Archive for the 'paris bennett' Category

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.


Kibbles ‘n bits.

Billboard Magazine will be doing a feature on Katharine McPhee in the next coming weeks, but for now, you can read this fairly short, straightforward article. It’s fairly non-controversial, but I do have a hard time believing that Katharine really thinks that 22-year-olds around the nation have cluttered their iPod with Timberlake, Fergie, Christina and Nelly Furtado. I’m not much older than Kat, as are my friends, and oh sure, we might have one or two songs by these aforementioned artists on our playlists…but most of us are into blues, metal, punk, folk, electric rock, Southern rock, or, regrettably, emo. I don’t really think Katharine is that out of touch with her own generation, so I’m going to assume that RCA is kind of putting words in her mouth here…because I don’t know any 22-year-old who, after experiencing the tumult of love and loss, is gonna run to get healed by Kat’s “Over It.” (Well…okay, I do have ONE friend whose CD collection is straight off the ClearChannel programming playlist. But just one.) I do know a couple of eighth-graders who might, though. (And that’s just fine…but let’s be honest about it!) Also, McPhee’s producer is busy getting together a live band for her television promo appearances this month. This should be interesting…since so much of her music is synthesized.

Billboard, like many other publications, is also running a feature marvelling at what a behemoth American Idol has become. Old news is discussed, most notably the new songwriting competition, which viewers will be able to vote on through the show’s website (so what happens if viewers vote through a horrible, horrible song like “My Destiny” that NO ONE could be able to sing correctly?). Also, be on the lookout for rawkers and “quirky” singers in the vein of Taylor Hicks and Elliott Yamin (Elliott was…quirky?) during the auditions. Oh, joy. Copycats. And naturally, the show’s creators tap-dance around their much-touted surprise that will “blow everyone away”:

And look for what Warwick describes as an “absolute mega-night” when the show trims the number of finalists to six contestants. “We’re a bit concerned at the moment that it will overshadow the final,” he says.

“Overshadow the finale,” hmm? Seems to me that it’s a guest performer he’s hinting at.

On with more gossipy news, the New York Post (a publication not known for its fact-checking; see the Taylor Hicks Relix controversy) supposedly interviewed ten different past Idol contestants to get the scoop on what life was really like behind the scenes. And as you might have imagined, it was pretty boring (or at least that’s what the contestants want you to believe). Jessica Sierra and Nadia Turner would have a glass of wine and watch TV! Josh Gracin and Paris Bennett’s mom cooked for everyone! Scott Savol took Anthony Fedorov to Hooters’! And Katharine McPhee snuck out of the compound to spend the night (or just visit? Thanks for pointing it out, Winnie, but I think the context is a little unclear) with her boyfriend (dangerous!). Not that it’s an egregious offense–many contestants complained about the harsh restrictions–but McPhee’s dalliances and disregard for the rules must have come as quite a kick in the nuts to those contestants who were stuck in the apartment because they didn’t have anywhere to sneak to. Hmm. Hey, remember that time that Kat’s mother reportedly threatened to pull her out of the competition if she wasn’t allowed home visits? (EDIT–it’s been brought to my attention that this was merely an unconfirmed rumor, so I’m deleting it.) Remember when Nigel Lythgoe commented that Katharine was “always on the edge of losing it?” Katharine tells the Post that no one ever knew that she snuck out, but I’m willing to bet that they did, and they let her, because they didn’t want to deal with her having a nervous breakdown on their hands. (That would be bad for business.)

And last but not least, contrary to popular (including my own) belief, Taylor, Katharine and Chris aren’t the only season five Idols to be putting out music these days. Paris Bennett will be releasing a single this Tuesday called “Ordinary Love.” I guess the song’s okay, but what’s going on with female Idol contestants in the recording studio these days? Taylor and Chris both sounded great, but Kat’s sounding tinny and child-like on her songs, and Paris is sounding…just bad. I don’t even think she’s singing her way through this song; it’s more like she’s shouting her notes. Then again, she was always a bit strident when tackling upper-range material; her best performances were when she stayed in her smokey lower range (like “These Foolish Things”). She’s got another song, too, called “Hold Up.” It’s more of a rap, and it’s hilarious, because while the backbeat is actually very hardcore, but the song itself is just…really…bad. Not only is the rhythm off, but singing “I ain’t cereal/you can’t milk me?” Umm…go back to jazz, Paris. We liked you there.

But you know who, by contrast, sounds really, really good–better than he ever did on Idol? Bucky Covington, who has four new songs on his MySpace. Bucky’s CD is being released April 17th, and his first single is called “A Different World.” While his voice is missing the gruffness (well, its kind of there on “American Friday Night”) that I really came to love on Idol (strangely, I think his best performance on the entire show was the little snippet he sang on “Taking Care of Business” during the finale), he undeniably sounds fantastic here.

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. "