Special Edition: Idol Gives Back

Hey everyone. Here’s a special edition of Idol Reviews… a review on Idol gives back. Fair Warning: The first part of this is fun, but the last part is just truth. You got it Simon style. I didn’t vote on Tuesday or give to “Idol Gives Back”. My guess is you didn’t either. Maybe you will agree with me, at least in part, on why.

First of all, let me say that I wasn’t surprised at all that everyone got to stay another week. What I DON’T agree with though is that the votes from last week will combine with the votes next week and the bottom 2 will leave. First reason, the vote count was artificially inflated due to the “Idol Gives Back” campaign. This will skew the results toward those with the most insane, bored fan base who have nothing better to do but sit at home and sent multiple TXT messages from their Cingular… no…. AT&T wireless. Second reason is that it will totally mess up the gradual realignment of votes that we have every week. After two people leave, there will be a great vote upheaval and who knows where all the other votes will go…

Now, let’s talk about the performances. I liked Kelly Clarkson’s performance, and I’m glad she finally appeared. She owes it all to AI, and she should be proud of that. Her song was boring in and of itself, but I liked her tribal dress and her voice was spot on. She is a true american idol.

Raskal Flats, boring. Annie Lennox, I wish she would have sung an original rather than Bridge Over Troubled Water. The first black guys… what is up with them and their huge noggin’ guitarist who was clearly high on something!? Bono was cool, but I was disappointed that he didn’t actually sing. C’mon. You can’t promo Bono, then just show a clip of him promoting his website. I was very disappointed in the “stars” performances, and in Idol’s coordination. If this were a REAL charity event, they would be able to get some real involvment.

Now to the event itself. And here’s where it gets serious…

The best word to describe the failure of “Idol Gives Back” is focus. This was as apparent in the script, venue choice, and concept itself. Splitting the audience between the idol studio and the Disney hall (just across town) made no sense. For an event like this you want to unite and synergize the audience, not fragment them. Then the frenetic scripting of “back to the contestants… who is going home???… lets look at more of the same Africa video… lets see Ryan stand by the Judges” just made Ryan seacrest look like a spaz.

The video packages themselves were just MORE of the SAME! I resent being manipulated by moving image, and this was clearly the intent. Don’t give me sob stories. Don’t give me alligator tears. Inspire me. Don’t depress me. Make me want to be a part of what you’re doing.

Now, picture this: What if you had 30 million dollars to solve one problem in the world? What problem would you solve? Think about that. 30 million dollars is not very much money, considering our federal budget is almost three trillion dollars. So you can only pick ONE problem. One place to help.

Most of the difficulty of the humanitarian work is lack of focus and specificity on a problem. Therefore, the problem is never solved. We just throw more money at general concepts of “Africa” or “Aids” or “Poverty”, and the problems just perpetuate each other. I am not comfortable giving to a cause that is “Children in Africa and here in America”. What cause is that? Is it healthcare? Education? Even those areas are too broad. Are you going to focus on the African AIDS epidemic? Even that is too broad. What are you doing, how are you going to do it, who will execute it, and how will you see/measure results? These are the questions philanthropic americans want to know.

Bono talks a good game. But being “the generation that ends poverty” is a pipe dream. That would mean a massive redistribution of wealth, talent, human resources, and infrastructure. Is he ready to give away all his assets? No more private planes and $10,000 sunglasses like he was wearing on the program? Will he learn 3 other languages and go teach and educate a new generation of leaders? Will he commit to a life of poverty to serve and lift others?

I’m not saying we should do nothing. One saved or improved life is of infinte worth. I just think that if you’re going to mount a national campaign to raise millions of dollars from individuals, foundations, and corporations; then you’d better have a better plan of what you’re going to do with it.

Idol, this was a great wasted opportunity.

American Idol – Top 6 Reviews

Welcome back to the REAL American Idol! Yes, friends, that rotten “S” word is now off the show, and the competition to find America’s next megastar is back on.

Overall, I was really disappointed this week. Maybe it’s that I love inspriational songs too much, but I was totally disappointed with almost EVERYONE’s song choice. They chose stupid songs that didn’t inspire me or stick with me.

Chris –
In the past few weeks, you have really started to differentiate yourself from Blake. Congratulations. He may still have the edge on you, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you succeeded in stealing his votes. Your song was good. Just good. Congrats on not getting nasal comments this week too, even though I doubt your weak defense “nasal is a way to sing too” really had much effect on the judges.

Melinda –
I really liked your song, but hated your song choice. This is the time, girl. Of all the “inspirational” songs out there, you had to go pick that!? I can think of 10 songs better for you to sing. You did it amazingly, but no one will remember that like they did Jordin’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Time to either settle for 2nd place, or pull a Tonya Harding on Jordin.

Blake –
You walked into a minefield by doing John Lennon. No one will ever sing that song like he did. You can’t improve on it. You can only sing it to remind us of John. For that reason it wasn’t good. Your singing wasn’t great either. If you want to win this, you need to go back to your niche. Contemporary, DJ, beat box, crowd pleasing, hip, boombastic. (what is boombastic? don’t ask me…) Also, I hate the funny things your mouth does when you sing. And what is up with you choosing the boring love songs week after week. We need to see the fun, crazy Blake next week, or you’re gone!

Lakisha “KiKi” –
“GARRRL”… you suck. Have you ever eaten a full box of chocolate ice cream? I haven’t, but for the sake of this analogy, let’s assume I had. After I ate a full box of chocolate ice cream, I would never want chocolate ice cream again. I keep getting chocolate ice cream week after week with Lakisha. It’s not awful, but I’m tired of it. She has no unique qualities. We have seen no more nuances to her voice. All we know about her is that she has an illegitimate child she wants to provide for. Not enough for me. You’re in my bottom and must go.

Phil –
I still don’t like you, but i’m happy that you finally figured out this competition. Even though you made a major breakthrough last week, you seemed to betray that this week. You need to get into that country groove and stay there. You said yourself last week that “that’s what [you] want to do.” So why aren’t you doing it? You are in jeopardy tonight. YOu’ve never been popular, and coming into your own now is too little too late. Plus, we’re sick of your stupid hats, faux-opera vocal placement, and big bushy eyebrows.

Jordin –
Your star keeps rising every week. You are now the clear favorite to win this competition. Thinking in terms of total package, you certainly have it. You are young, beautiful, have a decent voice, and have a good personality. Choosing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” was a SLAM DUNK! It is the perfect song. It’s old enough that it could be a hit again, it’s not inseparably connected with a single artist, it leaves room for a lot of interpretation and personalization, and it’s a beautifuilly haunting song. Simon was dead on that you could have a hit record with that one. It wasn’t as polished and amazing as Kathrine’s “Over the Rainbow” last year, but it was in that same vein. You keep choosing songs like that, and you have this thing sewn up. Honestly, Melinda could sing circles around you, but lacks what you have in the IT factor. I am seriously hoping you get some debilitating, voice altering disease between now and next week, so my woman Melinda can take this thing home. Since I don’t see that happening, well… good luck and see you at the finale.

Oh yes… and a word about “Idol Gives Back”
While I am supportive of this idea, that the biggest and wealthiest television enterprise in the history of man should take some social/moral responsibility to give back to the world that it so graciously takes from, I am just a little disappointed at the execution of their emotional manipuation and apparent inability to get organizations mobilized in this campaign. The video packages were vague and unclear. They didn’t even specify which organizations they would be working with. Especially the US based clips. They just showed some backwoods farmer children telling “haw hawrd id iz to git us sum edjamakashun”. Gimme a break. You can do better.

Me, a Diva?

Me, A Diva?

This weekend I had a spectacular time coming back to Saint George to “stage manage” Tuacahn’s first Broadway Divas Concert. I put the words Stage Manage in quotes because, this wasn’t work at all. This was a party for me!!! When I saw they were planning this event, and that many of my old friends would be involved, I jumped on the phone to Jeff and wrangled my way in as best I could.

The weekend was perfect… except for one thing… On the page of the program for this concert (it was a playbill for their entire concert series), there was 8 divas with stunning headshots and beautiful bios. Then… the ninth entry… Sam Anderson with the snapshot taken from the 2003 playbill (back when I was a tuacahn intern)… and absolutely NO MENTION or designation of the fact that I was STAGE MANAGING this event, either. For all the audience knew, I was another diva…

…Oh well, I’ve been called worse…

It was a great night, and a wonderful opportunity to catch up with so many great friends. It’s sure funny how life marches onward, each person taking a unique path. I often wonder how strange it is that our paths have crossed at all, and yet I seem to be changed “for good” by each person who I’ve known or grown close to. At least, those were the thoughts running through my head as the Divas concluded the Wicked Medley singing “for good”.

American Idol – Top 7 Reviews

Top seven… hmm… I wonder. Seven is supposed to be a golden number. A lucky number. Could it be? Will it be the week America is finally relieved of it’s worst idol joke yet? Will this be the week of the voting off of Sanjaya?!

Country.. eww. I don’t like country very much. Actually it’s the Twang. Not that all country has to be twang… hmm… I wonder if twang is actually a word. Yup. Google says it is, at least. No, I like the country/pop crossover stuff, and I like girl country singers and not the guys.

Phil – Nice. So you wanna be a country singer, eh? Glad you finally realized that in the FINAL 7… maybe if you would have come out earlier, you woudl have had some support from the fellow back-woodsers in west virginia. Then maybe you wouldn’t be in trouble week after week. Well, if anything could save you, that was it. Unfortunately, your black hole of a personality will still be a liability. I think you’re a gonner this week.

KiKi – Garrrl… that was NOT good! First of all, you do not try my woman, carrie underwood, without BRINGIN’ it. You know… You peaked too early in the competition. And it really bugs me the little attitude you have when you say thank you to people. It’s like a “thank you, I told you I could do it.” I think you think you’re being sincere, but it is coming off as smug. It’s almost like compliments are demanded or expected, and you’re always ready with a business like “thank you.”

Melinda – Thanks for getting back on track this week. Another great performance. I did write stellar there, but had to erase it. You are a great singer, and maybe even one of the best technical singers, but you are refusing to shine sometimes. I think simon’s little exercise in getting you to not be surprised tonight reminded/showed us that you know you are good. We don’t want you to be cocky about it, but we want you to know it and have fun with it. Also, we need to talk about what you wore tonight. That top was NOT flattering. It sort of accentuated your lack of a neck by confirming that your head is really attached directly to your shoulders. Also, it made your cantaloups look like watermelons… which desperately needed taming.

However… you are being threatened! By a little GIRL!

Jordin – you are shooting up through the ranks much like Katherine McPhee did last year. She just kind of quietly hung on during the early part of the competition, then shot forward in the top 8. You sparkled tonight, and it wasn’t just the stupid glitter spray every 13 year old girl discovers and thinks is so cool to sprinkle all over themselves and flake off to all their friends. Your dress was gorgeous (I loved the japanese-ish influence), and the song was perfect. I could see you coming for the last two weeks, but I think you’re just now arriving. My girl Melinda better watch out cause Jordin’s a-coming.

Now boys…

Chris – I actually thought your song wasn’t that bad. I went back and listened to it twice to confirm the nasal-ness though. and it’s definitely there. I would not want to listen to that on the radio for very long. However, you currently are surpassing Blake in the confidence competition. I have felt you getting stronger in past weeks, and it’s not in your Justin Timberlake look alike contest, either.

Blake – That was rough. It sounded like you were sick, and I think the judges gave you a pass. And what was with Simon going into his tribute in the middle of his comments to you? It was a little awkward, but that’s our simon. I thought your vocal was bad and had major pitch problems. The song was very unmemorable. You need to pull it up by the bootstraps and bring back the exciting Blake to have a chance to beat chris out for the teenybopper vote.

Sanjaya – I am officially sick of writing about you. What is with the doo rag and the HUGE boof in back? You looked like an alien from Independence Day. You need to pull a Brittany and give that noggin’ a nice BIC job, then you won’t be tempted to do such UGLY things with your hair. And what was with Ryan interrupting during Simon’s tearing apart? That was awkward moment #1 on the show tonight. (Awkward moment #2 was when simon got up a little early before break to run to the loo… did anyone see that but me?) Anyway, your vocal was simply atrocious. You indeed HAVE given america a lot to talk about, and I sincerely hope that tomorrow you are voted off the show. As simon put it, we are looking for the best singers in America, and you’re simply not it.

American Idol – Top 8 Reviews

It’s about time American Idol finally had a “latin” night… and who better to do it with than Jennifer Lopez. Sometimes I get Jennifer Lopez confused with Jennifer Aniston, who is definitely a much better actress… but I wonder if Jennifer Aniston sings? Maybe she should audition for AI next year.

Yeah… now there’s an idea… I think they should have some hollywood-ers who want to break into the music industry be contestants on AI. Or here’s another… do American Idol All-Stars… bring back some of the ones who want a second shot. That could be painful.

Anyway, now that I’ve proved why i’m not a producer on AI…


Melinda – Gaarl!!! You didn’t do as well as in previous weeks. I wasn’t entranced like usual. It was good, but you did struggle with the sexiness of the number. You were more threatened by Jordin and Lakisha (“Kiki”). Even so, you are still my woman.

Lakisha – I liked your song choice. I liked your dress. I thought you were going to trip over your bottom lip several times during the song. Is there such a thing as a lip reduction? Then you keep calling attention to your flouncy bouncy flabby arms. All large women, please listen. I have nothing against large women… but I have A LOT against large women who wear sleeveless apparel. EW! Don’t. Just don’t. The singing was OK, minus the fact that your tongue and mouth doesn’t working fast enough for latin music.

Phil – Props on the song choice. By that I mean, props that you chose a song no one knows, or cares about, which isn’t very exciting (hello lost opportunity in LATIN week!). The vocal was actually pretty good, but you are boring and already in jeopardy. You show very little personality. In fact, i get more personality from the brief shots of your wife in the audience.

Which begs the question – what’s with Married w/Idol this year. Phil’s married, Chris Sligh was married (isn’t he way too young?) Just pointing out how people, even american idol wannabes, actually get married.

Chris – Nice work. The ending was really cool, but the song in general was kind of boring for me. Not the best song choice for you. You are going to give Blake a run for his money, when he was just wiping the floor with you.

Blake – it was a pretty good vocal. You need to go back to how you were before you stopped beat boxing. Yes, it is a singing competitoin, but that helped you really stand out. I don’t think you shoudl beat box in every number, but you should take that musicianship into every song you do. You aren’t the best singer here, so take a page out of Haley’s book and stick with your strengths.

Haley – Once again, Simon is right. You are sticking to your “strengths”… which are your legs. Your vocal wasn’t too bad. Your makeup was all over the place… you looked like a $25 hooker who had just discovered lipstick. I liked your hair though.

Jordin – you were perhaps the best this evening. Even though your song was more 80’s than latin, it was still firey and exciting. You were a little vocally reckless in places, but it was scary.

Sanjaya – you are a psycho. The sad thing is, you should have never made the top 24. You would have just faded silently into the distance. You wouldn’t even be a William Hung. You would be like your sister, unknown. but no. We have availed you of this position. You will likely not excel in the music industry (too many actual musicians in the industry for that to happen), but you may get into film or something else that requires little real talent. At any rate… i still want you to get voted off ASAP. If you get into the top 5, my faith in this show will take a severe hit.

Time to start thinking in terms of the Top 5. Top 5 this year is really easy. Not like last year where it was a crime every time someone was vote off. The top 5 singers here are Melida, Lakisha, Jordin, Chris, and Blake. One thing is certain. These singers better start bringing it every single week. As of yet, Melinda is the only one who has done that. I hope she can keep it up. I could see Senjaya beating Chris out of the top 5 if this national fluke continues though… stay tuned. You know I will be.

American Idol – Top 9 Reviews

Another week has gone by. I ask myself, “why do I keep watching this show?!” The answer is, to see Simon. It’s true. This is like my weekly date with the slightly deranged British dude. I find myself being more entertained by his comments than by any of the songs.

Blake –
Two weeks with no beat boxing is showing that you ARE human, and are not that good of a singer either! The vocal was not great. You were very disconnected, and you felt like a fish out of water singing an old standard. Kathrine McPhee would be so ashamed! Mack the Knife is supposed to be really fun, and you weren’t having any fun. Probably, from what Ryan alluded to, you were more concerned with looking sexy and remembering your words. No room for fun there.

Which brings me to…

Chris –
Thankfully Chris Sligh is gone this week, so no more last name confusion… but boy howdy the star of Chris Richardson is rising above Blake! His vocal was awesome, the arrangement was amazing. He made it very current, but he still told the story and connected with the lyric as the old standards require. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a major bump. He just gets better and better.

Melinda –
My woman! Now, this wasn’t my favorite performance of yours, but it was still AMAZING. You pull it out every week. You make the song fun, exciting, a journey. You are my #1.

Lakisha –
You are the #1 threat to my Melinda, which makes you no friend of mine! I sat there last night and wondered, why i didn’t like you like I like Melinda. Well, the answer is best summed up by a story a friend of mine recently told me about some African-American girls in Atlanta she was teaching in a public school setting. One day she overheard one talking to the other:

Girl 1: “Garrrl… whassh-yooou gunna call yo’ baybee”

Girl 2: “mmm… I danno… I fink Makisha Shalanda Yaquifa”

Teacher: “Oh really, how are you going to spell that name?”

Girl 1: “pssh.. ma’ Teeshah… you know we black folk jus’ make it up when we git to da hospital…”

Lakisha, you strike me as one of these girls. A member of the human race, but not really a participant therein (if you catch my drift).

Here’s another analogy: you paint a picture with a broad brush, while Melinda is much more understated and surgical. You go out there and just dump it all out into a stinky pile on the stage, while Melinda always leaves me wanting more.

On to the vocal though – it was really good. It was still something I could hear in most southern baptist churches this Sunday.

Ok… enough on you Lakisha..

Gina –
You looked like a freak tonight. I really could barely hear what you were singing because you had that weird hairdo, braids in the front with a Utah boof in the back, painted pink. Are you having some african-american from salt lake city doing your hair??? Ughhhh! And makeup!!! That eyeshadow made you look like you had a bad run in from they tin man from the Wizard of Oz. Please… someone help her with hair and makeup! Your clothes were better this week though.

Phil –
Dude… you’re in the major danger zone today! The judges had something going with that “dark” routine… it’s that your voice was dark. Oh, and it was nice to see you don’t bic your head every day, just on performance days. Your video you looked like 170 years old with your big eyes and the fringe growing strong.

Haley –
You’re also in the danger zone. The green dress was very sparkly, and your Baywatch cleavage was a joy to experience in high definition in the up close and personal shots, but the vocal wasn’t special. I don’t even remember what you sang. Good luck with David Hasselhoff…

Sanjaya –
I, like Simon, have pretty much ran out of words to say about this little brown turd. So now I’m just going to be mean and awful. What in the world does America see in this guy? If you wonder where Sanjaya came from, the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree. Did you see Ryan’s interaction with his father in the audience. This has got to be a joke! This isn’t Indian pretty boy Idol. This is AMERICAN Idol. Really, American Idol fans will be the undoing of this show. Every week this no talent pretty boy hack stays on the show, the show loses more and more credibility. I suppose that this is turning back into a popularity contest than a singing competition. All I can say is awkward… double, triple, awkward sundae with sprinkles and a cherry on top.

America, you’ve had a good run. Please don’t make me move to Australia.

My awesome cuz Lindsie reminded me I left out someone… I could have sworn I counted 9 contestants:

Jordin –
You know you’re in trouble when you get forgotten off of a reviewer’s review. It pretty much says, “was she even there?” I had to look up what she sang to remember it… oh yeah, “clear day”. Well, let’s just say she is NO Barbara Streisand… the arrangement had some funky stuff in it, like when it totally changed beat/rhythm awkardly 1/2 way through. It couldn’t figure out whether it was going to be uptempo or contemplative. Plus, her breathing bothered me. She was gasping for air like Idina Menzel, and it totally distracts me. Her star is starting to slip a little after this week and last week.