Sunday, March 20, 2011


I've been watching American Idol since season one and kvetching about it since season two. I generally post my reviews here but I don't think it really comes up in searches as easily as Blogger does. So this season I'll be experimenting with posting them in both places. Thank you for reading, and please feel free to pipe in with your opinions -- just don't get too hateful about either the contestants or with each other, please. That's what the Fox boards are for. Winking0048 I'd also love it if you would let other Idol freaks know about the reviews. The more the merrier!

This is a review of last week's top twelve performances. Note, I do not review the elimination shows.


Okay...I'm excited for tonight's show, as I was lucky enough to sit in on the American Idol discussion panel at Paleyfest this past Monday night (thank you, Faith Rivera!). In attendance were Randy, Steven, Executive Producer Ken Warwick, head of Alternative Programming (or something like that) Mike Darnell and nine of the top thirteen contestants (Ashthon had gotten the boot already and Lauren, Scotty and Thia had to stay behind and do school work - the audience was NOT happy about that). I have no idea why JLo wasn't there. I was kind of glad though, because if she had been, the place would have been a MAD HOUSE to get into or out of, I'm sure. But it was really fun. Here are a couple really fuzzy pics from my camera phone:

The great Steven Tyler!

The whole panel l-r: moderator dude from L.A. Times, Steven, Randy, Ken Warwick, Mike Darnell, Pia, Karen, Haley, Paul, Jacob, Stefano, James, Naima and Casey.


Paul and James

I'm sure that looks junky and awful. Sorry. It's more proof that I was actually that close to Steven Tyler more than anything. Ha!

Birth year theme. This always makes me wanna take a long drive off a cliff on the Pacific Coast Highway. You were born when??? Scared

Up first tonight is Naima, who's missing her babies and singing Tina Turner's 1984 classic "What's Love Got To Do With It" (Useless trivia: Tina never wanted to record this song because she didn't like it. Now she's stuck singing it till she dies.) I'm seriously hating these arrangements this year. I'm finding they are distracting me from the singer, which defeats the whole purpose. And really - leave well enough alone, anyway. Other than a person and performer I'm cool with Naima. She's trippy and cool and seems very comfortable on stage. But I have yet to be impressed with her vocal skills even remotely. From that standpoint, she sings a slight hair under pitch in the first place and makes the audience white-knuckle it through, waiting for her to go as flat as Thia does at any second. Her vibrato is an afterthought, which goes sharp when she uses it (a la Beyonce and Rhianna, seems the thing to do these days). It all ends up sounding really sloppy overall. So for me Naima is all aural wackness. I so wish she was better, because she's the only personality out of the girls that I care for so far.

So how adorable is Paul? Oh goody, he's gonna do Elton John's "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" (I'm a geektastic Elton fan), though I admit I can't imagine it. Guess we'll see what happens. (Ummm...did they get three interns from the Musician's Institute to sing backup this year? They looked all of twelve! Been loving this season so far but I'm starting to notice some blatant kid-marketing going on. Guess who buys the tv's the kids watch, Fox? Bite my shriveled up @$$.) Ok...back to Paul. I don't know what I think about this performance. His voice was squeekier than usual and he definitely missed some pitches, so not a great vocal from him tonight. I think I would really like his spin on this song when he's feeling up to it, though. On the plus side, he's a pro...his energy never wavered and he relied on his stage skills to get him through it...which is how it's done, young'uns.  

Thia was born in 1995. Gulp. Wasn't that just yesterday?  Smiley-think005 Ah, "Colors of the Wind" should be a good choice for her IF SHE STAYS IN TUNE. And as I suspected, yes an excellent choice. On the big last chorus, she was just shy of the higher notes, but just enough that she could have passed them off as "blue" if we didn't already know she tends to sing flat. Overall, however, this is my favorite performance from her so far. Age-appropriate, generally well-sung and she is a GORGEOUS girl whose smile lights up the stage almost as much as Paul's. I like her. I just really want the vocal coach to work on her pitch with her. And I want her to sing something other than a ballad next week.

Uh...Randy has a problem with her vocals THIS week? Crazy

James, GIMME that Bon Jovi, baby!!! 1989's "I'll Be There For You." Weeeeelllllll...I definitely white-knuckled it through that one, too. You can tell he caught The Cold. But he hung on by his fingernails and performed his way through it. Not my favorite of his and the tempo felt rushed but thank God there weren't any cheesy horn parts thrown in at least (biggest pet peeve of past "rock" arrangements on this show). It was kinda "meh" for me. I'm not worried he'll be safe, though.

Ah, so I see why Haley has no idea who she is as an artist - she grew up with musicians who play covers. Therefore, she has been exposed to every style there probably is and can probably sing most of them well. My advice would be to step into studio singing after the show, sweetie. That way you can do everything and get away with it. Now...I'm feeling this song is gonna be a mistake for her. She's hitting the notes and singing it with a cool jazzy style that could have worked if Ron Fair had taken that hint with his arrangement...but he didn't. The audience, I don't think, is gonna get this at all. I feel pretty squarely that she's gonna end up in the bottom three and possibly sent home for that. And I think that would be a shame cuz I really dig her voice. 

Steven's got it...more blues, Haley. That's where you live, darlin. I hope she gets the chance to bring it next week.

Viva Italia, Stefano! He's gonna sing Simply Red's "If You Don't Know Me By Now." I can't wait to hear him do this. I love his voice and I have great expectations for this song. Aaaaannnnddddd, I think the arrangement was soulless but he gave his 150% to it. By far the best of the night so far. My only kvetch is that I wish he would learn to play with the dynamic levels. For those who don't know what that means...loud to soft to medium and back again. He sings everything at 10 from start to finish and that's going to become tiresome for the audience and hard on his voice. He's got to learn not to beat a song to death, but caress and finesse it. I think it's mostly cuz he gets super excited and every week he's singing for his life and just spills it all over the stage (that said, I always believe him), but it won't serve him for an entire career. He's one of my faves, though. Kid can saaaaang. Yes

I cannot believe I'm hearing one of my neighbors using a power tool of some sort at 10:30pm on a Wednesday night. CANNOT. BELIEVE. Mad0259

Viva Italia, Pia! Oh my God that home video was HILARIAL. She's gonna sing Whitney's "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" and I have no qualms that she will sing it well. Dear God in heaven I HATE this arrangement...WHAT IS GOING ON HERE??? Thank God this girl knows how to sing her face off. She's got the stuff. Period. Wish she would use the stage a bit. But I can't complain about her vocals ever. Flawless.

Ryan's cracking me up this season. Turns out he's kinda funny. Bounce

Look at Scotty as Elvis! 16a420n Some Travis Tritt from 1993 song I don't know. Aaaawwww, seriously. I just can't say anything. This child is brilliant. I...yeah...ummm...I got nuthin. Just wax my butt and send me down the slopes. Smiley-score010

So is Karen's hair gonna do a duet with her tonight? And with those earrings she could start her own band. Eyerub She's going to do Taylor Dayne's "Love Will Lead You Back." Man, I was really digging this until she flipped so noticeably into head voice on her high notes that it tore me right out of the moment. Can someone give this girl a chest voice, please? Bummer. Otherwise, good song choice for her, her pitch was fantastic and she was really owning that stage. I liked this performance overall and I think she gave as much as she's got...which tells me she's got to start moving past being a good vocalist and start learning how to be an amazing one. I think the potential's there, I just don't know if this medium gives her the time to woodshed her vocals like she needs to. 

I think Randy heard some other chick singing. Pitch wha huh? Good advice from Jennifer though...if you don't have the notes, don't do them, play to your strengths. Certainly explains the one-note song she just released. Oh NO she dint! Did you see that coming? Uuhh! Right there, biznitches! 16a375z.   

Tamyra who? Confused02

Hahahaha...Casey's gonna do Nirvana! NIRVANA ON AMERICAN IDOL!!! Cobain is rolling over in his grave and emo screamers everywhere are weeping and gnashing their teeth! Aaaaawwwwwww yeah.'s the thing...I think he got everything right he could possibly get right or be allowed by this show to get right...I am THOROUGHLY disappointed that Idol couldn't spring for a headset mic for him so he could run and thrash around on the stage, because you KNOW he wanted to! I wanted him to. I think everyone wanted him to. And what the hell with putting him out there all by himself with just his bass and a giant amp? They're doing that a lot this season...making it very karaoke-ish again. Where is the band? Why can't we see them? But I digress. I can't complain about this. Casey keeps taking risks that work. And, true to the spirit of Cobain, I didn't understand a single blinkin' word he sang. That's rock n' roll, man. Rockon

Poor Lauren, all sick n' stuff. 5386 Ummmmm...ok, I never sound like THAT when I've got the flu! WTH, girl?! You GO wicho bad self! Still missing that first week spark but she still sounded pretty dang good, especially for being sick. I'm sure she's safe. Btw, her mama has that Southern Mary Kay face. Oh, how I miss that look from my Nashvegas days! Lurve

Jacob closes the show with my blessed Heart's "Alone." You bettah, child. YOU. BETTAH. LOL...omg he's SO DRAMATIC! I kinda love that. And he's always 110% in the moment, which I can not fault, especially on this show. How do I feel about his version? Hmmmmm. Well...I feel like it kinda got away from him a bit...this song requires a mix of desperation and control that I've yet to hear anyone but Ann herself master properly (ummm...that includes Carrie's bland rendition in season four that everyone seems to think was so amazing but really wasn't - I'd like to hear her sing it NOW that she knows how to properly emote on stage...but I digress). I liked the arrangement itself by the end of it, even though when that key change came I was all, "Aw hayull naw!" But he made it work and he definitely put his own unique spin on it. Lots of pitchiness was had, but I'll take a few wonky notes when they're jam-packed with true emotion any day of the week. And I am a fan of his voice, so I was okay with it. I'm interested to hear the recording, actually. Overall, his is the only version of this song on this show that I kinda sorta approve of, cuz he's the only one who's come anywhere close to the emotional quality that it needs, even if he went a bit over the top. Okay, maybe a lot over the top. Tongue (and I have no doubt that Kaore Bonnell shall henceforth unfriend me, should he read this)

So that was an okay show. Everyone's really different from each other and I'm very much enjoying that. I really want these blechtastic arrangements to go away, though. 1zvbb13 Not a clue who's going home, though I think Haley will end up in the bottom three and Naima probably should join her. I'm concerned that perhaps Jacob will because people won't get him, but you never know with this monster of a show.

That's all she's writing, folks! Gonna cuddle up in my bed with Toni Morrison's "Song of Solomon." Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts! (and don't forget to click on my banner below! Only 4 days left! Lovestruck)

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