Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Voice Season 4: The Knockout Rounds Team Blake and Team Usher

Team Blake: Savannah Berry singing As Long As You Love Me by Justin Bieber vs. Justin Rivers singing The Climb by Miley Cyrus-- I was honestly impressed with Justin and I would give it to him. I am surprised because I went into it thinking I would choose Savannah. It seemed like after all the judges' comments that they would all choose Justin, but it's Blakes' opinion that matters, and he actually went with Justin! Good for him, that last note was spectacular, and I think Blake is right, he's gonna bring it in the live shows.
The knockout goes to: Justin

Team Usher: Josiah Hawley singing Back to Black by Amy Winehouse vs. Jess Kellner singing You Give Me Something by James Morrison-- Adam felt that they should have done each others songs; I was thinking about that, and I actually agree, that would have sounded wonderful. Blake thought Josiah needed to loosen up, and he thought Jess was soulful. Usher said it's been incredible working with you Josiah, and that's why I want to continue working with you. I actually am surprised by this, I thought Jess was going to win because her voice is just so full and beautiful. There is something about Josiah but I didn't feel he showed the bad boy part of himself in the song.
The knockout goes to: Josiah

Team Blake: Holly Tucker singing Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw vs. Luke Edgemon singing Teenage Dream by Katy Perry-- I love both of these singers and both of these song choices for them; I really do not like that they're facing each other (sad face).Holly definitely has pipes and I feel like no matter what she has a future. Luke is special, his rendition of Teenage Dream was smooth and flat out sexy, loved the way he reinvented the song. Usher said Holly gave a stellar performance, and he thought it was tough for Luke to transform Teenage Dream. Shakira and Adam said that they totally got it. Adam said you have a crazy, killer voice with limitless potential. Blake tried to argue that Like didn't do enough range wise, I don't think it's about holding a note, it's about originality and the whole package. I'm with Adam on this, Blake's an idiot.
The knockout goes to: Holly

Team Usher: Audrey Karrasch singing How to Live by Lil Wayne vs. Michelle Chamuel singing Raise Your Glass by Pink!-- I feel like Audrey struggled a little on the higher notes. Michelle is a true performer and I loved her performance. Shakira chose Michelle and loved her performance quality. Adam liked the pocket for Audrey's voice but felt it fell off a couple of times, and thought Michelle was the type of artist he'd like to see more of. Blake felt similarly to Adam. Usher liked how Audrey made a rap record a pop record, and he enjoyed Michelle's performance.
The knockout goes to: Michelle

Team Blake: Danielle Bradbery singing Jesus Take the Wheel by Carrie Underwood vs. Taylor Beckham singing Russian Roulette by Rihanna-- Usher felt that Danielle took that battle with her control. Shakira said Danielle never seems nervous. Adam thought Taylor didn't seem confident enough but it was a good performance. Blake said Taylor is amazing and did better in rehearsal. This was a kind of boring knockout round as far as I was concerned. I think Danielle won hands down.
The knockout goes to: Danielle

Team Usher: C. Perkins singing She Ain't You by Chris Brown vs. Vedo singing Everything I Do I Do It For You by Bryan Adams--  C. is a great performer, he has charisma, and he got the crowd pumped up; loved the vocals I heard, just wish he had done more with the song. Vedo delivered a full of grace and restraint performance, just lovely. Adam felt that this was Vedo's moment. Blake and Adam both commented on what C. did with the crowd and how he got them to warm up to him. Usher felt that Vedo's mom was watching him from heaven. He said C. is full of energy and waiting to burst out.
The knockout goes to: Vedo

Team Blake: Grace Askew singing I Can't Stand the Rain by Tina Turner vs. The Swon Brothers singing Drift Away by John Henry Kurtz-- Usher thinks Grace is a unique talent, and felt The Swon Brothers moved the audience, and gave it to them because of how they carried it. Shakira felt Blake should go with Grace. Adam enjoyed The Swon Brothers performance and feel that they know their place in the duo. I like how interesting Grace is, to me, no offense, I was a little bit bored with The Swon Brothers performance. Just as a side note, I feel like Blake is limiting himself and the versatility of his team but choosing all country singers. I am much more interested in some of the other teams at this stage in the competition as a result of that and some of those teams have country singers on them.
The knockout goes to: The Swon Brothers

Team Usher: Cathia singing Mr. Know it All by Kelly Clarkson vs. Ryan Innes singing I Don't Wanna Be by Gavin DeGraw-- Cathia impressed me and continues to grow, Ryan was off key at several points, and therefore, I felt like I'd give it to Cathia. Adam felt that he didn't hear the grit in Ryan's voice. Blake said he was more impressed with Cathia as did Shakira who said this would be a toughie one for Usher. Usher ended up going with Cathia; she deserved it. Usher felt the performance was too much of a departure from who he was.
The knockout goes to: Cathia

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Voice Season 4: The Knockout Rounds Team Adam and Team Shakira

Team Adam: Amber Carrington singing I'm With You by Avril Lavigne vs. Midas Whale singing Higher Ground by Stevie Wonder-- I am loving Amber (as a side note, Adam is all dressed up tonight!), I love her style and her voice. I like Midas Whale and their originality, but I didn't think that this was the right song for them, it was too much of a stretch. Blake said I like Amber as much as I can't stand Adam. Usher liked the "midas" touch. Shakira thinks Amber poses a great threat to her remaining members. Adam sees Amber grow and says Midas Whale blows him away every time. 
The knockout goes to: Amber

Team Shakira: Garrett Gardner singing Too Close by Alex Clare vs. Tawnya Reynolds singing Hell on Heels by Pistol Annies-- Both artists are playing their guitars in this knockout. I actually liked both of them, not an easy choice at all. Garrett has improved. I really liked Tawnya, I loved the control in her voice and the inflections. Adam felt that Garrett has improved greatly. Blake liked Tawnya's song choice, but didn't like the yodels. Shakira defends the yodels and says she added them; I liked them too. Usher actually compliments the yodels and says that not many people know how to control their voice in that way. Shakira says Tawnya was bad ass, and Garrett has grown as an artist. 
The knockout goes to: Garrett

Team Adam: Amy Whitcomb singing House of the Rising Sun by Animals vs. Caroline Glaser singing Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men-- Amy shines in a few places, but overall, I find her performance really pitchy. To me, she sounded better when she rehearsed with Adam. I disliked Caroline's song choice, the song did nothing for her, and she too was pitchy. Whoever gets picked has a lot of work to do. Blake felt Amy took a chance. Caroline was more consistent. Usher thought Caroline was shaky, and would give the knockout to Amy. Adam picked them cause they were opposites, and commented that they did better in rehearsals. 
The knockout goes to: Caroline

Team Shakira: Kris Thomas singing What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong vs. Mary Miranda singing Every Breath You Take by The Police-- Oh no, Kris was really pitchy; this is someone who has an incredible voice, but I feel like he pushed it too much. Mary seems a little confused with the tempo of the song, she was going between slow and fast. Blake and Usher agree that they find it difficult who to pick. Usher was impressed with Kris' voice, he felt Mary's personality was missing from this performance. 
The knockout goes to: Kris

Team Adam: Judith Hill singing Always on my Mind by Willie Nelson vs. Orlando Dixon singing All My Life by KC & JoJo-- I liked both performances, I felt that both of them were dialed in with their heart and soul; emotionally, both of them were there. I know everyone would pick Judith, but honestly, did these two need to be against each other as this stage? They were both so good. Blake said he would go with Judith because he couldn't find anything wrong with her performance. Usher thought Orlando had a great performance, but Judith had an incredible performance. Shakira said no lie how good Judith is, but Orlando has improved overall. Adam said he is proud of Orlando because of everything he has been through and cause he's a great guy; Judith's choice juxtaposes who she is and he felt it was amazing. 
The knockout goes to: Judith

Team Shakira: Karina Iglesias singing Are You Gonna Go My Way by Lenny Kravitz vs. Monique Abbadie singing Power of Love by Celine Dion-- I loved Karina's song choice, and I did not like Monique's song choice at all. Monique was pitchy, but Karina didn't show a lot of stuff with this song. Usher was entertained by Karina's performance. Blake thought Monique showed more versatility. Shakira thought Monique showed a lot of vocal strength in her performance, and that Karina needs to be careful not to become a caricature, but she has a ton of potential. Shakira picked Karina for her confidence. 
The knockout goes to: Karina 

Team Adam: Warren Stone singing I Just Died in Your Arms by Cutting Crew vs. Sarah Simmons singing Wild Horses by  Rolling Stones-- Warren's performance was pretty unreal; I loved the way he changed up this song and made it his own. Sarah's voice was angelic. I loved both of them genuinely. Blake said it was the best he heard Warren sing, and Sarah lit the place on fire. Usher though Warren had it won, but Sarah blew him away. Shakira would give the knockout to Sarah. I could tell Adam genuinely liked both of them, and had a hard time choosing. 
The knockout goes to: Sarah

Team Shakira: Sasha Allen singing At Last by Etta James vs. Shawna P. singing Maybe I'm Amazed by Paul McCartney--  This was a real battle, both of these women were so good, I was wishing both of them could move on. If I had to choose though, Sasha's emotion and vocals proved to be legit. Adam said Sasha was incredible, and Shawna had the grit for this song; he'd pick Sasha. Blake thought it was the best knockout ever, and said Sasha is a front runner. Usher said he wishes that he had fought harder for Sasha. Shakira said Sasha was shining, and she thinks Shawna is already great and loves her as a person. 
The knockout goes to: Sasha

Tomorrow-- Team Blake and Team Usher......

Dancing with the Stars Season 16: Latin Night

Jacoby and Karina danced a Salsa-- I saw a couple of mistakes in there, but in general it was naturally rhythmic, and I enjoyed watching it. Len thought it was a good effort, and he shook the place up. He felt there could have been less lifts. Bruno said the fiesta has begun, your hips were on fire. Bruno added that Karina spent more time flying around then Iron Man. Carrie Ann liked the flavor of the dance and made a gross comparison which I won't mention on here.
Scores: 9, 9, 9= 27

Ingo and Kym danced the Rumba-- My eyes were pretty glued to Kym; I could feel Ingo trying to break through, but the hips weren't there for him. His passion and eagerness were. Bruno felt the hip action was too staccato and not fluid enough. Carrie Ann liked the form and technique but he missed the fluidity. Len said you gave it the best shot but didn't quite deliver in the end, but he felt that there was a lot of content and his lines were good.
Scores: 7, 8, 7= 22

Kellie and Derek danced the Samba-- I couldn't take my eyes off either one of them. The dance was energetic, packed with steps and tricks, and flat out sexy. Carrie Ann said she sees perfection in everything she does, but she said she doesn't feel Kellie when she dances. Carrie Ann feels it lacks emotional content. Len said booty, bounce, and bongos; he felt she completely understood the how of the technique and the wow of the performance, he found it brilliant. Bruno said out of this world content and the perfect balance of technique and performance.
Scores: 9, 10, 10= 29

Andy and Sharna danced a Rumba-- I love the humor that Andy brings to every dance; I only wish that he could pick up on more technique and musicality. Len liked the fun and entertainment value as well as the enthusiasm. He felt there wasn't enough hip action or musicality, more movement through the body. Bruno made a harsh comment about wishing he could forget the dance. Carrie Ann said you touch us but sometimes you forget about your arms, and if you could keep those in check, it would help.
Scores: 5, 6, 6= 17

Aly and Mark danced a Salsa-- Mark was injured, but ended up being able to dance with Aly. I liked this dance a lot. I feel like Aly totally went for it, that being said, it wasn't sexy. I found it more dirty than sexy, and it needed more salsa passes in it. Bruno said it was the spice of his life, and tutti, frutti, delicious tropical flavors-- whatever all that means. Carrie Ann loved it, and said she nailed it. Len said it was like a tequila sunrise, but it needed a few more salsa passes, but she had the exuberance.
Scores: 10, 9, 10= 29

Sean and Peta danced a Rumba-- I do think Sean took notes and improved in certain areas, but I did not see the chemistry between him and Peta. Carrie Ann was impressed that Sean listened to the comments, and like the chemistry between him and Peta. Len thought Peta was hot and Sean was wooden, and his hands kept flapping away. Bruno thought his musicality and extensions were better.
Scores: 8, 8, 8= 24

Zendaya and Val danced the Paso Doble-- This dance was intense, lots of intricate footwork, and I loved the energy of the dance. Len thought it was powerful and had attack. He liked the aggression, but warned her to lift her chin. Bruno liked the flamenco beginning. Carrie Ann thought it needed depth and strength to back up the intense, but thought her lines were gorgeous.
Scores: 9, 9, 9= 27

Then there was a dance off where 3 additional points could be earned. Kellie and Derek earned immunity for having the highest cumulative score:

Aly & Mark — 29 + 3 = 32
Zendaya & Val — 27 + 3 = 30
Kellie & Derek — 29 — Immune from Dance Off
Jacoby & Karina — 27
Ingo & Kym — 22 + 3 = 25
Sean & Peta — 24
Andy & Sharna — 17

dance off was Andy and Sharna vs. Aly and Mark
Jacoby and Karina vs. Zendaya and Val
and Ingo and Kym vs. Sean and Peta

My predictions for the bottom 2: Andy and Sharna and Sean and Peta --- I think Sean is going home.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Voice Season 4: The Last Round of Battles Sizzles

Team Shakira: Brandon Roush vs. Shawna P. sang Piece of My Heart by Janis Joplin-- This was really Shawna's battle to lose because she was the more experience and seasoned performer. Brandon put up quite the effort, and I give him props for keeping up with her. Shakira calls the battle eagerness vs. experience and she chooses experience meaning Brandon is sent home.
Shakira moves forward with Shawna P.

Team Adam: Duncan Kamakana vs. Sarah Simmons sang Wanted You More by Lady Antebellum-- Blake called Sarah one of his favorite singers in the competition. Usher liked Duncan's confidence, but felt Sarah's voice was incredible. Adam liked Sarah's effortlessness, but praised Duncan's talent. I have to admit, I was hoping someone would steal Duncan, but there was no denying Sarah's raw talent. Her voice and vulnerability were unmatched. She is definitely a threat in this competition.
Adam moves forward with Sarah

Team Usher: Michelle Chamuel vs. Chelsea M. sang Titanium by Sia and David Guetta
Usher moves forward with Michelle Chamuel

Team Adam: Amy Whitcomb vs. Agina Alvarez sang Heartbreaker by Pat Benatar
Adam moves forward with Amy Whitcomb

Team Blake: Justin Rivers vs. The Morgan Twins sang Easy by Rascal Flatts
Blake moves forward with Justin Rivers

Final battle of this season was from Team Shakira:
Cathia vs. Mary Miranda sang Antes de las Seis by Shakira-- Adam thought it was beautiful and said if he had to choose it would be Mary. Blake said he loved it and Cathia blew him away. Usher thought it was rather narcissistic for Shakira to choose her own song, but Shakira explained that she wanted to see how each of them would handle it. Shakira said that Cathia has undeniable vocal ability. Mary has a sweet like cotton candy voice, and ultimately she won because of her signature vocal style and charisma. I loved both of them, and I agree there is definitely something about Mary, but a part of me loved the richness of Cathia's voice. Usher came in with the steal for Cathia at the end because she sold him on the song and provided his team with some versatility.
Shakira moves forward with Mary
Usher stole Cathia

Here's what the teams look like now:

Team Adam:
Amber Carrington
Amy Whitcomb
Judith Hill
Midas Whale
Sarah Simmons
Warren Stone
Caroline Glaser (stolen from Team Blake)
Orlando Dixon (stolen from Team Usher)

Team Blake:
Danielle Bradbery
Grace Askew
Holly Tucker
Justin Rivers
Savannah Berry
The Swon Brothers
Luke Edgemon (stolen from Team Shakira)
Taylor Beckham (stolen from Team Usher)

Team Shakira:
Garrett Gardner
Kris Thomas
Mary Miranda
Monique Abbadie
Shawna P.
Tawnya Reynolds
Karina Iglesias (stolen from Team Adam)
Sasha Allen (stolen from Team Adam)

Team Usher:
Audrey Karrasch
Jess Kellner
Josiah Hawley
Michelle Chamuel
Ryan Innes
C. Perkins (stolen from Team Shakira)
Cathia (stolen from Team Shakira)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

American Idol Season 12: The Top 4 Fall Flat

Is it just me or did several weird things take place tonight on American Idol? Just a couple of weeks ago, a personal fave of mine, Amber Holcomb was consistently landing in the bottom two, and now the judges have all but handed her the Idol crown. First up was a solid performance of Power of Love by Celine Dion. I will admit that this was a good song choice for Amber because it displayed her versatility. Up next though was an  odd duet of Rumor Has It by Adele with Kree. This song was not Amber's style, and yet the judges sang her praise while dissing Kree at the same time. Last but not least was a performance of MacArthur Park, and again, this is no offense because I like Amber, but that performance was anemic at best. Her voice cracked twice, and the low notes were so low that you could barely hear her.

On the contrary, Kree who has coasted through the majority of this competition and has a consistent body of work to show from throughout her Idol experience was criticized on her first performance. She was told that her vocal on Susan Tedeschi's It Hurts So Bad didn't have enough emotion. Keith said she didn't give enough in the performance. Nicki even went so far as to say that it wasn't top four worthy. Then when she didn't her second song, Whiter Shade of Pale, they said she redeemed herself. I am happy that Mariah at least turned around and said, for me, there was nothing for you to redeem, you're a true artist. I will be devastated if Kree goes home, because her Idol journey has been too amazing to end her. If she does go home, I have no doubt that this girl is potentially making an awesome record if she has the right people behind her.

Candice is probably the only contestant in this top four who has come out of this competition fairly unscathed so far. The judges haven't thrown her under the bus. Everyone has great comments when it comes to her vocals. There has been some criticism at times about her song choices. Last night was an example of that. She sang Find Your Love by Drake, and I have to say I agree with what Nicki put out there which was that the song has such a great melody and Candice changed that. I wouldn't have changed the melody; she could have still put her Candice spin on it without doing that. Then she sang Emotion which was a good choice for her, but the reviews were really mixed. Mariah called it stellar, but Keith felt she needed to separate herself from the other girls and choose a bare bones song that speaks to her.

Perhaps the dark horse in this competition, Angie had arguably the strongest night. Although she sang Jesse J's Who You Are in the audition rounds, this was completely different. She was at the piano and she just completely let go of all her inhibitions, and it was just so free. Randy called it a 10 out of 10 out of 10. Mariah thought it was stunning and thinks Angie has a career as a songwriter as well. On her second song, Cry Me a River, Randy felt that she won the night. I must agree, she really stepped up and I think she impressed everyone. When I think about the market now for musicians, there's no one like Angie out there. Keith called the performance mystically, celestially powerful. If she goes home, I think she gets a record deal when all is said and done, but I think if she's won hearts like I think she has, she's not going anywhere this week.

My prediction to go home: Amber

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dancing with the Stars Season 16: Week 6

Last week I didn't write about Dancing with the Stars because I didn't get to watch it live as a result of everything going on in Boston. I love D.L.'s spirit, but the right decision was made sending him home last week I feel.

Who impressed me? Zendaya shocks me every week. Kellie is beautiful. Jacoby was out of this world; I loved his tricks.

Zendaya and Val danced a Cha Cha Cha to Do I Do by Stevie Wonder-- Len loved the musicality and swivel in her hips and thought it was the perfect way to start the show. Bruno said she could cha cha him any time she wants. Carrie Ann said she blew her away and feels bad for those who must follow her because it was perfection in motion. I still fail to believe that Zendaya is 16; she was so much focus, precision, and she really emotes and feels the dance.
Scores: 10, 9, 10= 29 out of 30

Andy and Sharna danced a Samba to Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder-- To me, I totally get that Andy is taking it seriously. Bruno found it entertaining but couldn't work out the Samba steps. Carrie Ann said you're in my heart and it touches me. She urged him to get more horizontal. Len thought he was entertaining and gave him a big well done. I feel very much like Carrie Ann, there's something about Andy when he dances and your heart is totally with him.
Scores: 6, 6, 6= 18 out of 30 (his scores should have been higher than that, at least a 20)

Sean and Peta danced a Samba to I Wish by Stevie Wonder-- Carrie Ann liked Sean but didn't think he had musicality. Len thinks he should set his sights higher. He thought it was riddled with mistakes. Len said all you guys think that just because you're dancing the Samba that you have to take your shirt off. Bruno said he tried hard, he told him he could get a job as a stripper cause if you got it, flaunt it. He also said that Sean was like a lumberjack. I do think Sean is trying, but this looked awkward at best. He's got to do better quick because if not, he's going home.
Scores: 7, 7, 7= 21 out of 30

Aly and Mark danced the Foxtrot to Isn't She Lovely by Stevie Wonder-- This was so beautiful, filled with tons of precision and joy. It was nice that she dedicated it to Boston. Len thought it was a foxy foxtrot and the performance level was high. Bruno likes her consistency, but her frame lets her down a little bit. Carrie Ann felt she connected and thinks she's an understated performer.
Scores: 9, 9, 9= 27 out of 30

Ingo and Kym danced the Tango to Uptight by Stevie Wonder-- Ingo's frame looked stronger than it has in past weeks. He is someone who hopefully took what the judges said, and applied it going forward. If he survives this week, we will see if he continues to improve. Bruno thinks he can turn it on when he wants to, and has animal intent. He thought his lines were beautiful. Carrie Ann said finally, welcome to the game. Len said, bingo, Ingo, this dance really suited you, well done.
Scores: 8, 8, 8= 24 out of 30

Kellie and Derek danced the Quickstep to Part Time Lover by Stevie Wonder-- Kellie and Derek were amazing; the whole performance was so perfectly in sync. Carrie Ann: perfect posture, nuance, and synchronicity. Len said he thought it was the best dance of Season 16. Len says it is impossible for a couple to dance at that speed and not occasionally lose contact. Bruno thought it was quality dancing.
Scores: 9, 10, 10= 29 out of 30

Victor and Lindsay danced the Rumba to I Just Called to Say I Love You by Stevie Wonder-- Len said you always come out with a fighting spirit, and he said well done. Bruno said he needed more hip action and lost his steps. Carrie Ann liked the chemistry between Lindsay and Victor even though there were a lot of technical part of the dance missing. I agree with Len, Victor is a total fighter; there's a huge part of me that continues to route for him.
Scores: 6, 6, 6= 18 out of 30

Jacoby and Karina danced the Quickstep to For Once in my Life by Stevie Wonder-- Bruno said your energy is amazing, and you put in a lot of work and it shows. Carrie Ann said you surprise me, you bring a new element which I love. Len said you need to work on some stuff, but he likes Jacoby and admires him. This dance didn't suit your style, it's not your best, but not your worst. Entertainment factor with Jacoby is right up there, he's really fun, but technically, he has some work to do.
Scores: 8, 7, 8= 23 out of 30

Group Dances:

Team Paso Doble – Zendaya & Val, Ingo & Kym, Jacoby & Karina, and Victor & Lindsay
Score: 7, 8, 7= 23 out of 30

Team Samba – Andy & Sharna, Sean & Peta, Kellie & Derek, and Aly & Mark
Scores: 8, 9, 8= 25 out of 30

Kellie And Derek- 54/60
Aly And Mark- 52/60
Zendaya And Val – 51/60
Sean And Peta- 46/60
Ingo And Kym- 46/60
Jacoby And Karina- 45/60
Andy And Sharna- 43/60
Victor And Lindsay- 40/60

Who is going home? Look for Victor to be in jeopardy again, possibly along with Andy or Sean. 

The Voice Season 4: Battles Better Than Ever

Team Usher: Jessica Childress vs. Vedo sang Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars-- I loved both of them so much; they had great singing chemistry that was full of emotion. I hate that they were up against one another. Adam said that he wants to be friends with Jessica. Adam was impressed with Vedo, and said that their connection was great and it made him happy. Blake said they both lit up the room with their connection, and there is no right or wrong decision here. Usher felt that they supported one another in this performance, and believes everyone made a connection with these two.
Usher moves forward with Vedo...... I'm shocked that no one stole Jessica, but love Vedo!

Team Shakira: Luke Edgemon vs. Monique Abbadie sang You and I by Lady Gaga-- Love the intensity that Monique possesses and love Luke's passion, both of them were unbelievable. Blake and Adam both felt like Luke won the battle. Usher thinks Luke has a career as a performer, and he felt that Luke and Monique together complimented one another. Shakira thinks that Monique sounds like a pro already. In a strategic move, Shakira chose Monique being that the other coaches were so excited about Luke. Blake and  Usher both pushed their buttons to try and steal Luke. Luke opted to be strategic as well and chose Blake.
Shakira moves forward with Monique
Blake stole Luke

Team Blake: Jacqui Sandell vs. Savannah Berry sang Little White Church by Little Big Town-- Adam remains upset that he lost Savannah to Blake. He loved their victory jump at the end. Usher like the energy and the fun they had with their performance. He said he couldn't pick one over the other. Shakira found Jacqui was a little uncomfortable, and she loved Savannah's inflections. Blake chooses Savannah, but Jacqui says she has been completely inspired by the experience and says that it's changed her. I actually did like Savannah better in this case; I think ultimately, she has more potential. The fact that she's so young also says so much about her.
Blake moves forward with Savannah

Team Shakira: C. Perkins vs. Kris Thomas sang It Will Rain by Bruno Mars-- I wasn't digging the arrangement of this song, but I think both of them have great voices. I love Kris' voice, but I don't necessarily think he out enough emotion into it. Blake loved C's rasp, and Kris' verbrato. Usher thinks that they both need more work, and he feels that they would be able to help them. Shakira felt that they held back; completely agree, they needed to leave it all out there. She felt that C. had grown so much, and she thought that the guys who dropped Kris from his record deal were big jerks. Usher felt that C. has so much potential that has yet to be seen; I think it's true for both guys. Just as C. was about to leave and he was standing in front of Usher, Usher came in with the steal.
Shakira moves forward with Kris
Usher stole C.

Team Adam: Midas Whale vs. Patrick Dodd sang Burnin' Love by Elvis Presley-- In rehearsals, Patrick loved when Adam introduced a more blue grass feel to the song. Usher thinks both are equally talented. Blake and Shakira love the rasp in Patrick's voice. Shakira loves how Midas Whale enjoys their performances. Adam thinks Midas Whale is one of the most charismatic duos he's ever seen perform, and calls Patrick an exquisite singer. Adam made a tough choice, and picked Midas Whale over Patrick Dodd but vowed to help all of them. I must say that I agree with Adam when he said this was the toughest choice, I could see that. Neither artist did anything wrong.
Adam moves forward with Midas Whale

Team Usher: Orlando Dixon vs. Ryan Innes sang Ain't No Sunshine by Bill Withers-- These two guys sounded great together, their voices blended well. I have to say, overall, I am really impressed with how Usher has prepped all his battles. I don't think anyone has been on par or under par, they've all been phenomenal. Shakira said she doesn't know who to pick. Adam called Orlando a revelation. Blake called Ryan a guy's guy. Usher said Orlando moved the room, and Ryan had so much conviction, even just singing one simple note. Usher actually went with Ryan, I am a little surprised; Usher thought he was powerful and had depth. Adam stole Orlando and said he's an exceptional talent and needs to be here. This battle had a happy ending.
Usher moves forward with Ryan
Adam stole Orlando

Tomorrow night is the last night of battles!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I Think I'll Go to Boston

There's something special about Boston. It has this magical quality that I cannot help but get wrapped up in each time I think about it or each time I travel there. I remember as a child, it was special to go to Boston. It was a big deal, we didn't go every weekend, but when we went, it was celebratory. As a child, I'd go to the North End with my grandmother, my mom, my uncles, and my sister. We'd eat pizza at Bova's, buy cold cuts at the Salumeria, buy chocolate at Dairy Fresh Candy, and buy wine at Martignetti's. Going to Fanueil Hall was always special too. We'd go to concerts at Boston Garden like when my dad took our whole family to see Pavarotti. One time, my dad won a shoot to win contest where he could win money if he made a basket at half court at half time during a Celtics Game. He didn't win, but how I loved going to the game, and how I loved practicing with him before. Fenway Park--- what more can I say. We love our Red Sox whether they win or they lose. Fenway may be small in comparison to so many other baseball parks, but it is full of heart and full of character just like the city of Boston, just like it's people.

When I grew older, I went to college in my favorite city attending Northeastern University as a Journalism student. I learned so much about Journalism, writing, and current events. The city helped me to grow up, it helped me to mature, to see things from a different perspective. My love for my major, my love for my University, my love for the city of Boston are part of why I write this blog today. I started at NU in September of 2001, 9.11 happened a couple of weeks later. It was all we discussed that semester, all we discussed my freshman year of college. It was hard to think about it for that long, talk about it for that long, and write about it for that long. I remember feeling overwhelmed, every once and a while when I thought about 9.11, I couldn't breathe. It was scary to think I would be growing up in a world like this. It made me think about why I wanted to write in the first place. I wanted the public to know the truth about what was going on in our world. I wanted justice for whatever there should be justice for. I wanted people to be able to live their lives and know that I would always keep them informed of what was going on out there. I would tell them stories that would make them think, feel, and act--- I would tell the stories that others were too scared to tell. I would instill confidence, responsibility, and awareness.

As for the Boston Marathon, well, what can I say? I grew up in Wellesley, also known as, the half way point of the race. We'd go every year, we'd cheer, we'd watch the runners. Then we would walk home to my grandmother's house and try to see if we had seen the winner in person.

What happened this past Monday when the Marathon Bombings took place initially scared me, though, it wasn't out of the ordinary because it seems like these acts, although heinous, are becoming more common place. After it scared me, it made me sad. I cried for the victims, I cried for the city, I cried for people, the human race, and I cried for myself.  After I was done being sad, my sadness turned to anger. What kind of person would do something like this? Why do people somehow think that killing people could possibly make them important? Why would they think that sacrificing their own lives would prove a point? And what point are they trying to prove?

Wanting to make others fear you, fear your kind, that's insecurity. Fear is about close mindedness. It's about not having enough scope, not having had enough experiences in your own life. Fear is not being able to see what's really there, it's irrationality, and it's not accepting. In a lot of ways, fear is the opposite of love.

To watch on the TV the reactions of people during the bombing, it was proof to me that there are good people in our world. To every person who comforted, volunteered, saved, operated on, cared for-- you're what we're all about. You're what makes our community, city, state, and country special. You're courageous, brave, and inspiring. Your selflessness astounds me; I often wonder, how are you able to be that brave in that moment? I think it's because there isn't time to be anything else.

Bostonians have this rep for being the best sports fans in the world. We love our teams-- Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics. We've been through lots of ups and downs with all these teams, and despite it, we stick with them. We stick with them cause they're our teams at the end of the day. That's the thing about Bostonians, we're loyal to a fault, we'll love no matter what, we're tough, we've got grit, real spirit, and we won't give up on anything. We're fighters, and when we get knocked down, it makes us rise to the occasion even more. When we finally get up, we're up, and if you get knocked down, we'll help you up too.

Our faith in being tested right now, and it's when our faith is being test that we must believe the most. We must remember that it is in dark times like these that we must think of light. It is in these dark times that we must carry one another. We must share, we must love, and we must fight for what we know is right. Times like these test our endurance, and as the President remarked in his speech today,  "We carry on. We race. We strive. We build, and we work, and we love -- and we raise our kids to do the same. And we come together to celebrate life." We must do this, because if we don't, those who committed this cowardly act win. We cannot allow them to win, we need to keep going. We need to push on, we must celebrate the lives of those we lost by continuing to live our own. We must look fear, hate, and cowardice in the face and know that we will triumph because love, friendship, and strength are the answer. That's who we are.

American Idol Season 12: The Top Five Rise to the Occasion

It's been a while since the top five has been this on point. This top five had everything, and the best part is that each of them kept their own styles. The song selections overall were beautiful. I don't think anyone chose music that didn't fit them last night. I must agree with something that the judges said last night which is that I do think Janelle is in some trouble. Amber, Candice, and Kree have such big, powerful voices, and Angie, I think, really touched peoples hearts last night with her performances. I actually believe she had that breakthrough that the judges have been saying she needed to have. She came into her own and her song choices were just so heartfelt. If people don't vote for Amber after her performances last night, clearly, people don't have a grip on what true talent is. One way or another, Amber will be a star. Kree is also someone that is destined for stardom. I think those three ladies are the top three right now: Angie, Amber, and Kree. I love Candice, but something tells me she won't win this competition.

So the two themes for last night were: Songs from the Year you were Born and Divas.

Candice kicked off the show first (that is the kiss of death position by the way), it's tough to go first, and she did a great job. Amber got to end the show, and I hope that it gained her some votes because she deserves them.

Candice sang Straight Up by Paul Abdul and When You Believe by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey-- Her second performance was better than her first. I think it was because the style was more naturally her. I will say I loved the way that she changed Straight Up to suit her style and vocal ability more. I have no idea what Jimmy Iovine was talking about when he said that the arrangement wasn't right. Randy thought her performance of When You Believe was the best of the night. Mariah thought that she did the song justice and told Whitney to rest in peace. Keith loved watching the way Mariah supported Candice like a sisterhood.

Janelle sang When I Call You Name by Vince Gill and Dumb Blonde by Dolly Parton-- Janelle's first performance was better than her second. The Vince Gill song was touching and heartfelt. I love the idea of Janelle singing Dolly Parton, but she should have chosen another song. I loved Nicki's comments about Janelle's voice being angelic in the first song; that's exactly what I think of her voice too. That being said, Janelle could be in trouble tonight.

Kree Harrison sang She Talks to Angels by The Black Crowes and Have You Ever Been in Love by Celine Dion-- Wow, I think Kree had an amazing night. She is someone I consistently don't know what to say about her because she is just so talented. I liked her first choice, but I loved her second choice. Kree was really able to show her versatility. She can sing rock, pop, country, jazz, R&B; she gives so much in each performance and put her own nuances into it. On the first song, Mariah and Nicki had a little disagreement. Nicki thought it was the first current performance of the night, but Mariah felt she didn't completely lose herself in the song like she usually does. On the second song, slam dunk! Kree got a standing ovation and it was just such an effortless vocal. All the judges thought it was beautiful and loved her versatility.

Angie Miller sang I'll Stand By You by The Pretenders and Halo by Beyonce-- Angie was world class last night. Her tribute to Boston was beautiful. I loved  her sitting at the piano and just putting all her emotion and everything she had into it. Her spin on Halo was theatrical and filled with feeling. I loved towards the end where she kept repeating, "it's written all over your face" and "I pray it don't fade away". Nicki actually said you sang that Beyonce song like a Queen could. Keith predicted that she would be in the top three and Mariah exclaimed that Angie is here to stay.

Amber Holcomb sang Without You by Mariah Carey and What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life by Barbara Steisand-- Amber = young Whitney Houston. I think I loved her second performance more because as she said, it took her back to that jazzy blues style when she sang My Funny Valentine. That performance back when she began was when I knew she was the real deal. Amber was born to do this. She received standing ovations for both performances. I will agree with Nicki that when she sang Without You, it was tough for her to get down into that lower register of her voice. The second performance was perfection, Keith felt she knocked it out of the park and Mariah begged people to vote for Amber. I hope that they listened.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Voice Season 4: The Battles Continue

Team Adam: Michael Austin vs. Warren Stone sang My Kinda Party by Jason Aldean-- Blake said he would go with Michael who was rough around the edges. Usher said Warren made country young which gave it some swag. Shakira liked both equally. Adam said they come from totally different places within the realm of county. Because of his versatility, Adam chose Warren. Michael is a really good guy but I have to agree that Warren had such a smoothness to his voice that was extremely attractive.
Adam moves forward with Warren

Team Usher: Jeff Lewis vs. Josiah Hawley sang Roxanne by The Police-- Blake went with Jeff, Adam felt Josiah, not sure who Shakira wanted. She did say it's a tough song, I agree. Sting is such a distinct artist. Usher went with Josiah and I think he made the right decision because Jeff did not take it seriously enough. Josiah also seemed to have more natural star quality which made him an easier choice.
Usher moves forward with Josiah

Not Shown Battles:

Team Blake: Grace Askew vs. Trevor Davis sang Me and Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin
Blake moves forward with Grace Askew

Team Usher: Audrey Karrasch vs. Jamila Thompson sang If I Were a Boy by Beyonce
Usher moves forward with Audrey Karrasch

Team Shakira: Tawnya Reynolds vs. Mark Andrew sang The Chain by Fleetwood Mac
Shakira moves forward with Tawnya Reynolds

Team Blake: Caroline Glaser vs. Danielle Bradbery sang Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae-- Shakira thought the performance was refreshing; she was impressed by the uniqueness of their voices. Adam wanted Danielle on his team bad and thought he was an imbecile for not turning around for Caroline because there is something ethereal and magical about her. Blake loved both of them and regretted putting them together. Blake chose Danielle, I kind of knew he would, predictable. Usher and Adam both want Caroline; Adam was even flirting, lol. I think Danielle was more perfect as Adam said, but I love the inflections in Caroline's voice. I don't know who I would pick; I can tell you that I would love either one of them. Caroline ended up choosing Adam.
Blake moves forward with Danielle
Adam stole Caroline

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Voice Season 4: The Battle Rounds Begin

A special mention to my special city: Boston! I love you, and whoever did this picked on the wrong city for sure. We're strong, resilient, and we refuse to be victims. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who was affected by this tragedy. 4.15.13-- We will always remember.

AGREE! Team Shakira: Garrett Gardner vs. J'Sun sang How You Like Me Now by The Heavy-- I thought this was a really odd song choice. I actually liked Garrett in this; it suited him more, and he performed better. Shakira ended up opting for Garrett; the grit in his voice did it.
Shakira moves forward with Garrett

AGREE! Team Blake: Holly Tucker vs. Michelle Raitzin sang Blown Away by Carrie Underwood-- Loved the way both ladies attacked this song with such fierceness. I liked how they harmonized. I personally enjoyed Holly more, but I could totally see both of them moving forward in this competition. Michelle started to lose her breath as Blake mentioned and he decided to go with country singer Holly.
Blake moves forward with Holly

AGREE! Team Usher: Jess Kellner vs. Taylor Beckham sang You Know I'm No Good by Amy Winehouse-- Jess is the stronger singer in my opinion. Taylor has a great quirkiness and character in her voice. If I had to move forward with someone, it would be Jess. I noticed Taylor did a lot of screaming in the song. Usher ended up picking Jess; I think it's because she listened to him in rehearsals more than Taylor did. He was pretty hard on both of them saying that neither one of them 100% lit it on fire. Blake stole Taylor saying, "I like Taylor".
Usher moves forward with Jess
Blake stole Taylor

AGREE but DISAGREE! Team Adam: Amber Carrington vs. Sasha Allen sang Try by Pink-- Oh no! I love both of them, I'm not sure who I would pick, but I believe both of them should move forward. Amber impressed me because I didn't expect her to keep up with Sasha but she did. Both ladies were stellar. Surprisingly, Adam decided to move forward with Amber. Not to worry Sasha, everyone turned around for you in the Blind Auditions, and Shakira and Usher opted to try and steal her. Sasha chose Team Shakira which not only surprised me but it shocked Usher as well. He said he was dumbfounded.
Adam moves forward with Amber
Shakira stole Sasha

DISAGREE! Team Blake: Christian Porter vs. The Swon Brothers sang I Won't Back Down by Tom Petty-- Christian has lots of conviction and confidence when he sings, so do The Swon Brothers. This is another tough choice because I like both acts. I actually think that they should form a trio. Ultimately, for me, Christian was stronger, but Blake actually chose The Swon Brothers. I was surprised about this, but more so, I was surprised that no one stole Christian. This was a big mistake!
Blake moves forward with The Swon Brothers

AGREE! Team Adam: Judith Hill vs. Karina Iglesias sang It's a Man's Man's Man's World by James Brown-- Karina is over singing a little bit. I loved Judith because her vocal nuances were so deliberate. She is so special because she feels every single note when she sings. I can see Karina moving on too only because she kept up with Judith, but I would be shocked if Adam didn't choose Judith. This battle received a standing ovation from all four judges. Adam said he believes it was the best battle in The Voice history. He had a hard time choosing but picked Judith. Shakira used her final steal for Karina who she regretted not turning around for in the Blind Auditions.
Adam moves forward with Judith
Shakira stole Karina

Saturday, April 13, 2013

American Idol Season 12: 5 Divas Set to Battle it Out

You read right! There are five ladies left in the competition. Lazaro Arbos was eliminated from American Idol this week, but this was major for more than one reason. One, there are no more men left in the competition. Two, the men went down in order, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 making this arguably the weakest men's field in American Idol history. I'm left wondering, did we get the five best guys to represent in the top ten? The only guy who definitely should have been there was Burnell Taylor, and possibly Lazaro for the sheer reason that he possessed no experience as a singer before Idol. What continues to surprise me is that the judges never used "the save". It shouldn't have to be unanimous because you have judges like Nicki Minaj who to prove an unnecessary point purposely disagree with the majority of the panel. She came out and said, she wasn't going to use "the save" on a guy and if it wasn't used on Curtis, it wouldn't be used on anyone else.

Another thing that completely puzzles me about this season is why the public isn't absolutely smitten with Amber Holcomb. When I look at her and hear her, I see and hear a young Whitney Houston at the top of her game. I cannot understand why Amber is consistently in the bottom two or three. People need to get on board with someone like her; she's beyond talented.

This week's theme was songs from the Burt Bacharach and Hal David songbook and Songs You Wish You'd Written.

My top two was Kree and Amber because both of their performances were good.

My middle two was Candice and Angie because they each had one performance that was good.

My bottom two was Janelle and Lazaro.

Angela Miller – “Anyone Who Had A Heart” by Burt Bacharach/Dionne Warwick -- Should have played perfectly to her dramatics but it was boring and old fashioned.
Angela Miller – “Love Came Down” by Kari Jobe-- This was Angie at her best, sitting at the piano, pouring out emotion and sounding amazing.
Amber Holcomb – “I Say A Little Prayer” by Burt Bacharach/Dionne Warwick -- Amber took an old song that's been done over I don't know how many times and made it current and made it her own.
Amber Holcomb – “Love On Top” by Beyonce-- I loved this choice for Amber, it was upbeat but sweet.
Lazaro Arbos - “Close To You” – Bacharach/David originally sung by The Carpenters-- This was not good. I actually felt bad for Lazaro. I'd like to know who thought he should even start the song in that low a key? 
Lazaro Arbos – “Angels” by Robbie Williams-- Love this song, and it was an improvement over his first performance but not enough to save him in the end.
Kree Harrison –  ”What the World Needs Now” by Burt Bacharach and Hal David-- Kree took this song and made it her own.
Kree Harrison –  ”Help Me Make it Through The Night” by Kris Kristofferson-- This song sounded like it was custom made for Kree. She sounded amazing; this is exactly the type of record she should be making.
Janelle Arthur- “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” by Burt Bacharach-- I actually found this a bit boring, but I enjoyed Janelle's voice.
Janelle Arthur – “The Dance” by Garth Brooks-- This was a great choice for Janelle; she sounded like a legit country star.
Candice Glover – “Don’t Make Me Over” by Burt Bacharach/Dionne Warwick-- Everyone thought it was wonderful, but I thought it was boring. I didn't care for all the vocal acrobatics.
Candice Glover – “Love Song” by The Cure/Adele-- I did love this performance, as for it being the best in Idol history, I don't think so. There are a lot of memorable performances....... I could make a list: Kelly Clarkson-- Natural Woman, David Cook-- Billie Jean, Fantasia-- Summertime, Chris Daughtry-- Wanted Dead or Alive, and the list goes on. (maybe sometime, I'll actually tackle making a list of the best and most memorable Idol performances ever).

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Voice Blind Auditions: Season 4, Night 6

The final night of blind auditions; how exciting! I am definitely ready to see what the final teams look like, and to pick my fave team. I want to evaluate who I think has the best chance of winning the show this year. Do Blake and Adam have the experience to make it to the finals? Are Usher and Shakira hungry enough to win?

Mark Lennon sang Come Together by The Beatles-- I thought Mark sounded great and I don't think that the judges did the right thing by not turning around. They thought he sounded too young and too clean.

Jacqui Sandell sang Dreams by Fleetwood Mac-- I loved her voice, it was haunting and magical. She has a lot of depth in her voice. Blake turned first, quickly followed by Usher. Blake loved her quick vibrato and sexy sound. Usher said he turned because he wanted to hear more and see more. Jacqui picked Blake which filled his team.
Team Blake!

Amber Carrington sang Good Girl by Carrie Underwood-- Adam was the only one who turned around! Shocking! I really liked this girl, I loved the grit in her voice. Blake said he was frustrated because he didn't get to turn around. Adam said he loves that she's so good, and now his team is full.
Team Adam!

Dustin Hatzenbuhler sang Haven't Met You Yet by Michael Buble-- Adam said it sounded like a show tune and it didn't swing like the original. Shakira urged him to come back and Adam echoed that. None of the judges turned, he had a good voice, but the judges were right, something about it seemed off.

Luke Edgemon sang I Can't Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt-- I definitely hear Luke's gospel and church influenced voice in there, and he sounds awesome. He has a great sound, it's very marketable. Shakira and Usher both turned; I think Adam and Blake would have turned if they could. Shakira thinks Luke's voice is phenomenal, and luckily, he ends up picking her making her team full.
Team Shakira!

Jessica Childress sang Marry You by -- Jessica was just so full of joy when she sang. I loved her, and as Adam said, I wanted to marry her. She was shocked when she found out that the other judges couldn't turn their chairs because their teams were full, but she was so happy to be on Team Usher.
Team Usher!

The Voice Blind Auditions: Season 4, Night 5

Jeff Lewis sang U Got it Bad by Usher-- I actually like the way Jeff flipped this song and I liked that he was playing the guitar, it really personalized it. The judges waited til the very end to turn, but Usher, then Blake, and Shakira (sneaked in at the end), all turned. Blake says he detected a hint of country, and he'd love to have him on team Blake. Shakira said she could help him polish his performance. Usher says he'd like to change his life. Jeff ends up choosing Usher, he grew up listening to him.
Team Usher

Shawna P. sang She Talks to Angels by The Black Crowes-- Shawna has a great rock voice, and it's clear that she's been doing this for a while. Shakira and Adam turn. Shakira and Adam both want what she has in her voice. Adam said she has a Janis Joplin voice, but felt she needed more control. He thinks her voice needs to be on the show. Shawna wants Shakira to teach her how to dance. Adam emphasizes that like Shakira, he is a rock singer.
Team Shakira

Caroline Glaser sang Tiny Dancer by Elton John-- I like her voice, undeniably. That being said, she sounds like several other females who have been on The Voice before. Blake thought that there was so much artistry in her being that she is so young. Shakira thought her voice sounded angelic. Blake knew she sounded like a songwriter. I think that caught Caroline and I think that's why she picked Blake. Shakira is wrong about the fact that there hasn't been someone who sounded like her before. There is someone who sounds like her every year, no offense.
Team Blake

Cameron sang As Long As You Love Me by Justin Bieber-- No one turned around.

Michael Austin sang Someone Like You By Keith Urban-- Blake and Usher have a discussion while he is singing and agree that he's pitchy. He is. It's kind of weird that Adam and Shakira turned so quickly. Michael does seem sure of himself and who he wants to be as an artist as Adam said. Michael ended up choosing Adam.
Team Adam

4 Chair Turn! Sasha Allen sang Not Ready to Make Nice by The Dixie Chicks-- Sasha is talented because I noticed that as I was listening to her I wasn't just hearing her beautiful voice, but I was hearing a story as well. This is someone who potentially could go far, and there's only a handful of contestants who could this year. Adam said that this show has changed his life because he was a cynic before. He said she is magic and wants to be involved in developing her gift. Blake says they're meant to be together. Usher said she made an impression. Shakira believes she's the only one who fully understands Sasha's talent. Sasha thanks all of them and chooses Adam.
Team Adam

Jamila Thompson goes to Team Usher
Amy Whitcomb goes to Team Adam,
Justin Rivers goes to Team Blake, as does Michelle Rietzen

Mary Miranda sang Como La Flor be Selena-- I was impressed with the quality of her performance at the age of 17. She does have a good voice. Blake said he couldn't understand her, but it doesn't matter. Usher heard lots of potential in her voice and he says he loves Bachata. Shakira says, let me talk to my girl. Most obviously, Mary chooses Shakira.
Team Shakira

Grace Askew sang These Boots Are Made for Walking by Nancy Sinatra-- Wow, Blake didn't waste any time. Her voice is so retro, and I love the phrasing and odd inflections in her voice. Her style seems not to be limited to just country and blues but rock as well. Blake said he's really excited about her. Blake thinks that they could make history on the show and if she chooses Shakira, she will be history. Shakira likes her personality and demeanor. Grace said she's a country girl at heart and picked Blake.
Team Blake

Jane Smith sang You've Got the Love by Florence and the Machine, but didn't make the cut.

4 Chair Turn! Ryan Innes sang Gravity by John Mayer-- He said the first word and Adam was turned already, followed by Blake. Usher and Shakira turned around after hearing a little bit more. Ryan has a masculine voice, lots of rasp, nice falsetto, and tons of soul. Blake said Ryan's got soul, and he felt energized. The room came alive. Shakira enjoyed the performance, felt like she was floating, and liked his confidence. Usher said his voice is packed with soul and substance, and it shook the entire room. He said he is here to win. Adam said his turn was lightning quick, and he's dying to be a part of his career, and was so blown away by him. Ryan said because he sings soul music, he is picking Usher.
Team Usher

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dancing with the Stars: Season 16 Week 4

This weeks dances are all about the best years of the contestants lives.

Sean and Peta danced the Viennese Waltz and his best year is 2012, the year he met his fiance. I think Sean is trying but I don't see tons of improvement. Len thought he made a good effort with a difficult dance, his footwork was haphazard at times, but good. Bruno said he needs to working on sustaining himself through the dance, and avoiding the stumbles. Carrie Ann said there were two lifts, I didn't see that, but whatever. He's going to need to work hard to make it to next week. Scores: 6, 7, 7= 20 out of 30

Victor and Lindsay danced the Paso Doble and his best year was 2011 when he won the WBC boxing championship. Victor had good determination, but his footwork was not good. It felt more like stomping to me. Bruno said you're supposed to dance, not destroy it. He said it's not always attack, attack, attack, but I hope you come back because you can dance. Carrie Ann said you need a lot of work, but I see it comes from your head and your heart. Len loves his spirit and determination, and thought the dance needed more refining but was proud of what he did. Scores: 6, 6, 6= 18 out of 30

Jacoby and Karina danced the Foxtrot and his best year is 2012 because of his son being born and winning the Super Bowl. I loved Jacoby's dance. It was absolutely so strong and so sweet. I liked how some of his moves really had his style and flash. Carrie Ann thought his dance was phenomenal and it had so much joy. She liked how he went outside the box, and she thinks he has a real shot at winning this. Len said he was a fan of this Foxtrot tonight, and he felt Jacoby danced and looked the part. Bruno said he had flash and flare like no one else. Ne urged him to extend his hands so that they don't resemble spatulas. Scores: 8, 8, 8= 24 out of 30

Aly and Mark danced Contemporary and her best year was 2012 because of the Olympics. This was the best I've seen Aly. She was in touch emotionally, and this style of dance really played to her strengths. It incorporated her gymnastics abilities. Len liked the balance of emotion and athleticism. Bruno said it was going for gold and found it emotionally intense. Carrie Ann thought that she had perfection of emotion and that she lived in the moment and therefore Carrie Ann found it profound. Scores: 9, 9, 9= 27 out of 30

Andy and Sharna danced the Viennese Waltz and his best year is 2013, the best year of his life so far. Andy really put a lot of effort into this; he has worked hard to be sober and have a good life with his kids. Andy is one of those contestants that improves every week, and although his movements are simple, they're effective. Andy goes over to hug his daughter at the end and she says "good job dad". Bruno says it's the best he's danced since show one. Carrie Ann was crying and gave him a hug and told him it was so beautiful. She said it was the simplest poem, what you said with those few movements was so much. Len said you came onto this show a man, you'll go out as a hero. Scores: 7, 7, 7= 21 out of 30

Zendaya and Val danced a Samba and her best year was 2009 because it is when she was discovered. I love all the choreography and how well it was executed. I also loved the sweet playfulness between Zendaya and Val. Carrie Ann called Zendaya baby Beyonce and said Val's choreography was great. She tells Zendaya that Beyonce better watch out. Len felt her legs were too flexed at times, but she is a fantastic dancer. Bruno started singing, "you're my Venus". Bruno said you're star power and fearless. Scores: 9, 8, 9= 26 out of 30

Ingo and Kym danced a Viennese Waltz and his best year is 2009 because it's when he got married. I actually saw quite a bit of improvement in Ingo this week. His core actually did get better. Len liked his footwork and solo, but thought there were some incidents with his arms. Bruno said you worked on your control and said the dance was elegant, dashing, and romantic. Carrie Ann said his posture was so much better because he worked on his core. Scores: 8, 7, 8= 23 out of 30

D.L. and Cheryl danced a Foxtrot and his best year was when he was in 8th or 9th grade because everything was sweeter and simpler. Wow, he really came up and improved. There was some actual footwork in this, and I do hope people will continue voting for him. Bruno said tough love worked because his performance went up a level. Carrie Ann is proud and called it a breakthrough for D.L. Len said this had more content and it was better, and continues to admire his spirit. D.L. felt it was his best dance. Scores: 7, 7, 7= 21 out of 30

Kellie and Derek danced a Samba and her best year was 2011 when she got married. Kellie's dance and the  emotion behind it were so beautiful. Derek did a wonderful job with the choreography. Carrie Ann said some of her movements were clipped, but she made beautiful pictures with her body. Len thought the movement should have had a little but more fluidity but she was in the dance. Bruno said soundtrack of love, beautiful. Scores: 9, 8, 9= 26 out of 30

Lisa and Gleb danced the Cha Cha Cha and her best year was the year her daughter got married. Poor Lisa, she's trying her best, but the dance is under rehearsed. In her solo, she seems unsure of what her movements should be. I feel like Gleb took his shirt off as a distraction. Len said she gave it her best and it was under rehearsed. Bruno echoed what Len said and thought that what she did, she did well. Carrie Ann said you look good Lisa and then she cautioned Gleb about lifts and said she'd deduct a point.

Final Judges Leaderboard:
Aly And Mark- 27/30
Kellie And Derek- 26/30
Zendaya And Val – 26/30
Jacoby And Karina- 24/30
Ingo And Kym- 23/30
D.L. And Cheryl- 21/30
Andy And Sharna- 21/30
Sean And Peta- 20/30
Victor And Lindsay- 18/30
Lisa And Gleb- 18/30

Who is going home? I think Lisa, Victor, and Sean will be the bottom three.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

American Idol Season 12: The Top 7 Rock Out

Who was a "10"?

Amber, Angie, and Kree; each lady was so thoughtful about their song and so connected during their performance. Amber and Angie brought tears to my eyes.

Amber sang What About Love by Heart-- Amber received a standing ovation from the judges and with good reason. She was just flawless; I continue to hear so much of Whitney Houston in her. Keith thought it was a great song choice from Amber. Nicki said that the first line of the song melted her and it was her favorite of the night. Randy thought that she looked and sounded amazing. Mariah said that she has grown so much since she started this journey.

Angie sang Bring Me to Live by Evanescence-- Angie should be making this type of record. She was comfortable and in her element. Nicki thought the song was the perfect choice for her and that she sounded amazing. Randy also said she should make a record like this, great dynamics, great song. Mariah said that the song was her.

Kree sang Piece of my Heart by Janis Joplin-- Kree is one of those singers who has so much natural talent that she can sing anything and pull it off. I think the public wonders, is she country? Rock? Pop? Well, she's so good that she can do it all. Randy said she rocked the stage. Mariah says it might be her favorite Kree performance. Kree revealed that she had a pinched nerve in her back. Keith gave her a ten out of ten for her professionalism. Nicki said magnificent, stunning, you're a natural; I'm obsessed with you.

Middle of the road?

Lazaro actually gave his personal best performance ever singing We Are the Champions by Queen. I thought this song perfectly fit Lazaro's personal situation as well as his voice. Nicki called it "crack juice" and felt he did the song justice. Mariah and Randy both said they were initially concerned but felt the song was a great choice for him. Keith said it played perfectly to his dramatics. Nicki also thought he had Ricky Martin sexiness.

Janelle Arthur sounded great singing You May Be Right by Billy Joel but the song wasn't really the best choice for her. Nicki thought the performance was sensational and Randy felt like he was at the Janelle concert. Keith thinks she improves every week, but this wasn't a good song choice for her.

In danger of going home?

Hate to say it, but Burnell singing You Give Love a Bad Name by Bon Jovi was a little bit too karaoke for my taste. All of the judges agreed that he needed to inject some of himself into that song.

Candice Glover's rendition of I Can't Get No Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones was a little bit boring unfortunately. Keith thought her voice was powerful and effortless. Nicki loves her voice, but fell asleep during the song, and then booed before the audience booed her.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Voice Blind Auditions: Season 4, Night 4

First up on night four; oh this is so exciting!

Audrey Karrasch sang Price Tag by Jessie J.-- Blake turns around right away; Usher turns around much to Blake's dismay. Blake wants to be the first to say something and Adam thinks he can predict what Blake will say, and Audrey says why do you care? You didn't even turn around. Woah! She put Adam in his place, lol. Audrey asks Usher what made him turn around and he doesn't even answer the question and she says, let's do this Usher. I pick Usher. I think what I like about Audrey more than her voice is her personality.
Team Usher

Brandon Roush sang With a Little Help from my Friends-- Brandon had a great rocker voice, especially being that he was only 19 years of age. Shakira ended up being the only one that turned around, but I think she is the perfect fit for him. He told Shakira that she wouldn't be sorry for choosing him.
Team Shakira

Betsy Barta sang Set Fire to the Rain by Adele-- Blake said she did a great off, but she bit off a lot when she chose Adele. No one turned around. Adam reassured her and told her to come back.

Patrick Dodd sang Walking in Memphis-- Usher said he had such character in his voice, even though only Shakira and Adam were the only ones to turn around. Shakira loved the soul in his voice and the effortlessness of it. Shakira said she'd put all her passion and focus on him. Adam envied the density, rasp, and soul in his voice. Adam said he loved him and wants him to be on his team. At first, I thought, nothing special, and then I heard the range and rasp in her voice, and I was like this guy is special. He really blows me away with this passion that he has for music, it's so full and genuine. Patrick ended up picking Adam.
Team Adam

Trevor Davis sang Keep Your Head Up by Andy Grammer --Team Blake

C. Perkins sang All Because of You by Neyo-- Team Shakira

Agina Alvarez sang Beautiful Liar by Shakira Team Adam

Orlando Dixon sang So Sick by Neyo-- Orlando has a good voice; he needs some refining, but I think he has the potential to be really good. Orlando says he grew up listening to Usher and admires his work. Usher liked the tone of his voice and said he will push him more. He called him a diamond in the rough and said he wants to prepare him to be a winner.
Team Usher

Savannah Berry sang Safe and Sound by Taylor Swift-- Adam turned right away, then Shakira, then Blake. Usher is the only one that didn't turn which I am surprised about because she deserved a four chair turn. He was smiling the whole time which surprises me even more. Adam said I turned around way before these other guys. Shakira said these two have been here for three seasons, they're jaded. Shakira said she can win this. Adam said go with who believed first. Blake says he and Miranda could adopt her (she said Miranda was one of her musical influences). She chose Blake!
Team Blake

The Voice Blind Auditions: Season 4, Night 3

The Swon Brothers sang American Girl by Tom Petty-- Blake says he's an Okie just like them (they're all from Oklahoma). Usher thinks he can help them get to where they need to be. Shakira hopes to give them a fresh perspective. What I loved was the rawness and realness in their voices. The guys ended up choosing Blake.
Team Blake

Taylor Beckham sang I'm Goin Down by Mary J. Blige-- Usher and Shakira both turn around. Taylor is only 17! She has soul, but she is nervous and sounds like a kid and that comes across. Shakira tries to relate to her by saying she was a gymnast like Taylor used to be. Adam actually tries to sell Usher as her coach, and ultimately she chooses him. To me, I think Taylor has the goods, but is she a little too young? Perhaps.
Team Usher

Sam Alves sang Feelin' Good by Nina Simone or Michael Buble--  Okay now, so I didn't love this young man. That being said, the judges have chosen other people this year and in years past that are not as good as this guy was. Sam said that everything happens for a reason and he fully believes that. No one turning around was a surprise to me; I think a couple of them regretted it when he sang the last note.

Karina Iglesias sang I'm the Only One by Melissa Etheridge-- Adam and Blake kept going  back and forth deciding whether or not to push the button and they kept daring each other. Finally, at the very last moment, they both pushed the button. Shakira regretted not pushing the button. Blake said as she sang, it was like she kept pushing the gas pedal. Karina says that as long as she has been watching the show, she's been wanting to say, I'm picking Team Adam. Adam is happy he has Karina on his team because he is a bad ass singer.
Team Adam

Garrett Gardner sang Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes-- I definitely feel that Garrett improved over the last time he was here. That was a much better song choice for him but that was a bit screamy. He pushed too much at the end. I do think he took Blake's criticism and really worked on his craft. Adam said he was overjoyed that he made it and is on someone's team. Shakira was the only one who turned around, and remembered him from last year and wanted Garrett on her team.
Team Shakira

Flash Rounds:
J'Sun, an R&B singer ends up on Shakira’s team
Duncan is a Hawaiian folks singer who makes it on Team Adam
Chelsea M. lands on Usher’s team

4 Chair Turn! Holly Tucker sang To Make You Feel My Love-- Adam immediately turned his chair, followed by Shakira, Usher, and Blake. Usher gave her a standing ovation. Holly says she has always wanted to be a country singer. Adam said you're so good that you blow any genre out of the water; I want to work with you really badly. Usher said he wants to nurture her talent. Shakira loved the honesty of her performance and said that if she feels adventurous to pick her. Blake said he turned around last because he initially couldn't hear her cause Usher was talking. Holly ends up going with her country connection, and choose Blake. Holly has a really smooth voice, and her personality is so honest.
Team Blake

And now we bring you a montage of people who didn't make the show.....

Let's move on......

Landon Medvec sang You Give Me Something by James Morrison-- He sounds too much like James Morrison; he needs to develop his sound more and come back. There was also a little too much rasp. Blake and Usher thought that Landon sounded like a girl. Shakira thought he was in control and loved his choice of song. Adam said that sometimes it sounded like him doing an impression of James.
No one chose him either.

Michelle Chamuel sang I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry-- Adam turned, then Shakira, wait a while, and then Usher turns around too. Her voice is different and her character is compelling. Shakira thought Michelle was spectacular and fierce and compared it to her beginnings. Michelle said I have a question for the three amazing humans who pushed their buttons and Blake said what about me? Usher said, what it is is that you're not a human. Usher said he wants to know what kind of music she would like to be known for? She said electronic pop. I actually do like the pairing of her with Usher. Michelle was really gracious and thanked all the judges and the ones who turned around.
Team Usher

Julie Roberts sang God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton-- She previously had a record deal and lost it after the flood in Nashville. I didn't feel she was connected to the song as she sang it. I understand why no one turned around; there was nothing that compelled them to. Blake feels bad that he didn't turn around, but there are a lot of things Julie could stand to work on.

4 Chair Turn! Monique Abbadie sang Loca by Shakira-- Monique was a regular on Sabado Gigante, and she just has so much good energy and happiness when she sings. Usher said she rocked. Adam said the rhythmic sensibility is so on money. Blake said I hit my button first, but she's picking Shakira. Shakira liked the aggression she took on the verses. The guys actually want her to pick Shakira. Monique says Usher is good looking. She chooses her Idol, Shakira!
Team Shakira

4 Chair Turn! Warren Stone sings Colder Weather by The Zac Brown Band-- Love this guys story, he is a divorced dad and firefighter with the great ability to tell a story with his voice. Adam turns right away, then Usher and Shakira, and lastly Blake. Adam is so ignited by what he's done and knows he is going to be a great country star. Blake said country is a hard community to break into. Shakira believes she can mentor him, because talent is talent. Adam asks him to be adventurous, and take a chance with him. Everyone is shocked when Warren picks Adam.
Team Adam

Monday, April 1, 2013

Dancing with the Stars: Season 16 Week 3

Last week was a huge surprise; the show said goodbye to Dorothy Hamill as she bowed out following an injury that could have become permanent had she continued dancing. The bottom two stars last week, boxer Victor Ortiz and reality star Lisa Vanderpump got a last minute reprieve. They survived to dance another week.

This week was prom week on the show and overall, many of the celebs saw improvement, and really stepped up.

Up first was Aly and Mark dancing a Viennese Waltz-- Their dance was beautiful and so light. Bruno said he was swept away  and loved Aly's expression. He wants her to work on her frame. Carrie Ann said she is fluid, but she needs to work on staying in character. Len faked them out saying he wasn't impressed at all, and then he said, April Fools! Scores: 7, 8, 8= 23

Andy and Sharna danced a Cha cha cha-- I love how Andy really wants this and is making an effort, but at the same time, he is not taking himself too seriously. I love that! He is so whimsical and fun. Bruno said his timing and placement is off, but he knows how to entertain. Carrie Ann said Andy, you try with your full heart and soul every week, you need to cha cha more, but you are totally entertaining. Len said you're not a great dancer, but you make me feel good.  Scores: 6, 6, 6= 18

Ingo and Kym danced a Paso Doble-- Ingo has great spirit and determination, but his posture isn't great and he is a bit too aggressive. Paso requires aggression but it also requires passion. Carrie Ann thought he captured the power of Paso, but his core is weak and he needs to strengthen his core in order to dance better. Len said it had great attack, but he needed stronger posture, more cheers than jeers. Bruno told him it was too aggressive, but he can tell that he works hard. He told him to refine his shapes. Scores: 7, 7, 7= 21

Lisa and Gleb danced a Viennese Waltz-- This was a big improvement over last week, but weak in comparison to some of the other dancers. Len thought, bright and breezy, free and easy. He liked the feel of it, but didn't think the hold was good. Bruno thought it was regal. Carrie Ann thought she did well, but like Aly, warned her to stay in character throughout. Scores: 7, 7, 7= 21

Kellie and Derek danced a Jive-- I want to know what Kellie Pickler can't do! This woman is amazing; she brings it every week, and I am so impressed. Bruno thought it was crisp and precise. Carrie Ann called is ridiculously amazing, that's the fastest routine I have ever seen. Len declared Kellie queen of the prom! Scores: 8, 9, 8= 25

Victor and Lindsay danced Contemporary-- I think this was the biggest improvement this week. Victor and Lindsay had a great connection. Carrie Ann said wow, you're a dancer, that was breathtaking, and you two had great chemistry. Len said he was pleasantly surprised, the lifts were very good, work on dance a little more, but your best so far. Bruno said you were gentle, caring, and sentimental. Scores: 8, 7, 8= 23

D.L. and Cheryl danced Salsa-- I did see an effort from D.L; I agree with Carrie Ann and I feel like the guys are being a little too hard on him. Len said I admire your spirit but it wasn't a salsa, there wasn't enough hip action, rhythm, and passing. Bruno said you've got to get the hips going. Carrie Ann said I see improvement every week; I want you to work on your musicality. Scores: 6, 5, 5= 16

Jacoby and Karina danced a Rumba-- Oh wow! Their connection was off the charts, and Jacoby was intense, passionate, and amazing. I couldn't take my eyes off the screen as I watched them. Bruno said it was smoldering, he was really into it, and had great arm extensions. Carrie Ann said I'm impressed, you have incredible artistry and you were connected to the music. That was hot. Len was shocked; he said it was refined and he had quality of movement.  Scores: 8, 8, 8= 24

Wynonna and Tony danced a Samba-- I think Wynonna is such a sweet person, but this was not good. It was far too slow and she was practically walking through the dance. Carrie Ann felt the dance wasn't coming out. Len said you look magnificent, but you don't move, and there is no rhythm. Bruno found it sedated for a performance and urged her to hit it hard. Scores: 5, 5, 5= 15

Sean and Peta danced a Cha cha cha-- This is another couple that has improved. I could see that Sean had a great attitude going into this dance. Len said great energy, full of attack, work on your feet, but best from you so far. Bruno said he will give Sean his number, and tells him to clean up his footwork and finish his moves. Carrie Ann compliments the way Sean hits each move with such precision. Bruno then gets up to try and dance with Sean. Scores: 7, 7, 7= 21

Zendaya and Val danced a Viennese Waltz-- This was so airy and free; I love the way both of them glided across the stage and their ease of movement was beautiful. Bruno said as enchanting and charming as Venice in the moonlight, overall beautiful. Carrie Ann you have great lyrical quality to your movement. Your emotional connection is beyond your years. Len said your dancing is so natural, but warns all the couples going forward to be in hold more in the Viennese Waltz. Scores: 8, 8, 8= 24

Final Judges Leaderboard:
Kellie And Derek- 25/30

Zendaya And Val- 24/30
Jacoby And Karina- 24/30
Aly And Mark- 23/30
Victor And Lindsay- 23/30
Ingo And Kym- 21/30
Lisa And Gleb- 21/30
Sean And Peta- 21/30
Andy And Sharna- 18/30
D.L. And Cheryl- 16/30
Wynonna And Tony- 15/30

Who do I think may be going home? Wynonna, D.L., and Lisa

Who impressed? Kellie, Jacoby, Zendaya, and Victor

American Idol Season 12: The Top 8 Become 7

This week on American Idol, the contestants were mentored by Motown legend Smokey Robinson as they took on the songs of Motown. Overall, it was a night filled with okay performances.

The top three performances of the night for me were Amber, Kree, and Janelle in that order with Burnell coming a close fourth.

Amber sang Lately by Stevie Wonder-- She was the only contestant of the night to receive a standing ovation from the judges. Her vocal was honestly in a class by itself. I think so much has been made of Candice throughout this competition, and everyone has kind of forgotten about Amber. To me, she has a voice like Whitney Houston. Mariah called it a tour de force. Keith told her that she sang it and felt it beautifully. Nicki told her that her vocals are unmatched. Randy said she was the best of the night and continues to grow every week.

Kree sang Don't Play that Song by Aretha Franklin and even got props from the Queen of Soul herself. Kree's voice was strong in this, and she just proves every week how much she wants to be here. Randy told her that she is here to stay in this competition. Keith loved that she sounded like herself but sang an Aretha song. Nicki called Kree a "Queen".

Janelle sang You Keep Me Hangin' On by The Supremes-- I absolutely loved the way she reinvented this piece. She breathed new life into, and made it sound like something we could hear on country or pop radio today. Mariah thought that the performance was Janelle at her finest. Keith loved her fearlessness and the arrangement. Nicki didn't like it very much and thought it wasn't like it normally was. Randy felt quite the opposite and thought it was one of Janelle's best performances on the show.

Burnell, my honorable mention of the week, sang My Cherie Amor by Stevie Wonder-- Beautifully phrased and always original, Burnell leads not follows with each song choice and performance. It's not what he sings, but how he sings it.

The rest of the story: Love Lazaro, but sooner or later, the votes are going to catch up to him and not be enough to keep pushing him through and allowing him more chances in the competition. He sang For Once in my Life, but it wasn't believable.

Candice played it safer than I like. She sang I Heard it Through the Grapevine which was rather predictable, but what wasn't was the rock twist she put on the song. It wasn't her. She remains one of the strongest contestants though.

Poor Devin was sacrificed this week after turning in his best performance to date with Tracks of my Tears. When you look at the entire picture, it was probably right for him to go this week. If you're looking at contestants in terms of improvement, then he didn't deserve to go because he has consistently improved. He took criticism well, and it wasn't always pretty. Overall, Lazaro probably should have gone home.

Angie sang Shop Around; this was super strange. It was not Angie's style. Luckily, she's stronger than a number of contestants and this performance wasn't her last, but she needs to forget about everyone in her ear telling her to do something different. People like Angie because of who she is, and that should never be compromised. She needs to take a cue from Burnell and remember to be herself at all times.

That's my take, and with Devin gone, we're down to seven, and only two of those seven are guys. I also wanted to comment on Nicki's comments on Twitter after Devin was voted off. This article says it all; read away! Nicki is the one who needs to be gracious and grow up, none of the other judges are acting like this, and it's all a testament to her tastelessness and tackiness. It's so cheap of her to take shots at the contestants, and I get critiquing them, but embarrassing them? Nicki is purposely not using the save because Devin is a male; it's just not right. And when exactly did the young man not act gracious? When Nicki chided him on national TV? Also, Nicki's hatred for Mariah Carey is reflecting onto the contestants and that's wrong too; Nicki do your job and save the hate for later. I want Devin to succeed as a result of her hate because at 30, she just doesn't act it. I definitely do not want to see her on Idol next year.