One21 Live Blogs American Idol Season 9

American Idol Season 9launched into full gear this week with Hollywood Week.  We saw some incredible individaul performances by Christian music artists Michael Lynche and Didi Benami on Tuesday night.

We saw real American Idol Season 9 drama on Wednesday night when we experienced Group night performances.  We also saw some more great performances by Christian music artists Michael Lynche, Didi Benami, Ashley Rodriguez, Michelle Delamor and Jermaine Sellers. Unfortunately, we also lost one of our early favorite Christian music artists, Ben Honeycutt when he was eliminated after the group performance.  I did not see anything as good as last year’s group performances but the drama was not as intense either. Finally, I am a little frustrated that we have not seen one performance by my favorite Christian music artist of American Idol Season 9, Alex Nestor. She is an amazing artist who has alreadt made a record as good as any American Idol artist.

Everyone log in on Wednesday night as One21music live blogs the American Idol Season 9chair epsiode.  Let’s find out who is in the American Idol Season 9 Top 24 together.

We have not seen much of the performers this year so it is a little early to start picking favorites, but three performers have shined in Hollywood week so far.  Christian music artist Michael Lynchebrings an intimidating presence but an old school soul vibe.  Son of the gangbangers Andy Garcia has the Kris Allen ability to turn any song into a new revelation.  Katie Stevens, granddaughter of Portuguese grandmother with Alzheimer’s, is a wonderful singer who could bring the girls back inot power after the last two years.

We still need your help in finding all of the Christian music artists on American Idol Season 9. If you know anything about these artists’ faith background, please share.

Aaron Kelly
Haeley Vaughn
Janelle Wheeler
Alex lambert
Paige Miles
Casey James
Katy Stevens
Andrew Garcia
Jose Munoz

Don’t forget to join us on Wednesday night for the live blog of American Idol Season 9 chair episode.

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 One21music.com 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.

3 New Christians on American Idol- Watch Tonight

American Idol Season 8′s Hollywood Week resumes tonight.  We continue our quest to find Christian music artists among the contestants.  Last week we highlighted Danny Gokey.  Today we add three more contestants,  Matt Giraud, Kristen McNamara and Kris Allen, to that list of Christian musicians competing for Season 8′s title.  Watch tonight and cheer them on.

Matt Giraud, 23, is the dueling piano player and singer/songwriter from Kalamazoo, Michigan.  He grew up in Ypsilanti, MI where he played drums for his local church.  He and friend Gerry Mattei received minor success with his award in “DOWNBEAT” magazine for the song “First Impression”.   In 2006, Matt released a Christian R&B cd titled Mind, Body, Soul. CD Baby described it as.. “10 tracks that portray issues of the mind, music for the body, and a message for the soul.” The mp3 of the cd is available on CD Baby.  In 2003, he released his first Christian R&B cd titled “Perspective”.  This note was on CD Baby’s message board for that cd…

“My 12-year old nephew is now having peer pressure about what kind of music to listen to.  His parents are having a real struggle keeping him on the right path. When I heard Matt playing the piano in the hotel we began to talk.  He told me he is a Christian musician and played some of his songs for me.  I knew then I would buy a CD for my nephew.  Even if he doesn’t share it with his peers, the music with a message also has a hip beat he should enjoy.”    

Yep, Kris Allen, 23 is a singer/songwriter from Little Rock, Arkansas who is also a Business Major at the University of Central Arkansas.  Kris debuted his self released cd Brand New Shoes in 2007.  A self taught musician, Kris plays the guitar, piano, viola and ukulele.  Kris leads worship at New Life Church in Conway, AR and on campus with Chi Alpha Campus Ministries.  He has shared his musical gifts and his faith on mission trips to Spain, Morocco, Thailand, Burma, Mozambique and South Africa.

 

 Matt and Kris Allen were part of White Chocolate that performed the rapping, beatboxing version of “I Want You Back” during American Idol’s Season 8 Hollywood Week. 

The third new America Idol we discovered is Kristen Mcnamara, 23, a singer/songwriter who grew up on the top of a mountain in Northern California.  Kristen was the crying girl in Hollywood Week’s  Team Compromise.  She certainly displayed her willingness to turn the other cheek while being berated by the chick with red weave.  At 16, she landed a job singing for the San Francisco 49ers and San Francisco Giants and then, at 17, she moved to Branson, MO to sing and dance two shows daily six days a week.  A year later in 2004, she moved to Nashville, TN to pursue a serious music career. She was a previous Star Search and Nashville Star contestant.

 In 2006, Kristen created an organization called “L.A.U.G.H.” (Love. All. Unconditionally. Giving Hope.)  According to the website for L.A.U.G.H. ..”Kristen grew up going to Church every Sunday, learning God’s love. Kristen has spent endless time with veterans, children, homeless, and many others in need of something simple, happiness. Kristen has been a counselor teaching children about Jesus Christ since she was 13 years of age. Learning and understanding religion can scare people at times, so she wanted take her faith in God and love all people through him.”

So now there are four Christian artists  competing on Season 8 of American Idol.  Tonight, these Christian artists have their best chance so far to show their talent as they perform individually before the final judging.  Watch them tonight!

If you know any of these guys to be Christian artists, please let me know by commenting below with some background:

  • Alexis Grace
  • Alexander Wagner-Trugman
  • Allison Iraheta
  • Ann Marie Boskovich
  • Anoop Desai
  • Arianna Ayesha Afsar
  • Brent Keith
  • Casey Carlson
  • Danny Gokey
  • Jackie Tohn
  • Jasmine Murray
  • Jeanine Vailes
  • Jessica Langseth
  • Joanna Pacitti
  • Jorge Nunez
  • Junot Joyner
  • Kai Kalama
  • Kendall Beard
  • Kristen McNamara
  • Kris Allen
  • Lil Rounds
  • Matt Breitzke
  • Matt Giraud
  • Megan Corkrey
  • Mishavonna Henson
  • Rick Brady
  • Scott MacIntyre
  • Stephen Fowler
  • Stevie Wright
  • Taylor Vaifanua
  • Tatiana Del Toro
  • Von Smith

American Idol’s Christian Performers in Season 8

We have just finished the first half of American Idol’s Season 8 , Hollywood Week.  The group competition was uncomfortable at best.  I would much prefer more performance and less drama.

In our quest to cover American Idol’s Christian performers, we at One21music have been searching the web for contestants who openly profess their faith.  We have found one and we need your help identifying the others.

Danny Gokey,28, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin quickly emerged from the pack.  Danny is a member of Faith Builders International Ministry.  He was the praise and worship leader at Faith Builder churches in both Milwaukee and Beloit,WI at the same time.  Gokey would perform morning services in Beloit and drive to Milwaukee to lead the afternoon service, as well as doing mid-week services.

Danny’s most recent mission is Sophia’s Heart Foundation.  As we heard during Gokey’s American Idol audition, Danny’s wife recently died of a heart condition she had fought since childhood.  The foundation’s goal is to “help and mend the hearts of children who have been touched by poverty, sickness, disease, broken families and broken dreams”.

Last night Danny’s group performed a slamming, acapella version of Queen’s “Somebody To Love”.   I thought is was the best performance of the night.  Gokey is a strong singer with, deep musical experience.  The skills he developed as the worship leader at two churches, simultaneously, has already served him well in the rigors of American Idol’sHollywood Week.  As the competition continues and the pressure of song selection and arrangement intensify,  I think Danny Gokey will thrive.  He is my early favorite to win it all.

As much we like Danny Gokey, our goal at One21music is to be more than a Danny Gokey fan site.  We want to cover all the Christians competing on American Idol and we need your help.  We will continue to research our list.  If you know any of these potential finalists to be professing believers, please send some information on them in a comment:

  • Adam Lambert
  • Alexander Wagner-Trugman
  • Alexis Grace
  • Allison Iraheta
  • Ann Marie Boskovich
  • Anoop Desai
  • Arianna Ayesha Afsar
  • Brent Keith
  • Casey Carlson
  • Danny Gokey
  • Jackie Tohn
  • Jasmine Murray
  • Jeanine Vailes
  • Jessica Langseth
  • Joanna Pacitti
  • Jorge Nunez
  • Junot Joyner
  • Kai Kalama
  • Kendall Beard
  • Kristen McNamara
  • Kris Allen
  • Lil Rounds
  • Matt Breitzke
  • Matt Giraud
  • Megan Corkrey
  • Mishavonna Henson
  • Rick Brady
  • Scott MacIntyre
  • Stephen Fowler
  • Stevie Wright
  • Taylor Vaifanua
  • Tatiana Del Toro
  • Von Smith

American Idol Comes To The One 21

Yes,  we at One21music.com will cover American Idol’s Season 8.  However, we will take a little different slant.  We will identify and focus on American Idol contestants of faith.  While American Idol’s Hollywood theater of torture airs next week, we will research the candidates to find those who profess their faith in Christ and then we will follow their progress throughout Season 8.

The Season 8 audtition shows ended last night and they were the usual cornucopia of train wrecks and tear-jerkers, spiced with some talent and humor.  American Idol is a decidely secular endeavor.  It feels that the judges punish contestants who choose to demonstrate their faith through their song selections.  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 8?  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.

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.  In Idol’s Season 7 we saw interesting talents like Brooke White and Jason Castro wither under the pressure of unrelenting, high stakes performing.  We saw Syesha Mercado’s unwavering will and self confidence enable her to survive other, more heralded talents.  We saw the mature musical diversity of David Cook prevail over the powerful singing talent that was David Archuleta.  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?

I was a late comer to American Idol.  Quite frankly, I was a music snob who looked down my nose at the show until I saw Jennifer Hudson’s crushing performance in Dreamgirls.  Knowing that her talent did not win motivated me to investigate this curious show.  Before then, I joked that all of my friends who encouraged me to watch Idol were the parents of pre-teen girls.  In the middle of Idol’s Season Six a friend, whose music tastes I highly respect, and father of four said to me, “American Idol is one of the only television shows my 3 year-old,12 year old and I can enjoy together as a family.  You know how families used to sit together and watch television as a family?”  It is true.  American Idol is understandable and entertaining to very young kids and interesting and enjoyable to adults.

Over the last two years, we have seen the Top 12 Finalists include no less than seven music artists who openly profess their faith.  Phill Stacey, Lakisha Jones and Chris Sligh have all  recorded Christian/Gospel music.  Melinda Doolittle and Jordin Sparks openly express their faith.  We are waiting to hear from Jason Castro and Chikezie from Season 7 .

Which brings us to American Idol Season 8 and One21music.  We intend to highlight the Christian music artists competing and we need your help.  Fox and 19 TV do not provide much information about the contestants going to Hollywood and we expect their biographical data for the 36 finalists to be sketchy regarding their faith.

Through researching a number of blogs I have identified some of the contestants we should consider favorites:

  • Adam Lambert
  • Alexander Wagner-Trugman
  • Alexis Grace
  • Allison Iraheta
  • Ann Marie Boskovich
  • Anoop Desai
  • Arianna Ayesha Afsar
  • Brent Keith
  • Casey Carlson
  • Danny Gokey
  • Jackie Tohn
  • Jasmine Murray
  • Jeanine Vailes
  • Jessica Langseth
  • Joanna Pacitti
  • Jorge Nunez
  • Junot Joyner
  • Kai Kalama
  • Kendall Beard
  • Kristen McNamara
  • Kris Allen
  • Lil Rounds
  • Matt Breitzke
  • Matt Giraud
  • Megan Corkrey
  • Mishavonna Henson

Here is how you can help.   If you know any of these Idol contestants to be professing believers, please send me a comment to let me know.  Whatever you can tell me about them will be greatly appreciated.  Hopefuly ths list will contain a fair number of the contestants moving to the audience voting rounds.  Once we know the true list we will adjust and research the others.

Join me when the program goes live on February 17th and we will cheer on these Christian music artists together.