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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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So Who's Going Home?

So since we’re down to the Top 9, we might get Ryan’s three groups of three trick tomorrow night with the top three, the bottom three and the middle three. If that’s the case, I think the top three will be Adam, Kris and Danny.

The bottom three? I’m going to go with Megan, Matt and Anoop.

So who’s going home? I’m torn between Megan and Matt. I really want Megan to go, but Matt bombed a current song. And he was in the bottom three last week.

But I’m going with my heart and saying it’s finally time for Megan to go. I think that Matt’s fans will rally after last week.

However, I have to ask, is the show trying to get rid of him? First they make him go first and then they make him perform in the middle of the audience with Ryan talking over his intro. I think they would’ve treated him a little better after last week if they wanted him to do well…

What do you guys think? Do you agree with me about Megan or do you think someone else is going home?

Kris Nails It Again

Mandisa in the house! Her new album is SO awesome…

Kris Allen, “Ain’t No Sunshine”: 20
He missed that last note slightly, but the rest of it was so awesome, I’m willing to forgive it. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I would buy this guy’s album right now.

And I love Ryan for going after Kara’s ability to count…

Adam Plays That "Funky Music"

Adam Lambert, “Play That Funky Music”: 20
I actually said out loud, “That guy is insane.” Like Randy said, it should have been corny, but it was nowhere near. And I have to agree with Adam. The band did work out this time and kudos to him for acknowledging them. He is a smart one.

But did Simon like it or not? My guess is yes, because I saw him smiling throughout the whole thing…

Matt and Lil Blow Their Song Choices

Matt Giraud, “You Found Me”: 16
Ladies and gentlemen, the mistake of choosing a current song rears its ugly head as it always does. You would think that Matt would have learned his lesson when he did Coldplay. I’m guessing that he felt a little burnt by last week and thought he’d go with something different. But that just didn’t work. And having him perform in the audience didn’t do him any favors at all—especially having Ryan talk over his intro.

Lil Rounds, “I Surrender”: 16
So Lil can pick any song she wants and she picks Celine Dion? What?! And was any of that really in tune? I guess I just don’t get the appeal here. She’s safe though because Ryan brought out the big guns—her adorable kids.

Scott Chooses the Piano Man

Scott MacIntyre, “Just the Way You Are”: 17
Scott’s a lucky man that they expanded this theme to go beyond current songs because I think he could have been in trouble otherwise. But this one was good. I’m all for performances without the band. And for the record, I liked the hair.

Danny Goes Country and Allison Rocks No Doubt

Danny Gokey, “What Hurts the Most”: 18
So the judges loved it. Why didn’t I? Maybe it was because he was drowned out by the band a little, or maybe it was because the audio cracked right before his big moment. But something just didn’t work for me.

Allison Iraheta, “Don’t Speak”: 18
This was a great choice and it sounded good, but I had to knock off points for the outfit and her weak guitar playing. She got so nervous that she started playing ahead of herself. I kind of liked her cutting right to the rockiest part of the song, except it did kind of make it seem like she was shouting, as Simon said.

And did anyone else think that seemed incredibly short compared to the others? Of course, anything would seem short compared to that snoozefest that was Megan…

Megan Turns Down The Lights

Megan Joy, “Turn Your Lights Down Low”: 13
That may have been a little harsh, but it was seriously boring. And does she rehearse those syllables in her spare time? Those pronunciations can’t be natural.

And thanks to the show for putting her a little earlier in the running order. Maybe that will hurt her…

Anoop Gets "Caught Up"

David Spade with a primo spot tonight. Wonder where The Osbournes are sitting?...

And with Allison wearing that outfit, I’m guessing she’s ripping out the Pink…

And how wide open is that theme? Any song that’s a popular download?

Let’s get this thing started…

Anoop Desai, “Caught Up”: 17
There was something about this song that left me cold. I think it was that he was trying too hard for an impersonation with that weird snarl.

And personally, I think he should have taken Kara on. I think that might have garnered him more votes…

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mandisa CD Review: Thank Goodness For Relentless Positivity

In times like these, sometimes all we need is a little relentless positivity.

Thank goodness Mandisa is here to help us out with that with her new CD, “Freedom.”

The great thing about Mandisa is she’s unashamed to be relentlessly positive. And why should she be? “Freedom” is even better than her debut, “True Beauty,” as she rarely hits a false note for the entire album…

The CD kick starts with the single, “My Deliverer” which begins the theme of freedom with the chorus “My deliverer/You set me free/Now I’m alive and I can live.” But that message comes with a great beat that will set your feet tapping.

That leads into my favorite track, “How Much” which has a very clever and irresistible hook.

Then it’s the first ballad of the CD, “He Is With You.” The lyrics of this one will hit home with everyone as Mandisa sings, “He is with you in the conference room/when the world is coming down on you/and your wife and kids don’t know you anymore.” There are very few artists that can do a soaring chorus like Mandisa as this one builds from a very quiet start.

Mandisa gets funky with the next track, “The Definition of Me” which features a rap from Blanca of Group 1 Crew.

Then it’s the unbelievably powerful ballad I can hear churches across America scrambling to get the track for, “Not Guilty.” Mandisa co-wrote this one with Matthew West and Sam Mizell. Just try to keep it together when she hits that chorus of “I know you/I love you/I gave my life to save you/Love paid the price for mercy/My verdict not guilty.”

Mandisa gets right back to the uptempo songs with “Leave It in the Valley” and “Victorious.” These two are probably the weakest of the CD, but that’s not saying much since even they will get those feet going.

“Broken Hallelujah” is another gorgeous ballad that starts out quiet and builds to a more restrained climax.

I was a little worried when I heard the beginning of “Freedom Song,” because I thought it was going to be a too over-the-top number, but it’s another great toe-tapper that combines the funky with the traditional.

Mandisa once again covers a Mary, Mary single with “Dance, Dance, Dance.” The song is okay, but I’m not really sure it fits with the rest of the songs on the CD.

The CD winds up on a great note, however, with another Mandisa co-write, “You Wouldn’t Cry (Andrew’s Song).” Mandisa’s voice rings crystal clear on the chorus of “Blue has never been bluer/True has never been truer.”

The great thing about the CD is that you get so caught up in the good music that you almost miss that you’re also getting a great message. But don’t be mistaken. The message is there and Mandisa is not ashamed to deliver it.

And you shouldn’t be ashamed to enjoy it…

If you’re looking for a positive message in these uncertain times, delivered by a beautiful voice with catchy beats, then this is the CD for you. I know a few friends who will be finding this one in their Easter baskets this year…

“Freedom” is available now…

Photo Credit: Sparrow Records

Michael Sarver: "I'm going to give them even more"

There’s no question that when Michael Sarver went out last week he did with a lot of class.

And he continued to show that class during his conference call with reporters Friday—although he did take one shot at the judges…

Here’s a sample of what Michael had to say…

On what he learned from the show: “I actually through my experience on Idol I learned
just how much I love my family, because I’ve never been away from them that long. I
really got a good hold on what my priorities are in life. That is my number one priority
is my family and although I’ll always want to do this music thing and I plan on hitting it
hard after this experience, it’s really taught me a lot about myself.”

On the judges goofing off during the show: “You know personally, number one, I enjoy
that because what people need to understand is this is supposed to be a fun thing. It’s
supposed to be enjoyable. It’s supposed to be the time of our lives and they help make it
that by goofing around, like Simon coloring on Paula’s face. That was just absolutely
hilarious. It does, indeed, make it complicated sometimes if you may feel like they’re
not really listening to you, but overall, the fun that they’re having on the show makes
everybody smile and that’s what entertainment is all about, bringing a positive light to the
TV world.

On whether he showed who he is as an artist: “You know, I really do actually feel like I
showed that, number one, I’m not as country as most people thought, and number two,
that there’s a lot of soul in me and I’m a soul singer and it doesn’t matter if you mix with
rock, pop or R&B, they’re soul. And I believe I established that and I believe that I
established that I’m the type of artist that will not only work my tail off to do what I do,
but that I never give less than 110% when I’m performing, and I believe I showed that.

On what artist he would compare himself to: “You know, it’s really hard because there’s such a mixture of influence in my life. But I really like the R&B pop style of Justin Timberlake, and it has a lot to do with the way that I write, but all the way across the aisle to Gavin DeGraw and bringing some of that soulful rock, just a combination of those kind of things.”

On what kind of album he’ll make: “It’s definitely going to be an R&B pop soul album.”

On what he would like to say to his fans: “My message to my fans, I thank you so much. You’ve blown my mind with your support and amazed me with your love and your messages and things that you’ve said about me. It means the world and I will never forget you.”

On a favorite bonding moment at the mansion: “The other night as a matter of fact, me and Danny and Anoop played a nice little game of basketball for the purpose of some exercise as kind of letting it all out. It was quite fun. I was horrible, of course, but it was a blast. It’s one of those things where you get on a basketball court with a couple of guys and you have that love for sports in common and just have a good time laughing.”


On whether or not he thought he would be saved: “My second was stronger because I was
stronger. I had definitely been dealing with some sickness and the performance
Wednesday night definitely, unfortunately it showed. I actually didn’t think they would
save me. I really appreciate the fact that they considered it based on my performance the
second night and how they complimented that. It meant a lot to me to really kind of in
sense redeem myself from suffering through a hard night. They did consider, but I felt
like it wasn’t going to happen, mostly based on Simon’s previous comments the night
before about not really feeling like I could win the show.”

On Simon’s comments: “You know, it didn’t necessarily tick me off, nor did it insult me,
but it kind of made me giggle because he knows better than that. We didn’t get there by
mistake. We’re all very talented. I believe in my talent and I believe in myself and what
I have to offer the music world. I definitely would not have been surprised if I had gone
back to the mansion with the guys that night and been on next week. It’s in a given week
and I’m very proud of what I brought to that table. What Simon has to say is quite
important on the show. We all know that and it has a lot of influence. Unfortunately, it
influenced in a negative direction for me, but a positive at the same time because who
cares what they say when they’re actually talking about you? It’s actually a compliment
that they’re talking about you to begin with, so it’s all right.”

On his song choice: “I really felt good about ‘Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.’ I saw that song coming weeks ago when I knew Motown Week was going to happen. I had that song in my head from the very beginning. I’m very proud of the decision to sing that song. My hope was to accomplish energy on that stage, entertainment, but actually to also show a very soulful side of me. I really believe I actually accomplished that. I was disappointed in the fact that certain elements of my health got in the way of me really giving the song what I believe it deserved, and that’s unfortunate. But no doubt, I’m proud of the decision and I look back at the performance and maybe my voice wasn’t 100%, but my heart was.”

On the impact of the judges’ comments: “I believe that what the judges say have a huge
impact on America. America listens to what they have to say. Number one, they’re in
those four seats for a reason and that’s because they know what they’re talking about.
America knows that. I’m not saying that they always get it right, and I have to be honest
with you I don’t really think they got it right necessarily altogether. There were a few
good points, but I don’t think they got it altogether right on me the other night. But the
bottom line is that they are smart. They know their stuff. They’re very talented in their
own right and America listens and pays attention. And that’s why American Idol is as
successful as it has been.”

On his future plans: “I plan to record. I plan to get my music out there and show my true
heart and artistry to America. I really believe that because I made it this far in the
competition, it shows me that there are quite a few people that really respect and
appreciate what I have and I’m going to give them even more.”

I really like Michael, but Justin Timberlake? Seriously? Stick with the country, Michael.
That’s where you belong…

Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FOX

This Week's Theme UPDATED

This week’s theme, according to the fine folks at FOX, is “Top Downloads.”

I honestly have no idea what that means but I’m guessing it’s some kind of iTunes chart. Apparently, Paula Abdul told a reporter that it’s “#1 downloads,” which would suggest songs that have hit #1 on the Downloads chart, but I don’t think that’s broad enough. My guess is that it’s the top 100 downloads, either from the current chart or from an all-time iTunes chart…

Whatever it is, it will most likely include current songs, which are always dangerous for the contestants.

But you know that Kara will love every minute of it because it will allow her to make plenty of suggestions about what they should have done. However, she better make her suggestions quickly because tomorrow’s show will be cut by 35 minutes (8 p.m.-9:25 p.m.).

Wednesday’s results show is scheduled to include performances by David Cook and Lady GaGa, although that may be changed due to Cook’s family matters…

UPDATE: The David Cook fans have confirmed for me what I thought I had read somewhere but couldn't find today--that Cook's "AI" performance has already been taped. I really hope that the show actually admits the pre-tape for a change because some fans that don't realize it might get mad that he's appearing on "Idol" when he cancelled concerts.

Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FOX

David Cook Cancels Shows

The big news in Idol Nation over the weekend is that David Cook has cancelled his next two shows.

He made the announcement at his show Saturday night before he sang his last song, “Light On.”

You can see the announcement here.



David’s website provided a little more information with this announcement:

“We are canceling Monday and Tuesday’s shows to allow David time to deal with personal family matters. Please respect his privacy at this time. David would like everyone to rest assured that we are working with the Universities to reschedule the shows that are missed.”

That’s launched speculation that the reason for the cancellations has something to do with David’s brother, Adam, who as you recall has been living with a brain tumor.

David is scheduled to appear on “American Idol” Wednesday night to sing his new single, “Come Back to Me.” There has been no word from FOX on whether that appearance is still going to happen…

Allow me to add my thoughts and prayers for the Cook family…

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Did America Get It Right?

It’s at this time every week that I ask the question, did America get it right? But this week there’s a bigger question that needs answered…

Let me tackle that first one first, however. Yes, I believe America did get it right. Michael did not give the worst performance last night, but Simon was right when he told him he had no chance of winning. And, more importantly, he was ready to go…

Now to that bigger question. Were the judges actually considering using their save on Michael? I just re-watched those final moments and it could have all just been for drama, but it appears to me that Kara was seriously considering it and she was trying to convince Randy, Paula and Simon…

As I mentioned in my recap, Paula was up dancing throughout the entire song, which in this case is usually her way of celebrating the contestant before they say goodbye. I don’t think she thought for a second they were going to use a save. Simon and Randy appeared to be possibly deliberating, but I think they were probably just making after-show plans. And even Kara seemed too busy dancing to seriously consider keeping Michael.

But at the very last moment, because Michael gave a good performance, Kara had second thoughts and she started trying to convince Paula and Simon. It was not until Simon said they hadn’t decided yet that Randy came over because I believe he thought it had already been decided. And I think Simon put Paula on the spot with “yes or no?” because he had thought she was in agreement as well.

Because they were out of time—and I don’t believe Simon would have given in anyway—Simon delivered a verdict. I think the “no, don’t” you heard was from both Paula and Kara.

So did the judges get it right? Yes, they did. I don’t believe Michael was worth using the save for, even though I like Michael. He was ready to go AND they may need that save further down the line. Especially if the producers keep giving that first slot to talented singers.

And regardless of what Simon said, I have to believe they would have saved Matt. I think the other three would have railroaded him into it…

So now we move on to next week. I have not heard what the theme is, but I still think it will be something to go along with the premiere of “The Osbournes: Reloaded.” Although that show scares me a little, I’m happy about its premiere, because that means “Idol” will only be an hour next week.

I could use the break…

What do you guys think? Did America get it right? Did the judges?...

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to return the call I ignored during the show. Don't worry. It was my dad. He understands...

And the Person Going Home Is...

8:55 We’re back…Michael and Matt at center stage with Ryan…Matt still looks REALLY sick…Lights down…Michael puts his arm around Matt…The lowest vote-getter is…Michael. I was starting to worry…Matt is safe…Michael has a huge smile on his face. He says, “And I have to sing after Stevie. Oh crap.” He knows he’s going home, he’s just going to make the most of it…And Paula, if you’re going to pretend to deliberate, you need to sit down and stop dancing…And are Simon and Randy really talking or are they just watching Paula’s behind?...I think based on all of her dancing, Kara took some of Paula’s happy pills tonight…I think this might actually be better last night…That ending is still hideous. Did Rickey Minor write that…Michael blows a kiss to the audience. He knows it’s over…

8:59 He’s still smiling and blowing kisses…Ryan asks for the verdict and Simon says they haven’t decided…The audience screams to let him stay…Now they’re deliberating…Simon says, “Paula, yes or no” and she tells him he’s not going to do that to her…Ryan reminds them there’s another show coming on…Simon says, “Okay, I’m going to make a decision” and Paula doesn’t seem happy about it…Simon tells him he’s going home…

9:00 Michael’s goodbye video…Michael is still smiling…I am so loving this song, by the way…

9:02 Ryan says, “Daddy’s coming home” and Michael reminds him he’s going on tour…We’re out…

Could someone tell me what just happened here?

I’ll try and break it down in a sec…

Stevie Wonder Rocks the House

8:43 We’re back…Ryan asks Simon about where his head is concerning the Judges’ Save and Simon says that the two are there because America doesn’t like them very much. Wasn’t Simon the one that said last night that Matt was now a contender? He says they’ll base their decision on their final performance…Michael Slezak says that the Judges’ Save is being reserved for Lil and Lil only. I’m starting to believe him…

8:45 Ryan intros the Motown medley by Stevie Wonder. It’s just Stevie at the piano. They couldn’t have brought Matt and Michael back from purgatory to join the rest of the Idols? That’s not fair…Stevie starts with “My Cherie Amour”…“Superstition”…The Idols are loving this. Well, the ones on the couch are…”Overjoyed”…Paula leans over and gives Simon a kiss…Kara’s getting a little too into it…Everyone’s singing along…We’re not getting any close-ups of Matt and Michael. Poor Matt…The Idols aren’t going to have any voices tomorrow from all their screaming…I don’t know this one. “All About Love Again,” maybe?...Before picking up his harmonica, Stevie says, “I love you Barack Obama”…Then he says, “I love you ‘American Idol’”…Ryan, cut out the head bobs, sweetie…That, Idol producers, is how you do a medley…Finally we see Michael and Matt. Matt still looks sick and Michael is still smiling…Break…

It’s got to be Michael, doesn’t it?...

Should the Judges Be Getting Ready to Deliberate?

8:35 We’re back…Matt doesn’t look happy. Can you blame him?...Lights down…Allison stands…Safe…Anoop…He’s going to make it between Scott and Megan, I think…Anoop is safe…Danny stands…Yeah, I’m right…Danny gets cheers, but nothing like Adam…Safe…Simon claps and smiles…Scott and Megan stand…Hmmm…It should be Megan, but…She’s laughing…It’s Scott. Megan’s a little surprised…Ryan leads Scott to center stage and Matt and Michael come over to join them…

8:38 Ryan asks Randy who does not deserve to be up there. He says Matt, of course. Ryan asks why, and Randy says “the running order.” He’s right…Ryan sends to safety…SCOTT!...WOAH!...Matt looks sick, but Michael is all smiles. Michael is confident it’s him, but…After the break…

Smokey and Joss Turn Up the Heat?

I just realized that I didn’t pick a bottom three last night. I guess I was distracted by having so many people to vote for. If I had picked a bottom three, it would’ve been Michael, Scott and Megan. If Matt makes it through—and I believe he will—I’d look for him to be rewarded with a better spot next week like they did with Allison this week…

And here’s the question I know you’re all asking. Would the judges save Matt? I believe they would…

8:27 We’re back. Ryan is saying to Paula, “It’s been confirmed that they’re dating.” Don’t know who he was talking about…He stops talking and intros Joss Stone and Smokey Robinson (Hope that’s not who he was talking about.)…I wasn’t paying attention. I guess this one is called “You’re the One For Me.”…They sound pretty good together, it’s just hard for me to watch them sing a love song since he’s old enough to be here dad…Three of the judges give them a standing ovation and then Simon begrudgingly stands…Ryan stands behind the empty urinal chair between Michael and Matt. He says “Hot, right?” Ryan did you not read what I said about him being old enough to be her dad? And why didn’t he interview them? The performance was live. I think…Break...

A Bottom Three Surprise...

8:13 Ryan says “Welcome back to the circus.” That’s pretty appropriate…Ford music video to “Pocketful of Sunshine”…They’re taking pictures and putting them together into one giant picture next to the Ford…Wow, the guys sound SO much better than the girls…

8:15 They play the ominous results music, but I don’t know why because Ryan is all the way across the stage…Ryan introduces Ruben Studdard to sing his new single, “Together”…This is actually a pretty good song…Nice segue there because according to EW.com, that was actually taped last night. Ryan did it pretty smoothly, even asking the contestants their opinion on Ruben’s song…

8:19 Ryan asks the Idols about their trip to Detroit…Lights down…Looking for bottom three…Adam stands to A LOT of screams…Safe…Matt…He gets a lot of screams, but not as many as Adam…HE’S IN THE BOTTOM THREE! Lots of boos. I warned you about him going first. I should’ve voted for him more times…Kris stands…Ryan does a “you too” fakeout that nearly sends the audience into riot mode…Lil and Michael stand…Ryan does a MAJOR Lil fakeout, but Michael is not fooled and actually tells Lil to sit down. He’s right. Lil is safe and Michael is in the bottom three…Megan has a really weird look on her face…Smokey and Joss after the break…

The Top 10 Results Show: The Pointless Group Lip Synch

There are a lot of stories brewing in the “Idol” universe tonight…

Apparently, Simon Cowell predicted an Adam vs. Danny finale on “The Tonight Show” Monday night with Lil finishing third (I’ve yet to watch it.)…

And apparently, Justin Guarini stirred up a bit of a controversy on “Idol Chat” by pointing out what we all already knew—that the group performances are lip synched…

And Coach Norm Persin is taking his mighty Oaks to the state championship game…

I know that last thing has nothing to do with “Idol,” I’m just really happy about it…

Let’s do this thing…

8:00 Dramatic Intro with Smokey Robinson and clips of the judges with a Ryan voiceover instead of the usual group on the stairs thing. It’s kind of cool…

8:01 Ryan comes down the stairs…Over 36 million votes, the most for any Top 10 in history. I knew it would be a big number because it took forever to get my confirmation texts last night…Ryan previews what’s coming up…

8:02 Ryan intros the judges…Ryan cracks a joke about Kara’s inability to count last night by saying “I’ve got three words for you—Kara DioGuardi.” She doesn’t appear to get it…Ryan asks what was up with Simon and Paula. Ryan says get a room and he says, “We did”…Ryan asks Simon about the joke he made about blowing off President Obama on “The Tonight Show.” Apparently everyone took him seriously…Ryan recaps the Judges’ Save…Recap…I love that they showed Simon rolling his eyes during Megan’s performance…By the way, Michael Slezak of EW.com says that Scott is going home tonight…I’ve got some serious iTunes downloading to do after this…I still can’t believe Simon actually drew on Paula. But more than that, I can’t believe she let him…

8:07 Motown medley with the Top 10. I think this whole thing might be on tape. I’m not sure. My phone rang before I could get a really good look, but whether or not it’s on tape they’re definitely lip synching…I’m not even going to bother telling you what the songs are because this is really just pointless…Break…

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

So Who's Going Home?

I promised you guys a good show tonight, and I think we got it. And tomorrow night will be a big one as they’ve added a whole slew of things that weren’t in the FOX press release including a Smokey-Joss Stone duet and Stevie Wonder performing a Motown medley (with the Idols, I wonder? And if so, does that mean they’ll have to sing live for a change?). And Ruben Studdard will perform.

So who’s going home tomorrow night? This season has been hard for me to predict, but tonight I didn’t give it any thought at all. I am 95% sure that it will be Michael Sarver. If it was based purely on performance, it would absolutely be Megan—and quite honestly, it should be. But based on Michael’s performance and his appearance in the bottom two last week, I’ve got to believe it’s him. Plus, he pretty much said goodbye tonight anyway. I think his heart just isn’t in it anymore…

And no, the judges will not save him…

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go vote for Matt, Kris, Adam and Allison—and maybe once for Danny for old time’s sake...

In the meantime, what do you guys think? Do you agree with me or do you think someone else will go home tomorrow night?...

And does anyone else think that the show will go with a rock theme next week to go along with the premiere of The Osbournes’ new variety show?...

Allison Does One of My Faves

Allison Iraheta, “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”: 19
This was—as Randy would say—smokin’ hot, but I couldn’t give her a perfect score because she did botch the lyrics. It’s “dealin’ in debt and stealin’ in the name of the Lord.” But she covered nicely. And she looked fantastic.

Of course, the judges let her slide because they apparently weren’t listening anyway, since Simon was drawing on Paula’s face. What grade are these people in?

Final thoughts in a sec…

Danny Gets "Ready"

Danny Gokey, “Get Ready”: 17
You guys know I love Danny, so I’m really torn here. The vocals were good, but I didn’t like the song choice. And why didn’t he go along with Smokey? Maybe Ryan will ask that tomorrow when he’s got more time, because the way that video was edited didn’t make Danny look very good.

Adam Slows It Down

Adam Lambert, “Tracks of My Tears”: 20
I suggested that Adam do something a little slower but keep his drama and boy, did he ever. That was awesome and I love the look. I am now officially on the Adam bandwagon. Even Smokey had to stand for that one.

And Allison’s going last—no doubt to make up for last week’s spot which put her in the bottom three…

Lil Brings On a "Heat Wave"

Lil Rounds, “Heat Wave”: 17
I’m glad to hear that I wasn’t alone in not feeling this one. And even though I picked Diana Ross for her, I agree that Gladys Knight’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (or even “Midnight Train to Georgia”) would have been good. But she did look fantastic.

And speaking of looks, how about Adam? This is going to be interesting…

Michael Takes My Request, But...

Michael Sarver, “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”: 16
Okay, I said I wanted to hear him try it, but my concerns were right. He didn’t have the vocal chops to pull it off. If he had sung it straight and just added a little growl, it might have worked. That is not a song you take to church. That’s a song you do down and dirty. And that ending was atrocious.

My apologies, Michael, if you did that one for me…

Anoop Puts On the Snooze

Anoop Desai, “Ooh Baby Baby”: 16
That vocal was pretty, but that song is such a snoozer. I would’ve loved to have seen him throw it down with an uptempo song.

And how long did Ryan work on that “Anoo-oo-oop” joke?

Megan Butchers Stevie Wonder

Megan Joy, “For Once In My Life”: 11
As my hero Denise just texted me, VotefortheWorst.com will love that. Did she hit ANY of those notes? That song was completely wrong, but if she had to do it, she should’ve at least lowered a key and cut out some of the band. It’s funny that Kara mentioned “My Guy,” because I actually thought of that one for her as well.

I agreed with Kara. How scary is that?

Scott Ups the Tempo

Scott MacIntyre, “You Can’t Hurry Love”: 15
I have to give Scott some props for changing up the tempo, but the vocal still wasn’t there. However, I totally disagree with Simon about the piano playing. I thought it was fantastic. But who picked out that outfit for him? YIKES!

Megan’s doing Stevie Wonder? Hmmm…I wonder if maybe Lil will do Gladys Knight…

"How Sweet" is Kris?

Kris Allen, “How Sweet It Is”: 19
I would buy Kris’ album tomorrow. He has such a good voice and he sounds great recorded. Can’t wait to hear his iTunes track of that one—especially since they’re using the original Funk Brothers music tracks.

And what did I tell you guys about this being a great show?

Matt Gets It On...

So remember what I said last week about Ryan falling down the stairs? I think we almost saw it happen…

And the judges apparently forgot there’s a show going on when they decided to talk to Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson instead of take their seats. Maybe they’re protesting that cheesy intro. Someone should…

Allison’s doing “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”? Interesting…

Let’s get it started…

Matt Giraud, “Let’s Get It On”: 19
Okay, so I knew someone was going to do this, I just guessed the wrong guy. But it was a right choice for Matt. It’s a fine line between cheesy and soulful with this one and that was way on the soulful side. I hope going first doesn’t hurt him.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Motown Week: What Should They Sing?

Those of you who have read any of my CD reviews know that I’m a big fan of Motown, so I’m cautiously optimistic about Wednesday’s episode. I say cautiously because there’s always the chance we’ll get nothing but Stevie Wonder songs. Which of course means two hours of Randy telling contestants that Stevie is untouchable…

And speaking of the judges, what is Kara going to do when she can’t tell people to sing Carrie Underwood or Rihanna?...

So what should they sing? Since we’re down to the Top 10 and it’s a theme I can relate to, allow me to put in my requests.

Now, I’m aware that I’m too late to actually make these happen, but I’m not going to let that little detail stop me…

Danny Gokey: “(I Know) I’m Losing You” by The Temptations
Of course I want my favorite contestant to do my favorite Motown song, but as I told you before, I really have a Boyz II Men “End of the Road” vibe with Danny. And I’m not sure the band could do this one justice anyway.

Megan Joy: “Do You Love Me” by The Contours
Honestly, does it really matter what Megan sings? And with this one, she can actually incorporate some of those goofy dance moves.

Allison Iraheta: “Dancing In the Street” by Martha & the Vandellas
This is a familiar one that she can add her rock edge too. If she doesn’t like that one, let me also suggest “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” or “Love Child,” both by The Supremes.

Matt Giraud: “Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)” by Marvin Gaye
This is a great soul song that Taylor Hicks nailed on his first CD. I think maybe Matt could do it justice as well.

Michael Sarver, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by The Temptations
I know that Michael’s attempt at doing something other than a ballad didn’t work last week, but this song could show some real soul—if done correctly. I’m not sure Michael has the vocal chops to pull it off, but I’d kind of like to see him try.

Scott MacIntyre, “Say You, Say Me” by Lionel Richie
Since we know that Scott is going to play the piano, I was trying to think of a song with a good piano part and this one has that without being a maudlin ballad. “Hello” was actually the first one I thought of, but I think it’s too soon after David Cook’s version to go with that one. Stevie Wonder might be the obvious thought, but I think that’s just too gimmicky.

Adam Lambert, “I Wish It Would Rain” by The Temptations
The Temptations’ “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)” was the very first song I thought of for Adam since it fits right in with his dramatic style, but I think it may be time to attempt a ballad and this one has some nice dramatic moments for him. If he doesn’t like those first two choices, he could go with “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” also from the Temps. But I’ve got a vibe from him for Edwin Starr’s “War” for some reason. The director would have a field day with that one.

Lil Rounds: “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” by Diana Ross & The Supremes & The Temptations
What better way for Lil to get back to being an R&B diva than to channel Diana Ross? And this one’s got diva written all over it. But I wonder if Lil will prefer Ross’ “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”?

Kris Allen: “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” by Marvin Gaye
I’d love to see Kris get his guitar back out and do something soft and easy like this one.

Anoop Desai: “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye
If there’s anyone that can pull this one off and make the audience love it, it’s Anoop. Simon would say it’s “self-indulgent rubbish,” but who cares? It would be fun.

As I told you earlier, the Idols met with Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy at Hitsville U.S.A. in Detroit on Thursday. I’m not sure if either one of them is an actual mentor this week, but Smokey is performing on Thursday’s show.

Ruben Studdard will also be in the house Thursday to sing his new single, “Together”…

You may also remember that the last time “Idol” did a Motown show the legendary Funk Brothers (Motown’s in-house band) actually backed up the contestants. No word on whether that will happen again this week or not, but my guess is no since they completely overwhelmed a couple of the contestants who weren’t used to such a strong band behind them…

I’ll be back on Wednesday. I have to get back to my to do list for this rare Tuesday off…

In the meantime, are you guys as excited about Motown Week as I am? What would you like to hear the Top 10 sing?

Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

David Cook Takes Action Against "Disturbing" Fan Behavior

In a post called “Attention!” David Cook posted the following on MySpace…

Hey everyone,

First off, I want to say thank you to everyone who has been coming out
to the shows since my last post. The vibe at these shows has been amazing.

Secondly, I have to address some behavior that has become disturbing.
We pride ourselves on being accessible to you as fans, but in contrast, we do
enjoy what little privacy we can muster. To that end, the efforts by some fans
to find our hotel rooms, call our hotel rooms, attach things to our bus, etc.,
is something I have to condemn. This relationship only works when it remains
healthy for both parties, and should this behavior continue, the only thing we
can do is take more preventative measures to maintain our privacy, which in turn
makes us less accessible to you.

I hope this doesn't come off as harsh. I merely want to nip this in the bud so we can continue to have a great experience with all of you at the shows we have coming up. Take care and see you at the next show.
~D

Now I know that you guys don’t like it when I use the “c” word, but I am here to tell you that the cougars do exist and they can be scary.

I’m not saying that every older woman who comes to Cook’s concerts is a cougar, because they’re not. I’m only talking about the women old enough to be his mother slipping him gifts with their phone numbers attached.

If that’s not the definition of a cougar then I don’t know what is…

Kudos to David for posting this. I’m just sorry that it got so bad he felt like he had to take action…

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Alexis Grace: "I figured I'd stay in the game a little bit longer"

During the media conference call with Alexis Grace, one reporter asked her if she thought the judges would have saved her if she could’ve sung another song besides “Jolene.” I was a little surprised that people actually thought that her performance made any difference, because I don’t believe it did. I think the judges honestly considered a save, but they knew it was just too soon.

I was glad to hear that even Alexis herself understood that when she said, “In all honestly, I don’t know if they still would have chosen me, just because it’s so early in the game. I feel like they would probably want to use the save for later on in the show.”

Here are a few of the other things Alexis had to say during her conference call…

On what she’s going to do next: “I’m going to go back home and spend some time with my family first. And then I’m going to get to work and start talking about recording some music and trying to get it out there and just continue singing.”

On her results show performance: “No, I think I was just, what I was feeling the second night. I just went up there and sang what I was feeling. It wasn’t like I was trying to be anything or do anything a certain way. I just wanted to show them that I wanted to stay.”

On what she learned on the show: “I learned that if you want to do anything in life, if you want to pursue a dream, that you have to work hard at it and believe in yourself for one thing and just have fun with whatever it is that you want to do. And remember everything and just the little cliché things that you could say, it’s really true.”

On the judges telling her they considered saving her: “No, I liked the fact that they told me that they were thinking about saving me because they let me know that they actually believe in me and that they think that I can do it.”

On other songs she considered doing: “I had a couple, but I did consider doing a Carrie Underwood song, but there were already two other people who sang Carrie Underwood, so I felt that it would be too much Carrie Underwood in one night. So then I went with “Jolene” because that was a really beautiful song. I loved the lyrics. I like the singer and so I thought it was a good song for me to do.”

A reporter really pushed her to divulge what song she was going to do for Motown Week, but she said she wasn’t allowed to say…

On the kind of CD she’d like to record: “I think kind of like some soul mixed in with blues and country. I kind of like the three combined together.”

On her reaction to being eliminated: “I was, I was disappointed because I’d imagine myself going farther than that. It was a little bit surprising to myself, not surprising because I kind of had a feeling that I would be in the bottom, but I never imagined myself going home that early. I figured I’d stay in the game a little bit longer, so I was disappointed a little bit, because I made it that far. It’s like I want to make it a little bit farther at least.”

On a deadline to stop pursing her dream: “No, not really, not unless maybe like when I’m in my 50s and then I’ll give up. But the Rolling Stones are still playing, so that would be pretty awesome.”


On whether she was surprised to be in the bottom three: “I knew before we even got there. I knew the night of the show that I would be in the bottom three. I just knew it, got a feeling from what the judges said and just the way the night went, I just had a feeling.”


Before the end of the call, one reporter asked her to give a final message to her fans: “I just want to say thank you guys. Because of you, I made it this far and you guys rock and I definitely want to not disappoint you and get out there and keep working and keep singing and making music for you guys. I really appreciate everything that you’ve done. I really do. I love you guys.”

And the goodbye party that we saw during Wednesday’s results show? Alexis didn’t get one. She told the reporters, “Well, they were really busy last night. They had a lot going on and there wasn’t one.”

My guess is that the “a lot going on” was the Idols’ trip to Detroit to visit “Hitsville U.S.A.,” the original home of Motown.

By the way, you can get more of my thoughts on why the judges didn’t save Alexis in my column in Tuesday’s edition of “The Herald-Dispatch”…

Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

The Main Men of "Idol" Do "Tonight"

Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest will appear on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” Monday, March 23rd.

“Tonight” airs at 11:35 p.m. on NBC…

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This Year's Farewell Song Debuts High

Last year’s “Celebrate Me Home” was a bust, but it looks like Carrie Underwood’s “Home Sweet Home” won’t be—not that that’s a surprise to anyone…

“Home Sweet Home” debuted at #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week after 112,000 downloads.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Did America Get It Right?

So, did America get it right? No, they did not. And I don’t think Simon thought so either, which was why he seemed so sad to see her go. But if Simon has anyone to blame here, it’s him. He—and the other judges—were the ones that trashed Alexis’ performance when it wasn’t so bad. And since that song is not all that familiar to a lot of voters, they took his word for it.

I still believe that Megan should have gone home. Yes, Michael’s performance was worse than hers, but I know he has the ability to do better. I don’t believe that she does…

I would like to say, however, that the judges did get it right. Although it was probably pretty tempting to use their save tonight, they know that there are more talented singers in the competition that could need saving down the line. And I’m sure the sight of Allison in the bottom three drove that point home pretty strongly.

Plus, if Adam does any more polarizing song choices, he could find himself in danger as well…

Next week is Motown Week, and you guys know I love me some Motown, so I can’t wait to see what everyone does. There’s a real wide range there from Smokey Robinson to Boyz II Men. I can actually hear Danny ripping out “End of the Road” beautifully right now and I don’t even like that song.

I’d love to see Adam do “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” or “Cloud Nine” from the Temptations…

But we’ll get into that more later. Right now, I’ve got an episode of “Lost” to watch…

Oh and did I mention this year's tour is going to ROCK!...

Henderson, out!

And the Person Going Home Is...

9:55 We’re back…Lights down…Alexis and Michael…Michael…He’s safe. And he’s a little surprised…DialIdol.com got it right…To the judges…Simon says she was the one they were thinking about saving and it will all come down to the performance. WOW! No pressure or anything. Especially since she’s doing the same song they hated. But they’re not even listening, because they’re huddled together, but when she walks in front of them, they actually pretend to listen…I don’t think it’s nearly as good as last night because she’s adding a lot of runs, etc. It actually sounds quite desperate…

9:58 Simon actually claps for her…Simon…Says it was unanimous that it was good, but just not good enough. Simon actually looks sad. They all give her a standing ovation…I think Simon was disappointed in America for putting the judges in that position…And Ryan confirms next week is Motown. I’ve got to believe that’s going to be good…

10:00 Goodbye video…The contestants gather around her and someone runs right into Ryan…I’m really starting to like this goodbye song…

10:01 And we’re out…

Final thoughts in a moment…

Is a Save On the Way?

9:45 We’re back…Carrie Underwood career recap…Okay, they really shouldn’t have done a joke at Simon’s expense when they can’t show his response because this is on tape…Carrie and Randy come through the doors…Carrie says the guys did a great job with her songs…Randy says he has no technical knowledge but he has fun doing it…Randy and Carrie do “I Told You So”…I understand Carrie’s going for an old-time Opry look, but whatever that is in her hair looks silly…Carrie starts it out while Randy plays the guitar…

Let me just take a minute to give kudos to Randy as a mentor. He gave good advice, but he was also pretty entertaining…

9:49 Okay, back to the song. Carrie is in great voice. By the way, for those of you who don’t know, this was originally Randy’s song. That’s why they’re doing it together. Kudos to “Idol” for making this happen…This is actually really good and that look of pride on Randy’s face is really sweet—especially since Carrie’s getting to sing most of it. I wonder if this will be on iTunes because I’d love to see Randy back on the charts again…

9:52 Awkward segue as Ryan walks back over to Michael and Alexis on stools. Ryan asks Simon if either one of them is worth using the save on. Simon says they just had a conversation and one of them they would consider saving. Hmmm…My guess is Alexis, but Michael is extremely likeable, so…Break…

I told you this was going to be good…

And the Bottom Two Are...

9:35 We’re back…Lights down…Scott stands…He’s safe. He’s happy to be on tour…Megan stands. A LOT of cheers…She’s safe…Matt…It’s going to come down to Adam and Alexis for that third stool…Matt is safe…Kris…He’s safe. This year’s tour is going to be yummy…Alexis and Adam…Wow, Adam is tall…Simon said Adam’s performance was even worse when he watched it back. Randy said he liked the Jeff Buckley take. Is that where Adam got it? Everyone on the Internet thought it came from “Rockstar: Supernova”…Randy says it will be Alexis (Actually, he got her name wrong and said Allison.)…Could DialIdol.com have it right?…Ryan brings out the bottom three to send one to safety…Alexis looks peeved…It’s Allison. She’s safe…Break…

Brad Paisley Takes the Stage

9:27 We’re back…Ryan stands behind the judges to introduce Brad Paisley, who is singing “Then” live. And oh lord, the swaying hands are back…

Okay, let me break for a moment for some analysis. If Allison is the lowest vote-getter, will the judges save her? I don’t know, but I honestly think they should. Allison picked a good song and gave a good performance. She doesn’t deserve to go home. I should have voted for her more…

9:31 Ryan and Brad joke about results…Break…

Let me take this moment to share some bad news I just received regarding next week’s schedule. “Idol” will once again be Wednesday-Thursday due to President Obama’s press conference. Doesn’t he know it’s sweeps?

And the First Two in the Bottom Three Are...

9:12 We’re back…Ryan stands in front of the Top 11…Ford video…“Here It Goes Again”…The Idols are throwing water balloons at each other, and of course washing the Fusion in the process…Ryan tried to throw a water balloon at Simon and hit a girl in the audience behind him…Video of behind the scenes after the results night…Lil says she cried the whole time…Randy and Kara give Jasmine hugs…The contestants and their families gather for a party…The contestants take turns saying good things about them at the party. All the Idols sign their contestant numbers…

9:16 Ryan asks Alexis if she ever thought it would be this emotional. She says you really don’t know until you experience it…Ryan asks Michael about being away from family. He says that his daughter asked him “why don’t you want to be with me anymore?” Ouch. He’s in tears. Ryan lets him say he loves her to the camera…Megan says she’s feeling much better and then she lets out a little cough…I’m such a cynic…Ryan shows footage of all of them wearing masks…

9:18 Lights dim…Danny stands…He looks really worried…Danny’s safe…Lil says she knew it all along…Lil stands…She’s safe. What is the hold she has over America? She says, “Thank you, Jesus. I was so scared”…Anoop stands…He’s safe…Allison and Michael stand…Interesting…Michael looks deflated now…Ryan asks who of them is in the bottom three. She won’t answer the question. She says Allison probably…Allison…is in the bottom three…Michael is stunned…The audience boos a little…As she walks over to her urinal chair. She says, “Ain’t no thing”…Michael asks Ryan what that means for him. Ryan makes him stand again and says he is also in the bottom three…Break…

I Sense "Trouble"

9:00 Dramatic Intro. How long does Ryan practice walking down the stairs? I’d be so afraid of falling…Ryan says the results “may shock you.” Hmmm…Judges, get ready…

By the way, did anyone catch “Lie to Me”? Good stuff…

9:01 Over 31 million votes…Okay, why did Scott get stuck with Megan to help him tonight? Do they want him to get the flu?...Michael is all smiles tonight…Ryan intros the judges…Ryan recaps the Judges’ Save…Ryan says “Based on last night’s performances, there may be a surprise or two”…Ooh, this is going to be good…Recap…By the way, Megan is getting a lot of crap on the Internet for only coughing when the cameras were on her…Lil says backstage she hopes last night is not held against her. Then why didn’t she do her thing instead of “honoring” the genre…Matt really should have stood at that change in the song. That would have really rocked it…I’m actually starting to feel butterflies…

9:06 Uh-oh. Group song…“Trouble”…Scott is playing the piano…What is up with the cheesy lip synching? Some of them really need lessons…The girls go up to the Judges’ Table. Randy, Paula and Kara try to sell it, but Simon just rolls his eyes…Okay, I don’t mean to be a big skeptic or anything, but does anyone else think Megan looks sick? I didn’t think so…Wow, that was cheesy…Break…

This Is Going to Be Fun!

We’re less than five minutes away from what could be the most interesting results show of the season.

But in case you’ve decided to watch “Lost” instead, I’ll be here to give you the blow-by-blow.

Back in three…

Kelly Debuts at #1

Kelly Clarkson debuts at #1 this week on the Billboard Top 200 with “All I Ever Wanted.”

It’s Kelly’s first #1 album ever.

“Wanted” also debuts at #1 on the Digital Albums chart.

The CD sold 254,671copies…

In case you’re wondering, Taylor Hicks’ “The Distance” sold 9,000 copies according to USAToday.com…

Photo Credit: Mike Ruiz/RCA

Breaking News: Next Week’s Theme , Where Did Randy Go? and Simon vs. Kara?

One Idol website is reporting that next week will be the promised Motown Week. There is really no reason why this shouldn’t be a great show…which probably means it will be a trainwreck…

Also, I wanted to answer a question a commenter asked me about why Randy Travis left halfway through the show. Turns out it was not because his wife was offended by Adam’s performance, as I jokingly claimed.

According to EW.com, Randy left to get ready to tape his duet with Carrie Underwood of “I Told You So” that will air tonight…

EW.com also reported that during the commercial break after Danny Gokey’s performance, Kara got in Simon’s face to continue their argument over which one of them was right in the verses vs. chorus argument. However, she only stepped up to Simon after Paula left the table. Hmmm…

The Day After

So last night after I turned my computer off, I rewound the tape and watched Adam Lambert’s performance again. Only this time, I watched it with my eyes closed so I would only hear his vocal. And you know what? I really liked it. In fact, I’ll be downloading it from iTunes when it becomes available later today.

For weeks I’ve been saying that there’s something about Adam that bothers me and now I know what it is—it’s him. Last night’s bold performance was hurt by Adam’s constant mugging for the camera that made the whole performance seem cheesy. And the show didn’t do him any favors with the graphics, lighting and direction. But Adam’s vocal was spot on and although I didn’t vote for him, I really hope a lot of people did. You could not have the tour without him.

So who will we have the tour without? This, folks, is where it gets interesting…

Last night I boldly predicted that Lil Rounds would be the lowest vote-getter but that the judges would save her. Although most agree that her performance was not very strong, I can’t find anyone on the Internet that agrees with my prediction. Most of the sites I read each week have my second choice Michael Sarver getting the boot. And considering he didn’t bring it on a week that was custom-made for him, maybe he should. And as much as Simon likes him, I don’t think the judges would risk losing someone stronger in the future by saving him.

DialIdol.com, however, is predicting that Alexis Grace will be the lowest vote-getter. So, if they’re right, would the judges save her? Honestly, I don’t think so. I’m not even sure they would save Megan at this point if they had to. But would they save Scott MacIntyre, who several Internet sites are saying has a good chance to go home?

Remember, at this point, the judges have two things to consider. Not only are they looking for the next singing superstar, they’re also “casting” the Idol tour…

Which raises another question. If my prediction about Lil is correct—and at this point I highly doubt that it is—what would they do about the tour? Since no one would be eliminated this week, and two would be eliminated the next, would the Top 11 tour? Or would they actually tell one of the eliminated contestants the next week that they made the tour?

One other interesting thing to add fuel to the fire is Megan’s illness. Remember that the Idols are all living in a house together this season. And you all know what it’s like when you share a house with someone who’s sick. During the first season when they were also living in a house together, the illness got so rampant that Kelly Clarkson couldn’t even talk one week and Christina Christian wasn’t even at the results show where she was eliminated. If the illness spreads this year, it could be a serious problem…

I promised you the best season of “Idol” ever, and by golly, I think we’re going to get it…

You won’t want to miss tonight’s show. I promise you that. So set your VCRs/DVRs for “Lost” and I’ll see you at 9 p.m. sharp…

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Final Thoughts...

So now I’ve told you who I think will go home, but who do I want to go home, remembering that whoever goes we won’t see on the Idol tour…

I would definitely put Megan on the top of that list, but I don’t think that’s going to happen since they played the sick card with her.

So I’d be okay with Lil or Alexis going home, but I’d really like to see Michael on the tour. I think he and Danny could throw down some serious duets.

And could we possibly have the Idol tour without Adam Lambert? I don’t think so…

I’m going to go vote now and I encourage all of you to do the same for your favorites.

Remember that tomorrow’s results show is at 9 p.m. I’ll see you then…

So Who's Going Home?

“We have got ourselves a competition, friends. It is on.”

That statement by Ryan pretty much sums up tonight’s show. I’m starting to think this could very well be the most talented top 10 ever, no matter who makes it and who doesn’t…

So, who is going home? I would put Michael, Lil and Alexis in the bottom three. And although my head is telling me Michael, my gut says go with Lil, so I’m predicting Lil to be the bottom vote-getter. Both of them picked the wrong song, but Michael is so loveable, and actually sang his song better. And Lil did a more familiar song to Idol fans because of the Carrie Underwood connection. Plus, her admission that she didn’t want to make the song her own, when nearly everyone else did with their songs, won’t help her.

I thought Alexis was good, but since the judges were so against her and there were so many other better performances, I think she could be in trouble.

There are, however, two wild cards in this equation—Scott MacIntyre and Adam Lambert. Although Scott had one of the weaker vocals of the night, I think he’ll be safe. But I’m honestly not sure about Adam. I think he has enough of a fan base to keep him in, but it wouldn’t completely surprise me to see him in the bottom three.

Now, I would like to call your attention to my choice of words above when talking about Lil. Notice I said, “bottom vote-getter.” Because if I’m right, and Lil does get the lowest number of votes, I believe the judges will save her. I don’t think they’ll extend Michael Sarver the same courtesy.

Some final thoughts in a minute…

Matt Also Does Carrie

Matt Giraud, “So Small”: 18
That was a great choice and a really good arrangement. But I think when the song changed he should have left the piano and just sung it.

Megan Goes "Walkin'"

Megan Joy, “Walkin’ After Midnight”: 14
That may have been a little harsh, but you know I’m long over her. She did make the best song choice she could, but she has zero stage presence with that weird twist move.

Speaking of which, did anyone else notice that the camera only showed close-ups and far away shots? This is still a family show, you know…

Anoop Makes a Comeback

Anoop Desai, “Always On My Mind”: 18
This was a great—if slightly surprising—song choice. But he should have dressed up a little bit. Hoodies don’t work for tender love songs.

But what is up with those split screens? You’re not “24,” kids. Stop trying to be…

Oh, and by the way, “Always On My Mind” happens to be one of my favorite songs of all time—the Pet Shop Boys version, that is. Notice that Anoop got away with this one because a Grand Ole Opry member—Johnny Cash—also recorded it.

Which begs the question. Why isn’t Willie Nelson in the Grand Ole Opry?...

Danny Takes On Carrie

Danny Gokey, “Jesus Take the Wheel”: 18
Man, if he had only hit that chorus a little faster. The verse was shaky as he tried to hit all the words, but that chorus. WOW! I think it might be on par with the original.

Okay, truth time. I think it was better than the original. Let the attacks begin…

Alexis Does Dolly

Alexis Grace, “Jolene”: 18
Okay, what did I miss here? I thought that was really good. Maybe I’m just not familiar enough with the song because I didn’t hear the pitch problems.

And Kara, stop suggesting current songs for the contestants to do. Obviously she hasn’t paid enough attention to this show to know that’s a problem.

Of course, just as soon as I say that, Danny’s going to do Carrie Underwood. But I have to tell you I had kind of suspected that since I knew “So Small” or “Jesus Take the Wheel” would be way too tempting for him…

Scott Starts a Judges' Fight

Scott MacIntyre, “Wild Angels”: 16
Okay, let’s be honest here. Scott is the most talented musician this show has ever seen. Did you see how quickly he adjusted his piano playing after Randy Travis’ suggestion? But his singing? Not so much. Although I do think this was probably his best vocal so far. However that segue between tempos was bad. Maybe Scott could teach the band a few things.

And did anyone else notice that Randy Travis was more comfortable with Scott than anyone else on the show has ever been?

Oh, and for the record. I agree with Paula. Scott’s performances are getting a little one-note…

Adam Leaves Randy Travis Speechless

Adam Lambert, “Ring of Fire”: 16
Wow! I said in my H-D column today that Adam would pull something out of his bag of tricks and boy, did he ever. There were parts of this that I really liked, but I’m with Simon. There’s just something so self-indulgent about Adam. And those hokey graphics behind him didn’t help. But you have to give him props for staying true to himself—unlike Lil.

But did anyone catch the expression on the face of Randy Travis’ wife? She did not like it…

Lil Underwhelms

Lil Rounds, “Independence Day”: 13
The problem with this performance was revealed in Lil’s video package. She said she was going to hold back a little to “honor” country and that’s not the point of the show. The point is to find your own voice. And she was just singing it completely straight. And it doesn’t help that the song was Carrie Underwood’s crowning achievement. This was a completely wrong song choice for her. And although Paula was right about singing two verses, she was wrong about the outfit. It was really pretty, but it was completely wrong for that song.

And can I also say good for Simon for not making excuses for Lil. Even he knew it didn’t work…

Allison and Kris Bring It Once Again

Allison Iraheta, “Blame It On Your Heart”: 18
Her lower register failed her a little bit—as did those backup singers—but this girl is good. No doubt about it. It was a great song choice.

Kris Allen, “To Make You Feel My Love”: 17
I wanted him to showcase his guitar this week, but this was a great choice of song. I took off some points because he missed a few notes, including that last one, but it was still great. Did he remind anyone else of Nick Lachey? And I mean that as a compliment…

But the bigger question is why Simon was plugging for Kris so hard. We know Simon’s got a soft spot for young hotties—Westlife, Il Divo—so is he trying to steer the audience toward Kris?

And Kara, it’s Grand Ole Opry, not Opryland…

Michael Kicks Us Off...

Tonight is kind of important for the Idols. Not only are they trying not to embarrass themselves with country songs, but they’re also vying for a spot on the Idol tour…

So I guess we’re going to continue with the cheesy intro. Who wants to bet they’re doing that just to get the judges to show up on time? But man that’s a lot of steps for Ryan to come down…

Let’s get this thing started…

Michael Sarver, “Ain’t Goin’ Down ‘Til the Sun Comes Up”: 13
Now, before you guys crucify me, let me just say that I had to give low scores in song choice, personality and stage presence because this was just too lifeless. He was so worried about getting all of the words right that he just kind of roamed around in a daze. But he sounded pretty good. However, someone should have reminded the director that Michael was the contestant and not the harmonica player. And what is up with Michael’s attitude tonight? He better watch it…

And Vote for the Worst has already gotten one wrong from their song list. I just knew that we couldn’t have country week without that one. Josh Gracin still does it at his shows…

Monday, March 16, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Week: What Will They Sing?

Country week is a tradition on “American Idol,” but this year’s might have a little twist…

It’s actually Grand Ole Opry week as the Idols will perform “songs popularized by Opry members,” according to FOX.

That would mean Country Week standards like Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban are out, because they’re not members.

But sometimes the theme is not as cut and dry as it seems. Remember last year on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Week when David Cook did Duran Duran?

However, VotefortheWorst.com has posted a song list they say is the one the Idols were given to choose their songs from. And if it’s authentic—and they do seem to be right about these kinds of things—the Idols really do have their work cut out for them.

The list, which consists only of Opry members, does contain several Idol standard artists like Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, and Garth Brooks, but only a few songs for each artist.

For example, the only songs on the list for Garth Brooks are “Friends In Low Places,” “The Dance,” “Shameless” and “More Than a Memory.” No “Ain’t Goin’ Down ‘Til the Sun Comes Up” or any of his really rockin’ numbers.

In fact, much of the list seems a little subdued…

With one glaring exception. VotefortheWorst is already lobbying for someone to do Trace Adkins’ “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.” Maybe Megan or Anoop will oblige them…

If I were Alexis or Allison or Lil, I would stick with Reba McEntire or Pam Tillis and stay away from Carrie Underwood. Remember what I’ve said about current songs. They’re just too risky. This song list gives the contestants a chance to sing more classic songs, and I suggest they take that chance.

As for the guys, there are plenty of ballads for them to take on. In fact, I think Danny or Michael should do the Ronan Keating version of Alison Krauss’ “When You Say Nothing At All.” I hope Kris will do something to showcase his guitar.

As for Adam, I honestly haven’t a clue. But I’m sure he’ll think of something…

“American Idol” airs tomorrow for two hours beginning at 8 p.m…

Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Kelly Returns to "SNL"

Kelly Clarkson will be the musical guest on tonight's "Saturday Night Live," hosted by Tracy Jordan.

"Saturday Night Live" airs tonight at 11:29 on NBC...


Photo Credit: Mike Ruiz/RCA

Friday, March 13, 2009

Jasmine Murray: "I'm definitely going to keep singing"

The first time we talked with Jasmine Murray, she really didn’t have all that much to say. And this time was no different as she talked to reporters on her conference call Thursday about life after “Idol”—which for her means high school.

Here’s a sample of what Jasmine said…

On what the judges said after the show: “They were just encouraging me to keep going and keep singing, which I’m so glad they did. They’re so nice and I’m definitely going to keep singing and keep trying to pursue my dreams.”

On her future plans: “After this, I have to finish high school, because I’m a junior in high school, so I have to finish that. I’m going to definitely go to college and just pursue music. I really want to have a career in music and maybe other things, but this is really where my heart is.”

On not being saved by the judges: “You never know in this kind of competition because—the wild card. It was just unbelievable that they picked me for that. You always have to have hope. You have to have faith and believe that it could happen and that there was a possible chance. They could have said yes, but they didn’t and it’s okay. I understand. They know what they want for their competition and they wanted to probably save it so it’s okay with me.”

On the judges’ save itself: “I think that’s actually a good idea. Amongst other things they’ve gotten to do this year with the top 36, the wild card, and the top 13, I think it’s great. They’re giving people extra chances to get closer to reaching their dreams and to reaching their goals and I think it’s a great idea…The judges put us all here from the very first audition and America really gets to decide the total outcome in a way, but I think it’s a good idea that the judges are getting to increase the numbers with the top 36 and the wild card and the save. I think that was really great that they feel like they get to have a little bit more of a part in it too.”

On having to be “judged” one more time on Wednesday: “I guess it felt like any other time that I’ve performed and they judged me, but I was just happy to be back on the stage. The stage is just so amazing, the lights and the audience. It’s amazing the energy that you get from being up there and being able to perform that one last time up there. It was so great for me and I’m glad I got to do it.”

On Country Week: “I had various songs that I was going to do. I was thinking about something by Leann Rimes or something by Carrie Underwood, but now I’m not going to get to do it, but it’s okay. I was really looking forward to it and on after that, but I don’t know. I guess you’ll get to see what everyone else gets to do, so I’m excited to see that.”


On choosing “I’ll Be There”: “I thought it was a good song choice. It’s a beautiful song and The Jackson Five, they were really young when they did it, so I thought it would be a good idea for me to also do something that they did when they were young. It’s just a beautiful song with a great message and I really liked it.” When a reporter asked if she also knew the Mariah Carey version, she responded, “Yes, I know that she redid it too.”

Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Jorge Nunez: "I have no regrets"

When Jorge Nunez faced the dreaded media conference call with the eliminated contest on Thursday, he didn’t seem upset at all. In fact, he seemed like a guy with a whole new career ahead of him…

There were some interesting questions on the call, including one about whether voters misunderstanding the whole United States-Puerto Rico relationship (i.e. that Puerto Rico is not really part of America and therefore a Puerto Rican should not be the American Idol) knocked him out of the competition (Jorge didn’t think so.). And then there were the several questions asked in Spanish that Jorge answered only with a cryptic “I can’t really talk about that right now.”

Here are a few of the other things that Jorge had to say…

On his future plans: “I’m going to finish college anyway, but I’m going to keep going with music. Music is my priority now.”

On his choice of “Never Can Say Goodbye”: “I just wanted to do something different, because I didn’t want to stay in the same kind of vibe when singing. I didn’t want to just sing ballads throughout the whole competition, and since it was the first time on a big stage, I wanted something that I could play with, move around, have a little fun on stage, and I had a lot of fun there.”

On what the judges said to him after the show: “Well, the judges did encourage us both to keep going and I think that the most important thing that I have now is God and I know this is going to be great.”


On what he learned from the experience: “I’ve learned that being a singer is more to stay true to who you are no matter what other people might think, because everyone has a different opinion in the end. The artist is the person who believes in himself as who he is and what he wants. And I always kept that integrity throughout the whole show. I always picked the songs I wanted to sing, and I have no regrets.”

On not being saved by the judges: “I was not hurt because I believe that a person shouldn’t have any excuse, and when something happens, it’s because it’s meant to be so. I just took the hit like a man, and you know what? Things are going to be great for me, because this is just the start of something much bigger.”

On the Judges’ Save itself: “I think it’s a really good thing because there have been people like Chris Daughtry, like Clay Aiken, like Jennifer Hudson, that didn’t win and they’ve done great and you always think they should have gone further. Clay Aiken by himself, he had a great deal and he was lucky. He is so amazing, and Chris Daughtry, he also did a great job, but there are people that should have gone further in the competition and I bet that’s going to help out with the competition and with who gets the prize in the end.”

On Country Week: “Actually, country week was kind of intimidating for me…Because I’m Puerto Rican, if I ever got to sing country for ‘American Idol,’ I bet that I was going to be not only the first Puerto Rican in the top 13 of ‘American Idol,’ but the first Puerto Rican singing country ever in the history of Puerto Ricans…Basically, I had a few songs picked. I had ‘I Know You Won’t,’ by Carrie Underwood and I had ‘Anyway,’ by Martina McBride, because they’re ballads. They’re kind of a country ballad, which is cool and I can actually get used to that.”

On Simon’s “Bad” Slam: “The thing is that Simon is the kind of person that if you say something, he’s really fast. You can’t play with Simon. He’s really fast, he’s smart, he’s witty, he’s just going to get you. But to me, it was at the moment, it was funny, but it was like you know what? Simon, come on, but he’s a great guy and that is the first time that he has told me something like that throughout the whole competition and I am really happy with his comments towards me. I know that he liked me in some way.”

On the contestants he got closest to: “There are a few people. I love them all. They’re all great, but if I had to pick people from the contestants that I actually got to know better, I love them all but, but I would say Lil Rounds. She calls me ‘Jorgito,’ which is Georgy in Spanish, and Allison, because she’s a Latina too and we used to speak Spanish around the house, and Jasmine too, but she’s not here anymore, but we’re really close.”

His closing comments to the media: “I just want to say that this has been such an amazing experience and there is nothing to feel sad about when you’ve done so well and you’re the top 13 of 100,000 people. If anything, you should feel happy and you should keep pursuing your dream because now is the time. This is just the start of something much bigger for you. That’s all I have to say. I’m feeling really happy and again, you’re going to see more of me.”

Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Breaking News: Next Week's Theme

So next week’s theme will be…country.

Let Adam Lambert’s nightmares begin…

The Idols will sing “songs popularized by members of the Grand Ole Opry,” according to the FOX press release. They’ll be mentored next week by member Randy Travis.

Then, on Wednesday’s results show, Travis and Carrie Underwood will sing Carrie’s current single, “I Told You So,” which is a cover of a Travis hit. And Brad Paisley will perform his new single, “Then.”

I’ll have much more on this later…

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Where Was I Tonight?

Those of you who checked in during the show may have been wondering where I was at.

Well so was I...

Some kind of Blogger problems kept my posts from making it onto my blog tonight, but they're all up now, so scroll down to see what my minute-by-minute thoughts were...

Henderson, out!

Did America Get It Right?

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

Jasmine was absolutely right, but I think Jorge deserved another chance. I’m actually a little surprised that Megan made it through. Was it the influence of Vote for the Worst, her super sappy video package, or do people actually like her?

If Megan had to stay, though, then Jorge was absolutely the right choice. Anoop gave a poor performance, but I think Anoop definitely deserved another chance.

So what about the new rule? It almost seemed like much ado about nothing, didn’t it? But I think it adds an interesting element to the show. I just think if their goal was to prevent shocking eliminations, then they needed to extend it beyond the top five because that’s when a lot of the shockers occur…

And I’m just SO glad it’s not a sing-off because that would upset me…

So what do you think? Did America get this one right?

And the Second Person Going Home Is...

9:55 We’re back…Anoop and Jorge on stage with Ryan…Anoop just closes his eyes…Anoop…safe…He’s so tall!...He gives Jorge a hug…Jorge shows very little emotion…He sings “Never Can Say Goodbye”…By the way, I read on EW.com, that his performance last night was shown only from the waist up because of the hip action he was doing…Well, at least Simon and Randy are pretending to deliberate. I don’t think they’ll save him though. They’ll save that for their girl, Megan, later on…

9:58 Simon cruelly tells Jorge that he won’t be saved, and then takes a drink of Coke…Jorge’s goodbye video and a Carrie iTunes plug…I really wanted to see him go further…The Idols gather around him on stage…

10:00 We’re out…

Back in a few with final thoughts…

Kelly Returns to the Stage

9:46 We’re back…Anoop and Jorge are seated with Ryan…Ryan says each week they’ll bring back a former Idol. I bet some won’t be invited…Kelly comes out from doors and talks to Ryan…He asks about album. She said she tried to do a lot of genres on it…Ryan asks who “My Life Would Suck Without You” is about and she says it’s about Ryan. And then he embarrassingly tries to sing it…Ryan says he has that kind of relationship with Simon…Kelly does “Suck” quite a bit lower than the recorded version. I like it that way…Kara looks unimpressed. Maybe she’s jealous she didn’t write it…Break…

Another Two Left Standing...

9:37 We’re back…Lights down…Scott stands…Safe…He gets lots of hugs—especially from Allison. That must be her job tonight…Alexis…safe…Danny stands…Big cheers…Those glasses are white. Did he change again?...He’s safe…Anoop stands…He knows he’s supposed to go to center of stage so Ryan just tells him, “Go ahead” and he does…Adam stands…LOTS of screams…Safe…Jorge stands…Only Lil is left…Lil stands…Jorge…to center of stage. Lil is safe…Anoop and Jorge…Anoop gets a lot of cheers…one is safe…Lowest number of votes is…after the break…Jorge is disappointed, but Anoop doesn’t budge. He’s used to this by now…Break…

Kanye Takes the Stage

9:29 We’re back…Kanye West performance of “Heartless.” It looks like this one is on tape…He’s quite a drama queen, isn’t he? He comes out through the doors in the back to a VERY bright light…Yeah, it’s on tape because there are no judges in place…And now they give that fact away as Kanye walks over to screaming girls at judges table…Now, he jumps on top of judges table. Are we just not supposed to notice that?...And why couldn’t he have done it live? That drives me crazy…They at least took the camera straight from Kanye to Ryan to make it smoother, but since the secret is already out, why bother?...Break…

And the First Person Going Home Is...

9:11 We’re back…Recap…I can’t believe Paula predicted both Danny and Adam for the finals. It’s the first final round show, Paula!...Ryan asks Michael about their hard work. It’s a segue to the Ford video…Images of the Idols on buildings as Ford drives by to “We Will Rock You”…A little blah, actually, but not as cheesy as usual…So I wonder what the special Idol edition Ford Fusion looks like…

9:16 Lights down…Michael Sarver stands…Safe…Allison gives him a big hug…Allison stands…Safe…Michael gives her a big hug…I can’t believe all the bloggers today that said they didn’t know her song. That’s one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs…Jasmine stands…Ryan brings her to center of stage…Matt Giraud misunderstands and starts walking over to the stage. Michael and Allison pull him back…He’s safe…Kris stands…A LOT of screams…Megan stands. She’s wearing a pretty dress…I feel an after the break coming on…No, it’s a Ryan fakeout as Kris is safe. The crowd was pretty upset for a minute there…Megan heads to the center of the stage…Jasmine and Megan. One is safe…It’s Megan…Jasmine sings “I’ll Be There” while judges “chat” about saving her…Sorry Jasmine. They’re not going to waste their save this early on you. No matter how commercial you look…This performance is actually better than last night’s…

9:22 Ryan asks Randy if there’s a save in play, and there is not. Ryan gives her a hug as she cries…This save thing has a bit of a cruel element, doesn’t it?...Goodbye video…That Carrie song works pretty well…Ryan seems a little more tore up than usual…Break…

Okay, let’s analyze for a minute. So America likes Megan more than I thought they would (and of course she’s the Vote for the Worst pick), so who does that mean is leaving besides Jasmine? My guess is Jorge OR could Alexis have been bitten by the number 13 spot?...

The Twist Revealed

9:00 Dramatic intro on the stairs…And notice Ryan asked “Which two people got the lowest number of votes”? Not, who did you send home, America…

9:01 Nearly 33 million votes last night…Hey, I voted for four different people myself—the most I’ve ever voted for…Ryan intros judges…

9:02 Time to reveal the twist…Ryan shows the shocking eliminations from years past…It’s the judges save…Up until the top five, the judges can save one contestant just once and it must be unanimous. Once they use the save, they can’t use it again. The week they use it, no one will go home, but the next week, two will go…Ryan asks Simon about it and he says if someone deserves another chance, they’ll get another chance…

9:04 Look at the Idol house…It’s REALLY swank…

9:05 Here it comes. The cheesy Jackson medley…Lil and Alexis…Danny and Michael…Danny’s wearing yellow glasses…The song is “I Want You Back” by the way…“ABC”…Someone mentioned to me that they thought the Idols were lip synching these group numbers, and watching this, I think it’s a strong possibility. Either that or Jasmine was just lost…That was it? Two songs…What happened to “Thriller,” or “Bad”? That wasn’t even that cheesy!...Break…

And I hate to point out to Ryan that even with this new rule, Daughtry and Tamyra would have been eliminated because they were both voted off after the top five…

Tonight's Show

So tonight the big surprise looms as two contestants are scheduled to go home.

Notice I said scheduled…

And man, do I hate this 9 o’clock start time…

I’ll be back in 30...

More Hints About the "New Rule"

I can’t help but notice how many “Idol” sites are just going about their usual business, predicting who will go home tonight. But nothing about tonight is going to be business as usual.

That’s why I went a little bit skimpy on my analysis last night, because honestly, until we hear what this “big surprise” is, I have no idea how this thing’s going to work.

We did get a little bit of a hint this morning on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show when he talked to Executive Producer Ken Warwick.

Warwick said that there will be a “new rule” to help with “a problem that’s been around since season one.” He went on to say that they tested the rule in another country to see if it worked. Warwick then casually mentioned the country was France.

Doesn’t he know there are people scouring the Internet to search on every word he says? Not me, but thankfully, there are people who do so I don’t have to…

According to Wikipedia, on the last season of the French version of “Idol,” the judges “were eligible to exercise a veto power on one eliminated contestant at any given point of the competition and spare them from elimination.” When this one-time only veto was used (in the first week), no one went home.

I really hope that Warwick wasn’t playing with us and this is the “big surprise” and not a sing-off as I feared. In this scenario, the judges don’t have nearly as much power as they would in a sing-off situation and it could prevent talented singers from exiting the competition too early. Plus, it might be fun to see how long the judges would wait to use their veto, since they could only do it once.

With the scenario I pitched last night of a bottom four of Anoop, Jorge, Megan and Jasmine, would the judges use their veto so early to save their golden girl, Megan? I’m thinking not…

Let me just clarify that I have no idea if this is what’s going to happen or not, but it’s as good of a guess as any at this point. I guess we’ll all just have to stay tuned.

And isn’t that the point of all this to begin with?...

You can hear a clip of Ryan’s interview here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Who's Going Home?

Well, this one is a tough one since there were some pretty strong performances tonight, but also because that “big surprise” is looming…

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it looks like—after days of speculating—my first guess was right after all. It looks like we’re looking at some kind of sing-off between the bottom vote-getters to determine who goes home.

And yes, I’m still opposed to that, but I digress…

So let’s look at the candidates for elimination, shall we? I would list those as Jasmine, Anoop, Jorge and Megan.

If we were eliminating the old fashioned way, I would go with Jasmine and Megan. But, if I’m right and the choice will be up to the judges, can they really watch their golden girl go home over Jorge or Anoop?

Maybe that’s why Simon didn’t feel it was necessary to defend Megan. Because he knew he could save her regardless…

What do you guys think? Who should go home tomorrow night?

You guys ponder those questions, while I go vote for the most contestants I have ever voted for in one night…

Henderson, out!

Alexis Gets "Dirty"

Alexis Grace, “Dirty Diana”: 17
I love that song, so I have to give props to Alexis for attempting it—and in front of her daughter, no less. But I’m not sure it completely worked.

Matt G. Brings the Piano

Matt Giraud, “Human Nature”: 18
He missed a few of those oh-whys at the end, but it was a solid performance. However, I would’ve liked to have heard more of his piano and less of the band.

Megan Disappoints But Adam Wows

Megan Joy, “Rockin’ Robin”: 15
I’m so in shock that Simon actually bashed his golden girl. I thought he would just gloss right over it like Paula and Kara did. Of course, maybe he didn't think he had to say anything since she got the sappiest video package of the night. The vocal was decent, but I am so over her.

Adam Lambert, “Black or White”: 19
I don’t know what it is that bothers me about Adam, but there’s just something too over the top for me—no matter how good that was. Maybe it was because he missed that end note. Or maybe it’s because the lyric is “if you’re thinking about BEING my baby.” But I like Adam and I’m interested to see what he’ll do next.

Will Jorge Say "Goodbye"?

If you caught the “Lie to Me” commercial they just showed, that was Ryan Star’s “Brand New Day” playing. Ryan, as you may recall, is David Cook’s opening act on his current tour…

Jorge Nunez, “Never Can Say Goodbye”: 17The vocal was really good, but it was a tad cheesy. And the backup singers didn’t do him any favors

Will Anoop Be Told to "Beat It"?

Anoop Desai, “Beat It”: 16
I thought this was going to be an okay choice, but it just came off blah. And I can’t believe I’m going to agree with Kara, but I would have liked to have seen him go off the original a little.

And Simon’s comment that he now regrets a Top 13? That was uncalled for since we know that Anoop was not the 13th, they just held him to the end for drama…

Kris and Allison Bring It As Well

Kris Allen, “Remember the Time”: 18
I really didn’t see that one coming, but I would have liked to have heard more of his guitar and less of the band. And before you blast Simon about the wife comment, let me say I was thinking the exact same thing. I hope showing he’s married doesn’t hurt him with his fan base, because I really like him. But based on those screams, I don’t need to worry.

Allison Iraheta, “Give In to Me”: 20
I love that song and she nailed it. But it needed a little more from the band (I know, I’m shocked by that comment too.) and a wind machine. And wow, does she need some interview training. “I’m not cutting myself or anything”? Yikes!

Jasmine Does a No-Brainer

Jasmine Murray, “I’ll Be There”: 16
Wow, what a shocker that Jasmine did a Michael Jackson song recorded by Mariah Carey. But Kara, stumbling around the stage with a blank stare is not stage presence. I thought it was a little boring.

Danny and Michael Bring It

Danny Gokey, “PYT”: 19
Yes, the dancing was off, but this was a real departure for him that worked beautifully—although I’m not sure about that weird beginning. And it was nice to see a sappy family package that didn’t mention his wife. It honestly felt like a new chapter for him.

Michael Sarver, “You Are Not Alone”: 19
That was a really solid vocal and the arrangement of holding the chorus until the end helped to spotlight him instead of the backup singers. Did anyone else feel like we just got taken to church?

And did you notice how much Simon was pushing him?

Scott Keeps the "Faith"

Scott MacIntyre, “Keep the Faith”: 17
I wondered what ballad he would pull out so he could play the piano and I admit I don’t know this one. The lyrics were extremely cheesy, but I think it was Scott’s best vocal of the season.

And don’t you love Simon’s honesty this season? “It’s okay to be artistic, just not on this show.” Good to know…

Lil Gets Us Started...

Here we are kids, the final rounds…

And we’re off to an auspicious start as the camera zooms in too closely on Ryan and it has to zoom back out…

And what is up with the judges intro from the “Hole In the Wall”/“The Moment of Truth” guy? Cheesy!

Plus, why does everyone keep talking about the huge new stage? Is it actually that much bigger than the one they used last year?

Poor Alexis Grace is in that unlucky 13th spot tonight…

And the double eliminations begin tomorrow. Wow that was quick!

So let’s get this thing started…

Lil Rounds, “The Way You Make Me Feel”: 18
The ending was weird, but she picked the perfect song and it sounded good. And I’m not that much of a fan.

And woo-hoo! No more swaying hands in front of the stage. But did you check out that monitor on the floor, so the contestants can actually walk out onto their faces? That’s crazy…

My Thoughts on Michael Jackson Week...

Don’t forget that you can read more of my “Idol” thoughts every Tuesday in “The Herald-Dispatch”…

In today’s column, which you can read online here, you can get my thoughts on Michael Jackson week…

Will 13 Be Unlucky For Someone Tonight?

The number 13 could prove to be very unlucky for the last contestant to perform tonight—even though that last slot is usually known as the best place to be.

Why?

Because the 13th contestant will be given a special number that does not follow the usual pattern.

If you’re a regular phone voter, you know that the phone number for each contestant begins with 1-866-IDOLS and then the contestant number. But, as first discovered by DialIdol.com, 1-866-IDOLS-13 is a phone sex line. So, Idol will be forced to give a different number to the 13th contestant.

Personally, I think this is a disadvantage because there may be some confusion over the number. And if people dial incorrectly, they may get upset and not try again.

Kind of gives the phrase “pimp spot” a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Carrie Does This Year's Goodbye Song

So, while I’ve been trying to guess the “big surprise,” I’ve also been wondering what this year’s goodbye song is.

Well, I will wonder no more…

It was announced yesterday that the song will be a cover of Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home,” recorded by Carrie Underwood.

The song will make its debut Wednesday night and will be available exclusively on iTunes until March 16th, and then it will be available on all digital music outlets. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Humane Society of the United States.

I was a little worried when it first started that Carrie was going a little too soft with it, but she amps it up by the chorus.

You can hear it for yourself here…



Can’t wait to hear what Tommy Lee and the boys have to say about this one…

Monday, March 9, 2009

Kelly Clarkson CD Review: Not All I Ever Wanted

The first time I heard Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You,” I was totally unimpressed. But as you know, I eventually fell in love with it.

So when I had an immediately negative reaction the first time I heard Kelly’s CD, “All I Ever Wanted,” I knew I had to give it another chance. And another, and another, and another…

In fact, it wasn’t until at least the sixth listen that I finally started to feel it and realize that yes, it is actually a good CD.

So what took me so long? I don’t know. Maybe I’m still bummed about the whole “My December” thing (I still don’t understand why people didn’t like it.). Or maybe my expectations were just too high. Or maybe people kept interrupting me during the best parts. But whatever it was, I’m finally on board the Kelly Clarkson comeback train.

Now granted there are still some songs that I don’t get or like, but for the most part, it’s a return to more of the pop sounds of “Breakaway.” Thankfully, however, that “My December” angst is still present as well…

The CD kicks off with the #1 smash, “My Life Would Suck Without You”…

Then it’s another catchy ditty, “I Do Not Hook Up,” which was originally recorded by Katy Perry (but not included on her album) and co-written by Perry, Kara DioGuardi and Greg Daniels. The song is—just as its title suggests—about holding hands and moving slow, which is a nice change of pace from what we get on the radio today. And yes, I agree that it doesn’t seem like Katy Perry’s kind of song, and in fact, there are some lyrical changes from Perry’s version…

“Cry,” which Kelly co-wrote, is a beautiful rocky ballad full of angst (Sample lyric: Is it over yet/Can I open my eyes/Is this as hard as it gets/Is this what it feels like to really cry)...

"Don’t Let Me Stop You" is one of those songs I’m just not sure about. It’s okay, it just doesn’t make me want to jump and down...

I want to like the title track, "All I Ever Wanted," because it has a great beat, but something about the production of the chorus just doesn’t quite sound right...

But there is no doubt about "Already Gone," which Kelly co-wrote with Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic). It’s a great breakup ballad with that patented Kelly Clarkson edge...

But Tedder ruins his hot streak with "If I Can’t Have You" which is just too overproduced...

Fortunately he gets it back with "Save You," which sounds like it came right off "My December"—and I mean that as a compliment. The song goes on for a little too long, but it’s still solid.

But then the same team that brought us the title track goes totally over the top—and not in a good way—with "Whyyawannabringmedown." The song just tries too hard to be whatever it’s trying to be...

However, "Long Shot," another Katy Perry co-write, gets things back on track with another catchy chorus (It’s a long shot and I say why not/If I say forget it I know that I’ll regret it)…

Then it’s another great pop song from Kelly and Ryan Tedder called, “Impossible.” The driving beats of the chorus are impossible to escape…

“Ready,” another Kelly co-write, has some great sounding verses, but the chorus doesn’t quite match up…

I first wrote off “I Want You” as silly, but the more you listen to it, the more catchy it gets with its staccato repetition of “I want you” for a chorus…

Kelly closes the CD with the Keri Noble song, “If No One Will Listen,” a gorgeous inspirational ballad that Kelly produced…

As I said, not every song works for me; but as a whole the CD does. I just wouldn’t say that it’s all I ever wanted…

“All I Ever Wanted” hits stores Tuesday, March 10th. You can take a listen here...

Photo Credit: RCA

Taylor Hicks CD Review: Proud to Say I Like It

It’s not a popular sentiment these days, what with Simon using him as an insult and “Entertainment Weekly” calling him “worst Idol ever,” but I’m going to say it anyway…

I like Taylor Hicks.

I still contend that “Taylor Hicks” was a great CD, so I was actually excited to hear his long-awaited follow-up, “The Distance.”

And, yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to say I liked it. And having read some of the other reviews, I know that’s not a popular sentiment either…

The minute I heard the opening notes of “The Distance,” which Taylor co-wrote, I had to smile. It’s classic Taylor with soulful verses and a gospel-sounding chorus…

The first single, “What’s Right Is Right,” is as smooth as butter as Taylor glides through the simple but sweet chorus…

With lyrics like “New found freedom/gonna spread my wings and fly,” you can’t help but think that Taylor had something in mind when he co-wrote the next track, “New Found Freedom.” Those lyrics get a little hokey with too much repetition, but it’s still pretty good…

“Nineteen” is Taylor’s first story song on the CD. It’s about an all-American boy who joined the military after 9/11. I think this one will get a big reaction during concerts because it is a good one…

But then the CD comes to a little bit of a halt with “Once Upon a Lover,” which goes for a different kind of sound—calypso, I think—that just doesn’t work for me, even with Taylor’s excellent vocal…

The CD gets back on track, though, with “Seven Mile Breakdown,” which gives us that harder Southern soul sound…

Then, it’s back to a ballad with “Maybe You Should,” a gorgeous breakup song that I think Taylor should seriously consider taking country. I can see the video already…

“Keepin’ It Real” is another story song meant to be a whimsical look at fame, but it just doesn’t quite work for me—probably because it doesn’t really show off Taylor’s vocals…

“I Live on a Battlefield” was originally recorded by Nick Lowe. But when I saw that Paul Carrack co-wrote it with Lowe, it made me realize just how much of a Carrack quality Taylor has to his voice. So this song completely works for him. I hope he’ll consider covering “Tempted” for his next CD…

“Wedding Day Blues” is meant to be a fun song about a guy getting his woman back on her wedding day to another man. It’s so-so on the CD, but I think it will work much better live…

To close out the CD, Taylor gets a perfect singing partner in the form of his fellow season five “American Idol” contestant Elliott Yamin on the Bobby Womack song “Woman’s Got to Have It.” It’s a good song and it makes you think of the possibilities if these two ever decided to join forces on a tour…

I have to admit I was a little disappointed about one thing. I kept waiting for Taylor to throw it down and give us a real rocking number like he did on his last CD with “Heaven Knows” or “Soul Thing,” but that song never came. That disappointment isn’t enough to make me dislike the CD, though, it’s just something I missed a little bit…

It may not be cool to be a fan of Taylor Hicks, but I am proud to say I am one anyway.

And besides, when have I ever been cool?

“The Distance” hits stores Tuesday, March 10th…

Photo Credit: Modern Whomp Records

Is the Big Surprise a Sing-Off?

So I know you guys are probably getting tired of me trying to guess the “big surprise,” but I think you all know me well enough by now to know that I hate the unknown.

But because I don’t want to beat a dead horse, I’m going to make this my final guess…

This was actually my very first guess as soon as I read Mike Darnell’s comments in January, but I was so opposed to it that I didn’t dare put it out in the universe. But since someone else now has, I will as well…

Could the “big surprise” be a sing-off? Meaning, will the bottom two or three be able to sing one more time with the judges determining who goes home?

That is the way Simon Cowell’s “X-Factor” works and “Dancing With the Stars” has added that element as well. And Darnell did say that the big surprise had a little bit of “controversy” to it…

Personally, I hope I’m wrong here, because I think this would take away what makes “Idol” what it is—that the choice is up to America. If a person is last in the voting, that’s because America put them there. And they should go home, regardless of what the judges think. That’s what makes “Idol” interesting.

Of course, you know that the show wouldn’t tell us which contestant actually finished last so we wouldn’t get upset if that person didn’t go home, but still…

What do you guys think about this possibility? And do you think that I’m just barking up the wrong tree here with my guess?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Matt Giraud: "I definitely want to sing pop music"

Matt Giraud’s personality is just something that you really can’t put your finger on. I think I would call it soul with an edge. And I definitely see some Taylor Hicks in him, which unlike Simon, I consider a compliment.

Here’s some of what Matt had to say during his media conference call…

On Simon criticizing his fashion sense: “I don’t know why he’s always hatin’ on me. I just trusted the wardrobe people with that one and they said go for it. And who really takes fashion advice from Simon anyway? I mean, come on.”

On singing pop music: “I definitely will attempt it again. I definitely want to sing pop music. I guess I just picked the wrong kind of rock song. Who knows? Maybe I’ll pop out a J.T. (Justin Timberlake) song.”

On his dream mentor: “Billy Joel would be ridiculous.”

On the judges’ criticism that he went over the top: “It’s ‘American Idol,’ man, what the heck, you know? I mean sometimes it’s a little bit over the top. I mean, last night I was singing for my life. I gotta bring it, so if it goes a little over the top, that’s alright.”

On the music he’d like to make in the future: “I’d love to work with Billy Joel, Elton John, those iconic piano singers. Maybe even Alicia Keys. I had someone call me the white boy Alicia Keys, so that was pretty funny.”

On the judges’ criticism of his first performance of “Vida la Vida”: “I felt they were a little harsh. But I definitely couldn’t sleep that night. I felt like I let a lot of people down.”

On White Chocolate, the group he was part of during Hollywood Week: “It was a group thing. Kris Allen and I kind of took the reins. There was no drama so we didn’t get that much airtime. White Chocolate is what people used to call me as a child.” Later, someone asked why he was called White Chocolate. “I was one of the only lighter kids in the gospel choir in Detroit. I learned that kind of music—church music. That’s why I tried to take them to church [Thursday] night.”

On the best advice he’s received from the judges: “Stick to what you’re good at and nail what you’re good at.”

On his musical experience before “Idol”: “I played a lot of piano in the lobby of the Marriott in Ypsilanti. I did choir work, played in a worship band…”

On his family’s reaction: “That’s probably one of the best parts of the show—making your family happy.” Matt said that talking to his dad, he felt “that sense of redemption.”
Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FOX

Megan Joy Corkrey: "I didn't think I was going to make it anywhere"

Megan Joy Corkrey was so short with her answers that it kind of threw some of the reporters for a little bit. And then someone asked her about her tattoo and she finally started opening up…

One of the things that we learned is that Megan would prefer to be called Megan Joy from now on. Corkrey is her ex-husband’s name and she’s looking to start new.

Here’s some more of what Megan had to say on her media conference call Friday…

On her dancing: “I really don’t know why that happens. When I start singing I just sort of flop around.”

On her musical influences: “My number one influence is Bjork. She just changed my life. Her music is so beautiful, it’s different and original. It’s so emotional. And I just love it.”

On having a fourth judge: “It’s been pretty crazy. It’s exciting to have a fourth judge. And Kara’s tough. But I’m all about it.”

On what song she would like to do: “If I was allowed to, I would sing any Bjork song.” Later during the call, a reporter asked her how she thought the judges would react to her doing Bjork on the show. “I think they would criticize it a lot. It couldn’t be anything too crazy or weird.”

On her sleeve tattoo: “It’s a castle. There’s a night sky above it. In the stained glass, it’s my fairy tale. There’s a king and a queen and that’s me and who knows. There’s a fairy godmother, my mother; a wizard, my brother; and a prince, my son. And then there’s roses growing up the castle.” Megan designed the tattoo herself with the help of her artist who drew it up for her. The sleeve is not complete but it’s taken two years up to this point.

Megan actually has seven tattoos total if you count the sleeve as one tattoo. She has her son’s name on her wrist, two stars on her back for her and her mom, her middle name on her hip and a “jumble of things I love” on her feet.

On making it through: “I didn’t think I was going to make it through the first thing. I never even made a solo in choir, so I didn’t think I was going to make it anywhere.”

On what theme would give her trouble: “I’m a little unsure with country week. I’m gonna do it though. I’ll tear it up.”
Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Anoop Desai: "I don't want to typecast myself"

Anoop Desai is just as animated on the phone as he is on the show and when you hear him talk you really just can’t wait to see what he’s going to do next…

Anoop’s undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina is in political science and American studies. The graduate degree he’s working toward now is in folklore/cultural anthropology.


As for his cultural background, Anoop’s dad was born in India. His mom is from South Africa.


You may have wondered who Anoop was referring to after his Wild Card performance. Eve Carson was the UNC Student Body President who was murdered last year. Thursday was the one year anniversary of her death. About her, Anoop said, “I was lucky enough to know her from my time in Carolina. It was really hard [Thursday]. I was lucky enough that they streamed [the anniversary ceremony] online so I could go on the website and see the ceremony. Anoop said he carries his Eve button on stage every time to “remind myself that I’m doing it for her.”


Here’s some more of what Anoop had to say during his media conference call Friday…


On the big twist: “I mean it was the pits, man. It was the difference between having all of your dreams dashed and then seconds later having them alive again. It was a genuine shock. The producers and Simon and all of the judges sort of apologized.”

On Kanye being on the show: “Hopefully I’ll get to meet him and we can talk about collaborations in the future. I’m definitely going to pick his brain.”

On the judges: “I think that they’re four very experienced voices in the industry. I do feel like they say everything for a reason. I think Simon says things to elicit reactions.”

On doing “My Prerogative” again: “That song in particular has become sort of like an anthem for me throughout, since Hollywood Week. I thought it was especially appropriate for the Wild Card Round. I mean, it’s my prerogative. I was really happy to do that song with an audience. [The Wild Card] performance is all about showing the judges. It’s a last ditch effort pretty much. So obviously I wanted to show them the side they liked before.”

On what type of songs he’ll do: “I don’t want to typecast myself. I want to think of myself as a singer and an artist. I’m not going to limit myself to those types of songs. It’s really going to depend on the theme.”

On what has surprised him so far about the show: “I guess the whole process of it. When you watch it on TV [you don’t see] there’s such a frantic effort during those commerical breaks. The number of people, the amount of resources that goes into producing just one of those hour results shows…I knew that it was a juggernaut but it’s really something else to experience it.”

On being popular with the judges: “I haven’t tried to get in their good graces I’ve just been fortunate enough for it to happen. I’ve been myself and I’m just going to continue that.”

On being away from UNC in March: “I don’t know what I’m going to do not being in Chapel Hill for March Madness.”

On what kind of music he’d like to make: “I love Ne-Yo right now. I think I’m a contemporary R&B singer. I’d love to do some collaborations with Luda and Kanye. Wherever this takes me I know I’m going to have a great opportunity to do my music.”

On his dream mentor: “If Stevie Wonder came back, I would faint. I think he’s the greatest musical mind I’ve ever heard. That would be the ultimate for me.”

On the Top 13: “Obviously I’m glad that they expanded it. You’re gonna get what you pay for in a sense with this show because everyone in the Top 13 is really talented. It’s going to be a boon for the show to showcase that wide variety of talent.”
Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FOX

Jasmine Murray: "I'm just gonna keep on practicing and doing my best"

Jasmine Murray was the first Wild Card winner to meet the media on a conference call Friday, where we learned that she sharpened her “commercial” look on the pageant circuit.
Here’s some of what Jasmine had to say…

On the choice of “Reflection”: “I just like to explore different types of music ‘Reflection’ is a beautiful song. It’s age appropriate, so I thought it would be a good choice to do. I just tried to do the best that I could. I’m glad that it paid off, I guess.”

On the theme nights: “I look forward to doing anything. I’m really looking forward to all of the genres, because I’m so young I really don’t want to limit myself. I like a lot of kinds of music.”


On her pageant experience: “I was really involved in pageants. It kind of got me used to being on stage.” Jasmine also told us that she got to sing for the Miss America pageant two years ago. “I’m glad I have that experience from the past.”


On her strategy: “I’m just gonna keep on practicing and doing my best. If America likes it, I hope they vote for whatever performance they like.”

On balancing schoolwork and “Idol”: “I basically do my schoolwork that is from my school (Mississippi School of the Arts). My teachers send homework and my assignments to me. I do like three hours a day. It’s a little different here. It’s shorter. I’ve got a great teacher. I like school a lot and an education is so important. An education is something that no one can take away from you.”

On her strategy for song choice: “You just have to pick the best song that suits your voice and that will show who you are. You need to try to make sure the song fits you because that’s a problem sometimes.”

On the kind of album she’d like to make: “I would love to try tons of different things—pop, rock, country—because music just in general is beautiful. You need to just experiment and see what you sound like doing them.”

On those who didn’t make it: “All of the Top 36 were amazing and I don’t even know how [the judges] made that decision. It’s so hard. They were all so talented, all of them. I’m happy for the people that made it. I know the people who didn’t make it have big futures and I know they’re all going to keep singing. If you really love doing it, you’re not going to stop.”
Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Jorge Nunez: "Whatever may come, I'll just do it."

It was hard not to feel sorry for Jorge Nunez during his media conference call Thursday. Here he was trying to enjoy the biggest moment of his life and all anyone wanted to talk about was Simon’s comment that it was a mistake to tell him to lose his accent. During the 20-minute session, he was probably asked about that at least six times, including once by a reporter from Puerto Rico who was horrified that he had tried to get rid of it to begin with.

At times, the frustration in his voice was obvious as he often had to ask reporters to repeat their questions—most of them ones he had already answered just minutes ago.

Here’s a sample of what Jorge had to say..

On his musical background: “I usually did choir and small groups, nothing big. The only big thing I’ve done is ‘Idol.’”

On why he tried out: “I tried out because I’ve always wanted to and since they came to Puerto Rico, I thought why not.” Jorge also said that his great grandfather had always wanted him to audition. His great grandfather passed away six months before the audition.

On his song choices: “I just like to make beautiful music. I like beautiful songs that can get to people’s hearts.”

On the accent controversy: “They wanted me to change my accent when I was singing. [Simon’s comments] helped me be a little more relieved. I’m 21 so it’s not something I’m going to be able to change…I wanted to follow the advice to let them know I listen to what they say. Now I can feel more comfortable….[The judges] want what’s best for me… I’m not worried because it’s something that is part of who I am… I would like to integrate a few verses in Spanish. I think my voice sounds best when I sing in Spanish…
If I get the chance to sing in Spanish, I’m not going to lose it.” Jorge also speaks French.

On Hollywood Week: “My first Hollywood performance (Jon Secada’s “Angel”) was the best of the week. The group performance? We were a mess. We were horrible. Luckily when I sang Closer for the third round, I redeemed myself.”

On the difference between Hollywood and Puerto Rico: “People from Puerto Rico, we’re innocent people. We’re hospitable, warm. Here it’s such a big city. The atmosphere is different. It’s interesting. People are not as warm as you might think, but still they’re cool.

On his plans before “Idol”: “Before this, I wanted to be a lawyer. Now I’m really trying to focus on music.”

On choosing “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”: “That song was perfect for the show. It says, ‘I just got here so not now.’ I love Elton John music. His songs combine all the elements in one.”

On being the only Puerto Rican to make the Top 13: “It’s a lot of pressure, but a lot of pride too. It’s showing the talent [Puerto Ricans] have.”

On crying during Tuesday’s show: “I’m an artist so I’m an emotional person. I cried because they told me I was born to sing. I’m not always crying.”

On connecting with the camera: “To me, it’s very important to connect with the camera, because the people on the other side are the ones that are voting.”

On his dance moves: “They’re definitely not going to change. That’s my culture.”

On his “Idol” experience: “There’s no words to actually describe what you feel right now. [People leaving] is sad, but it makes you feel like, ‘I’m blessed.’”

On the different themes, “Whatever may come, I’ll just do it…I would love to have Britney Spears as a mentor.”

Ryan Seacrest told Jorge on his radio show Thursday morning that Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony texted him about Jorge’s performance. When a reporter asked him about that, Jorge said, “That’s been amazing. The best thing that’s ever happened to me. They told me they were brought to tears by my performance.”

In his closing comments to the media, Jorge said, “I want to thank America for giving me this chance. I hope I can keep going through rounds and rounds and keep doing what I love to do.”

Scott MacIntyre: "They can throw whatever they want at me"

Let’s face it. No matter how good Scott MacIntyre’s story is, his vocals just haven’t matched it. As I’m typing this, “Best Week Ever” just SERIOUSLY dogged him by saying, “Just because he’s blind doesn’t mean we have to be deaf.” OUCH!

But hearing Scott tell his story, it’s really hard not to fall under his charming spell and to want him to do well…

Here’s some of what he had to say during his media conference call Thursday…

On making the Top 13: “It feels amazing. It’s still sinking in. I was having the time of my life. To have that many people support me is just a dream come true.”

On his high five with Ryan: “I’m the last person to ever be offended [by that kind of thing]. It’s been happening my whole life. I thought everyone would be wondering about it, so I wanted to do it. I love [Ryan].”

On his blindness: “I’ve never thought of it as a disadvantage. It’s more challenging. I’m so up for rising to the occasion. I’m just having a great time.” Scott explained that he has people helping him to find the cameras. “It’s great to have people to teach me.”

On the choreography: “I have some dance in my background. I’m not too worried about it. As long as I know I’m not gonna fall off the stage I’m good, and that’s a joke of course.” Later, Scott said, “Oh yeah, I’m quite the dancer.”

On what’s to come on the show: “They can throw whatever they want at me and I’ll deal with it.”

On his show experience: “Idol has just been great accommodating me. I’ve been just so thankful. Between my brother and my mother, and the other contestants everyone has been great about helping me…Ryan’s great…I just enjoy the friendships. That’s one of the biggest things I’ve taken away from it so far. It’s the most fun I’ve had in a long time.”

Scott also explained that he has had people teach him things over the years, like moving his hands when he talks. “Anything you see me do, it looks natural now, but it wasn’t always that way. Some great people have pointed that stuff out to me.”

On choosing “Mandolin Rain” and Simon’s criticism of the lyrics: “They are great lyrics and Simon needs to get with it. I chose that song because that’s the only song I know that talks about listening. And listening is such a big part of my life. It really worked for that round, I thought.”

On his type of music: “[Mandolin Rain] is definitely representative of a small part of the music I do. But it has some more pop/rock edge to it. Whatever the theme is, I’m always going to choose something that I can make work for me. I’m trying to stay current.”

Scott explained that he will not necessarily have same people helping him each week. “I’m trying to spread the love around.”

On making eye contact with the cameras: “I’m not worried about it at all. It’s definitely a challenge. During the group number, I had to guesstimate distances and angles. I’ve done a lot of that over the years. I use my memory and my ears and I hope for the best.”

On playing the piano: “That is the entire reason I’m here. I’ve let them know from the very beginning I can inspire with my music best from behind the piano. I can really emote when I’m sitting at the piano. It’s where all my magical moments happen.”

In his closing comments to the media, Scott said, “Thanks to all of you for your support. Any time you can pass on my gratitude to the voting public—I’m not taking it for granted. It’s an amazing platform. It’s really a blessing to be here.”

Lil Rounds: "I think you're going to enjoy it."

It’s obvious from hearing her on the phone that Lil Rounds is a pretty confident young lady who’s just looking for a better life for her family.

So it’s easy to understand why the judges would be so excited about her. I just wish they would stop shoving her down our throats…

A lot of the contestants worked the club circuit before “Idol,” but Lil “came right out of church. It’s pretty much where I was.”

And by the way, Lil is not short for anything, it’s her given name. It’s short for her grandmother’s name.

Here are some other things she had to say Thursday during her media conference call:

On whether she was nervous before the results show: “The whole day [Wednesday] I was really nervous. I put my best foot forward but in the end it’s still up to America…You really don’t know what America wants until Ryan reveals the results.”

On hearing she had made it: “I was jumping for joy.”

On what she’ll do on the show from here on out: “I’m going to continue to entertain. I’m going to continue to remain Lil. I think you’re going to enjoy it.”

On going last: “It was not too much pressure, it was more so nerves. I really had to calm myself. I put my best foot forward. I think it paid off in the end.”

On her strategy: “I just need to go out there and do what I do best. If we all go out there like it’s the last time, we’ll all do great.”

If she could choose a mentor, it would be Stevie Wonder.

On her choice of “Be Without You”: “I have to go with songs that I can relate to the meaning of the song. What comes from the heart reaches the heart. That song reminds me of my husband and children.”

On the judges: “When the judges give their thoughts, it’s coming from the heart.”

On the show featuring some people more than others: “I really feel like they have given a great chance to everyone in the Top 36. I look at it like we all have done something successful.”

On Simon Cowell: “I feel like he’s an honest person. I’ve sang consistent and I’m singing with heart. Simon Cowell has a heart. As long as I continue to do my best, he’ll hopefully continue to say good job.”

On her fashion sense: “If I see something that catches my eye, I grab it and I wear it.”

In her closing remarks to the media, Lil said, “Thank you so much for your support.
Hopefully I’ll be around for—as Paula said—many more Lil Rounds.”

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Friday, March 6, 2009

Kanye and Kelly Hit the Idol Stage

In addition to the voting results on Wednesday, we'll get two performances from two of today's top performers.

Kanye West will perform "Heartless" while Kelly Clarkson will sing "My Life Would Suck Without You.

The results shows will air Wednesday at 9 p.m., which is the results timeslot from now on.

And yes, "Lost" fans. I agree that's a bummer...

Was the Top 13 the Big Surprise?

That’s the question I’ve been asking all day today, but I still don’t have the answer…

USAToday.com, which was on the scene at last night’s Top 13 party, had an interview with executive producer Ken Warwick. From the post by Bill Keveney:

“He said Thursday's shocker was not the surprise he has been promising for the final round that starts Tuesday (8 p.m. ET/PT).”

Now, USAToday.com has steered us a little wrong already once this season, but I truly believe that there is another “surprise” to come.

Consider this, also from Keveney:

“’Idol producers had been talking about the possibility of adding a finalist for a couple of weeks,’ executive producer Ken Warwick said.

Producers thought ‘we might be in trouble when we come to the wild card because it's almost unfair to get rid of two kids if they're really, really great,’ said Warwick, who also attended Thursday's party. ‘We discussed it beforehand and if we got to the point where it was needed, then we would do it.’

He said he made the decision during Thursday's show, after consulting with judge Simon Cowell during a commercial break. ‘When we got down to the final two tonight, with Matt and Anoop, it became evident actually that, Let's do it. Let's go with the 13 and worry about it afterwards.’”

And this little item…

“At the Idol party, guests received a cardboard Top 13 card with boxes for pictures of the 13 finalists and red Xs for those to be eliminated. With the possibility of 12 or 13 finalists, two versions were printed to cover either outcome, according to Fox publicity.”

If those things are true, then the Top 13 twist was not completely set in stone in January which would mean that was clearly not what Mike Darnell was referring to in his “TV Week” interview.

So what is the big surprise?

Some blogs are speculating that “Idol” is going to add more of a reality element to the show by adding some behind-the-scenes footage since the contestants are living together in a house. Darnell did hint about that in his interview.

But would he call that a big surprise?

If you've read my earlier blogs, you know that I've been speculating the big surprise is an appearance by Michael Jackson.

I guess we'll all find out together next week...

Breaking News: Next Week's Theme UPDATED

I interrupt your Friday afternoon with some breaking news...

The theme for next week's show is Michael Jackson.

That's according to Ryan Seacrest, who announced it during his interviews with the Wild Card winners on his radio show this morning.

That's interesting since Paula said singing Michael Jackson was such a bad choice. It's also a bummer for Kris Allen since he already did a Michael Jackson song that you just know someone else will do next week.

And it also makes me wonder...Is the big surprise an appearance by Michael Jackson himself? I can't believe that they would do this theme without at least trying to get him and he is starting to make some more public appearances lately, so...

Hmmm...

I now return you to your regularly scheduled day...

UPDATE: MichaelJacksonInsider.com says that the "Judges' Mansion" featured in the Top 36 episode is the house that Michael Jackson is currently leasing. If true, that would certainly lend credence to my theory, wouldn't it?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Final Thoughts...

So my hero Denise just called me to say, “That was good.”

“Yeah,” I told her. I can’t believe we fell for it.”

But here’s the real question. Is that actually the big surprise that they promised us or is there more to come? Maybe they will have to adjust the format a little to accommodate a Top 13? As I told you before, I still think there’s got to be more…

And now, I ask the question, did the judges get it right? Again, I’m torn, because they went the way I thought, but if I had to choose four from the eight, I would’ve picked Anoop, Matt, Jasmine and Ricky. I think it’s sad that the judges couldn’t acknowledge what a good performance Ricky gave because they had already made up their minds not to pick him.

It honestly does appear that there was a great debate over Jesse and Jasmine, but I think the judges made the right call on that one.

So now, the Top 13 is set. But what happens from here, I’m honestly not sure.

We know that Kanye West and Kelly Clarkson will be part of the show, but is one of them a mentor? And if they are, what is the theme?

And according to the calendar, in order to get a final two, there will need to be a double elimination at some point, so when will that be?

I’ll have much more for you tomorrow. For now, I’m going to make some hot chocolate, eat some Girl Scout cookies and watch some “Friends”…

Henderson, out!

And the Last Spot Goes To...

Simon tells Jesse no, but she nearly did. That was a little cruel…

Paula tells Von no…

Simon tells Matt…He’s made it through…WHAT?!...Here’s the surprise…It’s a Top 13 and Anoop is in...He looks mad again—and can you blame him?...

Final thoughts in a moment…

Two Down...

Randy announces Jasmine is in the Top 12. I got one…Tatiana couldn’t possibly make it now…

Kara tells Ricky it’s a no…

Megan and Tatiana together…You can tell that Paula is trying to pump Tatiana up with her “the dream continues” speech…Megan is in the Top 12, but she is very sweet to Tatiana …So why did Tatiana have to kneel in front of the judges?...Paula tells her she’s going to be an actress. Nice…

So, could someone please tell me again why they brought her back? Were they just filling up spaces since they had already made up their minds?

The show is seriously running over, so if they're planning to spring a big twist on us, they'll need to do it quickly...

Tatiana and Anoop Do Repeats With Different Results

Tatiana Del Toro, “Saving All My Love For You”: 7
So, let me get this straight. They brought her back to sing the same song? And it is interesting that the accent came out the night after Jorge went through. It was better than the last time, but I had to give her a 0 in song choice and a 0 in personality.

If the judges let her through they’ll have no justification…

Anoop Desai, “My Prerogative”: 20
So he WAS mad at being picked last on last night’s show. Yes, that was a repeat, but who cares? And now we can download it on iTunes.

If the judges don’t put him through they will have a riot on their hands…

But I don’t like Simon talking about “casting” the show. That makes me nervous…

And now the judges “deliberate”…

By the way, I’m sticking with my original Anoop, Megan and Jasmine prediction. But I’d be happy to see Ricky Braddy sneak in there instead of Jasmine…

Jasmine Reflects While Ricky Seriously Brings It

Jasmine Murray, “Reflection”: 16
Uh, Kara. The rest of us knew she had a big voice. Where have you been? And I think she picked a song to show that. And I think she deserves props for not picking Rihanna. Notice Simon trying hard to justify the choice they may have already made.

Ricky Braddy, “Superstitious”: 20
I thought he made a wrong choice here, but that was SERIOUSLY good! I hope Paula really fights for him because it’s clear that Randy and Simon have already made up their minds. I mean, Randy just used the word “self-indulgent.” That’s Simon’s word.

I’m starting to think I’m right about the two girls thing and also that my original Megan and Jasmine theory is correct…

Megan Does The Twist Again and Von Is "Sorry"

Let me strategize for just a second. The Top 12 now consists of six guys and three girls, so something tells me that the judges will want to even that up a little bit and go with at least two girls…if they can…

Megan Joy Corkrey, “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”: 15
She could have sung the phone book and she’ll still get through. I knocked her off for her vocals and that weirdo dancing.

Von Smith, “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word”: 12
So, Simon compares him to Clay and then he does a song Clay recorded with almost exactly the same arrangement. But if Clay was what he was going for, he wasn’t even close. His verses were really shaky—which matched his hands. And I just can’t get over those weird facial expressions. Kudos to Paula for giving him some constructive criticism. Take note, Kara.

So I think we can eliminate Von from contention…

Jesse and Matt Kick It Off

Ooh…Three imposing urinal chairs...

And what is up with Tatiana and her wide leg stance with the short skirt? Does she think that’s going to help her? Man, I hope not…

And why don’t we just admit right now that the judges have already made up their minds?

To the singing now…

Jesse Langseth, “Tell Me Something Good”: 12
Was she off or was it the band? That whole song was just messed up. I think it was a bad song choice too because of that AND because the backup singers get the biggest part.

Matt Giraud, “Who’s Lovin’ You”: 18
So why didn’t he do that the first time? I agree it was a little over the top at times, but it was still really good.

And what is up with all of the miscues in the red room tonight?

Simon just can’t come to grips with Taylor winning season five, can he?

Some Quick Notes...

Since I decided to watch the “Top Chef” reunion instead of updating my blog, I’m holding off on posting the comments of Lil, Scott and Jorge until tomorrow, when I’ll add the comments of the three who receive the Wild Card tonight.

Now, as for tonight’s twist, I’ve still got nothing. Fans are speculating on the “Hollywood Reporter” site that there’s going to be a Top 13, but I think it’s a little bigger than that. Of course, if it is, maybe the 13th comes from outside of the Top 36. I guess that would be a surprise of sorts…

I guess we’ll all find out tonight…

Back in 15…

Something is coming...

Something is coming, my friends. But I have NO idea what it is…

You may remember that last month I told you about Mike Darnell, FOX’s president of alternative programming, promising “a big surprise coming when we get to the top 12.” Well, “The Hollywood Reporter” says that big surprise is coming tonight and FOX is trying VERY hard to keep a lid on it until show time.

I’ve scoured all of my usual sources and I’ve got nothing…

To remind you, here’s the excerpt of the “TV Week” interview I posted in January:

TVWeek: Can we expect surprises as the season goes along?

Mr.
Darnell: Yeah. There’s a big surprise coming when we get to the top 12, but I
can’t reveal it right now.

TVWeek: Will it change the way we think
of “American Idol?”

Mr. Darnell: Well, it’s not going to change
what you think of “American Idol” and we don’t want to do that. This show is,
you know, a phenomenon. It’s American, it’s apple pie. We’re not changing the
core of the show, but it is something that will be talked about and is something
I think that has some element of controversy surrounding
it.

TVWeek: Do the contestants know?

Mr. Darnell: No.
No one knows.

TVWeek: Is that part of it? You want to keep the
contestants guessing?

Mr. Darnell: Part of it. But I also think
it’s more that it’s a long season and you want to keep as many surprises for the
audience, for the press, for everybody, as you go along. Some controversies will
pop out. But this is something that we sort of felt like, here’s one set of
things we’re doing, we’re going to wait and give you the other set when we get
to the final 12.

I told you tonight would be interesting. So hold on tight, kids…

I’ll be back later with the comments from the newest members of the Top 12…

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Final Thoughts on Tomorrow Night...

Before I talk about tomorrow night, there are two points that should be discussed…

First, the “USA Today” article that said Wild Card contestants might be chosen from beyond the Top 36. So did the reporter get it wrong, or did the judges just decide not to go that route? Ryan explained who was “eligible” pretty emphatically so I’m thinking either the reporter was wrong or the show changed its mind in the last week or so. It was a little cruel to get the Jamar fans’ hopes up.

And speaking of cruel, what about bringing back all of those earlier contestants so they could get rejected—again. I didn’t catch who all of them were but I saw Brent Keith, Matt Breitzke and Jackie Tohn. So why would they do that—other than for drama? My guess is that they had to pick a pool of people to choose from so that those people could go ahead and pick a song and rehearse since there would be such little turnaround time. It makes sense, but it was still a little cruel.

And just for the record, if Brent Keith had made it into the Wild Card Round, the cries of “Ringer!” would have been heard all over America—including from my own house…

Now, let’s talk about tomorrow night…

If I had to pick the three favorites going in I would say Anoop and Megan for sure, and then maybe Jasmine. But I have a feeling that Paula will lobby for Ricky as hard as she can. I have to believe in my heart of hearts that the judges will do the right thing and put the best performers through and not the one they think will make the show more “entertaining.”

I also think one of the most interesting things tomorrow night will be how the judges handle things. Tomorrow night’s show is only an hour so it will be interesting to see if Kara can actually abbreviate her comments. I’m also wondering if maybe the judges will hold their comments to the end or something. Remember that they will make their decision before the end of the night so the Top 12 can perform for the first time next week…

The Wild Card Show airs tomorrow night at 8 on FOX. It’s going to be interesting…

Did the Judges Get It Right?

Now, to my second question. Did the judges get it right? Again, yes and no.

Let me rephrase that. That’s yes and NO!...

So, let me break them down one at a time…

Von Smith…This one’s a bit of a surprise to me, but I’m happy about it. Going first last night really cost him. That and Scott’s story and Jorge’s tears and accent…

Jasmine Murray…This one isn’t too much of a surprise because she’s talented, she’s cute and as the judges keep saying, “She’s commercial.” But she had better bring it—and if I was her I would NOT do Rihanna. Kara apparently doesn’t know the curse of the current song…

Ricky Braddy…I predicted this one since Paula really liked him. He deserved it.

Megan Joy Corkrey…Zero surprise here since a lot of people—including the judges—were surprised that she didn’t go through.

Matt Giraud…There were probably better performances, but I’m okay with this one. Matt has a good voice, he just picked a TERRIBLE song for him.

Jesse Langseth…Paula said they changed their mind about this choice during the commercial break. Jesse’s performance of “Bette Davis Eyes” was good, so I’m okay with it. I’m just wondering who they were thinking first. Felicia, maybe? Apparently no one was thinking about Kristen but me.

Anoop Desai…They milked that one for all it was worth, didn’t they? Especially since this was a total no-brainer. Now let’s see him do something fun.

And last, and certainly least, Tatiana Nicole Del Toro…Now, for the record I did warn you. Don’t remember? Here’s what I said in the February 24th “Herald-Dispatch”:

“And before you all celebrate too much about the departure of Tatiana Nicole Del Toro, remember that she could still come back for the Wild Card Round. If the rest of the female contestants give as many uneven performances as the first group did, the judges may have no choice but to bring back Del Toro since her performance was actually good.”

Now, did they have no choice? Absolutely not. Since they were apparently going for an even split between guys and girls, they could have given that last spot to Felicia Barton. Or they could have given another chance to Arianna Afsar like they did to Jasmine Murray. They could have even given it to Kendall Beard just for being gorgeous…

You knew when Randy started talking who he was going to say before he even said it. But all of that stuff about passion and entertainment is just crap. They’re trying to give people something to talk about. But if they choose Tatiana as one of the three to make the Top 12, they’ll be making a HUGE mistake…

I’ll be back with a preview in a sec…

Did America Get It Right?

Okay, so let’s break this down in two parts. First, did America get it right? Yes and no. Although it went down like I predicted it would, I’m still bummed that no one thought Kristen was any good and you know I’m not a Lil fan. Plus, I think we have to admit that Scott did not give as good of a performance as some of the others, BUT how can you not root for him.

And did I mention I’m starting to feel a crush coming on for Jorge?

Part two in a moment…

And Now the Wild Card Is Set

8:55 We’re back…Jorge’s not going to have time to sing…Randy chooses…Oh lord, it’s…Tatiana…You could just tell by the way Randy was talking. Simon looks upset…She’s of course crying all over the place. Ryan, MOVE ON!...Hey, my hero Denise now owes me lunch…Don’t say I didn’t warn you…Kara chooses Matt Giraud…Paula says this is the one they changed during the commercial break…It’s Jesse Langseth…One more spot left. Gotta be Anoop, right?...Simon says it was one of the easiest decisions…And it is Anoop…Anoop looks almost angry. I guess he was mad they made him wait…

8:59 Jorge sings “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me”…That is so unfair. We let Tatiana talk instead of listening to that…Sheesh…

9:00 And we’re out…

Final thoughts in a moment...

And the Wild Card Contestants Are...

8:45 We’re back…Ryan reintroduces the nine we have so far…Why did they have to make Scott go down the stairs for no reason?...Ryan says the only people eligible are ones who didn’t make it tonight and familiar faces from the past weeks…Simon says they changed their mind about someone during the commercial break…Okay, wait. They’re only choosing eight from the ones we saw?...And there’s Tatiana…

8:47 Randy chooses Von Smith. WHAT?! That surprises me, but I’m happy for him…Paula says he needs to be himself and Simon says he needs to wear his hat…Kara chooses Jasmine Murray. No real surprise there…Kara says Jasmine has to kill them with their vocals. She tells her to think Rihanna. Sorry, Kara, that’s a mistake…Paula chooses Ricky Braddy. No surprise there since she loved him, but he seems surprised…Simon chooses Megan Joy Corkrey…So apparently none of these people they brought back knows whether or not they’re going to make it…Four more spots available…After the break...

So maybe Brent isn’t going to get through, because we know Anoop is and there are only three spots left after that and five people from past weeks and Ju’Not and Felicia still to go…That’s a little cruel to bring them back and get their hopes up isn’t it?...

And the Final Spot Goes To...

8:36 We’re back…Lights down…Nathaniel and Kristen stand…I think that means it’s Jorge…Cut to the judges and Simon and Paula are sitting close…Ryan says that the moment between Nathaniel and Simon will be his new screensaver…Neither one are in, but Ryan says “for right now.” Hmmm…Felicia and Von…So they’re saving Jorge and Ju’Not for last…Ryan calls Clay Aiken, Simon’s friend and it cracks Simon up…Felicia doesn’t look happy. Gee, wonder why…Ryan says it’s a no for both of them “for now”…Ju’Not and Jorge in center of stage…I still think Jorge, but…And the person is…After the break…No, it’s a fakeout…It’s Jorge. OMG! I actually predicted it again! I’m in shock and so is he…He speaks in Spanish…Ryan translates, “Thank you, thank you, thank you”…He takes a stool for his song a little later…

8:40 Wild Card time…We get a quick glance…Brent Keith?!...That surprises me…And now we’re going to do some drama with the people still on the couch…Break…

Okay, let me rewind the tape…I see…Matt Breitze…Anoop Desai…Ricky Braddy, Matt Giraud…Jasmine Murray…Jackie Tohn…Megan Joy Corkrey…Jesse Langseth…

And The Second One Through Is...

8:25 “24” promo. Don’t look, don’t listen…We’re back…Lights down…Arianna stands again…Ryan asks if she has any regrets. She said she wishes she could have the chance to sing a more contemporary song…Arianna is not in…Taylor stands…She looks a little sick. I think they all know that in a group with Scott, it’s going to be Scott…Taylor is not in. She’s not surprised…Alex stands…Ryan asks if he did the right thing. He says he had some regrets immediately afterward, but he stayed true to himself…Alex is not in the top 12 and he’s not surprised…Kendall and Scott stand. Scott gives her a hug…Ryan asks if there was any doubt that she’s country. She said she thought about other things but she came back to country…Scott says he’s just so blessed to be here…Going through is…Scott—of course. Kendall gives him a hug and she is not surprised either. Alex gives him a hug as well…Ryan takes him to the stage to sing and Scott asks Ryan to square his shoulders up…He says he’s never going to take it for granted and he thanks everyone for voting for him…Randy says he can’t wait to see him play the piano…Ryan gives him the microphone to sing “Mandolin Rain”…Is that cute guy his brother?...This is much better than last night…Break…

And the First to Go Through Is...

8:10 We’re back…Recap…I think Felicia should have nixed the backup singers on “No One”…So, Kendall’s song suited her perfectly, but Kristen was having trouble defining herself. Why didn’t anyone like Kristen? I thought she was good and I wasn’t a fan…I think they should let Jorge speak in Spanish and use subtitles…And I love that Ryan-Scott high five…

8:14 Ryan talks to Nathaniel. Was he offended by the judges’ comments? He says he took it with a grain of salt and he got to have fun. Would he change it? No, but Ryan points out he’s not wearing a headband. He hopes if he doesn’t make it, he makes the Wild Card…Ryan asks Jorge what this means to him. He says there’s no way to explain it. He says it’s freezing in California at 78 degrees…Ryan asks Felicia about her second chance. She says she did what she had to…Ju’Not tells Ryan he had an asthma attack during rehearsal and had to go see the doctor…

8:17 Lights dim…Lil stands…She’s in. Wow! That was quick. Did they just decide that one was too obvious?...She’s REALLY excited…Ryan asks Kara what to expect from Lil? She says “ridiculous vocals.” She sings “Be Without You.” I really like her fashion sense, but her hair has some issues…I guess they have to book a little because of the Wild Card announcement…I think this performance was a little better than last night’s…She goes to her stool…

8:20 Ryan goes back to the contestants…Lights down…Arianna stands…Taylor…Alex…Kendall…Scott…One of them is in. Gee, wonder who?...After the break…

Group #3 Goes "Hot and Cold"

Let’s do this…

8:00 Dramatic Intro…

8:01 Hey! Ryan is actually dressed decent tonight. But he needs to tighten the tie just a little…Ryan asks Paula how this group is shaping up with year’s past. She says they’re amazing and she’s very proud of them…The six so far await their compadres in the urinal chairs…

8:02 Group 3’s journey set to “A Daily AntheM.” I really think this should be this year’s goodbye song…And just for the record the Portsmouth audience rocked out those oh-wohs—a cappella no less…

8:04 Group number time. Katy Perry’s “Hot and Cold.” What? The girls start in the red room…The guys are sitting on the stage…The girls go down the steps…Woh! Those harmonies actually sound good, but should we sing a song that mentions PMS on a family show? And did they say the b word? I wasn’t listening…I have to tell you that Scott is handling the choreography better than Alex. Actually Scott is handling it better than most of them. Is he counting which camera to look at in his head?...I have to say that was almost good…Break with another “hidden audition”…

Just a Few Thoughts...

Just a few thoughts before we get this thing started tonight…

You may have noticed that I left Felicia Barton out of the equation last night when I was predicting who would go through to the Top 12. I just wanted to clarify that I was not saying I didn’t like Felicia—because I did—I just think that since she went so early that America might forget about her.

In all honesty, I would be happy to see Felicia go through because it would make a great story AND because she can actually sing…

Someone asked me today if we would find out who the Wild Card contestants are tonight or if they would keep it a surprise until tomorrow. I honestly have no idea, but my guess is that they will be revealed tonight in some dramatic fashion.

Maybe there will be separate urinal chairs for them…

Back in ten...

Scott's Story Gets More Inspiring

As if Scott MacIntyre’s story wasn’t inspiring enough, “The Arizona Republic” added a new wrinkle yesterday…

In 2005, Scott was diagnosed with kidney disease. Two years ago, Patricia Cosand, the wife of Scott’s piano teacher at Arizona State University, donated one of her kidneys and saved his life.

Cosand’s husband, Walter, began working with Scott at ASU at age 14…

You can read the entire article here.

The Second Group of Three Speak

So before we learn the names of the next three contestants to move on to the Top 12, let’s go back and hear from the three who made it last week.

Due to all the things that were going on Friday, I didn’t get to listen in to the media conference call with the latest three to get into the Top 12.

But thanks to the transcripts sent out by the fine folks in “Idol” publicity, I am still able to share what was said.

Keep scrolling to see comments from Allison, Adam and Kris…

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Allison Iraheta: Simon Doesn't Know Me Enough

Several reporters actually told Allison Iraheta that they thought she was the best, so it’s clear she’s got the support.

Here are some of the things she had to say…

On choosing “Alone”: “I mean I did think about the fact that Carrie did it and the past Idols; they really did that song and they did it really well. They’re amazing. But I really focused on me and how I would just do the song and just, yes, I guess give it a little taste of what I can do. Like not change it, because you know we’re different, so just give it a little of me in the song I guess.”

Allison’s natural hair color is actually brown/black, but she told reporters, “I think I’m going to be one of those hmm, red these couple of months and then purple the other. I don’t know, probably. I might be doing something with my hair.”

One reporter was clearly working on a story about whether sappy stories make a difference in the voting. Here’s what Allison had to say, “I don’t know. I think they give us all airtime fairly. They all focus on all of us, so I think it depends on what people see, you know, if they like it or not.”

One reporter asked Allison about winning a contest on Telemundo, “Well okay, so it was two years ago. I was fourteen. It was a great experience. I sang both Spanish and English. It was amazing to win, you know; it was awesome.” Later in the call, Allison talked about how the Telemundo contest helped prepare her for “Idol.” “It helped me out with being on the stage in front of cameras a little, but it’s nothing compared to this actually.”

On Simon calling her boring: “He doesn’t know me enough, I guess, because he said I was boring. But honestly, I’m not. I guess I was nervous a little; I mean who isn’t going to be nervous before they sing the first time for that round. So I guess I’ll just chill a little bit more, because the nerves got me a little.”

If Allison won, she would actually be the first Latina Idol, which Allison said would be “pretty cool.” Her parents are originally from El Salvador. “All my life I’ve been singing both Spanish and English, so it has really influenced. I grew up singing Spanish, and then I did the bilingual.”

On what her stage alter ego would be named: “I’d be like wild blah-- I don’t even know.”

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Adam Lambert: "I am definitely using a strategy"

Adam Lambert is not your typical Idol contestant. And guess what? That’s exactly how he planned it.

Here’s some of what Adam had to say…

On Simon saying parts of his performance were terrible: “Well I responded on air, and I just kind of said well I guess that’s kind of music in general—you either love it or you don’t love it. Obviously I’m a risk taker. I kind of feel like I’m not easy listening. You know what I mean? I’m not going to be always the most digestible thing for everybody across the board; I’m specific, and I like to kind of blow it out the box and either you like it or you don’t.”

On taking he judges’ advice: “Yes, of course I take what they say. They’re obviously professionals, and I take everything that they say and I listen. I think that it’s important to maintain a balance between your own integrity and what you want to do, and then what the audience wants, and what the judges want to hear. So kind of mix that all together and come up with something. My plan is that I’m not planning on wailing at the top of my lungs every week; I think the audience would grow tired of that. I intend on making it interesting by varying up the mood and the style of the song that I’m singing week-to-week.”

On getting the “pimp” spot on the show: “Yes. I was honored. I was excited, because I knew that meant that I was closing the show and that I’d be fresh in everybody’s minds when they started voting. I was really, really happy.”

On getting a lot of exposure in the early rounds: “Of course it has helped. It has exposed me to people more and more times, and so they get the feeling like they know me, and that’s really exciting. And they get to hear me talk and hear my opinions, which are many. Yes, of course it has helped, and I’m really, really thankful to the producers for featuring me in such a way.”

So does a heartfelt backstory make a difference?: “I think it does make a difference. I think it allows the audience to empathize with that person, with that artist, especially when you go on stage and sing a certain number. If they can relate to the song, if they feel like you’re relating to the song based on your own personal experiences, I think that that really evokes quite a reaction from the audience.”

On standing alone with Nick at the end of the results show: “You know, I did, I got a little nervous. I thought Nick was brilliant the other night, so I didn’t really know which way it was going to go. I thought, ‘Well here it goes; it’s a toss up.’

On Simon calling him theatrical: “I think that I take the theatrical comment as a compliment as opposed to a derogatory statement. Simon kind of makes it seems derogatory, but when you think about it in the pop music scene right now a lot of the big artists are going a very theatrical route. There’s lots of camp and costumes—that’s kind of an angle right now in the scene. So I kind of think it’s time for something like that.”

On being a different kind of contestant: “Yes. I’ve been watching the show for years and I hadn’t really seen anybody. They’ve asked me well whom would you compare yourself to, and I’ve always kind of been like, ‘I don’t know.’ Yes, I think I do have an advantage, because it’s something different than some of the other contestants. I think the more individual we all are the better chance we have at garnering a fan base.


What themes would he have trouble with? “Country week would obviously be a slight stretch for me if that comes up. I’m kind of up for the challenge; I like all different types of music and I feel like I could probably try to sing all different types of music. But we’ll see what the judges think.”

On how theater has prepared him for “Idol”: “Obviously you have to like be on your game with the theater world. You have to be ready to go at any moment. This machine it’s turning real fast, so it’s kind of like you either hop on and hold on and you know how to own your stuff or you fall off. So I think with theater it’s definitely trained me to be able to sing under any condition and be able to just go with the drop of a hat…I think in certain ways there are certain elements of the theater training that could be detrimental to the Idol experience, because that’s not really the sound I’m going for. I’m not going for a Broadway sound. But the cool thing is that this is finally allowing me to be myself, I mean I don’t listen to show tunes on my spare time I can assure you. The show tune thing, the musical theater thing, was just kind of they way that I was paying the bills. I mean we all have to have a job. Right? So now I get to finally sing the kind of music that I like to listen to.”

Adam later said he hoped the show didn’t do a Broadway week: “I mean not because I have anything against it; I just don’t see myself doing that as a recording artist anyway.”


Does he read the blogs and other Internet chatter about the show?: “Yes, here and there. I try not to dwell on it too much; I need to kind of keep my head in the game. But I have seen things here or there, and it does help. I don’t take anything personally good or bad; I try to remain as objective as possible. But it’s like market research in a way; it really helps you find out what the fans think.”

On whether or not he has a strategy: “That’s funny that you say that. I think strategy is like half of a competition. I think that when picking a song and figuring out your arrangement that’s when you should really be thinking hard and using your brain. But then when it comes time to actually get up there and perform it you have to turn the brain off and just feel it and go with the moment. So I am definitely like using a strategy.”

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Kris Allen: "I was really, really shocked."

The biggest topic for Kris Allen was how he got through since most of the reporters on the line seem to have been surprised that he made it. Apparently they don’t read my blog…

Here’s some of what Kris had to say…

On getting through: “When I made it through I was really, really shocked, because this group two that we have was just really, really good and a lot of talented people. I felt like anybody had a shot, so I felt really, really lucky to actually make it through with all those other people… I was really, really surprised, because I thought Megan did a great job and I think Megan is a lovely person and I think she can go far in the music industry. And I feel really, really lucky that I got as many votes as I did. But yes, I was really, really shocked.”

On not getting much attention in the early rounds: “I think that went through my head maybe a little bit, but in the back I was just trying to stay grounded and be like hopefully that doesn’t matter--it doesn’t matter so much and I can go out there and do my thing this week on live TV and more people are watching that then even the Hollywood stuff. I think that I showed myself this past week and I think people liked it… I love like being the guy that’s kind of in the background. I wasn’t like looking for the cameras and trying to put my face in there. I’m totally, totally cool with that, so, yes, I didn’t have any problems with it…I do think how much time you get on TV it probably helps out a lot. But in the end I think it’s how good you do on that live show, obviously, because I didn’t hardly get any TV time and I’m here. And I probably have a lot of good friends.”

On Simon saying, “I think the chicks will really dig you.”: “You know it probably helped. I’m not going to lie.”

On Nick/Norman: “He’s not mocking the show; he’s doing what he knows how to do, and that’s entertain and he’s really, really good at it. And no one shows anything towards him; we all love him to death.”

On his strategy: “My strategy has been the same this whole time is that I’m going to do what I know how to do, and that’s take songs and make them my own and be myself, and that’s all that I think any of us can do.”

On singing a Michael Jackson song, which Paula had criticized Stephen Fowler for doing the week before: “You know it was a little scary, but you know I was really confident in what I was doing. I was just really, really happy that I didn’t get any comparisons to him, because that’s exactly what I wanted. I didn’t want anybody to compare me to Michael Jackson, so I’m glad that I accomplished that…But you know when Paula said that I think at first impression I was probably a little bit, ‘Oh no, I’m singing … of course and hopefully I don’t get compared.’ But you know right after that I was like, ‘You know what, I’m not doing it how he does it and if they don’t like it then that’s fine.’ I did it how I wanted to do it.”


On all the hoops you have to jump through: “And now like making it through, you know when you get through this whole thing like at first you’re just like, ‘I want to go to Hollywood,’ and then you get to Hollywood and you’re like, ‘I want to make it through each round.’ And so every other step it’s just another big hurdle, and this was a huge one, like 36 to 12, that’s a big, big cutoff. I cannot tell you how excited I am.”

By the way, Kris is also a Worship Leader in his church like Michael Sarver and Danny Gokey.

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

So Who's Going Through?

Wow, this is a tough one. And since I’ve been batting a thousand so far this season, I really hate to screw that up, but that’s what you guys read this thing for, so…

Let me start with the easy one. I’m with Simon. I think Scott MacIntyre will absolutely get through—most likely as the top male vote-getter.

Now, here’s where it gets tricky. If the judges decided, Lil Rounds would absolutely be the top female vote-getter, but since America is deciding, what will they think? Will they agree with me or them? If it were up to me, I would say Kristen McNamara was the best female. But since it’s not up to me, I’m going to say Lil will be the top female vote-getter.

That leaves Kristen and Jorge Nunez to fight for the third spot. I’ll give Jorge the edge because he’s handsome with an accent and he cried. I think Ju’Not Joyner will have to wait for the Wild Card.

By the way, I think there's a chance we'll see Arianna Afsar in the Wild Card too since the judges really like her. She just picked the COMPLETELY wrong song...

What do you guys think? Did you like Lil as much as the judges did or do you agree with me that she was a little pitchy?

Be sure to post a comment and let me know…

Lil Wows the Judges, But...

Lil Rounds, “Be Without You”: 16
She obviously got the final spot because she’s the judges’ favorite, because I don’t think that song or that performance earned it. She looked gorgeous but I thought her performance wasn’t NEARLY as strong as the judges thought she was—especially since she gave the background singers the chorus. And pimping for votes during the performance? That’s just wrong.

By the way, for those of you who noticed that you didn’t hear her plea for votes during the recap, I remind you that the recap of the final performance is taped during dress rehearsal.

Kendall Goes Country and Jorge Brings It

Kendall Beard, “This One’s For the Girls”: 12
She’s gorgeous and she looked great on the stage, but that chorus was just too weak.

Jorge Nunez, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me”: 18
You guys know I’m opposed to anyone else doing Clay’s song, but that was GOOD! And I’m with Simon, I like the accent. And I know he wasn’t shedding those tears for votes, but they may have just earned him some.

Felicia Returns and Scott Brings On the "Rain"

Felicia Barton, “No One” 18
I hate that song, so I’m a little prejudiced and I’ve already told you what I think about doing Alicia Keys songs. But I liked the angry vibe she brought to the song. Minus that wobble going into the first chorus, it was pretty solid.

Scott MacIntyre, “Mandolin Rain”: 16
Considering the spotty vocal, that was probably a little generous, but I LOVE that song choice. And honestly, I wanted to give him a perfect score just for asking Ryan for a high five with a “stationery target.” That was funny.

Kristen Confuses While Nathaniel Gets Physical

Kristen McNamara: “Gimme One Reason”: 18
This was totally unexpected for me and I thought it was a good reworking of the song. I TOTALLY disagree with Kara and Paula about singing Kelly Clarkson. This early in the competition it would be a mistake since it’s so familiar for people watching. I’m wondering, though, if she did this one on “Nashville Star” because she seemed so comfortable with the arrangement.

Nathaniel Marshall, “I Would Do Anything for Love”: 15
There was just something about that choice being so unique that I had to give it some props. OMG! I was just about to write Olivia Newton John headband when Simon said it. It did remind me of her “Physical” video. But I think he has a good voice, so I was a little generous.

Why did Simon ask about who he brought with him? Was he lobbying for him? If Nathaniel does get through, he owes Ryan big time for taking him to the judges. Good move trying to give Simon his headband…

Ju'Not Does a Rerun

Ju’Not Joyner: “Hey There Delilah”: 13
Turning “Delilah” into an R&B ballad just didn’t work as well for me the second time around. I guess the novelty had worn off. And then there was all that pitchiness. Paula said he switched it around from Hollywood, so maybe that’s why I didn’t like it. The judges clearly like him.

Arianna Steps Into a Time Machine

Arianna Afsar, “The Winner Takes It All”: 12
Somebody’s seen “Mamma Mia” too many times. That was WAY more theatrical than anything Adam’s done. And her voice betrayed her a few too many times along the way.

And Ju’Not is doing the same song he did in Hollywood? I don’t like that…

Alex Puts on a Show

Alex Wagner-Trugman, “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”: 12
Alex is a cutie, but he was trying WAY too hard. Those dance moves, that growl? If he had just focused on singing, it would have been pretty good.

Taylor Makes a Bad Choice

Taylor Vaifanua, “If I Ain’t Got You”: 13
You might think that was a little harsh, but I had to give her a low score in song choice. She’s got a pretty voice, but that is a TERRIBLE song choice. Alicia Keys is like Whitney. It’s too open for comparisons to the original.

And someone needs to tell the people in the booth that they’re rotating which judge gets to talk first and last this year—which is stupid, by the way. Simon should always be last…

Will Von Smith Score With the Claymates?

Alright, kids, let’s get this final group performance show started…

And just for the record, I think Simon Cowell Week would ROCK!...

Von Smith, “You’re All I Need”: 17
I like Von so I don’t know why I wasn’t feeling this. The chorus was good, but I’m not sure about the verse. I think it’s his facial expressions that throw me. Simon compared him to Clay Aiken, and I can kind of see that, but I still agree with my second favorite Canadian, RT, comparing him to Lucas Grabeel (which is a compliment in my book). And nice save, by the way, Von. You almost insulted Clay. And trust me. The Claymates can make you or break you…

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Closer Look at Group #3

We are now down to the final group of 12. Here’s a closer look at who we’ll see…

Arianna Afsar, 17, San Diego
After her initial audition with “Put Your Records On,” I wrote that she was “way too effortless in her audition. And she’s got that charity thing going too.”









Felicia Barton, 26, Virginia Beach
We didn’t see very much of Felicia because the show never intended for her to be in the Top 36. She is the replacement for Joanna Pacitti. During the Green Mile episode, the judges told her that her elimination was not a unanimous decision. The FOX press release says her first public performance was at age 2.







Kendall Beard, 24, Austin, TX
She had a good audition, but a shaky Hollywood. Her final performance was a so-so “Before He Cheats.”









Kristen McNamara, 23, Napa Valley, CA
She’s been a magnet of drama since Hollywood, where she was a member of Team Compromise with Nathaniel and Nancy. Then she did a sing-off with Jen Corby, after which Simon argued that they should let the attractive one, Jen, go through. Paula told her she was having an identity crisis. Jen is familiar to “Nashville Star” fans for finishing sixth on season four.






Lil Rounds, 24, Memphis, TN
She is clearly the judges’ favorite coming into this thing. We’ve heard the mother of three sing Stevie Wonder, “I Will Always Love You,” and “If I Ain’t Got You.” Simon called her “fantastic and a good old-fashioned singer.”









Taylor Vaifanua, 17, Hurricane, UT
Her initial audition was with “Joyful, Joyful.” She forgot her words during Group Day, but recovered with her final performance of “If I Ain’t Got You.”









Alex Wagner-Trugman, 19, Studio City, CA
Alex is the guy that asked Randy to duet with him on “Baby, Come to Me” during his first audition. He got the most camera time during his sing-off with Cody Sheldon during the Top 36 episode when he did “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”






Jorge Nunez, 21, Cidra, Puerto Rico
After his first audition with “My Way” and “What a Wonderful World,” I said he had a “real Il Divo vibe.” In Hollywood, he nailed the perfect choice of “Angel” and “Closer.”






Ju’Not Joyner, 26, Baltimore, MD
His final Hollywood performance turned “Hey There Delilah” into a sultry R&B ballad.









Nathaniel Marshall, 19, Malone, NY
No stranger to drama, Nathaniel was the lone male member of Team Compromise. In Hollywood, he broke down after Simon asked him why he did “The Anchor Holds.” But he also did that cool acoustic version of “Disturbia” with a guitar. During his sing-off with Jackie Midkiff during the Top 36 episode, we learned he lives with his grandmother because his mother is in prison.





Scott MacIntyre, 23, Scottsdale, AZ
We’ve seen him do a great “And So It Goes” and, in my opinion, a pitchy “Home” with the keyboard. But Scott will always be known as the contestant who’s visually impaired.







Von Smith, 22, Kansas City, MO
After his first audition performance of “Over the Rainbow,” I wrote “Jiminy Christmas! What a voice Von has. But he’s a bit of a drama queen.” Simon trashed his Hollywood performance, which I called “way overblown.” During the Top 36 episode, we learned that he went against his parents and didn’t give an over the top final performance. Simon told him that helped him get through.

If Lil Rounds doesn’t give a good performance tomorrow night, I think the judges will break down and cry. And I have to believe that Scott MacIntyre is the favorite among the guys. As for others who will shine, I would say Arianna and Jorge.

Remember that Tuesday’s episode is two hours beginning at 8 p.m. on FOX…
Photo Credits: Chris Cuffaro/FOX, FOX, and Michael Becker/FOX