Today Idol headlines after the jump ¦
Review: Blake Lewis Does His Thing on Debut
Much of bubbly Blake Lewis’ screen time on “American Idol” was spent struggling to fit the roundedness of his motley mix-tape aesthetic into square songs from mature artists. With the harsh reality of that reality TV competition behind him, this “Idol” second place finisher is now liberated to enchant with his own “Audio Day Dream.”
And he does. Mostly…….
…..Surprisingly, the beatboxing that made Lewis stand out from the “Idol” crowd is simply splashed throughout the 14 songs and is only predominantly featured on one track, the unremarkable “Bshorty Grabs Mic!” Such a lack of spit might leave some Bshorty fans craving ma-ma-ma-ma-more.
Three snoozy ballads (“1000 Miles, ” “End of the World” and “I Got U”) plague the second half of “Audio Day Dream, ” a wake-up call that the vocally limited Lewis is no vocally gifted Justin Timberlake. Maybe the Blakester should’ve pulled a Britney, Madonna or Gwen and just conjured a full-fledged dance record instead?
Weak downtempo songs aside, “Audio Day Dream” is the most exhilarating effort from an “Idol” runner-up yet.
Disc debuts: ‘Audio Day Dream’ by Blake Lewis
….HOKEY FOCUS POCUS: What Mr. Lewis attempts ‘ with assists from OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, rapper Lupe Fiasco, electronica pioneer BT and others ‘ is to fuse his muses into a new genre. What comes out is a schizophrenic mess; he can’t decide if he’s the second coming of Justin Timberlake, Chris Martin, Thomas Dolby or Morris Day. The over-lush “How Many Words” sounds like the Smiths might have, had James Blunt fronted it; “Surrender” is just a buzzy redux of Keane via Adam Levine; “What’Cha Got 2 Lose?” is a sorry take on Cameo synth-funk (though the similar but far more inventive “She’s Makin’ Me Lose It” is the disc’s best track); “Without You” is as vocally listless a ballad as you’ll hear in 2007.
BOTTOM LINE: Like the disc’s intentional acronym, A.D.D., Mr. Lewis can’t concentrate on one idea enough to do justice to any.
New releases in stores this week:
BLAKE IN THE POCKET: Here’s a theory. If Blake Lewis could have concocted a beat-box rhythmed version of the cornball ballad “This Is My Now” that was his final test on “American Idol, ” his constituency would have never left him. And Lewis would have wound up the winner last season, instead of Jordin Sparks. You better believe the guy’s not making the same mistake on his solo debut “Audio Daydream” (Arista, B). Snappy hip-hop beats and sampling thrills flavor every track – even on big ballads like “Without You” that could have done without. High points: the “Puttin’-On-the- Ritz”-inspired “Gots To Get Her, ” Billy Joel-ish vamp “Hate 2 Love Her” and his stuff struttin’ “B Shorty Grabs Mic!”
CDs out this week
…Blake Lewis, “Audio Day Dream” (Arista)
This “American Idol” also-ran was known as “the beat-boxing guy” on that show’s sixth season, and here he attempts to define himself musically, to diminishing returns.
Over the top but still underwhelming
In his improbable run to the “American Idol” finals last year, Blake Lewis displayed a limited vocal range, an earnest likability, and progressive musical tendencies. On his debut, Lewis is engaging and diverse, but he also fails to excite or provoke. On the show, Lewis got by more on guile and style than to-die-for vocal chops, and his singing here is mostly underwhelming (thankfully he’s minimized his beatboxing, which translates well only in performance).
Surprisingly, this is a very conventional pop record, and though he nods to hip-hop, there are few real deep-groove tracks. Lewis deserves a refund from the usually inspired Lupe Fiasco for his limp work on “Know My Name, ” while the heavily percussive white-boy funk of “Break Anotha” is more fizzle than sizzle – there’s just no song there…….
New CDs due for release on Dec. 4
¢ Blake Lewis, “Audio Daydream” (Arista). “American Idol” finalist tries to prove he can do more than beat-boxing.
New Album Releases 12/04/07: Christmas Rapping With Ghostface Killah; Eazy E & NWA; 2-Pac; Scarface; Too $hort; Wyclef Jean, Plus David Bowie; Blake Lewis
….Audio Day Dream, the debut album from last year’s American Idol runner-up Blake Lewis, is also in stores. This only makes me wonder that much more about when we will see something from Sanjaya….
Blake Lewis’ debut a hip transplant
Is it possible? Has “American Idol” finally spawned a singer whose debut CD you could almost call hip?
Blake Lewis, this year’s first runner-up (also known as “that guy who does the annoying human beat-box trick”), has actually come up with an album, “Audio Day Dream, ” that works perfectly as pop, but which also has a sense of – gasp! – edge…..
…. The singer has made sure to retain the clean-scrubbed character demanded by “Idol.” You could still take this voice home to mother.
At the same time, Lewis has hit on the most distinctive sound ever to come from an “Idol” star. As a result, not only has he bested the new CD by the singer who beat him out this year (Jordin Sparks), he also came up with the best album by any “Idol” alum yet.
No limits for ‘Idol’ singer Blake Lewis on new CD
Blake Lewis’ “Audio Daydream (A.D.D.).” is the most adventurous disc from an “American Idol” contestant yet — not that efforts by Chris Daughtry or Jordin Sparks were exactly boundary-pushers, but the distinction is important nonetheless.
Lewis, the sixth-season “Idol” runner-up, runs amok on his debut CD, which at its best is a punchy pastiche of electronica, R&B, funk and pop. Lewis has artistic vision– two words lacking in, say, Kellie Pickler’s vocabulary — and it’s clear he used “Idol” as a springboard to take that vision to the masses.
His handlers, including executive producer Clive Davis, didn’t try to rein him in on “A.D.D., ” but they did give him just enough rope to hang himself. At 16 tracks, “Audio Daydream” is overlong by at least four songs, and too many sensitive-dude ballads leave him sounding like a third-rate Savage Garden………
Carson has a rare detractor in Newton
….American Idol runnerup Blake Lewis sounds like he might have what it takes to make the Daily News list. This is what he told MSNBC when he was asked if he would date any of the older women who have been pursuing him. “I got a little bit of that, some cougars definitely … I love older women so it would be fantastic, ” he said. Reminds me of the adage about staying silent and appearing stupid rather than opening your mouth and removing all doubt….
TINA: ALEC PLAYS LORNE
AMERICAN Idol” judge Paula Abdul left be hind some bad blood with “30 Rock” star Tina Fey, following a “disastrous” turn as a guest host on “Saturday Night Live” in 2005.
“A year later I saw her on a flight, ” Fey tells the latest edition of Playboy. “We both looked at each other like, ‘Do I know that girl?’ And then we both had the same moment of recognition, and she was like ‘uuuggh.’ I saw it register on her face that she had had a terrible time with us……..
Inner Tube: ‘Hottest Reality’ show to sizzle with 25 stars
So who’s the hottest star on reality TV?
How about Traci Bingham (“The Surreal Life”) or Trishelle Cannatella (“The Real World”)?
We’ll find out Saturday at 10 p.m. when the Fox Reality Channel airs “The Top 25 Hottest Reality Stars.”
The network has selected 25 women from the reality ranks, including Katharine McPhee (“American Idol”), Tiffany Pollard (“I Love New York”), Julianne Hough (“Dancing With the Stars”), and Paris Hilton (“The Simple Life”), among others……….
Arresting Footage: “Idol” Pukes at Police Station!
TMZ has obtained surveillance video of Jessica Sierra at the police station following her arrest on Dec 1 — and it’s not a pretty sight! In the damning footage, Sierra is seen exhibiting erratic behavior; yelling at officers, walking around barefoot, and then capping her performance by vomiting on a cell floor.
As for her alleged drug use, you’ll never guess what she told a local Florida news station just a matter of weeks ago…….
Police: Idol Sierra Offered Cop Sexual Favors
Former American Idol contestant Jessica Sierra offered a police officer sexual favors in exchange for her release Saturday morning after she was arrested, according to a police report.
Tampa police charged Sierra, 22, with disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest without violence following an incident at the Full Moon Saloon in Ybor City shortly after 2 a.m.
According to the police report, Sierra, who was listed on the report as a self-employed singer, began physically fighting with a friend who was trying to calm her down, struck an arresting officer in the face and ranted racial slurs and profanities at the officers……..
PBS Holiday Programming 2007-2008
….CHRISTMAS AT BELMONT (2007)
Monday, December 24, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET
“American Idol” finalist Melinda Doolittle hosts a program featuring a Christmas repertoire ranging from traditional carols to classical masterworks to lighthearted secular songs, in Nashville’s new Schermerhorn Symphony Center….
People & Places: Former …American Idol finalist Nick Pedro grateful for opportunities
At a young age, former …American Idol finalist Nick Pedro, 26, found his niche in life ‘ singing and drawing.
…It’s funny. I really started young. Growing up, I didn’t want to play with any toys. I just wanted my pencils and paper. And I would sing while I did that, too, as early as I can remember, said Pedro, a 1999 graduate of Taunton High School and recipient of a bachelor of fine arts degree from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston.
Pedro, who enjoyed singing karaoke with friends, said he entered and won a karaoke contest while on a Royal Caribbean cruise with his family a year before he tried out for …American Idol for the first time.
…I got my paper crown and my plastic trophy. It was the first time I sang in front of a lot of people, said Pedro, who never had any formal music lessons. …The next year, ‘American Idol’ came to Gillette Stadium, and everyone told me to go……..
…..Pedro’s latest project is a new television pilot …Beyond the Track about the racehorse industry and the lives of race horses…..
UMBC Camerata enchants audience with challenging pieces
….At the performance’s end, Smith thanked the audience and off-handedly remarked that the UMBC Camerata was invited to sing for the President (yeah, that guy) this Christmas, alongside Rascal Flatts and Taylor Hicks. Without becoming too editorial (but I can’t help myself), I think I have a pretty good idea about who will be the classiest act in that room (hint: their approval rating is going up, and they don’t sing faux-country)….
Christmas CD roundup
HOLIDAY MUSIC: Sounds of the season are plentiful
…Kimberley Locke, Christmas (Curb) ‘ Former American Idol finalist goes the exclusively iTunes route on her first holiday outing and third studio CD overall. Included is the beautiful ballad “Mary Did You Know?” ….
Stars Today… Legends Tomorrow?
….Fifteen years after riding the wave of fame and success of the early ’90s, Natalie and Whitney, Luther and Prince, and Nirvana and Guns N’ Roses have taken their rightful place among the recording industry elite. And what’s more, these amazingly talented singers, songwriters, and musicians are still adored and revered by today’s music listeners. Even young, up and coming singers test their own skills by trying their darnedest to imitate and duplicate the masterful works of outstanding old school performers. Don’t believe me? Think about how many times you’ve heard American Idol contestants attempt to cover brilliant tunes from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s!
Idol producers are smart enough to keep popular drivel like BeyoncÃƒÆ’ ©’s “Crazy in Love” and Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack” off the performance list. Instead, they challenge contestants to demonstrate their vocal ability by singing timeless modern classics, like Natalie Cole’s “This Will Be, ” Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love for You, ” Luther Vandross’ “Superstar, ” or even Mariah Carey’s “Hero” (from back in the day when she actually used to sing, not scream, and showed no signs of being allergic to cotton blend).
It’ll probably come as no surprise to you that I’m less than impressed with today’s current crop of so-called “best” performers. While I don’t know their music inside and out like classic tunes from past generations, I know enough to know that I’m not missing much. The annoying bits and untalented pieces of songs that I have heard in passing from top-selling hip-hop, R&B, and pop artists have done more than enough to confirm my way of thinking, leading me to wonder this: Will any of the hot stars of today shine long enough to even be considered legends tomorrow?
BeyoncÃƒÆ’ ©, Justin Timberlake, Fergie, Daughtry, Chris Brown, and Rhianna were just a few of the performers and winners at this year’s AMAs. And while all of these artists certainly topped the charts in 2007, do you think either music industry professionals or the public in general will still be singing their praises 15 years down the line when the year 2022 rolls around? Do any of these artists possess any real depth or show flashes of genius in their work? Have they proven themselves sufficiently unique and special enough to influence the next generation? Is their body of work and contribution to music history so incredibly dynamic and unforgettable that one day they can reasonably expect to be elevated to legendary status? Call me crazy, but I definitely don’t think so….
Dome Jovial about show
….Sobolik said dome officials unsuccessfully tried to book Bon Jovi for years. Cue the …Wanted Dead or Alive jokes.
Negotiations for including Fargo in this tour began a few months back, he said. Ticket prices, which Sobolik said are not yet set, were a key sticking point.
Sobolik said the dome tried to keep the cost as low as possible because area concert-goers tend to be averse to high prices. He said the tickets will be less than the national average for the tour, with the highest seats going in the $80 range.
The opening band has not been confirmed, but Sobolik said it would probably be Daughtry, the chart-topping group fronted by former …American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry….
20 Under 25: The Top-Earning Young Superstars
….Singers Avril Lavigne ($12 million) and Carrie Underwood ($7 million) made the cut on the heels of their mega-successful album releases. Lavigne scored a massive international hit with “Girlfriend, ” the first single off her album The Best Damn Thing, which she recorded in eight different languages. And though Underwood, the fourth season winner of American Idol, debuted Some Hearts back in 2005, the album demonstrated serious staying power on both the country and pop charts….
Celebrities “Go All The Way For A Stray” in New Calendar
Little Pet Project, a company that uses sexy, sometimes nude images of women with their pets to raise awareness for homeless and abused animals, announced the release of their 2008 pictorial calendar. The calendar features celebrities such as Playboy model Debbi Davids, American Idol ® contestant Melissa McGhee and Heather Clem, wife of Sirius ® Shock Jock Bubba The Love Sponge ® Clem.
“The calendar is the product of months of studio and location shooting with celebrities, models, students and even homemakers, states co-founder Lisa Presnail. …These women are passionate about animals and are eager to, as our theme line says, Go All The Way For A Stray to help raise awareness of the problem…..