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.
March 5, 2009
So I was watching AI8 performance show this week, and I realised that the judges’ comments are irritating the heck out of me this season. I’m beginning to hate hearing these words and phrases:
* package (artist)
* type of recording artist
* who you are as an artist
* not a perfect vocal BUT… you made me feel
* wrong song choice
Not that these comments are not valid, but the repetition of these over and over again takes away from what I used to love about American Idol… that you have contestants with great vocals, and that contestants are urged to strive for that. That’s what made AI unique and compelling.
Now, everything is muddied so much by the seemingly high weightage given to whether the contestants have the right image, whether they can meld into the contemporary pop market, whether contestants have personality. All of which may be important in the broader music market. But really unimportant to me who just wants great singers who make me enjoy their music.
September 22, 2008
I’m definitely majorly biased, but I think Clay has the perfect personality and voice to carry off a TV Theme medley.
TV Theme medley from Clay’s concert in 2007:
June 14, 2008
Clay Aiken – Biography
Full bio at: http://www.clayonline.com/biography
He has toured nine times, written a New York Times bestselling memoir, sold more than six million albums, produced and hosted television programs, starred on Broadway, and devoted considerable energy and resources to improving the lives of children all over the world. He has done all of this while maintaining an enviable humility and down-home charm. Appealing to both kids and parents, Aiken is that rare find — a celebrity with integrity.
In just a few short years in the public eye, Aiken has released five well-received albums.
About On My Way Here:
For his current album, On My Way Here, Aiken selected songs that he believes will resonate with anyone who has endured the trials of growing older and growing up. He chose songs that not only spoke to him, but mirrored his own experiences of learning who he is as an adult and where he belongs in the world at large. As he sings on the stirring title track, “I’ve seen the best, I’ve seen the worst, I wouldn’t change what I’ve been through. I’ve touched the sky, I’ve hit the wall, but I did what I had to do.”
With On My Way Here, Aiken is hopeful that listeners will identify with the message and the singer. “I would like to have signature songs,” he explains. Of how he selects which tunes to sing, Aiken says simply, “I like songs that hit me right in the gut.”
About his book, Learning to Sing:
Prior to his latest accomplishments, Aiken wrote a 2004 best-selling memoir, detailing the path his life has taken thus far, paying special attention to his spiritual development. Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life, detailed his formative influences, telling the story of his childhood through his rise to fame in candid and revealing language that offered an unfiltered peek into Aiken’s private life. Readers and critics embraced his style and his message, making the book an instant New York Times best seller, a prestigious spot it occupied for seven weeks.
About UNICEF and other causes:
While all of these successes matter to him, what gives Aiken the most joy is his activism on behalf of children. As he has often explained, “My music career has allowed me to do the same thing I was doing before — work with kids. It has just given me a bigger stage, so I can enact change on a grander scale.”
In April 2007 he returned from Afghanistan where he toured schools and marveled at the resilience of the children he met there. His experience prompted him to launch the “$100,000 in 10 Days” campaign to continue offering lifesaving support for kids in that country. The campaign ended up netting $250,000 in fewer than five days.
And I particularly like this part:
“It makes me thankful for my life,” says Aiken of all his work abroad and with children in need. “These kids, many of them struggle with unimaginable hardships and yet they have positive attitudes. They don’t feel sorry for themselves. Kids who suffer the most never do. You see that, and it keeps all your own nonsense in perspective.”