Wednesday, March 28, 2012

American Idol - Top 9 - March 7 2012 - Recap and Review

Top 9 - American Idol
Stevie Nicks is the guest mentor

1. Colton Dixon

Too slow and boring start. He's trying to build up a ton of intensity, but the song isn't helping. One flat note. Not his best. Not getting why the judges are loving him so much.

2. Skyler Laine

She really has the country sound down. She's almost Carrie in her performance style and sound. Excellent

Trio of Colton, Philip, and Elise - Doing Fleetwood Mac
Colton sounds good here. Elise has the look but her dancing is too bouncy. Philip is a touch flat as he impersonates Joe Cocker (I think he feels awkward without a guitar).

3. Heejun Han

Adam Pascal look out because Heejun has your sound down. Surprisingly touching and sensitive. Impressive to say the least.

4. Hollie Cavanaugh

Although the sound of her voice is pleasant enough, it wasn't enough. The flat notes aside, she did better on the lower notes and sounded weaker on the big notes.

5. DeAndre Brackensick

The whole song is done in a strong falsetto, which may sell albums and get on the radio. I usually don't think do well with Idol voters, though.

6. Jessica Sanchez

The vibrato is now starting to get on my nerves. But her sound is quite strong even for a song that is potentially underpowered. Made me think of Celine Dion. Star quality through and through.

Trio Heejun, DeAndre and Joshua - Doing Michael Jackson
Joshua and Heejun seem good for this style but surprisingly DeAndre doesn't sound as at home until he got to do falsetto. TAs a group, there is no feeling of cohesion like the earlier trio, especially when it comes to ugh that dancing.

7. Philip Phillips

Man I love the sound of his voice and his rock sound. I feel like we're already watching his actual concert.

8. Joshua Ledet

Another emotional performance for the night. He sounded better tonight than on previous nights.

Trio of Skyler, Hollie and Jessica doing Madonna
Hollie still sounds weaker than the others to me. Skyler doing pop is surprisingly pitchy and awkward.

9. Elise Testone

Zep? Really? Wow, she pulled it off. Not sure she America wants to see Zep on Idol, but that was a fun, sexy performance. Even the screams worked, and well.

My Top (no particular order)

My Bottom (no particular order)

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

American Idiot - March 24, 2011 - Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

This production of American Idiot impressed me. Typically, I strongly prefer London or Broadway productions over the national tours, but this particular show was executed particularly well.

I last saw American Idiot in July 2010, with the most impressive John Gallegher Jr as Johnny and Tony Vincent as St Jimmy. In this production, Van Hughes (who took over on Broadway) and Scott J Campbell as Tunny were particularly impressive.

The music is of course the main draw of the play. I still think the book is on the weak side and director Michael Mayer's decision to excise some dialog to let the music shine still rankles me. Not that I don't enjoy a rock opera, but a persisten drumbeat of nihilistic rage can IMHO be buttressed by some choice prose sans angry ennui.

Nonetheless, I am stunned that they crammed most of that enormous set from the St James theatre on Broadway into a traveling show. I still love the way the actors move an enormous scaffold, transforming it from a rock altar to a bus in mere moments.

I thought St Jimmy wasn't as menacing and evil under Joshua Kobak, but because of that, it was more apparent (despite the weak dialogue) that St Jimmy was really Johnny's expressed Id. I don't know why I didn't notice their matching jackets at the nightclub before, but in this production it helped highlight the psychological problems that a drug addled youth experiences.

Dancing still stellar. I love the choreography, especially during the sensual and scary scene with the drugs. And of course, who can't express elation - fantasy or not - at a good aerial ballet between Tunny and Extraordinary Girl.

One thing struck me with this cast in particular. Hughes, Campbell and Kobak had abs and bods of steal. Nice as eye candy, but Johnny and St Jimmy just don't strike me as characters who would think of doing crunches all day long. A small distraction, but it did affect my view of the characters.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

American Idol - Top 10 - March 21 2012 - Recap and Review

American Idol - Top 10 - Billy Joel Night

P Diddy was funny and Tommy Hilfiger was weird.

1. DeAndre

Only the Good Die Young. His voice was ok. Too light in the loafers. And the dancing wasn't exactly impressive.

2. Erika

New York State of Mind. She looks like Adam Lambert with her new hair. Vibrato doesn't match the song, to me.

3. Joshua

She's Got a Way of Talking. Sounds nervous, until he went into his Gospel sound. But I wasn't enjoying the Gospel interpretation.

4. Skyler

Shameless. Another number that was pushed which made it offkey. What is going on tonight?

5. Elise

Vienna. It's the first song tonight where she wasn't trying to overdo the song. Sounds good.

6. Phillip

Moving Out. An interesting take. Almost didn't recognize the melody, but I liked the sound. Vocals were much better than last week.

7. Holle

Honesty. She's always belting out. It doesn't offer enough of a build up. She has some pitch issues here.

8. Heejun

My Life. Now that was a funny albeit unconventional way to start off his song. He's really starting to enjoy the entertaining part. His voice though wasn't at his best. Oh nice change up towards the end.

9. Jessica

Everybody Has a Dream. She has a killer voice. That's all. Best vocal so far tonight.

10. Colton

Piano Man. Great stage. He's really into this song and it shows.



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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

American Idol - Top 11 - March 14 2012 - Recap and Review

Top 11 - Year they were born

Oops. A little undisclosed criminal past brings an end to Jermaine Jones.

1. Phillip Phillips
Nice rock sound again. He's moving like he didn't even have any surgery. Pretty amazing. Only a couple notes that wandered.

2. Jessica Sanchez
That was an amazingly energetic performance for a 16 year old. And that little pause was wonderfully dramatic.

3. Heejun Han
Passable sound, but it could be ramped up some. At least he fixes the notes that start flat.

4. Elise Testone
Nice sound for her voice. Good smokiness.

5. Deandre Brackensick
Glad he changed song but this was still sort of safe and tame. A couple odd notes

6. Shannon Magrane
Not loving the song. Straying flat again this week

7. Colton Dixon
I'm not sure about the song, but it works for his voice.

8. Erica Van Pelt
Oy stop the flat phlegmy sound

9. Skyler Laine
Seems like she has this one down. Mostly on pitch and good sound.

10. Joshua Ledet
He picked a really good song for his voice this week His best song that they've shown

11. Hollie
A good song for her but a couple of flat notes.



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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

American Idol - Top 12 - March 7 2012 - Recap and Review

Men do Stevie and Women do Whitney

1. Joshua Ledet

Interesting sound. More gravel and soul. The dancing looks awkward to me though. Nice scat.

2. Elise Testone

Glad she changed her song but sounds like it was too last minute. The performance is so so. Some of the lower notes are too breathy and she's trying too hard.

3. Erika Van Pelt

Hmm, a couple flat notes to me. Nice build up. Controlled, though might be overly so.

4. Colton Dixon

Nice and sensitive performance. Sounds more on tune when he's not going reedy. Great finish.

5. Shannon Mcgrane

Was sounding ok, but an important note was very icky. Pretty lightweight to me.

6. Deandre Brackensick

His sound isn't my favorite, but he was good. I liked his rhythm and tempo for the piece.

7. Skyler

Good ramp up from a weak start. A strong finish. She impressed

8. Heejun

He's a pretty funny guy. Surprisingly tender tone. Couple odd notes and too safe, but good.

9. Holle

I like her tone but she seemed tentative in the middle. Nice money note with a lovely turn to tender.

10. Jeremy Rosado

It was awkward to me. It didn't feel quite there.

11. Jessica

This is a very risky song. Lovely control. A bit much on some vibrato tricks and too fast on them, but money notes are pretty darned good.

12. Philip Phillips

Great sound for this piece. Good interpretation and entertaining.

My tops:

1. Philip
2. Jessica
3. Skyler

My Bottom:

1. Shannon
2. Jeremy
3. Elise

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