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Friday, October 08, 2010

Wait...WHAT? has MOVED!

Hello hello!
I have decided to move the blog over to Wordpress. I am leaving the archives here, so you will still be able to come back and visit old reviews and such.

Blogger has been a wonderful home for Wait...WHAT?, but I really have wanted to move to Wordpress for awhile.



The URL is now pointed to KirstenCoachman.com, and I hope to see you there!

Shine On,

Kirsten

Thursday, September 23, 2010

American Idol: And The Judges Are...

 Article first posted as American Idol: And The Judges Are... on BlogCritics.

During a press conference earlier this morning, Ryan Seacrest confirmed what we already knew for the past month; Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are joining Randy Jackson on the American Idol judges panel.

Is anyone actually shocked by this news?

I feel like since these have been the two consistent names in the Idol rumor mill for months now that I was very prepared for this news today. However, it doesn't mean that I have to like it.

I still feel like I did a couple months ago about Steven Tyler being involved with Idol. I don't understand why he would want to be a judge on the panel. He's Steven Tyler. Right now, the only thing I want from him is to tell the contestants to stop butchering "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" and "Dream On."

What can you really say about Jennifer Lopez that hasn't already been said? Other than the fact that she will probably be judging much more talented singers than herself. I have a feeling that Lopez is on the panel as an attempt to stay relevant to pop culture. I guess when your latest music is lame and your last movie was a flop, you have to get your name out there somehow, right? You American Idol judges

I am happy that Randy Jackson is still on the panel, because I have a feeling that he is going to be the only judge from the panel to keep it real and tell the contestants how it is. I don't know if the "star power" on the panel will be able to really speak their minds. What celebrity wants to be the bearer of bad news to an up and coming performer? That reason alone is why Idol should have tried to have held onto Kara DioGuardi. She wasn't as offensive as Simon Cowell could be, but she told the contestants what they needed to hear.

It was also announced this morning that Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, will be present this season as an in-house mentor for the Idol contestants, thus doing away with guest mentors.

Idol producer, Nigel Lithgoe said that the contestants will be able to stick to their chosen genre every week by getting rid of theme weeks and focusing more on decades of music. Lithgoe also went as far to say that their hasn't been any Idols since Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. I believe David Cook's fan base would beg to differ.

What do you think about your new Idol judges, America? Do you think they will be able to find the best American Idol winner, yet?



Music Review: Maroon 5 -- Hands All Over (Deluxe Edition)

Article first posted as Music Review: Maroon 5 -- Hands All Over (Deluxe Edition) on BlogCritics.

Maroon 5 is back on the music scene with Hands All Over, the follow-up to 2007's It Won't Be Soon Before Long. The band (Adam Levine, Jesse Carmichael, James Valentine, Mickey Madden and Matt Flynn) worked with acclaimed and legendary producer Robert "Mutt" Lange (AC/DC, Def Leppard) while recording the album in Switzerland.

The music on Hands All Over is very different from Maroon 5's previous albums. The band really experimented with their sound, in which the final result was a fantastic pop album.

The album kicks off with the first single, "Misery." The song definitely works sound-wise as a bridge from It Won't Be Soon Before Long. Like lead singer Adam Levine said recently on the band's IHeartRadio.com channel, the song sounds very much like a Maroon 5 song. However, as soon as the three minutes and thirty-six seconds are over, a new musical side of Maroon 5 is unleashed.

The second track and also the band's second single, "Give A Little More" has a funky, yet fresh sound to it. It's an absolute fantastic choice for a second single. There's a good chance that you will be singing along with the chorus before the song ends.

Hands All Over may throw some longtime fans of Maroon 5 for a loop because of how different the sound is from the band's previous two albums. Tracks like "Stutter" and "I Can't Lie" are prime examples of this. That said, Levine continues to write catchy, relatable love songs.

Other standout tracks include "Never Gonna Leave This Bed" and the sexy title track, "Hands All Over."

"Never Gonna Leave This Bed" is hopefully in contention to be a single. The song talks about trust and forgiveness within a relationship. The melody has this sweet feeling to it that makes the lyrics feel sincere.

"Hands All Over" has a rich rock vibe to it that is sure to get bodies moving during the band's current tour. The beat is just infectious.

The song that is sure to get people talking is "Out of Goodbyes," which is a collaboration with the popular country act Lady Antebellum. It seems to be the trend lately for Top 40 artists to cross over into country music (i.e. John Mayer's "Half of My Heart" with Taylor Swift and Daughtry's "Tennessee Line" with Vince Gill). Maroon 5's venture into country proves that this musical risk was one worth taking. It's a fantastic song.

Included with the deluxe version of the album are five extra tracks, including wonderful acoustic versions of "Never Gonna Leave This Bed" and "Misery."

There is a live track, which is a cover of Alicia Keys' hit, "If I Don't Have You." This song was a perfect choice for the band to cover. Levine's voice is a great match for this soulful tune.

Hands All Over (Deluxe Edition) will be released September 21.

For tour dates and more information on Maroon 5, check out their website.





DVD Review: Private Practice: The Complete Third Season

Article first posted as DVD Review: Private Practice: The Complete Third Season on BlogCritics.

Private Practice was definitely not short on drama during the 23 episodes that comprise the third season. Addison (Kate Walsh) discovers a family secret, Violet (Amy Brennerman) struggles while recovering from having her baby taken, and Naomi (Audra McDonald) and Sam (Taye Diggs) find out that they are going to be grandparents. There was definitely a whole lot going on at Oceanside Wellness including Cooper (Paul Adelstein) coping with Charlotte (KaDee Strickland) joining the practice, Pete (Tim Daly) leaving to work at
 Naomi's practice, and the death of a beloved character that no one saw coming.

The audience was introduced to two new characters this season, Dr. Gabriel Fife (Michael Patrick Thorton) and Dr. Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone). Dr. Fife is a new doctor at Naomi's practice, who is researching new medical advancements, when he is not working the nerves of his fellow doctors in the building. Dr. Shepherd is the younger sister of Grey's Anatomy character Dr. Derek Shepherd who, like her older brother, is also a brain surgeon.

Speaking of Grey's Anatomy, there were two crossovers with the series during the past season. Private Practice was first visited by Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and then later by McSteamy himself, Dr. Mark Sloan (Eric Dane). The crossovers were done well this season, plus it was nice to see the characters from both shows interact with one another. Being able to crossover from Grey's Anatomy to Private Practice just adds another dynamic to the show.

The five-disc set also includes never before seen DVD extras including an entertaining gag reel, Kate Walsh's favorite things about season three, and a slew of deleted scenes.

During the "Kate's Top 8" vignette, the Private Practice star lists her favorite things about season three. As a bonus, you also get to hear from various cast members, along with the show's creator Shonda Rhimes and producer Betsy Beers. It is interesting to hear what the cast thinks about the various story lines that took place throughout the season.

There were a lot of scenes that seem to hit the cutting room floor this season. The was a scene between Dell (Chris Lowell) and Maya (Geffri Maya) that I wish had been included in its intended episode. It was nice to see the banter between the two characters, especially since the audience usually saw Maya either talking to Addison, Sam or Naomi. Giving her character a new outlet to turn to was a good decision. The audience didn't see a lot of Dell as much this past season, so seeing his character in the extras on the DVD set was a treat.

With another deleted scene where Addison and Amelia are outside talking on Addison's deck with the ocean in the background, the special effects (i.e. the ocean) hadn't been added in yet. The audience truly gets a behind-the-scenes experience while watching the actors work against a blue screen.

This DVD set will definitely be appreciated by any Private Practice fan.

Private Practice: The Complete Third Season is available in stores now.

Music Review: Guy Sebastian -- Like It Like That

Article first posted as Music Review: Guy Sebastian -- Like It Like That on BlogCritics.

It was a six-month recording process going back and forth between Los Angeles and New York for Guy Sebastian to ready his album, Like It Like That. The album was produced by David Ryan Harris (John Mayer, Nick Jonas) and Fredrick Rodesjo.

“This is exactly the style of music I want to do and that I’ve wanted to do for so long,” Sebastian said in his press release. “It’s not about changing the world it’s just about fun music, pure and simple.”
As soon as the first single and title track, “Like It Like That” kicks off, I hoped that the fun and upbeat song was setting the tone of the album. Did it ever!

The second track, “All To Myself” has a complete throwback kind of vibe. It is such a fun and enjoyable listen. Also, John Mayer’s guitar work is featured on this track, as well the tracks “Fail To Mention” and “Never Be You.”

Sebastian’s duet with newcomer Tarryn Stokes on “Magic” is fantastic. Their voices combined match up well. The somewhat flirty song is catchy and keeps the album rolling.

I found the track, “Bring Yourself” to be the best of the ballads. It has a doo-wop feel, somewhat reminiscent of Raphael Saadiq’s musical style. Also, the song very much shows off the versatility of Sebastian’s voice.

There is one speed bump on the album. “Art of Love” is a duet with the season six winner of American Idol, Jordin Sparks. Both Sebastian and Sparks have tremendous vocals that blend well together, but this song just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the album.

Overall, this is an album that reminds one why they love music. Sebastian has put out one of the best albums that I have heard in awhile. The music is upbeat, lifts your spirits and gets you moving. The mix of pop and soul music with Sebastian’s voice is like his song says, perfection.



Music Review: Goo Goo Dolls -- Something For The Rest of Us

Article first posted as Music Review: Goo Goo Dolls -- Something For The Rest of Us on BlogCritics.

After a four-year break, the Goo Goo Dolls have returned to the music scene with their latest album, Something For The Rest of Us. The album is the follow up to 2006's Let Love In. The band has been working on the album over the past couple years with producers Tim Palmer (U2), Butch Vig (Green Day) and John Fields (Paul Westerberg).

Something For The Rest of Us is proof why the Goo Goo Dolls remain popular with music fans. They know their audience, and even better, they know how to relate to their audience through their music.

"I wanted some of the material on this album to address the disillusionment of the difficult perirod we live in; I wanted to give a voice to the emotional uncertainty that accompanies hard times," lead singer John Rzeznik said in the band's press release.

"So many people are struggling to keep it together through tough economic conditions and two wars that seem to have no end in sight. The ones that bear the brunt of these burdens are everyday people. That's who I want to speak to."

The album opens with the upbeat track, "Sweetest Lie." The song should definitely be considered as the second single. The song is very relatable to anyone who has been with someone and not had it work out, but then finding themselves wanting to be with that person, even though they're probably not the one for them.

It is apparent on Something For The Rest of Us that the Goo Goo Dolls still know how to rock a love song. From "One Night" and "Still Your Song" to "Hey Ya," each of these songs have well-crafted melodies and sweet lyrics.

The stand out track of the album is the emotionally poignant, "Soldier." The final song rounds out the album with it's lyrics that could make you feel like the song is being sung directly to you.

Goo Goo Dolls' latest album, Something For The Rest of Us is available now. For more information on the Goo Goo Dolls, check out their website.



TV Review: The Big C

Article first posted as TV Review: The Big C on BlogCritics.

 The Big C debuted a couple of weeks ago on Showtime, and is definitely a new show that is worth watching.
Laura Linney plays school teacher Cathy Jamison. Cathy has just found out that she has a terminal stage four melanoma. Upon hearing the news, her attitude about things going on in her life adjusts almost immediately.

She has a lazy and immature husband (Oliver Platt) and a beyond bratty son (Gabriel Basso). Cathy also deals with her willingly homeless brother Sean (John Benjamin Hickey), whose lifestyle takes activism to a whole new level. Cathy also has a neighbor Marlene (Phyllis Somerville), who we meet in the first episode after complaining about Cathy installing a pool in her front yard.

Rounding out the cast are guest stars Reid Scott and Gabourey Sidibe, who play Dr. Todd and Andrea. Dr. Todd is the doctor who informed Cathy about her diagnosis, and is also somewhat holding her hand through her situation. Also, it doesn't hurt that he looks like he stepped off the set of Grey's Anatomy.

Andrea is a student in Cathy's summer school class who is in need of an attitude adjustment. Cathy tells her, "You can't be fat and mean, Andrea. You can either be fat and joyous or a skinny bitch. It's up to you." That is definitely one of the best lines from the show so far, and it also leads to a wager between the two characters. Cathy tells Andrea that she will give her $100 for every pound she loses.

The writing on The Big C is superb. The dialogue between the characters is entertaining.There have been some great quotable one-liners like, "Cancer sucks. Put that on a goddamn inspirational poster!"
I find that with a show with an important topic like cancer, good writing is very important, because it helps keep the show flowing, keeps it interesting, and most importantly, it captures the emotions that Cathy is experiencing.

I like the dynamic between Cathy and her brother Sean. They bicker back and forth a little bit, which is fairly amusing. We get to find out more about Cathy's demeanor when Sean fires back at her when they banter about how she acted when they were younger. My favorite line so far from Sean was from the first episode where he told Cathy, “You’re getting your weird back, Sis.”

I also like the dynamic between Cathy and her neighbor Marlene. They definitely got off on the wrong foot, but there’s a mutual respect that their new friendship is building on. Their interaction throughout the season should be interesting, especially since Marlene and her dog know that she has cancer.

There have been a couple scenarios on the show that I haven't felt were very believable, like in the second episode where Cathy uses a paintball gun to shoot at a bus that was taking her son to soccer camp. Also Sean, who chooses to be homeless, has a girlfriend. I find it hard to believe that as a homeless guy he would be able to charm his way into a girl’s pants, let alone have an actual relationship with one. His girlfriend is quirky, which sort of makes them fit, but so far I don’t buy it.

Another thing, one has to wonder how long a series can last when the main character has a terminal disease and is, as of now, refusing treatment. Cathy has not been told that she a certain amount of time left, but I think it definitely leaves the door open for her to change her mind about treatment, as well as talking to her family about what she is going through.

That said, The Big C definitely shows promise of being a very entertaining series. There’s great casting and the dialogue between the characters is fun and witty. I am definitely excited to see where the series takes Cathy and this group of characters throughout the remaining episodes of the season.

The Big C airs Monday nights on Showtime at 10:30 p.m.




Thursday, September 09, 2010

Music Video: Maroon 5 -- "Give A Little More"

What a surprise to come across this morning! Maroon 5 released the video for their second single off of their anticipated album, Hands All Over.

Check out the video for "Give A Little More."



This video sort of reminds me of Lenny Kravitz's video for "Fly Away." Definitely not a bad thing! I really enjoy understated performance videos, so this has quickly become one of my favorite videos from the band.

"Give A Little More" is giving the fans a taste of the sound Maroon 5 is leaning towards with their new album. It's a pretty hot song, and I hope it does well on radio.

Hands All Over is out September 21. "Give A Little More" is available on iTunes now!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Happy Idol Anniversary, Kelly Clarkson!

Eight years ago today, Kelly Clarkson won the crown during the first season of a little show called, American Idol.

Earlier this year, Billboard announced that she was the number one selling Idol out of all of the past seasons.

Check out the original Idol's winning moment below!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

DVD Review: One Tree Hill: The Complete Seventh Season

Article first posted as DVD Review: One Tree Hill: The Complete Seventh Season on BlogCritics.

 There has never been a dull moment on the addicting TV series One Tree Hill since the show’s debut in 2003. Season seven kept the drama rolling all the way through each of the 22 episodes.

This season brought a handful of new characters to Tree Hill. We get to meet Clay Evans (Robert Buckley), who is Nathan Scott’s (James Lafferty) agent. He has his own bag of issues that come to the forefront when he gets involved with Quinn James (Shantel VanSanten), who is Haley James Scott’s (Bethany Joy Galeotti) older sister that has come to town after leaving her husband.

A popular actress, Alex Dupre (Jana Kramer), comes to town after Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush) hires her to be the new face of Clothes Over Bros. We also meet Miranda Stone (India de Beaufort), who comes to shut down Red Bedroom Records and winds up discovering a major talent in Tric's somewhat drink-psychic bartender, Grubbs (Michael Grubbs).

This season catches up with the residents of Tree Hill 14 months after Lucas and Peyton have left. Nathan finds himself in the middle of an affair/paternity scandal, Haley and Quinn receive heartbreaking news from their mother, and two familiar faces are now married. The latest season is filled with the ups and downs that challenge the characters of One Tree Hill and leave the viewers wanting more.

One Tree Hill: The Complete Seventh Season, which was released earlier this month, is packed full of extras including unaired scenes, behind the scenes vignettes, and a season seven gag reel that is not to be missed.

The commentary from episodes “I and Love and You” and “Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said the Last Time I Saw You…” is not to be missed. You get to listen in as Mark Schwan, producer Joe Davola, and James Lafferty, Robert Buckley, and Stephen Colletti (who plays Chase Adams) talk about what happens behind the scenes, as well as shots that were cut. It’s interesting to listen to why some shots made the episode, what shots didn’t, as well as getting to hear what the actors think about their co-stars.

The vignettes are fun to watch for any fan of One Tree Hill. "Return to Camp One Tree Hill" introduces the new faces on the show, as well as catch up with the cast as they shoot the first episode of the season. There are also interviews with the cast intertwined with the behind-the-scenes footage.

In "Spring Break with One Tree Hill" the audience gets to meet two fans who got to visit the set of One Tree Hill while the cast shot the season finale. During their multi-day set visit, the winners got to meet various cast members, work as production assistants, and much more.

Viewers get to follow Sophia Bush as she stepped into the role of director in "OTH – The Director’s Debut." The camera follows Bush around as she preps and shoots her first episode of One Tree Hill. You also hear from her co-stars about what they thought about taking direction from one of their fellow actors.

Fans of the show will definitely love this latest box set of One Tree Hill. For new fans, with the extras they are able to meet the cast and the new characters and feel like they've been watching the show since season one.

One Tree Hill: The Complete Seventh Season
is available now. For more information on the show, check out One Tree Hill's official site.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Interview: Casey James from American Idol

Article first posted as Interview: Casey James from American Idol on BlogCritics.

I recently had an opportunity to sit down with newly signed Sony Nashville artist, Casey James as he finished up his time on the road with the American Idol Live tour.

Backstage at the Sacramento, CA tour stop, we talked about what kind of sound to expect on his upcoming album, if he was shocked about Ellen leaving, and what advice he has for future contestants.

You just got signed.

Yeah.

How does that feel?

It feels amazing. It feels like a dream, you know? I’ve worked really hard for a lot of years to get to this point. I’m just thankful and I feel really blessed. I feel like everything is kind of clicking right now. It’s hard to believe.

Very cool. You’re signed with Sony Nashville, so are you going to be leaning towards more of a country feel or stay along the lines of more of a rock feel?

I think it kind of came across on the show is that I’m a country, rock, and blues guy, and that’s what the album is going to be. It’ll have a lot of guitar in it. It’s hard to describe it, cause I’m not really right down the middle.

Do you have any ideas about who you’d like to collaborate with as far as writing goes?

That’s all being talked about right now. Sorry! Casey James performing in Sacramento, CA.

It’s all good. How’s the tour going? I was actually at the Mountain View show.

Ahhh, that’s one of my faves!

You kicked off that second half of the show, it was so much fun.

Thank you so much, that was like one of my favorites. The crowd there was just amazing. And what I really loved about that show, was that all the crowd was right there on the stage, everything was so intimate. It was a great show.

The tour’s going great. I know personally for me, it’s a honor to get to play for everybody who put us here, put me here specifically especially, and to get to meet the people. And to play these huge venues is unbelievable. If you had told me a year ago that I was going to be playing a place like this even for just four songs, I would have laughed at ‘cha. It’s awesome.

Do you have any fun stories from the bus?

[laughs]

That you can share, anyway?

Yeah, good point. Nothing really, no. I mean, we have a good time I’ll put it that way. We have a great time. Everybody’s getting along really well. The buses are so nice that if you want to get some private space you can get in your bunk. It’s good. Everybody’s respectful, so it’s nice.

The tour ends very soon, what are you going to look back on and remember the most?

I tend to not look back to be honest with you, but I think I will always keep with me the memories of this as a whole and as being together with the people that went through the situation with me. The whole experience, it’s obviously never going to leave me, it’s given me the ability to go out and do what I love to do. It’s pretty huge.

I have a couple questions about the judges. Were you shocked about Ellen’s decision to leave?

I’m never shocked by anything in the world. It’s always interesting when somebody chooses to do something different. I think she did a great job on the show. I’m a fan of hers, personally. I’ll always watch the show, and it will be interesting to see who fills her spot.

As far as the next crop of contestants goes, do you think the next judge should be someone who has been successful in the business as a singer or leader singer of a band or an industry insider, who knows a lot about what goes on behind the scenes?

It’s hard to tell. I think really it’s about getting someone who has a good personality and knows what they’re talking about and that the general public can believe when they say it’s good or bad. That’s really kind of the point of the show, having people up there pouring their hearts out and having somebody critiquing it.

What advice would you give to future contestants?

Be yourself. Period. Because nobody’s like you, you’re born an individual. Everybody is special and you don’t need to try to be special, you know? Everybody has their strengths, and beauty and talent. If you believe in that, then people are going to believe with you.

I have some fan questions. What’s the most random item you’ve been asked to sign on tour?

I signed a girl’s stomach once. It was weird. But like stomach, not her shirt, but her actual stomach. I thought that was interesting.

Favorite kitchen appliance?

Toaster.

What shampoo and conditioner do you use?

I’m gonna keep that a secret. Right now I’m on six days of neither.

Oh, well alright.

[laughs]

What is your most asked question on Twitter?

You know, people don’t really pelt me with a bunch of the same questions.

Do you think that’s a good tool for you guys while you’re on tour to talk to fans?

I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s a great tool for anyone. I like connecting with my audience, my crowd, the people that follow me, my fans, if you will. I think that it’s important that they understand who I am and where I’m coming from. I think they’ll get my music better and appreciate me more as an artist. To keep plugged in with them, I feel is an important piece of the puzzle as far as that goes.

I think it’s a great way, it’s not as good as maybe being able to sit there and talk on the phone with someone, but I can’t do that for 16,000 people. It’s nice to have to have that outlet to essentially voice my thoughts, emotions and feelings, and have people hear it and respond. And I get to respond with them. And they come up with a lot of things. People see things in you that you can’t see in yourself sometimes, it’s interesting. And it’s always good to keep in touch that way, because people can keep you in the loop about you sometimes. I know it sounds funny. I think it’s awesome.

Have a great show tonight, I’ll be here watching.

Awesome, thank you so much, enjoy again!

Thanks!




Sunday, August 22, 2010

Interview: Didi Benami from American Idol

Article first published as Interview: Didi Benami from American Idol on BlogCritics.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Didi Benami from the ninth season of American Idol back stage at the Arco Arena in Sacramento, CA.

She and I talked about the comparisons to Idol season seven's Brooke White, her thoughts on why a positive voice is needed on the judges panel and what's next for her after the American Idol Live tour.

How’s the tour been?

It’s been really amazing, this is a dream come true, and I don’t want it to end, but you know it could be a really good thing. We’re all going to go our own ways and do our own thing. It’s exciting, but it’s kind of sad.

What are you going to take from this and remember the most about the Didi Benami performing in Sacramento, CA.tour?

Wow, what am I not going to take from this? I’ve gained so much experience just through the show and through touring and confidence and strength and courage. Everything.

How to stay sane on the road. I’ve learned how to do hair and make-up. I’ve learned so much, it’s hard to even sum it up into one thing, I feel like I’ve totally, well not totally, but I’ve transformed a lot as a human being, as we do everyday in life, but through this whirlwind, it’s been even faster. I’ve just developed so much more over the past seven months or however long it’s been since this all started.

You were compared a little to Brooke White while you were on the show.

A little?

Okay, a lot, but how did that make you feel? Did it help you feel more confident, because Brooke had a pretty good fan following while she was on the show.

It did, I met Brooke at the finale and I think that she’s a total sweetheart and I love her to pieces. She’s adorable and I would love to work with her in the future. It’s hard being an artist though, and being compared to somebody else in general. I get compared a lot to Taylor Swift, too. It’s like I’m my own person, and I love both of those people and I respect them very much as artists, don’t get me wrong, but I’m Didi Benami. I’m not Brooke White, I’m not Taylor Swift.

I was going to do “Let It Be,” but I couldn’t do “Let It Be,” because Brooke did it. And I couldn’t do “Jolene,” because Brooke did it. And I knew that I was going to get compared. I was trying to prove to people that I was my own person, I wasn’t Brooke White and I wasn’t Taylor Swift and I’m not an exact replica of anybody else. I’m Didi Benami, I’m myself. And I think when the judges were like, “Oh, we got confused.” I was like, well I’m trying to do things that people haven’t done before, so I’m trying to show you that I can do all this things and I have all these aspects to myself, and I am my own person.

Speaking of working with other people, Blake Lewis from season six mentioned that he would like to collaborate with you in the future, what do you think about that? And other than Brooke, which other artist staying within the Idol family would you like to work with?

Well, I would love to work with Brooke and with Blake. Blake’s great, he’s a really, really nice guy, too. I’d like to work with Elliott Yamin as well, cause I know he’s really good. Honestly, I did not watch that much of the prior seasons. Those are the people to me that stick out in my mind. I did meet Kris Allen, and he’s really nice, but I don’t feel like that we have the same styles at all.

In the Idol bubble, those are the people that I would pick, because that’s all I can think of right now. It would really be cool to work with Carrie [Underwood], although I don’t do country, I don’t mind doing some harmonies with her or writing with her or something. She’s a really beautiful human being, inside and outside.

The night before you got eliminated, Ryan kind of badgered you a little bit onstage. I was really happy that you stood your ground and didn’t give him the sound bite he was looking for, because it kind of bothers me that he baits contestants a little bit. What advice do you have for future contestants for when they’re asked the tough questions that they don’t want to answer onstage?

Honestly, I think you should do whatever feels right to you in that specific situation, and because I can’t say what’s going to happen in the future and what’s going to be asked. I think now that I look back at it, Ryan was actually trying to help. I had told him prior that I didn’t want to talk about it, and maybe if I did it would have helped.

That song [“What Becomes of the Broken Hearted”] means a whole lot to me and I didn’t really talk about why, because I didn’t want to get emotional onscreen again, because everyone already thought that I was this emotional, crazy person. That song to me was really to the fans, it was kind of to the people who are auditioning next year, it was what becomes of the broken hearted. Well, you make it onto a TV show and you make tour, and you do really good things for yourself when you work really hard, you know? And that was kind of the point of that. It was yes, I’ve been hurt . Yes, I’ve been broken hearted and kicked around and whatever. But, in the end you gotta pick yourself back up and show everyone who you really are.

And that song touched me to the point of tears. I was like, I have to pick this song, because it means so much to me and I think that it could help other people. I didn’t say it that onstage, you know. Maybe, it would have been better if I did, there’s nothing I can do about it now. Whoever it is, just stand your ground and be true to yourself. Do whatever you feel comfortable with.

What are your thoughts on Ellen deciding to leave the show?

I kind of got a little bit of a vibe that it was tough for her to judge us. It is a tough job, and she’s such a nice person, that she was never really mean to any of us. It was nice for us, because it’s a little breather from the negativity. But, I really enjoyed having her as a judge, and I think that is kind of sad for the next season, because she really was good. I enjoyed having her there, she just emits really kind energy.

Do you think that’s important for you guys, because you have Randy who kind of hits the point, then you have Kara who will shoot different comments for different reasons and then you have Simon who just says whatever comes to mind. Do you think it’s important to have that person that’s very much down the middle, and lets you know that you did good, that you got up there and did your job?

I think that that’s really important. And I think too, that it sends a good message to the watchers, the people who are actually watching the show, which are a lot of younger girls who are impressionable. They think it’s funny to be mean and it’s not. It’s hurtful. They grow up thinking that it’s funny and it’s not. I think that there’s a need for an evolution and the way people treat people, especially like in high school and the younger generations. They need good role models. They need people that can stand up for themselves, but I don’t think all the harsh judging is necessary.

I think it’s good to show people that you can in a positive way influence people. I just think that would be a great thing for the show if they have more of a positive outlook, because all of us, all the contestants are pretty positive thinkers. It’s kind of sending a message that it’s funny to be negative and it’s not. A lot of people are hurt by it. That would be my take on the situation. Some of the things that Kara said would be harsh, but she was very honest. Don’t get me wrong, I think honesty is very important. I appreciate honesty more than anything. If it sucked, it sucked, but there are ways you can say it to not really hurt people’s feelings.

What is next for you following tour?

Following tour, I would love to get into some acting. I do want to finish the album I started working on before tour, and I would also like to do a dedication album for my friend Rebecca, who is why I am here in the first place.

Very cool. Thank you, Didi. Have a great show tonight!

Thank you so much.





Interview: Tim Urban from American Idol

First published as Interview: Tim Urban from American Idol on BlogCritics.

I had the opportunity to sit down with several of this past season's American Idol contestants during their recent tour stop in Sacramento, CA.

Tim Urban and I discuss the tour, life after Idol, and what he thinks about Ellen's decision to leave the judges panel after one season.

How’s the tour been?

It’s been pretty great. I feel like we’re all kind of used to it at this point, cause we’re close to being done, we have only 10 more shows, so at this point we’re all kind of in the groove. It’s really a pretty incredible tour.

I was actually at the Mountain View show. It was a great show, I really Tim Urban performing in Sacramento, CA.enjoyed it.

I appreciate that. That was a really good show. The crowd was nuts that night.

You were originally eliminated during Hollywood week, you were brought back to the show and now you’re on tour. How does that feel?

You know, it’s added on top of everything else as a reminder of how blessed I have been and how blessed I am to be sitting here talking with you. Thinking back on my American Idol journey, just the whole process, I’ve realized that it really is just one huge blessing. I had no idea what was happening the whole time, but it all worked out.

So, what are you going to remember the most from tour, since you did say that you have 10 shows left, what are you going to take from it?

I think for me, I’m going to remember meeting the different fans and just kind of that whole thing. You know, I’ll always remember what it feels like to walk out on that stage. It’s a very unique experience. It’s hard to explain, and I don’t think I’ll duplicate it. Walking out on that stage is something I’ll always remember.

After tour, what’s next?

What’s next? Well, I’m working on an album. I’m actually working on that right now. I’m working on getting all of the songs picked out for it, and I’ve got some guys back home who I’m working with back in Texas. So, I’m going to get that out, and actually I’m going back to LA and try to do some acting.

So, now that the judges panel is all mixed up, what did you think about Ellen’s decision to leave?

If that’s what she wants to do, then that’s awesome. For me, I’m not too worried about what’s good for the show or not, because the panel changes so much, who knows what it’s going to be next year. For me, if that’s what she feels like she wanted to do, then that’s what she needs to do then, and I think it’s awesome.

One more about the judges. There have been so many rumors about who is going to be added, do you think it’s better for the contestants if they have someone’s who’s been successful or if they have an industry insider that’s critiquing them after performances?

Industry insider, I think. For me personally, just because if you have a performer that’s been successful, they’ve been successful at one unique thing. They know exactly what they did to be successful. But, if you look at the music industry over the years, and you look at who’s been successful and who hasn't, it’s been for a hundred different reasons. There’s not just one cookie cutter reason. And you can’t say, “Well it worked for me, so it will work for you.” But an industry executive that has seen everything as a whole will understand the big picture, and realize the key things that will set you apart from other people.

Do you have any advice for future contestants?

Really just have fun with it. There is no magic bullet for American Idol, there’s no “If you sing this song, you’ll make it through.” You never know what they’re looking for, it really is just go up there, have as much fun as you can, be yourself, so regardless of what happens, you can be satisfied with what you put forward.

I just read something the other day that they [Idol] were going to focus more on the talent, and it made me think, “Isn’t that what the show’s supposed to be about?” Do you think in the last couple years has it been about casting or has it been about who can sing well?

You know, I feel like because there was some shake-up in the judges last year and this year, it kind of was about the judges a little bit more maybe potentially in years past. And I think it’s very smart for them to re-focus just on the contestants. I mean, that’s what the show is about, and they know that with Simon Cowell leaving, it changes everything as far as the judges go. They really do need to just focus on the contestants, to them singing and them performing. And people will watch it, that’s what people love to see.

I have some fan questions. What has been the most random item you’ve been asked to sign this summer?

I signed somebody’s forehead. I’ve signed a lot of shoes, a couple pairs of pants, a baby.

A baby?

A baby. Nothing too crazy, though. Like that’s probably the extent of it.

Kind of random, but what’s your favorite kitchen appliance?

That's a tough one, because I like to cook. But, I also love smoothies. Just as a general rule, I love them. So, probably the blender, cause I could make some killer smoothies.

You like to Twitter.

Yeah.

Which question are you asked the most on Twitter?

“Will you please follow me?” I get asked that constantly.

Do you think using Twitter is a good way to communicate with fans on tour?

I think it is. I think it’s a great way, for me personally. You know, you get on there, you just send out some messages to people who are on Twitter, they can message you. It’s kind of a quick way, it’s better than Facebook or something like that. It’s more convenient, you can just click reply and type something and all of a sudden you send a personal message to somebody. So for me, it’s really cool and I get on there all the time and I do little Twitter parties and try to respond to as many people as I can.

Thanks so much, Tim.

Thank you.


Interview: Aaron Kelly from American Idol

First published as Interview: Aaron Kelly from American Idol on BlogCritics.

After spending the past season writing about the American Idol contestants, I had a chance to sit down with several of them at their tour stop in Sacramento, CA.

Aaron Kelly and I discussed his stage presence, how he chose his tour set list and what's next for him after the tour ends.

How’s the tour going?

The tour is going fantastic for me. I’m having a lot of fun right now and getting to tour different cities and going all over the U.S. right now, so I’m having having a great time with it.

I was actually at the Mountain View show.

Were you?

I was.

Did you have a good time?

Yes, I did. You were the first of the night to get the audience up without having to really say anything, how does that make you feel? They were immediately up on their feet when your set kicked off.

That makes me feel good. You know, when I went in to pick my songs, I wanted my set to be very energetic and something that the audience was going to have a good time with. I mean, the problem is you know, us going out there as entertainers, we don’t just want to entertain, we also want to have a good vocal Aaron Kelly performing in Sacramento, CA.performance. And for us, we want to make sure that it’s not boring and make sure that the audience is having a good time. Because they don’t want to come to a show and sit and watch, they want to be up and having a good time.

That’s pretty much why you go to a concert, to have fun, and so when I picked my songs, I picked things that are some of my favorite songs and some that I get going to. That way the audience can tell that I’m having a good time up there and that I’m really feeling what I’m singing.
 
I thought you kicked your stage presence up big time since you’ve been on the show, is it easier to perform now, since you’re not being judged like five seconds later?

Absolutely. And like I said, I picked songs that I am comfortable with, and these are songs I know, and for me, I think it’s important to know what you’re singing about. The judges were saying that every week. And because we had like three days to pick a song, cut it down and learn it. I wasn’t getting to know the songs that well. I mean, of course you know the words, but there’s so much more to learning the song, than just knowing the words.

You have to know the story, you have to know what they’re talking about. And because it was a cut down version, it wasn’t a full story. You’re only getting half of what you’re talking about in the song. You know, with getting to do a full set, you get to pull out the full story, you’re not just going out and singing, you’re going out and telling a story. Somebody sat down and wrote this song, because it had a meaning to them and these words, they actually meant something. So, you’re not just singing, you’re actually telling a story. You’re like an author.

I actually thought you were the best of the night in Mountain View.

Thank you! I really appreciate that.

With tour ending very soon, what are you going to remember the most?

You know, I’m going to remember just the time I got to spend. I’m not going to be with my Idol family probably altogether, so I’m going to remember this time as one of the greatest experiences of my entire life. I would never be doing this if I had not decided to try out at sixteen. Some of the best days of my life are going to be right now, and I’m going to remember them forever. I’m going to get to say to my grandkids, “I was on that show once!” And it’s gonna be cool for me to have that forever and ever.

Hopefully, I have a career after this, so I can keep going with it and always thank American Idol for putting me here right now. I wouldn’t be here if it had not been for them. Also, one of my favorite things about this experience is the fans and how much they react. It’s just a great time every time I go out there.

Do you have any bus stories that you can share?

The thing is that we don’t spend a whole lot of time on the bus. The time that we do, we’re sleeping. Some of the best times, is when you’re trying to sleep and the guys are all back there jamming on guitar. I don’t think they’re conscience of the people sleeping, and obviously we can hear them. Like I said, these are going to be the times that I remember. I’m going to remember them sitting there, singing about virtually nothing, coming up with little jams.

After tour, what is next?

After tour, I’m moving to Nashville. I’m working with Nathan Chapman and Stephanie Chapman, who are Taylor Swift’s producers. I think that’s a good direction in type of album and songs for me. I’ve been doing a lot of songwriting. Taylor Swift started in country music at 17-years-old, and a lot of people have called me “the male Taylor Swift,” so that’s not a bad thing. It’s a good direction for me to go in, because I would love to have the same career she has.

Switching over to the judges, what did you think about Ellen’s departure?

The thing about Ellen’s departure, it was good to have this season with her. You can tell that she didn’t like to hurt people’s feelings. I think that this season needs somebody, not saying that Ellen doesn’t know music, I don’t think she knows enough about music.

With the rumors of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, they’ve been in the music industry. Obviously, Steven Tyler has been in this for a very long time being apart of Aerosmith and everything. I think that they’re going to have something good to offer, I mean, I’ve never heard them on a panel of judges, who can obviously know what they can offer to the show?

I will say that it was privilege sharing this season with Ellen, and I was very happy to meet her, because I’m a huge Ellen fan.

Do you think, as far as the contestants go, is it more helpful for them to hear from someone who has had success in the business or someone who is more of an industry insider?

Well, I think it really doesn’t matter only because, I think they need someone who knows music. You gotta have someone who knows music really well. You have to know everything.

Last question, what’s the most random thing you’ve signed over tour?

The most random thing that I have signed over tour? Somebody’s leg.

Thank you so much, have a great show tonight!

Thank you.

Check out Aaron Kelly's performance of "Somebody Like You" from the American Idol Live tour stop in Sacramento, CA below.