joshua ledet

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American Idol Season 11 Alums Test Out New Material

In: Donovan, Music

While Phillip Phillips scored out of the gate with his debut single, “Home“, thanks to great songwriting and exposure during the London 2012 Olympics, Jessica Sanchez wasn’t so lucky with her first track. The American Idol Season 11 runner-up didn’t exactly burn up the charts with “Change Nothing“. To be fair, it’s not her fault she was saddled with a far inferior track. Sabotage much? With Sanchez scoring a deal with Interscope Records, a guest spot on Glee and a boyfriend (she’s dating DeAndre Brackensick from Season 11), all that she’s missing is a hit song. Hopefully, she’ll have a happily-ever-after ending with her new track, “Fairytale” which she debuted this week.

During an iHeartRadio American Idol concert in New York City this week, the 17-year-old diva-in-training performed a track from her upcoming album. Whether “Fairytale” becomes the official lead single from her debut effort remains to be seen. I guess it all depends on public reaction. It’s a far better track than “Change Nothing”, but more “poppy” than I had expected. Jessica expressed wanting to do “more of the urban, Rihanna kind of feel and the R&B kind of stuff,” in a previous interview. Perhaps, the final produced version of “Fairytale” will sound differently than her live performance.

Also performing at the iHeartRadio concert were Colton Dixon, Joshua Ledet and Phillip Phillips. Dixon performed his original song, “Never Gone”, which he’s been playing during the Season 11 Idol summer tour. Third-place finisher Ledet, like Sanchez, unveiled a brand new track. “Broken Man” is everything you would expect from him. It’s got that retro rhythm and blues vibe. If you’re a Joshua fan, you’ll love the track. Check out “Broken Man“, “Fairytale” and “Never Gone” below.

listen to all three tracks after the jump

So.damn.close.

It’s been grueling these past elimination weeks as top picks and sellable acts have been getting the boot time after time as Idol seems to control every aspect of our lives and our votes (well, not mine: I’m canadian, but you get what I’m saying). We’ve been deconstructing judges motivation, exposing panning shots and ridiculous production and styling choices, and most importantly the fine print at the end of each episode that gives us a big middle finger and declares: “We [Nigel Lythgoe and his flying monkey minions] are gonna pick whomever the frig we feel like, so suck it… and keep buying coca cola.” Still, we stay tuned to see the talent. Not to watch the dumb light show in the background or pay ANY attention to the extreme and outrageous claims of “perfect and unparalleled performances” by the judging panel, but to hear that one-off amazing song that keeps us interested and wanting to root for our favourites.

Tonight we get the musical stylings of past runner up Adam Lambert who felt the sting of Idol manipulation and lost to a WGWG (“white guy with guitar”: an expression I learned from you all commenting on my articles, thank you!) who couldn’t sell himself out of a paper bag. Tonight the out and proud man-diva will be performing “Never Close Our Eyes“, on top of which we’ll get the “singing stylings” or Lisa Marie Presley (seriously… why?). Like matching “Songs of the 60s” with “Songs from Today” Idol once again misses the mark and I shake my head in wonder at how this show still survives. You heard me rant that Joshua Ledet just didn’t have it last night despite the rantings of his biggest fan Randy, that Jessica Sanchez is getting back on her game and should win but not exactly with a perfect 10 score and that Phil Phillips though with an amazing night isn’t exactly what I would call America’s IDOL… all in all, this year isn’t knocking me over and I only hope next week we get something stellar or I might have to officially check out. Let’s see who’s going home tonight!

Click through to see my review of the night and see who gets sent home

Well, we’re nearly there boys and girls. We experienced some highs and a helluva lot of lows together these past months as we strained to understand song choices, deconstructed producer machinations and collaborated on some elaborate and probably scarily accurate conspiracy theories of judging and vote-counting falsities… and now we’re down to the final three! We’ve got the early favourite and soon to be gay icon beauty: Jessica Sanchez and her impossibly strong voice. There’s soulful and always pitch-perfect Joshua Ledet who receives perfect reactions from the judges week in and out. And, the sexy and scratchy easy sounds of Phillip Phillips, the man so nice they named him twice. While there’s plenty bitching I can do about their equally balanced negative sides, I’m opting to focus on the good (in this paragraph at least) as we get into these final two days/episodes of singing and declare a winner and a new American Idol.

Tonight, the kids will be singing three songs each: mentor, Jimmy Iovine’s choice, the judges’ choice and the contestants choice themselves. I’m very much always into this week of songs as typically all three are current and nearly always match up extremely well with the type of song we’d like to hear from em’. Followers of my articles know that Phil has been my crush for a while now but I’ve never truly seen him as the man to beat on this show: yes he has the votes there’s no doubt about that but selling power? I think he might go the way of Kris Allen and his cute face/zero CD sales. Further, I think Josh is in the same boat with amazing talent but no real mass appeal to those who still pay for songs in the US these days. Honestly, I think Skylar Laine who got booted a couple weeks ago is their best chance at $$$ this year with her strong southern base where torrents and the like are about as foreign to them as automatic transmissions, but there’s no going back. All in all, I believe it will/should be a Jessica win with her tumultuous near sending home, resultant save and stunning on stage performances. I’ve hated- HATED- the judging this year and wasn’t exactly heart-broken when I heard rumours that Jennifer Lopez might not be returning for another season. I think the show is past her boytoy’s boyfriend’s bedtime and he’s been getting cranky waiting for her to get home from taping.

Click through to see the performances and read my review of the night!

Last night saw a lame-ass first round followed by a pretty killer second time up to bat as the now-four remaining puppets contestants sang for Nigel Lythgoe’s pleasure doing first songs of California (seriously? did Schwarzenegger think that would help with the energy crisis and call in a favour?) and then “I wish I wrote it” pieces. We saw what I would argue was the best performance Phil’s given, Josh’s top 3 for sure, a great rendition by Jessica and a robotic, lack-luster song from soon-to-be-sent-packing Hollie.

I don’t want to jinx tonight’s results too much by declaring the poorly styled blond as the official loser as my predictions have been well off in the past but so far the comments on yesterday’s review seem to support the thought that the Top 3 really do deserve to be: Phil Phillips, Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez. We get to see some very sweet (even cynical me can’t deny how amazing it would be to be raised to the level of “hero” and icon in one’s own city) hometown visits for the remaining singers. Often coming from smaller places, it’s pretty adorable to see how this show can bring together a group of people who cheer for the “home team” and likely run their phone bills up voting for these kids. But, what we care about it RESULTS, so let’s click through!

Click through to see my review of the night and see who gets sent home

We’re back! With little to no dumb banter, Seacrest jumps almost right into the singing and so will I: Songs about/from California and Songs the contestants wish they wrote themselves. I’m rolling my eyes as the semi stupidity as these themes get longer and weirder but hey: I’m just happy no one needs to find out what songs were “hip” in the 50s to pick something out for this evening. That said, we find out tonight is also the “let’s reflect on their road here” evening as Idol fills those full two hours basically with nothing we haven’t seen before. I consider tonight to be like that penultimate episode before all dramas finales where they recap the greatest moments and add about 5 minutes of new material- in this case the singing- to squeeze a whole nother episode to make advertisement agencies happy.

My cynicism aside, today seems like it might be a reasonable one: we get current songs and the kids get to pick basically anything they want so I’m hoping a few of the brain-using singers show us something new and unique. Last week’s screen death of Skylar Laine left me blown away and particularly devastated tonight as I just know that she would have picked something awesome to offer us. So, it comes down to the two remaining kids I can stand: Phil Phils and Jessica Sanchez to prove there’s still relevant talent left in this pool as Hollie Cavanagh and Joshua Ledet tread water in the shallow end and wear awful clothes doing it: let’s get to it!

Click through to see the performances and read my review of the night!

Last night was British Hits and Songs From the 60s: I was barely amused. Thankfully the brit picks were for the most part quite recent while the mid-century (literally, Nigel, you’re having them sing MID CENTURY SONGS) tunes were meh. More often than not, the responsibility to update and modernize these songs falls on the shoulders of the kids as they attempt not just individualize their performance but also rise above the terrible theme choices being made by our aged producers avoiding forced retirement. That said, the night was pretty good.

Oh and while I say “good”, Lopez would have you believe “greatest thing in the entire history of things ever” as she ridiculously threw it out that Joshua Ledet was the “best singer in 50 years”. Once again, it’s crap statements like this that a) make me hate these judges b) make me hate a show that wouldn’t edit crap like that out c) not trust a single standing ovation they’ve given the kid to date and d) did I already say J Lo is an idiot cause I should have. Anyway, tonight’s show features huge names in the industry as we get played to by Carrie Underwood and Coldplay. Sometimes the performance gods to look down on us. But, I ain’t here for no cold, I’m here for RESULTS: which by the way, only include a bottom TWO this evening. Whhhaaat? Let’s get to them!

Click through to see my review of the night and see who gets sent home!

Well, Elise Testone has fallen and the group is down to 5. As we lose one of the most mature and natural performers we’ve ever seen, my list of faves is quickly melting away. I use to have a huge ear-crush on Jessica Sanchez but her reviews and performances have been a bit spotty recently as she’s lost her way some: I still see her insane voice as a real contender and see her Top 3. Skylar Laine has shockingly started to steal my heart as the country girl with brains whose twang has thankfully taken a back seat to her sweetness and beautiful sound: I’m liking her for a final spot as well. And, then of course there’s my boyfriend Phil Phils: of late, I’ve had to be a bit harsher on him as his sexy growl and looks are starting to lack in the face of the remaining talent. I still see him as a real iTunes seller, but am not sure he’s right for the gold ring. Finally, he have the bottoms: Joshua Ledet (yes I did just make that joke) and Hollie Cavanagh. I’ve been called out for being close-minded about Josh’s resale value after this show ends but I honestly don’t get the appeal of the church boy sound and Hollie is just not killing with her too-old looks and big voice.

Tonight, the kids again take on two songs each as they attempt British Pop and Songs from the 60s… Can you imagine what I’m going to say next? CHRIST Idol, you’re dating yourself even more?? I’ve been getting a lot of flack for not covering “The Voice” and considering the contemporary spin they actually put on their approach, I’m starting to wonder WTF myself! Full disclosure, I’ve also been getting a LOT of flack recently on the comments (though more than a couple nice knights have taken up defending me) for my lack of all things 80s and beyond particularly as far as RnB and Classic Rock is concerned so I’ll try to resist mentioning that I don’t actually know by name alone who Stevie Van Zandt from Bruce Springsteen‘s E Street Band and the Sopranos (tonight’s mentor) is as apparently letting people know you don’t know every song and artist from before you were born completely disqualifies you from having an opinion for what kind of sound and singing you like (yes, that was meant to be condescending and flippant, it wasn’t just the way you read it). Listen, no one knows absolutely everything about music: particularly about styles, artists or periods they don’t enjoy listening to. I’m here just to comment on how this show comes across to me as someone who has watched it evolve for years and as someone who likes good music. If you want an opinion from someone who knows everything, click on wikipedia and see if their review of the night works for you cause no one else is gonna get everything right. Sorry. Rant done! Let’s get to the night and see how the good awful producers at Idol have screwed it up today!

Click through to see the performances and read my review of the night!

Well, last night did NOT get a ton of great reviews. Once again relying upon the over-used songbook of Queen (seriously Nigel, how much do they pay you to feature them season after season), Idol fell slightly short this Wednesday with what they offered up. I felt Josh, Hollie and even Jessica missed the mark where they’re usually seen as the “power” voices; instead the evening was owned by Elise and particularly Skylar who blew away the others. Phil looked cute and that’s all I really asked of him. As we get down to the few remaining kids and have seen expected top-contenders like Colton and Jess at the bottom over the last two weeks, it’s honestly anyone’s to win or lose at this point. Honestly, I don’t think Hollie or Josh have a prayer at top billing and doubt Elise is ever going to get the credit she deserves so this writer is predicting a Jess/Phil/Skylar finish as is but who really knows!

Tonight we get a live tapped performance by Katy Perry doing her single “Part of Me“, cute boy, barely-talented Stefano Langone of last year Idol failure fame doing his: “I’m On a Roll” and a Queen tribute bandkicks off their “Queen Extravaganza” show as they begin their cross-country tour. I’m not interested any of these performances to be honest as tribute bands always fall short of the original for me- give me a remix any day; Katy Perry has notoriously terrible live performances (albeit this was taped last night so hopefully some auto-tune has been applied) and as Stefano was only famous for staying around as long as he did because older gays (like my ex Dan) liked to see him on stage. I just wanna see who’s going home!

Click through to see my review of the night and see who gets sent home!

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