Posted tagged ‘Alexis Grace’

We Have a Winner (so to speak)

May 13, 2015

Despite having my heart ripped straight out of my chest by last night’s news that My Girl Jax would not be the next American Idol (but perhaps its next big star?), I was still able to maintain my annual tradition of enjoying The Finale. There are two reasons why this is so.

First, is the amazing level of live interaction I experience with my peeps everywhere. I pretty much have every tool of social media and every electronic device going at the same time, so much so that I miss half of the action on the TV screen (except for every moment that My Girl Jax is on). It’s like being at a party.

Second, The Finale is two hours of complete cheese ball corn[1] that I can totally enjoy in a hatewatch kind of way. The first 30 minutes or so was sponsored by the AARP and featured the decaying carcasses of The Jackson Whatever Number They Are Now about whom I got a text from somebody asking, “Is something was wrong with the sound? It sounds bad.” Nothing wrong with the sound beyond their inability to get any out of their vocal chords any longer.

We also went back to the disco era with Chic, relived the Vida Loca with Ricky Martin and I’m not really sure what to make of the (Not At All) New Kids on the Block.

Fortunately, the cheese ball corn was occasionally interrupted by moments of sheer brilliance such as Rayvon’s outfit and the sublime duet he sang with Jamie Foxx. Rayvon should have sung with that same level of restraint all year. There’s also the cognitive dissonance experienced with enjoying the hot song by the despicable Chris Brown.

And then there was My Girl Jax looking all rockstar glam and tearing up Piece of My Heart with Aero. The two of them ending the song on their backs on the judges’ desk was a pure rock ‘n roll moment, boys and girls.

By the way, was it just me or did anybody else think that Clark had learned to mimic every single one of Michael McDonald’s mannerisms? 

Of course, the show is ultimately all about crowning a winner. The proceedings opened rather awkwardly with Clark and Nick clumsily being merged into Fall Out Boy performing their massive anthem Centuries, which is ironic since it’s likely we’ll have forgotten about both of them this time next year. And I couldn’t help being distracted all night by hearing the voice of My Mom[2] screaming down from heaven, “Ray! (with a very long “a”) How is Jax not in this?” Yeah, My Mom, I’m going to have that Adam-didn’t-win outrage for a long time on this one.

But given the rather unfortunate choice between Nack and Clirk Nick and Clark (see, I can’t remember them already), the “right” one won. If we’re talking about a current artist, having Clark duet tonight with the way-past-his-prime Michael McDonald[3] while Nick got a duet with current hitmaker Andy Grammar said everything we needed to know. I think Scott Borchetta’s got his work cut out for him with Nick but it will be a lot easier to make some noise on the charts than with Clark.

Still, I am hopeful without being confident that My Girl Jax lands a record deal somewhere. As I have previously written, while there are the notable exceptions, the rule is that the road forward is hard for those who don’t win much less finish third. The overwhelming majority of non-winners aren’t heard from again. I continue to believe Jax was Scott’s favorite and I think she will be a huge crowd favorite on the tour much as Adam Lambert was the must-see Idolist on his season’s tour.

As always, expect me to keep track of who’s doing what from this season once they get out into the real world. And the last show is never the end of the blog until the next season. I always have so much music stuff to share with you and will continue to do so.

Before I wrap this season up, I may as well make it official: the regal title of The My Girl of My Girls has been passed on from My Girl Alexis Grace (Season 8) to My Girl Jax. With only one season left, it’s likely the she will own the title forever. I will always treasure the significant contributions that My Girl Alexis made to my life and will continue to stalk follow her on the Twitter.[4]

So that’s it for now. Excuse me while I pour a glass of wine and start re-watching Jax’s performances from this season on the YouTube.


[1] That’s actually not a thing, is it?

[2] As my Mom was known by in the blog.

[3] Who I still blame for ruining the Doobie Brothers, who were once a nice little rock band.

[4] She’s very funny by the way.


The Best Ever? Not So, Harry!

March 6, 2014

Melinda Doolittle. Carly Smithson. Joshua Ledet. Allison Iraheta. Kellie Pickler. Elliott Yamin. Jason Castro.

No, I’m not going to even bring up the legends of Kelly and Carrie nor will I toss in celebrated “losers” like Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry or Adam Lambert.

It’s obvious that there isn’t an Idolist in Season XIII who could hold the sheet music for Kelly, Carrie, J-Hud, Daughtry or My Boy Adam.

But the other ex-Idolists above finished third through sixth in their seasons and there isn’t a single Idolist this year that is anywhere as good as them! I’m trying to find somebody as good as My Girl of Girls Alexis Grace from Season VIII– and she finished tenth!

Sorry, Harry. While I LOVE your blunt but fair critiques, you are dead, dead, dead wrong that this is the most talented group of Idolists ever. In any other year, none of them right now would look like a potential winner. And to my point, none of them even look like they could have finished in the top three or four of any other season. I do hope they give me reason to change my mind and my mind – and ears – will remain open to that possibility.

And as long was we’re on the subject of hyperbole – a Ryan Seacrest specialty – when did Phillip Phillips become a mega-star? I admit he’s doing much better than I thought, especially since he still looks demon-possessed when he sings. But mega-stars fill arenas. They don’t open for the guys filling the arenas. But props to P2. While he’s not a mega-star, he is doing very well and I actually liked the new song.

Anyway, Emily was eliminated to nobody’s surprise.

What was a surprise was that Jena was in the Dreaded Bottom Three. Not that she was great but she’s been less bad than C.J. and Malaya.

Thank you Evil Producers for replacing the Cheesy Idol Sing-a-Long with a segment called “Harry Tells the Idolists Why He’s So Critical and Tells Randy He’s Not Working Hard Enough.”[1] HCJ was so spot-on in telling the Idolists that his job is to judge; that they’re good enough to not need to hear what they’re doing right; and that he has limited time to tell them what they’re doing wrong so that they can get better. Amen.

And speaking of My Boy Adam Lambert[2], he is killin’ it right now. In his appropriately-named role as Starchild, he had three(!) songs on Glee this week including a massive version of Heart’s Barracuda. My Boy Pharrell Williams[3] said the music on his killer new album (which includes the ridiculously infectious song Happy) was inspired by Adam’s song Trespassing from his 2012 album. And the big news announced at Madison Square Garden on Good Morning America – is the he’s going on a North American tour with Queen as their lead singer. I just love how much success he’s had since winning Idol. What? Say that again? Really? He finished second? Was there a Congressional investigation?

Whatever. Now excuse me while I watch him and Lea Michele sing Barracuda for the nine-zillionth time.


[1] “If I were your mentor, I’d be working all night, ‘til five in the morning . . .”

[2] What? You didn’t think I was? Hey, it’s always OK to change the subject to Adam.

[3] Yes, I have lots of My Boys like I have lots of My Girls. I am a 16-year old fan girl.

Celebrating 400 Posts!

May 6, 2013

cropped blog picMy recent post “Thousands Came, Three Remain” was a milestone for Idol Musings – my 400th post. I think sharing 400 exercises in self-indulgence with people around the globe[1] calls for a celebration! So Kieran, dim the lights – and pour that Montaudon Champagne Brut specially ordered for the occasion – while I give a little history of how this blog came to be and share some of my favorites memories.

My Idol journey began with me channel-surfing in a lousy hotel room[2] in Indianapolis late in Season 2. I landed on a show where I saw a skinny white guy singing Bridge Over Troubled Water. Given how few people I believe should even hum that song, I wasn’t impressed. Right after that, I saw a large black guy sing a Luther Vandross song. Not really original. Then I find out my suspicions were true. This was that American Idol thing everybody was talking about. Obviously this wasn’t made for a self-certified music expert like me. Time to change the channel.

Yes – I was an Idol hater.

The next year, I heard a lot of noise about how three really talented black girls ended up in the bottom three. Great – a national TV show that proves life is still sometimes unfair for black people. Why would I watch that?[3]

Yes – I was an Idol hater.

Fast forward to Season 5. In a conversation with a friend, I discover that judge Randy Jackson was, in fact, the Randy Jackson who was in one of my favorite bands – Journey. Idol hater or not, I had to see this!

And so an addiction was born.

The blog came soon thereafter. First, it was a regular e-mail sharing my self-certified musical expertise with family and friends. The subject line of each e-mail was Idol Musings. Then those e-mails were being forwarded to the family and friends of my family and friends.[4] And one of my friends suggested – and kept suggesting – that I write a blog.

And so this former Idol hater started a blog. And has posted to it 400 times and counting.

And now, Ray Chew and the Idol house band, cue up Memories[5], while Ryan starts up the slide show of some fond remembrances from my Idol journey . . .

My first season: the impossibly cute Kellie Pickler; the preternaturally talented Paris Bennett; Diandra saying she can’t wait to buy Chris Daughtry’s CD – during his audition!

Sabrina Sloan, Alexis Grace, Syesha Mercado, Brooke White, Siobhan Magnus, Lauren Alaina, Jessica Sanchez. Alexis Grace (oh, I mentioned her already).

Melinda Doolittle: Funny Valentine and Have a Nice Day.

Calls from My Mom after every show. I miss those. And the exhilaration blog readers would experience when My Mom agreed with their blog comments.[6]

(Separate section of highlights devoted to Adam Lambert). Cassandra nicknames Adam “Emo Chic” after his first live performance . . . Diandra says of Ring of Fire, “Everything I love about music was in that song.” . . . wondering what will Adam do this week . . . Smokey Robinson crying while Adam sings Tracks of My Tears . . . Mad World – parts of my jaw are still on the floor . . . The Kris Lovin’ Ladies – who argued their case on my blog for Kris Allen so passionately and so misguidedly.

Diandra saying that, “Idol is like a religion in our household.”

The Unspeakable One.

Simon’s weird metaphors and Paula’s kiss of death – “You look lovely tonight” – i.e. when Can’t-Say-An-Unkind-Word Paula couldn’t find a kind word to say about an Idolist’s performance.

My own pain, shock, horror and distress over bad performances and irrational results. (see Allen, Kris; Dewyze, Lee; Miller, Angie – please say it can’t be so!)

Jimmy Iovine.

Seeing great live shows by former Idolists: David Cook, Elliott Yamin and back-to-back shows in Baltimore and D.C. by Adam Lambert.

OK, Kieran, you can turn the lights back on. I’m not tearing up anymore. And I’ve really heard enough of Memories.

400 blog posts. That’s a lot of words.[7] They’ve been a lot of fun to write – and still are. This self-indulgent and self-certified music expert thanks you for reading them.


[1] Every continent except Antarctica. If you ever decide to go there, please login to the blog so I can check “Get Idol blog read in every continent” off my bucket list.

[2] I always said I could tolerate any place that had hot running water, internet access and ESPN. This particular place really tested that belief.

[3] The one who went home that week was Jennifer Hudson who surely would have been a My Girl if I had been watching. I guess things worked out OK for her. 🙂

[4] And I was actually getting calls and e-mails from family and friends whose family and friends were calling and e-mailing them if I hadn’t written or was late with my Idol Musings e-mail.

[5] As wretched a song as there is. And, yes, I do have a list of wretched songs. Billy Don’t Be a Hero and Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree are easily on that list.

[6] My Mom was a classically trained and internationally renowned singer.

[7] And since I usually have a glass of wine (or two) as I write, that’s lot of excess calories, too. And my celebratory Montaudon Champagne Brut is worth every one of those calories, boys and girls.

Who REALLY Is In It to Win It?

April 18, 2013

I thought this evening had gotten off to a good start when Evil Eye Jimmy was apparently reading off my notes of My Girl Candice’s first performance[1]. After that, my opinions seemed to consistently diverge from Jimmy and the judges, and probably most of the viewers. As to the judges, though, they were on their feet so often tonight I thought I was watching a State of the Union Address.

Like Randy, I, too, am looking for who’s in it to win it. But for me, “win it” means, who’s giving performances that I could hear as radio singles, album tracks or in a concert set? At this point when we’re down to the final five, I am a lot more critical because I’m not thinking about whether Candice is better than Kree (or vice-versa) or who is in the Top Three. I’m thinking about who can compete against Bruno Mars, Pink, Maroon 5, Demi Lovato or the diva trinity of Taylor, Carrie and Kelly. Or will the winner fade off into the land of unfulfilled expectations filled with so many past “winners” of reality singing shows?

So count me as the cranky opposition party on the other side of the aisle tonight. Occasionally, I found some middle ground where I thought the judges and I could work together but for the most part, I felt like was speaking for a small special interest group that wants stars and not just skillful karaoke singers.

Envelopes, please . . .

Round 1 – Songs from the Year You Were Born

My Girl Candice (Straight Up, Paula Abdul) – No other Idolist could do what My Girl Candice did with that song. But Paula can’t really sing and that song’s melody was for somebody who can’t really sing. Making it jazzy was very skillful but you’d never hear that version on an album. A (vocals), B- (impact on voters and in real world of the music biz)

Janelle (When I Call Your Name, Vince Gill) – A BOR-ing song choice for a singing competition and vocally it wasn’t great, either. Nobody will be calling Janelle’s name for that performance. C

Kree (She Talks to Angels, Black Crowes) – Sorry, Jimmy, this was awesome and my favorite Kree performance all year. She passed the “Ray LOVES This Band[2] and Song Test” with flying colors, which is NOT easy to do. A- (downgraded from A for the ridiculous “Hey! C’mon!” after the first verse of the song).

Angie (I’ll Stand By You, The Pretenders) – Jimmy heard classic power ballad. I heard “trying to win high school talent show.” And I didn’t think it was possible to like her hair less than usual. Yes, it was possible. Yes, I’m in a cranky mood tonight. B-

My Girl Amber (Without You, Mariah) – The Evil Genius Producers are doing their best to keep Amber in this thing: she got the Glory Spot, i.e. last position, and Nigel brought a fan on stage[3] to show that people are actually connecting with her. She’s a My Girl but I’m having trouble staying connected with the constant trips to Ballad Land, especially when they are so average. Mariah and Nicky were right that the key was too low for her in the beginning. C+

Round 2 – Songs of the Divas

My Girl Candice (When You Believe, Mariah/Whitney) – So Evil Eye Jimmy said she’d have to kill her next song to have the impact she had last week. Jimmy, how did this taste? #WOW A+

Janelle (Dumb Blonde, Dolly) – It was a fun performance but the vocals were dreadful and it was another bad song choice for a singing contest. A (for theatrics), C (for vocals – and it is a singing contest)

Kree (Have You Ever Been In Love, Celine) – Something must have interfered with the sound on my TV. The usual smooth, buttery texture of Kree’s voice came out of my set tinny, screechy and shouty.[4] To me, it was very un-Kree-like in that I never heard her­. Rather, I heard someone trying to sing a Celine Dion song and not really pulling it off. Again, the test is – if it were between this version and Celine’s, which one would you buy? Case closed. B

Angie – (Halo, Beyonce) It wasn’t enough for her to stand in the holy ground that is Evanescence a few weeks ago. Tonight she went straight up to the altar that is Halo. And with the hair that is making me nuts. She is really testing my ability to be objective. I crushed her in my notes. Then I listened again. Objectivity restored. B+

My Girl Amber – (What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?, Streisand) Yes, she sang it flawlessly. But My Girl is killing me. She’s a 17-year old girl trying to be a current, relevant pop star and she’s singing Babs. She had her choice of divas[5] and couldn’t come up with Rihanna, Katy Perry, Pink, Christina Aguilera or Ke$hia? A (vocals – yes, this is a singing competition but . . .), D- (current relevancy)

So after all this harsh grading the question you’re now waiting for me to answer is, “Who goes home?” And the answer is, “Nobody.” The judges have until this week to use the “save” and the TV schedule has long had the save built in. It seems to me that Uncle Nigel will make them use it. But since all the Idolists earned standing ovations at some point tonight, it’s obvious the judges love them all. Therefore, they would have no problem using the save, anyway, and just letting America have the final word the next week.

Wasn’t it nice to have a Lazaro-free week?[6]


[1] The limited range of the song didn’t allow her to showcase her extraordinary vocal range.

[2] Free tix and VIP entrance to see them at D.C.’s famous 9:30 Club thanks to my daughter’s internship there.

[3] At that point I was daydreaming that during Season 8 they had brought me onstage for Alexis Grace.

[4] Sometime, somewhere, a vocal coach must have used the word “shouty.” And I have a list of Idolists in mind that this word should have been used with.

[5] Or whatever choices the Evil Genius Producers let her have.

[6] I had to go there, didn’t I? I told you I was cranky.

My Girl – An Illustrated History

January 17, 2012

Idol Season 6, March 8, 2007.  A personally historic night – the night My Girl was born. The concept of a My Girl was an unconscious force waiting within my psyche to be brought to life. And on that night the concept became a flesh and blood reality personified by one Sabrina Sloan singing En Vogue’s Don’t Let Go. Sabrina had previously got my – and the judges – serious attention with Aretha’s I Never Loved A Man (the Way I Loved You). Well, that and the fact that she was gorgeous. But on that night of Match 8, I became mesmerized like never before watching Idol.[1]

And then – she was gone. A victim of an Idol Voting Miscarriage of Justice and the first that affected me to the very depths of my soul. Even now when I watch the video I am outraged and still want bad things to happen to the people who didn’t vote for her. Seriously – watch the video and explain how she didn’t even make the Final 12 after that.

Outrage aside, I realized I had been captured by an irresistible psychological force: an irrational, subjective, undefinable affection resulting in unwavering support for an Idol female. Eventually I would learn that this force may captivate me instantly or take weeks to totally control me. It may also be extended to The Voice and The X Factor. But whenever it happens, my indefatigable (I love that word) and uncompromising detached, clinical logic gets turned into the kind of cloying mush that would be excessive even for a Lifetime Channel movie.

With the archetype of My Girl firmly imprinted barely within the level of my personal unconsciousness[2], Season 7 produced not just one but two My Girls: the petulant, feisty and sometime whiny Brooke White (kind of like Rachel on Glee who I adore); and the classy and elegant Syesha Mercado.

I had no intention of finding a Season 8 My Girl but that isn’t how it works. They find me. And so it was that the impossibly cute Alexis Grace became the new My Girl standard bearer.[3] That ridiculously hot black get-up the week she sang Dirty Diana certainly helped cement her place in My Girl history. In another Idol Voting Miscarriage of Justice, My Girl Alexis somehow went home in 10th place after her rendition of Jolene[4]. My deep appreciation and knowledge of country music was offended when the voters failed to value this fine performance.[5]

Season 9 brought me the odd, the quirky, the wild and the unconventional Siobhan Magnus. Yes, she dressed bizarrely and screamed a bit too much but when she sang dark songs like her versions of Paint It Black or House of the Rising Sun[6] I went to places in my soul that I didn’t know existed.

In Season 10 (just last year!) I found Lauren Alaina. Yes, she was young but primitive, unconscious forces are not bounded by arbitrary constructs such as age. My Girl Lauren had sass, soul and big-girl pipes. That’s criteria enough for My Girl Status.

I was similarly afflicted by The Voice and The X Factor although not with the same mystical force of an Idol My Girl. The impossibly cute Dia Frampton[7] was My Girl on the debut season of The Voice especially after her brilliant stream-of-consciousness version of Kanye’s Heartless. And the Caribbean force of nature that was Melanie Amaro easily attained My Girl status early on in the initial season of The X Factor.

So, will there be a My Girl for Season 11? It is sheer folly to attempt to predict the future flow of my psychic energy. But the fact that there are no objective criteria (beyond some level of singing ability) suggests the possibility that someone this season will manage to touch my soul in such a way that I will cast aside both my impeccable taste and my legendary objectivity. I can only hope so, anyway. It’s a tradition like no other – My Girl.

[1] I was a late adopter having begun Idol the prior year. Kellie Pickler was fun and impossibly cute but Sabrina was stunning and could actually sing, too.

[2] What other Idol blog goes all Jungian upside your head?

[3] Yes, I know I said Kellie Pickler was impossibly cute. I also say that about Katy Perry, Rachel Ray and about a thousand others. I guess that makes their impossible cuteness quite possible but “possibly cute” doesn’t sound very special, does it?

[4] Of course, the All-Time Idol Voting Miscarriage of Justice was still awaiting us that season – the Kris Allen/Adam Lambert debacle. Anyway, check My Girl Alexis singing her adorable little heart out

[5] I may have made up a couple of things in that sentence.


[7] See what I mean? I can’t help myself.

The Grinch Who Stole X Factor

December 1, 2011

Appropriate to the Holiday season, tonight’s X Factor put me in the persona of one of my favorite characters of all-time, The Grinch. And my background music tonight is the appropriately named Theatre of Tragedy (1) as that’s what tonight felt like. The American Idolists can’t sing Michael Jackson (Adam’s Black or White is a notable exception) and the Xers can’t sing him, either. This is a trap Simon should have known to avoid. The King of Pop’s songs are too iconic, too familiar and his singing style is too singular.
Let’s take the performances one by one.

Josh (Dirty Diana). The arrangement was horrible and he looked and sounded awkward. Simon was absolutely right that Josh got lost in the (over)production and delivered his worst performance. And how dare he sing the same song as the beloved My Girl Alexis (Idol Season 8)? “You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch . . .”

Astro (Black or White) Well this improved my mood considerably! Dude can seriously blow as music people like L.A. Reid and I are wont to say. Simon was so right – Astro took a classic and made it current. I continue steadfast in my belief that Astro is the most uniquely talented Xer.

Drew (Billie Jean). No, Drew, you can’t claim that I am the one unless you mean the one who is bored with your lack of originality. If the judges thought that was her best, then she’s just not very good. I thought it was one of her worst. “You have all the sweetness of a seasick crocodile, Mr. Grinch . . .”

Rachel (Can You Feel It). No, I didn’t feel it. She was completely lost in the song and the production. It was all WAY too big for her and, as a result, she lacked the power and drama the song needed. And her pitch was all over the place. “You’re a vile one, Mr. Grinch . . .”

Marcus (Pretty Young Thing). Yet another bad faux-Bobby Brown imitation. Again, Simon was right – Marcus can’t sing well when he dances. “Your soul is full of gunk, Mr. Grinch . . .”

Chris (I’ll Be There) This was a good song choice for his weak voice and it was also wise to cover The Fugees’ hip-hop version of the song. But Chris really needs to rap more because he’s not a good singer. “You’re a monster, Mr. Grinch . . .”

Melanie (Earth Song) First off, she looked stunning! I also loved the staging but I wasn’t as moved as much as the judges were with her performance. It was good but hardly “epic” (according the the Horrifying Host). “You’ve got garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch . . .”

Overall, I thought Astro was the best tonight along with My Girl. Theirs were the only two respectable performances. From this point forward, I don’t care who will be leaving as long as it’s not anybody named Astro or My Girl and maybe Josh.

“You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch, You really are a heel, You’re as cuddly as a cactus, you’re as charming as an eel . . .”

(1) Theatre of Tragedy was a Norwegian band between 1993 and 2010 who provided a great deal of early influence to gothic metal music. Their lead singer, the lovely Liv Kristine, is now the lead for the German-Norwegian symphonic metal band Leaves’ Eyes. What other Idol blog gives you this kind of valuable stuff?