American Idol 10 Top 13 compilation album enters the iTunes charts at no. 9

UPDATE: Hmmm. After just a few hours at number 9, the idol album slipped into number 11 as of March 12th, 3pm!

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American Idol Season 10 enjoys many firsts this season: new judges, new stage and bigger set, a keener audition process, social networking ‘privileges’ for the contestants, a more interactive website with online voting, a more active social network accounts that ‘talks’ to its followers, offering behind-the-scenes tidbits; and just two days ago, a studio version album release of all the songs performed by the finalists!

Checking on how the album is faring, the Top 13 should be feeling pretty, pretty good. The compilation just made it into the Top 10 iTunes charts at No.9 competing with the big names in music!

It has surpassed upcoming albums from Britney Spears, Chris Brown and Foo Fighters. The album is closely ahead of R.E.M.’s (Collapse Into Now) album at No. 11 and six spots behind Glee’s cover album, Vol.5.

Adele’s sophomore album “21” continues to hold the No. 1 spot for many weeks running since it went onsale February 22nd.

On the downside, none of the individual songs made it to the charts- not even the Top 200 singles.

 

Listen to the Audio sampler of all the songs and read our (in)expert review of the tracks here.

 

The real test to these studio albums will be in the coming weeks. Can they sustain the spot and for how long? We also have to point out that the record may have scored higher because iTunes opportunely released the “album only” first for a good number of hours before dropping the 13 singles. This left many users confused and a lot have bought the album thinking the individual songs aren’t available as singles. The initial negative reviews of the album speaks to the flurry. Without pulling the same stunt for next week’s album, we’ll see how the finalists’ efforts truly rank in the iTunes music playground.

According to the Idol press release:

“The songs released on iTunes are studio versions recorded by the Idols under the guidance of Jimmy Iovine’s team, including some of the hottest producers in the business, such as Rock Mafia, Rodney Jerkins, Don Was, Jim Jonsin, Ron Fair and “Tricky” Stewart. The 13 individual tracks and compilation album that are now on sale are the first to be released on the 19 Recordings/Interscope label. The compilation album sells for $7.99.”

An inexpert review: American Idol 10 Top 13 Studio Recording Compilation on iTunes (album audio sampler)

We forget how big companies get ‘there’ – by becoming very enterprising cough-cunning-cough-shrewd. iTunes is no different.

When they premiered the American Idol Top 13 compilation after midnight, March 10th- they conveniently released the ‘album only’ download first for a good number of hours until users were fuming mad with negative reviews. It meant shelling out $7.99 for the complete set when most fans want only 2 or 3 songs from it.

We were among the anxious ones! iTunes’ trick worked on us. We bought the entire thing because we thought they weren’t selling the singles– only to find out this morning, they offered them for $1.29 each!! Just as well so we can put in our two cents on it.

As our title suggests, we are no expert on music but we love music. We can’t live without it! We go by what we feel, how the song affected us or connected with us. So with that, we can always agree to disagree.

The entire album is ‘strategically’ arranged. You’d think they go by the order of performances on Idol. Nope. They wanted to start and end the album with a bang, squeeze in the other notables in between the bad ones and there you go, you have one entertaining album that you’d want to listen on repeat [except for 2 or 3 we wanted to delete but feel guilty because we paid for them]!

 

We will review by the album order [the bracket is the order of their performance on Idol]:

01 Casey Abrams – With a Little Help From My Friend by the Beatles [2]

What a way to open the album! Very smooth, a lot of soul in there from Mr. Soulman himself! We hope he’s not another Taylor Hicks in the making though. A lot of ummmphhs and ooohhs and if you’re not into that, could be distracting for you, as well as the backup harmonies that keeps echoing, following Casey like his own shadow! The band is also somewhat overpowering that Casey seems in battle with the instruments.  Casey’s rendition excellent. Thumbs down for the production!

02 Naima Adedapo – Umbrella by Rihanna [13]

Naima is the clear winner on this album. Read, on this album. Her song stood out as the only commercial track out of the 13. She sang one of Rihanna’s most recognizable tune which makes her current and likable. Her voice sounds sooo good! Very recordable, radio friendly! Best produced track in the album. The fact that this song has been covered enough, and to squeeze in a unique reggae/rap interpretation to it that’s hip is a winner.

03 Lauren Alaina – Any Man of Mine by Shania Twain [1]

We don’t like country but we like Shania Twain. Lauren fans please don’t get mad but if you look up Karaoke in the dictionary, they just added the picture of Lauren. Sorry. She is the most overrated contestant this season. She may sound great onstage ‘live’ but this record speaks- she sounds generic. Maybe in a few years, her voice will change and she’ll find her own sound. If she’s going country, she won’t be able to compete with Carrie Underwood or even Kellie Pickler sounding like that.

04 James Durbin – Maybe I’m Amazed [6]

Maybe I’m amazed indeed! James really showed his soft side in this tune. Just when we were starting to dislike him because he is TOO rockish for our taste, he delivers this unpretentious and honest rendition. We felt he held back a little on this recording, his live performance was way better but we liked this one too.

05 Ashthon Jones – When You Tell Me That You Love Me [3]

Never been a fan of this particular song and Ashton didn’t do anything to make us like it. Diana Ross has gazillion hits and she’d pick this one, beats us! She’s pitch-y all over the place. Not sure how this record got past the studio! She just really ‘wasted’ her opportunity. The judges saved her and put her on the wild card, for this? We don’t want to go “there” but it’s clear the judges picked her on the wildcard to add ‘more color’ to the show. Kendra Chantelle should have been in the Top 13!! It didn’t help that all three judges desperately tried to praise her live performance when it was all wrong. Hate to say it but probably the worst track in the album. She’s got the confidence of a diva but she ain’t one– yet!

06 Stefano Langone – Lately [10]

OMG! Stefano can sing and he can sing Stevie Wonder!! And he can sing like he owned the song! The intro was great until the arrangement got weirder and weirder towards the middle and end! What the heck is this genre?! House music? Still Beautiful though, his fantastic vocals pulled it through.

07 Jacob Lusk – I Believe I Can Fly [8]

We feel bad critiquing Jacob. We believe he is the next Luther Vandross. What on earth is he doing singing an R. Kelly song?!! Argh! if they can only place Jacob’s “God Bless the Child” on this album then it would have been perfect. Instead, we get this trite and over-exhausted song of “I Believe I can Fly.” Yawn. Jacob didn’t do anything with this song. Second Worse.

08 Scotty McCreery – The River [12]

We didn’t think it’s possible but Scotty can make anyone like Country. Didn’t we just write we don’t like country? Scott McCreery has country flowing in his veins and it shows in his every performance. The kid can sing country and he will be embraced by country fans!

09 Paul McDonald – Come Pick Me Up [4]

Paul’s voice is really unique. It is nice to just LISTEN to him instead of watch his borderline ‘spastic-i’m-having-a-slight-seizure-‘ dance moves performance onstage. At some instance, his voice is too ‘throaty’ so he should watch out and control it. This is soft and sweet. Paul, you should sing David Gray’s “Babylon.” It’s right up your alley- you’d nail the song!!

10 Thia Megia – Smile [9]

Thia made us truly smile on this one. Her voice is so sweet and innocent yet powerful, rich and controlled at the same time. Her live performance was off because the transition from intro to the jazzy part was sloppy. The studio recording sounded great! The transition was smooth and flowing. The instrumental beats in the middle of the song (1:35) is addictive! This is the sweetest surprise in the entire album. We loved it. She deserves to go far in the competition.

11 Haley Reinhart – Blue [7]

So Haley, not your fault but we’re just not a fan of yodeling… and since when were you a country singer? Are you as confused as we are as to the kind of artist you want to be? Very lounge-y and karaoke-esque. If you sing more like that, you’d replace Lauren’s photo in the dictionary under the definition of “karaoke.”

12 Karen Rodriguez – I Could Fall In Love [11]

NOT. Karen just sang this song. No flavor, too bland for our taste. If we wanted to Listen to a Selena song, we’d listen to Selena. Yawn. Next.

13 Pia Toscano – All By Myself [5]

We’re trying to force ourselves to love this version because Pia’s vocals here is just unbelievable! Our issue is the song itself. Again and again we hear it every season- during audition, Hollywood week or the idol stage. Having said that, they didn’t save the best for last for nothing. Pia, if she plays her cards right- can win this whole competition. She is THE COMPLETE PACKAGE ARTIST. Bravo!

Thoughts? Violent reactions? Do share.

Top 13 Perform Jackson 5 Medley Plus a Glimpse of the American Idol Mansion

3/11 American Idol Season 8, The New Rule. Michael Jackson Night Results

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There is a “new rule” at American Idol. Each judge is given the chance to save a performer that did not get enough votes from America. They can only use this “save” once all season. So, once they use it, they lose it. You can expect the judges to only use it when they disagree dramatically with the audience’s decision.

jasminemurrayThe new rule is intended to save the unfairly eliminated. Possibly saving the Daughtry’s on a bad week. Would it play out this week? Let’s see.

Our bottom choice from last night was Jasmine Murray. She was horrible and when she sang again tonight, she confirmed she deserved to go home. Randy did not save her, thank heavens. She got shipped home and we are down to 12.

Megan Corkrey looked like she could go, but she made it through, which we were hoping because she was so out of her style this week, and we want to see her again with something more fitting.

jorgenunezNow for the silliness. We understand the sympathy vote; it happens again and again for the less talented cripples, elderly and children on various shows. We wish it wouldn’t, because it is so unfair to the performers that are better. Someone inevitably gets eliminated in the sympathy-getter’s place. Scott survived. He did not deserve it.

They dragged down Anoop and Jorge. Jorge did not deserve to go home. The tune was a bit boring but his vocals were much better, but the sympathy vote kicked him out. Anoop somehow lucked out and managed to survive to next week despite a rather bleak performance.

We don’t feel all that bad about losing Jorge. He is not controversial and great. He could not have won this competition, and Simon rightly did not save him using the “new rule”. But the fact is, it really should have been between Scott and Anoop.

No matter, Scott and Anoop will not survive long in this crowd, and Jorge isn’t in the league of the best either, but still, we feel sorry that he was the first to go in the name of a pathetic sympathy vote.

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3/10 American Idol Top 13 Performs, Who Made The In Crowd?

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Tonight it was easy to pick the bottom of the pack, but the peak performers were so great that we have to really start to wonder who could actually pull this off.

In general, the judges were on the mark. At times, their comments were rather stupid, mostly Randy, but even Simon totally missed the mark on a couple of artists.

The performers started off careful, because the choice had to be a Michael Jackson song. And not too many people have the guts to sing a Michael Jackson song that was a huge hit.

It can break you talent wise because it is so very hard to make original. And if you sing it exactly like him, you sound like Sunday Night at the Juke Box.

But let’s have at it and pick our losers from the final 13. [Listen to all the songs from tonight (Audio MP3) at the bottom of this post.]

1. Lil Rounds – “The Way You Make Me Feel”– The round girl picked up a big hit and did it with style. We loved it, she was sexy but her outfit, well, let’s just say it belonged at her high school prom not on this stage. We are not going to rank the people, we will just say whether they are in or not. Lil is IN!!

2.. Scott MacIntyre – “Keep The Faith” – Scott did an obscure Jackson song, and he was OK. But OK isn’t good enough. His piano was great, but this isn’t an instrumental competition. His song is flattish with that tone deaf sound and it is hard for us to believe we would ever want to listen to him on the radio. OUT.

dannygokeypyt3. Danny Gokey – “PYT (Pretty Young Thing)” – Danny is amazing. He has a voice that could take anything and make it great and he made this tune unique and powerful. He took a completely obscure song and made it a hit. His biggest problem was he went too early, so we forgot how great he was by the time other great performances showed up towards the end. We loved it. IN

4. Michael Sarver – “You Are Not Alone” – We were impressed with Michael tonight. We did not think he deserved to be here, but tonight he won us over with a strong vocal. Our problem is he is boring in his movements, his face looks completely awkward when he pushes, and in general, he could be eliminated and not a soul would miss him. But for this week… IN.

5. Jasmine Murray – “I’ll Be There” – Jasmine clocked in with the worst performance of the night. We honestly could not get through a second listen to judge it. It was painfully off key. She has the vocal chords, but can’t find the pitch, which makes it gut wrenching to listen to. She is gone, no question. OUT.

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6. Kris Allen – “Remember the Time” – Fun performance from a cute guy. Not much else to say. Not the best, not the worst. IN.

7. Allison Iraheta – “Give In To Me” – We have seen rockers come and go on this show and we remember some of them, but we will remember Allison. She is a true rocker at only age 16. She hit this song and made even a true rocker like a Michael Jackson tune. Great performance. IN

8. Anoop Desai – “Beat It” – We think the judges were particularly hard on Anoop. He did this with some style and had fun with it. Problem is that he is out of his league now. There are other performers that are vastly better than he is. We are on the fence with him, but our initial call is… OUT.

9. Jorge Nunez – “Never Can Say Goodbye” – Well, Jorge started way off key and we were trying to figure him out, but then he hit his stride and was great the rest of the way. The judges were harsh on him, and called him old fashioned, but we think he was respectable. IN.

10. Megan Joy Corkrey – “Rockin’ Robin” – The performance was very cute, but it made us uncomfortable. It was not Megan at all, and it did not do her any favors. Her characteristic moves and notes did not fit the song and her performance was off the mark. Nothing stood out, so her only chance to stay in would be even worse performances. OUT.

adamlambert_idol11. Adam Lambert – “Black Or White” – OK, Now Adam kicked everyone else out of the house. He was powerful, his screams incredible as usual, and his vocal range unchallenged. We are big Danny fans and have to say we think Adam won the night over Danny on this occasion. It is a bit possible he took himself a bit too seriously in his performance, but that is a stretch at saying something negative. IN.

12. Matt Giraud – “Human Nature” – Now, we were very disappointed with Matt in past performances, but behind the piano he shows he could be a star. He had to follow the best performance of the night and we were ready to write him off. His falsetto was superb. He proved that we were way off the mark and put us on the Matt. IN

13. Alexis Grace – “Dirty Diana” – Simon and Randy were so far off the mark on their calls on this tune, we had to wonder if they had a motive. Alexis killed this tune and gave Adam a run for the money. She looked spectacular, like a born star and was the best outfit of the night by far, which not one judge mentioned. She truly Graced the stage and Simon and Randy should get hearing aids. IN

So where does that leave us, it leaves us with two that have to leave and we would send home four, so this should be easy. The worst performances were…

Scott MacIntyre, Jasmine Murray, Megan Joy Corkrey and Anoop Desai

If we had to choose who to send home out of these four? Jasmine is first to go, Then it is pretty much a toss up. We would like to see Megan again when she is more in her element. We don’t like Scott and think he is off key but may get the sympathy vote. And we think Anoop picked a horrible song because he wasn’t good enough to pull off that big a hit, so he could be a goner.

We can’t choose who to send home, but we expect no surprises this week from the IN crowd.

Photos and videos later! 🙂

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Profile Spotlight on Allison Iraheta, American Idol Season 8 Finalist

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Favorite Quote:

“I’ll never let you go, if you promise not to fade away.”

Favorite Male Artists:

Michael Jackson

Favorite Female Artists:

Pink

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Allison Iraheta made it into the top 12 (which later turned out to be top 13) in week 2 of the competition, singing Alone” by Heart. We indicated then we were quite impressed because the song is such an icon that it is hard to do well without being compared to the original and Allison did it amazingly well and outperformed some past Idols that had attempted to sing it.

Allison auditioned in San Francisco. She sang “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin and that pushed her through to Hollywood.

This isn’t Allison’s first competition. She has proven to be a winner in prior battles, winning “Quinceanera,” a Telemundo reality show. She took home the $50,000 prize, which included a recording contract.

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Allison began singing at age 5 and also enjoys playing the guitar. She currently lives in Downey, California and is originally from Sherman Oaks, California. At age 16, Allison is the youngest performer this year to reach the final 13. Her parents are from El Salvador. When asked about her age as a factor, Allison calmly stated, “We’re all here for the same thing and it depends on how much we want it,” Allison’s trademark feature is her flame-red hair which makes her incredibly memorable. If she can continue to perform at the caliber she did to make the finals, she will be giving this elite group of challengers a run for their money.

Latest AI Interview Top 36

Introducing Allison in Hollywood Week

Allison with Jun’ot Joyner Top 36 Round

“Alone” by Heart Encore

American Idol Q&A, Continue on next page…

Profile Spotlight on Adam Lambert, American Idol Season 8 Finalist

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Favorite Quote:

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

– Jimi Hendrix

Favorite Male Artists:

Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, Lenny Kravitz, David Bowie

Favorite Female Artists:

katy Perry, Pink, Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Goldfrapp, Madonna

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Many American Idol Contestants, among which are such memorable Idol performers as Fantasia, Diana DeGarmo, Constantine Maroulis, Frenchie Davis, Clay Aiken and Taylor Hicks have found their way to the Broadway stage. Adam Lambert did things in reverse, performing in the Broadway Production Wicked in Los Angeles before auditioning for Idol. Adam played Fiyero.

Wicked wasn’t Adam’s first professional stint. Prior to joining Wicked, he performed in The Ten Commandments as “Joshua” at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles. Lambert’s Idol audition was broadcast on the Jan. 20 show from San Francisco, and he sang Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” to get a unanimous pass to Hollywood. In later weeks he sang a Cher tune though and the likeness in his voice to that of Cher combined with his make up made us worry about his apparent penchant to be a female impersonator.

To get to the final 12, Adam belted out a screamingly ostentatious version of The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction,” to which we said, the scream is back! Adam can scream, with ease, and that is an incredibly difficult feat for most singers. His scream is on par with Stephen Tyler and Roger Daltry who identified their songs with powerful screams.

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Some very risqué photos of Adam tongue-ing it up with his favorite boy toy kind of left us wondering if his image is what Idol is really looking for at this point.  The images which we are not even publishing here- were intended to be private on his social network page, but it is questionable putting pictures like this up on any web page at all.  Adam has talent, but is America willing to buy into his sexually explicit image?  We are not sure and it could be a problem for Adam going forward. Adam is 27 years old and is from Los Angeles, California.

We found a fan site for Adam here.

Latest AI Interview

Hollywood Introduction

Top 36 Interview with Stevie Wright

Elimination Night with Nick Mitchell and Encore of “Satisfaction”

American Idol Q&A, Continue on next page…

3/5 American Idol Wild Card Winners! Four Becomes Finalists.

So, the finalists of American Idol are all chosen, and it was left to the judges to decide the fate of those that were chosen for the wild card competition. We question many comments by the judges and feel they were off the mark tonight.

Our calls for each performance are below (Listen to the audio performances at the end of this post):

1. Jesse Langseth, Rufus & Chaka Khan, “Tell Me Something Good” — Jesse got down deep on this song, bringing out a very sexy and soulful set. We got into it and loved this performance. Her only flaw was
having to go first, which is hard on any performer. She pulled off a great performance with a professional feel.

jesselanseth_wildcard2. Matt Giraud, Jackson Five, “Who’s Loving You” — After last week, Matt had nowhere to go but up. His performance last week should have been his death nell. Matt brought it this week with some very nice solid riffs and got us smiling a bit, so we give him credit for bringing back what he is good at. Sad to say that when the real competition hits, he won’t be able to pick and choose only the blues.

3. Megan Joy Corkrey, KT Tunstall, “Black Horse And The Cherry Trees” — You know, we like Megan and wanted her through to the final 12 on her last performance. This week was cute and fun because the song is cute and fun. She looked great, but she was flat and the song shows no range. She was also incredibly off key many times throughout the song. We like this song, but she didn’t do it well. She looked great doing it though and was entertaining.

4. Von Smith, Elton John, “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” — There has been way too much Elton John in this show this year. And we think Von could have picked something less cliche. He once again dressed shabbily and still looks like he is standing in a carnival fun house above the air blower. The beginning of the song is slow and requires strong pitch control. Von doesn’t have it. He was off key most of the first half of the song. He brought it home, but not enough for us to consider him.

5. Jasmine Murray, Christina Aguillera, “Reflection” — Jasmine tried to stretch her voice on this song and came up flat, literally. She was off key through the entire song and when she hit notes requiring strength in her vocals, they hurt our ears because she was just shouting. We did not like her performance.

6. Ricky Braddy, Stevie Wonder, “Superstition” — Now, this is a hard song to sing, not so much because we think Stevie is the end-all be-all, but because it is so well known.An If you don’t nail it and if you are off key, people will pick it up immediately. Ricky sang it great. He hit every note with ease and performed it wonderfully. Our only criticism is Ricky’s look. He looks like a scarecrow in heat. But he can belt out a tune.

7. Tatiana Del Toro, Whitney Houston, “Saving All My Love FOr You” — This was like deja vu all over again. Tatiana has done this tune three times in the competition and it is getting old. She did fine, her voice is quite powerful, and she is enjoyable to listen too, but she overstayed her welcome with this tune.

8. Anoop Desai, Bobby Brown, “My Prerogative” — Anoop has been a favorite of ours, so we were expecting him to excel. He did not. The song is a repeat, of a prior performance. He was flat nearly throughout the song and it is a silly song for a geek to sing. We did not like Anoop this week.

Our Scores for the performers are based on how they performed, not on the judges choices. THey are based on reality not practiced and already wrote decisions by the judges. We will list the group in reverse order of our overall score. We know the results already, but the judges were well off the mark on most of the talent this week.

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1. Jasmine Murray (5/10)
2. Tatiana Del Toro (6/10)
3. Anoop Desai (6/10)
4. Von Smith (6/10)
5. Ricky Braddy (7/10)
6. Megan Joe Corkrey (7/10)
7. Matt Giraud (7/10)
8. Jesse Langseth (8/10)

rickybraddywildcardThe judges robbed two great talents tonight and, for some reason unknown to us, placed two people through that just aren’t very good and did not deserve to be in the final 12. We have no idea what they were thinking. Our top 4 clearly outperformed the others, and would have brought more talent to the final 12 than the judges’ selections.

Our opinion? The judges had already judged. It was over before the fat lady sang, and probably before she knew what she was going to sing. We think that is a a shame.

The performer we feel the worst about is Jesse Langseth. She put in an excellent performance and was better than most in this show by a country mile. She was, quite honestly, robbed. The judges comments after her set were off the market and just plain not relevant.

Similarly, Ricky was unjustly eliminated, and we get the impression there were other factors than talent in this decision by the judges.

The judges tried a surprise twist by putting through four instead of three because they couldn’t make up their minds.

Their choices were Jasmine Murray, Anoop Desai, Megan Joe Corkrey, and Matt Giraud. That rounds out your final 13 for only 12 stools. Jasmine will go quickly. Anoop needs to go back to prior performances to determine what made him worth listening to; tonight he was not good and incredibly lucky. But Matt and Megan deserve to be here and we look forward to hearing them again.

We hope the judges will judge the remainder of the competition based on talent instead of whatever commercial factors they are considering when devising their very scripted and obviously rehearsed judging…