June 3, 2003
(Heard in the FOX board room)
Since the New AI doesn't start until January, and people
are making money off of our ideas we need something to
keep us going and to get some credibility after that
All-American Girl Debacle...I know! Let's create a
talent show for kids! That has to work, doesn't it?
We'll soon find out....It's time for American Juniors!
it could be entertaining to see Simon Cowell savage the
kiddies - but I somehow don't see FOX stooping that low
for ratings to see SImon make 8 year old Timmy weep on
Fortunately for the kids, there's no Simon. Fortunately
for the little female fans (and unfortunately for people
who like our hosts with talent and a skill of reading
off the right numbers from their notes and
teleprompters), Ryan Seacrest is back.
Here's how this off-shoot of AI goes - instead of one
winner, 5 winners will be selected into a band. Not the
most original idea in the world (See S Club 7, S Club 7
Juniors, Popstars, and the awful awful O Town), but it's
good summer filler, and heck, the kiddie boppers will be
We start at 4am in Pasadena, where cars got turned away
but 500 kids auditioned. We have lots of clips where the
adults are far more competitive than the kids. And the
dads are singing for the camera over the kids. This is
exactly what I was afraid of when I saw this - I am
really hoping that we see more kids and less parents
The kids are graded on singing, dancing and charisma.
The top people advance. If they advance, they get
tickets, but if they don't, then they cry and the
parents make themselves look like buffoons on national
Kelvin Woods starts it off - and the parents are hooked
on him. Now is this really fair for me to grade kids? Of
course not, but I will. He was terrible. But mom was
singing along. Everyone else was snapping along to
Canyon Grove (no I am not making the name up) as he was
on pitch and he had a nice voice. The parents just tell
him to be himself, and they will not interfere. Now
those are parents that I like - and those kids who I
would like to see to.
Janzia Pillman was next - and they couldn't get her off
the stage. Dad says that she talks too much - like her
saying that the parents don't pay her taxes. Oops.
Next up is the battling sisters - Tori Thompson and
Taylor Thompson. How cruel would it be for one of them
to make it and the other one to not make it? Well, this
is American Juniors, so I would count on it. Tori is the
girl that usually wins everything and Taylor considers
herself the 'Ugly' Stepsister.
Next up is Aaron Albert, who had the personality, but
not the talent. His mom was caring, and you did feel
sorry for her - but you also liked the kid. Awwwwwwbarf.
We'll be showing you parents that you will not feel
sorry for - but first, here come the L.A. Dancers -
Chauncey Matthews is next - and he sings very well. So
does Brennan Hilliard and Lyndsey Maertens and Ashley
Hargrove. There is one voice that knocked me out of the
box - Chantel Kohl. She has a great voice and there
should be no way that she doesn't advance.
But what could turn out to be people's undoing is the
'No Parents Zone' - kids can be themselves - much to the
parents chagrin. We see happy kids, and sad kids, and
pissed off parents. Many pissed off parents. Ashley
Hopkins is the proud parent of Rylee Hopkins - and she
sang very well outside in the interview. She didn't sing
nearly as well inside - but she wasn't awful and she
could have gotten in. She didn't, and mom let them have
it. I think that she does have a point, but I'm not a
judge, so I can't intervene. Oh well.
But their loss is Tori and Taylor, Canyon, Chauncey,
Chantel, Brennan, Janzia and 18 other kids gain, as they
Next stop? Chattanooga, home of the choo-choo, and the
bad dancing and singing of the parents. The kids are
embarrassed for the parents, but the kids don't need to
be embarrassed about their voices. Kaetlin Tarver does a
nice 'You Can't Hurry Love', while Alex Catalani in the
No Parents Zone, harps on mom for not being Italian.
Huh? her mom has an out-of-body experience when she
hears her sing. Huh? Anyways, voodoo kid makes it to the
After hearing some rotten kids, we hear some good ones -
like Morgan Burke (well, they say that he's good, though
I beg to differ - just not my style of music). He can
dance very very well though, and that should get him
into the next round. Samantha Lacsam also gets in with a
nice song of 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough.' all of the
profiled kids, to no one's surprise, get in.
How will the crooners fare in Chicago? According to
Ryan, not too well. Sam Daub wasn't too exciting on the
booth, but he excited everyone in the No Parents Zone
with him bashing Britney (she needs to get more
clothing) and Eminem (he needs to be extinct). Lots of
forgetting lines and mangling words.
Did I mention that we had twins? Samantha and Sasha
Nelson both have nice voices, and they should get in.
Ciara Farrow can sing as an 8 year old - and she had the
moves. Most of the kids could dance - but not the vocal
chops. Only 7 of them get in - and Ciara is not one of
them - but the Nelson twins get in.
My take? Yes, it's AI Junior. A much tamer version of
the show, which is not a bad thing. And the nicest thing
about this? We won't be seeing any Smoking Gun reports
of them holding up a liquor store. At least I hope
June 10, 2003
On our last episode, we hit three cities. This time
around, we one more city before the finals. Before we
see that, Ryan Seacrest shows us what the stage is going
to look like, and we also find out that the first 10
finalists will be seen next week.
But it's on to the cities - and we conclude the opening
round in New York City. The parents were competitive -
but not as competitive as the kids. Jamell Hudson calls
out Michael Jackson - and his moves were certainly
worthy of the King of Pop's notice. Amanda Rittweger's
vocals were also noteworthy - in a good way. Nicole
Spiritto also seemed to have the total package in terms
of performing - but would the ten year old see the west
Delaney Jordan is a sweet 6 year old who was cute and
quick. Much slower is 11 year old Barry Harris, who sang
his own material (which isn't that bad) and then talked
for a good 8 years.
Speaking of dads, they get to perform (if you call them
gyrating for the cameras performing) before we get to
see New Hampshire's Julie Dubella, who belts a sweet
rendition of 'You're No Good'. She gets in her singing -
but this competition is also about dancing, and A.J.
Melendez looks like he'll get in with his feet. Going
back to the voices, Casey Schuber does a nice 'Somewhere
Over the Rainbow'.
Then we get a montage of the lip synching dads, and dads
who complain that they get robbed - but Amanda, AJ,
Jamell, Julie, Nicole, Casey and 10 other people advance
to the semi-finals.
And speaking of which, we're off to Carson, California
for the semi-finals. Here's how it works - there's a new
song called 'One Step Closer to Heaven'. The kids have
to learn the song and a dance routine as well - all in
one day. 'This determines who is serious and who is
not.' says Ryan.
Alexis Catalani and her mom is living through her - but
so far so good, as she sounds very good. Nicholas
Belcher walked right out of the spotlight, while Camille
forgot her lyrics - and she ran into her moms arms.
That's sad. Nicole Spirito was very good though - and
Jadzia, who still doesn't know when to shut up, was also
very good. Lucy Hale was also strong - as was Grace
But not before we hear some more from the parents -
including a return from this lady - 'If anybody is out
there looking to hire, Actresses, reporters, anybody,
Christine Catalani, Tampa, Florida - look me up.' Thank
Now we go to Morgan Burke - who is very talented - but
is he a group person? The feeling is no. He seems to
over-perform, and that spells trouble, especially when
he forgets the lyrics in the audition. Oops. Also not
helping himself is Jamell, who is just not there from a
Canyon Grove did a much better job than the guys with a
solid, if not spectacular, effort. The Thompson twins
(Tori and Taylor) both did well - but how cruel would it
be for one of them to advance and the other one not to?
And if it was the case, then it looks like Taylor would
be the one going on and the beautiful Tori would be the
one going home.
The kids get phone calls from Clay Aiken and Ruben
Studdard to calm their nerves. Of course, the shrieking
bundles of energy react like you would think that they
would. AwwwwwwBarf. They don't plan out any such stress
relief for the adults, so they just hang out and stay,
well, stressed out.
The first cuts come - and good-bye Michelle, Kyle,
Miranda, Casey, Jamell and Nicholas. There are now 33
people left in the competition, including the twins,
Alex, Canyon and Jadzia.
And Ryan comes out and announcer the final 20, without
any segway. Huh? Here are your finalists for Week 1 -
Kristina DeBarge, Grace Leer, Chauncey Matthews, Morgan
Burke, Cara Lieberman, Caitlin Tarver, and Danielle
White, Tyler Farrell, Julie Dubella and A.J. Melendez.
The finalists for Week 2 are the following - Mercedez
Ruiz, Jordan McCoy, Quinton Caruthers, Lucy Hale, Canyon
Grove, Brennan Hilliard, Lauren Klana, Chantel Kohl,
Tori Thompson and Taylor Thompson.
Here's where you, the audience, comes in starting next
week, the voting begins, and it's up to you to determine
which kids get in - and which ones don't. Will you be
getting your jollies by possibly destroying the psyche
of a 10-13 year old? Sure, why not, it could be fun. The
first week of ego-mutilation starts on Tuesday.
June 17, 2003
Welcome to round 1 of the finals! Ryan gives us the
mini-montage of how we got here, then he gives us the
rules - we have 10 finalists sing tonight, and tomorrow,
5 of them advance. Guiding them on will be American
Junior's own set of judges - Gladys Knight, Justin
Guarini, and Deborah Gibson! Deborah Gibson? Uhhhh....ok.
We start this shindig off with Morgan Burke, who sings
'Why Do Fools Fall in Love.' This is one of the reasons
why I would love Ryan Vickers to be doing this
commentary instead of me right now. Ryan and I have
talked about this before - he has the nice way of being
nice to people who are, shall we say, 'talent impaired',
and I...well...simply don't. I pretty much savage the
performances, so he is the friendly Canadian, while I am
the 'ugly' American. There is no reason to be ugly in
this case - he was very good, and the judges agree.
We get to see the happy parents on the side - just like
we did on Most Talented Kid. Like the performance,
Morgan's parents seem sweet enough, so there's no reason
to dig on them....yet....
Our first female singer is Kara Lieberman, and she sings
'Hopelessly Devoted to You'. She is a little shaky
pitch-wise, but she's not too bad on the ears. Deborah
tells her that she needs to work on her pitch and to
focus. Ok - now I understand why they brought Kara on -
she is very analytical and she may be the best judge
that they have. She could be a good judge on American
Idol. Gladys Knight tells her to move her microphone so
that it doesn't cover her face, and Justin tells her
that she needs to harness her energy. We actually have
three smart judges here - now where is this on the
regular American Idol?
Kristinia DeBarge is up next and she sings
'Reflections'. That was a very pretty rendition of the
song, and she has a very nice, blendable voice. The
judges thought so too - as they thought she was shaky at
first, but picked it up as she went along. Maybe it's
Ryan who's nervous - he keeps sticking 'American Idol'
in there instead of American Juniors.
I did not have a problem with the shuffling feet of A.J.
Melendez, but what was coming out of his mouth was a
shuffling mess of pitches during the original auditions.
Fortunately, he picked up his game, big-time when he
sang and the choreography, although less prevalent here,
is still very well done. He may be the most improved
idoler that bounced from the start to now. The only
drawback? A.J. looks eerily related to Justin Guarini,
who thinks that A.J. could be a distant cousin.
Grace Leer doesn't look like anyone in particular as she
sings 'To Sir With Love'. I have noticed 2 things with
the junior singers which I like better than their adult
counter-parts - 1. The sound better this early in the
competition vs. how the adults sounded at this point,
and 2. They are more sophisticated in terms of picking
songs, as they pick earlier material. I mean, 'To Sir
With Love'???? Which adult is going to pick that??? AND,
she pulls it off very nicely, to boot.
Danielle White starts the second half of the finalists,
and she sings 'Colors of the Wind'. That was a beautiful
effort, too, and you voters have your work cut out for
you tonight. Justin thought that it was the best
performance of the night, and Gladys gives Danielle a
standing ovation. I have to agree with her, it was that
Chauncey Matthews wants to be a Super star - or a
lawyer. Super star could be a good term, as he sings 'A
Whole New World' his ending at the end was ghastly, but
everything up to there was smooth and blendy. Another
very good effort. We haven't had any klunkers tonight.
Julie Dubella is up next, and she croons 'Rainy Days and
Mondays'. She's a little shaky throughout her effort,
but when she was on, she was very good. The judges likes
the pure quality of her voice, and Justin says that with
work, she will be better. I think the potential is
there, but can she get out of this round to show it?
Tyler Scott Foehr, the guy who cartwheeled all over the
place earlier, is ready to show it with 'Every Little
Thing She Does is Magic.' His mom is into it, and he
does very good, but I have to stick him in the same
category with Julie and Kara in terms of people who were
very good, but not as good as the others. Deborah says
that FOX should give him his own sitcom if he doesn't
get into it, because he has a lot of energy. Well, he
does, but what is the audience thinking of?
The last performer of the evening is Katelyn Tarver. She
sings 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough.' She has that soft
twangy voice, and she picked a very good song to
showcase it. She looks like she is having fun up there
too, which helps in this song. The judges agree - and
they love her high register.
So who advances? As always in this part, i have no clue.
I would say that Katelyn, Morgan, A.J., Kristina and
Danielle advance - but I am never good in this part (see
my beginning picks at AI2 for proof of that), and it
wouldn't surprise me if I don't get any of them right.
We'll see how many I do get right tomorrow.
June 18, 2003
Ryan shows up telling us that the five people who get
into the next round get all the toys that they want,
while the five people who don't get in will never get to
visit the toy store again. That's classy. But that's not
as bad as Justin threatening to sing his new song.
Please, mommy, make the bad singer stop.
There was no bad singing from the 10 kids from
yesterday, and we get a snippet to show us of the
singers. Before we get to the results, we get our first
kiddie group number - 'Kids in America'. This allows the
kids to be themselves - and is it just me, or do they
sound much better when they do their own songs? The
sound seemed not nearly as sharp, but I don't blame the
kids - I blame the sounding equipment, because it sounds
very muffled, like only half of them are singing (ok
Chico, I officially will go with the they mute the mikes
of the eliminated theory).
Ryan says that we'll come back when we find out who's
the best. Uhhh....mome to Ryan...there is not 'best' -
this is supposed to be a GROUP competition. The top 5
get in, remember? But they can apparently all sing
better than the people in the 'From Kelly to Justin'
movie. That looks like a big dog with fleas, doesn't it?
We get rewarded by having to sit through the insidious
movie clip by starting to find out who advances. Unlike
the regular Idol, Ryan does a recap of all of the
singers first, then he starts announcing names. After
counting the votes of millions of votes, the first
winner is - A.J. Melendez! He goes nuts, as does his
family. Next up is...Danielle White (and her lucky
little Ruben Teddy Bear). Morgan Burke is next, followed
by Katelyn Tarver. The last singer is...well, we won't
see that next, because of course, we get a commercial
And now back from the break, we find out that the winner
is - well we don't find that out either, because we hear
from the judges, who all give the traditional 'You all
did an amazing job' garbage. And now the winner
is...well, we're all losers, because instead of finding
out the final person, we are stuck listening to Justin
Guarini's new single - 'Sorry'. And I'm sorry that I
have to hear it. I'm not going to be a happy person when
I am stuck having to be a captive audience - especially
when the song sounds like a mish-mash between 2 styles.
Ok - with that monstrosity out of the way, we will
FINALLY get to hear the last person selected - and that
person, who had the highest vote total - is CHAUNCEY
So I'm 4 for 5 - but I miss the person who had the most
amount of votes. D'oh. Well, hopefully next week, the
next ten singers will be just as good as the first ten -
and hopefully we will be spared from listening to the
rest of Justin's album.
June 24, 2003
We saw the first ten finalists this past week. Now we
will get the next ten this week. America will get to
pick 5 of them to advance to the Final Ten. Ryan were
explaining how everyone was in tears after the first
show. We should expect more of the same. I won't be
shedding any tears until Wednesday, when I have to
experience Fame again.
Back again with us are Gladys Knight and Deborah Gibson.
We don't get Justin Guarini this week (Yay!) but from
the Backstreet Boys, we get Nick Carter! (Boo.). We also
see the return of Jordan McCoy, Lucy Hale, Quinton
Caruthers, Lauren Klena, Chantel Kohl, Brennan Hillard,
Mercedez Ruiz, Taylor Thompson, Canyon Grove, and Tori
First up for the second set is Jordan McCoy. She sings
'Stupid Cupid' from 1958, and my first reaction is 'How
do these kids pick these songs?' The producers have to
be hand-feeding the kids these songs, because I can't
imagine a kid wanting to sing this stuff. To her credit,
Jordan sings it very well, but the song itself isn't
something I would recommend to sing as a one-shot song
to impress the audience. The judges liked her
performance, and she was good - but is good enough?
It won't be good enough if the rest of the singers of a
caliber like Lucy Hale, who singe Oleta Adam's 'Get
Here'. Her voice is a very mature one, and she just
cranked that song. A very nice job - and much better
than her Fame counterpart. All of the judges thought
that she was powerful, and they think that she can be a
solo singer. She has to be one of the top 5.
Quinton Carruthers is next with 'You are the Sunshine of
My Life.' Quentin grooves with the moves, and although
his voice isn't as strong as the other 2, his
choreography is much better as he does show a lot of
charisma. The problem is that he could pale if he runs
into 4 other powerhouses like Lucy Hale.
Speaking of 4, singe number 4 is Lauren Klena, who sings
'L-O-V-E'. She is the second strongest voice the I have
heard (second to Hale), and unlike Jordan's song, this
song choice was almost perfect for her vocal range. The
judges disagree with me, and they say that her voice
isn't mature enough yet. We'll see if the audience
agrees with me or the judges.
Here is one of those powerhouses - Chantel Kohl. She
blew me away in the preliminaries, and I expect nothing
less from her. Chantel sings Journey's 'Open Arms' - and
she does not disappoint. She powers that song out there,
and I would be shocked if she didn't make the top 5
either. The judges agree with me, and we are back into
Brennan Hillard marks the second half of the second
show. He sings 'That Thing You Do.' His voice isn't bad,
but it's not as powerful as the rest of the kids. He
could get in if the audience votes at least one guy into
the group. He better hope that the audience votes at
least one guy in - or that Canyon Grove has a bad night.
If not, he's in trouble.
Mercedes Ruiz wants to go to Disneyland with Clay AIken.
Uhhhhhh....ok, keep dreaming. She sings 'Can't Fight the
Moonlight.' She has my same reaction as Brennan - nice
voice, but she is just being outclassed by Lucy and
Chantel, with Canyon and the Thompson Twins still having
yet to sing. The judges like the outfit, and they think
that she has the charisma - but they also think that she
chose the wrong song and she is looking like a dark
horse to advance.
Here comes one of the Thompson Siblings - Taylor sings
'The Shoop Shoop Song'. Her voice is not as strong as
the 2 forerunners (and honestly, who is?), but she is a
solid third, and she can make love to the camera a la
Clay Aiken. She has the oozing charisma, and she should
be in the Top 5. 'You were meant to be up there' says
Gladys - and I have to agree.
Canyon Grove is described as the only natural blond in
Hollywood - and he gets into trouble for constantly
talking. He sings 'You've got a Friend', and he is far
and away the best male talent for the evening. The
vocals are a little shaky, but the girls love him, and
he should move on to the next round.
Our last contestant is Tori Thompson - and yes, she's
the sister of Taylor. She sings 'Let 'er Rip' from the
Dixie Chicks. I can see why she gets the talent awards.
Wow. That was sweet and she should be in the top three
with Lucy and Chantel.
So ends the second group of 10. This one seems pretty
simple in terms of Top 5. Your Top 5 should be Lucy,
Chantel, Taylor, Tori and Canyon. All of them were good,
but those 5 seemed to split the top up.
But I haven't been right in American Juniors - and I
probably won't be right yet. Tune in tomorrow to see
which ones that I screwed up miserably on.
June 26, 2003
We already have 5 safely into the Top Ten. In another 30
minutes, we will have the other 5. Joining us into
inducting the other 5 people is... Gladys Knight? 'I am
not Ryan Seacrest.' Thank goodness for that. That would
have been real weird to explain. In addition to the 5
finalists, we will also be getting a performance from
Ruben Studdard. If we get Ruben every week, Gladys can
emcee the show every week.
After seeing the recap from yesterday's show, we hear
the idolers do a little medley. now listen up, Fame
people - THIS is how you should be running your medleys.
The kiddies just trounced the Famers in terms of style
and execution. And since, in the NY area, this runs at
the exact time as Fame, well....bye-bye, Fame.
Let's shift the focus from Fame to Idol - and I like
Gladys Knight's style. After the traditional judge's
recap, we find out that the first person to go in
is...Tori Thompson! No surprise there - she was
outstanding. Next up - Jordan McCoy! Well, there goes my
chance at a perfect record quickly - but she was ok.
Chantel Kohl (no surprise) was number three - and number
4 was Lucy Hale (also no surprise). And Number 5
is....well, we know that we won't know who that is until
after the break. Ha ha ha ha.
While we see Ruben reprise 'Flying Without Wings' (and
man, does that toy piano and the fake drum set make that
sound extroadinarily karaoke), one of 2 things is going
to happen - either Taylor and Tori get separated very
early in the contest, or we will have an all-girl final
I'll let Gladys Knight handle this one - 'Will Taylor
Thompson be joining her sister Tori into the finals?
Well...the answer is....yes!' Taylor is jumping up and
down, the parents are jumping up and down, Tori is
bawling, and chaos is reigning.
We have our final ten people, as Gladys leaves us with
the following words - 'The boy Ryan will be back in
these shoes...I haven't been Ryan Seacrest...I'm much
better.' Goofy, but accurate, Gladys.
So that's our ten people. We'll see how we select people
who get into the group - or who get knocked out from
consideration - next week.
July 1, 2003
Last week, we went from 20 to 10. This week, we go from
10 to 1 - sort of. There will only be one winner tonight
- and that person wins the first spot in the group of 5.
The Top 10 will get 5 shots to be in the Top 5. It
sounds pretty fair, doesn't it?
So how big will the group be? 'Even bigger than the
tighty whities that Ruben left in his dressing room last
week...anybody want them?' Yes, Ryan shows them, and
yes, he gives them out. Wayyyy too much information.
We are introduced to our ten finalists - and returning
judge Deborah Gibson. We have two new judges this week -
one of them is Lamont Dosier, and the other one is Mary
The music will be themed based on years. The first year
is 1969. The regular Idols weren't remotely close to
being born yet, let alone the junior idolers. That was
the year of Woodstock, and Stevie Wonder's 'My Cherie
Amour' - which today will be sung by A.J. Melendez. He
does look like Just Guarini's cousin - and fortunately,
he sings better than Justin. Unfortunately, they are
only taking one singer tonight, and I doubt it will be
him - he's good, but not blow me out of my seat sort of
Next up is Katelyn Tarver, and she sings 'I'll never
Fall in Love Again.' Katelyn is flat right off the bat,
and that's not boding well for her getting the first
spot. Nothing to really say from the judges, because
they are all sugary and sweet, which wouldn't be
surprising, since there are kids that we are talking
'I Love You More Today than Yesterday.' It would be cool
if that's what you were thinking, but it's what Jordon
McCoy is singing. She is also solid, but she's a little
pitchy in the middle, and I think that will cost her.
After three singers, I haven't heard that one killer
Chantel Kohl is next up, and she sings 'You Make Me So
Very Happy.'. She makes me sort of happy, but she's
pitchy and she's not as strong as I've heard her before.
Well, this changes things - I would have pegged her for
the first person voted in - but that could open the door
for Tori Thompson, Chauncey Matthews, Lucy Hale,
or...AJ? Any way, she is not ranked as my number one
singer tonight - and there are 6 more to go.
Chauncey Matthews is in love with you. Really, he is.
That's what he's singing. Every single song is about
love. It's almost the exact same thing, same theme, same
style, etc. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. While I'm being put to sleep
with lounge music, I can say that Chauncey is good, he's
got nice stage presence, he can make love to the camera,
and he's probably the best so far this evening.
Can we have a new style of song as we start the second
half of the singer? Not only do we not, we get a Clay
Aiken retread of 'Build Me Up, Buttercup' from Morgan
Burke. Burke had a very good start, but a very shaky
middle sticks him in the runner-up section for this
week. Still, he has the nice stage presence, and I could
see him squeaking in the top spot if his fans show up in
Change that - I don't see him squeaking him into the top
spot, because Lucy Hale has the best song so far. She
sings 'I'm Gonna Make You Love Me', and she did make me
love her performance. Very nice job from Lucy, who I see
in the group, even if she doesn't get in this time
And she won't if one of the remaining three people beat
her. We FINALLY get a song change with Tori Thompson
singing 'Bad Moon Rising'. She was not as powerful as
last week, and I thought that Lucy did a better job, but
her performance was so good last week that last week's
effort alone could move her into first.
And the variety continues with Danielle Wright, who
sings 'Good Morning Sunshine'. She's good, but I thought
that Lucy had the better performance. Still, I can see
her getting in too.
Finally, we hear the other Thompson - Taylor. She sings
'Proud Mary' - and she does a better job than Shannon
Bex does on Fame. She's the less talented Thompson? Not
tonight. She nails the song, and I can see her taking
over the top spot. A very good showing from both
Thompsons this week.
So who wins first place this week? Taylor, Lucy Hale,
and Tori are my top 3, with Danielle fourth and Chauncey
rounding up the top 5. Will any of them be the first
singer selected? Or will it be one of the other 5? I
guess we'll just have to tune in tomorrow and see...
July 2, 2003
For one of the ten kids, this will be the best night of
their young lives. For the other nine, they just get to
shrug their shoulders, because they have 4 more chances
to make it the best night of their lives.
We get to see last night's clips - and then we get to
hear the juniors first group production, with one of my
favorite songs from 1969 - or any other year. 'Make Your
Own Kind of Music.' was the song of choice - and they
made their own kind of noise. Ick. I'll credit that to
the sound group, which sounded very tinny, but if this
is supposed to be a group, they better sound more
together than what I hear, or I'm not picking up a CD.
After the group discussion, we go to Ryan, and we go
back to the preliminary format - Ryan will read out
everyone's name, and the people who made the Top 3 will
be selected. Chantel makes the Top 3 - and Danielle,
Chauncey, Katelyn and Morgan do not. Tori is also in the
Top 3, and she is carried over by Chantel to the happy
sofa. AJ is not in the Top 3, and neither is Jordan - so
either Lucy or Taylor gets the third spot. Lucy....does
not make the top 3 - but Taylor did.
Any surprises from the judges? Debbie thought that
Morgan would be there, and Lamont thought that both
Morgan and Danilelle would be there. ONe person that
will not be there for long is Tori Thompson, where she
is sent back to the finalist couch.
And the finalist is....Tamyra Gray! Well, no it isn't,
but we get to see Tamyra sing 'I heard it Through the
Grapevine.' So this has turned into a weekly version of
Senior Idol Spotlight. She does belt the song nicely and
I am still wondering how those wacky public voters put
her behind (ugh) Nikki McKibbin. This could stay a
weekly round robin, and as long as we don't have to hear
Nikki or Josh Graycin, I'll be happy, I guess...
So we say good-bye to Tamyra, and hello to the first
person into the group - Taylor Thompson. So the 'lesser'
talented Thompson gets in first, eh? Interesting....
I still think that Chantel will get into the group - but
not next week, where with one Thompson out of the voting
line, it should be real easy for the other one to get in
now. Chantel should get in for week #3 - unless Lucy
beats her to it. We'll find out next week if Tori really
gets in by as large of a margin as I think that she
July 7, 2003
One person is in - and that person is Taylor Thompson.
We have 9 kids going after 4 remaining slots. I still
believe that this week is the coronation week for Tori
Thompson, but we see all 9 of the contestants - and the
three judges. Gladys is back, and the new judge this
week is none other than Brian McKnight.
Ryan spends some quality time with Taylor Thompson -
who's excited that her dreams are coming true.
AwwwwwBarf. Her sister is up first, and I don't see how
she is not getting in this week. 'Love the One You're
With' is the song - and the audience is loving her, all
right. So do the judges - and I think that the other 8
singers are playing for second.
Danielle is making a decent run at second - but she is
pitchy and I thought that she was stronger last week.
The judges like her better than I do - but I think the
judges need to add some suspense into it to try to
postpone the inevitable.
Morgan is next with 'Nobody Knows Like Me'. He does a
very good job, and he's pushing to be member #4 or #5.
The judges think that he can be the guy to hold it
together - and I have to agree. If they accept any guys,
he'd be one of them. But the way that the girls are
singing, that could be a big if...
Chauncey is one of the other guys who's pushing to get
in. He sings 'Hey There, Lonely Girl.' That may not have
been a good luck of the draw (or producer's choice),
because he's very similar in style to Morgan, but Morgan
(for tonight anyways) simply outsang him. Chauncey is
improving, but it seems like right now, he's in 6th or
Here's one of those women who would like to make it an
all-female group. Chantel Kohl (who I think gets in)
will sing 'Stony End' - ad she was not as strong as she
was last week, either. Still, she could sneak in this
week if Tori doesn't get the groundswell that I think
By the way, if you want results tomorrow, you're not
getting them (and it's not because I'm going to Vegas) -
it's because the All-Star Game will knock out tomorrow
and next Tuesday's show. The results will be announced
Jordan McCoy knows her "A-B-C' - and she's much better
this week. I still don't like her song selection, but
it's definately better than last week's squealing. A few
more good songs, and she could be a dark horse for the
last spot. Even the judges were impressed - but she
needs to get on a roll, because I think that she's on
the outside looking in.
Katelyn goes back 30 years to sing 'We've Only Just
Begun'. I put Katelyn in the same boat as Jordan - but
she didn't have as strong of an effort. She was also
pitchy - and although that's a very hard song to nail,
that's not the right song for her. If she can get better
material, she can hit it up with the big guns.
A.J. Melendez will be there - at least that's what he's
singing (I'll Be There) from the Jackson 5's repertoire.
He;s good - but I think the other guys are better and he
hasn't gotten out of the third place spot. He does have
the charisma factor - which I do think is stronger than
the other 2 guys, so anything's possible.
Last up is Lucy Hale, who sings 'Breaking Up is Hard To
Do'. I have the same critique as Katelyn - great voice,
lousy song kills her and her pitch, She is a much better
singer than what we heard from her tonight, and
hopefully, she will bounce back next time.
The singers as a whole were very very good tonight. That
being said, it's still Tori's to lose, and I don't think
that she will lose it. Tori should be the second singer
- and I'll see if I'm right in 2 weeks.
July 15, 2003
After a little over a week work of vacationing and an
All-Star Baseball break, we get to see which of the nine
singers hit a home run with the fans. Taylor Thompson is
just hanging out on the happy couch, and the good news
for her is that she will have someone to hang out with.
I would be guessing that her sister will be that other
After the mandatory recap, we get to see the American
Juniors do their group song - 'Together (United We
Stand, Divided We Fall)' It's either a horrible tracking
job (which it isn't) or it's an equally horrible lip
synching job (which it blatantly is). Well, they can't
sing live, but at least it sounds decent, which I guess
is better than doing it live and sounding horrific (see
Without further ado, we'll start with the singers.
Katelyn remains out of the top three, but AJ gets himsel
into the top three. Danielle does not make it into the
top three next week, but Tori, to no one's surprise,
also makes into the top three.
Lucy, Morgan and Jordan also don't make the final three
- so either Chauncey or Chantel takes the third spot.
Chauncey gets that third spot, and before we see who
wins, we are forced to see the same tacky videos that we
saw in the American Idol series. This tacky video only
features Taylor doing an MTV-Style video in a Fast Food
Restaurant singing 'Cheeseburgers For Me'. No, I am not
making this up. This is still better than Fame, but
that's like saying that chicken feet tastes better than
fruitcake - not bad to everyone's tastes, but sort of
And of course, we can't have our results answered
without our special guest singer. Fortunately from us,
we get Brian McKnight this week. Finally, a singer that
I actually like. He sings a medley of his songs, but
it's not bad. The sound system doesn't really help, as
all I can hear is him and the electronic soundtrack
behind him. I know that there should be background
instrumental work behind him, but I can't hear it that
well. Why aren't they using the same excellent audio
system that they used in the American Idol series?
We are done hearing Brian McKnight, and AJ will be
hearing more of him talking to him next week, as he gets
sent back to the couch of contenders. Either Tori or
Chauncey will be advancing with Taylor. That person
is......TORI THOMPSON!!!! To NO one's surprise, Tori
gets in and joins her sister, and she sings an encore to
finish the show.
So who's the third member of the group? It seems obvious
that a male will probably be the next person in, and it
seems like the race for that spot will be between AJ and
Chauncey. But let's not forget the chaos theory -
there's a very good chance that those votes that will
not be going to Tori will be going to a female singer.
Let the crooning begin.
July 21, 2003
So the Thompson twin... I mean sisters are now in the
group. We will be getting someone who isn't named
Thompson in this week. Who will it be?
We will find out with Deborah, Gladys and this week's
new guest judge - Jordan Knight (no, no relations to
Gladys). The theme this week is music from 1962 (Wha?
Don't tell me that we are actually getting history
lessons now. Yikes).
A.J. Melendez starts with 'The Night Has a Thousand
Eyes.' Maybe one of the reasons why the ratings are
going into the septic tank is because these kids are
singing songs that we never heard of. I'll give the kids
credit though - they are coming off very well - better
than the adults in Fame (but what's new there?). As for
AJ? He sounded good, but nothing that would blast myself
out of my seat.
Danielle is next, and she sings from the song book of
Little Eva. Danielle is doing the locomotion - and it's
cute, but I don't think it's powerful enough this week.
I like her moves - and she would blow most of the Fame
contestants out of the water. But is that good enough
Chantel Kohl wants be good enough with the song 'Don't
Make Me Over'. Now this is a nice song - but not a good
song choice for Chantel. She is good with a powerful
range - and for the past 2 weeks, she hasn't been going
to her strength with her power ballad work. She is very
close - a good power ballad will bring her over the top.
'Mooon Riveeeeerrrr' croons Chauncey Matthews. He's been
the most solid tonight and the most emotional. He picks
a very good song for his vocal range and this may be the
night that he joins the group. The crowd goes nuts and
he gets a standing ovation. That an excellent
performance and I don't think that anyone is going to
And the second that I say it, Lucy Hale almost proves me
wrong. She does a slam-bang version of 'Breaking Up is
Hard to Do.' Lucy also picks a song that's perfect for
her range and she brings the house down. The judges
agree. and it may be a head-to-head race between Lucy
and Chauncey for spot #3.
Singer #6 is Morgan Burke with 'Can't Help Falling in
Love.' He sounds very good, but to quote Ben Stein, he's
up against a bunch of 'Buzzsaws.' He may have a shot at
spot #5, but I don't see him taking the next 2 spots.
Up next is the song 'Sealed With a Kiss', and the singer
is Jordan McCoy. I'll say the same thing about Jordan
that I said about Morgan - very nice voice, and a very
good song choice - but I don't feel the passion out of
her or Morgan that I did tonight from Lucy and Chauncey.
I want her to belt it out and I'm not feeling it. Don't
The last singer for the evening is Katelyn Tarver, who
sings 'Tell Him'. She has the opposite problem - she has
the passion, but she was not on vocally this evening.
She has 2 more shots at it, but she needs to be more
on-pitch to have a shot - there are too many young kids
who are on pitch for her to afford to be off key.
So my top 3 tonight should be more of a top 2, since I
think it's Chauncey vs. Lucy all the way. I'll give AJ
the third slot, due to last week's voting patterns, but
it's up to the audience pattern. If they want another
girl in the group, Lucy gets in. If they decide that
it's time for some male representation, the spot belongs
to Chauncey. We'll see what representation the audience
July 22, 2003
'Welcome to a little show we call American Juniors.' say
Ryan. Well, it's a little show, because we have little
people on it. But one person gets a big opportunity to
join Tori and Taylor into the group.
We get the recap, the review of the judges, and a revue
of 'Do You Love Me' by the Contours. Another performance
better than Fame. Yes, I will keep saying it. This is
the difference between the shows. PLEASE take notes.
Here we go with the kidlets. Morgan did not get selected
into the top three. Lucy is next and she should have
gotten into the top three. She did - but Katelyn didn't,
and neither did Jordan. Danielle didn't get in either -
but all of these women can come back next week and try
There are three people left, and Chauncey, by process of
elimination, had to have made the top three. He did,
which leaves us with AJ and Chantel. The third member of
our group is...Chantel, which means that AJ went down
from last week. Could this mean that the male voters
gave Chauncey the boost that he needed to get into the
We'll find out about that after a video from Tori and
Taylor Thompson called 'Bring the House Down'. It was
cute, and i liked it better than Harlemm Lee's finale. I
also like Kimberly Clarkson's song 'Miss Independent'
better than Harlemm Lee's finale, and lo and behold,
there she is to sing it. Now let's do a little sound
comparison on the mikes - her's sound live. The kids (on
both Tuesday and Wednesday) sound like it's been in the
can. Coincidence? I don't think so....of course that
being said, you can hear a Kelly Clarkson backup vocal
singing in the background while she is singing. Oops.
But enough Milli Vanilli speculation. It's time to send
Lucy Hale back to the bench. Wha? In that case, there's
no way that Chauncey isn't into the group. The person
who will be going into the third slot is...CHAUNCEY
MATTHEWS!!!! Chauncey is bugging out and it looks like
his eyes are going to pop out of his head. Chauncey does
a reprise (which is live, since you can actually hear
him over the microphone) and we're out of here.
Well, well, well - it looks like we have a male in the
group after all. I don't see 2 males in a row though. We
get to see Chantel Vs. Lucy for the 4th spot starting
July 28, 2003
We have 2/3 of the group on the happy couch. For the
other 7 kids who are trying to get in, it's not do or
die yet, but it's now starting to get a little crunchy
as we head down the stretch.
We see the remaining 7 - and the guest judge, who is
Monica. Our guest year is 1980 - and we finally get to a
year that most of the community may be familiar with.
We'll see if we are familiar with any of the music.
I am familiar with the first song - 'On the Radio'. We
are all familiar with the first singer - Katelyn Tarver.
I am also familiar with the overbearing sound system -
and that still is annoying. Katelyn's performance was
not annoying though - it was very solid. The problem is
that solid has not been good enough to make it into the
group - will solid be enough this week?
Morgan Burke wants to 'Rock With You'. Really, he does.
Finally, songs that we all know. Now where was this
earlier in the series instead of getting years like the
1960's? Unfortunately, Morgan is not up to par with his
earlier performances, and I think that his pitch
problems will cost him for this week.
Jordan McCoy is next, and she takes a song that I loved
to listen to - 'Magic' - and turns it into - well, I
don't really know what she turns it into because she is
overpowered by the sound system. I can hear the
background vocals better than I can hear the singer, and
that's too bad, because I would hate to think that this
contest may be determined because of a faulty audio
feed. Are the people who are producing this show
actually watching the playback and listening to how
unbalanced the audio is to th singer's voice?
The next 80's song is 'Daydream Believer'. Wha? That is
a blatant 60's song, and it's being performed by
Danielle White. She is fortunate enough to sing a song
that does not have any overpowering background, and she
sounds very good. The would be good enough to place her
into first in my book - but we haven't heard any of the
power singers yet, so this is a very tentative first
place that I am putting her in.
If you wish to be a power singer, you can try out for
American Idol 3 THIS SUNDAY August 3 at the Pasadena
Rose Bowl. A.J. Melendez thinks that he is a power
singer, and he tries to show it as he sings 'Still'. He
proves himself worthy of it, as his voice cuts over the
background and he gets a standing ovation. Danielle's
stay in the #1 spot is very short lived.
Will AJ's stay be limited by Chantel Kohl? No. She takes
a huge step backwards with 'Glass in Pocket'. She picks
a song that was terrible for her to sing as she
struggles to hit the low notes and she's off-pitch on
the high notes. The audience likes it, but she needs to
find whoever is picking her songs and stuff them in the
nearest dumpster. If she's the person selecting the
song, she needs to get someone else to do it and she
needs to stick her preferences into the dumpster.
At the beginning of the hour, I thought that Chantel
would be doing battle with this woman - Lucy Hale. She's
up now and she sings 'Call Me'. Now lets contrast this
with Chantel. Lucy picks the absolutely perfect song for
her voice - a song that she can belt and easily make
herself heard. The crowd loves her too - and this time I
agree with them. A beautiful effort by Lucy.
We get a new video by the three people that did get into
the group - 'Sundown'. It's cheese, but it's cute
cheese, and the kids usually like to eat cheese up. We
get the numbers recap for the competing singers, and
I still think that Lucy gets in this week - but I
believe her top competitor is not Chantel - but AJ. AJ
could surprise everyone and get in this week, but if he
doesn't, he is the clear favorite to get into the group
in the fifth and final week. We will see who indeed
takes that fourth spot in around 24 hours.
July 29, 2003
How do you know that the attendance is down on this
show? When you see than only 6 million people voted on
this show. Now that ain't half bad, but it pales to the
28 million on average who were voting on the adult
We will be getting a concert from Monica - but it's
still rock and roll to the singers, who sing 'It's Still
Rock and Roll to Me' from Billy Joel. The sound system
is much better this evening - now where has THAT been
for the duration of the show?
We have our audition places for the adult version of
American Idol, which will include NYC (of course),
Houston, Atlanta, and Hawaii. Nice. What may not be nice
from the kids standpoint is that Simon Cowell will be
here for the kids. The last night of the qualifications,
and the contestant killer may be here? It sounds like a
The spectre of Simon may be around some of the kids -
like Jordan McCoy, who doesn't make the top 3. AJ is
next - and he makes the top three. Will we have 2 guys
in the top 3? No - Morgan Burke does not make the top
three. Katelyn doesn't make it either - but Lucy Hale
does. Rounding out the Top three is Chantel.
We will find out who makes it into the group - but not
before the obligatory music performance. This one is
from Monica, as she sings 'So Gone' which is what I
think the song should be. What an awful, awful song. The
background vocals, like the vinyl scratching, are way
too loud and outshadow what I can figure out to be some
sort of melody line. If anyone can figure out what the
melody line is of this song, please let me know. This
song is the musical version of scrapple - take some
elements, mash them up, and see what you come up with.
Fortunately, we will be sending someone with a better
sense of song - but it will not be AJ Melendez. Whoa. I
figured he was a lock for second. That seems to me like
Lucy would be a lock for first, because I think that she
blew Chantel away last night. America...agrees with me,
as Lucy Hale takes the fourth spot into the group!
Sure, there are 6 kids left, but the final spot seems to
be between AJ and Chantel. Who will grab that last spot
- or will someone else come out of the woodwork to take
it? We'll find out on Tuesday.
August 5, 2003
We have the last spot left - and sure enough, FOX will
be milking it for all it's worth. There will be a few
'special' highlights on this show. First of all, the
singer will have the other 4 people who are already into
the group (Taylor, Tori, Chauncey and Lucy) singing
backup (albeit synced backup). In addition, all of the
songs that they are singing will be on their CD, which
will hit stores on September 9. Finally, the special
judge is none other than Dionne Warwick. Now THAT is a
legend, along with Gladys Knight, who is also there.
Morgan Burke sings 'Bring the House Down'. Does it sound
familiar? It should - the kidlets who were in the band
crooned it a few weeks ago. This was usual Morgan -
solid - but solid is not going to get you into the
group. After getting the usual comments from the judges,
Ryan talks to his brother, Alexander, who decides that
he wants a piece of the action and sings 'A Deeper Love'
- he has much more emotion than Morgan (which Morgan
surely needs) and less pitch accuracy (which Morgan
certainly doesn't need). Could he be a contestant for
next year? If he works on his vocals, he could be...
The second of the 6 kidlets is Danielle White. She sings
'Never Had a Dream Come True.' This is by S Club 7 -
which is another group that was created by 19
Entertainment in Britain. Anyone sensing a pattern here?
It's a very nice song, and Danielle sings it nicely,
with a lot of passion behind it. Now where was this
weeks ago? This is the best that I've seen her, as she
finally demonstrates the total package. Will it be
enough? (And don't forget to buy the American Junior CD
when it comes on sale on September 9).
Here comes part 1 of AJ Vs. Chantel. AJ Melendez will be
singing 'Alive', ANOTHER song by blah blah blah.... If
he gets in, it will be because of his charisma - not of
this performance. This is not as good as his prior
efforts and Danielle easily out sang him tonight. The
moves are good - but I think that if it's based on just
this, then he may be in third behind Danielle and
3 down, 3 to go. Jordan McCoy sings 'You're the One.' No
she isn't. Don't get me wrong - she's very good, but she
is just stuck in a buzz saw of heavyweights. She is nice
and sugary and sweet - and unfortunately, this is not
about that. This is about standing out, and she just
doesn't do it.
Chantel Kohl sings 'Sundown', which, of course, we saw a
few weeks ago. Chantel was strong, but I have to say
that she also finishes second tonight to Danielle. She
did outperform AJ, so I still think that she is the
favorite - but could she be upset by Danielle?
Our last singer to have a shot to get into the group is
Katelyn Tarver, who croons out 'Have You Ever'. This is
a very tough spot for her to be in - and her pitch
problems is not helping her right now. She was good -
but like Jordan, good is not going to cut it tonight.
Like Morgan, Katelyn's sister decides to sing out 'Rock
and Roll'. She sounds better than Morgan's brother, and
she could be someone to look out for in the future.
What do we do with extra time? SPACE FILLER!!! We start
with a montage of the Juniors at the Kid's Choice
Awards. This is light, harmless fluff.
What isn't light or harmless? Our first glimpse into
American Idol 3. We have singing policemen, people in
strange pink outfits - and really bad singers. We won't
see the really good singers until later. For the record,
here are the other cities - Houston on August 13th,
Atlanta on August 20th, NYC on August 25th, and Honolulu
in late September (although I'm sure you Hawaiians out
there who want to try out will get plenty of notice.
But we can't have American Idol without the next guest -
SIMON COWELL!!! He comes out to mixed applause. Ryan -
'Who should come out to audition?' Simon 'Not the people
that I've seen in that clip... each time that I run this
competition, I want something better'. Simon denies any
thought of him and Paula in a relationship, and he says
of Pop Idol 3 'They're dreadful.'
Way to pump up your talent, Simon. We get the final list
of phone numbers to call, and then we're out of here.
This seems like a very easy call this week. Danielle, AJ
and Chantel should be your top three, and Danielle and
Chantel should be fighting for the final spot. We get to
see this dragged out for 2 weeks - so we'll see you in 2
weeks for the final results.
August 12, 2003
This isn't the final episode of the season - but it's
the final episode that matters. It especially matters to
Morgan, AJ, Danielle, Chantel, Jordan and Katelyn - as
one of them will be the last person in the group.
We open with a group piece - with the children singing
'Kids in America.' (Well, it's better than doing
Prince's 'America'). Ryan recaps the obvious - and we
see that we will be getting a lot of space-filler.
We start the space filler with each kid singing a track
from the American Juniors CD. Morgan Burke sings 'Build
Me Up, Buttercup' - and this is the most passionate that
I've heard him - and the sound is much better (read -
non-lip-synched). Now why didn't we get this at the
beginning of the show? That question is asked to both
the sound people at American Juniors and to Morgan, who
does a great version of the song.
Next up - Katelyn Tarver with 'I'll Never Fall in Love
Again.' Not the best that I've heard her, but like all
of the kids, she does a good version of it. That reminds
me - unlike the American Idol version, I haven't heard a
really rotten performance from any of the kids - and I'm
not saying that to be nice to the kids. they should be
commended on that.
Chantel Kohl continues with 'Open Arms'. An unrestrained
Chantel is a beautiful Chantel, as she gets to belt and
we get to hear her strong point. If she does not make it
into the group - she needs to realize that she didn't
sing songs like that - and she needs to focus more on
those types of songs.
Someone that we don't need to hear more of is Josh
Gracin - but he is in the audience with a microphone. He
said that he wouldn't have done too well on the junior
show. I'm surprised that you did that well on the senior
show. He gives the kids their props, and it's nice
We have more American Idol dates for you - Houston is
August 13, Atlanta is August 20, NYC is August 25th and
Hawaii is September 30th at Aloha Stadium. I wonder what
'You are the worst singer in Hawaii' sounds like in
Back to the kids - Jordan McCoy croons 'I Love You More
Today than Yesterday.' I give her the same comments that
I have said to all of the kids - where has this sound
system and the live vocals been?
Danielle White sings 'Colors of the Wind.' and she
sounds great as well. This is a very interesting
contrast between image and talent. Danielle outshines AJ
on the singing, but AJ outpowers everyone who is left in
terms of charisma.
Rounding it up is AJ Melendez singing 'I'll Be There'.
AJ is a little shaky at the start, but he does recover
for a solid effort. He is much better when he stays in
the bottom register, and this song illustrates this. If
he doesn't get in, that's why.
We wrap the singing up with a reprise of 'Kids in
America' by all of the American Juniors. This is the
last time that we will be seeing all of the kids
together. This is also the last time that we will be
seeing them all happy. We start picking off kids dreams
- right after the break.
Ryan tells us that the 5 kids that don't get into the
group will be getting a none-too-shabby consolation
prize - a trip to Disneyland and then a 3 day trip to
Las Vegas - the MGM Grand and a performance from Gladys
Knight. Me thinks that the adults that will be happier
than the kids will be.
We start the destruction of dreams with Morgan Burke -
and he is the first person to not get in. He takes it
very well. Danielle takes it very well that...she is in
the Top Three! We get to see her journey in American
Juniors - and then she sings another song with the group
- this one is the reprise of what she sang last week -
'Never Had a Dream Come True'. Will she get her dream?
Jordan McCoy is next on the block - and she doesn't get
in. She doesn't take it very well and she tears up,
getting a hug from Morgan. The camera shies away from
her until she composes herself, that's a tough position
to be in. Chantel Kohl has no tears - yet. She is also
in the top 3 and she reprises her song - 'Sundown.' Has
the sun gone down on her?
The third spot goes to either AJ or Katelyn. I would be
shocked if AJ, who was been in the top 3 for almost
every week, does not get the last spot. I won't have to
be shocked - he does get it, which means that Katelyn
doesn't. We see AJ's profile while Katelyn is left
twisting in the wind. It really sucks how they are not
doing anything for the people who didn't get in in terms
of consoling except for sticking a camera at them. AJ
does his thing - which is 'Alive'. Does that describe
his chances of being in the group?
We get a final thought from Deborah and Gladys - and we
don't hear anything new from them except that they
admire and respect them. AwwwwBarf. Ryan reads one of
the people who will be going back to the not-so-happy
couch - and that person is AJ Melendez. He reacts as he
tries to hold back a frown. The audience gives him a big
'Awwwwwww' - and we get tears from Lucy and Chauncey.
We are now down to 2 - Danielle and Chantel. After a
vote of 8.2 million people, the final person
is....DANIELLE WHITE! Whoa. Danielle is jumping all over
the place. Her family is stunned - and so is Chantel,
who does manage a congratulations smile. Her family
cries - and we have a river of tears from all around the
But the show is not done yet - we get a special next
week with the kids and performances by Gladys Knight,
Deborah Gibson and Ruben Stoddard. We end this episode
with the kids singing 'One Step Closer'. But one step to
closer to what? We'll find out on the next - and last -
August 19, 2003
We are here - for the musical concert of the masses!!!
The performance of the decade!!! The...well, maybe not,
but we are here for a cool concert to finish off the
We start with a silly Ryan opening (which is too stupid
to go into here), and then we hear all 5 of them
together in concert. They sound pretty good, actually,
and from a musical standpoint, this is not a bad group.
The choreography needs some work - but you're not going
to buy the CD for that, so they should be ok.
A moment with the 5 finalists - Tori says that the food
is better, and Chauncey is happy that he's the only guy.
Taylor says that Tori bosses her around, and Danielle
enjoyed the whole experience. AwwwwBarf. Speaking of
Danielle, she sings 'Never Had a Dream Come True' as her
We hear a new song from the group 'Bring it All Back',
which is ok, but it doesn't blow me out of my seat. We
have Clay announcing his congratulations - from a screen
- saying that he would be there if he wasn't on tour
with everyone. That excuse sounds good now - but it
wouldn't sound good in around 5 minutes.
For the first time in America, we get a duet between
Chauncey and Reuben in a ridiculously hokey sequence of
'A Whole New World' - they get both of them together -
although Reuben is touring with them in Florida. Right
from the magic of television, we get to see this happen.
Yes, it's super-cheesy, but this is the kind of cheese
that the kids eat up, so it's acceptable cheese.
After Ryan gives you the audition schedule rundown for
American Idol, Ryan introduces Deborah Gibson to the
audience. Ryan insists that him and Deborah are an item
- and Deborah rebuffs him - but she doesn't rebuff the
audience as she sings her 1986 classic 'Lost in Your
Eyes'. She sounds very good, and it's refreshing to see
that she isn't using this to peddle a new album. She is
playing the piano - and she gets all the kids around her
to sing the background lyrics. That was pretty cool to
see. It was nice - until Ryan JUST HAD to plug her album
of Broadway hits in November. Argh.
More American Juniors videos - this one has them on a
boat singing another new song from their album - 'You
Are The One'. That's actually a nice song - kind of
catchy. From group to solo artist - and Lucy Hale sings'
Have You Ever', with the rest of the group doing
background vocals. Like the last song, it's harmless
Ryan introduces the other regular judge - Gladys Knight.
She tells the kids to sing to their potential, then she
sings 'If I Could'. Yes, she may be 783 years old, but
she can still bring it. She has a nice voice and she
displays it. After she sings, she performs a second song
- and the kids provide the moves and singing
backgrounds. 'Gladys Knight and the Pipsqueaks' jokes
We get to see another video sequence - this time of the
kidlets being interviewed on radio. They get to hear
their premiere song, 'One Step Closer', on the radio. As
we wrap the show - and season - to a close, the juniors
sing that same song 'One Step Closer'. Ryan thanks
everyone for auditioning - and he says that they will be
back in January (I guess season 2 of American Juniors
ain't happening this year). We end it with 'You've Got
To Have Friends', as the kids bring their parents up to
the stage with them to sing. AwwwwwwBleagh. We then get
a video montage, and fade to black.
This show, on the coattails of American Idol, had 'Can't
Miss' written all over it - so why did it? In my mind,
it boils down to the fact that like Fame, the producers
just didn't do their homework.
You can't blame the talent - the kids sang wonderfully -
much better than their FAME counterparts. Their material
did them in - the music, which was a the high point in
AI, was a disaster here. The selling point should be kid
songs, but instead they bring out songs that 95% of the
general populace has never heard of. Add a rotten sound
system to the singing, and that more than dampers any
solid singing the kids bring and it's no wonder that the
audience left the shoe in droves.
Is it me, or does it seem like the adults are making the
kids try too hard on this with the choreography, etc.?
AI worked because they let the adults be themselves and
pick their own material - this seems like there are way
too many adult fingerprints on this show.
Not only did other shows try - and fail - to get the
premise over here, but the AI people didn't learn from
their shortcomings. I tried very hard to like this show
- and I'll give it a B- for the kids, who were
excellent, but for a show that was a technical
masterpiece with AI, it's shocking how bad and ill
prepared the audio people were. Hopefully it's something
that will be cleaned up once the adults are ready to
reclaim the stage in 2004.