- American Idol
- Amazing Race
- America’s Got Talent
- Celebrity Apprentice
- Dancing with the Stars
- Glee Spoilers
- The Glee Project
- Ru Paul’s Drag Race
- So You Think You Can Dance
- The Voice
- X Factor
- X Factor UK
- Adam Lambert
- Blake Lewis
- Bo Bice
- Brooke White
- Carrie Underwood
- Casey James
- Chris Daughtry
- Clay Aiken
- Crystal Bowersox
- Danny Gokey
- David Archuleta
- David Cook
- Elliott Yamin
- Haley Reinhart
- James Durbin
- Jennifer Hudson
- Jessica Sanchez
- Jordin Sparks
- Justin Guarini
- Katharine McPhee
- Kellie Pickler
- Kelly Clarkson
- Kris Allen
- Lauren Alaina
- Lee Dewyze
- Pia Toscano
- Phillip Phillips
- Scotty McCreery
- Taylor Hicks
- American Idol 12 Recaps
Sparkles the Clown attended the Chicago American Idols Live concert and she’s baaack to delight us with one of her world famous recraps! (Not a typo). ENJOY.
Chips Ahoy! & Ritz presents Sparkles’ Chicago Recap
This is it. Thee Chips Ahoy (don’t forget the exclamation point!) & Ritz concert experience. It’s the Season 11 tour and time to drop my 12th recrap. And my pants. And recrap is no typo. It stands for crappy recap. And crappy it shall be. If this is your first Sparkles recrap be warned: they’re long, they’re extremely detailed and they meander all over the damn place. So make yourself comfortable and pour yourself a cool, tall beverage of choice for you, my friends, are about to experience Fifty Shades of Sparkles.
Tonight I would be going into this little adventure the way I always do: with an open mind, an open heart and open legs. Because I’m a slut. Originally, we were going to go to the Aerosmith concert at Summerfest but I decided to wait to buy tickets on the off chance that the AI tour would be in the area. Well it’s a good thing I waited because now I had a chance to see the 2nd show of the tour (which, in my opinion, is better than the first show because you know the setlist and can adjust your photo taking/video recording accordingly). And then I can also see the final show in Milwaukee in September. They really must have had Sparkles on their mind when they set these dates up.
Like last year, James and I would be driving to Chicago/Rosemont for the big show. James only watched one show this season and after the finale he asked “really? That guy who sang Thriller on guitar won?” Apparently he’s never heard of a WGWG or the curse of Kristy Lee Cook. He did, however, see some of their post show performances. James tends to like what I call the PGPV (Pretty Girl Pretty Voice). Last year his fave was Pia and this year it was Jessica. He was really impressed with her “National Anthem” on Memorial Day. And even though James is not a die hard American Idol viewer, he enjoys the concerts. And this year, for the first time ever and against her better judgement, Sparkles got the VIP tickets with the Meet & Greet.
THE MEET AND GREET: I really have no interest in these things because (A) the tickets are an extra $175 – $200, (2) I’m a bit afraid of the uber fans that would probably be there and (3) why did I just switch from letters to numbers? But when I went to purchase tickets, the only good seats I was able to pull up were with the M&G. So Sparkles snatched up 2 seats front & center and hoped for the best.
We got to the venue early and headed to the Will Call Window as instructed in the e-mail. The ticket guy asked if we had read the e-mail because they wouldn’t be handing out the tickets for another half an hour. After this little lecture James & I headed to the Target store next door to kill some time. It wasn’t quite 30 minutes but we headed back and hoped the ticket guy wouldn’t yell at us again. We got in line behind this woman who was asking the ticket guy if she could exchange her ticket for one closer up because she has vision problems. He offered her a seat in the 7th row but she just kept shaking her head because those weren’t good enough. She started dropping medical terms and said that even he was blurry to her and he was only 2 feet away. After some more medical jargon the ticket guy finally said what I was thinking: “what do you want, a seat on the stage?” But she kept blabbing away and even started to say she also had hearing trouble when the ticket guy saw us in line behind her. Boy, this dude was never so happy to see James & I and he told her to beat it because there was a line behind her. The woman finally left but I kept my eye out for her because there was definitely something off and she was just the kind of person I was afraid we’d meet here. From then on we referred to her as Anna Nicole and kept our distance.
Sparkles doesn’t do the Tweeter but I followed those updates on MJs from the first concert in Detroit. One of the tweeters said they’d also be at this show and sure enough I spotted her while waiting for the Meet & Greet to begin. I had no idea how these things work so I told her I saw online that she was at the M&G in Detroit and what’s the dealio. She gave me a look like “who are you and why are you talking to me?” So I gave her a look back that said “you shouldn’t use a photo of yourself posing with the Idols as your Twitter pic if you don’t want to be recognized and asked questions from a crazed clown like me.” Looks like we just done had an entire conversation without saying a single word. When I probed for details she started lecturing Sparkles that “people need to quickly move through the line and not be lollygagging when they’re taking the group photos so we have more time to get autographs and talk to them.” She’s lecturing the wrong clown because Sparkles didn’t even want to be here in the first place. So I guess James & I would have to figure it all out on our own.
Finally we were told to form a line outside and then were brought inside to a room just next to the Will Call Window (across from the venue’s North side entrance for those who want to know these things). Some security dude told us that Phillip was still recovering so we shouldn’t run up to hug, squeeze, grab, push or touch him. I almost blurted out “so dry humping is out of the question?” but I stopped myself because we had come this far and I didn’t want to get kicked out at this point. Then he announced Jessica and Deandre would be absent and the BluJays went nuts. My bff is Filipino and I had planned on getting a photo signed for her so I was a little disappointed. I was kind of expecting that Phillip might not be there with his recovery so this was a bit of a surprise.
Next we were lead in a room where the 8 Idols were sitting in 2 rows and each couple or family would walk up and pose for a photo with them. Most people walked to the back near Colton & Phillip or on the end by Elise. The photographer was saying things like “smile” or “say cheese” so just before our photo I said in a fake cheerful voice “everyone say Chips Ahoy!” Everyone laughed including the photographer who said he’d have to take another photo because the Idols moved too much. Oops, looks like that Twitter broad was right to lecture Sparkles because I just wasted at least 20 seconds of the Meet & Greet with that wisecrack.
Here’s the lowdown on each Idol according to Sparkles…Colton was very aware of everyone coming to pose and always had a ready smile. He has an intense niceness about him, an eagerness to make everyone feel special. He would pose with people when they wanted to take a photo with their own camera even though the security guy yelled at them to move along. Phillip was also very nice and made eye contact with everyone as they walked up. He has a low key friendliness about him. And if you really scrutinized him, you could see that he appeared a little thin and slightly frail from his recent surgery. But he seems to hide any physical problems he may have very well. Erika was very happy to be there. She has a great big smile and a really sunny disposition. She’s a real pro. Heejun was the opposite and looked bored out of his mind. Joshua, Hollie, Skylar and Elise smiled and posed well.
When the photos were done the Idols were all seated at a long table where they would sign autographs. As soon as the security guy said to form a single line, a mad dash for the Idols began. Somehow this crazed mob pushed me along and I ended up being way ahead of James in the line. Colton was first and as I handed him a photo to be signed I said something like “I know it’s only one signature per person but we got separated…” and before I could finish he smiled and said he’d sign them both. He also posed so I could take a pic. Like I said, that dude is super nice and eager to please. Next was Erika who still looked like she was having the time of her life. She was smiling and laughing and just really enjoying the whole experience. Next was Phillip and he was very cool and talkative. I thought about saying something romantic like “I’ll show you my scar if you show me yours” or maybe something more inquiring like “when you sang Dave Matthews’ “The Stone” did you dedicate it to your kidney?” but Sparkles thought she better play it cool. We talked for a bit but to tell you the truth I don’t really know about what. I just don’t really remember. As I moved on I almost forgot to take a pic and as I prepared to take a profile shot of him he turned and posed for me. After meeting Phillip and watching him interacting with the fans the phrase “his parents raised him right” came to mind. He’s the real deal. Next was Heejun who was aloof and very quiet. I asked him something about the tour and he just smiled and didn’t answer. He really just looked like he wanted to take a nap. He did pose for my picture though. Next was Joshua and he posed and when I said the photo I took was blurry he offered to take another one. He then held up the signed photo for my “proof it’s a legit signed pic.” I had a little time before Hollie so I just sort of said “hey, I really love your version of “Runaway Baby.” I hadn’t heard that song before so I checked out the original and I liked yours better so I downloaded it.” He looked up and said “thank you, that’s so nice” and I could tell he was genuinely touched. I’m glad I told him because it was the truth and sometimes it’s hard to remember how great a true compliment can make someone feel. Hollie was next and she smiled & held up her photo just like Joshua did. She’s definitely the Robin to Joshua’s Batman. Next was Sklyar who didn’t talk, look up once or smile. What’s up with all the clown hate, country diva? Dang, if you’re crabby on day 2 of the tour it’s going to be a very long summer. Last was Elise who commented on the photo and then really concentrated on her signature and the little music notes she draws next to it. I almost said that I hope she doesn’t get carpal tunnel from signing autographs because then she wouldn’t be able to do those funky hand gestures when she sings but Sparkles didn’t want to push her luck with the wise cracks.
After getting through the entire line I finally see James so I back up to give him his photos to be signed. Phillip really talked to James for awhile and James said it was kind of hard to get away. I asked James what they were talking about and he said he didn’t really know and, like me, he couldn’t really remember. Who knew that under Phillip’s yummy exterior there lurks a stealth mind scrubber. Joshua saw that I was with James so he nudged Hollie and said that I was the one who liked his song so he’ll write a nice comment on our pic. Hollie nodded and followed his lead and put some extra XOXO’s on her pic. Jollie a/k/a the Dynamic Duo, is just about the cutest & sweetest Idol couple (who aren’t really a couple) ever. Just really nice and sweet and they are lucky to have each other as best friends through this whole crazy experience. Next was Skylar who still didn’t look up or smile. And finally was Elise who talked about the photo again and concentrated on those little music notes. Before we left we saw Anna Nicole walking around with a security guy behind her. He told her that if she didn’t leave now then she and the person she came with would be escorted out. Her response was “I don’t know how you’re gonna do that because I’m by myself.” I didn’t see it when she posed with the Idols for her photo but I found it online and you can check it out in my photo link below. It’s exactly how I imagined it would be.
Overall, not a bad experience and it wasn’t quite the soul crushing affair I had imagined. I have to admit that not even an hour later we had sold the programs and a lot of the signed photos to other fans, who were very happy to get a signed pic of their fave at Sparkles’ bargain prices. We sold the rest after the show so that our tickets ended up being about the same price as the ones without the M&G. And that’s really all Sparkles wanted in the first place, great seats at the regular price. Who knows though, maybe we’ll be back next year to do it all again because James was already eyeing up the Days Inn right next to the venue. And now it’s time for Sparkles’ M&G tip: bring along a bag that has a handle for your program and signed items because they make you go into the venue right away after the M&G.
THE VENUE: Like last year the concert was at the Allstate Arena. It’s easy to get to as it’s right off the freeway and really close to the airport. We’ve enjoyed all the concerts we’ve seen here and will probably be back next year. If it only weren’t for those damn tolls ($4.70 each way).
THE STAGE: The stage was the same set up as last year. The first row in front of the catwalk (the part of the stage that juts out) is Row 7 (or G if letters are used). I would say it’s about 12 – 14 seats wide, depending on if there’s an aisle in the middle or not. In Sparkles’ opinion, row 9 (actually 3rd row) in the center is better than row 1 on the side of the stage. I posted a photo of the interactive map for the Milwaukee show to give you an idea so check it out at the link below if you want.
THE CROWD: The usual mix of couples of all ages, girlfriends and families with young kids. And at least one deranged clown. The floor and lower level looked sold out. The upper level was empty in the back areas. I took a photo just before the show so check it out at the link at the bottom of this recrap if you want to see it.
THE CONCESSIONS: I order what I always do: a large cheesy, greasy, deep fried concoction with extra MSG, a dash of yellow dye #5, a double dose of lactose and a glistening glob of gluten on the side. But please hold the salt as I’m trying to watch my sodium intake. Oh, and a Diet Coke. Did I just pay $5.50 for a bottle of soda? And then put the change in the tip jar to make it an even $6? Looks like Sparkles is giddy with excitement and in a good mood indeed.
THE PRE SHOW VIDEOS: Lots of Idol related videos were shown before the show. The ones by Lee Dewyze and Casey Abrams were a bit quiet to really hear and understand. James Durbin’s video got the crowd cheering and singing along (the lyrics were on the screen). But my fave was a commercial for something or other that had clips of Elvis from his Vegas days. Every time it came on I said to James “hell yeah, I’d pay to see a hologram of that.”
THE CONCERT: To make it easier, I’ll go through each Idol in order of their elimination, not their performance order as that be a jumbled mess.
ERIKA VAN PELT: Before the whole scandal thing, I was sort of rooting for Jermaine Jones to make the tour. I just thought it would be hilarious for super tall Jermaine to do a group number standing next to itty bitty Hollie or Jessica. Or for his low voice to sing along with Deandre’s falsetto. But I must now ask for Erika’s forgiveness for wanting a lame sight gag instead of listening to true talent. Erika sounded great and was a great performer. She always seemed like a true professional and was enjoying every minute of the experience from the meet and greet to her solo song to the group numbers. And that’s Sparkles’ kind of peep. Kudos to you Erika for you get the Sparkles glittery MVP trophy of the night.
HEEJUN HAN: I’ll admit that I was never a big Heejun fan. Although he was sometimes amusing during the auditions and Hollywood Week, I was afraid he was going to Sanjaya his way to the middle of the pack. So I was relieved that he was voted off in 9th. I did suspect, however, that he might be fun on the tour. His solo number was not great. At the end of the song he sings a few lines acapella and it did not sound good. He didn’t always look comfortable onstage and most certainly, looked awkward and bored at the meet and greet. However, he redeemed himself with the LMFAO song although that was mainly because he was sharing the stage with Jessica and Deandre who are much better singers and dancers. Heejun should thank his lucky stars that he made the tour.
DEANDRE BRACKENSICK: Deandre was like that great utility player in baseball who can play nearly any position. His solo song was good but he really shined in the group songs and when he sang back up. He had some great moves on “Proud Mary” and “Party Rock Anthem” and always performed with great enthusiasm. His style of singing isn’t really my thing but he’s a great looking guy and he’s got great onstage charisma to spare.
COLTON DIXON: In the beginning, Colton seemed to be a lot of people’s fave and there was a lot of chatter about him during the auditions. But there was just no way that I was going to vote for someone who has stupider hair than I do. And I’m wearing a rainbow colored clown wig. But just when Colton was starting to grow on me a bit he got voted out. I knew he would be the so called rocker of the group and would get the cool lights on the tour and Sparkles loves her some cool lights. I’ve never heard that Switchfoot song before and it wasn’t very catchy. His original song was very similar sounding to me but I actually liked it more. “Piano Man” was kind of a no brainer and was the only song choice that made sense to me. I’ve got no problem with him performing an original song, but then his first song should have been something that sounded more different to set it apart. I personally thought he had the worst song choices of the night. But he was a crowd fave and he was very attentive to his fans onstage and off.
ELISE TESTONE: I had two favorites during the auditions. One was a guy whose first name was the same as his last and the other was a woman whose first name I couldn’t remember. All I could remember was Testone. It seemed early on that many of the other singers were discussed on this blog and I kept wondering why no one was mentioning Elise very much. Luckily she seemed to pick up fans as the show went on and I was very happy when she made the tour. I’ve never been a fan of the rocker chicks on AI but Elise was different. She has a more interesting voice and a wider range. She sounds great live and was a good performer.
INTERMISSION: Not only do I have an overactive bladder but it has ADHD as well. This basically means that my bladder not only has a sudden urge to urinate, it’s inattentive and easily distracted as well. Yes, Sparkles’ bladder is a fickle beast. Hence the need for adult diapers. But that means no waiting in long lines to use the bathroom during intermission. Instead I’ll be flinging this foul smelling and drenched nappie in the parking lot after the show. Or better yet, at one of those damn toll booths Illinois seems so fond of. And now it’s time for Sparkles’ intermission tip: you have about 25 minutes to use the restrooms at intermission. The lines are very long and you’ll likely miss Jessica’s first number if you wait in line with the rest of the sheep. I would suggest going up to the 2nd level and to the back of the venue farthest away from the stage. The seats back there aren’t sold and there are never any lines for the restrooms. As long as you can walk there in 10 minutes or less each way you’ll be able to make it. If you get to the venue early enough you may even want to go up there and plan the best route to and from your seats.
SKYLAR LAINE: I’m not a big fan of country music but I found Skylar very likeable on the show. She’s a good performer and has a lot of energy on stage which Sparkles always appreciates. Her song choices were good and showed her singing off well. She was very physical onstage, dancing and moving about. Really the opposite of how she was at the M&G. She didn’t stand out much in the group numbers, in fact I don’t really remember her in them at all. Country music fans are pretty kind to former Idols so maybe she’ll do well. She better get used to those Meet & Greets though and practice looking up and smiling.
HOLLIE CAVANAGH: Although at first Hiollie seemed to get a lot of criticism on this blog, I thought she would go to at least top 5 because she’s cute, she’s blond and she can sing. As the show went along, she gained fans and some even thought she had a chance at winning. It’s possible she would have had a better chance had she waited a few years, but who knows. At the Meet & Greet she looked like she was 16 but onstage she seems so much more mature. She sounded great and looked really natural onstage.
JOSHUA LEDET: On the show, I was a fan of Joshua whenever he did the throwback rock and roll Little Richard thing. Sometimes it seemed the judges went a little overboard on the standing ovations but once you see him live you will totally understand. I’ve seen the tour since Season 5 and I would say that Joshua’s performance of “Man’s World” was the one that stands out as truly special. It’s hard to explain but it was totally out of this world and he deserved the long standing o after the song. I’m really glad he stood there for awhile and took in the applause because it was well deserved. He had the perfect song choices, the perfect outfit, the perfect performance. And he was great in all of the group songs or when he sang back up. His voice is truly outstanding live and he’s a great performer as well. Hopefully he can make a career in music because he really is something special and unlike anything AI has ever produced.
JESSICA SANCHEZ: Everyone’s got their alter ego. Jessica has BeBe Chez and Sparkles the Clown has Slutty the Clown. Or is Sparkles my alter ego and I’m actually Slutty the Clown? Not that it really matters as both clowns are equally promiscuous. Jessica’s song choices were a bit unexpected. To be honest, when I saw “Proud Mary” I was wondering what she was going to do with it. I’ve seen Tina Turner perform it live and, in my opinion, no one can top her. But Jessica’s version was a whole lot of fun. Yes, they were basically doing Tina’s dance moves, although it wasn’t as crazy/sexy/cool (which is totally appropriate as she is only 16). I never talk during concerts because I’m usually recording video, but when the song ended I turned to James and said “wow.” And that was the only word I said the entire concert. I really wish she had been like this on the show and not try to be just the PGPV (pretty girl pretty voice). Her voice sounded great live and she is very comfortable onstage. Not to mention that she’s very beautiful. My Jessica videos on YouTube are getting the most views/comments which doesn’t mean that she will have the best sales because YouTube, after all, is free, CDs/MP3s are not. But there is a lot of interest in her and she seems destined to have a career in music and probably acting as well.
PHILLIP PHILLIPS: I noticed Phillip right away during the auditions. Most of the music I listen to is from WGWG’s or bands with WGWG’s. I love Bob Dylan who is the ultimate WGWG and I could listen to all of his CDs back to back before getting through one Whitney Houston CD. I would just rather listen to a voice with character, nuance and unexpected twists and turns than a belter hitting all the so called “right” notes. I honestly don’t care who wins the show and I don’t believe in wasting energy worrying if a guy or girl should win. I just want my faves to make it as far as possible so I can see them perform more songs in the concert. My favorite song he performed live was “Volcano.” My least favorite was the duet with Elise which had a few bum notes and he didn’t seem comfortable without his guitar. Considering his health problems it really is a miracle that he’s able to keep up with the grueling schedule of performing, recording, meeting fans etc. I will check out his CD when it’s released but I will only buy it if it isn’t one of those crappy debut CDs American Idol seems to churn out. He does, however, seem to know who he is and seems determined to stay true to himself so I have high hopes that he can make a good CD.
JAMES’ TAKE: James was most impressed with Joshua, Jessica & Phillip. He really agreed with America that those were the best top 3. James will clap but he usually saves all of his cheering for something important like a Packer game but on my video I can hear him cheering and yelling after Joshua’s “Man’s World.” He didn’t know anything about the standing ovations from the show and here he was doing just that without any prodding. He also thought Jessica sounded great and he enjoyed Phillip’s set. He really enjoyed the entire concert though and we had a great time.
Artist whose songs were covered by 2 or Idols: Stevie Wonder, Pink, Billy Joel and, no surprise, Adele
Artist who was thankfully only covered once: Maroon 5
Only song from the original artist that Sparkles has on her iPod: “Stay With Me” The Faces
Coolest lights: Elise’s during “Whole Lotta Love”
Prettiest background graphics: Deandre’s colorful, swirly, dizzy acid trippy flowers
Most fun song: Jessica/Heejun/Deandre”Party Rock Anthem”
Best dancer: Sparkles. Oh, you want to know which Idol? That would be Deandre.
Idol who looked like they were having the most fun: Erika Van Pelt
Friendliest Idol at the Meet & Greet: Phillip Phillips
Least Friendly Idol at the Meet & Greet: Skylar Laine (why does she hate clowns so much?)
Best time for a bathroom break: Never! Adult diapers for the win!
Biggest disappointments: No Tim Stewart on guitar, no Jessica at the Meet & Greet and no free Ritz crackers.
Three reasons to see the show: Jessica w/Joshua & Deandre “Proud Mary,” Phillip w/Jessica “Volcano” and Joshua’s set.
So that’s pretty much how it all went down. Sparkles thinks that if you have enough interest in the show to read this lame recrap then you should definitely go to the concert. You know you’ll have fun so just do it. But first do a clown a favor and leave a comment. If you’re anything like me, you’re totally obsessed with your comment to “like” ratio on MJs. Right now Sparkles has 7.7 “likes” for every comment, not that I’m keeping track. In Sparkles’ opinion, if you have more comments than “likes” then you are saying way too many unlikable things. But if you leave a comment I promise to “like” it even if I don’t like it, if you know what I mean. I only ask that you write Sparkles somewhere in your comment because I love seeing my name in print. And no fan war crap because that’s just boring, not to mention that you should be commenting on this recrap and not on how your fave Idol is the best ever. And although it’s a newbie tradition, never, ever, under any circumstances correct my Spanish. Lastly, as always, Sparkles will be absolutely ecstatic if a lurker registers to post their very first comment. That would be so cool. So until the final show in Milwaukee, Auf Wiedersehen! (that’s goodbye for those of you who don’t know Spanish…and yes I know that’s really French).
MY PHOTOS: (with lame descriptions)
MY VIDEOS: (good video, flawed audio)
- Powered by Disqus
- DWTS Stars Perform on Live with Kelly and Michael (VIDEO)
- Lauren Alaina Performs at Sea World Orlando (VIDEO)
- Reality Chief, Mike Darnell Leaving FOX in June
- Blake Shelton Oklahoma Relief Benefit Concert to Air Live on NBC May 29
- 2012 Season Ratings: The Voice Beats American Idol in the Demo
- Mariah Carey GMA Wardrobe Malfunction (VIDEO)
- Jennifer Hudson Negotiating to Judge American Idol (UPDATED)
- Idol Headlines for 5/25/13
- Billboard – Chart Date 06/01/13
- Carrie Underwood Donates $1 Million In Tour Proceeds To Red Cross Disaster Relief Efforts
- Simon Cowell: “I’m Bored By Millionaires Bickering Amongst Themselves”
- American Idol 11 Alums, Elise Testone and Deandre Brackensick Get Ready to Release New Music
- Kelly Clarkson Won’t Be Judging American Idol 13
- Ratings: 2012 Season Saw Major Year to Year Declines
- Idol Headlines for 5/23/13
- Glee Star Lea Michele Signs a Book Deal
- DWTS Zendaya and Val Perform “Hip Hop Malfunction” on Live with Kelly and Michael (VIDEO)
- York Couple Arrested After Stabbing Incident Over American Idol Finale
- X Factor UK: Lucy Spraggan Debuts “Lighthouse”
- Idols In Concert – Stats – 05/23/13
- ‘Nashville’ Episode 21 – Season Finale – Recap & Discussion Post (VIDEO)
- Idol Headlines for 5/22/13 – The Evening Edition
- Maroon 5 “Love Somebody” Music Video Debut
- Dancing With The Stars To Undergo Shakeup, Including New Judges (Report)
- Critics’ Choice Television Awards Nominations Announced