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Posts Tagged ‘The Beatles’

Another “down and dirty” Idol review this week, peeps, (I’m away from home and doing this on the fly), and it was the BEST Beatles show with spot on judges’ picks and some great performances. It’s gonna be a tight race to the finish since all the contestants are finally bringing their “A” games. Here’s what I saw on the laptop for this week (and might just watch again — it was THAT good!):

Earl Stevenson

With A Little Help From My Friends

Well if the “curse of the first” holds up, we should be saying “buh bye” to this boy finally! I will note that he actually sounded pretty good this week by channeling the Joe Cocker version of the song and he kept the stage prowling down to a respectable minimum so that actually could work in his favor. Great…NOT! I want him gone so I’ll predict some bottom dwelling for this boy this week.

Mookie Morris

Come Together

The more I see and hear this boy, he sure does remind me of a mellower Steven Tyler (who also covered this song with Aerosmith) but with the same stage charisma that draws the audience in. He has proven each week that he knows how to present the oldies to a new generation but his fan base is a trifle fickle. He also received the strangest judges’ comment of the night — “…a jumbo pot of umm, umm good?” Sass is as bad as Simon – what does that mean? Should be safe but one never knows.

Theo Tams

The Long and Winding Road

Perfect song choice for the piano man but, IMHO, it was just a tad over the top. No matter. Great vocals, great delivery, and — have you noticed — he’s getting that Idol makeover BIG time! This one is still my pick to GO.ALL.THE.WAY! Should be safe if Canada knows what’s good for them!

Mitch MacDonald

In My Life

Another perfect song choice for this high pitched honey and it quite the risk to do the first verse with minimal backup. He truly is a good, solid performer and very comfortable on stage. Good for him, even though I’m still not that keen on his sound. I think he just might go another week but I can’t be sure.

Drew Wright

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

I usually like this young man but a grunge version of this song just didn’t do it for me. Good vocals, not much screaming, fine guitar weeping but I guess I am more partial to the original. But, since the judges were all over him with accolades I will defer to them and say that he just might avoid the bottom this week. Who knew?

With all that said and done, I’ll declare that my choices to occupy the bottom of the totem pole this week are:

Earl Stevenson (because I’ve had enough of his theatrics) and

Mitch MacDonald (because his song wasn’t as flashy as the others and that might dissuade some voters)

with “das boot” going to Earl Stevenson just because I want him gone, gone, GONE! Will I be happy or sad this week? We’ll see…

Carry on!

J

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One unhappy camper here, people!

The last woman standing on Canadian Idol has been dismissed before hitting the Top 5 and this American is definitely crying “foul!”  She certainly was not the worst in the vocal department this week and her performance was more outgoing and natural than in weeks prior.  So what happened?

Two things:  first, whoever suggested that outfit and look for her was dead WRONG!  While Zack’s comment was a tad over the top, it showed that the look casted a dark pall over her performance and I guess Canada felt that to be true.  Second, it’s another case of the curse of going first — with at least two other strong performances and a surprisingly good showing from our friend from NS, Amberly was all but forgotten because she didn’t stand out enough.  It’s too bad that this very talented vocalist could only make it to sixth place.

With five guys left and the Beatles songbook being tackled next week, this should prove interesting…

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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