Wednesday, April 30, 2008


So Brooke is out and Jason is still in. I don't agree with that choice, but okay, he's got to be next to be voted off, otherwise this is not a singing contest after all, but a "cuteness" contest. I guess it's called American Idol, not America's Best Singer for a reason. Ooh, I am getting really jaded watching this show. I guess I just want to see the best singer/performer win. Is that asking so much?

Well the 2 Davids are still on, so that's hopeful.

Poor Brooke, I feel for these singers, having to perform after they've been told they are going home. That's hard to do. Ahhh, the show must go on.

Next week could be better; the songs will be from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yeah! Something a little more lively and upbeat perhaps, and a wider selection of great songs! I am looking forward to that.

Did America get it right?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Neil Diamond week

Best performances tonight:

David Cook-2nd song
David Archuleta-2nd song
Brooke White-2nd song

Who do I think should get kicked off?
Jason Castro

Who do you think should get kicked off?

Good that they had 2 songs to sing. The second ones were better.

So, it's Neil Diamond as mentor and songwriter for the evening. I am disappointed with the songwriters/mentors they have picked this season. It's obvious they were chosen because of new releases and this is a vehicle for them to get more exposure. As an audience member, I feel insulted by that. Please, can they pick themes where there is more variety in the styles? I am not a Neil Diamond fan, although I always liked "I'm a Believer". An hour of his songs kept the show one dimensional. I think that the singers were having a hard time doing much with them. I know I'd have difficulty interpreting his songs myself. The judges (especially Simon) were harsh, but it's the fault of the show for picking this theme. Okay, I've said it. Many people like Neil Diamond; he's had a lot of hits and has many fans. Sorry to offend if you are one. It's just my opinion. He's certainly a prolific songwriter. And seems like a really nice guy.

Jason Castro:
1.Forever in Blue Jeans-pleasant, nice singing, nothing special.
2.September Morn-not a whole lot of energy there, he looked bored, and I don't blame him, that's a boring song.

David Cook:
1.I'm Alive-Corny song choice, it just wasn't rockin' enough for David. It didn't do much for me.
2.All I Really Need Is You-He made it his own. This song was a bit more interesting than the other Diamond songs. I liked what David did with this. Good performance; he made it sound contemporary.

Brooke White
1.I'm A Believer-Brooke looked and sang a bit nervous and tentative. I think she picked a really low key because her range is so small, and I think her voice sounded pretty hoarse and tired so she couldn't hit high notes. So, she had to improvise a lot because she couldn't sing the low notes in such a low key. It actually made the song more interesting than it would have been. It was an okay performance.
2.I Am I Said-I liked that performance a lot. It was charming, contemporary, she sang it well. Nice arrangement, nice piano playing.

David Archuleta
1.Sweet Caroline-Refreshing rendition of a corny song. Great singing as always.
2.America-I never listened to those words before tonight. He did a good job. Passionate performance that had depth and made me think as an audience member. That's what I like about David, he always picks songs that have a deep meaning, and that makes him connect to the song and to the audience; and he has a great voice and knows what to do with it.

Syesha Mercado
1.Hello Again-Nice singing, refreshing to hear a woman singing this song. Still corny as all. Pitchy.
2.I Thank the Lord for the Night Time-Good job, high energy, good performance. A little pitchy.

Ready for the new mentor?

Tonight we have Neil Diamond as mentor and 1 hour of Neil Diamond songs. Don't know how that is gonna be.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


So Carly got voted off. I am really surprised. I thought she sang well last night. I guess it's not all about good singing. I thought Brooke's and Jason's singing were the weakest last night, but it also has to do with a strong stage presence, genuineness and charm. Jason and Brooke definitely have those traits. They were both very human and vulnerable. Maybe Carly isn't as charming. But she will go far. She has a powerful voice. I look forward to hearing what type of music she records.

Next week's mentor: Neil Diamond. I don't know about that. We'll see. Have a great week.

Did America get it right this week?
(I don't think so).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Andrew Lloyd Weber week

Just back from Hawaii and I was out celebrating my birthday with friends tonight, so my entry is a little late.

Andrew Lloyd Weber week

I personally am not fond of Sir Weber's schmaltzy songs; maybe that's because I had to sing them year after year early on in my career at weddings and country club dances.
However, I was impressed with the suggestions he gave to the singers tonight. He is a good performance coach and I feel that his tips really made a difference in the performances. I give the same advice to my students about making the song real for them. If the singer means what she is singing about, the audience will be pulled right in.

My take on the evening:

The 3 best performances of the night were:
David Archuleta
David Cook
Carly Smithson

I think either Brooke or Jason will get voted off tomorrow night. It's not really their fault. Their voices are just not made for these songs. This is a singing contest, after all.

Syesha Mercado-One Rock and Roll Too Many
Good performance. She looked great. A bit pitchy a usual.

Jason Castro-Memory
Boring. Not his style, he doesn't have the vocal range for this kind of music. It didn’t really do anything for me. I felt for him. He shouldn't have to sing this kind of stuff. I think his days are limited on the show.

Brooke White-You Must Love Me
Andrew gave her some good performance coaching. Weber’s songs are really written for big voices, and Brooke just doesn’t have that big voice. But she did a good job, considering that she had to start again. It happens sometimes, you forget the words and have no choice but to start again. I saw Robert Goulet start over again once singing Memory on Johnny Carson. It happens.

David Archuleta-Think of Me
Wow!!!!!! That was a great performance! He took a theatrical sang and made it into a pop hit. He made it his own. Simon was wrong. He did a great job.

Carly Smithson-Jesus Christ Superstar
Great song choice for her. Andrew Lloyd weber gave her some good advice to sing this song instead of the ballad. Good singing but a little pitchy. Good performance. I still think that she holds back her energy a bit. The key seemed too high for her. She pushes her voice harder than she should.

David Cook-Music of the Night
That was a powerful performance. I was really surprised at his vocal control, vulnerability and accessibility. He really can sing anything and seems to gets better every week. Again, great advice from Andrew.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tonight's Results 4/16/08

Well, they finally voted Kristy Lee off. Although she definitely improved over time, she was still the weakest singer for weeks. I am glad to see that the remaining contestants are good singers and performers. Of course, the 2 Davids are still the leaders in this competition in my opinion.

I hated the way they made the contestants wait until the end tonight and stand in unknown groups. It's so painful to watch. Why must they torture these singers? I know I've said this before, but it's hard enough being in this business already, without more torture. Is this supposed to be entertaining to the viewers? I sure don't enjoy watching people being made uncomfortable. Just give them the results and get on with it. Does anyone else feel this way? I was glad David A. sat down on the floor and wouldn't say who he thought was safe and who was voted into the bottom 3. You go, David!

It seems that every week when there is a mentor on, their performances seem to pale compared to the contestants' performances. I thought Mariah's performance tonight wasn't nearly as good as David A.'s performance last night. Same goes for Dolly Parton last week and Diana Ross last year. I guess we are watching this show with judges' eyes and then judge the stars the same way. What's funny is that I don't know if viewers would vote for Dolly or Mariah if they were on the show as contestants. Maybe the stars feel a lot of pressure on the show for that reason; that they are singing in front of judges, not just adoring fans that bought a ticket to their show, and that might spook them a bit. It's always tough being a performer, so I have empathy for these seasoned pros. I don't know if I'd go on the show as a guest.

What do you think? Did America get it right?

Mariah Carey week

Aloha from Hawaii.

I am traveling this week but I'm still keeping up with the show which is on much later here, so I can't post until after 1 AM. I will be back next week to post right after the show.

First of all, why would American Idol choose Mariah Carey songs for their theme this week, when the judges are always criticizing the singers for trying to take on songs too big for their voices? Secondly, why Mariah Carey songs, when they are all one style and not especially memorable or strong songs? And, thirdly her songs don't really allow much variety of interpretation. Bad choice I think. What; does Mariah have a new album coming out and she needed to promote it? Probably. Anyway, I thought some of the suggestions she gave the singers might not have been so helpful. Okay, I've spoken my mind; now for my take on the performances.

Best performances tonight:
David Archuleta
Syesha Mercado
David Cook

I think the bottom 3 should be:
Jason Castro
Kristy Lee Cook
Brooke White

Who will be voted off?
Brooke White

David Archuleta-When You Believe
Nice performance-I loved when he went into his falsetto. His voice is always great, and although I felt the song itself was boring, his performance and passion were there.

Carly Smithson-Without You
I liked that she didn’t belt out the song from the beginning, It was a little low key, but she is such a solid singer, and so it's always a pleasure watching her. Good performance.

Syesha Mercado-Vanishing
Her voice was really powerful tonight. Difficult song choice. She seems to get better every week. A little pitchy, but a great job tonight.

Brooke White-Hero
That was a rough performance. I felt for her. I wouldn’t have played piano and sung. It was too hard a song to be multi-tasking on. She lost her confidence. These songs are way too big for her range. Not a great night for Brooke.

Kristy Lee Cook-The Only One
She is getting better every week, but I still think she is one of the weakest singers on the show. Also, a stiff performer. And yes, she looks beautiful, but I hope that's not why she is still on the show. Her performance tonight was good, she built up the song and although it was a bit pitchy as usual, her voice was very powerful at the end.

David Cook-Always Be My Baby
Very original take on the song, but I thought the song itself was boring and so I wasn't really taken in. He definitely had the best originality of all the performers. I can't seem to get past the mediocre songwriting tonight.

Jason Castro-I Don’t Want to Cry
Jason sounded good, as always. I liked what Mariah had to say coaching him about using his falsetto on the song. He was not exciting, just his usual relaxed self. Nothing thrilling, but solid.

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tomorrow Night's Show

So it's Mariah Cary night. That should be interesting. I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Michael Johns got voted off tonight. What a surprise. I wasn't really inspired by anyone's performance on Tuesday night. Michael Johns did Dream On almost exactly like the original recording, so maybe that's why he got thrown off. He looked relieved to be leaving. I'm sure he will have a very successful career.
I'm still betting on David Archuleta to win this contest.

Bottom 3
Carly Smithson/Syesha Mercado/Michael Johns

Did America get it right this week?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Inspirational Song Week

For me, as a singer and as a vocal coach I feel the most important thing is to connect with the audience by conveying the lyrics passionately, making the song your own and by singing freely. When someone sings well technically, it doesn't move me. There has to be more to it than technique.

Tonight's performances were all good, but no one blew me away. Am I getting jaded? Is it just me?
Favorite performance for me: David Archuleta

Who will get voted off? I don't think it's gong to be Kristy anymore. She is doing much better.
Maybe Jason Castro or Syesha Mercado?

Who do you think???

My take on the performances:

Michael Johns-Dream On
Good performance-but it sounded a little too much like the original song; he didn't make it his own. His high voice was impressive with the high screams. I agree with Randy and Simon. I liked him best last week when he sang blues, that seems to suit his personality and his voice best of any style I've heard him do.

Syesha Mercado-I Believe
That was her best performance so far. I still think she takes on songs that are too big for her voice. But I felt her passion.

Jason Castro-Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Nice performance, nice voice. I liked that he played the ukulele. Again, it sounded too much like the recording in my opinion. His sweetness always comes through. He has a charm and relaxed way about him that makes everything he does seem simple and well....relaxing. It didn't blow me away, but i liked it. I have to say, no one said anything about the lyrics, but he totally changed them around, I wondered if he was forgetting them.

Kristy Lee Cook-Anyway
That was a good performance for her, and a good song choice. She has been choosing better songs for herself, and has been more passionate, more connected, committed and alive on stage. Her voice was strong, although she did have some pitch problems again.

David Cook-Innocent
I didn't get his performance tonight. I didn't feel his connection with the song so much. I agreed with Randy and Simon. He really has a great vocal range though.

Carly Smithson-The Show Must Go On
I didn't feel her connection with the song tonight. I also feel like she has been pushing her voice so much lately, and I think she lost control of it a bit tonight. I keep saying this about her, but I feel like she is actually damaging her voice the way she is pushing it. She needs to rest it, or stop singing beyond her capacity.

David Archuleta-Angels
Nice singing, especially the ending. Nice performance.

Brooke White-You've Got a Friend
I felt every word she was singing tonight.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Ramiele Malubay. AP Photo

I'm sorry to see Ramiele go, but i thought she might. She really is an excellent singer and very likable, but a little hesitant on stage. I'm sure she will have a good career, though. I think she just needs more performing experience to gain some confidence.
And Kristy is still in! Hanging by a thread. Over the weeks, she has gotten better and so has Jason, but I still think Ramiele has a better voice than either of them.
Did America get it right?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dolly Parton Night

It must have been very inspiring to have Dolly Parton mentor and for the singers to do her songs. What a huge catalog to choose from! Something for everyone. She is the real deal. She does it all: sings, plays guitar, writes songs, acts, great performer and personality, and she knows who she is. She is an awesome talent. She has been in show business for over 40 years. Yup, Dolly is qualified to mentor, more than any other star I've seen on the show. It seemed like a thrill for everyone.
I was impressed by what she had to say about why she was never on the show before: that she is a singer, therefore she can't judge other singers, because she knows how hard it is to be up there putting emotion into other people's songs. So she just encouraged them and harmonized.

Best performances tonight:
1.David Archuletta
2.David Cook
3.Carly Smithson

Whose performance did you like best?

Who will be voted off?
If it is because of their singing, and not their star appeal, it should be:
Jason Castro or Kristy Lee Cook

Who do you think should go now?

My take on tonight's performances:

Brooke White-Jolene
This was a nice song choice for her. It wasn't a very passionate performance, but the style suited her voice. I noticed she was sitting hunched over her guitar, and poor posture can really affect the support behind one's voice; maybe that's why she was singing a little sharp on the lower notes. Not my favorite performance of hers.

David Cook-Little Sparrow
Nice singing, wow. great range, great vocal control. I liked the arrangement, he knows how to make songs his own. I am impressed by performances, even though at times he has an overconfident air about him.

Ramiele Malubay-Do I Cross Your Mind
Nice style for her. Her performance lacked confidence. she seemed to go between moments of feeling free and scared. I can certainly relate to that phenomenon as a performer. It must be so overwhelming and intimidating to be up there, so much pressure. After watching Chikezie on Regis yesterday morning (see blog below) and what a good performer he was when the pressure of the voting and judges was off, I'd imagine everyone is a much better performer than how they appear on the show.

Jason Castro-Travelin' Thru
That was the most passionate I have seen him perform. Good song choice. He seemed like he really connected with the words and I really believed him.

Carly Smithson-Here You Come Again
One of the best performance of the night so. She is truly a great singer! So powerful.

David Archuletta-Smokey Mountain Memories
Dolly said that he is destined to be a great singer. Well, I think he already is! Wow, what a passionate, powerful performer, straight from the heart. He chose a perfect song for himself. His interpretation was fantastic. Best performance tonight.

Kristy Lee Cook-Coat of Many Colors
Country music is definitely her style. This was a good performance, but not her best. Good song for her, but she lacked emotion. Every week, I hear pitch problems. I'd would work on that and get her to let go emotionally more through some acting exercises if I were her voice coach. But alas, I am not

Syesha Mercado-I Will Always Love You
A little pitchy on the big note at the end- she shouldn't have taken on a Whitney song, her voice isn't big enough in comparison, and she did it in the style of Whitney towards the end. I agreed with the judges.

Michael Johns-It's All Wrong, But It's Alright
His best performance yet. Good song for him. He could have let loose even more I think. He is a strong singer and he was quite expressive this evening.