Monday, June 30, 2008
For someone who's not so much a country fan, I kind of want to see some country on this show. After last week's disastrous "Pop Goes Country" show, you'd think there'd be more country finally, right? When I heard the first song was going to be "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey, I knew we'd be in for a long night.
So many things bugged me about this show. Let's start with the emotional manipulations here. Ashlee's dad is in Iraq, Coffey is a single dad. Yeah, we know! Tommy is in the Navy, and let's reward and thank him for his service by advancing him further in the show. Oh, and let's pull his Navy buddies out of duty to bring them on the show this week. Because they don't have more important things to do than to show up on some reality show.
And the judges? Totally cringe-worthy, especially John Rich. He was ridiculous towards Coffey and Laura & Sophie. With Coffey, he basically called him a poseur and snidely told him he must have gotten confused at the audition and thought he was auditioning for American Idol instead of Nashville Star. I'm sure John Rich is fully aware that Coffey WAS a former Idol contestant. And to Laura & Sophie, he told them that the worst thing that could happen to them was win the competition. Then why the fuck did he put them IN the competition?!
The one thing I really DO like about this show is the lack of a result show. Those one-hour Idol results shows kill me. And the voting has also been somewhat just. No shocking early eliminations yet. Bug-eyed Alyson Gilbert was the one getting the boot this week, and she was lucky not to get the boot in week one.
Here's a look at the performances:
"Don't Stop Believing"/"Help Me Make It Through The Night"
On the Journey song, her piano playing was distractingly mediocre, and she sounded unsure of herself while she was singing on the piano. When she strapped on the guitar, it was almost like a different singer. Her second song (if you can even call a 30-second snippet a song) was perfect for her voice. She sounds the best doing old school country. This is the kind of song she should be singing; not Journey or Britney Spears or Colbie Caillat.
"Hey Good Lookin'"/"Take Me Home Country Roads"
I thought the first song was his best performance since the first show. It wasn't so forced, like last week. He just kept it simple. The judges criticized him for sounding pop on every song (John Rich saying it in the cruelest fashion). But if they're going to criticize him for being more pop, they best say the same thing to Melissa, who sang her first country song today and sounded way more pop than country. Having said that, though, I can't imagine him staying too much longer on this show, and his back-talking couldn't have helped him.
"God Bless The Broken Road"/"Tiny Dancer"
This was probably his best showing, but that doesn't say much since I've barely liked anything he's done so far. I see zero star quality from him, and his voice is just average. He totally cracked. And that doesn't evoke a compliment from me, Jeffrey Steele!
"I'll Still Be Loving You"/"One Way Ticket"
Nice opening song, but I thought some of their harmonies were a little bit wonky. I think the wrong sister is singing lead. The one in black has the better voice and any of the other two have much more charisma. Although it seemed as if the one in white flubbed the lyrics on like a 30-second song.
"This One's For The Girls"/"Landslide"
She probably has the best voice in the competition. I think she needed a little more grit in that song; it was a little too Adult Contemporary sounding for me. I loved "Landslide". Wish that had been the longer song.
"Breathe"/"Forever And Ever Amen"
"Breathe" is a TOUGH song to sing. She seriously struggled with the low notes in the opening. She was barely audible on the first verse. The chorus was better, but the last note was shaky. Second song was much better.
"Wanted Dead Or Alive"/"The Fireman"
I was on the fence with that lower key he used in the opening, but the he turned the level up a notch in the second verse. The second song showed why he probably should win this show. He's the best male singer and the most authentic country singer here.
Alyson Gilbert (ELIMINATED)
"She's In Love With A Boy"
That didn't sound very good to me. It was a little lacking in melody at times, and her voice sounded flat.
Laura & Sophie
"Walking On Sunshine"/"Because Of You"
I really don't quite get what the judges are thinking. This person needs to be more country, this group needs to rock. It's very confusing. I think Jeffrey Steele totally gave them the wrong advice. They're too squeaky clean to rock it out with any authenticity. It would have been better for them to go straight pop like towards the end of the song. "Because Of You" was awful. Harmonies were all wrong, and whoever was singing the higher parts on the harmony sounded RANK. They are in deep trouble next week.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Like So You Think You Can Dance, I'm going to track the music played on the show. And after watching the judges' comments from the first routine of the night, I decided to track Lil Mama-isms since she continues to bring the ridiculous (Although I will give her credit for saying that it was starting to look like the bottom 5 should have been the Top 5 because really ...).
Lil Mama-ism #1: To SoReal Cru's Ailyn, whose name is pronounced like Eileen, "Alien? That's your name? No disrespect. It's really hard to pronounce."
OK on to the dances and the music ...
SoReal Cru (Houston) - "Entourage" by Omarion
This group is really smooth. They remind me of Kaba Modern. The girls really add a nice dynamic to the group.
Supreme Soul (San Francisco) - "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See" by Busta Rhymes
Nice creativity, but there was some sloppiness, and some of their formations looked really off.
Xtreme Dance Force (Naperville) - "Shawty Get Loose" by Lil Mama
This routine was like the male version of Sass x7. That ain't a good thing.
A.S.I.I.D. (Detroit) - "Whatever You Want" by Nicole Scherzinger
They certainly bring the energy to the stage. Their movement is a little more dirty, I guess, than the others, and that makes them stand out amongst the rest of the crews.
Boogie Bots (DC) - "More Bounce To The Ounce" by Zapp & Roger
I was not impressed until the very end when the music sped up.
Super CR3W (Las Vegas) - "Get Up Offa That Thing" by James Brown
SICK. Absolutely SICK. The stunts were incredible, and I was also impressed that they worked the ninja theme throughout the whole routine.
Phresh Select (Philadelphia) - "MotownPhilly" by Boyz II Men
That was really entertaining with the old school moves and the handstand walking on the backs.
Sass x7 (Piscataway) - "Damaged" by Danity Kane
I can't believe they were not in the bottom 2. They still aren't doing enough to shake the "cheerleader" image. As JC pointed out, if you don't want to look like cheerleaders, don't do a cheerleader move (aerial cartwheel). It was better than last time, but not nearly good enough for this show.
Fanny Pak (San Fernando Valley) - "Speakerphone" by Kylie Minogue
I have to give it up to these guys. I was kind of hating on them in the live audition show, but this routine was hot. They were so clean and precise and entertaining. They used their 80's gimmick so much more in this routine than last week.
Distorted X (Houston) - "Oops (Oh My)" by Tweet feat. Missy Elliott
Sass x7 should take note on how to get it done without looking like cheerleaders. A shame Distorted X had to go home before the two dance team crews (Sass x7 and Xtreme Dance Force), but they weren't going to beat Fanny Pak on this week.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Tonight's music -
Group Dance - "The Dance" by Charlotte Martin (contemporary choreographed by Mia Michaels)
Quest dance crew - "Chemical Calisthentics" by Blackalicious feat. Cut Chemist
Chelsea solo - "A Song For You" by Donny Hathaway
Thayne solo - "Always" by Bon Jovi
Comfort solo - "Just Fine" by Mary J. Blige
Chris solo - "After Tonight" by Justin Nozuka
Kourtni solo - "Fire Door (Live)" by Ani DiFranco
Matt solo - "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz
Jordin Sparks performance - "One Step At A Time"
Chelsea elimination - "When You're Gone" by Avril Lavigne
Chris elimination - "All We Are" by One Republic
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Hip-Hop, choreographed by Napoleon & Tabitha ("Don't Touch Me" by Busta Rhymes)
I kept waiting for someone to talk about Kherington's grinning since Mia had talked about that at length last week, but no one said anything about it. When she was grinning, I kept thinking she was dancing like a cheerleader. It was an entertaining routine, though.
Rumba, choreographed by Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin ("Wishing On A Star" by Rose Royce)
The judges compared Gev to Dominic here, and I was thinking, "Oh hells naw." Dom killed it in the rumba last season. This one didn't seem Latin enough for me, and it was lacking something. There were a few great moments, but also a few moments of awkwardness.
Jazz, choreographed by Tyce Diorio ("The Beautiful People" by Marilyn Manson)
There was no lack of criticism here. I actually liked it more than the judges did, but I do agree with them in that I was expecting so much more after the rehearsal vid. It was a KICK ASS routine, but wasted on the cannon fodder, unfortunately.
Disco, choreographed by Doriana Sanchez ("Heaven Must Have Sent You" by Bonnie Pointer)
Will sold the heck out of this routine. I've never seen a guy throw himself into a disco routine on this show. He was SO into his character and just snapped into that Travolta pose. I loved it! Unfortunate slip at the end, but it was totally cute how Jessica put her hand down to match Will so it wouldn't look as bad.
Contemporary, choreographed by Sonya Tayeh ("Wrestlers (Sticky, Dirty Pop Mix)" by Hot Chip)
Sorry - I totally didn't get this one. It was just too weird for me. Where the hell is Wade?! Oh, and I have to thank Adam Shankman for actually giving constructive criticism. While Nigel just tells Matt he's too stiff and dances like he has a stick up his butt, Shankman tells Matt how to fix it by dancing more into the ground. Finally someone says something useful.
Quickstep, choreographed by Heather Smith ("You Can't Hurry Love" by Phil Collins)
They were told to get their solos ready, and I have to agree. Chelsea's footwork was pretty bad, and the gummy pasted-on smiles were very distracting and un-natural.
Hip-Hop, choreographed by Napoleon & Tabitha ("Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis)
Chelsie's amazing - she can do any style, it seems. I had some trouble believing this routine because of the costuming - Mark looked more like Chelsie's dad than husband, mostly because Chelsie was dressed like a teenager. But she conveyed the emotions so well with her face that it made up for it. This was similar to but not nearly as good as "No Air".
Samba, choreographed by Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin ("Baila, Baila" by Angela Via)
THIS is the couple to beat. They have it all - technique, chemistry, versatility, likeability. You really can't not smile whenever Joshua comes on the screen. He has such a sweetness to him. And wow can he dance. He was working those hips (and those pants)! Joshua and Katee together are magic.
Bottom 3 predictions:
This is not the year for the contemporary boys. Which is just as well because none of them could hold a candle to Danny or Travis.
Some of the music from tonight:
Here are the songs from the So You Think You Can Dance Top 18 Results show:
Group Dance - "Elevator" by Flo Rida (Hip-Hop by Shane Sparks)
Chelsea Traille solo - "Time Is Now" by Moloko
Thayne Jasperson solo - "Belief" by Gavin DeGraw
Susie Garcia solo - "The Anthem" by Pitbull featuring Lil Jon
Marquis Cunningham solo - "Stop And Stare" by One Republic
Comfort Fedoke solo - "Planet Rock" by Afrika Bambaataa
Chris Jarosz solo - "Again" by John Legend
Flo Rida performance - "In The Ayer"
Susie Elimination - "Brave" by Idina Menzel
Marquis Elimination - "Wonderful World" by James Morrison
Here's the music list from the Top 18 performance show.
Chelsea T./Thayne - Jazz (choreography by Mandy Moore), "Untouched" by The Veronicas
Chelsie H./Mark - Argentine Tango (choreography by Alex DeSilva), "Mi Confesion" by Gotan Project
Jessica/Will - Hip-Hop (choreography by Cecily & Olisa), "Whatever U Want" by Nicole Scherzinger
Kourtni L./Matt - Foxtrot (choreography by Jean-Marc Genereux), "A Foggy Day (In London Town)" by Michael Buble
Courtney/Gev - Contemporary (choreography by Mandy Moore), "Lost" by Anouk
Katee/Joshua - Broadway (choreography by Tyce Dorio), "All For The Best" from Godspell
Susie/Marquis - Salsa (choreography by Alex Da Silva), "Aguanile" by Willie Colon & Hector Lavoe
Kherington/Twitch - Viennese Waltz (choreography by Jean-Marc Genereux), "A New Day Has Come" by Celine Dion
Comfort/Chris - Krump (choreography by Lil' C ), "Come and Get Me" by Timbaland feat. 50 Cent & Tony Yayo
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I'm sure the blogosphere will survive.
Think they want a male winner?
I'm not sure how the semifinal rounds are going to play out. There are two 90-minute performance shows next week, and I'm not sure how they are going to split up the groups or if the bottom 2 from each night or the bottom 4 overall go home. I don't think it would be fair to make it the bottom 4 because there may be some nights where viewership is higher than the other for whatever reason. But, hey, this is Idol, after all, and I'm sure they will stack the groups up to try to get their desired result no matter which of the two formats they use.
The Top 24, in the order they were announced:
Mark Day, 20, Portugal Cove, NL
Mookie Morris, 18, Toronto, ON
Mitch MacDonald, 22, Port Hope, NS
Earl Stevenson, 22, Lloydminster, AB
Omar Lunan, 29, Toronto, ON
Katherine St-Laurent, 17, Otterburn Park, QC
Katelyn Dawn, 19, Winnipeg, MB
Amberly Thiessen, 19, Seven Persons, AB
Lindsay Robins, 21, Montreal, QC
Martin Kerr, 25, Edmonton, AB
Tetiana Ostapowych, 25, Toronto, ON
Marie-Pierre Bellerose, 25, Quebec City, QC
Lisa Bell, 27, Winnipeg, MB
Adam Castelli, 26, Hamilton, ON
Gary Morissette, 21, Fruitvale, BC
Shaun Francisco, 25, Vancouver, BC
Theo Tams, 22, Lethbridge, AB
Jesse Cottam, 23, Calgary, AB
Oliver Pigott, 27, Toronto, ON
Sebastian Pigott, 25, Toronto, ON
Lindsay Barr, 26, Halifax, NS
Drew Wright, 28, Collingwood, ON
Paul Clifford, 26, Port Moody, BC
Jessica Sheppard, 22, Toronto, ON
20 of the 24 are in their 20s. 20 of the 24 play an instrument. 8 are from Ontario, with 6 from Toronto. I believe the Pigotts are only the second set of siblings to be in the semifinals together on either American Idol or Canadian Idol. As far as my recollection goes, the Roman brothers on AI3 were the only other ones. And I will eat my hat if the Pigotts go the way of the Romans. Because Jesus H. Roman, those dudes were awful.
This Top 24 is pretty talented, I must say. I don't see a whole lot of cannon fodder here. It will be interesting!
Monday, June 16, 2008
Oliver Pigott ("Fields of Gold" solo, "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" group)
Sebastian Pigott ("Have You Ever Seen The Rain" group)
Theo Tams ("Angel" solo, "Black Horse & the Cherry Tree" group)
Martin Kerr ("Yellow" solo, "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" group)
Omar Lunan ("To Be With You" solo, "Wishing Well" group)
Earl Stevenson ("Black Horse & the Cherry Tree" group)
Shaun Francisco ("Have You Ever Seen The Rain" group)
Lindsay Barr ("Where Did You Sleep Last Night" solo)
Katelyn Dawn ("Stoppin' the Love" solo, "Black Horse & the Cherry Tree" group)
Tetiana Ostapowych ("Have You Ever Seen The Rain" group)
Carly Campbell ("Ain't Too Proud To Beg" solo, "Sugar We're Goin' Down" group)
Jessica Sheppard (a pitchy "Unbreak My Heart" solo)
Lindsay Robins (a sometimes shrieky "Show Must Go On" solo, "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" group)
There are some people from earlier auditions who they didn't show in this episode, like Steven Porter and Katherine, the 16-year old who sang "Love is a Battlefield" in the auditions. I would think they'd be in the mix as well.
The show spent a good amount of time on Kristine Lankenin. After her first solo ("Everytime I See Your Picture" by Luba), they gave her a second chance because of poor song choice (which, ahem, others had but they cut right away, I'm sure), and then she went out there on her second attempt and sang the same damn song she sang at her first audition - "Alone" by Heart. Hello? Shades of Kristy Lee Cook and "Amazing Grace", anyone? Kristine was just okay with it, and the judges said they were disappointed but let her through anyway. I think they're setting her up for failure. She'll probably be the last person cut tomorrow.
The Pigotts and Martin Kerr seem to be the front-runners in the judges' minds (and mine, actually). Zack Werner hated Martin after his first audition, but after Martin sang Coldplay's "Yellow" for his first solo, Zack changed his tune, and by the time Martin did a great group performance to "Have You Ever Seen The Rain", Zack was almost fan boi-ing. Can't really blame him; Martin has a great voice.
Interestingly, those three (Oliver & Sebastian Pigott and Martin Kerr) all lived in England. Martin even said he looked like Prince Harry and sounded like Hugh Grant. Hopefully people don't turn that into a negative the way some did with the foreign-born Carly Smithson and Michael Johns.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
From the Tonight Show website, here's video of "My Hero" by Foo Fighters (unshown on TV)
And a Cookified version of "Time Of My Life"
Note the Mariska Hargitay t-shirt. Gotta be a Love Guru promo thing (Mike Meyers was also a guest on the show).
Not to say that either of the two performed well enough to stick around. Their routine on Wednesday was bottom-three worthy, and their solos were weak as well. As Nigel said, ballerina Rayven was on demi-pointe when she's more than capable of being on full pointe. West Coast Swing dancer Jamie was light on content. That solo was more Lacey-like than Benji-like, and that's not a good thing in this contest. Benji's solos were razzle-dazzle, while Lacey's fizzled.
I did think that Jessica gave Rayven a run for her money in terms of being elimination-worthy. Jessica did this straddle jump at the end of the dance that was about as high as I can go. She hasn't shown ANYTHING to me in her two dances so far. She's going to need to step it up big time or she'll be out the door ASAP. I didn't think Kourtni Lind's solo was as "magical" as Nigel did. She looked a little shaky to me, but hers was definitely the best of the three girls.
Jamie was the logical choice amongst the men since Matt danced his way out danger with his solo. His lines and movement were incredible. Will wasn't going anywhere either. That boy can dance (even though the last half of his dance wasn't a lot of dancing).
The songs from tonight were as follows:
"Cobrastyle" by Robyn - Group Dance, choreographed by Wade and Amanda Robson
"I Can Make You Dance" by Zapp - Popping Dance
"I Wanna Dance With Somebody" by The Side Project - Kourtni Lind solo
"Baby's Romance" by Chris Garneau - Matt Dorame solo
"As I Am (Intro)" by Alicia Keys - Rayven Armijo solo
"Mas Que Nada" by Sergio Mendes featuring Black Eyed Peas - Jamie Bayard solo
"Misery Business (Acoustic) by Paramore - Jessica King solo
"More than Anyone (Stripped Version)" by Gavin DeGraw - Will Wingfield solo
"When I Grow Up" - Pussycat Dolls performance
"It's Only Life" by Kate Voegele - Girls' goodbye song
"Best Days" by Graham Colton - Guys' goodbye song
Hmmm, I kind of think maybe her lack of Emmy-worthy acting and lack of chemistry with T.R. Knight might have played into her likely Emmy snub. But good for her for being such a martyr and ALLOWING someone else to be nominated. Brava! ::rolls eyes::
Oh, and Katherine, if you're going to continue to spit in the face of your writers, you might want to go back and watch that episode of Friends in which Joey pissed off his Days of Our Lives writers and got killed off the show.
The true highlight of the night was the Katee Shean/Joshua Allen hip-hop dance, which was choreographed by Napoleon & Tabitha. First of all, let me just say that this choreography team is such a great addition to the show. They are straight-up awesome. They put together this great routine to "No Air" by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown that was almost contemporary-like with its movement and story-telling (a man telling his girlfriend he's going off to war). And Joshua and Katee danced it so well. Their synchronicity was perfect, and they had some cool, perfectly executed moves, with a sweet ending in which she took his shirt and put it on as she was turning. This is how good the routine was - the judges didn't resort to screaming about hot tamale trains. They just seemed in awe and totally moved by it, as was I.
Here's how the rest did ...
Rayven Armijo/Jamie Bayard
Hip-Hop, choreographed by Napoleon and Tabitha ("American Boy" by Estelle and Kanye West)
There were some cool moves in the routine (save for the drop trou, which was hella scary), but neither Rayven nor Jamey were very convincing as hip-hop dancers. As Dan Karaty said, there was no funk. They were both very muggy both during the dance and especially as their numbers were being read. It was getting to be a bit obnoxious.
Susie Garcia/Marquis Cunnigham
Smooth Waltz, choreographed by Hunter Johnson ("Dark Waltz" by Hayley Westenra)
Marquis is a gorgeous dancer. His mini-solo at the opening took my breath away. This dance, however, made me hold my breath during that poorly executed lift (And yes, Nigel, we ALL noticed that they didn't pull it off). I can't recall ever seeing as big a gaffe as that on the show. Susie did better than I expected, but I don't think she pulls off the graceful, elegant thing as well as he does.
Kourtni Lind/Matt Dorame
Jazz, choreographed by Mandy Moore ("Tainted Love" by Soft Cell)
Mandy Moore once again brings to the show an awesome 80's dance routine. Kourtni sells the hell out of it. Matt, not so much. Kourtni is a total sexpot on this (and that backbend near the end was terrific), while Matt just looks kind of goofy throughout the whole thing.
Chelsea Traille/Thayne Jasperson
Cha Cha, choreographed by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin ("Oye Como Va" Latin/Trance Mix by Celia Cruz)
Chelsea is smokin' hot. You just couldn't take your eyes off her. Which is good because Thayne and his unusually large mouth and teeth-baring grin were scaring me. He did show good partnering skills, as Mary said, but some of his shaking was awkward.
Chelsie Hightower/Mark Kanamura
Contemporary, choreographed by Mia Michaels ("Beautiful" by Me'Shell Ndegeocello)
Mia Michaels does it again. I could have done without those crazy faces, but everything else was gorgeous. Chelsie looks like a child, and I was expecting her to not really "get" it and to dance closer to her age, but she totally got it and danced with a maturation that was unexpected. She was amazing. That lift they did where he kind of threw her up in the air and caught her with her body totally piked was terrific.
Broadway, choregraphed by Tyce Diorio ("Too Darn Hot" from Kiss Me Kate)
Twitchington is such a FUN pairing. There's so much personality, charisma and energy between these two. Twitch is one of the most likeable contestants ever on this show, and Kherington sold the heck out of this performance. Great job.
Comfort Fedoke/Chris Jarosz
Jive, choreographed by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin ("Boom Boom" by Big Head Todd & The Monsters)
That was kind of a hot mess. Footwork wasn't good, and it was very sloppy and awkward. I like Comfort's personality, and she looked smokin'. Chris, other than reminding me of one of the High School Musical actors, was very forgettable.
Katee Shean/Joshua Allen
Hip-Hop, choreographed by Napoleon & Tabitha ("No Air" by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown)
This was my favorite by a mile and will probably go down as one of my favorite dances of the series. They had so much chemistry and unison. Joshua was one of my favorites coming in, and he did not disappoint. He was amazing. Katee really needed to kill it tonight after her nearly disastrous misspeak when they announced the Top 20, and she did. The only thing negative I have to say about this is those goddamn swaybots in the audience! Oy! This isn't American Idol!
Jessica King/Will Wingfield
Tango, choreographed by Hunter Johnson ("Tango" from Cirque du Soleil)
Will is one good-looking guy. He carried himself so well - very strong and regal, and I can't wait to see him dance in his style. Jessica was a bit sloppy, and I thought she was smiling way too much. I could not believe Mary said they're the ones to beat, especially after Katee and Joshua had just performed and after she said some of the dance was "uncomfortable". WTF?!
Courtney Galiano/Gev Manoukian
Disco, choreographed by Doriana Sanchez ("Boogie Wonderland" by Earth, Wind & Fire)
I expected much more from these two. They make a darling couple, but this dance was sloppy, and I really had no idea what Gev was doing with his arm behind his back. I think they (especially Courtney) have potential, though.
Rankings for the night
I don't think I'm going to try to predict who's leaving at this point because the judges tend to put out some WTF decisions at this point in the game, sometimes basing their decision on who they can partner up next (i.e., eliminating Jason instead of Ryan in Season 2 so that Heidi and Dmitry wouldn't be paired up). If Marquis gets in the bottom 3, I'm pretty confident he'll dance his way out of it, if his intro solo was any indication.
Here's the music from the show, minus Tango:
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Drama Queen Pierce shot something like 2-14 for the Celtics in his hometown return, and in the first quarter, after he went flying into the crowd behind the basket (I think he almost hit Becks!), the Laker fans started yelling for a wheelchair. Ha. I love it.
Although I can't really talk too much smack about Pierce's horrible shooting since Odom was equally dreaful, shooting 2-9 and missing countless gimmes. And don't even get me started on Radmanovic.
Back to the white-faced David Cook. That was a bit of a shock. He always seemed so unflappable in the face of all that American Idol pressure. Singing in front of 7,000 people in the Nokia Theatre with the Idol title at stake? No problem. Singing the national anthem in front of nearly 20,000 people with a world-wide TV audience in the millions? Uh ... gulp. That poor guy looked totally and absolutely deer-in-the-headlines petrified and started the song with some bad notes. He pulled it together pretty quickly and finished strong, but he just looked like he wanted to hurl right then and there. I'll give an "assist" to Kenny Smith on this one. I think Kenny psyched him out with this pre-game interview on NBATV in which he talked about singing in front of all these people he admired and watched. Way to go, Kenny.
Here's Cook's national anthem, courtesy mjsbigblog. Feel free to keep the volume low during that first line.
Bum note or not, Cook told the Boston Herald that it was one of the Top 3 coolest things he's done since winning Idol. No. 1, incidentally, was visiting a children's hospital in New York (awww!), and No. 2 was going on the Tonight Show. He also thinks the series is going to go to seven games (Lakers in 6, dammit!), and, according to a Boston news blog, he drained three-straight baskets from the top of the key during pre-game.
I would say "Hello, dream man", but in that NBATV interview, he broke a little piece of my Laker-bleeding heart by rooting for the Celtics. That may be a deal-breaker right there.
Here's the sports part of the interview:
Will you be sporting a Lakers jersey or a Celtics jersey during your performance?
You know, it's tough for me. My older brother went to Indiana State so by proxy I'm a Larry Bird fan, but nothing beats Showtime and the Lakers. I'll probably dress in something mutual.
Are you going to do the half-and-half jersey, ala Brady Quinn's sis?
I don't know about the half-and-half jersey. I may just try to stay away from any sort of team affiliation. I was thinking of wearing my Royals jersey.
Have you been watching the playoffs?
I didn't get to watch Game 2 but I heard it was an amazing game. They've kind of kept me pretty busy trying to get ready for this tour and this record. I've been trying to keep up as much as possible. I was really excited at the beginning of the season with all the moves that the Celtics made. It seems like all of those moves paid off and got them here.
You bartended in Oklahoma, were born in Texas, raised in Missouri and now you're in L.A. Who do you cheer for?
I spent a majority of my life in Kansas City, so I am a Chiefs and Royals guy. I used to work for the Royals for like five years in the suites department and in the stadium club restaurant. The Royals allowed me to make some money, which was nice. With the Chiefs, you can't live in Kansas City and not like the Chiefs. To go catch a game at Arrowhead is a pretty great experience. I haven't had the chance to go to games anywhere else, but, from what I'm told, I don't really need to.
You haven't been to a game anywhere but K.C.?
Well, I've been to a couple games out here in L.A. with the Dodgers. And actually, I think the Royals just traded Angel Berroa to the Dodgers.
Think it's a good trade?
You know it depends. At the end of the day I certainly enjoyed Berroa when he played for the Royals. He won the Rookie of the Year award in '04 or '03 [Ed.'s Note: He was ROY in 2003, beating out the likes of Hideki Matsui and Mark Teixeira.] I thought he was a great contributor to the Royals while he was there.
What's the craziest thing that ever happened at Royal's stadium when you were there?
Besides them having a winning record that one season? The craziest thing for me was getting to throw the first pitch. I was joking around all day saying, "I'm gonna shake 'em up and throw a curve ball." Then I get in the dugout and a couple of the players are like, "Aw man, you got to short-hop him." Brett Tomko was the guy who was catching. We're getting ready to go out on to the field and Tomko tells me, "Hey, just so you know, there was a celebrity that came through and he threw out the first pitch and he short-hopped it and they booed him off the field." And so then I started freaking out, I don't want to get booed of the field! So I just threw a four-seam fastball and barely made it there. I almost threw it in the dirt and then Brett Tomko comes up to me and goes, "Great slider." It wasn't a slider, but I didn't have the heart to tell him.
I don't think I've ever heard of an Idol contestant who would even KNOW what a four-seam fastball is, let alone know how to throw one. Anytime you want to talk sports, Cook ... holla!
Oh, and I've been pretty neutral (not mutual, Cook!) on this Caldwell issue, but if he takes her to the game tonight instead of Michael Johns (viva la bromance!), THEN I will be jealous.
(ETA: Oh man, he did take her and not MJ. She better have been cheering for the Lakers is all I have to say.)
Monday, June 09, 2008
As they were showing the audition process, I immediately recognized one of the contestants - Coffey. There can't be too many tall African-American country singers out there, after all. Coffey Anderson auditioned for American Idol back in Season 2. He was the one whose wife was having a baby during auditions (not Phil Stacey. Although it's kind of weird that they both auditioned with Motown songs and then ended up going country ...)
Almost six years after Idol, a now single dad Coffey made the cut at Nashville Star and seems to be one of the early favorites. One thing he definitely has going for him is uniqueness. As I said, there aren't many African-American country singers out there. But he backed it up by giving a very strong and energetic performance of "Drift Away", with a nice falsetto at the end.
I was surprised at the song choices for the first show, especially with "Drops of Jupiter" and "Bubbly". Actually, I was more surprised that I knew every song since I do not listen to country. I wonder if they are pushing for more mainstream songs now that this show is on a main network.
I'm not sure I see any big stars already, but my favorite so far was Melissa Lawson, the "non-size 6" woman who got the pimp spot. She sang "Something To Talk About" with such sass and conviction. And her voice! I love her tone. She looks like a soccer mom, though, but I guess if there's one genre you can get away with that in, it's country music.
Another good singer was Gabe Garcia, who sang "All My Exes Live In Texas" by George Strait. He just needs to show more spark onstage.
One singer totally caught my eye - Justin Gaston. He's a model and sang "Drops of Jupiter" (without showing us his scar, ACE YOUNG!). Unfortunately, he didn't catch my ear. Ouch. But he'll coast on his looks for a little while.
I'm not a big fan of the teen acts. None of them are in Taylor Swift territory, and I felt as if the judges automatically go easier on them because they're young. Sister act Pearl Heart ("Wide Open Spaces") sounded a bit immature, and their harmonies were off at times. Best friends Laura & Sophie ("Stand By Your Man") sounded way too tenative and meek to open, and by the time they started booming the vocals, I had lost interest. It was very disconcerting to hear Ashlee Hewitt sing "Bubbly". I did not like that little yodel in her voice, especially on that song.
Some of the older (ish) acts didn't fare well either. Third Town sang the cheesiest cheese that ever cheesed - "Elvira". Good lord, I hate this song. Just a horrible song choice. And I found it ironic that they've got this emo-looking guy in their group, yet they're the least modern-sounding of all of them. Charley Jenkins ("I Like It, I Love It") was also cheesy and also kind of creepy. Tommy Stanley ("Walking In Memphis") was a little bit corny as well with his stage mannerisms. And speaking of stage mannerisms, Alyson Gilbert ("Suds In The Bucket") had a decent voice, I guess, but I just could not look at her with her scary bug eyes and bow-legged stance ... Holy Kristy Lee Cook!
Shawn Mayer ("Piece Of My Heart") was the one person I thought the judges were too harsh on. She wasn't great, but I appreciated that she didn't karaoke it up, and I really appreciated that she was not grinning inappropriately, a la Carrie Underwood and Asia'h Epperson, while singing the song.
Charley, unsurprisingly, was the first one cut. I can't imagine that the Elvira guys or KLC v2.0 are much further way.
After watching the first two episodes, I think I'd only tune in again if desperate. The show had a few hilarious moments, like when this Guido guy danced to "Thriller", but I just don't get how the judges decide who wins. And I'm kind of trippin' in regards to Tyce because the talent level between this and SYTYCD is such a huge chasm, yet some of the praise he gives these mediocre dancers makes them sound like they're at the same level. He didn't say this, but one of the judges said that the first show's winner dances better than Britney Spears, and the other judge said she danced at a level better than the originals. And I was like WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!
This show isn't supposed to find the next great dancer, but you'd think that they'd at least pick the best dancer amongst the people competing. I didn't think either of the two winners should have won, and when the first two shows had WTF final decisions, I'm not sure how many people will tune back in.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
First of all, I think doing this show so soon after the first one ended in March is a bit of a mistake. Because it's so fresh in everyone's minds, the crews are all getting compared to the other crews from last year. You kept hearing about how this crew was like Kaba Modern or how that crew is rivals with JabbaWockeeZ or how that crew was like Status Quo.
And perhaps that is why crews like Fanny Pak and Sass x7 made it through - because they're unlike the other crews that were on the show last year. IMO, though, they're also unlike the other past crews because they're just not that good. :P
Still not sure how Fanny Pak even made it to the live show, let alone beat Team Millennia for the last spot. I'm just not seeing what's so special about this group other than their look. And they really should have thrown out some 80's dance moves. That would have been tight. And don't even get me started on Sass x7, the dance team from Rutgers. Shane Sparks and Lil' Mama both clowned on them about how they looked like a cheer team, but somehow they got through ahead of Shhh!, the Latina girl crew who brought a unique Latin flavor that the judges noted (although, admittedly, they totally messed up their formation in the beginning of their dance). When both Fanny Pak and Sass x7 made it through, the studio audience booed their asses. I felt bad for those crews, but it was the wrong decision.
The other thing that was problematic about the audition show was Lil' "This is the second season!" Mama, although this isn't a unique problem to the audition show. She's a HORRIBLE judge. She makes Paula Abdul seem like a member of Mensa. Seriously. Two examples:
During her critique of Fanny Pak, who has this whole 80's gimmick and who said they were all born in the 80's, Lil' Mama said they remind her of a 90's dance film and that their look reminds her of the 90's. WTF?! Who was wearing day-glo neon, stirrup pants and fanny paks in the 90's? And then after Team Millennia performed, she asked one of the members how his parents feel about coming "all the way to LA" to audition. Ahem. Team Millennia's from Fullerton, which is about 40 minutes away.
Then there's the whole geography issue. Let's face it - the West Coast is absolutely loaded. See last season, when JabbawockeeZ and Kaba Modern were in the Top 3. Because of the geographic restrictions the show places on itself, there are some West Coast crews being left behind because they happen to be in the most challenging region. But if they were, say, from the South, where only SoReal Cru stood out to me, they'd have no trouble.
I'm not sure we have a JabbaWockeeZ just yet, but the B-Boy crew Super Cr3w from Vegas is pretty awesome, as are SoReal Cru from and Supreme Soul from San Francisco. I'm also kind of diggin' Xtreme Dance Force ("Suburbia representin'!" as Mario Lopez said).
You can start voting now for the first show, which airs on June 19. Someone (hopefully Fanny Pak or Sass x7) will be eliminated that night.
BTW - when they introduced all the crews at the end of the show, each crew had a chance to show the audience a little something extra. Distorted X just ran out there fist-pumping, and Fanny Pak got into a formation, stood there, and shifted their fanny packs. Oh. My. God. LAME!
The song is on the "Stomp Out Cancer: Indie Artists Fight Ewing's Sarcoma" CD, which can be purchased here.
Thanks to "clueless in seattle" for adding this in the comments section of my original post:
"The Color Of You" -- Hillary Bernstein
Song is not released yet. Please contact her and give your support at "hillarybernsteinmanagement "at" gmail.com"
Info courtesy of Youtube:
Another reader, Kim, commented that Rebecca Hart said that wasn't her original music, and that the producers swapped out this song on the broadcast. I wonder how they came across this song ...
Anyway, thanks to everyone for the detective work!
Saturday, June 07, 2008
The Insider is reporting that Cook is going to sing the national anthem at Game 3 of the NBA Finals at the Staples Center on Tuesday. David Cook and the Lakers - it doesn't get any better than this. We'll see if
Rolling Stone magazine posted its readers' Q&A (video-submitted questions) with David Cook. Thankfully, we didn't get the usual, repetitive questions we've been seeing for the last few weeks.
The funniest question was asked by two girls. After they introduced themselves, David made them stop the video because he noticed their names flashed on the screen as they said them. "They edited this, which is awesome," he said. The question ended up being "If the world explodes in one hour, what would you do?" And then my fandoms collided because the first thing I thought of was Ryan Star's song "Back of Your Car", with its lyric "In a minute we'll be gone, so we might as well just fuck." And David's immediate response was laughter, and "I'm trying to think of an appropriate answer. I can think of the right answer!" Heh.
When asked who has made him star-struck, he said that he saw Steve, the guitar player from Our Lady Peace, at a music shop in LA, and "I quickly turned into kind of a geek."
One lady asked him what he learned from being with his prior bands. From Axium, he said he learned that perseverence pays off, and he mentions that he had a song of his played in movie theaters across the country for a little bit. WAIT WHAT?! Did I miss this? Anyone care to clue me in on this one? Please comment below if you know what that's all about because I am dying to know.
Friday, June 06, 2008
After finally hearing the original as it was submitted, I'm amazed that Cook turned it into something palatable because it really had the potential to turn into a big fat ball of cheese (and imagine if Archie had sung it! As he even said, they probably would have put a big rainbow on the background screen. haha).
Here's the video from the Wal-Mart gig, found at YouTube:
Oh - and I finally heard "Time of My Life" on an actual radio station in LA this morning - KBIG 104.3! I don't think I've heard an Idol coronation song on any LA radio station since season 3.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Some of the early favorites went down in flames in Vegas, most notably contortionist/popper Robert Muraine, who quit before the first choreography round started. Claire Callaway was a hot mess during the hip-hop round and was cut in that first round, as were Strip Club DJ and Rebecca Hart, who had that great audition in Milwaukee (and whose audition song I STILL can't figure out!). Going down in the Broadway round (second cuts) were Erika Gee, twin #2 Antwain Hart, and popper Philip Courter. Pageant Paige got the boot (yay!) after her second attempt at the foxtrot, and she threw on some SERIOUS bitch-face after the judges told her she wasn't elegant enough.
One of the most surprising melt-downs came from contemporary dancer Jeremiah Hughes in the Mia Michaels contemporary round. In his own genre, Jeremiah forgot the choreography and stomped offstage. Needless to say, he was cut after that. To his credit, he acknowledged he didn't deserve to be there after that and that he was very humbled by the experience and also sorry for what he did.
Then there were the people who were cut for reasons other than their dancing. Tapper Lizz Plott wouldn't shut up, and the judges changed their minds and sent her home after the contemporary round. Derek Spears was one of the last cuts because of his off-putting personality. Kelli Baker, the choreographer's daughter, did not make the Top 20 because she had no personality, and Katee Shean almost had her spot taken away before they gave it to her because she said she wouldn't return if she didn't make it this year. And I can only speculate that Brandon Bryant wasn't chosen because there were already two male African-American contemporary dancers, plus hip-hopper Joshua Allen, who has shown some ballet movements.
Here's the Top 20, in order of how they were introduced at the end of the show (whether or not this order has any meaning remains to be seen):
My pic to win as of right now is Twitch. He's got the cool moves, a winning personality (notice how he was always the first to congratulate and/or console everyone?) and the familiarity of the viewers. I'm just hoping he can handle the partnering.
And for those of you who thought we would be Schwimmer-free this season ... there's still a Schwimmer connection. Jamie Bayard is Lacey Schwimmer's former dance partner. Click here to see a video of them when they were little kids.
Hip-Hop Choreography Round - "Shawty Get Loose" by Lil' Mama/Chris Brown/T-Pain
Broadway Choreography Round - "The Joint Is Jumpin'"
Ballroom Round - "Call Me Irresponsible"
Random Song Group Round - "Every Breath You Take" by the Police and "The Way I Are" by Timbaland
Jason Glover solo - "Baby's Romance" by Chris Garneau
Mia Michaels Contemporary Round - "Mic Check" by Imogen Heap
Montage of dancers who were cut - "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack
Sheila Kaiser solo - "Wonderful" by Annie Lennox
Mark Kanamura solo - "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen
Twitch solo - "We Gonna Win" by Miri Ben-Ari
Montage from the final solos - "Just Dance" by Lady GaGa
Click below to listen to or purchase some of these songs from tonight:
I could've used your voice today
Couldn't find the words to say
Didn't know what song to sing
No advice worth following
In your eyes I pass the time
In your truth you'd bury mine
In your empty house you wonder who
So you can lie, and in your eyes
You dream without a reason
You realize upon the times
You scream without the answer
Seems like everyone on the internet is trying to figure this song out. Hopefully it emerges soon. Oh, wait ... just before I was about to post this, someone answered on Yahoo that it's called "In Your Eyes" by Craig Lyons.
You know, when in doubt, I should just check Craig Lyons because this is the third song of his that has been prominently featured in auditions. "California" was the song that John Dix and Arielle Coker auditioned to in Episode 2. Also in that episode was Thayne Jasperson, dancing to "Goodbye You". It's too bad they don't ID the songs on air because he could be making a shitload of money right now from downloads if they did. Here's a link to Craig Lyons' Myspace.
Another good song I was trying to find is the song Rebecca Hart auditioned to. Here are the lyrics:
Days grow short marking autumn's arrival
Are you here with me?
Leaves all change
A chameleon of colors
I need you now with me
The sands of time will be washed away
Any help on this one would be appreciated!
(ETA on 6/8 - The song has been identified as "The Color Of You" by Hillary Bernstein. It's apparently unreleased, but I found it on this benefit CD - Stomp Out Cancer: Indie Artists Fight Ewing's Sarcoma)
Here's the list of known songs from tonight's episode:
Opening hip-hop montage (aka the song from Lauren and Pasha's Transformers hip-hop) - "Fuego" by Pitbull
Katee Shean (Roommate #1) - "Two Steps Away" by Patti LaBelle
Natalie Reid (Roommate #2) - "My Philosophy" by Inner
Bianca Revels (tap dancer) - "Boogie Wonderland" by Earth, Wind & Fire
James Davis (Footloose-like dancer) - "Simply Irresistible" by Robert Palmer
Evan Kasprzak (Gene Kelly guy) - "After The Lights Go Down Low" by Al Hibbler
Kourtni Lind (Uma Thurman) - "Parameters" by Ani DiFranco
Tom Kozal (earless goat guy) - "Radar" by Britney Spears
Susie Garcia (skanky teacher) - "Aguanile"
Brice Casimir (Cameroon guy) - "Red Light" by Usher
Cooper Zamorano (Travis-esque dancer) - "In Your Eyes" by Craig Lyons
Raymond Love ("You're dancing with a piece of meat" guy) - "Promise" by Ciara
Danielle Chorizo (Tracy, er, Travis Wall) - "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
This photo in particular, courtesy of the David Cook LiveJournal community, is just WOW:
Oh, and once you get past that photo, there's actually an article in there. They get pretty personal with him. A few examples:
Was asking Kimberly Caldwell out on live TV as spontaneous as it seemed?
I didn't really think it through or I would've realized that everyone would be asking me about it. I can tell you this: I won't be asking anyone out on TV again. We went on a date. It was nice. We'll see what happens.
Fill in the blank. On a first date I always:
Try to do all the things I'm supposed to do: opening doors, paying for meals - just being a gentleman, I guess.
Do you envision yourself getting married and having kids someday?
I think marriage is a long way off for me. I'm 25 years old and I've got the world to learn. But I think eventually I would love to settle down and have a family and bring some kids into the world. Time will tell.
You strike a lot of women as very romantic.
I'm very much a hopeless romantic. I still kind of believe in movies.
How do you feel about all those Cougars for Cook out there?
[Laughs] I love it! I mean, you know, age is a number. I think it's the age at which you carry yourself that's important. There is something very sexy about an older woman. I don't know what it is.
(He is quite the smart Cookie. Whether he is sincere or not, he's smart to keep those Cougars thinking they have a chance!)
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
After watching the intro in the season opener tonight, I'd say that the CI producers share the same sentiment. They kind of did a recap of the series so far, and it was pretty heavy on footage from seasons 1, 2 and 5. Not so much from seasons 3 and 4.
I've heard that CI is at risk of cancellation soon. As some friends have said, it's hard to get too into the show when nothing comes out of someone winning Canadian Idol. Sure, they get a record, but that's about it. They don't have a Kelly Clarkson or a Carrie Underwood. They barely have a Taylor Hicks. I think only one past winner (Kalan Porter) got a second album. The others got dropped after one. Seson 1 winner Ryan Malcolm has gone indie with his band Low Level Flight. Season 3 winner Melissa O'Neil is now doing theater. Season 4 winner Eva Avila is probably getting more work as a model. The jury's still out on the reigning Canadian Idol Brian Melo, but I don't think he's making a huge impression out in the real world either.
Anyway, in tonight's premiere, one of the first people the judges put through to Toronto (their version of the Hollywood round) was Tetiana Ostapowych. She's from Toronto but moved to LA a year ago. They asked her what's going on in LA, and she said a whole lot of nothing, which I thought was pretty funny. She sang an Amy Winehouse song, and they put her through, although Jake Gold said that he felt a "veneer". And then BAM! I remembered why she looked familiar. This chick tried out for American Idol this year, and Simon told her she wasn't as good as she thought she was. They also put her through to the next round, but after she left the room, Simon was all "OB-noxious". She got cut somewhere in the Hollywood round, but I didn't care enough back then to remember or care. I'll have to go back and rewatch that episode.
And in another AI connection, playing in the background as Tetiana came out with her golden ticket was "Hit Me Up" (aka the song from the Penguin movie that Nigel sandbagged Syesha with on Top 3 night).
Also getting through to Toronto were brothers Oliver and Sebastian Pigott. The judges gave the tonguiest tongue bath that ever tongued with Oliver. Two of the judges said he gave the best audition they've ever seen on the show. I was like WHA??!!! Not that I could tell you what I thought was the best Canadian Idol audition ever, but I didn't think he was ALL that. He was good, but man alive! That kind of gushing is already kind of a turn-off. They also put Sebastian through, moreso for his charisma (and looks) than vocals. I hope Sebastian goes further. Heh.
Monday, June 02, 2008
Journey is releasing a dual-disc CD on Tuesday (I think it's a Wal-Mart exclusive) with one CD being new tracks and the other being some classic tracks with Arnel on vocals. It also comes with a concert DVD. I wish INXS had done this with JD Fortune; I would have killed to hear a JD studio version of "Never Tear Us Apart".
Guess there won't be a Rock Star: Journey anytime soon!
CBS News video: