Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Top 5 Idols Attempt to Sparkle on Neil Diamond Night

The show was called the "strangest ever done" by Simon, and it was to say the least. What did not change was the Top 5 trying their best to impress. Last night's format was that each contestant sang twice (every contestant sang one time and then everyone went back and sang a second song). As an overall general comment, every contestant sang better on their second song, so most of my comments will be in reference to their second song.

01 Jason Castro sang "Forever in Blue Jeans" and "September Morn"-- The first song was just ok, there was nothing memorable about it. I loved Jason's interpretation of "September Morn". He has a certain strength in his voice, yet there is something gentle as well. The judges said it was somewhat forgettable and I totally disagree. I am definitely downloading the full song on i-tunes.
Score: 4

02 David Cook sang "I'm Alive" and "All I Really Need is You"--- I will agree with Simon's comment on the first, "just above average". Both of David's songs were pretty unfamiliar to most people. On the second song, he changed the arrangement, and made it sound like a song that could be on the radio today. The song was sung with the genuine authenticity of a rock song. Paula said she felt like she was looking at the American Idol already.
Score: 5

03 Brooke White sang "I'm A Believer" and "I Am I Said"--- The first song, I am sorry to say, was really cheesey, and according to Simon- a nightmare. The second song was more sincere, it came from her heart, and it showed that amount of vulnerability that we have become so accustomed to seeing from Brooke.
Score: 3.9

04 David Archuleta sang "Sweet Caroline" and "America"--- I am not exactly sure on how to judge David on these two performances. I love David as a performer, and I think he has a great voice, but to me, I am not looking back at these performances and seeing them as special. There is where I disagree with the judges, I felt his song choices were very predictable. There is something extraordinary about David, but something very ordinary about these two performances.
Svore: 3.5

05 Syesha Mercado sang "Hello Again" and "Thank the Lord for the Nightime"--- The first performace was full of strong vocals, but I did see it as being a bit old fashioned as Simon said. Syesha did, in my opinion, have the strongest first song of any of the contestants. Syesha is someone I see as a triple threat, she can sing, dance, and act. Her personality is just about bursting at the seams and I think it really colors up her singing.
Score: 5

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Top 6 Make Memories on Andrew Lloyd Webber Night on Idol

01 Syesha Mercado sang "One Rock N' Roll Too Many"--- Syesha packed this performance with personality. She is at home, so to speak, with Broadway music; it's her comfort zone. I think Syesha has the potential to have a career in this genre of music. As Paula said, she may have brought the house down with the very first performance of the night.
Score: 5

02 Jason Castro sang "Memories"--- Jason was really brave to choose this song. I am not entirely convinced that it was the right decision though. It is also tough to judge him based it on it because it is not Jason's style of music. I will say that he made a valiant effort, and it did not sound bad; it's just not what we as an audience are used to hearing from him.
Score: 4

03 Brooke White sang "You Must Love Me"--- The performance Brooke gave was sincere and heartfelt, that being said, her voice wasn't totally in it because she was busy mentally trying to remember the song. She looked absolutely beautiful, and she was believeable, and I think that's what Andrew Lloyd Webber wanted from these contestants. I don't think her vocals were strong though, and I think when she watches it back, she will hate that she forgot her lyrics.
Score: 3.9

04 David Archuleta sang "Think of Me"--- To be completely honest, I did not care for the song. He did, to his credit, take a Broadway song and turn it into a pop song. However, I do have to agree with Simon; it was one of his weakest performances overall, and it will not be a memorable perfomance.
Score: 4

05 Carly Smithson sang "Jesus Christ Superstar"--- Carly looked like she had a lot of fun singing this, and surprisingly, the song was well suited to her vocal range. It was not her best performance, but Carly was strong throughout, and I would be surprised if she does not make it into the Top 5.
Score: 4.5

06 David Cook sang "Music of the Night"--- David's performance showed both talent and power. Randy called the perfomance HOT! and Paula said it showed how well rounded David is as a perfomer. He continues to be the most consistent contestant still in the competition now.
Score: 4.9 borderline 5

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Top 7 Glitter on American Idol

The Final 7 sang songs from Mariah Carey's songbook, and this is how I felt it all played out.

01 David Archuleta sang "When You Believe". This is a huge songm and I thought the arrangement did not do the song justice. David can sing anything though, and so he took a sub- par arrangement and turned it into a great performance. He is one of those people that could sing the phone book and it would sound great. I do not think it was as good as the judges thought though.
Score: 4.3

02 Carly Smithson sang "Without You". Going into this song, I felt like it was all wrong for Carly; it's not an inspiring song, it's sad. I thought that although her vocals were solid, the performance did not move me at all. The beginning was a bit too treacherous, and she relied too much on the bridge of the song to pull her through. She overthought the song, held back, and it lacked emotion. Sorry Carly.
Score: 3.9

03 Syesha Mercado sang "Vanishing". I think it was intelligent to sing a track from Mariah's repetoire that is not well known. Technically, the song was sung brilliantly and Syesha turned what could have been a very dull performance into a very magical one.
Score: 4.75

04 Brooke White sang "Hero". This was a great choice of song for Brooke. I love how she played the piano; I thought that gave the song a brand new spin. I agree with Paula, Brooke stayed true to who she is as an artist. She did speed up the song at the end which was not very good. I do admire her for her authenticity.
Score: 4.25

05 Kristy Lee Cook sang "Forever". This was the perfect Mariah song for Kristy Lee to sing. I enjoyed her performance, and I think part of the reason is because Kristy gave it that country feel, which was smart on her part. I completely disagree with Simon saying that parts of it were whiny; I didn't feel that way at all. She did a great job connecting with the song.
Score: 4.6

06 David Cook sang "Always Be My Baby". This is David summed up by the judges: Randy called him a hot recording artist, Paula said the song could be on a movie soundtrack, and Simon said it was like coming out of karaoke hell into fresh air. It had more originality than all the other contestants before him combined. Simon used the word daring and I couldn't agree more. David dares to take risks every single week without fail and that is what makes him stand out.
Score: 5

07 Jason Castro sang "I Don't Wanna Cry". Paula called it amazing and Simon agreed. She also added that she could listen to Jason all night. The song and the arrangement completely stayed in line with who Jason is as an artist. His falsetto was right on, and the vibe of the song, and the vocals overall were not comparable to anyone else-- amazing.
Score: 5

Monday, April 14, 2008

America's Next Top Model: Cycle 2 --- Where are They Now?

“They’re all gorgeous but only one has what it takes” was the slogan for Cycle 2 for America's Next Top Model, but where are some of the notables from that season now? I must say it was very difficult for me to find any sort of information on any of the contestants, even winner Yoanna House isn't in the limelight as much as she should be. I found the most info on Mercedes who I still maintain will be a major star, and I mean more than the Chili's commercial from last year. Her face and her personality is unforgetable. Yoanna is still doing major ad campaigns for Sephora so it looks like her beautiful face will be around for a while.

4th place--- April Wilkner is still booking modeling jobs and has an extensive portfolio which you can see on her website,

3rd place--- Shande Sullivan is signed with Trump Modeling Agency and is manager of a hair salon and also deejays in her free time. She is living in New York City.

2nd place--- Mercedes Scelba Shorte is managed my NOUS Models and photos can be seen on . She has modeled for Mandy Moore’s Mblem clothing line and landed a beauty campaign with Leeza Gibbons Sheer Cover Mineral Makeup. Also check out Mercede’s myspace page at .

pictured above is Mecredes, photo is from Cycle 2 of America's Next Top Model
Winner--- Yoanna House is managed by IMG Models-- and 1st Option Models-- . She began hosting The Look for Less after Elisabeth Hasselbeck left in 2005. Yoanna is currently living in New York City.

pictured on the right is Yoanna House and Shandi Sullivan,
photo is from Cycle 2 of America's Next Top Model

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Michael Johns is voted off Idol, Now What?

Michael John’s sudden departure from the American Idol competition forced me to ask a question I found it difficult to ask before. Why? I, at the very least, expected him to be in the top five but instead he gets voted out five weeks into the final stretch of the competition. I began thinking in a more focused way, what happened? Song choice? I loved the song, and I think the public did too, it’s recognizable, Michael developed himself as a bluesy rocker with lots of soul which held true for this particular performance. His vocals were solid, spot on, and his best weeks of the competition were the previous two and the week he met his end in the competition.

The reason I think he was voted off ties into the number one. Michael had to sing first on Tuesday (April 8), and singing first is the kiss of death. It’s statistically proven that singing first on Idol may get you voted off all together, and if not you’ll at least be in the bottom three. My theory is that no one remembers the first performance by the end of the show, and even though they do have a recap of all the performances it doesn’t help. In fact, out of the six seasons completed thus far, the contestant in the top three who sang first has been voted out five out of six times. Last year was the only year that did not happen, Jordin Sparks sang first and went on to win the competition. However, in the previous five seasons those who sang first in the top three were voted off, Nikki McKibbin, Kimberley Locke, Jasmine Trias, Vonzell Solomon, and Elliott Yamin.

Maybe, though, being voted off is not such a bad thing; many contestants have gone on to be very successful. Joshua Gracin was voted off in the Top 4 of Season 2 after having to sing first and he just released his sophomore country album. Kimberley Locke (Season 2) co-owns a restaurant and has also released two albums. Clay Aiken who lost in the Finals to Ruben Studdard in Season 2 has gone on to be a household name today.

Nadia Turner from Season 4 was, in my opinion, one of the most underrated contestants that graced the Idol stage, and she was voted out after singing first in the top 8. She is putting the finishing touches on her debut album which I am sure will impress provided that it is marketed properly.

From Season 5, Bucky Covington and Elliott Yamin were both voted off after having to sing first (Top 8 and Top 3 respectively), and both of them have released albums and enjoy success in the music business. Bucky even toured with fellow Idol contestant Kellie Pickler and Rascal Flatts. Even people like Chris Daughtry who are stars now, landed in the bottom three after having to sing first. Chris has been nominated for Grammy’s, traveled the world touring and singing at sold out shows, and he had the biggest rock record of 2007.

I am predicting big things for Michael Johns, and if statistics mean anything, then the numbers and the stars are in his favor.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Great Eight Perform on Idol (Season 7)

The top eight contestants performed inspirational songs tonight because Idol Gives Back airs tomorrow.

01 Michael Johns sang "Dream On" made famous by Aerosmith. This was the perfect, perfect song for Michael to sing. I have to say I disagree with Randy and I was disappointed with his comments. The show American Idol is about making dreams come true, and Michael is a definite competitor in this competition. Paula was more than right on; he hit impressive notes, and Michael is not a wanna-bee rocker. He's the real deal all the time.

Score: 4.8

02 Syesha Mercado sang "I Believe" made famous by Fantasia. I agree with Simon and Paula, Syesha sang this song beautifully, but there was a certain emotion lacking. Fantasia has that emotion that is magical; people in the audience always have tears coming down their faces when she sings. Syesha just needs to figure out who she is in this competition. --- Fantasia's version, I dare you to watch!

Score: 4

03 Jason Castro sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" made famous by Judy Garland. Jason is so special because every one of his song choices is so relevant. He makes every song how own and his sound is definitive. There is not anyone else who does what Jason does on stage, and he is probably now the darkhorse in this competition. ---Katharine McPhee's version.

Score: 5

04 Kristy Lee Cook sang "Anyway" made famous by Martina McBride. I thought that this week once again Kristy proved that she should be in the competition in week five. Kristy looked better and sounded better than she ever has before. As Simon said, she showed who she is as an artist and it was appealing.

Score: 4.8

05 David Cook sang "Innocent" made famous by Our Lady Peace. Paula is right, David is the whole package; I felt the song was a little bit wrong for him. I did not like how the song changed vocal ranges so much. I felt the meaning of the song was powerful, and that kind of made up for David not being as good as he has been in weeks past. He is still stellar as far as I am concerned.

Score: 4.4

06 Carly Smithson sang "The Show Must Go On" made famous by Queen. It was an unusual choice of song, that's for sure. Carly has a great voice, a powerful instrument, but she oversang the song to the point of shouting. When you shout, you stop focusing on the audience, which is what happened.

Score: 3.9

07 David Archuleta sang "Angels" made famous by Robbie Williams. This was an amazing choice of song. I have always loved the Robbie Williams version, and David did a wonderful job of breathing new life into the song. Simon is totally right, this song should have been a major hit here. David continues to impress me with his poise and his mature voice choices and singing styles.

Score: 4.8

08 Brooke White sang "You've Got a Friend" made famous by Carole King. You know, I really like Brooke; I like her so much. She is so nice and pleasant and she makes you happy through her singing. I feel that if Brooke wants to be a contender she needs to fight a little bit harder, her aggression needs to be more prominent. Then again, maybe Brooke makes it look easier than we think.

Score: 4.2

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Top 9 Take on Dolly Parton

01 Brooke White sang "Jolene"--- I liked her choice of sing but I didn't think it was a great performance. I think Simon was wrong, in my opinion, Brooke showed plenty of emotion. The song suited her style of singing.
Score: 3.9

02 David Cook sang "Little Sparrow"--- I like how David continues to be so original, and this was his own arrangement, which makes him even more impressive. If he does continue at this pace; he will no doubt make it to the final four.
Score: 4.9

03 Ramiele Malubay sang "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind"--- Ramiele's performance was ok at best. There was something about the song that did not quite work for her. She didn't seem to connect with the audience as well as she usually does. The performance was too forgetable; she didn't make it special.
Score: 3

04 Jason Castro sang "Travelin' Through"--- I have said it before and I will say it again; I love Jason's sound and his authenticity. Jason has an originality that makes him different from every artist in mainstream music today. The song was great and I think it suited him just fine contrary to Simon's beliefs.
Score: 4.75

05 Carly Smithson (unsure of song, working on the name)--- I am not really sure how I felt about this performance, it was a little too all over the place for me. I feel like Carly definitely improves every week and she shows passion, but does she show star quality? I am not so sure about that.
Score: 4.5

06 David Archuleta sang "Smokey Mountain Memories"--- I think this song suited David so well. He is definitely back in the competition and when he makes the right song choices and his vocals are on par, he is one of the strongest singers to grace an Idol stage.
Score: 4.8

07 Kristy Lee Cook sang "The Coat of Many Colors"--- I actually have to praise Kristy tonight because that performance actually showed what she is capable of as an artist. This was definitely her strongest performance to date.
Score: 4.6

08 Syesha Mercado sang "I Will Always Love You"--- Syesha possesses such star power and when I look in her eyes and I see her perform, I see life. She is connecting so well with both the song and the audience. I thought the arrangement was perfect for her, and it was a great performance.
Score: 4.9

09 Michael Johns sang "It's All Wrong But It's All Right"---Michael had a lot of soul this week. This was a personal best for Michael and the best performance of the night overall; enough said.
Score: 5