April 29, 2010
American Idol seems to be floundering a bit this year. Which just goes to show that it’s the quality of contestants which makes the show, not the overpaid judges and host!
One of the things we’re missing this year is a “story” – a battle royale between contestants who are really different from each other (Clay Aiken vs Ruben Studdard, the two Davids, Kris Allen vs Adam Lambert), amazing out-of-the-pop-box singers, compelling personalities who keep you watching, contestants who keep improving with every performance…
Still, having said that, I’ve probably watched more of this season than recent seasons. Maybe because I keep pulling for various contestants to hit their stride.
A few random thoughts on this year’s contestants:
Crystal Bowersox – Compelling performer. She’s completely at one with her music, and because of that she pulls you in too. Where she seems to be falling back a bit, though, is that she’s not having an arc-like run on idol — improving and wowing everyone more and more each week. She started off strong, and stayed at virtually the same level. Her looks, image and style of music point to a niche market, which is not what an idol winner is usually marketed to. Still, seems to me that she’s clearly the deserving winner of American Idol this year.
Siobhan Magnus – Loved her quirkiness at the beginning, when it seemed more like her being her. But I get the feeling that she now takes herself, and the competition, too seriously. She’d be more appealing if she gives off more of a don’t-care-what-you-think vibe. Lots of potential in this girl though – she’s got the vocal talent (I don’t love her tone, but I appreciate that she can sing), the looks and perhaps just as important, she loves the stage and loves creating drama. She’s probably the only one this year who could do really well post-Idol in the pop market, perhaps marketed in the Lady Gaga mold?
Lilly Scott – Wish she were still in the competition.
Tim Urban – Not the best range and stylistic maturity of the bunch, but I miss him now that he’s gone. He’s always pleasant to listen to with a nice tone to his voice, and mostly, I like his intelligence. His answer to Kara when she asked him if he understood what she meant struck the right note.
Aaron Kelly – Lovely, rich voice. He’s someone who could have done really well with a few more years of performing experience under his belt.
Lee DeWyze – Not too sure how he can stand out post-idol, but he’s got a great tone that will work well on radio, and a certain sweetness to his personality. He has an outside chance of challenging Crystal for top spot this year.
Casey James – may well end up being remembered for his hair 🙂 Well, at least his stylist has moved away from the Shirley Temple ringlets we saw a few weeks ago to a wavy style which is more flattering.
February 2, 2010
It was heartening to see Matthew and the Mandarins back at the Esplanade Recital Studio again, this time with a one-hour set dedicated to Johnny Cash. And a packed set it was too, with the band singing over 17 songs in the hour:
1. Folsom Prison Blues
2. Guess Things Happen That Way
3. Long Black Veil
4. If I Were A Carpenter
5. I Still Miss Someone
7. I Heard That Lonesome Whistle
8. I Walk the Line
9. A Thing Called Love
10. Give My Love to Rose
11. Tennessee Flat-top Box
12. Why Me Lord?
13. Sunday Morning Coming Down
14. Ghost Riders in the Sky
15. My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You
16. Ring of Fire
17. Me and Bobby McGee
Encore: Singapore Cowboy
Matthew was not at his vocal best. His singing was not as effortless as the previous time I saw him at the Esplanade. Maybe Johnny Cash songs are just not his forte.
I thought his best moments came with songs where he used the warm resonance of his lower range, like the mournful I Heard That Lonesome Whistle. Matthew also showed he can sing a story really well in Give My Love To Rose – his rendition moved me.
His best moment was definitely the encore, when urged on by the audience, he sang Singapore Cowboy.
Note: Matthew mentioned that they’re performing at the Serangoon Country Club on Fridays.
December 19, 2009
I haven’t watched movies in a long time. Somehow,lost the interest for it. So, it was fortuitous that a friend offered me a free ticket to see 2012, where I saw the trailer for Avatar. So for the first time in years, I was eagerly anticipating the opening of a movie!!!
And Avatar was just as I expected — visually stunning. The forest, the flora and the native fauna were so beautifully rendered. What a treat. And a lucky thing too that the visuals were so superb, because the plot and characters were 1D, or if you want to be kind, 2D. So predictable, without nuances which is perhaps not so surprising given that the entire movie seems focused towards showcasing 3D. In that, the movie succeeds really well. I was impressed by the fact that the facial expressions of the avatars were almost realistic, rather than cartoonish.
One mistake we made — we decided to go check out the iWerks theatre at Singapore Discovery Centre. It was not too far from our home, and the price was lower than other theatres ie $7. But I was not impressed by the theatre. The screen didn’t look 5 storeys high. Must be a VERY short 5 storeys. And the seats were not that comfortable. The theatre had a rather basic feel to it.
Also, at the end, the staff annoyingly switched on all the lights too early, while the screen was still showing screnes of Pandora together with the closing credits. If they needed to turn on lights to allow people who are eager to get out, then they should switch on dimmer lights or less lights.
Also not too sure if the 3D is the best, not having been to see the movie in other theatres. But there were points when I felt dizzy, and my brother could tell that the 3D images were not well integrated, so…
May 12, 2009
Every time I hear Clay sing live, I’m wowed all over again. He really should do at least one solo concert this year — bet lots of fans will travel wherever for that.
In the meantime, here’s a video of Clay singing a Peter Cetera medley at this year’s David Foster and Friends concert (uploaded to Youtube by another fan, not me):