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Buzz about American Idol — Season 8

By Dr Matt 

Top 11 Contestants

Dr Matt's weekly review of American Idol from the Top Thirty Six Singers to the Final Two:

36 - 1       36 - 2       36 - 3       Wild Card     13     11     10   
9       8       7       6       5       4       3       Final 2

Dear Idolaters:

The A. I. Producers will NOT miss an opportunity to up their ratings this season. Dr Matt predicts that they will eventually invite Tatiana BACK to the A.I. Big Stage at some point. Here's my reasoning: In Season 7, Renaldo Lapuz got "15" more minutes of fame, as he sang his corny composition, "I Am Your Brother," during the American Idol finale: take a peek if you dare!

Let's face it, Tatiana can sell tickets to the Freak Show; she's a "Soap-Opera-Episode-Waiting-To-Happen." All of America has a sick desire to hear her ghastly giggle again, and to see if Tatiana can sing something other than "Saving All My Love for You."

Drama Queen Tatiana Del Toro: Not in the Top 13, yet all of
America wants to know if she can sing more than one song?

Tuesday, March 17th, 8:00 pm EDT

America Online Poll — Pre-Show
The Popular Vote — from Lowest to Mowest:  

       13.  Jasmine Murray          
12.  Jorge Nunez           
    11.  Michael Sarver +2   
 10.  Scott MacIntyre -1 
9.  Matt Giraud +1    
 Lil Rounds +4     
7.  Alexis Grace = 0   
 6.  Anoop Desai -3      
     5.  Megan Corkrey +1   
   4.  Allison Iraheta +1  
3.  Kris Allen +1         
 2.  Danny Gokey = 0 
    1.  Adam Lambert = 0 

Dr Matt's Red-Hot Reflections:

Lil Rounds was #12 a week ago, pre-show, and has managed to climb 4 spots. If Lil doesn't improve her popularity in the coming weeks, she may be the very 1st beneficiary of the NEW RULE — and be "saved" by the Judges to perform another week (at which time two (2) contestants will be eliminated). Clearly the Judges esteem Lil Rounds' talent highly.

Anoop Desai make the biggest drop from last week, losing 3 spots. Through most of last week Megan was holding the #4 spot, but Allison edges ahead. Michael Sarver was actually last place a week ago, and he is still last place (among active contestants) in the pre-show AOL Poll.

You like to think that the singing performances make a difference in these rankings, and last week, they DID in the case of Anoop being downgraded, and Lil being upgraded. Let's watch what happens this week? The actual singing performances also made a difference for the TWO contestants that were kicked to the curb: Jasmine and Jorge delivered performances that did not shine as bright as the rest.

AOL Poll movement, 20 hours post-show: After the audience has had time to think about what they saw, Matt Giraud has moved up 2 spots, from #9 to #7 and Allison Iraheta is up 1 spot, from #4 to #3. As you can see, performing in the Pimp Spot was advantageous for Matt Giraud, who was formerly in the bottom 3 of the pre-show poll (above).

Last week's eliminations:

13 - Jasmine Murray"I'll Be There"
Pageant-like performance. Not enough passion and soul in this performance . . . she's doesn't stand out. Prediction for the season: 13 or 12

12 - Jorge Nunez"Never Can Say Goodbye"
The first few bars of this song were enough to make me hurl my lunch: . . . his popularity is waning after this bland performance on Michael Jackson Night. Season prediction: 12 or 11

Dr Matt's Red-Hot Rankings from Less to Best for
Grand Ole Opry Week

11 - Michael Sarver"Ain't Going Down Till The Sun Comes Up"
        Home Town: Jasper, Texas
        Audition City: Phoenix, Arizona

Mr. Oil Rigger from Texas give an enthusiastic performance. This song is jam-packed full of lyrics, and Sarver MAY have remembered them all — I can't say. Why so? Because I agree with Simon Cowell: "You could have been singing in Norwegian!" The only lyric I clearly understood was: "Ain't Going Down Till The Sun Comes Up."

It was a good "Karaoke" performance! But, we are reminded that this show is about finding a singing Super Star, when we hear the likes of Adam Lambert and Lil Round sing — both are in a class above Michael Sarver.

The A.I. Producers have done a good job of setting up Sarver for elimination (probably knowing that his Poll numbers are low . . . and he's about to go). The put him in the FIRST spot on the program— which is the most forgettable spot on the program, when you are just a nice guy who sing "karaoke" pretty good. But to top it off, A.I. Producers provide a contrast of Michael's performance the 2nd Singer to sing: Allison Iraheta; in this comparison, Michael Sarver does not fair very well.

If Sarver escapes elimination, it will be because America just flat likes this NICE GUY — I'm personally thinking he's the most likely competitor to be eliminated tomorrow night. At best, he should last two more weeks: 11 to 9

10 - Alexis Grace "Jolene"
        Home Town: Memphis, Tennessee
        Audition City: Louisville, Kentucky

The thrill is gone! Alexis lost some her shine for me, this week. Simon thought it was too "sound-alike" for him. (Meaning, sounding like Dolly Parton — adding no new angles). Her personality is falling a little flat, she doesn't offer any fascination, like Megan Joy Corkrey.

Alexis shows us that a person can sing very well, and still be kinda boring; whereas, Megan Joy sings somewhat average, and entertains all the while. My season prediction for Alexis is based on the AOL Poll trend, thus, I see elimination for Alexis from 7 to 5

 9 - Allison Iraheta"Blame It On Your Heart"
        Home Town: Los Angeles, California
        Audition City: San Francisco, California

Allison sang this song with a lot of punch and power. And in contrast to Michael Sarver's unintelligible"mumbling," I could understand every word that Allison sang. She sang well and it seems everyone expects her to go far, . . . yet her performance was not that memorable for — as I think about the ones that stood out through the night. Said another way, I'm not dying to revisit her performance, like I'm motivated to see again Adam Lambert's and Danny Gokey's performances.

Still, elimination for Allison won't happen for many weeks, again, if the AOL Poll trends are correct. Season prediction: 5 or 4

 8 - Megan Joy Corkrey"Walking After Midnight"
        Home Town: Sandy, Utah
        Audition City: Salt Lake City, Utah

I absolutely love Megan Corkrey, now being marketed as "Megan Joy." She just flat fun to watch — her pedestrian singing ability and quirky-awkward dancing moves aside.

But I feel like we got a case of the King's New Clothes here. When is someone in a power position (the Judges) going to state the obvious: The King ain't got no clothes on/Megan Joy is NOT a great singer. (I guess the Judge have said this, but it's always accompanied with a reason why they love her).

I feel like there is a collusion between Judges and A.I. Producers to keep saving this girl who has clear commercial sell-ability! Megan will be the gorgeous girl who gets far on her looks with average yet enthusiastic singing ability. Season prediction: Megan gets kicked to the curb from 6 to 4

 7 - Lil Rounds"Independence Day"
        Home Town: Memphis, Tennessee
        Audition City: Kansas City, Missouri

Lil made two mistakes tonight: 1) she tried to "honor" the country genre by NOT putting her signature Lil Rounds' R&B flavor on it, and 2) she talked too much in justifying why she did a "country" imitation, rather than her own original style.

Other than that, I thought the performance was mildly entertaining. I agree with the Judges that she needed to get to the Chorus quicker, because that is where the vocal fireworks happen — where Lil is able to open up her pipes a blow big!

As long as she doesn't talk too much and always gives us Lil Rounds' unique flavor, she is headed for final 3-dom. Nice finish for Lil Rounds: 3 to 1

 6 - Scott MacIntyre"Wild Angels"
        Home Town: Scottsdale, Arizona
        Audition City: Phoenix, Arizona

Scott put in a commendable performance last week, and this week, his song sounded pretty much the same! It was very pleasant, but his soft and gentle vocal interpretation of "Wild Angels" didn't move me.

Scott will be on the bubble tonight. I think he'll last another week. My original season prediction of 9 or 8 will not likely happen. I'm thinking OUT at 10 — but the good news, Scott gets to go on the American Idol Tour!

 5 - Kris Allen "To Make You Feel My Love"
        Home Town: Conway, Arkansas
        Audition City: Louisville, Kentucky

Kris benefited big time from choosing the right song: It's really hard to separate how much you LIKE THIS SONG, from how much you may LIKE KRIS — the two LIKES kind of blend together. In other words, this song is very touching by itself . . . and listeners will tend to LIKE MORE anyone who sings (as long as they don't butcher it).

Randy Jackson commented "who knew that you were a tender dawg." Simon thought the performance was "terrific!" Season prediction: 4 or 5

 4 - Anoop Desai"Always On My Mind"
        Home Town: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
        Audition City: Kansas City, Missouri

Last week Anoop make the huge mistake of taking on an Icon song that only the King of Pop can pull off. This week, great song choice. This particular song fall into the same category as the one Kris sang — you can tell the difference between liking Anoop or liking the Song and its moving lyrics (apart from how it is performed).

This song is a winner, and lifts Anoop's prospects for staying on the show for another month. Amazingly Anoop is riding at #6 on the AOL Poll. My Season prediction is has Anoop being tossed in the trash at 8 or 7. Anoop may surprise me!

 3 - Danny Gokey"Jesus Take the Wheel"
        Home Town: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
        Audition City: Kansas City, Missouri

Kara commented that Danny should choose songs that gets into his power range more quickly. Differently, I agree with Paula and Simon on this one: we better appreciate the impact of "power-singing," when it is contrasted against softer and sensitive moments. Simon says a song needs "light and shade."

Excellent performance! Danny sang the chorus of "Jesus take the wheel," with great passion. Season prediction: Danny is destined for Top 2-dom: between 2 or 1

 2 - Matt Giraud"So Small"
        Home Town: Kalamazoo, Michigan
        Audition City: Louisville, Kentucky

Matt is totally benefitting from being put in the Pimp Spot. He's moved up 3 spots in the Polls 24 hours post-performance. Great performance worthy of the Pimp Spot too!

Matt transformed this "country song" into somehthing that sounded nothin like country. Simon and Randy mentioned the "Michael Buble" parallel that I broght up last week. Matt has moved out of the Bottom 3 and will easily make the American Idol Top 10 tour. Season prediction: 10 to 7

 1 - Adam Lambert"Ring Of Fire"
        Home Town: Los Angeles, California
        Audition City: San Francisco, California

Waaaaaaay-over-the-top Adam is at it again: This time transforming a "country song" into a magical mystery tour of the Middle East. Kara said it left her "confused and sort of happy."

Whether you liked this song or not, you have to appreciate Adam Lambert's advanced vocal techniques applied in this performance: Wow! . . . he moved from full voice to falsetto seamlessly. The latter part of this twisted "ring of fire," reminded me of some of the amazing legato licks of Inva Mula Tchako singing the Diva Dance in the movie "The Fifth Element" — purely mesmerizing.

On the other hand, some might see Adam's performance as Simon Cowell did: "indulgent rubbish." Some people can find something wrong about a sunny day on a Hawaiian beach: one man's trash is another man's treasure. Regardless of detractors Adam is headed for the finals: 1 or 2

Alexis makes a horrific song choice
singing a Dolly Parton song, "Jolene."

Who's going home tonight?

Tonight's elimination will most likely be between Michael Sarver and Scott MacIntyre. I can't really say which one deserves to go, based upon their performance? Both performances were pleasant, and somewhat forgettable. We'll see who has the bigger fan base. I think Scott will garner more votes to last another week.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

Top 11 Results Show: the Contestant Tossed in the Trash

As I said last week, you need to listen carefully to the words that come out of Ryan Seacrest's mouth. He didn't actually say that Megan or Anoop were in the bottom three or four. He simply asked these contestants to stand up and step out on the floor — standing next to another contestant who truly was in the Bottom Two (for they were eventually eliminated.

This week Ryan actually did call the THREE standing on center stage: "the Bottom Three."

It was mildly surprising that Scott was NOT in the Bottom Three, but he's such a nice guy and so talented, I'm happy that he made the tour (and that he was in the Top 8 of the popular vote).

A.I. loves to FAKE OUT the audience, so after saving Danny Gokey, Lil Rounds, and Anoop Desai consecutively . . . A.I. created the illusion that ONE . . . I repeat ONE of the next TWO contestants was in the Bottom Three — a TRUE statement. The TWO were Allison Iraheta and Michael Sarver. Anyone following the AOL American Idol Poll is totally expecting Michael Sarver to be eliminated, SO . . . it was shocking when Ryan announced that Allison was in the Bottom 3 . . . and apparently Sarver was safe — but not so fast! Michael Sarver was ALSO in the Bottom Three.

That leaves ONE MORE contestant to be place in the Bottom Three: After saving a grateful Scott, a Lip-biting Megan Joy, a relived Matt, and an elated Kris . . . it was down to Alexis Grace and Adam Lambert — who Ryan asked to stand together.

Who thinks Adam Lambert is going home? Come on . . . he's #1 on the AOL Poll. But American Idol Producers managed to create a moment of doubt as they reminded America that Simon thought Adam's rendition of Ring of Fire was "rubbish" . . . actually "indulgent rubbish." But in the end, it was Alexis Grace that joined the other two Bottom Three-ers.

Ryan saved Allison, so it came down to Alexis and Michael. The Judges intimated that they were willing to consider SAVING one of these two contestants IF they were the Lowest Vote Getter (referring to Alexis).

Surprise, surprise . . . Michael Sarver is Safe . . . and Alexis must "sing for her life." The NEW RULE FORMAT kicks in. Instead of the contestant singing their farewell song . . . they now Sing for Survival — what suspense! Poor Alexis was trying to put all the passion she could into "Jolene . . . Jolene . . . Jolene." In the end, this song was a TERRIBLE SONG CHOICE . . . and Alexis, try as she might, could not make this song interesting. Alexis sang deparately. The Judges said it was "Good . . . but not Good Enough."

Alexis is gone! Eliminated! Ba Bye!

I never expected Alexis Grace to go . . . because of her AOL Poll position (#8 of 11). BUT if you re-read my own personal ranking of the Top 11 performances, you'll see that Alexis Grace's performance was NOT doing it for me: "the thrill is gone!"

Dr Matt

NEW RULE Reminder: If the Judges, by unanimous vote, view that a particular singer is eliminated by America's Vote prematurely, they can exercise ONE SAVE per season. But this SAVE only applies to the elimination of contestants from 12 through 6.

It's NOT that American Idol Producers thing that America Got it Wrong, and thus must be over-ruled; instead, the new rule is in place for cases when America ASSUMES that someone is soooooo Good that they don't need the votes. So the rule is about giving the Judges power to protect a contestant that has clear public popularity AND great singing ability. Here are some examples of "premature" elimination from previous seasons:

            Season One:       Tamyra Gray voted off at #4 of 10 total contestants
            Season Three:    Jennifer Hudson voted off #7 of 12 contestants 
            Season Five:        Chris Daughtry voted of at #4 
            Season Seven:     Michael Johns voted of at #7 

The NEW RULE would NOT have applied to the elimination of Chris Daughtry and Tamyra Gray — even though they were both mentioned in the justification of the new rule. Chris and Tamyra were eliminated at #4, and the rule does NOT apply to the final #5 contestants.

This New Rule is might be called the Jennifer Hudson or Michael Johns Rule.

The American Idol Producers may have put this rule into place, after seeing that Lil Rounds' Poll popularity is NOT proportionate to her ample talent. Go INTO the Top 13 Show, Lil Rounds is in the 9th position (2nd from the bottom) in AOL's American Idol Poll, after the Top 10 Show.


Reminisce about the Good Old Days: when there were 36 contestants in the American Idol Season (8) Eight competition. For the majority of these singers, their 15 minutes of fame is but a faint shadow on the distant horizon of America's memory — was there really was a contestant named Mishavonna?

From Left to Right & Top to Bottom — Alphabetical by First Name:

Row 1:    Alexis Grace*     Allison Iraheta*     Anne Marie Boskovich      Arianna Afsar      Casey Carlson       Felicia Barton
Row 2:     Jackie Tohn     Jasmine Murray #     Jeanine Vailes      Jessie Langseth      Kendall Beard      Kristin McNamara 
Row 3:    Lil Rounds*    Megan Corkrey #    Mishavonna Henson     Stevie Wright     Tatiana Del Toro     Taylor Vaifanua 
Row 4:    Adam Lambert *       Alex Wagner        Anoop Desai #          Brent Keith           Danny Gokey*          Jorge Nunez* 
Row 5:    Ju’not Joyner         Kai Kalama          Kris Allen*           Matt Breitzke           Matt Giraud #           Michael Sarver
Row 6:   Nathaniel Marshall       Nick Mitchell       Ricky Braddy        Scott MacIntire*         Stephen Fowler        
Von Smith 

            *   Finalists chosen by America's popular vote
#  Wild Card Finalists chosen by the Judges = Top 13 

Next week American Idol Contestants will be singing hits from Motown -----> Top 10


The Greatest Prize
for Life's labors isn't
in material possessions
or impressive accomplishments,
but in the progress of personal character.
You labor for your own becoming, this is your richest reward.
Who You Become is your greatest possession,
make it your Masterpiece!

(Changing Your Stripes, 2nd Edition, page 274)

"Changing Your Stripes" presents principles for getting out of
the ditch in which you've been dumped (the difficulties of which you are a victim),
and the ditch in which you've jumped (the difficulties for which you volunteer).

"Mastering a challenging situation
is ultimately a matter of
mastering yourself!"

- Matt Moody 

"Changing Your Stripes," teaches you the principles that lead to lasting change,
making you a new kind of creature capable of communicating
with calm, even as storms of contention swirl.

If these ideas resonate and ring true,
then . . . this book is for you!

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