So, I’ve been doing recaps for mj, I guess for 3 seasons now? I love writing them – it just gives me something to remember my experience, and makes me pay close attention during the shows so I can pick up the little details. I don’t have the capacity to take video, and my pictures aren’t usually the highest quality, but I can definitely write up a recap! And I must warn you – I have a tendency to be long-winded. ;)
I have to be honest here and say that if it weren’t for Adam, I probably wouldn’t have gone to this year’s show. I’m a big Adam fan, though I also love love love Allison and Kris, and also like Anoop and Matt. But I live in Orlando, and the AI tour only comes to Tampa to cover the Central Florida and West Coast areas, so it’s about an hour and a half drive for me. Add in it being on a weekday, and me working 8 am-5 pm M-F, and I was seriously contemplating not even going this year. It was hard to rationalize paying $85 for a ticket plus dinner plus gas plus parking to see one guy I really wanted to see, two that I would definitely like to see, and two that I could take or leave. The other 5, either I didn’t like on the show at all, or only a couple of their performances. But, after reading Adam’s setlist and reading reactions from people who have seen the show up to this point, I decided to bite the bullet. And I have to say – every year, even the Idols that I didn’t like on the show never cease to impress me more in a live setting. I won’t necessarily say that I was “converted” for anyone per se, but there were high points in every set, and each person gave me something to appreciate about them and their unique talents. Besides me LOVING Adam, of course. :)
So! On with the recap!
General Observations and Impressions:
The arena was pretty much full, except a few sections in the very top level, and the ones behind the stage, obviously. Of course, this year, people traveling to the concert weren’t hampered by having to drive through a tropical storm sloooooooooooowly making it’s way across the state. There were lots and lots of people there, and I guess us Floridians like to party, because we were definitely “rowdy” at times (tm Kris). But based on my experiences so far, I’d say that Tampa is always a pretty enthusiastic crowd.
As for the applause-o-meter – from what I could hear, I’d say top honors go to Adam, with Danny and Kris tying for 2nd. They got a lot of cheers, and they were loud, but I’d say the difference is that there were points in both of their sets where the audience just sat down and was quiet, and then cheered at the end of the song. For Adam, it was much more frenzied – from start to finish, people were up on their feet, cheering, swaying, dancing, jumping (*blush* – sorry little girl next to me that I accidentally elbowed a couple times.), in general just NOT being calm or collected or quiet. As I think I described it last night – it was pretty much pandemonium. Allison, Matt, and Anoop got a lot of cheers too, but it was another level down from Kris and Danny. But everyone was loved on by the crowd for sure, and we were a pretty vocal and active crowd all night.
Minor freakout moment, pre-show: I just about had a heart attack when my friend and I got to our seats and I was looking for my iPhone to test out its picture-taking ability with the new zoom app that I downloaded, when I realized I didn’t have it. I then realized that I’d left it in the bathroom, so I literally SPRINTED up the stairs and into the bathroom (which was right behind our section) and skipped in front of the whole line, and was just going to wait until the person in the stall I was in got out before I went in there to look. Then I realized I was just being rude and apologized to the girl at the front of the line and told her that I’d left my phone in the stall. Well, she says, “oh is that it over there?” and points to the baby changing station, where my phone is just nestled safely in the corner. So, THANK YOU, to whoever found the iPhone with the pink cover in the ladies room behind section 129 and did not take it but instead put it in the baby changing station. I greatly appreciate your honesty.
Individual Performer Observations and Impressions:
On the show, I always thought Michael seemed like a nice, good ol’ country boy. And I grew up all over the deep South prior to moving to Florida, so I’ve known lots of good ol’ boys in my life. A few comments he’s made have annoyed me, but I still think he’s generally a nice guy. I also think he has a good voice, but sometimes on the show was kind of boring, and needs to pick songs that showcase the best of his voice. Of his solo songs, I liked “In Love With a Girl” best. I think he does that pop/soul/rock well. He did a good job of getting the crowd pumped up, and definitely got love back from them.
I’ve always liked Megan’s tone, and have thought that with some good vocal coaches and good production, she could be pretty successful. All mocking of Kara aside, Megan IS a “package artist”, but she needs to work on the vocal part of that package. Heh. Anyway, that said – while the crazy, bird’s nest updo distracted me, I really liked her vocals on “Tears Dry on Their Own.” It probably helps that it’s one of my favorite Amy Winehouse songs, but the vocal fit her well. She’s come a long way in stage presence. My friend commented that she’s beautiful and has a killer body. I would have to agree.
I liked Scott’s vocals on both songs better than I ever liked him on the show. I thought he did a good job with both songs, though I was kind of bored. I always thought he had trouble hitting the falsetto notes on the show, but he seemed to hit those with ease here. Maybe it’s a combined case of not having the judges right there and having to sing for votes, as well as being in his element with his piano. But he was a pleasant surprise. And I do still absolutely love his witty sense of humor.
Lil was the first performer that made me really think “okay, so why couldn’t she do THIS on the show?” I really liked her opening number of “Be Without You/Just Fine.” BWY was my favorite performance of hers on the show, and she really sang the pants off it live too. I thought her voice sounded a little strained on some of the higher notes on “No One, ” but it was still solid. And “Single Ladies” was just FUN and got the crowd pumped up. Like I excitedly tweeted last night, she pointed to me and said “I see you!” during this song – she was over on our side of the stage singing one of the “if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it” parts, and I was dancing along and doing the point-to-the-ring-finger thing, and that’s when she said it. It was fun. :) Overall, I was impressed with Lil, and see the potential the judges saw in her at the beginning. She definitely kept the energy up, even with a little vocal strain showing. My friend commented that she’s in good shape, and that she’s definitely got confidence to be able to wear the outfit for “Single Ladies”.
I think Anoop was the first to really have loud, sustained cheers during the intro part to his set. I just love Anoop. As I tweeted last night, he reminds me of all the guys I went to college with for one, but his voice is also just smooth as buttah. I really loved “Always on My Mind” and “Mad” (which is one of my favorite songs, though I was dismayed that the people behind me thought Usher originally sang it. I HAD to correct them. No peeps. It’s Ne-Yo!), but “My Prerogative” was my favorite. It was just a fun number, and it got people all riled up and cheering. He worked the stage pretty well. I think having a choreographer for the tour helps a lot of the contestants who might sometimes have issues performing more uptempo numbers.
So, “Hard to Handle” blew the frickin roof off the place. He got TONS of love from the crowd after that. It’s definitely the best number of his set, and I can see what some reviewers say when they comment that it feels like the concert really starts with Matt. Though the others are pleasant and good-to-excellent on some numbers, Matt really gets the energy going with that song. Unfortunately, the energy is mostly sucked right back out by the end of his set. “Georgia” is really good, and shows his soulful side and piano skills (and dude has some mad skills on the piano), but IMO, “You Found Me” is possibly the worst song he could have picked out of his Idol repertoire to close out his set with. I would have much rather heard “Who’s Loving You” or “Human Nature” or “Let’s Get It On.” But that’s just me, probably. :)
1st half group number – Loved the dueling pianos, liked Lil and Megan singing separately but not together, and loved “Beggin.” Crowd seemed to love Anoop and Lil rapping. It was definitely a great way to close out the first half.
I was totally looking forward to Allison’s set, because I loved her on the show, and the set sounded like it was gonna be amazing. Even with this in mind, I did NOT expect to LEAP out of my seat, cheering my head off when I heard the first chords of “So What.” But alas, that is exactly what happened. I LOVED Allison’s set – she did not disappoint. She’s a little firecracker on that stage, and I love watching her perform. She’s got so much talent and potential, and I’m really anticipating what her album is going to sound like. She’s the only teenager that I’ve ever voted for on this show to date, and she definitely lived up to my expectations in concert. Love love love her. I screamed so much for her, I was worried that I wouldn’t have a voice left to scream for Adam. But no worries. Hee.
It surprised me to read that Danny felt that the Tampa show was his worst show, vocally, because I thought he sounded better live than he ever sounded on the show. There was some strain, but overall, his voice sounded good. For me, “P.Y.T.” is his strongest number… everyone was up and dancing and singing along. Like Matt, that kind of waned by the end of his set, mostly because he closes with the two ballads. But people still seemed to love him and cheered louder for him than any of the previous performers, so he’s doing something right, I guess. Just not my cup o’ tea. And I did not catch any hip thrusting. Thank God. Comment from my friend at the end of his set: “So, really, I’m cheering because this is over and ADAM is next!”
During the second half of Danny’s set, it finally hit me that Adam was next. And that nervous anticipation that would always settle like a rock in the pit of my stomach during the season showed up again. It was ridiculous, but my friend and I both had that. So weird. Like a poster in the show thread said – as soon as Danny’s set ended and he started making his way off stage, the energy started rising. People in my section were starting to chant “Ad-am, Ad-am, Ad-am” (including me *blush*) before the lights went down and the video part even started. Then the video part was over and there were the opening chords of “Whole Lotta Love” and it was INSANE in the St Pete Times Forum.
Now, I’m not going to wax poetic about how Adam is going to be an innovator and change the face of music and be the next Elvis or any of that. Because a determination like that would be a long way off period, and success will depend on his album, and ALL of that remains to be seen. But I will comment on what I saw on stage last night and my feelings about those observations. IMO, it cannot be denied that Adam is a star. Granted, I haven’t watched all seasons of AI (started with season 3), and I haven’t been to every tour (though I have been to at least one tour stop each year starting with season 5). But in my personal experience, I have never seen anyone come immediately off AI and have the stage presence and charisma and star power that Adam already has. My friend agreed with this – this was a big point of discussion for us on the drive home. We couldn’t put it any other way than just to say that he is a STAR.
I have been fangirly in my years of Idol, and at Idol shows. This I admit. I do not claim to know what makes me this way, nor do I claim to even try to change it. I think it’s fun to revert to being 13 years old again, watching a favorite performer onstage performing and screaming your lungs out for them for a night. “Whole Lotta Love” put me right back in that mode. I was right there with the screaming tweeners, fo sho. The vocals, the moves, the song, all of it. Just awesome. Great, great way to start off his set. “Starlight” was gorgeous. I thought at first that it was a risk to do a song that would probably be unfamiliar to a good portion of the audience, but it seemed that everyone was grooving right along with him. And if it helps give people an idea of what he’s aiming for post-AI, then go Adam! “Mad World” was gorgeous. The crowd erupted into cheers when they recognized it, and it was cool to see all the camera flashes during this song. I’ll always love this song from him, and the live vocal is practically flawless. So so so beautiful.
Then, Slow Ride. Adam and Allison both just seemed to be having so much fun on stage – really playing off each other and the crowd and just joyful. I liked this performance on the show, but on the whole of rock night, I always preferred WLL. But dare I say, I enjoyed “Slow Ride” more than WLL last night. They just have such great chemistry. Near the end of the song, someone threw a black bedazzled bra onstage. As you can see in the videos, Adam picked it up and swung it around a few times and then chunked it back out into the audience at the end of the song. Loved that. Hee.
Then. The epic (sorry bax :)) Bowie Medley. It was a party up in there by this time. So, when the whip and handcuffs and thong (?) appeared on stage and he picked up the whip and started hitting his thigh with it, I lost it. I was cracking up so much. If anything can be hilarious but sexy at the same time, this was. My friend and I just looked at each other and exchange those “mmmhmmmm” looks. All I have to say about this – boy knows how to move on that stage. He was workin’ it and the crowd was giving it right back to him. I personally wanted more songs from him, but for me that 20ish minutes alone was worth the $85 plus gas plus parking plus dinner plus half day vacation. The HBIC, glittery alien from Planet Fierce, whatever you want to call him, killed it. And I loved every second of it.
I’m sure some people did collapse in their seats to recover after Adam’s set, but my friend and I were just ready for the party to continue. Whoever compared Kris’s set to a great smoke after some really hot sex was right on the money. On a more “family friendly” PG level, I’d also say that you could compare it to a nice cooldown after a really great workout. lol.
I loved Kris on the show. I will admit that I was bitter for a few days after the finale, because I just loved Adam so much and really wanted him to win and felt like he SHOULD win. So I took a break from reading season 8 related stuff, because I didn’t want to say something I’d regret – on either side.
So, since I’ve now had a chance to recover, I was really excited about seeing Kris live too. I knew he could bring it. The effect of the curtain behind him to make it more intimate was kind of lost on me, because of where my seats were, but I still thought it was a neat effect. “Heartless” was fantastic. I loved the more rocked up version of it that he does live. He sounded great. “All These Things I’ve Done” was also really great. I much prefer that, or any song, to NoBo, and I am forever grateful to Kris and the tour organizers for sparing me having to hear that song ever again. He really knows how to work “Ain’t No Sunshine.” It was fantastic. I’ve always loved him on that song, and I think that’s when he solidified himself as a contender during the season.
Now. “Bright Lights.” This was my favorite song in his set. It fit really well into the set, played amazingly in the arena, and he sang the hell out of it and sounded fantastic. The transition to guitar from piano really makes that song, to me. I really can’t say enough about how good this performance was for me. It probably helps that I’ve always been a Matchbox20 fan, but Kris killed this. I loved loved loved it.
And I’m going to be honest and say (again) that “Hey Jude” is not my favorite Beatles song, in fact it’s probably one of my least favorites. But Kris did a good job with it, and it’s a good closer because of the na na na’s.
Loved the dueling pianos again. It was really smart to figure out how to add this into the tour, because IMO, it added a really cool, fun element. Loved the interactions between Kradison on this. Nothing huge, nothing really stood out that I could see, but the grins they shared and the fun they had together was awesome to watch. I will always love those 3.
We didn’t have after-party passes (not for lack of trying at the trivia questions, which were ridiculously easy. I got them right both times we had an opportunity, but didn’t win), and because we both had to work today, we didn’t stay for the busses. After hearing all the rumors and speculation, I’m glad we didn’t, since we wouldn’t have gotten to see Adam anyway. We just left with the memories of the concert and having loved the experience.
Final wrap up. I’m so glad I went. Again, I felt like everyone had something to enjoy in their set, and it was pleasant to good to excellent to exciting. There were some real barnburner numbers, for sure. My favorite songs? Bowie Medley, Slow Ride, Mad World, Bright Lights, Ain’t No Sunshine, Hard to Handle, Cry Baby, My Prerogative, Be Without You, Tears Dry on Their Own.
So, if you even like just a few of these contestants and can go, I’d say don’t miss it. I know I’ll be attending again in Indianapolis with some mj’s friends and I can’t wait. :)
Thanks, season 8 top 10 for a great show!
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