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Archive for the ‘Ryan Seacrest’ Category

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

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

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

Michael JohnsDream On

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

Syesha MercadoI Believe

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

Jason CastroOver the Rainbow

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

Kristy Lee CookAnyway

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

David Cook Innocent

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

Carly SmithsonThe Show Must Go On

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

David ArchuletaAngels

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

Brooke WhiteYou’ve Got a Friend

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

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

Kristy Lee Cook

Carly Smithson

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

Let’s see what happens…oy…

Carry on!

J

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Brooke WhiteJolene

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

 

David Cook  Little Sparrow

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

 

Ramiele MalubayDo I Ever Cross Your Mind?

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

 

Jason CastroTravelin’ Thru

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

 

Carly SmithsonHear You Come Again

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

 

David ArchuletaSmokey Mountain Memories

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

 

Kristy Lee CookCoat of Many Colors

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

 

Syesha MercadoI Will Always Love You

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

 

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

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

 

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

Kristy Lee Cook

Syesha Mercado

Brooke White

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

 

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

 

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

 

Carry on!

J

 

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Hey folks!
As my real life races towards Easter, I am having to work more nights and many longer days than usual so until at least the end of March live blogging is out for me. I’m not so sure it’s actually been a great thing since NO ONE has been joining me yet many have been reading it later. I may as well go back to what I was doing for the past few years and that way y’all don’t have to keep bouncing between two sites. WhatEVAH!

Also, I might…and let me be careful here…MIGHT be able to begin an audio podcast as soon as next week to welcome in this year’s Top 12. I really wanted to do a video blog but I think I was shooting a little too high to start with. An audio one will allow me to learn the process and get something out more regularly since I am literally a one woman show. What YOU can do for me is to download it and let me know what you think, how it can improve, and supply me with questions to answer or info to pass along.  Come on, I have to start somewhere and I can use a little help…please?  😉

Having said all that, check back later tonight when I’ll have my review of the Top 8 guys as they slaugher sing their way through 80’s Night!  Oh boy…

Carry on! 

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…but the WRONG two gals left tonight and that’s a shame.  Jason & Robbie deserved “das boot” but Alexandrea either picked the wrong song or over thought her initial performance (tonight’s was WAAAYYY better) while Alaina probably suffered from the “too many long haired blonds syndrome” and got lost in the shuffle.  I give also give the 16 year old major props for pushing through and singing her final song (and it was great to see the gals stand behind her literally, singing every note with her).    What a shame – Amanda or Kady  would have been a better choice given their poor performances but they might have bigger fan bases than I thought – that and the fact that the idiots at VFTW have backed Amanda in their campaign to keep deserving talent from actually doing well on this show.  Some folks have too much time on their hands…

So, I’m 5 for 8 and we’re on our way to the last week of the semi-finals.  Let’s hope they all bring their “A” games next week and give us a great show!

Carry on!

PS – and it’s ABOUT time the Beatles catalog get’s the IDOL treatment.  Just don’t screw it up…

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Just go here to catch up on the latest!

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Notes from my comfy bed this evening courtesy of my laptop, DVR and Slingbox (best gadget ever invented!)

 

Kristy Lee Cook – Rescue Me

Hummm…the gals are sure in it to win it tonight.  Even with an obvious cold, she sounded and performed better than three quarters of last night’s male contestants.   I liked the country color she brought to this golden oldie and she’s a contenda fur sure!  I might agree with the wrong song choice but I felt she did the best she could with what she had. 

 

 

Joanne Borgella – I Say A Little Prayer

Whoa – she’d better be really sick because that was NOT a good performance and I think she can do better.  Pitch problems, low energy and an uneven delivery – even though I like her and want her to stay she has to step up her game, get well and go for it. 

 

Alaina Whitaker – I Love You More Today Than Yesterday

This is a younger, more lively Carrie Underwood and I like her a LOT!  She’s got a lot of charisma and a solid voice to match.  Definitely one to watch…

 

Amanda Overmyer – Please Don’t Go

The rocker chick lives and sings the blues!  She’s the authentic one of the bunch and so far is not compromising her sound.  The dark horse of the bunch but she’ll be around for a good long while.  She’s starting to grow on me as well.

 

Amy Davis – Where the Boys Are

We haven’t seem much of this gal up to now and believe me what I saw tonight was NOT worth waiting for.  She killed this great Sedaka song and NOT in a good way (and she’s no Kim Locke either!).  Gotta give it to Paula for being positive but it won’t be enough to save her.

 

Brooke White – Happy Together

Far and away a better rendition than last night!  She sounded good, knew how to work the camera and looked like she was having a good time.  She’s another one that’s growing on me and Simon just can’t seem to figure her out — GOOD!

 

Alexandrea Lushington – Spinning Wheel

WHOA!  She’s quite the performer and she blew the roof off the place!  The vocals suffered in a few places but it didn’t matter – as Randy would say “I was entertained!”  The song is a tough one to interpret but she gave it her all and I think she’ll be around for awhile. Good!

 

Kady Malloy – Groovy Kind of Love

I like the sultry tone and when she was on, she was really on but there were some definite pitch problems – something tells me it was a bad song choice.  She’s a great vocal mimic and could make a career of just that but I have to agree with Simon about her finding her own sound and shining.  She needs to watch her expressions when reacting to the judges critique because she vacillated between looking like she was going to cry and wanting to punch Simon’s lights out.  I had high hopes for this one but,,, 

 

Asia’h Epperson – Piece of My Heart

What is it with Joplin this year?  Every gal seems to want to take a crack at her but she did make it her own and just SANG the heck out of it.  Good job and see you next week!

 

Ramiele Malubay – You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me

Oh boy, did I like this performance or what!   This child has oodles of talent and knows how to use it.  I agree with Randy – very classy indeed.  She’s got some great vocal qualities and I see some great things ahead for her.  Great big things from such a small package indeed!

 

Syesha Mercado – Tobacco Road

Tough song for a tough-a** singer – great pipes but can reign them in when needed.  She’s safe to sing another week.

 

Carly Smithson – The Shadow of Your Smile

She looked sick but except for one place, sure as heck didn’t sound like it.  She reminds me of a young Linda Eder with a touch of Cher’s exotic nature thrown in.  Great rendition of this song and while I can understand some of Simon’s ranting, I think he was just at the end of a long ride on the cranky train this evening. 

 

The tale of the tape comes tomorrow night — my picks to leave are:

 

Guys:  Garrett and Colton

Gals:  Amy and Kady

 

 

 

 

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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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