For reference: 42-year-old woman who has been an AI fan since season 4 and who has now attended AI tours 5 through 8.
I work a block and a half from the concert venue. When I was out getting lunch the day of the concert, I noticed buses lining the street and a group of people who would scream at seemingly random intervals. Hey, the infamous AI buses! I walked by and managed to catch glimpses of Matt and Michael. Matt, wearing a hat, was all smiles. Michael, who looked a lot bigger in person, was dressed very casually (ummm, I think he was even in sweats) and was waving and pointing at one of the other buses. Not sure what that was about. I couldn’t stay for more than a few minutes, since I had to get back to work.
Fast-forward to about 6:50 pm, and my 11-year-old daughter and I are taking our seats. I’d gotten the tickets on eBay last week for a few dollars shy of face value, so I was thrilled to find out just how good they were. We were in section 112, row 1, seats 11 and 12: basically, one riser up from the floor and one section away from the stage, about even with the seats in row 9 of the main floor.
We then heard some murmuring that ‘Casey Carlson is right there!’ Sure enough, Casey the Bubble Tea Maker herself was standing directly in front of us. Wow, is she ever gorgeous and tiny! It was all I could do not to try wrapping my hands around her waist to see if my fingers would touch! In the ten minutes she was there, a steady stream of people were asking to take pictures with her. To her credit, she was very polite and upbeat and happily accommodated everyone. Someone must have asked her about Adam, because I heard her saying that Adam had been ‘wonderful, very professional, and a complete gentleman.’ During the concert, one of the idols gave Casey a shout-out, but I’m blanking on which one did it. I only recall it was one of the guys.
Though I was kind of hoping for a group number to start the show, Michael did get things rolling with a lot of energy. He got the entire audience (from main floor to nose-bleed) on its feet and even said that it was the first time all tour that everyone was standing for the start of the concert. But maybe he says that at every venue, you never know. Michael, as I noted previously, was so much bigger than he looked on television. And he was very handsome in that big-guy oil-rigger kind of way. I enjoyed his performance a lot more than I thought I would, and my daughter liked him too.
One thing about the format that kind of bugged me was how they introduced each singer. So for Michael, it was just some video of Michael on the big screen, flashing lights, and an obviously recorded voice blurting out ‘Michael.’ It was the same for Megan. I don’t know; it made it feel a bit like an American Idol assembly line. I thought the singers deserved more than that.
Wow, Megan was certainly all dolled up, wasn’t she? She came across so much better live than she did on television. She seemed very comfortable strutting and sashaying around the stage. And I only noticed that weird shimmy thing a couple times. I love the song ‘Tears Dry on Their Own, ‘ and Megan sang it really well. Again, both my daughter and I were both surprised at how much we enjoyed Megan.
And Scott. OK, Scott was, for me, kind of like he was on television: engaging, smart personality, with a good voice’ ¦but not a lot beyond that. I did appreciate his joking with the crowd between songs, and he certainly did get a lot of love from the Minnesota audience.
And then there’s Lil. I hated her outfit. There are parts of Lil that aren’t particularly lil’, if you catch my meaning, and her clothes were not doing her any favors. Lil’s performance reminded me of Rami last year: she has a strong voice, but somehow Lil just doesn’t command the stage. She did get the crowd going for ‘Single Ladies, ‘ but I think that was more the song (which is, as my daughter says, ‘silly but catchy’ ) than anything else.
It was around this time in the concert that I noticed a group of women in the section next to us who were dancing and bopping around like total goobers. They looked like they were having a blast, but OMG their dancing was hilarious. Every once in a while during the concert, I’d look over at them, and sure enough their arms and hips were still flailing about aimlessly.
Anoop was my favorite from last season, and I just love his smooth-as-silk-easy-as-cream-drenched-in-melted-butter voice. The boy had some moves on stage too! His performance skills translated really well up there. ‘Always on my Mind’ was just gorgeous, and I thought ‘My Prerogative’ was excellent.
I wasn’t a big Matt fan on the show, but I have to say that he won me over in concert. He was as cute as a pair of puppy noses and appeared so happy to be on stage. The crowd was loving on him too. ‘Hard to Handle’ was an eye-opener for me; I just didn’t expect that kind of energy from Matt. My daughter is a fan of the Fray, so she liked Matt singing ‘You Found Me.’
Now the group medley: I love seeing the idols sing together! I wish there had been more of this!
When Lil and Megan were singing ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You, ‘ either Megan messed up or she saw something really funny, because midway through, she started giggling like crazy and could barely sing her part of the song.
And gosh almighty, I loved loved loved Scott and Matt on dueling pianos. I know it will never happen, but they could totally team up and perform together. I could see them doing their dueling piano routine in Vegas. Hey, don’t laugh, I’ll bet those guys make a good living!
I couldn’t figure out why Michael got his own little snippet of ‘Suspicious Minds’ instead of singing with someone as everyone else did. He sounded nice, though.
‘Beggin’ was really well done. Everyone seemed to be working that choreography. Great way to close out the first half.
Twenty minutes for intermission is very long.
I was excited to see Allison, but, unfortunately, I didn’t love a lot of her performance. ‘So What’ just didn’t fit her voice (though I did enjoy her marching to the beat’ ¦very cute). ‘Cry Baby’ felt a little screamy to me. ‘Barracuda’ was great. But I just got the sense that Allison is young and kind of inexperienced and is trying very, very hard to make this all work. I mean, kudos to her for her energy, and she does have a nice voice. I just think in five years she will be ‘ready, ‘ and she isn’t ready now.
Danny: I don’t mind flirty performers, and I don’t mind take-me-to-church performers, but somehow the combination of the two in one performer ooks me out something fierce. And that, in a nutshell, is Danny. My daughter thought he was cheesy. I liked ‘PYT’ and could kind of enjoy the hip-swiveling ‘Maria Maria.’ But his preachifying before ‘My Wish’ made all the leering and flirting with the audience beforehand feel icky. Oh, also, he kept doing this sideways dance move, and it made me a little sad, because it reminded me of the move Bucky Covington used to do. Aw, Bucky was so adorable’ ¦.
And now for the NC-17 portion of the show: Heh, I kid, but’ ¦yeah, parts of Adam’s performance made my daughter look at me with mouth agape and a look of shock and horror on her face. When Adam straddled the mic stand and then stroked it? Maybe was a bit much, lol. Of course, the women behind me panting and screaming ‘We love you Adam!’ probably didn’t help. Later, my daughter said Adam’s performance had been ‘kind of inappropriate.’ Also, the light show Adam got was too much for her eyes. She did like ‘Starlight, ‘ however. As for me, on an adult level, Adam was a ton of fun to watch. He is a superb performer. I’m not sure what his future holds’ ¦I still think he’ll do best on Broadway, because I’m not sure how he might translate over the radio. One last note, I’m hoping beyond hope that Adam doing Bowie on tour means maybe we’ll get a Bowie night for AI next season.
Oh, almost forgot: yes, Adam got the loudest cheers of the night, hands-down.
Kris is the performer who, during the season, I kept on having to remind my daughter who he was. I think by maybe top-5 she was beginning to remember him. Last night, I was thinking that Kris is the ‘Accidental Idol.’ We’re not really sure how he ended up there, but since he is there and nice enough and not bad, we’ll give him a little love. I did enjoy his set, and the concert venue allowed Kris the Musician to shine so much more than he ever did on AI. His version of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ was great’ ¦very moody and almost gothic. Heh, I hope Bill Withers is collecting a nice royalty check. ‘Hey Jude’ was fun when the other singers joined him on stage, though I wish they had joined him earlier in the song.
The final group number was really nice. Again, we were treated to a little of the dueling-piano duo of Scott & Matt’ ¦performing nightly in the main-floor lounge of the Flamingo at 9, 11, and 1! OK, I made up that last part, but I can dream, right? I honestly think it would be a great gig for them. There are worse ways to make a living.
All in all, the concert was great. My daughter came away really loving Megan, Michael, and Matt. I enjoyed those three too, though Anoop is my boy.
If I had to rank the AI concerts I’ve seen, I would have to do it like this, from best to not-so-best: AI 6, AI 8, AI 5, AI 7. Funny, AI 6 was probably my least favorite season, but their concert was top-notch.