keep this operation running. After taking a look at what is being offered this summer on TV I have decided to cast my viewing net a little wider and to the north —

Even though CTV is not making it easy for me to tune in, I WILL be watching and reviewing CANADIAN IDOL 6 this summer, along with the third season of AMERICA’S GOT TALENT! I’m going to ask my “video supplier” if I can share the footage I’ve been viewing with all of you “south of the boarder” but if it will get this brave individual in trouble then you’ll just have to be content with my riveting reviews to get you through the summer.

Stay tuned…this could be interesting!

ETA — Well, I can’t share the videos on this site but I’m sure if you ask me privately I could tell you where they are. Let me see how I want to proceed now…I’ll be back…soon…

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I hate Top 4 week. Period.

For most of the previous seasons, this has been the week where the obvious weak link pushes out a front runner and spoils the whole mix.

Tamyra Gray. LaToya London. Anthony Federov. Chris Daughtry. These are the folks that SHOULD have moved on to the Top 3 but didn’t. Folks with strong vocals and performances that could have made their fan bases relax at time when every vote was crucial.

The spoilers? Nikki McKibbin. Jasmine Trias. Vonzell Solomon. Katherine McFee (even though Elliott Yamin eventually came in third she was weak link that week). Folks who may have had a stellar performance once in a while but had fans who mobilized at the last minute because they knew it was now or never.

Have we learned nothing from Idol history? Guess not, because we are once again poised to see a worthy competitor bounced due to the dialing and texting frenzy of a misguided fan base trying to get their Idol to go-all-the-way – even though they don’t deserve to. Hummph.

I HATE Top 4 week.

Having said all that, let’s proceed on to that view from my comfy red leather couch for this dreadlock dreadful week:

David Cook

Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran Duran

Solid vocal performance but I didn’t feel any UMMMPH behind it. It was like he was just strolling through it. Notice how Simon used the phrase “copy cat” rather than using the “K” word so he wouldn’t be so harsh on him. I have a feeling that the Brit would be more comfortable promoting him than any of the others so he won’t be jinxing his chances of winning at this point if he can help it.

Baba O’Reilly – The Who

Oh man! I wanted to hear the WHOLE song – that was just a taste of what I know he can do with that number. I guess I’ll finally get out my shopping cart at iTunes and pick me up a download of the full song. The arrangement was not-so-hot but he did his best around it for sure. Better than the first song and more of who he is as a performer. He needs to get past this week to make it to the finals. Here’s hoping we don’t experience another Daughtry moment but I’d be afraid…VERY afraid…

Syesha Mercado

Proud Mary – Ike & Tina Turner / Credence Clearwater Revival

This is a tough song to try and make your own but I think she did a better job just trying to avoid sounding and looking like Tina Turner, even though she did do the hair flip. She gave it her own vocal spin but stayed true to the song and the girl can certainly shake her booty! She continues to ride the wave she created back on ALW night.

A Change is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke

Very controlled, very vulnerable performance with a killer vocal ending and not as many vocal gymnastic tricks as there COULD have been. Kudos to Simon for not slamming her after Randy did, which I thought was uncalled for. She certainly has been the most improved contestant this season and has literally matured before our collective eyes. If Brooke’s fan base wanders over to her side she just might have a chance of getting to the Top 3, which she truly deserves to do.

Jason Castro

I Shot the Sheriff – Eric Clapton / Bob Marley

Unfortunately, he chose the reggae version over the more familiar Clapton rendition and completely lost me along with probably most of the viewing public. The judges slammed him big time and they were right to do so because at this stage of the competition that performance was unacceptable. I wonder if he is trying to see how far he can go without really trying hard – or is he simply bored with the whole process and ready to go home?

Mr. Tambourine Man – The Byrds / Bob Dylan

If this boy doesn’t go home tonight it will be a crying shame. Now he’s forgetting the words on top of singing just so-so? Can you say Sanjaya? Both performances tonight were sub par at best and his attitude was truly unprofessional. I don’t think he’s taking the whole experience seriously or could be believing his own press. It’s time to call it a day, Spicolli, and go “party on” somewhere else. Please don’t be this year’s Nikki McKibbin!

David Archuleta

Stand By Me – Ben E. King

Vocally the best of the first round by a long mile. The pipes on this child are amazing and he showed that all that bedroom-in-front-of-a-mirror practicing can pay off. The Brit thought he struggled at the end while I thought he was a tad nervous and started off a little weak – no matter – he connected emotionally and vocally and that’s what all of them should be doing at this point.

Love Me Tender – Elvis Presley

Kudos to the kid! Sensitive, warm vocals with an endearing performance that left my hubby wanting to hear more (and that’s saying something!). Not since Clay Aiken has there been a contestant this consistently good but would winning be the best thing for him? Clay certainly has benefited greatly by NOT winning so I’m not sure what I would wish for this talented young man. In an event, unless his fans haven’t benefited from history and become complacent, he should glide into the finals.

I hate this. The only one I feel deserves “das boot” this week is Jason Castro but I can’t shake the fact that a shocker could be in the works. I won’t even venture a guess as to who that could be from the other three but I’m really hoping that America and the PRODUCERS get it right for once in seven years and send the least deserving home at the right time. Please?

Carry on!

J

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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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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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