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Archive for the ‘Sanjaya Malakar’ Category

I haven’t exactly been jumping for musical joy with this year’s crop of male contestants. The lack of “oomph” makes me long for the seasons were an even distribution of the sexes was not important (and the wildcard round was still in play…ah, the good old days…). I can’t yet put my finger on it but it could be that instead of showing us their true personalities, they have had to try and second guess what the public wants to hear on each of the theme nights. I went into tonight with a lot of hesitation and not a lot of confidence that I would enjoy the show…boy, was I wrong…read on…

 

 

Luke Menard – Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

I have liked this boy’s voice and delivery since Day 1 and the judges (mainly Randy and Simon) have knocked him since Day 1. Tonight, Randy thought it was corny and Simon dismissed him totally, telling him he has no chance whatsoever of making the cut – that some the man who’s already made up his mind as to who IS going to win this season and we’re not even into the Top 12 yet! Luke may have started out a little shaky but he did go first and he settled in real fast. Vocally, he was right on – particularly in the upper register where he power sang those notes instead of screaming or stretching too thin. He connects with the audience and actually looked like he was having fun finally! He took the criticism like a man and I hope the voters stay behind him and put him through because, like Paula said, this IS a SINGING COMPETITION!

 

David Archuleta – Another Day in Paradise

The “anointed one” gets behind the piano and shows that he’s a little vulnerable. By that, I mean that sitting down did NOT help his vocal production and it made him pitchy – until he stood up and it all clicked in again as usual. While I didn’t like the song choice at all, he did well enough to make it through to the Final 12 – no question. But it is good to see that he hasn’t peaked too early.

 

Danny Noreiga – Tainted Love

Can this boy be any more nauseating? Between the over-emoting performance and the overly stereotypical gay ‘tude I can’t stand him AT ALL and if he doesn’t go this week, we are in for “Sanjaya Redux” this season. Come on, gang – resist the VTFW kool-aid and dump the dude this week!!

 

David Hernandez – All Coming Back to Me Now

I’ve liked him and his voice all this time but I HATED the song choice! I didn’t think it did a thing for him. The vocal got thin and scratchy up high and he drifted into the pitchy lane in a few spots. I get the impression that Simon would rather have him around than Luke so he gave him a little push in that direction. One more thing: I hope this boy does NOT become the Antonella Barba of this season. OK, he was a male stripper – move on or disqualify him but don’t drag it out for weeks.

 

Michael Johns – Don’t You Forget About Me

He does have a sorta Jim Morrison vibe about him, now doesn’t he? I thought he did rather well tonight and I thought the song choice was perfect for him (contrary to what Simon said). I agree with his rock/soul sound but I think he’s more soul than rock and if he can click into that, he is going to go very far.

 

David Cook – Hello

Interesting…the grunge version of Lionel Richie’s song …not sure if I liked it but I will admit he sang it quite well and made it his own. He is an original, that’s for sure and an intelligent musician to boot – this year’s Blake Lewis for sure. Not my cup of tea but he deserves to stay in this competition just for taking the risk.

 

Jason Castro – Hallelujah

Even with the vocal glitch at the very end, I thought he took a great risk with this difficult song and he actually pulled it off! Great vocal most of the time, a vulnerable performance without the guitar to hide behind and I agree with Paula that he has great phrasing. He is getting better and to send him home now would be a mistake because I think the best is yet to come from him.

 

Chikezie – She Fills Me Up

The last guy of color in the competition slams it home with a great vocal turn on this song. I’m not sure I’d agree with the cabaret label but then again since I’ve done cabaret I wouldn’t put that performance in that category (and there is nothing wrong with cabaret or Broadway, you narrow minded Brit). We need his vocal color in the Top 12 and I hope American feels the same.

 

This was a better set of songs for the guys so far this year and it’s going to be harder than I thought to disengage two more from the collective. However, my choices for “das boot” this week would have to be – and this is solely based on performance — Danny and David H. Let’s see who agrees with me and not with VFTW.

 

The gals have a tough act to follow so until tomorrow night…carry on!

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Notes from the Couch for this first semi-final round:

 

David Hernandez – The Midnight Hour

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

 

Chikezie – More Today Than Yesterday

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

 

David Cook – Happy Together

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

 

Jason Yeager – Moon River

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

 

Robbie Carrico – One

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

 

David Archuletta – Shop Around

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

 

Danny Noriega – Jailhouse Rock

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

 

Luke Menard – Everybody’s Talkin’

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

 

Colton Berry – Suspicious Minds

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

 

Garrett Haley – Breakin’ Up is Hard to Do

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

 

Jason Castro – What a Day for a Daydream

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

 

Michael Johns – Light My Fire

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

 

Let’s see how the girls do…

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Come one, come all! The Live Blogging experiment continues tomorrow night at 8pm EST/7pm CST/5pm PST. Just click here and join the fun! I make lots of irreverent comments, take polls, show videos, and everyone can add their own POV to the proceedings. What better way to watch IDOL than with others!

See you there — carry on!

J

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    Happy New Year!

    I know I have been away far too long from my AI friends and fans so I guess this is as good a time as any to start cranking up the creative wheels again and get this blog back on a regular schedule. Speaking of schedules, I’m sure most of you saw that FOX has released the broadcast schedule for season 7 of Idol and I was VERY glad to see the Hollywood rounds getting two episodes again instead of last season’s disappointing one. Now in case you’re one of the three people who haven’t seen the press release, I’ll post it here so you can reference it throughout the season:

     

     

    2008 American Idol Season 7 Schedule

    Tuesday, January 15

    Auditions (Philly)

    Wednesday, January 16

    Auditions (Dallas)

    Tuesday, January 22

    Auditions (San Diego)

    Wednesday, January 23

    Auditions (Charleston)

    Tuesday, January 29

    Auditions (Omaha)

    Wednesday, January 30

    Auditions  (Miami)

    Tuesday, February 5

    Auditions  (Atlanta)

    Wednesday, February 6

    Auditions (Could be “Best of the Worst” – I hate those!)

    Tuesday, February 12

    Hollywood Part 1

    Wednesday, February 13

    Hollywood Part 2 – Top 24 Revealed

    Tuesday, February 19

    Top 12 Males

    Wednesday, February 20

    Top 12 Females

    Thursday, February 21

    Top 24 Elimination

    Tuesday, February 26

    Top 10 Males

    Wednesday, February 27

    Top 10 Females

    Thursday, February 28

    Top 20 Elimination

    Tuesday, March 4

    Top 8 Males

    Wednesday, March 5

    Top 8 Females

    Thursday, March 6

    Top 16 Elimination – Top 12 established

    Tuesday, March 11

    Top 12 Perform

    Wednesday, March 12

    Top 12 Elimination

    Tuesday, March 18

    Top 11 Perform

    Wednesday, March 19

    Top 11 Elimination

    Tuesday, March 25

    Top 10 Perform

    Wednesday, March 26

    Top 10 Elimination

    Tuesday, April 1

    Top 9 Perform

    Wednesday, April 2

    Top 9 Elimination

    Tuesday, April 8

    Top 8 Perform

    Wednesday, April 9

    Idol Gives Back 2

    Thursday, April 10

    Top 8 Elimination

    Tuesday, April 15

    Top 7 Perform

    Wednesday, April 16

    Top 7 Elimination

    Tuesday, April 22

    Top 6 Perform

    Wednesday, April 23

    Top 6 Elimination

    Tuesday, April 29

    Top 5 Perform

    Wednesday, April 30

    Top 5 Elimination

    Tuesday, May 6

    Top 4 Perform

    Wednesday, May 7

    Top 4 Elimination

    Tuesday, May 13

    Top 3 Perform

    Wednesday, May 14

    Top 3 Elimination

    Tuesday, May 20

    Final 2 Perform

    Wednesday, May 21

    Season Finale & Winner

     

    Other than another installment of Idol Gives Back, which I have mixed feelings about, it should be another interesting year of bad auditions, questionable judging and America getting it wrong at least ten times, if not more. Has Idol become predictable? In a way, yes — but it still manages to provide enough angst and raw emotions from both contestants and viewers to keep it the main topic of water cooler conversation from January to May. Couple that with the lack of any viable competition due to the writers’ strike and it should top the Nielsen’s easily again this year. There will, however, be some changes and additions and I am looking forward to them. From what we already know:

     

    ****Less focus on guest mentors and more on the contestants themselves in an effort to get to know them better. I would hate to see the producers do away with mentors altogether (especially the music god himself, Barry Manilow, who is due for another visit this year) because some of them, like Barry, really do care about the kids and want to see them do their best. However, last year’s over-emphasis, I believe, did take away from getting to see the contestants as regular folks just like us and allowed one very charismatic individual to get more attention for his non-singing antics than he deserved. Let’s hope the producers have learned a lesson from this.

     

    ****Allowing the contestants to show other sides of their musical abilities is certainly a welcome addition. Most of the other big Idol franchises already allow this and I believe it does help show how musically well rounded an individual is or isn’t. As a musician myself, I think it takes a lot more than a pretty voice to make it BIG in music or to achieve longevity in this field. Building on skills and gifts, as well as the occasional reinvention of the artists, helps to keep their creativity alive and, hopefully, keeps them out of becoming boring or trite to the listening and buying public. Since most Idol contestants haven’t traditionally had much experience or “dues paying” prior to being on the show (there are exceptions, obviously), they seem to lack the staying power of others who have taken awhile to “make it.” However, the public seems to think that if a musician isn’t ALWAYS in the news or on TV or on the radio that they have somehow “failed” at making a career of music – which is not necessarily true. Being able to judge a contestant’s full musical potential may begin to tip the scales away from those with just great voices and towards the “total musical package” types – something that may not be a bad thing. I guess we’ll have to see what the producers put forward this year for us to judge (and it had better be better than last year…).

     

     

    If you’re like me, with the holidays now a fond memory and the writers’ strike making TV more of a vast wasteland, you’re just as anxious for Idol to get going. It’s only a little longer, folks… get those TiVOs and DVRs primed and ready… we’re almost there and I’M READY! Are you?

     

    Carry on!

    J

     

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    Found this in my Google alerts today – nice to know they are FINALLY admitting it!  Read on, McDuffs!

     

    At TV’s summer press tour, Nigel Lythgoe admits that last season suffered by focusing more on famous mentors than on contestants — and says the show can learn from ”So You Think You Can Dance”

     

    By Tanner Stransky


    At Sunday’s TCA press tour panel for Fox’s summer hit So You Think You Can Dance, a lively discussion about what makes certain finalists on the dancing show stand out from the rest turned into a much more interesting back-and-forth about what Dance can teach its bigger — and much more powerful, in terms of ratings — older brother, American Idol. Nigel Lythgoe, the executive producer of both shows who also serves as a sharp-tongued judge on Dance, said there’s plenty — and that we should all expect some changes on Idol next season. ”We realized we made mistakes on Idol last season,” he said. ”We were so engrossed with the mentors and didn’t really focus on the Melinda Doolittles of the show. We didn’t know them as much as the Kellie Picklers of last season.”

     

    Lythgoe is referring to the marked difference in the ways the two programs showcase their contestants: In recent seasons, Idol has tended to shun details about its singers to instead focus on the big-name stars who come to the show to perform and work with the contestants, especially in later episodes. Dance, however, spends quite a bit of its airtime featuring the back-stories of its dancers and their struggles to get on the show.

     

    ”We’re all attached to them a little more,” Lythgoe said about Dance‘s focus on its contestants’ lives. ”I think that’s affected us all a little bit more. There are little emotional hooks that come out.” As for an Idol tune-up plan for season 7, Lythgoe revealed the production team is always looking to ”tinker with the program,” adding that ultimately he’d like to see the Idol contestants be as strong as his prized top 10 on So You Think You Can Dance.

     

    And what of Sanjaya? Of course, the faux-hawked menace snuck his way into the discussion. Speaking about the top 10 dancers seated behind him on stage, Lythgoe said: ”There isn’t a Sanjaya here, although I do think Sanjaya helped the last season of Idol. I think there’s enough talent with enough great stories to warrant the fact that we are basing it on their talent. No one needs to alter their hair on this program.”

     

    Pasted from <http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20047678,00.html>

     

     

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Here’s a look at France’s Idol show, Nouvelle Star

Wow, and I thought Sanjaya was as unusual as they get…

It’s going to be a looooooooong 7 months.

Carry on!

J

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