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Rising Star

Rising Star Logo.

Rising Star, the latest entry in the singing talent shows from ABC, has been on the air for two weeks and it’s great. For what it’s worth, I thought the show wouldn’t live up to the hype that was built in the television spots from the past few months. Now, the show isn’t perfect, there are some kinks that need to be ironed out in order to become ‘American Idol successful,’ like, for instance, host Josh Groban can come off as wooden or just plain corny. Rising Star has the elements of becoming the perfect talent show with integration of live voting. However, it couldn’t have come at a worse time when the ‘talent show’ show is losing traction and becoming a fad of the past.

When American Idol premiered twelve years ago, there was a wave of fresh air that hit the faces of television viewers. Here was something that was near novel with three personalities and a fantastic host. American Idol was a giant, a force to be reckoned with.

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So who is Caleb Johnson, really? Of course we all know that he is the most recent American Idol winner from Season 13, but there’s more to him than that, right? Caleb is from Asheville, North Carolina and was born April 23rd, 1991. Some aren’t aware that Caleb had tried out for Idol twice before and couldn’t make the cut. But this year was a whole new ball game and he finally proved he had what it took to take the cake, so to speak.

This Week in Music History – May 25 – May 31

50 cent 21 questions

The #1 songs of this week were:

1994 – All-4-One – I Swear (20 years ago)
2003 – 50 Cent – 21 Questions (11 years ago)
2007 – T-Pain ft. Yung Joc – Buy U A Drank (7 years ago)

May 25th

In 1975, Lauryn Hill was born.

In 2003, 50 Cent hit #1 with his second single, 21 Questions. The song stayed at #1 for four weeks.

In 2005, Carrie Underwood won season four of American Idol. She went on to be one of the most successful American Idol contestant.

May 26th

In 1969, Lenny Kravitz was born as Leonard Albert Kravitz.

In 1977, members of the band Kiss provided vials of their blood to be used in the red ink of their upcoming Marvel comic.

In 1994, Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie-Presley (Elvis’ daughter) got married. They divorced a year later.

In 2004, Fantasia Barrino won the third season of American Idol.

May 27th

In 1975, Andre 3000 of OutKast was born as André Lauren Benjamin.

In 1989, De La Soul’s debut album “3 Feet High and Rising” hits #1 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop chart.

In 2001, Lady Marmalade started a five-week run at #1. The song included Pink, Christina Aguilera, Mya, and Lil’ Kim.

May 28th

In 2000, Britney Spears went to #1 with her album “Oops… I did It Again”. She also went to #1 in 13 other countries.

May 30th

In 2000, Eminem’s second album “The Marshall Mathers LP” became the fastest selling rap album ever with 1.76 million copies in it’s first week.

May 31st

In 19998, Ginger Spice (Geri Halliwell) left the Spice Girls, officially ending the Girl Power era.

Check out what happened in music history last week, April 18 – May 24th.

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Summer seems to be the music season. We can expect concerts, music festivals and album releases. How many of you listen to a song from long ago and remember that summer and what you did? Some would say, me included, that music makes your summer in many ways. Summer of 2014 is going to be no different. But what exactly can we expect of this summer in music?

American Idol photo

American Idol photo

Ryan Seacrest announced Caleb Johnson as American Idol Season 13 winner. Caleb was the front winner throughout the season of the live performances. Caleb came out ready to win Tuesday night. Last week Caleb rocked out his performances with a bruised vocal chordCaleb beat out Jena Irene. The two became best friends and Caleb will be escorting Jena to prom this year.

Caleb’s album is set to release August 12, 2014 and his single “As Long As You Love Me” can be downloaded on iTunes now. Both Caleb and Jena will join other Season 13 finalist for the American Idol Tour that launches June 24. The Top 10 will perform 41 show concerts.

Jena Irene and Caleb Johnson had to sing three rounds during American Idol’s Finale. They sang producer Simon Fuller’s pick in the first round. The artist picked their favorite song to perform in the second round. Both artists performed their winner song if chosen as American Idol winner in the third round.

American Idol photo

American Idol photo

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American Idol Finalists Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene

Caleb Johnson (left) and Jena Irene (right) are this season’s American Idol finalists

The first person revealed to advance to the finale was Jena Irene from Farmington, MI. Then Ryan Seacrest named Caleb Johnson from Asheville, NC as the other contestant to advance sending Alex Preston home. American Idol finalists Jena and Caleb have been the front-runners throughout competition. For weeks the judges praised majority of their performances said both individually were the one to beat. Both finalist are talented rock artists.

Caleb and Jena perform live Tuesday May 20th for America’s final vote.

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The Top 3 perform on American Idol during Idol’s 500th episode. Each contestant sang three songs. Randy chose first round songs, the judges chose the second round of songs, and the contestants’ hometowns chose the third round.

American Idol photo

American Idol photo

Caleb Johnson

Randy chose “Never Tear Us Apart by Inxs” for Caleb Johnson. Caleb has a bruised vocal cord and is suffering from bronchitis. Keith said he did a really great job. Jennifer told Caleb, “you on your worst night is better the people on their best night.”

“Demons” by Imagine Dragons was the judges’ pick for Caleb. Jennifer told Caleb to rely on the emotion and the lyric to help his performance while he is sick. The judges agreed he did a great job.

Caleb’s hometown, Asheville, NC, chose “Dazed and Confused” by Led Zeppelin. Caleb saved everything he had for this performance. Jennifer rocked out the entire performance and the audience chanted his name afterwards. Jennifer said it was “a true idol moment.” Harry loved him taking full advantage of the opportunity.

American Idol photo

American Idol photo

Alex Preston

Alex’s first song was Bastille’s Pompeii. Alex had Jennifer once he picked up the percussion and started playing during his performance.  Harry and Keith thought there were a few shaky spots. Keith said he is at his best when he is playing an instrument.

Alex took on Rihanna’s “Stay.” All three judges loved his performance. Jennifer said he made them forget about Rihanna.

Alex’s hometown, Mount Vernon, NH, selected “Story Of My Life” by One Direction. Harry thought it was strong and another classic Alex performance. Keith thought he came down after the previous performance.

American Idol photo

American Idol photo


Jena Irene

Jena first performed “Titanium” by David Guetta and Sia. Harry thought the performance was strong and hit all the critical notes. Jennifer said the beginning was shaky and the performance “felt a little stiff.”

Judges chose “Heart Attack” by Demi Lovato for Jena.  Keith loves when she is on stage with the band. Jennifer said she did great and it felt free compared to the first performance.

Jena’s high school, North Farmington High, chose “Creep” By Radio Head. Harry thought “it was a great way to end the show.” Keith thinks her progress throughout the competition is mind blowing. Jennifer said Jena “is going to be so hard to beat.”

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This week on American Idol the  Top 4 of American Idol performed three songs about love. Everyone was in jeopardy with only 4 left in the competition.

Jena Irene was the first to be saved. Jena stole the night on American Idol with her version of Elvis Presley’s “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.” Caleb Johnson joined Jena leaving Alex Preston and Jessica Meuse in the bottom two. American saved Alex. It wasn’t surprising Jessica went home after her first two songs didn’t impress the judges.

American Idol’s Top 3 will visit their hometowns next week. photo photo


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American Idol photo

American Idol photo

The Top 4 of American Idol performed three songs representing make ups and break ups. photo photo

Caleb Johnson
Caleb started off the night with “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi. All three judges loved his performance. Caleb has been consistently good throughout the competition.

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Travelin Brand” was Caleb’s second choice of song. Harry stated, “This isn’t really a critique because I thought it was fantastic.”

“Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney was Caleb’s choice for his make up song. Caleb showed his softer side and it was a phenomenal performance. Caleb got Jennifer and Keith out of their seats to applaud him. Keith said he nailed it. Jennifer thought it was his best performance since the beginning. photo photo

Jena Irene
Jena chose Heart Breaker by Pat Benatar as her heart break song. Keith didn’t think she was a fully committed to ther performance. Jennifer disagreed and thought it was a great performance. Harry agreed with Keith and thought there was a disconnect between the song and her movement.

“Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga was Jena’s second song to perform. Jena chose to change the arrangement of the song. Keith really liked how she changed the melody of the chorus. Jennifer thinks she gives Caleb a run for his money, but didn’t like the change.

Jena wowed fans with a beautiful version of Elvis Presley’s “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.” She also had Keith and Jennifer up at the end. Jennifer then came around and gave Jena a kiss. Jena’s performance gave Jenniferthe chills. Jennifer said it is the king’s song and she “reinvented it.” Harry thought it was “absolutely incredible.” Keith stated Jena is a “musical platypus” because she is so unique. photo photo

Jessica Meuse
Jessica heart break song was Kelly Clarkston’s “Since You Been Gone.” Jennifer thought she had the right attitude, but didn’t think it was the right song for her. Harry said it wasn’t her best performance.

Jessica’s second song was So What” by Pink. The performance lacked the intensity Pink brings. All three judges agreed that the song wasn’t right for her.

Jessica chose “You and I” by Lady Gaga as her make up song. This performance was better than the first two. Keith thought it was the perfect song for her. Harry thought she “came out swinging with the perfect song.” photo photo

Alex Preston
Alex Preston performed “Too Close” by Alex Clare. Harry liked the performance. Jennifer’s only concern is how he is going to be able to top Jena and Caleb. She thought it was good, but advises him to create more moments during his performances.

Alex dedicated Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” to his girlfriend. Jennifer said it stayed linear again. Harry thought there wasn’t anything different from the original and was looking for him to put the Alex spin on it.

Alex Closed the night with a great performance of “Yellow” by Coldplay.” Harry said Alex needed that performance. Keith described how Alex had “poetic vulnerability.”