Tuesday, May 19, 2009

American Idol - The Finale Part 1

The acoustic rocker vs. the glam rocker is how Seacrest decribes the final showdown between Adam Lambert and Kris Allen. Or, the guy next door vs. the guyliner. Good one. Kris is certainly the underdog here, and it was a tremendous victory for democracy that Kris Allen is here in the finale instead of Danny Gokey, who was widely expected to be here tonight with Lambert. I am very happy with this result, and even feel like it's possible that Kris could pull off what would be one of the great upsets in American Idol history.

3 songs each tonight, one contestant favorite, one selected by American Idol creator Simon Fuller and one written by Kara LaGuardia.

Adam Lambert is up first and has chosen "Mad World", and descends down a foggy staircase in a menacing trenchcoat. The stage is now covered with smoke and this seems even spookier than the first time he did it. He looks like a villian. Seen it before dude. It reminds Simon of Phantom of the Opera.

Kris Allen's choice is "Aint No Sunshine" and it's a brilliant choice. One of his best from the season, and shows his versatility playing the piano. If the screams from the young girls in the audience are any indication, Kris has a chance in this thing. Randy in his ridiculous suit thinks it was one of Kris' best performances. Kara has more good things to say about Kris than ever before, and Simon admits he was unsure about America's selection last week but now is on board and even awards a Round 1 victory to Kris Allen. Nice.

Adam Lambert's second song for the night, chosen by Producer Simon Fuller, is Sam Cooke's "Change Gonna Come", and he takes it remarkably easy on the song at first, then gives it a few trademark Lambert screams towards the end. Adam mysteriously sings at the end of the song "My change is gonna come" rather than the lyrics "A change gonna come." Overall it was a pretty good performance, not nearly as cringe inducing as many of his past performances. Judges are once again in awe of the Lambert and Simon proclaims he is back in the competition.

Kris Allen was done a huge favor when Simon Fuller chose "What's Goin On", the Marvin Gaye classic. He sang with emotion, rocked his acoustic guitar and the hand drummers were a nice touch. Kris lucked out with the selection there, and held his own that round but Simon happily gives Round 2, one million percent, to Adam Lambert.

"No Boundaries" is the new single by either Adam Lambert or Kris Allen, depending on who wins the competition. It was co-written by hit song maker/judge Kara Laguardia. It rhymes pain and hurricane, repeatedly mentions climbing mountains and generally sounds like a cheap concocted pop scheme song. The crowd goes wild. Randy says he could sing he phone book, and he would have preferred it. No he doesn't say that last part, but probably thought it. Slam to Kara and her two co-writers, but Kara couldn't be prouder. Perhaps she wrote the song for Adam, and not necessarily for Kris Allen.

Kris Allen closes out the season of performances with a spirited, if a little awkward rendition of the same song, "No Boundaries." I can honestly say though, even though it is a typically trite pop song, I guess I wouldn't mind hearing it on the radio as performed by Kris Allen. Hopefully enough millions of people agree. Randy thinks the song may be better suited to Kris' voice than Adam's. Kara and Paula congratulate him on a great season, and seem to be saying good job runner up. Simon thinks his first was his best and seems to be giving round three the Lambert. Predictable.

I am expecting upwards of 100 million votes to be cast in this Finale, and a Kris Allen win would be spectacular.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

American Idol - The Top 3

Our final three for American Idol Season 8 is Kris Allen, Danny Gokey, and Adam Lambert. This is the 300th episode of American Idol, and tonight we visit the finalists hometowns with them for parades and interviews and all that.

Tonight each contestant will sing one song of their own choosing, and one selected by the judges.

Paula’s selection for Danny Gokey is “Dance Little Sister”, which is almost certainly a cruise line anthem. His performance and dancing with the saxophone player are also reminiscent of a Cruise Ship Idol but still have Paula on her feet dancing. I bet she loves cruises. Randy predictably loves it, and Kara has to question the dancing. Simon thinks it was the wrong song. I concur.

Randy and Kara have chosen “Apologize” by One Republic. Fortunately I have never heard this song before. Kris takes the song on behind a grand piano and as cool as Kris is, I think it’s gonna take a miracle for him to make it to the finale. Randy is satisfied with this choice, but Kara didn’t like the way he performed the song she chose for him. He got stuck with a lame song by lame judges. Simon completely calls Kara out on this and it quickly deteriorates to a shouting match between the judges. Next we see Kara standing behind a frieghtened Simon Cowell with her hand over his mouth. If Simon isn’t with the show next year, I hope they get an entirely new batch of judges. This has gotten out of hand.

Simon Cowell personally sought U2’s permission for Adam Lambert to sing “One”, and they obliged. Regrettably. It is possibly his most egregious song ever, but the judges are falling all over themselves praising Adam, and he has the momentum of a runaway train. And to think he and Randy had a previous professional relationship wherein Randy suggested he try out for the show. Some people think he is a plant and I think they may be right.

Idol gives back update: 300,000 mosquito nets have been donated. “But we’re not done yet” says Carrie Underwood.

Danny Gokey has selected Joe Cocker’s “You are So Beautiful”. I thought for sure he would go with Whitney. Man this guy has managed to continue getting more boring each week, despite each week being all new kinds of boring. What a tool. RJ - “Mad vocals”
KD - “Stunning” PA- “You left everyone breathless” SC- “Vocal masterclass”. Me- “This guy sucks.”

For his song, Kris Allen decided to go with “Heartless” by Kanye West. I am skeptical. But Kris surprises once again and it’s actually very impressive! One of his best performances ever, he really gave that song a Kris Allen feel to it and I think it could be a single. This will definitely earn a lot of votes, hopefully enough o be here next week. Judges absolutely love it and Simon admits that although he’d written of Kris, he now thinks he has a chance. Nice. I am of the same mind.

Adam Lambert’s up to round out the night and his choice is “Cryin”, the one with Alicia Silverstone in the video. A backup singer out of control distracted form the chorus, but Kara happily declares “We’ll see you at the final.” Paula agrees, saying “We’ll be seeing you next week, and many years after that.” Fantastic.

Nothing would make me happier than to see Kris Allen and Adam Lambert in the finale, and have Kris Allen win. I think its possible.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

American Idol - The Top 5

Jaime Foxx is tonight’s mentor for Rat Pack night.

Kris Allen is first with a nice slow jam that impressed Jaime Foxx so much that he wants to record with Kris, calling him “Absolutely incredible.“ “The Way You Look Tonight” is a dynamite choice for Kris. The tempo picks up midway and it’s a swinging number for a moment. He tries for a little too much and the last note isn’t pretty but it was a winner overall. Judges love it. Contemporary crooner says Paula.

Allison Iraheta is the final girl in the competition, and turned 17 yesterday. “Someone to Watch Over Me” is another great performance from Allison. She has a powerful voice and has awesome control of it. The judges all love it except Simon, who thinks she’s in trouble. No way man.

Matt Giraud studied jazz and chose “My Funny Valentine.” It’s pretty boring and I agree when Randy calls it pitchy. He completely missed several notes and has the weakest voice of who is left. Simon thought it was brilliant though.

Danny Gokey – it’s a typical snoozer from Churchy until he picks it up towards the end of the song. When he really belts it out like that it’s hard to deny his charm, but too often he’s not interesting. Kara loves the “Rat Pack Swagger” or “swag”, and Simon Cowell agrees. Paula knows he “can see the finish line” and it seems all but certain he will make Top 2.

Adam Lambert rounds out the Top 5 with “Feeling Good”. “He’s gonna knock everybody’s head off” says Jaime Foxx. It’s a little scary as always, but I think this works for him better than most of his choices and then wow! He hits that crazy long note at the end of the song and does in fact knock my head off. Cool. That might have been the most entertaining Lambert performance yet. Paula thinks he is the Michael Phelps of American Idol, or something, and Simon says he is in it to win it.

Tonight had some strong moments but the least impressive was definitely Matt Giraud, and it’s his time to go. Anyone else going home this week would be a travesty.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

American Idol - The Top 7 (Again)

So our four judges decided to save a contestant from elimination last week after America decided against him. That contestant was Matt Giraud and I am not sure I agree with those judges, but at least the save was used on someone somewhat promising.

Lil Rounds is very suddenly up, performing Chaka Kahn's "I'm Every Woman" and while it should be a piece of cake for her it was mostly whoaooohoooohs and what nots. Randy and Kara both are unimpressed. "You've been every woman but yourself up there" says Kara, and Paula notes that her voice was shot just yesterday, so as to give her an excuse for not being up to par. Simon is pretty clear that he doesn't think she'll be here next week. Well I don't think she has much of a shot either but why don't we see how bad our other six do first.

Kris Allen is going to perform "She Works Hard for the Money" with guitar. Why Kris why? It's got a Doobie Brothers "Without Love" feel to it and isn't nearly as bad as I figured it would be. In fact it may be his best reinterpretation yet. Kara loves the risk and says it paid off. In fact, everyone loves it and Kris is back at the top. Nice work my man.

Before the break, Allison is wearing Danny's glasses and hes pretends he can't see. Totally inappropriate Danny. Remember your blind fellow contestant Scott?

Danny Gokey once again proves that he's really got some chops on "September" by Earth Wind and Fire, but also proves that he's not a great dancer and makes questionable song choices. All the judges except Simon are loving Danny, but Simon is getting fed up with Danny's antics.

Allison is next with "Hot Stuff" and she is going far too adult for a family show like this. Her giant cross earrings may offset the content of the song, but I'm not too sure about her sparkling leather outfit either. Nonetheless it receives a standing ovation from much of the audience. Randy and Kara love her voice but didn't love the arrangement and Paula and Simon are on board as well.

Adam Lambert has chosen "If I Can't Have You" from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Leave it to Lambert to do an extremely slow song like this on disco night. Paula is of course enthralled beyond belief and is not the only person to give a standing ovation. He is very popular with the judges and Paula loves the way he left his heart on the stage. Right.

Matt Giraud picks what has got to be the most obvious yet obnoxious choice for disco night, "Stayin' Alive". He's got an awful lot of Michael Jackson type dance moves and some awful vocal mistakes in the awfully high range. It was as hokey and obvious as I expected and this could be the end for Matt, again.

Anoop is last with "Dance the Night Away". He's still got a pretty decent voice but he missed a couple notes big time. He just seems like such a tool. Judges have very positive things to say except for the ever wise Simon Cowell, who found it "Mediocre at best". I hope America agrees with Simon and I.

America's Bottom three tonight will be Lil, Matt and Anoop.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

American Idol - The Top 7

Quentin Tarantino is on hand to guide the remaining 7 through songs from movies night. He is a big Idol fan.

Allison is up first and unfortunately she picks Aerosmith's piece of shit from the piece of shit movie "Armageddon". She shows a terrible lack of good judgement here, and it's my least favorite performance from her ever. Simon thinks hes the girls' only hope and while that may be true, that type of nonsense won't get her past the top 5.

Anoop proves he should be the next to go home with his selection of Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do". What an absolutely dumb choice. Is this cheesy lame pop songs from movies that everyone hates week? Anoop, I've had enough of you. Randy and Kara love it of course.

Adam is next with "Born to be Wild" and Quentin is excited about it. He finds a way to Lambertize this song and everyone loves it. How does he come up with this stuff? Paula is on her feet and applauds how Adam "dares to dance in the path of greatness".

Matt "Dueling Pianos" Giraud is up with yet another Bryan Adams song. Bryan Adams is the king of movie soundtracks and its good to finally hear people give him his due. No seriously, I have just lost all respect for Giraud's artistic integrity. He didn't even sing it that great, despite that fact that it's probably one of his standards at the piano bar. Randy and Kara both voice their general disappointment with the song.

Danny Gokey is up and all the good Bryan Adams songs have been chosen already so he had to pick "Endless Love" in order to cement his rep as the lamest guy on idol this year. Man what a cheese fest. No glasses for Gokey tonight either. He continues his steady decline into sub par inspiration land, and he is really starting to bother me. Paula is wowed like always and Simon is underwhelmed. Things are really moving along with only two judges commenting on each performance.

Kris Allen makes the best song selection of the evening with "Once" from the movie of the same name. Not the most exciting tune but Kris is the man and does a great job with it.

Lil Rounds goes with "The Rose" from Bette Midler. This is a pretty solid showing from Lil, her best performance in weeks. Paula loves it but Simon thinks it was another dud from Lil.

Tonight Allison, Anoop, Adam, Matt and Danny all gave performances worthy of a trip home but it will probably (hopefully) be Anoop who hits the road tonight.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

American Idol - The Top 8

Tonight's theme is songs from the year the contestants were born.

Danny Gokey is up with...no surprise, an inspirational song from 1980, "Stand by Me". Danny Gokey that was the lamest from you yet. He seems to get lamer and lamer but predictably the judges love it.

Kris Allen was born in 1985 and of all the songs from 1985, he chooses Don Henley's minor hit "All She Wants to do is Dance". Ouch. I bet even Don Henley regrets this decision. Probably the worst Kris has offered to date.

Lil Rounds' Mom clears up the Lil controversy, the name is Lil. Short for Lily. "Whats Love Got to Do With It?" seems like a smart choice, but I don't think she showed off her vocals very well. Paula can't even muster up positive comments, and Simon is clearer about it.

Anoop Desai was born in 1986 and decides go go for "True Colors" and show his soft side? More like his lame side. Judges love it.

Scott was born in 1985 and sings "The Search is Over". He has a guitar that he plays a little bit here and there. He says it's his punk side. There was nothing punk about that. Simon calls it atrocious.

Allison was born in 1992 and does Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me". What a drag. Come on Allison, that was just really boring and who is going to vote for that? Not enough people I'm afraid. The judges seem to like it though and Randy is reminded of Kelly Clarkson. About the highest compliment the judges can bestow. I have hope for her.

Matt Giraud does "Part Time Lovers" by Stevie Wonder, from 1985. He puts a little too much effort into his dance moves and misses a couple notes big time, but overall did very well. Judges call it excellent and one of the best of the night.

Adam Lambert is tonight's finale, born in 1982. A slow and spooky version of "Mad World" is his choice and it is a bold choice. He is a very talented dude and he receives a standing ovation from Simon Cowell. That does not happen often. Adam is safe for awhile.

Tonight's worst performances were, surprisingly Danny Gokey, unfortunately Kris Allen and certainly Scott MacIntyre. I have little doubt that Scott is going home this week.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

American Idol - The Top 11

After a really strange and bright St. Patrick's day lightshow, we learn that tonight is Grand Ole Opry night and that could spell t r o u b l e like that Travis Tritt song. Randy Jackson says country week can spoil the flavor for some contestants, and Randy Travis is on hand to help the Top 11 with their choices.

Michael Sarver picks Garth Brooks' "Aint Going Down til the Sun Comes Up". A bold and unwise decision. He has to spend the whole song struggling to catch his breath and doesn't really sing so much as he shows that he knows all the lyrics, as Kara notices as well. Simon compares it to karaoke.

Allison's "Blame it on your Heart" a Patty Loveless song, is great. She's got a lot of fans out there, and I am one of them.

Kris Allen's "To Make You Feel My Love" was written by our Minnesota hero Bob Dylan but Garth Brooks had a huge hit with it. The judges love it and so do I.

Lil Rounds' "Independence Day" is not good. I love Lil, but I think she could have done something way better. She speaks most of the lyrics and seems uncomfortable. Then when she finally gets to the chorus and the big notes, it is underwhelming. Judges are not impressed either.

Adam Lambert's "Ring of Fire" frightened Randy Travis, who is only willing to say that he gives him points for uniqueness. He may have gone too far this time.

Scott chooses "Wild Angels" by Martina McBride and the crowd absol;utely loves it. He missed a few notes but it was a really strong performance. Paula rambles on about the piano and Simon says that is a stupid thing to say. Right on Simon. Simon also says the songs aren't good enough-translation too churchy. Hopefully he'll be safe for a few more weeks.

Alexis Grace is up with Dolly Parton's "Jolene". Why do people insist on walking down the stage stairs as their song begins? Nonetheless, I like it. It's nothing out of this world, but it is a solid showing from Alexis.

D Goke is next with Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel". I always thought this song was a little much. Whatever happened to separation of church and pop? I think he can count on being here for awhile.

Anoop does Willie Nelson's "You were Always on My Mind". Could be awesome. "Heck thta was good!" Says Randy Travis, adding "This will be the best anyone's heard from Anoop." Nice. He nails it! Anoop is back in this thing. That was one of the best tonight for sure. Simon rightly says he went from "zero to hero."

Megan Joy aka Miss Wigglesalot does "Walking After Midnight" and it is predictably bad. Her shakes/wiggles are subdued yet still humorous. Judges somehow still love her and give her a break because she's coughing onstage and sick.

Matt Giraud's version of Carrie Underwood's "So Small" has Randy Travis smiling and has a dreary start, but climbs to show some soul and again he is one of my favorites of the night. I'm glad he is in this competition. Simon thinks he outsung Gokey tonight. Randy's favorite of the night too.

Michael Sarver, Lil Rounds, and Megan Joy are looking like the bottom three to me. Adam may end up there too this week.