Wednesday, February 29, 2012

American Idol 11: Top 24 (25) -The Guys

Well, we are finally live this week and I am stoked to see how the contestants do. After a fanfare intro from Ryan we are introduced to the top 24 contestants and the fancy new set.  Lots of gold lighting. Kind of cool.
This show we see the top 12 guys plus one, who TPTB decided to bring back. We will learn at the end of the show who the lucky guy is. Wednesday we get the top 12 girls and Thursday we learn who America has voted as the top 5 of each group. The judges also each get a wildcard, so we will then have the top 13. 

All of the contestants took a camera home to show us something about where they live. I'm not going to comment on each of these pictorials on here.

So here we go.

Reed Grimm- Poor Reed is the unlucky, normally forgettable first contestant on the first live show. Bye Bye Reed. It was nice getting to know you. I think he does a good job with his own version of "Moves Like Jagger." He's smooth and jazzy. He throws in a little drumming and scatting, and moonwalking.  The judges like it and we get the first "bleep" of Steven Tyler on the live shows.

Adam Brock- "Think" by Aretha Franklin. Oldie but a goodie. Won't go over with the young 'uns though. He is sassy and confident. Lots of signs in audience "Brock On" and Brock the Vote." Steven- "Brilliant" JLo- "Loved the big finish" and Randy- "Loved the throwback vibe."

DeAndre Brackensick- "Reasons" by Earth, Wind, and Fire. I liked him better last year. hard for me to enjoy a guys whose singing voice is normally higher than mine. The teens in the audience love him. The judges love him too. JLo and Steven love the song choice and his voice on it. Randy says he is one of the most commercial voices on the show and he is ready to go now. Ryan brings two little girls up on the stage to hug DeAndre. Flashback in my mind of Ryan bringing all of the little girls up to hug David Archuleta.

Colton Dixon- "Decode" by Paramore.  Interesting song choice. Not normal for Idol. He starts out at the piano but then gets up and takes to the stage and owns it. He ends up on top of the piano, kneeling on it. Nice job. Randy is impressed and says "the show has such variety this season, so many flavors." JLo - "when you sing, you sing with your heart." JLo and Steven- "You are a relevant artist today."

Jeremy Rosado- "Gravity" by Sarah Barrielles. Sweet and tender performance. Passion in his voice. I think he did a nice job. I like him but I'm afraid he won't be moving on with so many talented guys this year. he is sweet and humble and unassuming and known as the guy who cheers others on. Steven says "you have a big heart and should be America's Idol because of that." Jlo tells him "you have such a beautiful voice."

Aaron Marcellus- Jackson 5's "Never Can Say Goodbye"  I'm afraid we will be saying goodbye to Aaron on Thursday. He was good, but not fantastic, in my opinion. I like him, but not as much as some of the others. He has a good voice, he is a sharp dresser. He judges gave him a standing O. Randy says "the boy can sing." JLo says "I believe in you." I just don't think he will connect with the American audience as well as some of the others.

Chase Likens- "Storm Warning" by Hunter Hayes. This is a song that is all over the Country airwaves right now. Chase is ok. Not really that special. I think he they just wanted to include a "country guy." He definitely is NOT Scotty. If I were a betting person, I'd be betting on saying byebye to chase. Steven says "Well, welcome to American Idol, cowboy. You remind me of Brendon Frazier from "The Mummy."  JLo says he has movie star good looks.

Creighton Fraker- "True Colors"- Creighton is definitely just himself. He does a nice job on this song. He means every word that he sings. Judges like him.  I like him too but I'm not sure that America will like him enough to keep him around. I hope I'm wrong on this one.

Phil Phillips- "In the Air Tonight"- He is definitely singing his own version of this song. Kind of hard to follow the melody of this very familiar song. It is interesting and I like it. Something about this kid is just so likable. And my 19 yr old daughter likes him too. He is very soulful.  He is playing his guitar again tonight. I'm not so sure that he can sing comfortably without it. The audience and the judges love him. JLo tells the audience that they should know and remember his name. he is the one the whole crew has been talking about since returning to Hollywood. Praises from Steven too. Randy didn't like the changeup on the song. Wanted more of the melody. I kind of agree with Randy.  That's a first.

Eben Franckewitz- Youngest contestant this year at 15.  Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain"  might have been to big a song for him. He seems nervous at first, then goes kind of flat while venturing to the far side of the stage. He pulls it all together for a big finish but the damage might be done. All three judges note that he had some pitch problems but come back at the end. Not bad for his age.  I would say he is gone but you never know how the teens will vote.

Heejun Han- "Angels"  NO, Heejun this is not the right song. It has been retired in the eyes of all Idol fans since David Archuleta sang it in Season 7. It should never be sung on this stage again. I want to be objective here, but I can only hear David singing this song now. I don't even want to hear Robbie Williams singing it. Heejun starts out ok but never quite delivers on the song. He sounds a little flat in parts. I so wanted him to do good, but I'm afraid we will say bye bye to him.  All three judges agree that it was the wrong song to sing but they love Heejun and his voice. Heejun says he chose "Angels" because "every person has their own angels just feet away and you just need to find them."

Joshua Ledet- "You Pulled Me Through" by Jennifer Hudson- Ryan tells us that some are calling Joshua "Mantasia".  Oh My!!! What a performance. Not what I usually like on Idol, but this guy is fantastic. Judges are about to jump out of their chairs.  Standing O from the entire house for this performance. I haven't liked anything on Idol this much since David Archuleta was killing us all with his vocals. Joshua took them to church. Randy- "Can I get an Amen up in here. the doors of the church are wide open." JLo- had a Paula moment "Amazing- I just don't even know what to say- I want to punch you."  Really Jennifer? Punch him? She also said "you can be a gospel star, R & B or whatever you want." Steven- "You're the voice the worlds been waiting to hear."

And the surprise contestant returning tonight is
Jermaine Jones- he makes Ryan look like he's 8. Must be a foot and a half taller than Ryan.  Huge man. "Dance with My Father"  is a great song choice for him. he does a great job. Audience loves him and so do the judges. JLo says he has a special voice and spirit. Steven says he is so glad they brought Jermaine back. 

And there you have it.  The first live show.  Now it feels like we are going to slaughter the lot.  Thirteen down to five plus any the judges decide to save. No one is safe.

So just for fun... my votes for this show, in no particular order of importance go to:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

American Idol 11: Final Judgement Part 2

We pick up where we left off last night. I'm not sure who TPTB wanted to torture more, Adam Brock or the Idol audience.  They drug out this judgement for way too long. Poor Adam is in tears .
JUDGEMENT- finally Adam Brock made top 24. and even more tears fall.

Jeremy Rosado- This young man has gained a new family during his Idol journey. All the teens have become close. His final song is tender and soulful. Judges give him a standing O. JLo tells him she has noticed that he is always the first on his feet to applaud the other contestants. His last performance was transcendental.
JUDGEMENT- He made the top 24.

Shannon Magrane- She forgot some of the lyrics during the group round in Hollywood but she redeemed herself on the solo of "What a Wonderful World" and wows the judges again with her final performance here. Steven tells her "I thought you were an American Idol to start with."
JUDGEMENT- She made it to the top 24.

Scott Dangerfield- Had to pull out of the competition last year- His final song "Folsom Prison Blues" was just ok. JLo tells him he was better last year.
JUDGEMENT- Not this year.

A short montage of those going home includes Wendy Taylor, and Adam Lee Decker. (And some girl I don't know.)

Skylar Laine- She is scared because other country girls have made it through already and so she doesn't know if they will take more country girls. She had to go to the hospital during Hollywood week, but came back to go for it and here she is now. Final song is a Reba song and she doesn't think she did it as good as she could.
JUDGEMENT- She made it to top 24.

A short montage of contestants going into the top 24 includes: Hallie Day, Chase Likens, and Aaron Marcellus

Ryan promises us more drama when we return from commercial. "A shocking turn of events that will change everything."

Deandre Brackensick- He was eliminated in top 40 last season and was heartbroken.
Final song is showing some major falsetto (maybe a little too overdone in my opinion) but the lower notes are nice. Maybe he can use more of those. the judges tell him that this year his voice and confidence has grown.
JUDGEMENT- He made the top 24.

Jermaine Jones- He is very close to his mom and she has flown into support him for this round. His final song was pretty good but not perfect. I like this guy but I'm not sure if he can survive that pain of Idol. he is melting down while he waits to go in. Judges tell him he is a really great person but has had some ups and downs. Just to make this drag out even more- we go to a commerical. 
JUDGEMENT- JLO "It was a joy for us to watch you this season"  Did not make it.  Tears from Jermaine and the judges.

With just one slot left for the girls and three contestants, bring on the teens and the tears. Ariel Sprague, Shelby Tweten, and Hollie Cavanaugh come in together for the verdict. We are actually shown Hollie singing more than three notes, so she must be the one advancing.
JUDGEMENT- Hollie made the top 24.

Ryan tells us that when we come back form commerical we will hear "shocking news that will have everyone talking."  

Our last two contestants vying for the last guys slot are David Leathers,Jr. and Eben Franckewitz. They are sent in together. For his final song David chose a Michael Jackson song, "1,2,3", and for his final song Eben chose "You are so Beautiful" Ryan stresses the fact that David is two yrs older than Eben. The judges say both have made some mistakes. David was over confident and Eben was under confident.
JUDGEMENT- Eben made the top 24.

Next week we go live.
Tuesday we have the top 12 guys.
Wednesday we have the top 12 girls.
Thursday we have our first results.

And the earth shattering news-  Idol is pulling a Simon Cowell and is inviting back one of the eliminated guys for Tuesday's show. We either get Richie Law, Jermaine Jones, David Leathers, or Johnny Keyser.  My bet is on Johnny.

And to top off the insanity, Steven decides to strip and jump in the pool.

Oh Idol, what would we all do without you?

American Idol 11: The Final Judgement Part 1

Well, let me start this post with a disclaimer: I'm not really feeling like writing today. Our family lost a dear friend to cancer this morning. Kenton fought a long and painful battle, but was very brave to the bitter end. He was a great man and will be missed by many. I am the saddest for his 21 month old granddaughter who will probably have no memory of him as she grows up. Kenton was her only grandfather and he loved her immensely. All of this said, I will now try to give a report of what I witnessed on Idol last night. This might not be my best work so thanks in advance for bearing with me here.

This is the beginning of the end, kind of.  it will be the end of the road for some of these contestants who have come O-SO-CLOSE- to living their dreams out on national television. On this episode 42 will be cut to 24. Next week the live shows begin.
In an unusual occurrence, idol tells us that this show was recorded in mid January.  On January 19, 2012, each of the remaining 42 contestants were allowed one more performance to secure their place on the show. They were allowed to choose one instrument to accompany them during this song, or could accompany themselves.

Jen Hirsh- We get a little retrospective of her journey on Idol so far. Randy tells her that the final song was not her best performance.  Steven tells her "Its not easy."
JUDGEMENT- She made top 24.

Creighton Fraker- A little retrospective of his journey. Creighton is adopted.  He grew up a preacher's kid. He found out when he was 25 that his birth dad was the lead singer in an 80's metal band. He encouraged Creighton to audition for Idol and is there with him for this show. final song "NY State of Mind" and it sounds good. Creighton says he only wants to be himself. JLo tells him she feels he has a chance to touch people.
JUDGEMENT- He made the top 24.

Lauren Gray- Retrospect shows Lauren's dad singing. She says she is doing this for him. Judges tell her she is good but she lost it along the way.
JUDGEMENT- Did not make it this year. Told she should come back.  I don't think she will.

Joshua Ledet- This retrospect tells us that Joshua is also a preacher's son. He sounds amazing on his final song. Sorry I don't know the name of it. Judges give him high praise.
JUDGEMENT- He made the top 24.  "Thank you Jesus." - Joshua. JLo says "That's some real, right there. Randy- "That church kid is gonna go far."

We say goodbye to someone I don't ever remember saying hello to, Blaire Sieber(?) and to someone we rarely saw, Naomi Gilles.

Haley Johnson- We get a retrospective of her growing as an artist in this journey until she blossomed in Vegas. From college student/ coffee shop entertainer to rising star.
JUDGEMENT- She made top 24.

More Goodbyes:
Neco Star, Clayton Farhat, River St.James, and Caleb Johnson.

Elise Testone- Retrospective tells us that Elise has been working up to 10 gigs a week to prepare for Idol. this is her last chance.
JUDGEMENT- She made top 24.   Randy calls her "one of the best singers we've seen."

Reed Grimm- he is quirky and different. He wasn't comfortable with the last solo but pulled through after talking to his mom. he has been on stage since he was 2 yrs old.
JUDGEMENT- He made top 24.

Erika Van Pelt- JLo tells her she did not like her final song.  The judges tell her it was not as amazing as it could have been.
JUDGEMENT- She made top 24.  JLo-"We're going to take one more chance on you."

It's time for the battle of the country girls: Chelsea Sorrell and Baylie Brown.
Chelsea messed up in Hollywood but the judges like her.
JUDGEMENT- She made top 24.
Baylie originally tried out for Idol five yrs ago when she was 16. Steven leads her on for a while but...
JUDGEMENT- She made top 24.

Time for a little drama: Richie Law and Heejun Han.
Retrospect of Richie clashing with everyone he works with. For his final song, "Ring of Fire" and his voice is not pleasing at all on this. Richie says "I have a bad feeling in my stomach."
JUDGEMENT- Did not make it. Work on it and come back.   My favorite part of the show so far: TPTB are playing "Mama's Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys" as he walks out.
Heejun's retrospective shows Ryan asking him "What you Sweating? and heejun says "Mostly water." HAHA  but seriously, Heejun works with special needs kids and says he was extremely depressed before the kids organization helped him. Heejun sings "NY State of Mind" for his final song and KILLS IT.
JUDGEMENT- Steven "You're a better star than singer" but  He made top 24.  Heejun is in TEARS and is greeted by Phil Phillips as he exits judgement.

Jessica Sanchez- Retro tells us that she has been singing since she was 5. She's 16 now.  Mom is unemployed because of her music career. Huge family waiting to see what happens. I think she's Filipino. Final song "The Prayer". A little too much vibrato for my taste but she is good.
JUDGEMENT- She made top 24.

Phil Phillips- Retro tells us that Phil messed up during the 1st group round in Hollywood. He
accompanies himself on guitar during final song. Randy tells him "you're so unique and different so its hard to know how that will play out in front of everyone else.
JUDGEMENT- He made top 24.

Colton Dixon- He was sent home on judgement day last season and it is bittersweet that he is where he is now. he wasn't going to audition this yr but judges amde him when he accompanied his sister Schyler to auditions this year. Schyler was sent home in Vegas this year.  Colton sings "Fix You" as his final song accompanying himself on baby grand and dedicates it to sister.
JUDGEMENT- He made top 24.

Brielle Von Hugel- And the "Spray-tan" stage mom from hell. Brielle was eliminated in Hollywood last season. Final song, "Killing Me Softly". Sorry, but this girl is not one of my favorites.
JUDGEMENT- She made top 24.

Adam Brock- Retrospective brings us lots of pics of his little girl. Adam says his wife is allowing him to go after his dreams. It is really difficult to be away from wife and baby. After his final song JLo tells him he needs to fuigure out who he is as a singer. Adam tells the judges "I have to sing."
JUDGEMENT-  Well, TPTB are going to leave us in limbo until the next show.  The bums!!!!!

So after the first part of Final Judgement we have 6 of the guys selected and 8 of the girls. Ten more to be announced tonight.

Friday, February 17, 2012

American Idol 11: Vegas, Baby!

After over 100,000 contestants auditioned, we are now down to the top 70 performing on the stage of Viva Elvis at the Aria in Las Vegas. The contestants have formed 3 or 4 member groups and will be given a song to prepare. The songs are from the 50's and 60's and are classic rock and roll. They must put together a complete performance package including choreography and costumes. The groups will perform over two days.

Day 1
Group 1- Skylar Laine, Colton Dixon, Chase Liken, Cari Quoyeser- "Dedicated to the One I Love"- Not bad. Chase is the best.  Bye Cari. Rest are through.

Group 2- Jeremy Rosado, Gabi Carrubba, David Leathers, Ariel Sprague- "Rockin' Robin"- Good sound, fun- All are through

Group 3- Adam Brock, ErikaVan Pelt, Angie Zederman, Shelby Tweten- "Great Balls of Fire"- Nice energy and vocals. All are through

Group 4- Brielle Von Hugel, Schyler Dixon, Molly Hunt- "Why do Fools Fall in Love"- cute 50's military style costumes.  Not bad.  Molly goes home.

A quick montage of folks going home:
Wayne Wilson, Ashley Robles, Stephanie Renea, Aubree Dieckmeyer, Janelle Arthur, Tina Torres

Group 5- Haley Johnson, Eben Franckewitz, Reed Grimm, Elise Testone- "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes"- Reed is awesome. Group is great. Well done on the syncopated rhythm- Standing O from the judges and they are all through to next round.

Group 6- Jermaine Jones, Richie Law- "Make it easy on Yourself"- two deep voices put together because they didn't work in other groups. Debra Byrd coaching them should make this a piece of cake if Richie closes his mouth long enough for instructions. Not a bad blend.  I like Jermaine better, but Richie is OK too. Jermaine has a richer sound to his voice.  Both move on.

A quick montage of contestants advancing:
Hallie Day, Baylie Brown, Chelsea Sorrell

Group 7- Jessica Sanchez, Deandre Brackensick, Candice Glover- This is our first time to see Deandre, a favorite from last season who was cut at 24, and Jessica Sanchez, who is the talk of the Internet. "It Doesn't Matter Anymore"- Jessica is a power singer for sure. Deandre's range has grown from last year. Candice is good too, but not good enough. Bye Candice.

End of day one and the contestants are now told that they may not all be safe after all. Some may be cut after Day 2 performances.

Day 2
Group 1- All the rockers- Clayton Farhat, Scott Dangerfield, Adan Lee Decker, Curtis Gray- "Jailhouse Rock" Kind of rough in spots- mixed reviews from judges. End of the road for Curtis.

Group 2- Caleb Johnson, Joshua Sanders, River ?, and a girl whose name I didn't catch- "Burning Love" decent job. All through to next round.

Group 3- Shannon Magrane, Curtis Finch, Jr, Joshua Ledet, Amber ?- "Blue Suede Shoes" Joshua and Shannon are awesome and advance. Bye to Curtis and Amber.

Most groups are practicing but Johnny Keyser and hos group are at the pool. Might not be a good move.

Group 4- Britnee Kellogg, Courtney Williams, Jessica Phillips- "You Keep Me Hanging On"- all three of these ladies look scary in their tiny pink sequin dresses. Really rough. Jessica is going home and has an attitude. Too bad, I liked her until the attitude came out. Not sure why they kept the other two.

Group 5- Lauren Gray, Wendy Taylor, Mathenee Treco- Lauren not getting along with coach Peggi Blu, aka "The Queen of Mean" "The vocal coach from hell" - Peggi tells Lauren "there's no crying in music" "get a grip." "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow"- Lauren is sick and her voice sounds like it. I don't like the girls dresses, especially Wendy's. Song is rough to me. Bye Mathenee.

Group 6- Heejun Han, Phil Phillips, Jairon Jackson, Neco Star- The guys are working with Peggi and Heejun is scared of her, but everything works out fine because she loves the group and they actually love her too. "I Only Have Eyes For You" Perfect song . Awesome delivery by all.  Randy asks all to step forward one at a time, and then says " You four are not ... going anywhere. You made it through. All fall to the floor. Heejun is in tears.  Jairon tells him"Turn that frown upside down."

Group 7- Creighton Fraker, Aaron Marcellus, Jen Hirsh, Nick Boddington- Practicing with a barbershop sound but must spotlight each person. "Sealed With a Kiss" Pretty good. Nick is a little shaky I think.  Looks like the judges agree with me.  Bye Nick.

So, all of the groups have performed and the judges now need to cut some more contestants to go from 70 to 40.

We say goodbye to:
Gabi Carrubba (she is heartbroken), Schyler Dixon (Colton is crushed), Angie Zederman, Candice Glover, Johnny Keyser (What? We did not see this performance so we don't know what went wrong. I thought he was one of the best.), Jairon Jackson (this makes me sad) and Britnee Kellogg (sorry, but I didn't like the Vegas performance)

Safe until next week:
Jeremy Rosado, Ariel Sprague, David Leathers, Chase Likens, Skylar Laine, Colton Dixon, Haley Johnson, Reed Grimm, Eben Franckewitz, Elise Testone, Brielle Von Hugel, Jermaine Jones, Richie Law, Baylie Brown, Chelsea Sorrell, Hollie Cavanaugh (we see her but still haven't heard her sing this season), Lauren Gray, Wendy Taylor, Joshua Ledet, Shannon Magrane, Jen Hirsh, Creighton Fraker, Aaron Marcellus, Phillip Phillips, Heejun Han, Neco Star, Jessica Sanchez, Deandre Brackensick, Adam Brock, Erika Van Pelt, plus 12 more(?) .

All in all, not too bad. A few disappiontments, especailly Johnny Keyser going home and Brielle Von Hugel advancing, but overall I agree with the judges so far.

27 go home in Vegas, 42 move on to the next round. Next week they go down to 24.  And we have a disturbing preview of Steven Tyler mooning the camera and then jumping into the fountain (or pool ) on the set to swim.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

American Idol: Hollywood Week #3

This two hour show was packed with so much drama and names and yes even some singing.
 I will not go into any in depth commentary on this or I won't have it posted before the next show starts.

This show started with the group rounds. Everyone was sick or exhausted or stressing so many mistakes were made. Last minute rehearsals would not help this time.

The Bettie's were sick and fighting between themselves and it showed. Terrible performance of a yucky song. Only Jennifer Malsch and Cari Quoyeser advance to next round, and they really weren't that good.

Groove Sauce looks calm. Creighton Fraker, Reed Grimm, Aaron Marcellus, Jen Hirsh, and Nick Boddington look like old pros up there and sound like it too. They are awesome and are all through to next round.

6-7-9 is an odd name for this group. Randy jokes "Is that their shoe sizes?" Kyle Crews is having a problem with the "Extra Members" of their group the parental units that are having too much say. Brielle Von Hugel's mom is the biggest problem. Brielle, Joshua Ledet, Shannon Magrane, and Amber ? are through to next round. Kyle is gracious in his exit and says he will keep doing music.

Make You Believers is the group with the 'Patient Zero" Amy Brumfield. Amy is feeling better but now Jacquie Cera is fainting now. Group falls apart as Dustin? forgets the lyrics, Amy can't sing, and Jacquie Screeches.  Only Mathenee Treco is through to next round and he wasn't very good.

We get a lovely montage of more contestants who can't remember the lyrics. Funny and sad all at once.

Those girls and That Guy are another disaster waiting to happen.  Alisha Bernhardt ,aka The Cop without a group, Christian Lopez, Samantha Novak, and some poor girl that was tuck with them are terrible and all are going home. They are definitely not "Stuck Like Glue."

Area 451 is a group with some promise until we see member Imani Handy faint during practice. Johnny Keyser tries to pull together the remaining members, Bryce Garcis, and Kristi Krause, to form a trio in case Imani can't return. We'll get back to them in a little while.

Hollywood Five is a group made up of all teens. You would think they would be nervous and spazz, but their parents kept them strong and so was their performance. Jeremy Rosado, Eben Franckewitz, David Leathers, Gabi Carrubba and Ariel Sprague are awesome on "Mercy." They are all through to the next round.

Back to Area 451 and I do believe the aliens have taken over. For some reason, Imani's mom does not have the guts to tell the girl to quit and so she rejoins the group and throws it into total chaos. Bryce forgets lyrics immediately, Kristi can't sing on key, Imani faints during the performance, and Johnny is the only one moving on to the next round.

Other familiar contestants going home include: Reis Kloeckener, Symone Black and WT Thompson (who needs to get home to his pregnant wife anyway.)

Final group shown, MIT which we are told stands for "Most International Team."  this is the group with all the tension between members. Richie Law is still running the show, in his mind, and everyone else just wants it to be over. Heejun Han, Jairon Jackson, and Phillip Phillips all are made at Richie but they pull it together and squeak through to the next round.

Montage of contestants moving on: Erica Van Pelt, Adam Brock, Hallie Day, Elise Testone.

We see Heejun apologize to Richie and his parents for things he said about him to the cameras during this ordeal.

We finally move on to solo performances with the full Idol band. Contestants can play an instrument if they wish. There are 98 contestants left at this point. We see a few.

Joshua Ledet almost didn't go to Hollywood because he had an anxiety attack about flying. He was awesome and received a standing O from the judges and contestants.

Colton Dixon plays the keyboard while performing "What About Now" and is awesome.

Phil Phillips plays his guitar and his gravelly voice is awesome.

Jen Hirsh belts out a standing O performance to "Georgia."

Creighton Fraker is awesome on "Wonderful World."

A thunderstorm blows through LA and some of the contestants are disturbed by it.

Reed Grimm wanted to sing a Capella for this round but the producers tell him no, and he has 30 minutes to work up something with the band. He can't seem to focus and is very scattered. practice with vocal coach isn't really helping. We'll get back to him.

Shannon Magrane delivers a soulful "Wonderful World" and receives a standing O from the judges.

Reed Grimm has 15 minutes left and Michael Orland drops in to help him but Reed isn't comfortable with what he is singing and asks to call his mom and talk.  Reed has an idea and decides to perform "Georgia" while playing the drums without practicing with the band. Good thing these guys are pros. He is Jazzy, Soulful and really good. Randy says he's "another Casey," meaning Casey Abrams from last season.

Skylar Laine has been sick and even went to the hospital for fluids. She tells us she is going to suck it up and go for it and she does and she is good.

Rachelle Lamb jammed with Randy and Steven at the start of the day and fried her chances when she strained her voice. It was a messed u version of "The House That Built Me."

Adam Brock says its time for Idol o have some "white chocolate" and he delivers "Georgia" while channeling Louis Armstrong.

Time for the rooms, FINALLY.
Room #1: Lauren Gray, Creighton Fraker, Jen Hirsh, Erica Van Pelt, Hallie Day, Adam Brock, David Leathers, Joshua Ledet, Aaron Marcellus, Colton Dixon, Johnny Keyser, Jermaine Jones, and a few more I don't know their names.   THEY ARE THROUGH TO NEXT ROUND

Room #2: Phillip Phillips, Eben Franckewizt, Skylar Laine, Shannon Magrane, Nick Boddington, Hollie Cavanaugh (her name isn't mentioned but I recognize her), reed Grimm, Jeremy Rosado, Jessica Phillips, Jairon Jackson, and a few more.  THEY ARE THROUGH TO NEXT ROUND

Room #3: Rachelle Lamb, Brittney Kerr, Jennifer Malsch, Jaron Gibson, Sarah Phillips, Madison Shanley, and a bunch of peeps I have never seen before.  This room is tense,freaking out, and getting mad at each other.  THEY ARE GOING HOME

Room #4: Stephanie Renee, Baylie Brown, Britnee Kellogg, Angie Zederman, Richie Law, Heejun, Han, Gabi Carrubba, and a few more. THEY ARE THROUGH TO THE NEXT ROUND

Okay, next stop, Vegas, Baby! This could be another disaster, like last year. Groups again.

Friday, February 10, 2012

American Idol 11: Hollywood Week #2

OK, just to recap, my DVR stopped right when we were to see Symone Black fall off the stage on Wednesday night. Guess I didn't miss as much as I thought I did.

We opened show #2 of Hollywood Week with Ryan telling us that "this is the most grueling Hollywood Week ever."  Symone Black had fainted while answering Randy's questions and this is why she fell off the stage. Looks like the cameraman broke her fall a little. While the medics attended to her, the rest of the contestants were huddled in prayer. Symone was sent to the hospital with her dad (good thing she is a minor) to be checked out.

In the mean time:
Lauren Mink is sent home.
Jeremy Rosado is through to next day.
Ethan Jones is going home.
Symone is through to next day if she is ok.
Nico Starr, who hasn't been mentioned since a short clip in Savannah, is through to next day also.

185 contestants continue to day two, The Group Rounds.

Ryan tells us this is the most infamous part of Hollywood Week. The groups must form into 4 or 5 members with members from both day 1 and day 2 and choose from the 20 predetermined songs and learn choreography for the song also. This is not any different than the last couple of years and yet the contestants are all freaking out about it. 

Some of the contestants are being stubborn about their song choice and can't find a group, like Alisha Bernhardt(?) and some are sick, like Amy Brumfield.

Some groups form quickly and then the members start to clash with each other, like MIT consisting of Heejun Han, Richie Law, Phillip Phillips, and Jairon Jackson. Richie puts himself in charge and Heejun is not liking what is happening. Heejun is hating "cowboys."

Most of the groups we are shown are in meltdown mode all night. I hope someone gets along and can sing.

Suddenly, lots of people start getting sick with the "Idol bug" flu symptoms. Phillip Phillips has a problem with reoccurring kidney stones and is missing for a while. Many of the groups are loosing people to sickness and lack of sleep.

Symone Black returns from the hospital. She was dehydrated, but is better now. She finally finds a group to join.

Basically, the whole show was people yelling, vomiting, and not getting along.

Idol leaves us in limbo as the groups are ready to take the stage.

Until next time, when I can hopefully see enough of the contestants to actually form an opinion of them.....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

American Idol 11: Hollywood Week #1

The beginning of the infamous Hollywood rounds of AI aired last night and all I can say is OK.  I had hopes of seeing a few more contestants who we had not seen before but I came away disappointed except for one.

So, we start off with the proverbial peep talk from the judges and Steven Tyler's rambling. Contestants will be herded out in groups of 10 and each will have a few seconds to sing A Capella for the judges. Better make these seconds count people. 

Day #1.
Johnny Keyser- yes- He is still loved by Jennifer, but maybe not the other contestants since JLo said he is sexy.  Johnny is confident. Maybe too confident. Sings "Dreaming" by Amos Lee and is awesome. Randy is shouting "Amen" so Johnny is moving on.

Heeju Han- yes- I like this guy.  Heejun tells us he feels everyone is tall and pretty, even the guys so he doesn't feel very good about his chances. Wish he could get past the nerves. Or is it an act?  Hard to tell.  He doesn't sound the least bit nervous when he sings. He gives JLo "goosies" again. He is moving on.

Elise Testone- She belts out a few bars of something and the judges are thrilled. She's moving on.

Baylie Brown- Country chick FTW-  She's moving on.

Hallie Day- Hits us with "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman" - She's moving on.

Jen Hirsh- 25- Agoura Hills, CA- someone new - "Up to the Mountain" - she's good and moving on up.

Lauren Gray- short and sweet- she's moving on.

Ok finally some NOs:
Heather Youmans, Sascha Julian, and Candice Russell all forget how to sing between before they get to Hollywood. I never heard of any of them before this show.

Phillip Phillips is back.  Ryan tells us this guy is a fish out of water in Hollywood. This was also Phillip's first real plane ride. He is awesome and powerful and so moving on in the competition.

Reed Grimm- He's back.  This guy is really funny, happy, experienced, comfortable on the stage. sings "I Got a Golden Ticket" from Willie Wonka and scats and is awesome. He's moving on.

Travis Orlando- Poor kid just looks so depressed all the time. I think he sounds just fine but the judges send him home. Well, they send him back to New York but since his family is homeless, well ...

Also going home:
Ramiro Gracia- NO, I really liked this guy. He is an inspiration to all. Born without ears. Come on judges, he is amazing.
"Wolf" Hamlin- I liked him but didn't think he would go far.
Jenny Schick- Wonder if she still has that teaching job back home?

Day #2.
Adam Brock- someone we haven't seen before. He tells us "I've been told there's a large black woman trapped inside my body." He's seems to be at ease with himself except for the fact that this is the first time to be away from his infant daughter. He sings "Walkin' in Memphis" and he is really good. He is moving on.

Jane Carrey- Not her best day and in an effort to reassure the audience that this is an up and up competition, Jim Carrey's daughter is not moving on.

Cool! We knew it had to be here somewhere. A lovely montage of contestants who blew it begging for another chance. Please leave with a little dignity, please.

David Leathers. The kid was the first contestant we saw on the first audition episode from Savannah. There still trying to pass him off as a ladies man. Sorry, no go. Kid sings "Because you Love Me" by Celine Dion and hits notes I don't think even Celine can hit any more. Sorry, but he really sounds like a girl and I want guys to sound like guys. He is moving on. though.

Shannon Lagrane sings "Fallen" by Alicia Keys and she hits all the notes and more. I like this girl.  sounds much older than she is.

Jessica Phillips has come to Hollywood with her BF who had a stroke last April. He is watching her power through her song from the balcony. She is moving on.

We are told both Angie Zeiderman and Brittany Kerr also move on to next round.

Erica Van Pelt is still belting out some good sounds. She is moving on.

Creighton Fraker has an unusual voice but he is definitely interesting and different than normal Idol contestants. He gives us a little "Somebody to Love" and is moving on to the next round.

Aaron Marsellus blows up the mic and is moving on too.

Ok so this last part I'm not too sure about what happened.
Lauren Mink tried to sing Heart's "Alone" but changed the key in the middle of singing, and JLo caught it.
Jeremy Rosado sang "Superstar" by Luther Vandross and JLo got "goosies" again.
Symone Black told us she loves her "stage dad" and sang "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" Randy asked why this song and when she tried to explain, she fell off the stage. And my DVR stopped there so I don't know if there was more or not. I guess I'll find out tonight. 

From what I saw on this airing my favors are:  Johnny, Adam, Heejun for the guys and Shannon, Erica and Lauren for the girls but there are so many that we haven't heard from yet I will not even speculate on an outcome at this point.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

To David, With Love From A Fan

With the time for David's departure on his two-year Mormon mission quickly approaching, I felt compelled to rewrite the lyrics to his first hit song "Crush" as a tribute to him and how we fans all feel about him. It wasn't easy trying to wrap up all of these emotions into one neat little package. As all David Archuleta fans out there know, the reasons we all love David and follow his every move are quite personal to each of us. Some people are here just for the voice, while others have been touched by his spirit of peace, and love, and caring. Then there are those who only see the outer wrappings, which are quite nice, but not as striking as the whole package rolled together. For me personally, David is the hope for our future. Being the parent of an almost 20 yr old daughter and a 17 yr old son, I wish for each of them to one day meet a partner whose heart is as close to God as David's is. I wish for them to have the passion for life and living that David has shown us. I wish for the world as a whole to find a way to treat others with love and compassion each and every day, even if we don't always agree with each others choices. In a nutshell, I wish for everyone to follow David's example and be more Christ-like in their views of the world and their actions in it.

So, here is my attempt, to thank David for all he has given of himself these last four years and my pledge to be here when he returns to his music career. I would post a recording of myself singing this song, but "Crush" is not in my range, no matter how hard I try, so I will spare the world of this torture.

 A Song for David

Tune: "Crush"

It was just four years ago
Something happened on our TV’s,
Changed our minds,
Changed our lives,
Changed our hearts.
When you stepped out on that stage
We were drawn to be your true fans
By your voice,
By your light,
By your heart.

Now your fans are standing here this day,
All our hearts are calling out to say,
You’ve got us hypnotized,
And mesmerized,
And we want you to know.

We will stand by you.
We will make you proud.
While you change more lives
The whole world around.
We’re not crazy, we’ve just fallen in love
With this voice so blessed by God above.
You have touched our hearts
With your special ways,
And we just can’t let
Goodness fade away.
So, we’ll stand here now and show the world
That this love for you ain’t going away.
Ain’t goin' away.

You have taught us how to live.
From your kind words, and your good deeds,
We’ve all learned
To be hope,
To be love.
Now we just want you to know, that
Wherever in this world you may go
We’re still here
We’ll be here
'Til you come back!
You come back!

We will stand by you.
We will sing the praise,
Of the lives you've touched
All along the way.
We’re not crazy, we’ve just fallen in love
With the one so blessed by God above.
You have touched our hearts
With your life and deeds.
Now we want to say
Thanks to you this way.
So, we’ll stay right here and tell the world
How this man of love ain’t going away.
Ain’t goin' away.

All your fans are standing here this day,
With our voices calling out to say,
You’ve got us hypnotized,
And mesmerized,
And we want you to know.

We will stand by you.
We will be your fans.
We will share your voice,
Make them understand.
We’re not crazy, we’re just showin' our love
For this one so blessed by God above.
You have filled our hearts
With a love so rare,
Which we need so much,
And we all must share.
So, we’ll stand by you and spread the word
That this voice of love ain’t going away.
Ain't goin' away.
Ain’t no way.

Friday, February 3, 2012

American Idol 11: St.Louis Auditions

Show starts with a special tribute to the most successful Idol of all time, Carrie Underwood, who auditioned in St. Louis 8 years ago. Nice video of her Idol journey.

Johnny Keyser- 22- Pompano Beach, FL- server
This is the guy Idol had been promoting since the first ad for the new season came out several months ago. Johnny grew up with just his dad. They are best friends now. Singing "Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cook. Fantastic. Jennifer is in love. Judges don't want him to stop singing. Major yes from the judges and me. Jennifer says " he's sexy."  Yes he is.  He's going to take Hollywood by storm.

Time for the ever popular montage of terrible auditions form the past.  This time it intros a really creative Black & White / silent movie clip of a contestant.  Ryan says "Some contestants are better seen and not heard.
David Coleman- 28- St. Louis Park, MN- seminary student
Since this is silent, we don't know what he sang, but the clip is really cool.  They should do this with all terrible singers.

Rachelle Lamb- 26- Mountain View, MO- construction
Another single mom going through a divorce, tells the tale of her ex holding her back from chasing her dream. Has her daughter , Maddie, with her during the auditions. Trying for sympathy votes, but she really doesn't need them. She can sing. She was a professional singer before she got married.  Sings Faith Hill's "Find Somebody New." Nice job.  Good country voice.  She is on her way to Hollywood.

Now we get a montage of really bad auditioners wearing really bad costumes, including an Elvis impersonator.

Reis Kloeckener- 20- St. Louis, MO- student
This young man was bullied in high school until he was discovered by the choir teacher and found his "voice" in the choir. Sang "Lean on Me" and is really good. Not as good as David Archuleta singing this song, but still good. Steven tells him, "That was so beautiful, it made me cry." He is on the way to Hollywood.

Ethan Jones- 22- Pontoon Beach, IL- Musician
He was in a band with his dad, but dad is in rehab now. Ethan is running the band.  Sings "I'll Be" by Edwin McCain and sounds great.  Good looking guy with a really nice voice and a touching story.  He should go far.  JLo says he should be in a country music video and he laughs and says he's in a country band but his heart is soul. He is going to Hollywood and calls dad to let him know the good news.

Oh good.  A sneak peek at Madonna's new video for her new song.  It has cheerleaders chanting her name and football players hold her up as she walks on a wall.  And the song will premier during her performance at Super Bowl halftime.  so-so

Mark Ingram- 28- Collinsvile, IL- hotel auditor
This guy works at the hotel where this is being taped. His staff thinks he is great. They are obviously tone deaf. Singing(?) "overjoyed" by Stevie Wonder.  Overrated is what it should be called. He is so staying at the hotel.

Lauren Gray- 22- Hardy, AR- Waitress/singer
This girl is part of her family business, a one-stop wedding shop. They do everything from the dresses to the food to the music.  She sings with her dad in his southern Rock band but she likes more soulful stuff.  Sings Adele's "One and Only" and is really good.  Not as good as Adele, but definitely good enough to go to Hollywood.  The judges are stunned by her powerful voice. Randy and Steven say she is "fearless" while Jennifer says she has "one of the best female voices we've heard." And she is on the way to Hollywood.

So Ryan tells us 46 contestants have moved on to Hollywood from St. Louis auditions.

My favorites for this show: Johnny, Lauren and Ethan.

***** Next week Hollywood rounds ***** I can't wait.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

American Idol 11: Portland Auditions

After last week's horrible representation of the Texas auditions (sorry,but on the whole it was terrible) I was reluctant to turn on my set last night, but of course I did, and here's what I saw.

This is Idol's first trip to Oregon.  It looks like a beautiful place. I like the shots they're showing of the area.

Brittany Zika- 21- Portland, OR- Nanny/ Social Media Tech
Back story time- She had a dream- singing on stage with Sara Bareilles to Gravity. Then it happened. Now at Idol auditions for the next dream. Happy, funny girl. Dressed kind of nerdy with hat and big glasses. Singing "The Story" by Brandi Carlile.  Nice voice. Great tone. She's through to Hollywood.

Ben Purdom- 18- Philidelphia, PA- cable tv salesman
Not looking promising. He's sick, and yucky. Tries to sing "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga. It's bad. Not really sure if it would be better if he wasn't sick. Sings something else (Super Base?) and is still bad. NO

Jermaine Jones- 24- Pine Hill, NJ- Music teacher
Church singer, comes from a family of church singers. Mom says they are all "born singers." This guy is huge, 6ft 8 in- the judges keep talking about his height. Sings "Superstar" by Luther Van Dross. Good, soulful, nice lower register. "Really spiritual"- Steven. Momma's thrilled, He's going to Hollywood.

Britnee Kellogg- 27- Vancouver, WA- banker
Single mom of two little boys. Was married to a basketball player who she supported until he cheated on her. He kept her from pursuing her dreams. Sings "You're No Good" and means every word of it.  Nice. JLo is singing along with her. The judges love her and so does every woman in America who has been burned by the one they gave up everything for.   She is through to Hollywood, but before she goes, Britnee asks Jennifer how she does it with the kids and all. "You don't leave the kids. You have to be happy so they can be happy."

Sam Gershman- 21- Clarksville, MD- Motivational dancer
Weird- Sings "I'm a Woman" - squeaks to start off the song and it gets worse from there. NO

David Weed- 22- Mountain Home, ID- fast food worker
Dellusionally sings "Tom Sayer" by Rush.  Scary. NO

Romeo Diahn- 22- Portland, OR- Shipping clerk
Originally from Liberia but spent most of childhood living in a refugee camp in Ghana. Nice voice. Definitely reggae sound -  singing Bob Marley. JLo not sure how he will do with other types of songs. He's through to Hollywood.

Naomi Gillies- 22- Boston, MA- student
Sings "Crying" by Steven Tyler. Interesting sound. She's ok for me but the judges love her. She's through to Hollywood.

Time for a montage of No's with tears all around and some chicks getting violent with the cameras. Bring in the happy face.

Ben Harrison- 28- Eugene, OR- Shipping agent
OK, too much time given to this guy's scary smiling face. Baby-faced rocker who looks 12 and keeps getting kicked out of rock bands "because of his face." Queen- Somebody to Love"  Now we know the truth about getting kicked out of bands, he can't sing.  NO

Filler- another montage of No's.

Jessica Phillips- 25- Brooklyn, NY- Dental Hygienist
She is caring for her boyfriend who had a stroke last Easter. He is working to recover and says it is because of her. Sings "Again" by Faith Evans.  Nice voice. Passion is definitely there. She is good and is going to Hollywood.

So, we are told that 45 contestants are through to Hollywood from Portland.

Here are my favorites for this telecast: Jessica, Britnee K, Brittany Z.