<i><b>THIS</b> is AMERICAN IDOL!</i>


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Smoke and Mirror(ball)s

Just watched the Finale, in a kind of a novel way: Dr L is away in the Central Time Zone at a conference, and was still in the air when Idol was on live in her area.
So I played the DVR of the show while we talked on Face Time, and I held up the phone so she could see/hear it. It actually worked really well. Didn't the show zip by, at only an hour?

All in all we thought Candice did better on the night. Her first song came off as a little more current, though Kree's was beautiful. Candice's 2nd, the single, was a little more upbeat in the chorus, while Kree's was kind of a downer all the way through LOL. Both were just kind of 'whatev' performances, as many Idol Single performances are. It's not the singers' fault.
Kree did a great job on her final song, but I think Candice picked a better one, and the a capella part at the beginning was a nice confident move.

Whether any of this adds up to votes is a mystery to me. I think Idol perhaps wants Candice to win, given the pimp treatment she got with the fireworks and light behind her songs; Kree's productions were a little more subdued, if you don't count the mystical 'angel wings' floating behind her on the first song. You would think Kree would be easier to market, but we don't know the totals that have been coming in for either of them.

The crowd seemed to cheer louder for Kree when Ryan asked them who they wanted to win, but it could have been my ears or TV.

I'm going to say Candice wins it. I've been wrong all season, though, and I really thought Angie would be here tonight, so what do I know? I can't wait to see who wins this one, though. I was so proud that, for once, we didn't have to hear all about the medical conditions that seem to plague Idols as they limp into the Finale year after year. Flu, blown out vocal cords, appendicitis or whatever Phil Philips was dying of last year -- this year, it was just two really great singers, who don't have to make any excuses at end of the day. They put their cards down and played the best hand they had.

Idol Tickets! That I couldn't use :(

I actually got an email today from Idol @ 1:30 PM saying I had tickets to the finale!
Unfortunately, Dr L is out of town, and I wasn't sure I could get together with anybody on such short notice.
That, combined with the fact that even if I magically teleported to the studio @ 1:30, it would still be iffy that I would get in; on non-Finale weeks, if you don't get in line by 12:30, you might not make it.
I image for the Finale, a lot of celebs that don't normally use their VIP vouchers will show up and bump
out the rabble.
It would have been nice to be there, though!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

The toughest cut

Idols go Home! This is traditionally where one Idol never really comes back. Let's see who it is!

Jimmy picks Round One, Judges pick Round Two, and the Idol "Production" picks Round Three.

Tonight the Battle of the Boobs has shifted to Mariah's tummy, but I think technically Nikki showed more cleavage skin. 

1st Round: 
Kree -- Jimmy picks Perfect.  This is a miss from the start for me. I think Kree hated it. Dr. l said it was Aiight. Keith gives a non-comment, I'm assuming he's trying to dodge making a negative out of it. The other judges also throw softballs at her. She's in the KOD spot so it must have sucked in rehearsals, too.

Candice: so this means Angie will close out the night. I think there's some kind of formula that says whoever is in the Pimp Spot on Top 3 night will be in the finale.
Candice continues her interesting streak of taking a rock song and kind of R&B'ing it. This was much better than Kree. Kind of shouty at the end for me, but OK. Judges love it. I wonder if we're seeing bus treads on Kree en route to a Candice/Angie Finale?

Angie: doing Sir Elton. Why didn't she play the piano on this one? She does a nice job, but I still get a Disney Cruise vibe from her. Better than Kree though, no doubt. It's like the joke about the two guys in the woods that get surprised by a bear. As they run away, one guy stops to put on his sneakers. The 2nd guy says, that won't help you outrun the bear. The 1st guy says, I don't have to outrun the bear -- I just have to outrun YOU. The judges felt like Angie outran Kree, too.

2nd Round: 
A-ha! They're switching up the order tonight. So we have no idea who will be in the pimp spot. 

But first, the visit home. Candice looks like she had a great time. Boy, the South looks so nice, I miss it sometimes. 

Candice is doing a song I've never heard. Dr. L says if she has one styling criticism this season, it's that all the girls' boots look ridiculous. This was just Aiight for me. This was the second KOD spot, and she kind of deserved it. Boy, Mariah never really lands the plane, does she? It was one of those non-critiques. Nikki almost tears up, it was sweet. Randy is reading shit Nigel wrote for him all night. It was all overtaken by emotion, however.

Next up, Angie and her lumberjack brother. First, we see her trip back to MA. They really play up the Boston Strong stuff, Idol would never miss a chance to capitalize on that. You have to give it to her fans, though, she had a hell of a turnout. Remeber, by contrast, Katherine McPhee? She couldn't fill a mall parking lot. 
Side Note: I never noticed before what a big melon head Angie has. For some reason you can really tell it in the home footage. 

These judges songs have been pretty forgettable thus far. She does OK, for a generic pop anthem. Maybe has the edge on Candice so far. She definitely has star power, the look, the swag, and the ability.

So Kree goes home. I forget what a sad backstory she has, it had to be tough. I think she wins for the sheer number of folks in the concert crowd. Another emotional visit! 

This Rascal Flatts song sounds like a perfect fit for her. Playing to the base, and there's no other country girls left. Holy shit, the Idol crowd loves her. Keith was the super-emotional one this time, and how could you not be? I think now it's a free-for all. Anybody could win this thing.

Round Three:
We see the Top Seven Losers in the crowd. Wow, lazaro looks like a cheeky punk, doesn't he?

First up, Angie. At the piano. This was forgettable for me until the chorus. I gained a little life, but it wasn't a solid as the first two for me. Dr. L has fallen asleep so it's just me hanging on the DVR tonight LOL. The judges are clearly going to just throw praise or neutrality tonight. 

Kree: this song is definitely in her ballpark, if not necessarily a dead-on hit. She does a great job considering. Side note: Idol must be employing every fiddle player in Hollywood, I think I saw a new one tonight. This was a little too attitude-y, kind of a Kellie Pickler vibe. She has a nice humble moment before the break. I think her fan base loves her no matter what. 

So the Pimp spot is Candice. This is without a doubt the biggest song of the night. I was worried when it began because it's so old. But she blew it out like she was Shirley Bassey or something. It wasn't perfect, but holy shit, after all these weeks of killing her voice, the fact that she could pull this off was incredible. She really deserves to be in the finale. But who will join her? 

If I have to make a call (Dr. L is still asleep), I think it will still be Candice and Angie. I think the weak first song will hurt Kree. Angie had three consistent songs, and Candice had the super atom bomb at the end. So I think Kree will go home. 

Of course, part of me knows Kree has a total lock on the Country vote, which has consistently been a powerhouse block for Idols for a decade. So, if Kree holds out and Candice goes home, I'll be disappointed, but not surprised in the least.

BTW -- I got tickets AGAIN for Idol, and we were psyched to go, but Dr. L can't make it due to a work conflict. So we'll have to give the tickets up this time. But Dr. L hasn't got an email yet this season, so we're still holding out for the Finale...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Finale - Angie and ?????

Before getting onto the performances...a couple things stand out. It seems pretty clear that it is going to be a Kree/Angie performance. The comments directed to Candice seem to be directed toward reassuring her that "she is going to be fine" and that "no matter what will have a career". I still believe that Candice is the best of the bunch, but Kree has the Country vote and Angie has the young tween vote and the AI pimping push. It also seems clear to me that AI really wants Angie to win, primarily because she is the easiest one for them to market. I actually think that Kree and Candice will do better if they don't win. If Candice were to win, I think she would become another Ruben...AI doesn't know how to market a singer like Candice. They COULD market Kree, but I think Kree will do better ala Kelly Pickler than she would with the AI Carrie Underwood push. So...lets take a minute and talk about the homecomings. As usual, This is AI at its best. All three of the homecomings were incredibily moving. I love how they showed really all three of them coming from very little. Did y'all notice the cop playing with his phone during Angie's performance? Like he was sooooo not interested. One last thing before the they showed the top 10 in the crowd. It was kinda interesting seeing them again. You realize WHO you have forgotten already. I forgot all about the blond latin kid that I liked so much in the beginning when he sand in Spanish. I also found it interesting that probably 4 of the 5 guys are gay...which is a higher proportion than in years past...don't know what that says...just found it interesting. So as for the performances. Round 1 - Jimmy called it for Angie. I actually would have given it to Candice...and I think the judges agreed Round 2 - Jimmy called for Kree. I agree. I thought Kree was completely in her element on this song. Angie was also really good. It was the first time that I really felt that she was comfortable on stage not sitting at the piano, which is exactly what the judges focused on. I thought Candice was weakest. Round 3 - Angie, back at the piano. I have to admit that Angie was definitely on tonight. I don't LOVE Angie...I dunno...there is something about her that bothers me. She seems a little fake and cut-throat and pretentious..and I don't connect emotionally with her. But tonight...I have to say that for the first time I can understand what some people see in her. Kree - nice performance, but it was a little flat for me. It didn't feel in her comfort zone for me. Candice - I'm not sure what to think. Somewhere....seemed very old fashioned as a choice....and it felt a bit staged and manipulative, but not in the way that one would felt not like they wanted to use to to propel her into the finale, but as a send off...I dunno. The judges swooned, but it felt weird to me...maybe its just me...who knows. While I would love to see a Kree/Candice finale. I truly believe it will be Angie/Kree. From what I've read, Angie's twitter followers are more than double Kree and Candice put Angie is probably definitely in and maybe is already the ordained winner. We'll find out tomorrow!!!!!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Our Trip to Idol Top Four Results Night! (L-o-ong)

Here's a play-by-play of our trip to the Idol Results Show tonight:

We parked at The Grove, which I highly recommend if you come see Idol. It's easy in and out and around the corner to the CBS lot on Beverly. There you begin your wait in the sun LOL. Bring some drinks and snacks, unless you want to buy them off the street vendors who are making a killing off the Idol line every week. The ticket says arrive at 3PM for the 5PM show, but unless you get there early (we got there around 1PM) you won't get in. 

You stand in line until roughly 3:30-4PM. The Idol PAs come by and verify your ticket and how far you are in the line -- we were about 50 people back. Depending on the "VIPs" that show up, you may or may not get in. They threatened us with that possibility, since tonight two busloads of FOX interns AND high school students came in ahead of us. So all our tickets were relegated to "seat filler" status, even though on a normal day we'd have gotten in no problem. But we knew, at 50 back, we would get in. 200 back, you never know.

So eventually we were herded into the lot, they took away our phones but we got to sit next to the studio in the shade. We saw Will.I.Am's dancers come by as we waited, as well as Candice and Amber's family. Little did we know Will.I.Am was leaving as we arrived! More on that later.

So about five minutes until 5PM we got called in, the first group. When you're a seat filler, you usually get pretty good seats, even though it's a gamble if you'll get in at all. We were stage right, one row up from the first tier rail. It's always funny to see the Idol stage in person, it's so much smaller than you would imagine. There was a layer of mist pumped over the stage so the lights would look good. On TV you might not even notice it, but it's like a light smog LOL.

The guy working the crowd was pretty funny. After he got us on our feet, practice clapping and shouting, we learned that Will.I.Am would be performing, as well as David Cook and last night's mentor, Harry Connick Jr. Sounded pretty good to us! We saw Nigel wandering about, with about four or five massive bodyguards for him, and I assume, the judges. They were just behind the judges table. 

Then the show began. The video segments you see on TV are displayed on the big oval screen in the back of the Idol stage. Then Ryan, Mariah, Randy, Nikki and Keith came out. Dr. L laughed that Mariah sashayed any time she walked, and never quickly. She's on these massive heels, it's funny. The sound was really weird tonight, all the speaking mics were very low. But the music sounded great.

The first number was a Great Gatsby production with all the remaining girls and some dancers. Watching it back at home, it actually sounded better in the room. When they cut to the Summer Tour video, everyone stayed on stage chatting, and the techs swooped in to start cleaning up, applying fresh makeup, etc. It was funny how many guys spent the whole break sweeping.

The girls assembled on the sofa of Doom, and I was struck by how much they seemed to really like and support each other. In particular, one PA brought out some jewelry, and started to put a necklace on Angie, but she hopped up and put it on Kree, herself. It just seemed like a friendly gesture we have not seen on other Idol seasons. There was no "clique", no two or three girls that huddled away from another, and it was that way all night. Handholding, pats on knees, words of encouragement. 

The judges, on the other hand, spent time chatting amongst Mariah, Randy, and Keith, but almost none of them spoke to Nikki. The tween girls in the pit area LOVED Nikki, and screamed her name on every break. Others in our side of the crowd yelled at Mariah mostly, but also had love for the Dawg. Keith got up every single break and talked to people in the crowd. Mariah didn't get up often, but she turned around FAR more than JLo ever did, and waved, smiled, blew kisses, took pictures of fans. It seemed genuine, and I was pleasantly surprised. 

Then we were back. Side note: it used to just be Ryan that has a teleprompter, but now EVERY SINGLE CAMERA that is on stage has words on it. I could see lyrics on the camera that the Idols sang into. It was bizarre.

So Ryan shows the Ford video. As it played he turned to a stagehand, who said "five minutes", and Ryan ran backstage, and techs and PAs flitted about. They all scurried back just in time. When Ryan led in the Jimmy/recap segment, it was interesting, Candice spent the whole time looking back at her family. 

As the clips played, the Idols would laugh, or squeeze each other's arms, or pat their shoulder, etc. Lots of support. When they cut to the next break, the stagehands, techs, PAs ran onto the stage and set up Cookie's band equipment in a frenzy. It was pretty impressive. If you see the show, and consider how big his band, and then Ray Chew/Connick's band is later, it was impressive how fast they could get set up and disappear by the next break. 

When they came back, Cook watched himself onscreen and it took me a second to realize it was him. He's got some new pseudo Rockabilly up-do that looks a bit different. He played his new song, and it sounded great! Side note: it's fun to watch Keith during all these music numbers, he gets into it LOL. Head bobbing, shoulders popping back and forth. He's a very supportive musician. Ryan had a chat with Cookie and then we cut to break.

On this break, Cook talked to Randy, Keith and Mariah, and a few fans. During this time it took a while to clean up the stage, and the Stage Manager (can't recall her name but she's been there for years) got us to clap for them, they really were busting ass. It took so long that when we came back from break, the camera was on Ryan facing towards the crowd, and he introduced "Will.I.Am", though there was still some band shit onstage! No musicians…

They of course cut to a VIDEO of Will.I.Am, which we learned had been recorded just before we all came in. I guess it was such a massive undertaking there was no way to do it live. But since I think Will.I.Am kind of sucks, it was OK with me. If you watch the show, there's a quick shot at the end and there are people in the crowd, but no judges, and the room's only about half full. The Magic of Television LOL.

The stagehands etc. swoop in and assemble a big-ass band setup for Connick. 
It's kind of funny, but the girls have been sitting on that sofa for a LONG time now. Side note: Nikki brushes her hair a LOT. any time the camera isn't rolling. I swear that can't be her real hair, right? 

One of Connick's pianos broke the stage! It fell through the floor. They fixed it, but there was a moment of wtf in the room.

We come back live to Ryan with a group of giddy teen girls talking about some Idol Fun Pack bullshit. The response in the room was tepid, but the girls were very stoked to be onstage, and Ryan was sweet with them before and after. Then Harry Connick sings. It's really a good performance, kind of restrained, but very smooth. The crowd dug him. His guitar player was fantastic. After the song, and the usual Gay Panic joke from Ryan, we cut to commercial. 

The stagehands swooped in, cleaned up. Harry spoke to everyone, but did not linger like Cookie did. Spent more time with Keith than anyone. Everyone showed a lot of respect for the older black gentleman who played guitar for Connick, and spoke with him and shook his hand. Ryan came over, and for the only time of the night, spoke briefly, but intently, with Nikki. Why, you ask?…

When we came back live, Ryan is talking to the Idols. It's Results time! He throws over to Nikki, and then it became clear why he spoke with her on the break: he set her up to have something to say here. 

And the Result lighting kicks in. Boy, it gets freaking dark when Kieran dims the lights. Angie is safe, then Candice. Ryan cuts to the inevitable tension-building commercial. Then EVERYONE comes up onstage, one at a time. The girls all huddle up at the "three lucky stools" area. Randy, Nikki, Keith, Nigel, they all talk to them. Mariah sashays over, and I swear, it looked like she wasn't going to make it back to the judges table in time, she moves so SLOW! But when we came back from the break, you'd swear no one had moved.

They drop the bomb on Amber. It hits Candice so hard she sort of stumbles over to hug her, too soon. It hits Amber as she's watching her "journey" onscreen. She pulls it together to sing, and actually does all right considering. As she's singing, Ryan drags her dad out of the crowd. Amber loses it. Everyone is pretty emotional. The end credits music plays, and the Crowd Guy asks us all to sit silently. 

It's kind of awkward, but we all just look on as the cameramen, the judges, the family members all pile onto the stage and shoot the footage you'll see next week when they talk about Amber leaving. Everyone tries to console Amber, but damn, she's heartbroken. She really takes it hard. After a few minutes, we start to file out. 

Now it's time to head to the cell phone pickup line. We walked out with Candice's family, and saw Angie's mom. She was literally right next to us. A funny moment: a little girl who had just picked up her phone wanted a picture with Angie's mom, and she said "sure honey, take it quick before CBS sees you!" She took the pic, and sure enough, a hard-ass CBS security guy walked over and barked "no pictures on the CBS lot!" It was kind of hilarious.

We walked back to the Grove and had dinner at La Piazza -- yum! Then picked up our car. Note: if you eat at the Grove and get your ticket validated, it saves you $6 on parking for Idol! It was well worth it. 

We had a good time! Looking forward to next week.  

Dr. L and K out! 

When I Was Your Giraffe

Idol Top Four REDUX: 

I'm curious to see if the girls who came up short last week will "bring it" 
this week. Part of me thinks they KNEW no one was going home, and saved their voices LOL. We'll see. (BTW -- Dr. L and I will be at the RESULTS SHOW tomorrow night, so we'll get to see in person!!! We'll give you the behind-the-scenes dirt)

Mariah is still rocking the boobs and teetering like she had a couple Xanax. Nikki is rocking some kind of Yellow Submarine - meets - Cleopatra outfit with a dark wig. Keith has an awesome TOP GEAR Stig shirt.

The Idols all look great. Funny how they all get slimmer as the weeks go on. The theme this week is Songs from 2013 (are there even four good songs so far this year?) and Standards, which is actually like every week at Idol. Harry Connick is a mentor! He's awesome.

HMM -- Angie up 1st in the KOD spot. Rihanna Diamonds. I don't know this song, but then I could not care less about Rihanna. Would you love it if you love the original? I was actually liking it until the shrieking bum note. Is the contest killing her voice? I think she knew it was kind of a miss. The judges all wade in with low key slams against her. 

Amber -- doing Pink. Harry likes her, even if she forgets the words. Too bad on the night she was stiff. This is a weird song choice -- Dr. wondered if she was behind the music. Idols do this all the time: pick these "busy" songs that take too much air to power through. I would say that was only slightly better than Angie. And that's not saying much. The judges jump on her too. They want her to have fun! AND be stellar. Yet, these songs aren't stellar, right? Mariah predicts her 2nd song will be beyond stellar -- is that Interstellar? 

Candice -- doing Bruno Mars. I like that she sort of goes into left field for some of these choices. Personally, I don't care if she changed the gender or not -- this was a far better song than the first two. She has such a pleasant, emotional voice. The judges love it. I don't know if she can win, but I think she's my favorite.

Kree -- doing a FarmBot song. Harry loves her. Dr. L says this year no hot Fiddle Guy, but warm Guitar Guy? She's playing to the base. I have to say, she seems more emotionally invested this week. Maybe not as powerful as Candice, but a good second. Judges give praise, but nobody was jumping up and down. They trot Harry out to bolster her -- are they hoping to get her to the Finale?

1st Round I'd say it was Candice, Kree, Amber and Angie.

Angie: doing Someone To Watch Over Me. Harry was encouraging, but it sounded like it was Aiight. She looks great. Boy, old songs are so much better than the shit today, huh? Even if they sound old-fashioned. Which she does. This could be a plaintive song, but she makes it into a Miss America performance by the end. Good last note -- sometimes that's all America needs. Better than the 1st performance. Judges give back-handed praise. Maybe she is a Broadway Disney Princess. Nikki cracked me up with the Q-Tip thing. 

Amber -- My Funny Valentine. Harry calls her out on being clueless on the song meaning. I think he helped -- this was a far more effective performance than Angie's. Great vocal, she looked amazing. She's really got what it takes to be a star. Dr. L thought it was beautiful. Everybody gets emotional -- she definitely deserves to make it to next week. But will she?

Candice -- doing Billie Holliday. Harry gives a big "fuck you" to the 14-year-olds who vote on Idol. This is a grown-up song -- who else here could sing this? She's had the two closest to "moments" of the night. She gets a standing O. Maybe it would be better if she goes home -- then we'll get the album she needs to make, not some pop bullshit Nigel wants the winner to. 

Kree -- Stormy Weather. Harry lays it on the line with her like all these Idols -- lay off the melisma bullshit. It's a shame she had all that orchestra, it was a much more powerful song when she did it for Harry. Her voice was very pretty, but I guess she couldn't help herself but do all the runs. Harry makes some great faces as the judges throw him under the bus. When he comes up on the panel it was hilarious. 

The Idols come back from break with a harlot choir. What is this? I felt like I DVR'd part of another show. 

2nd Round: I'd say Candice, Amber, Kree and Angie. Who should go home -- Angie. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Only 1 is definitely inittowinit

Round 1 - Current Songs Best by far - Candice. She was the only one who looked confident, professional and current. No one was even close to her tonight. Second place - Kree. She did a great job with the Carrie Underwood Song. I agree with Randy that this is the avenue that Kree should pursue Third - Angie. I actually liked it more than the judges gave her credit for. I DID agree that she seemed disconnected and artificial, but she looked gorgeous and I thought her vocals were really good for Angie Fourth - Amber. WHAT happened there? She looked nervous, her vocals were not good. I love me some Amber, but tonight...that was just not good. Round 2 - Standards Blech....really? I love standards, but if AI is trying to be current and hip, why do they keep going back to these old fashioned themes. Angie - Playing the family card tonight....first round talks about how much she loves her family and then dedicates this round to her mom...who sang this song to her. Ok....spare me Angie. (Big afro guy was missing from the string group). Something else was missing.....any excitement. Angie took this song nowhere. Amber - Wow....I hated everything about that performance...and the judges gave her a standing ovation. I didn't like the look. She looked horribly old fashioned. I hate it when contestants repeat songs that they have already done. There were parts of the song that were just screechy and off key. I didn't think this was even close to when she performed it before. Lots of tears....probably will help her, but I don't think enough. I think Amber is a goner. Candice - Perfect vocal. Candice was at the top of her game tonight. She is the only one tonight who is inittowinit. Kree- Wow...first time I've seen Kree dressed sexy and looking like a performer. Ah....big afro violin guy spotted....maybe I just missed him before. Kree looks uncomfortable though. Definitely not the seasoned professional like Candice. Round 2- Candice, Kree, Angie, Amber Big Winners tonight - Harry Connick and Candice. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Harry as a Mentor. He should be a judge next year if they can get him. But of the 4, Candice was far and away better than the rest. Followed by Kree, Angie and Amber. Sadly...Amber wrote her go home ticket tonight...and not go home for a top three homecoming. Amber needed a big night to keep her out of the bottom where she has been consistently. This week it definitely ends for her.