First off, I highly recommend taking in the Idol concert in Music City USA if you ever get the chance. This was my second year in a row to catch the show in Nashville, and it was an equally awesome (ding!) experience. Just like last summer, the arena was packed with loud, enthusiastic fans, and the Idols didnt disappoint as they all brought their A-game to the stage.
My sister and I arrived at the venue about an hour before showtime armed with cameras and signage (option 1 – blinged-out We <3 Bshorty; option 2 – Team Plaid) and had to wait in line for a bit to get in. Right off, we spotted two people wearing Sanjaya t-shirts. Say what you will about him, but there no denying that people like the boy. Once inside, we headed to the merch stand, where there was more love for Sanjaya, as one lady asked the merch peeps if they had a t-shirt with just Sanjaya on it. But alas, no ¦the only Idols with solo tees are Jordin and my man Blake. I of course bought a Blake shirt and a program, while Sister Of Star opted for the t-shirt with all ten Idols on it. StarSis is a junior in college and has been busy with school, so she didnt follow Idol as closely this season as she has in past years. She watched a few of the audition episodes, and caught random episodes here and there when she could. She voted for Blake on finale night. Pre-concert, she was excited to see Blake of course, along with Jordin, Chris Sligh (an early favorite of hers; she loved his audition), and yes – Sanjaya. As for me? Team Plaid all the way.
We got to our seats which was totally exciting, because we were in fact front row, center. I wasnt sure we would be since our tickets said Row F, but because of the way the stage is designed, the first few rows in the middle are removed. So Row F was the place to be. I guess it was “F” for F**KING AWESOME.
We watched some of the text messages roll by on the little screens. One of them said …Cake 4 Life. My sister saw it and was all, …Cake? That a band. So I had to explain Cake to her. This lesson would also be reinforced a bit later on in the show, much to my chagrin. Im not a Caker, sorry. I think it cute that Blake and Chris Richardson are such great friends, but Ive been a bit weirded out by some of the hardcore Cake fans. Plus, I couldnt stand CRich during AI. I went in to the concert with an open mind about him, but a little piece of me didnt want to like him.
So anyway, showtime. Id read all about Blake janitor disguise so I kept looking for someone wearing a janitor outfit up onstage. I couldnt find him. Suddenly this security guy in a bright yellow jacket started walking toward the middle of the stage and then SURPRISE! Security Guy was Blake! He tricked me!! …Let Get It Started started and before we knew it there were Idols everywhere. I grabbed up my camera and filmed Blake as he cheesed it up a bit and then escorted Jordin ginormous dress contraption backstage. Meanwhile, my sister was already talking about how hot Chris R is. Heh. It was a pretty good way to open the show, although something about it felt a bit forced. I dunno.
A lot of the first half of the show is now a blur to me. I was just ready for some Bshorty action. Some stuff I do remember ¦Chris R tried really hard to win my heart during …I Heard It Through The Grapevine. He stared me down at one point. But I wasnt having any of it. I mean, he cute. I wont deny that. So there a little bit of progress, I suppose. Um, what else? Oh yeah – I absolutely LOVED Gina and Chris Sligh duet on …Thnks Fr Th Mmrs. That one of my favorite songs at the moment (so I hope I spelled it right), and I really enjoyed their take on it. No doubt they both shouldve made it further than they did.
Which brings me to their spoiler, Sanjaya. I was ready for Sanjaya to get eliminated the week he performed his soulless version of …Waiting On The World To Change. I got so annoyed at how he turned into this huge ¦Sanjaya Universe thing and began to overshadow all the more talented people (IMO) on the show this season. He got me a little bit on the night he was eliminated though, when he changed the lyrics to …let give ‹em something to talk about other than hair during his singout. Anyway, in concert? Sanjaya was completely fun and engaging to watch. StarSis said she could watch him smile all day long. He sang perfectly fine, and he actually got good command of the audience too. He led us in a game of …which section can make the most noise? So yeah, I have a new appreciation for Sanjaya. And the little girls loved him – I could hear their squeals echoing all throughout the arena.
Let see, what else? Oh, Phil …Blaze Of Glory was definitely the showstopper I expected it to be. One negative about being front & center is that you often get the spotlight right in your face, and good lord I nearly got blinded by it a few times, especially during …Blaze Of Glory. I kept having to shield my eyes. Phil phamily was in the audience, so he was excited about that and he mentioned it a few times. I also really enjoy Phil sense of humor. He phunny and he got to show that during the concert ¦at one point he, Sligh, and Sanjaya did a little comedy bit while they set up for Jordin and Chris R duet. They asked us if we knew what Cake was. I groaned. The audience cheered in response, but Im sure that everyone other than the IDF kids did it because cake is yummy, and also because Cake is a good band. Then they went on to explain about how Cake in this setting is BFFs Chris R & Blake, and then they announced that theyd decided to form a new group called Chriljaya. Hee! They sang a few bars of …I Want It That Way by The Backstreet Boys. But they werent done yet – they then asked how many people planned to audition for AI next year, and gave some advice about that. Sligh and Sanjaya then shook their luscious locks to emphasize the importance of having good hair. Poor Phil. ;)
Every number took us closer to Blake time. …Lady Marmalade was alright ¦all I really remember about that is thinking that Haley looked more like an Indian than a flapper. The Jordin and Chris R duet was pretty good. Jordin is a doll, truly. I watched her more than Chris during that. Must. Not. Be. Charmed. Then Jordin and Melinda did a duet that I barely remember anything about because I knew Blake was next. We had to get ready for him, what with our signs and all. When Jordin and Mel finished, they said they had a surprise for us. So I wondered if theyd change up the show a bit, because on what planet is Blake being on the tour surprising? I dont know. But anyway, the stage went dark and then the opening notes of …Time Of The Season began to play. We held our We <3 Bshorty sign down over the guardrail in front of us (Im polite, I dont block people view). StarSis is not totally convinced that he was able to see it during his set because he was right on top of us most of the time ¦but more on that later.
So Blake worked that stage like the badass he is. The audience lost its mind while he killed a few fangirls in the front row (*whistles innocently*) as he asked us …What your name? Who your daddy? Is he rich like me? Guh. He sounded amazing to me – strong, smooth, and straight-up pretty. I hate the way AI tried to downplay his singing toward the end. I love Blake voice first and foremost. To me the beatboxing is just a cool added bonus. Anyway, back to the concert. He is freaking cute in person. I mean, REALLY cute. Short, nice build. Soooo squishable.
After Blake got the audience all worked up with teh sex that is TOTS, he then got out his loop pedals for his next song, …She Will Be Loved. I silently prayed that his gear would work. And oh hell to the yes it did, as my video shows. SWBL was a total thrill ride. His voice was on, and toward the end, when he started harmonizing with himself? Every layer that he added was like another twist or turn on a roller coaster. That the only explanation I have for all of my screaming, because Im so not a screamer. As he kept building and building the song, I kept hoping and hoping for …With Or Without You. And he delivered. I mean, it was so perfect. I would pay to hear him do that every night if I could. Ãƒ ¢ ¥ to the nth degree.
When it ended, a security guy approached me and told me to stop videoing or else theyd take my memory card. I told him Id stop, which was fine. Id actually been planning to stop anyway because I just wanted to watch …You Give Love A Bad Name. Then the security guy started to annoy me, because he wouldnt leave. He was like, …How many songs did you get? and I lied that I had one. I promised him again that Id stop. I just wanted him to go away because he was cutting into my Bshorty time. He finally did leave, just as Blake was doing his freestyle beatboxing. Again, the crowd ate that shiz up. Next up, Blake launched into YGLABN with his record player imitation, just like when he did it on AI. The arena exploded with screams, and once again, Blake worked it. I thought it was hot when he sang …bloodred nails on your fingertips. Why? I dont know. At some point he jumped offstage and ran down the aisle between the stage and the guardrail, slapping hands with the fans, including StarSis and me! Eeeee!!! I had put my sign away, so Blake didnt get a look at it then. I sort of wish I had kept it out now, because the next thing that happened mightve worked out a little differently if I had. He went past me and then stopped and got up on the rail in front of the two people next to me, and grabbed this one chick hand and held it as they sang the …Ohwoahohwoahohhhh ¦ part to each other. I almost died. I think the rest of the guys had come out onstage by this time too, but Im not totally sure because I have Bshorty tunnelvision. Then Blake got back up on the stage with the rest of his boys and they finished the song. Then he told everyone he was going to go all Ryan Seacrest on us as he announced theyd be right back after a quick break known as intermission.
Nothing to report about intermission, other than it seemed like it would never end and OMFG Im sooo sick of …Home. When StarSis came back from the bathroom, she told me that there were these two little girls in there, about 8 years old, and they were so hyped. She said they were saying, …Omigod, this is like the best concert everrrrr!!!!! We laughed but really, that what it all about, isnt it? :)
Finally the second half kicked off with Phil doing his big patriotic number. It was nice. StarSis swore that Melinda looked like she was on the verge of tears, but I couldnt really tell. Phil disappeared to make a quick change for the next number and the girls stayed behind to finish while the crew set up for the manband. Gina then introduced the guys as the first ever Idol band (or something like that). So yay, it was time for more Blake! Blake on guitar even!!!!! And wearing jeans! And wearing them well!!!
I liked the manband performance a lot. It was fun to see all the guys interacting with each other up there, and Blake looked happy to be jamming. We busted out the We <3 Bshorty sign again, and so help me but I think I may have generated a Cake moment with that. I swear I saw Chris Rich glance at the sign and get this grin on his face and look over at Blake. Like he was trying to get his attention or something? But Blake was pretty lost in the music.
I had a moment with Sanjaya here. Hee. Sanjaya never stops smiling, yall. I love that about him. I managed to tear my eyes away from Bshorty for a moment and look over at Sanjaya. He grinned back at me. I made a little fingergun and pointed back at him. Im so lame.
Meanwhile StarSis was having a moment with Sarah boyfriend Chris Rich. She said that he made a goofy face at her. This thrilled her because she the queen of making goofy faces in pictures. She said, …It like he knew that I like to make goofy faces too! LOL. I love my sister. She was also impressed that CRich can play the drums. She got a thing for drummers.
Anyway! …Crazy was great, especially since Blake sang a lot of it. He got to do the little …ha ha ha which was cool. …Hey Jude was fun to sing along with. Phil really worked to get the crowd into that one. At the end Blake randomly tossed his guitar pick about three rows deep, right in front of him. And he was to our left, so we had no chance at it. Chris Sligh was right in front of us and he threw his pick about three rows back too. I think the little girls next to StarSis got CRich drumsticks.
The order of the rest of the numbers gets kinda fuzzy from here. I felt like the balloon was starting deflate a bit because I knew the only thing Blake really had left was his duet with Chris R. I hung on to a tiny sliver of hope that …Killing Me Softly would be back all the way up until Jordin came on to start her set. It never happened. :( Lakisha and Gina had their solos in there somewhere and they were both wonderful. Chris R still failed to impress me with …This Love. Gina and Phil also did their …It Your Love duet which kinda bored me even though they both sounded good. Phil gave lots of shout-outs to his phamily during that performance. The most I remember about …Life Is A Highway is that Sanjaya was wearing a do-rag. Bwah!
Jordin did the intro for hometown girl Melinda ¦she wouldnt shut up about Mel, actually. Melinda finally came out to make her stop (jokingly of course) and remarked about how amazing it was that she could be so close with someone who ONLY 17!!!!!! (well, Mel didnt say that of course, hee) at the ripe old age of 29. She pretended to have a hard time spitting out …29. Melinda sang …Natural Woman and was her usual flawless Melinda self. What else can you say really?
Again, I know Im totally out of order here, but on with the Cake duet. I totally loved Blake outfit here. It was classic Blake. He was wearing black & white plaid pants that I dont think Ive ever seen him in before, so Im assuming that theyre new. Loved them. They inspired me to get out the Team Plaid sign but I dont think he noticed it. Anyway, he also had on a purple graphic tee that I recognized, layered over a long-sleeved white shirt. And of course his fugly/cute hat completed the emsemble. I call it the fugly/cute hat because while the hat is ¦not pretty, he still manages to look effing adorable in it.
My favorite part of the duet was …Virtual Insanity. Blake was in fine voice and his dancing was fab. It took me back to the night he performed it on AI, when I first went fangirl for him. …Geek In The Pink gave us some nice beatboxing and vocal entendres from Bshorty. Also, I think while Chris R sang the line about saving you from unoriginal dum-dums, I could swear that Blake was all, …like Chris Rich in the background. Hee. Did anyone else catch that? Anyhoo, I liked the Cake performance but once again I had my Blake tunnelvision on. ;)
Onto your American Idol, Jordin Speezy Sparks! The audience was sitting down for most of Jordin performance, I noticed. She started with …I Who Have Nothing and sang the hell out of it of course. Seriously, Jordin sounded great to me throughout her whole set. I didnt notice the goaty vibrato at all, so maybe she been working on that. Im glad, because it bugs me. I actually really loved Jordin and was pulling for her after she did …Gimme One Reason in the semis, but I kinda fell off the wagon somewhere around …Hey Baby and all the 17 remarks. When Jordin sang …You Were Meant For Me in concert, I was reminded of why I liked her in the first place for some reason. But I still was kinda bored during her set. I started snapping pictures of her and got a couple of nice ones which Ill share once StarSis e-mails me the pics she got. I noticed Jordin was wearing a really gorgeous piece of ice around her neck. I mean, beautiful. I want! Um, let see ¦what else about Jordin? I must admit that …Living On A Prayer actually didnt suck as much as it did on AI. She sat down on the steps and took her shoes off when she got to the second verse and went barefoot. As she finished up LOAP, the other Idols came out to sing along. We got out the We <3 Bshorty sign again to show support for our guy. Blake was standing at the top of the stairs in the middle, and Gina was to his left. They grabbed hands and started pulling each other arms back and forth, like tug of war or something. Heh.
Jordin left the stage and the others stayed in their positions for a bit, just looking around taking in the sights and sounds of the audience. And that when Blake TOTALLY saw our blinged-out We <3 Bshorty. We were watching him, and then suddenly he made a rockhand at us, and made that face he always does when he does the rockhand. Blakers, you know the one. Youve seen it in pictures a thousand times. And then he waved at us, with this huge grin on his face. I waved back at him with my pinkie because I was holding the sign. Hope you saw my pinkie wave, Blake!
As exciting as that was, we werent done yet.
The Idols disappeared and the stage went dark, so everyone started begging for an encore. Jordin came back, this time wearing a long teal dress, and sang about her now. Then each Idol came back out one at a time to reprise their solos. Blake of course did …You Give Love A Bad Name and he hung all over the backup singers the whole time. We waved our We <3 Bshorty sign around again in celebration of the awesomeness that is Blake Lewis.
After the each Idol finished their solo, we were left with just Jordin again, still singing about her now, this time in a pretty silver sparkly dress. Then a piece of the stage popped open, and the rest of the Idols emerged to join her. Blake and Melinda were holding hands as they came up, and they stood next to each other in the line-up. And then? Melinda looked at our We <3 Bshorty sign and pointed it out to Blake. Of course Blake had already seen it, but Mel didnt know that. And that when it happened. Blake blew me a kiss!!!!!!! Talk about being shot through the heart. I was this close to turning into Ashley The Crying Girl. StarSis was loving it too. I LOVE YOU MINDY DOO.
So then it was pretty much over. The Idols ran around and played a bit on the stage for a few more seconds. I saw another Cake moment, as up on one of the catwalks they ran up to each other and kinda bumped chests. Sanjaya jumped off the stage a little to our right and shook hands with some people sitting a few seats down from us, still smiling from ear-to-ear. Sanjaya is love. And then they were gone.
Final thoughts? It definitely an enjoyable concert, and they all sound really great in person. The performance of the night for me was without a doubt Blake …She Will Be Loved/With Or Without You. Sonic perfection. Thanks for the kiss Blake ¦it been fun supporting you and I cant wait to hear your album – exclamation point.