Archive for the 'sanjaya malakar' Category

Lame quasi-spoilers.

All unconfirmed, nothing definite, and all vague enough so you won’t look that stupid in front of your co-workers if one or two of these turn out to be not-so-true. Spill these at the watercooler tomorrow morning and see how right you turn out to be. Impress your friends with your John Edward-like cold reading abilities!

They say…

…That one of the up-until-now “middle of the road” guys has chosen an uptempo song and has been blowing everyone away in rehearsals. It’s apparently not Brandon Rogers, though, as word on the street is that he will once again fail to bring the “wow factor” this week. UPDATE: This rumor, apparently, pertains to Chris Sligh. Heh. We’ll see.

…That Sanjaya Malakar continues to do okay, but hasn’t raised his game.

…That Haley Scarnato may buy herself another week with her performance.

…That Gina Glocksen is struggling this week.

…That Stephanie Edwards is juggling three songs right now (perhaps due to clearance issues?).

…That Blake Lewis is worrying about toeing that Taylor Hicks-ish line between unique and gimmicky.

I’m not putting a lot of stock in these, simply because they come from a new “source” whose accuracy hasn’t been confirmed, I don’t think, and also because they have a Nostradamus-like ambiguity to them. The only really specific stuff floating around out there is that Lakisha Jones plans to sing “I Will Always Love You” (not really a spoiler; she said it in an interview) and that Chris Sligh would like to try a classic hymn.

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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.

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.

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.


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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. "