Ask and ye shall recieve…a Kris fan weighs in on her Idol tour experience…
This was my first season watching American Idol. I had never wanted to watch because it makes me sad to see the judges being so cruel to the contestants after their performances. But my 13 year old daughter started taking voice lessons from an amazing teacher, and her teacher ordered her to watch Idol as part of her training. We started watching together and we were hooked. After the season ended it seemed only right that we go see the Tour.
I’ll call my daughter ‘Girlfriend’ for purposes of the recap. Our musical tastes are different. I prefer guitar-driven hard rock (Soundgarden, Metallica), but she mostly listens to the Broadway show tunes that she’s learning to sing. Girlfriend’s favorites on the TV show were Allison, because she identifies with the young girl with the big voice, and Adam, because he has such spectacular skill and control. I admired Adam, but my favorite was Kris. She thought Kris was boring.
I’ve read all the recaps on MJs blog since the tour began, so I’m not going to go into detail about every song. Mostly I’ll just comment on what I found especially interesting. Our seats were pretty high, but we had a good view of the stage and the floor. I was glad we weren’t on the floor, because people on the floor stood the whole time. Girlfriend, shorty that she is, would not have been able to see a thing from the floor. There was a lot of estrogen in the house. I’d guess the crowd was at 80%-90% women, of all ages.
First up, Michael Sarver, who seems genuinely excited to be on stage singing for us.
Next is Megan, and I really liked her little raspy voice, especially on her first song. I can understand why some folks don’t like her sound, but I find it unique and engaging. The animated backgrounds during her second song are distracting, though.
Scott starts singing and I’m instantly annoyed. What irks me is not so much the pitch issues, as it is the rhythmic sloppiness. Girlfriend asks, ‘Are they using autotune?’ I say, ‘I don’t think so. Surely it would help more than this.’ But it does seem like the sound people are putting some effect on the singers’ voices. (maybe reverb? Or chorus?) The singers sound more similar to each other live than they did on the show. I spend the rest of Scott’s set wishing someone else had taken his place.
Lil Rounds powerful voice sounds great. She looks really confident dancing all over the stage.
Floating clouds are the intro for Anoop (or, as we lovingly call him, ‘A N00b’ ). Girlfriend says, ‘Those clouds look like a toilet paper commercial.’ He sounds good, but his style doesn’t excite me. I’m also confused by his costume–dangling suspenders and white pants tucked into his high tops. (??) On ‘My Prerogative, ‘ he grinds his hips around while he sings, ‘. . . I see nothing wrong with spreading myself around, ‘ Girlfriend covers her face with her hands and says, ‘Oh, my eyes!’ I laugh and say, ‘It’s gonna get worse than that.’
Once Anoop is gone, Girlfriend says, ‘I know you don’t like Matt, but I’m going to cheer for him, okay?’ Okay, I’ll cheer for him, too. As it turns out, this is no chore. His jazzy piano sounds terrific! I love his vocal riffing on ‘Georgia.’ Matt’s outfit, white shirt, vest and arm garter, is perfect with the jazzy piano and standards. But I’m thinking, this guy sounds great, but how is he marketable? Isn’t his set too retro? Then he closes with the Fray song. Ahh, he could do something like that. Nice. I wish him the best.
Group medley, and . . . intermission. Loud screaming whenever Adam’s face appears on the screens. ‘Why no cheers for Allison?’ Girlfriend asks. I say, ‘I’m sure people like her. I think Adam fans just enjoy screaming more.’ We put in our earplugs.
Allison!! She looks and sounds great. She really does look like an adorable troll doll stomping around the stage with her flying red hair and boots. ‘So What’ sounds awesome, but the raspberry at the end is goofy. The audience is wild for her. I like the way Allison interacts with the band’s guitarist; it makes her look like a real frontwoman instead of just a solo singer backed up by musicians-for-hire.
I didn’t like Danny’s voice on the show, and his performance tonight leaves me cold. He’s a lot better looking than I expected, though. On the show, I thought he was kind of soft and doughy, but tonight he looks built. His dancing is better, too. He takes a break to give his inspirational message, and, well, he makes me uncomfortable. I have a cousin with an autism-spectrum disorder, and the way Danny talks reminds me of him.
Now, the moment has arrived that so many in the audience have been waiting for. Explosion. Flashes of light. Explosion. Wild screams. Adam is singing ‘Whole Lotta Love.’ For me, the problem is, that in my mind Led Zeppelin’s WLL is the ultimate rock song of all time. I don’t care for Adam’s prettied-up, sanitized version. But I’m clearly in the minority. The audience is cheering like crazy, and I feel like the only curmudgeon who’s not into it.
Girlfriend says, ‘I hate his jacket. It’s too big for him. He looks like a little prince pretending to be a king.’ A little prince!! OMG! That’s where I’ve seen this jacket before’â€Antoine de St. Exupery’s The Little Prince!
I scream this in her earplugged ear. ‘I wonder if he ever played The Little Prince in his kids’ theatre group?’ she screams back. In the TV show Adam always seemed totally confident, totally in control. But since then, in interviews, I have sometimes thought I caught a glimpse of the chubby little theater nerd hidden inside his now fabulous exterior. The Little Prince (also a visitor from another planet) in the huge jacket gives me a vision of a whole different kind of glittery alien from outer space.
‘Slow Ride’ with Allison is super fun. The Bowie medley sounds great, and the crowd loves Adam’s dancing. The audience eats all of it up. How could anyone have thought that Adam wouldn’t get an enthusiastic reception in Dallas? I wish people would realize that folks in the South are pretty much just like folks anywhere else.
Finally it’s time for Kris Allen, my favorite. I love the sweet, expressive and natural timbre of his voice. When he starts ‘Heartless, ‘ he actually sounds a little shaky on the a cappella intro. He softly strums his guitar a couple of times (is he giving himself the chords, or does he always do this?) Somehow the slight shakiness in his voice makes it even more touching, and a couple of tears run down my cheeks. I hope Girlfriend doesn’t notice. We’ve seen all the costumes, the choreography, the lights and explosions, and it’s entertaining, but it doesn’t satisfy me. But this guy, looking so alone in front of his curtain, just seeming to be caught up and carried away by the music itself; that’s what I was waiting for. That’s what I want from a concert, when the music picks you up and carries you away. That’s how Kris Allen looks and how he sounds when he sings. It’s such a contrast from everything that came before. It doesn’t feel so much like a performance, as it feels like a communication, a connection.
‘All These Things. . .’ is rocking, very high-energy. I don’t know the words. Is it an anti-war song? Now that would be ballsy and taking chances in the South. Much more so than stroking a mic stand a couple of times. I need to look up the lyrics when I get home. In no time, he’s finished, and I wish this had been Kris Allen’s solo tour. But if it had been, then Girlfriend wouldn’t have wanted to come with me.
When we get out to the barricades, it’s very crowded. But we wait an hour and the Idols start coming out. Even though she’s short and at the back of the pack, Girlfriend manages to get autographs from all the Idols except Kris and Scott. The other fans are very nice about handing her notebook up to the front for signatures, and passing it back to her. She is ecstatic.
Now it’s midnight, and time for the 3 ½ hour drive home. We pass at least 200 deer standing in the ditches beside the road. We are terrified watching and waiting for one of them to leap in front of our car, but it never happens. Girlfriend helps me watch for them and talks to me to help me stay awake.
Since Adam was one of her favorites on the TV show, I ask, ‘What did you think about Adam’s set?’ She replies, ‘I’m scarred for life! I couldn’t even watch. Hasn’t anyone told him this is a family show?’ I laugh, ‘It was really pretty tame. I’ve seen a lot worse.’ She’s 13 and still innocent. It’s sweet. How much longer will that last, I wonder?