Album News From American Idol’s Lee DeWyze

AmericanIdol.com exclusively revealed the title of season nine winner Lee DeWyze’s upcoming album is called Live It Up.

“Putting out an album on a major label is truly a dream come true,” 24-year-old DeWyze said in a press release. “I’m excited for all the people who supported me throughout Idol to hear what I can do with my own songs. The album shows a whole different side of me and I’m so proud of it.”

DeWyze worked with such record producers as Toby Gad (Alicia Keys, Kris Allen) and John Shanks (Bon Jovi, Melissa Etheridge) while recording the album during the American Idol Live tour this past summer. He also co-wrote many of the songs on Live It Up. Album cover for Lee DeWyze's album.

“To see my name listed in the credits on each song was really important to me because I’m a songwriter.” DeWyze said. “I also loved working with such talented writers. They all brought so much to the table and really helped me flesh out my sound.”

DeWyze’s first single, “Live It Up” will debut Wenesday, Oct 13 on On Air With Ryan Seacrest on KIIS FM.

The album Live It Up will be released Tuesday, November 16.

For more information on Lee Dewyze, please visit his website.

Originally posted at BlogCritics.

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Music Review >> Music From ‘Glee,’ Episode 2×02 “Britney/Brittany”

The highly anticipated Britney Spears episode of Glee aired this past week. The cast took on five of the singer’s popular hits, as well as a current hit from the band Paramore.

For the first time on Glee, we got to hear Heather Morris (Brittany) sing. She’s actually pretty good. Who knew?

Morris’s vocals were featured on three of the five Britney songs in this past week’s episode: “I’m A Slave 4 U,” “Me Against The Music,” and “Toxic.”

On “I’m A Slave 4 U,” Morris injected sultriness into her vocal, which gave it the just the right tone and attitude for the song. Her version is just as sexy-sounding as Britney’s original recording.

One of the highlights from this week’s recorded tracks was “Me Against The Music,” a duet between Morris and Naya Rivera (Santana). The ladies have terrific vocal chemistry, making this one of the most enjoyable tracks of the week to listen to.

“Toxic” was definitely one of the strongest tracks from this week’s episode. The song featured Morris, Lea Michele (Rachel) and Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester) on lead vocals.

I like the subtle changes to the song, especially how in the first verse the vocals build up to this absolute stunning chorus. Vocally, I believe this was the best track of the week. Morris and Michele sound fantastic singing together, and it’s nice to hear Morrison on a track with the Glee Club kids. His vocal really added a smooth quality to the track.

Elsewhere, Kevin McHale (Artie) tackled the Britney track “Stronger” with no problem. McHale’s voice is a great fit for the song due to Britney’s original recording of it in her mid to lower register. The song also ties in well with McHale’s character’s current storyline.

“Baby One More Time,” which was performed by Michele, is the weakest of the tracks out this week. The song is an awkward listen because her voice really isn’t suited for this type of pop song. I would sooner listen to the original Britney track.

Michele really redeems herself with her second solo track (and the only non-Britney track) in this week’s recordings with Paramore’s “The Only Exception.”

Her voice sounds fantastic on this ballad. She shows vocal vulnerability, which allows the audience to connect emotionally with the song, as well as her character.

Even though this song went along well with Michele’s character’s storyline in the episode, I do think another Britney track could have been used in its place to round out the tribute episode.

That said, I think the cast of Glee did a great job with their musical tribute to Britney Spears. They really captured the essence of each song and gave some of her hits a second life to be enjoyed all over again.

Glee airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on FOX.

Originally posted at BlogCritics.

Music Review >> Music From ‘Glee,’ Episode 2×01 “Audition”

Glee returned last Tuesday with five new songs for fans to Gleek out to.

“Empire State of Mind” (Jay Z, Alicia Keys) was lead by Kevin McHale (Artie), Cory Monteith (Finn) and Mark Salling (Puck), each of whom rapped during the verses. It felt awkward listening to these three trying their best attempt at covering Jay Z.

Alicia Keys originally sang her heart out on the track, but Glee’s vocal powerhouses, Amber Riley (Mercedes) and Lea Michele (Rachel) definitely do the song justice during the chorus and give the boys a run for their money.

I definitely see how this song ties in with the storyline of the Glee kids going to Nationals in New York this season, but it doesn’t make “Empire State of Mind” any less of an unexpected song choice.

The music of Lady Gaga also made its return to Glee during the first episode. Michele and newcomer, Charice (Sunshine Corazon) take on her popular hit, “Telephone.” The song definitely introduces the audience to Charice’s tremendous vocals. It is also nice to hear Michele show off her vocal versatility by performing one of today’s hits.

“Billionaire” (Bruno Mars/Travie McCoy) is a highlight from the new batch of songs. The song is performed by another Glee newcomer, Chord Overstreet (Sam Evans) and McHale. This song is a great choice for both singers. Overstreet’s voice fits this song like like a glove.

Charice also sings “Listen” (Beyonce) from the movie Dreamgirls for Summer’s audition into McKinley’s Glee Club. She definitely has the vocals to pull off this song, however for playing a character that is supposed to be a vocal threat to Michele’s character, it didn’t even compare to Michele’s solo in the episode.

It just wouldn’t be Glee without having Michele sing a song from Rachel Berry’s repertoire. Singing “What I Did For Love” from A Chorus Line, her voice sounded as amazing as ever. In the vocal showdown between Rachel and Sunshine during this first episode of season two, Rachel wins hands down.

I thought this first batch of songs from Glee’s second season highlighted the new characters well. Both of the new cast members showed tremendous potential with their vocals in making Glee just that much more exciting this season.

Glee airs Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on FOX.

Originally posted at BlogCritics.

Same Site, New Home!

Hi everyone! (Not that I am entirely sure that I have readers, but if I do, HI!)

I recently decided to make a change at Wait…WHAT?, and that change would be moving from Blogger to WordPress.  I really like the layout options here, and I think the blog already looks a lot more organized and cleaner.

However, I did not take the archives with me. For nostalgia’s sake and lack of knowledge on how to make such a move without losing everything, I am leaving that blog in tact, but I will no longer be updating it. All of my reviews, commentary and interviews will be posted here.

I have had Wait…WHAT? since 2005, and I am so happy that I am still running it. Writing for BlogCritics has afforded me to stretch my wings a little and has provided opportunities that have kept me excited about writing about the things I love to write about.

Wait…WHAT? will still cover Idol, with emphasis on David Cook, Kris Allen & Lee DeWyze’s post-Idol careers, as well music, TV and live shows.  Toss in a couple YouTube videos here and there with some commentary and it will be like nothing changed!

I hope if you liked the original blog that you will continue to keep up and support Wait…WHAT? at it’s new home! (Also, feedback on the layout would be great, because I haven’t decided if I like this one or not.)

For the time being, I haven’t gotten my latest reviews posted, quite yet, but keep an eye for them over the weekend!

Shine On,

Kirsten

Interview >> Casey James from ‘American Idol’

I recently had an opportunity to sit down with newly signed Sony Nashville artist, Casey James as he finished up his time on the road with the American Idol Live tour.

Backstage at the Sacramento, CA tour stop, we talked about what kind of sound to expect on his upcoming album, if he was shocked about Ellen leaving, and what advice he has for future contestants.

You just got signed.

Yeah.

How does that feel?

It feels amazing. It feels like a dream, you know? I’ve worked really hard for a lot of years to get to this point. I’m just thankful and I feel really blessed. I feel like everything is kind of clicking right now. It’s hard to believe.

Very cool. You’re signed with Sony Nashville, so are you going to be leaning towards more of a country feel or stay along the lines of more of a rock feel?

I think it kind of came across on the show is that I’m a country, rock, and blues guy, and that’s what the album is going to be. It’ll have a lot of guitar in it. It’s hard to describe it, cause I’m not really right down the middle.

Do you have any ideas about who you’d like to collaborate with as far as writing goes?

That’s all being talked about right now. Sorry!

It’s all good. How’s the tour going? I was actually at the Mountain View show.

Ahhh, that’s one of my faves!

You kicked off that second half of the show, it was so much fun.

Thank you so much, that was like one of my favorites. The crowd there was just amazing. And what I really loved about that show, was that all the crowd was right there on the stage, everything was so intimate. It was a great show.

The tour’s going great. I know personally for me, it’s a honor to get to play for everybody who put us here, put me here specifically especially, and to get to meet the people. And to play these huge venues is unbelievable. If you had told me a year ago that I was going to be playing a place like this even for just four songs, I would have laughed at ‘cha. It’s awesome.

Continue reading Interview >> Casey James from ‘American Idol’

Interview >> Didi Benami from ‘American Idol’

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Didi Benami from the ninth season of American Idol back stage at the Arco Arena in Sacramento, CA.

She and I talked about the comparisons to Idol season seven’s Brooke White, her thoughts on why a positive voice is needed on the judges panel and what’s next for her after the American Idol Live tour.

How’s the tour been?

It’s been really amazing, this is a dream come true, and I don’t want it to end, but you know it could be a really good thing. We’re all going to go our own ways and do our own thing. It’s exciting, but it’s kind of sad.

What are you going to take from this and remember the most about the
tour?

Wow, what am I not going to take from this? I’ve gained so much experience just through the show and through touring and confidence and strength and courage. Everything.

How to stay sane on the road. I’ve learned how to do hair and make-up. I’ve learned so much, it’s hard to even sum it up into one thing, I feel like I’ve totally, well not totally, but I’ve transformed a lot as a human being, as we do everyday in life, but through this whirlwind, it’s been even faster. I’ve just developed so much more over the past seven months or however long it’s been since this all started.

You were compared a little to Brooke White while you were on the show.

A little?

Okay, a lot, but how did that make you feel? Did it help you feel more confident, because Brooke had a pretty good fan following while she was on the show.

It did, I met Brooke at the finale and I think that she’s a total sweetheart and I love her to pieces. She’s adorable and I would love to work with her in the future. It’s hard being an artist though, and being compared to somebody else in general. I get compared a lot to Taylor Swift, too. It’s like I’m my own person, and I love both of those people and I respect them very much as artists, don’t get me wrong, but I’m Didi Benami. I’m not Brooke White, I’m not Taylor Swift.

Continue reading Interview >> Didi Benami from ‘American Idol’

Interview >> Tim Urban from ‘American Idol’

I had the opportunity to sit down with several of this past season’s American Idol contestants during their recent tour stop in Sacramento, CA.

Tim Urban and I discuss the tour, life after Idol, and what he thinks about Ellen’s decision to leave the judges panel after one season.

How’s the tour been?

It’s been pretty great. I feel like we’re all kind of used to it at this point, cause we’re close to being done, we have only 10 more shows, so at this point we’re all kind of in the groove. It’s really a pretty incredible tour.

I was actually at the Mountain View show. It was a great show, I really
enjoyed it.

I appreciate that. That was a really good show. The crowd was nuts that night.

You were originally eliminated during Hollywood week, you were brought back to the show and now you’re on tour. How does that feel?

You know, it’s added on top of everything else as a reminder of how blessed I have been and how blessed I am to be sitting here talking with you. Thinking back on my American Idol journey, just the whole process, I’ve realized that it really is just one huge blessing. I had no idea what was happening the whole time, but it all worked out.

So, what are you going to remember the most from tour, since you did say that you have 10 shows left, what are you going to take from it?

I think for me, I’m going to remember meeting the different fans and just kind of that whole thing. You know, I’ll always remember what it feels like to walk out on that stage. It’s a very unique experience. It’s hard to explain, and I don’t think I’ll duplicate it. Walking out on that stage is something I’ll always remember.

After tour, what’s next?

What’s next? Well, I’m working on an album. I’m actually working on that right now. I’m working on getting all of the songs picked out for it, and I’ve got some guys back home who I’m working with back in Texas. So, I’m going to get that out, and actually I’m going back to LA and try to do some acting.

Continue reading Interview >> Tim Urban from ‘American Idol’