Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Idol 46 - Katie Stevens

46. Katie Stevens
Season 9, 8th Place

Here comes the Pageant-bot! Haha.

To be honest, I was so sorry to see Katie go during the double elimination of Season 9 just because she was so darn earnest and I felt bad that she cried. I mean, Katie is the most improved contestant of that season and she was just starting to grow and come into her own.

Aaron Kelly, to me, was more out of his depth than Katie actually was. I really pegged her as very rough around the edges in the beginning but good enough to remain competitive by picking great songs - as seen in the week when Michael Lynche was eliminated - and someone who could gain extreme momentum.

When Katie auditioned, I really thought that she was one I should keep an eye on because her rendition of At Last was very controlled and really good - though her back story was a bit annoying. Haha. Then, she managed to deliver good performances during the Hollywood week although I already noticed that she seemed a bit robotic with her performances.

True enough, she showcased her pageant-like vibe during her first live performance on Idol. Actually, Feeling Good was a poor song choice for her. Then, her two next semifinals performances were all mediocre at best in terms of everything. Sure, Katie has a fantastic voice and great power but I had no idea who she was as an artist. So, when she survived the final cut for the Top 12 and Katelyn Epperly didn't, I was somewhat furious - although I mostly blame Paige Miles and Lacey Brown on her elimination. 

However, something happened when she entered the Top 12. Somehow, I felt like Katie just needed to get to the big stage because something about the small stage in the last round was warping her into a desperate performer. Katie during the Final 12 onwards picked good songs to showcase her vocals and I was slowly becoming a fan of Katie. Everything she did was a step towards the right direction.

It was really good to see her find her stride in the competition. Sadly, she was eliminated just when she was just actually gaining extreme momentum. It should've been Aaron Kelly or even Michael Lynche instead of her. I mean, did you hear her sing Christina Aguilera's Beautiful and Fighter during the Finale? She was AMAZING! Oh, and I think she's probably one of the prettiest girls EVER on Idol. Don't you think?

Favorite Performance(s): Without a doubt, her rendition of Let It Be was my favorite. It was absolutely brilliant. I sat there and said to myself “Who is this human, vulnerable, emotional girl?” Haha. Where has she been? I think that was her one giant leap in the right direction and clearly her best vocal in the competition. Her take on Big Girls Don't Cry and the horny Baby, What You Want Me To Do were also really good.

Let It Be

Big Girls Don't Cry

Baby, What You Want Me To Do

#45 - Joanna Pacitti

Monday, August 30, 2010

Glee: Season 2 Episode 1 Pictures with Charice, Cheyenne and Dot

I know that the start of the 2nd season is still a few weeks from now, but the excitement is gradually building up within me, especially after seeing these spoiler pictures with Charice in them. I really can't wait to hear her sing! According to reports, Charice's character name is Sunshine Corazon. Haha. Not sure about the Corazon though. 

Stop the hate, appreciate!

If you're looking for some spoilers, check out my Glee coverage HERE

2010 Emmy Opening: Glee Kids, Tina Fey, Kate Gosselin, Jimmy Fallon and more

This opening number is awesome! Haha. The skit includes the Glee kids - Lea Michele, Amber Riley, Corey Monteith and Chris Colfer - Jimmy Fallon, Jane Lynche (Glee), Tina Fey (30 Rock), Betty White (SNL), Kate Gosselin (Dancing With The Stars), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Jorge Garcia (LOST), Joel McHale (Community), Nina Dobrev (Vampire Diaries) and Randy Jackson (American Idol).

Idol 47 - Anoop Desai

47. Anoop Desai
Season 8, 6th Place

Here we get to another contestant from Season 8, Anoop Desai.

I have a weird relationship or thoughts toward Mr. Desai. I mean, I've always liked him, but somehow it depends on how he performed. Sometimes, I would really like him and be a fan and would root for me. Then there were other times where I liked him but would lose interest and just not care about him - especially the later part of his Idol run.

Now, I'll start from the beginning. When Anoop came to audition, I somehow got the computer geek vibe coming off of him and didn't expect him to do good. Well, Anoop's audition, to me, was a good vocal, but it left me a bit cold, and I'd forgotten about it a few minutes later. His Hollywood performance was also ok, but did nothing for me. However, I already saw a couple of YouTube videos of him and his choir and thought that he could really deliver some good performances if not for the editing of each episode. So, I remained hopeful.

So, when I learned that he was part of the Top 36 of Season 8, I was ecstatic. Sadly, his Angel of Mine performance during a highly competitive Group 1 was forgettable, at best. In fact, it was just a tentative performance that almost bored me to tears. I still assumed he'd be advancing through to the Top 13 though because he was well-liked. But, it was Michael Sarver who got the other spot and got me a little irritated. I mean, Anoop's wasn't that great but Sarver's was just annoying. I don't know.

When he got a Wild Card callback, I knew he'll deliver an amazing performance but I was underwhelmed. Sure, it was fun and entertaining but it fell a little short for me. But somehow, I was just glad that they made that season a Top 13 just for him.

Now, came the Finals and a couple of performances down, I realized what was wrong with Anoop in general - he's a one trick pony! I mean, his only strength was the ballads because Beat It was just not good and Caught Up was just awkward with his wierd facial expressions. His performances were he showed off his tender vocals were incredible but his inability to perform uptempo songs was a bit disturbing, at least to me. Haha.

Good thing, he managed to pull off some amazing, though ballad, performances like Always On My Mind and Ooh Baby Baby. Unfortunately, his popularity started to really dwindle after that. Even after what was probably one of his best performances with Everything I Do, he still landed in the Bottom 3. By then, I knew that it's only a matter of time before he was sent packing and true enough, he got eliminated the next week, with Lil Rounds.

Currently, I'm digging his first post-Idol independent album. He has a couple of good songs in it and his lead single, My Name, is actually quite good. Listen HERE

Favorite Performance(s): Always On My Mind would probably be my favorite. He showcased his smooth, soulful vocals very nicely and didn't sound boring or tentative at all.

Always On My Mind

Check this out!
My Name - Anoop Desai

#46 - Pageant-bot!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Idol 48 - Lisa Tucker

48. Lisa Tucker
Season 5, 10th Place

When I first saw Lisa, after her audition, I was just so positive that she was going to be at least in the Top 5 of the competition that season. I thought her rendition of One Moment In Time, though overrated, was actually good. I like the control and her tone was lovely.

Now, I do like her and I was really glad that she made the Top 12. She really is a good singer and going into the Top 24 she was in my Top 5 favorites. Unfortunately, I think she was another very ambitious contestant when it came to song choices that somehow ruined her chances in the competition.

To be fair, she started off the semifinals round with I Am Changing, an extremely big soul song and though I personally wouldn't consider her to be a soul singer at all, I thought she did amazing with the song. Again, she showcased her impeccable vocal control here. The next week, she performed the Jackson 5's Who's Loving You, which was also pretty good.

But somehow, that was also the week I realized that yes, she is a very good young singer but she was also extremely "stage school". Every note of every song seemed so rehearsed and planned out, which is not a quality I like in a singer. I like it when someone can get up and just sang. I just didn't quite get that from her. She can sing, but it's too staged.

Now, I'm actually listening to some of Lisa's performances right now, and she really does have some great techniques that she can use beautifully. I love when she uses dynamics in her songs, because her soft tone is beautiful and her powerful tones are great as well, but they sound really nice when she transitions between them.

Oh, and she has a great vibrato as well. I guess she could've been higher on my list if she had just chosen better songs for her voice because she is easily one of the most talented teenagers to be on the show. But I do think that with her style of singing she is probably best suited for Broadway - or R&B.

Let's see. I learned that she's signed with Ne-Yo's production company.

Favorite performance(s): Her audition was quite nice, especially the first half of the song. That rooms acoustics really did it for her. My favorite of her live performances would to be I Am Changing. Her version of Kelly Clarkson's Because Of You was one of my guilty pleasures that season. Ha!


I Am Changing

Because Of You

#47 - Dawg!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Idol 49 - Ayla Brown

49. Ayla Brown
Season 5, Top 16 Finalist

I almost died - together with a friend - when I learned that she was eliminated on the show. Seriously. Haha. The story later..

Anyway, I wasn't very impressed with Ayla after her first audition. I thought she could sing, but like Simon said, it all seemed so rehearsed and robotic. You see, I like the vocals to sound very natural and Ayla was the epitome of a schooled artist.

But for some weird reason, she impressed me during the Top 24 night. Her performance of Christina Aguilera's hit Reflection, though predictable, was pretty good and she clearly connected herself to the song. I thought she nailed it. I was usually on the fence with her but she proved me wrong that week.

The next week, she tackled a Celine Dion song and didn't exactly know what to expect. But, again, she pulled it off quite nicely. Now, this was the time that I actually saw her as a possible dark horse in the competition and I realized that she's possibly in the top half of the girls that season. She did have a nice tone and she can control her voice really well.

Then, Unwritten happened and I suddenly wasn't sure of her chance. To me, the performance was extremely underrated but the judges didn't respond to it positively. Sure, she's not like Katharine McPhee in terms of originality, and she may not have the energy Paris Bennett has. But Ayla's voice is a breath of fresh air, and her riffs stand out to me. I also think her falsetto is not rivaled by any of the other girls.

However, at that point, I knew Ayla was competing for the Final spot in the Top 12. I think Paris Bennett, Lisa Tucker, Katharine McPhee, Mandisa and Kellie Pickler are sure bets in the Finals. So, it might very well be down to Ayla and Melissa McGhee for the last spot. True enough, it happened just like that. Ayla eliminated just before the Top 12. Ugh.

She was robbed! I mean, I definitely think she earned a place in the Top 12 over Melissa McGhee or Kellie Pickler - maybe even Mandisa. But really, I was so devastated when she got the boot that I almost died literally - you know, I was driving when my friend gave me the news. Haha. All the work, all the effort she had displayed only to be eliminated. I do have a bone to pick with that. But a lot of factors came into play when it comes to voting. It was just bad timing for everything. Oh well.

Favorite performance(s): I like Celine Dion, so I get nervous when someone tries to sing one of her songs, but Ayla did her justice. She displayed such a beautiful upper register and great control. She sang it very passionately too. Definitely one of my favorite performances of the semifinals in Season 5, which says a lot.

I Want You To Need Me

#48 - Finalist on Star Search

Friday, August 27, 2010

Glee: Season 2 Class Photos!

Fox just released the new promo photos for Glee's Season 2, which begins September 21, 2010! Yay! I have to admit, I’m looking forward to the season premiere of this show. Oh, and Rachel has bangs now, Quinn is a Cheerio again and Mike Chang has his own class photo. Interesting.

If you're looking for some spoilers, check out my Glee coverage HERE.

Check out the class photos after the jump!

Movie Review: Grown Ups

Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Rob Schneider, David Spade and Chris Rock hanging out in a lake house, cracking wise jokes at each other for two hours. So what's the plot? Well, that IS the plot. Haha.

Grown Ups, to me, was that typical comedy movie that couldn't be more predictable, more formulaic, or more unoriginal than it was. Yes, it wasn't as awful as I expected it to be because it was so cliched that it possibly cannot be a disappointment. However, it was still far away from being a good movie because of how familiar it seemed. The story can't get more paper-thin than that right?

The other problem I had with this flick was that I laughed maybe three times - and I'm being generous here - throughout the whole movie. There were lots of jokes but most of them felt forced or just went over my head. The childish humor had no substance and it just came off very dry. Also, the family moments were forced and felt awkward to even watch. Seriously.

For a redeeming quality, the performances weren't too shabby. I actually found most of the characters pretty likable, though a bit too two-dimensional. And.. That's it. Haha.

Personally, I thought the whole movie was pointless. I mean, if you have a by-the-numbers plot, typical performances, and a been-there-done-that tone, then what's the point of making a movie? It's not even THAT entertaining. A lackluster effort which was dumb, disappointing, and decidedly demented.

RATING: 4/10

Idol 50 - Danny Gokey

50. Danny Gokey
Season 8, 3rd Place

Yes, the "douche bag"!

Frankly, Danny thinks he's better than he actually is. I don't care what anyone says, but it's true. He always acted like he was the best and the judges always fed him more and more undeserving praise week after week. In a way, I kind of feel sorry for him.

I've always wished there was more than one "brutally honest" judge on the panel, and that he or she didn't always agree with Simon on everything. Maybe then, Danny would've heard some actual constructive criticism over his worst performances instead of A+ for effort! when he performed his awful version of Dream On. But no, instead he got Kara, Paula, and Randy drooling over everything he did. Heck, Kara even said that Danny was NEVER pitchy. Really Kara?

From the beginning, I knew Danny Gokey was going to be someone who I recognized their talent, but I wasn't going to be crazy about. It started from his audition. I didn't buy into the hype very much - for me, his voice was good and soulful, but nothing I could love, and it wasn't long before I'd forgotten about it. Then I thought he ruined I Hope You Dance in Hollywood, so my liking for him went down. His semifinals performance of Hero was pretty good, but once again, it wasn't anything exciting.

Now, when the Finals started, and he didn't play the game right. He picked songs that had been done before on Idol every week except for What Hurts the Most. He didn't grow as an artist at all or take risks, so he became very karaoke.

I actually blame the judges for this, because they always treated him like he could do no wrong, so naturally Danny became complacent. His dancing skills also needed serious refinement. This went on for weeks, and throughout this course of the show, he developed a reputation for being arrogant. Do I think he was? A little, perhaps. However, I blame the judges once again, because if I were treated like I walk on water every single week, I might let it go to my head, too.

Then, at Top 4 night, Dream On happened, and it was a trainwreck - no, actually it sounded like a dying cat crushed by garbage bags in a stinky dumpster. Haha. That time, I was past ready for him to go, but he survived over Allison Iraheta. Really. I don't have a vendetta against him - or maybe I have - but I just think he's average as a singer and a performer. Oh well, everyone hated Gokey's gut. So, whatever. Haha.

Favorite Performance(s): P.Y.T was probably one of his better performances. There were certain things that worked to his favor during Michael Jackson week, one was that he didn’t mention his dead wife, the vocals were spectacular, and he entertained me! But of course, I couldn't let go of his Scream On because that was just EPIC! If you disagree you're wrong. Haha.


Scream On

#49 - Daughter of a Senator

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Idol 100: Top 50 Teaser!

Wow. Can you believe I've already revealed half of my Idol 100? To be honest, it's kind of hard to believe it myself. Haha.

Well, I'm very happy that people are still reading the countdown. I've made it past the half-way point, and I'm excited about getting to my favorites. I think it'll be much easier to write about everyone from here on out. The write-ups might not be as harsh from this point on, but I'm still definitely going to continue speaking my mind, and hopefully keep you entertained! So, please continue to post comments and let me know what you think of everyone.

Now, out of the contestants I've already revealed who do you think is too high? Or too low? Who are you shocked that hasn't shown up yet? What do you think of the list as a whole? I want to hear your thoughts. Keep them coming.

Here's the breakdown of the upcoming Top 50!

Season 1 - 2 
Season 2 - 0
Season 3 - 2
Season 4 - 8
Season 5 - 6
Season 6 - 6
Season 7 - 8
Season 8 - 11
Season 9 - 7

Female - 30
Male - 20

Winner - 7
Runner up - 6
3rd Placer - 5
4th Placer - 4
5th Placer - 4
6th Placer - 3
7th Placer - 2
8th Placer - 3
9th Placer - 2
10th Placer - 2
11th Placer - 1
12th Placer - 1
Semifinalist - 10

#50 - Douche bag! Haha

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Movie Review: Vampires Suck

Ok. So, after making the woefully regrettable decision to pay money to see Date Movie a few years ago, I had vowed to stay far away from any other film under the same genre.

But, because I'm such an idiot, I allowed myself to be talked into watching a DVD version of the movie - maybe because I found the trailer pretty hilarious also. Sadly, that's basically it! Haha.

To be fair, I was actually surprised that Vampires Suck was an improvement over the previous spoof films. However, it's like saying it's the better crap out of all crap. Haha. I mean, the jokes were boring, obvious, predictable and just plain lazy. But I would be lying to myself if I said I didn't find some good that came out of this film because there are some improvements.

I thought that the lead actress, Jenn Proske, was a fantastic Kristen Stewart impersonator - literally every twitch, facial expression and bodily movement was dead on. Matt Lanter also did a good impersonation of Robert Pattinson's pain look. Haha.

Also, it was good that this film focused on only the first two Twilight films and did not rely on criticizing every film they possibly can as well as making lame pop culture reference after another just to get giggles - case in point, Meet The Spartans and Disaster Movie. Yes, there were still some pop culture references here and there but compared to the previous films where I got one every five seconds, I probably noticed one every five minutes. Haha.

Now, I can see what this film tries to be - exactly like or the next Scary Movie. But, let's face it, this movie wasn't a tenth of the creativity level as that of the spoof classic. In fact, that spoof - only part one, mind you - was released in 2000 and was the last good spoof to date! NO parody, including Vampires Suck, comes remotely close.

All that being said, the film was still bad because it was rarely funny. It worked when it was Scary Movie but it got worn out after a couple of sequels, Epic Movie, Date Movie, Meet the Spartans and Disaster Movie. The formula is dead. Although I will admit I laughed at some bits that took a jab at the TWILIGHT series. So, whatever.

RATING: 3/10

Idol 51 - Camile Velasco

51. Camile Velasco
Season 3, 9th Place

Camile is one that I think is underrated. Poor girl. I'm not saying she was great or even especially good, but she wasn't terrible. People seem to act like she just delivered horror performance after another. I don't get that.

Yes, when Camile auditioned, I was instantly a fan. For me, having a great audition goes a long way in my book and Camile did just that. She showed great potential as a modern RnB/Hip-Hop artist. Plus, she had a very cool, smoky tone to her voice that I loved. Unfortunately, she never quite topped the audition.

Now, I personally think that she has got to be the contestant that suffered the worst stage fright on Idol History EVER. I mean, I saw her fear in every episode and she seemed like she was thinking every movement on that Idol stage. Surprisingly though, that never bothered me. However, I think that is one of the main reasons people don't like her. They just couldn't get past that.

But vocally, I don't think she ever delivered a bad performance. Sure, there were definitely some bland ones, but none - in my opinion - where she was just completely off. And yes, that includes Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, which I thought was alright. Ha!

To be honest, I'd absolutely love to put Camile about twenty spots higher, because she has proved recently how great she is. She puts up YouTube vids of her singing every week on a thing called camileTV and I am addicted. She sounds so much better than she did on the show.

To me, if she sang like that during his Idol stint, she'd pretty much be guaranteed a spot in my Top 20. I think she has a beautiful distinct tone. She's got a very fast vibrato, but it actually works with her voice, for some reason. I think her style and sound is incredibly marketable, and a record company would be foolish not to sign her up. She may have been bland on the show, but I think Camile has the voice of a superstar today. Seriously.

Favorite performance(s): Her audition was definitely my favorite from her, as I've already said. The judges have compared her to Lauryn Hill, and I definitely got that vibe. Vocally, it was a tad robotic, but the sound and style would've been amazing on the show. I'd love someone with a hip-hop voice like that. Now, my favorite live performance was easily One Last Cry. The song complemented her tone well, and it was definitely a pleasure to watch on possibly the worst night in Idol history. Haha.

Check this out!
Open Up - Camile Velasco

One Last Cry

Heartless (Kanye West Cover)

What You Got (Colby O'Donis Cover)

American Boy (Estelle Cover)

Top 50 Teaser!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Idol 52 - Ruben Studdard

52. Ruben Studdard
Season 2, Winner

And just like that, two winners down. Haha. I don't have a whole lot to say about Ruben. So, this will probably be my shortest write-up of anyone as of yet. Here goes..

As you all should know by know, I didn't watch Season 2 when it was on, but of course I heard about Ruben. I knew who he was, but didn't know what he sounded like. Now, when I did get around to watching all of his performances on YouTube, I think he is a deserving winner.

To me, Ruben was very consistent. Nights on Broadway was the only performance I was not crazy about but other than that, everything was surprisingly good. But I think that Ruben's range between his best and worst performance is by far one of the smallest of any contestant on Idol ever - save for Melinda Doolittle maybe. So, yes, he was extremely consistent.

But why did he just rank 52 on this countdown? Well, while he was absolutely consistent during his season, his performances kind of run together for me. I mean, when I try to remember Ruben's performances I always think, "Well, that was good, but that sounded just like the week before."  I think Ruben could've been much more interesting on a newer season with the new bar that has been set. Good but boring isn't allowed anymore like it was the first few seasons. Plus the themes are a bit less generic nowadays. So it'd be interesting.

That said, I still think he's very good and I quite enjoy his voice.

Favorite performance(s): This is a little hard since there isn't much to distinguish from his performances, but I'd say Superstar is my favorite. He sounded nice and soulful. I also think Imagine is a very underrated performance from that season. He didn't do much with the song, but his voice sounded beautiful on it, for sure.


#51 - Young Lauryn Hill
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