Latecomer’s re-cap below! Free the Gnomes!
My screen name is “latecomer” because I never saw an episode of AI till the season 5 finale, and that was just because I was at a friends house and it happened to be on the TV. That got me interested enough to watch most of season 6, but I would say that I didn’t really become obsessed till this year, specifically the night that David Cook sang Billie Jean.
I’ve been to a lot of musical performances in my life – and whether it’s a rock concert, a symphony, a kids group, or an opera, you don’t normally find a diverse audience at any of these events. So what struck me right away when I walked into Rupp Arena was how much the audience looked like a slice of “middle America.” I expected the audience to be predominately teen and tween girls, and cougars with young daughters. I was shocked to see so many men and women in their 50 and 60s. I mean I knew that there were plenty of grandmas out there watching the show and voting, I just never expected them to be at the concert. I wonder if it’s like that in every city?
Does anybody know if Corey the warmup guy is the same guy that works the AI set? After reading about him so much in the EW on the scene reports, I had always pictured him as a middle aged African American, so I was surprised to see that he was a young white guy.
I expected the evening to feel more like “mini-concerts.” David Cook’s set definitely felt that way, and so did Michael Johns. But for the rest of them, especially in the beginning, the pace was so fast and it didn’t feel as if the performers had time to talk to the audience. There was no pause at all between the end of one performer and when the next person’s face appeared on the screen. It was especially bad for Ramiele. At the end of her set, she got polite applause, but she wasn’t even off the stage yet when the roars started for Michael Johns. Even though she was my least favorite in the top 10, I felt bad for her tonight.
Chikezie- started the show with a lot of energy, but the band played louder than his voice through much of his first song.
Ramiele- One good thing about seeing the concert in mid August was that I hoped that 6 weeks of touring would have given Ramiele a chance to get better at working the stage, but alas, as she started in with her Michael Jackson classic complete with cheesy dance steps right out of the 60’s or 70’s, I could see that it wasn’t to be. She dedicated her second song to her cousin who she said passed away yesterday.
MJ – I was a big fan of MJ on the show, but it’s true that like the judges, I wasn’t overwhelmed by many of his performances on the show. He actually sounded MUCH better live! It did sound as if he messed up during “It’s all wrong” he kept going with the chorus, but it was supposed to be a moment for a guitar solo – he laughed a bit there. Although I suspect that he didn’t say one word tonight in between songs that he doesn’t say in every city, he did it in a way that felt fresh, and real – I hope that he can achieve some success with his independent record, because I think his solo concert would be great. Lately there has been some talk of him being a bit full of himself, but I though it was nice the way he emphasized the words “you brought me fame and fortune and everything that goes with it – I thank you all!” during his first song.
KLC – Kristy’s voice can be beautiful, she’s just not very consistent with it, and tonight, I didn’t think it sounded very good. She hasn’t lost that wide leg stance she favored on the show and she spent a lot of time leaning on the railing while she sang. I wish she had sung “Anyway”. She said that she went to visit Smarty Jones yesterday. (That’s a million dollar horse that won the KY Derby who lives on a stud farm just outside town).
Carly – “Crazy on you” was a highlight of the concert for me. She looked and sounded great. But her opening number was a big disappointment. Definitely the right vibe for her, but I think she sang it too high, and her upper register just sounds like shrieking to me. She wasn’t very chatty between songs tonight, and had a long awkward pause in between songs with her back to the audience while she drank water.
Brooke – LOVED her set – very fun! Let it be was good, although nothing can really beat watching her perform it that first time on the big AI stage when she seemed so emotional. I was so busy looking under the piano, trying to figure out where she left her shoes, I was surprised to see how animated her leg movements with both feet were – she looked like she was marching! And then I figured out why I couldn’t see her shoes – because she didn’t bring any out with her. She did her whole set barefoot, even at the mike at the end of the runway! She mentioned that she had been walking around the mall earlier in the day – that would have been an interesting sight!
Jason – he definitely got more high pitched screams than Archie in this town. The crowd went nuts for him! He is still not at all comfortable on the stage (“I sometimes don’t know what to say up here”), and his style of music, while I like it, just didn’t feel right in a huge arena.
Syesha – was having a bad hair day today, and I was underwhelmed by her set. For “Umbrella” I couldn’t hear her voice over the background singers. And then for her next two songs, I’d have to agree with Simon that it was a bit “shouty”.
Archie – he seemed much older to me in person. But maybe that was just because he was wearing baggy pants and a Liberace jacket. He commented on how pretty Lexington seemed as her drove around and saw all the horses and the fences. Hearing him sing in a loud concert venue was better for me because it was so loud that I couldn’t hear that nasal quality to his voice or hear his gasping for air in between verses. I hope that his fame and fortune will allow him to get a trainer to teach him breath control, because he was so out of breath in between songs he could barely talk.
DC – I think MJ was right that David spent all of yesterday recording because his voice sounded a bit hoarse, a lot like it did on the finale of the show. He mentioned that he had family in a small town in KY (it began with a G, but I didn’t catch the name), and that his father, his Aunt Louise, and cousin Mike were in the audience. He truly seemed to enjoy interacting with the audience. At one point he went stage right and beckoned for someone to come down with their sign. I couldn’t see what the sign said, but at the end of the song he said “where is that dude?” pointing in that direction and said “really, thanks for that sign – it truly meant a lot to me”. Later he noticed that someone was holding up their cell phone as if they had called a friend who was listening in on the concert, so he grabbed the phone and kept singing into his mike and the phone at the same time! Most of the performers had a water bottle out there to drink from, but David had 2 or 3. Each time he wanted a drink he took one swig, recapped the bottle and threw it into the audience! After TOML he said to the audience “I have to ask – what’s up with the ‘Free the gnomes’ sign?” Someone in the front row had the sign, but didn’t have a good answer for him. I guess the sign just struck David as very funny, because at the end as they finished PDSTM, he grabbed the sign and held it up to the audience while he marched around the stage and as he disappeared down the lift, pointing to it dramatically the whole time and cracking up and making faces at the other idols!
MAVID – I don’t know what you’d call it, but they did a hand clapping game like little girls do to “Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack..”