Texas based Jason Castro, the soft-spoken dude with the powerful vocal ability who wowed America on Season 7 of “American Idol” last year, has just signed a deal with Atlantic Records. Castro’s debut album on the label is planned for release later this year.
Atlantic has spared no expense for this project, enlisting heavyweight producer John Field (Soul Asylum, Lifehouse, Switchfood) and songwriters such as current Idol judge Kara DioGuardi (Kelly Clarkson, Jewel, Santana), Martin Terefe (Jason Mraz, KT Tunstall), Sacha Skarbek (James Blunt, Jason Mraz), Guy Chambers (Robbie Williams), and Jason Reeves (Colbie Caillat).
Castro’s performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” last season was so powerful that it sold 178,000 digital copies of Jeff Buckley’s version of the song. A few weeks later, Castro’s version of “Over the Rainbow” also hit #1 on iTunes and he finished fourth in the competition, frequently overshadowed by the more popular Davids–eventual champ Cook and runner up Archuleta. Those guys have released their debuts and now Castro takes his turn.
We’ll keep you posted when we know more about the official release date.
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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So last night’s “American Idol” brought us back to Hollywood week again, and Ryan Seacrest announced that there were 107 remaining contestants. Hmmm. The night before, he said there 104 left. Did the judges feel bad and bring three of them back? Or did they not count correctly? Regardless, it was time for group competition, something that polarizes the hopefuls of this competition like nothing else–you either shine brightly, or your ego gets in the way and creates enough drama to make the producers of the show start foaming at the mouth.
Such drama was prominent in three of the groups they focused on for the first half of the show. Remember Tatiana from the San Francisco auditions? The psycho with the annoying laugh? Well, watching her try to play nice in a group was just painful. She quit her group, joined another one and then went back to her original group, pissing off everyone along the way but then trying to act like she’s not the crazy one. There was also the group that included Rose and Katrina, a.k.a. “Bikini Girl,” a group that had exactly one singer worthy of advancing, but more on that later. Finally there was the group Tatiana was part of for five minutes….the one with Nancy, Kristin and Nathaniel, who called themselves The Divas. Yep, pretty much.
Well, Katrina was tired from her high heels, and tried to catch a few hours of sleep Continue reading »
Last night, Day 2 of Season 8 of “American Idol” on FOX brought us many good performances, and golden tickets to Hollywood. Sure, there were lots of the usual horrendous auditions, but the producers chose to focus on the talented ones, and there were a higher percentage of them than there had been in Phoenix the night before. Here are the lowlights and highlights…..
Chelsea Marquardt kicked things off, and while she was a really pretty girl, she was an awful singer, like all-over-the-place awful. At least she can go be a model if she wants to….Brian, a 20 year old kid from KC, sang an ARETHA FRANKLIN tune, and that should be your first cue that he sucked. But dude had a hard time accepting his fate, and they showed him crying followed by a nice montage of other contestants who didn’t pass their audition bawling and/or screaming like they were in pain.
No, really….There was “banana boy,” a humorous one dressed in yellow who used a real banana as a prop….Jasmine, a 17 year old girl from Nebraska with a love for jazz and a very bad voice….Andrew, who came with two cheerleaders to help his cause, was not a bad singer, but while the judges were first considering sending him through, they decided in the end that Andrew was not ready…..
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