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.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Is There Trouble in the Idol Household?

Are the “Idol” contestants feuding? TMZ says yes…

The website is reporting that at least one of the female contestants has taken cheap shots at Syesha Mercado, including calling her hair nappy, a la Don Imus.

The report also says the guys have been ganging up against David Archuleta, making “snarky” comments behind his back. TMZ says it could be jealousy since 19 has already been in touch with top record publishers to get songwriters to start writing songs for him…

Hmmm…

Asia’h Shows Her Savvy

Michael Slezak from “Entertainment Weekly” pointed out something interesting in his recap of last night’s show.

When the girls gathered around Alaina Whitaker encouraging her to sing, Asia’h told her a record producer could be watching.

That girl’s always thinking, isn’t she?

If you missed the emotional farewell, you can see it here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Did the Right Four Go Home?

So, did America get it right? Yes and no…

They definitely got Jason Yeager right, although he might have made things interesting if he had sung like he did tonight. And Alaina was probably right, even though she is talented. I don’t think I could have handled any more songs like that one. Alexandrea did give a bad performance last night, but she was so good in the first week that I hate to see her go. That spot really should have gone to Amanda. I appreciate her originality and that she’s someone different for the competition, but she really should have gone before Alexandrea.

As for Robbie over Luke, that was absolutely the wrong decision. Robbie wasn’t fantastic, but he was definitely not worse than Luke. I think all of that fake rocker talk got the best of Robbie. And it’s clear that Luke is skating by on those “Dawson’s Creek” looks.

So, what do you think? Did the right four go home?

Our Second Surprise of the Night

8:46 We’re back…Now for the big news…March 11th is the first performance of the top 12. The theme for the show will be Lennon/McCartney/Beatles night since Sony/ATV has finally released the catalog for the show to use (Ryan announced that on his radio show yesterday.). They’ll unveil the new set and Ruben Studdard has recorded a special exit song. I guess that’s how 19 is going to get him a new deal…Now, Ryan mentions “Idol Gives Back” and shows some moments from last year’s show. Can you say stalling?...This year’s IGB will be April 9th…Break…

8:53 We’re back…Ryan says Brad Pitt, Miley Cyrus, Mariah Carey, Snoop Dogg, Carrie Underwood, Daughtry and Reese Witherspoon will be on IGB…Lights down for guys…Luke, David H., David C., David A….Luke and Robbie at center. It’s one of them. No big surprise…Ryan botched his stalling or he didn’t get the message in his earpiece…It’s Robbie. YIKES! How does Luke keep surviving?...Robbie says that he was doomed by, what else, song choice…Goodbye video…I still don’t know what that song is, but apparently that doesn’t matter since Ruben has recorded the official one…

8:57 Robbie sings “Hot Blooded”…Carly is crying…By the way, TMZ reports that Robbie’s hair is a wig and the stylists weren’t happy about it…

8:59 And we’re out…

The Big News Is...

8:46 We’re back…Now for the big news…March 11th is the first performance of the top 12. The theme for the show will be Lennon/McCartney/Beatles night since Sony/ATV has finally released the catalog for the show to use (Ryan announced that on his radio show yesterday.). They’ll unveil the new set and Ruben Studdard has recorded a special exit song. I guess that’s how 19 is going to get him a new deal…Now, Ryan mentions “Idol Gives Back” and shows some moments from last year’s show. Can you say stalling?...This year’s IGB will be April 9th…Break…

An Emotional "Idol" First

So during the break, I checked Votefortheworst.com, and sure enough, they championed Amanda. I’m sure they’ll take the credit for her sticking around…

8:35 We’re Back…Lights down for girls…Front row…Carly, Alaina, Ramiele, Syesha and Kady…Carly…safe…Ramiele…safe…Uh-oh…Syesha…SAFE! Thank goodness…That leaves Kady and Alaina…One of them got the lowest vote total and the other was in the bottom three, but is safe. Interesting…Kady…safe…Alaina is leaving. I’m one for two on the girls tonight…Alaina starts bawling and Kady hugs her. She says that she can’t sing. Ryan gives her a hug…Ryan tries to pump her up…Paula gives her a standing ovation and fights back tears…So much for Simon’s dark horse…Paula says this is the start of an amazing career…Ryan’s still trying to pump her up…Ryan actually gives her a choice as to whether she sings or not. Woah! She says it will sound terrible, but the other girls talk her into it…Ryan invites the other girls down to help her out. An “Idol” first…David A. is crying again, as is Danny Noriega…Ramiele is crying…Paula gives her another standing ovation…Alaina gets it together and moves out in front of the girls…Okay, now I’m crying…Ryan pulls it back together and promises us some important “Idol” news. About “Idol Gives Back” maybe?...Break…Good. Now I can pull myself together…

The Night's First Surprise

8:22 We’re back. I knew Ryan wasn’t telling the truth…Girls recap…Ryan says the girls were up to the challenge. I’m not sure about that one, Ryan…Syesha was grouped in with the good ones. Maybe that means she’s safe after all…Brooke was overwhelmingly the favorite performance around the Internet today…Alexandrea sounds worse on the replay…

8:26 Ryan faces the girls…Lights down...Back row stands…Kristy, Amanda, Alexandrea, Brooke and Asia’h…Kristy is safe…Ryan’s being random…Asia’h is safe…Brooke is safe…That leaves Amanda and Alexandrea…Amanda seems sure it’s her…Alexandrea is going home…Woah!...So, uniqueness won out. Interesting…Amanda is emotionless…Randy says it’s not really the right choice…Paula says it’s the beginning of her career…Alexandrea’s stunned…She sings “If You Leave Me Now”…Now I’m really worried I told that reporter wrong about Syesha. If I am, I know I’ll get a phone call around 8:59…David A. is crying and hides his face. Luke comforts him. Maybe David will need to return that favor later…This one actually sounds better too. What’s going on?...Alexandrea gives David A. a hug…She gives Ryan one too…Ryan asks the girls to come down to the stage…Break…

The First Guy to Go Home Tonight...

8:09 We’re back…Results time…First, a recap of the guys…They group Robbie with the good performances. Not sure about that…I still don’t understand why Simon got so offended by David’s comment. Backstage, David said he felt bad for offending him…Boy, Luke and Jason just sound worse with each play, don’t they?...Man, David H. better get through or I’m going to be upset. I need to download that after I’m done with this…I’ll download David A. too…

8:12 Ryan faces the guys…He asks Luke if it’s any easier. Asks Jason C. if he’s nervous…Lights down…Back row stands…Jason Y., Danny, Chikezie, Jason C., Michael…He tells Michael to sit. He’s safe…Chikezie…is safe…Jason…is safe after a fakeout…Jason Y. and Danny Noriega remain…Jason is going home. No big shocker there…

8:14 Jason joins Ryan on stage…He says he had a feeling he’d be in the bottom after the thrashing he took from the judges…Jason says song choice doomed him…Simon tells Jason he needs “a heck of a lot more experience” and that he doesn’t stand out…Jason does “Long Train Runnin’”…David H. looks way too confident. I’m worried…Is it just me, or does that song actually sound good this time?...So do they tell the family members ahead of time who’s getting eliminated so they can be on the platform to watch?...Yikes! That was actually good. And he wisely left out the weird dance move at the end…

8:16 Ryan says we’ll find out the other guy next. Surely not…Break…

Another Not-So-Cheesy Medley

In honor of my wireless being back, let's actually do a minute-by-minute blog...

7:59 Intro...

8:00 Ryan says almost 31 million votes…Randy says the themes are a test to see if contestants can sing something besides what’s on the radio right now. And he says music was better then…

8:01 Ryan says his mother noticed that Simon was putting his open hand up to the side of his head. Simon says it’s a code, but he doesn’t say what it is. He only tells Paula to hold his hand…

8:02 70s medley time…Michael opens “I Saw the Light.” He sounds much better tonight…The harmony is actually nice…Kristy Lee starts off “It’s a Heartache.” Why didn’t she do that one last night?...Amanda can’t even handle that one and it should be right up her alley…Chikezie’s microphone doesn’t work so the beginning of “The Things We Do For Love” is messed up…They actually sound good…What is up with the microphones tonight? Brooke’s is also off hurting the beginning of “I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet”…Jason Yeager actually sounded good there…For the second time in a row, the medley is not all that cheesy. That actually disturbs me…

8:06 Break…

Tonight's Results Show

Don't you hate it when something doesn't work, but when you call support it works perfectly for them?

Translation--my wireless is back on. So, I will be blogging live once again.

Since this will be another hourlong results show, I'll just join you when eliminations and anything else interesting occurs.

Earlier today I talked with a reporter from the Sarasota Herald Tribune. He was asking for my thoughts on hometown girl Syesha Mercado. I told him I thought she'd be okay tonight.

Boy, do I hope I'm not wrong...

Back in a bit...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

So who's going home?

So who’s going home? I think Amanda is a definite, but the other one is a total toss-up. My gut says Alaina, but it could also be Alexandrea. Kady, Syesha and Kristy Lee are all possibilities as well, but I think Kady will stick around based on her personality.

What do you think? Do you think that no theme would have allowed the girls to make better choices or were they just doomed either way?

Remember, the results show airs tomorrow at 8 p.m. on FOX…

Asia'h Tries a Big One

Asia’h Epperson, “All By Myself”: 16
What is up with all of the bad song choices tonight? Asia’h definitely did not pick a song that’s suited for her voice, and apparently her voice agreed when it failed her on the first chorus. They tried to pull the sick excuse, but even with a perfect voice, it was the wrong song for her. And by the way, Asia’h, there’s no smiling when singing this song.

Alexandrea Tries Chicago and Kady Tries a Little “Magic”

Alexandrea Lushington, “If You Leave Me Now”: 14
She needed a song with some attitude. And what was with that outfit? She looked more like a flygirl than someone snoozing through a Chicago song.

Kady Malloy, “Magic Man”: 14
I really like Kady, but I’m with Simon. She picked a song with no melody. The verses were weak and the music was bigger than her. Plus, she got off to a rotten start when she almost fell down the stairs—the first time I’ve ever seen that on the show.

Alaina is “Hopelessly Devoted”

Alaina Whitaker, “Hopelessly Devoted to You”: 15
This is a song that should only be sung in a “Grease” competition. Simon said she’s one of the “dark horses” in the competition, but not with stuff like that.

A Little Break...

If the time is correct on the scheduled outage, you're about to lose me.

If you do, I'll be back as soon as I can...

Amanda Goes a Little "Wayward"

Amanda Overmyer, “Carry On Wayward Son”: 13
I think the only part of that song that was in tune was the chorus and Amanda knew it because she looked completely lost. And that weird dancing didn’t help her any.

Kristy Does Linda Ronstadt

Kristy Lee Cook, “You’re No Good”: 16
I think she was trying to be a little country with this one, but I’m not sure it completely worked. And what was that weird lunging she was doing? Was that supposed to be dancing?

Ramiele Struggles A Little

Ramiele Malubay, “Don’t Leave Me This Way”: 16
This might be the song that Syesha should have done. For Ramiele, it just exposed all of her weaknesses with her bad segues and other pitchiness.

And what was Ryan’s comment about “this spring at the wedding”? Surely Simon isn’t actually making an honest woman out of Terri, is he?

Syesha Disappoints While Brooke Soars

Syesha Mercado, “Me and Mr(s). Jones”: 15
I really thought this was a bad song choice for her. I think she would’ve been better suited for Donna Summer or some other disco number (as much as I hate disco). She was way too tentative on the verses. And that package with her baby cry introducing her slow ballad didn’t do her any favors.

Brooke White, “You’re So Vain”: 19
Talk about perfect song choice. It was also shrewd of her to go one verse with the guitar and one verse without. I took one point off for her issues with the lower notes.

Carly Goes "Crazy"

Carly Smithson, “Crazy On You”: 17
Okay, here’s me trying to judge Carly based only on her performance. The first half of the song was pretty weak, but she worked it out and it turned out to be a nice choice for her. But since she did Heart this week, does that mean she won’t do “Alone” next week if it turns out to be 80s week? I’m not really crazy about how Simon gushed about her, and did we have to keep hearing that she’s well this week?

Tonight's Show

So I didn’t have a chance to call Verizon and figure out what’s wrong with my wireless, so you’ll have to bear with me again tonight as I post during the commercial breaks.

Plus, I've just seen on the Blogger homepage that there is a scheduled outage at 6 p.m. PST, which means you'll probably lose me for a little while around 9. But I'll be back as soon as Blogger will let me.

Don't they know it's "American Idol" night?!

Back in a bit…

Simon Predicts a Winner

On last night’s “Extra,” Simon Cowell predicted this year’s winner…

And I don’t think it’s any shock to anyone that he has picked David Archuleta.

Simon told “Extra,” “He’s cute. He’s likeable. [He has] a big voice. He’s the one to beat.”

“Extra” also asked Simon about Chikezie. “He’s never going to win unless the other 18 resign.” Ouch!

Simon also confirmed that he is staying on the show for two more seasons. “I’m not ready to walk and I’m not walking.”

Simon’s prediction, by the way, was made before last night’s performance. But David did nothing to prove Simon wrong. If you missed it, you can see it here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

So who's going home?

So who’s going home? Well, Luke Menard should go home but that whole “Dawson’s Creek” thing may keep him in. And it’s definitely way past time for Jason Yeager to go. If I had to pick someone other than them, I would go with Danny Noriega.

Right now, I’m going to go vote for David Hernandez a bunch of times because I’m afraid that David Archuleta made everyone forget all about him…

So what did you think? That first hour was a bit of a snoozer wasn’t it? Let’s hope the girls choose better songs…

David A. Wows Them All

David Archuleta, “Imagine”: 25
I know my maximum score is only 20, but that was so totally in a league of its own I had to add more points. WOW! And as popular as he is, why can’t we just give him a pass to the top 12 right now?

Chikezie and David Take Shots at Simon

Chikezie, “I Believe to My Soul”: 18
This guy needs to put more attitude into his songs and less into his comments to Simon. It was a rough beginning, but he worked it out.

David Cook, “Alright Now”: 18
It’s clear that David uses his guitar as a little bit of a crutch because he really has no charisma. But the vocal was solid, even if the guitar was a little loud. But his swipe at Simon was completely uncalled for.

What is with everyone attacking Simon without a reason this year? And what’s with Simon letting it get to him so badly?...

Jason Y. Cranks Up the Cheese Factor Even Higher

Jason Yeager, “Long Train Runnin’”: 14
Just when you thought this guy couldn’t get any cheesier. And what was that dance move at the end (I think Simon was a little harsh calling him “drunk at a party,” but I agree that it was weird.)?

Could I Have Found My Guy?

David Hernandez, “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”: 20
FINALLY a good song from the 70s and David nailed it. I LOVED the way he redid the song to work as a solo number. Yes, there was a small choke at the end, but I’m going to overlook that. For the first time this season, someone has earned my vote. The only thing that would have made it better is if David had actually said "Daggumit" like in the original.

Danny Does The Carpenters

Danny Noriega, “Superstar”: 15
I really like his lower register, but I think this song could have used a few more power notes. It was a little boring.

Have I mentioned that I can’t stand 70s music? This whole show is starting to feel like an old K-Tel commercial…

Robbie Gets "Hot Blooded"

Robbie Carrico, “Hot Blooded”: 15
The vocal was okay—though rather pitchy in spots—but Robbie SERIOUSLY needs some stage presence.

Jason Returns With His Guitar and Luke Kills "Queen"

Jason Castro, “I Just Want to Be Your Everything”: 16
This week, the guitar hurt Jason because it took his concentration away from his vocals. But I think the song choice was a good one—even if it did sound like one of those old K-Tel soft rock record commercials (Simon called it “schmaltzy.”). I hope he takes Paula’s advice and comes without the guitar next week.

Luke Menard, “Killer Queen”: 10
What on Earth were Randy and Paula listening to? I mean, was any of that on key? It sounded like he was worrying so much about the lyrics that he forgot to worry about pitch. And is it just me or did he sound rough as part of his a cappella group in the taped package?

Michael Goes His "Own Way"

A friend of mine is on vacation in Los Angeles right now. I told her if she runs into Ryan Seacrest to give him my phone number.

What?! I like him—even if I am mad at him about this whole Denise Richards reality show crap…

But why did he have to say that tonight’s theme is the 70s? That’s exactly what I was afraid of…

Michael Johns, “You Can Go Your Own Way”: 15
It was an interesting song choice, but Michael never quite nailed it. He said it was a dream of his to sing a Fleetwood Mac song, but I think he should have gone with one more in his own range.

Tonight's Show

So, my wireless network has decided that tonight would be an excellent time to stop working…

But don’t worry, I’ll still be here live. This just means that I won’t be able to post my scores until during the commercial breaks, so just hang in there with me.

I haven’t heard anything about tonight’s theme, so I’m hoping that means there isn’t one.

The good news is that we’ve only got a 90-minute show to sit through tonight.

Back in a bit…

My Final Word on Carly


If you’ve been reading this blog over the past few weeks, you know that I don’t like Carly Smithson.

But I think it’s a pretty safe bet that she’ll sail into the top 12 and there’s not a dang thing I can do about it. And if I don’t find a way to get over my distaste of her, the whole season will be ruined for me.

So, I decided to write one more post about Carly and then move on.

But before I could get my thoughts down, a longtime reader sent me this interesting thought:

If she's actually good, why do I have to be cheated out of hearing her because
MCA couldn't find an intelligent marketing or accounting staff?

As much as I hate to admit it, I can kind of see her point…

And let’s face it. If I disliked every contestant with some kind of professional past, I would dislike almost all of them. David A. won “Star Search.” Both Kristy Lee and Michael had deals. And you know big bucks were shelled out on Robbie’s band, Boyz and Girlz United, since they toured with Britney.

Plus, the truth is that if it weren’t for my insatiable need to find out everything about every contestant (I do it for you, you know.), I wouldn’t have any reason to dislike Carly so much.

On second thought, I really dislike those tattoos…

Maybe my biggest problem with Carly is something she’s not even responsible for—the way the show presents her. The producers think she’s good so they’ve been a little less than forthcoming about her recording past to keep people from turning against her, and that irritates me.

And I think it’s safe to say that I’m not alone since Simon completely took her to task after last week’s performance. I’m not sure if Simon was just acknowledging the controversy or if he was actually trying to turn America against her. It’s possible he was just trying to knock her down to size since the performance really wasn’t all that great. Whatever his reasoning, I just really appreciated it…

My faithful reader made one more comment that really resonated with me:

I'd rather have someone like her who appreciates and is grateful for being in
the competition than say the guy who shall not be named who thought he was too
good for it.

She’s referring, of course, to Mario Vasquez (who I refer to as He Who Shall Not Be Named), who dropped out of the competition. I know there’s a story about a sexual harassment claim, but I believe he didn’t want to tie himself down with a contract to 19.

The point is that Carly is truly grateful for a second chance and she is willing to go through the entire strain of the competition to get it. I guess I can actually respect that.

So, I will continue to harbor my distaste for Carly and will celebrate when she is finally eliminated. But in the meantime, I promise to judge her as fairly as possible.

You guys, however, are not bound by this promise and are welcome to trash her as much as you’d like…

Monday, February 25, 2008

Colton Is "Suspicious" of His Fate


When “Entertainment Weekly” asked Colton Berry what went wrong with his performance, he responded, “I really don’t think me leaving the show had anything to do with my performance.”

Colton said he doesn’t know what went wrong, because he thought it was a great performance.

Colton, sweetheart, singing all of the right notes does not automatically mean a great performance…

Joanne's Reality Past

“Idol” is not the only reality show Joanne Borgella has participated in.

She won “Mo’Nique’s F.A.T. Chance,” which she says she tried out for to use as a stepping-stone for her music career. But instead, it led into her modeling career.

You can see her winning moment here…

Amy Knows “Where the Boys Are”


Amy Davis may have butchered “Where the Boys Are,” but she’s getting the attention of boys (and men) everywhere through “Maxim” magazine…

Amy was a “Maxim” 2007 Hometown Hottie and is featured prevalently on the magazine’s website.

As for why she butchered her song, Amy blames a lack of in-ear monitor. She told “Entertainment Weekly” that she’s been using in-ears for two years with her bands back home and since her “brain is totally trained to use that,” she couldn’t change to the floor monitor they use on “Idol.” “I don’t normally sing so pitchy, but it’s gonna take some work on my part to prove that to America post-‘Idol.’”

I would say A LOT of work…

“Idol” Says Goodbye to a Longtime Friend

Thursday, we will say goodbye to four more contestants. But backstage, the show may be saying goodbye to its longtime director…

Insiders say an incident on the “Idol” set, may have triggered the departure of Bruce Gowers, who was nominated for an Emmy last year for his “Idol” work. No word on what that incident may have been or who will replace him…

Are Changes In Store for Next Year?

We haven’t even picked the top 12 yet and already FOX execs are looking at how to tweak “Idol” for next season.

Preston Beckman, FOX’s programming head honcho, told “Broadcasting & Cable” that the network needs to figure out how to start the show next year. “The early part saw some erosion and then we got to Hollywood.”

Beckman says the show is heavily tested through market research which will help guide the plans. “If you listen to the audience, you will generally be fine.”

I’m guessing the friendly tone we got through the opening episodes will disappear next year…

Blake Gets Through to His Label

Kudos to Blake Lewis for fighting for what he believes in…

In a post on his MySpace page, Blake says, “Finally my dream has come true and the label has listened to my pleas.” “How Many Words” will be the next single. No word on when it will be released to radio.

Personally, I think the label should have gone with that one as the first single. It’s a great radio-friendly song that still has enough of Blake’s signature beat-boxing to remind you it’s him…

I just hope radio stations will give it a chance...

If you've never heard it, you can hear it here.

Phil's Date Gets Delayed


Phil Stacey’s CD will now hit stores on April 29th.

Phil’s crazy schedule forced the date to be moved. Two weeks ago, Phil shot his video for “If You Didn’t Love Me,” directed by Roman White, who won a ton of awards for Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats"...
Photo courtesy of Lyric Street Records

Claymates, Mark Your Calendars!

Clay Aiken told “People” last week that he plans to release his next album May 6th.

Clay is recording the CD in New York in between performances of “Spamalot.”

He told the magazine that he would like to wrap a lot of the music around the theme of lessons he’s learned about life. One thing he’s learned is to not come out with “dark crazy hair” this time. “We did that intentionally. But I’m just going to do what I do this time.”

Carrie Returns to Charleston


Country music’s biggest tour is headed to Charleston…

Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban will bring their “Love, Pain and the whole crazy Carnival Ride Tour” to Charleston April 11th.

Tickets go on sale Friday, February 29th at 10 a.m.

But if you’re confused because you thought Carrie had moved on to her own headlining tour, you’re right. She has (In fact, she'll be in Columbus with Josh Turner April 4th.).

And stay tuned, my friends. I've got a feeling this will not be the only Idol-related concert announcement for the Tri-State this year…

Thursday, February 21, 2008

In conclusion...

Is it just me, or was that hour not as bad as I thought it would be?

I think America made four good decisions--although I would rather have kept Garrett than Luke.

What do you think?

I'll have more later, but right now I'm trying to figure out "Lost"...

Ryan Fools Me

8:53 Ryan brings Chikezie and Colton to the stage and then the lights dim…I think this is another trick and they’re both actually safe...No, it’s Colton! Yikes!

I didn’t call this one, but you know I’m not upset because I thought he destroyed “Suspicious Minds.”

8:56 Roll the goodbye video…Anybody know what that song is?

The Girls Say Goodbye

It looks like Joanne was pretty popular because most of the girls are in tears.

Unless those tears are for that performance, which unfortunately did not get better…

Back with the guys, after the break...

So long, Joanne

I thought this hour was going to be long and tedious. Ryan’s moving so fast, I can’t keep up!

Another new trick. Ryan brings up Amanda and Joanne and then says everyone on the couch is safe. Which of them is going home? After the break…

The first dimming of the lights of the season…It’s…Joanne.

Called those two…And yes, Ryan, it was the right choice, unfortunately…

Paula's Back, Baby!

Kudos to “Idol” for showing Paula’s video.

I saw it this morning and I LOVE it.

It could use a little less of Paula in the red with the wind machine and a little more of her dancing (That choreography is hot, ladies and gentlemen.). And, that cameo from Ryan and Simon at the end is a little silly. But Paula’s back, baby, so I’m willing to forgive the little things.

Oh, come on. You know you were grooving along with it…

Bye, Amy

Sorry, guys. My computer locked up…

Don’t you love Ryan’s new bag of tricks? After bringing up Kristy Lee Cook and talking to her, he eliminates Amy Davis. No shocker there…

And WOW, that performance was bad!

So long, Garrett

Yipes! I’m back a lot quicker than I expected to be. Without any stalling whatsoever, Ryan eliminated Garrett at 8:16.

You could see Jason Castro saying “He did it just like that.” Danny Noriega looked sick.

Garrett sings “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” with his family watching from the contestants’ stairway, a really sweet change.

I’ll be back with the girls, after the break…

Our First Results Show

Here we go, ladies and gentlemen. Time for the results show…

I planned on doing my minute-by-minute recap, but this thing is going to be so tedious and stall-filled, I’ll think I’ll just jump in when there’s actually something to say.

See you then…

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

So who's going home?

So, who’s going home? As much as I hate to say it, I think it’s Joanne, who will be joined by Amy.

What do you think? Do I need to cut Carly some slack?...

Carly Closes the Show

Carly Smithson, “Shadow of Your Smile”: ___
I’m going to have to let you guys score this one, because I just can’t be impartial when it comes to her. Kudos to Simon for daring to say it wasn’t fantastic. I would like to give kudos to the show for finally confessing Carly’s record deal, but I can’t because they weren’t completely truthful. The way they breezed over it, it was like the label collapsed just as she was about to become a big star and we know that’s not what happened. If anything, she may have led to the label’s collapse since they spent so much money on her.

I think the thing that bothers me the most about her is that you know she received significant coaching in singing and performing when she was signed to MCA (Surely some of that $2 million+ was spent on that stuff.) and I don’t think that’s fair to the other contestants.

Syesha Goes Down the "Road"

Syesha Mercado, “Tobacco Road”: 15
I like Syesha, but this was a bad choice of song—not because she didn’t sing it well, but because she was guaranteed to get drowned out by the band. And I guess I’m right about Simon having a crush on her.

My First Perfect Score

Ramiele Malubay, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”: 20
My first perfect score of the season. There is no doubt that this is no Jasmine Trias revisited. Her voice is really strong and I like how it flutters just on the verge of going flat without doing so. It adds tension to her performance.

Asia'h Does Janis

Asia’h Epperson, “Piece of My Heart”: 19
If someone said one of the contestants was going to do this song before the show started, would you have guessed her? Me neither, but it was a bold choice—and a good one.

Kady Gets "Groovy"

Kady Malloy, “Groovy Kind of Love”: 18
Why am I the only one who really liked that? It was like Celine Dion meets Phil Collins.

Wait. That last comment didn’t really help my argument, did it?

FINALLY!

Alexandrea Lushington, “Spinning Wheel”: 19
FINALLY! That performance was great, but I took one point off because I think she could have owned it just a tad more. Her voice is so effortless she barely moves her mouth and I think she needed a little more drama. For the first time this season, I’m disagreeing with Simon.

Brooke Gets "Happy"

Brooke White, “So Happy Together”: 15
It wasn’t that bad of a performance, but it was a bad song choice (Sorry, Simon). I don’t think that chorus really showcased her voice. And why did she keep grabbing her head like it hurt?

Double Yipes!

Amy Davis, “Where the Boys Are”: 12
Wow, that was bad. But then, I thought her audition was bad, so I’m curious how she even made it this far.

Amanda Rocks It Out

Amanda Overmyer, “Baby, Please Don’t Go”: 17
I’m kind of with Simon right now. I’m not really sure what to say. I like Amanda and you have to give her props for going full-blown rock, but I’m not sure the “Idol” audience was ready for that. I was sure she’d do Jefferson Airplane.

And it’s okay, Simon. I didn’t know the song either. Of course, I’m not a record executive…

Don't Forget...

Don't forget that you can help make this stallfest more bearable for me by posting your comments...

Another Young One Breaks Through

Alaina Whitaker, “I Love You More Today Than Yesterday”: 18
The beginning was a little rough, but as Randy would say, she worked it out. And her version was WAY better than Chikezie’s.

And I’m sure members of Spiral Staircase who may be watching appreciate Simon not knowing their song…

Yikes!

Joanne Borgella, “Say a Little Prayer”: 13
Yikes! You know I like Joanne, so that was unbelievably painful. And a horrible choice of song for her singing style.

Man, we’re off to a rough start…

And did you see Joanne’s dad eyeballing Simon? Make sure you have a security guard with you when you go smoke, Simon…

A Semi-Pro Falters

Kristy Lee Cook, “Rescue Me”: 15
I really would’ve expected more from a semi-pro. If only we could get Carly to choke as well…

But I do feel for Kristy in the sick department. I’m not feeling so hot myself right now, so don’t worry if I disappear for a little while. I’ll be back…

About Last Night...

So before we hear the girls, some final thoughts on last night’s show…

The consensus across the Internet this morning was that last night’s show was rather boring. Though I agree there were some snoozeworthy moments, I thought the show as a whole was pretty good for an opener…

Another thing that just about everyone agreed on (including me) is that the semifinal round is too early for a theme. I always liked watching the contestants hang themselves on current songs. Plus, it gave us a chance to see what genre they identify themselves with…

So what was the buzz on who’s going home? Most sites agreed with me about Jason Yeager and Garrett. But many people added Chikezie to the hit list for his attitude toward Simon.

Back with the girls…after the break…

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

So who's going home?

So two guys are going home Thursday night. Who will they be?

I think it will definitely come down to Jason Yeager, Luke and Garrett. Luke is a hottie, so that might help him, but Garrett’s got that cute thing down.

What do you think?...

Michael Lights the Judges' "Fire"

Michael Johns, “Light My Fire”: 17
Okay, confession time. I really don’t like this guy. I guess it’s that whole semi-pro thing, so anything he did I wouldn’t give a great score too. But unless there’s a backlash against his semi-pro status, I think he’s a lock for the top 12.

Jason Gives a "Dream" Performance

Jason Castro, “What a Day for a Daydream”: 19
If not for that last sharp note I might have given this one a perfect score. I thought it showed great talent and star power. Kudos for playing the guitar—an “Idol” semifinal first.

Garrett Lets Me Down

So I’m not the only one who thinks Garrett looks like Leif Garrett…

Garrett Haley, “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do”: 14
You guys know that I wanted Garrett to do well since he’s from Ohio, but…Again, a terrible song choice for someone with zero camera time. But he’s so cute and such a nice guy. Maybe I’ll vote for him anyway just to help him out.

I’m getting really harsh now, aren’t I?...

Will You Remember Luke?

Luke Menard, “Everybody's Talkin'”: 12
This was a terrible song choice and performance for a guy that no one had heard until now. And Luke was a MAJOR victim of the band since you could hardly hear him. But more importantly, how did he even make it this far? His audition was not that good. He did remind me of Kenny Loggins (as Paula mentioned), but he’s got a long way to go. Unfortunately for him, I don’t think he’s going to get there.

Colton Endures My Wrath

Colton Berry, “Suspicious Minds”: 14
Okay, I was probably a little harsh on this one because this is my dad’s favorite Elvis song and I still have Chris Daughtry’s version on my cell phone (It’s Dad’s ringtone.), but this came off totally like Tom Jones to me. The constant grinning and lounge singer phrasing was just too much for me.

Danny Does Elvis

Danny Noriega, “Jailhouse Rock”: 16
I know he wanted to show attitude, but all I saw was cheese. I just knew that was going to be the case as soon as I heard the opening notes. And “Project Runway” fans, doesn’t he remind you of Christian?

And are we stalling or what! Did we really need that judges debate to go on that long?

A Question For You..

So here's a question for you...

Is it some kind of double standard that I love David, who won "Star Search," but I can't stand Carly, who had a record deal?

Discuss...

David Wows Them...Despite the Band

David Archuleta, “Shop Around”:19
Ladies and gentlemen, this season’s first victim of the band. The background singers were WAY too overbearing, but it was still a great performance. Is there any way this kid doesn’t make it to the top 12?

Is Robbie the "One"?

Robbie Carrico, “One”: 19
I’m not really sure why I liked that one so much. I think because it was such a unique choice. It would have been easy for him to go with The Rolling Stones or The Doors.

Jason Y. Cranks Up the Cheese Factor

Jason Yeager, “Moon River”: 15
Can you say cheesy? Though I think it’s sweet to sing a song for his grandmother, I have to agree with Simon about the cruise ship.

David Channels Constantine?

David Cook, “So Happy Together”: 17
I like David, but for me this was a bit of a bad Constantine Maroulis impersonation. And what was up with that weird ending?

Don't Forget...

Don't forget that you can play along with me tonight by posting comments. I'll get to them just as soon as I can...

Chikezie Comes Out Fighting

Chikezie, “I Love You More Today Than Yesterday”: 16
The chorus was good but his lower register failed him during the verse. But what was up with attacking Simon on night one? That could backfire on him—which clearly Ryan knows since he told him “We appreciate the spirit."

David Gets It Off To A Good Start

David Hernandez, “In the Midnight Hour”: 18 (out of 20)
He had a perfect performance going until he botched that note at the end. And I totally agree with Simon that he needs to loosen up. I took off the other point for his lack of stage presence.

Let’s Get It Started!

Kudos to the producers for using Blake’s “Break Anotha” for the opening montage. Does that mean they’ll use Jordin tomorrow?

And speaking of Blake, baby, where is that new single?

They’ll actually start singing…after the break…

Man, do I hate these two-hour shows...

Are We Ready?

Are we ready?

Scoring sheet…check!

Red clipboard…check!

Blank tape in the VCR…check!

Computer on…check!

Hot guy I’m hoping can actually sing…okay, I’m still working on that one.

But other than that, we’re good to go!

Tonight, we’re going to get something a little different as the top 12 guys (and girls tomorrow) will sing songs from the 60s—the first time the semifinals have had a theme.

And if you enjoy any of the performances tonight, you can download them tomorrow exclusively at iTunes. I’m hoping that the downloads will be the actual performances this year instead of those inferior recorded versions we got last year.

Before the show begins, let me remind any newbies out there how my scoring works. I use a scoresheet based on the official one from “American Idol Magazine” (Do they still publish that?). Four categories make up a contestant’s total score: Vocal ability, song choice, personality and stage presence (The magazine scoresheet figures in appearance, but I took that out of my scores after some controversy in season four.). Each category is worth five points, so the maximum a contestant can receive is 20 points.

Three minutes to go….

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Top 12 Girls

Here are the top 12 girls that you’ll see on Wednesday night…

Alaina Whitaker, 16, Tulsa, OK





Alexandrea Lushington, 17, Douglasville, GA






Amanda Overmyer, 23, Mulberry, IN






Syesha Mercado, 21, Sarasota, FL
She reminds me of Christina Christian from season one, who Simon had a huge crush on.




Amy Davis, 25, Lowell, IN






Asia’h Epperson, 19, Joplin, MO






Brooke White, 24, Mesa, AZ
I totally agree with Simon that she’s a little like Carly Simon. But did you notice we did not see her stall during her first Hollywood audition the first time they showed it?


Carly Smithson, 24, San Diego, CA





Joanne Borgella, 25, Hoboken, NJ






Kady Malloy, 18, Houston
You’ll remember her as the Britney Spears impersonator.





Kristy Lee Cook, 24, Salem, OR
She didn’t get a yes in the first round, so I’m curious to know what she sang in the last round that got her through.




Ramiele Malubay, 20, Miramar, FL

For me, it’s really hard to look past Carly. There’s no doubt that she’s got a great voice, but it just bothers me that she already had a song on the radio and now she’s got a good shot at being America’s next “undiscovered” talent. I would feel a lot better if “Idol” would just come clean about it. Nigel says that all the buzz about her is just Internet talk and won’t affect the voting, but I think he’s wrong. Or maybe I’m just hoping he is…

As for a favorite, I really like Joanne, so I hope she brings it this week.

Remember that the girls will perform Wednesday at 8 p.m. on FOX…

The Top 12 Guys

Here are the top 12 guys you will see in action Tuesday night…

Chikezie, 22, Inglewood, CA (He’s apparently dropped his last name.)





Robbie Carrico, 26, Melbourne, FL
Robbie once dated Britney Spears when his boy band opened for her on a few dates during her first tour.



Colton Berry, 18, Staunton, VA





Danny Noriega, 18, Azusa, CA






David Archuleta, 17, Murray, UT
David won “Star Search” at the age of 12, but did not receive a record deal.




David Cook, 25, Blue Springs, MO






David Hernandez, 24, Glendale, AZ






Garrett Haley, 17, Elida, OH
I, of course, love that he’s from Ohio, but it would be nice if we had heard him sing.




Jason Castro, 20, Rockwall, TX
Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe explained in a conference call with reporters that the show wanted to show us Jason singing “Crazy,” but Danger Mouse (half of Gnarls Barkley) wouldn’t clear it. And since the only other song he did was his own (that I guess they didn’t think we’d want to hear) we didn’t hear him either.

Jason Yeager, 28, Grand Prairie, TX





Luke Menard, 29, Crawfordsville, IN





Michael Johns, 29, Buckhead, GA
As I've told you before, Michael was in a band that had a deal with Madonna's Maverick Records.
My favorite, Colton Swon, did not make the cut, so I guess I should pick another favorite. But since we haven’t heard a single note from four of the 12, that’s a little hard to do. So I’m going to wait until after tomorrow night.

Remember, that the guys will perform Tuesday at 8 p.m. on FOX. And I will be blogging live throughout the two-hour show, so be sure to join me…
Photos courtesy of FOX

A Brand New Hollywood Week

So tell the truth. How many of you thought of me when you realized there would be no group day during Hollywood Week this year? After all, it is my very favorite part of the season.

However, I have to admit—however begrudgingly—that I totally understand why they did away with it. This method really was the best way to get the best talent into the top 24. And it should have been the best way to introduce us to the top 24.

Yet, somehow, we still got semifinalists that we know absolutely nothing about it. And as last season told us, if those unknowns don’t totally bring it for their first performance, they’ll be gone.

Since I’m writing this a week later, I’ll just give you a few thoughts about the Hollywood round…

I think all future contestants learned a valuable lesson from Amy Flynn, who brought a “voice coach” to Hollywood. Amy brought Angel because she had made it to Hollywood in season four, but since she didn’t make the semifinals, how much help did Amy think she was really going to give her? And what’s up with teaching her a brand new song less than 24 hours before her final audition? She didn’t even get the words to the chorus right!...

Another valuable lesson came from Brooke Helvie. Do not attempt Simon’s favorite song, “Unchained Melody,” if you can’t nail it. I felt like I was watching another bad audition episode. So why did Simon say yes to her?...

And the third valuable lesson came from poor Josiah Fleming. The Hollywood Round is WAY too early to be telling the band what to do…

And yes, I was a little disappointed to not see Paula’s fake tears during the three rooms thing they usually do at the end of the Hollywood episode…

As for the top 24 episode, obviously, the biggest shocker was Josiah. I really thought he was the contestant the judges were arguing about at the end of the Hollywood episode and that Randy and Paula would push him through. His was a dramatic story, but I kind of feel duped since they spent so much time with him…

I also can’t help but wonder if the other contestants would have shown so much love for Carly Smithson if they knew she had already had a deal…

And I have to wonder if Randy and Paula vetoed Kyle Ensley because they were afraid he might be another Sanjaya. I was a little surprised to see Simon so angry that he didn’t make it…

By the way, in case you were wondering, the song you heard at the end of both of last week’s episodes was “Hollywood’s Not America” by Ferras.

I’ll have much more on the top 24 later…

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Thanks, Mom

When I was a very little girl, my mother bought a new television so that I could watch “Sesame Street.”

And thus, my love of television began…

But my mom didn’t quit there. When I was in fifth grade, I had to be in bed by 8 p.m., except for Tuesdays when she let me stay up and watch “The A-Team.” And in September when the show had its two-hour premiere, I was allowed to stay up until 10. This was, after all, before VCRs.

When I was in eighth grade, we got our first VCR, and my mom used it to tape “Another World” for me every day.

Now, before you accuse my mom of being a bad influence, I should point out that I did manage to graduate Summa Cum Laude from both high school and college, so clearly the TV didn’t warp my brain too badly…

And when I finally moved out on my own, I don’t think I have to tell you who bought me my first “TV Guide” subscription.

Yes, when I look back on it, I don’t think there’s any question that it was my mom who ignited my love for television…

However, we didn’t really love the same shows. She watched all the procedurals—“Law and Order,” all of the “CSI” shows, “Without a Trace,” “Cold Case” and, of course, her beloved “NCIS.”

When I was younger, it was all about “Family Ties.” So it was only appropriate that last week, the “Today” show featured a reunion of the “Ties” cast.

I also remember that Mom (and Dad) loved “St. Elsewhere.” Of course, that was WAY past my bedtime. But when we got our VCR, Mom taped it for me. I remember her urging me to watch the series finale so she could see if I loved the way it ended as much as she did (I think we were the only ones on the planet that thought it was great.).

Mom didn’t like anything tawdry—although she got a good laugh out of “Two and a Half Men”—but she did make time for “Knots Landing” every week. However, I think that’s just because she had a thing for William Devane. And why wouldn’t she?

As I’m sure you’ve figured out, my mother passed away while I was gone last week. And I miss her more than I could possibly tell you…

But because she gave me my love of TV, there’s no doubt that she would want me to continue to share that with all of you.

So if you enjoy my blogs, don’t thank me. Thank my mom...

I know I do, for that, and so much else...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Going Away

I have to be away from the blog for a little while, but I’ll be back soon…

Feel free to post your comments about Hollywood and the top 24 while I’m away, and I’ll catch up when I return…

Auditions Day Eight: FINALLY!

FINALLY! We have reached the end of the auditions!

Here are my thoughts on tonight’s “best of the rest” episode…

Okay, Amy (“Blue Bayou”) did not have that good of a voice. That was all about the cleavage…

Hey, tell me I’m wrong…

Okay, did I hear Tiffany (“Hallelujah”) say that her preacher told her that her voice was “still maturing”? I guess she didn’t catch what he was saying…

I thought Ashley said those twins (that weird rap) could sing?...

But now that I hear her (“(Black) High Heels”), I understand…And was that her boyfriend saying they had lied to her about her voice? Okay…

And what was up with Simon melting at the sight of a puppy?...

I really like JoAnne (“I Love You”). She’s gorgeous. I don’t care what she weighs…

And did you notice how Simon said JoAnne was a nice girl after she left so we didn’t think he said no because of her weight?...

Ryan, stop singing!...

Wow! Randy and Paula were right about Alesha (“Islands in the Stream”). She did sound like Dolly Parton! And wow! Simon admitted they were right!...

Okay, J Love (“Beautiful Lady”) might have made it through if not for that weird shrieking…and the glitter…

And Simon not knowing how a broom works? Priceless…

Chikezie (“All the Woman I Need”) was good. Wonder what was wrong with him last season?

Danny (“Proud Mary”) has a great voice. I hope we get to hear him sing something else…

I think Randy and Renaldo (“We Are All Brothers”) should duet on his album…

Did you notice that slight hesitation in Ryan’s voice when he said the auditions “never disappoint. Do they?” That was probably just a mistake, but it felt like he was sincerely unsure…

So Tuesday, it’s the Hollywood Round in two glorious hours. Wednesday, the top 24 is revealed and then the fun starts…

FINALLY!

When I'm Wrong...


Remember how appalled I was that Diana DeGarmo was doing “Gone Country”?

When I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong…

You can see why I’m wrong over at my Stay Tuned blog

Is Sanjaya the Next Ryan Seacrest? Or maybe Dunkleman?


Sanjaya Malakar will get his first taste of TV hosting thanks to TV Guide Network.

Sanjaya will host “Idol Stars: Where Are They Now?” which will give updates on many of your favorite Idols.

The show will premiere Sunday, February 24th at 8 p.m. on TV Guide Network…

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Auditions Day Seven: Hot-lanta!

This is it, ladies and gentleman! The final week of auditions! Woo-hoo!

Here are my thoughts…

Why did Ryan treat his parents like someone he was interviewing on the red carpet?...Or maybe not even that chummy?...

Another Clay slam? What has Simon got against him? He made him tons of money…

I would’ve rejected Joshua (that Queen song) because he was scary and his voice wasn’t that great…

It’s clear that T.J. (“Me and My Gang”) has been taking some kind of lessons, but I think he might need a refund…

I was sincerely hoping Asia’h (“How Do I Live”) could sing since she came to “Idol” only two days after her dad’s death. You could see the admiration (and a little shock) on Simon’s face. But since I know you’re thinking it, I think she would’ve made it anyway…

I loved it when Brooke (the Jackson Five song) worried about straining her vocal cords with her scream. And what about Simon saying he didn’t want her to sing well? I didn’t think she was all that annoying. I guess he really does have a pageant block…

I couldn’t help but laugh at Eva (“A Thousand Miles”) when she slipped on her number. That looks like something I would do—minus the dancing…

Alexandrea’s (“My Funny Valentine”) great-grandmother is 93?! Holy crap, she looks good!...

I thought Michael (“I Wanna Love You”) was cute. I would’ve let him through…

What was up with Nathan’s (“Paralyzer”) pacing? And did he really think he was funny? That was uncomfortable…

Amanda (“Mean Woman”) may be an excellent nurse, but if she came in to see me, I’d probably tell her to leave. Good voice, though…

So, what will Josiah’s (“To Run”) family say when they see him living in his car? I like a guy from Tennessee having a British cockney accent…

In all, 20 people made it through in Atlanta. Tomorrow, it’s “the best of the rest” and then we’re off to Hollywood…

Congrats, Kat!


Katharine McPhee married producer Nick Cokas Saturday in Beverly Hills.

Kat, 23, and Nick, 42, met in 2005 when they performed in an LA production of “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.”

Kellie Pickler was in attendance and Mandisa sang at the wedding.

“People” will have pictures and details in next week’s issue…

Monday, February 4, 2008

Rating Paula’s Performance

So, if all of those Paula-hating bloggers out there hadn’t ratted out that Paula Abdul’s Super Bowl performance was going to be on tape, do you think FOX would have tried to pass it off as live like they did so many times with artists on “Idol”?

Ah, the power of the blog…

Personally, I wish they had tried because the setup the clip did get made it stand out like a sore thumb against all the other pre-game stuff. They could’ve at least had Ryan give some lame excuse like technical problems kept them from doing it live or Paula had so much fun doing this for an audience she wanted to share it with the viewers…

Because in all honesty, the performance was pretty awesome. Granted, she didn’t sing a note, but the choreography was the kind of stuff you just don’t see anymore.

And yes, ladies and gentlemen, Paula does still have the moves…

You can see for yourself here…

Jordin’s Familiar Tune

Did anyone else think Jordin Sparks’ rendition of the National Anthem before the Super Bowl sounded familiar?

Now I know there are only so many ways to sing the National Anthem, but to me Jordin sounded like she was trying to do a nearly exact copy of Whitney Houston’s iconic rendition from 1991—only in a lower key.

I’m not saying that means Jordin was bad. It just disappoints me a little…

You can judge for yourself here.



Friday, February 1, 2008

Paula's New Album?!

Paula Abdul’s website is now saying that Paula will release a new album this summer.

Come on, you know you’re excited…

Also, TVGuide.com is reporting that Paula’s Super Bowl Pre-Game Segment will air between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on FOX...