New Releases For March 2nd, 2010

danny gokey my best days
My Best Days
Danny Gokey

RCA Records
Buy NOW:

dear lovely jerusalm
Dear Lovely

Moonlight Records

Jeremy Riddle Jeremy Riddle Live Prepare The Way
Live: Prepare The Way
Jeremy Riddle

Word Entertainment
Buy NOW:

lenny leblanc love like no other
Love Like No Other
Lenny LeBlanc

Buy NOW:

lifehouse smoke and mirrors
Smoke & Mirrors

Geffen Records
Pop Rock
Buy NOW:
iTunes (deluxe version)

meredith andrews as long as it takes
As Long As It Takes
Meredith Andrews

Word Entertainment
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pocket full of rocks more than noise
More Than Noise
Pocket Full Of Rocks

Myrrh Records
Contemporary Rock
Buy NOW:
Amazon MP3

point of grace no changin us
No Changin’ Us
Point Of Grace

Word Entertainment
Contemporary Country
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sanctus real pieces of a real heart
Pieces Of A Real Heart
Sanctus Real

Sparrow Records
Pop Rock
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satellites and sirens
Satellites & Sirens
Satellites & Sirens

Word Records
Pop Rock
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Amazon MP3

yancy rock n happy heart
Rock ‘N’ Happy Heart

Pure Blue Records
Pop Rock/Children’s
Buy NOW:
Amazon MP3

for more new releases, please check out our ALBUM RELEASE DATES page to stay up to date on all the new music coming out

AI9 Christian Hollywood Week Hopefuls

American Idol Season 9 Hollywood Week is upon us. Now the show gets good. Over the next two weeks we will find out who makes it into the Top 24. One21music focuses our American Idol coverage on Christian music artists trying to make their dreams come true by running the American Idol gauntlet. Last year we followed the triumphs of Kris Allen and Danny Gokey, the inspiring stories of Michael Sarver and Scott MacIntyre and the way too early ousters of Mishavonna Henson and Felica Barton.

American Idol Hollywood Week Season 9 should feature several Christian music artist favorites and we want to help you keep an eye out for them. We have already featured, Alex Nestor (who for some reason was never seen in the audtions), Ben Honeycut and Jermaine Sellers

But we continue to look and we have found seven more Christian music artists for you to follow through American Idol Season 9 Hollywood Week.  We believe that it is likely you will be able to vote for these Christian music artists in a few weeks:

Lacey Brown

Lacey BrownThe 24-year-old, who the show identified as a church event director from Amarillo, sang “Over the Rainbow” in Orlando, Fla., before the four judges unanimously voted her through to the next round. Lacey Brown is the daughter of David and Connie Brown, pastor and co-pastor of Victory Church in Amarillo. She shared that the first time she sang was in church for her parents anniversary party while she had hiccups, and went on to say that her relatives were as shocked as she was that she could sing

Lacey Brown made it into the Top 50 of American Idol Season 8.  She was cut in a chair scene with Meagan Joy.

Ashley Makailah Rodriguez

Ashley Makailah RodriguezAshley’s journey as an artist began at the age of four when she started ballet, jazz and tap lessons. Loving the art of performance, Ashley Makailah Rodriguez joined the drama club in high school, took piano, taught herself guitar and sang in the school’s chorus to hone her skills as an all-around performer. It was there at Chelsea High School that she was introduced to the City Music program at Berklee College of Music, which eventually awarded her a full four-year tuition scholarship.

During her four years at Berklee, Ashley Makailah Rodriguez not only worked to improve herself as a vocalist, but also majored in Music Business Management in order to fully immerse herself in the industry. As a performer, Ashley was offered many incredible opportunities, which included traveling internationally with the gospel group Overjoyed and singing at the Berklee Performance Center with artists such as Philip Bailey, Chaka Kahn, and Berklee alums Lalah Hathaway and Paula Cole.

Chris Golightly aka “Orphan”

Chris GolightlyChris Golightly performs under the name Orphan. He born in San Pedro, CA. and by the age of three he was placed in the social services system. Growing up without parents Chris Golightly struggled to find himself.  As a child it was very rough and Chris Golightly had to stand up on his own two feet.

Running away from foster homes etc… every five months made Chris Golightly come to realize he had stories to tell. Ever since he was six years old he was singing and performing. At the age of twelve Rich Mullins inspired him to started writing. Today, Chris Golightly attends Calvary Church in Santa Ana, CA and performs there regularly.

Vered “Didi” Benami

Vered BenamiVered Benami lists her influences as “First and foremost God.”  When you listen to her original music her faith is clearly apparent, as in the chorus of her song “Lullaby”- “He wants to comfort you. He wants to save you.”  Ever since she was old enough to speak Vered Benami was inspired, energized, and fascinated with the groove of life in ever-changing motion. She immersed herself in all kinds of jazz, blues, southern rock, folk, country, R&B and pop music. Throughout her life she has harmonized, danced, and written to any music that moves her.

Vered Benami attended Belmont University where she met her biggest inspiration, Rebecca Joy Lear. Rebecca was a singer/songwriter from Wichita, Kansas who began to help Vered capture and sharpen her ability to sing, and combine vocalizing expression with writing music.  Not too long after these two met they became close friends and decided to stick it out at school, (even though all they were really passionate about was writing and performing music) Rebecca’s Journey was cut short by an automobile accident in December 2005.  This was an eye opening experience for Verdad Benami, and made her realize that life is too short to waste not doing what you love.

Michelle Delamor

Michelle DelamorMichelle Delamor dreams of conquering two worlds: music and fashion. In a Miami Herald article, she said of the two passions: “The moment you step on stage, the transformation is amazing. You can go from crazy nerves to becoming the music. I want to be huge, I want to tour around the world, sing for millions and millions of people. But another dream of mine is to have my own clothing line. My style is funky-glamorous.”

Michelle Delamor is a 20 year-old a music major at Miami Dade College-Wolfson. Michelle credits Michael Jackson, Lauryn Hill, Pink and Mary J. Blige as being some of her biggest musical influences. She also has a strong gospel background and is a soloist in Miami’s Unity on the Bay church choir.

Michael Lynche

Michael LyncheLike many great artists in the R&B tradition, Michael Lynche was first exposed to music through the church. Both of his parents were pastors and the Lynche Family or “Lynche Mob” (as they were known) was well known for its energetic act, which featured a young Michael performing gospel.

Michael Lynche excelled in high school, earning a full academic and athletic scholarship to the University of Central Florida, where he played NCAA Division I football as a defensive lineman. Michael was sure football was his ticket out of the poverty of his youth, but while in college, his beloved mother fell ill with cancer and Michael saw it as his duty to go home. As he recalls, “My love for football was enormous, but when my mom got sick, I started really rethinking about my journey in life and I got to thinking that this was all happening for a reason.”

After the passing of his mother, Michael Lynche stepped back to where he started – with his love of music and specifically, the guitar. He recounts, “When I was a kid I picked up the guitar that was stashed in the back of my mom’s closet and learned to play it. I loved the sound of blues guitar. When she died, one of the first things I did was get a new guitar and start writing. At first, I was just writing music for the church. Then it became a singer songwriter thing. But nothing was groundbreaking.”

Moving to New York in 2006 to pursue his dream, Michael Lynche then hooked up with hip-hop producer Ming (of Ming & FS). Ming started adding beats to the more traditional singer/songwriter and soul songs that Michael was writing, and for Michael, it was like lightning struck. He exclaims, “I’m a soul singer at heart and a story teller, but I realized through Ming that it was the beats that make the songs fun. I was thinking about what kind of music that would be and one day I came up with a new genre name: ‘Dirty Blues,’ where gritty southern soul meets dirty south hip-hop.”

So watch for these Christian music artists starting next week in American Idol Season 9 Hollywood Week and don’t forget to follow American Idol Season 9 on when we start live blogging when the show goes live on February 23rd.

In the meantime help us find more Christian music artists competing on American Idol Season 9.  Here is a list of some Hollywood Week participants we are researching.  If you know anything about these artists’ faith background, please share.

Aaron Kelly
Haeley Vaughn
Tyler Grady
Alex lambert
Paige Miles
Casey James
Katy Stevens
Andrew Garcia
Katelyn Epperly
David Duke
Jose Munoz

Next week we review the first two shows of American Idol Season 9 and start predicting the Top 24.

American Idol Season 9- A New Christian Artist To Watch

We are four auditions in to American Idol Season 9 and we are finding some contenders who are Christian music artists.  We cover the American Idol from a Christian perspective.  We highlight and follow Christian music artist performing on American Idol.  Check out our American Idol Season 8 archives where we were an early champion of Kris Allen and season long fans of Danny Gokey and Matt Giraud.

So far, the American Idol Season 9 auditions have been your usual string of greatness, intermingled with catastrophes.  However, some exciting Christian artists are starting to emerge.  Last week highlighted amazing soul artist Alex Nestor.  Today we will show you a Christian artist from the Atlanta auditions, Ben Honeycutt .  In order to find all of  the Christians competing on American Idol Season 9 we need your help.  Please help us find the believers who are competing in Hollywood and send us as much background as you can find on them.  Here are a few artists we are researching:

Aaron Kelly
Alexander “Alex” Lambert
Andrew Garcia
Ashley (Makailah) Rodriguez
Casey James
Christopher “Chris” Golightly
Crystal Bowersox
David Duke
Haeley Vaughn
Janell Wheeler
Jermaine Sellers
John Park
Katelyn Epperly
Katie Stevens
Lacey Brown
Michael Lynche
Michelle Delamor
Tyler Grady
Vered Didi Benami

Now to American Idol Season 9 Contender, Christian music artist Ben Honeycutt

Benjamin “Ben” Honeycutt, songwriter and former front man for the Christian metal group Candlefuse, is now the Ben Honeycutworship leader for The Church @ Catoosa in Ringold, Georgia.  He lives in Fort Ogelthorpe, GA with is wife Ashley. Candlefuse was an openly Christian band with a mission statement that started: “With purpose, poetry, and passion, we choose to follow Jesus Christ  and the ministry example He set…”. Candlefuse‘s two releases, Never Go Unheard Candlefuse - Never Go Unheard and Talking to The Wind Candlefuse - Talking to the Wind - EP, feature Ben Honeycutt on lead vocals.  On Never Go Unheard, Candlefuse covers the worship fave “Hungry”.  They take that atmospheric worship song and give it a strong metal twist, pretty cool.  Candlefuse broke up in November 2008 and Ben Honeycutt has been leading worship ever since. In his “golden ticket” interview Ben Honeycutt cites the break-up of Candlefuse as a driver for him to audition for American Idol Season 9.

Hear he is solo, singing “Pride (In The Name of Love)”

We did not see much of him in the Atlanta auditions but look out for Benjamin “Ben” Honeycutt in Hollywood.

American Idol Season 9 Is Back on One21

We are back! will cover American Idol’s Season 9.  However, as we did in Season 8, we will take a little different slant.  We will identify and focus on American Idol contestants of faith.  We are in the throws of the auditions and as usual there were train wrecks and revelations. While American Idol’s Hollywood theater of torture airs in a few weeks  we will research the candidates to find those who profess their faith in Christ and then we will follow their progress, with you, throughout  Season 9.

We have already found one terrific Christian performer that you need to look for in the audtions.  See below.

Here is how One21music will cover American Idol Season 9

Once the show goes live on February 23rd, we will live blog every performance show.  We will provide reviews of the show, previews of the coming shows, power rankings and song predictions.  We will also provide breaking news on the Christian artists performing.  Between now and February 23rd we will start posting profiles of Christian performers we believe will make it to the Top 24.

We do need your help.  We have already started researching the contestants.  If you know of any Christians who are competing in Hollywood, let us know.

Why does One21music cover American Idol Season 9

American Idol is a decidely secular endeavor.  On the surface, Idol stifles creativity and undervalues sensitivity, two qualities of the great music we try to promote at One21music.

So why would One21music jump into covering the plastic, secular process we will see in American Idol’s Season 9?  Is there anything less underground, less Post Modern, less organically Christian than American Idol?  There are really three reasons Idol matters to us at One21music and why maybe you should give it a chance:

  • American Idol is a fascinating view into the process of developing music stars.
  • American Idol is television the entire family can enjoy together.
  • There have been a number of Idol contestants who are Christian music artists, including two of the top 3 from last year’s show, Danny Gokey and winner, Kris Allen.

We live in Austin, Texas; a city teeming with talented musicians.  Many of these music artists appear to be much more talented than most pop music faves such as Britney Spears,  J-Lo or Kenny Chesney.  If superior talent is not enough, then what does it take for America to embrace your music?  I think American Idol offers some insight into that process.   American Idol is not about who gets to sing that horrible song to close the season.  Idol is about watching these talented musicians endure, mature and grow through the Idol’s condensed process for grooming a music pop star.  Okay, dog?

Which brings us to American Idol Season 9 and One21music.  We intend to highlight the Christian music artists competing and we need your help.  Fox and 19 Entertainment do not provide much information about the contestants going to Hollywood and we expect their biographical data for the 24 finalists to be sketchy regarding their faith.  Next Friday we will post a list of those we think are the favorites to make it to the live show.  Check back in and tell us if you know any of them.

Bonus Coverage! Terrific Christian Performer, Alex Nestor, on American Idol Season 9

We don’t know if Alex Nestor will make it past Hollywood, but you must keep your eye out for her in the Audition show. She did not surface in Boston or Atlanta and we suspect she will audition on the West Coast. She is a young cancer survivor so we think American Idol will feature her. Alex openly professes her faith on her myspace page.

What a talent! Her mixture of old school soul and contemporary R&B is a thrill. Check her out:

Go over to iTunes and buy her debut cd Rattle The Walls. I did and have been listening to it all day.
Alex Nester

American Idol Season 8- Crown The American Idol

Tonight is the night and we are live blogging the American Idol Season 8 Finale..  The votes are in and we find out if Kris Allen or Adam Lambert is the Season 8 American Idol.  Last night’s performance show proved nothing and everything (see our Top 2 Performance Review).  Adam Lambert had more good performances and Kris Allen’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” was the best of the night.  According to dialidol, the voting is a virtual dead heat, the closest final vote since dialidol started tracking votes.

Rod Stewart, Steve Martin,, Queen Latifah, Black Eyed Peas, Carlos Santanta and Jason Mraz are rumored to perform .

According to MJ, Idol duets will feature Allison Iraheta with Cyndi Lauper, Kris Allen with Keith Urban, Danny Gokey with Lionel Richie..  There is a rumor that Adam Lambert will perform with Kiss.

David Cook is set to perform “Permanent” as a tribute to his late brother Adam.  The single will be released right after after the finale. The proceeds will fund David’s cancer charity.

It will be a long night, let’s hope it is fun.  We are here until the end.

We start the night with both Kris and Adam in all white. Are they doing a duet or do they have a pact?   Many celebrities in the house and I don’t recognize many of them. Just under 100 million votes last night.  It was a record setting 624 million votes this year.

Randy looks extra goofy tonight with a red velvet bow tie.  They are doing a collage of each of the judges.  Randy says “for you/for me”.  Kara uses “sweety/honey”.  Paula has huge vocabulary of words we don’t know.  Simon doesn’t pay attention so we have a train of “what?”

We can’t here the interviews of Kris and Adam because their mikes don’t work so we go to the watch parties in Conway and San Diego.

We kick off the might with a Top 13 performance of Pink’s “So What”. The group seems very loose tonight and they having fun.  That wasn’t bad, except when Adam Lambert lost Scott MacIntyre in the middle of the stage.

David Cook is singing a tribute to his brother “Permanent”.  Bathed in green and white light, with a black armband, David Cook delivers a moving tribute to his brother.  This will be available later tonight on iTunes.  See our icon below.  It will benefit David Cook’s cancer foundation ABC2.

Now we pay tribute for the making fun of bad audition awards.  No point in writing about this.  Except they put Norman Gentle in this category.  Of course, Norman Gentle wins.  Encore, encore!  Yes, he is singing THIS IS AWESOME.

Lil rounds is doing a duet with Queen Latifah.  Lil Rounds looks like a child next to Queen Latifah.   I think the song is “Que The Rain”?  Big, fun, funky, R&B number with dancers and Lil Rounds is singing pretty well.  It is the most relaxed we have seen Lil Rounds.

Anoop Desai and Alexis Grace are singing “I’m Yours” with Jason Mraz.  Here come the rest of the American Idol Season 8 Top 13 to act as back-up singers.

We now see Kris Allen’s journey from his Churchill Downs audition to the Top 2.  It looks like he is goinf to fulfill his dream of playing to huge crowds in big stadiums.  Kris Allen is singing “Kiss A Girl” with Keith Urban.  This is perfect song for Kris and he seems very happy.  Urban is ripping off a guitar solo, he is considered one of the best guitar players in country music.

The girls of the Top 13 are doing their Pussycat Dolls impression singing “Glamorous” and Fergie joins them.  She can’t sing very well and then the Black Eyed Peas take the stage.  I can’t keep up and we lost the feed for a second.  This song is “Boom Boom Pow”.  This is more visual than musical.

Another Golden Idol moment.  Bikini Girl is a nominee.  Of course she wins and accepts the award in a bikini.  She sings Vision of lOve and Kara comes out and joins her and takes over the song.  This is fun and funny.

Time for Allison Iraheta to sing with Cindy Lauper.  Allison has a better vocie than Cindy Lauper.  Sitting around a group of acoustic instruments, this is a quiet but spirited cover of “Time After Time”.  Very cool vocal interaction between the two.  Cindy doesn’t hold back, does she?  That was the best of the night.

Danny Gokey takes the stage singing Lionel Richie’s “Hello” and then Lionel richie joins him to sing some song I have never heard.  Good singing but not my cup of tea.  They break inot the calypso beat of “All Night Long” and Danny gets to let loose his vocals.  That was fun.

We now follow Adam’s journey from his audition in San Francisco.  In Hollywood he promised to surprise.  He did that didn’t he?  Here is in some leather outfit with cagey thingies on his shoulders.  He is singing “Beth” so tonight he is a part of Kiss.  This will be the best vocals they have ever had on ther songs.  Full Kiss treament with smoke and explosions singing a medley of Kiss hits.   Adam fits with Kiss.  if you consider Kiss a legitamite rock band then Adam is a rocker.  I am having fun tonight.

The best moment of the night so far is the Cindy Lauper/Allison Iraheta duet.  True rock artistry.  Download that performance.

Carlos Santana is starting a 2 year run at the Hard Rock in Vegas, but tonight he is playing “Black Magic Woman”.  I love this guy.  Matt Giraud is singing the song with Santana.  The rest of the Top 13 join him for “Hold On”.  Jorge is loving this.

David Cooke give Adam and Kris a car.

Meagan and Michael sing with Steve Martin, playing his banjo.  There is a full bluegrass band backing them.  Listne to Meagan singing the back country.  She sounds really good.  Michael carries the song and Meagan was rich.

The Top 13 guys are busting out Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya think I’am Sexy” so Rod can’t be far behind.  Matt Giraud is really good.  He stands out in this crowd.  Here comes Rod and they are singing his best song ever “Maggie May”.  It is odd to hear a 60 year old man sining about his cougar girlfriend.  Rod seems as old as he is. This would have been better as a group song.

One more Golden Idol.  Outstanding female and this has to be Tatiana.  Of course it is.   The, “I won’t stop singing” skit is not that funny.

Before we get to the results they will sing “We Are The Champions” together, with Queen and a big choir and the Top 13.  Kris really held his own in this song.

CAN WE PLEASE GET SOME RESULTS? No, we get commercials.

Okay so here we go.  Simon says both were both brilliant and he thinks both should both be proud of their journey.  A new world record with almost 100 million votes.  Christian music artist Kris Allen comes from nowhere to win Americam Idol Season 8.  Kris is flabbergasted.

Kris won this with heart and sensitivity.

A very good show tonight.  Download tonight’s performances and all of this season’s best on iTunes.

Apple iTunes

American Idol Season 8- The Year In Review

It would be a short article if we did an American Idol Season 8 Top 2 Power Ranking, so I thought we could take a look back at the Season 8.  The top story of the year is the very visual presence of Christian music artists in American Idol Season 8, followed by the emergence of Christian music artist, star Kris Allen.  I will also share a couple of my favorite moments.  We will finish the article with the Top 15 Performances of American Idol Season 8.

Christian Music Artists on American Idol Season 8

Season 8 enjoyed the largest, most visible group of Christian music artists in the history of American Idol. There was much attention in the press about their participation in American Idol and Christian music artists experienced unprecedented success with two of the Top 3, three of the Top 5 and four of the Top 7.   See our mid-season update in American Idol Season 8- The Christians. Here are the Christian music artists, in order of finish, who competed on live television of American Idol Season 8:

  • Kris Allen (he is gonna win)
  • Danny Gokey (3rd)
  • Matt Giraud (5th)
  • Lil Rounds (6th)
  • Scott MacIntyre (8th)
  • Michael Sarver (10th)
  • Ricky Braddy (semi’s)
  • Felicia Barton (semi’s)
  • Mishavonna Henson (semi’s)
  • Kristen McNamara (semi’s)

American Idols Season 8- Favorite Moments

Norman Gentle

A two stories stood out for me this season. The first was the the surge of Norman Gentle (played by Nick Western) into the Top 36. He was an unlikely candidate to move this far, because his campy, over the top performances seemed to mock American Idoland few competitors achieve success with that strategy. However, Western was so unrelenting in his commitment to the Norman Gentle character that he could not be denied. Here is his audition

The best part was that he neverrelented. WithSimon trying to run him off the show, he continued into Hollywood Week with crazier performances and in his brief stint on live television he called Simon “sassy pants”. Classic.

Michael Sarver’s Back-story

There were some very compelling back-stories on American Idol Season 8, but Michael Sarver’s transcended all. We heard about his dream to sing his way out of one of the most dangerous jobs in America, oilfield widcatter. What most of America did not see was the impact he was having on his hometown of Jasper, Texas. For 10 years Jasper had been the national symbol for bigotry and racial hatred because of the horrible murder of James Byrd Jr. Michael Sarver’s success on American Idol Season 8created a rallying point for the citizens of Jasper, Tx and Michael took on that responsibility and is using his new fame to try to bring healing. See our article American Idol Season 8- Michael Sarver.. Here is a funny clip of one of Michael’s post Idol promotional activities. He is in a TV studio in a mall in Beaumont, Texas, there is a crowed watching them.

Top 15 Performance of American Idol Season 8

I guess if you receive virtually no coverage during the auditions or Hollywood Week you really need to bring it when you get your chance. Kris Allen and Allison Iraheta did just that during American Idol Season 8. Kris Allen snuck into the Top 12 with the 3rd place spot in Round 2 of the Top 36.   Kris proceeded to deliver 4 of the Top 6 performances of the Season 8.  Each performance was fearless, with unfathomable arrangements, cool soulful vocals and a compelling ,if understated, stage presence. Allison Iraheta, on the other hand, used a huge, mature, powerful, bluesy voice to establish herself from the start then continually surprise everyone with her roof raising vocals and creative arrangements. Danny Gokey is well represented with four songs in Top 15.  The two performances that should be in the American Idol Season 8 Top 15 , but aren’t, are Adam Lambert’s “Tracks of My Tears” and Danny Gokey’s “Stand By Me”.

  • Kris Allen-”Heartless” (May 12-Top 3)
  • Kris Allen- “Ain’t No Sunshine” (March 31-Top 9, iTune Top 100)
  • Danny Gokey- “You Are So Beautiful” (May 12- Top3)
  • Adam Lambert-”Mad World” (April 7- Top 8, Year of Birth Songs)
  • Kris Allen- “She Works Hard For The Money” (April 21- Top 7 II- Disco Songs)
  • Kris Allen-”Falling Slowly” (April 14-Top 7- Movie Songs)
  • Allison Iraheta- “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” (March 24-Top 10, Songs of Motown)
  • Danny Gokey-”Come Rain or Shine” (April 28- Top 5, Rat Pack Songs)
  • Allison Iraheta- “Hot Stuff “(April 21-Top 7 II- Disco Night)
  • Danny Gokey-”Hero” (February 17th-Top 36 Round 1)
  • Adam Lambert- “Feeling Good” (April 28-Top 5, Rat Pack Songs)
  • Allison Iraheta-”Alone” (February 25th-Top 36 Round 2)
  • Danny Gokey- “Stand By Me” (April 7-Top 8, Year of Birth Songs)
  • Matt Giraud-”Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman” (April 15-Top 7 Save, Movie Songs)
  • Lil Rounds- “The Way You Make Me Feel” (March 10-Top 13, Michael Jackson Songs)
  • Download these songs or make you own best of American Idol Season 8 mix from iTunes

    Apple iTunes

    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 Results Live Blog

    Who’s it gonna be?  American Idol Season 8 is too close to call.  Most people expect Kris Allen to go home and are outraged.   Kris’s reimagining of  Kanye West’s “Heartless” caused rapturous responses from American Idol reviewers, me inlcuded (see Top 3 Performance Review).  Danny Gokey showed off his great singing voice, like no other time on American Idol Season 8. Adam Lambert ruined “One” and strolled through “Crazy” to the judges unexplainable gushing and vote schilling.

    Tonight Jordin Sparks performs her new single (yeah!) and Katy Perry show up (ugh!).  Before we find out who makes it to the American Idol Season 8 Top 2 we will slug through a Ford video, a group song and videos of Danny Gokey, Kris Allen and Adam Lambert basking in their rightfully earned hometown adulation.  Oh yeah,Ryan will announce about four times that you can download all of this year’s performances and studio recordings on iTunes. So just do it now and you can gloss over those parts.

    Apple iTunes

    Did the Christian nation turn out to push a Kris/Danny finale?   Did Simon Cowell’s “Lambert Nation” save their guy?  How many of the judges will leave on stretchers if Adam is voted off? Will Simon demand an immediate modification to his contract enabling him to save Adam and sacrifice Kris?  Will Simon have Bono show up to push for Adam next week?  Will Kara punch Simon tonight?  Will they separate the judges tonight until they can prove they will behave and allow the show to be about the American Idol performers?  Let’s see.

    Ben Stiller opens the show with a promo for his new movie “Night At The Museum: Battle at The Smithsonian”, just like last year when Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr and Gladys Knight did their take “Midnight Train to Georgia”.  Fergie is here but where is Paula?

    There were 88 million votes last night and less than 1 million separated the Top 2.  I will be ignoring the Ford video.

    Alicia Keys is here.  Well not here, she is on the American Idol stage to ask for donations to help children impacted by AIDS.  text the word ALIVE to 90999 and donate $5.  A Rawandan teen Noah is performing a song to promote Idol Gives Back.  Donate people, it is a Latte.

    Oh yeah, Paula showed up.

    Now we head to San Diego, Milwaukee and Conway.  I enjoy these videos, call me a sap.  First, Ryan calls Danny Gokey onto the stage.  We get a Jamar sighting and screaming girls.  Lots of screaming girls. Milwaukee loves them some Danny Gokey.

    Kris Allen comes out next so I guess we are headed to Arkansas and we will visit his favorite restaurant Stobies and he gets free cheese dip for life.  See, there are benefits from American Idol.  There are a lot of people coming to see Kris, a lot of people.  Dad and son shared a cry.  Oh yeah, there were many screaming girls.

    Jordin Sparks is performing her new single “Battlefield”.  I haven’t heard it but I didn’t like much from her first CD.  This is a One Republic penned song. American Idol likes those guys. Jordin has grown up.  This voice sounds like “Apologize” so far her career is wasting her voice.  It is okay and Jordin is pretty edgy.  I like the second half better than the first.  Why are they turning American Idol’s sweetheart into scary diva?

    Adam Lambert time takes us to San Diego. Why did he fly from L.A. to San Diego?  It is a 90 minute drive.  Adam applies eyeliner to the weather lady and signs autographs.  There are many screaming girls in San Diego too.   Yes, they showed footage of the streaking stage jumper.

    What do you bet that we listen to Katy Perry before we hear the results? Fifteen minutes until we find out.  Are you nervous?  Katy is singing “Waking Up In Vegas”.  Forget all the controversy surronding Katy Perry, I don’t like her very much.

    It is time, who are our Top 2?  Who is going home? Kris Allen has made it to the Top 2.  He will win next week.  It is down to Danny and Adam.  Adam lambert is in the Top 2.  Danny Gokey goes home.

    Great job on Season 8, Danny Gokey.

    If there are only 1 milllion votes separating Kris and Adam, Kris Allen will win American Idol Season 8.   He gets all of Danny’s votes.

    American Idol Season 8- Top 3 Performance Review

    It is funny as I read a few of the other American Idol blogs tonight.  Most of the other blogs hate Danny Gokey so nothing he did tonight was good.  I am not an Adam Lambert so I did not like much of what he brought to show tonight.  It seems we are all fully entrenched into our preferences by now.  I suspect the American Idol fans are in the same boat.  It would take a mind boggling performance to change voters minds tonight and I think we had one.  The question is: would it be enough and whose voters would be swayed?

    Kris Allen delivered arguably the most creative, fearless performance of the season.  Danny Gokey’s two super performances make him the overall winner for the evening.  Adam Lambert had his worst night of American Idol Season 8, despite the inexplicable fawning by the judges.

    It is clear that the judges want Adam Lambert to win American Idol Season 8; so much so that Simon was begging Adam Lambert’s fans to vote.  Their dismissive treatment of Kris Allen offended me.

    Performance Ratings

    1. Kris Allen: “Heartless” by Kanye West- When Kris said this to Ryan my jaw dropped.  This is the rap/autotune mess that Kanye West dropped on the world in 2008. Let me just summarize my opinion of this performance by saying: crazy, mad, reckless, fearless, amazing, wonderful, fantastic.  His beautiful singing on this song was soulful and rhythmic.  We see these type of breakthrough arrangements occasionally, only to find that the American Idol performer borrowed the arrangement from someone else (David Cook from Chris Cornell and Adam Lambert from Muse).  Kris Allen did not copy this from anyone.  He turned a deep, stylized R&B/Rap song into a modern rock classic.
    2. Danny Gokey:”You Are So Beautiful” by Billy Preston- I was heartbroken when I heard Danny Gokey was doing this 70′s ballad made famous by Joe Cocker.  It so feeds into the worst stereotype of Danny Gokey and I was hoping for a more bold choice.  I will just shut-up now.  His arrangement, with a cool gospel/worship section in the middle was wonderful.  It made me hear this song as a worship song.  But we can forget all of that and focus on the singing, which was simply brilliant.  Everyone in America, is in the American Idol Season 8 Top 3 because really, really sing.  That was a tour de force in powerful, emotional, expressive singing.
    3. Danny Gokey: “Dance Little Sister” by Terence Trent D’Arby- I was a big TTD fan and I cannot think of afunky singer better suited to Danny Gokey’s voice.  Good choice Paula!  He unleashed his big, growling, soulful voice on this funky, uptempo R&B song.  I liked the scatting in the middle of the song, I thought that added a nice jazzy touch to make this more than a straight forward pop song.
    4. Kris Allen: “Apologize” by One Republic-  Kris Allen played the big piano for the first time on American Idol Season 8 and we heard his falsetto for the first time as well.  He sang the song beautifully and added some nice soul phrasing.  Overall, I was pleased with the singing but let down by the bland arrangement.  If Kris Allen could have done to “Apologize” what he did to “Heartless” he would have won American Idol Season 8 tonight.
    5. Adam Lambert: “Crazy” by Aerosmith-  I know that some will accuse me of bias toward Adam Lambert but, come on this was his most pedestrian performance on American Idol Season 8.  He walked through the arrangement with few variations, he copied Steven Tyler’s vocal runs and the back-up singers drowned him out at times.  The worst thing for me was his smiling, winking, head nodding performance of a song about the agony a lover is causing you.  As with many of his songs, my question is, how can you memorize the lyrics but not understand them?
    6. Adam Lambert: “One”" by U2- Horrifying.  I sat their watching the flat-screen with my jaw hanging open.  I hated the arrangement, I hated the over-singing and I hated the manic performance.  This is an important song that should be sang with longing and questioning and confusion; not with wide-eyed ranting.  This was so bad that my wife and I started debating that she new the song (she has heard it hundreds of times in my car), so I played it for her during the commercial.  Her reaction (with confusion and disgust) “that was what he was singing?”  Did they say that Simon spent the weekend with Adam working on the arrangement?  Who does American Idol want to see win Season 8?

    Who Is Going Home

    According to the judges, Kris Allen come into the night with little chance to advance, but he pulled off another in a series of brilliant show stopping performances.  Danny Gokey has never been in the Bottom 2 and he had his best night of American Idol Season 8. The show’s pre-ordained winner, Adam Lambert, was predictable but below par tonight.

    If I went with my head I would say that Kris Allen is going home tonight, but I cannot say he will leave after that performance of “Heartless”.

    I am going with my opinion of tonight’s performances and saying Adam Lambert goes home tonight and the Danny Gokey and Kris Allen will be the final two on American Idol Season 8.

    Be sure to grab all of your favorite American Idol Season 8 performances 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