September 20, 2012 - Ben E., JB, Sam Cooke Songs a Mixed Bag on This Week's Singing Star Searches
Four standards from the '60s were showcased in a variety of styles on this week's TV singing competitions. Nicholas David gave a jazzy vibe to Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" on The Voice Monday night and won a spot on Cee Lo Green's team. Things got a bit dicey on Tuesday's X Factor when Cece Fry struggled with "Unchained Melody," then was given a second chance and made the cut with an uptempo Christina Aguilera hit. The most interesting performances came nearer the end of the show; 13-year-old Diamond White revealed a mature vocal and stage presence with James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" and 42-year-old Panda Ross, coming off a bout with pneumonia, reminded us of the robust R&B divas of the '50s as she belted out Sam Cooke's "Bring it on Home to Me," some of the lines humorously ad-libbed as a come-on to judge Simon Cowell.
September 13, 2012 - Voice Singer Rechannels Valens, X Factor 13-Year-Old Has Everyone "Feeling Good"
The blind auditions are back and NBC's The Voice found a contender in mariachi singer Julio Cesar Castillo, who made the grade with the traditional folk song "La Bamba," immortalized in 1959 by rocker Ritchie Valens. Simon Cowell and company returned for a second go at The X Factor with new judges and mostly underwhelming talent...until 13-year-old Carly Rose Sonenclar closed Thursday's show with a mature-beyond-her-years performance of "Feeling Good" from the 1965 Broadway show The Roar of the Greasepaint (the Anthony Newley-Leslie Bricusse song is best known via Nina Simone's dynamic rendition released the same year).
August 26, 2012 - Oldies at the Movies, Summer '12: Madea's Got Soul, Wimpy Kid and The Campaign Instrumentalize
"Keeping the music of the '50s and '60s alive" turned out to be an uphill climb at the box office this summer. Props to Tyler Perry for workin' some soul shots into Madea's Witness Protection with Otis Redding's classic original version of "Respect" and the "wicked" Wilson Pickett's smash '67 cover of Dyke and the Blazers' "Funky Broadway." The Edwin Hawkins Singers are featured with one of the all-time most popular gospel songs, "Oh Happy Day," a pop hit in 1969. Roy Orbison is also in Madea's mix with perennial favorite "Oh, Pretty Woman."
Beyond the latest Perry property you'll find '60s instrumentals...three of them. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days draws karma from current Dark Knight domination with Neal Hefti's "Batman Theme." The Campaign, starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, spreads good vibes with Bert Kaempfert's "That Happy Feeling" while Harlow Wilcox and the Oakies provide a little down home guitar pickin' on the '69 hit "Groovy Grubworm."