Thursday, August 30, 2012

Repeal Title IX

After 40 years, Title IX is getting old for men and boys, and it must be repealed.  It is doing damage to extracurricular activities, especially men's college sports, and it is now extending its grip on elementary schools. The USA sent 261 male athletes and 269 female athletes to the 2012 London Olympics, thanks to Title IX.

Title IX was enacted in 1972 to prohibit gender-based discrimination. Since then, the regulations that test compliance with Title IX have degenerated into a vehicle for female privilege under the guise of gender equality. That is because feminism is not about equality opportunity; it is about equality of outcome. Thanks the misuse of Title IX and the way it was enforced, schools everywhere fear that they are obligated to make their sports team roster "proportional" to their enrollment due to the threat of federal government regulators and trial lawyers. That means that if 57 percent of the student enrollment is female, then 57 percent of student athletes must be female. This compliance test serves to benefit the majority sex in colleges and universities by every means possible, while the minority sex is pushed below the law.

However, the media coverage of Title IX avoids these fineprint details and evidently crosses the line from objective reporting to cheerleading. Any damage done by Title IX is ignored, and any criticism is summarily downplayed or dismissed.

Monday, August 13, 2012

My top 3 of each season American Idol

My top 3 of each season of American Idol (as in inspired by the Olympics: "Gold Favorite" being my first favorite, "Silver Favorite" being my second-favorite, and "Bronze Favorite" being my third favorite) and the show winner (the one who actually won) and real winner (the one who should have won or who is the most commercially successful).

Season 1:
Gold Favorite: Tamyra Gray
Silver Favorite: Christina Christian
Bronze Favorite: Justin Guarini
Show Winner: Kelly Clarkson
Real Winner: Kelly Clarkson

Season 2:
Gold Favorite: Ruben Studdard
Silver Favorite: Trenyce Cobbins
Bronze Favorite: Rickey Smith
Show Winner: Ruben Studdard
Real Winner: Clay Aiken

Season 3:
Gold Favorite: Jennifer Hudson
Silver Favorite: Fantasia Barrino
Bronze Favorite: George Huff
Show Winner: Fantasia Barrino
Real Winner: Jennifer Hudson

Season 4:
Gold Favorite: Vonzell Solomon
Silver Favorite: Nikko Smith
Bronze Favorite: Carrie Underwood
Show Winner: Carrie Underwood
Real Winner: Carrie Underwood

Season 5:
Gold Favorite: Elliott Yamin
Silver Favorite: Mandisa
Bronze Favorite: Lisa Tucker
Show Winner: Taylor Hicks
Real Winner: Elliott Yamin

Season 6:
Gold Favorite: Jordin Sparks
Silver Favorite: Sanjaya Malakar
Bronze Favorite: Melinda Doolittle
Show Winner: Jordin Sparks
Real Winner: Jordin Sparks

Season 7:
Gold Favorite: Chikezie Eze
Silver Favorite: Syesha Mercado
Bronze Favorite: David Hernandez
Show Winner: David Cook
Real Winner: David Cook

Season 8:
Gold Favorite: Jasmine Murray
Silver Favorite: Lil Rounds
Bronze Favorite: Anoop Desai
Show Winner: Kris Allen
Real Winner: Adam Lambert

Season 9:
Gold Favorite: Michael Lynche
Silver Favorite: Paige Miles
Bronze Favorite: Andrew Garcia
Show Winner: Lee DeWyze
Real Winner: Crystal Bowersox

Season 10:
Gold Favorite: Jacob Lusk
Silver Favorite: Stefano Langone
Bronze Favorite: Ashthon Jones
Show Winner: Scotty McCreery
Real Winner: Scotty McCreery

Season 11:
Gold Favorite: Jessica Sanchez
Silver Favorite: Joshua Ledet
Bronze Favorite: DeAndre Brackensick
Show Winner: Phillip Phillips
Real Winner: Jessica Sanchez

Monday, July 30, 2012

Jessica Sanchez dates DeAndre Brackensick

Jessica Sanchez, my favorite contestant of American Idol season 11, has announced via UStream the week before last that a new man in her life by the name of DeAndre Brackensick, my third favorite of season 11.  She said, "I got a secret and I want you guys to guess. I’ll nod if it’s no or yes." After a few wrong guesses, fans zeroed in on Sanchez having a boyfriend. Sanchez was too excited to identify her significant other as the handsome 17-year-old singer. She is currently homeschooled and now signed to Interscope Records. She is represented by Creative Artists Agency, which is known to represent future American Idol judge Mariah Carey, as well as Usher, 50 Cent, and Justin Timberlake. Her Mexican-American father Gilbert Sanchez was born in Texas and serves in the U.S. Navy and is stationed in Singapore. Her mother Editha Sanchez was born in Bataan Province, Philippines, and was raised in Hawaii. Brackensick recently graduated from Oak Grove High School. He is the son of a Caucasian father and an African-American mother.

Sanchez hails from Chula Vista, California, and Brackensick hails from San Jose, California. The American Idols LIVE! Tour 2012 was recently in Brackensick's hometown first and then Jessica's hometown, and both audiences gave the same positive reception to Sanchez. They both auditioned for American Idol season 11 in Sanchez's hometown San Diego, California. Brackensick originally auditioned for season 10 in San Francisco, California, but he was cut in the green mile round. Sanchez was too young to audition for season 10, but Thia Megia, a friend of hers, was placed in the top 11 in that season.

Season 11's show winner Phillip Phillips is in a relationship with Hannah Blackwell. The rest of season 11's top 13 are single, thus not in a relationship.

As for season 10's top 13, Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina are single. Haley Reinhart is in a relationship. James Durbin is married to a woman named Heidi and has a son named Hunter. Jacob Lusk and Casey Abrams are single. Stefano Langone is in a relationship. Paul McDonald is married to Nikki Reed. Pia Toscano and Thia Megia are single. Naima Adedapo is married. Karen Rodriguez and Ashthon Jones are single.

Both of season 9's top 2 are married, and the runner-up got married before the winner. Crystal Bowersox got married shortly after her stint on American Idol. Lee DeWyze got married two weeks ago. Casey James is single. Michael Lynche got married before his stint on American Idol, with his daughter born during the Hollywood Round. Aaron Kelly is single. Siobhan Magnus is in a relationship. Tim Urban and Katie Stevens are single. Andrew Garcia is in a relationship. Didi Benami, Paige Miles, and Lacey Brown are single.

As for the season 8 finalists, winner Kris Allen got married before his stint on American Idol. Adam Lambert is openly gay. Danny Gokey was widowed during his stint on American Idol but got recently remarried to Leyicet Peralta. Allison Iraheta, Matt Giraud, and Anoop Desai are single. Anoop Desai has been a groomsman at many weddings. Lil Rounds get married and bore children before her stint on American Idol. Megan Joy divorced during her stint on American Idol, but she is recently remarried. Michael Sarver got married before his stint on American Idol. Scott MacIntyre is recently married. Alexis Grace is in a relationship. Jorge Núñez and my favorite Jasmine Murray are single.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The truth about Men Stopping Violence

The organization known as Men Stopping Violence is a misnomer. It claims to be an organization dedicated to ending male violence against women. However, it is really an organization dedicated to promoting and encouraging female supremacy and male submission to women. It leads men to live in fear of women and girls, hence the protologism "gynophobogen." It encourages men to let themselves be deceived and controlled by women. It encourages men to be too lenient towards women and girls. It even encourages fathers to be too permissive towards daughters. The organization was founded by a woman who was a feminist.

Some of the entries in the said organization's Violent and Controlling Behaviors list are flimsy or misusable. Here are the questionable entries on the list:

  • Criticism (name-calling, accusations, blaming, use of trivializing words or gestures)
  • Interrupting, changing topics, not listening, not responding, twisting her words.
  • Claiming "the truth," being the authority, defining her behavior, using "logic."
  • Withholding help on childcare/housework (not doing your share or following through on your own agreements)
  • Emotional withholding (not expressing feelings, not giving support, validation, attention, compliments, respect for her feelings, rights, or opinions)

The organization is only concerned about preventing male violence against women, but not the other way around, nor is it about protecting women against female violence. It promotes the double standard that men should never hit or defame females under any circumstances, but that females can do the same to males and other females alike as much as they like and when they like.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jessica Sanchez should have won instead of Phillip Phillips

"Sometimes when you lose ... you win."

The White Guy With Guitar curse strikes for the fifth time in a row. I am very upset that my favorite contestant of season 11 lost to a White guy with a guitar. Jessica Sanchez should have won instead of Phillip Phillips. This is my biggest finale upset ever. Jessica Sanchez is the best singer in American Idol history. She is better than any American Idol winner, even Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. Phillip Phillips is in the same league as Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze.

Phillip Phillips won because his fans were more dedicated in the official American Idol poll than Jessica Sanchez's fans were. Jessica Sanchez's U.S. fans slacked off in the poll and some of them did not even bother to vote at all. Teen and pre-teen girls have learned from previous seasons that they cannot be complacent, and this season, they were not competing with country music fans. The judges and the powers that be swayed the outcome of the finale. The powers that be sabotaged Jessica Sanchez and had the judges critique her and pimped Phillip Phillips and had the judges give him standing ovation. The poll is more accurate than the official American Idol poll, which cannot be trusted.

America has chosen a pawn shop worker who is a barely alented male singer who can hardly sing a note and is a poor role moder over a YouTube star who is a super-talented female singer who can really, really sing flawlessly and is a great role model whose motto is "Work Hard. Stay Humber.

America has chosen a barely talented male singer who often sings out of tune and who has been singing for only six years and stands out a little over a super-talented female singer who can sing the phonebook flawlessly with standing ovation and who has been singing since the age of two and stands out a whole lot.

America has chosen a mediocre 21-year-old male singer with a one-octave vocal range and sounds the same and sings only rock and folk music over a 16-year-old female singer with a four-octave vocal range and varies in her singing and can sing any music genre.

America has chosen a mediocre male singer who has an average of 400,000 views on YouTube and who is worth $500,000 over a super-talented female singer who has an average of 3,000,000 views on YouTube and who is worth $1 trillion.

America has chosen a mediocre male singer who is an average White guy with a guitar over a super-talented female singer who is the best singer in American Idol history.

America has chosen a mediocre male singer who is in the same league as Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze and has less time to grow over a super-talented female singer who has a lot of time to grow and is in the same league as Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.

America has chosen a mediocre male singer who has a few celebrity endorsements and whom not many people want to duet with over a super-talented female singer who has many celebrity endorsements and whom so many people want to duet with.

Phillip Phillips has won, but in the long run, he will be forgotten and Jessica Sanchez will be more successful than him and become a music legend. Here is the analysis of the American Idol winners:

Season 1's Show Winner: Kelly Clarkson
Season 1's Real Winner: Kelly Clarkson
Season 2's Show Winner: Ruben Studdard
Season 2's Real Winner: Clay Aiken
Season 3's Show Winner: Fantasia Barrino
Season 3's Real Winner: Jennifer Hudson
Season 4's Show Winner: Carrie Underwood
Season 4's Real Winner: Carrie Underwood
Season 5's Show Winner: Taylor Hicks
Season 5's Real Winner: Chris Daughtry
Season 6's Show Winner: Jordin Sparks
Season 6's Real Winner: Jordin Sparks
Season 7's Show Winner: David Cook
Season 7's Real Winner: David Cook
Season 8's Show Winner: Kris Allen
Season 8's Real Winner: Adam Lambert
Season 9's Show Winner: Lee DeWyze
Season 9's Real Winner: Crystal Bowersox
Season 10's Show Winner: Scotty McCreery
Season 10's Real Winner: Scotty McCreery
Season 11's Show Winner: Phillip Phillips
Season 11's Real Winner: Jessica Sanchez

I rate American Idol season 11 a 8.25 out of 10. Had Jessica Sanchez won, I would have rated it 10 out of 10.

Therefore, on May 23, 2012, an American Idol is crowned and a music legend is born. Phillip Phillips will just be the 11th American Idol, while Jessica Sanchez will become a music legend and often be mentioned in one sentence with Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carey. Jessica Sanchez may have a shot of overtaking Kelly Clarkson as the Supreme Idol.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Jessica Sanchez makes the finale at the expense of Joshua Ledet

It is official: for the first time in five years, my favorite contestant has made it to the finale. Jessica Sanchez, my favorite contestant of American Idol season 11 has made it to the finale, but at the expense of my second favorite Joshua Ledet, who was born in 1992 and hails from Westlake, Louisiana.

With 90 million votes cast by America, Sanchez is the first contestant saved by the judges to make it into the finale. Unfortunately, she will have to face that White guy with a guitar known as Phillip Phillips. In the last four seasons, American Idol has been won by White guys with guitars (WGWGs). I hope Sanchez breaks the WGWG winning streak once and for all. I am fed up with WGWGs winning the competition. Another reason is that last season, five female finalists were eliminated in a row during the first five rounds of the finals.

If Sanchez wins, she will be another Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood. If Phillips wins, he will be another Taylor Hicks or Lee DeWyze. Choosing Phillips over Sanchez is like choosing sandpaper over velvet. It is like choosing wood over gold. It is like choosing junk food over healthy food. It is like choosing milk chocolate over dark chocolate. It is like choosing Chinese made goods over American made goods. It is like choosing monaural sound over 5.1 surround sound. It is like choosing standard definition over high definition. It is like choosing political correctness over common sense.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Jessica Sanchez makes the top 3 as Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanagh are out of the picture

Jessica Sanchez has become the first recipient of the judges' save to make the top 3. In the last two weeks, Skylar Laine then Hollie Cavanagh got eliminated. In season 9, Michael Lynche came in 4th place after being saved by judges. Sanchez received a heroes' welcome in Chula Vista, California, which has a population of 237,000. On May 12, 2012, the city welcomed Sanchez at the East Lake Football Stadium. Mayor Cox proclaimed that day as "Jessica Sanchez Day" in the celebration featuring a procession, rally and mini concert. Sanchez was welcomed by about 7,000 supporters as she rode a parade accompanied by the school's color guards and marching band. After she sang three songs at the mini-concert, cheers from the crowd spurred her to an encore performance. The second part of the homecoming was on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum in downtown San Diego, where she sang the national anthem and performed three songs before a crowd of about 4,000 aficionados. American Idol camera crews filmed the homecoming and will air tonight on FOX.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Elise Testone's Idol journe ends

Last week, Elise Testone from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, got voted off American Idol landing in sixth place. She auditioned for American Idol in Charleston, South Carolina. She gave a rendition fo Queen's "I Want It All" and Jimi Hendrix's "Bold as Love" on Wednesday but was unable evade elimination after appearing at the bottom of the pack six times this season. Testone was joined in the bottom three Thursday by 18-year-old vocalist Hollie Cavanagh from McKinney, Texas, who tugged at the judges' heartstrings with Queen's "Save Me" and Miley Cyrus' "The Climb," and 18-year-old country rocker Skylar Laine from Brandon, Miss., who wowed with Queen's "The Show Must Go On" and Jason Aldean's "Tattoos on This Town."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Colton Dixon goes home in American Idol shocker

Last week, as a shocking elimination, Colton Dixon got sent packing, landing in seventh place on American Idol season 11. He hails from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He said, "I wasn't myself last night." His Wednesday performance of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" was roundly criticized by the judges Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler, and Jennifer Lopez. Dixon thanked them for their honest feedback, and assured them he would incorporate it into a future album. Host Ryan Seacrest described the singer as "a class act" as he left the stage, and judge Jennifer Lopez shook her head when Dixon's dismissal was announced.

Dixon was never in the bottom 3 prior to his elimination. He was in the bottom 3 with Elise Testone and Hollie Cavanagh, both of whom had found themselves in danger of elimination in previous weeks. My favorite contestant Jessica Sanchez, who was saved by judges last week after audiences voted her off the show, received enough votes to stay out of the bottom three, as did my second favorite contestant Joshua Ledet.

Thursday night's show featured a tribute to the late Dick Clark, who died of a massive heart attack and who Seacrest cited as an inspiration and a boon to the music industry. Pop band LMFAO performed its dance hit "Sorry for Party Rockin,'" and American Idol season 8's Kris Allen took the stage to sing his song "The Vision of Love."

Michael Colton Dixon was born to Teresa and Michael Dixon on October 19, 1991, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the county seat of Rutherford County, Tennessee. He has a younger sister named Schyler Dixon. He graduated from Middle Tennessee Christian School in 2009. He is also a devout Christian.

Dixon originally auditioned for American Idol season 10 alongside his sister Schyler in Nashville, Tennessee, but neither of them advanced to the live shows. After he was cut in the green mile round, Dixon performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on March 3, 2011.

Dixon returned in season 11, however he did not plan to audition, initially planning to merely accompany his sister Schyler to her audition. The judges implored Dixon to audition as well, where he sang David Cook's "Permanent." Both he and Schyler advanced to the Hollywood Round. Schyler was cut yet again during the Las Vegas round, which brought Colton to tears. On February 23, 2012, Dixon was placed in the season 11 Top 25. In the semi-finals, he performed Paramore's "Decode." He advanced to the top 13 by public vote.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jessica Sanchez gets saved Casey Abrams style

Last week, Jessica Sanchez, my favorite contestant of American Idol season 11, got saved from being eliminated to seventh place by the judges. This is bittersweet news to me. I agree with the judges and Jimmy Iovine that America voted wrong. However, it must be that the results were not based on actual votes, as the results were staged by the powers that be.

American Idol is supposed to be a singing talent contest, not a popularity contest. Sanchez is the wise choice for American Idol winner. deserves to win the competition, not Phillip Phillips or Colton Dixon, who have been getting the frau vote. The frau vote is very unwise, and it comes from young viewers who comprise a small percentage of the American Idol at-home viewing audience and who are AT&T customers who text-vote speedily. The use of the judges' save is probably used to increase American Idol's ratings.

During the results show, American Idol season 3 finalist Jennifer Hudson performed a duet with Ne-Yo called "Think Like a Man." Earlier, American Idol season 10's James Durbin performed his first single, "Higher Than Heaven."

Win or lose Sanchez will be the most successful contestant of American Idol season 11. She is already largely popular on YouTube. Let alone, she may even overtake Kelly Clarkson as the most successful American Idol contestant ever.

Tomorrow night, the theme is "Now & Then", meaning that the top 7 will perform two songs, one from the 21st century and one from the 20th century. The judges' save normally culminates in two finalists being sent home, but due to the disqualification of Jermaine Jones, only one finalist be sent home.

To all you who follow the frau vote, such as young female voting viewers: Female American Idol winners are more successful than their male counterparts regardless of race or musical style. Would you rather have an ethnic female American Idol winner like Jessica Sanchez who has a chance of attaining Kelly Clarkson level success or a White guy with a guitar (WGWG) type winner like Phillip Phillips who will go the way of Lee DeWyze?

My predictions on the top 7 are:

Winner: Jessica Sanchez
Runner-up: Colton Dixon
Third Place: Joshua Ledet
Fourth Place: Phillip Phillips
Fifth Place: Skylar Laine
Sixth Place: Elise Testone
Seventh Place: Hollie Cavanagh

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

DeAndre Brokensick

Last week, the top 8 sang songs from the 1980s, and then the top 8 became top 7 as DeAndre Brackensick got eliminated finishing in eighth place. Jennifer Lopez begged and pleaded with Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler to save him, but they declined, going against the audience's wishes. Brackensick is known for his falsetto. He is the American Idol version of Maxwell.

DeAndre Brackensick was born to Scot and Dawn Brackensick on October 21, 1994. He hails from San Jose, California. He is currently a senior at Oak Grove High School and was elected homecoming king. He is an active participant in Oak Grove High School's Theater Arts program and is the president of the school's Polynesian Club.

Brackensick originally auditioned for American Idol season 10, but he was cut in the green mile round, because the judges felt like he was not ready for the competition and advised him to come back the following season to audition again in San Diego, California. He did return and auditioned for the eleventh season in San Jose, California.

During the semifinal round, Brackensick performed "Reasons" by Earth, Wind & Fire. He was not one of the top five males chosen by America's votes, but was selected as one of six contestants to perform in the wild card round. In this round, he performed "Georgia on My Mind" by Hoagy Carmichael and His Orchestra and was selected as one of the three wild cards to advance to the top 13 by American Idol judge, Steven Tyler. He was consistently praised by the judges for his performances and one of the live audience's favorites. After his performance of Stevie Wonder's, "Master Blaster" American Idol judge, Randy Jackson told Brackensick out of all the contestants for this season he was the most commercial ready, now. During the top 9 results show, he met his personal idol Eric Benet. On April 5, 2012 Brackensick was in the bottom three and did not receive enough votes to continue in the competition. He then sang for the one save of the season given to the American Idol judges and once again bringing the audience to their feet in enjoyment. Before he was told the judges decision the audience chanted continuously for them to use their save. American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez, wanted to use the seasons save on him but the shows rules dictate that it has to be a unanimous decision among the judges and unfortunately it was not. Brackensick's falsetto has been noted as one of the best in American Idol history. He has an uncanny and near effortless ability to change from his beautiful chest voice into falsetto, and contributes that to the time he spent growing up among the Hawaiian culture as a singer and hula performer. He was the last wild card contestant to be eliminated, finishing in eighth place. Since his elimination he has been busy speaking with press, radio, and appearing on talk shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, LIVE! with Kelly, The Today Show, and Anderson. DeAndre Brackensick will be returning to the American Idol stage for the season eleven finale. He will continue to pursue a career in R&B music, after the completion of American Idol's season eleven top ten finalists concert tour; summer 2012.

Tonight, the top 7 finalists will perform songs of the 2010s, featuring R&B superstar Akon as the guest mentor. The musical guests for tomorrow night's results show are R&B superstar NeYo, American Idol season 3's Jennifer Hudson, and American Idol season 10's James Durbin.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

End of the road for Heejun Han

On the night before yesterday, Heejun Han was eliminated from American Idol, finishing in 9th place. He was in the bottom 3 with Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanagh. He is the first Korean-American to make the finals in American Idol history. On the week of his elimination, he sang "A Song for You", which was originally recorded by Leon Russell and made popular by Donny Hathaway and most notably performed on American Idol by Elliott Yamin.

Heejun Han was born Han Hee Jun on April 20, 1989, in Anyang, Gyeonggi, South Korea. He and his family migrated to Flushing Queens, New York, during his teenage years. He attended Francis Lewis High School, which was established in 1960 and located in Fresh Meadows, Queens, New York. Before he auditioned for American Idol season 11, he was a non-profit organizer from Mil Al Mission in New York, a missionary school in Rockland, New York, working with children with disabilities and special needs. He has spoken of suffering from emotional depression and credited the children that he worked with for helping him to recover from his illness. He has also said that the children motivated him to audition for American Idol.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Why I dislike The Biggest Loser 13's Conda Britt

I despise The Biggest Loser season 13's Conda Britt. She is my least favorite Biggest Loser contestant. She is a disgrace to the cast of the 13th season of The Biggest Loser. She intent on destroying the reputation of The Biggest Loser franchise. She made very unwelcome actions, especially her attitude towards Adrian and Daphne Dortch. She made too many complaints about the trainers. She played double agent, thus forming alliances with both teams with the except of Adrian and Daphne Dortch.

Conda Britt was given one thing that most people will never have, which is 15 minutes of fame. That time could have been spent on becoming a role model for millions of obese and overweight American youth. An opportunity to demonstrate that character, sportsmanship, and the spirit of the competition can coexist with each other.

Instead, Conda Britt chose to demonstrate qualities that are, to say the least, far less than stellar. She chose to exhibit qualities that have raised red flags. She chose to demonstrate qualities that have caused the trainers, two of the contestants (Adrian and Daphne Dortch), and the viewers of the show to have negative comments about her. Those qualities chose do not represent fairness and the spirit of The Biggest Loser that viewers have come to expect.

Consequently, red flags have been raised because the viewers have been hurt. Conda Britt has marred a show that viewers have come to love and enjoy, perhaps for future seasons. In the long run, contestants will fade into obscurity, but the qualities that they exhibit to America's youth will live on. The concern must be with America's youth. Is there an answer? Is redemption possible? There is always hope.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Erika Van Pelt goes home after a makeover

Last week, my least favorite American Idol season 11 contestant Erika Van Pelt, who was chosen as a Wild Card by Randy Jackson, got eliminated at number 10 after getting a makeover to "Little Nicky" hairstyle courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger. She performed "New York State of Mind". She was in the bottom 3 with Wild Card DeAndre Brackensick and Vote for the Worst pick Heejun Han. She was confused by the American Idol judges' advice.

Van Pelt was born on December 12, 1985, in Providence, Rhode Island. In 2002, she relocated to South Kingstown, Rhode Island. She sang at church in the children's choir and at the age of seven was singing solos with the adult choir. She attended South Kingstown High School and joined the vocal jazz ensemble and chorus and was involved in musical theatre. She was in groups that received first places at the Rhode Island All State Jazz Choir, Rhode Island All-State Chorus, All New England Chorus and All-Eastern Chorus competitions.  She was one of the original members of a cappella group known as SoundCheck. Van Pelt attended Community College of Rhode Island and Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied rock, pop, jazz, and soul alongside production and engineering.

After college, in 2005, Van Pelt launched her own company, VP Entertainment, a full-service mobile DJ company, and became an independent contractor with Kaleidoscope Kabaret, performing throughout New England at major venues including Foxwoods Resorts Casino and Mohegan Sun. She performs part-time with The Sultans of Swing, and is a performing partner of Fairhaven Entertainment and Boston Swing.

Tonight, the top 9 perform songs by their personal idols. That theme was previously used for top 13 week last season.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

No "Sweet Day" for Shannon Magrane; the top 10 sings Billy Joel

Last week, there were 12 then 11, and now there are 10, as Jermaine Jones got disqualified and Shannon Magrane got voted off American Idol, landing in 11th place, despite being praised by the judges. She performed "One Sweet Day" by Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey. She was in the bottom 3 with Elise Testone and Erika Van Pelt. She was previously one of the bottom 3 girls on top 13 week after performing "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston.

Magrane was born on October 21, 1995, in Tampa, Florida. She is the daughter of Joe Magrane, a former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher and current Tampa Bay Rays broadcaster. As of now, she attends Howard W. Blake High School.

Magrane auditioned in Savannah, Georgia, with the song "Something's Got a Hold on Me" by Etta James, who is recently dead, and "Good Feeling" by Flo Rida. In the Sing for Your Life and Green Mile round, she performed "The Trouble with Love Is" by Kelly Clarkson. In the semi-finals, she performed "Go Light Your World" by Kathy Troccoli.

The 10 remaining contestants will participate in the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2012. Tonight, they will perform songs from Billy Joel's song catalog.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jeremy Rosado goes the way of Leah LaBelle; Jermaine Jones goes the way of Corey Clark

Last week, Jeremy Rosado became the first male contestant (after three females) to go the way of Leah LaBelle, therefore landing in 13th place. He was a victim of the curse of Sara Bareilles. When you sing a Sara Bareilles song during the semifinals on American Idol, you will go the way of Leah LaBelle. Rosado was not exactly surprised to hear his name called during last week's results show. He told USA Today that he had a "gut feeling" that he was doomed—but he was rather shocked to hear American Idol mentor Jimmy Iovine's criticisms of his performance ... mostly because he thought they were unwarranted. He is the youngest finalist ever to miss out on the American Idols LIVE! tour.

Rosado was born on March 24, 1992. He hails from Valrico, Florida. He graduated from Durant High School in 2010. He current attends Hillsborough Community College, and works at the front desk clerk at an infectious diseases doctor's office. His musical influences are Francesca Battistelli, Kirk Franklin, and Israel Houghton.

For Sing for Your Life, Rosado performed "I Know You Want" by Carrie Underwood. During top 24 week, he performed "Gravity" by Sara Bareilles. During top 13 week, he performed "Ribbon in the Sky" by Stevie Wonder. He was the lowest male vote getter and stood against Elise Testone, the lowest female vote getter. The judges elected to save Testone, sealing Rosado's fate.

Rosado is most grateful to American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez, who not only seemed to be his biggest supporter on the show, but coined his now ubiquitous nickname: Jer-Bear. He said that he wants to win an Oscar and 17 Grammys.

Tonight, the remaining finalists will perform songs from the respective year of their birth. They would be co-mentored by

In other news, Jermaine Jones, who was called back for the live shows after being cut in the green mile round, has gone the way of Corey Clark, automatically landing in 12th place. He was disqualified for concealing his criminal past, which includes two arrests, one for a violent crime. He still had outstanding warrants. The 25-year-old vocal instructor from Pine Hill, N.J., tweeted Tuesday night that he would no longer be appearing on the hit singing competition. "Awww I will no longer b on the show," he wrote on his official American Idol account. The tweet, as well as the account, were quickly and unsurprisingly deleted. Dubbed the "gentle giant" by "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest, because of his 6'8" stature, Jones was among the bottom three contestants last week after performing Stevie Wonder's "Knocks Me Off My Feet," but advanced to the top 12. Obviously, the show will find a dramatic way to play out his exit on Wednesday’s live show. There was no elimination during the week Corey Clark got disqualified, and the same might be true tonight.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet make the top 13

The night before yesterday, 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez, my favorite of American Idol season 11, and 19-year-old Joshua Ledet, my second favorite, have claimed a spot in season 11's top 13. Sanchez is from San Diego, California. Ledet is from Westlake, Louisiana. During top 25 week, Ledet performed "You Pulled Me Through" by American Idol season 3 finalist Jennifer Hudson. Meanwhile, Sanchez performed an earlier Jennifer Hudson song called "I Love You I Do", from the film Dreamgirls, which Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for.

Here are the top 13 of American Idol season 11:

DeAndre Brackensick (Wildcard chosen by Steven Tyler) (born October 21, 1994)
Hollie Cavanagh (born July 5, 1993)
Colton Dixon (born October 19, 1991)
Heejun Han (born April 20, 1989)
Jermaine Jones (born November 3, 1986)
Skylar Laine (born February 1, 1994)
Joshua Ledet (born April 9, 1992)
Shannon Magrane (born October 21, 1995)
Phillip Phillips (born September 20, 1990)
Jeremy Rosado (Wildcard chosen by Jennifer Lopez) (born March 24, 1992)
Jessica Sanchez (born August 4, 1995)
Elise Testone (born July 29, 1983)
Erika Van Pelt (Wildcard chosen by Randy Jackson) (born December 12, 1985)

Contenders: Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips, Skylar Laine, Colton Dixon, Elise Testone, Hollie Cavanagh
Pretenders: Jeremy Rosado, Jermaine Jones, Shannon Magrane, Erika Van Pelt, Heejun Han, DeAndre Brackensick
Here is my prediction:

Winner: Jessica Sanchez
Runner-up: Phillip Phillips
Third Place: Hollie Cavanagh
Fourth Place: Joshua Ledet
Fifth Place: Colton Dixon
Sixth Place: Elise Testone
Seventh Place: Skylar Laine
Eighth Place: Heejun Han
Ninth Place: DeAndre Brackensick
Tenth Place: Shannon Magrane
Eleventh Place: Jeremy Rosado
Twelfth Place: Jermaine Jones
Thirteenth Place: Erika Van Pelt

In a perfect world, season 11 would go like this:

Winner: Jessica Sanchez
Runner-up: Joshua Ledet
Third Place: Hollie Cavanagh
Fourth Place: Phillip Phillips
Fifth Place: Elise Testone
Sixth Place: Colton Dixon
Seventh Place: DeAndre Brackensick
Eighth Place: Jeremy Rosado
Ninth Place: Heejun Han
Tenth Place: Shannon Magrane
Twelfth Place: Erika Van Pelt
Thirteenth Place: Jermaine Jones

Wednesday night, on top 13 week, the male finalists would take on Stevie Wonder songs, while the female finalists would pay tribute to the late great Whitney Houston. The lowest vote-getting guy and the lowest vote-getting girl will face the judges. I think Jeremy Rosado will be that guy, and I think Shannon Magrane will go home at 13th place.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

American Idol season 11 top 24 revealed (with a twist)

Last Wednesday night and Thursday night, the top 24 of American Idol season 11 has been revealed with a twist: one male wildcard semifinalist will be revealed this coming Tuesday night. What I do not like about season 11 is that unlike the previous seasons, there are no African American female semifinalists in season 11. Normally I favor African American female contestants, giving that I find that they are generally the best singers. Here is season 11's top 24:

DeAndre Brackensick
Adam Brock
Colton Dixon
Creighton Fraker
Eben Franckewitz
Reed Grimm
Heejun Han
Joshua Ledet
Chase Likens
Aaron Marcellus
Phillip Phillips, Jr.
Jeremy Rosado
a WildCard guy

Baylie Brown
Hollie Cavanaugh
Hallie Day
Haley Johnsen
Skylar Laine
Shannon Magrane
Jessica Sanchez
Chelsea Sorrell
Elise Testone
Jen Hirsh
Erika Van Pelt
Brielle Von Hugel

The WildCard semifinal candidates are:

Jermaine Jones
Johnny Keyser
Richard Law
David Leathers, Jr.

Who I want in the top 13 are:

DeAndre Brackensick
Colton Dixon
Reed Grimm
Heejun Han
Joshua Ledet

Baylie Brown
Jen Hirsh
Skylar Laine
Jessica Sanchez (my first choice)
Elise Testone


Aaron Marcellus (Randy Jackson's choice)
Jeremy Rosado (Jennifer Lopez's choice)
Chelsea Sorrell (Steven Tyler's choice)

Who I think will be in the top 13 are:

DeAndre Brackensick
Colton Dixon

Reed Grimm
Heejun Han
Phillip Phillips, Jr.

Haley Johnsen
Skylar Lane

Jessica Sanchez
Chelsea Sorrell
Elise Testone

Aaron Marcellus (Randy Jackson's choice)
Joshua Ledet (Jennifer Lopez's choice)
Brielle Von Hugel (Steven Tyler's choice)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

#43 RJ Helton

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 43 American Idol finalist RJ Helton. He got third place on American Idol season 1; he made the finals via Wild Card. He was born on May 17, 1981. He hails from Cumming, Georgia. He auditioned for American Idol season 1 in Atlanta, Georgia, with the song "Never Can Say Goodbye" by The Jackson 5. He had made demo CDs before his time on American Idol.

#44 Blake Lewis

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 44 finalist, pop star and beatboxer Blake Lewis. He is the runner-up of American Idol season 6, losing to Jordin Sparks, my favorite of that season. His major debut album A.D.D. (Audio Day Dream) was released in December 2007 through 19 Recordings Ltd. and Arista Records. On October 30, 2007, his pre-album single "Break Anotha" was released. The album landed at number ten on the U.S. Billboard Billboard 200 as its peaked with 97,500 copies sold in its debut, and sold over 350,000 copies so far. After the release of his second single "How Many Words", which peaked at number eight on the U.S. Billboard Dance/Club Play Songs, he lost his deal with Arista Records, but he got signed to the independent label Tommy Boy Entertainment.

His sophomore album, Heartbreak on Vinyl, was released on October 6, 2009. The first single "Sad Song" was released on July 21, 2009 and peaked at number ten on the U.S. Billboard Dance Radio Airplay. The album charted at number 135 on the U.S. Billboard Billboard 200, number twenty on the Billboard Independent Albums, and number seven on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums with over 4000 copies sold in the first week (1000 of those were digital downloads). At the time of American Idol season 8, I ranked Lewis at number 36.

Blake Colin Lewis was born on July 31, 1981, in Redmond, Washington, the city I may never step foot in as it is the home of Microsoft Corporation and Nintendo of America, to Dallas and Dinah Lewis. His mother Dinah is a guitarist and former rocker. He is an only child (as is Anoop Desai) and is of Welsh, Swiss, German, and Irish descent. He attended Kenmore Junior High and later Inglemoor High School (which is part of the Northshore school district) in Kenmore, Washington. During his high school tenure, Lewis participated in many high school state competitions . He also participated in numerous musicals, as well as comedy and rap videos with his friends. In many of these videos, he portrayed his alter ego, Jimmie Walker Blue, the character he introduced during the semi-final round of American Idol.

Lewis started beatboxing at the age of 17. He picked up this talent purely by ear, listening to CDs of beatboxing, after he was inspired by Matthew Selby, a former member of the Los Angeles based a capella group group M-Pact, of which fellow American Idol semi-finalist Rudy Cárdenas was also a member of.  Aside from singing and beatboxing, Lewis plays the guitar, keyboard, and percussion. and has written many songs such as "She Loves the Way", "Emotional Waterfalls", "Dumpty Humpty" and "Jealousy".

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

#45 LaToya London

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is LaToya London. She landed in fourth place on American Idol season 3. She was in the bottom 3 with Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia on the week of Hudson's elimination. She released her debut album, Love & Life, in September 2005 and recently completed a starring role as Nettie in the national tour of the Broadway musical, The Color Purple, which was directed by American Idol season 9 semifinalist Todrick Hall.

LaToya Renee London was born on December 29, 1978, in San Francisco, California, and raised in Oakland, California, where she had her first public musical performance when, at the age of 7, she sang in her mother's wedding. Her interest in singing began when she was just 4 years old, when she frequently sang when attending Allen Temple Baptist church. As a teenager, she sang with the Oakland Youth Chorus from 1993 to 1996. In 1996, she graduated from Skyland High School, which actor Tom Hanks and NBA player Gary Payton earlier attended, She also worked as a waitress and a bartender and even sang in a Christian rock group. She was also a backup vocalist and did frequent guest vocals for several Bay Area recording artists. At the time she auditioned for American Idol, she was the lead vocalist in a band known as All-Star Jukebox, which usually performed at weddings.

London auditioned for American Idol season 3 in Los Angeles, California. Although she seamlessly moved on through each round, she had not been featured prominently in any aired footage and was written off by many fans before the first studio performances. However, as a member of the third group of eight semifinalists, she performed "All By Myself" by Eric Carmen, and earned a standing ovation from Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and guest judge Donna Summer. . Jackson labeled her performance as "brilliant" and "what the search for a superstar is all about," Abdul called her "unbelievable" and praised her "quiet confidence," and notoriously harsh, but honest, judge Simon Cowell said she was "the best of the group" and that it was a "superb, outstanding performance." As expected, America voted her through to the top 12 with 32.3 percent of audience votes, the largest percentage for every week of the semifinals. For nine weeks, London wowed the nation with her showstopping performances on American Idol. On top 12 week, as her first performance in the finals, she performed "Ain't Nobody" by Chaka Khan, and Cowell declared her performance as "amazing" and "awesome."

#46 Paris Bennett

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 46 American Idol finalist Paris Bennett. She landed in fifth place on American Idol season 5. Her debut album is Princess P, released on 306 Entertainment and TVT Records in 2007. She also released a a holiday album in 2008 entitled A Royal Christmas.

#47 James Durbin

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 47 American Idol finalist James Durbin. He got fourth place on American Idol season 10 in a shocking elimination. Despite his elimination, he received a homecoming treatment normally reserved for the top 3. He should have won instead of Scotty McCreery. He is recently married, and Casey Abrams and Stefano Langone are one of his groomsmen. He originally auditioned for American Idol season 8 but was rejected.

Monday, February 13, 2012

#48 Kelly Clarkson

This entry may be a shock to many American Idol viewers. Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 48 American Idol finalist, the original American Idol Kelly Clarkson. She rose to prominence after the winning the first season of American Idol. Before her time on American Idol she worked as a waitress. Unlike most other American Idol viewers, I am not a big fan of her. Dressed in black, she performed a duet with Jason Aldean at the Grammy Award show last night. She was ranked at number 1 on The Los Angeles Times 120 American Idol contestants power rankings chart of May 31, 2010. She finished as the runner-up to Norway's Kurt Nielsen on the television special, World Idol. In 2003, Clarkson released her debut album, Thankful, which was a commercial success and established herself in the pop music industry. The pre-album release of its first single, "A Moment Like This", which was later covered by Leona Lewis and later by many others, broke The Beatles' record record for the biggest leap to number one, from 52, in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. After parting ways with her management, Clarkson developed a more rock-oriented music with the release of her critically acclaimed 2004 sophomore album, Breakway, which sold more than 12 million copies worldwide and which garnered Clarkson more worldwide success as a pop rock artist. The album's pre-release single, "Because of You", became the best-selling single by an Idol contestant worldwide. In 2007, Clarkson took full creative control for her third album My December, which had had a more rock-inspired sound and was met with controversy and moderate success. Clarkson later returned to a more pop-oriented sound with her fourth studio album All I Ever Wanted which was released in 2009 and was commercially successful and critically acclaimed. The album's lead single, "My Life Would Suck Without You", currently holds the record for biggest leap to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, breaking her own record of "A Moment Like This" as well as earning her first number-one single in the United Kingdom. Clarkson's fifth studio album, Stronger, was released in October 2011, preceded by the lead single "Mr. Know It All" which peaked within top ten in eight countries. That song contains misandric lyrics, and that is one reason why I ranked her at number 48 as of 2011. The second single of the album Stronger, "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)",  was released in January 2012, and became Clarkson's third number-one single in the United States.

Clarkson is the most successful American Idol contestant ever, with Carrie Underwood being the second most successful, and Jennifer Hudson being the third most successful. According to Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan, Clarkson sold 24 million records and 39 million singles worldwide. Clarkson's work also earned her numerous accolades, including two Grammy awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, four American Music Awards, and one Women's World Award. Billboard also ranked Clarkson the number 14 artist of the 2000s, as well as also being ranked on the top 200 album sellers of the Nielsen SoundScan era at number 187.

Kelly Brianne Clarkson was born on April 24, 1982, in Fort Worth, Texas. She was raised in a small town called Burleston, Texas. She is the youngest of three children. Her mother Jeanne Rose is a first grade English of Greek descent. Her father Stephen Michael Clarkson is a former engineer of British descent. Her oldest sibling Jason is the only boy of the three. The middle one is Alyssa. At the age of six, Clarkson's parents divorced after seventeen years of marriage. The family settled in Burleson, where Clarkson's mother married her second husband, Jimmy Taylor. Clarkson's family struggled financially, and after her parents divorced, music became her refuge. Clarkson attended Pauline G Hughes Middle School and Burleston High School. She originally planned to be a marine biologist, but after seeing the 1975 film Jaws, she changed her mind. In seventh grade, a teacher (Mrs. Cynthia Glenn) overheard her singing in a hallway and asked her to audition for the school choir; Clarkson told the teacher that she had never received professional vocal training.

Clarkson auditioned for the first season of American Idol (under the full title American Idol: The Search for a Superstar) in May 2002, singing the songs "Express Yourself" by Madonna and "At Last" by the late Etta James, who died earlier in 2012. She subsequently won the competition on September 4, 2002, earning 58% of the vote to 42% for runner-up Justin Guarini, whom I prefer over her.

Monday, January 30, 2012

#49 Anwar Robinson

Next on my American Idol countdown is number 49 finalist Anwar Robinson. He landed in 7th place on American Idol season 4. He is the first finalist to sing "I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly during the American Idol live shows, and that song would later by sung during the live shows by Katharine McPhee in season 5, Aaron Kelly in season 9, and Jacob Lusk in season 10.

After his time on American Idol, he went on to tour with the Top 10 contestants of season four and sang for over 500,000 people in over 40 cities in the United States and Canada. He also participated in "Idols In Concert" at the newly built Rrazz Room at San Francisco's Hotel Nikko.

Robinson took on the role of "Collins" in the 2007-2008 national/international tour of Rent.

Robinson made his film debut in The Ski Trip 2: Friends and Lovers as "Owen." His debut album, Everything, was released on January 25, 2011

Robinson was involved in charity work beginning March 2, 2010, joining Michelle Williams, Musiq Soulchild, Lil' Mo, Tye Tribbett, Nikki Ross & Anaysha Figueroa (both of Kirk Franklin), Nancey Jackson-Johnson, and James Hall under the executive production of Kim Burrell to record "Prayer Song" for Hope for Haiti, composed by Krishnar Lewis. In October 2010, he participated with Yolanda Adams in Plainfield, New Jersey, event where community leaders were trying to break the Guiness World Records for the largest gospel chorus in the world.

Next up on my American Idol finalist countdown is none other than the most successful American Idol contestant ever, with over 21 million album sales and 25 million singles sales worldwide, who ranked number 1 on The Los Angeles Times top 120 power rankings list of May 31, 2010. She would later become the runner-up to Kurt Nilsen from Norway in the television special World Idol in 2003. One reason why I rank her this low is possibly because some of her songs like "Mr. Know It All" contain misandristic lyrics.

#50 LaKisha Jones

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 50 American Idol finalist LaKisha Jones. She landed in 4th place on American Idol season 6, being eliminated just before Melinda Doolittle.

LaKisha Ann Jones was born on January 13, 1980, at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan, to a teacher at the Flint Foundation Academy. She was raised by her grandmother, Ruth Jefferson Morris. An only child, Jones is a Baptist who began singing at the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church at the age of five. She was formally trained in classical music, although her favorite music genre is gospel music. Jones always dreamed of becoming a singer.

Jones was homeschooled in Flint and then attended Flint Central High School (now Flint Central Commencement Academy), where, in one of her earliest performances, she appeared in a play called Lead Poisoning. While in high school, Jones performed with one of the groups in the choral department: the Madrigal Singers. While in high school, Jones performed with one of the groups in the choral department: the Madrigal Singers. Jones graduated in 1998 and attended the University of Michigan-Flint, studying music. During college, she performed in the play Godspell.  Jones stated in her Idol interview that Flint, Michigan was her home. She was a single mother with a five year old daughter who encouraged her to audition for American Idol season 6.

Jones relocated to Houston, Texas, and resided there for six years. In 2006, she relocated to Forte Meade, Maryland, in order to be closer to her cousins and other relatives. At that time, Jones obtained a job as a bank teller at Provident Bank in Millersville, Maryland, which she resigned when she moved to Hollywood to compete in American Idol season 6.

#51 Kimberley Locke

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 51 American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke. She landed in 3rd place on American Idol season 2. She appeared in the FOX network version of the game show Don't Forget the Lyrics!. She garnered media attention for her participation in Celebrity Fit Club.

Kimberley Dawn Locke was born to Donald and Christine Locke on January 3, 1978, in Hartsville, Tennessee. She grew up with one older brother named Ashley in Gallatin, Tennessee. At the age of five, she began to sing in church. Her parents divorced when she was eight years old.

Like American Idol season 6 finalist Melinda Doolittle, Locke is an alumna of Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

#52 Pia Toscano

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 52 American Idol finalist Pia Toscano. She landed in 9th place on American Idol season 9. She was an early frontrunner in the competition. Her elimination came as a shock to the judges and the studio audience, all of whom were visibly and vocally upset. Some viewers and media outlets described Toscano's elimination as one of the most shocking eliminations in American Idol history. Her elimination was not shocking to me.

Pia Ann Rose Toscano was born of Italian heritage to Jane and Pat Toscano on October 14, 1988. She hails from Howard Beach, New York. Her father worked as a corporate executive. She began performing in talent shows when she was four, and by the age of nine, she had performed in a local church theatrical production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Toscano was the official U.S. National Anthem singer at her middle school, P.S./M.S. 207, and performed at every event including graduation. She graduated from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (founded by Fiorello H. LaGuardia in 1936) in New York City in 2006. Fellow American Idol season 10 finalist Karen Rodriguez also attended this high school.

Toscano performed the U.S. National Anthem and "God Bless America" for the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets’ minor league team, several times a year for three years. In addition, Toscano was the winner of the New York Mets annual "Anthem Search" competition in 2008 and was selected to sing the National Anthem at a July 2008 game. Toscano was also the opening act for the band Barenaked Ladies and performed with Josh Groban at Madison Square Garden.

Before her time on American Idol, Toscano worked as a makeup artist and as a wedding singer in a band known as "Current Affair." Her musical influences are Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Etta James (who died recently), and Luther Vandross (who died in 2005).

Toscano auditioned for American Idol four times before. She previously auditioned for American Idol season 6 and advanced to Hollywood, but her journey ended there. In 2010, she auditioned for American Idol season 10 in East Rutherford, New Jersey, with the song "Until You Come Back to Me" by Stevie Wonder and advanced to the Hollywood Round, this time advancing to the live shows.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

#53 Brandon Rogers

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 53 American Idol finalist Brandon Rogers. He worked as a professional backup vocalist and landed in 12th place on American Idol season 6.

Rogers graduated from John Muir High School in 1996 and from University of  North Texas in 1999. He performed in the UNT Jazz Singers, the centerpiece ensemble of the university's vocal jazz studies program. His classmates included Grammy-winning blues and country singer Norah Jones and singer songwriter David Angerstein. Rogers' mother is a published songwriter.

His first big break was part of a group brought together through a radio boy band competition in Dallas, Texas, in 2000. The Kidd Kraddick in the Morning show on 106.1 "KISS-FM", callsigned KHKS,  put together an audition originally as a joke to see if they could really construct a boy band. However, they ended up with five talented singers which they named Sons of Harmony. Mexican pop singer Marcos Hernandez was also a member of this band. When the band broke up, Brandon relocated to Los Angeles, California, to pursue a music career.

As a professional backup vocalist, Rogers performed backup on Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera's 2003 Justified and Stripped Tour and Anastacia's  2005 Encore Tour. Rogers has also worked as a vocal coach and wedding singer.

Rogers auditioned for American Idol season 6 in Los Angeles, where the judges (including guest judge Olivia Newton-John) were impressed with his vocals. Judge Simon Cowell later mentioned was the best who auditioned from Los Angeles. He got through the subsequent Hollywood, cut-down, and semi-final rounds to make the Top 12 finals round. However, in his initial performance he forgot the words to several bars of the Diana Ross "You Can't Hurry Love"  Diana Ross, which was covered by Phil Collins in 1982, and was the first finalist eliminated from the show on March 14, 2007, landing in 12th place. He missed out on the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2007 along with 11th placer Stephanie Edwards. On May 12, 2008 Rogers guest starred on the crime drama Bones on FOX. He would appear as a recurring character on a web-oriented series "Valley Peaks". Authentik Artists releaseed his new single, "Broken".

In June 2008 Brandon starred as one of the headliners for a live music show in Branson, MO, named "America's Favorite Finalists". The show featured 6 top 12 American Idol Finalists performing their own music, cover songs and group numbers. The show ran at the Grand Palace and was produced by Steve Drummond, America's Favorite Finalists.

#54 Jasmine Trias

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 54 American Idol finalist, Filipino-American girl Jasmine Trias. Due in part to tremendous call-in support from California, New York, and her native state of Hawaii, she made her way into 3rd place on American Idol season 3. Along with Camile Velasco, she is among the first two people of Filipino descent to ever advance to the American Idol finals. Another Filipino girl Thia Megia would later follow their footsteps in season 10.

Trias was born in Honolulu, Hawaii of Filipino heritage and raised in Miliani Town, Hawaii. She is a daughter of Filipino immigrants to the state of Hawaii from Tanza, Cavite. She attended Maryknoll School, a Roman Catholic preparatory school of the Diocese of Honolulu, which is officially in Latin Dioecesis Honoluluensis, established on January 25, 1941, and is an ecclesiastical territory or particular church of the Catholic Church in the United States and comprises the entire state of Hawaii and the unincorporated Hawaiian Islands. As a representative of Maryknoll School, a private coed Catholic school educating children in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade and founded in 1927 and located on the island of O'ahu, she won the Brown Bags to Stardom 2001 state singing competition and the Road to Fame 2003 youth talent competition. Trias graduated from Maryknoll School in June 2004.

Trias rose to fame by auditioning for American Idol season 3. She auditioned in her home state of Hawaii. Trias made it to the top twelve performers and eventually finished in third place.

#55 Stephanie Edwards

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 55 American Idol finalist Stephanie Edwards. She landed in 11th place on American Idol season 6. She hails from Savannah, Georgia, and first began singing around the age of two or three. After graduating from Windsor Forest High School, which was founded in 1967 and is a member of Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools district, Edwards pursued vocal instruction for a month and then went on to appear at the Apollo Theatre in New York City when she competed in Showtime at the Apollo, which originally ran from September 12, 1987 to May 24, 2008 with 1093 episodes. Before her stint on American Idol, she had won most singing contests she had entered, including Savannah Star in 2005.

Edwards auditioned for American Idol season 6 in Memphis, Tennessee. She is the only one of the top 12 contestants on American Idol not presented in the TV tryouts preceding the naming of the top 24 semi-finalists. During the initial broadcast for the Top 24, Edwards was praised for her rendition of "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore" by Prince. For her top 20 week performance, she attempted "Dangerously in Love" by Beyoncé Knowles, to which Randy Jackson exclaimed that she "sang her face off," although he felt her performance was too much like the original. The following week, Edwards pulled off another winning performance with the song "Sweet Thing" by Chaka Khan.
 According to the judges, she was "darn near flawless and had a good command of the stage."

On March 8, 2007, Edwards became one of the top 12 finalists. For the first theme week, she performed "Hangover" by Diana Ross. Edwards forgot her words at one point during the song. The judges bashed her arrangement of the song, saying that she teased them with the good part and then never delivered. Despite the criticism, Edwards claimed a spot in the top 11. She was eliminated from the show on March 21, 2007. She missed out on the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2007 along with Brandon Rogers.

#56 Chris Daughtry

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 56 American Idol finalist Chris Daughtry. He fronts the rock band called Daughtry. He landed in 4th place on American Idol season 5. After he was eliminated on May 10, 1996, he was signed to RCA Records and formed the rock band called Daughtry. The band's self-titled debut album became the fastest selling debut rock album in history, selling more than one million copies after just five weeks of release. The album was recorded before the band was officially formed, making Chris Daughtry the only official member present on the album. This led some to believe mistakenly that the band Daughtry is Chris Daughtry's solo project.

Christopher Adam "Chris" Daughtry was born to Pete and Sandra Daughtry on December 26, 1979, in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina and raised in Lasker, North Carolina until the age of 14. His parents live in Palmyra, Virginia, where Daughtry grew up until he relocated to McLeansville, North Carolina, near Greensboro, North Carolina. His brother Kenneth resides in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

At the age of 16, Daughtry started taking singing seriously as a musician. He took guitar lessons from blues rock guitarist Matt Jagger at Stacy's Music store in Charlottesville, Virginia, and sought advice from Andy Waldeck (frontman for Earth to Andy, which was founded in 1997 by members of two local bands) who is credited first on his debut album. He performed with rock bands during his time in high school at local venues, opening for his future band mate Brian Craddock's band My Dog Lucy and Matt Jagger. During high school, he appeared in two stage productions: The Wiz and Peter Pan. His first official performance was singing "Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus, father of Miley Cyrus, at his grandfather's bar. Daughtry graduated from Fluvanna High School in 1998.

#57 Andrew Garcia

Next on American Idol finalist countdown is another season 9 finalist, my number 57 American Idol finalist Andrew Garcia. He got 9th place in a double elimination with Katie Stevens. I think Jermaine Sellers should have made the top 12 instead of him. Garcia hails from Moreno Valley, California.

Garcia was born to Mexican parents. He also has an older brother. Garcia's fiancée, Christine Concepcion, is a popular YouTube singer. Garcia has a son, Caeland, with her. Garcia has a tattoo of his son's name on the right side of his neck, a tattoo of an "A" on his wrist, a rose on his front left arm, and a pair of Christine's lips in red on the left side of his neck.

Garcia auditioned for American Idol season 9 in Pasadena, California. He sung "Sunday Morning" by Maroon 5, which he would later perform on the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2010. He was praised by all three judges, especially Simon Cowell, who called him a "genuinely good singer," as well as guest judge Katy Perry. He later appeared in Hollywood, where he sang "Straight Up" by former American Idol judge Paula Abdul, and since has been particularly known for that performance.

#58 Casey James

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 58 American Idol finalist, guitarist and ladies' man Casey James. He got 3rd place on American Idol season 9.

Casey Everett James was born on May 31, 1982, in Plano, Texas, and raised in Cool, Texas. He had a bad reaction to the petussis vaccine when he was an infant, and his family feared brain damage. According to his mother Debra "Bybee" James, however, she realized that he would be all right and was going to be musical when he started humming before he talked. James started playing the guitar at the age of 13 and within a year he was playing on stage. James has played acoustic sets with his mother and blues with his older brother, Billy Cole. He has also played with country and rock bands.

Before American Idol, he played with his band, The Casey James Band, consisting of James on lead guitar and vocals, his brother, Bills Cole on bass, and Jacy McCann on drums. They recorded four songs, including the first song that James ever wrote, "Freezing," back in 2002.

James cites blues guitarist Doyle Bramhall II as a major musical influence and whom he would most like to perform with in his Idol Q&A. Another major influence is Stevie Ray Vaughn; James named Vaughn's 1992 album In the Beginning as a formative album in his childhood. Other influences cited in the article are southern rockers Lynyrd Skynard and Pearl Jam.

#59 Allison Iraheta

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 59 American Idol finalist Allison Iraheta. She got 4th place on American Idol season 8 and is the last girl standing of that season. Before her stint on American Idol, she won the Telemundo competition show called Quinceañera: Mamá Quiero Ser Artista, which was produced and broadcast in 2007 and 2008. Following the conclusion of American Idol season 8, Iraheta was signed to 19 Recordings, Ltd. and the now defunct Jive Records. Her debut album Just Like You was released on December 1, 2009. I believe that she should have made the top 2 with Adam Lambert instead of her season's winner Kris Allen.

Iraheta was born in Glendale, California, to Salvadoran immigrants who relocated to the United States before she was born. She is the youngest of three, with two older siblings Jacki and Carlos Iraheta. According to her family, she has been singing since she was a toddler, as has my number one American Idol finalist, who is also the youngest in the family. In 2001, she began taking voice lessons with Raphael Enriquez at the Los Angeles Music and Art School, a non-profit community school of the arts in East Los Angeles. Before rising to prominence, she frequently performed at the local Latin Electronics Store La Curaçao and the Los Angeles Music and Art School's annual benefit concert, Stars for the Arts. Iraheta attended Los Angeles' Animo Ralph Bunche Charter High School at the time of her stint on American Idol.

In 2007, Iraheta won the short-lived the reality television competition program Quinceañera: Mamá Quiero Ser Artista (which means "Sweet Fifteen: Mom, I Want to be an Artist"), which was produced and broadcasted in 2006-2007 on Telemundo, where she sang both in English and Spanish.

On the show, a group of teenage girls such as Olivia Bonilla, Brissia Mayagolita, and others of Latino origin competed in a singing competition for the main prize of $50,000 and a recording contract. Iraheta was the first (and only) winner of the competition and received the grand prize, but due to legal problems of the show the recording contract was never finalized and the show was canceled.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

#60 Katie Stevens

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is Katie Stevens. She landed in eighth place in a double elimination with ninth placer Andrew Garcia. Her favorite artists are Jason Mraz and Whitney Houston. Her musical influences include Taylor Swift and her own brother Ryan Stevens. She can play the guitar, piano, cello, and flute, but she did not get a chance to play them on American Idol during her time in the competition.

Katherine "Katie" Marie Stevens was born to Mark Stevens and Clara Francisco on December 8, 1992, in Southbury, Connecticut. She was raised in Middlebury, Connecticut. Her Portuguese grandmother Rita Francisco has Alzheimer's disease. Stevens speaks English and Portuguese. She graduated from Pomperaug High School in Southbury, Connecticut, in June 2010. She came in second place in the 2009 Miss Connecticut's Outstanding Teen Pageant and named the 2009 Westbury Outstanding Teen at the Greater Watertown Scholarship Pageant. Stevens was instrumental in the creation of the Evan Gagnon Memorial Scholarship Fund, which gives college scholarships to the seniors of Pomperaug High School. Evan Gagnon, who died in January 2009 at the age of two, was the son of Stevens' Spanish teacher. Stevens has also been a member of Pomperaug's High School Varsity Swim Team all four years.

Stevens first performed for an audience at the age of five, when she performed the U.S. national anthem at a party for a politician in her hometown. At the age of seven, she performed "From This Moment On" by Shania Twain at her aunt's wedding. Since she was young, Stevens has been active in her local theater community. She played the role of Dorothy in both BSS Children's Theater and Main Street Theater's Wizard of OZ. At Main Street Theater Stevens also played the role of Sharpay in High School Musical and "The Cat" in Honk. She played Nellie Forbush in Pomperaug High School's South Pacific alongside Gary Dwyer as Emile DeBeque. In addition, Stevens performed at Carnegie Hall at the age of 13.

#61 Brooke White

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown, which ends by February 28, 2012, is Brooke White. She landed in fifth place on American Idol season 7. She released her debut album Songs from the Attic in 2005 under the record label New Millennium Records Group. Her first post-Idol album is High Hopes & Heartbreak released in 2009 under the record label June Baby Records. Her first single "Hold Up My Heart" was released on February 25, 2009, and the song debuted at number 47 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Brooke Elizabeth White was born to Brad and Kaylene White on June 2, 1983, in Phoenix, Arizona. She grew up with three younger siblings: Kaylee, Tyler, and Quinn. She is of English descent. She also has family members in Nova Scotia, Canada, and she is a Mormon.

White started singing at the age of 16, when she auditioned for the high school musical, Meet Me in St. Louis, a 1989 broadway production based on the 1944 of the same name, and earned the lead role. White graduated from Heritage Academy High School in 2001. She, at one time, attended beauty school, and described herself as a "beauty school dropout", and shared on American Idol that she started doing hair at the age of 11. White moved to Los Angeles, California when she was 19 years old, where she attended the Musicians Institute for three months and then spent the next four years honing her craft as a singer-songwriter recording in the studio and performing in the clubs of Hollywood, California under the guidance of Tim Simms. White also spent a year as a nanny for twin baby girls. During her elimination video on American Idol, White stated "It's probably not a secret that I struggled with my own confidence but I'm stronger than I thought I was and that's a great thing to get out of this." White currently resides in Van Nuys, California, with her husband. On December 16, 2011, she announced on her blog that she is pregnant with a baby girl due to be born in May 2012.

White auditioned for American Idol season 7 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she sang "Like a Star" by Corinne Bailey Rae and received positive reviews from all of the judges. During the Hollywood Round, she performed "Beautiful" by Carole King, and accompanied herself on piano. After that performance, judges commented that White reminded them of a young Carole King. During top 24 week, White performed "Happy Together" by The Turtles, a Los Angeles based rock band fronted by vocalists Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman and known for its cover version of "It Ain't Me Babe" by Bob Dylan. During top 20 week, she accompanied herself on the guitar for her performance of "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon and stared at Simon Cowell during the performance. During top 16 week, she performed "Love Is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar, and she advanced to the finals.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

#62 Crystal Bowersox

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 62 American Idol finalist Crystal Bowersox. She is the runner-up of American Idol season 9. She appeared on a commercial with blues legend B.B. King. Her debut album, Farmer's Daughter, was published on December 14, 2010, on the now defunct Jive Records label. Like Elliott Yamin, she has type-1 diabetes.

Crystal Lynn Bowersox was born alongside her twin brother Carl on August 4, 1985, in Elliston, Ohio. She attended Oak Harbor High School in Oak Harbor, Ohio, and later attended Toledo School for the Arts in Toledo, Ohio. Bowersox performed her first professional gig at the age of 10. She appeared at local bars in Toledo, most popularly Papa's Tavern, and The Village Idiot in Maumee, Ohio. At the age of 17, she relocated to Chicago, Illinois. looking for opportunity. She most commonly played as a busker at several train stations, including the Washington and Lake Redline stops. She frequented open mics, such as the Uncommon Ground Clark and Grace, and Devon locations. She also played extensively in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. In 2006, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs chose Bowersox to represent Chicago folk musicians in the Sister Cities program "Experience Chicago", held in Birmingham, England. In 2007, Bowersox traveled internationally on an independent small cafe tour, including Memphis, Tennessee; Oaxaca, Mexico; and Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey.

Bowersox auditioned for American Idol season 9 in Chicago, Illinois. She performed "Piece of My Heart" by Erma Franklin. Guest judge Shania Twain commented that she had a "raw, natural talent", as Simon Cowell commented on my number 1 American Idol finalist back in season 8. During the first Hollywood Round, Bowersox performed "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin. During the second Hollywood Round, which is Group Round, her group performed "Get Ready" by The Temptations. During the third Hollywood Round, she performed "If It Makes You Happy" by Sheryl Crow. During top 24 week, she performed "Hand in My Pocket" by Alanis Morissette, who would perform with Josh Krajcik during the X Factor season 1 final week. On March 2, 2010, during top 20 week, Bowersox was hospitalized because of complications from diabetes, forcing a last minute switch in scheduling to give her extra time to recuperate. The male contestants competed that day instead of the female contestants. The next day, she performed "Long as I Can See the Light" by Credence Clearwater Revival and impressed all of the judges. Bowersox confirmed the illness on the May 19, 2010 results show during an interview with host Ryan Seacrest. The following week, her strong performance of "Give Me One Reason" by Tracy Chapman prompted Simon Cowell to state, "Right now, you are the one everyone has to beat."

During top 12 week, Bowersox performed "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by The Rolling Stones. During top 11 week, she performed "Me and Bobby McGee" by Roger Miller. During top 10 week, she performed "Midnight Train to Georgia", which was originally recorded by Cissy Houston and made popular by Gladys Knight & the Pips. During top 9A week, she performed "Come Together", which was originally recorded by The Beatles and later covered by the late Michael Jackson. During top 9B week, she performed "Saved" by LaVern Baker. During top 7 week, she performed "People Get Ready" by The Impressions. During top 6 week, she performed "No One Needs to Know" by Shania Twain. After Siobhan Magnus got eliminated that week, Bowersox became the last girl standing in the competition. During top 5 week, Bowersox performed "Summer Wind", which was originally recorded by Frank Newton and made popular by Frank Sinatra. During top 4 week, she performed "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová from the 2006 Irish musical film Once as a duet with Lee DeWyze and then performed "I'm Alright" by Kenny Loggins from the 1980 American comedy film Candyshack solo. During top 3 week, she performed "Come to My Window" by Melissa Etheridge as chosen by herself and "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney as chosen by the judges.

Bowersox is the first female contestant to make it to the finale since Jordin Sparks won the American Idol crown in 2007. She is also the first contestant in American Idol history to have one of their original songs played on the show, or at least during their hometown package. During finale week, she did an encore of her top 11 performance and then performed "Black Velvet" by Alannah Myles as chosen by Simon Fuller, and finally her first single "Up to the Mountain", which was originally recorded by Solomon Burke. During her time on American Idol, Bowersox dated Tony Kusian, but the couple broke up just hours before the finale of American Idol season 9. On the final performance day, in Simon Cowell's final critique on American Idol, he called her performance of "Up to the Mountain" "outstanding" and by far, "the best performance and song of the night".

On May 26, Bowersox was named the runner-up to winner Lee DeWyze, the least successful winner in American Idol history. She recently announced that after her time on American Idol, she wants to bring more diabetes awareness.