My 9-year-old daughter and I attended the Idols concert on 8/4/07 (me in my …Life is Beautiful T-shirt in honor of my boy, Sanjaya!). I had bought tickets off eBay at what turned out to be pretty much face value, as these tickets were more expensive than the regular Ticketmaster tickets. We were in
the center section on the floor, seats 1 and 2 of row 8, which was actually the third row. Because of the way the stage was set up, there were no rows 1 through 5 in the center section. These were great seats! (Check out my AI photos on photobucket) There is nothing in this world like seeing your idols singing right in front of you! Im spoiled now, though, so Ive already vowed to myself that next year I will happily shell out the extra dough for primo seats.
This season singers really got short-changed on American Idol. Little time and production effort was given to the singers as individuals, and their personalities got buried beneath a slop pile of …mentors, Idol Gives Back, and the songwriter competition thrown in at the last minute. But at the concert, with the spotlight on them and nothing else, these singers shined as people and performers.
More from Janerazor’s recap after the jump
I enjoyed this year concert format much more than the one last year. I loved that they mixed it up and gave us lots of different combos. It was like getting to see Fantasy Idol played out before our very eyes!: Gosh, what if much-maligned Sanjaya and much-lauded Melinda sang together? What would a beatbox showdown between Blake and Chris R. sound like? Hey, wouldnt it be cool if all the guys could play their instruments and rock out together?
I wont go through a complete play-by-play (another vow: next year, I will take notes during the concert!), but I will offer some highlights.
I knew the security guard standing on stage before the concert started was Blake, but I didnt want to ruin the surprise for my daughter, so I didnt tell her. When Blake face came on the screen during that Q&A thing they were doing, the audience went wild. The …security guard turned to look at the screen in this disinterested, offhand way, as if he were thinking, …Now what all the fuss over that guy? Cute!
…Let Get It Started was a good beginning to the show. It was smart to start it all with Blake, since he was the clear crowd favorite. I was surprised at how good Phil sounded here, but Phil overall comes off as extremely professional, so he probably could tackle any genre. When Haley came out, I wondered just how many sets of hair extensions she was wearing, because, my friends, she got a serious ‹do goin on! It looked great, but she definitely going for the Big&Sexy look. And then there Sligh, who ¦well ¦I ¦I just dont love him, OK? He came out sort of clomping round looking uncomfortable, like he was deathly afraid his pants were going to fall down. Oh, he also said something like …How you doin, Minneapolis? Which would have been nice, you know, if wed actually been in Minneapolis. The concert was in St. Paul. And as close as our seats were, we ould see the saliva fly every time Sligh opened his mouth. Gina, on the other hand, was beautiful! She looked thinner and more glam. She like the girl-next-door meets Courtney Love!
Melinda and Lakisha singing the girl-band 60s stuff was lovely and authentic, but it was also a little jarring going to that genre right off the Black-Eyed Peas. Chris R. coming out to join them on …Heard It Through the Grapevine in a sharp blue suit? Wow, I now see this guy appeal. He sounded better than he did on the show, and he got a smile that generates enough electricity to power a small country. He moves well, too, really performing with his whole body.
Whoever gave the green light to the …Proud Mary duet of Melinda and Sanjaya should get a pay raise. Their voices go great together, and they both are able to show the rollicking enthusiasm that this number requires. And Sanjaya is hawt! I know he only 17 (!), but there no way around it, my friends. The hip rolls and smoldering (and I mean smoldering!) looks he offers up here are lethal! At the end of the song, Sanjaya gave Melinda a kiss on the forehead, which was a sweet-hot gesture.
As I said, Phil is a consummate professional. Every time he was on stage, he was focused and giving 100 percent in a very personal and sincere way. …Blaze of Glory was one of the concert highlights. I read in another review that Phil seems to light up when he sees little girls, and I noticed this, too. He
was on the edge of the stage, about to cross back to the other side, when these two little cuties ran up. He did a slight double-take and then paused for them to get up close so he could high-five them.
And whoever gave the green light to the duet of Gina and Sligh? Ummmm, better luck next time, buddy. For as much chemistry as these two seemed to have, they might as well have been singing in different time zones. I actually felt a little bad for Gina, because she sounded awesome, But Sligh did point out that
he was wearing a John Deere shirt, so I cheered for that.
I liked Haley solo, but I couldnt really hear her that well. But, gosh, her hair was gorgeous. And she really does have a nice stage presence. She moved around a lot, which looked good, but I could never get a decent picture of her!
And Sanjaya. Oh my, the hotness that is Sanjaya. …The Way You Make Me Feel was very loose, very flirty. His voice sounded fantastic, and he looked completely at ease and in command playfully strutting around the stage with his incredible hair and million-dollar smile. After the song, Sanjaya does this
which-section-can-be-the-loudest game, and he seemed genuinely excited about it! Someone shouted that he was from Alaska, and Sanjaya yelled …Alaska rocks! Then he goaded the other section by saying “Youre not going to let the guy from Alaska beat you! And all the while he was kind of bouncing and leaping about.
And Sligh. You know, Sligh is a talented musician and singer, no doubt about that. But the stage presence just isnt there. He still moves awkwardly, and I never see an ounce of emotion on his face. It too bad, really. And when he sings …Typical, to me it sounds like he is singing …Tippy Cup.
Im glad to see more attention to costume and choreography. The …Lady Marmalade number really benefited from that. (OTOH, the tops hats the girls wore for …Aint No Other Man were ill-fitting; Melinda looked as if she were wearing a black mushroom.)
When Phil, Sanjaya, and Sligh were doing their fake boy-band thing, it was clear that they actually would sound great doing that song (though Phil sang it in a really funny and deliberate way). Sanjaya sings the longest, and Sligh stops him by saying …Sanjaya, you went on too long. I noticed that Sanjaya then leapt over to Phil ear and quickly whispered something to him. Im sure we werent meant to hear what he said, because he had his mic away from him, and it went very fast. Still, I wonder what Sanjaya said! Anyway, the bit is amusing, but (and I hate to pick on him, but ¦) Sligh doesnt have much comic timing. He was always a beat ahead or behind the rhythm of the joke.
When Jordin and Chris R. sat down with their guitars, my daughter turned to me and asked, …Where Blake?!?! I sort of felt the same way, too. Heh, be patient, my dear!
When …Time of the Season finally started, the crowd erupted. Blake sounded great in person, and he appeared looser and more relaxed as a performer on stage as opposed to on our televisions. The looping thing worked well on …She Will Be Loved, though Ive seen that done before (hello, David Ryan Harris!). I
liked hearing Blake beatbox. He has an incredible feel for rhythm. At one point, he speeds up his tempo, but he does it in time with the original tempo, if that makes sense. I was impressed by his sense of music overall. Even if he doesnt have a huge career ahead of him as a singer, he will definitely be in
the music business in some capacity.
Intermission. Hurray for separate bathrooms on the main floor!
…Crazy and …Hey Jude were great! If you you-tubed early performances of these songs, just know that the boys have improved greatly. I managed to record a little of …Hey Jude, and my audio is only fair, but the guys are super! (Another vow: next year, figure out how to record video and take better
pictures!) Phil does really well on keyboard. Kudos to the sexy drummer boy, Chris R. And Sanjaya (looking decidedly older and edgier during this number) doing the screaming part of …Hey Jude was inspired.
Gina did well with …Who Knew. I could see her in that genre: vaguely …out there pop star. She really does have a better voice than she managed to show on AI this year.
…Aint No Sunshine got an authentic treatment from Chris R. It reminded me of …Dont Let the Sun Catch You Crying, which I liked at the time. And watching Chris R. and Blake singing together and then beatboxing back and forth was just good fun. They are both engaging performers. As they were leaving the stage, Blake almost tripped on something, and Chris R. said either …Watch it, baby or …Watch it, buddy, but it really sounded more like …baby.
At some point, Phil and Gina did a duet. I didnt know the song, but a couple in the first row stood up and started dancing. Phil pointed them out and said, …Now that what it all about. I didnt like Gina dress at this point. I had that same dress in 1988. But the jacket that Phil wears during this song rocks! I want to get my husband that jacket!
Again, at some point, Phil came up from the stage floor in his naval uniform and sang …America. It was gorgeous, and after the song, he mentioned the bridge-collapse tragedy that just happened in Minneapolis. That was nice. He was also very adamant in making sure that we all knew that they (the idols)
love us as much as we love them. He a sweet and sincere guy.
From what Ive read in other reviews, …Life is a Highway gets no respect. But I thought this was a very fun number! Oh, was Sanjaya in it? Hee, oh yeah, I guess he was! He was adorable running around, slapping hands with fans at the edges of the stage (sprawling out so far over the edge to reach more fans at one point that I thought he was going to fall off!), dancing alongside the backup singers ¦OK, completely cute and hot all throughout!
Even though Jordin gets to be on stage by herself for so long, I think that it doesnt end up being a benefit. Her set gets a little dull compared with the dancing and the costumes and the unique matchups that the other songs have. Still, I will say that she got a great voice, and I enjoyed listening to
her more than I did on AI. She mentioned that she has family in Minnesota and that she used to visit them a lot here. Apparently she had some relatives in the audience. Made me wonder if she says that in every city, lol!
…This is My Now is the encore. Not a good song.
The way they have everyone (in white now, except for Jordin in black) come out and sing a snippet of something they just sang in the concert doesnt really work well. It too linear, too short, and just plain anticlimactic. It was better when they all came out, looking lovely in their white outfits. Lakisha had the most gorgeous white and gold shoes! Seriously, I took a picture of them! Theyre really cute! Sanjaya was standing next to Gina. They were holding hands, when Sanjaya suddenly pulled Gina to him, wrapped the full length of his long, long arms around her, and gave her a big smooch on the neck. I got a picture of the hug, but not the kiss.
After the idols had left the stage, the male backup singer pumped his arms, as if he wanted to have his own curtain call. It was funny, but I knew he had a point. The backup singers do a lot of work during this concert. I raised my arms and gave them a little …whoooh! The backup guy smiled and gave me a little finger point. Nice work, backups!
In the car, my daughter told me that Melinda had waved at her and that she thought the female backup singer (Charlotte?) should try out for AI next year, because she was really good. All in all, a great evening of entertainment!
One more thing: the Pop-Tarts they handed out this year are a huge improvement over last year. My daughter even asked for them the next day.