American Idol Season 9- Taking Stock

American Idol Season 9 has me befuddled.  I can usually understand the voting patterns by grouping contestants into demographic groups and looking for likability factors within the groups.  Not on American Idol Season 9.  The unique performers (Didi Benami, Lacey Brown and Lilly Scott were wiped out early), R&B artists were voted off as quickly as America could get to them (Michelle Delamor, Ashley Rodriguez, Jermaine Sellers, Toddrick Hall) and left untouched are a group of mid tempo pop rockers (Crystal Bowersox, Andy Garcia, Lee Dewyze, Casey James) and undefined teen dreams (Tim Urban, Katie Stevens, Aaron Kelly).  We are left with only two unique performers, R&B mountain man Michael Lynche and unclassifiable Siobhan Magnus.

Wednesday night was the final straw when Christian music artist Michael Lynche was voted off and then saved by the judges.  Why does the America Idol Season 9 audience dislike R&B music?  Given the very clear message from its audience, why does American Idol keep pushing R&B performances (Usher, Rihanna and on and on) down its America’s throat.  I just don’t get what the  American Idol Season 9 audience is voting for.

Quick Summary of American Idol Season 9

We started American Idol Season 9 with seven Christian music performers and they have not fared well with only Michael Lynche and Tim Urban remaining in the Top 9 and Didi Benami making it onto the American Idol Season 9 tour.  Lacey Brown just missed the tour when she was voted out in the Top 12.  Michelle Delamor, Ashley Rodriquez and Jermaine Sellers were dismissed early in the live shows.  This is the fewest number of Christian music artists making it to the live show since I started watching American Idol.  Of this group, none were worship leaders and only one, Michelle Delamor, had experience singing regularly in worship services.  I wonder if the lack of weekly performing responsibilities has to do with the lack of success by Christian music artists on American Idol Season 9.

Another theme of American Idol Season 9 must be the survival and rise of Christian music artist Tim Urban.  A last minute replacement for disqualified Chris Golightly, Tim flew in the week before the Top 24 hit the live stage.  He struggled mightily through the early weeks and it looked like he did not belong, except for the smile.  Tim Urban‘s electric smile could not be suppressed and it was a smile that has melted the heart of millions of teen girls across America.  The judges were as cruel and dismissive of Tim Urban as any performer I have ever seen on American Idol.  Yet he continued to smile. Many believed it was a ploy to use his looks to overcome his shaky performances, but we learned different.  It turns out that Tim Urban is a model of transcendent gratitude.  Despite all of the venom spewed his way by the judges and the press, Tim Urban‘s smile is an outpouring of a heart grateful for a chance to perform for more and more people each week.  Tim Urban is living Jesus’ call to “do not worry”.  The judges and the press, steeped in a culture of success, superiority and wealth, just do not get it.

Top Performances on American Idol Season 9

Finally, I agree with most people that American Idol Season 9 has been the worst I have seen. But there have been moments, those spine tingling show stopping moments that the American Idol audiences wait for each week.  There have been three, only three.

1)Michael Lynche “This Woman’s Work”

Up to this point Michael Lynche looked like a neo soul/rocker wannabe. His singing had been strong and his performances had been solid.  Then Michael Lynche had a chance to close the show and he closed the show with a capital C.  With a back story of separation from his wife during the birth of their first child and a clear passionate love for his family, Michael Lynche unleashed a mind blowing performance of this heart breaking love song.  From the perfect falsetto runs that bookended the performance to slamming power blasts in the middle, Michael Lynche demonstrated untouched range and power as well  crushing interpretive skills.  Kara cried, I shouted and proceeded to show the performance to everyone who came to our house over the next week.

2) Crystal Bowersox Long As I Can See The Light

Literally crawling out of her hospital bed to open the show Crystal Bowersox took a song that has been one of my favorites since I was a kid and showed me a whole new take on it. Leading up to the show we did not know if Crystal Bowersox would be able to perform. Rumors were that she suffered some ailment that nearly caused her to die. Then she reinterprets “Long As I Can See the Light” as a gospel plea. One of the most poignant moments ever on American Idol, Crystal Bowersox sang the song perfectly, without drama, allowing us to embrace the moment.

Katelyn Epperly “The Scientist”

I am still bitter that this multi-stylistic musician is not a front runner for the Season 9 crown of American Idol. Katelyn Epperly sat behind a piano for the first time on American Idol Season 9 and delivered a gut wrenching interpretation of this song I had never really listened to. Watch the video and notice the maturity of her performance. The way Katelyn Epperly used the camera, the way she turned from the audience at just the right moment. Every time I watch this I become more frustrated that Katelyn Epperly left American Idol Season 9 the next week.

Join us on Tuesday night as we live blog American Idol Season 9.  Adam Lambert mentors the Idols and the rumored theme is Elvis Presley songs.  Remember that on Wednesday night two will be voted off.  Watch, read and vote.

American Idol Season 9 Top 20 Results Live Blog

Back for our fifth hour of American Idol Season 9 this week.  I like that American Idol gave the Top 24 time to sing and the judges time comment over the past two weeks.   In seasons past these early shows were so rushed that it did not feel you had time to truly hear the competitors.  This extended approach worked better.  Next week, American Idol Season 9 will return to one hour shows on three separate nights.  The Top 8 Girls will perform on Tuesday, the Top 8 Guys on Wednesday and then a results show on Thursday.  So, who will survive tonight to perform next week on American Idol Season 9?  Settle in with us for the next hour as we live blog the festivities.

The last two night we saw 20 American Idol Season 9 performances.  For the most part everyone improved, but, not everyone was great.   Three performances really stood out for me.  Crystal Bowersox’s gospel cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Long As I Can See The Light” was amazing.  Her singing was powerful and the arrangement was a revelation.  That was one of those moments that propel an artist far into the American Idol Season 9 finals.  Katelyn Epperly’s take on “The Scientist ” (Coldplay) was beautiful, stirring and heartfelt.  Coming in third for the week is Christian music artist Michael Lynche.  He updated James Brown’s “Its A Man’s World”, made it feel modern and sang it perfectly.

Unfortunately, I think some of our Christian music artists are in trouble.  Tim Urban has yet to prove he is up to the task of winning American Idol Season 9. It feels like he needs another year of heavy performing to be ready for this stage.  Making it even more treacherous for Tim that he is part of a “teen throb” triumvirate that could split votes (Tim Urban, Alex Lambert, Aaron Kelly).  Christian music artist Jermaine Sellers could be in trouble.  His two live performances have been a bit strange and his interactions with the judges are uncomfortable.  But, Jermaine, make sure you get Simon to church! I am also afraid that Christian music artist Lacey Brown is in serious trouble tonight.  I love her voice but she has not yet shown that she can package that voice in a compelling way.  I hope I am wrong on all accounts.

I think Lacey Brown, Haeley Vaughn, John Park and Jermaine Sellers will go home tonight.  If so, we will be down to four Christian music artists left in the American Idol Season 9 Top 16.

Tonight, in addition to finding out who goes home, we get to see Danny Gokey perform a song from his new album.  27 million votes.  The Idols are doing Black Eyed Peas, “I Got A Feeling”.  Thing is, none of them believe the lyric “Tonight’s gonna be a good night”, a few smiles please.

We are back to send someone home.  Let’s start with the guys.  Christian music artist Tim Urban up first and he is safe.  Joyful surprise, the girls love them some Tim Urban! Christian music artist Michael Lynche is safe as is Toddrick Hall.  John Park goes home.  He just did not assert his personality. The rest of the guys hang through the commercial.

Who else goes home right now.  Up first is Lee Dewyze who, of course, is safe.  Aaron Kelly sang “My Girl”, which I liked, and he is safe.  Alex Lambert looks like he is going to faint but he is safe also.  It is down to Jermaine Sellers and Andy Garcia.  Looks like Jermaine is home.  Christian music artist Jermaine Sellers goes home.  Unfortunately, my predictions have come true.  I am really surprised Jermaine did not do better on American Idol Season 9.  He has been touring since he was 14.  I thought he would sail through the early weeks.  Was he too confident?  He is singing his farewell and as is often the case we ask ourselves, why didn’t he do that last night?

It is Danny Gokey time.  I am interested to hear his new stuff.  This is a good song for him.  The guy is singing about getting old?  What is he 28?  He sounds really good.  I would like to hear him sing a little more soulful music and I look forward to his worship cd.  That was country?  I guess, living in Texas, I don’t know what country music is.  This song is Number 5 on iTunes.  I love Danny Gokey.  All of you haters shut your mouth.

Girls on a hot seat!  Will Lacey Brown survive?  We hope so.  Of course Lilly Scott comes back nest week.  Paige Miles is safe. Katie Stevens is safe.   Didi Benami and Michelle Delamor are left.  We are going to lose another Christian music artist.  I disagree with this no matter who it is.  We lose Michelle Delamor.  I am shocked. She is crushed.

Now it is time for the final cut of the night.  Will it be Lacey Brown, Haeley Vaughn or another surprise.  Katelyn Epperly and Crystal Bowersox are safe.  Siobhan Magnus is safe so it is down to Lacey and Haeley.  Lacey Brown is safe!  Haeley Vaughn is going home.

I am shocked that we lost Michelle Delamor tonight.  We are down to four Christian music artists in the final 16.  Join us next Tuesday night.

American Idol Season 9 Top 10 Girls Live Blog…

…or is it Top 9 girls?  Rumors have been flying all day about Crystal Bowersox and her illness that hospitalized her yesterday.  That forced American Idol Season 9 to change its schedule and have the Top 10 guys perform last night.  We don’t know if Crystal Bowersox will perform.  If she doesn’t perform, we believe she will be disqualified and American Idol Season 9 will eliminate one girl this week.  I hope that does not happen.

Last night the American Idol Season 9 Top 10 guys performed better than the previous week, but it still wasn’t good.  Christian music artist Michael Lynche stole the show last night with a complete, soulful, smooth performance of James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s World”.  Everyone else was pretty ordinary.  Christian music artist Jermaine Sellers had a spirited exchange with the judges and displayed a pretty significant amount of frustration.  Tim Urban won respect from Simon by making big improvements in his performance this week.

Tonight, Christian music artists Didi Benami, Lacey Brown and Michelle Delamor are joined by Lilly Scott, Katie Stevens, Siobhan Magnus, Haeley Vaughn, Paige Miles, Katelyn Epperly and, hopefully, Crystal BowersoxDidi Benami and Michelle Delamor look to be safe this week, but Lacey Brown needs a big improvement to stay in the running on American Idol Season 9.  Come on Lacey, show America your talent tonight!

Crystal Bowersox is on the stairs so it looks like she will try to make a go of it.  Ryan interviews her and it looks like she may be the first one up.  Randy says the guys were hot last night.  Wow, Randy are you from Canada?

So we do start with Crystal Bowersox, who is a twin.  Last week she did “Hand In Pocket” and tonight we find out she performs with trinkets in pocket.  Tonight she is doing a gospel take on CCR’s “As Long As I Can Sing The Light”  I like the organ intro and she blasts the opening.  Okay we are getting the full Janis Joplin treatment.  Is she the best singer on American Idol Season 9?  This is the best of the season. If I didn’t have a computer in my lap I would give her a standing ovation. Randy calls her the truth and he loves the truth.  Ellen says amazing.  Kara is right, she hit a new level.  Simon is almost groveling and calls her a really serious artist.  Buy this song.  I will.

16 year old Haeley Vaughn is going to sing “The Climb” by Mylie Cyrus. She is so 16. Haeley Vaughn has no mean face.  Maybe Simon can give her lessons.  Her singing is pretty shakey,  Her voice is powerful but all over the place.  Is she flat, is she sharp.  Yes she is.  Kind of made me cringe. Randy calls it excruciating.  Kara says she needs a year of strengthening her singing talent.  So why did they bring her onto the show?  Ryan clashes with Simon and ugly looks ensue.

Christian music artist Lacey Brown gets a second chance. Come on Lacey prove to us that you are made to do this.  Tonight she is taking on Kara’s suggestion and do “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None The Richer.  She has a really fragile voice, in a good way. I am not sure I like the bopping take on the song, but she is singing well and showing much more of her talent this week.  Good job, Lacey. Randy says it was not special, but Ellen thinks it was adorable.  Simon thinks she is competing but is not showcasing herself as an artist.

Katie Stevens is up next.  Katie speaks six languages, but only to ask for a kiss. She is singing “Put Your Records On” by Corine Bailey Rae.  This song is in her wheel house.  The only thing I don’t like about it is that Katie can really belt so I would like to hear that pretty soon.  That was pretty good.  I have no idea what Randy just said.  I don’t think the judges know what to make of her performance.  Kara and Simon are frustrated.  Katie sing Aretha Franklin.  Good advice Simon, ‘tell us what type of artist you want to be”.

Christian music artist Didi Benami is doing Bill Withers, one of my favorite performers. Didi prays before she performs and she meows.  It works if you see it.  She is doing “Lean On Me”.  This is something totally different for Didi.  This is sort of a jazz take on this song.  Okay, Didi does not have much soul, but this a sort of pleading, compelling take on the song.  It was different.  I like it? Randy hates the song choice.  Ellen doesn’t like it either. Good comments Kara.  If you want to do the song, do your interpretation of the song.  Simon hated it.  I liked it more than the judges.  Didi Benami was visibly upset by the judges comments.

Michelle Delamor is doing a Creed song?  This should be interesting.  She is singing “Arms Wide Open”.  Michelle is a children’s choir teacher at church.  Michelle also prays before her performances.  This is a rock song?  I really like her take on this.  She struggles a little in the middle, but she makes this song over in her own style.  Her voice is not as big as you think it should be. The judges are saying the same thing over and over.  Ellen is right that it almost worked.  Kara calls it her favorite performance of Michelle’s for the entire season. Simon loved it as well.  They overlooked the technical difficulties and loved the risk.

Lilly Scott doesn’t pray before she sings she uses throat spray. She is singing Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”. She does another offbeat jazzy take on the song, but is that an honest interpretation of the song.   I don’t believe she understands the meaning of the song and she is certainly not communicating the meaning.  Technically good, but I did not really like it.  The judges love it.  I mean gushing all over themselves love it.  I may be developing an Adam Lambert relationship with Lilly Scott. Read last year’s blogs to understand the last comment.

Katelyn Epperly is going to take her American Idol Season 9 winnings and open a studio. She is singing “The Scientist” by Coldplay and she is behind the piano, a big white piano.  This performance is mesmerizing.  Is there any doubt that this song has some hidden meaning for her.  You can see her pain.  Great singing with a big husky voice.  That was awesome.  Shut-up Randy, do you even want to be here tonight?  What is wrong with you judges?  That was not too slow.  Is Kara the best judge this year?  Why can’t she be versatile, Kara?  Simon says she was corny?  I thought she was great.

HOW DO YOU TURN OFF YOUR LIGHTS WITH YOUR IPHONE?  IT IS DRIVING ME CRAZY!!

Paige Miles colors in coloring books.  Is she a trend setter? She is singing “Walk Away” by Kelly Clarkson.  She is right, this pace of song suits her and Simon was right last week.  She can really sing.   To have so little experience she is very comfortable on stage.  She is strong. Daaaaaang, girl. I think you could say she owned that performance.  I am not discussing Randy’s comments any more.  Lalalalala (fingers in my ears).  Ellen?  She loved it and comments on how much fun she had with the song.  Kara does not think she connected with the meaning of the song but liked it.

It is amazing how wrong the judges are tonight.  I pretty much have disagreed with their overall assessment of every performance.

Siobhan Magnus let her mohawk grow out, thank goodness. She is singing “Think” by Aretha Franklin.  Well, she is going big this week.   She sings it okay, if you forget Aretha, but I am wondering why she is singing this song.  It doesn’t connect for me.  But she does show off her pipes.  The judges love it with a capital L.

The ladies were much, much better tonight than the guys.  Tonight makes Simon look like a prophet.  Crystal Bowersox took the night but all the girls were good tonight.

American Idol Season 9 Top 24 Results Live Blog

So the critics are calling this the worst group of American Idol contestants ever.  I must admit the American Idol Season 9 started with a thud.  The performances were unimaginative at best, the sound was unprofessional and the judges seemed tired and bored.  Let’s give these aspiring artists a few more weeks before destroying their careers.  I will admit that I am pretty ticked-off about the last two nights.  I just gave up four hours of women’s bobsled, ice dancing and that thing where skiers slide up a hill and flip around in the air.  I will never get that back.

Tonight we find out who were the worst of the American Idol Season 9 performers, four will go home tonight.  At One21music we follow the Christian music artists competing on American Idol Season 9.  Seven Christian music artists are awaiting their fate tonight.  Michael Lynche, Didi Benami, Tim Urban, Lacey Brown, Michelle Delamor,  Jermiane Sellers and Ashley Rodriguez are on the block.  We hope all of them get another chance but I am worried about Tim Urban, Lacey Brown and Jermaine Sellers.

It must be exceedingly frustrating to go home tonight.  You cannot blame anyone but yourself but the performers must feel that they really did not get a chance to fully show what they can do.  Everyone can have a bad performance and you cannot judge a performer by any one good or bad performance.  No matter who goes home, I will feel bad for them.

And we are live on American Idol Season 9!  24 million people voted and Kris Allen will perform.  Ryan is right to point out that it is usually rough at this point of the season.

The Top 24 perform a group number, but I missed the song title and I don’t recognize it.  Is it “American Boy”?  Not a bad song, jazzy, and they are doing pretty well with it.  We do find out the Didi Benami cannot dance, she becomes more like Brooke White every time we see her.  My wife just informed me that the song was made popular by Estelle.

Let’s get started sending some girls home. Siobhan Magnus is safe.  Haeley Vaughn is safe.  Michelle Delamor must be safe and she is safe.  Katelyn Epperly sang “Oh Darling” and she is safe.  Uh oh, Katie Stevens and Janelle Wheeler are on the block.  It must be Janelle.  Yep, Janelle Wheeler goes home.  The Heart bomb blows up in her face. She seems to take it well.  Way to leave with dignity.

We get an Allison Iraheta sighting.  I can’t wait. She is singing her new single “Scars”.  This is an okay song, especially by American Idol alumni standards.  Not the best I have heard her sing, but I like Allison.

Christian music artists Didi Benami, Lacey Brown and Ashley Rodriquez remain on the block with Crystal Bowersox, Paige Miles and Lilly Scott.  I am worried about Lacey Brown I think it is either her or Paige Miles.

We jump right into the eliminations again.  Paige Miles is up and she stays another week, it is either Lacey or a surprise.  Lacey Brown is back for another week.  Who will be the surprise?  Lilly Scott is back for another week.  I think it will be Ashley Rodriguez is going home.  Crystal Bowersox is safe and we are down to Ashley and Didi BenamiAshley Rodriquez goes home.  What a surprise!  She is surprised and a little mad and struggling to hold it together.  So sad, our first Christian music artist goes home.  Good luck Ashley!

It is interesting that similar types are the first to be eliminated.  One of three blonde folk pop singers, Janelle Wheeler.  One of three R&B singers, Ashley Rodriguez goes home.  It is not fair but both of them split a voting block.

Now the guys are up and we start with Michael Lynche and he is safe. John Park survives a poor performance.  Aaron Kelly is surely safe and so he is.  Toddrick Hall took a big risk last night and he survives.  Tim Urban and Joe Munoz are side by side.  Christian music artist Tim Urban is safe.  Wow, he is in shock!  I can’t believe that Tim survived, I am so happy.  You get one more chance to prove Simon wrong.  Sorry Joe Munoz, I liked you.

After Kris Allen performs, Christian music artist Jermaine Sellers is on the hot seat with Casey James, Andy Garcia, Alex Lambert, Lee Dewyze and the bathrobe boy Tyler Grady.  I think Alex Lambert leaves us from that group but Jermaine Sellers could be a surprise departure tonight.  I hope not, I think he has more to bring than he showed last night.

After a one year break Idol Gives Back returns in April, but they are starting the focus with a report from Haiti by Kris Allen.  Kris’s performance is available in iTunes and all proceeds go to Haiti relief and you can donate online as well.  Kris is interpreting “Let It Be”.  Do you remember why you loved him so much last year?  Do you remember why you voted for him.  Go to iTunes and download this song.  Go to AmericanIdol.com and donate.  Great, great song performed well by last year’s American Idol.

Time to finish this agony.  Starting with Casey James and he is safe to be terrorized by Kara for another week.  Jermaine Sellers is safe for another week, yeah!  All of the Christian guys are through. Lee Dewyze is safe, as is Andy Garcia.  It is down to Alex Lambert and Tyler Grady.  It could be Tyler but I would be surprised.  I think Alex Lambert is going home but I am wrong.  Tyler Grady is going home.  What a surprise.  He is now criticizing the judges.  Bad form dude.

We finish the evening with a montage of the four who are going home.  I really disagree with America about Ashley and I am shocked by Tyler’s exit.

Check back this weekend and I will preview next week’s show and then we will be here live blogging all three of next week’s shows of American Idol Season 9.

American Idol Season 9 Top 12 Girls Live Blog

Well here we are again.  It is time for America to vote and we are here live blogging the performances of the American Idol Season 9 Top 12 Girls.  One 21 music features the Christian music artists performing on Season 9 of American Idol.

Tonight, American Idol Season 9 features four Christian music artists: Didi Benami, Lacey Brown, Ashley Rodriguez and Michelle Delomor.  To learn more about these American Idol Season 9 Christian music artists see our articles on American Idol Season 9

The Christian music performers will be joined tonight by eight other American Idol Season 9 hopefuls: Siobhan, Magnus, Paige Miles, Lillly Scott, Crystal Bowersox, Haeley Vaughn, Janell Wheeler, Katelyn Epperly and Katie Stevens.

As we discussed in our American Idol Season 9 Top 24 preview we expect Katie Stevens to be a strong conternder all season and we would not be surprised if Haeley Vaughn and Siobhan Magnus struggle tonight.

A few changes for song selection in American Idol Season 9.  Contestant performances will be available for purchase and download exclusively on the iTunes Store (www.itunes.com) the day following the performances. And for the first time, beginning with the Top 12, American Idol Season 9 show themes will be revealed in advance on iTunes along with playlists of original songs by the original artists from which the contestants may choose and which fans can preview and download.

This week the American Idol season 9 Top 24 will perform songs from the Top 10 Hits of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  It is a little unclear to me if this means the overall Top 10 or the Top 10 from each chart.  Giving the American Idol Season 9 Top 24 only 10 songs to choose from seems a little limiting, but let’s watch together and see.  The next two hours should be fun.

So we meet the girls for the first time live. For the next three weeks the guys and girls are going to perform seperately, we will eliminate two guys and two girls each week until we get to American Idol Season 9′s Top 12.  The judges pontificate a little and we get to hear Ellen start to create her own set of catch phrases.  She accuses Simon of being a bit of a groper and she has tape to support her case.

Paige Miles leads off.  We don’t know her very well.  She is a pre-school teacher from Houston by way of Naples, Florida.  She is singing an oldie “All Right Now” by Free.  Not a very good song for her. She can sing well and does a pretty good job, not great.  Simon thinks she has the best voice but did not like the song.  Kara disagrees, she thinks it was brilliant. They all agree she has a huge voice.

Christian music artist Ashley Rodriguez, our Berklee School of Music student from Boston,  is performing “Happy” by Leona Lewis.  Wow!  When she let’s loose she blows us away.  The song is kind of lame and doesn’t show her skills very well.  I would have liked her more if she had done a more soulful song.  Kara compares Leona Lewis to Mariah Carey?  The judges think she did a good job but it did not show her skills very well.  They want her to step out of her comfort zone and take a risk. Simon thinks she is going backwards.  I agree with them.

Janell Wheeler is up next.  She is a flower child from Florida.  We are still trying to figure out her faith background. Tonight she is singing Heart’s “What About Love”.  Well, she jumps into deep water right away and she does not really have the voice to sing this song.  She cannot keep in tune.  She may be in trouble tonight.  The judges are about to pounce.  Randy did not like the song choice. Ellen liked it, I don’t know why.  Simon says she delivered only 65%, but the judges are very supportive.

I like the pace of the show.  I am glad they decided to go two hours.  The singers have time to sing and the judges have time to judge.  So far so good.

Now we learn about indie rocker, jazz crooner Lilly Scott.  We learn that she was homeless when she auditioned for American Idol Season 9. Interesting song choice.  She is singing The Beatles’ “Fixing A Hole.”  Her arrangement is great but is she off key?  She is pretty good but 10 weeks of these affected performances will get a little old.  Ellen loves it, the song choice, the arrangement, the voice and the performance.   Simon calls it the best so far.  Kara calls her believable and at ease.

I think the judges have been very good tonight, so far.  Ashley and Janelle really reached to the limits of their abilities and it limited their creativity.  Paige and Lilly chose off beat songs and delivered interesting interpretations.

Katelyn Epperly has the reputation as a formidable and intimidating musician.  She is singing “Oh Darling” by the the Beatles in a country style.  I like her voice but I don’t like the arrangement and I don’t like her look tonight.   Simon called it messy and screamy but interesting. Kara says she knows her voice very well and uses it to good effect.  Kara likes her with a more natural look.  Randy likes her tone and melody.

Haeley Vaughn is a sixteen year country singer.  We are trying to figure out her faith background.  She pierced her nose when she went to Hollywood and here she is with nose diamond in tow.  She is doing a very slow, interesting version of The Beatles “I Want To Hold Your Hand”.  I may have underestimated Miss Vaughn. This is quirky and very well done.  Kara points out the technical problems, but embraces her magnetism. Ellen loves her stage presence and enjoyed the performance.  Simon thinks it was terrible.

One hour in and we are through six performances.  Good pace for the show.  I think Ellen is showing her weakness as a judge.  She has not had any criticism at all.

Christian music artist Lacey Brown is up.  She made it to Hollywood last year, but not this far. Lacey is singing Fleetwood Mac‘s “Landslide”.  It starts a little rough trying to channel Stevie Nicks.  I don’t know, it is hard to push through the back-up singers.  Not great Lacey, I hope you aren’t in trouble.  Randy thought it was terrible.  Ellen thinks she is better than that.  Simon was depressed.

Two Christian music artists next, Michelle Delamor and Didi Benami.

Michelle Delamor is a gospel singer and fashion hopeful from Florida.  She is singing Fallin’ by Alicia Keys.  This is a big risky song to sing.  She does not stumble over the start, like many do.  She pulls it off, but it is a pale comparison to the original.  Ellen says it was fantastic and it seemed easy for her. Simon says it was close to the original but had no wow moment.  Kara was a little more critical saying it missed in a few spots.  Randy wants to see something new.

Didi Benami is a Belmont College who met her muse at this Christian music college only to see her die in a car accident.  She is singing “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson.  A very interesting 60′s jazz take on this song.  I don’t know it so it may be an exact copy of the original, but it is very different from what we heard from her in Hollywood.  Simon thinks she sounds like a lot of other singers.  He is missing her spark.  Kara liked her creativity with the song.  Randy thinks there is no star factor.  Even Ellen agrees that the song was underwhelming.

Siobhan Magnus is an experimental rocker, glass blowing apprentice from Cape Cod. She is singing Wicked Game from Chris Isaaks.  The mix is horrible.  We cannot even hear the band and she needs the band.  This is a pale, karaoke version of this song.  There is no danger in this dangerous song.  Kara liked it?  Randy thought it was a weak song choice.  Ellen really loved it.  Simon thought it was a bad song choice.

Bluesy, indie rocker Crystal Bowersox is a hardworking professional musician from Ohio.  She is singing “Hand in My Pocket” from Alanis Morissette.  It has been a while since I heard this song but Crytstal is mesmerizing.  This is pretty brilliant.  She is strong and original.  Randy loves her honesty as a performer. Ellen thinks we are lucky she decided to audition.  Simon thinks she is not original.  Kara thinks she was good, but can be great.

We end the evening with 17 year-old Katie Stevens singing Michael Buble’s “Feeling Good”.  This young lady is assured and talented.  She is a little stiff on stage and this is not the best song for her voice,  However, it is a statement of her demeanor.  She announces that she is here to win.  Ellen thinks it was conservative and wants to her to be more modern.  Simon agrees and called it annoying.  Kara thinks she was surprisingly pitchy.  Randy thinks she was pushing too hard.

Most of the ladies were creative , but no one blew me away tonight.  Join us tomorrow night when the American Idol Season 9 Top 12 guys perform live.

American Idol Seaon 9 Goes Live

American Idol Season 9 goes live this week with a bang and One21music will be there live blogging the journey of this year’s Top 24 performers.  Tuesday night we have a two hour extravaganza of the the Top 12 girls performing live for the first time on American Idol Season 9.  That is followed on Wednesday night with another two hours as the Top 12 guys deliver their first live performances.  Then on Thursday, American Idol Season 9 the contestants hear their first results from America when two girls and two guys are eliminated.  Join us for our live reactions to the performances and the results.

I will set the Top 24 and share a few thoughts on how I think American Idol Season 9 will play out in a few minutes but first, let’s discuss the shift in the Top 24 that I noticed in the One21 live blog of the American Idol Season 9 Top 24 announcement.

Christian music artist Chris “orphan” Golightly was disqualified this week when a prodcution company contacted American Idol claiming that the had a recording contract with Golightly.  Chris Golightly claims the contract expired before he auditioned, but the damage was done.

Christian music artist Tim Urban was called on Tuesday afternoon to replace Chris Golightly.  We caught one small Tim Urban 2glimpse of Tim Urban in the first American Idol Season 9 Hollywood Week episode but we really have yet to hear him perform. Tim Urban is a hotel and restaurant singer from Duncanville, Texas who plays the Dallas/Ft Worth Christian music circuit with his band.  They have played iconic Dallas Christian music club The Door and Six Flags Over Texas. Tim Urban has been singing and playing the guitar since he was 13 years old, sings Christian music and says that he has never touched alcohol. Tim Urban and his nine siblings were home schooled by his mother.  It will be hard for Tim Urban to survive the first few weeks, but if he does, watch out.  He looks to be an American Idol Season 9 contestant that teenage girls will quickly fall in love with.

Now that is all settled, American Idol’s Season 9 Top 24 features 7 Christian music performers, a few more we are still researching.

Christian Music Performers on American Idol Season 9

Ashley Rodriguez
Jermaine Sellers
Lacey Brown
Michelle Delamor
Tim Urban
Michael “Mike” Lynche
Didi Benami

These Christian music artists are joined on American Idol Season 9 by these performers. If you know anything about the faith backgrounds of these aspiring artists please share.
Aaron Kelly
Alex Lambert
Andrew Garcia
Casey James
Crystal Bowersox
Haeley Vaughn
Janell Wheeler
John Park
Jose Munoz
Katelyn Epperly
Katie Stevens
Lee DeWyze
Lilly Scott
Paige Miles
Siobhan Magnus
Tyler Grady
Toddrick Hall

How Will Amercia respond to these American Idol Season 9 Contestants

As intimidating and the American Idol judges can be, you never know how these aspiring artists will respond to a live audience and a huge television viewership. However, based on what we have seen there are a few competitors I expect to contend for the title:

  • Christian music artist Michael Lynche has a huge presence on stage both physically and with his personality. He is very creative in his recorded music and is a great singer.
  • We discussed Christian music artist Tim Urban’s chance above.  His biggest drawback is his similarity to Kris Allen and David Cook.
  • Andrew Garcia has demonstrated the highest level of artistry through the American Idol Season 9 auditions and Hollywood Week.  His ability to arrange popular songs into his own style will excite the voting public deep into the season .
  • Katie Stevens looks like a winner to me.  She is young enough to connect with the teenage girl voting block, she appears to be extremely confident and she has as good a voice as I have seen on American Idol since Kelly Clarkson.

Four people will go home this week.  Based on what I have seen I think Haeley Vaughn, Siobhan Magnus, Toddrick Hall and Alex Lambert will not survive the week.

Join us Tuesday night at 8:00 est as we start the wild ride of American Idol Season 9 with two hours of musical revalations, forgotten lyrics and catty comments from the judges.

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.