I been a lurker for some time on MJ’s blog, and whether I agree or disagree with some of the comments, I always end up learning something in the end. You guys are very informative, smart and witty!
Some background on myself. I’ve been watching AI since midway through S2, and have been to all the AI concerts starting with S4. Over the seasons, my favorites were Bo, Carrie, Kelly, Chris, Elliot, Cook, Allison, Kris and mainly Adam. Still remember loving Bo during S4’s run, but at that concert realizing how enormously talented Carrie was when she sang live. Kept thinking this season, we’ve come a long way from that pretty farm girl, who claimed that her only experience performing was to sing to her farm animals, to the contestants we have now, S8. These contestants seemed more seasoned on stage; taking nothing away from Carrie’s, or any other prior contestant’s, raw talent. Certainly didn’t hurt her in sales!
I went to both nights in Newark. First night was a nice group of mommies and daughters (girls were 10 & 11 years old). My daughter and I were probably the biggest fans of the show from our group, but everyone who went with us the first night, watched at least some of the show this season and knew the contestants fairly well. First night we sat in section 129, two levels up, going halfway back on the side of the stage. Second night, only my daughter and I went, and we sat on the floor, in section CC, row 3. For me, the seating did seem to enhance my concert experience. I felt more connected to the show, for some reason seating on the floor. Us fans talked to each other about the show, our favorites on the floor; whereas up in section 129, it seemed like our group talked among ourselves only.
Several people on the floor spoke about going to more than one show this year, and many of them, sat on the floor for each show. Some brought posters, dressed for their favorites, etc. I found that there were different age groups, but mainly woman, with still quite a few men. On the floor, there were fans for Kris, Adam, Danny, Allison, Matt and Anoop, with probably Adam getting a slight edge in the fan count. From the floor seats, you could see every facial expression from the Idols, watch them directly interact with the fans (i.e.) fans waved to them, they waved or smiled back. I didn’t miss hearing comments by some of the idols to each other on stage, and/or to the audience. They also just sounded better and the energy was higher for me on the floor. However, I enjoyed the show very much both nights!
Overall, I felt all the contestants sounded better live in concert than on the show. It was particularly apparent from the floor seats that all the idols put forth a great effort to entertain the audience. Side note: after reading about what their day consists of, and after talking to a security guard about the idols having several M&Gs that day alone, I have huge respect for them coming out and giving their all for us! I was tired just going to two shows back to back. I can’t imagine how drained these guys and gals are by now midway through this long, trying, tour.
For whatever other reasons than the seating, I felt that the idols just sounded and performed slightly better night two. Again this may be only my perception due to feeling more connected by virtue of the seating. I’ve read, saw for myself, and heard the idols state that they had family members in the audience for night 2 which may have also positively affected their interaction with the audience. Also, for the first night, our girls wanted very badly to try to obtain autographs for the infamous M&G at the barricades. The girls chose to miss a couple of songs, to leave the concert a bit early and get a “good” spot along the barricades. Not seeing the whole show the first night makes for a different experience.
Michael sounded really nice and connected in a friendly, warm manner with the audience. He gave a shout out to his wife, night 2, and seemed to enjoy his opportunity to be performing. He asked the audience to clap, or join in, in some way, several times, and they responded to his requests more often than not.
I caught Megan affectionately waving and making eye contact with her son the 2nd night. Her unique tone sounded better, and she seemed more comfortable interacting with the audience that 2nd night.
Lil seemed to throw herself also more into her performance, or at least I noticed her doing so more, the second night. She had a lot of energy dancing around the stage, and seemed eager to please the audience.
Scott has a nice voice, and is a very talented pianist. Most chuckled at his jokes, and he sounded a bit less nasal than he did on the show. He reminded my of a Billy Joel type of performer.
Anoop has a very nice R&B, smooth sounding voice. He was probably the first idol I noticed to connect more emotionally with his song choice. I could see his facial expression, and body language as he sang the first song with emotion.
Matt just came out and rocked for his first song. I think he received the biggest response overall for the first half, from the audience, as he seemed to pleasantly surprise them with his great piano playing and falsetto. As good as the other idols were that went before him, he seemed to be in somewhat of a different league from them. He is an excellent musician. For me, Matt seemed overly sensitive to perceived criticism, which heightened his anxiety on the show. At the concert, he seemed more relaxed, and confident which allowed his talent to shine on stage.
I liked Anoop, Michael, Matt and Scott for the first group song. I was loving Scott and Matt’s dueling pianos!
Allison: probably the most talented singer at that age, that I can remember seeing live. She is comfortable on the stage, has a presence, and her voice is unmistakably hers. I felt every emotional note when she sang Cry Baby, and felt her energy for the other songs which she sang like no other. She kicked it up from the first half singers for me and is a true rocker girl who has arrived. Allison now had received the biggest crowd response (and respect) than the others who sang before her.
Danny got a lot of love from the audience, many who seemed to await his turn. He sounded very good, and has a distinct, raspy, sexy type of voice. His voice seemed a bit strained the first night, but not the second night. Danny seemed to enjoy performing and seemed to want to encourage the audience, via his song choices, statement and performance. He came off very sweet and sincere.
Adam received probably the loudest, response in terms of screaming, and shrilling from the audience. The one thing I did notice about his performance is even though he asks the audience to “dance” during the Bowie number, or motions for them to bring it response wise during WLL, he didn’t have to. His performance seems to evoke any and all he could ask for response wise from the audience on its own. From all the idols, for me, he owned the stage the most and was most comfortable on it. He is totally uninhibited, is able to improvise easily and the most of all the idols, He moves around the stage in the most fluid, manner with total ease and comfort. When he sings literally every part of him, his facial expressions, his body language, etc. are in sync with the song, its lyrics and the emotion of the song.
After watching countless videos of him performing at earlier venues, I did notice that at these two concerts and from maybe NC on, he seems to have a slight cold or something. Knowing his particularly trying schedule, it is understandable. Didn’t matter though. His voice was still just amazing. He could sing anything IMHO. I did find that on the second night he improvised more, seemed to be having more fun with Allison than usual, and his moves were even more intense..for lack of a better word. He also changed up his hair from more Emo to Elvis look the 2nd night. No joke, there were a couple of times, he made a gesture with his lip which was so similar to what Elvis did, it was eerie. (No I’m not calling him the next Elvis, lol, just saying…)
I think Kris got a better response night two than night one but I could be wrong (anybody?) Still got lotsa of love both nights though. And he does deserve a great response! His voice is richer than it seemed on the show, and it filled the arena very well. He really knows what songs work for him ( and what songs would work for the others for that matter), knowing music as he seems to so well. He gets into his performance, and again I saw how much he loved to perform and sing for us.
Yes, he and Adam’s performances and singing styles are apples and oranges but both are terrific in their own way as many have said. I find both have a lot in common though. Both connect the audience to their songs emotionally, both appreciate (lyrics, “groove”) and know music, and know what works well for them best. I would also include Allison with them in that they all have their own unique signatures which for me sets them apart from the others.
If I had to pick who I’d pay to see on a solo tour it would be Adam, Allison, more than likely Kris, good shot for Matt, and depending on what he puts out, Danny. So for me, America did pick the best for the top five (not saying which order works for me best though).
Quick note about the M&G at the barricades. The idols were all very kind and considerate trying to work a very long line. The first night, they all came out, but Scott just ran by with his brother and waved, not signing. The second night, Adam did not come out and Michael came out but did not sign or take photos from what I saw. Kris and maybe Anoop were only able to go about halfway up the long line.
It started raining and as I saw and read, many of the idols had family and friends to see. In addition I know Kris and Adam were in NYC for GMA Friday morning, and heard that Kris, Adam and Allison did some kind of shoot for a magazine on Sat. This along with all the M&Gs, press, and other events (NASDAQ) make for very tired idols. Did we love even briefly getting to meet them and having them sign autographs and snap a quick picture…you bet! Made our of our day and especially made our day watching how happy this made our girls! However, these idols have to be toast and I greatly appreciated their time and effort at the barricades.
For whatever reason, the 2nd night was very subdued where I was standing and there wasn’t anywhere near some of the chaos that ensued some of the time, the first night. Adam certainly got that crazy response when he came out and graciously walked and signed for fans at the barricades. (I understand the ear plugs and security for him). My friends with me could not get over how, to use their words, “stunning” he was up close and in person. As they remarked, “his blue eyes go right through you.”
Kris is as Paula said, “adorable, sexy”. Couldn’t agree more. I have to say all the idols up close and personal so to speak, looked younger and more handsome and/or beautiful than they even did on tv! All in all, this was a great experience due to the fact that this is probably the most talented bunch of “kids” in concert from AI. After going to many non AI concerts over the years, and having been disappointed, some of the time, with the performer’s live singing after hearing them sound better on their cd or on the radio ( due to technology bettering their voices), this was a welcome surprise! The idols can all sing, and sound even better live! Have fun if you haven’t gone yet!