March 2011


americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television30 Mar 2011 11:41 pm

And we’re back… and so are the top eleven… here is Top Eleven Redux as the intro states… they play a recap of last week’s reveal show and i just want to say that it was more than appropriate for Hulk Hogan and professional wrestling to be featured on that episode, because something just rang entirely untrue about the entire show… from the very beginning with Ryan hyping up the ending of the show as a complete stunner and reminding us a thousand times to stay tuned in until the end… perhaps they’re countering a ratings drop as the show progresses?… i don’t buy any of last week’s results… but this week it’s Elton John week and i’ll go ahead and leave the past in the past… two are going home tonight… off we go…

now playing: Can You Feel the Love Tonight by Elton John
Scotty is singing Country Comfort, the only Elton John country song to his grandmother who is in house… of course he’s phenomenal because it’s a country song and he’s a country singer… he’s killing it and he ends with the deep tone that gives all the gals chills… Steven says something about high-heeled cowboy boots and that he loves Scotty… J-Lo tells him never to doubt himself… Randy says that Scotty is already seasoned and in the zone…

Naima… is putting a reggae spin on I’m Still Standing… and it sounds amazing like pretty much every other reggae song in existence… okay, that’s harsh, but it’s really mellow… she had a rough time getting into the chorus, but she held it together for the most part, but it really became a blase and self-indulgent piece… J-Lo says she loves Naima, but some songs aren’t meant to be flipped like that… Randy says he loves reggae, but this was corny… Steven says boom-shaka-lacka-lay-ee… good for Naima because she picked what fit her…

Paul… hmm, i would expect Paul to do well with this one… but before we get to that, here’s an in-show commercial for Coke and some songwriting contest… singing Rocket Man despite it being a disaster for his band five years ago… he’s got his guitar, which bodes well for tempering the crazy undulations he’s prone to… he’s dressed for the part and he’s actually doing pretty well… you know, he kind of reminds me (slightly) of another McDonald… Shawn McDonald… he’s got that twinge to his vocal… it’s a nice job, but not a stand out performance… Randy (with J-Lo’s help) says he probably has a little more to offer… Steven says he loves his voice and he likes the character as defined by missing some notes when he sings… J-Lo (when it’s actually her turn) says they want him to push himself a little more…

Pia… of course she’s singing a ballad… Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me because it’s her facorite song… Jimmy wants her to channel Fergie and Axl Rose… interesting… anyway, it sounds more like she’s channeled Martina McBride… there’s a strong country tinge on the verse at least… i’m not sure i like the arrangement that much, it’s tweaked only slightly, but it’s enough to kind of throw off the emotion of the tune… be that as it may, she clearly needed some more room for her big hits and runs… Steven says it goes to prove that some people were wrong to ask her not to sing ballads and that it was a complete sentence… J-Lo says the notes take us all to another place and she’s trying to break through the barrier… Randy says she’s sung a ballad every time and she’s slayed them every time… he still wants to see her change it up, but that was wonderful…

now playing: Crocodile Rock by Elton John
Stefano… will be singing the Tony Danza song (Tiny Dancer) with the tight pants… he’s got a good voice, but for me he can sometimes fall into a broadway mode where he turns perfectly good pop songs into irritating stage songs… (and, by the way, i actually enjoy a good Broadway show now and again)… this is just plain fine, but again, it’s lacking a bit of energy… i’d like to see him step out on his own and be different… J-Lo says he’s been taking notes about connecting with the crowd and it was amazing… Randy said he loved that he connected with the audience and kept his eyes open… Steven says there’s a real sweet thing to his voice because it’s old… oh, and he said something about a Broadway voice…

Lauren… is singing Candle in the Wind which always reminds me of one of my favorite Disney movies of all time, Pete’s Dragon… anyway, back to Idol… i think she’s got the weakest vocal of those left in the contest… the verses aren’t much to speak of, but i really love the chorus and the country take on it… she sounds like a Dixie Chick there…spectacular the way she shaped that melody to suit her needs… Randy says it’s one of the greatest songs ever written and it was one of the greatest Lauren Alaina performance… Steven says he’s loved her since the moment she first laid eyes on him… and if she keeps singing like that, she’ll be able to afford the rest of her dress… J-Lo says that was it… beautiful…

James… anyone wanna bet he does Crocodile Rock?… okay, i was wrong… he’s singing Saturday Night’s Alright for a Fight… and he’s doing a really good job… i missed some of it, but he’s pretty much consistent at this point… he’s all over the stage… all over the vocal range… see, now he’s on the piano, now his pants ripped, and now the piano is on fire… it’s good… Steven says he really brought the heat (pun), and if he doesn’t watch out, he’ll end up like him… J-Lo says it was a great performance by a great artist… Randy says he really felt like James was having a good time and it was a great, great, great performance…

now playing: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John
Thia… singing Daniel… i’m not sure i know what to expect… but it’s Thia, so i expect a pretty straightforward, almost robotic rendition of the song… oh, i know this song… i think she’s a little on the flatter side of the melody, but it’s not horrible… she has a better voice than Lauren, but zero personality on stage… so, it’s just okay… i’m not excited about it… J-Lo says it was beautiful and she likes what she’s been seeing all night long… Randy says he liked that it was relaxed and he didn’t like that it was a little pitchy and too safe… Steven says that when you find the right song, the voice appears… she sang a great Elton John song well…

Casey… got a haircut and a shave and he’s singing Your Song… i don’t think i ever realized that was the title of this song… he’s going with the mellow approach this week… and showing off a real solid vocal… i think that’s what i questioned last week… whether or not he could actually sing underneath the veneer of all the energy and growling and screaming… Randy says this reminded everyone why they saved him… Steven says that he’s a true artist and just the last two notes were worth it all… J-Lo says she didn’t lose an ounce of sleep over choosing to save him last week… it was all very Casey… i still say last week was a setup…

Jacob… singing Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word… and he’s starting off pretty high… despite being knee deep in stage smoke… Jimmy was concerned that he’d add too much drama to the song, and he’s definitely looking like he’s on the verge of tears… man, he makes the worst faces when he’s singing… i didn’t like it, but that’s not too surprising… honestly, though, i think it was his weakest performance yet… Steven says he’s wonderful for getting totally into the song… J-Lo says it was an amazing arrangement and a great last note… Randy says he loves him and the arrangement, but he needs to find his “Jacob spot” in every song…

Haley… odd that they gave her the last spot, but whatever… she’s singing Bennie and the Jets… and she’s sprawled out on the piano which shows no signs of fire damage… she seems to be struggling to keep up with the rhythm because she’s always got to toss in a stray run or grunt between each phrase… man, when she lets loose, her voice is enough to stop traffic… she slayed the chorus and the ending, but there were enough rough patches early on to place her on shaky ground… J-Lo was dancing during the song and says it was amazing… Randy says BEST PERFORMANCE OF THE NIGHT RIGHT THERE!… Steven says she sings sexy…

okay, here we go again… two going home so i’ll pick two more who will be on the verge to square out a bottom four… let’s see… i’ll start with the safe ones… James, Casey, Scotty, Paul, and Pia are all safe… Haley may be safe because she was last… that leaves Naima, Lauren, Stefano, Thia, and Jacob… i’ll save Jacob… and send home Thia and Stefano from the remaining four… get that? Bottom Four: Naima, Lauren, Stefano, Thia… Going home: Stefano and Thia… what’s your take

peace… love… bdg…

americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television24 Mar 2011 03:17 pm

Okay, so we’re down to a top eleven… i did watch last week, but i watched a few days late, so i didn’t even bother to write up a rundown (sorry)… i was happy to see that my countdown remained in tact with Karen exiting shortly after Ashton… anyway… last week was “songs from the year you were born” and this is “Motown week”… so i suppose that whole ban on theme weeks is totally moot? where did i read that?… anyway… off we go…

now playing: Mercy Mercy Me by Marvin Gaye
Casey… singing Heard It Through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye… he looks really, really creepy with his hair like that… but this is a rather swankified version of the tune, which is cool… and he’s strutting around the building as he growls and screams the lyrics… i think at some point he should sing that Little Red Riding Hood song… he’s kind of a werewolf-ish kind of character… Steven says he’s a perfect mix of crazy ego and perfect pitch… J-Lo says he may be “the guy” right now… Randy says he’s truly original and “only you can do the you that you do and you can only do the you you do”… or something like that…

Thia… will be singing Heat Wave… well, she seems rather confident and her vocal sounds much older than she is… it’s a pretty solid job, but it’s hard to not think of this as a Karaoke performance… especially since she so cautiously goes into some of the lyrics as if she’s unsure of them… i liked it though… Thia Megia, though, sounds like a puppet name… J-Lo says they’re just scratching the surface and they need to dig deeper and bring even more… Randy says this new mood is a good thing… she took a chance, but can do even more… Steven agrees that she took a step out and he loved it…

Jacob… he’s singing You’re All I Need to Get By in a white suit jacket with a pink tie… he’s an exuberant guy and i think he probably brightens up the room wherever he goes… and he’s on pitch and he has a strong voice… but i really don’t like it… there’s just something about the tone of his voice that rubs me the wrong way… this was a great performance though… perfect match for his skills… Steven runs up to hug and kiss Jacob… Randy says it was the other best performance ever on this stage… absolutely nothing wrong with that performance… Steven says it was beautiful… J-Lo says she’s not too proud to beg… Ryan invites the entire front row up to hug and kiss Jacob…

Lauren Alaina… singing You Keep Me Hanging On… after a slow introduction, the music kicks in and she starts working the stage… and Randy… this is a very controlled performance… all the energy seems to be coming from the music instead of her, which is odd, because she tends to light up the stage… Steven says she ripped that song a new beauty mark… J-Lo says she looks amazing and she brought the song to life… Randy says she’s got her swagger on high and she’s ready…

now playing: Uptight by Stevie Wonder
Stefano… will be singing the song with one of the creepiest music videos of all time, Hello by Lionel Ritchie… it’s too bad about the video, because it’s a great song… it’s very low-key… and i’m not sure i like the tinge of showtune to it… but he’s got a good enough voice and it kind of works… not his best, but it’s alright… J-Lo says it was good, but he didn’t quite connect with the song… Randy says the only thing missing was a connection… Steven agrees, saying that his voice is so good, but he needs to pull back a little to relate to the song better…

Haley singing You Really Got a Hold on Me with straightened hair… and apparently something is weighing down her left side… she seems like she’s going to tip over half of the time… i’m gonna say simply, that it didn’t really work… for as much as they complained about Stefano not connecting to the song, she was even worse… a couple nice moments throughout, but not much to write home about… Randy says it started off slow, but really picked up… Steven says it was beautiful and she doesn’t look a day over fabulous… then Randy makes Steven perform a high note or two… J-Lo says something about her being the “Jacob” of the girls…

Scotty is going to tackle Stevie Wonder’s For Once in My Life… trying not to be a lounge singer… well, he’s definitely toned it down to try to mold it into a country tune… and it kind of works, but it’s a pretty sleepy song and he looks a little awkward there at times… but i think it will get him through without a problem… Steven says it was beautiful, he really ripped it… J-Lo says it was a great version of the song, but it wasn’t his strongest vocal performance… Randy smiled the whole time and liked that he took that chance and called him a young lady killer…

now playing: What It Takes by Aerosmith
Pia… also singing Stevie Wonder, but this time it’s All in Love Is Fair… it’s weird how the videos show all this energy and stuff during the practices and this… well, this is a ballad… and she’s got a killer vocal, but it’s a pretty boring song otherwise… just saying… she did well with it, but it’s a sleeper… J-Lo says she has everything except stage presence… Randy says she’s phenomenal and he liked the falsetto, but she can’t live on ballads alone… Steven says she’s the closest star in the American Idol universe…

Paul singing Tracks of My Tears by Smokie Robinson… with an acoustic guitar strapped on, at least he’s less likely to prance… and he’s turned this song into a pretty nifty little singer/songwriter version… this is definitely more up his alley and i’m glad he played to his strengths here… last week was just not good… Randy lusts after his guitar… Steven points out his uniqueness again… and J-Lo says he just needs a good producer…

Naima… singing Dancing in the Streets with (of course) a fresh twist… so that’s quite an outfit… i don’t know that there’s all tthat much of a twist to this, but she’s at least staying closer to pitch… she’s singing in her lower register though, and it looks like it’s uncomfortable for here… oh, here we go… tribal drums and a little interpretive dance session… there’s the twist… Steven says it was e to the z, well twiddly-dee… (it was great)… J-Lo says she’s an exciting performer and she got some goosebumps… Randy says the whole package was there and it was great…

James… closing out the night with yet another Stevie Wonder song, Living for the City… and i’ve got some technical difficulties muting some of the performance… fantastic.. well, they won’t complain about his stage presence since he’s all over the place, dancing, pointing… and he’s doing a solid job with his vocal… it’s just that he sounds like he’s screaming all the time… it would be nice to know if there’s an actual singing voice somewhere under all of that glam rock… J-Lo OMG’s up a storm… and James continues to work the crowd… she calls him serious business and incredible… Randy says it started out a little bit rough but he did hit his pocket and by the end it was enough to make him say “yes”… Steven calls him crazy again and he nailed it…

Well, according to the master list of eliminations, Lauren is next on deck… and as i’m thinking about how these performances went, i can still see that… i’m going to go with a bottom three of Haley, Stefano, and Lauren… with Lauren going home… what does your bottom three look like and who would YOU send home?

peace… love… bdg…

americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television10 Mar 2011 08:39 pm

i can’t believe i forgot Jacob in my picks last week… anyway, here we are, the top thirteen and, i picked 8 right last week assuming there would be a final 12… not that it matters… last week was a strange “blood bath” of the top 24, but it works… they obviously realize the need to not drag this season out too long… and on that note, i’ll get to this week’s episode… yes, it’s not “live,” but it is real-time commentary on the episode brought to you by my DVR and my crazy headspace… off we go…

apparently it is sing a song from your personal “idol” this week… i thought they weren’t doing theme weeks this year… does this not count as a theme?… anyway, first up is…

now playing: You Decide by Brandon Heath
Lauren Alaina… singing Shania Twain’s Any Man of Mine… and after a lengthy promo video, she just starts right in… she doen’t seem very excited to be there and it shows in the song… it’s fine i guess, but really lacking in enthusiasm and the peppiness that has defined her up to this point… Steven says it needed to kick a little more booty… J-Lo says it wasn’t in a high enough gear, but we love her… Randy echoes them, noting that she didn’t shine as much as she should’ve… she apologizes to Steven for not kicking it up enough notches and he tells her that he loves the way she shakes… Ryan steps in with a reminder that it’s about constructive criticism… (meaning, calm down hound dog)…

Casey… singing A Little Help from My Friends by Joe Cocker… and i doubt we’ll see a lack of energy from Casey… he is starting off on the stairs and as he comes down, a choir flanks him and supports his soul patrol efforts… that’s right, i said it… he totally channeled Taylor Hicks on a few of those notes… he’s the clear favorite in this contest… and this is why… J-lo was blown away… Randy says he’s so unbelievable and exciting… loved it dude, loved it… Steven says he’s a rainbow of talent and a plethora of passion…

Ashthon is singing a Diana Ross song, because they told her she was Diana Ross… i’m not really sold on this performance… there’s a lot of shakiness to the vocal during the verses and lower register… and that’s most of the song… i know she can bang out the high notes and the powerful moments, but this song really doesn’t have any of those… it was just alright… Randy said it was a little safe, but she grew as a singer right before their eyes, (kind of like a chia pet maybe?)… Steven says she has more to offer that she’s not showing… J-Lo says that she could’ve done better, but she maintained her composure throughout and she’s awesome and amazing…

now playing: Forget Me Not by The Civil Wars
Paul clarifies that he likes Ryan Adams, not Bryan Adams… singing Come Pick Me Up… and he addresses the crowd first… well… he’s prancing around the stage like a pixie and i can’t say that his voice really suits the song… yeah… to put it gently, i just didn’t like that at all… that’s not him… Steven says it was a little pitchy, but it’s always his song whenever he sings… J-Lo says he’s unique and she hopes America “gets it”… Randy says it probably wasn’t excited, but he loves the character that Paul is… Ryan and Paul then proceed to dance like Peanuts characters on stage while trolling for votes…

Pia… first i must say that this is definitely the season of strange names… oh no… a Celine Dion song… singing All By Myself… i love how all these contestants suck up to the Interscope people… i’d bet none of the contestants had ever heard their names before the show… anyway… she’s got some pipes… it seems she felt like the verse was just an obligatory introduction to the chorus where she could kick off the high notes and dazzle the crowd… so it will be interesting to see how she does on a song that has a longer “intro”… J-Lo says she’s topped last week… there it is… Randy says she has a natural gift for slaying the high notes… Steven says it was the sum total of all her performances up to this point and it was a polished apple…

can’t say i miss watching commercials… what? another Christian Slater series? how did that get greenlit? anyway, on with the show…

James singing Maybe I’m Amazed by the Beatles… i didn’t even know people were still singing like this… interesting… the judges look like bobblehead dolls… oh, and the song… is… um… okay… i guess it’s interesting to see him toned down a bit… he does sound like an 80s rockstar… maybe from Cinderella or whatnot… it was alright… Randy says he loves that James has a voice that can sing anything… he slayed Paul McCartney… Steven says… if there was ever a review about James, he just sang it… and sang it well… J-Lo lets everyone clap a lot and then tells him that he’s everything…

Haley singing Blue from LeAnn Rimes… she’s 20? she looks much younger… anyway, she’s doing really well with the yodeling and the attitude throughout the rest of the song… really toned down song, but she eminates an energy that works to make the song even more exciting than it is… Steven is hooked and is dancing along with her… it’s a good song… Steven gives a history lesson on the song’s origin and says the country world is roaring… J-Lo says she is unique like Paul… and it was really good… Randy says it was sleepy and boring…

Jacob… okay, even if it was true, i don’t think i’d ever admit to the world that R Kelly was my idol… i mean, really… do you not remember the whole story?… eeks… anyway, Jacob is singing I Believe I Can Fly… double eeks… i think his voice is just too high?… square?… i don’t know, it’s just not believable to some extent… i just don’t like this performance at all and his voice, i guess just hangs out in that realm of annoyance for me… Steven says pure passion, pure music, it can’t be judged… J-Lo says it’s anybody’s game and Jacob is at the top… Randy says the talent is really good this year and Jacob has a signature tone and it was unbelievable…

now playing: I’m Moving On by Rascal Flatts
Thia… another coincidence i’m sure, but the judges compared Thia to Michael Jackson and apparently that’s her idol… singing Smile… and it’s slow and safe… well, okay, there’s a little touch of flare to it here… she really does have an almost mechanical way of deliverying her vocal… it’s right on track, but perhaps overly controlled… Randy says he loved the intro more than the jazzy arrangement, but it was good… Steven agrees, but still liked it overall… J-Lo reiterates that the beginning was better than the end, but she sings like an angel…

Stefano… i was shocked that he was called in for a wildcard performance and i’m not sold completely on him, but singing Smokie Norful helped… this week, he’s taking on K-Ci & Jojo… i mean Stevie Wonder’s Lately… and i’m back to not being too keen on him… that was a strange arrangement for me and his vocal isn’t the strongest… Steven says he pulled it off… J-Lo said he had her dancing and she loved it… Randy says he soared after a rocky start…

Karen well this means that Naima is closing us out i guess… and she’s singing a Selena song, which means she’ll sing in Spanish for at least part of it… she sings sleepy and not happy… i’m not sure if it’s my cable or if her gestures are completely unconnected to the song.. no, her lips match… she’s just randomly gesturing… well, the vocal was steady and safe… it was just alright though… J-Lo says she was obviously uncomfortable, but she’s one of the strongest girls… Randy says it felt like she was fighting the song… and it was sleepy instead of exciting… Steven agrees that it was lacking energy…

Scotty… Subway has a meatball pepperoni sub… that sounds pretty good… Garth Brooks… not a surprise… singing The River… jeepers… he sounds like he’s been recording for ten years already… i guess the only concerns are whether he can sing country every week and if he starts to sound too karaoke at some point… as it is now though, he’s fantastic… Randy says this is exactly where he belongs… Steven says he’s ridin’ high (and a bunch of other stuff)… J-Lo says he opened up as a performer…

Naima… singing Rhianna’s Umbrella… and putting a little Naima twist to it… well, she definitely seems to be enjoying herself, but behind all the dancing, the vocal is pretty thin… oh, a reggae section and a pop-lock session… i’m not sold… Steven says she’s good, despite the pitchy notes… J-Lo loved the dancing and says now she needs to work on control… Randy does care about pitchiness and all the other shortcomings, but he loved the reggae section…

okay, so they didn’t say how many will be voted off tonight, but for the sake of the guessing game, we’ll assume that two people will leave and it will be a bottom four… and that bottom four will be… Lauren, Ashthon, Paul, and Karen… and going home will be Karen and Ashthon…

and in the grand tradition of forecasting well beyond what is normal, here is the order in which the top 13 will exit the show… T13. Karen and Ashthon
11. Lauren
10. Paul
9. Haley
8. Jacob
7. Naima
6. Stefano
5. Thia
4. Scotty
3. James
2. Pia
1. Casey

i’m not entirely certain of this order, but that’s what we do here… let’s see how it all shakes out…

peace… love… bdg…

americanidol&MUSIC&television03 Mar 2011 09:21 pm

Leave it to American Idol and the impending reveal show to get me to write again, eh?… no wait, that would be for Canadian Idol… anyway, so, i wasn’t sold on whether or not i would even watch this season with all the changes and with the past few seasons just wearing on and on… but, like a squirrel smelling peanut butter, i’m back and looking for more…

i’m still not convinced that i’ll be tuned in each week, or that i’ll write each week, but old habits die hard and here i am at the eleventh hour tapping out my thoughts on the top 24 and which 12 will make it through… off we go…

first the guys… and my brief recap of Tuesday night’s performances… Clint “the Jun-Bug”… i like him immediately because of the easy nickname, but as a karaoke bar employee, he probably would’ve kicked himself off stage for what he did to Superstitious… just saying… Jovany… he’s got a good voice and all, but he turned a decent rock ballad into a cheesy elevator tune… he needs some grit from the shipyard… Jordan… absolutely awful… he’s not Usher, he knows that, it’s not the style he wants to sing, then WHY CHOOSE THAT SONG? O.M.G…. Tim hmm… i wrote “very bad version of a very good song”… oh, right Rob Thomas and John Mayer… yeah… very bad version of a very good song…

Brett… it’s going to take a lot to convince me that he’s not just a strange novelty act, but this was a reasonable performance… James he needs to convince me that he’s more than just an Adam Lambert wannabe… be that as it may, he can kill it on the vocals… Robbie no thanks… next… Scotty… seriously, where does that voice come from?… more importantly, how will it last over the course of the contest?… i suspect he fades too quickly… Stefano… ugh… bad version of a Bruno Mars tune that’s overplayed, but good when it’s Bruno Mars singing it… not so much Stefano… Paul… really quirky dude, but he’s genuine and he owns it… Rod Stewart was a good song choice… Jacob… he’ll definitely get the “fun” vote… he’s got a pretty strong voice, but it’s his attitude that sells him… and Casey… the golden child who kind of looks like a homeless man… he’ll skate through to the top 5 at least…

now the girls… and these are even briefer notes from last night (clock is ticking)… Ta-Tynisa Wilson… sorry, it was awful… Naima… good voice, good song… home made outfit… Kendra… this was a pretty good performance… she seems alright… Rachel… i don’t like her attitude, but she has a reasonable voice… i suppose she could be this year’s Siobahn…Karen… “Hero” i didn’t like it… pass… Lauren Turner a young Bette? strong voice and all… pretty solid… Ashthon… she’s pretty good… Julie rule #1… NEVER sing a past Idolette’s song… Breakaway = AWFUL… Haley… she’s out of her league… could be good, but horrible song choice another contestant trying to be what she’s not… Thia… good vocal, but kind of mechanical… Lauren Alaina she’s the fun one… also second to last… odd… great personality… Pia… and the ringer… i wasn’t a fan of the entire performance, but she has some pipes….

TOP 5 GUYS (+ Wildcard):
James
Paul
Casey
Scotty
Jovany
+ Clint

TOP 5 GIRLS (+ Wildcard):
Pia
Lauren Alaina
Kendra
Naima
Ashthon
+ Lauren Turner

Let’s see how i did… back with more after the reveal (maybe tomorrow)…

peace… love… bdg…