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!

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 2010 first prediction

I predict a girl singer will win this season; and so far Lilly is my favorite, though there are four others (at least) who are really good. Go girls!

American Idol Finale: Go Adam!

adam-lambert-american-idol

Update Click here for 2010 American Idol: Go Crystal!

I think Adam won the night although, overall, this finale program was very limp and underwhelming (and Simon dressed up!) Judge Kara Dioguardi’s song (co-written) “No Boundaries” was really sad. To decide this competition, I hope that voters completely disregarded this song. If Adam couldn’t save it, it is unsalvageable.

Adam Lambert has been my favorite for many weeks and I still believe Adam is the best. This doesn’t mean he will win tonight with votes, but he is a winner just the same. I am in awe of his talent. What a gift.

Kris-Allen

Kris Allen is very sweet (I bet he hates that people say this) and, yes, he is talented. He has a real 80’s Christian pop music vibe and I am sure he will have an enduring audience. Danny is talented, and don’t get me started on Allison and the others in the top 12. Mostly wonderful. Can’t wait until Adam and Allison release their first album together.

This has been a great year, as the judges have said.

Yet, the American Idol machine made it very challenging for both these artists last night. Each contestant picked his own first song, and no matter what the judges said, Adam won that one. Simon Fuller’s choice for Adam was fine, but it was unexciting and Kris’ was a flatliner. They would have done better if they had talked about song choice so at least one of the songs for each could have the potential to have been a show-stopper. (Where was Clive Davis? I thought he was going to pick a song for each….)

My advice to the American Idol machine? Go back to the song contest for the AI song of the year. If this is the best the pro’s can do, give it to the amateurs; that is what this show is all about, right? Anything has to be better than “No Boundaries.”

Adam and Kris, you are both winners. Bless you!

American Idol David Cook “Come Back to Me”

David Cook’s performance last night on American Idol was amazing – just to prove that I was right (along with millions of others) that he deserved to win last year’s competition. “Come Back to Me”  is probably one of the most meaningful love songs I have ever heard: the transcendent, complete, all there, nothing lacking, unconditional, meaning of love. (This is from YouTube rather than the performance. For the performance, click here: American Idol: Come Back to Me)

I wonder what it would sound like if a woman sang it?

I was talking about it to one of the sisters in my community and she said that it reminded her of how God relates to us, that loving relationship that holds on and never lets go. God is always right there, waiting for us to come back. “You find you then come back to me….” Another of the sisters said it reminded her of Gomer and Hosea in the Old Testament, or the Prodigal Son in the Gospel.

This reflection and song made me think of Francis’ Thompson’s poem, “The Hound of Heaven” about God’s ever-loving pursuit of the soul; that God will never let us go. Sister Mary Paula made us memorize a big piece of the poem when for our senior English final – and it has stayed with me always:

“I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears …”
The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson

(Francis Thompson was a Catholic poet from England, 1859-1907; someone should make a movie. He studied to be a doctor, a Jesuit and ended up a drug addict, homeless, until the publishers George and Alice Meynell took him in. This couple was part of England’s “Second Spring” when many people entered the Church and there was a boon in Catholic literature.)

francis-thompson

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