Just another American Idol blog: The Artist VS. The Performer

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So yesterday, the white-guy-with-guitar from Georgia, Phillip Phillips (a.k.a. P-Squared, the stoned one – I hope you’ll get this) was finally crowned as the newest American Idol. To be honest, I really expected that this guy will win, without me actually following the season. I only tuned in to American Idol after hearing about the momentous ‘Save’ of Jessica Sanchez. When I watched her performance the night before (she sang Jazmine Sullivan’s Stuttering) I was wondering what the heck was wrong with America for letting this girl land the bottom three. It was totally ridiculous! (And I bet the ridiculously photogenic guy will agree.) I mean, come on. Though I’m Filipino and Jessica’s a Filipina-Mexican, America should have appreciated her voice! Anyway, the judges made the Ctrl+S, so fast forwarding to the Top 3…

It was a tough pairing-to-do for the finale. I bet that a Jessica/Joshua faceoff is more exciting than with Phillip around but Americans love Phillip! They didn’t let him taste how it feels like to be on the bottom three. Nevertheless, I salute Joshua Ledet for giving the best Idol exit EVER. He may shout a lot but in terms of vocal prowess, the two J’s deserves to be in the final faceoff. But at least Joshua has a lot of moments to savor in the finale. He got the other finalists sing as his back-up. (It was refreshing to see Colton Dixon, by the way).

So where is this ‘Just another American Idol blog‘ heading? It had been clear to me what last night’s faceoff really is. It’s not about the small-town guitarist versus the powerhouse diva. It’s about (and this is debatable) the ARTIST VERSUS the PERFORMER.

One may ask what is the difference of both, and it can be better portrayed using a Venn Diagram. The area in between is a special category for very gifted individuals who can be the artist and the performer. You can think of the singers that may fall in this category and I admit that I’m only a music enthusiast and not really an expert and a know-it-all in the industry so I’ll segue to the Venn Diagram, American Idol edition.

Phillip, is no doubt, the artist. He may not be able to belt out like Jessica, Joshua, and Skylar Laine but in his every performace, he sits with his band and just amaze me on how he Phillip-Phillips the song. Since I only tuned into Idol after the ‘Save’ (I didn’t bother anymore watching their previous performances because I know they’ll be better on the succeeding rounds), I first watched Phillip and his rendition of In the Midnight Hour. I actually liked it! The funky vibe, the jazzy setup, his weird but cute facial expressions when he makes his sounds – but this is not the formula of Phillip-Phillip-ing a song. It’s an unexplainable feeling of comfy he shares to his viewers. Though their are some songs that the P-Squared didn’t work out, like Give a Little More and Time of the Season, I still like him and his style. I have to agree with Jennifer Lopez that his performance of Volcano is the most poignant and the best he’s given for the entire season. Everything he did was effortless and his win was also effortless. Enough said. Other ‘artists’ in the competition are Elise Testone and Colton.

On the other hand, Jessica is the performer but not just any other performer! She’s a diva in her 16 yrs. old self. Admit it, her duet with Jennifer Holiday is the HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT. She kept up with the Grammy winner and she outperformed herself when she sang the song on the Top 4 round. She is technically, the best singer in the competition. She doesn’t need to shout like Joshua (watch her performance of You Are So Beautiful) and she doesn’t have to run around the stage like Skylar. She’ll just stand on the middle of the stage or sit on the piano or sit on the stage. (Come to think of it, it’s harder on that position because the degree of breathing varies when you stand, sit, kneel, etc.) Though she also has  some faults on song choices (some that makes her mature removing the youthfulness in her and some that deviates from her genre), she nails her performances effortlessly too! Jessica is simply wonderful girl with a voice than can conquer the charts someday. She may not be the American Idol but she’s already a World Idol for me. And just to add, she’s the long lost diva of our generation! Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and the others have NO MATCH on her! She’s the only one in the American music industry to have that kind of voice! She is, the one and only. Enough said.

So that’s it! With regards to The Artist vs. The Performer type of singers, I thought Adele is a performer especially on how she makes heartfelt performances. Jennifer Lopez is also a performer, including Whitney Houston, Celine Dion… For the artists, I think bands fall on this type, especially the established ones like Queen, The Beatles – those who really made a following through their music. As for those who belong to the Artist-Performer, Michael Jackson is an epitome. Lady Gaga may also be on this one but it’s hard to distinguish which from which so this remains debatable and would be better if the argument is based specifically on a certain subject.

Congratulations to the new Idol winner! I hope his career won’t befall to the previous winners. WGWG is becoming a mediocrity in Idol and though Jessica is a step closer, she’s a winner on her own. I look forward on their new singles and may the odds be ever in their favor!

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When I look at the galaxy…

When I look at the galaxies on a clear night — when I look at the incredible brilliance of creation, and think that this is what God is like, then instead of feeling intimidated and diminished by it, I am enlarged — I rejoice that I am part of it.

From one of the greatest storytellers, Madeleine L’Engle (A Wrinkle In Time). This quote always reminds me that we are part of something great, something BIG and never should we feel inferior and take pity of ourselves because God has laid His plans for us. I am part of his magnificent creation and I bring beauty in it in my own way.

Pag-iisang Dibdib (The Union)

Pag-iisang Dibdib

Ilang beses nang nag-krus ang landas ng mga kamay ng orasan. Patuloy ang paglipas ng mga minuto sa kabila ng pagkawala ni Leo Reyes.

Tulad ng kalawakan, hindi masukat at mabilang ang ilang beses na paghahanap sa kanya ng kaniyang pamilya sa loob ng isang taon. Sa bawat pagdaan ng bulalakaw sa kalangitan, ang tanging hiling nila ay makita ang nawawalang kapamilya.

Nabuhayan ng loob ang pamilya ni Leo nang malaman nilang nagbalik ang dati niyang kasintahang si Elsa. Isang taon din ang nagdaan nang maaksidente ang dalaga. Bakas sa kaniyang mukha ang tindi ng mga tinamong sugat at sakit dulot ng madugong bangungot.

Nadagdagan pa ang pasakit ni Elsa nang malaman niya mula kay Gng. Reyes na nawawala si Leo. Bagamat tutol kasi ito sa pagmamahalan nila, hindi pa rin nito napigilang itanong sa dalaga kung ano ang tunay na nangyari sa kanyang anak.

“Nasaan man siya ngayon, lagi siyang nasa puso ko.” ang tanging naging tugon ni Elsa sabay huminga ng malalim at napaluha. Pinatong niya ang kaniyang kanang kamay sa dibdib at naramdaman ang mabilis na pagtibok ng kaniyang puso.

Lingid sa kanilang kaalaman, ang pusong nagbibigay buhay sa kanya ay ang puso ni Leo.

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Pag-iisang Dibdib is my third short story and the first to be published in The Hub last 2010. I got inspired by the Korean video about a photographer who fell in love with a woman but she got into an accident that impaired her eyes. Months later she recovered with her new eyes only to meet again the photographer who can’t see anymore because he donated his eyes for her. I was moved by the story and tried making my own version. As for the characters, I got the name Elsa from an Eraserheads song, Torpe, which was revived into a rap by Gloc 9. I’m a big fan of Leonardo Di Caprio (for Leo) while Reyes since it’s a typical Filipino surname.

In search of a new reading

Every time I happen to be in a mall, I make it a point to visit the bookstore to check (of course), books. Slowly my eyes examine every title in the Bestsellers section, Classics, Sci-Fi, Thriller… (name your genre). Admittedly, I am an impulsive buyer of books. The last book I bought was the drama-suspense The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (We were just hanging out in a mall and we stepped inside the store. When we came out, I already had the book with me.) While my bibliographic cravings are yet to be satisfied once again, here’s what’s happening: I am in the verge of buying a book but my conscience always stops me. Why? Here are my reasons:

a. The book is pricy. Let’s admit it. Reading is an expensive hobby. That’s why only few people read books. True story.

b. The book is not worth it. People say that the inflow of something should be compensated by the monetary outflow. In the end, it’s all about money and the value you receive from it. I don’t want to be disappointed with something I bought. Unfortunately, it happened when I bought I Am Number Four and I swear I should have just watched the film than reading it because the storytelling did not match my reading level. I don’t want it to happen again.

c. The book can’t hurdle the standard of the previously read book. I may have been suffering from post-novel series, the inability to move on from a resident page to a foreign one. It’s like clinging too much on a storyline that has already ended. You refuse to close a book and open a new one. Instead, you keep on comparing even if you are not credible enough on your piece. Here’s what happened to me:

Like most Potter fans, I have grown with the characters of the book. J.K. Rowling inspired me to pursue my writing and not to give up living my imagination and creativity through words. After the series wrapped up, I thought that it would be over for me as well. I opened my eyes to new readings but they just can’t give me the same degree of impact Harry had left me. Later on, I exposed myself to a different genre offered by Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy. I became more excited as I had gone deeper into Lisbeth Salander’s life. That’s also why I bought The Shadow of the Wind because it’s a rip-off of The Angel’s Game. From then on, I realized that the cure for this ‘sickness’ is ‘to stick to the series’. But I guess it’s not exactly a cure because it will just delay my search for the new book I’ll immerse myself into. (I told myself I’d buy The Hunger Games series but the future of it being played in the silver screen stops me.)

So, what now? While I plan on rereading my Finance books, I’ll still be looking for the next book of my life. I have some prospects and maybe on my next visit to the store, I’ll end up buying one. You may wonder why I talk about books this much. Let’s just say that if other girls fancy the beach, fashion, cute artists, and girly stuff, I’d rather stay in one corner with my book. Fair enough?

** You can comment your book suggestions. They are highly appreciated. 🙂