Archive for the ‘Kris Allen’ Category

BlakeOnline Special – “American Idol” Pre-Concert Report 2009

August 5, 2009

Image belongs to Blake’s family.

Season eight’s contestants greet fans with enthusiasm and infectious joy.

By Blake

Originally posted August 5, 2009.

I love American Idol. I just think it’s so cool how one television show can have a little bit for everyone, being just as entertaining for elementary-age kids as it is for their grandparents. And there’s almost no worrying about hiding anyone’s eyes or ears for inappropriate content.

As I finished up writing this article and was doing some proofreading before I posted it, I heard the big American Idol news that was just announced last night, August 4, 2009: Paula Abdul – one of the show’s judges that had been a part of the series since its beginning – will not be making the return for the show’s ninth season. The new season begins filming auditions in front of judges soon, and will premiere on Fox in January, 2010. I’m not going to go into detail about the announcement, but I must say that I think I’ll miss Paula on the judge’s panel.

Moving on to the reason I’m writing this article in the first place, when the chance came to possibly meet some of this year’s American Idol top ten contestants as they rolled through their nationwide tour, it was an opportunity that I’m very glad I got to experience. While we didn’t go to the actual concert, a few family members and I decided to head to the concert’s venue early to see if we could get a few autographs and pictures.

While generally the concert doesn’t start until 7pm, the tour’s buses usually get there anytime between 11am and 2pm. Sometime around then, contestants can come out and greet fans. They’re not obligated to, so if they don’t feel like it on any given day, they don’t HAVE to come out at all. However, if you show up around 11 to get a spot with other fans outside, you’ll have a pretty good chance to at least meet a few of the contestants. The experience is also free, which is a great bonus.

We arrived around 11:20 to find a small crowd waiting behind barriers outside of the arena. The amount of people gathering gradually grew larger as time passed, with people covering the entire barrier’s length by around 1:30.

Thankfully, the weather was very nice while we were waiting. It was overcast, but not raining, and only after a while did the sun come out. It was warm, but I didn’t think it was too hot (though it can get a little sweltering after being in it for a long time). If you plan on going early, be sure to pack a lunch and plenty of water. The amount of time it takes for the contestants to come outside varies with each city they visit, but expect to be standing out there for about three to four hours total (including the time spent meeting contestants).

The contestants came out at around 1:45, and the crowd went wild! Kris Allen, Danny Gokey, Matt Giraud, Anoop Desai, Scott MacIntyre (with his brother, Todd, to assist him), Megan Joy, and Michael Sarver all came out to mingle with fans. Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta, and Lil Rounds ended up not making it out. Contestants came out about two at a time, not all at once.

Megan Joy meets with fans. Image belongs to Blake’s family.

Scott MacIntyre (right) with his brother, Todd. Image belongs to Blake’s family.

Anoop Desai greets fans. Image belongs to Blake’s family.

Some contestants may only have time to go down the line very quickly to sign autographs, while others may take their time to pose for pictures and talk. Kris, Danny, Matt, and Michael were the slowest making their way down the line, each stopping to talk with fans and take pictures. Many of them would run down the line and give hi-fives before signing autographs, creating an energetic mood over the crowd. All of the contestants seemed very appreciative that people had taken time to come see them, and their positive attitudes seemed to perk up the crowd, causing everyone to wait patiently for their turn.

Kris Allen gets ready to greet fans. Image belongs to Blake’s family.

Danny Gokey meets with fans. Image belongs to Blake’s family.

Most of them were happy to stop and take pictures with fans, and would even give shout-outs to your camera or phone if you wanted them to. Michael was striking up conversations with many folks, and Matt remarked a few questions at us (“You’re not too hot out here, are you? Not too hot?”). Did we really look THAT sweaty? Just kidding.

Matt Giraud talks with fans. Image belongs to Blake’s family.

Michael Sarver socializes with fans. Image belongs to Blake’s family.

I advise to bring something with you for the contestants to sign. There were concert programs and portraits available for sale right there outside, but overall I thought the prices were pretty expensive. Making a poster would be much more cost-efficient, and also makes for a great homemade souvenir.

Seeing the contestants’ personalities unfold throughout the course of the season on television gave me a better appreciation for their work ethic, and for them coming out to say “Hi” to their fans. American Idol is a very special part of my life, and being able to see some of the people that make the show so memorable on a one-on-one level was an amazing experience.

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By Blake; posted August 5, 2009. All images belong to Blake’s family.

Channel Flippin’ – What a Show

May 23, 2009

The 2009 season finale of ‘American Idol’ was the program’s most impressive conclusion ever. (Spoiler warning!)

By Blake

Originally posted May 23, 2009; updated May 29, 2009.

***Spoiler Warning***
This post contains commentary about the American Idol 2009 finale. If you haven’t yet watched the finale and wouldn’t like to know who won yet, don’t read any further!
***Spoiler Warning***

I knew the American Idol contestants and crew could put on a great show. Year after year of amazing season finales and Idol Gives Back specials had proven that Fox could throw a seriously awesome TV party. Even knowing that, I was still blown away by the outstanding performances showcased on American Idol’s two-part season eight finale, which was broadcasted on Tuesday, May 19 and Wednesday, May 20, 2009.

The finale was the epilogue to a great season of talent, showmanship, and shockers.

The season started out with a new judge, singer/songwriter Kara DioGuardi. At first I had thought that the decision to add a new judge to the show would result in “jumping the shark,” though thankfully that didn’t happen at all. Instead, DioGuardi gave the contestants constructive criticism – telling it like it was without getting mean.

Kara DioGuardi was a new judge this season.

This year, the show returned to its former “Top 36” format as opposed to recent years’ “Top 24” layout. This meant that the top 36 contestants were put into groups of twelve, with one group performing each week and three of each group’s twelve contestants moving on to the top twelve. After that, a “wildcard” show admitted three more performers (that had previously been voted out) into the top twelve. However, a slight twist this year revealed that there would be a top thirteen, putting one more contestant through to the final round of the show.

Once the top thirteen contestants were established, another twist was revealed: the “judge’s save.” Through this new rule, if for any given reason a contestant was voted out and the judges didn’t agree with that person going home, they could “save” that contestant, letting that person keep competing in the show. However, this also meant that the week following the save, two contestants would go home instead of one. The save could only be used once the entire season, and could only be implemented through the week of the top five.

The judges decided to use their save on Matt Giraud. If they hadn’t used their save on him, Giraud would have gone home in 7th place. Instead he ended up staying two more weeks, going home in 5th place.

The judge’s used their only “save” for the season on contestant Matt Giraud.

Fellow contestants celebrate with Matt Giraud as the judges announce their “save.”

This season, the bar was significantly raised concerning the talent level each contestant was brought to their performances. With David Cook’s win last year, the show transitioned from finding an excellent singer to finding an excellent artist. A great voice can get you pretty far in American Idol, but now it’s unlikely that anyone will go all the way without showing their own unique style by changing the arrangements of songs to better suit their personality.

Surprisingly not present in the 2009 season was a full night devoted to Idol Gives Back. An American Idol tradition since 2007, Idol Gives Back involves contestants and celebrities encouraging viewers to donate to several charitable organizations. For two years, a special had aired for Idol Gives Back, filled with spectacular performances, as well as videos of how the money that had been raised was being used worldwide to help others. There was a brief Idol Gives Back update during one of this season’s results shows, which included a video of a trip Carrie Underwood took to Africa to help the cause and a performance by a child that had benefitted from the donations, though no full-blown special aired like previous years.

Noah (center), a child that benefitted from the Keep A Child Alive organization as a result of the donations viewers made for Idol Gives Back, stands with Alicia Keys and Ryan Seacrest after performing on American Idol on May 13, 2009.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 saw the last night of voting for the season. The top two contestants included rocker Adam Lambert and laid-back Kris Allen, who both performed three songs on Tuesday. Concluding the show was a special performance by Carrie Underwood of “Home Sweet Home,” which was this season’s “exit song” that played as each contestant was eliminated. On Tuesday, however, the song was played while a montage of the season’s highlights was shown. It was a somewhat sentimental moment, sort of a signal that the season really was coming to a close.

2005 American Idol winner Carrie Underwood performs “Home Sweet Home” on American Idol on Tuesday, May 19, 2009.

The season wasn’t quite over yet, though. Not a bit, really.

On Wednesday, May 20, 2009, the season finale aired, and honestly was one of the overall best television programs I’ve ever seen. An all-around entertaining show with something for just about everybody, it was really amazing.

Throughout the night, there were several performances by the entire top thirteen contestants (including Jasmine Murray, Jorge Nunez, Alexis Grace, Michael Sarver, Megan Joy, Scott MacIntyre, Lil Rounds, Anoop Desai, Matt Giraud, Allison Iraheta, Danny Gokey, Adam Lambert, and Kris Allen), including the opening number of Pink’s “So What.”

Additionally, the night included performances by contestants accompanied by celebrities, including Megan Joy and Michael Sarver with Steve Martin, Alexis Grace and Anoop Desai with Jason Mraz, Lil Rounds with Queen Latifa, Matt Giraud (and later joined by the rest of the top thirteen) with Carlos Santana, Allison Iraheta with Cyndi Lauper, Danny Gokey with Lionel Richie, Adam Lambert with Kiss, and Kris Allen with Keith Urban. All of them were exceptionally wonderful performances.

Not only all of those, but the top girls also performed with Fergie, which subsequently followed with a performance by the Black Eyed Peas.

Three “Golden Idol” awards were given throughout the night to contestants who didn’t make it very far in the show, but were very memorable enough from their brief airtime. The first went to Nick Mitchell, who at first seemed very shocked, claiming that he wished he had something prepared. In mid-sentence, he shouted “Hit it!” and proceeded to take off his jacket, revealing his “Norman Gentle” attire. Hysterical.

Ryan Seacrest (left) and Nick Mitchell.

The next awards went to Katrina Darrell aka “Bikini Girl” and Tiana Del Toro. I’m not going to say much about either of their performances, but I couldn’t help feeling a little bit sorry for them, hoping that they’d both feel accepted for who they are without having to take extra measures of attention-getting.

Also included in the night’s agenda was a sentimental performance by season seven American Idol winner David Cook of his new single “Permanent,” which relates personally to him with the recent loss of his brother. After he sang, Cook announced that all proceeds from the downloads on iTunes of the performance would go to Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure.

2008 American Idol winner David Cook performs “Permanent” at the 2009 American Idol finale.

The last surprise performance of the night was the two finalists Kris Allen and Adam Lambert singing “We Are the Champions” with Queen.

From left: Adam Lambert, a member of Queen, and Kris Allen.

Lastly, it was time to reveal the winner. The lights were dimmed, the two finalists took center stage along with host Ryan Seacrest, the envelope containing the results was delivered, and the winner was announced to be . . . Kris Allen!

American Idol 2009 runner-up Adam Lambert (left) with winner Kris Allen.

You can see the obvious shock Allen felt by the win from the picture below:

From left: Adam Lambert, Kris Allen, and Ryan Seacrest as Allen is announced as the American Idol 2009 winner.

Closing out the show was a performance by Kris Allen, the newest American Idol winner, of his single “No Boundaries.”

Kris Allen (in white shirt, black jacket, and jeans, fifth from right) with fellow American Idol 2009 contestants as he performs “No Boundaries.”

As the show came to its 2009 close, this touching picture of Kris Allen with his wife, Katy Allen, was the last shot that television viewers saw as the credits rolled:

Kris Allen with his wife, Katy Allen, just after Kris was announced as the American Idol 2009 winner.

Update from May 29, 2009: Kris visited Walt Disney World on May 29, 2009, where he appeared in a parade at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with Mickey Mouse, and then performed outside of the American Idol Experience attraction. You can check out coverage of the event at DISUnplugged.com.
I was overall very content with this season of American Idol. It’s hard to believe it’s already completely over. It’s been an amazing ride.

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By Blake; posted May 23, 2009; updated May 29, 2009. All images (C) Fox.

Channel Flippin’ – New ‘American Idol’ Winner Named

May 22, 2009

The next ‘American Idol’ winner was announced on Wednesday, May 20.

By Blake

Originally posted May 22, 2009.

***Spoiler Warning***
This post contains commentary about the American Idol 2009 finale. If you haven’t yet watched the finale and wouldn’t like to know who won yet, don’t read any further!
***Spoiler Warning***

For those of you that are still there, let me share my congratulations to Kris Allen for taking home the American Idol season eight title. Gradually rising to become an excellent performer throughout the course of the season, Allen has displayed a genuine, sincere, humble personality since his first audition. He won over runner-up Adam Lambert, and the total amount of votes for both contestants for the finale was a record-breaking number of almost 100 million.

The season finale aired on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 and was the most jam-packed and incredibly awesome American Idol conclusion ever. It really was quite a show.

And while the American Idol buzz is still circling around the nation, check out Disney’s newest commercial:

By Blake Taylor; posted May 22, 2009. American Idol image (C) Fox. Disney Park video (C) Disney.