Idol Thoughts: Top 5

idolthoughts

This week the Top 5 was revealed on American Idol. I’ve had to say goodbye to a few favorites this week (loved Joey Cook and Qaasim Middleton) but overall I’m pretty pleased with how America has been voting. I’ve been voting this year, too, which is relatively new for me as I never really had time to vote before voting closed in years past. They’ve finally accepted the large amount of DVR viewers though and allowed us plenty of time to chime in with our opinions.

Here’s how I voted this week:

idoltop5

They are doing the Round 1 / Round 2 thing now because there are so few contestants left to fill 2 hours and god forbid they cut down to one. I guess I like this though because there are contestants who basically bomb one round but absolutely slay another.

I thought Clark Beckham was overall strong in both rounds. I loved his first performance of Yesterday by The Beatles and although I’m not a big Biebster, I also liked his rendition of Boyfriend in round two – I disagree with the judges on this one. I liked his arrangement and I wish they would stop trying to change him. I did have to laugh at his interpetation of this week’s theme which was Arena Anthems – I think he just interpreted that as “really popular songs by these popular people” – but I digress.

Jax always wins me over. I adore her voice, so even though I honestly thought the energy in her first performance of Are You Gonna Be My Girl Guy by Jet was just off somehow – like the crowd wasn’t as amped as she was and I hate it when contestants change pronouns in songs – just own it, you know? But I love her voice so it still sounded good – and in round two she got back behind the piano where I love her and sang White Flag by Dido and it was just everything.

Rayvon was a lot more like the Rayvon I’ve known and loved from the beginning this week. His first performance blew me away and I was like “YES! HIM! THAT!!!!!!” after he finished singing  Sam Smith’s Not the Only One. I think it’s the first time he’s not smiled while singing and although I personally love his smiley songs, this was reallly good, too. I’ll be honest, his round two performance of Go Your Own Way was just meh for me for the most part until he’d get to the melody and you could actually hear him but it didn’t matter because round one was everything for me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I thought Quentin did really well this week – at least I  really enjoyed his interpreation of Shake it Out by Florence & The Machine which seemed weirdly perfect for him and I was pleased to see that he wasn’t acting like a thug that was about to mug Harry this week – and part of me sees him and thinks “He’s got that it factor!” but I’m not sure it’s an American Idol it factor at the end of the day so I wasn’t really disappointed to see him go.

Nick Fradiani is a conundrum for me because he seems like a sweet guy and he does have a good voice but he’s so one note to me – like he bores me to tears, honestly. I’m glad he’s doing well because he is working hard and “he’s got a great personality” but if I’m going to be honest with myself, I wouldn’t buy his CD.

I’m feeling guilty about not giving any votes to Tyanna because she has a princess name and she’s so talented but the truth is I didn’t like either of her song choices and I’m worried she’s petering out. I thought Party in the U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus sounded completely wrong for her voice and did her no favors because it’s shallow and vapid and she is clearly not – and then Heaven by Bryan Adams just seemed… too mature. She’s somewhere in the middle and she knows it and it felt like she was just trying to pander to other age groups / genres or something. I don’t know – it was just – off. But I’ll forgive her if she’s back next week and she probably will be.

Are you watching this season?

Who is your FAVE this week? Who are you ready to see go home?

jenloves

Idol Thoughts: The Top 12

idolthoughts

This week the Top 12 was introduced and then whittled down ever so slightly to the Top 11. They sang the songs they auditioned with on Wednesday night and a “party” song on Thursday for the theme “Get This Party Started”.

The highlight of the week for me was Joey Cook’s rendition of ‘Fancy’ by Iggy Azalea. I’m always a fan of musicians taking well known songs and turning them on their heads – when done well, it’s always a lot of fun and Joey Cook did really well in my opinion.

Adanna Duru sang ‘Runaway Baby’ by Bruno Mars and continues to be fantastic. She was one of my Top 3 this week so either she’s rising the ranks or other people are falling behind. Or both.

The judges seemed super amped up about Rayvon Owen’s rendition of ‘Burn’ but honestly I didn’t love it. He sounded out of breath and out of his element. Wednesday night he sang his audition song, ‘Wide Awake’ and it was MUCH better and firmly in his wheel house. I didn’t think Rayvon could go wrong but he stumbled this week for me. That said, he’s still in my Top 3 because:

I was kinda disappointed in Jax this week and thought that Clark and Quentin were just okay even though the judges seemed super jazzed about them. I really like Nick when I’m watching him but I’ve noticed that I get less excited about his performances by the time I get to my computer to type stuff. But like the folks mentioned above, he also got all 20 votes from me this week. So.

Also can we talk about Daniel Seavey? I get it – it’s a novelty that he can pretty much sing even though  he’s basically a baby. But why is he still here? He’s a sweet kid but he’s nowhere close to the other contestants vocally. Also apologies to Maddie Walker who I’ve pretty much never blogged about. Her voice is nice, I LOVE her hair but her music simply isn’t my cup of tea. I will acknowledge that she did a good job this week – probably her best vocal to date.

Who are you loving on Idol this season?

Who are you so completely over?

jenloves

Moving Diary (Days 1 and 2 – May 19th & 20th)

This is the first of three installments which will chronicle our trip from Massachusetts to Wisconsin. There will be pictures and hopefully some stories of interest but I apologize if it gets a little boring  – feel free to skip these posts or just skim through the pictures – I totally wouldn’t blame you. 😛

Day One: The Kind Of Morning That Lasts All Afternoon

Last Tuesday morning we planned to leave for our little trip to Wisconsin shortly after the moving company, who was due to arrive at our apartment for loading at 8am. We showed up about 30 minutes before that with MM to get things ready. Dan’s parents came over to say goodbye one last time, as did my bestie Ange @ Red Knows How with her two girls. Here’s a cute picture of the three kids in our apartment for one last time.

The moving company called shortly after that to tell us they were having problems with their truck and would be an hour late. When they showed up, they were driving a Budget Rental Truck which must mean they were having pretty big problems. I am guessing that the Fates decided to give them the rest of our potential car problems, because after all the issues my car had before our trip, it was smooth sailing the whole way to Wisconsin, car-wise.

Anyway, at 9am they started loading and it ended up taking way longer than either Dan or I had anticipated. They were far more thorough and meticulous than I’d even imagined possible which is clearly a good thing, but they didn’t finish until shortly after 1pm – at which point we grabbed some lunch and headed back to my dad’s house to finish loading our vehicles and leave. I’d assumed we’d be on the road that morning, maybe around 10am – 11 at the latest. Instead we left around 2:30pm – but seeing as the moving company was only one hour late and despite being thorough, they were very efficient – I never saw them lingering, they worked hard the whole four hours – I don’t see how we could possibly have left much earlier than 1pm even if they’d been on time.

So at 2:30 pm we left home for our new home.

Our first stop was at a hotel in Batavia, New York that night. We were lucky and had good traffic – that morning and afternoon our home town was a mess of construction, traffic jams and emergency vehicles but the trip to New York was largely uneventful. It was definitely a relief to leave that traffic behind and I’m hoping the roads in Wisconsin are kinder to us than old New England cities planned around cow paths and ignorance. < / Rant. >

We had dinner at some fancy little dive in New York – I can’t remember the name of the place, but it was like a slightly expensive Steak House kind of place, but more generic than that and not really worth the money. After eating far more dinner than any of us needed we were too full to take advantage of what looked like a really decent dessert menu that I’d failed to notice on the way in – which was kind of sad – I vowed that night to always leave room for any potential desserts on the rest of the trip.

MM did a lot of jumping from car to car that first night, preferring to sit with his grandpa most of the time. In the peace and quiet time that MM’s preference bought us, Dan and I were able to get in some quality time talking about everything from religion and beliefs, what made good marriages work and others fail and a billion other things that I don’t think I could possibly re-conjure here in an eloquent way. It wasn’t even necessarily a new conversation for us, we talk about these things a lot, but it was nice. And meanwhile MM and his grandpa were having some fun conversations of their own. My dad apparently used the drive to try to get MM excited about his new home, by making up cute “songs” about how we were moving to Wisconsin and that in Wisconsin MM would be getting a NEW BED ROOM, Daddy would be getting a NEW JOB and Mommy would be getting a NEW BABY. And with the help of some repetition and silliness, anytime you asked MM what mommy, daddy or himself would be getting in Wisconsin, he’d be able to tell you that. I was so impressed with my dad’s genius – another reminder about how wonderful grandparents can be. I’ve been trying for weeks to get MM ready for this move, but in that one car ride I think my dad made WAY more progress than I had thus far. It was amazing.

That night we arrived at our hotel at 11pm, exhausted but happy, and pretty much went straight to bed.

Day Two: Waterfalls and Cookie Pie Hybrids in Wauseon

Wednesday morning we left our hotel and drove an hour northwest to see Niagara Falls. I’d done a bit of research and managed to find plenty of things to do and see for free in the state park overlooking the falls. Of course, the price of parking there is $10 per car and we had two – so it was really $20 but we didn’t spend any other money there so I was pretty proud. Dan and I both took lots of pictures and it was beautiful. MM loved being able to run around a bit and stretch his legs. I, on the other hand, felt more pregnant than ever most of the trip – it was a lot of walking and I might have over done it a bit. Still, it was definitely an experience that I’m glad to have had.

That night we stopped at Wauseon, Ohio where we had dinner at this great little restaurant called Smith’s Restaurant & Catering. After a nice dinner (I had the chicken parmesan) we all indulged in their dessert menu which was just awesome – with a wide variety of pies, cheesecake and ice cream, we were all able to have something different. I had a tollhouse pie, something I’ve never had before and for some reason never guessed what it would be – basically this is the perfect pie for me, the cookie lover, in that it’s kind of like taking the ingredients of chocolate chip cookies and turning it into a pie – I fully intend to learn to make this myself as it was delicious. If we ever do this road trip again, I want to stop in Wauseon again just so we can go back to Smith’s Restaurant.

That night we were able to get to bed at much more reasonable hour, after watching the American Idol finale (congrats to Kris Allen!).

to be continued…

*update*

For the second installment, click here.

For the third and final installment, click here.

About American Idol and My Real Life

So last night we watched Idol’s disco night. All the performances were fine I guess but the only two which stood out for me were Kris Allen and of course Adam Lambert. I’m not-so-silently pegging them as my top 2 at this point. I love both the ladies, but I don’t think either of them stand a chance at this point. We’ve got Lil Rounds who just doesn’t seem to get it, and that’s fine, she still has a beautiful voice and I’m glad to have heard her – and then that tiny little bombshell, Allison whose voice just kills me, but she seems to have plateaued for me. And then I think, “She’s 16, give her time.” So despite thinking they are both very talented ladies, I’m at peace now with my decision to leave their fan camps. Matt Giraurd seems to be an every other week thing for me. I love him or ‘meh’ him. Last night veered on the side of ‘meh.’ Anoop, man, he’s found his place with ballads which consistently pleases the judges but sometimes I have to wonder if he’s even happy being pinned in this little box. Whatever keeps him in the competition? Maybe I’m over analyzing. Last night was just okay for me. Oh and Danny, well we just won’t go there. If you don’t know my opinion on him by now, you can just search all my other American Idol related posts and you’ll soon catch on, but I’m tired of bitching on it.

So we’re leaving early early early Thursday morning, dropping the kiddo off at my MIL (from there he will be getting carted around to several other relatives for what should be the weird mid-week weekend sleepover extravaganza of his life) and heading to the airport for our flight which departs at 8:50am but between the 90 minutes of preparedness time they want you to have and the hourish commute to get to the airport, it still means a god awful morning. We should arrive in Dream City by 1:30pm. Apartment hunting, town drooling and then a dinner at the hotel restaurant which Dream Company is footing the bill for. Sweet. I’m hoping and praying the hotel has cable and that I’ll be able to watch Bones and Grey’s Anatomy, because I realized last night that tv owns half my life. Sad but true. I’m already accepting that I’ll be missing America’s Next Top Model this week. It conflicts with tv times tonight and Friday when it reruns we will literally be in the air on our way home. Drats.

Friday is the actual interview with Dream Company. Dan prepared a 20 minute presentation on a previous work project of his that he has to present to the big guys. Apparently there will be other candidates there also – I don’t know if they are hiring multiple people or if he simply has competition but the concept makes me nervous. Somehow, despite trying very hard to remain on the “if this happens” camp, I think I’d largely assumed it would. What if there is someone else coming there who is better? And they get the job? And we come home to our unemployment and disappointment and continue this search? ::sigh:: I know we’ll survive it either way, either way is a big thing to deal with, but ugh, I just want this to be over either way you know? I want to know where my life is headed by Saturday PLEASE.

So yeah, that’s about all the new and big. Not sure when I’ll be posting again as it’s about to get crazy busier (like busier than already) but I’ve got some posts up today and my weekend diversion’s is scheduled to post on Friday, so my blog won’t be completely silent without me. Hope you all have a great week!

American Idol: Top 9

Last night the Top 9 on American Idol were allowed to sing any song that is popular on iTunes – making for a wide variety of music but all popular songs that most people are likely to have heard before. I loved a lot of performances, even ones I hadn’t expected to. Unfortunately my least favorite performances were for musicians that in general I like a lot. I guess that’s to be expected as at this point all are talented musicians. Here’s how it broke down for us last night:

Anoop Desai (Caught Up, Usher): Oh boy. You know I love Anoop, you might not know I LOVE Usher. This was not a good performance. I really didn’t enjoy it – he didn’t hold a candle to the original and honestly he didn’t hold a candle to himself. The judges didn’t love it, my husband and I didn’t love it – and with so few good performances recently I’m thinking he’s going to find himself in the bottom three tonight and likely will go home. Which is a shame.

Megan Joy (Turn Your Lights Down Low, Bob Marley): I’m starting to think my husband and I are the sole members of the Megan Joy fan club. While this certainly wasn’t her best performance, I still love her voice and would still consider buying her album – the judges were not happy at all and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her in the bottom three tonight. Still – she’s one of my favorite vocalists – much more so than Anoop at this point.

Danny Gokey (What Hurts The Most, Rascal Flatts): First off, I’m going to admit it was a good performance. Am I joining the Danny Gokey fan club? No. Did I think he did a better job than the original? No. But not by much. Honestly I think if you played his version and the original version you could conceivably forget which was which. And at the end of the day, he’s just not ever going to be my favorite. He still stands a good chance of finding himself in the top 3 of this competition. The judges ALL loved him and my husband liked him, too – though he isn’t his favorite.

Alison Iraheta (Don’t Speak, No Doubt): I love Alison, I LOVE this song – but it wasn’t her best performance. The guitar skills to be honest were not good enough in my mind to have bothered bringing it out. For the first time I was not surprised that “she’s only 16” rather it was very evident. I still love her and her voice, and I think she’ll do fine for the week, but I hope she does better next week – and that hair was just awful, never you even mind the outfit.

Scott MacIntyre (Just The Way You Are, Billy Joel): This was by far his best performance to date. I love Billy Joel and even my husband who LOVES Billy Joel agreed this was good. Neither of us are hard core Scott fans but I think this might have been one of the best performances of the night.

Matt Giraud (You Found Me, The Fray): Ouch. Ouch ouch ouch. This was really, really, really bad. And after just liking him for the first time last week, that’s not saying much for him. He has a beautiful voice but with this song choice that wasn’t evident. He almost sounded ridiculous and the performance, as Simon would say, seemed like indulgent nonsense to me. I’m thinking Matt may be joining the ranks of the bottom three again tonight, but I’m hoping he stays for at least another week.

Lil’ Rounds (I Surrender, Celine Dion): The first half of this song was just painfully bad – and her hair and dress were really not great – but the second half reminds me why I love her – those notes were just crazy and she didn’t look the least bit fatigued by that craziness – if anything she looked like she was finally in her element. I can see why she chose the song after hearing the whole thing but on the whole I’m questioning her song choices in general. She has a very powerful niche in R&B and I don’t think she needs to consider that a bad thing. She needs to consider it a very good thing and return there quickly if she wants to find her place in the Top 3 where she so rightfully deserves to be in my opinion.

Adam Lambert (Play That Funky Music, Wild Cherry): I’m just going to say it. He is my favorite. He is my husband’s pegged winner of the whole competition – which you shouldn’t take lightly as he pegged last season’s winner VERY early on and he’s a very good judge of musical talent. I am quite possibly in love with Adam Lambert musically and just loved every little minute of this. It was another stellar performance and I already cannot wait to see what he does next. In our opinions, dh and I, Adam is in a musical league of his own in this competition.

Kris Allen (Ain’t No Sunshine, Bill Withers): Like Danny Gokey, this was the first night when I felt like “Ohhhhhhhh now I get it.” The difference being with Gokey it was acknowledged and with Allen it was acknowledged with enthusiasm. I love this song and I loved his performance. His personal touch was evident everywhere and I think he did a better job on the piano than I’ve ever really seen him do on the guitar. The whole thing was masterful and if the rest of the competition can be based on last night, he could easily and by far find himself in the top 3 or 4.

So the bottom three tonight for me are pretty obviously Anoop, Megan and Matt – and I’m pegging Anoop as the unlucky performer to be heading home. My personal top three of the night would be Adam, Kris and either Danny or Lil – Lil’ over all, Danny for the night. And I think I’m going to have to agree with the hubby that Adam is number one of the night and so far the whole shebang.

But enough about me – how about you? Who did you love? Who did you hate?

American Idol: Motown Week

This week the Top 10 Idol finalists performed classic motown songs after being coached by Motown legend Smokey Robinson. It was a good time had by all in my opinion, I thought most of the music was just stellar, but some artists rose above in my mind – the front runners are becoming obvious at this point. Here’s a breakdown of my opinions of each performance:

Matt Giraud, Let’s Get It On: I think was the first performance by Matt where I actually loved him. I’m not sure if I love him as much as some of my other long-standing favorites but for once he came across to me as more than just a J Timberlake pretty boy wanna be and he impressed me with his vocal skills – I think this genre for him works wonders – his voice really stood out for me. I loved how he started at the piano and then got up and worked the audience. It was a stellar performance.

Kris Allen, How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You: I’m just going to accept that I’m not into him. He’s clearly talented because other people seem to like him but for me there is just always something missing (usually my interest). I feel like there is this whole other second world in performing that he has no access to – but I don’t really know how to explain it. The judges loved him – dh and I were both really, really bored.

Scott MacIntyre, You Can’t Hurry Love: I think Scott can probably record an album at this point, but I don’t think he can win the competition. It’s obvious there are better performers and I just really don’t think his talent is seasoned enough to go much further here. His song was fine but it was not a stand out performance.

Megan Joy, For Once In My Life: My husband and I are big Megan fans and he was completely wowed by this performance. I loved her voice and love her but I also kind of agreed with the judges – I feel like a song where she can linger on the words more and make use of her voice would have been better – my husband, who knows the original song, said she’d already slowed down the tempo a lot, but for me it wasn’t enough. I liked the judges advice and I hope she continues on because I just love hearing her sing. If she makes an album, I’m buying it.

Anoop Desai, Ooh Baby Baby: This wasn’t my favorite Anoop performance but it certainly wasn’t his worst. According to the judges this was a very difficult song to sing – so I give him props for performing it perfectly, but I’d love to hear something with some more energy. I’m not sure Anoop can win this competition, but I do hope he stays around a bit longer – there are other people doing much worse than him.

Michael Sarver, Ain’t To Proud To Beg: Speaking of much worse than Anoop – I’m over Oil Rig Guy – he’s fun, he has a good voice – but I think he’s gone as far here as he’s going to. The judges are asking for an improvement that I’m not sure he even knows how to deliver. All the boy really wants to do is “sang” at the end of the day.

Lil’ Rounds, Heat Wave: I love me some Lil’ but this performance, like the last, was just kind of okay. The hair was just awful. The bottom line is she’s better than this. I think she’s too concerned with honoring her musical predecessors and it’s taking away from a truly Lil’ Rounds performance. I respect her wanting to respect them, but if she wants to win this thing she’s going to need to step it back up a notch (like she was doing in Hollywood week) and bring back her natural swagger. And I’d love it if she did.

Adam Lambert, Tracks Of My Tears: I just love him. He’s forgiven for last week. The thing about Adam is that he has that other special thing that people like Kris Allen (aka I can never actually remember his name) and Michael Sarver just don’t – he has access to that other level of artistry. He’ll sing a word and you think you know how he’ll sing it, but then he’ll change it in this small subtle way and it just takes my breath away. I think his theatre background is helping him a lot because he not only sings the heck out of his songs, but he’s always putting on a performance and owning the stage, even in a song as mild as this, the surprise of him doing something so low key was enough to captivate us. I think we all are anxious to see what he can do next. I loved the first line of this song for him, “People say I’m the life of the party…” in that soft, melancholy voice – this song became his for this night, I think even Smokey Robinson would agree. Love him.

Danny Gokey, Get Ready: I couldn’t believe it when he didn’t take Smokey’s advice and was even more annoyed that nobody even mentioned it. I’m guessing that he knew he wasn’t capable of doing both his lyrics and the “background” lyrics and he knew it. I guess it’s better to ignore good advice and not bomb on the song, but it still annoyed me and the performance for me was just okay. I couldn’t wait for it to be over and I’m just annoyed that he’s still here. I think he stands a good chance of making it to the Top 3 but I’m not happy about it.

Allison Iraheta, Papa Was A Rolling Stone: Where does she come from? I agree with the judges – when I remember this girl is just 16 years old it just blows my mind because she can SING. Her talent is just on another level. My husband commented that he couldn’t understand her a lot of the time and I’ll agree with that, but man this girl is going places – she could easily find herself in the top 2 of this thing.

So for me: Scott MacIntyre and Michael Sarver should pack their bags – and I wouldn’t mind if Kris Allen and Danny Gokey disappeared either. The two front runners for me are Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta – with Anoop, Lil’ and Megan making up the bottom of my Top 5 and Matt Giraurd being my “I don’t know where he’ll end up” other guy. And if I missed anyone, it’s probably because I’ve forgotten they’re still here.

Who did you love? Who did you hate?