Yes, she was really there!
Hello everyone, Monina again. Last year I wrote a recap on the Milwaukee show. This year, I went to see the American Idols Live show in Moline, IL, being that Moline is a little closer to where I live in Iowa. (Yeah, Iowa ¦ people actually live here!) The tour is making a stop at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, but the group of people that I organized to go didnt want to see it at the state fair because the seating is general admission, and it outdoors and you never know what the weather gonna do. If it anything like it been the past few weeks, it gonna be hot and humid for the state fair, which yeah, that would suck. Our Idols are gonna be sweating like hogs up there! (State fair, hogs, ha ha ¦) Anywho, back to Moline ¦ our group consisted of my co-workers Nan and Gayla, Gayla daughter Cindy, my friend Ellie, and Ellie husband Justin.
Nan and I arrived at the iWireless Center, formerly the Mark of the Quad Cities, at 5:15 (showtime was 7:00). I wore an American Idol logo T-shirt that I got free at an outlet mall for spending lots of money on other clothes. We had dinner at a restaurant right across the street ‘ it wasnt quite full when we walked in (we had to sit at the bar), but when we left, it was packed and there was a line. Apparently, all the restaurants in the area were like that ‘ Cindy lives in Rock Island, IL, so Gayla met her there, and when they tried to go to dinner, every restaurant had like an hour wait. Ellie and Justin arrived not too long after we did and reported the same thing. The first thing I noticed as we proceeded towards the entrance, other than the rain that had started to sprinkle, was that it wasnt nearly as crowded outside as it was in Milwaukee last year. There was a PopTarts van and an Oscar Mayer wiener-truck, and a few people were standing around the wiener-truck doing karaoke, but that was it. Once we got inside, I went straight to the merchandise table, and even that wasnt as crowded as it usually is (this was my 4th Idols Live show). I bought a pack of 10 buttons, each with an Idol face, and passed them around the group after we had found our seats. I took Chris R for myself and Blake for my friend Lily, Nan took Jordin, Ellie took Gina, Justin took Haley, Gayla took Melinda, and Cindy took Phil. I offered the rest of the buttons (Sanjaya, LaKisha, and Chris S) to Gayla and Cindy for their kids/grandkids, so Cindy took Sanjaya but gave the rest back.
Our seats were in section 112, a little closer to the stage than we were in the Bradley Center last year, but still too far back for decent pictures. The jumbo-trons in the iWireless Center suck (they are not jumbo at all), so I have no pictures. As it was, I forgot my camera, so I only had my cell phone camera and it doesnt take good pictures from far away. They showed music videos from Idol alumni on the jumbo-trons before the show and during intermission. We saw Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler, Daughtry, and Fantasia. (No Elliott? What the hell?!?!) State Farm had that text-message thing again, but people werent really paying attention to it. And of course, the scary PopTarts were running around trying to get the crowd hyped up. I pointed out the …security guard standing on the stage to Nan. It didnt sound like anyone knew it was Blake ‘ everyone seemed genuinely surprised when the spotlight came up on him and he removed his disguise. Havent these people been reading the recaps?!
The music was SO LOUD that you could barely hear anyone during …Let Get It Started. Props to Gina, who was the only Idol all night who never let her voice get swallowed up by that loud-ass music. A few of the Idols had on John Deere shirts ‘ John Deere is headquartered in Moline, and there is a huge John Deere gift shop across the street from the iWireless Center. Next were LaKisha and Melinda with the ‹60s medley. I love Melinda wigs. It was unfortunate that hers was one of the voices that got swallowed up at times throughout the show, but we could hear her most of the time, and she was masterful. Chris R came out to join them for …I Heard It Through The Grapevine, and how cute is he?!?! He, Blake, and Gina were the best performers of the night; they had it all ‘ the singing, the moves, the smiles, and the interaction with the audience. Next were Melinda and Sanjaya with …Proud Mary, which was surprisingly good. I loved when Sanjaya ripped the ruffly skirt off Melinda dress, and she tossed her head around, releasing a long mass of curls. Im not a Sanjaya fan by any stretch, but I think he does better when he performing with other people vs. when he performing solo. Maybe he and his sister should be a band.
Next was Phil with …Blaze of Glory, which we all really enjoyed. Im glad Phil found his niche and went country; it really suits him. Nan pointed out that the toes on his boots looked to be a good two inches out from where his actual toes probably were ‘ it looked a little strange. Phil just seemed genuinely happy to be there the whole time. He could not stop smiling, saying thank you, and geeking out every now and then. It was really nice to see. I was looking forward to Chris S and Gina …Thnks Fr Th Mmrs, but ended up disappointed. Although Gina projected her voice, they both sounded out of breath, like the song was too fast for them ‘ particularly Chris S. Haley solo was forgettable ‘ what did she sing again? …When God Fearing Women Get the Blues ‘ I had to go look at a previous recap for that, and Im still having a hard time remembering my overall impression of Haley. Okay ¦ I remember feeling like the song was going on too long, like …when will this be over? Her voice sounds weak compared to the rest of the ladies (with the music being so loud, the backup singers were really carrying her), and it looked like her hair extensions were gonna eat her. Justin appreciated her outfits, though.
Again, not a Sanjaya fan, but even looking at his solo objectively, I still wasnt impressed. He seemed to scream and shout more than sing. However, I was intrigued by what appeared to be a balled-up sock in the front of his tight red pants during …The Way You Make Me Feel. I asked Nan and Ellie what they thought, and all they could do was laugh. I think they were laughs of agreement, though. He did the …which section of the audience can scream the loudest thing, and the people were surprisingly loud given that the show was not sold out. It was disappointing to see so many large sections of empty seats. Maybe Moline just doesnt draw many people, but last year in Milwaukee, the Bradley Center was packed to the nosebleeds. I think it was probably a combination of the location and the lack of buzz about/interest in the Season 6 Idols (there was a big discussion on the USAToday Idol Chatter blog about this).
Following Sanjaya was Chris S with …Typical. He is obviously more comfortable when he can play his guitar while he singing, but again, his voice was swallowed up and he sounded out of breath. The stage presence just isnt there yet for him. However, we could tell that he lost some weight ‘ good for him! At this point, I heard a little girl behind me ask her mom, …Where Jordin? Good question ‘ we hadnt seen her since the opening song. …Lady Marmalade was pretty good. Gina sounded the best of the three of them (her, LaKisha, and Haley), and their outfits were cute. The Phil/Chris S/Sanjaya Backstreet Boys bit was amusing. I liked being able to see more of Phil personality. Ah, there Jordin! Singing …What Hurts The Most with Chris R, and both playing acoustic guitars. I appreciated the break from the loud music, and Jordin and Chris R sounded great together; they harmonized beautifully. Whoever came up with that idea, props to you ‘ for seeming so unlikely, it really worked!
With the opening beats of …Time of the Season, the screams ensued. Blake was obviously this crowd favorite, much like Daughtry was the clear crowd favorite in Milwaukee last year. Blake was wonderful to watch ‘ he just so impressive with everything he does. He really knows how to showcase what makes him unique, and how to play to his audience ‘ and it was truly his audience. Even Ellie admitted that although she had been a Melinda fan during the season, after seeing him perform live, she was all about Blake! I liked his use of the loop pedals during …She Will Be Loved, and I thought it was cool that he explained how they worked beforehand. His lesson in beatboxing basics was also nice. It was funny to listen to Nan next to me trying to do it! He started out slow with the basics he had taught us, then sped it up and threw in some more complicated stuff, then brought it back to the basics. It was amazing, and so much fun to participate! The beatboxing lesson segued into …You Give Love A Bad Name, and the crowd went nuts.
Nothing interesting to report during intermission ‘ more videos and text messages on the jumbo-tron. With the crowd not being sell-out size, I was able to get in and out of the bathroom quickly without having to wait in line. Gayla and Ellie, who were both at their first Idols Live show, asked me if I thought this show was better, worse, or the same as last year. It was a tough question to answer objectively and diplomatically, so I stalled for time by asking Nan to share her thoughts. She said she thought it was about the same as last year. Well, that didnt buy me much time to think about my answer, so I kinda babbled, but the gist of it was that last year show was very different for me because Elliott was there ‘ if you read my recap of last year Milwaukee show, then you know I am a big Elliott fan. This year, I dont have an …Elliott, so I really cant say that this year show was better for me. But it certainly wasnt worse ‘ I had a lot of fun and was really impressed at how well the Idols performed overall, particularly Blake, Chris R, and Gina.
Phil started off with …America The Beautiful after intermission, with a …Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy intro from Melinda, LaKisha, Gina, and Haley. Most of the audience seemed very moved by this number and were singing along with Phil, who put a lot of sincerity and emotion into it. Phil must have run backstage and changed really fast after that, because next was the …Idol Band with …Crazy and …Hey Jude. This was another performance I was looking forward to, and I really enjoyed it! Nan was really getting into …Hey Jude, especially when the audience sang along to the chorus, and she told me it was one of her favorite songs when she was my age. I loved watching Chris R on drums; he is just so darn cute! I wish we could have heard more from the …Idol Band. Gina was next with …Who Knew, and I would much rather hear her on the radio with this song than Pink. I have to say, Gina was the best of the night among the ladies with overall performance. The crowd loved her, and everyone in my group agreed she should have gone farther than she did on the TV show.
Next was the …Cake set, which started with Chris R singing …Aint No Sunshine and Blake joining in. Chris R voice has improved greatly, and he has such an engaging stage presence ‘ he is so much fun to watch! Put him and Blake together on stage, and you just cant take your eyes off them ‘ all that stage presence and so much cute! I loved them singing …Virtual Insanity and …Geek In The Pink together, then having a beatboxing competition that segued into a snippet of …SexyBack, with Chris R singing and Blake providing the beat. Who knew Chris R could beatbox too? Too much fun! They should do some shows together on their own. After that was LaKisha with …I Will Always Love You. She was great until she got to the glory notes, which she sang through her teeth rather than belting with an open mouth. It was weird; I asked Nan, …Do you see that? It looks like she singing through her teeth! and Nan said, …So that what that was! I thought she sounded strange. I wonder if LaKisha having troubles with her voice and is trying not to blow it out? Nevertheless, she got a standing ovation. Chris R followed up with his solo, …This Love, which was fun and upbeat. Following that was Phil and Gina with …It Your Love, and they sounded great together. I was surprised at how well Gina did with a country song. Im interested to see how her career goes.
Next was …Life Is A Highway with Haley, Chris R, Sanjaya, and Chris S. It was OK; Haley did a lot of prancing about, and you could really hear her voice this time. Maybe they turned her mic up. I dont think Chris S sang much, but he did have a guitar solo. Next Jordin came out to introduce Melinda, and the girl behind me got excited, thinking Jordin was going to sing. Not yet, but there will be plenty of that later. Melinda sang …Natural Woman and was amazing. I really wish she would have done …Im A Woman (W-O-M-A-N) and/or …My Funny Valentine, because I just love listening to her sing. She deserved to do more than one solo. Another one whose career Ill be interested in. Next was what I thought was the worst number of the night, …Aint No Other Man with Gina, Haley, LaKisha, and Melinda. Their outfits were goofy, and for some odd reason, they just didnt sound good together. They also sounded out of breath, like the song was too fast for them.
The end of that song was used to introduce Jordin (much to the delight of the girl behind me), who started with …I Who Have Nothing, then went into …A Broken Wing, followed by …Heartbreaker. She sat down to play the acoustic guitar for …You Were Meant For Me, then sang …Livin On A Prayer. I thought this was one of her worst performances during Season 6, so Im confused as to why they have her singing it on the tour. She sounds as good as she did during the season, and she is strikingly beautiful, but I dont know, she just doesnt do it for me. It seemed like her set was longer this year than Taylor was last year. Jordin did the whole, …thank you, youve been great as if she was done, but anyone who ever been to a concert knew it wasnt over. Apparently a lot of people in Moline had never been to a concert, or they needed to get going because it was a weeknight, because a lot of people left before the Idols returned for the encore. Gayla and Cindy left, but it was understandable because it was a weeknight and they both had to work the next day, not to mention Cindy getting her kids to daycare or wherever they go while school out.
Jordin returned to the stage in a sparkly black dress to sing …This Is My Now. What a cheesy song. The rest of the Idols joined her, dressed in white, to sing the end of the song, then did the revue of their individual performances. I thought that was unnecessary; I would have preferred another group song. But oh well, that was the show, and when we got to the doors to leave, it was pouring down rain! Nan and I had debated over whether or not to bring our umbrellas, but we decided against it ‘ we checked the radar before leaving for the concert and saw that some rain and storms were on the way, but it looked like the storms were going to go north of us. And this is why my degree is not in meteorology. We were DRENCHED by the time we got to the car, which wasnt very far, only about a block and a half. I had brought a hoodie with me, but it was totally worthless ‘ I had to wring it out. But we were laughing about it and just having fun with it ‘ gives us more of a story to tell! The drive home was nerve-wracking though, with all the thunder and lightning, but we made it. The concert was worth it for us.
Overall, I would rank this concert at a tie for 2nd place with the Season 2 concert. I still think the Season 5 concert was the best; itll be hard to top. The next day, I asked Gayla and Ellie what they thought of their first Idols Live show. They both had a great time and were pleasantly surprised by how much fun it was, saying that if next year Idols are remotely decent, theyll go to the concert. Im looking forward to Season 7 as usual; I hope the producers have learned from the mistakes they made in Season 6, and I hope those mistakes dont affect the future careers of the Season 6 Idols too negatively. Thank you, readers, for your time and thank you MJ for posting this!