Tag Archives: Carrie Underwood

Musical Wednesday: DeWyze & Bowersox, King & Taylor Duets, and a Ballin 6th Grader

This should be a recap of American Idol last night. But I’m not really going to do a recap until it comes down to the final two: Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox. I put this prediction out there weeks/months ago. However, I didn’t know they were going to do duets this week on Idol.

Call it chance or call it timing. I was listening to the radio this weekend while gardening/planting for Moms and they were playing the entire concert of James Taylor and Carole King at the Troubadour (one of my favorite venues in LA, which ironically I went to less when I wasn’t living there than when I was). To you young bucks out there or the musically deficient readers of mine, you have to peep out both of these artists. Not musicians or songwriters, but artists. Individually they are masterful but together they exemplify, duet.  “Up On the Roof” was originally written by Carole King, popularized by The Drifters, but dominated by the duet of King and Taylor. The song reminds me of all the good times on my old rooftop in downtown Los Angeles.

Not at all to compare Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox to James Taylor and Carole King, but figured the last song was a good lead in to this video. I’m a sucker for musicals or movies based around music. Peep the “Who is the Penning Panda?” page and you’ll find a few of such movies. One of the movies based upon musicians is the movie Once. That movie gets me EVERY time for a number of reasons, some personal, but mostly for the story and the music. Keeping that in mind, you’ll understand the next part of this blog.

One of my dearest friends, Mags, lives in the Central Time Zone and she sent me a text before Idol aired West Coast time that read: “Oh God you’re going to have an orgasm when you watch a certain song on Idol tonight!”

This of course had me wondering as she knows me as well as anyone out there… I was out and about and didn’t get to see it “live,” but when I did finally get a chance to watch it on DVR I’d have to say… she was right. Not only were DeWyze and Bowersox paired up, but they sang one of my favorite duets of all time from the movie Once, “Falling Slowly.”

Let’s be honest there are really only two “stars” to come out of American Idol: Kelly Clarkson (probably because she was the first winner) and Carrie Underwood (mmmm, Carrie Underwood). Again not saying DeWyze or Bowersox will be as successful as either of those two, but I’m really vibing off both of them. If they can keep their heads on straight and find a good support team, they can do good things. And hopefully they pull off another duet in the future… best performance all season, hands down.

Speaking of people with musical skill. This was posted by a friend of mine and I can’t help but snag it and repost it. If you haven’t heard of Greyson Michael Chance yet, I have a feeling you will. At least virally online. This kid is amazing and to think he’s only 12. I’m thinking it’s only a matter of time before someone “discovers” him and signs this kid.

This is the video that my friend Jillian posted of Greyson covering Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” at his school’s Edmond’s Sixth Grade Festival. Definitely check out his YouTube Channel that also features two of his original songs. A brilliant songwriter and musician, this kid if he can keep his nose clean (all puns intended) could be on the fast-track to stardom. I often have my qualms about the Internet, but it’s amazing how fast something like Greyson’s talent can spread. I mean if Greyson was on American Idol, he’d be getting all the teenie bopper texts (look at the girl’s reactions in the background). This kid is probably all-time dude when it comes to “7 in Heaven” at his middle school parties. Or in the words of my boy Sam, “They want to jump his bones.”

Hey Greyson, do you need an agent?

Advertisements

American Idol: Bowersox won the contest tonight

So again I’ve had a busy week, but I have to make time for an American Idol post. For all intensive purposes, unless someone comes up with an amazing performance this could really be my last American Idol post. The contest is over. Also I won’t be writing one next week, as I’ll be chillin on a hammock in Puerto Vallarta.

The theme for tonight’s episode was “inspirational songs.”

Inspirational to my heart was Siobhan Magnus; again she looked amazing tonight. Despite Simon’s confusion of the “leaves” (actually butterflies) on her dress, she looked stunning (do I have an infatuation? Most likely). Unfortunately, her performance was not inspirational. I mean taking on “When You Believe” by Whitney Houston/Mariah Carey is tough for anyone. She may be in the bottom three tomorrow. I feel like she’s working more on her justification speech after her performances rather than her actual singing. Still love you and still think you’re right on for standing up for what you want to do.

The rest, for the lack of better description… BORING. I’m not even going to talk about them. The competition has come down to two contestants: Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze. Lee is just ready to cut an album, I’m sure after doing his obligatory songs picked by producers he’ll be on point.

Though the competition in my eyes is down to two people (has been for a month now), there is one contestant who is BY FAR head (dreads and all) and shoulders above the rest of the competition.

I believe my years of American Idol fandom warrants this paragraph. The past few years of Idol has been sorely lacking on talent. It should be no surprise that Simon Cowell will be leaving the show after this year. There have been a few gems in the rough, but no real stars. Album sales are indicative enough (even though album sales by no means qualify talent). That being said, Crystal (apt for this analogy) Bowersox is a diamond.

Now you should know that Carrie Underwood pretty much makes me stop anything I’m doing. Keep that in mind with my next statement. Crystal Bowersox is on a whole other level, on the level of Carrie Underwood (for American Idol purposes). I might, might, even venture to say she is ahead of her. Every week she comes out almost mocking the rest of the contestants with her talent (though Lee can definitely hang, but just hasn’t climbed to the top of the Idol rock).

I’m going to post both Lee and Crystal’s performances. But I could really just post Crystal’s. I’m posting Lee’s because his song choice of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” was money. It’s one of my favorite songs. Lee gave his standard professional performance. But as far as it being “Inspiration Week,” it was about five steps behind Crystal’s performance of Curtis Mayfield’s CLASSIC “People Get Ready.”

I literally got goose bumps from Crystal’s performance. I didn’t even get goose bumps from Carrie Underwood’s performance of Heart’s “Alone” (it just made my heart melt). My boy Jack says she’s a “huge star,” and I agree. In a simple equation she’s Joss Stone + Janis Joplin + honest soul + an instrumentalist = huge star. I’ve been tentative to crown her Season 7’s winner, but after tonight the level she’s on, really it’s Crystal Bowersox and the rest of American Idol. The way she keeps it honest and real (helps that she’s a mom) will go a long way in this industry. Watch those tears at the end of the song as she hit the lyrics “you don’t need a ticket, you just need to thank the lord.” A genuine star that the industry needs.

Amendment to original post. Okay I can see one way that Lee DeWyze may sneak in the victory. But these song choices have to be timed perfectly to steal it. From the wonders of YouTube I found these two performances of the Kings of Leon “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody.” Lee, my dude when you read this (because I know you do)… well this may be the only way you’ll win American Idol (just don’t do that dance before Sex on Fire, it would defeat the title of the song). Do work son… but the crown is already on MommaSox.

Wondrous Wednesday

I kinda pinned myself into a corner and now must stick with the blog theme of the week… Days of the week. I have a sneaky suspicion this will turn into a music blog, seeing how it was American Idol night last night.

So I might as well drop my first music video of this post. Simon & Garfunkel’s “Wednesday Morning 3 A.M.” If you’re looking for a Wednesday song, this is the one you should listen to. Though it was recorded in 1964, it still is a very relevant song.

Wednesday. Known as “Hump Day.”

Wednesday. The name of my endearing friend Alexis’ cat, affectionately nicknamed Dubs. RIP Wednesday, you’re the only cat that I can say that I miss our cuddle times.

Wednesday. My good friend (and best neighbor/cook) Alyssa had an on point thought about Wednesday last night (on a Tuesday), “Wednesday, half the week is over. It’s all downhill from there.” I cheers to that.

I’ve been fortunate lately to fall into great conversations with great people. I’m not ready to blog about such ideas, yet. But like one of those made for TV dramas, there was my obvious foreshadowing.

Instead, this is now my apparent weekly blog about American Idol.

John, Paul, Ringo, George - Musical Legends

Big week in the eyes of the Penning Panda. First it’s getting down to the nitty gritty of the top 9, it’s time for the cream to rise. Another reason why this was a big week, is because the contestants were to take on THE GREATEST BAND OF ALL TIME, The Beatles. Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I think The Beatles are THE GREATEST BAND OF ALL TIME. The contestants were asked to give their renditions of John Lennon and Paul McCartney written songs. John and Paul, saints? Well in name yes, but pretty much some of the best lyricists. Look, how many decades has it been and their songs are still relevant? As my dawg Randy Jackson would say, “Know what I’m sayin’ dude?”

Oh and the following paragraph there is a smattering of links to videos, I HIGHLY encourage you to click on em… there are some songs in here that you may not know about, but SHOULD. Picking a Lennon or McCartney song, the possibilities are endless. I have my favorites, sure. “Something” is the greatest love song of all time. “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” is just a solid jimmy jam. “In My Life” might be their best song (actually that’s a hard statement to make, but it is one of my favorites). The acoustic version of  “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a masterpiece by George Harrison. The trio of “Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight/In the End” could exemplify my life on almost any day. Basically the fanatic I am, I could think of a Beatles song for ANY occasion. Pop music owes The Beatles. And the at times simplistic lyrics carry so much weight. Most people don’t know about their non-number 1s. But I can excuse it, there’s a reason they are number 1s. You don’t think The Beatles are current? Well if Rock Band isn’t current, then you could make that argument.

Now if it was me on American Idol, these would probably be the two Lennon/McCartney songs I’d choose from: “Oh! Darling” and “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” in Eddie Vedder fasion.

Now to the actual American Idol show. As I said I was already on the critical tip being Beatles week. Slightly nervous that they would ruin the songs, I was pleasantly impressed. For what it’s worth I believe that almost all of the contestants had their best weeks. I also had to raise my glass of beer (because I had one or four in my hand while watching) to the show in it’s entirety. I have to say it was one of the best all season.

Yes, yes, and yes I still love Siobhan Magnus. So basically these blogs are Siobhan infatuation posts, sorry. She chose to sing a song that SO MANY have butchered in the past. “Across the Universe” is one of those Beatles classics that you can’t do too much with it or else you’ll miss it’s essence. Siobhan’s high note has almost became her trademark, but this week she strategically placed it. I’d agree with Randy that it may be a bit sleepy, but technically I though it was an awesome rendition. I mentioned the high notes, but her falsetto was on point. One of her best performances this season? Probably not, but she kept it real… and for her to succeed in this industry that’s what she needs to continue to do. Oh and I love “amazingly weird.” Love it.

To the rest of the highlights. I’m not going to post Tim Urban’s “All My Loving”, but hey he sang within his range and kept it Beatles poppy. His ass still needs to go home, or go try out for Glee. He’ll probably stay, damn you teenie bopper texters.

Andrew Garcia gave a pretty good performance of “Can’t Buy Me Love“, a little cheezy, and that’s what you can fall into when you sing a Beatles song. I had high hopes for my dude, due to my YouTube following of him pre-Idol. All I’m gonna say is, stick to the acoustic my man.

Aaron Kelly’s “The Long and Winding Road” unfortunately followed the title of the song. This young buck can sing, no doubt. But it’s starting to become repetitive. He needs to come out swinging, loosen up, and connect with the songs. As it was a good rendition, it didn’t leap off at me. You need to find your “moment” son.

Michael Lynche is my dude. I thought his song choice of “Eleanor Rigby” was a good one. I’d agree with Simon that it had a bit of a musical flavor to it. But I mean with the strings and the meaning behind the song, that’s the essence, and Big Mike hit it. Here’s my thing, Big Mike will probably be in the top 3 when it’s all said and done along with Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze. The difference between Big Mike and the other two, is that I really don’t know what kind of album he’d put out. He’s an entertaining dude and can sing well. But I have trouble seeing him sell many records. I could be wrong though, I gotta admit he’s been a pleasant surprise all season. For singing contest purposes he’s been solid every week.

I’ve always thought Casey James would be a good headliner to a rock band. He can definitely, definitely rock his axe. I applaud his song choice of “Jealous Guy“. It is one of those unknown songs that when you do hear it, realize that it could’ve been a hit for anyone other than the Beatles. Like I said Casey could be and probably will be a great frontman, but his acoustic flavor tonight was on point.

All season I’ve been pushing for Katie Stevens to break through. I dig her voice. I think her ceiling at age 17 is pretty damn high. But like Aaron Kelly they’ve been struggling to find the right song. I believe they are trying a wee bit too hard to compete with the more mature contestants who know themselves a bit better, and that only comes with age. My boy Jack said Katie Stevens’ performance of “Let it Be” was life-changing. Normally Jack and I are on the same page with music. First this is definitely a big song, like “Across the Universe” you can’t do too much with it. But what Katie did with it last night, was pretty awesome. THIS was the performance I was hoping for all season. Life changing? Jack there’s only been one life changing performance on Idol, Carrie Underwood’s rendition of Heart’s “Alone.” But if Katie can keep it up, she can be a dark horse. And like I said she has mad potential.

I’ve said this early on, Lee DeWyze could make an album right now. It would sell like chestnuts on a street in NYC during Christmas. The folky/rock tone of his voice is solid. The judges get on his case because he does not have confidence. I just think the dude is a cool customer and wants to perform the best he can. The recent weeks he has been doing just that. When I heard he was singing “Hey Jude” I thought he had the potential to kill it, and he did… but not in the deathly way, in a great way. Keep on keeping on my dude.

Crystal Bowersox. She is my favorite in this competition. I seriously believe she has the best artistic talent that I may have ever seen on American Idol, and I watch A LOT of American Idol. People keep comparing her to Janis Joplin, a good comparison sure. But I think she has it a bit more together than Janis. She’s great on the guitar, knows when to tone it down, and seriously knows how to rock and bring it. Her style, whenever she finally records albums, is definitely an injection of soul/rock/honesty that contemporary music needs these days. That lead in applies to her version of “Come Together“. Crystal is a professional to the P. I love Siobhan, but Bowersox knocks my socks off.

Obligatory American Idol Post…

So I’ll admit it… I watch American Idol. There are only a few things I DVR: Jeopardy (call me a nerd, but it’s timeless and I thrive on trivia and knowlege), 24 (this eighth season is getting ridiculously juicy), The Golf Fix (cause I need it), and American Idol. I also should be a judge on that show, as I swear the judges agree with me (though I actually have more helpful comments). My current top five, in order: Siobhan Magnus, Crystal Bowersox, Michael Lynche, Lee DeWyze, and Aaron Kelly. Since this is an admission blog, I’m also going to admit that I have a thing for Siobhan Magnus. Here’s the thing, a girl that can sing pretty much is like bamboo to this Panda. Other current loves Carrie Underwood and Hayley Williams from Paramore. Siobhan can sing (maybe not technically perfect), but I like her unique style. Siobhan, if you’re reading this, you can sing to me anytime…

Siobhan Magnus

This week was The Rolling Stones week on American Idol. Here’s Siobhan’s rendition of “Paint it Black”… yup.

But when I really started my whole Siobhan kick… Was when she sang Aretha Franklin’s “Think.” I was skeptical when they announced it, but she killed it, on one note alone.

To get to the whole point of this blog… my all-time favorite Stones song… “Beast of Burden”…  Siobhan (or whoever else), this song is for you:

I’ll never be your beast of burden
My back is broad but it’s a hurting
All I want is for you to make love to me
I’ll never be your beast of burden
I’ve walked for miles my feet are hurting
All I want is for you to make love to me