American Idols Live 2010 – Carolyn’s Denver Recap

Carolyn brought a friend to the Idols Live Denver concert who had never watched an episode of AI.  Read what she, and Carolyn thought of the show, below.

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Watch Cooper, Osnes & Munoz Sin...
Watch Cooper, Osnes & Munoz Sing Irving Berlin!

A bit about myself first, so you know where I’m coming from.  Was a singer in a band in high school/college so my affinity and love for music has been long-standing (I won’t mention how many exact years).  Love everything from Amos Lee to Usher to Keith Urban to Pink.  I’ve watched AI from the very first year…ah.. ’cause I like music.  But it was always pure entertainment for me.  Never voted for anyone.  Never attended a concert.  Never followed anyone’s career.  Bought one CD in  the entire nine years – Daughtry’s first because I liked the song “I’m Coming Home” that was played on AI.

Over the years, my mom, sis and I fell into a pattern of each picking one of the top 24 and then comparing notes, giving each other flak for our pick’s dismal performance, etc.  All good fun, all light and easy, just a way to stay in touch each week.  This year, mom picked Lacey Brown, sis picked Lee.  My pick was Casey James – didn’t much like his audition, but liked his Hollywood week.  I have to admit though, watching him on the show… I just always thought he looked a bit off, a bit awkward.  It seemed like he’d start to hit his stride with a song, and then.. boom.  It was over.  So, I cheered him on, but when he got voted off, I shrugged my shoulders and said – well, good luck to him.  And moved on.  Like every other year.

And then a friend sent me a vid of him performing at his homecoming at Keys Lounge.  Ha? I said.  Who’s this guy?  Well, THAT guy changed everything.  “Nuff said.

So, for the first time ever, I’m attending an AI concert.  I took along a good friend, we’ll call her Shawty.  The reason I picked her (other than she’s a lot of fun and loves all kinds of music) is that she’s NEVER watched AI,  knows absolutely nothing about anyone on the tour and no, I haven’t discussed anything with her either.  Why bring up a show/singer when she knows nothing about it?  So anyway,  told her I had great seats in the fourth row side (got them for a good price).  She was totally excited and game to give me honest opinions, since I told her I was planning on writing this review.

We get to Fiddler’s Green (I refuse to call it Comfort Dental Amphitheatre – feels like I’m going to the dentist) about a half hour before the show starts.  Open air facility – cloudy with a few rain drops falling every once in awhile, but we’re a sturdy lot and it doesn’t seem to faze anyone.  As we snack on nachos, the crowd slowly filters in.  Mix of everything – grandmas in wheelchairs to little kids with Aaron signs.  Good mix of female/male – which kind of surprised me.  I’d say a bit lacking in the twenty-something demographic.  Lots and lots of Ford commercials… ho hum.  And then bang, the show started, right on time.  I’d say the theater was maybe a third full.

Didi Benami came out from center stage.  Dressed in jeans, sparkly silver off-shoulder shirt and awesome boots.  Both Shawty and I agreed we wanted those boots.  Didi looked comfortable, low-key and easy-going singing “Lay it on Me.”  I felt a bit bad for her because during her entire set, the crowd was still coming in, people were talking, laughing, finding their seats, etc.  In other words, not paying her much attention at all.  She had a couple of fans at the front taking pictures, and she smiled and waved.  She clearly wasn’t flustered – I have a feeling this might be par for the course for her.  Next, she put on her guitar and sang “Terrified.”  Much better song for her than the first.  More people paying attention… but still.  I just don’t think the opportunity door is going to open up for Didi using her singing.  Her voice is soft and rather wobbly – not much to really catch any producer’s attention.  But she’s so beautiful and clearly has a lovely personality – I’m thinking sitcom or broadcasting.  I wish her luck in the jungles of Hollywood.  At the end, Shawty shrugged her shoulders, gave some polite clapping and said… forgettable.  This would become a reoccurring word as the evening progressed.

Next up, Andrew Garcia.  I thought it odd that he ambled on stage,  and took his stand far to the left.  As if he didn’t think he could take center stage?  Okay, my psychology classes are rearing their ugly head.  Anyway…. Andrew starts with his standard, “Straight Up.”  Liked it during Hollywood week, liked it now.  Andrew’s got a jazzy,  reggae, groovy thing going on – in his voice and his guitar playing.  Better live than on TV, but still, I’m thinking… just okay.  I think he’s got solid skills, but no star appeal.  Schlumpy jeans and shirt, big black glasses, rarely smiles.  But my girl has other ideas.  Within minutes, her fingers are snapping and she says “oh, yeah.”  By the time Andrew launches into “Sunday Morning”, Shawty is on her feet, dancing away.  And the crowd is clearly more tuned in then before.  The theater is probably half full now and many are on their feet.  Good job, Andrew.

Katie Stevens strides on the stage next.  She’s changed her costume from the really awful blue thing she wore earlier the tour (ah, yeah, been watching some tour videos).  Now she’s got on a black, silky, slinky,  TIGHT dress.  Still got the thigh high black boots.  Cough.  Shawty says, “how old is this girl?”  “Seventeen.”  “Oh, my.”  Quiet from my friend through the rest of the set.  Katie blasts through “Here We Go Again.”  Band seems to play louder, Katie sings louder.  And louder.  She struts, she vamps.  Granted; beautiful girl, powerful voice.  Katie lectures us on fighting for our dreams.  Um, thanks.  Okay – I’m getting mean.  Sorry.  Second song blasts through the theater, “Fighter.”  Ah, appropriate.  Second song is better, but just as loud.  I’m thinking this isn’t going to work for Katie.  I do remember myself at seventeen and I wanted to wear tight, slinky dresses and thigh-high boots.  My mother said, no.  Horrible mother.  So I think Katie’s living her fantasy and I’m happy for her, but to me, it doesn’t work.  It’s not “her.”  Snort.  As if I really know her.  But still… not buying the act.  At the end, Shawty leans over, says “she’s got a powerful voice, but she’s forgettable.” Ah.

And now we get Tim Urban.  I honestly expected a huge wave of squeals, but the crowd’s reaction was fairly mild.  By now, I’d say the entire crowd had arrived and settled in.  Venue was about three-fourths full.  Tim walked confidently on stage, simple white shirt and jeans and his guitar.  Started right in with “Better Days.”  Good voice, not great.  But solid – unlike the show.  Tim’s great strength is his absolute assurance of who he is.  He’s a natural on stage, just not a natural singer.  I can definitely see this guy making it in a Disney movie, or in a sitcom.  He is completely likable.  Which is not a quality to sneer at when you’re in the entertainment industry.  First song over, Tim ditches his guitar, interacts nicely with audience and launches into “Viva La Vida.”  And behind him the screen fills with… what?  Blobs of white glue?  The clouds proceeding the second coming?  I can’t take my eyes off of it  – which I don’t think was Tim’s plan.  Finally, he strides over to our side of the stage and flashes a truly beautiful smile, which does have the desired effect of drawing my attention back to him.  For the first time in the set, Shawty perks up, “Oh, he’s cute.”  “Definitely, ” I respond.  And then, he’s gone.  Again, the word of the night from my friend.  You know the word.

Suddenly,  we enter another world.  The stage goes black, the music turns Harry Potterish and Siobhan Magnus‘s name flashes onto the screen.  For the first time there is a genuine roar from the audience.  Not a huge one, but clearly there are Magnus fans in the house.  Fantastic graphics – Tim should take some lessons from Ms. Magnus.  And then, the spotlight on the heroine of the hour.  Siobhan has chosen to stand right in the middle of the band, on an elevated ramp, for her first song “Paint It Black.”  She doesn’t strut or walk at all.  She poses through the entire song.  And with a costume like this, why not?  She looks like a pink cup cake.  With a bit of black leather.  And big, clunky boots.  Totally odd.  Absolutely works.  More drama, more poses.  Is she singing?  Who cares?  She’s got all eyes on her.  Her arms pump, once, twice.  Back to posing.  And then, the patented scream.  Shawty says, “My GOD.”  In awe.  Finally, the heroine condescends to move closer to the audience, with her second song, “Spiderwebs.”  Not as good as the first song, I think in a daze.  But again… who cares?  Fantastic glitter all around her eyes.  Pink skirt with billows of frothy cream petticoats underneath bounce with her every move.  I’m sorry.  If I were a guy, I’d be thinking naughty thoughts.  Some of the crowd is on their feet, but I think most are glued to their chair trying to figure out if they’ve descended to hell or made it to heaven.  Siobhan whips into “Stockholm Syndrome.”  Screams for this one from her slaves.  Lead guitarist struts out and plays wicked guitar.  The heroine’s head does more work in this song then her voice.  It all works.  She leaves the audience exhausted.  My girl finally catches her breath.  “My GOD, ” she says again.  “What energy that girl has.”  My take?  Siobhan… go directly to Broadway.  Do not pass GO.  Do not collect $200.  You aren’t going to need it ’cause you’re going to make buckets of money as either a Broadway star, a fashion queen or a stage designer.  I’d be scared to tell you anything differently.

Last for this part of the show, we have Aaron Kelly.  The whole mood of the audience changes in an instant.  From dark goth to cheery country.  Aaron’s got his peeps too – a good, solid cheer erupts when his name flashes.  Confident kid, but lord, he’s tiny.  He does have a great voice.  It’s just a bit disconcerting for it to come out of such a small guy.  His first song,  “Somebody Like You, ” I think was his best.  Dressed in the appropriate country gear of jeans, boots and jean jacket, Aaron walks back and forth throughout his set.  Back and forth.  Back and forth.  I’m thinking it’s a bit mechanical – like someone said “Keep moving.”  I also think he doesn’t yet have the smooth assurance Tim Urban showed.  But yet, he CAN sing.  Second song, “Walking in Memphis.”  And the poor kid has chosen to put videos of Elvis up on the screen behind him.  I’m sorry, Aaron.  But if I have a choice between watching Elvis in his swimming pool or you?  Note to Ms. Magnus.  Teach a class for these boys about graphics.  Before Aaron launches into his last song, “Fast Cars and Freedom, ” Shawty – who’s been completely silent, says she has to go to the bathroom.  Hm.  Her comments when she got back were the predictable.  I think Aaron has to grow into his eyebrows and his voice a bit before making it.

“The Climb.”  I’ll make this quick.  Siobhan looks like she’s singing for her life, Tim is smiling – and really that’s all he needs to do, Aaron sings great, Katie sings loud, Andrew looks like he’d like to be any place else but here, Didi is pretty.  Billowing clouds behind them make me feel like I’m on a very long airplane ride.  Ho hum.

Intermission.  Getting dark now, clouds are moving out, full moon is making this a perfect Colorado evening.  Cool, clear mountain air.  Shawty gets out of her blanket and snuggles in.  We discuss her impressions of the first six.  She liked Andrew and Siobhan best, but would only go see Andrew in concert.  Why not Siobhan?  Shawty shakes her head.  A little bit of her goes a long way, she says.  Me?  I wish all six the best, but wouldn’t go see any of them in concert nor buy their CD.  They remind me very much of all the hundreds of AI contestants that walked right out of my mind after the show ended.

Finally, after innumerable ads, Michael Lynche takes control.  The crowd is loud in their welcome.  Louder than at any time up to this point.  He’s looking pretty fine in his black suit, vest and tie.  “Woman’s Work” is his first song and within seconds, Shawty is in mindless bliss.  She LOVES Big Mike.  I have to admit I didn’t understand his appeal on the show.  He was cheesy.  Great voice, but just too much Velveeta for my taste.  But live, I liked him a lot.  As Shawty (who is a connoisseur of R&B) told me – a little cheese is part of what R&B is about.  And it worked on stage.  Putting on a cool fedora and slinging on a guitar, Mike purred through “Ready for Love”.  Good stuff.  I could definitely see going to his concert with my girl or putting on his CD with a good man by my side and nice glass of wine.  “My Love” surprised me, because I’d read other reviews and expected the whole set to be kind of slow, but Mike bounced around the stage, all high energy, coat off now.  Good interaction with the audience and the band.  I thought the rap and falsetto were a bit off, but my friend lapped it all up.  She’s sure he’s going to follow in the great tradition of Barry White and Luther Vandross.  “He’s going to do just fine, ” she says.

Boom.  Ba Ba Boom.  Boom….. a tall, lanky guy walks right into the spotlight and the audience erupts.  This is why live is always ten times better than watching on video.  I could FEEL the energy explode.  Amazing stuff.  Everyone on their feet.  Lots of screams and yells.  Casey James‘ “I Got Mine” is a song I never heard of before he started the tour.  It takes some guts to start your AI set with a song you never sang on the show and which most people don’t know.  He rocked it.  I’ve seen his guitar work on video – but in person?  Incredible.  His voice is perfect for this kind of music – a bit rough around the edges, whiskey-soaked.  Halfway through the song, I manage to glance away from the blonde and look at my friend.  Her eyes are wide, she’s a little slack-jawed.  “Wow, ” she manages.  My gaze goes back to the star on stage.  Lights are flashing, guitar is blazing, band is INTO IT.  And I definitely had a moment.  Actually, several moments.  After this tour de force, Casey very simply starts “Don’t”.  Now I own this Shania Twain CD.  Play it all the time.  Casey’s version is like a different song.  Completely compelling, completely beautiful.  His voice is pitch on.  At one point, Shawty says “he’s beautiful.”  I look at her and she’s looking at the big video screen.  Interesting.  I look back at the live guy.  Definitely good-looking.  I look at the screen.  There are some people the camera loves.  Every picture, every video makes them look like gods or goddesses.  Mr. James is one of these people.  In person, gorgeous.  On screen, luminous.  If Casey put his guitar down and decided to be an actor, he’d have people lined up to see his movies.  I’m rather glad he’s not planning on doing that.  Next,  Big Mike comes back out for “Have You Ever Loved a Woman”.  “Oh, ” my friend says.  “This is exactly what I wanted – both of them at the same time.”  She loves the whole thing.  So do I.  And finally, darn it, Casey ends with “It’s All Over Now.”  I have this Rolling Stones CD also.  Hard to say it, but I like Casey’s version over the great Stones’.  I didn’t think I’d ever say that about any Stones song.

How could anyone want to come after this?  For a brief moment, I felt bad for Crystal Bowersox, but within moments all that was washed away.  “Hi Denver, ” she said with a smile as she strolled onto center stage, guitar in hand.  Dressed in a low-key way, she looked like something out of the sixties; all in black, feather earrings, big belt, familiar dreadlocks.  Which is what she’s all about, I think.  Her voice soared in “What’s Up.”  Pure, perfect.  The pipes on this girl.  Shawty leans over, “what an amazing voice.”  I agree.  I liked her on the show, but her attitude sometimes bothered me.  Not here.  She’s all sunshine and light.  I mean, the girl has a sunflower pinned to her breast and sunflowers in the screen behind her.  Great banter with the audience, very warm.  I feel like I’m in her bedroom, a good friend listening to a good friend.  But as she works through “Come To My Window” and “Up to the Mountain, ” I don’t know… it starts to sound all kind of the same to me.  Same kind of song,  same pure voice.  Crystal also seemed to have a bit of difficulty with her breathing – she even mentioned it.  By the time she hit “Piece of My Heart”,  my girl excuses herself again to go get something to drink.  Hm.  As we drove home later,  I told Shawty that I thought Crystal was just like Janis Joplin or Melissa Etheridge.  Why not just stick with the standards?  But my girl made a good point.  “Lots of kids don’t remember Etheridge, much less Joplin.  Crystal will be all new to them.”  Not Shawty’s cup of tea,  or mine, but I think Crystal will do well in the niche she’s carved out.

Last, we have the American Idol, Lee Dewyze.  I liked him on the show, though his “aw shucks” routine got a bit old.  The rasp in his voice is good and when he really got into a song – great stuff.  But I can’t say I ever got the mania or why he was voted top dog.  In person, he is really exactly like you saw on TV.  Same crooked grin, same energy, same voice.  “Beautiful Day” is not the way I would have chosen he start his set, however.  U2 are gods to me, as are the Rolling Stones, but unlike Casey, Lee did not make this song his own.  I was relieved when he began “Rocket Man”.  Elton John is not a god to me, and I thought Lee’s version was excellent.  But a problem began to develop… I would say the band got perceptibly louder over the course of the set, which made Lee perceptibly louder.  I’m sorry.  He was shouting in some parts.  My ears started to ring.  That didn’t make me happy.   Shawty looked at me halfway through.  “He won?” she said.  “Yep.”  Lee continued.  If I NEVER hear “Hallelujah” again, it will be too soon.  This is not a comment on Lee’s singing.  It’s a comment on his choosing.  “Treat Her Like a Lady” was solid, and Lee was definitely in his passionate zone with this one and with his last “Use Somebody.”  Throughout Lee’s set, people were on their feet, lots of screams and yells.  But I don’t know, the energy was different… kind of perfunctory.  Oh, well.  I wish Lee the best.

Within seconds – a bit of a jolt – there’s Casey on stage alone playing the first notes of “It’s My Life”.  When Mike strolled on singing the second verse, Shawty yelled.  “They’re back.”  But then everyone else came on and she groaned a bit and fell back in her chair.  Girls on with “My Life Would Suck Without You”.  This is not a group who should do harmony together.  Blech.   The three hour show ends with a whimper rather than a roar.

Shawty and I make our way back to the car.  “What happened?” she said.  “What do you mean?”  She waves her hands in the air.  “Why did Lee win?  He’s not any better…” Pause.  “Casey is better actually.”  I explained about the fact he couldn’t really play his guitar much.  “But his singing is better, ” she protested.  I told her about the eye candy/cougar thing.  “He can’t help it if he’s beautiful, ” she said.  We keep walking, past the souvenir stand where a girl is asking why there aren’t any Casey James’ t-shirts.  “Lee is forgettable, ” my friend says.  “But Casey?  He’s going to take off.  He’s going to be a big star.”

Did I mention she’s also my friend because she has excellent taste?

About mj santilli 33697 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!

61 Comments

  1. Awesome recap Carolyn! You’re commentary and indirectly, Shawty’s commentary, are really evoke the feeling of the experience being there live.

  2. Excellent review, maybe the best I’ve read here to date (sorry jammasta!) because you included your friend’s unbiased reactions.

    “He can’t help it if he’s beautiful,” she said.

    I LOL’ed at that because I actually suggested “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” as the name for Casey’s thread over on TWoP relatively early in the season. It didn’t win the reader poll (there were others that were much better), but I still think it’s an apt summary of what happened to him on the show. Maybe he can get an endorsement deal with Pantene!

  3. Nice, Carolyn! I like your style: we had almost the exact same impressions of the Idols, and you and my daughter share a name. ;) It’s nice when you bring a friend with no preconceived notions about the performers; I’d agree, your friend has superb taste.

  4. Loved your review Carolyn! Being a Casey fan since the beginning, I agree with your comments about him. Something about Idol did not do him justice, but in every tour video performance I’ve seen and every post-Idol interview I’ve seen of Casey, he’s amazing, charming and warm.

  5. I absolutely love your review. I went to the show in The Woodlands, and I share a lot of your same thoughts. My sister in law went to the concert, but didn’t watch the show at all. Her favorite ended up being the “tall, long haired, guitar player” after it was all over. :)

    You’re exactly right about Lee being forgettable. Casey will be around for a long while because he has that something extra besides just a good voice and guitar skills. He’s got passion and an honest love of real music. He’s able to sing and play in a way that not only gets you moving, but touches your soul when you hear it.

  6. Absolutely love your review. You have quite a way with words. Are you a professional writer? The way you described each performance and then predicted the futures of some was wonderful. You managed to be honest without a trace of meanness. Like that you chose a friend with no preconceived opinions and glad she enjoyed the show.

    Yours is the first review that I’ve read that mentioned the band being into Casey’s set. I’ve wondered about this since it surely must be much more enjoyable for them to play ‘with’ a musician and not so much as just backup……and yes, that is my Casey bias showing. Silly of them not to have Casey shirts. They would be a big seller.

  7. Thanks for the review, I was at this show too so it was fun to compare notes. You said a couple of the exact same things I did, Siobhan was a bit exhausting and Crystal brings the audience to her. I also though the audience really perked up starting with Casey but they were receptive to everyone. I’d seen the youtubes of Lee and thought he could be a bit shouty in this set but took a good hard moment to consider that during the concert and disagreed. Glad you and your friend had a good time.

  8. This was very entertaining, Carolyn – I usually don’t read these – but the part above the break got my attention – and it was a lot of fun to see this through your eyes, and the eyes of your friend. Well written!

    The Keys Lounge videos were a “Wait, What!? Who is this?” moment for me as well, I may check in to see what Siobhan is doing, down the road – but Casey James has become the only person from this season whose career I will follow, and whose album and future music I am really looking forward to, with fingers crossed.

    Thanks much!

  9. oh Carolyn, i loved your review because it was so Casey-filled. thank you for that. he really is magnificent, in every possible way…

  10. I could hear Casey’s talent even before the Keys Lounge videos. I like his voice and don’t find it goaty (except on performance on AI). Because he is a real musician, I think he can go far with a long career in his chosen genre. His looks actually do nothing for me, so that was never a factor in my supporting him; in fact, I was kind of biased against him early on until his talent just overcame that in a big way. I forget which early song did it.

  11. Thank you Carolyn! Loved the review and the unbiased opinion of your friend. Casey for the win! Well, it’s too late for that but who cares. We all know who will have the most incredibly successful career and who will receive the respect of his musical peers – see y’all at the next Casey James concert!!

  12. Excellent review Carolyn, I also love the fact that your friend didn’t know a single thing about any of the contestants before hearing them live. I agree with your opinions of the top 10. Yes, I’m also a huge Casey fan so I definitely agree with your comments about him. I really can’t understand how there are people out there who don’t see and hear what we do… the man has that natural IT factor.. no doubt. I do wish Lee the best, I think he’s got a good voice and could be the lead singer of most of the popular bands right now without missing a beat.. however, I also feel that may be his downfall. He doesn’t really offer anything that those other lead singers haven’t already brought to the table.. but that’s what happens when your join an already crowded market. I love Crystal and I believe she will have a nice, comfortable career in the industry. She seems more of the indie artist type to me though.. I hope being under a huge label doesn’t hurt her.. she needs to be in her niche and allowed to show all her creativity and style to truly shine. Yes, Tim would have a very good career if he had his own male version of a Hanna Montana show.. he’s a cute as Zac Effron and could hold his own with the JoBros. Siobhan is hard to describe but I agree with Shawty, a lot goes a long way! She would do well on Broadway as you said!

    Again, great review, I enjoyed reading it!

  13. Hey I thought there wasn’t supposed to be any bashing here of any of the idols? I find it interesting that when one person starts bashing others jump on, kind of the herd mentality? America got this season right and each idol was voted off in order of their talent. There is no need for sour grapes because your favorite did not win. I happen to like all of the top 5 and I think all of them will have great careers…all of them have different music styles and that is good as it would be boring if we all liked the same music. Lets keep the negative comments quiet and focus and the positive, I know that is what each idol would wish for, not to put down one because your favorite didn’t win or because you may think that one is better looking than another.
    I like the review until it was obvious that this was another sour grapes.

  14. Hey I thought there wasn’t supposed to be any bashing here of any of the idols? I find it interesting that when one person starts bashing others jump on, kind of the herd mentality? America got this season right and each idol was voted off in order of their talent. There is no need for sour grapes because your favorite did not win. I happen to like all of the top 5 and I think all of them will have great careers…all of them have different music styles and that is good as it would be boring if we all liked the same music. Lets keep the negative comments quiet and focus and the positive, I know that is what each idol would wish for, not to put down one because your favorite didn’t win or because you may think that one is better looking than another.
    I like the review until it was obvious that this was another sour grapes.

    But it’s YOUR opinion that America got it right, and that the contestants were voted off based on talent, not everyone’s. I don’t consider it to be bashing if you are simply stating something you dislike about an Idol. It’s not like we’re attacking their character or looks or anything like that; it’s just liking one style and not another. The “negative” comments I’ve seen here are far more tame than in years past. For me, it’s nice to see a recap from a Casey fan’s point-of-view, because I love him, too. There have been plenty of recaps that blast him, even some where it was nothing more than a string of expletives, and people thought that review was HILARIOUS.

  15. Carolyn, thanks, I agree with what has been said, very good and enjoyable recap/review indeed.

    edit: Don’t question the motives of posters! I Or make blanket generalizations that just beg the beginning of a fan war. I repeat this constantly.

    I agree with much of what you said. It seems to me from many of these recaps, that expectations and/or demands are higher towards the top 3 and possibly Siobhan and are held to higher standards. While the others often get good reviews based on what seems, low expectations and/or growth. Imo, that does not apply to you.

    Regarding Crystal seemingly sounding the same. This I only hear from the female side. I just can´t see why that would apply to her more than any other good artist who knows what he is about, and what the artists fans expect. One thing I really like about Crystal, are the nuances she manages to incorporate into her music. If nothing else, that is what makes songs NOT all sound similar or the same. What also makes me happy and optimistic for Crystals career, is the recognition she´s getting from established and respected artists in this short time (3 months)like Melissa, Linda Perry and Michael Franti, without the label being apart of it. Those are people who I feel, know the real thing! Has anything like that happened before for any AI just coming off the show? And don´t forget, that what Casey liked most about Crystal on the show, was her “attitude” :)

  16. Nice recap thank you for sharing with us! I am a huge Lee, Casey and Crystal fan (in that order). I did not see negativity just an honest opinion.

  17. Carolyn, you and Shawnty aren’t 40-something year old men (like me), so it’s no surprise you two don’t dig Crystal’s vibe. At least you can appreciate her chops even if she’s not your “cup of tea”, which is really all us mid-life geezers in love with MamaSox can ask for. ;)

    I can totally appreciate how you felt about Casey; it almost exactly reflects my take, too. I went to the concert pretty ambivalent about him, but when he tore it up on that guitar I became a big, big fan.

    One complaint: I’m not sure how anyone could possibly like Big Mike Love God. I thought he was absolutely, positively, nauseatingly brutal.

    Anyway, thanks for a very nicely written review!

  18. No Lee fans (yet) and I´m the first Crystal fan. It´s most noticeable regarding Lee fans, they all come running to comment if he gets good reviews, otherwise they seldom show up

    Lee is my favorite and I enjoyed her review. It didn’t bother me at all. Sorry but I just hate generalizations like that.

    Anyway thanks for the review Carolyn. I love your description of Casey’s voice as “whiskey-soaked.” I think that is an apt description. I also agree with your assessment of Katie and her image. I met her before the show and she just seemed like a nice, girl-next-door type so the dress and boots just seem like she’s trying way too hard to be sexy. It was also interesting to hear your friends perspective. Thanks for including it.

  19. It’s funny that most are jumping in to applaud all the glowing Casey comments. I want to note the glowing big Mike comments which are verrrrrry rare around these parts. It was great to hear from an R&B lover as that is what genre Mike is all about. I, too, think Mike will do fine in that genre. I don’t know how big of a star he will be – hard to tell. But in his genre, I think he’ll do well. I also think Casey will do well. What’s funny is I’m not sure how well the top 2, Crystal and Lee will do. Its going to be very interesting to see how this all plays out. I can’t quite picture how the Crystal/Jive relationship will play itself out, but its great to see her get a chance to start with the perfect arena at Michael Franti’s Power to the Peaceful festival.

    BTW, Carolyn, loved your recap. Chances are good that I would have had much the same responses to you and your friend, which is why I saved my very limited funds and decided to pass this year.

  20. could somebody direct me to the bashing in this post so I can comment on it? I can’t seem to find that part. Thanks.

  21. could somebody direct me to the bashing in this post so I can comment on it? I can’t seem to find that part. Thanks.

    You can´t find it, because there is none to be found :)

  22. Reminder:

    Please don’t question the motives of posters! I Or make blanket generalizations that just beg the beginning of a fan war.

    I’ve deleted/edited some posts:

  23. I think calling some of the idols ‘forgettable’ is bashing even though I understand it is your opinion and I think the review was good except for the negativety, and it was all the way through the review, like one person said,the reviewer had just enough meanness.
    I am Lee fan and also like Crystal, Aaron and Casey…all the top 5 really, but in my opinion when a label signs someone, they are looking for the whole package, not just the music, but looks, performance, etc. Of all of the the top 5 Lee has the most all around package and has an amazing recordable voice and this is where he shines. Chrystals voice is amazing but not sure how many people will buy her style of singing, I may buy some but her style is not by bag. Casey has the looks,has amazing guitar skills and is getting better at performing but of all the top 5 has the weakest voice and I am not a coutry fan so probably won’t by his albums but will watch to see how he does …this is my opinion and I am not putting any of them down, just what I have noticed throughout the whole season. I think this is why more of them have not gotten signed yet or why it took so long to sign Casey, they have to show that they have it all or most of it as far as singing talent, performance,commercial voice, looks etc. Adam is a perfect example, he has all of the above and I think his voice is amazing and like some of his songs, but not the shock value so I would not probably buy his albums but download some songs.
    No one knows how each will do time will tell and I hope everyone of them benefits from this experience in some way as far as careers all 10 of them have worked hard and I have watched the last 5 seasons and this has been my favorite, so not sure why some many people do the herd thing and continuely put this group down, it just isn’t right at all.
    Again, my opinion.

  24. Thank you for taking the time to write this recap. Always glad to hear a person’s perspective on what they experienced. I understand the predictions people are putting forth of each idol’s future success or that they will be forgotten are simply opinions, because only time will tell. American Idol is a platform that brings these talented people an opportunity to be heard. I’m so glad the top three have albums coming out, because their fans will have a chance to see if their idol lives up to their expectations.
    One thing about the top three is they have a passion for music. I think they will each have success, and I know people are still competitive about their favorites doing better, but I think these idols really want each other to succeed too.
    Also, there are so many sides to these talented idols. To me, they sound different at concert, at the various talk shows they’ve been on, on idol, and recorded. And we know that covers are different than original material. My point is, we can’t predict with certainty how things will progress.

  25. edit: Don’t question the motives of posters! I Or make blanket generalizations that just beg the beginning of a fan war. I repeat this constantly.

    mj, sorry, it was not my intention at all. I’ll try wording more carefully in the future to avoid misunderstandings

  26. I want to note the glowing big Mike comments which are verrrrrry rare around these parts.

    I really liked Mike’s set in Portland. I said so, too, in my recap. Perhaps Idol fans have moved away from liking that type of music lately? That’s the only reason I can think of that he’s not getting proper love. What seemed cheesy on TV actually works well on the big stage, IMO. And, Mike is so sweet and genuine in person, he seems like someone you could just chill and have a good conversation with. I hope things go well for him in his career.

  27. Great recap! I saw them on that date myself and was totally entertained from start to finish! I’m a total Siobhan-tard, so of course I thought she was the best, but Crystal, Mike, and Katie were super impressive as well.

  28. And we know that covers are different than original material. My point is, we can’t predict with certainty how things will progress.

    So correct, even an understatement! For me, a prime example would be Adam Lambert. Loved him on the show, don´t care for his CD at all.

  29. I want to note the glowing big Mike comments which are verrrrrry rare around these parts.

    Besides Mike’s musical genre not being the most popular with Idol viewers,I think big Mike did two things on the show that bothered people and possibly affect how they view his performances. First, that stupid picking people up…..I can’t imagine why he did this and why someone didn’t tell him that viewers hated it so STOP. It was pretty obvious he’s a strong guy, no need to demonstrate. Second, he came across as overly confident. I have since decided that isn’t true at all, that he is just has an outgoing personality. Matter of fact, I think he would have made a great emcee for the tour, if they had such a thing. Didn’t like him on the show but I’ve watched many of the videos from the tour (love the late night sandwich silliness) and now appreciate his talent and personality.

  30. Carolyn, You have a nice writing style that is enjoyable to read.

    NOTE: The Idols do NOT select the video graphics that play behind them during their sets. That is done by a graphics specialist. They have no input about the content.

    Casey rocks!

  31. Some of the crowd is on their feet, but I think most are glued to their chair trying to figure out if they’ve descended to hell or made it to heaven.

    I loved your recap, Carolyn, but most of all loved this statement. I remember feeling kind of like this, myself. I remember looking around at one point to see how the crowd was taking her. (There were a lot of families with young children at my concert.) I really admire Siobhan for staying true to who she is.

    I am glad you enjoyed Casey. I really didn’t have a clear favorite, but when I went to the concert I really felt by the end America got it all right. In my opinion the talent progressed with each performer. As far as the final 3 goes, any one of them could have a great career. They all 3 have completely different styles of music, so it probably all depends on what style pleases you the most as to which you feel is better. Obviously the majority feel that is Lee, but there’s plenty who prefer Crystal and Casey, also.

  32. I enjoyed your review, Carolyn. And as others have said, it was great to hear from a truly unbiased viewer. We’ll just have to wait and see how accurate she was in her predictions. :)

  33. Great review, you make it feel as if the person who is reading are part of the concert. And you took a lot of time to really describe everyone. Very well done and very thoughtful.

  34. You’re exactly right about Lee being forgettable. Casey will be around for a long while because he has that something extra besides just a good voice and guitar skills. He’s got passion and an honest love of real music. He’s able to sing and play in a way that not only gets you moving, but touches your soul when you hear it.

    THIS! Yes. Innate gift and Sweet Boy does possess the “it” factor.

    “Wait, What!? Who is this?”

    I think many had that reaction after seeing vids of Casey at Keys. Can you imagine if Casey had the time on AI to so perform? Any doubts who would have won AI? Not in my mind! CASEY rocks. And I can hardly wait for a solo CASEY tour!

  35. One of the more lively S9 discussions I can remember here really – at least as far as one that was pretty much S9 only and not “why S9 is the worst of them all.”

    I really liked your review. I felt as though you were actually quite fair to everyone. Sure, it comes across that you have favorites but you also have done a great job of conveying why they’re your favorites and really in most cases explaining why you probably don’t get some of them.

    Yours is the best analysis of Big Mike I’ve seen – I’ve tried to put into words how I feel about him but you did it a lot better (or was it your friend that did…lol). His style of music calls for cheese, it’s really just a part of it. He’s got the smooth part down to an art, and how could you listen to him (especially if it’s on a recording) and not just think about being with one you love and all? If someone gives him a chance, he’ll make a great career of it. And you’re right about the emcee part too, he’d be great at that.

    This is going to be long winded so I’ll just say, I like Casey – as a musician, I could care less about his looks, lol. He seems like the real deal – maybe not the most polished singer (I tend to agree with him vs. Lee singing wise though), but all around very skilled.

    You pointed out Crystal saying something about having trouble breathing. I had also read in a past review where someone mentioned that someone helped her down off the stage after her set, and she seems to only come out to the meet & greet like half the time. I really wonder if she’s struggling with something health wise (there’s her diabetes obviously but I’m thinking it may not be that even). As for her music, I can’t wait to hear what she does with her own music – I’m figuring when I hear her in Toledo this Sunday it’ll be near epic, but I think she’ll be a different sort of performer when it’s her own music and not someone else’s.

    I’m really going to try to give Lee a chance when I hear him, but I’m figuring it’ll be pretty much what everyone who isn’t a fan has said – he’s like he was on the show, you either like him or don’t. I just don’t see what’s all that exciting about him – there’s quite a few like him, and he doesn’t seem to stand out in any way really. In a studio recording, he might make a song here and there that I kinda like but he doesn’t seem interesting enough to check out more than that one song – and from what I heard on the show, live performance probably isn’t his strong suit although apparently he can bring more energy than he did on the show (no one was really that dynamic of a live performer really, except for maybe Big Mike). He seems to fit Ellen’s soup of the day analogy – he was the chicken noodle soup of S9 for many I guess, and by S10 he’ll just be a memory.

  36. And you’re right about the emcee part too, he’d be great at that.

    Possibly. Some ad agency should pick him up. He can sell food!

    He is smooth but not my style and somehow that guitar just doesn’t fit with his music for me. He seems like a really nice guy and it appears he and CASEY are buddies.

    the most polished singer

    Interestingly, not being the most polished is one of the attractive things ’bout CASEY. I love the raw and whiskey soaked voice (as described by another). Mike is polished IMO and too smooth for me. I don’t think Lee is either polished or smooth.

  37. Great recap and good read although the Casey bias was a little OTT ;-) Sorry, but the last thing I see in Casey is ‘big star’ – only time will tell if I’m somehow missing something.

    Still, I enjoyed reading your impressions and it was nice to get a different opinion on some of the singers. Good job!

  38. [Siobhan] looks like a pink cup cake. With a bit of black leather. And big, clunky boots. Totally odd. Absolutely works.

    My first thought when I saw Siobhan’s outfit was “I want that dress!”…and the boots. Truly the outfit is odd and it totally works. I would never have the nerve to wear it, but I would always admire the one who would. It really set the whole quirky Siobhan vibe, and I agree she’d be awesome on Broadway. I agree that for me- she’s good in small doses but I would like see Siobhan perform a couple songs with her own band.

    As for your comments about Casey – WORD. He was my favorite guy from H’wood week and seeing him live and his videos from homecoming were the completely unleashed full-on different Casey experience than the more subdued Casey on the American Idol stage (even though he was always my favorite this season). I love his thundering guitar, the whiskey baritone (actually I referred to Casey and Mike as “whiskey and honey”, and their voices really complement each other), all of it.

  39. (actually I referred to Casey and Mike as “whiskey and honey”, and their voices really complement each other)

    Aw, I love that. I was kind of puzzled as to why the choice was made for Mike and Casey to duet on tour, since, despite my personal liking of that performance, it seemed to be sort of skimmed over in favor of praise for CrystaLee’s duet on the show. But Masey have developed some great chemistry, and they really do a wonderful job with the duet on tour. You can tell they like performing AND hanging together.

  40. mozart4898:
    08/27/2010 at 5:55 pm

    One of the more lively S9 discussions I can remember here really – at least as far as one that was pretty much S9 only and not “why S9 is the worst of them all.”

    Says a lot about what a great review it is to prompt so many interesting responses. I keep coming back to this thread to read the newest posts. I’m surprised how sorry I am to see this tour end but happy at the same time that the kids can now get on with their careers……we’re down to the final five shows! Carolyn certainly helped to end the season 9 recaps on a high note.

  41. Hi all,

    It’s me. Carolyn. Back from a hellish day at work. I’m rather stunned at the response, honestly. Thanks to everyone who actually read the whole dang post. I kept thinking as I was writing…damn, girl, you yack way too much. Yes, I am a professional writer, but have never done a concert review – so it was a bit scary, and lots of fun.

    I’d guess I’d use that point to say… I respect all of these singers. It takes huge guts to walk into an unknown situation and basically, jump off a cliff. They all of have done it with AI. Whatever happens to Siobhan, Aaron, Lee, etc… I give them big kudos for taking a chance, following what they love to do, etc. If I came off as bashing… didn’t mean to. Just being honest, giving my opinion. Which is what a review is all about, isnt’ it? I believe I was pretty up front about where I was coming from, so that all would know my bias.

    Sour grapes that Casey didn’t win? Frankly, I don’t think he deserved to win the “contest.” I’m thinking he might say that himself. He was sometimes brilliant, and sometimes… not that good(Oh, my. Now the Casey fans might be mad at me).

    But being a real fan from after the CONTEST was over, I would say, again, my opinion, he’s the real deal. The whole package – looks (ah, let’s be honest, that doesn’t hurt), the guitar skills (as Siobhan would say WICKED guitar skills) and his voice. I’m continually amused/bemused about the ‘his voice is not good, not perfect, etc’ stuff. Ah…I’m a huge fan of Bob Dylan. Willie Nelson. Bette Midler. I would suggest that none of these singers have a voice that would go anywhere on AI. Hm. I think I’ll leave it at that.

    Yes, I used Shawty’s reaction to Casey (and it as real – no prompting from me) to promote him. I thought it was a great way to end the review. I’m a fan. I write – that’s my skill – so I’m going to use it to promote my guy. Sue me. LOL

    Thanks again all. Appreciate ALL the feedback.
    C

  42. {He seems to fit Ellen’s soup of the day analogy – he was the chicken noodle soup of S9 for many I guess, and by S10 he’ll just be a memory.}

    I think it’s a little too early to make a pronouncement like that.

  43. Thanks for the recap! I laughed everytime I saw the word ‘shawty’ since I just don’t use it or hear it on a daily basis lol. And it sounds like a really neat idea to take someone without any prior knowledge to the show. I love different perspectives. Of course she’s your friend, so you’re bound to agree on how people sounded but so what? I’m glad you had a good time!

    No Lee fans (yet) and I´m the first Crystal fan. It´s most noticeable regarding Lee fans, they all come running to comment if he gets good reviews, otherwise they seldom show up

    I’m a Lee fan! :D I read most of the recaps here, and I enjoy reading them. I’m just not easily offended by people with different opinions than my own. To be fair, I started off on TWOP. I’m used to very spirited discussions :)

  44. Thanks Carolyn for your most entertaining review. I read it all and all the responses and have listened to the you tubes of every tour show but I must say that I don’t hear what you and many others are hearing when it comes to Casey. I find Casey’s voice lazy and not very emotional with the music. I must confess that I am a Lee DeWyze fan, (probably the oldest at 74 years) as I feel he can sing anything. As I watched Lee each week on Idol his personality and devotion to his art kept showing through every performance. He gets into each song and his unique voice just expels that emotion to the listener. I have read other reviews where they claim he shouts his vocals and when I listen to the videos I have questioned that too on some of the songs so I think it may be the band as that was not present in his Idol performances. I am “very” anxious for Lee’s new CD to come out as I predict it will surprise everyone. I think there will be about 5 of the Idols ending up with recording contracts and I wish them all the best as I enjoyed this season much more than last years and when Lee DeWyze becomes “very” famous remember who told you he would (ME, as I think he is going to be a next Bruce Springsteen but really the next “great” LEE DEWYZE).

  45. Thanks for the great recap. I’m a huge Lee fan but appreciate your review. Gotta say though, I thought Casey was great from all the youtube performance but when I listen to his idol recordings, it falls flat for me. :(. Anyway, I do wish him the best. Maybe he just not my cup of tea.

  46. when Lee DeWyze becomes “very” famous remember who told you he would (ME, as I think he is going to be a next Bruce Springsteen but really the next “great” LEE DEWYZE).

    For Lee to be the next Bruce Springsteen, he would have to have the same songwriting skills as BS

  47. Very lively discussion. Just wanted to add that in my family- my sister and I have totally opposite views of who we like to listen to the most- I am a Lee fan and she is a Casey fan- and it is as if we are listening to totally different artists when we talk about them. So I have come to see that somehow each individual’s musical “ear” attracts them to different artists. Having experienced such a difference of opinion close-up it makes me realize that each of these idols will have their own fanbase and over time some may be larger or smaller than the others- but the hard work and love for music that they all show will keep them in the business in some way.

  48. Eriko – Lee IS a very talented songwriter. Have you listened to his pre-idol music? His Slumberland album is chock-full of great songs that I have been listening to for months. The big, loud-band songs that this AI concert is showcasing are not really where he excels. He really has a voice for acoustic, folk-rock pop type music (see a pre-idol performance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oScl8qVxzHI&feature=related )and he says his album will be along those lines. I can’t wait for that album – November 16!

  49. Like I always say “music is in the ears of the beholder” – what appeals to some may not appeal to others.
    I enjoyed reading through your recap but I wouldn’t dismiss anyone ( the forgettables) at this point yet. Some of them might eventually surprise us all.
    Glad that you enjoyed your favorite (Casey)- trust me, you did a great job promoting him :)

  50. Carolyn, what a delightful review! I love your writing style!

    “My GOD,” she says again. “What energy that girl has.” My take? Siobhan… go directly to Broadway.

    I have read dozens upon dozens of reviews on Siobhan’s performance, but yours was hilarious! I literally laughed out loud. It was more detailed than most, and I do believe you captured her spirit. Shawty’s comments were like icing on the cake.

    My daughter was OTT when Casey performed. I never knew she could whistle like that. You wrote like many saw Casey. The very first concert and you could see the joy in his face. He truly was happy to be there and loving what he was doing. Being pretty does help, but his skills will account for more. I can picture him in a Country Rock band, and not always being the lead singer.

    Yes, I can see Big Mike doing some emcee work and visualize Idol putting him out there as a correspondent. Will he have a successful solo career? I really don’t know. However, I can see him doing some of the work Justin has done with Idol contestants. That first night, he had the most confidence and did seem polished.

    Thank you so much for a great review. I shared many of your opinions and appreciate the effort you put in writing this recap!

  51. Wow, your Casey write up is FANTASTIC. It was so well written that I felt I was there, beholding his beauty, rocking out to his amazing guitar, and enjoying his whisky-gravel voice. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  52. Eriko – Lee IS a very talented songwriter. Have you listened to his pre-idol music? His Slumberland album

    Talented or not, comparing his songwriting talent to Bruce Springsteen is, well……..Can you imagine how Slumberland would be selling after all the exposure Lee´s had, if it came even close to Springsteen´s debut album, “Greetings from Asbury Park”? It would be selling by the truck loads, not 10.000 This is by no means a slam on Lee, and I´m sure Lee himself would would feel embarrassed if someone compared his songwriting talents to Bruce Sprinsteen

  53. Yes, I used Shawty’s reaction to Casey (and it as real – no prompting from me) to promote him. I thought it was a great way to end the review. I’m a fan. I write – that’s my skill – so I’m going to use it to promote my guy.

    Go Girl! You did an incredible job in the promotion. Keep it up. Your review was thorough and on the mark. I had the feeling I was at the concert with you and having the same thoughts.

    Yes, CASEY had some not so stellar performances (as you mentioned), and so did the others. That is just the nature of the AI game. But you are so right on in AFTER the contest happenings and that is where CASEY is shining for sure. The raw emotion and power is there and I don’t know how THAT could be missed! I am surely thankful the Sony exec who flew to NY saw it and lamented that he was “blown away” with CASEY’s performances.

  54. Eriko – Lee IS a very talented songwriter. Have you listened to his pre-idol music? His Slumberland album

    Talented or not, comparing his songwriting talent to Bruce Springsteen is, well……..Can you imagine how Slumberland would be selling after all the exposure Lee´s had, if it came even close to Springsteen´s debut album,

    YIKES! I wouldn’t even put Lee in the same sentence as the above mentioned! A bit OTT for me.

  55. Bruce Springsteen is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Can anyone see Lee there? Not trying to knock his skills, but maybe comparing him to a current or former Idol would be more accurate. Just saying…

  56. Carolyn, loved your review – such a good read! Especially enjoyed the reaction from ‘Shawty.’ Loved all the details… felt like I as there. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us!

  57. Enjoyed this review immensely as well. I read all the Tour reviews this summer and really appreciated everyone’s recap. I too laughed at loud when I read the comments about Siobhan. Now I know what she does on stage. Hilarious description! Very enjoyable recap!!!

    I too am a Casey fan but totally agree that he was very uneven during the show; Crystal’s attitude bothered me too at times, even if I thought she deserved to win the competition and never really got on full board with Lee, although his 2 pre-Idol albums (Slumberland & So I’m Told) are full of excellent original songs and I’m hoping for more on his coming CD. I like Andrew’s voice and style also and I always said that Aaron was too young for the competition but he’ll be making his mark down the road. He’s got talent and personality.

    Overall, I think it’s fair to say that the general consensus is that the Tour is better than the Show. I’ll be following 2 of them after this is all over next week, Casey and Crystal. That makes me a very happy camper as a fan. I found 2 artists that I really like this year. Not bad for a season dubbed as one of (if not) the worst one in the series.

  58. Grammie Kari: “You wrote like many saw Casey. The very first concert and you could see the joy in his face. He truly was happy to be there and loving what he was doing.”

    I found these comments by Casey in article today and I believe this goes in line with your above statements.

    Excerpt: Casey James wrote in his high school yearbook that he wanted to be a famous blues musician. He specified the genre back then that he connected with. When Casey was playing at the Keys Lounge, he was a blues musician. When he takes the stage during the American Idol tour, he’s a blues musician. Wherever he goes from here, he’s a blues musician. Because it’s about heart and feeling it and not worrying about technique or formulas. It means being so connected to the music that nothing else matters, you get lost in the notes and how they make you feel. It is the most organic, most natural form of music, the most stripped bare and raw. Whatever he does musically from here on out, it will be inspired and informed by the blues and in particular by the blues guitar of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan.

    BTW. On Aug. 27th 1990, SRV died in a helicopter crash after a big blues show in Wisconsin.

    Link:
    http://burnthismedia.blogspot.com/2010/08/casey-james-fans-thank-stevie-ray.html

    Jimmie did a tribute to SRV some time later. Six Strings Down Link below:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAYNKBKCGFY

  59. Bruce Springsteen is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Can anyone see Lee there? Not trying to knock his skills, but maybe comparing him to a current or former Idol would be more accurate. Just saying…

    Most singer/songwriter’s don’t make it big off their debut album. Lee has major league talentif he gets the promotion he deserves, he will sell a lot of music!

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