Monday, July 27, 2009

American Idol Tour Review

My daughter and I are huge American Idol fans, and we have watched faithfully since Season 1. However, this season had our attention more than ever — because the eventual winner, Kris Allen, was from our home state and because of Adam Lambert. My daughter is obsessed with Adam. And, I guess I'm not far behind.

My daughter and I attended the American Idol concert in Verizon Arena in North Little Rock on July 25. I'm not going to go over every little detail but I will say it was better than I expected. My daughter and I attended one of the tour shows after Season 5, and I felt like I was at a high school talent show. It was really amateurish. This show had people (and pianos) rising from below the stage, personalized clothing, some choreography and an actual light show. It was a much more professional production.

Michael Sarver, Megan Joy, Scott Macintyre, Lil Rounds did as well as expected. There were no huge mess ups and I felt like they sounded the same as on TV. However, their smaller voices were no match for the big arena and the loud music. Anoop Desai actually did pretty well; I enjoyed his version of "Always On My Mind." To me, Matt Giraud was the biggest surprise — he was awesome. He can really dance, his voice carried and he reminded me of Jerry Lee Lewis when playing the piano.

I was a little disappointed in Allison Iraheta. Her electric guitar playing was a little silly; and she's no Ann (or Nancy) Wilson. Also, her stage presence was lacking and she jumped around the stage in a frenetic and awkward manner. I actually enjoyed Danny Gokey; his voice was clear and he can dance ... a little. He knows how to get the crowd fired up and gave a little speech (preach).

The crowd in North Little Rock cheered heavily for all the contestants — it was a warm welcome, and I was proud of my fellow Arkansans.

The crowd went crazy when Adam Lambert hit the stage, and he definitely knows how to work it (and the microphone). It was exactly as I expected — big (and amazing) voice, big style and big star power. My daughter and I loved it. The acts before him really paled in comparison — Adam really, I mean really, owned the night. Adam is a star (as in celebrity and stage presence star) and I hope his album will catapult him into the big leagues with other famous rock acts.

Adam got big applause, but when Kris came out — it was deafening. I had to plug my ears. Think about Adam's performance and then think about what might be the exact opposite — that was Kris. Dimmed lights, just him behind a instrument, smooth sound, very low key. The audience loved his style. I enjoyed it, but I would still give the evening to Adam. Having said that, I'm very proud of Kris and all that he has accomplished.

Afterwards, my daughter wanted to wait and meet the idols — I was anxious myself to see if they can work the crowd. Well, Megan, Lil and Anoop didn't make the rounds and didn't sign autographs. If anyone should be making fans and friends, it might be those three. Danny was really engaging, talked to everyone, posed for photos, actually spoke personally to my daughter. Michael — same thing. Very thankful, friendly. Spoke to everyone and signed lots of autographs. Allison — not so much. She hurried down the line with her head down, not posing for photos and not speaking directly to anyone. Matt spoke to everyone, signed autographs, even sang a little for those who requested it – he took time for everyone. He was probably the most engaged.

Adam was mobbed, but he posed for photos, signed tons of autographs and actually had a conversation with my star-struck daughter. She was thrilled. I was thrilled for her. He looks so young, tall and very glam in person. He LOOKS like a star — lots of charisma. (Just a side note — he's the tallest by far. My daughter is 5 feet, eight inches and she was taller than everyone else expect maybe Matt.)

Kris needs a little help with his crowd skills. He walked down the barricade signing autographs and saying thank you, however he rarely looked up or engaged anyone in conversation. It was a little disappointing especially since this was his hometown crowd.

And, final note on that, after all the Idols walked down the barricade signing autographs, etc., they mostly walked hurriedly back standing about 10 feet back from the crowd and waving. Adam stepped back up to the barricade and shook or touched hands on his way back. He was the only one that did that. I think he showed lots of class, and he knows how to make fans and work the crowd.

All in all, it was a fun evening. I did it for my daughter, and I hope she will always remember that evening with her mom.