American Idol Season 12 on One21music

Now that Super Bowl XLVII is past us, it is time for the real competition to begin. American Idol Season 12 is upon us and One21music is here to cover all the tears and the triumphs.  Now is the time for for soaring vocals, triumphant performances, epic fails, sobbing exits.  The Super Bowl of talent shows (er, I mean singing competitions), American Idol Season 12 has already begun and, this week, heads into high gear .

After four years of frustrating results (white guys with guitars), a new panel of suspect judges and potentially fading influence, we thought long and hard about covering American Idol Season 12.  However, after watching the audition shows, we just cannot help ourselves.  We like Nikki Manij as a judge, Christian musician Keith Urban grew over the auditions road show and it is fun to watch Mariah Carey in her most gracious divaness. We have seen some terrific singers in Baton Rogue, San Antonio, New York and the other audition cities.

If you are new to the One21music world, we are dedicated to highlighting great music created by Christian musicians (see our Mission).  Head over to our “Artist Search” page to look for great music in just about any genre you can imagine.  In Keeping with the One21music mission, our American Idol coverage highlights Christian musicians competing on American idol Season 12. We cover all of the performers and we revel in all of the great performances, but we try to identify and highlight the Christian musicians on American Idol Season 12, for those of you who care about that sort of thing.  Over the past four years we have seen some terrific Christian Musicians on American IdolChristian musicians Scott McCreary (S10) and Kris Allen (S8) won American Idol.  Our favorite Christian musicians that made it into the American Idol Top 10 are Joshua Ledet (S11), Colton Dixon (S11), Lauren Alaina (S10), Skylar Laine (S11), Danny Gokey (S8) and Jacob Lusk (S9).

Look for us on Mondays for a preview of the coming week’s American Idol Season 12 performances and then on Thursdays for a review of American Idol Season 12 performances and a prediction for that week’s eliminations. If you want more immediate reactions from us during Wednesday night performance shows, follow us on twitter @TheOne21Music.

We head into Hollywood Week on Wednesday and then on to Las Vegas before the American Idol Season 12 Top 20 perform live on March 5th and 6th. Over the next few weeks I will reveal some Christian musicians to watch in Hollywood and Las Vegas. Here are five Chrsitian Musicans to watch in Hollywood:

Curtis Finch Jr

Curtis Finch Jr known simply as CJ in the gospel music scene is a very accomplished and spirited Gospel and Classical singer. Curtis Finch Jr has shared the stage with Gospel greats such as Dottie Peoples, Donnie McClurkin and Vanessa Bell-Armstrong, to name a few. His classical training has lead him to many awards as well as regional recognition.

Watch Curtis Finch Jr take the judges to Church in Chicago.

Rachel Hale

Rachel Hale is the twenty-one-year-old daughter of Gene and Kim Hale of Prescott, Arkansas. She is a 2009 graduate of the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts in Hot Springs, Arkansas and currrently as student at Belmont University. Rachel hale traveled all the way to Long Beach, Ca to blow the judges away with her soulful belting of “People Get Ready” and her infectous cheer.

Learn more about Christian musician Rachel Hale in this interview that aired the day after her audition aired.

Lazaro Arbos

Cuban-born Lazaro Arbos scoops ice cream for a living but has big dreams of performing. In Chicago we learned that the Christian musician  has the voice of an angel when he sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.  We also learned that Lazaro Arbos has a pronounced stammer when he speaks. His parents, Gisela Andraca and Reinaldo Arbos, explained that the speech impediment began at age 6 and that they tried therapy, but it hasn’t worked.

Watch Lazaro Arbos bring the judges to tears in his American Idol Season 12 audition.

Candice Glover

It looks like the third time may be the right time for Christian musician Candice Glover.  After exiting American Idol Season 9 in the Top 60 and an inexplicable elimination during the American Idol Season 11 Las Vegas group round Candice Glover delivered the best audition to American Idol Season 12.  Her soaring, growling, stomping version of “Syrup and Honey” caused me to leap to my feet with with Randy and Mariah.  Check it out here, but be warned.  You will need some privacy because you will woop and make that Jennifer Lopez stinky face.

Johnny Keyser,/h3>

What happened in American Idol Season11 Christian musician Johnny Keyser was also dropped in Las Vegas in another shocking elimination. Johnny had been the face of American Idol Season 11 previews and throughout the audtions.  His surfer boy good looks, soulful voice and performance instincts made him a shoe-in for the Season 11 finals.  Then he was gone. Since getting the boot in 2011, Johnny’s moved to Nashville, released his 7-track EP entitled Where I Stand, which hit #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 and then walked into the Chicago auditions to re-assert himself as a front runner for American Idol Season 12.

Check out Johnny Keyser‘s stunning version of the Otis Redding classic “Try a Little Tenderness” at the Chicago auditions.  As an added bonus, watch to the end of the video for the Chicago version of “Diva Wars”, starring Mariah Carey and Nikki Minaj.

It is time for American Idol Season 12 Hollywood Week.  Watch for these guys and check back in with us on Thursday when we will feature another group of Christian musicians performing on American Idol Season 12.

American Idol Season 8- Who’s Gonna Win This Thing?

The American Idol Season 8 final three is here?  Where did the year go?  It seems only a few weeks ago I was grousing that the judges did not select Felicia Barton and Mishavonna Henson for the Wild Card Show.  We have been covering the Christian music performers on American Idol Season 8 and two have made it to the Top 3.  Danny Gokey and Kris Allen are both worship leaders who join Season 8 sensation Adam Lambert as the last American Idol performers standing.

Danny Gokey, Anoop Desai and Lil Rounds were the early favorites to make it to this point but only Danny is left standing.  Allison Iraheta and Kris Allen have had the most consistently good performances of American Idol Season 8.  Allison left last week, but Kris remains.  Norman Gentle was the most colorful American Idol performer ever, or so we thought.  Adam Lambert has blasted through Season 8 with a natural flamboyance that has made him the most polarizing American Idol contestant this show has ever seen.

American Idol Season 8 Top 3 Power Rankings

Before we try to figure out who will win, we must just have one more power ranking:

  1. Kris Allen has simply had the best group of performances of any American Idol Season 8 contestant.  It started when he brought new meaning to Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror”.  He then blew us away with a new revelation of Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine”.  He introduced some to the beauty of “Falling Slowly” from the movie Once.  He seemed off his game during American Idol Season 8 Rock Week, but his only really bad performance was Don Henley’s “She Works Hard for The Money” on the Birth Year Songs show. Kris Allen is a quiet, humble guy who has been goaded by the judges to be more aggressive and arrogant.  That seems unlikely.   Kris Allen has been solid all year long, he tells stories with his performances and he can really sing.  Many professional singers, including Jamie Foxx, point to Kris’s interpretative skills and rank him as the best of the season.
  2. Danny Gokey has been the front runner since his Kansas City audition.  He took Hollywood Week by storm with his group’s slamming arrangement of Queen’s “Somebody To Love” and he tore the house down with his semifinal performance of Mariah Carey’s “Hero”.  Since then he seems to have cruised through American Idol Season 8 with mostly great singing. but surprisingly bland arrangements and his “Dream On” is the lowest rated performance of any American Idol Top 3 finalist ever, but he is the only contestant in Season 8 to never be in the bottom two.   Danny Gokey has been eviscerated on the Internet and by the entertainment press, I think because he openly expresses his faith and because the show made a deal of him grieving his wife’s recent death.  I picked Danny Gokey as the winner on the night of his audition (I have witnesses who argued with me).  His Season 8 has been good if disappointing to me, but if can pull off four performances like “Hero” or “Come Rain or Come Shine” he could win.
  3. Adam Lambert possesses a rare voice that only surfaces once a decade.  He has been rightfully compared to Robert Plant, Freddy Mercury and Axel Rose (I would add Frankie Valli and Marvin Gaye).  That voice and Adam Lambert’s mature stage skills have dazzled the American Idol judges and have fooled many into thinking he is a “Rock God.”   His “Tracks of My Tears” was a tour de force of his vocal prowess.  However, Adam Lambert’s “Mad World” was the only of his performances with emotional depth.  Many, including the judges, believe Adam Lambert should win American Idol Season 8.  I do not believe Adam Lambert has the creative depth to be a successful recording artist.  I do think he has the performance skills be a respected stage actor.  If he wins American Idol Season 8 that will be okay but I do not think he is the best.

Who is going to win?  This may be the closest vote we have ever had and if we continue this season’s trend we will have the largest number of votes of any American Idol season.  Let’s assume Kris, Danny and Adam will have great performances the next two weeks.  New voters and voting block shifts will determine the winner of American Idol Season 8.    Here are my predictions for how the voting blocks will move:

  • Adam will benefit most from the departure of Allison Iraheta, but I think Kris Allen will pick up a fair number of Allison’s followers who like her rock edge and do not like Adam’s flamboyance.  I will be surprised if both Danny Gokey and Kris Allen make it to the American Idol Season 8 final.
  • If Kris Allen leaves on Wednesday night, I think Danny will receive more than half of his voting support but Adam will benefit as well.  Believers supporting Kris will flock to Danny, but some non believers will take their rock leanings to Adam.
  • If Danny Gokey departs on Wednesday night, I think Kris Allen wins American Idol Season 8.
  • If somehow Adam Lambert leaves on Wednesday, I think virtually all of his followers flock to Kris Allen and he wins.

The only way Adam Lambert leaves American Idol Season 8 on Wednesday night is if the Christian nation rises up and drives the vote total over 90 million in support of Kris Allen and Danny Gokey.  So, if Kris Allen survives this week, I think he wins.  If Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert face off in the final it is too close to call.

Check out all of their great performances at iTunes and download yourself an American Idol Season 8 mix.

Apple iTunes

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?