Archive for the 'leslie hunt' Category

Leslie’s on a roll.

Leslie Hunt’s Idol dreams may have been dashed by some ill-received scatting and the fact that she’s probably too classy to pose panty-less on top of a war memorial, but that hasn’t stopped her from continuing to make music:

Check out a new song called “Down Day” just posted at her MySpace.

Leslie also posted the following bulletin on MySpace:

(sigh)
My Idol journey has ended, but my music lives on!
If you would like to be kept posted, please email me at:
LeslieHuntMusic@yahoo.com
You have no idea how grateful I am to have been able to share my music with you all. This is only the beginning! Hang in there!

Sincerely Grateful,
Leslie Hunt

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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.

American Idol: Top 20 Results

Recap wil be late, guys. Life calls.

ELIMINATED TONIGHT:

Nicholas Pedro (“Fever”)
Alaina Alexander (“Not Ready to Make Nice”) (still snarking on Simon — try having the talent to back it up, sweetie pie. College is waiting. THE HORROR!) Alaina cries and hugs her way through the first half of her singout and barely makes it through the second half. Jordin and Sundance cry at her exit. It’s almost enough to melt my cold, black heart. Almost.
AJ Tablado (“Feelin’ Good”)(Sundance cries again!)
Leslie Hunt (“Feelin’ Good”) (who looks like she’s about to die…sob)

I’m officially uninvested this season.

Uhhh…I think Kellie’s had a little, uh, work done.

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.”

Know your current events.

Some of these articles come courtesy of the inimitable lisab over at MJ’s. Thanks!

So I’m feeling better this morning, which is good. But I’m still going to take it easy. Just ’cause.

Here’s a news article about Top 24 contender Leslie Hunt:

…Hunt comes from a family of artists and musicians, and she’s performed self-composed vocal and piano pieces locally at various establishments, including the Norris Cultural Arts Center. Hunt is a fan of artists such as Bjork, Nina Simone and Fiona Apple, who have made a living on the outskirts of the pop mainstream. And she has always been determined to become known for her own material — not for rehashing someone else’s songs.

An admirable and laudable goal, but I don’t see it completely happening if she wins the whole shebang. She may be one of the contestants who benefits from going out third or fourth and signing indie. We’ll just have to see. Oh, and here’s what one of Leslie’s former employers had to say about her voice:

Leslie’s voice is like velvet, while everybody else paints in Technicolor.

That’s very cool. And true, from what I’ve heard so far. A lot of the girls just seem so interchangable this year.

Here’s a little bit more about Nicole Tranquillo. She sings in a group called Soul School at U of Arts, and her parents encouraged her to try out for Idol. She never got to sing in New York, because police cut off the lines, so she went to Memphis instead. I haven’t heard a lot of her, but the buzz is that she’s a very talented girl.

Contender Rudy Cardenas plans to kick off the semi-finals with a little rock (more Journey), then move to some Latin-tinged performances if he advances. That could be cool and different–the closest this show has ever come to Latin is Gloria Estefan night and Shakira, singing in English, belly-dancing with Wyclef Jean. But Rudy, just remember — singing Ricky Martin doesn’t count.

Nicholas Pedro, who “bowed out” of the competition last year, rues the day he ever made that decision. He also enjoys the nickname “Boston Nick.” Oh no.

And finally, read more about Lakisha Jones and how she dedicated one of her performances to her daughter, Brionne, here.

Hey, remember that Chris Daughtry article I linked to yesterday? I missed one very interesting quote in it, and it comes from everyone’s favorite Dark Sith, Clive Davis. Says Clive:

He was the first Idol that I’d ever met who had material that he had written…That was compelling.

Umm…no, actually. Bo Bice had plenty of original music up his sleeve, too. But whatever, Clive. Whatever.

Katharine McPhee got another craptastic review today. From the Worcester Telegram:

McPhee’s self-titled disc is full of bad generic knockoffs inspired by established artists, including Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefani and even the Pussycat Dolls. It’s hard to catch McPheever when McPhee doesn’t even break a sweat. Instead, anyone with a smidgen of musical taste might have an allergic reaction listening to this disc…While you’re at it, how about standing up being your own person, not a cookie cutout of Beyoncé, Britney, Christina, Gwen or Mariah? (two out of four stars)

To be fair, the reviewer does seem impressed with the work she does on the ballads, so check out the full review if you get a chance.

Trix are for kids.

I have the flu. Probably divine retribution for all my snarking. Because God only likes good people.

So we’ve got a barrage of interviews and news articles to round up here. Let’s begin with a nice big Entertainment Weekly piece on Chris Daughtry. EW describes how Daughtry, who was playing an afternoon set at a children’s hospital, cancelled a Q&A conference, calls a collection of photos from his Idol days “cheesy,” and just generally is sick and tired of being associated with the show that is single-handedly responsible for his fame:

When a hospital administrator introduces him as ”Chris from American Idol,” the tightly wound singer snaps. He turns discreetly to a member of his entourage and whispers, ”Are they even going to mention the album? Are they even going to talk about the band? It’s just Idol,” saying the last word with special disdain.

You know what’d be really cool? Like, if three weeks from now, the New York Post picks up on this story and runs its own piece, perhaps with a headline like “CHRIS DAUGHTRY: DON’T MENTION MY NAME AND ‘IDOL’ IN THE SAME SENTENCE.” Then Chris can spend the next few weeks issuing press releases and going on talk shows to explain how his statements were taken out of context and how he’s truly very grateful to Idol. I think that would be pretty cool.

Oh, and the audience at a typical DAUGHTRY!!1111!! show? Not quite the hardcore rawker set you might be imagining:

A sold-out midweek show at Los Angeles’ El Rey is filled with moms in bedazzled peasant shirts and clumps of kids sipping Shirley Temples. When the compact, muscular singer bounds on stage wearing his standard uniform — dark T-shirt, flared jeans, and wallet chain — the room erupts in shrieks. A woman screams repeatedly, ”You’re so hot, Chris!”

Bedazzled? HA! Sounds like the Soul Patrol and the Chrisaholics are probably members of the same PTA.

New Orleans is loving them some Taylor Hicks:

The Krewe of Endymion, one of Carnival’s best known groups, was set to make its annual march through the city streets today, with “American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks leading it. Hicks was given a standing ovation when he appeared at a Bourbon Street restaurant Friday, as elated diners waved their napkins to a brass band’s beat. “It’s amazing to me what a difference a year makes,” said the 30-year-old singer, who was expected to perform with Al Green and Journey at Endymion’s ball tonight.

Parade, schmarade! What I want to know is, did Randy Jackson play bass? Get your priorities straight, L.A. Times!

Katharine McPhee, last seen shilling for Gillette razors (hey, a gal’s gotta make a living), has some harsh words for shock jock (not potential Anna Nicole baby daddy) Howard Stern. And I have to say…I back her 100% on this. Apparently, Katharine was invited to appear on Stern’s show. Here’s her response:

Howard Stern is a pig. I would never do his show. Why would I do a show that degrades women the way Howard does? No thank you.

Good for you, Kat. Just promise me that no matter what direction your career takes or how successful you are, you’ll stick to your guns about this.

And finally, want to know some more about your new Top 24? Some local news outlets have published interviews with their home contestants. Get the scoop on Chicagoans Leslie Hunt and Gina Glocksen, as well as U of Arts student Nicole Tranquillo. Oh, and for those of you who (like me) mourn the premature exit of the sensational Tami Gosnell, you can check out some of her original music here.


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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. "