Tag Archive: American Idol

American Idol – Top 9

Okay, so after the results show this week, I felt I had to write something about it. I know I’ve ever so slightly touched on it before, but what is wrong with America? Do they understand the voting process? (Well, the whole George Bush thing didn’t turn out so well, so maybe we’ll just leave it at that.)

Michael Lynche, or “Big Mike” as he’s fondly known on the show, in my opinion, was probably one of the favourites to win the show. Now, his performance was alright during the Top 9, not his best, but definitely not the worst. According to America, though, he was one of the three worst performances of the night, along with Aaron Kelly and Andrew Garcia (see blue link above if you don’t know who they are). It was then whittled down to Mike and Andrew, after Aaron was told he was safe, followed by Andrew, leaving Mike with the least votes and facing elimination from the show. He “sung for survival” and the judges decided they would use their “Judge’s Save” on him, and he’d be back in the competition.

This left me with mixed feelings. Should he have been there in the first place? No. Should he have been saved by the judges? I’m not sure. I’m glad he was, because I liked him, but now the save has gone, anyone could go. And there are far more marketable acts left to the mercy of the public, who clearly can’t vote correctly.

Back in the semi-finals, three strong contenders for the title went out before the Top 12, and last week, Didi Benami was voted off, to my utter disgust. This leaves one more point. And that point is Tim Urban. He is like the “Jedward” of X Factor on American Idol. He isn’t extremely talented in the singing area, but girls will vote for him because he’s something to look at (although Jedward were not). He shouldn’t have made the Top 12, and definitely not this far in the competition. How long will he stay in for? I don’t know. And that’s what scares me, as two people are definitely eliminated from next week’s show.


Allison Iraheta – Just Like You

In May 2008, America crowned their 8th winner of American Idol, Kris Allen. Allison Iraheta, on the other hand, was eliminated in a respectable fourth place, albeit deserving at least a spot in the final. The irony of the “rock princess” being eliminated in Rock Week was a little too much to bear, especially as Danny Gokey’s performance of Dream On by Aerosmith, appropriately nicknamed “Scream On”, was so poor, that he should have been eliminated on the spot right there and then. But, alas, it was never meant to be and fourth place was where Allison finished. Fast forward 7 months and Iraheta’s debut album is released, with 11 different producers for her 13 tracks, you would automatically assume that a 17-year-old wouldn’t be capable of making an album with any depth whatsoever.

Starting with a riff, into an “Oh yeah!” Friday I’ll Be Over U begins the album, also chosen as the lead single. Although I completely understand why this song was chosen as the first single, with its radio-friendly vibe and pop/rock-slash-dance-beat infusions and a sing-along chant of “Friday I’ll be over you”, it’s a different kind of Allison that we heard on Idol. I must admit when I first heard this song, I wasn’t overly impressed as it sounded like it could be just “another one of those songs”. The ones that don’t stand out at all. I did know, however, that I would grow to love it, as Allison’s voice can overshadow the genre of the song as a whole. Robot Love, being the second track in, gives you that rock sound that Iraheta brought on Idol, albeit having a pop feel to it. The song is perfect for a seventeen-year-old girl, singing about technology stealing her boyfriend. The verses, the bridge, the chorus, everything about this song is brilliant. The guitars moulding in so well with Allison’s “Ooh, give me my, give me my baby back” just showcase the whole reason why she reached the top 4 on American Idol. Now, for one of the stand-out tracks on the album, Just Like You. Immediately sounding like a hit for the radio to me. A slower tempo this time, bringing out the softness and the harsh tones in her voice with make for a perfect ballad. Next, Don’t Waste The Pretty, a decent song, but not one that stands out in your memory when looking back over the album. The second single, Scars, follows, bringing a tender ballad to the album, which is welcomed with open arms. This song is also one of the best on the album, no question about it. And although I’m not sure if it makes the perfect single choice, as something from a teenager needs an upbeat feel to it, the song really showcases her full range of capability. Pieces has the job of living up to the previous song, of course it doesn’t quite do that, as Scars is one of the best songs on the album. Having said that, this song is a solid addition to the album. Now when I first heard D Is For Dangerous, I wasn’t really sure of the song. By that, I mean I didn’t really remember it. It didn’t make an impression on me. But as you give the album a few more plays, the genius of the song is apparent. After all, she is seventeen. Listing various things about a relationship in alphabetical order actually really works during the song. Holiday, originally recorded by a woman called Dilana, who finished runner-up on an American reality show called Rock Star: Supernova. Allison’s rock roots come out in this song, raspy moments in her vocals, mixed with her upper range. Just perfect for this song. Still Breathing is next, and a track also well-suited for radio, in my opinion. Pop/Rock is what Allison does best, and this is exactly that. The chorus here is simple, but brilliant. One of Iraheta’s best vocals on the album, I think. Bringing the album down to a slow tempo again, Trouble Is has a wonderful piano ballad feel to its verses, before breaking out into a drum/guitar second half, producing a powerful ending to the song. Next, a song written by none-other than P!nk and Idol judge Kara DioGuardi, No One Else has all the potential to be a stand-out on the album. And even though I feel Allison’s vocals are amazing throughout,  the chorus’ second half doesn’t quite match the first – meaning the ‘Simply no one else’ part. Beat Me Up brings the album back up with a bang. With a backing riff that will definitely make you want to move, and repetitive lyrical verses, everything about this song just has a huge tick all over it. One of my favourites from the album. But last – and by no means least – You Don’t Know Me, the only song that was co-written by Iraheta. And it’s probably my favourite from the album. It belongs on the radio, it belongs on your iPod. It just belongs. This song is a real gem. A perfect way to finish the album. Its verses are kind of low-key, leading onto a soaring belter of a chorus. This kind of song is what Iraheta is best at. Stretching her vocals to the limit, but in a way that sounds effortless.

Regardless of its commercial success in America, or lack of it as the case may be, this is definitely an album Allison Iraheta should be proud of. Only finishing 4th on American Idol and still making it into the Billboard 200 albums at #35 is a real achievement. I’m interested to see what Allison will be doing for her second album, because I have no doubt there will be a second record. And I’m excited about what she’ll bring to the table. 9/10

American Idol Top 12

Three weeks ago, the judges on American Idol decided who they wanted in the semi final of the competition – the top 24. After each week, two boys and two girls get cut from the competition and the public vote is the only factor in deciding this. Usually, I feel that the public get it right, or almost so, but as the results show for the final semi final episode is over, I am left with a bitter taste in my mouth, aimed towards the American public voters.

Now, I’m not narrow-minded or completely clueless about music. I enjoy almost everything and appreciate each genre respectively, so I don’t think I’m biased towards a particular sounding voice, or based on gender/race. But as I sat down to watch the final performances of the girls, shown on Tuesday nights in America, two particular performances stand out, and not necessarily for the good. Paige Miles, a 24-year-old from Florida, picked her final song of the semi finals and she chose “Smile” by Nat King Cole. In the two previous weeks, Paige had struggled to find a song that suited her as an artist, so this one was a bizarre choice also. Nevertheless, I gave her the benefit of the doubt and hoped she’d do something amazing with it. Unfortunately, she did not. Not even close to good, in my opinion. Katie Stevens, a 17-year-old from Connecticut, chose a Kelly Clarkson hit ‘Breakaway‘. She had been called old-fashioned and needed to sing something “younger” so this seemed fairly logical. Now, I’m all for a Kelly Clarkson song being sung, being the huge fan I am, but it was just ‘okay’. There was nothing special, and it was just going to be compared as a poor version of the original.

In the results show, the presenter, Ryan Seacrest, had put through two contestants from the top row of seats – 4 in total on each row – leaving Paige and Katelyn Epperly, a 19-year-old from Iowa. From the beginning of the live shows, Katelyn had been my favourite girl, along with another girl I’ll speak about a bit later, and even though Katelyn’s performance was okay, it wasn’t her best. It was rather forgettable and the song she chose wasn’t the one to propel her into the top 12. But the previous weeks, one including a beautiful rendition of Coldplay’s The Scientist on piano, she had shined and I felt she was more than on her way to making the themed shows. After recapping the performances, Paige Miles was sent through, sending Katelyn home. I was positive Paige was going home, and I was shocked and disgusted that the American public had dismissed the very talented Epperly. Maybe my other favourite girl would get through?

Again, Seacrest put through two girls on the bottom row, leaving the final two as Katie Stevens and Lilly Scott, a 20-year-old from Colorado. In the past two weeks, Lilly had been at the top of the pack, shining with her unique voice, and her style which she wouldn’t change for the show. She was an indie artist, as pointed out by judge Randy Jackson, and she made every performance on the show her style. She chose a Patsy Cline song to close the show, and, although she didn’t really do a whole lot with it, she still sang the song well, albeit maybe lacking a bit of energy. Lilly Scott, being my joint favourite girl, was my last favourite left. But in a de-ja-vu moment, Stevens was put through, much to the shock of many people in the studio, and fellow rejectee Katelyn Epperly, whose face showed the shock and disapproval of the decision. Scott was clearly disappointed, and surprised by the turn of events, as I’m sure she felt she did enough to make it through.

For the boys results, I picked two favourites also, just so I had plenty of choices in the top 24. Alex Lambert, no connection with the previous years runner-up, and Aaron Kelly. Lambert, a 19 year old from Texas, had a unique voice that was definitely destined to be a recording voice. All he was lacking was confidence, the rest of the tools were there. Aaron Kelly, a 16-year-old from Pennsylvania, had a voice made for country/pop. There is just something special about his voice that I can’t quite put my finger on. Luckily, Kelly made it through to the top 12, but that left Lambert and a previous YouTube singer Andrew Garcia. When Lambert was paired with Garcia, who sang Genie In A Bottle by Christina Aguilera, I just knew that the YouTube singer’s fans would be helping him through. And shockingly enough, Garcia made it through, and Lambert was sent home, extremely unfairly. He had so much potential, and I don’t remember any semi-finalists making a successful career out of music. Or even making an album. Which is extremely disappointing for him because he deserves it.

Another two boys were put through, completing a top 11, only one spot was left. Lee Dewyze and Todrick Hall were in the final two. Both performances were, I feel, the best ones. Lee’s version of Fireflies was edgy and well performed, and Todrick’s performance of Somebody To Love by Queen was amazing. His gospel/R&B feel worked brilliantly, and his vocals were great. Neither of them should be considered to be booted from the competition, whereas a forgettable performance from Casey James was rewarded with a place in the top 12. If I had to decide which performance I preferred, I’d have to say Todrick’s as his vocals were the best they’ve been in the live shows. The results were revealed, and Todrick was sent home.

America’s top 12 is:

  • Didi Benami – a 23-year-old from California (6)
  • Crystal Bowersox – a 24-year-old from Ohio (2)
  • Lacey Brown – a 24-year-old from Texas (11)
  • Lee Dewyze – a 23-year-old from Illinois (10)
  • Andrew Garcia – a 24-year-old from California (12)
  • Casey James – a 27-year-old from Texas (5)
  • Aaron Kelly – a 16-year-old from Pennsylvania (7)
  • Michael Lynche – a 26-year-old from Florida (4)
  • Siobhan Magnus – a 19-year-old from Massachusetts (3)
  • Paige Miles – a 24-year-old from Florida (8)
  • Katie Stevens – a 17-year-old from Connecticut (9)
  • Tim Urban – a 20-year-old from Texas (1)

Now I have to decide who my favourites are from the remaining 12. I feel Michael Lynche is a front-runner, his performance brought judge Kara DioGuardi to tears, I need another week or two to decide whether I agree with the front-runner status. Aaron Kelly is my only remaining favourite, and I think I shall add Lee Dewyze as my second boy.

Quirky Siobhan Henry has really caught my eye in the past week or two, and Didi Benami whose performance was brilliant will be my favourites from now on. I shall keep my eye on Lacey Brown, even though I don’t feel she can win, her voice appeals to my ears. Crystal Bowersox has a weird attitude, I don’t think she wants to be in the competition, she’s just doing it so she can get money for her family.

If, in the next few weeks, my choices for American Idol get knocked out, maybe I should keep my opinions to myself. Do I think my choices jinx the competition? Maybe. We’ll find out next week. If one my choices go out again, I’ll think about favouring Casey James.