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Dot provides useful tips and reflections for American Idol viewers and contestants.

American Idol - Season 9 April 6 & 7 Print E-mail

2011 American Idol Season 10

Dot is still deciding whether to blog about this season.  Tell us what you think! EMAIL US


Tuesday, April 6th


Cool how they show behind the scenes. Wow.  How exciting!  LOL

Beatles Night
They have 35#1 hits. Isn’t that FAB?
I thought Paul McCartney would have been the mentor. Hmmm…. I guess he’s too old for that. Eh?  LOL. Lookin’ good though.

Going through the judges commenting about Beatles.
Simon says certain songs shouldn’t be changed, others can’t.
Comments from the other contestants about each one.

1. Aaron Kelly
They call him Yoda and say he’s the little brother.
“The Long and Winding Road”
This arrangement sounds old fashioned today… weak start sweetie.. voice is a bit quivery.  Sounds like a throat chakra block that is getting cleared as you sing.
Nice end note – though something felt off with you tonight for me.  I wasn’t all over that honey.  But you are sweet.
Randy – liked voice and tone, didn’t like arrangement. Wish he did a country version.  Kind of boring
Ellen – big song to take on. Felt like a long and winding song
Kara – You’ve been delivering good performances, but for what you’re trying to do, you hae to be “great” (that was a slam) we’re seeing the same side of you every week, would like to see you move on stage more and something new.
Simon – why did you choose the song? 
Because this whole journey was a long and winding road. Stuck with arrangement cuz didn’t feel like he should change arrangement.
Simon says it was old fashioned and you have to become young and current (BIG BOO from audience. LOL) More believability. Should have researched the song more.
Dot – do I actually agree with Simon for once? LOL. I like that you had subtext though.

2. Katie Stevens

This gal can dance eh?
“Let it Be”
I like that you’re connected and telling a story and committed to it.  Very pretty. Very honest. YES HONEY.  This may very well be my fav from you. And I like the held out notes and grounded them.  You kept it simple and changed it up just enough to make it interesting. I don’t care what they say. I really enjoyed it.
Randy – to me, this is your best performance ever. It reaffirms to me – that was hot vocals hot vocalist, that’s why you’re in the top 20.
Ellen – perfect example of changing it up just enough to make it your own. That was amazing
Kara – you’re blossoming on that stage. I like your attitude. You’re confident. You never looked better and you never sounded better. I’m so proud of you tonight.
Simon – the whole thing about this competition is that that tells you you’re doing something wrong. You got it right because it’s more country. (LOL. Simon is so dumb). Simon also mentioned that it felt like you were singing it about somebody, rather than “robotic” Translation – you had subtext.
Dot  - well, at least the judges agreed with me that it was great.
This song was something she could be honest about because she sang it from her heart! HOORAY!  Okay viewers – this is what subtext is all about. FOCUS.
Back stage – Katie was happy.
They say she’d bounced back from the bottom three – BUT IF VOTES AREN’T IN YET – how to they know? LOL

3. Andrew Garcia
The group says you have the most personality. 
(This is my favorite dude in the contest. He will be in top 3)
“Can’t By Me Love” OH GOODIE!

I love what you’re doing with this arrangement, but the key should be HIGHER FOR YOU HONEY!  DANG IT!  Would have added more energy to the song.  And you can hit those high notes.  And pleaase  shave next time honey. Smooth cheeks are better on you.  I thought your idea was great, but dang it, WRONG KEY.
Randy – solid performance, you sounded good.  A little corny at times, cuz it was so pop and you got a little more soul in you.
Ellen – good song choice, alot of fun and I loved it.
Kara – I want to love it. Don’t know if I’ve seen anything new.. liked the breakdown. That was hot.
Simon – Wedding… guitarist sings a song. Problem – knows what  you were trying to do, but band overpowered it. Made it corny, old fashioned and irrelevant.  Got it all wrong tonight.
Dot – I thought it was fine, but I bet you a zillion dollars if you would have done it in a higher key, it would have been HOT!

4. Michale Lynch
Big Mike
Mike – you were SO CUTE when you were LITTLE MIKE! LOLOLOL! Look at those CHEEKS!  Okay – you said you like to tell stories
“Eleanor Rigby”
Yeah! I LOVE THIS! Mike – you are so big – just ground a little more so you don’t bounce around too much on the stage. You can’t get away with that, but dang it, I LOVED IT!!!!
Randy – I’m not sure all of that worked, but the parts that did work were GREAT. That could really be a joint on your album. I love seeing the artist in you blossom
Ellen – any song you take on – you handle every side of you equally. I thought it was a huge risk to change it that drastically, but I thought it was INCREDIBLE.
Kara – I thought that was fire.  It was like “building and building and building” but you sold the story and you were committed and you believed it. You made it relevant to this commercial and relevant. That’s what this show is about.  At the end of this show you’re going to make a record.
Simon – wasn’t as good as other three. Says it’s the sort of thing you sing in musicals.  (LOL) He said it made you go slightly backwards.  Too over the top and I’m confused as to what kind of artist you are.
Randy said it was very “Glee” Judges argue.  LOL
Dot – Simon is WRONG WRONG WRONG. And that’s that.

Mike – bad retort when Randy asks what do you think about Simon’s comment? “I think Simon wants to challenge me to a pec contest!”  Oh oh – that comment may have gotten you in a bit of trouble Mike!  You were so great tonight, but appeared as kinda cocky.  Oh oh. Fans don’t like that.

Back stage

5. Chrystal Bowersox
Has a bit of a cold (OMG – me too! For the first time in like 2 years!)
OMG -  you’re from a town of 1,500!  WOW!
“Mama sox, be sox”
Lee and her auditioned in Chicago together. They say she’s honest and kind and motherly.
“Come Together”
DIGGERIE DOO ! WOW! Big read one
You’re feelin’ a bit nervous to start.  I like the slight changes you made in the melody.
You made it through and it was fun, but not your strongest – but you’re FABULOUS.
Randy – another solid performance. I don’t know if it was your best…  you got into it as you went.  Digde was distracting, but it still won him over.  You’re in the zone
Ellen – loved the didgeredoo.  What is a new way to tell you how great you are?  You never cease to amazing me.   Good example of making it current.
Kara – one of my favs because… had a Bonnie Rait feel, cuz where you took the melody I never would have thought of. You were simling and playful, more accessible.
Simon – could hear it on radio (was Simon listening – Kara just said that)
Ernie Fields Jr makes an appearance – 3 days ago. Free lance. YOU HAVE TO DO CIRCULAR BREATHING for that.  Better than last week. 
Ernie gives 4 last blows in the dige while Ryan talks.
Dot – OH MY!  LOL!
Back stage. “don’t a digerie don’t, but a diggeriedoo”

6. Tim Urban

They love his smile. Wow – did Andy have a gay moment for Tim? That was FAB! LOL
I like that you’re not afraid to SHINE HONEY!
“All my Lovin”
This was a good song choice. Yeah – there was a pitchy note in there, but you didn’t even flinch when you sang it.
I’m glad you’re playing guitar tonight. This was a good idea.
Randy – was better than the last couple of weeks. Randy like your hair.
Ellen – perfect song choice. 2nd best after Halelujah.. and I thought you did very well.
Kara – Kara likes the guitar too – feels more honest. (Yep – I agree) Commend you for good attitude.
Simon – thought you did well with that song. Liked that there was no gimmick and you didn’t try to oversing it.  Sounded current what you just did. He likes that you take the criticism like a man. 

7. Casey James
They speak of his laugh and his hair
“Jealous Guy”
I like the arrangement… nice connection to the song. You’re always pretty consistent.  Solid. Not my fav, but honest and great enough to keep you out of bottom 3.
Randy – loves the sensitive vibe and side of you.
Ellen – your best performance to date. So soulful  You have a great voice and pretty hair (LOL) I wanted to feel you pour yourself into a song and sound great and that’s what you did. (good comment Ellent!)
Kara – you showed vulnerability.  Very tasteful on the acoustic. Showing depth and that’s what I wanted to see. You know you voice and when you want to take it there, you can go there.  You took yourself to another level.. still do it more.
Simon – the best performance of the night so far.  (Really? LOL) You are making ginormous growth.  You put your stamp on the song. Very impressed with you tonight.
Ryan asked him what he was thinking about while singing. “I was thinking about being a jealous guy.”  LOL.  (We wonder if he was every jealous in real life!  Of course he was!)

8.  Siobhan Magnus
They say she’s weird and interesting.  Unique.
“Across the Universe”
NOPE. But this is a new side of you eh.  Hmmm… Even thought you’re meaning what you’re singing, it’s a BORING SONG CHOICE and doesn’t fit with what you’ve been doing that’s successful.  And sharp on “world” every time it’s low. I hope your fans vote, cuz uh… this just isn’t why America likes you. That’s not what attracted people to you. Snore.
Randy – Nobody in this competition screams artist more than you – likes outfit. Likes the tender side and high note in “false” (meaning falsetto – which it was not. It was head voice. LOL)
Ellen – I’m a big fan of people who March to the beat of their own drum. You are talented and special.  I loved that it was different. Beautiful. Good job.
Kara – from a purely singing perspective – you hit the notes, showed control. Restrained and polite. We’re not used to seeing this from you. I’m trying to process this. Not sure you’d hear that on the radio – not current. I’m still a fan cuz you connected personally to it. Still trying to process (I agree with Kara)
Simon – asks what you were connecting personally to?  Talked about how connection to the lyrics.  You won’t change your person.  Nice testimonial. The crowd roars. .
Thought last week was disasterous.  If it was the first time somebody had seen you, they’d be a bit confused.
Dot – Well, I thought it was boring, but I like your hair tonight. LOL. 
OMG – a fan from the audience named earl stood up and hugged Siobhan!  LOL!  He had great projection.

9.  Lee Dewyze
Resident Worry wart
Lee and Andy – buddies. Both worry together. BEST FRIENDS.
“Hey Jude”
Wants to relate to this song – feels he can.
I think it’s a good choice. 
Okay – bad key. Lower ½ step would have been better so “sad song” would have had just the right
Looks like you’re having FUN WITH THIS HONEY! GOOD FOR YOU!
WTF bagpipes?  Why?  LOL. This is quite funny.   I feel like I’m back in Canada.  Wow – that Scottish babpipes man left the stage FAST! WOOSH!
Randy  - that guy was funny dude! I almost wore a kilt tonight. You don’t have to be nervous baby you got this. Please believe.
Ellen -  the confidence that you showed tonight and your smiles – so great… even when that guy got separated from his parade… LOL
Kara – I can hear you on the radio. That tone and when you go up there – you stretch yourself. It’s hot. It really is.
Simon – first dige and then babpies.  I wouldn’t have done that.  You were doing great, then the bagpipes showed up.  Was it your idea?  Reply “100%”
Ryan – why did you get the bagpiper?”
Lee “Why not man?”
Dot – yeah, that was FUNNY!  You know Lee, you’re a cool dude. Watch the movie “The Secret” so you can get in the top 3.  =P

My PREDICTIONS - Botom 3 – Aaron Kelly, Andrew Garcia, Tim Urban (Maybe Mike Lynch could replace Aaron - possibly)

American Idol - Season 9 March 30 & 31 Print E-mail

Dot Todman's rough notes while watching American Idol

March 31st, 2010

Clash of the Titans
Cute commercial
Reuban Studdart performs (sleepy time =))

Ford Music Video – kung foo fighting.  Wow.  How

Mike has a rat tail glued to his head

Andrew’s Mama says she raised him right.

Movie – Clash of the Titans

Lee – I’m glad you’re able to say it was good – Relaxing and enjoying and having fun. Not worrying about the judges! THANK YOU!  This positive attitude may put you in the top 3!

Casey – they want him to challenge himself more. He says I pick a song and do the songs I want –not go crazy about it.

Aaron Kelly

Ryan asks an important question – When you sing a song and you’ve never lived it, how do you  do that?

None of the judges have the answer.
I do. It’s called SUBTEXT!
Thank you.  See this video –

Siobhan Magnus – weakest performance ever

Katie – take what I want to do, take in whatever they say to try and use to benefit me and whoever I’m going to become.

Bottom 3

Usher performs.
The key of this song is kind of low, so it’s not as flattering as it could be on his voice with all those dance moves, but is easier to perform. Usher sure can dance eh. =P
With all the effects on his voice and in that key – as a singer, didn’t look as pro.  He became a body singer.

Ellen: says he’s little Mike cuz he has

Chrystal Bowersox

Tim Allen – Judges question why does he smile?  I like his optimism.  Might be his last time on the stage, he says.
Bottom three.

Katie is safe

Diddi sings “Dirty Money”
Wow – I’m trying to figure out how this is quality.  LOL.  Like I say, being successful in the music industry has very little to do with talent, but more to do with being a business mind, creating a brand and knowing how to sell yourself.  Stand out it some way. P-Diddy is a smart man. Keeping himself current and in the game he is!

Okay – did I not call the bottom 3 yesterday??? THANK YOU ALREADY. LOL.

They won’t save her, but she’s singing way better than last night. She simply doesn’t have a shot at winning, so why save her? Sorry sweetie. It will not be unanimous.

OKAY.  How come I am always right?  LOL.

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Cute opening backstage.  Wasn’t that just fun!

SOUL and R&B

Usher is the mentor today.
(A student texted me ½ way through the program and said Usher sounded like me.  I guess I will find out why very soon as I watch this.)

Siobhan Magnus
“Through the Fire”

Well, I’m a bit bored with this song… and there were unfortunately some really scary notes in there, that I’m sure Randy will point out as “Pitchy” and if he does, he’s actually right this time. As much as I love you…ooops. 
Randy – mentioned Pitch, don’t know if it was one of your shining moments.  Kinda rough
Ellen – noticed that she freaked about the pitch
Kara – nervous. It should have worked, but it didn’t.  Even performer has an off night. You’re entitled for one. AT the end of the day, you’re still a great singer.
Simon – sounded like you ran a marathon and you were singing while you were running out of breath.  It was all over the place.  When you hear it back it’s going to sound worse than you know and I’m getting bored of the screaming at the end.
Dot – I agree with Simon for a change.  Kara makes a good point about how she was thinking of that high note, and anxious about it and it threw her off.  This happens ALOT to singers!  The worst thing you can do is listen to yourself.
Advice – get more solid as an artist and pick a song that better suits your personality.

Casey James
“Hold on I’m comin”

I like this kid.  Nice rehearsal with Usher.
Cool red guitar and nice suit honey!  I’m actually lovin’ this performance.  GREAT energy, great presence, and you were lovin’ it and had fun! I had fun too!  Yeah!
Randy – Another hot night You stayed in your element. Perfect selection and choice
Ellen – you’re consistent. You’re always good. Felt a little generic. You sang it great, but that’s the safe zone for you.
Kara – you’ve been using this part of your range. I think you have more range in you. Would like to know how much more you can do. Show me everything you got cuz I think you got more
Simon – He says it was the strongest week he’s had so far, says it was authentic and he didn’t do a sound alike. Very impressed this week with him.
Dot – I loved it. I also like that you know yourself. Your consistency is growing on me sweetie!

Mike Lynche

Okay – this is when my student texted me and said I sounded like Usher! He advised big Mike to project his energy to the back of the room and connect to the audience.  VERY SWEET!
“Ready for Love”
Such a nice soulful connection.  I would love to see your eyes more, but you are connecting though, regardless. Nice honest performance.  I like you even more now.
Randy – I’m lovin’ every performance dude. Good to show your sensitive side.
Ellen – That was beautiful. I loved it.
Kara – You did an incredible job with it. Mastered the intention of it, you got to the true emotion of the song. Tasteful and loved it.
Simon – I can actually take you seriously now as an artist.  Even though its not one of my favorite songs in the world – you were original tonight and I actually believed that performance. It was terrific.
Dot – Nice work sweetie.

Didi Benami
“What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”

(Uh – is this song r&b)
Usher is challenging her to connect to what the song means to her and stay open
It’s s bit shaky honey.  Not very pleasant, but you sang all right.
Randy – the whole performance flat-lined. Wasn’t great. I didn’t get it.
Ellen -  It was dramatic and I love your voice and I’m a fan of yours, but it was way dramatic and not your best performance.
Kara – it’s overdone girl.  When you first came in Hollywood week and you did that singer/songwriter thing. I don’t know who you are anymore.  Leaves me puzzled. You lsot your way.
Simon – it was like swimming in jelly. So over the top, old fashioned and off melody. It just didn’t do it. Sounded like a singer murdering a song.
Dot – remember your energy speaks louder than words. Ryan gave you a second chance to be vulnerable in front of America.  You blew it. You might be going home Wednesday based on that one sweetie.

Tim Urban
“Sweet Love”

It’s good that you choose to have fun, despite being called “Teflon Tim.”
Usher had him feel the love he’s singing to.
That’s all about SUBTEXT
And he said, “own it man!”  Good advice Usher.  Tell that boy to make a connection! 

Well, at least you’re really, really cute. You gotta still work on that connection thing honey.  Singing in front of the mirror making eye contact with yourself is a GREAT technique that helps with authenticity. Oh – and please shave the chin hairs honey.  Eeeka.
Randy – plusses and minuses. At least you sang in tune… put some vibrato or do something (Then Randy sings for us.  “Sweet Love”)
Ellen – you were walking like you were sneaking into a bedroom. Why that song? Good for you for taking that on, but Oh boy – why?
Kara – like Broadway and Vegas at times, you made yourself so uncommerical and not young and current.
Simon – completely inappropriate song. You’re not gonna win  - doesn’t matter, because you’re gonna smile, kids will vote for you and you’ll probably be here next week.

Behind the scenes was cute – he’s still smiling.

Andrew Garcia
“Forever” – Chris Brown

usher – good mentoring again – telling him to connect and get out of his head! He even took his glasses off so Andrew would make eye contact with him! I hope he does fabulous!  This is great advice.
Still I his head at first, but he sounds FAB. I love him.  He is one of my favs.
Randy – Andrew is back here’s why. I think the outfit is like mad dope and I like how you turned dance music into acoustic – That was the best in a long time.
Ellen – was amazing strong performance. I love when you smile.
Kara – that is one giant leap in the right direction. HUGE. And I’m gonna leave it at that.
Simon – was miles better from what we’ve heard over the last couple of weeks, because you’re back where you are… as a person you come over as very boring. (I don’t agree.  He’s just playing a character. Whatever) Start showing some personality that you care.  At this point, personality is as important. Kara retorts – “he can do that next week, He’s back in the game!”
OMG – Mom is going crzy on Simon. Then she hugs him. 
Dot – Andrew, I knew you would bounce back.  I really think you can get to top three if you play your cards right. You’ve got the gift honey. I love you.

Katie Stevens
Chain of Fools

Connect with one person in this audience and tell your story to him. Ad pazaaz
He says personalize the performance.
I like that connection to the soul in your voice right away honey.  Like them head movements too.  LOL.  You got some soul up in there eh?  But where is the song going?  It sounded great, but I don’t get the story part and the genuine part.  Not sure if it suited you, but nice singing honey.
Randy – disconnected vocally, but here’s what I love – one of the best of the night cuz you showed that you have the pipes.. but it felt like small moments… but nice vocals.
Ellen – you have a snookie poof going, you have a great voice. I wish song was a little more current. You sound so mature.
Kara – this is where you belong – r&b pop – best performance, good job on vocals, but make it young.
Simon – says that Randy compare to Christina was crazy. Thought it was robotic but you came over as cold in that performance.. .wouldn’t have taken on that song.
The judges are now arguing over her as an artist. Simon doesn’t think she’s r&b and says she’s country. Randy says pop and r&b invludence. Ellen – I like your earring.
Poor Katie gets so many mixed messages. Just do what you want already.   They’re just having fun because you’re young.

Lee DeWyze

Usher says, “if you won’t believe it, they won’t. You have a great voice. Own it!”
Treat Her Like a Lady
When you sang, “you know what I mean” -you were very present to the end.” Rough beginning but then you actually WOKE UP as a performer and sang more confidently and in the PRESENT MOMENT!  You finally let go and stopped trying to micromanage your voice.  Now that is what CORE VOCAL POWER is all about honey! Work it like this from now on and you have a shot to be a finalist. 
Randy – unbelievable – best I’ve heard from you.
Ellen – best of the night
Kara – you brought the song into your world. Could have been on your record. Amazing
Simon – yep

Crystal Bowersox

Usher blew her cover and told her to play piano and sing.
Make the piano playing second nature and focus more on vocals.
“Midnight Train to Georgia”
Why is the mic so low? Oh chile, open those eyes! We want that eye contact – at least once. I’m watchin! Yep – you left that piano and hit some high notes.  FAB U R. You’re singing to win it gal. But not sure if you’re really telling a story… but still fab.
Randy – loved outfit, whole ensemble.  Gladys would say you did that song proud. Another great performance.
Ellen – You’re never not good.  You are in it to win it. That was a wonderful idea (that’s what I said!)
Kara – I’m so glad you took that risk. There’s so many things about you that I love.
Simon -  your choice of song was sensational. Vocals at times were incredible.  Back up singers unnecessary. With your talent, just do what’s comfortable with you and don’t change your personality.
Dot – Simon was making a good point, but you get it.  I like how you said you wanted to prove it to yourself. As long as you’re doing that – yep. What is that lovely stone on your neck?  Good energy stone!

Aaron Kelly
“Ain’t No sunshin”

Yes – when you repeat each word “I know I know I know” each words needs to mean something different. Nice advice from Usher teaching him to own it like that.
You took a bolder approach. I suppose that ties into your subtext.  I would have liked to see a more “humble”, softer opening and then have you build the song.  I don’t think you did this tonight.  The dramatic curve of the song was pretty much a straight line. But you sounded FAB.
Randy – started rough but by the time you hit that power zone it started to take off.
Ellen – I thought it was a good song choice and I really good job.
Kara – I like it – I wasn’t in love with it… could’ve went higher, a little more energy
Simon – if you compare to Lee, like the main course, it was like a cupcake. You didn’t believe it like you did last week.
Dot – I agree with Randy that you have more soul in you, but the reason why the song didn’t do much, was because

My favs – Casey James, Mike, Andy Garcia and always, Chrystal

I think our friend Didi is going home, but I guess it doesn't take a genius to figure that out. Katie and Tim will be next to her.  You are all FABULOUS THOUGH!  It takes a lot to be on Idol. People don't realize the emotional drain it is for these kids.
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