Friday, February 26, 2010

American Idol - Top 24 eliminations

The night began with an over the top dramatic moment by Ryan letting us know that 4 would be going home. I was hoping that it wouldn't be any of my favorites but you never know with Idol. I must say though that we were so underwhelmed by the singing this week that we didn't vote not even once which is a rarity in our house.

Well, I was 1 for 4 and was not happy with America's voting! I think 2 of the eliminated contestants should've made it to see another week.

First up we had a final 2 in the first row of Janell Wheeler and Katie Stevens. I was shocked that Janell was even in the bottom 2, let alone eliminated. Sure, she did a weak version of the Heart song but she showed in Hollywood that she could sing. She just didn't bring it and it cost her. Sad to see her go. Haeley should've been in the bottom 2 but it looks like America likes her which is not a bad thing since I do too. Janell sang the Heart song as her swan song and sounded really good! Darn it! If only she had sounded like that on Tuesday!

Next up we got to see Allison Iraheta return and do her latest single "Scars". She looked and sounded great.

Back to the girls eliminations! Lacey makes it through?! OK. Ashley Rodriguez and Didi Benami in the final 2 for the bottom row? Didi? Really? She's one of the front-runners to get in IMO. Easy choice of who's going home and so it was Ashley who I had picked to go home, who indeed was going home. Once again, Ashley's facial expressions showed a non-friendly arrogance that probably hurt her the night before as well. Ashley still sounded average on her swan song.

We come back and now its the guys turn to face the dramatic Ryan eliminations. In the top row we got a final 2 of Tim Urban and Joe Munoz?! Joe certainly can't be going home so early especially being one of the more solid singers and one of the better performers of both nights? He gets sent home! America got it wrong! Tim Urban definitely got the sentimental vote due to the thrashing the judges gave him last night. I hope Joe can use this to move onto big things because he has the voice and performing skills to make it.

Next up we got to see the reigning Idol Champ Kris Allen come on to sing a very powerful version of "Let it be" while we saw video footage of his humanitarian trip to Haiti. This all spotlighted to me why Kris won AI in the first place as he's not only a nice guy but a former youth minister who also has done missionary trips. I'm glad we got to see this side of him because I think he's a great role model.

The last eliminations were up and the final 2 in the bottom row were Alex Lambert and Tyler Grady. Both have pros and cons so this was a toss up on where America would vote. I was still rather surprised to see Tyler go home as he does a certain rocker and fun vibe that I thought America would be interested in seeing a little more of. Instead they went with the rather bland Alex, although I think his time may come soon. I think the contestants will definitely miss Tyler's happy go lucky attitude.

All in all, last night's eliminations put all the singers on notice that anyone can go home and that they better step it up! First week jitters are out of the way and now they should settle into a routine of it all so hopefully next week's vocals are way better than this week. A lot of the singers were missing in action this week so hope to see them back next week.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

American Idol - the Top 12 guys give it a go

Night 2 and tonight's its the Boys Night out. After the disappointment of Ladies Night, I was so looking forward to the guys taking the stage and letting America see that they were ready to give the girls a run for the Idol crown. However, after watching yet another frustrating night of not so good singing and performing, I'm wondering if there will be enough good singers to be voted into the Top 12! Bring back Taylor Hicks! At least, he knew how to pick a good song and make us feel good while we watched him. Hell, at this point even Sanjaya is looking like a good alternative! At least I liked Sanjaya and found him entertaining from early on.

The show got started with Todrick Hall who decided to try what the judges have asked for and do something risky. It sure was risky to do a Kelly Clarkson song! Then to do it the way he did it, Todrick Todrick Todrick. Sometimes the musical ideas we hear in our heads should stay there, on this I know. His version of the song would've been good to dance to (which is probably why he heard it the way he did since he's a dancer) but to sing and show off vocals, it wasn't all that great. The idea was good, again the execution was off. Simon's comments saying it was stupid was stupid. For the most part I found myself agreeing with Simon tonight (which is strange since I usually find myself thinking more along the lines of Randy) but he was way out of line with his comments to Todrick.

Aaron Kelly did a solid performance and I can see him easily making it in on the boy band look and young girls votes.

Jermaine Sellers' killed the Oleta Adams song and by killed I don't mean that in a good way. He oversang and tried to do too much with the song, instead of just attacking the emotions of the song with his voice. He just attacked. Not good.

Tim Urban's video was real nice. He seems like a real genuine nice guy and it was nice to see him get a second chance but he picked the wrong song and then made it worse by singing it badly. I really felt for him as he stood there taking all the slings and arrows from the judges. Even Ellen couldn't find something nice to say, saying that maybe if the viewers listen to him with the sound down he can get in on his looks - man, that's lowdown "E". Tim saying that he switched songs at the last minute was good to know but the damage is done, we can only judge and vote on what we hear.

Joe Munoz who we were barely shown at any point before, brought it and I liked his performing and vocals were nice and solid. He was the best of the night IMO.

That 70s show castoff Tyler Grady's performance was a bit too imitating of what he's seen in the past from his music Idols and his vocals were not very good. He has a lot of frontman potential if he can just match the vocals to the style.

Lee Dewyze seems like a real nice, humble guy and I liked his choice of a softer styled rockish song but when he went for the big voice, it killed the tenderness of the lyrics and I'm glad that the judges gave him good constructive criticism on what he should be doing because they like his voice and so do I.

John Park oversinging of "God bless the child" was just too much. He has a good voice but sometimes less is more especially for a song like this. He could find himself in big danger tonight. I'm glad that he got to explain why he picked the song though.

Michael Lynche picked a Maroon 5 song to do? M5 is cool and all that but its not exactly the best vocals to try to do or imitate. He gave it a funky, upbeat rendition but it just seemed too rushed to me. I wasn't crazy about his trying to be so chummy with the judges and I'm glad that Ellen put him in his place and told him to listen. She got him to listen. Good for Ellen!

I honestly don't have much to say about Alex Lambert's performance, it was a very forgettable performance. He reminds me of Rob Thomas in vocals and looks but he just looks so bored while singing that it turns me off and makes me tune him out. He was warned about that during Hollywood week, still has to pick it up in that department.

OMG with the Casey James stuff! It was funny at first but to do a whole skit on it while Casey was waiting for his critique was rather lame and childish the longer it went on. I guess the judges have to amuse themselves when the singers aren't doing it though. Casey's song choice was ok but the vocals could've been better. Nonetheless, it doesn't matter with Casey - this guy will go a long way with viewers with his looks.

After a long night of mediocre singing and performances I was sooooo looking forward to seeing Andrew Garcia who had done nothing but great performances in all that we were shown of him. He was to be the saving grace of the night and even left for last as to leave us viewers with a strong last impression of the guys and then he came out and did Fall Out Boy? Really? I couldn't believe what I was hearing was the same guy I proclaimed as one of the final 2 with Crystal Bowersox. That performance and his vocals for it were so disappointing. I think he'll be safe for now but he's got to get back to what made us all think he was a frontrunner.

I don't know where AI goes from here but if these singers don't get past their jitters and poor song choices then this may be a horrible season for AI. Has Paula put a jinx on AI? Something happened between Hollywood week and now to a lot of the singers, I hope they can find their magic and soon!

Hard to pick from so many mediocre performances last night but if I had to pick 2 to go home it would be Alex Lambert and Jermaine Sellers. I think Tim Urban will get a sympathy vote but he'll probably only get this 1 week pass from viewers. Should be an interesting elimination night.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

American Idol - The Top 12 girls sing!

Finally, after weeks of auditions, guest judges and Hollywood week we get to voting for the singers that will grace our TVs for weeks to come before we crown the newest American Idol.

So last night we had the Top 12 females and we started off the show with a statement from Simon saying he thinks the winner will be a female. I agree. Was excited to hear the girls. Then they sang and I wasn't excited anymore and wasn't so sure a female would win this season after all, at least not based on first impressions.

Paige Williams went first and she obviously comes from the Christina Aguilera school of singing. While it works for Christina who has an absolutely amazing voice, it didn't work so well for Paige, especially considering the song she was singing, or should I say over-singing. She can sing though. Just need better song choices.

Ashley was next up and she went for a Leona Lewis song which would be smart if she did it and sang it well since Simon discovered Leona. To not do it that well in front of Simon though was very risky and while she gave a good performance, that's not what she needed to do with that song. I like Ashley but with every performance of hers I'm less impressed. She has to step it up.

Janell Wheeler was next and I was expecting big things from her but her performance of Heart's "What about love" was very weak and the song swallowed her up. Very bad song choice, one of the worst of the night.

I like Lilly Scott. I think she's got a way cool vibe and look but I really didn't like her song choice or coffee house performance. C'mon Lilly, you can do better than that!

Katelyn Epperly finally got the show back on track with a good performance. I didn't like her outfit though. Trying too hard.

I really like Haeley Vaughn and want to see her succeed but she may not be ready yet. Her concept of what she wanted to do with the Beatles song was good but the execution needed better planning. She was a little too all over the place with her vocals and her outfit was too cutesy. She has a lot of potential though.

I was pulling for Lacey Brown to make it after coming so close last season. I wanted the judges to know they made a mistake last season in taking Megan Joy over her and then she went and did a very all over the place version of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide". It was the worst performance of the night. Such potential and she blew it. I think she'll be one of the girls going home on Thursday. :(

Michelle Delamor has the looks to be a pop star but then she goes and tries to tackle Alicia Keys' "Fallin" and tries to do it with a very thin voice. No no no! Another bad song choice, the night was full of them. The judges seemed to love her although I think it may be based more on image than vocals from what we heard last night.

I like Didi Benami and she gave a good performance though I would rather she had picked a better song to show her vocals than Ingrid Michaelson's "The way I am".

Siobhan Magnus was hardly shown to us before tonight but she can definitely sing, took on a challenge in doing Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" and she has a good look as well. They mentioned she's a dark horse (which was cute and Kellie Picler-ish in that she didn't know what that meant) and I agree, the contestants better watch out for her.

I have already said that Crystal Bowersox would be in the final 2 and while she didn't do anything to discourage me from that prediction, I do now wonder if she truly gets what to do as they hit the show and they begin doing themes? She seemed to not understand some of the critique as it pertains to what she does but she also did seem to be all ears and open to it, so that's a good sign that could make her even more dangerous.

Last but certainly not least was Katie Stevens and while I agree that she chose an old fashioned sounding song that she probably wouldn't do on an album, she did show very good vocals. I'm a fan.

All in all, the girls didn't live up to expectations but I think they'll step it up having some jitters out of the way and some constructive criticism of what they should be doing.

My 2 that I think will go home are Ashley Rodriguez and Lacey Brown. Haeley Vaughn will also probably be in big danger of going home.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

American Idol - the Top 24 revealed!

The show last night got right to business showing us the remaining contestants who did or didn't make it. For the most part I'm very pleased with the Top 24. Most of them were easy to pick out from the many contestants they showed us. They either had good/great voices, had that special IT factor or in some cases BOTH! This season's AI should be very competitive. Can't wait to hear the girls sing next week!

I was very happy to see Jannell Wheeler, Lacey Brown, Ashley Rodriguez, Krystal Bowersox, Lilly Scott, John Park, Haeley Vaughn and Andrew Garcia make it.

I was sad to see Nikki Nix and Tori Kelly not make it. Tori definitely has star power. It was very hard to see Angela Martin not make it. I loved how tender Kara was with her in giving her the news. I have become a big Kara fan. She's very cool. Anyway, I don't know why Angela didn't make it but there was news that her mom went missing back home while Angela was in Hollywood so maybe the judges felt that this could become a bigger situation and one that might even require Angela to drop out from the show later in the process? Like I said, I don't know - am just speculating as to why when she was so admired by the judges and the fans. I really hope that life gives her a break and some label comes calling her way. I wish that for a lot of these contestants as a matter of fact.

At the end of the show they showed us the Top 24 and I noticed that Chris Golightly had made it but he wasn't shown to us as making it in or as being shown in the introduction dance montage at the end of the show. This morning I read that he was dropped due to a contract dispute which is a shame. I was pulling for him but I don't understand singers/musicians who don't get the business side of things. You can't just go out there trying every which way to make it, there has to be a plan and once you sign into a contract then you have to be ready to honor it. Hopefully whatever contract he was already under brings him success. So, Chris was replaced by Tim Urban. I wonder who will replace Michael Lynche who supposedly is out? My money is on Thaddeus Brown who was the last male cut even though as the judges put it, he didn't do anything wrong. Just didn't have enough room for him and didn't think him better than the ones they picked. I think he'll be brought in as a replacement and that last cut drama that saw him inconsolable at not making the cut, might just be the ticket that gets him into the top 12 on a sentimental fan vote if he's in as a replacement.

As of now, as of this early moment my picks for the Top 2 to make it to the finale are Krystal Bowersox and Andrew Garcia. As of now, they just stand out and above everyone else in terms of vocals and that IT factor. Crazy things happen on AI though! Like I said, should be highly competitive!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

American Idol - Hollywood week - the first 7 revealed

So, we finally got to see and meet the first 7 of the 24 that will move onto TV for our votes!

We were shown how grueling it was and its always interesting to see the timeline of how long the days/nights are that the contestants/judges/band go through. We also got to see a lot of the final auditions that would make or break some of the contestants.

The contestants were broken into the usual 3 rooms and while they tried to make it seem as if any of them might be in danger, it became pretty clear to me that Room 1 was full of locks to move on, Room 2 had singers we barely saw (except for Mary Powers who they kept showing us to throw us off) and wouldn't make it and that Room 3 was singers that made mistakes and were getting in on their overall Hollywood week.

From Room 2, I was sad to see Charity Vance go. She is really good and I'm not sure why she didn't make it. Lloyd Thomas is a good guy and there for the right reasons so I was sad to see him go as well. Hope Johnson has a lot of potential but needs work, hopefully she'll work on things and come back next season. Mary Powers was just over-confident. Her final audition was vocally strong but performance-wise was too arrogant and aggressive looking. That was something that the judges were clearly looking at as Ellen had previously called out a contestant on that.

I was happy to see a lot of the people from Room 3 make it - Shelby Dressel, Ashley Rodriguez, Jannell Wheeler, Lacey Brown, Angela Martin, Haeley Vaughn.

With the 2 rooms it got cut down to 46 contestants. From there they have to cut 22 contestants to get down to the top 24. The final verdict on whether they are in or not was to be made on the Americal Idol stage at the Kodak Theater?! Wow, there's all sorts of things cruel with that! To make it so far after months of anticipation and work and to make it onto the stage that could make your dreams come true only to be told on that very stage that you are going home before ever truly making it on there must be so crushing. Yea, its life. Its what the show is. But put yourself in those shoes of something you love with a passion and making it through all those challenges only to have it yanked away from you at the last moment? :(

I was happy to see Michael Lynche make it. Unfortunately I read in the TV Guide that he was ousted because his Dad broke the confidentiality agreement of the contract all contestants and their families must sign. What a way to lose out. Didi Benami and Casey James were easy locks IMO to get in, happy to see them in. Kara's leg kick when she hugged Casey was funny, funnier that Randy called her on it! I was really not happy to see Shelby Dressel cut. I felt bad for Jessica Furney, she tried to make her case but it was too late. Too bad. So close 2 years in a row.

That's all we got last night but tonight the complete 24 will be revealed. Can't wait!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The non-filtered mouth of John Mayer

Just read an article about the John Mayer controversy over his Playboy interview comments regarding his "hood" status and Jessica Simpson. I'm not a big John Mayer fan, I'm not even what I would call a casual fan of his but I do admire his guitar playing talent. However, what little I have heard about the guy is that he is a egotistical, boastful jerk. This is clearly seen in his Playboy interview. "Hood status"? LOL! Really John? I doubt you'd be recognized in the hood if you ever dared to venture there! Trying to sound cool for the sake of just trying to sound cool never works, don't you know that by now? It's not like it ever works for you. Then you go on and on about Jessica Simpson who didn't do anything to you other than care about you. From all I've ever heard, Jessica's only fault in the relationship as in her relationship with Tony Romo is that she's been too clingy and smothering. Not exactly a crime. This is a girl who cared about Mayer and he takes the opportunity to boast about how sexual she is and how he couldn't get enough. Really? Kissing and telling is not cool, no matter who you are. But with Mayer who doesn't seem to have a filter between his brain and mouth like the rest of us have, in his mind I think he thought he was complimenting Jessica. Instead this fool just setup a reputation for her that others will now try to exploit. Its hard enough for celebrities, especially female celebrities, to find people to trust enough to get into relationships with without this sort of bs being thrown in by some ex-lover. I don't know Jessica but from all I've read she is a sweet girl who has been really hurt by her past breakups and she really doesn't deserve to be talked about like that. No one does. As a casual fan of Jessica's, I've seen her grow up (just like Britney, Christina, Mandy, etc.) and it makes you somewhat protective of them as a fan and you want to see them be happy and normal. After all, they give us joy through their music so its logical to want them to be happy as well. I know a lot of people don't think that way but oh well. Anyway, I hope John realizes that he just didn't damage himself with his ignorant, run at the mouth comments. I see him apologizing profusely over his "hood status" comments but while serious, I see those as just plain ignorant whereas I see his comments about Jessica, very vile as this was a girl who loved him. Apologizing to the fans and realizing that you need to control your mouth and think before you speak is all good but I really hope that he apologizes to Jessica. Hopefully he already has. Hopefully he learns from this and realizes that its never cool to try to make yourself sound cool, leave that to other people to say or not say.

American Idol - Hollywood week (Solos and Group night)

We got Hollywood Week this week! We're almost to meeting the top 24! As expected, lots of ups and downs this week watching some favorites soar to the next round and others fail to make the cut. We also got to see a few new faces that impressed!

We finally got to see Ellen and as I expected (although I wasn't happy with her becoming a judge, she's grown on me through interviews and shown herself to be not only a fan of the show but of the contestants that go up there to be judged), she was prepared and taking it very seriously. It got on my nerves that a lot of times the contestants thought she was making jokes when she was being serious in giving critique.

From the solo auditions on night 1:

Katie Stevens really rocked it. Skiiboski didn't impress but you gotta love his confidence. Poor Vanessa Wolfe, her nerves and inexperience got to her. I'll miss her, really wanted her to make it further. Andrew Garcia just continues to impress, his interpretation of Paula's "Straight up" was great! I was sorry to see Maegan Wright go. Same for Amadeo. Jannell Wheeler sounded really good. Haley Vaughn did good which made me happy because I really want her to move on. Mary Powers sounded great. Lilly Scott has a very unique voice, really liked it! I liked watching Michael Lynche's saga as he did the auditions while going back and forth to the phone with his wife who went into labor! He had a nice groove to his song choice. Nice! Tim Urban moved on although I thought he only sounded decent with his David Cook song choice. Maddy Curtis had a real bad song choice. Sorry to see her go. Casey James had a rocking audition with his blues guitar. Very cool. Didi Benami had a great audition that I loved! Crystal Bowersox had a very good one as well and even had her fellow contestants helping her on the chorus! Very cool to see and hear.

So they whittled the contestants from 181 to 95 and we saw a lot of contestant's go and a lot of dreams dashed. :(

Next up we got the dreaded Group Night where its always drama with groups competing with each other and even fighting within their own groups. Well, this season was no different. Unfortunately, this is when we see the bad side of some of our favorites. Not my favorite segment of Hollywood week but its good for the judges to see who can work with others and how well and who is willing to put in the effort and time necessary to put on a good performance in a very strict and limited deadline.

Onto my group night thoughts:

I thought the standouts were Charity Vance, Tori Kelly, Jannell Wheeler, Casey James, Andrew Garcia and Katie Stevens.

I was happy to see the following move on to the next round - Ashley Rodriguez, Micheal Lynche, Hope Johnson.

I was sorry to see go - Seth Rollins (I thought he sounded good), Kimberly Kerbow and Mark Labriola who forgot the words to their songs, Matt Lawrence and Dave Pittman.

Next week is the last round and then the top 24! Ryan Seacrest has said on his twitter that next week's shows are the most intense and emotional Hollywood week episodes ever. Oh no! =(

Friday, February 5, 2010

American Idol Auditions - Denver and best of the rest!

Final week of auditions before Hollywood week!

This time they went to Denver and we got a return guest judge in Victoria Beckham who IMO is looking too thin! She would make a good permanent judge to replace Simon when he leaves at the end of this year. Under the original configuration we had the opinions of judges from the executive (Simon), performer (Paula) and producer (Randy) viewpoints. Then they added the songwriter (Kara) perspective. With Ellen coming on, they are replacing the performer POV with that of a fan which is cool as Paula did that too. I've heard names like Mottola, Iovine and even Jamie Foxx (?!) to replace Simon but I think Victoria would be a far better choice from what I have seen of her.

Anyway... back to the auditions!

First up was Mark Labriola who complained that he's always getting compared to Jack Black because of a very slight resemblance but then went and tried to act and talk like Jack Black! Doh! He had a decent although pitchy voice and made it to Hollywood.

Kimberly Kerbow had a very good look and a decent voice. She reminded me of a redheaded Hilary Duff (who my daughters love!).

Casey James had a cool look and voice but the judges thought his personality was rather bland. Uh, could he just have been nervous? Maybe!

Tori Kelly had a nice voice.

We moved on to Day 2 and we got to see a lovely video package of an arrogant and very full of himself Austin Paul who as expected was not as good as he seems to think he is. Nor did the judges like his attitude, they seemed to catch on pretty quick that he was just there to pump up his resume with the ladies and of course his already over-inflated ego.

Next up was Nicci Nix who has a way cool name, is a baby speaking girl who came from Italy for the audition and her voice was very good.

Haeley Vaughn is a black girl who wants to sing country pop which makes her very unique and she knows that would set her apart. I certainly would want someone like her and her attitude on my label! I really liked her. She had a very bubbly personality and nice voice.

The show ended with bikini boy Ty Hemmerling! Hilarious!

Night 2 of AI auditions was a look back at the auditions from all the cities they went to, to show us other contestants who made it (and those that didn't as well). There were some real good contestants!

First up we got Amanda Schectmman who had a nice look and voice but her pleading was a little too Tatiana-like for me.

Next up we got to see Lacey Brown who had come down to the last spot to make last season but lost out to Megan Joy. She has a real nice voice and really intense eyes. She knows what to expect and do in Hollywood so hopefully she makes it to the next part after Hollywood.

We only got to see the next 2 briefly. Rachel Hubbard had a real nice voice and look. Genesis Moore had a very nice voice.

Personal trainer Michael Lynche had a nice soulful voice.

We got to see a video package on Didi Benami who was doing the audition in her BFF's memory. Her BFF had passed away and she did a very passionate audition that connected with the judges, although Simon didn't seem too impressed for some reason. She has a very good voice and look.

Aaron Kelly had a good look and voice and seems like a real nice kid. He would make excellent boy band material and I think if he makes it past Hollywood then he'll make into the Top 12 because I know the young girls will burn up the phone lines to get him in. LOL!

Lastly, we got a video package on Hope Johnson who grew up very poor. She is very pretty and has a decent voice with an interesting tone.

That's it! Time for Hollywood week next week! Hollywood week is always hard because we get invested in a lot of the singers and their stories and the challenge of Hollywood week is how to stay focused. Some of these singers have never been out of their state or small towns and they get caught up in all the firsts that they are doing that it throws them off from their purpose to be there. Then there's always the group challenge that ruins a lot of contestants chances when they are paired up with people that they have nothing in common with or don't get along with. Its rough. I wish them all luck. Ellen has mentioned in interviews that since she wasn't at the auditions that she has studied hours of auditions to familiarize herself with the contestants and by the looks of the Hollywood week preview, Ellen will pull no punches and be a good fair judge. Next week should be good.