Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Voice Blind Auditions: Season 4, Night 2

Night two of the blind auditions continue........

Tawnya Reynolds sang  Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys by Waylon Jennings-- Shakira was really cute and pulled out an English to country dictionary. Adam loved her classic country sound.Usher thought she sounded like Dolly and said let's take a youthful voice and combine it with a classic sound. Ultimately, Blake's argument for Tawnya to pick Usher didn't work and he went with Shakira
Team Shakira

Josiah Hawley sang Sunday Morning By Maroon 5 -- Josiah has a great voice; I question how far he will get because he is trying to do such a stylized vocal.  At the same time, I don't find there are a lot of special things about his voice, it's very easy to copy. Adam was flattered that Josiah chose a Maroon 5 song. Blake thought his performance was bad-ass. Usher feels that he can help him win. Adam tried to lure him in by saying, you picked my song. Shakira didn't turn around.
Team Usher

Midas Whale sang Fulsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash-- These guys were awesome! I loved their sound, it was different but easy to listen to. Shakira was right, their voices blended so well. Blake tried to somehow tie them to country music but he couldn't do it. Shakira loved how they harmonized and loved listening to them, and both members of the group spoke perfect Spanish. Usher feels that he would be able to do so much with their talent, and he says he was the first to turn around. Adam loves them and feels that they are so distinct. This definitely deserved a four judge turn! They chose Adam, and he found in them his first duo ever.  A little bit of background, one of the guys in this group, Jon Peter Lewis was a finalist on American Idol Season 3.
Team Adam

Not Chosen
Abraham McDonald sang Best Thing I Never Had by Beyonce-- Abraham is a sweet young man, but this performance was shaky at best, and unfortunately, none of the judges turned around.

Cathia-- This was a little bit odd for me because I didn't think her voice was as wonderful as the judges thought it was. The other thing you always wonder when a contestant sings a specialized song like this is can they sing anything just as well? Usher, Shakira, and Blake turn for her. Shakira makes an airtight argument; she says Usher is curious about the Latin market and he and Blake would make her a star in the U.S., but Shakira believes that she can make Cathia global. As a result, Cathia chooses her idol: Shakira
Team Shakira

Sarah Simmons sang One of Us by Joan Osborne-- This girl is awesome; I love the dynamics in her voice and the way she phrases. I believe Adam when he says she could win the show. All four coaches turned around: first Adam, then Shakira, Blake and Usher. Adam said 150%, you can win this show, and I only fight for people who I really want to have on my team. Blake said she is one of the top three singers he has ever heard audition on The Voice. Shakira said she loves the softness in her voice and the raspy, dirty part of her voice. Usher said she sang with such conviction. At the end, Sarah decided to go with Adam.
Team Adam

The Voice Blind Auditions: Season 4, Night 1

Night one of Season 4 of The Voice proved to me that the show is alive, well, and kicking. I love the chemistry between new judges Usher and Shakira with returning judges Adam and Blake. They all seem to get along well, and it also seems like they are all looking to build specific and unique teams which will give opportunity to singers with different styles.

First up.........

The Morgan Twins sang Fallin' by Alicia Keys-- I did not love this, I don't really get why everyone turned around. Usher said if you choose me, it will be a journey for the first time, and we'll win together. Despite all the great pitches by the coaches, the ladies chose Blake.
Team Blake

Jess Kellner sang I Can't Help Falling in Love with You by Elvis Presley-- This young lady was very different, and I liked her indie folk voice. I think Usher got her for his team when he said, come rock with me. Shakira was disappointed that Jess wasn't all in on her "girl power" pitch.
Team Usher

Mark Andrew sang Knockin' on Heaven's Door by Bob Dylan-- This was a battle between Adam and Shakira. I actually agree with Adam, I didn't care for the song choice and his vibrato sounded a little bit weird. Shakira is definitely more passionate about Mark so she should get him, and she does.
Team Shakira

Not Chosen:
Janetza Miranda sang Titanium by Sia-- I think the song is way too high for her and it ends up sounding like she is screaming throughout. She also doesn't have a lot of control in her voice. Blake found it overly dramatic and told her to come back as did Adam. Adam actually went up and gave her a hug, what a sweetie.

Danielle Bradbery sang Mean by Taylor Swift-- Danielle is only 16, and her control is awesome. She has a great tone in her voice, with some more work, she could be great. All three men turn around and Shakira regrets not turning around, she says-- I feel stupid for not turning my chair around, and Usher says I would feel stupid too. Blake doesn't even really need to pitch himself because Danielle wants to be a country artist and he's a country singer. Blake doesn't let Usher live it down when he calls Nashville a state.
Team Blake

Vedo sang Boyfriend by Justin Bieber-- Vedo's story is so sad, his family was homeless for a while and his mom has stage four lung cancer. He cries when he thinks about losing her. Vedo has a great voice and I think he actually sings the song better than Bieber. His voice really soars, and his personality is all there too. None of the other judges dare turn around as Usher is the best choice for him.
Team Usher

Christian Porter sang I'm Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO-- Christian is a cover singer in a bar and this blues version of the song is borrowed from a YouTube artist. Shakira thinks it's sexy and was first to turn around, then Blake, then Usher who says that the response form the ladies spoke to him. Christian chooses Blake
Team Blake

Not Chosen
Leah Lewis sang Blown Away by Carrie Underwood-- Her voice is not bad, but it doesn't soar in that spot where other voices do. Blake said her voice is a little bit underdeveloped. Usher and Adam both said she was so close and Adam urged her to come back.

Kris Thomas sang Saving All My Love for You by Whitney Houston-- Kris believes The Voice is his second chance. He had a record deal, lost it, went into depression, and became an alcoholic. Shakira is the only one who turned around, and the guys are all shocked when they turn around and find that Kris is a guy! His control and falsetto is just unreal; Shakira totally played it cool.
Team Shakira

Not Chosen
James Irwin sang The Man Who Can't be Moved by the Script-- James' story is pretty sad and he's a union carpenter, got married, his wife lost twins. He seems like a nice guy but there's nothing special about this. James also doesn't show his personality.

Judith Hill sang What a Girl Wants by Christina Aguilera--Judith was going to tour with Michael Jackson on his last tour and actually sang Heal the World at his funeral. The judges all turn around and the judges are all standing. Adam says you're the first person to come on this show and do a Christina Aguilera song as well as Christina Aguilera. Adam vows to light himself on fire for her. Adam says the phrasing is all hers, and he's running for president. Usher says he is looking for the first lady. Blake wants Judith to shine like she can. Shakira believes with her help Judith can win The Voice. She chooses Adam and he runs up and gives her a hug. He goes back to his seat and says, I can go home now.
Team Adam

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dancing with the Stars: Season 16 Week 2

Week 2 was all about the Quickstep, Jazz, and the Jive and the results were pretty surprising.

Up first was Ingo and Kyn dancing the Quickstep-- I thought Ingo did an awesome job of keeping up with Kym cause there was lots of movement and steps in that dance. Len liked that he danced and said his frame was good, steps were hit and miss, but he improved overall. Bruno felt the choreography was challenging but that he has the spirit and attitude. Carrie Ann felt his frame was weak. Scores: 6, 7, 7= 20

Dorothy and Tristan danced the Jive-- Dorothy didn't have the speed she needed in this dance; there was too much hesitation. Bruno said it was brave, but the mistakes were obvious. He also urged her to relax. Carrie Ann sensed her fear. Len said it had promise but didn't quite deliver, and he pointed out the big mistake when she fell on the slide her Tristan's legs. Dorothy feels bad that she can't live up to Tristan's high standards. Scores: 5, 5, 5= 15

Jacoby and Karina danced Jazz-- The routine was extremely energetic and entertaining. Karina's choreography was wonderful and it looked pretty difficult; Jacoby did well for week two. Carrie Ann thought Jacoby was fantastic and liked his lines. Len said it was fun and enjoyed watching it; he said the dance complimented his strengths. He hopes that going forward it will be as good when he does classical dances. Bruno said Jacoby is a performer.  Scores: 8, 7, 8= 23

Victor and Lindsay danced a Jive-- Wow, Victor had a lot of charm, but he could not keep up with Lindsay. Len said it had energy, but it didn't knock his socks off. He was looking for it to be sharper and cleaner. Bruno thought it looked like a Zumba dance at one point and he felt his legs were all wrong in the dance. Carrie Ann said he is on the right track but he needs to work on getting his feet right. Scores: 6, 6, 6=18

Wynonna and Tony danced a Quickstep-- The steps are good, but being that this is a supposed to be a Quickstep this is pretty slow. Bruno liked the idea but thought it became a casual stroll at the end. He felt she had to keep up the energy. Carrie Ann liked her frame and posture, but felt that she was playing it too safe. Len said she has to improve in several areas but he found it entertaining. Scores: 6, 6, 6= 18

Zendaya and Val danced a Jive-- They were both awesome; I loved the style of the choreography and thr steps, so cool. Carrie Ann said you are the whole she-bang, you killed that number. Len said you were fantastic, well done. Bruno said a star is born big time; you hit some breathtaking lines. Scores: 9, 8, 9= 30

Andy and Sharna danced Jazz-- I thought Andy did a great job of entertaining and his dancing was good too, better than I expected. Len said Andy isn't the best dancer but it was fun. Bruno loved it. Carrie Ann said that Andy dancing Jazz allowed him to be wacky. Scores: 7, 6, 7= 20

Sean and Peta danced a Jive-- I thought Sean did improve and he did a pretty good job of keeping up with Peta. Bruno asked Sean to save him. He found it more Lindey-hop and Jitterbug. Carrie Ann told him to feel the music because once he gets it, then watch out. Len thought that it was too much spectacle and not enough Jive dancing. Scores: 7, 6, 7= 20

Aly and Mark danced a Quickstep-- Loved this, it was so fast, intricate, and fun. Carrie Ann thought it was the best Quickstep of the night; she loved the finesse and attention to detail. Len liked the precision, body contact, and speed. Bruno loved her personality, but urged her to watch her top line. Scores: 8, 8, 8= 24

Lisa and Gleb danced a Jive-- It appears as though this wasn't rehearsed enough. Lisa's kicks are not good, it's neat, but not free enough. Len felt the dance never took off, it was too wooden, but neat and precise. He also thought it wasn't pretty. Carrie Ann gets mad the Gleb for the lift and tells Lisa to let go or she isn't going to go far in the competition. Scores: 6, 6, 6= 18

D.L. and Cheryl danced a Quickstep-- This was the biggest improvement from week one to week two. I think his scores should have reflected that. Bruno saw his effort, and said he did a good job. Carrie Ann said  people don't realize watching the show how hard it is, and that he is on the right track. Len said the idea of the show is to get better week by week. Scores: 5, 5, 6= 16

Kellie and Derek danced Jazz-- This was the best performance of the night. I loved Zendaya and Aly but I feel like this should have been scored higher. Carrie Ann loved it and called Kellie a dancer. She thought it was amazing and loved her artistry. Len  said last week was a spark, this week was a fire. Bruno called it modern Jazz at it's most effective. Scores: 9, 8, 9= 26

Week one and two scores combined:

Zendaya And Val – 50 out of 60
Kellie And Derek- 47 out of 60
Aly And Mark- 45 out of 60
Jacoby And Karina- 43 out of 60
Ingo And Kym- 40 out of 60
Sean And Peta- 39 out of 60
Andy And Sharna- 37 out of 60
Lisa And Gleb- 36 out of 60
Victor And Lindsay- 36 out of 60
Dorothy And Tristan- 36 out of 60
Wynonna And Tony- 36 out of 60
D.L. And Cheryl- 28 out of 60

My bottom three prediction: D.L., Dorothy, and Lisa

Thursday, March 21, 2013

American Idol Season 12: The Top 9 and the Lennon McCartney Songbook

This was a bland night of performances; I was disappointed overall. Only about half of the contestants stepped up and delivered performances that were on par with where they should be in the competition right now.

Who was great?

Kree sang With a Little Help from My Friends-- Kree continues to amaze in this competition. She's so special because her talent it so effortless. The judges all agree and can't help but praise her performance. Keith loves that she made it her own, and Randy thought  she blew the vocals out of the water.

Janelle sang I Will-- This was a  sweet performance and I actually had to go back and listen to it to realize that. Janelle's talent is natural. Nicki said she loved it and has grown even more obsessed with Janelle. She discusses the greatness of Janelle's tone and how much she doesn't have to say what she is, she just is.

Candice sang Come Together-- Candice's vocals never fail to amaze me. Keith loves the "rock" side of her. Nicki continues to make weird comments, this time about Candice's face when she sings. Mariah compares Candice to a prized fighter.

Who may be going home?

Lazaro sang In My Life-- Love Lazaro and love his whole story and how inspiring he is. All that being said, this was not a good performance by any means; it was off key and it wasn't Lazaro. Most of the judges felt it was his weakest performance to date. He's lucky and honestly got past this week by the skin of his teeth.

Paul sang Eleanor Rigby-- This poor guy was voted off on Thursday and in my opinion it's because the judges threw him under the bus on Wednesday. His performance was definitely not as bad as they said it was. The only thing I never understood about Paul was his desire to be a country singer, he doesn't read country to me. I feel like he would be much better as an adult contemporary artist.

Amber sang She's Leaving Home-- I've actually never heard this song before, and I didn't think it was a strong performance by Amber, and the song choice played a huge part in that. There were so many other choices she could have made that would have been more beneficial to her. She's actually lucky she didn't go home. Randy thought it started slow but loved the power of the second half of the song. Nicki didn't like it.

Middle of the Pack:

Burnell sang Let it Be-- Once again, the strongest guy of the night. I think this was a wonderful song choice for him because he took the song and turned it into a spiritual. Mariah loved his consistency and authenticity, it's so true, he's such a solid singer, and he really knows what is right for his voice. His tone just continues to be so impressive. I could have also seen him singing a song like Yesterday, kind of the way Boyz II Men sang it.

Devin sang The Long and Winding Road-- This is the first time I actually liked one of Devin's performances. This was touching and, I felt, sincere. Keith wanted him to have more of an emotional connection with the song, which I have trouble understanding since I felt he was so committed. Nicki agreed saying she had no idea what Keith was talking about and felt Devin was indeed connected to the song. Not sure I'd go as far as Mariah to say that it would be a travesty if he was voted off, but I will say: vast improvement over the past weeks.

Angie sang Yesterday-- I love Angie, and I think she definitely knows who she is as an artist. At the same time, I need to say that I feel like this performance was overly dramatic-- the phrasing, and the way that she took a slow song and slowed it down even more. The judge that said what made the most sense was Keith: he said it was a little too in her head at moments. I agree with him, it was almost over thought.

Only eight remain when Paul Jolley was sent home, now that was a travesty. I heard that next week is all about Motown! I love that theme, it's always exciting, and I cannot wait to hear the song choices that the contestants make.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dancing with the Stars: Season 16 Week 1

There is no elimination this week, the first elimination will be on March 26th (Tuesday). There are several new dancers: Lindsay Arnold (from So You Think You Can Dance), Sharna Burgess, and Gleb Savchenko . Not on the show this season-- Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Chelsie Hightower, Louis van Amstel, and Anna Trebunskaya.

Tonight's couples must perform either a Cha-cha-cha, Foxtrot, or Contemporary routine.

Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough danced a Cha cha cha to Domino by Jessie J.-- I thought Kellie just had an awesome energy. I hope that people will vote for her even though she isn't that well known. Len thought it was fun. Bruno liked the shapes she made and can't wait to see her again. Carrie Ann told her that she has great torso movement but she needs to remember to keep up a little bit better. Scores: 7, 7, 7= 21

Victor Ortiz and Lindsay Arnold danced a Foxtrot to Daylight by Maroon 5-- Victor seems very competitive and determined. I think his back story proves that he has been through so many things in his life that there is little that he can't do. Carrie Ann says he has a caring, tender, debonair side to him. Len felt that he liked the dance but there could have been a few more "wows".
Scores: 6, 6, 6= 18

Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson danced a Contemporary to Yellow by Coldplay-- I thought the routine was good, not great, but it had a lot of solid well done lifts and the emotion was there. Carrie Ann said she saw lifts and raw passion and athleticism, so he did a great job. Len said he wasn't convinced and thought there were too many lifts. Bruno felt it was good and likened Ingo to Bradley Cooper. Scores: 7, 6, 7= 20

Lisa Vanderpump and Gleb Savchenko danced a Foxtrot-- I like Lisa, but I have to say that I was quite disinterested as I watched this dance. Len thought it was acceptable but not exceptional. Carrie Ann felt that the dance suited Lisa but she wasn't always in sync. Scores: 6, 6, 6= 18

D.L. Hughley and Cheryl Burke danced a Cha cha cha to Low by Flo Rida-- I think D.L. is a competitive person, but you could tell that it wasn't rehearsed well enough or long enough, something isn't working for him. By comparison, the chacha is supposed to be an easier dance than some of the others. Bruno felt he was off timing and under rehearsed. Carrie Ann thought it was Yikes and felt that he needs to practice harder cause it was disjointed. Len said this was rough. Scores: 4, 4, 4= 12

Zendaya Coleman and Valentin Chmerkoskiy danced a Contemporary to I Feel Again by OneRepubic-- This girl was impressive, she had grace, fluidity, and she nailed every single move. Carrie Ann felt that she had maturity beyond her years and praised the choreography. Len thought it was great and believed he'd never say that week one. Bruno said it was superb. Scores: 8, 8, 8= 24

Sean Lowe and Peta Murgatroyd danced a Foxtrot to Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News-- I didn't think this was polished at all; however, I can definitely see that Sean is giving this his all. Len liked it but not a lot, he thought it lacked finesse and refinement, but liked his footwork and posture. Bruno liked his pelvic thrusts but echoed Len's comments on refinement. Carrie Ann flirted with Sean and felt his attack was there so he has the potential to go far. Scores: 7, 6, 6= 19

Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas danced a Cha cha cha to Live While We're Young by One Direction-- I was okay with this performance, but for some reason I was expecting more. I do think that Aly has potential for sure. Bruno and Carrie Ann both thought she had sass and attitude. Bruno told her to stretch the back of her legs more. Carrie Ann felt she could push a little bit more. Len thought there was vitality and rhythm but told her that her legs needed to be crisper. Scores: 7, 7, 7= 21

Dorothy Hamill and Tristan McManus danced a Contemporary to Tiny Dancer by Elton John-- If Dorothy can legitimately improve every week, she could be around for weeks to come. Carrie Ann called her performance golden, beautiful, and heartfelt. Len thought it was a gentle performance. Bruno felt his heart melt and a deep connection between her and Tristan. Scores: 7, 7, 7= 21

Wynonna Judd and Tony Dovolani danced a Cha cha cha to I've Got the Music in Me-- Wynonna looks really happy to have Tony as a partner and to be on the show. She showed personality, but it was really slow and really stiff. Len felt she gave a good performance. Bruno thought it was a bit too casual. Carrie Ann liked her style, but told her to give it more agreeing with her fellow judges. Scores: 6, 6, 6= 18

Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess danced a Foxtrot to Witchcraft-- I actually really loved the choreography and I was pleasantly surprised with Andy Dick. Bruno thought it was like Woody Allen doing the Foxtrot. He liked the interpretation. Carrie Ann felt touched by the dance and told him to work on his hands and feet. Len liked the choreography, but didn't think the dance had enough fluidity. Scores: 6, 5, 6= 17

Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff danced a Cha cha cha to I Get a Feeling by Flo Rida-- Wow, well, clearly the performance value was way up in this performance. It was extremely entertaining. Carrie Ann said he has the moves. She told him he needs to work on his posture and technique as the dancing started to resemble touch down dances. Len said it was all icing and no cake, performance was high, but he has a lot of things to work on. Bruno said you've got the goods but you need to control your posture. Scores: 7, 6, 7= 20

Who do you think will be the first celebrity headed home?  I'm just not sure yet myself. I should also mention that no one will be kicked off this week. The stars will perform one more time before someone is voted off on Tuesday the 26th.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

American Idol Season 12: The Top 10 Perform

Last night was the American Idol Winners' Song Books, and it was also a night of mediocre performances which left me wondering if we chose the right ten. It was especially obvious and apparent with the guys performances-- the song selections, the arrangements, most of the guys were just not in good voice last night. As for the ladies, they were confident, strong, and their song choices reflected that.

First up was Curtis Finch Jr. who sang I Believe by Fantasia-- I Believe was truly one of Fantasia's performance songs, not just on Idol, but in general. Curtis would have had to have real skills to nail this number, and he just didn't. The phrasing wasn't great, he was pitchy, and the last note in particular was not good. Randy wanted him to show other sides of himself. Mariah liked the choir feeling; I agree with that [art of it, but this was not by any means a good performance.

Janelle Arthur sang Gone by Montgomery Gentry (Scotty McCreery Song Book)-- This was the weakest performance of all the ladies. On the positive side of things, Janelle had great confidence and lots of energy and personality on stage. Nicki commented on her confidence, but said that she wanted her to sing songs that showcase the pretty part of her voice. Randy did not like the song choice which goes back to what Keith said, he said that he had never heard a woman sing this song, and maybe there's a reason for that. For the majority of women, that song doesn't sit in the sweet part of their voice.

Devin Velez sang Temporary Home by Carrie Underwood-- This was one of the weakest performances of the night. I thought the song choice was terrible, I don't even understand why he chose it, it certainly didn't seem like he related to the song. Keith said it was not one of his best performances, and it was the wrong song choice. Nicki, who clearly was out of it last night, said she thought that was totally him, and she liked the performance and song choice. Randy called it way too safe, and thought that he underplayed himself. Mariah told him to keep his confidence.

Angie Miller sang I Surrender by Celine Dion (Kelly Clarkson Song Book)-- This was a strong performance, not the best of the night for the ladies, but middle of the pack, and overall one of the best of the night. Angie is a consistent performer and she has a very original style. Keith called Angie "an artist" and said that she can take any song, sing it, and make it current. Nicki told her that she looked like a billion dollars and that she's perfection on every level, your voice is flawless, and you're amazing, congratulations! Randy believed that the competition started with the performance; I'd agree with that. Mariah said one word: stellar.

Paul Jolley sang Amazed by Lone Star (Scotty McCreery Song Book)-- Second strongest performance for the men of the night. Paul was a great voice, and I do have to comment that I love the way he was styled. Keith felt that Paul listened to the advice of Jimmy and the judges. Nicki said that tonight was the first time that Paul stimulated her sexual appetite. She also added that he was styled very well and comfortable on the stage. Randy commended him on his song choice. I think the song choice was great too.

Candice Glover sang I Who Have Nothing by Shirley Bassey (Jordin Sparks Song Book)-- This one of the performances of the night and probably one of the best of the series. Candice really took it to another level last night, and she really turned me into a believer because I must admit that I wasn't completely convinced when it comes to her. Keith, Nicki, and Randy were on their feet (Mariah said she was too in spirit, it's just that her skirt was too tight). Keith said I love you so much, you have that command and effortlessness liek Shirley Bassey, incredible baby, amazing. Nicki said no one should ever sing that song again on Idol because you destroyed that. You did the "barbz" (Nicki's followers) proud. Randy said it was one of the best performances of Season 12. Mariah said your performance was in my heart.

Lazaro Arbos sang Breakway by Kelly Clarkson-- Love Lazaro and admire his courage. This wasn't his best, but the effort was there. He needs to pick something that sits in that sweet spot of his voice. Keith didn't like it. Randy thought that the song was too big for Lazaro. Mariah said that people are falling in love with his courage.

Kree Harrison sang Crying by Roy Orbison (Carrie Underwood Song Book)-- The other best performance of the night was this one. Kree's voice was genuine, her emotions were so authentic, and her voice just soared on the big notes. The ending literally brought tears to my eyes. Keith said he loves her voice so much. Nicki said her performance was smooth, delicious. and fun. Randy said he loved her voice and the feeling that she put into this performance. Mariah said that her range is obvious, and said that she chose one of the best songs ever written.

Burnell Taylor sang Flying Without Wings by Reuben Studdard-- The strongest guy performance of the night goes to this man who continues to impress me. His phrasing, his tone, and his voice, are just so special and immediately when I hear him, I can identify him. Keith liked his eccentricity and found it magnetic. Nicki loved his song choice and said that he is well on his way. Randy said he's in the zone. Mariah loved the melodic choices that he made in the song.

Amber Holcomb sang A Moment Like This by Kelly Clarkson-- The arrangement for this performance was terrible, but Amber's voice was all that and completely made up for it. I didn't like how the performance started in the middle of the song; it was just weird. Once again though, she reminded me of Whitney, the personality, the smile, and the way her voice just so naturally goes to where it needs to be. Keith loved how easy this was for her. Nicki felt it was the best performance of the night. I would say top three, but not the best. Nicki also said she sounded like Whitney on her first album. Randy told Amber that she blew it out of the box tonight, and called the song his fave finale song, by one of his fave Idols ever. Mariah said, "power" and you have such a natural gift.

Who is in trouble? Curtis, Janelle, Devin, and Lazaro

Best performances of the night?
tied for first: Candice and Kree
second: Amber
tied for third: Angie and Burnell

Middle of the pack?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

My Favorite Things: March 2013

So many favorite things........ so little space and time to list them all. I picked a group that was eclectic and came to mind quickly.

***Rosebud Salve-- I got it as a gift a couple years ago, and little did I know that I was going to love it. Rosebud Salve is a cure all, a cult favorite good for everything from chapped lips to burns to skin irritations to dryness around the eyes to diaper rash. It's available at Sephora for $6.00.

***Chicago Fire on Wednesday's at 10 on NBC-- One of the few gems in NBC's primetime schedule, Chicago Fire focuses on the lives of firefighters and Paramedics with a Chicago Firehouse as the backdrop. In case you haven't been watching this will catch you up:

Jesse Spencer plays Lt. Matt Casey, the highly respected leader of Truck 81; he's a contractor on the side and a total man's man. He recently broke off his engagement and Dawson pursued him but realized the timing wasn't right. He's haunted by his childhood and mother's actions when she killed his father 15 years before. Mom was paroled and Casey feels responsible for her.

Taylor Kinney plays Lt. Kelly Severide, the physically strong and charismatic beyond words ladies man. Kelly dealt with an almost career ending injury that got him hooked on painkillers. He met a beautiful, intelligent woman named Renee Royce who helped him through it, but they ended things when she moved to Spain for her job and Kelly didn't join her as planned.

Charlie Barnett plays Candidate Peter Mills the young, eager recruit who yearns to follow in his father's footsteps. His confidence, strength, sensitivity, and the fact that he knows his way around a kitchen land him the beautiful Dawson. Initially, they keep their relationship under wraps but reveal to everyone their feelings for each other at the Firefighters Ball. Mills also becomes interested in learning about the details of his father's death. Will what Dawson has recently discovered tear them apart? I sure hope not.

Monica Raymund plays Paramedic Gabriela Dawson, the gorgeous, intelligent young woman with a heart of gold who often takes risks on the job that land her in hot water. She always has the patients best interests at heart though. Initially, Gabbie looks for a relationship with the ever unavailable Casey, but she and Mills end up connecting and something serious develops between the two of them.

Lauren German plays Paramedic Leslie Elizabeth Shay the lesbian who is best friends and roommates with Severide. Shay had her heart broken when her ex, who recently came back into her life, decided to move to New York City and make it work with her baby daddy. Shay recently decided that having a baby in her life made her want to have her own, and she is currently pursuing that.

Eamonn Walker plays Chief Wallace Bowden, he has the respect of his team, but he is hiding a big secret. He worked with Mills' father and had an affair with Mills' mom. Could he be the reason that Mills' father died?

David Eigenberg plays Firefighter Christopher Hermann who tries to make money quick to support his family. He reveals that he has a fifth child on the way with his wife. Hermann's recent investment is a bar that he co-owns with Dawson and Zvonecek.

If you aren't watching, it's a must watch full of drama, good humor, and a well written script. It costs you nothing to watch and the entertainment factor is priceless.

***Yankee Candle Company-- I've recently become a big believer in aromatherapy, and as a result I've found myself in Yankee Candle more than I prefer to admit. I love to light a candle purely for relaxation purposes. Here's the thing though, their products are made here in the United States, they're great quality, and the prices as well as the sales are great. They sell a variety of products which I was quite shocked about. Love their candles! But also love their diffusers, car fresheners, and scent plug air fresheners. My faves so far? It's so hard to pick a handful. Love Balsam and Cedar during the Holidays. My year round faves include Sage and Citrus, Beach Walk, Oceanside, Turquoise Sky, Lavender Vanilla, Midsummer's Night, and Vanilla Lime...... the list goes on, especially since they have a luxe line called Radiance Collection. Prices range depending on what you buy but a large jar is $27.99, and it gives you about 150 hours of burning time.

***Mango Ceylon Tea from The Republic of Tea-- No idea where I can buy a box of it other than on the website, but I will continue my quest because the tea is just so good. Here's what they say about it: " This favored tea is light, sweet & intoxicatingly fragrant. Mango & sunflower blossoms are blended with superior Black tea leaves to produce an uplifting cup. A favorite retreat for coffee lovers. Wonderful served hot or over ice." $9.50 for 50 tea bags in the tin below.

***Pinch n' Pour Bowls from Chef'n-- Love, love, love the creativity and originality of these adorable prep bowls. I first discovered them at Crate & Barrel and Target but you can buy them in different colorways on the Chef'n website. They come in a large size or a small size; these are awesome for people who like to cook and don't have a ton of space to store stuff.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

American Idol Season 12: The Top 10 Guys Leave it All on the Line for a Spot in the Top 10

Elijah Liu sang Stay by Rihanna-- Wow, actually really liked Elijah's performance more than I thought I would. Keith thought his voice and control was great. Nicki said she liked it a lot and said she'd be willing to stay. Randy liked it better than last week and feels he is current; although, he was waiting for him to up the ante. Mariah thought it was confident and strong and she liked the song choice. So all the judges were in agreement about the song choice.

Cortez Shaw sang Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars-- Love Cortez, I think he would benefit from some vocal training, and I say this in the nicest way cause he is so talented, but sometimes he is right under the note rather than on it. Keith said he loved his spirit in the song, but didn't like that song for him. Nicki insulted his wardrobe (ummm Nicki, at this stage in the competition, the kids are dressing themselves). Randy felt like he was under pitch, but liked the song choice and his dance moves. Mariah felt he should have started it down a half step; I totally agree with Mariah.

Charlie Askew sang Mama by Genesis-- The vocals in this were not good, and the sad part is that I believed him to be a front runner last week. Nicki says she didn't like it and said that she wanted the kid from last week back. Randy said the front part was terrible and he didn't get it. Mariah took is easy up him because she could see he was visibly upset. This is so sad, because honestly, this is a really good kid. I would like him to have another chance.

Nick Boddington sang Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls-- Nick as a singer has mastered the vulnerability part; he is completely vulnerable in every performance and that's why emotionally, it works. I also love that he made this very recognizable song his own. Keith thought it was perfect for him. Nicki said that Iris is one of her favorite songs, and she did feel it was his comfort zone, but she would have liked to hear more melody. Randy thought good, not great.

Burnell Taylor sang I'm Here from The Color Purple-- Without question, Burnell is talented, I could see him on Broadway. My issue is he repeated a song this early in the competition; he would have been better to hold this until later on (say top 5) because I believe that's his potential. It also makes you question how much versatility he possesses. Keith believes and feels his performance. Nicki wasn't feeling that he sang the same song again, but she did say she loves him. Randy said you capture people from the first word. Mariah said I have so much love for you.

Paul Jolley sang Just a Fool by Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton-- Woah! There were some pitchy parts and he was really screaming the song for almost the whole second half. Keith reminded him not to underestimate himself. Nicki told Paul to listen to Keith because he knows what it takes, but she thought he had a solid performance. Mariah was unaware that he wanted to be a pop country artist.

Lazaro Arbos sang Feeling Good by Nina Simone-- I love his spirit and his personality, his vocal was good, but it wasn't great. He needs to work on his vocals; they need to be as good as his connection to the audience. Nicki loved him and thought it was a strong vocal with attitude on it. Randy thinks he is in it to win. Mariah is impressed with how he throws himself fully into every performance. She did feel the song was a little bit too low for him.

Curtis Finch Jr. sang I Believe I Can Fly by R. Kelly-- The vocals were incredible, I felt every word, his runs were simply awesome, and he got a standing ovation from all four judges. Keith said we just had a sermon in Vegas, and said this was just such a positive and hopeful performance. Nicki said you always raise the bar. Nicki urged him to make an album like that because that's who he is and that's what he needs right now. Randy said the night just started when Curtis sang. Mariah said she was thankful for him and the fact that she shared it with all of us. Wow!!

Devin Velez sang It's Impossible by Perry Como-- I am pretty torn on this performance because it sounded great, and my impression of Devin as a singer changed, but at the same time, it wasn't current. Keith liked his runs, Nicki didn't really comment, she just tried to babble in Spanish. Mariah thought it was incredible. My problem with this performance is that if he keeps breaking out the Spanish every time, he's going to become a one trick pony.

Vincent Powell sang End of the Road by Boyz II Men-- Keith said the nerves got on top of your talent. Nicki felt that the song wasn't right for him. Randy said it wasn't your best, but it was good, you're still one of the greatest singers in this. Mariah said there were moments of brilliance in that performance. I want America to vote for you, said Mariah. I agree, I don't think it's a top ten without Vincent. I feel like he over-sang it out of nervousness and desperation.

Who is top ten bound?
Burnell Taylor
Curtis Finch Jr.
Elijah Liu
Lazaro Arbos
Vincent Powell
possible alternates or Wild Cards-- Cortez Shaw and Nick Boddington

American Idol Season 12: The Top 10 Girls Sing for a Spot in the Top 10

Initially I thought and believed that the guys had this in the bag. I still think as a whole, they're stronger than the ladies, but the ladies who are strong are amazing. For the first time since I've heard the ladies sing, there's a clear indication of who the front runners are. I also at this point firmly believe that there will be at least one wild card spot if not two.

Up first was the always entertaining Zoanette Johnson singing What's Love Got to do with It by Tina Turner-- This was a train wreck from start to finish. It almost makes me wonder why the judges put her through to the top ten Ladies in the first place. Nicki said it was dreadful. Randy calls it a mess. Keith and Mariah didn't like it either, but didn't have the heart to tell her straight out. If this performance doesn't send her home, I don't know what will.

Breanna Steer sang Flaws and All by Beyonce-- Breanna has definite star quality but some of the judges thought that this performance along with the song choice were predictable. I would be fine with her advancing because she has confidence and personality which some of the ladies are lacking. Keith, Randy, and Mariah all liked her song choice and Keith talked about her control and poise, and I completely agree. I have no idea what Nicki was thinking when she said it was the wrong song choice and straining on the vocals.

Aubrey Cleland sang Big Girls Don't Cry by Fergie-- Aubrey is another young woman in this competition who has potential and then some. She is so talented; I didn't think the song choice was right for her because it didn't allow her voice to soar the way it should have. Mariah thinks Aubrey could achieve multi platinum status; I agree, she definitely has that Rihanna vibe going on.

Janelle Arthur sang If I Can Dream by Elvis Presley-- I appreciate the pureness of Janelle's voice, and she has been a favorite of mine since this whole thing started, in fact, since last year, but for some reason, this song choice just did not hold my interest. My hope is that she gets through as a Wild Card or based on the pureness of her voice, and the sincerity behind her performances. Nicki actually went as far as to say it was the best vocal of the night so far, which technically, it probably was. The judges were actually so sweet to Janelle that it brought tears to her eyes.

Teena Torres sang Lost by Faith Hill-- I actually enjoyed Teena's vocal, and she looks so different and so much better. There were parts of the performance where she was pitchy, but overall, I give her a lot of credit for taking a country song and making it her own. Nicki comments on her hair, and then inappropriately adds in a comment about Teena's boobs being great. Mariah loved the song choice and the richness and fullness of her voice. I think she may have made it in to the finals.

Angie Miller sang Never Gone by Colton Dixon-- Angie sat at the piano for this performance and it was so sincere, the delivery was beautiful, the song was beautiful. I am sure that Colton would be so proud of her choosing his song and singing it so well. Keith calls Angie a "true artist", Nicki says she'd love to buy Angie's album right now. Randy said a star is born onstage right now.

Amber Holcomb sang I Believe in You and Me by Whitney Houston-- Amber's performance was just in a different class; she sang so effortlessly and I can potentially see her winning this competition. I don't think there's been anyone like her on the show in a while. Nicki tells her Babrz to vote for Amber. Mariah says Amber is one of her favorites in the competition. The judges had previously worried about Amber's confidence; I definitely don't think that they need to worry about that anymore.

Kree Harrison sang Stronger by Faith Hill-- Kree remains a favorite of mine this season because with each performance her sincerity is ever present. She is also so good, but doesn't realize she is. Nicki says, "you already know you're my wife," and "your sexiness level went through the roof". Mariah says she is always surprised with Kree because the experience that she gives the audience.

Adriana Latonio sang Stand Up for Love by Destiny's Child-- This was the biggest change from last performance to this one. This was the wrong song for her, and the performance was too pageant. Nicki felt that she should work on performing and come back next year. Randy agreed and said it felt boring. Mariah thought the song was wrong for her. I have to say I agree, I didn't feel anything from that performance, and Adriana does have a good voice, but this just seemed too rehearsed.

Candice Glover sang Ordinary People by John Legend-- I'll make no secret about it, I was not that impressed with Candice's performance of Natural Woman last week. Kelly Clarkson sang that on the first season, and there's been no one who has sang it better on AI ever since. This song was perfect for Candice though. It really displayed her vocal abilities. I loved Keith's comment about how her style and vocal blends the old and new. She is current despite the old soul that is her voice.

My predictions on who is moving forward:
Amber Holcomb
Angie Miller
Candice Glover
Kree Harrison
5th spot is a toss up between Janelle Arthur and Teena Torres
Wild Card-- the judges love Aubrey Cleland and Breanna Steer
Adriana and Zoanette are the only sure bets on going home
This will be tough!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

American Idol Season 12, The Last Group of 10 Sings and 5 More Men Leave

So while it is completely true that there was far more talent in this group of ten guys than there was in the group of ten ladies from last night, I will say that I pretty much knew that five men stood out. There was arguably a couple of guys on the cusp of going through, and my only hope, once again, is that there will be a wild card round where contestants would then sing for their lives for the judges, or perhaps for a popular vote by the public.

A couple of observations: Nicki was rude tonight, not quite sure what was up with her. The guys sang obscure songs in general. I thought Randy and Keith's comments were the most helpful tonight.

Mathenee Treco started the night off with A Little Less Conversation by Elvis Presley-- I wanted to like this,  but even the phrasing was all wrong. Mathenee has a good voice, but I think the problem is that this was totally the wrong song for him.

Gurpreet Singh sang Nothing Ever Hurt Like You by James Morrison-- I didn't like this; the song wasn't right for him. That being said, the judges were a little bit harsh, it wasn't terrible, but at the same time, it wasn't American Idol caliber.

Vincent Powell sang Cause I Love You by Lenny Williams-- This was easily the best performance of the night. Vince's voice was smooth, powerful, and it was a mix of old school R&B and gospel. If he makes the right songs and makes the right stylistic choices, he could be around in this competition for a while.

Nick Boddington sang Say Something Now by James Morrison-- I have liked Nick since when he auditioned for the show last year. I had no doubt that based on his body of work that he would move on in the competition, but once again, this was a shaky performance. He didn't make a connection with this song.

Josh Holiday sang an original song-- There's nothing wrong with singing an original song, but if you're going to follow through with it, that song better be good. This song was just okay unfortunately. Josh seems like a really nice person, it's too bad that this didn't work it. He just didn't seem passionate enough.

David Oliver Willis sang Fever by Peggy Lee-- I actually loved the sound of this performance and the whole vibe. I can tell that David is a real musician. Here's what happened though, the song didn't have enough range, so it wasn't an exciting performance. I think had he chosen a different song, he potentially could have contended for that fifth spot.

Bryant Tadeo sang New York State of Mind by Billy Joel-- This was an interesting song choice, and it certainly showcased that Bryant has beautiful tone to his voice. Nicki claimed that this was terrible but didn't offer any reasons why. I didn't understand that, it's almost like she seemed to have made up her mind about him before he started singing. I actually agreed most with Keith's comments which was that it was probably not the right song choice for him but he did make a connection with the audience. He's another person who potentially could have gone through had he made a different song choice.

Burnell Taylor sang This Time by John Legend-- Burnell is extremely talented, I don't doubt that for a second but he also should have made a different song choice. I was captivated by him, but this song did not hold my interest at all. Nicki was the only person who exaggerated the performance; Keith, Randy, and Mariah all got it right. They recognize his talent, but they also recognize that this wasn't his best performance.

Lazaro Arbos sang Tonight I Wanna Cry by Keith Urban-- I actually think Lazaro is one of the most naturally talented contestants in this competition this year. He's another person that has a body of work over the course of the competition that is undeniable, but once again, bad song choice. It seems to be plaguing almost all these guys. Lazaro also has to work on the nerves because if he doesn't get them under control, it's going to jeopardize his time on the show.

Cortez Shaw sang Titanium by David Guetta and Sia-- For all those who said there were pitch problems, there were a few, but this was a big risk, and I absolutely loved the arrangement. His voice really soared on the big notes. Keith thought that his song choice was bold and brave, there were inconsistencies, but total redemption in the end of the song. Randy agreed with Keith, and I really felt that way too.

Moving On:
Vincent Powell
Nick Boddington
Burnell Taylor
Lazaro Arbos
Cortez Shaw

Going Home:
Mathenee Treco
Gurpreet Singh
Josh Holiday
David Oliver Willis
Bryant Tadeo