Yesterday, an article came out for the New York Times that claimed to rank ?The Top 5 Most Talented ?American Idol? Contestants Ever.? Obviously, this is all based on the opinion of the writer. There was no poll conducted or anything like that. Nevertheless, I made the list!Fact: I don?t normally read articles like this because I never know what they?re going to say, but the link had been tweeted to me so many times, I gave in and clicked on it. Imagine my surprise when I found myself #2 on the list?sandwiched between the flawless Kelly Clarkson and the amazing Jennifer Hudson. Rounding out the list were Carrie Underwood and Nadia Turner. I was in the company of ?Idol? royalty!Then, my eyes drifted to what this particular writer thought of me. His exact words were??The rare artist who benefited from ?Idol? pushing her into unfamiliar genres (her rock rendition of Bon Jovi?s ?Have a Nice Day? killed), but a postshow retreat into safe soul territory has made her a footnote in the music industry.?In all honesty, my first reactions were of disappointment, hurt and embarrassment. I decided not to ?retweet? the link to the article and tried to pretend I never saw it. However that ?footnote? reference would not leave me alone. So, I did what I always do. I prayed about it. What happened next is one of the many reasons I am so grateful for a God who loves me dearly. I began to be reminded of the awesome things I have been blessed to do as a result of being on American Idol. From performing at The White House, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and so many other amazing places?to becoming an author and speaker with my own book ?BeyondMe??to traveling all over the country singing my heart out?to being a part of life-saving efforts for children both domestically and internationally?I have absolutely LOVED every opportunity.In the midst of me being reminded of how thankful I was to be doing what I love for a living, a chapter of my book came to mind. It?s a lesson my Mommy taught me when I was younger. Chew the hay and spit out the sticks. (I grew up in Oklahoma?we?re country! LOL!) This approach to criticism is both difficult and rewarding, because you have to be willing to be extremely honest with yourself. So, that?s what I did. If I?m being honest, the NYT writer was correct. I love that ?Idol? pushed me into so many unfamiliar genres and it did open new possibilities for me vocally. I never knew there was a rocker in there. J However, I definitely did retreat into a safe soul territory with my CD. Whether that was my choice or not, doesn?t matter to the writer. He was just merely stating a fact. So, in ?chewing the hay,? I had to agree with him and decide if I wanted to do anything about it. While I?ve always been told a CD should be one genre so as to not confuse the audience, I now tend to give more credit to the audience. My voice is soulful and It will be on any style song you hear it on. So, there?s your continuity. Genre is free game. J I can?t wait for you all to hear the new music we?ve been working on. Now, for ?spitting out the sticks.? What he describes as a footnote, I describe as bliss. I hear what he?s saying and I can now say it doesn?t bother me. I see that he?s comparing me to others on his list of 5 and in sheer comparison?I get it. However, my life and career are my own and I am so grateful for how things are going. Can I do more? OF COURSE! Will I do more? YOU BET? Will it be to prove him wrong? NOPE. It?ll be because it?s what I?m supposed to be doing. Will him being proved wrong be an added bonus? MAYBE. Hehehe?I wrote this blog to be real with you guys. There are always things in life that will attempt to bring you down and may succeed for a while. Learn to chew the hay, spit out the sticks and live your life they way God has planned for you?not for anyone else. Comparison happens, but at the end of the day, you will do your very best at just being you. I know it?s cliché, but it?s truth. So, be real with yourself and as much as you can, work on seeing the best side of all things. Your perspective makes all the difference.So, today...I?m in the Top 5 Most Talented ?American Idol? Contestants! That's pretty dang cool if you ask me! Woo Hoo!
So?I know I?m WAY late, but I just saw the Les Miserables movie yesterday. I have to admit, I was nervous to see it at first because I heard so many differing opinions on it. Some people loved it and sobbed as they watched this tragic story of redemption and others could not get past the fact that some actors could not sing and this was, in fact, a musical and therefore required that ability. Normally, it is extremely hard for me to watch/listen to any musical performance without my ?singer hat? on, so I was not excited about having to try, but I gave in because I knew I would kick myself if I failed to see Les Mis on the big screen. Turns out, I?m so glad I did. I loved it! I didn?t sob (I?m beginning to think I only cry at animated films like Toy Story), but I loved it. Now, there were definitely times I questioned my sanity as some characters (one in particular) let out some vocal sounds worthy of an entire episode of Idology critique, but what I loved was the commitment these actors had. I was actually inspired by it. The fact that they immersed themselves SO deeply into something that does not come naturally to them and most of them carried it out beautifully was a wonder to me. It was also a challenge to me to push myself harder?to dive deeper into my songs?and to not be afraid to let imperfections color outside the lines a bit for the sake of a message. I am fully aware that I have heard and seen beyond amazing performances of these songs by Broadway actors and I would have loved to see more of them utilized for this movie. ***Side note: Eponine and Marius were absolutely brilliant and they are perfect examples of Broadway actors being utilized so very well.*** However, I thought this was definitely cast well. I mean, have you ever wanted Javert to die as much as you did in this movie? Also, wasn?t Anne Hathaway beautifully flawed? How about that ?Master of the House? performance? Was that not brilliant? What about Gavroche? Plus, I can watch Hugh Jackman lift anything heavy off of anybody for as long as you?d like me to. ;-)All that to say, I had a great time watching the story unfold. Next time, I may watch with my ?singer hat? on and have a different story to tell, but for now I will give them their kudos for One Day More! I?m so curious to know what you thought about the movie? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Hit the comment section and let me know.
Watching last night?s X Factor today and I thought I would let you in on my thoughts as they happen. Pretty much, I?m live tweeting?except?it?s not live. LOL! Here we go!1. Still mad at Demi Lovato for letting Jillian Jensen go! *side note: I think I have that same muumuu she?s wearing.2. Simon is wearing fangs. That?s all I?m gonna say about that.3. Ummm?crazy plunging neckline Khloe (but she looks great) and Hi, Mario?I love you. 4. Question: Is the audience going to be this loud the entire show? Can?t they turn them down a little?5. Paige Thomas is first. Demi just admitted that she?s not the best vocalist. Wow. Why cut her hair if she?s gonna wear a spike hat? A LOT going on in that performance. Hmmm?not my fave, but kinda reminded me of [insert any award show here].6. I would love to see the artists work up to these HUGE productions. Start smaller and have somewhere to grow, I think.7. Arin is next. Did Britney just say he needs to ?focal down?? I think I know what she meant?I think. Cool version of this song. A few pitch problems and is he old enough to have those ladies body-rolling on him like that?8. L.A. Reid is kinda harsh on David. Is this like a reverse psychology strategy? Boy can sing. Interesting song choice, but I think he sang it well. Totally agree with Simon on the slightly manic delivery, but overall I liked it.9. Sister C?can someone please tell me who doesn?t think these girls are likeable? Didn?t they audition with this song? Yay for 3 part harmony, though! I like them. GASP ? could they be likeable?!?!10. I refuse to blame Khloe for having to deliver that ?Hex Factor? line before the lights went out. I will, however, blame whoever came up with that idea. 11. Jennel really likes fringe. She rocked that song. There were a few weak moments where I thought she could have made better melody choices to highlight her voice, but nice job!12. I see what Britney is trying to do with Diamond?keep her young. Plus, I think De?Borah from The Voice has ruined anyone else singing this song for me. She has my favorite version! However, loved what Diamond did at the end vocally. 13. This song is way too low for Vino at the beginning. Oh dear?he took his hat off. He?s definitely a rocker and the higher part at the end was really cool. Hmmm?Simon says he?s more of a soul singer?now I?m confused. 14. Lyric 145! Please don?t let me down! Loving Lyric DaQueen! Actually love everything except for Gangnam Style. How did that song get in this performance? Not sure about the outfits either, but that?s ok. Don?t agree with L.A. Reid?s assessment of no soul, but love Lyric?s answer to him asking if she like the song??I made you like it!? Yes. Ma?am.15. I have to say, I wish CeCe had on more clothing. Now on to the song?I didn?t care for the singing of the verses at all, but the pre-chorus and chorus were fierce! Liking the blond hair. I can tell that she?s an extremely hard worker and I love that.16. So far, Tate has had the best pitch and control hands down. He wasn?t my favorite leading into the live shows, but MAN, he did a great job! I definitely want him to stick around! Then, when he started to tear up and his voice broke about his family?I?m in.17. Love that Beatrice was so vocal about not liking the song choice. Holy crimps in her hair Batman! She?s beyond her years as far as emoting goes. Her voice sounds good, but I loved her Titanium performance so much more. 18. So?when I close my eyes, Jason Brock is singing his tail off! Not my favorite song for him, but doesn?t matter?he can just sing. Now?when I open my eyes, I?m completely distracted and it?s like I can?t even hear him sing. How do they fix that? Please fix that? *side note: I could have done without him trying to pat Mario Lopez?s bum after the critiques.19. 1432?! Seriously? That?s the new name? I?m gonna try to look past that name for now. I love Taylor Swift, so I guess I?m okay with the song choice. Question: Why does a group of 5 need 6 background singers? Wasn?t my favorite performance, but I think they can improve. Love that Khloe made Demi say who her favorite was?she was my favorite too!20. Not used to male country singers having a bunch of dancers and stuff, but maybe I?ll be proven wrong at the CMAs tonight. Willie can sing, but it seemed like a caricature of a country singer. I know people love him and I really want to. He is a cutie pie, though! J 21. This little Carly Rose can sing. This was not a singer?s song, and I still heard her amazing voice in spite of that. Here?s hoping she get something more worthy of her chops next week.22. Emblem 3. Apparently, all the shirtlessness paid off. I?m a fan. All three of them can sing. Loved the song. Loved the harmonies. Loved them. Uh-oh. I feel like Demi Lovato.23. All in all, the first live show of X Factor was a lot to take in with only SOME of it being exciting, but I have hope for the show. I really do. 24. 4 acts go home tonight?who do you think it might be? 25. You know I hate results shows and predicting, but I know I have to so?If it?s one act from each mentor?Demi?s Group: Either Willie or PaigeL.A.?s Group: VinoBritney?s Group: Arin or Diamond (this makes me sad)Simon?s Group: Sister C or 1432 (for their name alone)
So...here's the thing...I'm part of this AMAZING production of Smokey Joe's Cafe that opens THIS Thursday Sept. 20th and I thought I would tell you why you really want to come see this! It's a show full of singing HEFFAS...even the guys! ;-) I seriously sit in rehearsal every day wanting to throw my shoes at every single cast member. If my shoes weren't so dang cute, I might actually do it. On top of all of that, I get to sing my heart out! I have never been so stretched in a show to cover different genres, moods and notes. NEVER! It's so challenging and so much fun all at the same time.Now, I know some of you are like...what in the world is Smokey Joe's Cafe? Well, it's a musical of revue of some of the best music out there written by Lieber & Stoller. If you don't know who I'm talking about...proceed to google immediately! They are the writers of huge Elvis hits like Treat Me Nice, Hound Dog and Jailhouse Rock...Doo Wop hits like Young Blood, Ruby Baby and Searchin'...Pop hits like I Keep Forgettin', Love Potion #9 and On Broadway...Blues hits like Trouble and I'm a Woman. Seriously, they are musical geniuses and that doesn't even begin to cover all the fabulous songs in this show. No talking...just singing...and you are guaranteed to be singing along all night!Now on to this stellar cast! Meet my HEFFAS! Abner RamirezAmanda Ramirez Laura Matula Ryan Greenawalt Libby Hodges John-Mark McGahaHarvey Hubert*Abner and Amanda are the acclaimed duo JOHNNYSWIM. Their voices are sublime and they make every song come alive like you've never heard it before! Plus, they're the most adorable husband and wife ever!*Laura's voice is capable of anything! I am not exaggerating. I seriously have not found something she can't do. It's my new mission in life.*Ryan sings higher than me. This is not okay, but it's really impressive to watch. FYI: When I say he sings higher, I mean he's actually belting higher than me...this is not falsetto. I have some work to do. :-)*Libby...let's just call her the blond Aretha Franklin! Her voice is bananas. Just you wait...you will be throwing shoes at the end of every. song. she. sings.*John-Mark is the male version of Laura. Still haven't found what he can't do. His voice has so many colors to it...it really is breathtaking.*Harvey quite possibly has the smoothest voice I've ever heard. Plus, he sings bass. Seriously...it's beyond gorgeous and I generally melt whenever I hear him up close...which creates a slight problem for our duet. :-/So...your assignment is to head over to www.studiotenn.com and get your tickets RIGHT NOW. Trust me, the ticket price is WELL worth the show you will see. (You'll probably want to donate more after the show) I also suggest you come the first weekend because you're gonna want to see this one more than once. See you there! Oh...and make sure you say Hi to me after the show!