Saturday, February 28, 2009

Meet Group 3 - Part 2

Arianna Afsar
Arianna is part of the 2008 Student Crew - The bulk of 16-year olds that flooded Idol this year. Only this is a teen with a purpose. From California, she founded the organization Adopt A GranFriend, where high school students frequent the area nursing homes and visit with senior citizens. She auditioned with "Put your records on," and sang it better than Megan did during Group 2 night this past Tuesday. We have high hopes for Arianna. Even if she doesn't make it through this year, she's got plenty of time to make a name for herself.

Felicia Barton
Felicia is the replacement girl - the newbie picked to fill in for disqualified Joanna Pacitti. No one seems to know much about Felicia, other than she's a wife, mother and lives in Virginia Beach. Her husband recently said Felicia got the call from Idol producers to come back while watching the Judges Mansion episode with a group of 150 people at her church.


Michael gets Wikipedia entry

You know you've made it to the big times when you get an entry into the Internet's favorite encyclopedia. Problem is, Michael's entry needs your help. Know how to update a Wikipedia page? Help us improve the page.


A little birdie told us

Seacrest twitters? See these brilliant pieces of prose from Wednesday night's show. (OK, so not really prose as much as scintillating tidbits.)

"bout to go on the air at Idol...gonna ask Simon sarcastically why he's so brilliant. - Ryan

"Prob shouldn't be twittering during commercial breaks...but you should know it took 8 guys to get that piano off the stage at idol. - Ryan


Friday, February 27, 2009

Meet Group 3 - Part 1

Kendall Beard
Kendall is a Lufkin, Texas native who attends school in Austin, has lived in Los Angeles, may currently live in Nashville (that's a rumor we've yet to confirm), auditioned in Puerto Rico and has parents from Louisiana. (Whew!) With her Carrie Underwood-esque voice, first impressions of her led us to believe she was a shy, quiet Southern belle with a good voice. But apparently Kendall is a little more popular than we thought. She's previously released a self-produced album, and her hometown newspaper says her dad is good friends with Britney Spears' dad.

Alex Wagner-Trugman
This one intrigues us. Much like Nick/Norman, we can't help but watch him and argue with ourselves over whether or not we really like him. He's the 19-year old student from California who, during his audition, admitted he taught himself to sing in his closet, which turned out to be full of mold and made him sick. He's a brainiac with eyes that take up half of his head and we l-o-v-e to watch the strange facial expressions he makes when he sings. While he has a pretty good voice, we don't expect him to make it past next week. But we'll miss him. Seriously, take this one to YouTube. You won't be disappointed.


Michael's celebrity look alike?

The Idol Forum has created a hilarious thread asking fans to pick the contestants' celebrity look alikes. We can't say we think either of their suggestions for Michael are perfect. So we want your help. Who does Michael look like? At left, is our first reader suggestion, Nick Lachey. Send us yours.


The day after

Adam, Allison and Kris are on a press tour today, like Michael was on the "day after." Here's what they had to say on Good Morning LA.

Adam, Allison and Kris Los Angeles
by krunkyou

And here they are on Good Morning New York:


Michael talks about Idol

Click here for a new interview with Michael.


Your Top 6


You said ...

... Anoop should be chosen as a wildcard from Group One. With 150 votes in our online poll, 56% said Anoop should advance, followed be Ricky Braddy with 32% and Tatiana with 12%. So who in Group 2 should get a wildcard spot? Vote in our poll in the right column.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Your next finalists

Congrats Adam, Kris and Allison



7:00: THISSS… is American Idol. So before we get started, let us make some predictions and suggestions. Who’ll advance: we predict Adam, Allison and Matt G.. Who should advance: Adam, Megan, Allison and maybe Kris. Too bad this is a popularity contest (meaning if you got lots of TV time you’re considered popular) and not a singing contest. (And it’s a good thing Michael’s got the TV time).

7:10 So how long will we have to wait for the first results tonight? And how many cheesy film montages will we have to watch. Well, here’s the first montage.. and it wasn’t that bad. Now the group number! Is it a coincidence they started the number with Adam and Matt G, the two we predict will advance?? Ok, Matt B. singing next to Kai and then Nick singing next to Kris were some strange pairings. Ok, Norm as Nick without the comedy doesn’t work. Some nice dance moves all the way around (except for Matt B. just looked uncomfortable.)

7:20 And other montage (that makes 2), Yikes, Matt and Jeanine were both bad last night. Remember that clip when Matt advances later tonight. Ok, 15 minutes into the show and still no results. Nice little speech there by Matt B. He does remind us a lot of Michael, which means he cannot advance. We don’t want anyone splitting Michael’s vote. Ok, Allison is up first … and Jesse joins her … and Matt B joins them … how much you want to bet we get no results before the commercial … and as predicted, Allison advances!!! Matt (woohoo) and Jesse are out. Allison rocks the song again! Can’t wait to see more of her.

7:30 Ok, two spots left. Kris and Megan are up next (they’re both about to be robbed, can we say wildcards). Add Matt and Jeanine to that group. Ok, one of these will be in top 12. Jeanine is out. MATT IS OUT!!!! WHAT??!! YEA!! This is grrrrrreat news. We would be happy with either of these making it into the Top 12. Guess DialIdol isn’t always right. And the results, after hours of Kara’s ramblings, Kris is in! So the multitudes of teenage girls DID vote last night. But his song wasn’t as good as last night. Still we think the tweens will carry him far.

7:45 We’re bummed Megan’s out, but she should get a wildcard spot. So it’s obvious who’s gonna fill the final stool.. but first ANOTHER MONTAGE. Damn that was long. And now Brooke White.. I hope she doesn’t mess up, not sure they’ll let her restart her song this time. Her advice to the contestants “Don’t google your name” HA. We think we’ll try that with the Top contestants tomorrow and report back. We wanted to like Brooke’s song, but we already forgot that she sang, (hope she doesn’t google this).
7:55 Five contestants left. Mishovanna, Kai, Nick, Adam and Jasmine all up. Adam should have this easily. Someone told us today that Mishovanna looks like one of the Who’s from whoville (dr. seuss).. made us laugh. So from here on out she’ll be known as Cindy-Lou. And Kai, Cindy Lou and Jasmine are out. Nick, Norman and Adam are left (yes, Nick and Norm are the same person…sort of). So, this is like last week when they left Danny and Tatiana for last.. (yes Nick is Tatiana is this scenario) … and the big cliffhanger coming after the commercial.

8:00 And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.. but he is. Nick aka Norm is going home (but not without his silver spandex) Adam’s in. Damn’s he’s theatrical. – Enterprise out


Get your votes in now

It's not too late to join our American Idol pool. Click here to enter. All entries must be in by 6:00. Winners at the end of the season will get an amazing (we swear) prize. We'll announce the winners tomorrow. Good luck!


Sitting on the sidelines

Michael got a front row seat to last night's show and a chance to size up the competition.


Brooke White on tonight

Brooke White will perform her iTunes single "Hold Up My Heart" on tonight's show. Did Megan Corkey remind anyone of Brooke last night? Not the voice, but the hair and free spirit.


SPOILER: We know who's advancing

So once again, has predicted who received the most votes last night. Since they have a 97% success rate, we are fairly certain they are accurate again. So if you don't want to know stop here. Otherwise, click read more below.

Dial Idol works by measuring how often the phone lines of each contestant were busy last night. Here's their results:

Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta should definitely advance. There is a tight race for the third spot between Matt Giraud (really?) and Jesse Langseth. Although unlikely, Matt Breitzke, Kris Allen and Megan Corkey have an outside chance as they are still within the survey's margin of error. See the full results here.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How we rank them

Blew us away
1. Adam Lambert – We loved Adam’s performance. Yes it was very theatrical, despite him saying he was going to tone that down. (but we happen to like theatrical) That said, he’s a star already.
2. Megan Corkrey – Love her voice, great vibe and fantastic song choice. Not sure about the hip swishing though (or as Ryan calls it “the corkscrew”). We need her in the Top 12 (hint: that means vote). She would bring a much needed unique sound to the show. Her personality gives her a slight advantage over Allison.
3. Allison Iraheta – Where’d she come from? Great. If she can overcome the awkward, boring personality (as demonstrated in Ryan’s interview), she’ll go far.

Above average
4. Mishavonna Henson – Very solid performance and great voice. We really enjoyed the song but were left wanting more. And yes, we agree with the judges “she needs to shake things up a bit” and “crazy things up.” Maybe we could combine her with Tatiana and create the perfect contestant?
5. Kris Allen – Shaky start but really hit his stride midway through. We enjoyed the performance. AND, he’ll get the teenage girl vote, otherwise known as the Archeletta vote (and let’s be honest, that’s all you need)
6. Nick Mitchell – It seems like he’s toned down his comedy a bit, either that or it doesn’t translate as well on the stage. We wish he’d gone full out. But the singing was good and mildly funny. We found all the lyric changes a little annoying. And that was the longest judges comments EVER. You’ve got to admit a Top 12 with him in it would be entertaining (that’s why he’s this high on the list)
7. Jesse Langseth – Solid performance, but a little on the boring side. No excitement. While her singing was better than some of the above, she isn’t memorable and won’t get votes.

Middle of the road
8. Kai Kalama – Kai sang OK, but it was a boring song choice. Another forgettable contestant.
9. Matt Giraud – Was that his real vibrato or was he really nervous? Another bad song choice! What’s going on? Another top contender disappoints.
10. Jasmine Murray – We didn’t like her song choice, but she knows how to work the cameras. Lots of bad notes. We were prepared to love her, very disappointing.
11. Matt Breitzke – Decent performance but boring. He didn’t make it his own at all. And the “dancing” was a little awkward. Plus, there’s only room for one blue-collar family man and that’s Michael.

Start packing your bags

12. Jeanine Vailes – Ok, so we’re finally going to get to hear from Jeanine, for the first time. And now we know why. Yikes! In Simon’s words: “It was painful” Ok, if we were watching American Idol for the first time and saw this performance we’d never watch again.

Disagree? Tell us how you'd rank them.



We're back (sorta). Now that Michael is safely in the Top 12, we plan to sit back and enjoy a few weeks worth of shows. We'll still give you our sometimes insightful and slightly entertaining analysis of the show, but you'll have to wait until its over. Check back after the show to see who surprised us, who faltered and which judge should be kicked off the island. See you on the other side.


Tonight's songs?

Here's the latest list of rumored songs circling the web. We should warn you that most of the lists we received last week were wrong. But you never know.

Adam Lambert- "All By Myself" Eric Carmen
Nick Mitchell - "Crying" Roy Orbison
Matt Breitzke-"How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" Michael Bolton
Kai Kalama-"Lean on Me" Club Nouveau
Kris Allen- "How You Remind Me" Nickelback
Matt Giraud - "Viva La Vida" Coldplay
Jeanine Vailes -"Love Will Lead You Back" Taylor Dayne
Allison Iraheta"Total Eclipse of the Heart" Bonnie Tyler
Meghan Cockrey- "Nothing Compares 2 U" Sinéad O'Connor
Jesse Langseth- "You Needed Me" Anne Murray
Mishavonna Henson-"With or Without You" U2
Jasmine Murray- "Love song" Sara Bareilles


Who will advance tonight

Here's our highly subjective ranking of tonight's contestants. Our ranking is based on how likely a candidate will advance to the Top 12, not on how good they are. For example, Jeanine Vailes may rock it tonight (like Ricky last week), but she's had absolutely no TV time and therefore few fans to vote for her). Follow our live blog tonight and see exactly how wrong we are.

6. Jeanine Vailes, 5. Jesse Langseth, 4. Mishavonna Henson, 3. Allison Iraheta, 2. Megan Corkrey, 1. Jasmine Murray

6. Kai Kalama, 5. Matt Breitzke, 4. Kris Allen, 3. Nick Mitchell, 2. Matt Giraud, 1. Adam Lambert

Who'll advance: Jasmine, Adam and, in a shocker, Nick (Norm). Tell us who your top 3 picks are.


Simon says: Blame the lighting

Simon Cowell told USA Today what many of us realized last week: that Tuesday's show was a little (ok, more than that) disappointing. Where were all the great performances we were waiting for? According to Simon, it wasn't the contestants fault:

"Last Tuesday's show didn't quite gel. There were some audio issues. The lighting felt too light, too daytime," the Idol judge says. "We know what went wrong and what we're going to do to fix it."

The problem was the LIGHTING??.. really?? If only the lights were down a little, we wouldn't SEE how bad Stevie Wright was?? OK, so no excuses tonight please. Just wow us. But we do agree with Cowell on one point.. while we love Kara, the addition of an extra judge is making the feedback painfully long.

"I'd almost fallen asleep at one point because it was taking so long to get to me," Cowell said of waiting for his turn to speak. "So we're going to have to speed things up a little bit."

But we can't imagine that Simon is ever able to wait his turn.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How the rest of the Top 12 will be picked

We've had a lot of questions about how the remainder of the finalists will be chosen, particularly how the wildcard round will work (relax, Michael's already in) But if you have other contestant favorites, the next two weeks will work the same way as last week, with an additional 6 finalists named. Now we have 9 people in the top 12. Then on March 5 ...

Wildcard show
--- the next highest vote getter (after the 3 finalists already chosen) from each of the 3 groups advances (Anoop for sure)
--- Judges pick the rest of the people to participate in wildcard round, for a total of 9 or 10 contestants (producers said in December that they hadn't decided how many yet)
--- All contestants perform for a shot at the 3 remaining spots in the Top 12 (it is rumored that contestants will have to perform the last song they sang again.. we HOPE that is not the case. it was bad enough hearing them sing these songs the first time)
--- The judges will immediately pick the final 3 members of the Top 12.


Meet Group 2 - Part 6

Here's the last of our Group 2 contestants performing TOMORROW night. American Idol pushed back this week's show to Wednesday and Thursday due to President Obama's speech tonight.

Matt Giraud
When Matt Giraud performed "Georgia" on his keyboard during Hollywood week, we all sort of blinked and said, "Where did he come from?" The answer is Kalamazoo, Mich. After his initial "I don't wanna be" audition (the same song our Michael Sarver sang to grab his Top 12 spot), Simon said Giraud didn't seem to have enough confidence. But Simon also compared him to Elliot Yamin, who finished 3rd in Season 6. And like Elliot, Matt's already hit the record store shelves. He previously released two albums - one in 2003, one in 2006. Regardless, we can't wait to see what Matt brings to the live show.

Kai Kalama
Kai Kalama is sort of the Danny Gokey of Group 2, except he doesn't look anything like Robert Downey, Jr. Kai spends his days caring for his mother who has a seizure disorder. His audition of "Smoke gets in your eyes" showcased his bluesy voice, and after he got the golden ticket, he called Mom to tell her all about it. Kai has shown he can be a strong contender. Just how strong will he be? We're curious to see, too.

In case you missed it, here's the rest of Group 2. Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5. Enjoy!


American Idol power rankings

Michael has finally broken Entertainment Weekly's Top 12 in its weekly ranking of contestants. Read the full list, with explanations here.

20. Jeanine Vailes: (Last week: Unranked) Idol producers haven’t shown the California beauty (pictured, center) singing a single note during the first six weeks of the season. So whether or not she’s a Ricky Braddy-esque revelation, she earns a spot on this countdown — if only for fairness’ sake.

19. Nathaniel Marshall: (Last week: 19) Season 8’s resident drama queen proved he’s got actual chops by winning a sing-off against Jackie Midkiff. And while copious crying footage won’t help his chances, the lack of a male standout in Group 3 won’t hurt, either.

18. Matt Breitzke: (Last week: Unranked) Likeable welder dude has displayed decent (if not entirely memorable) chops (especially on his “Ain’t No Sunshine” audition). But since Michael Sarver already won Simon’s “In This Economy” endorsement, he’ll need a flawless vocal to advance.

17. Arianna Afsar: (Last week: Unranked) As David Archuleta proved last season, voters like adorable teenage contestants. That said, her “adopt a grandfriend” campaign was more memorable than her “Put Your Records On” audition — and her Group 3 draw pits her against the season’s most hyped female contestant.

16. Anoop Desai: (Last week: No. 1) Everybody loves (saying) “ANOOOOOOP!” His drowsy semifinal “Angel of Mine,” however, left him at the mercy of the Wild Card, and he’ll need a killer song choice (and performance) to avoid being this season’s Asia’h Epperson — the early front-runner who doesn’t crack the finals.

15. Jesse Langseth: (Last week: No. 15) Won her sing-off against Frankie Jordan but nonetheless got dissed big-time by Simon. We disagree — her big, smoky voice is one of the best thus far on the women’s side — but can she really get past Lambert, Giraud, Corkrey, and Murray from Group 2?

14. Scott MacIntyre: (Last week: No. 16) He’s probably the most recognizable guy in Group 3, and his success in spite of his visual impairment is one of the season’s most memorable backstories. Still, his performances to date — Daughtry’s “Home” and Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes” — betrayed a bit of vocal wobbliness.

13. Kristen McNamara: (Last week: No. 13) Simon implied she wasn’t attractive, but her rendition of “I Will Always Love You” was lovely, and let’s be honest: If this woman isn’t considered good-looking, then most of us shouldn’t be leaving the house without a strategically placed grocery bag.

12. Michael Sarver: (Last week: No. 18) Laid-back ”roughneck” scored a trip to the top 12 perhaps more on the strength of his winning personality and blue-collar backstory than his vocal performance of “I Don’t Want to Be.” Does anyone really think he’s a contender for the whole ball of wax?

11. Megan Corkrey: (Last week: No. 11) Tattooed beauty delivered a fine, jazzy “Can’t Help Loving That Man of Mine” at her Salt Lake City audition, but has been ignored by producers ever since. That said, Group 2 women are a bit of a mystery right now — she’s as likely as any of ‘em to crack the top 12.

10. Lil Rounds: (Last week: No. 12) Has received more screen time and hype than any other woman in season 8, but keeping it really real (Randy style!), her Whitney Houston cover was so shouty, it could have drown out Gordon Ramsay. Will she live up to the hype? Will viewers drink the Kool-Aid? Awaiting Group 3 performances for answers.

9. Alex Wagner-Trugman: (Last week: No. 10) Idol loves sending geeks to the top 12 (see Stevens, John; Aiken, Clay), and Alex has the big voice and endearing eyebrows to follow in their footsteps. But we preferred his ”Baby Come to Me” audition to his sappier top 36 sing-off.

8. Ricky Braddy: (Last week: Unranked) What’s that? The handsome soul singer (pictured, right) didn’t survive the Group 1 viewer vote despite his terrific “A Song for You”? That’s okay; we’re confident Paula will do the right thing and give a Wild Card performance slot to the one male contestant who scored no singing screentime before the top 36.

7. Jasmine Murray: (Last week: No. 7) She’s button-cute, possesses a booming voice, and (as Randy will surely remind us) is only SIXTEEN. If she can stay poised once the high-pressure live performances begin — and scrubs off the troweled-on makeup — she might prove more Jordin Sparks than Lisa Tucker.

6. Adam Lambert (pictured, left): (Last week: No. 8) His renditions of “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “Believe” bordered on strident — despite the judges’ overenthusiastic feedback. Still, it’s hard to imagine he won’t be among Group 2’s top three, considering he does have actual talent — and more importantly, the endorsement of the Idol Machine.

5. Ju’Not Joyner: (Last week: No. 6) Unassuming Dad rocked “Hey There, Delilah” in Hollywood Week — the best male performance to date among Group 3’s male contestants. Some might say his story lacks drama, but isn’t that a plus in a season where Tatiana and Norman have been hogging the early buzz?

4. Danny Gokey: (Last week: No. 4) Sent Kara, Paula, and Randy into squealing fits of adulation after a decent semifinal cover of “Hero,” but the disproportionate hype — plus his relatives’ decision to display a photo of his deceased wife for the cameras (!) — has resulted in a growing Internet backlash. Lucky for Danny, he’s got two weeks of hibernation till his next performance.

3. Felicia Barton: (Last week: No. 5) Won a last-minute spot in the top 36 after Joanna Pacitti was DQ’d. Could be a case of “dead contestant walking” given her lack of airtime, but her YouTube clips look solid, and it doesn’t hurt that she’s become the contestant of choice for viewers who abhor semi-pros in the competition.

2. Alexis Grace: (Last week: No. 9) Okay, so there’s a chance she might merely be a really good choice to front an Aretha Franklin cover band. But the pink-haired young mother’s quiet confidence is appealing, and her results-show “I Never Loved a Man…” was stronger than her performance-night rendition. Perhaps Simon’s comparison to Kelly Clarkson was apt?

1. Matt Giraud: (Last week: No. 2) Scored enough early screen time to win fans (especially that soulful “Georgia on My Mind” during Hollywood Week) but not enough to get labeled a producer pet. Could be the next Justin Timberlake or the next Chris Richardson, but the dueling pianist leads the pack — at least for this week.


Monday, February 23, 2009

The many faces of Michael

OK, we apologize now, but we couldn't help ourselves. The website recently ran this montage of photos in their forums depicting some of the more interesting faces Michael made during last Tuesday's performance. Fortunately, Michael learned a few things and fixed his awkward faces (and microphone handling) for his Wednesday night performance.

Wolfman?! Hey, we said we're sorry.


Hannibal goes to Hollywood?

Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins, most famously known for his role of Hannibal Lector in "Silence of the Lambs," said he wants to see an American Idol movie, and he's ready to play Simon!

MTV News released an interview with Hopkins today where the self-proclaimed Idol addict said Simon is his favorite because "he's brutally honest." (Emphasis on the "brutal") And you know what Idol judge Randy Jackson is saying - 150 percent yes, dawg. He even threw a couple of names out to play himself - Denzel Washington and Will Smith.

We here at Idol Chatter remember when they did make a movie based extremely like American Idol in 2006 - "American Dreamz" with Hugh Grant, Mandy Moore and Dennis Quaid. And believe it or not, it was actually more scary than the idea of Hannibal the Cannibal taking over Hollywood.

So now the question is... Who should play Paula?


Meet Group 2 - Part 5

Matt Breitzke
Matt Breitzke (that's pronounced "bright-ski") is Group 2's version of Michael Sarver, with a few differences. Welder by trade, this 27-year old Oklahoman is a husband and father to a 3-year old son. He sang "Ain't no Sunshine" during his audition in Kansas City, and sang along side our very own Michael Sarver in Group Week. While he has a very good voice, we think Matt's downfall may be his huggable-teddy-bear look. Matt comes across as a hard working guy who can do a mean karaoke at the annual town hall July 4th barbecue.

Megan Corkrey
Megan is a great contender this season. Her Utah audition (her home state) impressed judges when she showed off her jazzy lounge singer voice with "Can't help loving that man of mine." During her back story, we learned Megan is a 23-year old single mom with a toddler and tattoos ranging over an entire arm. The Los Angeles Times compares her - in looks - to Reese Witherspoon, and - in voice - to a 1930's jazz singer. But the word is Megan's lack of TV time means she will need to give a steller performance to stand out in everyone's minds.


Would the real Norm please stand up

We're strangely drawn to Nick Mitchell, aka Norman Gentle (not in an attraction way but in a can't look away at the car wreck sorta way). We're not sure why ... he IS entertaining but we aren't sure if we're laughing with him or at him. If anything, he should make this week's shows interesting. Here's an interview with his local newspaper, where he reveals he rushed the stage at a Whitney Houston concert when he was 13 and that Ryan Seacrest smells like money.

News-Times: How are you holding up under the "American Idol" pressure?

Mitchell: "It's a lot, but it's awesome. I've been open about this from the beginning -- I never expected to get this far in the competition. I'm a different kind of contestant. I'm a comedian more than a singer. I didn't even think I'd get past the first round."

News-Times: Your first audition was something to behold. When I first saw you I thought you were insane.

Mitchell: "I had done a couple of movies and improv shows in New York. One of my friends dared me to go into the audition dressed as one of the characters I do, Norman Gentle. I literally put on the shirt and the shorts and said 'Who cares? Let's see if I can get on TV.'"

News-Times: What does Ryan Seacrest smell like?

Mitchell: "Ryan Seacrest smells like money. No, Ryan Seacrest, he smells good. He's the most real guy ever. He talks to us so much behind the camera, making sure we're OK. He's such a nice guy."

News-Times: You're the second Brookfield High School graduate, along with Julia DeMato, to advance on "American Idol." What's in the water up there?

Mitchell: "I was actually in chorus with her. It's crazy. Julia was definitely awesome. I haven't been able to talk to her about this yet."

News-Times: Your family owns Mitchell Oil in Danbury . . .

Mitchell: "Yes, my dad wants me to get as many plugs as I can on the show. I'm like 'Dad it's now about you right now, OK?"

News-Times: Really?

Mitchell: "No, I'm kidding. My dad and my family have been so supportive. When I quit baseball to do musicals in high school, instead of bringing me to a Yankee game each year, my dad brought me to a Broadway show. He adapted to me. He is the best father in the world."

News-Times: Where's the strangest place you decided to sing?

Mitchell: "I'm in eighth grade. I'm at Madison Square Garden with my mother. Whitney Houston is doing a concert. It was her 'My Love is Your Love' tour. She asked the audience 'Does anyone know how to 'Exhale (Shoop Shoop)?' That was one of her songs.

Of course, me being an absolute weirdo eighth-grader thinking he can throw down with Whitney Houston, I'm like 'I KNOW HOW TO SHOOP!' I get out of my seat, run toward the stage, (while) security was like -- 'What?'

Whitney's like 'No, no, it's cool. It's cool.' I got to 'Shoop' with her for about a minute. It was probably the best day of my life."

News-Times: Have you been reading the messages to you online?

Mitchell: "I didn't really want to go online, because some people were like 'He's so funny I love him,' and some people were like 'I want to kill him!'


Did Danny Gokey get pity votes?

Ok, we admit, we've been dubious about the amount of airtime and promotion Danny Gokey has been getting courtesy of AI producers. But we're not the only ones. Anti-Danny threads have been popping up across the web. That said, we wanted to clear the air. We don't think he's using the memory of his dead wife to win votes. Our issue is with Idol producers and judges who seem keen on giving him every advantage possible. (most TV time, best position in live shows, raving reviews from judges). Here's how one blog defended Danny:

"Some bloggers are saying he is using Sophia's death to garner votes. Other comments are that he isn't grieving properly.

In an interview, Danny was asked how he felt about being highlighted. Danny's response, "I have no control over it. Unfortunately, it's a bummer when people are really mad about it. But there's nothing I can do about it." After Danny sang "Hero", Ryan Seacrest, in a painfully obvious way, prodded Danny to mention Sophia again when he asked what the song meant to him, or who he was singing about. Though it was the night he needed votes, Danny didn't rise to the bait and mention Sophia.

Danny has gone so far as to apologize if people feel like Sophia's death has been shoved in American's face. Danny told reporters, "Honestly, this is a sob story I don't want but it is shaping my life, and it's causing hope for a lot of people. Now I have my mission set in stone." Here is a man, who only seven months ago lost his wife, apologizing to us?

American Idol does create bias by showcasing certain singers' stories and antics. Does that mean Danny Gokey used his grief to garner votes? No. Danny Gokey can sing. He is a guy going through a rough time and dealing with it the best way he can. Danny Gokey made it to the top twelve because he deserves it, not because of pity."

Read what Michael had to say about Danny here.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Meet Group 2 - Part 4

Jeanine Vailes

We have no idea what to say about Jeanine. She's virtually untraceable. There's no video of her singing, no fan pages on the Internet. All that we know is she's going to be singing Tuesday night, and it very well might be the first time we've heard her.

Jesse Langseth
Jesse, 25, is the red-head that outsang Frankie at the judges mansion. Her voice is worthy of Idol, but climbing to the top may not have been that hard for Jesse to begin with. Her brother is multiple Grammy winning guitar player Johnny Lang.


An interview with the Top 3

After being selected as the first three people to secure those highly coveted spots in the Top 12, Alexis Grace, Michael Sarver, and Danny Gokey answered some questions for the media about their experiences.

At 4 feet eleven and a half, and under 100 pounds, Alexis Grace understands why the judges were shocked to hear such a big voice come out of such a small package. And she had no hesitations about singing an Aretha Franklin song, as, according to her, it's in her range, and she also feels connected to her as an artist. As far as her bluesy influence that was heard this week, she said it comes from growing up in Memphis, with a mom and a dad who both loved the blues.

Kelly Clarkson was the first Idol to bring blues and soul to Idol, so it's also no surprise that Simon compared Alexis to the first AI winner this week. How does Alexis feel about it? As she said, "It's more than flattering. I mean it really just shook my world when they said that, in a good way. What it does, though, is it just pushes me to do better each time now."

Her daughter is another huge motivator in her life. Alexis admits that being apart from her for a while will be very difficult, but she sees the bigger picture, and as she puts it, "This is all to better our lives." Her father, who is in Alexis' band back home, is also a huge support for Alexis.
While some might have thought she looked like she had nerves of steel this week, Alexis begs to differ. But her ultimate goals and her desire to succeed took hold, and that's how she was able to overcome the stress:

"I was just thinking, 'You know what? I'm going to make the best of this night. I'm going to take in everything that the people on this show have been telling me and just like cherish this moment forever and just go out there and have fun and perform because that's what you want to do, right?'"

This is certainly a different outlook than the shy girl who initially auditioned seemed to portray
to the judges. They told her to "dirty up her look" and come out of her shell, and that's exactly what she did to impress them this week. She said that thinking about her future and her daughter really helped her to do this, as well as talking to all the AI mentors from the show. She also said there's a bit of an "alter ego" when she hits the stage. Whoever it was up there, the judges loved it.

To say that Michael Sarver seemed giddy over his spot in the Top 12 is an understatement, and his Southern charm certainly showed through at every moment. When asked if he was glad he went in this first group or would have rather waited, he said that he's glad he went first, as he can now "soak it in and enjoy it like we should." There's little doubt that when it comes to his life, family is first for Michael. He's not sure how often his wife will bring the children out but that's something he says they will just take one day at a time.

Michael admits that there is definitely something to the appeal of the working man. As he put it, "It's very difficult for a lot of people and I see it as a chance to see someone rise from the ashes. It's not that my life is bad, but things are tough and to see some excel and succeed, I think people relate to that and it's special to their hearts."

He also agrees, however, that the fact that Simon made a bit of a plea for him during the results show most likely had an effect on voters as well. As a fan of the Idol since the start, he understands Simon's impact, and has nothing but appreciation for the fact that Simon did that. From this perspective, something else also hits home for Michael:

"As a viewer, another story on the show that really hits me is Danny Gokey because my wife is my absolute best friend and I tell you; if she did pass away, I don't understand how I could wake up the next day."

He went on to say that he has "mad, mad respect for Danny Gokey." Michael also looks at the show from the perspective of the fan, and he really appreciates the idea of the Wild Card.

Knowing how disappointed he would have been had he not made it, he's glad his AI peers have a second chance. He also jokes that "good things come out of 'wild things'."

As for the "Why now?" question about his auditioning for AI, Michael said that this was simply the perfect time for him. Watching the show for all those years, he always realized he had some growing up to do first. But when his sister-in-law approached him with the idea this year, he knew it was the right moment for him. As for what you'll see from him this season, Michael says he thinks he'll "flirt with his roots" a bit more and do a lot of R & B and soul.

Danny Gokey has made quite an impression already this season, not only for his unlimited supply of glasses and his uncanny resemblance to Robert Downey Jr., but for the story of his wife, who passed away from a heart condition shortly before the show. Danny said he realizes the impact his wife's story has made, and that some are even sick of hearing about it, and he even understands that to a certain extent. But, as he put it, "It's not that I throw it in people's faces..."

He went on to explain, "It weighs on my mind a lot though because honestly, this is a sob story I don't want. I don't want this story, but it is shaping my life and it's causing hope for a lot of people knowing that it's causing hope for my life." When asked about what his wife would think of it all, he said that she'd get a kick out of the whole situation, and she would just be so happy for him.

Danny was also shown struggling with another issue already this season, the departure of his best friend, Jamar Rogers, during Hollywood Week. While he admits that he was extremely angry at first, he has learned to let go of a lot of what he calls "toxic emotions" he was holding on to during that week. And he also realizes how much exposure Jamar has already gotten, along with a strong fan base, so he's confident his friend will enjoy much success.

Like Alexis, Danny said that he might have looked cool on the exterior on results night, but he was anything but calm. And he realized "Anything can happen. Anything's possible." He also said that Tatiana also had a bit of the element of surprise, so he prepared himself for the worst. As far as the eliminations go, in general, Danny is very torn about the new elimination procedure. As he said, "It's never been harder to get into the Top 12, but yet also, it's never been easier because of the fact that you don't have to go from 36 to 24 even all the way down to 12."

When asked about his strategy for success this season, he said that he sees some room for improvement, as he'd like to clean up his vocals a bit. However, he's proud of the risks he takes, and he will continue to do that as long as he is on the show.

One thing that Alexis, Michael, and Danny all mentioned was the extremely close connection that is felt between all of the hopefuls on the show. They each admit that, as a fan watching the show, they didn't truly believe that people could be friends and compete against one another. But that is exactly what has happened to them. As Alexis put it, "They become your family." As Michael Sarver said, "You can't make sense of it and put it into words, but it's there. I really have been completely and pleasantly surprised by the relationships that I've experienced."


Is Ricky Braddy a wildcard pick?

From Ricky's local newspaper The Daily Advance
"Don’t count Ricky Braddy out just yet. Braddy, a local contestant on the popular national talent show American Idol, was voted out of the top 12 on Wednesday, but is still in the running as a ”wild card” contestant. Calls to the show’s PR department confirmed this, when The Daily Advance was told on Wednesday that Braddy was unavailable for interviews because he was still “in contest.” Many local fans feel that Braddy simply hasn’t received enough airtime to make him prominent enough in the minds of viewers, which is affecting the number of votes he receives."

And this, a theory from one fan:
“(American Idol) has been doing this for eight years — they know what they’re doing. In the preliminary rounds, you never saw Ricky except for a flash here and there. At this stage it’s all about the drama — it doesn’t get serious until the final 12. Who knows what they’re doing. My personal opinion is they’re looking at how many downloads (contestants) have on iTunes, what the blogs say, and what Idol Watch says. They have a lot of assistant producers who do nothing but watch the Internet. They’re very selective about what they release (about contestants).”

If this is true, we would like to give a shout out to the Idol producers who are no doubt reading our site on a daily basis. If you keep giving Michael "TV time", we promise to give him "Internet time."


Meet Group 2 - Part 3

Allison Iraheta
At the age of 14, Allison won $50,000 and a recording contract from a singing competition on Quinceanera. While the record contract didn't seem to stick, her teenage rendition of "Total eclipse of the heart" was phenomenal, and we hope to see her bring that performance back on Idol. She's now only 16, and carries a deep, throaty voice worthy of only experienced singers. She hasn't received much TV time, but you will recognize her the minute you see her. She has bright pink hair from root to tip.

Jasmine Murray
Jasmine is another one of Idol's junior singers - only 16 years old. She sang "Big Girls Don't Cry" during her Jacksonville audition, and made an impression on the judges from the start. Simon said she was "cute, commercial, and a very very good singer." What he didn't say was she seemed to sing it all from her nose. But this model-esque contestant is quite marketable, and we think she looks a little like actress Gabrielle Union.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Survey: Anoop should have advanced

A group called HCD Research conducted a survey after last Tuesday's American Idol show to determine which contestant would advance to the Top 12. They surveyed 1,522 American Idol viewers and then on Friday sent out press releases to media nationwide announcing that Alexis Grace, Danny Gokey and Anoop Desai, not Michael, should have moved to the Top 12.

So we're confused. Why was this survey even conducted? We could maybe understand if they were going to release the results BEFORE the results show, as their own prediction of what might happen ... but AFTERWARDS? They only proved that their methods don't work. Also, the research company surveyed 1,500 people and thinks it is going to be more accurate than the 24 million person survey American Idol did. It seems like everyone's looking for a reason to scream 'RECOUNT' these days.

Anyway, for those of you who are interested here are the survey's (very inaccurate) results, which show Michael getting less votes than Danny, Alexis, Anoop, Ricky AND TATIANA. Enjoy.


Snapshots from yesterday's rally

Photos by Tammy McKinley/The Beaumont Enterprise