Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Top 9 - "Songs From Your Idols" - March 28, 2012
One of the BEST episodes of American Idol I have EVER seen, top to bottom - and I was just discussing how I haven't missed an episode since the Season 7 finale in May 2008. (I am still upset about that by the way.) Everyone ranged from amazing to pretty damn good.
1. Colton Dixon - "Everything" B+
Colton packed a preternatural amount of emotion in to this performance which just bled with feeling. This song by Lifehouse has been a favorite of mine since approximately 2003 when I remember listening to the Smallville Soundtrack with a dear friend of mine, driving around endlessly, which is of course any high school student's favorite activity. Clearly this is also a favorite song of Colton's, and I love how he shows his religion through his music.
2. Skylar Laine - "Gunpowder & Lead" A
Skylar had so much fun with this song. It is clear she is a huge fan of Miranda Lambert and she really did this song justice. She added a few vocal inflections here and there that made it just noticeably different from the original ("six paaaack in"). I love her energy and that she literally just CAN'T hold back all of her enthusiasm. She is an amazing country singer and I have a feeling that genre will wholeheartedly embrace her.
3. Heejun Han - "A Song For You" B+
The commentary before Heejun's performance - throwing his "repentance" down our throats - was unnecessarily heavy-handed and detracted from my enjoyment of his performance. He has a gorgeous, textured tone. It drives me crazy how he clips a lot of his words and phrases however. Overall, pretty but not a standout of the night.
4. Hollie Cavanagh - "Jesus Take The Wheel" A-/B+
Finally, Randy is right about something! It is extremely challenging for current Idol contestants to take on past Idol greats. (See: Chelsea Sorrell - "Cowboy Casanova", Lauren Alania -"Flat On The Floor" - both examples of performances of Carrie Underwood songs that fell short. For an example of an AMAZING Carrie Underwood performance, see Matt Giraud's version of "So Small" from Season 8. Wow.) However, Hollie did a great job with this song. Most puzzling was the way the verses were chopped together so the cohesive storytelling of the song no longer made sense. Yet, Hollie brought a lot of emotion to it that I was not expecting. She has a big voice!
5. Deandre Brackensick - "Sometimes I Cry" A-
Instantly, Deandre reminded me of D'Angelo and his seminally sexy song "Untitled (How Does It Feel?) which is undoubtedly the best slow jam ever written. Deandre brought it 100% tonight. Oh God, I sound like Randy again! I couldn't believe the notes he hit. Deandre, at his finest, has an amazing 60's Motown R&B style that I would die to hear again in today's music.
6. Jessica Sanchez - "Sweet Dreams" A-/B+
I was extremely impressed with Jessica's ability to breathe new life into this song, which I must begrudgingly admit is probably one of Beyonce's better singles of the past 5 or so years. Jessica started off this performance a bit shaky and I honestly wasn't sure how this would end up. However, I really enjoyed it overall - it wasn't my favorite of the night by any means but it was unexpected from her. She is a true powerhouse and brought these lyrics to life.
7. Philip Philips - "Still Raining" A-
This was a very cool take on a song I had never heard before! It had an undeniable 90's sound which of course I adored. Again, Philip was able to bring a subversive and foreboding tone to this song. It really sounded like it could be Philip's own song - it seemed like he really connected it and delivered it wonderfully. The kind of song you can rock out to.
8. Joshua Ledet - "Without You" B-/C+
Maybe I have heard way too many covers of this song, originally by Badfinger. I've previously reviewed many of the cover versions here on this blog. Joshua's version fell flat for me. I could see that he became emotional with his performance, but I could feel no emotional connection to it. I felt a few of his notes were a bit unpleasant and when compared to stellar versions by Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey, and Carly Smithson, it could not compare on any level.
9. Elise Testone - "Whole Lotta Love" A+
This performance literally got me off the couch to stand closer to the TV. When I heard Elise was going to sing Led Zeppelin, I was expecting something epic. After all, Haley Reinhart singing "What Is And What Should Never Be" was one of the best moments of Season 10.
I can not say enough about the passion and intensity that Elise sang with. She seemed to be having an amazing time and just every ounce of her breathed rock 'n roll music. As a lifetime rock 'n roll believer, I could just feel how genuinely she had this song pound through her veins.
I could listen to this over and over again and I suspect I will. I've already listened to it 3 times since I downloaded it approximately 20 minutes ago. I am headed to iTunes right now to see if the studio version of this track is available for download. (Sadly I can't find it right now, but it should be available soon.)
I am not exaggerating at all when I say this performance made me believe in rock 'n roll again (as if there was ever a moment where I could not).
Best of the night: Elise
Worst of the night: Joshua
Best group performance: Colton/Elise/Philip with their Fleetwood Mac medley
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
American Idol: Top 10, Billy Joel Week - March 20, 2012
1. Deandre Brackensick - "Only The Good Die Young" B-
Deandre seemed oddly out of breath for the majority of the song but his voice really shined through in a key select parts. He brought an R&B flavor to the song and sang it solidly. Unfortunately for Deandre, it was somewhat forgettable and the kind of performance that has a tough time inspiring votes. There was something missing.
2. Erika Van Pelt - "New York State Of Mind" A
The absolute perfect song choice for Erika this week. She brought a bit of a jazzy tone to the song, which is exactly what it calls for. I felt a touch of Gladys Knight (particularly on "Midnight Train To Georgia") on Erika's vocal here, which was impassioned but beautifully restrained in key moments.
3. Joshua Ledet - "She's Got A Way" B
I've never loved this song and Joshua didn't inspire me to love it with his rendition. I was hoping he would, because Joshua is a phenomenal performer and singer. Joshua put a bit of a groove in a song that normally doesn't have one. The second half was by far and away better than the first as he really sank into the song. Average for him overall.
4. Skylar Laine - "Shameless" B-
*I* should be the shamed one here for not realizing that what I thought was a Garth Brooks song is really by Billy Joel. For some reason, Skylar's version of this song didn't excite me even though I really do love the Garth Brooks version. I was expecting much from Skylar and was overall disappointed. Maybe I was hoping she would put a country twist on one of Billy Joel's more iconic songs rather than picking a song that's already gotten a country reworking. Skylar really got lost in the shuffle tonight.
5. Elise Testone - "Vienna" A
What an unbelievably gorgeous tone Elise showcases on every note that she sings. I love the breaks in her voice, the grit and the growl, the devastation she can put into a chord. In what has become a bit of a teen pageant more and more with each passing year, it is refreshing to see an adult put a bit of her heart and soul into the music she sings. Also, how on earth could Jimmy Iovine think that "Vienna" is a song that America would not recognize? It's certainly one of Billy Joel's most popular.
6. Philip Philips - "Movin' Out" B+
Philip brought something very subversive to this song. Much like "She's Got A Way", I've never really liked "Movin' Out" with its staccato phrasing and pointed commentary. Where Joshua failed, Philip succeeded. I loved the arrangement. The choices Philip made with the song kept my interest and attention throughout.
7. Hollie Cavanagh - "Honesty" B-
I would have to say overall that this is Hollie's weakest performance on the Idol stage so far. Not to say by any means that this was a weak performance, but it seemed to start too low for her register. There is something about this performance I "honestly" just can't put my finger on; I really can't tell whether I like it or not. Perhaps it's the kind of thing I need to have dozens of repeat listenings of.
8. Heejun Han - "My Life" A-/B+
I don't think a "fake out" like this one has ever been used on American Idol before. I actually caught my breath for a minute, thinking Heejun had forgotten his words. It was really a ploy to bring the song uptempo. I may be crazy, you may be right, or it just might be a lunatic we're looking for .... but I LOVED this performance. It was just insane enough to work. It was hard to understand Heejun's phrasing at times, and he wasn't always pitch perfect (often falling below the melody in his tone). But it was fun, it was different, it was unexpected. I loved the 80's aesthetic and I really did think it was Heejun's best performance.
9. Jessica Sanchez - "Everybody Has A Dream" A-
I wasn't sure how I was going to like this performance when she began singing. But the song built slowly into the chorus. She really brought it home in the end. I had the very strong feeling that she could sing this song in a confetti shower at the end of the season - perhaps the updated version of "This Is My Now"? A great performance but it really came together when she put some grit in her voice at the end and then hit that gorgeous upper register.
10. Colton Dixon - "Piano Man" A-/B+
Clearly this was a song Colton felt a strong connection to. Much like Philip, who refused to give into Tommy Hilfiger's styling ideas, Colton maintained his own ideas about his singing and his style. That's certainly admirable in an industry that feels compelled to bend every singer to its will. Colton's vocal wasn't perfect on this song and it dipped into a whiny territory at parts which prevented me from completely enjoying the song. However, his vocals were pretty good overall and I liked the more austere, contemporary vibe he brought to the song.
Best of the night: Elise
Worst of the night: Deandre
Sunday, March 18, 2012
It's my 100th blog post and I wanted to come up with something epic that sums up the way I feel about music - the way it has shaped me, transformed me, and moved me over the past 25 years. So, in no particular order, except for the Top 10 maybe, here are my top 100 songs of my life.
1. Bon Jovi - "Always"
2. Skid Row - "I Remember You"
3. Meat Loaf - "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)"
4. Butch Walker - "Best Thing You Never Had"
5. Bright Eyes - "Lover I Don't Have To Love"
6. Brand New - "Me Vs. Maradona Vs. Elvis"
7. Melissa Etheridge – “Like The Way I Do”
8. Huey Lewis & the News- "The Heart of Rock 'N Roll"
9. Celine Dion - "If That's What It Takes"
10. Don McLean – “American Pie”
11. Monica - "Angel Of Mine"
12. Sebastian Bach – “(I’ll Never Turn My Back On) Rock ‘N Roll”
13. John Waite – “Missing You”
14. Live – “The Dolphins’ Cry”
15. Heather Nova – “Blood Of Me”
16. U2 – “With Or Without You”
17. Heart – “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You”
18. Meat Loaf – “I’d Lie For You (And That’s The Truth)”
19. Sophie B. Hawkins – “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover”
20. Bryan Adams – “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)"
21. Will Smith - "Will 2K"
22. Taking Back Sunday - "You're So Last Summer"
23. Hole - "Malibu"
24. Great White - "Save Your Love"
25. Britney Spears - "...Baby One More Time"
26. Vicci Martinez - "Jolene (Live)"
27. The Pretty Reckless - "Make Me Wanna Die"
28. Damien Rice -"Volcano"
29. Cinderella - "Heartbreak Station"
30. The Wonders - "That Thing You Do"
31. Kings of Leon - "Closer"
32. Matchbox 20 - "Back 2 Good"
33. Third Eye Blind - "Slow Motion"
34. Bret Michaels - "One More Day"
35. Tesla - "What You Give"
36. Skid Row - "Monkey Business"
37. Whitesnake - "Here I Go Again"
38. Van Morrison - "Brown Eyed Girl"
39. Poison - "Life Goes On"
40. Aerosmith - "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing"
41. Bon Jovi - "Wedding Day"
42. Carly Hennessy - "Just Missed The Train"
43. The Verve - "The Drugs Don't Work"
44. The Smiths - "Unloveable"
45. Bob Carlisle - "Butterfly Kisses"
46. Bruce Springsteen - "The River"
47. Sarah McLachlan - "Full of Grace"
48. Death Cab For Cutie - "Tiny Vessels"
49. The Shins - "Caring Is Creepy"
50. Of Monsters And Men - "Little Talks"
51. Death Cab For Cutie - "Champagne From A Paper Cup"
52. Jay-Z - "99 Problems"
53. Dashboard Confessional - "Screaming Infidelities"
54. Bright Eyes - "Lua"
55. Garth Brooks - "Friends In Low Places"
56. White Lion - "Farewell To You"
57. Taking Back Sunday - "The Ballad Of Sal Villanueva"
58. Brand New - "Degausser"
59. The Committments - "Mustang Sally"
60. Brand New - "Soco Amaretto Lime"
61. Tuff - "American Hair Band"
62. Bon Jovi - "Stick To Your Guns"
63. Something Corporate - "Konstantine"
64. Marvelous 3 - "Cigarette Lighter Love Song"
65. Usher - "Burn"
66. Melissa Etheridge - "Come To My Window"
67. Guns N Roses - "Paradise City"
68. Celine Dion - "It's All Coming Back To Me Now"
69. Semisonic - "Closing Time"
70. Jimmy Eat World - "Night Drive"
71. Phantom Planet - "One Ray Of Sunlight"
72. Bon Jovi - "I'll Be There For You"
73. Our Lady Peace - "Do You Like It"
74. Damien Race - "Cannonball"
75. Jann Arden - "Insensitive"
76. Melissa Etheridge - "An Unusual Kiss"
77. Avril Lavigne - "My Happy Ending"
78. Therapy? - "Lonely, Cryin' Only"
79. Death Cab For Cutie - "Photobooth"
80. Our Lady Peace - "4 AM"
81. Bon Jovi - "Bad Medicine"
82. Hanson - "A Minute Without You"
83. Sarah McLachlan - "Possession"
84. Bryan Adams - "One Night Love Affair"
85. Nine Inch Nails - "Closer"
86. Bob Seger - "Old Time Rock 'N Roll"
87. Grant Lee Buffalo - "Fuzzy"
88. Bonnie Tyler - "Total Eclipse Of The Heart"
89. The Phantom Of The Opera - "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again"
90. Stroke 9 - "Kick Some Ass"
91. Bright Eyes - "Haligh, A Lie, Haligh"
92. Rilo Kiley - "The Good That Won't Come Out"
93. The Smiths - "How Soon Is Now"
94. Martha & the Vandells - "Dancing In The Streets"
95. OMD - "If You Leave"
96. Rod Stewart - "My Heart Can't Tell You No"
97. Gin Blossoms - "Found Out About You"
98. Bon Jovi - "Blood On Blood"
99. Skid Row - "In A Darkened Room"
100. Concrete Blonde - "Joey"
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
American Idol - Top 12 - March 14, 2012
Our annual "Songs From The Year You Were Born" theme which usually yields a mix of done-to-death songs and out-of-left-field songs.
1. Philip Philips - "Hard To Handle" (1990) B+
I liked Philip's phrasing throughout the song which was playful and differed in just discernible ways from the version by the Black Crowes. He slowed down certain words and phrases to make it a bit different. He had a fun energy throughout, which is especially admirable considering his recent kidney stone surgery!
2. Jessica Sanchez - "Turn The Beat Around" (1995) B
This is an exceedingly difficult song to sing and I think that's evident to even the most casual listener. Jessica threw in some grit to her voice this week and a bit of attitude which I appreciated. It made her seem more like an individual and let her personality show through. I obviously don't agree with the judges that she should only sing ballads - no singer could survive the musical landscape of 2012 that way!!
3. Heejun Han - "Right Here Waiting" (1989) C+
Heejun had a few issues with phrasing throughout the song - plain and simple, his singing just sounded off. This is a beautiful and deliciously cheesy song and I don't think Heejun did it justice. He did a have a soaring moment on the word "chance", as carefully instructed by Jimmy to make sure he stops clipping his phrases (he succeeded about half the time). Unfortunately, it's not the kind of performance I'll remember by next week.
4. Elise Testone - "Let's Stay Together" (1983) A
This was exceedingly, achingly gorgeous. I loved her additions and ad-libs in the song, although I have to stay I was slightly disappointed when the full band kicked in. This performance had so much personality and truly showcased Elise's gorgeous and unique voice. It was clearly proof that the judges made the correct decision in choosing to send Jeremy home over her last week.
5. Deandre Brackensick - "Endless Love" (1994) C
From the first note, Deandre's performance was shaky. I felt like his voice needed to "lift up" to meet the song more and it never took off. His voice almost cracked completely on one of the notes. I would have been much more intrigued to see him sing his original choice of song - "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" from the Lion King. It is hard to watch Idol contestants sing a duet as a solo song, which brings us to our next contestant who succeeded more than Deandre in this regard...
6. Shannon Magrane - "One Sweet Day" (1995) B+
This performance was very pretty and much better than I was expecting from Shannon. I did feel like she sang it all in her "head voice" and I was worried she wasn't breathing properly throughout the song - which distracted me from the overall performance. Overall, a marked improvement from her flat Whitney Houston song last week. I was impressed, especially with the ending of the song.
7. Colton Dixon - "Broken Heart" (1991) A-
I was beyond excited to hear Colton would be singing a White Lion song. So much so that I was pretty much determined to vote for him tonight, regardless of his performance. Well, luckily he delivered on a song I have heard several times on my favorite Sirius/XM stations HAIR NATION! The judges (and Ryan) didn't know the song well enough to know just how different Colton made it sound - he stayed true to the original version but made it sound a bit more currently emo.
To those who have never heard the awesome original version:
8. Erika Van Pelt - "Heaven" (1985) B
It was pretty but the changes to the melody and the delivery of the song were too appalling for me to see past. I didn't like the staccato delivery of her words. I also thought the break that Jimmy Iovine recommended she put in was all wrong. Normally I like the idea of a musical break which heightens drama a bit and increases the intensity of a song. But to put it in a place it clearly did not belong was a misstep too big to ignore. All that said, Erika has a wonderful voice with a rich tone that is rarely matched by contestants who are 10 years her junior.
9. Skylar Laine - "Love Sneaking Up On You" (1994) B/B-
This was the first Idol performance of Skylar's I didn't absolutely love. Maybe it was the song or the fact that the background singers were too loud. I feel like there were so many other great songs from 1994 she could have really put her stamp on and had a true moment. Like "All For Love" by Bryan Adams, Sting, and Rod Stewart. That would have been AMAZING! "Please Forgive Me" by Bryan Adams or "Wild Night" by John Cougar Mellencamp. I have got to stop looking at this list of Top 100 Hits of 1994 for 2 reasons: it's making me way too nostalgic and I am coming up with so many better song choices for Skylar.
10. Joshua Ledet - "When A Man Loves A Woman" (1992) A+
This was so unbelievable I am not sure I have the words for it, but I'll try. I'm not sure I have loved a performance on this season of American Idol so much (with the notable exception of Skylar's phenomenal A+ worthy "Stay With Me" during Top 24 week). The first performance of the night that truly woke me up and had me singing along with all the words. The vocal theatrics were pitch perfect and beyond that, fit emotionally with the song in a way that enhanced the lyrics. I think that is a point worth emphasizing. So often when singers do vocal runs, it is just to show off their voice and has absolutely nothing to do with the lyrics or emotional content of the song. Joshua nailed it tonight in a way that stunned me.
11. Hollie Cavanagh - "The Power Of Love" (1993) A-
Much like Jessica on "I Will Always Love You" last week, Hollie chose a song that is nearly impossible to condense to a minute and 45 seconds because of the way it slowly starts and builds to a dramatic crescendo. Hollie sang an unbelievably challenging song (ever try to sing along with this on the radio?) in an amazing way. I love the tone of her voice which has a sense of wise-beyond-her-years embedded in it. I tend to think Hollie is older than she is, just in the way she conducts herself and sings every word with such force.
Best of the night: Joshua
Worst of the night: Deandre
PS: I was dying to hear the rest of disqualified contestant Jermaine Jones' performance of "Somewhere Out There" from the movie AN AMERICAN TAIL! Come on, who did not love that and its superior sequel, Fievel Goes West? If you have no idea what you are talking about, run don't walk to Google to search for "Don Bluth movies".
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
TOP 13 - Stevie Wonder & Whitney Houston Night - March 7th, 2012
This is the first time in Idol history (that I can remember) where the theme was different for girls and guys. Also the first time that male and female contestants are being directly pitted against each other in a non-semi-finals show. Not really sure how I feel about this.
1. Joshua Ledet - "I Wish" B+
Overall, an incredibly fun performance and proof that Joshua won't be pigeonholded into a ballads-only contestant. He brought a lot of energy to the performance. I felt like his voice was straining at times; it sounded very much sung from the back of the throat with a scratchy quality. I liked it though overall.
2. Elise Testone - "I'm Your Baby Tonight" C+
There was just something dead in Elise's eyes like she did not want to be singing this song, and based on her pre and post performance interviews, it is clear that was the case. It was nowhere near the right kind of song for her bluesy voice and she was smart to avoid the rap-like middle section that Haley Reinhart tackled and barely got by on last season. The hoarseness works for her though. Now that I think of it, it is INSANE how far she fell this week from her fascinating cover of Adele's "One And Only" last night.
3. Jermaine Jones - "Knocks Me Off My Feet" A-
This made me smile. Jermaine sang it very smoothly and effortlessly. It sounded like it could be his own song. J. Lo gave him some solid and well-put advice after the performance concluded. I wasn't really a fan of Jermaine's before this performance but I think I will definitely be downloading this one.
4. Erika Van Pelt - "I Believe In You And Me" B+
I am a huge fan of the original Whitney Houston version of this song so I was a bit skeptical at first. I thought Erika's version in the rehearsal with Jimmy Iovine and Mary J Blidge was better than the live show version. The first half of the song started out somewhat shaky but she really sailed into the second half and brought the song home. Oh God I sound like Randy now.
5. Colton Dixon - "Lately" A-
I was transfixed by this performance and that is one of the greatest compliments I could give. The first half of this song was better as the second half got a bit screamy and over-sung. Just as I was writing down on my notepad "Restraint is good", Colton dialed it back and ended the song on a beautiful, haunting, subtle note. I can see Colton being a star - his image and persona is really relevant in this music environment.
6. Shannon Magrane - "I Have Nothing" C-
Mary J. Blidge gave her great advice during the rehearsal so I was hoping for a great performance. Unfortunately Shannon's voice went sharp at times to the point of being unpleasant. Her voice wavered throughout the song and didn't deliver the strong vocal this song demands. Her voice completely broke at the building point of the music. That said, it wasn't a complete disaster - she didn't implode on the Idol stage like I've seen many times before, but I seriously think she is in danger of going home tomorrow.
7. Deandre Brasensick - "Master Blaster" C+
I didn't like the beat of this song. I'm not familiar with the original, so I'm not sure if the original has a Jamacian beat to it, but I wasn't feeling it. His voice sounded decent but I wasn't a fan of the almost rap-like cadence towards the end of the song. Not the kind of thing I would listen to again. That said, I like Deandre and I think he can do amazing things with his voice (who am I, Randy again?) so I hope he sticks around.
8. Skylar Laine - "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" A
Skylar really reminded me of Carrie Underwood tonight - how she could sing lots of different genres of music (both on the Idol stage and in her touring live show) but still make it sound like Carrie Underwood singing the song. For proof of this, just check out Carrie's beautiful covers of Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home" and Skid Row's "I Remember You". Anyway, back to Skylar. This was above all fun to listen to, knowing the Whitney Houston version so well. It was interesting to see the choices Skylar made throughout. I could see this song being a country hit WITHOUT A DOUBT.
9. Heejun Han - "All In Love Is Fair" B+
I have never been a fan of this song, but I think Heejun did a good job. It wasn't perfect but I really liked it. (Again, I wrote that down BEFORE Randy said it on the show. I promise.) There is something about this performance that had a very 90's style to it. Not complaining of course! I am curious what Heejun would do with an uptempo song. He needs to work on his phrasing at times, but I see an improvement from last week. When I listen to his audio track alone, he reminds me of Justin Guarini.
10. Hollie Cavanagh - "All The Man That I Need" A
This was truly gorgeous. I love her delicate choices with the notes. I have a feeling this is a version of the song I will listen to over and over again and get something new out of it each time. I like it more each time I listen to it. She has a pretty voice but there's something a bit darker in it too.
11. Jeremy Rosado - "Ribbon In The Sky" B-/C+
I am NEVER the type of person that automatically calls a slow song boring, but I have to say this one was. Again, I'm not really a fan of this song. It's just not a performance I'll ever remember much past this week. The ending of the song was good. There's no denying that Jeremy gave an incredible performance last week on Carrie Underwood's "I Know You Won't" which moved me to tears. I just couldn't say this one was very good.
12. Jessica Sanchez - "I Will Always Love You" A
Wow! She gave me chills. What a beautiful rendition of this amazing song. She included one of my favorite parts of the song which is the quiet outro that most people never hear because it gets cut off or covered up by radio DJs. That is really what bumped up this performance to an A for me. She has such incredible poise and seems likeable. I am excited to see what she'll do throughout the season. I am impressed at how well she tackled an uptempo Jennifer Hudson song last week - proven that, like Joshua, she will not be stuck doing ballads for the next few months.
13. Philip Philips - "Superstition" B-
I am a fan of Philip's but I was just not feeling this performance. It was certainly not as good as some of his others. It was fun but came off a bit strained at times. I liked his interaction with the band which proves that he can perform live in a more concert like setting. Again, I've never really been a fan of the song "Superstition". I am just dying to know why no one sang "I Just Called To Say I Love You" which is by far and away my favorite Stevie Wonder song.
Best of the night: Hollie, Skylar, Jessica
Worst of the night: Shannon, Deandre