Posts tagged Jennifer Lopez

American Idol: Top 5 Recap

This week we had Sheryl Crow as the Idol mentor.  Ironic because not too long ago she bashed the show in an interview with MSNBC saying, “Let’s face it, it undermines art in every way and promotes commercialism, I am sad people love it so.” I wonder what made her change her mind.  I enjoyed her nonetheless and I thought she gave some decent advice.  The contestants sang two songs each this week and overall I thought it was a good night for everyone, with the exception of Jacob.  Who ended up being the one voted off.  So now we are left with James, Scotty, Haley and Lauren.  Here’s what I thought about the performances Wednesday night:


James did, “Closer to the Edge,” a 30 Second to Mars song.  It gave him some relevancy in my mind of where he would fit in post Idol.  When he sang “Without You,” it took me right back to the first time I heard Kelly Clarkson sing it.  Her vocal performance on that song in particular has been cemented in my head since the day I heard it.  Obviously his sound is very different than Clarkson so the two didn’t compare. I sort of liked the vibe he brought to the song.  It wasn’t even close to being his best vocal performance but the crying kind of pulled me into the performance.  Even with his rocker swagger he finds ways to make himself vulnerable and relate to the audience.  Not easy to do.  Despite the fact that he sounded probably his worst the judges ate the performance up, per usual.  The audience is practically brainwashed into voting for him with the constant praise from the judges.  It would be so shocking if he went home anytime soon.


I do worry that he is going to struggle after Idol.  Whether he wins it or not, I see him going for a genre that is not the easiest to break into.  There are so many barriers and the audience is a tough crowd to please.  I think the general population is going to have a hard time accepting him because of his Idol background.  Adam Lambert was able to find his niche but James won’t be able to follow that path.  He seems to be getting a lot of support and praise from the bands he’s been covering.  That will help him.


Two weeks ago I would have said there is no way for Scotty to win the whole thing.  But man he’s had some strong performances when it has really counted.  I’m thinking Scotty might be here to stay.  His Montgomery Gentry performance was so good. Then he followed up with “Always on my Mind.”  Both performances showed how well rounded he is as a country artist.  He had a great night.  They haven’t crowned a male, country singer for the top prize.  I mean he’s going to thrive post Idol in the country scene, so then AI can take credit for launching both Carrie Underwood and Scotty McCreery.  It would give the show more credibility.  How can they not have him win?


I loved Lauren.  I think its incredible the turn around shes made in the last 3 weeks.  She has taken all the important steps to move forward in this competition.  You can absolutely tell that she’s putting in the work to try and win this thing.  I think she would be one of the most exciting people to watch win it.  You can tell that it’s her dream.  She broke down tonight when she found out she was one of the bottom two.  It will be interesting to see if she can bounce back from that or if she will play it safe next week out of fear of elimination.  I was disappointed to see her in the bottom two after she had just pushed herself with her two songs this week.

Ah, Haley… what a breath of fresh air.  I completely disagree with what Randy and JLo said about her needing to find a song that the audience already knows. It was completely risky, but it paid off.  I always refer to Idol as a glorified karaoke contest.  Here Haley comes in and just kills this unreleased Gaga song, that for the most part no one has heard.  Haley did such a phenomenal job that it could easily be her first single.  It didn’t sound like anyones song but her own, which has got to be one of the most important things to me.  All the contestants sound great and record the tracks week after week, but the ones that I choose to buy and download are ones that are unique.  I don’t want just another decent cover of a song.  I want one that makes people forget that it’s a cover, that they really have to sit for a second and think about what the original sounds like.  Season 8 contestant, Allison Iraheta did “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and whenever someone I’m with hears it play they think its killer.  Haley closed the show with “House of the Rising Sun.”  People are saying that it’s the best performance on the Idol stage of all time.  It’s right up there for me.  At the moment I can’t think of another performance in all the other seasons that I like better.  It was just beautiful.


On to the results show.  I was concerned about Jennifer performing on the show.  She’s using Idol to her personal advantage and some seem to have mixed feelings about that.  I think they chose the perfect time to let her perform.  Had she of done it too early I don’t believe the audience would be as accepting.  On the flip side you don’t want her performing too close to the finale.  So I guess if she was going to have to make her appearance they chose the best time for it.  I didn’t find it too entertaining.  It’s difficult because she needed to sing live since it is “American Idol” and she would have received an insane amount of criticism if she didn’t.  However, Jennifer is an incredible performer mostly because of her dancing.  We didn’t get to see all that.  She did what she could with it, but for me it just wasn’t enough.


Wednesday, Jacob finally received the criticism that he needed to hear.  He says that he can relate to all kinds of music.  I disagree.  He oversold himself.  One minute he’s telling us he can’t sing a Marvin Gaye song… the next he’s trying to tell us his direction is Jordin Sparks/Chris Brown.  The kid belongs on Broadway, in Gospel music, that’s his niche and because he didn’t tap in to that completely thats why he went home.  I’m very surprised he made it as far as he did.  So yeah, goodbye Jacob.  I’m sorry to say that I have been awaiting your departure for some time now.  Not sad at all to see you go.




Why Paul McDonald Is Great For American Idol

If you have written off American Idol because your tired of the same old singing competition, with the same mediocre songs, it’s time to tune in… because the times they are a changing.  And it starts with Paul McDonald.  Each week Randy Jackson has said how good it is for American Idol to have Paul on the show.  Paul is bringing so much that hasn’t been brought before.  But I’m seeing a lot of talent I haven’t seen on this show before.  So why is it that Paul is so great for the show?

His voice is so unique in the mainstream world, most just haven’t heard it.  Here he is on national television, on a show that gets millions of viewers each week, and he’s single handedly going to be bringing the sounds of Ryan Adams, Mumford, and Wilco (and hopefully Wilco is in the AI catalog because Paul would do Jeff Tweedy proud I’m sure).  Now is the perfect time for Paul to be on American Idol, this music has been just waiting to break through, the amazing response to Mumford and the Avett Brothers at the Grammys this year shows that people are feeling this genre.

Last night he performed “Come Pick Me Up,” by Ryan Adams.  Brilliant song, Ryan Adams is an artist that makes you feel something.  How sad is it that Jennifer Lopez had never heard of him?  I guess too often I am stuck in my music bubble that it’s hard to believe someone that’s in the music industry hasn’t heard of people like Adams.  It was like after the Grammys… and people were saying, “who is Arcade Fire?”  That killed me.  AI’s viewers need Paul, and he said after his performance last night that, “he hopes we get it.”  I get it, I love that song, I feel that song in the pit of my stomach, deep in my heart.  And I guess I realize that not everyone is going to get it but it’s just so refreshing to hear him on the show.  I have a feeling that more people will get it when he pulls out his guitar and sings.  I cannot wait for that moment.

With Paul it’s really a win-win.  For the show its wonderful to bring in this entire new catalog of music and cater to a larger audience.  On the flip side, for the all of the artists that he’s covering its great exposure.  Paul has selling power.  As of 11 PM last night Ryan Adams was the second most searched topic on google.

Paul was in two bands prior to American Idol, “Hightide Blues” and “The Grand Magnolias.”  Both bands have had albums on sale on iTunes.  The Grand Magnolias have sky rocketed to the top of the Rock Charts on iTunes since Paul’s appearance on American Idol.  Interesting to note that when I went to check the chart position today, I was unable to find them on iTunes.  There’s a strong possibility that it has been removed due to legal issues with the show.  I will keep digging for information and keep you updated as I find out.

I’ll be writing every week about American Idol.  Early front runners in my mind are Pia and Casey.  Pia definitely has the look and voice for an Idol.  She is the more obvious choice in my mind. Casey, I love him.  He reminds me of the guy next door, jamming on his guitar, the kind of talent that is generally overlooked.  You can feel the music and his passion when he sings, I can’t imagine what it’s like to watch him perform live.  I love Scotty too, such a strong country voice.  I don’t even like country music that much but I do really like him.  Personally I love Paul, no surprise here.  But I’m not confident he can win the entire thing, nor do I think it would be good for him in the long run.  He needs his artistic freedom and I’m not sure that he would be able to accomplish that as the winner.  It will be interesting to see how this season pans out, I definitely would recommend people try watching American Idol this season… there’s sooo much talent this year, if you love music you have to see it.

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