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Archive for the ‘Jennifer Hudson’ Category

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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Oops, I did it again! 😉 I used a song title to accurately describe the goal our four songbirds were shooting for tonight. Unfortunately, they would get no help whatsoever from the Barry Gibb/Bee Gees Songbook on what was toted as “boogie night.” Actually, it was more like “bogey night” at the local golf course — with more balls landing in the beach (sand trap) rather than on the green and no hole-in-ones in sight. These kids showed what little they knew of the Gibbs’ musical legend and had multiple problems with song selection, key choices and overall musical interpretation.

 

I’m beginning to believe that this IS the worst season of Idol, even surpassing Season 3 for that dubious title. Whatever happened to the great amateur talent search I came to know, love and obsess over these last 5 years? It’s showing its true colors as just another reality series and God knows we have quite enough of them.

 

So, was there anything left for me to critique this week from my vantage point on the red leather couch? You betcha! With the added bonus of TWO song performances (it’s that time again, folks!) let’s see what I managed to come up with, shall we?

 

Melinda Doolittle

Love You Inside and Out

I was a little nervous about how she would do with the Bee Gees songbook but she managed to apply her usual brand of great vocal technique and killer performing instincts for yet another slam dunk. Perhaps her slow and steady nature can win this race. I wouldn’t be sad if she did just that.

 

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart

I can’t take it anymore — give her the title and be DONE with it! She is just too good.

SAFE is the only word I can think of for her at this moment.

 

 

Blake Lewis

You Should Be Dancin’

Well, he came out of the gate with a bit of a pitch problem and had a tough time recovering mentally after that. I’m not sure the beatboxing worked for this song but I thought he had a decent falsetto and pulled off staying on it for the entire song. He’s gets props from me for that. I would have rather heard him put his unique spin on Jive Talkin’ instead. Just MHO.

 

This is Where I Came In

“Contemporary rebel” — Paula, that is a perfect label for him. He certainly marches (or dances) to his own beatbox band and that’s why I like him a lot. Do I want him to win? Not really, but he DOES have a bright future in the music biz. I have a feeling the other two talking heads were gunning for his departure but I hope the voters see his musical worth and keep him on that stage to sing another week.

On the bubble but his fans should keep him alive for one more week.

 

LaKisha Jones

Stayin’ Alive

Uh, her chances of doing that are not so hot after this number. Why does she continue to throw away the advice of her mentors?! That was the third time she didn’t listen and the third time she got panned for it. I can certainly understand singing a song “my way” but sometimes others DO know better and are more objective. She has a lot to learn about dying to her own interests if she plans on advancing in the music business.

 

Run to Me

My main comment about this song? KiKi don’t do “soft” well at all. I’m not just knocking the ending either. I felt she was weaker in the bottom register any time she was there and then resorted to screaming at the end, which made her go hoarse at the very end. Simon was correct about her being vulnerable and unless Blake’s fans are asleep at the phone, she will be the one hearing Daughtry’s song tomorrow night.

On the bubble BIG TIME and it just might POP!

 

Jordin Sparks

To Love Somebody

She’s BAAAACCCCKKK and I’m lovin’ it! I’m just like Randy when I keep harping on the fact that she is ONLY 17 but that’s what makes her so amazingly good. Her composure, control and overall confidence is way beyond her years, allowing her to wrap her vocals around a melody and sell it convincingly. She would benefit the most from winning this competition and I believe she won’t really have a career without doing so. Guess you all know where my votes are continuing to go, eh?

 

Woman in Love

OK, were the judges smoking crack before her performance because neither my husband nor I heard what the three of them where hearing. That child sang the freaking heck out of a very difficult song and while I might have heard a bit of pushing once or twice it was NOTHING like the critique that the judging troika was spewing in her direction. And we’re not watching this on some 20 inch no-name brand TV — we’re talking a 42 inch Sony Bravia HDTV with a Yamaha 7.1 surround sound (and the bass was truly a tad LOUD tonight – the band needs to watch that!). I’ve been impressed and happy that she’s taken more risks than any other woman contestant, providing us with some of the more memorable performances in the year of vocal drought. As I’ve said before, she is the prime example of what this competition started out to be. Let’s keep her in this so that she can have a decent shot at winning.

Should be safe but I trust no one so I will vote like heck for her!

 

 

Where does that leave us? Well, my prediction for bottom two has to be Lakisha and Blake but this is traditionally the week of the upset so don’t be surprised if Melinda lands there instead of Blake. Who will get “das boot?” It should be Lakisha but may I remind everyone that both Tamyra and LaToya never made it passed the final 4, while Clay…well, I’m not gonna get into that fiasco again…

 

‘Nuf said.

 

Now let me go vote and then chew my nails until the results show…

 

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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Ok, now that we’ve had some excitement on the blog this week, we probably should get back to the task at hand — finding this season’s AMERICAN IDOL! That goal seems to get lost among all the photos and fights and conjecture that surrounds this show but the producers seem to love all the attention, positive and especially negative. I don’t know about you but I wish this show would return to its roots and just allow good TV to happen — not force it by manipulation of any kind.

 

Tonight is special for me because my cable company FINALLY got FOXHD so now I can watch and hear AI in a whole new way. It’s the little things in life that make me smile… 😉

 

Anyway, let’s get to my view from my red leather couch for tonight, even though it’s nothing to write home about:

 

 

Blake Lewis /All Re-mixed Up – 311

Ok, so not even the judges knew this song or the group — I don’t feel so badly! That being said, I totally agree with our musical “Trinity”  that this cat is in a category all by himself and doesn’t make apologies for it. He knows himself as an artist and he is very confident on stage. Doesn’t hurt that he has a good voice, too. I’m starting to like him a lot…

A shoe-in for the Top 12 and will last quite awhile.

 

Sanjaya Malakar /Waiting on the World to Change – John Mayer

Vocally the kid did fine (MUCH better than last week for sure) but he is a BORING performer and totally out of his league with this group of guys. I hate to see VFTW using this young man for its own sick game. Hopefully America can put him out of his misery and send him home this week before he takes the place of a better performer.

Should go home but who knows…

 

Sundance Head / Jeremy – Pearl Jam

Was that first half of the song even ON pitch? Since I’m not a Pearl Jam fan I really couldn’t tell but the musician in me was grimacing until he got to the chorus and then I could find the melody and pitch in that song. Having said that, he did a decent rocker job, complete with mic stand dancing, so with any luck VFTW will back him instead of Sanjaya this week.

Might be safe but I wouldn’t vote for him.

 

Chris Richardson / Tonight I Want to Cry – Keith Urban

First ballad of the night (and in the sitting position to boot) and if I can be completely honest, I wasn’t as impressed as the judges were. I agree with Simon’s remark about his nasal tone but he’s been that way since the first time I heard him. I thought it was a safe song so he’s got a decent shot at making the Top 12 by not rocking the musical boat .

Probably safe but might be one of the first of the 12 to go home.

 

Jared Cotter / If You Really Love Me – Stevie Wonder

The boy should be on Broadway with all the faces he makes while he sings and I agree with the shouting comment. To borrow some words from Shania: “that don’t impress me much” and he didn’t do a thing for me. I haven’t warmed up to this kid and he’s not giving me a real reason to but he is cute and all the young girls will be voting their fingers off for him.

Safe but better take the judges’ advice and step up his game if he wants to go far in the Top 12.

 

Brandon Rogers / I Just Want to Celebrate – Rare Earth

The kid’s a classical pianist! Go figure! Now, let’s get to the singing – I thought it was pitchy and it proved to me that this boy is better as a backup singer than as a front man. I didn’t care for the song choice either.

Should

 

Phil Stacey / I Need You – LeeAnn Rimes

I’m confused about this boy’s voice and performing style, besides the fact that it was a bad song choice and his vocals were weak. If the judges didn’t get it, I wonder if America well. He may have felt good about it but that might have been his swan song.

On the BIG bubble and may not pull it out to sing another day.

 

Chris Sligh /Wanna Be Loved – D.c Talk

Finally! Someone who knows how to sing and sell a song! Ok, so it wasn’t his best and the song was just “aiiight” but I was entertained at the end of a boring night of singing. He has personality, intelligence and a wicked sense of humor, as well as a good singing voice. He’ll make the Top 12 and I predict he will even make the Top 3. Of all the guys I’d put my money on him.

I’d say he’s safe and I look forward to more from him in this competition.

 

 

I wish I could say it was a night of great music but while it wasn’t an ear-bleeder, I had to try and keep from switching channels because I wasn’t entertained for the most part. The gals are definitely more talented than the guys this season and I too agree that only 4 of these boys are good enough for the Top 12.

 

So who should get tonight’s “das boot?”

 

My choices are Sanjaya and Phil however if Chris R or Brandon left I wouldn’t cry. I’m only 1 for 8 so far so I need to play catch up.

 

See ya tomorrow night!

 

Carry on!

 

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Feeling MUCH better today, thanks, and I’m ready for some IDOL!  Since I was out tonight supporting my local theatre, I watched this show in fast forward — the ONLY way to avoid those pesky commercials. 

 

Anywho, here’s tonight’s view from my red leather couch thanks to my DVR that just loves to fast forward through the endless commercials:

 

Gina Glocksen / Alone – Heart

Way to rock out — and in a snappy dress to boot!!  Great song choice, just a tad pitchy but not dreadful, and a solid delivery that she took and made her own in spots.  I’m not buying the “I don’t know who you are” crap from Simon – he’s just trying to confuse the masses again.  Should be safe but being first is sometimes a curse.

 

Alaina Alexander / I’m Not Ready to Make Nice – Dixie Chicks

Stop looking down her dress, Ryan!  How obvious!  Anyway, I’m not ready to say that was good singing ’cause it wasn’t.  Sorry.  She just doesn’t have a pleasing tone quality and she a bit too gawky as a performer.  Nice eye candy but not easy on the ears.  On the bubble BIG TIME so I’d send her home — PLEASE?

 

Lakisha Jones / Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight & the Pips

It’s hard to try and not sound like another karaoke version of this song but I found it a bit boring at first.  Then she kicked something in and as Randy would say “worked it out” by the end.  Don’t get me wrong – voice and delivery were great but I think the show should just retire this song.   She’s safe no matter what.  

 

Melinda Doolittle / My Funny Valentine – Rodgers and Hart, composers

She started out a bit tenuous but then worked the jazz vibe in and KICK SOME SERIOUS BUTT!!!  I loved it – better than Constantine in Season 4!  She is a smart, savvy and sincere performer and I hope America can appreciate it.  She it quickly becoming my pick for this year – and Simon liked her, too!  Better be safe or I’ll scream!

 

Antonella Barba / Because You Love Me – Celine Dion

Perhaps her brother should have entered this competition instead of her.  Let’s get serious here – this child’s voice is so thin it always sounds like it ready to give out at any moment.  Besides being, yet again, another bad song choice, her delivery is so fake I’m not even sure she could be sincerity if she wanted to.  America, PLEASE ignore Vote for the Worst and do what needs to be done here.   Send this child HOME before she does any more damage – like taking a more deserving gal’s place in the Top 12!

 

Jordin Sparks / Reflection – Christina Aquilera

I’m not sure this was the right song for her because I heard her struggling through about 3/4 of the piece.  Maybe she was too emotional over the dedication package — who knows?  At 17, she is an amazing talent and quite the little cut-up (I loved how she was trying to be shorter than Ryan at the end).  She needs to stick around to help “keep things real” in this competition. She’s got to have enough fans to keep her safe even if she wasn’t as good as last week ‘cuz she was head and shoulders better than the “A” twins.

 

Stephanie Edwards /Dangerously in Love 2 – Beyonce

She needed more air to spin that money note because she does have it but I just feel the song was too big for her.  Randy was right – the performance was “Beyonce Lite” and I’m not sure she would want to be pigeon holed into a category at this point.  Since the other two liked it, I’m sure others will agree.  Should live to sing another day.

 

Leslie Hunt / Feeling Good – Nina Simone (forgot her last night) & Michael Buble

We have our first repeat song of the season and I enjoyed her version UNTIL we got to the lousy scat singing at the end. I happen to love her smoky alto tone and she seems to know her strengths but Simon is right – she’s being overshadowed by more powerful voices so that she subtlety may not  On the bubble but I wished she wasn’t.

 

Haley Scarnato / The Queen of the Night – Whitney Houston

Is she serious?  Boy, did that smack of “Carnival Cruise singer” to me!  I’ve never been a fan of the song and even though she looked as if she was having a good time, I wasn’t having to listen to it.  Haven’t liked this chick since Day 1 and I know she is trying her best but if you’re going to make it in the biz, you need to LISTEN to the criticism and try to improve.  On bubble but might just eek out one more week.

 

Sabrina Sloan / All the Man That I Need – Whitney Houston

Surprise to hear some pitchy spots and, even worse, some shouting.  Why do they DO that?  I agree with the Brit – wrong song choice but she’s got pipes.  Personally, I think she got cold hanging around waiting to sing last.  That’ll do it some days.   She’s safe regardless – at least Simon and I hope so.

 

In closing, at least I’m starting to see the beginnings of a real competition for the Top 12 spots but America (and that VFTW site) can be fickle and cruel, sending folks home who shouldn’t go and leaving others to continue to make us real musicians crazy.  Again this is a SINGING COMPETITON that can be good TV on its own without the constant manipulation from many different fronts. 

 

The choices for my infamous “das boot – ladies’ style” are the same as last week:  Alaina and Antonella — PLEASE?????  Anyone else might be a crime.

 

I’ll try and get in a Results Show blog tomorrow night.  Wish me luck on my first day back to work!

 

Carry on!

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Check out this guy, dudes and dudettes! I’ll tell y’all what I think later.

Enjoy!

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