Thursday, February 24, 2011

Remaining Idol Finalists Revealed

After an excruciating hour announcing five finalists last night, Idol returned Thursday night to reveal the remaining 19 of the Top 24 in a long, drawn-out two-hour show.

Karen Rodriguez - I give Lauren Alaina a lot of flack for pandering to Steven Tyler, so this chick cannot get a pass for pandering to Jennifer Lopez. I mean, Karen is borderline Single Latina Female here, between singing a J.Lo song ("If You Had My Love"), singing a Selena song ("No Me Queda Mas"), and doing her hair similar to J.Lo. It's a little creepy, Karen.

Robbie Rosen - I've liked most of the stuff Robbie has done so far, although I thought his "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" in the final round was a bit breathy, and that last note was a bit off. But overall, he has done well in the audition rounds, so this is not a surprise at all.

Tatynisa Wilson - Now this one was a surprise. The first time they showed her, she was messing up lyrics left and right and stopping and restarting her song while singing "I Hope You Dance". I would have thought that would have been enough to send her packing right then and there, but I guess that particular song is ok to complete eff up since she and Scotty "Nuts of Wonder" McCreery both survived after butchering that song. I thought the judges would only let through one African-American girl with big curly hair (Ashthon Jones), but they surprised me here by letting this girl through even after J.Lo said that "this show is about not having a bad day." Um, she did already. So why is she still here?

Tim Halperin - Tim impressed with his Vegas duet with Julie Zorrilla and then got on the piano to perform an original song in his final round. Sound the alarms! White guy with instrument alert! I'm a little surprised he survived since Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick have been on the warpath for those guys.

Julie Zorrilla - "Skirtzilla" was told by J.Lo that she lacked a little bit of depth and connection at times. OMG. Good call. Julie sings and looks lovely, but yes, her performances can be a little lacking in that regard.

Scotty McCreery - If the judges/producers were only going to pick one country singer, they picked the wrong dude. Yes, Scotty finally sang another song for his final performance ("Long Black Train"), and he sounded pretty good on it. But it was still Josh Turner! If he sings Josh Turner the entire season, I will change the channel. Scotty, ffs please start a Josh Turner tribute band and GTFO Idol. The other thing that was really annoying about him going through is that the judges started talking about character and stepping up as one of the reasons why he made it through. If character were part of the criteria for making the Top 24, Clint Gamboa should have been gonzo.

Jovany Barreto - This guy is such a Guido ("BOOM!"). And also very meh. I don't think I've ever been even slightly wowed by him. Cannon fodder!

Lauren Turner - The housekeeper rocked out on Etta James ("Steal Away") in her last audition. She hasn't been shown (with ID) very often during the audition process, but I'm kind of seeing it as she hasn't had a chance to annoy me too much so far!

Rachel Zevita - She's quirky, and I like the passion she brought to the last performance (if not the actual singing/shrieking). However, the fact that she's still asking what they want from her is very disconcerting.

Kendra Chantelle - She wasn't shown until late in the process, when she turned some heads singing "Georgia On My Mind" and then really impressed with her stunning "Blackbird" duet with Paul McDonald. I'm glad they put her through.

Jordan Dorsey - I'm not really sure what type of singer Jordan is, really. All I know about him is that he seems to be a douche, as the show keeps reminding us. I'm really hoping he's more of a modern R&B singer than a gospel-type singer. Jacob already fills that genre. Plus seriously, TPTB seem to be afraid to put through modern R&B male singers. This show hasn't had one in the Top 12 since Nikko Smith in Season 4.

Lauren Alaina - She came into D-Day dressed like she stumbled off the set of Best Little Whorehouse In Texas (while sporting some fake bake that would make Tiffany Rios proud). I don't know why they event tried to pretend that there could be some drama here. They've been shoving Lauren down our throats since day one.

Stefano Langone - I'm not sure what he was caterwauling for his last performance. If that was an original, LOL just no, dude.

Jacob Lusk - Randy said Jacob's "God Bless The Child" was the "single best performance EVER on Idol. EVER!" WHAAAAAAT? You crazy, Randy.

Pia Toscano - I like her. She may need a little bit more pizazz or something to avoid being generic but I think she has a nice voice. I certainly liked her a lot more than her friend Karen.

James Durbin - "Alfred E. Lambert" invoked the name of Adam Lambert AND sang "A Change Is Gonna Come", thus enraging Glamberts everywhere. LOL OOPS. Forget Adam, I'm more offended by the ridiculousness of his singing and how freakin' loud he is. TURN IT DOWN A NOTCH OR 3,000,000!

Casey Abrams - DUH. This kid's a talented musician. He was a lock for the Top 24.

Thia Megia - If J.Lo is talking about not feeling anything when Julie sings, she really needed to address this with Thia. She just sings. I don't feel a damn thing from her.

Brett Loewenstern - He's a really good kid and seems to be very nice and positive, so I don't begrudge his spot in the Top 24 at all. I'm not sold on him as a pop singer, and that original song was kinda meh, but we'll see. He's likeable, at least, which is more than I can say for some other people that got through!

Brittany Mazur (San Francisco)
Jimmie Allen (Nashville)
John Wayne Schulz (Austin)
Tiwan Strong (Milwaukee)
Erin Kelly (New Orleans)
Jackie Wilson (Nashville)
Jessica Cunningham
Jacee Badeaux (New Orleans)
Colton Dixon (Nashville)

Most of the people who did not make it through in this episode (including Jerome Bell, who was all over a bunch of waiting room shots but whose "no" verdict they never showed) I'm not going to lose any sleep over. But two I really thought should have advanced were John Wayne Schulz and Colton Dixon. I liked John from the start, and I didn't care much for Colton until they showed his last performance, which was very intriguing to me. These two guys were both victims of having someone else TPTB wanted in their same genre (ish). TPTB wanted Scotty, so there was no room for John. They had one male pianist in Tim, so there was no room for Colton. LAME.

The Top 12 girls sing on Tuesday, the Top 12 guys sing on Wednesday, and then the results show is on Thursday. That's a whole lotta Idol coming up!

Bell Biv DeVoe Reunite On Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

90's hip-hop spinoff group Bell Biv DeVoe joined the bands-reuniting craze, going on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon to perform their hit songs "Poison" and "Do Me" with The Roots. BBD is pretty much exactly as how I remember them from 20 years ago - same dance moves, just a bit older and minus Ronnie DeVoe's hi-top fade.


Do Me (with some Old School dancing at the end):

They Say Hello, Few Say Goodbye On Idol

In two hours of Wednesday programming, only five members of the American Idol Season 10 Top 24 were revealed. Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe made a big deal over how dramatic and emotional the Green Mile episode was, so he turned Tuesday's episode a two-hour show, with the first hour devoted to Vegas performances and the second hour devoted to revealing a whopping 20% of this year's Top 24.

Yes, it took one full hour to show the judges giving the verdicts to 10 people. The last full segment was devoted to Jennifer Lopez telling Chris Medina to GTFO that his Idol journey was over and her subsequent breakdown over having to break that news. Now now, JLo. Don't cry over doing the right thing. Medina had a mediocre voice, lousy stage presence and no business being in the Top 40, much less the Top 24. And his final performance of Coldplay's "Fix You" was just terrible. I'm happy for him that people were touched enough by his story to donate money towards his fiancee's medical care, but him going further in the competition would have been just too much.

Besides, there's enough distaste to go around now that Clint Gamboa made it to the Top 24. That dude rubs me the wrong way in quite a few ways, so the Clint is a douche! edit he is getting is delicious. I find it quite amusing that every time he's on the screen, they have to remind us that he was an uber-douche to Jacee Badeaux. And those round glasses (that he hopefully has ditched for good) make me want to punch him in the face. Like, way to perpetuate those cartoon caricature Asian stereotypes. Ugh.

I'm also not thrilled with Hailey Reinhart making the Top 24. There's something about her singing voice that I just do not like. The low growls and the whiny quality of her tone make me want to reach for the mute button.

But 3 out of 5 ain't bad. I'm happy that Naima Adedapo, Paul McDonald and Ashthon Jones made it. Naima and Paul bring some much-needed maturity, along with uniqueness, to the competition. But I'm starting to get worried about Ashthon. When left to her own devices, can she choose good songs? She seems to be stuck in old-school Idol mode - "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody"? Oy. And she should never ever lose that huge hair of hers like she did in her last performance. That hair makes her stand out. I know the Idol stylists like to straighten all the black girls' hair, but I hope she runs the hell away from the flat-iron.

Along with Chris, the other four who got sent home in the Green Mile episode were Hollie Cavanagh, who JLo wanted to put through (but who never should have been in Hollywood to begin with); DeAndre Brackensick, one of The Minors who had that awesome falsetto; big girl Lakeisha Lewis, who had an Aretha analogy tagged on her by Randy Jackson (of course); and Alex Ryan, who they had shown in several rounds unnamed till they got rid of him.

Leaving earlier in the episode, in Las Vegas, were crying Ashley Sullivan, who also got married in the episode (she was very excited to be marrying in the same place as Britney Spears ... she does realize that Brit's marriage didn't last long, right?); White House intern Molly DeWolf; Normal Gentle-esque Carson Higgins; Constantine Maroulis-soundalike Caleb Hawley; Sophia Shorai, who went down with her Vegas singing partner Ashley; Denise Jackson, who I swear has auditioned before; and Melinda Ademi.

Surprisingly, the first hour of Beatles performances were actually enjoyable. From the beginning of the show, I was sure it was going to be a trainwreck, since there were people who didn't even know any Beatles songs (WTF?! How can you be singers and not know ANY Beatles songs, Stefano Langone, Jacob Lusk and Ashthon Jones?!). Plus, there was the "The Vocal Coach From Hell", Peggy Blu, whose biggest advice to one of the contestants was to "Bury her ass on stage!" (bahahaha). But the contestants really stepped it up.

Some of these groups were actually very good, and a lot of them sounded great together. I really liked Pia Toscano/Karen Rodriguez ("Can't Buy Me Love"), pianists Tim Halperin/Julie Zorrilla ("Something"), Jerome Bell/Tatynisa Wilson/Lakeisha Lewis ("I Saw Her Standing There"), Paul McDonald/Kendra Chantelle ("Blackbird"), John Wayne Schulz/2 unknown dudes ("With A Little Help From My Friends") and Robbie Rosen/Jordan Dorsey/Aaron Sanders ("Got To Get You Into My Life").

One thing I would like to know, though, is if other groups were able to switch the songs they picked out of the box, or did favoritism rear its ugly head on Lauren Alaina?

Thursday brings another 2-hour episode, with 19 more contestants are to be chosen. Yawn. Someone wake me when the live singing starts.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Video Of The Day: Bruno Mars Just The Way You Are (Sunday Remix)

Bruno Mars performed at the NBA All-Star Game pre-game show today, singing "The Lazy Song" and a remix of his No. 1 smash "Just The Way You Are." I love that he has so many different versions of his songs. He's so creative!

(video from EdwinTV33)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Favorites Survive Hollywood; Next Stop Vegas Please

With 100 American Idol contestants left standing after the group round in Hollywood, the last round was looking like it would be a slaughterhouse of cuts. You would think that any major mistakes would get you sent home.

Ha. The Powers That Be still have their favorites, and they're still playing them. For a select few, forgetting the lyrics doesn't matter. For others, it's the end of the road.

Case in point: Haley Reinhart, who completely forgot the words during the group round but still made it to this round to oversing "God Bless The Child". She sang/shouted this song with tons of growls and wails, and you could tell the judges loved it. I, however, did not.

I did, though, love Ashthon Jones, who Ryan said "survived" being in Ashley Sullivan's group. Ashthon sang "And I Am telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls. I'm not even going to try to compare her to Jennifer Hudson. On her own, I think Ashthon is great, and I really liked her the two times I've seen her. I think she really stands out in a crowd full of teens.

Thia Megia is one of those teens, and although she sounds more mature than her 15 years, she's still very, very young. I mean, they she's too young to dress herself. See her last couple of wardrobe monstrosities (she looked like she was wearing a children's coloring book). I did like how she sounded on "What A Wonderful World" with her lower register, but she's a power ballad away from oversinging the snot out of a song and making my skin crawl.

Some of the contestants had trouble singing with the band. There wasn't a Jermaine Sellers level of douchiness towards Michael Orland and the band, but Adrian Michael ("What A Wonderful World"), Caleb Johnson ("Living In The City") and Frances Coontz ("Hey Soul Sister" LOL WHAT WAS SHE THINKING?!) all had issues.

Clint Gamboa has issues as well - the show is not going to let anyone forget his douche move when he kicked Jacee Badeaux out of his group. Ha. This will hurt him down the line, but for right now, his performance skills are going to keep him afloat for a bit. He went overboard a bit at times with "Georgia On My Mind", but it's clear he can perform.

A couple of girls I don't remember seeing before also sang "Georgia On My Mind" - Kendra Chantelle and Sophia Shorai. Kendra was a bit too soft and piano lounge-y for me, but the judges liked it. Sophia sounded terrific. She has a really interesting voice ... and a really ~interesting flaily stage presence.

After the Battle of the Georgias, there was a Battle of the My Prerogatives between Chris Medina and Carson Higgins. And I think Carson Higgins is becoming one of my favorites to watch. He's so entertaining and FUN. He made me laugh with his stank-singing of "My Prerogative", while Chris ... sang it like Andrew Garcia.

Much has been made from the producers about contestants "hiding behind their instruments". But hey - these are some of the chosen ones, so it's ok! Julie Zorrilla played piano on Sara Bareilles' "Love Song" (I thought it was too slow and kind of boring). Caleb Hawley played guitar on "Sir Duke" (meh). Colton Dixon played piano on Daughtry's "What About Now" (also meh). Brett Loewenstern played guitar and sang Brandi Carlile's "The Story" in a way that made it totally unrecognizable. Robbie Rosen played piano and sang Sara Bareilles' "Gravity", which is one of my favorite songs ever and a song I've been wanting someone to sing on Idol. I wanted to like this more than I actually did. He did fine, but I wasn't wowed by it the way I am every time I hear Sara sing it. Casey Abrams brought out an upright bass to sing "Georgia On My Mind" in a jazzy, kind of awesome way. But is this the kind of singer Idol needs right now as a franchise? NO.

Chelsee Oaks isn't what Idol needs either. With her ex no longer in the competition, she has become expendable because her voice by itself is rather ordinary. And her shaky "Because of You" did her no favors. She was all emotional before singing because Rob was gone, and so was an ill Jacqueline Dunford (her "best friend in the entire world" lolwut?! What kind of shitty friends did you have before this show if someone you just met is your best friend EVER!).

Lauren Alaina was strong and comfortable on "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing", playing up to (ONCE AGAIN) judge Steven Tyler. This is getting old and slightly creepy, Lauren. Stop it.

Jacob Lusk and his four different voices oversung the crap out of "God Bless The Child". I swear, he has split-personality singing. He was scatting, then he went Barry White levels of low, then he wailed really high in his upper register, then he scatted some more, then sang normal, then wailed. I would really like to see some focus from him.

John Wayne Schulz brought a different approach to his song, "Landslide", singing it very straight-forward with little frills. He also had little melody, but I liked that he sang a woman's song and gave it something different.

"Emotional Time Bomb" Ashley Sullivan went kaboom while singing Michael Buble's "Everything". She blanked on the lyrics and totally fell apart, again. She's so unstable. How is she still in the competition?

The producers put together the performance of Stefano Langone ("Sir Duke"), Jovany Barreto ("You Sang To Me") and Jacee Badeaux (David Cook's "Time Of My Life") for reasons unknown. There was no big drama, nothing completely spectacular either. I guess this means they're all going to be going to the next round.

There was high drama with the last two performers (Scotty McCreery and TaTynisa Wilson), though, neither of which could remember the lyrics to "I Hope You Dance". The show mocked Scotty's one-trick-pony singing of that Josh Turner song, and for this round Scotty was forced to sing something else since it wasn't on the list. HA. He chose "I Hope You Dance" even though he didn't know the song, and OMG he really doesn't know anything else, does he? He completely mangled the words, singing lyrics like "nuts of wonder". DYING. OMG. Scotty really needs to be out of this competition and form a Josh Turner tribute band. TaTynisa fared no better, but no one really cares because this is the first time we've seen her on the show. And she's not a chosen one, so I'm sure the judges won't look the other way like they will later with Scotty.

They divided the group into four rooms. In Room 1 were Ashley Sullivan, Brett Loewenstern, Haley Reinhart, Jacee Badeaux, Jacob Lusk, Robbie Rosen, Caleb Hawley, Clint Gamboa, Casey Abrams, Lauren Alaina, James Durbin, and Chris Medina. DUH. They're all moving on.

Room 2 and Room 3 had the likes of Corey Levoy, Frances Coontz, Caleb Johnson, Mark Gutierrez and Chelsee Oaks, plus a bunch of unnamed, un-pimped people I didn't recognize. Also DUH. They went home.

Room 4 had a large group of people, including Thia Megia, Julie Zarrillo, Naima Adedapo, Carson Higgins, Jovany Barreto, Rachel Zevita, and Scotty McCreery. They were all safe and moving on to the next round. Including Scotty. Who can only sing one song. And who has to sing the Beatles next week in Las Vegas for the last round of auditions. This should be a trainwreck.

Also moving on, as spotted in next week's preview: Jackie Wilson, Jerome Bell, Ashthon Jones, possibly Karen Rodriguez, and possibly White House intern.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hollywood Group Round Brings The Drama

The Hollywood group round is always good for some major dramalama, and Season 10 did not disappoint. I've found that this round tends to show one's character more so than their vocal ability, and a lot of people brought out their inner douche in a big way.

Biggest Douches:
Clint Gamboa - After Scotty McCreery joined their group, Clint kicked out 15 year-old Jacee Badeaux late in the process because they didn't need him anymore. Total dick move. Scotty later apologized onstage for not sticking up for Jacee, but Clint showed little to no remorse. This is something voters will remember if he makes it that far ...

Jordan Dorsey - While people were struggling to put together groups after being forced to have mixed groups from days one and two, Jordan was busy rejecting people from his group because they weren't specifically what HE wanted (nevermind the other people in his group). And then he had the nerve to leave the group later on to join another one! Karma did not bite him in the ass this time, but I have a feeling it will soon enough.

James Durbin - Dis bitch kept whining about how The Minors had their parents there to help, calling it unfair. He should have concentrated more on his own group's harmonies and his horrid screeching that didn't find the right note. For whatever reason, the judges like him, and he stayed, but I'm so with the stage moms with their eww reactions during the performance.

Karma Catcher:
Tiffany Rios - Unlike the three above, this girl's karma bit her in the ass after her remark in the earlier round about being tired of seeing others fail to do what she knows she can do. Because of that comment (and because she's a screeching train-wreck), no one wanted to pair up with her. She managed to peel away Jessica Yantz from her group (Jessica said she didn't want her to be by herself, I think it's entirely plausible that Jessica wanted to get camera time) but couldn't find a third group member. They gave Tiffany and Jessica an exception to be a two-person group, but they both (especially Tiffany) blew it singing "Irreplaceable".

Due For Good Karma:
After Jacee Badeaux forgot the lyrics to "Mercy" and sang made-up lyrics, it looked like he was going to be sent home. Everyone else in his group was called up to step forward, leaving him alone by himself. After a lengthy pause, the judges called Jaycee forward, which caused Brett Loewenstern to jump up and down for joy. So sweet.

James Durbin's group who complained about the Minors' parents being there to help got totally pwned in what was basically a head-to-head matchup of "Somebody To Love". The kids (Keonna Evans, Jalen Harris, Sarina-Joi Crowe, Felix Ramsey, and Deandre Brackensick) gave the performance of the day with a vocally tight performance that New Directions would be proud of, while Durbin's group had more than half of its members get tossed after a harmonically horrific performance.

Eight Years Makes A Huge Difference:
Apparently, when you're 15, changing the lyrics to sing about how you can't remember the lyrics is cute and funny (see Badeaux, Jacee). But when you're 23 and do the same thing, this is srs bsns and you are GONE (see Bolin, Rob).

Only Girl In The World ... Who Should Sing This Song Is Rihanna:
I'm not sure why you would ever enter a singing competition and sing Rihanna's "Only Girl In The World". You can't really sing that song without auto-tune. I'm not sure anyone who picked it survived (this is why Paris Tassin only sang ballads, I see ...)

Crying Girl:
Ashley Ferl is no longer the biggest crier on Idol - that honor now goes to Ashley Sullivan, who had a total meltdown from the stress and quit during group rehearsals. She eventually came back to her group, who was actually quite cool about letting her back in even though they had rehearsed without Ashley. Despite the drama, their group, The Hits, had one of the better performances of the round, singing "Hit 'Em Up Style". Big props to Keeira Lyn Ford, Ashthon Jones and unknown fourth girl for handling that drama well.

Entertainment Value:
Carson Higgins hammed up "Forget You" Norman Gentle style. Finally! Someone fun on this show!

Chosen Ones:
I wonder if the people in the groups of Lauren Alaina, Julie Zorilla and Casey Abrams would have steered clear if they knew those three were amongst the chosen ones? Because anyone in their group not them got dumped even though they sounded good. I actually thought another girl in Lauren's group sounded better (the second girl who sang, who was never identified), and I liked Lara Johnston's voice more than Julie's, but Julie and Casey were the only ones who stayed.

To wrap up, more people got cut (like Janelle Arthur, Emily Anne Reed and Aaron Gutierrez), some people made it through who had no business making it through (Jacqueline Dunford), and new TPTB favorites were shown (Jacob Lusk, about whom Ryan Seacrest said "a new star emerges"). Thursday night, the Hollywood round wraps up. The show is throwing around all kinds of hyperbolic superlatives to get us to watch the show. Meh. I prefer lower expectations, thanks.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Top 5 Idol Hollywood Group Performances

The always-entertaining Hollywood group round airs this week on American Idol. In honor of one of my favorite rounds on this show, here's a look at the 5 best group round performances in the show's history (and when I say the 5 best, I mean the 5 best that I could find on YouTube).

1. Frenchie Davis/Kimberley Locke - Band Of Gold (Season 2)
No one wanted to sing with Frenchie and KLo because they didn't want to be paired with these big-voiced ladies, so they paired together to form the most diva-licious duo this show has ever seen.

2. Blake Lewis/Chris Sligh/Rudy Cardenas/Tom Lowe- How Deep Is Your Love (Season 6)
The vocals were good, but Blake's beat boxing really made this performance. It was pretty groundbreaking at the time, although I do wonder why no one ever tried it before. Some other past contestants had to have been in a cappella groups before ...

3. Matt Giraud/Kris Allen/India Morrison/Justin Williams (aka White Chocolate) - I Want You Back (Season 8)
This performance was basically meant to showcase early favorite Matt Giraud, but it also gave eventual winner Kris Allen his first significant screen time (more than 5 seconds this time!). The percussive beats by Matt and the bass line by Kris backed up India's rapping so well at the end.

4. Leah LaBelle/Elizabeth LaTendre/Dina Lopez - Young Hearts Run Free (Season 3)
This group looked like it was going to be dramalama when Leah's stage mom got involved with choreography and what not, but they put together an entertaining performance that kicked off Season 3's group round with a bang.

5. Kevin Covais/David Radford/Will Makar/Josh Jordan (aka The Rat Pack) - Fly Me To The Moon (Season 5)
The youngsters went old-school with a Rat Pack song and managed to put together a memorable performance that none were able to replicate later in the competition.

Video Of The Day: Adele At The 2011 Brit Awards

Adele sang "Somebody Like You" from her upcoming album 21 at the 2011 BRIT Awards on Tuesday. It's so refreshing to see an award show performance as simple and minimal as this - just a piano, a spotlight, some falling glitter and her AMAZING voice. I love being able to hear so much emotion in a singer's voice.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Video Of The Day: Kris Allen Covers Switchfoot's This Is Home

Kris Allen has been in Los Angeles writing for his next album but returned home to Arkansas briefly to perform at New Life Church's DECADE event on Sunday, celebrating the chuch's 10-year anniversary. One of the songs he sang was Switchfoot's "This Is Home".

Video from KAAddicts:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ten Best 2011 Grammy Performances

This year's Grammy Awards broadcast was probably one of the best I've seen in years. So many great performances! Here are my Top 10 from this year:

1. Eminem/Rihanna/Adam Levine/Skylar Grey/Dr. Dre - Love The Way You Lie/I Need A Doctor
Rihanna started out this performance with her solo version of "Love The Way You Lie" with Maroon 5 front-man Adam Levine playing piano and singing backup. Then Eminem took over with his solo as Rihanna dramatically walked over to the stage. Then Skylar Grey opened "I Need A Doctor" with gorgeous vocals, which provided such a striking contrast with Eminem's angry and powerful rapping. Dr. Dre joining in at the end just made it that much better.

2. Bruno Mars/B.O.B./Janelle Monae - Nothin' on You/Grenade/Cold War
These three started out singing "Nothin' On You" slowed down and stripped down with a string accompaniment. The rap section slowed down was so fascinating. Then Bruno went old-school doo-wop on his current single "Grenade", complete with 50s'-style black & white on the TV. Janelle closed the performance with a fiery "Cold War", with Bruno on drums and B.O.B. on guitar. All three of them are SO talented!!! And bonus points to B.O.B. for wearing a monocle!

3. Cee-Lo Green/Gwyneth Paltrow/The Muppets - Forget You
They kind of lost a little bit of steam when Gwyneth joined in, but the whole thing was such a spectacle of ridiculousness and fun, starting with Cee-Lo's insane costume. Plus, there were Muppets! Muppets make everything better!

4. Mick Jagger - Everybody Needs Somebody to Love (Solomon Burke tribute)
67 year-old Mick Jagger showed more energy and swagger than anyone on that Grammy stage. Not bad for a first-time Grammy performer!

5. Muse - Uprising
The staging of this performance was AWESOME with the lighting, video screens and dancers/rioters, and the band sounded great.

6. Mumford & Sons/Avett Brothers/Bob Dylan - The Cave/Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise/Maggie's Farm
I don't think I've heard any of these songs before, but man, did they impress me with their musicianship.

7. Lady Antebellum - If You Don't Know Me By Now/American Honey/Need You Now
Sweet vocals and harmonies on three great stripped-down songs from the night's big winners. Only complaint (outside of Hillary's bangs and the shortage of more close-ups of Charles Kelley) was that the performance was WAY too short.

8. John Mayer/Norah Jones/Keith Urban - Jolene
Norah's voice was perfectly suited to this song, and Keith and John put some nice touches on the song vocally, not to mention the guitar work!

9. Miranda Lambert - The House That Built Me
A very understated but beautiful song and performance.

10. Arcade Fire - Ready to Start
Their Idol coronation moment ... errr impromptu encore after winning Album of the Year was the perfect way to end the show. And haha that the lead singer actually said right before they started, "Bye! Everyone leave to this song!"

The Roots Grammy Jam

Multiple Grammy winners The Roots hosted their annual Grammy Jam on Saturday night at The Music Box, with special appearances from Chaka Khan, Jimmy Fallon, Ne-Yo, Sara Bareilles, Booker T, Bobby McFerrin and Betty Wright, among others.

Here are a couple of videos from the night. There are a few more on tomhayes2's YouTube channel.

Chaka Khan - Tell Me Something Good

Sara Bareilles - Son Of A Preacher Man + Guy Sebastian - Hard To Handle

Jimmy Fallon - Whip My Hair & Stayin' Alive

Saturday, February 12, 2011

CMT's 40 Greatest Love Songs

CMT aired a new special Saturday night, counting down the 40 Greatest Love Songs. I think they did a good mix of new and old country, but I'm a little shocked there isn't a single Garth Brooks song on here. No "To Make You Feel My Love" or "The Dance"?! I'm also a little surprised at the Keith Urban song choice - "Sweet Thing" instead of "Raining On Sunday" or "Somebody Like You"? Although I guess it did win him a Grammy last year ... And "Sweet Dreams" instead of "Crazy" for Patsy Cline?

The Idol alum I would have figured to be on here is Carrie Underwood, and her cover of "I Told You So", along with the original by Randy Travis, made the list at No. 27. Danny Gokey makes an appearance on the show, discussing Rascal Flatts' "God Bless The Broken Road" and Taylor Swift's "Love Story".

The big revelation on the show for me was Brad Paisley's "Then". I'm not sure I've ever really listened to it before, but what they showed on the show really made me want to buy the song. The lyrics ....... 

CMT's 40 Greatest Love Songs:
1. I Will Always Love You - Dolly Parton
2. Always On My Mind - Willie Nelson
3. Breathe - Faith Hill
4. He Stopped Loving Her Today - George Jones
5. How Do I Live - Trisha Yearwood/LeAnn Rimes
6. Sweet Dreams - Patsy Cline
7. Ring Of Fire - Johnny Cash
8. When I Call Your Name - Vince Gill
9. Love Story - Taylor Swift
10. It's Your Love - Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
11. Lady - Kenny Rogers
12. When You Say Nothing At All - Keith Whitley/Alison Krauss
13. I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You) - Hank Williams
14. Remember When - Alan Jackson
15. Gentle On My Mind - Glen Campbell
16. Good-Hearted Woman - Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson
17. Hello Dalin' - Conway Twitty
18. Need You Now - Lady Antebellum
19. I Can't Stop Loving You - Ray Charles
20. You're Still The One - Shania Twain
21. Sweet Thing - Keith Urban
22. Mama He's Crazy - The Judds
23. That's The Way Love Goes - Merle Haggard
24. I Honestly Love You - Olivia Newton-John
25. God Bless The Broken Road - Rascal Flatts
26. Golden Ring - George Jones & Tammy Wynette
27. I Told You So - Randy Travis/Carrie Underwood
28. Please Remember Me - Tim McGraw
29. Cowboy Take Me Away - Dixie Chicks
30. I Cross My Heart - George Strait
31. Stay - Sugarland
32. Forever And Ever, Amen - Randy Travis
33. Anything But Mine - Kenny Chesney
34. If You See Him/Her - Reba & Brooks & Dunn
35. Then - Brad Paisley
36. Lost In This Moment - Big & Rich
37. Don't Think I Don't Think About It - Darius Rucker
38. You're The Reason God Made Oklahoma - David Frizzell & Shelly West
39. No One Else On Earth - Wynonna
40. Come A Little Closer - Dierks Bentley

Bruno Mars All-Star Jam Session

Bruno Mars had an all-star pre-Grammy jam session at Club Bardot in Hollywood Friday night. He was joined by Keri Hilson, Monica, Far East Movement, K'Naan and Wynter Gordon for some of his songs, their songs and covers.

This video here has some snippets of a couple of performances - Bruno and Keri singing "Grenade", Bruno and Wynter covering Ginuwine's "Pony", Monica singing "Before You Walk Out Of My Life" with Bruno on backup, Bruno and Far East Movement on "Like A G6" and K'Naan and Bruno on "Wavin' Flag".

(video from Freeintegrated)

Couple of more videos here, from 2winAAX4:

Far East Movement with Bruno and Keri singing "Rocketeer":

Bruno singing "Seven Nation Army" and "Just The Way You Are" with a twist: reports that Bruno also covered "My Heart Will Go On", "Your Love" by the Outfield, "Every Little Step", "Poison", "This Is How We Do It" and "I Want You Back."

If any more videos pop up, I'll add here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Video Of The Day: Adele - Rolling In The Deep (Live)

I think this is from a radio station in Holland - it's a live performance of "Rolling In The Deep" by Adele. She is FLAWLESS.

There's also a video of "To Make You Feel My Love" from the same session:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Trimming The Fat In Hollywood Week

After what seemed like months of audition episodes, we're finally to my favorite round on American Idol - Hollywood week! With the judges letting 323 people through to "Hollywood" (actually Pasadena), there was a lot of fat to be trimmed here, and a little over half of that total managed to survive the first round here.

The thing with this show that has always bothered me is that they have a tendency to introduce us to certain singers in the audition rounds, with these elaborate packages and what not, only to see them get cut early in Hollywood, sometimes with no fanfare whatsoever. So if anyone created ... that was a waste. Michael Slezak is going to need to find a new favorite now that Sarah Sellers has been cut. Fans of accountant Steve Beghun might think about hiring him to do your taxes before making plans to see him live in concert. And annoyingly perky robot-child Victoria Huggins and her 11 suitcases are also gone, so VFTW has one less person to try to take credit for. Also gone are Jacqueline Dupree (whose uncle coached Randy in high school football), Heidi Khzam (the bellydancer from LA), Stormi Henley (Miss Teen USA) and Nick Fink (half of the annoying "Idol power couple").

Nick Fink's exit was just embarrassing. He sang a pretty weak version of Paolo Nutini's "New Shoes" and, of course, the show tried to build some suspense by putting him and his "girlfriend" Jacqueline Dunford in separate lines, with only one making it through. Jacqueline's "Bring It On Home To Me" was way superior to Nick's song, although it was still a bit over the top for me, so it' was pretty obvious who'd go. And indeed, it was Nick. Homie wouldn't take not for an answer, though, and he kept asking for another chance. When he got his final no, he exited the theater walking backwards and singing, while the girlfriend turned her back and kept walking without him. EL. OH. EL. She looked so NOT conflicted or sad about him being cut. Either she's extremely selfish or their relationship is so fabricated that she doesn't give a rat's ass. Or both.

Nick and Jacqueline's Hollywood roommates, ex-couple Rob Bolin and Chelsee Oaks did not suffer the same fate, with both surviving the first round of cuts. If Idol wants to keep them on the show so that they can sing together again, I'm all for it. I like these two a lot (although I would like to see something more modern from them at some point).

Speaking of modern songs, I do wonder just what is on the list of songs for Hollywood because there were a whole lot of oldies being sung in this round. Thia Megia (Charice v2.0) sang "Summertime". Casey Abrams (Seth Rogen v2.0) sang "Lullaby of Birdland". Lauren Alaina (The Chosen One v10.0) sang "Unchained Melody". Robbie Rosen (wheelchair boy) sang "Moody's Mood For Love". They all got through.

Tiffany Rios also sang an old song - I think it was "All I Could Do Is Cry" by Etta James, but she went off the rails with her melismatic screaming at the end so I'm not 100% sure. Dis bitch ... she started off her performance by saying "I'm tired of seeing people try to do what I know I can." o_O The best part of this whole thing was the immediate cut to the audience when she said that, and some dude making an Antoine Dodson-like "You are so dumb. You are really dumb" face. Tiffany is making it so easy for the producers to set her up as the polarizing figure this year, and I'm sure they were salivating over the possibilities for her in the group rounds!

Many of the contestants with the big sob stories survived the first round - Brett Loewenstern (he was bullied!), Paris Tassin (she has a special needs kid!), James Durbin (He has Tourettes! His dad died! He's poor! He can't afford diapers!), and Chris Medina (his fiancee is brain damaged from a car accident!). And the show of course reminded us again what their stories are (as if they didn't ram it down our throats enough earlier!). These other sob story people went through too, but I guess their stories aren't "compelling" enough to tell us again, or they don't think we need reminding since it just aired yesterday (and I'm totally okay with that!): Julie Zarrilla (her parents fled Colombia!), Emily Anne Reed (her house burned down!), and Stefano Langone (he was in an accident that almost killed him!).

Slightly less annoying than the constant reminders of people's sob stories are the people who sing the same damn song in Hollywood as they did in their audition (waves at Kristy Lee Cook). Really, Scotty McCreery, Jackie Wilson and Jerome Bell? You can't sing anything else, you one-trick-ponies? This isn't a one-day competition - versatility is kind of key on this show. I mean, you're not going to do a concert of the same song over and over again.

Completing the list of people identified as making the cut were: Rachel Zevita, Jacee Badeaux (what a sweet voice he has!), Hollie Cavanagh (LOL that she can only sing Miley Cyrus songs without going woefully off pitch, but damn was she shouting this song or what?!), Clint Gamboa, Naima Adedapo, the Gutierrez brothers, White House intern Molly DeWolf, and crazy Ashley Sullivan.

Next week - another one of my favorites - the Group Round!

Video Of The Day: Sara Bareilles Plays Guess Who Said It

Sara Bareilles apparently is a big fan of Jersey Shore and President Obama, so iHeartRadio played a little game with her of Guess Who Said It: Obama or Jersey Shore?

Check out the video to see Sara's guesses and her best Jersey Shore impression ("I should have cut you, bro! I should have cut you!"):

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

San Francisco Sob Stories

American Idol (FINALLY) wrapped up the Season 10 audition episodes tonight, and they hit the jackpot with regards to the "inspirational" stories. Dead father, diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, bullied in high school, unemployed, no money. And that's just from one guy.

Here's the dish on James Durbin : His dad was a musician and always away, so James didn't get to know him very well before he died of a drug overdose. You'd think that would be enough sob story for Idol. HALE no. James was on medication for a sleep disorder! He has Tourette's! He has Asperger's! He was bullied! Now he's a dad! But he has no job! They can't afford diapers!

Seriously, Idol? We need to know all of this before he even sings a note? Oh excuse me, wrong choice of words. That should be shouted, not sang. Because that's what he did. He shouted at my television a couple of rock songs, including "Dream On". You know the producers and judges were thinking "next Glambert", but please. I know Adam Lambert (not personally, but you know what I mean), and, Rooster-Hair boy, you are no Adam Lambert.

You'd think that Durbin's drama would have been enough for one night, but prior to his segment at the end of the show, we had three other made-for-TV-movie types of storylines!

First, there was Stefano Langone ("I Heard It Through The Grapevine"). He was in an accident! He has scars! The judges think he's a star! (I don't!)

Julie Zorrilla's parents fled Colombia to come to the U.S.! Her parents have thick accents that require subtitles for their English! (OMG, Idol, STOP THIS! They didn't need subtitles, and neither did Allison Iraheta's dad!) Julie didn't need the backstory; she has a really pretty voice and sang "Summertime" very well. (She also doesn't need the early proclamations of "best voice we ever heard ever" by Steven Tyler and "Winner? Maybe!" by Jennifer Lopez. Too early for this, guys!)

Emily Anne Reed's house burned down! She lost the first home she was excited to live in! She's going to build a better life now with a music career through American Idol! She sang "You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me" in a very unique, old-style sound, and she barely got through to Hollywood. I don't see her getting very far. Her sound is too niche for this show. Plus, she picked up the guitar and played after her audition. Rut-roh. TPTB don't like that this year!

A group of three managed to get through to Hollywood without any story. Or ANY story. All we got were short clips of Brittany Mazur ("Mercy"), Lara Johnston (Stevie Wonder's "All I Do") and Matthew Nuss (Guy Sebastian's "Taller, Stronger, Better") singing. Lara was the standout for me in this group. There was another group of girls who got through later in the show, and not only did they not have a sob story, but they apparently didn't have names either! Hello, cannon-fodders!

Also getting by with no sob story was karaoke host Clint Jun Gamboa . Clint sang "Billionaire" pretty well, but there's something about him that screams Andrew Garcia to me, and I ... can't.

I suppose I should just be grateful that another auditioner who reminded me of a former contestant did not make it through. The Ukrainian girl at the top of the show, Inessa Lee, had Tatiana Del Toro's crazy written all over her, but with about half of Tatiana's voice. Inessa went on about how she was like a mix of Shakira, early Madonna, Kylie Minogue, and Katy Perry. And then proceeded to audition with ... an Air Supply song. So relieved the judges didn't indulge her the way the Season 8 judges did with Tatiana in letting her get all the way to the wildcard show. She got cut right away.

So finally tomorrow we get the start of the Hollywood rounds. Hopefully the judges are able to weed out the marginal contestants they really should not have let through in the first place (Hollie Cavanagh and Emma Henry, I'm looking at you!)

Video Of The Day: Ellen, James Blunt, Justin Bieber Go Gaga

Lady Gaga is going to premiere her new song "Born This Way" at the Grammy's this weekend. No one has heard the song yet, and she has only released the lyrics so far. On her show today, Ellen DeGeneres decided to take a guess as to what the song sounds like, so she did her own version of the song with the help of a Gaga-like headdress and some auto-tune. She also enlisted James Blunt and Justin Bieber to do their own takes on the song. James Blunt's was a bit familiar, to say the least, and the Biebs did a version on drums and another one on keyboard that was actually decent-sounding.

Check it out:

Monday, February 07, 2011

Video Of The Day - Volkswagen Super Bowl Ad: The Force

My favorite commercial from this year's Super Bowl ended up being the Volkswagen ad for their 2012 Passat, featuring a cute kid dressed up as Darth Vader trying in vain to use the Force on various appliances in the house, a toy doll, his dog and even his sandwich. When his dad comes home in his Volkswagen Passat, though, the force finally is with him (with the unseen help of his dad):

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Video Of The Day: Faith Hill, The Pretenders - Middle Of The Road

In conjunction with the Super Bowl, CMT aired a live Crossroads concert with Faith Hill and The Pretenders Saturday night. They sang four of Faith's songs ("This Kiss", "Breathe", "Cry" and her cover of "Piece of My Heart") and four of The Pretenders' songs ("Middle of the Road", "Brass In Pocket", "Back on the Chain Gang" and "I'll Stand By You".)

Faith sounded great on The Pretenders' songs. Chrissie ... struggled with the range on Faith's songs. I have a new-found appreciation for Faith Hill's voice. She has range. Her songs are HARD to sing, especially "Breathe".

My favorite performance of this show was the opener, "Middle of the Road". Both Faith and Chrissie were great on this, and Chrissie killed it on harmonica at the end:

Saturday, February 05, 2011

American Idol 10th Anniversary CD On Sale Mar. 15

American Idol is releasing a compilation CD featuring arguably the biggest hit for all nine winners + three popular finalists, titled American Idol: 10th Anniversary - The Hits, Vol. 1.

The CD will be released on Mar. 15 and is available now for pre-order at

The song selection for this CD has been the cause of many an online debate. Should it be limited to just winners? Should some of the winners not have been included since they didn't really have a big hit? Where the heck is (insert song here)?

Here's the track list:
1. Kelly Clarkson – Since U Been Gone
2. Ruben Studdard – Superstar
3. Clay Aiken – Invisible
4. Fantasia – When I See U
5. Carrie Underwood – Before He Cheats
6. Taylor Hicks – Takin’ It To The Streets
7. Daughtry – Home
8. Jordin Sparks (duet with Chris Brown) – No Air
9. David Cook – Light On
10. Kris Allen – Live Like We’re Dying
11. Adam Lambert – Whataya Want From Me
12. Lee DeWyze – Sweet Serendipity

I do agree that putting all the winners on this CD was the right move, although I do question the Idol covers they chose for Ruben and Taylor. Granted, Ruben's "Superstar" was nominated for a Grammy (I had forgotten that) and is a much superior song than "Sorry 2004". And Taylor didn't exactly have a hit single after the show, so I guess the options are limited there.

I don't have a problem with non-winners being there, but I think I'd have put them on Vol. 2 along with other non-winners and more hits from the winners. Or I would have added another track from a non-winner: David Archuleta's "Crush", which I think is the biggest omission from this CD. That song went double-platinum and was a huge pop hit. I'm stunned it's not on here.

This is what I would have done:

Vol. 1 (winners only)
1. Kelly Clarkson – Since U Been Gone
2. Ruben Studdard – Sorry 2004
3. Fantasia – When I See U
4. Carrie Underwood – Before He Cheats
5. Taylor Hicks – Just To Feel That Way (lol only because I want no covers)
6. Jordin Sparks (duet with Chris Brown) – No Air
7. David Cook – Light On
8. Kris Allen – Live Like We’re Dying
9. Lee DeWyze – Sweet Serendipity
10. Kelly Clarkson - A Moment Like This
11. Fantasia - I Believe
12. David Cook - Time Of My Life

Vol 2
1. Kelly Clarkson - Miss Independent
2. Clay Aiken - Invisible
3. Kimberley Locke - Eighth World Wonder
4. Fantasia - Truth Is
5. Jennifer Hudson - Spotlight
6. Carrie Underwood - Jesus Take The Wheel
7. Elliott Yamin - Wait For You
8. Daughtry - Home
9. Jordin Sparks - Battlefield
10. David Cook - Come Back To Me
11. David Archuleta - Crush
12. Adam Lambert - Whataya Want From Me

There have been SO many hit songs from past Idols, they could make several volumes. This could be like the new Now That's What I Call Music series! To be honest, I'm shocked that TPTB didn't release a winners' compilation and a runners-up compilation at the same time just to spark the fanwars ...

Friday, February 04, 2011

Video Of The Day: Anoop Desai - All Is Fair (Crazy Love)

American Idol Season 8 alumnus Anoop Desai premiered his music video for "All Is Fair (Crazy Love)" on Thursday. The video basically shows him singing his heart out to a woman who takes glee out of turning him at various times into Swiss cheese, a bonfire and a pile of ashes.

Anoop's EP "All Is Fair" is available at iTunes and Amazon.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Idol Auditions: Lose Angeles

After watching the American Idol Los Angeles audition episode (aka one hour of my life I'll never get back), I decided the episode wasn't worthy of a recap. But you know what? It was so bad it NEEDED a recap. Because really ... this can't happen again.

No more Los Angeles auditions. All you get are famewhores with little to no talent. No more over-saturation of bad auditions and not showing us good auditions. This episode is widely getting panned as one of the worst, if not THE worst, Idol episode ever. It's not rocket science, Uncle Nigel. There is a correlation here.

FIVE people were shown getting through to Hollywood. And none of them have any kind of star quality. Had they been on another episode in another city, they wouldn't have been deemed TV-worthy, except maybe the adorbs Gutierrez brothers.

And I get that people like the trainwreck auditions. But at least show the entertaining ones! None of these people were. The guy at the end? The homeless-looking crazy guy who, as Top Idol astutely pointed out, was like a combo of General Larry Platt of "Pants On The Ground" fame and Renaldo Lapuz "You Are My Brother" fame? That guy was just batshit crazy. It's not entertaining. It's not funny. It's TIRED.

So there's one more audition city left before the Hollywood rounds start. There is a God!

Austin Auditions Are Country Strong

Austin, Texas is known for its live music scene. But you really wouldn't know it judging by what was shown on American Idol during its Austin auditions. Of the people shown in the telling one-hour-long-only broadcast, I can't see more than 2 or 3 making it to the semifinals, and the two who I think are most likely to advance that far are country singers John Wayne Schulz and Janelle Arthur.

I feel like Idol has been wanting to find another Carrie Underwood ever since the last piece of confetti fell from the Kodak Theater in Season 4. John Wayne Schulz is the closest thing to a male version of Carrie as we've ever seen on this show. He's good-looking, he's authentically country, he's so sweet with his mama, and he showed off a good, strong voice while singing Brooks & Dunn's "Believe." Oh, and he auditioned at the request of his breast cancer-ridden mom. BAM. Insta-votes!

Janelle Arthur is a cute blonde, which is practically an instant recipe for success in country music. I mean, heck, Kristy Lee Cook was even able to finagle a record deal (or two or three). And Janelle is way more talented. She turned the bluesy "Syrup & Honey" by Duffy into a country song and then when asked to sing a more upbeat song, handled the octave jump on Shania Twain's "No One Needs To Know" with incredible ease.

The only other person who could have a chance of going somewhat far in the competition here is Casey Abrams, although I'm not nearly as enthused about him as the judges are. The Seth Rogen/Fraggle Rock look-alike channeled Taylor Hicks with his audition, doing a very bluesy "I Don't Need No Doctor" by Ray Charles, with scatting, even. Seeing as how well this whole Taylor thing worked out in Season 5 (and how not well it worked out after his album came out and he got zero radio play), I can't believe that the producers will allow him to get to voting rounds.

The rest of the people who went through in this episode ranged from just barely good enough to WTF-were-the-judges-thinking?

I got fooled by Jacqueline Dunford and Nick Fink's audition. They were introduced with the cheesiest package ever. It was like watching a SNL parody of Idol intro packages. It was set to Luther Vandross' "Here And Now" for crying out loud. So naturally I thought they were going to be another hot mess audition. They actually weren't bad at all. Jacqueline had some nice moments with "Mercy", and Nick was charming with his "Sunday Morning." I'm not sure they're not much more than novelty going forward, but they sang well enough to have earned that Golden Ticket.

Corey Levoy, the guy with the long-lost-sister, sang "I Can't Make You Love Me" in a voice that was so piercing to my ears, but the judges gave him a "heck yeah". Then they put through the very shaky (both musically and emotionally) Hollie Cavanagh who completely blew her first song, "At Last". She wasn't able to hold a tune at all. Jennifer Lopez gave her another chance and asked her to sing something else, and Hollie sang "The Climb" much better - well enough for the judges to put her through to Hollywood. Hollie does have an interesting tone when she's in tune, but she's SO fragile and nervous, and I foresee a major meltdown in Hollywood. JLo made a point in the Milwaukee auditions last week during Emma Henry's sobbing audition to not put her through because she wasn't ready. I'm not sure why she even gave Hollie a second chance since she's clearly not ready either.

Courtney Penry gave the most obnoxious "successful" audition since that 16 year-old perky child robot Victoria Huggins in the first episode this year. It's not that Courtney was a bad singer. She was decent, if not generic, while singing Sugarland's "Stay." It's that she CLUCKED like a chicken and was SO. FAKE. and so obviously playing to the cameras when talking about her big crush on Ryan Seacrest. You could see her glancing out the side of her eye to see if the cameras were on her while she was pretend-crying.

Three others made it through to Hollywood - Shauntel Campos, Alex Carr and Caleb Johnson. They totaled probably about 20 seconds of airtime in terms of actual singing, and I can't really say that they earned much more than that. I thought Shauntel's "Ain't No Sunshine" was unrecognizable and pageanty. Alex had about five seconds shown of his "A House Is Not A Home", and it was all unnecessary elongated notes. And Caleb shouted about 10 seconds of Soundgarden's "Rusty Cage".

Lulziest Injury: Ryan Seacrest injuring himself on a belt buckle while picking up and twirling John Wayne Schulz's dad. I'm sure it hurt less than his last on-set Idol injury - getting stuck in a Ruben sandwich with Ruben Studdard and his brother Kevin.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Video Of The Day: Marié Digby Covers Rocketeer

Singer/songwriter Marié Digby, who got a record deal after her YouTube cover of Rihanna's "Umbrella" blew up, has continued to post cover songs on her YouTube channel. One of her latest ones happens to be one of my favorite songs right now on radio - Far East Movement's "Rocketeer" (this is a shocking development, btw, considering it's Tedder and considering how much I hated "Like A G6").

Here's Marié's acoustic version: