americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television16 May 2013 11:54 am

Okay, to be honest, I forgot this was on at least five times. Part of that is because I didn’t think Angie should’ve left last week (though I did pick her to finish 3rd at the beginning of the top 10). Part of it is because I haven’t been watching live. But most of it is because, every year by this point in the competition it really stops mattering. The contestants that make it to the final rounds look, sound, and talk nothing like they did when they started the show.


This week is it, though. The grand cage match. Kree vs. Candice. Three songs each. One winner will emerge. Then we can all focus on what really still matters when it comes to American Idol… who will be judging next season? Anyway, this is something we must go through first. The first song is picked by Simon Fuller. The second is their potential lead single (presumably ALSO picked by Simon Fuller). And the final song is their favorite from earlier in the season. Then, the votes, which will have absolutely nothing to do with the performances tonight. Off we go…

Kree opens the night with Angel, which makes me think of abused puppies. Not that I think Kree mistreats animals or anything. I just don’t like this song. She did a fine job with it, though. Great vocal tone. No judge’s commentary.
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americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television09 May 2013 02:43 pm

With three contestants left, we get a glimpse at who’s really “in it to win it” and we can really see the light at the end of this never-ending tunnel. Next week is the finale and in two weeks, we’ll start forgetting all of this year’s contenders. After all, The Voice is just ramping up with their elimination rounds. And there’s always a new squirrel to distract us. But for now, American Idol is the squirrel and we have three contestants left.

This week, the three finalists get a taste of how their recording sessions will go. They each sing three songs, and they didn’t get to choose any of them. The first round are songs picked by Jimmy Iovine, the second round songs are picked by the judges, and the Idol producers picked songs for the last round. Don’t expect any particular connection between artist and song this week. (And don’t scratch your head as to why Idol winners sell less each year). One more cynical aside: This is the week when the judges and producers totally tip their hands and show who they want to advance. Song choice is everything. Anyway, off we go…


Kree opens the show with Perfect, by P!nk. Because that’s a country, blues song that fits right in her wheelhouse and core audience. Except not at all, really. She seems spacey and almost lifeless as she performs and wanders around the stage. Good vocal. Not a good song choice. Keith says it reminded him that she’s a country girl. Nicki starts in with a British accent, which is never a good sign. She says her vocal was great, but it felt short and apparently Kree was too tall; she should wear flat boots instead of heels. Randy didn’t love that song for her. She can sing anything, but this fell flat and lacked pizzazz. Mariah says it’s hard to let someone else pick your songs for you and she’s sure Kree will be better later on tonight (translation: it wasn’t good, darling).
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americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television02 May 2013 12:16 pm

So, this week is a rerun. Sort of. With new songs. And best of all, Harry Connick, Jr. I’ve been lobbying for Harry to be a permanent judge for years now. I would love to see Randy, Neil Patrick Harris, Kristin Chenoweth, and Harry Connick Jr as the judges, but that would never happen. Anyway, on to today’s show. Two songs each – one from 2013 and one from a long time ago – and no duets, as far as I can tell.

Angie begins with Rihanna’s Diamonds from behind the piano. The spotlights look like harp strings behind her. I like this arrangement, but she’s totally biffed some of these big notes and it’s unfortunately fallen apart for her at the end. Keith loves a lot of songs, but he didn’t like the arrangement of that song. Nicki says she worked the body more than the heart and it was bland; she can do better. Randy agrees with Keith and the arrangement wasn’t great, but he likes her leather shorts. Mariah appreciated the risk of re-arranging the song, but agreed that it seemed she played up to the camera more than she should have.

Amber will apparently be humming and snapping to Just Give Me a Reason because she can’t remember the words. I’m not familiar with this song, but again, even if she was singing it flawlessly (she’s not), there is very little connection emotionally. Ah, this is Jessica Sanchez all over again. I didn’t like it. Nicki says she didn’t see the same, charming girl from rehearsals on stage tonight; no connection. Randy agrees that she didn’t seem to have any fun and it was not stellar. Mariah apologizes on Amber’s behalf for not learning the lyrics and encourages her to remain confident. Keith uses the word phenomenal twice, but he’s describing P!nk, not Amber.
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americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television25 Apr 2013 12:18 pm

So now we’re down to the final four and no one has been saved and the show may end a week early and there are rumors that I’m not the only one annoyed with Mariah and oh, what a season it has been. I think it’s safe to say we’re all happy that Lazaro isn’t singing…

Okay, I’m firing up the old video playlist and we’re going to find out what’s what. My understanding is that the girls picked their first song and their second song (as voted on by fans like you – I didn’t vote) is a one-hit wonder. Let’s get to it.

Amber opens the night with Power of Love. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I really don’t like Celine Dion songs. Woah! Amber’s hair exploded! She starts it off with no music and does a great job, then stumbles on the chorus. There is zero connection between her and the song, but she emits a powerful vocal that will surely overcome the bored body language. Keith says it was an amazingly perfect song choice and she was confident. Nicki says she doesn’t even feel like a contestant anymore, it’s like they’re at her show. Randy says she’s came in as a baby, now she’s a pro. Mariah says she opened up the notes like hashtag POW. (Meanwhile Kobe tries not to be like hashtag PAU!).
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americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television18 Apr 2013 12:32 pm

So, pretend we remove all the boys from the competition (oh, we did that) and adjust my original predictions of when the contestants will each get voted off. We’re left with Janelle, then Candice, Kree, then Angie, leaving Amber as the winner. I still think that’s how it will play out. Anyway, we’re back with a top five that is an all girls club and they each perform twice and quite possibly, whoever loses will still stay and we’ll have an Idol deja vu next week. Again, for expediency and convenience, I’m using the video player to watch the performances. As always, I’ll promise to try and keep it short, but we know how that works out. Off we go.

Candice kicks things off with the Paula Abdul classic, Straight Up. It’s a swankified version, which works out really well for her because she can air it out and let her voice go crazy. Overall, solid performance, but a sleepy arrangement that plays better in the background. Keith says it was a great version of a song he never thought was great. Nicki congratulates her for being the boss and the song has always been great. Randy thought the arrangement was cool and current. Mariah says the song was a massive hit and putting that Candice on it was A-mazing.
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americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television11 Apr 2013 04:25 pm

So, if the judges and producers aren’t actively trying to force a female winner on us, they certainly aren’t actively preventing any other outcome. Can’t say that I blame them. The last five winners have been “a dude with a guitar.” Three of those winners aren’t even remotely memorable and three of them haven’t even broken 1 million cumulative album sales (though Phillip Phillips will, in all likelihood). Why not load the competition up with talented girls and get the guys out of the way.

If they had any desire to see a guy win this season, they would’ve saved the best guy vocalist (Curtis) in week one or the best guy contender (Burnell) last week. Instead we’re stuck with Lazaro as the last man standing. Lazaro, who shouldn’t have made the top ten and wouldn’t have were it not for his background story. Anyway, each contestant performs twice, so this will be a long post. Off we go.


Angie opens the show with embarrassing YouTube videos and a Dionne Warwick song, Anyone Who Had a Heart. Hopefully, the producers aren’t out to get her by sticking her in the first spot. So this is a ballad, but she does a really nice job with it. She has a great tonal quality to her voice – it pierces the notes and holds the listener’s attention. Not much energy, though. Keith warns her not to rely solely on her voice, but to show more passion. Nicki says it felt a little old fashioned. Randy kind of agrees behind his Wreck-it Ralph glamour brooch. Mariah tries to put things in her own words and points out the perfect (to the “t”) pronunciation.
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americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television04 Apr 2013 11:42 am

Another week, another technical glitch (or something to that effect). Actually, I think I like the quickness of using the video player. This time, I made sure to check the order of performances ahead of time, so hopefully, there won’t be any inconsistencies today. And without further ado, because there is no further ado, let’s dive into the top seven as they embrace rock music as their theme. Off we go…

Burnell has an accent and sings with his hands. Oh, and his laugh. It’s that time of the season where the contestants get to make fun of each other. Also, Burnell is taking on You Give Love a Bad Name. And he’s giving this song a bad name. It seems he’s somehow unfamiliar with the song and the arrangement really buries his vocal. He’s no Blake Lewis, that’s for sure. Not a good start to rock night. Keith laughs at the closing kick, but assumes rock isn’t his thing because he was so uncomfortable up there. Nicki wanted to cuddle and squeeze him like a “Teddy Rumpskin.” Randy says it was all behind the beat and he needs to keep up. Mariah starts petting Randy before saying she is proud that he had fun with it. Apparently she gets paid by the #POW.
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americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television28 Mar 2013 10:51 am

Today will be a little different. Due to a technical glitch, I’m watching last night’s performances on the video player and I’m not sure what is and isn’t included. Certainly, I’m missing all the opening introductions and banter, but maybe that’s for the best. I may not even get all the performances in the right order, who knows.

It looks like it’s Motown night, which means a return of Smokey Robinson and songs that always warm my heart and, in this case, makes me sadder that Curtis Finch, Jr. is gone. I did get last week right, though. This week, according to my initial order of elimination, will be Lazaro’s week to leave. We shall see. Leading off the night was Candice, so… off we go.

Candice sings Heard It through the Grapevine, which apparently Smokie Robinson was supposed to release as a single before Marvin Gaye. She’s slowing it down and lounging it up, which is pretty smart because it gives her more room to riff and no one will accuse her of singing karaoke. We get the full range of her vocal and it’s all good. Keith agrees that she’s raised the bar and it showed great control. Nicki says she stayed in it and didn’t over-do it. Randy says it was effortless and crazy good. Mariah says in a lot of ways she epitomizes the competition because of that thing she does that she knows how to do but she won’t get into it right now…
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americanidol&MUSIC&television21 Mar 2013 03:29 pm

Didn’t see that one coming. Curtis Finch, Jr., who is probably the only singer that can make me enjoy the song I Believe I Can Fly, has left the building. To be fair, it wasn’t a great performance last week, it was a Fantasia song (blah), and he was in the first spot – all bad things – and it happened. Now we move on. Top Nine, and it looks like it’s the songs of the Beatles. This is where I confess yet again, that I don’t get particularly giddy when I hear a Beatles song. I appreciate the influence they had on music and their ability, but it all occurred before my time and I’m comfortable enough to admit that they’re not my bag for the most part. There, I said it. I won’t praise them just to join the cool kids table. On with the show.

All the judges made it on time this week, so that’s good. A new Coca-Cola thing-a-ma-jig. Yay. Oh, and the showdown between Charlie and Aubrey for a tour spot. Winner is: Aubrey. So that’s good at least. Ridiculous that it was even a question, but good. Okay.. off we go.

Kree loves her family. Oh. Well that’s sad. She’s singing With a Little Help from My Friends. Jimmy is excited. It’s tough to balance karaoke and blasphemy in the eyes of the judges, when you sing the Beatles. I think this is a great arrangement and she’s carrying it really well. Let’s hope she’s not forgotten at the end of the night like Curtis. Keith says “firstly.” He’s glad she’s Kree and she should be safe. Nicki says she makes great musical choices. Randy says it was the bomb. Mariah says it was fan-freakin-tastic.
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americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television15 Mar 2013 12:10 pm

So, I was expecting a Tuesday night show and it was Wednesday. And I’m not getting around to watching it until today. Rest assured, even though the results were last night, I spent the night avoiding Twitter feeds and Facebook statuses and tuned into season two of 24, courtesy of Netflix. As such, the thoughts I’m sharing below are in real-watch-time and my predictions are as honest as if I had watched it live. Off we go.

In true self aggrandizing fashion, today’s theme is “songs by former American Idol winners.” Or something like that. Only three judges come out with the announcement. That’s weird. I’m sure Ryan will explain the empty seat. Maybe Nicki is performing? Stuck in traffic, seriously? Why couldn’t Mariah get stuck in traffic?

Curtis Finch, Jr. starts it off, which is typically the forgettable slot. He’s singing Fantasia’s winning song, I Believe, which still kind of keeps with his theme of flying. I don’t know this song at all. I love his “yeah, yeah, yeah’s” but overall it was just average, which is really bad for him. Keith said he sang above where the song was, but he knows himself and it was great. Randy says try something that’s not inspirational and the same. Mariah liked the choir feeling.

Janelle Arthur is really laying the accent on thick, more than ever before. She’s singing Gone, which was performed by Scotty. I think it’s supposed to be a real barn burner, but I didn’t really get much of the energy. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t too memorable. Keith liked it and compared her to Lee Ann Womack. Nicki shows up and wasn’t wow’ed and would like to see better song choices. I’d like Nicki to get rid of the gum. Randy says it was good, but it didn’t go anywhere. Didn’t love the song. Mariah says she had a star aura, but there are better songs.
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