“Friday I’ll Be Over U” by Allison Iraheta

December 30, 2009

The reviews are out for Allison Iraheta’s debut, Just Like You, and they aren’t exactly raves.

Barry Walters at Rolling Stone complains that Allison sounds too much like Pink in spots, which is no surprise–while I was hoping her collaborators would try to draw out her original side, this is pop music we’re talking about where the goal often seems to be to do the same thing over and over until it’s deader than dead.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine at All Music Guide is a bit more kind:

Allison may strongly resemble her idols here, but chalk that up to youth: she’s still in the stage where she’s emulating, not innovating, but that doesn’t prevent her from conveying considerable charisma.

Both critics have kind words for album opener and first single, “Friday I’ll Be Over U,” a cross between Joan Jett and co-writer Max Martin’s usual Swedish pop. It’s a good, not great, number, but it does show some potential. I think what I like about it the most is that Allison’s braces haven’t been airbrushed out of the video–that touch shows a glimpse of the genuineness and edginess that I loved about Allison on American Idol.

Allison was my favorite American Idol contestant ever, so I hope she gets the chance to develop.

Allison Iraheta – “Friday I’ll Be Over U”

Cross-posted at Idolpundit.


American Idol, 2009 – Episode 37 (5/12/09)

May 12, 2009

Idol Logo(Pre-game in the space below, live blog and spoilers below the fold once the show begins.)

Last Wednesday was one of the darkest days in Idol history, as Allison Iraheta, the most awesome contestant ever to grace the Idol stage, was unceremoniously booted after merely giving perhaps the best and most credible performance of a Janis Joplin song in the program’s eight-season run.

Idol pundits screamed bloody murder, as she was a favorite of nearly all of them (or at least the ones I read), but to no avail. Allison is gone.

But she isn’t forgotten. Before we get started, let’s have a little Allison flashback. Here she is doing her top 13 performance of the obscure Michael Jackson song, “Give in to Me.” (Link because embed seems to work only sporadically.)

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You may recall that Simon called the performance “gloomy” or some such nonsense, to which she responded, “I’m not dark, I’m not, like, cutting myself.”

It was at that moment that I knew that Allison had more concentrated awesomeness stored in one of her eyelashes than all of the other contestants had in all of their malformed bodies combined.

But we must move on, tough as that is for many of us. Kris remains the underdog, and I don’t think he’s going to get a bump from Allison’s voters, who I suspect will go all-out  for Adam. He needs a monster night, combined with a weaker than usual night from Gokey, if he’s going to slay that beast and stay in this thing. I want Adam to win it all, but I don’t want Gokey in the finale, so go for it, Kris.

Live blog and spoilers below the fold once the show starts at 7:00 Central, and our weekly polls after the show is over.

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American Idol, 2009 – Episode 36 (5/6/09)

May 6, 2009

Idol Logo(Analysis below. Live blog and poll results below the fold once the show begins.)

The judges tried furiously to throw poor Kris under the bus last night–lousy slotting, undeserved slams. But try as they might, they couldn’t fool the audience into thinking that Danny Gokey’s solo performance was anything but a disaster. Within moments of the event, the Gokey Scream was already the stuff of Idol legend. Check out this hilarity:

Will it be enough to keep Kris alive, or even send Danny home? I seriously doubt it.

Who Should Be in the Bottom Two

  1. Danny Gokey. After weeks of lazy performances, some ambition last night should have been a welcome change. But ambition should match ability, and his spectacular failure should not go unpunished.
  2. Kris Allen. I like Kris, but I love Allison and Adam. There can be only one, and it shouldn’t be Kris.

Who Will Be in the Bottom Two

  1. Kris Allen. His performance was adequate, but adequate will not be enough to save him. If he was going to have a prayer, he needed to be spectacular. He wasn’t, so it’s the end of the road.
  2. Danny Gokey. It’s  probably ridiculous for me to go this far out on a limb since Danny’s fan base seems to be vast, but with Adam and Allison soaring, this may finally be the week where Danny has a humbling experience.

Can the Gokey Machine be stopped short of the final? If it’s going to happen, I think it’s this week.

Live blogging and our weekly best/worst poll results below the fold once the show starts at 8:00 Central.

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American Idol Power Rankings: 5/5/09

May 6, 2009

Idol LogoLast night’s show should have been subtitled “Pimping Gone Wild.” The judges are so determined to get rid of Allison and Kris in order to achieve a Gokey-Adam finale that they took complete leave of their senses. Allison’s terrific performance was panned, and Gokey gets an A+ for “effort” for butchering “Dream On.” Ridiculous. Apologies are in order.

So without further ado, here are my rankings for this week:

  1. Adam Lambert was born to screech metal songs. He absolutely tore it up, and there’s no way he ends up at the bottom like he did last week.
  2. Allison Iraheta is the queen of my world. She was absolutely right to pass on “Piece of My Heart,” and the judges were absolutely wrong to say anything bad about her performance.
  3. Kris Allen‘s “Come Together” improved with a second viewing–it wasn’t a masterpiece but I think the judges may have been too harsh. Not the right song choice, but not a disaster, either.
  4. Don’t get me started on Danny Gokey.

As is his wont, Former Housemate Mike sends along his rankings as well. As is also his wont, he’s apparently been hitting the ol’ crack pipe pretty hard.

  1. Allison Iraheta. I thought Allison was the best tonight again, and still tops overall. I don’t understand the judges, I think a lesser known Joplin song was a much better choice. She didn’t upstage Adam by any means, but I felt like she put a more relatable performance in this week. I also thought she hung right in there with Adam in the duet, much more than I expected because Adam definitely has the best pipes of the bunch. Way to go, Allison.
  2. Adam Lambert. Once again the “What the –?” performance of the week. His voice is out of this world. I want to touch on the arrangement of the show. It suited Adam best and Kris the worst. Adam finally has to go first, and it’s freakin’ rock week with only three other people. Then he also gets to go last. Unfair, sure, but I have a feeling he wouldn’t have lost if he went first every week. Really great vocals this week. I think Slash is probably foaming at the mouth at the chance to work with Adam, at this stage in his career.
  3. Danny Gokey. Dammit, Gokey, you almost blew it. The way the duets were set up were to accentuate Adam and Allison’s mutual awesomeness and to destroy Kris. Danny definitely upstaged Kris on the duet, and, FINALLY, Simon just said it after the ball-less judge calls before him. OK. Now the individual performance. I really liked it until the last note. I think he should have looked at it from a different angle. Kris was his competition this week. Kris was bland. He didn’t need to hit a home run and compete with Allison and Adam. That all being said, he was still better than Kris. Period.
  4. Kris Allen. This one will be short because I don’t want to repeat myself too much. Kris is lame. Kris is boring. Kris is a one trick pony who only gets points on occasional arrangement choices and the fact that his style of singing lends itself to few technical vocal errors. This week was rock week. He was screwed to begin with, and did nothing to save himself. They screwed him by making him get upstaged by Gokey twice, and then by the Adam-Allison duet. But it just confirmed the inevitable. Wow, I really wanted that to be shorter. We will never hear from this guy again unless on a Jamie Foxx record. THE END.

I’m trying to scrape up the money to go to California to do a crack intervention on Mike. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to manage that before the end of Idol season, so we’ll have a couple of more weeks of this.

American Idol, 2009 – Episode 35 (5/5/09)

May 5, 2009

Idol Logo(Since we’ve reached our final four, I’m rambling on for longer than usual in the intro. Live-blogging and spoilers are below the fold–I won’t be offended if you scroll on down.)

There was a lot of grumbling from fans when the finals of the eighth season of American Idol began, some of it with good reason. The Powers That Be seemed to be manipulating the show to an extent never before seen, at least on camera. Worthy singers were dumped in Hollywood for no apparent reason (Jamar Rogers), mediocre singers were advanced to the top thirteen based on physical appearance (Megan Joy) or life story (Scott MacIntyre) more than anything else, and one of the most interesting contestants was not allowed out of the judge-picked wild card round (Tatiana del Toro).

But, once given a chance, America did a good job separating the wheat from the chaff. The  not-quite-ready Jasmine Murray was dumped right away. Overly-pimped looker Alexis Grace soon followed. Disappointing bust Lil Rounds, an early favorite, finally went. And with the elimination of Matt Giraud last Wednesday, the last of the dead weight has been eliminated and we have a final four worthy of what has amazingly turned into one of the most compelling seasons of Idol yet.

Danny Gokey was a front runner from the very beginning, with the producers giving him maximum pimpage. Entering the contest in the shadow of his young wife’s tragic death created an immediate rooting interest. But fairly or not, it also created a backlash as some viewers came to believe that the tragedy was being cynically exploited to sell Danny to the masses. Sappy song choices, an over-reliance on big finishes, and apparently disrespecting Smokey Robinson also helped to burn much of the good will that Danny started with at the beginning of the competition.

However, much of his sizable fan base stuck with him, moved by his life story and his big voice. Danny is now a polarizing figure, loved and loathed by many with few in the middle.

Similarly polarizing is Adam Lambert, metal shrieker, tender crooner, flamboyant showman, and force of nature. After a couple of performances designed to kick viewers in the balls, he shocked millions by singing an anguished version of “Tracks of my Tears.” From there he fell into a rut of alternating uptempo songs with ballads, and although he delivered one of the greatest performances in Idol history with his cover of the Gary Jules version of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World,” the act got a little stale and last week Adam found himself not just in the bottom three, but in the bottom two. Another reinvention is in order. Can he do it?

Kris Allen started the competition with the massive disadvantage of never being pimped in the slightest. He snuck into the top thirteen with a mediocre performance of “Man in the Mirror,” to my disappointment. How wrong I was.

A stunning rendition of “Ain’t No Sunshine” put Kris on the map, and consistent performances have kept him there. Picked early to be cannon-fodder, week-by-week, song-by-song, Kris Allen has earned respect and a growing fan base. The defeat of Matt Giraud last week will mean a substantial boost in the size of that fan base, and, with his richly deserved slot in the final four, the young man from Arkansas is well-positioned for one more upset.

I need to get personal with my analysis of Allison Iraheta, because I have no idea what the larger audience makes of her. Allison is my favorite Idol contestant ever. Not the best singer ever, although she is very good, and not the person I believe should win this year. But she’s my favorite. Her quirkiness and her seeming inability to be anyone but herself has utterly charmed me, making the occasional poor song choice and more-than-occasional fashion disaster somehow endearing. I think it’s terrific that a sixteen (just now seventeen) year old would rather be Pat Benatar or Joan Jett than Miley Cyrus. My head is with Adam, but my heart is with Allison.

I don’t think she can win, but there are big things ahead for her regardless. Don’t let the world or the evil record people change you, Allison! I am certain I speak for many others when I say I love you as you are.

This is a great set of contestants. Looking back, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Which brings us to where we are. The Final Four. The NFC and AFC championship games. The League Championship Series. The atmosphere is tense, the excitement level is high, and I can’t wait.

Let the games…begin!

Live blogging and spoilers below the fold once the show starts at 7:00 Central. Our weekly best/worst polls after the show is over.

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American Idol, 2009 – Episode 34 (4/29/09)

April 29, 2009

Idol LogoGreetings all, and welcome to tonight’s results show. Spoilers will be live-blogged below the fold once the show begins.

A couple of quick announcements before I log my predictions.

MJ, of MJ’s Big Blog, was the subject of a nice profile in the Boston Globe this week. MJ is apparently very modest, because she didn’t even highlight it on her site, sticking it below the fold in one of her Idol Headlines posts.

For those of you not familiar, MJ’s Big Blog has the most complete Idol coverage that I’ve seen on the Web. If she doesn’t cover it herself, she links to it. I try to avoid spoilers, so it’s verboten to me Monday and Tuesday, but I read it religiously from Tuesday after the show all the way through the weekend. If you’re looking for Idol coverage beyond show recaps, this is your starting place. Check it out. Congratulations to MJ for the much-deserved recognition.

Meanwhile, the folks at Vote for the Worst have launched their second annual charity auction, benefiting the American Cancer Society. See here for details on the items for auction (some great stuff) and information on how to bid or donate.

With all of that out of the way:

Who Should be in the Bottom Two

  1. Danny Gokey. Yet another phoned-in performance. He’s taking this for granted. Don’t let him get away with it.
  2. Matt Giraud. Long past his sell-by date.

Who Will be in the Bottom Two

  1. Matt Giraud. I think everyone recognizes that it’s time for him to go.
  2. Kris Allen. Doesn’t deserve it, but an opening slot and vote-splitting with Matt will put him here anyway.

I think they’ll only do a bottom two with just five contestants, but on the off chance they do a bottom three, throw Kris in the should-be category and Allison in the will-be category.

Poll results, live-blogging, and spoilers below the fold once the show starts at 8:00 Central.

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American Idol Power Rankings: 4/28/09

April 29, 2009

Idol LogoThe top three remain firmly entrenched, and while an Adam versus Allison final seems too much to ask for at this point, an Adam versus Kris final may be possible.

At the bottom–Matt or Danny? Danny or Matt? Tough one there. I didn’t like either of them last night but disliked Matt’s ultra-boring “My Funny Valentine” slightly more than Gokey’s needlessly bombastic “Come Rain or Come Shine,” but not enough to drop him below the lazy Gokey, who hasn’t developed since the contest began and who does not appear to be trying.

  1. Adam Lambert. Last night’s performance was probably his worst to date, but he’s so good, his worst isn’t very bad.
  2. Allison Iraheta. A big, big comeback right when she needed it the most. A superb performance, possibly her best of the year, will hopefully keep her in this thing for one more week.
  3. Kris Allen. If it can’t be Allison in the final, it should be Kris. He’s been remarkably consistent and, unlike Matt or Danny, understands the value of subtlety.
  4. Matt Giraud. At least he’s trying.
  5. Danny Gokey. While he may possess the raw talent to be a better singer than Matt or Kris, he is making no effort to develop that talent. Taking plays off got Randy Moss sent to the Hell that is the Oakland Raiders. It ought to get Gokey sent home.

Former Housemate Mike sends his reflections and rankings.

  1. Allison Iraheta. Best of the night. She showed something really strong tonight that made me seriously doubt Simon’s comments, which rarely happens. Great arrangement, great vocals. I’m still not entirely sure why she’s not considered more of a contender.
  2. Adam Lambert. Really good moments in this performance, but I was only occasionally blown away. I think he has set a different standard for himself, which, though awesome, might be a deterrent in the long run. He was like a musical James Bond villain tonight which is a compliment and insult at the same time. I really want him to do Skid Row. I’ll leave it at that.
  3. Danny Gokey. I really liked him tonight. I think this is the second time with him that I have gone against my general rule of being annoyed by those who only do good in the second half. But his second half was SO good. I saw a roughness in his voice I’ve never heard, and I’m still cool with Gokey.
  4. Kris Allen. This part was tough for me. I thought Kris was the worst of the night. That being said, I thought he was VERY good. I still don’t see anything but hollowness in him, and tonight was the case in point. He was good and sweet and had a GREAT song choice. I thought he was very bland tonight. He’s fortunate I have a vendetta against number 5.
  5. Matt Giraud. I really liked Matt tonight. I ranked him number two of the night after Allison. I really liked his phrasing and dedication to the theme of the night. That all being said, I still don’t think it’s good enough to cover the eggs he’s laid recently. He actually made me like Kris. And, this week, Matt was way better than Kris. But Matt wasted too much time. He still, to me, squandered being saved. Matt will lose this week, and it’s a shame. I think both he and Anoop should have outlasted Kris. Call me crazy, I appreciate substance. But I also appreciate consistent execution.