American Idol Season 8- Grand Ole’ Opry Live Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the crowd goes crazy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apple iTunes

American Idol Season 8 Top 13 Results Show

For the most part it was a terrific American Idol show last night.  Danny Gokey, Lil Rounds, Allison Iraheta, Kris Allen all gave tremendous performances.  Except for Matt Giraud, who disappointed, my power rankings (see American Idol Season 8 Top 13 Power Rankings) pretty much held up,  Christian music artists Michael Sarver and Kris Allen outperformed their rankings.  I think the biggest disappointment was Anoop Desai (see my Top 13 Performance Wrap-up).

I think I learned something about American Idol song selection,  If you watched the show after reading my article suggesting song suggestions I am sure you had a pretty good laugh.  The only performer to sing the song I suggested was Anoop and that did not go well.  I am not good a song selection.

The American Idol producers are shaking things up again.  They leaked that they had a super secret new judging twist for Season 8.  Rumor is that they will copy the experiment they tried in the French version of American Idol Nouvelle Star where the the judges were given a one-time veto power right which allowed them save a contestant that would have been eliminated based on home viewer voting at any point during the season.  In the same interview the American Idol producer promised that two contestants would go home tonight, so let’s see what happens.

I think we will see Jasmine Murray and Jorge Nunez will go home.

Ryan told us that there were nearly 33 million votes.   That is a lot.  I am excited about Kelly Clarkson performing and, I will wait to see about Kanye West.  I am consistently disappointed by performances by rappers.

So the rule twist is that the American Idol judges get one “save” this season.  If they unanimously agree they can save someone from elimination.  Okay.

The group number was not bad but was saved by Danny Gokey’s absolutely awful dancing, LOL. I guess American Idol let the genie out the bottle last night and Danny will try to be the next Usher.

Michael Sarver was the first to be exposed to the judging and I am so happy he made it through.  Kris Allen made  it through as I suspected.

As suspected Jasmine Murray was eliminated.  They had her sing while the judges decided.  I don’t know, it seemed kind of cruel to make her sing for her supper.  Then she must stand there for the final judgement.  It certainly adds to the cruelty of the judging.  Jasmine seemed heartbroken, but I think it was the right decision.

Kanye West would have been really good if he could actually sing, or if he would have just rapped.  His performance was just uncomfortable for me.

Poor Jorge Nunez looked like he was about to cry before Ryan said anything to him.  The final elimination was between Anoop Dessai and Jorge Nunez.

Ryan announced that in Season 8, they will bring back a former American Idol contestant each week.  That will be cool.  Kelly Clarkson performed “My Life Would Suck Without You”.  I hate the song, but I love the singer.  When is she going to dump this whole Pop scene and jump into the blues with both feet?

In the final judging we learned that Jorge Nunez did not get enough votes and is now reduced to begging the judges in song.  Of course, the judges did not use their only “save” of the season on Jorge.  Sorry, Jorge.

American Idol Season 8 is down to 11 and all six of the Christian music artists on American Idol Season 8 made it through the first week.  Way to go Danny, Lil, Michael, Kris, Scott and Matt!

Check back with me on Monday to see my updated power rankings and, maybe I will try song selection again.

Be sure to download your favorite performances at iTunes by clicking on the icon below.

Apple iTunes

American Idol Season 8 Performance Wrap-up

To start, this was a really good show.  I was worried.  Michael Jackson songs are much easier to screw up than they are to nail.  Sorry, for the carpentry references.  I think, for the most part, the performers exceeded my expectations.  I was worried that Alexis Grace, Allison Iraheta and Scott MacIntyre would struggle and they did not.  I was excited that both Danny Gokey and Lil Rounds took it up a notch.  I had no idea what Meagan Joy Corkery would do, but she was fun and she showed me some vocal skills I did not expect.  Kris Allen showed me a fun, funky side that I can add to his interpretive skills and Michael Sarver continues to burn a laser through the television.

I just tried (at midnight) to go buy the full song studio recordings but they are only available for pre-order right now.  I guess I will buy them on Wednesday.  I plan to buy the performances by Christian music artists Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre, Danny Gokey, Michael Sarver and Kris Allen and the recordings of Allison Iraheta and Alexis Grace.

I will review the American Idol Top13 performances and rate them at the same time.  To get my initial reactions check out the American Idol Season 8 Top 13 performance live blog. It feels more appropriate to rate tonight’s American Idol performers in groups rather numerically.

Show Stoppers

  • Lil Rounds led off American Idol Tuesday night with “The Way You Make Me Feel” and she took the song away from Michael JacksonLil Rounds is amazing.  It is time to invite another singer into the Soul music club.  She is a natural.  Did you notice the MJ foot kick and head bob she gave at the beginning of the performance?
  • Danny Gokey sang “PYT”.  Who knew this guy had the funk? He showed me new vocal talent and he showed me he could let loose and have fun.  I loved how he brought the judges into the performance.  I feel even more strongly about him than I did earlier.  Welcome to the party, good time Danny.
  • Allison Iraheta just devoured “Give Into Me”.  What a rock n’ roll power house. Most of the “rockers” I have seen on American Idol have been rock-leaning pop singers.  Not this girl.  We at One21music hope she gets the chance to throw down with some Janis Joplin.  There was not an awkward movement in her performance and she blew out the vocals.

Fun, Enjoyable Perfomances

  • Kris Allen put on a guitar and sang a funky version of “Remember The Time”.  If they had mixed the guitar sound better this could have been an American Idol showstopper, but the guitar looked like nothing more than a prop.  When we could hear it, the guitar was really cool. He can sing much better than I thought and he has a cool, sophisticated funkification. He is more talented than any of the previous season’s pretty boys.
  • Michael Sarver delivered a very heartfelt version of “You’re Not Alone”.   Michael’s vocals are good, not great, but he has some instinctive connection with the camera.  By gazing
  • into the camera he makes you enjoy him.
  • Alexis Grace delivered a smokey, bluesy take on “Dirty Diana” with smooth, confident moves on stage.  She just pushed a little too hard at the end and the song got away from her.

All of the performances above made me forget about Michael Jackson.

Solid American Idol Performances

  • Scott MacIntyre delivered a beautiful piano version of “Keep the Faith”.  Even though his vocals are pretty weak, he does have the talent to pull you into the emotion of the song.
  • Meagan Joy Corkery showed me something tonight.  Even though she is a complete goof who cannot dance, I heard some vocal prowess I had not heard before.  Next week she needs to drop the quirky cool and deliver a big vocal.

Ho Hum Performances

  • Matt Giraud disappointed me again this week.  He is not going to get many choices to flex his R&B rhythmic muscles like he had with the Michael Jackson catalogue.  Though his piano version of “Human Nature” was pretty good, it was uneven.  He needs to begin showing himself or he could be in trouble soon.
  • Jasmine Murray sang “I’ll Be There”.  She has a great voice, but I am not really interested.  She really brought nothing to the song.

I Just Don’t Get It

  • The judges absolutely love Adam Lambert.  I don’t.  Not even a little bit.  He sang “Black & White”.  His vocals were spectacular, if a little over the top.  However, his performance was just nothing for me.  It is like Jimi Hendrix and Robin Trower.  Robin mastered all of the notes, chords and riffs on his guitar,Robin Trower could play the guitar.  Jimi Hendrix was a Guitar Player (with a capital” G” and a capital “P”).

Big Disappointments

  • Jorge Nunez sang “Never Can Say Goodbye” and it was tepid.  I think his language barriers are going to cause him to struggle to keep the pace.
  • Anoop Desai stumbled through “Beat It”.  What happened to Anoopdawg?

Predictions

Who knows.  Ryan hinted at some secret change American Idol is going to make in how the Season 8 results are tabulated.  They had better be careful.  They do not want to undermine America’s ownerhsip of this show. Here is my take:

  • Jorge Nunez is gone
  • Jasmine Murray should be gone
  • I would be surprised but not shocked if Anoop Desai or Matt Giraud were voted off.
  • I think there is a chance Michael Sarver could be voted off but I would be shocked.  It is not his time.

At this stage, dialidol cannot provide us meaningful predictions.  According to dialidol, nine of the 13 competitors are in danger of going home.

I will be back on Wednesday night with my analysis of the American Idol Season 8 Top 13 results show.

In the meantime, download the live performance or the studio recordings of your favorite performances from tonight’s American Idol.  Just click below.

Apple iTunes

American Idol Season 8 Top 13 Performance Live Blog

We are live, blogging the start of the American Idol Season 8 Finals live show.  At One21music we are covering the six Christian music artists competing in Season 8: Danny Gokey, Matt Giraud, Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre, Kris Allen and Michael Sarver.   Read my power rankings article to see how these Christian music artists stack-up against the rest of the field.

The American Idol finalists will be singing the songs of Michael Jackson tonight.  It looks to be a minefield.  See my article about song choice for each of the American Idol contestants. I think there are only two or three contestants (Lil Rounds, Matt Giraud, Anoop Desai) who can perform these songs straight-up, so we will probably see some disastrous performances.  It is also risky to try to adapt theses songs because only a few (Danny Gokey, Kris Allen, Matt Giraud) have demonstrated the arranging or interpretive skills to bend these songs to themselves.  I think American Idol Season 8 faves Meagan Joy (rumor is that she dropped the Corkery and is using her maiden name), Allison Iraheta, Alexis Grace and Scott MacIntyre could struggle tonight.  On the other hand, might Jorge Nunez be the Latin Michael Jackson?  I am talking about the good Michael Jackson with the silver glove, not the Michael Jackson in exile.

Enough speculation let’s go to the American Idol Season 8 Finals!  It should be a quick show with 13 performances.

Boy the contestants look nervous, almost grim in the opening montage.  Bigger crowd, bigger stage, who will trip over the next step?

What is this live announcer intro of the judges?  Who cares.  Ryan has dressed for the occasion.  The stage looks good, live band and 500 fans in the audience.  Kara is sweating, I thought she was pro.  Good advice from Paula, “don’t let the stage consume you.”

Intro of the Top 13, does Lil get the money spot to close the show?

We are eliminating two contestants tonight.

Wow, the opening montage of MJ brings back what was so great about him.  What happened?

Lil Rounds starts us off?  These contestant bios are long.  “The Way You Make Me Feel” is not the song I would have chosen, but who cares.  This neophyte is a fully formed soul singer.  I will go buy this on iTunes now.  She is awesome, perfect!

What can the judges say?  Randy says she made the song new again,with a bluesy, old soul vibe.  Kara says she belongs on the radio now.  Of course, Simon thought it was okay.  He thought it was lazy.  I disagree.  Questions about her arrangement skills were answered tonight.

Scott MacIntyre, what can he do with this book of music that is completely out of his musical style?  He sings “Keep The Faith” and he is at his piano.  This is a Michael Jackson song?  Are we sure Scott did not write this song?  Not a perfect vocal but a great, great performance.  The gauntlet is thrown down.

The audience is going wild!  Kara is blown away that he just learned the song on piano this week.  I agree with Paula that it was magical.  Simon hates the song.  “It is fine being artistic, just not on this show.”  Simon admits it!  Simon and Randy think it was safe and old-fashioned.

Can Danny Gokey keep up the momentum?  They are going to go through an intro without mentioning his wife.  I am tired of the criticism he has been getting for American Idol exploiting his tragedy. Good.  He is singing “PYT”.  I am not excited about the song choice.  Danny throws down some rocking moves and creates a sing-a-long.  He can sing better than I thought.  I am surprised how these guys have taken these songs and made them their own.  We see the new, rocking Danny Gokey.  That was fantastic.  Kara says he has joy.  We know he does, don’t we.

Michael Sarver is walking around the oil field in his dancing shoes.  I think he may surprise everyone tonight.  He is singing “You Are Not Alone”, a great song.  He shows a lot of soul in this performance.  A good, if not great vocal performance but the audience will love him.  He will be back.  Great job, Michael.

Simon loves this guy.  He says he is not a great singer but loves his heart and passion.  Randy says he is one of the best.  Kara loved the vocal.

Four singers in and the competition is strong.  No one can afford to stumble.  The last 9 better come strong.  Great show so far.

Jasmine Murray steps to the stage next.  She better bring it bigger than she did during the semi’s and the Wild Card.   This Mississippi beauty queen is singing “I’ll Be There” a perfect song for her that I bet the judges criticize.  Nice vocal, maybe a little off key in parts.  Problem is she does not bring the excitement we have seen in the first four performances.  It was her best so far, but only okay tonight.

Of course, Randy remixed that with Mariah and he liked it?, “not that bad”?  The judges are luke warm.  I disagree with Kara that she has great stage presence.  Simon call it a good attempt that was a little bit robotic.  I agree.

Will Kris Allen do “Man In The Mirror” again?  That will be dangerous.  There is a large catalogue of songs he can use to his talents.  Based on what we have seen so far, he better capture the stage and win the TV audience.  With his guitar he is singing “Remember The Time”.  I would not have used guitar on this song.  Cool, jazzy take on this song.  His vocals are stronger than I remembered.  He is totally comfortable up there.  Great stage presence. Tonight has been great, great tonight.

Kara calls him out as a good guy, like we are surprised.  I agree with Paula that he is engaging, I will pass on the sexy part.  Simon thought it was a little clumsy with the guitar.  Randy thought it was cool with the guitar, sort of like Jason Mraz.  Maybe like Jason Castro?

Allison Iraheta is a 16 year-old who sings at department stores.  Tonight she sings “Give Into Me” like Heart.   Well, more like Allison.  She is a big, old blues singer.  Wow, she is incredible.  From the department store to the big stage.  This girl is chill.

She boggles Paula’s mind.  I agree that she is a rock star.  I agree with Simon that she has the confidence.  Randy loves her, “if you got it, you got it”.

Anoopdog is rocking the “Thriller” swing going into the break.  He isn’t, is he?  Does he get zombies on stage?

Can Anoop Desai recover from two okay performances?  He is, I cannot believe he is taking on “Beat It”.  This is called swinging for the fences.  I was wrong in suggesting he sing this song.  “Beat It” loses something without MJ’s high pitch.  I don’t think he was up to this song.  This is the first let down of the night.

The judges will use the word karaoke.  According to Paula “Beat It” is untouchable and his performance was karaoke. Simon says it was horrible and lightweight.  Will all four use the word? Not Kara, she breaks the string.  I think he is in trouble.

Don’t forget to download these performance on iTunes.  We will give you the icon to use below.

Jorge Nunez is singing another soft ballad “Never Can Say Goodbye”.  This song is kind of boring compared to the other songs we have heard.  The singing is a little off.  Ho hum.

Randy hates it, but just cannot bring himself to say so.  Randy and Kara and Paula  think this was the wrong song.   Simon is writing him off.  He thought it was awful.

The show started great.  It seems to be losing steam.  Someone needs to dazzle us soon.  I am not sure Meagan is the one to dazzle.

Nice intro video for her.  The puppet, Megan, is it Joy, or is it Corkery is onstage to sing  “Rockin’ Robin”.  Sassy vocals but dancing  that would make Brooke White feel better about herself .  She is goofy!  That was fun.

Paula and Kara were lukewarm.  Simon was not.  He thought it was stupid.  Randy hates the song choice.

Fasten your seat belts, Adam Lambert is singing “Black & White”.  This is an interesting song choice.  He is singing the song fantastically, but does he even know what he is singing?  He hits every note but does not connect with the meaning of the song.  Do we get hair metal screams every week?

Paula is dazzled.  I don’t understand what they see.  According to Paula the finals will be Danny and Adam.  Simon thinks he is in a totally different league?  They all love him.  I know he can sing, but I just don’t get their love for him.

They better hurry, we have two more performances, plus the close in the next fifteen minutes.

Matt Giraud better knock this out of the park.  This is his music so my expectations are high.  He sings “Human Nature” from his piano.  I think he is missing an opportunity to dazzle America with his R&B chops.  His falsetto is not strong enough to carry as much of the song as he tried.  It was okay.

Randy and Kara and Paula love it.  Simon thought it was a solid, good performance.  They rush through Matt’s judges so they can force another commercial in.

Evidently there is something funky about Alexis’s number.  Pay attention.  She shouldn’t go home because people are calling the wrong number.

Alexis Grace sneeks into the end singing “Dirty Diana”.  Will she bring a blues take on it?  Yes she does and she does it big.  She is much better than in the semis.  She is answering my questions. Great command of the stage, great rocking, bluesy vocals.  Everything Adam is trying to be.

Sweaty Kara likes her naughty side, but Simon and Randy don’t like it very much.

Very good show.  Much better than I thought.  Great job guys.

I will go back and watch the performances and write a wrap-up. Check it out in the morning.

Join us tomorrow night. We will report on the results show.  Ryan is talking about some change in how the results will be determined.

Tonight, enjoy the performances.  Download them from iTunes below.

Apple iTunes

American Idol Season 8 Power Rankings (3/9)

The American Idol Season 8 Finals are upon us. Are you giddy? We have 13 potential American Idols to choose from and they will be singing songs from Michael Jackson.  I am sick about it.  See my article tomorrow on song selection and I will tell you why.

At one21music.com we are covering the six Christian music artists competing in American Idol’s Season 8 finals. Worship leaders Danny Gokey, Kris Allen and Michael Sarver, will join Christian recording artists Matt Giraud and Scott MacIntyre on Tuesday’s stage. Rounding out our Christian music artist top 6 is new find, the diva in making, Lil Rounds.

So here are my American Idol Season 8 power rankings. I have not looked at others rankings and I would imagine mine may be a littler different.  I have included some commentary on why have ranked each contest where I have:

  • Danny Gokey is suffering from a backlash on the web.  It seems that he is too nice, too Christian and too open about the death of his wife.  I am pretty sure that One21music is the only blog on the Internet that actually influences voters (tongue firmly in cheek) so I am not too worried about the chatter online.  Why do I think he is at the top?  He is a very good singer, but more importantly, he is worship leader at two different churches which means he must arrange a set of songs with two different groups every week.  The American Idol workload will be a vacation for Danny.  It also doesn’t hurt that he looks like Robert Downey Jr.

    Danger: Danny Gokey needs to show to avoid over emphasis on inspiring anthems and show some of his playful side.

  • Matt Giraud nearly blew his chance with Viva La Vida came back with a vengeance in the Wild Card round.  He is a well rounded singer who excels with the type R&B that American Idol loves.  Also as a working musician I think he has the arranging skills  and discipline to handle the American Idol challenges.  He also is comfortable with and without his instrument.

    Danger: Matt Giraud cannot afford the type of misstep he took in the semifinals.  Stick with R&B as much as possible and only venture out of that groove when forced.

  • Lil Rounds proved last week that there is room for one diva in Season 8 and last week, Lil Rounds made it clear she was it.  The command and comfort she displayed onstage was a shock.  She has never performed anywhere but her church and in high school events.  She looked like as comfortable as Mariah or Whitney.  Randy called a combination of Fantasia and Mary J. Blige.  I already like her better than either one of them.

    Danger: Given her limited music experience, I am not sure she can handle the variety and pace of American Idol through to the finals.

  • Allison Iraheta unleashed an amazing, huge voice with great emotional range in the semifinals.  The more impressive performance was the next night when she won and acted like, “of course, I belong here”.  Is this the 16 year old phenom that is not intimidated by American Idol?

    Danger: Does Allison have the raw talent and prodigy like instincts to adapt to the weekly song selections or is she just a 16 year old with a huge voice?

  • Meagan Corkery is the most unique contestants American Idol Season 8.  Her vocal style is cool and her quirky stage presence is interesting.  America did not seem to embrace her in the semifinals America may begin to look forward to her puppet dance.  Who knows, it may become a national sensational.

    Danger: I am not sure she has the range to thrive throughout the theme nights.

  • Scott MacIntyre, I think, is touching a cord in America.  I think he gets stronger once he is able to start playing his instrument.  I didn’t get Scott until he performed on the results show.  I felt the emotional connection that the American Idol judges have been talking about all season.

    Danger:  He is not a great singer and I think that will exposed as we narrow down to the top 5.

  • Anoop Desai disappointed me in the semifinals.  He fell flat in his first performance and he really struggled with “My Prerogative”  in the Wild Card and that is his money song.  He seemed to be overwhelmed by the moment. He has a great personality.   He had some leadership roles in his UNC glee club and that should help him with selecting and arranging songs during the American Idol gauntlet.

    Danger: If does not get comfortable quickly he could washed out early the American Idol finals and the stage is only going to get bigger.

  • Kris Allen showed great interpretative skills when he sang “Man In The Mirror” during the semifinals.  He turned it from a self indulgent whine into a call to action.  That is a skill the American Idol judges will start to demand.  He is another of the contestants who will improve with his instrument.  I think he is a dark horse.  He is probably the closest thing American Idol has this year to being a heat throb.

    Danger: We have not seen enough of Kris to guess if he has range.

  • Alexis Grace rose quickly in the semifinals with a strong, sassy performance of “I Never Loved A Man”.  It was such a peak for her, I am not certain she has it in her again.

    Danger: Does she have the music experience or instinct to bend the theme week songs to her voice?

  • Michael Sarver is generally considered the weak link of this American Idol group, but I obviously don’t think so.  He had some magic with the camera in the semifinals and I think that will carry him a few weeks.  Then he will need to dig deep to find to find a vocal style many people do not think he has.

    Danger:  America loves him but they are being told he does not belong.  He needs to come out the first few weeks with solid performances.

  • Jorge Nunez made it to the finals of  American Idol’s Season 8 finals with a beautiful performance of  “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down” and a touching emotional display of joy during the judges comments.  I wonder if he has the emotional range to last very long.

    Danger: Can he deliver anything but a ballad?

  • Adam Lambert has Performed every song he has sung so far in American Idol.  I have not felt an emotional connection to anything he has sunge yet.  He is kind of the “bizzaro world” Scott MacIntyre.  He has a great voice and consistently over sings.

    Danger: If he continues his hair metal cover band routine he will leave early.

  • Jasmine Murray was overwhelmed by the stage both times she performed in the semifinals.  Witht he right songs she can stick around for a few weeks but I don’t think she has staying power.

    Danger: She continues to look smaller than the stage.

Join us in the morning when I will suggest song choices for each of the performers and then join us again tomorrow night while I live blog the performances.

If you are behind in your American Idol watching download performances you missed from iTunes by clicking a the icon below.

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American Idol Wild Card Show- Live Blog

We are live, covering American Idol’s live show.  The performers were announced in last night’s Round 3 performance show (see our wrap-up).   You can also read my whining, complaining analysis of the American Idol Wild Card show, with predictions.

Relax America, put your phones down!  You do not get a vote tonight.  It is all judges tonight as the American Idol judges select the final three performers to join Season 8′s Top 12.  I expect the judges to select at least two and maybe three girls to go to the finals.

Here are tonight’s performers:

  • Von Smith
  • Meagan Corkery
  • Ricky Braddy
  • Jasmine Murray
  • Tatiana del Toro
  • Matt Giraud
  • Jessica Langseth
  • Anoop Desai

There go the opening credits, so let’s get it started!

As Ryan said this second chance is all about tenacity and determination so let’s hope these guys bring it.  Hey America, Ryan says we did a good job and the nine finalists think we have done a good job as well.  All eight will sing and the judges will pick the three finalists at the end.

Jessica Langseth starts off with “Tell Me Something Good” by Chaka Kahn, Chaka Kahn, Chaka Kahn.  She is pretty good but she does not have that Chaka grit.  Overall, a nice powerful vocal.

Randy will hate it and he does  hate it.  Kara is right she does have swagger.  Thanks, Simon she now knows she was the last one in.  That does not bode well for her chances tonight.

Wow, they are blasting through this show.  Matt Giraud is singing “Who’s Loving You” by the Jackson 5 (I know it was written by Smokey Robinson).  Matt where was this last week! ? Matt brings the R&B grit, very, very nice.  He is throwing down at the end.  Can you tell I like soul music.  Good job, Matt.

The ladies love that he stepped back into his zone and did an amazing job.  Randy loved it. “That was hot”. Anoop better bring the goods.

Well, the first two certainly showed what they have.  If this continues we will have a good show.  I bet the first 9 finalists are thrilled they are watching rather than competing.

Up next, Meagan Corkery the great big judges favorite, doing “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” by K.T Tunstall and hey I like this song.  Okay, so the judges are right to love on this girl.  She will be in the Top 12.

Paula is very subdued in her comments.  They are not even critiquing her performance they are just promoting for next week’s show.  Kara, says I think we need you.  Why not just tell her she is in already?

Now Von Smith is grateful to be able to show us real raw honest emotion by singing another Elton John number “Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word”.  I am sorry, he is proving he doesn’t need to be on this show tonight.  He seemed to be waiting to sing big  notes.

Simon thinks he has become boring and ordinary and Randy agrees with him. None of them like the song choice.  Sorry, Von goodbye.

I thought this would be a two hour marathon and it looks like we will do this in a one hour sprint.

Back again and it is time for Jasmine Murray to sing “Reflection” by Christina Aguilera, a slow ballad that plays well to her strengths.  Very good vocals, but not an outstanding performance.  Kind of middle of the road.  Not good enough for tonight.

Randy thinks she was okay and Kara is confused.  Paula’s comments are noticeably unenthusiastic until she attacks Simon.  Simon thinks she is back in the running.  Really?

Ricky Braddy got here because of his great performance two weeks ago and is funking it out with “Supersition” by Stevie Wonder.  Another wow.  This guy has brought it slow and now he brings it funky.  What a falsetto.  Another great job by a guy.

Good job from Kara and enthusiastic Paula is back.  Simon does not agree and Randy thought he tried to do much.  I disagree.

There are too many good guys this year to fit in the final 12.

Here she is, Tatiana del Toro has found love and she wants to show the world and she is ready to sing “Saving All My Love for You”, Didn’t she sing that two weeks ago?  I am sorry America, she can sing.  If we could only keep her singing.  Just about perfect.

The laugh is back! She is not giving the judges a chance to talk.  Simon nails her on repeating the song.  I think we may be seeing the last of Tatiana.  Strategic mistake on her part.

Anoop Desai and he goes with his money song “My Prerogative” by Bobby Brown.  Funny, Whitney and Bobby back to back.  I don’t know.  It was exciting but a little off for me.

The judges do seem to be enjoying themselves.  Simon thinks the vocal was not strong, but he gives the judges an excuse to put him through.  Once again, why did they even make him perform.  It was fun but not as great as they are saying.

We are at commercial and based on what I have seen I think Meagan and Anoop are through, no question.  I think  Jessica nails the third spot.  Ricky and Matt were both better than Jessica but two girls will go through tonight.

And we are back for the dramatic results.  Is it dramatic for you?  I think we pretty much know don’t we.

Jasmine Murray is in the Top 12?  I cannot believe that.

Next Ricky Braddy goes home.  They are late and rushing through this.

Between Meagan Corkery and Tatiana del Toro who moves on.  And surprise, the judges select Meagan.  Why must they exploit Tatiana?  I feel bad for her.

I am shocked and disappointed that Jasmine is in.  Are they going with three girls?

Anoop Desai, Matt Giraud or Jessica Langseth the tension is killing me.  How are they going to tell Matt and Jessica goodbye?  Oh, they are going to do it one by one.  Goodbye, Jessica.  Simon says she nearly made it. Was she 13th?  Later, Von Smith.  Why are we even doing this?

Who gets the final spot in American Idol’s Top  12 and… Matt Giraud makes it?  Wow!!

But… they cannot say goodbye to Anoop!  There is a Top 13!!! Those crazy guys, the surprises never stop.

Kayne West next week with Kelly Clarkson.

Great show tonight.  Download all of the performances on iTunes by clicking on the button below.

Apple iTunes

Come backl tomrrow and I will give you my first ranking of the Top 12.  Oops, I mean the Top 13.

I don’t know if I will be able to sleep tonight.  Well, I know I won’t be able to sleep.  I am going to the first showing of “Watchmen” at midnight.

American Idol Season 8 Wild Card Predictions

As I expressed in last night’s blog of the results show I am extremely disappointed in the American Idol judges’ “Wild Card” picks.  I think reader Jimbo was right when he said the judges had their minds made up before Tuesday night and ignored Week 3′s performances.

We are covering Christian music artists competing in American idol Season 8 and we are happy that Matt Giraud and Ricky Braddy made it to the Wild Card round.  However, there were some real travesties:

  • Felicia Barton should have made it over Jessica Langseth.  The problem for Felicia now is that she did not get a chance to show anything new so I am not sure the American Idol experience will jump start her career.  That is a shame because I think she is the total package.
  • It is a crime that Jasmine Murray is in and Mishavonna Henson is out.  Misahvonna delivered a mature, confident performance and Jasmine looked overwhelmed.  I think Mishavonna will become an artist of substance in the future and I am pretty sure that does not impress these judges.
  • Ju’not Joyner was robbed.  He should be in the Wild Card over Von Smith.  I suspect that a number of R&B producers are trying to find Ju’not’s number right now.
  • If you want someone quirky and a little dramatic, how do you pick Tatiana del Toro over Kristen McNamara?  Kristen is a better singer and delivered a more unique performance in the American Idol semifinals.  I wonder where this leaves Kristen.  She has been working at this since she was 16.  Nashville Star and, now, American Idol did not produce the breakthrough she needed.  Where does she go from here?

Here are my rankings of the American Idol Season 8 Wild Card contestants based on everyhting I have seen:

  1. Anoop Desai
  2. Ricky Braddy
  3. Meagan Corkery
  4. Matt Giraud
  5. Tatiana del Toro
  6. Jessica Langseth
  7. Von Smith
  8. Jasmine Murray

Here are my predictions for tonight’s American Idol Season 8 Wild Card show.

I will be shocked if more than one guy is selected from this group.  There are already six guys in the Top 12 and I cannot see the producers allowing American Idol to go into the finals with anything more that a 7:5 ratio.  I think that makes it virtually impossible for Christian music artists Ricky Braddy and Matt Giraud to make it through.  Anoop Desai has been an overwhelming judge favorite from the start and his Semi-final performance was good just not good enough.  I think both Matt and Ricky can perform well enough to make it hard on the judges but I think Anoop needs to disappoint for them to have a chance.

These predictions are in the order of my confidence level:

  • Meagan Corkery would have to trip on her way to the stage, hit her head, sing a different song than the band is playing, forget the lyrics and have a “wardrobe malfunction” to miss the Top 12.  The judges have all but said she is a finalist.
  • Anoop Desai is not bulletproof but he will need a disappointing performance and a “blow it out da’ box” performance from Matt Giraud, Ricky Braddy or Von Smith to go home tonight.  I think Matt is the only one capable of that type of show stopping performance.  Hey Matt, you got nothing to lose, go for it.
  • Tatiana del Toro will overcome Jessica Langseth.  I think Jessica is a better mucisian but American Idol needs the ratings that the manic, frightening, personality Tatiana brings.  What the heck, they need to give the “Vote for The Worst” guys someone to champion.

Join us tonight while we live blog the American Idol Season 8 Wild Card show.

In the meantime give some love to Christian music artists Felcia Barton, Mishavonna Henson and Kristen Mcnamara by downloading their performances from iTunes with a simple click on the icon below.

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American Idol Season 8, Round Three Results Show

Well, round 3 performances were pretty good last night. Going into the night I was not sure what to expect.  Except for Lil Rounds, none of these competitors had received much coverage on American Idol Season 8. Sure we had the drama of Kristen McNamara and Nathanial Marshall in that horrible group competition show, but that did not show who they were as performers.  Last night did not have the blow out performances like Danny Gokey in round one or Allison Iraheta in round two but 9 of the 12 performances were solid and many were very good.

Indicative of the balance in the show last night, the web opinions were all over the place.  After Lil Rounds, the next six ranked performers went from 2 to 10 in the rankings.

One21 Music is covering Christian music artists competing on American Idol Season 8.  Last night Kristen MacNamara, Felicia Barton and Scott MacIntyre performed in the round 3 of the semi finals.  Felicia brought her a game with Alicia Keys “No One”.  Kristen delivered a strong, jazzy , but disconnected version “Give Me One Reason”  Scott sang a boring (probably the song) but heart-felt version of “Mandolin Rain”.

To recap my predictions

Top Girl: Lil Rounds

Top Guy: Scott MacIntyre

Next Top Vote Getter: Felicia Barton

Is it just me or are the group numbers better this year.  I kind of like tonight’s group performance.

So as Ryan says lets get to the votes.

Top girl: Lil Rounds, they started with her, I guess they knew it was stupid to try to wring drama out of this pick.  She encores “I Never Wanna Live Without You”.   What can I say?  She is a really good singer.  I think she will need a really good mentor to make an impact in the business.  I think she is gone before we get to Season 8 Top 5.

Top guy: Scott MacIntyre seemed truly humbled by making it to the Top 12.  Unfortunately, he had to sing that song again.  Maybe he will bring a different vibe next week. As I was righting this he was singing and I just got Scott.  He brought me chills. Congratulations, Scott, good luck.  American Idol can use some artistic depth among all of the bombastic plastic (I rhymed!).

Next Highest: So it came down to Ju’not and Jorge. Jorge Nunez’s passionate delivery of “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me” won America’s hearts last night.  They delayed Jorge’s victory song until after they revealed the “Wild Card” selections.  It is probably a good thing.  I think he was too emotional to sing in English.

We now have four Christian performers through to the Top 12: Scott MacIntyre, Kris Allen, Michael Sarver and Danny Gokey.

And American Idol did not make us wait to find out who performs in the “Wild Card”.  Here are Season 8′s Wild Cards:

  • Von Smith
  • Meagan Corkery
  • Ricky Braddy
  • Jasmine Murray
  • Tatiana del Toro
  • Matt Giraud
  • Jessica Langseth
  • Anoop Desai

I am really bummed, I think Ju’not, Felicia and Mishavonna got hosed.  They were all better than Jasmine Murray, Jessica Langseth and Von Smith.  I am really surprised they balanced it between the genders.  Well, at least Christian music performers Matt Giraud and Ricky Braddy made it to their second chance.  Make the best of it guys.

Of these Wild Card performers, I guarantee that Megan Corkery goes through and I would be shocked if Anoop Desai goes home tomorrow night.  After that, who knows?

Brush up on these Wild Cards by downloading their performances with a simple click on the icon below.

Apple iTunes

and join us as we live blog the two hour Wild Card show tomorrow night to find out who makes American Idol’s Season 8 finals.

Who Are the American Idol “Wild Cards”?

We don’t yet have the results from American Idol’s Season 8 third semi-final show, but I want to take a few minutes to speculate on who we believe will sing on Thursday’s show to earn one of the last three spots in American Idol’s Top 12 for Season 8.

We have been covering Christian music artists competing on Season 8 of American Idol.  Three of those Christian music artists, Danny Gokey, Michael Sarver and Kris Allen were all voted into the Top 12.  See my round three wrap-up article to see what I think will happen tonight, but I suspect that Christian recording artist Scott MacIntyre will be voted into the Top 12 tonight.  Let’s take a few minutes to prepare for the “Wild Card” show.

Based on speculation all over the Web, the judges will pick nine contestants to perform on Thursday night’s show.  After the performances, the judges will select three contestants to complete American Idol’s Top 12 for Season 8.  That is all a guess but it sounds reasonable.  If they select more than nine performers there will not be time for the dramatic selection process at the end of the show.  I wonder if American Idol is going to throw all of them in a bus and run over to the mansion?  That way the judges can sit in those big thrones again.

One more thought on how this will work.  I betcha that the judges do not announce the Wild Card performers tonight.  If I were the producer, I would bring all the remaining 27 performers back and introduce them one by one.  What do you think?

Before we move on to predict who will perform in American Idol’s Season8 “Wild Card”, I will recap what I think will happen tonight.  Lil Rounds and Scott MacIntyre will go through as the top girl and guy.  I think the third spot boils down to Jorge Nunez and Ju’not Joyner.  I think whoever does not make it from those two may not make it to the wild card round.

Here is the deal.  American Idol works hard to gender balance and I think they have a problem.  After tonight’s show, viewers will have already voted six guys into American Idol’s Season 8 Top 12.  I cannot imagine the judges ignoring the “Wild Card” performances to select all girls, but I suspect the show will be heavily skewed to the ladies.

The problem for us is that the guys are a much stronger group in Season 8.  If  I listed the American Idol’s top 15 performers this year, 10 would be guys and only Lil Rounds would represent the girls in the top 5.  That does not bode well for male Christian music artists Matt Giraud and Ricky Braddy.  They may be watching the American Idol tour with us from the audience  because of gender balancing.  However, I think it will give Christian music artists Felicia Barton and Mishavonna Henson well deserved second chances.  Kristen MacNamara may even sneek into the Top12.

Here are my predictions assuming there will be five girls and four guys.  I have ranked them by how strongly I believe they will perform on American Idol’s “Wild Card” show:

  • Anoop Desai is an overwhelming favorite who sang a slow, quiet song and missed the Top 12 to Michael Sarver by only 20,ooo votes.
  • Meagan Corkery is a beautiful, husky singer with a quirky stage presence that the judges love
  • Felicia Barton declared herself as a worthy contender last night (see our live blog of the round 3 performances) and I think the judges are second guessing themselves for cutting her from the original Top 36.
  • Tatiana del Toro delivers the vocals everytime and I think the judges enjoy her drama.  Can she withstand the pressure?
  • Jessica Langseth walked through her performance of a bad song, but I think the judges love her.
  • Matt Giraud has been a judge’s favorite since the beginning.  Despite his terrible performance I think they give him one more chance.
  • Mishavonna Henson delivered one of the best vocal performances of the season but did not get much love.  I think she will receive another chance based on her performance.
  • Ricky Braddy delivered a fine cover of “A Song For You” and I think Paula loves him.
  • Jorge Nunez/Ju’not Joyner, whoever does not make into American Idol’s Top 12 tonight.

If the judges decide to skew even more heavily to the girls I think Kristen McNamara will push Jorge or Ju’not out.  If they decide to balance the “Wild Card” show evenly I think Von Smith will push Mishavonna Henson out and that will be a shame.

What do you think?  Who have I missed?

Check it out for yourself.  See performances by Christina music artists Kristen McNamara, Felica BartonScott MacIntyre , Danny Gokey, Michael SarverKris Allen, Ricky Braddy, Matt Giraud and Mishavonna Henson.

We  make it simple for you to download American Idol performances with a simple click on the icon below.

Apple iTunes