Ladybug's Houston, TX AI Recap

I guess this will qualify as a sort of semi-review/personal impressions, from the AI tour, Houston edition.  All very disjointed, and I apologize, but that seems to be the normal state of my mind on most days.

OK, here goes.

READY FOR THE BIG-TIME:  Mandisa, Chris, Elliott and Taylor.  Ok, ok, Katharine, too. These five had no trouble playing to a big auditorium.  Their voices worked in that setting and their onstage presence transcended to the back rows.

GETTING THERE:  Ace (He may already be there, but not sure about his voice yet.), Paris, Lisa.   All of these have potential to play the big rooms with ease.  More seasoning needed, though.

NOT THERE:  Bucky and Kellie.  Just not really of the caliber to handle a big venue.  

WHO WAS FUN:  Everyone!   Loved the whole show!  Qualifiers to follow.   I loved the fact that all ages, and I mean ALL, were represented and having a wonderful time.  Gave all the idols love from what I can tell.  What a wonderful show for anyone to attend!

NOISE FACTOR:   Lots of cheering for everyone.  I was up on the sides, so not sure the exact level of the Hicks-Arm-Applause-O-Meter, but it went over past .50 many times and into the red zone for several of the Idols.  It was interesting.  Chris got the screams.   Seemed mostly from the floor section. High pitched and squealing. And BIG.   Taylor got a sustained roar, front to back, sides and floor.  On-their-feet-room-shaking at the beginning of his set and throughout most of it.

THE VENUE/STAGE:  Astro Arena, now Reliant Arena.   I have shown horses here so much it was very strange to go there for this type of event.   Kept wondering where the familiar, uh…..smells were (if you catch my drift).  :)  Everyone is right. The stage is cheesy, but not as awful as I was expecting.  The lighting was quite good and well placed, in my view.  That was a pleasant surprise to me.

AMERICAN IDOL (Re: $$$):  Raking it in.  Un-be-lie-va-ble!  HUGE lines to pay big dollahs for that (mostly) crapola tour memorabilia.  (OK, they got mine, too. For the tour book.  It is nice.   But not $20 nice.   Just sayin’.

CELEBRITY SIGHTING:  Will Makar.  A bit stunned looking for all the attention he was getting.  Posing for pictures.  For a minute or so he was right next to me and I pulled out my little digital which led to …

BONEHEADED MOVE OF THE EVENING:  Brought a camera with no flash card to record the pictures.    Good thing there were no other photo ops or this would have been one mad Texan!


Mandisa – Dangitall,  that girl can really shake an auditorium front-to-back, side-to-side.  Not crazy about the bit of preaching, but she is probably just getting herself ready for the Ultimate Gospel Tour.  She had tons of charisma, tons of presence, and tons of …ice.  The lady was iced up big-time.  Very glittery.  And I think she looks good!

Kellie/Bucky/Bucky/Kellie – The overall weakest performers, but lots of fun. The audience loved both of them. Actually, Bucky sounded pretty good.  Strong singing, for him.  He is an easygoing onstage presence.  His duet with Pickler was no vocal milestone, but pleasant and cute.  And Pickler….as a singer she  (how do I say this?) needs a bit of help. Maybe she will get it in the recording studio.  She has such an enjoyable personality onstage that I can see a future for her, but maybe in a smaller setting.  The band basically drowned out all her songs, at least on my side.

I will say that Kellie’s onstage patter about the enormity of where she, and by association, the other idols were compared to last year was well-stated and right on the money. And funny, too.  It was one of my favorite concert moments.

Lisa – I really enjoyed her set.  Loved Little Lisa on the Yamaha keys with the Sir Elton songs, and she really pulled that off well.  Her voice is strong and she is such a pretty girl with a beautiful smile.  Hope she makes it in the non-AI world.

Paris – Her set seemed mostly dancing, especially to the Beyonce song.  She really put the effort into that one in Beyonce’s hometown.

I loved the duet the Girlfriends did on “Waterfalls”. I like that song a lot and felt they did an above average version.

Ace -  Even though he was second, saving him for now in my comments.  HOLYMOTHER…….!!! That is one HOT dude!  Houston got treated to the tank top Ace, which made for some wonderful eyetreat while he was onstage.  OK, that heartbeat thing he does at the beginning of Father Figure kinda weirded me out, but all was forgiven as he did a stellar job of singing it, oh, and took that jacket off.  When he sang the lines “bold and naked,” I am most certain that there were several in that auditorium wishing he would comply,  just sayin’.  I -- I mean, THEY-- would have loved that bit of extra theater, but then, this was a family gathering.

Ace was one of my faves on Idol this year and I was so disappointed at how poorly he performed during his run on the show, mainly letting his nerves get the best of him.  But he is so comfortable onstage and a load of sexy fun to watch!

The duet with Mandisa was record-worthy.  He was just a great performer at this show.

INTERMISSION:  A lady, who had crawled over us several times retrieving drinks, apologized and asked if we wanted anything and I said, “Yeah.  Bring me some Taylor.”  “Water???” she replied.  “No!  TAYLOR!”  She came back with….water.   Sigh.  

Chris - Not to go on, but to go on.  First of all, he had on a gray hoodie, unzipped to there.  To me, Chris does not have the most appealing body.  Kinda a fireplug shaped kind of guy, so I was not too turned on by his pecs-almost-man-boobs and his….let’s just say he does not have Ace’s abs and leave it there.  Of course there was the wallet chain.    All that said, Chris is an intense PRESENCE onstage.  Got the big-time shrieks from the audience.  LOVED how he did “Whole Lotta Love.”  For “Dead or Alive” he put on a cowboy hat and looked cute AND sexy all at the same time.  Anytime he covers that bald head of his, his cuteness factor goes WAY up for me.  I love his smile. It is just wonderful and so genuine.  His best feature are his eyes, and he looks upward so much when he is singing, you don’t get to see them much.  I loved Chris’ set, but you could tell his voice was a bit strained.  Since I am a huge Styx fan, I was rockin’ and rollin’ to “Renegade” while I sang along, word-for-word.  

The duet with Elliot was just fantastic. Everyone knows this, so I won’t extol it and go on about it.

I WILL go on, here, since we are no the subject of group songs, about “Patience.”  This was just exquisite, awesome, fabulous, (insert adjective here).  The guys were all great on it and the harmony was outstanding.  I am now out of praise-worthy adjectives.

Elliott:  Do not kill me E-fans!   Elliott, while just wonderful, is the only Idol performer I felt was going through the motions just a bit. The wad of gum has GOT to GO!  It looks appalling on the big screen.  UCK!  His voice was strong, and good, but nothing was invested with a lot of emotion on his part.  He was wearing his Israel/Star of David t-shirt and the cap.  I am not sure if he was tired or bored or a bit of both, but who could blame any of them!!!   Elliott got much love from the audience too.  And I cannot ever dis “Moody’s Mood” because that is an amazing version Elliot does of that song!!  One of my favorite Idol moments evah!!

Katharine:  Looked gorgeous. I was NOT a KatPhan while she was on the show.  She was largely a turn-off for me, but she is beautiful and her singing was terrific.  Not a bad note from her.  I did not get a sense of the applause for her.    Big, but not into the red.  I like the decidedly UN-Big and Sexy Hairdo, too.  It looks really good with the shape of her face.   Good choice, Kat!!

Taylor -  OK.  I was a fan of Taylor’s before he ever sang a note on AI. OK?    I got the feeling he was very, very tired.   He had energy, but seemed to be forcing it.  He also seemed to be forcing his smile just a touch, too.  As to his look.  Wellllll…gel notwithstanding, it looked as though he had rolled right out of bed and into the back of the arena to make his entrance.    His bangs were standing on end in spots and while dressed nicely, it seemed a bit thrown-together.  (So glad I did not wear my gray NB tennies since Taylor had them on). ;)   

You know. Taylor is just such….a GUY!

That said, this guy is a whirlwind of an entertainer.  I cannot wait to see him in HIS element.  His voice was not strong at first, but, oh my, he pulled something deep from within himself and delivered a strong, powerful “Do I Make You Proud.”  LOVED the T montage behind him too.  His harmonica solo is, literally, worth the entire price of admission to this concert.  It.  Is.  Stunning!

My friend, who was not a Taylor fan, summed him up well. She said on the TV show, some of the things he did made him look silly (I DISAGREE), but she said she really sees how his moves, his facial expressions, etc. work perfectly in a big stage setting.  She agreed that he is an ENTERTAINER, in the best sense of the word.

Lastly, being a guitar player myself, I listened for the Strat on “Hollywood” and, sure enough, Taylor WAS playing and you could hear it quite well, especially early in the song.

Lastly, lastly…I saw the red Gibson guitar onstage and hoped beyond hope…..only to have them dashed.  He never took it off the rack.   Sigh…..

Lastly, lastly, lastly (for real) I wish I had $1 for every time Taylor said “Houston” and/or “Texas.”  I would be a very rich woman indeed!!

Ladybug, OUT!