SOOO – After arriving in NYC and having a long chat with Aubrey about her participation in my Gibson Girl Gala and what she is going to perform (WE have a surprise whipped up! WOO HOO!) I then called a fave restaurant and got some amazing din din, unpacked, and turned on Idol!
Seriously… I was talking to my man about this the other. He is a doc and says that, for real, kids come here with more advanced DNA. It is crazy that 16 year olds channel singers from before they were born. There are textures in voices today that are mind blowing! And a sign that God exists (sorry Penn!)
I don’t see any reason technical, scientific, or otherwise that creates these amazing performances. I myself could practice 24 hours a day and never sound like THAT! I will sound like me, but I will not ever riff and have that cool gravelly sound….it floors me!
Let me start by saying the show is at the top of it’s game in my opinion. Ryan has matured as a host and makes it ALL about the contestants. Steven Tyler is ethereal and eccentric and edgy in the most TV friendly way! I remember running into him while shooting CA at the Trump hotel and he just IS a rock star and such a bright light! He and my man had a funny male exchange at my expense and…. I enjoyed it. LOL!
J LO… She is SO warm but you TRUST HER because you know that under all that warmth is a fierce biz woman who has worked her way to where she is and works to stay there. But, when she calls the young ones “baby” in her awesome voice, what could come out put on instead comes out like a mama bear protecting her cubs. And, she owns who she is as a performer by making us forget that she is not known as a diva singer but as an entertainer but, in owning who she is it suddenly gives her every right to intelligently comment as she does. This is the best thing that has happened in her current career and for the show!
Randy is SO awesome! I have met him over the years and he has BEEN in the studio and onstage with THE BEST and he knows what it takes. He was not the lead singer but the bass player or producer so he has had the bird’s eye view of every great artist. I mean Journey? Come ON!!!!! And, he is a down home Louisiana guy and he can deliver the same bad news Simon would if he were still on the show but in a kinder, yet no less candid way.
Bringing Jimmy Iovine into the fold also was genius. Many don’t know but Jimmy produced my version of “Sleigh Ride” for the Very Special Christmas album. He was hyper, bouncing all over the studio, I was just off a plane, and he somehow got me to deliver a vocal that to this day I hear and always say “That sounds like ME”! THAT is what a producer and A&R person should know how to do. To take what is unique about an artist and capture it. He is the most legit and passionate and intuitive man in this industry today. His excitement in seeing these kids deliver after he guides them is palpable. He is not one of those “Oooooh, I can make money here…” guys. He has enough! He has an undying passion for developing talent and it is clear to everyone watching and to the contestants! I love that they brought him on board!
Now to the contestants!
Josh. WOW. When he did the Josh Groban song last week I ran from the kitchen because I heard a tone. A tone that is memorable. If you were driving fast past a farmhouse and someone had a radio on the porch and the radio was playing Josh…you would know the tone. To me THAT is part of what makes a timeless artist. Whether it is Luther, Michael, Whitney, Britney, Cher, or Beyonce’….think about each one of them and I guarantee that tone rings in your head. It can be imitated but not duplicated. I love the calm Josh has after he lets it RIP! It is as if he had a healing! Like his body was possessed for that 3 1/2 minutes and the sound tore through him and then dropped him down. He always knows what he delivers. And he should. How could he not? Then take “It’s a Man’s World”….. WHAT?!? Again – how many lives has this boy lived? Words cannot describe the intricate musicianship mixed with pure “get out of the way and let the song sing you”ness that he embodies. It is a master class for every singer.
Jessica. OK. I was 16 and recording. I sounded like I was on helium. When I get bodywork treatments like athletes do to stay open and be a clear channel they all reference the pelvic floor. As a young girl I sang from my tummy maybe, and on up. Jessica sings from wayyyyyy down there. How can such a young girl access that?!? Astounding. And in her quieter moments, the tone floats effortlessly. Stress can make sounds get trapped and stuck. You can hear the throat in the tones. Not when SHE sings! It flows and is effortless. Mariah has it. Jessica has it! With age she will come into her own more in the sense that right now I can see a veneer. Having worked with kids, they imitate facial expressions and hand gestures they have seen as they have not yet discovered their own organically. That comes with life experience. If THIS is who Jessica is without the life experience?!? She will be UNSTOPPABLE in time! And…she is a rock star. She can rock the leather and all the things that we love in our video artists. Why not have that AND the vocal chops? She has it ALL!
Phillip for me was quietly in the background this season. I have watched on and off but always have a picture of him kind of as a thread that runs through the whole process from auditions up until now. There is a current thing about his voice that has a bit of John Mayer, Rob Thomas, Jason Mraz…. and every now and again everyone from Michael McDonald to Louis Armstrong to Bono in the hollower more emotional moments. Tonight with the Bob Seger song he showed that he can be as relevant as anyone and yet sit in Vegas if he so desired. He expanded his audience into the classic Manilow fan territory which can only help, not hurt because nothing will take away any of his everyman young heartthrob real deal musician status.
NO idea who will “win” but these 3 will be recording in no time. Jennifer Hudson was 7th don’t forget!
I just was so passionate about tonight and had the time to really express what I was feeling about these amazing young performers. It is THRILLING to watch! Isn’t it?
Your Unofficial American Idol Commentator….. Debbie G !