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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.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Allison Iraheta CD Review: Nothing New, But...

If Kelly Clarkson and P!nk had a daughter she would be Allison Iraheta. Her appearance, her demeanor, and especially her voice are the spitting image of both of them combined…

And although I mean that as a compliment to Allison it is also a bit of a problem for her on her debut CD, “Just Like You.” Because even though it is a strong effort, you can’t get over the feeling that you’ve heard it all before…

In fact, several of the tracks sound like hidden tracks/castoffs from P!nk’s or Kelly’s latest CDs. Opening single “Friday I’ll Be Over U” is pure Max Martin (“My Life Would Suck Without You,” “Since U Been Gone,” “So What”). The ballad “Scars” is very much in the vein of “Sober,” but it’s so perfectly suited for Allison’s voice you can overlook it. “Trouble Is” allows Allison to completely showcase her vocal ability, but if you heard it on the radio it would be a good minute and a half before you realized it wasn’t P!nk (if you did at all).

Ironically, one of the least P!nk-sounding songs on the CD is “No One Else” which P!nk co-wrote with Kara DioGuardi and Greg Wells. It’s pure Kara though (which I mean as a compliment), so it’s got that pure pop sound to it that could make it a big hit for Allison.

My two favorite tracks on the CD are the two sillier songs—“Robot Love” and “D is for Dangerous.” Although I’m still a little unclear on the meaning of “my boyfriend’s in love with a robot,” “Love,” which samples Gary Glitter’s “Rock & Roll Part 1” is a great song with a super catchy chorus you’ll be bopping to for hours. And “Dangerous” adds some much-needed funk…

The funk does not work, however, on the Kevin Rudolf co-write, “Beat Me Up.” The verse is ok, but the chorus just doesn’t work and the song sticks out like a sore thumb.

“Just Like You,” “Don’t Waste the Pretty,” “Pieces,” “Still Breathing” and “You Don’t Know Me” are all mid-tempo numbers in the lighter P!nk/Kelly Clarkson vein, while “Holiday” gets a little grittier…

The bottom line is that this is a strong debut for Allison with plenty of pure pop ditties that radio should eat up. But if you’re looking for a lot of originality, you’re not going to get it.

But when it sounds this good, maybe that’s okay…

“Just Like You” hits stores Tuesday, December 1st

Photo Credit: Jive/19

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

So what do you guys think of at Thanksgiving?

Since you know I always go for the “Friends” reference first. I always think of the annual Thanksgiving episodes. Why somebody doesn’t marathon them one year I will never understand…

My favorite is “The One Where Ross Got High.” That’s the one where Chandler finds out that Monica and Ross’ parents don’t like him because Ross told them Chandler got high and ruined all of his dad’s records.

That’s also the one where Rachel screws up and puts beef in the dessert and they all pretend to like it to not hurt her feelings.

When everything comes out, it’s a classic scene that still cracks me up…

But Thanksgiving is also a time to say what we’re thankful for. So I hope you guys will indulge me for a second as I share what I’m thankful for…

I’m thankful for all of my contacts in the TV/music world that keep me connected so I can keep you informed…

I’m thankful for Facebook which has allowed me to stay connected with family and friends in a way I couldn’t be before…

I’m thankful for all of my family and friends—old and new—who I could not have moved into my new home without…

I’m thankful for my fiancé. Even though I rarely mention him in this blog since he doesn’t watch any of the same shows as me and he never reads this, as Kelly Clarkson would say, my life would suck without him…

I’m thankful for my editors, Andrea and Robyn. Andrea is the reason you get to read my stuff in the first place and Robyn is the reason even more people get to read it through the print version…

I’m thankful for my dad. To say that he’s a huge help to me would be a huge understatement. And he’s even suggested some things for me to write in my blog. I just haven’t had the chance to share them with you yet (Sorry Dad)…

And last but not least I am thankful for all of you, my loyal readers. At the risk of getting too sentimental, I would be nothing without you. So thanks to you all…

I wish you all a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. I’ll be back in a few days…

So How Did Kris Do?

The Billboard 200 chart was released today and Kris Allen’s debut CD came in at #11…

Amid a slew of new albums from John Mayer, Norah Jones and 50 Cent, Kris sold 80,000 copies to finish just outside the top 10.

Honestly, it’s not bad, and he did outsell Leona Lewis, but I was obviously hoping for better. The official kickoff of the Christmas shopping season should help him out a little bit…

I'll have Adam's sales numbers for you next week, but it will take a lot for him to outsell Susan Boyle...

Adam Gets Back to the Music

I don’t know who deserves the kudos more—Adam Lambert or Adam’s people. But whoever it is did a fantastic job this morning on “The Early Show.”

If you missed it, Adam did not apologize for his performance but he did admit he got “carried away.” He said that the more sexual moves came from an “impromptu place” and that he did not do them in rehearsal.

When he was pushed to take responsibility for the children watching he refused to back down, saying, “I’m not a babysitter.”

Then Adam wisely sang two completely different songs—the two best songs on his CD, the radio-friendly “Whataya Want From Me” and the amazing “Music Again”—and he nailed every single note in both. It was a very good move…

Now I don’t believe for a second that Adam forgot there was a camera on him Sunday night. I believe he knew exactly what he was doing. But I was still very impressed with the way he handled himself today.

And I have to agree with both Ken Tucker and my hero Slezak of EW.com. “Good Morning America” made a huge ratings mistake cancelling his performance.

Now the question is which song Adam will sing on “Letterman” tonight. I’m actually hoping RCA/19 decides to go with a completely different single altogether now so we can put this behind us and focus on what really matters—an amazing CD that deserves to be heard…

You can see Adam’s interview and both of his performances below…





Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Breaking News: FOX Announces "Idol" Premiere Date

FOX has just announced the premiere dates for “American Idol”…

“Idol” will return with a two-night premiere Tuesday, January 12th and Wednesday, January 13th at 8 p.m. both nights. Tuesday’s episode will be two hours, while Wednesday will only be one so it can lead into a new show.

Mark your calendars, ladies and gentlemen…

More Fallout From Adam's AMA Performance...

Oh my…

“Good Morning America” has cancelled Adam Lambert’s scheduled performance tomorrow morning saying it isn’t appropriate for a morning audience.

However, EW.com is reporting that Adam will now be performing on “The Early Show” on CBS tomorrow morning. Adam was already scheduled to perform on “The Late Show with David Letterman” tomorrow night…

It will be interesting to see whether or not Adam tones his act down any. My guess is yes—but I’m betting only a little…

Yesterday, the Parents Television Council released a statement yesterday (via “The Hollywood Reporter” saying:

“In response to last night's broadcast of the ‘American Music Awards’ on ABC and a raunchy performance by Adam Lambert of ‘American Idol’ fame, the Parents Television Council is asking its members to contact ABC, Dick Clark Prods. and the show's advertisers with complaints. In areas where the explicit material aired before 10 p.m., PTC members are being urged to contact the FCC.”

Backstage at the awards show, Adam defended his performance (again via the “Reporter”):
“Female performers have been doing this for years -- pushing the envelope about sexuality -- and the minute a man does it, everybody freaks out. My goal was not to p--s people off; it was to promote freedom of expression and artistic freedom.”

On his Twitter page following the performance, Adam tweeted, “Hope u had fun tonight! We did. All hail freedom of expression and artistic integrity. :) fans: I adore u.”

Then in response to a tweet from Perez Hilton, Adam tweeted, “Thank you for the support. It WAS a bit pitchy. Don't know what was goin on with the sound. Same thing always went down on idol. but I had a blast and am looking forward to my upcoming performances.”

Again, let me say that my problem with the performance was not that it was too explicit. My problem with it was that it was just not very good. Most of Adam’s actions were completely unnecessary. But they did serve as a distraction from his less than stellar vocals.

And that’s the real shame here. Adam is better than this. But this is all people will be talking about for a while. I’m willing to take his word for it that it was a sound problem since it’s so unlike him to be so off…

But I’m sorry Adam. I don’t buy for a second that you were trying to promote “freedom of expression.” You were trying to shock us. And it didn’t work…

Now instead of shocked, I’m just kind of sad…

Monday, November 23, 2009

Adam Draws Complaints

USAToday.com is reporting that ABC has received over 1500 complaints about Adam Lambert's American Music Awards performance.

Also, many Internet sites are reporting that Adam fell during the performance. I thought he just did a pretty cool roll across the stage. No word on who is right...

Don't forget that Adam's CD "For Your Entertainment" hit stores today. You can see my review here.
Photo Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC


Was Adam's AMA Performance Just Too Much?

I told you that Adam Lambert’s performance of “For Your Entertainment” on the American Music Awards would be wild and I guess it was.

But more than anything I thought it was a major disappointment…

Clearly Adam was going for shock value, but CLEARLY he was trying too hard. The gyrating against his dancers was unnecessary enough. We didn’t need the makeout session with his band member.

And the director of the telecast obviously agreed because there were awkward cutaways both times.

As for the song, which was hard to concentrate on given the theatrics—which may have been the point—I heard Adam miss at least two big notes, maybe more.

Adam’s performance accomplished one thing in that it has people talking. But that talk only serves as a distraction to Adam’s music. And that’s a shame because his CD is very good.

Now people looking for a reason not to like Adam have found some. I know he doesn’t care, but I still think it’s a shame…

You can see the performance here. Be sure to let me know what you think. But unlike Adam, I’d appreciate it if you kept it clean…

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The AMAs go "Idol"...

The American Music Awards will have a definite “Idol” flavor tonight…

Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Daughtry are all scheduled to perform. But I have to believe that one of the night’s biggest performances will be Adam Lambert’s debut performance of “For Your Entertainment.” I think it will be wild…

As for “Idol” nominations, Daughtry is nominated for Adult Contemporary Artist of the Year and Carrie Underwood is nominated for Female Country Artist of the Year.

The winners are chosen by the fans…

The American Music Awards will air tonight (Sunday, November 22nd) at 8 on ABC…

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Adam Lambert CD Review: WOAH!

You guys know it’s not like me to be at a loss for words…

But that’s exactly what I was after hearing just one track from Adam Lambert’s “For Your Entertainment.” And then I thought of so many words it’s hard to get them all down.

So I’ll just start with one—WOAH!

I hate to use a cliché to describe something so fresh and original but a breath of fresh air really is a great way to say it. Only maybe I would say it’s a gust instead of a breath…

On the opening track, “Music Again,” Adam sings “you make me want to listen to music again.” And that’s exactly what this song will do with its combination of Queen, The Killers and Justin Timberlake. Oh yeah, it’s that different, which figures since it was written by Justin Hawkins of The Darkness…

Then it’s the title track and first single, “For Your Entertainment,” which comes from Kelly Clarkson hitmaker Dr. Luke and Claude Kelly (Britney Spears’ “Circus”). You might recall I wasn’t really a fan of the song the first time I heard it, but in the context of the CD it really works—especially following “Again.” This is going to be a wild performance on Sunday’s American Music Awards…

But don’t worry Adam fans there are solid radio friendly pop songs on the CD as well. And they don’t get much better than “Whataya Want From Me,” which was co-written by P!nk. This song has hit written all over it…

Kara DioGuardi and Greg Wells joined Adam himself to write “Strut,” which sounds exactly like its title. The first time I heard it I thought it was a little too over the top. I still think that, but it’s totally grown on me…

It wouldn’t be Adam without a completely dramatic ballad to showcase his amazing voice and he has chosen a good one with “Soaked,” which was written by Matthew Bellamy of Muse. This song will probably never be a radio hit, but it wasn’t meant to be and that’s okay…

“Sure Fire Winners” is less original but it has a killer beat produced by Rob Cavallo (Green Day, David Cook) guaranteed to make you want to dance…

“A Loaded Smile” comes from Linda Perry (Christina Aguilera, P!nk) and it’s a nice sexy ballad that conjures up images of one of those sexy violent movies. And I mean that as a compliment…

The CD stumbles slightly with “If I Had You” from the team of Max Martin, Shellback and Savan Kotecha. It’s not a bad song it just pales into comparison to the rest of the tracks…

Adam teams once again with Greg Wells and Rivers Cuomo of Weezer to bring us “Pick U Up” which has a totally unexpected chorus that makes what could have been just an ordinary song something special. The slowing of the song to set up a key change is amazing and makes you want to just stand up and cheer…

And who else could bring Adam one of the sexiest songs of the CD but Lady Gaga who co-wrote “Fever” with Jeff Bhasker. And when I say sexy I mean not the kind of song you would hear on “Idol.” Unless someone snuck the phrase ménage a trois in there somewhere and I just don’t remember. But it’s a good song…

Sadly not everything on the CD is original since I instantly recognized “Sleepwalker” as the Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic) song since the opening is terribly similar to OneRepublic’s “All the Right Moves.” It’s still a good song, it’s just hard for me to get past that…

“Aftermath,” another Adam co-write, is another radio-friendly pop track with an 80s hair band type chorus. And again, that’s a compliment…

Adam also co-wrote “Broken Open” (again with Greg Wells and Evan Bogart). It’s a moody ballad that will remind “Idol” fans of “Mad World,” which of course means it’s gorgeous…

“Open” would be the perfect ending to the CD, but instead we get the bonus track, “Time for Miracles” from “2012.” I still really like this song, but compared to all of the CD’s other tracks, I’m not sure it quite fits. But it’s still worth having…

In all honesty, Adam’s music is not for everyone, but it’s going to be for a lot of people. RCA/19 has surrounded an extremely talented singer with some extremely talented songwriters and producers to create something pretty special.

I strongly recommend what I think could be one of the best “Idol” CDs ever. It’s definitely the most original…

“For Your Entertainment” hits stores Monday, November 23rd…

Photo Credit: RCA

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jennifer Hudson Will Be "Home for Christmas"

Carrie Underwood isn’t the only Idol doing a Christmas special this year…

ABC will air “Jennifer Hudson: I’ll Be Home for Christmas” December 14th at 8 p.m.

Michael Buble will join her on the special which was taped in her hometown of Chicago…

Photo Credit: Matt Dinerstein/ABC

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bucky Goes "Live From Rockingham"

Lyric Street Records announced today that Bucky Covington will release a digital exclusive EP, “Live From Rockingham.”

The EP features five live tracks from Bucky’s recent hometown concert: “A Different World,” “It’s Good to Be Us,” “I’ll Walk,” “Gotta Be Somebody” and “Mexicoma.” The latter two songs are from Bucky’s second CD, “I’m Alright,” which is due in Spring 2010.

The EP also features the video for “Somebody,” which spotlights the crowd of over 6000 who attended the homecoming concert.

The EP will be available on all digital outlets beginning tomorrow (November 17th)…

Photo Credit: Lyric Street Records

"Kris Allen" Gets Set to Hit Stores

Don’t forget that “Kris Allen” hits stores tomorrow…

You can read my review of it here.

And remember that if you’re looking for “Send All Your Angels,” the track co-written by Chris Daughtry, you can only find it on the Wal-Mart exclusive edition…

Kris will perform on “Good Morning America” tomorrow (Tuesday, November 17th).

In the meantime, you can see his performance of “Live Like We’re Dying” from Friday’s “Tonight Show” here…



I think it’s pretty daggone good, but then I’m terribly prejudiced…

Carrie Hits #1 Again

Okay, so let me play a little catch-up and congratulate Carrie Underwood on her second Billboard 200 #1 album…

Carrie topped the chart last week with her third album, “Play On,” which sold 318,000 copies.

It’s the largest sales week of the year for a female artist and the second largest sales week for a country album (Rascal Flatts’ “Unstoppable” had the largest.).

Meanwhile “Cowboy Casanova,” Carrie’s first single took over the top spot on the Country Songs chart. It’s Carrie’s 8th #1 on the chart. According to “Billboard,” of her 10 singles that have actively been promoted to country radio, only two did not top the chart—“Don’t Forget to Remember Me” and “I Told You So.”

That’s pretty impressive…

I’ll have more about Carrie when I bring you her comments on her Christmas special a little later…

Photo Credit: Arista Nashville

The Perfect Gift for the "Idol" Fanatic

Do you know which season six contestant is a cousin of “America’s Got Talent” winner Terry Fator? Or which season four contestant was once Ozzy Osborne’s neighbor?

I didn’t know either but now I do thanks to the “American Idol” 2010 desk calendar. Each day you’ll get trivia questions, quotes, recaps and fun facts about everything “Idol.” You’ll even find out what some of your favorite past Idols are up to now.

It’s the perfect gift for the “Idol” fanatic in your life. And for calendar fanatics like me it’s a double whammy.

I’ll probably even remember to flip the pages with this one…

And by the way, the answers to the above questions are Chris Sligh and Bo Bice…

The “American Idol” 2010 Calendar (SRP $13.99) is available now…

Photo Credit: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Daughtry in Huntington: Were You There?

So let's hear from those of you who were at the Daughtry concert in Huntington Saturday night.

Feel free to share your thoughts, experiences, etc. by posting a comment below...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Rewind" to Season Five

I still consider them to be the best Top 12 in “Idol” history and now you can relive their journey…

Beginning Saturday, “American Idol Rewind” will begin airing the Top 12 episodes from Season 5.


For those of you who don't remember, you're looking at Bucky Covington, Melissa McGhee, Lisa Tucker, Ace Young, Paris Bennett, Elliott Yamin, Chris Daughtry, Taylor Hicks, Kellie Pickler, Katharine McPhee, Kevin Covais and Mandisa...

“Rewind” airs weekends in syndication, so check your local listings. You can also catch encores on the TV Guide Network…

Photo Credit: FremantleMedia North America

More Details on Allison's CD

The fine folks at 19/Jive have released the track listing for Allison Iraheta’s “Just Like You,” which hits stores December 1st…

There are some pretty heavy hitters on the CD including Kelly Clarkson hitmaker Max Martin, who co-wrote two songs; Kevin Rudolf; David Hodges and Kara DioGuardi, who co-wrote a song with Pink and Greg Wells.


The CD is available for pre-order at iTunes now. Fans who do pre-order will receive the iTunes exclusive track, “Don’t Wanna Be Wrong,” which was co-written by Daughtry’s Chris Daughtry and Brian Craddock.


The deluxe version of the CD will contain a Spanish version of Allison’s single, “Friday I’ll Be Over U,” behind-the-scenes video footage from her album photo shoot and a digital album booklet…

Photo Credit: 19/Jive

Could Ryan Rock Your Town?

Ryan Seacrest has teamed up with Eventful to launch the “Ryan Rock My Town” sweepstakes through Eventful's Demand it! service.

Fans can demand a free concert in their city featuring Kris Allen, Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta. The city with the most Demanders will win the concert and participants will be eligible to receive the free tickets. Fans can also demand the concert online by going to RyanSeacrest.com.

The winner will be announced January 8, 2010…

Danny Gokey's New Song

While I was in my Twitter haze (You can read about that on my other blog.) I missed the release of Danny Gokey’s new single. So here’s a listen to it. It’s called “It’s Only,” and it was written by Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood along with Tom Douglas.

Danny was at the CMAs last night where Lady Antebellum won Vocal Group of the Year and Single of the Year for “I Run to You,” which the trio also wrote.

Danny is signed to 19 Recordings and RCA Nashville and is expected to drop his country CD in early 2010.

You know the love/hate relationship I have had with Danny, but even I know this is going to be a good one for him…

Daughtry Goes Country For a Night

Just three days before he hits the stage at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena, Daughtry took the stage at the Country Music Awards with Vince Gill to sing their song, “Tennessee Line.” It was, of course, gorgeous…

If you missed it, you can see it here, courtesy of MJ’s Big Blog…

By the way, Chris told “USA Today” that it was actually Richard Marx that got him together with Vince Gill for the song…

Carrie Brings the Show to the CMAs

If you missed Carrie Underwood’s performance of “Cowboy Casanova” last night, you can see it here.

Granted, it was pretty over-the-top and more Christina Aguilera than country, but it was nice to see Carrie actually move for a change…

Kellie's New Look

If you missed it, here's a look at CMA Awards presenter Kellie Pickler sporting her new red hair.

Personally, I'm not a fan, but I'll leave it to you guys to decide...

Photo Credit: Donna Svennevik/ABC

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The CMAs Take On An "Idol" Flavor

The 43rd Annual Country Music Awards will have a decidedly “Idol” flavor tomorrow night as Carrie Underwood co-hosts with Brad Paisley.

Kellie Pickler will be a presenter and Daughtry will perform their duet with Vince Gill, “Tennessee Line.”

Carrie is also nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year for “I Told You So,” her duet with Randy Travis. “I Told You So” is also nominated for Song of the Year, which goes to the songwriter (Randy Travis). Carrie will also perform “Cowboy Casanova.”

The 43rd Annual Country Music Awards will air Wednesday, November 11th at 8 p.m. on ABC…

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico/ABC

Kris Vs. Adam: Igniting a Firestorm

Wow! Sometimes the most harmless comments come back to bite me…

In my review of Kris Allen’s CD I wrote, “There are A LOT of potential singles here. I just hope that 19’s obvious infatuation with Adam Lambert doesn’t keep us from being able to hear all of them.”

If you’ve been reading the comments on my review, you know that set some people off…

So I feel like I must clarify myself a little bit, which I don’t always do, just to calm the storm that’s starting to get a little ugly.

First of all, I’m not blaming Adam for any failures Kris may have. Adam is supremely talented and deserves to have a great career. I am merely concerned that 19 may not promote Kris as much as they have been promoting Adam. That’s all I meant.

Remember that I am privy to some of the behind-the-scenes action here as far as publicists and press releases. Kris’ people are fantastic and are working very hard to promote him but they have some catching up to do.

Yes it is a shame that Adam and Kris will forever be compared (a la Clay and Reuben) and I probably shouldn’t have added to that. But you guys read this thing for my opinion, so I gave it to you…

As they say on “Top Chef,” “let the flames begin”…

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Monday, November 9, 2009

Kris Allen CD Review: More In Love Than Ever

I have now listened to the Internet stream of Kris Allen’s debut CD, “Kris Allen,” at least a half a dozen times.

And I can honestly say I am more in love with the guy than ever...

The CD is pure unadulterated pop and that’s not a bad thing. Especially when the songs are held together by a voice as recordable as Kris’. There are a few times when Kris stretches just a little too far but the songs are so catchy and Kris is so adorable, you’re willing to forgive them.

The CD kicks off with what I think could possibly be one of the best “Idol” related singles ever, “Live Like We’re Dying.” Then it’s back-to-back uber-catchy numbers with the Rob Thomas-sounding “Before We Come Undone” and the funky “Can’t Stay Away.”

Kris hits his first power ballad with “The Truth” and just as you’d expect, it’s gorgeous with a sweeping chorus using the analogy of a house falling apart to describe a dying love affair (It was co-written by Pat Monahan of Train.). Then it’s back to upbeat pop with “Written All Over My Face.”

But the upbeat doesn’t last long as Kris goes back to the piano ballad with one of the CD’s strongest tracks, “Bring It Back.” The strong tracks continues with “Red Guitar,” a song Kris wrote himself, which reminds me of The Fray and Rob Thomas rolled into one. Then it’s a touch of the blues with “Is It Over,” followed by a sweeping chorus with “Let It Rain,” and pure fun and funk with “Alright With Me.”

“Lifetime” is another ballad with a classic sweeping chorus, but “I Need to Know” takes the ballad idea one step further by slowing the song almost to a crawl to allow all of Kris’ emotion to pour out.

The bonus track on the CD is not “No Boundaries,” but is instead a new version of “Heartless.” At first I was disappointed because this new poppier version stripped the song of the great acoustic sound that Kris gave it both on the show and the “Idol” tour. But after multiple listens I completely fell in love with it too. However, be warned there is one very questionable note in the middle of the song that I would have never let slide.

There’s nothing I love more than a good pop album and “Kris Allen” totally fits the bill. It’s good to see that 19 finally has this whole winner’s album thing down now. There are A LOT of potential singles here. I just hope that 19’s obvious infatuation with Adam Lambert doesn’t keep us from being able to hear all of them.

“Kris Allen” hits stores Tuesday, November 17th. You can hear it now here.

Photo Credit: 19/Jive

Friday, November 6, 2009

Kris Allen's New Video Debuts!

Today AOL Music is debuting Kris Allen’s first video, “Live Like We’re Dying”

You can also see it here. I am already in love with it…

Plus, in conjunction with the theme of the song, Kris’s website, www.krisallenofficial.com will be hosting the “Every Second Counts” contest. Fans can submit entries showing how they live life to the fullest every day. The winner and three of their friends will get to fly to New York for a special performance by Kris.

But the BIG news out of the Kris camp is that AOL Music will debut his CD this Monday, a whole week before it is released, as part of its Full CD Listening Party.

“Kris Allen” hits stores November 17th…

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Carrie Underwood CD Review: Back to What She Does Best

You guys have been around me long enough by now to know that I am not a country fan. So when it comes time to review a country CD from an “Idol” artist, it’s pretty hard for me.

And it’s even harder for the artist because the CD really has to be good to impress me. After a couple of listens to Carrie Underwood’s “Play On,” I’m not completely impressed, but I’m getting closer…

You might remember that I was pretty hard on Carrie’s last effort, “Carnival Ride,” because I felt like she was trying too hard to prove that she’s a country artist. And after two songs I started to think I might have the same problem this time. But “Play” manages to totally outdo “Ride” by combining just the right combination of uptempo tracks and power ballads that concentrate more on the songs than what genre they are.

But make no mistake this is not Taylor Swift we’re dealing with here. These are all country songs. They may have some pop embellishments that could lend themselves to the pop charts, but Carrie is not deserting her roots anytime soon…

Carrie does work with a lot of songwriters known for their pop hits and some of them really work (the Kara DioGuardi co-written “Undo It”) and some of them don’t (Kelly Clarkson hitmaker Max Martin’s “Quitter”). But you’ve also got all the usual stuff you get with a Carrie CD. You’ve got your “So Small” sweeping anthems (“Change,” “Play On”) and your gritty “Before He Cheats” girl anthems (“Cowboy Casanova,” “Songs Like This”). Plus you’ve got your sensitive “Just a Dream” power ballads (“Mama’s Song,” “Temporary Home”).

But the best tracks on the CD are not the usual Carrie stuff. “Unapologize,” which was co-written by Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida (who co-wrote “Permanent” with David Cook), has a great sound and a super catchy chorus. It reminds me of some of my favorites from Carrie’s first album.

And the CD’s best track is a beautiful haunting duet co-written by Carrie, David Hodges (Evanescence) and Steve McEwan (“Just a Dream” and the under appreciated David Archuleta track “Touch My Hand”) called “What Can I Say.” But the song is almost ruined by Carrie’s choice of duet partners, Ashley Clark of Sons of Sylvia (We know them better as The Clark Brothers who won “The Next Great American Band.”). Ashley’s voice is just not strong enough to compete with Carrie’s and it almost brings the entire song down. Fortunately Carrie’s gorgeous vocals are enough to carry it for both of them. I think it could be one of Carrie’s best songs yet…

With “Play On,” Carrie takes good songs and gives them a country touch instead of trying to find blatantly country songs. And no doubt she’ll get some flack from critics who think she’s trying to compete with Taylor Swift. But personally I think she’s just doing what she does best. Which after the disappointment of “Carnival Ride” is great to hear…

Play on, Carrie. Play on…

“Play On” is available now…

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

Photo Credit: Arista Nashville