Monday, May 31, 2010

Idol Finale Photos

I've finally gotten around to uploading my photos from outside the Idol finale. I didn't get a whole lot, but if anyone's interested, there are photos of Tim Urban, Casey James, Siobhan Magnus, Didi Benami, Michael Lynche, Andrew Garcia, Aaron Kelly, Katie Stevens, Paige Miles, Lacey Brown, Constantine Maroulis, Michael Sarver, Alex Lambert, Andrew Cook, Mikalah Gordon and 1/3 of Lee DeWyze's face (lol). Most of the photos are from after the show Tuesday.

Tim Urban was probably the most fan-friendly amongst the Idols. He went down the row a couple of times in between interviews to say hello, sign autographs and take pictures. I think he's going to be a popular one on tour. Didi Benami got her first taste of what a lot of the girls and the lower-placed Idols get regularly on tour: she got asked to pass on a couple of messages for Siobhan. Get used to it, Didi. It's a long-standing tradition of rudeness that the fangirls tend to pick up from year to year. 

For the full album, press play below:

Chris Daughtry, Kelly Clarkson Team Up For Fast Car Duet

Two of American Idol's biggest successes teamed up in Nashville Sunday night, as Kelly Clarkson joined Chris Daughtry onstage during his concert to sing Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car." The concert became an all-star affair when Daughtry turned it into a flood-relief benefit concert, with Kelly and 3 Doors Down joining the cause, in addition to regular Daughtry openers Cavo and Lifehouse. 3 Doors Down frontman Brad Arnold sang with Daughtry on the Allman Brothers' "Whipping Post", as did Lifehouse's Jason Wade on "Home," as he has been doing throughout the tour.

Chris and Kelly recorded a song together back in 2008, but it was scrapped and never released (or leaked, darn it).

Chris/Kelly "Fast Car", from MyerJo29:


Daughtry/Lifehouse "Home", from MyerJo29:


Daughtry/3 Doors Down "Whipping Post", from binkzack1:


More info about the concert, including the setlist, can be found at USA Today's Idol Chatter.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kris Allen Performs At Darien Lake

Kris Allen's solo tour continued at the Darien Lake Theme Park in New York on Sunday. Kris headlined the show, singing 12 songs: Can't Stay Away, Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise, Written All Over My Face, The Truth, Red Guitar, Alright With Me, Lifetime, Bring It Back, Man In The Mirror, Is It Over, Live Like We're Dying, and Come Together (Encore).

(photo via twitpic by Rabrina)

Videos from reader1148 after the cut.

Pink Sings Whataya Want From Me

Pink performed "Whataya Want From Me" yesterday at her concert in Germany. The song was written by her and recorded but not released, and Adam Lambert went on to record it for his debut album and turned it into a hit.

While intro'ing it, she said, "So I wrote this really silly song, and then I found a guy that could sing it way better than me, so it became his, and now I'm gonna sing it."

Here's video of her performance, from GolluM1973:


I don't know how to classify this. Is it a cover if it's her own song? Or is it a cover of a cover? Ehh, whatever it is, it's pretty cool that she sang it. Obviously she wouldn't be doing it if Adam hadn't made it popular, so good on both of them.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Kris Allen Debuts Bring It Back, Lifetime In Hometown Concert

Kris Allen played a solo concert in his hometown area for the first time since winning American Idol, and he chose the moment to make his long-awaited live debut of "Bring It Back," getting behind the keyboards to sing for the first time the song he wrote with Eg White.

Here's an HQ video from our friend snapcracklypop:


Additionally, Kris added a new cover to his repertoire - "Maybe" by Alison Krauss:


Also new to his set was Lifetime, the song he co-wrote with Jon Foreman of Switchfoot:


The setlist: Can't Stay Away, Lifetime, Man In The Mirror, The Truth, Bring It Back, Alright With Me, Maybe (Alison Krauss cover), Before We Come Undone, Is It Over, Red Guitar, Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise, Live Like We're Dying, Falling Slowly/With Or Without You, Come Together.

There's also a report from Fox 16 in Little Rock, with interviews with Kris, his brother and his dad plus photos.

When I Was 17: Kris Allen

MTV's new series When I Was 17 features Kris Allen this week. Kris talks about breaking up with his future wife, his friends getting chased down by car by his dad after they TP'd his house, playing viola and baseball, and watching the first season of American Idol. There are also interviews with family and friends, as well as home videos of Kris singing, playing viola, and playing baseball.

Additionally, there is a deleted scene on MTV's website of Kris and his brother Daniel talking about going skinny-dipping:


Photo gallery

Since it's MTV, the episode (which also includes Travie McCoy and Kourtney Kardashian) will re-air several times over the next few weeks in case you missed the original airing this morning. The next airing is today at 6:30 pm ET/PT. It will also air Monday, May 31 at 12:30 pm and Tuesday, June 1 at 5:30 pm. MTV also has the full episode online.

Kris isn't the only Idol who is featured in this series. Last week's episode featured Katharine McPhee, and next week's will have Kimberly Caldwell.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Kris Allen Jersey Shore Concert

In his first concert as the former American Idol, Kris Allen got to perform at 7 am in front of a huge crowd at Pt. Pleasant Beach on the Jersey shore for WPLJ's Scott and Todd Summer Blast Off. The trade-off to a 7 am concert? The entire concert was broadcast live on the No. 1 HAC station in the nation, and a few of the performances were also shown live on WPIX in New York City. Yeah, I think I'd maybe kill someone for this gig if I were a musician.

And if you listen to the DJs and TV people, Kris totally killed his set. They could not stop complimenting him after his songs. No lie - they were downright gushing over him. It was awesome.

Kris had three separate sets of three songs each. The first set was Live Like We're Dying, Man In The Mirror and The Truth (audio rip). After Barenaked Ladies performed their full set, Kris came back to do two more sets. Set 2 had Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise, Is It Over and Alright With Me (audio rip). Set 3 was Can't Stay Away, Come Together and Live Like We're Dying (audio rip) again (the two Live Like We're Dying performances were about 2 hours apart).

WPIX has some video up on its website. As more come in, I will add here.

Here's Live Like We're Dying (1st version):
 

Partial of Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise:
 

Interview:
 

YouTube videos from Jesha84:

Man In The Mirror:


The Truth (from xnycheartx22):


Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise:


Alright With Me:


Can't Stay Away:


Come Together:


Live Like We're Dying (2nd time):

AI9 Grand Finale - What You Didn't See

As I'm sure you all know by now, Lee DeWyze is our latest American Idol winner, defeating Crystal Bowersox in this week's finale. What we don't know are vote totals or winning margin. I suspect we'll never find that out because for the former, they're probably WAY low compared to last year (the week before was nearly 50% less than the previous year's totals), and for the latter, it's probably pretty large.

I still haven't watched the full broadcast of the grand finale, but I was in the Nokia Theatre for the show. Here's what you may or may not have seen:

*During the opening group number of "School's Out" with Alice Cooper, Orianthi was playing some killer guitar licks on the perch of power (tm Normund Gentle) behind the judges. You may have noticed that they didn't identify her on air. Well, they didn't do it off air either. As they were all exiting the stage, Cory the warm-up guy said to give it up for Alice Cooper, but Orianthi got NOTHING. What. The. Hell. I don't think a lot of people in the theater knew who she was (I say this because a good majority of the people in there are of an older generation, and I doubt they're jammin' to According To You in their cars. More on that age observation in a moment ...)

*In the theater, we heard none of the mic gaffe that had Ryan Seacrest talking over the opening lines of Kris Allen's "The Truth" performance. I'm not quite sure why they had to shorten an already shortened version of the song, but Kris and his band sounded awesome both inside the theater and on TV. What I didn't see until I watched it back on TV was Simon sustaining his applause for the longest time amongst the four judges. That was a pleasant surprise considering Simon has pretty much ignored his existence since the day he won a year ago.

*Siobhan Magnus and Aaron Kelly sang "How Deep Is Your Love" with the Bee Gees. First of all, let me just say that the two Idols here actually sounded very good together. I wasn't expecting that. But back to what I was talking about earlier with the older audience. When the Gibb brothers came out, the women in front of me got all excited and leaped up like Donny Osmond had just walked out. This pattern continued for Michael McDonald, Hall & Oates, Chicago and Joe Cocker. Yeah. If you think teens are the majority of the Idol audience & voters, you're mistaken. It's older women.

*Big Mike got paired with Michael McDonald. I don't get it. But it was far from the biggest odd pairing of the night ...

*Dane Cook's Simon Cowell tribute was funny. And then a bunch of wacky auditioners "crashed" the party on stage - Tatiana Del Toro, Norman Gentle, the Bittermint twins, Renaldo Lapuz ("I Am Your Brother" guy), Ian Bernardo from Season 1 and someone else whose name I don't remember. Ian basically hijacked the whole thing, getting on the mic and then doing something that caused the producers to go to commercial. After the Idol commercial lead-in music stopped, Cory or Ryan said something like "Well that went well."

*The girls sang "Beautiful" and "Fighter" by Christina Aguilera before Christina herself joined them for what ... 10 seconds of Fighter? Then the girls left the stage and Christina sang "You Lost Me," which was appropriately titled because while she sounded amazing, the song is a snoozer, and she lost me by the 2nd verse. As for the Idolettes, color me impressed. Paige Miles? DAMN, girl. So that's what Simon meant when he said she had the best voice in the competition. And Katie Stevens? Never really liked her in the competition, but she sounded fantastic here.

*The guys got their group number with a Hall & Oates medley of "I Can't Go For That", "Maneater" and "You Make My Dreams Come True." I'm not sure how much of it was shown on TV, but I spent the better part of this number laughing at Casey's obvious uncomfortableness with the cheesy choreography, contrasted by Big Mike's embracing of the cheese.

*The first real surprise guest performance came from Alanis Morissette, who sang "Ironic" and "You Oughta Know" with Crystal. The staging of this was super-awkward, with the two of them just kind of pacing the stage from left to right, not really facing the audience. Other than that, I thought they sounded great. But I laughed HARD when it got to the "Is she perverted like me? Would she go down on you in a theater" part in "You Oughta Know" and I realized that it was Crystal's turn to sing. She kept the perverted line but changed the other line to "Would she go down with you to the theater?" LOL forever, Idol. Why not just either avoid the line altogether or avoid the song if you're worried about that?

*Carrie Underwood's "Undo It" was co-written by Kara DioGuardi. I saw her bopping her head along during the song. I personally am not a big fan of the song, but this may have some pop crossover.

*On video, Kris Allen presented keys to the Ford Fiestas the finalists had designed. They're ugly as heck, and the Fiestas are the economy class, worth way less than the Fusion Hybrid Kris got last year, but I guess that's fitting for this season. Anyway, Kris looked WAY cute in the video, and he got a few wooos in the audience when he showed up on the big screen. One may or may not have been from me. Ahem.

*Perhaps THE moment of the night came when Bret Michaels came out to sing "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" with Casey James. Bret was practically on his death bed a few days ago, and seeing him triumphantly walk on stage with his guitar and sing in strong voice was amazing. This got the biggest crowd reaction of the night, perhaps even more than the winner's announcement. And Casey? He sounded fantastic, and I loved that he switched off from acoustic to electric guitar. I was flabbergasted, though, when the judges didn't stand up for that performance. Seriously, judges? If nothing, stand up for the guy who was out there performing so soon after almost dying.

*The biggest WTF pairing of the night came when the producers put Lee DeWyze with Chicago. Because he's from Chicago. LMAO. A couple of things wrong with this picture - Lee had pretty much done a lot of contemporary songs all year and hadn't done any music that even resembled Chicago. The songs they performed were 70's AC staples - "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is", "If You Leave Me Now" and "25 or 6 to 4". I wonder what the real reaction was to this performance in the pit. They're all told to clap with their arms above their head all the time, but I'll bet the thought bubbles amongst the group were "What. The. Hell. Is. This?!" And to top it all off, Lee didn't even get Chicago with Peter Cetera. May as well have paired him with Journey with not-Steve Perry (although Arnel Pineda has an amazing voice).

*Ryan Seacrest introduced General Larry Platt's "Pants on the Ground" by saying it was up there with memorable performances like Fantasia's "Summertime", Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This" (um, Ryan ... "Stuff Like That There"!) and Adam Lambert's "Mad World". If "Pants on the Ground" was the most memorable thing about Season 9, there's something damn wrong with the show and/or cast. The General came out and sang his inexplicable hit, and then William Hung joined him halfway in. I'll admit I laughed, but dang, Hung ... move on already.

*The Simon Cowell tribute by Paula Abdul was perfect. She was absolutely darling - sweet, funny and sincere, and it really made me nostalgic for her loopy ways. And I do have a theory that she's the one who was the real talent-spotter amongst the judges. She left, and the talent pool that was made available to us to vote for was marginal compared to past seasons. Agh. COME BACK, PAULER!

*The Simon tribute continued with a parade of Idol alumni singing some schmoopy song "Together We Are One." Kelly Clarkson started things out, and I guess people didn't recognize her at first because the reaction as she descended from the top of the stairs wasn't befitting of KELLY. FREAKIN'. CLARKSON. But when they showed a close-up on the big screens, people finally got it and gave her the applause she deserved. Then Ruben Studdard came out, and I realized that the rumored Kelly/Fantasia duet was more than that - it was going to be all the past winners plus other alumni. And sure enough, Fantasia came out, then Carrie Underwood, then Jordin Sparks, Taylor Hicks, and Kris Allen. David Cook was notably the only winner missing, but he had a charity event he was committed to already. Other alumni who came out for this number that I could see were Matt Giraud, Kristy Lee Cook, Brooke White, Jason Castro, Allison Iraheta, Melinda Doolittle, Mikalah Gordon, David Archuleta, Justin Guarini, Kimberly Caldwell, Diana DeGarmo, Ace Young, Elliott Yamin, Bo Bice, Constantine Maroulis, Anoop Desai and the current Top 12. I know I'm missing some but I was blocked out by some cameras. This was another great moment on the show. I've been watching and been slightly obsessed with this show since the very beginning, so seeing all of these familiar faces back on stage was really cool. Especially having the winners singing up there. They're all so talented. And hearing Kelly and Fantasia start to wail near the end made me all nostalgic for the times when they had to do those cheesy Christmas specials.


*It was awesome to see Janet Jackson perform "Again", "Nothing" and "Nasty". Well, to be more accurate, it was awesome to see her perform "Nasty." She barely did "Again," and "Nothing", like Christina Aguilera's solo earlier, went on a bit too long. But "Nasty" was amazing. I was a little surprised, though, that the people near me weren't dancing or bopping around in their seats during this song. Too young? Too old? IDGI.

*The final performance before the big reveal went to the two finalists, of course, with Crystal and Lee singing "With A Little Help With My Friends" with Joe Cocker. Not even gonna lie - I totally laughed at Lee being assigned the "What would you do if I sang out of tune" line because that's pretty much what he did a lot of this season. Oh producers, you slay me. And I'm not sure if Lee biffed his line or if his mic wasn't working (probably the former), but after Joe Cocker came in, there was a small instrumental during the song when Lee was supposed to have been singing. Crystal came in on her cue, and she sounded awesome.

*So the final verdict we all know what happened. Lee looked like he was going to vomit the entire time, but he made it through his song. It was all so awkward though. They started the fireworks and streamers so early, and then he went over to the right side of the stage and it looked like he was going over to the perch like David Cook and Kris Allen had done the previous two years, so some of the other finalists started to make their way down there, but then Lee went back onto the stage. Debbie the stage director had to shoo him back towards the perch, and then when he got there, only Tim Urban and Casey James and maybe someone else were up there with him. The others were either slowly making their way down there or hanging down by the judges' table below them. Near the end of the song, everyone got up there, but it was just so awkwardly staged. So hilarious. After his song, Lee gave some very heart-felt and sweet thank yous to everyone from the judges, contestants, crew, fans. Then he did his I'm Going To Disneyland commercial (at least 3 takes), and then off to press.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

American Idol Season 9 Finale - Red Carpet

I was at the American Idol Season 9 finale yesterday and will have a show recap later on with some tidbits about what you didn't see on TV. In the meantime, I'm going to add a few red carpet interviews, pictures here throughout the day.

To start, here are the TV Guide Channel interviews with Kris Allen and Allison Iraheta, courtesy of our friends at Alliholics.com:

Kris:


Allison:


David Archuleta, Allison Iraheta, Michael Sarver, Matt Giraud, Diana DeGarmo, Bo Bice, and Michael Johns weigh in on Simon's replacement:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Crystal Vs. Lee - Week To Week

This season's Idol finale may be too close to call. You have someone in Crystal Bowersox who was a season-long favorite for a long time until Lee DeWyze swooped in late to become the top dog going into the finale. Will the former dark horse turned favorite use the momentum to propel himself into victory, or will that momentum turn into backlash that will again shift favor to the now-underdog Crystal?

To try to gauge who could take this competition, let's look at how they stacked up against each other each week. I did this the previous two seasons, and the season 7 finalist with the most "winning" weeks, did indeed win (I had Season 8 at a dead heat).

Top 24
Crystal - Hand In Pocket, Lee - Chasing Cars
Lee picked a modern song, one that happens to be one of my favorites of all-time. Crystal picked what ended up being one of her few modern(ish) songs. Song choice definitely went to Lee, but song performance definitely went to Crystal, who sang it well and showed strong musicianship by playing both guitar and harmonica. Lee veered too far from the melody at the chorus, and the song didn't quite fit his raspy vocals.
Round 1 - Crystal

Top 20
Crystal - As Long As I Can See The Light, Lee - Lips Of An Angel
Lee's goodwill from picking Chasing Cars went away in a hurry when he picked freakin' HINDER. This just made me think he's another Nickelback clone, and that's the last thing in the world I want inflicted on my ears. And to make matters worse, his performance quality was horrible. He looked he was going to throw up right then and there. The fear totally took over. Crystal had every right to be afraid during her performance, since she was coming off her hospital scare, but she nailed it vocally.
Round 2 - Crystal

Top 16
Crystal - Give Me One Reason, Lee - Fireflies
This is a song that played to Crystal's strengths, and she did a good job with it. Lee chose wisely, picking a song that wasn't hard to improve upon (I. Hate. Fireflies). And his arrangement was better the original, but not the best. His vocals were too nasal for me.
Round 3 - Crystal

Top 12
Crystal - You Can't Always Get What You Want, Lee - Beast of Burden
Crystal was the best of the night during Rolling Stones week. Lee had one of the better vocals on a mediocre night, but he was singing out of his throat, and his held notes were painful.
Round 4 - Crystal

Top 11
Crystal - Me & Bobby McGee, Lee - The Letter
This was one of the worst episodes of the entire Idol series, but Crystal more or less saved the show with her song. I thought she was great, but it was right around this time I started thinking she needed to change things up a bit because she was doing the same kind of thing every week. I thought Lee looked quite a bit uncomfortable without his guitar and sounded a bit like Gokey with some raspy warbling in the choruses.
Round 5 - Crystal

Top 10
Crystal - Midnight Train To Georgia, Lee - Treat Her Like A Lady
This was Lee's first real big "star" performance, and Simon told him "this is the night that your life may have changed forever." So this is really where the wheels were set in motion for the massive pimpage that was to come. Much was made about Crystal really changing things up, but that just ended up being her wearing a tight dress, stilettos and playing a little piano instead of guitar.
Round 6 - Lee

Top 9
Crystal - Come Together, Lee - Hey Jude
Or the didgeridoo vs. the bagpipes. Both performances were overshadowed by the outrageousness of the instruments they brought on board, especially Lee's. Crystal's was more fitting with her performance, while Lee's was ridiculously out of place. Both had problems with the singing as well. Crystal flubbed words, while Lee pussed out on all the high notes.
Round 7 - Crystal

Top 9, part 2
Crystal - Saved, Lee - A Little Less Conversation
Crystal showed more life than usual while tearing up this bluesy, rock number, while Lee slowed down his song a bit, giving his performance more of a sleepy feel. Wasn't feeling Lee's arrangement or lack of showmanship.
Round 8 - Crystal

Top 7
Crystal - People Get Ready, Lee - The Boxer
This was Crystal's big "moment". It was really the first time she let down her guard and showed vulnerability, breaking down and crying at the end. This was lauded as one of the best Idol performances of all-time (a little hyperbolic, imo). Lee also had a very good performance, but this was definitely Crystal's week.
Round 9 - Crystal

Top 6
Crystal - No One Needs To Know, Lee - You're Still The One
Not the finest week for either of them. They were both outdone by Casey James and Big Mike. Heck, they were even outdone by Aaron Kelly this week. Crystal sounded good but picked such a dull song and then got mouthy with the judges. Lee tinkered with the melody too much, had weird phrasing and veered in and out of tune.
Round 10 - Crystal

Top 5
Crystal - Summer Wind, Lee - That's Life
This was the real start of the momentum shift towards Lee. Crystal's song once again was a bit dull, and I didn't feel much of a connection from her. She sounded lovely, but it felt to me like she just sang it. That's it. And then she got defensive again with the judges, which is always a big turnoff for me unless the judges were being unreasonable, which they weren't. Lee owned this night in a big way, finally actually performing and adding excellent vocals to boot.
Round 11 - Lee

Top 4
Crystal - I'm Alright, Lee - Kiss From A Rose; Duet - Falling Slowly
Since they sang Falling Slowly together, neither gets an advantage there. The solo round definitely went to Crystal, who put an interesting spin on that crappy Kenny Loggins song. Lee's Kiss from a Rose was horrible and painfully out of tune.
Round 12 - Crystal

Top 3
Crystal - Come To My Window, Maybe I'm Amazed; Lee - Simple Man, Hallelujah
The judges practically anointed Lee the winner in this episode, and while he was the best that night, the over-the-top gushing (epic performance, Kara? WAT?) over that manufactured Hallelujah moment was disgusting (Simple Man was way better than Hallelujah, IMO). Crystal sounded rough on her two songs, particularly on some of those shrieky high notes in Maybe I'm Amazed. Her arrangement for Come To My Window was a bit all over the place too.
Round 13 - Lee 

So in 13 rounds, the total for me goes:
Crystal - 10
Lee - 3

Ummm ... yeah. Crystal was the most consistent amongst the entire cast the whole season. If you're voting based on body of work, she wins hands down. Sure, Lee has come on strong, winning two of the last three weeks, but in one of those three weeks, he was probably the worst of the week. Crystal's consistency, though, could be one of her downfalls, as Idol viewers tend to reward those who show improvement throughout the year. Crystal started out great so there wasn't much room to grow, whereas Lee started out uncomfortable and pitchy and became less so as the show went on.

Because I don't trust these judges, I'm on the fence about where I think their motives are with this OTT Lee pimping lately. Are they just throwing their eggs into his basket because he's leading the votes by such a wide margin that they don't want to look foolish? Or were they being OTT because Lee needed the votes to get past Casey? Or are they just trying to salvage ratings by making this appear to be a close finale? OR are they trying to make Crystal the underdog all of a sudden because that's who has won the last two seasons? I'm thinking the latter. It is supposed to be the girls' year, after all.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Press Day For American Idol Finale Week

Current and former Idols are gathering today at the Nokia Theater for a big press junket with radio and TV stations. Be on the lookout for lots of interviews the next four days.

The Idol finishers 3-12 did the interview rounds today, as well as Idol alums Kris Allen, Jordin Sparks, Melinda Doolittle, Bo Bice and more. Here are a few links to some photo galleries and interviews from today, with more to be added as I find them. I have a feeling there will be more than a few pictures of Big Mike bench-pressing and arm-wrestling people, women groping Casey James, and people carrying High School Student Aaron Kelly around.

Q104
Mix 106.3
XL1067 (tweet photos from DJ Jayde)
Y98 (interviews and pictures)
106.1 KISS FM (interviews | photo gallery)
Movin' 99.7 (Kris Allen interview)
Fox All Access (Kris Allen interview)
Star 100.7

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Kris Allen, Pat Monahan Sing The Truth In San Antonio

Kris Allen and Pat Monahan of Train sang for the first time together at Mixfest in San Antonio Sunday night, teaming up on their single "The Truth". The song, which was written by Toby Gad and Pat, was originally recorded by Kris on his album and then re-recorded recently with Pat's vocals on background and on the bridge.

Here's their first live collaboration, recorded by krisallenisawesome:


The setlist was: Can't Stay Away, Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise, Alright With Me, The Truth, Is It Over, Man In The Mirror, Live Like We're Dying and Come Together.

Can't Stay Away (partial):


Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise:


Alright With Me:


Is It Over:


Man In The Mirror:


Live Like We're Dying:


Come Together:


Videos from krisallenisawesome and alliequixotic.

Kris Allen, Adam Lambert Perform At Kiss Concert 2010

Kris Allen and Adam Lambert performed at KISS 108's Kiss Concert 2010 in Mansfield, MA Saturday, helping to close an 18-act, 7.5-hour show with stellar performances and vocals that, quite honestly, were unmatched by most of the acts that preceded them.

Adam hit the stage at around 8 pm ET and sang five songs - Whataya Want From Me, Music Again, Strut, Sleepwalker, and If I Had You. His vocals blew away everyone else before him. My favorite song in the set was Sleepwalker, which is probably my second-favorite on Adam's album, after Whataya Want From Me. Bassist Tommy Joe Ratliff took his turn at lead guitar due to Monte Pittman's absence (his wife is having a baby) and did a nice job on the solo on this song. And I also have to say, I enjoyed If I Had You much more here than I had in previous performances this week. I think it's much better without the dancers.

YouTube videos ripped from Kiss 108 live stream -

Whataya Want From Me/Music Again:


Strut/Sleepwalker:


If I Had You:


After a brief set by Iyaz, Kris closed the show with seven songs, singing Can't Stay Away, Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise, Alright With Me, The Truth, Is It Over, Live Like We're Dying, and Come Together. I've seen lots of Kris live shows both in person and on video, and this was one of my favorites. He looked like he was having such a blast, and he made some cool changes to a few of his songs, changing up the beginning of Heartless, adding a drum solo and a crowd sing-along to Live Like We're Dying, and adding a line in Is It Over ("wait a minute baby"). Most impressive to me, though, was this infectious energy that he brought to the stage. He was really engaging the audience, and it was like he was just sharing his music with them rather than just playing for them, if that makes any sense. The Script had that same kind of energy as well.

Can't Stay Away:


Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise:


Alright With Me (from kristennnm):


The Truth:


Is It Over:


Live Like We're Dying:


Come Together:


I watched all but the first two performers, and Kris, Adam, and The Script were the class of the show (although I did really enjoy the surprise performance of Bell Biv DeVoe, even if we only got to see one song. But it was a glorious one - Poison! Never trust a big butt and a smile ...). I think also that having a full band playing definitely helped set those three apart from, say, Jason DeRulo or Iyaz, who sang along to backing tracks. And strong vocals and performance skills set them apart from, say, Orianthi and Boys Like Girls, the latter of which murdered some falsettos during "Two Is Better Than One." Ke$ha was the other big name at the show, and, well, she and her music are kind of everything I hate about pop music, so the less said, the better. Say what you will about American Idol, but these Idol alums know how to sing live, and they know how to put on a show.

For all kinds of media from the concert, visit the Kiss 108 website. There are interviews, photos, and performances from all the acts. Make sure to check out Kris's podcast, where he says some very nice things about his band and about Adam.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Kris Allen At 92 PRO-FM Showcase

After performing for the Matty in the Morning show in Boston, Kris Allen headed to Lincoln, Rhode Island to perform a four-song showcase for 92 PRO-FM at their Catch a Rising Star event at Twin River. Kris sang The Truth, Alright With Me, Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise and Live Like We're Dying.

After this show, Kris went back to Boston to perform in another show for KISS 108, a pre-party for the Kiss Concert 2010. All these radio shows should end up being very beneficial for Kris in terms of radio play for his new single, The Truth, as both of these stations are pop stations.

Here are some videos from the PRO-FM event, from YouTuber josilyn.

The Truth:


Alright With Me:


Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise:

Kris Allen Performs For Matty In The Morning Show

Early morning performances don't phase Kris Allen, who delivered a terrific vocal on his two singles "Live Like We're Dying" and "The Truth" at 8 am this morning for the Matty in the Morning Show on Boston's KISS108.

Live Like We're Dying (acoustic, partial video):


The Truth (acoustic):


*videos from YouTube user aesvir

Kris will be headlining tomorrow's Kiss Concert 2010, which also includes fellow American Idol alumni Adam Lambert and Ayla Brown, as well as fellow radio staples The Script, Ke$ha, Boys Like Girls, Orianthi and Jason Derulo. Kiss 108 will have a live stream of the concert on Saturday, starting at 2 pm ET. Ayla is on at 2:15, Adam at 8 pm and Kris at 9 pm.

Photos from this morning's performance (start at picture 58) on the station's website.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

AI9 Finale Set

After last night's performance show, it was pretty apparent what was going to go down on Top 3 results night. We'd get hometown footage, people would cry, some crappy guest performers would come in and sing (and I'm convinced now more than ever that with one or two exceptions, the non-Idol alumni who they've brought in to sing were specifically picked to make the S9 cast look better in comparison), and then that blond cougar bait guy (Casey James) would go home in a non-suspenseful reveal. And that's exactly what happened.

Huh. Guess I don't need to write much more of a recap anymore then!

I do have a bit of a rant to add, though. Perez Hilton's new protege/boytoy Travis Garland somehow got a coveted performance spot on the results show. WHAT? WHY? And who is Perez blackmailing to get this dude on Idol on TOP 3 NIGHT?! This Travis dude is so bad, and the song is so bad that he and Idol have to resort to some of the oldest tricks of the trade to distract the audience from the big fat WTF that was going on on-stage - shiny lights, split screens (3 even!), lots of dancers, cool percussion. Before he came on, Perez told Ryan Seacrest that he discovered him on YouTube singing Dead and Gone and that he was better than Justin Timberlake. That little proclamation was met with dead silence by the audience. Yeah, they knew. WE ALL KNEW. "Discovered by Perez Hilton" - that's automatic invalidation.

And also? That long-ass couch conversation between Ryan and the Top 3 to open the show? That nearly put me to sleep. These guys don't have the personality for something like that. It was so mind-numbingly boring that I was almost chanting for Justin Bieber to come on to sing instead. :|

So the pre-ordained finale of Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze is happening on Tuesday at the Nokia Theater. Who's got the leg up? It's a toss-up. Crystal was the favorite all year, and she got a little bit of backlash for that. Now Lee's the favorite, and he got backlash for the excessive pimping last night. So who gets the FU, Judges vote now? We'll just have to wait and see what Simon Cowell does on performance night ...

Idol Puts Stamp On BMI Pop Awards

A slew of songs by American Idols were honored last night at the 2010 BMI Pop Awards. The awards ceremony honored RedOne as the Songwriter of the Year and Taylor Swift's "Love Story" as the song of the year and also recognized the past year’s 50 most-performed pop songs on U.S. radio and television.

Nine of the award-winning songs were sung by American Idol alumni Kelly Clarkson (2 songs), David Cook (2), Daughtry (2), Jordin Sparks (2) and David Archuleta. Additionally, Idol judge Kara DioGuardi co-wrote three award-winning songs.

The full list of 2010 BMI Pop Awards Award-Winning Songs:
Addicted by Saving Abel
American Boy by Estelle
Battlefield by Jordin Sparks
Beautiful by Akon
Better In Time by Leona Lewis
Blame It by Jamie Foxx
Boom Boom Pow by Black Eyed Peas
Broken by Lifehouse
Circus by Britney Spears
The Climb by Miley Cyrus
Come Back To Me by David Cook
Crush by David Archuleta
Dead And Gone by T.I. featuring Justin Timberlake
Disturbia by Rihanna
Don't Trust Me by 3!oh3
Fall For You by Secondhand Serenade
Fire Burning by Sean Kingston
Gotta Be Somebody by Nickelback
Green Light by John Legend featuring Andre 3000
Halo by Beyonce
Heartless by Kanye West (ZOMG!!! TAYLOR BEAT KANYE AGAIN)
How Do You Sleep? by Jesse McCartney
I Do Not Hook Up by Kelly Clarkson (co-written by Kara DioGuardi)
I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas
I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) by Pitbull
If I Were A Boy by Beyonce
If Today Was Your Last Day by Nickelback
Just Dance by Lady Gaga
Knock You Down by Keri Hilson/Kanye West/Ne-Yo
Let It Rock by Kevin Rudolf/Lil Wayne
Light On by David Cook
Live Your Life by T.I./Rihanna
Love Remains The Same by Gavin Rossdale
Love Story by Taylor Swift
Lovegame by Lady Gaga
My Life Would Suck Without You by Kelly Clarkson
No Surprise by Daughtry (co-written by Chris Daughtry)
Not Meant To Be by Theory of a Deadman (co-written by Kara DioGuardi)
One Step At A Time by Jordin Sparks
Please Don't Leave Me by Pink
Poker Face by Lady Gaga
Right Now by Akon
Rise Above This by Seether
Second Chance by Shinedown
So What by Pink
Sober by Pink (co-written by Kara DioGuardi)
Use Somebody by Kings of Leon
What About Now by Daughtry
Whatever You Like by T.I.
You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

AI9 Top 3 - The Lee Show

Lee DeWyze and two other people sang tonight for a spot in next week's American Idol finale. Lee also talked to the audience, his fans and the judges. A lot. He may have even talked more than host Ryan Seacrest. Oh, and some other people were there. There was this blond hippie girl who should thank Ellen DeGeneres for making the finale. And then some tall blond guy with a guitar who apparently only has female fans and has no business being in the finale, if you listen to the judges.

Lee and those other two each sang a pair of songs, one of their own choosing and one chosen by the judges. Usually, they do the contestants' choice last, but this year, the contestants' choices were nothing to write home about. Plus, THE MOMENT was going to come on Simon's choice for Lee - Hallelujah. As he told us ... before Lee even sang. Um, if you have to tell us it's a moment before it happens, it's not really a moment. Just sayin'.

Cougar Bait (aka Casey James), Personal Choice - OK, It's Alright With Me by Eric Hutchinson (Studio Recording | Performance Video)
(Original artist: iTunes | Amazon)
So the judges think the song choice was "just alright with me", "safe", "a first-listen song", the equivalent of salad, and a "dud" song choice. Granted, it's not the most dynamic song in the world, and with "Daughters" being his second song, more dynamics was probably needed from him. But at least he's attempting to be contemporary.

Hippie Chick (aka Crystal Bowersox), Personal Choice - Come To My Window by Melissa Ethridge (Studio Recording | Performance Video)
(Original artist: iTunes | Amazon)
Crystal really limited herself from a performance standpoint by strapping that harmonica holder to her body, making her look like Joan Cusack wearing a back brace in Sixteen Candles. And for what? Maybe 10 whole notes? That was pointless, IMO. I didn't think her vocals were all that great here, but the song choice, as the judges said, was right on the money with her and exactly the kind of music she should be doing after the show.

LEE "IN IT TO WIN IT" DEWYZE, Personal Choice - Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd (Studio Recording | Performance Video)
(Original artist: iTunes | Amazon)
This was actually a good vocal from Lee, save for the last warbly note. Apparently, this is a song he has performed a bunch of times pre-Idol. Way to go out of your comfort zone, dude. But whatever. If you're Casey James, you get your chops busted for doing a "safe" song. If you're Crystal Bowersox, you get praised for staying true to yourself. If you're Lee DeWyze, the judges practically hand you the trophy. Kara proclaimed Lee as the winner of Round 1, earning a quick side-glance from Simon Cowell, who is usually the one to proclaim such things. And he tried to one-up her by saying he not only won the round, but he crushed the competition. As much as I dislike the uneven treatment of the contestants, I can't say I'd disagree with that notion.

LL Casey J (Casey James), Judges Choice - "Daughters" by John Mayer (Studio Recording | Performance Video)
(Original artist: iTunes | Amazon)
The judges are on crack. This song was worse than the first one. Casey was pitchy, the song was boring, and the best thing about it was the "limp" guitar solo.

Crystal "Say Thanks, Ellen" Bowersox, Judges Choice - "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney (Studio Recording | Performance Video)
(Original artist: iTunes | Amazon)
That was pitchy and shrieky. Did Siobhan take over her body?!

LEE "MOMENT" DEWYZE, Judges Choice - "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen (Jeff Buckley version) (Studio Recording | Performance Video)
(Jeff Buckley version: iTunes | Amazon)
Simon introduces the song that he picked by saying it's been done on the show before but never like this and we're going to see a moment with this. Um, jackass, Jason Castro had a huge moment with it in Season 7 (all by himself with no choir backing), but they seem to forget he even exists even though he's signed to a major label and just released an album that actually sold fairly decently. And you know what? He sang the song the way it should be sung. Subtly and beautifully. Lee plowed through the song with raspy and sometimes screamy vocals in the same manner in which he plowed through the similarly subtle and beautiful Falling Slowly. Does Lee even know how to do subtle? Even Adam Lambert did subtle when it song called for it. Sheesh.

Should and will go home: that blond lothario Casey. I'm hoping Vote for the Worst helps him out here because I hate the judges/producer manipulation so much, and Casey has had his moments (Jealous Guy, Shania song, Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman), but I think he's already in too big of a hole, and he didn't do much to help his cause. Last year's finale was "supposed" to be Adam Lambert and Danny Gokey, but Kris Allen grabbed the bull by the horns and earned his way into the finale and eventually the win with his game-changing, brilliant take on "Heartless." For as much as the judges crowed about Lee being in it to win it (and he was), what he did was NOTHING compared to last year. Or S4 with Bo Bice.

Bo Bice Releases New CD 3

American Idol Season 4 runner-up Bo Bice released his third CD 3 today. The 10-track CD (11 tracks if you buy on iTunes) was produced or co-produced by Bo himself and is full of Southern Rock tunes. 

You can preview the CD at AOL First Listen. And if you like it, the CD can be purchased in stores and on iTunes and Amazon.com. My personal fave after first listen is the most rock tune on the CD - "Get On And Ride."

Additionally, Bo is donating all proceeds of his single "Long Road Back" to flood assistance in Nashville. You can purchase the single at iTunes.

Read more about Bo and his new CD in these interviews with AINow.org and the Huffington Post.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Allison Iraheta Headlines Long Beach Pride

Allison Iraheta headlined the final night of Long Beach Pride, playing a 12-song set with full band. She played for the first time two of her album tracks, "Beat Me Up" and "Still Breathing" and added "Piece Of My Heart" to her "Cry Baby" cover. She also added a little bit of Iyaz's "Replay" to the end of "Just Like You" and did Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker" to close her set.

Also noteworthy was a new guitar solo in her new single "Don't Waste The Pretty." If Orianthi isn't playing on this special iTunes track Allison's publicist tweeted about, I will eat my proverbial hat.

The setlist went like this: Holiday, Beat Me Up, Still Breathing, Cry Baby/Piece Of My Heart, Just Like You, Scars, Robot Love, Killing Me Softly, No One Else, Don't Waste The Pretty, Friday I'll Be Over U, Heartbreaker.

Allison's voice is INSANE. Singing Heartbreaker at the end of a 12 song set? Amazing. She is so incredibly talented. I thought her setlist was very well chosen, with some really high-energy songs to keep the crowd moving. The crowd was there to have a good time, and a good time was had.

Cute moment: near the end of Cry Baby/Piece Of My Heart, she started to walk backwards and tripped over the mic stand she threw down earlier. She nearly ate it but managed to find her balance. After the song, she picked up her mic stand and said "Alright! And that was for sure the last time I'm throwing this damn mic stand!" LOL I love her!

Videos of the whole set (minus Friday I'll Be Over U) are below.

Holiday:


Beat Me Up:


Still Breathing:


Cry Baby/Piece Of My Heart:


Just Like You:


Scars:


Robot Love:


Killing Me Softly:


No One Else:


Don't Waste The Pretty:


Heartbreaker:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Concert Day For AI8's Top 6

The entire Top 6 from last season's American Idol all had concerts yesterday (May 15), with Matt Giraud performing a solo show in the LA area in the afternoon, Allison Iraheta and Kris Allen performing at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, Adam Lambert taking the stage at the Staples Center in LA for Wango Tango, Danny Gokey opening for Sugarland in Camden, NJ, and Anoop Desai performing at the Triangle Battle of the Bands in Durham, NC.

See previous posts linked above for Matt, Allison and Kris videos and setlists. Adam had four songs in his set, singing Whataya Want From Me, Fever, Sleepwalker and If I Had You. Danny sang I Still Believe, I Will Not Say Goodbye, What Hurts The Most and My Best Days Are Ahead Of Me (not sure of order). Anoop and his band played All Is Fair (Crazy Love), Goodbye, My Name and Lost and Found.

Adam - Whataya Want From Me:


Adam - Fever:


Adam - Sleepwalker:


Adam - If I Had You:


Danny - I Still Believe:


Danny - I Will Not Say Goodbye:


Danny - What Hurts The Most:


Danny - My Best Days Are Ahead Of Me:


Anoop - All Is Fair (Crazy Love):


Anoop - Goodbye:


Anoop - My Name:


Anoop - Lost and Found:


Adam videos from suz526 and libracats. Danny videos from denwilliams. Anoop videos from lovealwaysliana and found at AnoopDesai.com.

The entire Top 6 performing all on the same day, plus 9 of the Top 10 with albums on the way. Yeah, AI8 rules. Good luck topping, that Season 9.

Kris Allen, Allison Iraheta At Six Flags Great America

Label mates Kris Allen and Allison Iraheta performed at Six Flags Great America in New Jersey on Saturday in front of a very enthusiastic crowd.

Allison opened the show with an acoustic set of seven songs: Holiday, Robot Love, Scars, No One Else, Heartbreaker (by Pat Benatar) Don't Waste The Pretty, and Friday I'll Be Over U. Kris followed with full band and played eight songs: Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise, Can't Stay Away, Is It Over, Red Guitar, The Truth, Alright With Me, Live Like We're Dying and Come Together.

Here are a couple of good quality videos -

Allison - Holiday:


Allison - Robot Love:


Allison - Scars:


Allison - No One Else:


Allison - Heartbreaker:


Allison - Don't Waste The Pretty:


Allison - Friday I'll Be Over U:


Kris - Heartless/Gangsta's Paradise:


Kris - Can't Stay Away:


Kris - Is It Over:


Kris - Red Guitar:


Kris - The Truth:


Kris - Alright With Me:


Kris - Live Like We're Dying:


Kris - Come Together:


Videos from YouTubers Peanutttty, LiteraryNut, filmsandspace, piratedani1, rugrad93 and dork23x.