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:

Guys:
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

Girls:
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:

Guys:
DeAndre Brackensick
Colton Dixon
Reed Grimm
Heejun Han
Joshua Ledet

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

WildCards:

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:

Guys:
DeAndre Brackensick
Colton Dixon

Reed Grimm
Heejun Han
Phillip Phillips, Jr.

Girls:
Haley Johnsen
Skylar Lane

Jessica Sanchez
Chelsea Sorrell
Elise Testone

WildCards:
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 C├írdenas 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.