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“End Of The Summer” – Theory Of A Deadman

In Life, Music on August 19, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Very poignant song for those who have attended or worked at a camp. It truly captures the emotion of saying goodbye at the end of the summer.

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Theory Of A Deadman

The end of the summer officially occurs on September 21st, but for most people, the unofficial ending comes much sooner than that.  For people with children in school, the end of the summer takes place the day that school starts.  For many others, summer ends after Labor Day Weekend.  However, for those who attend or work at a summer camp, the summer ends – for all intents and purposes – the moment that you say goodbye to the place that you’ve called home for nearly two months.

School won’t begin in New York until early September, but now that camp is over, it feels as though summer has ended.  The days leading up to the beginning of school will be spent trying to entertain kids who not only bore easily, but are coming off of a camp experience where they were fully engaged on a daily basis.

Anyone…

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In Music on March 17, 2013 at 10:43 am

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Check out Irish rockers – Million Dollar Reload.

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Million Dollar Reload St. Patrick's Day

When you think of Irish hard rock music, your first thought undoubtedly goes to the great Thin Lizzy.  Beyond Thin Lizzy, most hard rock music fans would be hard-pressed to find another Irish band to listen to on St. Patrick’s Day, but that’s only because they have yet to discover Million Dollar Reload, a “balls-out” hard rock band that hails from Belfast, Northern Ireland.

One listen to Million Dollar Reload’s anthemic, melodic “Bullets in the Sky” and hard rock fans will be instantly hooked.  It isn’t every band that can write a feel-good song about the senseless act of war, but Million Dollar Reload has done so with flying colors.  The song has a familiar sound to it as it captures elements from other bands in the genre, while still sounding original.  If you’re a fan of Lynch Mob’s “No Bed of Roses” and “Cold Blood” by Kix, you…

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In Music on March 10, 2013 at 10:34 am

Check out this week’s Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown.

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Each week, Hard Rock Daddy will post a video playlist of Octane’s Big ‘Uns  Countdown featuring the top 15 hard rock songs of the week.  The playlist can also be found on http://www.HardRockDaddyNetwork.com (the HRD YouTube channel).

The top 15 songs on this week’s Octane’s Big ‘Uns Countdown are listed below the videos

#15 – “Hollow” – ALICE IN CHAINS

#14 – “Remember” – 3 YEARS HOLLOW

#13 – “In The End” – BLACK VEIL BRIDES

#12 – “Drunk Enough” – ANGELS FALL

#11 – “Fly On The Wall” – THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH

#10 – “In Due Time” – KILLSWITCH ENGAGE

# 9 – “Breaking Through” – THE WRECKAGE

# 8 – “Vilify” – DEVICE

# 7 – “Pleasure & Pain” – GEMINI SYNDROME

# 6 – “Smells Like a Freakshow” – AVATAR

# 5 – “Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown” – ROB ZOMBIE

# 4

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In Music on March 3, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Hard Rock Fans – Check out the latest SiriusXM Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown showing videos for the top 15 hard rock songs of the week.

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If you’re a fan of today’s hard rock music, you will definitely want to check out SiriusXM Octane’s Big ‘Uns Countdown each week.  It is a great place to discover new music and new artists.  Each week, Hard Rock Daddy will post a video playlist of the top 15 videos of the week.  The playlist will also be posted on http://www.HardRockDaddyNetwork.com (the HRD YouTube channel).

The top 15 songs on this week’s Big ‘Uns Countdown are listed below the videos

#15 – “Hollow” – ALICE IN CHAINS

#14 – “Freak Like Me” – HALESTORM

#13 – “From Can to Can’t” – COREY TAYLOR, DAVE GROHL, RICK NIELSEN, SCOTT REEDER

#12 – “Tempest” – DEFTONES

#11 – “Diamonds” – FAREWELL 2 FEAR

#10 – “Vilify” – DEVICE

# 9 – “In Due Time – KILLSWITCH ENGAGE

# 8 – “Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown” – ROB ZOMBIE

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Grammy Awards 2013 – Why I Watched THAT METAL SHOW Instead

In Music, Television on February 10, 2013 at 11:14 pm

That Metal Show

The Grammy Awards are viewed as the biggest music night of the year…for music fans who love mainstream music.  For people who don’t like mainstream music – particularly those who are fans of Hard Rock and Metal – it is just another night.  The Grammys reduce Hard Rock/Metal to one category even though hit is a huge genre with many sub-genres.  As a result, artists nominated in this category usually do not belong together, but they are lumped together to compete for what amounts to an obligatory award that isn’t even presented on television during the three and a half hour broadcast.  Instead of drudging through endless performances and awards that do not interest me at all, I decided to watch an old episode of That Metal Show instead.

Scrolling through my DVR looking for an episode of That Metal Show to watch, I decided on the one featuring Don Dokken and George Lynch, which originally aired on 6/26/10.  The first discussion between Eddie Trunk, Jim Florentine and Don Jamieson was about David Ellefson returning to Megadeth as the band planned to perform “Rust In Peace” in its entirety on tour.  Ironically, Florentine casually mentioned that the album was once nominated for a Grammy, and then joked…“I think that it lost to the Moody Blues in the Metal category…it’s ridiculous.”  To which Trunk sarcastically replied…“That means a lot…Grammys and Metal.

In the Hard Rock and Metal communities, the Grammy Awards are basically a joke, and have been since Jethro Tull beat out Metallica for the Grammy in 1988.  Jethro Tull is a great band in its own right, and their misplaced Grammy categorization had more to do with an out of touch nominating committee than it did with the band, but they felt the wrath of metal fans just the same.

Tonight, the award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance was given to Halestorm, an up-and-coming hard rock band from Red Lion, PA that features a kick-ass female vocalist named Lzzy Hale.  They are definitely a much better fit than Jethro Tull ever was in the category.  However, their victory is likely to receive some criticism from metal fans because they beat out Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Anthrax and Lamb of God, all of whom are highly regarded in the metal community.  The sad part is that no one would have questioned Halestorm winning a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance against other similar bands if they had their own category.

The Grammy Awards have continuously tripped over themselves when it comes to the Hard Rock/Metal category.  Their limited knowledge of the genre ensures that they will continue to do more harm than good with their nominations.  If they had any respect for the genre, they would have a minimum of two categories and the awards would be presented on the air, not off camera as they currently are each year.

If VH-1 was smart, they would create an awards show around Trunk, Florentine and Jamieson and go head-to-head against the Grammys with a live broadcast.  Until that time, hard rock and metal fans are better off watching old episodes of That Metal Show than they are watching an awards show that makes no effort to cater to their musical taste.

Top 25 Hard Rock Cold~Winter~Snow Songs

In Music on February 8, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Hard Rock Winter Music

In October of 2012, as the Northeast was waiting for Hurricane Sandy to arrive, the Top 25 Hard Rock Rain and Storm Songs was posted on Waldo’s Life.  Once again, the Northeast is in the midst of another historic storm.  This time it’s a blizzard named “Nemo” that is targeting the Northeast.  Since most of us plan on being snowed in, it seemed like the perfect time to release the Top 25 Hard Rock Cold Winter Snow Songs to help pass the time.  If hard rock music fans were given the chance to name the storm, it most definitely would have been named “Ozz.”  It would have been so cool (pardon the pun) to hear weather people around the country calling this storm the “Blizzard of Ozz.”

The following are the Top 25 Hard Rock Cold Winter Snow Songs listed alphabetically by artist…

AC/DC – “Snowballed”

Accept – “Winter Dreams”

Ace Frehley – “Snow Blind”

Badlands – “Winter’s Call”

Black Sabbath – “Snowblind”

Breaking Benjamins – “So Cold”

Cain’s Offering – “My Queen of Winter”

Cinderella – “Long Cold Winter”

Crimson Glory – “Lady of Winter”

Crossfade – “Cold”

Cry of Love – “Too Cold in the Winter”

Dimebag Darrell – “Snow Blind”

Drowing Pool – “Turns So Cold”

Judas Priest – “Out in the Cold”

Kix – “Cold Blood”

Mudvayne – “World so Cold”

Rob Halford – “Winter Song”

Savatage – “Dead Winter Dead”

Skid Row – “Frozen”

Spread Eagle – “Dead of Winter”

Static X – “Cold”

Stratovarius – “Cold Winter Nights”

Three Days Grace – “World so Cold”

Tyketto – “Long Cold Winter”

UFO – “Mr. Freeze”

Top 12 Hard Rock Songs of 2012

In Music on December 12, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Snap 2012-12-12 at 15.00.26

There seems to be an endless fascination with the fact that today is 12-12-12.  It is likely the last time that most of us will ever see the month, date and year the same again.  Years from now, this will be just another day, but it will be interesting to look back and see the Top 12 Hard Rock Songs of 2012

[1]  Pop Evil – “Purple”

Every once in a while, a song comes along that you can listen to over and over again without ever growing tired of hearing it.  Songs like this usually end up becoming a band’s signature song that is played at every live show (usually as an encore).  Pop Evil has some great songs, but there is something about “Purple” that elevates it above the rest of their music.

The imagery that is created in the mind’s eye with the opening poetic lyric sets the tone for the song…

“Such a beautiful color…you wear upon your skin…and the perfect shade of purple…on a flower permanent…and I’m constantly reminded of a past that never bloomed.”

The melody and infectious hook of the song is brilliantly accented by the band’s harmonies with Leigh Kakaty’s lead vocals.

“I’ve never been down this road before…as the days go by I only miss you more…I thought one day we would touch the sky…never grow up…never gonna die.  I never realized what you meant to me…til I tried drowning out your memory…but it burns red…like it’s not over…it only hurts when I’m sober.”

It’s rare that a song about regret and love lost can make you feel so uplifted, but “Purple” is the exception to the rule.

[2]  Slash with Myles Kennedy – “Anastasia”

Guns N’ Roses fans will always wonder what might have been if one of the greatest hard rock bands of all time didn’t fall apart because of drugs and egos, but if they were still together today, the hard rock world would have missed out on Slash with Myles Kennedy.  With all due respect to Axl Rose, Slash and Kennedy are a better combination.  It’s hard to believe that a singer as talented as Kennedy languished in relative obscurity until teaming up with Slash.

The brilliance of Slash and Kennedy as individuals shines even brighter when they are together.  “Anastasia” is the perfect song to showcase the Slash/Kennedy sound to those who still haven’t jumped on the bandwagon.  Kennedy’s four-octave range is not a studio enhancement; he sounds exactly the same in concert.

Many other songs by the duo were worthy of being in the top 12 of 2012, but as the saying goes…“variety is the spice of life.”

Hard rock fans would be well served to use “Anastasia” as a starting point to dig deeper into the Slash/Kennedy catalog.

[3]  Aranda – “Satisfied”

Passion, pain and vengeance may not be a recipe for happiness, but this lethal combination does make for a great hard rock song.  It takes a special talent to make a slow, relatively stripped down song about lost love into an edgy hard rock song, and Aranda has done so masterfully with “Satisfied.”

Dameon Aranda delivers the song with such pain and emotion that you start to feel melancholy while listening to it, but it is so moving that you don’t want the song to end.

“And I…no, I never want to see you smile… I…no, I never want to see you die…but I never want to see you satisfied.”

 

[4]  Halestorm – “Here’s To Us”

The raging pool of testosterone that is the hard rock genre does not make it easy for female rockers to shine, unless of course they can hang with the boys.  Lzzy Hale of Halestorm not only hangs with the boys, her vocal delivery has more balls than many of her male counterparts.  Hale is the Lita Ford of her generation.

A lot of consideration was given to putting “I Miss The Misery” in the top 12, but “Here’s To Us” got the nod because it is quite possibly the edgiest love song ever written…

“Here’s to us…here’s to love…all the times that we fucked up.  Here’s to you…fill the glass…cause the last few nights have kicked my ass.  If they give ya hell…tell ‘em go fuck themselves!”

This song has the makings of an awesome show closer.  Picture an arena filled with lighters swaying back in forth, the band pauses and the whole crowd shouts “Tell ‘em go fuck themselves!” in unison.  The perfect bonding moment for hard rock couples!

[5]  Five Finger Death Punch – “The Pride”

One of the hardest things to be in music is unique.  There are always a number of bands that have a similar sound in any given genre.  Every once in a while a band bursts onto the scene that doesn’t sound like anyone else.  Their sound is instantly recognizable even if you are hearing a song for the first time.  Five Finger Death Punch is one of those rare bands whose sound is so unique that they create instant recognition.

Vocalist, Ivan Moody, is one of the few singers who can mix a melodic singing style with a guttural growl and not miss a beat.  “The Pride” is a perfect example of the immense range that Moody can deliver.  You wouldn’t think that Billy Joel and Five Finger Death Punch would ever be compared to each other, but in this case it is warranted. Moody and Joel both have incredibly unique sounds, and “The Pride” is like “We Didn’t Start The Fire” on steroids!

[6]  Stellar Revival – “The Crazy Ones”

What do you get when you mix numerous clichés with a great melody and rebellious fun?  Stellar Revival’s “The Crazy Ones.”  The song is the first release from the band’s upcoming debut album “Love, Lust & Bad Company” which hits the streets on 1/22/13.  One listen to the infectious “The Crazy Ones” and you can’t help but sing the chorus in your head all day long, but the song offers more than just a catchy melody.

Many people want to fit in and live a “normal” life, but there are those who are looking to blaze their own trail regardless of what others may think.  This song is for “the mavericks, the dreamers and the forgotten sons” who “color outside the lines for fun” and for the “badass, outcast, son of a guns” who “march to the beat of a different drum.”

[7]  Three Days Grace – “Chalk Outline”

Broken relationships have always been a great source of inspiration for songwriters, but few have used imagery as powerful as Three Days Grace in “Chalk Outline.”

“You left me here like a chalk outline…on the sidewalk, waiting for the rain to wash away…wash away.   You keep coming back to the scene of the crime, but the dead can’t speak and there’s nothing left to say anyway.  All you left behind…is a chalk outline.”

The power, emotion and energy that singer, Adam Gontier, showcases in the song will make you feel the pain that most feel when a relationship ends.

[8]  Accept – “Shadow Soldiers”

Many of the hard rock bands that reached their peak in the 80’s are still performing, but most are catering to the same fans that grew up on their music.  A few notable bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest have bridged the generation gap, but most 80’s hard rock bands are not relevant to this generation of hard rock fans.  Accept’s “Shadow Soldiers” captures the magic of their “Balls to the Wall” heyday and combines it with a modern-day hard rock feel that will allow them to bridge the hard rock generation gap.  Frontman, Mark Tornillo, sounds like Udo Dirkschneider in his prime, so old-school Accept fans will feel like they are back in the “Balls to the Wall” days when they listen to “Shadow Soldiers.”

[9]  Nonpoint – “Left For You”

Although Nonpoint has been around since the late 90’s, this incarnation of the band is relatively new.  The only members of the band that remain are singer, Elias Soriano, and drummer, Robb Rivera.  While it is a bit unusual for a band to have a self-titled album beyond their initial release, it makes sense in this case since the majority of the band is new.  If “Left For You” is any indication of things to come, it seems that this may be the right mix to put the band over the top.  Fans of Nonpoint should definitely follow them on Facebook.  They truly understand what it takes to use social media to their advantage.

[10]  Another Lost Year – “War On The Inside”

The end of each year brings many “best of” lists (like this one).  It’s a way of recapping what happened and capturing a moment in time.  This time of year can also be a painful time of reflection for those whose didn’t have a good year for one reason or another.  It comes as no surprise that a band with a name like Another Lost Year has the ability to tap into the painful aspects of life and put them into their music.  “War On The Inside” does just that.  You can feel the anguish in the song as Clinton Cunanan belts out the lyrics…

“All these voices calling my name…keep reminding me of all of this pain…cause I am stuck here out on this ledge…can you save me tonight…from the war on the inside?”

[11]  Fozzy – “Sandpaper”

Hard rock music and professional wrestling have always gone hand in hand.  The music is often featured on WWE video games.  But Fozzy takes the marriage between wrestling and hard rock to another level.  Frontman, Chris Jericho, may have made his name as a professional wrestler, but singing is his true talent.  While wrestling’s ass-kicking may be fake, Fozzy’s ass-kicking music is the real deal. “Sandpaper” is proof positive that Jericho has what it takes to make it outside the ring.

[12]  Shinedown – “Bully”

Bullying has always been a problem.  And though there is a movement to stop bullying, the problem still runs rampant in schools across the country.  Shinedown’s “Bully” nailed what every bullied kid must be thinking…

“It’s 8am…this hell I’m in…seems I crossed the line again for being nothing more than who I am”

In this song, the bullied kids band together and fight back…

“We all know that life ain’t fair, but there is more of us, we’re everywhere….we don’t have to take this back against the wall…we don’t have to take this…we can end it all!”

The song also features some very harsh and sobering lyrics from the viewpoint of a bullied kid…

“No one’s gonna cry on the very day you die…you’re a bully!”

 

Related Hard Rock Music Posts…

Top 52 Hard Rock Songs of 2013

Top 14 Hard Rock Love Songs

Top 25 Hard Rock Cold~Winter~Snow Songs

Top 25 Hard Rock Rain and Storm Songs

HARD ROCK FANS – Check out http://www.HardRockDaddy.com

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Top 25 Hard Rock Rain and Storm Songs

In Music on October 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm

The world outside is eerily calm as we wait for what forecasters are calling a once-in-a-lifetime, perfect storm…Hurricane Sandy.  This thousand-mile wide storm is set rock the east coast like no storm that we have ever experienced before, and may likely never experience again in our lifetime.  There are tons of songs about rain and storms out there, but not as many hard rock songs as you might expect.

Since this is no ordinary storm, it deserves to be recognized with a unique hard rock song list to commemorate the moment that the forecasters predict we will be talking about for many years to come.

The following are the Top 25 Hard Rock Rain and Storm Songs listed alphabetically by artist…
 

AC/DC – “Thunderstruck”

Aerosmith – “Lightning Strikes”

Black Stone Cherry – “Rain Wizard”

Bullet For My Valentine – “Eye Of The Storm”

Dio – “Bring Down The Rain”

Dokken – “Lightning Strikes Again”

Guns N’ Roses – “November Rain”

Hinder – “Running In The Rain”

Iron Maiden – “Rainmaker”

Jack Starr’s Burning Starr – “Fire And Rain”

KISS – “God Of Thunder”

Led Zeppelin – “Fool In The Rain”

Nelson – “After The Rain”

Papa Roach – “Black Clouds”

Queensryche – “Another Rainy Night”

Queensryche – “Before The Storm”

REO Speedwagon – “Ridin’ The Storm Out”

Savatage – “Handful Of Rain”

Scorpions – “Rock You Like A Hurricane”

Soundgarden – “Black Rain”

The Storm – “Come In Out Of The Rain”

Theory Of A Deadman – “Hurricane”

Triumph – “Tears In The Rain”

Vandenberg – “Heading For A Storm”

Whitesnake – “Crying In The Rain”

American Idol Finale: Predicting the Season 10 Winner

In Music, Television on May 25, 2011 at 6:54 am

The chances of correctly predicting the winner of American Idol this season are truly 50/50.  Will the better performer from last night win it all, or will the other contestant’s fan base help to seal the victory?  In all honesty, the outcome doesn’t really matter.  Both young country artists will get record deals, and most likely each will record the original song that was written for them for the finale.

Perhaps last night’s finale was entertaining for country music fans.  But for the rest of the country, this finale just fell flat.  Despite the judges attempts to create excitement around the performances, there were no memorable moments from the show.  Actually, there was one, but it had nothing to do with the show.  The most exciting part of the show came when Fox broke in with a severe tornado warning in my area, forcing us to pause American Idol on the DVR and seek refuge in a closet.

Thankfully, we were able to fast-forward through most of the show, including parts of some of the performances, which surely would have had Simon rolling his eyes if he was still a judge.

Scotty McCreery won the coin toss, but elected to defer to Lauren Alaina, making the coin toss an exercise in futility.  Alaina obviously chose to go second.  This act of chivalry shows that the finale was not really a competition, but rather a country music television show which would have been more at home on CMT.

For their first song, the contestants got to choose their favorite performances of the season.

McCreery started the show off with “Gone” by Montgomery Gentry.  No offense to McCreery, who is adored by millions, but I thought that he’d be “gone” long before most of the others in the Top 13.  Those who love him probably loved the performance.  Those who don’t were probably as bored as I was.

Alaina, fighting through a damaged vocal cord which caused rumors to spread that she would be replaced by Haley Reinhart, did a decent job with Carrie Underwood’s “Flat on the Floor.”  Despite the setback, she looked very confident on stage, but it was evident that she was having difficulty hitting the big notes.

The second song was chosen by the Idols of the Idol contestants.

George Strait chose one of his own songs for McCreery to perform.  His rendition of “Check Yes or No” was a snoozefest.  Of course, I don’t know the original version, so it might have been great.  Given the choice, I will check “no” for this performance.

Carrie Underwood chose “Maybe It Was Memphis” by Pam Tillis for Alaina.  She did a decent job with it, straining to overcome her injured vocal cord at times, but overall, it was better than McCreery.

Why the judges didn’t comment until each contestant performed twice is beyond me.  I’d like to think that the producers made a wise decision in not forcing the viewing audience to listen to the same generic comments twice.

Jennifer Lopez told Scotty that she couldn’t think of a more explosive way to start the show.  Really?  Explosive?  Was she watching the same show as the rest of us?

Randy Jackson, wearing the dumbest outfit that he has ever worn on the show, proclaimed that they were both “in it to win it.”  You have to wonder at this point if he is somehow cashing in every time that he utters that idiotic catch phrase.

Steven Tyler, who has gone steadily downhill as a judge from the beginning of the season to the finale, spewed some gibberish before stating that Alaina won the first two rounds because “she’s prettier than Scotty.”  When Tyler talks about how pretty these girls are, he always sounds like a dirty old man.

For their third and final song, each contestant performed an original song that was written specifically for them.  It would be surprising if either song gets much airplay on pop radio as both songs are made for country radio.

McCreery performed a song called “I Love You This Big.”  Clearly, many voters feel this way about Scotty.  Anyone who has been reading my reviews of American Idol this season knows that I don’t feel this way.  I think that he is good for what he is, but I am still shocked that he became this unstoppable force on the show.

Alaina performed a song called “Like My Mother Does.”  It was a typical formulaic country song.  Alaina did a decent job with the song, as she always does.  Personally, I was just happy when the song ended, putting a cap on a very disappointing season of American Idol.

Actually, there was one more performance to end the evening.  For reasons that no one but the American Idol producers will understand, David Cook ended the show with a cover version of “Don’t You Forget About Me.”  The song was originally made popular in the 80’s by the band Simple Minds.  The irony of the band name and this decision by the Idol producers was not lost on me.

Even the most diehard Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina fans will admit that this was the most boring finale ever if they are honest with themselves.  There was not one standout performance, and no excitement.  A season that once had great potential, went out in such boring fashion, that you have to wonder if the audience will shrink next year as better shows like The Voice and X-Factor threaten the American Idol empire.

This finale could have been the best ever if the voting during the season had gone a different way.

Pia Toscano had plenty of detractors, but she would have been a much better finale contestant.  James Durbin would have walked away with this victory if he replaced either of the finale contestants because he would have made the show exciting.  Since I don’t have the luxury of choosing the winner between the two best contestants, I have no choice but to pick who the winner of Country American Idol will be.

And the next American Idol is…

Scotty McCreery.

It defies all logic that a one-trick pony who has never delivered an over-the-top singing performance will win a singing competition.  But the voters love him, and that is what matters most on American Idol.  He and Alaina will probably both go on to have careers in country music.  Alaina is the more deserving of the two, but that hasn’t mattered all season, so there is no reason for it to matter when crowing this season’s champion.

Perhaps the most telling moment of the finale was having someone other than the two finalists close the show with a song called “Don’t You Forget About Me.”  Personally, I cannot make that promise to David Cook, Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina or American Idol for that matter.  This show may not have run its course for many, but for me, there is no reason to return.

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American Idol: Top 3 Reviews and Predictions

In Music, Television on May 19, 2011 at 6:55 am

Season 10 of American Idol is finally coming to an end, and thanks to the surprise elimination of James Durbin last week, it is doing so with a whimper rather than with a bang.  Without Durbin’s theatrics, this may very well end up being the most boring finale in the show’s history.  If this week’s show is any indication of what’s to come in the finale, this once-promising season hit its peak much too soon.

This week, the remaining contestants were given the opportunity to perform three songs each.  The first song was the contestant’s choice, the second was Jimmy Iovine’s choice and the final song was the judges’ choice.  The order in which these songs were performed will probably be more important in determining the finalists than the quality of each performance because the last song is what will be on the voters’ minds as they start dialing.

Regardless of which contestants advance to the finale, the end of this season couldn’t come soon enough.  There is very little excitement or intrigue with the remaining contestants, and even the judges’ families must be getting tired of listening to the same recycled comments after each performance.  Is there anyone on the planet (aside from the irritating Ryan Seacrest) who can stand to hear Randy Jackson proclaim which contestants are “in it to win it?”

As usual, this week’s show had its moments, but overall, it was one of the more boring late-season performances in the show’s history.

Here is this week’s breakdown (in reverse order):

 

[3]          Scotty McCreery  – Consistency is never an issue for McCreery.  He is always solid, but never spectacular.  Even though the judges tried to give him songs to force him to show his range, McCreery only goes so far before reverting back to his comfort zone.

For his song choice, McCreery chose Lonestar’s “Amazed.”  This seems like an appropriate song given the fact that the voting nation seems to be amazed by McCreery.  However, it was not amazing.  It was typical of his weekly performances.  And though he has gained confidence in his stage presence since the beginning of the season, somehow the “leaning tower of Scotty” returned in full force for this song.

Jimmy Iovine chose “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?” by Thompson Square.  It was about the same as all of his other performances, only this time he was leaning awkwardly with a guitar instead of doing it over the piano.

The judges chose “She Believes in Me” by Kenny Rogers.  It was an obvious attempt to get McCreery to shoot for a big note.  He did, but overall the song was too mature for him, and his performance lacked the character of the original, but it won’t matter.

McCreery is adored by the voters and the judges and should easily cruise into the finale.  Of course, that seemed to be the case with James Durbin last week, so there’s always a chance that there is another surprise this week.

[2]          Haley Reinhart – At the beginning of the season, no one could have predicted that Reinhart would have made it this far.  She is defying the odds on a weekly basis by surviving while more highly-regarded contestants go home.  Those with an open mind will realize that she has earned it, but those who focus on her early-season performances, will surely be shocked if she survives yet another week.

While her competition was choosing safe songs, Reinhart took a huge risk by tackling Led Zeppelin’s “What Is and What Should Never Be.”  But the risk paid off.  It was the best overall performance of the night, in spite of the slight interruption caused by an embarrassing trip on the steps.  To her credit, Reinhart didn’t miss a beat.  She regained her composure and continued to deliver one of the best performances of the season.  Unfortunately for Reinhart, she peaked early in the evening.

Jimmy Iovine chose “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac for Reinhart.  It started off brilliantly as Reinhart captured the essence of Stevie Nicks while adding her own signature sound to the song.  As the song progressed, her singing transitioned from special to light, airy and kind of moody.  It was still one of the better songs of the night, but it wasn’t as impressive as her first song.

The judges inexplicably chose “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette for Reinhart’s final performance.  She did a decent job with the choruses, but the verses were very weak.  It seemed as though she didn’t have enough breath to squeeze in the multitude of lyrics in the song.  She would have been better off if this was her first song of the night rather than her last.  If the judges really wanted to showcase her talent, they would have been better off choosing “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles.

               

[1]          Lauren Alaina – Can Alaina become the next Carrie Underwood?  She certainly has the talent to do so if she is provided with the right songs and packaged the right way.  As one of the early favorites in the competition, it is not at all shocking that she has made it this far, and would not be a surprise to see her in the finale.

Unlike Reinhart, Alaina got better as the night went on.  The song that she chose for herself is one that she claims to have been singing since she was a kid, but it wasn’t evident from her performance.  Her rendition of “Wild One” by Faith Hill was decent, but nothing special.  It sounded more like Dolly Parton than Faith Hill, and it wasn’t very impressive.  Even though the judges liked watching her have fun, this performance didn’t measure up to most of her performances in recent weeks.

Jimmy Iovine chose “If I Die Young” by Perry, largely for the lyrics.  It was a good fit for Alaina’s voice, but she did get caught up in the emotion of the song for a brief moment.  Like Reinhart, she quickly regained her composure without missing a beat.  While her singing was very good on this song, she was very statue-like on stage.  This was Pia Toscano’s downfall, but Alaina’s likability will most likely inspire the voters to pick up the phone for her.

The judges’ choice for Alaina was perfect.  Her performance of Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” was a great way to end the show for Alaina.  Aside from Reinhart’s inspired performance of “What Is and What Should Never Be,” this song was the best of the night.

Overall, Alaina has delivered performances worthy of landing her in the finale for most of the season.  The order of the songs definitely helped her this week, as she got to save her best song for last.

WHO GOES HOME?

Haley Reinhart delivered arguably the best and worst performances of the evening.  Unfortunately for Reinhart, her best performance was very early in the show, and her worst came at the very end.  This season has been nothing if not unpredictable, so there is always a chance that she upsets one of the remaining favorites and squeaks into the finale, but it doesn’t seem likely.

Country music is alive and well in America, and it seems that this year’s finale is destined to be a battle of the young country music performers.

It hardly matters which two contestants make it to the finale.  Without James Durbin’s electrifying performances, this finale is destined to fail to live up to expectations.

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