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Posts tagged ‘kelly clarkson’

Suggestions for American Idol

Now that it has been announced that American Idol is returning to TV, it got me thinking about what needs to be done to keep the show going. After a 15-season run on Fox, the show is coming to ABC for the 2017-18 TV season. That was a short break! The last episode aired on Fox on April 7, 2016. When it went off the air, and Ryan Seacrest said goodbye “for now” — I was predicting that it would be back in 5 years. So it is definitely coming back sooner than I thought it would. But it is a successful format, and it was still a Top 20 show, even if wasn’t making the headlines or the stars it once was.

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One of my suggestions was going to be to put the emphasis back on the contestants. You have to remember that when the show first came on, Paula Abdul was the only famous judge. And she was considered a has-been at that point. But ABC has already announced that Katy Perry has been hired as one of the judges, so much for that! I heard they wanted former contestants like Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson to be on the panel, but they are signed to The Voice as mentors. Chris Daughtry is one of the rumored judges also, but has not been confirmed yet. Ryan Seacrest is also confirmed to be coming back as host.

So here are my suggestions for the 16th season of American Idol:

  1. Get rid of the delusional contestants. It is one thing to have a good singer who blows the audition because of nerves. Or to be a good singer, but pick the wrong song to sing. It is another to have someone who has no talent take up valuable screen time like William Hung.
  2. Bring back the theme weeks of the early years. When you think back to the early years, years 1-4, the singers had to be versatile in a number of different styles and genres. Yes, it takes you out of your comfort zone. But for me, this really shows who the great singers are. Think of Kelly Clarkson doing Bette Midler or Carrie Underwood doing Heart. Those were star-making moments of the show.
  3. Connect the singers with some top songwriters. I want them to be able to write their own songs. If they could have Diane Warren or Justin Tranter give the contestants some help with songwriting that would be awesome. Imagine if the winner actually gets to sing his/her own coronation song. That would be great.
  4. Contestants can only go forward to Hollywood Week if it is a unanimous decision amongst the judges. None of this, 2 out of 3 saying yes and the person going through. There is a strong reason why that 1 person said No… and viewers at home probably agree with it.
  5. Be able to vote easily for up to 5 days after the original broadcast. Last time they let you vote on Google, which was cool. Plus voting by text and phone too. But most people watch shows at different times now. So those people should be able to vote on the results also.
  6. Bring back the results shows! I guess I was only one of the people that liked them. But I like the big group numbers and the duos and trios too. Half an hour would be fine.
  7. Get rid of the Ford commercials. You know those commercials that look like music videos with the contestants in them — but they are just ads for cars? I can’t say I would miss them.
  8. Bring back the Wild Card round. That was the round that brought Clay Aiken back to the competition after being cut. Someone good might have slipped through the cracks, and you would be giving them another chance to shine.
  9. Make sharing easy for each of the contestant’s performances. They should have a share button for Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, etc. The number of times a contestant is liked and shared should be counted in the contestant’s total for the week.

So those are my recommendations. What do think American Idol 2.0 is going to be like? I would love to hear your thoughts.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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Best Albums/Singles by American Idol Alumni

There is no doubt that American Idol will be missed. But thankfully, it brought us some great singers who have had some excellent albums and singles over the years. Here are my Top Ten favorite albums and singles from American Idol alumni.

Albums

  1. Kelly Clarkson — Breakaway
  2. Daughtry — Daughtry
  3. Carrie Underwood — Some Hearts
  4. Elliott Yamin — Elliott Yamin
  5. Carrie Underwood — Blown Away
  6. Blake Lewis — Audio Day Dream
  7. Jordin Sparks — Battlefield
  8. Kimberley Locke — Based on a True Story
  9. Kelly Clarkson — Stronger
  10. Dreamgirls Soundtrack

Honorable Mention

Daughtry — Leave This Town
David Cook — David Cook

Best Singles by AI Alumni

  1. Kelly Clarkson — Since U Been Gone
  2. Adam Lambert — Whataya Want from Me
  3. Carrie Underwood — Before He Cheats
  4. Kelly Clarkson — Miss Independent
  5. Carrie Underwood — Last Name
  6. Daughtry — Home
  7. Fantasia — I Believe
  8. Jordin Spark — No Air (w/ Chris Brown)
  9. Kimberley Locke — 8th World Wonder
  10. Clay Aiken — Invisible
  11. Elliott Yamin — Wait for You
  12. Phillip Phillips — Home

 Best Overlooked Idol Tracks

  1. Blake Lewis — Gots to Get Her
  2. David Cook — Time of Your Life/Paper Heart
  3. Adam Lambert — No Boundaries
  4. Kris Allen — Live Like We’re Dying
  5. Kimberley Locke — Change
  6. Mandisa — True Beauty
  7. Katharine McPhee — Home
  8. Josh Gracin — I Want to Live
  9. Bo Bice — Inside You Heaven
  10. Jennifer Hudson — You Pulled Me Through
  11. Scotty McCreery — Walk in the Country

Idols have touched us on screens big and small…. Movies and TV. Plus on Broadway too.

One of the things I loved about this show was that it took a nobody and made them a star. It presented you with regular people that were striving for their dreams — and that is something that everyone can relate to.

So that’s my list. Be sure to check out the songs and albums from some of my favorite American Idols. I am sure we will be enjoying their music for many years to come.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and more.

Who Will Be the Final American Idol?

One of my all-time favorite shows — American Idol — is coming to an end this season, after 15 seasons. The show debuted back in June 2002 on the Fox Network. It soon became a cultural phenomenon and launched the careers of superstars such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson, Daughtry and more. It changed the face of television and shook up the music industry too. So who is going to be the final American Idol? Read on for my picks from 8 to 1:download

8. Lee Jean. This kid is so out of his element. He wants to be the black Ed Sheeran, and he doesn’t have a chance.

7. Avalon Young. The tom-boy girl with the soulful voice. She is not very consistent of a performer.

6. MacKenzie Bourg. Cute, nerdy white boy who plays guitar. He seems very sincere… but ultimately very forgettable. They have had too many of this type already on this show.

5. Tristan McIntosh. She wants to be a black woman in country. More talent than Lee, but she is so young and doesn’t have control of her voice or a clear idea of who she is as an artist.

4. Sonika Vaid. She’s got looks and a voice — this girl is a real contender. But I don’t know she is sure of her of her musical path yet.

3. Dalton Rapattoni. The cute guy with the guyliner — He looks like the lost member of 5 Seconds of Summer. He’s shown quite a wide variety in his song choices.

2. Trent Harmon. He’s cute, and a bit quirky too. But he’s got a distinctive voice and that should take him far.

  1. La’Porsha Renae. The big girl with the big voice. This girl literally could blow all the other contestants away, and she does week in, week out. I think we have found our next superstar.

So those are my predictions. I have predicted most of the seasons correctly. I really hope that her album is great and she has a long career. The next big question is — how long till the re-boot? I am predicting that it will happen in the next 5-10 years.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and more.

Kelly Clarkson — Still Our “Idol”

Kelly Clarkson in Concert
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Staples Center

Special guests: Abi Ann, Eric Hutchinson, Pentatonix

Piece by Piece Tour 2015

Merchandise purchased: T-Shirt

Songs performed: Problem, Telephone, Cheerleader, Rather Be, Can’t Sleep Love, Aha!, Michael Jackson, On My Way Home, Daft Punk (Pentatonix); Dance with Me, My Live Would Suck Without You, Catch My Breath, Nostalgic, Mr. Know It All, Invincible, Piece by Piece, Tightrope, Take You High, Behind These Hazel Eyes, Because of You, Breakaway, My Funny Valentine, Cool for the Summer, Sober, Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You), Heartbeat Song, Walk Away/Uptown Funk, Bang Bang, Miss Independent, Since U Been Gone (Kelly)

Comments: American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson made a triumphant return to the Los Angeles concert scene at the Staples Center the other night. She is touring behind her 6th studio album “Piece by Piece.” She had taken a few years off to get married and have a baby.Kelly Clarkson

Kelly is one of those artists that can sign just about anything in my opinion: rock, pop, soul, country, ballads, dance, etc. “Dance with Me” was the opening number, most recently featured in ads for this past season of “Dancing with the Stars.” It was the first of 7 songs off her most recent album.

The stage itself had a cool accordion partition that surrounded it, that could either be open, or closed with smaller video screens on it. And it was used to show supplemental footage during the show. So the backdrop was basically a wall of lights and colors. This was not a show big on special effects or stunts… when you have a voice like Kelly’s you don’t need them! Her voice is the special effect! Not many people have the range or power of her voice.

Besides the new album, the show contained all 5 singles off her landmark 2nd album “Breakaway,” as well as songs off of every one of her regular studio albums. What is remarkable is how many anthems the girl has in her song catalog at this point: Miss Independent, Stronger, Behind These Hazel Eyes, Because of You and more.

During the middle part of the show, she sang a few songs in stripped down arrangements, with just her and a piano accompanist. One of these was the title track “Piece by Piece.” She broke down and missed some of the lyrics as she sang it… and then said… I am so totally pregnant! What? Congratulations to Kelly and her husband… nice that she felt comfortable to share that with her fans in such a big way.

“Sober” was the Kelly Clarkson classic for the night…. those songs that might not have been hits, but are still good songs. She chose to cover her friend, Demi Lovato’s new single, “Cool for the Summer” as her cover song for the night. A tall guy with fuschia colored hair was previous chosen to come on stage for the open mic spot and he sang “My Funny Valentine.” Good vocals, if not the best song choice in my opinion.

She brought back Pentatonix to sing “Heartbeat Song” with her. The highlight for the evening for me had to be the mashup of “Walk Way” and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’s “Uptown Funk.” I just thought that was incredible. “Walk Away” is such a fun and sassy song, and to put it with one of the biggest hits of the year was genius.

Kelly has so many great songs, you know some had to be left out… the most shocking omission for me was ‘Don’t You Wanna Stay” her duet with Jason Aldean.

Abi Ann was the first opening act. A country pop girl with a decent voice. She sang 3 cover songs (Taylor Swift, the Band Perry, Miranda Lambert) in her set of 5 songs. He single was her answer to the bro country movement, how she didn’t want to be “Truck Candy.” Next up was Eric Hutchinson. He was very good, and reminded me of a pop-rock singer songwriter type like Gavin DeGraw or Andy Grammer. He had a very soulful and powerful voice. He played both keyboards and guitar in his set. I definitely want to hear more from this guy. I liked that fact that his stage banner read “Eric Hutichinson is pretty good”… he was more than that to me.

The final opening act was the acapella group Pentatonix. They are the group that came to fame off “The Sing Off” as well as their YouTube videos. They added a staircase on the stage, which they sat and sang on in their set. Their vocals were excellent… the 4 guys and one girl, add up to one satisfying sound mix. It seems like 2 of them do mostly the backgrounds, with the 3 others taking turns as leads. The crowd was really into them and gave them a lot of love. I can only see bigger things happening for them.

I would have dropped Abi Ann in my opinion… she came across as not quite sure of herself still as to what type of artist she wants to be.

Kelly let her backup singers do most of the leads on “Bang Bang” — the Ariana Grande, Jessie J, and Nicki Minaj song. She came out in the last verse and sang some of it. Then it was the 1-2 punch of “Miss Independent” and “Since U Been Gone” to close out the night! Kelly had wowed us with her voice, as well as endeared us with her relatibility too… she is one of us, and she seems like a really nice person too. Thanks to Kelly and her band for a fun night!

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Fall-Winter Entertainment Wrap-up

So what movies and CDs have I enjoyed the last few months? Read on…

Movies

We’re the MillersWe're the Millers
A very funny, raunchy comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis. They play the fake parents of 2 kids, who are traveling across the Mexican border into the US with a Winnebago filled with drugs. Echoes of National Lampoon’s Vacation movie for me, and that’s a good thing. Grade: B+

Battle of the Year
Josh Holloway plays an alcoholic has-been picked to coach a hip-hop B-Boy dance troupe as they prepare for battle in the “Battle of the Year” in France. If you like the “Step Up” movies,  and “America’s Best Dance Crew” then this movie is for you. Some great dance sequences, and entertaining personalities from the crew. Grade: B-

Prisoners
Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Melissa Leo lead an all-star cast in this engrossing drama. The story is very much of-this-moment… centering on the kidnapping of 2 little girls and the investigation of the crime. Jackman plays one of the dads who takes the law into his own hands and begins to torture one of the suspects. Grade: A-

Gravity
Sandra Bullock leads the cast for this movie, that centers on a scientist adrift in space and fighting to survive. Faced with incredible hardships, we will fight for our lives. The visuals are stunning, and the movie is definitely award-worthy. George Clooney also stars in a supporting role. Grade: A-

12 Years a Slave
Director Steve McQueen has bought Solomon Northup’s true story to the screen. Solomon was a free black man living in New York, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Very disturbing at times, this is a story I had never heard before. Fantastic performances all around including Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mr. Northup. Grade: A

Captain Phillips
Tom Hanks returns to form in the title role. This is the story of a freighter that is highjacked by Somali pirates off the coast of Africa. We know how the story is going to end up, but it is still filled with tension and suspense Grade: A-

Frozen
Disney’s latest animated movie, is based on a story by Hans Christen Anderson. It is the story of 2 sisters of a royal family, one of who is afflicted with special powers that cause her to freeze everything she touches. With the voice talents of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel as the sisters, with catchy songs by the husband and wife team of Robert Lopez and Kristen-Anderson Lopez. Grade: A

Thor: The Dark World
This is the first appearance of Thor, since “The Avengers.” A lot of the time is spent on his home planet of Asgard. The movie never really took flight for me. It picks up when Loki arrives, but not much. Grade: C

The Wolf of Wall Street
Martin Scorsese directs Leonardo DiCaprio in the true-life tale of Wall Street stock broker Jordan Belfort. I would subtitle this lifestyles of the rich, decadent and criminal. This guy lived the high life — sex, drugs and money. And he was a god to those he worked with. Grade: B+

CDs

Katy Perry — Prism
Katy’s first CD since ‘Teenage Dream” brings us a more reflective Katy, but without forgetting her knack of creating perfect pop gems. Highlights include: Roar, Dark Horse, and Unconditional Love. Grade: A-

Kelly Clarkson — Wrapped in Red
Kelly’s first holiday CD has something for everyone. New songs as well as Christmas classics. Some of it sounds very retro to me. Highlights include: Run Run Rudolph and My Favorite Things. Grade: B-

Keith Urban — Fuse
Keith’s music has been getting more and more pop as his career has gone on. He still is one of my favorites, even if it doesn’t match his earlier work. Highlights include: Little Bit of Everything, and We Were Us (Duet with Miranda Lambert). Grade: B

The Music of Nashville — Season 2, Vol. 1
Season 2 of the hit show has had it’s share of drama: affairs, shootings and record co. politics. We get the hit songs from the leads as well as a few of the supporting players too. Highlights include: What If I Was Willing and Trouble Is. Grade: B+

So what have you been watching and listening to this winter? I would love to hear from you.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

When Pop Goes Country

Here’s the sequel to my previous post “When Country Goes Pop.” I will highlight artists whose careers have followed more the pop/rock vein and then ventured into country occasionally.

Darius Rucker

Darius Rucker
Lead singer of 90’s hitmakers Hootie and the Blowfish, he’s found a second act in his career as a country crooner. He even toured with Lady Antebellum. Essential songs: “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” “Alright” and “This.”

Kid Rock
Notorious rap-rocker Kid Rock has been able to capitalize on country’s love of classic rock and come up with a few hits on the country chart. Essential songs: “Picture” (with Sheryl Crow), “Cowboy” and “All Summer Long.”

Kelly Clarkson
She is from Texas after all, so this is not surprising. She’s got love for Reba (one of her idols) and is friends with Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert. Essential songs: “Don’t You Wanna Stay (with Jason Aldean), “Because of You (duet version with Reba) and “Mr. Know It All” (country version).

Aaron Lewis (Staind)
Lead singer for rock band Staind, he has recorded a few albums in the country genre. Essential songs: “Country Boy” (w/ George Jones and Charlie Daniels) and “Forever.”

Tommy Shaw (Styx)
One of the founding members of 70-80’s hitmakers Styx, he has also shown a love for country music too recording a country album between touring dates with Styx. Essential songs: “The Next Right Thing” and “Boat on a River.”

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Kelly Clarkson: Sass & Soul

Kelly Clarkson in Concert
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Nokia Theatre LA Live

Special guest: Matt Nathanson

Stronger Tour 2012

Songs performed: “Dark Side,” “Behind These Hazel Eyes,” “Since U Been Gone,” “Heavy In Your Arms,” “When You Believe,” “Einstein,” “Walk Away,” “Til the World Ends,” “Leave the Pieces,” “I Know You Won’t,” “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” “Let Me Down,” “I Forgive You,” “Already Gone,” “You Still Won’t Know What It’s Like,” “Breakaway,” “Mr. Know It All,” “Miss Independent,” “Never Again,” “Because of You,” “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” “My Life Would Suck Without You”

Comments: Kelly Clarkson brought her “Stronger” tour to LA at the Nokia Theatre last night. I was instantly reminded why I fell in love with her in the first place on “American Idol.” She is just the girl next door with a fantastic voice, and a down home personality. This is someone you could see hanging out with, and someone you can relate to. She has one of the most distinctive voices in pop music today, and for me, she can sing just about anything. And she showed that she can do rock, pop, soul, blues, country and even dance.

This was my third time seeing Kelly. The first time was on her co-headlining tour with Clay Aiken. Second was on her headlining tour for the “Breakaway” album. Years of recording, touring and award show performances have done her well. She is the seasoned veteran now after winning “Idol” over 10 years ago.

The show started with “Dark Side,” one of the new songs. Using a screen backdrop at the front of the stage, they displayed headline images from the tabloids about her — Is she too heavy, is she a diva, is she losing sponsors, is she washed up at 29? Showing from the show that she put on, she is far from over! This was followed by 2 of her big hits from her “Breakaway” album: “Behind These Hazel Eyes” and “Since U Been Gone.”

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Concerts I Am Looking Forward To In 2012

In no particular order, the 10 shows I am looking forward to in 2012:

Lady AntebellumLady Antebellum They have arrived at headliner status. Following their breakthrough with “Need You Now” and their wins at the Grammy and other award shows, this country-pop trio is heading out on the road to promote their latest CD “Own the Night.” Support acts include Darius Rucker and Thompson Square. Dates are already on sale.

Kelly Clarkson
The first American Idol winner’s career is still holding strong. Or should I say “Stronger”? After 5 albums, Kelly has a good body of work to pull from as she heads out on the road to promote her latest CD “Stronger.” I’ve seen her twice before and she is a great live performer, I can’t wait for this new tour. Dates are already on sale.

Tim McGraw/Kenny Chesney
Two country hunks on one big stadium tour, count me in. Both big ticket draws on their own, together this is one to not miss. The “Brothers of the Sun” tour promises to be one of the biggest tours of the year. With support from Grace Potter and the Nocturnals as well as Jake Owen. And maybe a Faith Hill appearance too. Dates are set and on sale soon.

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