American Idol Songwriting Contest Raises Great Questions

The discussion among American Idol Songwriter entrants is still going strong. We have opened up a new thread just about every day to accommodate the comments without bogging down the server or creating huge page downloads. If you’re new to our site, welcome!

Later this week, I hope to pull together a list of links to the songs that contestants have shared. There is some excellent songwriting going on. It’s nice to see that American Idol was able to light a fire under some folks — songwriting can sometimes take forever if you don’t have a good piece of external motivation.

The discussion’s also raising some great questions among newbie songwriters in our previous thread, specifically:

  • When should I join a Performing Rights Organization, like ASCAP or BMI? (Answer: Right after you finish the first song that you’re comfortable sharing with someone else.)
  • What does an “at source” royalty mean? (Answer: It means that your royalty is calculated under the terms of the country in which it is played, which can often lead to larger royalties in countries outside the United States. It really means you got a pretty good deal or a pretty good entertainment attorney.)
  • When will American Idol contact the winning songwriters? (Answer: We have no clue. But it seems to be fun waiting to find out.)

Remember that your comments are subject to occasional moderation by our external spam filter, which means that if you see the phrase “awaiting moderation,” it just means I’ve got to take a look at it before it goes live on the site. Tonight, I’m teaching a class and actually eating dinner, so expect some sporadic comment moderation. For the most part, if your previous comments have been approved, you should be able to post without problems. We’ve also got that snazzy new e-mail notifier to let you know when there’s something new to read.

Thanks for making this week so much fun, and keep the comments coming!

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112 responses


    This song can be sung by a MALE VOCALIST just as well, simply by changing the line “take it from a sister??? to “listen to me sister??? or something similar…

    Best wishes to everyone here!


    Best wishes to everyone here!

  3. if you go to the AI board, and go to the Off-Topic section, there’s a thread called Songwriters Join In, or something close to that.
    It’s interesting that this “official voice” has not really said much in the past 10 days. I’m sure they’re all very busy over there.
    I also wouldn’t be suprised if the final 20 isn’t hammered out until the 1st. Last minute contract/recording concerns, etc.
    good luck to all!

  4. Would like to share my song with you….Thought it might be interesting to tie in to the IDOL GIVES BACK theme they’re doing this year. Might work for me, might work against me. Who knows??? In any case, please have a listen. Good luck!

  5. Joe Vee Avatar

    Neat #141 – take a deep breath. “Michael” whoever he is – has been very cool. Think about it – he has no interest other than to calm nerves. Unfortunatly – you are the 1 in 1000 where it has the opposite effect.

    And “SuperWoman” – please get a clue and read #144. (Diamond – plz read too – you’re getting close).

    Thanks – let’s not abuse a site that can provide useful help and info with shameless self promoters.

  6. Joe, it’s great that you have comment moderation but how is it that Superwoman and Diamond seem to get in no problem with their continued spam but every time i comment it goes into “moderation”?

  7. Incidentally (LOL) I only have one friend on myspace because I just created a myspace account 10 minutes ago! I could use friends!!!!

  8. Jeff,

    I can’t imagine non-computer saavy people being disqualified for not making a .wav file but sending an MP3 instead. Come on, if the song is good, it’s good…I’m sure they didn’t pour over thousands of songs to find just the right ones for them to say no .wav file, sorry disqualified, you didn’t follow the directions.

  9. I’m still wondering about the status of all the songs that DON’T make the top 20. The rules, as I recall, said something about granting AI permission to “archive” or “store” all the entries. And someone else said that they got wishy-washy info from Jaimie at 19 Entertainment about whether or not we’ve all relinqueshed the rights to our songs just by submitting them. Or am I just being paranoid?
    Melissa Green
    “Walking on the Clouds”

  10. Hey Phil, I was just saying that I know that “the journey” is the sentiment they want but without actually saying it in every lyrical phrase. As I said I really liked your opening verse about remembering the times holding hands, not a big fan of the I wouldnt be here without you , you give me wings to fly. Otherwise I think for a guitar vocal production there is a sincerity to your song I like, would love to hear it with a big production and some lyrical refinement. I am open to critique of our submission.. go to http://www.ANNAFLESHLER.COM
    click LIVE then click DEMO. goodluck everyone

  11. to JoeB- thanks again for the nice comment! In fact, I have had songs on Veronica Mars and some ABC family shows…so you definitely got that right!

    so my two cents:
    the final two will be Jordin and Blake. Melinda is already good and evolve too much more than she already has. But Jordin and Blake have that edge and I would be interested in seeing where there careers go. Does anyone agree?
    can’t wait to drink my wine and watch the big event tonight!!

  12. Hi again!
    Check this out: Someone has graciously compiled a bunch of entries! 🙂

  13. Hi Melissa. You hold publishing rights for all of your songs. Amen.

  14. Melissa – my understanding for the non Top 20 songs (which will be the majority of us) is that 19 Entertainment has the right to store them, but we as songwriters have the rights to the songs themselves. 19 Entertainment has the right to perform, record or authorize recording of these songs “for the purposes of the competition”.

  15. Michael–I believe…and even if none of it WAS true, I don’t wanna know, because it’s been alot of fun feeling like we’ve found out something not known by the masses…thanks again for sharing.

    Melissa–I wasn’t really sure what that “store the entries” thing meant either, but I was really pleased with the song we put together, so I took the chance.

  16. The more I think about this, the more sure I am that if one of us does get ‘the call’, he or she won’t share that information here. It would seem like bragging, would result in a hundred panicked messages. and might violate some agreement made with AI about not spilling the beans ahead of time. So, does this mean we won’t hear a peep unless it’s OUR SONG?

  17. Joe, come on man, I’m a regular by now. Must all my messages be ‘moderated’? lol

  18. Melissa Cash Avatar
    Melissa Cash

    Hey Joe B #145

    Thank you so much for your honesty. I can’t stand someone to say “hey that’s great” when it’s not. I didn’t realize so many people would be putting “fly” in their songs. I tried to keep the song simple enough for whoever to sing it to put their own style to it. BTW thanks for the great compliment on my voice. I have never considered myself to be a good singer. I’ve been working on controlling my voice.

    I also entered another one. I didn’t know if it would be AI material, but entered it anyway. I don’t think I have a rock voice so it may sound strange.

    “Before You”

  19. I sent in a song off of a CD, in MP3. The song was recorded years ago on reel to reel tape. I would I convert that to MP3 if the 1 in 1million chance I get selected?


  20. Hey, Melissa C!
    For what it’s worth, I have “fly” and “dream” in my song too. Not sure how you actually would avoid these words for something like this. But it’s interesting to listen to all these songs to hear how many ways the “dream theme” gets used.
    Melissa G

  21. Melissa-

    The topic of archiving our songs was discussed earlier, and if you can find the post, it had some interesting insight from someone who seemed to be in the know about the music industry. I, too, would like an expert tell us exactly what rights we have as songwriters, such as what do we own, when do we own it and for how long, can it be taken from us without our consent or knowledge, when is it a good thing to enter an agreement or not, etc.

    I’m personally not worried about my submissions being stored by a large company that knows how to do this. I would be more worried about how anyone would go about destroying or discarding my submissions, so as not to fall into the wrong hands. Besides, who else other than the hit-maker “American Idol” would you want to babysit your song until the right artist or opportunity came along? The contest rules regarding publishing and performance issues pretty much speak to the top 20 and the eventual winner (at least that’s how I read it). I might be an optimist, but I don’t think this contest is about taking undue and unfair advantage of anyone. Still, I agree with others that, if you’re chosen for the top 20, have an attorney look over any contracts first if there is time. As for the rest of us, they’ll have to make it clear as to their intentions, or not, for our submissions.

  22. I found this for any of you who did not record on a .wav file first but as an MP3. Good news!

    Dear Music Lovers:
    Obviously, this is an increasingly popular question due to the proliferation of MP3s on the Internet. Apparently, music fans want the ability to take their favorite (legal!) MP3 files and make customized compact discs.
    Setting out to find the answer to the question, we started by entering the phrase “MP3 to WAV” in the Yahoo! search box. After sifting through some site matches, we found the answer under Web Page Matches.

    Daily MP3 provides step-by-step instructions for converting MP3 files to WAVs. We decided to give their technique a spin.

    Following the instructions, we downloaded Winamp and attempted to convert some MP3s. Happily, it was a simple process and proved successful — we were able to create WAV files in a snap.

  23. Jeffery Cameron Avatar
    Jeffery Cameron

    we have the word “dreams” in our song in one line and it never repeats…

    for example…

    Until Now
    By Jeff Cameron & Matt Gurecky
    copyright 2007

    Until now
    I never thought I’d be the man I am today
    The doubts and fears I held have all but washed away
    And now I see my dreams coming into view
    It’s because of you

    And I thank you for the times you stood beside me
    For all the years I spent afraid and so alone
    My visions nothing more than foolish fantasies
    Until now…

    Before today
    I never placed my faith in a life left to chance
    How was I to know it was my turn to dance?
    Now the time has come to show the world what I can do
    You’ve seen me through

    And I thank you for the times you stood beside me
    For all the years I spent afraid and so alone
    My visions nothing more than childhood memories
    Until now…
    Until now…

    Without you
    I couldn’t see the light of day
    Without you
    I would have never found my way

    (c3 to end)
    And I thank you for the times you stood beside me
    For all the years I spent afraid and so alone
    My visions nothing more than foolish fantasies
    Until now…
    Until now…
    Until now…

  24. Trish Ireland Avatar
    Trish Ireland

    It’s driving me crazy that people are saying the American Idol website was misleading. They haven’t decided ANYTHING yet. How can they have misled us? So many people are taking what they THINK will happen and stating it like it’s a fact. Don’t REALLY listen to anybody here. People on this board have taken the simple outline of the rules and info and stretched them into what they feel like will give them a better shot. Always get your info from the source and the source said, “Don’t worry about your recording. We know a good song when we hear it.”

  25. I just found this blog today. I also sent in a song submission. “The Distance”. It is not in “release ready” format. I didn’t put a lot into it because American Idol says they can pick out a good tune and lyrics without it being “professional quality”.

    The Distance

  26. I updated my loooooong list of songs I’ve found on this site, the AI boards, technorati,, and others… in case you want to believe in dreaming about flying on this special night:

    If you have a song I’ve left off the list, please post it in a comment, so I can add you!

  27. I’d just like to take a moment to thank everyone participating in this forum for being friendly, and offering constructive criticism to those requesting it. Everyone putting music on here whether it is submitted AI competition material (or not) is brave. I say this because it is open season for any remarks, pleasant or otherwise.

    As I said before, good luck to everyone!

  28. Hey Phil, I was just saying that I know that “the journey??? is the sentiment they want but without actually saying it in every lyrical phrase. As I said I really liked your opening verse about remembering the times holding hands, not a big fan of the I wouldnt be here without you , you give me wings to fly. Otherwise I think for a guitar vocal production there is a sincerity to your song I like, would love to hear it with a big production and some lyrical refinement. I am open to critique of our submission.. go to http://www.ANNAFLESHLER.COM
    click LIVE then click DEMO. goodluck everyone

  29. myrikal Avatar

    I recall AI asking for entries that would make people want to”dance, sing or cry”. I’ve heard plenty that might make people want to sing or cry but did anyone go the danceable route? Just wondering?

  30. For anyone who would like to critique our submission, go to www. …
    click LIVE then click DEMO

  31. Wally; If the song is on a CD, place the CD in the CD Rom and upload the song to a wave editor which you can probably download for free. Then save the song as a .WAV file in your chosen music folder. Then you can punch the song up a little with EQ on the Editor and burn it to another CD. You could even upload the song directly from a reel to reel by just buying the right patch cord at Radio Shack or some place similar. Good Luck with your entry.

  32. oops, I meant how would I convert to a wav file? I never had a wav file in the first place. I recorded my song in a studio years ago, copied them on cassettes (remember those?) and had a copy put on a CD.

    I did a google search and saw that you can convert mp3 to wav files. I’m guessing there would be some loss in quality and I don’t know if this would fit the criteria of submitting in the correct file format.

  33. I just spent the last hour reading these blogs. I thought I was the only one who’s crazy. Glad to see I’m not! 🙂
    I wish they would announce it already. I can’t concentrate, and it’s my EXAM TIME! Grr!!

  34. This thread has trully been a thrill ride. Not brave enough to share my song. Don’t wanna get screwed due to some fine print issues. Plus it’s not copywritten. I did the old certified mail trick. I finally got serious about selling my music in Feb. Started writing a song about that horrifying journey just b4 Ryan made the big announcement. Still seems like a crazy coincidence that when I had only just begun networking that I’d be handed an opportunity like this. I had resolved to push the song elsewhere until I came accross this thread. Thanks to all for keeping me pesimistically hopeful.

    Michael, if you’re yanking me, it’s been the best yank I’ve had in years!! :0)

    Nancy, I’m sorry. That HAD to suck.

    My Chance, your songs got a LOT of potential. I’d give you a C++/B- for the lyrics but a red hot A for the tune. If you’re as young as you look (assuming that’s you in the pic) I’m extremely impressed with your skills.

  35. Click on the American Idol logo to hear the song submitted. This will require your browser to accept pop-up windows. Thanks for listening, good luck to everyone!

  36. Oops, I think I need to put the URL here:

  37. Wally . . you do lose quality when you convert from .WAV to .MP3 (WAV files are a lot larger in size).

    Going from MP3 to WAV doesn’t really buy back the quality if it’s already been compressed. The only reason to do that if that’s the preferred format.

    There are tons of “freeware” and trial versions of software on the web that you can use for file conversions (I’m a PC user, but I’d assume that the MAC has them as well).

  38. they will probably want the source file so they can master all the songs at the same level. they wouldn’t want one song to be really quiet while others are louder. they want to make all the songs equal volume. believe me that can make a difference in how a song comes across!!
    i’m already drinking wine waiting for AI to come on.
    hugs to all

  39. Anna Fleshler Avatar
    Anna Fleshler

    To hear our submitted song,
    go to …click on LIVE
    then click on DEMO ….song is called GIVE ME TIME

  40. I have been reading the blog and I have two comments:

    1. I don’t know how American Idol can call anyone, in nothing in the registration or submission, there was no place to give a phone number or address. Just an email address. I actually went back through and checked every thing I filled out before the submission process was over. I assume the only way they can contact is through email or having to research a phone number that could be unlisted. I doubt that.

    2. I think they must have already made their decisions. The website when I registered said they will arrange the top 20 songs which is why they didn’t require a professional entry. That is going to take time. I think that yesterday or today at the latest that they would have had to let people know to give them time to do the arranging and recording. They can’t place these songs online with vocals off key or no real arrangment. I don’t see how they couldn’t have chosen all ready.

    Sorry about posting my song twice. I didn’t see it come up the first time.

  41. AHHH – I think I’ve got you all beat, because I did NOT use ‘dream’ and ‘fly’ in my song – – I used ‘dream’ and – are you ready? – ‘SOAR’ !! So there you go – that’s my edge. Not polished production, accomplished musicianship, or great vocals – just ‘SOAR’. Versus ‘FLY’.

    And something tells me I’m not the only one….

  42. Rosanna Beech Avatar
    Rosanna Beech

    i’m sure i’ve read #’s 1 and 2 on previous threads. how do they get re posted, just curuious?

  43. Fly me to my dreams on my new wings!
    LOL. Okay, I admit I put a wings lyric in my song too, but only because the song (which I write last year) had a copyright reference to “My Favorite Things’ – the line is “when the dog bites when the bee stings” and I needed to replace that lyric to comply with the no-copyright. It had to rhyme with stings, and wings is so obvious. Anyway, its by far my least favorite line in my song.

    On another note, I have no .wav file, I just found a freeware that let me record from mic directly to .mp3. I thought the wav file was just a suggested way to do it with Windows, it was not clear to me it was a requirement. I could re-record it, I guess. It’s definitely my song.

    Good luck to all. This is a fun thread. I’ve enjoyed all your submissions.

  44. Melissa,
    I love “Before You”. You are so right, that would be a great Chris D. song. Good Garbage song too.

  45. OK, so the surprise tonight was “The King – Live”, and nobody in the singing competion going home, absolutely nothing to do with us hopeful songwriter pions! Good show tonight!

  46. Rosanna Beech Avatar
    Rosanna Beech

    Brenda, i’m sure they had a “contact phone number” space! But they do also have the email and i’m sure would use that to contact if they had trouble reaching someone by phone.

  47. Mark L. Avatar

    Thanks Drew #46. I’m in SoCal and going to see and hear Sean Lennon tonight….so I’m missing tonights show. Omw out the door. Glad to get your earlier time zone update.

    Also….”Michael”…..keep up the G2….it’s been the best typed stuff this week. You’ve been great.

  48. Excellent show and glad that no one went home tonight. Everything was perfect, except, thanks to Tamar, I was craving my own glass of wine…here’s hoping some phones ring tomorrow.

  49. Jeffery Cameron Avatar
    Jeffery Cameron

    wow, what a show tonight….Carrie Underwood sang a beautiful version of the Pretender’s “I’ll Stand By You” that made me cry….and the original Idol, Kelly Clarkson sang her heart out and proved she is the best Idol of all time by singing a song called “Up The Mountain”, I am not sure if that is a cover song or if it one of her new ones from her forthcoming album. Also, Madonna had a video message from Malawi. And the big news…they didn’t vote off anyone this week…and the small news…they did not mention one thing about the songwriting contest 🙁

  50. Interesting Idol tonight, the highlight was Elvis singing If I Can Dream, what a an emotional masterpiece performance, kind of funny that an Elvis who died 30 years ago can outshine a living Celine Dion, wished they didnt put her next to him, made her look kind of small vocally, actually I think Elvis outshined all the performers, dont make em like that anymore

  51. Rosanna Beech Avatar
    Rosanna Beech

    Drew are you serious? about no one going home? After you said “the king, live” i didn’t know what to believe. East coasters, please comment.

  52. Trish #24: This is the most “real” discussion board you can find right now regarding the songwriting contest. I believe few people on this board are worried that professionals won’t know a great song when they hear it. It’s the general voting public that is the wild card, here. Can THEY discern a great song given different levels of sound quality and production? They’re the ones picking…

    Brenda #41: There was definitely a place to put your phone number. Secondly, AI is not going to re-arrange and re-record the top 20 songs.

  53. Still don’t have the nerve to post my song but I will tell you… I didn’t use one single lyric that everyone’s so hyped about not using. I didn’t leave them out purposefully. I happened to write the song b4 the taboo words were established. Whenever that was? This is one seriously amateur songwriter that’s not about conforming to rules that don’t feel right. I didn’t write it to spec. It’s certainly not beneath me, writing to spec. I’d much rather write a song to spec than dig a ditch or anything remotely revolting for a living (peace to the ditch diggers, it’s just not my thing). Write what feel right and you’ll never go wrong. Our success is not measured by the songs we sell but the people we touch, including ourselves.

  54. Trish– A few blogs pages back, Joe posted an official statement from AI saying that the top 20 songs would *not* be re-recorded prior to voting. Many of us completely freaked out over that announcement, and have been having a collective primal scream here, ever since. I’m hoping that announcement was premature or inaccurate, but you should know that the discussion here is largely based on statements like that, not flights of fancy.

    Heh, I bought call-forwarding for my home phone today, just so I can breathe while I’m at the office or running errands. I know, I know, I’m deluded. 🙂

  55. Brenda, there was definately a space for a phone number. I debated using my work phone and opted to do so. I changed my voicemail at work to include my cell just in case. I’d guess they’d contact us by email though regardless. I’d guess there will be a contract attached with instructions for signing and returning overnight along with the master file. I wish I could check my home email from work. I’ll be on baited breath all day.

  56. Brenda,
    There was a contact # section. It read, in case we need to notify you for the top 20 slot. I put my cell # just in case. I agree with you as far as contacting people already for the top 20 slot. I think the songs would have been chosen by now and people would have been notified. Of course no one knows for sure. Good luck to all…I’ve listened to many recordings here and am wondering why some of you aren’t already published???

  57. Rosanna,
    After I submitted my song and before they ended the submissions, I went back through all the registration pages and the song submission pages specifically to see how they would be able to contact. Honestly the only information they asked for was email. I think I even triple checked it because i was surprised! there was the whole talk of the “213” call and I honestly think that any of the top 20 will be contacted by email.

  58. I just read Lalena’s #57 – maybe I missed it!

  59. well, i for one, thought it was very cool of AI to do this show tonight. it’s a damn shame their are kids with no parents. that about tore my heart up. i could barely watch some of that footage. I’m happy AI really took a stand on something, knowing how much revenue they make on this show it really is a fantastic thing!
    so…i have to say that the songwriting forum on the AI site is about as gooshy as it gets. I am realistic about my song, and I have also heard some winners but boy, there are some really bad ones as well. But that’s okay…it’s totally out of our hands at this point so we’re all equal. which in a way is cool!
    and yes, Mike, the wine did me fine tonight. I enjoyed my evening and now i’m watching an infomercial on buying a cd called “The Sounds of the Seventies”. Have to say, it’s looking pretty good right now!
    hugs and all that,

  60. Rosanna Beech Avatar
    Rosanna Beech

    If it’s true that they are NOT re arranging/producing the final 20, i think that is SO misleading because we talked about going into a studio and doing it but took them at their word and thought, “oh well, they’re just going to re arrange it anyway.” Maybe THEY can hear a great song past a piano/vocal, but the general public will be swayed by a production.

  61. Rosanna, it’s true, on a charitable night like tonight, they sent no one home tonight, they’re sending two home next week….. I have to say the production of Celine singing next to Elvis was an incredible feat of TV magic. Long live the King!

  62. hi there,

    I’m really enjoying this thread. I never post anything on blogs and discussion boards but everyone here seems very supportive so I thought I’d contribute. Speaking of contribute, I was really moved by tonight’s AI show. I opened my wallet and gave what I could. I think they did a wonderful thing with the charity event. Regarding this thread, I’m glad there are so many fellow songwriters out there asking the same questions I am! It’s all very exciting. As an FYI…the tune I submitted for the contest is called Strong Baby, Strong. You can hear it on my MySpace page along with some other songs I recorded: Cheers.

  63. There def was a place to put your number, and BTW…the greatest American Idol of all time was ELvis Presley, I would imagine the next couple of days will be telling times for America’s songwriters, goodluck everyone

  64. Joe Vee (post #5) and MollyS. (post #6):

    Were my posts spam? I just wanted to share my song. Sorry if I have offended.

  65. Rosanna Beech Avatar
    Rosanna Beech

    I ask everyone who has blogged on this site to donate, whatever you can! i am going to log on now to donate $25. Since we all obviously love the show, it’s our way to support and do something wonderful ! Happy donating!

  66. 37, Bonjoe, thanks for the comments. As someone else also stated, I thought that WAV was just a suggestion and not a requirement.

    I’ll worry about that bridge in the 1/25,000 chance that I cross it.

  67. Rosanna Beech Avatar
    Rosanna Beech

    Wally, 🙂

  68. Trish Ireland Avatar
    Trish Ireland

    To The Anns,

    I’ve been following this site since Post 1. I know what has been said. It’s just that I’ve read a lot of amateurs come on here and say, “I was excited about my entry until I read these comments…I thought the AI site said to do this. It misled me…,” or something to that effect. I know AI said they were going to rerecord your song and now they’re not (and that could be something to freak out about, I agree) but I’m talking about all these people who keep saying your song NEEDS to be: processed, not processed, non religious, recorded like this, recorded like that…etc. It’s these comments that are making me nuts. I guess if more of them were worded as advice rather then ‘know it alls’ they wouldn’t bother me as much. Common sense tells you a worthless recording isn’t going to do well. I’m just saying, if they can hear the music, hear the lyrics, and love what they can do with it, then you’ve done what the site said to do. Everything else is blog talk.

  69. So, we finally put our hat in the video arena too…check out the lovely Ms Angela Knight singing “Shining Star” on YouTube…

  70. I had read previous posts about the lack of hype for the songwriting contest. Remember way back when the first season started and almost no one knew about AI? I think it’s their way of feeling out the contest without getting too overwhelmed. I’m actually glad of the lack of announcements – less entries, and more of a chance for all of these wonderful songs I’ve listened to in the last few weeks!!!


    m y s p a c e/kamieervin

  71. Myrikal – we tried to go the “make ’em dance” route with “everybody’s got a song to sing.” I really wish I could’ve gotten someone else to sing it — we were going for a feel-good, light vibe — like Jackson 5 or (early) Little Stevie Wonder. My voice makes it more like some bland girl singer-song! Well, “do what you can, where you are, with what you’ve got!” We wanted a chorus everyone could sing along with — something fun. We did say fly: “fear won’t teach you how to fly”, but only once! And, Tamar — the “Midnight Special” informercial is the killer! All of those live performances…if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can google– a bunch of live performances from the seventies. I didn’t buy it, but you’ve reminded me that I WANT it!

  72. Brenda,
    I’m pretty positive there was a phone# line in the submission form. And it did say “so we can contact you if you’re in the top 20”.
    That’s why there is all this phone-call-hysteria goin on ’round here.

    I’m so glad i found this place. I told myself it wasn’t a big deal when i entered. Trying not to get my hopes up. I did alright at first not thinking about it. Then late last week i started looking for info to see if they said when the winners would be annoucned. That’s when i stumbled onto this site. THen i started getting anxious! To make it worse, i didn’t tell ANYBODY, that i entered. I don’t want the “hey have ya heard ’bout the AI contest yet?” questions. Sick of getting my hopes up for this stuff anymore. But now, i’m in the same boat as everyone else. It is pretty exciting. Although odds are slim pickins, it’ll always be fun to dream.

    Cheers to all!

    Big thanks to Joe Taylor Jr. for allowing his blog to turn into a forum! This has been a great discussion.! Thanks!

  73. I don’t know why this bugs me but why can’t each posting have the time of posting included? And while I’m venting, when committing the unforgivable sin of actually watching a movie on broadcast TV and the end credits come up and they feel the need to scrunch the movie down to a microscopic box, speed the credit scroll up a few notches and fill the rest of your TV screen with an ad for some lame sitcom, how do they expect you to read these credits that are evidently contractually obligated to be there? Maybe I want to know exactly who was the Best Boy on the 2nd unit production of
    Leprechaun III. Those bastards!

  74. Not a frequent poster and, at that, very new to this blogging concept. Behind the times, I know. Anyway, what they did with Elvis and Celine choked me up. This “gift” from his Estate was a historical moment in television history. How cool would it had been to have Lisa Marie up there. Still very cool though. I think Celine did fine.

    The whole concept of the show humbled me to put our songwriting contest indulgence in proper perspective. And, the smiles on those children singing with Josh were so freaking amazing!

    My apology for not talking shop this time!

  75. Disclaimer: All opinions are my own.

    Superwoman: When you post the same two songs at the top of every thread (rather than continuing the conversation from previous threads), it is pretty much spam.

    It has been a little annoying to see the same people continually posting. “This is my song. What do you think?” Once is enough. There are a variety of reasons why your song may not generate comments and criticism, but additional postings is not likely to change the matter.

    I should point out that I do not mind the links posted at the bottom of comments when people actually constructively engage in conversation.

    Constructive (hopefully) criticism for “Without You” : My first reaction was that I didn’t like the melody in the verse, I cringed at some of the lyrics, and the chorus was pretty good musically. Then a day or two later I found myself humming the chorus. So, despite the flaws, the song definitely has potential as a pop ballad. If you don’t make the top 20, I would recommend taking a serious look at a rewrite, focusing in particular on making the lyrics tighter.

  76. Joe Vee Avatar

    I recall putting a phone number on too. And “Michael” – keep up the good work. And AI – please pick the best songs. And if those songs need to be re-reworked (ie re-sung) then PLEASE have your house band re-record all. I don’t have to remind you that this was a songwriter search – not singer search again this year. If you find another singer you like – great. No one should object to have all the songs re-recorded for the Top20 voting – as the songs WERE submitted for re-doing anyway. ‘We can hear a great song – our team can arrange great’. I am paraphrasing your words. PLEASE BE TRUE TO THEM. Otherwise – you clearly mislead people. Facts is facts.

  77. Joe Vee Avatar

    ps – a songwriter who may have been squirreled away with a great tune – no one has heard it – watches your show – READS YOUR ENTRY ENTICEMENT – and sings their heart out on what is otherwise a truly great tune – is probably hosed based on what we read early on from a supposed member of 19Entertainment in an email reply to a fellow blogger on Joe’s great site here.

  78. Steve,

    The back-story: We do not typically write pop – you’re hearing our first real stab at it (although I realize it’s only the results that count). So, from a certain point of view, I empathize with your perspective.

    We actually put a lot of thought into every syllable but what you think is super cool at 2:35AM and what you end up hearing in your car the next morning can sometimes be different.

    I am, however, mystified by the genre. I keep bumping into folks that call out certain lyrics that to me still need work, saying “that’s a good lyric!” My repsonse being -Really? I wouldn’t have guessed.

    My conclusion is to excuse myself in judging lyrics as I’m not apparently savvy enough to know. I hear lots of lyrics everyday that make me cringe and people just love them – what do you do?

    We realize it’s such a long shot to get “the call” but it’s fun thinking about it. We’re already blown away at the response we’ve gotten so far. It’s been amazing.

    Thanks for the thoughtful critique.

    “Without You”

  79. I’m getting ready for work now….someone better hear from AI today…i can hardly stand it! I had a dream that they posted the twenty finalists on the website and i didn’t recognize any of the songs at all.
    Anyway, i’m really really hoping they get going on this today.
    Michael- if you get any wind of a meeting, a phone call, or if you overhear a conversation in the bathroom…post it!!!
    love to all

  80. tim enright Avatar
    tim enright

    Can’t tell you guys how much I appreciate all of your conversation. Like all of you, I’ve been obsessing over the last week – “googling” to see if any notification has gone out. I’ve never been one to post but I can’t tell you how theraputic this has been. Here’s the tune I submitted. (“This Journey With You”).

    Best wishes to all

  81. Someone has to know something…Why would AI reps make us crazy like this? This is so not fair, all they have to do is make one little change to the website, saying thank you for all your entries, our top 20 has been chosen. Don’t forget to vote on May 2. Ya know? How hard is that? If you are watching, please answer that one prayer. Thanks!

  82. i think it will be tomorrow-
    hang in there guys
    please post if you can- a “sign” if you they make you sign a confidentiality clause- let’s say-

  83. THANK YOU JOE 77

  84. Marissa Avatar

    My first post so, American Idol Hello + If you need to take an extra week to select the greatest songs and record them again, take the time and do them and the contest right. If it takes an extra week, say so and announce it for all to hear. Do it right for everyone.

  85. Hey all,

    Just wanted to throw some love to the Super Woman gal! Some people are totally new to the posting deal, and with the novelty of this competition, things moving so quickly; it’s always nice to error toward the “benefit of the doubt” way of thinking and just post a general comment or e-mail the individual separately….hope you all don’t mind me throwing my two cents in! By the way, SuperWoman, I listened to your song the other day and was moved by the song’s message and certain phrasing…a chick anthem of sorts, pardon the expression. Gee, I will give it another listen. By the way, I recall that it was a bit challenging to get the file up…

    My Best.

  86. I watched the show last night as did everyone else, and I’m explaining to my 6 year old niece what it was all about and why they were doing it, etc and told her I was going to call like so many others to try to help these kids. So, before she goes to bed, she brings me her bank with $18 in change in it and asks me if I would give it to American Idol to help the kids who needed it. I couldn’t get through on the phones, but went online and donated hers and mine. It was too touching.

    Hope someone gets the call today.

    Tim-enjoyed your song, thanks for posting.

  87. Tamar, I found myself humming a melody this morning as I am going to my car for work. I stopped and thought where did I hear this and then realized your tune, melody I should say sticks with you and keeps coming back. Maybe it is a good thing they are taking longer to decide because I believe your song when you first listen is just ok, but I believe it soaks into the brain over a couple of days. Lets hope this is what will happen when these reviewers from AI are on there way into work. They will find thereselves humming also and say HEY! I heard that song the other day. We’ve got to go back and find it. We’ve got a potential hit with some work.

  88. BigPoppy Avatar

    #86, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Mine is: if Les Paul listened to the superwoman song, he would renounced multitracking, let alone lyric writing. Sorry to be blunt, but the lady posted (spammed is the right word) an awful song, repeatedly.

  89. i’ve heard some pretty decent songs over the past couple of weeks w/ not-so-great singers or instrumentalists. but i’ve also heard MORE things OVER-PRODUCED than anything else. just b/c your song was recorded in nashville by professionals doesn’t make your song better. sorry – it just doesn’t. i’m not saying that plunking out the melody on your kid’s toy keyboard and trying to sing over the top of it is the answer either.

    ps – that wasn’t geared towards any specific person OR song…just in general

  90. At Trish, # 69

    There is a clear difference between inspirational music and religious music. While religious music can be inspirational, it can divide people, regardless of how “good” the song is. Purely inspirational music stays away from belief structure associated with religion, making sure that everyone can tune in to the message (i.e. Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up”). Many listeners still apply this vague sort of inspiration to their religious beliefs, but this is done so in their own minds, not blatantly by the songwriter/performer as in religious works. I only bring this up because if religion was a widely acceptable format by American Idol, we would have seen a “Religous Theme Week”, don’t you think? Of course these are all my opinions, but they are based off of pretty good logic I should say, and you are entitled to disagree all you’d like to, and it isn’t going to bother me. I don’t know why any of this “bothers” you, because no one is attacking you that I can see, they are just speaking their minds and possibly overstepping some boundaries as to what they think they know since nothing has been released to the general public other than what anyone else knows at this point. How that genuinely bothers you is beyond me though. Fact is, this blog is what is keeping us, and obviously yourself included, somewhat busy enough to help the time pass until they announce something new. It is all in good fun. 🙂

  91. Jeffery Cameron Avatar
    Jeffery Cameron

    to trish…

    i understand your reaction to everyone’s opinions, but none of them stated them as “facts”, you are assuming that because you didn’t like what they said, so please check yourself before you wreck yourself LOL…

    many people in this forum, including myself, have dealt with people in the music business and know our way around a studio with our eyes closed and hands tied behind our backs. we have more experience with how things work, how they think, what they might be looking for, what legal terms are used, what software/file types to use, etc. than the average joe on the street, so it may seem like we think we know it all, but the truth is we are voicing opinons based on what we have learned in the past and have a viewpoint that many people do not have. so we offered our real world experience to help others understand how complex and difficult it can be, and to inject a little realism into the discussion. but unfortunately, the truth doesn’t always sit well some people because it doesn’t always feel good to hear it.

    ultimately, no one knows what the A&R staff are going to do as far as what types of songs they will pick, but educated and experienced guesses are better than naive ones, even if they turn out to be wrong. certainly, no one claimed to have “known 100% without a doubt” what would happen, and no one can know these things. but when you’ve been down the road before many times, you know where to step for better footing…

    in any case, try not to get too upset about what people say in this blog. it’s a waste of time. they are just opinions, not facts. please don’t take them as such.

  92. Jeffery Cameron Avatar
    Jeffery Cameron

    i tried to donate last night right after the show and i couldn’t get through for several hours. i was finally able to get through on the website and donated $50. i was never able to download any tracks from itunes, i want to get the Carrie Underwood track and the Kelly Clarkson track from the show, i guess i’ll have to wait till i get off of work today and try again.

  93. One other thing to note, even though Kelly Clarkson doesn’t look her best right now, she still looks beautiful and by god, can she sing! I just absolutely LOVE her voice. I get excited when I see her sing. i always wonder where she is going to take the song.

    Lastly, I must say, I’ve never been a Celine fan, but last night it was a pleasure to hear her pure, pretty much perfect voice.
    It was like buttah!!!!
    Her and Elvis sounded great together! That was truly some exciting television and I’m usually so cynical about TV shows pulling something like that. But that was special.

    – I too wonder about past idols and why they weren’t involved. anybody have a thought or opinion on that one?

    okay…to the daily grind while I bite my fingernails again.

  94. G’Morning, fellow basketcases!

    I, too, loved the show last night. It was exactly what I needed–an attitude adjustment toward what’s actually important.

    Luck and peace to all of us, today.

  95. hey guys, another day of “this”!!
    I am at work trying to concentrate but like the rest of you, finding it very hard. The show was good last night and as we expected, no mention of the contest. Today is the first real day I feel like the top 20 could be notified, but who knows??
    What happened to our inside source??? he hasnt posted since the AI police caught up to him!!!
    Anyway, lets hope something breaks today, I cant take another day of this, and then the weekend!!!
    good luck

  96. I have to say, there are some brilliant masterminds at 19 ent. That show was such a success from beginning to end. The sentiment and most importantly the message they wanted to send was head on. Reminding us of just how much we as a nation CAN TRULY make a difference in MANY lives. Way to go American Idol, YOU’RE THE DOG!!!!

  97. tim enright Avatar
    tim enright

    Last night’s show definitely puts things into perspective as we all sat & watched on our big screen tv’s and whatnot. I tried to donate this morning and I was unable to “establish a secure connection.” I’m going try again (I have a mac w/Safari – which I’m new to). Maybe I did something wrong or there’s a setting I don’t know about. Anyhow.

    Mike – thanks for listening and the compliment
    Stephanie – thanks for the myspace add

    This blog has been filled with all kinds of encouraging dialog over the last couple of days I’ve been tuning in.

    basketcase – out.


  98. Re: Lyrics.

    If a song called “My Humps” can be a major hit with THAT lyrical content in the pop culture/music genre, then there’s hope for all of us beyond this competition.


  99. Mark L. Avatar

    Ok….it’s almost 8am PT…..looking on my doorstep and bummed that the “Michael Report” isn’t here yet….ha.

    Joe….you gonna be (if not already) making some serious ad $$’s soon.

  100. Laurie W Avatar
    Laurie W

    I think we all have so many hopes wrapped up in this contest and though only a few will win it’s reminded me how much I love the idea of creating something that others will love to hear. The important thing is to keep doing what we love to do whether we win or not. It’s the ones that keep trying that eventually persevere. I know that may sound corny but I believe it to be true. Many great songs will get turned down and it doesn’t mean they aren’t great, just not what AI is looking for. Keep trying whether you get a call or not and keep trying to improve your talent.

  101. I found a great link
    This site lists many AI Submissions on a list so it is easy to hear lots. Many of your songs may be up on it.

    I have enjoyed listening to all of your songs. I think the decision was probably made for the Top 20 already, but if for some reason it hasn’t yet, Good Luck! Some of the songs I have listened to are very good! Maybe just getting your songs posted online will open some doors. There will be people coming online when voting starts and looking for the “other entries”. So don’t give up hope!!!

    The Distance

  102. . . and Stephanie: Thank you for putting everything into perspective on this board.

  103. Speaking of downloading songs from last night’s show….I thought all of the songs would be available…I know it’s a longshot, but does anyone know the artist/song that was being played during one of the clips where Simon and Ryan were visiting the mother caring for 14 children who was taken to the hospital and sadly passed away. My sister asked me about the song and I didn’t recognize it.

  104. david v Avatar

    Daniel Palmer, post 63
    Enjoyed your song very much. Had a very Beatle-esque sound and quality to it.
    I am too cautious to post my song “Will I See Your Smile? ” until after the 20 are announced. Of course, if I am one of the 20,all you will hear from me, per post #83 above, is a big “AMEN”.

  105. Bert K. Avatar

    Unless they announce that there is a contest delay immediately, I have to believe that they have already contacted the initial Top20.

    #1. They need a signed contract, Ok, fax machine signatures will suffice. #2 They need your source file, which probably means overnight delivery.

    And the voting begins Tuesday? You wouldn’t leave that small a margin of time when when deciding what to order and calling for a pizza. No, I bet the initial Top20 know now.

    I didn’t get called, so, prove me wrong, please.

  106. Bert K. Avatar

    sorry, Wed. May 2. Still, as an experienced manager and marketing person for some very sophisticated telecommunications projects; I would never comfortable with the time crunch they must be looking at if they HAVEN’T contacted the initial 20. No matter how good the planning, always allow extra time for the screw-ups. Nah, 20 people are smiling today.

  107. Check out the thread on American Idol’s message boards under general discussions…
    there’s a post that allows you to share your song…”Songwriter’s Join In…”
    Best of luck to everyone! We should have an AI songwriting get together! 🙂 hehe. I wonder if anyone wrote a purposely silly song to give the judges a laugh….
    Love to all,
    “You Knew I’d Make It”

  108. Michael, where are u?

  109. […] Our discussion about your entries into American Idol’s songwriting contest rolls on. For newcomers, we’ve been splitting comments into new threads every 100 comments or so to keep our server from melting. Beyond that, there’s a lot of fun, positive discussion going on between some industry veterans and some newbie songwriters about everything from whether someone’s received The Call from Los Angeles to signing up with ASCAP or BMI. Among the highlights in the last thread: […]

  110. Closing comments on this thread and opening up a new one…

    There’s a very special present in store for you when you answer my request in our next discussion thread:

  111. Well,here it..April 27th already,and no word yet from anyone.I wouldn’t be surprised if no one knew anything more about this comp til Monday of next week.I have received one phone call today,but it was only from my grandmother.So everyone else,just rough it out like the rest of us I suppose!