American Idol Season 8- February 17 Performance Recap

American Idol’s first show of Season 8 is in and only one front runner delivered.

One21music is covering the Christian music artists on Season 8 of American Idol.  Last night we live blogged the show and this morning I will share some of my thoughts.  Two of the eight Christian music artists performed last night.  Both Danny Gokey and Michael Sarver showed themselves to be contenders.

Michael Sarver sang “I Dont Wanna Be” by Gavin DeGraw.  This One Tree Hill theme song is a mid tempo pop song.  My live reaction was luke warm at best.  I thought Michael had really hurt himself. Michael had made his way though the auditions and Hollywood Week with soul ballads and I was not used to him singing this type of song. The judges agreed and gave him a luck warm response, except for a little surprise from Simon who talked about what a nice person he was and that he hoped America would give Michael another chance.

I went back and watched all of the performances again and in retrospect I think he made a very savvy choice.  First, his performance was techncally very good.  He has a strong smooth voice and he, unlike many others on the night made the song his own. Secondly, the song enabled him to show a more contemporary style.  Finally, this guy has television presence.  I mentioned that in my live blog last night but when I re-watched the performance, he really jumped off the screen.  He is a nice looking guy who connects with the camera.  Evene if he does not win Season 8, I can see Michael with a career as a televsion actor.  Good job, Michael!

Just about everyone on the show last night ruined their debuts with bad song choices. When Danny Gokey said he would sing Mariah Carey’s “Hero”, my heart sank.  I thought the song was too big for him and he would join the pack of mediocore performances.  Instead, If you read the live blog you know that my fears were assuaged as I turned into a 12 year old girl delivering what amounted to a squealing, tear-stained fan letter to Danny Gokey.

The judges agreed as they were standing, applauding, slamming the table and shouting approval.  All of the judges except Simon, of course.  He wasn’t buying the hype.  Kara was, as she labeled Danny “the redeemer”.

Danny was the last to perform and he took control of the song, the stage and the show like the headliner closing for 11 opening acts.  Every note was perfect, the emotional tone was dead-on and his performance was commanding.  I do like that Danny is beginning to identify himself as a “Church music leader”.  Great job, Danny!

The only other performance that stood out was Ricky Braddy’s cover of “A Song for You” by Leon Russel.  It was souful and heartfelt.  When he revealed that it was one of his all time favorite songs, i was not surprised.

Two women, Alexis Grace and Ann Marie Boskovich covered Aretha Franklin songs.  In the live blog I thought Ann Marie did a good job and Alexis not so much.  I was wrong on Ann Marie.  I actually think Alexis did the better job but those songs ate both of them up.

Now to predictions.

I think Danny Gokey secured himself a place in the Final 12.  I think Alexis Grace will move on because none of the other women did very well at all.  I think Michael Sarver has a great opportunity to move on.  I think he out performed favorite, Anoop Desai and I think he has more stage presence than Ricky BraddyBrent Keith’s country vibe could concentrate the country vote and enable him to jump into the mix.

This year the judges will select a number of contestants who are not voted into the Final 12 for a “Wild Card” show.  Three of those contestants will be voted into the Final 12 on March 5th.  I don’t know if the judges will pick four from each show or their 12 favorites but, assuming Alexis Grace, Danny Gokey and Michael Sarver move on tonight, I think the judges will pick Anoop Desai, Jackie Tohn, Tatiana Del Toro and Casey Carlson from this show.

Dialidol predicts winners based on monitoring of telephone lines.  They have Danny Gokey as the clear winner for the guys.  The have Alexis Grace as the highest vote getter among the women but it is too close to call among all of them.  Michael Sarver ( he actually has the second most votes according to dialidol) has a big lead over Anoop Desai, Ricky Braddy and Brent Keith for the third slot, but it is too close to call.

Final thoughts

  • Keep parents/spouses in the audience
  • The judging was rushed.  If American Idol wants four judges, they need to give more air time to the judges’ comments
  • The production was terrible, with sound drops, cuts to cameras filming the floor and a blown video intro for Brent Keith.

We will not live blog the resuts show during the early stages of the season.  There simply is not enough happening.  I will recap the results late tonight.

What did you think of the performances last night?  Who was your favorite?

American Idol Season 8 Live- February 17th

One21music will be live blogging American Idol Season 8, covering this season’s Christian performers.

All right so hear we go.  The show kicks off in a couple of minutes.  Tonight, we will cover all the performances and all the judges comments.  However, we will focus on two performers tonight who openly profess their faith: Danny Gokey and Michael Sarver.

It will be interesting to see how the new judge set-up will work.  So far, I haven’t noticed much difference.

Remember, the top male and top female vote getters will move on, along with the next top vote getter.

And so here we go, This Is American Idol!

And here are the judges, all looking resplendent.  Simon in a t-shirt as always.  Randy says, you gotta blow us away vocally.  Kara’s nervous.

Paula, “huh?”

Simon is right, no second chances.  I am not sure I like the new format.  Too many performers will be eliminated tonight.

The theme tonight “Hits from The Billboard Hot 100″.

Jackie Tohn up first!  She is very confident. She is singing Elvis’s “A Little Less Conversation”.  She looks like she is straight from the Grease movie. I don’t know, I don’t really like her voice.

The judges say: Randy likes her energy but not the vocals.  Kara likes the way she works the stage.  Paula slamming Randy! and Jackie jumps in.  Paula’s backhanded comment “you are a good performer”.  Simon, thinks it  was clownish.

Ryan asks her parents if they are proud?  Jackie has no regrets.

And now Ryan, talks to Ricky Braddy about his career in the chicken business.  Ricky is going to sing Leon Russell’s ”A Song for You”.  This is one of my favorite songs of all time.  He gives a bit of a R&B feel.  This is pretty good, with good falsetto.

Randy thinks it was unbelievable, in a good way.  Kara thinks he killed it.  Paula is proud. And Simon, thinks it is good but not great,  Simon does not think he has star quality.

I disagree with Simon.  I think he is a darkhorse.  Mom and dad are part of the “Braddy Bunch”.

All of the performances are on Itunes

Alexis Grace is singing Aretha Franklin?,  I Never Loved A Man. This is an interesting interpretation but the song is too big for her.  She’s a favorite but I don’t know.

Randy’s laughing, he loves of it.  Kara thinks she has come out of her shell and she loves it.  Paula thinks she presented a lot of soul, she thinks Alexis is fantastic.  Simon thinks she is the best so far, by a mile.  He thinks she has soul.  Simon compared her to Kelly Clarkson.

Alexis’s dad is sportin some awesome locks.

Okay a little production glitch throws Brent Keith’s introduction into chaos.  He struggles to make ends meet working in a home repair center.  He is singing “Hick Town” by Jason Aldean, a country rocker.  I don’t know much about modern country and I do not know this song.  He sings it well, but the song is not my taste.

Randy likes his “new edge to country with an old country swagger”.  Kara thinks he played it safe and he has more in him.  She wants him to take more risks.  Paula agrees.  They all see him as a country star.  Does Simon need to slam Bucky Covington?  Simon thinks he blew a massive opportunity by being forgettable.

Ryan asks, wife Nicole, if there is a point that they will give up the dream and she says they are in it for the long haul.  Brent disagrees with Simon because he is trying to show who he is as a recording artist.

And we are back, with Stevie Wright, the 17 year old from Cali.  Simon does not like her.  She is singing “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift.  Rough start and she seems off key.  I like her, but not the performance.  I think she will going to her prom this year.

Randy “wow, wow, wow, you are a better singer than that”.  Kara thinks she has an identity crisis and Paula sounds sad to give her the bad news.  When Paula says I am sorry you are in trouble.  Simon says she has zero chance of making it through.

It is now time for Anoopdog!  He is a favorite.  Anoop Desai is singing “Angel of Mine” by Monica.  A slow ballad.  His performance is smooth and strong but it is not as powerful as his Hollywood performances.

And the judges say…

Randy did not like the song choice and doesn’t think he found his place in the song and Kara agrees.  Paula thinks America has connected with Anoop.  Simon wants to know why he chose that song.  Simon thinks it was too serious for him and now Anoop argues with him.  All the judges like him, even if he does not get through tonight he will have a good chance in the “wild card” round.

Wow, the production is horrible tonight.

Time for Casey Carlson to sing “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by the Police.  She is singing it as a country ballad? and she has lost the pitch.  Her little shoulder shake and grin is not helping her.  She lost herself early and never recovered.

So Randy says “wow, yo, ooh, that was not good”.  The dog was lost.  Kara thinks everything about it was wrong.  Paula is talking about her beauty but that she never connected with the song.  Close your eyes, here comes Simon.  He thinks it was just atrocious.  He thinks she should not have been allowed to sing that song.  Simon thinks she blew it.

Up next is one of our featured music American Idol contestant, worship leader Michael Sarver.  He is a 27 year old roughneck from Jasper, Texas.

Michael is singing “I Don’t Wanna” Be by Gavin DeGraw.  This is a bit of a rocker and I am not sure it works for Michael. I see him as more of a soul singer. He has good television presence but I am not sure it was as great as I had hoped for.

Randy thinks it was okay, but he thought the song was not well performed.  He sees Michael as more of a soul singer.  Kara does not think it was his best performance.  Paula thinks he showed a different side.  Simon thinks he has progressed because he is a good guy, but the performance was not great.  Simon hopes America gives him another shot.

Ann Marie Boskovich is holding her ears so she does not hear the judges critique of Michael.  She is singing “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin and she is putting her own twist on it.  She is not Aretha but she is throwing it down.  A little pitchy but a strong performance.  It was a little above her but I liked it.

We know Randy does not like it without saying it.  He does not think she made the right choice.  Kara thinks the song was too big and old fashioned.   Paula thinks she improved from Hollywood.  Simon is being honest when he tells her it is like a hotel singer and that the song slayed her.

Stephen Fowler is next, he is the guy who forgot his words and walked off stage in Hollywood.  I cannot believe he made it to this point.  He is singing “Rock With You” by Michael Jackson.  A slow start and his vocals are a little off throughout.  I don’t think that was very good.  I expected more from him.

Once again the judges hate the song choice.  Randy hated the performance.  Kara does not feel he connected with the song.  He admitted he is not comfortable singing without the piano.  Paula slams him.  She is disappointed.  Simon wishes he had forgotten the lyrics.  He thinks it was corny.

And, back from the commercial, we have the most dramatic contestant I have ever seen, Tatiana Del Toro.   The lady with the laugh is singing “Saving All My Loving” by Whitney Houston.  You have to hand it to her she has a powerful voice.  A few little pitch problems but pretty darn good.

Randy says “you had some moments’.  He doesn’t think she pulled it all together.  Kara doesn’t know who she is. Tatiana looks like she is about to break down.  Paula agrees with the other judges.  Simon calls her a drama queen. Simon thinks it was better than he expected.

This was a very different, demure Tatiana.  Ryan wants to know who is the real Tatiana.  She says it is all her.

So the show will close with one of our featured Christian music artists, Danny Gokey.  Don’t you think he looks like Robert Downey Jr?  Danny is a worship leader from Wisconsin.  He has gotten a lot of air time through the auditions and Hollywood.  He is one of the early favorites.  Let’s see if he does better than Anoopdog.

Danny is singing “Hero” by Mariah Carey, uh oh. Oh yes, he has it going.  Chills just went up my back and tears are in my eyes.  Danny, Danny, Danny great job.  For me, easily the best of the night.

The judges are howling, standing.  Randy,”The redeemer of the night, that was blazing hot”.  Kara, “that was incredible you give us hope”.  “That was incredible”.  Paula, “that was stellar” and “sold-out arenas”.  Simon, “back to the real world, that was okay but I am not buying into all the hype, yet.”

So that is it for tonight.  By the time you get to work in the morning I will have a wrap-up with some predictions.

Vote for Danny and Michael.

American Idol Goes Live on One21music

Tuesday night is the night. American Idol Season 8 goes live on Fox and on One21music!

Two of the eight contestants we have identified as Christian music artists, Danny Gokey and Michael Sarver, are competing on Tuesday night against ten others in the first round of live competition. We will be live blogging it all.

Let me explain how American Idol Season 8 works. The Top 36 will compete in groups of 12 over each of the next three Tuesdays. The top three vote getters on each Tuesday will move on. On Thursday, March 5th, American Idol will present a special “Wild Card” episode featuring the judges’ favorite remaining contestants. After each of the contestants performs, the judges will select the three final contestants. If you were doing the math as we went along, that would bring us to the top 12 finalists.

At One21music we are covering Christian music artists who are competing on American Idol’s Season 8.

Tuesday night our live blog will feature Danny Gokey and Michael Sarver.

Danny is a worship leader from Wisconsin who has gotten a lot of air time. His musical experience leading two different worship services every Sunday, a good voice and a flair for song arrangment make him one of the early American Idol favorites.

Michael is a Texas oilfield worker who has surprised the judges every step of the way. He leads worship in his church in Jasper, Texas and has received substantial coverage from the Southeast Texas press. Last week the judges forced him into a “sing-off” against another contestant for the last spot on the live telecast. They both went through. The press coverage from Southeast Texas, including Houston, could help him in this first round.

Danny and Michael face some tough competition. Anoop Desai is a terrific singer who has received much love from the judges. Stephen Fowler is a seasoned musician who can really sing as well. Alexis Grace and Ann Marie Boskovich are great singers who have also received a lot of judge love. Jackie Tohn is a performer who stands out in the crowd.

Oh, by the way, it is not exactly the top three who go through. It is the top male, the top female and the next top vote getter. This should be a stressful show with some shockers.

Here are the Christian music artists competing on Tuesday:

Danny Gokey
28 years old
Milwaukee, WI


Michael Sarver
27 years old
Jasper, TX


Here are the other contestants competing on Tuesday night:

  • Alexis Grace, 21, Memphis, TN
  • Ann Marie Boskovich, 22, Nashville, TN
  • Anoop Desai, 21, Chapel Hill, NC
  • Brent Keith, 28, Blanchester, OH
  • Casey Carlson, 20, Minneapolis, MN
  • Jackie Tohn, 27, Silver Lake, CA
  • Ricky Braddy, 26, Nashville, TN
  • Stephen Fowler, 26, Beachwood, OH
  • Stevie Wright, 16, Phelan, CA
  • Tatiana Nicole Del Toro, 24, San Juan, PR

Best wishes to all.  Join us as we begin live blogging Season 8 of American Idol