Tuesday, December 25, 2012

May God Hold You in the Palm of His Hand

What is it about tragedy that makes us relive tragedies that already took place? Why do we reopen wounds and force ourselves to relive what seemed impossible to overcome at the time? Is there a reason in the first place for tragedy? Is it because we don't value enough? Do we take for granted too much? Is nothing sacred to society? More important than how we react is why do people actually do these things?

A couple of weeks ago, on December 14th, 28 people (20 of them children) died in a school shooting in Connecticut. The motive still remains and the wounds have not diminished. Included among the dead victims was the killer himself, 20 year old Adam Lanza. Lanza was said to be a recluse who had social problems. With him, he carried three guns into the Sandy Hook Elementary School that day and enough ammunition to kill everyone inside the school.

What did the victims do wrong? Nothing. They did everything right. He shot his way into the school violating privacy, innocence, and life. Every victim was shot three to eleven times, and what made the crime most heinous was the fact that 20 of the 27 victims were children. Whether or not you're an Obama fan, I could not help but feel moved by some of his words at the vigil held for the victims--- these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children. We won't watch them grow up, graduate, get married, or have children of their own. Sandy Hook made me think of Aurora Colorado and the movie theater shooting which made me think of 9/11 Terrorist Attacks which made me think of Columbine High School shooting. What is the common thread you ask? Innocent people died and they were mass killings.

Each tragedy was proof that we can come together as a society. Each tragedy is also proof of the pure evil that exists out there among those of us who are good.

We are reminded of how much things have changed over the years and we are reminded constantly of the evil among us in so many different ways. My mother and father speak of a time when people did not have to lock their car doors or the doors in their home. People did not have to walk around paranoid and cautious of who was around them or behind them in daylight or dark. There's a part of me that feels violated as a result of society's demands as a result of this "evil among us" that I speak of. And while I feel this way; I understand. I understand the precautions, the quest for all of us to stay safe, to continue living our lives, and pursuing successes and dreams. We're reminded each day of imminent evil--- TV shows, current events, new government laws and sometimes what seems to us to be extremes, and societal changes.

I often watch the TV show Criminal Minds because it's about a group of people (The BAU--- Behavioral Analysis Unit) who's job it is to get inside the mind of the unsub and to be able to pick this person out of a crowd and describe the suspect. So many of the episodes have been disturbing and striking of what those who experience tragedy undergo. I think of the victims and I think of the law enforcement and I wonder exactly how it is that they're able to deal with and process all this tragedy and sometimes on a regular basis. There is a monologue from Season 4 of the show, and every time that episode roles around, I am reminded of each and every tragedy that's taken place during my lifetime, they all come to the forefront of my mind, and my emotions are once again drawn to the surface. I hear Thomas Gibson's character Aaron Hotchner deliver this speech and it feels so real that I am able to draw parallels to actual events that I have heard about, read about, and because I feel this sense of compassion, I feel indirectly impacted by them---

“Sometimes there are no words, no clever quotes to neatly sum up what’s happened that day. Sometimes you do everything right, everything exactly right, and still you feel like you’ve failed. Did it need to end that way? Could something have been done to prevent the tragedy in the first place? 89 murders at the pig farm. The deaths of Mason and Lucas Turner make 91 lives snuffed out. Kelly Shane will go home and try to recover, to reconnect with her family again, but she’ll never be a child again. William Hightower, who gave his leg for his country, gave the rest of himself to avenge his sister’s murder. That makes 93 lives forever altered, not counting family and friends in a small town in Sarnia, Ontario, who thought monsters didn’t exist until they learned they spent their lives with one. And what about my team? How many more times will they be able to look into the abyss? How many more times before they won’t ever recover the pieces of themselves that this job takes? Like I said, sometimes there are no words, no clever quotes to neatly sum up what’s happened that day. Sometimes the day just…… ends.”

In many ways, we don't value people and things as we should. We don't realize what we have until what we have is gone and part of it is that society as a whole (as a majority) teaches us to be selfish. We grow up wanting more and more rather than being grateful for the things that we have. It's okay to want more, but it's not okay to hurt others to get it or to become greedy. I grew up in a town where most of my peers had everything that they wanted, especially in the form of material goods. I wonder what life lessons they learned along the way. I wonder what was important to them, I mean really important. Usually and unfortunately, greedy children grow up to be greedy adults. I dislike being cynical, but maybe the truth is that we can't fix or make things better if we're not willing to admit our wrongs. I thank God that there are still good people in the world. The Lord works in mysterious ways and we must never give up on Him because He doesn't give up on any of us. Whenever I am ready to give up or be discouraged, I am reminded of my support system, the wonderful people around me who believe in me more than I believe in myself. And in the end, maybe that's what it's all about--- maybe we all want to be loved and acknowledged and believed in. If we have no positive purpose, than what exactly are we here for?

I will close these thoughts with a speech from the TV Show Blue Bloods in which Tom Selleck's character Frank Reagan talks about losing a friend during 9/11

"Where were you on 9/11? That question has become part of the fabric of our lives as Americans. On 9/11, I was with a hero; I was with John McKenna. On that beautiful cloudless morning that seemed to promise nothing but goodness, John and his dear wife Molly were about to pull out of the driveway for a much needed and long overdue vacation, but when news of the attack came over the radio they both knew that Montauk would have to wait.

Molly kissed him goodbye, urged him to be careful, as she had done every day for the almost 30 years that he served and protected this city, and then John headed for ground zero.

Where were you on 9/11? On September 11th, 2001, John McKenna saved more than 100 lives. You see this, it's worn by the first responders that day. John could wear it as proudly as anyone who was there.

Why them and not me? As a cop, I've asked myself that question many times, but I have come to realize that just about any New Yorker could ask themselves the same question, and some questions have no answers.

All that is left for we the living to do is honor them, take care of them, and rededicate ourselves to the cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.


May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand."

Rest in peace to all the victims of crime and mass murder. May your deaths not be in vain. And may God watch over all of us.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Reality Recaps: The Finale of The Voice and The Last Night of Competition on The X Factor

I loved how both The Voice and The X Factor chose to open their final performances shows with tributes to the Sandy Hook School Victims and their families. Both performances were extremely touching and seriously brought tears to my eyes. On The Voice the mentors and the top 20 sang Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah.

On The X Factor, Simon Cowell gave a brief message before the top 12 performed You Are Not Alone by Michael Jackson.

Let's discuss The Voice.......

I do not agree with Cassadee Pope winning; I like her and nothing against her but her voice was not as strong and consistent throughout this season as Nicholas and Terry's voices were. Nick, to me, grew leaps and bounds from the beginning. I am a fan now; he's Marvin Gaye and Barry White, his voice is soul music. He's committed to every performance, and his passion is so evident. Terry is someone that, the moment I heard him sing Baba O' Riley by The Who on The Blind Auditions, I knew we had found our winner. He's my winner, and not just because of his voice, but because of his spirit. Terry knows he's good, but he is humble, and let's face it, authentic rock voices don't come around all the time. Terry is a diamond in the rough, I didn't vote for the wrong person in him. The public chose the wrong member of Team Blake.

Back to The X Factor:

A song they sang before:

Carly Rose Sonenclar sang Feeling Good by Nina Simone (Michael Buble)-- She sang this on her first audition. Simon felt she sang it better the second time around. Britney seemed pretty confident that Carly has this competition in the bag. I liked this performance, but it was a bit too stylized for me.

Tate Stevens sang Everything Goes by  Randy Houser-- Demi felt that he turned it into a stadium performance, and that's what made it different this time than last time. Simon agreed with Demi and talked about how authentic Tate is and how he's maintained his integrity throughout. He congratulated L.A., and said this was an unlikely pairing, but you've done a really good job with him. I couldn't agree more; Tate deserves this, he deserves to be a star.

Fifth Harmony sang Anything Could Happen by Ellie Goulding-- L.A. said you were the underdogs and you are the ones to beat. Brit thought it was the right song choice. Demi feels they've worked hard and deserve to have people call for them. Simon likes the fact that they are the underdogs; I like it too. You know what I like even more? I like when the underdog wins.


Carly Rose Sonenclar sang How Do I Live with Leann Rimes-- Out of the three duets, this was the weakest unfortunately.

Tate Stevens sang Pontoon with Little Big Town-- Tate looked and sounded like a natural.

Fifth Harmony sang Give Your Heart a Break with Demi Lovato-- Simon called it pop perfection.

New Song:

Carly Rose Sonenclar sang Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley-- L.A. questioned whether or not this was a $5 million performance. Simon said she looked great and sounded beautiful. Britney said that song alone was worth $5 million, get out your check book Simon. Sorry Brit, but for me, I was bored at the beginning and middle, it did liven up at the end, and I will give her that.

Tate Stevens sang Tomorrow by Chris Young-- Demi said she is sad that this is the last time she is going to hear him and that he's so talented. Simon said Tate has represented this category so well and that he has a feeling that a year from now, we'll be hearing about Tate's record sales. L.A. said he's always proud of him. I thought this was a great performance, he's definitely in this to the end.

Fifth Harmony sang Let it Be by The Beatles-- L.A. called it a beautiful performance, and said they did the song justice. Brit felt they've come a long way. Demi is proud of how they've evolved and grown. Simon said they deserve to be here, and I completely agree. That final performance blew me away.

Who is your pick to win The X Factor?  Mine is Tate or Fifth Harmony

Do you agree with Cassadee Pope winning The Voice? Will you miss Christina and Cee Lo? Or not given it any thought yet?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reality Recap: The X Factor and The Voice

Contestant's Choice

Tate Stevens sang Bonfire by Craig Morgan-- He performed it well, but I didn't care for the song. Britney didn't think it was his best, Demi disagreed. I kind of agree with both of them because I did not think it was the right song for him, but he did a good job with it. L.A. said it was the most fun he has had since doing the show.

Carly Rose Sonenclar sang Your Song by Elton John-- L.A. thought she did things with the song that have never been done before. Demi thought it was predictable, but loved the R&B side of her voice. Simon said it was a beautiful version of a fantastic song, but not her best performance. I agree with all the judges, but again, didn't think it was necessarily the best song for her.

Emblem3 sang Baby I Love Your Way by Peter Frampton-- L.A. loved the song and saw them as recording artist for the first time. Britney thinks they've grown so much throughout the show. Demi praised it as well and compared it to their first audition and Simon agreed with Demi. I like how their personality showed in the song, but again, didn't like the song choice.

Fifth Harmony sang Anything Could Happen by Ellie Goulding-- Their performance of Anytime You Need A Friend was one of my favorite performances of this season, top three for sure. I love them. L.A. called it their best vocal performance, inventive, and he said he was proud of them. Britney loved everything about it, and called it magical and full of girl power. Demi said that they pulled out that sparkle that they needed. Simon agreed that "anything could happen," and I do too.

 The Song I Need to get into the Finals

Tate Stevens sang Fall by Clay Walker-- Demi said he deserves all these good things and he is so talented. Simon liked the song choice, and said he has as much likelihood of going back to his old job as he does of flying to the moon tomorrow night. L.A. loves Tate for his consistency, and wished him the best of luck. This was a great song choice as Simon said, I remembered a woman singing this song, and was reminded that Kimberley Locke from American Idol had a number one on the American Dance Charts with this song.

Carly Rose Sonenclar sang Imagine by John Lennon-- L.A. liked her artistic capability and the fact that she played the piano. Demi thought it was amazing and she took a risk. Simon said there was too much going on and it made a beautiful song fussy. He said he didn't like the arrangement and said it was overcomplicated. Britney feels she should be competing with the biggest stars in the world. I actually agree with Simon, and another which he said that was really smart--- she sang those big notes, but the song didn't need that.

Emblem3 sang Hey Jude by The Beatles-- This is an awesome song choice by Simon, ingenious! It totally paid off too; unbelievable performance. L.A. said I thought this was presumptuous and I was going to tear you to shreds for thinking you are teen heartthrobs like The Beatles and you are. Britney told them to take a bow. Simon said you guys have steel in your eyes and nailed it on both songs; you were fantastic.

Fifth Harmony sang Impossible by Shontelle-- Amazing, I could see them putting so much passion into their vocals and the performance. L.A. found their song choice lazy. I totally do not agree with L.A. Britney said she would be surprised if they are in it next week. Demi said there aren't a lot of people supporting them so their fans need to support them. Simon said I hope and pray America gets behind you because I know you were one of the strongest acts tonight.

I loved both groups, I kind of hope one of the solo artists is going home. I don't think Carly Rose had as strong a night as everyone thinks.

Just wanted to comment that regardless of Trevin Hunte being voted off The Voice, I think he has quite the future ahead of him. The best on performance night was Terry McDermott's Let It Be; that guy can sing. He joins Cassadee Pope and Nicholas David in the finals.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Reality Recap: The Voice and The X Factor

Surprises this week on my reality shows:

On The Voice, Adam lost the rest of his team, Amanda Brown and Melanie Martinez, making this a two man race in the finals. It's Cee Lo Green versus Blake Shelton. Cee Lo boasts young soul singer Trevin Hunte and guy from another time with the distinct voice, Nicholas David. Blake's team is not shabby with authentic Scottish rocker Terry McDermott and pop rock star with a pretty face Cassadee Pope. So, I am completely unsure of who will win this thing, each artist is so strong in their own right. Potentially, any one of them could release a great album with the right song writers, songs, and producers.

On The X Factor, Cece Frey and Diamond White participated in the Pepsi Challenge (where the public votes for every aspect of each artist's performance from their song down to their outfit and the stage), but it wasn't enough to win them votes. For Demi, it meant the end of the competition for her, her final contestant was voted off. Four acts remain, two of Simon's groups Emblem3 and Fifth Harmony, Tate Stevens from L.A.'s Team, and Carly Rose Sonenclar from Britney's Team. Each remaining act is definitely in it to win it. Fifth Harmony was improved leaps and bounds every single week. Their save me song this week, Anytime You Need A Friend, by Mariah Carey was the most stunning performance by them to date. There was so much passion in the performance that it begged the question, how could you not save them? Emblem3 will continue to receive loads of votes from teenage and college girls; they also have a real likeability, you want them to do well. I think Demi saying that they are much like The Jonas Brothers was pretty wrong. Emblem3 sounds different, stylistically, they're unique. Tate Stevens is the family man with tons of heart and a golden voice. He's been in cruise control for the majority of this competition. Some think the only person who can beat him is Carly Rose. Carly Rose is amazing, when she sings, I don't believe it because she's so young and yet she has so much poise, maturity, and passion when she sings these songs that you have no choice but to believe her. It's Fifth Hamony and Emblem3's competition to win and it's Tate and Carly Rose's competition to lose. I have a feeling that we'll be seeing more than just the winner after this competition is over.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Reality Show Round-up: The X Factor and Dancing with the Stars All Stars Edition

It was a good week and a bad week for my weekly reality show roundup. I guess I would like to start with the bad and end on a good note.

The bad was The X Factor eliminations. Paige Thomas going home: not entirely surprising. Vino Alan going home: criminal. The category this week was number one hits, and several of the contestants had a solid week. My theory is that Paige went home because despite the fact that she had her strongest week ever vocally, it was too little too late. I actually loved her version of Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley. It was so beautifully her style, and if that's the artist that Paige wants to be, I would buy her record. Vino sang You've Lost That Loving Feeling, which nothing against the greatness of that song, but that wasn't the right song for Vino. He needed to be singing something that was more a combination of soul and rock.

My three favorite performances of the week were:
Tate Stevens singing Somebody Like You by Keith Urban-- It was great to see Tate finally have some fun on stage.
Paige Thomas singing Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley-- Simon said it all when he said, you looked and sounded like a legit pop star. I'm sorry to see her go.
Fifth Harmony singing Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson-- The girl group grows and improves each passing week, Simon has true diamonds in the rough in his hands.

Now for the good news! Dancing with the Stars All Stars had an amazing finale; it was an all girl finale. Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough, Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy, and Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani squared off in the finals this week. After 14 seasons, Tony walked away with his first mirror ball, a well deserved one as he and Melissa, the only non champion in the group, won. Kelly came in third place; she gave tons of credit to Val saying that he made someone who can barely stand on her feet, dance. Shawn and Derek were the runners up in what is supposed to be Derek's final season. I love how Tom Bergeron announced the winner, and now they've won....... and the question was two or too? It was too. I've never seen a couple want it more and lead from start to finish. Melissa worked her tail off this season, and her amazing abs, and Tony's choreography was nothing short of impressive. It was perhaps his best choreography ever. The celebration was huge, Tony looked like a young boy celebrating on Christmas and Melissa was all smiles as well. What was even better was when the two appeared on Jimmy Kimmel. For a laugh, check out the video below.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Voice Season 3: The Top 8 -- What are your predictions?

We're coming down to the end on The Voice, but even now, I am unable to pick one favorite. It changes by the week, the day, the hour, and sometimes even the minute.

It's tough for me to even take a chance and predict who will get voted off because all of the contestants are so good. 

Who were your favorites? Who do you think is going home? Share your predictions.......

A brief reminder of who performed what:

Amanda Brown sang Someone Like You by Adele

Cody Belew sang Somebody to Love by Queen

Terry McDermott sang Over by Blake Shelton

Melanie Martinez sang Too Close by Alex Clare

Dez Duron sang U Smile by Justin Bieber

Trevin Hunte sang The Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston

Nicholas David sang What's Goin' On by Marvin Gaye

Cassadee Pope sang Are You Happy Now by Michelle Branch

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The X Factor Season 2: The Top 10 Perform-- Who will go home on Thanksgiving Day?

The contestants sang songs that reminded them of the people that they are thankful for. 

Tate Stevens sang I'm Already There by Lonestar-- Britney said that Tate's performances are always so touching. Simon said that his voice was breaking in parts, but there's not a cat's chance in hell that he's going home. LA felt that Tate sang that song with a lot of confidence. Tate's a winner through and through and I can see him opening for some of country's biggest acts within the next two years. He's a bona-fied star.

Diamond White sang Because You Love Me by Celine Dion-- LA said, Diamond, you never had a moment like that, you are the truth. We're going to be hearing your name for many years. Demi said she was blown away. Simon said, fearless and incredible, I believed every single word of that lyric. Britney said it was so beautiful. Diamond keeps improving every week; she has such maturity. I am really thankful that she wasn't voted off a few weeks ago and that they brought her back.

Emblem3 sang Secret by One Republic-- LA thought their performance lacked emotion this being, what I'm thankful for week. Britney and Demi felt that their performance was a nice change of pace. Simon felt it was a great song choice. I like Emblem3 and I don't think that they should go home. I agree this performance was a bit lackluster, not as strong as previous weeks, but this is a talented group of young men.

Arin Ray sang Hero by Enrique Iglesias-- LA felt the song was too big for him. Demi said she would not have signed him if she was a record exec. and she thought it was boring. Simon said I don't think we are hearing who you are in the real world. He also asked him how he feels, and Arin said he would prefer to dance and perform something uptempo. I love Arin to pieces, but I wish he was allowed to sing something that reflected who he really is. If he gets through this week, which he could, because there were several people who were worse than him, he needs to bring it.

Cece Frey sang Wind Beneath My Wings by Better Midler-- Everyone praised her for her emotion, but the vocals were not good.

Fifth Harmony sang I'll Stand by You by The Pretenders-- LA thought it was great. Britney said it was a beautiful rendition of the song and she found it touching. Demi didn't like the song choice but remains a Fifth Harmony fan. Personally, I think Demi is being a hater. Simon said, I was crazy about the song and crazy about you girls. I think Simon has made a major discovery with these girls.

Beatrice Miller sang Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol-- Demi doesn't feel Beatrice progressing. Simon disagreed with Demi and felt that this week was better than last. Britney felt it was her best vocal yet. As a spirit and a person, I love Beatrice, but I think this was also a weak performance, although; better than last week.

Vino Alan sang Proud to be an American by Lee Greenwood-- Vino received a standing ovation from all four judges. Britney called his performance spot on, amazing. Demi said, for the first time, I see something special in you tonight. Simon reminded everyone never to judge a book by it's cover. He also told him that he sang with such sincerity. LA said, I'm so proud of you, you stand for the troops and I stand for you. What a special performance by Vino; I'm such a huge fan.

Paige Thomas sang Everytime by Britney Spears-- Britney thought that she performed her song beautifully, but LA didn't think it was good enough to get her out of the ten spot. Simon said that her emotion took over and ultimately it ended up being a weak performance because she couldn't keep it together. Demi even admitted that it was pitchy in points.

Carly Rose Sonenclar sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow-- LA called Carly a force of nature. Simon said she blew the competition open and he loved it and loved her version of the song. Britney said it was unreal. Carly is just amazing, and I cannot believe the level of talent that this 13 year old actually possess.

Who is in trouble tonight: Arin Ray, Beatrice Miller, Cece Frey, and Paige Thomas. 


Monday, November 19, 2012

The Voice Season 3: Top 10-- Best episode ever of The Voice?

Something happened tonight when I was watching The Voice. I realized that for the high production value that The X Factor has, they don't possess the talent to go along with it. I think that every act on that show should take lessons from these ten. Somehow, there's a part of me that wishes that every single one of them could be awarded some type of prize for their talent. Each one has something special, and I could not label any performance weak.

Sylvia Yacoub sang Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys-- Cee Lo thought it was a great song choice and loved her increasing confidence. Adam said he was actually pretty blown away. Blake said spot on, and Christina thought she was on fire. This was a great song for Sylvia to sing, it showcased her vocals well.

Terry McDermott sang Summer of '69 by Bryan Adams-- Cee Lo said you're genuinely everything I love about rock n' roll. Adam said, I get mad when I watch you cause I really wanted you on my team and Blake stole you. Blake thanked Terry for choosing him as his coach. I believe that Terry is born to be a rocker. He just lives, bleeds, and sweats rock n' roll.

Melanie Martinez sang Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes-- Blake said he'd love to be able to work with Melanie. Christina and Cee Lo both thought it was cool (Cee Lo: ubber cool). Adam said she dazzled everyone. I like the risk she took singing this, it was so strong, and I liked the phraseology.

Cody Belew sang Crazy in Love by Beyonce-- Adam said you're cocky and awesome in the best way. Christina said he worked it like a true diva, and Cee Lo said Cody brings him so much joy. Cody is just a pleasure to watch because he was born to have an audience, born to be on stage, and to feel comfortable doing it all. Not the strongest vocally, but his performance skills compensate.

Bryan Keith sang New York State of Mind by  Billy Joel-- Blake felt that Bryan's attitude was like Michael Buble and that he is becoming a big fan. Christina felt the song was a perfect fit. Cee Lo said he has a man's voice, and Adam felt he made the song his own. Bryan felt every lyric and every note. This performance was so sincere and not only did he connect with the song, he made me connect with the song.

Amanda Brown sang Stars by Grace Potter-- Blake said I didn't know that song but that performance is how I wanted to be introduced to it. Christina praised how emotional it was. Cee Lo said you impressed me again, I'll always feel like I discovered you, but I could never be selfish with a voice like yours. Adam felt happy that Blake said what he said. Amanda is definitely back in this, her vocals and her emotion drew me in to the point that I was in another place when I was listening to her.

Nicholas David sang Lean on Me by Bill Withers-- Adam said bravo my friend. Blake said this might be the best episode of The Voice that we've ever had. Watching you tonight was like watching a legend. Christina said that was so good for my soul, genius song choice Cee Lo, home run. Cee Lo said I heard the voice of a generation, an immaculate impassioned performance. I felt like a child in the presence of my maker. Nicholas just surprises me every week because initially I didn't even like him. He has grown on me because he is just so sincere and committed to everything he does.

Trevin Hunte sang Scream by Usher-- Adam said, Trevin, you can sing the dictionary. Cee Lo said, I will ride and die with you Trevin, you're risk paid off. I enjoyed getting to see Trevin have fun and act like an 18 year old. His talent remains.

Cassadee Pope sang Over You by Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton-- Christina said she felt the sincerity. Cee Lo said your voice was so flawless tonight. Adam said this style suited you, it felt really good. Blake said that Cassadee looks like a true artist. I have to agree with Adam and Christina; this performance was beautiful on Cassadee.

Dez Duron sang Feelin' Good by Nina Simone/ Michael Buble-- Cee Lo said he loved it, wonderful rendition, I'm impressed. Blake said, we all know you're a star, congratulations on figuring out where you fit musically. Christina said, you dug deep. I was floored when I heard Dez sing, I just didn't think he had all that. He totally put that performance away in the first phrase of the song. This was so powerful.

Who do you think is most vulnerable for eliminations? Who is a shoe in for the elite eight? Leave your opinions in the comments.

Dancing with the Stars All Stars Season 15: Week 8

Wow, I just finished watching last week's (Week 8) performances on Dancing with the Stars and I was blown away. At the end, I have to basically agree with the eliminations of Kirstie and Giles. Arguably, it could have been Apolo or Emmitt in place of Giles, it just so happens that Apolo improved from last week, and Emmitt has a bigger fan base.

In the first round:

I want to describe the dance in a sentence or less:

Shawn and Derek danced a Viennese Waltz-- This was so impressive to me; it's like I cannot believe how much Shawn has matured.
Scores: 10, 9.5, 10= 29.5

Apolo and Karina danced a Tango-- Apolo improved but overall this was not very impressive; I was a little bored with it actually.
Scores: 10, 9.5, 10= 29.5

Kirstie and Maks danced a Viennese Waltz-- It was a personal best for Kirstie, but nowhere near where the rest of the contestants are in degree of difficulty.
Scores: 9, 9, 9= 27

Kelly and Val danced a Viennese Waltz-- There was so much beauty and grace in this performance.
Scores: 9.5, 9, 9.5= 28

Giles and Peta danced a Quickstep-- Giles had so much power and precision in his dance.
Scores: 9.5, 10, 10= 29.5

Emmitt and Cheryl danced a Viennese Waltz-- This time out was too safe for Emmitt, he needs to step up or he could be eliminated in Week 9.
Scores: 9, 9.5, 9.5= 28

Melissa and Tony danced a Quickstep-- This was by far the best dance of the night by the woman who I think could win it all.
Scores: 10, 10, 10= 30

Round 2: The three way dance


 Melissa, Tony, and Henry's Paso Doble that received a perfect score.

You Bombed. 

Kirstie, Maks, and Tristan's Paso Doble needed to be more polished.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The X Factor: Season 2, The Top 12 Perform, but 2 Will Go Home!

I will expand upon this later, but here's a little list of who I think could be in trouble tonight: Beatrice Miller, Lyric 145, Arin Ray, Paige Thomas, and Cece Frey.

After many days of contemplating the results of this past weeks X Factor, I still wasn't able to make sense of it. 

Well, one out of two ain't bad, Lyric 145 unfortunately did go home. They were undeveloped, they needed more time to establish who they were as artists. Jennel Garcia was a major surprise to me because she had real talent, raw talent. I truly believe that someone with her kind of voice and style is needed in music today. She fills a void left by Joan Jett, Pet Benatar, Heart, and Chrissie Hynde. Following the eliminations, both artists complained of being pushed in the wrong direction by their mentors and the producers of the show as far as strong choice. It was rather obvious. The songs and the performances themselves did not fit the artists. Jennel's song, Proud Mary, along with the dress didn't suit her, the song was far too mature for her. Lyric 145's song choice of E.T. by Katy Perry and We Will Rock You by Queen didn't fit, it was too rock and Britney is right, they're a hip hop group who should have been singing a hip hop track.

Overall, L.A. Reid has done a wonderful job of developing his artists and choosing songs which really fit their voices, personalities, and it makes them true to who they are. Vino Alan is a legit rock/ soul singer; it's a unique combination but it is who he is through and through. Let's Stay Together by Al Green was a wonderful choice for him. Demi Lovato was totally hating on him when she said that the performance was boring. I think in fact that she could be taking lessons in one respect or another from every other judge/ mentor on the panel. Demi had arguably the strongest team (Willie Jones, Jennel Garcia, Cece Frey, and Paige Thomas) and she has wrecked each artist one by one, none of her contestants are going to make it to the final, almost guaranteed. One of the four will be lucky if they make it past the halfway point in this Top 13. Tate Stevens, L.A.'s other artist is so good and so strong that he could literally leave this competition right now and go make a country record. This past week he sang From This Moment On by Shania Twain, it sounded like the song belonged to him and it was unbelievably heartfelt.

Britney Spears has done a surprisingly good job of making her artists vulnerable and helping them to relate to the public. She did a beautiful job with Carly Rose this week with My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion, reason being, it didn't sound cheesy. I am still waiting for a breakthrough performance by Arin Ray and hopefully it will happen this coming week because if it doesn't he could be in grave danger of being voted off. Unlike what Demi said, this kid does have soul and he has grown and matured enormously in the past year. Beatrice Miller is mature for her age, but if Britney doesn't start picking better songs for her she could be in danger as well. Diamond White had a beautiful voice, so much so, that I don't quite understand why she was so low in the overall ratings. The public needs to pick up the phone for this young lady, any 15 year old who can make a believer out of me by convincingly singing a Whitney Houston song has talent.

Simon may have the female version of One Direction on his hands with the group Fifth Harmony (formerly 1432, formerly The Lylas). He seems to be headed in the right direction and vocally they seem to stretch and grow each week. Emblem3 is like a better version of Hanson and LFO. I love their energy, how on point they are vocally. I truly believe that in a couple of years they could be performing on music award stages and touring the country if managed correctly and given the right set of songs. After all, so much hinges on that today. People like Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5, Usher, and Carrie Underwood aren't discovered every day. As artists, they dig deep not only singing from their heart and soul but writing from there as well. Emblem3 seems to possess that quality.

Reality Round Up-- Dancing With the Stars All Stars and The Voice Edition

For many viewers of Dancing With The Stars, week eight was one they had been waiting for, Kirstie and Maks were voted off. It wasn't that we didn't enjoy them, I know I did. They provided entertainment, comic relief, and a whole lot of chemistry. The other couple to be voted off during this double elimination week was Gilles and Peta much to the chagrin of female fans everywhere. For the past six weeks Gilles was near or at the top of the leader board, he lit up the ballroom every time he took the stage, but for the past two weeks Gilles seemed overconfident, with every reason to be, yet he also seemed uninspired when he danced.

Think about the remaining couples in the competition-- Melissa and Tony, Shawn and Derek, Kelly and Val, Emmitt and Cheryl, and Apolo and Karina. They dance every week like they're dancing for their lives, dancing for the last time, and dancing with enough passion and fire to burn the floor. The two couples that were eliminated perhaps possessed that at one time or another during this competition, especially in the case of Gilles and Peta, but somewhere along the way, the fire went out.

Please come back later in the week when I will recap my favorite performances!

This week the Top 12 (3 members from each team) performed to secure their spot in the Top 10.

So at the end of this week of performances the two eliminated contestants were Michaela Paige from Team Blake who sang Blow Me (One Last Kiss) by Pink! and Adriana Louise from Team Christina who sang Good Girl by Carrie Underwood.

Michaela was a little bit of a surprise to me, I expected her to advance over Melanie Martinez from Team Adam. Michaela to me is a better vocalist with just a little bit more appeal I think.

I wanted to mention some of my favorite performances this week:

Amanda Brown from Team Adam was edgy and when does she not take a vocal risk? She does it every single week, singing something that the audience assumes is totally outside of her comfort zone. Then something happens, she opens her mouth, starts singing, and all of sudden you're not just mesmerized, but convinced that this woman can sing and conquer any song. This week was no exception, her performance of Spectrum by Florence and the Machine was like perfectly executed vocal acrobatics, her vocals absolutely took off and soared in spots.

Bryan Keith from Team Adam absolutely had a moment this week that I just didn't expect him to have. He sang Amy Winehouse's Back to Black like a modern day Sinatra; the crooner style works well for him because he has such a cool sound to his voice. There was a new found rasp in his voice and  there was an ease with the way he phrased things within the song. He's the most consistent person on Adam's Team right now, so I am going back to Bryan.

There's something about eighteen year old Trevin Hunte from Team Cee Lo that I just never tire of. This week it was his effortlessness on the vocal on When a Man Loves a Woman. I loved Adam's comments saying that Trevin's voice is a gift from God and it would be a travesty if he weren't here. Cee Lo was humbled by his voice and called Trevin an angel of some sort. The sound is heavenly and Trevin is always trying to get better, you can evidently see the effort he puts into every performance.

It could have been really cheesy (i.e. Cody Belew and Sylvia Yacoub's performances this week) but Nicholas David's rendition of Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News was so cool. Nicholas is so unique, but it's not weird, it's so sincere and genuine. This is really who he is.

My final favorite performance is this Top 12 was Terry McDermott's performance of More Than a Feeling by Journey. I've been wondering how is it possible for someone to lead a competition and be a favorite for so long? I've figured out that you just have to be Terry McDermott and have an amazingly authentic rock voice. The judges are so blown away that they have trouble making comments. Cee Lo: damn good! Impressive. Adam: Do you realize how good Terry is? Holy crap, that was so good!  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dancing with the Stars All Stars Season 15: Week 7

There are no eliminations during Week 7, but there will be a double elimination Week 8.

Week 7 was the week of the Mash-up: two dances fused together.

Apolo and Karina danced a Cha Cha Cha/ Paso Doble fusion-- Len said Apolo really attacked this dance, Apolo Ohno, Apolo oh yes!Bruno said the Cha Cha was clean and the Paso was powerful; triumphant. Carrie Ann liked the hot transition into the Paso, and commented about how he is still pushing himself. I thought he did well and I agree with Carrie Ann, he does seem to push himself more every week.
Scores: 9, 9, 9= 27

Emmitt and Cheryl danced a Rumba/ Samba fusion-- Bruno found it smoothed and balanced, it was difficult but he did it with ease. Carrie Ann said he was lacking in the upper body. Len said he didn't think he could have done that fusion as well as Emmitt did. This was not Emmitt's best dance, but I do think he gave it his best shot, and I'd be surprised if a fan favorite like him went home before the finale.
Scores: 8.5, 9.5, 9.5= 27.5

Kirstie and Maks danced a Quickstep/Samba fusion-- Carrie Ann thought it fell apart when she got to the Samba. Len said she lost her timing but it was an admirable effort. Bruno said it's always great to watch you. That's just it, the entertainment factor is there, but the quality of dance just isn't as high as the rest of the celebrities left in this competition.
Scores: 8, 8, 8= 24

Kelly and Val danced a Foxtrot/ Cha Cha Cha fusion-- Len thought it was lovely. Bruno said the timing and control was good, better than ever. Carrie Ann said that overall it was really beauty and she was impressed with Kelly's ability to combine elegance and sexiness. I loved this dance and I totally believe that they were underscored. Is this sabotage, quite possibly?
Scores: 9, 9, 9= 27

Melissa and Tony danced a Tango/ Cha Cha Cha fusion-- Bruno said you were on fire, the shapes in the tango were fantastic, in your cha cha, you've never been sexier. Carrie Ann said she was a star, and loved the transition. Len said it was beautiful all the way through and well done. He liked how it was a real fusion and went back and forth between dances. I thought Melissa was really exciting and I think based on how she has danced all season, she deserves to be in this finale. Tony deserves it too, his choreography has been phenomenal.
Scores: 10, 9.5, 9.5= 29

Shawn and Mark/ Derek (out with injury) danced a Tango/ Paso Doble fusion-- Carrie Ann said that's exactly what dance fusion should be. It was seamlessly intertwined. Len said I'm voting for you, that was fantastic. Bruno said the fusion was flawless. It was a really fun performance to watch, and I love how Shawn has really matured this season. It just makes everything that much more enjoyable to watch, she looks like she's really having fun.
Scores: 10, 10, 10= 30

Gilles and Pera danced an Argentine Tango/ Samba fusion-- Len thought both dances were well done. Bruno said sultry and intense in the Argentine Tango and exciting and exotic in the Samba. Carrie Ann mentioned the arm thing once again and the audience booed her. She did say it was a fantastic fusion though. I loved Peta's legs in this dance. For some reason though, I started to tune out, I hope Gilles hasn't peaked.
Scores: 9.5, 9.5, 9.5- 28.5

Swing Dance Marathon:
Kirstie and Maks – 4 points
Gilles and Peta – 5 points
Apolo and Karina – 6 Points
Emmitt and Cheryl – 7 points
Shawn and Mark – 8 points
Kelly and Val – 9 points
Melissa and Tony 10 – Champs!

Melissa and Tony – 39
Shawn and Mark – 38Kelly and Val – 36Emmitt and Cheryl – 34.5
Gilles and Peta – 33.5
Apolo and Karina – 33
Kirstie and Maks – 28


Thursday, November 8, 2012

The X Factor Season 2: Cat Fight! Demi and Simon's Claws Come Out

Overall, this week's live show was an improvement over last weeks and this time America will decide who is eliminated. I think it was a great move to bring Diamond White back after last week's shocking elimination. I had a feeling they were going to do that. I thought that the tacky moment of the night was Demi Lovato criticizing everything Simon said as constructive criticism. Demi, Simon took a chance and gave you a job, yes, you're a great singer, but show some gratefulness and at least listen since you're the newcomer.

Arin Ray performed American Boy by Estelle-- He did take the judges advice; however, I just felt it lacked overall and maybe it wasn't the right song for him. Simon thinks he is turning into a pop star though and I do agree with that.

Paige Thomas performed Take My Breath Away by Berlin-- I'm with LA on this one, I liked it, but I wasn't blown away. Simon urged Demi not to turn this into a karaoke competition. This is where the bickering began. Demi kept trying to justify the theatrics of the performance.

Vino Alan performed When A Man Loves A Woman by Percy Sledge-- This was one of my favorite performances of the night. Britney loved how stripped down the performance was, so did I! Demi said, you're an incredible vocalist, but I don't know if you're a pop star. Simon told Vino that he went from zero to hero in a week, and he then criticized Demi's comments. LA actually admitted taking Simon's comments from last week to help Vino, and he did; this was a great performance.

Emblem3 performed a mash up of My Girl by The Temptations and California Girls by Katy Perry-- Another Demi criticism that makes no sense. She felt that Simon plugged One Direction (who he discovered) by having their track of That's What Makes You Beautiful playing in the background. This is the most ridiculous accusation ever, it's just a popular song right now, and a good one at that. LA felt that they were perfect. Simon said that they actually only had one day to rehearse this song, and they didn't once complain.

Beatrice Miller performed Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls-- I like Beatrice, although, there's a part of me that feels this song was a little too grown up for her. She does seem to be an old soul. Britney actually commented that she thinks Beatrice has the best personality of anyone in the competition. Demi said that she likes how she connects to every song that she sings.

Jennel Garcia performed I Love Rock N' Roll by Joan Jett-- LA and Simon both felt that there was no originality. Britney thought it was a hot performance. Simon made a comment that does make a lot of sense to me, he said he doesn't like what Demi had done with her look, she looks almost unrecognizable.  I feel like Demi is trying to make Jennel look like her. Even Demi from week to week doesn't look like herself. The changes in her look seem to be so drastic and it's a little bit distracting.

Tate Stevens performed Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi-- Britney called Tate a true cowboy and said he nailed the performance. Demi feels that Tate has what it takes to be a star. Simon felt that on that night of performances, Tate finally arrived. I think this Southern gentleman is going to be around for a while.

Lyric145 performed Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins-- LA said it wasn't his cup of tea personally, but it was really good. This is one of those performances that I am torn about because it was a good idea in theory, but for some reason, I didn't love it. Britney found it both intriguing and entertaining. I don't think Lyric145 should go home but they may be in trouble this week.

Diamond White performed I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston-- LA said she brought it, Demi thought it was phenomenal, and Simon called it great vocal, great song, great performance. Britney felt that she channeled Whitney. It was a beautiful performance, and I am still just so happy that Diamond had the chance to come back, hopefully she won't be going anywhere for a while.

Cece Frey performed Eye of the Tiger by Survivor-- I thought this was the weakest vocal of the night and probably the worst performance. LA said he was not blown away by this. Simon thought the song choice was horrible, and said Cece was going in a direction that she shouldn't be going in. I think Cece should go home, this wasn't good by any means, but Demi won't take any of the blame for it.

Carly Rose Sonenclar performed It Will Rain by Bruno Mars-- LA called it heartfelt, honest, and he loved it. Demi said that she would watch this over and over again. Simon said that Britney did a good job with her and said this was a massive improvement over last week, and said we were watching a star in the making. Carly definitely gave the most powerful performance of the night.

Jason Brock performed I Believe I Can Fly by R. Kelly-- There is no question that Jason has a great voice, but for some reason, I did not believe him singing this song. Britney and Demi both felt it sounded and looked too much like a Vegas lounge act. Simon said he didn't believe it.

Fifth Harmony (formerly 1432) performed A Thousand Years by Christina Perri-- This was awesome, I think Simon is definitely onto something with this group of young women. LA said he was actually impressed. Britney said they shined the whole way, and Demi said that what separates them from other girl groups is that they are all strong vocalists. Simon said he was excited about their potential and said how proud of them he was.

My predictions for the bottom 3: Cece Frey, Jason Brock, and either Lyric145 or Beatrice Miller 

The Voice Season 3: The Live Shows Continue (Part 2)

Team Christina:
Adriana Louise sang Firework by Katy Perry-- Blake said that she takes big steps every time she takes the stage. The song is tough to sing, as Adam and Christina pointed out, it goes from low to medium to high. I give Adriana props, she is a force in this competition. I found it screechy at points, but I think she is one of the strongest members of Team Christina.

Team Cee Lo:
Cody Belew sang One More Try by George Michael-- Wow!!! Cody was phenomenal; I could see him being like a George Michael of today. Adam said it was a great song choice, and Cody said it was Cee Lo's idea. Blake called him a threat and said he is one of his and his wife Miranda's favorites. He said that Cody has grown with each performance. Christina said Cody made it his own and made her smile. Cee Lo said he was so proud of him.

Team Christina:
De'Borah sang Who Knew by Pink-- Cee Lo said he loved the mix of hip hop swagger and the gospel soul part of her voice. Adam said said she referred to herself in the video as "regular De'Borah" and that there is nothing regular about her because there is only one of her and what she does is special. Blake said her voice always sneaks up on him. Christina said she is so real, so raw, and she commands the stage. I love the passion and the heart; I agree with Christina, she is the real deal. 

Team Cee Lo:
Diego Val sang Bailamos by Enrique Iglesias-- Adam said he wasn't fully engaged in the song, but it was a good performance. Blake appreciated his coolness on the stage. Christina agreed with Adam. Cee Lo felt that this would give him a chance of sing something safe in his native tongue, and the song was sexy. Honestly, I like Diego's coolness, he has a very laid back casual feel to his voice. I could see him being like Juanes as an artist, similar style. 

Team Cee Lo:
MacKenzie Bourg sang That's What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction-- Adam felt that he was a throwback to Buddy Holly. He doesn't necessarily think he will win, but he likes him as a character on The Voice. If I'm being honest, MacKenzie is charming and all, but I wasn't excited with this performance. I think for the first time in this competition MacKenzie could be in trouble.

Team Christina:
Devyn Deloera sang Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis-- As far as level of difficulty, this song is as hard to sing as Firework. Cee Lo she was a better singer than the performance was. I don't think Devyn deserves to go home, but this wasn't as good as it could have been and should have been.

Team Cee Lo:
Nicholas David sang You're My First My Last My Everything by Barry White-- Adam said after hearing Nicholas sing that, he wants to go make a baby. Blake said Nicholas is his favorite singer on Team Cee Lo. Cee Lo said he deserves to go all the way, and that he has such a timeless quality to his voice. Nick deserves to automatically advance, what he does is that special.

Team Christina:
Sylvia Yacoub sang The One That Got Away by Katy Perry-- No lie, I haven't been a fan of Sylvia's, but this was a strong performance. Cee Lo even called it his favorite performance of the night so far. What I actually appreciated about this performance is that it wasn't screamed like Adriana's and Devyn's performances were at points. She may be the dark horse from Team Christina.

Team Christina:
Dez Duron sang Wanted by Hunter Hayes-- Blake and Adam both said his vocal runs have great accuracy and precision. Christina gave him a standing ovation, and said he is the whole package. I think a lot of other critics who's reviews I have read were way too harsh and critical on Dez. I thought he did great, and I am not just saying that cause he looks good, honestly.

Team Cee Lo:
Trevin Hunte sang How Am I Supposed to Live Without You by Michael Bolton-- Yes, omg, side note, Purrfect the Cat is back! Blake said every time you get on the stage, you move me, and you have everything it takes to win The Voice. Christina found him captivating. Trevin should, without question, automatically advance.

Team Christina, who I think is moving forward:
De'Borah, Sylvia Yacoub, and Dez Duron

Team Cee Lo, who I think is moving forward:
Trevin Hunte, Cody Belew, and Nicholas David

The Voice Season 3: The Live Shows Begin! (Part 1)

Monday began the live shows of Season 3 of The Voice. Team Adam and Team Blake took to the stage and gave it their best shot to prove that they belong in the top 12. If I am doing my math right, that means two artists from each team are going home. I believe the top two vote getters from each team automatically advance and then each coach will pick one of the three remaining contestants on their team to save. So with all that in mind, here's my predictions on the artists going home.

Team Adam:
 Joselyn Rivera sang Give Your Heart A Break by Demi Lovato-- I think the passion is there, but I don't think this was the best song or best vocal for her. To me, she will not automatically advance.

Team Blake:
Terry McDermott sang Don't Stop Believing by Queen-- Christina talked about Terry's voice being easy on the ears, that's completely true. Each time that Terry begins to sing, I know it's going to be good. I hear the first note and I want to listen to the next one and the next one. Cee Lo said it was effortless and timeless, and he should automatically advance.

Team Adam:
Melanie Martinez sang Hit The Road Jack by Ray Charles-- Like the coaches commented, I too like that Melanie doesn't look to fit in, but sometimes, her performances are a little bit too weird. I thought what she did was too ambitious and in parts, pitchy. Adam is mesmerized by her, so he might save her, but I don't believe she will automatically advance.

Team Blake:
Liz Davis sang Independence Day by Martina McBride-- Blake felt that Liz did a great job and he obviously feels she is ready to be a country artist if her brought her to this point. I did hear that there were some pitchy points, but overall this was a strong performance. Blake may have to save her if he wants her to move forward.

Team Blake:
Cassadee Pope sang My Happy Ending by Avril Lavigne-- Cassadee was actually pretty fierce; I thought this was a great song choice for her. Cee Lo felt that her verbratto gave her vulnerability. Adam wanted to see more of her identity. Blake disagreed and added that he thinks Cassadee will be around for a while, and she does pop/ rock really well. Dare I say, she may be the other person from Team Blake to advance based on popularity.

Team Adam:
Bryan Keith sang Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls-- Blake thought it was a great performance but told him to watch his lower register. Christina said he owned the performance and told him to keep up his passion. Adam found his performance comforting, and said the crowd loves you, and I love you. I cannot help but agree with Adam, Bryan is a singer who manages to draw me in no matter what he is singing, and he makes me care about it. I think he's a sure thing to automatically advance.

Team Blake:
Michaela Paige sang Everybody Talks by Neon Trees-- Cee Lo called it the best performance of the night. Adam thought the song was perfect for her, and hoped it wasn't Blake's idea cause he hates it when Blake is right, but it was Blake's idea. Blake has a soft spot for Michaela and he may save her.

Team Blake:
Julio Cesar Castillo sang El Rey-- This was without question, a beautiful performance, but will America understand that? Julio was true to himself and gave a passionate performance. Blake said that Julio made him feel without Blake being able to understand the words. I really think that third spot, Blake's save, is going to be a three way fight to finish, between Liz, Michaela, and Julio.

Team Adam:
Loren Allred sang Around the World by Lisa Stanfield-- I think Loren has been the biggest surprise in terms of full out improving every time that she sings. I do not think she will automatically advance, but I think Adam will consider saving her. Cee Lo called her performance jazzy, smooth, and sexy, and Adam thought she did an amazing job.

Team Adam:
Amanda Brown sang Dream On by Aerosmith-- Christina said, get it girl! Adam said that Amanda's performance was the actual best performance of the night. Amanda just shocks me every time, I didn't think this was the right song for her, boy did she prove me wrong. She can sing anything. She's the only sure thing to advance in this competition.

Team Adam, who I think is moving forward:
Bryan Keith, Amanda Brown, and Melanie Martinez

Team Blake, who I think is moving forward:
Terry McDermott, Cassadee Pope, and Michaela Paige


Monday, November 5, 2012

Dancing with the Stars All Stars Season 15: Week 6

For all those who didn't think it could happen twice, myself included, it happened; Sabrina Bryan was voted off Dancing with the Stars on the same week she was voted out in Season 5, and this time around she was the high scorer overall according to the judges' scores.

This is country week:

See www.abc.com/dancingwiththestars for video or M.J.'s Big Blog

Gilles and Peta – Cha Cha Cha – “Man I Feel Like a Woman” by Shania Twain-- I agree with Len, Gilles consistently gives 100% and it's amazing to watch every time. I just cannot keep my eyes off them dancing. Carrie Ann called it classy and sexy, and I so agree.
Scores: 9, 9, 9.5= 27.5

Sabrina and Louis – Rumba – “Wanted” by Hunter Hays-- Bruno mentioned the emotional thread that ran through the dance. Carrie Ann hugged Sabrina and told her she was dancing from her heart, and  Len said it had wonderful choreography. I am still shocked that Sabrina went home.
Scores: 10, 10, 10= 30

Kelly and Val – Tango – “Good Girl” by Carrie Underwood-- Kelly was so good this week, I'm so proud to say that I'm a fan. Carrie Ann and Bruno both made comments about Kelly's great comeback. Len said that it was a bit hectic at times, but she held it together. Bruno said,  "You are back in the game big time. What a come back.”
Scores: 9, 9, 9= 27

Melissa and Tony – Viennese Waltz – “Why You Wanna” by Janna Kramer-- Wow, Melissa's solo is absolutely stunning, best I've seen so far. Len gave Melissa a standing ovation and said she has the how and she has the wow. Bruno said her solo was exquisite, it was weightless, fluid, and lyrical. Carrie Ann felt she wasn't dancing out enough and her dancing was internal. Bruno really argued about this with her. I agree with Bruno, Carrie Ann it totally knit picking. This was gorgeous.
Scores: 9.5, 10, 10= 29.5

Shawn and Derek – Cha Cha Cha – “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” by Kenny Chesney-- I agree with Len, I thought her solo was pretty stuff. My positive comment about Shawn is that I love how she "performs", she smiles, she has great personality and charisma when she dances. Bruno liked the fusion of country and cha cha cha in the dance, and Carrie Ann agreed. Carrie Ann also liked how she articulated her movements. Len liked the choreography and the movement, but not the gimmicks.
Scores: 9.5, 8.5, 10= 28

Kirstie and Maks – Rumba – “Home” by Blake Shelton-- Here's what I am going to say about this, and I am going to skip the judges' comments, I would agree with most people that Kirstie isn't the best dancer, and that she probably should have gone home before Sabrina. What sells her every week though is her connection with Maks and their chemistry.
Scores: 9.5, 8.5, 9.5= 27.5

Apolo and Karina – Viennese Waltz – “Sara Beth” by Rascal Flatts-- Apolo is dancing really well in this number, it's probably his most expressive number since he started on Dancing with the Stars. Bruno proclaims him a leading man and Len says he had great musicality, and he loved it. Carrie Ann says, “That was poetry in motion and it was so nice to see you guys connected that way". Each movement was done with so much intention.
Scores: 10, 10, 10= 30

Emmitt and Cheryl – Fox Trot – “Islands in the Stream” by Dolly Parton and Kenny Chesney-- Well Emmitt's solo was the best part for me. The dance itself seemed a little bit off at points and it didn't have the polish that it usually does coming from Cherly and Emmitt. Len said it lacked finesse but was very entertaining.
Scores: 8.5, 8.5, 9.5= 26.5

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Voice Season 3: The Knockout Round

This season on The Voice because "the steal" was added, another round was added to the competition overall. The "Knockout Round" is when a mentor chooses two people from his or her own team to go up against each other. The difference from the Battle Round is that they are not singing the same song in a duet of sorts; they are singing a song of their own choosing in a solo performance. The mentor then deliberates, chooses who he or she wants to move on to the live shows and the other contestant is immediately eliminated.

Team Adam:

Joselyn Rivera singing Love on Top by Beyonce vs. Kayla Nevarez singing Shark in the Water by VV Brown-- Kayla sang an unfamiliar song and played it safe with her vocals and Joselyn sang a well known but difficult song and took a risk. My choice is Joselyn.
Knockout goes to: Joselyn Rivera

Joe Kirkland singing Mean by Taylor Swift vs. Bryan Keith singing Everything I Do I Do it For You by Bryan Adams-- Adam talked about Bryan's emotional connection with the audience; it's really unparalleled, there aren't many people who have that this year. Joe made a valiant effort, but this was a no contest, for me, and Adam.
Knockout goes to: Bryan Keith

Amanda Brown singing Paris Ohh La La by Grace Potter & The Nocturnals vs. Michelle Brooks Thompson singing Spotlight by Jennifer Hudson-- Christina called them both singer's singers. Adam questioned who he could be the better coach for and he picked Amanda Brown. To me, Michelle is a great singer, but Amanda has the passion to win this entire competition. I would pick Amanda.
Knockout goes to: Amanda Brown

Loren Allred singing You Know I'm No Good by Amy Winehouse vs. Nicole Nelson singing If I Ain't Got You by Alicia Keys--Nicole was stronger for sure in my opinion, but all the coaches were saying that Loren had a breakout performance which I don't exactly understand. Christina even went as far as asking Loren, where have you been all my life in this competition? Adam believed either lady could win the competition, noting that Nicole has impressed him since the beginning, whereas, Loren surprised him. I would go with Nicole because she's consistent.
Knockout goes to: Loren Allred

Melanie Martinez singing Bulletproof by La Roux vs. Sam James singing Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn-- The coaches were split on this decision. Blake said he'd probably pick Sam, and Christina liked the haunting sound of Melanie. I like Melanie's sense of individuality, but I would go with Sam. Adam didn't agree.
Knockout goes to: Melanie Martinez

Team Cee Lo:

Avery Wilson singing Yeah (3x's) by Chris Brown  vs. Cody Belew singing Jolene by Dolly Parton-- Before I knew what they were singing and before they started singing, Avery Wilson was my favorite to win this knockout all the way. After they sang, I knew Avery had lost his chance. Cee Lo said, ultimately, Cody came out stronger. This was such a wasted opportunity for Avery.
Knockout goes to: Cody Belew

Mackenzie Bourg singing Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen vs. Daniel Rosa singing Back to December by Taylor Swift-- I think Adam was the only one really paying attention during this performance. Adam said it was engaging, magical, and revealing of Daniel's new found confidence. I did like Mackenzie, but I found this to be too forced. I am disappointed and surprised that Daniel didn't win out here.
Knockout goes to: Mackenzie Bourg

Terisa Griffin singing Saving All My Love For You by Whitney Houston vs. Trevin Hunte singing Against All Odds by Phil Collins-- They were both amazing; they're natural talents. Christina said that Trevin's talent is God given (it most certainly is!). Cee Lo called his voice: grace, and said Terisa's rendition of the song was beautiful. Wow, I would've been happy with either one, but Trevin, as Terisa acknowledged, has something special.
Knockout goes to: Trevin Hunte

Mycle Wastman singing Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me by George Michael vs. Nicholas David singing Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae-- Mycle's voice is great, but nothing more than ordinary. Nicholas has something special; there wasn't another choice.
Knockout goes to: Nicholas David

Caitlin Michele singing Bring Me to Life by Evanesence vs. Diego Val singing Are You Gonna Go My Way by Lenny Kravitz-- I was torn on this knockout because Caitlin picked the perfect song for her voice. Diego's personality sold his performance. The song had lots of attitude.
Knockout goes to: Diego Val

Team Christina:

Devyn DeLoera singing I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston vs. Laura Vivas singing I Need To Know by Marc Anthony-- Well, Laura's performance was a complete and utter mess. Devyn's song may have been ambitious, but at least it was realistic. Ultimately, Christina's connection with Devyn helped her make a choice.
Knockout goes to: Devyn DeLoera

Adriana Louise singing Already Gone by Kelly Clarkson vs. Celica Westbrook singing Never Say Never by Justin Bieber--  Celica has definitely grown in this competition, and her song selection was actually quite smart. Adriana has a mature voice that could make her the best singer on Team Christina.
Knockout goes to: Adriana Louise

Alessandra Guercio singing Take a Bow by Rihanna vs. Dez Duron singing Stuck on You by Lionel Richie-- Adam said that Alessandra has grown since they first saw her. I completely agree with that; she's someone that we could potentially see on Broadway in a few years. Christina felt more comfortable going forward with Dez and chose him instead. This was a decision I was actually pretty torn on. The fact that Alessandra has grown in each round should mean something. I say Dez is going to have a hard time going forward if her doesn't step it up. And I say that because I like him.
Knockout goes to: Dez Duron

Chevonne singing Dancing with Myself by Billy Idol vs. De'Borah singing You Found Me by The Fray-- Both made amazing song selections, and both have stage presence that's unparalleled in this competition, it's really something you cannot buy. What it came down to was the voice, and De'Borah had the stronger one.
Knockout goes to: De'Borah

Sylvia Yacoub singing Fighter by Christina Aguilera vs. Aquile singing Grenade by Bruno Mars-- Anyone who knows anything about music knows that singing a Bruno Mars ballad is ambitious. He has a big voice, and it's full of emotion. Aquile did a solid job, but he didn't kick butt. Sylvia won because Aquile faltered, had he done better this round, he would have had a real shot at winning.
Knockout goes to: Sylvia Yacoub 

Team Blake:

Gracia Harrison singing I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing by Aerosmith vs. Liz Davis singing Gunpowder & Lead by Miranda Lambert-- I've liked both of these country ladies since their blind auditions, but clearly Liz has several things going for her: maturity, she knows who she is as an artist, and her voice was a little bit stronger. I wholeheartedly agree with Blake moving forward with Liz.
Knockout goes to: Liz Davis

Rudy Parris singing Forever by Chris Brown vs. Terry McDermott singing Maybe I'm Amazed by Paul McCartney-- Rudy actually surprised me because he showed up to play, his version of Chris Brown's Forever was impressive. Terry is just incredible though; there's no denying that he's the real deal. Terry would have had to self destruct to lose this battle.
Knockout goes to: Terry McDermott

Collin McLoughlin singing Break Even by The Script vs. Michaela Paige singing Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar-- Blake felt there was good and bad in both performances which I do agree with. No one really impressed me or did anything impressive. Michaela sounded manic though singing Battlefield which is one of my favorite songs of all time. The coaches were split down the middle in their thoughts as was I. Blake felt there was something special about Michaela and seemed to choose her on intuition.
Knockout goes to: Michaela Paige

Julio Castillo singing Somebody to Love by Justin Bieber vs. MarissaAnn singing Lady Marmalade by Patti LaBelle-- Julio can really blow but he seemed disengaged throughout the performance. It's like he was using his voice but he had no stage presence. MarissaAnn was extremely engaged, but somehow this song did nothing for me. Blake felt that MarissaAnn didn't do enough to sway him, and he had already put in so much time with Julio that he had to go with him.
Knockout goes to: Julio Castillo

Cassadee Pope singing Payphone by Adam Levine vs. Suzanna Coffel singing Could You Be Loved by Bob Marley-- Cassadee has a great rock voice, maybe not the right song for her, but a strong performance nonetheless. Suzanna's performance was just too laid back to be considered.
Knockout goes to: Cassadee Pope

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The X Factor Season 2: First Live Show of the Season-- Spectacle! Good? Or Bad?

I am going to have lots to write about The X Factor last night, but my first order of business before I get to all of that is to initially let you know who I think is going home tonight. I believe the way that it works is that one act from each category is going home. Here are my predictions:

Demi's Team: Paige Thomas
Britney's Team: Beatrice Miller
LA's Team: Vino Alan
Simon's Team: 1432

The weakest teams overall are Demi's and LA's; Simon and Britney's Teams seemed more prepared and polished.

Demi's Team:

Paige Thomas performed What is Love-- The whole thing was over the top, the performance was spectacle rather than skilled. Her voice was not that strong, and the song choice wasn't right as LA suggested as well. There was way too much going on onstage between her outfit, the surroundings, the choreography, etc. Britney thinks that Paige is a star and Simon thought it was outrageous, though, I couldn't tell whether or not that was good or bad.

My favorite performer from Demi's Team last night was by far, Jennel Garcia who sang Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue-- She literally morphed into a rock star in front of us. LA felt her performance was a 10. Simon called her performance amazing, but commented that Demi tried to make Jennel look like her.

Cece Frey sang Because the Night by Patti Smith--  Overall, Demi's Team came out weak and this further cemented that theory. Cece's vocals were not as good as they usually are, everything sounded watered down. Simon excused her weak vocals while LA and Britney pointed them out to her.

The final contestant from Demi's Team was Willie Jones who sang Here For the Party by Gretchen Wilson-- Willie was the second strongest contestant from Demi's Team in my opinion. LA found it entertaining but wanted more, and Britney thinks he's a star. Simon found the whole thing silly from the choreography to the outfits to the inappropriate dancers.

Britney's Team:

Arin Ray, Brit's strongest artist this week, sang Keep Me Hangin' On by The Supremes-- Even Arin struggled, but it's amazing how much he has matured in a year. I did not like the loud and distracting sound effects in the background, but he made the most of it and got through the performance. LA liked the song but didn't think his vocals were up to par. Demi found it stiff and felt he should have danced better, Simon argued that the focus is his voice first, and then the singing. Simon was impressed overall, and said that he did have the swagger. Brit loved it.

Diamond White sang Hey Soul Sister by Train-- I'll admit, I found the song choice awkward initially. But like LA said, it felt like her song by the end. Demi wanted to see Diamond have more fun, she felt that she was too reserved. Simon felt that she improved massively since they last saw her and that Britney did a really good job with her.

Beatrice Miller sang I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz-- This performance, like her hair, was a hot mess. I love Beatrice, and technically, I don't think she should go home, she does deserve another chance, but it was a weak vocal. LA loved and believed in her. Demi was impressed with the feelling behind her eyes. Simon thought that the style was right.

Carly Rose Sonenclair's performance of Good Feeling by Flo Rider was all wrong for her-- She seemed totally uncomfortable up there. Simon didn't think she connected to the song; it was quite obvious. LA and Demi both felt she looked uncomfortable onstage. The reason I think she will be saved is because she has a better voice than Beatrice.

LA's Team:

The strongest contestant on LA's Team is David Correy, by a mile; he sang My Love is Your Love by Whitney Houston-- Britney said she was surprised, felt his performance a lot, and called it amazing. Simon found it manic and thought that the song didn't give him any direction as an artist. LA thought his voice sounded great and he was proud of him. I hope David stays in this competition because I believe he'll benefit from the mentoring and grow.

Vino Alan sang Gotta Be Somebody by Nickelback-- This was the wrong song for Vino, it sat too low in his voice. Brit felt his effort but was bored. Demi thought the beginning was shaky, but she could feel his passion. Simon said the song and the arrangement was horrible and that LA failed him. I agree with Simon in saying that Vino is more of a soul singer.

Tate Stevens sang Tough by Craig Morgan-- Tate is just a classic and I am honestly surprised that he hasn't been discovered before this. Brit said she is wowed every time. Demi said, we need you here, you're a star. Simon said I know exactly what kind of artist you want to be, the song wasn't my favorite, but you're a keeper.

Jason Brock sang Dance Again by Jennifer Lopez and this was not the right choice-- I feel LA completely failed Jason because this was the wrong song. Simon said the whole thing was horrendous; LA suggested that Simon was hating. I love Jason, I think his voice is tremendous, and he should have the chance to show what he can really do.

Simon's Team:

Sister C sang Hell on Heels by the Pistol Annies-- Britney felt that they delivered and I agree. I was not a fan of these girls going into this, but hearing them now, they have loads of potential. Demi said that this niche is missing in the industry, but the performance was really stiff. Simon said it was a fantastic performance, the vocals were on the money, and it sounded fantastic. I agree with Simon, these girls are good.

Lyric 145 sang Boom Shake the Room by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince-- LA thinks that they are an amazing group. Brit was genuinely entertained, and Demi thought they were amazing (lots of use of the word amazing throughout this show). Simon said it has to be commercial to work, which they are, and he thought they were sensational. I love this group myself, their sound is different. 

1432 (remember these gals have only been together three weeks) sang We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together-- LA found it very karaoke, didn't like the name change, and felt that Simon failed them. I really think that was a little too severe of a criticism, Simon did put them together after all. Brit was pleasantly surprised. Demi felt that they need more practice together.

 Emblem3 sang One Day by Matisyahu, and it was just in a different class than the other performances-- LA said it was unbelievable and told Simon that he actually got it right this time. Demi said that she can't look them in the eye when they sing because then she would be flirting. She said that they're so talented (agreed, but hopefully they don't wreck anymore hotel rooms!). Simon told everyone that they're seeing a future superstar. 

So here's what actually happened--

Willie Jones went home from Demi's Team; that was a shocker to me. David Correy, another fan favorite went home from LA's Team. Britney sent Diamond White home; truthfully, no one from that category should have been eliminated. Finally, Simon sent Sister C packing after a sing off with 1432 (soon to be another name, this time, chosen by the public). 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dancing with the Stars All Stars Season 15 Week 5

I sure do hope that everyone voted for their favorite All Star via facebook, phone, abc.com, or text. I know one of my favorites is in a bit of trouble; Kelly Monaco finished with the lowest score, despite another amazing effort.

This was a weird week to say the least; guilty pleasures week always is. Here are some of the highlights. 

Val and Kelly danced the Samba--
Len criticized the long winded start and felt it was a little too raunchy. Bruno said the Samba bounce wasn't good, but the spins were and everything was finished nicely. Carrie Ann felt uncertainty from Kelly, and thought it was a good try but not her best. I think Kelly was probably scored right, but then that means that a lot of other couples were over-scored.
Scores: 8, 8, 8.5= 24.5

Gilles and Peta danced the Rumba--
Bruno said it was masterclass theater, he maintained musicality without music, and one of the best performances I've seen. Carrie Ann said let the baby making begin and then she fell out of her chair. Len said it was a blockbuster; it had everything. It was a great performance, and I would most agree with Len's score. He challenges the All Stars and the dancers.
Scores: 10, 9.5, 10= 29.5

Kirstie and Maks danced the Quickstep--
Kirstie looked beautiful and seemed to be moving better. I think she deserves to be here, but how much longer? Carrie Ann thought it was her best dance and it was elegant. Len believed Kirstie was dancing to the maximum and Bruno thought she delivered.
Scores: 8.5, 8.5, 8.5= 26.5

Emmitt and Cheryl danced the Samba--
Wow, that was amazing! I was entertained and I did not want it to end when it did. Clearly these types of rhythmic dances are his strength. Len said it was an unstoppable performance. Bruno felt like his Samba was like the best party in the country. Carrie Ann admitted that no one Samba's like Emmitt and that he had the Samba swagger.
Scores: 9.5, 9.5, 10= 29

Melissa and Tony danced the Tango--
I love Melissa and she is honestly one of my faves this season, but this was a little bit too bland, especially with this dance and this music. It just needed to be sharper; that's what was missing. Len said she performed excellently, Len did want her to snap a little bit more. Bruno thought it was intoxicating. Both Carrie Ann and Bruno talked about how her gritty character came to life.
Scores: 9, 9, 9= 27

Shawn and Derek danced the Rumba--
This dance was breathtakingly beautiful. Shawn looked gorgeous, she expressed emotion; they glided across the floor. I do understand why Len gave it an 8, because of the contemporary flairs to it. Bruno thought it was touching, romantic. Carrie Ann liked her maturity, passion, and vulnerability. She also said she saw a lift and that wasn't allowed. Len said there was no hip action, he loved the number, but it wasn't a Rumba.
Scores: 9, 8, 10= 27

Apolo and Karina danced the Samba--
The cool thing that I loved about this dance was that it was a Samba with tons of disco style. It was fun, interesting, and I was watching both of them  throughout the whole dance. Carrie Ann thought his legwork was fantastic, but she doesn't feel like Apolo has broken through yet, and urged him to vote on his chemistry. Len thought it was terrific, and said he saw rhythm and clear, sharp, precise movements. Bruno said he found Apolo and the dance terribly sexy and that they did a good job.   
Scores: 8.5, 9.5, 9= 27

Sabrina and Louis danced the Waltz--
Len loved the story and the flow; he found it charming. Bruno said it was like a ride into a magical kingdom. Carrie Ann said she didn't completely capture the vulnerability, but it was light and elegant. I must agree with each judge; this was actually just beautiful and graceful. Sabrina had a lightness to her that was unmatched this week.

With the group dance added in:

Sabrina and Louis – 58.5
Shawn and Derek – 56.5
Melissa and Tony – 56.5
Gilles and Peta – 56.5
Apolo and Karina – 56.5
Emmitt and Cheryl – 56
Kirstie and Maks – 53.5
Kelly and Val – 51.5

The group dances were odd; I am bypassing talking about them..... look them up on M.J.'s Big Blog if you're interested.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Voice Season 3: Final 3 Battles--- Mindblowing!

No fluff, no battles flashed across the screen for our viewing pleasure or lack thereof. The final episode of battle rounds was straight up fights to the finish.

First up, from Team Christina was two potential pop stars, Adrianna Louise and Jordan Pruitt. They had the tough task of taking on Hot n' Cold by Katy Perry which is extremely stylized. Adam and Blake said that they could with Jordan, particularly because of her unique voice--- the breaks in it and her timing. However Cee Lo and Christina believed that Adrianna was a force to be reckoned with and she moved on. This was a well matched battle and I think it was a matter of preference. I preferred Jordan; too bad some of the judges already used their steals.
Battle goes to: Adrianna Louise

Next up, two very different but young singers from Team Blake, Kelly Crapa and Michaela Paige, 15 and 16 respectively. They sang rock song, I Hate Myself For Loving You by Joan Jett-- Kelly is a country singer whereas Michaela is a full out rock singer. I think Kelly was a little too timid in this performance even though she had a lovely voice. Blake chose Michaela because she had a little more edge.
Battle goes to: Michaela Paige

Finally, the teen prodigy Avery Wilson and back up singer Chevonne from Team Cee Lo sang Titanium by David Guetta and Sia-- Adam and Blake both felt that Avery took this battle hands down, but Blake did feel that Chevonne did come out ready for battle. Christina said that Chevonne's stage presence was amazing and that Avery could learn something from her. Cee Lo said both artists impressed him, but he decided to continue the journey with Avery. Christina could not help but to use her last steal on Chevonne. I couldn't agree more with the outcome, both artists did deserve to move forward.
Battle goes to: Avery Wilson

Christina steals Chevonne

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Voice Season 3: A Couple of Early Favorites Knocked Out in the Battle Rounds

The show began with classically trained singer Alexis Marceaux and comeback kid Daniel Rosa from Team Cee Lo singing Whaddaya Want From Me by Adam Lambert-- Adam loved how Daniel sings with all his soul, and I echo that. He just helps me connect to the song, and feel something. Blake heard some things in Alexis' voice that he hadn't heard before so he said he would choose her, and Christina said the same. The opinion that mattered though was Cee Lo's and he chose Daniel because he is connected to him in an emotional way.
Battle goes to: Daniel Rosa

Couldn't help but love the soulful battle between the seasoned Nicole Nelson and teenager Brandon Mahone who sang Ain't No Mountain High Enough as a proud coach Adam looked on-- I thought that if Brandon wasn't going to be chosen by Adam, he should at least move on to the next round, but alas Cee Lo declaring that he would choose Brandon because of his swagger wasn't enough even to convince Adam. Adam went with Nicole's confidence and consistency. Brandon was robbed.
Battle goes to: Nicole Nelson

And now the part of the show I don't like...... when they flash battles across our screen:

From Team Adam: Brian Scartocci vs. Loren Allred singing Need You Now by Lady Antebellum
Battle goes to: Loren Allred

From Team Blake: Ryan Jirovec vs. Cassadee Pope singing Not Over You by Gavin Degraw
Battle goes to: Cassadee Pope

From Team Adam: Joe Kirkland vs. Samuel Mouton singing You've Got the Music in You by The New Radicals
Battle goes to: Joe Kirkland

Final battle of episode five was Devyn Delora and Marissa Ann from Team Christina singing Free Your Mind by En Vogue-- At times, this potentially could have sounded like two cats screaming, but these two ladies worked it out, classed it up, and it was a successful battle. I preferred Marissa Ann and so did Cee Lo and Blake. Adam and Christina preferred Devyn's experience which in most cases with those two judges always seems to win out.
Battle goes to: Devyn Delora

But Blake couldn't let 15 year old phenom Marissa Ann go and stole her from Team Christina

Dancing with the Stars All Stars Season 15 Week 4

This was the week where the contestants chose the dances for each other. It was a week where the first tens were handed out, and couples who usually come out at the bottom achieved personal bests. It's also the week where Bristol Palin was voted off, to the delight of those who don't really understand what the show is all about. Maybe the real reason they wanted her voted off is because they don't like her mother's politics or they don't like her personal choices. Like it or not, Bristol embodies what the show is about; it takes well known personalities who know nothing about dance and gives them the opportunity to be taught by professional dancers, and show their progress. She progressed every week. Should she have won? No, but she possesses exactly the right attitude and spirit, and therefore, why wouldn't we wish her the best?

Paula Abdul sat in as a guest judge on this night, and there were times where I asked myself whether or not the judges would stop copying each other on the scores.

Kirstie and Maks danced the Charleston-- It was fun, and it certainly did play to Kirstie's strengths. My critique is that the footwork was messy at points, and had the cleaned that up her scores would have been higher.
Scores: 7.5, 7.5, 7.5, 7.5= 30 out of 40 (scores are in this order Carrie Ann, Len, Paula, Bruno)

Bristol and Mark danced Rock and Roll-- For all the haters out there, this was Bristol's best dance ever. It had lots of energy, she actually did hit the steps, and the judges believed it. Len said the only failure would be a failure to try. Carrie Ann high fived her and talked about how much she has blossomed.
Scores: 8, 8, 8, 8= 32 out of 40

Sabrina and Louis danced Disco-- This was different for Sabrina, it was quick, full of precision, and I loved the energy. Len loved it. Carrie Ann noticed the mistake but agreed that Sabrina showed something very different. She and Bruno argued about whether or not she lost time at some point. Paula said that Louis definitely choreographed to Sabrina's strengths.
Scores: 9, 9, 8.5, 9= 35.5

Emmitt and Cheryl danced the Bolero-- This was simple but so beautiful; wow, I have no idea what Bolero is but they both looked graceful and elegant. My favorite part was when Bruno said, “The mood was steamier that August in Louisiana. You just got it, man.”
Scores: 9, 9, 9, 9= 36

Giles and Peta danced  Bollywood-- I think this was the most challenging dance of the night, but that being said, I also think it was over-scored a little bit. M.J. said it best on M.J.'s Big Blog, the novelty of the dance contributed to the score. All the judges agreed that it was beyond belief fantastic; they talked about the level of commitment to the dance etc.
Scores: 10, 9.5, 10, 10= 39.5

Melissa and Tony danced the Jitterbug-- One of my favorite couples this season and thus far on DWTS, Melissa and Tony are a match made in heaven. Paula said it best when she said, they go together like hand in glove. The footwork was impeccable she said. Carrie Ann commented on Tony's exceptional choreography and I must agree with that. So often, we pay attention to the celebrity, we need to start paying attention to these wonderful pros also. Len praised the fact that they took risks with ambitious jumps and failed on one, and mentioned that every single dance Melissa dances is "clean and correct".
Scores: 9, 9, 9.5, 9.5= 37

Shawn and Derek danced the Mambo-- Great performance! Mambo being a Cuban street dance, this dance was really down, and Shawn did a great job of moving her hips similar to the way you do in Salsa. Carrie Ann loved their synchronization and Len thought it was brilliant. Paula said that Shawn has really blossomed into a sexy young lady and that she had looked forward to seeing this dance.
Scores: 10, 9.5, 10, 10= 39.5

Apolo and Karina danced Hip Hop-- I felt bad for Karina because she thought she had failed Apolo. For some reason, I feel like the choreography could have been better, dirtier, more challenging. Apolo is a good dancer and she shouldn't have been afraid to give him harder material. Despite the fact that the judges all thought they did great and didn't make any mistakes they ended up with 8s.
Scores: 8.5, 9, 8.5, 8.5= 37.5

Kelly and Val danced Contemporary-- Their dance had it all, poise, grace, passion, beauty, and emotion. Kelly seemed exhausted by the end of it, but I could tell she poured everything into it that she had. Even more amazing was the fact that Kelly was sick at the time and had a broken toe! Len said that Kelly is biggest revelation this season. Bruno said, “Your task was the hardest tonight. You did it beautifully. I believed every moment.” Carrie Ann said that Kelly laid her heart out there.
Scores: 9, 9.5, 9.5, 9.5= 37.5 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Voice Season 3: The Battle Rounds Rebound and Contestants Shine

Two weeks ago,  the battle rounds on The Voice was disappointing at times, the two episodes this week proved that the talent is better than ever.

Episode 1 of Week 2 of Battles 

This past week of battles began with two members of Blake's Team, mariachi singer Julio Cesar Castillo and Terisa Griffin singing Conga by Gloria Estefan-- I like both of these artists, and I'm beginning to find that I am routing for both people competing in the battle. Cee Lo liked Terisa for her soul. Adam thought Terisa was fierce, but said he would choose Julio because he brings something different. Blake ultimately chose Julio for the same reason Adam said, he brought something different, but also Blake said he struggled in practice, and he came so far, which means he probably put the most work into it.  Both of these singers are solid, and I am really glad that Cee Lo decided to steal Terisa.
Battle goes to: Julio Castillo

Cee Lo stole Terisa Griffin

Dez Duron and Paulina from Christina's Team faced off with the song Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars-- Cee Lo said he would choose Dez because he's the whole package. Adam felt that both contestants had inconsistent performances, but said he'd choose Dez because he's more experienced and Blake echoed that sentiment. I agreed, and so did Christina. Dez moves on; this was easy!
Battle goes to: Dez Duron

Adam decided to pair Benji and Sam James for a You Give Love a Bad Name by Bon Jovi duet. Blake felt that Benji had more moments in the performance. Cee Lo felt that Benji had a stronger voice, and explored more. Adam liked Benji's screams but felt there was a lack of control. Adam respected that Sam had his own style and really owned that. Ultimately, he felt Sam was more solid as a singer and chose him. For those who were more Benji fans, why scream when you can sing like Sam?
Battle goes to: Sam James

Next to battle it out was Nicholas David and Todd Kessler from Cee Lo's Team singing the Hall & Oates classic She's Gone-- I have to admit, I wasn't impressed the first time I heard Nicholas David. I thought he was just trying too hard to be different, and now that I see his being different is so authentic, I'm all in. Adam said their voices sound amazing together. Christina complimented Nicholas' definite style and swag. Cee Lo appreciated both of them but chose Nicholas because as Blake said, there is no one in this world like him.
Battle goes to: Nicholas David

Two young women with two big voices, Leila Broussard and Suzanna Choffel of Team Blake sang The Dog Days Are Over by Florence and the Machine-- Christina felt it was beautiful, a great pairing and a great match. Cee Lo felt they both deserved to be there. Adam felt like he was hearing them for the first time. Blake decided on Suzanna saying she is a chameleon. I was torn with this battle because both women were so strong, either one could have moved on in my book.
Battle goes to: Suzanna Choffel

The final battle of this episode was between Team Christina's Joselyn Rivera and Sylvia Yacoub who sang Best Thing I Never Had by Beyonce-- Cee Lo was impressed by Joselyn and felt like he was hearing her for the first time. Adam said he would probably choose Joselyn. Blake felt that they had very different styles from one another. All that being said, Christina liked that Sylvia was fierce and passionate and decided on Sylvia. I personally am a Joselyn fan because I think she has the stronger, better voice.
Battle goes to: Sylvia Yacoub

Adam stole Joselyn Rivera because he believes she can really sing.

Episode two featured a lot of unexpected match ups and a few of those had little air time.

Blake opted for an all country battle with Liz Davis and Nicole Johnson singing Baggage Claim by his wife Miranda Lambert-- To me, Liz Davis seems like she was born to be a country singer. There's something about her that reads like a combination of Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood.  Blake said they are both great country singers, but Nicole lost her breath at times. He chose Liz and said the deciding factor was the experience.
 Battle goes to: Liz Davis

I don't know why he did it cause I love both of these girls but Adam chose Alessandra Guercio and Kayla Nevarez to battle it out with Katy Perry's Wide Awake-- Blake liked Alessandra's raspy sound and Kayla's verbrato. Christina said that they were neck and neck. Cee Lo said he would go with Alessandra because she had a lot of sweet moments throughout the performance and she had that nice rasp in her voice. Adam said that Alessandra should be more confident in herself because she has the talent. For Kayla, Adam said he remembers picking her and her pulling him aside and saying, "let's win this". He picked Kayla because of her confidence. Consequently, Christina said, the can't bear to watch a talented woman like Alessandra doubt herself and be anything less than confident about her abilities. She stole Alessandra from Team Adam and vowed to instill in her more confidence.
Battle goes to: Kayla Nevarez

Christina stole Alessandra Guercio

The battles that were shown so quick that they practically flashed across the screen:

Cee Lo's Team-- Ben Taub vs. Mycle Wastman sang Too Close by Alex Clare
Battle goes to: Mycle Wastman

Adam's Team-- Adanna Duru vs. Michelle Brooks Thompson sang Crazy in Love by Beyonce
Battle goes to: Michelle Brooks Thompson

Christina's Team-- Beat Frequency vs. Laura Vivas sang Poker Face by Lady Gaga
Battle goes to: Laura Vivas

The final battle of this episode was a great one and it was between two very different singers, country rocker Emily Earle and pop singer MacKenzie Bourg of Team Cee Lo. They tackled the duet Good Time by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen-- Adam didn't think the chemistry was as good as he expected it to be. Blake loved both of them and offered comments to both; he said MacKenzie didn't need all those breaks in his voice and that Emily had an authentic country sound. Christina said that MacKenzie had the more entertaining performance. Cee Lo ultimately felt he could do more with MacKenzie and that he has that all American voice. He had a lot of mixed emotions about Emily's performance and had to choose MacKenzie.
Battle goes to: MacKenzie Bourg