Archive for American Idol

‘Idol’ Recap – Season Finale

Posted in Culture with tags , , on May 19, 2009 by joetheyouthpastor

When you get to this point in the competition, you know everybody can sing. It’s just easier to point out the flubs and missteps rather than the usual 3 – up, 3 – down. So, here is the weird stuff from tonight.

-Paula Abdul looked like an Oompa Loompa tonight – orange skin contrasted with bright green. Lay off on the spray tan!

-Adam sounded bad on Kara’s song. Also, his pants were atrocious.

-Kris sounded bad on Kara’s song, too.

-Kara’s song made Adam and Kris sound bad. The final song this year was a great reminder that even someone like Kara DioGuardi, who has written a ton of top 40 hits, still writes 10 pieces of crap for every hit.

Bottom line is that it’s down to who America likes more. This year, more than any other year so far, neither finalist is clearly better than the other. It’s totally down to preference. Do you prefer theatrical, glam-oriented, slightly experimental rock? Or do you prefer a more laid-back, singer-songwriter type of vibe? Your choice, America.

Peace.

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‘Idol’ Recap

Posted in Culture with tags , , , on May 14, 2009 by joetheyouthpastor

Here are my thoughts about American Idol this week.

Tuesday

-The judges picks were pretty good this year. Definitely weird that Kara seemed to want to criticize the contestants for song choice, when they didn’t have any choice on the first one…

-I really did not like Adam’s version of ‘One’. Kris’ version of ‘Apologize’ was pretty blah. Surprisingly, Danny won round one.

-Adam was great in round two. Danny was predictable. Honestly, is there anybody out there who didn’t think Danny would do a power ballad/love song? Kris, however, won the mess out of the second round. His performance was his best, the best of the night, and I think it showed us pretty clearly what kind of artist he’ll be.

Wednesday

Didn’t watch the whole show because Lost was having its season finale, but here are some of my thoughts as I skimmed on the DVR.

-Katy Perry is weird.

-I like that they gave all three guys the results at the same time.

-No surprise that Adam is in the final.

-A little surprised that Danny got the boot. I thought his heartbreaking story and popularity he had enjoyed all season would be enough to carry him.

-Surprised that Danny left from a popularity standpoint… Musically, it was the right decision. Danny was boring. Kris against Adam will be the most interesting final in AI history.

-The only negative for Danny leaving is that it would have been pretty cool to have two worship leaders in the final. Oh well.

Next week should be exciting. And since I won’t have to worry about Lost, I’ll be able to watch the whole thing. Thanks for working that out, ABC and Fox.

Peace.

‘Idol’ Recap

Posted in Culture with tags , , on May 5, 2009 by joetheyouthpastor

It’s getting down to the wire on American Idol. Exciting category for me this week. I grew up and learned to play guitar on hard rock, so this was my wheelhouse. It also looked going in like this week was going to be a snap to judge – Allison and Adam kinda have a run on the rock thing over Kris and Danny. There were some interesting surprises in store this week, both good and bad. Here’s the rundown.

AdamGood performance. Really good performance. Actually not as good as I was expecting, especially when I heard he was doing a Led Zepplin song. But mad props for being the first Idol contestant ever to tackle Robert Plant. Obviously, this week had Adam and Allison written all over it.

AllisonI liked Allison a whole lot early on. She had the young thing going for her. She had the cool thing going for her. She had the rock edge thing going on. The last few weeks have been misses for me. And this week was, too. I think she’s having an identity crisis as a singer. She’s doing this weird blend of rockish vocals mixed with popish mannerisms (picture Christina Aguilera’s hand gestures when she sings a long run). Plus tonight she went down the road that L’il was on the last few weeks before she got booted – getting mouthy and annoying with the judges. Note to all contestants: I don’t care how good you are, or think you are; even Paula has sold more records than you have.

KrisKris was out of his element tonight. It’s not that he can’t rock, it’s just that hard rock isn’t his thing. That being said, I was pretty impressed with his performance. The judges poo-pooed it some, but I thought he did the best job of the night in terms of playing sort of a bad hand. He definitely handled hard rock better than, say, Matt handled country.

DannyDanny gets the award for the night in terms of sheer guts. Everybody remembers Michael Johns getting booted early last year on ‘Dream On’. When I heard Danny was performing it, two things went through my head – 1) Wow, that’s gutsy; and 2) I don’t see this going well for Danny at all. I was right on both counts. I don’t think Danny is in any danger of going home. America loves him so much, I think he could hum for the next two weeks and still walk away the winner. Tonight was horrible. In every respect terrible. I hated it. Everything about it. He was trying too hard to be, well, hard. He was trying to snarl like Adam. He was trying to gruff up his voice more than usual, and it just sounded stupid. He was frequently off pitch on the melody. The ‘scream’ at the end was just that – an uncontrolled scream. As screechy as Stephen Tyler gets, he never loses control. Simon’s critique that it sounded like something from a horror movie was all-too-accurate. The judges kept saying stuff like, “I don’t know if it was the right song choice for you…” Here’s the easy answerL unless you’re Stephen Tyler, it’s the wrong song. Just ask Michael Johns. Oh, and if Danny really needs to listen to his performance to see if it was as bad as the judges said, he definitely doesn’t need to be the next American Idol.

The duets tonight were a nice surprise, and very interesting. I always hate the big song and dance numbers that the final 12 and onward do on results night, so I thought I would hate the duets, too. I actually like both the duets tonight. American Idol finally managed to creat filler that doesn’t feel like filler.

Good show tonight. If I had to guess, I’d say either Allison or Kris is going home. Simon was right in saying that Allison’s duet with Adam might have saved her tonight. We’ll see!

Peace.

‘Idol’ Recap

Posted in Culture with tags , , on April 21, 2009 by joetheyouthpastor

Disco week. Yuck. Nobody really likes disco, I think. There are some great disco tunes from the 70’s, but not many. Here’s the rundown.

3 – Up

Kris – This guy just gets better and better each week.  The jazz club/singer-songwriter spin on ‘She Works Hard for the Money’ tonight was great. Despite Paula’s weird comments about Kris ‘shopping in the women’s department’, it was a very enjoyable segment on tonight’s show. The judges keep saying that they’re looking for originality and artistry, and for my money, it’s pretty much down to him and Adam for the title this year.

Nostalgia – It was a great night for music reminiscent of some of the video games I grew up playing. I’m talking, of course, about Anoop Desai’s arrangement of ‘Dim All the Lights’. It reminded me of the ending sequence to Mega Man X. Also, mad props to Anoop for proudly sporting what I like to refer to as the ‘9th grade mustache’. Between that and the polyphonic midi arrangement of his song, I was pleasantly reminded of my middle school days (’96-’98, for those of you interested).

The Show’s Pace – They really moved things along this week. It almost felt rushed – and I loved it! I can’t even remember how many articles I’ve read over the years bemoaning the amazing amounts of filler in American Idol broadcasts. It seems like the show’s producers finally noticed. Much appreciated, AI!

3 – Down

Danny – I’m tired of Danny. The judges just can’t seem to get enough of him, and I don’t get it. I’m tired of the glasses, tired of the weird faces when he sings, tired of him flailing around on stage, tired of the cheese. His voice is great, I’ll give him that. But that’s all I’ll give him.

Allison – There literally wasn’t anything that I liked about her performance tonight. The arrangement was bad. The vocal was bad. Her outfit was beyond bad. She’s just trying too hard. I mean, come on… Glitter makeup?!

Matt – Stayin’ Alive? Not after tonight’s performance. It looked like he walked into a costume shop and said, “I want to be Justin Timberlake for Halloween.” Tonight was just one too many drawn-out falsetto endings for Matt. Too predictable. Too pitchy. Too many weird facial expressions. Too… not… good. The judges liked it (except for Simon). They are crazy (except for Simon).

As I’ve said over the last couple of weeks, the contestants who have some genuine artistry in them are setting themselves apart more and more each week. Tonight featured boring and predictable arrangements (L’il, Danny, Matt) contrasted with unique and original arrangements (Kris, Adam) and weird arrangements (Allison, Anoop). Unless something very unexpected happens in the next few weeks, I predict we’ll be seeing Adam and Danny in the final. If you were paying attention, you’ll remember that I don’t like Danny. I don’t. But I think enough people love him that he’ll end up in the final with Adam. It’s a shame, really, because Kris really deserves to be in the final. Let’s see who gets eliminated tomorrow!

Peace.

‘Idol’ Recap

Posted in Culture with tags , , , on April 14, 2009 by joetheyouthpastor

I’m out of practice because I missed last week, but here goes…

 

3 – Up

Adam – Like Quentin Tarantino said, it’s just fun to anticipate and look forward to what Adam is going to do each week. He pulled out all the rock-star stops tonight, and it was awesome.

Quentin Tarantino – Am I the only one who thinks that Quentin Tarantino might be the best celebrity mentor we’ve seen in a long long time on AI? He actually gave constructive criticism and made toughtful suggestions to the contestants. He won my undying approval by being (as far as I’ve seen) the only person so far this season to criticize Danny for anything. Quentin’s suggestion of using his eyes instead of his hands to convey emotion was spot on. Did you notice that Danny didn’t wear his glasses during the peformance this week? He managed to follow Tarantino’s advice for the first part of his song, but it looked like he got nervous halfway through and reverted to being a pointer.

Kris – Randy got it wrong, Kara got it right. His performance tonight was outstanding. It was heartfelt, touching, and haunting. Definitely in Kris’ top two performances this year.

3 – Down

Allison – The judges seemed to like it a lot. I didn’t like it all that much… Her voice has always sounded a little rough and scratchy (and I like that), but now it’s starting to sound worn out to me.

Matt – Most of it sounded like a karaoke version of the original. The parts that didn’t sound like a karaoke version stunk, except for the ending. He was out of tune in parts, and all the ‘soulful’ stuff he added in didn’t add anything worth listening to. I think he’s in trouble.

Paula’s thought process – She tried to get philosophical tonight, but eight years of American Idol have taught us that intelligent thought is not Paula’s strong suit. I kept expecting to see the cameras catching her looking at a cheat-sheet of inspirational thoughts or a copy of ‘Chicken Soup for the American Idol Contestant’s Soul’.

 

I think the top two or three contestants are setting themselves apart. I was really disappointed to see L’il biting back at Simon this week. I think he’s been a little hard on her, but she really hasn’t been performing up to her potential. She started to show a little bit of an ‘I deserve this’ attitude tonight, and that’s never a good thing. It should be interesting to see who goes home tomorrow.

Peace.

‘Idol’ Recap

Posted in Culture with tags , , on March 31, 2009 by joetheyouthpastor

Interesting week this week. Some really high highs, and some pretty low lows. The usual best performers were the best, and the usual worst were the worst. I just gotta say, even though she didn’t make my 3-Up this week, I love L’il Rounds. She’s not my favorite as a musical artist, but I want to see her go far in this competition just so that America can see what a stong nuclear family looks like week after week. Also, does anybody else just really want to see Adam Lambert tackle ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ by the Darkness?

3-Up

Danny – I’ve made no secret over the last few weeks that I’m getting tired of Danny, and I’m still no huge fan, but he was really good tonight. It was great to see him drop the cheesiness and pretense from last week and get back to what he does well. I’d still love to see him shine on something other than a power ballad, but to quote Randy, this week was ‘a thousand, million percent’ better than last week. And I don’t even like Rascal Flatts.

Scott – I think everybody likes this guy’s personality, and he’s got a cool story. Tonight’s performance was intimate and very solid. I definitely think he found his groove with the singer/songwriter/pianist mold, although if he wants to stay in that groove he’ll limit his song choices pretty severely. My biggest thing with Scott is just the facial expressions! I understand that because of his blindness he doesn’t squint when most others would, but it’s just a little off-putting to see. Maybe some sunglasses, a la Stevie or Ray Charles?

Kris – I liked the arrangement a lot. He took a song that I’ve always heard in sort of a Chicago blues style and turned the beginning and end into something haunting, ethereal, almost mournful. A girl I know said it was sexy. The middle section didn’t do as much for me, but I suppose it had to be done. Kris is improving every week, and that’s cool to see.

3-Down

Megan – Time to go home. Not only is her vocal ability starting to resemble Sanjayah just a little too much, but her arrogance is really beginning to annoy. This week she defended a terrible performance (the judges were spot on in their criticism, despite being a bit mean-spirited towards her) by saying, “I enjoyed it, and I think my fans did, too.” If by ‘fans’ she meant ‘my family’, she may be right.

Allison – Wow. I love this girl’s voice, but tonight was a huge mess. As a music-phile and guitarist, I cringed at her clumsy attempt at playing her own instrument tonight. (Paula called it her ‘Axe’, apparently not realizing that you can’t truly call it an axe unless it’s plugged in through an overdriven amp). Tempo and rhythm are huge issues in music, and she had neither. The judges seemed preoccupied with her outfit and hair, and I can’t say I blame them. Neither was good. Plus the vocal was far from her best.

Matt – The “Top 40 Piano Player” in him came out tonight. His vocal tone sounded like a mediocre karaoke version of the Fray’s Isaac Slade. The musical arrangement wasn’t great, either. The judges were right on. Wrong song choice.

That’s that. No Idol recap from me next week, as I’ll be on a mission trip in Haiti. I look forward to some discussion about this week, as I think my opinions might not be shared by all.

Peace.

‘Idol’ Recap

Posted in Culture with tags , on March 25, 2009 by joetheyouthpastor

Tired tonight… Here’s a quick 3-up, 3-down…

3 – UP

L’il – If she had mimicked the physical mannerisms of the early Motown ladies a little more, I might have sworn that she was straight out of the early ’60s. She looked amazing. A little shouty towards the end, but otherwise great.

Adam – The look was cool. The arrangement was laid-back and awesome. The vocal was tender and heartfelt – almost made Smokey Robinson cry. Best of the night.

Allison – She can rock, she can pop, and tonight we found out that she can soul. If she can avoid getting roped in by the Disney Channel, she’ll be a superstar for a long long time. I think she passed L’il as the female front-runner tonight.

3 – DOWN

Meghan – I agree with Simon that she might be in trouble after tonight. If she’s not, she definitely should be. The worst of the night.

Michael – He apparently interpreted Smokey Robinson’s advice to ‘pound it a little more’ to mean ‘over-accent all your consonants directly into the mike so that it makes a popping noise’. Should have asked for clarification… Plus, the ending stunk. Bad.

Danny – The cheese factor is mounting… He sounded okay tonight, but he’s in the 3-Down for one reason: You can’t listen to advice from Smokey Robinson, say you’ll take the advice in the rehearsal, and then perform it without taking the advice.

 

Peace. I’m going to bed.