Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Judging American Idol for Newsweek (seriously!)

Back in March, 2007, I posted to my blog about how upset I was with the results from American Idol the week before. Well, it appears that someone at Newsweek was looking for University faculty members who were into American Idol and who could judge the contestants, much the way the actual judges do on the show.

Yesterday afternoon, I received a call from Newsweek inviting me to be a judge in their "When Eggheads Attack" piece. I participated, along with two music professors who really sounded like they knew what they were talking about. I was their "Ellen", providing my opinions without much expertise. The piece is available here, on the Newsweek site.

Besides the judging comments that appear on, I also submitted nicknames for each of the contestants, and they were not included, so I'm going to reproduce my comments here, along with the nicknames. Ann helped me out with these, although I get the blame for the corny ones.

Lee DeWyze:

Lee the wise. I liked the jazzy interpretation and the way the song brought out your soulful voice. You sounded a little like Danny Gokey from last season. However, I think your song choice prevented you from showing us what you're really capable of. There is no doubt you're coming back next week, but you should take a bit more of a risk next time and really show us how you can stand out.

Paige Miles:

Turn the Paige. I had high hopes for you this week. You have incredible vocals and a wide range. Against all odds, the song started out weak and went downhill from there. I did not like the arrangement of this song, and I don't think it showcased your voice as well as your choices in previous weeks. Based on previous performances, I really hope you'll be back, and that you'll turn things around next week, but this performance puts you at risk.

Tim Urban:

Urban Warfare. On the plus side, you were definitely "safe" when you slid home. But that's the problem. The song was safe. You took on Queen, one of the hardest bands to simulate, and now, I think you're facing a crazy little thing called elimination.

Aaron Kelly:

Kid Kelly. It was fun watching you drool over Miley Cirus in the pre-performance video clip. You guys make a cute couple. If I close my eyes, your performance makes sense. When I open them, there's a mismatch between your body and that big voice. You are to singing what Doogie Houser was to medicine.

Crystal Bowersox:

Take a Bow-ersock: I expected it to be good. It was better than the original. Janis would be proud. I got goose bumps. You're definitely in the top two - see you at the finale.

Mike Lynche

Big Daddy: I would probably say you did a great job even if you didn't out of pure fear for my life. But luckily, I don't have to lie. You are incredible. You make every song interesting, and I can't wait to hear what you're going to do each week. Loved it!

Andrew Garcia

Straight Up Garcia: I don't understand how someone with such a good voice could make me dislike one of my favorite songs so much. I have to go listen to the original now to get that out of my head.

Katie Stevens

Cool KT: What you did was try to imitate the original, and you fell a bit short. I think you deserve to be in the top ten, but probably not the top nine. Definitely not the top eight. You have a good voice, and you're talented, but you're overmatched in this competition.

Casey James

Casey at the Bat: Best vocal I've heard from you all year. Sounded better than Huey Lewis. There is joy in Mudville. Mighty Casey has hit a home run

Didi Benami

Didi Banimi: You're good, you're good, you're good. Baby, you're good. But not great.

Siobhan Magnus

Driving on the Auto (Sio)bhan: You have been my favorite all year. They saved the best for last. I can't wait to see what you're going to do each week. This is how I felt about David Cook and Adam Lambert. The anticipation for your song is what makes idol exciting this season.