Posts tagged #American Idol

Winter round-up: It's February?

The only things I remember from this whirlwind of a winter are a trip to NYC (for a Communications Executive Council conference and Paul Rudd), buying my first home, and ringing in what’s shaping up to be a pretty sweet year.

Somewhere in between, I did some writing:

I hope to be back in writing mode as soon as I figure out this whole homeownership thing. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with:

Happiness don’t drag its feet.
  • This new (to the U.S.) beauty:

And this overdramatic but partially true New York Times post on the end of dating. Funny and sad, no?

Summer round-up: Music, wine and eighth birthdays

It’s been a lovely, chaotic summer – the best kind. Here are a few gems that caught my eye (and ear) over the past month or so:

This wine:

…from a winery on the outskirts of this incredible city:

(I spent a little over a week in Switzerland, Florence and Venice last month. Needless to say, it was an inspiring trip.)

This anthem from the Zac Brown Band’s action-packed new album,Uncaged (give it a listen and you’ll understand what I mean):

This funky, new-ish song by British group Graffiti6:

This kick ass and deserved title that Houston just nabbed. And yeah, we already knew we were the coolest. Why?

I’ve never seen a city where people blend more gracefully than Houston.

This surprisingly moving performance by tenth place finisher Erika Van Pelt (at the Idols Live concert I caught in Dallas):

This crazy-cool local band that I was jazzed to interview for Houston magazine.

This Kelly Clarkson cover of my favorite band’s breakout single:

…and finally, this wonderful milestone that Country Universe –my country music home– recently hit. I couldn’t be  more grateful to have found my way into the CU family three years ago.

Posted on August 3, 2012 and filed under Round-Ups, Music, Writing.

“American Idol” Season 11 finale: Phonebook parody

An awesome way to remember one of my top three favorite seasons and arguably the best season in “Idol” history, even if I didn’t agree with the last man standing. You can read my full thoughts on Season 11 in my latest post for CultureMap Houston: Five lessons from “American Idol” Season 11

The other highlight of the finale? This absolutely ridiculous performance by runner-up Jessica Sanchez and legend Jennifer Holliday. Run, don’t walk, to watch it.

Posted on May 24, 2012 and filed under American Idol, Writing.

CultureMap: Sizing up "American Idol" Season 11

If you’re not watching “American Idol” this year, you’re missing out on one of the most memorable seasons in “Idol” history. Why?

My favorite seasons don’t just present us with potential recording artists; they take raw talent and cultivate it. They tell stories with artistic arcs. They create journeys. And that’s why I love this season.

Week after week, we’ve seen the contestants earnestly build their identities like puzzles, despite the meandering “constructive criticism” from the judges. We’ve seen them wrestle through emotions, intertwine personality and vision, and take creative risks. There’s real momentum driving this season — the kind that both captivates you and keeps you guessing.

You can read my full thoughts on this season in my latest post for CultureMap, and find all of my “Idol” coverage here. And, seriously, watch this:

Posted on April 6, 2012 and filed under American Idol, Writing.

"Idol": Defining moments

The tenth season of “Idol” premieres today, and it’s prompted plenty of insightful coverage on the show’s past, present and future. It’s always fun to dig into the show’s history by exploring the defining moments of each season – but what about the moments that define your own journey as an “Idol” fan? Here are a few of my own:

Season 3: Camile Velasco, “Ready or Not”

I didn’t start watching “Idol” until its third season, and Camile was the first contestant I ever rooted for. The 18-year-old IHOP waitress from Hawaii had an admittedly flawed run on the show, thanks to uncontrollable nerves, but her first audition embodied all the stuff that’s kept me coming back for more on “Idol”: humility, genuine passion and promising, uncultivated talent.

Season 4: Carrie Underwood, “Angels Brought Me Here”

Although she’s grown into an explosive performer in the five years since she won, in many ways, this finale night performance is a perfect representation of Carrie’s persona as an artist: poised, polished yet emotionally raw. It’s a combination that makes it easy (and understandable) for critics to mistake her as one-dimensional, but as someone whose personality is freakishly similar to hers –flaws and all–, I just get it. And in turn, I’ve been able to connect with her and her music on a very special level.

Season 5: 

Hands down, my favorite season to date. It didn’t have the most talented Top 12, but it certainly had the most memorable – a somewhat amateur bunch of characters, bubbling over with distinct personalities and skills. A good chunk of my all-time favorite “Idol” performances come from this season, including Katharine McPhee’s “Until You Come Back To Me,” Chris Daughtry’s “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” and Elliot Yamin’s “Somebody to Love.” The season also began during a trying time in my life and, in its own small way, helped pull me through.

Season 8: “Kradam”

This hug is heart-melting on its own, but it’s representative of a larger lesson Adam and Kris weaved through Season 8: tolerance. They were an unlikely pair –the church music director from Arkansas and the then sexually ambiguous hipster from California– and the media relentlessly pitted them against each other. But they forged ahead with a genuine friendship, even making a point to highlight it ininterviews by explaining that you can always find common ground if you look hard enough. It’s stuff like this that cuts through the commerciality and glitz of “Idol” and reminds me that there are real people with real stories at its core – and you never know what you might learn from them.


Posted on January 19, 2011 and filed under American Idol.