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Posts Tagged ‘Carly Smithson’

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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This will be another quick review week because I definitely felt that this was going to be a boring night of singing and I wasn’t wrong in my assumptions. To say that the Mariah Carey songbook is limited in scope and difficult for anyone to sing except for the Diva herself is an understatement and unfortunately our Idols had some tough times with the music. Interestingly enough, the guys had it better than the gals but they had to dig deep inside there musicianship to do so. The gals got the predictable “you must not sound like the original” and to that I say – DON’T HAVE THESE TYPES OF NIGHTS IF YOU DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO COMPARE THEM TO THE ORIGINAL SINGER! Maybe it’s a seven-year-itch or something but I’m getting more than weary with the predictability of the judges AND the producers of this show. There needs to be a real shake up somewhere but since I obviously know nothing about such things, my suggestions wouldn’t amount to much. Humph…

Anyway, here’s my take on the night straight from my comfy red leather couch:

David ArchuletaWhen You Believe

Well, the kid disappointed me for the first time this year and I am NOT happy about it. Not at all. This is one of my favorite Stephen Schwartz songs from the animated film THE PRINCE OF EGYPT and instead of showing off the beautiful lyrics and soaring melody, we were treated to a boat load of vocal gymnastics, most likely aimed at getting a “that was hot, dawg” from Randy. If emulation is a sincere form of flattery then Mariah should be pleased but I was not. I was looking forward to the kid using his power vocals to bring this song up to new heights but instead he opted for pleasing the PTB. He is young but that’s a hard habit to break after awhile, according to my friends in the “biz.” He’s safe no matter what he does so I wouldn’t worry about him.

Carly SmithsonWithout You

She needed to come back big this week and SHE DID!!! Thank God Mariah covered this one (along with Clay Aiken – whose version I really like – and, of course, the great original rendition from Harry Nilsson) because I really couldn’t hear her singing ANYTHING else from this catalog. Of course, the judges decided to try to put the breaks on her comeback by attacking her lack of confidence – which I thought was in the best shape last night than it has been in the past few weeks — but I thought she held her head up high and let them rant. Don’t let them get into your head, girl! You keep coming out and singing like you do and you’ll be just fine. However, I did through some votes her way in case others have gotten lazy because she needs to make the Top 5 and I want to see her there.

Syesha MercadoVanishing

Well, another trip into vocal gymnastics land and I was totally bored by the performance. I didn’t know the song, it didn’t thrill me much but I will say that she has a very powerful instrument and she is a decent performer. Might be a bottom feeder again this week.

Brooke WhiteHero

I loved that she did a stripped version of the song – solo piano and voice only. Made her stand out from the others and once again showed a musical vulnerability that is very appealing for her. Yes, she is being labeled as predictable but I’d like to say that she is a reliable musician – you know what you’re going to get from her and she does it very well. However, this show is about big and loud and I’m afraid that her time may be coming to an end. Look for her in the chairs instead of the couches this week.

Kristy Lee CookForever

Another country-fied version that obviously suits her vocal style but is wearing on me more than Brooke’s perpetual innocence. I’ll give her credit for taking the bull by the horns and staging a well calculated comeback after starting so badly but her time has come to mosey on down the trail. Should be in the bottom tonight and hopefully going home.

David Cook Always Be My Baby

Another week and other interesting song twist from Mr. Cook. A haunting, dark turn on this sugary pop number actually held my attention from start to finish. Gotta say that I liked it! Ok, so some are not digging the stalker quality but Sting and Clay have shown that it can work musically and this boy can as well. I think we may have found our Idol for this year, gang. Sure, it will be the battle of the Davids but this is the one that deserves to win it all. He will be safe.

Jason CastroI Don’t Wanna Cry

From the sublime to the ridiculous – IMHO he had no business singing this song. Didn’t work for him at all. This millennium’s Alfred E. Newman is just not doing it for me but the tweenies are so over the moon about him and Archie that they are dialing their fingers off for them. He may make the bottom three but he won’t go anywhere until he makes the Top 5 – at least I hope he goes at that point.

So, if my hearing aid was working well last night, I’d go with:

Kristy Lee Cook

Syesha Mercado

Brooke White as our bottom feeders this week with “das boot” going to — finally, I hope — Kristy Lee Cook.

After last week, however, anything CAN happen…and usually does…

Carry on!

J

PS – Yamin, Elliott’s going to be on the results show?  Groovy!!!  Looking forward to hearing his smooth vocals once again.

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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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Well, I’m back in the land of the living after a whirlwind month of RL work events and all I can say is — BRING ON THE IDOLS!  I’ve been looking forward to being able to sit down and enjoy the performances without worrying about my work and tonight I wasn’t disappointed by what I heard.  There were some stellar performances with no real klinkers but with a few early leaders are slipping in the rankings, as usually happens.  Randy and Paula looked and sounded as if they were suffering from the flu this week – that’s what you get for Dancing Like There’s No Tomorrow…  😉

 

Anyway, let’s get to the business at hand – here was the view from my comfy red leather couch for this last Tuesday in March:

 

Ramiele MalubayAlone

Give her MAJOR props for taking on this song and vocally beating the stuffing out of it.  She sounded a little sick and then they mentioned she WAS so that has to account for her being flat at the beginning and then a little shreiky in the middle.  But I agree with the Brit – it was better than last week (which I did like anyway).  What bothers me is that she just doesn’t have much stage presence and I think that is hurting her as far as being memorable.  Unless she has a bigger fan base that I believe she has, she might be on the bottom feeder fast track this week – and kicking off the night doesn’t help her, either.

 

Jason CastroFragile

Is this boy as vapid as he appears to be?  He seemed to connect better with this song that he did last week and getting back behind the guitar did help.  Good song choice and the Spanish twist worked well.  He is playing it safe and that might not work for much longer, as the Brit so aptly pointed out – and he was right.  However, the screaming girls in the background aren’t going to let him go away ANYTIME soon.  He’s just so…so… SPICOLI! (for those of you who can’t figure that out – see FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH and you’ll see what I mean)

 

Syesha MercadoIf I Were Your Woman

Where did THAT come from?  That was GREAT!  Very mature performance vocally and presentation -wise!  I would have liked her to sing more of the original melody but the liberties she did take stayed true to the essence of the song.  Isn’t it nice that Simon tried to deflate the entire happy moment…ugh…  Anyway, she should be safe unless others do way better than her but I agree that she just might be the new “dark horse” of the season.

 

ChikezieIf Only For One Night

Smooth as silk and that’s how I like this boy.  Except for a few off-center lower notes he was spot on and emotionally connected.   Randy’s not liking it made me like it even more – I don’t understand the “old school” business and all this “singing it for yourself” crap from the Brit.  Neither judge seems to understand that singers have many different facets of themselves to be used at different times.  And, besides, if the producers are going to have the audience up that close to the stage (which I feel is a BIG distraction) then the contestants may as well play up to them and use them as they sing.  Just trying to keep it real, boys!  Anyway, this one is gonna be a toss up – I don’t think he should bottom feed but other might.  Too close to call. 

 

Brooke WhiteEvery Breath You Take

Interesting that she plays by ear – I started that way as well and she’s correct when she says there’s something intuitive about it.  Give her props as well for restarting when she knew it wasn’t right.  Gutsy at this stage of the game.  The vocal was better than I thought it would be and I agree with Randy and the Brit that the arrangement was not great and perhaps she would have done better without the band.  I think her fan base won’t let her slip into the bottom this week and I don’t think she deserves to be their either. 

 

Michael JohnsWe Will Rock You / We Are the Champions

Pulled out ALL the vocal stops tonight and despite a few over-shouting moments, he was KILLER!  The audience jumped in his corner right away and stayed with him until the last note.  It’s about time for him because he needed a boost or he was in danger of being boring – but there was NOTHING boring about this performance.  Based on tonight he should stay but it may not be enough.

 

Carly SmithsonTotal Eclipse of the Heart

Vocally she was great even though she was a little weak at the top of her range but the performance itself was a little flat and lifeless for me this week.  She has grown on me over the weeks and she is consistently on her game but tonight I wasn’t so sure.  Tired, ill, bored…who knows…but she still can sing just about anything and make you stand up and take notice.  She didn’t deserve to be in the bottom last week but I’m afraid she might make a return trip there this week if America listens to the bookend judges.  I hope not.

 

David ArchuletaYou’re the Voice

Not one of my favorite David Foster numbers but at least it was more upbeat than his previous selections.  Vocally there were very few flaws and he was emotionally connected  – he just has a maturity beyond his years and is the one to beat.  If the screaming teens have anything to say about it, he ain’t going nowhere.

 

Kristy Lee CookGod Bless the USA

So much in her comfort zone she could do no wrong but I don’t think she knocked anyone’s socks off, even if it was her best so far.  Yes, there were pitch problems but they were slight and overshadowed by the song’s poignancy and , yes, flag waving lyrics.   She just might surprise us all and NOT end up a bottom feeder this week after that song.

 

David Cook  Billie Jean

That was WAY PAST KILLER!!!!  OMG!!!  It was…dare I say… a THRILLER!  He is a very serious contender for sure and may be the only one who can beat the little David.  His star continues to ascend while others’ descend.  And I was pleased with him vocally tonight as well – scary.  I have friends who believe that he shouldn’t win because then he can be more successful like Daughtry but I’m not sure TPTB would let that opportunity slip through their fingers again.  In any case, he is very safe and still climbing up the star ladder.

 

 

So, this week’s bottom feeders are:

Ramiele Malubay

Syesha Mercado

Chikezie

with “das boot” going to  Ramiele Malubay

 

Check back later this coming weekend when I’ll be posting my song picks for the contestants to sing on Andrew Lloyd Webber week – right up my Broadway alley!

It’s gonna be good… 🙂

 

Carry on!

J

 

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Ok, folks, this is going to be a “drive-by” review of tonight’s performances because I am in the throes of preparing for the holiest three days of the Catholic Church year (that’s the day job, y’all!).  Good thing Idol airs before things get cranked up.  So, without further ado, here was the view from my red leather comfy couch for this evening:

 

Amanda OvermyerBack in the USSR

I had considered this for her but wasn’t sure she’d do the melody proud, which she didn’t.  It was a bit of a rhythmic mess, a little screechy around the edges and a bit of the same ol’ stuff we’ve seen her do since Day 1.  I agree with the judges – she needs to show us another side… if there is one…

She’s safe because I few others need to go before her.

 

Kristy Lee CookYou’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away

She didn’t even know this song…am I old or what?  Vocally, she was bottoming out on the low notes and, if I can be a purist, I didn’t like her tinkering with the well-known melody.  Performance-wise, she is a bit wooden on stage and has trouble connecting with the emotions of the songs she sings.  She WAS better than last week but ANYTHING would have been.  She’ll be a bottom feeder again this week.

 

David ArchuletaThe Long and Winding Road

I wanted him to do an up-tempo but after last week I just wanted him to nail the song and performance and he did so with room to spare!  Talk about redemption!  Great vocal, nice nuances, emotionally connected to the lyrics – THAT’S what he does best and he showed he is mature enough to come back and do it up right.  If the screaming mosh-pit is any indication, he continues to be safely in the lead.

 

Michael JohnsA Day in the Life

I didn’t choose this one for any of the contestants because I wasn’t sure they could cut it down to a minute thirty successfully – and I was right!  He sang it well and gave a safe, yet respectable performance but the song was so disjointed I did nothing for me.  Just another time the Brit and I see eye to eye, I’m afraid.  He needs to knock one a song of the park and soon or he won’t even make the Top 5.

 

Brooke WhiteHere Comes the Sun

I’ll say right up front that I’ve never liked this George Harrison number  however this is the second week in a row I haven’t liked her performance and this week I believe it was due to the dreaded wrong song choice.  She didn’t do much with an extremely simple melody, it sat too low for her and it was just a boring performance overall.  I guess getting her out from behind instruments isn’t a good idea after all?  I don’t think she’ll bottom feed unless the rest of the lineup sings like there’s no tomorrow…  😉

 

David Cook  Day Tripper

I GOT ONE RIGHT!!!!  HUZZAH!!! And it was MAGNIFICANT!!!   I knew he could blow them away with this one and that he did!  Throwing in the voice box was an interesting twist and while that was the least favorite part of the performance for me, the rest was outstanding.  He is the true dark horse of this season and is no danger of becoming a bottom feeder any time soon.  Rock on, dude!

 

Carly SmithsonBlackbird

A ballad from the Irish Lassie and she nailed it BIG TIME!  It’s an odd little song but she found all the nuances and her vocal command of the highs and lows was spot on.  Absolutely beautiful.  I knew the Brit would hate it because anything with strong, true emotions gets the “over indulgent” criticism from him – definitely not a sensitive guy that Mr. Cowell.  No matter – she continues to fight the Davids for the top position and I predict that they will be the Top 3 when all is said and done. 

 

Jason CastroMichelle

I understand getting in as much in as one can in one minute thirty but the tempo of the song was a bit too fast and that altered the true meaning of the song.  Then to top it off, he grinned way too much as he was singing and that tells me he didn’t get what the song was all about – a shy boy trying to get out his feelings for this girl.  If he would have used his shyness to help sell the song, we would have heard hearts melting all over the land.  I will say the best thing about the performance was his vocals – his tone color was perfect and he sang it with ease – but that was lost in translation.  He’ll be safe but maybe he shouldn’t be.

 

Syesha MercadoYesterday

What a vulnerable and heartfelt performance!  Vocals were almost spot on (I’ll be she was a bit nervous after her trip to the bottom last week) and the melodic liberties were subtle and effective.  A better song choice for her than Brooke

 

ChikezieI’ve Just Seen a Face

OK, we went back to the same well again this week and it didn’t “shock and awe” this week as it did last week because the song itself just didn’t lend itself to it.  JMHO but he should have stayed in the slow lane time around – I did NOT like the bluegrass bend tonight.  And what was with the harmonica?  He’s no Taylor Hicks, that’s for sure.  He needs to establish himself vocally and then take risks.  Right now, he could end up bottom feeding if others feel the same way I do about it. 

 

Ramiele MalubayI Should Have Known Better

Nice job!  I wouldn’t have picked this for her but she was connect vocally and emotionally with the piece and he looked like she had fun with the it.  I was having a problem with the arrangement because it didn’t help her with the delivery AT ALL but despite that, I think it saved her for another week. 

 

So, this week’s bottom feeders are:

Chikezie

Kristy Lee Cook

Michael Johns

with “das boot” (hopefully and finally) going to Kristy Lee Cook. 

 

One last thing — the contestants are now allowed to wear ear monitors????  I wonder how contestants from other seasons would have faired with such a technological helper…

 

Carry on!

J

 

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And so it begins again…Season Seven’s Top 12 showdown commenced tonight with a new intro and a new soundstage.  Mildly impressive on both accounts if I do say so.  Very futuristic looking but after about five seasons of looking the same, anything is a welcomed improvement.

 

However, what I wanted to be impressed with was the way the contestants would handle the very impressive Lennon and McCartney songbook.  With more number ones than any other songwriters, bar none, these songs are very well known and have been covered time and time again by countless singers, as well as slaughtered endlessly by many a karaoke barfly.  As I thought, there would be some passable performances, a few large clunkers and a BIG surprise performance or two.

 

I wasn’t disappointed in the least.

 

So, without further ado, here was the view from my red leather comfy couch for this evening:

 

Syesha MercadoGot to Get You Into My Life

Not what I had picked for her and while her vocals on the verses got lost in the orchestration (and lost their pitch along the way), she funked it up enough to make a decent impression.   Randy and Paula were lukewarm but Simon loved it – who knew?  IMHO, Chikezie  might have done it better but we’ll never know.  The big question – did she make a good enough “going first” impression  to keep her in the competition another week?  We shall see…

 

ChikezieShe’s a Woman

Now here’s a real obscure one and the twist from bluegrass to punk was brilliant!  He handled both ends of the vocal spectrum like a seasoned performer – I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!!!   Even Simon agreed!  That was a slam dunk vocally, visually and totally made up for him not singing my pick.  I think I may have underestimated this boy and I’m looking for much more from him in the weeks to come.

 

Ramiele MalubayIn My Life

I wasn’t sure someone would dare trot out this weeper but I’ll admit that she sang it with true heart and conviction.  It was downright sweet with no vocal problems I could hear.  I thought she was smart to give it a straight delivery but as I could have predicted, the judges hated it thoroughly.  These three don’t like anything that smells of B-O-R-I-N-G and I hope she gets the sympathy vote because it wasn’t that bad!!!!

 

Jason CastroIf I Fell

I had considered this one for him but I wasn’t sure what kind of shape his falsetto was in to pull it off successfully.  He might have done a little better job with it had he been standing and not sitting to play his guitar (which I do give him props for using on the first finals show).  As for the song itself, I have to agree with Randy about not changing up such a familiar melody and with Simon that it was good enough to keep him another week but nothing more.  He’s young…he’ll learn…

 

Carly SmithsonCome Together

Interesting…and absolutely SMASHING!!!  It was vocally amazing because she didn’t scream it but rather sang it with conviction and diva strength power.  That was the RIGHT song for her, it really was and with the Brit-stamp-of -approval, she should be around until the bitter end.  I’m liking her a lot, even if she IS a ringer  😉

 

David Cook  Eleanor Rigby

Well, I held my breath on this one – afraid that I would experience the grunge version of this classic and instead I got the Daughtry version of it.  The orchestration overwhelmed his vocals on the verses and I had to strain to hear the words but he did rock the refrain AND he did it sans the axe.  I give him some props for that.  I wouldn’t go so far as to call it brilliant but he didn’t kill it so he’ll be around for awhile.

 

Brooke WhiteLet it Be

Was she struggling to breathe sitting at the piano and playing or was that song sitting too low for her – or both?  I just did NOT dig her performance tonight at all even if it was heartfelt and sincere.  I really like her but I may be the only one who didn’t what she did with this song tonight.  Remember, music IS subjective…

 

David HernandezI Saw Her Standing There

I accidentally left him off my list last night but I had chosen either Yesterday or Help for him and since I haven’t done well at all tonight in matching the songs with the singers I didn’t expect to score big here.  Little did I know the child would take one of my favorite Beatle songs and run it literally into the ground.  Vocally it was weak, the runs were overdone, and it wasn’t a convincing performance overall – thank you, Randy, Paula and Simon (I’ll buy the desperate angle on this one) for agreeing with me!  He could be bubble material tonight for sure. 

 

Amanda OvermyerYou Can’t Do That

Another obscure selection that got the sassy rock treatment from Ms. Gravel Voice.  It sure stirred up the crowd but I would have preferred Get Back from her.  It was just “aw-ight” for me and maybe because I knew the original well, coupled with the fact that she blew the roof off last week I just didn’t warm up to it as others did.  Well, at least Simon agreed with me…what does THAT say?

 

Michael JohnsAcross the Universe

To quote the Brit, “are you serious?”  Not one of my favorites from the collection, that’s for sure, but I will admit it was sincere, compelling and for the first time, a strong vocally melodic performance.  I disagree with the boys and firmly agree with Paula (yikes!) – it takes a lot to step to center

stage and sing with quiet conviction and in spite of the vapid song, he did rather well.  He’s a keeper for the time being.

 

Kristy Lee CookEight Days a Week

Hummm…a country version complete with fiddles and choo-choo train rhythms…I don’t think it worked because her vocals were not up to the task at all – the arrangement overshadowed anything that she could have done.  It was more of a train-wreck than anything else and since she’s been on the bubble a bit the last few weeks she might just have cancelled herself out with this one.  She was the vocal “weak link” of the evening for sure.

 

David ArchuletaWe Can Work it Out

The heir apparent gets the pimp spot this week and when I heard he was singing the Stevie Wonder soul version of this tune, I just wasn’t sure the young one could pull it off.  Unfortunately, for the first time, he let them see him sweat.  Ouch!  He dropped the words in both the first and second verses and was a little all over the boards vocally.  He obviously was NOT comfortable with the song or the genre and he did let it show in his performance.  This is where we finally saw the 17-year-old insecure teen that I knew was in there somewhere.  Will this performance get him “das boot” this week?  Hardly.  But he has to watch his back now because no less than four other contestants are moving up the ladder rapidly and could pass him if he has another bad week or two.  PS – he should have done Can’t Buy Me Love…but what do I know…

 

So, my first bottom feeder three of the Season Seven finals are:

David Hernandez

Kristy Lee Cook

Syesha Mercado

with “das boot” going to the train wrecked Kristy Lee Cook. 

 

Carry on!

J

 

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…alright, I don’t have  a real secret but I do have some opinions to share on this week’s Top 12 as they attempt to sing from the Lennon-McCartney songbook. 

 

I’ve been a Beatles fan since my Mom bought me their first record album when I was 5 years old ( you youngins will have to look those up on the Internet so see what I’m talking about) and while I was really excited about this in the beginning, the more I thought about the songs and the singers the more I got concerned.  Part of the charm of the Beatles is understanding how they were such innovators in the 60’s – that what they did and how they did it was so far ahead of its time.  How that will translate in the new millennium on a popular reality TV show where half the audience, not to mention the contestants, are unfamiliar with most of the collection is anyone’s guess.  Maybe that’s why it’s taken seven years for the producers to convince the remaining Beatles to allow the use of the songs.

 

As I researched the collection in anticipation of this week’s competition, I was surprised at how many songs the kids should NOT choose, lest they want to hear from Simon that they are cheesy, cabaret or karaoke.   Now, I have no insider info as to what the contestants have chosen to sing but as a singer myself and a vocal coach on occasion, I went through the catalog and tried to match what I feel would be the best song for each of the Top 12 singers.  For some I came up with two possibilities and – who knows – maybe I’ve guessed a few for real but we won’t really know that until tomorrow.   Let’s see what I’ve come up with and whether or not I’ll be on the money…

 

Amanda Overmyer – Come Together or Get Back

Ms. Gravel Voice will do no wrong if she picks either of these tunes.  They also give her a chance to stomp around the stage and give off more rock diva vibes. 

 

Brooke White – Ticket to Ride

The Carpenters’ remake of this song is perfect for her.  It’s slower and very pensive and would continue to show  Brooke off as this year’s balladeer. 

 

Carly Smithson – I Saw Her Him Standing There or Eleanor Rigby

We all know she can sing but Carly needs to have more vocal fun as well as do some stage strutting and the first one should do the trick.  The second choice might be a bit safe for her but depending on the arrangement, could be a killer performance as well.

 

Chikezie – Got to Get You Into My Life

Perfect soul number for our soulful guy.  Just pick an arrangement that doesn’t make him look or sound cabaret and he should take this number our for a great vocal spin.

 

David Archuleta  Can’t Buy Me Love or All My Lovin’

He’s already sung Imagine so he needs to change it up, get out of the slow lane and have some fun.  The first one is my real choice but either would get the little girls all fired up to vote like crazy for him. 

 

David Cook  Revolution or Day Tripper

Either of these hard driving rock numbers could continue to cement David as THE rocker of the competition. 

 

Jason Castro – A Little Help From My Friends or Hard Day’s Night

Either one of these choices will be a stretch for our dreadlocked cherub but he likes to take risks.  Give him a killer arrangement and he should do well again this week.

 

Kristy Lee Cook – We Can Work it Out

Her smoky, country style should work with this piece.  She was the hardest one for me to try to match up.

 

Michael Johns – Back in the USSR or Something

He could continue down the hard rocking path with the first or switch up and go tender with the second – either one should showcase his distinct vocal style.  Besides, I think the second would be a surprise if he chose it.

 

Ramiele Malubay – The Long and Winding Road or The Fool on the Hill

Both are unexpected for this gal but that would make it a risk worth taking for her at this stage.  She needs a show stopper to get some momentum going for her and again with the right arrangement either one could work.

 

Syesha Mercado – Hey Jude or I Feel Fine

She also needs something to make her stand out and not sound like the last two weeks’ choices.  I think she’d be killer on the first one while the second one would be very unexpected. 

 

These are just MY suggestions and I’d be surprised if I got any of them right so we’ll just have to wait and see.  In the meantime let me know if you think I’m on the money or all wet and be sure to check back tomorrow night or early Wednesday morning for my review.

 

Carry on!   J

 

 

 

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