Category Archives: Talent

American Idol, Apr. 11 – “Crawling Into People’s Hearts”

The cast on American Idol this year are for the most part very young. Not too young like on The X Factor, but young enough. While on the newer Simon Cowell show it was hard to watch the young kids break down when they were voted out, tonight’s Idol opens with us seeing the other contestants break down as Deandre Brackensick was voted out last week. True, they’re competing against each other, but these are also people together 24/7, at home, at play, and at work. They just lost a friend, but somehow have to pull it together to move on as a group of seven to compete against each other again.

As the Idols forge ahead, Tommy Hilfiger is in the house again. Literally, in the house. He visits them in the Idol mansion, talking to them about looking good offstage and on. They get to go pick out some clothing, and Phillip Phillips is looking very unenthused.

The theme tonight is music from 2010 on up, and we’re taking visits back the Idols’ homes to check out the support they’re getting. In additional Jimmy Iovine is joined this week by Akon to help mentor the Idols with their song choices.

We begin our night in Brandon, Mississippi, home of Skylar Laine. They’re having parties there at her cousin’s restaurant, and there’s a nearby billboard promoting her time on Idol. Her grandpa tells her he wants his guitar back, and also tells her they’re going to kill that big deer next year.

Meeting with Jimmy and Akon, Skylar tells them she plans to sing Didn’t Know How Much I Loved You. Jimmy wonders if it’s a big enough song, but has to admit she owns it. Akon is impressed even, calling her voice “[bleep] stupid.” She’s considering playing the guitar as well, but Jimmy warns her it’s not about how many tricks a girl can do.

Skylar does pick up the guitar tonight, and it makes me wonder if it’s the one her grandpa was talking about in her clip. She has a few pitchy moments in the song, but Jimmy is right that she owns it. I said in the outlook for this week that she could sing country songs for a few weeks and stay if she gave us a little bit of a reminder of the stunning voice she was hiding, and she does just that.

Randy Jackson loves the kids from Skylar’s hometown, but also loved this. He says she’s back and that this is so in her wheelhouse. It’s what she loves and what she should be doing. She could have a hit with a song like that, and he felt her for the first time in a long time. He feels she returned to be the country artist she can be. He and Jennifer noted she was nearly picture perfect with her pitch. From what they could hear there, Jennifer says that perfect pitch wasn’t easy with a song like that. She looks beautiful, and they felt her right from her soul. It was a perfect way to star the show.

Steven Tyler tells Skylar when she sings a song, it’s a complete sentence. He’s enamored with the girls on the show this year, and it goes to prove that “The crows may crow, but the hens deliver the goods.” He loves the way she sings. Ryan Seacrest mentions that seconds before they went on the air, Skylar was fanning herself. She admits it’s because she knew she was going first, and first or last, a lot is expected of you.

We travel to the east to Murfreesboro, Tennessee with Colton Doxon. He thinks it would be weird to be home right now, as his name is on different signs and restaurants all around. His old high school let out an hour early just to picket in the front yard. It’s cool, humbling, and a blessing.

Colton is singing Love the Way You Lie, and it puts him back at the piano. Jimmy likes it, but wants to challenge him. He suggests they “cut the [bleep],” believing he’s behind Phillip in some imagined ranking system, but Colton doesn’t like being compared to anyone. Akon believes there are things about Colton that he himself hasn’t even discovered yet. Colton knows this song has the potential to be a game-changer for him, and that it’s his chance to say “don’t count me out.” Colton was thinking of doing I Will Not Bow, but Akon and Jimmy steered him this way, and he’s glad they did.

From the first notes plinked out on the piano, it’s changed Colton’s game. It’s an absolutely gorgeous performance. When he stands and rocks it out, it’s always good, but when he sits at a piano and gets tender, it just grabs the emotion out of you. And after he’s done, when he stands to approach the judges, you can tell he’s beat, as he just gave up all that emotion.

Jennifer asks Colton how he feels, and when he replies good, she tells him he should. He always surprises her with his approach to notes, but then does it his way, that is so signature to him. He really makes the songs his own, and it’s the mark of him as a real artist. She thinks he did a good job with the song, but wishes it were more of a song. Steven loves his jacket, and so does Randy, prompting Steven to suggest they flip for it. He calls Colton such a rare talent. He could have recorded that just now in one take. He also believes Colton hasn’t found his top yet, and that’s the beauty. Doing his original songs will make it even better.

Randy again mentions the jacket, calling it “crazy fly,” and thinks he could wear one side of and Steven the other. Jimmy and Akon were right. Every week he comes out and does his own version of songs and always has the big note at the end. He loves the really stellar subtle performance, as going into the break, it never got bigger than that, showing the sensitivity. He loves that he started it almost like a lullaby, and that Colton always pours himself into all these songs. He is an artist and thinks this show is opening up to be one of the hottest with two for two.

The Voice, April 10th – Elimination round, Bow Ties for Everyone edition!

It’s elimination time on The Voice!!  Who from team Cee Lo and team Adam will be safe?  Who will go home? Who will sing for their lives?  Who will just plain old beg?

We learn from Carson Dale that Tony Lucca and Juliet Simms hit the top of the charts with their ITUNES downloads from last night.   Jessie J starts off the evening with a little help from team Christina on Dancing in the Moonlight.

Team Adam is up on the chopping block first.

In no particular order, the saves are:

Mathai

Tony Lucca

and

Pip! (Yes, his fans were in the audience wearing bow ties. I love it!)

So Katrina Parker, Karla Davis and Kim Yarbrough are sent backstage to prepare to sing for their lives as Cee Lo Green’s team gets ready to go in front of the firing squad.

So Again, in no particular order the safe ones are:

Juliet Simms

Jamar Rodgers

and

James Massone! (Cue the screaming teen girls!! And probably a few middle-aged housewives.)

So the remaining singers Tony Vincent, Cheesa, andErin Martin go off to prepare to do battle.

I have a feeling that Cee Lo’s votes were closer and higher than Adam Levine’s.  In fact, right now, I’m giving the edge to his team.  I know who I’m hoping gets saved and who goes home, but I’ll keep that to myself.

Kim Yarbrough singing Spotlight

Big vocals, a commanding presence and a great song.  It’s a solid performance.  Sure, she doesn’t cover much of the stage, but her vocal ability is amazing.

Karla Davis singing I Can’t Make You Love Me.

Adam has his eyes closed as he listens.  I don’t see him smiling the way he did for Kim.  This is one of those songs that can be amazing or put you to sleep depending on how it’s done.  This was somewhere in-between. There were a few iffy notes, but it was good.

Katrina Parker singing Don’t Speak.

Adam has his eyes shut again.  Katrina sounds good, but not amazing.  It’s a cool song choice,  and the ending was better than the beginning, but the song was bigger than her voice.

If it were me, I’d go with Kim.  No Doubt. (heh)

Blake Shelton: I felt the urgency from Karla and Katrina.  He picks Katrina.

Christina Aguilera: Agrees with Blake, gives it to Katrina.

Cee Lo: Also Katrina.

Now it goes to Adam.  He saves Katrina.

Me: I don’t think any of them were a bad choice, but I still think Kim rocked it.

Tony Vincent sings Sweet Dreams Are Made of These

Great song and Tony looks fierce standing center stage and snarling out this vocal.  This was incredible! Better than last night!  Yes, I liked it.

Cheesa singing All By Myself

Huge song.  Cheesa has the breathy haunted sound down for the verse, and she explodes on the chorus.  Cheesa is hitting some big notes.  That was great.

Erin Martin singing Your Song.

Great song. Can I hate her performance yet?  OK, she’s not horrible, even pretty decent here,  but unique and quirky can only take you so far.  Please Cee Lo, do the right thing.  You’ve got 2 singers who you can’t go wrong choosing to save.  Either one of those.

Adam: Why did you wait until now to give your best performance. You all just did an amazing job: But it came a little late.  He picks Cheesa.

Blake: I was reminded why I liked Erin.  Tony won me over for the first time.  You two’s problem is Cheesa knocked it out of the park.  He also picks Cheesa.

Christina: Tony, (She seemed unsure of his name for a second.) you’re an original. Cheesa you knocked that note out of the water.  After droning on so long that Carson has to speed her up, she picks Cheesa.

Cee Lo: His mind says Tony, but his heart says Cheesa.  (I’m glad he didn’t extend that to tell us which body part said Erin.)

So there you have it!!  I’m a little disappointed that we have to say goodbye to Tony Vincent and Kim Yarbrough, but I’m not sorry to have either Katrina or more so Cheesa.

Did the coaches get it right? Did I get it right?  Did anyone get it right? Not sure, but either way, I’ll see you next week!

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The Voice, Apr. 9 – Blake’s Panties are Flying Edition

It’s the 2nd live episode of The Voice of the season.  This time, we get to see Team Adam and Team Cee Lo fight to survive.  Tomorrow, America’s top three from each team are safe. Then the remaining three contestants sing for their lives and their coaches get the only vote that counts.

Katrina Parker singing Tonight, Tonight.

Katrina starts off on top of a set of stairs with a set of violin players.  She’s been instructed to be more Katrina and less Adele.  She’s delivering the song with gusto and sounds decent.  Adam looks happy.

Christina: Your voice captivated me; I kinda wanted you to rock out to it a little bit more.

Cee Lo: I thought it was a commendable effort; I think the song was never meant to be performed as much as felt.

Adam: I’m really happy with you. What you did was you listened to me. There were no frills, but overall, you killed it.

Me: It lacked some of the angst of the original, plus she looks like a very nice, attractive woman singing a song really well. She didn’t wow me in terms of stage presence or connecting with the song.  Vocally, she was great, but it wasn’t quite there.  However, it was well done.

Cheesa singing Don’t Leave Me This Way.

Cheesa is silhouetted in the dark with a spiraling spotlight behind her for the intro before she walks out as the stage explodes with dancers and lights galore.  Her vocals are awesome, and she’s giving a great performance.  Cheesa even rocks a few dance moves.  Hot.

Blake: I loved that; that was like solid gold. That had Cee Lo written all over it. It was dramatic; that was awesome. (Hey, that was my word!)

Adam: It was a great performance. You’re a great singer.  What are you going to do to make it distinct?  I’m not sure that happened.

Cee Lo: I thought you did a great job. I believe that was a success: It was electrifying.

Me: I agree (God help me) with Cee Lo. It rocked.

Tony Lucca singing In Your Eyes.

Tony is standing in front of the band for the verse, then plucks the mic out and takes to the front of the stage for the chorus. It was a nice, if understated performance.

Christina: I thought that was a good performance; I find you to be one dimensional. You have me and all you Mouseketeer buddies behind you.

Adam: That was honest. I think that song for me is one of my favorite songs.  You worked you way around (the falsetto) which was really good.  I was really happy with the way the room felt for the three minutes of the song.

Me: It was an ok. No bad notes. He didn’t fall on his face, but he didn’t rock it. He sounded like a guy who can sing. It was lacking that IT factor.

Kim Yarbrough singing Rolling In The Deep.

Dressed in black, looking like she means business, Kim commands the stage.  She sounds great in the verse, there are a few pitch problems, but she explodes in the last chorus.  You can really feel it, and she roars through the song.  She doesn’t move much, but she doesn’t need to.

Blake: I definitely liked the song better as the song went along.  It was good.

Cee Lo: This is such a safe song, such a current song.  I don’t know that I loved it, but I love you.

Adam: You are an unbelievable singer.  There were some problems. Adele, she’s a freak she’s so good. You’re a freak too Cee Lo. This wasn’t perfect.

Me: I think it was better than they’re giving her credit for, but when you have to compare to Adele, it’s going to be a hard battle.

James Massone singing I Don’t Know Why

Sitting on park bench, under a street sign that reads James Street and a flickering street lamp, James sounds nice. The girls are screaming their heads off, which clearly James loves.  There’s no amazing moment, no great money note, but it’s nice.

Blake: I almost threw my panties on the stage. (There’s an image I didn’t need.)

Christina: I like the more subtle approach coming from you.  There were some pitch problems. (To which Blake adds again that he almost pitched his panties.)

Cee Lo: (First he calls Ladies? and the girls scream) I hope you’re proud of yourself. You’re solid.

Me: I wasn’t impressed. I had no urge to throw my tidy whities at the TV, (Talk about an image nobody needs!)  However, he’s probably safe because of the screaming girl vote alone.

Juliet Simms singing Roxanne

The dry ice is going into overdrive as Juliet is bathed in a red light.  She’s changed the arrangement without destroying the song.  She’s giving a very emotional performance, but we get a glimpse that she’s also having fun.  She’s fiery! The song ends with everyone on their feet, including Christina and Cee Lo.

Adam: Well this just pisses me right off.  I really wanted you on my team.  You’re the best performance I’ve seen so far, as much as I hate to admit that.

Christina: I was into it. I was so into it. Your voice is dope.

Blake: It’s so good.  I just felt like I heard you sing for the first time.  Now I get it.

Cee Lo: Wow, baby, just wow! You did such an amazing job. You don’t need no smoke, no mirrors.  Nothing.

Me: Cee Lo’s team is kicking ass tonight. That was the first time tonight that I felt like I wasn’t watching a really well-produced karaoke competition. It was hot. It was mad. It was, as Christina said, Dope!

American Idol, Apr. 5 – Outlook for Remaining Top 7

I have to admit to being really surprised that the American Idol judges didn’t save Deandre Brackensick last week. They always liked him so much and really seemed to think he was coming into his own. It seemed a little cutthroat and makes me wonder who they are waiting to use the save on, as they only have it for a couple more weeks.

True, Jennifer Lopez admitted her one vote wasn’t enough to save Deandre, meaning Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson voted no. They can only use it up until final 5. The problem is they have such a strong group this year and there are people in the group like Deandre who made it close last year, but became finalists this year.

Who would Randy and Steven use it on? Would they have saved Elise Testone? She did have a bad week, and usually performs much better, yet she’s appeared in the bottom three before, meaning even if the judges do save her, she won’t make it to the final two anyway. What about Hollie Cavanagh? She’s had more than her share of weak performances. Jennifer really likes her, but I don’t think even she would vote to save her, and I think she might have preferred to see her go over Deandre last week.

Here’s a look at what the top 7 have to do to stay out of the bottom three next week and warrant the judges using the save on them if they end up there anyway.

Hollie Cavanagh – Jimmy Iovine can dish out those insults when he wants to, and he really laid it out to Hollie. He compared her to a high school performer, and said she didn’t even have a good high school performance this week. He’s right; but it’s blunt. I don’t think there’s a way to turn it around anymore for her. I think she’s had too many bad performances where they were either lacking feeling or just not all around good. She might make it another one or two weeks, but I’d be shocked to see her standing as one of the final four.

Colton Dixon – Jimmy Iovine doesn’t seem to be a big fan of Colton, and I think that complicates his opinion of him. You can hear the screams when he takes the stage. He has a big female following. Jimmy remarked last week that he was only third or fourth out of eight performers. Well, it was enough to keep him safe. If he follows it with a good couple of performances, he’ll make it to final four. The best thing about Colton is he knows who he is as a performer, and he won’t change because Jimmy criticizes him. He won’t go hom before final 5 and is a dark horse for final two.

Skylar Laine – They got her out of the fun country songs this week, convinced her not to do 9 to 5, and got her to do Wind Beneath My Wings. And even more than having the chops to pull of that song, she also understood the emotions of the song and pulled that off as well. That girl kept herself safe for another few weeks. She can come back and do something light and fun this week, but needs to find something she can insert a great note or two into, just enough so that the fans remember that amazing voice she’s hiding in the drawl of the country songs. If she does, she’s probably for final five and a dark horse for being there at the end.

Joshua Ledet – Joshua was great yet again last week … until he started not feeling well. He’s got everyone loving him and has shown many different facets of his talent, so much so that there really isn’t much more praise that can be heaped on him. He is definitely good until final four, but if he starts phoning it in, he won’t be. I can’t see him doing that, though, as he seems to just not be able to control that music that flows from him.

Phillip Phillips – Jimmy is back and forth with this guy, and I don’t entirely get it. I know he’s trying to give him some tough love to push him, but you can’t do that to Phillip. He is who he is. Like Joshua, he has music that pours out of him, and he just wants to perform it. He needs to in fact. He’s way more intersted in doing that than making people like him. Because of that, he’s not about to change. He would rather be voted out than change who he is. Regardless, he doesn’t need to worry about it until final four.

Jessica Sanchez – Jimmy puts a lot of focus on Jessica and Joshua’s power vocals. It’s not all about the power, though. What maks them good is knowing when they can put the power in and when they need to pull back. What’s holding us back from her, though, and what could stop her from not making it past final four is that we don’t know anything about her. As fans we need to connect with her. We can appreciate the amazing vocalist that she is, but she needs to have more facets to herself than just being technically good.

Elise Testone – Elise is probably the best all-around performer in the competition. She’s a vocal coach. She has had some great rocking performances, some great vocals, picks great songs, etc. For some reason, though, she doesn’t connect with this audience. Regardless, she can still get a record contract out of this if she continues to show all the facets of her performances and doesn’t just worry about trying to win the show. That’s what she should conentrate on now. Kellie Pickler also didn’t connect with the fans of the show much and went out in sixth place, but is on her third album. You don’t have to win or connect with the fans; you just have to show them who you are as a performer.

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American Idol, Apr. 4 – The Search for the Total Package

This is really turning out to be a great season of American Idol. Even the people who left early on have been really good. I’m beginning to think that this collection of judges are just really good at judging talent. It really is anybody’s show still. There are a few that I know won’t go all the way, but by and large, I think the winner’s spot is still up for grabs between several of the Idols.

The theme tonight is the 80s. To set the mood, Ryan Seacrest shows us a picture of Randy Jackson in the 80s. He responds that it was “fly for the time. ” The top 8 come out ready to take on this genre, and none of them are dressed like Randy. Helping mentor this week are Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal from No Doubt. Additionally the Idols will be sharing what they miss the most from home and will be singing in duets along with their solos.

Deandre Brackensick is up first, and he misses his car and driving. He just got his license before he stared with Idol. He displays his driving talent riding around in circles. This week he’s singing DeBarge’s I Like It, and it fits in really well with his falsetto. Gwen thinks he looks worried sometimes when he sings. She’d like him to be more confident, as she sees him as the full package. Jimmy Iovine tells him that part of being great is conquering nerves. He says no one gets more nervous than Gwen, and she’s incredulous. Deandre says he feels great after singing and just needs to show it. Jimmy predicts he’ll be in the bottom three this week.

Deandre starts singing from the audience, sitting amongst some pretty girls. That’ll help those nerves. Take that Jimmy. He’s not showing his nerves at all. It’s actually the most confident I’ve ever seen him as he sits up there dancing and flipping his curls. He leaves the falsetto to belt it out, too. It’s really the perfect song for him and his style.

Jennifer Lopez says she liked it a lot. She felt Deandre was super-comfortable and it seemed he took everything they said to heart. He was really enjoying the crowd, and it even showed in the way he was moving his hair. It was all very natural, and he sounded amazing and got the crowd going. Steven Tyler tells Deandre he was totally captivating, enough that Steven forgot where he was. He took his voice and the way he used to play with it and owned it. He wore it out today, and it was exceptional.

Randy knows El DeBarge is somewhere saying, “Oh my God, this kid has arrived.” He loved that he used more of his natural voice and not just all falsetto. If he continues to do that, play with it. It was the perfect song for him, and he thinks he could make records like this and become the 2012 version of El DeBarge. Deandre isn’t too worried going first, as he was comfortable, and he knows he brought it.

Elise Testone misses her band, saying they used to rock it out, although she knows her band members are cheering her on. She feels they have molded her into a better musician. She was grappling with a few songs, but is deciding to sing Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. She, of course, applies a rock edge to it, and Gwen tells her her voice is sick. Jimmy asks for the other choice, and she launches into Foreigner’s I Wanna Know What Love Is. Gwen loves the song, and I have to say I think this is the one. Gwen indicates she has a little of J-Lo’s goosies. Tony says he did as well. Gwen thinks the explosive chorus is so her and so 80s. She’s definitely one of Gwen’s favorite singers in the whole contest, and she thinks this song could be a magic moment for her. Can’t be better than last week!

Elise starts singing tonight while sitting on the edge of a large stool. It’s not going to beat her doing Zeppelin last week, It’s good, but she seems to be forcing it a little. Steven rocks it out at the judges’ table while she goes through the song. She pours everything she has into every note. She ends it with one of her classic runs that absolutely no one else could do.

Steven loves Elise’s style and loves her voice, but he’s not sure this was the right song for her. But he loves her voice. It’s hard to take one from the other, as it’s an 80s song. Jennifer tells her she looks beautiful tonight, and she loves the way her look is developing throughout the show. She has a powerhouse voice, which means she can sing anything. She thinks what Steven was referring to is that it wasn’t totally right every moment, but it still sounded beautiful to Jennifer, and she felt her emotion and how much heart she put into it.

For Randy, it’s a tough song to sing, as it’s one of the greatest songs ever. She never really hit the pitch right, so it was pitchy the whole time. He thinks she’s much better than these kinds of songs. With as much stuff she can do with the runs, it’s the easy simple notes and the verse that she needs to just let lay there instead of concentrating on the runs. She tells Ryan she chose this song, as she wanted to do a ballad after doing such a rock song last week.

Skylar Laine and Colton Dixon are the first duet, singing Doll Parton and Kenny Rogers’ Islands in the Stream. He seems to have dyed more of his hair blonde this week. I wouldn’t have put these two together, but they combine really well. I wonder if she has a hard time not blasting it like she seems to like to do.

Randy tells Skylar and Colton that when he looked and saw what song they were singing, he thought it would be definitely interesting for Colton, as it’s not exactly in his wheelhouse. But they did a nice job and it was sweet and nice. Skylar sounded beautiful, and Colton sounded great. He actually enjoyed it. Jennifer calls it perfect. She likes that Skylar knows exactly when to bite into a song and not overdo it. Even though it was a departure for Colton, he was a perfect partner in it. Steven calls it a match made in heaven. He feels it also shows their individuality.

Ryan hints there might be something more going on in that pairing. Skylar says everyone has been asking on Twitter if they’re dating, and then Ryan goes and says that. She says they aren’t dating, and Colton feigns shock that they aren’t. They’re just really good friends.

American Idol, Apr. 4 – The Search for the Total Package

This is really turning out to be a great season of American Idol. Even the people who left early on have been really good. I’m beginning to think that this collection of judges are just really good at judging talent. It really is anybody’s show still. There are a few that I know won’t go all the way, but by and large, I think the winner’s spot is still up for grabs between several of the Idols.

The theme tonight is the 80s. To set the mood, Ryan Seacrest shows us a picture of Randy Jackson in the 80s. He responds that it was “fly for the time. ” The top 8 come out ready to take on this genre, and none of them are dressed like Randy. Helping mentor this week are Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal from No Doubt. Additionally the Idols will be sharing what they miss the most from home and will be singing in duets along with their solos.

Deandre Brackensick is up first, and he misses his car and driving. He just got his license before he stared with Idol. He displays his driving talent riding around in circles. This week he’s singing DeBarge’s I Like It, and it fits in really well with his falsetto. Gwen thinks he looks worried sometimes when he sings. She’d like him to be more confident, as she sees him as the full package. Jimmy Iovine tells him that part of being great is conquering nerves. He says no one gets more nervous than Gwen, and she’s incredulous. Deandre says he feels great after singing and just needs to show it. Jimmy predicts he’ll be in the bottom three this week.

Deandre starts singing from the audience, sitting amongst some pretty girls. That’ll help those nerves. Take that Jimmy. He’s not showing his nerves at all. It’s actually the most confident I’ve ever seen him as he sits up there dancing and flipping his curls. He leaves the falsetto to belt it out, too. It’s really the perfect song for him and his style.

Jennifer Lopez says she liked it a lot. She felt Deandre was super-comfortable and it seemed he took everything they said to heart. He was really enjoying the crowd, and it even showed in the way he was moving his hair. It was all very natural, and he sounded amazing and got the crowd going. Steven Tyler tells Deandre he was totally captivating, enough that Steven forgot where he was. He took his voice and the way he used to play with it and owned it. He wore it out today, and it was exceptional.

Randy knows El DeBarge is somewhere saying, “Oh my God, this kid has arrived.” He loved that he used more of his natural voice and not just all falsetto. If he continues to do that, play with it. It was the perfect song for him, and he thinks he could make records like this and become the 2012 version of El DeBarge. Deandre isn’t too worried going first, as he was comfortable, and he knows he brought it.

Elise Testone misses her band, saying they used to rock it out, although she knows her band members are cheering her on. She feels they have molded her into a better musician. She was grappling with a few songs, but is deciding to sing Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. She, of course, applies a rock edge to it, and Gwen tells her her voice is sick. Jimmy asks for the other choice, and she launches into Foreigner’s I Wanna Know What Love Is. Gwen loves the song, and I have to say I think this is the one. Gwen indicates she has a little of J-Lo’s goosies. Tony says he did as well. Gwen thinks the explosive chorus is so her and so 80s. She’s definitely one of Gwen’s favorite singers in the whole contest, and she thinks this song could be a magic moment for her. Can’t be better than last week!

Elise starts singing tonight while sitting on the edge of a large stool. It’s not going to beat her doing Zeppelin last week, It’s good, but she seems to be forcing it a little. Steven rocks it out at the judges’ table while she goes through the song. She pours everything she has into every note. She ends it with one of her classic runs that absolutely no one else could do.

Steven loves Elise’s style and loves her voice, but he’s not sure this was the right song for her. But he loves her voice. It’s hard to take one from the other, as it’s an 80s song. Jennifer tells her she looks beautiful tonight, and she loves the way her look is developing throughout the show. She has a powerhouse voice, which means she can sing anything. She thinks what Steven was referring to is that it wasn’t totally right every moment, but it still sounded beautiful to Jennifer, and she felt her emotion and how much heart she put into it.

For Randy, it’s a tough song to sing, as it’s one of the greatest songs ever. She never really hit the pitch right, so it was pitchy the whole time. He thinks she’s much better than these kinds of songs. With as much stuff she can do with the runs, it’s the easy simple notes and the verse that she needs to just let lay there instead of concentrating on the runs. She tells Ryan she chose this song, as she wanted to do a ballad after doing such a rock song last week.

Skylar Laine and Colton Dixon are the first duet, singing Doll Parton and Kenny Rogers’ Islands in the Stream. He seems to have dyed more of his hair blonde this week. I wouldn’t have put these two together, but they combine really well. I wonder if she has a hard time not blasting it like she seems to like to do.

Randy tells Skylar and Colton that when he looked and saw what song they were singing, he thought it would be definitely interesting for Colton, as it’s not exactly in his wheelhouse. But they did a nice job and it was sweet and nice. Skylar sounded beautiful, and Colton sounded great. He actually enjoyed it. Jennifer calls it perfect. She likes that Skylar knows exactly when to bite into a song and not overdo it. Even though it was a departure for Colton, he was a perfect partner in it. Steven calls it a match made in heaven. He feels it also shows their individuality.

Ryan hints there might be something more going on in that pairing. Skylar says everyone has been asking on Twitter if they’re dating, and then Ryan goes and says that. She says they aren’t dating, and Colton feigns shock that they aren’t. They’re just really good friends.

The Voice, Apr. 3rd – Eliminations Night for Teams Blake & Christina Edition

Tonight’s the night that The Voice sends those artists home that didn’t make the cut. Three from each team go on; three get the boot.  But there’s a twist. (Isn’t there always!) The bottom singers can a chance to sing for a chance to stay on the show for another performance.  But we’re promised at least 2 goodbyes per team!

Of course, this is about a half hour show that they have to stretch into an entire hour, so bring on the filler.  We start with recaps.  Who needs them to do recaps?  That’s what Reality Shack hired me for!

When Carson asks Blake how tough it is, Blake shows his poetic side by lamenting, “It’s not tough; it sucks! It’s sucky.”

Alrighty then.

Before we start breaking hearts, we get Gym Class Heroes performing Ass Back Home. Towards the end of their performance, Adam’s team gets in on the act.

Team Blake is up first.  We get a look at Blake taking his team into a radio station and getting interviewed.  He also announces an acoustic performance that he wants to set up.

Shift to live TV, and we have Blake giving his team one last speech about how great they are.  And it’s time for the reveal.

Carson makes sure everyone hears him say that the names he gives are in no particular order, so America can’t know who got the most votes.  But the top 3 are Erin Willett, followed by Jermaine Paul and finally Rae Lynn.

That leaves Charlotte Sometimes, Naia Kete and Jordis Unga who are told to prepare to sing for their lives.

Christina’s team is up on the chopping block next.  Christina took them all to meet and perform on Jay Leno.

The safe ones are Jesse Campbell, Lindsey Pavao (Who at one point looked like she was going to faint) and last, but not least, Chris Mann!

That leaves Sera Hill, Ashley De La Rosa and Moses Stone.

I’ve got my favorites, do you?

Naia Kete sings If I Were A Boy by Beyonce and Reba and maybe someone with 2 names.

I’m hearing a few bad and pitchy notes.  It wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great.

Blake: You did a great job on the song.  He wanted a reggae song.

Charlotte Sometimes sings .

She’s hitting a lot of bad notes.  I don’t think that went well.  We don’t get any feedback.

Jordis Unga comes on to sing Wild Horses.

She’s sounding really good here.  A nicely delivered vocal.

The other coaches are asked to weigh in.

Christina: Jordis

Cee Lo: Jordis

Adam: Jordis

Me: Jordis.  (Not that I count.)

And Blake saves … Jordis Unga.

Christina’s team is up.

Ashley de La Rona launches into Ooh La La.  She comes out rocking it!  Love the song, love the performance, hate the dress.

Sera Hill sings Vision of Love.  A much different song than Ashley’s, but she’s doing really well.  However, it’s hard to go up against Mariah Carey.  She does great, but you can’t help but compare.  Still, this isn’t going to be an easy choice.

Moses Stone sings Falling to Pieces.  Singing not rapping.  Well, I’ll say that he’s trying to.

I’m going to guess it comes down to Ashley or Sera.

Cee Lo: Sera

Adam: (Big Speech) then Ashley

Blake: Ashley.

Me: Ashley.

Christina picks Ashley!!!  (Hey, I’m 2 for 2!!)

So, we have 2 saves, 2 teams set with 4 members and next week we get to team Cee Lo and Team Adam.  I’ll see you then.

Don’t miss a single recap of this show or others. Check out our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. Watch http://vincentmorrone.com/ for information on my debut novel, Vision of Shadows, to be published as an E-Book by http://www.writers-exchange.com/home.php

The Voice, Apr. 2 – Beefcakes and Cee Lo’s Hair on Parade Edition

Welcome to the first night of the live shows! Tonight it’s team Christina vs. Team Blake! Carson Daly introduces the show and the judges and somehow manages not to mention the fact that Cee Lo Green has hair (either a wig or something small and hairy died on his head), and is wearing something like a cross between the wardrobes of Liberace and the Rhinestone cowboy, but in all red.  Alrighty then.

Spoke too soon.  Carson finally says something.  Cee Lo blames the mop on his head over the fact that Adam Levine cut his locks.  Adam points to Cee Lo and says, “That is my hair.” (Yeah? In what world?)  Either way, Cee Lo just loves the attention.  Ok, on with the show people.  The show with music.

Jermaine Paul: Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi.

The song starts with two people beating drums up somewhere high as Jermaine rises out of a staircase.  He makes his way to the stage, singing his heart out.  It’s pretty amazing. The arrangement is a more elaborate version of the original, but there’s no mistaking Jermaine’s voice for Jon Bon Jovi.

Christina Aguilera: Was impressed with how Jermaine worked the stage.  She didn’t get the connection to the song, but she liked the way he milked each note with himself.

Blake Shelton: Doesn’t care what Christina says, he thinks Jermaine going to be on the top of the ITunes charts.

Me: I thought it was really good.  It’s a crowd pleasing song that he delivered, and while I never imagined Jermaine picking it, I think it fit him perfectly!

Chris Mann: Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkle.

Chris starts off standing near a piano, his rich voice going through the song like I’ve never heard it before. His mom is in the audience.  His classical side is showing, in a good way, with plenty of money notes. He ends and Christina gets to her feet.

Cee Lo: (Seems to have problems saying anything without everyone around him cracking up, especially Christina.) He says he came here to be hypercritical of everyone, since no one is on his team, but there’s nothing wrong he can say about Chris.

Adam: (First, another Cee Lo comment.) He used a song that was unpredictable for Chris, and it’s one of Adam’s favorite songs, but he did great.

Christina: “It was so beautiful: Song’s been done so many times, but you really owned it.”

(I can’t help but wonder how they’re picking which judges to let comment.)

Me: Bridge Over Troubled Water is an amazing song that can be extraordinarily boring to listen to from the wrong singer.  Chris Mann was definitely not the wrong singer.  I really liked it, and I could feel the emotion.  But I’m not sure how the younger viewers may react to that song choice.  Still, he’s probably safe.

Rae Lynn: Wake Up Call by Maroon 5.

(Don’t think we didn’t see what you did there, Blake!)

Rae Lynn starts the countrified version of this song.  I like the arrangement, but there are a few places where her voice just isn’t quite doing it right.  There are some where she’s killing it.  Adam seems to love it. Rae Lynn’s working the stage and crowd well, but I think she needed a bit more work on the song.  However, it does work as a country song.

Christina: “You’re a sassy little thing.” She was impressed and liked it, but mentions the obvious bromance between Blake and Adam.

Adam: “You broke my heart twice – when you didn’t pick me and when you did my song so well.”

Blake: “You’re representing the new sound of country music so well.” He also mentions that Nashville is already talking about her.

Me: I think it could have been better, but it was pretty good and she’ll have the country vote.

Moses Stone: Stronger by Kanye West.

Moses hits the stage flanked by dancers.  He both sings and sort of raps his way through.  The crowd goes nuts .  I’m not sure there were any money notes, but he sounded great.

Cee Lo: “Kanye West was a nice choice.”

Adam: “You know how to entertain people” He also thinks Moses has more potential as a singer than a rapper.

Blake: “I can already hear an improvement in your vocals.”

Christina: She talks how most of the singers in Moses’ genre are all auto-tune, and thinks he brings everyone to the table.

Me: I think it was really well done, but like Blake said, this is a singing competition.  He needs to do more of the singing.  But I still liked it.

Naia Kete: Turning Tables by Adele.

Acoustic Guitar in hand, Naia starts the song without the reggae flavor she wanted to put in it, per Blake’s instructions.  We see an ensemble behind her.  I think she’s hitting all the right notes. She sounds like herself, not Adele.

Christina: “It was cool.” She would have preferred a more reggae choice.

Blake: She needed to prove she could do more than the reggae and compliments her tender moments.

Me: I’m not a big reggae fan, so I’m siding with Blake here. I think if you are someone who likes that flavor of music, you might have preferred it in that style.  Naia did well for herself, but she’s probably not safe.  It would be a shame if she went home based on this performance, because she’ll always wonder if she had done it more reggae, would it have worked better.

Lindsey Pavao: Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye.

Lindsey starts the song sitting between ladies in those white face masks.  They start dancing as the song builds.  As Christina said in rehearsal, she’s using her breathy voice during the verses and then getting more powerful with the chorus.  It sounds very unique.

Adam: He was freaked out by the people in the mask. He was missing the power that should have been in the chorus.

Christina: Loved how Lindsey brought her own unique style.  “You can stand in a category all on your own.”

Me: I thought it was really good, but not great. The verses worked better than the chorus. Lindsey clearly has an ear for rearranging a song to make it hers and it showed on her, but she needs to pull off the hooks better.  A little lackluster.  She may not be safe.

American Idol, Mar. 22 – Outlook for Remaining Top 8

Hopefully Heejun Han is thinking the past few days that he went out on a good note. He had a few bad weeks, and really did deserve to go last week, but this week he didn’t. He saw the error of his ways and fixed it to launch a comeback. Sadly, it wasn’t enough.

It’s easy to see how someone goes in the wrong direction, though. Since the beginning, Heejun has gotten the funny edit. It seems that’s all we were shown of his time in Hollywood. Then when he was chosen as a semifinalist we were a little surprised that he actually did have some talent, because we weren’t seeing it really until then.

After singing some ballads in the first few live shows, Heejun was told to mix it up and that he couldn’t just do ballads. He did that and got nutty last week to work into that comedic side of his personality and got totally trashed for not taking the show serious enough. There was a line he was missing between funny and talent. We liked the funny guy, but need to see his talent always. It just doesn’t always need to be a ballad. But that in no way means to take any performance that lightly.

That said, he put it all back together this week. He kept some humor about himself, but threw every bit of his emotion into his performance. You could literally see it on his face. He realized he was letting down those kids he works with back home, as well as himself. He put it all on the line, and received a standing ovation from the judges Sadly, it wasn’t enough to win over the voting public, who were surely still remembering last week, but it was a great note to go out on for him.

Here’s a look at what the top 8 have to do to stay next week and possibly make it to the end to avoid making mistakes like Heejun, necessitating a comeback that was just a little too late.

Deandre Brackensick – Deandre finally chose a song that matched up with his voice and style perfectly. I’m not really into that notion of a song sung entirely in falsetto, but I have to admit he does it good. And out of that, he had the original singer, Eric Benet, come and meet him onstage and compliment him. I agree with Jimmy Iovine that there’s still something missing, though, and if Deandre wants to make it to the end, he needs to figure it out, as the guys who are left in the competition had it figured out when they started.

Hollie Cavanagh – Jimmy and the American Idol fans seem to finally be on the same page as me regarding Hollie. While she’s technically a terrific singer, she doesn’t connect emotionally to her music, but that’s something that has to do with age and maturity moree than anything else. And choosing big emotional songs just makes that element a glaring omission. Additionally, she’s going to be continually compared to Jessica, who has surpassed her in getting that part of it figured out. I don’t see her making it much further. However, Jennifer Lopez likes her a lot, so the judges might choose to use the save on her.

Colton Dixon – I completely disagree with Jimmy regarding Colton. He thought he made a big mistake in breaking down emotionally at the end of his song and thinks it hurt him. I so disagree, and I’m pretty sure Jennifer Lopez does as well. That’s what makes people connect to Colton. It humanizes him. I think he probably gained fans with it. So far, I don’t see him doing many things wrong.

Skylar Laine – She made her first appearance in the bottom three this week. What did she do wrong? Not much at all. It’s just that everyone else was that good. However, she showed in the very beginning of the competition she could do non-country as well as country. She needs to return to that so that fans keep remembering she isn’t just country. Jimmy’s right that she needs to do some songs with more melody. That might keep her out of the bottom three next week.

Joshua Ledet – Joshua was great this week, as always. He found a way to still exploit his vocal gifts, yet didn’t take it to church too much. And that would have been easy to do with the theme of the Idol’s idols. He also took some crap from Jimmy for getting emotional. It’s not such a bad thing. The only person that landed in the bottom three and got emotional was Heejun, and for him bottom three was decided last week not this week. Joshua is still on track to make it to the end.

Phillip Phillips – Not only does Jimmy like him, he knows Stevie Nicks does as well, and he commented that Stevie is rarely wrong about someone. She gave Phil the ultimate comment by saying if he’d been their friend in the 70s, he would have been invited to be part of Fleetwood Mac. Jimmy thinks we’re all witnessing an American Idol, and I have to agree. We haven’t had a guy like him yet, and in season 11, we want something different.

Jessica Sanchez – The key difference between Jessica and Hollie is that Jessica has such an old soul to her that she seems to understand the older songs that she sings. They don’t seem weird on her, and as Jimmy said, she can easily breeze through songs that people in the business for twenty years couldn’t do. I don’t know if I have ever seen someone her age with that much talent also know what to do with it. Jimmy’s worried, noting that a girl hasn’t won this show since Jordin Sparks. He knows the young girls are voting, and they’re voting for the young guys, but that’s the fanbase of the show and you really can’t change that.

Elise Testone – I was simply amazed this week with Elise’s rendition of Whole Lotta Love. She proved that the older gals aren’t going to bow out gracefully. She’s here for the long haul. Jimmy thinks she’s at the right age, because Stevie was 26 when she first became successful and Annie Lennox was around the same age as well. Next week is 80s week, and he thinks she’ll benefit. I agree. She’s good for the next few weeks, and this performance could carry her much longer. She’s a vocal coach and could sing like Jessica, but Jessica could never do what Elise did this week.Don’t miss a single recap of this show or others. Check out our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

 

American Idol, Mar. 28 – 5 Standing O’s on the Night!

I’m still not really over losing Erika Van Pelt last week on American Idol. I just don’t understand why she left. She was always a favorite of mine, but it seems I must have been in the minority. It will be interesting to see what happens with Elise Testone, as she was often in the bottom three as well. It’s possible that the two older gals were splitting votes. If that’s the case, maybe Elise will be set for a few weeks.

The theme this week is the Idols taking on their own idols. Additionally, they’ll be performing in trios. And Jimmy Iovine has brought in Stevie Nicks as a mentor this week. Ryan Seacrest shows a picture of Jimmy and Stevie together circa 1981, and Jennifer Lopez laughs, thinking it’s funny to see Jimmy with hair.

The Idols also met again with Tommy Hilfiger for more style advice. He tells them fashion is for now, but style is forever. If you create your own style, it’s a look and an attitude. He shows them a bunch of clothes they can choose from, encouraging them to mix and match. He even points out the gray shirts to Phil Phillips. He hopes their style will evolve with time.

Colton Dixon is up first, and Stevie shakes his hand and tells him she’s been watching him for weeks. She tells him to not ever cut his hair off. When he said last week it was his baby, she so understood. He’s singing Lifehouse’s Everything. He explains that music found him through church. Stevie tells him that the line “how can I stand next to you and not be moved” really goes into the heart of a woman, and it’s what she wants someone to sing to her. Jimmy believes in him more this week than he has so far.

Onstage tonight, Colton has strings backing him up and starts off the song very quietly and sweetly to go with the strings. The song then picks up momentum and when he sees the crowd enjoying it, he lets out a sly little smile.

Steven Tyler tells Colton he is a dream come true for a judge on Idol. He has towed the line, sung songs they way the should be sung, make them bleed, has perfect pitch, and has that star quality that puts him over the top. Jennifer thinks it was a great way to start the show. It was so emotional, she can say she was really moved. It wasn’t about vocal acrobatics and was just about hearing his song. He sang it beautifully, with emotion, yet so much composure and control. He’s a performer and is amazing.

Randy Jackson likes the white coat and calls it fly. He’s been a fan since they first met Colton last season. One of the most important things an artist can have is believability. He believes him in every song he sings and all the lyrics. He loves that song and that band and can see him doing Switchfoot as well. He feels his heart and passion in everything he does. He doesn’t hide it and lays it all out there saying this is what I do. It was an unbelievable performance, and Randy thinks he could be looking at a contender for the title.

Ryan mentions Colton’s tears, and he tries to not cry again as he says it’s his favorite worship song of all time. As emotional as he is and was, seeing his grandfather in the audience just made the whole experience for him. It kind of reminds of when Crystal Bowersox broke down at the end of People Get Ready. Yeah, he just picked up a few more female votes, just in case he didn’t have enough yet.

Laine’s idol is Miranda Lambert, natch. She thinks she exemplifies the type of artist she wants to be. Skylar debuts her version of Gunpowder & Lead for Jimmy and Stevie, and Stevie mentions the harmony and the chorus as she pounds the arm of the chair to the beat as Skylar sings. She then joins her singing along, and I have to admit I would pay to hear this duet. She wants Skylar to remember she’s telling a great story. Jimmy thinks she’ll have to be on her game to pull this one off.

Starting the song from the stairs, Skylar comes out singing with every bit of energy this song needs. She has a great outfit on. Tommy did great with her this week. I’ll admit, I’m not a big country music fan, but she’s making me want to download this one from iTunes this week.

What Jennifer likes about the Skylar part of the show is that it’s “unbridled can’t-keep-it-in-the-can energy.” That’s what she always brings with her. She sang it originally in her audition and won over the judges, just like she won over the crowd now. Steven tells her it was over the top. It was like she was singing to her old friend. It had so much Galveston in it.

Randy heard more Dallas than Galveston. Someone yells out it had some of Skylar’s home state of Mississippi in it. Randy agrees it had some dirty south, Mississippi and Louisiana, like where he and Skylar are from. He loved it. He wants her to remember what Stevie said to her, as all country songs are about telling a story. When she comes out with the energy, she’s a great performer, but she goes up and shows her range at the end, and he hasn’t seen a country artist other than Carrie Underwood lately with that type of range.

It’s our first trio of the night, with Colton, Elise, and Phillip Phillips. They’re singing Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide, one of my favorite songs of all time. Colton singing it is amazing, by the way. These three blend well on the chorus. I wouldn’t have put the voices together, but they’re amazing. Elise then launches into Edge of Seventeen. Phillip takes over singing Don’t Stop. Oh man, it’s another one I want to download. These three sound absolutely fantastic together. Final three?

Steven tells these three it was “most excellent.” He recalls on his birthday recently, he had dinner with Mic Fleetwood, and they spoke about Stevie all night and how great it was to sing those songs the three Idols just sang. They are top of the line songs, and they nailed them.