Before we left, I told Hunkahubby that I hoped I would not be disappointed. Oftentimes, things don't come through quite the same way on TV that they do live and in person.
I was right.
But in a good way.
TV did NOT do them justice.
They were AMAZING. Honestly. I was only disappointed with one contestant - which I'll get into in a minute.
During the 'warm-up' before the concert, we were treated to an appearance by POP-TART (Pop-Tarts sponsored the concert).
He was fun. (all pictures by Hunkahubby and IzzyBeth, Copyright, 2008)
He was fun. (all pictures by Hunkahubby and IzzyBeth, Copyright, 2008)
Not so sure about the implications of a giant fuzzy Pop-Tart though . . .
Right before the show started, there was a little bit of activity in front of the stage and we realized that Hoosier top 24 contestant Luke Menard was in the audience.
Yes, the picture is fuzzy, but it is him. Several of the contestants pointed him out and one even dedicated a song to him.
The concert started and each performer from 10 to the winner was given the chance to sing at least 3 songs by themselves on stage.
The first performer was the contestant who finished 10th: Chikezie
I was extremely impressed with him. He talked of how blessed he was to be on the stage. He had awesome stage presence and he hit some unbelievable notes. He did not deserve to be 10th. He also did a great job of starting off the show and getting everyone pumped up. After Chikezie performed three songs (for a complete set list, click here) Ramiele Malubay got her turn.
Now I have to admit, that I really liked Ramiele at the beginning of the competition this year. But as time went on - she didn't show much personality. Well, unfortunately - that carried through to this concert. She is a tiny, cute girl - but she was not that great. And she acted bored to be there. I was disappointed in her stage presence and in her voice. :-( And I'm not even sure she knew what city she was in. But anyway - I made it through her 3 songs and cheered loudly when she was done.
Next up . . . a contestant that never should have finished 8th . . . Michael Johns.
During this season - I went back and forth on Michael. He seemed kind of cocky. But he was an amazing performer - and in this concert he did justice to favorites from Queen and Aerosmith. And he dedicated Aerosmith's "Dream On" to Luke Menard. Even Hunkahubby who was not a fan of Michael, said that he redeemed himself. He did a great job. (Plus, who couldn't love his Australian accent?)
Next up - the country girl, Kristy Lee Cook.
She had an on again/off again season and I really think it was nerves. She was often pitchy and I wasn't certain how good she really was. Well, she did a GREAT job performing. I didn't hear any pitchy notes either. And of course - she knows how to get the crowd by performing "God Bless the USA". Kristy is also the first contestant (beyond the top 2) to get a record contract. So look for her country album to come out within the next year!
Next was the performer that Hunkahubby and I were VERY excited to hear live: Carly Smithson!!!
She did NOT disappoint. :-) Go Carly. Carly has a magnificent voice. And she sang some pretty powerful songs. She opened with "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence. And then she talked in her beautiful Irish lilt for a little bit. Then she caused my husband to drool and sweat a little bit by singing "Crazy on You" by Heart (He LOVES Heart). And she KILLED it. (Killed in a good way, obviously). She finished with Cyndi Lauper's "I Drove All Night." Awesome job Carly. Some idiot had better sign her to a label. She is amazing. (And all those people who are hating on her over the "previous contract controversy" - GIVE HER A BREAK, she was REALLY YOUNG. She's paid her dues. Geesh.)
Next up was finalist number 5 - Brooke White.
Brooke has the Carole King/Carly Simon vibe, which I love. I was a little worried about Brooke during the competition because I was afraid the pressure was going to make her CRACK. But she survived the tv season and did a beautiful job performing for us - including accompanying herself on piano and guitar.
Just before intermission - we were reminded about Idol Gives Back and how we can continue to help. The finalists who had performed so far came together to perform U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)". Again . . . awesome. (I have to find a new adjective.)
During intermission there was a Guitar Hero: World Tour commercial featuring the idols - but I was busy standing in the horrendously long women's restroom line. But I searched for it on YouTube and was able to see most of it. (I won't post a link here, because none of the videos are great quality).
Hunkahubby and I got something to drink to help our parched throats (yes, we scream) and got back to our seats - and were graced with Mr. Pop-Tart's presence for a few more minutes. Then - BACK TO THE SHOW WITH . . . Jason Castro!
I love Jason Castro. He was always really laid back, and just a little bit awkward. But you could not deny that he was talented. He also did my favorite song of his from the season - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of "Over the Rainbow." With a ukulele no less. :-)
The next contestant is a stunning girl and has a beautiful voice - but I wish she'd worn a little bit more clothes. Holy cow Syesha Mercado!
Syesha sang very well, and knew her way around the stage - but I wasn't DAZZLED the way I was with some of the other performers. Maybe I was too busy watching the security guy who thought he needed to police how far people's toes stuck out into the aisle. Or listening to the four adults who had way too much to drink in the rows behind us. (You couldn't NOT hear them, unfortunately.)
After this - the high pitched scary screaming started. The pre-teens were IN THE HOUSE. And they were there for David Archuleta.
Here is another one where I cannot deny this kid's talent. He has an incredible voice for a 17-year-old. He seems very comfortable "working" the stage - but when he stops to talk - he still seems really nervous and completely blown away that everyone is screaming for him.
David Archuleta (or "Archie") got to sing 4 songs, and my favorite was the last one where he sang Josh Groban's version of "When You Say You Love Me."
Now - the moment I had been waiting for . . . Yes - I am a "Cookie". I loved this contestant from almost the very beginning of last season. He was consistently good - and always did something unique with his songs. (And it doesn't hurt that he seems to be a genuine nice guy - AND has family from Indiana!) Yes - it was finally time for - DAVID COOK!
He was BEYOND amazing. He did a great job - and he was so REAL. During one part, he realized that his pants were coming 'un-tied' -- I think it was more on the side than anything that would have caused embarrassment. But after a song, he sat down and said he was going to fix it (and everyone booed) and he said "I can't believe you guys would BOO safety!"
He also talked about his guitar and that he bought it in Indiana. And that his Dad and some other family members were in the audience. (He made his Daddy proud!)
David got to sing five songs including:
His version of "Hello" by Lionel Richie.
His first official single - "The Time of My Life"
Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing"
The Foo Fighters' "My Hero" which he dedicated to his brother Adam (from Terre Haute, Indiana) who is battling brain cancer.
And Chris Cornell's version of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean".
Hello and Billie Jean were definitely my favorites.
Everyone screamed the loudest for the 2 Davids (Carly, Castro, and Michael Johns got a lot of love as well.) And I thought the coolest thing was this gray-haired lady a few rows in front of me who tried to stand on her chair to get a better look at David Cook. When you've won over the Grandmas AND the teenagers - well, what else could you want??
All of the idols came out for one last song - Rihanna's version of "Please don't stop the music". Again . . . amazing. (heard that word enough?)
Oh - and I almost forgot to mention the fact that at the very end streamers shot out of the ceiling and I GOT TO KEEP A PIECE. (I'm weird, I know.) Hunkahubby is working on a collage for our wall from our AI Concert experience and the shiny streamer will just make it that much cooler.
It was a great evening and I didn't want it to end. I wanted to stay after to see if I could meet some of the idols - but Hunkahubby thought we should get home before it got too late. ::sighs:: OH WELL. I got some great pictures - and hopefully several of these people make it big and I can say I knew them when.
And the best part? An evening with Hunkahubby all to myself. I am so blessed.
Happy Thursday - TOMORROW IS FRIDAY!!!!