Thursday, January 24, 2013

"Baton Rouge" audition

For the record, all those shots they are showing of "Baton Rouge"  are of New Orleans.  It's the New Orleans area.    Not sure if they actually filmed these auditions there or if they are using footage from 2 years ago.   Either way, it's just like them. Funny how they go out of their way to keep saying "Louisiana" and not either city.

So over this season.   Not only do they still have their same old tricks and ridiculousness, (editing, bogus audition process, blah blah)-- but they've added in the Diva Drama.

Post your comments and questions and I'll respond but otherwise I'm just going to go back to playing Slotomania Slot Machines on Facebook :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Well, for auditions anyway.  With Nikki and Mariah this is bound to be a trainwreck.

Here are my thoughts starting at the top of the show:

Romulicious?  WTF does that mean Nikki?
And Mariah is pissed that she could not have her own hat.    Sorry Mariah-- you wear evening gowns to take your kids to the Zoo--   are you really complaining about someone else being over dressed?   Hilarious.

Singer #1 - Despite the Italian guy singing Queen breaking up the cat fight,  he's ridiculous and full of himself.  He also seems like he showed up to the wrong place for Jersey Shore auditions.  Pass.

He has a point though about Mariah's song being the best contemporary one.   Would have been great for her to just LEAVE IT AT THAT and not chime in about how wonderful she is.  Then NM calls her a bitch, now they are cat-fighting.  Again.  Going to be a LONG night.  It's only like 7:05.

Keith Urban's hot Australian accent can't save us from this mess.
I swear, I watch this show to hear people SING (and occasionally, yes, not so well)-- but we haven't seen a single singer !

American Bitch-ol?
There's fake British accents, makeup assistants, misquoted song lyrics, inquisitions about movie quotes, and just... this is crazy.

Singer #2 - Some Super Mariah Fan steps up (she's obviously not sane, one strike against her).  But she's gorgeous and underdressed to the point of being "cool".  It is funny how Mariah pretends to remember her.  She sings the song EXACTLY how Mimi would have, and Mimi nods in agreement with a little bit of "I'm responsible for that".   7/10

Singers 3, 4, 5 are a pretty boy, a Snooky look alike, and someone so boring I can't remember him.  But all have falsetto and all are through!

Singer 6: ASIAN BIEBER!     YES!!!  ASIAN BIEBER!!!!!!!!   I am so exited by this!!!!
If he's so inspired by Biebs YouTube story, he should make a YouTube video.  Duh.
15.  Poor kid.  He's only 15 and already growing earphones out of his neck.   I'd definitely rather still be a lonely girl after that.  Keith Urban is priceless.    He needs to work on his dance moves-- at least William Hung had good moves.  But I do love his Superman that looks like he's an angry horse.  Obviously not through.  5/10 for entertainment factor.  Nikki also hits on him.  She gives him a really cool speech too about being himself.  Makes me like her even more!

*** Behind the scenes note:   FAKE SEACREST was used in this scene-- notice you never ever see Ryan, only hearing someone ask questions from off camera?

Ugh.  Going to eat dinner or something, take a break.  This is boring!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Golden Tickets!

 Congratulations to all of you who have completed auditions so far this season!

I have been receiving e-mails left and right from those of you who are getting golden tickets!   Here's an excerpt from someone today who got a golden ticket in Houston:

okay, so I've been reading your blog
 I actually got a golden ticket today in Houston
 You said "stars" are special, if there is a star it means something
 I also got a number "2" on the top
 When I walked into the winner's circle room, the first table looked at my ticket and said "you're a 2, you're going to get a surprise"
 I asked, "what?"
 and got
 "trust us it's a good thing"
So, my question for all of you.... what kind of marks have you gotten on your Golden Tickets?   Y, N, K's?   or 1s and 2s?  or both?    Start submitting pictures of your tickets (I will black out your name and contestant number) to  or make comments on this post about what you got. Hopefully we will figure it out!  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Audition tips

I've been getting a lot of e-mails from you guys asking for audition tips...  and they are the same questions over and over (I don't mind)... so here are a few answers to them, and I will try to update this when I can with more Q & A.

1.  Should I sleep over / camp-out in line?
      NO.   There is no advantage to doing this.  Worst case scenario, you'll end up sick, or hoarse, and tired and unable to perform.  Best case scenario, you'll make the "front of line" shot (10 seconds of airtime) and will get to sit inside 20-30 minutes earlier than other people.   What's better, 20-30 minutes of A/C or 6-8 hours of A/C by sleeping at home/hotel the night before?  I got there at 6:30 on ticket day and 4:30 on audition day and it was more than sufficient.

2.   Any other tips for camping out in line?
     YES!   Bring things to entertain you (duh)... but things that are easy to move.  I brought cards and board games and it was awful because I kept having to pick up and scoot when the line was moving.  Try things like iPads and headphones and guitars.  

3.  Any other tips?
   YES!  They did not allow in outside food or drink (because the arena sells it to you) but it's all overpriced and crap and not foods for singers (ie, they sell nachos with cheese and carbonated beverages, and not tea and bananas).    So, I snuck in food inside a shoe box (because most contestants bring an extra pair of non-comfy shoes for the audition, right?)  I put a few bottles of water, a banana, some apple sauce, and some nuts inside the shoe box and covered it up with the tissue paper that comes inside the shoe box.  When they searched my bag, they didn't see it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I'm still here...

You've probably all noticed that I stopped posting regularly, and I apologize for that.  Life got in the way (I had that other TV show to do, nope, I still can't mention which one for another 120 days or more)... and I started my own company.  Frankly though, I was just really bored with American Idol once we got to the Top 12 or so.  I started blogging about the contestants, but 2-3 shows a week X a couple of hours a show really starts wearing on you after awhile.  It was a full-time job, and honestly American Idol doesn't mean that much to me (it shouldn't mean that much to anyone, minus contestants).  It's really sad how they've turned something that should be 8 or 9  1-hour episodes into about 120 hours of television watching, when 45% of it is commercials, advertisements, music videos, guest appearances, etc.  I just got sick of it.

With that said, I am still around and I'm loving that people are still reading this blog and writing to me.  I get several e-mails a day... keep them coming!  I love hearing about all of you and your children and your spouses and your auditioning experiences.  If there is anything you want to know, just ask-- and as auditions start approaching again this summer, eventually I'll share some of your experiences with others as well.  So for now, just send in the questions, prepare for your auditions (make sure you REALLY want to do this),  and be the best you can be.  And for goodness sake, when you go to the audition make sure you note which letter they put by your contestant number (and tell me if I'm right-- I'm sure I am!)

Until then, good luck!  I'll post here again when I have something else to say!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Top 13 Performances Part 1

We're in and the crowd is doing the wave.  If someone was in this audience you HAVE to tell me how many times / how long you had to practice that to get it right!

Seacrest is once again wearing the same black suit with the same black skinny tie.  Is he like Regis?  Did he start his own trademarked menswear line or something?  Boring!

The judges all look surprisingly normal and like themselves.  They're also very well coordinated in black and white.  Randy has the typical "I never got to be a letterman in high-school so I'm wearing that 50s letter sweater now",   J-Lo has a precious black and white polka dot dress on, and Steven Tyler has a white button down with a black blazer and jeans.  He looks very rockstar.

We hear mention of J.Lo's single for the 1,000th time and it's time to meet the top 13.

The theme is "Pick a song by your own personal idol"  and the mentor is Jimmy Iveen from Interscope and his producers.  I'm pretty sure this is the guy who was pretty rude to most during Beatles / Vegas week.  I don't know why he's famous.

The performances:

Lauren Alaina -  Any Man of Mine, Shania Twain
She started off a little shaky and appeared nervous and the arrangement was very karaoke-- but she pulled it together quickly and impressed as always with her personality, confidence, and control.   A few notes were shaky and on the sharp side, but very very few considering the style she was singing.  Pros:  She has the confidence of a pro and acted as if she was already famous, giving her first concert with winks and waves and smiles and "Thank yous" at the end.  Cons are the same!   The stylist DEFINITELY got to her, because she's not that tacky little girl with a gift card to the Juniors department anymore-- she looked gorgeous and age-appropriate in a pale turquoise chiffon blouse with metallic accents and flutter sleeves and black stretch pants.
My Scores-  Vocals - 8    Outfit - 8.5    Confidence - 10  
Randy Jackson-  You sang it well but your voice is so big we really want something that lets you shine
Jennifer Lopez- You always sound so amazing and you don't have to try-- but now we need high-gear.  You're super comfortable but now it's time,  the competition starts today.
Steven Tyler-  Loves that song but wishes it was just a little more kick-ass

Casey Abrams - Get by with a little help from my friends, Joe Cocker
I don't usually point out things from the reel, but Casey Abrams flat out called Joe Cocker unattractive (just like him)  and I thought that was hilarious.  Bonus points for that.  It's at this point that I realize each contestant has their own separate backup singers?  Lauren Alaina had two twin-blonde looking girls and Casey has a whole choir with him.    He sings it very solidly, even makes it a little different from the original, and I definitely felt something.  There was a whole lot of screaming and howling, but he pulled it off.   He's wearing his typical church casual-shirt pant outfit (all in black with white undershirt)...  and you wouldn't give him a second look if you saw him on the street.  But I guess that's part of his charm?  Overall it was a great performance, but it's not going to be something we'll remember next season or even 4 weeks from now.

My Scores-  Vocals - 9    Outfit - 7    Confidence - 10  
Randy Jackson-  (Idol remix lame quote again) -  Always excited to see what you're going to do.  Unbelievable & exciting, hit all the notes, always.   Listening to you is fun.  Loved it.
Jennifer Lopez-   We go by what we feel and you are somebody important.  Blew me away.
Steven Tyler-  You are a rainbow of talent, man.  You never cease to amaze.  You are a plethora of passion.

Ashthon Jones - When You Tell Me That You Love Me, Diana Ross  (Ashton?  Ashthon?) 
This could have been really good but I was pretty unimpressed.  She made it modern sounding, which was good, but most of that came from the arrangement and backup singers, and not her own voice.  The strong parts were strong, and I didn't notice anything with the high-note that she kept complaining about in the tape,  but what I did notice were that all of the "breathy" notes sounded horrible.  I don't know if she was too close to the mic, or the mic was malfunctioning,  or if she was just flat in them, but it was really really bad.  I'm curious to know if it sounded that way on set.   Oh, and her dress would have been nice, but it was a single piece of silver satin.  NOT GOOD to wear a single piece of satin when you are a full-figured girl!  There goes my Tyra Banks comparison!    A shame, all around.
My Scores-  Vocals - 6.5    Outfit - 6.5  Confidence - 7  

Randy Jackson-  Little bit of a safe move but you paid attention to the notes and pulled yourself in when you got sharp or flat.  I liked it.
Jennifer Lopez-  You're elegant up there and are a professional-  there were moments where it was getting away from you and you kept your composure.  You're awesome.
Steven Tyler-  There's a lot more in there that you're showing us and you're going to. I have confidence.

Were those backhanded compliments?  Or insults?  I'm not sure!   The judges are making little sense.

Paul McDonald-  Ryan Adams (with an R, love it) - Come Pick Me Up
I liked the Rod Stewart does Ryan Adams thing,  he was very personable and talked to the crowd as always.   Quirky as usual wearing a red and black "Michael Jackson" jacket but looking like a bad cowboy otherwise, and doing his usual "I dance in circles"  moves.  I like this guy (I don't dislike him), but I don't think he deserves the credit he gets.  He has a great quality to his voice.  That's all.   He has little else.  I don't think he'll make the top 3-4 but he'll be around for awhile.  There were a couple of moments where the song literally felt like it was getting away from him.  I think he focuses more on mood/stage presence than on singing.  He rides on his tonal quality and there's so much more he could do- like different arrangements that could rival Blake Lewis'.    He always leaves me thinking he's a slacker.  But very likeable!
My Scores-  Vocals - 7    Outfit - 8    Confidence - 9
Randy Jackson-  (More music plugs),  I get it, I hope America gets it, I'm a huge fan.
Jennifer Lopez-  You're so unique and you moved the crowd, but I hope America gets it. You're great.
Steven Tyler-  I love it so much it doesn't matter who's song you do your voice is so unique.  Pitchy, and nail it next time, but I love your voice.

On Seacrest impersonating Paul's dancing:   It needed to be done, but you were NOT very good at it.  You look even more ridiculous than he does, if that's possible!

Pia Toscano - Celine Dion, All By Myself
Personality very lacking in interview, and picks Celine Dion which is an instant confirmation that she has no personality.  Her voice is beautiful though-- very very recordable.   Her runs are super impressive in her quieter voice.  She has a lot of power but is obviously super nervous and shaky.  It's also exactly the same version as Celine's.  She's the kind of girl if you saw in a karaoke bar you'd stop dead in your tracks but it'd also be a karaoke bar.  A few missed notes but a good performance. The crowd loves it, but it's just a Miss America performance for me.  She is extremely beautiful, and looks stunning in a gold sequined one-shoulder mini-dress (with some sort of chiffon veil/tail coming out of the back that I could have done without), but she looks amazing.   Between the lacking personality and the exactly the way we're used to hearing them performances though, I don't think that will carry her to the winner's circle this year.
My Scores-  Vocals - 8    Outfit - 9   Confidence - 8
Randy Jackson-  Big 3 are Mariah, Whitney, Celine-- we always say don't tackle those if you can't do them, but you can hit these notes dead on.  Very hot, dope, cool performance.  (Hot & cool?  Come on, Randy!)
Jennifer Lopez-  We love you, you topped last week. There it is.  Really really beautiful.
Steven Tyler-  You polished that apple.  Happy International Woman's Day, you just slammed it.  (what the hell did he just say?)

James Durbin - Paul McCartney, Maybe I'm Amazed
People who pick Beatles/McCartney songs on Idol annoy me, I don't know-- they just do.  It's like they ride on the popularity of the song.   Not that I don't love the songs, I'm just saying.  But the producers seem genuinely impressed with him and try to make it different (not fair!  Isn't that CHEATING?  He would be crying if it were someone else doing that...  yes, I'm being sarcastic in a throwback to Hollywood week).    His "FREAK" sweatshirt also annoys me, and yes, I'm talking about the tape again.  Back to the performance:  He's wearing a white shirt, red vest, jeans, and lots and lots of jewelry. His hair is slicked back and it suddenly occurs to me that he reminds me of the villain dad in Kindergarten Cop.  Maybe that's part of the reason I don't like him.   He does kind of a screaming version of the song, but I have to say-- the tone of his voice is amazing.  The fact that he can get so high in pure tone, is amazing.  Maybe I'm amazed, finally, by James Durbin.  The performance was incredible and people will talk about it for sure.  I still don't like him very much as a person, and I think he's way too cocky, but it was a great song choice, well done,  done differently than the original, made modern/rock, and there wasn't a missed note in the entire song.    Don't ever say I don't give credit where credit is due!
My Scores-  Vocals - 9.5   Outfit - 8.5    Confidence - 10 
Randy Jackson-  You're one of my favorites, you can do anything, James Durbin is dangerous, America!
Jennifer Lopez-  (I LOVE her laugh!!!!!)  You have such a quality, a melodic quality that is rare to rockers where you can actually sing.
Steven Tyler-  You have taken everything you've ever felt and kicked it into the middle of next week! (is he on drugs?)  so good!  
* He asked for more applause a few times after he was done so negative .5 points for that!

Haley Reinhart - Blue, LeAnn Rimes
Her hair and dress (dark navy, very revealing in the bust) were amazing.  That's sadly all that was amazing.  Her performance was EXACTLY like LeAnn's, and even her hand motions reminded me of an 8 year old singing it at a country fair.  It was great, but nothing different.  At all.   Her tone made it slightly cool but again, karaoke. She better work harder if she wants to stay around.  
My Scores-  Vocals - 7   Outfit - 9    Confidence - 8
Randy Jackson-  Good parts: you can do a lot of different types of music  Bad:  It was boring and sleepy.
Jennifer Lopez- You do things with your voice that are so diverse. Good job.
Steven Tyler-  If you listen closely you can hear America roaring (???) such a great job, so so fine
* She kept talking over Randy so -1 for that.  Over and over and over again.  Annoying!

Stay Tuned for part 2!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Top 13

So, I picked 10 or 11 of the Top 13... not too bad, right?
Sad about Brett & Julie, I thought they had so much more in them-- especially for Brett, because he didn't have a bad performance the other night.  It's too bad.   Not too thrilled about Scotty McCreery or Jacob Lusk, either, but I think we got a really good melting pot going on.

4 of my 5 Top 5 picks are still alive also, so I think I'm pretty accurate there, as well.  I was just really off about Brett.  

Your Top 13:

  • Scotty McCreery
  • Jacob Lusk
  • Casey Abrams
  • Paul McDonald
  • James Durbin
  • Pia Toscano
  • Lauren Alaina
  • Karen Rodriguez
  • Thia Megia
  • Haley Reinhart
  • Ashthon Jones
  • Stefano Langone
  • Naima Adedapo

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Top 12 Predictions

Let's look at the Top 24 (and a recap of the scores I gave them):

Pia Toscano: 27.5
Lauren Alaina: 27
Naima Adedapo: 26
Haley Reinhart: 25
Thia Megia: 25
Lauren Turner: 24
Rachel Zevida: 24
Julie Zorrilla: 24
Ashton Jones: 23
Kendra Chantelle: 22
Karen Rodriguez: 17
Tatynisa Wilson:  13

Brett Loewenstern - 28
Casey Abrams - 26
Stefano Langone - 25
Jovany Barreto - 24
Paul McDonald - 23
Jacob Lusk - 23
Tim Halperin - 23
Robbie Rosen - 22.5
Clint Gamboa - 19
James Durbin - 19
Jordan Dorsey - 15

The Top 12, will I think be:

Pia Toscano
Lauren Alaina
Naima Adedapo
Julie Zorrilla
Karen Rodriguez
I'm torn for 6th between Ashton Jones and Haley Reinhart.  I prefer Ashton but think Haley will take it.
I don't believe Karen Rodriguez deserves to be there but I think she will.
I think Julie might be at risk but I'm hoping America gives her another shot.

Casey Abrams
Brett Loewenstern
Stefano Langone  (likely will take the Jovany vote)
Paul McDonald or Jacob Lusk
James Durbin I do not think deserves to be there, but I think he will sadly end up there
Torn for 6th between Robbie Rosen, Tim Halperin, and Clint Gamboa.  I can't stand Clint Gamboa but I think he might have a better shot at making it than the other two.  I'd pick Robbie Rosen of the three.

I think this is a pretty good guess at the Top 12,  I'm usually way more accurate towards the end (which one or two will be sent home as opposed to massive cuts), because you never know with a huge vote/cut like this which votes will be taken away by which other contestants.  But, It's a pretty good guess.

If I had MY choice, the Top 12 would be:  Brett, Casey, Stefano, Tim, Robbie, Paul, Pia, Lauren A., Naima, Lauren T., Ashton, and Julie, but we can't all get exactly what we want all the time.

Curious to see what wins out-- my personal choices or what I think is going to happen.

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Oh, and just for a bonus...   here's my projected Top 5 (at this moment):  Casey, Brett,  Pia, Lauren, Naima


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Top 12 Ladies - Cocktail Dress anyone??

Okay, it's time for the 12 Ladies...

(My girl at TopIdolBlog wrote that this week was like hell week for AI bloggers, and boy was she right!  2 hours down, 4 more to go.. countless hours writing and discussing.  Come on, Top 10!)

Judges Outfits: (excuse my outfit talk-- I'm a fashion blogger as well- at least I'm warning you in advance so you can avoid it).   J Lo is wearing a ravishing silver dress, with silver or white thigh-high boots.   Not sure if I love the combination.   She always knows how to take a really really expensive look and make it look like it's on a hooker in the Bronx.  But I digress.  Randy Jackson has a typical Argyle sweater and funky glasses on and Steven Tyler has his usual "is he homeless or is he a rockstar?" vibe.   Seacrest has his usual Jeffrey Winger suit vibe going.

If last night was the night for Steven Tyler to curse, tonight is the night for Randy Jackson to talk with inexplicable pauses between his sentences.  Is he pausing for em-phas-is?  Is he out of breath?  I'm not really sure.  I just know when he talks with dramatic pauses it reminds me of when Lil C on SYTYCD tries to use big words.

Top 12 Ladies Overview:   All day long I've been chatting on Twitter with peeps about how the only girls we can remember are Lauren Alaina and Julie Zorrilla (can't wait to see what she's wearing), so I can't wait to see the 10 we forgot about already.   Tatynisa Wilson, Naima Adedapo, Kendra Chauntelle, Rachel Zevida, Karen Rodgriguez, Lauren Turner, Ashton Jones, Julie Zorilla, Hailey Reinhart, Thia Megia, Lauren Alaina, Pia Toscano.   Wow.  Okay, the guys were so easily broken down.  This is a little more difficult.  Since the beauty of American Idol is America's opinions (the average every day person) and not the experienced record exec or blogger,  I'm going to forget researching these guys again, and just give you what I know about them off the top of my head.  That's likely what you remember too, right?  (And hopefully you remember it from reading my blog!)

So, what I remember about them just from memory:
Tatynisa Wilson -  consistently messing up lyrics, only one or two shining moments, otherwise blah
Naima Adedapo -  stadium cleaner by day, Rasta superstar by night.  Very unique & has a real shot. Not my cup of tea, but I'm sure she's someone's spoon of caviar.  Or Red Stripe?
Kendra Chauntelle - pretty and sweet, soulful voice but utterly forgettable
Rachel Zevida - something about strict Jewish parents & a strict grandmother, has auditioned a bunch, really nerdy and used to dress strange.. that's all I remember
Karen Rodriguez - auditioned on Myspace, JLO really likes her & they keep making her sing J Lo songs
Lauren Turner - auditioned in New Orleans and never a standout to me but always surprises me somehow..  won't be the winner but don't count her out yet
Ashton Jones - the girl I call Tyra Banks,  (she looks like her!) pretty with a superstar personality, and a pretty good singer but not by any means the best
Julie Zorrilla - fashion queen, went to Idyllwild Arts Academy & prom with Casey, one of more talented and memorable females,  beautiful and plays great piano... one to watch
Hailey Reinhart - bubbly blonde girl, never really impressed me, don't remember that much else
Thia Megia - a 15 year old, unique vocals but seems to fold under pressure
Lauren Alaina - also 15, kind of the opposite, seems strong as a horse but kind of cookie cutter
Pia Toscano - really stood out in Hollywood group round, one of the older ones, don't remember much more about her-- she's also beautiful and Hispanic, which seems to be a trend here

I hate to say this, but with the boys I remembered douchebags, sweethearts, hotties, etc... the girls are different.  They are all beautiful.  They are all stylish (minus 1 or 2),  they are all equally as memorable as the other ones.  I do not believe in stereotypes but I will admit to you that I kind of refer to them as the bubbly blondes, the soul sisters, the Latinas, and the babies.    You can figure out quite easily which contestant falls in what category.

Pre-singing cut opinon:   Based on the above, it's tough, but if I had to pick 3 or 4 to definitely go, it would be Tatynisa, Kendra, Rachel, and Hailey.  Let's see if I'm right.

Ta-tynisa Wilson - Only Girl in the World - a Rihanna song, really?  It starts out really rough.  She also looks like Pebbles from the Flintsones went to Prom in the 80s.  Zebra strapless mini-dress with tulle flying out underneath and big white pearls around her neck. Complete with ankle socks with her stripper heels.  Not a fan.  After the backup singers came in and she got into the chorus, she got a little more comfortable, but it had really awful notes all the way through.   And I didn't want to look at her because her left breast was really close to falling out.  Awful awful awful awful.
My scores:  Singing:  5    Outfit: 3   Stage Presence:  5 
ST: song sang to you and you sang it beautifully, JL: she really brought it home.  RJ:  thought it was just okay.  That's my boy, Randy!   You and I usually don't agree but you are right on here.  It paled in comparison and didn't bring anything different, and pitch issues.  He also says she looks hot which makes me realize I'm dead on about her awful outfit.

Naima Adedapo - Seacrest loves her Big Bird dress, I have to say it's not my thing but it is great on her.  I will not critique any of her fashions from here on out because she's just too original in that way- it's like trying to rate types of human food when you're a vampire.  I love that she does her own thing. But I digress.  She sings Summertime which is a pretty big Idol risk.  The jazzy arrangement makes me really really nervous.   But, she opens up and NAILS IT.   I've never been a fan of hers, she's not my thing, but this was pleasantly surprising.  She owned the stage, was comfortable, made jokes, even moved to the judges and around the stage.  She did jazzy, she did scat, she even did some Reggae in the middle of it, and it all fit perfectly with the song.  It was different.  My only critiques of her in this moment would be that a) I have no idea what kind of record she would make and if it would sell to the AI crowd, and b) she seems a little over indulgent at some spots, but goodness... it was a ray of sunshine (pun intended).
My Scores:  Vocals:  9    Outfit:  8   Stage Presence:  9
Judges:  JL (ooh they are rotating judges now) -  like an exotic flower in a rose garden (YEAH), RJ - it was a little loungy and not as good as Fantasia's (agreed) but he liked her stage presence (agreed),  ST - like early Ella Fitzgerald, new old-timey, what America needs, unbelievable.

Kendra Chantelle - Impossible? Christina Aguilera?  Wow,  I realized she had a soulful voice before, but, damn, I'm telling you, it was like Jennifer Hudson's voice came out of Rachel Zoe's body.  You know what I'm saying?  I actually had to stop from typing to watch it, really watch it, because I was mesmerized.   Her clothes were a little on the hooker/rocker side, which doesn't really mesh with the singing vibe-- it was a leather black/white bustier type thing with some chains, and black leather pants, but it wasn't that tacky or slutty per se, just not something I'd ever wear in public unless I planned on performing or dancing on a bar.   Performance wise she didn't move much but she really engaged, and looked gorgeous. It got a little cheesy toward the middle-end, but her end notes were amazing and pretty memorable.
My Scores:  Vocals: 9  Outfit: 6  Stage Presence: 7
Judges:  RJ - loved the vibrato, reminds him of Lauryn Hill, a little spotty notes, but liked it.  ST - always  looks forward to her and she did it again,  Style hot (which confirms what I said about HER outfit),  JL - she belongs here, but there is more in her.

Rachel Zevita - Fiona Apple's Criminal -  Whoa, has any girl  EVER stripped clothing on AI?  I have so much to process here!   One,  her ridiculous tie dye hippy one day / gothic corpse bride the next headpieces have completely disappeared.  Two, her hair is beautiful and straight- a first.  Three, she is in a gorgeous cocktail dress and heels. She looks stunning.  Four, she is singing Fiona Apple as if she were in a lounge and she just TOOK OFF CLOTHING.  What on EARTH is going on here?   The theatricality is really getting to me, throwing the mic stand down, the Fosse broadway moves,  and apparently it gets to her as well, because she actually almost drops an entire line of the lyrics.   Watch it back if you don't believe me, it was clear as day.    The pros:  she looks gorgeous and made one of my favorite songs new again.  The cons:  There are other shows for Broadway singers, go find one.   She looks like a grown up now, but still sings like a child.   She was nasal and flat in some moments, but overall it was a strong performance.  Audience loved it, and she succeeded in that people will talk about it tomorrow.
Scores:   Vocals:  7     Outfit:  9   Stage Presence:  8       + 1 for daring to change a song , -1 for turning AI into a cabaret show
Judges:  ST - too Broadway (yes!), that could be her niche, JL - how do you want America to see you? as a Broadway performer or as a recording artist?  amazing range but wishes she would have seen more  RJ - wasn't great, wasn't good, didn't work,  didn't even know who that was or recognize the song.
*Final thoughts,  she's clearly a drama queen but does a great job of not losing it and crying on stage.

Karen Rodriguez - Hero, Mariah Carey,  risky decision to sing Mariah, especially on the first night, sheesh.  Whoh, and she's singing it in Spanish now.  Seriously?  Haven't we had enough J Lo and Selena moments?  I admire her differences but this is not Latin American Idol.  I'm SURE she grabbed a great portion of the Latin American vote, maybe even stole a bunch from Julie Zorrilla.   I wish her notes were amazing, but it's really just a karaoke version (note for note) to Mariah's.  Just partly in Spanish.   Her dress is a teal blue pageant gown that makes me feel like I'm watching Miss America. or Miss Universe, in this case, I guess.
Scores:   Vocals:  5    Outfit:  6   Stage Presence:  6  
Judges:   JL - loves it, shocker, but she understood it all!  Loves the bilingual and that she showed her flavor (or does she mean JL's flavor),  RJ - liked that she made it her own (did she?),  liked the Spanish better, ST - definitely one of a kind, thinks she should sing it with Jacob Lusk
Clearly I'm the only one who did not like this, but I just thought it wasn't that great at all.

Lauren Turner - ??  I never realized how much she sounds like Christina Aguilera until now.  Once again she completely surprised me.  She's not as pretty as some of the other girls, but she definitely looked the part and showed up.   The song was some type of 50s or 60s song maybe, and she sang it really well.  I have nothing to compare it to, but I was entertained throughout and she impressed me at more than a few places in it.   It would have been nicer had she picked a more well known song so people could identify a little better with it and remember it, but it was a pretty solid performance.  Dress was a little sparkly silver & black cocktail number with black tights and shoes.  Perfect for this type of thing, it was very well suited for her as well.
Scores:  Vocals:  8   Outfit:  8  Stage Presence: 8   (solid as a rock)
Judges:  RJ - That's how you do it, loved the power, Amy Winehouse meets Florence & Machine, loves the bluesy soul, very nice, (**someone in the crowd at this moment yells WHO DAT and that makes me squeal with happiness, being from Louisiana myself.  Awesome***)  ST - spectacular, Lauren Turner meets Lauren Turner, finished the story.   JL - Thought it was great but she could have really given it more, don't hold back, get in the camera's face

Ashton Jones - (her tape reminds me time and time again how she dresses like Tyra Banks ALWAYS, I hope this is no exception tonight!).   Ooh, I'm right, she looks just like Tyra again!  ?? Not a song I recognize?   The outfit is a cute little denim bustier and black stretch pants.  Not the greatest but she definitely looks like a star or a model.   The song is an R&B song and it's pretty strong with some power but there are a lot of flat moments.   A surprising amount of flat moments.  And that's saying something because I don't even know the song.  Crowd loved it (they appear to love everything).
Scores:   Vocals:  6   Outfit:  7   Stage Presence:  9  
Judges:  ST - you go places with your smooth vocals,  JL - you have all the makings of a diva... Body, hair, moves, confidence (- that's what I've been saying!)  RJ - stage presence, great,  not a good song (exactly!  Why am I agreeing with ALL of the judges tonight?  So weird).   Ashton does a great impression of J Lo so she gets an extra +1 for that!

Julie Zorrilla - Kelly Clarkson, Breakaway -  Always risky to take on Kelly.  I'm quite surprised because Julie's strength to date has appeared to be in her quiet piano playing endeavors.  Mixed feelings on this one, and I wanted so badly for her to continue to be my favorite.  Let's start with the outfit.  She's gorgeous, she's glamourous, she's freshly tanned, and she's wearing an absolutely beautiful light pink or cream strapless tulle cocktail dress with matching shoes.   Style icon.  This girl was born to be famous, and it's hard for me to imagine a Colombian refugee from looking at her Sex and the City ensembles.   Now for the singing-  it was really rough.  I appreciate that she changed up the song and made it her own, and she made some great choices, but there were some pitch problems especially in the higher registers.  It almost sounded like she was either out of range or recovering from illness.   Had I just seen her somewhere singing I would have never said "you should go on American Idol'-  I would have said something like "you should be on TV or in movies".   Take that how you will.
(Gossip: if you notice NONE of the Idol girls stood up for her, they'd be standing for everyone... snub!)
Scores:  Singing:  6    Outfit:  10    Stage Presence:  8
Judges:  JL - liked it, not the best thing from her, not from the heart, RJ - loves the song, but she didn't bring anything different, not nearly as good as Kelly Clarkson's, didn't show herself in the best light, ST - wrong song for her, should be up a couple of keys (up?)

Haley Reinhart -  like a Niki Taylor with a Bronx accent -   Alicia Keys' Fallin' -  Wow.  Starts strong, ends strong,  nails it in the middle.   Perfect song for her-- she has a very soulful voice but there's a little rasp there that makes it just a tad different.   The only thing I don't like about her is that she's so over indulgent sometimes and she does the strangest mouth movements and just odd things (Steven Tyler-esque, really) but I guess it works for her.  It's just going to annoy me.  She's also got the strangest nasally/accent/something.  I also thought she was ready to bust out of her black strapless cocktail dress (with a gold glitter stripe down the side) and black pumps.
Overall, very memorable, awesome vocals, and I think she succeeded in standing out. Stage presence was great but at some point I thought maybe she was going to dry hump the mic stand.
Scores:  Vocals: 9    Outfit:  8   Stage Presence: 9   -1 for being over-indulgent
RJ - great song but does nothing for her, karaoke-ish, misses the Janis kind of husky songs,  ST - just the right about of style and sexy (he must have anticipated the mic-hump as well),  JL - a lot of growl, and playing with notes, and very Haley, but maybe a little too... something.

Thia Megia - ??  - some loungy soulful song that talks about not fitting in and where do I belong.  Probably really appropriate lyrics for a 15 year old, but the style or old-timey ness of it did not suit her at all.  She also did an a capella opening that made me a little nervous because it went a little too long, in the dark...  it took a little too long for the music to kick in and it just made me uncomfortable.  It was like that moment in Coyote Ugly when Violet has to turn off the lights to get the nerve to start singing.   I don't know.  She also sounds a freaking LOT like Michael Jackson.  (a good thing). Her dress is absolutely gorgeous, probably the best one of the night.  I'd buy it now if I were presented with that option and will research that tonight--  tan on top,  rhinestones at the middle, and pinkish peachish frills or feathers on the bottom.   Unfortunately, that was the most exciting part about the entire performance for me.   Thia's maturity surprises me but it makes me sad as well.  It fell flat for me, both literally and figuratively.  Gosh, close your eyes, though, and you'd swear it was MJ.
Scores:  Vocals - 8    Outfit - 10   Stage Presence -  7 
ST - very good pitch, so beautiful    JL - perfect quiet moment, very still, captivating, really special  RJ - Her tone reminds him of Michael Jackson as well (WOW, me and Randy are having a moment tonight!)
* Don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on Thia- but she's the youngest contestant and chose the OLDEST sounding song.  I'm just a little sad about that.

Lauren Alaina (which by the way is not her real name, they cut her last name, not sure why) - Turn on the Radio?  -  Not familiar with the song, it was country rock, but it was very well suited for her.  This was another one I had to stop writing to look up at watch it.  Absolutely mesmerizing.  The vocal control, stage presence, and personality that this (now) 16 year old has, is just amazing.  She reminds me of Kelly Clarkson. She will be famous someday, heck, she's already famous.  I love that she's the only girl to wear jeans and boots and a t-shirt and jacket.  She didn't look sloppy though-- it would be like if Carrie Underwood chose to wear a casual outfit to a concert.   She has odd taste, borderline tacky sometimes, but it suits her.  It reminds me of a young Gretchen Wilson, maybe.  And her tone, is perfect.  It's one of those voices where it would record perfectly, but she knows when to amp it up for live performances.  She plays to her strengths and weaknesses so expertly and does it all  so naturally you would swear she wasn't thinking about it at all.  I'm a big big fan, and I think she'll go very far.
Scores:   Vocals - 9    Outfit - 7    Stage Presence - 9   Props for being original, +1
Judges:  JL - so beautiful, doesn't even have to try (yeah! what I said!), effortless (yeah!), natural, so so great to see and watch, Amazing.  RJ - A natural gift, you can sing anything, I don't even believe you know how good you are,  She reminds him of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood (WHAT, didn't I SAY THAT? crazy!)   ST - her voice goes from here to there, she is amazing
At the end Lauren points out that Seacrest's new name is Peaches, Peaches Seacrest, which makes me love her even more.  +1 for that!

Pia Toscano - I'll Stand By You, The Pretenders,  I love this song. Great recording voice.  Wow, and she changes it up right away. It sounds like Carrie Underwood's version, only maybe even better.   It's got a little country feel to it.   It actually has the power and runs of Kelly Clarkson, with Carrie Underwood's tone.  And maybe a little Celine Dion in there too.   I'm a big fan.  She's country, she's rock and roll,  she's Italian or Latina also, right?  She doesn't let that entirely define who she is.  She's also gorgeous and looks a lot like the girl from New Orleans with the baby who got cut (her name escapes me right now but she looked a lot like Natalie Portman, and Pia looks like her.  Her dress is a beautiful black beaded number, kind of flapper, but modern.   Cocktail dress like all of the other girls, but    it doesn't leave me feeling like I'm at a pageant or a prom. She looks gorgeous.    The song is beautiful, she does some great things with it,  I don't detect one bad note, it's slightly different (although she could have changed it up a little more), and the end is powerhouse.  Very well done.  I see why she's last now. Definitely one to watch.
Scores:   Vocals: 10    Outfit:  9   Stage Presence:  8.5
Judges:  Standing ovations from all 3 (and the crowd, and the contestants),  RJ - First standing O, she just put herself in the top, that's how you do it,  ST - WTF, it was unbelievable, over the top, Congrats,  JL - knew she was a standout but feels a little tricked b/c she saved it for when it counts,  was out of this world.

Final Scores:
Pia Toscano: 27.5
Lauren Alaina: 27
Naima Adedapo: 26
Haley Reinhart: 25
Thia Megia: 25
Lauren Turner: 24
Rachel Zevida: 24
Julie Zorrilla: 24
Ashton Jones: 23
Kendra Chantelle: 22
Karen Rodriguez: 17
Tatynisa Wilson:  13

Who I think should be cut -- see my bottom 5 above and replace Julie Zorrilla with Haley Reinhart.
Who I think WILL be cut -- definitely Tatynisa Wilson, maybe even Rachel Zevida and Kendra Chantelle.

I'll post soon on who I think the Top 10 will be and the wild cards, also.  Stay tuned!


The joys of being a classical / opera singer

 I really enjoy reading the comments from all of you readers over the last few months, and I love the e-mails I'm getting... keep them coming!  or @truedat504 on Twitter.

One of the most common things I hear is how fellow singers think my "Phantom" comments to Ken Warwick were hilarious.  I consider myself a funny person, normally, and am well versed on opera jokes, but that one just came so naturally to me I didn't realize it would have that much of a response.

To anyone who "got" those comments:  You have clearly gone through the turmoil of explaining singing classically to "lay" people.   It's pretty difficult, and it almost always goes exactly the same way.

Behold, this You Tube video-  I watched it several months ago when it first came out and laughed my little bootie off.   If you thought my phantom comments were funny, you'll die watching this.  Enjoy!
What happens when a classical singer tries to explain what they do to an non-singer...


Jordan Dorsey, Set Up?

So according to some live audience members who were at the taping of Idol that aired last night,  there were some Jordan Dorsey comments that were cut out of what was aired.

Idol at this point usually IS Live, but this particular one was taped, we all assumed, because of Steven Tyler's potty-mouth.  That may still be the reason why, or have something to do with it,  but also-- apparently there was an issue with Jordan Dorsey's ridiculous choice of an Usher song- it wasn't his choice.

When asked by Seacrest why he chose to sing it, he gave a full account of how it was not his choice, which of course was edited into what we saw last night--

Read more about it here, from Lyndsey Parker, Idol blogger extraordinaire, who was there in person: Reality Rocks - 12 Awesome Men

If this is true (and it indeed appears to be), not only am I right about Idol Producers having FAR more power over who makes the Top 10+  than everyone thinks,  but Jordan Dorsey is going to be next to be forcibly cut.  I'm not that upset, because I couldn't stand him, but I wonder who our next victim will be...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Top 12 Guys --- someone should make a calendar! We'll call it Randy's Dog-Tag Dawgs!

  Ready for the Top 12 Guys?

The guys this year seem SO much better, more interesting, cuter & more talented than the girls, so I'm really surprised they are going first, but here goes:

The Judges:     Randy talks a bit about how he's the anchor and this is the "re-mix!! what what!" ...  I don't know when he's going to learn that he either has to be rich or talk ghetto and not both.  It doesn't work for him.   Steven Tyler is given a Idol sign by Ryan Seacrest to hold over his mouth when he curses, good luck with that-- in the process Seacrest curses explaining how it works saying "don't worry, they'll just bleep it out."  And he did NOT use the sign.  Lesson?  Seacrest = Hypocrite.    Jennifer Lopez, I don't get... she has looked absolutely radiant and oh so classy at all of the auditions, wearing expensive Prada shoes, Burberry trenches, Audrey Hepburn-esque buns... tonight is the first real TV night, with a live audience, and she is dressed like a hooker.  Fake black leather skin-tight halter dress, with a sky high ponytail. She even calls herself out on her rhinestone earrings.

Top 12 Overview:   There's the 2 douchebags, Clint  & Jordan,  The 2 hotties Jovany & Stefano--  wait a minute, didn't Stefano get booted last week?? (that's what I get for not watching all of the 2nd episode)  The 2 crazy screamers - James & Jacob,  The 2 babies/sweethearts - Robbie & Brett   the "normals" - Tim &  Scotty, and the 2 crazy-talenteds,  Paul & Casey.    I didn't plan to group them in 2s, but it just ended up working that way.  And let me say, I've been calling all of these people out from the very beginning for EXACTLY the reasons I just referred to above-- so it's nice to know that Idol is listening to me for a change ;)   The judges got this exactly right.

Based on this -- my "before-singing cut opinion" (I need to start blogging live from now on because now you don't know if I cheated, but I swear I didn't)...  and not singing at all...  I would say the two to go are going to be the "normals" - Scotty & Tim.    They're both nice,  probably both good, but they've got nothing.  No niche.  Zip. Zilch. Nada.  Forgettable.   The only way Tim Halperin is staying is if someone confuses him for Jim Halpert.  My personal opinion.

Any song they wish?  Great.  Isn't anyone going to explain why super-hot Stefano is back? No?  Oh well, at least I still get to look at him.

The Performances:

Clint Jun Gamboa - Douchebag #1 is up first and of course he's singing Stevie Wonder.  Hasn't he sang Superstitious before?  Or at least some Stevie Wonder?   Homework for tonight!  I will look into that.  The psychadelic lights suck but I know that's not his fault.   His cockiness is though.  Cocky does not equal stage presence.  And his red shoes make me want to kick him back to the teen club to hang out with Chris Brown.  His vocals are solid but there's crazy vibrato on almost everything.   He sounds like Black Male Shakira.
My scores (out of 10):   Vocals:  7   Outfit:  7   Stage Presence:  5
Judges:  ST- good beginning and good end   JL - jitters are out but it was good  RJ - brilliant

Jovany Barreto - Hottie #1 is second, singing I'll Be.  Seriously???  Come on dude, we hear that all the time.  You're new facial hair also reminds me of Sanjaya.  Great little suit going on though, and he seems nervous but in a modest, endearing way (learn from him, Doucheboa!).    It was very karaoke, and he moved around like Desi Arnaz singing in a 1960's I Love Lucy episode, but despite all of that, he was very believable and precious (We could TELL JLo was feeling it!).    The crowd roar confirms my thoughts, I guarantee he's through.
My scores:  Vocals: 7   Outfit:  8   Stage Presence:  9
Judges:  ST - "holy shipyard!" Beautiful.   JL - "I'm happy right now! You did it!" RJ - Hater - Karaoke
(RJ seems already to say opposite of whatever the other 2 say.  He also is making himself the mean one. But I have to agree with him about the karaoke part.)

Jordan Dorsey - Douchebag #2 is third, it's a Louisiana rush for once (which I am happy about), but I still can't stand him.  He's singing Usher, which confirms my DB thoughts.  It's entirely too low for him, he copies Usher's dance moves almost EXACTLY, and combined with the too-low key, it makes him end up sounding constipated.  He actually ups the key halfway through because I guess he realized that.  Judging by the backup singers who stayed in a lower key, it wasn't planned.  He is ENTIRELY too full of himself for this performance.  He won't be gone but I can only wish.   Anyone who doubted me from the beginning saying that he was a douchebag need only watch this to prove I'm right.   He ends with an OPEN CROTCH KNEEL, for Christ sake.  Oh, the outfit?  I don't remember, he took half of it off... (he took off his jacket and threw it across the stage), but I remember it just being something Chris Brown would wear.  And a purple shirt.  With dog tags.
My scores:  Vocals: 4  Outfit:  7  Stage Presence:  4
Judges:  ST - not his favorite, over the top,   JL - "not who you really are", RJ - pitchy (first time of the year!), not good, nothing different

Pitchy count:  1
ST curse words:  4
Seacrest curse words: 2

Tim Halperin -  Normal #1 , Come on Over - good tone, engaging, genuine, great falsetto.  Kind of boring, but not bad.  Jeans, blazer, open dress shirt with a black tee underneath (and more dog tags).  He has some great stuff at the end of his performance.  Really solid.   No one will remember it tomorrow but the best one so far.
My scores:   Vocals: 8   Outfit:  8  Stage Presence: 8     (solid as a rock!)  but completely forgettable
Judges:  ST - song did him no favors, JL - have been better before  RJ - same (wow!), karaoke speech
*Tim did kind of sound like a douche in the exit interview, so I have to down his SP score by 1 pt.

Brett Loewenstern - Baby #1,  Come on Baby Light My Fire - I winced at first with the song selection, it makes me feel oogie when babies sing grown up sexual songs, but he was very mature.   He started it off in a lower register, and it was soulful, and modern all at the same time.  He gave it a feist-y (like the female artist) kind of feel and I can't think of another male singer off the top of my head who can do that.   Then, he jumps to a crazy rock and roll high vibe a la Siobhan Magnus and totally pulled it off.  Like on SNL, I have to say that "this has EVERYTHING" -  great falsetto, made it his own, amazing soft and loud notes, and fantastic tone.   Oh, and his style- he kept it simple the way all teenage boys should, but if I saw him on the street I'd still think he was a rockstar. Blue shirt, jeans, vest, and hot blue sneakers.  Oh and lots of bracelets and necklaces, including, you guessed it-- dog tags (did the AI men go in for matching dog-tags together?  Cute public interest story.  I will find out for you, folks!).  So happy I had the chance to hang out all day with this kid in New Orleans.  He is going to go FAR.  Oh, on stage presence-- he started off slow and looked at the cameras,  and then moved around, and even did some crazy Taylor Hicks like dancing.  But it never looked awkward or put on or douchebaggy.  It just looked like HIM.   And the hair looked AMAZING!
My Scores:  Vocals: 9  Outfit: 9  Stage Presence: 10  - this is the one to YouTube tomorrow
Judges:  ST - you brought it home, on fire  JL - "More hair tossing than me and Beyonce! You need a fan and a video!" liked it, he is who he is,   RJ - 14 hair shakes,  pitch problems, fun & bold

James Durbin - Screamer #1 Another Thing Coming (please hold your "he's autistic with Tourettes" hate-mail, I'm well aware of that.  He CHOOSES to pretend to be a rockstar and scream),  No idea on the song but I feel like I'm at a Metallica concert-- he screams "Come On"   and flashes rockstar fingers and does a few Adam Lambert screams.  He's wearing basically exactly what Tim Halperin did, only with a scarf between his legs like a tail and about 5 bandanas in various places.  Lots of bracelets and necklaces too, I can't tell if there are dog-tags but can't rule them out.   He ends in a rockstar jump (dude, that ONLY works if there's a band on stage with you), and a scream that would challenge Adam Lambert & Siobhan Magnus' love-child, if one existed.    Oh, speaking of Lambert-- this dude is exactly like him, without the Glam.  Does that make him a Lame-bert?  Maybe.  Unlike some of the others who are pretending to be someone they are not, this dude is full-on delusional about who he should be.
My Scores:  Vocals:  6   Outfit:  7  Stage Presence:  6
Judges:  ST - "BLEEP crazy good" (no sign, shocker), loves the Judas Priest (oh on the song!)   JL - insane, crazy good, love who you are,  RJ - "This is right here how you do it?"  - at least HE asks about the tail.  Oh my god, it's actually a *TAIL*.   Not a scarf at all but a Zebra TAIL.   RJ calls him "nice and tasty" - I guess he likes Zebra.

Robbie Rosen - Baby Sweetheart #2 - Sara  McLachlan Angel??  Really??  Crazy tempo... I can't tell whether he's behind or the band is ahead and I change my mind on this quite a few times which tells me it's REALLY messed up.   And this arrangement really sucks.  He seems to notice that halfway through. He is gutsy as hell, though for picking it.  A few pitch problems but he does some really cool things with it that I would not have expected.  He could totally sell this as his own record with some work.   It even went all Marvin Gaye for a minute.   He looks nervous as hell, doing the one hand on the mic one hand to the sky then switching thing... he doesn't move around much but he's a baby so it's alright.   and he's wearing his typical Vinnie jacket with a t-shirt and jeans, but with DOGTAGS!    I'm SO looking this up later!   Appropriate attire for a kid, but not that memorable.  Very very him though.
My scores:   Vocals:  7    Outfit:  7   Stage Presence: 7    +1  for picking a ballsy song
ST - a  beautiful thing, can sing a ballad like nobody's business  JL - tells a story, very special  RJ - Not great, chest-into-head not good, pitchy.  Robbie tells Randy back and that's another + .5 for balls.

Pitchy count - 2

Scotty McCreery - Normal #2 - ??  I do not know country nor can I understand a word he's saying - No hat!  No dogtags!  Just a cross.  He's sitting on a stool, breaking all boundaries.  And a leather jacket!    Okay, this is vast improving and he's actually giving us a lot of personality from the stool.  He looks totally comfortable.  And despite looking like the Mad TV cartoon guy, he's almost a little sexy.  He croons the last note and the ladies go crazy.   It wasn't a great performance, vocals were solid and nothing different, but he's safe for sure.
Scores:  Vocals: 7   Outfit:  9  (although I'm sure the boys are p'd about no dog tags!) Stage Presence: 9 
Judges:  ST- great song, who you are, so beautiful,   JL - he belongs here  RJ - awesome, nice job

Goodness... still 4 left?     So much for sleep!

Stefano Langone - Hottie #2 -  now will someone PLEASE tell me why he's back?  I'm not complaining, I just am curious.  I guess not.  He's singing Bruno Mars...  Amazing. Uh oh.   It starts off shaky although he doesn't seem phased at all, and he's PRECIOUS.  He opts for a cross instead of dog tags too.  And he's so beautiful.  AND he has a leather jacket.  Take that, Scotty!   He hits some crazy high falsetto, including some that is a little TOO high, but overall it's a solid performance, and did I mention he's gorgeous?   I couldn't look away from his face but I'm pretty sure he was wearing a red t-shirt and a leather jacket.   I have no idea if he was wearing pants.  Is he single?  Stefano, CALL ME.
Scores:  Vocals: 7 (keeping it real),   Outfit: 8,  Stage Presence: 9  +1 for being HOT.  This kid could not even open his mouth and I'd vote for him!
Judges: ST - gave it up again tonight, he too was staring at his face,  JL - consistent & loving it, natural and good, he moves, he's a beast (I feel like she wants a private room),  RJ - rocking, like at a concert -  he also agrees with me on the sharp note.

Note: Seacrest asks Stefano if he's seeing anyone and for once I have to say, I like Seacrest's pesky little questions!    Stefano says it's for "all the ladies"  bringing a huge squeal and of course, he's now safe.

I realize at this point also that Casey Abrams is going to be last, which must mean it's amazing.  The 10th spot person is NEVER bad.  Same as in auditions.

Paul McDonald - Crazy-Talented #1 (finally.  It says a lot though that they are at the end of the show).   Maggie  - shocker, didn't I say last time that he sounds like Rod Stewart?   He does some crazy dancing and moving around on the stage.  He is dressed like a Beatle but it works for him. All black suit, black shoes, black shirt buttoned to his neck. No necklaces at all.   Okay now he's making me dizzy, but he sounds great and looks super comfortable.  He also calls out something about "hello to TV land" which makes me instantly really like him.   He's literally walking in circles.  Did we drug test before the show?  The song is pitch perfect with great tone but sounds EXACTLY like the original.  Just dizzier.
Scores:   Vocals: 8    Outfit:  5    Stage Presence: 8  +1 for being quirky (the TV land comment) 
Judges:  ST - good jacket, good voice & 2 step, real character in your voice,  JL - unique with a good smile,  RJ - unique & different from anything we've ever had, quirky
*right now I'd say that Paul will make it far, but not all the way.  I'd give him Top 5 at best.  Let's see if he can change that and do something different than Rod Stewart next time!

Jacob Lusk - crazy screamer #2  (his intro makes me think he's even crazier than I already think he is), the House into a Home song by Luther Vandross - Nice suit, beautiful pink and yellow and purple plaid tie and pocket square.  And diamond earrings.  I would really think he was a former player turned NFL announcer if I didn't know any better.  From the neck up he looks like Usher.  (earrings & expressions).  I was really really bored with this until he did a scale halfway through.  Then I went back to being bored.   Until the end-- the end was some crazy screaming!  But way better than James Durbin managed to do.    His stage presence is off, he just stands there and looks possessed in the face.   The singing is boring until spots here and there ( just like in auditions), and the man dresses fly.  No dog tags or jewelry of any kind though (except the diamond earrings).   I'm confused whether he is old school or new school between the song choice/style and the big diamond earrings.
Scores:  Vocals:  9    Outfit: 9   Stage Presence:  5 
Judges:  ST - Divine Intervention brought him here, unbelievable, Jacob makes him cry,  JL - He's the new Luther Vandross,  RJ - Luther would be proud, and you have a little something else
*I'm apparently the only one who doesn't like this dude.  I just think I've seen it before.   Plus it's not really my style of music- it's kind of old-fashioned. I don't see him going to the finale at all.  I'd say Top 7 at best.

Casey Abrams - Crazy Talented #2 (FINALLY) - after such a long wait, this better be good.  I put a spell on you -  He starts off strong and gets even stronger.  His grunting freaks me out.  But he's making it different and it's interesting.  I can't look away.  He makes crazy Zach Galifanakis faces but it's entertaining as hell.  He's dressed like a crazy sailor salesman and growls a LOT - even does an Adam Lambert growl or too but it's SO worth it.  And his stage presence is great.  He's OWNING it.   He looks like the kid who never ever ever dresses up who begrudingly put on his dad's dress shirt and jacket with the one pair of nice slacks he has, and it so totally does not suit him that it was a bad move, but that's his only false step.  Although he did take fashion queen Julie Zorrilla to prom, so maybe I'm wrong on that!   The note at the end was pure magic.  Impressive was how he interacted with the judges, cameras, AND crowd.
My scores:   Vocals: 10     Outfit:  6    Stage Presence:  10
** standing Ovation performance
Judges:  ST - unreal, can't believe it,  JL - Sexy, we ate it,  RJ - transformed into the spirit of the song, so unique, love it, more more more.  (He started screaming "yes yes yes" and it was scary)

Final Counts:
ST curse words: 4
Seacrest curse words: 2
"Pitchy" count:  2

Final Scores:  (out of 30).. 
Brett Loewenstern - 28
Casey Abrams - 26
Stefano Langone - 25
Jovany Barreto - 24
Paul McDonald - 23
Jacob Lusk - 23
Tim Halperin - 23
Robbie Rosen - 22.5
Clint Gamboa - 19
James Durbin - 19
Jordan Dorsey - 15

After singing cut-opinion:   James Durbin & Jordan Dorsey will be in danger.  Maybe even Tim Halperin and Jacob Lusk as well.

Performances to You-Tube later:  Brett Loewenstern & Casey Abrams