American Idol: Top 13 Performs

8 03 2012

The Top 13 sang for the first performance show of the season.

Well, the first REAL one. The first one that opens the phone lines to a democratic voting system to let ‘America’ decide the best and the worst. (or at least, most popular and least popular)

I had a hard time with this one, not gonna lie. I think it was the ‘theme’ and the execution. The theme was Stevie Wonder for the guys and Whitney Houston for the girls. The ‘Celebrity mentor’ was Mary J Blige.

I’ve told you how I feel about them forcing these girls to sing Whitney Houstons songbook. Its very specific, it’s iconic, it’s so closely associated with HEr and HER god-given abilities. She has been the ‘untouchable’ artist every year, in every singing competition. ‘Dont Sing Whitney’. This year, people who shouldnt be singing Whitney, are being faced with quite a challenge. The ONLY reason they are doing this, is because they wanted to be the first show to do a Tribute. They couldnt let X Factor steal that from them.

And don’t get me started on Mary J Blige… who so conveniently crops up on these shows minutes before her new record or new tour starts. Every time. But they couldnt have invited Selena Gomez for this occasion right? Don’t worry, she’ll get her shot. I’m sure her people are working on it.

Let’s get to the singing, shall we?

Joshua – had NO problem channeling Stevie Wonder and knocking another song out of the park. His voice is undenyable, his charisma is infectious and confident, he can SANG. This was a perfect theme for him, right in his wheelhouse.

Elise Testone – attempts the first Whitney song. And I’m thinking, this could be a long night. ‘Im your Baby tonight’? Really? IT sounded like a girl completely unfamiliar with this style of music. She was lost, so she ended up just getting through it and hoping there would be worse to come… she wasnt far off.

Colton – sang ‘Lately’ with a moody, rock ballad vibe. It’s a tough gig trying to get through this competition as an ‘alt’ musician. This was probably brutally hard to pull off, but there are likely rougher waters ahead for this guy. I love what he brings to this competition, I’ll always be wondering what he’s going to pull off! I wouldve liked to see him at the piano again.

Shannon Magrane – The leggy blonde Volleyball player. That’s how I remember her. I SHOULD be remembering her for her voice, but I dont. She has power, but she is another victim of snging a song WAY too BIG for her. ‘I Have Nothing’ requires Whitneys pipes. But that’s not her fault, it’s the producers in my opinion… she wouldnt have attempted that song had she not been forced to pick a Whitney song.

Deandre- Funniest moment of the night, was the response he had to seeing himself crying on the bigscreen “Lawd have Mercy!” Classic reaction. I was worried about teh kind of artists Deadnre is making himeself, and last night he continued to confuse me… but he was still highly entertaining. That falsetto is going to get him places, and that hair? Lawd!

Skylar – The country singer – a little bit Lambert, a little bit Clarkson and a little bit Reba. She did what was expected with this theme – she took a Whitney song, ‘Where do Broken hearts Go’ and made it a Skylar song. I dont know that I LOVED it as a Skylar song (the nasally country sound aint always my cup o’ tea) but she showed herself as the artist she will become. Love it or Hate it… she was certainly NOT the worst of the night,

Jermaine – I was not a fan of his the minute he sang Luther Vandrose. Who is your audience? I dont have much to say about him because I found myself drifting and getting a snack, and checking my email… during his performance. It was – fine (?!) I’m not excited by him.

Erika Van Pelt – I feel like we still havent seen Erika. She has moments, and she had some monets last night. But I need her to unleash and show us a performance worthy of winning this show. Beacuse, I feel liek she could be a contender if she chose the right songs and had the eye of the tiger. There’s no time to hold back. But I really hope we see her again next week. Again, I think this might be the result of an unfair theme…

Heejun – is an enigma. He is dryly humorous, totally charming and yet,  confusing. He’s a real character, and I like that! However, I often feel like he’s still riding this competition like it’s a week at band camp. Then he opens his mouth, and it’s pure and hauntingly beautiful. He had another really outstanding performance last night, I hope he can break the mold next week… do something hip and cool.

Jeremy Rosado – got his second chance, and unfortunately didnt deliver. He has a nice voice, but his song last night was dull, dull, dull. NO excitement, no big notes, no ‘moments’. Even J-Lo didnt cry and ‘face melt’ as he was singing…what does that tell ya? He was that bad…even his biggest fan was unenthused.

Hollie – The small blonde with the big voice. This girl actually had the chops to belt out a tough Whitney song with some impressive gravtas. Was it just me, or did most of these singers sound bette rin their rehearsals than on stage? I found that with a few, and in particular Hollie (and Shannon who bombed). It was actually one of the best of the night for the girls… but that’s not REALLY saying much.

Jessica – You knew it was coming right? As soon as they said “Whitney” you knew someone was taking on…’THE’ song. ‘I will always Love you’ will go down as THE Whitney song, and the song only a handful of epople will EVER be able to sing. One of those people, apparently, is Jessica Sanchez. Holy smokes. Youtube this one if you didnt see it.

Philip – is in his own category. It’s hard to critique him. He’s so unique, and so ‘into it’…that you just know he’s all about the music and landng the ultimate ‘gig’. I’m so glad they are taking a chance with this guy and letting him do his thing in this competition. He proved last night that the format wont get in the way of his style.

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American Idol: Picking the Top 13

2 03 2012

The first ‘results’ show of the new season was a 2 hour marathon last night on American idol.

All this to select the Top 13.

I feel like these contestants have been through… alot to get here.

From Auditions, to Hollywood, Groups, Vegas, Solos… all for a shot at making the show. It has been intense!

In saying that, I really wish that this week had been a better effort from each hopeful. I mean, we had some pretty lame, dull and karaoke performances from a group of people who have been knocking our socks off previously. I struggle to come up with answers. It could be the stress of the first ‘live’ show. Could be confusion about song choice. Could be that they got some conflicting advice.

Either way, we had a Top 10 to name, and 3 wildcards to add last night.

Here were the Top 10:

Girls: Hollie, Elise, Skylar, Jessica, Shannon
Guys: Hejun, Jermaine, Philip, Colton, Joshua.

Surprises?

Yep. I would say, I mostly agreed with the girls. The rest of the competition was pretty weak last night, there were really not too many others deserving of the vote. But for the guys? I thought Hejun was less than stellar (but he has an awesome personality… and a dad with 20 cell phones!) and Jermaines performance was cheeseball and old fashioned. I was fairly certain that Adam, or Creighton or Reed would be sitting in one of those chairs.

So the judges picked 6 people to sing for the Wildcard, and 3 would be selected to join the Top 13. With so many of my favourites sitting out, I knew I was going to be disappointed in the end.

Judges chose: Deindre, Jen, Brielle, Jeremy, Erika and Reed to sing for the Wildcard. All of them performed LEAGUES better than the previous nights, Randy is right, they should be singing for their lives with EVERY performance.

In particular Deindre, Erika and Jeremy rose to the occassion and were the judges Wildcard choices.

Little upset that Adam or Creighton didnt get a sniff at the Top 13, but I can’t always have my way.

At the end of the show, they also announced the ‘Theme’ for next week. The guys will be taking on Stevie Wonder, and the Girls will pay tribute to Whitney Houston.

Can we talk about that for a second? There are going to be Whitney Tributes for YEARS, in the same way every time someone sings a Michael Jackson song, it’s a tribute. So, I’m not really surprised they are the first to do a “Tribute show” to the greatest voice of our generation. However, what gets me is that since the very first reality singing competition, contestants have been chastized and criticized for choosing Whitney Houston songs because they are ‘untouchable’. It makes for an easy comparison between a wannabe and The best of all time (arguably). It’s like, the number 1 or 2 rule of this genre. Don’t sing Whitney. So now, next week, the girls are FORCED to take on the biggest songs in Pop history, sang by an unmistakable icon, weeks after her untimely death?

Big shoes. And perhaps a little unfair to foist on them week 1 of Top 13. Just my opinion.





American Idol: Top 13

10 03 2011

I love a good two hour American Idol show on a hump-day wednesday.

The weather was aweful (I don’t live in Cali), and the commute was a direct reflection of the circumstances. But I got home JUST in time, for the start of the Top 13  show.

First note, they are going with more broad themes, and adding some professional experience to the process. I like it. For example, this week was ‘Your Idols’ week, whereby each contestant chose a song performed by their own personal idols. This opened the door for a wider range of genre, and a better pool of songs to select from.

Nigel also enlisted the help/advice from legendary …or at least long standing, record producers to gudie the contestants this week. I feel like this really boosted the performances. It certainly helped the song choices. No more shmultzy tired overdone songs… are the contestants getting better or is the advice that good?

As usual, there were highlights and lowlights…but far less lowlights than the norm for this stage in the game.

Highlights:

  • Jacob
  • Casey
  • Pia
  • Stefano
  • James
  • Scotty
  • Naima

Lowlights:

  • Paul
  • Thia
  • lauren
  • Ashthon
  • Haley

In my opinion. (please, don’t send the death threats…I don’t read them)

The true stand outs were the front runners: Casey, James, Jacob and Pia.

I loved the range – from Celine Dion to Paul McCartney, Joe Cocker to Rihanna. It was great to hear who the contestants model their careers and styles after.

So who goes home first?

I think Paul is (unfortunately) on teh bubble. He chose a relatively unknown song, and is starting to look kind of goofy on stage.  I also think that Thia and Lauren could be candidates for the axe based on lacklustre performances last night.

Thoughts?





American Idol: Revealing the Top 10

3 03 2011

At least that’s how it was billed. Tonight, we would see our Top 10 Idols for this season.

But in reality, America chose 10 singers. The judges then made up their own rules, and chose 3 more to join the group…making a nice round Top 13.

This decision came after a 2 hour performance/wildcard showdown, product placement, inane Seacrest questions, a new J-Lo video, and candid ‘looking back’ vignettes.

So the Top 5 Guys were:

  • Casey
  • Scottie
  • James
  • Paul
  • Jacob

The Top 5 Girls were:

  • Thia
  • Haley
  • Karen
  • Pia
  • Lauren A

The judges then selected 6 singers to re-perform ‘for their lives’ (I love how that line is now part of our collective social vernacular thanks to these competition shows…)

Singing for life or death… Jovani, Stefano, Robbie and Naima, Kendra, Ashthon

You would assume, one girl and one guy would make it. But this is a new era. This is a new panel. There are no such thing as ‘following the norm’. That’s right…whatever J-Lo says goes. And J-Lo wants you to watch her video, and send 3 people to the Top 13.

That’s mean… I’m sure The Dawg and The Lips gave their two cents.

So add to the Top 10… Ashton, Stefano and Naima.








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