Musings of a fickle mind

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

American Idol 12- The Top 10

So the top 10 finalists got to pick from songs done by previous winners on and after the show. This'll be interesting. So let's go straight to my thoughts on the contestants. :)

The Great

Candice Glover "I Who Have Nothing" (previously done by Jordin Sparks)- Amazing vocals; such controlled runs; there's not much I can say about this girl...

Amber Holcomb "A Moment Like This" (Kelly Clarkson)- There's something really special about her voice. I would have to agree with Nicki on this one...she reminds me of a young Whitney Houston. Dark Horse!

Kree Harrison "Crying" (previously done by Carrie Underwood)- Kree has such a special tone and voice quality; so rich...her range is impeccable. I think she can sing anything...She is definitely NOT limited to country.

Angie Miller "I Surrender" (previously done by Kelly Clarkson)- Angie can probably sing anything and be on point. Now, i don't think this was the best song choice...but she nailed it :)

The Good

Burnell Taylor "Flying Without Wings" (Ruben Studdard)- He connects so well...probably my fave guy contestant this year.

Devin Velez "Temporary Home" (Carrie Underwood)- I don't know...I don't completely agree with the judges..i would side more with Nicki on this one. I actually enjoyed this performance.. I know it is one of Devin's more subtle performances, but i really felt it. He may be in danger though :(

Paul Jolley "Amazed" (previously done by Scotty McCreery)- Hmmm.. I think this is probably the best he's sounded...but...he's really at his best when he's overly theatrical..i don't think there's anything wrong with being theatrical..but it just doesn't sell at the end of the day..I think Paul will be safe anyway...

The Ok

Janelle Arthur "Gone" (previously done by Scotty McCreer)- I think Janelle is wise enough to stick to traditional country because i think that's her niche..the problem is she's not vocally as strong as any of the other girls... She might be in trouble, but her charm may save her.

Curtis Finch, Jr. "I Believe" (Fantasia)- He's a good vocalist, but that's pretty much just it...i didn't feel anything.

The Meh...

Lazaro Arbos "Breakaway" (Kelly Clarkson)- Ugh... :( I don't like this at all. It doesn't soothe his voice...I think Burnell's song choice would've actually been better for Lazaro..I don't think he's in any danger though..people might actually vote him through because of his story.

Prediction- I think Janelle, Curtis and maybe Devin are in danger of being in the bottom 3...i'm kinda scared for Amber and Burnell because i'm not sure about their fanbases....i want Lazaro to leave..

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

American Idol Top 20 Semifinals: Top 10 Guys

Ok, now we have the guys.. I'm going to keep this short and sweet.

The Good

Curtis Finch, Jr- He's got a great voice..I'm just bothered by his personality..and i feel like all the compliments are going to his head..someone has got to bring this guy back to Earth.

Devin Velez- First of all, I really love this song...especially the Spanish version...and i was so glad that Devin sang in Spanish again. (i hope he doesn't always do this though)...then again, he's got a really special voice and such a pure tone..he can probably sing anything..

Nick Boddington- Thank God! Nick is back! He's back on the piano...and he just slays the heck out of this Goo Goo Dolls song..first part gave me goosebumps.

Burnell Taylor- I'm sensing dark horse with this kid....he's not necessarily the best every night..but he's able to give a solid performance..I love his voice.

The Ok

Elijah Liu- I'm so frustrated with Elijah because I know he's got more...I loved the beginning part of the song...the chorus was great. I felt that his voice was controlled throughout..my only issue is that he didn't go anywhere else with the song.. It just stayed there..sweet..but i'm not sure if it was enough..the thing that's going for Elijah is that he's very marketable and current.

Cortez Shaw- I don't think that Cortez really knows who he is as an artist yet...he's got a monster voice..but he hasn't been picking the best songs to showcase his voice. This was an ok performance, but I was really expecting more from Cortez because he's got one of those big voices..

Vincent Powell- From my no. 1 spot in my last post...Vincent fell off a cliff..I really like him but i feel like he's trying to prove himself every week when he doesn't need to. He has a great voice and he should know that...he just needs to be himself and pick songs that are close to his heart...I think it is when he sings from the heart that he shines brightest. I hope America pulls him through..but I'm not really sure anymore.

Paul Jolley- I think this is probably one of my favorite Paul performances...but I still don't think that country is in Paul's wheelhouse..He has to move on to theatrical big ballads. He sounds like Clay Aiken.

The Not So Good

Charlie Askew- Hmmmm... i'm kinda scared for Charlie..because i think he seems to be unstable..He could hurt himself..if he gets more criticism in the future. :// I totally agree with Nicki on this :( It seemed so dark and so not the Charlie that I loved earlier on in the competition. Gotye is totally who he needs to emulate...I have a fishy feeling that Charlie will make it to the top 10 because he might be getting America's sympathy vote.

Lazaro Arbos- Lazaro has a lot of vocal issues. This performance was not terrible like last week, but i feel like it was still a rather weak performance. I don't get why the judges aren't honest with Lazaro..they're so affected by his back story that it's so frustrating.. I'm glad that Mariah pointed out the issues with his voice..This is a singing competition... ://

Fearless Forecast- I think that Charlie and Lazaro are making it.. :// and probably Curtis, Paul and Devin.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

American Idol Top 20 Semifinals: Top 10 Girls

So we've made it to the live rounds. It's totally in America's hands right now...will America get it right? Here are my thoughts on the night's performances. All in all, i think it was a pretty good night. There were people who surprised me and people who totally let me down.

The Great

1. Kree Harrison "Stronger"- Ranking Kree at no. 1 is pretty much a biased decision on my part...but this is not to say that she didn't do amazing objectively. She gave a very solid performance of a well-known Faith Hill song. I also loved that she took liberties with the song--taking on notes that i've never heard her hit before. I'm looking forward to hearing more of Kree. I so hoooope she makes it to the top 10!

2. Candice Glover "Ordinary People"- I loved Candice singing this song..She took a John Legend song and made it her own. She has amazing vocal control as well....those runs and those notes...i'm kinda speechless like Nicki.

3. Amber Holcomb "I Believe In You and Me"- Amber is such a brave soul for taking on this Whitney classic.....and i have to say that she did not disappoint. She is once again on point with her vocals. She's such great technical singer... She reminded me a bit of Whitney Houston during her prime. However, i would have to agree with Keith that she didn't have to do so many runs.

4. Angie Miller "Never Gone"- Yay for Angie taking on a Colton Dixon song!!! This totally suited her voice. I loved that she was back on the piano as well. She always sings from the heart...so honest :))) she reminds me of Kelly Clarkson.

The Good

5. Tenna Torres "Lost"- Tenna really surprised me this week...she was at the bottom of my list last week..and it was because of her incredibly shaky vocals in last week's performance. This week she picked a song that really played to her strengths well. Her low notes were amazing. Her high notes were a bit screechy, but very controlled. She had some really good moments in this song..I loved how she made a recognizable country song her own. I think she might surprise us even more if she makes it to the top 10 (there's a chance..but i think she isn't that popular)

6. Aubrey Cleland "Big Girls Don't Cry"- Aubrey is gorgeous and very marketable. I think that her performance this week was so much better than last week's. Her voice is so sweet and her vibrato is beautiful. I want her in the top 10, but there are so many strong singers this year.

7. Janelle Arthur "If I Can Dream"- Janelle was much better this week. I think she's more of a traditional country singer than a pop country singer. She should stick to Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton or Loretta Lynn. I think that people like her and that she has a very good chance of making it to the next round. If she continues doing what she does best--sticking to traditional country---she may pull a Scotty McCreery and maybe win the whole thing. My problem with her is that her voice is not very strong at all. I could hear her struggling a bit.

The "Meh"

8. Adriana Latonio "Stand Up For Love"- I was very disappointed with this performance...very very disappointed. First of all, what is upppp with this song choice. The song choice=pageanty stuff...the vocals were incredibly rough as well. The performance was void of emotion...robotic. I was expecting something current and upbeat from her. I think that a song from Jojo would've fit her very well. I don't know if Fil-Am support will be enough for her to get to the top 10.

9. Zoanette Johnson "What's Love Got to Do With It"- Zoanette was killed by the song choice...she's at her best with those big "performing arts" songs that allow her to take a lot of liberties with her voice. The thing about Zoanette is that she does a lot with her voice..this is problematic in songs that require you to stay on key...so Zoanette was basically all over the place with this song...she was either pitchy or flat....

10. Breanna Steer "Flaws and All"- I think this was an interesting song choice...I think that it showcased that nice husky tone...i just don't think she's a strong a singer as everybody else....i was bored.

Fearless Forecast
Top 5- Kree, Amber, Candice, Angie, Tenna or Janelle (Aubrey might make it..i hope she does)

Monday, March 4, 2013

American Idol Top 20: First Impressions with Rankings

Hello! As you can see….American Idol has been on since January…and I do not have a single entry on the show. This is because I wanted to sit back and observe this new format. It’s kinda strange because the girls and guys are basically not competing against each other…not until the top 10. Well, this may work in favor of the girls this year…..anyway, so let’s get started.

So, I’m going to jumpstart my American Idol blog entries with my first impressions of the top 20 finalists. I’m also going to be revealing my faves and ultimate faves in the process.


  1.  Kree Harrison- Probably my ultimate favorite of the season. There’s just something special about her voice…pierces the soul..her voice is sooo reminiscent of Carrie Underwood’s, which is probably what captured my attention in the first place.
  2. Angela Miller- Angela is the first contestant that gave me goosebumps in the competition with her Hollywood solo performance of original song, Set Me Free. I can see her going really far in the competition. Her voice has this quality that reminds me of Kelly Clarkson..very effortless. I’m kinda hoping for a Kree-Angela finale. :))
  3. Amber Holcomb- Goodness!! Vocal Control!!!! This girl is an excellent technical singer. I’m really feeling this dark horse vibe from her…she can probably take the whooole competition if she continues picking the right songs…she can earn more fans in the process….
  4. Candice Glover- Coming off of last year…I really expected Candice to do pretty well and I think that so far she’s been delivering. My only problem is that I really need a goosebump moment from her…she needs to take liberties with that big ol’ voice she possesses… I’m a bit worried that people will eventually get bored of her.
  5. Adriana Latonio- Yay for a Filipina contestant this year!! :) She gave a solid performance during the Sudden Death round, which resulted in standing ovations from Keith Urban and Randy Jackson. I’m a bit worried because she had noooo airtime before the Sudden Death round….but I'm confident that the Filipinos will back her up… I have no idea how consistent she is though…she might pull a Jasmine Trias who was stellar in one performance and mediocre in the next..or she might be a Jessica Sanchez who was stellar throughout ..well, let’s just watch and see!
  6.  Breanna Steer- This girl really surprised me because I didn’t really know how she would sound. I honestly thought she was just cannon fodder…However, she has this gorgeous tone. I’m not sure about the likability factor..but I think she’s very marketable.
  7.   Zoanette Johnson- I’m starting to really like Zoanette!! I think it was the Circle of Life performance, which gave me goosebumps!! :)) Lion King has a very special place in my heart! If she continues delivering these performances, she might be a threat to the crown!! My only concern is that she has the tendency to go all over the place…a Hot Mess!! Hahah
  8. Aubrey Cleland- Now, I like Aubrey… I think she has a great image and a very current sounding voice. My only problem is that I think the judges overrated her performance of sweet dreams. I think that it was totally the wrong song for her voice.. :( she has a sweet sounding voice, which could go really well with folk-motown type songs…she was struggling with the Beyonce song especially with the high notes…the lower notes on the other hand were gorgeous. :) I waaaaant Aubrey to do good in the semi finals..because I actually want her in my top 10.
  9. Janelle Arthur- Janelle is a sweet country singer with a pretty face…but that’s just it.. her voice is not so impressive. I mean..she’s no Carrie Underwood…I don’t think she’s a Lauren Alaina either. She has the potential to get into the top 10, but I don’t think she’ll be going very far. What she has going for her is that likability factor.
  10.  Tenna Torres- I don’t think that Tenna should’ve made the top 20 in the first place….she picked a really really good song, which I think tricked the judges into thinking she had a good performance…her high notes were irritating and she was struggling a lot..but this is not to say that she has such a gorgeous tone…very Mariah-esque.

  1. Vincent Powell- I’m in the mood for a gospel singer! :) Love Vincent’s voice and tone!!!
  2.  Burnell Taylor- I didn’t like Burnell at first but he’s starting to grow on me. He’s got a lot of stage presence..and I think his voice is really solid.
  3. Curtis Finch Jr.- Now, I prefer Vincent to Curtis..and it’s totally a personality thing.. I think that Curtis is as strong a singer (if not stronger) as Vincent…but his personality just rubs me off the wrong way.
  4. Devin Velez- Another great voice here. What worries me is that he might lose his stride and start picking the wrong songs…He might get eaten up by the big gospel singers.
  5. Charlie Askew- Not the greatest singer on the show, but he’s very entertaining to watch. He has a very unique voice as well. He may be the novelty act among the guys this year. :))
  6. Nick Boddington- Honestly, Nick would’ve been in my top 3 after his performance of Stars back in Hollywood. His performance during the Sudden Death rounds however was very disappointing :( I honestly thought that he didn’t deserve to make it to the top 20 (would’ve preferred David Willis, Josh Holiday, Bryant Tadeo to him). But I’m hoping that he makes a come back.. (maybe he could sing Stars again..heheh)
  7. Elijah Liu- I know there’s been a lot of Elijah hate. I honestly think that it was just the song choice last week… I watched some of his youtube vids and I think that he’s worthy of his place in the top 20.. I think he has to prove his worth on the show though.
  8. Cortez Shaw- Ridiculous range….great image…He has the tendency to over-sing. I think he has to pull back a little and pick better songs. If he has these small issues fixed I think that he could sail through.
  9. Paul Jolley- I know a lot of people like Paul…I mean..i think his voice is powerful…it’s just that I think that he thinks he’s a country singer…he’s not…and his cover of Tonight I Wanna Cry was incredibly awkward..the phrasing was not good..he should stick to Clay Aiken stuff..He’s a balladeer and not a country singer.
  10. Lazaro Arbos- :((( I think his performance was terrible….and I totally feel for Lazaro and his story..but I think at this point being objective is very important…I tried watching the performance back to see if there were any redeeming factors… :( the only redeeming factor I found was his story..but this is not Oprah..it’s American Idol, a singing competition. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Back from probably the longest hiatus ever

Sup Everyone (assuming that i actually have any readers),

So it's been years since my last post of randomness... Well, a lot has happened since then. I was a graduate student back then struggling to get my thesis done and graduate. Now, I'm happy to say that I did survive that academic phase. I got a job, which kept me preoccupied for about a little more than a year. Loads of traveling and research writing kept me away from the blogosphere. Well, I have a lil' more control over my time now, as i'm currently helping out with the family business. I'm still as busy as ever, and i get headaches once in a while, but sneaking in a post or two more occasionally won't be that of a problem for me now. Well, setting reintroductions aside, let's see what randomness might (i say might because i might flake this blog once again; i'm really sorry for the disclaimer..hehehe) be in store.

American Idol is back with a whole new set of judges!! I'm pretty excited about it, especially with all the buzz that's been surrounding the show. I'm so stoked about writing my week by week reviews of performances. A whole lotta fearless forecasts/ predictions are also in store for my lucky readers (LOL).  Let's hope I still have my ear for good talent after my loooong hiatus.

I've also been discovering (and rediscovering) good music. I hope to share the treasures I unearth in my so-called musical treasure hunts.  I also have a huge back log of TV shows, which i hope to write about when I find anything worthy to write about. [Oh..and you might not know that i'm currently quite obsessed with Doctor Who...proud Whovian here :)] Movie reviews are also something I might consider doing if my brain finds itself being creative & over-analytical critical,.

Anyhow, I really do hope I manage to keep this blog alive. 2013 is an exciting year...let's see what it brings :)


Friday, November 12, 2010

Blogging from my Phone!!

This is the first time that I'm blogging straight from my iPhone. I'm currently using blogger.com's mail2blog feature, which I think is cool because I will be able to post while I'm on the go. However, I have yet to find an official Blogger iPhone app! I think it would be great to have one. Wordpress and Typepad have respective apps.. Why can't blogger have one. Word definitely has to go to Google and Apple regarding this.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Album Review #1: Unbroken by Katharine McPhee

I know it's a little too late to be reviewing this album, as it has been out since January of this year. Anyhow, I really do think this is one of the most underrated albums ever. I honestly do not think it has been getting the attention that it deserves.

Two years after her debut, Katharine McPhee makes a come back with Unbroken (released under new label, Verve, a division of the Universal Music Group [UMG]). She comes back with a new look and sound. She deviates from the generic pop sound she had in her debut, and instead opts for a more organic and mature sound in this new record. Moreover, she has written more material in this album, which makes it even more personal. I believe that with Unbroken, Kat finds her voice and herself as an artist.

Track by Track Review

1. It's Not Right- This is one of the tracks in the album in which Kat allows herself to soar vocally. Her effortless singing coupled with lush instrumentals add to the magic that this song conveys to its listeners. I would recommend listening to this song in full surround sound. Incredible. 9.5/10

2. Had It All- This very radio-friendly tune is the first single off Unbroken. It has this folksy and country vibe, which is very infectious. Moreover, the song has this very catchy hook and chorus, which is very much reminiscent of Daniel Powter's, Bad Day. 8.5/10

3. Keep Drivin'- I admit that I wasn't really digging this tune when I first heard it. I found it dragging and lazy, observing no real climax in the song. The song, however, grew on me. I realized what made the song special was Kat's soft and somewhat smokey (lack of a better word) vocals. It was this element that made the song haunting and sweet. 8/10

4. Last Letter- I could not help but notice how catchy the lyrics of this song are. "It makes me happy to use you a little, to use you a litte, to write this song." Kat effectively channels some angst and anger while singing this song, which was supposedly written for an ex-boyfriend. Although the song somehow lacks in production, and can be mistaken for a demo, Kat's vocals and the catchy lyrics compensate for this. 7.5/10

5. Surrender-Absolutely love Kat's vocals in this song. She showcases versatility and range. What's more, this song shows how Kat has matured not only as an artist, but also as a songwriter. You have got to admit that this song is very poetic, deep and artistic. Love this song. 10/10

6. Terrified- I initially heard this song in an earlier youtube video with songwriters Kara Dioguardi and Jason Reeves performing it. I just could not understand why no artist has recorded this song. When I heard that Kat had this song as part of the line up of songs for her new album, I was completely stoked. I just knew that she would nail it. As expected, she brings it home with an infectious and catchy performance of this mid-tempo ballad. She showcases the gentle and powerful aspects of her voice. Love it. I recommend that everyone listens to her version with Zachary Levi..Talk about vocal chemistry! :D 10/10

7. How-I just love how the song oozes with percussion. Adding to the melodious and foot-tapping beat are the uplifting lyrics. This is a nice feel good song to jam to. Kat's voice just soars in this ballad. Definitely a favorite I can't stop listening to. 9/10

8. Say Goodbye- Haunting. Kat channels the likes of Sarah McLachlan in this simple yet exquisite piano-driven ballad. Kat effectively conveys the dreary and sad emotions of a person saying goodbye to a lover. Emotive and moving. 10/10

9. Faultline- This is another slow ballad which showcases Kat's vocal ability and range. I love how she channels her inner diva in this song, and goes for incredible notes. Setting aside the vocal aspect, the lyrics are stirring and rich. A solid song and performance. 8.5/10

10. Anybody's Heart- A simple yet beautiful song. In contrast to Faultline, Kat sticks to the softer side of her voice. It's as if she's singing a simple lullaby. This song is also one of those lyrically moving songs in the record. 9.5/10

11. Lifetime- A cute mid-tempo track on the record, this song is very much reminiscent of those songs found in feel good commercials. The lyrics are also very meaningful, talking about meaningful moments and life, in general, spent with loved ones. I never get bored with this track. 9/10

12. Unbroken- This is a song Kat co-wrote with the legendary Paula Cole. As anticipated, the lyrics are very heartfelt and rich. Kat's vocals once again shine. Perfect. 10/10

13. Brand New Key- A cover of Melanie Kafka's 70s hit. I initially questioned this song choice. Out of the all the possible covers Kat could've done, she chose a rather unfamiliar song. Then, I realized that she hasn't exactly shown her fun and quirky side in the record. The lyrics found in this record have mostly been emotive and deep. I now knew shy she chose this song. It was to simply have fun. As silly as the lyrics of the song may be, Kat just wanted to play around and have fun! 8/10