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Posts Tagged ‘Simon Cowell’

Happy New Idol Season, folks!

I had planned to be back in the blogging saddle earlier than this but yet again my best laid plans were interrupted by real life and God’s will.  I’ve learned not to argue with either of those two realities so I’m simply happy to be back giving my POV to all things Idol.  In any case, as I was preparing to watch tonight’s first installment I heard the news that my favorite Brit is leaving the show at the end of the season.  What gives?  First, Paula jumps ship and is replaced by Ellen DeGeneres (I’m still not over that – even though I couldn’t stand Paula’s antics and lack of concrete critique at least she was a musician of sorts).  Now the Brit decides he wants to make more $$$ selling and starring in his X Factor’s American franchise rather than sticking with the vehicle that made him who he is today.  And everyone is now tolling the death knell for the show itself – again.

Interesting timing, don’t you think?

Ya know, this could actually work out for AI in both the short and long run.  Everyone will want to tune in for Simon’s last season so that will keep ratings from slipping this year.  Then, everyone will want to see who gets chosen to replace him and how well (or not) said replacement will do in Season 10.  My two cents on who should fill the seat?  Perhaps one of the former IDOL contestants – either Clay Aiken or Justin Guarini would be an interesting choice – so that the once judged would now be in the position of judging the next generation.    How Ellen does this year will also factor in on the judging equation so at least there will be plenty to talk about this year.

Speaking of plenty to talk about, let’s get to tonight’s first auditioners.   As I’ve done in the past, I will give you my uncensored impressions as I wrote them while watching the show from the confines of my comfy couch.  The “darling hubby” (DH) was watching with me and sharing his views as well so you might see those comments here and there.  My two dogs didn’t lift their heads from slumber at all during the show so no one was totally terrible to get their attention.    😉

So, from my neck of the woods ( I actually live an hour from Boston), here’s what I heard and saw this first IDOL night:

1 -Janet  McNamara // pull up those jeans up, girlfriend, because we almost had embarrassing butt-cleavage.  I just knew that she was gonna be a trainwreck from the word GO.  Too bizzaro for me. Buh-bye!

2 – Maddy Curtis // “tug at your heart strings” back story.  Only 16 year old but she’s  got a sweet voice and demeanor to match with a little bit of soul as well.  Off to Hollywood with her!

3 – Pat Ford // Ok,  a GLEE geek if I ever saw one – complete with bad riser choreography.  Not happening here.

4 – Jennifer Herch //she has a nice jazz feel to her voice – loved the unusual version of  “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead”

5 – Claire Fuller // strong country sounding vocals but could be a forgettable performance

6 – Jess Wolfe — soulful voice with good control. I wouldn’t mind hearing more from her

7 – Amadeo DiRocco // this gumba is from Providence, go figure – (looked more like Johnston to me and I was correct!) – he’s actually pretty good – a little affected but a good strong voice – Hollywood won’t know what hit it…

8 – Derek Hilton //  white guy can’t sing like black guy trying to sing a gay Brit’s song – that may not have been politically correct but it is a pretty accurate assessment of what I heard.

9 – Mere Doyle // ok, screaming is NOT my cup of tea and I’d love to talk with her vocal coaches about that audition.

10 – Luke Shaffer // 1st guy tonight with some real vocal chops.

11 – Ben Bright // nice, old school vocals

12 – Andrew Fenlon // too much ‘tude for me – Simon & Kara had every right to get in his face – trying to be Michael Buble and failing miserably – and yet he was totally clueless as to why he didn’t make it.  Needs to buy an attitude adjustment or enroll in a charm school course.

13 – Bill Bloom // uh, no.  Just no.

14 – Michael Ryan // musical theatre geek in the negative sense of the term – NO

15 – Ashley Rodriguez // big, solid soulful sound with definite commercial value.   She could be a contender

16 – Tyler Grady // white boy with soul – BIG surprise – retro hip with a good voice to match and very polite, too.  I liked this one.

17 –  Lisa Oliveira // I had a vision of this chick not going to Hollywood – by the way, she mispronounced the town where she is from (Bill-er-ric-ca??).  Not a real New Englander, if you ask me.

18 – Ryan Keane – ouch

19 – Mike Davis // he’s got the Bahston accent down, that’s for sure – a little rough in the  pitch department to start but he settled down and actually grew on me.

20 – Katie Stevens // another touching back story.  It’s a  young voice with lots of different colors and she’s 1/2 Portuguese, too!  That gets points in my book.  She’s one to keep an eye on.

21 – Joshua Blaylock // thin but good country vocal sound.  Also a very likable guy.

22 – Justin Williams // Another LDS boy with a good back story who was also in the top 50 last year.  However I do LOVE  this guy’s voice!!!!!  Was the talk of Twitter this evening so that should help him.

23 – Norberto Guerrero // what’s with the hair, dude? – weird, surreal voice (DH said it was like fingernails on a blackboard)

24 – Bosa Mora // easy listening voice – a little lacking in the stage presence department but that could be fixed by Hollywood.

25 – Leah Laurenti // one big, old voice with lots of control and color. I would watch this one very closely, however she needs more stage presence and confidence if she wants to succeed.

There you have it – my first review of the new season.  Can I keep up with the pace?  How long will it take me to write my next installment since I can’t watch it live tomorrow night?  How many times will Simon and I agree this season?  Can I ever agree with Ellen?  Will my gal Kara keep raising the bar for both contestants and judges?

You gotta come back for those answers and more!  See ya!

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We’re almost there – can you believe that the finale is next week? Boy, this season has certainly flown by! It’s been an interesting, entertaining yet strangely familiar ride from the auditions to now, sort of reminding us of another vocally powerful “Search for a Superstar” – the season of Clay/Ruben/Kimberley (Season 2). The caliber of vocal talent this year has been nothing short of spectacular with a nice variety of shades and stylings — with, of course, a few characters thrown in for effect. Actually, I haven’t been bored much or wanting to slap the voters too often this season and that in itself is a GOOD thing! With a strong Top 3 there will be a deserving winner no matter who gets the most votes and we ALL win when that happens. Kudos to the judges for getting it RIGHT this season and giving us a strong field from which to choose from.

Speaking of choices, this was “Pick” night, when everyone gets to pick a song: Judges, contestants and even the dreaded PTB. It’s a night when the judges have to be really careful NOT to harp too much on song choice because in 2 out of 3 cases the contestants had no real say in the matter. In fact, I got really annoyed when they briefly started to go down that road but I guess old habits die hard. Now, we had a little twist this time around where the two male judges ceased an opportunity to jab each other’s choices for their Idol but that proved more comical than detrimental. Paula actually chose well for her Idol and was refreshingly coherent tonight – good for her!

So, with the DH and puppy by my side, here’s what it looked like from my comfy red leather couch for this week of interesting picks and very few pans:

David Archuleta

And So It Goes – Billy Joel (Paula’s pick)

That. Was Beautiful. Sigh. Absolutely gorgeous! Most mature vocal and performance of the season from this young man. What more can I say – but, as if we didn’t know, Simon tried to let some steam out of the kid’s engine. Nasty Brit.

With You – Chris Brown (Arch’s pick)

Thank God he finally did something upbeat however he was bottoming out on many of the lower notes and I couldn’t tell if it was a register problem or if he was out of breath. Give him his props for trying to be current and interesting.

Longer – Dan Fogleburg (TPTB’s pick)

This boy wants to win it bad. That was another very mature and vocally sound performance. This was the first night I saw him trying to connect with the lyrics and he did a stellar job, IMHO.

Syesha Mercado

If I Ain’t Got You – Alicia Keys (Randy’s pick)

Nice controlled vocals but a little too close to the original for me. I hate it when the Brit and I happen to agree. She does have a solid instrument.

Fever – Peggy Lee and others (Syesha’s pick)

Best. Song. From. Her. Ever! Definitely made the song her own (and a difficult feat with this overdone number) and performed it with style and sizzle. Send this child to Broadway now and get her away from Simon…FAR away! Personally, I don’t want her to win Idol because she has a better career waiting for her than being lead around by the nose by 19 Entertainment. Let the Davids fight it out. Seriously, she has grown on me over the course of the season and I could kick myself for ruling her out at the beginning of the Top 12. She’s got talent and chops to spare and I hope she goes as far as she can, with or without Idol.

Hit Me Up – Gia Farrell (TPTB’s pick)

At the risk of showing my age, I was not familiar with this song at all. In any case she sang really well tonight, this one included. Was it enough to get to next week? Vocally I would say “hell, yeah!” but I’m not sure she has enough of a fan base to pull it off. That is, unless she gets the sympathy vote tonight for being run over by the judges (could that have been some reverse psychology on their part?). BTW, Simon’s remarks after this song were the most intelligent ones I’ve heard him utter this season. About. Damn. Time!

David Cook

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face – Roberta Flack (The Brit’s pick – what WAS he thinking?)

He HAD to do something with that song and, dang it, he did!!!! Nice upper register work and a solid, money note ending. Go figure.

Dare You to Move – Switchfool

Ok, I have heard this song – now I don’t feel so old. It was classic Cookie and, like Paula, I wanted to hear more of it as well. That’s the problem with songs that can’t do a beginning, middle and end in a minute thirty. No surprises but no fouls either.

I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – Aerosmith

Two words: SLAM DUNK! And, no surprise, we all know who the Brit wants to win…I know, it’s only a TV show…

I won’t pick a bottom two or a “das boot” this week because no matter which way it plays out, all three deserve kudos for what they’ve done to get this far and with any combination it is setting up to be a great finale this year. Just remember, we could end up seeing another “Melinda elimination” this year so don’t rule anything out. Either way, I’ll be buying my tickets tomorrow for the tour this year because this is a very interesting and entertaining group of contestants and I would like to see them live.

Carry on!

J

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Neil Diamond night, eh? Ok, he’s not one of my favorite performers but I have liked a lot of his songs through the years and our Idols did a decent job overall with the ones they chose. Tonight’s format was a little different and I did like the fact that the judges had to wait until after the second performance before they could comment. I did keep down on the insane commentary but it left poor Paula a tad confused.

It doesn’t take much, does it?

BTW, I hear she wants to be a contestant on the next season of Dancing with the Stars. That would be interesting. Maybe Clay Aiken could be one as well and then THAT would make for interesting TV – a former Idol and a judge battling it out for a mirror ball trophy. Interesting…

Anyway, let’s get right to that view from my comfy red leather couch for this week, OK?

Jason Castro

Forever in Blue Jeans

Is it me or does this boy have no stage presence whatsoever? It’s not that he’s just phoning in the performances but that there is just no “ummph” to them. Don’t get me wrong – he has a pleasant enough voice and the little tweeny girls love him to pieces but that alone does not an Idol make. On the positive side I will say that his lower register is in fine form and he should use it more often instead of just staying in his breathy head voice. It would give him more vocal colors to choose from rather than singing one dimensionally like he has been the past month or so.

September Morn

Does he even know the tune to this song? Or was he overly pitchy in spots? I just couldn’t tell. He is just waaay too laid back for me but it’s also beginning to look like he really doesn’t care to be there. Or maybe he knows he doesn’t have to try so hard because his fan base will keep him there no matter what. Personally, I believe his 15 minutes are up big time but I may not get my wish due to tweens with cell phones who are texting their fingers off. If there IS a God…

David Cook

I’m Alive

Gutsy choice! I haven’t heard this one in a long while and he did great! He really tried to take the path less traveled when it comes to choosing music and it pays off for him each and every week. It sounded like even Neil was impressed with both his choices and his interpretations – it’s good to get the mentor on your side early!

All I Really Need is You

He seems to have captured the spirit of Neil’s songs even though he puts his own spin on them – THAT’S the mark of a great musician! He is really making me a believer! Should be safe yet again and firmly on his way to the finale.

Brooke White

I’m a Believer

Ok, Mr. Cranky Brit – it was NOT a nightmare. Far from it. BUT, because she chose to hide behind her guitar, it wasn’t as good as it could have been. The song’s limited vocal range did nothing for her vocally and for the first time she may have been trying too hard to be perky. I think she is tiring of all the phoniness on the show and it’s starting to show in both her performances and in her response to whatever negatives Simon throws her way.

I Am…I Said

She did much better on this song and, it should be noted, she didn’t drop a lyric in either on this week. I thought the song’s tempo was a little faster than I like it but that could have been the producers’ doing and not hers. She should be in the bottom two this week and might be listening to Ruben’s song by the end of Wednesday’s show if Jason’s fans have anything to say about it.

David Archuleta

Sweet Caroline

He had to stay away from the ballads this week and attempt the up-tempos and he chose two of the biggest ones in the songbook in which to do just that. He sounded really good on this one and probably won every Red Sox fan’s vote in the process (the song is played during the eight inning of every home game – “whoa, whoa, whoa!”). This was the strongest vocal he’s had in the last few weeks so it looks like he’s gearing up for the finals.

America

Shades of Kristy Lee Cook! I was hoping this would have been the group number because I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear one of the contestants take it on. He did well but it kinda boarded on cheesy for me. It wouldn’t have matter who sang the song it would have had the same effect on me. He’s so safe he might have to end up in the bottom two just to shake up the fans.

Syesha Mercado

Hello Again

This gal has turned things around and for the last few weeks has really come on strong – she is in it to win it, even though I think her best finish will be third. Hey – it worked for Kim Locke! She showed her sweet, controlled vocals on this song and without too much gymnastics, conveyed the empty hopefulness of this song quite well. I really liked it.

Thank the Lord for the Night Time

It was a great way to end the night and go out on a high note. She took on an early hit and made the audience stand up and take notice. But please, don’t keep harping on the “Broadway” bandwagon with her because that could hurt rather than help her. She should be safe but then it really could go either way with her, depending on her fan base, or lack thereof.

With all that said and done, my choices to occupy those uncomfortable chairs for this week are:

Jason Castro

Brooke White

with “das boot” going to Brooke White even though it SHOULD go to you-know-who. With my gal Carly gone my allegiance has switched to Cookie but I’d watch out for Syesha who is the real dark horse of this season.

Carry on!

J

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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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“Yo, Adrianne…!” Idol is back and if the first two shows are any indication, it’s a leaner and less meaner edition of what we’ve come to know and love over the last six seasons.  A balanced package of good and bad auditions, more heart wrenching background stories from the get-go and Simon grows a sympathetic hearts?  YIKES!  It’s Christmas all over again! 

 

So far I’m digging what has come out of the first four hours and first two audition stops – ok, we had to have the obligatory bad impressions of Kelly Clarkson hits as well as shots of crowds in hot stadium seats singing for the cameras  but for the most part, the editing was tighter and moved through the worst folks faster than Taylor Hicks was dropped from this label (big mistake, Arista, but that’s another blog).  We haven’t seen anyone with instruments yet, but hopefully that is forthcoming.  I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing some good musicianship but I am struggling a little with the number of semi-pros supposedly auditioning and making it to Hollywood (Carly Hennessey and Kristy Lee Cook come to mind).  I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to wanting to find the best UNTAPPED talent in AMERICA but some of the back-stories  are  compelling enough on these folks to want to give them a shot.  I guess I’ll wait and see if Hollywood takes some of them out and see who makes the top 50(?) this season.  Now, I still wish they would bring back the wildcard round…

 

Let’s get on to my 10 second takes on the featured contestants from the first two stops.  First up…

 

“Philadelphia Freedom, shine on me…”

 

Joey Catalano – “the biggest loser…NOT!”

I was pleasantly surprised by the nice, smooth voice  because after the build-up I wasn’t sure what would come out of his mouth.  For a change I wasn’t disappointed by the great personal package/bad voice syndrome — and he’s a gentleman to boot!  Looking for more good things to come from this young man in Hollywood.

 

Yuka – “walk like an Egyptian”

Wasthis guy for real???  Likes Mr. Bee Gees, eh?  Ouch.  At least Simon didn’t totally blast him for being a bad singer.

 

Melanie Nyema – “Taylor’s Backup singer”

Up beat personality… nice voice… but Mindy Doo she ain’t.  Bit of a let down.

 

James Lewis – “the tour guide”

Anyone who says he’s unique makes me nervous – Moses couldn’t go down any further that where that dude sent him.  The canary yellow suit didn’t help, either.  Reminded me of LOUD MOUTH FROG

 

1st set of forgettables:

Nick Stano – “Clay Aiken, he ain’t”

Sybill White – “too many musical personalities to deal with”

Zhengzhong Yu – “too sing song for me…”

 

1st set of brief but great voices:

Junot Joyner – “now THAT’S what I call the blues…”

Jose Candelaria – Even in Spanish, it was good!

Jonathan Baines – I liked this kid a lot!

 

Temptress Browne – “Mama’s little Linebacker”

In waaay over her head but what a sweet girl.  Simon really was nice to her and I like that he’s showing  his humanity a bit more, particularly with those who aren’t trying to use the show for their 15 minutes of fame (nah…folks don’t really DO that DO THEY?)

 

Mark Hayes – “he thinks he’s funny… HA!”

Never sing a Christmas song to audition…doesn’t work unless you’re Bing Crosby.

 

“Udi” Sampat – “Hammer-time?”

Sings like an accountant and I should know (my hubby is one and he can’t sing either!)  Nice, delusional fellow who should stick to counting beans.

 

Alexis Cohen – “one scary vet”

Sings on pitch and could make it as a cover band singer but definitely NOT as an AI contestant. However, how much do the producers wind these people up?  It’s just not necessary and it’s NOT good TV, trust me.

 

Angela Martin – “a good mother”

Good, strong voice but I agree with Simon that she needs to lose the “wedding singer” posture and develop her own style.  Her back story will have everyone rooting for her and her daughter.

 

Loud — LoudER – LOUDEST!

Alyse Wojciechowski

Teresa Anello

Brandi Park

 

And in the totally WEIRD category…

Milo Turk – “the worst singer-songwriter EVAH!”

 

Kristy Lee Cook – “Outback cage-fighter”

Very country, mellow alto, more like Carrie than Kellie.  I didn’t notice the 60’s vibe but on second listen, I could hear it. She could also be our first “ringer” of the season – someone who has already tried to make it and failed.  We’ll see.

 

Ben Haar – “A Max Klinger wanna-be”

Any guy who dresses like Princess Lea and looks like Jabba the Hut is bucking for a Section 8!

 

Pedro Rivera – in a word, NO!

 

Shekhinah Bathyehudah – “Channeling Patti LaBelle…”

…and badly, I might add.

 

Paul Marturano – “Paula’s latest stalker”

He actually has a decent voice but the song was way too creepy – ingenious but creepy nonetheless.

 

Beth Stalker – “Little Liz”

Lovely alto voice that’s more suited for cabaret work but Randy & Paula put her through anyway.  Shouldn’t make it past the Hollywood Round.

 

Chris Watson – “A legend in his own mind…”

…but he CAN sing and he IS good.  Hubby thinks he’s a pretty boy and I agree.  Hopefully the judges will chew him up and spit him out in Hollywood.

 

Christina Tolisano – “Princess Lea, duh…”

A strangely, wooden performance.  She can sing but had no affect whatsoever.  The costume did in any legit chance of getting the judges’ attention.

 

Brooke White – “the Nanny”

Sweet voice and heartfelt deliver.  She’s GOT to be a Mormon.  Reports are that she’s another ringer.  Hummm…

 

After Philly, the groups heads south:

“It’s a kinder, gentler audition process deep in the heart of Texas…”

 

Jessica Brown – “Rehab Momma”

Compelling back story, seemed to catch the attention of the judges from the get-go,

nice, country sounding voice – sounds like a recipe for a golden ticket.  Wonder if she’ll get through the Hollywood Round unscathed? 

 

Paul Stafford – “big time baseball man”

Elliot Yamin he is NOT but seems like a lot of fun to hang with. 

 

Beth Maddocks – “Kelly wanna-be”

A “disaster” of an audition, fur sure.  High, shrill and lifeless. No ma’am.

 

Esteban Deanda

Victoria Metz                3 “bad” (and not in a good way) Amigos

Drucilla Wideman

 

Alaina Whitaker – “Carrie looks like her”

Big, strong country vocal with a big, strong country ego to match.  Will probably go out clubbing in Hollywood instead of practicing because she obviously doesn’t need it…*ugh*

 

Gregory & Mia Tobias – “Opera twins”

It sounded like a butchered version of something from “A Light in the Piazza” but it was so bad I really can’t be sure.  Opera it wasn’t.  Confusing it was!

 

Bruce Dickson – “The 19 year old Virgin”

Ok, this back story is the oddest one I’ve seen in the seven years of Idol.  I thought he shouted too much but I thought he had a good voice.

 

Pia Easley – “a model background singer”

Looks a bit butch for me but she has a great sound.  Ought to be interesting when she gets to Hollywood.

 

Brandon Green – “a most unusual collector”

I can’t resist but… at least it wasn’t like nails on a chalkboard!  I thought he shouted a tad and he didn’t need to because he could hit those notes but he sounded good.

 

Kayla Hatfield – “a true survivor”

Wow! Another Joplin clone but this one had more of the voice to handle the song and got the sympathy vote from Simon, no less.  Won’t last past Hollywood.

 

Another group of “thanks, but no thanks…”

Erick Maudlin

Charles Markham

Tristan Clements

 

Kady Malloy – “a very impressionable gal”

She has a great voice and can mimic some of the recent “greats.”  The advice they gave her should be taken as gospel before she gets to Hollywood.

 

Douglas Davidson – “I don’t want what he’s on”

Too weird for words and a monotone to boot.  Just what was in that water bottle? By the way, didn’t he look a little like Bill Gates to you?  

 

Angela Reilly – “the newlywed”

Another wedding singer but with worse moves.  At least she could carry a tune but not very far.  No need to but the new hubby on the spot – how rude!

 

Kyle Ensley – “the politico-in-training”

Broadway nerd meets QUEEN – yikes! BUT…he did have a decent voice and sang with conviction ( I disagree with the academic comment).  Won’t last past Hollywood but he will be interesting to watch. 

 

Tammy Tuzinski – “her heart will go on…but her voice…”

Is there a personality in this person?  Or a voice?  Talk about your “deer in headlights.”  Unfortunately, that was painful.

 

Colton Swon –

Whoa!  Strong voice, different hair but you can tell he’s in a bar band.  I’m glad he went through on his talent but Hollywood will be another story.

 

Ok, what was with all the cross-gender craziness?  Stoopid.

 

Drew Poppelreiter – “I guess his tractor’s sexy…”

All-American boy with a decent voice  who will get chewed up and spit out in Hollywood. 

 

Kyle Reinneck – “guy-liner from hell”

Rocker dude with a bottle tan?  I’m confused.  And the singing (or lack thereof) confused me even more.  Daughtry has nothing to worry about.

 

I was waiting for the Kelly Clarkson tribute and I wasn’t disappointed – drat!

 

Nina Shaw – “Kelly’s Homegirl”

What’s with the “old fashioned” critique?  I’m with Randy on this one – I liked her voice.  I think they made her a tad nervous with all the bantering before she sang (rewind it and see what I mean) and that may have taken some wind out of her sails but I figured she’d at least make it to Hollyweird.  From there, it’s anyone guess…

 

Renaldo Lapuz – “Liberace Meets William Hung!”

Well, at least he sang with conviction and reckless abandon…AND…he got a hug from Simon (priceless!).  Now, let’s all link arms and sing…”I AM YOUR BROTHER…”

 

Next stop – SAN DIEGO and the return of the Statute of Liberty…See you then!

 

 

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Clay Aiken Joins Broadway’s `Spamalot’

NEW YORK (AP) — Clay Aiken is going from “American Idol” to Eric Idle’s “Spamalot.”

Aiken will join the Broadway cast of “Monty Python’s Spamalot” on Jan. 18, playing one of the leads, Sir Robin, in the Tony Award-winning musical directed by Mike Nichols.

“I really couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful group of people to work with,” said Aiken, who became a recording and concert star after his appearances on the TV series “American Idol.”

“Let’s not lie, the chance to work with legendary creative minds like Mike Nichols and Eric Idle is, on its own, a reason to jump at this opportunity.”

Aiken will appear in the show, which is based on the film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” through May 4, 2008. The musical’s book is by Idle, an original member of the Python gang, and its score is by Idle and John DuPrez.

“Clay Aiken is amazing beyond that glorious voice,” Nichols said. “Turns out he is an excellent comic actor and a master of character.”

Maybe Simon was right after all – Clay is perfect for Broadway and the part of Sir Robin will suit him just fine. I guess I’ll be embarking on a road trip to NYC in January! Any excuse to go to “the city” is OK with me…

Break a leg, Aiken – I think you’ll be a smash!

ETA – and there’s MORE!  Read on, McDuff…
Clay Aiken, who became a music superstar following his success on the American Idol television series, will join the Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Monty Python’s SPAMALOT, making his Broadway debut in the role of Sir Robin, at the Shubert Theatre, New York, from January 18 to May 4, 2008.

Tickets are available online now at telecharge.com or by calling (212) 239-6200/(800) 432-7250.

Directed by Mike Nichols, who won his eighth Tony Award for his direction of the new musical, Monty Python’s SPAMALOT has a book by Eric Idle, “lovingly ripped-off” from the screenplay of the Pythons’ best- loved film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. The music is by Eric Idle and John DuPrez.

Clay Aiken, who has sold more than 6 million albums; co-authored a best-selling book; and, played six sold-out concert tours, said “I really couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful group of people to work with. Let’s not lie, the chance to work with legendary creative minds like Mike Nichols and Eric Idle is, on its own, a reason to jump at this opportunity. But, that’s not all. The producers and creative folks I have had the chance to meet and work with so far have been unbelievably welcoming and wonderful. They’ve really made me feel at home already, and I haven’t even started yet!”

Director Mike Nichols said: “Clay Aiken is amazing beyond that glorious voice. Turns out he is an excellent comic actor and a master of character. People will be surprised by his wide ranging talent, since the first impression is of great country charm and a singer to remember. This guy is not only a star, he is a lot more. We are lucky to get him for SPAMALOT.”

SPAMALOT author and original Python Eric Idle commented: “This is great news. I have been a Clay Aiken fan ever since I took my daughter to see him live on the second season of American Idol and she held up a big sign of his name. Maybe now it should read ‘American Idle.'”

Other members of the SPAMALOT creative team include Casey Nicholaw (choreography), multiple Olivier Award-winners Tim Hatley (sets and costumes) and Hugh Vanstone (lighting) and Acme Sound Partners.

Winning more awards than any other show in the 2005 Broadway Season, including the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Grammy Award for Best Cast Recording, SPAMALOT has set box office records since opening on Broadway to critical acclaim in March, 2005 at the flagship Shubert Theatre.

Monty Python’s SPAMALOT celebrates one year in London’s West End at the Palace Theatre this week. SPAMALOT is also on National Tour around the US and is playing at Wynn Las Vegas. An Australian production will open in November in Melbourne.

Monty Python’s SPAMALOT is produced by Boyett Ostar Productions, The Shubert Organization, Arielle Tepper, Stephanie McClelland/Lawrence Horowitz, Elan V. McAllister/Allan S. Gordon, Independent Presenters Network, Roy Furman, GRS Associates, Jam Theatricals, TGA Entertainment and Live Nation.

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Thanks to Ms. Marmalade at the Clackhouse (a Clay Aiken fan site), we now have an episode guide for Rewind’s Season 2 shows:

Sept. 29: N.Y. Auditions

Oct. 6: Miami/Detroit Auditions

Oct. 13: Atlanta Auditions

Oct. 20: Austin Auditions

Oct. 27: L.A. Auditions

Nov. 3: Nashville Auditions

Nov. 10: Best of the Worst

Nov. 17: Hollywood Week Pt. 1

Nov. 24: Hollywood Week Pt. 2

 

December — reruns of the auditions/Hollywood episodes.

 

Jan. 5: Group 1

Jan. 12: Group 2

Jan. 19: Group 3

Jan. 26: Group 4

Feb. 2: Wildcard Show

Feb. 9: Top 12 to 11 – Motown songs guest judge-Lamont Dozier

Feb. 16: Top 11 to 10 – Movie songs guest judge-Gladys Knight

Feb. 23: Top 10 to 9 – Country rock songs guest judge-Olivia Newton-John

Mar. 1: Top 9 to 8 – Disco songs guest judge-Verdine White from Earth, Wind, & Fire (top 8 to 8-no Corey Clarke)

Mar. 8: Top 8 to 7 – Billboard #1’s guest judge-Lionel Richie

Mar. 15: Top 7 to 6 – Billy Joel songs guest judge-Smokey Robinson

Mar. 22: Top 6 to 5 – Diane Warren songs guest judge-Diane Warren

Mar. 29: Top 5 to 4 – ’60’s songs & Neil Sedaka songs

guest judge-Neil Sedaka (2 songs performed)

Apr. 5: Top 4 to 3 – Bee Gees songs guest judge-Robin Gibb (2 songs performed)

Apr. 12: Top 3 to 2 – random, judge’s, & favorite song choice

no guest judge (3 songs performed)

Apr. 19: Final 2 – original song, Beatles’ song, cover song (3 songs performed)

Aprl. 26: Finale – 2 hour finale 1st hour is fluff (auditions, interviews),

2nd hour top 12 singing top 2 singing a finale song again

 

 

 

 

Looks like we’ll have a LOT to talk about so get ready as we prepare to take a stroll down “memory lane.” Even when Season 7 gears up, we can still devote time to Rewind. Looks like FUN to me!

Carry on!

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