Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Idols Sing Whatever

This week's theme on American Idol was "Top Downloads", but it was more like "Sing Whatever The Eff You Want And Don't Worry About Being Contemporary Or Original" week.

With no theme really, this was their week to show what they can be as a contemporary artist. Only three people sang songs from this decade - Anoop Desai with a karaoke version of Usher's "Caught Up", Matt Giraud with a karaoke-ish version of The Fray's "You Found Me" and Danny Gokey with a strong "What Hurts The Most" by Rascal Flatts. First of all, Anoop kind of reverted back to the Michael Jackson "Beat It" thing that was not so successful for him. And then copped a little bit of an attitude when he got criticized. And although I applaud Matt for picking a very current song, he also reverted back to something that didn't work for him - going back to his Coldplay thing that did not work for him in the semifinals. The judges are so intent on keeping him in his box, though, that I wonder if they'd be satisfied with anything BUT the blues/soul thing. Danny delivered his best performance since Hollywood. He still bugs me, but I couldn't find much fault with his performance tonight.

Allison Iraheta and Lil Rounds at least hit the previous decade, doing songs from the 90's, but Allison's "Don't Speak" was marred by her hideous RAWK outfit and Pebbles Flinstone hair, not to mention a truncated arrangement, her mangling of a few lyrics and what sounded like a few bum notes on the guitar. Lil picked a song that does not suit her and what makes her unique in this competition, doing Celine Dion's "I Surrender". It's way too Adult Contemporary for her, although she did hit all the big, difficult notes.

Going all the way back to the 70's were Megan Joy, Scott MacIntyre, Adam Lambert and Kris Allen, the latter of the two being the only ones who brought something original to the show. I didn't really enjoy Adam's "Play That Funky Music" personally (his shrieking is ear-splitting), but it was at least different and as far from karaoke as can be. And Kris ... WOW. First of all, he showed another talent in playing the keyboards for this song, and his arrangement of "Ain't No Sunshine" was different, original and brilliant. Can't wait to download that one on iTunes. Megan did "Turn Your Lights Down Low" (which, um, in no way is a TOP DOWNLOAD, but whatever), and I may be the only person in America who actually liked that (but not enough to vote for her!). It may help that I am unfamiliar with the original, or the Lauryn Hill cover. And Scott did his usual AC snore-fest with "Just The Way You Are", although he did sound very good tonight. If you like that kind of Love Songs on the KOST kind of thing.

Megan is probably going to go this week, but Matt or even Allison could be in trouble again.

David Cook on tomorrow's results show! Woo!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

AI Quickie - Motown Night

Really quick thoughts on American Idol's Motown night yesterday ...

Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta went lights out with their performances. Adam played it straight with a beautiful acoustic version of "Tracks Of My Tears". His falsetto was sublime on this song, and he strayed from his usual theatrics to really deliver a great musical performance. Allison sang "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" and just killed it vocally. She is fantastic. I don't understand how she was in the bottom 3 last week. She reminds me so much of Kelly Clarkson.

Also very good were Kris Allen ("How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You") and Matt Giraud ("Let's Get It On"), who both put their own spins on the song while staying true to the melody.

Anoop Desai ("Ooh Baby Baby") had some really pretty vocal moments, but he also had some out-of-tune moments and did bore me towards the end.

Lil Rounds picked a song that has never ever worked on Idol - "Heatwave" - and she basically just shouted the entire time. Judges were not liking. Nor was I, really.

Danny Gokey ignored Smokey Robinson's advice during the mentoring session and let the background singers carry parts of the verses in "Get Ready". I think he didn't sing those parts because he has TERRIBLE breath control and didn't have the vocal stamina to do it. Honestly, his breathing is atrocious when he sings. He was gasping for air the entire time, making his phrasing just so, so wrong. "Never met a girl (gasp) who makes me feel the way that you do (BIG GASP) -----" And do not get me started on the "dancing" (aka marching in place with the background singers).

The bottom 3 has GOT to be Scott MacIntyre ("You Can't Hurry Love" - started off slow on piano and then went into honky tonky piano - very cabaret), Michael Sarver (it was so unmemorable and blah that I can't even remember what song it was) and Megan Joy ("For Once In My Life" - bad notes, bad performance; sounded much better in the recap clip from rehearsals). I think it will be Michael, but as long as it's any of those three, I'm ok with it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dancing, Forgetting And Falling With The Stars

It's week 3 of Dancing with the Stars, and, for some, it's like it's still week 1. Some people forgot their steps, a professional fell, and a celebrity hurt himself while trying to sit down at the end of his dance. But saving this show from train-wreck city has been Gilles Marini with Cheryl Burke. I read in Entertainment Weekly that Gilles didn't know how to dance before he started this show. Um, you could have fooled me because that man has serious moves. Or maybe he's just not afraid to shake what his mamma gave him. He and Cheryl were samba-ing like they were at Carnivale.


They got all 9s for this. It's too early for the 10s, but I am sure he will get 10s soon. Their score tied for first with Shawn Johnson/Mark Ballas and Melissa Rycroft/Tony Dovolani, who did foxtrots. Shawn's dancing very well, if not a bit robotic. And they really need to stop putting her in those unflattering cutout dresses and steer her away from the spray tan. She's looking very orange these days! Melissa is a very good dancer, but she's not wowing me just yet. I'm glad Tony finally has a good partner after a bunch of duds, but Melissa's no Stacy Kiebler just yet.

The judges threw around some high scores - higher than I thought they deserved. Lil' Kim forgot some steps towards the end of her dance, and Bruno gave her a 9. Ty Murray and Chelsie Hightower stumbled towards the end of their dance, and Chelsie straight up fell early in the dance, yet they got 8s. Steve-O stumbled while running to the steps to sit down and hit his bum hard on the step. If he hadn't forgotten half the dance, the judges probably would have given him 7s at the rate they were going!

The 3 paddle actually came out tonight - for Steve Wozniak. This is really mean, but his attempt at a worm looked more like a beached whale trying to move on land.

If Wozniak doesn't mercifully go home tomorrow, I think it will be either Denise Richards or Holly Madison. Both of these women are stiff as a board! Denise was saddled with the worst samba music ever - "Take A Picture" by Filter. OMG. How do you dance in any style to that song?! It's like doing a paso doble to "I Kissed A Girl". Oh wait ...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

No Saving Grace For Alexis

Alexis Grace just missed the cut for the American Idol tour, getting voted out at No. 11 last night on country week. The judges teased her by saying they might consider saving her based on her sing-for-your-life performance, but I say there was no way in hell they'd waste the save on Top 11 week on someone other than Danny Gokey or Adam Lambert.

Alexis sang "Jolene" again, but this time with uncomfortable desperation. The shots from behind her were classic, showing Alexis singing to/pleading with judges who were huddled up and looking more like they were debating rather than watching/listening. But I knew none of the three in the bottom (Alexis, Michael and Allison) had a chance of being saved this early. I thought for a second that it would be Allison going when Seacrest asked Randy Jackson who would be in the bottom 3 amongst Alexis and Adam. Randy said "Allison". Rude. That's usually Simon's M.O. - forgetting people's names.

Another uncomfortable moment on the show happened when Seacrest asked Michael Sarver about being apart from his family. Michael teared up and said that his little 3 year old daughter asked him why he didn't want to be with her anymore. I gasped out loud at that one. Wow. Poor guy. I hate to say it, but I think it was a big mistake for him to share that story. Look for the viewers to send him back home to his daughter soon.

In between all this drama were the weekly group lip-synch (to "Trouble"), a Brad Paisley performance and a Carrie Underwood/Randy Travis duet of "I Told You So". Carrie had a tarantula on top of her head and was styled to look like a housewife from the 50's, but the two of them sounded lovely together.

Next week is Motown week, with the shows airing Wednesday and Thursday thanks to another pre-emption for President Obama, which sucks because I'm working Wed. and Thur. night!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Idol Goes Country

It was country night on American Idol this week. For most people, anyway. Adam Lambert turned his country song - Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire" - into a sexed-up, Middle Eastern styled scream-fest that Simon Cowell called "indulgent rubbish". It was cool at first, but then Adam started screaming and caterwauling, and all I could think of was Haley Bennett putting that Middle Eastern steamy and sticky rap spin on "Way Back Into Love" in the movie Music and Lyrics. I didn't think America was ready for this guy to be the American Idol before today ... and now I'd say America's DEFINITELY not ready for this.

Best of the night for me was Kris Allen, who sang "To Make You Feel My Love" by Garth Brooks. I admit part of my love for this is because that song is one of my all-time favorite songs (check out Adele's version ... LOVE it!), but Kris really did a beautiful job with it, save for that last note that he took up too high. That is one song I will definitely be buying on iTunes.

Next best was Anoop Desai, who sang "Always On My Mind" and redeemed himself after that karaoke fiasco last week. Great vocals from him tonight.

Megan Corkrey was a big surprise, doing a jazzy-ish version of "Walking After Midnight" by Patsy Cline. Megan's lower register is really cool - she should use it more often. She was majorly sick - maybe that helped her vocals for this. She still needs to learn what to do with her arms and body while she sings, though. Maybe just stand still so the camera can focus on her face because she is absolutely stunning. But goofy at the same time. She raised the roof towards Paula and Kara at the end of her judgment. lol

Allison Iraheta did really well with "Blame It On Your Heart" by Patty Loveless. I'm not sure where Simon is getting "precocious" from, however.

Two of the judges' favorites sang Carrie Underwood songs, and, despite what Paula Abdul said, they didn't do anything she couldn't do 100x better. I was never a big Carrie fan during her season, but hearing other people sing her songs (or even songs she did on the show, like "Independence Day" that Lil Rounds did) makes me appreciate her soooooo much more. Danny Gokey sang "Jesus Take the Wheel", and Paula said Carrie would probably buy his recording of this, to which I snorted and said "fat chance!" The beginning of the song was so tuneless! I liked Matt Giraud , who sang "So Small", and I totally agree with Simon, who said he outsung Danny tonight. I'm not sure, however, that I'd rush off to buy his version of the song. I'm quite fond of the original. But still he definitely wins in the Carrie Underwood cover contest.

In the Martina McBride cover contest, I think Scott MacIntyre edges Lil Rounds. Scott did "Wild Angels", while Lil did "Independence Day". Scott is still a little boring for me, but he sang well. Lil might be in trouble tonight. Country is definitely not her thing, and I thought this performance was a little weak.

Also in trouble, I think, is Alexis Grace, who did "Jolene" by Dolly Parton. I really didn't like it at all. Brooke White did the same song last year and got panned a bit for it, but I thought hers was so much better than Alexis'. But the person who will likely go home is Michael Sarver, who did the cliched "Ain't Going Down Till The Sun Comes Up" and stumbled and mumbled over the rapid lyrics.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

You Can't Win, Jasmine And Jorge

As predicted, Jasmine Murray and Jorge Nunez got the axe on Idol last night. But before they did, they had a "chance" (sort of) to sing for their lives in a new twist. The twist is that the judges will be able to grant a one-time immunity Idol, so to speak, up until the Top 5. If someone they think deserves another chance has the lowest amount of votes, the judges have to unanimously agree to use the immunity to save that person, and no one will be eliminated that week. The following week, however, two will be eliminated. So the annual shock boot (Tamyra Gray, Jennifer Hudson, Constantine Maroulis, Chris Daughtry, Michael Johns) could go out the window this year, although, typically, that seems to happen at the Top 4 show, so all hope is not lost!

Before the eliminations, we were "treated" to a pointy pose medley of Jackson 5 songs. I still think they are lip-synching. We also had a performance by Kanye West, which I think was pre-taped because the judges weren't at their table. And Kelly Clarkson sang her new hit single "My Life Would Suck without You". I love Kelly, but she came out looking kind of blah. Sounded great, though.

As far as eliminations go, Jasmine sang with the possibility of singing for her life, but she made it easy by singing really flat. Jorge sang well, but there was no way the judges would waste the immunity in week one.

Next week is supposedly Grand Ol' Opry week. Should be VERY interesting to see what Adam Lambert does with country music!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thriller Night For Some, Bad For Others

The finals of American Idol season 8 kicked off with Michael Jackson night. I thought this would be a major train wreck, to be honest, but it was actually not bad, save for a few forgettable performances.

My Top 3 were Matt Giraud singing "Human Nature", Allison Iraheta doing "Give In To Me" and Kris Allen singing "Remember the Time". Matt picked a great song and made some great choices within the song. His falsetto sounded fantastic. I have never heard the song Allison did, so I can only assume she made that song her own because I can't imagine MJ doing it like that. And Kris has such an innate likeability and exudes so much joy when he performs that you can't help but like him. And he's really picked the best Michael Jackson songs for himself. Gotta applaud him for that.

Adam Lambert ("Black and White") had me laughing the entire time, although not necessarily in a bad way. He was so over the top it was kind of awesome. And he really does own that stage, unsurprisingly. As does Lil Rounds, who sang "The Way You Make Me Feel". She did great, but I kind of agree with the judges when they said it was a little safe and predictable for her. I'd like to see her go out of her comfort zone a little.

Like Kris, Michael Sarver has an innate likeability and charm. I really dislike "You Are Not Alone". It's such a predictable and boring song. I figured I'd hate Michael's performance of it, but somehow I didn't. He kind of made me like it.

Alexis Grace in the pimp spot singing "Dirty Diana" has a power-house voice, and I like the little Pat Benatar thing that she did, but she did oversing it, and I wasn't sure if her timing was off or what. Because Idol doesn't own the number 866-IDOLS-13 (it's a porn line. hahahahahahahahaha), Alexis gets a different number - IDOLS-36. She's so screwed. People aren't gonna remember that!

Jasmine Murray predictably did "I'll Be There". I thought she sounded nice at times, but she is still in pageant mode and still hasn't shown me anything artistically, although I loved the last note she did.

Megan Corkrey has shown a lot of originality, and she's totally embracing the quirkiness. She made bird noises at the end of "Rockin' Robin". OMFG. On a shallow note, I totally see where she gets her looks from. Her mom is beautiful too!

Jorge Nunez bored the snot out of me with a loungey version of "Never Can Say Goodbye", as did Scott MacIntyre with "Keep the Faith". Too many balladeers here.

Anoop Desai took us to karaoke hell with "Beat It". Anoop Dog, don't you know that if you sing an iconic song like that, you have to change it up? See Cook, David. And Anoop looked super pissed and super defensive during the critiques (which he tends to talk way too much throughout).

I think I'm in the minority here, but I could not stop cringing during Danny Gokey's "PYT". His dancing was horrific, and it was so distracting that I have no idea if he sang well or not. I guess he must have if everyone and their mother is acting like he tore it up on stage. Paula Abdul proclaimed him as a sure-fire finalist, and he was only the third person to perform! And saying it after THAT performance? He looked more like the drunk uncle at a wedding that Simon was always talking about in regards to Taylor Hicks!

Two people will be eliminated tomorrow, and I think the judges are going to put a SYTYCD twist to the results and either picking the person amongst the Bottom 3 to eliminate or giving immunity to one of the 3. Should be interesting! I'm thinking Jasmine and Jorge are in trouble. They weren't memorable enough either way to warrant a strong reaction. Anoop SHOULD join them, but he won't, so it could be Scott or Michael in the bottom 3 with them.

Aside from the singing, I thought tonight's show was just a great quote-fest. Everyone was in fine form tonight. Here are a few examples:

"The day you let go of your dreams is the day you let go of your life." - Lil Rounds

"It's fine being artistic, but not on this show." - Simon Cowell to Scott MacIntyre

"Very well job done." - Randy Jackson to Kris Allen

"I’m not dark. I’m not, like, cutting myself or anything." - Allison Iraheta after Simon told her to lighten up

"I got booed. Yay!" - Paula Abdul after criticizing Anoop

"Well, you sort of did!" - Simon Cowell after Jorge Nunez said he "wasn't going to sing 'Bad' by Michael Jackson"

"That is the first time we've seen Paula do a herky from her seat." - Ryan Seacrest after Paula cheered Adam Lambert's performance (way to keep those rumors going, Seacrest)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Quickie Reality Update

Just a quickie here because I have been SWAMPED lately ...

American Idol finalized its Top 12 during the wild card show and made it a Top 13, adding Jasmine Murray, Megan Joy Corkrey, Matt Giraud and Anoop Desai. I was not surprised at all when they added Anoop as a "twist". Tomorrow's show is supposedly songs by Michael Jackson, which makes me laugh because a) the judges have said you should not do songs by Michael Jackson, b) Kris Allen already used a Michael Jackson song and presumably his best Michael Jackson song, so he's in a little bit of a hole, and c) David Cook already made the Chris Cornell "Billie Jean" his bitch, so no one should be doing that song.

Dancing with the Stars premiered tonight. There are way too many reality show people on this show between the the former SYTYCD dancers (Lacey Schwimmer, Dmitry Chaplin and Chelsie Hightower), Steve-O and last-minute replacements Holly Madison and Melissa Rycroft (the girl who was dumped by the Bachelor on the After the Rose show). Best of the night was Gilles Marini, who was hot hot hot during his cha cha cha with Cheryl Burke. Next best was Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, which is kind of ironic considering she was never thought of as a good dancer on floor exercise (and she tripped coming down the stairs during the intros). Most of the others were mediocre to bad, particularly cowboy Ty Murray, who forgot steps and just clomped around. Look for him to be first to go, unless Chelsie's SYTYCD fans try to save her. Holly Madison had little time to prepare, and it showed, but Melissa Rycroft had even less time to prepare, and she was really good (although she is a total ringer - ex-Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader with a ballet background).

Friday, March 06, 2009

Quest Crew Is America's Best Dance Crew

I was prepared for a Beat Freaks win despite two amazing finale performances by Quest Crew, but the b-boys beat the b-girls to take home the title of America's Best Dance Crew.

Quest completely dominated in the final voting round with their performances that had everyone abuzz. Shane Sparks even mentioned that he couldn't walk around the airport without people stopping him every few seconds to tell them how awesome Quest's performances were. But the way that the judges kept going on about how historic the Beat Freaks were, I was sure they were going to win. Beat Freaks were great throughout the show's run, but Quest was great as well throughout the season and completely blew my mind in the finale and deserved to win. I do wonder, though, if Beat Freaks can't win this, can any female crew win?

All the crews from this season performed in groups during the finale. First, Quest Crew, Strikers All-Stars and Dynamic Edition collaborated. This routine was fantastic - we saw each crew do their thing, and then they did it all together, including clogging! Beat Freaks, Team Millenium and Boxcuttuhz teamed up and were not nearly as creative as the group before them. The last group was Fly Khicks, the Puerto Rican group and the contortion guys from Brooklyn (sorry - can't remember their group name). I barely remember this routine. Finally, Beat Freaks and Quest worked together on a routine that was equally strong amongst the two groups.

So there wasn't a whole lot going on in this show, so to fill all the time, they showed previews of the new MTV reality show Taking the Stage, which is set at the Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts. This show looks really cool, and the kids they showed are really talented, from what we've seen. My friend Rajan is a producer on this show, so please check it out!

Dancing Casualties Already

Two celebrities have withdrawn from Dancing with the Stars a week before the season premiere due to injuries. Jewel has a fractured tibia in both legs, and Nancy O'Dell has a torn meniscus that will require surgery.

Apparently, they will announce the casting changes on the show on Monday. Rumor has it that Holly Madison of Girls Next Door will replace Jewel and dance with Dmitry Chaplin. At this short of notice, I bet they bring in a semi-ringer with some dance experience to replace Nancy and dance with Tony Dovolani. Hey, Bernadette Peters has been on a few ABC shows recently ...

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Ryan Star Video Premiere

MSN is premiering Ryan Star's "Last Train Home" music video. I like the cinematography; the opening looks a bit Twilight-esque. And is that THE Hallie there at the end? Very cute.
'Last Train Home' by Ryan Star
'Last Train Home' by Ryan Star


They also have his other video, "Right Now". This song kicks ass!
'Right Now' by Ryan Star
'Right Now' by Ryan Star


Ryan's currently on a college tour with David Cook ... and playing nowhere near me. Argh.

Here is the schedule for their remaining dates:

MARCH
6 Morgantown, WV West Virginia University Mountainair Ballroom
8 Willimantic, CT Eastern Connecticut State Shafer Auditorium *
10 Poughkeepsie, NY Marist College Bardavon Opera House
11 Brockport, NY Seymour Union Ballroom*
14 Elkins, WV Davis and Elkins College
16 Bloomsburg , PA Bloomsburg University Gross Auditorium
17 New York , NY Bowery Ballroom (Ryan Star only)
19 Mansfield , PA Mansfield University
20 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
21 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
24 York, PA Pullo Performing Arts Center
26 Buies Creek, NC Campbell University Turner Auditorium
27 Pemberton, NJ Burlington County College Gym
28 Williamsburg, VA Sadler Center Chesapeake Ballroom *
30 New London, NH Colby Sawyer College Center Theatre
31 New Haven, CT John Lyman Center For The Performing Arts

APRIL
3 Towson, MD University Union PAWS Lounge
5 Radford, VA Radford University Preston Hall
7 Columbia, SC University of South Carolina*
8 Macon, GA Mercer University Grand Opera House
10 Knoxville, TN Square Room
13 Joliet, IL Moser Performing Arts Center *
14 Macomb, IL Western Illinois University Heritage Room
20 Tyler, TX University of Texas University Center *
21 Searcy, AR Harding University Administration Auditorium
22 Kansas City, MO Ameristar Casino & Hotel
24 Omaha, NE Slowdown *
25 Tulsa, OK University of Tulsa Great Hall

*students only

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Three From Group Three

More live blogging for today's American Idol Group 3 results show. The only drama here really is who will be the third person to join Lil Rounds and Scott MacIntyre in the Top 12? And who will the judges pick for the Wild Card?

8:07 pm - Ryan asked how this group stacks up compared to groups of the past, and she really doesn't answer the question. Because she KNOWS they don't! Oooh - "A Daily Anthem" is being played over the montage. I love this song. Go, David Cook! Oh my god. "Hot And Cold" is the group song. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. This HAS to be pre-recorded, right? Has anyone from the studio audience confirmed this yet? These people don't know the words, and they don't know how to lip-sync!

8:22 pm - They make Lil Rounds stand up first. That's good - let's get the obvious out of the way immediately. I'm down with that. And America is down with her. Man, she has the crowd eating out of her hands! She's great. Back to results ... and if I'm Arianna, Taylor, Kendall and Alex, I'm not liking my chances right now! (Especially the girls!)

8:30 pm - Arianna gets the axe, followed by Taylor, Alex (who was impressive with his comments pre-axe and with his hugging of Scott post-axe) and then Kendall, meaning Scott is the second finalist. OK I'm going to get this out of the way now because I forgot to discuss this yesterday ... the judges need to stop talking about how Scott can move mountains and all that inspirational garbage because a) It's patronizing and b) He's blind, not deaf! Have they never heard of Stevie Wonder and Andrea Bocceli? Not to diminish what he's accomplished, but it's not unheard of, and they and the voters should judge him as they judge everyone else.

8:40 pm - Ah they're pitting Nathaniel and Kristen against each other. They're both gonzo, and they know it as soon as Seacrest says "after the nation-wide vote". Felicia and Von get paired up. I'm guessing they're both gone as well, and they are, but Seacrest does put in the "for now it's a no for you" so one or both could be in the Wild Card, I think. So it's down to Ju'Not and Jorge. And the producers will have two minorities come out of this group; I'm sure they are more than relieved. And it's Jorge. And he's hyperventilating. He doesn't get to sing right away, though ... hmmm ...

8:43 pm - Wildcard possibilities upstairs are Jackie, Brent, Jesse, Matt G., Megan, Matt B. (WTF?!), Jasmine, somebody, Anoop, Ricky and Tatiana, I think. Oh boy! Tatiana! And that's quite an Anglo group upstairs, I gotta say.

8:52 pm - The first half of the wildcard selections are ... Von Smith (no diva songs, please!), Jasmine Murray (bleh. so unwarranted after the last performance), Ricky Braddy (deserved), and Megan Corkrey (no surprise, but Simon threw me for a loop because he said she was in the first group).

8:59 pm - The other wildcard selections are Tatiana Del Toro (omg) in an awful dress (and she's going to make this show run over time), Matt Giraud, Jesse Langseth in a last-minute decision (yay!), and Anoop Desai (ooh I didn't think he'd make it after seeing the others that were picked). Wonder who was originally going to go instead of Jesse?? Probably someone from tonight ... maybe Ju'Not?

I'm sure the judges already have in mind who they want. As long as they don't totally f*ck it up, it will probably be Matt G., Megan and Anoop into the Top 12 tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Live Blogging AI8 Group 3

Live blogging tonight for Group 3 ...

8:22 pm - 2 singers in 20 minutes? Wow. Filler, much? Von Smith ("You're All I Need To Get By") I actually didn't mind. I thought he would bug the crap out of me. He was a bit cheesy, but I prefer his Clay-esque cheesy to his Dreamgirls Diva cheesy. Von's lower register is not good, but the performance as a whole was entertaining, and the guy can definitely sing. Taylor Vaifuana ("If I Ain't Got You") was a bit behind the tempo, which is really the only thing that she did differently than every other singer who's done that song on this show.

8:30 pm - Alex Wagner-Trugman ("I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues") is a total schitzo. One minute he's crooning this Elton John song, the next minute he's channeling Ozzy Osbourne before biting the head off a bat. Oh my gawd.

8:38 pm - Arianna Afsar ("The Winner Takes It All") CHOSE Abba? Someone's a Mamma Mia freak. That was a collosal mistake. Abba songs have pretty simple melodies, and she completely oversang this and made it completely unbearable to listen to. And that last note was horrific. She said she tried to make an old song contemporary. What she should have done was take a new song and keep it contemporary. It's not hard, people!

8:50 pm - I was ready to call the judges out for not mentioning that Ju'Not Joyner did "Hey There Delilah" in Hollywood, but Paula did, to my surprise. Ju'Not re-arranged the song differently this week than he did in Hollywood, though, which is why she didn't slam him for it. It was a little sleepy, especially in the beginning, but there were a couple of really cool things he did with it, and he has a nice voice. I do prefer Jamar's version that apparently got him cut (!!!), but this was the best of the night so far!

9:05 pm - Wow Nathaniel Marshall and Kristen McNamara are such drama queens STILL (and so catty and fake, respectively). I don't get Kristen's song choice ("Give Me One Reason"), arrangement or outfit. She has a very strong voice, but the whole thing was SO put on and very professional karaoke singer/bar band. And while I was watching Nathaniel's ghastly performance of "I Would Do Anything For Love", I thought I was watching an audition scene in that horrible John Travolta movie "Staying Alive".

9:27 pm - I've seen YouTube videos of Felicia Barton doing this song ("No One"), and I think she has sounded better on those YouTube clips. Tonight, she is a bit off tempo, she cracked once or twice, and I think she's way oversinging. And, like Taylor, she didn't sing it much differently than Alicia Keys. Scott MacIntyre's "Home" in Hollywood was bad, but this performance("Mandolin Rain")? This was pretty good! The song is way more suited for him, and he sang it well. My main problem with him is that his stage presence is very limited, although not of his own fault, but he actually, towards the end of that performance, made me forget that he's blind!

9:37 pm - Kendall Beard ("This One's For The Girls") is one of the few this year who has picked the right song for themselves. She's not that strong of a singer, especially in her upper register (although I do like her lower register), but she at least is identifiable as an artist, not to mention unique in this competition as the only female country singer. I would not be surprised if she makes it through.

9:49 pm - Jorge Nunez picks the most overdone song in AI history ("Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me") and totally does not play to what I think is his strength in this competition (his Latin flavor). And we seriously don't need to vote in another balladeer. Hmm ... he got a split screen of pimpage. Have we had one of those yet? And are they using said split screen of pimpage to try to add some diversity to the whitest group of AI finalists? Oh wow. Yeah, I think they really are after some of Paula's comments. Asking him to talk so she can hear his accent? Saying it was funny when he was dancing?! OMG!

9:59 pm - Lil Rounds ("Be Without You") is the more commercial, more modern, less screamy version of Fantasia. It's no wonder the judges love her. And Simon was wise to throw in a little bit of criticism to avoid the Danny Gokey over-pimpitude. She's definitely in. So is Blind Boy. The third spot is a total toss-up. I'm thinking it will be either Kendall or Ju'Not or Jorge (who they split-screened in the recap too!!).