Thursday, September 01, 2011


No doubt American Idol graduated this year, with a hard-rocking barnstorming U.S. tour (then to the Philippines, I believe) and at least five record deals. The 9th place finisher, Pia Toscano, has a hit single already, f'goss sakes. And, of course, the incomparable Haley Reinhart, the jazz improviser with a rock & roll heart, no two performances exactly alike.

One of the best new twists is the proliferation of user videos from the live shows, which tell a narrative tail of 13 kids going from fire-tested amateurs to confident pros in dozens of cities, now second nature playing in front of huge, filled arenas.

The Manchester, NH performance last night benefitted from the best (a.k.a. closest) UGC video I've seen yet. Check out how Haley and Casey have grown, bringing Art Blakey to all-age audiences all across America:

Hard to believe that earlier this year when they performed it together, on national television, for the first time, they were just kids.

But by far my favorite clip, from every show where there's a UGC version to be had, is when four of the women - Pia, Haley, Naima and Thea, do their house-shaking collaboration on Janelle Monae's already classic Tightrope. You can't get too high; you can't get too low:

I love how 16-year-old Thea gets nicely featured in starting the verses, love how Naima takes over when they start moving, it's noce to hear Pia harmonizing with the women since she left the show so long before they female duets as the cast got whittled down.

And then there's Haley, go-go chick playing her part so happily throughout, then taking it all home in the end.

I believe there will be a lot of people looking forward to her first album, hoping it's really good.

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