Tag Archives: American Idol

The Friday MiniTape – 3.9.12 Edition

Welcome, everyone, to the next part of our Friday Cooldown plan here at The R: the MiniTape. Just a few tracks to, hopefully, start your weekend off on the right foot.

And to usher the feature in, we figured we’d check in with Esperanza Spalding – who, unfortunately, was better known to many Academy Awards viewers as “Who?” Even after she won a damn Grammy over Justin Bieber (who, of course, couldn’t help himself from acting a fool later. But why digress?)

Anyway, Spalding resurfaced on the national airwaves with a pitch-perfect rendition of “What A Wonderful World” during the Oscars ceremony. But why not show her doing her thing in concert? Here she is in a clip from a couple of years back with “Midnight Sun.”

Meanwhile, more recently, there’s been some buzz building around an American Idol performance by 16-year-old Filipina-Mexican American Jessica Sanchez, who wowed both the crowd and the judges with her rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” It will be interesting to see how her bid for the title plays out; you would think that, at 16, she would be in prime position to be marketed toward the Taylor Swift demographic, for starters. In the meantime, here’s her take on Whitney’s classic.

Finally, as a shout-out to our esteemed editor and resident anime geek Latoya, who will be representing us at SXSW this coming week, an underrated track from the great Yoko Kanno’s typically excellent soundtrack for the Cowboy Bebop movie, Knockin’ At Heaven’s Door. Even if you never watched the show, you’ll likely get a lift out of “Gotta Knock A Little Harder.”

Excerpt: Sylvie Kim On American Idol’s Heejun Han

I must preface this by saying that my disagreement has nothing to do with the fact that I love Heejun Han. I am able to disassociate the emotional swell of my crush from my crush object’s actual abilities. [I just happened to luck out with this year’s season of Top Chef in that my TV husband Paul Qui did deserve to take home the crown] Do I think Heejun has the strongest voice? No. Do I think he will win American Idol? Not really. But I do think he’s become an Asian American pop culture revolutionary?


And Jimmy Iovine’s mini-rant about Heejun’s class clown persona and that the show is not “American Comedian,” just further cemented that belief for me.

Let’s face it, Asian Americans have not fared well on American Idol. The contestants of Asian descent who have made it past Hollywood Week have typically been … boring. Technically skilled, but not as captivating as they could have been, whether it was due to song choice (i.e. snoozy ballads) or lack of stage presence (Oh, Thia Megia…). Season 3’s Camile Velasco (who awesomely sang the hook to The Fugee’s “Ready or Not” in her audition) was just too hip to conform to Idol’s staid routine even in its early seasons and even AI’s resident Asian stud John Park (the one who set Shania Twain’s loins afire during his audition) failed to excite audiences. It’s been argued that singers who receive little screen time during the Hollywood Week episodes are facing one hell of an uphill battle to capture the hearts of America once voting begins, especially if they don’t have a maudlin backstory to tug on viewers’ heartstrings. I think that’s true for a show like Idol — and its competition The X-Factor — which put a large emphasis on creating a “package” star.

And who had a ton of well-deserved Hollywood Week time? Heejun Han. Since his audition, he’s been giving America some of the best deadpan one liners that reality TV has ever seen. Even his facial expressions — though, often bordering on the absurd — are genius. Plus, he really can sing. So while Jimmy and the increasingly joyless Ryan Seacrest question how seriously Heejun is taking the competition, they’d be naive to think he’s not taking his career seriously.

– From “Sticking It To The Man: The Significance Of (A Funny) Heejun Han”