Friday, April 29, 2011

American Idol 10: Top 5 Theme

I can't believe we're down to the last 5! Anyway, next week's theme will be, Now & Then. Since it's Top 5 already - except for Season 8 and 9 - everyone will perform two songs: 1 current song and 1 song from the 60s. Intersting no?

Frankly, I really like this idea. This will test who can actually handle two songs from different decades. Can't. Wait.

Performers on results show: Jennifer Lopez and Lady Antebellum. Wait, no American Idol alum? What happened?

American Idol 10: Top 6 Results Show

Casey Abrams. Well, this is a more respectable finish for him than 11th right? I admit, I've been a fan of Casey since his audition and I actually think that he's one of the most creative, talented and interesting contestants on the show this year. However, when the live show started, his antics became a bit too much that somehow made me like him a little less than before. Yes, I hated how he growled all the time. Once was fine as a nod to old style, but it went a little too much for my liking. He got the judges' save, and I knew then that he's just basically on borrowed time. But as much as I think that he doesn't stand a chance of winning the competition, he obviously brought interests to the show and I would be an idiot to lie to any of you to say that I will not miss him. He left such an imprint on this show and I wish him luck.

Recap after the jump!

Now, as for some observations and comments on the results show..
  •  OMG! Did I just hear Ryan Seacrest say that a lot of people will get disappointed with the result? So Jacob and Haley are safe??? 
  • This group number is both entertaining and possibly the worst thing I’ve ever heard at the same time. Haha.
  • But wait, that also convinced me that the girls are way better singers. Yes, NONE of the guys can harmonize!
  • Welcome back, Crystal Bowersox!
  • She looks and sounds great! Too bad I don’t like this song. 
  • Taylor Hicks snark! You're such a douche Ryan Seacrest. Haha.
  • Intermission: Siobhan Magnus and Anoop Desai got pimp spot during Top 6 and they both got eliminated. If it happens again that would be funny. Just saying.
  • Hmmm.. It really sounds like there will be no Bottom 3 tonight. Are they trying to protect some people who dropped into it?
  •  Wait, what is Ryan Seacrest doing?
  • “Casey is a great musician, will go on to be a great singer/songwriter. The family dog does not vote!” Haha. Possibly Jimmy Iovine's wittiest line EVER!
  • Wait what? 2 girls in this year's Top 5? Happy dance!! It's been a while. 
  • Bruno Mars!! That's all. 
  • So this is all random, but they made Scotty stand there with Casey? They probably allude to Scotty being in the Bottom 3, so that his fans will now obsessively vote for him to win.
  • Jacob Lusk, you are... Haha. I'll shut up. Haters going to hate.  
  • Amazing Top 13. Weak Top 5. Agree?
Casey Abrams

Haley Reinhart
James Durbin
Lauren Alaina
Jacob Lusk
Scotty McCreery

American Idol 10: Top 6 Studio Versions

.. suddenly, they're down to 6! To be honest, the live performances were a bit sleepy but to be fair, there were a couple of outstanding performances in there. As for the studio versions, I thought most of them were good-ish.

RANDOM THOUGHTS: My favorite tracks this week are from James Durbin, Haley Reinhart and the duet between Casey and Haley. The production on James' track sounds really good. It would've been better though if he stuck with the arrangement he did on his live performance - you know, the a capella and all. Haley's vocals are quite impressive on the studio version, if a bit auto tuned for my liking. Oh, and I'm still not sure about the arrangement of the song. Casey and Haley's duet is also pretty good. Of course, their harmonies are better here compared to their sloppy live rendition. I have to say though, Scotty's studio recording was awful. I hated the arrangement. Yes, his live performance is WAY better than this. Seriously. The others? Generic. Hate me all you want, but we'll just have to agree to disagree on that.

Jacob Lusk: Oh No Not My Baby
Lauren Alaina: Where You Lead
Scotty McCreery: You've Got A Friend
James Durbin: Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
Casey Abrams: Hi De Ho
Haley Reinhart: Beautiful

Casey and Haley: I Feel The Earth Move
Lauren and Scotty: Up On The Roof
James and Jacob: I'm Into Something Good

American Idol 10: Top 6 - Who's Going Home?

I'll just make this short and sweet. Bottom 3 for this week will be between Jacob Lusk, Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams. Yes, I can see Lauren Alaina being part of that group just because she's been utterly safe these past few weeks.

Say what you want, but Jacob Lusk isn't going to avoid the Bottom group this week. I mean, he performed first - a sure death spot - and compared to the other contestants the reviews he got from the judges were relatively lukewarm. I'm afraid - well, not really - that he got lost in the shuffle after a couple of great performances. The only thing working for him though was the fact that his duet with James Durbin got the pimp spot. That may work for him.

Haley Reinhart, on the other hand, performed really well this week but it's pretty obvious that she doesn't have the fanbase to carry her long enough in the competition considering how solid James, Scotty and Lauren's fanbases are. Plus, Carly Smithson, Siobhan Magnus and Anoop Desai got eliminated the week and they were the people I was rooting for in their respective seasons. Same fate for Haley? I hope not.

As for Casey Abrams, he's been "eliminated" before so a trip back to the Bottom 3 - and even an elimination - is quite possible. Seriously.

But just like every week, I predict - BUT I HOPE I'M AWFULLY WRONG ABOUT THIS - that Haley Reinhart will be eliminated this week. Sad. I hope she pulls an Allison Iraheta though. Let's see.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

American Idol 10: Top 6

I have to be honest, this episode was terribly boring. Yes, it's actually a better night than I anticipated vocally and there were a couple of stand out performances, but I felt a little underwhelmed. Maybe because of the messed up duets?

Also, the judges are, yet again, back to their cheerleader role. They gave a couple of constructive criticisms, but not to everyone! Can they at least be fair? Heck, they didn't even say a single bad thing about the duets and they weren't that good.

Nothing more to say.

DISCLAIMER: I am no expert, but this is my opinion - to each his own - and yours will be in the comments below! Haha.

6. Casey Abrams
What was that, Casey? I love myself some Casey Abrams and I think he's so charismatic, but this performance was strange, at least to me. Melodic growling. Rhythmic screeching. Playful grunting. Whatever you want to call it, it’s not singing. True, I enjoyed the beginning of his performance, but then too many growls were getting in there that I almost didn't want to listen to it.  Possibly one of the most polarizing performances this week. Love it or hate it! I didn't get it. Sorry. 7.5/10

5. Jacob Lusk
Oh No Not My Baby
If you're a Jacob fan, just stop reading this right now. Haha. While I applaud the effort of going uptempo - finally! - I kind of thought he may have just shot himself in the foot. Just a bit. He came in first, the outfit was, umm, interesting, and his vocals were uneven - there were obviously a couple of sharp bits in there. But for what it's worth, I enjoyed the second half of his performance, especially when he took it to the church. I admit, this wasn’t nearly as bad as I wanted it to be. 7.5/10

4. Lauren Alaina
Where You Lead
I must say, this performance was definitely a major notch above her usual. It wasn't her best vocal, but it was one of her best in terms of stage presence. I liked how she tried to extend her vocals though and I actually saw a glimpse of the swagger I've been missing for the past few weeks. The country flare she added to the song was kind of strange, but in a good way. Haha. A major step in the right direction. One thing though: if you pull someone up on stage, you should not leave them sitting there and wondering if you'll ever go back. Haha. Good idea, but the execution was funny. 8/10

3. Haley Reinhart
The arrangement was weird, but I couldn't deny the fact that she gave, yet again, another solid performance. Minus the fact that the music behind her was a tad louder, she killed this with her usual great vocals and incredible phrasing. I liked how she showed different sides of her voice in this number and she sounded pretty current on this song. Plus, she wasn’t trying to force that song on the audience. Honestly, I just couldn't help but root for Haley at this moment. She’s the girl that has had to work against the producers and the judges this whole season. She’s been left at her own devices to stay in this competition and she’s been doing a great job. Sometimes I wonder, why can't the judges give Haley the same enthusiasm they usually give to say, James or Casey? Sigh. 8.5/10

2. James Durbin
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
The a capella sounded phenomenal. There were one or two wonky notes in there, but his vocals were surprisingly unaffected. But then, the rocked out arrangement kicked in and that ruined the moment for me. He should have kept it sparse, ditched the guitar and dropped those over-the-top last two notes. That would've been incredible, I think. Oh well. His vocals remained in tact when the tempo changed, so it's all good. 8.5/10

1. Scotty McCreery
You've Got A Friend
This was beautiful! That’s exactly what he needed to do. Possibly the best performance Scotty's ever given! EVER. I thought he sounded really good, his phrasing was a little interesting than usual, and it was beautifully heartfelt. And as much as everyone harps on the inevitability of Scotty's win, this, at least to me, was the first week where he genuinely LOOKED like a potential, deserving winner. Yes, after tonight, I wouldn't mind Scotty sailing through to victory one bit. "Gangsta hands" notwithstanding, I really loved that performance. He even held the microphone relatively straight! 9/10

Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams
I Feel The Earth Move
Their intro package together was hilarious! I liked how their chemistry seemed completely natural with no forced hilarity. "I love growling with her". HAHA. Oh, they sang THE Katelyn Epperly Death Song. Why? To be fair, I thought the performance was good-ish. It was as stunning as their other duet, Moanin', but this was a total crowd pleaser. Casey's harmony ruined the performance though. Sigh. 7/10

Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery
Up On The Roof
This duet was ok, if a little dull. Scotty was mumbling and Lauren was shrill. I don't know. I saw no real chemistry between these two and while cute, everything seemed somewhat forced. Oh, and who was off key on the harmony, Lauren or Scott, or was it my ears? Haha. I think a lower key would have made both of them sound better. 6.5/10

James Durbin and Jacob Lusk
I'm Into Something Good
Let me get this out of the way first: whoever put James in those white jeans and that too tight white shirt tucked in and around his tummy should be fired. Haha. I didn't understand at first why they paired them together, but when the both were screaming at the end, it kind of made sense to pair them. The performance was funny and that's all I'm going to say about it. 5.5/10

US Ratings: The Voice Bested Glee and Dancing With The Stars!

Yes, that's right! The Voice premiered strong last night and actually bested both Glee and Dancing With The Stars, according to THR:
The Mark Burnett-produced singing competition improved NBC’s season average in the time period by 89 percent. With a 5.1 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 11.8 million viewers overall, it is the top-rated series premiere on a major network since CBS’ Undercover Boss debut following the 2010 Super Bowl.
Also, in the coveted 18-49 demographic, The Voice easily beat Glee and DWTS. 4.6 vs. 3.4 (from 9-9:30) and 4.9 vs. 3.5 (from 9-10 p.m.), respectively.

Now, I don't usually blog about ratings just because this is entirely a US thing - and other people reading the blog may not understand most of it - but I'm posting it anyway and say that I’m not surprised at the ratings the show got. I mean, The Voice was trending worldwide on twitter yesterday! Plus, the whole concept and vibe of the show seems more current and younger than say, American Idol or DWTS. I bet, once word gets around, their numbers will probably climb.

Oh, and one more interesting thing I noticed, Glee's number have been free falling. I remember their demo to be in the high 4′s and around 11 to 13 million viewers earlier in the year. Tsk.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Voice: Blind Auditions Part 1 Studio Versions

Yes, just like American Idol, The Voice released a studio versions of the blind auditions, which aired last night. It's a studio recording and not just the enhanced live versions, so this I thought was really interesting. Enjoy!

Download these: Rebecca Loebe's Come As You Are, Xenia's Breakeven, Javier Colon's Time After Time and Patrick Thomas' Live Like You Were Dying

Kelsey Rey American Boy
Xenia Breakeven
Tarralyn Ramsey Breathe
Rebecca Loebe Come As You Are
Frenchie Davis I Kissed A Girl
Beverly McClellan Piece Of My Heart
Vicci Martinez Rolling In The Deep
Javier Colon Time After Time

The Voice: Blind Auditions Part 1

Clearly, I love myself some American Idol. I mean, I decided to put up this blog because of Idol above anything else. So I'm not going to say that The Voice is an actual threat to American Idol because it's a little too premature to call it this early. Plus, I think this hurts Simon Cowell's X Factor more than the Idol franchise just because they're taking more elements from that show and they're doing it first.

What I'm going to say, however, is that this show had a solid premiere episode. I love the chemistry between the judges and all of them surprisingly have a lot of personality. Oh, and they're cracking me up with all the banters and whatnot.

Also, I love the specifics of this show. I like how the judges have to sell themselves as a mentor and this is actually going to show a lot about picking the right management and coaching. It's a bit bizarre thought to watch these judges who are clearly successful performers compete and beg to get these random contestans to pick them - what an ego denter and I love it!

As for the talent, it's not mind blowing, but I'd say it's light years above Idol in terms of the actual audition rounds. No joke contestants to amuse the viewers by their delusions. Haha.

Here's what I think of everyone:

Tarralyn Ramsey
Yes, she has a powerful voice, but I think she needs to learn how to, ironically,  Breathe better. Not a fan of some of her phrasing choices as well. Plus, was it just me or was she sharp the entire song? She has lots of potential though and it will be interesting to see how she develops as an artist. I can see a lot of growth in her.
COACH: Christina Aguilera

Patrick Thomas
Live Like You Were Dying
He has done good. I actually enjoyed his audition and I'm not even a country fan. I like the tone of his voice and his range is quite decent. Oh, and Scott McCreery, this is what a country boy looks like. Take a lesson.
COACH: Blake Shelton

Jared Blake
Good Girls Go Bad
I don't know what to make out of this guy. He can sing and mostly in tune, but the affectations in his voice were a bit grating. Sorry.

Vicci Martinez
Rolling In The Deep
To me, this was a terrible song choice for her. She's more of a Melissa Etheridge than an Adele. I hate to make any comparison, but Haley Reinhart performed this song way better. That said, I like her tone and she should just find the right songs to sing and she'll be alright.
COACH: Cee Lo Green

Sonia Rao
If I Ain't Got You
Wow. Shocker. I heard one or maybe two bad notes in her performance, but overall I thought it was good. Can't believe they passed! What happened?

Falling Slowly
Hmmm. I also wonder if the judges regretted hitting that buzzer by the time the guy tried hitting that last falsetto note. To be honest, I think the girl would have done better on her own as I find the guy totally pitchy. There harmonies need a little work as well. I’m surprised that they were chosen when the girl before them wasn’t.
COACH: Blake Shelton

Frenchie Davis
I Kissed A Girl
It's funny how Fenchie's backstory is American Idol. Haha. And what happened to her? The audition wasn't very good. Totally wrong song for her and her vocals were rough. But I know that Frenchie can do way better than this. She still has a distinct, interesting tone to her voice though.
COACH: Christina Aguilera

Kelsey Rey
American Boy
It’s funny how they say it’s not about the looks, but the judges sure were happy when they turn around and find out that the girl was actually good looking. Haha. I agree with Christina though, she does have a great radio voice. Well, there's your female pop star right there.
COACH: Cee Lo Green

Jeff Jenkins
God Bless The Broken Road
Again, Scotty McCreery, pay attention! For the love of all that’s holy, PLEASE pay attention. I thought this guy has a lot of heart when he sings. He needs to work on his mumbly diction, but other than that he's got a lovely voice. He actually reminded me Jacee Badaeux but better and bigger. Haha.
COACH: Adam Levine

Rebecca Loebe
Come As You Are
I like this girl. Her vibrato is a little goaty a la Casey James, but she sure has a soulful voice and doing a Nirvana song and reworking it like that was seriously cool.
COACH: Adam Levine

Joann Rizzo
Say A Little Prayer
I felt bad for her. She can definitely carry a tune and hits most of her notes, but her tone is a bit thin for my taste. Oh well. Too bad there were no reality shows when she was younger.

Xenia Martinez
This young girl is really raw, but she might have something with some work. I mean, she has an interesting tone and a very distinct voice. I guess, they can do a lot with her. She just needs some guidance and help in stage presence. Lots of potential.
COACH: Blake Shelton

Tje Austin
Just The Way You Are
Damn, trim those ends and then you'll be fine! Haha. Good voice if a bit whiny. Just saying.
COACH: Cee Lo Green

Javier Colon
Time After Time
Excellent! Great tone, pretty voice and superb musicality. If he continues to be this great, I may root for him.
COACH: Adam Levine

Beverly McClellan
Piece Of My Heart
She's quite the rocker! I think she's got a good set of pipes with a decent range and her growls weren't annoying. I'd like to think she already has a musical identity, which is always good.
COACH: Christina Aguilera

Glee Season 2: Born This Way Episode Review

Born This Way
Season 2, Episode 18

Yes, after the terrible episode last week, I'm not really expecting anything good to come out of this one. But yo know what, this was actually a good episode. I'm not sure if it was really worth 90 minutes - they could've cut it down to the usual one hour - but other than that, it was possibly the most coherent episode the show had in quite a while.

I enjoyed how everything was paced, I liked the storyline and it actually preached without being preachy - if you know what I mean.


- The first 10 minutes of this episode was already better than last week's. Haha.

- True, Quinn's storyline seemed random, but I surprisingly liked it. I actually thought it did give her more depth as a character. I just wasn't expecting it to be that drastic. Ha!

- What Lauren did to Quinn was rude, but I'm not condoning it just because it did help her. I think in the beginning she was out to hurt Quinn in the process and ruin her chances of being prom queen, but then when she knew that what she did wasn't the best way to handle things, she said sorry.

- I did find Emma's plight of her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder acceptance to be one of the most poignant moments of the episode.

- Rachel's storyline was both cute and depressing. And that's all I'm going to say about it. 

- It was really nice to see Kurt back in McKinley again. At first, I didn't know how his return will be played out, but the Santana and Karofsky angle made it more interesting than I expected. Who knew?

- Santana was pure love! Her bitchiness sure was over-the-top, but I just couldn't complain. For some reason, I think her terrible personality was actually quite endearing - at least to me. Besides, I find her funny as hell.

- LEBANESE was hilarious!


- Not entirely a bad thing, but I just thought they were going to expand more on Kurt and Karofsky. I guess, there are still a lot of time in the next episodes maybe?

- Some failed continuity in terms of Quinn's storyline. I remember one episode when Quinn asked Mercedes when she was still pregnant, "How do you stand it? I’ve only had to deal with this for a few months, you’ve had it your whole life." How would it now make sense if Quinn apparently used to get bullied constantly before? Oh, and if she was indeed a nerd, overweight, and had no friends, don't you think she'd be nice to everyone because she doesn't want other people to ever feel the way she does?


I FEEL PRETTY/UNPRETTY. This was gorgeous. I did like the context and it was just a delight to see both of them sing together. As I've said on my review of the song, their voices together sounds horrible on paper, but everything just worked stunningly. Yes, I want another Berry and Fabray duet!!

I'VE GOTTA BE ME. Finn sounded great and his dancing was (intentionally?) funny. The whole performance was fun, although I found Mike Chang's presence a bit over-the-top. Sure, he can dance but this reminded me of Make 'Em Laugh with Will Shuester. Haha.

SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW was heartbreaking. Shoot me, but the whole performance was heartfelt. Oh, and Blaine's acting was superb. So aside from the fact that a random piano sat in the middle of the school for some odd reason, I loved the whole number.

AS IF WE NEVER SAID GOODBYE. I'm not sure if this was actually Kurt's best solo performance on the show, but I thought his voice fit the song perfectly. The editing and camera work were great and I loved the context of him singing in front of the Glee club after being away from them for quite some time. Amazing!

BARBARA STREISAND was just fun to watch. It's quite refreshing to see them let loose and have a blast in a performance like this. This flash mob scene was quite entertaining, I must say. 

BORN THIS WAY. I admit, I didn't like the recording that much, but I liked the show's visual interpretation of the song WAY better than Gaga’s interpretation of it in her music video. They actually seemed to get the point of the song, which Lady Gaga’s video totally missed. Great.

Download music HERE.
Download episode HERE.

Idol News: Pia Toscano Performed at Dancing With The Stars

While I'm still fixing my other posts about Glee and The Voice, here's another one that made my day completely crazy. Haha. This part of the week has never been this hectic. Too much things going on.

Anyway, Pia Toscano performed at Dancing With The Stars - once American Idol's ratings rival show. But I guess, they're both joining forces now to somehow trump the new reality show competition on TV, The Voice. Going back to Pia, I thought she sounded great - as always. Watch!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Glee Music 2: Born This Way

Usually, Glee songs for next week are released - at least for streaming - every Friday. But somehow, this particular song, Born This Way, some songs for next week's episode entitled, yes, Born This Way, got out a little early than usual. Take a good listen to it!

ETA: iTunes versions are up!

Born This Way
I kind of like Lady Gaga's version and while this one sounds like there could be someone else to it, their rendition is not bad. I'm not over-the-top in love with it, but I guess this will do. I mean, even though it's an old trick by now, I enjoy Mercedes belting all over the last chorus. I'm not sure if it's Tina I'm hearing doing the verses with Mercedes, but I also like that pretty distinct inflection in her voice. Kurt talking (rapping?) is decent. I hope the performance on the show will do the trick. 7/10 

Somewhere Only We Know
One of Warblers' best, I have to say. I think it's beautiful, and this song has a lot of emotional pull with me - they did really well with this one. I love the arrangement and I like how Blaine doesn't sound lifeless in this track. Plus, I heard that this is a Warblers + New Directions effort. If that's true, then that would be really interesting, I think. 10/10

I've Gotta Be Me
To be honest, this is the only song for next week I'm don't want to hear YET, but Finn sounds really good with this.. and in this genre? Who knew? I like that it sounds really natural and this has to be the best his voice has ever sounded! I'm impressed. 9/10

As If We Never Said Goodbye
This is actually pretty awesome. I was hoping for Rachel, but Kurt sounds incredibly wonderful in this song. The ups and downs on his vocals are really good and I actually think Kurt has outdone himself here. Not sure if this is his best solo - I think I still prefer Rose's Turn - but this is gorgeous. 9/10

 I Feel Pretty / Unpretty
Wow. I was somewhat expecting this duet to be a disaster just because Rachel has a big powerful Broadway voice and Quinn has a much more low key soft jazz type of voice. On paper, this will never work, but NO! This song sounds really beautiful. Yes, Rachel is clearly the superior voice on this track, but I'm genuinely surprised that Quinn is able to hold her own here. I'm impressed. Looking forward to seeing this in context. 9/10

(all 5 songs)
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