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Those of you who have been following me for awhile know how much I love the big cheesy American Idol Live tour! I’ve gone every season–multiple shows–since Season 3. Eery time that American Idol theme starts up I GET GOOSIES! Ha ha.
I got my tickets Friday from Ticketmaster, and when I picked row KK, floor 2, I figured several of the front rows would be taken out to accommodate the catwalk. I was right! What would have been the 11th row wound up being the 4th row instead. YAY. I was on the aisle, which was a good thing. Otherwise, I would have been even more claustrophobic than I already was. The front was CRAMMED with people.
The really weird thing is that in the past, the Verizon Center security has always been REALLY tight. But not tonight. Not only did they not care if I videoed (I’ve been harassed TWICE in that venue. Once, during the Season 6 tour, they took me outside and made me erase my card in their presence!) but they barely kept the aisle clear. And there was an annoying 7 ft guy in the row in front of me that allowed his kid to stand on her chair the entire concert. It was really a crazy scene up front. It was kind of terrible for me, but fantastic for the Idols, who definitely noticed the love they were getting from the crowd.
For whatever reason, Manchester NH has always been Idol crazy! Season 9 is the only year I remember the vibe being somewhat subdued. Having said THAT—the arena was not full. There were empty seats in the top shell—areas that would have been filled up during the Idol heyday seasons 5-8.
There wasn’t a dull moment in the show. Really, I have no criticisms of anybody. Each of the Top 10 brought their own special something to the proceedings. And as is usually the case—free from judges and constraints, they give much looser, confident performances.
After the entire group, minus Phil, opens the show with “Sing,” and Colton and Skyler greet the crowd with an introduction, Deandre Brackensick gets the crowd on their feet with “Master Blaster.” That boy can whip some hair. FIERCE. He brings great energy to the show before Skylar and Hollie sing “Undo It”. I have to say, Skylar steals the show a little here, but Hollie gets her moment later.
Next, Erika Van Pelt performs a GORGEOUS rendition of “Glitter in the Air,” reminding me why I loved her on the show. I wish she had gotten another solo, to be honest. “Glitter” was one of the memorable moments of the concert. I made sure to video that performance, because hardly anybody does.
Colton, Erika Josh and Hollie were definitely taught some moves for their group song “Moves Like Jagger.” It was just a warm up for Heejun Han who took the stage next with “Green Light”. Yes he raps. With confidence. He’s not a great singer, but he’s hella entertaining. Next, Jessica Sanchez and Deandre Brackensick join him on stage for the TOTALLY HILARIOUS and WACK “Party Rock Anthem.”
Ugh. I tried to video both numbers, but I had a ton of interference–from people who arrived to the show REALLY REALLY LATE and had to move into my row, to the security guard giving ME a hard time for….standing right next to my seat. You’ll see when I post them. I tried.
All I can say is Heejun is FULL OF WIN. And a hard act to follow, as the boys (minus Phillip) took the stage for “Everybody Talks.” I took a twitter break during that number.
Next was….QUEEN ELISE! She was my favorite on the show and she did not disappoint me. “Whole Lotta Love” was sultry and her intricate vocals were mesmerizing. When she digs into that mid-eastern scat in the middle of the song, the crowd flips out. That girl not only has a great voice, but she’s incredibly musical. “Rumor Has It” with Erika and Deandre followed. Elise brings her own flavor to a song that is, at this point, overdone.
Colton’s 3 song mini concert was next. He’s a real crowd pleaser. He got the crowd on their feet with “Meant To Live”, which I call the 90’s portion of the show. Heh. His original song, “Never Gone” starts off at the piano, before Colton gets up and takes the stage. And at this point, it’s still pretty much the 90s. But I will say, he holds the crowd—one that’s expecting familiar covers—pretty well. He ends with what is my favorite song of the set–“Piano Man.” The crowd waves in unison along with the well-loved Billy Joel tune.
The entire group, minus Philip, close the first half with a mash up of Just the Way You Are/You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful. The kids wore beach clothes, and a bright beach ball throbbed on the back screen which I found scarily mesmerizing. The harmonies here were very nice.
Intermission time. It’s a perfect time to mention the total pimping of the Idols that goes on throughout the show. I saw videos from Haley, Lee, James and Casey Abrams. I might be leaving somebody out. Good job 19.
What’s the thinking behind moving the runner-up to the beginning of the second half? When people are still making their way to their seats? The rest of the show proceeds in the order that the finalists were eliminated. Jessica should have had her place before Phillip’s set. But still, girl can wail. Too bad for those folks who took an extra long pee break and missed part of her set.
Jessica started off with the exquisite “Best Thing I Never Had” before bringing Deandre and Joshua out to perform a soulful “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore,” which was my favorite. Sweet and sassy here—Jessica employed just enough of her trademark growl to give the song some grit. Josh and Deandre stuck around for an energetic performance of “Proud Mary.” Can I say that Josh and Dre make awesome backup singers—bringing personality to the performances without pulling focus.
Skylar took the stage dressed in black and gray with a pair of tan cowboy boots. Both of her numbers “Gunpowder and Lead” and “Stay With Me” are uptempo and like she illustrated on the show, she knows how to entertain an audience. “Stay With Me,” in particular, featured a killer high note that I did not see coming.
And even deer-in-the-headlights Hollie did a great job holding the crowd’s interest. Unlike most seasons, there isn’t a dud in this bunch. Elise and Erika join her for “Rolling in The Deep” easily her best performance on Idol. She brings the same level of passion on stage as well. Hollie’s second number “Give Your Heart Away” is the type of uptempo pop I can imagine her recording.
Next, Joshua Ledet proceeded to blow the minds of every person in the Verizon Center Arena. He brought a soulful, playful vibe to “Runaway Baby” with a little help from Elise, Dre and Erika. But it’s when he took the stage alone, under a spotlight to sing “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” that he totally had the crowd in the palm of his hand. It was a masterful vocal performance, concluding with Joshua, his hands outstretched, soaking in the applause. Go DIVO! Jessica joined him for “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me.” Two powerhouse vocalists joining forces—it was pretty awesome stuff.
At one point during the show, a woman in front of me turned to ask “Is Phillip even HERE tonight?” I laughed and assured her Phillip would perform. And finally, Phillip made his grand entrance after Joshua and Jessica wrap up to lots of applause.
Phillip’s first number, “Superstition” was the most energetic of his set, and the only tune that had the crowd standing. Nevertheless, Phillip kept the audience rapt throughout his 5 song set. You could feel the ladies swooning through “Nice and Slow”, “Somebody That I Used to Know,” a haunting duet with Elise, had a few people on their feet.–acknowledging the often-covered song. Jessica Sanchez was a lovely counterpoint for Phillip on “Volcano.” “Home”, which wrapped up the set, had the crowd singing along on the “ooohs”. Deandre and Colton’s backgrounds were gorgeous—particularly the last few “oohhs”.
The ladies were back on stage with “Raise Your Glass.” The guys joined them singing “Glad You Came.” Eventually the girls joined in. The best part of the last number is watching the kids interact. Joshua was limping—later he tweeted that he fell back stage. But he and Hollie were cracking up over it. So cute!
So that was it! Another year, another Idol Live concert. I did my best with the videos. I got most of Phillip’s set because he stood still, and the crowd was mostly seated. I didn’t get any of Colton because he favored the left side of the stage and there were too many people in the way. I promise I’ll try to get him tonight or next week! Ditto for Deandre and Skylar.
If you have any questions, let me know in comments.
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