Friday, February 29, 2008

Semi-finals Wk.2 eliminations

Well, another night and another 4 eliminated.

I was 2 for 4 again, although technically I could be 3 for 4! ;)

I liked Jason Yaeger but this is a guy that wasn't really shown in the weeks leading up to the semi-finals so he faced an uphill battle right there. I'm glad that even Simon gave him props for his vocals and I hope he continues on his musical path.

I was a little surprised to see Robbie Carrico go. In the past 2 weeks I thought that Idol watchers would vote for certain guys based on looks and age and that's why I have said those that I have said. What I have noticed with this season's crop of singers is that the judges did an awesome job of finding 24 really good singers. There are no Sanjaya's in this bunch. The AI audience has responded by being more serious with their voting as well. That usually doesn't happen until later into the show when there are less contestants but with the contestants all being good then there really aren't many bad decisions that can be made regarding the singers with less talent moving into the Top 12. Anyway, with news all over the net that wannabe rocker Robbie's hair was a wig and with the judges saying that they didn't feel convinced that he was a rocker, it seems that the fans also took note of this and weren't convinced of his vocals and hair either.

Alexandrea being voted out was the right call IMO. I don't think she was the underdog she made herself out to be since the judges really liked her and her performances BUT I do think that she created the image of being an underdog not only in her head but in the fans heads as well. That wound up working against her. I like that she saw David Archuleta being so upset over her being eliminated and went over to him to give him a big hug. Very nice of her.

Alaina and Cady were the other 2 of the bottom 3 and I was not happy with that. I totally expected Cady to go and it looks like Cady did as well. I was very suprised to see Alaina go. I felt really bad for her that she didn't think she could sing afterwards. I've always wondered how and why (besides contractual obligations) someone would sing the song that got them eliminated. I'm glad that the girls (Asia'h in particular) got her to sing. Way to go Alaina. I think that Ryan and Paula were correct in saying that this is only the beginning of her musical career now that she has had AI exposure. I can easily seeing her getting an offer from "Grease" on Broadway ( ) as she probably now has more exposure than the winner of the Grease show. She can also sing, is young and is blonde - she's tailor-made to be Sandy on Broadway. I hope Broadway comes calling.

Finally, I was really happy to see that Ryan made fun of Simon for his Bullwinkle impersonation! Simon said it was a code but IMO it's just childish and unprofessional to be doing that. Leave stuff like that for off camera. Sigh, its going to be a long season with Simon. I'm glad the singers are all so good!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Semi-finals Night 2 - the girls

Well, the girls came, they sang and I was still under-whelmed with the singing this week. :(

Not that any of the singing this week by the guys and gals was bad. It wasn't, in fact there was a lot of solid singing but outside of David Archuleta no one was great.

Carly Smithson opened with a nice, solid rendition of a Heart song but she can do so much more it seems yet hasn't picked a song IMO that has really let her shine. She has the potential though. I agree with Simon that Carly, Ramiele and David are the Top 3.

Syesha Mercado once again under-whelmed me. I want to like her but showing her as an actress did little to make me accept her and like her more.

Brooke White picked a perfect song and style for her. She even looked a bit like Carly Simon. Her singing was solid and the song fit her and her vocals great.

This was not the best song or night for Ramiele Malubay. I didn't think the song let her shine much until she got to the bigger notes of it. It seems she over-analyzed her song selection based on internet talk calling her Ramiele Lullaby (which is a cute nickname IMO) and that led her away from a strength that helps her show her big vocals.

Kristy Lee Cook was good, although her performing was a little stiff.

Amanda Overmyer is a favorite of mine but beyond the cool pants she had on, I didn't like anything else including her hair. Her voice was solid but the song selection was pretty bad since it did little to show her range.

Contrary to the judges, I really liked Alaina Whitaker's vocals and song pick.

Alexandria Lushington again did nothing for me with her vocals, attitude or saying in her pre-performance clip how she is an underdog. I don't know how she is saying that when not only was she picked to the top 12 girls but was also raved about by Randy and Paula last week.

I really like Kady Malloy and I agree that she loses something when she performs. She is a very pretty girl with a great smile yet she gets flat when she gets in front of the camera. She has a Britney style and look to her that even extends to when she is just listening to the judges critiques. If you've ever really watched Britney do an interview, etc. she is "on" when she is talking but the minute she stops talking she gets this "bored" look to her face. It's not true boredom but just that look of it and Kady is doing the same thing. Not good, she needs to turn it up and show more of this personality that she has. Could it be that all the great imitating that she does has left her with little know-how on how to show her own personality? I don't know but I hope she can turn it around. C'mon Kady!

I liked Asia'h Epperson's performance. She struggled a bit (and we were told after just how sick she had been all week) at the beginning but she turned it up and left it all out there on the stage. Kudos to Asia'h!

Picking the 2 that will go home from the girls this week is just as hard as it was picking the 2 guys that might go home. I will say though that I think Alexandrea and (sniff, sniff) Kady will go home.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Semi-finals Night 2 - the guys

AI was on last night so I'm back with my thoughts. Hope you're enjoying them. So, last week we had 60s night, tonight we had 70s night and I found the guys underwhelming for the most part.

Michael Johns opening the show didn't help as it set the tone for a show full of vocals that were solid but nothing great (well almost).

I agreed with the judges on Jason Castro in that his vocal was a bit safe and that he needs to put the guitar down and show that he can command the stage as a solo singer as well. He reminded me last night of Teddy Geiger (with dreads!). When I mentioned this out loud to my family as we were watching my daughter made a funny name for him - Teddy Dready! LOL!

Luke Menard was much better than last week and I enjoyed his rendition of Queen's "Killer Queen". I didn't agree with Simon (shocker I know) in him telling Luke that he lacked charisma (everyone lacks charisma if you compare them to the great Freddie Mercury) yet found him too theatrical. And Freddie wasn't?

I totally agreed with the judges on their critique of wanna-be rocker Robbie Carrico. His vocals lacked intensity and edge and it just came across as him thinking he could get by on his looks and a safe vocal. Chances are he will be safe though.

Danny Noriega did really well. I like the kid and hope he does well. His vocal was very solid. I'm not sure how well he will do in the english market but if he can speak spanish and ever decided to go into the spanish market, I think he has a look that would do well in latin america. He reminds me of Ray Reyes of Menudo fame.

David Hernandez was very solid and good as usual. I really liked how he changed the song, it showed a lot of style and his vocals were very good.

Jason Yaeger sounded good to me but Simon doesn't seem to like him or get him. Considering this poor guy didn't get much, if any, publicity in the weeks leading up to the semi-finals, it almost looks like he's being singled out as a non-favorite by Simon to ensure he doesn't make it into the Top 12.

Chikezie did well. I liked learning the origin of his name. I'm glad that he said he liked his suit from last week. I get annoyed with artists that get embarrassed how they looked in the past, etc. His comebacks to Simon are hilarious.

I'm not a fan of David Cook but I found his performance good. Simon seem peeved that the contestants were being very vocal in defending themselves against his attacks but oh well! It seems he likes to give his "opinion" as he puts it but can't take it when an opinion is going back his way. He actually had the nerve to say that he offers his criticism constructively but a lot of his critique has little value to it. I defend him when it does but he hasn't shown much of that so far.

David Archuleta did a spine-tingling performance worthy of all the praise it received. I've seen some other reviews of AI on the net that said that David Archuleta's winning AI is inevitable and I've been saying that all along so far. This kid is amazing. His voice and the way he chooses to stylize a song is amazing for someone his age. Hell, its amazing for anyone of any age. This kid is simply amazing.

With only 1 great performance and 9 good, solid ones it makes tomorrow's elimination difficult to predict but I'll say that Jason Yaeger and David Hernandez go home although they don't deserve to. If it was up to me, Michael Johns and Robbie Carrico would be going home based on yesterday's performances.

Hopefully the girls can step it up tonight. I expect them to.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Semi-finals Wk.1 eliminations

Well, not bad. I was 2 for 4 on my predictions of who would go home. On the guys side, I thought Colton and Garrett would get the young girls vote. Interesting to see them go home already. I would've have picked Garrett over Luke in terms of vocals since Garrett still needs experience and confidence. Was surprising to see him go in the first night of eliminations. Simon telling Colton to get a job and do singing on the side was just rude, even if it may be realistic. It truly mystifies me how Simon can be a music executive yet not really understand an artist's heart and soul. Music and singing is not just a hobby for those that are passionate about it, it is something that they feel to their core. It is not just part of who an artist is, it is who they are. It is their passion, their dreams, their heart and their soul and no one should try to throw a wet blanket of negativity on that. I'm thankful that Randy and Paula are there to give them notes of confidence in their talent in what to many of them is their lowest point in their fledgling musical careers. I know Simon is just trying to portray the business side of it but IMO there is still room for heart in business, especially when dealing with artists.

Paula's music video was very reminiscent of her older videos and the song was cool for a dance track. The ending with Paula, Ryan, Simon and Randy posing was a bit cheesy though. LOL!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Semi-finals Night 1 - the girls

So, the girls went last night and Simon was still in his nasty mood. So much for the nice Simon of the auditions. Honestly, when he is in his better moods, he gives much better advice and even pays better attention than he does once the show actually gets underway. Strange.

The girls were a mixed bunch, some were good and some not so much, but at least Ryan gave us a heads up that a bunch of them were sick. However, we were only actually told about one of the girls being sick once the show began. It might've helped to know all the girls who were sick to better be able to evaluate them fairly.

Well, here are my thoughts on the girls voices and performances.

Kristy Lee Cook looked sick (she was the one that was publicly mentioned on the show as being sick) and her voice seemed to suffer because of it. Very pretty girl though. Hopefully she gets a bye this week because of being sick.

Joanne Borgella was not very good. Her voice seemed very thin as she got higher.

Alaina Whitaker was a wonderful surprise. I don't recall her getting shown much during the auditions or Hollywood shows but this girl can sing! She also seems to have a really nice personality as well. Her face reminds me of Joss Stone.

Amanda Overmyer is a rock goddess and should easily make it into the Top 12. Of all the singers, male and female, she has the best combo of pro ready sound and image. We will definitely be seeing a lot more of her whether or not she wins or doesn't win AI. I think she's great. I knew that Simon wouldn't get her scatting or the song and there's just something wrong with a judge who doesn't know the songs the contestants are doing (how does he judge its comparison?) and doesn't like or understand certain genres like country and R&B?

Amy Davis was good but the song she picked was too slow and became forgettable. She also looked a bit sick so that may have hurt her vocals a bit.

I love Brooke White and her bubbly, happy-go-lucky personality. I thought she lost a little in her voice shen she went higher but she should be safe. Simon's obsession that she is too nice was such a stupid waste of time. Here they are telling some of the other girls to be themselves and then they are trying to change Brooke from who she is. I guess Simon is one of those that walks through life cynically and with a cloud over their heads. As for me, I'm a glass is half full person and I like Brooke's positivity!

Unfortunately I have to agree with Simon about Alexandrea Lushington. I just didn't get her vocals or performance and thought it was a bit trying too hard (which is a pet peeve of mine). I also wasn't crazy about her attitude, seemed a bit too full of herself and over-confident.

I really liked Kady Malloy and didn't like Simon's attack on her. Comparing her personality to a pencil wasn't funny, it was just flat out rude and mean.

I like Asia'h Epperson and I want to see her get into the Top 12 as a tribute to her Dad. She has a nice husky voice that reminds me of Toni Braxton. I don't know if the pop songs that get used on AI will help her to really showcase her vocals but I want to see her in the Top 12 so she can show us what she's got.

Besides Amanda, Ramiele Malubay is my 2nd favorite. She's a cutie and she can sing too! She easily makes it into the Top 12. I look forward to seeing and hearing lots more from Ramiele.

I like Syesha Mercado and really was looking forward to her performance but hearing it left me flat. I thought she just oversang the heck out of the song and it didn't do anything for me.

Carly Smithson was good but I also felt she oversang her song just to show off how strong her voice is. She has a lot of potential but she'll have to tone it down a bit to let her vocals really shine.

All in all, I was much more impressed with the guys (which is rare, since the girls are usually so much better). I think Amanda, Carly and Ramiele can give David Archuleta a run for his money but as of now, I still think that he is the front-runner.

So, who goes home tonight from the girls? Hmm, I'll say Joanne and Amy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Semi-finals Night 1 - the guys

First off I'll say that I agree with the judges choices for the final 12 guys and of the final 12 girls I would've kept the girl with the disabled daughter.

So, last night the guys did Round 1 of the semi-finals and they brought it! I think of all the seasons of American Idol (and I have watched them all!), this is the best semi-finals group of guys ever.

Simon was back to his annoying and smug self which was rather annoying. Randy gave out a lot of great advice last night and I usually find myself agreeing with him. I guess its the producer in me that sees things from the same perspective he does. Paula looked sleepy last night but her advice was pretty right on last night as well.

When did AI begin to do theme nights on the semi-finals? Very strange and strange to use up a theme so early on. Oh well.

Onto the guys and my thoughts on their performances.

David Hernandez - this guy can sing! His image is on the plain side which is why I think that Simon is not crazy about him but his singing should take him into the Top 12.

Chikezie was pretty good. I liked his old school R&B. He got extra points from me for his comeback to Simon on who dressed him - Charlie Chaplin? LOL! Great comeback! He was a little too defensive to the criticism though and that might wind up hurting him for votes.

David Cook is ok. Something about him doesn't do it for me though. He looks like he's trying to sound like Daughtry but he performs like Constantine.

Jason Yeager was pretty good. I would like to see him make it for his son. Cute kid! Reminds me of Steve Irwin's (R.I.P.) daughter Bindi! :)

I expected more from Robbie Carrico. I didn't think his performance was very good but he has a lot of potential.

I am predicting right now that there is no guy that can beat David Archuleta! This kid is amazing and humble to boot! He seems shy and a little dorky and that reminds me of me. Dorky and talented, a great combo IMO! :D

I like Danny Noriega! His Elvis song was good! I could do without his pants riding low in the back but he gave it a good go! Is it just me or does he remind anyone else of Ugly Betty's Justin? :D
Simon was a bit much with his critique on Danny.

Luke Menard was good but his song was too safe and I have to admit that Simon was right when he said it was forgettable. Unfortunately that might get him sent home on Thursday.

Colton was good. I like his personality and think that he would be a good addition to the Top 12. He has a good voice as well.

Garrett Haley was nice and along with Colton looked like they were right off a Tiger Beat cover somewhere. Garrett seems like a nice guy but I think his voice needs more strength and more confidence.

Jason Castro was very good. Very bold performance and he pulled it off excellently. He easily makes the Top 12.

Michael Johns is like David Cook in that he doesn't do much for me but last night he brought it home with the Doors song. Good vocals and performance!

Well, that's my thoughts on last night's show and the performances. My guess would be that Chikezie and Luke go home Thursday night.

Bring on the ladies tonight! Let's see what they got!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Carrie Underwood & Keith Urban concert

I just got back a little while ago from seeing the Carrie Underwood / Keith Urban concert at Madison Square Garden and it was great!

I've been to dozens of rock & pop concerts over the years and have seen everyone from Ricky Martin to Kiss, etc. I even took my daughters to see Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers in December and enjoyed it! I love going to concerts and truly enjoy myself. With that said, I'm a big fan of country music yet this was my first country concert!

I'm a big fan of Carrie Underwood. She is my favorite female singer, I think she has an amazing voice and I love the lyrics of her songs. She deserves every award she has won. I was really looking forward to her. Carrie opened the show and the crowd was into her concert but I could tell that it was really a KU crowd. Carrie has definitely grown as a performer and her multiple outfit changes and props were very cool as were her video backdrops for her songs. She did most of the songs off her "Carnival Ride" album and her singing of "I know you won't" brought tears to my eyes. She was amazing. I can't wait to see her in concert again.

I'm also a big fan of Keith Urban and knew his concert would be like a rock concert. He didn't disappoint. From his intro to the HD camera following him overhead (which put the video onto a big screen behind him), it was a really good and fun show. I didn't realize that Keith is a outstanding guitar player. That totally impressed me. Halfway into the show, he and his bandmates walked up the ramp that led way out into the audience and he brought his band to the people! That was way cool! They did a bunch of his biggest hits there in what came across as a very intimate setting in an arena. By this time Keith had the crowd eating out of his hand. He went back to the mainstage and played a bit before actually getting off the stage to sing and play among the audience. VERY cool!! The crowd was going crazy as he walked among them and walked up to the lower level to play. THEN out of nowhere, he took out a marker - signed his guitar and gave it to a shocked fan! WOW! That was so cool! Like I said, I've been to dozens of concerts and I've never seen any artist do that! It was a great concert and I would love to see both of them again. I hope they make a DVD of the concert because I would love to get it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Hollywood Week

After weeks of watching the AI audtions, next week begins the Hollywood shows. Time to get serious. Let's see how many singers do the usual partying instead of getting serious deal. You would think by this point and after seeing so many AIs that singers would be wise to stay focused and not do the partying thing during Hollywood week but we always see it happen. DOH!

Should be good. The commercials show the contestants using instruments so that should be cool to see.

The auditions were interesting. Simon was unusually nice for most of the auditions. Is Simon getting soft on us? Something tells me that the abrasive Simon we all expect will be back soon!

Lots of waste of time singers just taking up TV time by either not being serious, coming in with attitudes or just being dumb to get themselves on TV. I didn't find many amusing this season, instead I found them annoying. Some of the contestants were memorable like Renaldo Lupaz and his "You are my brother" song and Temptress (very sweet girl) to name a few. Some of the singers shown were quite good and I can see them easily moving on. BUT, Hollywood tends to bring out the best and worst in some of these singers - especially the ones that have never travelled, etc. so we'll see. Bring on Hollywood!!