Sunday, April 28, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 4 Studio Versions Part 2

.. and for the second theme, it's One Hit Wonder, which was probably the most underutilized theme on the show EVER. This would've been an incredibly fresh and cool theme had they been creative with their song choices. Emotion and MacArthur Park weren't One Hit Wonders!!

RANDOM THOUGHTS: If I'm being honest, I didn't like most of the recordings mainly because of their song choices. Kree Harrison's take on A Whiter Shade of Pale is probably the most palatable of the four. Her phrasing is gorgeous and there's power to her delivery. Candice Glover's voice is pretty solid, as usual, but I just can't with the song choice. Angie Miller also proves here that she should NOT sing jazz songs. Oh, and I'm not even going to talk about Amber Holcomb and the disastrous MacArthur Park. I like Amber, but just NO.

American Idol 12: Top 4 Studio Versions Part 1

The first theme was the incredibly lazy, but strangely fascinating "free song choice". All of them sounded good on their respective recordings, but who stood out the most?

RANDOM THOUGHTS: No doubt, Angie Miller wins this round. True, I'm still not a fan of how she enunciates her words, but this is my favorite Angie recording EVER from the dynamics to the arrangement and even her vocals are quite spectacular. Candice Glover gives Drake's Find Your Love a nice little arrangement and while it sounds too jazzy for my taste, I appreciate the creativity that she puts into it. Unlike Amber Holcomb who probably didn't think much about her song choice. Power of Love? Really? Be creative for once, Amber! Enough of these sappy overdone ballads. As for Kree Harrison, she sounds nice, but it lacks a certain punch to stand out.

Movie Review: Iron Man 3

It's incredibly rare that I enjoy a sequel to a film and it is even more uncommon for me to appreciate a third installment, but I honestly felt like Iron Man 3 was easily the best of the franchise. I loved that the story's focus was squarely back on Tony Stark and not just a mere set up for the big event that was The Avengers, it was expertly paced, the humor rarely missed its mark, and the writing and direction was smart, organic, and fresh. Of course, the visual effects and action sequences were as spectacular as I expected. Robert Downey Jr. was terrific, Guy Pearce portrayed his role incredibly well, which could've been overly cartoonish if handled by a less competent actor, but it was Gwyneth Paltrow who threw some punches of her own that got me all excited. Iron Man 3 wasn't perfect by any means, but it's a brilliant ending to the franchise - assuming there won't be an Iron Man 4. Enough said. 8.5

Friday, April 26, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 4 Results Show

NO ONE. Called it! It's quite obvious that they had to do a non-elimination week anytime soon because they'd finish the season earlier than scheduled. So this "twist" wasn't really that shocking, unless you can't count no? Hopefully, everyone will bring it next week and no more annoying song choices please - yes, I'm looking at you, Amber Holcomb! As for you judges, enough playing favorites! You judge a contestant based on the performance! Good gracious.

On a side note: Lee DeWyze's new song Silver Lining sounds awesome! It's a bit reminiscent of Mumford & Sons, but I didn't really mind because Lee's folksy even before American Idol. Oh, and who did Stefano Langone sleep with to be able to perform tonight? Enough said.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 4

Top 4 night is where I exploded in disbelief and rage. Haha. Indeed, I've seen almost all American Idol episodes, but this has to be the biggest clusterf*ck of all. Really. I can tell when the deck is getting stacked and the judges couldn't be anymore subtle as to who they really want to move forward for another week on this show. I'd say poor Kree and Candice.

Oh, and One Hit Wonders as a theme sounded like a total home run on paper, but it then turned out to be the most underutilized theme of all time. Of all time! Sad. Anyway, I don't want to rant anymore. I'm tired. Haha.

On with the show!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

American Idol: Who's Your Favorite 5th Placer?

With Janelle Arthur getting eliminated this week, maybe it's time we look back at contestants past who were eliminated in the same week. So, who's your favorite 'Idol' Fifth Placer?

[Who's Your Favorite Idol 4th Placer?]

RJ Helton
[Season 1]

[Season 2]

George Huff
[Season 3]

Scott Savol
[Season 4]

Paris Bennett
[Season 5]
BEST PERFORMANCE: These Foolish Things

Chris Richardson
[Season 6]

Brooke White
[Season 7]

Matt Giraud
[Season 8]

Aaron Kelly
[Season 9]

Jacob Lusk
[Season 10]

Skylar Laine
[Season 11]
BEST PERFORMANCE: Where Do Broken Hearts Go

Janelle Arthur
[Season 12]
BEST PERFORMANCE: You Keep Me Hanging On


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 5 Studio Versions Part 2

.. and then the second round featured the five ladies covering songs of divas and somehow, the story is slightly different on this one.

RANDOM THOUGHTS: Kree Harrison and maybe Amber Holcomb are my favorites on this round. Kree sounded divine tackling a Celine Dion song and her voice just soared, while Amber's take on Barbara Streisand song, though a bit old-fashioned for my taste, was sublime. Angie Miller also had a nice little recording especially towards the end where she brought a little something extra to her interpretation. Somehow, I got past her usual superfluous enunciation, so it's all good. As for Candice Glover and Janelle Arthur, they just picked the wrong song.

American Idol 12: Top 5 Studio Versions Part 1

Like last week, I'll be putting up a separate blog post per theme just to make things more organized - yes, I'm OC like that. Here, let's have the Birth Year theme first, shall we?

RANDOM THOUGHTS: Hand down, Candice Glover completely owns this round! Her version of Straight Up is too awesome that I'm seriously considering it to be included in DAM NATION's May Playlist. She sounds surprisingly current thanks to the fantastic arrangement of the song backed by her solid vocals. Kree Harrison also turns in a strong studio recording. In fact, this is possibly one of my favorite studio versions from her. Angie Miller, on the other hand, sounds annoying on her take of I'll Stand By You mostly because of her awful phrasing and the way she enunciates every word like a crazy lady teaching a deaf child how to speak. Ugh. Janelle Athur's recording is decent and I didn't like Amber Holcomb's shrill upper register on her song.

The Voice 4: Battle Rounds Part 3

I must say, The Voice Season 4 is turning out to be a strong one. The level of talent this season is undeniably strong and I'm actually more than impressed. Personally, the match ups in this episode was ridiculously even that I myself had problems picking who won what. But, as usual, I digress. Haha.

Let get on with the Battle Round!

Friday, April 19, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 5 Results Show

What? They didn't use the save? It's starting to annoy me that they are not resolving the fact that the show will end one week early than the March 16 Finale schedule. They NEED to use it next week - despite breaking the rule that can only use it before Top 5 - because we are not going to have a two week Top 3 right? Ok. Done with my rant.

Janelle Arthur. She actually had a good run on the show. She was a scrappy underdog from the get go and her genuinely sweet personality amused me. So, why did Janelle leave? Let's be frank, folks. She had an off night when she couldn't afford to. It was as simple as that. Janelle definitely had the right tools to win this thing, but something always was holding her back. One week it would be song choice and other weeks it would be the judges throwing her under the bus. But, let's not slight her one bit. She deserves to be commended and applauded. Fifth place this season? Yeah, that's high praise indeed.

Oh, and seeing Paula Abdul, Clay Aiken and Fantasia Barrino on the show made me sentimental. Nostalgia at it's finest. Seriously. I didn't realize I missed Paula up until she appeared on that stage and strangely took one of the panel's seat. Also, Fantasia's performance was spectacular! Just saying.

NEXT WEEK'S THEME: One Hit Wonders and Open Theme

Thursday, April 18, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 5

Yes, and it finally happened. The end of an era on American Idol. After five seasons, American Idol will have a new female winner. The curse has been broken and the show can once again be seen as a place where a woman, after some heavy-handed casting choices by the producers, can prevail. So, how can the show celebrate this rebirth? Of course, slap them with another overused "Birth Year" theme and the almost inevitable DIVAS! 

But before we start ranking the remaining ladies, let's talk about the night as a whole. It had a little bit of everything, didn't it? Tonight's show had a whole lot of great to mediocre performances thrown in the middle, there's Nicki Minaj's cartoonish cleavage, countless standing ovations (!!!) and an almost catfight between the two ladies in the panel. 

Oh, and I loved how the judges were talking about "emotions" throughout the episode as if it was a talent. "Your emotions were incredible." Seriously? Guys, they’re emotions. We all have them. It's not a skill. For instance, if you were to punch me and I got angry and punched you back in the face, you wouldn't look at me and say, "Wow! Your emotion was incredible. I punched you and then it was like BAM! What was that - anger?" Haha.

I guess, what I am trying to say is that I'm glad most of them could connect with their songs in a way that was honest and true, but let’s not turn everything like it's the second coming of Christ.

On to the rankings!

American Idol Poll: Best 'IDOL' Top 5!

Before this year's Top 5 ladies perform tonight, let's look back and decide which season has the best Top 5. This should be fun, don't you think? Enjoy!

Kelly Clarkson
Justin Guarini
Nikki McKibbin
Tamyra Grey
RJ Helton

Ruben Studdard
Clay Aiken
Kimberley Locke
Josh Gracin

Fantasia Barrino
Diana DeGarmo
Jasmine Trias
LaToya London
George Huff

Carrie Underwood
Bo Bice
Vonzell Solomon
Anthony Fedorov
Scott Savol

Taylor Hicks
Katharine McPhee
Elliott Yamin
Chris Daughtry
Paris Bennett

Jordin Sparks
Blake Lewis
Melinda Doolittle
LaKisha Jones
Chris Richardson

David Cook
David Archuleta
Syesha Mercado
Jason Castro
Brooke White

Kris Allen
Adam Lambert
Danny Gokey
Allison Iraheta
Matt Giraud

Lee DeWyze
Crystal Bowersox
Casey James
Michael Lynche
Aaron Kelly

Scotty McCreery
Lauren Alaina
Haley Reinhart
James Durbin
Jacob Lusk

Phillip Phillips
Jessica Sanchez
Joshua Ledet
Hollie Cavanagh
Skylar Laine

Amber Holcomb
Angie Miller
Candice Glover
Janelle Arthur
Kree Harrison


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Voice 4: Battle Rounds Part 2

What? Just three full performance in a matter of an hour? Seriously? Sure, we need some clips of the mentoring that happens before the actual sing-off, but we don't need 20 minutes of that and less than 2 minutes of the actual performance. Plus, the recap every other break got a bit out of hand. Yes, I understand the need for it at the beginning and probably at the end of the show, but recapping in between was pointless. We're not stupid to have us be reminded of what happened just 5 minutes ago. Geez!

Anyway, on with the show!

Movie Review: Olympus Has Fallen

Olympus Has Fallen was nothing special, but I found myself rather entertained by this punchy action film. It's brutal. It's mean. It's a no nonsense, kick the crap out of everyone who gets in your way action film. Yes, it had that typical action film set-up complete with inevitable absurdities, but what worked for the film was the fact that it managed to build some great action sequences despite the straightforward and cliched plot. I really found some action scenes brilliantly executed and Gerard Butler pulled them all of pretty well. Olymus Has Fallen was just a straight-up action movie. No more. No less. Taken as a whole, this won't live forever as a shining example of its genre, but it's the best I could have hoped for. 7.5

The Voice 4: Battle Rounds Part 1

.. and we are suddenly in the Battle Rounds of Season 4. That's fast no? I must say that this was a pretty entertaining episode. No actual trainwrecks and everyone did pretty good with their duets and surprisingly, the judges made some relatively good choices after each battle performances.

Let's see how everyone did!

Monday, April 15, 2013

DAM NATION: April 2013 Playlist

It's that time of the month again! Here's another set of 15 songs that I (personally) fancy, that are already doing good on it's own and maybe some new singles from different artists that will probably - or maybe not - be hits in the next coming weeks in whatever format.

So, there! Enjoy!

1. Tonight Jessica Sanchez (ft. Ne-Yo)
2. Done. The Band Perry
3. Fine China Chris Brown
4. #thatPOWER Will.I.Am (ft. Justin Bieber)
5. See You Tonight Scotty McCreery
6. Come & Get It Selena Gomez
7. High School Nicki Minaj (ft. Lil Wayne)
8. See You Again Carrie Underwood
9. Here's To Never Growing Up Avril Lavigne
10. Without Me Fantasia (ft. Kelly Rowland & Missy Elliot)
11. Cruise (Remix) Florida Georgia Line (ft. Nelly)
12. The Way Ariana Grande (fr. Mac Miller)
13. Pom Poms Jonas Brothers
14. I Love It Icona Pop (ft. Charli XCX)
15. Mirrors Justin Timberlake

Password Hint: American Idol 12 Finalist who scored 7.5 during Top 6 Week
(Case Sensitive)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 6 Studio Versions Part 2

.. and then the second round featured the Top 6 covering songs they wish they had written. This was, hands down, better than their first set and, to be honest, everyone recorded good studio versions.

[REVIEW] American Idol 12: Top 6 Performances

RANDOM THOUGHTS: Everyone sounded shockingly good - and yes, I mean everyone. Lazaro Arbos' tone is gorgeous on this song. Not specatacular by any means, but this is probably one of his better studio recordings. Kree Harrison sounds lovely on the song with some terrific phrasing and Janelle Arthur is exquisite in her take of the Garth Brooks song - there's something very soothing about her voice in this particular song, but with enough character to actually make a good impression. I didn't get the same intensity compared to Candice Glover's live performance, but this was still bloody fantastic save for the canned backup vocals. On the other hand, I actually prefer Amber Holcomb's recording of the Beyonce hit than her actual performance. She didn't try to do all 4 key changes, but I seriously didn't mind. Her recording voice is just insane and possibly the most potential for commercial success. Oh, and I'm in love with Angie Miller's studio version despite not being a fan of the song. That is all.

American Idol 12: Top 6 Studio Versions Part 1

Since our Top 6 performed two songs this week, which they surprisingly recorded both, I've decided to split them into two. So, who managed to pull off something as old as this songbook?

[REVIEW] American Idol 12: Top 6 Performances

RANDOM THOUGHTS: Not sure what to think of these recordings. I think I enjoyed Candice Glover and Amber Holcomb's recordings the most. Candice manages to make the song sound relatively current if not for the inorganic sounding backing vocals. Amber, on the other hand, gives the song a fresh interpretation with some of her vocal choices. Her phrasing sounds fantastic here. Kree Harrison also has a nice recording if a little dated for my taste. Same with Angie Miller minus the emotional connection. Janelle Arthur just picked the wrong cheesy song. And yes, even this recording didn't work for Lazaro Arbos. Listen for yourself.

The Voice 4: Blind Auditions Part 6 Studio Versions

Dreams Jacqui Sandell
Good Girl Amber Carrington
I Can't Make You Love Me Luke Edgemon
Marry You Jessica Childress

The Voice 4: Blind Auditions Part 5 Studio Versions

Because of You Amy Whitcomb
Bless The Broken Road Michelle Raitzin
Como La Flor Mary Miranda
Gravity Ryan Innes
Halo Jamila Thompson
Not Ready To Make Nice Sasha Allen
She Talks To Angels Shawna P
Somebody Like You Michael Austin
Summertime Justin Rivers
These Boots Are Made For Walking Grace Askew
Tiny Dancer Caroline Glaser
U Got It Bad Jeff Lewis

The Voice 4: Blind Auditions Part 4 Studio Versions

Beautiful Liar Agina Alvarez
Because of You C. Perkins
Keep Your Head Up Trevor Davis
Price Tag Audrey Karrasch
Safe & Sound Savannah Berry
So Sick Orlando Dixon
Walking In Memphis Patrick Dodd
With A Little Help From My Friends Brandon Roush

The Voice 4: Blind Auditions Part 3 Studio Versions

American Girl The Swon Brothers
Colder Weather Warren Stone
For The First Time J'Sun
Home Duncan Kamakana
I Kissed A Girl Michelle Chamuel
I'm Going Down Taylor Beckham
I'm The Only One Karina Iglesias
Loca Monique Abbadie
Seven Nation Army Garrett Gardner
Take A Bow Chelsea M
To Make You Feel My Love Holly Tucker

Friday, April 12, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 6 Results Show

Lazaro Arbos. There's still justice in this world! We’ve been guessing Lazaro would run out of luck for weeks now and he has finally made his exit and there was no nail biting as to whether or not he’d be saved by the judges. I even half expected the judges to just stop it like they did with Jessica Sanchez last season and tell him to get off the stage. Haha. He committed so many American Idol no-no’s he could have been eliminated several times over and at this point in the competition, I was more than ready to get rid of Lazaro Arbos. He filled the spot of this season’s "inspiration" and after one slightly good performance, he spiraled into an unrecognizable mess. His performance of Close To You last night was inexcusably bad.. even for pity voters. Let's the real competition begin next week!!

NEXT WEEK THEME: Diva and Birth Year

Thursday, April 11, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 6

Was I in bizarro land or did we seriously get one of the WORST and BEST performances on American Idol history in one episode? Haha.

The two themes for the American Idol Top 6 were "Burt Bacharach - Hal David Song Book," in other words songs that are too old for most people to care, and "Songs I Wish I Had Written." The second theme should pretty much just be renamed, "Hell, I’ll just lie and sing whatever the #@$% I want." Personally, I felt like the second round was WAY stronger than the first round and I’m pretty sure most would agree with me.

I mean, the first round was an awful theme considering that the show is actually trying to find a music star in 2013. It really brought me to tears - mostly due to utter frustration.

So, here we go!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Voice 4: Blind Auditions Part 6

And there we have it - it's the final Blind Auditions! Is it just me or  are there a lot more country and folk artists this year than usual? I love some diversity and I hope we get that as the season progress. Oh, and I'm excited for next week. The judges seem to be taking this competition seriously and I can't wait to see the big dogs separated from the puppies.

On with the show!

The Voice 4: Blind Auditions Part 5

Finally! It's the final week of Blind Auditions! This episode was good, but nothing to write about really. I must say though that Adam Levine probably has too many great contestants now and some really good ones are going to get knocked out by next week.

Oh, and Usher kept handing out good comments. I like that he's very straightforward and candid in his advice. Of course, Shakira's very charming. And yes, I again talked about the judges. Haha.

On with the show!
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