American Idol Winner 2012 – A Prayer for Jessica

Jessica Sanchez had me when she channelled Whitney Houston in  “I will always love you”. If you look at the uneven album records of the 17 American Idol winners and runner-ups only eight first place winners have released an album – though Carrie underwood and Kelly Clarkson have done well- there is one Oscar winner among the runner-ups and many of these have fared much better than first place winners. (Daughtry should have won – and I don’t even like rock.)

I think Jessica is amazing. Phillips is fine but this young lady makes you cry.

When she sang “The Prayer” last night it was incredible – and she is only 16 years old.

The record business is terribly difficult however; so often it lacks a soul though music is all about soul. If Jessica wins I hope she will have good people on her team who are not just in it for the money.

No matter what both these young people are winners, all those who try are winners.

I really thought the judges threw Jessica under the bus last night; they are so obviously rooting for Phil. Perhaps they know it will be too hard on Jessica for her to win. But let’s be fair – what a gift Jessica has!

The Voice 2012 – who will win? Jermaine Paul gets my vote!

What I love about “The Voice” – the blind auditions. What I don’t like about “The Voice”  – The judges, especially Christina, turned snarky this season. The first season was so kind and nurturing to the singers. It takes such courage for them to perform as they do.

I loved Katrina but she didn’t make it.

If you watch the performances of the final four, however, they were amazing. I love Chris Mann for singing “Ave Maria”. But to me, Jermaine Paul stands out over and above. See what you think. My vote goes to Jermaine, though I reserve the right to change my mind after tonight’s show.

American Idol’s Jessica Sanchez: when the whole world held its breath

If you ever doubt the power of music to transcend daily life, listen to Jessica Sanchez’s rendition of  “And I Will Always Love You”. Jessica channels Whitney and when she pauses just before she belts out “And I-I-I will always love you” I think the whole world held its breath. I did. I don’t think I have EVER seen Randy Jackson so moved. Jennifer Lopez says, “God blesss you” and Steve Tyler tells Jessica: you just made 40 million people cry.

Dolly Parton’s little song …

Maybe “American Idol” isn’t ready to give up the ghost yet after all (and I love “The Voice”!)

American Idol: Go Crystal!



Crystal Bowersox has my vote to win American Idol 2010. She’s got a wonderful, unique talent, and lots of heart and I could listen to her all day long.

Lee Dewyze is very good, too, though he’s not as consistent or at Crystal’s level – yet.

Their duet singing the Oscar-winning “Falling Slowly” from the film ONCE, singled them out as the finalists and I just loved it. One of my favorite songs of recent years.

I wasn’t happy with American Idol this year; the singers really struggled and the judges were limp and frankly, consistently annoying. Ryan Seacrest announced auditions for the tenth season and Simon is leaving. I haven’t decided if AI will be on my menu any more, though I am always happy when young people do well. I do hope that whoever wins (they will both have opportunities for sure) that they can handle a career, and bring beauty, truth, and goodness to our world. And I hope whatever song they make the winner sing, that it won’t be too awful like last year’s. After all the contestants go through, they don’t need to end with a penance!

What’s wrong with American Idol

First, what’s right with American Idol this season: they discovered Crystal Bowersox.

The ONCE duet last night was marvelous.

What’s wrong? There is supposed to be a way to answer this question on the American Idol website; I tried to register so I could post but it’s really complicated so here is my answer:

What’s wrong with American Idol? Let me count the ways. Low voltage talent, insipid judging by people with limited vocabularies, two of whom who seem bored and ready to bolt; the show is stale (and please don’t bring in Katy Perry to spice it up; hello? family show?). Crystal is a true discovery, everyone else has highs and lows. And Dancing with the Stars is really, really, really good this year.

Someone bring in the Scottish lassies – the senior ones, Janey Cutler and Susan Boyle. Or bring in Terry Fator, the ventriloquist who won America’s Got Talent a couple of years ago.

Add something interesting.

Let me know if you want me to go on…

Stations of the Cross: praying with today’s pop music

Every year Cornerstone Media releases a CD of the traditional Stations of the Cross complimented by a brief selection from a pop song that reflects the themes of prayer and life.  Actually, it comes with a whole kit of resources.

I listened to this year’s CD on the way home from the Religious Education Congress last Sunday. What a way to make holy the task of driving for an hour in Los Angeles traffic.

As I listened and prayed I reflected on how catechisms and youth ministers, indeed anyone leading the Stations of the Cross, could transform this practice into a relevant spiritual moment. If you visit the website you will discover the many applications. The first thing I wanted to do was to prepare a PowerPoint of visuals to go along with the CD (which can be paused to add reflection time). Then lo and behold, you can actually download PopwerPoints from the website, too.

Some of the artists included are Shakira, Carrie Underwood, and 12 others. A second CD has reflections that you can use as a guided meditation for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.

Cornerstone Media has been producing “The Dirty Dozen (The 12 worst songs of the year) and Psalm 151 (the 21 best value songs of the year)” for sometime now. The 2009 edition is available now.

I don’t think I can say enough how important these resources are for religious education, catechesis, evangelization, and so fourth. All ministries. The exercise of focusing on values in popular media can lead all of us to be more media mindful, to discern our media choices, and once we choose, to make meaning from the media we experience. To ask what the story means, does it make a difference, how can I make a difference?

Of course, it is understood that each person reflects on and articulates the values they live by first of all.

Cornerstone’s mission is faith formation, to integrate discernment skills with popular culture, spirituality, and scripture.

I once heard Anna Scally, president of Cornerstone Media, speak to a group of Catholic communicators. The most important thing she said, if I recall well, is that we are to honor our students, our young people. If we honor young people, our whole attitude and ways of relating changes. To honor their music may seem more of a challenge, but there is a lot to savor and contemplate in popular music.

Now I look forward to listening to the Scripture Themes & Popular Music CD kit and The Gifts of the Holy Spirit 2 CD kit.

United Breaks Guitars or How to find justice through non-violence and art

This YouTube video is the hottest since Susan Boyle. I used it in my media literacy education class to show how people can achieve justice through non-violence and art.

Dave Carroll, whose guitar United broke, made this statement after United Air Lines reached out to him to rectify the situation (after 2 days and over 150,000 hits on YouTube, now over 3 million in about 3 weeks).