Tuesday, March 30, 2010

AI9 Top 10: R&B

The American Idol Season 9 Top 10 were mentored by Usher for R&B week, and as they have all year, they sucked the soul out of a bunch of old songs.

I'll add more thoughts after I see the show on something other than a crappy internet feed, but in the meantime here are their song choices:

Siobahn Magnus - Through The Fire by Chaka Khan (studio version | performance video)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)

Casey James - Hold On, I'm Coming by Sam & Dave (studio version | performance video)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)

Michael Lynche - Ready For Love by India.Arie (studio version | performance video)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)

Didi Benami - What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted by Jimmy Ruffin (studio version | performance video)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)

Tim Urban - Sweet Love by Anita Baker (studio version | performance video)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)

Andrew Garcia - Forever by Chris Brown (studio version | performance video)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)

Katie Stevens - Chain Of Fools by Aretha Franklin (studio version | performance video)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)

Lee Dewyze - Treat Her Like A Lady by Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose (studio version | performance video)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)

Crystal Bowersox - Midnight Train To Georgia by Gladys Knight & The Pips (studio version | performance video)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)

Aaron Kelly - Ain't No Sunshine by Bill Withers (studio version | performance video)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)

So You Think You Can Dance With The Stars?

So You Think You Can Dance is starting to morph into Dancing With The Stars. Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe announced some big changes to his show, the biggest being that there will be no more pairings with fellow contestants - each contestant will be performing with an "all-star" partner from a previous SYTYCD season each week. That all-star will be a specialist in a certain genre of dance, and the contestants . The "All-Star Pool" will be named, one-by-one, over the next several weeks, presumably over Nigel Lythgoe's Twitter @dizzyfeet. All six seasons will be represented.

The other changes that go along with this new rule are that there will be no Top 20 - just a Top 10, the competitors will change partners every week, and one dancer will be eliminated each week instead of two. Less than four people will compete in the finale (pssst ... six was WAY too many last year, Nigel).

So do you like the changes? I think I'm mostly on board. I especially like the partner switching. I was not fond of keeping partners all the way through to the Top 10. That meant that people could coast to the Top 10 if they had a popular partner and then promptly get cut as soon as voting went individually (Hi, Martha, Ryan, Kameron and Randi!). As much as I loved watching power couples like Katee and Joshua and Brandon and Janette dance together for weeks, I also enjoyed seeing the show mix it up. One of the best parts of the early eliminations for me were seeing new partnerships.

The one thing that I kind of have an issue with is the pairing with all-stars. I do like the idea of bringing back some of my favorites, but it's could be hard for viewers to distinguish voting for your old favorite vs. voting for the new contestant. Or not voting for a new contestant because you can't stand his/her partner (Hi, Misha Chan!). The good thing is that the all-star doesn't go away if their partner does, so people who might vote with their nostalgic hearts won't have to power-vote to keep their favorite alumni on the show.

They should have at least 10 all-stars in the pool, and they need to be specialists, so there should be a good mix of dancers. SYTYCDism has heard that winners will not be part of the pool. So with that in mind, I'm hoping for:
S1: Kamilah (hip-hop)
S2: Heidi (ballroom), Allison (contemporary), Dmitry (ballroom)
S3: Danny (contemporary), Pasha*/Anya (ballroom)
S4: Twitch* (hip-hop), Katee (contemporary)
S5: Brandon (contemporary), Janette (Salsa)
S6: Jakob (contemporary), Ellenore (jazz)

*confirmed All-Star

Also confirmed - Kathryn from S6 (contemporary/Broadway).

I'm not sure what they're going to do with genres like disco. Maybe pull people who did really well on their disco dances, like Neil or Brandon? And they'll need to find more Broadway people outside of Evan to handle that genre. They'll probably use versatile dancers like Katee and Brandon, who pretty much slayed every genre, to fill in a lot of holes. I think the lack of ballroom dancers across all six seasons pretty much assures us of getting at least one DiLello return appearance. Great. Can we have Karen or Heidi instead?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kris Allen/OneRepublic Tripleheader In San Antonio

Kris Allen and OneRepublic played three shows in one day in San Antonio on Mar. 19. They first hit up Sherlock's Bar for an acoustic show for 94.1 KTFM, then did a win at work show in a mattress store for a radio station contest winner, and wrapped up the day with a concert at Six Flags Fiesta.

At Sherlock's, Kris and Cale Mills performed Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise, Before We Come Undone, Man In The Mirror, Alright With Me and Live Like We're Dying. Full set, including banter, are below, from paopaoxp.

Heartless/Gangstga's Paradise:

Before We Come Undone:

Banter (Cale is a homeless vagabond!):

Man In The Mirror:

Alright With Me:

Banter (Kris and Cale singing Tim McGraw's Live Like You Were Dying by request):

Live Like We're Dying (from xcyclops24):

At Six Flags, Kris and the band performed Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise, Can't Stay Away, Before We Come Undone, Is It Over, Falling Slowly/With Or Without You, Alright With Me and Live Like We're Dying. (Videos from c82blue, suzessley, headonfire1105, theebluemartini and horsegerbil)

Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise:

Can't Stay Away:

Before We Come Undone:

Is It Over:

Falling Slowly/With Or Without You:

Alright With Me:

Live Like We're Dying (partial):

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Kris Allen At Spring Fling In Wichita

Kris Allen performed in Wichita, KS for the Channel 963 Spring Fling. Co-headlining the show with Flo-Rida, Kris and his band performed nine songs. The setlist was: Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise, Can't Stay Away, Before We Come Undone, Man In The Mirror, The Truth, Alright With Me, Is It Over, Red Guitar, and Live Like We're Dying.

Videos below are from babybleu21, hellohom92 and Fumbling81.

Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise:

Can't Stay Away:

Before We Come Undone:

Man In The Mirror:

The Truth:

Alright With Me:

Is It Over:

Red Guitar:

Live Like We're Dying:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lacey Brown Can't Get No Satisfaction

The first cut is the deepest, as Lacey Brown can attest. The redhead from Amarillo, TX was the first of the American Idol Top 12 to be eliminated. Lacey had a chance to sing for her life, as the judges' save was resurrected for a second season (with a slight twist - this year the contestants don't have to sing their song from this week, so Lacey sang "The Story"), but it was a futile effort, and the judges unanimously decided not to use the save.

In this results show, all of the good stuff happened in the beginning and the end. All that junk in the middle? YAWN. David Cook kicked off the show with a rockin' version of "Jumpin' Jack Flash". And once again, a former Idol contestant comes back and schools this season's contestants. This is not my favorite Rolling Stones song, but Cook sounded great, and his band was on fire, especially lead guitarist Neal Tiemann. In a quick interview after the performance, Ryan Seacrest revealed that Cook would be going to Africa with the United Nations Foundation for Idol Gives Back. :)

Things went way downhill after Cook left the stage. There was some lame Ford commercial involving paint balloons and Fords and a segment about the kids designing their own Ford Fiestas (and good lord, these cars are going to be FUG). Orianthi performed "According To You". Well, according to me, she can't sing live worth a lick. And she should stick to playing a kick-ass guitar and maybe backup vocals. Seriously, she was out of tune for most of her song. But still, compared to the third performer of the night, Ke$ha, Orianthi sounded like Kelly Clarkson. Ke$ha is just a monstrosity to music. Someone told me that Ghetto Gaga was actually lip-synching that shitty song "Blah Blah Blah". Holy hell. Lip-synching and it still sounded like ass?! How is she popular again???? I don't get it. At all. 

As far as the results go, Paige Miles and Tim Urban joined Lacey in the Bottom 3, with Tim being sent to safety first. It was quite interesting watching the reactions to each person's verdict as Ryan read them. Paige got sent to the stools, and no one as much as even patted her on the arm to show support. Tim and Andrew Garcia got their news together, and Andrew just sat down as Tim passed him on the way to the stools. And when Tim got to the stools, he and Paige didn't hug or anything. When Lacey and Casey James got their verdicts together, Casey didn't show Lacey any support. She even turned to him and got nothing in return. When Tim got sent to safety, there were no hugs between any of them. What a self-centered bunch of contestants. Also noted, none of them standing up during Cook's performance. Seriously, none of this would have happened with last year's contestants. Remember the Kris/Adam faceplant hugs? Or the whole group totally spazzing out when Stevie Wonder was performing? Or Allison enthusiastically clapping along despite being in the Bottom 3 when David Archuleta performed? Yeahhhhh ...

So next week is apparently Teen Idols night. Look out for some song suggestions later in the week.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

AI9 Top 12 - Please Go Home

American Idol Season 9 kicked off live performances on the big stage with a Rolling Stones night. Ironic considering that Mick Jagger is one of the biggest showmen in rock and roll, while this mostly-tepid group of contestants are the amongst the most amateur of performers Idol has seen in years. As Tommy Lee once told a contestant on Rock Star: Supernova, Mick Jagger is a showboat. "So show me some boat, BITCH!"

Not that the show was not without highlights - Crystal Bowersox continued to impress, Paige Davis battled and beat laryngitis, and, if you ask the judges, Siobhan Magnus outdid Crystal with an Adam Lambert-like vocal performance. But if you ask me, that performance was more Danny Gokey Scream On-like than Adam Lambert. So there you go ...

(If you're wondering about the Please Don't Go part at the top, it's a Stones song. And I can name at least 5 people that I would like to see go home this week. Sadly, only one can go.)

Michael Lynche - "Miss You" (studio version | performance video)
(Original: iTunes | Amazon)
Being a big guy, sometimes his movements look so lumbered and awkward. Tonight was one of those times. He definitely seems comfortable up there, but his moves look so strange, especially being all by himself on the stage. Also, I wasn't wild about the arrangement or song choice for him.

Didi Benami - "Play With Fire" (studio version | performance video)
(Original: iTunes | Amazon)
The song is kind of a bore, but she looks like a totally different Didi. She looks a lot more comfortable and very emotive. Maybe the stupid swaybots in the pit actually give her power rather than suck it away like a vortex. Go figure.

Casey James - "It's All Over Now" (studio version | performance video)
(Original: iTunes | Amazon)
I kind of get where Simon was going with that, because Casey again pretty much just stood there and played, but what I don't get is why Casey is the only one who gets that critique. This whole grading on a curve business has got to stop.

Lacey Brown - "Ruby Tuesday" (studio version | performance video)
(Original: iTunes | Amazon)
There goes Lacey sitting on the stage again. Also, what is she wearing? Love the hair, though. Oh, she sang?

Andrew Garcia - "Gimme Shelter" (studio version | performance video)
(Original: iTunes | Amazon)
I was really hoping Crystal would do this song. Andrew reminds me of Gokey trying to rock (minus the screaming note of death). Where is the passion?

Katie Stevens - "Wild Horses" (studio version | performance video)
(Original: iTunes | Amazon)
I feel like she's trying to be the next Katharine McPhee but the Jr. Miss Teen version of Kat McPhee. Is that such a good idea? Kat had some pitch issues on some songs, and Katie did here as well. That it was probably her best performance in voting rounds says a lot about how she shouldn't have made it this far.

Tim Urban - "Under My Thumb" (studio version | performance video)
(Original: iTunes | Amazon)
This was kind of like Nadia Turner doing that weird version of "Time After Time', minus mohawak. Tim took the right approach by not trying to invite direct comparisons to Jagger, but this reggae/calypso version just did not work. And it confused the out-of-rhythm swaybots even more. It was pretty hilarious to watch them try to clap along to the beat of that one!

Siobhan Magnus - "Paint It, Black" (studio version | performance video)
(Original: iTunes | Amazon)
Good: Dramatics. Bad: Doing her own version of "Scream On" with that Gokey-esque scream at the end. Long and loud glory note does not always equal good, Siobhan. Ugh.

Lee Dewyze - "Beast Of Burden" (studio version | performance video)
(Original: iTunes | Amazon)
He's totally singing out of his throat. When he tried to sustain the longer notes, it sounded so painful. Still, one of the better vocals of the mediocre performances tonight.

Paige Miles - "Honky Tonk Women" (studio version | performance video)
(Original: iTunes | Amazon)
For someone who has laryngitis, she sounds pretty good. And she's selling the song too and giving some much-needed energy to the stage.

Aaron Kelly - "Angie" (studio version | performance video)
(Original: iTunes | Amazon)
Aaron did fine vocally, but he just bores me. It's like the same performance every week, with the exception of that one Motown song.

Crystal Bowersox - "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (studio version | performance video)
(Original: iTunes | Amazon)
Sorry, Simon, but Crystal was easily the best of the field tonight. Her voice is really something. The only minor quibble is that she could up the performance level, but she is already starting to do that and improve in that regard.

Who should go home? Tim obviously, but I don't think he's going anywhere. Except for that hair, Lacey is extremely forgettable. I think she's going to be the first to go. Texas can't vote-split forever. Andrew has a chance as well. His stock is fading really fast. I also wouldn't rule out Big Mike. He went first, and I already forgot about him by the time the show ended.   

David Cook! on Wednesday's results show. He's going to be singing "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and schooling these rookies. And Orianthi and Ke$ha and, most likely, a Stones medley. Too many hits ("Start Me Up", "Satisfaction", "It's Only Rock & Roll", "Brown Sugar") were left off the table for me to think it isn't going to be a medley. Bring on the pointy poses!

Monday, March 15, 2010

AI9 Top 12 Theme - Rolling Stones

The Top 12 theme for American Idol Season 9 has been announced as music by the Rolling Stones, and the contestants have a list of 50 songs to choose from. For the first time, Idol is making this list public on iTunes.

Here's the list:
As Tears Go By
Beast of Burden
Black Limousine
Brown Sugar
Can't You Hear Me Knocking
Country Honk
Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)
Emotional Rescue
Fool to Cry
Get Off My Cloud
Gimme Shelter
Hang Fire
Heart of Stone
Honky Tonk Women
Hot Stuff
It's All Over Now
It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)
Jumpin' Jack Flash
Lady Jane
The Last Time
Let It Bleed
Live With Me
Love In Vain
Midnight Rambler
Miss You
Mother's Little Helper
19th Nervous Breakdown
No Expectations
Paint It, Black
Play With Fire
Salt of the Earth
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
She Was Hot
She's a Rainbow
She's So Cold
Shine a Light
Start Me Up
Street Fighting Man
Sympathy for the Devil
Time Is On My Side
Too Tough
Tumbling Dice
Under My Thumb
Waiting On a Friend
Wild Horses
You Can't Always Get What You Want

I'm not sensing all that much savvy with this group here, so I have a strong feeling that it will be most of the hits being sung. That's mostly what happened when Canadian Idol did a Rolling Stones night.

Even though it's way too late to make suggestions, I'm just going to list below what I think they should sing, or make predictions. Disclaimer: I'm not the most well-versed on Rolling Stones music. Join in with opinions/suggestions/predictions!

Aaron Kelly - I think he's the one most likely to have trouble this week. He's too young to be singing a lot of these songs, and he's a guy, so he's going to get unfavorably compared to Mick Jagger. There is no way he can pull off Mick Jagger, so he needs to totally reinvent the wheel, something we have yet to see from him. If I were him, I would do something totally outrageous. Even if it sucks, at least it will be memorable. So with that in mind, he may as well do the Stones' most popular song - "Satisfaction" - and strut around like Jagger. It will be hilarious and awful, but that kind of performance rarely gets someone kicked off (Hi, Sanjaya!!!).

Andrew Garcia - Since he says the judges need to get over "Straight Up", I think he might stay away from trying to reinvent the wheel this week. I think "Beast of Burden" would fit his vocals pretty well.

Casey James - I'd go with "Honky Tony Women" for Casey. He has the voice for country/rock.

Crystal Bowersox - I expect Crystal to shine this week. She has several options here, be it rock or gospel or blues. I'd like to hear Crystal rock out on "Gimme Shelter" or go a little gospel-y again with "Shine A Light"

Didi Benami - This is a real mismatch for Didi, but she might be able to do "As Tears Go By". I don't really see anything else on the list that suits her.

Katie Stevens - Without a doubt, she will do "Wild Horses", unless someone else (Didi or Lacey) strong-arms it from her. Whether or not she does it Susan Boyle style remains to be seen. If not SuBo-style, it will be Eva Avila-style.

Lacey Brown - With Lacey's uber-girly voice, I think her best bet is "Miss You".

Lee Dewyze - Lee's voice best fits the Stones' theme, but he should probably stay away from the most popular tunes so as to avoid any direct comparisons. I think "Angie" could be a good choice for him.

Michael Lynche - I know someone is going to choose "You Can't Always Get What You Want," so I really hope it's Big Mike. It's a great song, and it deserves to be sung by someone who can do it justice.

Paige Miles - I think Paige is going to go with "Start Me Up". She won't be able to resist such a big rock anthem.

Siobhan Magnus - I'd like to hear her tackle "As Tears Go By", but it might be too similar in tempo/style to her song last week. She needs to go up-tempo again this week. (SPOILER ALERT: She apparently has chosen "Paint It Black", which is a great song, although I think she could kill "Gimme Shelter" also.)

Tim Urban - I don't even know what to say about Tim. I can see him picking "Jumping Jack Flash". It's a fun song (and within his limited range.)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Kris Allen At The Grammy Museum

Kris Allen played an acoustic show for 104.3 MyFM contest winners at the Grammy Museum on Mar. 12, singing six songs: Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise, Before We Come Undone, Alright With Me, The Truth, Man In The Mirror and Live Like We're Dying.

There are lots of videos from the night, including really funny Q&As and banter. Videos below are from oneandahalfjt and ocamy24, unravel101 and ISBInLA.

Introduction and Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise
Q&A + Before We Come Undone - picking cover songs, how the Gangsta's Paradise mashup came about, if he still gets nervous performing
Before We Come Undone
Banter - making the album and writing sessions
Alright With Me (Kris-cam, Krandrew-cam)
Banter - Keith Urban, Elton John, Magic Johnson
The Truth
Banter - Let It Be and Haiti
Man In The Mirror
Q&A - jelly beans, original songs on Idol, watching a video of his dad singing in a white jumpsuit and jumping off speakers, writing and touring, singing Happy Birthday, crazy fans, his wife, Jim Cantiello shoutout
Q&A - Season 9, Ain't No Sunshine lies (he HAS played it on guitar!), hugs, favorite song (currently "Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum), favorite Beatle (Paul McCartney), taco vs. grilled cheese sandwich ("taco, duh"), Twitter
Live Like We're Dying

Photo gallery from 104.3 MyFM

Kris Allen NorCal Shows

On Mar. 11, Kris Allen played two radio shows in Northern California, playing the Beach Lounge for 1017thebeach (KCDU) listeners in Monterey before heading to San Jose for an after-work mixer with Mix 106.5 (KEZR).

Kris played Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise, Before We Come Undone, Alright With Me, The Truth, Man In The Mirror and Live Like We're Dying at both shows and added Red Guitar as an encore in San Jose.

My friend April was there for both shows and got video of everything, including hilarious banter between songs.

Welcoming banter
Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise
Banter - Speeding ticket story
Before We Come Undone
Alright With Me
Banter - Fan: "I love you, Kris!" Another fan: "I love you more!" Kris: "Whoah. Whoah. Let's not make this a competition"
The Truth
Banter - Kris thinks noon is early
Man In The Mirror
Banter - Kris talks about Haiti
Live Like We're Dying

San Jose:
Q&A - Speeding ticket story, talking about Katy, Didi Benami, television
Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise
Banter - Krandrew wedding
Before We Come Undone
Alright With Me
The Truth
Banter - "Nothing is sacred anymore", meeting Elton John
Man In The Mirror
Live Like We're Dying
Red Guitar

Mix 106.5 has a bunch of photos plus high quality video of Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise, Man In The Mirror, Live Like We're Dying and Red Guitar on their website. Those are definitely worth checking out.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Adam Lambert On VH1 Unplugged

Adam Lambert did a five-song unplugged concert for VH1 in February, singing Whataya Want From Me, Down The Rabbit Hole, Broken Open, Music Again, and Mad World.

I'm really glad VH1 is reviving the series. I always like hearing different versions and interpretations of the songs you hear every day on the radio. VH1 also filmed one with The Script last week, which I'm really looking forward to seeing.

Here's Whataya Want From Me:

More videos:
Down The Rabbit Hole
Broken Open
Music Again
Mad World

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

AI9 Top 8 Idol Guys Perform

So what was shaping up to be a season where it was going to be fairly easy to predict the Top 12 has turned into one where the favorites have flamed out in a hurry. Katie Stevens and Andrew Garcia looked to be the front-runners early on, but three straight weeks of mediocre performances are leaving both of them possibly on the brink of elimination this week, especially after improved performances from those previously pegged to be likely to leave this week.

Lee Dewyze - Fireflies by Owl City (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
I really can't stand this song, but I think it's actually a smart choice for Lee because it's not hard to improve on the vocals and the arrangement. Getting rid of the electronic sound effects helped to improve the song, but Lee's vocals were still nasally for me. I've seen way better acoustic versions on YouTube.

Alex Lambert - Trouble by Ray LaMontagne (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
He's such a BRADY. He's got Carol's haircut (and the mullet is getting worse and worse) and Cindy's camera-fright. Luckily for him, he can actually sing, and his song choices continue to be top-notch.

Tim Urban - Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
And following Carol Brady is Greg Brady, who is turning this awesome song into a Sesame Street singalong. I'll give him this - at least he's singing it in tune. And it's his best of his three performances, but it's still amateurish, and he in no way lives up to Jason Castro's version. The judges are on crack if that warranted a hug from Ellen and Kara saying he's amongst the top guys. They really need to stop judging him based on low expectations.

Andrew Garcia - Genie In A Bottle by Christina Aguilera (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
He's trying to recapture the magic of his Straight Up, but this didn't quite do it for me. It doesn't help that he butchered the first line "I feel like I've been trapped all night with a (mumble something that sounds like attention-y mumble) of lonely nights". It's "I feel like I've been locked up tight for a century of lonely nights." Also, I don't ever want him to hear him singing about rubbing him the right way. Second of all, he can't fit in that bottle. Just sayin'.

Casey James - You'll Think Of Me by Keith Urban (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
Definitely one of the best of the night. This country-pop vibe works for him. The first verse was a little unmelodic, but the chorus was strong. It wasn't the most memorable song, but he sounded good, and it should definitely be enough to maintain his cougar fanbase.

Aaron Kelly - I'm Already There by Lonestar (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
Ugh, this kid is so cheesy. He's like junior high talent show level. He started off so weak with those low notes, and his late note was kind of painful. Plus, didn't we hear this two weeks ago when he did Here Comes Goodbye? It sounds pretty similar. Best moment of his performance, though, was when Simon said that what Kara said was complete utter rubbish and got a huge cheer. Haha Kara. But Simon, really? You're now concerned about confusing the contestants? Suuuure you are.

Todrick Hall - Somebody To Love by Queen (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
His voice fell flat a few times, but that last note will help him, as will his rather spirited performance, especially considering all the ballads we've heard tonight. Ellen was going on and on about how brave he was to sing it and was raving about the gospel sound like it's never been done like that. Yeah, um, not all that original, lady, but I'll give Todrick props for his best performance thus far. It was very Broadway, though.

Michael Lynche - This Woman's Work by Maxwell (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
I'm not sure how I felt about his falsetto at the beginning, but I love how his voice sounded for the rest of this song. His stage mannerisms, on the other hand, are a bit too cheese-ball for my tastes. But the fact that he even went for it is amazing to me. I didn't think he had all that in him. But damn, Kara. Way to take all the attention away from the guy with your crazy crying. She really IS turning into Paula.

Going home this week should be Aaron and Andrew. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that they will be the ones going home, although this one might be tough to predict.

Kris Allen At The Kelly Lounge In Bakersfield

Kris Allen performed in Bakersfield Wednesday night at the first of several radio station shows this month. Hitting up the Kelly Lounge in Bakersfield, Kris and guitarist Andrew DeRoberts performed seven songs for contest winners.

The setlist was:
Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise
Before We Come Undone
Alright With Me
The Truth
Man In The Mirror
Live Like We're Dying
Red Guitar (Encore)

Videos courtesy apriljoiex83:

Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise:

Before We Come Undone:

Alright With Me:

The Truth:

Man In The Mirror:

Live Like We're Dying:

Red Guitar:

Q&A on stage
Arkansas banter
Platinum banter

And from the Bakersfield media:
Man In The Mirror - from soundcheck
Interview with Kelly Radio - Kris talks about touring with Keith Urban
Interview with Bakersfield Now - Kris talks about his platinum single

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

AI9 Top 8 Girls Perform

If this week was, as Simon Cowell said, the most critical of weeks, the Top 8 girls on American Idol sure didn't really show that they wanted it that badly. Nor did the majority show us what they can be in the music business. On basically a free week, most of them trotted out old, sleepy songs that their mothers or grandmothers may have listened to without really making them too modern, in my opinion. Save that stuff for forced theme nights, kids! This season could be salvaged, though, if the guys would teach the girls how to pick good songs and the girls would teach the guys how to sing. Can we make this happen?

Katie Stevens - Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
Katie has some tempo and tuning issues in this song. Simon should have just stopped after two words when he said she sucked ... the energy out of the room. She really has no idea how to convey the kind of artist she wants to be. She said she's a soulful artist but with a youthful edge. I'm not seeing that AT ALL.

Siobhan Magnus - House of the Rising Sun by The Animals (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
Ooh look at her go a cappella to start the song. And she was PITCH PERFECT. Take note, other contestants. This girl can SANG. And Simon? STFU. If you think singing a cappella isn't doing it different, you're nuts.

Lacey Brown - The Story by Brandi Carlile (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
It's very strange to hear that song from such a pipsqueak voice. It needs more grit. I think she picked the plodding parts of the song to sing (probably strategic because I don't think she can hit those notes). Having said that, it was her best performance thus far.

Katelyn Epperly - I Feel The Earth Move by Carole King (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
I like Katelyn, and she has a good voice, but I really have no idea what kind of singer she is based on the three songs she has picked thus far. I also didn't see the need for her to play the keyboard here. It seemed pointless and actually in the way. She said she was trying to be less corny, but that was her corniest performance to date. I Feel The Earth Move is never a good song choice on this show.

Didi Benami - Rhiannon by Fleetwod Mac (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
This was definitely her best performance since Terrified. I didn't like it as much as Kara and Simon did, but I do like her interpretation of the song, save for the very staccato notes.

Paige Miles - Smile by Michael Jackson (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
Oh the irony of Paige being the one to turn a happy song into a somber death knoll when she has been one of the few to sing upbeat songs this season. This was not good. It was dull, her tempo was off. She's gonna have to sing this Thursday. Oof.

Crystal Bowersox - Give Me One Reason by Tracy Chapman (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
Unlike most of the other contestants, I know exactly what kind of artist Crystal is because she picks the right songs and they are always songs that play to her strengths. Crystal's a cool chick. I love how she was just chillin' on the speaker while getting her critiques. She doesn't need the judges to validate her, and she doesn't perform to please them (ahem, Katie and Lacey), and that, in turn, makes them and many people watching love her. She stays true to herself.

Lilly Scott - I Fall To Pieces by Patsy Cline (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
I agree with Simon in that it didn't have a wow factor for me. I think I was expecting more after Lilly tweeted about some epic bluegrass performance. That wasn't bluegrass. But, like Crystal, Lilly sticks to her thing, so at least we know what kind of artist she is. I like her indie vibe, but it's going to be really interesting to see how they market her if she ends up winning.

I've got Paige and Katie pegged for dismissal on Thursday, with Lacey as a possibility if Katie somehow manages to retain her early fanbase after three mediocre performances in a row.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Updated Kris Allen Tour Dates

More concert dates have been announced for Kris Allen, and he will be opening for Keith Urban on a few upcoming concert dates, beginning with an Apr. 23 date at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Kris will also open for Keith at several State Fairs:
July 28 - Paso Robles, CA
Aug. 13 - Des Moines, IA
Aug. 14 - Indianapolis, IN
Sept. 4 - Essex Junction, VT
Sept. 9 - Allentown, PA

Kris and Keith must have set up some nice rapport after their duet together at the Idol finale. I would love to see them duet on Kiss A Girl again. It was one of my favorite performances from that night.

Additionally, Kris is opening for Daughtry on Aug. 6 in Hershey, PA and for OneRepublic on Mar. 19 and 20 at Six Flags in San Antonio and in Arlington, respectively. Kris has worked with both lead singers of these bands. The song he worked on with Ryan Tedder did not make the album, but his co-write with Chris Daughtry, Send Me All Your Angels, is a bonus track on the Wal-Mart version of Kris's album.

For Kris's full event schedule, visit his website at KrisAllenOfficial.com.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Video Of The Day - California Dreams Reunion

Jimmy Fallon's attempts at a Saved by the Bell Reunion never came to fruition (thanks a lot, Dustin Diamond and Tiffani Thiessen), but he got the next best thing on his show Thursday night - a California Dreams reunion!

This video below cuts outs the part where they all talked about what they're doing now (not a whole lot), Mr. Belding's cameo and Sly Winkle taking off his shirt. But they did leave the part in the end where the group sings the show's theme song. WOOF. They sound like a bunch of D-list actors pretending to be singers who haven't done this in years. Oh wait ...

Anyway, it's always fun to be reminded of bad TV shows from your youth (waves at 90210 and Melrose Place). Now when is that Hang Time reunion, Anthony Anderson?

The full episode is now up online at NBC.com. This segment is in the first chapter.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

AI9 Top 10 Girls Perform

The will-she or won't-she saga of Crystal Bowersox was addressed early in the show, and Mamasox did indeed prove to be not only healthy enough to compete but good enough to outsing almost everyone. The night belonged to her, Siobhan Magnus and Lilly Scott, all of whom did THEIR thing, whereas most of the other girls basically catered to what they thought the judges wanted instead, to mostly negative results.

Crystal Bowersox - "As Long As I Can See The Light" by Creedence Clearwater Revival (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
This isn't a star-making performance or song choice, but she sounded great, and her vocal tone is really pleasing. The show has got to be relieved that she's still in the competition. LOL Simon "misunderestimated" how many times he has pulled that Kelly Clarkson card since Season 1.

Haeley Vaughn - "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
Oh my. Her baby voice, Cindy Brady lisp, and overall suckitude is making me long for Miley. What. The. Heck.

Lacey Brown - "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None The Richer (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
Her second note was so out of tune, I cringed. She recovered fairly well, but Randy's right - it was karaoke-ish. And whether actual or coincidental, her perceived pandering to the judges made my eyes roll.

Katie Stevens - "Put Your Records On" by Corinne Bailey Rae (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
Sigh. More people doing what the judges ask them to do. Um, if you can't figure it out yourself and you have to RESEARCH, you don't belong here. She had some pitch problems and suffered from karaoke-itis like Lacey before her. Why is she the chosen one?

Didi Benami - "Lean On Me" by Bill Withers (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
I actually liked her interpretation of the song. The judges were WAY harsh on her. But Didi? Stop crying.

Michelle Delamor - "With Arms Wide Open" by Creed (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
Another panderer trying to do what she thinks the judges want. She wanted to take a risk by doing a Creed song. Um, yeah, that was a risk, but it wasn't one worth taking. Ugh. And I thought Lee picking a Hinder song was bad. :P That wasn't sung well from note one. And judges? Why does she get a good-for-you-for-doing-something-different but Didi has to stay in her box?

Lilly Scott - "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
I was thinking that her kittenish voice wasn't going to make this believable or gritty enough, but she totally sold it. Love the sound of her 12-string guitar too.

Katelyn Epperly - "The Scientist" by Coldplay (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
It was so slow and plodding and went nowhere, and it was so slow that Ellen fell asleep and forgot that she played piano and said she played guitar instead. I do really like her voice, but there were no dynamics to that song, and her emoting looked so calculated the way that she looked into the camera the whole time. She has potential, though, and if anything at least she has good taste in music. This is such a great song (when done the right way).

Paige Miles - "Walk Away" by Kelly Clarkson (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
I'm not sure how to feel about this one. I like that she tries to do upbeat stuff, but her rock-soul thing isn't connecting, and the performance came across as a little karaoke-ish. And that dog whistle note was awful. Kara basically told her, bitch, this is my song, and you're doing it wrong.

Siobhan Magnus - "Think" by Aretha Franklin (preorder)
(Original version: iTunes | Amazon)
I'm having SERIOUS Katharine McPhee flashbacks. She sounds like Kat did when she sang this in the semifinals in Season 5 but with some insane notes. Wow. Siobahn is such a strange girl but terribly endearing. She's going to go really far in this competition. In fact, I'd say she's probably the front-runner at the moment. Her quirkiness will win over other girls who normally only vote for guys. She is the one to beat.

Going home? Michelle and Lacey, possibly Paige.