The Herald-Dispatch |


Idol Chit-Chat
This is your place to discuss all things "American Idol." The performances, the judges, the past contestants — it’s all right here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Josh Gracin Comes to Portsmouth

My apologies for the late notice on this one, but I got so caught up in the show hoopla, I forgot to tell you...

Josh Gracin will be performing at Shawnee State University Thursday, May 31st at 7 p.m. in the James A. Rhodes Athletic Center.

Along with Josh will be Wylde Bunch and Saving Jane.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased in advance at the McKinley Box Office or by calling 740-351-3600. Tickets will also be available at the door...

Labels:

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Final Six Minutes...

It looks like I was right that there were angry people out there who missed the announcement of the "Idol" winner because they TiVoed it...

Ironically, one of those was Jay Leno...

Now, for those people, FOX is streaming the last six minutes at www.americanidol.com...

I REALLY hope they don't try that stunt again next year...

Labels:

Friday, May 25, 2007

It's Not Over...

When Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) finally catches his man (Harrison Ford) in “The Fugitive,” he tells him it’s over.

And then, while wiping the sweat off his brow, he adds, “You know, I’m glad. I need the rest.”

That is exactly how I feel about the end of this season of “American Idol”…

Thanks to everyone who’s been on the ride with me this season. It's been fun. I especially want to thank everyone who has commented on the blog—especially Derek and Jim, Sanjaya’s #1 fan, whose weekly arguments made for some fairly entertaining reading…

But as Daughtry sings, “It’s not over”…

I’ll still be here keeping you up-to-date on TV appearances, chart news, release dates, tour information and MUCH more, so I hope you’ll keep checking back…

As I head out for the Memorial Day holiday, I leave you with this thought from “People”…

“Years from now, no one will understand how there could have been a national obsession with Sanjaya—or Paula tripping over her dog and breaking her nose. But we do. We lived through it. And maybe it all made us stronger.”

Has "Idol" jumped the shark?

There’s a discussion going on all over the Internet this week and I wanted to get all of your thoughts on it…

There’s an expression in the world of TV called “jump the shark.” It refers to the moment when a TV show starts to go downhill. For example, most people would say that “Frasier” jumped the shark when Niles and Daphne became a couple…

Now, LOTS of people are saying that this is the year “American Idol” jumped the shark. And the decline in ratings (This year’s finale was down 16% from last year.) seems to add some substance to the argument.

Here are some of the reasons people are citing…

1) The stretching out of the bad audition shows
2) A less talented group of finalists than last year
3) The hour-long stallfests featuring recorded performances
4) “Idol Gives Back,” which some people compare to the “a very special episode” category of
jumping the shark
5) The elimination of Melinda, the show’s best singer
6) Sanjaya

So what do you think? Did “Idol” jump the shark this year? Will you be back next year?

Idols on "Larry King Live"

Jordin and Blake will appear on "Larry King Live" tonight (Friday).

We'll also see Sanjaya, LaKisha, Melinda and other finalists.

"Larry King Live" airs at 9 p.m. on CNN...

Sanjaya an art project? Judge for yourself...

Here's a link to that video of "Sanjaya" claiming it was all an art project. It's clearly a joke, but I'm not sure for what purpose or if it's even really him...

http://popwatch.ew.com/popwatch/2007/05/todays_funnies__11.html.

Jordin and Blake now on iTunes...

Jordin and Blake’s “Idol” songs are now available on iTunes…

An EP of studio tracks is now available with “This Is My Now,” “(I Who Have) Nothing,” “A Broken Wing,” “To Love Somebody,” and “Wishing On a Star.” The price is $3.99 for the five songs. You can also buy the songs separately.

The other songs you can buy separately are: “If We Hold On Together,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” “On a Clear Day” and “Hey Baby.”

You can also download an EP of studio tracks from Blake, which includes “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “Time of the Season,” “I Need to Know,” “Love Song,” and “When the Stars Go Blue.” The singles you can buy from Blake are “You Should Be Dancing,” “Mack the Knife,” “Imagine,” “This Love,” and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.”

Only the bundles are available at www.americanidol.com...

I’m guessing this is the Idol way of getting more singles on the chart, although I’m not sure how EPs are charted…

Since I have already downloaded several Idol tracks this season (including most of Blake’s), I will warn you that the recorded versions are not the same as the live performances. Blake’s recorded version of “You Give Love a Bad Name” is more straight-singing than beat-boxing. With some of the other Idol tracks (especially Phil’s “Blaze of Glory”), the recorded versions lack the same passion. I just hope that next year they let us download the actual performances like they did in season five instead of just making me put them on my cell phone…

Since there is still no word on a release date for Jordin (or Blake’s) single, I’m concerned that downloading may be the only way we get this year’s and I think that would be a mistake—especially considering the number of copies those things sell. Plus, since I have every winner and runner-up single ever released (as you can see from this blog’s picture), that would seriously mess up my collection…

I was already upset that they didn’t release a finalists’ compilation CD this year because I was looking forward to hearing what the producers would do with Sanjaya…

Labels: ,

More thoughts on the finale...

So after reading all of the reaction on the Internet and talking to some friends, here are some more thoughts on the finale which everyone agrees was not all that great…

If “Idol” was looking for a moving performance to cap the finale when they invited Bette Midler just 24 hours beforehand, they failed miserably. Apparently, they didn’t know she was going to make a mockery of her own song (I know Jerry Springer cried, but that arm flapping and dress swooshing was ridiculous.). And apparently the “Idol” producers had no idea—nor did I—that Bette Midler was so unknown among younger viewers. I had two girls under the age of 25 yesterday (separately, mind you) say that they only knew her from the movie “Hocus Pocus.” “I didn’t know she was a singer. I just thought she was an actress,” they both told me. Boy, does that make me feel old…

And if this was Bette’s chance to introduce herself to the under-25 set, she didn’t really do a good job of it. However, in her defense, it was clear she was having some kind of technical problems since she kept fiddling with the sound pack she was wearing. Maybe she thought the wing-flapping would make up for it…

I still haven’t seen or heard an explanation as to why Simon was not in his seat when she took the stage. I was also stunned that this was their “big get” that earlier in the day had been rumored to be Britney Spears…

It seems I was not the only one that detected a slam on Kelly during Clive Davis’ ramblings. Ken Barnes of “USA Today” pointed out that presenting Carrie with an award for her six million in sales was also kind of a slap in Kelly’s face. Why? “Breakaway” has sold 5.7 million copies, which is actually closer to the 6 million mark than Carrie’s album is. Hmmm…

Jordin Speaks...

If not for the state of Arizona, Jordin Sparks would not be our American Idol today…

You may remember that I told you Jordin didn’t make it through the first round at the auditions in Los Angeles. Well, that was only part of the story…

Last summer, Jordin auditioned in Los Angeles and a producer had her sing a couple of songs. She told her, “I really like your voice, but there’s something missing.” She asked them if they were sure and they said they were and that maybe she could try out in another city. But for Jordin, the next city was too far away…

Until she won the Arizona Idol contest which gave her a trip to Seattle. And the rest, as they say, is history…

I bet that producer feels stupid now…

While all of America was sure that Jordin was going to take the title, Jordin told “Entertainment Weekly” she had no idea what was going to happen. “When Blake and I were standing up there, he was just like, ‘I love you, sweetheart,’ and he squeezed my hand, and I realized that no matter what happened, everything was going to be OK”…

Jordin received a lot of flowers for good luck before the big announcement, but not just from fans. She received them from Blake Shelton, Martina McBride, who congratulated her on her rendition of “Broken Wing,” Badgley Mischka (the designers who designed all of her finale dresses) and Jennifer Hudson. The card from Jennifer said, “A great journey well deserved, Love Jennifer”…

And in case you were wondering, yes, Jordin gets to keep the five Badgley Mischka gowns. But she said she can’t ever wear them again because everyone’s already seen her in them…

After the show, Simon and Randy both told her that she deserved to win, to which she responded, “Thank you. Why couldn’t you have said that on the show?”…

As for what kind of album Jordin would like to do, she told “EW”: “Well, I love all different types of music so I would love to infuse a lot of that into my album. Like I love country, I love R&B, I love pop, I love soul, and I love rock. So I would love to put that all together. Kelly Clarkson kind of did that, with a whole lot of different genres all on her album, and I think that would be really cool. And I want to sing about things that matter to me, things that touch me. Hopefully, I’ll be able to write a little bit on it, too. I’m going to try, and see what happens!”…

Don’t worry, kids. Clive will crush those dreams right quick…

Labels:

Blake speaks...

So what did Blake do after learning he wasn’t the American Idol? He partied at the Sky Bar in Hollywood until 3:15 a.m. and then got 45 minutes of sleep before beginning the media frenzy…

“Entertainment Weekly” asked him if he wanted to speak out against him and Jordin having to sing the same song. His response? “I don’t care—it is what it is. You have your good, your bad, and your in-between”…

Blake once again pointed out the contradictions of the judges on his arrangements, since they didn’t like “Keep Me Hangin’ On” and loved “You Give Love a Bad Name.” “You never know—you can’t win, you can’t lose”…

So what’s next for Blake? He’s already worked with Nick Hexum from 311 on a song he’s written and one that Hexum and Kevin Griffin from Better Than Ezra put together. He would really like to work with producer BT.

As for his time on “Idol”? He told “EW,” “The experience has been so amazing. I can’t even explain in words. It’s bittersweet right now, because it’s over. Two seconds before I got on stage, it was like, ‘It’s done—this is the last time I’ll step on the Idol stage.’ The journey was truly a blessing”…

Labels:

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Jordin on "The Tonight Show" and Smitty Reacts...

The Jordin media blitz will begin tonight (Thursday) when Jordin appears on "The Tonight Show."
She will not be singing, only talking...

"The Tonight Show" airs tonight at 11:35 on NBC...
Michael W. Smith, who as you know by now Jordin once backed up, posted this message on his website: "Everyone here at MWS.com would like to thank all of you who have supported, prayed for, and voted for Jordin Sparks! We're very excited to see this wonderful woman as our 2007 American Idol. And to think, she's just getting started! Let's keep her in our prayers as she embarks on what is sure to be a remarkable journey."

Labels:

The Winner's Single...

"This is my now. And I am breathing in the moment..."

Sorry, it's just that I can't get that song out of my head now...

There is A LOT of stuff to sift through today, but I thought in the meantime I'd let you know that you can hear the recorded version of "This Is My Now" at http://music.aol.com/songs/american-idol-winner-song. You can download it at www.americanidol.com.

No word yet on when (or even if) it will be released as a CD single...

Labels:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Final Thoughts...

So Jordin Sparks is our new American Idol. A friend of mine at work had her picked from the beginning because she was young and fresh and had a great personality. Now if Clive Davis doesn’t kill that, she’ll be in good shape. I really hope he doesn’t try to turn her into another Whitney or Mariah…

Back in the old days, there were no guarantees that the runner-up would get a record deal, but now that’s a given. I’m really eager to see what Blake will do with his career. I wonder if he’ll get signed by another record company. Clive Davis may not want to deal with another opinionated performer…

So those are my final thoughts on the winner, now to the show itself. First of all, a major jeer to FOX for not telling anyone the show would run over. I’m sure there will be some angry people out there who taped it and missed the ending…

This finale was nowhere near as good as last year’s. I have to wonder if the show spent so much effort getting stars for “Idol Gives Back” and the results show that they had exhausted their resources before the finale, so we got cheated on the number of stars. I can’t wait to hear the explanation of why Simon was not there for Bette Midler. I’m sure they’ll say he was back late from his smoke break, but I think he just couldn’t sit through it. I know I barely could…

And I really hope that next year the producers make a rule that if you can’t be there live, you can’t sing on the show. Those taped performances really zap the energy out of things…

Plus, I know that Sanjaya was this year’s big success story, but was it fair that he got to do his own number when most of the others didn’t get to? And speaking of him, where was that piece he taped that I told you about earlier? Did it get cut for time? We couldn’t have cut Bette Midler or Gwen Stefani for time?...

I want to catch the end of “Lost,” so I’m going to wrap this up. I’ll have much more tomorrow and Friday…

In the meantime, let me know. Are you happy with the results? What did you think of the show? And are you as over Clive Davis as I am?...

And the winner is...

10:01 We’re back. It is time…Jordin is wearing yet another new dress…Ryan announces there were 74 million votes…Ryan gets the envelope…Notice Jordin is not standing next to Ryan…Randy predicts Jordin. Paula won’t make a prediction. Simon says Jordin. Blake smiles at her…They’re holding hands…Lights down…Blake gives Jordin a kiss…

10:03 And the winner is…Jordin Sparks…And Blake is as happy as she is. Blake’s dad also claps for her…

10:04 Blake waves to the audience…Ryan introduces our new American Idol. There’s no way she’s going to get through this song…Smokey hugs Jordin’s dad…She thanks everyone…

10:05 Jordin does “This Is My Now”…Her whole family is crying…Blake is sitting with the rest of the Idols and they’re all smiles…Paula is in tears. Simon whispers something in her ear…Jordin breaks down…Here come the pyrotechnics right on cue…Her mom is a mess…Yeah, I’m tearing up too, I admit it…The credits start to roll…There’s the confetti…The Idols run up to hug her on stage…

10:08 And we’re out…

Some more stalling...

9:49 We’re back…Ryan plugs “So You Think You Can Dance”…A “Sergeant Pepper” tribute…Kelly Clarkson kicks it off with Joe Perry accompanying her doing “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” What is her obsession with backless shirts?...Kelly gets up close and personal with Joe Perry…Kelly introduces Taylor. Somebody will have to help me out with the song title…Taylor introduces Carrie who does “She Is Leaving Home” backed by the other girls…I’m guessing we’re going to wrap it up with “With A Little Help From My Friends”…Carrie introduces Ruben Studdard who does “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds” backed by the girls on stage and the guys on the mini-stage…Chris S. kicks off “Friends”…I think it’s nice we’re showcasing Stephanie and Brandon since they won’t be on the tour…Kelly, Carrie and Taylor join them on stage…Joely Fisher in the house…Break…

We are barely going to have time to get the “Idol” winning moment in…

Oh the horror...

9:40 We’re back…Brad Garrett is sitting in Simon’s seat…Bette Midler takes the stage to do “Wind Beneath My Wings.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! This is worse than any of the “Idol” singles. Is that why Simon wasn’t in his seat? If it is, I’m right there with you, Simon…Just in case we don’t get it, Bette flaps her arms for us...Maybe I’ll see what’s happening on “Lost.” There’s a bunch of people I don’t recognize, so I guess I’ll go back…Randy and Paula are slow dancing together…Now Randy is flapping Paula’s arms. I think we call that sarcasm…And now Bette flaps her arms some more…And Jerry Springer’s crying. WHAT?! There was nothing sad about that—except that we were forced to watch it…Break…

Taylor messes up his own song...

9:29 We’re back…Taylor Hicks emerges to do “Heaven Knows”…He looks good…That band arrangement is lousy. Where are the horns? This isn’t going to sell any records…The one time the band needs to be loud they can’t come through…What was with that weird breakdown in the middle of the song? That’s the best part and they didn’t even do it…Ace has got a lousy seat…He breaks out the harmonica…Taylor, stick to the original babe. You’re not Blake…

9:33 Jordin and Ruben duet on “You’re All I Need to Get By”…What are they doing? They know Jordin has trouble with her lower register…And why doesn’t Ruben get his own song?...On second thought, he kind of is since he is so much louder than her…He’s in good voice tonight…Break…

The Return of Sanjaya...

9:14 We’re back…Ryan introduces the African Children’s Choir to “recreate the magic of ‘Idol Gives Back.’” They run out onto the stage…This will make David Hasselhoff cry…They’re singing in their own language, of course, and they’re dancing…I wonder if they have any idea how many people are watching this…Two kids play the drums to accompany them…That was short…The audience goes wild…

9:17 A video about visionairies. I’m guessing it’s about Sanjaya. Yes, it is…Only Sanjaya would get a Don LaFontaine taped intro to introduce him…As I told you, it’s “You Really Got Me” with Joe Perry…There’s no Mohawk, but that wind machine is working overtime…Where’s Crying Girl?...And Joe Perry is doing this, why?...There she is! Crying Girl, still crying her eyes out. She got a lousy seat. She’s right in front of Chicken Lady…He strikes his best rock god pose and Joe Perry gives him a hug…

9:20 Ryan introduces Green Day, who performs John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero” from the Darfur aid album…The performance is on tape. Could we stop it with that?...They’re going to catch a lot of flack for doing this show, even if it is for a good cause…

9:24 So it’s 9:24 and we’ve only seen two singers and a guitarist perform with the Idols, whereas last year by this time we’d seen 10. What gives? Could they not get anyone to show up this year? Or did they think we’d rather see all these performances on tape…

9:25 Green Day silences so that we can hear John Lennon sing the end. We get a pitiful audio cut to the live audience screaming. Again, nice try, kids...Break…

Clive Davis brings the show to a halt...

9:00 We’re back…Ford ad: “Time After Time”…Outtakes from their previous commercials…Jordin and Blake on stage…Ryan presents them with the keys to two new Mustangs. Blake loves it and high fives Jordin…As Ryan introduces Carrie to do “I’ll Stand By You,” the director cuts away to the picture of the Mustangs. Nice try, kids…I take it that this is going to be Carrie’s new single. BOO HISS! I want “That’s Where It Is”…And I bet this means that Gina won’t get to do this one on the tour even though it was her best song…This song suits Carrie’s stiffness quite well, but for some reason she sounds a little sharp in places…The audience gives her a standing ovation…Brittany Murphy in the house…David Alan Grier as well…

9:05 Ryan introduces Clive Davis, who he calls the man with the golden ears. Yeah, okay…He gives this year’s Idol report card…He said the big news is about the explosion of Daughtry…He says that Taylor’s new single is “Heaven Knows.” Great song…Katharine’s new single is “Love Story,” which is pretty good…He said that Taylor’s CD is platinum, but that’s technically not true (RCA applied for platinum status after it sold 650,000 copies.)…Clive compliments the judges, but Simon doesn’t look so happy…Clive acknowledges Jennifer Hudson…Clive acknowledges the songwriters. I think that might have been a slam on Kelly Clarkson…Clive presents Carrie Underwood with her six time platinum award after droning on about the great combination of singer, songwriters and producers. I think that was another Kelly slam…She gives Carrie a big hug…Carrie thanks everyone at “American Idol” and the fans…Carrie says “Let’s get back to the show”…Break…

Tony Bennett Finally Gets His "Idol" Moment...

8:45 We’re back…Ryan introduces Tony Bennett while standing next to Constantine. And was that Teri Hatcher in front of him? I bet that was awkward…Simon gives Tony a standing ovation…He does “For Once In My Life”…I think that’s nice that they let him perform after he missed his chance earlier. And that’s “Idol” arranger Michael Orland on the piano…That was pretty good. And he didn’t slur his words like Michael Buble…The crowd goes crazy…Justin Guarini gives him a standing ovation…Smokey does a fist pump…Jennifer Hudson looks like she has tears in her eyes…Jerry Springer is in the house…

8:49 Another Golden Idol Award…Best Buddies: Jonathan and Kenneth (The guy Simon said was a bush baby and his friend.), Amanda and Antonella, Simon and Ryan…Ryan says, “Good luck, baby.” Simon says he has his fingers crossed…Ryan tells him he doesn’t have an Emmy, and he doesn’t have one of these either…The winner is, of course, Jonathan and Kenneth…Kenneth says they’ve done a lot of red carpets…Kenneth has a beard now…Kenneth tells Simon he wouldn’t be where he is now if Simon hadn’t said what he did. Simon likes that. It is, after all, true…Ryan shows a picture of a real bush baby. He says that they adopted one at the Milwaukee Zoo in Kenneth’s honor and named it Simon…As they walk off, Simon gives them a standing ovation…

8:54 Melinda and BeBe and CeCe Winans…Ryan says she used to sing back-up for them…I don’t know the name of this one, but I presume it’s “Hold On to Light”…They should definitely record together…Break…

Blake turns "Idol" on its ear...

8:30 We’re back…Yet another plug for the band search…Ryan is with the judges…Blake and Doug E. Fresh with Barry B as their DJ do some rapping and beat-boxing. Okay, “Idol” has never seen anything like this…It’s a beat-boxing duet, and the Blaker Girls love it…Blake adds a lot of sound effects and the audience loves it…Blake’s dad loved it…Ryan says “Just like the days of Justin and Kelly.” It was wild…

8:34 Another Golden Idol…Most Original Vocal: The nominees are Nicholas Zitzmann (The strange-eyed guy who destroyed “Unchained Melody.”), Sandi Chavez (The chick who murdered “Black Velvet.”), Sholandric Stallworth (The guy who murdered “If Ever You’re In My Arms Again”)…The winner is Sholandric Stallworth…Ryan asks him to show off his “powerful voice.” Randy requests “Silent Night” and he does it without a microphone and the audience screams (I don’t know why.)…

8:37 The Top six girls come out to do “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”…Gina has a very short haircut…Of course Haley’s dress is shorter than the others, and shows a little more in the front…Melinda introduces Gladys Knight, who comes out singing “I Feel a Song In My Heart Again.” She still sounds amazing…The girls back her up…Gladys sings “Midnight Train to Georgia” with girls backing her up…Now Melinda sings with her…Now Lakisha joins them. That would be a good performing trio…Gladys finishes it out…That was good as well…And yes, ladies and gentlemen, David Hasselhoff is in the house. Will Jordin make him cry like Taylor did?...Break…

Kelly's Triumphant Return and Things Get Smokey...

8:11 We’re back…Ryan is at his fancier finale podium…He introduces Kelly Clarkson to the audience’s delight…I can’t believe it’s been five years since she won…And she does “Never Again.” I’m a little surprised…Talk about snarl…It sounds like she’s having some voice problems…By the way, have you seen this video? It’s seriously cool…The audience loves it…Kudos to the show to strike out against Clive and let her do this…Now let’s follow up with Carrie doing “Before He Cheats”…This song really grows on you. I didn’t like it at first…That was good…

8:14 And the crowd goes wild…Kudos to the director for cutting to Clive Davis after that. He tried to smile…

8:15 The Golden Idol Awards return this season for the most memorable auditions…Best Presentation: The nominees are X-Centric (the panther), Isadora Thurman (the chick with the hat that just moaned a lot), Margaret Fowler (the chicken woman)…Surely they won’t give this to X-centric because he’s scary…Of course it’s Margaret Fowler. She’s on the front row with Nigel and he helps her to the stage… She gives Ryan a HUGE kiss that takes him down to the floor and knocks his microphone off…He’s a little rattled…Her cell phone starts ringing and Ryan answers it to tell them that she is on national TV right now…Simon’s a little scared as she reads her poem…Okay, she needs to go now…Ryan said he gave her Simon’s number...Ryan is still trying to compose himself…

8:19 The top six guys sing “Ooh Baby Baby” with an arrangement by Take 6…It’s a smooth doo wop but they don’t totally blend at the beginning…Phil is awesome. We will see him on the tour by the way…Phil introduces Smokey Robinson who starts singing “Being With You”…The guys back him up…Simon is actually standing on this one…Now the guys take turns on “Tears of a Clown”…Blake finally sings something…Now they back up Smokey. This sounds pretty good…The guys have some dance moves too…They join Smokey front and center on the stage. He high-fives all of the guys…Break…

Gwen Stefani kills my buzz...

HERE WE GO…

7:59 Intro…

8:00 Ryan introduces Ricky and the band…Teri Hatcher is in the audience with her daughter. I wonder if Ryan spoke to her…Jeff Foxworthy in the house…Ryan polls the audience. Blake seems to have the bigger support at the theater…

8:01 Ryan introduces the judges…Simon looks good tonight…Ryan tells Simon he already looks bored. Simon says it’s because he’s listening to Ryan…

8:02 Ryan talks about the Idols’ busy week and shows footage of their fittings with major designers…Blake and Jordin do “I Saw Her Standing There”…Blake starts of course. He sounds great…They sing together and come to the mini-stage in the audience…They’re having a good time, but Blake might want to ease up on the flirting eyes. She is only 17…Jordin gives Blake a kiss on the cheek. That was really good…

8:04 Ryan goes live to Gwen Stefani “live” on her tour, who does her favorite song on the CD, “Four In the Morning.” Both the intro and segue were bad…This was originally scheduled for the “Idol Gives Back” show…Don’t the producers remember how good last year’s finale was? And all of those performances were in the Kodak. This is kind of a buzz kill…And that sound is awfully pure for a concert, isn’t it?...

8:07 Okay, that was stupid and completely unnecessary. I guess they thought they owed her since they cut her from “Idol Gives Back”…Break

Finally the finale!

As we get closer to the beginning of the finale extravaganza, let me just say this…

If Blake does manage to pull out the upset tonight, I take full responsibility since I voted for him 15 times instead of my usual 10…

The madness begins in five minutes…

Scoop on Tonight's Finale!

If you don’t want to know any of the details of tonight’s finale, stop reading now. Otherwise, read on…

TMZ is reporting that Kelly, Ruben, Carrie and Taylor will all perform on tonight’s finale. Fantasia is unable to appear because she is appearing on Broadway.

TMZ also reports:

Gladys Knight will sing “Midnight Train to Georgia” with the top six girls, while Smokey Robinson will sing “Ooh Baby Baby” with the top six guys…

Melinda will sing with BeBe and CeCe Winans…

Sanjaya will perform “You Really Got Me” with Joe Perry of Aerosmith…

Blake will team up with Doug E. Fresh and he and Jordin will duet on “I Saw Her Standing There”…

And since the producers have finally gotten clearance for Beatles songs, there will also be a medley of Beatles hits performed…
TMZ is also reporting that Green Day will perform…

Pictures and video have already surfaced on the Internet of Sanjaya filming a UCLA-inspired segment. But TMZ is adding an interesting twist to the story. They have a video of Sanjaya explaining that he is really Bill Vendell, an art student at the Rhode Island School of Design, and he created Sanjaya as part of his thesis. “The character was part of a larger art installation.” I have no idea what this is about, and I couldn’t get the video to load on my computer. You can check it out for yourself at http://www.tmz.com/2007/05/22/sanjaya-human-art-project/...

Remember that none of this information has been confirmed by anyone at “Idol”…

We’ll find out for ourselves in a little over five hours…

Scoop from last night's show: Blake wants Jordin to win!

So the consensus from the “Idol” Nation is that Jordin is going to win, thanks in large part to the songwriting competition winners…

Blake told “Access Hollywood” last night that he did the best he could with it. “I made friends with the song. I shook its hand and said let’s play together.”

Blake said he thinks that the two finalists should be given a final song that is tailor made for them and not the exact same song. I couldn’t agree more, but I know there would be a lot of timing issues there. You may recall that they sort of did that with Ruben and Clay in season two…

But here’s the thing with Blake. He wants Jordin to win. He told “Access Hollywood,” “She was my pick since the beginning. I've never looked at it as a competition. I love the support from the show, it's amazing. So, hopefully that will continue on regardless whether I’m first or second.”

On another note, Laura Saltman of “Access Hollywood” had these comments about Chris Daughtry: “Chris clearly has embraced his inner diva. From where I sit, he has changed big time. He was one of my favorite contestants last year. Every time I interviewed him he gave me a big hug and remembered my name. Last night, he blew right by me pretending to be texting on his cell phone and telling the publicists he had a plane to catch even though he had been hanging out backstage for a good half hour before he left. I saw it the last time I interviewed him in Vegas a few months ago and I can see in his eyes he is not the same person. Something is going on there.”

Upon Further Review...

Before I went to sleep last night, I rewound the tape and listened to Blake and Jordin's performances of "This Is My Now."

And after giving them a second listen, I have to say that I agree with Jim. Blake's version was better. Jordin screeched through the entire first verse and the middle was a little shaky as well. But her version had those glory notes at the end that made her sound better.

Maybe because Blake's not used to that style he didn't know that he needed a glory note to give the fans a chance to stand and scream. His arranger should have known, though...

Which leads me to another point. I said in my post last night that I wasn't sure that Blake and the band were doing the same song. It's clear after a second listen that they weren't. For whatever reason--a miscommunication, a misunderstanding, or some kind of blunder--that Blake was going one direction with the song while the band--and specifically the backup singers--were going another.

This week, Michael Orland, the main "Idol" arranger was working with Jordin, while Blake worked with someone else. I can't help but think that's what cost Blake in the end...

And don't forget that Blake had the chance to go last so that Jordin's version wasn't the last thing they remember, but he didn't take it...

And while I'm on last night's show, did anyone else notice that while all of the other Top 10 contestants were in full view, Melinda was nowhere to be seen? I wonder if that was done purposely so that viewers wouldn't be reminded that the "best singer" wasn't in the finale...

I'll keep you updated on all the latest news today, so be sure to keep checking...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

So who's going to win?

So who’s going to win? There is no doubt in my mind that it will be Jordin.

We knew going in that Blake would have his work cut out for him—especially with the songwriting competition winner. In retrospect, since he was doing a ballad, he maybe should have gone with another song in the second round (even though I really liked it).

The good news is that Blake will make a great record. And I will be screaming my head off for him in row 20 on September 15th, so he’d better do “You Give Love a Bad Name”…

Feel free to share your thoughts now as I go vote for Blake.

Hey, I know he’s not going to win, but I can at least make it close…

Remember that the two-hour finale extravaganza begins tomorrow night at 8 on FOX, and I will be here blogging it live, so join me then…

Daughtry closes it out...

And I forgot to mention that Daughtry would probably show up to sing “Home” tonight, just as Daniel Powter sang “Bad Day” last year. Please forgive me. And he was solid as always…

So could we see this song at #1 already?...

Round Three to Jordin

Jordin Sparks, “This Is My Now”: 14 (out of 15)
Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve just heard your next “American Idol.” I wasn’t all that impressed with the first half of her performance, but the second half was pretty good. And the crying at the end, that will make a great winner’s moment tomorrow…

Round Three to Jordin

Blake struggles with the single...

Blake Lewis, “This Is My Now”: 13 (out of 15, since he didn’t make the choice)
It started out pretty good, but I have no idea what happened in the middle. I’m not even sure that he and the band were singing the same song. But he closed nicely, and with his playing to the audience, I could actually see him singing that on the stage with the confetti falling around him.

I remember that song now. I think I rated it fairly high, but that “I am breathing in the moment” lyric is a little too sappy for me…

Round Two to Jordin

Jordin Sparks, “A Broken Wing”: 20
I didn’t get chills the first time she sang this one, but this time I did. Going soft at the beginning was a nice touch, but apparently someone forgot to tell the band the plan.

Round two to Jordin…

Blake makes me swoon...

Blake Lewis, “She Will Be Loved”: 20
Blake is in it to win it, boys and girls. Simon is wrong. That one will make all the Blaker Girls swoon—including me.

And who let Ricky Schroeder in the door after what he did to “24” this season?...

Ryan said Jordin was going to do some Martina McBride, which is obviously "Broken Wing," but that means that she and Blake will be singing the Songwriting Competition winner back-to-back. Is that really fair?...

The Songwriting Winner

Ryan said the Songwriting Competition winner is "My Time Is Now."

I didn't make any notes about that song when I voted, which makes me think it's a REALLY sappy ballad.

Big surprise there...

Round One to Blake

Blake Lewis, “You Give Love a Bad Name”: 20
No surprise, Blake chose his best song of the season to start things off, and I thought it was even better this time around. And it’s clear that Blake plans on having fun...

Jordin Sparks, “Fighter”: 16
Sorry, Jordin fans, but if she’s going to sing these songs, she needs to find some attitude. That song needs snarl. I thought it was a bad choice and Simon was right about the shrieks…

I agree with Simon. Round one to Blake…

Seattle Turns It Around...

It only figures that the top two would come out of the Seattle auditions after what Simon said about how bad it was…

And the songwriting winners came from Seattle too. Which brings up a question. Since Ryan said songwriters, does that mean that more than one person wrote the winning song or that there are two different songs?

Stay tuned…

This is it...

This is it, kids. The final performance show of the season.

I haven’t heard any of the songs that Blake and Jordin are singing tonight, but Simon Cowell did say the songwriting competition winner is a ballad…

Big shock, I know…

It reminds me of the first season when Kelly and Justin both sang “A Moment Like This” and “Before Your Love.” Justin didn’t have a chance…

By the way, the last time the final two sang the same song was season four when Carrie and Bo both sang “Inside Your Heaven.” Ironically, Bo’s version was better…

So what will this year bring? We’ll find out in five minutes…

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Simon's Prediction...

Simon Cowell’s prediction of who will win “American Idol”? He doesn’t have one.

“I can’t call it, because I think they’ve both got different strengths,” he told “TV Guide.” “One is a better entertainer, and one is a better singer. It will come down to what they do on [Tuesday].”

Simon also had something to say about Melinda’s elimination. “I didn’t agree with the vote, but more people should have dialed for Melinda. When you allow the public to choose, you’ve got to live and die by the vote. It’s as simple as that.”

He also had some kinder words to say about Sanjaya. “I like crazy. The panel is wacky, and therefore I think the contestants should be a bit strange as well. The whole thing was hysterical. I don’t think I’d be happy if he was in the finals…but looking back, I thought he was quite amusing”…

Tuesday's Show: What Will They Sing?

So here's the story on what Jordin and Blake will be singing Tuesday...

They'll sing one song they've performed on a previous show, a new song of their own choosing, and the winner of this year's songwriting competition.
My guess is that Blake will do "You Give Love a Bad Name" or "Time of the Season." Jordin made the mistake of doing her showstopper, "(I Who Have) Nothing" last week, so maybe she'll do "To Love Somebody" this week. Doing "Nothing" again could hurt her.

As for the songwriting competition song, that will be interesting. If you think it was going to get us away from the sappy stuff we've gotten the last couple of years, I wouldn't hold your breath. Most of the 20 finalists in the competition were songs about dreams coming true and climbing the highest mountains--the usual winning song drivel.

One of them, "Someday," was completely depressing with lyrics like "we'll be happy someday."
There were a few good songs that had nothing to do with all that sappy stuff including "Love Me Till the Lonely's Gone," which was a great country song. I also liked "Waking In a Dream," and "In Your Eyes."

But the song I rated the highest was "Tonight." Yes, it had that same sappy stuff in it, but I could close my eyes and see the confetti falling and me starting to tear up as I try to type what's happening without feeling guilty because it's so cheesy. I think it's got the best chance to be the winner.

And if it is, Blake doesn't have a chance. As if he has one anyway...

Kelly's Frankest Interview Yet

In this week’s “Entertainment Weekly,” Kelly Clarkson gives her frankest interview yet about her struggles with her record label over “My December” which is now coming out June 26th (Kelly asked that the release be before the beginning of her tour so fans would be familiar with the songs.)…

So what’s the deal here? As Kelly told “EW,” “Everybody wants to come out with the same thing and put beats on it.” But Kelly decided to go her own way and not work with the same producers that helped craft “Breakaway.”

Her manager, Jeff Kwatinetz, who was also interviewed for the story, summed up the situation like this: “In a time when record labels are under increased economic pressures, they get nervous when a big-selling artist like Kelly wants to take risks and evolve. The pressure they put on this young woman to compromise herself and do another version of the same record, I’ve never witnessed in my career.”

Kelly told MTV.com that “at one point, RCA urged her to cover a Lindsay Lohan track and also offered hand-me-downs from other singers.” But Kelly said she “never once compromised [herself because] that’s when you start to lose fans and credibility.”

The powers-that-be at RCA have never been crazy about Kelly writing her own songs, even though she’s written #1s and won awards for her songwriting. She said it’s because she’s “a young woman.” She heard someone say that during a conference call when they didn’t know she was on the phone.

For months after Kelly delivered the album to RCA there was no word at all about it from Clive Davis or anyone else. So, Kelly met with Clive so they could talk it out. She basically told him, “You don’t like the music; that’s cool. You don’t have to love it.” Kelly told “EW” there’s no hard feelings and she hates that their differences have been made public. “I don’t want to be the Joan of Arc of the music industry.”

Clive Davis declined to be interviewed for the story, but in an e-mail to “EW,” he said, “We are setting up extensive plans to support Kelly’s album in a major way, befitting her status as one of the world’s best-selling artists. We fully expect that Kelly will have a long-term, powerful career for many years to come.”

Kelly said the label was concerned with the album’s darker material, saying it was too negative. Kelly said to “EW,” “I’m like, ‘Well, I’m sorry I’ve inconvenienced you with my life.’ No, it doesn’t say, ‘I’m happy, I’m with a boy and having so much fun.’ But it’s reality. I know it’s not going to do what ‘Breakaway’ did, ‘cause it’s not as mainstream. I get that. Some of the songs are not what 10-year-olds are probably going to listen to. But we all go through situations for certain reasons, and I think we should share that. This record is more intense, it’s more raw, it’s more emotional. But it’s not that different. It’s not Metallica. Even if it does tank—who cares? It’s one album! Out of a whole career of albums I’m going to have, you’re worried about one? I’m not worried about it! And I’m obviously not going to want to put out [crap]. I obviously don’t want to fail. I’m not an idiot. Like ‘Nebraska’ from Bruce Springsteen—that’s one of my favorite records, and it’s not the most well-known. But it’s an artist’s record.”

Coming to Kelly’s defense is none other than Simon Cowell, even though he’s been somewhat critical of Kelly in the past for not giving “Idol” enough credit for her success. Simon told “EW,” “She could have gone the easy route, which is you go with [‘Since U Been Gone’ producer] Max Martin—it’s a guaranteed success. She made it absolutely clear that she wanted to steer the musical direction on this record. You just gotta say, ‘You know what? This girl has given us millions and millions of sales.’ You’ve got to give her that opportunity. If it works out, fantastic. If she then decides she wants to do a pop album, every good writer and producer wants to work with her. Because Kelly will be here for 30 years. She has one of the best pop voices in the world right now. What she sold in the U.K., Europe, Asia had nothing to do with ‘American Idol.’ It had everything to do with the fact that she made a great record and she’s got an incredible voice. She’s not a girl who got lucky in a talent competition; we got lucky to find her”…

We’ll see what all the fuss is about June 26th…

This week's "TV Guide"...

This week’s “TV Guide” has a cover story featuring the top three—Jordin, Blake and Melinda.

There’s not really a lot of exciting information, but there are a few interesting nuggets…

Melinda has an alter ego she calls Chanel. She said, “I love her. Chanel is sassy. I just wish she could stay through the [judges’] comments instead of leaving, ‘cause she would take them a lot better. She’s be like (Melinda snaps her fingers)—I know!”

“Idol” has a rule that contestants can’t have personal cameras. But like most of the show’s rules, Blake has broken that one as well. He told “TV Guide” he’s taken nearly 1600 shots of himself and the other contestants. I hope him telling a national magazine doesn’t cause him to lose those…

Melinda speaks...

Many people were stunned by the elimination of Melinda Doolittle on Wednesday’s show, but if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you shouldn’t have been, because I warned you it could happen…

A lot of people out there think that Ryan accidentally gave away the result just before the half-hour break when he said, “Next, Melinda goes home.” He, of course, meant we were going to see her homecoming video, but many people in the studio audience gasped forcing him to explain himself a little more…

I was correct that the bouquet she was carrying during her final song was Blake’s, which he had been given as a finalist. Melinda, as you recall, gave it to one of the backup singers. After the show, Jordin gave Melinda her bouquet and she gave it to the other two backup singers. Wonder what Jordin thought of that?...

After Wednesday’s show, Simon Cowell told her “I want to see you succeed”…

Remember how I said Melinda seemed relieved at being voted off? Apparently, I was right. She told Ryan Seacrest on his radio show, “Knowing that I had made it this far and knowing that I was going to be able to sing from here on out without being judged and voted? It was just like this sigh of relief. Now I’m getting ready to sing just because I love it.”

She also told Ryan that the show’s schedule was tough and that’s what led to her looks of shock after the judges’ comments each week. “I felt like I was working so hard and when [the judges] would say good things I was so excited to hear it, it would just put this look of shock on my face”…

When asked by reporters during her post-elimination conference call why she got sent home, Melinda said that she was getting “a little bit of the older vote.” “I had a lot of people come up to me and say, ‘I voted for you five times last night, it was so good.’ Sometimes they may not spend a full two hours voting, and that’s OK. But I really feel like, personally, that I’ve won as far as where I ended up in this competition”…

About the top two, Melinda said that Jordin is her “baby girl.” She said that she was “so proud” of Blake for making the songs his own….

Melinda said she’d like to make an album of “soul music. Anything from the heart. I love a groove, I love anything where I can tell a story. For me, I just call that soul music”…

Friday, May 18, 2007

This Weekend...

I'm going to be taking this weekend off, but when I return I'll have LOTS of stuff for you, including Melinda's parting words, some frank talk from Kelly Clarkson, and all the late breaking news about the finale...

Don't forget that The Idols Live Tour tickets go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m.

HOWEVER, be warned that you will pay a lot more for them this year. Most of the Big Sandy Superstore arena is in the $65.oo range this year. Only the sections in the back are $48.50. They are slightly cheaper for the Schottenstein Center in Columbus...

If you're still willing to shell out the money (which I haven't decided if I am yet), I wish you good luck!

I'll be back in a couple days...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Blake wins the toss, but let's Jordin choose...

So to fairly determine who gets to sing first on finale night, they flip a coin after the results show and allow the winner of the toss to pick whether they want to go first or second.

Conventional wisdom says that you want to go last so you’ll make the final impression on the viewers.

But then, Blake Lewis has never been a conventional contestant…

Blake won the toss and then said he’d let the producers decide. When Ryan insisted he had to choose, Blake asked Jordin if she wanted to go first. When she said no, Blake said he would go first.

So either Blake doesn’t know the proper Idol strategy since he never watched the show before, he doesn’t care, or he really is a super-nice guy…

Whichever it is, we will now see Blake first on the stage at the Kodak Theater on Tuesday…

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Final Thoughts...

So, now the finale is set. Blake vs. Jordin—the finale many had predicted all along.

I said last night that it would be unfair if the most consistent singer didn’t make the finale, and it is a little. But being an “American Idol” has always been about more than just a voice. Melinda had a great story—humble back-up singer takes the spotlight—but for some reason she just didn’t catch on with the audience the way Jordin and Blake did.

And apparently she knew that, because she didn’t seem surprised at all. I said she seemed out of it from the beginning. I think she was preparing herself for what was going to happen. And she prepared herself well because she didn’t shed a single tear and pulled off a fantastic—as usual—performance. It’s ironic that after shedding so many tears for all of the other eliminated contestants, she didn’t shed a single one for herself. I can’t help but think it was a little bit of a relief. And maybe the performance by Elliott Yamin made her realize that she’ll be okay no matter what…

Blake, however, did not appear okay. I thought he looked almost sick. There’s been some talk that he never wanted to make the finals. That if he didn’t, he could have more control over his CD. It’s too late for that now…

A friend of mine just texted me to tell me that Jordin just won. I told her not if I had anything to say about it. After all, this is the first time that a contestant I have voted for from the beginning has made it to the finals. I’m not going to abandon him now…

So for the first time this season, I will ask you the $64,000 question…

Who will win “American Idol”?...

The final is set...

9:54 We’re back…I’m nervous and I’m not even there!...The Idols on stage with Ryan…They’re holding hands…Ryan starts with Jordin…She steps forward…Ryan says almost 60 million votes…Jordin is through…Blake and Melinda are happy for her—especially Melinda…Now it gets interesting…

9:55 Melinda steps forward…Blake gives her a hand…Melinda goes home…Simon is pretty upset and so is Blake. He gives Melinda a big hug…Jordin is devastated. She told “TV Guide” that she didn’t know what she would do without Melinda…Melinda is smiling…Ryan calls her one of their best singers ever…Goodbye video…We are not seeing Melinda in the corner of the screen…

9:57 She’s still smiling. Maybe that’s why we didn’t see her. It wasn’t good TV…

9:58 Randy tells her to be proud…Paula says her career will be huge…Simon offers his “commiserations” because she is “one heck of a singer”…

9:58 Melinda does “I’m a Woman”…Blake gets down on his knees in front of her. Jordin gives her a bouquet of flowers, which I presume were supposed to be for Blake…Melinda gives them to one of the backup singers….

10:00 And we’re out…

The result "Makes Me Wonder"...

9:46 We’re back…A promo for the band search show…This show is already getting criticism since they’re making the bands do different genres. Some people think that destroys what makes them a band…

9:47 Maroon 5 is indeed there live doing “Makes Me Wonder”…And the answer to my earlier question is they use no word at all. Adam Levine even covered his mouth. What have we done all this time without new Maroon 5 music? I love this song, but I don’t really like this lower key—although I understand why it’s necessary for live performances. That song is pretty high…Nigel’s loving it. That guy really needs to settle down…This elimination is going to go quick…After the break…

Melinda goes home...

9:36 Ford commercial: “Everybody Wants You”…We first see kids as the Idols and then they get in the car. Good casting on the kids…They end up at a red carpet event with lots of photographers…

9:37 Time for Melinda’s homecoming video. She still seems out of sorts…

9:38 The governor declares it Melinda Doolittle Day in Tennessee…She travels to Belmont University, where she’s overwhelmed by some girls who spell out Melinda on their stomachs…

9:40 They unveil the Melinda Doolittle Way sign and she performs for the crowd, and then goes to her church.

9:41 Melinda on stage with Ryan. What’s up with the “Death Cheater” t-shirt?...It’s another fakeout, of course. Melinda looks like she’s going to be sick. Ryan gives her a hug, while Jordin and Blake hold hands. Couldn’t they just let all three of them make the finale?...After the break…

What you missed in the first half-hour...

It’s a big, big night, ladies and gentlemen…

But first, of course, there was some stalling…

If you're just joining us, here's what you missed...

Homer Simpson introduced the show, asking if it was too late to vote for Fantasia…

Melinda seemed a little out of it from the get-go. Maybe she was dreading watching those hometown videos…

We got the same “Idols Live” tour promo they showed us last week. Remember that tickets go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m…

The Idols went home Thursday and left Saturday morning, and then had to come back, learn three songs and shoot the Ford video. Yikes!...

Jordin went back to her school and reunited with her best friend, got a parade through town, performed for 10,000 people and then got back in the limo and cried her eyes out. She, of course, performed “(I Who Have) Nothing” for the crowd…

Ryan faked out everyone—including me—by dimming the lights and recapping Jordin’s performances…

We saw Haley Scarnato sitting in the audience, as well as Brandon Rogers and LaKisha Jones sitting together…

Ryan once again tried to sing, this time “This Love” with Blake providing the beats. Ryan’s getting gutsy, I guess…

In Blake’s video, he held up a sign for a huge crowd that said “Simon was wrong. Seattle rocks!” He went to visit his family, who joined him for a parade. He is SO sweet and SO great in front of the cameras. Blake did “Somewhere Only We Know” for the crowd and then he went to the Seattle Mariners game to do the Anthem. Back in the studio, Blake’s dad joined him on stage and then Ryan chased him away and did the fake-out with Blake…

Elliott Yamin performed “Wait For You.” Ryan joked that he didn’t recognize him anymore. I hope this performance helps this song on the charts. It is fantastic. And his performance was beyond flawless. Even Simon liked it…

Am I the only one that finds it interesting that Elliott performed on the show before Taylor did?...

Now, enough stalling. Let’s get on with the actual show…

A little preview...

Tonight is the most wide-open top three elimination show in “Idol” history.

Think about it. Every other year we’ve known who was going to be in the finale by this point…

In season one, we knew that Nikki McKibbin couldn’t possibly beat out Kelly Clarkson or Justin Guarini. Season two’s Kimberley Locke was outstanding, but she was no match for the popularity of Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken. In Season three, no one was surprised to see Jasmine Trias go (The surprise was that she lasted as long as she did.). Season four created a little suspense as Elliott Yamin gave some great final performances, but it was too little too late to outlast Katharine McPhee or Taylor Hicks.

But this season, I honestly have no idea…

The majority of experts say it’s Blake that will go home tonight, but there is a minority that thinks it’s Jordin who will go. I was not alone in my assessment that she had a weak show and several others agree that she took the cop-out route by singing a song she had already done. And there’s one other thing. Yahoo TV reports that the Idol who sings first during this week always goes home. I’ll just have to take their word for that…

I still stand by my statement that last night was not enough to send Jordin home. The real contest is between Blake and Melinda. And I have no idea how it will go. But I have a sneaking suspicion that it is Blake we will say goodbye to…

By the way, tonight’s stall tactic—I mean, musical guest—is Maroon 5. I haven’t heard that they taped a performance, so I presume they’re actually going to perform live. If they’re singing “Makes Me Wonder” I have to wonder how they’re going to cover up the cursing. Maybe they’ll wonder if they ever gave a flip…

It all starts in 15 minutes. I’ll be back when we get down to the nitty-gritty…

Carrie takes the big ones at the ACMs...

Carrie Underwood continued her awards dominance by taking home three at last night's Academy of Country Music Awards...

Carrie won Video of the Year for "Before He Cheats" and two big ones--Female Vocalist of the Year AND Album of the Year for "Some Hearts."

Carrie also performed her number one hit, "Wasted."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

So who's going home?

So who’s going home? This is going to be a close one…

It would be a little unfair if the most consistent performer didn’t make it to the finals, but I think it’s possible, regardless of what Simon is hoping for. Notice that he said he WANTED to see Melinda in the finals not that she will be there…

I think Jordin had an off night, but I don’t think it will be enough to derail her. The battle is between Blake and Melinda. Before tonight, I would’ve said Blake, but now I’m not so sure.

Your thoughts?...

Melinda's a "Woman"...

Melinda Doolittle, “I’m a Woman”: 17
Again, a copout and again, not as good as the first time.

Jordin has "Nothing" and Blake goes different...

Jordin Sparks, “(I Who Have) Nothing”: 16
Sorry, Jordin fans, but for me, this was a copout. You don’t repeat songs until the finals and this performance was not as good as the first time she did it. She seemed to have forgotten all of LuLu’s advice. Kudos to Simon for calling her on the choice…

Blake Lewis, “When I Get You Alone”: 19
We almost got to hear Blake sing this one, thanks to the band. Kudos to him for choosing a different song, Kudos to Simon for complimenting him on it and kudos to Robin Thicke for finally clearing his music. It was nice to see Blake having fun up there.

Melinda goes to the "Limits"

Melinda Doolittle, “Nutbush City Limits”: 15 (out of 15)
I really dug it when she got down on one knee. That’s the attitude Jordin was missing in her song…

And if the producers are this good at picking contestants’ songs, why can’t they pick a decent winner’s song?...

Jordin "Works Hard for the Money" while Blake rocks some "Love"

Jordin Sparks, “She Works Hard for the Money”: 13 (out of 15)
I’m apparently watching a different show than the judges are tonight. The producers made a pretty good choice but I thought Jordin totally missed the attitude of the original.

Blake Lewis, “This Love”: 15 (out of 15)
An EXCELLENT choice by the producers. I’ve been wanting him to do Maroon 5 all season. I was a little concerned he was playing it a little too safe, but he added just enough Blake-isms to make it work. However, the flapping of wings dance moves was really not necessary…
And I’m starting to think Simon is trying to get rid of Blake…

Blake does The Police and Melinda does Whitney...

Blake Lewis, “Roxanne”: 14 (out of 15)
I’ve got to give Paula props on this one. She made a great choice right in Blake’s range. The only reason I didn’t give this a perfect score was because I didn’t really feel it. I think it needed more of a Blake touch…

Melinda Doolittle, “I Believe In You and Me”: 14 (out of 15)
So Randy picks the Whitney Houston ballad. The judges raved, but I think I heard a voice crack and an off note. It was good, but it didn’t really do anything for me. For a moment, though, I could see Melinda singing at the finale with the confetti falling around her…

Jordin Wishes On a Star...

So, here I am after all ready for this HUGE performance show…

I’ve been out of touch all day so I haven’t heard any of the “Idol” buzz. Interesting that the producers are making the choice instead of Clive Davis. Maybe they also realize how out of touch he is…

To the action…

First the judges’ choices:

Jordin Sparks, “Wishing On a Star”: 13 (out of 15 since she didn’t make the choice)
I thought it sounded a little pitchy or something, since it just didn’t do it for me. Simon usually makes better choices than that, so I was relieved to hear that wasn’t the arrangement he had in mind. Maybe that’s what I didn’t like…

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Top 3 Go Home...

Ever since the final three were decided Wednesday night, Melinda, Blake and Jordin have been in a whirlwind that won’t slow down anytime soon…

This past weekend, the top three made visits home to tape footage that will be shown during Tuesday and Wednesday’s shows.

Melinda Doolittle went home to Nashville and visited her alma mater Belmont University, where she once played the mascot (a bear). The university named a street after her, Melinda Doolittle Way…

Jordin went home to Glendale, Arizona, for a parade and concert. Would you believe that Jordin auditioned for “Idol” last summer and didn’t make it past the first round?...

Blake performed a free concert at Westlake Park in Seattle, where he was joined by Sir Mix-A-Lot, who performed his hit “Baby Got Back” over Blake’s beats. From what I could hear on YouTube over the girl who insisted on shouting out all of the lyrics, it was pretty cool. Blake also performed the National Anthem at the Mariners-Yankees game Friday night—and no, he did not beat-box. You can catch that performance at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHia6bh1jCo&mode=related&search=. Can’t believe those commentators said he was pitchy…

Blake also had to fit in a foot surgery for a bad ingrown toenail…

The Idols are performing three songs this week. If the tradition continues and Clive Davis picks one of the songs, you just know he’s going to pick sappy Whitney Houston ballads for Jordin and Melinda…

Because I have to go out of town Tuesday, it’s possible I won’t be back in time to do my as-it-happens posts, so feel free to leave any comments that you just can’t hold in on this post…

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Idols on "Ellen"

Two Idols will be a part of Ellen DeGeneres’ third annual “Show in the Park” on Monday’s “Ellen.”

Kelly Clarkson will perform “Since U Been Gone” and “Never Again” as part of the show.

Also, LaKisha Jones will perform “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.”

“Ellen” airs in the Huntington area at 3 p.m. on WSAZ. Check your local listings for time and channel…

The Top Three Visit "The Tonight Show"

The top three—Melinda, Jordin and Blake—will take some time out of their busy schedules to appear on “The Tonight Show” this Monday (May 14th)…

On the same show, the newly svelte Taylor Hicks will open the “Tonight Show” Outdoor Concert Series…

“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on NBC…

Constantine Gets Bold and Beautiful This Tuesday..

This Tuesday (May 15th), Constantine Maroulis is scheduled to begin his two-week stint on “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

C-man is playing Constantine Paris, an international rock star who develops an interest in Phoebe Forrester. He’ll be performing two of his own songs: “Everybody Loves, Everybody Cries” and “A Girl Like You” (which has hit written all over it). The songs are expected to be on his debut CD (Is that ever coming out?).

And don’t worry, C-man fans, you will definitely see that famous sultry gaze. The “B&B” writers actually put it in the script…

“The Bold and the Beautiful” airs weekdays 1:30-2:00 p.m. on CBS…

Tuesday's ACMs...

Reba McEntire will debut her new single Tuesday (May 15th) at the Academy of Country Music Awards. It’s a duet with Kelly Clarkson called “Because of You” (I have no idea if it’s Kelly’s song of the same name.). The song will be delivered to radio stations Tuesday as well. It’s the first single off “Reba Duets” (due September 18th), which also features a collaboration with Justin Timberlake…

Meanwhile at the ACMs, Carrie Underwood will be looking to add to her awards total. She is nominated for Top Female Vocalist, Album of the Year (“Some Hearts”), Song of the Year (“Before He Cheats”), Video of the Year (“Before He Cheats”), and Single Record of the Year (“Before He Cheats”). Carrie is also scheduled to perform...

Kellie Pickler will be looking for her first award with a nomination for Top New Female Vocalist…

The Academy of Country Music Awards, hosted by Reba McEntire, airs Tuesday, May 15th at 8 p.m…

News Round-Up

Here’s an “Idol” news round-up for you…

Apparently there were some watching Bon Jovi’s performance that really liked it. “(You Want To) Make a Memory” was the highest debut on this week’s Billboard Hot 100 at #27. The song had 51,000 digital downloads…

In other chart news, Carrie Underwood’s “I’ll Stand By You” held strong at #6, but Kelly took a tumble to #12 (Maybe those rumors hurt her?). Daughtry’s “Home” crept up to #19. And it was a good news, bad news week for Kimberley Locke as “Change” moved to #10 on the AC chart, but her album, “Based On a True Story,” didn’t even crack the top 100…

It looks like that Sanjaya appearance on “Hannah Montana” is pretty close to a done deal. Billy Ray Cyrus told “Access Hollywood,” “I’m going to look forward to the little fellow coming on and doing his role on ‘Hannah Montana.’ It is not chiseled in stone but yeah, we’ve had the conversation. Everybody’s cool on it. Everybody’s cool on it and everybody wants to do it”…

Roy Head, the father of early “Idol” favorite Sundance Head, told “USA Today” that Sundance has signed a deal with Universal…

Remember Sherman Pore? He was the 64-year-old who auditioned this season so he could sing “You Belong to Me” for his late wife. Well now he’s releasing an album of standards, “For My Lady Love,” with a portion of the proceeds going to City of Hope for cancer research, treatment and education. Pore will also be an ambassador for the organization…

“Idol” Executive Producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick have backed out of producing the Emmys in September saying their current schedule did not allow them to do it. I’m really sad about this, because I was looking forward to what they were going to do with it. They have been replaced by Emmy and Grammy awards veteran Ken Erlich. The Emmys are scheduled for September 16th…

Tamyra Gray, who shockingly finished fourth in season one, will join the cast of “Rent” on Broadway May 29th. She’ll be joined by original players Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp…

Lisa Tucker from Season 5 has a role in “Born in the USA,” a FOX pilot from 19 Entertainment. We’ll know later this week if it gets picked up…

Jessica Sierra, a top 10 finalist from season four, was arrested April 29th in Tampa on felony battery charges for allegedly hitting a man on the head with a heavy glass at a café. Sierra, who is 21, was booked on a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and possession of cocaine and introduction of contraband into a correctional facility…

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Scoop from this week's shows...

Here’s some scoop from this week’s shows…

Microphone problems plagued Blake in Tuesday’s dress rehearsal and during Tuesday’s show. If his dance moves seemed spastic during his second performance, it was because his microphone had come undone and he was trying to get it off of him…

The final foursome huddled during the entire ad break. Right before coming back from the break, Debbie the stage manager told them to stay that way for the cameras…

As Barry Gibb made his exit from the stage, he fell from the ramp and took a hard tumble to the floor, causing an audible gasp and half of the audience to rise to their feet in concern. He immediately leapt up and smiled, telling everyone he was okay…

So why was Simon in Paula’s seat? To get a better look at Jessica Alba. But Simon wasn’t the only one mesmerized by her. As Ryan was introducing the “Fantastic Four” cast, Alba stood behind him and tickled his back. Ryan nearly fumbled all of his lines as a result. Not to mention that the stage manager had to give him the signal to move on…

LaKisha Speaks...

In her conference call with reporters, LaKisha admitted that if she had it to do over again, she would have done two big ballads on Barry Gibb night, but she told “Entertainment Weekly” that she had actually been preparing for her exit for a couple of weeks…

“You know, a couple of weeks ago in the competition, I felt like, you know, I just can’t win. And I got tired—and it’s so overwhelming and I was just preparing myself to go…Yeah, I felt like my time was coming…

Interestingly, the song that kept her in the competition another week, “This Ain’t a Love Song,” was not her first choice for Bon Jovi week. She did not say what her first choice was, but it was apparently not a ballad because Jon Bon Jovi told her he was so glad she changed it to a ballad…

As to why she didn’t live up to the potential of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” LaKisha said it was the different genres that were her downfall. “Everybody wanted that ‘And I Am Telling You’ moment every week, but when you’re singing different genres every week, those styles don’t necessarily have that ‘big song.’ I went out there every week and gave it my all”…

You may have heard Kiki say during her goodbye speech that “everyone has a story.” When reporters asked her about that she said, “Everyone has a story and no one knows mine like I do.” When reporters pushed for when we would hear that story, she said, “maybe in a movie.” I bet Lifetime’s investigating now…

But what reporters really wanted to know about was that kiss with Simon. “He is a good kisser and I would do it again. His lips were really soft and thin”…

Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The "Idol" Spin-Off...

So here’s the scoop on that search for the best undiscovered band that Ryan mentioned on tonight’s show…

The producers of “Idol” will launch “The Search for the Next Great American Band” this fall on FOX.

According to “TV Guide,” auditions will take place throughout the country for bands that will compete for a recording contract. After the auditions and a paring down by judges (not Randy, Simon or Paula), 10 semi-finalists will perform and viewers will vote for their favorites.

There will be no age restrictions and the groups will have to perform “a variety of musical genres” during the competition.

Though I’m sure FOX won’t call this one a spin-off, I’d say that it definitely is. I think FOX would’ve done well to remember the last time they tried an “Idol” spin-off. Anyone remember “American Juniors”?

That’s what I thought…

We’ll hear much more about this next week when FOX announces its primetime schedule…

Final Thoughts...

So now we’re down to the final three—Blake, Melinda and Jordin. The wildest season of “American Idol” yet is now getting down to business…

And allow me to congratulate America for picking the correct three…

If things hold true, next week the final three will sing three songs—one chosen by one of the judges, one chosen by BMG chief Clive Davis, and one chosen by the contestants themselves…

This is going to be fun…

Your thoughts?

And the final three are...

9:52 We’re back…Melinda is safe…That leaves Blake and LaKisha. No surprise there…

9:53 Ryan asks Randy how it will go. He says he doesn’t know. Simon guesses it will be LaKisha…Paula tells them how wonderful they both are…

9:54 Blake…Is Safe! The crowd goes wild. Blake gives her a big hug…LaKisha smiles and blows kisses…

9:55 Her goodbye video starts with her performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” It’s too bad she never lived up to that…She’s trying REALLY hard to keep it together. It’s not working…

9:56 Jordin and Melinda are in tears. LaKisha does “Stayin’ Alive.” And the song jinx continues…

9:57 Blake helps her down the stairs so she can go into the audience. She walks way back there. And this time she does it Barry’s way. Probably should have done that last night.

9:59 And we’re out…

The Fab Four Refuse to Play Along

9:42 We’re back. The Idols are gathered in a hug. Ryan tells them to line up, but they won’t do it, so he dims the lights anyway…

9:42 LaKisha…Melinda…They finally line up…Blake…Jordin…Jordin is safe…

9:43 The foursome hugs…Jordin walks to the couch…

9:44 Ryan announces the show is looking for the best undiscovered band. What?...

9:45 Ryan introduces Barry Gibb, who does “To Love Somebody.” No wonder Nigel let Jordin go ahead and sing it…By the way, the judges have moved back to their regular places…I like his phrasing. The voice just isn’t there. And what was that weird hand raise at the end?...Break…

The Fantastic Four...

9:30 Ryan sits with the Idols…LaKisha said she was talking to herself during the break, telling herself that if she goes home to not forget the words and not cry...

9:32 The Idols get a preview of “Fantastic Four 2”…The cast of the movie is in the audience…Ryan tells Jessica Alba that he likes the blonde hair…

9:34 A taped piece about the Idols as children…

9:37 All four stand with Ryan on the stage…After the break…

Here's What You Missed...

So if you’re just joining us, here’s what you’ve missed…

The judges switched seats with Simon in the middle. Paula said he had been going on and on about how hot Jessica Alba is…

Ryan pointed out that this week is known to be a shocker…

Ryan once again went out to the Farmers Market to hear what the fans had to say and then he admitted they were just trying to fill the hour…

Ryan announced that they received just over 45 million votes last night…

We got an extended promo for the tour to remind us who all will be participating. Yes, it was unnecessary, but it gave us an excuse to hear Phil doing “Blaze of Glory” again. But, of course, there’s that whole Navy thing that might screw that up. Remember tickets go on sale May 19th at 10 a.m…

We got a taped performance of Pink doing “Who Knew” that was originally scheduled to air during the “Idol Gives Back” show. We almost got to hear Pink sing thanks to those overly loud background singers. They tried to make it look like Pink was looking at Ryan, but do they think we actually bought that? If she was really there, Ryan would have gone over to talk to her. After all, we are trying to fill an hour here…

We got the Ford ad “You Really Got Me,” which was a tribute to the Beatles’ “Hard Day’s Night”…

Ryan did the American Idol Challenge…

The Idols do a medley of Bee Gees songs. They forgot to turn on Melinda’s microphone so it got off to a rocky start…

So enough with the stalling. Let’s get it going…

Tonight's Show...

The consenus on the Internet is that LaKisha is going home tonight.

But I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a shocker...

I'll be back when the eliminations begin...

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

So who's going home?

Michael Kors, one of the judges on “Project Runway,” likes to use the word “underwhelmed” when he’s not impressed with what the contestants have to offer. I would have to use that word for this show…

So, who’s going home? It’s important to remember that this point in the competition is known to produce surprises. In season three, LaToya London was eliminated instead of Jasmine Trias. And I don’t think I have to remind anyone of what happened last season with Chris Daughtry…

That’s why I think Jordin is the only one who’s absolutely safe. People may rally around someone else (like Blake) and not vote for people they think might be safe (like Melinda).

That’s why I’m going to do whatever I can to keep my favorite—that would be Blake—in the competition. Regardless of his weak performances tonight, he is the most original Idol contestant ever and deserves to make the final three. And he should give a big hug to whoever edits the recap, because they made him sound pretty good…

It’s time for LaKisha to go…

Don’t forget that tonight is the last night to vote in the Songwriting competition. You can vote at www.americanidol.com. You must register your e-mail address and then you can rate each of the 20 songs…

And don’t forget to share your thoughts on tonight’s performances…

Did you hear it?!

Did you hear it? Ryan said, “Seacrest Out!” for the first time in like two and a half seasons! Sorry, I was so excited I had to say something. I’ll be back in a sec…

Jordin closes the show...

Jordin Sparks, “Woman In Love”: 18
Sorry, Jordin fans, but this came off as a little shrill for me. But boy, Barry Gibb sure loves her, doesn’t he?...

LaKisha Loses Her Voice...

LaKisha Jones, “Run To Me”: 17
Was it just me or was she sleepwalking through that first verse? I’m with Simon. It was okay, but it wasn’t great. And it’s no wonder she lost her voice, since she shouted through that entire transition…

Melinda nails one, but Blake...

Melinda Doolittle, “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart”: 20
I really liked this arrangement and she nailed it as always…

Blake Lewis, “This Is Where I Came In”: 18
Yes, Blake is off singing-wise tonight, but his arrangement skills are outstanding. With a better vocal, that would have been a pretty good song. The judges couldn’t stop telling him how brave he was last week, so why are they surprised he beatboxed in both songs tonight? They created the monster. And what was up with that half-sweater he was wearing?...

Jordin picks up the "To Love Somebody" mantle

Jordin Sparks, “To Love Somebody”: 19
Sorry, Barry, that was not the best version of that song ever. You clearly didn’t hear the Clay Aiken version. But it was good. However, Jordin has got to work out those lower register problems of hers…

Blake Beat Boxes and LaKisha tries to "Stay Alive"

Blake Lewis, “You Should Be Dancing”: 18
I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I agree with Paula. I thought his beat-boxing saved his singing. And was it the echo effect on the mike or was Blake slurring some of his words? I didn’t like his da-a-a-ancing, but I liked his do-do-dos in the middle. And I like the streaks…

LaKisha Jones, “Stayin’ Alive”: 17
It seems like the zillionth time I’ve asked this with her, but why did she ignore her coaching? Barry was right that she should’ve left the lower register and sang the melody. And could this be another one of those ironic exit songs in the making?...

Arranger Michael Orland told “Entertainment Weekly” once that the Idols do try it the coach’s way, but if they’re not comfortable with it, they’ll go back to their way. It seems like LaKisha does that more than anyone else…

Melinda shows the "Love"

And then there were four.

Let’s get this started…

Melinda Doolittle, “Love You Inside and Out”: 18
I think I heard Melinda miss a few notes. And criticism from the judges? Tonight’s going to be interesting. The performance was okay, but I’m with Simon that it didn’t wow me…

RCA Shuts Down the Kelly Rumors

RCA finally spoke out on the Kelly Clarkson CD rumors by announcing the release date…

“My December” will hit stores July 24th.

Kelly will debut the new material during her summer tour that begins July 11th in Portland. She’ll also perform May 12th at the KISS FM Wango Tango concert, May 15th at the Academy of Country Music Awards with Reba McEntire in Las Vegas and July 7th at the Live Earth benefit in East Rutherford, N.J…

Spoiler Alert: What the Idols Will Sing Tonight

Today’s “USA Today” offers a fascinating look into the Idols’ process of choosing songs, as they constantly change their minds with the help of producers, vocal coaches and stopwatches…

The article also details those choices. Normally when I find out song choices, I just give you hints, but since I know very little about the Bee Gees, I’m just going to tell you the songs.

So if you want to be surprised tonight, you should stop reading now. Otherwise, keep on going…

After considering “How Deep Is Your Love” and “Grease,” Blake has chosen “You Should Be Dancing” and “This Is Where I Came In.” Barry Gibb told Blake that he actually thought “Jive Talkin’” would have fit him better…

I think we’ll probably hear “How Deep Is Your Love” as a group song with Blake providing the beats, since they performed it as a group for Barry (and he liked the beat-boxing)…

Jordin will pick up the “To Love Somebody” mantle after Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe stepped in and approved it. Jordin was initially unable to do it since it was the song Barry was scheduled to sing Wednesday. I don’t know if that’s still the case or not. Jordin will also do “Woman In Love,” which was a hit for Barbra Streisand…

Melinda chose “Love You Inside Out,” but only after Nigel assures her that the lyrics “loves you inside out, backwards and forwards” are not a sexual reference (Her pastor’s coming to tonight’s show.). The article doesn’t really say for sure if Melinda chose “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” or “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” but I think it’s the second one…

The producers decided on Friday that the songs could run two minutes instead of the usual 1:30, so that caused some problems for LaKisha, but she chose “Run To Me” and ironically, “Stayin’ Alive.” LaKisha has a practice of not revealing her songs to the other singers until Monday’s sound check…

It’s important to note that since the article only follows the Idols through Sunday, it’s quite possible that some of these choices could change…

We’ll see how it all works out tonight…

Monday, May 7, 2007

Reliving that Abdul magic...

All you youngsters out there only know Paula Abdul as the sometimes loopy judge on “American Idol.”

But the rest of us remember her as the queen of dance pop in the late 80s and early 90s giving us plenty of songs to entertain our ears while her videos entertained our eyes…

Now Virgin Records is giving us a chance to relive that Abdul magic with the release of “Greatest Hits: Straight Up!”…

The new CD, which hits stores tomorrow (May 8th), recycles much of the same from the 2000 “Paula Abdul: Greatest Hits” CD, including the same photo shoot, but there are some differences. “Straight Up!” drops “Crazy Love” and the “Megamix Medley” in favor of “Will You Marry Me,” “Ain’t Never Gonna Give You Up,” “One Or the Other” and “It’s All About Feeling Good.” Plus, “Straight Up!” gives us a different mix of the forgotten classic, “My Love Is For Real.”

If you already own the 2000 edition (as I do), then there’s really no need to upgrade since the newer songs just don’t measure up to the classics. But if you need a Paula fix—and since it doesn’t look like that long-awaited Paula Abdul Idol theme night is ever going to happen—be sure to add this one to your collection…

"Princess P" Does Not Take the Crown

As you guys may remember, I was a Paris Bennett fan last season and I gave her part of the Idol tour a glowing review…

I wish I could do the same for her debut CD…

“Princess P” is definitely an R&B CD. If you didn’t already know that, the obnoxious intro proclaiming “All hail the princess” will sure remind you. Paris annoyingly telling us that she’s “waited a long time to sit on her throne” sounds more like the beginning of a male rapper’s CD than one by an 18-year-old Idol finalist…

The first track, “Ordinary Love” is actually kind of catchy, but it suffers from the same thing that hurts every track on the CD—Paris’ voice is just too strong, with too much vibrato. I’m not a fan of studio processing, but this CD could seriously use some. I’m not sure what the album’s producer was listening to…

But in Paris’ defense, she comes by it quite naturally as we learn from “Best Friends,” the track featuring Paris’ mother, Jamecia, and her grandmother Ann Nesby…

The CD also suffers from silly lyrics and a desire to put Paris through some kind of rapid aging machine. When she talks during the “I’m So Hot” interlude, it’s hard not to be embarrassed. And when she shouts “Call 911, somebody get me some water!” during the song “I’m So Hot,” it’s almost painful…

But the worst moment of the CD has to be “Let Me Rap,” the track featuring Kevin Covais. As a rapper, Kevin’s not too bad, but his constant references to “his chicks” and his diss of Kevin Federline just make it silly. And the attempt to recreate “Promiscuous” with these kids is almost sickening. Thankfully, it’s not a full-length track…

It’s a shame that Paris didn’t get to work with some more experienced producers that could have really fleshed out her sound. Maybe then she could have earned that crown she keeps shouting about…

"Princess P" hits stores tomorrow (May 8th)...

Update: You can now listen for yourself at http://music.aol.com/songs/new_releases_full_cds...

An update on those Kelly rumors...

Here’s an update on those Kelly Clarkson CD rumors that were all the buzz Friday…

Today’s “Ft. Worth Star-Telegram” ran this quote from Kelly’s reps:

“Despite rumor-mongering…there is no dispute between Kelly Clarkson and the RCA Music Group. These rumors…were based on an inaccurate report about Clive Davis’ presentation of Kelly’s new LP (at the recent SBMG meeting in Las Vegas). Sources who were there insist the chatter is not true. In fact, Davis specifically stated that Kelly is one of the top four artists at Sony BMG and wanted to ensure that she is treated as such. There are absolutely no plans to scrap the LP.”

Notice the statement says nothing about Clive supporting the CD…

Sunday, May 6, 2007

What will the Idols Sing Tuesday?

The theme for this week is the music of the Bee Gees and the final four will be doing two songs a piece…

As I told you before, it was Bee Gees week during season two that made me fall in love with Clay Aiken…

I was a Ruben Studdard fan until I heard the crystal clear voice of Clay hitting those glory notes in “To Love Somebody.” Simon called it one of the best “Idol” performances ever…

And then he trashed him when Clay sang “Grease” for his second song. But Simon’s words had no effect on me, because I had already fallen. And I haven’t gotten up yet…

You may recall that Josh Gracin also sang “To Love Somebody,” and though his performance was good, he was overmatched and sang it as his swan song the next night, holding his child as he sang…

So what should this year’s final four sing? Since I’m not a 70s music fan, it’s hard for me to choose songs for everyone, but I’ve got a few guesses/requests…

Melinda—“To Love Somebody” and “Heartbreaker”
If anyone can pick up the “To Love Somebody” mantle, it’s Melinda and I can hear her handling the smooth sounds of “Heartbreaker,” which was a big hit for Dionne Warwick…

LaKisha—“Emotion”
KiKi might also go for “Somebody” or “Heartbreaker,” but I can also hear her attempting the Destiny’s Child version of this one…

Blake—“How Deep Is Your Love” and “Immortality”
Remember the group of guys that wowed us all during Hollywood week? Blake was in that group and the song was “How Deep Is Your Love.” As for my second choice, I know it’s a slow one, but I can hear Blake singing it and it would silence the naysayers who criticized his lack of singing last week. But I would lean more to the Donny Osmond version (Yes, I said Donny Osmond.)…

As for Jordin, or a second song for LaKisha, I really haven’t a clue.

What are your thoughts?...

"Dreamgirls": Jennifer Shines, But...

As most of you probably know, “Dreamgirls” came out on DVD this week.

I had never seen the movie, so I was pretty excited to finally get the chance to watch what everyone was talking about. And now that I’ve seen it, I’m still wondering what everyone was talking about…

Let’s get this out of the way now. Jennifer Hudson is the star of this movie. Her singing is amazing and her acting is good, but Academy Award-worthy? I’m honestly not sure about that. Of course, next to the in-over-her-head Beyonce and the surprisingly stiff Jamie Foxx, her good acting was bound to look spectacular.
Anika Noni Rose, though, gives Jennifer some real talent to work with. Of course, she was great in "From Justin to Kelly"...

I admit that I got goosebumps during Jennifer’s rendition of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”—the true highlight of the movie. But that comes so early in the movie, it’s hard to care about the rest of it—especially since the characters are so underdeveloped. The evolution of the sweet Deena (Beyonce) into a major diva would have been a good story, but it gets summed up in a film reel. And some of the movie’s most crucial scenes—when Deena finally faces the truth about her husband—are summed up in a musical montage just so Beyonce can have a showstopper of her own. But as good as that song is, it’s no “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” And Beyonce is no Jennifer Hudson. Plus, that scene makes absolutely no sense since “Listen” is exactly the kind of song Curtis (Jamie Foxx) would have never let her record anyway…

If you want to see showstopping musical performances by a young up-and-comer, then check out “Dreamgirls.” But if you just want to see a good movie musical with great performances and a plot that makes sense, check out “Chicago”…

Labels:

Friday, May 4, 2007

Has Kelly Scrapped Her Album?

The big story on the Internet today was that Kelly Clarkson has scrapped her album after Sony BMG chief Clive Davis trashed it. But is it true?

The UK “Daily Star” reported that in a meeting of top label executives, Davis showcased the proposed first four singles from the CD and “poured scorn on each one.” An unnamed source said, “It was an extraordinary presentation. Clive was absolutely merciless in his criticism of Kelly. She’s one of the biggest priorities on the label and her new songs were savaged.”

The “Daily Star” also reports that Kelly is now “hastily working on further material that she hopes will please her boss a little more” and that the CD’s release has been rescheduled for December.

“Entertainment Weekly” reports that the story, according to Kelly’s rep, is not true, but like most rumors, there is a shred of truth to it…

According to the story, the disagreement between RCA and Kelly stems from her desire to do things on her own terms and Kelly has said herself in interviews that her label was not completely thrilled with her new direction.

In an interview with “Entertainment Weekly,” Kelly said, “They just didn’t prefer the album, really, at all. They don’t like me writing a whole lot, just to be honest with you. Not even after I’ve written No. 1 [songs]. So, yeah, they’re not big into that. But they’re coming around, and they like it now, and obviously it’s doing well on radio right now, so they’re liking it even more. And taking credit!”

When “EW” asked whether she had people trying to force songs or songwriters on this album, she said, “They’re trying to make money, so they want to come out with ‘Breakaway II.’ And I don’t want to come out with ‘Breakaway II,’ because I already have that record. It’s a little hard for them sometimes to come around, just because taking a different artistic path is a chance. And I get it—they’re obviously a record label trying to make money. But now people at the label are really starting to dig it, and it just kind of took a while for them. They didn’t like ‘Breakaway’ either, and they didn’t like ‘Thankful’ either. So it’s the same for every record. But it’s turning around; they like it now.”

Kelly was honored with the ASCAP Song of the Year Award for “Because of You.” “EW” asked her if it was true the song was a tough sell. “That’s what I’m saying. It happens every time. It’s not like, ‘Whoo, different!’ Every time it’s a task to get something of mine on the record. But yeah, that song, they didn’t like it for the first [album], and I totally got shut down. Second album, I just kept pressing the issue, and finally I just went and found the people I wanted to do it with. I actually went through my lawyer, and ended up writing with Ben Moody and David Hodges from Evanescence. And we did a pretty good job on it, I think. They like it now; obviously, it’s successful, so…”

Does that sound like a person who would allow her album to be scrapped?

This is an interesting situation here. Obviously, Kelly has earned the right to have input on her CD after the success of “Breakaway,” but everything I’m hearing about the “story” of “My December” sounds a little scary, so you can see why RCA would want to hold her back a little.

Kelly is scheduled to appear on “Today” May 8th, so maybe she can straighten some of this stuff out then. But I seriously doubt that RCA would pitch an album whose lead single just debuted in the top 10. If they did, then it truly proves that Clive Davis has lost touch with today’s music world…

Labels:

Chart News: Carrie's New Hit and Kelly's Strong Debut

Kelly Clarkson’s new single, “Never Again,” had a strong debut on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, coming in at #8…

Kelly would have debuted higher if not for the debut of Carrie Underwood’s “I’ll Stand By You” at #6. It’s the first iTunes exclusive to debut in the top 10…

Other “Idol Gives Back” songs cracking the chart are Kelly’s “Up To the Mountain” at #56 and “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban and the African Children’s Choir at #78…

Daughtry’s “Home” now sits at #21…

By the way, the #1 song this week is Maroon 5’s “Makes Me Wonder,” which jumps from #64, the largest leap to the top in Billboard history, breaking the record held by Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This,” which jumped from #52 to #1 in 2002…

Labels: , , ,

What did Jon Bon Jovi really think of Blake's performance?

In an interview with “Entertainment Weekly,” Idol arranger and composer Michael Orland said he thought Blake’s version of “You Give Love a Bad Name” was great, but Jon Bon Jovi didn’t agree…

“I thought it was so genius I couldn't believe it. I was scared for him, though. I knew it could go either way, as we saw with Chris Sligh weeks ago. I was in the room watching Bon Jovi with him and Bon Jovi was not digging it at all. But I thought it was so incredible and respectful of Bon Jovi's version.”

At least Bon Jovi didn’t express that on camera…

K-Lo's "True Story" Hits Shelves...

This season, “American Idol” has given us a pretty good final four in Melinda, Jordin, Blake and LaKisha…

But season two also produced a pretty fearsome foursome with Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, Kimberley Locke and Josh Gracin.

One of those four, Kimberley Locke, released her second CD this week, “Based On a True Story.”

And K-Lo wastes no time getting right to it with the CD’s opening ballad, “Change.” It’s one of those sweeping songs you’d expect to hear over a montage in a movie when the heroine decides to pick herself up and get on with her life. And it’s a great showcase for Kimberley’s voice…

Unfortunately, the rest of the CD doesn’t live up to that promise.

That’s not to say that it’s bad, because it isn’t. It’s just that by about track five, all of the songs start sounding the same. And worse, some of the R&B comes off as a little cheesy. Plus, none of the tracks comes close to matching the poppy goodness of “8th World Wonder,” Kimberley’s first single.

As a bonus, Kimberley includes a cover of “Band of Gold,” which was one of her “Idol” standards. But on this CD, it just doesn’t fit and comes off as a little strange.

If you’re a K-Lo fan, you’ll like “Story.” But if you prefer your CDs to have a little more flavor, you’ll probably want to skip it.

You can hear it for yourself through Sunday at http://music.aol.com/songs/new_releases_full_cds...

Labels:

Daughtry Coming to Ohio State Fair!

Daughtry will be the opening concert at the Ohio State Fair August 1st at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $32 (which includes fair admission) and go on sale May 12th at noon.

Every other show on Daughtry's tour has sold out so these things will go quick...

Labels:

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Scoop from Wednesday's show...

So here’s some scoop from Wednesday’s show…

According to “People,” Ryan spent most of the night apologizing for his comments about Paula being prettier than Simon’s puppet. During a break, Ryan asked Simon, “Are you seriously mad at me?” Simon just smiled and shook Ryan’s hand. Later, when Simon’s girlfriend, Terri Seymour, came in and let Ryan know she heard him, Ryan apologized and gave her a hug…

The biggest “scoop” from last night’s show is the audience’s disappointment in the Bon Jovi performance. I meant to warn you guys about how subdued it was going to be, but I forgot. I guess I should have sent a note to the audience instead. Fans were screaming so loud before the performance that the stage manager asked them to save it until Ryan introduced them. When the song started, the fans “sighed loudly,” according to “People,” and sat down. “Entertainment Weekly” and “People” reported that it was so quiet during the commercial break when the band was leaving the stage that Blake yelled out, “Bon Jovi, y’all!” which got the crowd back on their feet…

Labels:

Phil Speaks: Will he miss the tour?

So if I needed another reason not to fork over the $48.50 for the Idols Live, I may have just found it…

During his interview with the media today, Phil said that he might miss the tour. "My primary responsibility is to the U.S. Navy. The possibility exists that they will need me for a mission." But Phil says it looks “promising” for him to be there...

Phil is a Musician Third Class stationed with the Navy Band in Jacksonville, Florida. He said he plans to fulfill his commitment (which is until October 2008) but said that could change “depending on the circumstances that come my way.” Apparently, there are some security concerns with the Navy that may affect his position as a Naval singer, which takes him to high schools around the country…

So how did Phil find his groove in the last two weeks? Less pressure. “I think once I got to the bottom three, and the bottom two, at one point or another I just said, 'Ah, forget it! It's all gravy now, I should have gone home weeks ago!'”…

Phil told reporters that next week will be Bee Gees week and he was planning to do “Islands In the Stream.” But Phil said he’s kind of glad he won’t be around. “Here's the deal: Next week, what's gonna be funny is that all four of those jokers are going to shine. It's going to be a great week for them. That's one of the reasons I'm semi-glad I got cut this week. I would have hated to have gone out on a night when all of the judges were like, 'Man, I just wasn't feeling that.'”

Phil also gave his take on the competition from here on out: “At this point, here's the deal: Melinda may be the best singer that's ever been on “American Idol.” LaKisha may be the most passionate singer ever. Jordin may have the strongest upper range of anybody. And Blake is the most original artist. So, being a fan of the show — and I'm not participating anymore, so I can say this unbiased — I think it's the best top four in the history of “American Idol.” I try to predict who gets voted off each week, and I'm never, ever, ever right, but I couldn't possibly predict who'll go next week”…

Labels: ,

Chris Speaks...

So as best friends, Blake and Chris stood there awaiting their fate, what were they talking about? Chris told reporters today that they were singing a song that they wrote and Chris was telling Blake to sit down because Chris knew he was the one going.

How did he know? "I looked around and saw the band getting ready. The guy who plays the 12 string guitar was setting up and I was the only one who performed with a 12 string guitar."

They really need to find a better way to hide this stuff…

Chris said he and Phil were already expecting their departures after Simon’s comments Tuesday. “We knew who he would try to dwindle out of the competition, and who he would try to keep in the competition. I would always go out there preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.”

Chris also set the record straight about his personal life, which has started to hit the tabloids (He’s been linked with Lauren Conrad.). "You know what, I just got out of a 3 ½ year relationship back home. All the other rumors and stuff are just rumors. Those people are just my friends. They are acquaintances. I'm single but still respect the fact that I just got out of a relationship with my girlfriend”…

Labels: ,

My apologies...

Just wanted to pass along my apologies for being so slow in updating the comments. My pesky day job has a habit of getting in the way sometimes...

Let me welcome the new readers out there from Alabama and South Africa (!). I've now posted your comments.

Much more to come...

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Final Thoughts...

So how about some final thoughts…

First of all, let me remind everyone that no one said Blake was in the bottom two. He just happened to be the one they chose to be dramatic with, probably because the producers knew that Blake and Chris were best friends. But Blake fans, thinking their guy was in the bottom two, will probably rally for him—which may be what the show wanted. I hope that Blake realizes he wasn’t necessarily in the bottom two so that he won’t stop taking risks…

With that out of the way, let me address the eliminations. Yes, I am upset that Phil is gone, but he wasn’t going to win this thing anyway, so at least he got to go out on a high note. And Phil, if by some chance you’re reading this, I want you to know that your “Blaze of Glory” will live on my cell phone forever—or at least for the life of the phone. I’m going to the website to download the recording now…

And I think you all know how I feel about the elimination of Chris…

Now, boys and girls, we have got ourselves a competition. I said earlier that I wondered if it would be Bee Gees or Disco week. I meant to say Bee Gees or 70s week. PLEASE, don’t let it be disco week because then you know that LaKisha will do “MacArthur Park.” Of course, that would get her eliminated…

In the immortal words of Jack Bauer, “now we’re gonna have some fun”…

It Comes Down to Best Friends...

9:52 We’re back…Ryan plugs the Bon Jovi CD out June 19th…Blake and Chris on-stage…They say they’re best friends…Chris said he’d go home for him and Blake said he’d do the same. They say it doesn’t matter. YES IT DOES!!!...Chris IS GOING HOME!!! YES!!!...Big hug between them—which we don’t see because the director cuts to the Idols…Why does Chris get to talk and Phil didn’t?!...Chris’ goodbye is to “Home.” What is up with only being able to play that once?…Chris is handling it okay. Now let’s see how Melinda handles it…

9:55 Ryan tells him he’s going to be just fine. Ryan reminds us that Barry Gibb will be the coach next week. Does that mean Bee Gees or disco week?...Melinda has her eyes closed…Chris does “Wanted Dead or Alive”…Chris goes into the audience and high fives Randy…In all honesty, this performance was not that bad, I’m just over him!...The Idols join him. Blake hugs him again. Now he hugs the rest of them…Blake does the “rock sign” throughout the entire performance. It reminds me of Ace and Chris Daughtry…The Idols do a group hug. The producers don’t cut Chris’ mike and you can hear all of the crying. Someone says something, but you can’t understand it. Blake is taking it a little hard, which makes me want to cry…

9:59 And we’re out…

Bon Jovi Makes "A Memory"...

Let me just take a minute and warn all of you that if Blake goes home, there will be a pause as I run around the room screaming. Then there will be another pause as I explain to my neighbors why I was making so much noise…

9:43 We’re back…Ryan introduces Bon Jovi. When Ryan tried to pump everyone up, did he not realize how subdued this song is?...The song is their new single "(You Want to) Make a Memory." I really like how it showcases Richie’s harmonies…I think the live version is better than the recording…Minus that last note Richie missed…

9:47 Ryan tells Jon what a great job he did as a coach. Jon says he loved being a part of it…He tells Ryan they won’t tour until January. You could’ve let him plug the new CD, Ryan…Jon refuses to say whether Chris or Blake is going home. He says it’s a tough choice. Not really…

9:49 Taylor does an “Idol Gives Back” ask…Break…

Ryan makes it interesting...

9:37 We’re back. Ryan introduces the “American Idol Challenge” winner and asks the new question…

9:38 Jordin, Blake and Chris now remain. Ryan immediately lets Jordin sit down. He said he put her through too much last week. Interesting…Blake and Chris remain…Blake looks a little nervous…They hug and then Ryan has them sit down…Please, please, please, don’t let it be Blake! It would be all my fault since I gave all of my votes to Phil. I couldn’t handle losing them both…

Phil Does Go Out In A "Blaze of Glory"...

9:26 We’re back…Ford commercial: “Paint It Black”…The Idols are participants in a “Moulin Rouge”-esque circus with Blake as the ringmaster with a white face…A little wild…Phil is mega-nervous…And now, so am I…

9:27 Ryan tells us that we can now go to the website and vote for our favorite song from the songwriting competition…

9:27 Bottom row stands—Melinda, Phil, LaKisha…Looks like I was right…Melinda…Ryan says there were 135 million votes in the two weeks…Melinda is safe…Here’s where it gets interesting. I was really hoping this group would go last…I think Phil is expecting to go home…LaKisha is safe…Phil is going home…No big surprise. He flashes his winning smile, as does his wife…Goodbye video is now set to Carrie’s “I’ll Stand By You.” Interesting…Phil’s starting to lose it. I tried, babe. I really did…Phil turns away. I was hoping that this group would go last so that Phil could take the show out with a “Blaze of Glory”…Melinda is crying…Ryan says he’s a good man…Ryan doesn’t really give Phil much of a chance to say anything. And why was that?...Phil heads out into the audience onto the mini-stage…He’s grasping the irony of the lyrics and enjoying it…Phil gives hugs to all of the judges—even Simon…He hugs his Navy friends and sings with them… And now he gets a kiss from his wife, but we don’t see it because the director cuts to LaKisha bawling. Why? The Idols join him and give him a hug…Okay, I need a minute…Phil looks at Randy and says, “Thank you”…Chris gives him a big hug...Break…Good, because I need a tissue…

Basking in the glow of "Idol Gives Back"...

9:13 We’re back…Ryan is sitting with the Idols. He asks Melinda about the impact “Idol Gives Back” had on her…A recap of “Idol Gives Back.” Could there BE anymore stalling…

9:14 By the way, the seating arrangement is Front Row: Melinda, Phil, LaKisha, Back Row: Jordin, Blake, Chris. Does that mean that one in each group is going home, i.e. Chris and LaKisha or Phil?...

9:18 That was a great video, but was it necessary?...Ryan says that three of last week’s performances make up the top three on iTunes…I would look for Carrie’s “I’ll Stand By You” to chart…

9:19 Taped performance of Robin Thicke doing “Lost Without U.” I’m sorry, I just can’t look at him without hearing the “Growing Pains” theme…Or maybe the “Facts of Life” theme (His mom is Gloria Loring, who co-wrote that theme with his dad, Alan, of “Growing Pains.”)…And here is yet another artist that would not clear their music that gets the benefit of performing on the show…

9:21 They try really hard to make us think he was really there…Fantasia does an “Idol Gives Back” ask…Break…

The Results: Let's Get It Started...

This will be, without a doubt, the most interesting results show this season—maybe in the history of the show—as for the first time ever, two “Idol” finalists will be sent home.

Let’s get it started…

8:59 Intro. Who is that woman Ryan is leaning on? Could he not stand on his own?...

9:00 Antonella in the house again tonight…And Ryan found his razor before tonight’s show…Ryan promises no filler (He’s, of course, joking.)…Ryan promises us more “Idol” winners tonight and everyone’s excited about Bon Jovi…

9:01 Ryan asks Randy about rock week…Ryan asks Paula about changing the original…Ryan and Simon start fighting already as Paula says she’s not Simon’s puppet. Ryan answers, “I’ve seen your puppet and she’s much prettier”…Simon asks for an apology because he thought Ryan was insulting his girlfriend. Ryan says he was talking about something else…Simon says Blake gave the best performance. Ryan says everyone’s buzzing about it…

9:03 Recap with blurbs from Bon Jovi coaching…

9:05 Ryan at the Farmer’s Market attempting to sing. That was a little scary…Two women say they are “Blaker Girls.” I love that!...

9:07 Ryan asks Blake how he came up with the arrangement. He plugs a computer program that he uses…Ryan asks Jordin if it was tough to hear the criticism. She said everyone has to have a bad week…Ryan asks Phil about growing up as a pastor’s son. He said he snuck in some Bon Jovi music…Ryan asks LaKisha what kind of a kisser Simon is. She says she’d do it again. Ryan says no, because he has a girlfriend and it is “very serious.” Simon gets a good laugh out of that one. I think that was a little bit of an inside joke…
9:09 Ruben does an “Idol Gives Back” ask…Break

More Info on the Idols Tour...

For those of you who were wondering, the prices for the Idols concert in Huntington are $48.50 and $65.00. If my memory serves, that makes the lowest priced ticket $10 more than it was last year...

By comparison, Ticketmaster lists the prices for the August 11th show in Columbus at $37.00 and $67.50 (Those prices have not been confirmed by the Schottenstein Center)...

Labels:

Will Phil Go Out In A "Blaze of Glory"?

So what's the buzz in Idol Nation?

The consensus is that Chris is going home tonight, but there's quite a debate as to who will join him--LaKisha or Phil, with Phil having the slight edge.

If indeed this will be Phil's night to go home, there are a lot worse ways to do it than in a "Blaze of Glory"...

This will be a very interesting elimination show. I haven't a clue how they're going to do this thing, so I'll be blogging live at 9 p.m. Feel free to join me...

And the new ringtone sounds great, by the way...

"I'm goin' down in a blaze of glory..."

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Idols Are Coming!

Okay, I was so busy trying to figure out who was going home, I missed it, but allow me to catch up…

The Idols are coming! The Idols are coming!

They’ll be in Huntington September 15th. Tickets go on sale May 19th at 10 a.m.

You may recall it was absolute mayhem trying to get tickets last year, and since the sale date is a Saturday this year, it will probably be crazier. So if your dream is to see Sanjaya in concert, you might need a battle plan…

Hear that, Jim?

So who's going home?

This one is tricky. If this was a normal elimination, it might be easier to predict, but it isn’t, so I’m unsure…

For my money, Chris and Jordin gave the worst performances, but Jordin’s fan base is too big for her to go anywhere and her votes from last week will absolutely carry her through. Chris, making the mistake of singing a song Chris Daughtry did last year, is probably still on shaky ground…

But poor Phil. Just when he’s started to hit his stride, LaKisha makes a comeback. I think he could be in trouble, unless last week’s votes can get him through or last week’s votes bring her down.

I just don’t know. But Phil, if you’re reading this, I promise I will do what I can to keep you in this thing. AND, I think I just heard my new ringtone (Sorry Blake. That’s what you get for dying your hair!)…

So, my prediction is Chris and Phil, but I hope I’m wrong about one of them…

Your thoughts?...

Melinda has a "Nice Day"

Melinda Doolittle, “Have a Nice Day”: 20
If that’s Melinda’s idea of doing rock badly, I’d love to see what she thinks is good. That was awesome and a great choice of song. I think Jon might have been serious about her joining the band…

Chris does what I expected...

Chris Richardson, “Wanted Dead or Alive”: 12
I warned you about this one. I don’t care what the judges said it’s time for Chris to go home…

Blake takes a HUGE risk...

Blake Lewis, “You Give Love a Bad Name”: 19
I was really worried and when it was over, I wasn’t sure what to say. But I really liked it and I really like him. I said I had missed his fun side. But Blake, PLEASE go back to being a blonde.

LaKisha: She's Ba-ack!

LaKisha Jones, “This Ain’t a Love Song”: 18
LaKisha is back—so back that Simon gave her a big kiss on the lips. She FINALLY chose a good song and she sang it pretty well with just a few problems (The band being the biggest one.). But will it be enough to cancel out last week’s performance?

Will Jordin Be "Livin' On a Prayer"?

Jordin Sparks, “Livin’ On a Prayer”: 16
Jon did everything he could to help her through this one, but I think he would’ve served her better to tell her to sing another song. I said I wanted to see her rock out, but I was VERY wrong. She should’ve gone with a ballad. Simon was right this time. It was bad…

Phil starts in a "Blaze of Glory"

Tonight is going to be fun, so let’s get it started…

Antonella Barba and Gina Glocksen are both in the house tonight. I bet this really hurts Gina to not be on that stage rocking out…

And in case we were wondering—and we were—“Idol Gives Back” raised almost $70 million. That’s pretty impressive…

Now let’s get down to business...

Phil Stacey, “Blaze of Glory”: 20
WOW! Simon, I love you, but what were you listening to? This absolutely rocked. I hated him doing it in the audience, though, because I think that song deserves a little stage drama, but it sounded awesome! And Jon, just for the record, that song was for “Young Guns II”…

Is it Bon Jovi Week after all?

Yesterday, "Entertainment Weekly" posted an interview with Michael Orland, the "Idol" arranger (He's the guy you usually see at the piano during the coaching videos.), who this week is working with Chris, Phil and Jordin.

They asked him what we can expect for this week and he answered, "I think the guys definitely have an advantage singing Bon Jovi songs. Whatever the girls do, they should get extra props for having to sing a guy rock & roll-vibe song."

When asked if the theme had been tough on Jordin, he said that "the second it was announced we were doing a Bon Jovi week, she requested her song early. She knew exactly what she was going to sing."

So, it sounds like the top six will have to sing Bon Jovi songs after all. This is going to be fun!

Be sure to scroll down for my picks for each Idol and be sure to post your own...