Archive for the 'chris daughtry' Category

Top 5: Results

Group sing! This group’s inability to harmonize truly is mind-boggling. We’re down to five contestants, and I can’t help but compare their group number to the awesomeness that was Season 5’s Elvis medley. Now that was an amazing moment–Taylor and Katharine and Elliott and Chris all coming together, all sounding fantastic, goofing off together and missing their marks and generally dropping their bullshit personas (well, if you’re not counting McPhee wearing one of her many “Pretty Thing” shirts) for a few minutes to just genuinely have a good time and sing like their lives depended on it. It was one of the best moments of the season, especially in light of the still-persistent rumors that most of the Season 5 contestants secretly hated each other, despite the fact that they all appeared pretty buddy-buddy onstage, and despite the fact that Elliott, Taylor, and Chris all performed together at dive bars during the tour, and Kat McPhee had Kellie Pickler as a bridesmaid in her wedding, and Ace Young wrote songs for Daughtry and all that. Nope, they all totally wanted to slit each other’s throats. But if you buy the rumors, watching that particular performance was akin to peeling an onion — one layer of “oh, they’re all so cute together” revealing another layer of “but they’re so competitive!” on top of “but they totally seem like best friends” on top of “but The Advocate said only two of them were sweet and easy to get along with, while the other two were annoying divas!” And then you started to cry anyway, either because of the sheer beauty of the entire performance or because you realized just how much thought you were investing into American Idol. I’ll leave you to guess whether mine were tears of joy or of sorrow.

But getting back to the actual present, the kids are attempting a Neil Diamond medley. Syesha‘s microphone is strangely turned off for most of it, not that I’m really complaining or anything. She’s wearing an odd little Grecian-style minidress; it’s got one shoulder and is simultaneously slate gray and peach, and it is very short and shows off Syesha’s lovely legs, because she’s onto the game and is pulling out all the stops. You know, I don’t even think Syesha is a real person anymore. I’m convinced that she’s actually Katharine McPhee in a very elaborate Days of our Lives-style disguise. Oh, come on; you know you don’t seriously doubt she’d do it, and besides, being back to traipsing barefoot across the shiny Idol stage has got to be better than wearing a prosthetic pregnant belly alongside Rumer Willis. They do “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” at the end, which is one of my favorite Neil songs ever, so I wind up happy, even if I still kind of think they all suck in one way or another.

And then Ryan wants to reassure us all that despite whatever you might have read on the Internet this morning, Paula is not being fired, because she is family and they love her, even though she’s really just the cousin that no one likes to talk about, possibly because she’s batshit, possibly because no one’s really sure who her real parents actually are. Paula, for her part, looks eminently grateful in her strange porcelain-doll dress and her even stranger porcelain-doll wig.

Castro, safe. Archuleta, safe. Cook, safe. Brooke and Syesha are called out to the seal, but are never explicitly labeled as the bottom two, which probably doesn’t mean much, but at this point the tinfoil-hat stuff is far more interesting than any of the actual performances. And then Natasha Bedingfield comes out and sings about the sun, looking exactly nothing like she did the last time I saw her, when she was all boho and dancing alongside little cartoon radios. She has straw hair and sad heroin eyes now. I wonder if she and Nelly Furtado ever go out for skim frapps together and compare notes and hair products and their eternal contractual obligations to the underworld.

Neil Diamond sings one of his new songs, “Pretty Amazing Grace.” And it’s awesome. His band’s a little overpowering, and given that Home After Dark is another Rick Rubin production, I’m thinking that the album cut is going to be more restrained. In any event, I like the slight mambo swing of the song. Ryan congratulates Neil for having the energy to still stand on his own two feet, and then we cut to Neil’s mother in the audience, because nice guys like Neil bring their moms places. Ryan asks us why we should all buy Neil’s new album — I’m totally downloading it the minute it drops, by the way — and Neil says “because it’s good,” which rocks. Heh. And then it appears that Simon and Neil have some kind of history together, because neither one seems to like the other very much. Oooh, scandal. One I’m too lazy to Google, though.

Brooke and Syesha hit the seal again. Ryan asks Syesha whether it’s hard choosing what to sing every week; Syesha responds that it is, because usually she doesn’t know the songs. Yes, Syehsa wants us to believe that she didn’t know “I Will Always Love You.” Or “Me and Mrs. Jones.” Or “Saving All My Love For You.” Or “YEsterday.” Oh, just go away. Brooke is already breaking down; she’s sobbing before Ryan even calls her name, and she’s in hysterics before Ruben celebrates her home. Meanwhile, Syesha has placed her hand over her heart in her community-theater way, because she is an actress, and also because she is Katharine. Ryan hands Brooke the mic and tells her “this is gonna be hard.” Oh, thanks, Ryan. She fumbles in the beginning, but looks like she’s getting into the groove, and then my DVR decides it has had quite enough of this. So, your final four — Archuleta, Cook, Castro, and Mercado. I’m partial to Cook vs. Castro when it comes down to the bitter, bitter end.

Only one question.

I don’t have time to write a full entry tonight, but I do have to ask — why did David Cook go to Christian Siriano’s hair stylist tonight?

He’s sounding especially mumbly and Daughtry-ish tonight.

Clean sweep.

Despite my long and comfy hibernation, I felt compelled to author a post after the recent spate of Idols parting ways with the Sony/BMG behemoth. Unless you’ve been hibernating right along with me (and if you have, I tend to kick when I’m dreaming, so I’m sorry about that), you know that Ruben Studdard, Taylor Hicks, and Katharine McPhee are no longer footsoldiers in the Dark Lord Clive Davis’s empire.

The Studdard news is hardly new; he and J Records haven’t been working together since May of 2007. The Hicks and McPhee news comes as more of a…well, not necessarily a shock, but at least it’s fresher. To date, Hicks has sold 699,000 copies of his self-titled work, while McPhee has moved 366,000 copies of her also-eponymous debut.

While the media reports regarding Hicks’s and McPhee’s statuses differ in their headlines, billing their departure from J Records as a mutual split, a parting of the ways, or a one-sided kick to the curb, here is what the actual suits have to say. Regarding Studdard:

The exec noted that Studdard put out three albums, “but there comes a time when we have to recognize the market for adult-oriented albums is tough. We allowed him to be a free agent, to make the record he wanted to make.

And with regard to Hicks:

“The same thing with Taylor Hicks (above, left). We didn’t want to shove any songs down his throat. We wanted to make an album in the style he was comfortable with. We mutually agreed that he’d work on an album [on his own], we’d listen, and we’d see where we go from there. There’s no acrimony.”

It sounds like at least Hicks, and possibly Studdard, still has some kind of deal with Sony, wherein Hicks will be recording his next CD on his own (and likely without any financial support from the label), but if J likes what they hear, they’ll have an opportunity (probably the right of first refusal) to distribute the album. Depending on where you fall on the coin of Hicks, this is either good news or terrible news. If all you care about is Taylor putting out a good album (perhaps something more along the lines of his earlier indie releases), then you’re probably raising a glass of champagne and toasting this recent news. If, on the other hand, your dream for Hicks was for him to obtain million-mark sales and the fawning approval of the blogosphere, start rending your garments: Unless a new Hicks album spawns Daughtry-like sales, he’ll likely remain a popular punching bag.

Perhaps more interesting is the exec’s commentary regarding McPhee:

We put millions behind Katharine. Many of us at the label still love her songs. But we’re in the major leagues. We didn’t think she could break into the mainstream. We would rather be honest. (McPhee is talking with another label and is due to star in the movie “I Know What Boys Like.”)

I’m a little confused by this — why would a record label spend millions on an artist that they never thought could have top sales in the first place? — but it’s interesting to note that there is no mention of McPhee having the same right of first refusal deal that it looks like Taylor got. Whether this was simply an oversight in the interview I don’t know, but I will have to say that even though I am not a fan of Ms. McPhee, her record label is extraordinarily stupid if they don’t have a similar arrangement with her. The girl does have a small spate of movies coming out (even if her oft-hyped “starring role” in the abovementioned Anna Faris comedy is reportedly only a small part with minimal speaking and her other “starring role” was handed to her by her boyfriend/fiancee, who also happens to be the film’s producer). On the off-chance (or on-chance, if she really can act) that McPhee becomes a box office darling, why in the world would RCA want to cut its ties with her? Wouldn’t they want to keep her contractually bound? Then again, it’s possible that RCA could always rerelease Katharine McPhee if her movies pick up steam and see if the album gains similar momentum.

It’s also worth noting that some of McPhee’s fans grumble that RCA never invested anything into her album and that she was never truly given a chance to take the market by storm. I don’t know who was pumping the money into McPhee’s coffers, but given that she did have a hit single (“Over It”), two videos (one of which did very well on rotation), a major endorsement deal (Big Sexy Hair), an almost endless stream of obnoxiously open-mouthed magazine covers (including Lucky and Shape), several fashion spreads (including Cosmopolitan, OK!, and In Style magazines), a weeklong hosting gig on TRL, and very in-demand producers like Ryan Leslie and Danjahands (who don’t come cheap) behind her, I’m hard-pressed to say that her album sales (which, really, weren’t all that terrible for a first-timer) were the result of lack of promotion. Again, whether she was financed and pushed by RCA or her management company, I don’t know, but it’s not as though you had to look hard to find her face.

I’m curious to see what the future holds for these three, though. Katharine, who I still maintain makes a better Madelaine Peyroux knockoff than a Fergie knockoff, probably has the best shot to keep her fifteen minutes going just on her looks alone. If she can add a truly good musical or acting performance to her physical appearance, she might have some legs in the industry. Hicks, in my opinion, might want to consider collaborating with the artists who have always supported him (and who still played with him despite him bearing the nasty Idol stigma) — Keb’Mo’, Buddy Guy, Earth Wind & Fire, Warren Haynes, and Widespread Panic, just to name a few. While I’m a fan of Hicks, I think his songwriting needs to be polished, so collaborations can probably only help him. And Studdard seems to be taking different career roads already. Wherever they wind up, whatever levels of commercial success they obtain, and however they are labeled by the Internet, I wish them all — and their fans — good luck.

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.

Comedy gold for the day.

Courtesy of the hilarious and illustrious neonorange over at MJ’s…

CLIVE DAVIS: DAUGHTRY!, if I ever lost you, I don’t know what I’d do.

[pauses]

I’d probably move on, get another clone…but there would be a 15 minute period there where I would just be inconsolable.

If I could chop Clive and Daughtry into that photo, I’d totally do it.

Leslie Hunt is awesome; Simon, not so much.

Leslie Hunt (and fellow bootees AJ Tabaldo, Alaina Alexander and Nick Pedro are up for thier requisite Entertainment Weekly interview. Apparently, Leslie had never even watched Idol before (she says she’s not a bit TV watcher at all), but tried out for it because “You know how the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? I was doing the same thing over and over and I thought maybe this was a long shot but I’d try something new.” Some other exerpts:

EW: Where do you think you went wrong?
Hunt: It’s really hard to say what exactly happened. I know I’m kind of quirky…Maybe it was just that everyone else is so friggin’ awesome.
EW: Not everyone. You can’t think you were the worst singer up there!
Hunt: I don’t. (Ed. note — ha!) I hope that doesn’t get me into a sticky situation. I don’t think I was one of the better ones, though, as far as pure talent and vocal abilities.

This is a wacky competition this year, in which any woman who doesn’t have that powerful, belting-type voice is made to feel like they’re less talented, and I just don’t think that’s right. Having a loud, booming voice is one particular kind of talent; so is having the type of melted-butter vocals that made me want to listen to Leslie for hours on end. Maybe Leslie wasn’t right for Idol (they rarely reward non-glory-noters; even Taylor Hicks had to hit the occasional falsetto note), but I still want to hear more from her. Anyway, Leslie also reveals that she thought her miniskirt-and-leggings combo was a “damn cute outfit” and that she and contestant Gina Glocksen became very close.

Alaina Alexander has no qualms about picking a Dixie Chicks song, because she felt like she really connected with it. She also reveals that she is not only a singer, songwriter, and guitar player. You know, Alaina might not have had the strongest voice on Idol, but somewhere in there was a nice tone (she just had problems finding it). If she’s going to pursue her musical career, I submit that she’d do much better as the folksy type, where her songwriting, not her singing, will be the true art form. AJ Tabaldo admits that he was “shocked” at being voted off, but feels that Sanjaya Malakar (who got to stay) was tough competition. And says AJ of the judges: “[t]hey told me they felt like I was one of the stronger ones vocally and I need to keep going and hopefully there will be something in the works with one of them.” Hmmm, really? Interesting. Nick Pedro says “there’s no shame in me going home,” noting that even the person with the lowest total raked in a few million votes.

Leslie Hunt talked a llittle more about her Idol run with the Chicago Sun-Times:

I would have liked to have had the chance to rock out a bit more…Watching myself perform ‘Feeling Good,’ I realized, man, I am totally white.”

Aww!

As for why she was eliminated, she could only speculate. “I’m not really mainstream, and I chose songs that aren’t on the top of the charts,” she said. “It was a risk I felt I should take. I feel better and more in my element when doing things that are true to me. I guess I don’t know America that well.” (Ed. note — America wants instant gratification. They will vote for the flashiest performer and then not buy their album.)

Simon Cowell continues hating on playing a character who hates and Taylor Hicks. He bitches and moans that he couldn’t stand Taylor and that he was right because Chris Daughtry is selling more records. Well, that prove that Daughtry is more marketable, but not more talented (frankly, I think they’re both very talented young men). Also, the great thing about this is that Taylor Hicks most certainly does not give a rat’s ass what Simon Cowell thinks of him, or at least says about him publicly. You reap what you sow, Cowell. You don’t want quirky folks like Hicks running away with your precious Idol crown? Don’t put them through to the Top 24. But equating sales with talent is certainly no surprise coming from Mr. Teletubbies himself (thanks, Chris Sligh; your timing may have been off, but your accuracy wasn’t).

Have another Katharine McPhee album review from Pop Matters:

The music is….slick and seductive and plastic in exactly the way that makes so much of the exploitation in today’s mass media seem not actually exploitive or sexy at all. It says: She’s hot but she’s wholesome but she’s sooo hot but she’s sooooo unreachable but she’s the girl-next-door but her cha-cha is right there behind that striped dress. Oh, and she can sing…[b]ut no matter how many times the Idol judges say “You’ve got to stand out from the crowd”, the end-product of all that competing is to sound like this: wonderfully anonymous, soulfully generic, deeply and utterly secondary to the forgettable songs, which are themselves mere vessels for the delivery of tricked out production—beats and blips and strings and schmaltzy piano where appropriate. It is product, expertly delivered. You can buy it if you please. Like a pizza or a Big Mac…Mechanical and efficient, this album does its job with minimal soul. Simon Cowell smiles and buys a new black t-shirt, and Clive Davis rubs his hands together greasily. Katharine McPhee, on cue, sings and smiles for the camera. America yawns.

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.


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. "