Tag Archives: Simon Cowell

Gotta talk about it…

Okay, so they need to rename American Idol “The Adam Lambert Show with Friends.” That’s incredibly rude to say, especially considering that the other four contestants are hugely talented. But it is true. Kris blew me out of the water with “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and Allison Iraheta is solid every week, doing her thing. But who can top Adam’s showstoppers?

If anyone else wins, it will be primarily because they’ve had to raise their game so much to match Adam and surprised everyone.

I mean, take a look at this latest, “Feeling Good.” Simon nailed it when he said that complaining that Adam is too theatrical is like “complaining that the cow moos.” That’s exactly what Adam is, theatrical and not afraid of it. He plays with whatever material he chooses to tackle, collaborates with the house musicians, packages himself and the performance in an always-memorable way. You have only to see his entrance on those stairs to feel like (and I’m borrowing a Paula-ism, but it’s true) you’re watching an Adam Lambert concert (event) rather than a talent show. I mean, was that a white satin suit he wore tonight? He was the exact opposite of Ryan as he stood next to him. Not many men can make eyeliner, falsetto and impeccable fashion sense as masculine and sexy as he can. I guess it’s the swagger.

Speaking of that falsetto, I must say that it is incredibly hard to hit the note Adam hit at the end, hold it as long as he did and then maintain that level of control when you’re coming down quietly. You don’t have to know anything about music to know that, but I know just enough to say confidently that it’s hard and not everyone would be capable of it. When the hell did he breathe?

I suspect the final three is going to come down to Adam, Kris and Allison. Although I enjoyed Matt Giraud tonight, I think he’ll be the next to go. Then Danny Gokey next week. He did well tonight, even with Jamie Foxx right in front of his face, but he’s a bit bland for me. I’ve heard folks predict that it’ll come down to Adam and Danny and that may happen. But my money’s on Adam and Kris at the end. Unless people assume Adam’s gold and don’t vote – the judges’ save is gone now, so he’d be toast. I highly doubt that’ll be the way of it.

Let us see. Only Adam (and Kris’s “Aint’ No Sushine”) could’ve made me watch again after Alexis and Megan left.

[4.28: This is ridiculous, but I was curious. The high note lasts at least 8 seconds with the controlled notes coming down lasting another good three or four before he can even think of breathing and surprisingly, the breath isn’t a loud heaving one. So hard.

I compared the different versions of “Feeling Good” I personally have after listening to Adam’s like 5 times straight through today. Recently heard an awesome cover from the Dark Was the Night charity album by My Brightest Diamond which owes a lot to Nina Simone’s version. While Adam’s version is not original – those edgy opening notes gave away his debt to Muse – he cut their 3:20 cover down to a 1:59 version that didn’t suffer for it. AND, that high note? His own, entirely. Muse’s is quieter and less showy. Gorgeous, of course, but not anything as oh-my-f’ing-gawd-how-did-he-do-that as Adam’s.]

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American Idol thoughts

I didn’t say anything last week after the results show because I was satisfied with Michael Sarver going home. That sounds kinda cold…well, it is cold. Here’s my problem with this season so far (as I realized last night). I think people are sticking around longer than they should based on their voices because they’re likable, have gotten air time because of their likability. Let’s face it. Michael’s a cool guy with some kids and a tough job – incredibly likable guy. Not a great voice compared to the others. Same with Scott and, as Paula calls it, his “challenge.” He’s blind – he seems like a great guy, I have tons of respect for his courage for doing a show like this, especially the group numbers at the beginning of the results shows. But his voice is boring to me and ditto his performances. There was absolutely nothing special about his “Just the Way You are.” It was decent, but absolutely nothing special. I don’t think I would be doing him any favors if I pretended to love his music just because he’s got a special challenge in life.

Alexis Grace going home pissed me off because she has a great voice. She struggled with one song, “Jolene” and went home. Folks – have you listened to “Dirty Diana” and “I Never Loved A Man”??? Don’t you want to know what she’ll do next? But how does a young mother with an awesome voice compete for likability against a blind guy and a roughneck daddy with okay voices? Everybody has kids this season: Lil Rounds (I cringed when Ryan picked up her daughter and handed her to Randy – but its horrific cuteness will probably save her after a wretched performance of “I Surrender”), and Megan also. Danny’s a widower, which they made a big deal out of for a while, but I’m relieved they seem to have let go of a bit. It’s a big deal to let us “get to know” the contestants because likability is a huge factor.

But it turns my stomach when it comes down to Allison being “the 16 year old,” Scott being “the blind guy,” Danny “the widower,” Michael “the roughneck daddy.” The contestants who’ve stood out to me did so because of amazing voices, incredibly strong or new performances.

I also hate that Alexis went home right after a lot of Internet speculation that the contest was rigged (as folks speculate it is every season). Maybe it is rigged and Alexis had to be sacrificed so that people would believe that it wasn’t… See how my conspiracy theory mind works? Honestly, I seriously doubt that AI is rigged because that would kind of defeat the purpose. And because the judges/producers (ahem, Simon) already do so much visible manipulation to try to save the contestants they think have what it takes. Anyway, if AI is rigged, how the hell did Taylor Hicks win?

Let’s talk about last night.

1. Kris Allen – Oh my. I was about to walk out the door for a volleyball game, almost decided to skip his performance. The first thing I said to my roommate when I heard he was performing, “Ain’t No Sunshine” (one of my most favorite songs ever) is, “Oh no, he could really screw this up.” I have 10 versions of this song in my iTunes and no matter how great someone covers it, it’s hard not to think of Bill Withers. And then Kris pulled some magic out of somewhere and presented me with an “Ain’t No Sunshine” I had never heard before and really, really loved. He changed up the phrasing, delaying that first “gone,” playing against expectations so beautifully to give us something new and special. Artistry, truly. Not that I didn’t miss Bill Withers’s rasp a little on the “I know, I know, I know, I know,” but Kris made this song so new and so current that it took my breath away. Now there are 11 versions in my iTunes and Kris has gone from “oh no” to “oh my.”

2. Adam Lambert – It’s an interesting week when Adam is second to somebody else for an original and experimental performance. I thoroughly enjoyed his “Play That Funky Music,” and think he’s a fascinating performer. But he did play second fiddle to Kris this week. Nobody could touch that final performance.

3. Megan Joy (Corkrey) – Really, really liked her “Turn the Lights Down Low.” She’s got a weird voice (which I love) and you can always tell it’s her singing. I think that’s an incredibly good thing. I still think she hasn’t picked one bad song. Not one. “Rockin’ Robin” was good for her and so was “For Once in My Life,” and if you don’t believe me, go listen to the studio versions. She may have had small stumbles in performance, but so has everybody and she is learning so much about how to hold herself on stage every week. I’m getting sick of “the new judge” Kara (it works both ways) spouting out, “Adele, Duffy, blah blah blah” after every performance. Yes, their songs will be incredible with Megan’s voice, but I like what she’s picking. I voted for the first time this season, trying to make sure that Kara and Simon don’t get her voted off.

4. Allison Iraheta – Gave me exactly what I’ve been asking for with the first section of “Don’t Speak” and then started screaming again. She’s got a great rocker rasp. I like her a lot. But I want more of the unplugged Allison singing softly. She proved to me that she can do it this week. Now I want an entire song.

5. Lil Rounds – Disappointed me with “I Surrender.” I thought if anybody could make me like a Celine Dion song, it’d be Lil. Nope. This song sucked. Lil can sing, I want her to give me a performance I like again.

6. Matt Giraud – I really liked his “You Found Me.” I kinda get what the judges say about his rock band songs (“Drops of Jupiter”), but then again not really. I enjoyed both of those performances and I like that he has dimensions – not just R&B and soul, but rock too. I thought it was a bit manipulative for him to play the piano in a sea of adoring girls, but that’ll probably work for him.

7. Danny Gokey – Liked his “What Hurts the Most.” Had no complaints, but it wasn’t my favorite. I think he picks the same kind of songs every week and that bores me.

8. Anoop Desai – “Caught Up” bored me and I forgot what he sang and had to look it up. I respect him for asserting exactly what kind of career he wants to have. But I’m not likely to buy his cds, maybe just buy a download or two.

9. Scott MacIntyre – You already know how I feel about “Just the Way You Are.” It’s hard to top the Piano Man and I don’t feel like he made it his own at all.

I’d like to see Scott or Anoop go. I’m afraid that folks will listen to the judges on folks like Megan and Matt (negatively) or Lil and Scott (positively). The judges supported both of the second two’s performances and I highly disagree. I’d like Lil to stay, though, because I like seeing what she does. So, in short, I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen tonight.

Know what else I’d like to see? Alexis come back. You think if the judges’ don’t use their save they can recall her, even weeks later? That would be lovely…

[Later 4.1.09 – I’m disgusted. Megan was voted off. Too bad it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke. Simon really pissed me off as well because he spoke for all of the judges without consulting them (as far as I could see) before Megan even performed. This whole judges’ save things has brought out a whole new rude side in Simon. I’d like to say I’m going to stop watching now and I probably won’t watch as often, but I am intrigued to see what Adam and now Kris get up to. And yes, Allison. Really liked her sweet vocals on the group number. But I don’t particularly care who stays or goes any more, am not invested. You know what would be nice? Besides Alexis and Megan coming back? They should have a duets week where nobody gets voted off so we can see how the contestants sing together. Could be cool. It was nice seeing David Cook back and I liked what he said about only selling 1,000 copies of his cd in a year before AI and going platinum in 3 months after. And Lady GaGa’s performance of “Poker Face” – looooved it, especially how her singing straight at the clear pink piano was a million times more demented than her regular performance.]

[Also, and I know this is random, but I noticed my last name in the AI credits tonight. Just looked it up and Laura Staat is a deko operator (whatever that is, sounds cool) on the show. Hmmm, wonder if we’re related. Also random – if you Google “American Idol” and Staat, my blog pops up on the first page of search results.]

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I’m curious…

I missed AI last night (out having a real life) and caught up the only way I could (listening to the performances without video on YouTube and reading recaps about the judges’ comments). And I’m curious to see if I can still predict who leaves today.

Going home: Michael Sarver or Scott MacIntyre. Probably Michael.

Judges got it wrong: Loved Lil Rounds with “Independence Day.” She’s always been solid, but she hasn’t really gotten my attention before this. I thought it was a great performance, solidly country but still her own take. Adam Lambert with “Ring of Fire.” Ditto as Lil Rounds. I’ve always known he’s a good solid performer, but he’s not my favorite. I’ll give him this, his performances are *always* completely original. He really does his own things with the songs. It might not be Simon’s style, but it was definitely risky and creative. And it sounded amazing.

Lovin’: Anoop Desai and Matt Giraud and Kris Allen. Great performances.

Alright now: Danny Gokey and Allison Iraheta, great solid performances but they are not surprising me. I just wish they’d mix it up, surprise me. Danny should sing something about bitter, dark hearbreak and not something tender and inspirational. Allison should sing something tender and soft and show us that her voice has dimension, that she’s not just a rocker chick. Sure, being true to yourself is great, but I can honestly say I wouldn’t listen to an entire cd or concert of theirs if they’re only going to sing the same type of songs.

Still loving: Alexis Grace and Megan Corkrey. It helps that they both sang songs I know well and really love. Though not terribly surprised that Alexis sang “Jolene” – because it’s a great song for her. She didn’t quite do with it what I know she can. Megan sang sick, had a couple of rocky notes, but did a really nice “Walking After Midnight.”

So let’s see how my predictions turn out…

[3.23.09: I did a very bad job of predicting this one as half of my favorites group went home. Put out a cd Alexis. Like, right now. I’ll buy it. Just like I’ll see Kherington in the remake of Fame.]

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American Idol predictions

I can’t promise I’ll do this every week, but gonna make some AI predictions.

Going home: Jorge or Jasmine. She looked gorgeous, but she’s not ready for this. Sucks cause everyone else is pretty freaking awesome.

Surprised me (pleasantly): Kris Allen. He rocks. And I think he handled Simon pretty well, though I suspected he wanted to beat the crap out of him for the, “Wouldn’t have brought the wife out just yet” comment. Anoop did a pretty good job, I thought, but got trashed by the judges. I always enjoy Matt when he’s singing, but I never remember him.

Not surprising me (unfortunately): Allison Iraheta. She needs to sing something soft next week, to show us she’s not going to be screaming every week. Love her, but we need some variety. Scott can sing, but he’s singing the same stuff I’m not terribly interested in every time. Like Michael, but he doesn’t have a lot of variety either.

They rock, but not my favs: Lil Rounds, Adam Lambert and Danny Gokey. Not worried about any of them.

My favorites: Megan Corkrey and Alexis Grace. Megan looks like she has a lot of nervous energy onstage and physically does the same thing every time. Hasn’t mattered to me one bit cause I love the sound of her voice and I don’t think she’s picked a single bad song. Alexis has got it all. I’m worried she’s pulling a Kherrington (my fav from SYTYCD) and getting cocky. But I loved “Dirty Diana,” especially when she belted out, “make me a star!”

[3.12: So they sent two people home – Jorge and Jasmine, both of the two I said were in danger.]

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