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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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Did America Get It Right?

So did America get it right? Absolutely, 100 percent, YES!

Now, you would think that after Brooke’s emotional goodbye tonight that I would feel a little guilty for giving her such a hard time. But I’m sorry, Brooke fans, I don’t. She should’ve gone home last week and with the emotional mess she had become, it was truly time for her to go.

Could we actually get the three best vocalists in the top three--Syesha and the Davids--or are we in store for a Daughtry-style shocker next week?

And no, I have no idea what next week’s theme is. Hopefully we’ll hear something tomorrow. I’m hoping for Billboard charts week so we can have something a little more contemporary…

In the meantime, what do you think? Did America get it right?

And I'm sure you've observed that this continues my streak of incorrect elimination predictions. But you know that tonight I really didn't care to be wrong...

And the person going home tonight is...

9:55 We’re back…Ryan calls Syesha and Brooke back to the stage…He still doesn’t say they’re the bottom two…Syesha grabs her throat. She‘s probably preparing to sing…It’s…Brooke…YES!!!…She starts crying almost before Ryan gets her name out. She‘s not at all surprised…Goodbye video…So was Syesha the second-lowest vote getter or was that producer manipulated?…Man, do I hate that goodbye song…

9:58 Brooke asks Ryan if she can say thank you and she does--quickly for a change…The Idols join her as she sings “I Am I Cried“…Paula appears to be willing Brooke to sing…Syesha is in tears and looks a little sick…David C. pushes Brooke in the back for some reason. Not sure what that was about. I guess he was trying to keep her on the stage…Brooke says thank you and then turns around and walks to the back of the stage crying…Ryan follows her and puts his hand on her shoulder…

10:00 And we’re out…

Album Plug Time

9:45 We’re back…Ford Ad: “Catch the Wind”…The Idols are in a green hybrid cleaning up a neighborhood and doing good things for the environment. Yeah, whatever…

9:46 Time for Neil Diamond. The song is “Pretty Amazing Grace” from his new CD out Tuesday--yes, the same day as Clay’s…Wonder what he thinks of the zombie swaying hands?…Okay, he sounds good and all, but these hour-long snoozefests really need a little more zip, don’t you think?…This is kind of a long song…What’s up with the backup singers looking like they’re on “Dancing With the Stars”?…

9:50 The judges give Neil a standing ovation…Neil’s mother is in the audience?! Wow, I’m impressed…Album plug…I hope this doesn’t help him sell more than Clay…Neil says he thinks the judges were a little harsh once in a while…He tells the Idols to stay with it and “don’t listen to what Simon says”…Simon says he and Neil have a bit of a history. Neil says he loves him. Hmmm…Break…

Simon Walks Down Memory Lane

9:32 We’re back…Time for Natasha Bedingfield. I like her, but I’m not sure why she’s here. She doesn’t have an album to plug…I wonder if there’s any chance they would’ve invited Clay back if he had been available…By the way, Fantasia will perform next week…

9:35 Ryan teases Natasha that he’s going to ask the judges about her performance to which Simon responds, “Oh no.”…Natasha goes over to meet the Idols and she gives two hugs and a kiss to David A., ignoring the rest of the Idols…Ryan says David would like to invite her to the prom and Natasha says she has a dress. Ryan says there’s a problem because she has a boyfriend. Wonder what David’s girlfriend thought of that?…

9:37 Idol Live time…So apparently Natasha was on tape…A woman calls that says she kissed Simon when he was 9. She wants to know which kiss was better--hers or Paula’s…Simon actually remembers her and he’s stunned…Ryan asks if he’s a good kisser and she says “uh,” to which the audience responds with lots of laughter. Simon reminds her he was only nine…Simon asks if she still looks cute and she says they’ve both aged well. Simon says that she was his first kiss and first crush…Ryan promises to get his number to her…Ryan says “To all the kids out there, nine years old is too young to kiss”…Break…That was actually funny…

The Last Two Standing

9:20 We’re back…Ryan plugs “So You Think You Can Dance”…Preview video…Wow, we are stalling again, aren’t we?…What is up with Nigel’s Andy Gibb hairstyle?…My boss told me I needed to watch this show. I told her I needed a break after “Idol”…Why does Nigel have a cast on his wrist?…Ryan announces the winner of the Coca-Cola cup design contest…Did Randy really used to be a model?…Syesha, Brooke and David C. are backstage…

9:24 David comes out…Syesha seems resigned to the bottom…I really hope a shocker isn’t coming here…David seems nervous…David tells Ryan he’s concerned that Paula’s “Idol” comment is “the kiss of death” like Simon’s compliment to Carly…He’s safe…

9:25 Syesha and Brooke come out…Ryan says “Here we are again”…Syesha…We’re not actually going to do it now, are we? We’ve got a half hour to go…I didn’t hear Ryan say they’re the bottom two. He just said one is safe and one is going home unless I missed it…Brooke says she kicked into “happy grateful” mode last night. Whatever…Ryan sends them to the couch “to rest for a minute” and Brooke says “We’ll stay as long as we can”…Break…

Addressing the "Rumors"

9:08 We’re back…Ryan introduces Gina Glocksen and Constantine Maroulis in the audience and plugs “American Idol Extra”…Ryan asks C-man if he’s being groomed to take over his job…Ryan asks him to do the Constantine pout…Ryan finally remembers Gina is there and tells her it’s good to see her…

9:09 Ryan plugs this week’s “Idol Gives Back” stamp featuring Carrie Underwood…Recap…There’s no mention of the Paula gaffe…Neil Diamond says there are one or two prodigies in the group. We know David A. is one of them he‘s referring to, who’s the other?…Spoke too soon. Ryan addresses the Paula “rumors.” He says “They’re not true. She’s part of our family and we love her.” Paula is moved…Were there rumors that Paula was going to be replaced? I missed those…

9:13 The time has come…Jason comes out…Ryan sends Jason to the sofa. He’s safe…So it’s sofa vs. urinal stools again this week…David Archuleta…safe. That’s no surprise to us, so why does he look so shocked?…He shakes his head as he sits next to Jason…After the break…Jason leans over to David to talk to him. He’s probably going to ask him why he’s so surprised…

The Stallfest Begins...

8:59 Intro…Ryan stresses that we are live…

9:00 Kristy Lee Cook in the house…Ryan says he’s still out of breath from last night’s show because it moved so fast…Over 45 million votes. Yikes!…

9:01 Group sing…Jason starts it out. He is so bored with it all, isn’t he?…There’s something wrong with the sound, I think. Everyone sounds a little muffled…Man, that was a bad transition to the next song…Wow, Brooke and Syesha do not sound good together. And Syesha’s wearing the wrong shade of lipstick…Boy, do I wish someone would wipe that stupid smile off Brooke’s face…That was not good…

9:04 Break

By the way, I talked to Tom from Sarasota before the show started and he was asking me about all of the appearances the eliminated contestant makes after they’re off the show. He’s preparing for tomorrow if, as I expect, Syesha is eliminated.

I told him we should hope for America to do the right thing…

Paula Digs the Hole Even Deeper

I had planned on making my earlier post my final word on Paula-gate, but she just keeps digging that hole deeper…

This morning, Paula called into Ryan’s morning radio show to explain herself and Ryan gave her a big assist…

Here’s how the conversation went down, according to E! Online:


“So, the kids are coming out, and I'm like 'Oh my God, what do we do?” recalls
Paula. “I just started looking at what I had written down and we've never had to
do this before. I was reading the critique of what I had written for Jason
Castro, and on the same page, I also wrote David. I got lost on my notes. And
that's as simple as it was.”

“So, you were talking about two different
people, but accidentally, you said second song,” confirms Ryan.

What is “Idol” trying so hard to hide here? I can’t see the big deal if Paula just admitted that she took notes on the dress rehearsal, so maybe they are trying to hide that someone writes her stuff for her.

And lest you think I’m the only one that doesn’t believe this crap, here’s what E! Online had to say in its posting:

“Nice save, Ry. But then that's probably why they pay you the big bucks.”

And remember, Ryan works for E!...

I’m betting that Ryan will give Paula one more chance to defend herself tonight, but I’m hoping I’m wrong. I would rather the show dropped it and moved on before Paula digs the hole so deep we can’t find her…

For those of you who missed it, you can see it here. Tell me I’m wrong and that she did mean to tell David Cook that his song wasn’t good enough to get into the top four.

All About Paula

So since last night’s show was a bit of a snoozer, all anyone is talking about today is Paula’s mistake, when she critiqued two songs for Jason when he had only done one.

Most people are blowing it off as Paula being her usual loopy self—which has been somewhat missing this season—but Michael Slezak of EW.com wrote a scathing post questioning whether Paula was judging on the dress rehearsal or if someone was writing her critiques for her:

“The idea that Paula, or any of the judges, would base their comments on dress
rehearsals is preposterous. In my mind, Paula, Simon, and Randy should neither
see nor hear the contestants' warm-ups, and even if they do, how is it that
they're not explicitly instructed to give feedback only on the same set of
performances the viewing public sees on their TV screens?
And if there's a
chance that something more nefarious is going on, that Paula's comments are
pre-scripted by someone other than her, then I've got a feeling I won't be the
only Idol fan wondering if there's any way Fox can make amends and give me a
reason not to walk away from the show I've loved and obsessed over for seven
straight seasons.”

Ouch!

I should point out here that we’ve known for a long time now that Simon doesn’t pay any attention to the performances because he’s already judged the rehearsal. That doesn’t make it any fairer; I’m just saying we already knew that.

So what does Paula have to say about the whole thing? She says that the producers informed the judges after the show had already started that they would not be judging until after the second song. Paula says that forced her to frantically scribble out notes and she got Jason’s and David’s confused. You can see her explanation here.

Just one problem with that explanation. It’s a lie.

Let’s look at what she said, courtesy of Slezak at EW.com

“Jason, the first song I loved hearing your lower register, which we never really hear. The second song, I felt like your usual charm wasn't...it was missing for me, it kind of left me a little empty. And the two songs made me feel like you're not fighting hard enough to get into the top four.”

Is Paula honestly telling us that she thought David Cook wasn’t fighting hard enough to get into the top four? If that’s the case, then why, after Randy corrected her, did she tell David he was fantastic?

No, Paula is once again spinning one of her stories, much like she did after that live interview debacle when she came up with the “two cities in two different ears” excuse.


I do believe—based on the on-the-scene reports I’ve read—that the judges were not expecting the quick critique after the first round and that’s why Paula was confused since she thought she would only talk after both songs. According to EW.com, Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe was going crazy backstage and during the commercial break, all three of the judges were taken out of the studio…

Personally, I don’t see anything as sinister as Slezak does, but he is kind of making me see things in a different light. Have the judges completely made up their mind beforehand? Is that why—as Slezak suggests—that they didn’t call out David A. on his lyric forgetfulness last week? Because they’d already crafted their critiques?


And for once, why can’t Paula just tell the truth? Why can’t she just tell us that she took notes on the dress rehearsal because she knew that they were singing two songs and she wanted to be sure she remembered everything? That may still not be the truth, but at least it’s closer…

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

So who's going home?

The judges called tonight’s show weird, but I would call it pretty boring. They really need to get better themes and quit trying to sell people’s albums…

So who’s going home? I am 100 percent positive that it will be Syesha. Why? Because she just doesn’t have the fan bases that Brooke and Jason do. And it doesn’t help her that she showed a little bit of attitude tonight.

Now, should she go home? No, that role should belong to either Brooke or Jason who each had one bad song and one decent one. But their escape of the bottom two last week proves they have staying power.

What do you think? Is it Syesha’s time to go or will America do the right thing?…

Round Two...

Time now for round two…

Jason Castro, “September Moon”: 16
That was such a snoozer I almost fast-forwarded through it. It’s like Jason is sleep-walking through the competition.

David Cook, “All I Really Need Is You”: 20
Now there’s the man I love! He could release that now. And that, Brooke, is how you use a guitar.

Brooke White, “I Am I Said”: 15
I was probably a touch harsh on this one because I am so over her. I am over her false start, her babbling and her constant attitude with Simon. And I know Neil Diamond was trying to be helpful, but by making the song a contrast between Arizona and LA, the lyric about “two shores” didn’t work any more.

David Archuleta, “America”: 19
We really should’ve had this one pegged. It was a good performance, but he needed better backup singers.

Syesha Mercado, “Thank the Lord for the Nighttime”: 18
I think it was good for her to mix a funky song with a ballad, but the backup singers let her down as well. But let’s face it. She could’ve given the best performance in the history of the show and it wouldn’t help her. Simon’s right. She’s in trouble.

Round One...

So obviously my meeting ran longer than I thought it would and since they’re doing two songs tonight, I figured I would divide my posts into two parts…

And if you’re thinking that this seems early to do two songs, you’re correct. Last season they didn’t do more than one song until the top four. But remember that last season there was a top six for two weeks in a row…

So, let’s look at round one…

Jason Castro: “Forever In Blue Jeans”: 18
I thought this was a great choice, but it just didn’t really zing for me. And it was way over-orchestrated.

David Cook: “I’m Alive”: 18
Again, it was good; but there was just something missing.

Brooke White: “I’m a Believer”: 15
What was the purpose of that guitar if she was going to go with an over-orchestrated version? She needed to go a little more acoustic because this was a bit of a hokey wreck.

David Archuleta: “Sweet Caroline”: 17
It was good I guess, but just a little too hokey for me.

Syesha Mercado: “Hello Again”: 19
I thought the performance was solid and she had her best hair of the season.

Man, do I hate this judges’ commenting at the end. And how uncomfortable was it to hear Randy correct Paula. Yikes!

You know, one of the reasons people have been citing for the ratings decline is that Paula hasn’t been loopy enough. Maybe she’s making up for lost time…

Let the Rumors Begin...

Isn’t it amazing how two people can see something so differently?

Monday night, I told you about the survey I received from FOX about “Idol.” Well now that the survey has made its rounds on the Internet, people are starting to jump to some conclusions…
Courtney Hazlett, who writes “The Scoop” for MSNBC.com wrote in her column last night that the survey may be signaling a hosting change since there was “a noticeable focus” on Ryan in the survey.

Hazlett points out two statements respondents were asked to rate: “I like the interaction between Ryan and the contestants” and “I like the interaction between the judges and Ryan.”

Funny, when I took the survey, I just thought those questions were trying to determine whether we thought there was too much talking and not enough singing…

Now, it’s no surprise that I would jump to Ryan’s defense, but this time it’s fairly easy. As I mentioned in my post, all of the judges were mentioned in the survey not only with an overall question about how much they add to the enjoyment of the show, but in several places we were asked about how important each judge’s comments are to the show. I saw no “noticeable focus” on Ryan whatsoever.

Now, since Hazlett is a gossip columnist, it is possible she’s got some additional information I’m not privy to; but if she’s basing her story on the survey, I think she’s taking a bit of a leap.

As a source from FOX told her, the questions “fall under the leave-no-stone-unturned category more than anything else.”

After all, I don’t think there’s anyone out there—including me—that would say they watch the show just for Ryan. And surely there’s no one out there who would say they stopped watching the show because of Ryan.

If they want to get rid of someone, Randy’s the place to start, dawg…

Tonight's Show...

Believe it or not, I actually have an important meeting I have to go to tonight, so I will probably have to join the show in progress and then go back and catch the other performances on tape.
If you’ve got something to say that can’t wait, be sure to post it here…

By the way, longtime reader Derek suggests that “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” has David Cook written all over it—especially since Urge Overkill did a cover of it for the “Pulp Fiction” soundtrack.

No, that won’t make me swoon or anything…

Be back later tonight…

Is Jordin Okay?

Jordin Sparks is speaking out about her injury.

Well, actually she’s e-mailing out about her injury since she’s still on full vocal rest. Jordin sent an e-mail Friday to MTV News.

In a report on MTV.com, Jordin denies that her vocal-cord injury was career-threatening, but she does say her career could have been in jeopardy if she hadn’t done something.

Jordin also confirmed reports that it was an acute vocal cord hemorrhage, telling MTV in her e-mail that her left vocal cord was bleeding. The doctors tell her now, though, that it is almost completely healed and she says she’ll be back on the Alicia Keys tour very soon.

A bleeding vocal cord? I’m no doctor, but that sounds rather career-threatening to me. I hope she doesn’t end up coming back to soon…

Monday, April 28, 2008

Phil Stacey CD Review: Another Solid Lyric Street Outing


Note: This review was written based on an Internet stream of the CD and not the actual CD…

I was a little concerned that the Lyric Street Records magic would wear off by the time Phil Stacey’s CD came out.

And I admit the first time I heard it, I wasn’t all that impressed. But maybe that was just because I had such high expectations. Or maybe it’s because I’m still a little miffed that Lyric Street didn’t send me an advance copy like they did with Bucky.

Whatever the reason, I was wrong because the CD is yet another solid outing.

I’m betting that Kristy Lee Cook is praying Lyric Street gives her a call…

The CD gets off to a great rocking start with “It’s Who You Know,” which has a really catchy chorus…

The intro of “Looking Like Love” sounds so much like Jude Cole’s “Baby It’s Tonight” that I thought it was a cover. But it’s another good song with a strong chorus…

Then it’s the solid first single, “If You Didn’t Love Me,” which is taking way too long to climb the country charts, in my opinion…

“No Way Around a River” is the CD’s first ballad and it has a nice gospel sound to it…

“’Round Home” is a really country song, but it works after the second or third listen. However, even multiple listens doesn’t fix the musical interlude on the end…

“Be Good to Each Other” is a feel-good moral lesson…

“Find You” has another catchy chorus that focuses well on Phil’s soaring voice…

Then we finally get another ballad in “You Are Mine,” which shows off Phil’s subtlety…

It’s at this point when the songs start to repeat themselves. “What I’m Fighting For” sounds like “If You Didn’t Love Me” and “Looking for Love.” “Still Going Through” also has that familiar ring, but the chorus is good--even with the strange transition from the verse…

Unfortunately, an otherwise solid debut ends with the album’s only real clunker. “Identity” has overly simple lyrics and the repeated refrain of “Anything less is not us” gets really annoying toward the end.

Overall, though, the CD is a good one, and I hope it’s a big seller. I’m just sorry it’s dropping the same week as Madonna since that’s bound to steal focus…

You can listen for yourself here. Be sure to let me know what you think…
Photo provided by Lyric Street Records

Neil Diamond Week: What Will They Sing?

Apparently, Carly Smithson was going to do “Sweet Caroline” with a cello and guitar, which I’m kind of sorry we’re going to miss…

So what will everyone else sing on Neil Diamond week? I can’t even venture a guess since I really don’t know that much about Neil Diamond’s music.

I think it will be a strong week for David Cook--as usual--and I can’t help but think that Syesha is trying really hard to find a way to turn “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” into a solo. And I’d like to hear Jason Castro do “Red, Red Wine.”

But what about you guys? What do you think the top five should sing?

Clay's New CD: It Will Be Worth the Wait

Tonight on QVC, Clay Aiken performed five songs from his new CD “On My Way Here,” which hits stores May 6th.

Clay said that he purposely didn’t pick radio songs, so the CD is pretty eclectic with tracks that he enjoys singing.

His first performance was the title track and first single, “On My Way Here.” It still reminds me of “I Survived You,” but it really does grow on you. And Clay performs it beautifully.

“Everything I Don’t Need” is a change of pace song that’s upbeat and Clay snarls a little bit in it, which is nice.

“Something About Us” is an old-fashioned ballad that Clay found on a songwriter’s MySpace page.

“Where I Draw the Line” is a great song that sounds like a cross between “I Survived You” and “No More Sad Songs.” I can’t wait to hear the produced version.

Clay closed the show with the gorgeous ballad, “The Real Me,” which was rudely cut off. I could hear Claymates across the country screaming at their TVs.

By the way, the bonus CD/DVD QVC is selling features “When I Need You,” live versions of “Invisible,” “Measure of a Man” and “I Will Carry You” and a never released video of “This Is the Night.” The bonus CD is only available with a CD pre-order, which you can still do here.

QVC said they pre-sold over 11,000 CDs during the half-hour show. I’m hoping that number counts toward the Billboard chart…

And yes, I was one of them. The bad thing is that the CD is not scheduled to arrive until May 15th. Oh well. After tonight’s little preview, I’m quite certain it will be worth the wait…

A Mystery Solved...

So, what in the world were Carly and Ryan talking about so intensely during Syesha’s performance?

According to Carly (in her EW.com interview), Ryan was asking about Carly and Syesha being roommates and how they’d picked the most up-tempo songs of the night and how it was funny that both of them ended up in the bottom two.

Ryan, I love you, but I don’t really see how another contestant’s performance is the proper time to analyze the show…

In her interview with reporters (as reported on USAToday.com), Carly said she doesn’t see “Idol” as her second chance since she’s not sure she had a first chance. “I did get signed, but it just never really happened. I see this as the first real experience that I’ve had.”

Ah, Carly. Just when I was starting to like you, you have to go and tick me off again by saying something stupid like that. I would say that a record company dropping $2.2 million on you definitely qualifies as a first chance…

Is FOX Getting Concerned?

Waiting for me in my e-mail inbox Thursday morning was an interesting survey from FOX. They wanted to get my opinions about “American Idol.”

They asked whether I was enjoying it more this year than in previous years (I said about the same.). They asked how important the contestants were to my enjoyment of the show (Very important). And they asked about the judges and Ryan (I said Simon, Paula and Ryan were important. Randy not so much.).

Then they asked my thoughts about the auditions and whether they go on too long (I said they did.). And then they asked about Hollywood Week, which you guys know, is my favorite part of the auditions. I have long said that it isn’t long enough, so when they asked that exact question. I absolutely said it should be longer.

And that’s when they revealed the most interesting question of the survey. Would it increase or decrease my enjoyment of the show if the season started out in Hollywood with flashbacks to the auditions?

Hmmm…You’ve got to admit that’s interesting…

Of course I said it would increase my enjoyment because it would lengthen Hollywood Week and I’m just curious to see how that would work.

But could “American Idol” be “American Idol” without the goofy auditions?

Which leads to another question that I’m sure you’ve all got in your heads right now. Why is FOX asking all of these questions?

Because the time for change may have finally come for “American Idol.”

According to Nielsen, the ratings for “Idol” are down 7% and down 10% among the coveted 18-49 demographic. It’s the show’s first significant year-to-year decline.

Although “Idol” is still towering over the competition, FOX would have to be concerned by the downward trend since it is the network’s crown jewel. FOX may think it is time to update the tried-and-true formula…

So why is “Idol” in decline anyway? USAToday.com offers four reasons: viewer fatigue, competition from other reality shows, the musical themes, and a lack of controversy.

Maybe this season needed another Sanjaya after all…

What do you guys think about the flashback idea? And why do you think the ratings are down?…

Where in the World is Taylor Hicks?

Probably the Idol-related question I get the most is whatever happened to Taylor Hicks?

Yesterday, we got a chance to see him as he sung the National Anthem at the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Speedway. And he did a great job…

You can hear it here.

Claymates, Rejoice!

I’ve been pretty busy this weekend (more on that later) so I didn’t get this posted earlier. I hope all of you Claymates out there will forgive me…

QVC will present Clay Aiken Live tonight (Monday) at 7 as Clay will be performing songs from his new album “On My Way Here.” You will also be able to pre-order the CD and if you do, you’ll receive a five-track bonus CD available only from QVC (No, I don’t know what those five tracks are, but you better believe I’m going to watch and find out.).

QVC’s schedule also says they’ll be doing a gadgets show, so it’s possible that Clay will not start right at 7, so be patient…

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Did America Get It Right?

So did America get it right? Absolutely 100% not.

So what happened? I think two things. First, Jason and Brooke’s fans rallied big time to save them. Second, I think it was Carly’s (or should I say Sir Andrew’s) song choice. Maybe that’s why Ryan asked her about it…

But maybe the problem with the song was not its subject matter. My hero, Denise, is a HUGE “Jesus Christ Superstar” fan and she didn’t like Carly’s performance. Maybe there were other “Superstar” fans who felt the same way.

At least Carly went out on a good note (or at least I thought so). I’m just sorry that she didn’t start having fun until it was time to go home…

So what do you guys think? Did America make the right choice?…

And the person going home tonight is...

9:54 We’re back…Syesha and Carly both look sick…Randy says he’s shocked and says it’s a bit of a “popularity week”…Paula says they look relaxed…Syesha says “Oh my God”…They’re roommates, so it’s especially hard…Carly…is leaving…The audience boos a little…She and Syesha hug…Brooke still looks pretty upset…Goodbye video…

9:58 Carly’s handling it well as the Idols hug her…Simon apologizes for complimenting her last night saying it was “the kiss of death.” He says she should leave with her head held high…Carly says she’s never been happier. In fact, no one is crying. Hmm…

9:59 And we’re out…

America Makes Another Mistake

9:42 We’re back…Syesha has lost her smile and looks sick…Carly and Jason come to the stage…It’s Jason, right? Which means Syesha is going home…Carly is really happy while Jason just wants to get it over with…Ryan asks Carly about her song switch. She said she did it because it was more fun. I thought she did it because ALW told her to…Jason says he really doesn’t want to sing right now…Jason…safe…OH! Does that mean I was right about America’s reaction to her song or does Jason just have that many fans?…

9:45 Ryan asks Simon what happened…Simon said Brooke made herself human and that Jason was charming…Carly sings “Jesus Christ Superstar” while Jason wipes his brow and says “Phew”…

9:48 Carly says she remembered all the words, which I guess means my hero, Denise, was right (as usual) and she did forget some last night…Syesha does “One Rock and Roll Too Many” She gets off to a rough start and who can blame her? She gives her best performance and she’s in the bottom two?…The director cuts to Ryan and Carly in an intense conversation. Not sure what that was about…Syesha goes out to the mini-stage in the audience…

9:50 Syesha does a bow from the mini-stage. She so doesn’t deserve to go home tonight--nor does Carly…After the break…

America Makes a Mistake

9:26 We’re back…Looking at Idols on Broadway…Tamyra Gray in “Rent.” They‘re trying really hard to make her sound really successful…Clay Aiken in “Spamalot.” I really don’t like that light red hair. I’m sorry, Clay…Clay plugs his album which comes out May 6th…LaKisha in the house…

9:29 Ryan introduces Leona Lewis by saying it pains him to say that Simon discovered her. Simon gives credit to Clive Davis (Boo Hiss!) as well…She’s doing “Bleeding Love”…The sad thing is that there is no other song on her CD as radio-friendly--or as good--as this one. Not sure what she’ll do for a second single…I would love to see footage of when Simon first heard her sing. You know his jaw just dropped to the floor when he heard that someone that gorgeous could sing that well…She is pretty amazing…Flames shoot out on stage…I hope that someone is helping her with her voice, though, so she doesn’t end up like Jordin…

9:34 Ryan tells her it’s nice to finally meet her since they’ve only talked on the phone…

9:35 Back to the eliminations…Syesha and Brooke. Hmmm…Syesha…Brooke. She looks sick. Ryan said she had a “false start”…Brooke says it was the right move to start over. Could we get past that now?…Brooke admits that she has interrupted the judges in the past and so she decided to bite her tongue last night…Brooke…safe…She is stunned and Syesha forces a smile as Ryan says she’s in the bottom two…Paula says Syesha should be proud…Break…

The Davids Take the Stage

9:17 We’re back…Ford ad: “Tainted Love”…It’s a rock version so they’re all dressed punk, except David A. who is illustrating it. David C. and Brooke run in to attack him or something. I’m not really sure what that was supposed to be…

9:18 President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush thanking everyone for giving to “Idol Gives Back.” We’re never going to let that go, are we?…

9:19 Couch vs. urinal stools, but there are only two tonight…The Davids come out together. Uh-oh…LOTS of screaming…Ryan interrupts Simon eating to ask him about David A.’s performance…David C. says he decided to be unpredictable by singing it as it was written…WOW, we are REALLY stalling tonight…They are both safe…I think the producers just wanted to see how they'd look standing next to each other on stage...

9:21 Ryan tells us it’s Neil Diamond week next week. I’m not really sure how I feel about that…Leona Lewis is here tonight. I knew she’d show up at some point…Break…

Hey, this “Hancock” movie looks wild, doesn’t it? And when did Jason Bateman become a major movie star? I love it…

Sir Lloyd Webber Speaks

9:06 We’re back…Idols Live Tour plug…Songwriting competition vote reminder. I think tonight is the last night. I already voted and I can guarantee you this year’s song will be another snoozer. More on that later…Recap of the “very dramatic” show. Why is Ryan trying to sell this so hard?…Have I mentioned yet tonight that I love David Cook?…

9:10 Ryan sits down with Sir Lloyd Webber to talk to him…Ryan asks him about Brooke starting over. He says people lose their way all of the time including “the panel last night.” He says that Brooke is wonderful and has a great future and that he really felt for her because she was great in the dress rehearsal. He didn’t answer the question about whether she should have started over again. Brooke does not look happy…He says that Jason made “the most curious song choice” he’s ever heard. In other words, he didn’t like it…Break…

Let Us Begin With a Crummy Group Number

8:59 Intro. Ryan said it was “one of the most dramatic shows yet.” Huh?…

9:00 Ryan’s out in the audience. Man, he moves fast…Over 38 million votes…Ryan intros the judges and gives Simon a kiss on the head and Simon can’t stop staring at him…

9:01 The Idols do “All I Ask of You” with Andrew Lloyd Webber on the piano…Where’s the giant medley of “Phantom of the Opera” and “Go Go Go Joseph”?…Okay, I’m starting to see why the tour doesn’t want to do group numbers. Brooke does not blend at all with Carly and Syesha, but David C. sounds great, of course…What is that strange smile Brooke is sporting tonight? I’m starting to think the Internet is right and this whole experience is really starting to get to her…Abigail Breslin in the house…Sorry, but that was not good…Break…

More on the Tour...

So let me say a few more things about the Idols Live tour…

According to an article on USAToday.com, the tour is going back to its old format of each performer getting his or her own set instead of having them do group numbers.

I liked last year’s format of the duets/quartets/groups in varied order with the runner-up performing before the intermission for their own spotlight. So I’m a little disappointed that they’re going back to the old boring way.

I guess they feel that this group is more capable of pulling off their own sets than last year’s. I still say that if season five’s tour had last year’s show, it would have been killer!

I was reminded today that the Huntington show two years ago was a last minute addition, so maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to say the tour is not coming to Huntington at all. But, as of now, it isn’t.

Ticket prices have not been released yet for the Columbus show, but according to Ticketmaster, the Cincinnati show prices will range from $39.50-$68.50. Tickets go on sale May 17th at 10 a.m…

Back in 30...

Did David A. Forget the Lyrics As Well?

Before we get the results tonight, let me share one note about last night’s show…

Brooke wasn’t the only one who forgot her words. David A. did as well.

I thought it sounded like he slurred that second verse a little, but not being familiar with the song, I wasn’t sure. But this morning, EW.com reported that he did indeed slur the lyrics and
after the performance, he mouthed “sorry” to someone in the audience.

You can see it for yourself here…

Is Going First a Curse?

Last night I promised you more information on the curse of going first on performance night…

Monday, USAToday.com posted a story detailing the statistics of which slot leads to being eliminated most and it is indeed the number one spot.

According to WhatNotToSing.com, in 69 finals episodes, the first singer has been voted off 20 times, which is seven more than would be expected based on “statistical probability.” In four out of six weeks this season, the first performer has been in the bottom three, twice being eliminated.

The best spots to be in, according to the article? 7th, 11th and 12th. Only one Idol has been eliminated from the 7th spot and no one has been knocked out from the 11th or 12th spot (Only one has been in the bottom three--Kristy Lee Cook.).

So how is the performance order determined? Executive Producer Ken Warwick told USAToday.com that the producers vary the order each week “to be fair,” but they also try to arrange the performances to “make the most entertaining show.”

So why is the first spot the dreaded spot? USAToday.com offered three theories: 1) Fewer viewers at the start 2) Judging standards (no bad performances to be compared to) 3) The gap between singing and voting.

We’ll see tonight if Syesha falls victim to the jinx, just as Michael Johns did…

The Idols Are Not Coming to Huntington

I interrupt your day with some breaking news…

The Idols Live Tour is NOT coming to Huntington this year.

The tour dates were announced today and our fair city did not make the cut. Those of you in the Tri-State wanting to see this year’s show will need to travel to Columbus (July 20th), Cincinnati (July 23rd), Pittsburgh (July 29th), Lexington (August 16th), or Cleveland (September 4th).

Now since I am not privy to show negotiations, I can’t really tell you why the show is not coming here this year (But I welcome anyone out there who can to let me know). But I will tell you that I’m a little surprised considering the excellent response the show has gotten in Huntington over the past two years—even last year when tour attendance was down overall.

If anyone out there has any insight, please post a comment or drop me a line at hdstaytuned@hotmail.com...

I now return you to your regularly scheduled day…

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

So who's going home?

Okay, so time to break this down. If we get a bottom three tomorrow night (We could possibly only get a bottom two since there are only six remaining.), I would go with Brooke, Jason and Syesha--not because she wasn’t good, but because she went first. Carly is really the wild card in the whole equation because of her song choice (unless I’m totally wrong and I’m giving America less credit than they deserve).

So, who’s going home? It’s got to be Brooke, doesn’t it? I mean, she actually started over and started again. Paula pretty much trashed her--and when was the last time Paula did that? And yes, Ryan allowed Simon and Randy to jump in and defend her, but I’m thinking (and hoping) it wasn’t enough.

I do believe that Syesha did enough to stay, but her fan base will need to rally for her to avoid the dreaded going first jinx. According to WhatNotToSing.com (as reported by USAToday.com), a website that analyzes “Idol” data (Yes, that is an actual site.), in 69 finals episodes, the singer in the #1 slot has been voted off 20 times--seven more times than would be expected based on statistical probability. Hmmm….

I’ll have more on that later…

For now, what do you think? Has Brooke worn out her welcome or will she survive?

I need to go vote now. I know Sir Lloyd Webber wasn’t that impressed with David C., but since I am now officially in love with him, I need to vote--A LOT…

I Am So In Love...

David Cook, “Music of the Night” (from "Phantom of the Opera"): 20
Just when I thought David couldn’t surprise me any more, he does by singing this song straight without any rearrangement. Yes, there were some lower register problems in that first verse, but it was so beautiful overall, I’m willing to look over it (as usual). Here is what I just texted my hero Denise: “I am so in love with him.” I said I thought he could nail this one, and boy, did he ever.

Carly, the "Superstar"

Carly Smithson, “Jesus Christ Superstar” (from "Jesus Christ Superstar"): 19
I thought this was a great performance. However, I still can’t help but wonder what the audience will think. Will they find the lyrics “Do you think you are what they say you are?” blasphemous without the context of the show? And I liked the “Simon loves me (this week)” t-shirt. It’s nice to see her finally have some fun. She needs to give Andrew Lloyd Webber a kiss for getting her to change songs.

Sir Lloyd Webber is a great mentor, isn’t he?

David A. Disappoints Me

David Archuleta, “Think of Me” (from “Phantom of the Opera”): 18
It was pretty and all, but I just can’t hide my disappointment. I know he (or his dad) was trying to mix it up a little bit but I think he missed a real opportunity for a great showstopper. Maybe they were afraid the Donny Osmond comparison was just too obvious.

Brooke Does Another Stop and Start

Brooke White, “You Must Love Me” (from the movie “Evita“): 15
Was it just me or was Paula a little miffed that she started over? And I’m with Paula. There’s a big difference between starting and stopping when she was playing the piano (as she did with “Every Breath You Take”) and tonight. I didn’t think the performance was all that bad and I LOVE that song. But I am SO over her. And I think America would be too, if Simon hadn’t just jumped in and defended her. Stupid, Ryan!

And Paula is rough tonight, isn’t she? I love it!

Jason Gives Us a "Memory"

Jason Castro, “Memory” (from "Cats"): 15
You knew someone was going to do this one, but Jason? To be honest, I almost bought it--until that atrocious bridge. He really should have skipped that part altogether and stuck with the more melodious parts.

Syesha Goes "Rock and Roll"

Syesha Mercado, “One Rock and Roll Too Many” (from "Starlight Express"): 18
Kudos to Syesha for not going with the obvious “Memory” and picking an uptempo song. It was a great performance, but can she defeat the going first jinx? And how did Randy not know that theater was Syesha’s thing? Has he not been watching this show?

And what was up with Rickey Minor’s dancing? That was smooth…

Tonight...

Before we get to tonight's performances, be sure to scroll down and catch up on some of the latest news, including the David Cook CD controversy...

Be back in 37 minutes...

Paula's Ready to Dance Like There's No Tomorrow "With the Stars"

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Paula Abdul was in the audience of “Dancing With the Stars” last night. But if she gets her way, she’ll be doing more than just sitting on the sidelines…

That’s right. Paula wants to be a contestant on the show.

She told Louis van Amstel (the tour choreographer who danced with Priscilla Presley this season) and Tom Bergeron, who mentioned it in a radio interview.

Judge Bruno Tonioli told TVGuide.com, “We want Paula if she wants to do it.” But is that fair since Paula is a choreographer and professional dancer? Bruno said that ballroom is “such a different technique. It would not be unfair.”

Paula has said that FOX cannot keep her from doing the show in the fall (although I’m not so sure about that).

But Paula isn’t the only “Idol” judge who wants to appear on “Dancing.” Simon Cowell and Bruno have been working on a plan to have Bruno slip in and judge a singer while Simon would go to the ballroom and judge a dancer. Bruno told TVGuide.com, “We just have to get the networks to agree.”

Remember that “Idol” and “Dancing” tape across the hall from each other…

David Cook’s CD Hits #1 at Amazon

Over the weekend a 2006 CD by David Cook, “Analog Heart,” became the #1 downloaded album on Amazon.com’s MP3 service.

But after FOX News reported the story on its website, Amazon took the listing down. However, the FOX story was full of inaccuracies and speculation that made David look like a callous manipulator. Reporter Roger Friedman wrote:
“But if ‘Analog Heart’ is now being offered officially to proper downloading
services--and not on just mysterious indie platforms--then Cook has to be behind
it. That’s a first: an album out from an ‘Idol’ contestant before the contest
has concluded. What if he doesn’t win? More importantly what happened to
‘American Idol’ simply being a competition for totally unknown or undiscovered
artists?…It was one thing when Carly Smithson (nee Hennessey) was revealed to
have released an album five years ago. Bu for Cook to have one out now, I think,
disqualifies him as a true competitor…And P.S.: Isn’t this some strange way to
get around the ‘American Idol’ contract for management and a recording
contract?…Seems like that bartender from Omaha (David) was smarter even than
wily Simon Cowell.”
And I thought FOX News was supposed to provide fair and balanced reporting…

First of all, those of you who have been reading my “Idol” reports since season three know that this is not the first time a contestant has released a CD before the end of the competition. Remember the release of the CD by Pray for the Soul of Betty featuring Constantine Maroulis? And what about Half Past Forever featuring Chris Sligh? Taylor Hicks’ indie CDs were also released at different outlets during the show.

Second of all, we have no idea that David is behind this release. This could be the work of the indie studio that recorded it. And the proper downloading service? How do we know that Amazon didn’t pursue this so they could get a piece of the iTunes action?

Third, if this was a violation of the “Idol” contract, it wouldn’t happen--period. David is not going to do anything to jeopardize his chances of getting a major deal out of this.

And finally, the humble David I have seen over these past few weeks does not strike me as the master manipulator Mr. Friedman makes him out to be.

Personally, I think there’s a way more important question here. Does anyone else find it unusual that the report that started all the hub-bub that eventually caused Amazon to take down the listing was from FOX News?

Coincidence? I doubt it.

I’m just mad I didn’t get to it before it was taken down…

Mandisa Gets Ready to Fly

Mandisa has been preparing this week for the Dove Awards.

She’s nominated for New Artist of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year and she’ll be performing twice--once in the new artist showcase and once as part of a tribute to Michael W. Smith. She’ll be joined in the tribute by Phil Stacey and Chris Sligh (Jordin Sparks was scheduled to take part as well.).

The Dove Awards will air live Wednesday, April 23rd at 8 p.m. on the Gospel Music Channel….

Jordin's Vocal Troubles

You’ve probably heard by now that Jordin Sparks had to withdraw from Alicia Keys’ tour because of a vocal ailment.

Officials from Penn State University where Jordin was scheduled to perform Sunday called it “an acute vocal cord hemorrhage.” Some reports called the injury career-threatening.

Jordin’s spokesperson, though, says that she’s expected to return to the Keys tour in May. All of her April events, however, have been canceled.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Andrew Lloyd Webber Week: What Should They Sing?

Allow me to thank America once again for eliminating Kristy Lee.

Why? Because she was going to sing “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” next week.

I’m still shuddering just thinking about it…

So what should the remaining Idols sing for Andrew Lloyd Webber week?

First of all, let me admit that I don’t know all that much about Broadway, so I could use a little help from the experts this week (Chuck, I’m talking to you.). But I do know a few Webber tunes, so I’ll make a few picks for you…

You know that someone is going to choose “Memory” from “Cats,” the question is who. Personally, I’d rather they stay away from this one and “Argentina,” but I think the “Cats” number will prove too tempting for one of them--probably Syesha.

But since she’s done so many ballads lately, my choice for Syesha is “Buenos Aires” from “Evita.” It’s spunky and it will give her a chance to show some acting chops. The drawback with that one is you have to show a little cockiness to make it work and that might backfire on her. If she insists on going with a ballad, I might go with something like “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

You know I’ve already put in my request for David A. to sing “Close Every Door” from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” But I’m starting to think that maybe David C. could nail that one too.

My first thought for David C. was “Jesus Christ Superstar.” But I’m thinking now that taken out of context, that song could really hurt him. I also think he could pull off a cool “Music of the Night” from “Phantom of the Opera.”

Carly needs a song with some attitude, so maybe she should do “Buenos Aires.” I’m never sure what to pick for Jason, and I’m completely over Brooke, so I don’t care what she sings.
What are your choices for this week? Are you as concerned as I am that this could become a boring episode if everyone picks slow songs?…

Kristy Lee's Final Thoughts

Tuesday, I called Kristy Lee the shrewdest song chooser the show has ever seen. But is it possible that what I--and Simon--saw as shrewd was just dumb luck?

Kristy Lee told EW.com that she picked “God Bless the U.S.A.” because her dad is a veteran and it was a song she sang a lot--not for strategic reasons…

And she refused to back down from her “Eight Days a Week” hoedown because all she heard while she was working on it was that it was “good.” I have no idea who those crazy people were. She also said that if Simon had liked it, people would have felt differently. If Simon had liked it, I would have felt a lot differently…about him…

Since I was typing, I missed Kristy’s lyric change last night to “Still I burn on and on/All of my life/Only for a good comment from you.” She said she just did it in on the spur of the moment and didn’t even know what she said. As for the idea to sit in front of Simon, she said she wanted to show him she wasn’t scared of him.

Her original idea was to sit on his lap, but she decided that was inappropriate. You think?…

Interestingly, before the show, Debbie the stage manager removed a sign from the audience that said “Bye, bye Kristy”…

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Did America Get It Right?

So, did America get it right? Absolutely 100%. Although in all honesty they should’ve sent her home weeks ago.

The question is, since Kristy Lee did give a pretty good performance, why did she finally end up going home this week?

One word: Simon. As I said last night, Simon trashed her performance to sway the audience to get rid of her. And it worked. I wish he would have done that weeks ago.

So next week is Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber week and since the contestants are working to pick their songs as we speak, let me telepathically send my request to David A. I want to hear him sing “Close Every Door” from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” I mean, it was a showstopper for Donny Osmond. How more perfect could it be?

I’ll have my choices for the other contestants later this week. You guys be thinking too.

In the meantime, do you think that America got it right?…

And the person going home tonight is...

9:53 We’re back. Kristy Lee, Brooke and Syesha…Brooke looks sad…One person is safe…Syesha…Yea!

9:54 Come on, America. Do the right thing. Send KLC home!…Randy says he can’t call this one…Paula won’t say America got it right or wrong…Simon said there are no surprises and that Kristy Lee‘s time may have run out. Brooke takes offense to his comment…Kristy Lee tells him she made it past the top 10. Enough of the Simon backtalk…

9:55 Staying with us…Brooke…YES!!! Way to go, America!!!…Brooke immediately starts crying and gives her a big hug…Brooke walks over to a waiting Carly who gives her a hug…

9:56 Kristy Lee thanks America for their support…She asks if she can ride her horse now. You know that guy will be all over the news tomorrow…

9:57 Kristy Lee sits on the judge’s table to sing to Simon. He’s VERY uncomfortable, but he does shake her hand before she goes back to the stage to finish the song…The Idols start to surround her…

9:59 And we’re out before she finishes her song…

Ryan Pulls a Bait and Switch

9:46 We’re back…David C. and Brooke look sad…David A. comes out…He looks queasy…David says he’s never been happier in his life…Aw! Ryan ruined the fun by telling David he is safe…Ryan swaps David C. and Syesha. What?!…Yea! Ryan does ask David to pick the safe group. He sits in the middle of the stage…Ryan tells him to come to his left…Ryan finally drags the safe group over to David--David C., Carly and Jason. Yea! David C. sits on the floor with David A…The bottom three is Kristy Lee, Brooke and Syesha…Break…

Okay, hold up. Let’s talk about this for a minute. So, they completely tricked us into thinking there was going to be a big dramatic shocker by putting David C. in the wrong group. That’s just wrong, isn’t it? Since Carly’s safe, I’m going with Brooke…

The Taped Stuff

9:31 We’re back…Oh great, Idol Live is back. Does that mean Mariah is the taped performance?…Kristy Lee tells us that the guy who bought her horse will not sell it back…I need a break. I’ll be back…

9:41 Mariah finishes her performance of “Bye Bye”…Ryan tells her she looks fantastic…He asks her to rate Randy as a judge…She says she loves her some Randy or something I didn’t quite understand and then tells us that’s a line from her new album in stores today. Okay, that was just wrong…Break…

Okay, here’s a thought. What if the shocker is that David A. is in the bottom group and that’s why they saved him until last?…

Is There a Shocker in the Making Here?

9:20 We’re back…Ford ad: “I Want to Break Free”…The Idols are puppets in an office until they cut their strings. Okay…

9:21 The Cooks and Jason and Syesha join Ryan on the couch as he introduces Elliott. So where are the rest of them? Do they not get to see him or are they in the audience? Elliott is doing “Free”…So I wonder why he got to sing live and the other former Idols didn’t?…Ryan gives his condolences for the passing of Elliott’s mother. Elliott handles it beautifully…

9:25 Back to the results, which is a weird transition after condolences…Syesha…She joins Jason and Carly. I don’t like this…Brooke…She gives us some more of her trademark babbling…She joins David C. and Kristy Lee…So now we have Syesha, Jason and Carly in one group and David C., Kristy Lee and Brooke in the other. Now it will be David A.’s choice to pick the group he things he belongs in. Yes, I feel a shocker. After all, Ryan did say “anything can happen”…Break

The Results Begin...

9:07 We’re back…Ryan introduces the co-writer of “This Is My Now” to plug the songwriter competition. And aren’t we so appreciative of his contribution to the show. That was sarcasm if you didn’t catch it…And what did Ryan say about registering for the summer tour? I’ll have to check that later…Recap…

9:11 Results time…Jason…Ryan sends him to start a group on the left. Yea! He’s doing the group thing. You know I love those, but they usually mean a shocker…David C…As I predicted Ryan asks him about his emotions last night, but David doesn’t take the bait and just says that a lot of things came to a head this week. Good for him for not dragging his brother into this--even though we all already have…Ryan sends David to form a second group on the right and there’s a smattering of boos from the audience…Carly…She says that she thinks Simon has been really hard on her. Simon tells her he’s being hard on her because he thinks she has the potential to be great…Ryan sends Carly to join Jason. Hmmm…Kristy Lee…She tells Ryan that Simon can be a “butt” sometimes. Man, he’s getting it tonight, isn’t he?…Kristy Lee joins David C. Uh-oh…Break…

"One Sweet Day"

Here we go…

8:59 Intro. Kristy Lee is WAY serious. Man, Ryan’s milking that intro more than he did Seacrest, out, isn’t he?

9:00 Ryan reminds us that “anything can happen”…36 million votes--a season high…Ooh, Elliott is going to perform. Cool!…

9:01 Judges Intro…Group Sing: “One Sweet Day.” A little depressing, don’t you think? Jason starts it out…I think Kristy Lee has decided white is her color. She’s in her wide stance, but she sounds decent…Okay, that low Brooke part was a little weird…Either Carly actually got some screams, or those were some late David A. screams…Someone needs to turn up David C’s mike or turn down Syesha’s…Carly looks nice again tonight. Maybe she wants to look good for her last performance?…Break…

Tonight's Show...

Before we get to tonight’s results show, let me just say a couple more things about last night’s show…

According to EW.com, after his performance, David Cook ran into the audience to hug his brother, Adam. The judges also greeted Adam and then continued to praise David’s performance. As I told you yesterday, Adam was able to travel to the show thanks to generous donations. The price tag for his charted medical jet with nurse and medic? $80,000. Adam is expected to be in the audience again tonight, so look for Ryan to ask David why he was so emotional after last night’s performance…

Looking for another reason why Carly could be in trouble tonight? Her song, “Without You,” was performed by Leona Lewis during her winning season of “The X Factor.” So Simon was not only comparing Carly to Mariah but to Leona as well. I still think she’s the one who will go, but Brooke could be a real possibility…

I’ll be back in ten with the minute-by-minute blow-by-blow…

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Worth Some More Listens

If you can't wait until iTunes releases the studio version later today, here's another look at David Cook's brilliant performance last night.

The strings in that arrangement are fantastic.

A Final Word on Mariah Night

Before I sign off for the evening, I should say one other thing. I wasn’t really looking forward to tonight because I thought it was going to be rough. But the performances were actually good. And who would have guessed that Mariah week would produce one of the best performances of the season (David C.’s “Be My Baby”)?

Plus, I have to admit that Mariah was actually a good mentor that gave good feedback to the contestants. In fact, Jason owes her one for helping him compose that melody…

So who's going home?

Okay, so let’s break this down. Who’s going to make up the bottom three? I think it’s definitely got to be three of the girls, so I’m going with Carly, Brooke and Kristy Lee.

And who’s going home? In this crazy, unpredictable season, it’s really hard to tell. But if it’s based on performances, I think it has to be Carly. It was just completely underwhelming. As Simon said, she’s just completely overthinking and it’s coming through in her performances.

So what do you think? Who’s going home tonight?

And more importantly, how hard did David Cook rock tonight? He may have just convinced me to buy Idol tour tickets…

By the way...

By the way, according to Wikipedia (I love that site, don’t you?), “When You Believe” was recorded by the winner of the fourth season of “The X Factor,” Leon Jackson, and was the British Christmas number one of 2007.

Jason Channels Enrique

Jason Castro, “I Don’t Wanna Cry”: 17
Did anyone else think that sounded like Enrique Iglesias? I liked the verse, but the chorus was a little strange for me.

Let Me Declare My Love For David Cook

David Cook, “Always Be My Baby”: 20+++
MAN, DO I LOVE THIS GUY!!! That was so awesome I can’t even say. I almost jumped off the couch. And tomorrow, I will be downloading that bad boy from iTunes. And the tears in David’s eyes as the director cut to his brother in the audience just spoke volumes, didn’t it? I’m actually glad they didn’t have time to tell us what was going on.

Brooke finds her inner "Hero" and Kristy Lee makes another shrewd choice

Brooke White, “Hero”: 17
I really liked this until she started absolutely racing through the chorus which made it lose all of the emotion. And did you see how bad she was shaking at the end? But I disagree with Randy that the bridge was off. I liked it.

Kristy Lee Cook, “Forever”: 18 ½
I started to write 19, and I realized I couldn’t possibly give her the same score as David A. But you have to admit this was pretty good. I think Kristy Lee is becoming one of the shrewdest song choosers I have ever seen on this show. Not only did she pick a song we weren’t all that familiar with so we couldn’t compare her to Mariah, but she also picked a song she could countrify. And as far as Simon not liking her, I think he’s trying to sway the audience.
And how on the nose is Paula tonight? Wow!

Syesha Vanishes

Syesha Mercado, “Vanishing”: 18
I’m with Paula. This was a very smart choice because it isn’t so well-known. She sounded great, but the song was slightly dull. And she missed the note Mariah told her to hit--which we all know because we saw her teach it to her in the video. But she looked fantastic.

Carly Meets Her Fan, Mariah

Carly Smithson, “Without You”: 17
I like Carly when she goes subtle and I really like her lower register, but she has got to learn some breathing techniques because she seems to always run out of air. And I had to take off a point for that choke just before the chorus. Plus, I have to admit that I’m a little disappointed with her choice. But she looked great, which I was a little disappointed that Paula didn’t point out since it was obvious Paula didn’t like the performance.

Simon is right. Tonight is much tougher on the girls...

And did anyone else see that person in the front of the “mosh pit” put their hands up and then immediately put them down? Maybe someone heard my screams…

David A. Believes...

We begin tonight’s show with a shot of Minnie Driver and then a shot of Teri Hatcher. Please tell me Teri’s not going to sing again…

And Ryan is seriously on his game tonight with his expected “Make sure you vote” speech and saying what we all were thinking about how Randy was going to judge tonight since he always criticizes the Idols for doing big singers. Randy said he’d just have to judge fairly. Yeah, right…

David Archuleta, “When You Believe”: 19
A great song from a great movie. Although I would’ve liked to have heard a little more of the chorus from David instead of the background singers, I thought it was a great performance. I took off one point for that slightly shaky falsetto (What was Mariah thinking?).

But please, stop the swaying hands!

And who did Simon have record that song? I’ll have to look that one up later…

David Cook's Tall Order

So, David Cook will definitely have a tall order on tonight’s show.

Not only does he have to take on a Mariah Carey song, but he will also have to deal with the emotion of having his ailing brother, Adam, who is battling brain cancer, in the audience.

According to a report in the “Terre Haute News,” Adam’s doctors had said his condition was too delicate for him to fly commercially, so his friends rallied to get him a chartered medical jet and a hotel room.

Adam’s wife, Kendra, told the newspaper that he had not been feeling well but that the prospect of the trip had him feeling better. Adam and Kendra will attend both the Tuesday and Wednesday shows with a medic and nurse.

The Board of Directors at Clarian Health in Indianapolis is paying for the medic, nurse and Leer jet while a local Terre Haute radio station is paying for the hotel.

I sincerely hope Ryan doesn’t say anything to David before his performance since I know it’s got to be hard for him…

Back in ten as Mariah Carey night (gulp) begins…

CMT Awards: An Idol Reunion

An Idol cleaned up at Monday’s CMT Music Awards, but it wasn’t the one you would’ve expected…

Kellie Pickler won three CMT buckles: “USA Weekend” Breakthrough Video of the Year, Performance of the Year (at the 41st Annual CMA Awards) and Tearjerker Video of the Year all for “I Wonder.”

Paula Abdul was one of the presenters last night and she said there were so many Idol alumni in the audience that she felt like it was a reunion.

Carrie Underwood didn’t win any awards, but she did get to close the show. Why she didn’t use the opportunity to sing her new single, “Last Name,” I have no idea. She instead chose to do “All-American Girl” which always sounds a little sharp live.

You can see Carrie’s performance and Kellie’s winning moment at http://www.cmt.com/

Get Your Carrie Tickets Saturday!

Saturday is the day to buy your Carrie Underwood tickets for her concert in Huntington.

Tickets go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. The fan club presale begins Thursday at 10 a.m. Prices range from $33.00-$53.00.

The concert is Saturday, June 14th at 7:30 p.m. at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena…

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Worst Idol Episode Ever?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, our worst fear has come true. Tuesday’s theme is Mariah Carey, which means all of the contestants have to sing a Mariah song…

Michael Johns was going to do a bluesy version of “Vision of Love,” which I would’ve picked for Syesha. But what should everyone else do?

I fear that Syesha will go with something like “Someday,” and I think that’s too big for her. I think “Vision” would match up with her voice much better, or possibly “I’ll Be There.”

I can hear David A. ripping out “Hero” with no problems or “I’ll Be There” since it was originally a male song, and I think Carly could handle “I Don’t Wanna Cry.” Brooke could possibly strip down “We Belong Together,” but she should definitely do it with a piano or her guitar. “I’ll Be There” might work for her too. I have no idea which song Kristy Lee will try to countify, but I’m sure it will be a ballad. Maybe “When You Believe,” if she can turn that into a solo song. Jason is a complete mystery for me.

As for David C., I have a rather obscure choice for him--which we’ve already seen is his specialty. I would go with the Robert Palmer classic, “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On,” which Mariah recorded for “Glitter.” I’m sure she would hate to be reminded of that movie, but she’d have to get over it.

So what do you guys think? Which contestants should attempt which Mariah songs?

And are you with me that this could be the worst episode of Idol ever?…

Thoughts from Michael Johns...

So was Michael Johns as shocked as everyone else when he was eliminated last week? Yes.

He told EW.com that he didn’t get into performance mode until he saw his wife in the audience say, “I love you” and then he realized he had to suck it up and sing since it could be his last time. In fact, Michael watched the show just to see how his performance was (You done good, Michael.).

Michael promised EW.com an album of Otis Redding meets the Stones meets INXS. Apparently, he learned nothing from the experience…

Friday, April 11, 2008

"Gonna Take a Little Time..."

So I need a little time to get over my frustration with the “Idol” producers—and to get my new computer up-and-running—but I’ll be back in a couple days with reaction from Michael Johns and we’ll get to the bottom of Mariah Carey week…

Henderson, out!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Disappointment With "Idol"

I said in my last post that I wasn’t sure why Michael was eliminated. But one thing I am sure of is how disappointed I am in my beloved “Idol.” First, they show a comedian using a bleeped f-word during a charity show watched by millions of families, immediately after a contemporary Christian praise song. And then tonight, they give us the cruelest elimination I have ever seen in my six and a half years of watching. Yes, Ryan has made a lot of cruel cuts over the years, but to dangle the prospect of Michael staying and then tell him goodbye—again? That was cruel beyond words. The audience and Michael and Carly were stunned enough that he was leaving. Ryan should have just let that moment suffice instead of teasing us with the possibility of a non-elimination. Now, granted, there’s no way the show would have done a special elimination show and not eliminate anyone, but Michael didn’t know that. And trying to add drama, or whatever Ryan was trying to do with that move, actually took away from the drama of the moment itself as Carly roamed around the stage lost and Michael just stood there wondering what was happening.

Ryan, I love you, but that was beyond cruel and you shouldn’t have done it. If it was Nigel’s idea, you should have told him no. And Nigel, if it was your idea, you should be completely ashamed (for that and for the Ben Stiller video).

This week was about charity. It would’ve been nice if the show had shown a little to Michael.

Kudos to him, though, for working through it and giving one of the most dynamic goodbye performances I’ve ever seen. If only he had shown that charisma earlier, he might still be with us…

Did America Get It Right?

So, did America get it right? Not even close. Syesha should have gone home for her awful song choice. Michael gave a solid performance. I guess he just doesn’t have as many fans as I thought, or Syesha and Carly have more fans than I thought. I’m not sure which.

What do you think? Did America make the right choice?...

The Cruelest Elimination in Idol History

8:53 We’re back…Lights down…Michael…Syesha…Carly. If it’s her, she’ll have a breakdown…Syesha and Carly…safe! Michael’s stunned, as am I…Carly says “no, no” and she can’t believe it…Paula’s mouth is open…Ryan says that last year no one was eliminated this week, but this year…we say goodbye to Michael. That was the cruelest elimination I have ever seen…Michael says he’s surprised…

8:55 Goodbye video…

8:57 Michael’s still in shock…Randy says he has a bright future…Paula says it’s time to get on with his career…Simon says he made the wrong song choice (which makes Michael shake his head), but he admits he will miss him…

8:58 Michael does “Dream On”…Carly is in tears and hugs Syesha…Kristy Lee pulls Jason over to join her and the other girls…Michael goes out to the mini-stage. That’s the most charisma he’s shown all season…That was one of the best goodbye performances I’ve ever seen—even if he did miss the high notes. But what is up with the director cutting away from Michael’s last notes to show Carly and then Rickey Minor? Was that his way of getting back at Michael for going into the crowd unexpectedly?...

9:00 Paula gives Michael a big, long hug. Then Randy gives him one too…And we’re out.

Some More IGB Business

8:45 We’re back…Jim Carrey IGB spot…Bono video for one.org and shopping RED…Hillary Clinton spot…John McCain spot. He goes for humor, but the audience doesn’t get it because it’s a political primary joke…Barack Obama spot…He gets some cheers…

8:48 Michael, Carly and Syesha on stage…Randy says “pretty surprising.” Huh?...Paula says partly right…Simon says he believes America is now listening to him…After the break…

The Bottom Three Revealed

8:37 We’re back…Michael Chiklis IGB spot. He threatens to knock down our door. And he got more time than Kiefer, why?...Ford ad: “I Just Want to Celebrate”…The Idols throw around paint…The paint makes the Earth. Awww...Whatever…

8:38 Brooke and the Davids on sofa…

8:39 Jason Castro…Lots of screams…safe…Has to be Kristy Lee or Michael with Syesha or Carly…Kristy Lee…She says she hates this…safe with a huge Ryan fakeout…The bottom three is Syesha, Carly and Michael. Carly looks sick…

8:41 After the break…

The Air Gets Thinner...

8:24 We’re back…Dr. Phil/Ricki Lake IGB spot…Forrest Whitaker and his wife in Angola video…Love that version of “In the Name of Love.” Can we download that?

8:28 Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown doing “No Air”…I haven’t been able to get this song out of my head all week…With those backing vocals, it sounds and looks like Jordin’s lip synching…Maybe they should stop the Chris Brown-Rihanna rumors and start some Jordin rumors…Why did they even use those backing vocals? They didn’t need them. And then we could’ve just heard them…Look for this song to be #1 next week…Ryan even admits there’s “a vibe” between the two of them…Jordin receives her hardware: platinum download awards for “Tattoo” and “No Air” and a gold award for “Jordin Sparks”…Break…

The Results Begin...

8:12 We’re back. Dylan and Cole Sprouse IGB spot. Why did it say Zack and Cody? They have real names…”I’m a Believer” celebrity lip synch video…Michael Chiklis dancing? That’s a little scary…Okay, Camryn Mannheim grabbing her chest was a little inappropriate…They did get a few seconds from Ryan before he fled the stage…That whole video was completely unnecessary…

8:15 Over 31 million votes-the highest this season…Couch vs. urinal stools…Lights down…Brooke…She says her sister’s getting married Sunday and she won’t be there—or maybe she will…She won’t because she’s safe…

8:17 David C…He’s nervous and says he could go either way…Safe. Yea! He looks very grateful…Could Kristy Lee be in the bottom three?...

8:18 David A…Ryan has to quell the screams…Safe…

8:19 Carly looks sick backstage…Break…

The Idols "Shout to the Lord"

8:00 Intro…Syesha looks a little sick until Ryan forces a smile from her…

8:01 Mandisa in the house!...”IGB” recap video…I like Snoop Dogg and I don’t know why…I promised you gymnastics from Fergie. Wow!...Teri Hatcher sang Carrie Underwood?! What?!...I LOVE Annie Lennox. I’m so glad that Simon Fuller is her manager so she can be a part of this every year…Hey, maybe I don’t even need to watch my tape now…

8:05 “IGB” has raised over $60 million. So far, that’s down from last year…iTunes plug. Ryan says the “IGB” downloads are already in the top spots…

8:06 They’re giving “Shout to the Lord” another sing. Maybe they realize they gave it short shrift last night…Jason looks so lost and all he has to do is move back and forth…They say “My Jesus” this time, but last night it was “My shepherd”…David C. gives me chills…The Idols go to the mini-stage in the audience with David wailing away…I admit I will download this one…Carly and Syesha put their arms around each other. Could that be a foreshadowing of the bottom two?...Break…

Some Insight From the Judges...

Before we get to tonight’s results, let me tell you what the judges had to say on “Larry King Live” Monday night while they were hyping “Idol Gives Back.”

Despite Larry’s clueless and unresearched questions, we did get some interesting tidbits (Fortunately, Ryan was there to keep Larry straight.)…

Simon said he sometimes finds Ryan annoying because he gets “in the way when he’s not invited”…

The judges got into an argument about Paula saying that several of the top 12 will get deals. Simon disagreed and said that saying that might cause people not to vote because the win won’t have as much meaning…

Simon said he looks at each individual and not the big picture. He disagrees that this is the best season, although he does agree it’s better than last year…

Simon disagreed with Paula that the best voice always wins, because he says the best voice did not win season five. He couldn’t even remember the runner-up that season (It was Katharine McPhee, in case you’ve forgotten as well.)…

Simon said he really wanted to hate Paula’s single, “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow,” but he actually likes it…

Here’s what Simon said about each contestant:

David Cook—“He’s the guy I would choose to listen to…He’s my favorite.”

Carly—“I don’t know who she is [as an artist]”

Michael—“It’s like he’s auditioning for a rock band” and he’s not rock.

Brooke—The last two weeks she’s been “boring.”

David A.—“the one to beat”

Kristy Lee—“The odds of her winning are one million to one.”

Jason—“He shows up and acts like he doesn’t care.”

Syesha—“There’s a ceiling to this girl.”

Randy said he thinks Syesha is more of an actress/singer. He also said Jason “doesn’t have a shot to win” and he wouldn’t sign him. But he would sign Kristy Lee…

Huh?

Simon said the finale will be David vs. David…

Be back in a few as the results show begins. And I’ve got that Syesha feeling again this week…

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Last 25 minutes of "Idol Gives Back"

So, my trip tonight lasted a little longer than I expected, so I only caught the last 25 minutes. But here are my thoughts on those…

First of all, my apologies for not telling you that the show was going to run over. Of course, I didn’t tell you, because I didn’t know. Because if I had, I would’ve set the timer for longer and then turned over to “Top Chef” so I didn’t miss the entire Quickfire Challenge…

The mess-up with Brad Pitt’s microphone was shown because he didn’t want to re-tape his entrance. Reese Witherspoon’s entrance was also flubbed but she did hers again…

How cute were those little kids singing Daughtry’s “What About Now?”…

Was that Mariah Carey song supposed to be good? And where was the orchestra she was directing with her hands?...

“Shout to the Lord”? My, my, “Idol” is getting quite spiritual. But it sounded good. And Kristy Lee looked absolutely gorgeous in that long white dress. But why was Syesha wearing shorts? And did you notice how David Cook completely outsang Carly on those ad-libs? The song was a nice ending to the evening…

So why did we need to see the bit with Ben Stiller? I realize they were trying to be funny, but you don’t follow “Shout to the Lord” with a comedian dropping a bleeped f-bomb. That was completely out of place and totally inappropriate for a family show about charity. Nigel should be ashamed of himself…

So, what were your thoughts about the show? Did any of you donate?

I’ll have more thoughts after I watch the entire show…

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"Idol Gives Back"

So, I’ll be in tomorrow night after the show with some thoughts on “Idol Gives Back.”

Let me remind you again that the show starts at 7:30 p.m. and lasts until 10 p.m. So far all of the reviews I've seen have been favorable.

I have to go out of town tomorrow afternoon and I will probably miss a little bit of it, so if you’ve got something to say that you just can’t hold in, feel free to post it here.

In the meantime, allow me to leave you with this picture from Kiefer Sutherland’s taped message from the show, courtesy of RT, my second favorite Canadian. Doesn't he look great?

So who's going home?

Okay, so let’s break this thing down…

Who will end up in the bottom three? Well, I picked two of three last week, so let’s see if I can get all three this week by going with Syesha, Carly and Brooke. I think there is a slight possibility that David could end up in the bottom three, but I think he’s too popular at this point—or at least I hope so because he’s the only person I look forward to each week. And I, of course, would love to see Kristy Lee there, but I think she’ll get a pass this week…

So, who’s going home? I think it will come down to Syesha and Carly, and my gut is once again telling me it’s Syesha. And she honestly may deserve it for that horrible song choice. I almost wish she had gone with Whitney—almost. And since Mariah is the mentor next week, you know she’s REALLY hoping I’m wrong.

If it’s Carly who goes, I’m afraid we’ll witness a nervous breakdown because it was obvious from her taped intro that she is still quite traumatized by her record deal fiasco.

So who do you think is going home? Discuss it amongst yourselves while I go vote for David Cook. That recap did him absolutely no favors…

Remember that the results are not until Thursday at 8 p.m. on FOX…

Brooke's "Got a Friend"

Brooke White, “You’ve Got a Friend”: 17
I think she should’ve done the James Taylor version with her guitar because she is not meant to just stand in front of the mic and do a ballad like that. It was all kinds of pitchy.

David's "lovin' angels instead..."

David Archuleta, “Angels”: 19
I personally would’ve liked to have seen David without the piano so he could’ve concentrated on his vocal and connected with the audience (You couldn’t hear the piano anyway.). I liked the nice twists he gave the song and Simon’s right, it is a great one.

And I loved the sign that said “Lick those lips”…

David Is "Innocent" and Carly Goes On With the Show

So, we introduce the audience to Mike Darnell, who Simon calls “the real dark lord of ‘American Idol.’” No, Simon, that would be the dark lord of all television…

David Cook, “Innocent”: 19
The song had a weird beginning, but once David hit the chorus it was awesome. I thought it was gutsy for him to move right in front of the judges and I loved his move with “give back” written on his hand. That was genius and it looked great on camera.

Taylor Swift in the house!

Carly Smithson, “The Show Must Go On”: 17
I actually got a little excited when I heard this was her song because I thought she would nail it, but again, she disappointed me. I think she was disconnected from the song, and the director cutting to the band every time she hit the chorus didn’t do her any favors. And she seemed to run out of steam on that last note. This did nothing to make me forget Paris Bennett’s performance of this song, which I actually have on my computer. And once again Randy, it was the band that was off, not the singer.

Kristy Lee Cook: I believe the word you're looking for is "Anyway"...

Kristy Lee Cook, “Anyway”: 17
This was a good choice but it was just too twangy for me. Martina doesn’t sing it that way. And I think Kristy Lee should have worn a dress. Maybe then she would’ve avoided her wide stance.

But best of all, the audience did not sway their arms. Woo-hoo!

Syesha Believes and Jason Goes "Over the Rainbow"

Syesha Mercado, “I Believe”: 17
During my weekly conversation with Tom in Sarasota, I mentioned to him about LaKisha’s miscue in choosing this song last year and said that Syesha shouldn’t make the same mistake. If only she had been listening. Now, granted she sang it beautifully and I liked her twist with the falsetto (which I think shows she’s in it to win it), but that song is so silly it only works with the full gospel choir and confetti falling from the ceiling. Depending what everyone else does, she could be in trouble. However, I did like her challenging Randy (and so did Simon). It’s about time someone called him on his critiques.

Jason Castro, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”: 16
I love this version of the song, but I just didn’t feel like Jason connected with it at all. You did have to give him props for his ukulele skills though.

Michael Dreams On

Okay, so tonight it’s inspirational songs, which means we’re going to get a night of…

Your guess is as good as mine.

But don’t be surprised if Simon is a little distracted tonight, thanks to Paula’s dress. YIKES!

To the music…

Michael Johns, “Dream On”: 18
Maybe the ascot really is the secret to Michael’s success. I didn’t think he’d have the nerve to go for the high notes, but he did and they were awesome. And I hate to break it to you Randy, but it wasn’t Michael that was pitchy, it was the band. I think they were playing a different song in the beginning.

And kudos to Ryan for going straight to the boob joke early on…

Monday, April 7, 2008

Clay’s New Single!!!

So let’s take a break from “Idol Gives Back” mania to talk about something REALLY big—Clay Aiken’s new single.

“On My Way Here” was written by the hotter-than-hot singer/songwriter Ryan Tedder of One Republic (He co-wrote the #1 smash “Bleeding Love.”) and is the first single and title track from Clay’s new CD due out May 6th.

Clay told “USA Today” that he used the song as the “catalyst for the whole album to be lyrically connected” with songs that relate to “lessons I’ve learned.”

Clay promises the CD will have “a little bit of something for everyone, from symphonic-type ballads to upbeat, edgy stuff.”

However, don’t expect Clay to tour anytime soon. He does plan to tour eventually, just not this summer…

You guys know I love Clay, but I’m a little disappointed with this one. It’s gorgeous and Clay sounds great, but it sounds so much like “I Survived You” from Clay’s first CD.

You can hear it for yourself here. Be sure to let me know what you think.

“Idol Gives Back”: Some of What You’ll See

Wednesday is the extravaganza known as “Idol Gives Back.” But since it was taped Sunday night, we already know some of what we’re going to see, barring any edits by the producers…

Warning: If you don’t want to know any details about the show, stop reading now.

The show will kick off with the Idols singing—are you ready for this?—Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music,” accompanied by dancers from “So You Think You Can Dance.” I find the song an interesting choice considering the evening’s tone…

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama taped messages of support. John McCain did too, but his wasn’t played because the tape was “poor quality.” He has been invited to tape another one…

Miley Cyrus will appear in a skit with Billy Crystal and will perform two songs—unless one gets cut—“See You Again” and “Good and Broken.” We’ll also see a video of Miley and her dad, Billy Ray, visiting a poor community in Kentucky. Miley confessed backstage that she has never seen “Idol”…

Mariah Carey, who is next week’s mentor, will perform “Fly Like a Bird” with Randy Jackson playing bass…

John Legend will perform “Show Me” and then join Fergie for “Finally.” Then Fergie will be joined by Heart for “Barracuda,” during which Fergie will show off some snazzy gymnastic moves…

Annie Lennox apparently will bring down the house once again with a moving video and a performance of “Many Rivers to Cross”…

You’ll see taped messages from a slew of celebrities, including the one and only Kiefer Sutherland…

Carrie Underwood will sing George Michael’s “Praying For Time.” Carrie told the AP that the night is about “getting people to do something” and “not about singing your latest single.” But I’m guessing there’ll be a recording of “Time” available on iTunes a la last year’s “I’ll Stand By You”…

This year’s lame celebrity lip-synch number is apparently “Daydream Believer.” The producers tried to get Ryan to tape a part in it Tuesday night, but he wouldn’t play along…

Last year, the show raised $76 million. Producers are hoping for $100 million this year. In addition to the Global Fund, Malaria No More, Children’s Health Fund, Save the Children and Children’s Defense Fund, Brad Pitt’s New Orleans charity, Make It Right, will also benefit…

Remember that “IGB” stars at the special time of 7:30 p.m. on FOX…

A Special Week

It’s a special week for “American Idol,” so here’s a rundown of what you can expect…

Tuesday at 8 p.m., the eight remaining Idols will sing “inspirational songs” in an hour-long show…

Then Wednesday, beginning at the special time of 7:30 p.m., it’s “Idol Gives Back”…

And to avoid a repeat of last year’s disappointing non-elimination, the results show will air Thursday at 8 p.m. The hour will include a performance by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown of their hit, “No Air,” which was taped after Tuesday’s show (I’d look for the song to hit #1 within the next two weeks.). Also during the results show, Jordin will receive a platinum record to commemorate one million downloads of “No Air” and “Tattoo” and a gold award for her CD sales.

It’s a busy week and my computer issues are persisting and I’ll have to watch “IGB” on tape, but we’ll make it through together…

Is “Idol” Turning on the “Mosh Pit”?

Every week it seems like those people in the “mosh pit” get worse and worse. In fact, some people blamed them for Jason’s appearance in the bottom three two weeks ago because of their lousy clapping during his slow song.

Apparently, the producers thought so too since they have taken steps to try and squelch the clapping.

According to EW.com, Corey, the comic who warms up the audience before the show, told the audience Tuesday not to clap during the slow songs. Then, before the taping of the Jordin Sparks-Chris Brown duet for Thursday’s show, Debbie, the stage manager, told the audience not to clap along with the song because they didn’t have rhythm.

You go, girl!

Now, if we could just get rid of that annoying hand waving…

You Too Could Look Fierce


You’ve only got until Thursday to bid on the Christian Siriano-designed dress that Kimberley Locke wore on the March 26th results show.

Funds raised will support Camp Heartland, a program for children impacted by HIV/AIDS.

You can place your bid here. As of this posting, the high bid was $1200.00.

And in case you’re wondering, it’s a size six…

Paula’s Final Four

Recently, Paula told ‘The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet” that she believes the final four will be Carly, David A., David C., and Michael.

I agree about the Davids and Michael—if he keeps turning in performances like last week’s—but I’m still not sure about Carly…

Idol Goodbyes

So since I kept promising it to you, let me quickly catch you up on what we learned from Amanda, Chikezie, and Ramiele during their exit interviews…

Amanda admitted that she wasn’t trying to win, she was just trying to get exposure. She plans to “pound the pavement” for six months and if it doesn’t work out, she’ll move on”…

Chikezie solved the mystery of his disappearing last name. Everyone was pronouncing it “easy,” but it’s actually pronounced “eh-zeh.” So he dropped it because of the mispronunciation.

I’m still sad that we didn’t hear his “9 to 5”…

And remember when I said that Ramiele wasn’t going to be the next Jasmine Trias? I think I spoke too soon. Ramiele said she would love to go to her native Phillipines and try a career, a la Jasmine.

I hope McDonald’s is getting her special value meal ready now…

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Did America Get It Right?

So, did America get it right? Absolutely—although I was really hoping for Kristy Lee to finally go. In fact, I agree with Simon that the bottom three was right on. I’m glad that America rewarded Syesha for her singing instead of comparing her to Whitney.

Next week, it’s “Idol Gives Back” week. Last year, you may recall, the performances were a night of somewhat dreary ballads, but I haven’t heard what is in store this year. As soon as I know, though, I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, let me know what you think. Did America get it right? Who are you hoping slips up or excels next week?...

And the person going home tonight is...

9:52 We’re back. Could it be Kristy Lee? Please, please, please?!...Brooke looks like she’s been crying…Randy says Ramiele is gone…Simon says it won’t be Brooke…Brooke starts crying…Brooke says she’s emotional about the results, “IGB” and Dolly’s performance…Brooke is safe and she cries some more…

9:53 Come on, come on…Kristy Lee is safe. Oh well. Ramiele did give the worst performance last night…Man, Ramiele is short…Kristy Lee gives her a big hug. Kristy Lee’s hair covers up Ramiele’s face, but you know she’s sobbing. Ryan finally pulls Kristy Lee away…

9:54 Goodbye video…

9:55 All of the girls are on the stage with her. Ryan props her up a little and the audience gives her a standing ovation…Paula is standing…

9:56 Ramiele sings and the girls clap behind her…The guys join them. Ramiele goes up to the mosh pit and touches hands. I think it’s funny that she said she walked on stage for the first time last night…I think her emotion actually helped her performance…

9:58 The girls envelop her in a big hug…And we’re out…

Dolly Brings the House Down

9:39 We’re back…”Idol Gives Back” plug…Someone dropped some drumsticks…Another video to show us what “IGB” has accomplished…Two sisters are reunited in Ethiopia…

9:42 Dolly does “Jesus and Gravity”…She’s wearing a headset mic so she can use her hands. I like it…She is such a hoot. She’s actually enjoying the mosh pit…She’s got a choir singing to the left of her…And right of her…This is actually quite a spiritual song for “Idol,” isn’t it? Wonder what Simon is thinking?...That was AWESOME!...She says “Hallelujah, Simon, how are you!” and he smiles…Dolly calls Ryan good-looking and he tells her that she’s hot…Ryan asks her to let Simon back into Dollywood and she says he’s always welcome. Dolly: “I’ve got Jesus and you’ve got Simon.” Ryan: “I got the short end of the stick.” Dolly says that Simon tells the truth and you need someone to do that. He winks at her…Dolly gushes so much that Simon looks a little uncomfortable. Maybe he was afraid she wasn’t going to leave. I say we just turn the whole show over to her…Break…

Man, I hope her sales go up after this. She deserves it…

The Bottom Three Revealed

9:28 We’re back…Video of Idols living in Nashville…Bucky…Phil…I hate that he doesn’t get to come sing his song since his album is coming out in a few weeks…Bo…I really think that his health problems actually derailed his career a little, but his latest CD is good. One of these days I’ll review it for you since I did buy it…How come Bo got more time than Bucky and Phil?...

9:31 Ryan promises we’ll hear about more former Idols in the coming weeks…Here’s Syesha. She looks nervous…She’s safe! And she’s as shocked as I am. So that leaves us with Brooke and Jason. The look on Brooke’s face says she thinks it’s her…

9:33 Brooke asks for an apology for the violin player and Simon gives it to her and one to Carly and one to the audience and one to Paula…Brooke…in the bottom three. Jason is safe…

9:34 Kristy Lee, Ramiele, and Brooke are the bottom three. They tell us they’re roommates…Simon says America got it absolutely right…Simon tells Carly he was just trying to help her because he thinks she’s cute…After the break…

Could America Have Actually Done the Right Thing?

9:09 I love Madonna’s new song with Justin, “Four Minutes,” but a hair product commercial? Really?

9:12 We’re back…It’s “Idol Live” time. Nice that they didn’t have anyone on the stools before they did this for a change…Randy says he would like to do a song with the Idol winner this year. Wonder if 19 would allow that?...Simon tells a caller who asks why he finds it necessary to apologize after a negative critique that he will never do it again…

9:17 A taped performance by the Clark Brothers. I guess that might mean Dolly is actually live—I hope…Boy they are off tonight. For those of you who didn’t watch “Next Great American Band,” these guys are good, but they are not showing it tonight. Ashley totally screwed up that first verse. And they did much better songs than this on the show…Ryan looks a little confused. Maybe he’s wondering how they’re supposed to be the next big thing that he just promised us…

9:19 Ford commercial…”It’s Tricky”…Some of the Idols play street basketball against some imposing opponents and win…It was okay, I guess…

9:20 We’re back to the results…David Cook comes out. Be nice to him Ryan…The audience loves him…David says everything was blown out of proportion and that his blood pressure just spiked on him. Uh, David, I think that can be pretty serious, darlin’. Glad he’s okay…He’s safe…

9:22 Ramiele looks sick as she comes out…And for good reason because she’s in the bottom three. Yea!...Kristy Lee brings out a note that says “Kristy’s seat,” because she thinks she’s going to the stools…She’s in the bottom three. YEA!!! Could this be the night? Please, please, please!...Okay, that was some rather awkward banter. Ryan really seems to be stalling for something. Is there something wrong backstage?...Break…

The Votes Are In...

9:02 We’re back…Recap time…The fact that David was having health problems just makes me appreciate his performance even more. But did they have to show him hitting the one false note of his entire performance?...Well, at least Syesha will give a memorable goodbye performance if she goes tonight…

9:05 Sofa vs. urinal stools—which by the way you can buy similar ones at Target in red. Michael Johns is first…Lights down…He’s wearing a Dolly Parton shirt. Nice…He’s safe…The screaming must mean it’s David Archuleta, and it is…David is safe…Carly Smithson…Is there a shocker coming here?...Ryan cruelly toys with her and she almost loses it. She’s safe…

9:08 After the break…

The Results Show Begins...

Time to get going…

8:55 Intro. We’re starting early tonight…

8:56 Was that Peter Frampton in the audience?...The Clark Brothers are going to perform? Come on! I was hoping “The Next Great American Band” was just a distant memory…

8:57 Group sing time. They’re doing “9 to5.” Wonder if this would have still been the plan if Chikezie had been able to do it Tuesday? I’m thinking Ramiele should have done it. She doesn’t sound bad…Man, Michael is starting to turn it on, isn’t he?...What, no “Islands in the Stream”?...Was it just me or did Syesha get zero screams?…Randy imitates the hand wavers as the Idols surround the judges. Nice…By the way, Simon said he’d like to get rid of the “mosh pit” because they keep the judges from seeing the stage…

8:59 Break…

Last Night's Drama

Before we get into tonight’s show, let’s talk about the drama that happened behind the scenes last night…

David Cook was rushed to the hospital following his performance last night, after experiencing heart palpitations. Paramedics were called to check his blood pressure during the commercial break prior to his performance, but David would only get proper treatment after his song.

At the hospital, a doctor gave him medication to bring his blood pressure down and discharged him. He is expected to be on tonight’s show.

The palpitations were most likely created by the stress of the show. But David has also been dealing with family issues as his brother is battling cancer.

Speaking of the stress of the show, Doxology told EW.com today that they feel totally vindicated by David’s shout-out last night. They admitted that it had been in the works with the producers for a few weeks (Interestingly, they also said they could not confirm the rumor that David did mention them in his taped interview before his performance but the producers cut it out.).

Also backstage last night, Ryan Seacrest smacked his leg against the metal railing that divides the audience from the main floor while trying to dash across the set. He was able to continue after several icepacks.

Ryan, would you just give me a call already? We klutzes have to stick together.

Now to tonight's show, which is another hour-long stall fest. We'll get a performance from Dolly Parton, but no performance from a former Idol. Instead, we'll get a video updating us on Phil Stacey, Bucky Covington, and Bo Bice.

I’ll be back later with the results. Everything in my gut (which was dead wrong last week) says it’s going to be Syesha…

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

So who's going home?

Alright, let’s break it down. Who will be in the bottom three?

I’m going with Ramiele, Syesha, and…Brooke.

So which of them is going home? If it was based on performance alone, it would definitely be Ramiele. But we all know there are plenty of other factors that go into it, so I think it could very well be Syesha. Why? From what I’ve seen on the Internet, people are turning on her because they feel she’s a little fake. She was in the bottom three last week AND she committed the cardinal “Idol” sin. She tried to imitate Whitney—a sin she already committed once this season. However, “I Will Always Love You” is much more well known than “Saving All My Love for You,” so it poses a much bigger problem.

What do you think? Who are we saying goodbye to tomorrow night?

Michael Gets Sexy

Michael Johns, “It’s All Wrong, But It’s All Right”: 19
An ascot? Really? Maybe it’s the secret to turning on his charisma, because he did show it tonight. In fact, that was almost sexy.

Did Syesha Nail It?

Syesha Mercado, “I Will Always Love You”: 19
I gave this a high score because it was good, but I’m not sure what America will think. I like that she leaned more toward the Dolly version for the beginning (per my advice), but she was clearly going for the Whitney at the end as I feared. And Simon’s right. It paled in comparison. And I wonder if America will agree with Randy that they can’t hear anyone else sing the song (even Dolly). She should’ve resisted the temptation.

David's "Memories" and Kristy's "Coat"

David Archuleta, “Smoky Mountain Memories”: 19
Yes, it was the perfect choice and yes, it was gorgeous. But aren’t these ballads starting to get a little old?

Kristy Lee Cook, “Coat of Many Colors”: 18
Darn it, that was actually pretty good. But that dress is ugly and didn’t go with the song.

And what did I tell you about Syesha? She’d better nail it…

Jason Travels "Through" While Carly Loosens Up

Jason Castro, “Travelin’ Through”: 19
Ladies and gentlemen, Jason is back. This was a perfect song choice for him. What was Simon listening to?

Now could someone tell me how “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” beat that song out for the Oscar?...

Carly Smithson, “Here You Come Again”: 19
I’m being awfully generous tonight, aren’t I? That was a really unexpected take on that one, but I liked it. Man, that higher key was awesome! And yes, she did loosen up for a change, which was nice.

Man, Simon really doesn’t like Dolly, does he?...

David C. Does His Own and Ramiele Sings

Yea! Yea! Yea! David Cook got to defend himself (I’d like to think I had something to do with that.) and mention Doxology. Kudos to the show for that and I hope Doxology is now happy…

David Cook, “Little Sparrow”: 19
How gorgeous is that guy’s voice? And kudos for doing his own arrangement this time. It was gorgeous—but I would’ve ditched the backup singers a little. And I’m with Paula. His hair looked great.

Ramiele Malubay, “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind”: 15
Maybe that was a little harsh, but the whole thing was just weird for me. The arrangement just didn’t work at all—especially with those dance moves.

And who wants to bet that Syesha is closing the show with “I Will Always Love You”?...

Brooke Does "Jolene"

Come on, Ryan. An April Fool’s joke? Really? I’m so disappointed…

Vanna White in the house? That’s interesting…

Is it just me or did it look like Syesha didn’t even know who Dolly was? Man, I hope that’s not the case. And couldn’t Brooke have dressed up a little for Dolly? I mean a plaid shirt, really?...

Now, let’s get to the performances…

Brooke White, “Jolene”: 17
It was the perfect choice for her, but it just didn’t do it for me. There were some serious pitch problems in the beginning and I thought it was missing a little passion.

And I agree with Brooke. Paula’s hair does look great tonight…

The Great Dolly Debate

I haven’t really engaged in this conversation earlier because, in all honesty, I have no idea what the contestants should sing. I love Dolly Parton, but I’m not familiar enough with her music to make educated guesses.

So let me start with what you won’t hear tonight. You won’t hear the re-arranged bluesy version of “9 to 5” that Chikezie had planned for us—which I’m a little disappointed about, by the way—unless another contestant scoops it up. I’m wondering if maybe Syesha should take a look at it.

But you know Syesha and Ramiele will be tempted to do “I Will Always Love You”—a big mistake for either of them. Personally, I think if we’re going to hear this one—and you know we will—whoever does it should go with the subtle Dolly version and not the bombastic Whitney version. I just hope someone reminds Randy that “Love” is actually Dolly’s song so he doesn’t stick his foot in his mouth.

I’m pretty sure we’ll hear “Jolene” and “Coat of Many Colors” as well but I’m not sure by who. And I think we’ll hear “Here You Come Again.” Actually, I can hear David Archuleta doing the Clay Aiken version of that song, which I think would score major points for him IF he gave Clay credit. If he didn’t, the Claymates would eat him alive.

And you can bet that we’ll hear “Islands in the Stream,” but probably not until tomorrow for the group sing.

Personally, I’m just super psyched to find out what David Cook is going to do. If there’s an obscure Dolly cover out there somewhere, he’ll find it. I just hope he or Ryan gives the arranger credit.

More importantly, though, is what Dolly is going to sing during her performance Wednesday night. I would LOVE to see Dolly do her cover of Fine Young Cannibals’ “She Drives Me Crazy” because it has hit written all over it and an “Idol” performance might actually force country radio to play it.

And I’ve got a great idea for a video if Dolly wants to give me a call…

Don’t forget that “Idol” is only an hour tonight (Woo-hoo!) beginning at 8 on FOX.

Until then, check out Dolly’s cover for yourself here.

In Defense of David Cook

So, obviously, I didn’t get my computer problems fixed because I didn’t post all of the things that I promised you I would Sunday.

And I do still owe you all of that stuff and I will get to it, I promise.

But since the performance show is tonight, I thought for now we should focus on that and the storm cloud that is threatening to overtake one of the frontrunners…

If you haven’t heard, David Cook is in the middle of a firestorm.

It all started last week when Chris Cornell fans lit up the Internet with complaints about Randy Jackson calling David the most original contestant in the show’s history. Even though Ryan made it clear that David was doing Cornell’s version of “Billie Jean,” the fans felt that David should have taken the opportunity to remind everyone again after his performance. The outcry was so huge that Chris Cornell himself actually stood up for David to EW.com.

Now, Doxology, a rock-soul group from Seattle (who happen to be friends with Blake Lewis), issued a press release Friday claiming that David performed their version of “Eleanor Rigby” during the first Beatles week without crediting them.

The press release says the band’s main issue is “that when given the opportunity to speak up and reveal where the arrangement came from, David Cook did not. His silence on the issue implies that the arrangement is his own. It is not. We were even more surprised when the studio recording, released Thursday morning, was even more of a note-for-note instrumental copy of Doxology’s recording.” The band says it is not seeking royalties—which it would be entitled to if their name had been mentioned on air. They just want David and “Idol” to “do the right thing and acknowledge these facts.”

And I’m sure a little publicity from America’s number one show wouldn’t hurt…

So since I like David Cook and I voted for him multiple times last week, I hope you will allow me this opportunity to defend him…

As I said last week, David is not the most original “Idol” contestant of all time, but David never claimed to be. That was Randy’s doing and if Randy isn’t smart enough to figure out that David is not coming up with the arrangements himself—even with Ryan telling him—that’s his problem, not David’s.

As for the argument that David should have credited Chris Cornell again after Randy’s little speech, what was he supposed to do? Interrupt Randy and tell him he was wrong? The kid’s trying to win this thing!

Which also explains why he didn’t credit Doxology after his performance. Admitting it then, in front of the judges, would have been a disaster (A quick listen on YouTube will tell you that David was definitely doing their version and not Panic! At the Disco’s as I originally thought.). Remember that David was chastised in the beginning for his go-around with Simon so he knows that keeping his mouth shut is the best move. And in his defense, with all of that screaming going on, he probably only hears half of what the judges are saying anyway.

In all honesty, it shouldn’t be David’s responsibility to set up the songs. That should be the responsibility of the show. And yes, the show should have done so for Doxology either through David’s video package or through Ryan’s introduction.

I am not bothered that David is doing other people’s arrangements and I actually applaud his knack for finding the right ones. Though he may not be original, he is still brave for attempting little known versions of well-known songs.

What I am bothered by is that Randy and his big mouth could end up hurting David’s chances of being the next “American Idol.” To combat Randy, the show needs to continue on its current path and give credit where credit is due—even if it means doing it after the fact. I believe that Ryan needs to forgo the umpteenth “Idol Gives Back” promo (even though Kiefer is participating) and give David time to defend himself tonight.

So what do you guys think? Be sure to post a comment and offer your own defense…