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Archive for the ‘Top 8’ Category

I apologize for not getting this review done last night but I when I found myself falling asleep over my laptop after the sixth singer, I knew I had to get some sleep and finish it in the morning. Not that “Unplugged Night” was boring, because it wasn’t, but I hate trying to rush my comments just to be timely in my posting. Sometimes a good thing is worth waiting for… 😉

Anyway, I suppose I’m just old enough NOT to know who Gavin Rossdale is but he seemed like a decent guy and I’ll be looking forward to hearing and seeing what he can do on the results show. The contestants didn’t demonstrate anything better or worse during their unplugged solo – just more of the same that they can do. It is that point in the competition for someone or two to start breaking out but that hasn’t happened — yet.

So, without further ado or falling sleep, here’s what I spied on my laptop from the land up north for this week:

Sebastian PigottLucille (Little Richard)

He obviously likes the real bluesy oldies and I’ll give him props for a mean harmonica solo. His charisma has been carrying him for the last few weeks but this week he seems to have channeled his inner musician and came out with a half way decent performance. I can tell the Zack wants him gone and, frankly, so do I but I don’t see him going anytime soon. Should be on the bubble, particularly since he went first, but I doubt it.

Earl StevensonTwo (Ryan Adams)

Ok, he was better this week but that was because he sat and played guitar the entire time. I just don’t get it, however – the judges gush all over him and I can’t hear or appreciate what they are digging. He just doesn’t do it for me – the voice is gravely but passable, he plays guitar well enough but I just don’t see the “specialness” about him. He’ll continue to be safe because I guess the Canadians like him a lot.

Mark Day Stay (Sugarland)

For all of his tomfoolery he happens to have one of the better voices in this competition and tonight he chose a song that fit his voice and played it absolutely straight. He has the Newfoundland/Labrador vote locked in, along with that dastardly VFTW following, but this week he would have earned my vote if I could vote — and that means he done real good with both the vocals and the interpretation. Might be bubble bound but I wouldn’t pit him there.

Mitch MacDonald Oh, Atlanta (Alison Krauss)

Well his performance this week was so good IMHO that I was able to forget all about his annoying vocals for once and get into the music. But it figures — I liked him and the judges trashed him. He wanted to represent his area and I think he succeeded. Bubble bound if the judges have any real

Amberly ThiessenThe Way I Am (Ingrid Michaelson)

Very animated, solid vocal stylings and no guitar – I really like this “last woman standing” and musically she deserves to remain in this competition to the bitter end. I don’t get why she was a bottom dweller last week but I truly hope she is not there again tomorrow. I totally agree with Flex that she has been picking great songs for her vocal abilities (I did question the Marley stuff from last week, however) and yet she seems to be struggling to find a fan base. Well, they’d better step it up and vote or she’ll be there again – or worse. Shouldn’t be anywhere near the bottom but this is Canada and they don’t seem to like the ladies this season.

Mookie MorrisOphelia (The Band)

He is so retro it’s cool, I suppose. A very unique song choice but he seems to like the obscure oldies. He’s another boy I can’t warm up to but I will admit he’s better than Earl in my estimation. At 18 he’s musically mature for his age and yet he appeals to the teenage crowd. He’s been in the bottom before and could land there again but I don’t think he will this week. The performance was solid enough to buy him one more week.

Drew WrightSunday Morning (Maroon 5)

I’ve liked this boy from the beginning and if there is a dark horse it would be him. The vocals may not always be on par with others but he has managed to stay true to his pop self and brought it to the stage each week, this time being no different. I sometimes wonder of the judges are looking to make their money by having to come up with things to say each week in order to take the contestants down a peg or two. Safe does NOT equal boring most of the time and I didn’t find this singer boring at all. He worked the stage, he sang comfortably and mostly in tune and put his own spin on the song. Depending on how much the viewers at home agree with the male judges, he may not be as safe as I’d like him to be.

Theo TamsWeak in the Knees (Serena Ryder)

IMHO the only true MUSICIAN in the bunch and that brand of training/gift carries through in every performance. Nice falsetto notes at the end without over-killing it (like some many others would be tempted to do), emotion charged interpretation without going over the top and good balance of singing and playing without either suffering for doing both. He would be my number one choice to GO-ALL-THE-WAY in this competition so if he’s not safe, no one else is.

So, curiously enough, after this set of performances I’m going with the same three bottom feeders this week that I chose last week: re:

Mitch, (no sure his song choice will play as well in Canada as it did with this American)

Sebastian (not sure he did enough this week to erase the last few attempts)

and Mookie, (I think his song choice was too “hip” for most)

with “das boot” probably going to Mitch MacDonald since the ladies are not about to give up on Sebastian yet – but I’d LOVE to be wrong on this one. There is an outside chance that Mark Day might have run his time out but that’s just a hunch I have as of this writing. Guess we’ll see soon enough…

Carry on!

J

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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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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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I have to admit something.  I wasn’t even looking forward to tonight’s show because of all the crap that has been going on this season.  That, and the fact that I have no use for J-Lo.   I love Latin music so I hoped that there would be a few good performances, but alas, it was somewhat of a snoozefest.  I’m not happy with the tenor of the show anymore because I believe it has abandoned its original focus and turned into a train wreck that everyone loves to watch.  I’ll have more on that in a future installment but until then here’s the view from my red leather couch for tonight:

 

Melinda Doolittle / Sway

Every week she continues to amaze me with her professionalism.  Sultry, smooth and subtle, she gave yet another effortless performance BUT I just KNEW Simon would look for something this week NOT to like.  Throwing out the patented “you look too old,” “that was too cabaret” and that perennial favorite “karaoke,” he tried to pull her down a notch or two in the viewers’ eyes — like that is even possible.  However, don’t be surprised if it lands her in the bottom three tomorrow (not like that would be the PLAN or anything…is this show too predictable or what?)

We know she’s safe but this year anything goes…

 

Lakisha Jones / Conga 

It’s interesting that the two powerhouses were the first to sing tonight (again, not like there’s a master plan here or anything…) but while she definitely could sing this song I found her performance and stage movement very forced.  She may have been having fun going out of her comfort zone but Simon was right when he said the viewers may not be as comfortable watching it. Too bad because this is one of my favorite Gloria Estefan tunes.  Not sure how safe the song was but this may make her NOT safe this week.

Depending on how the “plan” works, she could be on the bubble for the first time.

 

Chris Richardson / Smooth

Honestly?  He sang it well and it was a good performance but I just wish I could warm up to him.  It’s the JT factor that throws me.  He seems to have a solid fan base so they should get him through at least the top 5.

He’ll be safe yet again.

 

Haley Scarnato / Turn the Beat Around

Gotta admit she came out like gangbusters and Simon hit the nail on the head by nailing her tactics.  The outfit couldn’t have been any shorter or tighter and I’m sure it helps to influence the male voters.  Too bad her singing can’t influence the rest of us to vote for her.

On the bubble and poised to exit this week — unless she gets the sympathy vote for Simon picking on her.

 

Phil Stacey / Maria, Maria

Another week of solid vocals and scary facial expressions.  I want to like him but I think there is a disconnect between his singing and his emotions and THAT is a big problem when trying to get people to believe you as a performer.  With time he might be able to bridge the gap but not before the end of this season.

He’s definitely on the bubble and could go at any time.

 

Jordin Sparks / Rhythm is Gonna Get You

Well, my biggest criticism is that the rhythm was WAAAAY TOO SLOW!!!!!!  Ouch.  Otherwise, another solid performance from my fearless gal who loves to take chances.  I just love her and from what I read, others love her as well.  Let’s all make sure she makes the finals because she IS what this competition is all about — raw, undiscovered musical talent.

Better be safe or else!

 

Blake Lewis /I Need to Know

I would have LOVED to have heard Anthony Federov sing this in Season 4 but this boy did a decent job with the song and I hope he silenced his critics who think he can’t sing.  The total package was hot and I agree that was a great song choice.  He’s still the dark horse but gaining ground quickly

Should be safe.

 

Sanjaya Malakar /Besame Mucho

I will no longer be reviewing this contestant’s performances because..well…there is no use repeating myself week after week. 

Not even going to speculate here either.

 

 

Tonight’s bottom three?  How about Lakisha Haley and Phil  with “das boot” going to Haley (even though it should be you-know-who).  Let’s see how tonight’s “script” plays out...

 

Carry on!

J

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