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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.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Matt Giraud: “I never came in wanting to be the American Idol”

How was that for a headline?

Yes, that’s exactly what Matt Giraud told reporters during his media conference call today…

“I never came in wanting to be the American Idol. My dream was to play piano on that stage.” I’m honestly not sure what he said immediately after that because I was so surprised he would actually admit that to us. Matt later added, “I’m not kicking myself for not winning. All hope is not lost.”

Matt also made another interesting comment that I think may have been a slam at Adam Lambert. When a reporter asked him about who helped with the arrangements, Matt said, “A lot of the arrangements have been done before and they’re not really well known and people get a lot of credit for them.” Hmmm…

But I have to say that Matt still doesn’t get it, telling reporters several times that he’d like to do rock music along the lines of “The Fray”…

Here’s a sample of some of the other things Matt had to say today…

On Simon loving his performance Tuesday, while Kara and Randy didn’t: “Kara’s usually on my side. But [having Simon say I was brilliant] was a great way to go out.”

On whether he knew he was going home when he and Adam ended up in the bottom two: “I wasn’t for sure. I was ready for it and I was preparing what to say.”

On what he was thinking during his final performance: “I was at complete peace with myself because I went out doing what I loved to do with jazz week.”

On the judges’ save: “It’s a great thing. I don’t think it’s a waste of time at all.” Matt said the save helps contestants the judges see something in, adding, “The judges didn’t pick me for my looks…”

On Adam being in the bottom two: “Definitely surprised that Adam was down there with me. [Kris and I] kind of played with him backstage, ‘why didn’t you pick us [as the top group]?’…Matt later said that Adam didn’t like his performance…

On the biggest challenge of the show: “Song choice. Picking a song that you sing well is the harder part…I’m gonna still keep doing the music that moves me.”

On the music he’d like to do: “I’d actually like to get more into the rock—soulful rock. I’d love to see myself playing the piano with a band around me.”

On whether the judges’ comments affected his song choices: “A little bit. I still picked the songs if they moved me. At the end of the day, I’m not gonna change who I am.”

On why he didn’t play the piano more: “The piano doesn’t really help you on the show. It’s more of a prop.”

On what he would have done if he had to choose a twosome like Adam did Wednesday night: “I would’ve pulled an Archuleta and just sat down.”

His favorite performance: “Part-Time Lover”

His most memorable Mansion moment: Dueling pianos with Scott

His message to my fans: “Thank you very much for helping me to believe in myself and thank you for believing in me.”

On why he didn’t do “Georgia On My Mind” during movie week: “It had to be a song written for a movie. But I did think about it.”

On what he will take away from the show: “I believe in myself more than ever, [I know] what I’m best at and what my weaknesses are, and [I can] deal with the pressure. The bad comments roll off me more than ever.”

On what happened after the results show: “It was kind of an emotional night, but I think I handled it well.”

His song choice for next week: “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. He was going to do a bluesy version with the piano.

On being saved: “Can’t wait to see my name on a trivia card. Being saved, I’ve never felt that much love in one room. It’s one of the greatest moments in my life.” Matt said a security guard told him he’d never heard the room get that loud.

On how he’s changed: “I haven’t changed at all personally. The only thing that has changed is my surroundings.”

On what he would have done differently this week: “I still think it was my week. I wouldn’t really change a thing.”

On the mentors: “Jamie Foxx was one of the most helpful…but Smokey Robinson was the most influential.”

On who is going to win: “I was joking today, I think they’re going to be bringing me back. I have no idea. I endorse all of them…At this point, it’s more popularity than talent, of course. Whoever can rub America the right way”…

Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FOX

Archie Teams Up With Hannah Montana

David Archuleta will guest star on “Hannah Montana” Sunday night.

And yes, he and Miley Cyrus will sing a duet on the show...

“Hannah Montana” airs Sunday, May 3rd at 8 p.m. on Disney Channel…

Photo Credit: Craig Sjodin/Disney Channel

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Just a reminder...

Just a reminder that I always welcome your comments. And feel free to disagree with me, because I can take it.

What I can't take is inappropriate language, so please keep it clean.

I have also decided that I will not post any comments I consider to be hurtful rumors. So if you decide to use my blog to publicize your theories on Adam's personal life, I will not post your comments.

And with those ground rules set, please post away! If you prefer to send me your comments privately, you can do so at idolchitchat@hotmail.com...

Did America Get It Right?

So, did America get it right? Absolutely 100 percent, yes, they did. I am so proud for two reasons: First, the right person went home in spite of Simon’s manipulations and second, Allison avoided the bottom three. And yes, I know Adam is good, but a stint in the bottom three will only make him better. Plus, it might make the producers stop shoving him in our faces. We know he’s good, we don’t need you to keep bathing him in white light and giving him the pimp spot. If they keep it up, the backlash will continue and Adam could go home.

I’d like to see Danny Gokey make an appearance in the bottom two next week to smack some of that cockiness out of him. Actually, I’d like to see him go home next week, but I just don’t see that happening.

Of course, it is rock week and you know Allison is going to bring it. Danny will just choose some power ballad…

So what do you think? Did America get it right? And I promise this is the final time I will ask this question—what was Simon really up to last night?

And the Person Going Home Is...

9:51 We’re back…Here we go…Matt and Adam stand with Ryan…Ryan asks Simon about Randy and Kara being more on their game this week. He says one out of 12 isn’t bad…Lights down…Matt appears to be ready to go home…Adam…safe…LOTS of squeals…Matt is going home…

9:53 Goodbye video…It begins with the save…Matt seems upset as he tries to shake it off. Ryan comes over to him and the view of Matt goes off the screen…The Idols join him on stage…Matt says he’ll remember being “the cat who had nine lives”…Matt does “My Funny Valentine”…I’m sorry, Matt, but Jamie Foxx screwed you up…Allison stops crying long enough to clap for him…

9:57 Matt heads down to talk to the judges, but Ryan brings him back up for some wisdom from Paula…Kara said that one of the best things that they did this season was save Matt…Ryan asks for advice from Simon for rock and roll week next week and Simon says he’s the last person to be giving advice right now and adds “Don’t listen to me” and tells them to have fun…Ryan repeats that it will be rock and roll and that they will be bringing in Slash. Does he mean as a mentor? That should be interesting…

10:00 And we’re out…

Final thoughts in a moment…

Jamie Foxx Rocks the House

9:42 We’re back…And the judges barely make it to their seats…Ryan introduces Jamie Foxx to do “Blame It”…I think it’s nice that he’s live…And of course, he’s rocking the vocoder…WOW! Three live performances back-to-back. The stage crew has been working overtime tonight…At least with the vocoder you can’t understand the words which are probably not completely appropriate for a “family” show…Jamie comes down to high-five the judges…Paula’s on her feet, but Kara is dancing from her chair…What was that weird miming at the end? I think he was making drinks...He also gets a standing ovation from the judges…Ryan says, “no question live”…Jamie says he saw five of the most talented people he’s seen in the past 10 years. He says he hopes America continues to “support these cats”…Ryan brings out Matt and Adam and they shake Jamie’s hand…Jamie dodges the question of whether America got the bottom two right and then he sticks in a plug for “The Soloist.” I was wondering when he was going to get that in…Break…

And the Bottom Two Are...

9:32 We’re back…The bottom three are still backstage…Ryan introduces Taylor Hicks doing “Seven Mile Breakdown”…Not one of my favorites from his CD…But he sounds good and he looks good. This looks to be live, so I wish they would show a Simon reaction since he doesn’t really like Taylor very much. He took another little shot at him in his “TV Guide” interview this week…The judges give him a standing ovation. Did Paula make him stand up? Taylor is even amazed that Simon stood up…Ryan asks Taylor what it takes to win, and Simon looks like he’s bored while Taylor talks. That was what I was looking for…

9:37 The bottom three take the stage again…Lights down…The person who is safe is…KRIS! WOAH! Maybe we are going to get that shock Ryan promised. Randy says “wow,” as Simon claps with a little smirk on his face. Was he actually trying to rile up the Kris fans last night? I have no idea any more…After the break…

Don’t despair, Adam fans. Matt is going home. He has to be…

Natalie Cole Kills Some Time

9:23 We’re back…Ryan introduces Natalie Cole doing “Something’s Gotta Give”…Okay, I like Natalie Cole, but that was absolutely terrible and was a total waste of airtime. I would’ve rather heard Jamie Foxx sing twice…But the judges give her a standing ovation and both Simon and Paula blow her kisses…

9:28 Matt, Kris and Adam are backstage talking. It looks like they’re debating who’s going home…

A Bottom Three Surprise...

9:09 I actually watched the pilot episode of “Glee” tonight and it is just as awesome as the promos suggest…

9:10 Ryan plugs a bunch of stuff…Ryan says Danny’s birthday was last Friday and Allison’s was Monday, so we see a video at The Mansion of the group making cakes…They get in a big food fight that Matt started, but Danny amps it up as he and Allison end up a mess…The five are sitting on stools instead of the couch…Ryan gives Danny a gift for starting the food fight. It’s a $6000 bill to pay for the maid service to clean up the mess. Danny actually seems to think they’re actually going to make him pay for it. I thought it looked like Matt started it…

9:13 Lights down. The Idols all stand in the center of the stage…Matt…He says he felt good about the performance…Ryan sends him to the right side of the stage…Danny…He actually looks nervous…Danny says he started to focus in on Simon’s comments and watch other performers, but he wouldn’t tell Ryan who. I’m guessing he means Adam…Ryan sends him to the left of the stage…Allison…She looks nervous…Ryan sends her next to Danny. HMMM…Kris…lots of squeals…Kris says he wouldn’t be here if he didn’t think he could win…He sends him next to Matt. Some girls yell, “we love you Kris,” almost like they feel bad news coming…Adam…I wonder if he’s going to make Adam choose a twosome?...YES, HE IS! I love it when he does this!...Adam is not happy about it…Adam says based on last night, the Allison and Danny twosome…Ryan grabs Adam and pulls him over to Kris and Matt—THE BOTTOM THREE!!! Danny and Allison are in total shock. Allison won’t even sit down…Paula says it’s crazy…Simon says he doesn’t think it’s crazy and congratulates Danny and Allison. I can’t believe Allison made the top two, but I’m glad America recognized her talent for a change…Adam seems to be taking it in stride…After the break…

I think Matt is definitely going home now…

Top 5 Results Night Begins...

8:59 Dramatic taped intro…Allison looks sick backstage…I like these taped intros, but going to Ryan on the stage to finish it is just corny. Especially when he’s in that Adam Lambert white light. And he’s already promising a shock. Hmmm…

9:01 Ryan says there were over 47 million votes…Ryan intros the judges…Simon said after watching the show back everybody was good. He says it was the best show at this stage he’d ever seen and says “it’s an open competition.” WHAT?! That is not what you said last night, Simon. Why the change of tune? Hmmm…

9:03 Ford video…The Idols are running toward the Fusion to “Energy”…That was so not worth the airtime…

9:04 Group sing… “Don’t Mean a Thing” and “I Got Rhythm”…Allison walks down the stairs between Kris and Danny…Kris, please stop wearing flannel on results night…By the way, they’re actually singing…I think…And for the record, the biggest screams appeared to be for Kris…That wasn’t all that bad…Break…

Simon Says the Winner Will Be...

In this week’s “TV Guide,” which hits stands tomorrow, Simon predicts that Danny Gokey will defeat Adam Lambert in the “Idol” final.

From the magazine: “You’ve got someone who’s safe and popular versus the entertainer. When you get into the final, everything changes hugely because now you’ve got the whole country focusing on just two people. And I think at that point, Adam would go in at a slight disadvantage…Danny is the safer option—he hasn’t taken as many risks. So I would put it at 55/45, Danny versus Adam. But one song could change everything.”

You can read more of what Simon has to say here.

Oh, and don’t let that spicy headline on the cover—“Why I’m Leaving Idol”—fool you. Simon never says in the interview that he is leaving. He just says that he has gone on record as saying that he’ll leave after nine seasons, which would be after next year…

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

So Who's Going Home?

I know I focused an awful lot on Simon tonight, but I just couldn’t help it. This is the time of the season when we start to see him try and exert his influence on the audience and he certainly did that tonight. I’m just a little surprised that he has chosen to throw his support to Matt, when he had just started to show Kris the love he deserves. Does he honestly think Matt would sell more records?

So who’s going home? It should be Matt, but I think all that love he got from Simon, plus his status as the underdog will keep him alive and Allison will go home. The fact that Kara championed her probably won’t help Allison either. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Kris makes an appearance in the bottom group after going first and then getting thrown under the bus by Simon.

What do you guys think? Will Allison go home after the best performance of the night, or will America ignore Simon and do the right thing? And was anyone else surprised at how good of a mentor Jamie Foxx was?

Adam Wows Them Again

Adam Lambert, “Feeling Good”: 18
I had to take some points off for that weird arrangement towards the end. But that was definitely the best performance ever of that “Idol” standard. And if there was any question at all about Adam being the anointed one, the show settled it tonight with having him come down the red stairs in that white outfit and then bathing him in all those white lights and swirling camera angles.

And did anyone else notice that Simon took his critique of Adam as another opportunity to throw Allison and Kris under the bus again? Didn’t he call those two brilliant last week? What’s going on here?

Final thoughts in a moment…

Simon Raves About His Boy, Danny

Danny Gokey, “Come Rain or Come Shine”: 18
Okay, I’ve been hard on Danny, so let me give him some props. The last part of that song was awesome and that was the best verse I’ve heard from him all season. However, how many times can he do this weak start, strong finish stuff? It’s getting a little old.

But notice how much Simon raved about him. Oh yes, Simon was pimping for his boy, Danny. But Simon, I hate to break it to you, honey, but I think Kris would probably sell more records…

And Adam’s getting the pimp spot, again?

What in the World is Simon Up to Tonight?

Matt Giraud, “My Funny Valentine”: 16
I think Matt got thrown under the bus by Jamie Foxx. I appreciate Jamie taking such an interest and I appreciate Matt not ignoring the mentor like Danny always does, but lowering the key made Matt sound off on the verses.

And what in the world is Simon up to tonight? Matt was brilliant, but Allison was mechanical? Is he trying to get Matt into the top three so that he doesn’t look stupid for saving him? There’s no way that was brilliant…

Simon Throws Allison Under the Bus As Well

Allison Iraheta, “Someone to Watch Over Me”: 20
Someone tell me again how this girl keeps ending up in the bottom? Three words: I got chills! That was awesome.

And though I agree with Simon that Allison will probably be in trouble, because she always is—for whatever reason—I completely disagree with him saying her performance was mechanical. Yes, I believe he just threw her under the bus as well. Now I’m really looking forward to what he has to say about Danny. Notice that he and Adam are going last tonight…

Did Simon Just Throw Kris Under the Bus?

Kris Allen, “The Way You Look Tonight”: 18
I took off a point because I didn’t like the transition in tempo and I took off a point because I didn’t like the way he roamed around the stage looking like he was lost. But other than those two things I thought it was a great performance. And Jamie Foxx says he wants to work with him? That may be the only time I ever download a Jamie Foxx single. Maybe he’s got better taste than I’ve ever given him credit for.

It will be interesting to see what Simon has to say about Danny, because I think he may have just thrown Kris under the bus to try and save his preordained Adam-Danny final. Why else would he say that a CLEARLY popular contestant doesn’t seem like someone who can win? Unless he’s trying to rile up the Kris fans to vote for him. Hmmm…

The Idols Are Joined by a Foxx

Before we get started tonight, let me point you guys to my column in today’s “Herald-Dispatch” where I rate the top five and tell what order I think they will be eliminated in.

You can see it here.

Now to tonight’s show. Jamie Foxx is the mentor. I think linking him with the “Rat Pack” is a bit of a stretch, but I’ll go with it…

Jamie says he didn’t think he was going to love everyone. So who was it he didn’t think he was going to love? Hmmm…

We’ll get this thing started with Kris (uh-oh) after the break…

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Meet Your Tri-State Idol

The Paramount Arts Center announced today the winner of the "Tri-State Idol" competition.

And the winner is...

Isaac Adams of South Point.

Allow me to compliment the Tri-State on its good taste. Isaac was my favorite too.

You can see Isaac perform at intermission of "Ain't Misbehavin'" Tuesday, April 28th at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available.

You can see his audition here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Anoop Desai:"I'm gonna go get 'em now"

Hearing the comments of Anoop and Lil on Thursday was like night and day. Lil was still insisting that she was right. But Anoop was gracious and well-spoken, just appreciating the experience…

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

On whether he knew he was going home: “I think we always think about that sort of stuff. It’s amazing how many people in that group were sure they were going home [Wednesday]. It was a toss-up.”

On what he learned from the experience:“I really learned how to bounce back from things.”

On the double elimination: “It is nice to have Lil there so we’re not wallowing.”

On going the pop/R&B route with an album: “I want to put my own soul into pop songs.”

On the other contestants: “It was very humbling to see how good everyone is. It’s more about how to play to your strengths. We’re all finding our places in this competition…I was expecting not to get along with everyone. But the great thing about this group is that we really are great friends. It’s amazing how we all got along. The Mansion was a great place to be in.”

On his future: “I’m definitely going to pursue a music career. Singing is what I’m happiest doing. It’s what I do the best.”

On his last performance during he results show: “Actually that was the easiest performance I’ve ever done. There’s something about the burden of four people who are your harshest critics. With that burden relieved, I was free to sing the song with personality.”

On his fans: “I appreciate the fans more than anything. My fans especially—they’re strategic, they’re loving, they’re kind. They not only care about my music, they care about me.”

On the difference between singing solo and singing in a group (like his UNC group, the Clefhangers): “The week I was the most comfortable was when the band was on stage. It was definitely an adjustment.”

On his beloved North Carolina: “If people know me by anything, I want them to know I’m a proud Tarheel.” Anoop said he did watch his beloved Tarheels in the NCAA Championship Game at the mansion, although he did miss the first part.

On song choice: “I was looking forward to some of the songs for next week…The songs you want to sing are not necessarily the songs an audience wants you to sing.”

On what he learned from the other contestants: “Each one of those people represents themselves on stage. They’re all so very different. By being around them, I was more able to be myself.”

On the Judges’ Save: “You gotta roll with the punches. This was a format change. I don’t think that ultimately it changed anything. The only real order that matters is who’s at the top. I was glad that [my elimination] was relatively quick.”

Before he got off the call, Anoop once again thanked Rickey Minor and the band, the vocal coaches and the production staff. Then he left us with, “I’m gonna go get ‘em now”…

Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Lil Rounds: "I did make it my own"

Lil certainly had no problem speaking her mind when she was a contestant. But now that she’s off the show, it almost seems like someone is trying to keep her quiet.

First, Ryan didn’t even let her say goodbye on Wednesday’s show and then during the media conference call, she didn’t even get the chance to give us closing comments. Plus, I’m pretty sure she got less time than Anoop did.

However, she did have a chance to continue to try to convince us that she did make her songs her own. Personally, I would’ve preferred if she had just made them sound good.

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

On the judges’ comments: “I just feel like the judges gave their critique on the performance and how they feel it went…They were giving me constructive criticism...There were times I felt like they were going back and forth a bit…[Their advice] is going to help me make [my career] a great success.”

On making the songs her own: “I first of all thought that I did vocally. I always stayed true to how the song went, but I always made sure I got that [R&B] vibe in there…I feel like I did that. I felt like I knew who I was as an artist and that I did make it my own.”

On what she learned from the “Idol” experience: “Even in the midst of adversity you’ve gotta keep your head up. I feel like I came back each week and would sing my little heart out…It’s been a blessing.”

On why she talked back to the judges two weeks ago: “I just felt like the judges, it seemed like it started going back and forth. I was kind of like, I don’t know which way to go. I had to make it clear. I just wanted America to know I really, really am an artist…I felt that America got what I was trying to say. The judges are great, but I was on the show for America.”

On whether she suspected she was going home: “I had a great feeling that it might’ve been time. I started coping with the idea [of going home] before the show.”

On her performance of “I’m Every Woman Tuesday night: “I always wanted to sing it. I thought it was a really, really good song…I thought it was one of those performances where everybody was into it. I really enjoyed Tuesday.”

On how she made her song choices: “It depended on how I felt emotionally and what I was trying to get America to see me as.” Well that explains it a lot, doesn’t it?

And I’m sorry, Lil, but your argument that the judges were flip-flopping on you just doesn’t fly with me. They were pretty consistent with what they wanted from you from the beginning. You were the one who was flip-flopping…

Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Meet Your Top 12, Tri-State...UPDATED

The 12 finalists for “Tri-State Idol” have been announced and are now waiting for your votes…

Here they are in the reverse order that they appeared on the Paramount stage, along with my comments at the time:

Lisa Castle, 36, who did “Because of You”
She does a nice job of milking all the drama out of it.

Ashley Chapman, 24, who did “More Like Her”
Her fan club likes it. Again, another one I don’t know, but again another great choice. And she’s dressed perfectly for the occasion.

Rachel Coleman, 23, who did “Gimme One Reason.”
She turns it into a slow ballad. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it like that before. It was pretty and I don’t think I’ve ever used that word to describe that song before.

Bobby Blanton, 29, who did “Barbed Wire and Roses”
He gets the audience into it immediately. I think he’s the first one to really do that tonight. And they really liked it. He’s going to get major points for entertainment. The ladies really liked him too.

Seth Sammons, 30, who did “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do”
He’s doing the ballad version. And I love how he’s combining the preppy sweater vest with the ripped jeans. It’s so Blake Lewis. Pretty falsetto too.

Isaac Adams, 32, who did “Bless My Soul.”
And he just took us to church with that one. That was VERY pretty. And that was the first wow from Cindy.

Cory Helmick, 22, who did “Who I’d Be”
Get this guy a part in some musical. He’s got the look, the sound, the works. Randy says he’s wondering where the other two Irish tenors were.

By the way, I found out after the show that Cory is a veteran of the stage and will be participating in some productions this summer…

Raeanna Grizzle who did “I Will Always Love You”
I was wondering where the Whitney was tonight. For the record, she hit every one of the notes and was rewarded for it by the crowd. Randy says a “healthy Whitney Houston would have been proud.”

Rayanne Lynn Bond who sang “Stay”
That is not an easy song to do, but she does it beautifully and gets a big ovation.

Morgan Ra’Shel McGlone who did “So Small”
Her cheering section is in the front row just behind me. She has got a power country voice. And she gets the biggest ovation so far. Randy says, “Wow.”

Maddison Taylor, 12, who did “Beat It”
Okay, I’m trying to stay impartial here. But that was pretty cool. She actually turned into a song with actual singing. But her woos were right on too.

I’m just glad she made the final cut just so you can hear this. I didn’t really do a very good job of explaining it…

Gracie Thompson, 8, who did “Coal Miner’s Daughter”
You can tell she’s a pro because she takes the microphone out of the stand and pounds on it to make sure it’s on. If I was judging, I would give her a solid score in song choice, because this is a good one for her voice.

And there they are, Tri-State. Your Top 12. As I said earlier, I think the judges did a good job of choosing among some extremely talented competitors. One of my favorites didn’t make the cut (If you go back and read my blog, you’ll know who.), but since most of them did, I’m happy. I’m just glad I wasn’t one of the judges, because it would have been hard to narrow this one down.

Now, it’s up to you. You can view the videos of the Top 12 here. Then vote for your favorite by sending an e-mail to paramountvotes@gmail.com. You can vote until midnight Saturday, but only one vote per e-mail address. Those votes will be combined with the judges’ scores to determine the winner, who will be notified on Sunday. I’ll be posting the winner’s name just as soon as I get Sunday night.

Good luck and congratulations to the Top 12…

UPDATE: So to keep the age categories evenly numbered, the Paramount has decided to add three more finalists to the “Tri-State Idol” competition, making it a Top 15, instead of a Top 12.

The three new additions are all under the age of 12 and adorable. Here they are, with my original comments from last night…

Selina Foe, 4, who did “Bleeding Love.”
It’s adorable. I hope her parents will forgive me for saying she’s going to be a heartbreaker—and Dinah just agreed with me. Randy tells her that she has a great future. Cindy tells her she’s brave as she just looks at the audience. She really does have a great future.

Sophia Foe, 7, who did “Even If I Say.”
Wow, that’s a mature song for a seven-year-old and she looks cute in her “This is now” t-shirt. Randy tells her to move around a little more.

Emily Grace Murphy, 11, who did “The Way I Loved You.” She is also cutely blinged out. Did I sing mature love songs when I was that age? Dinah says she could tell she was really feeling the song.

Remember that the winner will sing at intermission of “Ain’t Misbehavin’” Tuesday night…

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Final "Tri-State Idol" Round-Up

So after over 30 minutes of deliberation, the judges chose the 12 finalists of "Tri-State Idol."

The 12 will be announced on YouTube tomorrow morning.

I know who they are, and I would say overall the judges made some excellent choices. I know it couldn't have been easy...

I'll have the names of the finalists for you tomorrow.

And since this has been such a long night (I also judged a Greek Sing tonight.), I hope you'll forgive me if I don't post the pictures or the promised Lil and Anoop interviews. I'll get all of that to you tomorrow...

Celebrating the Music of the Tri-State--UPDATED

As you no doubt noticed if you read my “Tri-State Idol” posts, I didn’t say a single negative thing about anybody. And I think you guys know it’s not like me to pull my punches when it comes to singing critiques…

But tonight wasn’t about criticizing someone’s pitch or song choice or outfit. Tonight was about celebrating the music of the Tri-State. That’s why the judges pulled all of their punches too…

Yes, there were some shaky performances, but that wasn’t the point tonight. These people—some as young as four-years-old—were brave enough to take this daunting stage and show us what they had. And what they had was a lot of special.

I should have known being in Ashland, Kentucky, that we would hear a lot of country tonight, but somehow I was still surprised at how much. I was expecting a lot of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, but then it dawned on me that young people today don’t really know their songs. We did get some Whitney tonight, but not until we got to the 30+ age group.

I was also surprised tonight by the performances of the young contestants. I would have expected a lot more Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus or Disney songs. But instead we got a lot more popular songs with lyrics probably a little more mature than the contestants singing them. However, that’s the music young people have today. When I was growing up, music was more subtle. Artists like Prince sang about mature themes, they just used innuendo instead of coming right out and saying it.

Now before I make myself sound any older than I already am, let me give kudos to all of the contestants who took the stage tonight. They should all be very proud of themselves. Also kudos to the judges for handling a very difficult job.

And kudos to Jenny Pemberton and her crew at the Paramount Arts Center for putting on a good show. For a first-time event, I think things went well and I’m sure they’re already looking ahead for ways they can improve it if they do it again next year.

If I had to make a suggestion, I would tell the audience to bring signs for their contestant. I was hoping for at least one…

I would also like to thank Jenny for inviting me to be a part of the action. I enjoyed being there and I hope all of you enjoyed reading what I had to say…

More coming up later…

The Final Performances

David Cordial, 34, is doing “In the Ghetto.” That’s a popular choice with the audience.

April Murphy, 34, is doing “Something More,” but there’s a small break in the action as the screw came out of the microphone stand. April doesn’t let it bother her,though.

Lisa Castle. 36, is doing “Because of You.” She does a nice job of milking all the drama out of it.

Melissa Shell, 38, is doing “Famous In a Small Town.” Okay, I think now that Brian has hit a certain age, he could skip saying it. I think that would only be fair. Again another one I don’t know, but she seems to nail the rhythm of it.

I should have studied up on my country music before tonight…

DeWayne Thompson, 39, is doing “Long Black Train.” And yes, he did hit all of those low notes. He even talks with that low voice.

C.C. Dixon is doing “I Told You So.” I’m betting this one will also be popular during “Idol” auditions next season. But it’s a tough one and she hits that big note on “told.”

Todd LaFon, 33, is doing “She’s Got It All,” complete with cowboy hat. Where was everyone else’s hats tonight with all those country songs.

Our last performer, Lee Mercati, is doing “Greatest Love of All.” I’m surprised we didn’t hear more Whitney tonight. I guess it’s an age thing…

Jenny Pemberton, the Paramount Marketing Director takes the stage to say goodbye and to thank everyone and tell them to log on to the website to vote tomorrow morning...

Final thoughts in a moment...

Some More Good Ones Take the Paramount Stage

Gillian Spencer, 23, is doing “When God-Fearing Women Get the Blues.” It’s a popular choice with the audience.

Ashley Chapman, 24, is doing “More Like Her” and her fan club likes it. Again, another one I don’t know, but again another great choice. And she’s dressed perfectly for the occasion.

Rachel Coleman, 23, is doing “Gimme One Reason.” She turns it into a slow ballad. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it like that before. It was pretty and I don’t think I’ve ever used that word to describe that song before.

Bobby Blanton, 29, is doing “Barbed Wire and Roses.” He gets the audience into it immediately. I think he’s the first one to really do that tonight. And they really liked it. He’s going to get major points for entertainment. The ladies really liked him too.

Seth Sammons, 30, is doing “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.” He’s doing the ballad version. And I love how he’s combining the preppy sweater vest with the ripped jeans. It’s so Blake Lewis. Pretty falsetto too.

Tracy Brown, 31, is also doing “Stay.” She goes right to the chorus and skips the verses. I’m jealous of her growl. I so wish I could do that.

Lori Robinson, 31, is singing “At Last.” The audience likes this one as she puts every bit of emotion into it that she can. That was a great way of condensing that to a minute.

Isaac Adams, 32, is doing “Bless My Soul.” And he just took us to church with that one. That was VERY pretty. And that was the first wow from Cindy.

Samantha Markhel is doing “I’ll Be.” She doesn’t step up really close to the microphone so everyone is being really quiet. I hope she can’t hear me typing from the stage.

Alicia Barker, 33, is doing “The Real Me.” Woo-hoo! Bring on the Clay Aiken…

Okay, I’m sure someone else has done that song, but I’ll always go for the Clay reference first…

Some More Great Performances

We’re back…

Allison Conley, 18, doing “Let Her Rip.” The audience claps along with her.

Cory Helmick, 22, is doing “Who I’d Be.” Get this guy a part in some musical. He’s got the look, the sound, the works. Randy says he’s wondering where the other two Irish tenors were.

Benjamin Hankins, 23, is singing “I Believe I Can Fly” and he’s brought his fan club president with him. And the crowd was pleased with his song choice.

Still no signs, though…

Just a reminder that I’m hoping to have some pictures for you later tonight, along with the goodbye remarks of Anoop and Lil…

Kimberly Lynd, 26, is doing “Home Sweet Home.” Wonder if she knows this was originally a Motley Crue song?...

Raeanna Grizzle is doing “I Will Always Love You.” I was wondering where the Whitney was tonight. For the record, she hit every one of the notes and was rewarded for it by the crowd. Randy says a “healthy Whitney Houston would have been proud.”

Cole Strickland doing “Anymore.” I don’t know this one at all. He gets a little shook up in the middle. It’s totally understandable considering the restlessness that is starting to build up amongst the audience in the theater. Randy just brought out the word “quality” for the first time tonight.

Ashley Jones, 18, is singing “Blessed.” That was a really nice key change in the middle there and the audience agrees. Randy says, “Wow.”

David Ridley, 19, is doing “I’ll Be” and his fan club is here. I think I’m going to ask if I can join them. He couldn’t have picked a better song. And the audience really liked it.

Penny Garvin, 23, is singing “A Baby Changes Everything.” She has a crazy high range.

Katherine Meyers, 19, is doing “Stay,” another popular choice tonight. I predict this song will be huge during the “Idol” auditions next season. Again, it’s a perfect choice as she does it beautifully.

Some Logistics During the Break

We have about 15 more contestants to go. Tomorrow morning, you can go to the Paramount Arts Center website and see who the Top 12 finalists are. Voting on YouTube is open until midnight tomorrow.

And the judge’s name is Dinah, not Donna. My apologies. Doing this without graphics on the screen is hard…

The winner will be declared on Sunday after the YouTube and judges’ votes are tabulated. And I’ll have that name to you just as soon as I can on Sunday…

After the Break...

Greg Hern, 15, doing “Simple Man.” Finally a guy! I think these young people could give the “Idol” contestants a real lesson in song choice.

Chelsea Stepp doing “The Climb.” I love her top.

Okay, you guys know I’m not a country fan, but I’m ready to start me a country band with some of these girls…

Alyson Snyder doing “I Run to You.”

Can I just say for the record that I’m glad I’m not judging because this is going to be a tough choice…

Allison Conley is doing “Lift Your Voice,” my favorite “Hannah Montana” song. It was a great choice for her.

Rrandy Rydell doing “This Land Is Your Land.”

Let me apologize again if I get any names wrong because the list I was following is now incorrect, so I have no idea who’s singing now.

Amber Riffe, 12, doing “Rockin’ Robin.” The crowd gets into that one. Thank goodness she didn’t “caw” and flap her wings.

Allison Rowe, 15, “Broken Wing.” I now see that the judges also have the same incorrect list that I have. Glad to know I’m not the only person struggling here. Of course, it’s probably more important that they get the names right more than me.

Devon Hale, 17, ”It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday”
Hearing that beautiful voice come out of a guy in a “Tomcat Hit Squad” t-shirt reminds me a little of “High School Musical.” And you guys know I’m a sucker for that.

Lindsey Cyrus, 16, singing “I’m Going Down.”

Again let me say it’s a good thing I’m not judging, because I would be giving perfect scores in song choice to everyone. These kids know what’s best for them to sing.

Madison Jackson, 13, singing “The Way I Loved You.” Okay, I am jealous of everything about her. She looks fantastic and she has a pretty Dido-like voice. She’s got a fan club too.

Now, we're taking a break...

Has a Crowd Favorite Emerged?

Holly Thompson, 14, is doing “Anyway.” I’m a little jealous of her pretty black dress and that star pendant she’s wearing. And I’m jealous of her voice too.

Bridget Coffee, 14, doing “He Saw It All.” Interestingly, as she sings the phrase, “I heard a commotion,” a commotion can be heard outside, but she ignores it nicely. She’s wearing a pretty star pendant too. I’ve gots to get me one of those…

Katie Bruce, 14, singing “Perfect.” No, I don’t think I sang about negligees when I was 14…at least not in front of my mom. But the song choice was a good one for her, but Cindy said she would’ve preferred a different song.

Emily Kenner, 14, is doing a combination of “Lady Marmalade” and “Old Time Rock and Roll.” I just got chills. That was amazing…Donna says she loves the way she shows off. Randy says, “Wow.” Cindy says to be careful not to push too hard.

Rayanne Lynn Bond is singing “Stay.” That is not an easy song to do, but she does it beautifully and gets a big ovation.

There are some serious country singers out there, boys and girls…

Lots More Country Songs...

Raven Elise is doing “A Moment Like This.” Sorry, I missed I her age. I would give her big points for song choice too. I think it was a highly appropriate choice.

Nine-year-old Ricky Riffe with “Cheetah Love.” I presume that’s a “Cheetah Girls”song, right?

12-year-old Kerrie Straud doing “I Told You So.” I apologize again for any name misspellings. I love her country bling jacket. Wow, that’s a tough one, but she does a good job. She gets a big ovation from the audience.

Shanna Unrue, 12, does “Angel.” I guess this is a country song, because I don’t recognize it. She has a cheering section too.

Morgan Ra’Shel McGlone doing “So Small.” Her cheering section is in the front row just behind me. She has got a power country voice. And she gets the biggest ovation so far. Randy says, “Wow.”

Maddison Taylor, 12, is doing “Beat It” Okay, I’m trying to stay impartial here. But that was pretty cool. She actually turned into a song with actual singing. But her woos were right on too.

Halee Erwin, 12, doing “All-American Girl.” And she looks the part. And sounds it too. That one is a tough one, but she does it well and gets a big ovation from the crowd. Donna only says “oooh.”

Hannah Vance, 13, is doing “Our Song.” She’s got all kinds of confidence. And she too has a big cheering section.

The Next Set...

Shelby Tyler, 9, is doing “Part of Your World.” She does the singing and the talking parts. Donna applauds her for picking a kids’ song.

Kenna Haynes, 9, does “No Place That Far.”

The audience is still spilling in, but I have yet to see one sign. But I’m smelling a lot of popcorn and that’s making me hungry…

I have to say that Kenna reminds me a little of me. I consider that a compliment, but you’d have to ask someone who knew me at 9 to see if they agree…

Alexa Jay Preston, 9, does “Amazing Grace.” She’s wearing a very pretty dress I’m a little jealous of…She sang the first verse very slowly and reverential and then she picked up the tempo, closing with the slow phrase, I liked that . Paula would say she made it her own…

Samantha Spence, 11, doing “Picture to Burn.” That’s a popular song tonight.

The First Contestants

Actress Donna Houston, WSAZ’s Randy Yohe, and music teacher Cindy Sullivan are our judges. They’re using the criteria of song selection, style, technique, execution, and entertainment…

Our first contestant is four year-old Selina Foe (forgive my spelling if it’s wrong, parents). She’s doing “Bleeding Love.” It’s adorable. I hope her parents will forgive me for saying she’s going to be a heartbreaker—and Donna just agreed with me. Randy tells her that she has a great future. Cindy tells her she’s brave as she just looks at the audience. She really does have a great future.

Bailey Rickert is age five and she’s doing “Picture to Burn.” And she freezes—completely understandable. Randy tries to prompt her, but no luck. Brian asks if someone knows the first word, but since it’s a country song, so I don’t know it.

Sophia Foe, 7, does “Even If I Say.” Wow, that’s a mature song for a seven-year-old and she looks cute in her “This is now” t-shirt. Randy tells her to move around a little more.

Emily Grace Murphy, 11, does “The Way I Loved You.” She is also cutely blinged out. Did I sing mature love songs when I was that age? Donna says she could tell she was really feeling the song.

Gracie Thompson, 8, does “Coal Miner’s Daughter. You can tell she’s a pro because she takes the microphone out of the stand and pounds on it to make sure it’s on. If I was judging, I would give her a solid score in song choice, because this is a good one for her voice.

About to Get Crackin'

Just to recap in case you’ve forgotten, contestants of all ages are singing a one minute a cappella song in front of three judges. The judges will choose 12 finalists and those finalists will have videos of their performances posted on YouTube so the public can vote.

Having performed on this stage when I was younger, I can tell you that it can be a little daunting. It’s not the Kodak, but it’s probably one of the closest things we have here in the Tri-State, so nerves would be entirely understandable.

As of Tuesday, there were 25 contestants. Now I am told there are around 50.

The judges are hanging out backstage, waiting to be introduced by our emcee Brian Scott of WKEE.

We’re about to get crackin’, so stay with me…

My laptop ventures to the Paramount...

Welcome to my pretty pink laptop's maiden voyage outside of my apartment. So far, so good...

If you have forgotten, I am at the "Tri-State Idol" competition at the Paramount Arts Center.

The crowd of family, friends and loved ones is starting to build and having been backstage, I can tell you that there are already a lot of nerves.

I'm nervous and I'm just sitting here typing. Maybe that's because I'm sitting right in front of the stage, and everyone in their seats can see what I'm doing...

I'm not entirely sure how this is going to work, so just bear with me. Also, I don't know what the break situation is going to be and they did sit a bottle of water in front of me...

Back in a few...

Breaking News: Next Week's Theme

FOX announced this morning that next week's theme will be "Rat Pack standards."

Wow, I bet Anoop is kicking himself that he didn't last one more week...

For those of you who may be too young, the Rat Pack included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr., but I'm guessing that any music from that era will be acceptable.

In the past, Simon has been very critical of anyone singing this type of song, often using the word "old-fashioned." I'm hoping that the Top 5 will find a way to keep Simon--and us--entertained.

Possibly the nicest surprise in this morning's press release, though, is that Taylor Hicks will return to the stage next week to perform his new single, "Seven Mile Breakdown." My guess is that his performance will be pre-taped so Simon doesn't have to sit through it...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Did America Get It Right?

So did America get it right? Yes, they absolutely did. There is no question that Lil needed to go home. And although some might argue that Matt gave a worse performance than Anoop, Matt at least showed some originality.

But Allison in the bottom three instead of Matt? That part America got wrong. I realize that America is feeling a swell of emotion for Matt after he was saved by the judges, but there is no way his performance was better than Allison’s. I said earlier that I thought the judges should have saved their save in case they had to use it on Allison. This is one time I am thrilled to be wrong…

And now there are only five contestants remaining as we head into the home stretch. The finale being less than a month away has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

So what do you guys think? Did America get it right?

And don’t forget that if all goes well, I will be blogging live from the Paramount tomorrow at Tri-State Idol, so I’ll see you then…

And the Second Person Going Home Is...

9:54 We’re back…Lights down as Anoop puts his arm around Allison…Going home is…Anoop…Thank goodness!...Allison hugs Anoop and walks back to the couch…Anoop sings “Dim All the Lights”…He flashes a big smile and goes toward the audience…He shows some moves and Paula says, “You go, Anoop.” This, ladies and gentlemen, is how to go out on this show. With class and a good performance…Anoop says he’s really disappointed but he has to look at the bright side that he’s going back to Chapel Hill. He says thank you…Ryan brings Lil back out on stage…Combined goodbye video of Lil and Anoop rolls as the Idols surround them…Notice that all of the judges’ compliments of Lil in the video came from the audition rounds…

9:58 Ryan asks Lil what she wants to say to her children. She says she’s coming home and she says she’ll miss her fellow Idols…Anoop says he’ll miss them too and he thanks Rickey and the vocal coaches for their help…

9:59 And we’re out…on time…

Final thoughts in a moment…

Archie Sings My Song

9:45 We’re back…Ryan introduces David Archuleta. And he’s doing my song, “Touch My Hand,” which I’m guessing is his new single. I LOVE THIS SONG!!!...The FOX press release said he was going to do “A Little Too Not Over You,” which is why I said that earlier…WOW! They just chopped out the entire second verse! They let Freda Payne squirm all over the stage, but they won’t let Archie sing his entire song?! Now granted, he’s not doing a very good job of it, but still…Like how he shook up the end and he jumps up and down just like I do when I hear the song…Ryan walks over and hugs him and asks him about going to the UK to perform…Asks him about Demi Lovato tour…Ryan leads him over to Anoop and Allison on the stools and Archie tells them they both have awesome voices and he tells them there are so many opportunities after “Idol”…I think he actually learned to talk while he’s been away. Good for him…Break…

And the Rest of the Bottom Three Is...

9:33 “Glee” is going to rock, isn’t it?...

9:34 We’re back…Ryan is at his podium in front of the Idols…Lights down…Looking for the rest of the bottom three…Kris stands…Kris said he understood what Paula was saying about the women’s department last night…He’s safe…Lots of high-pitched screams…Adam stands…More high-pitched screams. He doesn’t seem to know what to do as they get louder…Adam says he was a little worried about the arrangement, but it was the lyrics that made it work…He’s safe…Danny stands…He’s wearing plaid. Is that an homage to what Kara said last night?…Ryan asks if Simon was too hard on him. Danny says he thinks he’s figured out how to fix being clumsy…After an awkward exchange with Ryan, Simon dismisses Ryan back to the contestants…Danny is safe and he actually looks relieved for a change instead of looking cocky…Anoop stands…Ryan says Anoop told him to get right to it tonight, so he does and sends Anoop to the bottom three. Anoop swivels in his urinal chair and smiles…Matt and Allison stand…Ryan asks her why she changed her song. She said she wanted to make it “me” so it didn’t sound karaoke…Ryan asks Matt if he thinks he made the most of his second chance. He says he was pleased with his arrangement and performance…Allison looks sick…Matt is safe…Allison is in the bottom…Uh-oh…I was just about to say I was worried about her…Allison walks over to Anoop and sings “Here it goes, here it goes, here it goes again” and Anoop smiles…Break…

The Disco Medley Takes the Stage, And...

9:23 We’re back…Did Ryan actually just say, “Wha’s up?”…Ryan introduces Freda Payne, who does “Band of Gold”…Did she forget the words to her own song?…This is frightening…If she was a contestant, Simon would totally trash her…Even Paula is laughing…Okay she is too old to be doing those bend things in front of the audience. Apparently, she thinks she’s a Pussycat Doll…She introduces Thelma Houston to sing “Don’t Leave Me This Way”…She sings directly to Simon, but the camera does not cut to him…Now it does and he smiles…It wisely didn’t cut to him during that other performance…This is much better, but why do these women think they’re young girls?...She sings to Simon again. Is she trying to get him to sign her to a record deal or does she just want to go out with him?...The crowd cheers much more for her…She introduces KC…He comes onstage with some dancing backup singers and other dancers to do “Get Down Tonight”…Okay, I have to say that is not what I was expecting…The director keeps cutting away from that one dancer that’s shaking her groove thing a little too much…Simon seemed to have liked it, but that was probably because of the dancing girls…Break…

And the First Person Going Home Is...

9:12 We’re back…The guys are on the couch, but the girls are still changing so Ryan stalls…Ford music video…”I’m Good, I’m Gone”…They’re working in bakery…In a construction zone…a dog spa…The word you’re searching for is anyway…

9:14 Ryan says that Matt took the longest to do the quick change…Lights down…Lil stands…No idea how he’s going to do this…Ryan sends her to the far side of the stage…He follows her and talks to her…Ryan sends her home…WOO-HOO!...That was quick, but who cares? WOO-HOO!…Simon kind of smiles at the camera as if to say I told you so…She does “I’m Every Woman”…You know she’s working on some words for Simon in her head…I said they’d eliminate someone in each half-hour but I never dreamed they’d do it this quick. But I like it…She actually hit a few more notes that time…

9:18 Paula tells her that was awesome and it was brilliant and wonders why she didn’t sing it like that last night…Randy says it’s just the beginning for her…Simon says he is still a massive fan but she made some bad decisions and that he’ll miss her family screaming at them every week…Kara says she thinks Lil learned something from the competition…Break as Idols come to say goodbye…

So, let me get this straight. Ryan eliminated her quickly AND didn’t let her talk afterward? That was AWESOME! I’m sure she’ll have a lot to say on the conference call tomorrow. Thank goodness it’s only 15 minutes long…

Paula Shows the Idols How to Dance

9:00 Dramatic taped intro…Matt said he feels like he blew it with his performance…Lil continued her attitude backstage…I like the taped things, but I hate those quick zooms to Ryan, which are not on tape, by the way. He really does sprint from the stage to the top of the steps…Let’s see Tom Bergeron do that…

9:01 Ryan mentions that it’s Earth Day. FOX is all about that this year…Over 45 million votes. YIKES!...Introduces judges…

9:03 Video of the Idols getting ready to learn the dance moves for the group number…Paula is choreographing it…YIKES! It looks a little complex. I’m guessing there will be some lip synching going on…Paula looks frustrated…Matt downloads himself as a ringtone during a break. Nice AT&T plug…

9:05 Paula introduces the group number…Wow, Paula’s dress is short…This is clearly on tape…And yes, they’re lip synching…Especially since they don’t have microphones…The song is “Let’s Dance, Let’s Shout”…The moves were cute and for the most part they almost got them, but Lil appeared to be the most off…Paula goes to the stage and gets flowers from the group…Paula says she’s proud of them…Break…

Okay, I’m confused because I thought this was on tape, but if it was, then the judges were there for the taping. I’ll have to get back to you on that one after I read the on-the-scene reports tomorrow…

"From Idol to Inspiration" Review: Looking at the "most Christian-friendly show in primetime"

There’s no doubt that “Idol” has made an impact on pop music and country music. But there’s one other genre where “Idol” is truly starting to have an impact—Christian music.

Tomorrow night, Gospel Music Channel will air “From Idol to Inspiration,” an hourlong special that examines the impact “Idol” has had on Christian music and the impact Christians have had on “Idol.”

It’s an interesting special that explores an interesting topic as Idols and “Idol” journalists talk about the show that Brian Mansfield of “USA Today” calls the “most Christian-friendly show in primetime.”

The hour focuses mostly on four Idols making their mark in Christian music—Phil Stacey, who I believe is about to burst onto the Christian music scene big time now that he’s working with Michael W. Smith’s people; Dove nominee Mandisa; Dove nominee Chris Sligh; and Melinda Doolittle, who has toured with Michael W. Smith.

Although I have nothing but love for Phil and Mandisa—who are well represented here—the real star of the hour is Chris Sligh, who has some very interesting thoughts on how “Idol” allowed him to share his faith. You may recall that Chris took some flack for not performing Christian songs on the show, but his explanation of why he didn’t is a good one that may make you think a little bit.

The final segment of the program focuses on Sophia Gokey, Danny Gokey’s wife. We hear from Danny’s brother-in-law and sister-in-law about Sophia and the foundation Danny started in her honor. Although hearing the story is interesting, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this segment bothered me a little. I understand that Danny’s story fits in well with what the special is trying to say but it seems a little unfair to so prominently spotlight someone still in the competition—especially when Kris Allen is a worship leader as well and he gets zero camera time in the special.

But as a whole, the hour is an interesting one that makes real connections between two things that seem completely opposite—religion and the most popular show on television. I encourage you to take an hour to explore that connection for yourself…

“From Idol to Inspiration” premieres Thursday, April 23rd at 7 p.m. on Gospel Music Channel. The special is followed by The Dove Awards live at 8 p.m. Nominee Chris Sligh will perform and nominee Mandisa and Phil Stacey will present…

The Day After...

So the day after an “Idol” performance show, I always do some checking of other blogs/sites to see what things I missed.

And leave it to Michael Slezak of EW.com to produce this interesting tidbit:

“Side note: Did anyone notice that Randy tried to stop Kara from going first in critiquing Kris? From what I could tell, the newest and shrillest judge didn't get the memo that the producers were returning to a left-to-right judging format tonight, and after she ignored Randy's signals and kept on yapping, Simon appeared to scratch his face using his middle finger, while making a knowing glance in Randy's direction. (Thanks to PopWatch reader JulieM for catching that sneaky latter maneuver!) The plot, as they say, thickens! But from Danny's performance onward, Randy went first for the rest of the night.”

I rewound the tape. All of that did happen, although I’m not sure that the middle finger thing was intentionally aimed at Kara. But I have to say it would be funny if it was…

And by the way, let me applaud the show for returning to the familiar Randy first, Simon last formula. That’s the only way to do it…

I have to admit I also missed another of Kara’s patented brain freezes (I guess I just expect them by now.) when she said Adam looked like “the guy from ‘Saturday Night Live’ meets Clark Kent.’” I believe she meant “Saturday Night Fever”…

It was hard not to notice the frustration on Anoop’s face when he finished his song. I thought it was just because he botched that last note. But according to Slezak, he also botched the lyrics more than once. Since I’m not familiar with the song, I’ll just have to take his word for it…

Tonight we’ll be treated to a performance by David Archuleta of his latest single, “A Little Too Not Over You,” as well as three Disco icons—Harry Wayne “KC” Casey (of KC and the Sunshine Band), Thelma Houston and Freda Payne—performing a medley of their hits “Get Down Tonight,” “Don’t Leave Me this Way” and “Band of Gold.”

And two people will go home…

It all gets started at 9 p.m…

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

So Who's Going Home?

I never thought I’d say this after a disco week performance show, but that was a good show! There were some really good performances as some people took some actual risks, while others…

So since it’s a double elimination, I have no idea how they’re going to do this. My guess is that they’ll eliminate one person in each half hour.

So who’s going home?

One of them has to be Lil, doesn’t it? Watching the recap, her performance didn’t even come close to the others.

The second one is a little closer to call, as I think it will come down to Anoop and Matt. I’m going with Anoop since Simon’s trashing of him is the last thing anyone heard and Matt’s got a little bit of emotional momentum going for him.

Which leads me to a question. What if something crazy happened and one of the chosen ones found themselves as one of the two lowest vote-getters. Wouldn’t the judges feel stupid then…

Personally, I would rather Anoop go, just so the save doesn’t end up seeming like such a waste.

What do you guys think? Will Lil’s off-key singing and lousy attitude finally be the end of her? Or will VotefortheWorst.com successfully keep her around?

Anoop Dims "the Lights"

Anoop Desai, “Dim All the Lights”: 17
That deserved the pimp spot? I never thought I would say this, but where was the band? That song was screaming for more music. And it’s called a tempo, Anoop. Look into it.

And only one minute over. WOW! They did it!

Final thoughts in a moment…

Is Matt "Stayin' Alive"?

Matt Giraud, “Stayin’Alive”: 18
I liked the performance, but he missed that falsetto more than once. But in his defense, he probably couldn’t hear himself think with those background singers. Can we vote them off?

Adam Surprises and Wows Once Again

Adam Lambert, “If I Can’t Have You”: 20
Will this guy ever make a wrong step? We all thought he’d do something crazy, and he gave us this. It took me halfway through the song to even recognize what it was. It was awesome.

But was it just me or did Adam look a little insulted by Simon saying he was sure he’d do Donna Summer?

And Matt is doing “Stayin’ Alive”? That’s too much…

And Anoop is getting the pimp spot? Interesting…

Danny and Allison Turn Up the Heat

Danny Gokey, “September”: 18
So not only did we get an uptempo song from him, but we also got his big notes in the verses, so it was a nice change. But I wouldn’t have chosen a song that so prominently featured those background singers. YIKES! Maybe Lil could join them next season.

Allison Iraheta, “Hot Stuff”: 19
I liked that arrangement, but I would’ve dropped the background singers from the chorus, because that repeat didn’t quite work with the slower tempo.

So is Adam doing something from The Bee Gees or “O What A Night” from The Four Seasons?

Kris "Works Hard" For the Crown

Kris Allen, “She Works Hard For the Money”: 20
Not so fast, Adam fans. This guy came to play. Although I would argue that song is not disco since it’s from the 80s, but that was awesome! His guitar playing absolutely rocked!

But did we have to hear Simon talk about him buying women’s underwear? Couldn’t he just show him some love without mocking Paula?

And is it scary that I actually knew what Paula meant?

I have to say, by the way, that the performances are a little awkward without the introductory videos…

Lil Just Can't Keep Her Mouth Shut

Okay, so let’s see how much of the introduction stuff they actually do cut out of the show…

Well, we certainly didn’t cut out any of the dramatic intro. But it was nice to relive the moment Matt was saved, because it did make for good TV, even if I didn’t agree with it…

Vince Neil of Motley Crue in the house…

And Adam is all slicked up…

WOW! 8:03 and the first contestant is singing! NICE!

Lil Rounds, “I’m Every Woman”: 13
Did she hit any of those notes? I think she should have worried a little more about standing still and hitting some notes rather than running all over the stage. And she should have picked a song that actually showed some vocals. Plus, how dare she speak before Simon!

And Paula had to play the sick card, didn’t she?

However, I have to say I agree with Lil this time. No, she wasn’t sound-alike karaoke tonight because a sound-alike would have hit some of the notes.

It’s time for her to go, kids…

My Last Word Before Tonight's Show

So, since this is Disco Week and I don’t like disco, I am not even going to attempt to suggest what the Idols should sing tonight, although it just occurred to me that Adam might be able to give a real twist to “I Will Survive.”

I’m just going to let today’s H-D column be my last word before tonight’s show.

You can read it here

See you guys tonight!

Is Danny's Sheltered Upbringing Contributing to His Song Choices?

I’ve been pretty hard on Danny Gokey’s limited musical choices in recent weeks. But just maybe there’s a logical explanation…

On USATODAY.com today, “Idol” Executive Producer Ken Warwick said about Danny, “Some of his musical knowledge is a little bit limited because his upbringing was quite musically sheltered. He didn’t watch much television when he was a kid. Song selection is quite difficult for him sometimes.”

Not watching much television as a kid? I shudder at the thought…

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Was There a Judges' Meltdown Last Week?

So, was there a judges’ meltdown last week after the tag-team judging concept was explained to them?

According to “USA Today,” there may have been…

The paper has an interesting account of what went on behind the scenes of last week’s performance show.

You can read it here.

And personally, if they did have a meltdown, who could blame them? I actually had a mini one about it myself…

Adding a local flavor...

So for over two years, I have been live-blogging “American Idol.” But now, I am taking the show on the road for a little bit of a local flavor…

The fine folks at the Paramount Arts Center have asked me to live blog their “Tri-State Idol” competition this Thursday. I must admit, I’m not entirely sure how it’s all going to work, but it should be fun trying to figure it out…

The competition starts at 4 p.m., but I hope to be blogging before that to give you an idea of what’s going to be happening…

So, after live blogging the “Idol” performance show on Tuesday and the results show on Wednesday, I’ll be live blogging a three-hour live show on Thursday.

Am I a glutton for punishment or what? Boy, will my fingers be tired…

Paula Talks to "Nightline"

Paula Abdul’s sitdown with Cynthia McFadden will air on “Nightline” Thursday night.

You can read an excerpt here.

As you can see, Paula says there is no tension between her and Kara, but what about any plans to leave the show? I guess we just have to tune in to see that…

“Nightline” airs at 11:35 p.m. on ABC…

Photo Credit: ABC News

Monday, April 20, 2009

David Archuleta Is NOT Coming to the Ohio State Fair

You may have heard that David Archuleta is touring with Demi Lovato.

But before you buy those tickets to Lovato’s show at the Ohio State Fair in order to see Archie, you should know that Archie will not be at that show.

A rep from the State Fair confirmed the news for me last week, but she did not give a reason…

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

A "Tri-State Idol" Reminder

Just wanted to remind everyone about the “Tri-State Idol Competition” this Thursday (April 23rd) at 4 p.m. at the Paramount Arts Center.

There’s no age limit and registration is just $5. To enter, go to the Paramount website here.

The winner gets a chance to sing at intermission of “Ain’t Misbehavin’ and will go backstage after the show to meet Ruben Studdard and Frenchie Davis, plus they’ll get four tickets to the show.

Contestants will sing up to a minute of an a capella song in front of the judges. The top 12 finalists will have a video of their performance posted on the Paramount YouTube site for online viewing/voting beginning Friday morning.

If you just want to watch the action, tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids and will be available at the door beginning at 3:30 p.m.

And if you come by, you may just see a friendly face from the blogosphere…

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Idol Chit-Chat!

I told someone yesterday, as I was explaining how I’ve let so many things get away from me lately, that between the months of January and May, my life is no longer my own…

Which explains why I let an important anniversary slide. The second anniversary of this blog.

For the record it was January 23rd…

I hope you agree that the blog just keeps getting better, as you can now see more photos and news than ever before—straight from the show, the networks and the record companies themselves.

Let me take the opportunity to thank some people for helping me reach this milestone: Andrea, my editor; Jeramey in IT; Robyn, my print editor, who has helped me expand my audience this year; and all the publicists that have helped me over these past two years.

Plus, I have to thank all of you for your support. This thing just doesn’t go without you.

But I have no plans to go anywhere anytime soon, so I hope you all will continue to Chit-Chat with me…

Is Simon Leaving "Idol"?

This weekend, I’ve been trying to catch up on all of the things I haven’t told you guys about. One of those things is the interview Simon Cowell gave that hints he may leave “Idol”…

In talking about juggling his three shows and the numerous transatlantic flights he must make each week because of them, Simon told the U.K. “Mirror, “[T]here is a point where I am not sure we can keep this schedule up. It takes longer and longer to make these shows because you have to put more into them, and I am not sure we can sustain me doing three shows a year, with the record label and the TV production company. Most people do one show a year and I do three and they involve a lot of travelling. One may have to go. I don’t know which one. That is the problem, I like all of them. I can’t imagine not doing ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ and I can’t imagine not doing ‘X Factor.’ But I guess America is more likely to go because I have got one year under contract. Maybe that will be the end.”

So could “Idol” survive without Simon? I suppose it could, but who would really want it to?

You can read the rest of the interview here
Photo Credit: FOX

OK! Trumpets the "Idol Wars"

Check out the cover of this week’s “OK!”…

But if you’re expecting some super juicy scoop, you’re not going to get it. The article is basically just a lot of quotes from an “insider.”

You can see the gist of it here.

Personally, I think if there’s any kind of war going on it’s between Kara and Simon as she tries to assert more influence than she has a right to. Plus, I have to ask who these people are that they’re polling who are saying they want to get rid of Paula. For me, the show would be nowhere near the same without her.

And as for that tantalizing headline of “The Reason Adam Can’t Win,” it’s basically just a throwaway paragraph about “Idol” flourishing more when a guy wins. You can read it here.

Photo Credit: OKMagazine.com

Is There a Simon-Kara Feud Brewing?

After Simon Cowell appeared to be mocking Kara DioGuardi during her critique of Matt Giraud Tuesday night, the rumor mill kicked into high gear about a feud between the judges.

But Simon told “Access Hollywood” last week that there is no feud, saying, “I get on really well with Kara. I’ve really enjoyed having her on the show.”

Is anyone else having trouble believing that one?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Idols Get Carded

This Tuesday (April 21st), you can create your own “Idol” scrapbook as Upper Deck releases “American Idol” collectible cards.

The cards will feature Idols past and present, including some of the more notorious Idols like William Hung. The set will also include cards from this year’s Top 36, makeover cards showing some contestants’ transitions from audition to Hollywood, judges cards, never-before-seen cards of the top two from the first seven seasons, and select autograph cards from Idols such as Jordin Sparks.

Each individual pack contains five cards with 24 packs per box. Every pack will contain a code to enter online for a chance to win a trip to this season’s finale.

The cards will be available at hobby stores, as well as Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart, and select Toys‘R Us stores…


Photos Credit: Upper Deck

A Sneak Peek of Kelly Clarkson's New Video

Here’s a sneak preview of Kelly Clarkson’s new video, “I Do Not Hook Up.” It looks like a fun one…



The entire video will be available at MTV.com on Monday…

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More Scoop on the Idol Tour

So here's some more info on the Idol Tour...

As I said last night, the closest tour stop to the Huntington area is Columbus on August 25th. The tour is not stopping in Cincinnati this year.

The tour kicks off July 5th in Portland and wraps up September 15th in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Tickets go on sale May 9th at 10 a.m. No word yet on how much they'll be...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Did America And the Judges Get It Right?

I apologize for the tardiness of the last bit of the show, but I was so swept up in the drama that I stopped typing and had to rewind the tape to get all of the action…

So did America get it right? No, they did not. Yes, Matt’s performance was rough, but Lil deserved to go home for her song choice, her performance and her attitude.

So did the judges get it right? Honestly, no, I don’t think they did either. It’s not that I don’t think Matt is good, it’s just that I think they should have saved the Judges’ Save for Allison. Even with Simon’s pimping, I think she’s still in the danger zone the next two weeks.

But you have to admit it made for good television. I was completely surprised because I was sure that it was Lil that Simon was considering saving. I never dreamed he’d consider Matt. But with only two weeks to use the save, I guess he figured what the heck.

And Matt’s fellow contestants were clearly happy about him staying around. However, that happiness faded quickly when Simon reminded them that two contestants have to go home next week. And Disco Week next week? YIPES!

I guess the upside is that it will force Danny and Anoop to actually sing something with a tempo…

So what do you guys think? Did the judges do the right thing in saving Matt?

And the Person Going Home Is...

9:53 We’re back…Lil and Matt stand with Ryan…Matt smiles. I think he thinks it’s him…Over 36 million votes…Lil…safe…BOO HISS! What does America see in her?...Time for Matt to sing. Danny yells, “Come on, Matt, sing it!” Does Danny think the performance will actually make any difference?...

9:55 Matt sings while the judges “deliberate”…Paula and Kara sway back and forth like idiots…He’s singing it much more straight this time…Randy walks around the ladies to talk to Simon…Matt botches the falsetto in the middle again…He’s got a big smile on his face. I think he thinks it’s goodbye and I think he’s right…

9:57 Ryan stalls as the crowd chants, “Save”…Matt says it was better than last night…Ryan asks for a decision…Simon asks how many times he’s been in the bottom three and he says twice…Simon says he was not as good as he was last night, and that he has no chance of winning this competition…Kara and Paula say, come on, but Randy cuts them off…Simon says we’ve made a decision and Kara yells, “Save him!” making Simon quiet her with his hand…Simon says it’s good news. Matt is saved…He bows his head as Ryan high fives him and Paula and Kara scream…The other Idols attack him in the center of the stage for hugs. Clearly he’s very popular…Ryan declares that “Idol history has been made”…Simon flashes a big smile…Matt wipes away tears as Ryan congratulates him…Simon tells them to not be so quick to congratulate him because two people are going home next week and next week is Disco Week…The Idols dance around the stage continuing to hug…Now they’re all jumping up and down in a hug…Danny is clearly thrilled. I’m betting they’re roommates…And we’re out…

Final thoughts in a few…

Might Simon Still Save Lil?

9:45 We’re back…Ryan introduces Miley Cyrus to sing “The Climb”…This one is also on tape, by the way…Did she take a trip to the Megan Joy word pronunciation school as well?...What is up with the head thrashing and the mussed up hair?...Just for the record, though, I like that song…

9:49 Cut back to the judges as Simon tries to look interested…Simon says there is one that he would consider saving but that “it might be a surprise to that person.” Ryan says, “So is that Lil then?” Simon says we’ll have to see who it is…Ryan calls for the break and it doesn’t happen…He has to call for it again…Break…

So Simon would still consider saving Lil? BOO HISS! Stick to your guns, Simon!

And the Bottom Two Are...

9:33 We’re back…Ryan sits with Anoop on the urinal stools…Ryan asks him about being frustrated. He says he honestly didn’t expect to be sitting here…Paula says she’s a little surprised…Simon says he deserves to be sitting there…Just do the numbers kids. We’ve only got seven left so it had to be him or Allison…Kris and Lil stand…Simon tells him he was brilliant. NICE! Finally some love for Kris from Simon. Is he finally getting on the Kris train?…Lil…Ryan asks Lil about the judges feedback and she says she felt that she did good last night. Whatever…Kris…Ryan does a huge fakeout, but Lil is in the bottom three. We get a reaction shot from Simon but I can’t really read him…Matt and Danny stand…Matt says if he had it to do over again he would have sang it more straight…Danny said he felt really comfortable with his arrangement…Randy says he worked it out…Danny…safe…The crowd was almost angry at that fakeout, but Danny never lost his confident smirk…

9:39 The bottom three—Anoop, Matt and Lil join Ryan on the stage…Kara says they are the correct bottom three…Back to the couch is…Anoop...As it should be…Simon applauds…Lil and Matt in the bottom two…Break…

I called it so far. PLEASE let me get the rest of it right…

Jennifer Hudson Returns to the Idol Stage

9:23 We're back...Ryan introduces a video to trace Jennifer Hudson’s career...She’s doing her new single, “If This Isn’t Love”…Wow, she looks good!...The video allowed them to segue perfectly to the performance, which is on tape…I don’t really care for the song, though…I think they need to stop pre-taping these things so the judges can actually react to having the former Idols back…The people pretending to be the judges need to try a little harder. There’s no way Paula wouldn’t have stood for that glory note…J-Hud makes Ryan look like a midget…Ryan tries to find out her wedding date, but she says it’s a secret…Break...

And the First Person In the Bottom Three Is...

9:11 We’re back…Ryan asks Adam about working with Quentin...Adam goes really in depth about Quentin’s thought process…So, the Idols did go to a premiere. I told you that would happen. It was for “17 Again,” which you know is just going to rock…Zac Efron shakes all of their hands and then Danny teases Allison about having a thing for him. Who doesn’t?...Anoop said he loved it and Adam said he loved the cheerleaders…Lil takes a dig at Danny for being the oldest…Zac Efron is in the house to plug it. What is up with that skull cap? Hey, couldn’t he sing for us?...

9:16 Lights down…Building the bottom three…Allison stands…She’s safe. I was worried for a second…Adam stands…Adam says he wasn’t insulted by Simon’s “The Rocky Horror” show comment because it’s a great movie. Simon says he didn’t mean it as an insult…Adam is safe…Anoop stands…I’m feeling bottom three…Anoop says they’ve all reached the point where they feel comfortable on the stage…Ryan points him to the bottom three—again…Break…

The Top 7 Results Show Begins with some Flashdancing...

Is this finally the night we say goodbye to Lil?

Let’s find out…

9:00 Dramatic taped intro meant to look like a movie trailer, but that guy is no Don LaFontaine…They edited it to look like Randy’s pitchy comment was aimed at Matt and not Kris…The screen switches to Ryan looking at the jumbo screen and then dramatically turning around to say “This is American Idol.” And yes, that moment was just as lame as it sounds…

9:02 Ryan descends the stairs and previews the show…The Idols are sitting on the couch and Matt looks queasy…Ryan plugs the tour…He intros the judges…Ford video to “Freeze Frame.” They’re all on magazine covers…

9:05 Top 7 Group Number—“Maniac”…Kris descends the stairs…Allison comes up from behind Simon and startles him a little bit…Anoop…Matt…The four on the mini-stage…And yes, they’re singing and sound pretty good doing it…Adam…Danny…Lil…Matt sounds really good…That actually wasn’t painful…Break…

So the closest the tour is coming is Columbus on August 25th. More on that later…

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

So Who's Going Home?

Earlier today I tried to convince a friend that he was wrong in saying that this season was nowhere near as good as last season. And now, I’m seriously thinking he was right…

What was that mess tonight? What were those terrible song choices? I’m kind of sorry I asked no one to do “Against All Odds” or “I Believe I Can Fly” because even those would have been better than the dreck they rolled out tonight. Only Kris bothered to try something different.

That same friend told me that Kris is going to win and I’m starting to think it’s a real possibility—or at least it should be…

So, who’s going home? I was pretty worried about Allison since she went first until Lil opened her mouth and dared to question Simon. I have to believe that exchange—no matter how hard Ryan tried to cut it off—sealed her fate. And if not, then America needs a serious reality check.

Lil had the judges wrapped around her little finger and she let them slip right off. Simon said it best when he said, “There’s no excuses anymore, Lil, you know? You are not the artist I believe we met seven or eight weeks ago. I’m getting frustrated.” For whatever reason, Lil insists on trying to show us different sides of herself instead of sticking with what she’s best at. Then when the judges complain, she insists she’ll get back to the old Lil. And she never does. As much as I complained about songs from “The Bodyguard,” that would have made much more sense. Her act is getting tired. It’s time for her to go home…

I think I’m as frustrated as Simon is…

And I think Simon answered the question for us. The judges will not save Lil…

I think the bottom two will be Lil and Matt. If there is a bottom three, I’d say the third is a close race between Anoop and Allison. Of those other three, I believe only Allison would be saved by the judges if necessary.

So what do you guys think? Were you as frustrated with tonight’s show as I was?

And are you as ready to send Lil home as I am?

Lil Ticks Simon Off

Lil Rounds, “The Rose”: 12
She hit a few more notes this week, but the choice was terrible and her attitude was even worse. She clearly has no clue how this game is played. I mean, does she honestly think adding a slight gospel twinge to a Bette Midler song makes her the artist the judges thought she was?

And they cut the judging and they STILL couldn’t finish on time. And I would’ve actually liked to have heard Simon and Lil continue their fight, because the more she opened her mouth, the better her chances of going home…

Final thoughts in a few...

Kris Slows It Down Again

Kris Allen, “Falling Slowly”: 19
Now that’s a song choice, kids. I don’t know that song but at least it wasn’t the blah stuff everyone else has been picking tonight. I have no idea what Randy was listening to.

And Lil is doing “The Rose”? “The Rose”?! Lucky for her Kara and Randy aren’t judging her because they would be all over her for not choosing Whitney…

Danny Ignores Another Mentor

Danny Gokey, “Endless Love”: 14
Is he kidding me with all these schmaltzy ballads? Sheesh! And did Megan teach him his pronunciations this week? What is “jou” and “jour”? And isn’t this the second time he’s ignored good advice from a mentor? And where were the glasses?

Nice of Simon to mention Danny’s emotion, though, wasn’t it?

What is up with these song choices? I would’ve rather heard him do “Against All Odds” than that!

Matt Continues His Roller Coaster Ride

Matt Giraud, “Have You Really Ever Loved A Woman”: 14
Again, this is a little harsh, but he was off tonight, even going off key a few times. And there were SO many better songs he could have done.

Anoop Sings Another Ballad While Adam Goes "Wild"

Anoop Desai, “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)”: 18
Okay, that was gorgeous, but I am so sick of him doing ballads. Pick it up, man!

Adam Lambert, “Born to Be Wild”: 18
Someone asked me earlier today what Simon means when he says “self-indulgent.” I would submit that performance as a perfect example (even though Simon didn’t say it). I love Adam, but those wild light shows and that dancing really didn’t do him any favors. I think that’s another one you have to watch with your eyes closed.

And another Bryan Adams song? COME ON!!!

The Top 7 Performance Show Kicks Off With Allison

Think “Idol” can finish on time this week?

Let’s find out…

Ryan let Quentin Tarantino intro the show? Hey, I would be scared of him too…

Based on what they’re wearing, Adam is rocking it out and it sure looks like Lil is too. Did she not go with a ballad from “The Bodyguard”? Oh, Randy and Kara will be mad…

Why is the band on stage tonight? Now they’ll drown out the contestants even more…

And Ryan, sweetie, you’re taking WAY too much of the beginning…

Okay, what is this? To try and end this on time, the judges will be talking two at a time meaning each contestant will only be judged by two of the judges. So we don’t get to hear Simon for every one? BOO HISS! Couldn’t we just cut some of this crap in the beginning? Or ask Kara to leave?...

Let’s do this thing…

Allison Iraheta, “Don’t Want to Miss A Thing”: 15
Yes, that’s harsh, but I can’t believe of all the songs she could have chosen, she chose that one. I had to give her a low score in song choice. But Simon seriously pimped her by saying she’s “the girl’s only hope now.” Wonder how Lil feels about that?

So I wonder if Simon picked the people he wants to judge so he can pimp for who he wants?

And Anoop is doing “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)”? COME ON!!!

Kelly Clarkson Is Coming to the Fair

Kelly Clarkson will perform at the Ohio State Fair July 29th at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $36 and are on sale now.

Her special guest will be Eric Hutchinson…
Photo Credit: Mike Ruiz/RCA

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Idol" Goes to the Movies: What Should They Sing?

So if the producers had a script for tomorrow night’s “Idol Goes to the Movies” performance show, I think we all know how it would go…

Lil Rounds would choose “I Will Always Love You” or “I Have Nothing” from “The Bodyguard” and would be rewarded for her choice with the pimp spot. She’d hit that final chorus and Paula and Kara would jump to their feet as they clapped and pointed at Lil. Then, the judges—if there was time—would all say that this was the Lil they knew and loved and it was glad to have her back…

But is that how any of us want it to go? How about we avoid “The Bodyguard” and the “Idol” staple, “Against All Odds” (Danny and Anoop, I’m talking to you.) and the sappiness of “I Believe I Can Fly” (Danny and Anoop, again, I’m talking to you.) and do something different?

Here are my song choices for the Top 7:

Lil Rounds: “No More Drama” by Mary J. Blige from “Honey”
Since Mary J. Blige is the name Randy constantly brings up to Lil, why not go with her instead of Whitney? And if Lil insists on going the Whitney route, why not go with “When You Believe” by Whitney and Mariah Carey from “The Prince of Egypt.”

Anoop Desai: “She’s Like the Wind” by Patrick Swayze from “Dirty Dancing”
I just couldn’t come up with much for Anoop. I don’t know what it is. I’d love to see Anoop pick up the tempo a little bit this week, I’m just not sure with what. That being said, I think he could do something with this one. However, I can hear Simon calling it a stupid song. I’m still smarting from his diss of “The Search Is Over.”

Danny Gokey, “Maneater” by Hall and Oates from “Runaway Bride”
As I’m sure you guys have noticed, I have fallen out of love with Danny and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the cockiness he seems to be showing during the results shows. Maybe it’s his recent song choices. I don’t know. But I do know that the fastest way to get back into my good graces is to nail a Hall and Oates song.

Matt Giraud, “Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles from “Ray”
Since this was the song that first turned our heads when we got a small snippet of it from Hollywood Week, why not do it again on the big stage? And in all honesty, if anyone can pull off “I Believe I Can Fly” it’s Matt. I would just rather he didn’t.

Kris Allen: “True To Your Heart” by 98 Degrees from “Mulan”
I said once before that Kris sounds like Nick Lachey, so why not do Nick Lachey? I love this song and it’s just catchy enough to earn back any fans that Kris may have lost with that weird jazz number last week.

Adam Lambert, “I Still Believe” by Tim Capello from “The Lost Boys”
Honestly, Adam needs no suggestions at this point, and no doubt Simon would call this one self-indulgent, but I’d love to see him do it. However, I don’t know how Adam can stay away from “Bohemian Rhapsody” from “Wayne’s World.”

Allison Iraheta, “Holding Out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler from “Footloose”/“Bandits”
This is the one I’m REALLY hoping to hear because I know Allison could absolutely nail it and I’ve been waiting for an “Idol” contestant to take it on. But if she doesn’t like that one, Allison could also rock out Pat Benatar’s “Invincible” from “The Legend of Billie Jean” or “Love Is A Battlefield” from “13 Going On 30.” Or she could do Tina Turner’s “We Don’t Need Another Hero” from “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.”

So now it’s your turn. What would you like to hear the Idols sing? Or maybe not sing?

And don’t forget you can read more of my thoughts in Tuesday’s “Herald-Dispatch”…

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Jason Castro Gets A Deal

Atlantic Records announced today that it has signed Jason Castro…

According to the press release, Jason’s debut album will be released later this year. Among the people contributing to the CD is none other than Kara DioGuardi.

By the way, according to the release, Jason has recorded a new version of his big “Idol” tune, “Hallelujah,” for the movie, “Amar A Morir,” which will be released this summer. No word on whether it will be on his album.

Photo Credit: Andrew Shepherd/Atlantic Records

Carrie Underwood Sits Down With Oprah

Carrie Underwood will be on “Oprah” tomorrow (Tuesday, April 14th). Be sure to check your local listings for the time and station in your area.


In Huntington-Charleston, “Oprah” airs at 4 p.m. on WSAZ.

You can see a preview on Oprah’s website

Photo Credit: Andrew Eccles/Arista Nashville

Phil Stacey Coming to Lucasville

The Phil Stacey-Julianne Hough concert in Huntington later this month has been rescheduled for May 26th. HOWEVER, Phil’s rep tells me that the details are still being worked out to get the concert on his calendar, so there's a chance Phil may not be a part of it.

But even if Phil doesn’t join Julianne, you can still catch him in the area when he does a Christian music concert June 5th at 7 p.m. at Valley Middle School in Lucasville. The concert is free, but a love offering will be taken.

I’ll have more on this as the date gets closer…

The "New York Times" Asks the Big Adam Lambert Question

It's a question I knew would be asked. It's a question that probably needs to be asked. But I swore to myself that I wouldn't be the one to ask it. I just didn't want to go there...

And now I don't have to, because the "New York Times" has asked the question for me. You can read their article here.

The real question here is not about Adam, it's about America. I think you guys know me well enough by now to know that for me it's all about the music. But will the rest of America agree with me?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chris Sligh Comes to Ashland

Just a reminder that Chris Sligh will be at the Paramount Arts Center tomorrow night as part of the Natalie Grant: The Make it Matter Tour.

Chris is on a bit of a hot streak lately. He’s nominated for two major Dove Awards this year, Song of the Year and New Artist of the Year.

For more details or to buy tickets, you can check out the Paramount Arts Center website.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Scott MacIntyre: "I stand by every performance I’ve done"

Media conference calls can be fairly frustrating. The interviewee makes some cryptic or controversial comment that’s begging for a follow-up and all of the reporters are wanting to know what kind of tree the interviewee would be. And the call is running out of time and you can’t get in to ask the follow-up that’s screaming to be asked.

That was definitely the case with Scott MacIntyre’s call today…

As I posted earlier, Scott made a somewhat cryptic comment about how his performance was good Tuesday night, especially in the “context of everything going on.” And then he went on to say that “if the chips had fallen a little differently” he would have stuck around a lot longer.

To me, these were very interesting comments. And maybe Scott wasn’t allowed to answer them—which would explain why he was being so cryptic. But shouldn’t someone have asked? Yet, no one did…

Later in the call, Scott said, “If you watch [the performance] back, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a solid performance.” Someone may have called him on this comment, but we were out of time.

So what did Scott mean? Honestly, I have no idea. Hopefully, the rest of the story will come out to another reporter along the way.

And even though I think Scott is a likeable guy, I think he may be getting a tad delusional—especially about how good his performances were.

Since Scott talked A LOT, here’s just a sample of what else he had to say…

On what he learned from the experience: “I worked more quickly than I ever thought I could. There’s a very fast pace. It’s really taught me to budget my time…It’s also taught me anything is possible…It’s an amazing opportunity…The experiences I’ve had will never be duplicated.”

On why he thought he could be the next Idol: “I felt like from the beginning I had a story to share. I felt like it would’ve been a shame to not share that with the world…If I can get to this point…I hope it encourages everyone to reach for their dreams.”

On Being on Stage During the Judges’ Deliberation: “I have to say that was one of Seacrest’s most agonizing pauses…I was actually very thrilled to know it was a split decision. Simon told me there was some inner turmoil in him…So it was nice to walk away like that.”

On his future: “Now I get to define myself as an artist from scratch. I can’t wait to share my writing with America.” Scott said he has a large amount of original work at home reminiscent of John Mayer, Gavin DeGraw, Bruce Hornsby and Vanessa Carlton. He promised the first thing he would do when he got home was to look at all of his original music and put together a great album.

Scott also said he is open to writing for other people and he plans for his career to be three-fold as a performer, songwriter and eventually a producer.

On why he chose to audition this year: “I think this was the perfect year to audition. It was the first time ‘Idol’ came to Arizona…I’m kind of the academic gone pop star…The moment I knew I had to audition was when they rolled out the grand piano last year.”

On what he wants to say to his fans: “From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for voting for me…You’ve really helped me realize my life’s dream…I owe so much to all of you…I hope our relationship continues for years and years.”

On what he’ll miss about the show: “I’m going to miss the camaraderie. How we all make fun of each other before the show starts. I’ll miss the group songs, believe it or not…It’s an interesting group of kids this year…We’re one of the only groups that talks and jokes before going on stage…Even though we’re competing, we have so much fun even before we go on stage.”

On his finish: “There’s not much difference between finishing eighth and finishing third. I have this incredible platform now.”

On his performance Tuesday: “My decision to play the guitar was based more on me wanting to shock America a little bit…I don’t take what the judges said to heart.” Scott also said that Simon got it right when he replied to Paula’s comment about Scott coming out from behind the piano by saying, “Would you see Billy Joel come out from behind the piano?”

Finally, Scott told the reporters, “Please keep an eye out. You’ll see a lot more from me in the future…I stand by every performance I’ve done.”

I appreciate Scott being true to himself and continuing to believe in himself, but Tuesday’s performance was bad any way you slice it. Whatever the “everything going on” was that Scott is referring to, it couldn’t have been what made him miss those high notes…

Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FOX

Scott MacIntyre Gets Cryptic

Scott had a few cryptic words for reporters on his media conference call, but for whatever reason no one called him on them…

Or maybe because he talked so much, no one was able to call him on them…

Here’s one quote from Scott about Tuesday’s performance: “I stand by my performance on Tuesday night…in the context of everything going on…If the chips had fallen a little differently, I may have been on for a number of weeks.”

And no, I have no idea what he’s talking about…

I’ll have more from Scott tonight…

Breaking News: Next Week's Theme

So next week’s theme is “Idol At the Movies” as the Top 7 sing “songs from the cinema,” according to the FOX press release.

So, which Academy Award winning singer or songwriter will be their mentor? None of them. Their mentor will be Quentin Tarantino.

Now, before you guys go all WHAT?! on me, let me remind you that Tarantino was also a mentor during season three’s movie week. He’s apparently a big fan.

You know that Adam is super-psyched already...

I’ll have my thoughts on what I think they should sing later, but right now, let me put in a vote for the song absolutely none of them should sing—“Against All Odds.” We are SO done with this song on “Idol.” So, don’t even think it, Danny or Anoop…

Next week’s performances during the results show will come from Jennifer Hudson and Miley Cyrus, but they have both already been taped…

What do you think? Do you like the theme and Tarantino’s guest spot? And what movie will the show promote by having the Idols go see it and then talk about it during the results show?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Did America Get It Right?

So before I ask the question I always ask at this time each week, let me go back a little…

I know that all the bloggers out there will accuse the show of manufacturing drama, but I think it was real and it was caused by Kara, who doesn’t seem to understand the strategy of the Judges’ Save…

Here’s a play-by-play, because I think it’s interesting…

As Scott winds down the song, Paula turns to Simon, clearly upset at the prospect of Scott going home (She was willing him to hit that high note this time. You could see it on her face. But he didn’t.). And then Kara starts talking to Simon once again, as she did throughout most of Scott’s song. The judges continue to deliberate and it appears that Simon is a little frustrated.

When Simon reveals that two people think he should stay and two people think he should go, Paula and Kara look at the stage with wounded eyes…As Ryan banters with Scott, Simon looks at Randy, who is seated behind the ladies, and shrugs his shoulders and rolls his eyes…

When Ryan asks for the verdict, Simon says, “This is really tough. I really, really like you, Scott. I’m looking over there and I think there’s a bunch of talented singers. So this decision isn’t just based on you. It’s whether I think someone, or we think someone is more talented over there. And this is the problem.”

Simon looks at Randy and says, “What do we do?” Then, he looks at the ladies and asks, “What do you want to do?” Kara says, “He’s on the right path,” as the audience yells their thoughts.

Ryan pushes for a decision and Randy is heard saying, “Just make it. Just make it.” as Kara shrugs her shoulders and Paula seems resigned to Scott’s fate. And then, Simon renders the decision…

I think that Paula was ready to say goodbye to Scott (I mean, she already had a speech prepared.), but Kara had second thoughts and tried to see what she could do. But Randy and Simon were a united front against saving him.

I have read many on-the-scene reports that say the other judges don’t pay much attention to Kara during the show—almost like they don’t consider her part of the team. And Simon’s look of exasperation and shoulder shrug to Randy pretty much confirms that. They were ready with a decision and Kara was messing it up.

But as Simon said, it’s not just about the person they’re considering saving. It’s about who’s left to save. What if they had used the save this week and then by some complete travesty, Adam ended up going home next week? Simon (and Randy) were right to save the save. And if Kara disagreed with that, then she understands the show a lot less than I thought…

And I call your attention to a key phrase of Simon’s statement to Ryan—“It’s whether I think…” He corrected it to “we” a second later, but it’s clear that Simon is running this show and whatever he decides will be what they go with—whether Kara likes it or not…

Now, to that question. Did America get it right? Absolutely, 100 percent yes. Scott—no matter how likeable he may be—gave the worst performance last night and he deserved to go home.

And I know I predicted Anoop for the bottom three tonight, but he did not deserve to be in the bottom two. What in the world does America hear in Lil? Maybe her great fashion sense is keeping her in this thing. Ryan said only 30,000 votes separated Scott and Anoop. I’d love to know how many separated Anoop and Lil…

So what do you guys think? Did America make the right decision? Did the judges make the right decision? And do you agree with me that Kara was trying to mess things up tonight or was all the drama just an act?

Be sure to post your comments. And don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter here.

And the Person Going Home Is...

9:52 We’re back…Lights down…34 million votes…Only 30,000 votes separate the two of them…Paula covers her eyes…And the lowest vote-getter is…Scott…Paula has tears in her eyes, because she knows this is it…Scott sings “The Search Is Over” again without his guitar this time…Kara is taking this deliberation thing pretty seriously, but it’s clear what they’ve decided…To prove it, Kara and Paula give standing ovations. They’ve clearly forgotten he can’t see what they’re doing…It’s actually better, but not nearly good enough…

9:55 Ryan goes to Simon for the verdict. Ryan asks Simon why he didn’t even consider the Judges’ Save last week and Simon tells him, “Because I didn’t care. I genuinely didn’t care. I don’t think she cared. And this is a whole different ballgame.” He tells Ryan that two people think he should stay, and two people think he should go. Gee, wonder who?...Ryan banters with Scott while they decide…Simon actually looks like he’s considering it…He says he really, really likes him, but he sees a lot of talented singers on the couch…

9:57 Ryan pushes for a decision. And Simon, of course, says, “It’s the end of the road”…Ryan gives him a big hug and then the other Idols come over to hug him…Goodbye video…They cut to all of the Idols watching the video from the stage. Nice!...But some creative editing makes it look like Kara actually liked his performance last night…The video ends with Scott making a basket in the gym…Paula tells Scott that he’s been an inspiration to the entire world. “You’re a classy gentleman. We love you”…Wonder how long she’s been rehearsing that?...

9:59 We’re out…

Final thoughts after I rewind the tape to see something…

And the Bottom Two Are...

9:42 We’re back…Ryan is with the bottom three. Anoop, Lil and Scott…Ryan introduces Kellie Pickler. “Country sensation”? I hardly think so, Ryan…She’s singing “Best Days of Your Life” This is the kind of performance Simon would call a mess, because I think she’s only hitting every other note….Kellie walks over to Simon and sits in front of him. He’s clearly uncomfortable…Now she’s on the mini-stage so the judges try to pay attention. It was almost bad timing because just before she walked over there Simon, Randy and Paula were in conference, I’m guessing about whether they should save Lil if necessary…Kellie’s starting to work this one out a little bit…I take that back…Her dress is pretty short, but she’s not really showing off her “assets” tonight…Kellie talks about her “little sis,” Taylor Swift, who co-wrote that song with her and who she’s on tour with this spring…Ryan chases her off stage and brings the bottom three out…

9:48 Lights down…One is safe…It’s Lil. BOO HISS! What do people see in her?...That leaves Anoop and Scott in the bottom two. And here I was hoping we’d see an actual judges’ deliberation. They won’t save either of them…Break…

And the Rest of the Bottom Three Is...

9:34 We’re back…Anoop sits all alone on a urinal stool…Ryan once again mentions the save. He’s hyping that awfully hard…Lights down…Danny stands…He’s safe. And again, he gives a cocky nod. What’s the deal?...Matt stands…Ryan tries to fake him out, but he doesn’t fall for it. He’s safe…Scott stands…He looks a little queasy…That leaves Allison and Lil sitting, by the way…Scott…is in the bottom three…Ryan takes Scott to Anoop who helps him to a stool. We can’t bring his hot brother up to do that?...Allison and Lil stand. They both look sick…So do Paula and Randy, by the way…Allison is safe…Lil is in the bottom three. It’s about time, kids. So, is this why Ryan has been mega-hyping the Judges’ Save?...Ryan asks Simon about the save and Simon says this is the first week it really comes into play, because “there are a couple of people—one in particular—we would consider saving.” And yes, he looks a little worried…I think there’s a STRONG possibility that Lil is the lowest vote-getter tonight and the show knows the judges will save her…Break…

Flo Rida Spins Us "Right Round"

9:25 We’re back…Ryan introduces Flo Rida. He’s on tape. I’m sure the many screamers in the audience were upset to see that. This audience is a little more muted…I wish it was live, because I’d love to see Simon’s reaction…Maybe they decided the Idols should sing tonight since Flo Rida is using a track himself. In his defense, he is rapping along to it…I’m glad he’s censoring himself. That could be ugly…Love how the director is almost completely ignoring the dancers behind him…Am I a bad person for admitting I actually like this song?...Confetti comes down from the ceiling. What?...Ryan says hi to all of the backup dancers as Flo Rida tries to untangle himself from the confetti…Ryan asks him about his new CD--which by the way, sold a very paltry amount last week, so he needs the promotion. And then I think he cursed. Hang on, I’ll rewind the tape…Break…

And the First Person In the Bottom Three Is...

9:13 We’re back…Behind the scenes of this week’s Ford music video…The concept is a magic show in an old LA theater…Scott asks the wardrobe person, “None of this is pink, right?”…Adam says it’s right up his alley because he’s very theatrical…Scott does a Simon Cowell impersonation from the audience. It’s pretty good…The actual commercial…It’s to “Circus”…They do magic tricks with the Ford cars…It’s a little strange to hear that song with such low voices. It’s weird to have so few girls. That was actually pretty good…

9:16 Ryan talks to the contestants…He starts with Adam, of course. He asks him about the standing ovation. He says he was extremely honored, and very flattered. But Ryan doesn’t ask him about whose version he did. Oh, the blogs will be upset…Matt introduces the Mayor of Kalamazoo in the audience…

9:18 Ryan reminds us the Judges’ Save is still in play for three more weeks…Lights down…Adam stands…Kris stands…Anoop stands…Ryan asks Randy about Adam. He says he was the bomb…Kara says the standing ovation was the perfect thing to do…Paula says it shows he knows who he is…Adam is safe, of course…Kris…Anoop…Does this mean one of them is in the bottom? Yes, it does…It’s…Anoop. Kris is safe…You knew it had to be someone who actually did decent because of the numbers. But I think he’s safe…Break…

The Top 8 Results Show: Ryan Delivers a Surprise for Simon

Let’s do this…

9:00 Dramatic taped intro with contestant backstage comments…Lil was crying backstage…Why did Scott feel like he had to talk back?...Opening Credits…

9:01 Ryan descends the stairs…Mario Lopez in the house…He tells us what we’re getting tonight and Flo Rida gets lots of screaming…Ryan intros the judges…Why is Paula wearing gloves up to her elbows?...Randy says he was disappointed with last night…Kara says there are early front-runners having an identity crisis. Clearly she’s talking about Lil…Ryan plays a clip of the song that topped the charts the year Simon was born. It’s Frankie Avalon’s “Venus.” But then the doors open and Frankie’s actually there singing. The judges stand for him and Simon is genuinely shocked. But what is the point here? None of those kids in the audience have any idea who he is…Simon seems to actually be enjoying it. And he sounds good…Frankie says the song was from 1959. Ryan teases that means there’s a 50th birthday coming up, but Simon says he was born in 1969. And then he changes the subject by saying Ryan and Frankie look like twins…

9:07 Oh Good Lord! The group song is “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” from 2002, the year that “Idol” was born…As flat as Lil sounds, this can’t possibly be lip synched, can it?...Adam is clearly the favorite…Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is live because someone just forgot the words and I think it was Allison. She confused “Set me free” and “Won’t you stay.” I’m sure the producers would use that as an excuse to do some more lip synching…If another girl goes home tonight, they’re going to be in real trouble with these things starting next week…Break…

Why can’t we just cut those out? I would’ve rather heard Frankie sing again…

Could You Be the "Tri-State Idol"?

My friends at the Paramount Arts Center e-mailed me today to tell me about a cool contest they’re doing called “Tri-State Idol.”

The competition is Thursday, April 23rd at 4 p.m. Contestants will select and perform a one minute a cappella song of their choice in front of professional judges. The judges will then select semi-finalists, who will have videos of their performances put on the Paramount YouTube site. The next day, the public will be able to go to the site and vote for their favorite. The contestant with the most votes will be crowned “Tri-State Idol.”

The winner of the contest will be invited to sing at intermission of “Ain’t Misbehavin’” April 28th. They’ll also receive four tickets to “Ain’t” and will meet stars Ruben Studdard and Frenchie Davis after the show.

The entry fee is $5. Tickets for the audience are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

For more information on how to enter, visit the brand spankin’ new Paramount website here. Just click on "Tri-State Idol" on the events calendar.

The Day After: Would the Judges Save Lil?

So here are some thoughts since I signed off last night…

I would look for Ryan to ask Adam about his arrangement tonight since Adam is taking some flack on the Internet for “copying” the Gary Jules’ version of the Tears for Fears Song.

Here we go again…

After hearing Jules’ version (which is used in the movie “Donnie Darko”), it’s pretty clear that it inspired Adam’s performance, but to say it was a “lame” copy cat performance is just wrong. These contestants deserve kudos for finding these different versions that allow them to put themselves into the songs (a la David Cook last year). Plus, I think Adam took enough liberties with the melody to distance himself from Jules.

And besides, Adam never said he came up with the arrangement. And if given the time, he may have said something about Gary Jules, but he didn’t get to say anything. In fact, anyone who TiVoed the show—and did not take my advice—completely missed his performance altogether.

If you fall into that category, you can see it here.

You can hear Jules’ version here.

So, with that out of the way, here’s a question for you. I am 100% positive that if I’m right and Scott is the lowest vote-getter that the judges will not save him. But if Survivor fans were not as offended as I was by Scott’s performance and Lil ends up being the lowest vote-getter, will the judges save her?

Yes, I believe they will. Why? Because Simon has already predicted a Lil-Danny-Adam final three and he doesn’t want to be wrong.

Now, does she deserve to be saved? No. Lil has yet to live up to whatever the judges saw in her—although I have to say I never saw it.

So let’s take this a little further. Would the judges save Allison? They should, but I don’t know that they would because they might want to use the save later if they need to save one of their chosen ones—Danny, Lil or Adam (although I don’t see Adam in the bottom slot anytime soon).

As for Anoop, Kris or Matt, I don’t think the judges would save any of them this week either, even though they should save Kris or Matt. They should save Kris simply for subjecting him to the mosh pit. Maybe they did that on purpose to keep him from screwing up their pre-ordained top three?

Hmmm…

By the way, Flo Rida will be doing “Right Round” tonight and Kellie Pickler will be doing “Best Days of Your Life."

See you at 9…

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

So Who's Going Home?

As much as I hate to admit it, I was kind of disappointed with tonight’s show. Yes, there were some great performances, but a few (Yes, Kris, I’m talking about you.) should have been so much more.

And speaking of Kris, did anyone else notice during the recap how much his song sounded like Danny’s? Maybe Rickey and the band just really wanted to do jazz tonight…

So who’s going home tonight? I have to believe that Scott’s time is finally over after he slightly mauled the high notes on a classic 80s tune (Still can’t believe Simon called it boring!).

And who will join him in the bottom three (if there is a bottom three)? I think Lil definitely should be one of them, but the other one is up for grabs. Performance-wise it should be Kris (as much as I hate to admit it), but he’s so popular I can’t see that happening. Which means there’s a good chance that Allison could once again say hello to her “familiar chair.” But Anoop could also find himself there again this week.

If I heard Ryan correctly, Flo Rida will be performing tomorrow night, which should be interesting. Remember that it’s on at 9 p.m. after an all new “Lie to Me”…

I’ll see you then…

In the meantime, tell me what you think. Do you agree that Scott is going home or will someone else have to pack their bags?

And was anyone else as disappointed as me that there was no Hall and Oates?...

Adam Gets a Standing O From...Simon!

Adam Lambert, “Mad World”: 20
WOW! Yes, that verse was slightly shaky, but when you’re doing the whole song in falsetto, that’s bound to happen. And how can you argue with a Simon Cowell standing ovation? Even Adam understood the rarity of that.

Final thoughts in a moment…

Matt Brings Back the Soul

Matt Giraud, “Part-Time Lover”: 20
When Ryan said this was what he was singing, I actually said, “What?” But he really reworked this one well. I’m usually opposed to Stevie Wonder since he’s so overdone on the show, but I have to admit this was a good choice.

Now, say it with me, Matt. I am a soul guy, not a rocker…

Scott Plays the Guitar? And Allison Nails Another One

Scott MacIntyre, “The Search Is Over”: 13
I have to admit that I was disappointed the instant I heard what he was singing. I LOVE this song (Can’t believe Simon called it boring!) so there were some pretty painful moments for me—especially those high notes. But you have to give him props for trying something different.

Allison Iraheta, “I Can’t Make You Love Me”: 19
I just knew Allison was going to do this one if they’d consider it a 1992 song (It actually hit its peak in 1991, so I erased that thought from my earlier post because I wasn’t sure.). That was really good, but I had to take a point off because the song is a little bit tired of an Idol choice.

And Adam is getting the pimp spot again?

Anoop Shows His "True Colors"

Anoop Desai, “True Colors”: 18
This was a good performance, but I just can’t get over the choice. Another ballad? It’s starting to become all he can do.

But the bigger question is why the show felt it needed to give Anoop a chance to apologize for his backtalk to Kara. Don’t they know no one likes Kara anyway?

Kris Goes Jazzy and Lil Takes My Advice

Kris Allen, “All She Wants to Do Is Dance”: 16
You know I love Kris, and his vocals were great; but what was that arrangement? And why did they put him in the audience with those people with no rhythm? It’s like they were trying to throw him to the wolves.

Lil Rounds, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”: 15
Obviously I liked her choice since I picked it for her, and I stand by that choice, but you have to hit a few notes to make it work. I still don’t understand why the judges love her so much, although it sounds like that might be changing.

The Anointed One Goes First

Woo-hoo! We eliminated the cheesy intros!

But what was up with Paula asking Ryan if he liked carrots as a kid because of his teeth? That was MEAN!...

And by the way, the weird bald guy they keep showing in the audience is from “Fringe”…

So let’s get this thing going…

And the anointed one (as many blogs call him) is actually going first?

Danny Gokey, “Stand By Me”: 18
This was good, I guess I was just a little disappointed with his choice. Or maybe I really am totally over him. I don’t know how that happened.

And it looks like I was wrong about them shortening the contestants’ performances so this thing is going to have to start going FAST…

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Top 8: What Should They Sing?

This week’s theme is a personal favorite, “Songs From the Year You Were Born.” So I figured I would take some time to come up with some suggestions for the contestants…

And since I’m always hoping someone will rip out some Hall and Oates, I’ve thrown in some bonus Hall and Oates tunes for some of the Idols.

But before I get to it, let me remind you guys of something important about tomorrow night’s show. Because it’s only an hour, the Top 8 will have less time to sing, which means they’ll have to get right to the heart of their songs to truly impress America and the judges…

So here now are the songs I would like to see them attempt. However, please remember that since the “Idol” website only lists the contestants’ ages and not their actual birthdays (and because FOX ignored my request for those years), I am relying on Wikipedia for the actual birthdates…

Danny Gokey (1980): “You May Be Right” by Billy Joel
I’m not really sure why I went with this one. I just know I want Danny to do something besides a power ballad and I think he can rock a little Billy Joel.
Bonus Hall and Oates Choice: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”
Danny would have a hard time with the verse, but if he got to the chorus quickly, I think he could do something with this one.

Adam Lambert (1982): “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell
This song was custom made for Adam and I think he could do something really special with it.
Bonus Hall and Oates Choice: “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)”
Adam wouldn’t have much time to do something with this one, but I still think he could.

Kris Allen (1985): “The Search Is Over” by Survivor
This song is gorgeous and I know that Kris could do it justice at the piano.
Bonus Hall and Oates Choice: “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid”
I really think Kris could rock this lesser known track with just his guitar. If they’d let “Out of Touch” slide as a 1985 song since it hit #1 in December of 1984, I’d LOVE for Kris to do that one with just his guitar.

Scott MacIntyre (1985): “You’re The Inspiration” by Chicago
Is that one just too obvious? I really wanted to go with “Sentimental Street” by Night Ranger, but I don’t think Scott can really pull that one off.

Matt Giraud (1985): “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” by Sting
As much as I despise this song, I think Matt could do something special with it.

Lil Rounds (1984): “What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner or “Let’s Hear It For the Boy” by Deniece Williams. If Lil is going to get any swagger back she’s got to go back to her soul roots. Either one of these would work.

Anoop Desai (1986): “Kyrie” by Mister Mister
I know this one sounds a little strange but I think it would give Anoop a chance to showcase his vocals without coming off like an R&B wannabe. But part of me would really like to see him rip out “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off” by Jermaine Stewart.
Bonus Daryl Hall Choice: “Dreamtime”
I have no idea whether Anoop can do this one. I’d just really like to see it get a little attention.

Allison Iraheta (1992): “Stay” by Shakespear’s Sister
I’m not sure it matters what Allison sings at this point, because it seems like America is against her no matter what. So why not do this one (although the time constraint wouldn’t give her much time to make the tempo changeover)? Of course, if she really wants to polarize America, she could go with “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, “D—n, I Wish I Was Your Lover” by Sophie B. Hawkins or “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen (Remember that it was re-released in 1992).

By the way, Kellie Pickler will be the former Idol returning for Wednesday’s results show. No word from FOX on who will be the other artist performing, but my guess is it will be Miley Cyrus, who recorded a performance of “The Climb” last week, since “Hannah Montana: The Movie” premieres this weekend…

So what do you guys think the Idols should sing? Any faves you’d like to hear them attempt, or maybe stay away from?

And don't forget that you can read more of my thoughts in Tuesday's "Herald-Dispatch"...

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Bucky Covington Album News

Bucky Covington’s new CD will hit stores September 8th.

You can hear his first single from the album, “I Want My Life Back,” here.

Michael Johns Album News

Michael Johns will release his debut album, “Hold Back My Heart” June 23rd.

The first single, “Heart On My Sleeve,” will hit radio April 21st and be available on iTunes April 14th…

Photo Credit: Michael Becker

Carrie Underwood Takes Home the Biggest Prize

Congratulations to Carrie Underwood for taking home the biggest prize at the Academy of Country Music Awards last night.

Carrie won Entertainer of the Year, making her only the seventh woman to win the award.

In her acceptance speech, Carrie said, “I've had a lot of good moments in the last four years. This one takes the cake! I don't know what to say! I got nothing.”

Carrie also took home Female Vocalist of the Year…

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Sunday, April 5, 2009

David Cook Hits the "Free Radio" Airwaves UPDATED

David Cook will guest star on “Free Radio” this week.

If you’ve never seen it, “Free Radio” is a comedy about a radio station intern that becomes a popular morning show host because of his total incompetence on the air. The awkward celebrity interviews are completely improvised, so it will be interesting to see how Cook handles it.

“Free Radio” airs Thursday, April 9th at 11 p.m. on VH1…

UPDATE: Check out this picture of David on the show.

Photo Credit: VH1

Kat Hits the Big Apple

Katharine McPhee returns to acting this week with a guest spot on “CSI: NY.”
She’s playing a singer who becomes a suspect in a murder case.

“CSI: NY” airs Wednesday, April 8th at 10 p.m. on CBS…
Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Clay Aiken Teams With Tyra--UPDATED

On this week’s “America’s Next Top Model,” Clay Aiken will help judge an acting challenge.

“ANTM” airs Wednesday, April 8th at 8 p.m. on The CW…

UPDATE: Here's a picture of Clay on the show with judge Paulina Porizkova.

Photo Credit: Eric Leibowitz/CW

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Megan Joy: "I had no expectations"

Let me just say that I completely understand why Megan Joy would want to go home. It’s been a couple months since she’s seen her son and she won’t see him again until Wednesday. But I still don’t understand her behavior during Wednesday’s show. And nothing she said during today’s conference call did anything to change my mind…

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

On whether she wished she could take back saying she didn’t care: “No regrets ever. I wouldn’t take anything back. I was happy to go the way I did…I cared about the competition, I just didn’t care that Simon didn’t like my song.”

On why the flapping and cawing: “I love birds and bird noises and I just decided if I’m going out I’m going out with a bang. I’ll just be myself.” Megan said her fellow contestants actually brought up cawing first because she’s always making animal noises.

On who in the mansion made her laugh: “Every single person is really funny. It’s really fun. Allison has been my roommate. From the minute we wake up, she makes me laugh.”

On her brother, C.J., who heckled Kara Tuesday night: “I’m always proud of my brother. He can’t help but be himself. I was glad Kara ended up taking it in jest…We do hear that comment a lot and it’s like, we already know that.” Megan said that when Kara talked to C.J. she was like, “How dare you? Who do you think you are? Who are you?” And then when she realized who he was it was, “Oh, I see.”

On what she learned from the experience: “I learned that there’s always going to be negative people trying to bring you down and you have to work past it.”

On how long she’ll pursue music: “As long as I can. Whatever people want from me, I’m so excited to give it.”

On how far she thought she’d go: “I just thought whatever’s supposed to happen will happen. I wanted to make the tour. That was my goal. But I had no expectations.”

On doing her song after Simon’s speech about not saving her: “It was far more easier because I didn’t care if I messed up. I could sing it right at ‘em.”

On whether she was relieved to leave: “As sad as I am that I’m leaving, there is a really big part of me that can’t wait to see my son.”

On whether Simon turned on her: “I think his opinion of me changed a little bit and he was pretty hard on me. I think he still likes me, just maybe not for the show. I’ve got no beef with Simon and I don’t really think he’s got one with me.”

On her favorite “Idol” moment: “The night that I was sick. The miracle that I actually got through my song.” Megan said she was on IVs until a half an hour before her song.

Her message to her fans: “I love you beyond words.”

On what the judges said to her after the show: “They said that they loved me and that great things are going to happen.”

On her goodbye dinner: “They roasted me. It was a great, great night. They cawed at me a lot and made fun of me a little bit.

On the advice she’d give future “Idol” contestants: “Follow your dreams. Don’t worry about people’s opinions and negativity.” However, Megan said she avoided the blogs, so I guess she was just referring to the judges.

On whether she thought the judges would save her: “I really woke up feeling like I was going home no matter what.”

On what kind of music she’d like to record: “I’ve never tried to write before. I’m excited to see what comes out of me.”

On why she chose the Bob Marley song: “I love it and it’s one that I feel. It’s kind of a part of me.” Next week, Megan planned to sing “Separate Lives” by Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin.

Okay, what?!

On her musical influences: “I grew up listening to Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. In my teen years, I fell in love with Bjork and she changed my life.”

On what she’ll miss about the show: “I’ll miss the people that were a part of my life.” Megan plans to commemorate the experience by getting her lucky ring tattooed on her ribs.

Now we can all look forward to seeing Megan’s big number on the tour during which she’ll swoop across the stage flapping her arms and cawing at the audience…

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

The Day After...

So here is some news I learned since I signed off last night, courtesy of Whitney Pastorek over at EW.com…

But first, let me ask a question that’s been nagging me all day. Why tease me with the three groups of three if you’re not going to do it right? Stupid hour-long results shows…

Most of the “Idol” blogs agreed that Lady GaGa was awesome. What she said that I didn’t hear was her introducing her violin player, who was also pretty awesome…

Apparently, Ryan was unable to do his radio show yesterday morning because he was sick, so there was some concern that he wouldn’t be able to do “Idol” last night. Cat Deeley of “So You Think You Can Dance” was on standby…

But here’s the big news that came out this week, courtesy of EW.com. Did you hear the guy in the audience who yelled “Broken record” during Kara’s critique of Megan’s performance? Turns out it was Megan’s brother, C.J. and Kara didn’t like it. In fact, during the commercial break, Kara went over to him to find out who he was and what he meant. C.J. told Whitney at EW.com that he told her “‘Package artist’ is your package phrase” and she stormed off. But later, when she realized that he was Megan’s brother, she went back to smooth it over.

And that wasn’t Kara’s only incident Tuesday night. After she made her “Studio 57” comment to Adam, Simon immediately corrected her (It’s Studio 54. Kara and numbers…). Then, during the commercial break, she stood up, looked at a friend in the audience, made a slashing gesture across her throat and mouthed, “I’m dead.”

Clearly, it wasn’t Kara’s best week. But then, has she had even a good week so far?...

Oh, and Neil Patrick Harris was once again in the audience. Let’s put him on the stage next week, okay?...
Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Breaking News: Megan's Explanation: "I love birds"

Allow me to interrupt your day by telling you that yes, I did behave myself during today’s conference call with Megan. But it was hard…

Because I really felt like the reporters were letting her get off too easy with her explanation of why she did the bird stuff. And so many of the reporters were telling her how much they were going to miss her because she brought originality to the show.

Is that what you call it…

But since I couldn’t think of anything else to ask but “Are you kidding us with this crap? What’s the matter with you?” I kept my mouth shut.

For the record, Megan’s explanation was, “I love birds and bird noises and I just decided if I’m going out, I’m going out with a bang. I’ll just be myself.”

See what I mean?

I’ll have more from Megan later tonight…

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Did America Get It Right?

So, did America get it right? Absolutely 100 percent positively they did. And I salute you, America, for doing so…

If you needed any evidence that sending Megan home was the right thing to do, I submit tonight’s show in which Megan basically made a mockery of the whole thing. First she made stupid expressions, then she flapped her wings and cawed like an idiot. Then she put the other contestants up to doing the same. And finally, she flailed around like an idiot during her swan song.

I could hear Votefortheworst.com celebrating from here…

I understand her wanting to go home and be with her son, but go out with class like Michael Sarver. Don’t make fun of the show that’s made you a household name and will now probably help you make a better life for your child.

No wonder Simon was annoyed…

It will be everything I can do to hold my tongue during tomorrow’s media conference call and keep from ripping her for her behavior. In fact, maybe I should just wait for the taped replay. It might be safer for everyone involved…

So now that Megan is gone, let’s move on to next week and one of my favorite themes—Songs From the Year You Were Born. This annual theme has produced some of the truly great “Idol” performances (Cook’s “Billie Jean,” anyone?) and I’m looking forward to it.

Especially since there will be no cawing…I hope…

So what do you think? Did America get it right?

And one other question. What does Allison have to do to win your love, America?...

And the Person Going Home Is...

9:53 We’re back with Anoop, Megan and Allison…Ryan sends to safety…Allison…YEA! Megan tells her “don’t forget to call.” I think she’s ready to go home, isn’t she?…And the bottom vote-getter is Megan who waited for the result with that dumb fake scared look she’s been sporting all night…She tells the audience it’s okay…She tells Anoop the same thing she told Allison, only it’s “don’t forget to caw” because as she stands in front of the judges all of the contestants start cawing. Are you kidding me?!...Ryan asks Simon if the judges will use their save…Simon says, “With all due respect, you said you don’t care (She said earlier that she didn’t care what Simon said.), nor do we.” Simon says they’re not even going to pretend to take her performance into consideration and encourages her to enjoy her swan song. He seems rather annoyed. It was probably the arm flapping. I mean, SERIOUSLY…She sings “Turn Your Lights Down Low”…She does even weirder dance moves right in front of the judges…Ryan comes over to her and she thanks everyone that works on Idol, she says the contestants are awesome and then says, “I’m coming home baby”…Goodbye video…Wow, she has changed her look, hasn’t she?...She cries when she sees her son on the video…Ryan sends us out by saying that next week’s theme will be songs from the year they were born. I love that theme!...

10:02 We’re out…

Lady GaGa Smokes Out the Place

9:45 See what I mean about those April Fool’s things? They’re shot so badly…We’re back…Ryan intros Lady GaGa doing “Poker Face”…She starts out at the piano. I don’t remember this part of the song, do you?...She’s doing a slow acoustic version of the song with just the piano and the violin…I think the audience is a little confused…The piano is clear and bathed in hot pink light. It’s pretty cool…Now, it’s the song we recognize as the dancers come out and the music starts…It’s going to take them a while to clean out all that smoke out of the studio…Okay what’s with the violin breakdown?...That’s it? Where was the rest of the song?...She just said, “Ladies and gentlemen,” something, but I didn’t get what she said…Ryan doesn’t walk over to her and interrupt her pose. He only turns to the bottom three and says, “Pretty cool, huh?” I have to agree, although it was WAY too short…Ryan asks Simon how many are worth saving and Simon says one. Surely he means Allison and NOT Megan. Megan makes yet another goofy face in response. I think she’s over this whole thing…Break…

Ryan Messes With the Three Groups of Three Formula

9:34 We’re back…Ryan stands on the stage with the three groups…Lights down…Ryan walks over to Kris…He’s safe. Okay what exactly is Ryan up to tonight?...Matt…Ryan tells Matt last week he was in the bottom three, and this week he’s also going to have to take a seat. Matt walks to the urinal chairs, but Ryan stops him. He’s safe…Megan…She’s in the bottom three and she does a super weird bird imitation with a caw and a wing flap while walking over there. PLEASE SEND HER HOME!!!...Ryan walks over to the next group…Lil…safe…Allison…Bottom three. She says, “Hey familiar chair.” I don’t like that…Adam…safe…Simon appears to be trying to figure things out himself…Last group of three…Danny…safe. Is it just me or is he starting to look cocky?...Scott and Anoop…Kara and Paula appear to be guessing who, as is Randy…Ryan asks Randy who is in the bottom three. He says Anoop. Anoop agrees. He says watching the performance back he can understand it. He’s right, Scott is safe…The bottom three is Megan, Allison and Anoop…Break…

9:24 We’re back…Ryan intros David Cook singing his new single, “Come Back to Me.” This was taped two weeks ago…Doesn’t he look cute? He looks so much better without that skull cap…Notice he’s playing the AC guitar…By the way, they’re also releasing “Bar-ba-sol” to rock stations at the same time…David’s mom is in the audience…Ryan comes over to him…David says it’s weird being back…David tries to answer Ryan’s question, but he’s interrupted by girls yelling, “We love you, David” to which he responds, “Not as much as I love you”…Ryan says he has a gift for him…Two girls come out with the plaque that certifies his album going platinum and he tears up a little and tells Ryan, “I always seem to cry on this stage”…Break…

Have I mentioned that he's AWESOME?

9:31 Sneak peek of the video for the song…I love that whole walking backwards thing…

It's The Three Groups of Three, But...

9:13 Those FOX April Fool’s things are not funny…We’re back…Video of a typical “Idol” week…You hear the screams for Kris over the video…This is actually just a big hodgepodge of all of their experiences, not following them through a typical week. Nice try, Ryan…Danny gets some screams…Matt impersonates Danny pretty well…They have a chef that comes three times a week. What do they eat the rest of the week? He made a quadruple chocolate cake for Scott. That makes me sick just looking at it…Ryan asks Danny to do Matt and he makes fun of his Coldplay performance. That was just wrong…Anoop makes fun of Kris’ “How Sweet It Is” and Kris pretends he’s going to leave…Allison does Danny’s “PYT” and then Danny asks her to do “Jesus Take the Wheel”…Ryan says they get a long better than any past group of Idols…

9:17 Lights down…Megan stands…Matt stands…Kris stands…Uh-oh…It’s the three groups of three, but why is Kris there?...Adam stands with lots of yells…Lil stands…Allison stands. Surely that’s not the middle group. How could Adam be in the middle?…Scott…Danny…Anoop…Could Kris really be in the bottom three? I smell a switch…As Ryan walks across the stage to set up the break, Allison is trying to figure out what’s going on with Lil. She’s probably thinking the same thing I am. I think Ryan’s going to pull a last minute switcheroo and switch Kris out for someone. I mean, SURELY that’s what’s going to happen…Break…

Will Megan Go Home? I Won't "Stop Believin'"

Most of the sites I read on the Internet today agree with my assessment that Megan is going home today…

Boy do I hope we’re all right…

Here we go…

9:00 Another dramatic taped intro with judges comments over pictures. I actually like these…Kris, Danny and Adam are shown as the best…And how long did it take Paula to memorize her comments to Adam last night?...

9:01 Ryan down the stairs…Alexis Grace is in the house sitting next to Jason Castro…Over 36 million votes. I guess the texts were being processed faster because the confirmations came through very quickly last night…Ryan sets up the show…Intros the judges. Kara’s a tad too happy…

9:03 Ryan asks Randy about song choice. Randy repeats his phrase about “just because you love a song doesn’t mean you’re going to sing it well.” I think that’s the most astute comment he’s ever made…Ryan asks Kara about the audience heckling her. She says she feels like part of the gang now…Ryan asks Paula how the other contestants are going to keep up with Adam. She says “each and everyone of you possesses that potential”…Ryan asks Simon who should leave tonight. He says Anoop, Matt and Megan should be worried. Megan gives a crazy wave to the camera in response…

9:06 Ford commercial… “Mixed Up”…Kris and Matt rap…the picture splits into threes and mixes parts of the Idols and the cars. It’s hard to explain…Oh lord, the group number is “Don’t Stop Believin’”…Allison…Kris…Scott is on the keyboard…Scott…Megan…Anoop…I’m paying pretty close attention this week because I think they might actually be singing…Lil. Man whoever is helping her pick out her clothes is awesome…Danny actually sounds like Steve Perry…Okay, they might actually be singing, but there’s no way that Scott is actually playing…Matt…Adam…Okay, what was with the close-up on Adam’s black nail polish?...That wasn’t too painful…Break