Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Second Group of 12 a Real Toss Up on American Idol Season 8

01 Jasmine Murray performed "Love Song" made famous by Sara Bareilles-- Jasmine has great stage presence, and I like that song but it definitely isn't what I expected her to sing. I feel that she tried to change the basic melody of the song too much and it ended up sounding like it was overdone. I am left slightly disappointed.
Score: 3.7

02 Matt Giraud performed "Viva La Vida" made famous by Coldplay-- The more I have heard about Matt the more I have liked him, but I did not like this performance. The song did not work for him at all, and he should have stayed with a more bluesy song because that is more in keeping with his style. I am still pulling for Matt though because I think he is genuinely talented.
Score: 3

03 Jeanine Vailes performed "This Love" made famous by Maroon 5-- I did not like this performance at all; I agree with Kara, it was overdone and it was pitchy all the way through, a disaster from start to finish.
Score: 2.9

04 Nick Mitchell performed "And I Am Telling You" made famous by Jennifer Holiday-- I like Nick a lot because he is endearing and he possesses this positive aura. Nick takes on this comedic role which would normally indicate that he doesn't have a good voice to go along with it, but the truth is, he has a great voice. I also just wanna give you a flashback to Ms. Lakisha Jones singing this same song in Season 6; she was amazing! check it out:
Score: 3.9

05 Allison Iraheta performed "Alone" made famous by Heart-- This performance, I have to say, was pretty hot. I could tell throughout the performance that this is a young lady that is determined and serious about winning this competition. She has a Kelly Clarkson like sound to her voice, and at only 16 she shows great poise and confidence. The Season 4 Winner Carrie Underwood rocked this song; it was also performed by other contestants like Gina Glocksen and Ramiele Malubay. Here is Carrie's version--
Score: 5

06 Kris Allen performed "Man In The Mirror" made famous by Michael Jackson-- Wow, besides Kris being a total cutie (women in America are falling in love right now), he totally nailed this performance. Kris was likeable and showed confidence and personality as well as the fact that he has a great voice. Simon said he was proud of him for giving it a go and I think he is Top 12 bound.
Score: 5

07 Megan Corkery performed "Put Your Records On" made famous by Corinne Bailey Rae-- I remembered Megan from her first audition, and I think this was a good song choice for her. The style of this particular song works well with the style of Megan's voice. I agree with the judges, she is a package artist: unique voice, fresh look, and a pretty girl; Megan has great potential.
Score: 4.8

08 Matt Breitzke performed "If You Could Only See" made famous by Tonic-- Okay, well the judges' consensus is that everyone likes Matt, and I actually like Matt too. He is exactly the type of guy that I want to be successful because he is so genuine and talented. I do think that the song choice was a bit boring but nevertheless it was in tune; I hope he does well.
Score: 4.5

09 Jesse Langseth performed "Betty Davis Eyes" made famous by Kim Carnes-- I did not like this performance because I fully believe what Simon said; it was not memorable, and she has a good voice but no one is going to jump up off their sofas to call and vote for her.
Score: 3.75

10 Kai Kalama performed "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" made famous by Jimmy Ruffin-- I like Kai's voice and I agree that he has potential. Randy said something that made a lot of sense though; at this stage of the competition the performance was a little bit too safe, and that could hurt an otherwise solid performer.
Score: 4

11 Mishavonna Henson performed "Drops of Jupiter" made famous by Train-- I love this song and I like Mishavonna's voice but I don't know that this was the right song for her to sing. Previous Idol contestants have tried singing this song also, namely Ace Young, but I happen to think it's a song that only Pay Monahan (lead singer of Train) can sing. And I am not convinced that she has any sort of personality.
Score: 3.7

12 Adam Lambert performed "Satisfaction" made famous by The Rolling Stones-- There is no doubt that Adam is talented; he's a born performer who is packed with personality. His vocal range is pretty unreal, and I believe this is one contestant who will go far in the competition. Bo Bice actually sang this in Season 4 when he made it into the Top 3--
Score: 5

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Season 8 on American Idol: Full of Surprises, Week 1

The first twelve of the top 36 contestants performed tonight on Season 8 of American Idol. This year is different than in years past, the 36 contestants have been split into three groups of 12. The top guy, the top girl, and the next top vote getter from each group of 12 will move to the final round of 12 contestants. After the three weeks, there will be a wild card show for the final three spots available. Tonight, the contestants performed songs from the Billboard Hot 100.

(I will score the contestants on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best)

01 Jackie Tohn performed "A Little Less Conversation" made famous by Elvis Presley -- What I really like about Jackie is her originality as a singer; she is a pro on the stage, nothing amateurish about her. She also has a huge personality; Simon called performance "gimmicky" which I don't really understand. Check out Chris Daughtry's performance of this song from Season 5, it's a good one-- .
Score: 3.9

02 Ricky Braddy performed "A Song for You" made famous by Donny Hathaway -- What Ricky did on the stage was magic; his interpretation of the song was absolutely beautiful. "A Song For You" is one of the most difficult songs to sing, and in the words of Kara, "he killed it". Beautiful falsetto, and for someone who has never really had a lot of air time through the Idol audition process; Ricky impressed me immensley. I even saw shades of Elliott Yamin in him, and that's pretty awesome! Check out Elliott singing this same song, .
Score: 5

03 Alexis Grace performed "Never Loved A Man" made famous by Aretha Franklin -- Little lady = Big voice; Alexis does have a lot of soul, and I have to admit that I was skeptical of her singing an Aretha song. However, as a singer and as a woman, Alexis proves to be wise beyond her years. The thing I do not understand though is that Sabrina Sloan performed this same song in Season 6 and never advanced into the top 12 which I think to this day was criminal, hopefully Alexis will have more luck. Here's Sabrina singing "Never Loved A Man" --
Score: 4.5

04 Brent Keith performed "Hicktown" made famous by Jason Aldean -- Brent is a good singer, and I think he's a pretty likeable guy. My question is, is Brent really the next American Idol; I believe he has bankability as a country singer. I really do question his song choice though, couldn't he have done one of those Keith Urban ballads?
Score: 4

05 Stevie Wright performed "You Belong With Me" made famous by Taylor Swift -- This young lady seems really sweet, but this performance was a trainwreck from start to finish. She went flat, she was out of tune, and the song just did not seem to fit her.
Score: 2

06 Anoop Desai performed "Angel of Mine" made famous by Monica -- Simon is right about one thing, Anoop has tremendous likeability. He is polite, classy, and his vocal ability really shows no bounds. I predict Mr. Desai will go far in Season 8. His song choice was smart, and Paula was right in saying that he is a vocal style similar to that of Brian McKnight.
Score: 4.5

07 Casey Carlson performed "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" made famous by The Police -- This performance was really disappointing; I was expecting so much because I love this song so much, but it was really not good. The phrasing was all wrong, the song just was not right for her at all. The judges actually thought that this was a "sacred" song that shouldn't be sung by anyone on Idol, but Constantine actually sang it in Season 4, and he was good. If anyone has a web address for Constantine singing the song, please feel free to post it.
Score: 2

08 Michael Sarver performed "I Don't Wanna Be" made famous by Gavin DeGraw -- I cannot emphasize it more, Michael has what so many of the guys this season have, the likeability factor. Michael has a good voice, and although I do not believe it was his best performance by any means; I do believe he deserves a second chance. As a side note, "I Don't Wanna Be" has become a staple on American Idol, previously performed by Bo Bice, Elliott Yamin, and Chris Richardson. Check out Bo --
Score: 4

09 Ann Marie Boskovich performed "Natural Woman" made famous by Aretha Franklin -- All I could remember was Kelly Clarkson singing this all the way back in Season 1. I think "Natural Woman" is a song that requires soul and great vocal ability, and I just don't think it showed on her with that song. I think this performance was a bit old fashioned and therefore irrelevant, as Simon said. Listen to Ms. Kelly Clarkson sing this song --- amazing!
Score: 3

10 Stephen Fowler performed "Rock With You" made famous by Michael Jackson -- I actually have to disagree with all of the judges on this. I went into this thinking, oh this is the guy from Hollywood weak who forgot his lyrics; but I was not disappointed. Stephen is a musician and he has a great voice; he was nowhere near as bad as the judges thought he was.
Score: 4

11 Tatiana Del Toro performed "Saving All My Love For You" made famous by Whitney Houston -- The most talked about contestant on this season of American Idol thus far; Tatiana was better than expected. She had some great moments, as well as some awkward ones, but what is a Tatiana performance without drama; not bad at all.
Score: 4.25

12 Danny Gokey performed "Hero" made famous by Mariah Carey -- Forget the fact that Danny has a touching story; his wife died four weeks before he auditioned for American Idol. He auditioned with one of his best friends Jamar Rogers who I believe should have made it into this top 36, but didn't. Put aside all of that because this church music director sure can sing, and he inspires me too.
Score: 5

Thursday, February 12, 2009

American Idol Update

Congratulations to Jennifer Hudson and Carrie Underwood who were both winners at the Grammy Awards this past weekend. Each lady performed and Ms. Hudson won best R&B Album for Jennifer Hudson, and Ms. Underwood won Best Female Vocal Performance for "Last Name".

Carrie was also just nominated yesterday for three Academy of Country Music Awards including Entertainer of the Year (an award that only six females have won before), Top Female Vocalist, and Best Video for "Just a Dream". The ACM Awards will air live on April 5, 2009 on CBS and will be hosted by Reba McEntire. George Strait will receive the artist of the decade award and Leann Rimes will receive the Home Depot Humanitarian Award.

Jordin Sparks will peform the National Anthem this weekend, February 15th at the NBA All Star Game which is taking place in her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona.

The Top 36 were announced on American Idol Season 8 last night; 18 guys and 18 girls. The 36 will be split into three groups of 12 and will perform for the nest three weeks. On the results show, the top guy and the top girl vote getters will move into the final 12 as will the next guy or girl top vote getter. Then there will be three wild card spots up for grabs in a show in which the judges will invite back their favorite singers who failed to make it into the final 12.

Here are the top 36 for Season 8:

The Top 18 Guys:

Anoop Desai, 21, from Chapel Hill, NC; auditioned in Kansas City, MO *
Von Smith, 22, from Kansas City, MO; auditioned in Kansas City, MO
Alex Wagner Trugman, 19, from Studio City, MA; auditioned in Phoenix, AZ
Adam Lambert, 26, from Los Angeles, CA; auditioned in San Francisco, CA
Scott Macintyre, 23, from Scottsdale, AZ; auditioned in Phoenix, AZ
Danny Gokey, 28, from Milwaukee, WI; auditioned in Kansas City, MO *
Ricky Braddy, 25, from Nashville, TN; auditioned in Louisville, KY *
Matt Giraud, 23, from Kalamazoo, MI; auditioned in Louisville, KY
Ju'Not Joyner, 26, from Bowie, MD; auditioned in New York, NY
Jorge Nunez-Mendez, 20, from Carolina, Puerto Rico; auditioned in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Brent Keith, 28, from Blanchester, OH; auditioned in Louisville, KY *
Stephen Fowler, 26, from Beachwood, OH; auditioned in New York, NY *
Nick Mitchell (aka Norman Gentle), 27, from Brookfield, CT; auditioned in New York, NY
Nathaniel Marshall, 18, from Malone, NY; auditioned in New York, NY
Kai Kalama, 26, from San Clemente, CA; auditioned in San Francisco, CA
Kris Allen, 23, from Conway, AR; auditioned in Louisville, KY
Matt Breitzke, 27, from Bixby, OK; auditioned in Kansas City, MO
Michael Sarver, 27, from Jasper, TX; auditioned in Phoenix, AZ *

The Top 18 Girls:

Taylor Vaifanua, 16, from Hurricane, UT; auditioned in Salt Lake City, UT
Jasmine Murray, 16, from Starkville, MS; auditioned in Jacksonville, FL
Arianna Afsar, 16, from San Diego, CA; auditioned in Phoenix, AZ
Casey Carlson, 20, from Minneapolis, MN; auditioned in Kansas City, MO *
Megan Corkery, 22, from Sandy, UT; auditioned in Salt Lake City, UT
Mishavonna Henson, 18, from Irvine, CA; auditioned in Phoenix, AZ
Stevie Wright, 16, from Phelan, CA; auditioned in Phoenix, AZ
Kendall Beard, 23, from Austin, TX; auditioned in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Kristen McNamara, 22, from Napa Valley, CA; auditioned in Louisville KY
Alexis Grace, 20, from Memphis, TN; auditioned in Louisville, KY *
Lil Rounds, 23, from Memphis, TN; auditioned in Kansas City, MO
Jesse Langseth, 25, from Minneapolis, MN; auditioned in Kansas City, MO
Allison Iraheta, 16, from Los Angeles, CA; auditioned in San Francisco, CA
Jackie Tohn, 27, from Silver Lake, CA; auditiolned in New York, NY *
Tatiana Nicole Del Toro, 23, from Los Angeles, CA; auditioned in San Francisco, CA *
Jeanine Vailes, 27, from Sherman Oaks, CA; auditioned in San Francisco, CA
Anne Marie Boskovich, 22, from Nashville, TN; auditioned in Jacksonville, FL *
Felicia Barton, 26, from Virginia Beach, VA; auditioned in Louisville, KY

Those contestants with a * after their name will be performing next week in the first group of 12. As a note, Joanna Pacitti who was selected as part of the top 36 on last night's show has been replaced by Felicia Barton; it was determined that Ms. Pacitti was ineligible to compete. I will continue to try and find out exactly why she was deemed ineligible.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friendship and Wisdom Teeth?

So it happened again this past week, friendship came to the forefront of my mind while I was also thinking about that fact that I was having all four of my wisdom teeth pulled, and then it occurred to me. The pain that we endure with a tooth extraction is equal to the pain we can endure with a friendship that is unhealthy for us. My wisdom teeth were a problem to my health, they triggered headaches, were dangerously close to my sinuses, and took away needed space in my mouth. I was terrified to have them removed, I thought about how much it would hurt, the recovery time needed to get over the surgery, but ultimately short term pain would be a long term gain. My mouth still hurts, I am still getting over the surgery, but I get better every day, and soon I won’t even feel the pain at all. Imagine, my wisdom teeth were with me my whole life, they grew and matured, and soon they became a problem, unhealthy for me, and I had to give them up, and move on.

I had this female friend from the time that I was little, we were only acquaintances growing up, but we got to know each other, and when we got to high school we became very good friends. We were quite inseparable, and after high school we vowed to stay in touch, and we did. We would talk every other day if not every day, and we would see each other three or four times a week. Then we both started to change, and we grew, but when we did we grew in different directions. She wanted a family, and I wanted a career and I wanted to have fun with my friends. Before I knew it, she was going out with a guy that I didn’t know and didn‘t meet, but I did know that he hurt her in the past. She grew closer to him and the closer she grew to him, the further she grew away from me and her other friends; the manipulations of her mother did not help the situation as her mother also aided in pushing further from her friends and closer to a guy that she thought she knew but she didn’t.

Soon I was having conversations with her voicemail, and I was lucky if I saw her or spoke with her once a month, and then three or four months past without us talking or seeing each other. It wasn’t that I hadn’t tried because I made efforts to talk to her. Then I had to find out from someone else that she was getting married and having a baby. The thing that upset me the most was that she couldn’t tell my herself, that she didn’t trust me to let me into this new life that she was living before my very eyes. It was like I was on the outside looking in, and I didn’t think friendship was supposed to be that way. Her mother verbally attacked me without even knowing what had happened; the truth was that I had always tried to protect and look out for her daughter who was also my best friend. I tried to teach her to strong and independent minded, a woman who could stand on her own two feet and make her own choices, and live for herself and not for what other wanted her to live for.

Apparently my strength of character is in a way what killed my friendship with her, I think she was bothered by the fact that I was unwilling to be submissive to a man. Thinking back, I know that was true because when she was going to introduce me to this man who ended up causing her so much pain, I told her of how I wanted to ask him questions, find out about who he really was, what his goals were in life, and who he wanted to be. She was offended by that, she thought that I was trying to scare him away from her and a relationship when all I was really trying to do was to be a good friend. I wanted her to know that I cared about her so much that I could ask the tough questions that she couldn’t. When her mother confronted me, she told me that I never should have said those things, and that her daughter was upset with me for that reason, and I couldn’t understand why, but nevertheless I was sorry that I had hurt her or offended her. I told her that I was sorry almost three years ago, that if she took what I said wrong, I was sorry for that. She said we would keep in touch, but we didn’t, and that was almost three years ago.

About two weeks ago, my sister saw her at a restaurant, and she approached my sister, and told her that she wanted to talk to me, and would she give me her number. She told my sister that she was sorry that we had a falling out, but did we really? I texted her to break the ice because talking seemed too forward. I don’t know why she wanted to talk to me, and I don’t know why she agreed to meet with me a week ago. The meeting seemed wasted to me; she acted the same, nothing changed about her. I shared with her, opened up to her, filled her in on my life experiences in the past few years because I wanted her to trust me, and secretly, I wanted to trust her too. But it wasn’t to be, and I regretted telling her everything that I did because she didn’t share anything with me about her life. But then again, maybe it was just proof to her that I had nothing to hide. I felt like she was holding a grudge against me for something that happened almost three years ago, something that I had already apologized for. I could have questioned her on so many things, but I didn’t. I went into the night with an open mind, and initially I came out of it disappointed. It’s not that I expected an apology because maybe she doesn’t think she did anything wrong, but she knows that I was hurt as a friend, and she could have apologized for that. She could have put aside her pride, just like I did, and put herself on the line for me just as I had done for her time and time again in our friendship, that night included.

After I got over the initial disappointment, I called someone who has become one of my best friends, she has taught me a lot about friendship and what it means. Friendship is about communication, being open even if it hurts sometimes. It’s about sharing, thoughts, ideas, experiences, and parts of our lives with one another. She has shared things with me that she hasn’t shared with anyone else and I have done the same with her. Friendship is also about staying by your friend’s side even when things are tough, loving them not just for their good qualities but embracing their flaws. It’s about helping them to constantly improve themselves and evolve and become a better person, providing them with strength and self esteem when they have none and teaching them to make their own for when you are not there.

It hurt a lot to have to give up my old friend, but I think I have recognized that we have grown too far apart, and we don’t see eye to eye on what friendship is. I won’t get new teeth in place of my wisdom teeth, but I do have other friends to replace the hurt of losing one. Maybe all this happened for a reason, maybe we aren’t meant to be friends because what she sees and values as friendship are not the things that I hold close to my heart. I know that I am going to be okay because I feel more confident in who I am every day. I can part with the things that hurt me because I know that they are unhealthy for me and better things or people can come along, and hopefully these friends are the forever kind.