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... 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! ;-)