Thursday, January 28, 2010

American Idol Auditions - Los Angeles and Dallas

Good week of auditions on AI and interesting casting of guest judges as well.

We started with seeing auditions from Los Angeles and day 1 was Avril Lavigne as guest judge. Avril did ok as judge. We didn't see her do much other than laugh at some of the auditions.

We got the circus going right away with super-sweaty contestant Neil Goldstein who seemed to sweat more and more right before our eyes! LOL! He also had this weird vibrato going on with his voice. Thankfully we won't be seeing him sweat in Hollywood.

Jim Ranger had a cool Kid Rock / southern rock vibe.

Next up we saw a video package on life-long martial artist (?!) Damien Lefavor who could neither sing or do martial arts. No wonder we saw Avril laughing so much!

We then saw rocker grrl Mary Powers who had a good voice and whose 8 year old daughter wanted to meet Simon. He was very cool to the little girl and made her day.

We got a video package of all the Adam Lambert inspired contestants. Then we got to meet AJ Mendoza who said he had sent a demo to Adam and that Adam only had good things to say about it. He then went and gave his best Adam Lambert impression. There's only one Adam and it would stay that way after that audition! LOL!

Day 2 was Katy Perry as guest judge. At first, she seemed like a good judge until they showed her bickering and being catty with Kara who is an actual judge on the show and has shown herself to be very knowledgable on what she's talking about.

Day 2 brought us some good contestants to watch and hear.

We got to see a video package on Andrew Garcia and then watched him sing. He had a very good voice, the best up to that point. He also sounded and reminded me visually of Danny Gokey. That's a good standard to be compared to!

Tasha Layton who is a minister by night had a good look and voice. Nice to see a lot of spiritual and genuine people trying out.

The show ended with foster child Chris Golightly who sang with great passion to his voice. I really connected with him and think he has a lot of potential. He reminded me of Justin Guarini in look and voice. Hopefully that's a good thing as I think Justin should've had a better career than he's had and better than a lot of the lucky ones that came after him with lesser talent that got farther in their careers because AI was a bigger show when they were on.

Night 2 of auditions brings us to Dallas and we got Neil Patrick Harris as a guest judge. Being a big "How I met your Mother" fan, it's cool to see Barney up there judging. Suit up!

Dallas brought a lot of good talent!

Lloyd Thomas had a nice voice and looks to be a great Dad. I can get behind that!

Kimberly Carver had a nice voice and I liked her bubbly personality.

Poor Dexter Ward was convinced he was the next American Idol but then tried to do a Shai song (which for those of you that don't know is one of the best accapella songs ever done IMO and considering it has amazing 4 part harmony, shouldn't be done by a solo singer), it just showed he was not close to being ready. Felt bad for him. He was devestated. :(

I know its the cool thing to sit and point at the singers who fail on this show but at the same time, these are kids/young adults who for the most part have a passion for singing and singing brings them joy. Its hard for me to see some of these singers go down in flames and to see their emotions well up as their dream is burst of not only making it to Hollywood but also a lot of times to even think that they can sing well. Its a cruel truth that sometimes needs to be said but sometimes a more tactful way should be used with some of the more passionate contestants that lack the talent to go further. But I know that won't make for good TV, now will it? :/

Up next, we got Erica Rhodes who we found it was on the kids show "Barney & Friends". As a Dad of 3 kids, I've seen my fair share of Barney and recall seeing her on the show and being on the show for a long while. Don't recall seeing Selena Gomez or Demi Lovato on Barney but I definitely remember seeing Erica. Anyhow, it was cool to see her still doing entertainment and singing. They had her sing the Barney "I love you" song and I thought she sang that better than the song she auditioned with. Again why do a song with 4 part harmony? In this case En Vogue's "Free your mind". I also didn't feel that she needed to wear the leather and whip getup to make an impression.

We got to see a video package on Dave Pittman and the challenges he faces with Tourrette's Syndrome. He had a great voice and Neil Patrick Harris broached the subject of him having Tourrette's syndrome to which Dave acknowledged it. Things like this are good to see because a lot of people think that Tourrette's is just random cursing, etc. and its good to show a more common face to the condition.

Onto Day 2 of the Dallas auditions and we get new guest judge Joe Jonas but unfortunately we got to see more of him in the video package of who he is and getting to the auditions. We barely saw him give input as well. He only got 20 minutes of TV time too. Weird.

Todrick Hall amused with a very funny original song that showed that he also had a real good voice to go along with his song-writing talent.

Maegan Wright had a real nice voice and tone.

Lastly, we got a video package on Christian Spear who had leukemia at age 4. Again, real nice to see a survivor's story and another story of inspiration. I know a lot of people just want to see the trainwrecks but in a time of recent news where we hear about wars, earthquake disasters and economy woes I would much rather hear stories of inspiration to get to know the singers that we might be listening to for the next few weeks/months than seeing some failed audition. Anyway, she had a nice voice. It's going to be hard to see a lot of these genuinely nice people not make it through Hollywood week.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

American Idol Auditions - Chi-town and Orlando

So this week we got AI auditions from Chicago and Orlando and both towns hoped to have lots of promise, only turns out that Orlando lived up to some promise as Chicago hardly got any golden tickets to Hollywood which was surprising.

First up was Chicago and the guest judge was Shania Twain and she was very good as judge.

Chicago had an interesting mix of characters and the 2nd day of contestants was brutal in trying to find anyone to give a golden ticket to. Here are my contestants of note from Chicago:

First up was Katelyn Epperly who was there because her parents were divorcing? She said she had always felt jaded about doing the AI audition in the past and was contemplative about not having both parents for support at an event of hers. As a child of divorce myself I can understand some of her thoughts but I found the way it presented as her reason for doing the audition as strange. Regardless, she had a nice voice and a good look.

Amy Lang was getting on my nerves with her antics before she even went before the judges and I'm glad that she kept her over the top ways with the judges and got sent home. Wouldn't be able to take much of her. Tatiana last season was enough! LOL!

Charity Vance was very cute and had a nice tone to her voice.

It was good to see Angela Martin back for another try, she's had a lot of bad luck in her prior tries in Hollywood and is getting one more try to hopefully have everything go right. Hopefully this is her season. Regardless, I have to say that I admire her tenacity and persistance.

John Park had a nice voice and tone and it would be nice to have an asian male make it onto the show.

Paige Dechausse got her story given to us and it was quite a story. Here she is an asthmatic and showing that she wasn't letting that hold her back. Gotta admire that! She had a nice voice too.

With that we move to the Orlando auditions where Kristin Chenowith was the guest judge for the first day only. Her and Kara really got along and it was very amusing how they kept themselves entertained and Simon on his toes. Hopefully Kara and Ellen can have this sort of chemistry, if they can then this season of AI will be more entertaining than usual.

Lots of good contestants from the Orlando auditions:

Seth Rollins - We saw his story of him being a Dad of an autistic child, something that is becoming all too prevalent in our society today. Hopefully he can make it onto the show and help raise awareness of the challenges of raising an autistic child. He had a real good voice and seems like a real good guy and father. Those are qualities I can definitely admire and support!

Jermaine Purifoy was another contestant that refused to give up and tried out again and made it this time. He has a real good voice.

Shelby Dressel didn't let a problem with her facial muscles stop her from trying out for her dream and I was real happy to see her make it. She has a great attitiude that can inspire a lot of people. She also had a real nice tone and voice.

Vocal beatboxer Jay Stone was interesting with his ability to sing and beatbox at the same time but we've seen that sort of thing before with Blake Lewis. He did have a decent voice though so it'll be interesting to see how far he makes it.

Then there was Cornelius Edwards and his painful looking jumping split! Forget that his pants tore, I'm surprised that's all that tore! He made it but honestly, I was too busy recovering from his painful looking split to remember if he could sing well or not! LOL!

We got to see sisters Bernadette and Amanda Desimone and I found them both to have good personalities, looks and voices.

Then came the Jarrod Norrell who gave it up to God before singing his rendition of "Amazing Grace". While it wasn't good and the judges weren't very kind, I found that he didn't want to leave as his way of showing passion but he had to listen and respect too. I will say that I don't agree that he needed to be handcuffed to be ushered out (we've seen worse and more dangerous seeming contestants and they haven't gotten this treatment) BUT we don't know what else happened that wasn't shown so I assume they did that because they needed to. Sad that what should be a positive thing turns into something like that.

Lastly, we got Matt Lawrence and his story of how he spent 4 years in jail as a youth and how he wanted to make something of himself to repay his parents for all the pain and grief he put them through. Very noble and he looks as he's learned from repaying his debt to society. He had a very good voice and picked a real good song to audition with.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

American Idol Auditions - Georgia

After the first episode, I was looking forward to the 2nd episode from GA.

Night 2 of the auditions was definitely interesting and entertaining. Mary J. Blige was a good guest judge although she laughed a bit too much at some of the contestants and didn't get a few others. Still, not bad for a guest judge.

Here are my thoughts on some of the contestants from GA:

Keia Johnson had a very good personality and voice, was happy to see her going to Hollywood.

We got 3 glimpses of good contestants that made it to Hollywood. Wish we would've seen more of them.

I really liked Jermaine Sellers, he was the best we've seen so far. Seemed like a real nice guy too!

I really liked country girl Vanessa Wolfe - she was real and sweet but like Simon, I wonder if she's ready to leave the small town for the fast pace of Hollywood week?

Guitar girl Holly Harden reminded me of Kellie Pickler and I didn't think she would be good but she had a real good voice and didn't need the gimmick at all.

Mallory Haley had a real good voice and look and would make a great country singer.

Then there was Skiiboski. What a personality! He was another one that actually had a good voice and didn't need all that gimmicky stuff but he definitely was memorable for it!

When I saw the best friends Lauren Sanders and Carmen Turner, I just knew one would make it and one wouldn't. Isn't it always that way? I felt bad for Lauren and I hope that their friendship doesn't suffer from any jealousies because of it. Lauren seemed supportive so hopefully that's a good sign.

Cop Bryan Walker had a real good soulful voice but I don't know if his image will wind up holding him back with viewers. Wish it wouldn't be that way but that's the way it is sometimes when its more about image than talent.

Then came Lamar Royal - they showed him pre-audition complimenting Mary J. Blige and saying it was an honor to sing for her, called her a real Idol and also said that he would take any critique constructively. Then he went in and did the exact opposite. When he saw that his audition didn't go over well he began lashing out at the judges even though they were trying to give him good advice and were telling him that he had a good voice but went about the audition all wrong. Instead of listening and learning, he kept talking back to the point that Randy just kept telling him that he really had a listening problem. When he went outside, he berated all the judges and really went off on Mary J. Blige who had been raving about only moments before. Bad attitude will never get you anywhere.

General Larry Platt ended the show with what I agree with Simon could and should be a hit song with his Pants on the Floor song. Great stuff and I'm glad they stopped him before he hurt himself! LOL! 62 year olds aren't used to busting out those kind of moves! LOL!

Next week is Chi-town, should be good!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New season of American Idol! :)

A new season of American Idol! Always a big family time event in our home to sit and watch and vote!

I predict that this season's final 12 are going to be the most talented ever and that the winner will be one of the most successful Idol winners ever.

Good first show! It was more substance than fluff, we got to see a lot more of the better singers than the trainwrecks. Of course there were trainwrecks to be sure! LOL!

I like that they are planning on focusing more on the contestants and their individual stories this season, as it should be.

I liked Victoria Beckham as a guest judge. She was fair and sympathized with the contestants. I also have really grown to like Kara, she tells it like it is and has no problem putting an unruly or disrespectful wannabe in their place. More on that in a bit.

Made some notes on the contestants:
Boston really brought it! Lots of NY contestants made it which is great since auditions in NY have been pretty bare in bearing talent in the past. Good to see that a lot of the NYers that made the drive really showed their drive and talent.

I really liked 16 year old Maddie Curtis - very sweet girl with a good voice.
I liked Amadeo Diricco's friendliness and getting to know him but I just wasn't feeling his voice. I felt that the song he chose to audition with didn't show off his voice all that well.
We got just a brief glimpse of Luke Shaffer who seemed to have a real nice voice. Also got a brief glimpse of Benjamin Bright, although I thought his voice was just ok.
Then came Andrew Fenlon... first he was brewing all day about having to wait and then when he got his opportunity, he wasn't sure if he wanted to go in! Then he gets in there and right off the bat gives off this arrogant, sarcastic attitude that overwhlemed anything he was going to do vocally. He acted innocent to his antics but I wasn't buying it and neither was Kara who really let him have it. Good for her! I hate that they give people like him airtime but its good to show that there should be a certain etiquette and respect shown to the judges.
After the drama that was Fenlon, it was great to see and hear Ashley Rodriguez! Really liked her voice!
I found Tyler Grady's voice ok but I liked his 70s style look.
I really liked Katie Stevens! Very nice girl who loves her grandma! That struck a nerve with me for obvious reasons. She also had a very good voice to top it off! I hope she goes far.
I really liked nice guy Joshua Blaylock. Nothing wrong with being a nice guy! ;)
I liked Justin Williams story more than his voice but I think his story and looks are what got him to Hollywood. I expect to see him pushed.
I really liked Bosa Mora, he had a nice story and looks like a real good kid. I really liked his voice too!
Last but certainly not least was Leah Laurenti. I always find it sad to hear when a singer is not allowed to sing by their family. Its like telling a bird to not sing, its just not right and very sad. She's so good but had no confidence in her talent because of all the years she was held back. I'm glad that she finally has spread her wings and let her song sing, she has a wonderful voice and I'm so rooting for her! I hope she goes far.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

He's back home!

My stepdad came out of the hospital today. Relieved and happy to have him home.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hmm, 2009 wants to hold on a bit longer!

So, it looks as if last year's luck wants to hold on a bit longer.

My stepdad (my mom's husband) fell in his home and hurt himself pretty bad on Wednesday. Hurt his ribs, back and got stitches on his arms. Then this morning at 4am I got a call from his medic alert that they were sending an ambulance to him because he was having an asthma attack.

My brother kept me updated and it turns out that he just made it to the hospital in time. Was put in ICU in critical condition because he was hypoxic by the time he reached the hospital. Now we wait.... and pray.

Friday, January 1, 2010

It's a New Year!

I am happy to see 2009 go! My mom's sickness and passing totally consumed my emotions and thoughts all year and I must say that I was not looking forward to the holidays at all. It was a rough year for my family but thankfully the holidays went better than expected as I tried and for the most part succeeded in looking at the holidays through the eyes of my children. When the clock struck midnight on New Year's though, all the emotions and thoughts of 2009 rushed back at me. Thankfully, they were feelings and emotions that I had already dealt with so that made it easier to deal with.

As 2010 begins, I look to it as a new beginning. I have 2 albums planned for this year - a new latin solo album and an english rock album with my as yet to be formed band. I know that my angel mom is by me and supporting me now in my endeavors more than ever and that gives me inspiration, confidence and motivation. I'm looking forward to 2010. :)