Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Tag: katie stevens

Andrew Garcia & Katie Stevens Cut on “American Idol” April 14, 2010

April 14, 2010 and “American Idol” eliminates 2 of the remaining 9 finalists.  Adam Lambert, this week’s mentor, as the show opens says, “You have to believe in yourself.  You have to trust your instincts.” Thirty-four million voters picked the losers this week, and, as far as I’m concerned, they got it right, culling Andrew Garcia and the often tone-deaf Katie Stevens from the pack.

I’ve not understood how Andrew Garcia survived this long. His personality was non-existent onstage. As for Katie Stevens, she was off-key at least as often as she was pitch perfect, although her most recent performances admittedly have been among her best. It was with bewildering speed that Ryan Seacrest summoned Andrew Garcia, Aaron Kelly and Casey James to one side of the stage and quickly let the axe fall on Andrew, who sang one last time and thanked all in a fairly classy display of magnanimous behavior.

At the beginning of the show, there was a medley of Elvis classics sung by the 9 remaining contestants (“Teddy Bear,” “Return to Sender,” Viva Las Vegas,” etc.).  When that was over, Andrew was out. Gone, till tour time.

There was a quick bit of film shot in Africa featuring Kara DioGuardi and Elliott Yasmin as a build-up to Idol Gives Back, which is a program coming up soon, I am happy to report, with Will I am, Fergie & the Black-eyed Peas and Sir Elton John involved.

Then, Ryan couldn’t wait to get to the dream-crushing, this time declaring Crystal Bowersox, Siobhan Magnus and Lee DeWyze  safe. Left standing on the stage at the very end were Katie Stevens and Big Mike Lynche, with Katie ultimately being told to sing her final song (“Let It Be”) and Mike going to the safe section with the comment that he wasn’t among the bottom three this week.

The highlight of the night, for me, was the return of Adam Lambert to perform. He came out enveloped in a green misty cloud of lasers and fog and sang his hit song, “Waddaya Want From Me?” It was always such a thrill waiting to see what Adam would think up to do each week on “American Idol.” That thrill remains.  He owned the stage, striding it amid the fake fog and clouds in a gray sharkskin suit that reflected the green laser lights and generously saying, “I owe the show everything.”  [It was nice of Adam to give credit to “American Idol” for ultimately putting him over the top, but a performer as vocally talented  as he is, who has already been cast in Broadway productions, probably doesn’t “owe it all” to “American Idol.”

Nevertheless, this night, the losers left with grace and class. Katie’s finale song (appropriately “Let It Be”) was a little rough, but who can blame her? (Frankly, a lot of her early performances were equally rough.) Crystal and Siobhan were seen watching in tears from the sidelines.

It is now down to only 2 female performers amongst the 7 finalists. Considering that, at the outset of this “American Idol” season, nearly everyone proclaimed the girls to be far stronger vocally than the boys (and this includes the judges), it is remarkable that a middling talent like Tim Urban has supplanted a Lilly Scott, an Angela Martin (who never even made it to the final 24) and/or a Katelyn Epperly.

But now we’re down to Seven Little Indians and they are (in no particular order) Crystal Bowersox, Lee DeWyze, Siobhan Magnus, Tim Urban, Aaron Kelly, Michael Lynche, and Casey James.

Now, THAT’s what I’m talking about!

Bring it on!

Didi Benami Eliminated from “American Idol” on March 31, 2010

On Wednesday, March 31, 2010’s version of “American Idol,” Didi Benami bit the dust. She had endured a horrific critical drubbing at the judges’ hands on Tuesday, March 30th.

For her “save” moment, Didi chose to sing a different song (“Riannha”) than the one that had hung her out to dry on Tuesday night. It didn’t matter. The judges were unmoved, as Didi’s appearances had been up-and-down throughout the competition.

At the beginning of the program Reuben Stoddard, who won the title 7 years ago (in a fight to the death with Clay Aiken) and promptly sank from sight, sang. We were also subjected to a song by Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, which showed the rest of the world America’s image of what an “American Idol” would be:  half-clad girls in black bustiers dancing with the white-clad Diddy, who was sweating bullets by the end of the number and admitted he had stage fright. (“I haven’t done this in a while.”)

At the beginning of the night, promos for Clash of the Titans (a remake) obscured the screen. The ensemble number that featured Kung Fu Fighting was lame and cheesy. A shot of purple-pink hair glued to the back of Michael Lynche’s bald pate was just about as classy. (Later Michael picked Ryan Seacrest up, physically, when he tried one of his “This is surprising” announcement moves on the large crooner/trainer.

Ryan Seacrest seemed to be more annoying for Simon Cowell than normal this night.  Simon actually said to Ryan, “You are really getting on my nerves tonight” and, at one point, said, “This is not the Oprah Winfrey Show.”

The lowest three vote getters this night were Tim Urban, Didi Benami and Katie Stevens. With Didi gone, Tim and the almost-always-off-key Katie Stevens.

And the snake that is “American Idol” continues to swallow its victims while slogging towards the end of this worst-of-all seasons.

Paige Miles Passes from the Program on “American Idol”

For once, the axe has fallen on the neck of the right chicken on “American Idol.” On Wednesday, March 24, Paige Miles was eliminated from the group and the Top Ten now sails on into the unspectacular sunset of “American Idol’s” least successful season.

It was interesting that Tim Urban and Katie Stevens were also in the bottom three, and deservedly so (see previous AC articles). While Miley Cyrus did defend Tim’s corny slide across the stage, she can’t give Tim a voice he doesn’t have…nor, for that matter, stop singing through her nose and tossing her hair around a lot.

After Paige received the news, she did NOT sing “Against All Odds” again…the song that sealed her fate, and which one of the judges pronounced, “the worst I’ve ever heard.” (Not exactly words to jump-start your career).

Miley Cyrus sang “Everybody Needs Inspiration” (with a very nasal quality while playing the piano, at first) and then she got up and tossed her hair around as though there were head lice in her tresses that she was trying to cast off or a bird had flown into her long coif and she needed to swing her head violently from side-to-side to rid herself of it.


She did have some words of wisdom that were worth noting, such as when Ryan Seacrest asked her if she could stand up to the “judges” on “American Idol” and she said, “It’s tough love. No, I would be this (happy face)… and then I’d be crying. I could never do that (sing) and then face criticism right there, face-to-face.” Hear! Hear! I agree with Miley on that, if nothing else. Also, she said, of Simon, “He scares me.”

One funny moment came when Didi Benami, onstage, said, “I can’t hear you” to the judging table (most particularly Simon). I thought she was being cheeky, but, as it turns out, they really couldn’t hear the judges (some sound glitch).

Demi Lovato (boy/girl singing team) came out and sang. Unremarkable.

When asked about whether the judges would use their “Save” power (which can be exercised only once and only by unanimous vote, as I understand it), the answer was a resounding “NO! It’s unanimous.” Simon said to Paige, “It’s not working. No false hope. It’s the end. You really genuinely had a great voice.” It’s always nice to hear Simon give hope and inspiration to young people. He reminds me of my golfing partners who always point out that the entire game rides on this upcoming putt. (You gotta’ love that.) His comment about the only female African American contestant’s vocal prowess was, at least, positive. Unfortunately, we heard little of Paige’s “great voice” during her execrable performance of “Against All Odds” on Tuesday night. It is difficult to say what happened to the pretty young girl who made it this far, but the cut was deserved, after Tuesday night’s performance.

For her final song, (thankfully) Paige did not reprise the woefully out-of-tune Phil Collins number (“Against All Odds”) that felled her, but sang the much better “All Night Long,” which suited her and which was up-tempo. She looked good, and she didn’t cry in public. If only she had sung more of this sort of song and less of old Phil, we might be seeing her “on tour” with the Top Ten, but Paige has pooped out, alas.

This night, America got it right. Paige, Tim and Katie: the Terrible Trio were the bottom three vote-getters, and now we know our Top Ten, which, in no particular order, are:   Crystal Bowersox, Siobhan Magnus, Lee DeWyze, Michael Lynche, Didi Benami, Tim Urban, Casey James, Aaron Kelly, Katie Stevens and Andrew Garcia.

I’m still voting for the Sudden Death Cage Match Elimination where we dump the 4 with no chance (Tim, Katie, Andrew and Didi) and let the Spectacular Six duke it out, but obviously it is, instead, going to be a long, slow slog until we get to  the rightful talent at the top, i.e., Crystal, Lee, Siobhan and a fourth to be named later.

Stay tuned, if you can take it.

Top Twelve Announced for “American Idol” 2010

images43My Prediction of March 10th:
So, who’s going home? Should be Andrew and Aaron…. alphabetically, at least…with an outside chance that Todrick isn’t the favorite of the teenyboppers of America who actually pick up the phone and vote. And, of course, there is one other contestant whose name begins with the letter “A,” and I wouldn’t weep Big Crocodile Tears if he were to be the one eliminated on Thursday, March 11th.

That quote, readers, was my prediction for those who would be cut on Thursday, March 11th, 2010, of the 8 boys still in competition on “American Idol.” So, who actually got cut of the boys?

Not surprisingly (to me) Alex Lambert and Todrick Hall. As you can see (above), I had mentioned that Todrick might not be the favorite of teenyboppers who actually pick up the phone to vote, and (apparently) he wasn’t. Todrick, to his credit, took it like the pro he is and delivered a great farewell Queen performance. Alex Lambert, the sweet young thing who was the second boy cut, didn’t weather the rejection quite as well and looked very teary-eyed. He struggled with his national farewell song, too (“Saved by a Woman”). I had predicted that those whose names began with the letter “A” were in trouble, and this proved to be true for Alex Lambert. Andrew Garcia and Aaron Kelly made it through, while the far more-polished performer, Todrick Hall, was sent home. I think that’s why he was sent home. Todrick is good, he knows it and his confidence is off-putting for those at home trying to vicariously live the experience through the experiences of these contestants. If you’re too cute or too good or too confident, America hates you.

Welcome to the real world.

In the elimination round for the girls, neither of the girls who had been “bad” last time out was cut (those being Katie Stevens and Paige Miles). Instead, Katelyn Epperly of West Des Moines was let go first. Katelyn, wearing long silver and black dangly earrings said, “It was definitely a great experence (not being cut, but being on the show).  For me, it’s going to be a big push.” She looked teary while hugging her comrades after singing her final song.

It was very surprising that Lilly Stevens was cut, but singing “I Fall to Pieces” by Patsy Cline to an audience that probably doesn’t even know who Patsy Cline was might have been a mistake. Lilly had been a big favorite of the judges since Day One, but whether she was a Big Favorite of the kids watching at home was debatable. Tonight, the debate was settled with the seating of the very vulnerable-seeming but not-that-consistent Katie Stevens, instead of the seasoned performer who has been “busking” in the streets for coin. I think the judges would have looked for Lilly and Crystal to go all the way to the end for the girls, with a strong challenge from Siobhan Magnus. To have Katie beat her out was just plain wrong…but, then, to have Todrick sent home because he’s good, knows it, and projects that confidence onstage, is equally wrong.

Lilly made the comment that there was some “incredible talent going home tonight,” and I think she meant herself and Todrick Hall. For that matter, I’d have picked Alex Lambert over Andrew Garcia and/or Aaron Kelly, but the Final 12, for better or for worse (and, this year, it’s for worse), were:

1)       Didi Benami

2)      Siobhan Magnus

3)      Paige Miles

4)      Crystal Bowersox

5)      Lacey Brown

6)      Katie Stevens

7)      Tim Urban

8)      Lee DeWyze

9)      Casey James

10)  Michael Lynche

11)  Aaron Kelly

12)  Andrew Garcia

Of that number, the Final 3 Boys should be Lee DeWyze, Casey James and Michael Lynche and the Final 3 Girls should be Crystal Bowersox, Siobhan Magnus, and anybody except Katie Stevens, picked on this night (March 11, 2010). Going head-to-head for the crown, I’d say, will be Crystal and Lee, unless something extremely weird happens during the upcoming nights of the competition.

Speaking of which, a piano duo of Billy Joel’s “Tell Her About It” featured Matt Giraud and Scott McIntyre in the middle of the eliminating.  Matt was Mr. Personality. Scott announced he has a new album out of his own songs and it’s orderable from his website, too. (You gotta’ love those websites where you can sell your work directly to adoring fans.) I have a couple myself, and www.HellfireandDamnationtheBook.com  has a trailer featuring the short story collection. (And you don’t even have to listen to me sing.)

Crystal Bowersox Continues to Shine on Girls’ Night (3/09/10) on “American Idol”

images42The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It’s so tempting to use that clichéd division for Tuesday night’s Girls’ night on “American Idol,” but I’m not as cruel as Simon, so I’ve chosen The Good, The Bad and the Okay as my categories. To spare you a lot of reading, the shorthand version of my opinion is this:

The Good: Crystal Bowersox and Didi Benami.

The Bad: Katie Stevens and Paige Miles.

The Okay: Everybody else, which means Siobhan Magnus, Lacey Brown, Katelyn Epperly and Lily Scott.

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