Archive for the 'antonella barba' Category

Cabbages and kings.

Taylor Hicks is in love…with his tour bus.

The first thing Hicks wants everyone to know is that he keeps “a sane bus.” Not a crazy bus, with groupies and binges and wild excesses…Hicks likes his driver, an affable guy named Greg, and he likes the idea of living on a “swanky bachelor bus.” It’s been designed for comfort and efficiency, with an interior color scheme that matches the outside, in masculine shades of gray, black, brown and burgundy. Hicks says his tour manager, Tim Durfey, selected this particular model, which boasts an expandable front lounge and roomy back lounge. Luxuries include gleaming wood paneling, faux-granite countertops, several squishy couches, privacy shades, a bathroom, a kitchenette, a couple of flat-panel televisions, a stereo or two and about 14 DVD players. There’s carpeting. There’s a decent-sized refrigerator with a freezer. There’s ample storage space, including two mirrored closets for Hicks’ on- and off-stage wardrobes. (The Soul Patrolman is a notorious clothes horse.)… In the rear lounge, the most exciting items on view are a guitar case, a black Tamrac bag that holds a Canon camera, an Apple PowerBook and a hardcover copy of a Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree.” “I don’t know who that belongs to,” Hicks admits.

Sex-ay!

Meanwhile, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via Rodney Ho, offered a concert review/album review/reflection on Taylor’s career:

Vocally, he wasn’t 100% (as noted earlier during the meet and greet), struggling a bit through songs like his single “Just To Feel That Way.” But he gutted it out and the crowd appreciated him as much as he appreciated them. “Thank you for voting for me,” he said, in his one acknowledgment of “Idol.” And he yelped out “Soul Patrol” several times, referencing his fan base…

Part of the reason why he’s not pulling in Daughtry-level sales is the fact he’s happily stuck in the 1970s. There’s no real place for his old-soul music on contemporary radio. In fact, listening to his tunes, you’d think music stopped in 1980. His covers included a tribute to Marvin Gaye (“Let’s Get It On” [ed. note — “Wherever I Lay My Hat?”] and the Commodores’ “Nightshift”) and Supertramp’s 1979 hit “Goodbye Stranger.”

Ultimately, Hicks has clearly opted on the side of his musical integrity and identity versus trying to being something he’s not. And if that doesn’t make him RCA Records’ best bud, he’ll earn his keep touring for the next 40 years long after other “Idol” winners have fully faded into obscurity.

The comments section is full of bitching and moaning from people who feel that a review should never mention 1) that Taylor has gray hair and that 2) most of his fans are middle-aged women. Sigh. The review was good, ladies. Give it a rest. If you don’t want to be mentioned in a review, stop showing up in Taylor T-shirt all decked out with blinking pins and official-looking Soul Patrol badges and ID cards. It’s the “don’t think of a pink elephant” syndrome.

Exit interviews! Antonella Barba says you can’t win with the judges. (Hint: it’s easier if you sing well.) She also has “offers” coming in that she can’t discuss. (Hint again: One is from Hugh Hefner; the other is from Joe Francis of “Girls Gone Wild” fame.) When asked if she would do men’s magazines, she responds, “I’m definitely willing to look at whatever I’m offered and sort out what feels right to me.” Well, there you go.

Sabrina Sloan doesn’t say anything particularly interesting, which…was kind of the problem in the first place, wasn’t it? Oh, she was going to sing “Can’t Hurry Love” next week. Meh, that would have been safe and boring anyway. Also, she says that she (and, presumably, all the Top 24 contestants) are repped by 19M until the show is over. I didn’t know that. Jared Cotter says that “the voting was off” (well…perhaps, in that Sanjaya should have gone home, but Jared wasn’t anything special, either, except for a good but not great vocalist who more often than not was covered in thick, cheesy Velveeta. He also doesn’t understand why Paula told him he “needed more coloring,” and that he YouTubed his performance and didn’t find anything wrong with it. Wow, and people think Sundance is the cocky one? Sheesh.

And onto Sundance Head, who had “no idea” he was going home. Seriously, have any of these people seen the show before Or at the very least, have they heard of Chris Daughtry? “Shocking exits” are this show’s bread and butter. He also has really nice things to say about Sanjaya:

Sanjaya is only 17. He’s a kid. He’s a polite kid and he’s gonna make it in the business but at this point he’s so young he doesn’t know himself and his capabilities. He doesn’t have confidence in his voice. All that is going to come to him and when it does he’s going to be a great performer.

Robbed!

That’s right, America. My girl Leslie Hunt, she of smoky voice and warm maple tone, was unjustly given the old heave-ho over far less talented and/or unique singers like Antonella Barba and Haley Scarnato. Was it the scatting, as poor Leslie lamented in her awesome sing-out? Was it America’s distaste for jazz, as evidenced by the addition of AJ Tabaldo’s premature ouster? Le sigh. We shall never know. Bah. I realy wanted to see her makeover, too. I think she’s just as pretty as Miss Barba, she just doesn’t play it up that much.

But do know this — I’m certainly no longer invested in this season. Oh, sure, I have a favorite or two, and there are plenty of contestants left in the game I don’t care for, but I won’t be voting for any of them. Unless, of course, the final two somehow comes down to, like, Melinda and Antonella. In which case I will be paying people to vote against Antonella.

Anyway, I’ll be following Leslie as best I can. Be sure to check out Leslie and her band, Mark Twang. (I’m hearing that the band actually broke up in December, but still, check them out anyway.) Their music is great, and Leslie’s actually a wonderful songwriter. Hopefully, she and her remaining bandmates will be able to put the buzz she’s generated to good use. Bigger gigs? A Mark Twang CD sold online? Here’s hoping.

All right, I’ve got to empty out this links folder. It’s getting bloated. Here’s what I’ve got:

Of course there’s the ubiquitous “Is Taylor Hicks a fluke?” article that’s been circulating around. I don’t think the article’s that bad in and of itself; a couple of outlets have chosen to replace the word “fluke” with “flop,” giving the piece a seemingly more negative spin than it actually has. (Actually, Taylor’s tour, and the fact that he’s playing to packed houses, is quite emphasized.) The article interviews several people, many of whom blame the album’s slow sales on it’s “old” feeling. But this quote, from the program director of a large radio station, is perhaps the most telling:

[Program director Barry] James said he HAS an image, “but it’s not one with broad appeal. Is he sweet? The bad boy? The sexy chick magnet? The whacked out artist? The ‘dark’ one? The answer is none of the above.”

So because Taylor can’t be stereotyped into one of five or six preconceived packages (unlike Chris Daughtry and Katharine McPhee, who quite easily became the angsty pop-rawker and the sultry pop vixen, respectively), he won’t sell. (And that duet with Snoop didn’t help his case any, I’m sure; it just confused the hell out of people who couldn’t see it for anything more than worth a snarky comment on somebody’s blog, let alone see it as, well, music.) Let me tell you, if that’s the reason for his sluggish sales, it’s okay with me. I shudder to think that the record-buying public is that brainless that they purchase albums not on how much they like the music, but on how easily identifiable the artist’s image is. But I wouldn’t be surprised.

Taylor’s got some pretty positive press, too — he’s featured on CNN’s People You Should Know. It links back to the same article, but the context is more positive. There’s also another Taylor interview here; seems Taylor’s moving away from his “this album is 100% me” statements and is now emphasizing the compromises he had to make on the album. In fact, he told the audience at his Tampa show that he didn’t want to do “Just to Feel That Way,” but Clive told him he needed to and he responded “yes, boss.” Ahh, see, this is the Taylor I know and love.

Katharine McPhee says that smoking makes her feel sexy. Yeah, nothing says “that’s hot” like adenocarcinoma (not to mention ashtray breath). Idiot.

Chris Daughtry wants to write a song for a movie. He probably hopes it’ll get picked up for some dark, gothic picture, so I will try not to giggle too hard when it winds up as the main theme in Reese Witherspoon’s latest romantic comedy. Actually, if you want to hear something really good, check out Daughtry’s acoustic version of “Rocket Man.” It’s…really good. Boy can sing, and I like him much better when he’s not screaming at me.

Shoes and ships and sealing wax.

I didn’t want to address this, but looking at my blog stats, I feel like I have to. Unless American Idol takes some sort of official action, I won’t be addressing the Antonella Barba scandal. You won’t find pictures (or links to the pictures) of her here, nor will you find long, drawn-out analyses of her behavior. If you want that, go to TWoP.

Check out the Taylor Hicks with SouthFlorida.com. Taylor comments on the ongoing “who’s the real Idol” debate:

In an interview, Hicks said that to measure him against, say, Daughtry or Underwood is a case of apples and oranges. “You know, it’s funny: People want to try and compare us, and that’s hard to do because I’m not singing rock and I’m not singing country,” he said. “So to compare us — I find that interesting because we’re in different genres.” Hicks said “interesting” with a droll air that suggested what he meant was “inappropriate” or “misinformed.” “If I was a rocker, I could see that [comparison],” he said. “But I’m a blue-eyed soul performer.”

Hee. This was also an interesting tidbit:

Whatever the size of the audience for his brand of contemporary blue-eyed soul, Hicks called the album “definitely a step in the right direction,” adding, “I worked very closely with that producer to capture who I am as an artist and who I was as an American Idol.”

A “step in the right direction,” not, note, “the embodiment of who I am musically and professionally.”

Entertainment Weekly continues it’s tradition of scoring the first round of Idol post-bootee interviews. This week, Shirley Halperin spoke to Paul Kim, Rudy Cardenas, Amy Krebs and Nicole Tranquillo about their short runs on the show. Paul Kim insists that he’s been singing barefooted for five years and that it wasn’t a “gimmick,” just him being him. (Note to Paul — longevity does not a personality trait make; a gimmick’s a gimmick). Kim also reveals that “Careless Whisper” was only his sixth song choice, the first being a Donny Hathawy number (the first five wouldn’t clear), and that he was sick with bronchitis before the performance. Despite his illness, Kim says that at the end of the day, he just didn’t sing as well as he needed to, and that’s why he got booted off. (Hee. Refreshing to see an Idol take personal responsibility for a sucky performance, isn’t it?) Rudy Cardenas is keeping his chin up — he says his performance was “a little much,” but at the same time, he completely embraces the cheesiness that is American Idol. Aww. I kind of like him now.

Amy Krebs wishes Paula had stuck up for her a little bit more (um… you weren’t entitled to it, sweetie), but seems to have taken the judges’ criticisms to heart, noting that she’s always struggled with feeling comfortable in her own skin. Oh, and if she were a scented candle, she’d be cinnamon. And Nicole Tranquillo stands by her song choice, regardless of Randy’s “too urban” criticism. I kind of like that attitude — upon replay, her performance wasn’t that bad, certainly no worse than certain people who should have gone home in her place, and it’s just too damn bad that she didn’t fit into the little pre-packaged box the judges had already picked out for her.

Please to enjoy Katharine McPhee’s new video for “Over It.” I guess the plot revolves around her filming a little video (video within a video — how very meta!) about how — you guessed it — “over it” she is, and then giving it to some guy who dissed her. The video in and of itself is done fairly well, although the plot is asinine, as any woman worth her salt knows that giving a dude a DVD of you moping around on a couch over him is just going to make him all the more glad that he got the hell away from you as quickly as he did. But whatever, it’s TRL. Anyway, the weird thing about this video is that Katharine’s face is kind of blank throughout. She does okay as an actress during the plot scenes, when she’s laughing in a car with her friends, then seems a little deflated when she sees the offending dude at a party. But during the narration, she’s like a zombie. Is she wistful and over it? Is she angry and over it? Does she want the guy to know that she wants nothing to do with him again, or does she hope that the DVD of her rolling around on the carpet in a backless dress, hiking her skirt up to mid-thigh, will entice Cheaty McCheatser to come back to her? I don’t get it, and it’s not really Katharine’s fault as much as it is the director’s. I had the same problem with Daughtry’s video. But then again, videos (or songs, for that matter) don’t serve to tell stories these days so much as they serve as a miniature photo shoot for the singer. Meh.

Crystal ball.

Before making a series of predictions that, two months down the road, will probably serve as nothing more than evidence of my stupidity (and a strong suggestion that I should never, ever set foot in an OTB), should we first talk about the latest ridiculous piece of gossip to hit the net? Yeah, we might as well. Star Magazine, that ballast of integrity, is reporting that Taylor Hicks is a cursin’, temper tantrum-throwin’, hissy-fit havin’, nose-in-the-air, cold, impersonable diva. Says an “insider,” Taylor didn’t want a bodyguard accompanying him to the bathroom (egads! Stone him, I say!) and didn’t want to be in the show once he made the Top 8 anymore (which I guess is why he kept on turning in those high-energy, crowd-pleasing performances). Also ridiculous is the claim that “all the male contestants became friends — except Hicks.” Which is why Elliott Yamin and Ace Young (not to mention Paris Bennett) showed up at the finale waving sticks with a big ol’ photo attached to them — ’cause, you know, he was a dick. It’s also why Elliott, Ace, Bucky Covington and Chris Daughtry jammed with Taylor and LiMBO after all those American Idol concerts — ’cause Taylor is a jackass.

This is the second patently false story to be created about Taylor (the first being the massacring of his Relix magazine quotes in order to spin him into an ungrateful little bitch). Coupled with the fact that the last few episodes of Idol have deftly avoided mentioning the fact that he actually has a CD out, I’m beginning to suspect that there is an effort — well, not necessarily to sabotage Taylor, but at the very least, to get the hell away from American Idol, so that DAUGHTRY11!!!1 and Katharine McPhee (who, interestingly enough and despite all her promo, has only sold about 163,000 copies of her album) can reign supreme as default co-winners. I say, run, Taylor. Run as far away as you can from Idol. Build a career based upon respect and talent from indie greats in the music industry, instead of based on the fleeting love of Extra! and People Magazine.

Anywhoo. So we’ve got a Top 24, ladies and gents, and I’m gonna make some calls. Who’s Top 12-bound? Who’s cannon fodder? Who could sneak out of the shadows a la Elliott and turn out to be a major force to be reckoned with in the months ahead? Here are my predictions. (And no, I could not fit ALL their pictures here.)

Like, so obviously Top 12: Well, let’s start with two of the most obvious: Blake Lewis and Chris Sligh. Blake’s got some mad skillz, there’s no doubting that. The boy is extremely talented. But does he sing as well as he beat-boxes? I don’t think it matters at this stage in the game. He’s got a scarily huge fanbase over at the teen-dream headquarters that are idolforums. He’s got frosted, gimmicky hair. And he’s received MAJOR pimping. He’s in.

Same goes for Sligh, who’s probably the most savvy contestant this show’s ever seen, and from what I’ve read of his blogs, just generally an awesome person all around. Sligh knows that half the battle on this show is winning them over with your personality, and he’s milking that for all it’s worth. I don’t feel like I’ve gotten to see enough of his actual performing, but I’m looking forward to it. He’s a lock for the Top 12, but at some point in time, his vocals will have to trump his sense of humor, lest he avoid becoming this season’s Pickler.

Also a lock, I think, is Gina Glocksen. She’s received the biggest push out of all of the women, and she seems to have a fairly decent-sized fanbase. The one thing that could hurt her? She comes off as a rocker chick, but word on the street is that she’ll be focusing more on pop music in the competition. If the audience feels duped, they may not respond with votes.

I’m also gonna go out on a limb and say that Sundance Head will be making the Top 12. I think he’s got a decent base, even though they lay low. And it’s possible that people may remember his initial audition and be willing to forgive his missteps in Hollywood. But I also think that there’s more to Sundance than we’ve been show, and I have a feeling that he pulled out all the stops for his final a cappella performance in Hollywood. The viewing audience wasn’t treated to it, leaving the audience with the impression that he just flat-out sucks and was inexplicably put through. But I’m not sure just how low Idol would stoop in putting through a singer who bombed on everything in Hollywood, so I’m going to predict that he’ll come out swinging in the semi-finals and earn his way into the Top 12.

We’ll also be seeing sweet, quiet Melinda Doolittle in the finals, mark my words. Even if she stumbles in the semi-finals, or turns in subpar performances, I expect the judges to coddle her with “that wasn’t your best performance, but you’ll sail through” sentiments. Personality might be a problems after that, though; she’ll have to inspire people to care about her.

Brandon Rogers and his mega-watt smile are going through to the Top 12. He’s got the squee! factor, and while I find his vocals a bit nondescript at this point, a lot of people really like him, and I think, so does the show. I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t make the Top 12.

I also expect Jordin Sparks to make it. She’s incredibly talented, but even if she doesn’t live up to it in the semi-finals, she’ll go through, because America likes putting through cute talented teenagers, and Simon enjoys screwing with them once they make the Top 12 — telling them to sing songs more their age, but then berating them for being bland when they do. Ahh, it’s a sport, I tell you. Comparisons between Jordin and Lisa Tucker have already been drawn, and not just because are both young with curly hair and cocoa skin, either. Lisa had a penchant for picking songs that aged her about fifty years (though it never bothered me, personally) and falling flat when she tried bouncier numbers; the same may happen to Jordin.

Obviously cannon fodder: I think it’s pretty clear that Simon built up Alaina Alexander for the sheer pleasure of tearing her down later. This very pretty girl simply cannot sing very well. She’s off-pitch, affected and is always gasping for air. Expect lots of tears when her dreams are crushed and she’s forced to go get that college degree after all.

Nicole Tranquillo. All together now: “Who?” Unless she really comes out fighting, she’s toast. Remember Heather Cox last year? Girlfriend never had a chance. Neither did Melissa McGhee, who managed to sneak into the Final 12 (and to not last long), because I think there was voter backlash against Simon for reaming Melissa (who gave a great performance) and for coddling Ayla Brown, who was meh. Anyway, Nicole doesn’t have the benefit of…well, anyone knowing who the hell she is, so I don’t see her going very far.

The same goes for unknown Amy Krebs, who, despite being toothy and cute-as-a-button, seems like filler. It’s possible that she might make it, but no way in hell will both she and Nicole make the Top 12.

I fear for adorable Sanjaya Malakar. I’ve yet to be blown away by him, and I know that American Idol loves to be able to cut down a couple of teenagers during the semi-finals. I see it happening with him, unless of course he becomes a Covais-like sensation. He needs to step it up if he wants to make the Top 12, but at this point, it’s not looking good.

I’m also getting a strong filler vibe from Nick Pedro, although I can’t really put my finger on why, exactly. Maybe because he reminds me of Judd Harris? Hey, I didn’t say I had an accurate or logical prediction method, now did I? And Sabrina Sloan? Sabrina who? She’s out, no matter how talented she is.

Haley Scarnato has got to go. She wasn’t all that during her audition, and she was even worse during Hollywood. I’m not sure what they’re seeing in her, other than that she’s someone to focus the negative energy on early in the competition.

Middle of the pack: Jared “J.L.” Cotter, A.J. Tablado, Lakeesha Jones, Phil Stacey, Chris Richardson, and Paul Kim all have potential, whether it’s singing, personality, or squee-wise.

Possible dark horses: Rudy Cardenas has annoying boy-band vocals, and I stil haven’t forgiven him for the way he massacred “Georgia” during his a cappella performance, but he made the Top 24 regardless. He may have potential. By no means do I think he is a lock for the Top 12, but I won’t be surprised at all if he makes it.

Antonella Barba has also gotten her fair share of airtime, but more for her squabbling with her groupmates than for her actual singing. And from what I’ve heard, I think she’s got a good voice, but not a great voice. The tweens love her (becuz omg shez so pretty!!11111!), and she may make the Top 12, but I don’t see her as unique or talented enough to pull off a victory. In fact, it seems like most of the girls are pretty interchangable vocally this year. It’s weird.

Stephanie Edwards was unseen and unheard before last night. She sounded good in the tiny little clip we were showed, and she has the potential to sneak in a la Latoya and pull out a show-stopping performance. With her short, highlighted hair, she also has a distinctive look, and runs less of a risk of getting lost in the shuffle of blandly pretty girls like Alaina, Antonella, Amy and Nicole.

A definite dark horse candidate — and my current favorite — is the wonderful Leslie Hunt. She’s already got points in her favor for memorability — a distinctive look, a distinctive voice — and impeccable taste in music (which will hopefully translate into impeccable song choices). Girlfriend loves her some Nina Simone, which means I loves me some Leslie. This was also the girl featured in the original “Is she the ONE???????” promo spots for Idol, and yes, she can sing.

American Idol: Top 24!

Yaaaaay! The chair. Who goes? Who stays? Who showboats their way down the Green Mile?

Roll credits. Is Taylor still there, or has he quietly been edged out by DAUGHTRY!!111? Nope, looks like he’s still there. But it’s only a matter of time.

We’ll do it the short way.

Your Top 24: Sanjaya Malakar, who sashays down the hallway. Obviously the kid has talent, but I wasn’t blown away by his final performance, and I think they’re putting him through as pure canon fodder. I hope I’m wrong about that, because he seems really sweet. Fabulous Melinda Doolittle, although her final performance displays a potential problem with nervous, goat-y vibrato. Her new shag haircut is adorable, though. Snoozy Brandon Rogers. Gina Glocksen, despite the fact that she never seemed to rise above her back-up singers during her final performance. Haley Scarnato, another travesty, since her final performance is woefully off-pitch. Phil Stacey, who despite not impressing me during his audition, impresses the hell out of me now. Chris Sligh, who is still just a gimmicky personality for me right now. Taylor managed to rise above his shtick with his gorgeous vocals; I’m not so sure Sligh can do the same. Stupid fucking Blake Lewis, who still looks like an Ecstasy addict. Potential Lisa Tucker 2.0 Jordin Sparks. Paul Kim, whose stupid claim to fame is that he shall be barefoot from here on out. They really are scraping the bottom of the barrell for gimmicks this year, aren’t they? Anyway. Blue-eyeshadowed Stephanie Edwards. Quirky Leslie Hunt and her smoky, unaffected, effortless vocals, and her awesome strawberry-blonde highlights. She could be an early favorite. Nick Pedro. Alaina “God forbid I go to COLLEGE and get a JOB” Alexander, in another tragedy, namely because her final performance was gaspier than a fish flopping on the countertop. Chris “You mean I’m NOT Justin Timberlake?” Richardson. Belter Lakeesha Jones displays more subtlety and nuance this time around. She could win me over yet, although she definitely needs to go bra-shopping. Nicole Tranquillo, who has a nice, if a little nondescript. Jared Cotter. Amy Krebs, who I kind of like, despite her blindingly white teeth.

Future Trivial Pursuit questions: Tall Anna Kearns, who debuts a strange, puffy little pompadour. Poker-faced Bernard Williams. Eric “Justin” Davis, who apparently had the backstory to end all backstories (having spent five years in prison before becoming a Christian youth pastor). Tami Gosnell, in the first of many terrible injustices of the night. Jimmy “Little Ruben” McNeal and Errick Johnson. Gorgeous, ridiculously talented, Harvard-educated Thomas Lowe, in another injustice. Someone named Olivia Quibert-Hurst. Cute Tatianna McConnico. Monique Vieras. Jerome Chism. Joelle James, done in either by her unheard vocals or her strange Dolly Parton-meets-Rose Marie hairdo. Exotic-looking Princess Johnson. BUCKSTEIN!.

SHOWDOWN!: For the girls, it comes down to Marisa “Love me for my voice, not my body” Rhodes (her provocative photos have since been taken down) and Antonella Barba. They fake-wish each other good luck in the elevator, which is fucking hysterical. Marisa has the far superior voice, but inexplicably, Antonella makes the Top 24. Marisa kind of freaks out about it. For the boys, Tommy Daniels and his over-gelled fro take on Sundance Head Easy call, right? You’d think so, since Sundance didn’t do well in the first two rounds of Hollywood. But we don’t really know, since none of Tommy’s mad Hollywood skillz were never displayed. Then again, neither was Sundance’s final performance, which could have been either a masterpiece or an epic tragedy. Anyway, Sundance is through, leaving Tommy all the more available to flick off the cameras…and to make his future court dates.

So who are my picks so far? I haven’t given up on Sundance yet, although I’m not particularly loyal to him if he’s not up to par. Same goes for Leslie Hunt. I could also see myself warming up to Lakeesha and Melinda. But we shall see…

American Idol: Hollywood

Why is it that after every viewing of American Idol, I immediately get a craving for peanut butter? Is it because of that banana guy? Eh.

Hollywood, bitches!

I have to start off with this. What the hell did Taylor Hicks do to piss off the producers of this show so much? (Besides actually winning, I mean.) Katharine’s crotch shot of an album cover is all up in my face at the top of the Family Viewing Hour, DAUGHTRY!!1111! gets like eight hundred years of pimping as the Savior of Music, and Taylor? Just some crazy gray-haired dude who happened to wander onstage during the finale last year and get caught up in some confetti, I guess. Oh well. At least Taylor can probably count on the Soul Patrol to carry him through a long and solid (if not particularly glittery) musical career, instead of coasting solely on media hype, only to flame out spectacularly.

Round one. The girls start us off. Jory Steinberg somehow managed to both pack and wear the exact same outfit as Paula Abdul, which is creepy. Oh, and her singing isn’t really all that great — it’s affected, and there’s just no uniqueness to her voice at all. She gets cut, and sashays down the hallway, all “I thought it was good.” Well, I thought it sucked, as did the judges. Also? Girlfriend’s got one long face.

Stupid obnoxious Perla cootchie-cootchies her way through “Hips Don’t Lie,” which is apparently the only song she knows. (Cute skirt, though.) Simon puts her through, but tells her that she’s more personality than talent at this point. She’s understandably upset about this, and whines that she can’t stop being herself. No one asked her to stop being herself, but she needs to have the pipes to back it up. And she just doesn’t. Baylie Brown (whose website has been taken down, but if you Google her name, you’ll see the cached remnants that describe the supposed desperate-to-get-off-the-farm girl as a “seasoned professional”) speak-sings her way through a song, and gets through on…her blonde hair, I guess. Also going through: Gina Glocksen, Jamie Lynn “Kellie Pickler Who?” Ward, and Melinda Doolittle. Not so lucky: Army gal Rachel Jenkins, who gets cut after a lackluster performance; Ashlynn “Pour Some Sugar on Me” Carr, whose bitchface upon getting cut is priceless; rough-and-tumble Porcelana Patino, and daddy-doesn’t-love-me Sarah Burgess.

The men. Second-timer Bryan Miller sticks to his audition song, and it’s much nicer this time. Reagan Idol Jarrod Fowler sings Josh Groban boringly, and gets cut. Matt Sato and his beautiful eyebrows boyband their way through to the next round, as does Chris Sligh, who doesn’t get a whole lot of pimping this episode. Methinks TPTB have caught wind of the Soul Patrol-like gravy train that is the Sligh Phenomenon, and are going to do their damndest to stall his advancement at every turn (or at least they’ll step in once the possibility of his win starts to outweigh his entertainment value, because you know the last thing they want is another Taylor.) Also making the first cut: Brandon Rogers, Nick Pedro, Sean Michel, Phil Stacey, and stupid beatboxing Blake Lewis, who eventually WILL have to sing a song during this competition, unless the judges decided to allow him to beatbox his way through Diane Warren night. Sundance Head sings way too high up in his range, and displays none of the bluesiness or grit that made him my early favorite. He gets through on Paula’s generosity, apparently.

Round two. Group-hunting proves difficult for Matt Sato. Matthew BUCKSTEIN! joins a harmony-less trio, while for-now pimpees Chris Sligh, Rudy Cardenas, Tom Lowe and Blake Lewis , who still looks like he should be popping E at a rave, immediately hook up and later deliver a kick-ass performance (made all the more kickass, admittedly, by the beatboxing, although I still want to see him get off the crutch).

Perla can’t harmonize (and looks and dances like she’s being Tasered), and she’s out. Baylie totally blanks out on her words, and she’s gone. And God doesn’t like her, according to Amanda Coluccio. Sundance Head doesn’t do so hot, but lives to see another day. It also seems as though Sean “Fidel bin Jesus” Michel didn’t make it.

Final cut. Through to Hollywood are Melinda, Blake, Sligh, Gina, Tom, BUCKSTEIN!, and Sundance, as well as Sanjaya Malakar, Marisa Rhodes, Haley Scarnato, Leslie Hunt, Tommy Daniels, Jordin Sparks, Tami Gosnell, Anna Kearns and Paul Kim. Not making it are Shyamali Malakar (who, sobbing, is consoled by her equally devastated brother), Jamie Lynn, and Bryan Miller.

Spoiler update.

Some more names have been added to idolforums’ list of spoilers. Previously confirmed: Jordin Sparks, Blake Lewis, Chris Richardson, Gina Glocksen, Phil Stacey, Antonella Barba, Sundance Head, Chris Sligh, Brandon Rogers (who we’ve yet to meet). But there are a few new names in the pot now (and some previous names that were showing up on old spoiler lists haven’t made this one yet). Take a gander:

Marisa Rhodes, whose famewhoring photographs prove that she’ll need a serious image retooling if she expects to win over those Bible Belt voters. Provocative young misses sell records; they don’t win Idol, unless they couch their naughty nature in sweet prom dresses and classic songs. Just ask Katharine McPhee. She has a MySpace filled with wide-eyed photographs, but no music for your sampling pleasure, though her header proclaims that she is “a little bit blues and a little bit rock and roll.” I can’t imagine her singing the blues in a wet torn T-shirt and underpants, but…we’ll see.

Word is now that Sanjaya Malakar has made the Top 24. I didn’t think the kid was that great, myself, though he’s prime material for a Tiger Beat cover. I’m thinking he’s this year’s Will Makar.

Jared “JL” Cotter wants to capitalize on the whole Usher and Timberlake (whatever) phenomenon. His MySpace (which does have music; it’s standard R&B, breathy vocals, stupid rap…perfect VH1 music video fare) obnoxiously declares himself “the future of R&B,” and a song called “If You Were My Girl” has the dude name-checking himself. Uhh, no. You’re not famous enough to do that yet, man.


August 2017
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What the kids are sayin’



"I hate them all. The judges, TPTB, the blatant manipulation, the songs, the contestants, everything. I'm a die-hard Cook fan, but for the love of god, at least try to look like you're enjoying yourself up there! Please? Syesha was awesome but she ruined it by being completely shameless and disgusting. Yes, being on American Idol is exactly like the civil rights movement, except for the part where you're fighting to make the world a better place."



"All I can say after the disgusting display tonight of favoritism towards the mediocrity that is David A. - good luck trying to market and make money off of that kid, American Idol. (Not to mention good luck dealing with his father.) All the teeny boppers may buy up his American Idol coronation single, but they will quickly forget about him before the album comes out. And I shudder to think of a David A. album - song after song of unrelenting sameness and heavy breathing. Why they are pimping him for the win is beyond me."



"This show was simply a hot buttered mess tonight. And Jason "needs to be arrested for what he did to I Shot the Sheriff. But I hope he stays. He amuses me. "