Week two of Blind Auditions for The Voice 2013 started on Channel 9 last night. A whole bunch of new artists stepped up to the stage to try and get the chairs of Seal, Joel Madden, Delta Goodrem and Ricky Martin to turn.
Nicholas Roy – was first up, singing Falling Slowly, while he played piano. All of the judges turned fairly early in the song. The crowd loved it too, but they all saw something that I didn’t. The four judges all worked hard to get him on their team and it seemed to go on for a long time, they even dragged it out across an ad break. Nicholas then dithered, a lot, and eventually picked Seal.
Katie Reeve 26 – sang Janice Joplin’s Piece of My Heart. It sounded well off key to me. She got better as it went on. Ricky Martin turned and danced for her. Delta Goodrem turned as the song was fading out. She chose Ricky.
Josh Kyle 26 – sang Sting‘s Fragile, now this really appealed to me. I like the song and I thought he had a lot of feeling in his voice. But no one turned until well into the song. Delta was first, followed by Ricky. Ricky didn’t throw a lot into selling himself to him and he picked Delta.
There was another montage of guys that didn’t make it through. The first two didn’t sound too good to me, but the last one, who sang Waiting For The World To Change, I would like to have heard more of.
Karen Andrews 31 – AKA Miss Murphy. She sang I’d Rather Go Blind, which was sung on last years show and recorded by Karise Eden, last years winner. Miss Murphy, as she likes to be called, has a deep dark and soulful voice. All of the judges turned. Seal and Ricky worked hardest to get her, she went with Ricky.
Marisa Quigley 39 – A busker and old pro sang We’re All Gonna Die Some Day. She started it acapella. It was a country gospel kind of song, apparently one of Casey Chambers. She had all of the audience clapping along, but none of the judges turned around.
Nick Stenmark 28 – sang I Will Wait, a slower song with a country feel. He had some nice tones in his voice, but maybe it was the song that never grabbed me, or most of the judges. Joel Madden was the only judge that turned. No one else said anything about him on camera.
Viva Lale – is a Samoan lady who lost a lot of relatives in Australia‘s biggest house fire, in Brisbane. She sang One Sweet Day. She has a pleasant voice, but not an exceptional one. All of the judges gave the impression that they were getting into it, but none of them turned around.
Atlanta Coogan 36 – is Joe Camilleri‘s former partner and mother of his daughter, she still sings with the Black Sorrows. She sang Son of A Preacher Man. Once again it was OK but not exceptional, especially when you consider versions by Dusty Springfield and more recently Joss Stone. None of the judges turned around again.
Caterina Torres 22 – is an attractive girl of Latin American descent. She sang Beyonce‘s Hot Right Now, but it had slight Latin feel. The crowd loved it and Seal and Ricky turned very quickly, followed by Joel and Delta. I was more impressed with her as a performer than as a singer. Ricky Martin spoke to her in Spanish, and then in English he told her he needs her in his team. Joel somehow knew she had been picked up by a record company before; these boys are amazing with their perception aren’t they? He said he was the king of getting back up from being knocked down. Everyone tried really hard to get her on their team, cutting back in on each others pitches and generally squabbling. In the end she went with her gut connection to Ricky, I think it may be more of a language connection.
Believe it or not they are back with more Blind Auditions tonight. This section seems to go on forever and does not excite me quite as much as it did last year. This year I seem to be seeing more of the hype, whereas last year I was more surprised by the quality of the singers compared to other TV talent shows, like Australian Idol.
The official site for the show is TheVoice.com.au
By Max Power
The American Idol top six show was really a Hollywood event. Sir Anthony Hopkins, otherwise known as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, was seen in the audience.
There were two themes for tonight’s show, as each competitor was going to sing two songs. The first was the music of Burt Bacharach and Hal David
Angie Miller – kicked us off with Anyone Who Had a Heart. She looked good, but the microphone was too big for her face. This sort of music suits her; it was technically good but not really moving. Keith Urban said that he was waiting for the passion. She made it look too easy. Nicky Minaj said she agreed with Keith, but maybe she didn’t feel passionate about that song. Randy Jackson said the same thing. Mariah Carey said her pronunciation was maybe too perfect, she should let go of it and immerse herself.
Amber Holcomb – sang I Say a Little Prayer. She looked very cool and sang it very casual but faultless, except she could possibly also be accused of lacking passion. Not quite Dionne Warwick’s version, but still very good. Nicki loved it and raved about it, she said Amber owned it and she was now her favourite in the competition. Randy and Mariah also raved over it. Keith said she just breezed which is probably what I was trying to say when I said she was cool.
Lazaro Arbos – sang Close To You which was made famous by The Carpenters. I’m not used to hearing that song from a male voice and I think it suffered from being deeper. Lazaro has the style for this sort of song, but needs to be higher. Randy said “No, No, No! That was horrible”. Mariah said he did not change key when the band did and she struggled to be as brutally honest as she wanted to be and dithered a lot. Keith said he chose the wrong key to start with and then didn’t make the key change. Nicki said nothing because she thought the assessment had gone on too long.
Kree Harrison – sang What the World Needs Now. Wow, what a difference when someone does sing in the right key. Kree was true to the song, but gave it a country feel. The only thing this suffered from was being too short. Mariah praised her no end, especially for starting the song acapella. Keith talked about her humility and said it was her best performance. Randy said it was good that she came after Lazaro, because that was singing.
Janelle Arthur – sang What Do You Get When You Fall In Love?. She gave a similarly breezy performance to Amber and strolled around the set, serenading Keith at one point. Keith likes the fact that she shows another side each week. Nicki found it boring. Randy wanted the cookies in her voice. Mariah rambled and never really said anything much.
Candice Glover – sang Don’t Make Me Over. This was an great period piece, with some excellent vocal dynamics 3 out of the 4 judges gave her a standing ovation, Mariah didn’t move. Nicki said it sounded like a new R&B song, but it was far better than that. Randy said the best performance of the night and one of her best ever. Mariah said she was showing another side of herself.
After round one it was easy to pick the top three Amber, Kree and Candice, then there was daylight before anyone else.
The next round was songs that they wished they had written.
Angie Miller – started with Love Came Down from Karrie Jobe, an obscure choice. Angie sang while playing piano. It was quite a dramatic ballad featuring a lot of white doves, she sang it well but all those theatrics are not for me. Randy loved it. Mariah said the piano is organic to her, perfect. Keith agreed that she shines at the piano and told her eventually she will do that away from the piano.
Amber Holcomb – chose Love on Top from Beyonce. She started singing amongst the backing singers, and then wandered out and around the stage. There was quite a lot of movement while she was singing and I thought that it made her sound like she was straining. The crowd and judges seemed to like it, but me not so much.
Lazaro Arbos – picked Angels from Robbie Williams. This was more in his wheelhouse and key. It was a pretty good performance, but not in Robbie‘s league. The judges gave him scant praise and said the girls were so good he was like still in a contest but the girls were pros with careers.
There is no longer a decent version of Kree‘s Performance of this song on American Idol available. So here’s a really nice version from Kree at the Grand Ole Opry with Keith Urban on Guitar and Harmonies
Kree Harrison – selected a classic, Help Me Make It Through The Night by Kris Kristoferson, but it has been covered by lots of people. Kree was back to her roots with a fiddle and a pedal steel guitar. It was not the best performance I’ve ever heard of that song, but it was in the neighbourhood. She really showed what emotional connection means. Nicki took the opportunity to have another pop at Janelle, it didn’t need that. Keith called it a buckle shiner, whatever that means.
Janelle Arthur – sang Garth Brooks’ The Dance. She had the same band set up as Kree. It was a good country performance and one of her best vocals, but the song never really appealed to me. The crowd loved it. Mariah enjoyed it and connected to her. Keith would have preferred her to do it solo with her own guitar. Nicki liked her vocal, but not the song, and again had to put her down, saying it wasn’t enough to put her up with the other girls.
Candice Glover – wishes she had written Lovesong by The Cure. She gave a great torch song performance. There’s not much more can be said, it was just so good. Three judges stood for her while Keith bowed down and Mariah sprinkled her with fairy dust. There was a long ovation and they let it run. Randy said on behalf of all the judges’ one of the best performances in the 12 year history of American idol.
After this show the positions are sorted, we may as well shut it down now
Kevin Bacon was in the audience for the results show, so that has cut down a lot of degrees of separation.
There was a great medley of Bacharach and David songs involving all six of the remaining competitors, with Candice and Amber finishing with a superb version of A House Is Not a Home, and then the others joined them for That’s What Friends Are For.
There was a weird continuity issue with the results show. Ryan Seacrest lined up the competitors across the stage in groups, first of all three of them and then three groups of two. But in between each section of the show there were performances by former idols and the competitors were obviously not standing there then, surely they could have come up with a better role out than this.
Kelly Clarkson performed her new single; she looked weird in a skirt inspired by a Jackson Pollack painting and eye make up that reminded me of when Captain Jack Sparrow had eyes painted on his eyelids.
The three groups were finally identified. Kree and Candice were the top two, Lazaro and Amber the bottom two. Amber was safe; thank god they got that right. Lazaro sang Michael Bublé’s Feeling Good. It was ok and a good song for him to go out on. The judges were never going to save him; this was a mercy mission he has been getting caned for the last few weeks.
The final five girls can all have careers in the business after American Idol. I believe Kree, Amber and Candice can be major stars. Although I am still confused as to why Amber keeps ending up in the bottom group of the votes. Janelle will find her niche and be appreciated in that.
I only have reservations about Angie and her emotional connection to what she is doing, maybe that will be different when she is singing her own material. But she is talented and attractive and I am sure the industry will shape her into something that will appeal to a large demographic. She seems like the sort of determined girl who will recognise what is good for her and go for it.
By Max Power
This show carried on from where we left off last night, with the chairs still unturned for Kathy Hinch. Joel Madden jumped out of his chair and ran around to tell her that he wanted her. Eventually all the chairs turned and Joel told her that she had the choice of Ricky Martin too. She picked Joel, but there was constant confusion about what was going on and Kathy still looked convinced that no one had turned for her even as she left the stage.
Glen Percival – is the brother of last year’s runner up on The Voice, Darren Percival. His style is quite different from Darren’s, he sang the Foo Fighter’s Times Like These. I thought he was off key and sounded more like he was shouting than singing. No one turned. Delta Goodrem told him it was pitchy and Ricky Martin said it may have been the wrong choice for his tone.
Maya Weiss 18 – got a big build up, including a crew filming her in Melbourne and the back story, of her father being a musician that never made it big, was told. She has a rich sounding voice. She sang Duffy’s Stepping Stone. Joel and Seal loved it right away and were the only ones that turned. The boys battled to get her and she asked questions of each of them. It was a drawn out discussion and finally she decided on Joel, believing that he wanted her more than Seal.
Tonight there was another montage of guys that didn’t get through, after showing a few full songs by non-qualifiers on Tuesday.
Tim Morrison 32 – is the former front man of a reasonably successful band that made no money. So after a 6 month hiatus he’s giving it another go as a solo artist. He Sang U2‘s Sunday Bloody Sunday. I was more impressed with the song than the singing. Eventually Delta Goodrem turned her chair while Joel and Seal threatened to turn theirs. Seal turned at the last minute. Delta told him she believed in him and tried harder to get him than Seal did and Tim picked her.
Michelle Cashman 30 – sang Chris Isaak‘s Wicked Game. She did a good job of it, just as haunting as Chris. All of the judges seemed to like her, but none of them turned. Like Emma Pask on Monday night, they all seemed to want someone else to turn. No one did tonight and Michelle is out.
Jessica Samarges 20 – there was a lot of talk about her looks before she went on and when she sang her voice seemed to get lost in the crowd sound at times. There was some impressive work at the high end. Joel, Delta and Seal all turned around for her. Jessica chose Joel Madden, who was the first to turn, and had the most to say to persuade her.
Kim Sheehy 25 – sang Love Song. She sounded a bit flat to me. It is a hard song to sing and kind of quirky. None of the judges turned. Joel mentioned that she was struggling with the song and Seal hinted at the pitch problems.
Chris Sheehy 22 – is Kim‘s brother. He had to come on stage after having seen his sister sent home. He sang One More Night. He has a much brighter and funkier voice than his sister. Delta Goodrem and Joel Madden both stood and toyed with the crowd, then both turned, followed by Seal. Ricky seemed to have given up since the chairs stuck. Joel appeared to give the ground to Seal, after Seal had said how much soul Chris had in his voice. But he picked Joel anyway. Strangely nothing was mentioned on stage about is sister auditioning before him.
Julianne Di Sisto 29 – sang Good Luck. She has a big raspy voice. I wasn’t very keen on the song though. Ricky broke his long dry spell and turned first. No one else did. Seal said he would have turned if Ricky hadn’t. What’s with all this giving singers away?
Luke Kennedy 30 – has been working with the 10 Tenors and has sung at some major world events. He started singing in Italian. All of the judges turned around. So we have another “Popera” man, but this guy has already been there. Seal asked the deep and meaningful questions again and was told that Luke had been suffering with depression. He empathised and talked about his own battles with anxiety and depression. Joel Madden laid it on thick too, saying his voice is like butter, you can spread it on anything and it tastes good. Joel said that Seal would be his perfect coach, so Ricky Martin stood up and walked to the front of the stage. He said he had been there too and pleaded for him to be on his team. Delta said, as Joel had said go with Seal, she would say go with Ricky, and he did.
There are a few days break now until the next round of Blind Auditions on Sunday. The coaches seem to have about half of their teams completed now.
The official site for the show is TheVoice.com.au
By Max Power
The Voice 2013
There was a brief recap at the beginning of the show tonight, but not too much messing around, so we will do the same and get straight into the music.
Belinda Adams – kicked off proceedings, she sings in the Police band, but is not a Police woman, although she wears the uniform. She started us off with I Am Changing. This was a theatrical come cabaret performance. She has a very big voice and all of the judges turned for her and she got a really big reaction from the crowd. All of the judges commented on her big voice. Ricky Martin piled on the Latin charm, it worked, she went with him.
Danny Ross – gave us the second Led Zeppelin song of the week, When the Levee Breaks. The boys loved it with Seal and Joel Madden turning very early. He doesn’t have Robert Plant‘s range and power, but it was an interesting and enjoyable performance. The crowd loved it too. Seal wanted him to project bigness. He chose Joel which I think is a good choice for any rocker.
Rien Low 34 – is a former boy band star with Mercury 4 ten years ago. He sang Never Say Never. It was a kind of a middle of the road pop performance. He sang well but never really moved me, or the judges, no chairs were turned.
Bec and Sabastian – are 29 year old gay twins, they stated before they went on that they wanted Ricky Martin. They sang Nobody’s Perfect. They are of Macedonian descent and the song had a sort of Mediterranean feel, but I thought the voices were a bit weak. Only Ricky turned around so they are on his team which suits them down to the ground.
Jenna Dearness-Dark 16 – sang like an operatic soprano. Seal and Delta Goodrem turned very early. It was a very good performance and all of the judges turned eventually. Delta gave it a big sell, based on her touring with Andrea Bocelli. She chose Delta.
Steve Clisby – sang the old Barry White classic Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love Babe. Seal turned very quickly, the crowd clapped along. Joel turned next. It was a good performance, but I thought he lacked a bit at the top end. He had opened with his band for Seal in 1992, but Seal didn’t appear to remember him. Steve is 67 but he looks 20 years younger. I would imagine he was an even better singer in his prime. He chose Seal.
Oscar Chavez 27 – His wife looked more like his twin than the twins did earlier. He sang Bed of Roses from Bon Jovi. He sang it well, but like Tib the night before he was not really distinctive. Delta turned at the last moment, no one else did. So he’s in.
Sarah Martin 29 – She looked like a rocker before she sang a note, with her tatts and piercings. She sang Woman. Again Seal turned right away. Sarah has a good raspy voice, the term “Ballsy” springs to mind. All of the judges turned except Ricky Martin and the crowd gave her a big reception. She went with Seal.
James Napier 36 – his father and sister are successful actors Marshall and Jessica Napier. He sang Wade in the Water. It was a jazzy kind of performance, he has a very high and female like voice. I liked it and I would have turned my chair for him. But none of the judges did. Delta told him that she thought it was a woman singing.
Kathy Hinch 25 – sang Girl on Fire. She has a good and strong voice and it’s probably worth hearing more of her. Joel Madden hit his button and I think Ricky did too, but the chairs never turned and they ended the show there with a “To be continued” notice.
Well it will be continued tonight on Channel 9 at 7:00 wow what a cliff hanger. My cynicism leads me to believe that it’s a set up and someone switched off the chairs to create more drama. It’s sad being cynical sometimes.
The official site for the show is TheVoice.com.au
By Max Power
More of the same, on night two of the blind auditions for The Voice 2013. I noticed that all of the judges were wearing the same outfits. So I was wondering how they record these auditions, do you think they do them all in one day? I also noticed they had all gone in for basic black, I guess that is something to do with continuity. I know that is the reason that David Attenborough and Steve Irwin, in his day, always wear the same outfit when filming. Anyway, onto the music.
Danni Hodson 20 – kicked us off with Something’s Got a Hold on Me from Etta James. Danni is a big girl with a big bluesy voice. It was a very good performance; I wanted it to go on longer. All 4 judges turned. They got into rhyming together in order to recruit her. She picked Joel
Mark Stefanoff 21 – was next up with This is The Moment, a very musical theatre performance and very well sung, but not my cup of tea and apparently not the judges. No one turned. But Ricky said he wanted him to meet his agent and he would get him on Broadway.
Ryan Sanders – has a very soulful voice and gave a very soulful performance. There were good rhythmic parts and he covered his vocal range well. Seal and Delta turned first and then Joel at the last moment. Seal said something in his past had created his tone and asked what it was and he told him that his parents died when he was six. That must have been a set up. Delta said something similar about him. He picked Seal, I thought he would.
Skye Elisabeth 26 – sang Put Your Records On. Quite an interesting voice, but I was not convinced. Seal turned well into the song. Joel again left it until the last moment. She had said beforehand that she wanted to go with Seal and she raved about the fact that he had turned. Joel‘s comment was simply “I turned too”. I don’t think she actually noticed, because she wanted Seal so much and Joel left it so late that she maybe thought he was turning with the others after the performance.
Anna Weatherup 30 – sang a sweet heartfelt version of Fields of Gold from Sting, it was very much like the Eva Cassidy version, sadly Eva died young shortly after she recorded it. Anna sang and played guitar, she has a very haunting voice. Seal and Delta turned almost simultaneously, then Joel followed by Ricky. She got a standing ovation from the judges and the crowd. Joel said it was the most honest vocal ever on that stage. Ricky acted out how he felt about her voice. Seal said it was flawless, but she picked Delta.
Nick Kingswell 26 – was a country star at Tamworth a while ago and plays as a session guitarist. He sang I Need a Dollar. This was definitely not country, it was very funky. He didn’t appear to have a really strong voice but was impressive at the high end. Ricky turned first and I think he improved after that. No one else turned, but Joel wished he had. So he’s on Team Ricky
Emma Pask 35 – was discovered by James Morrison, the jazz multi instrumentalist, when she was 16 and has been working with him for almost 20 years. She tip toed onto the stage and sang the Jazz standard Blue Skies. All the judges talked about how good she was, but none of them turned. Joel finally did at the last moment. All of the judges were looking for one of the others to turn; Joel did because no one else did. I hope she goes far, she is great.
There was then a montage of singers who did not get through. They seem to be showing less of the non-qualifiers this year. I think it is an effort to shorten the run of the show. They have also changed the numbers in each round to do that.
Tib Hovarth 45 – was up next he looked like the typical old rocker, in jeans and a waist coat with no shirt, pumped up muscles and blond highlights in his hair. He sang Are You Gonna Be My Girl. It was really an average pub rocker performance; it lacked brightness at stages and was something you could probably see in any pub in Australia every weekend. No one turned.
Harrison Craig 18 – Was given a huge build up in the promos and all through the show. He’s another singer with a stutter following on from Lazaro on American Idol. I don’t think Harrison‘s stutter is as bad as Lazaro‘s but it would still be hard to live with. He has a baritone theatrical / operatic voice and all the judges turned. Something told Seal he had an interesting story, this guy must be psychic, or he is getting tips from someone. Seal gave it the big sell and Joel took a bow at that. Harrison said he is aiming to sing “Popera”. Ricky also gave it the big sell and said he would do anything for him. He picked Seal.
So that was night two of the Blind Auditions. Seal picked 3 new team members, Joel 2 and Delta and Ricky one each.
Blind auditions three is tonight on Channel 9 at 7:00PM
The official site for the show is TheVoice.com.au
By Max Power
The Voice returned to our screens last night, after much hoo haa and endless promotion from Channel 9. Before the judges were introduced what did we get? Believe it or not, more promotion. There is an old adage in presentation “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them”. The commercial stations take the first part of that to extremes.
Following the long promo, we then had a song from all four judges. With Ricky Martin replacing Keith Urban, in case you had not heard. It was not as impressive as last years start, but then I didn’t know the song, Diamonds. Apparently it’s a Rihanna song and she sang it on the American version of The Voice.
Next up we saw the presenter and rumoured Delta Goodrem beau, Darren McMullen. This is the same presenter as last year, but he looked completely different, with long hair, a beard and more casual clothes.
First cab off the rank was a teenage sensation.
Kaity Dunstan 16 – sang Melanie’s Brand New Key. She rocked it up a bit. It was a good song choice, cheerful, happy and has barely been heard for years. All four judges turned around for her. She picked Ricky Martin; I thought Joel Madden would have been a better match for her.
Nathan Allgood 20 – Sang Luther Vandross‘s A House is not a Home very well, considering what a singer Luther was. Delta Goodrem turned first then Joel and Ricky together. Joel said he sung the shit out of that song. He picked Delta.
Simon Meli 35 – had flown in from a European tour to appear on the show. He sang Ramble On from Led Zeppelin a really radical song choice. Seal turned around immediately. I wasn’t sure about him until he got to the chorus, but then he was great. Eventually all of the judges turned. Again I thought Joel would be the best match, but as Seal turned immediately, I would have picked him. Unbelievably he picked Ricky Martin, although he had given a good argument for his cause.
Celia Pavey 19 – is a Ranga, country girl. She sang Scarborough Fair and played guitar. Delta turned as soon as she started, Seal was soon after her. Followed by Joel then Ricky, then she forgot the lyrics. She has an interesting olde English, folk style voice. Joel got on his knees to beg her to join him. Ricky has surpassed Seal for charming people into his team, but she picked Delta.
Evan Mooring 27 – we were told that he had brain and ear tumours when he was young and he said he can not always hear himself when he sings. He sang the Bee Gees’ How Deep is Your Love. His voice was OK but lacked brightness at times. No one turned. But his fiancée was invited onto the set to meet Ricky Martin and all the other judges.
Alex Gibson 26 – gave us The Beatles’ Blackbird. Seal was first to turn followed Joel. It took most of the song to grow on me, but I liked it by the end. Delta and Ricky never turned. He chose Seal, which was probably best for him. Joel did not sell himself very well.
Lara Parker-Kent – was next up. She is the daughter of Fess Parker of The Radiators. She sang a slow version Bon Jovi‘s Living on a Prayer. It was nice, but not spectacular and no one turned. But they all liked her when they spoke to her afterwards.
Lyric McFarland 28 – was last for the night. She gave us a rousing version of Shy Guy from Diana King. Joel turned and then she got better for me. She did both the singing and rapping parts. All the judges turned. Joel said he turned around because it was badass. He also did the best sell job and he put on a performance, standing on his chair and rousing the crowd, to get her and succeeded.
So after the first night Ricky Martin has two in his team, Delta also has two, Joel and Seal have one each.
The show is back again tonight at 7:00PM on Channel 9 for more blind auditions.
The official site for the show is TheVoice.com.au
By Max Power
The theme for tonight’s show was Rock. This seemed like a good idea and should avoid an evening of sappy, or over dramatic ballads.
Ryan Seacrest introduced the judges and once again Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj were in the same colour, blue this week and once again nothing was mentioned of it. For all their rivalry, why do they keep colour co-ordinating?
Burnell Taylor – Was first up he gave us Bon Jovi’s You Give Love A Bad Name. He sang it OK, but had no commitment to it. He seemed to have no idea what to do when he touched the female guitarist, Orianthi, on the shoulder. Keith Urban laughed at him; he said he had never seen him look so uncomfortable in a song. Nicki Minaj said he was loveable and huggable. Randy Jackson tried to explain to him about getting on the beat and the audience booed him. So Mariah just said she thought he did OK with it.
Lazaro and Angie sang Queen’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love, as a duet. Lazaro was poor again. Angie sounded like she was struggling with the key, but the judges, all except Keith, seemed to think she did well with it. Lazaro forgot the words again and claimed he had not heard the song before. What does he listen to?
Kree Harrison – Before each solo performance this week there were clips of all the other competitors saying what they thought about each other. These seemed a little false and probably scripted. But Kree was described as the Den Mother. She does the ironing for the others and knows everyone on the crew and hugs them all. She sang Janis Joplin’s Piece of my Heart. She also looked a bit uncomfortable. Once again she sang OK, but has none Janis‘s rasp and the ending was kind of dodgy. She got a big audience reaction. Randy loved it. Mariah said it was her favourite performance of hers. Keith blamed her boots for her difficult movement, Kree said she had a pinched nerve, and Nicki raved over it, the performance, not the pinched nerve.
Candice and Burnell were up for the next duet, The Letter either the Box Tops or Joe Cocker’s version, I’m not sure which. Candice was great, but Burnell still looked like a fish out of water to me. He was OK when he was backing Candice, because she controlled the pace. The judges all loved it and all raved over Candice, but liked both of them.
Janelle Arthur – The others described her as country, dramatic and passionate. She sang Billy Joel‘s You May Be Right. She was better on the verses than the chorus, where she seemed to be straining. But it was a song that suited her. Keith Urban pointed out her very sparkly rhinestone cowboy boots, he also said that she gets better every week and shows a different side. Nicki said girls relate to her. Randy said she was authentic and Mariah agreed with Nicki. That must be a first.
Lazaro Arbos – The girls talked about his bright colours and dramatic poses. He sang another Queen song We Are the Champions. It was OK but was affected by his accent; he sang “We are the shampions”. His strut around the stage was half hearted, part strut part stroll. The crowd liked it. Nicki liked the Latin feel. Randy said he did a good job. Mariah and Randy were both concerned before he sang. Keith said it was a good song choice that played into his “dramaticness”, his word not mine.
Amber, Kree and Janelle did another Billy Joel song, It’s Still Rock n Roll To Me, as a trio. They were good, they looked great, especially Amber in her torn jeans. Kree looked more comfortable than in her solo performance, they must have given her the good gear, maybe the magic sponge that they use in Football. The judges loved it, as they should, apart from Nicki, who thought the song was boring and they were cheesy.
Candice Glover – Took on the Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction. I thought she was going to knock it out of the park, but she didn’t quite. She can sing anything and she’s not limited by boundaries, but didn’t quite nail this as I thought she would. Although it was not her best performance, it was the best performance tonight so far. All the judges liked it again, except Nicki, who said it sent her to sleep.
Amber Holcomb – We were told by the others that Amber talks to her self a lot and takes a lot of ‘selfies’ with her phone camera. She sang Heart‘s What About Love, a rock ballad. Is that cheating? It was good and her hot pants were very hot pants. But like Candice it was far from her best performance. That didn’t stop the judges loving it.
Angie Miller – Apparently gets excited over everything and works her eyes a lot. She sang Bring Me to Life from Evanesence, another rock ballad, well sort of. She played a few bars on the piano and sang the rest on a podium. She looked great with some heavy wind machine action going on. She sang well and it worked, possibly the best performance of the night. Randy and Mariah thought it was a great song for her.
On the results show all 7 sang Queen‘s Somebody To Love. It was pretty good, even from Lazaro.
Jimmy Iovine gave his opinions:- He said Burnell was so behind the beat that he was in a different time zone. Lazaro and Angie were cabaret. Kree, Jimmy said she did great for singing like she did with the pinched nerve. Burnell and Candice, he said Burnell fell through the floor after Candice came in. Janelle was OK came in 4th not the best song for her. Lazaro was reasonable, but will be 2nd from bottom or out. He didn’t like the 3 girls singing together either. He said Candice would be top 3 but it was not one of her top 3 performances. Amber, he said her legs are getting longer and she should be top 3. Angie, he liked, but said she sings with her head rather than her heart. His top 3 Angie, Amber, and Kree with Candice close behind. I know there are some contradictions in there regarding places, but that was him not me.
The real top three, on the votes, were Candice, Angie and Lazaro all the judges had picked Amber in his place. It’s hard to believe that the public would pick Lazaro, he is the least developed of those left on the show.
Candice and Amber were also safe, so Janelle and Burnell were the bottom two. Burnell had to sing for his life. He picked one of his dramatic ballads, so I didn’t like it. Candice shed a few tears and Mariah looked like she was about to. But the judges never saved him.
The way the voting has been going, I suspect either Janelle or Amber will be bottom next week, when it really should be Lazaro. It’s great that he overcomes his speech impediment when he sings, but the competition is about picking the best singer and he is definitely not that.
Tonight on Channel 9 the Australian version of The Voice begins it’s second season. I am looking forward to it, despite Keith Urban being replaced with Ricky Martin as a judge/mentor.
For me The Voice is better than Idol because it starts out with real singers and does not go through the pantomime of auditioning hopeless wannabes on camera and rediculing them.
By Max Power
The first surprise of the night was that Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey walked on stage in matching outfits, both in luminous orange. Nothing was mentioned about it, initially, despite the fact that they looked like it was a uniform. Later Ryan Seacrest raised the matter at the judge’s desk, but everyone wanted to avoid the issue, like it was an in joke.
Surprise number two was that the great Smokey Robinson was a guest and he helped coach the contestants. As usual clips of the competitors rehearsing were shown before they appeared on stage, but this time they were coached by Smokey Robinson and Jimmy Iovine. Now that in it’s self must be worth thousands, being coached by one of the world’s most successful music producers and one of the world’s most successful artists, writers and arrangers.
Candice Glover – Kicked off with I Heard it Through the Grapevine. Smokey Robinson told her that he and The Miracles recorded it before Marvin Gaye, but Motown never released it. On stage it was an interesting start, with Candice riffing with a sax player, then she got into a swinging, bluesy version of the song. She is the real deal and would have made it on Motown in its heyday. It was a very classy way to start the show. Keith Urban loved it and said it was her best performance. Nicki Minaj said Great Job. Randy Jackson said Crazy Good. Mariah said that Candice epitomises the competition. Can anyone top that? I very much doubt it.
Kree and Janelle sang Madonna‘s Like a Prayer, together. It was supposed be a country version, but it was more like a gospel once the backing singers came in. It was OK but I’m not sure what it had to do with the show, or the theme. Madonna was born in Bay City, Michigan, not Detroit and she moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue her career. Nicki Minaj said that Kree outshone Janelle and generally gave Janelle a hard time, which seemed kind of harsh to me. It wasn’t like Janelle did anything wrong.
Lazaro Arbos – rehearsed For Once in my Life, Stevie Wonder‘s version. But started a much more dramatic version on stage, it was much better once it speeded up. The satin biker jacket Lazaro wore did not make him look any more butch. Randy said it was far better than last week, but he still had some pitch problems. Mariah once again made it about his courage, but also said he was back. Keith said he was vocally better, but not rhythmically quite right. Nicki claimed some credit for herself, for telling him not to listen to Jimmy Iovine.
Janelle Arthur – sang Set Me Free Why Don’t You Babe from The Supremes. Janelle had a good studio session with Smokey and Jimmy, they gave her good advice and she followed it. She sang on a stool playing guitar, her own arrangement, which was much slower than the original. This may have been her best performance in my opinion. Mariah said “Janelle at her finest” and had sly dig at Nicki, saying anything anyone said before she proved them wrong. Keith loved it. Nicki said her voice was not how it normally is and maybe she is not paying attention. She seems to have a downer on this girl, but always precedes the put downs with “You know I love you right?”. Randy also said it was one of her best performances and she is in it to win it.
Devin Velez – chose Smokey’s own The Tracks of my Tears. Smokey explained how the title came about. Devin appeared on stage dressed as a valet parker. He sang it OK but it was a long way behind the original. Nicki loved it. Randy said Devin is back and one of his best performances. Mariah said it was flawless, but still wanted him to go for it more.
Amber, Candice and Angie sang I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, really well. Amber looked the best, Candice sang the best, Angie did a bit of each. Mariah said #WOW, really, she said “Hashtag Wow!” and “A+ Mazing” and she was right, it was a really good performance by all three of the girls, both individually and together.
Burnel Taylor – chose My Cherie Amour from Stevie Wonder. If Devin was a parking valet, then Burnell looked like a cross between Colonel Sanders and an ice cream man in his white suit. He was in tune, but for me he had no intimacy or connection with the song and he broke up all together on the last note. Nicki said it was “rich and soulful”. I am sure that this woman watches a different show to me. All the other judges loved it. I am so at a different place with this guy from them.
Angie Miller – bowed to the guest and picked Smokey and The Miracles‘ Shop Around. In the studio Smokey and Jimmy told her to lighten up and have fun with it. Angie did a very rocky performance with lots of crunchy guitar. I think I preferred the sound of it to how it looked. Angie looked a bit uncomfortable and went very sharp on the high notes. Randy of course picked up on the pitchy parts. Mariah thought it was the wrong song for her. Keith agreed about the sharp parts, but seemed to think it was her being at another pace to the song. Nicki said she didn’t need to show another side of herself keep giving us what we like.
Amber Holcomb – also picked a Stevie Wonder song, Lately. Smokey Robinson‘s studio critique was to do exactly as she had done and said he wanted turn his TV off last week when she was in the bottom three. She looked great in a fitted black and white dress. She also gave a great performance of a favourite song of mine and got a standing ovation from all of the judges. Mariah said a “Tour de Force” and explained to the audience that meant “F’ing amazing”. Keith said she sang it and felt it beautifully. Nicki said when god created those vocal chords he was showing off. Randy said by far the best vocal of the night.
Burnel, Devin and Lazaro sang The Four Tops’ I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) This was pretty awful. OK they were a man down on the Four Tops and none of them are Levi Stubbs, but that is no excuse for this car crash. Devin and Lazaro looked awkward and they were out of time. Nicki told them exactly how bad it was and the guys didn’t really try to defend it, except Burnel, who said he was doing what he was supposed to. Talk about abandoning the sinking ship captain.
Kree Harrison – chose Don’t Play That Song from Aretha Franklin, the Queen of soul. Smokey liked her studio version so much he said he would call Aretha and tell her to watch the show. Talk about pressure. But Kree did a great version, very bluesy. Not quite Aretha, but still very enjoyable. Randy said she is one of the best and here to stay. Mariah commended her for doing it, so that people remember Aretha Franklin. Keith said she reminded people of the blues and soul that are in country music. Nicki said she was a Queen too.
I think from this show it is very clear who should be in the top three. If it is not Candice, Amber and Kree then it will be a great injustice.
The bottom three should be Lazaro, Devin and Angie for her sharp notes.
In the results show all 8 sang Bob Seger’s Old Time Rock n Roll, together. Devin and Lazaro once again seemed to be straining to reach the notes.
Jimmy Iovine gave his run down of the performances. He answered Nicki‘s claim that Lazaro should not be listening to him with “he should be listening to someone, he should be listening to the melody at least”. He summed up saying that the three boys should be the bottom three and Lazaro is going home.
Aretha Franklin phoned in to congratulate Kree on her performance. That must have been a real spin out for her.
All the girls were safe, the boys were the bottom 3
Devin was bottom, as we predicted last week. Lazaro was again lucky to escape. It will have to be him next week.
Devin sang It’s Impossible in English and Spanish, to try and save himself. It was really good. But I never thought the judges would save him. I think they will only use the save for Candice, Amber or Kree if they need it.
Don’t forget to check ou thte American Idol Merchandise available from the links below.
This weeks show started off with Ryan Seacrest announcing the winner of the 11th place sing off, to go on the Idol tour in the northern summer. Aubrey Cleland won, which was probably a good thing, as Charlie Askew seems more committed to his own original music and I don’t think a tour singing covers would be much help taking his career in that direction. I can only hope that he is not too tied up in Idol contracts and can now get on with moving on from here.
The theme for the night was Beatles songs.
Kree Harrison – started the show with With a Little Help From My Friends, the Joe Cocker version. Her performance was not as good as Joe’s or Farnsey’s, for Australian readers. There was not really enough time to build up to the big ending; it kind of went straight into that part. But it was OK. The judges loved it and commented on her styling and performances.
Burnell Taylor – picked Let It Be, but he didn’t know the song. I find that quite amazing that these kids can go through their life wanting to be singers and not know Beatles songs. The arrangement and the backing singers were good, but I didn’t feel he was connected to it. The judges all disagreed with me and loved it.
Amber Holcomb – sang She’s Leaving Home. She started singing sitting on the stairs, with a great tone. She looked fantastic, in a snug fitting dress. This is not one of my favourite Beatles songs, as I find it pretty melancholy, but this was a great performance, the best so far for me. Randy Jackson didn’t like the start, but did like the end. Amber and Mariah Carey didn’t know the song, even more astounding, thankfully Keith Urban did.
Lazaro Arbos – chose In My Life. I’m not sure what I thought of this, at times I liked it, but others I yearned for John Lennon’s more simple approach. So I’d have to give it a 5 out of 10. Mariah once again made it about his courage, but thought it was started too low. Nicki Minaj thought he was nervous and doesn’t like Jimmy Iovine telling him what to do. Randy said it was his worst performance and I thought that was a bit harsh.
Candice Glover – In her rehearsal footage Candice tried to analyse the nonsense lyrics of Come Together. Jimmy Iovine told her not to worry about it. It was a good rocky performance, at last. It’s about time someone rocked it out. This has got to put her in the frame for winning the competition. Keith liked the rock chick performance. Nicki made it about her face. Randy liked the up-tempo change. Mariah loved it too.
Paul Jolley – sang Eleanor Rigby, another of The Beatles melancholy songs. He sang it well, but it still felt like a theatrical performance. The crowd liked the big notes. Nicki liked his outfit, but did not like his performance, bland and forgettable she said. Randy said disconnected. Mariah gave a technical assessment and said that he should be as connected in the soft parts as in the booming parts.
Angie Miller – gave us Yesterday. Jimmy Iovine wants her to be more natural. She looked great with her hair straitened, but sang it as a kind of hymn. Once again the fans cheered the big notes and as they say “big notes win votes”. I liked the last part of the song. Randy said it was a stellar performance, Mariah said it was respectful, but wanted her rock edge. Nicki said she is amazing and can do anything.
Devin Velez – The Long and Winding Road. He started out beautifully clear. I think he sang it very well. It’s funny but when they do my favourite Beatles songs I miss the original. This performance put him up there with Candice tonight. Mariah loved it. Keith wanted more connection. Nicki thanked the penis (pianist), she felt he was very committed and truthful. Randy said he was back tonight.
Janelle Arthur - I Will. This was the only song on the show that I didn’t know. She countrified it. It reminded me a little of Country Roads or a Dolly Parton ballad. It was nice and pleasant, but not a showstopper. Keith thought it was beautiful. Nicki said she was great and loved it. Randy said Janelle was back too, one of the best performances of the night, A- mazing.
Once again in Australia the show was immediately followed by the results show
Jimmy Iovine started with his run down of the previous night. He complained about the judges complementing all of the contestants. He loved Kree. He said Lazaro was the worst performance of the night, it may have been, but I didn’t think it was that bad. He said Candice is the natural. Paul is not ready for prime time. Angie is too dramatic and he wants to fix that.
The boys sang Got to Get You into My Life, a very pop choir version. I didn’t like it.
Paul Jolley was told he was in the bottom 3
The girls sang Here There and Everywhere, slowly and on stools, it was OK.
Devin was told he was in the bottom three, which was terrible really, as he gave one of the best performances of the night. But he obviously does not have as much support as the others.
Lazaro was safe and after the last couple of performances I think he must be getting the sympathy vote.
Amber was in the bottom three. Nobody, including me, could believe that.
The top three were not identified this week.
Paul Jolley was bottom. He sang How Do I Get You Alone, to try to get the judges to save him. He started badly but got better, but the judges were never going to save him. So he left the competition.
Whatever happens next week, I am guessing that Devin will be going home, as he has been in the bottom three the last two weeks. I think that will be a pity, because I think he is the best of the guys. They can all sing, but he is the only one that mixes it up, the others giving us an endless stream of dramatic ballads.
Tonight’s American Idol started with only three judges, or maybe even less. There was no Nicki Minaj, she was running late and caught in traffic and there was no Mariah Carey cleavage, shame. No one explained why it had not shown up.
The theme of the show was Idols Singing Idols. As far as I could make out, that meant that the competitors could sing any song that had ever been sung or recorded by a previous American Idol competitor. This resulted in almost everyone singing Kelly Clarkson songs.
First up to sing was Curtis Finch Jnr.
Curtis Finch Jnr – He sang I Believe from Fantasia. There was a parade of backing singers who joined him after a verse or so and the song really got better after that. He got a huge ovation. But Randy Jackson still wanted more of the other sides of him and so do I. I’d like to see him do something different
Janelle Arthur – sang Gone by Scotty someone or other. I didn’t catch his last name and I have not seen recent series of American Idol prior to this year, as it was not shown in Australia. This started with a nice guitar intro and progressed into a hard rock kind of country song. Janelle strutted the stage like she owned it and I liked it. Nicki Minaj arrived and she wanted pretty from Janelle, but I preferred this. Randy knocked her song choice; Mariah was not that keen either.
Devin Velez – sang Temporary Home, a Kerry Underwood ballad. It was pleasant enough and he sang well, but never really stirred any emotions. Keith Urban said it was a wrong song choice. Nicki Minaj disagreed with everything and loved it. Randy said it was safe and Mariah said it was a little disappointing, because we expect a lot from him.
Angie Miller – gave us I Surrender from Celine Dion, which Kelly Clarkson had sung on the show. Now I am not a Celine fan, to say the least, but Angie sang and performed it well, if you like that sort of thing, I really don’t. We’ve had enough of these overly dramatic performances from the boys. The crowd liked it, as did Keith. Nicki liked her outfit, her legs and how she walks in heels, which is understandable, as she could not walk in them herself and needed help from Keith to walk around the stage the other night. They raved all over her. Randy said the competition starts now and amazing performance. Mariah said “Stellar”, just that.
Paul Jolley – sang Amazed, also from Scotty whatever his name was. Jimmy Iovine told Paul before his performance that he over sings and comes across as a Broadway singer, something almost all the guys are guilty of in my opinion. Paul did take it down a notch and it was better, but still not my cup of tea. Keith liked it and thought it was one of his best performances. Nicki thought it was great. Randy said great song choice. Mariah agreed and told him to do his own thing.
Candice Glover – sang I Who Have Nothing which had been sung previously on the show by Jordan, someone else I am not familiar with I’m afraid. I know the song from Shirley Bassey and Cilla Black, but enough said about that. She sang it very well and although it is a very dramatic song, I quite liked it. Candice got a standing ovation all around. Keith Urban had to cut the crowd short. He loved it and said she was incredible. Nicki said her favourite performance she had done. Randy said it was the greatest performance on the show this season. Mariah said she is mesmerised by her.
Lazaro Arbos – gave us Breakaway, from Kelly Clarkson, of course. He came out with a quiff. I thought he sang it too deep. I didn’t like it. Keith said not in his wheelhouse and Lazaro agreed. Nicki said he looked like Ricky Ricardo, but didn’t like it either. Randy said it was a wrong choice. Mariah admired his courage, but she didn’t like the song choice either.
Kree Harrison – Jimmy Iovine also told Kree not to over sing. She sang Crying from Roy Orbison. Kerry Underwood did it on the show before. Kree was looking better, with the aid of the stylists. Crying is a great song, she sang it well, but never blew me away like the original does. Keith just said she always sings well. Nicki said she is smooth and delicious like her waffles (what the…?). Randy loves her voice. Mariah loves her too, but none of them really mentioned the performance specifically.
Burnell Taylor – sang Flying Without Wings from Ruben Studdard. Jimmy Iovine mentioned the issues of doing too many ballads, I couldn’t agree more. When he came out Burnell had moved away from the Steve Urkel look. He again sang well, but again a dramatic ballad. Keith said he was pure magnetic and liked it. Nicki said good job, she and Randy Jackson both said he puts his own twist on things. Mariah, as usual, never said much.
Amber Holcomb – gave us another Kelly Clarkson song, Moment Like This. She wore a long dress and covered up those legs, but she still looked good, aided by a bit of wind tunnel treatment. This was really an Idol song, not my sort of thing, but she sang it well and it would appeal to a lot of people. She got a standing O. Keith loved it, Nicki said best performance of the night and she mentioned the Whitney Houston similarities, which is exactly what I was thinking. Maybe this girl could be the replacement for that great loss. Randy and Mariah loved it too.
In Australia we got the results show straight after this. Jimmy Iovine started the show with an overview of his thoughts and his opinion of each of the competitors. He said the girls are out performing boys, which is what we expected. Up until now I have probably agreed with Keith Urban more than any of the other judges, but it could certainly be Jimmy Iovine from here in.
The results were duly spread out, to cover a one hour programme. Ryan Seacrest told us that Devin was No 1 in Puerto Rico voting, Janelle was 1st in Tennessee; Candice was top in South Carolina and in the Top three.
All the competitors sang together, Shine Your Way from The Croods movie. Obviously a cross promotion but it kinda worked.
Ryan grabbed Kree, as all of the singers were returning to their seats. The Mayor of her home town came on stage, a huge man, and gave her the key to the city. She was also in the Top Three.
Next up the two closest semi-finalists were given the opportunity to sing for a place on the Idol Tour in the northern summer.
Charlie Askew sang an original song of his, Sky Blue Diamond. He played piano and sang much better than the last time he was on. He really needs his teeth straightened.
Aubrey Cleland – sang well and is so much prettier than Charlie, but I wouldn’t like to kick him out on that performance. I’m glad that I don’t have to decide.
Philip Philips, the reigning American Idol, sang a nice folky, indie style song. I liked it. I thought I could hear a banjo, but there was none on stage. Almost everything else was, including two drummers, a cello and a horn section.
Angie Miller was the last to be told she was in the Top Three. To cut a long story short the remaining sequence was:-
4th Lazaro Arbos
5th Amber Holcomb
6th Janelle Arthur
7th Burnell Taylor
8th Paul Jolley
9th Devin Velez
10th Curtis Finch Jnr
Curtis sang I Believe I can Fly, to be saved by judges. He started out not as well as the last time he sang it. But he gave it the big finish. Some of the girls got emotional, there were a few tears.
Nicki Minaj looked disgusted at the fact that he was last. The judges were not unanimous, so he goes home.
As I have said before, the guys are far too similar, but his voice is so good I would have picked Paul, Burnell and Lazaro to go home before him. Maybe he suffered from doing too much of the same thing. Best of luck Curtis.