This is going to be my last post for a few days. I'm moving back to Pittsburgh on Sunday, so I'll be offline until Monday or Tuesday.
I thought this song - Michael Stanley Band's "My Town" - was appropriate, considering I'm going back to ye old hometowne and people are constantly asking me why I would be so crazy as to leave the center of the universe, otherwise known as New York City. Well, I have mixed emotions about it. I love the Big Apple, but I think I'm ready to go back home. When I moved here, I never intended to stay forever, but it's still hard to leave. But I'm sure that once I get back to the 'Burgh, everything will be fine. NYC has definitely become a second home, but it can never replace my real home.
Despite the fact that Michael Stanley's town is Cleveland (Pittsburgh's arch-rival!), I've always loved this song. I don't think I'd ever seen the video until today, so maybe it will be new to some of you as well. Sorry about the quality...seems like the video and audio are a bit out of sync, but this is the only version I could find online.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
This is going to be my last post for a few days. I'm moving back to Pittsburgh on Sunday, so I'll be offline until Monday or Tuesday.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
If this first elimination round is any indication, MY PREDICTION SKILLS THIS YEAR ARE THE WEAKEST EVER! Eegads, I'm starting off with a 25% accuracy rating.
I didn't actually watch the results show tonight, and now that I hear there was a cheesy group lip-sync of Estelle's "American Boy," I'm glad I didn't. Did the Ford commercials start already? No, don't tell me. I don't wanna know.
Apparently, I missed a couple of people who actually can sing — Allison Iraheta and our reigning Idol, Kris Allen.
VFTW got what they wanted: The Superfluous E and Little Timmy got to stay and assault our ears for at least another week. On the girls' side, Ashley (my one correct pick) and Janell were cut, while Tyler and Joe were the first boys to fall. I actually almost picked Joe, but in a group of such lame-o guys, it was hard to pick who was lamest.
Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.
I missed the show last night, opting instead to take in amateur night at the Apollo. I had to watch the videos online today, and my fears were confirmed: most of the amateurs last night were much better than AI's Top 12 guys.
Since I didn't see the entire show, I'm just going to jump right into the critiques. Sorry if I missed any crazy Seacrest shenanigans at the top of the show. (No I'm not.)
Todrick Hall was up first and took on Kelly "#1 Idol" Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone." Well, it was kind of like a "Since U Been Gone/Da' Butt" mashup. Wow, that guy really wanted to be Adam Lambert. The sassy dancing, the head jerks, the fingerless leather gloves, the crazy song arrangement...yet none of it worked for Todrick. Maybe he wasn't wearing enough makeup? Or perhaps the
force fierce is just not that strong in this one. Oh well. Ellen thought it was — what else — great. Well, the performance was great, but the chorus wasn't great. Somehow that still equated to great. Her grading system is nearly as complicated as Randy's. Speaking of the Dawg, he told Todrick, "You never wanna take a song and completely obliterate it." (The unspoken finish to that thought was: Unless you're Adam Lambert. Or Blake Lewis doing Bon Jovi. Or someone else on some other day, depending on what mood the judges are in.) Kara agreed with Randy. Imagine! Simon said, "I'm all for taking risks, providing you can improve it...it was verging on stupid." Why does this guy always say performances are verging on being something. Can't they just be? Seacrest allowed Todrick to ramble on for a bit, which must have bored the camera man, because suddenly there was a shot of Aaron Kelly, standing on deck looking lost.
Aaron Kelly eventually found his way to the stage. But before his song, Seacrest informed the audience that Aaron is 16, and Aaron reminded everyone in his video package. He performed Rascal Fatts' "Here Comes Goodbye," and I wish he had sung it really badly so this could be one of those really prophetic song choices. However, it wasn't bad. It was certainly preferable to listening to a Fatts original. But holy smokes, did that kid look like a cardboard cutout on stage or what? Expressionless and nearly motionless. It was like someone nailed his shoes to the floor and all he could do is sway his knees from side to side. (He should've at least tried the "Smooth Criminal" move.) The judges all said the same thing in different ways: basically, that Aaron was very good but sorely lacking confidence. Randy was worried that the audience might have forgotten the kid's age, so he quickly mentioned again that Aaron's only 16. Then Simon told him he was cute, which sent Aaron flying across the studio shouting, "He said I'm cuuuuuuuuuuuude!"
All I could think during Jermaine Sellers' shrieky performance of Oleta Adams' "Get Here" was, "Oh, Jermaine. I don't care how you get there, just get to the end of the song if you can. Before I kill myself." Once again, the judges all said the same thing in different and long-winded ways: the performance was too over-the-top and the song was too "old" for him. Randy also got to use his new favorite term, "big pipes." Then Jermaine came down with a case of the stanky leg. I have no idea what that is, but I was kind of expecting him to get rushed off to the ER. But before that could happen, Seacrest brought Michael Orland (the musical director) onstage so that he and Jermaine could make nice after their Hollywood Week issues. Instead, Michael used it as an opportunity to totally feel up Seacrest...and Fauxhawky McGee did not attempt to escape his grasp.
Tim Urban murdered one of my favorites from the last few years, OneRepublic's "Apologize." And I will not accept any apologies. It's too late for that shit, pretty boy. Simon must have felt the same way, because he murdered Tim in his critique, telling him that they made the right choice by cutting him originally (he was only brought back to replace the disqualified Chris Golightly) and that his voice just plain wasn't good enough. Then all of the judges tried to make Tim feel better (or reveled in patronizing him) by telling him that he could still be here next week — but only because girls will think he's adorable and other people will pity him.
Following Tim was Joe Munoz, who was...uhhh, present. I think. Even though he had a good voice, he was even more boring than Phil "Drabby McBlanderson" Stacey, which is pretty damn impressive. In a sad way, of course. Of course, it didn't help that he sang a Jason Mraz song, which is any contestant's way of saying, "I have nothing interesting to offer you, world." For the umpteenth time, the judges all kind of say the same thing: Joe sang the song well, but it wasn't the best song choice. Simon agreed with me that the guy was forgettable. You know which guy I'm talking about, right? I forgot his name already.
Tyler Grady tried to channel Jim Morrison with a cover of —no, not a Doors song — the Guess Who's "American Woman." But he just kind of came off as the butt baby of Randy Travis and Mika singing karaoke. If he had done that in a dark bar at, like, 11:00 pm and I'd had a few drinks in me, I probably would have thought he was pretty good. Unfortunately, I was stone cold sober and he was alone on a giant blue frisbee. So, you know, not great. All the judges agreed (again) that Tyler took too many classes at Robbie Carrico's Fake Rocker College and needs to be more original. But they also thought that he gave a memorable performance. Then Kara told him he should sing something like "1901" by Phoenix, which nearly caused me to bust a gut, because A) I'm amazed that Kara even knew who Phoenix is, and B) that performance would really give Ellen cause to use the phrase "hot mess."
Next up was Falwless's boyfriend, Lee Dewyze, who goes back and forth between looking like a cute teddy bear and a douchey frat boy date rapist. He sang Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars," because it was either that or something by The Fray, Augustana or Tonic, right? Ahhhh, come on, I keed, I keed. I'm just giving Lee some shit. Out of all of the guys so far, it was actually the least offensive and/or boring performance. He finally made the judges disagree...well, at least one of them. KaRandy and "E," as she's now being called, all thought it was kind of pitchy and not rockin' enough. Even though we never saw any evidence of this in Hollywood, KaRandy kept insisting that Lee was a rocker (not to be confused with Lee Rocker), so they refused to accept him singing anything that wasn't "rock." Simon, on the other hand, salivated all over Lee and proclaimed this the best performance of the night "by a mile." His praise got Lee so excited that he nearly ate his guitar pick. But he didn't. Instead, he made Fal's ovaries explode by telling Seacrest that being onstage was so great that he "never wanted to lose this feeling again." Everyone awwwed. In other news, since my blogfriend has already claimed Lee, I am calling dibs on his brother. No facial hair!
In his video package, John Park (not to be confused with John Parr) nearly proposed marriage to Shania Twain, who told him he had a "great bottom end" at his first audition. Well, I don't think that John's performance of "God Bless The Child" made Shania feel like a woman. It probably made her feel sick, like it did me. God bless the singer who doesn't muck up every song with 5,000 runs, because all those runs just made that song a big pile of musical diarrhea. Of course, Randy loved the runs, but he didn't think that was the right song for him. Neither did anyone else. Although, Ellen did still think that he sounded great. God bless her heart.
Michael Lynche reminded everyone that his wife gave birth during Hollywood Week, as if we could have forgotten. Then he reminded me how much I hate Maroon 5 by covering "This Love." Anything sounds better when not sung by human turd Adam Levine, so it was fairly enjoyable. I don't really think the acoustic guitar was necessary. It was nearly inaudible. Anyway, Ellen thought it was a great song choice and she loved Michael's great personality. Kara liked it, but didn't think it was outrageously great. (Now, I just have to figure out where "outrageously great" falls in the scale of greatness. I'm assuming that it's slightly better than Ellen great, but since Kara has no taste, I'm not sure.)
Alex "Not Adam" Lambert has the worst mullet I've ever seen. But he's also one of the better Jason Mraz impersonators I've seen. So as to avoid Mraz comparisons, he opted to sing James Morrison's "Wonderful World." Oh, but wait. Those two are pretty much the same guy. They both have something stuck in their throats. Simon put a lump in Alex's throat when he began his critique with, "I don't know who was happier for that to end, you or me." But no one actually dissed Alex's vocal ability; everyone just thought that he looked really uncomfortable on stage. And for the most part, I agreed with them. Alex's comfort level wasn't helped by all the sexual harrassement: Kara wanted to hug him and Ellen wanted to eat him like a banana. Or something.
Speaking of sexual harrassment, Kara's most wanted, Casey James, showed up to sing Bryan Adams' "Heaven." It might have been kind of a corny choice, but Casey sang it very well. After it was over, Randy had to snap Kara out of her fantasy world (in which she was Lesley Ann Warren and Casey was Christopher Atkins) to give the first critique. She could only manage to sputter out a few nonsensical words before E jumped in to say that she could "feel Kara undressing Casey with her eyes." Simon said he understood what it was like to be "cursed with good looks." And at some point, they all stopped talking about Casey's appearance to let him know that they all liked his voice, too.
Andrew Garcia got the pimp spot, which was no surprise. I may have to start calling him Gokey v2.0 because he kind of looks like him and has, thus far, proved to be a one-trick pony. He gives Fall Out Boy's "Sugar We're Going Down" the same coffeehouse-acoustic-soul treatment that he gave P-Ab's "Straight Up" in Hollywood Week. I didn't like it and neither did the judges. However, they completely missed the point, because they kept talking about how Andrew needed to "take risks" and "be himself" and to go back to what he did with "Straight Up." Ahem. HE WAS BEING HIMSELF AND HE DID EXACTLY THE SAME THING HE DID WITH "STRAIGHT UP." That is why it was annoying. So far, that's all the guy has shown he can do. Did they seriously not understand that?
So, two gals and two guys will be eliminated tonight. Who will it be?
On the girls' side, I wish we could get rid of Haeley, but I have a feeling that she will stick around for a while to annoy the shit out of me. I think the least memorable girl was Lacey, so she will be out. And even though it seemed like she was an early favorite, Simon's post-hypnotic suggestion to the voters about Ashley being in trouble probably worked.
Of the boys, the only ones who are undoubtedly safe are Lee, Michael and Casey...and maybe Alex. There were a lot of crappy performances, but because John lulled everyone to sleep, I doubt anyone voted for him. As for the second loser, it's a tough call between Todrick, Jermaine, Joe and Tim. Todrick could fall victim to the first spot, but Jermaine probably rubbed a lot of people the wrong way in Hollywood Week. Joe was just forgettable, while Tim was just awful. But Tim is still "adorable" to the tweens (and Ellen), and also has the support of VFTW. I'm just going to have to take a guess here and say...eenie meenie miney mo...Jermaine Sellers, off you go.
Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Last night on AI, the Top 12 girls got to perform for America's votes for the first time. And I'm guessing that most of them really hate Simon and the gang because they seemed to be in on some sinister plan to make the judges look stupid by disproving their constant assertions that this year's group of women is the STRONGEST EVER.
And because these women are SO GREAT, THEY CANNOT BE CONSTRAINED BY THEMES! So, they were just allowed to sing anything that ever charted. Whee.
Paige Miles was up first, which immediately didn't bode well for her. I mean, she got zero face time during the audition process and she was in the death spot on the first elimination round. Then she ate a whole box of crazy and decided to do Free's "All Right Now." Doesn't she remember what I (rhetorically) asked David Cook when he chose this song? Who covers Paul muthahumpin' Rodgers?? The only difference was that Cookie actually did a really good job. Paige's version was just aight for me, dawgs. It was a little too loud. (Translation: Randy loved it.) I will give her props for not changing any of the shes to hes, because I've never been a fan of the cheesy gender-switching cover songs. (Remember Syesha's "Me and Mr. Jones? Ugh.) But I wonder if that was Paige's reason too, or if she was trying to play up a lesbian angle to please Ellen. Or maybe she's really a lesbian. Whatever the case, I wasn't wowed by her. Simon still insisted that she had the best voice of all the girls, but that she shouldn't have picked such a "wedding singer" song. On the flip side, Kara liked the song choice. And, as always, Randy kind of agreed with them both. And he thought Paige blew the doors off the joint. (It remains to be seen if that's better or worse than blowing it out the box.) Ellen, well, she just thought it was great. More of this to come.
Next up was Ashley Rodriguez with Leona Lewis' "Happy." Ohhhhh, so that's who sings that annoying song! I should have known. Sadly, Ashley made me yearn for Leona's original by trying desperately to imitate everyone from J. Lo to Alicia Keys. On another sad note, I found myself agreeing with Kara, who told Ashley that she should try to take on more unexpected songs. Randy said the same thing in a much longer, and more confusing way. Ellen and Simon chimed in and agreed that the performance was predictable and clumsy. Simon even guessed that Ashley might be in danger of being booted.
Janell Wheeler helped with Idol's mission to leave no Heart song untapped by performing "What About Love." And while I was happy that it was at least something other than the 650th cover of "Alone," I was not happy that Janell turned my favorite Heart song into a bad cruise ship number. Randy didn't like the song choice but said he "still had vibes" for Janell. Ellen did like the song, and only thought a couple of notes were off. Simon thought that Janell gave "100% effort but delivered 65%," but still liked her voice in a few spots. Kara pointed out that the lead singer of Heart was Ann Wilson. Yay! Kara knows something! Just don't ask her to name an early Aerosmith song.
In her video package, Lilly Scott tried to jump on the VSC train by talking about how she used to live in her car. (She'd better watch it or Josiah Leming will try to slap her with sob story copyright infringement.) Hmm. I liked her better before she put on the poor mouth. I liked her better during the audition process too, because her version of The Beatles' "Fixing A Hole" wasn't that great. It wasn't horrible; it was just there. However, all the judges loved her. Randy gave me my first big laugh of the night by calling Lilly "a real indie artist." Come on. First of all, if Lilly were a REAL indie artist, she wouldn't be on American Idol. Secondly, this show is about finding a commodity that can be sold on a major label. And that, coupled with the fact that she'll probably keep picking songs like this that none of the tweentard voters know, is why she'll never win. But she'll probably stick around for a while.
Oh! Katelyn Epperly appeared dressed as an '80s prostitute to sing The Beatles' "Oh! Darling." Didn't anyone tell her this wasn't a costume party? She had kind of a cool, raspy voice, but it seemed like she was trying too hard. Simon looked her up and down and said a few negatives but quickly followed up with "But I like you...quirky...interesting." (Translation: Simon had a boner.) Kara said that Katelyn "knew her voice well," but then told her that she didn't think the makeover was helping. Oh! Snap! Kara and I were on the same page again. God, I hate that! Randy gave one of his more eloquent critiques: "I think you can go places and do stuff." Oh! God! People still pay him to say things? Ellen agreed with my assessment that Katelyn was "pushing" too much, but thought her voice was great.
Ryan stepped in to ask Katelyn if there had been a little word bubble above her head when Kara made the "makeover" comment, what it would have said. Katelyn just jibber jabbered about her different styles, but Kara said she knew what the word bubble would have said: "BITCH." Kara actually made me smile. What the eff...first I'm agreeing with her and now I'm enjoying her comments? What's next? We're going to start hanging out at Studio 57 together? Someone, please hold me! I'm scared.
Haeley Vaughn took the stage to sing the third Beatles' song in a row, "I Want To Hold Your Hand." I should have used my hand to shut the TV off at this point. Good Lord, that girl is annoying. She's like one of those pageant kids all grown up. Not to mention, she can't sing worth a damn. It's okay to mention that, right? We're still pretending this is a singing competition, yes? Kara, Randy and Ellen all tried to sugar coat their critiques, and Randy and Ellen made sure to remind Haeley that she's only 16. (I'm starting to think they are contractually obligated to mention any 16- or 17-year-old contestant's age at least once per show.) Simon was the only one who got real, by telling Haeley that it was "verging on terrible," and comparing her to a "wind-up doll that never stopped smiling." Ahhh, the truth. It's so wonderful. But when Si called the performance "a mess," Ellen tried to make things better by proclaiming, "If it was a mess, it was a hot mess." Yeah, exactly. I don't think she really knows what that term means.
Another contestant that didn't get much face time during the auditions was Lacey Brown, who lost a spot in last year's Top 24 to Lady Caw Caw, Megan Joy. Diss Megan all you want, but it became immediately apparent why Lacey didn't make it last year — quite simply, she wasn't very good. Her version of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" was sluggish and off-key. It's kind of funny to think about how the judges have been hyping this group of girls as the BEST EVER, yet the group includes a reject from last year. Whatever. Randy threw down the first "pitchy" card of the season, while Ellen would only say that Lacey was "better than that." Simon thought the performance was "depressing" and "indulgent," but made up for Paula's absence by throwing in a compliment about Lacey's appearance: "You have nice eyes." Kara thought "Landslide" was the wrong song. Then she actually suggested that Lacey sing something by Sixpence None The Richer. What?? Okay, that's the Kara I know and hate. We will not be hanging out at Studio 57 together any time soon. Seriously, who would think covering Sixpence None The Richer is a good idea? Who even acknowledges that they exist?
Michelle Delamor surprised no one by covering Alicia Keys' "Fallin'," and even though it wasn't that original, she gave one of the better performances of the evening. Ellen thought Michelle was great, fantastic and amazing. Simon liked Michelle's performance (and her bod), but didn't think there was any "wow" moment. KaRandy wanted her to get out of her comfort zone. So, I guess that means no Vanessa Williams covers next week. (See what I did there? Har har har.)
I was already prepared to hate Didi Benami's performance, and she did nothing to make me change those plans. The irony of her singing Ingrid Michaelson's "The Way I Am" in such an affected manner was not lost on me. And though I'm usually a fan of irony, this performance just plain pissed me off. Simon said if he shut his eyes, he could confuse Didi with 3 or 4 of the other singers, who are all trying to sound like Adele and Duffy. Kara tried to stick up for Didi a little bit, probably because she sang one of her songs during Hollywood Week. Randy and Ellen thought Didi's first impression was too "sleepy" and "low-key."
Siobhan Magnus, whom I predicted to be this year's "one to watch," justified my statement with a terrific and unexpected version of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game." Kara said that Siobhan was the most "real" contestant because she lost herself in the performance. Randy babbled on for a while to basically say that he hopes Siobhan will sing louder in the future. Ellen loved it. Thought it was really great. Simon called Siobhan a "funny little thing," because her song choice was unpredictable. Then Siobhan spoke in a really odd monotone that nearly put Simon into a trance.
Crystal Bowersox pretty much admitted that she only signed up for AI to make tons of money to take care of her kid. Ahh, the truth. When Seacrest announced that she was doing Alanis Morissette's "Hand in My Pocket," I immediately cringed because I imagined being assaulted by a horrible, nasally Alanis impression. How can you blame me when just about every other girl did bad impressions of the artists they covered? But Crystal gave the song a much more roots-rock feel. If I would have to accuse her of impersonating anyone, it would be Melissa Etheridge or one of the Indigo Girls. Or Neil Young, considering she did the whole guitar/harmonica thing. Randy and Ellen loved Crystal's "honesty." Kara thought she was merely "good," but had "greatness" in her. Simon said she wasn't that original because "there are thousands of you doing this outside subway stations at the moment." I'm not sure what his point was. As if that's any worse than the thousands of pop tarts being churned out by the music industry. With the help of shows like this, of course.
Unsurprisingly, Katie Stevens got the pimp spot with "Feeling Good" by...Michael Buble?? Was that a joke?? I know she didn't write it (or even perform it first), but I think most people would attribute that song to Nina Simone. Anyway, Katie has a lovely voice. We all know this. But this time around, she was just good. Not great. Not "Ellen great." I was sure that the judges would give her a tongue bath anyway, but they all kind of ganged up on her. Almost more so than I thought she deserved. Simon thought Katie looked like she was dressed by her mom and dad and that her performance was "annoying" and "pageanty." Everyone else fulfilled their obligation by reminding Katie that she was 17. And apparently, they really thought that she forgot, because they kept telling her to BE 17. Yes, Katie, please be 17 so Randy has something to talk about every week.
The Top 12 guys perform tonight. And I'm going to go out on a limb and say that they can't possibly be more boring than this group of girls. (I don't know why I tempt fate like this.) Hey, Seacrest, tell me again how this is going to be THE BEST SEASON EVER!!
Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
I haven't done a Sonic Sunday post in a while because...well, I don't know why. I guess I haven't been able to come up with any good themes recently. But since Friday was my birthday, I thought I'd post a selection of tunes that were popular the year I was born: 1973. So put your bellbottoms on, turn your speakers up and enjoy.
"Bad, Bad Leroy Brown," Jim Croce
"Behind Closed Doors," Charlie Rich
"Brother Louie," Stories
"China Grove," Doobie Brothers
"Could It Be I'm Falling In Love," The Spinners
"Crocodile Rock," Elton John
"Dancing In The Moonlight," King Harvest
"Dirty Work," Steely Dan
"Free Ride," Edgar Winter Group
"Heartbeat - It's A Lovebeat," The DeFranco Family
"Let's Get It On," Marvin Gaye
"Little Willy," Sweet
"Neither One Of Us," Gladys Knight & The Pips
"Over The Hills And Far Away," Led Zeppelin
"Stuck In The Middle With You," Stealers Wheel
"Superstition," Stevie Wonder
"The Joker," Steve Miller Band
"We're An American Band," Grand Funk Railroad
"You're So Vain," Carly Simon
And the #1 song on the day I was born:
"Killing Me Softly With His Song," Roberta Flack*
*Based on earlier research I'd done, I was always under the impression that "Crocodile Rock" was the #1 song on February 19, but all the info I'm coming up with now claims that it was actually the Roberta Flack tune. Until I get my time machine working, I guess there will always be a question in the back of my mind about the accuracy of this info.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
So, we finally have our 24...and it only took AI three hours to get there! Ken Warwick is no Jack Bauer, that's for sure.
As I've mentioned before, the Top 24 was already leaked to the world. If you, like me, have shielded your eyes and ears from all spoilers, then read on. (If you're a big cheater, then just pretend to read on.) But honestly, even without knowing the finalist roster ahead of time, there were very few surprises among the judges' choices.
On Tuesday night, AI tried to pull some sort of Quentin Tarantino move by opening with the remaining 71 contestants already split up and sequestered into three different rooms, and then flashing back to many of the final auditions.
In Room 1 were Katie Stevens, Casey James, Lilly Scott and Andrew Garcia. Room 2 held Jermaine Purifory and Mary Powers, and in Room 3 sat Angela Martin, Janelle Wheeler and Jessica Furney. (I knew I saw that Lisa Loeb-ish girl from last year hanging around the auditions! I really liked her last year, so I was hoping she'd do well.) Based on those room configurations, I immediately predicted that the Room 2 people would be the ones cut. Seriously, like they were going to send Katie Stevens (possibly this season's Chosen One) or Janell Wheeler home? I don't think so.
Selected final auditions from Room 1 members were shown, including Casey James' rendition of "Bubbly" (yeah, that stupid Colbie Caillat song) and all the Jason Mraz you can handle from Michael Lynche, Todrick Hall and Alex Lambert. Siobhan Magnus proved that she had a great voice by taking on a Stevie Wonder song, but probably scared everyone with her horrific facial contortions. Crystal Bowersox stood out with a very Lilith Fair-ready version of Sheryl Crow's "If It Makes You Happy," while Thaddeus Johnson and Jermaine Sellers both did fairly unimpressive covers of "Man in the Mirror." Thad's performance was somehow not derailed by his ever-present, shrieking mother, but Jermaine went off the tracks when he tried to blame his suckage on the band. Never a good move. But he was in Room 1, so I figured that unless they tried to pull some last minute switcheroos, he was guaranteed to make it through.
Then we saw some Room 2 people, like Charity Vance (meh), Tasha Layton (the chick they always introduce as a "worship pastor" as if that's part of her name), the pinhead cop, and some other dude who shouted "Man in the Mirror." I was a disappointed in Hope Johnson, whom I liked throughout the audition process, when she gave a rather lackluster performance of Daughtry's "Home." And Mary Powers didn't live up to her own hype. She told Seacrest that the song she chose, "Hot 'N' Cold," was "cake," but for such a supposedly easy song, she sure sounded out of breath. Simon thought she was "interesting because she's older." Ah yes, the ripe old age of 28. Amazing that she can still get around so well!
From Room 3, we heard Shelby Dressel, who remembered the words to "More Than a Feeling" after forgetting them all through rehearsals, and Aaron Kelly who flubbed the lyrics to the tortured/abandoned dog and cat anthem, "Angel." Ashley Rodriguez, Lee Dewyze and Joe Munoz all did fairly well, but Haeley Vaughn's version of "I'm Yours" was downright painful. Janell Wheeler covered T-Swift's "Love Story" and, even though she was suffering from a sore throat, she still managed to sound pretty good. Kara didn't think so though, as she sat there shaking her head and muttering, "wrong song, wrong song." It's kind of like how I look at her every week and mutter, "wrong judge, wrong judge."
As I predicted, Room 2 was let go, leaving the judges with 46 hopefuls.
And then it was time to play another round of "Who Wants to Fake Out the Contestants?"The judges love this game, so they all took turns. Oh my God. I don't know what was more annoying — their childish games or Seacrest's constant hyperbole.
Did everyone notice that the Coke cups were gone? I couldn't quite tell what they were replaced with, although they looked like Vitamin Water cups. Hmm. Could Idol's ratings be bad enough to make Coke bail out as a sponsor?
As the judges started picking the Top 24, more sob stories (dead friends, bad parents, poverty, etc.) began to emerge. HA! I knew it! I knew that after that Very Special Contestant bloodbath last week, there were probably more VSCs waiting in the wings.
Shelby Dressel's constant crying when she got cut reminded me of an unanswered question that's always bugged me. Why do a lot of girls wave their hands in front of their faces when they cry? Are they trying to dry their tears? Is that flapping supposed to calm them down? I'm not a big cryer, but when I do, I certainly don't do that. Can someone please explain this to me? It's extremely annoying.
By the end of Tuesday's show, seven finalists had been chosen: Michael "Big Mike" Lynche, Casey James, Aaron "Big Sack of Boring" Kelly, Lee Dewyze, Todrick Hall, Didi Benami and Katelyn Epperly. Of these, I didn't think that Aaron and Didi deserved to be there.
Wednesday night's show was, mercifully, only an hour, so the judges got right to the carrot dangling process.
During a montage of people who didn't make it through, Radiohead's "No Surprises" was playing. What the...? How did AI swing that? It's a good thing I know someone with a PhD in Thomyorkology. Paging Dr. Bad Tempered Zombie. Dr. Zombie, please report to me and tell me what you know about this.
Despite that musical cue, there was one fairly large surprise last night — Angela "Black Cloud" Martin was sent home. And she was cut in the most annoying manner, with Kara insisting on sitting in her chair with her like she was some kind of sadistic Santa Claus who let Angela tell her what she wanted just so she could reach into her sack and pull out nothing. Cutting her was a bullshit move because Angela could really sing. And since the judges put Haeley Vaughn, who is 57 flavors of terrible, into the finals, there had to be some other reason for Angela's dismissal. I'm thinking that it was that brief stint in jail for a traffic violation. Or maybe there's some other stuff in her background that TPTB don't want to deal with. Whatever. I'm no fan of the VSCs, but I really did feel bad for Angela and was hoping that she'd make it through.
The Lisa Loeb-ish girl didn't make it either. I would have been disappointed had she not developed diarrhea of the mouth in front of the judges. After her extremely grating "woe is me" outburst, I was glad to see her go.
Those who did make it through to round out the Top 24 were: Tyler Grady (Mika's long-lost cousin), Jermaine Sellers, John Park, Andrew Garcia (Gokey's long-lost, less smug cousin), Alex "Not Adam" Lambert, Tim "Not Keith" Urban, Joe Munoz, Janell Wheeler, Ashley Rodriguez, Lacey "Underall" Brown, Crystal Bowersox, Katie Stevens, Lilly Scott, Paige "Who?" Miles, Siobhan Magnus, Michelle Delamor and Haeley Vaughn.
Just for the heck of it, I'll make a super-early prediction. Here's who I think will make it to the Top 12: Katie Stevens, Janell Wheeler, Crystal Bowersox, Lilly Scott, Ashley Rodriguez, Paige Miles (I'm guessing she's the best kept secret of the Top 24) , Andrew Garcia, Michael Lynche, Casey James, Alex Lambert, Tyler Grady and Todrick Hall. Although, Katelyn Epperly could edge out Janell, and Siobhan has the potential to pull a Kelly Clarkson on us and emerge as the one to watch. (Even though it's really hard to watch her when she's making those passing-a-kidney-stone faces.)
Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.
It was 56 years ago today that this little guy came into the world (19 years and 1 day before I did). I've loved him since I was 5 —literally for as long as I can remember — and even though he's sporting some crazy hair on his face and no hair on his head (where it ought to be) right now, I still love him as much as I did back then. Guess who?
Okay, so "guess who" was more of a cutesy rhetorical question rather than a trivia question. Because, unless you're completely new to my blog (and/or can't see the picture down below), that would be, like, a negative 20 on the trivia difficulty scale.
Why, it's John Travolta, of course. Everyone wish him a happy birthday. You don't have to have a cupcake in his honor, like I do every year, but it couldn't hurt. Unless you gave up sweets for that crazy "Lent" thing all those kids with the dirty foreheads are talking about these days.
Oh, and since my birthday is tomorrow, you know what you can do for me? Don't leave a comment about my beloved that will only serve to piss me off. You instigators know who you are.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
So, I had planned on having an Idol recap for you fine folks this evening, but since FOX has decided to drag out the final stage of Hollywood Week into a two-day extravaganza (which seems even more pointless than usual, considering that the Top 24 has already been leaked), I've opted to wait until tomorrow to recap both nights' events at once.
In more interesting news, although I haven't really been watching much of the Olympics, I always check out the figure skating competitions. So, imagine my joy when I tuned in to the men's short program tonight and saw this vision de l'amour: Brian Joubert. He fell a bunch of times, so he's currently #10 in the rankings, but still #1 in my heart. And by "heart" I, of course, mean "loins."
Let's get to know this young man a bit better, shall we?
Before the real American Idol madness starts up again tonight (the end of Hollywood week!), check out Out of Tune Idol over at Mean Girl Garage.
Over the past several weeks, this contest for the tone deaf has been bravely hosted by Jules (who is doubly brave, as she's also a contestant) and lorded over by some fabulously funny guest judges, including yours truly. So head on over for the grand finale and cast your vote for the most tuneless idol.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
It may seem like I'm late with the vid this week, but I was actually waiting until today, so I could post something appropriate for this made-up Hallmark/Kay Jewelers/Godiva holiday.
Of course, I only had to look to "Weird Al" Yankovic for a great Anti-Valentine's Day song. Here is the classic, "One More Minute." Even if you're one of those annoying schmoopy-schmoopy couples, you should still be able to enjoy this one.
If you're looking for more Anti-V Day stuff, check out my latest Starpulse post for a list of must-have songs and movies. There should be something on there for everyone, whether you're down with love or just someone who refuses to be tied down. (Not that way...you know what I mean, pervs.)
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Every Idol season, I look forward to the "group day" part of Hollywood week. But, aside from Season 7: Year of the Aussie Hottie when they inexplicably cut it, this year's group day was the most disappointing one in the show's history.
I guess they tried to spice things up with a few front-burner stories: Big Mike Lynche talking his wife through labor over the phone, the pointless rivalry between Destiny's Wild and Neopolitan (yes, idiots really chose these as team names), and Mary Powers going mad with power. But compared to past Hollywood week theatrics of memorable contestants like Nathaniel Marshall, Homeless Josiah and, my favorite, Tatiana del Toro, this gang is about as interesting as listening to Danny Gokey read The Giant Book of Fishing Stories.
And the team names...good God. There's a pub trivia night I go to sometimes where the host always renames the worst-named team "The Douchebags." I don't think he would have been able to pick out just one group of douchebags at the Kodak Theatre last night.
However, if you asked The Dreamers, they would've all agreed that self-appointed team leader Mary Powers was the greatest douche of all. Her constant raspy bitching and moaning got under everyone's skin, including musical director Michael Orland, who nearly gave her two snaps in a circle upside her multi-colored head.
As he does every year, Simon threatened everyone with elimination if they forgot the words. And, as he does every year, he only half meant it.
Up first was Faith, consisting of Michelle Delamor, Charity Vance and Ashley Rodriguez. They did an inoffensive version of "Irreplaceable," with Ashley standing out the most and Charity sucking something awful. But the judges offered up some charity by putting all three girls through.
Team Awesome (seriously) — new dad Michael Lynche, old dad Seth Rollins, Michael "Not Jason" Castro and Tim "Not Keith" Urban — just barely got through "Get Ready," and only Big Mike and Tim made it through to the next round. Bye again, Not Jason! Please don't come back next year.
Then it was time for the Neopolitan/Destiny's Wild "Battle of the Bad Romances." Neopolitan (Liz Rooney, Paige Miles, Jessica Cunningham and Thaddeus Johnson) were up first and did a pretty decent job of turning such a recognizable dance hit into an a cappella number.
Destiny's Wild (Todrick Hall, Theri, Jareb Liewer and Siobhan Magnus) fumed on the sidelines, claiming that Neopolitan stole all of their ideas. So, they did the only thing they could to prove that they were the true innovators — some pointless backflips and really horrible singing. Especially from Jareb. The sounds coming from his face hole were truly terrifying. And my ears really could have done without the alleged "harmonies" at the end.
The judges liked Neopolitan better than Destiny's Wild (as they should have), but everyone on both teams lived to sing another day.
A montage of a bunch of other people making it through ran, and Angela "The Unluckiest Girl in the World" Martin was among them.
The Mighty Rangers — Tori Kelly, Maddie Penrose, Mark Labriola, Kimberly Kerbrow and Danny Jones — did a rather un-mighty version of Ne-Yo's "Closer." Tori and Maddie started things off strong and earned tickets to the next round. But the other three, who didn't want to devote too much time to rehearsing the night before, predictably all blew their lyrics. Simon stayed true to his word and cut them. Mark cried like a little baby, which unsurprisingly got him nowhere. Except for the receiving end of constant ridicule from his friends at home.
The Phoenix, not to be confused with Jean Grey, Stefano DiMera or French indie darlings Phoenix, blew it after team member Kat Nestel bailed on the competition. Moorea Masa, who spent most of the previous night talking about the highlight of her sad life (being in Smuggie's group last year), and Ben Honeycutt forgot the words, while Jeffrey Goldford and Jermaine Sellers forgot how to sing on key and with their inside voices. Apparently, the latter is a lesser offense as only Jeffrey and Jermaine made it through.
A montage of a bunch of teams screwing up Gwen Stefani's "Sweet Escape" ran. One team managed to get it right. No idea who they were.
Everyone in Big Dreams needed to be eliminated for picking such a dumb name. And after butchering "Sweet Escape" worse than anyone, they were.
Middle C – Janelle Wheeler, Jermaine Purifory and Casey James – did a good version of "Closer," and all made it through. Unlike the last time I saw him, this time I actually was impressed by Casey James. Maybe it was because he didn't take his shirt off like a damn cheeseball.
Andrew Garcia, Katie Stevens and J.B. Ahfua, who called themselves Three Men and a Baby despite only having two men, no baby and no Guttenburg, all made it through. And apparently, Kara has already started printing "Katie Stevens: Your 2010 American Idol" tee-shirts.
The Dreamers' version of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" (natch) was something out of Stevie Nicks' nightmares, although Mary "Token Bitch" Powers and Hope Johnson sounded okay in their solo parts. The harmonies were nonexistent. Margo May brayed like a donkey sucking helium, Erin Hundley did absolutely nothing that warrants mentioning, and Alex "Not Adam" Lambert messed up the words. The judges decided to suspend the "forget the lyrics, you're done" rule for Alex, giving him a pass to the next round, along with Mary and Hope.
At the end of group day, the field of contestants was cut down to 71, which is quite a dent in the 181 who went to Hollywood. 71 still feels like too many, though. There were a lot of terrible singers who were given stays of execution.
You know, I still haven't decided which of those awful team names was the worst. I keep coming back to The Dreamers though, just because it's so cliché. It's also funny how lazy and uninspired they were to kinda name themselves after the song they were singing. I know a certain Phil Collins song has been done to death on AI, but last night is one instance in which I would have been happy to hear the theme from Against All Odds, if for no other reason to hear Mary introduce her group as the Take A Look At Me Nows.
You've probably heard by now that the Top 24 list was mysteriously leaked to the Interwebs recently. I've somehow managed to avert my eyes from all spoilers, so if any of you have that info, just keep it under your hats and play along with me next week like you're surprised by who makes it to the finals.
Uggggh...life is being an asshole and not letting me have time to blog. But I will have a recap of last night's AI festivities later today.
Don't be too upset about the wait. Group day is usually my favorite part of Hollywood week, but this was probably the most boring group day I've ever witnessed. And with lame-o group names like Destiny's Wild, The Dreamers and Team Awesome, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised.
Also, I just discovered that the Top 24 have already been leaked to the press, so these preliminary round recaps may be pointless.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The first round of AI's Hollywood week wasn't horribly exciting, but it was fairly enjoyable for one big reason. No, it wasn't because of Ellen's debut (even though I do think she did a great job). It was because Round 1 was A VERY SPECIAL CONTESTANT BLOODBATH!!! Yes, many VSCs were surprisingly purged from this year's crop of hopefuls, which either means that the judges have finally decided that this is a singing competition or, more likely, that there are even more special VSCs waiting to be revealed, who will put the old VSCs to shame. I guess those would be ESCs - EXTREMELY special contestants. Like, there's probably some dude with a metal plate in his head who was raised by wolves and his Mama wolf was killed by a hunter on his 13th birthday, and then he was sent to a foster home and his human foster parents were crackheads, and because they took such bad care of him, he's now got some rare disease that doctors haven't even made up a name for yet. And he's color blind.
Since there were 181 contestants sent to Hollywood, the first "sudden death" round focused on just a handful of hopefuls, most of whom we met during the auditions. Groups of eight took to the stage, and each person sang either a cappella or with their own instrumental accompaniment.
Katie Stevens, the cute girl whose grandmother has Alzheimer's, somehow avoided the VSC purge. I shouldn't say "somehow," as if she just got lucky, because she did a really nice a cappella rendition of "For Once in My Life." Skii Bo Ski proved he "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," when he tried to charm the judges into giving him a second chance after a not-so-great audition. He didn't get it.
A montage of Simon loathing everyone preceded Andrew Garcia's audition, so it was pretty easy to figure out that this guy would be the one to make Simon put down his cup of Haterade. He did a nice, acoustic version of P-Ab's "Straight Up," which reminded me of how much I miss Drunky already. And, even though Andrew sounded fine, it was just another David Cook/Kris Allen/every coffeehouse crooner move that certainly didn't deserve to be labeled "genius" by Kara. A pass to the next round? Yeah, sure, I guess he deserved that.
Vanessa Wolfe (aka Hick Chick) got even more screen time, as the cameras documented her trip from Mayberry to L.A., complete with her Ma cryin' at the aeroport about how she "cain't hardly take thee-yus." I thought for sure poor ol' Vanessa would stick around, even after she sang "No Rain" like a scared billy goat, but she was the first VSC to fall!
A bunch of other crybabies got booted, and the editors spliced in that clip of Simon going, "I hated everythinK about that" a few more times.
Amadeo DiRocco (or, as I prefer to call him, Rocco Amadeus) failed to impress the judges this time around and was told to fuhgettabouit. Oh-oh. I think at least one judge might get whacked tonight.(Kara Kara Kara Kara.)
I didn't remember Janell Wheeler from the auditions (and considering I didn't watch many of them, I'm not surprised), but I really liked her. She did a great, raspy, acoustic version of Estelle's "American Boy," and easily went on to the next round.
After that decent display of guitarswomanship (shut up, it's a word now), we got to see several contestants who obviously couldn't sing and play instruments at the same time, but apparently they thought they would look cool if they did anyway. Fail.
Haeley Vaughn followed that montage with another display of guitarswomanship. She wasn't bad, but I didn't like her as much as Janelle. I think it was because of that superfluous "e" in her name. I guess it didn't bother the judges because she got to stay in Hollywood. AND SHE'S ONLY 16, YO!
Mary Powers, the "rocker mom" moved on to the next round after doing a good Pink impression on "Sober." I just looked that song up and discovered that Kara is one of its co-writers, which annoys me because I hate to admit when I like anything that Kara has had anything to do with. But I wonder how much she actually had to do with it. Apparently, the song was written by Marcella Araica, Kara, Danja Hills, 333 Productions and Pink. Now, I like that song, but seriously, it took that many people to come up with it? Good Lord.
Ellen made a group of four people step forward and back in an endless game of "you're all obviously going through," and Seacrest waited until the cameras were on him and then hugged one of the female crew members backstage, just to show us that he's AWESOME and really cares about the little people. Sure, until one of them forgets his double mochaccino.
Jay Stone was either beatboxing or having a heart attack. He was cut before I could find out which.
Lilly Scott took the stage next for an acoustic version of "Lullaby of Birdland," and even though her blindingly platinum hair made my eyeballs ache, her voice was very easy on the ears. She was probably my favorite of the night.
Michael Lynche (also a frequent shopper at Superfluous Es R Us) carried on with his audition despite the fact that his wife was going into labor. He sang "Waiting on the World to Change" and, since it was okay but not at all original or special, he breezed through to the next round. And then I swear I saw Jason Castro's brother Michael walking next to him. Is that idiot still hanging around, trying to make it?
Tim "Greg Brady" Urban covered a David Cook song in a rather boring manner and somehow remained in the competition.
Justin "Cancer Guy" Williams got all breathy and cheesy behind the keyboards, and his lounge lizardness obscured what the heck song it was that he was singing. Figuring, as I did, that Justin would stay anyway, my roommate/struggling musician/supposed AI-hater (I say "supposed," because he watched the entire episode with me) Jon groused, "He's totally getting by on his looks. Fuck him!" And as if the judges heard him, Justin was cut loose. Cancer Guy. They cut Cancer Guy. GOOD LOOKING CANCER GUY. Shit is going down this year on AI!
The VSC massacre continued with Paige "Asthma Girl" DeChausse and, most surprising of all, Maddy Curtis, the girl whose four brothers have Down's Syndrome. Looks like there will be no Lifetime movie about American Idol Season 9. Sorry, Kellie Martin. Sorry, Gail O'Grady. Sorry, Joe Penny.
I didn't see the big deal over Casey James. He had a decent voice, but Kara was salivating over him like he was a chocolate coated Dexatrim. I didn't see the big deal over Didi Benami either, the waitress who sang one of Kara's songs. I imagine that her waitressing skills are much better than her vocal talent but not nearly as good as her ass-kissing ability. Both of these not-big deals made it through to the next round, of course.
The last auditioner of the day was that damn dirty hippie Crystal Bowersox, who never met a toothbrush that she didn't want to not use. Image problems aside, her acoustic version of "Natural Woman" was really good. If she makes it to the Top 24, I'm sure the producers will spring for some Lever 2000 and Zoom whitening.
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
I'd like to wish a very happy 34th birthday to my #9 Man, the well-coiffed and wildly hilarious Charlie Day.
I realize that Charlie Day and his Always Sunny character, Charlie Kelly, are very different (I doubt that the real Charlie eats cat food and lives in a shithole with Danny DeVito), but I would take either one of them. Seriously. If Charlie Day wanted to take me out to a hip L.A. club, I'd go. And if Charlie Kelly wanted to take me to a chain restaurant for some milk steak and raw jellybeans, I'd go. I'd just make sure to cover up my knees.
In honor of this special day (and to help those of you sitcomically-challenged folks understand what in the hell I'm talking about), here is a clip of Charlie being Charlie. (Meaning, Charlie Day being Charlie Kelly being soooo Charlie Kelly.)
Canadians, if you couldn't see this, I'm sorry. I think Hulu still hates you.
Monday, February 08, 2010
And so it was that the very first entry in this month's contest was the winner. And it belonged to 2009's Firecrotch of the Year, Words Words Words.
People, it's only February and this guy's back at it. Are you just going to let Words3 walk away with another title in 2010? Or are you gonna ramp it up? (The correct answer, by the way, is, "We're gonna ramp it up." I'll also give you partial credit for, "I don't give a shit about your stupid little contest.")
And now, because people like to feel special, here are some special ladies who weren't quite special enough to win:
Heidi's response when asked, "What's your position on gays in the military?" - Catherinette (Oddly enough, it's my position, too! Heyyy-o!)
Heidi realizes her plastic surgery fetish may have gone too far when she wakes up to find she's a spider. - The Vegetable Assassin