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.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Josh Gracin CD Review: Well Worth the Wait


Ever listened to a CD that made you want to stand up and cheer at the end of it because you were so proud of the effort the artist put forth?

No? Then you clearly haven’t heard Josh Gracin’s sophomore album, “We Weren’t Crazy.” By the time Josh sang that last gorgeous note, I wanted to jump out of my chair and give a big “Woo-hoo!”

And remember, I don’t even like country music…

Usually when an album has as many stops and starts as this one did, you can count on an inferior product that was nowhere near worth the wait. Thankfully that is not the case here as Josh has given us an outstanding album that far surpasses his solid debut.

The CD gets off to a great start with “Found,” which features a great beat and a beautiful soaring chorus. That leads into his current single and the title track, “We Weren’t Crazy,” a nostalgic tune with a catchy chorus.

“Invisible” is a standard country ballad, but it has a pretty hook and Josh shows off some of his range. He continues that voice expansion with “Let Me Fall,” which spotlights Josh’s falsetto. “I Don’t Want to Live” ends this trilogy of ballads as Josh wrings every ounce of emotion out of that great country voice of his.

The CD then picks up with “Favorite State of Mind,” which was originally the title track for Josh’s sophomore CD that was scrapped. I have always liked this song, but it’s almost out of place now with the more mature sound of the rest of the CD. It’s still catchy, though, and it’ll get your feet tapping.

Then, it’s back to what Josh does best with “Telluride,” featuring another gorgeous sweeping chorus. That’s followed by another previous single, “I Keep Coming Back,” which really should’ve been more successful than it was on the charts because it’s a great country ballad.

And speaking of great country ballads, you don’t get much better than the next track, “Sweet September,” with another great chorus. Then, the CD picks up the tempo one final time for the cute ditty, “Livin’ It Up.”

But Josh wisely closes the album with another gorgeous ballad that I can hear being played at weddings everywhere this summer called “Unbelievable.”

If indeed the delay in this CD was to find better tracks, then the plan worked as the geniuses at Lyric Street Records have done it again. Josh’s voice is stronger and better than ever and it shines on every track. There are a lot of opportunities for singles here and I hope that Josh gets to take advantage of every one of them.

Ladies and gentlemen, Josh Gracin is back and I couldn’t be happier about it.

“We Weren’t Crazy” from Lyric Street Records hits stores Tuesday, April 1st.

You can take a listen for yourself here.
Note: This review was written based on an Internet stream of the CD and not the actual CD.

Friday, March 28, 2008

This Weekend

So, I’m going out of town the next couple of days to get this whole computer thing taken care of.

But I hope to be back sometime Sunday with Chikezie AND Amanda’s exit interviews and we’ll start the great Dolly Parton debate.

In the meantime, if you have something to say that just can’t wait, post your comment here.

Henderson, out!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Did America Get It Right?

I totally disagree that this season is the best ever, but I would agree that it is the craziest ever. Or maybe the word is inconsistent…

And I would apply that same word to America as well. Sometimes they’re right on, and other times—like tonight—they’re not even close.

Did America get it right? No. Chikezie did not deserve to go home. And even though I predicted he would land in the bottom three, I don’t even think he deserved that. Yes, he did a bit of a repeat, but he did it well, which his goodbye performance illustrated beautifully.

And you know he was going to break out the harmonica again next week for Dolly/country week…

What do you think? Did America get it right?

And is Kristy Lee ever going home?...

And the person going home tonight is...

9:53 We’re back…Simon says Chikezie chose the wrong song and that the contestants shouldn’t underestimate the viewing public…Simon says he didn’t like Syesha’s song but Randy and Paula disagree…Syesha…is safe…YEA!!!...Chikezie is going home…

For the record, I have nothing against Chikezie, I just wanted Syesha to stay…

9:54 Chikezie’s goodbye video…So is he going to go yell at Byrd and Rickey now since they talked him into sticking with the ballad?…I think they owe him an apology…Rickey does not look happy. I think he knows he messed up…

9:56 Chikezie does “If Only For One Night”…He goes over to the Idols. Jason pretends to get all weak in the knees…Chikezie’s mom is enjoying it, but that come hither move she’s doing is a little creepy…Ramiele is crying, of course…The Idols head toward him and then stop to let him have his final notes…

9:58 And we’re out as they come to hug him.

Now could someone tell me what was wrong with that performance?

Did Anyone Predict This Bottom Three?

9:42 We’re back…”Idol Gives Back” plug…Why don’t they ever ask Kiefer? He’s on the same network, for goodness sake…”IGB” video showing where money went in America…Paula at Boys and Girls Club…Ruben at a Boys and Girls Club…I know I give “IGB” a hard time, but it really did do a lot of good…Good song choice for the video. Anybody know what it was?…Tickets are on sale for “IGB” now…Exxon Mobil has given a major gift as well as News Corp. Ryan plugs for more corporations…

9:45 Syesha is all smiles…Ramiele comes out. Does that mean she’s safe since we only need one more person…Yes, she is…Now it’s Jason and Kristy Lee. This might be interesting…The screaming would suggest he’s safe…Ryan mentions Lee Greenwood’s comments…Kristy Lee is safe and she is shocked. I told you this would be interesting. There is widespread booing from the audience at the revelation Jason is in the bottom three…

9:48 Chikezie, Syesha and Jason. Did anyone predict that?...Jason said he knew he was going to be in the bottom three because of how late he came out. He said it would be “a big shocker”…Jason is safe…

9:48 Chikezie and Syesha…Syesha is still smiling. It’s surely Chikezie, right?...After the break…

K-Lo Shows Them How It's Done

9:27 We’re back…Oh boy, it’s “Idol Live” time…Ryan plugs “American Idol Extra” on the FOX Reality Channel. They show Constantine and Gina Glocksen in the audience, but Ryan doesn’t explain why (They’re the co-hosts of the show.)…A caller asks Simon how they can take Ryan’s job. He tells her she doesn’t need a lot of talent. I love you, Ryan...Brooke says she would like to do a duet with John Mayer. You know the producers are calling him up right now…

9:31 Finally, it’s K-Lo time…Video first…She was in law school? I didn’t remember that…Look at all the hair Simon had in season two…I think “Eighth World Wonder” is one of the best Idol songs ever released…Wow, she looks great! “Celebrity Fit Club” works wonders, doesn’t it?...”Change” is such a great song. It’s a shame her CD hasn’t sold better, but she is the AC radio queen, so I guess that’s something…

9:34 K-Lo takes the stage to sing “Fall”…Wow, that gown is really traditional for Christian, but it’s fierce. However, on her, it actually makes her butt and middle look big…And I don’t like her hair pulled back. It makes her look old. Wonder who made that decision. Surely not Christian. And I know he didn’t choose that necklace….Sorry, I’m done criticizing how she looks now. Let’s move on to how she sounds which is absolutely fantastic. I hope this appearance boosts her downloads…They didn’t even mention who designed the dress! I know it’s a show on a rival network, but come on!...After the break…

I guess I should point out for those of you who don’t know that Christian is Christian Siriano, the winner of “Project Runway,” which I am completely obsessed with…

Who's joining Chikezie?

9:19 We’re back…Ford commercial…”I Want You to Want Me”…Michael sounds good…The Idols are appearing on t-shirts while a guy walks through a store…Didn’t they already do that song? I guess that was last year…

9:20 David Archuleta…Lots of screaming…Maybe the revelation of a girlfriend didn’t bother him as badly as I thought it would…He’s safe, of course…David Cook…Almost as many screams as David A…Ryan says that Chris Cornell loved David’s song…

9:21 Syesha Mercado…She’s in the bottom three…I had a slight concern that she may have been a little forgettable after those other performances and I guess that concern was warranted. I even had that typed last night, but I decided to erase it and stick to my original prediction…Michael Johns…safe…I’m guessing this Syesha development means I’m wrong about Kristy Lee. Darn it!...Ryan confirms what I hadn’t had a chance to tell you yet. Next week, Dolly Parton will be on the show, but whether that means Dolly week or country week I’m not sure. You know Kristy Lee is saying a lot of prayers backstage. After the break…

Was My Gut RIght?

9:05 Thank goodness. “Idol Gives Back” doesn’t start at 7:30 p.m…

9:05 We’re back...Behind the scenes of the recording sessions for the full-length songs you can buy on iTunes. I’m so glad they’re letting us download these as well as the performances this year. I’m so downloading both for David Cook’s “Billie Jean”…Ryan says they’re not allowing these to track because that would affect the competition, but if they did they would take up the first five spots…Basically that was a three minute iTunes commercial…

9:08 Recap…David C. just gave me chills again. That was so awesome…

9:11 We’re doing the one-by-one thing again...Ryan explains the sofa vs. the urinal stools (of course he didn’t call them that)…Chikezie...He’s ready to hit the stools and even points to them…And he is on the stools. He’s in the bottom three…Brooke…sofa. She’s safe…Carly…She denies the rumor that she’s pregnant (that was apparently reported earlier today) and explains that she was wearing something to appear skinnier last night, which knocked her off her game…Carly is…safe and she jumps to the sofa and tackles Brooke. So my gut was wrong. Could that mean Kristy Lee in the bottom three? Please, please, please, please?!...After the break…

"Right Back Where We Started From"

8:56 How can every “Moment of Truth” be the most shocking one yet?...

8:56 Intro…Is Syesha’s “oh lo” going to be a catchphrase now?...

8:57 Ryan says over 30 million votes—the highest this season for a single show…

8:58 Ryan plugs the Songwriting contest. He says we need a “killer tune” and I agree. But that does that mean they think “This Is My Now” was a killer track?...They couldn’t make a new video? See, this is why these shows need to be only a half-hour…

8:59 Medley time…”Right Back to Where We Started From”…What are those dumb dance moves?...Michael is totally mocking them…What is that weird thing Carly does with her eyes? I’m surprised Simon’s never pointed that out to her…David C. and Michael chest thump. Yes, they thought it was silly too…Constantine in the house!...

9:02 Break…

Tonight's Show: WIll Simon's New Best Friend Be Watching?

Before we get to tonight’s show, let me share this statement from Lee Greenwood about Kristy Lee’s performance last night (courtesy of “USA Today”)…

“I was not only flattered but proud to hear ‘God Bless the USA’ on ‘American Idol’ last night. It’s really wonderful to give these young singers a chance to perform on the world’s largest stage to vault their careers. Win or lose, they have a chance to reach an audience never before possible. My only regret is ‘American Idol’ was not on TV when I was at the start of my career."

Notice that he didn’t say he liked the performance…

Greenwood added, “Thanks to the judges for their comments, and, Simon, you’re my new best friend”…

So, now we’re getting set for a long hour of stalling before we find out who’s going home. Everything in my gut says that it’s going to be Carly…

And, remember that Kimberley Locke will be wearing an outfit designed by the fierce, fabulous and flawless Christian Siriano. I hope he’s in the audience…

Back in about 15 with the blow-by-blow…

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

So who's going home?

Let me lay out my bottom three. I think it will be Ramiele, Chikezie and Carly. Do I think Carly deserves to be in the bottom three? Absolutely not. Her spot belongs to Kristy Lee, but I think she won the sympathetic/patriotic vote with that choice. And Carly didn’t really nail a classic.

So who’s going home? I think there’s an excellent chance that it will be Carly. And maybe she deserves to. This song should have been her moment and she didn’t seize it.

So what do you think? Post a comment and we’ll get this discussion started.

Remember that the results show airs tomorrow beginning at 9 p.m. on FOX…

David Wows Us Again

David Cook, “Billie Jean”: 20+
I told you that David would rock out some obscure cover for us and boy, did he ever (Chris Cornell, by the way. Thanks, Ryan, for telling me so I didn’t have to look it up.). That was awesome. Since I already gave Michael a 20, I had to add the plus since this performance was worlds better. However, I have to disagree with Randy saying that David is the most original contestant ever. That would still be Blake. Remember he came up with his own arrangements. David is copying others—which is brave and creative, but not original.

And I Thought David Was Cheesy...

Kristy Lee Cook, “God Bless the U.S.A”: 10
Okay, let me apologize to David for calling his performance cheesy. The Idol stage has never seen anything as cheesy as that. Now, before you call me unpatriotic, let me say that I love that song, but I felt like I was at some kind of beauty pageant. And she didn’t even sing it that well! However, I do agree with Simon that it was a clever choice because she was clearly pandering to emotion. I’ve got a bad feeling that song just kept her in this thing.

And you can bet you’ll hear her do that one on the tour…

In case you’re wondering how I got that low of a score, I gave her a zero in song choice, a three in vocal ability, a three in stage presence and a four in personality (which was highly generous). Yes, I am indeed over her…

David A. Gets Cheesy

David Archuleta, “You Are the Voice”: 17
My word, that was cheesy! I thought it sounded like some kind of parade song, so I was totally with Simon about the animated creatures at the theme park. But who did Simon think picked out the song? David’s parents? Interesting…

And David, you probably just lost a million votes by showing your girlfriend on camera. I wouldn’t do that again…

Michael Rocks Us and Carly Tries to Win Me Over

Michael Johns, “We Will Rock You”/”We Are the Champions”: 20
Lucky Michael that he was born in a year with Queen. This was good. Yes, he struggled a little with those high notes in the last chorus, but I’m willing to forgive that. And kudos to him for being able to outsing the band. They don’t make it easy.

Carly Smithson, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”: 17
So, Carly actually did kind of fulfill my request. She did sing the Bonnie Tyler hit from the year she was born, it was just 1983 instead of 1984. But even with that, I had to give her a 3 in song choice—not because it wasn’t a good choice, but because she didn’t pick the most dramatic part of the song. She should’ve gotten to that final chorus sooner and I think she botched some of the lyrics. I’m totally with Simon on this one. I thought I would really like it and I just kept waiting and waiting for that big moment and it never came. Of course, maybe it would have come if someone would turn down the mics on those backup singers.

Brooke Takes a "Breath"

Okay, so as you can tell I didn’t get all the years right. Unfortunately the Idol website doesn’t list birthdates, so I could only go by the ages…

Brooke White, “Every Breath You Take”: 17
I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a contestant stop and start again. Kudos to her for not falling apart and for going on with the song. But I have to disagree slightly with Simon and Randy. I think her solo piano act is getting old. You know I’m not a fan of the band, but I really liked that ending.

Chikezie Does Luther...Again

Chikezie, “If Only For One Night”: 19
Why do they always attack him when he does Luther Vandross? I like it when he goes there, but he does risk being pigeon-holed. If he gets voted off, will he yell at Debra and Rickey who talked him into doing this one?

Jason Gets "Fragile" and Syesha Nails Another One

Jason Castro, “Fragile”: 18
Aren’t Jason’s video packages adorable? And yes, Jason, your eyes are still adorable, but I’m not sure about the tempo change on that song. I think I would’ve liked to have heard it the way Sting recorded it with that slow, melancholy sound.

Does that audience have to clap to everything?...

Syesha Mercado, “If I Were Your Woman”: 19
I told Tom, my friend from Sarasota, that I wanted to see Syesha do something a little funky, but this was a great choice (Stephanie Mills, by the way, in case you were wondering) and a great performance.

Ramiele Goes It "Alone"

Of course, the cast of “’Til Death” is in the audience. Get ready for some shameless promotion…

And what is that rather sheer top Paula is wearing? No wonder Simon just winked at her…

Let’s get to some performances…

Ramiele Malubay, “Alone”: 12
Leave it to Ramiele to take a rocking 80s classic and turn it into a boring, soulless ballad. This was a HORRIBLE choice and the backup singers totally overwhelmed her. They can play that sick card all they want, but she couldn’t have nailed that one well. But what was up with Simon sticking up for her? Is he gunning for Kristy Lee or Chikezie, maybe? Remember that Simon listens to the dress rehearsals so he knows what they sound like before they take the stage tonight…

Kudos to her, though, for not going with Whitney…

I'm here!

Well, thanks to the lovely and talented Denise, I am here after all.

But you may have to bear with me a little since I’m typing on one computer and watching the screen somewhere else. It’ll take a little getting used to…

I’ll be back in eight minutes…

Tonight's Show...

Okay, so I’m working on a backup plan to possibly be up-and-running tonight after all, but we’ll have to wait and see on that one…

In the meantime, I've been sending my request telepathically to Carly that she do “Holding Out for a Hero” tonight. I know I’ve had my problems with her, but that would make all of them go away…

In the case that I’m not able to blog live tonight, feel free to post any comments that can’t wait until morning on this page…

Monday, March 24, 2008

Technical Difficulties...

So, just as I was sitting down to post Amanda’s departing thoughts and lots of great updates on your favorite Idols past, my laptop decided to go on the fritz. So now, I am without a computer at my house…

Which unfortunately means no live blogging this week. In fact, you’ll have to wait until the next day for my opinions on this week’s shows.

Doesn’t my laptop know that it’s “Idol” season?! I mean, come on!

I’m hoping I’ll have this thing licked by the end of the week, so please just bear with me…

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Details on This Week's Theme

So what will this week’s theme be?

According to Amanda’s exit interview with reporters, it will be music from the year the contestants were born. She was going to do “On the Dark Side” from 1984…

So what years will the other contestants have to choose from? Here’s the list based on the ages in their Idol webpage bios:

Brooke White—1984
Carly Smithson—1984
Chikezie—1986
David Archuleta—1991
David Cook—1983
Jason Castro—1988
Kristy Lee Cook—1984
Michael Johns—1979
Ramiele Malubay—1988
Syesha Mercado—1987

Woo-hoo! A lot of 80s music, with the majority coming from a really great year—1984. But you know Kristy Lee will still screw it up…

Speaking of 1984, that was a pretty good year for my all-time fave, Hall and Oates, which Brooke lists as one of her musical influences. Wouldn’t it be cool to hear Brooke strip down “Out of Touch” or even better “Adult Education”? I say bring it on, but Kristy Lee had better stay away from both of those…

You just know that David Cook spent a long night on the Internet looking for an obscure cover to wow us with. Maybe there’s a rock version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” out there somewhere…

And yes, I’m well aware that 1987 and 1988 were big years for Whitney Houston, so you just know that either Syesha or Ramiele, or both will pick her—even though we all know what a mistake that would be…

What do you think? What songs would you like to see them tackle (or not tackle) this week?...

Remember that Tuesday's show is only 90 minutes (Thank goodness!), but we're still stuck with an hour-long results show...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Did America Get It Right?

So, did America get it right? Honestly, they probably did. But I SO want Kristy Lee to go…

Now we know the 10 who will be touring this summer. And let’s be honest. Are any of them worth shelling out $50+ for? I’m not sure they are. Maybe David C., but I don’t know…

What I am psyched about is Dolly Parton as a mentor. She is such a hoot that you know she’s going to be great. And I really hope she does her cover of Fine Young Cannibals’ “She Drives me Crazy,” because that song ROCKS! And you know that Kristy Lee is hoping to last until she shows up.

Neil Diamond, however, scares me a little; and I’ve already told you my thoughts about a Broadway/Lord Webber week. And Mariah Carey week? Talk about trouble…

So what do you think? Did America get it right? Will you go see any of these contestants in concert if they come to town?

Post a comment and let’s get this discussion started…

And going home is...

9:52 We’re back. Let’s do this…Carly, Kristy and Amanda…Carly seems to be pumping them up…Carly…safe…She says, “You’re kidding me.” She is genuinely surprised. Why?...Kristy and Amanda…

9:53 Simon says America got it right for the second week in a row…Kristy…safe...Amanda chases Kristy off to the couch. Amanda flashes a giant smile to the audience…The other contestants console Kristy Lee…I texted my friend during the break that Amanda was going to go and Kristy would get to stay. Come on, America! It’s time for her to go…However, I’m guessing the people who put the tour together are relieved right now. They probably weren’t sure what they were going to do with Amanda…Goodbye video. That goodbye song just doesn’t work, does it?...

9:56 Amanda says that being #11 is more than she could’ve ever expected…Carly is crushed about her roommate…Amanda does “Back in the USSR”…Okay, she deserved to go, but I can’t believe that Kristy gets to tour. I guess the good news is that I’ll be saving about 50 bucks this year…

9:58 The other contestants, led by Carly, run out to hug Amanda…And we’re out…

The Bottom Three Revealed

9:43 We’re back…Idol Gives Back report…A video of Elliott and Fantasia in Angola to see where some of the money went…They hand out bed nets and hugs…Fantasia sings “Amazing Grace”…Elliott goes to the hospital and meets a baby they’ve named after him and it makes him cry. Apparently it’s a tradition that children are named after visitors. So I’m guessing if it was a girl, she would have been Fantasia. He gives the mother a bed net, still wiping his eyes. He tells the camera he’s a godfather…

9:47 Reminder that April 9th is the date for IGB with Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Dane Cook and more…

9:47 Lights down…Syesha comes out…Top 10…She’s very relieved…

9:48 Amanda and Chikezie both take the stage…Chikezie is nervous. Amanda doesn’t seem to care…Chikezie is safe…Amanda flashes a big smile…

9:48 Carly and Kristy Lee join Amanda on the stage…After the break…

Is it just me or does Amanda look like she wants to go home?

More stalling...

9:28 We’re back….Oh lord, it’s time to take viewer calls…She asks why Simon spends so much money on cars and none on clothes. Simon says that it’s a rude question. Simon says it’s because “unlike other people on the show” he doesn’t have an ego. Ryan says he’s being rude to Paula, but of course, Simon meant Ryan. I think Ryan looks good, Simon…

9:30 This caller wants to know if Simon would consider filming a sequel to his kiss with Paula from season two and he says yes. Simon says she’s a very good kisser. Ryan says they’ve got time but Simon says it will take lots of preparation…

9:32 This caller wants to know from Ramiele what the last song she downloaded on her iPod was. She says R Kelly’s “I’m a Flirt”…The next caller wants to know from Michael Johns if the experience has been everything he thought it would be. He says it’s been more than he thought it would be but says he “apparently peaked in Hollywood” and then Ryan rats out the segment is on tape by saying “Good luck to Michael tonight” and we already know that Michael is safe…

9:34 Ryan takes another crack about Kellie’s boob job by saying she’s “grown in so many ways since leaving us”…Kellie intro video recapping what she’s been up to…

9:35 Kellie emerges to do “Red High Heels”…Still don’t know why she’s doing this one and not her new single. Maybe because it was her first hit?...I think that actually looks like the judges in their place, so this may actually be live…

9:37 Kellie comes over to sing to Simon. He looks very uncomfortable, but tries to keep smiling for the camera…So, it’s obviously live…

9:39 Kellie high-fives the contestants…Ryan comments that Randy was checking her out. Randy laughs uncomfortably…

9:40 After the break…

Come on, America! Do the Right Thing...

9:19 We’re back…Behind the scenes of the Ford commercial shoot…It’s a 50s movie shoot…Michael Johns compares his performance to Susan Lucci. That’s funny…Amanda says she likes this one because it’s easy to do…The song is “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” The Idols jump into the Fords to get away from a UFO, but then it’s revealed that David A. and Jason are holding the UFOs and David C. is directing. And yes, it was pretty cheesy…

9:22 Carly actually smiles and laughs at the commercial…David Cook comes out…He looks nervous…Ryan asks him about Simon saying he was smug and how he reacts to that. David answers, “I don’t.” Man, he learned his lesson…Kristy Lee Cook…Come on, America!...She says last night was her strongest performance. She’s probably right, but that doesn’t mean it was good…Yea! She’s in the bottom three…Come on, America. Do the right thing here…

9:24 Jason Castro…Top 10…Michael Johns tells him, “Let’s tour, baby”…Ramiele is really nervous…She’s safe…So does that mean Chikezie or Amanda as the third member of the bottom three?...Carly and Kristy Lee are in deep conversation, probably about the same thing…

9:25 After the break…

The Night's First Shocker

9:07 We’re back…Recap…Man, those people in the audience are annoying. Have they always been that bad or are they just encouraging that behavior because of the new set?...

9:11 Ryan points out the couch on the right and three of the urinal stools on the left for the bottom three. Ryan brings out Brooke White…Oh lord, we’re going to do this one at a time? Holy cow! Stupid writers’ strike! Bring back the half-hour results!...Brooke is in the top 10…

9:12 Carly Smithson walks out as Ryan shows Brooke which part of the couch she should sit on…AND SHE’S IN THE BOTTOM THREE?! WHAT?!...Randy and Paula say America got it wrong…I was so sure she was safe, I was just typing about Brooke and not even paying attention to what Ryan said…

9:14 David Archuleta…He’s going on the tour…Michael Johns…He defends his song choice…He’s safe…I told you he got enough sympathy votes…Carly is pretty upset, but she’s trying really hard to hide it. Could this be the backlash finally catching up to her…

9:15 After the break…

Mentors Revealed!

8:57 Sorry, I missed the intro because I was watching the end of the finale of “Top Chef” season one that I had never seen…

8:58 So who are the mentors?...Dolly Parton…Mariah Carey. Yikes!...Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber…Neil Diamond…Some heavy hitters, ladies and gentlemen. Nice!...But I’m guessing Sir Andrew means a Broadway night. Boo hiss!... Remember how bad that was in season four? Even Carrie Underwood botched it…

8:59 Songwriting competition plug…Ryan tells us that Jordin’s CD has now been certified gold. And yes, that is a disappointment. But she does have singles chart success, so that should count for something…I love how they’re trying to make us think “This Is My Now’ was some huge hit…

9:00 Medley time…David A. kicks it off…David C. has a beautiful higher range as he harmonizes with Jason…Sorry, I don’t know the name of this one. Something about “my guitar weeps.” Someone will have to help me out…Okay, girls’ time…Brooke and Ramiele were supposed to be singing together, but there was no sound coming out of Ramiele’s mouth. Has she gotten laryngitis or was there something wrong with her mike?...And the new director strikes again as the camera suddenly jerks from Kristy Lee…Okay, how did they jump up form the bleachers so quickly? That was a little crazy…Amanda is clearly not singing in the group numbers. What will they do with her if she makes the tour…That was a little pathetic…Again, the show should never do the same theme two weeks in a row…

9:04 Break…

Who Won Last Night's Ratings Battle?

So who won last night’s battle of “Idol” vs. “Dancing With the Stars”?

No contest. “Idol” crushed “Dancing” 26.8 million to 15.17 million.

By the way, during “Dancing” dress rehearsals, Ryan Seacrest came in and read Tom Bergeron’s lines from the teleprompter. Later Bergeron told “TV Guide” that he wished they could do that on the show with him faking laryngitis…

The minute-by-minute action starts in just a few…

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

So who's going home?

So maybe we don’t agree about each of the performances or even who should go home, but I think we can all agree on one thing. “Idol” should never do the same theme two weeks in a row again…

The contestants worked so hard to choose the perfect song in week one that any song they chose this week was going to be mediocre. The only two contestants that made better choices this week were Syesha and David A. Kristy Lee and Michael could also fall into that category, but it didn’t help them…

So, who is going home tomorrow? I want to say Kristy Lee Cook, but I tried that one last week. Tom from Sarasota told me that the key to Kristy Lee is that she’s “bea-u-ti-ful” and she did look good tonight. But I’ve got to believe she’ll at least make the bottom three. I think she’ll be joined by Amanda and Ramiele. I would have said Michael, but I think Ryan got him enough sympathy votes to stick around.

And if it comes down to Amanda, Ramiele and Kristy Lee, I’ve got to believe Kristy Lee will go.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to try and insure that happens by voting for Syesha several times.

Hey, she made me look smart. How can I not vote for her?

Oh, there are two other things I think we can agree on. One, the audience is completely annoying this year. And two, these two-hour shows are getting REALLY annoying. Thankfully, next week is only 90 minutes and then, we go back to an hour.

I never thought I’d be so happy to see “Hell’s Kitchen”…

Be sure to let me know what you think about tonight’s show by posting your comments…

We're Closing With This?

Ramiele Malubay, “I Should Have Known Better”: 17
That song was tonight’s closer? She sang all the notes right, but it was way too cute for me…

Chikezie Leaves Me Speechless...Again

Chikezie, “I’ve Just Seen a Face”: 15
What was that?! Is it a requirement now that we have a hoedown each week? And why would you play an instrument that you’ve never played before in front of 30 million people?

And did Simon just take a shot at Billy Ray Cyrus?

Syesha Proves Me Right

Syesha Mercado, “Yesterday”: 20
I’m going to need a moment to bask in my rightness. That was gorgeous—even if she did steal David H.’s arrangement with the acoustic guitar player seated next to her. And she looks gorgeous. Syesha is totally back!

I Love It When I'm Right

So when I talked yesterday to Tom, the reporter from Sarasota, I told him that since “Yesterday” was up for grabs since it was David H.’s song, that maybe Syesha should do it and turn it into a big power ballad.

And what song did Ryan just say she was doing? That’s right. “Yesterday.”

I love it when I’m right.

Let’s see how it goes…

Jason C. Goes Bilingual

Jason Castro, “Michelle”: 17
So, he sounded good and the French sounded even better than the English. But he is so uncomfortable without the guitar. You could see that he was thinking way too much during the song…

Carly Flies...

Carly Smithson, “Blackbird”: 18
What is up with all this love I’m showing Carly? I thought there were moments when she sounded like Cher (and that’s a compliment). But I thought her outfit and makeup looked bad and she was doing something weird with her eyes throughout. But her blackbird speech and her total humility will score her major points with the audience…

David C. Does Whitesnake Doing The Beatles

David Cook, “Daytripper”: 19
First of all, let me thank David for telling me whose version he was doing so I didn’t have to search it out (Whitesnake, if you missed it.). The only thing I didn’t like about the song was the backup singers. I would’ve nixed them. And notice that he didn’t take issue with Simon. He’s learned his lesson there. And believe it or not, I liked the vocoder...

Will the "Sun" Set on Brooke?

Brooke White, “Here Comes the Sun”: 16
It was just a little too giddy for me. I think playing the guitar would’ve helped her. But I love her personality, especially when she told the audience that it was okay that Simon was trashing her. She’ll be fine…

Michael Johns Sings (Sorry, that's all I could come up with for him)

Michael Johns, “A Day in the Life”: 15
It’s no wonder that Madonna dropped his band. This guy has zippo charisma. And that dizzying camerawork didn’t really help matters. And why does he always drop the microphone before the note is over? Of course the one time he didn’t, I wish he had. But he’s probably safe anyway, thanks to Ryan pointing out his reason for singing the song…

And I noticed that David was wearing an ear monitor. Maybe the close audience was drowning out the monitors a little too much? Maybe Michael should have worn one too. It would’ve at least helped Paula make excuses for him…

The "wallpaper" and the "master class"

Could we stop pushing Kristy Lee down our throats, please?!

Kristy Lee Cook, “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”: 14
They can boo all they want, but Simon is exactly right. His description of her as “musical wallpaper” is spot-on. But not only was that song boring and safe, it was also off-key for most of it…

David Archuleta, “The Long and Winding Road”: 19
No big surprise. David is back. He tried to take the judges’ advice and go peppier last week and it failed. This week, he went back to his moneymaker—the ballad. And even Simon had to admit that as he called it a “master class”…

Amanda Goes Back to the "U.S.S.R."

Okay, stop it with the “back by popular demand” crap. We’re not buying it. And apparently, they’re not buying it either since they’re trying to tell us last week was Lennon-McCartney and this week is The Beatles. So, I’m confused. Those songs last week weren’t Beatles songs?...

Come on…

And don’t you love all of the stalling so they can postpone the performances as much as possible, thus trying to keep people from turning to “Dancing With the Stars”?

Finally, the performances begin…

And have I said how hot I think Ryan looks tonight? Sorry, I know I have a problem…

Amanda Overmyer, “Back in the U.S.S.R.”: 15
Allow me to declare Amanda tonight’s first victim of the backup singers. I’m not sure if she was as off-key as they made her sound. However, you can’t blame them for that rough beginning. It was a good song choice, though, but I agree with Simon that it’s a little too predictable. And she might want to watch the attitude. I’m starting to wonder why she’s even here…

Oh, lord. Kristy Lee Cook is next. I’m nauseous already…

Tonight's Real Battle...

On tonight’s show, the top 11 battle for a spot on this year’s tour as a member of the top 10.

But the real battle tonight is between “Idol” and “Dancing With the Stars.”

“Stars” moved to 9 p.m. Tuesdays to avoid “Idol,” which usually airs from 8-9 p.m. But thanks to the writers’ strike, “Idol” is doing two-hour episodes, which will pit the two shows against each other for an hour tonight.

But it’s not only ratings the shows will be battling for. Remember that unless things have changed since last season, the shows tape in adjoining studios which share dressing rooms.

That could make things very interesting…

Back in a few…

Danny Sails Away With Rosie

Danny Noriega accepted Rosie O’Donnell’s offer and joined her on her R Family cruise over the weekend.

Rosie made the announcement via a video post on her blog entitled “Bon Voyage.” The video shows Rosie, Ant, and Ross the Intern meeting up with Danny before the ship departs.

You can see the video here.

Idol Camp Deadline Tonight

If you were planning to enroll your child in Idol Camp, you better get to typing…

The deadline for applying is today (March 18th). However, not everyone who applies will be accepted AND tuition is $2995 for 14 days, with five different sessions to choose from.

The camp, which features Idols and industry professionals teaching “special master classes” plus traditional camp activities, is open to kids ages 10-15. It’s located in the San Bernadino Mountains in California.

To apply, visit the Idol website

Another Songwriting Competition?

You’d think they would have learned their lesson…

“Idol” is doing yet another songwriting competition this year to determine the winner’s single.

I think we were all hoping that after the disaster that was “This Is My Now” that they would just go out and find some decent songwriters to write something.

The deadline for submissions is March 31st and this year there’s a $10 entry fee.

You can get more details here

Blake and Jordin Get Their “Now” on DVD

Do we really need to relive Blake botching that horrid single, “This Is My Now”?

Apparently, someone thinks so…

“American Idol Season 6 Finale Performance Show: The Top 2” will hit stores May 13th, the week before this season’s finale. The two DVD-set will contain the 90-minute finale performance show with all three of Blake and Jordin’s performances and Daughtry doing “Home;” Jordin’s winning moment; bloopers, featurettes on Jordin and Blake; and “How To Audition for American Idol Guide.”

Why they are only putting the finale on DVD, I have no idea. I really wish they would do another best of DVD with all of the great performances from seasons five and six—even if it’s only another AT&T promo DVD…

Kellie Kicks Up Her “Heels” on “Idol”

Kellie Pickler will be this week’s returning Idol on Wednesday’s results show.

She’ll sing her hit “Red High Heels.” I’m not sure why she’s not singing her new single, “Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind.” Maybe they think “Heels” will make a better performance…

I’m guessing all of these return performances are part of the “Where Are They Now?” segments that the producers promised us at the beginning of the year…

Simon’s “Big Give”

Let’s face it. Despite all his bravado, Simon Cowell is just a nice guy…

Yesterday on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Simon gave the family of a 3-year-old girl with cancer $162,000 to pay off their mortgage.

Simon said he credited Oprah for teaching him the benefits of a good deed. “I never knew that doing good could feel so good”…

Carrie and Keith Cover a Classic

While snooping around the Internet, I found this from the Carrie Underwood-Keith Urban concert tour…

The two do a duet of the Stevie Nicks-Tom Petty classic, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and it’s pretty good.

You can check it out here.

I just wish Carrie would learn that it’s okay to move…

Monday, March 17, 2008

Carrie’s “Idol” Generosity

Speaking of Carrie Underwood, Phil Stacey talks about her generosity toward last year’s Idols in this week’s installment of his diary for “USA Today.”

Phil writes that when the contestants were narrowed to the final 10, they each received a gift from Carrie—a note of congratulations and a silver necklace from Tiffany’s. The necklace had a “dog-tag-looking” pendant with each contestant’s name on one side and “love, CU” on the other.

You’ve got to respect someone who remembers where they came from…

And no, that was not a swipe at Kelly Clarkson. Settle down, kids…

Carrie Gets a Grand Ole Invitation

Carrie Underwood will become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry May 10th.

She was extended the invitation Saturday at the Opry by Randy Travis after Carrie performed his song, “I Told U So.”

Afterward, Carrie said “I felt like I just won something amazing all over again”...

The New King of All Media

I can hear Howard Stern throwing a fit already…

In their issue spotlighting 2008 mavericks—“big thinkers shaping your life”—“Details” magazine calls Ryan Seacrest the “King of All Media.”

I can’t say I disagree…

In the article Ryan calls himself a “content provider” instead of a personality and he talks about his detailed daily schedule planned out to the minute.

And no, that schedule does not include dating, although Ryan admits he was in a relationship recently (He does not name her.). “I completely fell into a relationship, and I didn’t want to. I remember having conversations like ‘This is so weird for me, because I’m not supposed to be with anyone until I’ve achieved what I want to achieve.’”

Ryan, I could be there for you when that day comes…

K-Lo Gets Fierce on the Idol Stage


Kimberley Locke, who finished third in season two, will return to the “Idol” stage Wednesday, March 26th.

K-Lo will perform her new single, “Fall,” a cover of Clay Walker’s country hit, which has already gotten rave reviews from “Billboard.”

But here’s the best part. Her outfit for the performance will be designed by “Project Runway” winner Christian Siriano.

How fierce is that?

For those of you who think Kimberley has been laying low in the music world since “Idol,” that is far from the case. Although sales for her sophomore CD, “Based On a True Story,” have been weak, the album has produced two top 10 Adult Contemporary hits, bringing her total to seven since September 2004. Recently, “Billboard” called her the AC format’s “consummate modern-day heroine”…

Friday, March 14, 2008

Randy CD Review: Should You Join the "Club"?


Dictionary.com defines club as a group of persons organized for a social, literary, athletic, political, or other purpose.

But with Randy Jackson’s Music Club, the only purpose seems to be because Randy said so. Because the music has no defining tie other then Randy, which produces a real hodgepodge of stuff—and not all good stuff…

The CD kicks off with the high energy “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow” with Paula Abdul. I’ve already told you many times that I love this song so it gets the CD off to a great start. But if you’re looking for the album to sustain that momentum, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

The next track, “Just Walk On By” does follow nicely as Joss Stone gets nice and funky with a great bass line. Trisha Covington, Keke Wyatt and Kiley Dean take the next one, “What Am I So Afraid Of,” a lightweight R&B track that’s been done a million times before, but it’s still decent.

But then, the CD takes a complete left turn with “Like A” by Crunk Squad featuring Killah. On a rap CD, the song wouldn’t be so bad—although I hate the overuse of the vocoder voice machine. Just sing it, dawg!—but following the first three songs, it just doesn’t go…

The CD then gets back on the main route with Kelli Love’s “Who’s Gonna Love You Now,” a lightweight R&B ballad in the same vein as the third song. But just as you get back in the groove, the CD takes two or three left turns and goes blues with “Wang Dang Doodle,” by Sam Moore, Keb Mo and Angie Stone. I’ve got nothing against this type of music, it just—again—doesn’t go and Randy overproduces the chorus as he allows Stone to screech a little…

But no worries, the AC vibe comes right back with “Something to Believe In” by the great combination of Van Hunt, Jon McLaughlin and Jason Mraz. But again Randy overproduces with too much guitar on the chorus. And the song sounds a little too reminiscent of Bryan Adams. But it’s still a solid track…

You might think that since the next track comes from John Rich (and Anthony Hamilton), that the CD may be taking another left turn. But this song is more AC than country and it’s a really pretty ballad. John Rich has a gorgeous voice and his harmonies with the rougher sounding voice of Hamilton are perfect. And Randy’s restrained production works well…

But, unfortunately, we can’t bask in the song’s beauty for very long before Randy goes R&B again with “My R&B” by Brandi Esco. It’s another formulaic song that basically spends the entire chorus namedropping R&B artists—just like Randy himself…

Then it’s time for the Katharine McPhee-Elliott Yamin “duet,” “Real Love.” I put duet in quotation marks because the two don’t harmonize and Katharine pretty much admitted on her blog that she didn’t sing with Elliott. The song is not bad as it has a nice funky beat. I would’ve just liked to have heard the two of them work together as opposed to singing different parts of the song. And remember what I said about Randy allowing Angie Stone to screech? Apparently, Randy thinks allowing female singers to wail uncontrollably over the music is hot. He would be wrong…

Especially since all of that unnecessary wailing leads into the CD’s best track, ‘Willing to Try” by Richie Sambora, Travis Tritt and Lucy Woodward. Bo Bice fans will remember this song from Bo’s first CD (It was the strongest cut, actually.). But before the Bo fans get upset about a remake, they should remember that Sambora actually wrote this song and he does a great job with it (although I don’t like the lyric change in the chorus.). And Travis Tritt is the perfect partner (I never realized how much Bo sounds like him.) to give Richie the opportunity to show off those patented harmonies. But just as the song is supposed to gain momentum, it takes a nosedive as Lucy Woodward joins the song completely unnecessarily, other than to give Randy a female voice to wail over the music. It’s Richie’s song after all, so I think he deserved to sing the climax. Richie and Travis do pull it up a little for the ending, but it never gets back on course. I would love to hear Richie and Travis duet this one without any Randy interference…

The CD closes with a gospel track, “I Understand,” by Kim Burrell, Rance Allen, Bebe Winans, Hezekia Walker’s Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church Choir and Mariah Carey, although her part is a VERY small one (Randy’s famous namedropping strikes again.). It’s a strong gospel song that lulls you into a nice rhythm—which Randy then promptly destroys with an unnecessary preaching interlude. I guess he likes it when men wail over the music too…

As a whole, the CD is not bad. I guess I was just expecting more with all of that star power and that great first track.

And it does make me question Randy’s critiques even more than I already do. However, it does help me understand why he never appreciates the subtle performances…

You can listen to “Randy Jackson’s Music Club Vol. 1” yourself here

Be sure to tell me what you think…

Hear Some Scoop From Behind-the-Scenes Every Week


Radio listeners in the Tri-State can now get insight from one of Idol’s key behind-the-scenes people…

“Idol” Associate Music Director/Arranger/Pianist Michael Orland will talk “Idol” every Tuesday morning on “Miller In the Morning.”

You can hear it at 8:15 a.m. on Magic 97.9…

“Hallelujah,” a classic hits #1

Yes, it was performed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, but I think that Jason Castro should get the most credit for the top song on this week’s Hot Digital Songs chart…

Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah,” which was originally released in 1994, debuted at #1 on this week’s chart—14 years later.

I first became aware of the song when it was used during the finale of “The O.C.,” but I’m sure it was used dozens of times on TV before that and I know it’s been used dozens of times since.

You can read my thoughts about the song here.

And you can see that seminal “O.C.” montage here. It still makes me want to throw something…

David Hernandez: “All is fair in love, war and entertainment.”


David Hernandez spoke to the media after his completely unfair elimination yesterday and now I am more disappointed than ever.

Why? David was going to sing “Yesterday” next week with the acoustic guitar player seated next to him. You know he would’ve nailed that one…

And now you know that someone else is going to snatch that one right up…

David said the next week he planned to do Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody.” Would that be dance or disco week? Maybe the year of his birth?...

Unlike the delusional people eliminated before him, David understands why he was eliminated—song choice. But the song that did him in, “I Saw Her Standing There,” was not his first choice. It was “Let it Be,” but Brooke won the drawing out of the hat. His next choice was “Got to Get You Into My Life,” but Syesha did that one. I think the two of them switching would have actually been a good idea…

On “The View” Thursday morning, Elisabeth Hasselbeck theorized that the producers wanted to get rid of him because of all the scandal, so they fixed the competition. But David doesn’t blame his departure on that. He told “USA Today,” “If this is the worst thing that people say about me in my career, then I think I’ll be OK.” David said his fellow contestants helped him cope by keeping the TV off and not letting him on the Internet…

David did speak to David Foster after the show and told him he would love to work with him. Foster’s reply, “We’ll see what happens.”

The biggest lesson David learned: “All is fair in love, war and entertainment”…

Simon’s Latest Success Story

Still unsure that Simon Cowell knows what he’s talking about? All you need to do is listen to “Bleeding Love,” the fantastic new song from Leona Lewis. Leona won the third edition of the U.K. show, “X Factor,” which Simon created, with Simon as her mentor (On the show the mentors compete against each other as well to see who has the best artist.). Her winner’s single, a cover of Kelly Clarkson’s “Moment Like This,” broke world records as it was downloaded 50,000 times in thirty minutes. Her debut CD, “Spirit,” was the UK’s fastest-selling debut ever.

And now, she’s heading for stardom in the U.S. First stop—“Oprah.” She will perform “Bleeding Love” on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” Monday, March 17th.

The U.S. version of her CD will hit stores April 8th. For the first time, Simon and Clive Davis joined forces to choose the songs and producers for the album.

Kudos to Simon for not leaving a talent like this to Clive’s devices alone…

By the way, “Bleeding Love” was co-written and produced by Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic), who produced Blake Lewis’ CD…

If you’ve never heard the song, check out the video here…



Don’t be surprised to see her appear on “Idol” later this season…

Secrets From Wednesday's Show


Since I can’t be there to see the results show in person, I have to rely on the reports of others to get the secrets of the broadcast. This week it’s Adam Vary from EW.com…

I’m actually a little upset with myself that I didn’t notice Katharine McPhee and David Foster’s performance was not live. The performance was taped about an hour before the show…

I knew there was something up with that whole viewer question bit because I couldn’t believe they’d let that stuff go live. It was recorded as well…

Michael Johns and Jason Castro weren’t the only ones who did a hoedown during Kristy Lee Cook’s disaster. Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe square-danced with a crew member. Michael, Jason and Carly Smithson also did what Vary calls Kristy’s “wide-stance twist-dance.” The website has been making fun of Kristy’s “wide stance” for weeks…

When the show finally returned live after all the taped nonsense, it was about 10 seconds before Paula made it back to her seat…

Simon, who usually leaves the studio very quickly, spent a “surprising” amount of time talking to David Hernandez after he was eliminated. He also spent some time with Carly and Michael. He had some words to say to Kristy too, but Vary reports that “based on the look she gave him as he stepped away, I doubt she was exactly thrilled with it.” My guess as to what he said: “You were extremely lucky tonight”…

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Breaking It Down...

Okay, so let’s break it down….

Apparently, America thinks it’s okay to destroy a classic song by turning it into a hoedown…

Apparently, I did not vote enough times…

Apparently, the producers think they’ve chosen a good goodbye song…

And apparently, there’s some animated movie coming out this week about an elephant named Horton…

Who knew?

So what do you guys think? Was it time for David to go? Or should Kristy Lee have dosie-doed right out the door?...

Uh-oh is right...

9:53 I thought we were supposed to hear who the mentors were! Maybe next week’s mentor cancelled and that’s why we’re getting Lennon-McCartney again? Hmmm…

9:54 We’re back…Bottom three: Syesha, David H., Kristy Lee…Randy says it’s probably the right bottom three…Paula says she’s never seen a stronger bottom three. (Apparently she slept through the three divas bottom three in season three: Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia and LaToya London.). But she says America pretty much got it right. Simon says America was spot-on…One to safety…Syesha…David is a little surprised…

9:56 Kristy…SAFE! Are you kidding me?! David says, “Wow.” He’s clearly stunned…David says that things happen for a reason and that this isn’t it for him…

9:57 Ryan intros the goodbye video with the new Ruben song…The director accidentally cuts away from the video to the dark stage. Man, that guy needs to get it together. Bruce Gowers, come back!...Sorry that song does not work…

9:58 And we’re out. If they were planning to hype that song, they needed to hype “Horton” a little less…

Uh-oh...

9:45 We’re back…Jim Carrey is now sitting with the Idols…He says he shouldn’t have done REO Speedwagon…I was hoping he was gone…Didn’t Brad Garrett do that same trick last year?...Ryan brings down David A., David H., Brooke and Ramiele…

9:46 David A…safe…LOTS of screams…David H. looks VERY worried…Brooke…safe…That leaves David H. and Ramiele…Man, I hope I voted enough times…They hug…Ramiele…David H…Ramiele…safe…Dang it! Maybe I didn’t vote enough times…David H. is in the bottom three…Ryan asks him how he’s doing. He points out that it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going home. I wish, David, but I think you’re in trouble. Only Kristy’s hoedown can save you now…Simon is totally bored…It wasn’t that bad, was it?...

9:50 Ryan brings down the bottom three…One to safety…after the break…

Is This Over Yet?

9:32 We’re back…Ryan is in front of a computer…Ryan brings up the first question on the screen and on audio, a la a radio talk show. It’s for Jason. Which judge would he like to be? He says he’s most unlike Paula and then he rambles something else…

9:34 Someone who has auditioned six times asks for advice from the judges about his next audition. Simon says to get another job…Next question: Why don’t Ryan and Simon just duke it out on stage? Ryan says, “Load in the mud, I’m ready” and of course, Simon responds with “Of course you are, Ryan”…

9:35 Ryan drops a caller that says Simon is sexy…Last question for Simon: Does America or England have the best singing talent? He says American singers have the most talent, but the British judges have the most talent…Man, that was stupid…

9:36 Kat and David Foster (on piano) doing “Something”…Kat is wearing the most sparkly dress I’ve ever seen. And boy, is it short...and tight…and stupid looking in the back…Okay, was anyone else creeped out by that look David Foster just gave her? I know he was giving her some kind of direction, but that smile was a little creepy for me…Okay, the point of this is what, other than to appease Kat? Maybe it’s on the soundtrack to “Horton Hears a Who!” Just kidding…I hope…Kat does sound good and Internet reports say her next CD will be more AC, which is what her last one should’ve been. I know you “Open Toe” fans are disappointed…

9:40 David says they are working together on a CD…David says he’s doing “Idol” reports on “Access Hollywood” throughout the “Idol” season…Kat says, “Thanks for having me back”…After the break…

It's a "Who" Hoedown

9:19 We’re back…Ford commercial. “The Distance”…The Idols are political candidates…The commercial is cute, but what did they do to that song? Somewhere the members of Cake are crying…

9:20 Ryan stop it with the drama, will ya?...Video on how “Idol” has changed everyone’s lives…And, of course, it’s a promo for “Horton Hears a Who,” as the Idols attend the premiere…I say we all just boycott this movie. Are you with me?...

9:22 And hey! How come Blake had to sing in the first few moments last week, but Kat gets to be a part of all the drama? Stupid 19/Arista…Hey, wait! She’s not even with them anymore. I guess they really are making it up to her…

9:23 Lights down…Chikezie, Amanda, Kristy and David C. stand…Chikezie…Ryan brings Chikezie down next to him…and then tells him he’s safe. No one fell for it and he gives Ryan a hug…Amanda…safe…Carly gives her a big hug…David C…safe…Kristy Lee…Come on, America!...She asks for her microphone to sing. I hope she gets it…Ryan tells her to grab the microphone. She’s in the bottom three. Yea!...She apologizes to the audience that they have to hear it again. I appreciate that, Kristy, because it is a pretty painful song…Michael and Jason do a hoedown…Ryan tries to get into the hoedown spirit. It doesn’t matter what you do, Ryan, it still stinks…Apparently Sanjaya likes it because he’s on his feet. He would…

9:28 Simon says the song wasn’t any better. Amen to that…Ryan says they’re taking calls coming up. I just can’t see how this is a good idea…After the break…

The First Bottom Three of the Season Begins...

9:07 We’re back…Recap…If Michael wasn’t halfway decent looking, he might be in trouble. That really wasn’t that good…And what was up with the way David H. pronounced “dance”?...They showed Ramiele, David H., and Kristy Lee back-to-back, could that be the bottom three?...You just knew that lyric thing would come back and bite David A. at some point. Remember, he forgot the words at his first audition…

9:11 Why does Ryan tease us by saying it’s time for the results. It is not…Looking for bottom three…Lights down…Carly, Michael, Jason and Syesha stand…

9:12 Carly…safe…Michael…safe. He asks Ryan, “What is wrong with you?” after his fakeout…Jason…safe…Syesha…This could be bad…She looks worried…bottom three…You could just tell, couldn’t you?...Randy and Paula say her leaving would be the wrong choice…Simon says she deserves to be in the bottom three…She sings “Got to Get You Into My Life”…Please tell me that Kristy Lee hasn’t been spared from the bottom three! That would be just plain messed up…I like Syesha, but that performance is a little pitchy—especially that last part. And, of course, she had to throw in some extra stuff at the end. It didn’t work…After the break…

This is going to be a long "who" night...

8:57 The “Idol” logo quickly disappears into a “Horton Hears a Who” promo showing the cast watching Ryan do a VERY quick intro. Could we give this a rest already? I haven’t even seen the movie and I’m already sick of it. Did we learn nothing from “Bee Movie”?...

8:58 Ryan takes the stage…Over 29 million votes. That’s a little down, isn’t it?...Ryan intros the judges…And intros Jim Carrey. Boy, that elephant suit looks dumb…The girl sitting next to Jim looks mortified…Ryan asks if it’s a FOX film and Jim says he’s busted…

9:00 Next week’s theme will be more from the Lennon-McCartney songbook, because they received so many calls and e-mails. Wow, that’s lazy. But it would explain why they could only choose from 25. They were saving the rest (No, I’m not buying Ryan’s reason.)…Medley time… “All My Lovin’”…Carly and Michael duet. Pretty good…Kristy Lee and Michael duet. Not too bad… “I Feel Fine”… “Can’t Buy Me Love”…Chikezie gets a lot of screams…Amanda shows some chops…Michael finally shows some charisma…We get it. Jim Carrey is in the audience. Stop it!... “Help!”…Syesha, Jason and Brooke sing together. It is not good…Ramiele, Carly and Michael. Carly looks like she’s trying to help Ramiele out…The group as a whole do sound pretty good together…
9:04 Sanjaya in the house!!!...Break

Tonight's Show

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you heard Ryan correctly last night. Katharine McPhee is finally getting her return to the Idol stage…

Ryan said she will appear with David Foster, who according to Internet stories, is producing Kat’s new album. You may remember that Foster was impressed with Kat when he appeared as a guest judge along with Andrea Bocelli and he produced Kat’s single, “Over the Rainbow.”

It seems like a strange time for Kat to appear since she’s got nothing to plug, but I think the show owes it to her since they ignored her when she did have a CD to promote. But I can’t help but think she wouldn’t have gotten this without the Writers’ Strike…

Unless David Foster is going to be one of the mentors and they’re using this as an opportunity to introduce that. Ryan did say we’d learn their identities tonight.

And, if Kat’s performance isn’t enough, Jim Carrey is scheduled to appear on the show dressed as an elephant to promote “Horton Hears a Who!” As if that movie needs any more promotion…

By the way, I took another listen to Chikezie’s performance from last night, and I have to admit now that it was good. His voice was spot on. David Cook’s performance was not nearly as good as I thought. He slurred a lot of words and that beginning was pretty rough. In his defense, the Panic! At the Disco version also starts out rough…

I’ll be back in a bit with my famous minute-by-minute recap.

Hey! It’s famous to me…

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

So who's going home?

Is it just me, or does it seem like an eternity since we heard Syesha open the show? Normally, I would say that would be a problem for her, but after butchering a Beatles classic, I have to believe that Kristy Lee is going home.

If it isn’t her, then I would say Ramiele for that snoozefest she gave us tonight—unless people forgot it too. Syesha could still be in a little danger, but the recap made her sound good. David H. is also a possibility.

But don’t worry, David A. fans. He will be just fine, even with his little choke tonight. The recap did him a nice favor since it shows his rehearsal performance and not his performance tonight.

So what do you guys think? Feel free to discuss while I try to keep David H. in the competition…

The Favorite Chokes

David Archuleta, “We Can Work It Out”: 15
I can’t believe I just typed that low of a number next to his name, but I have to be honest. Simon’s right. It was a mess. The forgotten lyrics, the misplaced runs. Looks like David has just learned a cardinal rule of “Idol”: Stay away from the Stevie!...

Kristy Lee Makes a Mess of a Classic

Kristy Lee Cook, “Eight Days a Week”: 11
Boy, that was a mess, wasn’t it? THAT would be an example of taking it too far. And she seemed totally lost on the stage just walking around and trying to dance. She should have just stood in front of the mic stand and done it, but even that wouldn’t have helped. And why was Ryan sticking up for her so much? Simon was right. She should do a country style, but not totally wreck the song to make it country. Couldn’t she have countrified something else without doing a hoedown?...

Michael Goes "Across the Universe"

Michael Johns, “Across the Universe”: 17
The vocals were spot on, but I think he showed zero charisma on the stage. And I agree with Simon and Randy that he should’ve done more with the song. But you know that if he’s there next week (which he will be) and he follows their advice, they’ll tell him he went too far…

Amanda Rocks It Out--Again

Amanda Overmyer, “You Can’t Do That”: 18
I wish I knew why I liked that so much, but I did. I’m not familiar with the song, but it sounded like it was meant for her. And that’s pretty good for a song she just learned. I liked the attitude, and I liked her hair this week.

David H. Does Some Dancing

David Hernandez, “I Saw Her Standing There”: 17
That’s the problem with a song like this. It can come off as good or it can come off as cheesy. I think this one was more on the good side, but then I’m a little prejudiced. He missed that first glory note, but I thought he hit the rest of them. And how about that sidestep during the taped package? He was fired from a pizza joint and now he’s a student. Uh-huh. What about Ryan referring to his “stressful week”? That’s better dancing that David did in the audience…

Taking a Little Breather...

Those of you have been following along with me tonight have no doubt noticed I'm having a rough one...

I got so obsessed with finding the original version of Chikezie's song on YouTube that I forgot to post his review (I've since fixed it.)...

And then I posted that David C. was copying the "Eleanor Rigby" cover of Panic. After a second check of YouTube, I need to change that to Panic! at the Disco. The first video I looked at it had it labeled wrong...

Okay, I'm going to try and do better from now on. My apologies for the night so far...

Brooke Lets "It Be"

Brooke White, “Let It Be”: 19
I was skeptical about anyone doing this one, but that was awesome. Singing that song at the piano is SO McCartney-esque.

David Nails It Again UPDATED

David Cook, “Eleanor Rigby”: 18
I liked the arrangement, but his vocals weren’t completely on throughout. And I hate his screaming. I liked how Simon said if the show remained a “talent” contest and not a “popularity” one that David could win. Is Simon losing faith in David Archuleta because of the slight backlash he’s been getting?…

UPDATE: A quick check of YouTube shows that David's arrangement comes from Panic! at the Disco. That doesn't mean I like it any less, I just want to be factual.

I've become such a skeptic, haven't I? I never checked YouTube for Blake's arrangements last year...

Carly Gets It "Together"

Carly Smithson, “Come Together”: 19
Did I really just give Carly a high score for the second week in a row? She’s not who I would’ve picked that song for (That would have been Syesha.), but she nailed it—even with those overbearing backup singers. I think, however, that Simon’s Kelly Clarkson comparison was taking it a little too far…

Jason Falls

Okay, checked YouTube for the original “She’s a Woman” and discovered an acoustic version by Paul McCartney similar to the beginning of Chikezie’s performance. I’m guessing that’s where he came up with that. I’m going to have to listen to Chikezie again later to make a final determination on him. But it was surprising. I’ll give him that…

Jason Castro, “If I Fell”: 17
I think this might have been a little better if he had gone without the guitar and just gave a vulnerable performance. I liked the choice, but then, I like Jason…

Zzzzzzzzzz...

Ramiele Malubay, “In My Life”: 15
Zzzzzzz…Oh, sorry. I went to sleep there for a few minutes. It was pretty, but wow it was boring. And Randy on the attack? Way to go, dawg! Because he’s right. She’s in trouble…

Chikezie Surprises Everyone

Chikezie, “She’s a Woman”: 17
I'm not really sure what to say here. His voice was strong and I loved the falsetto, but those weird dance moves kind of took away from the whole thing. And I’m still not really sure about that bluegrass to rock switch…

The "New Look" Idol Begins...

Personally, I think Ryan deserves an Emmy for mustering all that enthusiasm for the new opening credits and that new set…

Speaking of which, I like the new credits since they allow for all the Idols to be seen—including Taylor—but I could do without that swooshing sound.

As for the set, it reminds me a little of the stage they used for “The Next Great American Band” with those weird spinning things on the side. I don’t really see the big deal, quite frankly. The biggest change is the distance between the stage and the judges and I don’t like that.

And why is the band up so high? Is that supposed to be cool?...

Okay, let’s get to the music…

Syesha Mercado, “Got to Get You Into My Life”: 17
I’m not familiar with this one, but it was a great choice. It started out pretty rough, but luckily for Syesha, the contestants get to sing longer tonight because she worked it out midway through and brought it home. And I agree with Paula that she looked fantastic.

And they have definitely added members to the band, because it’s off to an overpowering start...

Tonight's Show

As I told you last night, the contestants were only able to choose from 25 songs from the Lennon-McCartney songbook.

And since some of the contestants probably haven’t even heard any of those 25 songs, song choice will be very interesting…

I think we’re guaranteed to hear “Let It Be,” “Hey Jude,” and “Yesterday.” But who sings those songs will be the key.

And we’ll have plenty of time to think about it since tonight’s show is two LONG hours…

Be back in a few…

Monday, March 10, 2008

Did Diana Go "Country"?


So what happened with Diana DeGarmo on "Gone Country"?

If you haven't heard, go over to my "Stay Tuned" blog and find out by clicking here.

Phil's Video Debuts

This just in from the fine folks at Lyric Street Records…

Phil Stacey’s video for his debut single, “If You Didn’t Love Me,” began playing on CMT and GAC today.

It was directed by Roman White, the award-winning director who's directed all of Carrie Underwood's videos and the classic "Because of You" video with Reba and Kelly.

You can see it on CMT’s website by clicking here.

Phil's debut CD hits stores April 29th...
Photo courtesy of Lyric Street Records

This Week's "TV Guide" Cover Story

This week’s “TV Guide” promises “Secrets of the Top 12.”

And since I read the magazines so you don’t have to, here’s what we discovered…

David Archuleta didn’t hear Paula’s comment about popping his head off. When a friend told him later, he said, “Gosh, that’s kind of random.” That’s one way of putting it…

Syesha Mercado was a contestant on ABC’s failed “Idol” knockoff, “The One: Making a Music Star.” Syesha said when it was cancelled, “it didn’t really make me sad.” Maybe Austin, that show’s real talent, will audition for “Idol” in a later season…

About all of the buzz over her record deal, Carly Smithson said, “[The CD] went nowhere. It wasn’t like I had this [huge] career. My mom said, ‘Any publicity is good publicity.’ But it would’ve been nice if [the media storm] didn’t happen”…

Jason Castro got rave reviews for singing without his guitar last week, but it gave him nightmares since he’s more confident with it. “But I for sure had to mix it up—it was appropriate”…

David Cook is still bending over backwards to apologize for his exchange with Simon two weeks ago. “I think it slipped my mind that if we didn’t need the [judges’] criticism, we’d all already be huge. It was a lapse in judgment and obviously what was said was not meant to be disrespectful”…

Why was Ramiele Malubay so upset when Danny was voted off last week? Because she lost her “twin.” “We’re exactly the same. I just love him. He’s the other half of my heart”…

David Hernandez may have set himself up for a commercial deal. He told the magazine he chews a lot of Orbit gum to “get the saliva going.” I think that a commercial with David would be way better than those crazy “clean it up” commercials Orbit does now…

Brooke White’s husband, Dave, has vowed to not cut his hair until Brooke gets cut from the show. She said it’s now a “dark, curly mop” and that his co-workers are giving him a hard time at work…

Chikezie is thinking about playing the guitar for a future performance, but it would have to be a simple song since he’s a “novice at best.” Yeah, that’s a good idea…

For anyone who’s been wondering why Amanda Overmyer has been showing such little emotion, this might explain a few things. She told “TV Guide,” “I don’t have it in me to take off to California and beat the pavement to try to be a rock star. This is the only venue I would do music in because it’s easy—yes, you go on, or no, you go home.” Okay then…

Michael Johns recently helped score a documentary about snowboarder Shaun White. He got married last May at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Vegas with Elvis officiating…

About her record deal with Arista Nashville, Kristy Lee Cook said, “I had a shot a long time ago that didn’t work out for whatever reason, but I’m getting a chance now to prove myself”…

The “Secrets of the Top 12” issue of “TV Guide” hits the stands Thursday…

Some Scoop On Those Themes

So, how hard is it going to be for the contestants to pick a song this week for Lennon/McCartney week?

I would say pretty hard since there were only 25 to choose from.

Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe and Vocal Coach Debra Byrd revealed that tidbit and several more in an interview with “Entertainment Weekly”…

Debra told Asia’h Epperson before her performance that two other semifinalists were voted off after singing “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” However, as Debra said, “it’s their choice” and Asia’h went on with it.

If two top 12 contestants pick the same song, they flip a coin or do something else to figure it out because two contestants are not allowed to sing the same song.

Nigel said they did themes in the semifinals to force contestants to sing songs with melodies and songs the public might know—not just songs that they like. He also argues that the themes still give the audience a chance to see what kind of artist they are because they can still pick good songs from their genre.

Nigel said that for this year’s themes there are “a lot of good tricks that we’ve used before.” One of those is music from the year the contestants were born, because he likes to show their baby photos and introduce the families. There will also be four themes centered around the season’s four mentors. No word on who those mentors will be. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see country week with Travis Tritt since he and Randy have done so much together lately.

Nigel Speaks About David H.

“Idol” Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe has finally spoke out about David Hernandez…

He told “USA Today” that the producers knew about David’s past and that it didn’t merit disqualification. “What’s the law he’s broken?”

Okay, I hate to beat a dead horse here, but what law did Frenchie break? I’ve got to believe that she didn’t disclose the web site to the producers and that’s why they sent her packing…

Rosie Offers Danny a Gig


In a video posted on her blog Friday, Rosie O’Donnell offered Danny Noriega a gig…

Rosie invited Danny and a friend to come on her R Family Cruise later this month and sing “Tainted Love.” She also promised a duet opportunity with Cyndi Lauper, who will also be on the cruise, and possibly a trio op with Rosie joining in.

In her post, Rosie said, “I think you’re a bold and brave and beautiful young man. I admire you, Danny Noriega, and you have an amazing voice.”

I’m honestly not sure what the rules and restrictions are about the top 24, so I don’t know if Danny can go. Since it’s not a paid gig, I’m thinking that he probably could.

And I would if I were him. I mean, it’s a free cruise to Puerto Vallarta with a chance to sing with Cyndi Lauper. How awesome would that be?...

The Scoop on Paula's New CD: Boo Hissss!!!


“Billboard” is reporting that Paula Abdul’s new album will feature remixes of some of Paula’s hits, as well as new songs.

Remixes? Boo Hisssssss!!!

Paul Oakenfold and Akon are working on remixes of “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow.” Double boo hisssss!!!

We don’t want remixes. We want new stuff!

Speaking of “Dance,” the magazine reports that Oliver Leiber, who wrote and produced “Forever Your Girl” and “The Way That You Love Me,” did “additional vocal production” on the song.

I think we all know what that means…

It also means that if Paula goes on tour—which she is considering—we’ll get lots of lip-synching, but I don’t care. Paula has been offered a chance to appear during the “Idol” tour this summer, but she said she has to have the “visuals and the staging” and the Idol tour doesn’t allow for that. Paula promises she has “a lot of cool ideas.”

As for her new album, Paula hopes to have another single out by the end of “Idol” then release two more singles with the album streeting before Christmas…

Christmas? Paula, you’re killing me here, but I have to say it. Boo Hissssss!!!

Haley's Stalker Trouble


Haley Scarnato has had to leave her home in Nashville because of some scary situations with a stalker…

Haley told “Access Hollywood” that she’s going back to Texas because she’s had “some break-ins and some notes and stuff like that” and being by herself, she’s scared.

I can see that…

Haley told “Access” she is still pursuing opportunities in music…

Carrie Racks Up Another #1


Carrie Underwood’s latest single, “All-American Girl,” hit #1 on the Hot Country Songs chart this week. It’s Carrie’s fourth #1 on that chart (the others being “Jesus Take the Wheel,” “Wasted” and “Before He Cheats”).

The good news is that Carrie’s next single will be “Last Name,” which has serious “Before He Cheats” potential…

Jordin Gets Another Top 10


Jordin Sparks’ duet with Chris Brown, “No Air,” is at #6 this week, jumping seven notches. The song has only spent nine weeks on the chart, so I would look for it to climb higher…

This is Jordin’s second top 10 hit, with only two singles released. Her CD may have not sold that well, but she’s definitely producing the hits…

Idols Get Some CMT Love

Idols were well represented when the final CMT Music Awards nominations were announced last week…

Best Video of the Year has two “Idol” nominees—Carrie Underwood for “Wasted” and Kelly Clarkson’s duet with Reba McEntire, “Because of You”—both directed by Roman White, who was nominated for Video Director of the Year. The final nominees for this award are announced during the telecast with final voting during the show…

“Because of You” was also nominated for Collaborative Video of the Year…

Carrie’s “So Small” was nominated for Female Video of the Year…

Kellie Pickler with “I Wonder” was nominated for “USA Weekend” Breakthrough Video of the Year and Tearjerker Video of the Year. Kellie’s emotional performance of the song at the CMA Awards was nominated for Performance of the Year.

Bucky Covington’s “A Different World was nominated for “USA Weekend” Breakthrough Video of the Year…

You can vote for your favorites here.

The winners will be announced during the CMT Music Awards April 14th at 8 p.m. on CMT...

Where is Antonella Now?

When word broke about David Hernandez’s stripper past last week, the name Antonella Barba resurfaced.

So where is Antonella now?

“USA Today” reports that last fall she went back to Catholic University in Washington, D.C., to finish her architectual degree. She is the celebrity spokesperson for Election Law, a technology company.

Antonella tells “USA” that she is taking voice lessons and has been trying to write some lyrics to beats sent to her by rapper/producer Focus. She’ll finish her degree in August…

Jordin’s Advice


Last week in “USA Today,” Jordin Sparks gave her advice to “Idol” contestants…

She told them not to change their personalities along the way. “People will get confused. If you’re bubbly and quirky and funny, you be that. If you’re shy and soft-spoken, be that.”

Amen, sister…

She also wishes that last season’s contestants could have played instruments, although she said she probably wouldn’t have since she can only play acoustic guitar.

Jordin will return to the “Idol” stage for “Idol Gives Back” April 9th. She’ll head out on tour with Alicia Keys beginning April 19th…

Saturday, March 8, 2008

David Hernandez Speaks

At the Top 12 party Thursday night, David Hernandez spoke to “Entertainment Weekly” about the controversy surrounding him…
“You know, honestly, I’m here to sing. I think America’s judging us all off our voices right now. Obviously they were, because I'm still in the Top 12, thank God. So I'm not really concerned with what's going on [with those reports]. I'm just focused on singing, because that's what I'm here to do.”

David also told “EW” that if he could choose any song to sing he would do “I Believe I Can Fly.”

David, if there’s any chance you’re reading this, DON’T DO IT! That’s like a male Whitney song…

The Latest Four to Go Home Speak Out

“Entertainment Weekly” spoke with the four who just missed the top 12, and it’s clear that none of them really have a clue…

Kady Malloy told “EW” that she doesn’t think she did anything wrong with her performance of “Who Wants to Live Forever.” “I guess it wasn’t the popular vote.”

Missing most of the notes is not doing anything wrong? Okay…

When asked about her future plans, Kady said, “People are supposed to, like, call in with offers and stuff, so I’ll just wait.”

I’m just going to let that quote speak for itself…

When “EW” asked Luke Menard why people didn’t vote for him, he was also perplexed. “If anything, maybe because I picked two up-tempo songs back to back. Maybe I was trying to impress them too much with energy and trying to have too much fun up on stage. Maybe not a lot of people are fans of Wham.”

No, Luke, a lot of people are fans of Wham, we’re just not a fan of what you did to them…

Luke said that after he was eliminated, Simon Cowell told him, “You know, you have a great look. This song didn't really work out for you this week, but you have a great look, and I know I'm going to see you doing something on television.”

Notice he didn’t say he was going to see him singing...

Danny Noriega also said he was “really not sure” why he didn’t make it to the top 12. When “EW” asked if Danny thought people didn’t like his in-your-face attitude with Simon, he said, “No, no, no, no, no. The way I'm on stage to Simon and Ryan are totally different to how I am with fans or with other people. That's just my reaction — it's like sarcasm and is just the way we play around with each other. I don't really act like that with random people on the street. It's just more of a sarcastic, telling-off kind of talk. I just want to make that clear: I am not like that 24/7!”

Did he ever think that since we only see what he does on TV that we would think that’s how he is all the time?...

Danny said he’s now going to concentrate on getting into TV and not singing. “Singing is definitely my first love; it's just that it's so hard to do it. You can't please everybody, but especially with singing, people have the most different opinions. People will love you, people will hate you. You have to really do things right with that.”

Asia’h Epperson blamed her departure on performing first. “It wasn’t the song—I loved the song; it was my personality, it was me all the way. I had the vocals. But I really, really, really truly believe it was going first.”

In my recap of the results show, I mentioned that I thought her goodbye performance was much better. I credited that to her focus, but “EW” pointed out that she did it without the backup vocals (not sure why)—which I criticized after her Wednesday performance. Asia’h admitted that the vocals did drown her out…

I agree with her about that, but I obviously don’t agree that it wasn’t the song. It absolutely was…
As Chris from “Project Runway” would say, it’s so cute to see youth…

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Final Thoughts

So, just to recap, here are your top 12:

Amanda Overmyer
Brooke White
Carly Smithson
Chikezie
David Archuleta
David Cook
David Hernandez
Jason Castro
Kristy Lee Cook
Michael Johns
Ramiele Malubay
Syesha Mercado

So, did America make the right decisions tonight? Yes, they did.

Now, you could argue that maybe Amanda wasn’t the right choice, but based on last night’s performance she deserved a spot over Asia’h. Asia’h picked the wrong song and tonight’s recap showed her performance really was weak. Kady was, without a doubt, the right call…

As for the guys, America absolutely got it right. It was way past time for Luke to go and Danny deserved to be eliminated for trashing an 80s classic and for his ridiculous attitude toward Simon…

Next week, it’s that new stage that Ryan has talked so much about and the music of the Beatles.

Finally, we’re getting somewhere…

Whitney Bites and America Gets Another Guy Right

8:48 We’re back…Ryan asks the judges if it will be Asia’h or Kristy Lee…Randy says Asia’h will stay…Paula reminds us this is the most talented season and says something about how hard it is to sing after getting bad news and how the contestants don’t have to sing. Yes they do. Those are the rules…She won’t say who’s going…Simon says Asia’h’s going based on the song…Asia’h…is going home. Kristy Lee is in the top 12. So Whitney did bite someone last night…She’s smiling…Goodbye video to “Hollywood Is Not America.” I really like that song…The girls all gather round and hug her. Asia’h fixes her hair before she stands next to Ryan…Ryan once again gives a choice to sing or not…Ryan, she just spent the last minute fixing her hair and shirt. Of course she wants to sing…Asia’h seems a little robotic. I think she’s focusing really hard on her notes so it sounds good, and it does…Ryan gives her a chance to talk to her fans. He didn’t give anyone else that chance…Paula hollers that it’s her best vocal yet…Chikezie and Danny come to the center of the stage…Ryan asks Danny why he’s so upset. He says he got close to both of the girls that went home…Ramiele’s a wreck…Chikezie…is in the top 12. YES!!!...Ramiele is devastated…As is Danny. He and Chikezie hug for so long that Ryan has to tell him to take a seat…Ryan calls Danny “one of the most courageous contestants in Idol history.” Talk about a veiled reference…Goodbye video to “Best Days.” I like that song too…Danny does “Tainted Love.” Man, do I hate that arrangement…Talk about attitude…Simon can’t help but smile…The other contestants stand behind him on the stage. Ramiele is still a wreck…Ramiele tries to smile at Danny…

8:59 Ryan plugs “New Amsterdam.” I like that show, but I’ve got to watch “Lost.” It’s become an obsession really…Video introducing the top 12…And we’re out…

Just Two Girls Left...

8:42 We’re back…Girls back on stage…Lights down…Ramiele stands…She’s in the top 12 after a Ryan fakeout…Danny gives her a big hug…Carly stands…She looks really nervous…I like her top…No stalling. In the top 12. She’s got something in her hand. It’s probably a tissue…Amanda…No stalling on this one either. She’s in…That leaves Asia’h and Kristy Lee…It’s gotta be Asia’h, doesn’t it?...Man Asia’h’s top is ugly too…After the break…

A Long Overdue Departure...

8:32 We're back...On next week’s results show people can call in and talk on the air live. What?! I share Simon’s concern. See what happens when you have to fill an hour? Stupid writers’ strike...Lights down…David Hernandez. Uh-oh…He’s in the top 12. YEA!!!...Asia’h gives him a big hug. David A. barely shakes his hand. Hmmm…Michael Johns stands up…No stalling. In top 12…Luke Menard…What is up with everyone’s clothes tonight? That shirt is ugly...Luke is gone. It’s about daggone time…That leaves Chikezie and Danny on the couch. Interesting…Luke is cute, though. It’s a shame he couldn’t sing…Goodbye video set to a song I don’t know. It sounds like it’s called “It’s a Wonderful World”…Ryan asks Paula for her advice for Luke since she’s standing. Simon says she wants to go to the bathroom, which she denies. And to prove it, she dances along to Luke’s performance of “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go.”…That’s a great song choice if he could actually sing it…

8:38 Danny sits on the couch just oozing attitude. I really hope he’s the one gone…Break…

Our First Elimination of the Night

8:23 Lights down…Brooke White stands…Ryan is clearly going with the obvious ones first…Brooke looks sick…She’s in the top 12…Syesha…YIKES!...He asks the judges what they think, so that could be trouble. They all say she’s in…And they’re right. She’s in. You had me wondering there, Ryan…Kady stands...What an ugly top…She’s out. No surprise…We’re showing the families for each one, so I’m guessing if we were in the red room, we’d know who was going home…UGH! It’s not an ugly top, it’s a really ugly dress…Kady’s goodbye video set to “Suddenly I See”…Asia’h is crying…Kady sings “Who Wants to Live Forever”…Kady’s so shaky she can’t find any of the notes on the beginning of the song…Ramiele is crying…Amanda is smiling…Carly is showing very little emotion…Danny is wiping away tears…Okay it is a top—a tunic over leggings. But man, is it ugly...Break

The Results Begin...

8:07 Does anybody know what that song is that plays during the “Canterbury’s Law” commercials? I like it…We’re back…Ryan’s walking in the middle of the urinal chairs…Ryan says over 36 million votes came in this week…The guys are seated on the stage and the girls are down on the floor…Ryan intros the judges…Ryan congratulates Paula for “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow” being #1 on iTunes. She thanks Ryan for playing it. Ryan asks if Simon is going to say congratulations. He says he can’t say the word, but he does say well done. I say WOO-HOO! She’s back, baby!...

8:09 Guys recap…They replay Randy’s comments to Michael, but they do not replay him saying INXS did “Don’t You Forget About Me”…Wow. Luke’s performance really was bad, wasn’t it?...Man, Danny really is annoying, isn’t he? I know he thinks he’s funny when he strikes back at Simon, but he isn’t…Man, Jason was good, wasn’t he? But that song makes me think of the end of the first season of “The O.C.” which just makes me want to throw something at the TV…

8:13 Ryan stands in front of the guys…”Eight faces, six places.” Catchy, Ryan. Lights down…David C. stands…Ryan says he talked to Lionel Richie today and he loved his performance…David is in the top 12…

8:14 David Archuleta stands…Do we even have to ask?...David is in the top 12…Two Davids down, one to go…Jason stands…He’s in the top 12…Five guys left…Ryan’s being awfully serious tonight…Move to the girls…after the break…

Results Minute-By-Minute: Blake Gets Gipped

7:58 Intro. Yea! It’s the urinal chairs! Of course, Ryan had to plug the new stage—again—and the Lennon-McCartney catalog—again. Next week’s show better be something really special—especially since it’s two hours long!

7:59 Ryan walks up the stairs to the red room where all of the contestants are waiting. Ryan introduces Blake Lewis. That was quick. Where was the setup? Ryan didn’t even introduce the judges…This sucks! People haven’t tuned in yet! Stupid 19/Arista…I should have warned you that Blake has a little trouble hitting all the notes on this one. But it is a GREAT song…Ryan didn’t even give the crowd a chance to cheer him. What is the deal here? Did Blake have a hot date or something?...Well, Paula likes it…Wow, he missed the bridge there. His band didn’t really help. I don’t think this is going to get a lot of downloads tomorrow…Nice beatboxing at the end though…

8:03 Ryan walks up to shake his hand and interview him. Blake tells the contestants to stay true to themselves and listen to the good criticism of the judges…Ryan jokes that Chris Sligh is in his band and the camera shows a guy with fuzzy hair…Ryan promises the fun stuff is over and it’s time for the drama. So is that why we made Blake open the show? Because we didn’t want to interrupt the drama? Why didn’t they use it as a stall tactic to extend the drama when MORE PEOPLE WERE WATCHING?!...Sorry. I’m okay now…Break…

I’m a little torn…

I have to admit I’m a little torn about tonight’s show…

On the one hand, I like Syesha and I want her to stay. Plus I’m enjoying my conversations with Tom Becnel of the Sarasota “Herald Tribune” about her chances.

On the other hand, if she gets eliminated, I’ll look like a genius to all of his readers.

Click here to see what I mean…

I especially like it when he says I was right.

But I’m not the only one who has concern for Syesha based on her misguided song choice. Michael Slezak from “Entertainment Weekly” sums it up best:

Let's be real here. Whitney and Idol are not, like the key ingredients in a
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, two great tastes that taste great together. The
problem, to me, isn't really a product of the size or the iconic status of
Houston's voice; rather it stems from the fact that the show's aspiring singers
treat the diva's numbers like sacred texts, refusing to tamper with a single
note or turn of phrase or vocal run. And that, of course, yields invariably
depressing results.

Every year, I think the new crop of hopefuls will
study their Idol history, but they never learn. In season 6, for example,
LaKisha Jones wrestled with Houston's 1993 ballad ''I Have Nothing'' despite the
fact that Trenyce, Leah LaBelle, Vonzell Solomon, Katharine McPhee, and Oscar
winner Jennifer Hudson had all previously dragged the big bombastic ballad down
to the musical Xerox machine and promptly found themselves low on toner.

Imagine my horror, then, when tonight both Asia'h Epperson and Syesha
Mercado jumped on the highway to Houston — and in the process, put themselves at
risk of getting left out of the season 7 finals.

I’ll be back in a bit with the answer as to whether Michael and I are right…

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

So who's going home?

So who’s going home? Actually, I think we should start with who’s safe. That would be Brooke and Carly, and probably Ramiele. The rest is an absolute crapshoot.

I would say that Kady is definitely gone since she was in the bottom three last week and she didn’t give a very strong performance. But I think that Asia’h and Syesha could be in some trouble thanks to what Derek calls “the Whitney curse.” As I just told the reporter from Sarasota, Syesha’s performance was a little safe and a little blah for the money slot (going last). And Asia’h was good, but it was still Whitney. And when you compared it to the others in the recap, it just didn’t sound as good (although it sounded tons better than Kady).

And let’s face it. Amanda is the wild card here. She did give a good performance tonight, but I’ve got to believe there are more people that are like me and just completely over her. But, of course, there’s the VoteForTheWorst factor.

This one is going to be REALLY interesting, so be sure and be with me tomorrow night.

The twists and turns of the top 12 announcement AND Blake Lewis?! What more could you ask for?...

Of course, Syesha Does Whitney

Syesha Mercado, “Saving All My Love for You”: 17
What did I tell you? It was good, but I had to knock her down on song choice. As Simon said it was “predictable.” I think it was good enough to make the top 12, but I’m not sure how those clipped judges’ comments will play with America…

Brooke Nails Another One

Did Paula just roll her eyes at the iTunes promo? That’s not good…

Brooke White, “Love Is a Battlefield”: 19
I think Brooke should have played the guitar herself, because he kind of sped up on her a little bit there in the middle, but this was really good. And FINALLY, I agree with Simon. She did find a way to make the song her own without trying to be something she isn’t…

And in case you’re wondering who she ripped the arrangement off from, it would be Pat Benatar herself. I heard her do an acoustic version on one of those VH1 specials…

Ramiele Goes Against the "Odds"

Ramiele Malubay, “Against All Odds”: 18
I have to admit my eyes rolled as soon as I heard those opening notes, but it was a good performance with plenty of money notes (What was Simon listening to?). I really liked the ending. She was smart to go with a ballad after she didn’t quite nail the upbeat song last week…

And what is up with Paula tonight? Did she actually call the audience mutts? I wonder what they’re doing that’s distracting her? Is that why Simon is in such a foul mood?...

Carly Goes "All Night" and Kristy Lee Takes Journey Country

Carly Smithson, “Drove All Night”: 19
Who ever would have thought that I would give Carly a score that high? But I love that song and you have to give her props for hitting that money note toward the end. It started out rough, but she hit all of the notes that count. And I liked her makeup. And Simon, you and I are totally out of sync tonight. That IS a great song and yes, Celine Dion did it, but so did Cyndi Lauper and Carly was a nice cross between the two…

Kristy Lee Cook, “Faithfully”: 17
That makes a great country song, doesn’t it? It was a good performance but she missed all of the money notes.

Man, Simon is harsh tonight!...

Amanda Nails One

Amanda Overmyer, “I Hate Myself for Loving You”: 17
Yeah, I know it was the perfect song choice, but it was so predictable. And I am SO over her. And what is up with those weird dance moves? Did I see her moonwalk? Simon said it was “fantastic.” So why is he pushing to get her into the top 12? To keep things from being too boring? I wouldn’t mind seeing that fiancé of hers a few more times. He’s hot!...

Kady Tries to "Live" On

Kady Malloy, “Who Wants to Live Forever”: 15
I can understand why Kady wanted to do a power ballad, but she couldn’t have found a better one? The song was way too big for her. I agree with Simon that she’s in trouble, but being a robot/Stepford Wife never hurt Carrie Underwood, now did it?…

And boy, Simon got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, didn’t he?

The Whitney Starts Early Tonight

Asia’h Epperson, “Dance With Somebody”: 18
See, that’s why you stay away from Whitney. You get Randy’s “I worked with her” and “It’s a tall order” speech and Simon calls you “second rate.” Personally, I thought it was good and a good song choice.

And of course, Amanda’s doing Joan Jett...

Tonight's Show

So can the girls bring it as well as the guys did last night? What 80s classics will they rip out?

I’m guessing we’re guaranteed to hear some Heart, but maybe not from Carly since that would require her to repeat herself.

And we’ll no doubt hear some Whitney, even though we shouldn’t…

In fact, I told the Sarasota reporter that Syesha should completely stay away from Whitney—which, of course, means that she’ll do a Whitney song. If she does, she needs to stay upbeat like “Dance With Somebody” or “How Will I Know”…

Back in a few…

Final Thoughts on Last Night

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

Last night, I questioned Simon’s thought process for bashing Chikezie for doing a Whitney Houston song when he was clearly doing the Luther Vandross version.

Now, after thinking about it, I realize that Simon was trying to get rid of him. Why else would he bring up the dreaded Whitney comparison?

Let’s face it. Sometimes I’m a little slow…

For the record, “All the Woman I Need” is from Vandross’ 1994 CD, “Songs”…

Interestingly, last night’s episode was the lowest rated of the season. I guess last week’s snoozefest turned people off. Too bad. They missed a good one. Maybe the show should have started with 80s week…

Why Frenchie Had to Go

Producer Ken Warwick spoke to TVGuide.com yesterday about David Hernandez…

“The truth is, we’re never judgmental about what people do to earn a living. They’ve got to put food in people’s mouths…We’re never judgmental about people who do things like that. If it were some sort of heavy porn, then maybe we’d have to take action. But certainly not this.”

I can hear the Frenchie Davis fans screaming now…

So, where did “Idol” draw the line? Why did Frenchie have to go and David gets to stay?

I think you have to look at the word “porn.” According to reports, Frenchie appeared on an adult website designed to appeal to men interested in underage girls. It’s also believed that Frenchie did not reveal the site to the show, which caused them to eliminate her.

But Warwick told “TV Guide” that he was not aware of David’s past either, which makes me wonder…

As much as I like David (Yes, I did vote for him.), I think the Frenchie fans have reason to be upset.

But can you imagine how different the show would have been if she hadn’t been eliminated? We would have never gotten the famous Ruben-Clay showdown, and quite possibly never gotten to see Clay at all…

“American Idol” may have never become the phenomenon it is today.

Maybe I just answered the question of why Frenchie had to go…

Was David C.'s "Hello" Original?

David Cook is getting a lot of praise this morning for his cover of Lionel Richie's "Hello," but as I suspected, it was not an original arrangement...

Thanks to Wikipedia and YouTube, I have discovered that David was actually doing the Incubus version of the song.

That's not to say the performance wasn't good or that he shouldn't make the top 12. He just shouldn't get credit for being completely original...

Here's Incubus doing the song live for a comparison...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

So who's going home?

Okay. So who’s going home? On a night of very strong performances, there were only two that didn’t measure up. Luke Menard should absolutely 100% be eliminated. It is WAY past time for that guy to go. And after his butchering of an 80s classic, I think Danny Noriega will get the boot as well, unless VoteForTheWorst.com manages to keep him in.

I will say that I’m a little concerned for David Hernandez because of his scandal and because the recap did him no favors. Simon said he would absolutely make it in the top 12, but I’m not so sure…

Finally, this show is starting to get good. All it needed was some good music…

So what do you think? What guys will make it to the top 12?...

Chikezie Channels Luther

Chikezie, “All the Woman I Need”: 19
What is Randy drinking tonight that he doesn’t recognize that as Chikezie’s audition song that wowed them so much? And why did Simon blast him for doing a Whitney song when he was clearly doing the Luther Vandross version? I love you Simon, but I’m not sure about your thought process on that one. I thought it sounded great...

David C. Says "Hello" and Jason sings "Hallelujah"

David Cook, “Hello”: 19
I really liked that arrangement (Could someone tell me whether he really came up with that or if he was just copying someone else?). I took one point off for that little bit of a scream that didn’t quite work. And apparently Simon has no hard feelings about David’s attitude last week.

And could someone tell me why no one tested that guitar before the live show?

Jason Castro, “Hallelujah”: 19
Doesn’t Jason know this is the bad ju-jus song (Refer to my “Stay Tuned” blog about that one.)? I mean, can you imagine if he got eliminated and had to sing this one? He missed that last “hallelujah,” but it was a good performance of a great song. And you just know he could have killed it on the guitar, but he decided to concentrate on the vocal…

And by the way, Michael McDonald recorded this song on his new CD, but he goes a little more with the Leonard Cohen version. It’s not quite the same…

Michael Tries to Get Us Not to "Forget" About Him

Because of a guitar problem, David C. got bumped for Michael Johns…

Michael Johns, “Don’t You Forget About Me”: 18
It started out pitchy, but he totally worked it out. He’s way better when he’s doing high notes so I really liked how he raised the pitch of the chorus. I didn’t care for his movements with the mike stand, though.

And Randy, sweetheart, that is not an INXS song. That would be Simple Minds, Mr. Bigshot Music Producer. Did you notice the strange look on the faces of Michael’s friends when Randy was going on about how he sounded like Michael Hutchence?...

Danny Taints a Classic and David H. Comes Back

Okay, that Denise Richards appearance was totally awkward. That new director needs to get a little better than that. And I really wish they hadn’t done that because it just reminds me how sad it is that she’s doing a reality show and that Ryan’s producing it…

Danny Noriega, “Tainted Love”: 11
What did he do to that song? That song has plenty of attitude without him ruining it to try and create more. And he REALLY needs to tone down that attitude with Simon…

David Hernandez, “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”: 18
It was a bit of a bad arrangement because the backup singers actually robbed David of his biggest moment, and there were some bad segues at the end. But it was a good performance.

And no, the show did not confront the controversy. Could David have mentioned his shoes to chew up the time and deflect it?

David Gives Us the Sounds of "Paradise"

David Archuleta, “Another Day In Paradise”: 19
I agree with Simon that he needs to get a little more upbeat, but how could you not love this one? The piano in the beginning was absolutely beautiful, even if it did distract his vocals slightly. And I think I’m with Simon. Think how beautiful it would have been if he had stayed at the piano for the whole song. And his little speech about shining a spotlight on the homeless? That just earned him a few thousand more votes. But it cracks me up that he didn’t know the song was depressing…

Luke Tries Some Wham

Is it just me, or did David Hernandez not look happy in that opening shot?

Most embarrassing moment? This could be ugly…

It’s only an hour tonight, so let’s get right to it…

Luke Menard, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”: 13
Are we done with this guy yet? That weird falsetto just doesn’t work for me. However, I think it was a good song choice. And it looks like Simon is trying to get rid of him since he predicted that he won’t make it to the top 12. I’d be careful about that if I were you, Simon. Luke clearly has some fans…

And David Archuleta is doing Phil Collins. PLEASE tell me it’s not “Against All Odds.” Haven’t we heard enough of that song on this show?

Update: David Will Sing Tonight

This just in from the Associated Press…

David Hernandez will perform tonight.

“A person close to the show who is not authorized to comment publicly and asked not to be identified” told the AP today that there are no plans to remove him from the show.

FOX and the producers declined to comment.

Personally, I would really like to see him sing “Father Figure,” but if he does he should probably leave out that lyric about being “warm and naked”…

Kat and Elliott Spread "Real Love"

Wondering what Katharine McPhee and Elliott Yamin's duet from Randy Jackson's upcoming CD will sound like?

Well, wonder no more. You can check it out for yourself here.

I wouldn't call it a real duet since they don't really even sing together, but it's kind of catchy. However, I think Kat's trying just a little too hard. Maybe she's sore at Elliott for selling more CDs than her...

Tonight’s Show

The big question tonight is not what 80s song everyone will sing, but what Ryan will say about the David Hernandez scandal—if anything (Scroll down if you haven’t heard the news.).

I think the show has got to confront it somehow, even if Ryan only briefly mentions it to David by saying he’s had a rough day today (similar to what he did with Antonella last season).

As for the all important song choice, since the 80s are chock full of great music, there’s no excuse for a bad show tonight. You hear me top 16? None.

So will Michael Johns take Brooke White’s lead and sing the performer the judges have compared him to, Michael Hutchence, and do an INXS tune? Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing that. Maybe a little “Devil Inside” or “Never Tear Us Apart,” if they clear?

And what about Luke Menard? We’ve already mentioned how much he looks like Kenny Loggins. Why not go with a Loggins tune? Maybe “Meet Me Half Way”? If he goes with “Footloose” or “Danger Zone” it could come off WAY too corny.

And what about David Archuleta? I’d like to see him go a little more upbeat this week. Wouldn’t it be cute to see him do “Maneater” by Hall and Oates? Just a thought….

Be back later tonight for the show, which, thankfully, is only an hour tonight…

More Scandal Hits “Idol”


You may have heard that risqué pictures of Ramiele Malubay have hit the Internet.

I confess that I’ve only seen one of the pictures, but obviously some people have a different definition of risqué than I do. The picture I saw was of Ramiele and her fellow waitresses goofing around with Ramiele grabbing another girl in an inappropriate place just below her neck. So, honestly, I don’t think Ramiele has anything to worry about.

Again, the moral of the story here is not to allow anyone to take pictures of you that could be considered risqué or obscene. Because when you become famous, that person you thought was your friend will be more than happy to release those pics to the public…

Simon Jumps Into Film

Simon Cowell will produce a film based on the story of Paul Potts, the winner of “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2007.

The movie will be developed by Paramount Pictures.

Potts wowed the judges—including Simon—and Britain with his opera singing. His debut album sold three million copies and he is headlining 65 concerts in 13 countries.

Don't think this sounds like a movie? Watch this video from YouTube and then decide. I love watching Simon lighten up throughout the performance...

Carrie Gets a Little Less Love From the ACMs

The Academy of Country Music announced its awards nominations today and there are Idols represented—just not as many as there have been…

Carrie Underwood helped Brad Paisley announce the nominations this morning, but she received only one nomination for Top Female Vocalist. You may recall that last year she won three awards including Female Vocalist and Album of the Year.

I warned you that “Carnival Ride” was not as good…

Kellie Pickler is nominated for Top New Female Vocalist, but I think we know she doesn’t stand a chance since her competition is Taylor Swift…

And Kelly Clarkson’s duet with Reba McEntire, “Because of You,” was nominated for Vocal Event of the Year…

The ACMs, hosted by Reba McEntire, will air Sunday, May 18th at 8 p.m. on CBS…

I Always Go for the Bad Boys, Don't I?


This morning, the Associated Press is reporting that David Hernandez was a stripper at a club in Phoenix.

According to the club’s manager, David worked at Dick’s Cabaret for three years until the end of September 2007. The manager told the AP that he appeared fully nude and performed lap dances for the club’s “mostly male” clientele.

I always go for the bad boys, don’t I?...

Rumors about David stripping first surfaced on VoteForTheWorst.com, along with photos of him working as a bartender at a gay nightclub. The website tried to confirm the story with the club manager, but they said they had to check with their lawyers. Apparently, their lawyers said it was okay since they have now gone to the AP with the story.

The manager said David didn’t renew his license with the state, so he was removed from the club’s roster. He now believes that David quit because of his participation on “Idol.” David originally auditioned for the show July 30, 2007.

So now the show is in a bit of a situation. In 2003, Frenchie Davis was disqualified from the competition because of an appearance on an adult website, and her fans are already screaming on the message boards for David’s removal. But you’ll recall that last year, Antonella Barba was allowed to stay in the competition even after racy photos of her appeared on the Internet. Of course, it was determined that those were private photos that were never meant to be publicly displayed, but the Frenchie fans were screaming then too.

And they may have a point this time. Unlike Antonella’s situation, both Frenchie and David knew what they were doing and were paid for it. Of course, the show could argue that Frenchie did not disclose her situation and David probably did.

But think about it. If David gives another performance like he did last week, he’ll make the top 12. That would mean the biggest family show on TV would have a male finalist who gave nude lap dances to other men.

YIKES!

If David did disclose this information to the show—and I would hope he’d be smart enough to do so—then the show has obviously already decided that it doesn’t have a problem with it, or he would not have made the top 24. They’ll probably leave it up to America to decide if they have a problem with it.

But if he did not disclose the information, he should be gone. Period.

And then I’ll just have to find some other bad boy to root for. Think maybe David Archuleta’s got some sordid secrets in his past?

Nah…

Monday, March 3, 2008

Simon’s Confessions


Simon Cowell likes to give Ryan a hard time about his knowledge of fashion and other beauty type things, but Simon may have given Ryan some new ammunition…

In the April issue of the U.K. “Glamour” magazine, Simon says he gets regular Botox injections AND he wears lifts to make him look taller. One thing Simon does not do, however, is dye his hair.

Also in the magazine, Simon answers my question from last week about a wedding by saying he doesn’t want to marry anyone because whoever marries him “will end up hating [him].”

And Simon confessed one other thing in the mag. He turned down $2 million to be the face of Viagra. He said the offer was an insult.

Simon also took a shot at Nicole Kidman and Kate Bosworth saying they and current actresses like them are “just nothing. There’s nothing to fancy or fantasize about there.”

You’ve gotta love him…

A Question Answered

For the past two weeks, I’ve been asking what the song is that plays over the contestants’ exit montage. Well now I finally have my answer…

The song is “Best Days” by Graham Colton.

Of course, we will only hear it one more time before Ruben’s “Celebrate Me Home” takes over. I really like this one so I’ll be sad to see it go…

Here’s the video here.

More Stars Sign On to “Idol Gives Back”

More stars have been announced as participants in “Idol Gives Back.”

Eli and Peyton Manning will be a part of it, as well as Fergie and John Legend. Two performers will be making a return trip—Bono and the fabulous Annie Lennox, who absolutely killed on “Bridge Over Troubled Water” last year…

Is Robbie’s Hair Real?


Today, we finally heard from Robbie Carrico about the question everyone’s been asking…

Is his hair real or not?

“People” magazine reported that their source said his long hair was “impossible” because his hairline has definitely receded. But Robbie told reporters that he has been “growing this hair for a very long time. It’s ridiculous that [the media] have to come up with something like that.”

Hmmm…

Blake Returns to "Idol"


I meant to mention this as a rumor when I updated the blog yesterday.

But this morning, it's been confirmed, so I am happy to pass it along to you now...

Blake Lewis will debut his new single "How Many Words" on Thursday's "Idol" results show.

I don't think I even have to tell you how excited I am about this. I've been really worried that the people at 19/Arista were just going to ditch Blake, but this shows that is far from the case--especially since this is the show that reveals the top 12 and lots of people should be watching.

And since "How Many Words" has such an 80s vibe, it will fit in perfectly with 80s week on the show.

This makes me not even mind the hourlong results show so much. In fact, I'm looking forward to it...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Eliminated Speak

Friday, we got to hear from the latest four contestants eliminated. Here are some of the highlights from their media interviews…

Jason Yeager confirmed that this week will be 80s week. He said he wanted to sing something by Journey, but they were having trouble securing the rights. He also said they were considering a 90s week, so he was hoping to make it that far so he could sing Boyz II Men.

As for what went wrong, Jason said he was at a disadvantage because of his lack of camera time during the auditions. I think your bad performances might have put you at a disadvantage too there, Jason. We didn’t know Luke at all and it doesn’t seem to be hurting him…

Alexandrea Lushington said that she and David Archuleta had “a really cool relationship” and had “grown really, really close.” They have known each other for a while because they were on “Star Search” together four years ago.

As for her dreadful song choice, she said she doesn’t regret it…

Speaking of regret, Alaina Whitaker said she would have regretted it if she hadn’t sung after her elimination. She chose “Hopelessly Devoted to You” because “Grease” is her favorite movie of all time…

And Robbie Carrico, of course, is holding to his claim of being a rock singer. He said that he has been paying his dues as a rocker for the past six years. But we still don’t know if his hair was real or not…

The Story Behind Ruben’s Exit Song


Thursday night, Ryan announced that Ruben Studdard had recorded this season’s exit song.

Friday’s “Hollywood Reporter” reported that song will be a cover of “Celebrate Me Home,” a Kenny Loggins track from 1977. The song has traditionally been thought of as a Christmas song (Clay Aiken sang it on his 2005 Christmas tour.), so the lyrics have been tweaked to make it less seasonal.

This track was produced by Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam, the prolific producers behind Janet Jackson’s early success. Lewis told the “Reporter” about the track, “Ruben is singing his pants off.”

As I mentioned Thursday night, Ruben is still under contract to 19 Recordings and managed by 19 Entertainment. So, this is a great way for 19 to use their biggest property to promote another of their properties. Iain Pirie, head of 19 Entertainment U.S. says the idea for Ruben to record the song came after the “warm reception” he got after appearing in last season’s finale.

So, it didn’t come after Ruben was dropped by J Records and you realized this would be a great way to rejuvenate his career? Or maybe after you realized how many downloads the exit song could sell and that if it belonged to your own company you could make a lot of money off it?

The track will be available on iTunes beginning March 12th—the first time it will be played on the show. Pirie says it is also expected to be included on an “Idol” compilation album—which I guess means they plan to actually do one this year…

If the song’s not ringing a bell with you, you can watch a YouTube video of U.S. troops set to it here.

FINALLY! A Josh Gracin Release Date


After what seems like forever, Lyric Street Records has announced a release date for Josh Gracin’s sophomore album…

“We Weren’t Crazy” will hit stores April 1st.

Josh says this album is more him since he was able to give it his undivided attention. You may recall he recorded his first one while still in the Marines…

Chris Sligh Signs


Chris Sligh has signed a deal with indie label Brash Music, the same label that released the CD of his band, Half Past Forever.

Chris’ first single, “Empty Me,” was released to radio last month and his first album, “Running Back to You,” is scheduled for release May 6th…

The Britney Connection

“USA Today” had an interesting article last week detailing the connection that three in the top 24 have to Britney Spears…

As I’ve told you before, Robbie Carrico dated Britney. They even attended the movie premiere of “Drive Me Crazy” together. His band, Boyz-N-Girlz United, opened for two of her tours…

Kristy Lee Cook was the first artist signed to Britney Spears Productions. She went on to record several songs for Arista Nashville, but was released from her deal less than a year later…

Kady Malloy has made it this far based on her personality, which includes her dead-on Britney impersonation…

Of course, Robbie’s already gone and Kady was in the bottom three, so maybe Britney’s not a good connection to have. Kristy Lee may want to watch out…

Could Ryan Take Home an Emmy?


The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Board of Governors is voting in March to add a category to the Emmys—Outstanding Reality TV Host.

You have to believe that Ryan Seacrest has a good shot at it.

Of course, this could just give “The Amazing Race” another opportunity to beat everyone with its host, Phil Keoghan…

Ryan Continues His World Takeover


My friend on vacation in California told me she took a picture of Ryan Seacrest’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for me.

That’s not the same as giving him my phone number, but oh well.

Besides, I’m not sure when he’d have time to call me since he’s so busy trying to take over the world…

His latest endeavor is taking his L.A. morning radio show across the country through a syndication deal. The five-hour show will be condensed to three and Ryan will tape localized comments for each market. Stations could use the show for middays and afternoons.

The unique thing about this deal is that Ryan will own and control a portion of the show’s advertising time, meaning he will actually do the selling himself. The hope is that he can bring in some of the national advertisers he already works with, including Coca-Cola and Procter and Gamble.

On Oscar weekend, Ryan wined and dines Coca-Cola execs at his home with a dinner cooked by Wolfgang Puck.

Wow! I’d be in…

Ryan says eventually he may move his show to afternoons or evenings because he doesn’t know if he can stick to the “grueling” morning schedule…

Ryan will also re-launch RyanSeacrest.com, where key moments from the show will be streamed on the Internet, allowing product placement (a la the “Idol” judges’ Coke cups). The show will originate from the E! studios.

This new project comes in addition to his duties as host of “American Top 40,” his hosting duties for E! and his projects with Ryan Seacrest Productions, including “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and that blasted Denise Richards reality show.

Plus, there’s that little thing called “American Idol”…

On second thought, Ryan, surely you could squeeze in just a second for me. I won’t talk long…

TMZ Digs Up the Dirt on Amanda and Robbie

“Idol” contestants used to fear “The Smoking Gun” website. Now it’s all about TMZ…

The website, with the help of the “National Enquirer,” reports that Amanda Overmyer pleaded guilty to DUI in October 2006. She received a suspended sentence of 60 days and was placed on 180 days probabion, which ended in August 2007…

And as I told you Thursday night, TMZ is also reporting that Robbie Carrico’s rocker hairstyle was actually a wig. The website said that Robbie never talked about the hairpieces and that it made production members “feel like it’s the blonde elephant in the room.”

Maybe Robbie was a fake after all…

Michael’s Real Name


Here’s a little fact about Michael Johns…

His real name is Michael Lee, but when he was with his band, The Rising, he went by Michael Lee Johns.

So what’s the story?

Michael stopped talking to his real father when he was 15. So, he wanted to get rid of his last name, Lee, and honor his stepfather, John. Since Michael’s middle name is John, he made his last name Johns to reflect the two Johns…

The “HSM” Connection


Two members of the top 24 have a connection to KayCee Stroh, who played Martha in both “High School Musical” movies…

KayCee and David Archuleta performed together at a benefit in Park City, Utah a few years ago. She was 18 and he was 12 and she says she was “blown away” by him.

KayCee also had a connection with Joanne Borgella since they both modeled for Torrid, a plus-size clothing line. Joanna had to suspend her modeling after joining “Idol”…

Speaking of “HSM,” Zac Efron is a huge fan and has been in the audience for several episodes in past seasons.

Zac told “MTV” he admires the way the contestants handle their instant celebrity status…

Josiah Moves On


For those of you who were concerned for Josiah Lemming, don’t be. He’s going to be just fine…

Josiah has posted a message on his MySpace page that says he’s meeting with record labels this month with the goal of getting an album out before summer so he can do a summer tour.

Okay, I said he was going to be fine. I didn’t say he was realistic…

As for why he was eliminated, Josiah told “People” he blames the producers. “I think all the judges were in my corner…The producers were the ones who didn’t want me on the show…[Producers] like to put [contestants] in whatever genre they choose [and] I’m a very genre-specific singer…They want to mold [you] and have creative control. And I think they could tell from the get-go that I wasn’t going to be that person.

Okay, maybe delusional is more like it. I believe the judges saw how difficult and obnoxious he could be and that’s why they didn’t let him through. If he was that dismissive of the band in the auditions (He told “People” they never got along.), imagine what he would’ve been like during these theme weeks…

In case you’re wondering, Josiah has moved back home with his parents in Knoxsville, Tennessee. In her blog, Josiah's mom, Sharon, said Josiah left home looking for opportunities in music, but his family did not know he was living in his car until a week before the show...

Paula Returns to the Charts


Paula Abdul’s “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow” debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 this week at #80. It’s her first chart appearance since 1995.

Meanwhile, “OK!” is reporting that Paula is unhappy with the song’s video and that if Randy wasn’t involved, she would say something.

Personally, I don’t think Paula has anything to complain about, but if it’s true, she’s not the only one who doesn’t like it. MTV told “OK!” they currently have no plans to play the video.

I wasn’t aware that MTV played any videos…

You know I think the song and video both rock, so I’m hoping big things for both of them…

Jordin Comes Up for “No Air”

Jordin Sparks has another Top 20 hit on her hands, but I’d look for it to go much higher…

“No Air,” her duet with Chris Brown, is this week’s top digital gainer on the Billboard Hot 100, moving it to #13. The track sold 73,000 downloads this week.

You can see the video for “No Air” here. It’s a HUGE improvement over “Tattoo.” I love them singing to each other in silhouette and they have tons of chemistry together…