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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Jason Castro Slides Into the Top Four

Here's the thing, Jason Castro has gone this far - against some serious odds. Jason has climbed those mountains of melisma, he's scaled the grandiose insanity of group sings and - ack - Neil Diamond week. He's come out on top. Jason Castro was the first one to grab a couch cushion.

(Waving at the dude from Idol who reads me daily * Hi You!*)

I had my doubts regarding Castro simply because I'm built that way. I'm use to issues, problems, trying to find That Perfect Solution. Nothing comes easy to me. Ever. Instincts from last night, told me Jason was safe. My brain, ever use to having to find solutions and solve problems wouldn't accept the good 'news'.

Darling Man trying to make me feel better said, "Well, if he's off, he's coming home, isn't that good for you? Look how close he'll be." I said, "No, I want him to do it, to win it, to be the you know, The Best He Can Be." That made D.M. groan.

Seeing Castro on that horrible crushed blue velvet settee made the Rocky Music start up in my head. I jumped around the den. It was a double shot of Jack Daniels moment. Darling Man rolled onto the floor from the sofa still groaning.

Good Times.

Loved how Jason was laughing during that horrible group sing tonight. Man, my boy has an amazing sense of humor. Jace, you cheeky, brilliant and beautiful guy.

This one of my favorite performances, Love That French Baker's Wave: it's at 1:51

Castro, Keep the faith. Top 4, let's see what we can do with this...

American Idol - It's All in the Cards

As many viewers of American Idol witnessed last night, the show may be missing some of the 'real' in the reality portion of the descriptor. Real to the extent that yes, everyone on the show is playing themselves (defined loosely) and no, there's not a bona fide script. It's being written all over the internet that this show is slipping in the ratings. It has. It's being written all over the internet that this show is not what it wants everyone to think it is: A search for America's best singer. It's not.

As an historically avid Idol fan and occasionally marginally intelligent commentator, I must say this season has to be one of the strangest yet. Last night Simon Cowell called the night's show, one of the strangest. I disagreed, it wasn't just last night. I must add, there was more than one occasion during the evening that urged me to peered into my glass of merlot to see if any little pink pills were dredging on the bottom. The performances, the judges, Ryan, all verged psychedelic in moments.

Besides being one of the strangest, last night's show may have been one of the most revealing in metaphorically pulling aside that blue and silver curtain. As Paula Abdul read notes off of that cue card (yes, I know, it was called a 'note card') following Ryan asking for the judges' opinions so far in the show, she went so far as to start providing an entire critique of both of Jason Castro's performances.

I found it curious Ryan was even asking for input at all considering he had just moments previous informed the viewing public, the judges wouldn't comment until after both songs. I had to rewind the Tivo to make sure I'd heard him correctly initially.

Thing is, Castro had only sung one at that point. Perhaps as Paula rather spastically peered into her Coke cup she had some sort of revelatory flash.

Revelations can happen I suppose. I've had my experience with reading 'cards', with tarot. Too, I had a great Aunt who regularly gave 'readings' for folks by scrying into a glass of clear water. She was pretty damned accurate about her findings. As one example, a neighbor had come over asking questions about her son who was overseas in the War. Aunt Minerva said he'd be coming home soon,unexpectedly. Sadly he was going to have a life altering experience and not be the same when he returned. Interestingly, two weeks later the neighbor received a postcard. Her son was coming home. Tragically he'd had his legs blown off from a land mine.

It doesn't take my Aunt Minerva looking into her glass of water to see what the outcome for this season has been determined to be. It won't take shuffling the cards or searching through tea leaves to determine the preordained outcome. But, like Brian Dunkleman said in his interview a few weeks back, certainly the votes count for something, but ultimately it's all about the ratings. Dunkleman said, on the record, exactly how the winners, who stays, who goes are selected...according to Dunkleman, he would be handed cards and told to read them. He revealed that the words written on those cards were not always the true results.

Paula Abdul showed the millions of viewers last night, the reveal can truly be all about the cards.

As someone named 'shiela' wrote in commentary to an article on Reuters,
"Anyone watching over the last two to three weeks, would have to be blind and deaf not to realise (sic)they were throwing Jason under the bus. The editing of Andrew Lloyd Webber clips, with him deriding his choice of song, before one note had been sung, you were expecting the worst. They have always portrayed him as dumb, even though I have seen interviews, when he really speaks well. They have edited them out and shown the worst parts of his clips. There is no way Paula can even begin to say it was David’s song she was speaking about, because for David Cook, she complimented him and yet for Jason's “apparent” second song, she said, he had lost his charm “word used by everyone to describe Jason”. It is obvious she was reading a script given to her by Nigel, but not meant to be read together. Jason has been very popular and they had to try and get rid of him to ensure their finale David A versus David C"

Neil Diamond week may go down as one of the most disappointing in the show's history for some, but I wasn't disappointed one bit. I never could figure why anyone thought Neil Diamond a good choice to begin with, therefore I did not have any expectations to be let down about. Neil Diamond week may also go down as one of the most revealing of this show's history.

Ryan's attempt to save the night trying to joke about Paula divining the future was amusing, but transparent. Seacrest said, "...but Paula, you’re seeing the future, baby, you’re seeing the future..." Poor Paula never recovered from this very telling faux paux and entertainingly confused Brooke and Syesha. It seemed she was having difficulty telling them apart.
Brooke White:


I think it's relatively easy to determine who is who.

Whoever wrote that "cue" card out for Paula must not have been very clear. Perhaps next time she should just gaze into that Coke cup in front of her and nix reading the cue card altogether. That or Nigel Lythgoe need develop better penmanship.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jason Castro, Que Sera, Sera

I do love the sound of that local Texas accent.

Jason baby, you shoulda looked away from that man behind the curtain. I hope you make it through this week. That said, the 19E-vil Powers That Be have been 'gunning' for you for the past two weeks. Man, they may have had the sure-shot. Hell, what will be will be. Que sera sera.
"Forever in Blue Jeans"

"September Morn"

You certainly look beautiful darlin'.

That made me think of some really good music. This will be like mouthwash to take away the really horror fest of a show evidenced tonight:

Oh and in case you still need something to take that Idol reek out from tonight, here, is another:

My ab-so-lute favorite choice to take the Pop Pablum taste completely out:

Article to follow regarding Pauler's misspeak and the reason behind it...can it be True? This is a scripted reality show? Wonder why they hate Taylor Hicks?

Stay tuned.
I gotcha covered... ;)

Castro's in Trouble, Vote!

My dreadlocked Darling did not have a stellar night, but as Taylor Hicks can attest, shit happens.

Vote, man keep Jason Castro in the show, dial 1-866-IDOLS 01 or 06 and yeah, toss some to Brooke, she's 03 or 08. I have one phone dedicated to Brooke and one to Jason, the neighbor drinking wine with me tonight doing the same.


Jason Castro Dreadlocked Chippendale? David Cook Saving the Whales?

Man, was I ever right about the title of my post Jason Castro Naked. Seriously, if things don't work out musically for you Jason, which I think they will, one word, Chippendales.

Tell me if this is not the funniest article yet to come out about American Idol this season: American Idol in the Year 2013 found on phillyburbs.com. One of my favorites:
David Cook, after winning the title of “American Idol” in season 7, is now using his celebrity to bring awareness to some of his pet causes, including saving the whales and male-pattern baldness. After every concert performance, he holds up his palm to display his palm, which bears the message “Hair, not bare.”

Neil Diamond night and this could be entertaining. Contestants are performing two songs each but sadly as we've seen all season no spoilers coming forth in advance (at least not until about an hour prior to show time). The executives with the show must have put a 'hit' out on the guy spoiling the past few seasons, they've mysteriously vanished.
Until later, here's some preview for what we might hear tonight:

Song Spoilers vis TMZ.com:
David C: "I’m Alive" & "All I Really Need Is You"
Brooke: "I Am … I Said" & "I’m a Believer"
Jason: "Forever in Blue Jeans" & "September Morn"
David A: "Sweet Caroline" & "America"
Syesha: "Hello Again & "Thank the Lord for the Night Time"

Monday, April 28, 2008

Taylor Hicks Goes a "Gala-ing" Again

Taylor Hicks is listed as a guest, set to attend the Derby Grand Gala. Accompanying him on the list of celebrities is Michael Jordan, Gabrielle Union and Chris Tucker. Dr. Ian Smith of Celebrity Fit Club, as well as basketball great Julius Erving - also scheduled to attend the party in Louisville. "Earth, Wind and Fire" to perform.

This is a fluff and glitter event that has since 2002, become an annual Derby Night party. This go-to race track event has historically featured a variety of A-list actors, athletes and artists. This year, though, for we commoners, the tickets for the event are sold out; if you just want more information check out the website, www.grandgala.com.

This is a high rolling charity event and the basic details can be found at Gala Overview. From what I can tell the female attendees outnumber the males and the majority of event attendees have incomes in the six-figure range. It's an expensive weekend with hype regarding charities but I haven't found out which charities are intended recipients. Maybe they are listed but I just did not take sufficient time to read through it all. Or, perhaps that's just their little secret.

Basically Taylor Hicks is once again in attendance at a charitable event as a figurehead to draw attendees. It's kind of like pimping that Mack Daddy of Soul in some regards. I suppose any exposure is good exposure. Certainly it sounds like a good time.

video c/o Frylock55

Taylor Hicks "Shake N Bakes" the National Anthem at Talledega

Taylor Hicks sang the National Anthem at Talledega yesterday while F-18 fighter jets flew overhead for the Aaron's 499 Sprint Cup on April 27, 2008. It was truly a moving and Patriotic display.

video c/o KarinP

Let's all bow our heads to the Baby Jesus:
video c/o hloosn8pgs

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Jason Castro Naked?

'Jason Castro naked' is just one of the most frequent single keyword searches that brings visitors to Idol Blues these days. That said, I decided to go ahead and name a post in honor of that apparent wanted desire so many of the guy's fans seem to be longing for - that said, I can't deliver the 'goods' - nor would if I had them. (Insert maniacal laugh track.)

I'd like to see Jason, not naked, but if I could dress him this week, I'd have him wear black, head to toe, cowboy boots to match. (You know, if he was like my real life Barbie-Guy.) I'd get big silver rings to hold his dreads. I knew a guy once who had long dreadlocks, he would band them back with silver hair rings he said he received as a gift, they looked so amazing. He was amazing looking...

This week on American Idol we viewers will be treated to yet another glorious (not) theme week. This must be the season of Theme weeks. Whatever happened to contestants getting to select and perform the types of songs they like? Anyway, Neil Diamond has been selected as the guest mentor to follow Andrew Lloyd Webber. Naturally there is a reason for this, Neil Diamond has an album set to drop soon, his new work is being released by Columbia Records, produced by Rick Rubin, titled, "Home Before Dark".

I remember as a really small kid while visiting a friend's house to play, her Mother was playing some music on their stereo. Next to the stereo was an album standing up with an image of a guy in a ponytail and hat. The name 'Neil Diamond' was on the cover. I have searched high and low for this particular album cover but can't find it anyplace. Another blogger who runs a Neil Diamond site emailed me saying that the particular album cover I'm looking for is a rare find; Mr. Diamond had taken those tunes and remastered them with a new photo on the cover. The original album was released in the '60's during the heydays of 'hippiedom' but later considered not in his image any longer to sport the long hair. Truth to this? I have no verification, but makes a somewhat interesting point to include.

Speaking of keywords, I like to set my email to various 'google alerts' just for fun. You can never tell what the minds in the 'alert' division may deem worthy of a send up or a match. Sometimes I think many of them in the robot-o-tron department have simply a great wicked sense of humor. Occasionally though, you make a clever find that may have slipped past you unnoticed without the alert team.

Today, this blog popped up under the 'Taylor Hicks' alert even though the piece was written about Jason Castro. The writer includes a cleverly written post and says what I basically think of Jason, the show and the concept of this reality project called, American Idol. The blogger runs, the Everyone is Entitled to My Opinion blog on my favorite blogger venue, blogspot.

The blogger, "Everyone", as I'll dub them, includes these gems about Castro:
Jason’s studio version of “Memory” is exquisitely sad and haunting while his lower register and falsetto are more assured than ever. When you listen to his recordings in chronological order, his growth in vocal confidence, range, and expressiveness are hard to discount. His fans include serious music aficionados such as Chris Sligh, John Norris, Michael Slezak, and me.

For Neil Diamond night, I hope Jason will perform “Red, Red Wine” UB40 style and accompany himself on the drums – standup kit, bongos, congas, I don’t particularly care which. “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” or “Solitary Man” would be excellent guitar strumming choices. However, Urge Overkill recorded a modernized version of the former and Cookie might already have dibs on it.

"Red Red Wine" by UB40: video c/o Ventorianer74

I think Jason Castro could do this tune, insert Dallas instead of New York. Cheesy perhaps, but would work:
"I Am I Said" - video c/o froy2

The LA Times has another article up with numerous comments on Jason Castro, Jason Castro's Wacky Gift. Jason's fan base rallied to the article posting their support of Castro. This article featured what the devoted Dreadheads had done for Jason over the past week.

The Dreadheads on the A.I. MyIdol boards, took donations and sent the guy balloon bouquets to console him after last week's bad press and his illness which wasn't mentioned by the show. It seems there was an over 30 page thread that was deleted by the Moderators the other day featuring this event. The balloon donation stemmed from Castro performing last week with a temperature over 102 degrees (up to 104 on some sites) and was fatigued from that illness. Reportedly Castro was on an IV up to and following performance time. Unlike previous performers who have had the fact they were sick while performing talked about on-air, Castro's illness was ignored.

This, the show ignoring his being under the weather, has added fuel to the fire that he's being set up for a fall by the show, this turn of Idol storyline is creating an increase in the fans rallying even stronger behind him.

Jason Castro's fan base and their dedication reminds me increasingly of the caliber seen for Taylor Hicks' during his run on the show. I might add though, and importantly, the "Dreadheads" as they call themselves have been avoiding the mindset of 'troll-bashing' and fight mentality that still is evidenced by some of Taylor Hicks' fans, in the "Soul Patrol" today. Jason's fans stress the no-bashing rules and have behaved admirably in support of their favorite. It's all peace and love, psychedelic painted buses - and brownies - on the A.I. Boards supporting Jason. The official fan listing on this site where the Idol's are 'born' for Castro is on this link. Anyone checking the list can see names of the same folks who backed Taylor Hicks in Season FIVE. Uncanny really.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Jason Castro - the Daydreaming Boy Having Some Fun

Jason Castro, home video partying on the home front. Castro's playing "Bad Fish" by Sublime. (Eventually...takes the boy a moment to get there.)

Video brought to us by slicey2.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Jason Castro, "So Fast" Original Tune by Jason Castro

Here's a really potentially brilliant tune written by Jason Castro. Blue-eyes is not only beautiful to look at, he's creative. Man, listen, he can really sing.
Video after the jump.

"So Fast"

And the flowers are wrinkled, and she, she still don't understand
The measures a man can go. Oh Bless her soul
Tears are no longer fallin', but what happens when the river dries, and leaves you dyin' inside
But it's not her fault, but she, but she can't go on
Thinkin' there's somethin' that she could've done, that she could've done

And the song is slowly dyin'
But you went so fast
Why were we, why were we so unkind?
Oh, and now there's no words to say that will ever change
The way you took your life, with the slip of a finger

And he looks in the mirror
And it's filled with hate
The enemy has so many times escaped
But it's not his fault
But he, no he can't go on
Thinkin' that things could've been different
If he'd have held his tongue

And the song is slowly dyin'
But you went so fast
Why were we, why were we so unkind?
Oh, and now there's no words to say that will ever change
The way you went, the way you left this world

And the song is slowly dyin'
But you went so fast
Why were we, why were we so unkind?
Oh, and now there's no words to say that will ever change
The way you took your life, with the slip of a finger

video put together by balletdancer1993
He breaks my heart and enters my soul.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Joe Bonamasso, The Next Stevie Ray?

Local radio station LoneStar 92.5, likely the best station in the Dallas, Texas market since the Zoo, has been featuring Joe Bonamasso on a regular basis. At first I was "who the hell is that guy?" Darling Man instructed me.

Hot stuff.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

On to the Top Five: Jason Castro - Safe!

Top Five left standing Jason, Syesha, David Cook, Little Archie and Brooke White. Now let's review why Brooke is still on the show... Could it have any little thing to do with THIS?

I think so.

May the force be with you Brooke-wan-Kanobe.

Let's all say it together, ... Vote for the Worst!

How about that Maniac? We helped to save your SunShine, and man, don't be so harsh on her, she's a delicate flower.

(Seriously, if dear readers, you are not familiar with this blogger go check him out - he's Primo; muy inteligente, si. Politics + Idol, just doesn't get much better.)
Here's to Jason, "Hallelujah"!

Top Six - (*FIXED*) Thing is - I liked Andrew Lloyd Webber

Here's the thing, I went back and reviewed the show again and surely anyone with any remaining unbiased judgment would agree with me - David Archuleta once a gain flubbed his lyrics and Brooke White flubbed her performance and absolutely lost her mind.

Not only did Little Archie forget the lyrics in the second verse of "Think of Me", he was almost unintelligible throughout most of his performance. Perhaps taking Andrew Lloyd Webber's advice to keep his eyes open was too much effort and disrupted his ability to concentrate. Too, I think he'd done as well to sing with his eyes shut anyway - this kid shows no emotion. His eyes look at the camera and to the viewers at home with as much feeling as that shark I saw at the Dallas World Aquarium.

I'm completely not understanding the fawning over this boy that I'm reading on-line in certain places, nor the fascination Nigel Lythgoe, et al, have for him. The interview portion, prior to performance, when he sits with Ryan, he's usually just gape mouthed grinning and not ever saying anything understandable - last night was over the top stupid.

Up on stage came a gaggle of little girls dressed in their Sunday Best. They were scripted to come up and oooh and awe over him, yet they seemed uncertain of why they were being paid to act that way. Let's not even talk about Archuleta's reaction; he never so much as spoke directly to them. David seems to possess not one ounce of social interaction skills. He just looked around like a three year old who's been presented a shiny new red tryke and sputtered, mouth wide open. Was it me or was he seeking his Father's approval in how to react? It was one of the dumbest things this show has tried to pull. They are working so hard at making this kid the next Tween Thing it makes my head hurt.

Surely Syesha Mercado had her best performance, complete with a sexy red dress and her lolling around on the piano. I enjoyed her performance of, "One Rock and Roll Too Many", ("Starlight Express") but in her case, it will be one rock and roll too late. Granted she should stay in the show, at least to the top four, but she was in the first slot which is never good, plus she's not going to win.

I do have to insert that of all of the guest coaches Andrew Lloyd Webber has to be my favorite. I was surprised at his candor and his approach to working with the contestants. I appreciate his honesty. The man wasn't playing the game, he was being true to himself. *clapping my hands*

Carly turned in a good performance of "Jesus Christ Superstar" this time adding some smiling to her scary faces. Vocally she was on target and showed why someone way back when thought she was worth 2.2 million dollars to invest in for an album that sold 378 copies.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph Brooke lost her mind. Yes, Maniac, my Idol blogger pal, your darling "Sunshine" lost her light for a while last night. The lovely Ms. White, of which I am a fan of her sound, forgot her lyrics. She came out to perform, “You Must Love Me” from the film Evita, and had to immediately restart. She basically shouted to the band, "Do over!" and resumed the song. Vocally it was a mishmash of notes floundering all over the place. This time though, Brooke did not say, "It's OK, It's OK", nor cry. I think she must have read the VFTW site yesterday. "Sunshine" keep your chin up as I know Maniac and many others will still love and forgive you.

My dreadlocked darling wasn't in top form either, this not his thing. Too, my dear boy needs to utilize the internet to research what he's getting into. The guy had no idea his song was a tune in the musical, "Cats" apparently as in one of his goofy sound bites he says, "Uh, I had no idea that was sung by a cat." He still looked gorgeous and even Randy brazenly told him he was a beautiful guy. Thing is, it wasn't his best performance and he needs get his adorable ass off that stage stool next week. Another thing is (maybe I should name this post, *"Thing is"*, I'm saying it way too much), he manages to infuse everything he does with feeling. Paula and I were on the same page, Jason worked that song very much in the way Joe Cocker delivered "You Are So Beautiful". Yes, Castro, you are still so beautiful to ... me.

David Cook masterfully delivered “Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera. He did not rock it out nor change it up. He just sang the hell out of that song. The man has pipes, strong and glorious pipes. He's the one the judge panel need compliment that he could sing the phone book, not their TCO, *cough* Little Archie *cough*.

Overall it was a weird night for the show, likely to go down in the annals as one of the unique evenings. I think that Brooke White should go home tonight. Talk has been for a few weeks though, the show has it in for Castro and his dreads are on the chopping block for this week. If he goes the show is all over rigged because regarding voting, I could not break the busy signals until the last 15 minutes of time allocated.

DialIdol.com has Carly with the lowest votes, but as we've seen this season, that site has not been the most accurate this season.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Man, What a Night - Jason Castro or David Cook?

I'm torn. Darling Man coming home was torn. We are just all kinds of torn. Jason Castro did his thing yet under the duress of the occasion I can't help but find David Cook to come out a little on top.

Weird Idol theater by David Cook:

Even Weirder Idol theater by Jason Castro:

Darling Man came home from a hard day of putting together magazines and books to find me yelling at my television. Granted I've put up with Darling Man and his sports fanboy love, yet he finds it challenging to compare my attraction to American Idol with a sporting event, hell, I'm working on it. I think the logic that kills him is the viable comparison. He yelled for a shot of Jack Daniels to forget I was caring about this show, so I gave him two...

Sunshine forgot what the hell she was to sing and the other's... well I liked Syesha...

That said - something about Castros' voice breaks my heart, enters my soul.

Rockwall Singing Praises - To Jason Castro

GuideLive Dallas features and highlights the Jason Castro phenomenon that's taken over Rockwall, Texas. Darla Atlas covers the story from the city on the lake and how the fans have mobilized to vote Castro to the top spot of Idol. Gone are the days of 'Idolly' eating custard at the local hot spots, the fans know what their mission is and how to go about keeping Castro on the show.

The dual phone technique, multiple phones, one reason we saw Taylor Hicks take season five of this show. Man, the Go-Phones and all house phones at my place were redialing like our lives depended on it. I bribed friends and neighbors (plied with wine) to come to the aide of the Soulman. That's what it takes to get your favorites to the top seats on this reality show. Once the top twelve hits, no longer is it a singing competition so much as a popularity contest and semi-sporting event.

There's also the on-line campaigning to consider; this carried out in forums as well as "internet press" to appeal to the masses checking out the show. He's had homegrown support from Dallas in the neighborsgo.com blogs ran by Dawn Redig, and on the American Idol boards he has a lady friend from Oklahoma proving to be an able 'campaign manager'. There have been a few misses but those issues resolved and covered before they could create any ill will. On indicator of the who and what regarding taking this show is to watch that board. It hasn't failed yet to prove the fans' support and how the contestants will finish the season.

Darla writes in her article, regarding the positive attitude, the 'can-do' spirit of the folks in Rockwall.
"Out of Nowhere"

That positive vibe helps, but the fact that he's made it this far on the show is almost inexplicable. He wasn't featured during the audition rounds; nobody in the TV audience heard him sing until after the top 24 had been announced. And the Rowlett High grad doesn't have the typical bombastic, showy Idol voice of past winners. He doesn't even have much singing experience: Mr. Castro, 21, started pursuing his talent just last year, while working on a construction science degree at Texas A&M.

On Tuesday nights, it's not just Jason Castro whose lungs get a workout. While he's singing on American Idol, fans in Rockwall are rooting him on.

"He'd just go and hang out in the park and sing by himself, because he didn't want to embarrass himself," said Laura Allen, a close friend.

Now, his audience is in the tens of millions. Total strangers show up at the Rockwall parties to watch him on TV. And in Los Angeles, getting mobbed by screaming fans has become the norm."

Jason Castro may not have the education in music that some of his co-contestants have but he does have something that aligns him with the likes of past winners like Taylor Hicks; heart and soul for music. He has felt drawn to communicate with his music in his local church, then in a leap of pure faith entered the American Idol competition. His reliance on that faith has taken him this far. Tonight Castro competes to remain on the show and go on to the top five.

I asked from the first moment I heard Jason was entering this show, how far will he go? I know this boy is working hard, he's a come-from-behind entry in this show, he's an underdog considering his competition's resume's. The folks still in the competition have years more experience than he in the singing and performance areas. So how far he will go? That my friends, will be up to his fans to carry him through.

Keep the Faith Castro.
"Traveling Through" video c/o sora99252

American Idol Amazon Scandal - Real or 'Cooked' Up?

Well, as of yesterday American Idol's David Cook's pre-Idol music was available for sale on Amazon.com. As of today, if you click his tunes you'll see THIS. (Look at the 'Price' section.) *Correction* as of 2:00 p.m. today the album has been taken off Amazon completely.

It seems Cook's music was surpassing the newly released Mariah Carey CD, E=Mc2. David Cook's independently released, Analog Heart was charting at - "Holy bill of rights, Batman!" - yes, David Cook was hitting the Number one spot on the sales charts. As that unique event occurred, "poof" went the ability for folks to purchase David Cook's pre-Idol music.

Rumors on-line have varied between David Archuleta's stage-Pop getting involved as well as the show itself determining it inappropriate for Cook to have his tunes for sale while he's undergoing the competition. Rumors also circulating (and this one may have legs) the producers were seeing the big bucks not hitting their pockets, and likely we will see a re-release of this CD with Idol producer's backing. The new release of course, termed a 'remastered work', or some other form of bullshit. It's all about the "moolah" with American Idol - and the music biz - just ask BMG's recently demoted Clive Davis.

My question, is to ask the validity of this move, or should I say removal, of David's CD from Amazon when nothing was done to squelch the sales of other artists of seasons' past? Consider Bo Bice and Taylor Hicks - both had independent works out on the market while they were competing on the show. More importantly, top that thought with the fact that the gal from Ireland with the angry faces, Carly Hennessey aka Carly Smithson, right now still has her CD on the market available on Amazon for the folks interested in purchasing that Pop pablum. Where is the equality for David Cook and the fairness? Hell, what am I thinking? I'm talking about American Idol.

I have to add - Cook's CD is pretty good, comparable to that Finger Eleven CD I bought recently. The guy definitely belongs on the charts, he's going to hit success and we might see him eclipse his rumored pal, The Daughtry, in the sales department once he leaves this reality show. I find David Cook's vocals superior to what I've heard from Chris D. overall. I also love Cook's personality so much more than that evidenced in The Chris.

I'll close with saying I am flabbergasted about this turn of events for David Cook. I don't agree with the actions taken against his CD.
David Cook, "Billie Jean" video c/o bonk65

lyric bridge:
People Always Told Me Be Careful Of What You Do
And Don't Go Around Breaking Young Girls' Hearts
And Mother Always Told Me Be Careful Of Who You Love
And Be Careful Of What You Do 'Cause The Lie Becomes The Truth

Monday, April 21, 2008

"DO WHATCHA GOTTA DO!" David Cook, Contestant with a Heart

I found an article today written April 3rd, put out by Star Magazine about David Cook. He's been wearing an orange band on his wrist during the shows and I had erroneously thought it was for his brother suffering from brain cancer.

It seems this orange plastic band that Cook has been seen wearing is a token of friendship and support for one of his special fans. Her name is Lindsey Rose Belcher, she's all of seven years old, and has been fighting leukemia since last Christmas. This touches me; I lost a child several years ago to that cancer. She wasn't my biological child but she might of well have been. Erin was just a dozen years old when she left us. My heart goes out to Lindsey Rose and her family, I hope that she is one of the lucky ones and wins this battle.

It seems dear little Lindsey's Dad, Charley Belcher met David Cook while he was in Los Angeles covering American Idol for Fox WTVT, Channel 13, Tampa, Florida. Mr. Belcher told Cook that he was daughter Lindsey's favorite of the Idols and mentioned his daughter's condition. David Cook wanted to immediately call the little girl.

The article then reads,
"To support his little girl, Charley had wristbands made up in orange — Lindsey's favorite color — for their friends and family, with her name printed on one side and "Do Whatcha Gotta Do" on the other.

"Lindsey was in the hospital early on, and I was sad when I had to leave her to go back to work," he says. "She cheerfully told me, 'Do whatcha gotta do, Daddy' — and that phrase just stayed with me.

"David asked me if he could have one of the wristbands. I gave him an extra I had with me, and he said, 'Tell Lindsey Rose to look for it on American Idol!'"

Lindsey was camped in front of the TV for Idol on March 11 — and there was David, sporting her wristband! "She yelled, 'He wore it, Daddy, he wore it!' She was dancing around and jumping up and down!" Charley tells Star. "He's worn it every week since, and my daughter gets just as excited each time.

"What David has done is a small gesture that means the world to a little girl who can forget she has cancer for a little while — and that’s what it’s all about."

Obviously David Cook can empathize with the Belcher family with his own brother struggling with cancer. Thing is, Cook took it a step further. He could have simply said something to the effect that he was sorry to hear that, or he could have told Charley Belcher to tell his daughter 'hello'. David Cook took this best step forward, and called the little girl, and now wears her orange band on his arm to show his support. In cancer sometimes healing comes from the mind, or so the physicians tell us. Perhaps this a boost for the little girl that might help make the treatments, the illness a little more bearable.

I don't often fall into the trap of hard luck tales to make me a fan of someone. I believe in actions, more so than even words as evidence of heart and of soul. David Cook is one of the good guys, he possesses heart and soul, turning words into action. That's a form of truth, a form of honesty. It's been a critical point held over David throughout much of this competition that he's 'borrowed' other artists' arrangements of songs. He's also owned up to doing just that. Considering on American Idol the contestants have about a week to select a song from an approved listing, I give the guy kudos for taking the time to locate arrangements that fit him, his genre. Certainly I wouldn't expect him each week to have the time to completely recreate a song during those few days granted for rehearsals prior to show time.

He might not be my absolute favorite in this competition, but I'd not mind it if he won. This tune one of his best, he has a lovely voice. Check the orange wrist band.
"Always Be My Baby" David Cook, video c/o kimpee31

You can buy Cook's mp.3's out on Amazon right now:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Taylor Hicks' Next Gig

American Idol season five winner and inspiration for this particular blogspot, Taylor Hicks, sings the National Anthem... again. This time Hicks' brings the patriotic ballad home April 27th in the capitol of NASCAR, the Talladega Superspeedway, for the Aaron's 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

Man, nothing begs for the waving of the red, white and blue banner like NASCAR. It's an all-star race cast with Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch, who are among the pre-race favorites. Jeff Gordon will be trying for his third consecutive win. This guy just seems to always come out on top.

Taylor Hicks has sang the National Anthem for Nascar truck series race in Sparta, KY, July 14, 2007. This youtube features the man in Sparta complete with interview:

Taylor Hicks sang the national anthem at the NBA final 4 game on June 14, 2007. Certainly he's had practice on delivering this tune. Maybe Taylor will get one of those honorary drives around the track.

To all the participants in the race: "Born to be Wild" Hinder video c/o Everhammotorsports9

(Just a little over the top rocker video.)

The VFTW Winner is......

The Sun shines on Brooke White as the new VFTW pick. Apparently even though dear Castro had the highest number of votes from site members, Dave pulled a 'small print clause' and selected Brooke. (Note Garrett hiding in the Teletubby flowers.)

I understand the logic. What appeals to Dave and the mod-squad is the vulnerability of Brooke, the fact she seems poised any moment for a nervous breakdown and a 'holla!' for the men in white coats.

Here's to the new VFTW pick, this video one of my favorites and exemplifies her very qualifications for VFTW: "Here Comes the Sun" video c/o jooshua

You can't help but mentally laugh at the irony of her attire while singing, "Here Comes the Sun". That floofy dress, all chickie-peep yellow to fit the "Sun" part of the song; the yellow and amber lighting.

Love that quirky and inappropriate twirl and shout out of "Woooo!" The ending is fun too, that quavery note... I picked this video because you're spared the judging panel commentary, but to sum it up it wasn't their raving fave song from her. Personally, I'll never forget it.

So here's to a week, possibly two, of the VFTW Sun shining on Brooke White.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Moonlight" Returns April 25th; Viva O'Loughlin!

TV Guide has the most recent interview video with Alex O’Loughlin of "Moonlight" - the sexy vampire detective show returns next Friday, April 25th.
(TV Guide Video with Alex O'Loughlin, c/o moonlitmuse04)

Alex O'Loughlin has a healthy, seemingly ego-less viewpoint regarding himself and the television show. Alex says, in the interview, "The fans love it so much. They’re so…. They’re so connected to these characters and they have so much invested in the stories and the future of these characters. You know, to the fans, Mick St John and Beth Turner exist. You know, and to me they exist too. They have to, otherwise there is no point. I have no place telling that story. But, I’m really grateful… like without… I don’t know whether we’d be here without our fans."

That's true for any artist of any genre, be it television, movies, art or music; you are nothing without your fans. Sometimes ego can get in the way of rationale, the fans forgotten or discounted, mistreated. Certainly there are those fans who are like the family hound, they'll stick around no matter what the artist does or how they may act. Thing is, there are more that are not that way; fame can be as elusive as smoke, waft away on the next breeze that blows through.

I had not heard of Alex O'Loughlin until this series debuted. I'm a huge fan of this type of genre and while I expected this series to ape "Angel", I found it refreshing in that it held its own edge, own storyline. Many early critics of the show pegged it as an "Angel" offshoot immediately, without even giving it a chance. That was to their error.

I admit, the first show, the debut of the series, showed rough around the edges. Thing is I picked up on the potential. I also picked up O'Loughlin's magic; the man can transmit emotion and feeling better than most actors on the home-front tube, currently. He's bloody fetching to look at too, which helps tremendously. His co-star who plays love interest Beth, Sophia Myles, is a perfect screen fit for O'Loughlin's character, vamp-detective, Mick St. John.
Top this casting with the inclusion of Jason Dohring and Shannyn Sossamon and the show has to have some of the strongest available-to-work-television actors on the market today. If you start searching Youtube, for those who maybe haven't watched this series, you might be completely amazed at the cult following that has sprung up around this show. Too, fansites rival those of rock stars in number and enthusiasm. I know, it boggles the mind, all this fuss over a TV show. This a show that the network operating it, CBS, is folly enough to even consider canceling. Man, that would be the dumbass move of the decade for this network. Currently their claim to fame hover around the CSI series and reality fare such as "Survivior" and "Big Brother". In my never humble opinion, reality television seems to have had its run and heading for the downturn.

Fans of this show have also gone to the American Red Cross to show their support. In turn the Red Cross has taken O'Loughlin as a poster boy to drive blood. Yes, a show about a vampire is creating enough passion and heart to have fans hitting the blood banks to donate. Irony like this makes me smile. It's a great cause, and should be making more impact at CBS than sending in those ten thousand pounds of peanuts for "Jericho".

"Moonlight" mixes a little Mickey Spillane, Anne Rice, a touch of Tanya Huff, and a glimmer of "Magnum P.I." in the main character's sense of humor. Since Ron Koslow had a major hand in the creation of this show, from what I understand, anyone familiar with his work can see his presence in the romantic structure behind the show's main characters. The whole feel of star-struck lovers flows through the storyline, similarly to what viewers experienced in Koslow's series from the '80's, "Beauty and the Beast".

Alex O'Loughlin's vampire, besides possessing wit and humor, is also conflicted, detesting the vampire part of himself. He remains on a quest to 'cure' his dark nature and return to human form. Mick St. John is different from many of the vampires portrayed in the stories of old, he feels emotions, falls in love, he can go about in daylight for short periods of time, but it does weaken him, can make him sick. I am enjoying how his character feels honor bound to hunt the evil elements both human and supernatural. (A lone similarity to "Angel".) He also avoids feasting on the blood of humans, instead procuring his 'diet' from blood banks (which lead to the ironic American Red Cross program), with the exception of the occasional bad guy who naturally will deserve mauling.

For the girlie part of myself, I'll include one of the fan videos from youtube, that sort of sums up the series so far, just to indulge myself - plus I like the tune that accompanies it: c/o tashzillion

This video focuses on the romance part of the show: (the part the fans love) video c/o moonlitmuse04:

Fansites for "Moonlight" include, but are not limited to: Kandye Girl's blog (I think she was the first), the Wordpress listing, Moonlight Detective, Moonlight TV, Moonlight Archive.

Forum sites like TV.com, finally, CBS opened a fan forum - yesterday - for the show. Many of the above listed websites offer forums, as well.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Is It a Weiss Move to Shuffle Clive?

News today has emerged that Clive Davis was 'fired' from Sony BMG. What's really come to pass, Clive's been demoted, not completely fired. Certainly retirement is an option but with the likes of someone like Clive Davis, retirement not likely to happen. For Mr. Davis, work is his life and he'll be plugging away at some form of musical production endeavor until it's time for him to nestle in that padded casket and the crowd sings, "When the Saints Go Marching In".
Louis Armstrong, video c/o xakyxak

According to the article posted in the New York Times his stepping down from his previous position a decision that Sony BMG came to after much evaluation of today's music industry. The times they are a changing, that holds true for the music business as in any other industry. Sales of CD's are notably down and the eye must turn to the production and fixed costs arena to grapple a handle on the ability for a company to retain a profitable status.

Barry Weiss, currently the chief of the company’s Zomba Label Group, is now being named as Clive's successor, and will be the reigning chairman and chief executive of the BMG Label Group. Renowned hit-maker and star-creator, Clive Davis is being replaced by a younger, more modern minded executive. Bruce Weiss purportedly is much more involved in the new digital era we are seeing music take. He's got the savvy and the know-how to take the company in a fresh and more modern direction. Apparently adhering to the ways of the past was no longer working for Sony and hence, time for a change. But hell, we have to consider Clive's like 100 years old - that adage about 'old dogs and new tricks' seems to apply.

Barry Weiss is known for having an ear toward the pop charts but also an eye on controlling costs. It seems having the creativity gene not the only necessary quality in today's music business, the bottom-line must be highly considered as well. Clive Davis has not been one to watch the expenses involved in promoting those upcoming and established icons he's worked to develop - he's known for the costly videos and productions to make it happen for the stars in his favor. (I guess that did not apply to Taylor Hicks.)

Mr. Davis' new title is reportedly, Chief Creative Officer. The information on his package compensation information hasn't been released, but obviously it will be less than the $10 million dollar package he was granted under his past position.

I doubt we need shed a tear for Mr. Davis, he's had a great ride and much success in his time in the industry. Too, regardless of the demotion, I'm sure his wife and family won't have to concern themselves much about how they're going to survive. His new package most likely will top what most of us meager peons manage to scrape together in a lifetime.

So here's to Clive, and to Weiss, out with the old and in with the new.
Spinal Tap. "Give Me Some Money" video c/o TruM3t4l

(If you're wondering about the connection between Davis and Spinal Tap, look it up.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Next VFTW Pick?

Looking over the remaining cast of characters on American Idol, I think Jason Castro should be the next logical choice. Of course, I thought that when Amanda left, but it wasn't up to me. (Hi Dave.)

Coming into the Finale stretch, the contestants need to focus on finishing as high up the 'food chain' as possible. The Idol viewers are a forgetful bunch, and I'm likely one of the most forgetful. It's that whole attention span thing. And shiny objects. I have this tendency to get distracted by shiny objects. Amanda Overmyer was the first shiny object, so to speak, in this season's offerings that snagged my attention, but closely followed by dreadlocked darling, Jason Castro. I must say he's prettier than Amanda, but she had that whole biker sistah gig going on.

Vote for the Worst remains largely misunderstood concerning what that site is truly all about. The funny guy running the whole shebang, has to be one of the most clever site owners surfing the www. wave. I doubt there are any sites offering the quality of photoshops found on the site. Too, the inquisitive and intelligent residents of VFTW are usually numero uno at unearthing the dirt on the show's contestants.

The biggest misconception regarding VFTW - it's not (usually) about the Worst performer or singer. Instead it's more about backing the contestant seen as the least likely wanted to succeed by the show producers. I think it's safe to say, most folks by now have grappled with the reality that this show is not about discovering the truly best vocalist among the struggling singers trying to enter the show. Rather it's about the 'casting' of a select group of performers to snag the highest ratings.

The contestants during tryouts, are decided upon from the thousands seen to flesh out the widest demographic, hence attracting the broadest market of potential viewing audience. It's about casting a program that will fill the seats at home and keep them coming back. This season we've seen the highest number of contestants ever, that have had floundering musical careers. Several have had record contracts already, and many have had wide previous experience at performing in front of crowds. Think Carly Smithson, Michael (Lee) Johns, David Archuleta, David Cook, Kristy Lee Cook. Hell right now on Amazon you can purchase all these contestants' CDs and mp3 downloads:

I'm sure there's more music to be found 'out there', but it's been a busy two weeks of traveling and paid employment gigs, so I'm just a tad exhausted.

Returning to the subject of the VFTW new pick, I'm thinking Jason Castro the right fit. He certainly isn't the worst singer, but the guy's not who the show has in mind. Right now the producers have their monied little hearts beating in earnest to the tune of a Double David Finale. It's not unlikely that banners are being created as I type to have hanging outside the theater, in anticipation of the poetry of the moment.

Regarding Kristy Lee's ousting from the show, I have my doubts she had the lowest number of votes. I noticed that Ryan did not say that either. I must say, Kristy handled her ousting and her 'out-sing' as gracefully as Amanda Overmyer. Randy did look a little sad to see her go, he's been carrying the "I'm Hot for Kristy Lee" flag all season. I think, rather like how the show kicked Sanjaya to the curb, the small print clause was brought into effect.

Speaking of Sanjaya, I had that boy pegged as a VFTW pick from day one. He bravely rose to the occasion and made me so proud for him. Malakar was my Little Engine that Could". The boy would not let adversity stop him, even in the form of a caustic British judge. The performance that sealed the deal of his VFTW 'worthiness' was his performance of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me". He was brilliant that night, hair to toe. Regarding actual singing, the song that stands as dear Sanjaya's best performance, the one in which he showed he could sing, "Besame Mucho". I was like little Ashley Furl watching him sing that song.

Since I'm taking a moment to trip memory lane, I have to talk Taylor Hicks for a moment. Taylor was one of the characters cast designed to attract and appease a certain market. The beauty of this, the glorious surprise that came out of season five (thank you Sixx) how spectacularly the show underestimated his perfect fit into that very demographic they were shooting to maintain. Taylor was like an amazing runaway train that ran the tracks full speed, from the beginning to the end of the season.

Taylor Hicks was eventually selected by VFTW in that season for his entertainment factor, his brass, his fierceness. It's completely likely Taylor would have won without support from VFTW but he stands as a prime example of the reasons for VFTW choices. During season six, it was such fun reading the press from Cowell on the horror of having Hicks win. Loved watching the show squirm, as week after week Taylor charged through without a B3 ranking. Taylor Hicks, from the moment he made top 24, wasn't who the show had in mind for the grand melismatic finale, yet there he stood as the confetti poured down. Hicks was a perfect Unlikely Idol.

Saying all that, regarding this reality show I love to hate, or hate to love - whichever; Jason Castro makes the most sense of anyone left. Brooke is way too crybaby, Syesha just too bland, Carly too annoying, although there's ton of material to go with on her. I'd love Castro to at least do as well as sweet Elliot Yamin and pull third. Chances of Jason winning this show are slim, the Archuleta machinery was in place from the beginning. That said, of the two Davids, I'd love to see Cook win this. I like his voice, he hasn't parlayed his sick brother as a sympathy tool to his credit, and David Cook seems to want the win more than anyone. Man, his tears the other night made me cast some votes his direction with one of my phones. (Darling Man had to vote for Kristy Lee, he didn't mind.)

David Archuleta doesn't seem like he's really in this to win, more his Daddy Dearest's idea, from the stories emerging from the show. Darling Man and I discussed the fact that we seem to be completely missing something with this boy. I don't hear the greatness regarding his vocals that some folks have raved about nor see entertainment or star power behind him. Must be something wrong with us. I mean, even after three glasses of merlot the other night, he just doesn't hit that resonate chord within my tortured heart. I just don't get anything from the boy.

Conversely, when my dreadlocked darling Jason Castro sings, something magical happens. Jason has an ability to completely hold my attention for the entire 90 seconds he's singing. He's so pretty. I love the sound of his vocals, real, emotional, different. Too, Darling Man is beginning to detest him as much as he did Taylor Hicks, which shows how on target I am in picking a "winner". Nothing like making D.M. shout "Shut the fuck up talking about that guy!" as he storms out of the den. It's amusing too, how when we're watching the show, he just stares at me and says, "That's sick, you're absolutely sick", as I sit quietly mesmerized and all about Castro for that short time.

I'd love to see Jason Castro pull the impossible. One thing, his fanbase, locally and otherwise has recognized the need to pull behind him. Add that the VFTW contingency and it's at least within fantasy levels. A David Cook, Jason Castro Finale would be beyond cool. How great it would be to see the confetti falling into Jason's dreads. That would be completely Fantard worthy. Darling Man will just have to understand.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Jason Castro, "I Don't Want to Cry"

Jason Castro video c/o acandler 72501

This guy is so pretty, so soulful.

Randy's at a beach luau, and Pauler wanted to be at that luau and Simon agreed with Paula. Jason is ranked third on Dial Idol. If he'd had just shed some tears like Cook, he could have upped that spot...coulda, woulda, shoulda. I kid.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Michael (Lee) Johns Dreams Off Idol

I for one was surprised Johns went home before Carly - but hey if not this week he'd go next...
Michael Johns and his ascot go buh, bye:

Hey, somebody had to go home, as long as it wasn't my dreadlocked darling Jason. ha.
Keep the Faith Castro.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Jason Castro Brings the Midus Touch to iTunes

Jason Castro has done it again. Just like in a few weeks past, Jason Castro has elevated another song from the depths of iTunes, bringing it to the top of the iTunes charts. A few weeks' past, Jason elevated "Hallelujah", the Leonard Cohen song, with Castro utilizing the Jeff Buckley version to a half a million digital copies in a few short days following the show.

It would seem obvious to anyone looking at the statistics as we see, again, that as yet another tune Castro performs on the show, climbs up the iTunes charts, this guy has commercial appeal. The late, great and inspirational Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", since Jason Castro's performance, has hit number 8 on the top sales charts on iTunes as of this morning. Man, I'm ready to invest in some of that Jason Castro 'stock'.

Jason Castro should find himself in the enviable position of having artists campaigning to have him perform their songs with the apparent rate of commercial success he is exhibiting. If the folks running the American Idol franchise are not understanding the potential of this kid, they need just close down now. A lack of understanding the depth and breadth of Jason Castro's potential, his talent would indicate a truly lack of comprehending the American public.

The show thought they had the next "Hannah Montana" in boy wonder, David Archuleta, but they are wrong. David Archuleta reminds me of that Peter Sellers great movie, "Being There". Archuleta seems to me, more a "Chance the gardener". It may be that he's being perceived, by many folks, to be more like the mistaken 'Chauncey Gardiner'. Certainly he's talented, but he transports and communicates no personality other than 'awe shucks'. He lacks an emotional connection too, when he sings - I don't feel it.

American Idol failed already once in judgment by their obvious dismissal of Taylor Hicks. Taylor Hicks remains one of the most successful, to date, contestants on the show in its history. He managed through his certain brand of genius to connect with the American audience in a completely thorough way. It didn't matter what curve balls he was thrown to knock him off his mark by the show, his fans rallied behind him. Taylor Hicks and his Soul Patrol fans created a perhaps never seen again, complete overthrowing of the Idol machinations. I think the ratings of the show reflect somewhat the disrespect, the show is showing Taylor. Even last night on "Idol Gives Back" rather than have Taylor Hicks on the show, they feature their 'money-boy' Chris Daughtry.

Returning to the subject of Jason Castro, his performance this week was another show winner like "Hallelujah". As I've written previously, he may not be the glory-note belter or the "King of Melisma", but he delivers consistently, heart and soul.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Jason Castro's Rainbow of Colors

Jason Castro performs "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" delivering live imagery and emotion to Paula Abdul's comment about Jason Castro early in the season's competition. Ms. Abdul described Castro of emitting a rainbow of colors; last night Jason Castro delivered that rainbow, armed with a simple ukulele.

Certainly the show was feeling the moment. Colored lights flashed through the audience and the background light screen shone with the many colors of Castro as he performed the song made famous by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz.

Jason Castro gave it a change up, performing the tune in the style of "Iz" complete with a ukelele. Iz was a popular and revered Hawaiian artist, this version of the song used in commercials,in television and movies such as "Meet Joe Black". Last night, awash in the glow and glimmer of the rainbow of hues that is Jason Castro, he did the song justice.(Image a collaborative effort by muta and myself, late last week; my words, muta's choptastic skills.)

Jason Castro showed another side in his overall demeanor in the pre-performance interview. He toned down the hippy-dippy approach and instead reflected a determination, a gravity. Jason's decided he might really want to win this show. Last night, in a brilliant performance employing his voice, the ukulele and some violinists, Jason Castro highly upped his ante.

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" Brother Iz version, Jason Castro - video c/o JooJoo211

Granted he's up against a tough playing field and he's certainly no glory-note belter. Thing is, Jason delivers an honesty, he provides an acoustic beauty in his performances that have been sorely lacking in this commonly over-produced melisma drenched Pop music driven reality TV show.

Castro, through his rather new and budding musicianship, is providing a missing link for this show. He's certainly not the seasoned 'reality music competition contestant' like wee David Archuleta. He's not the already been signed to a label like Kristy Lee Cook and Carly (Hennessey) Smithson. He's not a contestant who has already toured in a band with wide national exposure like Michael (Lee) Johns, in Australia.

Jason Castro's performing resume' goes something like this; he's sung publicly in church, he performed in a very small neighborhood band competition in his hometown. Jason performed down in one of Dallas' Arts Districts, Deep Ellum, to positive reception. Castro had a minor role in a reality show featuring Cheyenne. He was part of a local Christian rock band during his teen years, Keeping Lions, which I believe morphed into Charlemagne.

Dial Idol results: April 9th, 2008
David Archuleta 1-3
Jason Castro 1-6
Kristy Lee Cook 1-6
Brooke White 2-8
Michael Johns 2-8
David Cook 2-8
Syesha Mercado 4-8
Carly Smithson 4-8

Castro, keep the Faith.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

For What it's Worth from VFTW: Spoilers for Tonight

Syesha "I Believe" by Mantasia
BigHead Cook "Innocent" by Our Lady Peace
Shitson "The Show Must Go On" by Queen
Brooke "You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor
Aussie Douche "Dream On" by Aerosmith
Castro "Over The Rainbow" by Judy Garland
KKKristy Lee "Anyway" by Martina McBride
Gaspuleta "Angels" by Robbie Williams

From what I read Castro is to do it like this: the 'Iz' Israel Kamakawiwo Ole version. If so, he's staying within his standard comfort zone. This video also has an incredibly touching ending with Iz's ashes being turned out into the ocean after his death.

It was also in one of my favorite movies of all time, "Meet Joe Black"

Taylor Hicks Subs for Paul Finebaum

Taylor Hicks fills in Paul Finebaum Show It's a long listen, but this is the general recap of the time recorded:
Claudia was first to talk to Taylor and mention the first annual "Soul Patrol" convention. Taylor Hicks told Claudia, to keep the Soul Patrol going. Whatever that involves.

Next caller announced she was from the New England Soul Patrol, her name, Kimberly from Nazareth, PA. Kimberly proceeds to babble nonsensically for about ten minutes before getting to her query which, circulated around sports' fan talk. I have no idea her point, she's like following Paula Abdul. I couldn't wait for her to get off the line.

Hoover Alabama, brought a guy named Joe. Joe was full of praise for Taylor making Alabama proud. The reason for his pride in Hicks was stated that he liked how Taylor has stayed true to himself, not gotten caught up in any of the entertainment gossip rag stories, basically. Joe apparently has not kept up with Taylor on-line, likely a good idea considering. Joe asks Hicks about Idol this year and asks him who he likes, Taylor says he likes the "Irish singer". He does not mention her by name. Perhaps he forgot it.

Mary Jean in Atlanta, GA was up next. That must be Jeanni from Chill's site. She pretty much identified herself by the opening conversation on Chill's. I was struck by how sane she sounded. Seriously. Mary Jean sounds very different from the way that she comes across in her writings on websites. I was quite frankly surprised at how composed she sounded. She asks Taylor about his upcoming trip to Italy and wishes him well.

Some guy calls and asks him who he is. He calls himself, Iman or so that's what it sounded like he said. Apparently he's a regular caller, but since I'm not a regular listener I have no idea. Obviously this call was staged, aimed at funny. He asks Hicks, aren't you the guy who sent me that demo tape? They talk Waffle House, Waffle House hamburger steaks and the Waffle House Jukebox.

Josh in Decatur called about Taylor playing at the War Eagle Supper Club again. Taylor relayed that was one of his favorite gigs from the past.

Kristen, Hamilton, NJ called and they passed the hellos back and forth, "Whomp at the Warfield" DVD question popped. Taylor said there were issues in clearing the music for publication. Getting music cleared is something that must be done when covers of other artists are used. Taylor had said following her question about more touring, that he was "itching to get back on the road" and Kristen followed with "we're itching for you to get back on the road". (Lots of itching.)

Rhonda, Montgomery, AL said she saw him at the Hall of Fame. Asked about being paired with Joe Namath and Bo Jackson, charity held at Regions Classic. I'm not real familia with the Regions, but I'm sure most everyone else is. Rhonda then let everyone know her birthday is in September, so she's hoping the CD drops by then.

Mark from Birmingham, AL had a father who was a big Taylor Hicks' fan. Mark said his late father had said Taylor reminded him of Elvis, and wanted to know if Hicks' had any intentions about performing gospel or recording gospel. Taylor just mentioned he wasn't that educated on the gospel side of music, but was open to considering it.

I thought it a shame that the music featured on this show was from the post-Idol CD whereas his earlier music a better representation.

Taylor commented that he felt the reason he was so good live and in the studio could only be attributed to his experience level. He talks about the live performance experience essential for being successful on Idol. He mentions the competition regarding the show being essentially similar to a sporting event.

He was questioned by the show as to whether the other contestants might have felt intimidated by Taylor's experience in performing on A.I.6. Taylor looked at A.I.5 (FIXED) as being his one shot for positive National exposure and so his goal was to stay focused and win that moment.

Tuscaloosa, Moneesh (sp?) was curious about direction of his next CD considering the situation that happened with Freemantle, et al. He says his current direction and writing style is 360 degrees from what he originally thought the CD would go. He wants to make sure this CD is a great product and now he has the time and the creative control. He emphasizes that aspect.

Lanay from Birmingham, was excited about the new album and the Regions golf event. She brings up the producer aspect regarding the upcoming CD. She asks if he'll produce it himself, he takes a we'll see approach.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Taylor Hicks to Tribute The Beatles

Taylor Hicks will be appearing in a Beatles tribute performance for the Wolf Trap Foundation. This event is scheduled for Saturday, August 23, at 8 pm at the Filene Center located in Vienna, Virginia.

Local map found Here. Along with Taylor Hicks will be Todd Rundgren, and Denny Laine, plus per the advertisement, "others". The description of the event:

Saturday, August 23 at 8 pm at the Filene Center
Ticket Price: $40 in-house, $25 lawn
It Was 40 Years Ago Today
A Tribute to the greatest album in Rock & Roll History
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Taylor Hicks, Todd Rundgren, Denny Laine plus more!
Performing their hits, plus the album in its entirety.

Under the Filene Center page to purchase tickets, this event is not even listed yet, so anyone interested will just have to watch the page.

No word whether this is a planned touring event or simply a one time feature at this particular location.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Celebrating Dolly Parton Week on Idol: Muppet Style

I love Jason Castro's kick action - check out the video:

Brilliantly done by tipiflats.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Willie Nelson, Jason Castro Traveling Musings

I heard Willie Nelson's cover of "Gravedigger" for the first time yesterday afternoon. I have apparently arrived late on the Gravedigger song express as it was apparently released some months back. Politics aside, Willie Nelson remains one of my favorite artists to kick back and enjoy.

From what I have discovered, this song was written by Dave Matthews, Willie decided to cover it and have Kenny Chesney produce it. Interesting compilation of characters that created Mr. Nelson's version, that song and his most recent album, an absolute must have for anyone a Willie Nelson fan. This tune is compelling, haunting, and oozes with cool. The tone of the tune grooves in your mind long after you listen to it.

Looking at Willie you can't help but wonder how close he feels his own mortality. It's something we all mere mortals must face, death comes sooner or later. Sadly it comes sooner than it should for some.

Now something else hit me while listening to Willie's voice; how he phrases, how his voice catches, the nuances, I came to the realization of what it is within American Idol, Jason Castro's voice that I like. Granted Willie's voice is much lower, but Jason's patterns, inflections, the phrasing hold a similarity to Willie Nelson's.

Willie Nelson does not have a voice with great range, but he always brings heart, soul, as well as real emotion and honesty to his songs. Castro has that kind of magic. Listen to how his voice breaks, how he pulls from within himself. That's heart, soul, love and magic.
"Traveling Thru" Jason Castro

The kid's just getting started toward a career in music. Perhaps with that glimmer of Willie that lies within his vocal techniques combined with his heart, his soul, he may very well be looking at a measure of success. I thoroughly enjoyed him this week, he did that Dolly Parton tune similarly to the way she handles it.
"Traveling Thru" Dolly Parton

Last night, watching Castro's expressions as he stood waiting to discover whether or not he was again in the bottom three, I caught a new light in his eyes. Castro's Texan roots were showing more in ways more than in his wearing boots.

Going in, he was looking mainly for exposure, experience. Now perhaps he's thinking further beyond that initial goal. Castro's, been walking softly, time is approaching for him to reveal that big stick he might be carrying.

(My post about the contestants this week, in the 'saved box' of the blog, will have it set free to read soon.)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

It's Tuesday - American Idol Topic

I found the list of spoilers off of the DialIdol Forums. Of course, it's April Fool's Day, so who knows the accuracy, but supposedly this news coming from someone who was accompanying Dolly Parton at rehearsals this week. Dave Della Terza at VFTW thinks it's fake so we'll see later tonight.

Anyway here goes most likely nothing: Dave was right, this list was bogus, Spoilers this season haven't been worth the time to type them!

David Cook- "But You know I love You" Must be a rocker redux of this someplace...

Kristy Lee Cook- "Two Doors Down" (This should be ...interesting.)

Michael (Lee) Johns-"Islands in the Stream" (Most likely done in Eddie Veddar stylings)
I picked this video from A.I. Season 4, Top 4 performance (Bo Bice):

Carly (Hennessey) Smithson - "Jolene" ("Aah, that was my Mum's and me favourite when I was a wee lass in Ireland")

David Archuleta- "Travelin Through" Interesting choice, wasn't this a song about a transvestite? Sending messages there boyo? Tune was nominated for an Oscar, from the flick, Transamerica Soundtrack.
The soundtrack tunes review:
Editor's Review: Picking the score for a transsexual coming-of-age film is a solid challenge, but Duncan Tucker got it just right with the genre that sang of "identity" long before that term was stuck to "politics": country. Dolly Parton and others voice the film's distinctly American brand of loneliness and hope.

Kid's going for the sympathy come-back performance. Mark. My. Words.

Ramiele Mulabuy- "9 to 5" (agh. Saw the movie many years ago, it was cute, entertaining but this pairing, not seeing it.)

Brooke White- "Coat of Many Colors" Good choice for Brooke. Here's Dolly's story:

Syesha Mercado- "Eagle When She Flies"

Jason Castro- "I Will Always Love You" (I'm pulling for you, darlin'. Give this tune a new twist.) Reportedly he was Dolly's favorite.
Leona Lewis Version: