I’m an Adam fan, but I really liked several contestants this year, so I’ll try to be fair to everyone, at least according to my experience. This was the first time in years I’ve even bought tickets on the floor of a concert, and the enthusiasm is awesome, but the view is terrible. Don’t know that I’d get those seats again, especially because I had my little girl (9 almost 10’â€I’ll get to that later). This is also the first Idol concert I’ve attended since the first season, and the overall talent and production values are vastly improved.
We got there about an hour early because I wanted to get dinner and also try to meet with other fans. I met Palangga, Needacoke and several others whose online names I don’t know. Needacoke had backstage passes again, lucky lady! I congratulated her on the fabulous backstage pics of Adam last week. Palangga was another example of a casual fan turned Glambert. She had some glitter with her and shared it with my daughter and me. (Remind me not to do that again; glitter is itchy!) I’d say most of the fans I met in the lobby, restroom or in seats around me were majority Adam fans in the sense that most talked about his talent and had a ‘he should have won’ opinion, but so many also were excited about more than one idol. Seriously, Georgia is enthusiastic about American Idol in general. As everyone else has reported, people screamed whenever even a part of Adam’s face showed up on the screens, but I noticed cheers for other idols, just not nearly as loud. There were big Allison fans behind me who also had written the names of the other idols on their shirts, and they tended to scream only for Allison. Meeting and talking to the other fans was one of the best parts of the evening.
Afterwards, my daughter was on the front line at the barricade, and I was right behind her. We did this by leaving in the middle of Don’t Stop Believing. I figured I’d have to miss Adam’s final glory note (which goes higher than Steve Perry’s, right?) and just watch the videos again. All the idols made it out last night except Allison and Lil. I made sure to print up glossy 8 x 10’s of a group shot so that no one’s feelings would be hurt having to sign on someone else’s photo! The crowd behaved quite well.
Michael: When Michael came up I was somewhat distracted trying to do the text to win backstage passes, but I started really listening after his Gavin DeGraw song barely started, and he sounded soulful, in a kind of country-rock way, if that makes sense. Country rock is not as popular unless you count Kid Rock’s All Summer Long, but that is what I see Michael doing. When he did Closer I thought his voice sounded good, but I had trouble matching the song with his image. His stage presence is open and friendly and he makes an effort to connect with the audience. I think they responded warmly. At the meet and greet, Michael was the first to come out, and by far he is the friendliest and most approachable. He was the first one I asked to sing Happy Birthday to my daughter (who’s turning 10 in just a few days), and he wanted to know her name first so he could say it when he sung his line from Happy Birthday! He also leaned down and sang it straight to her. He really won us over, and I could see he must be a really nice family guy.
Meaghan: She is the only one where I felt the audience response was being “polite” compared to the other nine. Her voice has that unusual tone, which I loved at the beginning of the season, but she sounded strained and a little breathless last night. She may need training to do this type of big performance. I did like her stage presence fine, but more for a smaller venue. She is gorgeous in person, both in face and figure, and later at the meet and greet she made eye contact and was very sweet with my daughter when she signed our autographs. She also sang a line of Happy Birthday, and she sounded better up close in that intimate distance.
Scott: He has a lovely voice, which is sort of a cousin to Adam’s voice. A Thousand Miles is a good song choice for him. He didn’t hit any bum notes I could tell. Scott sings in a tenorish voice which filled the arena. He had a lounge piano player vibe, but it’s appealing in an adult-contemporary way. He told his high-five joke and the joke about not seeing people when they wave to him, but a lot of people in the audience must not have ever heard these jokes because they laughed. Warm applause for him. He and his brother made the rounds at the barricades, and Scott even signed autographs. He smiled genuinely when greeting fans and thanked us as he was led through the line. I have seen some interviews where he seems extremely sure of his music ability and this can come off as arrogance, but I thought he seemed very grateful with the crowd.
Lil: She has a soul-diva voice which has a better impact live than most of her TV performances. Her enthusiasm and confidence on stage was infectious, and her dance moves were fine. I also liked how she owned her sexy black outfit. You go, Lil! She got most people on their feet for Single Ladies. Even I sang along to the uh, oh’s, and I’m a middle aged lady. She did not come to the meet-and-greet, which disappointed me.
Anoop: He has the voice I could best see translating into current R & B records today. It is sexy, smooth and soulful. He has a strong voice but he sounded a touch strained in some spots. It’s kind of Luther Vandross style. I liked him a lot. Many cries of Anooooop! He also had some great dance moves which surprised me on My Prerogative. His pseudo gangsta schtick is charming, but I don’t see it translating to the MTV crowd. I’d like to see him polish his performance. Maybe he should try a more Usher-like approach, the ladies’ man rather than the tough guy. Also, when he spoke to the audience, his in-between song banter is tepid. I don’t mean to be harsh, but I feel the most hope for Anoop as far as being signed as an artist and would love to see him succeed. He’s very good-looking in person, and at the meet-and-greet when I asked him to sing Happy Birthday, he sincerely apologized and touched his throat (resting his voice), and he said it to her instead.
Matt: He worked the crowd the best of the first-half group. Wow, did he rock it out on Hard to Handle, moving around the stage and projecting out his strong bluesy voice. The crowd was really dancing and loving him. When he did Georgia, he was clearly expecting a huge crowd response because he made sure to remind us it’s our state song. At one point, when the crowd cheered moderately, he mildly complained that we sure weren’t all that into our state song. I felt that was distracting. Just sing the hell out of the song, Matt, and the crowd will respond’â€we’re still holding you to the Ray Charles standard, remember? He’s an outstanding piano player, and he knows how to make that part of his performance. His Fray song was anti-climactic, but not terrible. My one small critique is that he did hit a few bum notes in that one. His falsetto is fantastic. When he was at the meet-and-greet, he also said happy birthday (but we didn’t ask him to sing, because things were getting busier). I felt he was the least friendly of the idols and was more standoffish.
Group performance: I liked most of it, though again I thought Meaghan sounded tired. The dueling pianos were cool. The rapping part is the best part with Lil and Anoop.
Allison: She has such a full-throated Janis Joplin rock voice, and she looked great with the fan blowing her hair back and playing the guitar. My favorite song was Barricuda. I didn’t notice the enunciation issues I’d seen on TV with her. That surprised me, but I guess the acoustics are different at a concert and the lyrics are less important? She worked the stage and interacted with the band like a pro. Her performance of Slow Ride with Adam was one of my overall favorites of the evening. There was a purple feather boa thrown on stage during their song, and Adam put it around her. Cute. Adam also picked up a red-pink bra and twirled it around before throwing it out during their duet. What makes an audience interested in a performer is often a singer’s ability to ‘get into it, ‘ and the top four were the best at communicating this ability. I can see how Allison got a record deal so soon. I expect her to be a hit with the tween crowd as well as older crowd. Her voice and stage presence are very mature, but her teenaged giddiness still comes through.
Danny: The best surprise of the night for me. First, he has a voice which is very powerful, bluesy and soulful all at once. He can be sexy smooth or growl emotionally. I loved PYT. I thought his salsa dance in Maria, Maria was believable, and Adam-fan though I am, I never thought he was copying Adam on the mic stand moves. His little speech was more uplifting, and though he obviously has that religious background, he was careful not to exactly go there. I would have liked for him not to do My Wish right after the first Rascal Flatts song. I’m probably the only one that thinks this, but his voice actually reminds me of Teddy Pendergrass. I said this to the 40ish woman next to me and she agreed! He could also do a sort of country-rock, as I suggested for Michael. Their styles are in the same family, to me. At the meet and greet, Danny was only second behind Michael in his level of warmth and approachability. He also sang a line of Happy Birthday to my daughter, and he sounded great. The funniest thing’â€I complimented him on his set, and I admitted that I was and Adam-fan, but that he’d really won me over that night. He looked right at me and said, ‘That really means a lot to me.’ That guy needs a record deal.
Adam: Please don’t kill me. Adam disappointed me on Whole Lotta Love. Don’t get me wrong. The entire place came to its feet with a roar and he makes quite an entrance. It’s just WLL is by far my favorite song/performance from the season, and he was shouting a bit too much and fighting with the band. Maybe the bandzilla thing happened again? He kept hitting high notes, but he changed up the melody too much to suit me, and part of the sexiness of the song is in the lower register, imo. He was hot in his stage performance though, from what I could barely see over everyone’s heads and from the screen. He did NOT do the come-hither gesture. What?! Well, maybe he thought it was starting to look cheesy. Baby, not woman tonight. Emo hair. He did do a dramatic pause, though, which was effective, and the final note (loooooo-ooove) was on point. Starlight was unbelievably amazing, and one is struck by how difficult that song must be to sing, with all the notes scaling up and down. Mad World had that ethereal and haunting quality we’ve come to expect. When he stands and powers out his emotions, so moving. In this regard, he is almost operatic in his performance. I felt this especially in Life on Mars. His voice sounds awesome in that song! I love, love, his lower register. He is a showman first and that theatre background creates a completely different atmosphere during his set. His performance is not just about getting ‘into the music.’ He creates a completely different character for every song. He is more of a performance artist. If I had one critique of him, it would be that I’d love to see on his solo tour a mix of both these theatrical performances with his Upright Cabaret intimate songs. He came out to the meet-and-greet! He didn’t say one thing to fans, and he seems to be saving his voice like Anoop. He was a bit taken aback by one section of the crowd, which was too loud with its screams (too much of that and he’s likely to quit coming out). He has an iconic presence, which is both a gift and a curse. On the one hand, like Elvis or Michael Jackson, he is larger than life. On the other hand, he almost doesn’t seem like a real person. I feel certain from just observing him go through the line that he is trying hard to keep it ‘real, ‘ but very soon I expect this to be impossible. People are truly insane about him from what I saw. Myself, I had the opposite reaction in seeing him in person; I saw him as vulnerable. He seemed smaller and slighter, beautiful like a dark elf. I have no other opinion to give about his personality, just that he’s more delicate than I imagined. I’m so glad my daughter and I were able to get his autograph, because I’m sure we’ll never have the chance again. He is going to be a huge fixture in popular culture.
Kris: He was also a wonderful, wonderful surprise like Danny. I knew Kris could sing in a pleasant voice, but I had no idea he could project to an arena. His voice is much stronger than it seemed on TV, and there’s something radio-friendly and very appealing about his tone, especially live. He can play to a larger crowd. His set reminded me of a Coldplay concert I went to recently. He looks great singing and playing at the piano. Heartless was a big hit with the crowd, who was still on its feet after Adam. He is an artist to watch because he feels the music so well. He looks like he is part of whatever instrument he is playing. He completely won me over. He did shout rather than sing a couple notes (his range can be stretched to its limits) but he really is very entertaining in a completely different way from Adam. Little by little folks started sitting down, especially after the Killers song. Kris’s vocal range seems to fit perfectly in the Killers’ song, my favorite of his set. My guess would be that people just were getting tired, and that’s why they were starting to sit. We’d all been standing a long time. They still were very engaged in his performance, though. I would guess Kris is a virtuoso musician on the guitar. That electric guitar solo on Bright Lights gives him major rock singer credibility! My one small critique is that on Hey Jude Kris took on a ‘yodel-like’ tone to his voice. I can’t explain it any other way. It’s a sort of a higher pitch, folk-country vocal tone that I’m not partial to. Maybe the problem is I’ve seen McCartney do this song live several times, and it’s just hard to compare. At the meet-and-greet, I asked him to sing to my daughter and told him that Michael and Danny had done it. He just laughed and said, ‘Oh yeah, no pressure!’ So Kris leaned down and sang a line from Happy Birthday directly to her, right into her ear! It was the sweetest thing. He is adorable, and I really appreciate him more than I ever did on the show.
I tried to put in as many details as I could remember. It was a great concert and meet-and-greet experience. My daughter is thrilled at her birthday gift of a concert and 8 out of 10 autographs!