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?!)