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David is Goliath, ‘Cooks’ Archuleta

5/22/08

Aside from doing a very poor job of keeping this blog updated since I got home from School 2 weeks ago, I have done an even worse job of keeping up with American Idol.

I made sure to watch highlights and eliminations, but I didnt watch more than a few minutes of any given episode over the last few weeks until the last two nights.

The two-night American Idol finale is always an outlandish, painfully long episode in which we wait for the final announcement from Ryan, which he gives us with somewhere up against the final minute of the show.

The battle of the David’s took place Tuesday night, although my theory, even after the results were announced, were that America’s decision had already been made prior to the guys taking the stage.

Over the last two months, both David’s had consistently been the two most popular contestants, and both had their own fan bases.

Little David Archuleta had the young vote, kids aged anywhere from say, 12-16 (plus myself) and maybe some of their Mother’s who were hooked by Archie’s innocent charm (something I was guilty of as well).

David Cook had everybody else, and that ended up being the difference, as he was crowned the winner of American Idol season 7.

The match up was as highly anticipated as any if Idol’s history, as both guy were very deserving and very appealing to a variety of audiences.

David Archuleta seemed to lock up his spot in the Final two very early on this season, with his breathtaking performance of Imagine, which he brilliantly re-sung Tuesday night to close the show.

Cook was sort of an unknown until he dropped his Billy Jean remix on us, which really catipulted him to the top of the competition with Archuleta.

Both singers were on the money through much of the season, regularly finding themselves receiving the loudest cheers and ovations from the crowd, as well as the subjects of constant high praise from all three judges.

Following their performances Tuesday night, Simon emphatically stated that he believed Archuleta had won the head to head battle in a “knock out”, yet just moments before Ryan’s announcement last night, backtracked saying he felt it was anybody’s competition to win.

Sure enough, it was David Cook who in some ways shocked the world, although you would have a tough time finding somebody admit he wasn’t worthy.

I thought that overall, while the season definitely was filled with a decent amount of talent, once again the show struggled with some controversy, whether it was David Hernandez revealing he was a gay stripper, Paul being…well…Paula, and some earlier than expected departures by Michael Johns and Carly Smithson, both of whom, based on talent, were probably finals worthy in any other season.

I’ve read that “big changes” are in store for next season, starting with shortened results shows, because those hour long shows were downright brutal.

I keep pushing for a change in the voting process, with fans voting for the contestant they most wish to see leave rather than their favorite singer, but I doubt we’ll be seeing that anytime soon.

For anybody keeping track, I had predicted Archuleta to win weeks if not months ago, and so I’m left to eat my words as he ended up falling some 12 million votes short.  I guess I should have texted in more votes.  Nevertheless, I congratulate David Cook on a very well deserved victory.

And so, another season in the books, another champion to hit a radio station near you and another 7 months until we get to do it all over again.

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May 23, 2008 Posted by | American Idol | , , , , , | Leave a comment

My American ‘Idle’

4/29/08

It’s been four long weeks since I last vented about one of my favorite pastimes, and so there is much to discuss in the world that is American Idol.

In only the last few weeks, there have been a pair of surprising departures, Idol Gives Back and some interesting celebrity mentors.

Michael Johns and Carly Smithson.

So much potential, so much frustration.

At the very beginning of the final 24, these two were both favored by many to either win or be in it down the stretch.

However neither have reached the final 5, while some question marks remain.

I was an early fan of Jason Castro, but his whole deer in the headlights thing has gotten sour.

He probably should have been sent home when Michael was, although he has put together a handful of decent performances. (Over the Rainbow with the Banjo was great actually)

That being said, along with Kristy Lee Cook who finally bit the dust last week, Jason and Syesha may be overstaying their welcome.

Syesha has also been impressive, but as far as i’m concerned, the two of them were a clear class below Michael and Carly.

The problem is, and I’ve been saying it for years, the voting system on this show is flawed.

For 7 season, people call or text in their votes for the person they like most, and the bottom three are pointed out every week with one of them being sent home.

My suggestion for the last 3 years or so is to change it up completely, by having people vote for the person they feel deserves to go home.

Kind of Survivor-esque, minus the tiki torch. (Maybe Ryan can have the Microphone cut in the middle of their farewell song?)

By voting for the person you most want to see leave, I think it would cut down the diversity in the vote, meaning that you would have more votes for only a handful of people as opposed to lots of votes for everyone.

Another advantage would be that week-to-week, there would be more pressure on the singers, meaning that when Brooke had to restart her song for the second time this season, people could see that as a weakness of hers, and vote her to go home.

I’m not saying my idea isn’t flawed, because when it comes right down to it, this show is all about popularity, which is why if your name is David and you’re still in the competition, chances are you’ll be one of the final two standing.

Carly and Michael were both very talented artists-to-be (Paula always calls them artists despite the fact they don’t officially have record deals, even if some of them- ironically Carly and Michael- had previous ones), yet were never bad enough in my opinion to be sent home.

Michael was awesome with his Queen medley, while this past week Carly was terrific singing Jesus Christ Superstar.

Even Kristy wasn’t bad last week despite being in the bottom 3, yet again.

Jason, Syesha and Brooke should be the next three to go, in that order.

Idol Gives Back was also a few weeks ago, and maybe it was just me, but I was left unimpressed.

The worst had to have been when Teri Hatcher sang Before He Cheats.

I shut off the television after realizing it wasn’t a joke.

The video clips were all good but they feel sort of forced and staged, however the issues at hand can’t be understated, and the money raised is certainly a good thing.

All in all, I have been a little let down by this season, partially because it is so clear who the truly talented performers are, and also because the whole Idol thing, after 7 years, is starting to get a bit old.

Should the people who run the show take my advice and change the voting format, the show might be able to regain the obsessiveness I was devoting to it week after week, but this season is the first in a few where I haven’t rushed to my television, making sure not to miss a minute of the performances and results.

That being said, Idol continues to be the most watched show in the country, and will probably continue to be as long as Ryan, Randy, Paula and Simon are a part of it.

American Idol 8pm FOX

April 29, 2008 Posted by | American Idol | | Leave a comment

Dolly Parton ‘Mentors’, David Cook’s Hospital Visit, and Kevin Covais

4/2/08

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When American Idol brings in their “mentors” for the finalists, more times than not, you can predict nearly word for word the conversations to be had between the contestants and the professionals.

Last night, as expected, Dolly Parton (want to count the number of surgeries she’s had?) cakewalked through the video segments with the generic “has a beautiful voice” type comments, while the contestants thanked her and told her what huge fans they were, blah, blah, blah.

Tonight you can probably expect a performance from the country star, along with the results of course, which shouldn’t be difficult to predict over the next few weeks.

I recently read that judge Paula Abdul predicted the ‘final four’ would consist of the David’s (Archuleta and Cook), Carly Smithson and Michael Johns.

I don’t have any real qualms with that, although I could also see Brooke sneaking in in place of either Michael or Carly, but when it comes down to it, expect the David’s to be Goliaths and battle it out for the season 7 crown.

Last night, I have to admit I my attention was not all there as the Mets were playing, however I caught a number of the performances and made sure to catch up on those I missed via youtube and fellow blogs.

That being said, the vibes I was getting are the Ramiele (who I predicted would bite the dust last week), is likely to be sent home tonight.

I’ll echo those thoughts again, as she has overstayed her welcome.

In other ‘Idol’ news, apparently rocker David Cook was hospitalized after the show last night with heart palpitations.

He put forth another solid performance last night, and continues to be a favorite to win the competition.

Also, browsing around the web I came across this story about Idol Alum Kevin Covais (the chicken little look-alike from Long Island)

And so, my prediction is for Ramiele to go be going Malu-“bye” tonight, while in the spirit of Paula doing so, I’ll predict my Idol Final Four to consist of..

David Archuleta

David Cook

Brooke White

Michael Johns

American Idol, FOX, 9PM est

April 2, 2008 Posted by | American Idol | 1 Comment

The Top 10, More beatles and More Surprises on Idol

3/26/08

I have two weeks worth of Idol to attend to, so I won’t waste anytime.

Last week, American Idol brought back a theme for a second consecutive week, and ever there a worthy theme of deserving such a fate, The Beatles certainly would be an appropriate choice.

The top 12, before David Hernandez was sent packing, did a great job with songs like “Eleanor Rigby” and “Let it Be”, however last week the Beatles songs didn’t recieve the send off they deserved.

Amanda Overmeyer sung “Back in the U.S.S.R.”, and ended up being the one to leave.

I can’t say I was overly surprised, as her raspy voice had been growing old quickly, and while she as unique a contestant as the has ever had, her performances felt redundant.

My favorite to win, David Archuleta came back strong after tripping up the lyrics to “We Can Work it Out” by belting out a beautiful rendition of “The Long and Winding Road”.

David Cook, who has put himself near the top of the list of contenders to win this season, re-arranged “Day Tripper”, following up an even more impressively rearranged version of “Eleanor Rigby”.

Brooke White sang “Here Comes the Sun” and while the judges trashed her performance as awkard, I sort of liked it, and American agreed as she was around another week.

While the Beatles and Amanda Overmeyer were history, the top 10 took to the stage again last night, this week with the theme being the year they were born.

It was definitely strange to hear some the contestants sing songs from my birth year (1987) as well as David Archuleta singing a song from the 90’s! (I really must be getting old)

On the whole, the top 10 was much stronger as a group than they were last week, so lets break down who should be safe, who should be worried, and who should be going home.

Thanks to my friends at youtube (not that I know any of the people who posted these videos…but thank you for doing so…I’ve included video of all the performances from last night if you’re interested)

Safe for another week

David Cook– David has been coming through week after week with these risky, daring arrangements of well known songs, and last night, he performed a version of the Michael Jackson hit “Billie Jean” that was as enjoyable as it was strange. The judges all agreed he had taken a major risk, but it worked out for him. He has put himself among the top 3 or 4 singers, and should get comfortable on that stage because he’s going to be on it for a long time.

Michael Johns-After a few off weeks, Michael was back last night, singing a Queen remix of “We are the Champions” and “We will Rock You”. He finally showed off his powerful voice, as Randy pointed out, and he impressed Paula and Simon as well, as he put himself right back in the mix. He voice is definitively superior to a number of the other singers, and he really showed it off last night. Without question, safe for another week.

David Archuleta– while he didn’t sing a song I was familiar with, nor was it by any means his best performance, like Paula said, he could sing the phone book and we would love it. Last night, he sang “You’re The Voice”, and the video I’m including adds the video they show before David sings, which if you haven’t already fallen in love with him, watch him dance with his sister when he was a little kid. Singing wasn’t his best, but he’s still my favorite to win.

I Would Be Surprised If Any Of These People Go Home

Carly Smithson– Carly sung an all time favorite song of mine, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, made famous for me of course in the hit comedy Old School. I thought Carly was better than the Judges thought she was, and after being the surprise of last week, ending up in the bottom 3, I would think she was more than good enough last night to survive another week, but you never know with this show. All in all, I thought she was very good.

Jason Castro– Back with his guitar, Jason sounded very good, but short of great. He has one of the most underrated voices this season, however his performances haven’t been off the charts the last few weeks. I would be shocked if he was in the bottom three this week, although he wasn’t one of the more memorable performers last night. He continues to be a sleeper pick to hang around awhile. Last night he sang “Fragile”, which the judges were on the fence about it. America probably feels the same way, but look for him to avoid the bottom 3.

Brooke White– Singing “Every Breathe You Take”, Brooke was better than last week (when I thought she wasn’t as bad as the judges felt she was) and her voice just continues to have this real authentic feel to it. While she is undoubtedly a very talented singer, she sometimes seems to lack that star quality needed to win the competition, and that could hurt her with votes, as occasionally she is forgettable. Overall, she was good enough last night, and shouldn’t find herself in trouble tonight.

I would be worried if I was….

Syesha Mercado– Syesha sounded as good as she ever had last night, but for me at least, she just doesn’t seem to have that “it” for lack of a better term. She can sing, shes pretty, but she isn’t on par with the six people mentioned already. That being said, she sang “If I was your Woman” last night and sounded great, but when the votes are counted, she could easily be among the three with the lowest.

Kristy Lee Cook– Amazingly, I think Kristy Lee sang her out of the bottom three last night. Simon was dead on when he said she came up with one of the most clever song selections, singing “God Bless The U.S.A.”. Not only was the selection great, but she sounded great. Unfortunately, she has found herself in the bottom two the last two weeks, so I don’t know if she was strong enough last night to get herself out of the hole she burried herself in with that awful arrangement of “Eight Days A Week”. Could be in the bottom 3 tonight, could go home, but my gut feeling is she’s safe for another week.

Chikezie– Not a lot I can say about Chikezie. I haven’t been a fan of his since he made the top 24, yet as he remains one of the last 10 standing, his days are numbered. Last night he sang “If Only For One Night”, and sounded OK at best. He somehow managed to survive this long, so surviving another week isn’t an impossibility, especially because he was probably second to last on my list of people most likely to go home tonight.

My Pick To Go Home This Week is….

Ramiele Malubay– Apparently she was sick last night, and actually sounded ok despite it, but if it were up to me I would be sending her home. Chikezie is a close second, but for some reason I feel like America has had enough of her “im cute and sort of clueless” act. She has a big voice, but failed to deliver a performance worth remembering.  She sang “Alone”, and should be standing that way at the end of the show tonight, singing her way home.

And so, while I could easily see Chikezie, Syesha or Kristy potentially in the bottom 3 and going home…Ramiele is my pick tonight.  I was wrong the first week and last week I honestly believed it was Amanda’s time to go, so im 1-2 so far.  We’ll see what happens.

American Idol , Fox 9 P.M.

(they should be paying me for advertising)

March 26, 2008 Posted by | American Idol | | Leave a comment

And then there were 12…

3/12/08

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American Idol (get over it, I watch it and I love it…and now I blog about it) has entered the big show now, down to the final 12.

This is where the competition heats up, one person goes home every week, and I plan on not only recapping my thoughts on the performances from Tuesday night but also predicting the bottom 3 and who will be going home before the results on Wednesday night.

So far, there seems to be a clear divide between the top tier of talent this season and the lower tier, and last night, it was very, very apparent.

Adding to the fact that this was the first time the top 12 performed on stage, for the first time ever, the Lennon-McCartney song book was released, meaning that after 6 years, contestants were finally able to perform The Beatles.

Check out this highlight package if you’re interested…

In honor of the NCAA tournament starting next week, I decided to break down the top 12 the same way ESPN has broken down the teams contending for Tournament invitations.

And so, without further adieu…

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Locks (they’ll be around awhile)

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David Archuleta17– (my pick to win it all) Last night, he sang “We Can Work It Out”, and for the first time since we met him, he looked like a 17 year old a bit out of his league. He forgot lyrics and way off key, however he has been so good early on that his popularity will help him sail through. Talent wise, he is undoubtedly in the top tier of this season.

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Brook White-24- one of the best performances went to Brooke the Nanny, who was brilliant with her rendition of “Let it Be”. Her voice might not be the post powerful in the competition, but she is without question one of the most consistent singers every week. Not only can she sing, but she nailed her song vocally and on the piano last night, so expect to be seeing lots of her as the weeks roll on.

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Carly Smithson-24- maybe the most polished singer among the final dozen, Carly had arguably the most memorable performance of the night, belting out “Come Together” like a true pro. She already sounds like a professional, and last night was no exception. Would not be surprised if she winds up in the final 4 or even final 2.

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David Cook-25- this season’s “authentic rocker” according to the judges, sang “Eleanor Rigby” and nailed it. He put his rocker spin on this Beatles classic, and the risk was worth the reward. The theme this season might be “Davids” vs. Goliath, even though the Davids (Archuleta and Cook) are the powerhouses. Cook reminds me a little of season five star Chris Daughtry, however what makes him different makes him great. Definitely a dark horse in this race, and could make some noise down the stretch with consistent vocals.

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Michael Johns-29- you could make the case that Michael Johns, from down under, will end up on top when all is said and done. He has the talent, hes good looking and hes likable. Last night, he sang “Across the Universe”, and while his performance was definitely not his best (amazingly it might be hard for him to top his performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody” during Hollywood week), but he plans on hanging around a while, and could easily be a final four contestant.

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Jason Castro-20- hard to miss with those luscious locks, the dreadlocks aren’t needed to help Jason stand out. His vocals are great, and while he continues to be awkward and sort of shy both in his video packages and on stage when he isn’t singing, he is another one to keep your eye on. Last night he sang “I Fell”, which for him wasn’t his best performance but was more than good enough to stick around another week, with many more to follow. He along with David Cook and Brooke White seem to be the only three making good use out of their instruments, Jason and David with guitars and Brooke on the piano. A nice addition by Idol this year.

Should Be In (good enough to survive another week)

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Chikezie-22- I was among those who felt as though Chikezie didn’t belong in the top 12, however last night he showed up a new man. He sang “She’s a Woman” and while his vocals are not up to par with the top 6 I listed, he did a solid job using the whole stage and being legitimately entertaining for his 3 minutes on stage. He’ll live to sing another week, but I wouldn’t get used to seeing him.

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Syesha Mercado-21-I really thought Syesha was among the best singers in the top 24 when they were all annoucnced a few weeks ago, however whlie shes been decent, she hasn’t lived up to my expectations, and has been out-sung by at least half of her top 12 contemporaries. Last night, she sang “Got To Get You Into My Life” and was OK. Not bad, not great, just good enough to probably keep her around another week. She has to step up next week to give herself a chance against the top talent this season.

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David Hernandez- 24- hey Ryan?…what did you mean when you were referring to the tough week David Hernandez had? Could it have anything to do with the fact he was a male stripper back home in Arizona, and was spotted giving a number of lap dances to other men? Interestingly, the most memorable part of David’s night was when he spoke of losing his job….at the pizza place. Nothing juicy, however his rendition of “Saw Her Standing There” was ironic in the sense that among the lines in the song was “I’ll never dance with another…when I saw her standing there”. Hmmm. He over-sang the song, and was much better than he showed, and should survive results night.

This Weeks Bottom Three (as far as I’m concerned)

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Amanda Overmyer- 23I really cannot stand her voice after weeks and weeks of the same thing, and while she can definitely sing, hearing her put her self-proclaimed Amanda spin on “You Can’t Do That” didn’t work for me as well as it did for the judges. I can only hope America feels the same way about her voice as I do, as I actually muted the television during her performance. Belongs in the bottom 3, but of course with America voting (remember Sanjaya?), who knows.

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Ramiele Malubay-20- another one I am getting somewhat tired of, we get the whole big voice in a small package. Ramiele has the potential with her powerful voice, but didn’t show it off in what the judges seemed to agree was a rather boring performance. My attention was lost midway through her singing of “In My Life”, which if it was up to me would have her among the bottom 3 this week.

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Kristy Lee Cook-24- you know you had a bad week when Paula, who loves every performance she sees, openly admits on national television she didn’t like it. Kristy completely slaughtered the arrangement to “Eight Days a Week”. Despite my boy Archuleta forgetting his lyrics, his poor showing was not bad enough to dethrone Kristy as worst performance of the night. I didn’t think her voice was all that bad, but the arrangement was awful with her attempt to “countrify” this Beatles great.

And so, As Ryan likes to say at the end of every episode, after the nationwide vote of (I would imagine) over 30 million people, the person going home tonight will be…

Kristy Lee Cook

..shes very pretty, and has a great country voice, but her rendition of 8 days a week was dreadful. The arrangement she used made it sound like she was playing in a barn with two old guys on banjo’s, and although her voice didn’t sound half bad, the overall performance should ending her Idol run tonight.

March 12, 2008 Posted by | American Idol | Leave a comment