Ferras: Aliens & Rainbows

Ferras is the first name of a dude with a last name that’s hard to pronounce. Hence, the moniker. But let’s talk about his music, because Ferras’ debut, Aliens & Rainbows, is pure adrenaline-drenched pop driven by his own keyboard playing. Ferras got his big break much the same way Daniel Powter did a few years back, landing an “exit song” spot on “American Idol.” That song, “Hollywood’s Not America,” is not just perfect for the role — it’s a brutally honest yet powerful track in its own right. But Ferras, inspired by the likes of David Bowie and Elton John, uses his knack for melody equally well on rockers such as “Liberation Day” and “Blame, Blame, Blame” as he does on ballads like the title track, or the riveting “Take My Lips.” Ferras’ nasal tenor is closer to some of the Warped Tour vocal fare, but his music bears so much substance that you won’t mind. This is definitely an artist worth keeping on your radar, if he’s not on it already. (LABEL: Capitol)

Ferras MySpace page

  

Curtain Call: New Songs From Past American Idol Finalists: Volume 2

The first edition of this compilation of former “American Idol” contestants was pretty bad, and while Volume 2 is itself pretty bland, the songs as a whole are a little better this time around. This round of singers is also moderately talented, but you can’t listen to this album without feeling like you’re hearing glorified karaoke. Maybe it’s the production, maybe it’s the arrangements, or maybe it’s the talent compared to everything else being released in the pop world, but there is just something missing. Alaina Alexander from Season 6 delivers three tracks that probably won’t have you humming along, and her voice isn’t all that memorable either. Rudy Cardenas, also from last season, has three distinct styles on here — R&B/pop/Jason Mraz, rock, and sappy ballad — and the third one is so bad that it evens out the fact that the first two songs are pretty decent. Then there is Sarah Mather from Season 4, who has a decent enough voice, but the songs are only average. Finally, Gedeon McKinney chose to write all of his own material, which was not a good idea. McKinney’s material is very amateurish, and brought the rating of this whole set down a full half-star. So we’re halfway with these four Volumes, and by this time next year, it’s likely that you’ll all have forgotten about these four singers from Volume 2 the same way you did when their seasons on “Idol” ended. (LABEL: Artists Addiction/Rocket Science)

Website: www.artistsaddiction.com

  

American Idol: America Wises Up

Just when I was fearing the worst, America stepped up its game last night much the way the “American Idol” finalists stepped up theirs on Tuesday night. They got it right for a change.

It kicked off with another awful group number, Dolly Parton’s “9 To 5.” Can someone please stick a fork in these group numbers? They are just, um, not very entertaining. That’s too nice…they are bordering on pure agony, okay?

Anyway, straight to business. Michael Johns, safe. David Archuleta, safe. Carly…a moment of Ryan Seacrest making her dangle, then safe. Commercial break….and oddly enough, Syesha Mercado was in this commercial for some technical institute, and I did a double take…like maybe it was one of those “Saturday Night Live” commercials, but it was real! She is, after all, an actress when she isn’t a finalist on the biggest show in America.

Then they took some callers, and the best question was when some woman asked Simon why he apologizes after criticizing someone. Simon smiled and replied “I like you!”

Then the Clark Brothers performed…these kids have some mad skills on their instruments, but that singer is scary….like he was shouting the entire song.

Okay, back to what we came here for….David Cook, safe, after he assured America that his hospital visit the night before was purely precautionary and that it was blown out of proportion. Dude has high blood pressure is all. Ramiel, Bottom 3. Hooray, America knows what it’s doing! Kristy Lee Cook, who held a piece of paper that said “Bottom 3,” practically willed herself there, and she was right. Wow, America, nice work.

Then they did some profiles of Idol alum from Nashville, since Dolly Parton was the theme of this week. Bucky Covington, Phil Stacey and Bo Bice were each featured, and are all having nice little careers after the show. I know Carrie Underwood is a mega-star right now, but I still think Bo was ROBBED.

Syesha, safe, which meant Brooke or Jason. Jason, safe, Brooke to the Bottom 3. So it was down to Ramiel, Kristy and Brooke. But first Dolly Parton performed her new single, “Jesus and Gravity.” If you don’t like Dolly Parton, there is seriously something wrong with you….she is one of the most infectiously happy performers I’ve ever seen, and she spreads that to the audience.

Okay, finally the grueling hour was coming to a close. Brooke, back to safety…..holy crap, America is smart! Mrs. Mike had predicted Ramiel earlier in the hour, and she has not been wrong yet. And she’s still not wrong…Kristy, safe, Ramiel, you’re outta here. You know, she has a nice voice but this competition is heating up and she just doesn’t have the mad skills of some of the others remaining.

Here are my power rankings:

1. David Cook
2. David Archuleta
3. Michael Johns
4. Brooke White
5. Carly Smithson
6. Syesha Mercado
7. Jason Castro
8. Kristy Lee Cook

I still like Brooke more than Carly, though America may not agree….but hey, that’s why they play the games. See you all next week…

  

American Idol: Welcome To Dollywood

So after dumbass host Ryan Seacrest told America that “American Idol” was being postponed due to some writer’s strike, pulling a fairly predictable April Fool’s joke, it was on to business. For a split second though, I forgot it was April 1, and thought “Awesome, I can go back to watching the Mets/Marlins game,” but no dice.

The mentor this week was Dolly Parton, and the remaining nine contestants were asked to sing something from Dolly’s catalog. This could go a few different ways for these singers, and you might expect just a few of them to do well. But what happened was that many of them stepped up their game, some in surprising fashion. Here we go….

THE GOOD

David Cook came clean before his performance, saying that some of his previous arrangements Read the rest of this entry »

  

American Idol: Ramiel Hangs On

Remember how bad Ramiel was on “American Idol” Tuesday? Remember how I wrote yesterday that she was just about a lock to go home? Well, she wasn’t even in the bottom 3 in last night’s results show. I know there are always surprises, but geez. Anyway, here is how the show went down.

30 million votes, blah blah blah. Group song, blah blah blah. Recap of Tuesday, blah blah blah.

Chikezie, bottom 3….I didn’t think he was all that bad but apparently America did. Brooke White, safe. Carly Smithson, safe. Then a break, blah blah blah.

David Archuleta, safe. David Cook , and we find out he didn’t arrange that cool version of “Billie Jean”…it was in fact Chris Cornell, who Ryan Seacrest had to mention called in to the show and said he loved Cook’s version of his version. Anyway, David, very safe. Syesha Mercado, Bottom 3. What? She was amazing on Tuesday, so America in my mind right now is not a great judge of talent. Michael Johns, safe.

“Idol Gives Back,” blah blah blah. Dolly Parton mentoring next week, blah blah blah.

Then Season 2’s Kimberly Locke performed her song, “Fall.” She looked great and has an incredibly powerfull voice, but this song was as bland as a plain potato. The music industry suits need to start letting real songs back in instead of formulaic crap, or it’s all going to blow up in their faces.

Then they took some phone calls….and this was pretty funny last night, as one of the callers asked Simon Cowell if he thought it would be easy for her to eventually take Ryan Seacrest’s job. Then another caller asked David Archuleta why he picked that awful song, “You’re the Voice,” on Tuesday.
David claimed that it’s one of his favorite songs, and he was hoping he would get to perform it at some point. Um, dude, your musical taste is um, not very good.

Back to the results. Ramiel, safe. Here we go….I mean, she’s cute and all, and has a decent voice…but better than Syesha? No way. Did Danny Noriega call 5000 times to vote for his pal? Kristy Lee Cook, safe…and that was no surprise, because she really did a very smart thing by grabbing all the red state votes with “God Bless the U.S.A.” What’s that, Ryan Seacrest? Lee Greenwood also called in and said he loved it? Lee also says thank you for the royalty check. Oh, and if Dolly Parton is the mentor this coming week, can we assume country music theme? If so, Kristy just got another free pass. So it was Jason Castro in the bottom 3 along with Syesha and Chikezie, but he was almost instantly sent back to safety.

So down to Syesha and Chikezie. Mrs. Mike said Chikezie, and she said it as soon as he was sent to the bottom 3. Well, she has been right for 2 weeks in a row, so no reason to doubt her, and she called it AGAIN. So no more Chikezie on Idol, but I know this guy is going to find a recording niche as a young Luther Vandross type.

So now, my power rankings for the remaining nine:

1. David Cook
2. David Archuleta
3. Brooke White
4. Michael Johns
5. Carly Smithson
6. Syesha Mercado
7. Jason Castro
8. Ramiel Mallubay
9. Kristy Lee Cook

There you go….eight more weeks of Idol, or maybe nine if you include “Idol Gives Back”…remember, last year no one was eliminated on that show. See you next week, I’m going back to watching the NCAA tournament tonight.

  

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