Category Archives: Music Reviews

28
Apr

American Idol, Season 10: Top 6 Performances – “No marching band, no flaming piano.”

And then there were six.  Just under a month to go until the finale of American Idol, Season 10.  With the eliminations getting harder to predict, this week saw the Idols singing not only solo, but also in duets on the live performance show.  After weeks of current and contemporary themes, Idol chose this week to turn the clock back and appeal to the soccer moms in the audience.  This week’s theme?  The songs of Carole King.

There is no doubt that Carole King is an amazing artist and songwriter, but still I found it curious Idol decided on her music as the centerpiece for the final six.   There were some good performances and some not – but overall the songs didn’t grab me this week.  Why you ask?  A myriad of reasons – but first a few random observations about the show –

  • Was Randy going to audition for the new C-Lo Green video after the show?  What was with that outfit?
  • There were a few interesting signs in the audience. The grandmother holding the sing saying “Steven: Walk this Way” was a little disconcerting.  And to the guy hold the “I’m Here” sign.  Yes, yes you are.  But we still don’t care.
  • Nice to see Constantine Maroulis, Penny Marshall, and the tall guy from “Everybody Loves Raymond” in the audience.
  • Babyface was a surprisingly good guest mentor with Jimmy this week.  Of course, anyone is an upgrade from wil.i.am.

Now on with our regularly scheduled recap…

22
Apr

American Idol, Season 10: Top Seven Results – “Bada-Boom, Bada-Bing, Bada-Bang.”

With only five weeks to go until the finale, Idol is quickly coming to the home stretch.  After tonight, we find ourselves with only six of the original top thirteen still standing.  It’s been a long day for me and I had an itchy finger for the TiVo tonight, so what say we just dive right in to the fun.  Shall we?

21
Apr

American Idol, Season 10: Top 7 Performances – “Mad Max meets Stormtroopers on Melrose.”

It’s Wednesday night here in the Word Zombie household and we all know what that means.  Ritz Cracker chicken for dinner!  It also means time for American Idol.  This week found the top seven vying for their place in the top six.  This is quickly getting serious folks – the votes are going to get tougher and tougher each week from here on out (except for Hailey – can’t we all agree she needs to be the next to go?)  Who would rise to the occasion?  Who would kiss one of the judges?  Who would be accompanied by a marching drum line?  Who would make a surprise appearance to open the show?  All these questions just happened to be answered in a short 90-minute jaunt with American Idol.

The theme this week was “Songs from the 21st Century”.  A rather broad category but I’ll hand it to the producers; they have gone out of their way not to box the contestants into strange genres miles outside of their comfort zones (Anyone remember Andrew Lloyd Weber night?)  Instead they have allowed the contestants room to establish what sort of artist they want to be after the show.  They’ve allowed them to begin building a fan base that won’t be disappointed with the eventual albums they release.  I think it’s been a brilliant move.

Before we get to the performances, a few random observations:

  • It was nice to be wil.i.am-free tonight.  Strangely, I didn’t miss him for a second.
  • Jimmy Iovine seemed to be much more supportive of the contestants tonight.  Think he had to eat a little crow after the stellar performances last week?
  • I guess if you are the “most beautiful woman in the world” you can pull off wearing a gold lamay shorts-suit.
  • I liked having the longer, 3-minute performances this week.
  • For all the talent this year, I’ve yet to buy a single studio track from iTunes.

No that’s out of the way; let’s see how everyone did.


15
Apr

Review – “Twenty-One” by Corey Smith

If you haven’t heard of Corey Smith before – well, let me introduce you to him.  He’s a native of northern Georgia, a former schoolteacher, a father, a husband, and a musician.  He’s also someone you will be hearing a lot more about this year – starting with the release of the first single, “Twenty-One”, off his upcoming album “The Broken Record”.

After many years of releasing his music independently (and selling over 150,000 albums in the process), Corey recently joined forces with Average Joes Entertainment.  He is slated to release “The Broken Record” in June. Corey has said the new record is a comprehensive look at how he has changed over the years – a blend of old songs and new songs, woven together to “hopefully convey a message about life”.  That blend of old and new perfectly describes “Twenty-One”.

15
Apr

American Idol, Season 10: Top 8 Results – “Thank you for whipping that out on us.”

Thursday night, sometime after 8:00PM, with the TiVo humming could only mean one thing – time for the America Idol elimination show.  After last night’s jaunt through songs from the movies, the top 8 was slated to become the top 7.  Were there any shocking results?  Would we see the sixth consecutive girl eliminated from the competition?  Would there be any professional wrestlers onstage?  All those questions and more were answered in just over 60 minutes.

Before I dive into the show, I have to share a few random observations:  Was Jennifer really wearing a dress that included curtain tiebacks as shoulder straps?  Best sign in the audience – “Bring Back Pia”.  Sign that most needed to be fact checked – “Steven is the Most Beautiful Man in the World”.  Uh….no.  The one thing that made tonight miles better than last night?  No wil.i.am in the house.

14
Apr

American Idol, Season 10: Top 8 Performances – “Give Metal A Chance.”

What a night on Idol.  The theme was “Songs from the Movies”.  My wife commented on how each theme has allowed a broad selection of songs for the contestants (no “Songs from Broadway” this year).  I think it was a calculated move and one that has made the show better.  From Bob Seger, to George Straight, to Blondie, to Sammy Hagar – there was a little of everything on the show tonight.  On balance, it was the strongest show so far this season.  How did it all go down?  Glad you asked.

8
Apr

American Idol, Season 10: Top 9 Results – “A mistake is one thing, but a lack of passion is unforgivable.”

I’m just going to get it out of the way up front – tonight was shocking.  Very shocking.  Almost as shocking as Casey being voted out and then being saved by the judges.  The difference?  There was no judges’ save tonight.  The last person left standing with Ryan was out of the competition, and heading home.  Who was it?  Were the bottom three the right ones?  How did Constantine sound?  All these questions answered, and more – after the break.

7
Apr

American Idol, Season 10: Top 9 Performances – “That’s the second prettiest bust I’ve kissed all day.”

The theme for Idol this week was the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.  The funny thing was – there were precious few rock and roll songs performed on the show.  That’s not to say there were bad songs this week.  The Rock and Roll Halle Of Fame cuts a broad swath through music in America, and the contestants took full advantage of the breadth of music available to them.

After Ripley’s guy brought the judges out, they ran a montage setting up the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  For the first time I can remember, Ryan didn’t narrate the set-up piece.  They wisely decided to let Steven do the set-up.  It was a little disconcerting to see him posing next to a wax replica of his head – made even more interesting when he kissed it and said, “That’s the second prettiest bust I’ve kissed all day.”

There were two celebrities involved this week.  Gwen Stefani was brought in to style the ladies in her new fashion line (more on that later), and wil.i.am joined Jimmy Iovine to help with the song prep (much more on that later – but can we all agree that one time on the show was too much for him this year; three times is just ridiculous.  What can he really help them with – autotune etiquette?)

4
Apr

My interview with Sarah and Stephanie Snyder from Deer Park Avenue

I recently had a chance to review the debut E.P. from Deer Park Avenue – “City Streets”.  (If you haven’t had a chance to check out my review, you can find it here.)  At the time, I said one of the things I love most about this blog is the opportunity it affords me to meet new authors and artists.  Sarah and Stephanie Snyder from Deer Park Avenue are no exception to that rule.

After I published my review of “City Streets”, Sarah and Stephanie were kind enough to sit down and chat with me.  We covered a wide range of topics; from musical influences, to pop European bands, to – of course – the impending zombie apocalypse.

1
Apr

American Idol, Season 10: Top 11 Results: REDUX – “That’s definitely going to be on TV.”

With yet another dramatic montage, promising – “You won’t believe who is going home”, the top 11 elimination show from American Idol made it’s way on air.  Usually, I would dismiss that kind of hype out of hand, but after last week’s save of Casey, I was a bit concerned heading in to the elimination show this week.  Did America get the wake-up call last week?  With over 55 million votes cast, it appeared that it had – but whom did everyone vote for?  Cue the lights, roll the music – it was time to find out who made it to the top 9 this year.

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