Wednesday, May 21, 2008

David Cook Wins

What a show tonight, a real SPECTACLE; very enjoyable to watch. Donna Summer, Graham Nash, Brayn Adams, Seal, the finalists. It really was fun.

So David Cook won. Well, I am a little disappointed; I was rooting for David A. as you all know. I love the purity of his voice and his sincerity in his performances. I'm sure he will be around for a long time, with a great recording career. Cook definitely did a good job this season: original, consistent and he seems like a good guy. No doubt, this win is a blessing for him in the midst of his brother's illness. I wish he and David A. the best of luck in their careers.

Thanks to John Nelson for asking me to blog for the Poughkeepsie Journal this year and hope to see you next year! And thanks to 97.7 Morning Mix Bob Miller and WPDH Coop & Tobin for having me on their radio shows.

Come visit my website to find out where I'll be playing this summer and say hi if you are at a show nearby so I can meet my readers. You can sign up on my e-mail list and I'll send you a newsletter to let you know when I am playing near you.
Enjoy the summer!

Vickie Russell

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I predict David A. will win. Great performances, he gave it his all.

David Cook
1.I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For-I liked it, different than Bono, original. Could have put more physical energy into it. Sounded great, nice note at the end.
2.Dream Big-The song seemed a little contrived to me, maybe not angry enough for him, but he did well with it. Nice to hear him sing something we haven't heard before. Again I felt his energy wasn't all there.I felt he had more physical energy than that, that he was holding back a bit. Maybe he is trying to pace himself, or maybe he's exhausted from it all. He just feels a bit laid back tonight.
3.The World I Know-Nice singing, I didn't know the song, but his performance didn't pull me in. I felt him much more after he sang, than when he was singing. For me, there was a bit of a wall between him and the audience tonight.

David Archuleta
1.Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me-Good job. Why that song though? I am a huge Elton John fan, but not that song, hard to do anything different with it. That said, he was very passionate, really put his heart and soul in it. His voice sounded great!
2.In This Moment-Again the song felt so contrived. But I loved his energy, and his voice was flawless, he has such amazing technical control. He was so focused, connected and fully present. Great performance.
3.Imagine-Beautiful singing, emotionally accessible, free. What more can I say?

The winner for me tonight is David Archuleta.

Who do you think should win and why?

Monday, May 19, 2008

the final week

Looking forward to tomorrow night's show: the 2 Davids. Either way, I'll be happy. They both are very talented and I'm sure they'll have amazingly successful careers.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Results- And Then There Were 2

Syesha was voted off tonight. I know she will have a great career. She looked happy at the end when she was singing, like she was going to enjoy every single moment she was still up there. Great attitude: she'll go far. I have a lot of respect for her. But she was the weakest singer of the 3 and it was time for her to leave.

This is the second week in a row I agreed with (and predicted correctly) who got voted off. I think the 2 Davids have been the best performers consistently. I'm so glad they are still on the show.

Watching the singers return to their hometowns tonight was fun. I was most touched by David Archuleta's innocence, sweetness and genuine awe at the welcoming crowds. He really is still a kid and it was so satisfying to watch his reaction to his fans. He just took it all in, even though he was overwhelmed. It warmed my heart, what can I say?

I feel very content with tonight's results (like a ate a piece of good chocolate) and look forward to next week's final show.

Did America get it right?

(I say..............YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

3 Contestants Left!

Okay, well, it's really getting down to the wire now. I wasn't totally blown away by any one performance tonight. When I watched the replays at the end of the show, I thought they were all solid performances. This is a tough competition at this point. Of the 3 singers left, I still think David A. has the most consistent, solid voice and is the most emotionally connected to the songs and to the audience. David Cook has his own style, is also a solid singer and puts out a lot of rockin' energy in his performances. Syesha has been having a lot of fun lately, and I've been enjoying her very much, but I think she is the weakest singer left. She will have a great career as an actress, model, Broadway star and recording artist. I think she will be voted off, although truly anyone could go tonight, because they all are really good at this point. I still vote for David A. to win. He is by far the best singer on the show and has been since the beginning of the season. I'll be on the morning mix on mix97.7 FM with Bob Miller again tomorrow from 6:30-8:00 AM talking about tonight's show. Tune in! (Check out the photo of Bob and me at the radio station last week on my website scrapbook page).

Who do you think will get voted off?

My take on the performances:

David Archuletta: Beautiful singing consistently all night.
1.And So It Goes - (One of my favorite songs). Beautiful singing, I liked when he sang a capella in the beginning; he has amazing pitch; he hadn't wavered off key the slightest bit when the instruments came back in. A beautiful performance. The pure quality of his voice slays me.
2.With You-Nice pop song, it seemed that this would probably be the kind of songs he should record as a teen idol, but the song didn't do much for me-trite. His voice sounded great though.
3.Longer-Beautiful singing again. They keep giving him these kinds of songs, that he can't really let loose on, but, he did great for what he was given.

Syesha Mercado:
1.If I Ain't Got You-Best song of hers tonight. Nice job. She changed it a bit from Alicia Key's version.
2.Fever-That was quite original for that song. I enjoyed it, good technique. performance and vocal control, interesting improvisation. Very enjoyable for me.
3.Come Pick Me Up-It was good, but not great. The song didn't really suit her, but she didn't pick it, so that's not her fault. Her voice was a little pitchy at times. Hard song to sing I think.

David Cook
1.The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face-Interesting song choice for David the rocker. I knew he'd kick it up at the end. He did a good job. Simon, why did you pick that song???????
2.Dare You to Move-He did a good job. His voice was a little out of control at the end. Passionate performance. The song didn't do that much for me.
3.I Don't Want to Miss A Thing-It was predictable. But that's the kind of song it was. It was an energetic performance. Good singing.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Well, Jason got voted off. It seemed he was ready to go and relieved. I think America got it right. The 3 best singers are still left.
Thanks for all your comments. I enjoy reading them every week. It's fun being part of this AI community with you all, and I like your different takes on the show.
So we have a Jason fan among us. I agree that he is sincere and genuine as was Brooke. I read in an interview that Jason had only performed as a singer 5 times in public before he auditioned for American Idol, although he was already a drummer. I think his inexperience as a singer was showing a bit. Considering all that, he did a good job. Everyone else seemed much more seasoned. I don't really know what this contest is about anymore. If it's about great singing technique, performance and heart, then I think David A. is the champion, but Carly was great and so was Michael Johns. If it's about sincerity, Brooke and Jason. If it's about making your song original, David Cook. So, I guess the fans will decide what type of contest it is. For me, as a singer and vocal coach, the best singing is by David A. I was watching his videos on you tube from when he was 9 or 10 and I was totally blown away. He is a prodigy like a young Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder or Quincy Jones. You should check these videos out: You Tube or here more on you tube
Tune in tomorrow morning on 97.7 FM Morning mix in Poughkeepsie to listen to Bob Miller and me chat about AI, and other music related things. If you are in the area this weekend, I am playing in Woodstock, NY at the Colony Cafe Sunday at 7 PM along with Marc Von Em and Dana LaCroix.

Did America get it right?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

R&R Hall of Fame Week

Better songs tonight, more variety, thank goodness. It kept the show much more interesting for me.
Okay, Jason Castro has to be voted off tonight. Please! He just doesn't compare to the other singers.
I thought David Archuleta did a fantastic job singing, as always. Passionate and from his heart in both performances, connected to his feelings; creative with his interpretations and he made the songs feel fresh. He is the most consistent of them all.

For more Idol chat, I'll be on 97.7 FM morning mix on Thursday morning 6:30-8:00 AM EST to share my thoughts on this week's results.

Best performances:
David Archuleta
Syesha Mercado

Who should be voted off:
Jason Castro

Who do you think?????

My take on the performances:
David Cook
1.Hungry like the Wolves
It sounded like the original recording to me, and David seemed a bit low energy, like he's had enough of the pressure or something. But, his voice sounded good. His performance was okay.
2.Baba O'Reilly
Much better performance than the first song, but it was so short! Why don't they give these guys a little more time to sing their songs to build up a performance? He made it more his own and I liked that he played guitar; it seemed to connect him more to his energy and freed him up.

Syesha Mercado
1.Proud Mary
She did a good job. I think it's always trouble to do a song in the style of someone who is a huge star (like Tina Turner). It was a little too much like that version, so then one ends up comparing Syesha with Tina, and Tina wins. But, she sang great and performed really well, it just didn't feel original, and I'm thinking that is what this show is really about, taking a song and making it your own, (and hopefully you can sing well and are a good performer to boot).
2.Change is Gonna Come
Good performance. Great singing. Nice job.

Jason Castro
1.I Shot the Sheriff
Ehhhh. He sang fine, but his performance didn't do much.
2.Mr. Tambourine
Oops, poor Jason, forgot the lyrics. Nervous I guess. Not a great performance. Oh well. I think Jason is going home tonight.

David Archuleta
1.Stand By Me
Great singing, great improvisation, and a passionate performance. He made this song fresh and original. Best performance of round 1.
2.Love Me Tender
Great singing again, great performance. I keep saying this, but, he is this year's American Idol as far as I'm concerned.

I've been enjoying reading Ken Barnes take on the performances. Check out his blog on American Idol, Idol Chatter.