American Idol Season 8 Finale- Top 2 Fighting Songs

Here it is.  American Idol Season 8 Top 2 go at it on Tuesday night to be crowned 2009 American Idol.  Christian music artist Kris Allen, the underdog innovator, challenges the edgy, bodacious Adam Lambert in a three song face off.

American Idol Season 8-Kris Allen & Adam Lamber

Creator of the Idol franchise, Simon Fuller will select a song for each of them, rumor is Kara Diogaurdi wrote the American Idol winner’s first single and they will both perform that song.

Season 8 has had solid performances throughout, few true voting mistakes and just enough controversy to make it interesting.  We are changing our coverage a little this week.  Today we are going preview the performance show, predict song selections and offer some thoughts on the voting odds.  Tomorrow, we will review the season and present our American Idol Season 8 Chucky Awards.

American Idol Season 8 Songs for The Win

We have no idea what song Kara will come up but the commentary on the Internet, I think, misses the whole point of these two artists. Most are saying Kris Allen is at a disadvantage if he is not allowed to rearrange the song because Adam Lambert is such a superior singer.  All season long we have contrasted Adam and Kris in their ability to interpret and emotionally connect with the song.  If they sing the same arrangement, I think we will see Kris’s superior performance capabilities.

We think we know a song Simon will have Adam Lambert sing and we are taking a guess about what he will pick for Kris Allen.  The interesting choice is what Kris and Adam will select to finally win the hearts of American Idol Season 8 voters.  Remember Ryan said that only 1 million of 80 million votes separated Kris and Adam last week.

Simon Fuller Songs

Last week Simon Cowell picked two songs for Adam Lambert to sing.  He informed Adam of the songs on Friday morning during Adam’s homecoming.  Simon wanted Adam to perform U2′s “One”, but as we learned last Tuesday night, he did not receive U2′s permission to use the song until Saturday.  With that in mind Simon also revealed that he wanted Adam to perform Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Games”.  We thought Adam Lambert would sing “Wicked Games”  as his American Idol Season 8 Top 3 song so we discussed that song in last week’s Top 3 Song Choices. I suspect that Simon Fuller will pick the same song.

For Kris Allen, we believe Simon Fuller will try to find a song that Kris could record for his first CD.  We have seen that Kris Allen can take just about any song and turn it to his own, so that should not be a problem.  One of Kris’s greatest moments of American Idol Season 8 was when he took a little known song from a virtually unknown Irish singer songwriter and sent “Falling Slowly” back into the iTunes Top 30 downloads.  We think Simon Fuller will try to recreate that magic with Damien Rice’s “The Blowers Daughter”.  This song has similar harmonics as Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”,  so Kris should have a great opportunity to create a special moment with “The Blower’s Daughter”

Kris Allen and Adam Lambert Song Choices

Adam Lambert has a tough dilemma.  He is facing an American Idol competitor who has taken the country by storm with savvy rearrangements of modern songs and revelatory retellings of classic soul, rock and big band songs.  Does Adam live up to his image and perform a modern, dark, edgy song or does he continue on the path he has chosen each time he has had a choice, which is to take a well known song and perform it as a big rock anthem.  We have found a song that fits both bills.  Limp Bizkit interpretation of Peter Townshend’s “Behind Blue Eyes” fits Adam Lambert’s pattern of song selection perfectly.

Christian music artist Kris Allen just needs to continue aggressively imposing his musical taste on America.  We think Kris can reveal another beautiful song to the American public by performing Bright Eye’s “First Day of My Life”.  This beautiful indie love song takes us back to the first moment’s of love.   To show you the power of this song, I wanted to share this beautiful DIY cover performed by Meghan Julius (we don’t know who she is either)

There is a rumor that that Kris Allen and Adam Lambert’s choices will be limited to songs performed during American Idol Season 8.  If that is the case expect Kris Allen to perform “Ain’t No Sunshine” and Adam Lambert will perform “Mad World”.

American Idol Season 8 Finale Voting Predictions

Tuesday’s night’s performances are vitally important to the ultimate outcome, but I fully expect Kris Allen to win American Idol Season 8. Remember that Ryan Seacrest said on the Top 3 Results show that only 1 million votes separated Kris Allen and Adam Lambert.  Kris and Danny Gokey were the only two Christian music artists left and Kris’s image is much closer to Danny’s,  so I expect virtually all of Danny’s votes to shift to Kris Allen.  Voters who loved Danny’s singing prowess could turn to Adam Lambert but I suspect that there will be only a few Gokey fans who shift to Adam Lambert.   Adam received his last real voting block bump when Allison Iraheta departed.  Unless he stumbles on Tuesday night, I fully expect a Kris Allen to win American Idol Season 8.

Before it is too late, make sure to put your American Idol Season 8 highlights mix by downloading your favorite songs from iTunes.

Apple iTunes

American Idol Season 8: Top 3 Live Blog

As we enter the night of the American Idol Season 8 Top 3, it is anybody’s  contest to win.  As much as ever, tonight’s performances are critical.  Did the judges saddle Danny Gokey, Kris Allen or Adam Lambert with a bad song?  Who will pick the best song for themselves. See our American Idol Season 8 Top 3 Song Choices for our predictions and analysis.

Kris Allen, Danny GokeyAdam Lambert and Allison Iraheta, who left American Idol last week, all deserve to win.  Each one of them are great singers who bring unique skills to their performances.  What will determine the winner?  Tonight’s performances will play  a big part, but I think there are huge opportunities for voting block swings and rallies.  As I said in Who’s Gonna Win This Thing? , if  Kris Allen survives tonight, I think he wins.

But enough speculation.  We have three very good singers, singing what I hope will be six really good songs, so let’s get to the American Idol Season 8 Top 3.

The stage looks lonely with only three in the lights.  This is the 300th episode and we are only one week away from the finale.

Danny Gokey leads the show off with “Dance Little Sister” by Terence Trent D’Arby.  This is a good song for Danny’s voice.  Boy this guy can sing.  I was a big TTD fan and he is blowing the doors off.  A little Gokey scatting in the middle.  This is really good.  Good job Paula and Danny.

Randy thought it was dope but Kara hated the dancing.  Choreogropher Paula loved the dancing and singing.  Simon liked the singing but would have preferred he sing another TTD song.

Kara and Randy chose “Apologize” by One Republic for Kris Allen.  He should do well with this song.  What is up with the blue nail polish. Kris is playing the piano.  I think this is the first time I have heard Kris sing falsetto.  He is bringing a nice soulful touch to his performance.   I like the ending.  Very, very nice.  Maybe should have done a little more with the arrangement.

Randy thinks this song shows who he can be as an artist.  Kara does not like it, she wanted more of an arrangement risk.  The judges are treating him like he has already lost.  Simon criticizes Kara and tells her she copped out.  Are they throwing punches?  Is Kris there?  All of the focus is on the judges.

Simon hands Adam Lambert “One” by U2.  It is one of Simon’s favorite and he got personal permission from Bono for Adam to sing the song.  What song did he just sing?  This is a screaming, frantic rendition of this song.  Hated it!  This song didn’t need to be changed.

Randy tried to criticize him and Simon shut him down.  Shut-up Kara.  This stunk, quit fawning over him.  Did the judges even listen to this performance.  Simon thinks it was brilliant.  Why don’t the judges just override America’s vote and make him the winner?

Well, I think Danny Gokey took round one.  Kris Allen was a little timid and Adam Lambert was too over the top.

We get an Idol Gives Back and a film of Carrie Underwood’s Exxon Mobile sponsored trip to Angola where 300 bed nets have been distributed.

Danny Gokey is doing his own song next and, unlike last week, we did not reverse the order in the second round.  Is that a surprise?

Danny Gokey has a full string section.  He chose “You Are So Beautiful” by Billy Preston.  He has taken a slow, quiet song and made it slower and quieter.   I just keep coming back to this guy’s great voice.  Fantastic singing.  I don’t know if I like the song but the singing was awesome.

Randy loves the singing, Kara calls it stunning, Paula says it left us breathless and Simon says Danny’s performance was a vocal master class.  I agree, that was crazy good.

They are rushing and we find out Kris Allen is doing Kanye’s West “Heartless”.  Curious choice.  He is doing it with an acoustic guitar.  Wow, he is taking a big time rapper’s song and he has turned it into a Kris Allen rant.  This is amazing.  This ranks with his best performance of the year.  Crazy fantastic.  That was a game changer.

Randy likes Kris’s version better than Kanye’s version.  Kara calls it bold, brave and fearless and perfect.  Simon says he has come back in the competition.

They are running late.  Adam Lambert sings Aerosmith’s “Crying”.   This is a perfect song for him. I don’t know what to say.  He sings the song okay.  I am just bored.

Randy calls Adam one of the best American Idol has ever seen, balh, blah, blah, fawn, fawn.  Simon is begging for votes for Adam?  What is this?

This was a good show as expected with some really great performances.

Grab those performances on iTunes

Apple iTunes

American Idol Season 8- What Just Hapened?

The American Idol world is all abuzz after presumed winner Adam Lambert was in the Bottom 2 before Matt Giraud was eliminated from the American Idol Season 8 Top 5 (see Results Live Blog).  Some have called Adam Lambert the most unique, most talented and simply the best American Idol performer of all time.  How could he be in the Bottom 2 of Season 8′s Top 5?

It was not American Idol manipulating the results for dramatic impact you cynics and conspiracy theorists.  American Idol has built up a relationship with its audience based on America’s contribution to selecting the next American Idol.  To risk the American Idol franchise for dramatic effect is like slapping a bull on the butt in a muddy pen.  We are from Texas, think about it.

So what did happen.  I think it is a combination of several factors:

  1. Rumors of Adam Lambert’s life have turned-off American Idol viewers.  Shame on us.  We have made presumptions about who this young man is without really knowing him.  Just like Danny Gokey, everything that the fans do not like about him has been said by others.  Let’s judge this young man only on what we know about him.
  2. Maybe American Idol voters just don’t really like rock music that much.  I know that David Cook won last year but his form of rock music was much softer than Adam Lambert’s aggressive style.
  3. There has been much commentary on American Idol blog sites that Adam Lambert fans split some of their votes for Allison Iraheta.
  4. Maybe American Idol fans just do not like Adam Lambert’s hair metal vocals, contrived performances and edgy arrangements.

So what does this mean?

  1. I bet Danny Gokey is redoubling his efforts this week.  Danny seemed to turn a corner in last week’s performance ( see my Top 5 Performance Review).  He is the only American Idol Season 8 Top 4 performer to not be in the Bottom 2.  The presumed winner just stumbled through no fault of his own.  Danny Gokey and Kris Allen should expect to receive a bump in votes as fellow Christian music performer Matt Giraud was eliminated.
  2. Adam Lambert should receive a bounce if his fans truly did split votes.  He needs to be careful this week though.  The pressure of him being in the Bottom 2 and the temptation of Rock week could cause him to be even more aggressive with his song choices and performances when he really needs to appeal to a broader audience.
  3. It seems counter intuitive to think Allison Iraheta could be in trouble during Rock week.  However, everyone expected her to be in last week’s Bottom 2 not the Top 2.  If her bump came from a combination of Lil Rounds voters throwing their votes to her and Adam Lambert fans splitting votes for her, she could lose enough votes to be in the bottom 3.

So this week should be crazy exciting.  American Idol Season 8 has the most talent and is turning out to be the most dramatic American Idol I have seen.  Join us Tuesday night at 8 edt as we live blog the Rock performances.  On Monday I will come back with my Power Rankings and Tuesday morning I will drop some interesting song suggestions on you.

You can download all of the American Idol Season 8 performances from iTunes.  This is the best season ever, you gotta have some of this in your iPod.

Apple iTunes

By the way, I have not forgotten about Kris Allen. He just seems to stay out of these controversies and deliver one great performance after another.

American Idol Season 8- Top 8 Power Rankings

It is unprecedented.  Of the Top 8 performers on American Idol Season 8, five are Christian music artists.  Kris Allen, Danny Gokey, Lil Rounds, Matt Giraud and Scott MacIntyre are all still standing and Michael Sarver is the only Christian music artist to be voted off so far.  What is going on?  I would like hear what you think.

I think there are a couple of factors.  First of all, these guys are very good, if not great, music artists who just happen to be Christians.  Secondly, the American Idol judges seem to be more supportive of the artists of faith than in the past.  I don’t think it has anything to do with their faith but the judges seem to be more open to a variety of artists than in past years.  The judges support of Scott MacIntyre has helped him and Simon practically called on America to keep Michael Sarver on American Idol Season 8.

The third reason Christian music artists are doing so well on American Idol Season 8 is the experience they have singing on stage.  If is most evident with Kris Allen and Danny Gokey, both worship leaders, as they make great song selections, create interesting arrangements and deliver the emotional center of the songs in their performances.  You can also see that Lil Rounds, Matt Giraud and Scott MacIntyre were comfortable when they stepped on the American Idol stage.  They are used to singing to large groups of people with a band.  Finally, have we ever dug this deeply to identify the Chrsitian music artists on American Idol?  In the past two years, I saw some sites who identified Jordan Sparks and Chris Sligh as Christian music artists, but not so much as this year.

Regardless, we, at One21music, are enjoying the emergence of these believers who make great music.  We look forward to following their careers.

On to other things.  If you read my Top 9 Performance Recap you know that I was surprised by Meagan Joy’s departure.  I thought the three voting constituencies supporting her would keep her in for a few more weeks.  In my Top 9 power ranking I said she needed to go straight one week and just sing a song.  She never did and I think that cost her.  We overheard her talking to Simon after the she was eliminated and she admitted to him that she had never held a microphone before stepping onto the  American Idol stage.

American Idol Top 8 Power Rankings

If you read my  Top 9 Performance Recap you know that I think Kris Allen had an American Idol break out performance and established himself as a serious contender.  The blogosphere agreed with me as blogger after blogger raved about Kris Allen’s take on “Ain’t No Sunshine”.  I urge you to go to iTunes, through the icon below, and download that performance.  It was masterful.

That was the best performance of American Idol Season 8 and it has vaulted Kris Allen from third (see Top 9 power rankings) to first in the One21music American Idol Season 8 Power Rankings.   Allison Iraheta, last week’s number two had her first stumble and I worry about her ability to pick a great song for herself this week.   Scott MacIntyre moves up based on last week’s performance of “Just The Way You Are”.  Lil Rounds needs a strong performance this week and I think it will difficult for here to find a great song.  American Idol Season 8 remains fluid with a strong group of contenders, so week to week  performances are increasingly crucial.

  1. Kris Allen- I said it in last week’s power rankings and he went out and did again.  Week after week Kris Allen has taken well known songs by Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, James Taylor, Garth Brooks and, last week, Bill Withers and created completely new versions.  Last week was the topper.  “Ain’t No Sunshine” is fully ingrained into the fabric of America’s soundtrack and has been covered by dozens of artists.  Kris Allen’sAmerican Idol version on , is arguably my favorite version of this song.  Kris made me believe he wrote this song about a loss in his life.  Until March 31, 2009, Kris Allen was flying under the radar on American Idol.  He is firmly on America’s radar now.
  2. Danny Gokey- Danny’s stripped down performance of “What Hurts Most” was typical of all his American Idol Season 8 performances: cool arrangement, emotionally connected and well sung.  Danny has performed at the highest level all season long.  I worry that he has set a bar of expectation that he cannot exceed.  I think Danny Gokey has proven he was a fully baked pop star when he auditioned.  I don’t know what he can do for a break out performance to separate himself from the pack.
  3. Allison Iraheta- She stumbled last week and looked like a 16 year old on American Idol.  The judges were correct in telling her she looked like a kid dressing up to look like a rock star, when she is a rock star.  No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” was too small a song for her and the guitar was an obvious prop.  It pushed her back into the bottom 3 of the voting.  Allison needs to another rocking, blues performance to right her journey on American Idol. Check out our Top 8 performance preview tomorrow to see what I would have Allison sing.
  4. Lil Rounds-  I may have been the only one in the media to have enjoyed Lil’s performance last week.  I thought it was a soulful take on Celine Dion’s “I Surrender”.  She has had three week’s in a row of well sung songs, but she has not been able to put her stamp on a song yet.  Lil needs a performance this week to get the American Idol judges singing her praises again.  Does anyone have a suggestion for Lil Rounds from 1984?
  5. Matt Giraud- He is the poster boy for American Idol inconsistency this year.  When he picks R&B songs he delivers.  When he chooses piano driven rock songs like “You Found Me” and “Viva La Vida” he loses his identity.  Matt is starting to remind me of Michael Johns.  The judges are telling him what to sing to soar and he stubbornly clings to his image of himself as a rocker.  He has a ton of good songs to choose form this week, let’s see if he makes the right choice.
  6. Scott MacIntyre- If Scott were to pursue a career in pop music, and let’s hope that he pursues his true talent as a jazz or classical musician, we saw last week what he will be like.  Scott recaptured his magic with “Just The Way You Are”.  He is a fair singer and a wonderful performer.  His fate depends on his performances each week.
  7. Adam Lambert-  I cannot begin to describe my difficulty with his stiff, screaming, staged performance of “Play The Funky Music”.  It showed everything I dislike about Adam as a performer.  He is a great singer, but he panders to the American Idol judges.  Each week’s performance becomes an amalgamation of all the compliments he has received in previous week’s.  I do not want to paint Adam Lambert two dimensionally, he is a young man feverishly pursing his dream.  I just do not connect with him as a singer and I think the judges are wowed by his technical excellence.
  8. Anoop Desai-  It is funny that Anoop came out of Hollywood as a favorite to win it all and, over his past six performances he has proven that he does not have the charisma to be an American Idol.  Anoop is a fine singer who does not have the soul to be the R&B singer he wants to be.

There are two voting blocks to watch.  The blue-eyed soul singer group of Kris Allen, Matt Giraud and Anoop Desai may hurt one of them this week.  I question whether Matt or Anoop can survive a bad performance.  The second group is the “pure in spirit” group of Danny Gokey, Kris Allen and Scott MacIntyre.  These three tend to all react with humility, respect and sometimes humor to the judges criticism and praises.  I don’t think this will impact the voting too much this week, but let’s see.

Everyone but Kris Allen, Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert could go home on a bad performance.  I think only two of that group make it to the Top 3.  Everyone needs to bring it.

Check out the performance that drove these power rankings by downloading full song recordings and the live performances at iTunes.

Apple iTunes

Join us again in the morning as I preview the Top 8 performance show.  The American Idol performers will be singing songs from the year of their birth (1980 to 1992).  I have some interesting song predictions.

American Idol Season 8- Top 9 Results Live Blog

I said I wouldn’t but I can’t help myself.  Yes, I will live blog the American Idol Season 8 Top 9 results show tonight. I am a live blog addict. I need help.

Are we going to see our first shocker tonight?  Will the judges be forced to use their “save”.  I think Matt Giraud is on the cutting block tonight and I don’t think the American Idol judges will save him.  However, there are several sites on the Internet suggesting that Allison Iraheta is in trouble. If Allison is voted off I think the American Idol judges will be forced to use the “save” Despite what many hope, I will be shocked if Meagan Joy goes home tonight.  See our American Idol Top 9 performance review.

David Cook and Lady GaGa will perform tonight.  David Cook should be okay.  I did not know Lady GaGa (girl or group?) until I just saw a blurb about her (girl) on Entertainment Tonight.  I am not sure I will enjoy her perorfmance but we will wait and see.

The time is now so let’s get us some results!  Well maybe not now.  Let’s wait an hour so Fox can present the show with an asterick Lie To Me*.  See you in an hour.

That was a wasted hour.  Lie To Me is funny, but I don’t think it is a comedy.

The just went through a montage of last night and they did not include Kara’s reference to Studio 57.  Jason Castro and Alexis Grace.  They were happy that 36 million people voted.  They are making Kara apologize to the audience for arguing with them last night.  Keep up with Adam!  Did American Idol just set Adam Lambert as the standard to judge the others by? Oh my gosh!

The Ford commercial used that whole face mixey uppy thing that Michael Jackson did 15 years ago.  The Top 9 are lip synching Journey’s “Don’t Stop” and they are letting Scott MacIntyre pretend he is playing the piano.  Will Adam Lambert do his hair metal scream?  Almost, yep, there it is.  Adam delivers the same old thing.

Back to the results?  Ryan has his results stand out.  Ryan, they are not singing for their lives.  Alexis Grace is proof that there is no firing squad behind the set.  Girls are swooning all over the country as Kris Allen goes through his photo sexy faces.  I can hear girls screaming up and down the street.

LOLOLOL! at Gokey’s impersonation of Giraud.

No more laughing.  Meagan Joy, Matt Giraud and Kris Allen are the first three up to the far side of the stage.  Then Ryan calls  Adam Lambert, Lil Rounds and Allison Iraheta to the center of the stage.  Is everybody going home?!   Anoop Desai is by himself.  Three groups of three.  Who is in the botom 3?  We must endure Lady GaGa first.

No, first we get David Cook.  I like David Cook.  I liked him all year last year.  This song is a little slow.  This song is a little bland.  I am glad he is having some success. I hope he will be able to break out of this soft rock straight jacket.  But the drummer is having a really good time.  At least the boy can sing.

David Cook get his first platinum album.  Congratulations David.  I like him more everytime I see him.

Who is in the bottom 3?  Kris Allen up first and he is safe, go sit down.  Matt Giraud is safe.  Ryan did one of his mean misdirection things.  Mean Ryan.  Megan Joy is the last of her group and she does a stupid bird impersonation to the bottom 3.  What was that?

To the next group and Lil Rounds and she is safe to sing only Mary J Blige songs in the future.  Allison Iraheta is up next and she is in the bottom 3.  Of, course Adam Lambert is safe.   Meagan quit with the bird dance.

Next group and first is Danny Gokey, who is safe.  The last spot in the bottom 3 is to Scott MacIntyre and Anoop Desai. Scott is safe and Anoop is on the bottom 3.

Anoop, Allison and Megan, the bird lady, are our bottom 3.  We wait until after Lady GaGa to find out the results.

Lady GaGa is number one on the charts.  She is showing some chops but the song is a little weird.  Is that bubbles or balloons in her piano?  This song is okay.  It is dance pop with a lot of dancers and a big sound. Better than Britany Spears. That was pretty crazy.  Old zipper eye is pretty wild.

Allison is safe.  Good.  She does not deserve to be in the bottom Two.

Meagan Joy was voted off.  Will the judges save her.  They told her she will not be saved before she sings.  Thank you, at least she can finish her last performance with dignity.

Be sure to grab your favorite American Idol performances and the the full studio recordings on iTunes.

Apple iTunes

Way to leave Meagan Joy. Good luck on your future.

American idol Season 8- Top 9 Performance Live Blog

We are live, blogging the American Idol Season 8 Top 9 performances.  At One21music we are covering the five remaining Christian music artists competing in Season 8: Danny Gokey, Matt Giraud, Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre, and Kris Allen .

Check out my preview of tonight’s American Idol show at our Top 9 Performance Preview.  We found out that the theme for tonight is iTunes top 100 downloads.  Who knows what that means?  The current Top 100 is loaded with rap, country and Disney machine songs.  I guess the American Idol performers could make something great out of that mix but there does not seem to be a lot of songs of substance to use.  We will see.  American Idol Season 8 is heading for the first shocking moment (maybe tomorrow night, maybe next week) as the three weakest remaining contests, Meagan Joy, Anoop Desai and Scott MacIntyre have pretty big fan bases. See our Top 9 Power Rankings.

Remember tonight’s show runs 1 hour 20 minutes.  Will they have enough time?  They will if they cut the judges goofing and focus on the performances.

Once again the American Idol contestants start the show all serious like.  The Top 9 will sing any song they want as long as it is an iTunes top download.  The American Idol contestants trade Motown for Ryan Seacrest’s radio station.  Letdown.

Anoop Desai sings “Pilot”? by Usher.  He is trying to get his high energy groove back.  Okay, Anoop does not have as much soul as he thinks.  It does not feel like he ever gets the groove of the song.  It almost seems that he is singing as an adult contemporary artist and the song is pretty funky.  Not so good for me.

Kara is making a bad face. She is right, he played it safe.  All the judges think his vocals sounded good but he doesn’t have much stage presence.  Except Simon who thinks it was “wannabe” with no originality.  I agree.

Interesting, Anoop disagreed with the judges saying that he just sang an R&B song and he wants to be an R&B artist.  The judges told him he copied a R&B star but was not one himself.  He doesn’t have the star quality and he doesn’t get that.

Meagan Joy is going to try to re-establish herself with a Bob Marley song.  She desperately needs a good performance.  This may not show us anything new about her but maybe she can pull this off.

Meagan Joy will be singing “Turn You Lights Down Low” by  Bob Marley/Lauryn Hill.  She certainly does have a different ear for phrasing and tone.  This is so much better than her last few weeks, but it does not show us anything new or exciting about her.  Safe performance to keep her in the game.

Kara doesn’t like it. Kara thinks her singing was irritating.  Paula is right in telling her that she needs to be surprising us.  Simon says boring, indulgent and monotonous.  Randy says boring.  She will have another week, so let’s see what she will do next week.

So far, the big song choice box has proven to be a booby trap.  Let’s see if Danny Gokey and Allison Iraheta can pick great songs for themselves.

They are talking to Danny Gokey about song choices and he has gone with “What Hurts The Most” by Rascal Flats.  Danny is going country so he can tone it down and sing his heart out.  Good plan.  Good execution.  Danny stands in the middle of the stage and sings the heck out of that song.  This is exactly what he should have done.  Not mind blowing, but good job, Danny.

Paula wants to hit repeat on this performance and Simon calls it the best performance of the night.  Simon even applauds.  Kara says Danny moved everyone in the room emotionally.  Is tonight a separation show?  Are we seeing the contenders separate from the pretenders.

Allison Iraheta is happy with the freedom to sing “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt and she is rocking the guitar.  She looks like a crazy rock star chick.   The start is really cool but I am not sure I like her voice on the soft parts.  I think Allison is too powerful for this song.  This doesn’t quite work for me.  Her first stumble.

Randy can only talk about her clothes.  Kara thinks she was trying too hard.  Simon was bothered by her outfit and felt it distracted from her talent.  Good comments.

Scott MacIntyre is singing Billy Joel’s ” Just The Way You Are ” and he desperately needs a strong performance.  Scott and his piano and a leather jacket.  This is a good song for Scott and I think this is Scott’s best vocal performance of Season 8.  Good job, Scott.

Kara thinks he made the right choice in song and arrangement.  I can’t quite figure out what Paula is saying. Simon agrees with me “your best performance by a country mile”.  Randy thinks it was one of the best of the night.

Matt Giraud is going to sing The Fray.  Is he repeating his mistake from the Top 36 elimination show by singing a piano rock song?  Lil Rounds took the judges advice from last week and it looks like she is going to sway back and SING with a Celine Dion song.  We will really be able to see what she has as a singer.

Matt Giraud is singing The Fray’s “You Found Me ” and he needs to pull this off big.  It could be his final stumble.  The start is a little off key and the music is overwhelming his vocal.  I like this song, but not with his voice.  He ends it big, but I don’t think this will pull him out of the bottom 3.

I agree with Paula that we lost Matt in the song.  Simon says it sounded like someone being someone else.  Randy is saying that her is hiding the beauty of his voice.  Kara is right in that he going from the rock and r&b side of pop.  I think Matt is a R&B singer who wants to do rock.

Lil Rounds is singing “Surrender” by Celine Dion.  She is bringing a little cool soul tone to this Celine Dion.  There it is, that big huge voice.  She slays this song.  I have chills and tears.  Lil is back!  Wow.  I am buying that one.

Randy doesn’t like the song choice but he thinks she sang it well.  Shut up judges she dominated that song.  The judges are just wrong about this performance.

This has not been a great night.  it looks like Danny Gokey, Scott MacIntyre and Lil Rounds are the only ones who have been able to handle the responsibility of  broad sing choices.  Lil Rounds just proved who is the best singer in American Idol Season 8.  The judges need to stop pigeonholing her.

Adam Lambert comes with “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry.  The old Adam is back.  Great vocals and no connection with the song.  There is zero funk in this song. I can barely stand to listen to this.  Axel Rose plays funk.  I don’t think so.

Of course, the judges will love it.   Paula calls it true genius.  Did she really compare Adam to Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler?  I give up.  Kara was completely right.  It was like Studio 57.  All of the really great funk music was played at the crazy club called Studio 54.

Kris Allen finishes the night singing “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers.  Kris will try to make the song current he is playing the piano.  He changes the pace of the song but kicks up the harmonic dynamics.  He brings a little soul kick to the chorus.  Masterful performance by Kris Allen.

Randy thinks it was cool and creative.  Kara pulls out her artistry whoop.  I agree with Paul that he took a 30 year-old song and made it current.  Simon loved it calling it his best performance of the night.

I think this was a separation night.  More on that later.  Check out our performance review that will hit your desk top overnight.

Don’t forget to download the best of these performances on iTunes

Apple iTunes

American Idol Season 8- Grand Ole’ Opry Live Blog

We are live, blogging the American Idol Season 8 Top 11 performances.  At One21music we are covering the six Christian music artists competing in Season 8: Danny Gokey, Matt Giraud, Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre, Kris Allen and Michael Sarver.   That’s right, six of the final 11 contestants on American Idol Season 8 are Christian music performers.  Read my American Idol Grand Ole’ Opry performances to for my full assessment of the show and my power rankings.

I think tonight will be very informative.  As far as I can tell, none of American Idol’s Top 11 have shown any interest in Country music. We will see many of the performers struggle.  I think Michael Sarver (see our article on Michael’s higher AI purpose) and Kris Allen could do well.  Other sites on the web have leaked a potential list of the songs to choose from.  I don’t report on those spoilers that are all over the Internet because I don’t want to play that game.  But, based on the list, here is a hope, a warning and a prediction for tonight’s American Idol:

  • Hope: Meagan Corkery must perform Patsy Cline’s “Walking After Midnight”.
  • Warning: No one, not even Lil Rounds, should sing Dolly Parton’s “I’ll Always Love You”.
  • Prediction: Alexis Grace will tone down her TV MA image.

All of the remaining performers are worthy so I think the next few weeks will depend on week to week performances.

And we will be ready to go in just a few minutes!

So here we go, the opening montage is upon us.  For a music show American Idol’s theme is pretty bad.  It kind of sounds like 80′s era video game music.  Randy Travis is mentoring the American Idol performers tonight.  He was one of the leaders of the “Neotraditional Country” movement in the 80′s.  I was never a fan but he seems to be a good guy.  Of course he has a new CD out today.

I like the new set.  And it goes green for St. Patrick’s Day! I am glad we have done away with the side stairs.  I never liked the performers using those stairs as a prop.  Randy and Kara think all the performers have stepped up to the big stage.  Of course, Simon hates country so the judging should be ugly.

Ryan reminds us that whoever survives this week will make it to the tour.  What is Meagan wearing?  Whether or not you like country we must all appreciate this great  truely American art form.

We start with Michael Sarver and he is singing a big word fast singing Garth Brook’s country song  “Ain’t Going Down (Til the Sun Comes Up)”.   Well he certainly has the country twang for this song.  Great performance.  Sorry, Michael haters he is not going home this week.

Randy is finding a reason to not like it. They are criticizing that his song does not have big notes.  Sarver disagrees and says “country music is about having fun”.   Michael is feisty tonight.  He agues with Simon.  I guess the producers have decided that Michael needs to go home tonight.  The judges were unfairly brutal.  He performed that song well.

Allison Iraheta will sing “Blame It On Your Heart” by Patty Loveless.  I agree with Randy Travis that she has so much vocal maturity for her age.  We should have known this would be country rocker. This girl is a serious contender.  She is like two people.  On stage she is a diva, off stage she is a giggly teenager.  Great, great performance.

Kara is right, she can sing the alphabet, the phone book, oatmeal instructions, I don’t care.  She can sing.  Paula wants to see her be more vulnerable.  Somebody help Allison’s mom, she is about to faint.  Randy loves it.  He thought it was dope. I agree, dopely precocious.

Computer crash, panic.  Kris Allen just sang Garth’s “To Make You Feel My Love” as a vulnerable ballad.  I am little bit surprised.  Once again a great interpretation of the song.  Very well done.  Nice, controlled performance.

Paula was a little taken back, but Simon actually praised effusively.  Randy calls Kris a “tender dawg”.  Kara nailed it, “it was beautiful”.

Reflecting on Kris’s performance, he is a much better singer than we give him credit.  That was a performance that will change many people’s opinion of Kris, he is deeper than we thought.  He doesn’t need his guitar to be comfortable, he just needs a good song.

Lil Rounds is sporting a pretty, fancy red dress.  She looks nice.  As I thought, Lil does not know country.  But she is going to forgo her R&B  leanings to respect the country song. She is doing “Independence Day” by Martina McBride.  She will need the pipes Randy Travis talks about to perform this song.  Nice, quiet controlled start.  She is singing this great song straight up.  I really like this.  Lil Rounds may be an R&B singer but she could cross over to do some country.  Not her deal but I think she pulled it off.

Randy struggled with the performance.  Thank you Kara for giving her some props for going with her instincts.  Kara is doing well tonight.  Paula actually gave some good advice about arranging verses and choruses.  I think this performance exposed Lil Rounds shortcomings as an arranger. But it was like several of my really great LP’s with soul singers performing country songs.  I liked her.

Adam Lambert is singing “Ring of Fire” as a Middle Eastern dirge.  I think Randy Travis hated it. Let’s see. I don’t know what to say.  Can he be arrested for desecrating an American treasure?

Let’s watch the judges fawn over him. Kara is dumbfounded.  The judges are giving him the required adulation.  Simon, are you bigger than the show? Yes, “what the H*&% was that”, ‘Indulgent rubbish”.  I agree with Randy, the “Travis” Randy.  Still speechless.

Ryan is in the mosh pit as we come back.  Do you have mosh pits in country music?

Scott MacIntyre is singing “Wild Angels” by Martina McBride (she is getting a lot of love tonight).  This is a nice song.  Scott is really struggling with it.  His vocals are off key through most of the beginning but then he changes tempo and seems to get his stride.  Nice arrangement but the vocals were off and weak.

Scott has a good sense of humor.  As Paula was advising him that the piano separates him from the audience, Scott said “we can move it closer to the front of the stage”.  Then Simon calls Paula stupid and the judges begin to fight.  I agree with the judges that he is being too safe and he needs to pick up his game and sing harder songs better.

Another good show this week.  Halfway through and no real disasters.  Even though I didn’t like Adam, his singing was not a disaster.  And the judges are fighting and calling each other names.  How much fun is this?

Alexis Grace, looking a little more demure, will be singing Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”.  It is an iconic song and Randy Travis calls it perfect.  He says she is really good at telling a story.  Where did those stairs come from?  She was going along well until she started that riffing in the middle.  She picks it up at the end and finishes strong.  Her blues tinged take doesn’t blow me away.

Randy thought it was okay and Kara thinks it was flat.  I don’t think Alexis likes Kara.  Paula liked the vulnerability she showed.  Simon thought it was okay.  Alexis does not seem happy.

Danny Gokey is up next singing Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take The Wheel”.  Evidently he was so nervous with Randy Travis that he could not sing the song.  Randy Travis did say that he has a soulfulness that people in the business wish they had. Is he singing this song better than Carrie Underwood?  Every week he shows me more of himself as a singer.  Perfect.

And the crowd goes crazy.

Do the judges only care about hitting big notes?  I agree with Paula that it is good to hear a singer tell a story.  Both Paula and Simon agree that the performance was great. But Randy agreed with Kara.   I thought it was great.  It looks like Simon and Paula have made up.

Danny seems to enjoy himself.  He always seem happy.  I like him more every week.

Can Anoop Desai step his game up?  This is a tough week for him to do that.  He is singing Willie Nelson’s “Always On My Mind”.  He did pick a great song.  It is coming across as an Adult Contemporary ballad and the runs don’t work for me.  I am not sure this is good enough to keep him in the competition.  Not bad, but just okay.

Paula loved it? Simon loved it? Randy loved it? Kara loved it?  I just don’t get what they saw.

Meagan Joy (she has dropped the Corkery) is signning “Walking After Midnight” and it wins Randy Travis over. She is doing a country jazz take on it.  Her pronunciation is a little odd.  She tries to do a little too much with it.  It falls apart at the end. She had me until the end.

Randy was impressed.  Evidently Meagan has the flu and did not get to do the dress rehearsal.  Simon loved it.  I need to listen to this one again.  I liked parts but not all of it.

Does that new Osborne candid camera show look funny at all?

We end the night with Matt Giraud.  Let’s see what he can do with country.  He is singing Carrie Underwood’s “So Small”.  Randy Travis was impressed how Matt arranged the song.  He is playing the piano and he has turned this song into an R&B ballad,  Did he forget the words? He then takes the song up a notch and roars through the middle.  that was a good way to end the show.  Nice arrangement and good performance.

Kara says he is amazing. Simon thinks Matt out sang Danny tonight.   All the judges think it was the best performance of the night.

Ryan, you are right.  We have ourselves a competition in Season 8 of American Idol.  Another good show.

A little food and then I will review the performances.  My show recap with performance ratings and predictions will be up by the time you get to work in the morning.  If you are an all night person look for it some time between midnight and dawn.

You can download the performance videos and full song recordings over the next few days by clicking the icon below.

Apple iTunes

American Idol Season 8 Michael Jackson Songs

I mentioned in my American Idol Season 8 power rankings, the Top 13 are singing the songs of Michael Jackson in the first round of the Season 8 Finals.  I am troubled.   Must we glorify a man who is suspected of these acts?  I don’t know.  What do you think?

Sorry to be such a downer.  American Idol is suppose to make us happy right?  Let’s be happy.  Let’s talk music.  I have no idea what songs the Top 13 will select but I have suggestions.

We are covering the Christian music artists competing on Season 8 of American Idol. This is what I think they will perform.

  • Kris Allen should use his interpretive skills on to perform “Will You Be There”.
  • “You Rock My World” has exactly the thumping rhythm and lyrical connect that Lil Rounds would devour.
  • Scott MacIntyre should use his piano skills to give us a new take on “Heal The World”
  • Matt Giraud should take the chance of repeating “I Want You Back” from Hollywood Week.  If he could keep the vibe while adapting the song to a solo performance he could rock the house.
  • In my power rankings article I said Danny Gokey needs to move beyond inspirational ballads, but not this week.  “You Are Not Alone” is exactly the right song for Danny this week.
  • Michael Sarver will need to stretch this week and I think the best shot he has is to sing “Never Can Say Goodbye”.

The rest of the American Idol contestants should sing these Michael Jackson songs:

  • Anoop Desai should rock “Beat It”
  • Meagan Crokery will need to make a lot of changes to “The Way You Make Me Feel” but I think this song has her vibe.
  • Jorge Nunez should take on the slow ballad “She’s Out of My Life”.
  • Allison Iraheta should belt the surprisingly bluesy “Who’s Lovin’ You”.
  • There is no question the “Dirty Diana” gives Adam Lambert the platform for his theatrics.
  • Jasmine’s best chance is to go with the ballad “Got To Be There”
  • Can Alexis Grace wrap her pipes around “Leave Me Alone”.  I would like to see her try.

Join us tonight as we live blog the show and  see what happens!

Remember you can get all of the performances by clicking through to Itunes icon below.  They should start making the American Idol full song recordings available.  As soon as we find out, we will make them available to you.

Apple iTunes

Underground Chrisitian Music Saved Us

Parents of teenagers beware!  Your children will listen to the popular music of today. The values of today’s mainstream pop, rock, R&B and country artists will influence your children values and the messages of today’s music will help form your children’s attitudes.

At best those values rest on the unstable foundation of self worth and at worst the messages of misogyny, self loathing and despair will permeate your kid’s world view.

Do not despair because there is a world of music that your kids will like, performed by popular musicians who are infused with the confidence, hope and faith of Jesus Christ.  We are creating One21music to help you and your kids find this wonderful music that reinforces our values.

Please read about my journey…

You can only imagine my thrill, as a lifelong music junkie, when my 12 year-old son started sitting with me to go through my music collection (1500 LP’s and 2,000 CD’s).  When the roar of Nirvana and the squeal of Smashing Pumpkins wafted from his room, I smiled.

However, as my 13 year-old turned into a 14 year-old, my influence over his musical tastes, values and friends began to waver.  He had turned to the harder, darker music of Limp Bizkit, Korn and The Deftones. His new found friends were on the edge, and sometimes beyond, of trouble.  He became sullen and distant.

We turned to our Church and very quickly Christ stepped into his life.  A wonderful period of growth ensued for our entire family.  My son embraced his faith, made new friends and eased back into our life.

However, the Christian music community failed him.  The music thrust on him as a passionate teenager was bland and did not deal with the real life challenges of being a 14 year boy in the late 20th century.  We could see the conflict in this new believer that was being bombarded with the anger and confusion of the lost musicians he was listening to.

So I, being a music fan myself, began a quest to find music that my son would embrace and encourage the burgeoning value system of a new believer.  I spent hours scouring this new frontier called the Internet and searched magazines for signs of faith in popular musicians.  I hit the mother lode with a small Christian bookstore that had a vast selection of edgy Christian music and a listening station.

I spent many lunch hours sampling the music.  I struggled to reconcile my faith with the industrial roar of Chatterbox, but I was excited to discover the revival of ska with the Supertones.  I bought a lot of music.  My son liked some of it.

When we found P.O.D. and he found ZAO, we had broken through.  You could see the change in him as the negativity of mainstream music was replaced with the transcendent hope and joy of believing musicians.  The music was as hard and in many case harder than the popular heavy music of the day, but the believers exuded a palpable joy that enveloped my son.

As my son and I pursued this deep underground music scene we discovered the great pop music of Sam Phillips, the funky R&B of Nicole C. Mullen, the exciting rock of Underoath and mewithoutyou and the challenging electronic music of Andy Hunter and Scott Blackwell.  We simply discovered truly great music, of all genres, written from a foundation of hope and faith.  We shared this music and we saw God use this music to touch people’s hearts.

This is vibrant, edgy music written and performed by talented musicians who are pursuing their craft and are committed to their faith.  Because they are free from the pursuit of wealth and fame, their music is honest and true.

We are creating One21music (the music of Christ in the 21st Century) to make your quest easier.  We love this music and we believe these musicians deserved to be heard.  When you are in Best Buy browsing the cd racks we want you to know which of these artists share your journey.

If we can help one of you save your teenager, as P.O.D. helped me save mine, I will be overjoyed that God handed this task to us.

We are bootstrapping this endeavor so it may take a while to fully develop, but please stay with us.  Comment on our articles so that we know what you are thinking and we can keep you informed.  Keep reading our blogs so that we know you are behind us.  Pray for us and we will be fortified.