American Idol: America’s shocking decision?

Last night’s “American Idol” finale proved that while we have endured many crappy performances this season from the likes of KC and the Sunshine band, Lady GaGa, Frida Payne and even Idol judge Paula Abdul, they showed that they always save the best for last. I’d say this was one of the best finales, maybe the best yet. And for me, the outcome didn’t suck either. But more on that in a minute.

Ryan Seacrest announced that almost 100 million votes came in, and a record 624 million votes this season. Then they announced each judge and had little clips of them from this past season, focusing on each of their quirks, which was pretty funny. And I’m still seeing red from Randy’s bow tie. Then Adam Lambert and Kris Allen came out wearing all white…what? And after showing Kris’ fans in his hometown in Conway, Arkansas with host Mikhala Gordon, and Adam’s fans in San Diego with Carly Smithson, it was the first group performance–the final 13 all wearing white (oh now I get it) and singing “So What,” after which exactly one dude in the studio audience stood up and clapped. Does anyone remember Jorge? And poor Scott McIntyre was being pushed and pulled all over the place. Jasmine Murray reminded us of why she was booted off early on in the finals when she soloed….ouch!

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American Idol: Did you have to pick that song?

Okay, before we get to the recap of last night’s performances on “American Idol,” can I just say, WHAT ARE THESE CONTESTANTS THINKING? It seems like they are choosing the wrong songs with regularity, not understanding the urgency of giving it their best shot while they have the opportunity. It just makes me crazy and I think it makes the judges crazy as well. Last night the performances were less than stellar. In fact, many of them were flat-out awful. But it wasn’t always that maybe the judges mis-calculated and sent the wrong singers through to this round. It was mostly about poor song choice. With that, here were the good, the in-between and the bad from last night, with a prediction for tonight’s results show.

THE GOOD

Alison Iraheta is only 16 and as Simon Cowell correctly pointed out, she looked out of her element when Ryan Seacrest was interviewing her, and then when she took the stage she was a completely different person. This girl has unbelievable vocal ability at such a young age, and last night she sang Heart’s “Alone.” Randy said she “blew it out of the box,” Kara said Alison doesn’t know how good she is, Paula said she was the best so far (she went fifth), and Simon said she was the best so far by a mile. Alison would not have advanced last week, but with the way last night’s semi-finalists performed, she has a great shot now.

Kris Allen is a 23 year old dude from Arkansas, so you wouldn’t expect him to sing Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” would you? I was scared, but dude pulled it off nicely. It was rough at the start but he really nailed it as a whole and could be a dark horse. Kara said she thought it was the wrong song, Paula disagreed and so did Simon, saying Kris showed confidence, and Randy said he did a nice job without his guitar, as he had done before in Hollywood.

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American Idol: Shtick sells

Last night on “American Idol,” Simon Cowell made my blood boil just a little. As he sat in one of four judges’ thrones in a judges’ “mansion,” he consistenly made reference to the fact that various contestants were not good-looking enough to make it as musical artists, or more to the point, to win Season 8 of “American Idol.” Mrs. Mike pointed out that Cowell is looking for the total package of looks, talent and the ability to sell millions of records. But this is also what has been wrong with the music industry for at least a decade now–that it passes on less pretty but more talented artists for pretty ones that they think they can teach to sing. Look, I’m not saying Cowell hasn’t been successful with that formula, but sometimes you can’t ignore amazing talent because you can’t picture their face on a magazine cover. Okay, I’m done ranting, on to the results at the Hollywood mansion…

I don’t know how many contestants made it this far, but only 36 are going on to the round in which America votes. This year will be different from than previous seasons, as 12 at a time will perform, and 3 of those will move on while 9 go home, with the judges selecting three wild cards to round out the final 12. So as they do every year at this point, the remaining hopefuls have to face the judges, but the scene is in a mansion this year. Is this someone’s house? Anyway, a handful of these contestants had to “sing for their lives” against one another, which was extremely uncomfortable for everyone. Here are the results, for real this time…

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American Idol: You call this an improvement?

So as Fox’s “American Idol” turned the page from Season 7 to Season 8, they vowed some improvements to help boost ratings. Well, we’re finding out that there was a bit of hot air in those promises. Yes, they added a fourth judge, and maybe they extended Hollywood week on TV another seven days, but an improvement? Not really. In fact, they barely showed any performances last night. I think they showed more of the judges deliberating and the contestants’ agony waiting for said deliberation than actual singing. Something is getting stale and the producers of the show can’t seem to learn any new tricks. But I’ll say this…the talent this year is pretty freaking good….and I believe it may carry the ratings regardless of the production.

Anyway, as the 72 remaining contestants got ready to sing in front of the judges solo but with some backup singers and a keyboard, the judges began their unenviable task of weeding out the mediocre ones. Then they were separated into four rooms..and you would think that two of the rooms would stay and two would go home, but that’s not exactly what happened. Only one room was sent packing, and I’m pretty sure there were no more than 15 or 20 in that room.

Among them, Kendall, the first girl of the night, attempted Carrie Underwood, and while yours truly is not a Carrie fan in the least, Kendall made Underwood look like Martina McBride…..Keneshe Young, the 16 year old from Cincinnati, who I thought was great, did not make it past this round…India Morrison, who led a fantastic group performance that included buddies Danny and Jamar, did not stand out enough on her own…..and Michael Castro, Jason’s brother, didn’t stay in Hollywood either, though they haven’t shown him performing since his initial audition (really now, how is that possible?).

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American Idol: Hollywood week showcases some fine talent

Hollywood week began on “American Idol” last night, and I believe they had promised us an extended Hollywood experience on TV this year, which is fine by me, especially when they continue to keep these episodes to a bearable 60 minutes.

There were 147 contestants plucked out of the tens of thousands who auditioned in the eight cities last summer. And in last night’s episode, they whittled it down to 104, meaning only 43 were sent packing. This season, there are makeup artists and vocal coaches to get these singers ready to perform in front of the four judges, and even Barry Manilow was a surprise coach and speaker.

The contestants were then put into groups of eight, and each group had to line up on stage at the Kodak Theatre, and sing a cappella in front of Randy, Paula, Simon and Kara. Then they were asked to either step back or step forward, and one line or the other was told they were through to the next round, and the other line was headed home. Immediate elimination Read the rest of this entry »

  

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