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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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‘Idols Live’ season 10 tour at Gwinnett Arena: the kids are all right

Last year, I got Lee DeWyze to look into my camera (or close enough). I was in the fifth row. I was much further away this time around in Section 116 but again, I got the winner to (kinda) look at me. Thanks Scotty! CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.om

Last year, I got Lee DeWyze to look into my camera (or close enough). I was in the fourth row. This time around, I was much further away in Section 116 but again, I got the winner to (kinda) look at me from about 50 feet away. Thanks Scotty! ALL PHOTO CREDITS: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.om

“I’m home! Nothing beats the Georgia sky!”

That was Lauren Alaina’s joyous greeting to the sold-out Georgia crowd at the Gwinnett Arena Tuesday night.  And it was hard to beat the depth and breadth of season 10’s talent. This year’s victory lap of a concert tour proved that across the board, from R&B (a not-too-screechy Jacob Lusk doing a fine Luther Vandross) to hard rock (a captivating James Durbin) to jazz (Casey Abrams and Haley Reinhart sparking with “Moanin’ “) to dance pop (Naima Adedapo pulled off a far better “On the Floor” than J. Lo, though that’s not saying too much from a vocal standpoint.)

While I shot photos from my seat as you can see below, Robb Cohen took some amazing professional shots from the pit here. The best one is James Durbin flying through the air.

The audience included plenty of girls, ages 5 to 15; parents; and grandparents – the core audience nowadays for “American Idol.” There was a paucity of people who normally attend concerts in the age range of 15 to 35. Yet it’s always amusing to watch 70 year olds boogeying to a Guns ‘n Roses or Muse cover by Durbin. Durbin’s only misstep for me was uttering the word “Hotlanta” but he was the only person who did it tonight.

The crowd reacted strongly to the guys more so than the ladies, save for Lauren. Even Paul McDonald’s single solo cover of “Maggie May” got more audience noise than anything Pia Toscano did, though she was on stage significantly more and even threw us her so-so single “This Time.”

I enjoyed how they mixed the orders up and throwing in more group sings. It was less predictable than usual though just as scripted. It didn’t feel as dragged out as last year, though that has more to do with the talent. The show was about the same length: two hours, 20 minutes, with an intermission. The tri-level stage was simple, the back-up band proficient (and acknowledged only by Paul and Casey), the sound loud (and sometimes blaring) and the LED screens entertaining enough. Those screens even featured lyrics, matched up in sync with the music, as in Montgomery Gentry’s “Gone,” sung by Scotty (improvisation certainly not allowed in that case.)

Near the end, Scotty appeared and noted that he had seen his favorite baseball team the Atlanta Braves last night. And because there was a lengthy rain delay, he got to go into the back and meet the guys. He even got a picture, he said, with Chipper Jones!

Interestingly, outside, in past years, Q100 and Star 94 had tents promoting “Idol.” This year? The only radio station that bothered was country station Kicks 101.5.

Unfortunately, this was the best solo shot I got of Lauren, who wore cowboy boots all night, not those wedges she had on earlier in the day. She moved fine.

Unfortunately, this was the best solo shot I got of Lauren, who wore cowboy boots all night, not those wedges she had on earlier in the day. She moved fine. She had recorded five songs in Atlanta the day before and her voice was not in tip top shape. At times, the band swallowed her vocals during "Flat on the Floor" though she sounded much better on her single "Like My Mother Does."

Casey Abrams and James Durbin were most prone to goof around on stage, kind of like David Cook and Michael Johns season 7.

Casey Abrams and James Durbin were most prone to goof around on stage, kind of like David Cook and Michael Johns season 7.

Unlike like last year, Gwinnett Arena was packed from the floor to the ceiling.

Unlike like last year, Gwinnett Arena was packed from the floor to the ceiling.

Pia Toscano in emoting classic diva pose.

Pia Toscano in emoting classic diva pose.

Jacob Lusk pointing while channelling the late great Luther Vandross.

Jacob Lusk pointing while channelling the late great Luther Vandross.

Didn't you wish these two were a couple?

Didn't you wish these two were a couple?

James Durbin rips apart Guns 'N Roses.

James Durbin rips apart Guns 'N Roses.

With so much talent and interesting personalities, young Thia Megia, despite her fine voice, is a bit of a cipher.

With so much talent and interesting personalities in the top 11 this year, young Thia Megia is a bit of a cipher despite a fine voice and sweet smile.

Naima Adedapo was cleaning toilets at a Milwaukee sound stage a year ago. Now she's rocking arenas with her African dance.

Naima Adedapo was cleaning toilets at a Milwaukee sound stage a year ago. Now she's rocking arenas with her African dance.

Stefano Langone impressed me with his "Grenade" but his Usher routine went a bit over the top when he took his shirt off. Not sure if that helped him in any way.

Stefano Langone impressed me with his version of Bruno Mars' "Grenade" but his Usher routine went a bit over the top when he took his shirt off. He's not Situation.

Scotty was center stage, at least 100 feet from me, yet is he looking my way again?

Scotty was center stage, at least 100 feet from me, yet is he looking my way again?

Whether you like his vocals or not, Paul has amazing charm and stage presence and he got the Gwinnett audience on its feet.

Whether you like his vocals or not, Paul has amazing charm and stage presence and he got the Gwinnett audience on its feet.

Some cool group singing outfits with Pia, Haley, Naima and Thia.

Some cool group singing outfits with Pia, Haley, Naima and Thia.

Casey James working the crowd. He may not always be the cleanest singer but he loves it on stage and has a maturity beyond his years.

Casey Abrams working the crowd. He may not always be the cleanest singer but he loves it on stage and has a maturity beyond his years.

An amusing sign I saw on the back of someone's Volkswagon in the parking lot. Wonder what the back story is?

An amusing sign I saw on the back of someone's Volkswagon in the parking lot. Wonder what the back story is?

The woman behind me kept yelling how she loved every single singer and proved it by dancing around. In this case, it's during Scotty's "Gone."

The woman behind me kept yelling how she loved every single singer and proved it by dancing around. In this case, it's during Scotty's "Gone."

Earlier in the day, Lauren posed with her aunt Kim and cousin Holly, outside the arena.

Earlier in the day, Lauren posed with her aunt Kim and cousin Holly, outside the arena.

And here’s the finale medley of “Here I Go Again,” “Faithfully,” “Walk This Way” and a mashup of “Any Way You Want It” and “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’ ” You can hear the lady who I just pictured above yelling “I love you Paul!” and such. And watch Scotty join James and Casey in some goofy dance moves:

129 comments Add your comment

Mercedes S.

July 28th, 2011
10:40 am

Queen D. is really Queen A. and therefore the supreme winner.

Woodpappy

July 28th, 2011
10:53 am

Thanks mercedes. I think it is just common sense and common courtesy.

QueenB

July 28th, 2011
10:56 am

LOOK…..I was neither DRUNK nor standing the whole time! You all saw ONE pic…REMEMBER THAT!!! Also, I don’t make calls during movies at the theatre nor am I selfish and petty with the inability to understand and accept that not everyone is like or does like me…fact is I really don’t care if people I will never meet like me or not. As far as trolling the internet..WTH are you talking about?? Rodney told my husband to look for his blog that there would be a pic of us having a good time. As far as my “8:41 post” goes, yes it was a bit rude but I was a bit offended by the post of such judgmental people. It’s okay to have an opinion about certain things but REALLY…does one need to be such an annoying pessimist who criticizes everything?? I still say GET A LIFE, however, I am over this! I HAD FUN and if I had it all to do over again I wouldn’t change one thing.

QueenB

July 28th, 2011
11:04 am

Sam-A….thank you for making your point about the “stand-up sit-down” times. If you all will look at the picture above, notice the people in the next section to my right standing above me and my friend’s fiance standing to my right?? Well, maybe…JUST MAYBE…Scotty asked the audience to stand as did SEVERAL of the other performers. I was not alone standing, causing a scene, and singing. I was actually turned around smiling at my sister who was behind me.

Sam-A

July 28th, 2011
11:17 am

I’m not talking sides here – wan’t there, don’t know what happened. If QB was up all or most of the show, shouting and carrying on, I’d have gotten an usher. However, If it was occasional and (as she stated) “requested” by some of the performers – not so much of a problem.

I remember going in 2003 to a Sir Paul concert at the football stadium in Orlando with sister and friend, sitting on about the 15th row in front of lthe stage (on field), and being told we had to “stay in our seats for the whole show”. Of course, after a short time, everyone in the place was on their feet. We were royally pissed, and remain so to this day about that stupid edict. But when it’s time to sit and most of the audience is in their seats, the respectful thing to do is to sit down.

I don’t have a problem with standing, but don’t want a bunch of dancing around in front or beside me, and don’t want to be bumped into or stepped on, or especially, as Wood pointed out, have drinks poured all over me.

JTesla

July 28th, 2011
11:30 am

QueenB I just find it odd that someone that talks like they are a fun loving individual would need to resort to the bullying tactics that you used in your post last night. I agree with you that you should have fun at the concert, but continuing to lash out with personal attacks at Deirdre paints a picture of you that is different from how you describe yourself.

Rodney Ho

July 28th, 2011
11:33 am

Wow. I was not on this blog for a good 18 hours and I missed out on all the fun between Queen D and Queen B. Queen D is in flight right now to see her grandchild in San Jose so I can’t talk to her about how she felt. I had no problem with QueenB at the concert. Her exuberance didn’t bug me in the least. I was just amused by it all. But QueenB– Deirdre is our resident den mom here on this Idol blog. I respect her deeply and she has helped me out more times than I can count in terms of keeping this blog in order. She’s really a cool cat.

Rodney Ho

July 28th, 2011
11:34 am

Anyway, new blog entry is now up about Lauren. If QueenB is still here, how was the post-concert meet and greet?

QueenB

July 28th, 2011
12:10 pm

The meet and greet was great! All the idols we met were very cool and had no problem signing autographs for the children and taking pics with them. It was such a great experience for my children who said it was, “the best time” they ever had!

QueenB

July 28th, 2011
12:14 pm

Thank you, Rodney, for clarifying my demeanor. I feel as if the picture may have misrepresented my behaivor. I did say that my post was a bit rude but I was offended by the comments being made about me and went into defense mode. Although, Deirdre’s comment about me “embracing my adulthood” was totally unnecessary and judgemental after only seeing that ONE photo of me.

Diana

July 28th, 2011
3:50 pm

Queen, this whole blog will live and die for Dierdre, dont disagree with her, no matter if you are right (which i agree with you) she is the biggest bully on this blog, so over look her, I am glad you enjoyed yourself, i was there also, and I enjoyed myself too. You go girl!!!!

QueenB

July 28th, 2011
4:04 pm

Thank you, Diana!

JTesla

July 28th, 2011
4:17 pm

Interesting Diana, but I, in essence, disagreed with Deirdre, as I have in the past, and look I’m still alive to write about it.

I still think we need more pictures of QueenB, if you can still rock the house after having two kids then you are ok in my book.

QueenB

July 28th, 2011
4:44 pm

JT..thank you. I have 3 kids…the youngest just turned 8 mths on the 22nd. :)

Diana

July 28th, 2011
4:55 pm

Sorry Jtesla, you are correct, I have read you do that, my apologies.

Today’s Links | Archer Nation

July 28th, 2011
5:34 pm

[...] ‘Idols Live’ season 10 tour at Gwinnett Arena: the kids are all right – Atlanta Jo… [...]

Deirdre

July 28th, 2011
6:31 pm

Starting to think this has more to do with holding a grudge and looking for an excuse.

I apologize to Queen B for a remark meant as a joke. I thought the picture was hilarious, you looked like you were having fun and, as I said earlier, more power to you. My remark was not meant to be malicious although it was apparently read that way. I responded in a childish manner to a perceived insult from you and should have just kept my big mouth shut.

Really…neither statement made by me or Queen B was worth all this crap.

Now please let Ms Dull and Bland enjoy her grandchild in peace and go dance and sing and jump and yell all you want. It’s a free country.

Deirdre

July 28th, 2011
6:32 pm

And Diana…. :-p~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

diana

July 28th, 2011
8:08 pm

I agree we missed James he did not get enough time to show his talents and great voice and fun presence cant wait to see a concert of his alone

QueenB

July 28th, 2011
8:19 pm

I have no reason to have to make excuses for my behavior to you or anyone else, Deirdre. And as far as you enjoying your grandchild goes…no one is hindering you from doing just that. And I completely agree with you on the fact that none of this was worth all this crap!! Enjoy your vacation.

QueenB

July 28th, 2011
8:20 pm

As Ryan Seacrest says……Seacrest (in place of my lastname) OUT!!!

Deirdre

July 28th, 2011
9:09 pm

Well, thanks, Queen B aren’t you a sweetheart. Bless your heart!

QueenB

July 28th, 2011
9:49 pm

Bless your heart as well!

Highlander

July 29th, 2011
12:54 am

And the beat(down) goes on… :thumbsup:

Highlander

July 29th, 2011
12:55 am

Damn! The emoticon didn’t work!!

Lori

July 29th, 2011
1:24 am

Hi Rodney, Thanks for the great overview of the concert, but I was also in section 116, row E…. I thought the entire performance was just what any AI fan or newcomer would be happy and excited to see! Is it the Georgia way of mind that these people in prime seats just sat for most of the performance?!! My heart ached when I got up and realized not many persons in the front of our section were doing so,also. Even looking behind us, not many were standing… like Paul said, what’s up people?… you’re at a concert… get up! I held out… not wanting to block someone’s view, until James was up and I finally thought that I didn’t care if others behind us couldn’t see if they didn’t stand! My two daughters followed suit! We enjoyed the rest of the concert from there on out and stood, sang, and danced as we pleased… wow! just like we were at a concert!! The final 11 all gave us an awesome performance and I’m just sad that some attending may not have appreciated it as much as they could have, and for how much these artists deserved. Come on, people, didn’t you vote for at least one of them? If not, then why are you even here? Glad to say that you didn’t spoil our fun and we enjoyed the entire show! So sorry that we gave into peer pressure of not standing at the beginning…. leave it to James to bring us to our feet, finally. Please bring up more pictures of it, Rodney! Who was the guy recording in front of us? He seemed to have his camera on us alot….

may

July 29th, 2011
5:53 pm

It looks like most of the guys are a bunch of slobs. And has anyone noticed that whenever someone reviews James Durbin that talk more about his physical performance than is vocal performance?

JTesla

July 29th, 2011
7:06 pm

I didn’t realize that you could see us “may”. Oh wait, you can’t. Nonetheless, you look like a turnip.

QueenB

July 29th, 2011
7:32 pm

YAY for LORI!!! I am so glad you had fun too! That is what it’s all about!! :)