Tuesday, May 19

AI8 - Finals!

Wow - possibly the best final ever? Kris really struggled on the last song but other than that I think every performance was awesome!! Adam really rekindled my love tonight by avoiding the screeching, lol, and Kris was his adorable, musically talented self... I really think either one could win (normally I'd say Adam had a big edge, but I think Kris will garner votes from a lot of Danny's fans). Seems like the end of the season went really fast! I'm sad it's over but there's always the concert to look forward to (my tix came in the mail today, woo-hoo!), and SYTYCD starts Thursday; can't wait!!

Wednesday, May 6

AI8 - Top 4 (5/5/09)

LOVED Kris but know he's in major danger so threw him all my votes tonight. Danny obviously should go after that atrocity (though I do respect him for taking the risk) but I don't know, he's so obviously this year's Chosen One I can't really see him being Daughtry'd (though Daughtry was a better singer IMO). I don't like Led Zeppelin & thought the Foghat song was boring (lyrically) so really didn't enjoy Adam this week. Kris's was my fave performance followed by his duet w/Danny (what can I say, I love Styx & great harmonies!).

Wednesday, April 29

AI8 - Top 5 (4/28/09)

Tonight's theme is "Rat Pack," aka Standards or Big Band. And the mentor is... Jamie Foxx?! Cool... I think!

Kris "The Way You Look Tonight" - Still love him, just wish we got to know him better (so he could sneak past Danny into the finals). Good performance, nothing too surprising or 'wow'.

"Someone to Watch Over Me" - Wish she were prettier (so she could sneak past Danny into the finals), but such an awesome voice and stage presence/maturity!

"My Funny Valentine" - I give him props for taking the mentor's advice, but the vocal still didn't do anything for me. Paula & Simon loved it; Randy & Kara, notsomuch.

Danny "Come Rain or Come Shine" - Decent, but still overrated.

Adam "Feeling Good" - awesome!! From the stairway entrance to the a killer next-to-last note. Boy. can. SANG! ;) Best line of the night was Simon saying that "Randy criticizing you for being dramatic is like someone complaining that a cow moos."

My predicted B3: Matt, Danny, & Allison - with Matt leaving.

Wednesday, April 22

AI8 - Top 7 - Again! (4/21/09)

(just the basics for now - crazy busy week w/lots of interviews & big garage sale!)

No one left last week so we still have 7! But it will become 5 after tomorrow night. Our theme is Disco/70's. No mentor and no video intros, so hopefully they'll finish on time!

Lil "I'm Every Woman" - meh

Kris "She Works Hard for the Money" - my fave of the night!

Danny "September"

Allison "Hot Stuff"

Adam "If I Can't Have You"

Matt "Staying Alive" - ooh, the reverse lyrics Idol curse!

Anoop "Dim All the Lights"

I'd personally be happy if Lil & Danny went home. However... I predict the Bottom 3 will be Lil, Matt, and Anoop, with Matt and Lil going home.

AI8 - Top 7 Results (4/15/09)

Crazy week - I'll update this eventually!

Judges used the Save on Matt, so no one goes home this week but 2 will leave next week.

Wednesday, April 15

AI8 - Top 7 (4/14/09)

Tonight's theme is Music from the Movies, and the 'Mentor' is Quentin Tarantino! He's an avid Idol fan (was a guest judge in S3) and is described as being "passionate" about music. He met the contestants at a famous sound stage and gave most of them pretty strong advice/opinions, actually more than most singing mentors usually do. Not all of them took his advice, as usual!

Simon also apologized for the show's running over time last week and joked that it was all "the girls' fault." As a result, only 2 judges will critique each performance tonight. (Still didn't help enough, but was a nice try!)

Allison "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" - another should-be-banned-from-Idol-due-to-overuse song. It was nice that she got a full orchestra, but I didn't think it was one of her better performances. The crowd loved it & judges were positive.

Anoop "Everything I Do I Do For You" - Great! I like the song to begin with, but I love Anoop best when he does ballads like this. Still threw him a few votes after the close call last week! Randy & Kara both liked it; Kara said that he does best choosing pop songs & then adding his "soul." She also said she felt a connection & liked the changes he made.

Adam "Born to be Wild" - Very good, typical Adam. ;-) It was nice how he played/sang to & with the band on one side & then the background singers on the other; also how he slowed & softened down the bridge. Crowd loved it! Paula said he's one of the bravest contestants they've ever had; Simon said it was vocally excellent but wasn't sure everyone would like how he changed up such a popular song, that it was too "Rocky Horror the Musical."

Matt "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman" - I like the song, but Matt changed both the style and melody and I'm not sure it was an improvement over the original; he also had some weak vocal spots. The crowd seemed to like it. Randy said he tried to do too much w/it; Kara said he again wrongly chose a "rock" song instead of R&B even though he tried to alter it to fit his style.

Danny "Endless Love" - Really?! Sigh. It was bad enough when the judges/producers kept alluding to the dead wife, but now he's chosen songs 2 weeks in a row that overtly remind everyone of his sob story. Not cool & distracts from the decent vocals; with him, unfortunately, it's not just about the vocals. The judges liked but Simon was disappointed he didn't do anything special w/it (different from the original); he even mentioned David Cook's rearrangements of last season. But then he also said he acknowledged how emotionally difficult the song was to do & gave him credit for that. What?! It's not like he was forced to do the song, Simon! He could have easily *not* sung something that made everyone pity him for being a young widower. But then, Simon wants him in the finals, so he put a positive spin on it. Sigh.

Kris "Falling Slowly" - I don't know this one; it's from a movie called "Once"? Quentin did say that Kris took the theme the most to heart of any contestants in that he picked a movie that "meant something to him," instead of just choosing a song on its own merit. The performance didn't wow me in any way but it was good & enjoyable. Randy said it never really 'caught' him, but Kara said it was one of his best performances, despite choosing an obscure song.

Lil "The Rose" - 1st half was boring, but when she started the gospelizing it became very good! I think this is what she's been needing to show. However... Simon said it was too soft/mellow a song for her and that she's not the artist they thought she was early in the competition. (ouch! but then I think they overrated her early on...)

Hard to pick a bottom 3: I'll predict Allison, Matt, & Kris, with Matt going home.

Tuesday, April 14

AI8 - Top 8 Results (4/8/09)

Guess I should do last week's recap before this week's show comes on, huh? :)

34 Million votes - and only 30,000 separated the bottom 2 vote-getters!

Ryan talks about birth years and we cut to a video clip of Frankie Avalon singing "Venus" from the year Simon was born... then he comes out live on stage to finish the song! So Simon turns 50 this year.

Group song: "Can't Get You Out of My Head"

Ford video: "Circus," but the best part was the behind-the-scenes making-of footage we got. It was a magic show set in an old theater, and Adam and Allison both loved the costumes & make-up. Anoop? Notsomuch. ;-)

Ryan's chat w/contestants - asked Adam how it felt to get a S.O. from Simon & Adam said he knew how rarely that happened & he was very grateful. Ryan also said the mayor from Kalamazoo, MI - Matt's hometown - was in the audience. (As was Mario Lopez, for what that's worth.)

Results! Ryan had Adam, Kris, and Anoop stand. He then let the judges give feedback on Adam's performance since they didn't get to last night, which was nice in a way but also awkward for the other guys IMO. Adam is, of course, safe! As is Kris - but Anoop is in the Bottom 3.

Guest performance - Flo Rida, "Right Round." I've heard part of this remake & didn't know who it was; now I know. That's pretty much all there is to say about that. ;-)

More results:
Danny - safe. Matt - safe. Scott - B3.
Allison & Lil remain - Allison is safe, Lil is B3. Well, my prediction was right except for Anoop.

Ryan asked the judges if they'd consider using the save tonight, & Simon said they would consider it on at least one of them.

Guest performance: Kellie Pickler, "The Best Days of Your Life," which she cowrote w/bff Taylor Swift. Not one of Kellie's (or Taylor's) better songs, IMO.

1st safe is Lil. The least votes went to... Scott (yay, I'm right, and whew!). He sings and the judges deliberate. Simon says 2 want him to stay, 2 want him to go! And once again they can't decide. I think since they said at the beginning that it had to be unanimous, that should decide it & Scott goes. Simon doesn't use that reasoning, but he tells Scott it's a no, he's going home. Journey vid, hugs, etc.

Wednesday, April 8

AI8 - Top 8 (4/7/09)

Tonight's theme is songs from the year you were born - in essence, 80's tunes!! This makes me very happy, lol. In fact this is possibly my favorite show so far of the season!

Danny (1980) "Stand By Me" - Strange arrangement (not really like the one released that year by Mickey Gillie), just ok. Judges loved it though, of course.

Kris ('85) "All She Wants to Do is Dance" - I'm a huge Don Henley fan, but I don't think this was a good choice for Kris. That, combined w/the electric guitar & singing in the mosh pit w/the audience... Kara was glad he did something uptempo but disappointed in the delivery (too "jazz funk" and not "youthful" enough); Simon called it indulgent & boring/forgettable. He may be in trouble.

Lil (84) "What's Love Got to Do with It" - Hmm, pretty copycat, not much original. Judges agreed & said it wasn't "her". I'll be very surprised if she doesn't hit the B3.

Anoop (86 - he shares a bday w/David Cook!) "True Colors" - Love this! The song and his performance. Changed it up just enough, but not too much. Judges agreed, they all liked it. Kara said he controlled the song (as opposed to the song controlling him) and that he "interpreted a pop song with soul."

Scott (85) "The Search is Over" - Eeeee!!! Sorry, but I *love* this song!! Had to stop myself from singing along so I could listen to Scott, lol. No piano this week! He had an electric guitar, which didn't really go w/the song, at least since he was on stage all alone (it would've been better if he'd been with a band but it was weird solo). Didn't hit all the high notes but overall it was a good vocal, I think he's become more comfortable the past few weeks & his vocals have been stronger because of it. The judges picked on the missed notes and Simon said the song itself (not the performance) was horrible. Sorry, Simon, it's awesome! ;-)

Allison (92- the year I got married! Sigh, I feel old!) "I Can't Make You Love Me" - Ah, an Idol classic! No one will beat Contantine's version IMO, but Allison's was very, very good, especially for her age (you know, to get the right emotion for it). Paula said this was the perfect example of how you can use the original arrangement but still make it your own. Simon said he liked the song, but thinks she needs to show more personality.

Matt (85 - wow, these 3 guys were all born within about 5 wks of each other!) "Part-time Lover" - really? That was the best you could come up with?! Sigh. It was ok... the arrangement was very jazzy & he even did a little scatting at the end. But not a good song for showing vocal strength. Somehow the judges adored it, though we're short on time so we don't get much detail.

Adam (82) "Mad World"!!! *LOVE* this song. Adam rocked it!!!! Got the dramatic lighting treatment from the producers, though his performance started after 9 since the show ran long so people only using DVR's will have totally missed it. Since they were out of time Simon said he'd be the only one commenting, but he didn't feel words were necessary; and then gave him a standing ovation!! Simon *never* does that (like, 3 times during 7 years?) and I think Adam realized it was significant, he seemed very grateful. :-) Awesome!!!

My personal Bottom 3 would be Danny, Matt & Lil.
I predict the actual B3 will be Kris, Lil, and Scott, with Scott going home.

Thursday, April 2

AI8 - Top 9 Results (4/1/09)

Over 36 million votes this week!

No performance recap - different! Ryan asks Simon who he thinks may go home; Simon says that Anoop, Matt, and Megan are in trouble. (He was close...)

Ford video: "Mixed Up" - fun! Split pane faces/bodies of contestants, with Matt and Kris getting solos.

Group song: "Don't Stop Believing"! This is one of my all-time favorite songs *plus* the contestants finally get solos!! I'm loving it!! Allison & Kris start it off strongly & get the longest solos. Adam gets the shortest & fittingly it's the last 'wail' at the end. Oh and Scott was at the side of the stage playing keyboard for most of the song, then joined the rest at the end. Yay!

Footage from a "typical Idol week," which apparently is mostly photo shoots, or at least that's what they have the most footage of. There's an adorable part where Kris talks about the different faces they have to make, and shows his "sexy face" but then says "it isn't working." Hee. We also see a bit of life at the house with the chef (Scott's favorite perk, I think). Adam says they're all "Fresh princes and princesses of Bel Air" (begging the question, which one would he call himself? ;-)). And apparently Matt does impersonations of other finalists. On the tape we see him doing Danny, then come back to the live show where we learn he's not the only one! The funniest was when Anoop did Kris, complete with crooked mouth for a glory note! Much fun.

Different approach to the results this week as well. Ryan splits the contestants into 3 groups across the stage: Megan/Matt/Kris, Adam/Lil/Allison, and Scott/Danny/Anoop. He doesn't specifically say that one group contains the bottom 3 but alludes to it.

Guest performance: David Cook! Except he's not really there tonight, this was pretaped (last week, I believe). His new single is "Come Back to Me," one of my 2 favorite songs on the album! More yay!! Sounds awesome, and so professional now! Contestants, take note. Afterward Ryan presents him with a Platinum album.

Ok, turns out one from each group on contestants will be safe (I wondered about that!). Kris & Matt are safe; Megan is in the Bottom 3 (and doesn't show any disappointment, she totally expected it). Lil and Adam are safe; Allison is B3. Lastly Danny and Scott are safe, and Anoop is B3.

Guest performance: Lady GaGa, "Poker Face." Did Ryan really say this is #1? Granted I don't listen to Top 40 all the time, but I've never heard it. Good old Midwest, behind the coasts by months once again. The crystal pink piano was rather interesting. At least we got to 'see' that she can actually sing for a bit at the beginning.

Results: Ryan asked Simon if any of the 3 would be worth saving, and he replies that "one" would. 1st safe is Allison. Least votes & in danger of going home is... Megan. As soon as the audience starts to make (disappointed) noises, she says "It's ok." She seems happy, even (maybe she really misses her kid & knows she has no chance of winning...). Earlier Ryan had asked her what she thought of Simon's negative comments last night, and she said that she loves Simon but didn't care. So when Ryan asks Simon - before Megan sings - if they would even consider saving her, Simon in turn replies, "Respectfully, you said you don't care; neither do we; no." So, at least she has no pressure while singing, she can just enjoy it. Which she did, even to the point of forgetting the lyrics/arrangement (she tried to sing the last line too early, there was one more repeat of the previous one). I'm so glad she's leaving!! She did tear up during her video at the first mention of her son, and I'm sure she'll be happy to be reunited (until the tour, anyway).

For many reasons (Lady GaGa excluded), this was one of my favorite results shows ever!! :-)

Next week's theme: Songs from the year you were born. See you then!

Wednesday, April 1

AI8 - Top 9 (3/31/09)

This week's theme is "Popular iTunes downloads," which, according to Ryan, is "wide open." Who know how they define "popular," but we get a wide range of songs tonight.

The contestants also visited Ryan's radio station studio this week for the AT40. We're told that Idol finalists have had a total of 29 songs in the Top 40 over the years!

Anoop "Caught Up" - Decent, not great. Judges weren't impressed, Randy didn't like the choice, Kara said he didn't do anything different from the original (I disagree a little, and Anoop disagreed a lot0. Simon thought it was a mess & he came off as a wannabe.

Megan "Turn Your Lights Down Low" - I don't know this, but apparently it's been done by Bob Marley and Lauryn Hill. I'd say it was one of her better performances, but still not something I enjoy. Kara said it was a bad choice & wished she'd done Adele; Paula wants her to surprise them by doing a vulnerable ballad (um, ok, what was this then? It was pretty mellow!). Simon said it was boring and indulgent, and not her. Now, how can something be both "indulgent" (which I take as meaning favoring the contestant's preferences) and *not* "her"?? Then again Simon's off on several things tonight....

Danny "What Hurts the Most" - I *LOVE* this song!!! The beginning verse was just awesome, I like when he sings softer. Despite saying he was bringing it down to be mellow this week, after the verse he breaks into full-out belting mode. Still good but no where near the beginning, I think he needs to show more variety (in singing style, not in song choice). The audience & judges (of course) loved it. Simon said it was his best yet and Kara said it "moved" everyone in the room (well, he was singing about missing a woman who was gone, and in case you haven't heard, his wife died...). Sigh.

Allison "Don't Speak" - Ok, how many people felt really OLD when she said she "grew up" listening to this song?!!! Hard to believe it came out 13 years ago (per Wiki, anyway). Apparently she's from the same town as No Doubt, too! She sounded awesome; especially loved the softer beginning where she played guitar as a contrast to her usual rock stuff. Randy said she was rushed and everyone except Paula hated her outfit; Paula did say her vocals were good. I thought it was one of the best of the night!

Scott "Just the Way You Are" - Another one toned down, and I think it was his best vocal yet! The hair cut looks good, too. Kara said it was a smart song choice & Simon said it was his best performance yet.

"You Found Me" - Played electronic keyboard instead of piano, standing up with audience members almost surrounding him (not sure exactly where he was stage-wise). Very good performance, though this is my least favorite Fray song & I'd loved to have heard him do something else of theirs. The judges really came down hard on him though; Paula said he didn't have any of the things they love most about him; Kara said he needs to pick either the rock or R&B side of pop & commit to it (he replied he's trying to show versatility, but they're not big on that this year!). Simon said he "didn't get it" and that the song isn't commercial. Um, ok, sure, that's why I hear it every 10 minutes on the radio then? Sometimes Simon just has no clue.

Lil "I Surrender" - Belty song and the beltiest parts sounded good, but I thought she was really, really off for most of it; her voice sounded strained or something. Also hated the look, straight chin-length hair & the very unflattering dress. The audience seemed to be happy, but the judges were disappointed in her song choice. Paula called it "Adult Contemporary Lil" and Simon said it was too safe and old-fashioned.

Adam "Play that Funky Music" - Interesting choice! But he's such the 70's glam rocker... it was good, his normal shrieky, strutty stuff which I'm tired of at this point. Also hate the hair slicked back! The audience loved it, as did the judges. Paula compared him to Steven Tyler & Mick Jagger; Simon praised his originality, especially compared to some of the other performances tonight. Adam graciously gave the band credit for the arrangement. :-)

Kris "Ain't No Sunshine" - Well, Christina's version during Season 1 will always be the quintessential Idol performance of this song, but Kris certainly deserved the 'pimp spot.' Despite cluing us in that he was intentionally trying to create a "moment" (which almost defeats the purpose), he had a pretty good moment! He played keyboard (instead of guitar) and did a unique arrangement that was very good and really showed off his vocals. Easily the best performance of the night IMO. The audience & judges loved it. Paula said it was his best; Simon like the arrangement & said he had the confidence Simon was asking for last week.

My prediction for Bottom 3: Megan, Anoop, and Allison (or maybe Matt), with Megan leaving (please?!)

Monday, March 30

AI8 - Top 10 Results (3/26/09)

There were a record 36 Million votes last night.

Worst group song. ever. Not only is it lipsynched, it was pretaped in an empty studio with cuts back & forth to footage from the Detroit trip... we don't even see them walk from one spot on stage to the next! Sheesh. What's wrong with just having them SING? Most fans *love* the old-style live group songs, cheesy choreo and all. I understand having to work around Scott, but this was ridiculous.

Ford video: "Pocketful of Sunshine," with a landscape being 'built' in squares that they then drove off on/into. Meh.

1st guest performance: Ruben, doing his new single "Together." It sounds just like all of his other songs from the past 6 years. ;-)

Results: Adam is safe. Matt is Bottom 3 - surprise! Kris is safe. Last in the row are Lil & Michael... Lil is safe, Michael is B3.

2nd guest perf.: Smokey doing a duet w/Joss Stone! "You're the One for Me." I love her, and their voices work surprisingly well together.

More results: Allison - safe. Anoop - safe. Danny - safe. So it's down to Megan & Scott; could go either way. Megan is somehow safe and Scott is B3. But, Scott is soon sent back to the couches.

3rd guest perf.: Stevie Wonder doing a medley. The contestants are so fun to watch during these, singing & dancing along!

Lowest vote-getter is Michael. Ryan had asked the judges if they would consider using the Save on either of the (assumed) bottom 2, and they said yes (but not which one). Michael gets to sing, and he is about a million times better than last night! At first he lamented having to follow Stevie Wonder, but I think his excitement helped as he was probably the best we've heard him. Paula's standing up dancing didn't help the judges in their deliberation, so they were still undecided when Ryan went to them for a decision. Poor Michael! Finally Simon made a decision and Michael goes home. I'm fine w/that, I'd rather they keep the Save at this point, and I think he'd probably still be B3 next week.

Speaking of next week, Ryan didn't say what the theme is, so I guess it'll be a surprise (until about Monday, anyway!).

Thursday, March 26

AI8 - Top 10 (3/25/09)

Theme: Motown; Mentor: Smokey Robinson. The gang (minus Michael, who was sick) flew to Detroit to visit the original Motown studio, which made Lil all teary and proud. And speaking of original, the iTunes songs this week have the contestants singing to the original Motown orchestrations of the songs... which really stinks since Adam's "unplugged" performance was chillingly awesome but won't be available. Figures.

Matt "Let's Get It On" - heh. I was reading song speculation earlier and people were hoping that Anoop would do this (and predicting America would then have a shortage of water pressure as all the ladies hit the cold showers afterward). And really hoping that Danny wouldn't. ;-) It was a decent choice for Matt, though I liked the slow part at the beginning better than after he left the piano. Simon said it was a brilliant song choice & good performance; the other judges also complemented.

Kris "How Sweet It Is" - Smokey was impressed w/either how good he plays and sings, or just that he can play & sing at the same time, it was hard to tell. Again, loved the slow beginning & the rest was good but not tremendous (ok except for the very end), plus I think the song is forgettable (too common to stand out). Audience loved it; Kara & Simon complimented him for making it his own. Simon also said he needs more self-confidence.

Scott "Can't Hurry Love" - Had the background singers around the piano; nice performance, his usual. Simon hated it; he & Randy thought it was a bad song choice, but Kara liked that it was up-tempo. Loved Ryan asking him how he knew he his pants were pink.

Megan "For Once in My Life" - Smokey liked her originality, but the actual performance was terrible IMO. She missed a lot of notes even after changing the melody to better fit her limited range. The judges agreed, though somewhat blamed it on the song choice.

Anoop "Ooh Baby, Baby" - Smokey had no advice for him in practice (in a good way)! And Anoop said he really appreciated hearing the story behind the song. It was very soft and sweet, great performance! Kara said some of his falsetto notes were off pitch but that it's a very difficult song to sing and overall it was pretty good. Paula loved it; Simon said the vocal was great but that he looked sleepy (instead of just serious) while singing.

Michael "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" - I don't think he's fully recovered from the flu & it showed in his performance. Paula was disappointed and called it "old Las Vegas / loungy". Simon said it was too shouty & he has no chance of winning; Randy said the song was too big for him.

Lil "Heat Wave," of course! Complete with video flames as usual. Her dress & hairdo fit the era, & she'd talked about how much the Detroit trip meant to her. Very good performance, definitely one of her best. Paula loved it but the rest of the judges disagreed, saying it was too fast of a song to show off her vocal talents.

ADAM!!! "Tracks of My Tears," 'unplugged' - AWESOME!!!! This is what I've been waiting for him to do - Just. Sing. It was cute how nervous he was doing it for Smokey, but Smokey said for a much-covered song he'd never heard it done this way and really liked it; he gave him a standing ovation after the actual performance! (Adam also asked for the story behind it - I love it, both my faves did Smokey songs *and* wanted to know the backstory!) Adam had his hair slicked back (I didn't like that very well) and wore a skinny suit with very little makeup (& no nail polish); the whole presentation seemed, as with Lil, very respectful of the song itself. And it was a beautiful performance. The judges loved it; Simon said it was the best of the night & showed everything they'd been trying to tell the others about song choice, originality, and relevance.

Danny "Get Ready" - He & Smokey discussed Danny's plan to have the back-up gals sing part of the main lyric; Smokey advised against it and Danny said he would take his advice, but then ended up doing it the way he'd originally planned. I don't think it affected the performance either way though. He went back to stand by & dance with the background singers twice, which was a bit strange/cheesy. Paula loved it but Simon called it clumsy & amateurish. Kara said it was good but not great.

Allison "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" - Aww, makes me miss David Hernandez! But, I see why she got the pimp spot. Excellent song choice and spot-on delivery, but then I love the song anyway. Crowd & judges loved it.

My prediction for the bottom 3: Michael, Megan, and Scott, with Michael leaving. Lots of guest performances tomorrow night, sounds good!

Friday, March 20

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition comes to Indy!!

Last Monday it was announced that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is going to do a build here in Indianapolis! And not just any build - this will be the season finale!!

I checked out the website and decided to sign up for a couple volunteer shifts. I also attended the pep rally on Friday which was a blast! Newsman Kevin Gregory was the host. Builder Paul Estridge opened the meeting in prayer - cool! And Executive Producer Conrad Ricketts told us all about how he initially pitched the idea to ABC, some highlights of the 145 (!) builds in their 6 seasons, explained how some of the different teams work, etc. Builders usually only get 3 weeks' notice for a build! But since this one is special (2 hour show and will not only build a new home for the family - who'll be announced next Friday - but also do something to impact "the whole community") they got 5. ;-) Still soooo much to coordinate - but as of Friday they already had about 2000 volunteers who'd signed up online and it sounded like they had all the donated materials in place as well!

I love the show - almost always makes my cry, lol, and makes me happy to support companies like Sears and CVS who donate so much to help these families who are usually also helping others. So to get the chance to be even a small part of one build... is thrilling! Especially since next week my husband will be doing his annual work trip in Nicaragua. Going to a hot, humid country with an unpredictable schedule to do manual labor for a week is definitely not in my comfort zone (and would be a major challenge for me food & health-wise). But one or two 8-hour volunteer shifts close to home where I can take my own snacks - and yes, I signed up as an "Unskilled Volunteer"! - *that* I can do! So I'm excited. Even if they don't need me I want to go and observe for a while. The website lists the schedule so you can see when spectators are allowed if you're interested. And make sure to watch Channel 6 news as they'll be covering it all starting Friday!

Thursday, March 19

AI8 - Top 11 Results (3/18/09)

Over 31 million votes last night. No voiceover in the recap, just a few of the judges' (good) comments shown.

Group sing: "T.R.O.U.B.L.E." Scott played piano so he didn't have to do any choreo, & there wasn't much for everyone else anyway, move to the edge of the stage, come back to the piano. I do miss the live group sings with solos, the lip-synched group harmony just isn't quite the same.

Ford video - "Here It Goes Again," a song I don't know, but the water balloons were fun.

Clips with Jasmine & Jorge from after last week's elimination - that was different, but kind-of nice (especially seeing Jorge's sense of humor!).

Interestingly (having seen the end first & then rewinding to watch this part) Ryan then asks Alexis about the emotions of elimination night, and Michael about being away from his family... we'll later find that these are the bottom 2 (which of course Ryan already knows)! Ryan also mentions Megan's being ill and shows footage of the 'rehearsal' earlier with everyone wearing breathing masks! Then he jokes and moves his podium further away from the couches to read the results! ;-)

Danny - safe - and Ryan says (as he does to most of them), "Welcome to the Tour!"

Lil - safe (and very relieved/excited)

Anoop - safe! And so early in the show, lol!

Allison & Michael - both end up being in the Bottom 3!

- Performance: Brad Paisley, "Then" - nice song, a nice break from his usual comedy stuff

Scott - safe

Megan - safe (of course, there has to be someone I don't like on tour!)

Matt - safe

Kris (my, the girls in the audience scream for him!) - safe

So Alexis & Adam are left; Adam is safe, Alexis is Bottom 3.

Allison is safe, leaving Alexis & Michael.

- Performance: Carrie Underwood & Randy Travis, "I Told You So" - awesome! (though they could've let Randy sing a bit more!)

Ryan asked the judges if either of the contestants would be worth using the Save on, and Simon replies that yes, they're considering it. Michael is safe (wow, 7 guys & only 3 girls on tour!!! *Not* that I'm complaining!) so Alexis must sing for survival. She does somewhat better than last night- at least the higher part was in tune - but you can also tell she's desperate/nervous/emotional which then hurts her performance in parts. Simon admits that she's the one they were considering saving and that the performance was good, but it was not good enough, and she is out. "Journey" package and we're done.

Next week - Motown! (Anoop, Kris, & Matt at least will be right in their comfort zones, probably Lil too!)

Wednesday, March 18

AI8 - Top 11 (3/17/09)

This week's theme: Country, but limited to Grand Ole Opry members' songs. Randy Travis was the mentor and wow, he's showing his age, eh?

Michael Sarver "Ain't Goin' Down 'til the Sun Comes Up"- Well, he's the only country-ish singer in this year's finals, and he does a somewhat overdone song that we all know Simon hates. He's ok, I mean the song doesn't showcase vocals, it's just a lot of lyrics and some running around. Randy pretty much said the same thing, and Kara agreed, saying she missed the big notes. Michael replied that for him country is about having fun, and that's what he did. Simon said it was clumsy & lacked star quality.

Allison Iraheta "Blame it on Your Heart" - decent. Crowd & judges loved, though Paula wants her to show a more vulnerable side in the future.

Kris Allen "To Make You Feel My Love" - I wasn't familiar w/this Garth song but Kris was very, very good. A slow ballad without his guitar really showed off his strong vocals. Randy Travis said ballads are his strength and liked how he "made it his own." Paula was pleasantly surprised though she said some of the low notes were off-key (I didn't notice); Simon said it was "terrific," a great song choice, and that he was "completely in control of the song."

Lil Rounds "Independence Day" - Interesting choice! She said she specifically kept it subtle vocally to honor the song and writer. It was fine, though she only did the 1st verse so the point of the story & chorus was somewhat lost. I think Paula was trying to say something to the same effect; all the judges would've liked her to stay in her 'box' and do something more belty r&b. Also Simon doesn't understand that her name is not an abbreviation.

Adam Lambert "Ring of Fire" - Hmm. Dilana did this on RockStar a couple summers ago & this arrangement is similar; I really liked hers but his, notsomuch. She kept it low & sultry; he went high as he is wont to do and I think I agree with Kara, my main impression was "strange." Paula thought it was a good choice for him and Randy called it current & fresh. However... in practice Randy Travis had been polite but obviously didn't care for what Adam was doing with it and was somewhat at a loss for words. Simon commented, "I think what Randy was tryin to say was, 'What the [xxxx] was that?!'" ;-) He called it indulgent rubbish and I slightly agree; Adam really, really needs to do a ballad to show the smooth, pretty vocals some of us fell in love with instead of the continuous wailing and screeching that's starting to feel repetitive.

Scott MacIntyre "Wild Angels" - He finally got a hair cut, yay! He does a good job w/this, it's slow & soft until toward the end and fits him, & he seemed to do great on the piano part (impressed Randy Travis, anyway!). Paula said he "works harder than most people" on stage (huh?) but that the piano could become a crutch & she'd like to see him without it. Kara said he brings class & poise to the stage. But all the judges pretty much said he needs to up his game & show some versatility.

Alexis Grace "Jolene" - She said she wanted to show her softer side & some versatility. Randy Travis was very impressed & didn't even have any suggestions for improvement! Well, I thought she started out well, but the falsetto was way off-key and she went downhill from there (plus the one repeated hand gesture annoyed me). Randy & Simon thought it was just ok; Kara missed her edge; Paula liked it.

Danny Gokey "Jesus, Take the Wheel" - another interesting choice! Poor guy, during his rehearsal w/R.T. he messed up again and againandagain!! But he did fine once on stage. Randy T. did say that once Danny got going he liked his soulfulness. The crowd loved his performance; Kara said she liked the 2nd half. Paula said she liked it all, it's better to have a build-up to the strong part than sing that way all the time, & called it "brilliant."

Anoop Desai "You're Always on my Mind" - Woo-hoo! Anoop is back, dawg!!! I will love him forever for choosing this song. (1) He soooo needed to do a ballad and restore our love of his gorgeous voice. (2) I now have this version to 'replace' Willie's in my brain - yay!!!! (My father - and husband - love Willie, but I basically can't stand him.) Randy Travis loved it & predicted it would be the best performance he's had on the show so far, and I agree! Just awesome. The judges loved it as well; Simon said he went "from zero to hero" and took back last week's statement that he didn't belong in the Finals; Kara said it was the best of the night so far.

Megan Corkrey "Walkin' After Midnight" - I wasn't a Kelly Pickler fan but she did a good job on this song; I don't know if that bodes well for Megan or not! Turns out not... I still can't stand her. The voice... just wrong, grates. It's just on the edge of being cool, unique, and great, but it's not. Randy said it was the perfect choice for her; Kara agreed. Kara also commended her for singing so well while sick, but the way she said it was like no one else has ever in the history of *performing* had to do it while sick. Um, yeah, Kara, people are sick on Idol every year & still sing, and other performers do it all the time. It's part of performing. To her credit, apparently Megan was so sick she had been to the hospital, and she couldn't stop coughing after she was done performing, so it was obviously somewhat serious, and I couldn't tell at all while she was singing (though she was twisting & bouncing a bit less than normal). She also looked a bit like Reese Witherspoon w/the hair & the dress, & though Simon said she looked nice he also said the stylists are taking away her quirkiness which they liked. (Stay in the Quirky box, Megan!)

Matt Giraud closes the show with "So Small," a Carrie Underwood song I don't know. Apparently he slowed it down & arranged it quite differently than Carrie's, and it was a good performance (and for the first time during one of his or Scott's songs, the camera/director actually showed us shots of his hands while playing!). The judges loved it of course; Simon said he's got a similar voice to Danny but outsang him tonight; Randy said it was his favorite of the night.

It's a hard one to call this week, but I think the girls are in trouble. I'll pick Alexis, Allison, and Kris for bottom 3 with Alexis leaving. Looking forward to hearing Carrie & Randy T. duet tomorrow night!!

Thursday, March 12

AI8 - Top 13 Results (3/11/09)

Almost 33 million votes, and we'll have a double elimination. Unless the judges use their brand new "Save", the new 'rule' introduced to hopefully prevent such shocking and perceived as undeserved early boots as Tamyra, Chris Daughtry, or Jennifer Hudson (they also mentioned Michael Johns but I wouldn't put him in the same category, personally). The decision has to be unanimous but once during the season (and only up to Top 5) the judges can save someone who would normally be eliminated. The viewers' votes will then be combined over 2 weeks and the 2 lowest will be eliminated the following week. So, the viewers still determine who goes, but the judges can in essence give someone a 2nd chance if they have a really off night. Not a bad idea. Except in practice this means every time someone is eliminated they don't know if they're *really* eliminated until after they're made to sing, which rather stinks for them!! Oh well. I doubt this would get used on anyone but a few & I doubt they'd get the least votes, but we shall see. (And both Tamyra and Chris both went out 4th, so it wouldn't have saved them anyway!)

New Digs - footage of the Top 13 moving into the Idol Mansion! Complete with whirlpool(s), a backetball court, bowling alley, home theater, and 2 pools.

Group Medley, yay!!! Complete with pointy pose and an almost stationary back "line" which included Scott so that he didn't have to move around a lot. Unfortunately Danny had a short dance solo (?!), and they're continuing with mostly duets instead of giving everyone vocal solos (just Michael & Alexis got very short ones).

Not only is there a commercial starring Carrie Underwood, but she sings this year's Going Home song.

Recap of last night... the poor being Jasmine, Megan, Anoop, and Jorge, and "standouts" being Danny & Adam (surprise, surprise).

Ford video: "We Will Rock You" with (moving) images of the contestants on city buildings and such. It's almost more fun watching their reactions after seeing themselves then it is watching the video itself!

On to results. People stand in place to find out whether they're safe or have to come down on stage (no "bottom" group is ever announced so the stage-coming for the non-bootees could be totally random - like in poor Anoop's case).

Michael - safe
Allison - safe
Jasmine - brought down on stage
Matt - safe
Kris - safe
Megan - onto stage...

...so either Megan or Jasmine is eliminated. Unfortunately Megan is safe so Jasmine is out. She sings, then faces the judges to see whether or not she's *really* out... and of course she is. Boo!

Guest performance: Kanye West

Audition footage hidden during commercial break: Nathaniel Marshall ("Proud Mary")

More results...

Scott - safe
Alexis - safe
Danny - safe
Anoop - onto stage
Adam - safe

So it's down to Lil and Jorge... Lil is safe so Jorge is onto the stage, and we have another commercial break...

and then Kelly Clarkson performs! (because heaven forbid Anoop should learn his fate with more than 60 remaining of the show!!) Kelly sings her new single after Ryan chats w/her a bit. She's not wearing much make-up and has put on a few pounds, and her voice seems a bit strained as well (maybe it's having flashbacks to her finale!). Always fun to see how contestants behave during the guests... Adam seemed to be enjoying himself, & almost everyone was clapping along except for Anoop (& Ryan).

Ok, this is it- I like both of them! But would rather keep Anoop, and Anoop is indeed safe, so Jorge is out. He sings, is pronounced really and officially out, and his package plays us out.

Did they say next week's theme? Oh and I assume it's only the Top 10 on tour again this year since the tour hasn't been mentioned at all yet. I'm ok w/that as I expect my 2 guys to make it past next week. I'd be really happy if Megan didn't, but then there's almost always someone I don't care for in the Tour and at least she's better than Haley! ;-)

Wednesday, March 11

AI8 Finals - Top 13 (3/10/09)

Theme: Michael Jackson songs. Yippee. I mean, why do they pick one of the artists whose songs they're always saying the contestants shouldn't sing and then make them sing their songs?! This makes sense in whose universe? Sigh.

Also? 2 are going home tomorrow. So, it's not really a Top 13. I guess it gave whoever was on the bubble (we all know it wasn't Anoop) one more chance to stay in and get some viewer's votes, but after tomorrow we'll be back on the original schedule with 11 left.

And, there will be another twist. I'm guessing the judges will either save someone in the Bottom 3 or they'll choose the person who's going. Kind-of like the new Dancing w/the Stars twist, though those judges' scores have always counted for part of who stays or goes. But, Nigel L. is gone as a producer and supposedly Simon's British X-Factor show does something like this, so I'm not too surprised (anything that gives Simon more power...). We'll find out for sure tomorrow!

Lil: "The Way You Make Me Feel" - Surprising choice for her, but it worked. It's nice to see her do something uptempo. She used the stage well, has confidence. Judges in general loved it, though Simon said it was a "lazy" song choice & that he hated her outfit.

Scott: "Keep the Faith" - Well, it seems Kara was right! Not that we could hear anything Scott was playing on the piano (other than the last riff), but somehow it made his voice better! Definitely his best performance so far. Not entirely comfortable to watch, but great vocally and I certainly wouldn't mind hearing him on the radio or my cd player. Kara loved the message of the song & that he's staying true to his inspirational self. But Randy thought it was too safe & Simon said it was a bad choice because no one knows it & it's too old-fashioned.

Danny: "P.Y.T." - Really?! Sigh. It's always hard when someone does a song a past favorite of yours did really well, and though it was 7 years ago, this was definitely one of Justin's best. Seems a surprising choice for Danny but I guess he's trying to show versatility, which is usually a good thing. Not the best vocals and definitely not great w/the dancing, but he's certainly not going anywhere. Paula says he'll even be in the finals, not that anyone is surprised the judges want him there. Simon said the vocals were "brilliant" (really?) and that he reminds him of Michael McDonald, though the dancing was hideous. Randy liked seeing the stylistic range; Kara said he seems joyous when performing.

Michael: "You Are Not Alone" - I thought this was his best vocal yet! Really good, though he's still one of my least favorites and I wouldn't mind if he went home (but I think he's got a solid fan base). Simon said he's not the best singer there but made up for it with passion and effort. Kara said tonight he showed her that "he can really sing." (Um, if you were unsure before, why was he in the Top 36? Just askin'...) As they're doing a lot tonight, pimp kid spot: his little girl in the audience after Ryan gave the numbers, wearing a t-shirt saying "Vote for my Daddy"!

Jasmine: "I'll Be There"- Good choice, fits her. Good vocal and I still love her, I think she's adorable and such a confident performer! Randy said she mixed the 2 versions (MJ & Mariah's) but it was still good; Kara said it was effortless & she has great stage presence. Paula said she has great poise for her age though there were some weak vocal parts; Simon said it was a bit robotic at times and that she needs to lighten up & act her age (e.g. younger & not so polished/serious).

Kris: "Remember the Time" - I don't know this one, but he played guitar and had so much fun with it! He's adorable as well, and the crowd really enjoyed it (Kara said "The girls love Kris!"). Kara & Paula mentioned that he helped other contestants during the week (awww!). Paula called him "adorable sexy" and said he did a great job. Randy compared him to Jason Mraz (style-wise). Simon said the song didn't necessarily warrant his playing guitar, but his vocals were good & he's likeable.

Allison: "Give In to Me" - Another one I don't know, but it's a great choice for her. Bluesy rock. All the judges liked; Randy said she's "one to watch." Simon & Kara especially like that she knows who she is as an artist, i.e. what genre of music she wants to do and is good at.

Anoop: "Beat It" - Hmm. He was cute in the pre-intro clip as they went to commercial, doing the Thriller 'zombie hands'! He sang it well and did a couple of different things with the melody toward the end, and played to the crowd again (touching some fans' hands). But some of his gestures were awfully literal & cheesy. The judges just really let him have it though... Paula said that the song is "untouchable" and for her to hear anyone besides MJ do it, it sounds karaoke. Kara said it didn't show his vocal strength; Simon & Randy also said it was a bad song choice & they were disappointed. Anoop replied that he was trying to show energy since that's the style they'd enjoyed him doing before. I think he'll be safe, but man they were tough on him!

Jorge: "Never Can Say Goodbye" - Wow! He really impressed me with this; I think it was the best vocal of the night! Definitely his best so far. Really fit his voice well. Or so I thought until the judges started talking... Randy said it was too old-fashioned and there were pitch issues. Paula said it was definitely the wrong song choice but despite the poor performance he still deserves to be there. Simon said the arrangement was corny and he sang it poorly. This is where I start wondering if the judges and I heard the same performance...?!

Megan: "Rockin' Robin" - Pretty good song choice for her voice & singing style. But I just cannot. stand. to watch her!!! Yuck. Kara & Paula said it didn't allow for showing her best vocals; Simon said it was a "stupid" song choice (his bird prejudice again apparently) and Randy didn't like it either! But to me it sounded exactly the same vocally as all of her other stuff that they tongue-bathed. I don't get the judges tonight, at. all.

Adam: "Black and White" - Brilliant choice!! Style-wise of course it fit him, but also message-wise... For those unaware, pics surfaced last week of him kissing his (ex) boyfriend, w/both of them in make-up... I didn't think it would make much difference or surprise most people, but to come back with a song about diversity, and kill it... perfect! ;-) I do really want him to do a ballad next week though to show off the other side of his vocals. Paula was almost overwhelmed, talking about how he's so professional and confident compared to all of the other contestants who've ever been on the show... and of course said she expects to see him in the finals. The other judges tonguebathed him as well. I just don't get it... I mean he was good, yes. But so were the past several who totally got ripped apart, and I don't think he was any better than his previous performances. Oh well, I love him so I won't complain. I did laugh when Simon said you have to be comfortable being over the top to sing MJ... perfect for Adam!

Matt: "Human Nature" - Perfect choice for him! Really fits his voice well, and nice to finally see him getting to play piano. Did this seem short to anyone else? And speaking of short, the judges' comments for the last 2 contestants are really short, because they've just realized they're running long on time. Generally I think the judges liked it, but I must have blinked because I missed most of what they said! Kind-of stinks for these contestants, but such is life. Randy did say that there were some pitch issues but it was still good.

Alexis: "Dirty Diana" - Who know there were so many Jackson songs I didn't know? Well, this suited her, and she performed it fairly well. Simon didn't like it, but Kara & Paula loved it, though Paula did warn her against oversinging.

And that's it! Oh, in case anyone was wondering about the strange phone number for Alexis and why Ryan kept saying "Trust me, dial *very* carefully," it's because some phone sex company owns most of the other numbers that start with the IDOLS 866-43657xx numbers!! Or at least a good deal of them, including 00 and 13. So they couldn't just use 4365713 and Alexis is now 3 "36." I'll be surprised if this does not hurt her voting numbers (and if no one complains to Fox &/or Idol after dialing #13 about what they end up with!!).

I think it's a hard call on the bottom 3 for this week, but I'll go with Lil, Alexis, and Megan. (4th choice Jorge.) If the judges save one of the 3 I think Alexis and Megan will go home (they'll save Lil); but if not, I could see Alexis and Lil leaving.

What do you think?

Monday, March 9

AI8 - Wildcard Show (3/5/09)

Jesse Langseth "Tell Me Something Good" - Good, bluesy song but didn't showcase her vocals as much as a different song could have. Randy & Kara said there were bad notes; Simon said it was better than her last song but somewhat indulgent.

Matt Giraud "Who's Loving You?" - Good for what he does, but I don't love him like the judges do. Kara said "You can riff amazingly;" Simon said it was a billion times better than his last but that he hated the outfit (he wore a hat & scarf) and he saw bits of Taylor Hicks-like mannerisms (hee!).

Megan Corkrey "Black Horse and a Cherry Tree" - Yuck. Love the song but can't stand her mannerisms (Betty Boop meets Pamela Anderson??). And I still think her voice is weird. Simone calls her "current" and original/quirky; he says it wasn't the best vocal but "that doesn't matter" (ok, when it's a cute girl he likes, it's so *not* a "singing contest"!). Randy & Paula confirmed the song choice as a good one for her.

Von Smith "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" - Started out a bit weak but the 2nd half was very good vocally, he's just a rather unattractive person to watch. Simon said he was boring and too serious; Kara agreed; Paula said he was too focused on technique. Von admitted he struggles w/that.

Jasmine Murray "Reflection" - Yes! This is what she should've done before, it's the Jasmine we fell in love with and she was awesome! (I'll take her over Lil any day!) The crowd loved it as well. Randy said the song was a bit too big for her but she was still "100% improved." Kara was confused, saying she didn't know she had that big voice, she thought she was the cute pop girl (Kara, where have you been?). Randy & Paula both mentioned some off notes... Simon called it a "brave" song choice, saying she did a great job and is "back in the running"!

Ricky Braddy "Superstition" - It was good, but he's a bit too similar to Kris in being a somewhat generic white pop singer, so I don't think he'll get in. He's a great singer & has great stage presence, but just isn't different enough from what we already have. The crowd loved it. Paula said he nailed it & had fun; Kara said "You can sing your butt off, but we knew that!" She said she'd wanted to see his personality & he showed it. Simon said it wasn't enough at this stage to set him apart, so he was disappointed; Randy said he tried to do too much with it.

Tatiana del Toro "Saving All My Love for You" - Wow, she can definitely sing. She can sing Whitney, even. But she's sooooo emotional and will. not. shut. up. Sigh. Paula & Simon both commented that she's repeated this song twice now; Simon asked if she even knew how to sing anything else? Randy & Kara said they never know what to expect with her, like it's "The adventures of Tatiana" & they don't know what's coming next!

Anoop Desai "My Prerogative" - Oh great, the judges keep harping on repeating songs & he does the same thing?! Not. good. Anoop, you may've just repeated your way out and while I'll be disappointed, you did it to yourself and such is life. Of course he sang it well, was entertaining, and had a couple glory notes, but I really wish he'd done a ballad or something that would've shown off his voice more. I did enjoy seeing Scott jam along in the background though! ;) The crowd *loved* it. Paula called him a showman; Simon said it's a strange night and said he's not the best singer, but people like him and they need people with "personality" (well that sounds very promising, seems like Simon's already explaining why they're choosing him!). Kara said she doesn't like to dance but he made her want to, and he replied that he was glad a Carolina guy could make a Duke girl want to get up & dance. Heh.

Ok, my guess is that they'll pick Jasmine, Megan, and probably Matt G. over Anoop (I'd pick Jasmine, Jesse, and Anoop!).

Actual results:
Jasmine - yes!
Ricky - no
One of Tatiana or Megan - Megan
Jesse - no
Von - no
and last up are Matt G and Anoop - Matt is in.

...then Simon says he wants to say something to Anoop, and says they've decided... to have a Top 13 (!) this year so he's in too!! Poor guy, they really like leaving him hanging. But YAY!!!!!

I'm assuming this is the big "format change" we heard was coming at Top 12. Still don't know how many will tour, but at least my 2 faves made it to the Finals!!

Thursday, March 5

AI8 - Group 3 Results (3/4/09)

Tonight we'll not only have the results from last night's show, but we'll also find out who'll be back for tomorrow's Wild Card show! So not much filler (yay)!

Group song: "Hot and Cold" (Katy Perry). The girls start up on the balcony and the guys start on the couch - even after the girls descend everyone pretty much stays on or near the couch, especially Scott, so that answers that! ;-)

Recap, chat, etc. On to results! First up is Lil - Ryan just has her stand at the couch & reads her comments, then tells us that... she's through! Wow, not wasting any time, but makes sense since she's the most obvious & the rest will at least have a bit of suspense. She sings.

Arianna, Taylor, Alex, Kendall, and Scott all stand. We're told one will advance... after the break. Arianna - no; Taylor - no; Alex - no. So it's either Kendall or Scott... it's Scott. He sings.

Nathaniel and Kristen are up next - neither is through. Then Felicia & Von - again, neither advances. So that just leaves Ju'not and Jorge, who get to come down to the stage w/Ryan. Jorge is the one to advance, though he won't get to sing until later. Wow, 2 guys again! Doesn't bode well for guys in the WC, but I'll keep my fingers crossed for Anoop!

And speaking of Wildcard... we now get to see who's been brought back! Up in the balcony are: Jesse, Anoop, Matt G., Matt B., Ricky, Tatiana (!), Jackie, Jasmine, Brent, Megan, and Nick (!). Also the rest of Group 3 is eligible, so that's 20 total (of the 27) from which the judges have chosen 8 for the WC show. They mention that past wildcards have included Jennifer Hudson and Clay. They also say that during the break they changed their mind about someone! So here we go...

The Wild Card selections, in order of announcement, are: Von, Jasmine, Ricky, Megan, Tatiana, Matt G., Jesse, and... Anoop! Whew! Made me sweat that one out. ;-)

So, only one from Group 3, which seems reasonable to me (I think there was a lot more talent in the 1st 2 groups). I'm excited about Jasmine and Jesse, they'd be my 2 girl picks if I were choosing. And Anoop has some tough competition so it may come down to song choice. Simon did say that he was one of their easiest choices, which is encouraging; I know they like him. Oh, and they said that Jesse was the one they changed their minds on, so I wonder who they took out for her to get in? Jackie or Kendall maybe?

So that's it - I'm excited for tomorrow! Sing us out, Jorge!

Tuesday, March 3

AI8 Group 3 (3/3/09)

Our last group of 12... and turns out there's no one I won't care if I never see them again. No need to spend any time voting tonight, which is kind-of nice! I'm sure I won't feel that way again for a couple of months... ;-)

Von Smith (22, MO) "You're All I Need to Get By" - Well, this is certainly the 'pimped but will disappoint' spot this year! (See: Jackie, Jasmine) I love that he reigned himself back, but it wasn't a great song choice and at this point he *should* be showing what he's got vocally! Randy loved it & said it was better than his HW stuff & a better start than the past 2 weeks (which isn't saying much!). Paula called him a seasoned showman; Simon said that he reminds him of Clay in that he has poor style but sang & performed very well.

Taylor Vaifanua (17, UT) "If I Ain't Got You" - Good, though weak in the lowest & highest parts. Kara wants to see more of her personality; Paula wished she'd have done something we/they haven't heard her do before. Simon said she's generic, bland, & seems older than she is; Randy thought she was boring.

Alex Wagner-Trugman (19, CA) "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" - Interesting choice! He said he's been in a long-distance relationship for a while and though others could relate. He also said he'd been reading online comments about his being "dorky" and as a result was going to the gym! Still has the great, dry sense of humor. However... way overdid the song, was too growly and OTT. But he was cute & had fun w/it, anyway. Simon said it was fun to watch but not to listen; most of the judges disliked the growl. Randy said it definitely didn't show his vocal ability; Kara said that at least "you're you!" and that "you can't pay for that choreography!" (hee!) Bye bye Alex, it's been fun and perhaps you can pursue the comedy somehow!

Arianna Afsar (17, CA) "The Winner Takes It All" - Ryan said this is the 1st ABBA song ever done on Idol. It was pretty good; she embellished too much on the verse but the belty chorus fit her well. Simon though it was awful: too old of a song; Randy said it was the wrong song & she should've stuck w/the melody. Kara said it was too dark & serious, she missed the cute Arianna from the auditions. (Arianna said she appreciated that in HW the judges commented only on her music & not on her looks, so she was probably trying to avoid the "cute"!)

Ju'not Joyner (26, MD) "Hey There, Delilah" - Ah, the guy w/the cute kid. Who will suffer for lack of screentime, but sobeit. Did a slowed down rendition of this - nice, but doesn't really show off his vocal strength. Randy said it was a smart choice & liked what he did w/it; Kara liked it but wants him to "bust out" next time. Paula said that though she criticized Taylor for repeating her HW song, he changed his up so she likedit; Simon said it was a bit safe, but good. He also mentioned that the CA smoke was bothering his asthma & he'd had to get a cortisone shot!

Kristen McNamara (23, CA) "Give Me One Reason" - Hmm, another interesting choice. It was decent, but I really think she should've done rock, her voice is better for that. Granted both girls already in Top 12 are rock-ish, so I can see the hesitation to go there. But this certainly isn't getting her in. Kara wanted her to go more rock/pop as well, and of course criticized her outfit (for some reason her 'box' is 'girl w/horrid fashion sense'!). Paula said it was a good vocal but safe; Randy & Simon are still confused about who she is artistically & said it was a bad song choice. Kristen said that she does want to do Kelly Clarkson/Leona Lewis - type songs.

Nathaniel Marshall (19, NY) "I Would Do Anything for Love" - Cool choice! He certainly isn't predictable song-wise, at. all. And when I listened with my eyes closed [tm Simon] it was really good! Too bad he's so insistent on having this particular look, because he really can sing. And has decent stage presence and confidence (which, honestly, is somewhat rare for someone like him at such a young age, but I've heard he does have some experience in 'the biz'). You could tell he was having fun too. Simon was funny after he was done... the last line of course being, "...but I won't do that," saying "I bet you would!" Nathaniel laughed. ;-) Simon admitted he's a fun guy but said it verged on excruciating because of his look. Kara said he has a good voice but should be more serious; Paula somewhat agreed, saying she appreciated his relevance in HW (playing "Disturbia" on guitar) and that this was a "Boy George version" of Meat Loaf.

Felicia Barton (26, VA) "No One" - Great voice, but she missed the high note and at times her voice has a really weird tone to it... ? Overall the judges liked it, and Kara gave her the compliment of saying "I *noticed* you."

Scott MacIntyre (23, AZ) "Mandolin Rain" - Ok Corrie, how many times have you rewatched this so far? ;-) It was nice... I actually think his voice sounds a lot like David Archuleta on this! But I still don't think he's good enough that he would've made it this far if he were a 'normal,' sighted guy. The crowd loved him. Randy said there were a few rough spots but he hit the notes he needed to. Randy & Kara both commented that he shows passion when he performs. Simon said he's growing on him; he's somewhat relevant and is memorable and thinks he'll definitely go through. At the end Scott showed his sense of humor and awareness by asking Ryan to high-five him!! (Like Ryan tried to do after Scott's initial audition, and Scott obviously couldn't see what Ryan was trying to do....)

Kendall Beard (24, TX) "This One's for the Girls" - Well, she's a pretty generic blond country girl, but we don't have one yet so that could get her through! Kara said there were vocal issues (yes), but she has a big personality which comes through on stage (she obviously meant that as a compliment). Simon said it was shrilly toward the end.

Jorge Nunez (21, PR) "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" - They showed a cute clip from HW group rounds w/him dancing. This song was good - nothing amazing, but probably the best male vocal tonight (man, why couldn't Anoop &/or Ricky have been in this group instead?!) Paula gave him a standing o. and said she could tell he'd worked very hard on his accent. Randy said it wasn't perfect but it was really, really good; Kara liked his sincerity (and then he started tearing up).

Lil Rounds (24, TN) "Be Without You" - I don't think anyone was surprised that she got the pimp spot tonight. There was a nice clip of her HW group (w/Michael Castro). This was very good - yes, finalist good, but having said that I still don't really care about her (maybe if she'd done a song I was more familiar with and liked?). I did enjoy seeing Nate jam along w/her from the balcony, though! The crowd & judges loved her, of course. Several judges said she's one of the best singers this season (well, they didn't put a lot of awesome girls through). Simon said it was brilliant though she did sound too much like the original; Kara praised her consistency throughout the competition.

My predictions: Definitely Lil. I'll pick Jorge and Kendall for the other spots, though Scott or Felicia could get in as well. Actually selfishly I'd prefer it if Scott did because that makes Anoop almost a lock for the last guy spot (assuming there are only 6) if the other 5 are all white! ;-)

Thursday, February 26

AI8 - Group 2 Results (2/26/09)

25 Million votes this week! And some surprising results IMO...

Group song: "Closer." Nice! Though I really wish we could hear them singing solo instead of in pairs.

Ryan mentioned a "hidden unseen audition" that was going to air during the commercial break - did anyone see this? I was flipping back & forth to Survivor and didn't tape the commercials of Idol so I have no clue....

Recap... didn't really highlight or swoon over anyone like they normally do, interesting.

For tonight's results Ryan is bringing people down to the stage in groups. First he brings Allison down alone and goes over the comments she got last night, but before reading her results he then does the same for Jesse and Matt B. (When I see Jesse come down I know she's not getting through because I'm sure Allison is - bummer!) Then says one of the three will advance - it's Allison. She sings and is cute and definitely deserves the spot.

Next Megan & Kris are brought down; Ryan reads their comments. Then brings Matt G. and Jeanine down, saying only one from this group of 4 is going through. I assume it's Megan, or possibly Matt G. because he had an earlier fan base. Ryan says it's not Jeanine... then says it's not Matt... so, must be... Kris?! Whoa! I'm wonderfully surprised, because he's just adorable, and Megan really, really annoys me... but I'm in shock! And so is Kris! Kara said that his Hollywood performance of Michael Buble's "Everything" was almost better than the original; I wish we'd gotten to hear it! Kris sings, and is excited like a little kid. He's going to be a fun contestant. Good for him! (For those who don't remember even seeing him before this week, we got a very short clip of his initial Louisville audition where he did "A Song for You." Then he was in the "White Chocolate" group in Hollywood along with Matt G, with the rapper and the beatboxing... and I thought he was better than Matt in that, but most people only noticed Matt.)

Then Ryan says something about the montage of moments from past seasons with which they opened this season's first show & how they've gotten lots of letters & emails about it, so they replay it. It is kind-of cool how at the end they show each of the 7 previous winners at the winning moments.

And our guest performance this week is... another contestant from last season! Brooke White performs her first single, "Hold Up My Heart," which she cowrote. I really like the music, but the lyrics don't make any sense to me. (Chorus: "Please hold up my heart; give me a reason for this empty silence. Please hold up my heart; I'm changing, but everybody's changing too." Huh? lol)

Ok, back to results... the last 5 contestants are called down by Ryan: Mishovanna, Kai, Nick, Adam, and Jasmine. He reads comments for Mishovanna, then Kai, skips Nick & Adam, and gives comments for Jasmine. Then announces all 3 are out, so it's down to Nick and Adam! Not much suspense, but jokes w/Simon about his comment that he was praying... Anyway, the last finalist is... Adam! Yay!!! He & Nick hug & Ryan asks him what he was thinking; he says he thought Nick was hilarious so had no idea which way things would go. Obviously he's happy to be in though and he sings... which means I get to see the whole song for the first time! I didn't really notice the techno edge last night, but that kind-of goes w/his glam side... as does the funky 70's middle part. Wow. And we used to think Constantine's performances were edgy for Idol! ;-) Some folks on one message board were saying Adam remind them of MiG (from RockStar), and I see a bit of that. Whatever... I love him and am glad we've got him in the Top 12! The other contestants seem very appreciative of his talent as well, which is nice to see.

Ok, one more week! The next group is: Arianna, Kristen, Lil, Kendall, Felica, Taylor, Ju'not, Nathaniel, Jorge, Scott, Von, and Alex. And then we'll have the wildcard episode next Thursday where the judges pick the last 3 finalists - hopefully Anoop will be one of them!!!

Tuesday, February 24

AI8 - Semifinals, Group 2 (2/25/09)

No families in the Red Room tonight. And we jump right in...

Jasmine Murry (17, MS) "Love Song" (Sara Bareilles) - Why is she singing a bouncy pop song like a belting diva? Sigh... song choice, song choice, song choice! Now if she'd done something by Fergie... seriously, does she remind anyone else of a cross between Paris Bennett & Fergie? ;-) Anyway, she was one of the most promising females this year & just totally threw her chances away with SONG CHOICE! She did have great stage presence. Randy said it was pitchy & too embellished; Simon said he's disappointed, her voice wasn't that good & she's not ready.

Matt Giraud (23, MI) "Viva La Vida" - Ok, again, people! Have you never ever watched the show before? SONG CHOICE! He said this is the style of music he wants to do & that he was trying to put a "soulful twist on a white boy rock song," but it just. didn't. work. Judges totally agreed. He's gone.

Jeanine Vailes (28, DC) "This Love" - The only female semifinalist we haven't heard yet. Great, long legs... but not great singing. She has a good voice but had some off notes & embellished too much (why do they keep doing that on fast pop songs?). Simon said it was terrible, she picked the wrong song & seemed to struggle through it. (She'd said she picked it because she was comfortable w/it.) Randy agreed & called it pitchy. Kara said it was overdone; Jeanine replied that she knew she needed to "come out strong" since she hadn't gotten any previous screentime and admitted she probably overcompensated. Cannon fodder.

Nick Mitchell / Norman/Normund Gentle (27, CT) "And I Am Telling You" - Well, we've already heard him sing this, but perhaps he's most comfortable w/it & figures if it got him this far... but the vocal wasn't nearly as good this time and the surprise factor was gone. Still had his hilarious moments; like when he sang to the Idol sign and called out "Doogie" in the audience. ;-) Simon said it was atrocious & Nick said the vocal had been much better in rehearsal, he knew something went wrong in the live performance. Randy said it was funny & one of the most entertaining performances (ever on Idol). It was fun, but I think his time has come to an end.

Allison Iraheta (16, CA) "Alone" - YES! Girl. can. SANG. Needs to tone down the gestures but still has decent stage presence & confidence. Judges loved her; Paula & Simon both said she's by far the best so far tonight).

Kris Allen (23, AR) "Man in the Mirror" - really? Sigh. I mean, it wasn't terrible, but unless you're going to do something wackily brilliant like David Cook's "Billie Jean," please step away from the Michael Jackson. We did get a short clip of him doing Michael Buble's "Everything" on guitar in Hollywood, which was nice. Kris is just so adorable and really does have a good voice & can dance and such, but this just wasn't good enough for this stage of the competition. Kara said the front was rough but the end was decent; still prefers the soulfulness she saw in Hollywood. Paula disagreed & thought he "nailed it;" Simon agreed! Simon & Randy both complimented his confidence (something they'd told him to work on).

Megan Corkrey (23, UT) "Put Your Records On" - Goodness, she's strange! Vocals were ok, sometimes very good but other times weak and occasionally annoying. Then there's the wigging, swinging and gesturing she did... that Ryan thought was cool? Um, no. (And Ryan, don't dance, there's a reason you're on radio, lol.) However... the judges absolutlely *loved* her!! I don't get it. Paula said she did everything right & that she's interesting and relevant; Kara called her a "package artist." Simon did think she oversang the 2nd half. I hope she doesn't get through over someone more deserving just because of extra screentime.

Matt Breitzke (28, OK) "If You Could Only See" - When he started I really thought this fit his voice perfectly, and it was good on the softer parts. But not in the louder, more rock-ish parts. I think he's pretty much cannon fodder at this point. Simon said he likes Matt but hated the performance, it was boring & a bad song choice. Kara agreed, saying it really didn't show us anything of what he can do.

Jesse Langseth (26, MN) "Bette Davis Eyes" - LOVE!!!!!!!!! I've loved her voice ever since we first saw her (well, I guess we've only seen her during group round and The Chair sing-off) and I absolutely love this song and she. was. awesome. So professional, polished, knows what she can do well and plays to her strengths... the only possible weakness was that she had her eyes closed too much instead of trying to connect w/the audience & camera. But as a musician loving a song (she said she loves the story & thinks it's "one of the greatest songs ever written"), I can understand just getting lost in the performance itself. She also commented that she liked Simon's comment after the singoff that she couldn't have won w/that performance, because it excited her to fight back & do better! Which IMO she definitely did. The judges seemed underwhelmed though; Randy said it was just ok, nothing exciting. Kara said she looked better than before & took some risks but hit some wrong notes (really?). Paula liked her, complimenting her unique phrasing & identifiable sound. Simon, however, said it was too 'cool' and forgettable. So I voted, a lot. :-)

Kai Kalama (27, CA) "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted?" - Well, if they keep singing standards instead of something current, they often get voted off (unless you're Melinda, but not many are that talented). He really is good (and attractive, and can dance) and I would have loved to have heard him do something more recent; I'm afraid this did him in. Kara agreed plus said there were pitch issues. Simon agreed it was old-fashioned, nothing original, and even "corny"; Randy said it was too safe. At least his mom could come out for what will probably be his only live performance.

Mishovanna Henson (18, CA) "Drops of Jupiter" - Again, not a great song choice. She sang most of it well and you can tell she has a good voice, but I don't think it was enough, especially w/Allison & Jesse in this group (and Megan whom the judges inexplicably love). Paula said what I did; Simon said it (she) was too serious/old seeming and that it was technically good but left him cold. Kara said she seemed too "put together" (wanted her to loosen up more) and that she's not sure where she fits musically.

And Adam Lambert (27, CA) gets the pimp spot and chooses "I Can't Get No Satisfaction." Sigh. I hate the Stones & really don't like this song. And then my stupid tape cuts off right in the middle of Adam's performance! Yikes. So I saw the first third or so and the last couple phrases. I love how he started it out slowly, and I agree w/Kara that it showed his range well (the lower stuff is very nice!). Oh, in his preview clip he said he appreciated Kara's advice and would try to connect more w/songs personally & internally rather than on the theater level that he's so used to. Anyway, the crowd seemed to love it and Paula gave him a standing ovation. She said that he's in a league of his own and it was more like a concert than part of a competition. Simon said parts were "excruciatingly bad" (toward the beginning) but other parts were "brilliant." Randy said he's one of the most current artists they've ever had on the show, comparing him to a mix of Steven Tyler, Fall Out Boy, Robert Pattinson (played Edward in the Twilight movie) and My Chemical Romance. ...Yes, I voted, though not as much as for Jesse because I think he's got a lot of fans (and possibly cemented more after admitting he's a Twilight fan himself!).

My predictions: Adam and Allison for the top gender spots. The 3rd will probably be Megan though I really hope it's Jesse instead!!

Tell me what you think!

Wednesday, February 18

AI8 - Group 1 Results (2/18/09)

Over 24 million votes last night - wow! We get a montage of short clips from everyone's "journey" (initial auditions, mostly). Then a group song, yay!! "I'm Yours" - but, it's the whole group, the whole time - no one gets solos! :-( Would've loved to hear Anoop solo on this.

Recap - highlighted Alexis, Tatiana & Ann Marie for the girls, Anoop & Danny for the guys. Not surprising there.

So for the first stretch, Ryan brings contestants down to the stage to give them their results. Some solo, some in pairs.

Casey - no ("You're not in the Top 12")
Stephen - no
Alexis - yes! 1st through, and she gets to sing again. Yeah, I guess she's good enough to be a finalist, sure.

Brought down together:
Jackie - no
Ricky - no

Now Michael & Anoop are brought down together, but only one of them get to go through... wow, Anoop is really tall (no wonder I like him, lol!). Unfortunately it's Michael and Anoop is sent back to the couches. They'd better bring him back for wildcard!!!! Oh Ryan says he only had 20,000 fewer votes than Michael did.

Short video from the "American Idol Experience" premiere at Disney, Florida. All 7 winners were together. The finale was a performance by David Cook & Carrie Underwood dueting on "You Can Go Your Own Way," and from what we see it was awesome! Now *that* they should sell on iTunes!

After the break Ryan calls down "the next 2 contestants"... and it's Carly Smithson and Michael Johns, back to perform for us. Michael says his single will be out soon and his album drops in May. They sing "The Letter," just like on tour.

Ryan now has the following stand up at the couches, and all find out they're done: Ann Marie, Brent, and Stevie. Which leaves...

Danny & Tatiana to come down on stage. One of them will advance... like we don't know which one? Sheesh. Well they still drew it out, but of course it's Danny. Tatiana manages to hold it together until about half-way through Danny's song, but then she starts sobbing.

And that's pretty much it!

Next week, Group 2:
Girls - Megan Corkrey, Mishovanna Henson, Allison Iraheta, Jasmine Murray, Jesse Langseth, and Jeanine Vailes.
Guys - Kris Allen, Matt Brietzke, Matt Giraud, Kai Kalama, Adam Lambert, & Nick Mitchell. Theoretically, more talent than this week, so let's hope the performances show it! Can't wait to hear what Adam will sing....

Tuesday, February 17

AI8 - Semifinals, Group 1 (2/17/09)

Woo-hoo, 1st live show! And there's a bit of a 'theme' - Billboard Top 100 hits. Also all performances will be available on iTunes - they have high expectations, apparently!

Jackie Tohn (28, NY): "A Little Less Conversation" - Just ok overall; the tight black pants didn't help. Randy said she's a good entertainer; the judges agreed it wasn't her best vocal, and Simon didn't like it at all. Ryan had her parents in the Red Room (as he did w/most contestants) so she returned there to join him to give the voting phone number.

Ricky Braddy (26, NC): "A Song for You" - We get some background, finally! He attended music school but wasn't pursuing a career until recently. They played a short clip of one of his solos in HW, an Alicia Keys song. His performance tonight is very good! Too bad his voice isn't "unique" and that we haven't seen him before tonight - I think he could have been very popular but there are people the audience already likes singing the same type of music. I threw him a few votes though I think he's cannon fodder. He was definitely the most fun balcony dancer of the night! (I love watching them during each others' performances!) The judges liked him; Paula acknowledged his lack of screen time & Simon said he has the voice but not enough confidence/star quality. (Anoop is also from NC so they'll be splitting home state votes, one thing that might've given him an edge.)

Alexis Grace (21, TN): "Never Loved a Man" - decent, and very cute in her little black dress & pink-splashed blonde hair. Randy loved her; Simon said the best so far tonight & that she has soul plus confidence.

Brent Keith (29, OH): "Hick Town" - Apparently Brent has dropped his last name (Smith). Talks about how he & his wife have been living paycheck-to-paycheck (yeah, join the rest of the country). Performance is good, not great. Kara & Paula say it was too safe; Simon dubs it forgettable. His wife meets him in the Red Room w/Ryan.

Stevie Wright (17, CA): "You Belong With Me" (Taylor Swift) - Just. no. She wanted to show her young, fun self, but it was pretty terrible. To go from the soulful "At Last" in her 1st audition where she wowed a lot of us to this... all the judges said it was a bad song choice. At least she can hope for a Wildcard spot.

Anoop Desai (22, NC): "Angel of Mine" - We get a small clip of "My Prerogative" from HW and he says he picked it because it's a fun song; he explains that he wants to perform songs that he's always wanted to see done on Idol as he's watched over the years! (Cool perspective!) & He also wants to bring energy to the stage. Tonight's performance is good; I love him so I enjoy it, but it's not the best vocal I've heard him do. Randy says he was a bit sharp & good but not his best; Paula notes that thankfully "America has connected with you already." Simon said the song was too "grown up" (Anoop points out it's from the late 90's) & serious for him, but that he's likeable. I definitely gave him some votes.

Casey Carlson (20, MN): "Every Little Thing [He] Does is Magic" - I didn't think she should've been put through the very 1st time, and this performance totally confirms that opinion. Way out of her league, and the judges call her on it. Bad song choice all around; Kara said "everything about that was wrong." (hee!) Bye Casey!

Michael Sarver (27, TX): "I Don't Wanna Be" - Ah, what would an Idol show be without this song? ;-) It's ok, but I don't think it's a great fit for his voice. He seems to pick R&B-ish songs so if that's what he wants to sing, there are others better for the job. The judges are disappointed though Kara & Simon talk about his likeability. His wife & Mom are in the Red Room.

Ann Marie Boskovich (22, TN): "Natural Woman" - Well, she's not Kelly. But, she did surprisingly well! Actually turns out to be my favorite female performance of the night. She knows her limits & didn't go for the high notes, but was very strong w/what she did. Judges disagreed w/me though; Randy said it was a bad song choice, Kara wanted something younger/more fun, and Simon said her voice isn't good enough for that song. Mom & sis in Red Room. I tossed her a couple votes & think she has a decent chance of making it through (I know a good number of people impressed w/her earlier performances as well).

Stephen Fowler (26, OH?): "Rock with You" - Showed a tiny clip of his initial audition, then the HW disaster. Weird song choice - I can tell he has a good voice, but not the best song to show it (I was disappointed after hearing some buzz on the 'net about him). Randy said it was a bad choice & he was pitchy; Paula actually said that doing this song was "the kiss of death"! Simon said it was corny. His wife was at home so Ryan came down to the stage to give his numbers instead of having Stephen go up to the Red Room.

Tatiana Del Toro (23, PR): "Saving All My Love for You" - If you'd told me Tatiana would pull off a Whitney song, I wouldn't have believed you; but she did! She was all teary in her clip talking about how hard HW week was, being judged (by other contestants), etc. During her performance she mostly stood still & was very serious (despite the horrid orange & purple dress). It was very, very good! Kara said she doesn't know who she is as an artist & that she's a roller coaster ride; Paula said she's definitely the "most talked about" contestant, and that there were some pitchy moments but some beautiful moments. She had 2 (male) friends w/her in the Red Room & said that her HW behavior wasn't her norm (we can only hope!).

Danny Gokey (28, WI): "Hero" - Gee, I'm so surprised the producers gave him the pimp spot (not)! ;-) Says he's a church music director, and that he picked this song to hopefully inspire other people to rise above difficult circumstances (such as he has, though he doesn't specifically mention the dead wife nor do the producers, this time). It's very good, of course - how can you not love Elliot's voice in a Robert Downey, Jr., wannabe body? All the judges love him, though Simon is (of course) less enthusiastic than the others. Kara was very excited, Paula gave him a standing ovation, and Simon said he's a very good singer & that while it was good, it wasn't fantastic. Jamar is shown in the audience but Danny has no family there, so we finish up w/Ryan on the stage to give Danny's numbers before the recap of the night.

My predictions: Danny, Ann Marie, and Anoop will advance. Tatiana or Alexis could slide in for the girls and I wouldn't mind if Ricky got in for the guys, as I think the judges would bring Anoop back for the Wildcard.

Let me know what you think!

Monday, February 16

AI8 - Hollywood: The Chair (2/11/09)

(Sorry for the delay - I've not had a good week.)

It's the "Last Day of Hollywood," which really means it's a couple months later after background checks and the 54 remaining contestants have been brought back to find out who will make this year's semifinals! This year we will have a Top 36. And instead of riding an elevator up to the judges' room, contestants will walk through an outside garden, then down a hallway and around a corner, where they'll find the judges in big red cushy, thronelike chairs. Also new this year are "singoffs"- instead of just pitting the last 2 of each gender against each other, there will be several pairs of similar contestants (i.e. brunette pop singer, blond country singer, geeky teen boy) who are each forced to sing one last time so that the judges can pick who's advancing.

Anoop Desai is first! We (finally) see a clip from his group, who sang "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted." The decision is unanimous and he's through.

Von Smith - we get a bit of backstory and learn that both of his parents sing, and they weren't happy with his song choice for his Hollywood solo: "You Can Feel It All Over" (from the clip it seemed very toned down from his other performances that we've seen). Simon said that decision gave the judges their decision - and he's through! Whew - hopefully this means he'll keep it toned down from here on??

Our 1st singoff will be between Alex Wagner-Trugman (closet singer) and Cody Sheldon (horror movie boy). Cody is 1st and sings Gavin Rossdale's "Love Remains the Same," a bit shaky. He leaves and Alex comes up, shocked and upset that he & Cody are being pitted against each other. Alex sings "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" and is very good. His attitude was wonderful during the whole thing, even when told he was through he was more concerned for Cody (who was very upset) than happy for himself. Jackie Tohn is shown being surprised that Cody didn't make it when they return together to the holding room.

Adam is up next. Apparently HW was somewhat of a rollercoaster for him - his 1st solo was shown but just the video, no audio. Kara commented (in the clip) that he was still "too theater" and wasn't "touching" her. Simon tried to draw out their decision, saying that he might be surprised with Simon's decision, and that while they all liked him in HW they had to consider whether they thought he could win the show and be a good recording artist... and that it was a unanimous yes!

Taylor Vaifanua was one (of too many) who struggled w/words but was kept in based on earlier performances. She advances again.

Several quick yeses follow:
Jasmine Murray
Arianna Afsar
Casey Carlson
Megan Corkrey
Mishovanna Henson
Stevie Wright

Joanna Pacitti - She was in Adam's group & they show a bit of "Some Kind of Wonderful." She forgot her words there too! The judges (mainly Kara) talk about how they're concerned that she hasn't made it w/so many past opportunities, and that she doesn't seem to know who she is as an artist. Simon strangely replies that she just needs "someone" to "give her a break" and that they think this is her chance, so she advances. Interestingly, the next day on the Fox site it was stated that she was found ineligible and disqualified from the competition. (She knows several 19E employees, and her boyfriend's new band's 1st single was written by Kara - among other things!)

T.K. Hash - no
Chris C (?) - no
Reggi B (?) - no

Kendall Beard - shown singing "Angels" - yes

Singoff between Kristen McNamara and Jen Korbee (the wife of the couple who both advanced, shown kissing at the NY auditions). Jen was in Adam & Joanna's group as was her husband, who was cut then. She sings something I don't know. Kristen sings "I Will Always Love You" and I thought she was better than Jen. Kara said that Jen doesn't connect well w/her songs, but Simon wanted to keep her (she's much more attractive); Paula said Kristen seems to have an "identity crisis" and it shows in her poor wardrobe choices. Regardless, Kristen is through and Jen is out.

Alexis Grace - HW clip shown, good- yes

Scott MacIntyre - repeated the clips we've seen before - yes

Lil Rounds - yes

Felicia Barton - not a unanimous decision, but she's out. Until Joanna got pulled the "next" day, and now she's back in! Yay, Felicia!

Ashley (not sure which one) - unanimous no

Devon Baldwin - no

Singoff: Frankie Jordan and Jesse Langseth - bummer, 2 of my top 3 girls! Apparently Frankie struggled during HW Week and her singoff song was just ok. We finally get to see Jesse's K. City audition where she sang "The First Cut is the Deepest," as well as her 1st solo in HW. Her singoff song was confident and much better than Frankie's. Jesse advances, Frankie is sent home. Bummer.

Shera L. - no

Derek Lavers? - no

Allison Iraheta - HW solo clip singing "Because of You." I didn't really like it, but the judges say she has "raw, natural talent" and she advances.

Danny Gokey - Simon said he needs to be relevant (not sure which way he meant it) & he's through (duh).

Jamar - we see the "Hey There, Delilah" clip again. The judges mention that he "took risks," but apparently they didn't pay off as he is cut, though encouraged to return in the future. The holding room is surprised he didn't make it.

Ricky Braddy - the only male semifinalist we've yet to hear sing! We are told, at least, that he auditioned in Louisville. Advances.

Matt Giraud - yes
Ju'not Joyner - yes
Jorge Nunez - yes
Brent Keith Smith -yes
Stephen Fowler - despite blowing his lyrics (at least twice), yes

Nick Mitchell - Torn about what to do but really wants it; says "I'll do anything to get through." Said his dream is to perform as the character Norman (Normund?) because his 2 passions are singing and making people laugh. The judges said that's exactly what they want, and he's through!

Jackie Tohn - shown playing guitar on Day 4 of HW, singing "I Hope You Dance." It was decent but I still don't care much for her. She's through.

Tatiana Del Toro - sigh. Her solo on Day 4 was very good!! The judges were not unanimous, but she advances.

Singoff between friends Nathaniel Marshall and Jackie Midkiff, whom we haven't seen before. Jackie gets a HW clip of "Superstitious" and does "When a Man Loves a Woman" for the singoff (I thought it was just ok; Kara loved it). We get backstory on Nate, who's mom was a druggie & not around so he was raised by his grandmother & aunts (moved around quite a bit between them). Simon asks about his outfit and he said that if this is his last day, he just wanted to be "true to himself". For the singoff he chooses "I'm Already There" and it's very strong and probably his best performance that we've seen! Definitely good enough to advance. Hopefully he'll let the stylist have some say in the future, because he's through and Jackie, not surprisingly, is cut.

Jeanine Vailes is the sole female semifinalist we've yet to hear sing (nor have we even seen her before that I recall, but then I pay more attention to the guys & had noticed Ricky before). The judges say the decision is not unanimous but she's through. Read, cannon fodder.

Kai Kalama - unanimous yes

Ann Marie Boskovich - yes

Kris Allen - yes (yay!)

And the last 2 guys, set up for a singoff: Matt Brietzke and Michael Sarver, the blue collar dads. Simon didn't like his group performance but I think Paula did & wants him to go through. I didn't know his singoff song but thought it was just ok. Just the comments are shown for Michael's HW clip but his singoff is very good! Kara & Randy want him to advance. Well the editing was good this year because we (supposedly) haven't figured out how many spots are left; but, turns out there are two & they're both through!

Whew! So there's our Top 36.

The 1st group of 12 who'll be performing for our votes next week are below! The top vote-getting male & female will advance, as well as the next highest vote-getter regardless of gender. This 1st group is a tough one!!

Girls: Casey, Jackie, Ann Marie, Alexis, Stevie, & Tatiana
Guys: Stephen, Ricky, Brent, Michael, Danny, and Anoop!