Archive for the 'jared cotter' 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.


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.


Pitter patter.

Spoilers? Spoilers? Yoo-hoo, spoilers? No, I haven’t heard anything regarding what the Top 24 men will be singing tonight…but if I do, I shall post it here forthwith. (You know what? I don’t even know what ‘forthwith’ means.) Watch this space.

Phil Stacey: “I Couldn’t Ask for More” by Edwin McCain
Alaina Alexander: “Brass in Pocket” by The Pretenders (unconfirmed)
Nicole Tranquillo: something by Aretha Franklin (unconfirmed)
Chris Richardson: “Do I Do” by Stevie Wonder
Rudy Cardenas: a “70s rock song”

Jared “J.L.” Cotter wants to be the first New Yawk Idol. Timberlake wannabe Chris Richardson gave up his career…managing a Hooters…to try out for Idol. Hey, I knew there was a reason I didn’t like him (aside from the Timberlake thing, of course). And here’s a little interview with Leslie Hunt’s family.

Katharine McPhee got another review, this time from Monsters and Critics (her second review from the site):

‘The Simpsons’ once featured a Chuck E. Cheese-style kids` restaurant with the slogan ‘We cram fun down your throat,’ which is more or less the ‘American Idol’ machine`s plan for Katharine McPhee on this debut record. The season five runner-up, a big-voiced Broadway wannabe on the show, is awkwardly painted as Gwen Stefani/Fergie by a surge of producers and writers on this anonymous-sounding pop album…McPhee is appealing, but lyrics like “From the first time I saw you/Well I thought that we`d be cool” don`t do much to reveal her true personality.”

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…

More of the Top 24 men.

It comes from a pretty reliable source (one who spoiled the last two seasons of Canadian Idol flawlessly)…so we’ll just have to see.

Blake Lewis
Brandon Rogers
Chris Sligh
Chris Richardson
Jared “J.L.” Cotter
Jason “Sundance” Head
Philip “Phil” Joel Stacey
Rudy Cardenas
Sanjaya Malakar
Nick Pedro
Paul Kim
AJ Tablado

And my thoughts:
Paul KimPaul Kim is a new name. I dunno. He promotes himself as soul/neo-soul/R&B on his MySpace, but he sounds pretty standard R&B/rap to me…only not particularly distinctive. Nice voice, though. Oh, and nice pecs, too.

Blake LewisBlake Lewis’ MySpace is sporting some new tunes, one of which is a beat-box-off entitled “Qbert vs. BShorty.” I’m sorry, I just can’t get behind an Americal Idol contestant who calls himself “Bshorty.” That’s just wrong, dude. Most of the other tunes feature a whole lot of beatboxing, mixing, some sad little rapping, and a whole lot of eletronically-faded “ooohs” and “ohhhs,” but not a whole lot of BShorty’s…well, voice. And everytime I see him, I think he looks like he should be clutching glowsticks and proclaiming his love for everyone at the rave, in between suckling on his pacifier. That being said, his “Closer to Reason” is quite…entrancing. But I’m not sure I’d want him to win, although he’s already stolen the hearts (and cringe-inducing Photoshopped signature) of Internet tweens.

Sanjaya MalakarPoised to become another tween favorite is Sanjaya Malakar. Adorable, sure, but I suspect he doesn’t have as much control over his high-pitched teenage voice as he displayed during his audition, and I predict a quick exit for him a la last year’s heartthrobs David Radford and Will Makar.

Chris SlighCheck out some Chris Sligh tunes over at his band’s MySpace. I think he sounds better and stronger than he did during the auditions. And I want him to go far for two other reasons — he’s different, and Katharine McPhee insulted him all high-school popular girl style (“Um, you know, I don’t want to be mean, but…”). And his photo proves that you don’t have to look like McPhee to rock the come-hither look. Go ‘head, Sligh!

Sundance HeadSundance Head is still my pick to win it all, and I have to say, I respect the guy for not having a MySpace or any other kind of official website. Interesting that we know nothing about him other than his father’s history as a performer. Could he — GASP! — actually earn his standing this season based on vocals alone?

Phil StaceyPhil Stacey is also laying low on the net, with a personal MySpace, but no music posted on it. Check out the pic, though — those are some blue, blue eyes.

Brandon RogersFormer back-up singer Brandon Rogers could light up the Vegas Strip with his smile, but I find his singing just too indistinctive to carry him very far in the competition. Rudy Cardenas was another one I wasn’t too crazy about; too many men this season have the boyband sound about them. Nick Pedro…he was the guy who made it to Hollywood last year, butchered the words to a group song, and then voluntarily withdrew, no? Between him and Gina Glocksen, this show is turning into Last Ditch Effort Idol. Newbie to the list AJ Tabaldo is more R&B (gee, do you think they’re gunning for a male R&B artist to win this year?), but I’m not flipping out over him. And honestly, I don’t even remember Chris Richardson at this point.

June 2019
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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. "