Posts tagged Paul McDonald

American Idol Alum Music News

Every week I have Tuesdays & Wednesdays off of work and it is always my intention to come up with blog ideas and write something for my favorite Style Bust readers.  It is now Thursday afternoon, I go into work in a couple hours and I am just opening up my computer now to share some thoughts, talk about procrastination.  I need to post something so I can feel as though my days off were used productively.  The American Idol alums have been busy lately, so I thought I would appease my AI blog followers who are having withdrawals from the competition.

Unless you have been living under a rock you are aware that Breaking Dawn (Part 1), the latest of the Twilight series premieres tonight at midnight.  In light of that I’m going to somewhat reluctantly share this track with you.  The newlyweds Paul McDonald and Nikki Reed recorded this song, “Now That I’ve Found You” together.  Its no secret how much I loved Paul on American Idol and his band The Grand Magnolias, however I’m not the least bit impressed with this release.  I wanted to love it but I just don’t.  On the other side of things, who knew Nikki Reed could sing?  I knew she had a background in writing, when she acted in and co-wrote the screen play for the movie ‘Thirteen’ back in 2003.  So she penned the lyrics to “Now That I’ve Found You,” and her vocals on this track far exceeded my expectations.  I don’t think I’m being a harsh critic when I say, the song overall is not impressive… but you should check it out for yourself:

It’s probably just me, but does it remind you at all of this?

Ok onto the legitimately good stuff.

The amount of new Christmas music being released has overwhelmed me.  I think my next blog post is going to have a list of my favorites.  But right now I need to share this gem with you.  November 21st is the release date on iTunes for this nothing short of amazing track by Haley Reinhart & Casey Abrams.  If this doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit I don’t know what will.  Haley’s voice will never disappoint me.  Check out the video for “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” its charming, captivating, and beautiful.

Scotty McCreery Crowned American Idol

The was quite possibly the worst Idol finale that I have sat through.  But I have come to terms with the fact that Idol is never going to be exactly how I think it should be.  I actually didn’t even vote for the finale.  I just didn’t seem to care.  So we finally have a winner… Scotty McCreery.  I have to say that even leading up to the finale I just didn’t think it was possible for him to win the whole thing.  I was wrong.  I find it interesting how some people say there is no way he could be played on country radio (most reasons given are because of his quirkiness) and then others are all about him and think he’s perfect.  I’m anxious to see what happens.  There’s no way radio can just black ball the American Idol winner, but truly his single is not impressive.  I think its beyond corny, which won’t help with the naysayers.  But yet, most of the other first singles from winners weren’t that great either.

The finale was rather boring.  The performers were not that impressive.  I think Casey got sort of screwed performing with Jack Black.  I wasn’t the least bit surprised seeing JLo perform with her hubby.  Remember a couple weeks ago how I mentioned how it was disappointing that we never got to see her dancing skills in her performance?  Well, she’s not the type that wants her talent to go unnoticed.  So they found a way to work it in, just to show that she’s worthy of something.  I thought the girls Beyonce medley was pretty great and I liked that it was topped off with queen B herself.  I have to wonder if Jennifer is a little envious of Beyonce.  I mean she just slaughters her in every category, it’s like JLo just move on over.  The two do not even come close to comparing.  What was TLC doing there?  Like, where did they even come from?  I’m not ok with seeing them on stage without Left Eye, it’s just not the same.  And they lip-synced, really… just go away.  I didn’t like the compilation of songs that the boys performed.  I thoroughly enjoyed Steven Tyler’s performance, felt it was the best one of the night but entirely too short.  That note he hit at the end, wowza!

Scotty’s performance with Tim McGraw was magical.  I thought Lauren was completely overpowered by Carrie Underwood, who looked fab by the way.  I could not get over her legs, someone please put me on her diet!


I, of course wanted to see a Paul performance with Bob Dylan or Rod Stewart.  Or even Ryan Adams, his cover of “Come Pick Me Up” was a big highlight for me, and I thought Idol was going in the right direction after that… but maybe there’s just not enough mainstream followers for someone like him to come on.  It’s also probably a lost cause to get Indie music lovers to even try to watch American Idol.  I’m one of the few that tunes in, I’m sure.

I have a total love-hate relationship with this season.  I think they had some truly talented individuals, Casey, Haley, Paul, Pia, and James.  All five of them had their own style and brought something new to the stage.  It’s always exciting to see where they will go from here.  Thanks for checking in with the blog all season long.  I have had a lot of fun getting to talk to you all about the show every week.  Keep following the blog, I have some exciting stuff coming up to share with you.  Adios to Season 10!  Congrats to Scotty!

American Idol Recap

Here’s a short recap for ya’ll.  Haley Reinhart was sent home tonight on Idol.  If you have been keeping up with this blog, I’m sure you are aware of how disappointed this has made me.

Haley started out the night singing a gutsy Led Zeppelin song and killed it.  She followed up with Stevie Nick’s track, Rhiannon, I thought it was brilliant.  Then came the judges pick.  The judges chose Alanis Morisette’s, “You Oughta Know.”  Hmmm… I don’t understand.  They wanted Haley to sing an emo/angst bad ass song?  Had Haley of chosen this for herself, the judges would be freaking out and tell her how wrong the song choice was.  The entire competition they were pushing her towards a jazz/blues sound, and that music worked for her.  I mean I just don’t get it.  I love Alanis, that album was one of the first that I bought & I have so much respect for the entire movement.  But for Haley, why did they choose such an angry song for her?  Regardless of tonights outcome Haley had one of her best nights performance wise, so she definitely went out with a bang.  I was hoping she would stick around and be able to pick up some of James Durbin’s votes to make it through to the finale.  Onwards and upwards Haley Reinhart, I couldn’t be more impressed with an American Idol contestant.  She truly was the best in my eyes.

But alas we have a finale with Lauren and Scotty.  They both had spectacular performances last night.  I think Scotty seemed more nervous than usual.  Possibly being in the bottom two last week rattled him.  I liked his decision to sing Lonestar.  As I watched him perform I wondered how many times he had sang along to that song casually back home in North Carolina.  Who doesn’t like that song anyway?  It was enjoyable.

I was disappointed with Laurens rendition of The Band Perry’s track, “If I Die Young.”  It’s one of my favorite songs right now and I think the appeal to that song is the beautiful harmonies.  The band is a group of siblings and in my opinion no one can sing together like family.  Lauren didn’t impress me much with it.  I encourage anyone who hasn’t heard that song to check it out, it’s phenomenal.

I have no idea who I want to win between Scotty and Lauren.  They are both extremely likable kids.  I think both would make great American Idols.  Scotty is definitely the front runner.  You never know what can happen though.  I’m just looking forward to the finale.  I’m ready to see Paul McDonald, Casey Abrams, and of course Haley Reinhart back on the stage.  Who are you rooting for?


American Idol: Top 7

The night started out with the eliminated contestants singing Pink’s “So What.”  Which at first I thought was a pathetic song choice.  I mean I understood that they were trying to convey the message of not caring about elimination but most of them can’t honestly be saying ‘so what’ to their departure.  At times I find myself to be some what of a harsh critic so I watched it back this morning and I ended up actually finding it to be sort of cute and charming.  The girls kicked butt on the song but Paul just seemed awkward on the stage singing that song with a group of girls.  Anyway back to whats important… the performances.


The judges were in the mood to critique last night.  They started off being a little harsh on Scotty.  Just a couple weeks ago Randy proclaimed that he “wasn’t just a one trick pony.”  Clearly country is his lane and to think that he is capable of succeeding in any other genre is just stupid.  I don’t always understand the judges comments when it comes to him, they are always all about him.  I was really surprised to see their response to him last night because I kind of liked it.  Either way Scotty is going to just fine when he gets eliminated.  His voice is so smooth and perfect for country.  While the performance last night of Leann Rimes, “Swingin” could have been slightly corny, I thought it was cute.  I was smiling and I ultimately decided that I probably would go see a Scotty McCreery concert.

Gosh, and James.  Sometimes I just don’t know what to say about him because I just don’t get it.  And if someone wants to enlighten me on the attraction to him I’m truly interested.  Usually I blame my problem with him on my general taste of music.  But I love Muse & I love that song… but coming from James, I just wasn’t buying it.  He has talent, I’m not denying that whatsoever.  Maybe his run on American Idol is too soon following Adam Lambert.   I’m waiting for him to grow on me, but time is running out.


Casey received another standing ovation, another thing I don’t understand.  It’s not that I thought his performance was bad, but I have to wonder what’s happening in the studio audience because I am always finding their reaction to be slightly excessive.  I’m not sure that I loved him turning that pop/rock song all the way over to rock.  It’s good in the sense that he made it his own.  He seems to always show a little aggression while on stage.  Personally I would like to see him loosen up and show his goofy side a little more.

Let’s switch gears over to what I really enjoyed.  Haley’s performance may have been lacking in stage presence quality.  Visually I didn’t find it appealing with her mark on the stage behind the judges table.  However vocally by far the best of the night.  She picked a really tough Adele song but did a great job.  I’m really pulling for her to make it through to at least top 3.  Personally I want her to win it.

I want to see Lauren get a little more confidence.  It’s getting down to the tough part of the competition and I think her lack of confidence has played in her favor for awhile.  But people aren’t going to sympathize with her much longer.  She’s great and she needs to believe it.  The audience doesn’t want to always feel like they are reassuring someone.  We need someone that knows they can be a star and be great.  I think if Lauren won she would probably be the most excited and appreciative.  So I’m pulling for the ladies.


So who is going home?

Stefano showed a different side last night but I think it might finally be the end of the road for him (no pun intended, really!).  Or Jacob, he may get some sympathy votes but I’m guessing not enough.  I do feel a little cold hearted to say that I wasn’t feeling his performance last night.  A huge part of me does not want to down play his emotions but I feel like the past couple weeks he’s been making excuses for his subpar performances.  I also really am not a fan of divas.  It’s hard to tell if his emotion is sincere or for the sympathy votes.  So maybe I’m being crude, but I think I have a pretty honest reaction.  It’s time for him to go.  If I had to guess a bottom three I would say Stefano, Jacob, and Scotty.



American Idol: My Rant

Hello friends!  Excuse my late post on American Idol, I was traveling yesterday and once I saw the results show I needed a little time  to pout about Paul going home.


Seems like many people have a love hate relationship with this show.  I know I certainly do.  I’m not going to make empty threats and say that I won’t watch it because my guy went home.  Besides, that would only end up disappointing my readers!  All I know is that if voting was solely up to me Pia would have made it to top 3 and Paul would have made it to top 5.


Anyway, my plan of attack for next week’s blog is going to be “American Idol: Crap the judges should of said.” Because I’m just so tired of them not critiquing anyone.   The most entertaining part of the show is Jimmy Iovine & Will.I.Am. And all the buzz this week was how the contestants bucked the system, stood up for what they believed in, chose the songs they wanted to sing… which obviously translates to the viewers at home that they are seasoned artists, smarter than management, are so creative and yada yada yada. I mean truly I didn’t feel like even writing a blog Wednesday night, as I usually do, because the show frustrated me so much.


It’s not the weekly outcome that irritates me. The votes come in, someone has to go home and really winning the competition doesn’t mean much. The show is good exposure whether you make it to the end or not.



This is what gets me.  I think many people watch the show and think they are getting some sort of inside look into the industry. And while I certainly enjoy the clips from the studio, it’s not even close to showing the process of making an album.   And once the contestants are locked into a record deal, sure, they will be able to express their opinion but ultimately the label is going to be calling the shots.   The people with the money have control and the artist is going to do what they say.   It’s a constant struggle in this industry as an artist trying to keep your identity and create the music you believe in as opposed to the music that the label thinks will sell.   It’s hard for even the seasoned talent on labels to get their voices heard when it comes to making a record.   I don’t for a second believe that the winner of this glorified karaoke contest is going to have a say in the studio.   And it’s not like I’m the biggest Jimmy Iovine fan in the world but I just find what they are doing to be a  little disrespectful.   They are making a big deal out of the contestants choosing their own songs, the judges praise them, and it’s like “good job, you showed Jimmy who’s boss.” News flash: Jimmy Iovine is a successful man in the industry and has been around a lot longer than you, he knows what’s up.

Anyway thats my rant.  Well actually I have a few other complaints, such as,  the hate mail getting sent to Stefano. I don’t get how that makes someone feel better, it’s like bullying. Stefano doesn’t control the votes, I feel bad for him. I actually don’t like when anyone has ignorant things to say about any of the contestants. I like that people have opinions. Music is so personal though, and all the contestants are talented in their own way. I’m not asking anyone to love Paul. But I don’t understand the people that think he is a complete joke. I guess they are probably the same people that say Bob Dylan or Rod Stewart can’t sing. I like unique voices. And I think I have finally decided who I want to take the “top prize.” Haley Reinhart. Did you catch her performance with Casey last night? So major! Check it out below.

Paul McDonald Brings Real Music To American Idol

To be completely honest I’m getting a little tired of writing recaps on Idol.  But I’m committed to bringing Style Bust readers a weekly update so I can keep you in the loop with pop culture (this is perfect water cooler talk, right?)  It was rock and roll week on Idol and the contestants chose from a massive catalog consisting of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame inductees.  So let’s start with what I liked tonight…


I’m sure Casey pleased his fans with Creedence Clearwater Revival.  It was definitely cool to hear a song of theirs on the Idol stage.  And with him playing the upright bass, you just don’t see that everyday.  I loved it.  Amazing performance.


Pia chose an uptempo song, finally.  I just don’t know how someone can have an incredible voice like she does and then I just sit at home feeling indifferent about her.  And I think I finally put some pieces together as to why.  The judges keep pushing Pia to develop stage presence, and no doubt about it she’s doing her best to gain control of the stage.  But she has no rhythm, it’s not her fault.  But because she can’t move, I think it’s hard to see her feel the music.  She relies so heavily on her voice just as it is, but she doesn’t make me believe in anything.


Now Haley made me believe in something.  I think she’s the dark horse this season.  She’s really improving each week and I hope she gets to stick around longer.  She sings with conviction, its a truly beautiful thing.  I think the past two or three weeks she’s found her niche and she just needs to hang in the competition.  Her voice can carry itself but when she is actually feeling the song, her performances are just so impressive.


And Paul was back in action this tonight after being in the bottom three last week.  He sang “Folsom Prison Blues,” by Johnny Cash and killed it.  He had the last slot of the night and it felt like an encore.  It’s still so strange for me to see an artist like him on the American Idol stage.  He’s playing to a tough crowd that is familiar with and responds well to the Pia Toscano’s of the competition.  But tonights performance is what Paul is about, it felt sooo good!  He is no doubt the kind of artist I want to see in concert.  He clearly knows how to rock out.  Its incredible to see some real musicians on stage this season.  Idol has come a long way over the past couple years.

James slowed it down with, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.  However I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.  Lauren performed a mediocre version of Natural Woman.  The song is overdone, it gets performed just about every season and honestly I don’t think anyone has performed it better than Kelly Clarkson, since she slayed it in season 1.  It’s a tough song to sing and while I liked seeing Lauren more relaxed, overall it didn’t blow me away.  Jacob did “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson.  It’s rare when I’m impressed by a MJ cover and his rendition was no different.  I liked that he brought his own “Jacob” flavor, but at the same time the original is just too good to touch.  He got a positive response, (but at this point who doesn’t on this show).  It’s a big love fest with the judges, for no apparent reason.  The contestants are good but not as amazing as the judges seem to think.

Lusk Steals The Show

Mo-town week on Idol is always enjoyable for me and this year it wasn’t any different.  In fact everyone performed so well that it could have been one of the most entertaining shows in Idol history.  It was the exact kind of revival I needed to get back into the show. (editors note: as requested each week I will start linking the performances to the article, all you need to do is click on the contestants name when listed in the post – but I don’t always talk about all the performances so you can always catch them on the American Idol website).


Outside of the changing of judges this year on Idol they have added so much to the show by giving the viewers an inside look into the performers studio time.  I think this adds more credibility to the show. It makes it less karaoke every week and more music business centered. I love that they show this side of the artistry.  Last night there was a feature on Mo-town that really moved me.  It was a short feature but fairly in depth when it came to capturing the vision of Mo-town and the entire movement.

So where to begin… Jacob Lusk.  I was ready for him to go home last week, he’s not one of my favorites by a long shot.  But OMG his performance last night, brilliant.  So captivating and perfect.  He was coached well, thank God this year for Jimmy Iovine.  This is a performance that you need to watch here on YouTube or on the American Idol website.  It was truly a magical moment.


Haley’s voice suits Mo-town music well, so I was looking forward to her performance this week.  I thought the chances of her choosing a bad song were pretty low.  I think she delivered, however, I don’t feel like she is choosing songs that showcase her unique voice.  I love her sound and I can see the potential in her, I just wish someone would push her to make better song choices.


Paul brought out his guitar this week, something I have been really looking forward to.  I’m biased so I enjoyed it.  I just feel like Paul is representing everything I love about the music industry, like I finally have someone on my team on the show.  But as I try to watch the show and get in the mindset of the average viewer it worries me.  Like Jimmy said prior to Paul’s performance he thought he could have a moment, I’m not so sure he had that “moment.”  But he will, I have confidence that he will have a really special performance, sitting with his guitar and playing a quiet, acoustic song.  The judges are asking him to give them more of his tender voice.  I can envision a special Paul performance acoustically.  So we shall see.


I wasn’t disappointed this week by any of the performers.  I thought Pia and Stefano were kind of boring but they sang their butts off.   Scotty did a phenomenal job keeping his classic sound during Mo-town week, proving that he is a true artist.  It was nice to see Thia change it up, it was like I was watching a completely different girl.  She’s just so young.  It’s great that Idol has opened up the competition to 15 year olds but they just look out of place when they are competing against the more seasoned artists.  I wish someone would coach her for what to say in front of the judges.  I feel bad that she’s constantly slipping up and talking herself in circles.


I don’t know who is going home tonight.  It’s a tough call.  I will be surprised however if they use the wild card and what happens when they do.  Typically the week after the wild card they send two people home the following week.  In this case there are 11 contestants left so if they use the wild card it will drop to 9 contestants next week.  They take the top 10 on tour, so I don’t know how they would figure that out if they use the wild card this week.  Overall I thought last night was fabulous but it seems every week there’s such an array of differing opinions.  I like to hear your thoughts, join Style Bust on facebook to join in on the discussion!

American Idol Top 12 Recap

Last night’s show made me really regret adamantly insisting that my friend’s watch this season.   I was so thrilled with last week’s episodes that I was anxiously waiting to see the performances of the Top 12, but overall, what a disappointment.


I will say that Stefano really stood out to me this week.  I think he went slightly overboard with the ‘Christina Aguileraesque’ runs. However you felt his passion and he sounded beautiful.   Perfect song choice for him (heck, I bought it on iTunes).   Pia chose a more up-tempo song and that was enjoyable.   Casey, personally I’m confused by the Nirvana song choice for him.  I like Casey, I like Nirvana… not sure if I liked them mixed.  But it doesn’t matter what I think, the judges praised him, my roommate loved it, and he’s hanging around much longer.  I was surprised that I enjoyed Haley’s rendition of Whitney Houston’s, “I’m Your Baby Tonight.” I was really concerned for her to do this song but it turned out better than expected. It may not be her style but I thought it was a strong performance.


Overall everyone was extremely pitchy; there were notes where I just cringed. Naima, Naima, Naima.  All I can say is that I can appreciate that she is true to herself and she is certainly unique. Her style is great, for her… but really the girl belongs on a cruise ship, not American Idol.  It’s pretty early in the competition and I can hardly even watch a Paul McDonald performance objectively because he practically melts my heart. I even pondered the idea of sending fan mail. Disgusting.  I need to pull myself together.  Anyway, he didn’t sound great.  I guess I should throw in the fact that he was sick but that won’t really give him a pass in my book.   From a PR perspective the music industry is big about branding.  This show is certainly creating a brand and path for Paul McDonald.  I just hope the viewers keep him around longer.  Since this week was rough, I think its absolutely necessary that he brings his guitar within the next couple weeks.  He needs to show that side of him.  Otherwise people are just going to get tired of his sound.


In a way I’m slightly satisfied that most of the performances were sub par. I was really getting tired of the constant love and mushy comments from the judges. It was about time we heard some real criticism and feedback.   And just another side note, anyone notice how many times the camera cut to Jennifer Lopez only to see her singing along?  Maybe she’s embarrassed about not knowing who Ryan Adams is, but no need to make up for it with the constant lip-synching this week. Clearly I’m bitter about how things went down last night. But I’m tuning in tonight and the rest of the season regardless.


Happy St. Patricks Day everyone!

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