Monday, November 23, 2015

David Archuleta Returns To Texas

*****Disclaimer: I write concert reviews for my husband's photography blog all the time. Sometimes more than a dozen in a month, but I am a huge procrastinator when it comes to writing about someone that is very important to me. I tend to spend a lot of time mulling over all my thoughts, trying to compile just the right words to convey what I want to say. And writing about seeing David Archuleta perform in person has always taken me some extra time. I need to let my brain process the whole experience for a while before I can put words to it. I must be getting better with my processing though; it's only been 11 days since David's performance. The first time I wrote about seeing David it was one whole year after the concert. ****

As you can tell from the title of this post, David Archuleta finally returned to The Lone Star State for a concert after a very long drought. The last time he performed in Texas was for the Kaleidoscope Skating Show in San Antonio in December 2010. With some last minute convincing from some fellow fans, I was one of the lucky ones in attendance that night. Sadly, not many other fans were able to attend that performance. If we had known it would be so very long before he returned here, I'm sure many more would have made an effort to be there. We weren't even slightly considering David would take a two year break from a music career to serve a church mission. But he did.

Fast forward to 2015. David is back and finally starts to perform again, but only limited engagements for charity and his church. Finally we hear good news, shows for the general public in the fall. Idaho and, of course, Utah, and ... Midland, Texas.

What?????  Texas!!!!!  Midland, Texas!!! Wait, Midland????  Midland????? Midland, as in the middle of no where?? Midland, as in 325 miles away from me, Midland?  No, that can't be right. Why would there be a concert in Midland?

But that is exactly where the concert would be held, in the middle of the Permian Basin, in the middle of the western portion of Texas best known for its oil wells and high school football teams. Midland, Texas - November 12, 2015.

When I first heard about this concert all I could think of was, there is no way I am going to drive half way across this huge state to see David perform in Midland. I mean, I live in Austin, the capital city in the middle of this great big state. Austin, as in the "Live Music Capital Of The World" and home of South X Southwest Music Fest and Austin City Limits Music Fest. I can see any number of world renowned musical acts on any given night at some incredible venues that are only minutes from my home. Why would I drive for 6 hours and go all the way to Midland for a concert? Why?

But then the truth set in. This is David and we crazy fans would go to the ends of the earth to see David perform live. No matter where in Texas this concert would have been held, I would be going there. And since my husband was saving his last vacation days for our son's Christmas leave from the Navy, and my David concert buddy, my daughter, is now married and has a 4 month old baby, I would be traveling alone to Midland. Not the most fun time, but at least I could blast my DA CD's all the way there. And I would be meeting up with friends I had not seen in person for way too many years.

After months of anticipation the day finally arrived for the concert. Time for a "little" road trip. If you have ever heard the holiday song that goes "Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go" than you have a small idea of my journey. Actually the trip went like this: Over the river (at least 3 major rivers and too-many-to-count smaller creeks) and through the woods (not woods exactly, but the beautiful rolling landscape of the Texas Hill Country, and then the surprisingly flat, not-too-much-out-there landscape of the southern plains that lead into Big Bend Country.) So my song was actually more like  "Over the rivers and past the hills, to David's concert I go." Thankfully, there wasn't any snow involved my my transit. That would have been a game-changer for sure.

Lake Travis on the west side of Austin. Part of the Highland Lakes chain and the lead-in to the beautiful Texas Hill Country

The view from our Midland hotel room. I told you it's flat there. Brings to mind an old song lyric: "I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles." 

So 6.5 hours later, Midland, Texas.  Friends!!!  Food!!!  Fun!!!   DAVID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The venue: Wagner Noel PAC

Dinner with awesome friends

The fearless leaders of the Golden Archies = Awesome ladies

First, the venue greeted us with a no photography/recording policy. Well, that's a really hard rule to follow when you've traveled a long way to see David Archuleta. Just a few pics to remember the night. Fortunately, I had already told myself I would not do videos because I don't enjoy the show as much if I'm worrying about recording.

Don't ask me for a setlist from this concert because my mind forgot to work for a while and I didn't write it down as I normally would. I know we heard Somewhere Only We Know, Don't Run Away, Somethin' Bout Love, a Disney Tarzan Medley, My Kind of Perfect, Parachutes and Airplanes and Crush. I'm sure I left something out of that list. David's opening act, Gracie Schram, joined him for Don't Give Up and we were introduced to David's next single off of an upcoming release, Numb.

Remembering his faithful Texas fan base, David presented a beautiful rendition of the Selena classic, Como La Flor.  The first time we heard post-Idol David try a song in Spanish was in San Antonio in March 2009 when a fan yelled "Sing something in Spanish."  The song was a snippet of Como La Flor and and we all sang along with David, even if we weren't too sure of the words. The fan who yelled that request was in attendance at the Midland concert too. Our little group of Golden Archie fans meet her and her daughter and husband for dinner before the show. They had also driven a long distance from South Texas just to see David.  From my seat in the audience, I could see her dancing and singing along to David's performance of the entire song this night and I was so happy for her.

For me, the heart stopping moment of the entire show was the heart-wrenching Everybody Hurts. Although I had heard this song before, I never really listened to it until David included it on his album. Since that day, it has become my song. So many insane things have happened in the last few years; deaths, beak-ups, marriages, premature births, military service and deployments to the Middle East. This song has comforted me many times, and hearing it live, and witnessing all of David's fiery emotions, made it just that much more intense. Thank you David for knowing just what is needed in our lives during difficult times.

David finished up the show with another Spanish song, Nunca Pense and Glorius from the movie Meet The Mormons and then he waved good bye and was gone. As with all David performances, it took a while for me to realize it was over. Time had zoomed by so quickly, but I had proof that the angelic voice, which has brought so much comfort to my life since I first watched that silly TV singing competition in 2008, is still performing and is once again reaching out to the world to try and make it a better place.

A quick observation about David before I move on from the concert: he is comfortable in his own skin now. He knows who he is and what he wants to do and doesn't want to do. He has grown up and he has become much more articulate. His time away from the limelight obviously gave him the chance to become a stronger man, one who doesn't just follow what others say. He leads. That will serve him well in a career path where many strong personalities attempt to run or ruin others lives for their own gain. David has control over his own future.

After the concert, as we all greeted and introduced ourselves to fans from around the country who had flown in to see David, our little group of Golden Archies (that's the name for our group of Archuleta fans over 35 yrs of age) from Texas was honored to find out that we had been granted a short meet and greet with David. We just had enough time for a few words to thank David for coming to Texas and acknowledge his wonderful performances of the evening. Then a couple of pics and we were off. As is the case with many of David's fans, we could have talked with him for hours, but that was not in the cards for us. That's probably for the best. We usually forget what we want to say the minute we lay eyes on him anyway.

The next morning found our little group hugging and waving good bye to each other as we hit the roads back to our homes spread out across the entire state. But no matter where we hail from - Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, or the border - we will all anxiously await the next time we can get together to experience the angelic voice which soothes our souls.

Thank you, David, for coming to Texas and please come back again soon.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

American Idol 14: And The Winner Is...

... Nick Fradiani!!!

So American Idol Season 14 is a wrap. The songs have all been sung and the confetti has fallen. We have a new WGWG as the winner this season, just as it should be. I mean, American Idol voters really love white guys with guitars. As an added treat, both of the final two guys, Clark and Nick, also play piano. We didn't even know that Nick played piano until he decided to pull that talent out of the air for his next to the last performance. Nice play there Nick. Clark had already played all of his cards and seemed to be kind of stuck in neutral, in my opinion.

While I was thrilled with the outcome of America's vote, I wasn't so thrilled with the finale performances by the big-name stars and the top 12 contestants. I keep thinking that Idol could bring back former contestants and winners to perform, but I guess they have succeeded in alienating all of the former Idols except a few. I saw Candice Glover in the audience, although Ryan didn't acknowledge her. I saw Caleb Johnson on stage after Nick was announced as the winner, but no one seemed to pay him any attention. We saw a tiny clip of Kelly Clarkson saying good luck to both contestants and a poor quality video clip of Chris Daughtry wishing them good luck, but that was it. Actually, I think I saw one of Scotty McCreery too, but that might have been on something else. No matter, the former contestants were basically not there to cheer on the new champion. Maybe next season my dream of an all Idol Finale will come true. Since that will be the final season of American Idol, an all Idol extravaganza is the least TPTB could do for the fans.  I won't hold my breath for that to happen though.

I did like Nick's performance with Andy Grammar, and Tyanna Jones' performance with The Jacksons. And I liked Keith Urban's performance and the performance of the three judges together. That was nice. Clark was ok with Michael MacDonald. Jax was trying so hard to jam with Steven Tyler, who has now gone Country, that I felt sorry for her. I thought it was fun to see Joey Cook with Echosmith, although her voice didn't blend with the lead girl's voice very well. I don't know what moron decided that Daniel Seavey should perform with the old men from New Kids On The Block, but that was just wrong. (And isn't it time for NKOTB to change their group name? I mean, come on. How old are these guys now? A couple of them looked like they could be Daniel's grandpa.)

Well, I'm still dealing with family stuff or I would write about every performance on the show last night. If you missed the finale and want to see what happened, go to American Idol's website and you can watch the full episode of the finale and any of the other episodes from Season 14.

So, that's all from me for Season 14 of American Idol.  I'll try and find some other things to blog about in the near future. Maybe some new music from David Archuleta will grace the world soon.

Bye for now.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 2 Named

I'm dealing with my husband's medical problems this week, so I won't be able to write much about Idol today. I know; really bad timing. I'll add more as soon as I can.

Just some quick notes:
Jax was eliminated. Clark and Nick are going for the crown.

Reprisal songs: Clark sounded great on Georgia on Mind. Nick sounded great on Bright Lights. 

Simon Fuller chose Ain't No Sunshine for Clark, and he did a nice a capella performance. Simon Fuller chose I Won't Give Up for Nick and he was awesome.

Clark's coronation song, Champion, was mediocre. Nick's coronation song, Beautiful Life, sounded like it was written just for him. Great job Nick.

In my opinion, Nick is the clear-cut winner.

We will see what America thought tonight.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 3 Named

American Idol sent the Top 4 contestants on hometown visits this past weekend. Tonight we saw these visits, heard three songs from each of the Top 4, and then found out who America named as the Top 3.

Scott Borchetta's song choices.

Want To Want Me by Jason Derulo
Rayvon is not Jason Derulo. He doesn't fit the hiphop star role. The clothes didn't look right. The judges didn't agree with me. They liked the performance.

Beautiful Day by U2
Beginning sounded too low and lacked emotion. The band was much better than Clark. Clark sounded kind of tired to me. Maybe even a couple of pitch problems when holding out notes. JLo liked the performance, but Harry thought the band did a great job. Keith thought he didn't really get into the song until the 3/4 mark.

Because The Night by Bruce Springsteen
Nick told Scott that is one of his favorite songs and it was obvious in his performance. There was fire in Nick's eyes and power in his voice. Nick is getting better with each performance. The audience totally loved this performance. The judges loved it too.

My Generation by The Who
Perfect song Jax. She ran all over the stage and sang like crazy. Judges loved her performance. Harry said she made the most of everything.

JLo said the best of the round was Jax.

Hometown Dedications - Contestants Choices

Back Home by Andy Grammar
Song sounded like it was written for Nick. He looked so happy and comfortable. Great vocals too. Harry was even smiling at the end of the performance and said a critique was not necessary. All three judges loved the performance.

Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding
Clark was seated at the piano. I think something has changed in Clark's voice. It used to be more appealing to me. He seems to be a little off this week.

As by Stevie Wonder
Rayvon said he has been singing this song for years with the Richmond Boys Choir. Maybe that was the problem, he was too familiar with the song. The vocals were good, but once again it just seems to be missing something. And his outfit was weird again. His hat looked like he was caught out in a rain storm and needed to be reshaped.

My Immortal by Evanescence
Jax looked beautiful seated at the piano wearing a full length gown. She sounded even better. Awesome performance.

Keith said Rayvon narrowly won the round.

The Judges' Choice

Earned It (Fifty Shades Of Grey) by The Weekend
Clark seemed to be emotionally disconnected for much of the song again. I didn't really like it that much. Harry said he needs to find a way to deliver the beginning as well as the end.

You Are So Beautiful by Joe Cocker
Major change to the beginning of the song. Rayvon added in some falsetto runs I didn't think were necessary. JLo wanted more emotion in the performance, and so did I.

Misery Business by Paramore 
Odd arrangement. Acoustic Paramore at the regular tempo doesn't sound right. The judges were confused with the arrangement too. Jax sounded good, but the music was all wrong.

I'll Be by Edwin McCain
Great song choice. Nick performed it well. I loved it. The audience loved it. Standing O from Keith. Harry said Nick nailed that song.

Harry said Nick won that round.

And the Top 3 are:

And Rayvon is finally going home.

Personally, I think Nick was the best of the night and has also been the contestant who has grown the most and provided the most consistent performances.

At this point I believe the results should be:
1. Nick
2. Jax
3. Clark
So, Nick and Jax should be the Top 2 and compete next Tuesday for the championship.

Next week we have Idol on both Tuesday and Wednesday nights, with the winner announced on Wednesday.

It should be interesting to see who is America's favorite.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 4

This week we learned who America chose as Idol's Top 4 singers for the year, and you might be a little surprised by the vote.  I was totally floored when Tyanna was sent home and Rayvon was once again advanced. I'm sure Rayvon is a nice person, I just don't get his appeal. I don't get anything from his voice.

Scott Borchetta took the Top 5 to Nashville to meet with folks at his label, Big Machine Records. While there, each contestant had a mentoring session with Scott and either Martina McBride or Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts. And the kids surprised Steven Tyler as he was recording for a country album. Steven asked Jax if he can sing with her at the finale.

There were two themes for this week's song choices: Song's from the judges' home towns and each contestant's personal choice which they feel best embodies themselves and their message. Personally, I got tired hearing so many songs about New York, since I guess there weren't many songs about New Orleans or Nashville for the kids to choose from. And I really hope that a couple of these personal songs aren't really what the contestants want us to know about them, unless they want us to know that they don't know how to choose the correct song.

I'm going to do this a little differently this week and just write about each contestant's two songs instead of following the flow of the show.

Living For The City by Stevie Wonder
This was interesting. I liked when Clark went to the piano to play part of the song. I agree with the judges, he should have stayed there instead of moving back to the mic stand. Clark has a good voice, but his performance is always enhanced when he plays an instrument. Otherwise he looks awkward just standing there. The performance was pretty good, just not awesome; which is what I am looking for at this point in the game.

Your Man by Josh Turner
OUCH! That was just painful to listen to. I like the song when Josh or Scotty McCreery sing it, because of their awesome bass notes in their voices, but Clark can't pull off bass. In my opinion, this song is not suited for Clark's higher vocal range. In the package from the mentoring session with Scott Borchetta and Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts, Scott told Clark this was the wrong song for him, but Clark insisted this is who he is and wants to be. You could have fooled me. His previous performances have never included country songs written for a totally different kind of voice. And the fact that Clark had an attitude towards Scott did not bode well for him this week. Standing up for yourself and being disrespectful are two different things. Lose the 'tude, dude. Sorry Clark, you don't get my votes this week.

Empire State of Mind by Alicia Keys
I loved seeing Jax seated at the piano again. This always signals something special is about to happen, and she did not disappoint. Jax sounded wonderful, even though she had a few cracks here and there, due to a little throat issue. This was definitely the right song for her.

Human by Christina Perri
This was a stellar performance, both vocally and artistically, even with the little imperfections with her voice and the fog about to swallow her up on the stage. It was easy to see that Jax has an emotional connection to this song. Some of the other contestants need to take notes on how Jax chooses songs. She almost always scores a home run with her picks.

Bright Lights by Matchbox 20
Nick fronting the band while playing his guitar, looked totally natural. Nick looks so comfortable on that stage now. Lots of power, attitude, and great vocals. Great job.

What Hurts The Most by Rascal Flatts
From the moment in the mentoring package where Jay DeMarcus plays guitar for Nick while Nick sings and Jay starts to sing along, I knew this would be an epic performance, And It Was. It is so obvious that Nick knows who he is and what he wants to be. I loved that Jay told him to let go of the guitar for this performance and just sing. Thank you, Nick, for letting the band take care of the instruments. For me, this song was the turning point in the competition. No one else came close to the performances that Nick gave this week. The competition is his to win right now.

Need You Now by Lady Antebellum
I don't know why it is, but I just can't seem to connect with Rayvon. His vocals are usually fine, but I just don't feel his songs like I should. There were other contestants this season, like Quentin, who didn't have perfect vocals but I could feel their performances , but I just don't get that feeling with Rayvon. Unfortunately, on this song choice, the vocals didn't work for me either.

Believe by Justin Bieber
This time there was definitely more passion in the performance, but for me, most of that passion came from Rayvon's mom, who he was dedicating the performance to. The audience seemed to like the performance. Jennifer was crying. Harry thought the writers of the song would be proud of him. I still don't get Rayvon.

This week, in addition to the contestant's performances, Harry sang a song he wrote about New Orleans. It was boring to me. The girl's Nashville mentor, Martina McBride, performed an amazing rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

For me, the rankings go:
1. Nick
2. Jax
3. Clark
4. Rayvon

And Idol has changed up the normal sequence another way this year. The Top 4 are all going for hometown visits this time. So next week will be even more intense than usual. We will be visiting New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, and  Tennessee.

See y'all next week. Don't forget you can still vote through next Tuesday, May 5,  using google search- American Idol Vote or .

Thursday, April 23, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 5

Thousands began the journey on the road to stardom, but only a very few have succeeded to reach their goal. This week Idol announced the Top 5 contestants for season 14. The 5 people who will travel the country this summer to entertain the masses. At least, they hope the crowds will come out to meet their Idols. I think the last season where crowds filled the stadiums to see the Top 10 was Season 7; the year of David Cook, David Archuleta, Jason Castro, Michael Johns, Brook White, Carly Smithson, and the rest of the most talented season ever for American idol. yes, other stars have come to fame from AI, but Season 7 was the one that all Idol fans claim as the best. The season all others have been measured against. The season that put all others to shame.

So this week the theme was Arena Anthems.  Or as Ryan described them "Epic songs from super stars." You will be surprised as to what songs these contestants chose as arena anthems. Most don't even come close to qualifying. And TPTB didn't have any big-name stars drop by to help mentor the kids this week.

So here are the Top 4 and the Bottom 2 who vied for the Twitter save this week. Two songs from each contestant. And a little of each contestants back-story.

Her father was a firefighter injured on 9-11.

You Are Gonna Be My Girl by Jet
Jax looked like she had fun singing this song. It didn't really do anything for me. No pizzazz. No anthem power. Keith seemed to like it.

Recruited to play college basketball but was injured and decided to concentrate on music instead. Dad is a musician and his career has taken off now because of Nick.

Harder To Breathe by Maroon 5
Much better on song choice. Good song for Nick. He looked so much more comfortable on the stage. Good job.

As a kid, Clark used to perform at nursing homes with his parents. That's when he realized his voice could affect people.

Yesterday by The Beatles
Not sure if arena anthems have a grand piano and violins accompanying the singer on a ballad, but it was different. Unfortunately, Clark had some major intonation problems. He cracked several times and was flat at other times.

Her parents and all of her siblings have names starting with "T."  The family was homeless for a while.

Party In The USA by Miley Cyrus
New, young look for Tyanna. Unfortunately she had intonation problems in the beginning. I wasn't blown away by the performance.

Vying for the Twitter Save:

Grew up in the 9th ward in New Orleans, just mom and two sisters. His mother was very protective of her kids because of the dangerous area where they lived.

Light My Fire by The Doors
The song choice had possibilities, but Quentin's interpretation was very laid back. It wasn't bad, but Quentin had intonation problems throughout the performance.

Grew up singing in church. Just mom and his sister.

I'm Not The Only One by Sam Smith
Definitely not a arena anthem. Much more like a ballad. It was ok, but I just didn't get any spark or connection with this performance.

Song Number Two:

Maggie May by Rod Stewart
The perfect song choice for the night's theme. Nick sounded great. Possibly the best performance of the night and definitely the best so far from Nick this season. Keith loved the performance. JLo loved the performance. Harry said nice job.

Heaven by Bryan Adams
Totally different look for this song; more grown up. Tyanna had intonation problems again on this song. Maybe the pressure is starting to get to the 16 year old. It was ok, but a long way from perfect.

Boyfriend by Justin Bieber
An acoustic performance seated center stage. Not really an anthem. It was in Clark's style but not following the theme. And it had intricate guitar work, but not much else. Harry didn't think it worked and neither did I.

White Flag by Dido
Jax played the piano next to a cello. A beautiful ballad, not an arena anthem. I loved the performance even though it didn't follow the theme. The judges loved the performance also.

For the save:

Shake It Out by Florence + The Machine
More intonation problems for Quentin. The production part of the performance was good, but he needs to work on staying in tune. But it was better than the first song.

Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac
Really shaky start. Pitch problems. Better on the chorus with the backup singers but off again when he started the second verse. Ends on an unnecessary falsetto screeching note. He murdered a perfectly good song. Blah. I don't understand why the audience thought it was so good. Just because he can sing a high note, does not make it a great performance.

And the Twitter save goes to, you guessed it, Rayvon.

So the Top 5 moving on and going of the summer tour are Nick, Clark, Rayvon, Tyanna, and Jax.

My rankings for these performances considering both songs from the Top 5 are:
1. Nick
2. Jax
3. Clark
4. Tyanna
5. Rayvon

Maybe Rayvon will finally go home next week.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 6

So this week the Idol contestants were cut to 6 and the Twitter Save was used again.

This week's theme: American Classics as chosen by Idol fans.  There were two songs performed by everyone this week.

Top 5:
Why Do Fools Fall In Love by Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers
Odd song. I guess the concept was good, but I wasn't bowled over by the performance. She creaked some notes here and there and she looked very glued to the mic stand. Keith wasn't into the song choice either.

Superstition by Stevie Wonder
Very cool harmony scatting with his guitar in the intro. Really good performance. Lots of energy. The audience and the judges loved it too. Clark's guitar was played by his dad when he was performing with The Righteous Brothers.

Piece of My Heart by Janis Joplin
Good song choice for Jax. Her voice has enough edge to it to deliver on a Joplin classic. Her has a lot of pain in her voice and that makes this kind of song even better.

American Girl by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Nick was definitely in his element with this song. He rocked it. Keith loved it. JLo was rocking out. Harry said that was exactly what he needs to do.

Are You Gonna Go My Way by Lenny Kravitz
Great set for this performance and outfit. Quentin overall did a good job. Lots of energy, but an occasional dropped note here and there. Probably one of his best performances. Unfortunately Quentin shot himself in the foot when he had a momentary meltdown and questioned how the two contestants in the bottom two could be there. Harry misunderstood his comment as disrespecting the show and problems ensued.

Bottom 2 vying for the Twitter Save:

My Funny Valentine by Frank Sinatra
Joey looked beautiful. The voice was fine, but her spirit seemed to be missing. Technically it was a good performance but I think the bottom 2 got to her. Harry liked it. Jennifer didn't feel anything either.

Long Train Running by The Doobie Brothers
Voice was ok, but the choreographed dance moves looked dumb. Some of the words were mushed together. Keith didn't get any feeling from the performance.

Round 2 of songs:

Moon River by Frank Sinatra
Clark played the piano. Wearing a suit and tie. It was good, but it not anywhere close to his best. It needed something more. He looked kind of uncomfortable. Harry said Clark needed to challenge himself musically with different chords. Bill Medley from The righteous Brothers was sitting in the audience with Clark's dad. Clark called him Uncle Bill.

Proud Mary by Credence Clearwater Revival
Nice slow beginning and then she cut loose. This was so much better than the first song. Lots of energy and great vocals. The judges loved it.

Only The Good Die Young by Billy Joel
Started seated, but eventually stood. Slower than the original version, almost a power ballad. Easier to understand the lyrics. Great job. Keith loved the arrangement and performance and so did JLo. Harry not so much.

Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkle
Ouch. Not a good performance.Very pitchy, as Randy Jackson would have said. No applause from the judges on that one. Blah!!!

Beat It by Michael Jackson
Another good performance from Jax. Not stellar, but it had energy. She was running around the stage. Harry like the energy.

For the Twitter Save:
Always On My Mind by Willie Nelson
Well, this is one of my all time favorite songs and Willie Nelson is one of my all time favorite singers, so Rayvon didn't really stand a chance with me on this performance. Blah! The judges liked it though.

Somebody To Love by Jefferson Airplane
It was quirky. It was fun. It was Joey for sure. I loved everything about it: great vocals, crazy bohemian dress, mandolin playing, combat-looking boots, big ol' flowers in her hair. I Loved It.

And the Twitter Save went to Rayvon. 52 % of the vote
Shame on you America. How could you let this happen? Joey Cook is so much more entertaining than Rayvon. Did American even listen to the performances tonight? BOOOOOOO!!!!! And now Joey won't be on the summer tour.

And all that I can hope for is that Rayvon finally goes home next week.

My Top 2: Nick and Clark
My bottom 2: Rayvon and Quentin

Friday, April 10, 2015

American Idol Top 7

So Idol seems to like the Twitter Fan Save and used it again this week.

The week's theme was Billboard Top 200 so the kids are all singing hit songs from the past few years. I've saw a list of the songs ahead of time, but not who would be performing what, and I was not impressed. This week's co-mentors were Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line and Jason Derulo. Sadly for FLG, there aren't any country singers left in the competition. But they are smart guys, and were able to give some good advise.  Jason's style was more suited to several of the contestants, and he had good advise for those he helped.

Florida Georgia Line sang their new single, Sipping On Fire.

Jason performed his new single, Want To Want Me.

Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Hudson sang Trouble.

Top 7:
Poker Face by Lady Gaga
Huge change-up on the arrangement. Brian Kelley said it might be better to not make such a drastic change. I agree. This was not one of my favorite songs before the change, and I liked it even less after. Jennifer looked very uncomfortable while watching the performance. Keith said the arrangement was interesting. Harry didn't like the performance. Sorry Jax, this was a miss in my book.

Teenage Dream by Katy Perry
Brian told Nick to watch himself perform in a mirror and see what he is doing. He can get more comfortable looking on stage. I wouldn't have chosen this song for Nick, but it was a pretty good performance. He definitely looked more comfortable up there. He's using his eyes now and connecting better. Good job Nick.

Latch by Sam Smith and Disclosure
Jason showed Quentin how to get a higher falsetto. Quentin said he was doing something different and he actually did. This was interesting. I'm not sure I love the high falsetto Jason suggested, but overall the performance was alright. Jennifer said she could tell he was thinking too much and he doesn't have to do what others suggest if he is uncomfortable with it.

Joey Cook
Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus
Jason told Joey she has "crab hands' all the time and they can be off-putting.
I can't stand Miley's version, but I liked this performance. Joey's quirky voice made it so different. And her outfit for the night was the opposite of Miley singing in underwear or nude. Good job Joey.

Make It Rain by Ed Sheeran
Jason told Clark he is spiritual, but right now he is singing like a prayer, more inward. He needs to be more like a preacher, singing more outward. Clark played his guitar again. The voice is great, but Clark looks uncomfortable with his eyes open. He doesn't know where to look. Harry said the voice was good, but he rushed the song. JLo wants him the get more comfortable.

Tyanna Jones
Stay by Rihanna
Relating the song to her grandmother who passed away instead of a relationship. Beautiful song for her voice. I could tell Tyanna became very emotional during the song, but she held it together until she finished. Harry complimented her on completing the song. Good job.

For the Twitter Save:

Set Fire To The Rain by Adele
Scott said Rayvon is a great technical singer, who isn't as great performing.  Rayvon was ok. I love Adele on this song, but Rayvon isn't as powerful. It was just ok for me. JLO wasn't sure if it was the right song for him.

Hey Ya! by Outkast
Scott said Qaasim is a great performer, but not as great on vocals. Scott was correct. Performance part was good, vocals were not so much. Sorry Qaasim. Your journey on Idol is over with that performance.

Rayvon gets the Twitter Fan Save once again this week.

Ryan said the Top 5 go on tour this summer. That's different.

Considering the overall performances this week, my top 3 were Tyanna, Nick and Joey. My bottom two were Jax and Rayvon.

See you next week.

Friday, April 3, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 8 Sing Kelly Clarkson Songbook

This week American Idol paid homage to the original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson. Kelly was on hand to mentor the kids as each performed one of her songs and she also performed two songs live. The also eliminated one of the contestants. I'm actually surprised. but pleased, by the elimination. I really thought this contestant's fan base was bigger and stronger than some of the others, but I guess not.

Idol tried something new this week and had the audience vote on twitter for the person from the bottom two that we wanted to save. Even though the choice was obvious, I didn't expect it. But we will get to the bottom 2 vote in a little while.

Oh, and Ruben Studdard, winner of season 2, was in the house and brought the results envelope out to Ryan.

First, the Top 8.
Nick FradianiCatch My Breath 
Simple backing band on stage with him. Nick sounded great. He seemed more comfortable and had a lot more eye contact. Kelly told him to open his eyes. The judges want him to loosen up even more.

Jax - Beautiful Disaster
Piano and cello on stage with her was nice. I didn't like the outfit she was wearing; too much to deal with dragging a cape/train thing around while competing. She sounded nice though. Harry loved it. Keith thought the production stuff, like the costume, was too much.

Group performance of People Like Us. 

Tyanna Jones - Mr Know It All
Kelly tells her to get bold or mad at someone to sing this song. Tyanna says she was bullied and she is going to channel that feeling. She gives a pretty good performance. I don't like the background singers voices' with her voice. Someone seems off. Harry and JLo felt that Tyanna was singing that to the judges.

Joey Cook - Miss Independent
Joey made it into a funky jazz performance.Jazz band on stage with her. It was a little old school, but I really like it. It didn't sound anything like the original. Joey is definitely an original. Judges loved it.

Kelly Clarkson came out and sang Heartbeat Song. Kelly looked beautiful and sounded awesome. I think it's time for the haters that have been criticizing her post-baby weight to be hushed. Not everyone is a size 0.

Quentin Alexander - Dark Side
The clothes are a little more tame than usual. Another really nice performance from Quentin. Lots of passion in his voice and eyes.

Qaasin Middleton - Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger)
Seated center stage, playing his guitar. This was a good choice on paper, but Qaasim didn't quite deliver. He started off strong, but lost the intonation when he went for the upper register on the runs. Not his best.

Kelly came out again and sang At Last. Once again she was awesome.

Clark Beckham - The Trouble With Love Is
Kelly wants him to let go and open his eyes. Clark gave a very soulful performance. And he actually opened his eyes more. Easily the best performance of the night.

And the bottom 2 are Daniel Seavey and Rayvon Owen.

Daniel Seavey - Breakaway
Poor Daniel had shot his voice. He had laryngitis and his performance shows to. Poor kid was doomed from the start. The good news is he is only 15 and made it to the Top 9 of American Idol. we will hear more from him in a few years.

Rayvon Owen - Since U Been Gone
I wasn't too sure about his slowed down version of this song, but he actually sounded better than he has. I think it might be the pressure was off when Daniel sank and he just let go a little more. He still hasn't won me over. Harry said "all chops and no gravy." I agree.

And the first Twitter save went to Rayvon.

So my favorites of the week: Clark, Nick, Joey
Bottom 2: Qaasim and Rayvon with Qaasim going home.

Next week's theme: Billboard Hits
Mentors: Florida Georgia Line and Jason Derulo.

See you next week to see if I am even close on the elimination.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

American Idol 14: And Then There Were 9

The judges' save was taken of the table last week when Harry, Keith and Jennifer decided to save Qaasim Middleton, so this week two contestants had to go home.

This week's theme: The '80s
Idol had told us to watch for special surprise guests on this show. I wondered which '80's relics they would dig up.

The answer came quickly as David Hasselhoff brought Ryan the official results envelope. In case you weren't around in the '80s, "The Hoff" was the lead actor for the TV shows Knight Rider and Bay Watch. He also sings. Well, he tries to sing, which was evident on this show.  He sang a medley of '80s songs. "The Hoff" was never considered a successful recording artist in the U.S., but in Europe, he is very popular.

This week, '80s icon, Boy George, helped Scott Borchetta mentor the kids. After a clip about Boy George, the contestants helped Boy George sing his hit, Karma Chameleon.

Later in the show we were "treated?" to a performance of Push It by Salt-n-Pepa.

The Top 9:

Daniel Seavey
You Make My Dreams by Hall and Oats
The young girls must be voting this season, or young master Daniel would have been headed home after the lackluster performances he has delivered recently. He sounds better this week than last week. The judges seemed to like this performance a little better too.

Quentin Alexander
In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins
Very mesmerizing performance. I really appreciate when an artist can deliver a performance in a way that I hear the words to an older song in a new light. He is very original. The judges loved the performance, too.

Joey Cook
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper
Joey looked like '80s Cyndi Lauper dressed her. Unfortunately, the performance didn't measure up to the outfit. Joey seemed to be a little reserved or off somehow. Harry said he thought she was distracted too. Keith said she had moments of inconsistency. Boy George came out and gave her a hug.

Tyanna Jones
I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston
The arrangement was more EDM then classic Whitney. Tyanna was dressed like a 16 yr old again this week and she looked so much more comfortable up on the stage. Good performance.

You Give Love A Bad Name by Bon Jovi
I liked the beginning and the end when it was just Jax on the piano. The band in the middle kind of drowned her out. Not a bad performance, she just needed a little different arrangement.

Nick Fradiani
Man In The Mirror by Michael Jackson
No guitar for Nick again this week, but he had a nice acoustic backing for the first verse. I liked this performance a lot. Nick had a nice energy about him. You can still see that he is a little shy and reserved, but his vocals are great and I think he is growing in confidence.

Clark Beckham
Every Breath You Take by The Police
Boy George and Scott wanted Clark to change the key but he kept his first choice. Clark accompanies himself on the piano. This made the performance very personal. I loved it and JLo got "goosies."

Qaasim Middleton
Addicted To Love by Robert Palmer
Qaasim told us he wanted to concentrate on his vocals and not jump around the stage this week, and that's exactly what he did. His vocals were pretty good. The "pop" was gone from the performance, but that worked for this song.

Rayvon Owen
Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears For Fears
Kind of a boring performance. Yes, he sang the lyrics just fine, but I didn't feel any connection to him or the song. I think since he is a vocal coach, he is more tied up in the technical part of the song than in the emotional part of the performance. He is technically fine, but there isn't any life in his performances.

So this week we said good bye to Maddie Walker and Adanna Duru. I won't miss Adanna, but I really wish Maddie had stayed in the competition. We have now lost the only country artist in the competition.

Ryan told us to look for something new with Twitter next week. I guess we will be able to vote with Twitter now.

My favorites of the night and the one I want to see leave next week.
Top 3: Clark, Nick, and Quentin
Bottom 3: Rayvon, Daniel, and Qaasim
Going home?: Rayvon