Gospel Soundcheck

AmericanIdolTop13.jpgJoin me here LIVE tonight as American Idol’s Top 13 contestants perform the songs of American Idol. Michael Jackson songs? Hmmm. This should be interesting.
Performing tonight:
Kris Allen
Danny Gokey
Megan Joy Corkrey
Anoop Desai
Matt Giraud
Alexis Grace
Allison Iraheta
Adam Lambert
Scott MacIntyre
Jasmine Murray
Jorge Nunez
Lil Rounds
Michael Sarver
We’re ready for the Big Show tonight, 500 live fans, a formal intro for the judges and a dapper look for Ryan. The judges give their advice – don’t forget the words, use the whole state, etc. Looks like they put Lil in the first spot and Alexis in the money spot.

Simon explains that while there are 13 performing tonight, two contestants go home tomorrow. He says that’s good because it puts pressure on them to perform at their best.
Tonight’s songs are from the collection of Michael Jackson. OK, so here’s the deal. Yes, he’s a music icon. But who can sing Michael Jackson’s songs the way Michael Jackson can? I predict tonight’s going to sound like a 2 hour karaoke show.
Up first is Lil Rounds, singing “The Way You Make Me Feel.” She’s got such a great voice, but it still just sounds like a singer singing a Michael Jackson song. Randy says “This is the way we kick of season 8,” and said she put a whole new spin on the song and made it new. Not sure I agree with that. Kara says she set the bar for everyone else, and hopes they get to hear her on the radio. Paula her clothing makes her look soft – “Glam Squad, way to go.” Errr. I think her pants make her behind look enormous and I hate the shirt. Simon says he was a little disappointed and it was a lazy song choice and he hates what she’s wearing. Simon and I I are the same page on this one.
Back after the break with Scott MacIntyre.
Scott MacIntyre talks about being blind and his love of music, and performing with his siblings – hhe has a sister who’s visually impaired, too. He’s singing “Keep The Faith.” Wow, just sitting at the piano his voice sounds much more confident. It’s nice but kind of a boring song. I still wish they’d give him glasses – even those softly tinted ones – to counter his unfortunate blank stare. Kara asks Scott if he just learned that song on paino and he says yes. Which proves that he’s a great pianist. She says she’s so glad we[re seeing him with the piano, and while that wasn’t an obvious Michael Jackson song it was totally in line with his message of hope. Paula says it was magical. The songwriter is in the audience and gives Scott applause. With apologies to the composer, Simon says that it was terrible, and when Scott says he wanted to do something artistic, Simon says, “It’s fine being artistic just not on this show.” Paula argues and claims Simon told her it was the biggest selling record in history in … Norway.? Simon denies saying that but even if he did I’m not sure that’s a big selling point. Randy calls it was safe and Simon chimes in with his typical “old fashioned.”
After the break (and another Mark’s Pizza commerial – or five) we’re back with Danny Gokey and Michael Sarver.
Danny Gokey talks about how music is ingrained in his whole family, and the show takes us to Milwaukee, with dozens of family members and learn his dad made them sing homework. Tonight, Danny is singing “PYT.” He starts it off with a very slow intro and totally kicks into a bluesy upbeat song. He’s great – his voice, his stage presence, his connection with the audience. No karaoke here. Even my David said it was hot. I’m sorry, I think this is the guy to beat this year. Paula says the true mark of an artist and you can hear someone, even with your eyes closed and know who he is, and Paula, getting a little weepy, says he’s going to the end. Simon says the vocals were “brilliant” and says he was one heck of a singer, likening him to a white guy with soul like Michael McDonald but says the dancing was hideous. Danny says he loves to dance and he loves to sing but when he puts them together it’s a mess and asked if they could get some dance coaching. Randy says he loved it all because he felt like it wasn’t choreographed, it was passionate. Kara says it was joyful and says he should thank his parents for makng them sing his homework. Danny says he’s been raised singing church music but doesn’t have experience dancing.
Michael Sarver is next, and the cameras take us to Jasper, TX to meet his fellow oil rig workers. He’s singing “You Are Not Alone.” OK, I’m sure Michael Sarver is a great guy and a great father, and that a lot of you like him, but I’m not blown away by him. I mean, Danny Gokey is a hard act to follow anyway but like Lil, Michael’s nice voice gets lost in the karaoke of singing a Michael Jackson song. Even Simon says that he’s not the best singer but makes up for it with passion. Randy says he returned to the R&B sound and says he’s one of the best. I wouldn’t go that far. Kara says tonight shows he really can sing and thought he did a really great job. Paula says he’s likeable and the song is “instinctually perfect” for him. Michael says he’d rather be on that stage than an oil rig. I can imagine!
After this break: Jasmine Murray.
Ryan talks to Jasmine about the “Glam Squad”, the stylist who takes them shopping and then fixes their hair, which is a help for some of the contestants, I’m sure. The Idol producers take us to Mississippi to meet Jasmine’s family. Jasmine is singing “I’ll Be There.” She does a great job and the song lets us hear her big voice, which might not be totally matured but is still good. She looks a lot less nervous this time! And she looks great. My David says it sounds like a shouty, cruise ship performance. Nah, I think she did a good job. Randy says she mixed the Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey versions and did a pretty good job with it. kara says she was surprised too, and wasn’t sure she was going to hit the notes and maybe a 1/2 key down might have been effortless. Kara also says she has great stage performance. Paula says she has composure and poise, and had some bright moments and moments when she was “under,” but “way to go.” Simon says she made a good attempt, a little robotic, she needs to act her age a little more, but over all he was fairly complimentary.
Up next: Kris and Allison. Interesting: a new show called “Glee” that looks funny. Oh, we’re back!
We visit Kris Allen’s hometown of Conway, Arkansas, where Kris and his family sang in church. Kris and his wife have been married for 5 months, which I’m sure bums some of the female fans out because he’s a cutie. Kris is singing and playing his guitar, performing “Do You Remember The Time.” He’s great. I’m so glad that he made it through and that we get to see more of him. This could come down to him and Danny, who super nice, talented, likeable worship leaders. Couldn’t you see Kris Allen as the next Jason Mraz-ish artist? Kara says that the girls love him, that’s for sure. She says she’s happy to see him with his guitar because it’s a whole other side of him, and tells everyone that he spent a lot of time helping the other contestants this week. Paula says taling and goes on a rabbit trial, because Simon is playing with Paula’s clothes; but she gets out that she thinks Kris is “adorable sexy”. Simon says it wasn’t really a song that suits the guitar and says he’s not sure he wold have “brought the wife out so early.” Randy says it was “kinda cool and Jason-Mrazy”. Simon, word of advice: the female fans don’t care if he’s married.
Allison Iraheta is up now and we get to meet her Salvadorian family, complete with home videos and a live performace at La Curacao, a shopping mall. She’s singing “Give In To Me”. She definitely has a Kelly Clarkson look and sound. She’s got a great voice and definitely is a contender in this competition. Paula says it’s mind boggling that she’s only 16 and calls her a rock star. She also compliments her on her hair and tells her to “stay true to who you are.” Simon says it was a good performance and suggests she lightens up a bit. Randy says “if you got it, you got it,” and she’s can sing anything. Kara tells her to keep being a rocker girl and says it was a great job.
Anoop Dog is up after the break. While we wait, can I just say how many good singers we have this season? While not everyone blows me away, so far tonight no one really stinks. Of course, we still have 6 more contestants to go.
Anoop talks about being the 13th contestant. Even though he looks like a computer nerd, he’s still so likeable that you can’t ignore him. We get a peek at his life in Chapel Hill, NC. He’s an only child of Indian parents. Anoop is singing, “Beat It” – oh no. Please don’t try to dance … OK, he sounds pretty good! And while he’s using the whole stage he’s not trying to dance. Phew. Listen, I love this guy. I think he can sing and he’s so likeable. I don’t know if anyone but MJ can really sing “Beat It” so I’m not overwhelmed by the performance but at least he didn’t totally suck. Simon makes Paula go first, and she says the song is untouchable and other than Michael Jackson everything else sounds karaoke. Simon says it was horrible and karaoke, and a really bad impersonation. Randy says it was the wrong choice, and that Anoop’s got more than that. Kara says the biggest problem that was that he didn’t do any variation and for the first time felt disconnected with him, which was weird because audience connection is his strength. Simon tells Ryan he regrets making him the 13th contestant after than performance. I don’t care. Anoop will be here next week.
Jorge is up next. Ooo, Cassie’s here! She’s going to talk through the show, I’ll bet.
We got to Puerto Rico to learn more about Jorge Nunez and his huge family. Jorge’s singing “Never Can Say Goodbye.” Yeah, there’s a little bit of accent back! My David thinks it was painful. I thought it was nice, not great. Randy says it was a little old fashioned and a little pitchy. Kara says he’s one of the most emotionally connected people but wasn’t tonight; she says he should have sang “She’s Out Of My Life”. Paula says it wasn’t the right song, and Jorge tries to explain in English why he picked the song and he felt it was the best for his voice, “I’m not going to sing ‘Bad'” Jorge says, and Simon says, Well, you kind of did.” And he adds that he couldn’t wait for it to end.
I think Anoop should have sang this song or “She’s Out Of My Life”. We need to see Anoop without a costume and the computer nerd clothes and just singing a song that showcases his voice.
Megan and Adam are up next.
Megan Corkrey is up. Her family explains that she’s always sought the limelight and wen that didn’t work out she got married and had a baby, and found meaning in her baby. She’s emotional talking about Ryder, her son. Megan is singing “Rockin’ Robin.” I’m sorry, I can’t get past the sleeve tattoos with the cutesy hair and clothes. She looks like she’s dancing in a high school talent show. She has a good voice but she’s just a total contradiction in sound and look and performance. Kara says she puts a signature on everything she touches – “It’s so Megan.” Kara says that she needs to showcase her range from now on. Paula loves her quirky voice but felt disconnected. Simon says they like her but says, “What a stupid song choice!” He says the vocals were bad and the performance was ridiculous. Randy says … I missed it because Simon goes to the audience and asks Gordon Ramsey what he thinks – we can’t hear his response either.
Adam Lambert is up. We see Adam’s struggle to find success in the industry in LA and meet his family. Adam’s singing, “Black And White.” Don’t get me wrong, I think Adam has a great voice and he clearly can work the stage. It’s all just too much for me but I’m sure America will love it. Paula is clearly in love with him and eggs the crowd on. She can hardly contain herself and proclaims, “Never in the history of American Idol have we ever see someone so comfortable, seasoned on the stage” blah blah blah blah. She’s crying. Oh brother, is he crying? Simon says it was in a totally different league than what else they’ve seen tonight – errr, I thought Danny kicked it out tonight … and to make MJ work you have to be over the top and it worked. Randy adds that since day one he’s been the most current and could make a record now and sail to the top of the charts. Kara agrees with it all. See, I don’t have to like it to predict it will be popular. And Adam Lambert is. I wish he didn’t come off so “too much” for me. Wait, you know what? Adam Lambert TOTALLY needs to be fronting a rock band. That’s the perfect gig for him. My David wants to know if INXS is still looking for a lead singer.
Matt Giraud is up next, and we meet his family in Michigan, including Matt’s dad who gets weepy talking about his son. Matt’s singing “Human Nature” and playing the piano. I love him this way – he seems totally at home and gives the song a definitely unique spin. Great jog. Randy says it was a great performance and has a Justin Timberlake thing going on. Kara loves him too, as does Paula, who calls him sexy and authentic. Simon says it was a “meat and potatoes” solid performance but good.
And last but not least, Alexis Grace. She’s got a great voice but that song was too big for her. OK, I had the judges comments here but I hit the wrong button and lost it. In short: Kara loved it – said she was naughty and sexy and Simon said it was over the top.
Tomorrow we get a surprise, apparently, and according to Simon it has to do with the judging and America might not like it. My David thinks the judges will get veto power over the viewers votes. He could be right.
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