Wednesday, May 13, 2009

So the show that's been eating up all of my time, sleep and energy is finally up and running...and last night I got to sit on the couch and actually watch the whole show.

Wow. One forgets what an annoying pile of time suck that show is. Even when they finally have it down to an hour, it's much freaking filler and nonsense.

Here's what I walked away with.

More than ever, all the judges, with the execption of Simon, are completely useless. Randy actually told Adam that he was "one of the three hottest tonight, Dawg!" We're in the final three. How could he not be, you redundant pile of turd?

The "judges' choice" round is completely useless and probably detrimental to the finalists. Paula is so stuck in the 80's that she threw a brick at Danny's head by giving him a Terence Trent D'Arby song. She didn't even give him D'Arby's big hit "Wishing Well." Let's all agree that TTD was never a HUGE hit-making talent. He hit the Top 40 2 or 3 times...and that was pretty much the end of him.

The song blows, the vocal is fine and the dancing is horrendous. When backed into a D'Arby-equese corner, Gokey should go with his strengths instead of highlighting his horrible weaknesses (dancing.) Oof.

Randy/Kara getting pissed because Kris didn't "go acoustic" on their choice - mainly because that's what he had decided to do with his second song and WHY would you serve up the same flavor of pie twice? Playing piano for the first song and his guitar for the second was a SMART choice for Kris. But those morons are more concerned that their "vision" of the song got screwed. Sorry, Randy and're not the finalist. STFU. Kris miffs it with hitting that clanker of a note mid-song. But at lease it's

While I think Adam did a nice job with the U2 song, I could have done without the screaming in the middle and even less with the way he rolled his tongue out of his mouth to sing. Gah. Still, it wasn't about Adam's performance as much as it was about Simon picking THE GREATEST SONG EVER and CALLING THE BAND and SERVING THE OTHER JUDGES THEIR LIVERS ON A PLATTER.

It was all just boring and annoying.

That said, I think the finalists really kicked it up a knotch for the second round. They all choose good songs that fit their personalities. I think Danny knocked his vocal out of the park. I think Adam was...Adam. Honestly, they both did well with the song and delivery.

But, Kris got me to sit up and pay attention. Now, someone taking a rap or R&B song and breaking it down acoustically is far from new. Jonathan Coulton's been doing it forever. But, Kris took the ball and ran 80 yards to score the touchdown.

Before tonight, I thought it'd be a Gokey/Lambert final...but now...I really think Kris deserves a spot. I think the other two have better vocal instruments than Kris (by a lot), but when you have a less powerful instrument, but you have the ability to turn a song on it's ear like that?

Seriously. I've never downloaded an Idol song on Itunes...but I'm really considering that version of "Heartbreak."

Honestly...I think Gokey should go home. He has a great voice, but that boy is more boring than watching paint dry.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

No post today

Sorry, post from me this week.

I'm opening a show next Saturday and my schedule is a bit wonky and not at all allowing me time to watch the show this week...not even on youtube.

I should (fingers crossed) be home next week to catch the top what? 5?

Man. I need a nap.

Maybe, Pete will throw us a bone and post HIS opinion about last night.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Hey...Anoop wasn't long for this contest...he really can't keep up with the likes of Adam and Kris, but Anoop going home before Matt? I call bullshit. This is why that power of veto thing is completely annoying. Let America vote they way they want, producers and judges.

Well, I'll be shocked if Matt makes it past next week.


Top 7: Redux

Seven shall enter...two shall get booted.

I'm two weeks away from opening a show, so I had very little time to catch up on the show last night and process it all.

LIL - If ever a contestant has thrown in the towel, it's Lil. I really think she's just confused to the point that she is not having any fun. At all. I don't care how many times she tells us she's having fun...she's not. The good news is, she'll be going home this week and hopefully some time at home might reset her self-image - lord knows, those judges did a mind-fuck on her - and she'll be kicking ass not long from now when she goes on the AI tour of mediocrity.

KRIS - This is your dark horse, people. Each week, he seems to up his game a wee bit. After last week's version of Falling Slowly (which wasn't perfect, but had moments) and this rendering of my least favorite Donna Summer classic (I have a cassette of DS in my car as I write this, so yeah, I'm a fan) all adds up to Kris heading towards the final four for sure, and this week, he totally made a play for Top 3.

Paula deserves a smack in the jaw for taking his moment and turning it into a circus with Simon and her talk of underpants.

GOKEY - I love "September"'s a jam, yo! But Gokey - more than any other night, even that night with the harp - makes this feel like a church revival instead of a concert. And it's boring. And his vocal sounds off. It's just not interesting to watch or listen to. He's actually regressing versus improving as a performer tonight. Still, he's safe.

ALLISON - Tonight is the first time I was all, "Man. I wish Allison would just come out in some jeans and a tee-shirt and just look awesome in a jeans and tee-shirt. Her outfits/costumes are distracting. Listen, when Madonna created that look it added something to the performance and was visually interesting. Allison's attempt at rock fashion is like watching a Muppet get skinned alive. On a loop.

I really hated the arrangement of the song, but her vocal was better than last week. She really is the last lady standing (no offense to Lil.)

ADAM - I can't tell you how much I prefer the clean-cut, non-eye liner look when Adam rocks it. Usually, the men save the suits for Final 2, and I think he really is smartly showing off his versatility with both his fashion and his arrangements. Granted, the suit is a bit shinier than I would have chosen for him, but it fits him well and looks pretty dashing.

Again, the arrangement, while interesting, doesn't do anything for me, but his vocals are really solid. The man is in it to win it. And the further we go, the more Gokey is eating his dust. Sorry, Pete.

MATT - Could he have picked a less annoyingly telling song than "Stayin' Alive?" [smacks head on desk] This was a(nother) weak Justin Timberlake wanna-be performance. The understudy at Six Flags would have been proud of this performance. Matt should not be proud. Also, I'm sick of the hat as personality trait. It's like Gokey and his glasses. You can work a look...and then you can beat a look to death. Lucky for us, it's the last we'll hear from Matt.

ANOOP - I forgot about Anoop...which isn't a good sign. I think the song choice could have been better, but he gives it his R&B thing and it's kinda okay, kinda boring. I think Simon nailed it with the label, "mediocre." It was exactly that. Still, I think he has enough of a fan base to keep him safe one more week.

Going home: Matt and Lil.
Anoop will join them in the bottom three, but will escape yet again and live to sing one more week.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

the Big snore

WHATever. They saved Matt.
This is just a half-assed attempt to stoke their mid-season ratings.

Two people will go home next week - how shocking! (in a completely unshocking way.) The best was when Simon gives Matt the good news that he's sticking around another week and in almost the same breath tells Matt how he (Simon) can't see him winning the brass ring anyway.

So the point of saving him was...huh? Wha?

Why does this show have to suck so much?
Why do we have to sit through 96% of suck to see 4% non-suck?

Bah. All this POV does is stall the inevitable. There is no way Matt is going to pull himself up enough to escape the bottom two next week. The only good news is that they can only pull this shit once and now, we can all put it behind us and never speak of it again.

Looking forward to Disco Week.
Sure. Disco sucks. In the best way possible.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Top 7

I haven't been blogging/posting the last couple weeks due to a recent illness and lack of interest in the internet. I have been watching and now I'm back, baby!

It's movie soundtrack night! I dig that Tarantino is the mentor. He really does have a huge respect for music and soundtracks - he takes songs and jettisons them into the strastophere by the way he'll use them in a film. So, for movie night? Perfect choice.

He also seems calmer than usual, which is nice. Sometimes he comes off a bit too hyperactive, so it's nice to see a steady demeanor from QT. I also enjoy watching him sit next to Seabreeze in the audience. QT is so giant in comparision to the dainty host, that it would not surprize me one iota if Tarantino were to unhinge his jaw and swallow Seabreeze whole like Cheez-It brand cracker.

Also, the fact that QT and Seabreeze share a love of all things Botox is making my head spin to places nobody should visit on a Tuesday night, sitting on their couch.

ALLISON - Solid delivery, but I don't didn't really kick ass until the end...and something about her phrasing? It was good...but it's like she only took me half way there, you know?

ANOOP - Personally, I hate this song. So very dated. So very prom night. So very last dance at homecoming. It was very sweet, almost sacchrine for me. I really prefer last week's performance of "True Colors." Tonight, he's giving me a toothache and kinda boring me at the same time.

ADAM - I think this was Adam's worst night. Not that he didn't sound fine, but all the running and hip pumping and sneering? Blah. And I hate this song choice. How I wish Adam would break down and sing a Guns-N-Roses or Van Halen song. I suppose "Born to Be Wild" might be the closest thing to that...but, I don't know. Simon pretty much nailed it. He killed with the vocal, but the performance was like the goth version of "up with people" on crank.

You know, last week was such a solid week, maybe my expectations for this group have risen too high. Last week, I couldn't get enough of them. But this week...ehhh.

MATT - I have to admit. I'm a sucker for Bryan Adams. And then you have to bring in the string section? Okay. I liked it. No discernable goat. Nice arrangement, but he did hit a note or two that brought me back to reality. The thing is, what sells this really crappy love song (listen the the lyrics, they seriously blow), is Bryan Adams husky, raspy-throated delivery of it.

Matt is neither husky nor raspy, so it's just a crappy love song with a piano and a string section. He's been on the slab several times now...this performance will not save his bacon.

DANNY - Speaking of prom night...Mr. Danny Gokey! Endless Love? For real? For real? God. Just put a bullet in my head now...wait a minute. Holy crap. He finally took his glasses off! Will wonders never cease?

Call me crazy, but isn't this like the 3rd Lionel Ritchie song Danny's performed? I mean, he's got the chops, he kills the vocal...but his choice are so very "easy listening"...I am so effin' bored by Gokey. Say what you will about Adam being over the top, but at least he tries to put his stamp on his song choices.

As much as I couldn't stand The Douche, Simon was right about his willingness to take a Lionel Ritchie song and up-end it (or at least perform someone else's up-ending.) Gokey just doesn't get it. At all.

KRIS - OMG. I LOVE THIS SONG SO MUCH. OMG. OMG. I LOVE THIS SONG. This song should not be fucked with, Kris. It's such a simple melody and the power is in the it's simplicity. He had me and then he kinda lost me with his delivery. But mostly, he had me.

For folks who aren't familiar with "Falling Slowly," the power in that song is the build. You can't sell that ballad in 90 seconds. You need the full 4 minutes to deliver it. Points for picking a fucking OSCAR AWARD WINNING SONG THAT WAS WRITTEN IN THIS DECADE.

LIL - Dude. I have a huge weakness for gospel. I was hoping for a bit more Baptist, but it really was beautifully sung. I disagree with Simon. I think he has her in such a "Mary J. Blige" place in his perspective that he can't necessarily see the forest for the trees. I think it was maybe my favorite performance of Lil's.

On the block? Matt and either Lil or Anoop.
Going home? Matt.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Top 10

This will be the lightening round for me...I couldn't get online last night and I'm swamped at work...

It's Motown Night. Man. Really? Again? Nothing against the motor city and it's fine musical legacy...but I'm so not in the mood for Motown. Unless the Idols really kick out some creative arrangements...but I'm not holding out hope.

As my father says, I'd complain if I was hung with a new rope. Which is true. The good news is that, honestly, all these folks can, indeed, carry a tune. Not one Sanjaya in the bunch. But, just because you can sing, doesn't make you a good performer. And a boring singer is still boring. better bring it, Idols. Bring it.

MATT - Marvin Gaye's it up. Does a good job, not too goaty, but the little dance thing seemed too planned out. The reason you rehearse a performance over and over is to make it seem natural, effortless and spontaneously in-the-moment when you're in front of an audience. You don't want to go to a concert and ever feel like your watching a robot who just did this same dance in front of crowd who came last night. Nothing earth shattering about the arrangement either. A for the vocal, B- for the performance.

KRIS - Again, a nice vocal, very Jack Johnson meets James Taylor, which is exactly who Kris is...strike that. Kris is Jack Johnson meets James Taylor meet Shaun Cassidy (circa 1977.) He's all Tiger Beat, soda pop and bubble gum. He does his style very well...but I'm being to grow weary of what is essentially a coffee-house open mic week after week. It's not bad, per se...there's just no variety. And I'm getting tired of "vanilla" - tasty, yes! But, I'm ready for some rocky road.

SCOTT - Started okay and then just went into...the way the song always sounds. He sounds fine, but I'm bored. Stiff. Bah. Although, "vote for the pink pants" and the back and forth that followed cracked my crusty layer for a bit of a chuckle. Well, played, sir. Well played.

MEGAN - Absolutely the worst she's done so far. No doubt, she's a beautiful girl and I'm all about her rocking her tats with her fashion...but what up with those freaky tights? I didn't know hose came in zombie flesh tones. It makes me throw up in my mouth a little just thinking about them. So very...gah. Also, I'm pretty sure Stevie Wonder went just a smidge more blind because of how she sang that song. Word. And I take back what I said. Megan is the Sanjaya of this Top 10. Double word.

ANOOP - What up with that jacket, yo? I know you're trying to rock the preppy/casual thing, but that jacket looked like something kids wore in little league circa 1972. I fear Anoop is addicted to the "layering" trend. Much like apples, one bad layer can destroy the whole bunch. He sounds awesome and nails the vocal, but I agreed with Simon. The performance was overly serious. The song is about apologising and wooing someone back...not about the need to revise the stimulus bill.

SARVER - You, sir....are the weakest link! Actually, no, Megan is the weakest link, but her train crash is much more interesting to look at than your performance. I too, couldn't wait for it to end. I think he'd be an awesome addition to your church choir or your buddie's cover band...but he's no Idol. Nobody will be buying his records, it's time for him to go. I'm hoping tonight is the end el line-o for Sarv-o.

LIL - Lil had the most sincerely sweet "mentor" time with Smokey. That was nice to watch. While I like Lil's dress, her hair and makeup looked a wee bit too costume-y. Kinda like Beyonce on crack...or something you'd see Carol Burnette wear on her show. It distracted from rather than enhanced her performance. I think she could have picked a better song - one that was more a singers song than one with such a limited and shouty range. Points for yelling "Obama!" on a live reality show. That made me laugh too (and gave me a happy feeling! Yay!)

ADAM - If Adam isn't the poster child for how a little eyeliner can go a looooong way, I don't know who is. With some angles, his Elvis-like appearance really other times, he looked like a bad Vegas lounge lizard. Vocally though, he nailed it. AGAIN. Good night to go acoustic too. Best of the night. AGAIN.

DANNY - Whoops! I totally forgot about Danny. Well, that can't be good. His voice - great. But his performance seems cheesy? Forced? Rote? Super cheesy? I don't know. He's selling the "happy" too hard. He's like two rights make a wrong or something tonight. I'm just not into him at all.

ALLISON - While I hated her outfit with a fiery passion (please go away 80's-retro, you blow), she really held her own with a classic. Again, no real change from the original, but that gravelly voice of hers really suited the song. After following Adam, she did hella good.

At this point, I'm beginning to believe this is Adam's crown to lose. If he keep bringing the heat, he should be able to flick Danny off his sleeve like a bug.

Going home? I'm putting all my pennies on Sarver.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

so long, farewell

I'm going to be directing a show this summer and had a production meeting last I missed the glorious group sing and had to read the results online this morning.

Reaction 1: WOOT! Alexis is gone! Woot! Now...I actually think she's more talented than Sarver and Megan, so it sucks that she's leaving before them, but I am so relieved in the knowing that I don't ever have to beat my brain in with a bat while watching A) her kiss up to the judges, B) the judges patting themselves on the back or C) anyone discussing her level of dirty-ness.

Reaction 2: Conspiracy! I now think that those producers are even more malicious than just your run of the mill puppeteers. I think that the top four will be Danny, Lil, Adam and ALLISON...(you ever notice how Allison and Alexis are pretty close name-wise?) and that the "nameless staffer" incorrectly identified Alexis as the fourth instead of Allison...on purpose! To throw us off the scent of their secret star chamber plans!

Follow this logic. They put out the "fake" news leak with Alexis as a sure thing for final four. They promote a "shocking" results show. Then axe Allison. In the intelligence biz, that's called a bait and switch.

Reaction 3: I really need to stop watching online episodes of MI-5 before bedtime.

So was it all just a big kerfuffle?
...or the first slow moves in an ongoing, predetermined chess game.

All shall be revealed, my friends. All shall be revealed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

this one goes to 11

So it's all over the interwebs that the "final four" have already been pre-ordained.

Uh...does this surprise anyone? Nope. When they announced the "Power of Veto" bullshit, you knew that this season, the producers were willing to do anything to "write" the ending they wanted.

It will be interesting to see how this drama plays out. While those four (Danny, Alexis, Adam, Lil) represent 3 of the top talents (I honestly think Allison is much more talented than Alexis), I wonder where "likability" comes into play.

The scenario where America votes to keep a Taylor Hicks, but boots a Daughtry.

Let's get it on.

SARVER - Lukewarm. Tepid. Mild. There is a discernable lack of "juice" coming from the "Rigger." I think his good 'ole boy days are numbered. Yeah, it's country week, but this was a weak performance, perhaps his weakest to date. Karaoke at best. I get the idea that he thinks a magic sprite will sprinkle him with fairy dust and then he'd wake up awesome. That he's somehow there to learn and be molded...when NO. This is your break. Either BRING IT, or get off the stage. Exit left.

ALLISON - I'll admit it. I'm bummed about Fancy. Bah. I'm over it. That said, I think she picked the wrong song. It seems to start way to low for her and she hangs onto it okay, but it's nothing super special. Maybe my bar is too high for Allison. Maybe (if she hits the bottom two tonight) she'll sing Fancy a'cappella and win that precious Veto! Thing is, this girl has it. Talent and a voice. She just needs to not be so very 16. (And yet, I adore her for being 16 and not being the 16 that Archuleta was - that annoying Disney-fied, pristine teen.)

KRIS - Takes on Garth Brooks. Really? Seriously? Ugh. His voice is nice, but I'm bored. BORED, I SAY! His cuteness will save him. For now.

LIL - For most of the song, Lil sounds fine. But, there's no punch. It's too subdued. Her heart isn't in the song. It's like she's just singing a bunch a words strung together...I don't believe her. I think she picked the wrong song. Or maybe she has the flu? She just didn't seem present during her performance. Her attempt to "be respectful" of the genre backfired. Simon's right. While I don't want her to sing Whitney, I wanted her to bring her R&B style and crack it open on some country. Mission Failed.

ADAM - File this performance under: WTF. You have to give it to Adam. He's consistant. He's crazy, but he's consistant. He's not country, he's never going to be country...he just needs to find his psychadelic glam hair band and he's all set. One again, Seabreeze is overly delighted by Adam, as the amount of gay that Adam is omitting is filling the entire theater and pouring out onto the boulevard. Which, once again, makes Seabreeze look as least at hetero as Danny Thomas, circa 1947.

SCOTT - I agree with Simon. This week was almost interchangable with last week in a good, but not great kind of way. And while the list was limited, I think the fact the Scott was all, "I lost the lottery and everyone else took the song I wanted" cry is problematic as an excuse. In a way, if you're all choosing the same 11 songs out of the 64 songs offered up? All that says to me is that you are completely limiting yourself and not even attempting to be creative...or an "artist." In that sense, you're just another fucking singer. And the world needs another Frank Sinatra like I need a hole in my head. If you get my drift. Be an artist, dammit!

ALEXIS - Once again, I think Alexis picks a song where she gets close, but gets no cigar. That note in the middle? Oof. Rough. I really don't understand why there's this idea that she's more talented than Allison. She's not. Maybe she's a bit less rough around the edges than Allison, but that's it. As "personality challenged" as Allison might least she's not a brown nose with the some people we know.

JUST when I think we'll get through one show without someone going on about how "dirty" Alexis needs to make it...she brings it up herself in the wrap-up. ARG. You are not dirty. You wouldn't know dirty if you fell in the mud and rolled around in it, so STOP trying to force yourself into that mold, girl!

DANNY - Plays the Jesus card. Granted, it's Jesus Lite, but still...I'm concerned we're making the turnoff into Mandisaville. Vocal is great and full, but the performance comes off as a bit cheese covered. Also, what up with that outfit?

ANOOP - "From zero to hero." Wow. I have to say, that was really impressive. That is a classic nearly "untouchable" song and he really killed it. A definite improvement over last week's car crash of Beat It. For once, the mentor gives some sound advice (no pun intended) and tells him not to oversing it or add any crazy trills. Anoop takes this on and give a solid A+ performance.

MEGAN - I am well over the Megan Shimmy. And a bra-less shimmy? Oh yes. She went there. While I think the arrangement or her vocal was fun, the package deal of the shimmy/outfit/boob swing/vocal doesn't work. Flu schmoo. She better not get any sympathy votes. America, I'm looking at you.

MATT - Yes. I hate when he goes into his goat trill, but that seemed almost non-existant in this performance, to the point that I forget that's why I don't like him. What I do like is this performance. A lot. I personally think it's his best. Best of the night, by far.

Of course the reason that tonight is more important than any other night, is that whoever makes this round is going on tour. One unlucky mope is getting the axe. And that mope will be...Sarver. Or Megan (fingers crossed.) But, really? Sarver.

I'd say Scott...but I think he still has enough sympathy votes out there to keep him least one more week.

covers, covers, everywhere

Tonight is Grand Olde Opry week...which is a little different than "country week", as the songs must only by artists that are a member of the Grand Ole Opry...and a select few at that.

Personally, I really like knowing when the Idols have limitations on their song choice, since it is probably the most crucial element. Here's how it breaks for me:

1. Song selection (tantamount)
2. Arrangement (make it you're own? or just another boring cover?)
3. Performance/Delivery

Ex: If you chose Ring of Fire and performed it in the style of DEVO? One. My god, that would kick ASS...and also be...hilariously awful. But it would be a bold choice and definitely give the viewers some insight into what kind of album you'd cut.

What would YOU choose?

Alan Jackson - Don't Rock the Jukebox
Alan Jackson - Summertime Blues
Alan Jackson - Chattahoochee
Alison Krauss - When You Say Nothing At All
Alison Krauss - Baby Now That I've Found You
Barbara Mandrell - If Loving You Is Wrong I Don't Want to Be Right
Brad Paisley - Celebrity
Brad Paisley - Mud on the Tires
Brad Paisley - When I Get Where I'm Going
Carrie Underwood - Jesus Take the Wheel
Carrie Underwood - Before He Cheats
Carrie Underwood - Wasted
Carrie Underwood - So Small
Carrie Underwood - All-American Girl
Carrie Underwood - Last Name
Diamond Rio - Beautiful Mess
Dierks Bentley - What Was I Thinkin
Dierks Bentley - Come A Little Closer
Dierks Bentley - Every Mile a Memory
Dierks Bentley - Feel That Fire
Dolly Parton - Jolene
Dolly Patron - I Will Always Love You
Dolly Parton - Here You Come Again
Dolly Parton - 9 to 5
Dolly Parton - Why'd You Come In Here Lookin' Like That
Garth Brooks - Friends in Low Places
Garth Brooks - The Dance
Garth Brooks - Shameless
Garth Brooks - More Than a Memory
George Jones - She Thinks I Still Care
George Jones - He Stopped Loving Her Today
Hank Williams - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues
Johnny Cash - Ring of Fire
Johnny Cash - I Walk the Line
Josh Turner - Your Man
Josh Turner - Would You Go With Me
Josh Turner - Firecracker
Lorrie Morgan - Watch Me
Martina McBride - Wild Angels
Martina McBride - A Broken Wing
Martina McBride - Anyway
Pam Tillis - Cleopatra, Queen of Denial
Pam Tillis - Maybe It Was Memphis
Patsy Cline - Walkin' After Midnight
Patsy Cline - I Fall to Pieces
Patsy Cline - Crazy
Patty Loveless - Blame On Your Heart
Randy Travis - Forever And Ever Amen
Reba McEntire - Fancy
Reba McEntire - Why Haven't I Heard From You
Ronnie Milsap - It Was Almost Like a Song
Tammy Wynette - Stand By Your Man
Terri Clark - Poor Poor Pitiful Me
Trace Adkins - Honky Tonk Badonkadonk
Trace Adkins - You're Gonna Miss This
Travis Tritt - I'm Gonna Be Somebody
Travis Tritt - T-R-O-U-B-L-E
Travis Tritt - Tell Me I was Dreaming
Travis Tritt - It's a Great Day To Be Alive
Trisha Yearwood - She's In Love With The Boy
Trisha Yearwood - Walkaway Joe
Trisha Yearwood - How Do I Live
Vince Gill - I Still Believe In You

I have to admit, personally, I'm not super familiar with today's "Big n' Rich" country. Anything after 1985 gets a bit fuzzy. Looking over this list, I predict this to be a night of "covers of covers."

I'm guessing someone (Adam) will take Alan Jackson's cover of Summertime Blues and do it in the style of The Who.

Alison Kraus just won a couple grammys, so expect folks to hit that well - although, I'm disappointed that I'll Fly Away didn't make the list. I love that classic song and her version of it. Someone (Lil or Megan) will sing her cover of Baby, Now That I Found You originally by the Foundations.

Of the three ladies left...I'm kinda hoping they steer clear of Carrie Underwood. But, hers might be the only songs they are familiar with in this genre, so someone might bite on that.

What I'd LOVE to see is a ROCK version of 9 to 5 (or maybe in the style of Devo? There can never be enough DEVO in the ether, people. A girl can dream...)

I'm hoping that none of the ladies tries to take on Dolly (aka Whitney's cover) with I Will Always Love You or Tricia Yearwood's How Do I Live Without You (which could be considered a cover of LeAnn Rimes.) Actually, I wonder if Allison doesn't take that one one....and HEART the hell out of it...although, I'm secretly wishing she takes on Fancy.

Who wouldn't want a 16 year old to sing about a mother pimping out her teen aged daughter! (fingers crossed.)

I pray none of the boys takes on Garth Brooks "Low Places", but I'm a'feared someone might.

Back in the realm of covers of covers, one of the fellers, let's say Kris Allen, will sing Terri Clark's Poor Poor Pitiful Me, which is actually a Warren Zevon tune. Which makes me wish there was a Warren Zevon night. sigh

Although, I'm pretty sure if he does sing this, they'll forgo the third verse:

I met a girl at the Rainbow Bar
She asks me if I'd beat her
She took me back to the Hyatt House
I don't want to talk about it

Yeah...not quite the American Pop lyric that the tweeners are looking for. Woop!

If any of the boys had balls, they take George Straight song like He Stopped Lovin' Her Today and Rock That Shit Out. I double dog dare them.

For some reason, I have this feeling Gokey will either take on Hank Williams with I'm So Lonesome, I Could Cry or, since Randy Travis is the "mentor" this week, he'd have the cajones to take on I'm Gonna Love you Forever. Which, to be frank, I secretly adore that sappy song. And while it could be read in that gray area of "Danny singing about his dead wife", it's actually a very upbeat, fun song...which is what I think Danny's looking to sing. Two birds. One very crazy stone.

Let's see if I still adore it when someone less talented that Travis sells it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

baker's dozen

Holy crap. It's been a crazy busy couple days!

I didn't get to watch the show last night, but I did catch all the performances (only) via youtube. So I missed all the hijinx between Seabreeze and the judges and the pre-song vids.

I only have a couple minutes to shoot this out, so it's going to be BRIEF.
Small favors...I know.

Nights like this are WHY I HATE IDOL.

After telling the contestants over and over to be themselves and stop trying to duplicate an established singer and DON'T take on a uber Pop Hit (as we shall Always compare you to the original, which is 1000x better than you)...they produce a King of Pop night.


For the record, I'm much more a Jackson 5 fan than I ever was a King of Pop fan. So my disappointment is great that folks didn't go to that catalog a bit more.

Nobody sang Dancing Machine? This song is both awesome and very pliable to "updating.' I also think "The Love You Save" was a missed opportunity. Not to mention, I Want You time for waxing about song choices missed!

LIL - Not a fan of the arrangement (sounded a bit cruise stage show.) But she's fun and having fun. File under Pretty Good, but not "knock[ing] me off my feet."

SCOTT - Speaking as someone who will likely go blind in her lifetime, I think he's the bee's knees. But speaking as a fan of this show, I'm utterly bored by Scott.

DANNY - Again, good, but still on my feet. For the record, I wear glasses. I could wear contacts (and have) but I prefer glasses, so part of me is all, "Yeah, my brotha! Work them specs! Make the camera guy have to figure out YOUR angle that doesn't throw glare! Woot!" And the other part is, "But why do you wear those frames that only, and I mean this in the most sincerest way, lesbians wear? Hey. Some of my best friends are glass-wearin' lesbians. Nothing wrong with it...but on Danny?

It's like when you go to the State Fair and there's a guy who draws those characture/cartoons? And they focus on one attribute to represent "you?" Danny's would be a giant pair of those glasses.

SARVER - I want to like Sarver. He's just too earnest. It annoys me. But he has a voice for the power ballad and sounds pretty good.

JASMINE - I think she made the best song choice to fit her sound...although, it's not like she changed anything up. It was a straight cover of Mariah's cover. She sounded the best she has so far. I just don't think she's got enough of a draw to keep her on the show yet.

KRIS - I think his voice was best suited to MJ's stuff. Still, I'm looking behind him for the rest of his boy band to back him up. He's the only heart throb up to bat, so he's safe as houses.

ALLISON - It's so hard to believe she's only 16. She sounded as if she did a cover of Heart doing a cover of a Michael Jackson song. Heart was one of the rockingest bands of all time. If Allison is bringing back that vibe, I am on board. Best of the night, methinks.

ANOOP - He sounded good, but messed up his lyrics a bit early on. He picked a song that depends a lot on those special noises that only MJ can get with in a song. Probably my least favorite of his performances. But, I think the fanbase for Anoop will save his ass. This time.

JORGE - I couldn't tell if it was his singing or the arrangement, but it just sounded so very "Easy Listening." I mean, for christ's sake, at least update the cheesy background vocals. I only heard his accent hit heavy on the word "door", so if his goal is to sing accent free, he is improving.

MEGAN - Smart enough to do a cover of a cover. That's a fun, jumping number that would fit her twisty dance of inpatience. But, it's more a novelty thing than a good performance. Will her cute quirkiness save her???

ADAM - There is something about Adam that makes me wish this was "Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack Night" instead of "the songs of Michael Jackson." He could sing Sweet Transvestite or Science Fiction/Double Feature. Anoop could sing Dammit Janet. Megan could sing Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch Me. Lil could sing I Can Make You a Man (and R&B that shite up!) Honestly, it would be so much better than a Michael Jackson night.

Basically, Adam - as offputting as he is to me - kills it. Hair Band Style.

MATT - I should dig this cat...but I just don't. It's like it should work on paper, but it's all very much stuff I've seen before. Is it me, or did he sound like a bit like if Michael McDonald and Justin Timberlake had a baby. A really ugly baby that trilled like a goat on the long notes? It's not you, Matt. It's me.

ALEXIS - Dirty Diana. "Dirty" Alexis will be singing "Dirty" Diana. I'm not crazy, am I? This is all just more of trying to mold this cute girl into a rock slut, right? Still, while at first glance, "Dirty Diana" may look to be a poor song choice - it wasn't the monster hit that say of a "PYT" or a "Beat It"...but that's actually what makes it a pretty good choice. I'd wager that most of the audience isn't as familiar and won't compare her as much with the original.

The problem is, for much of the song, she's not singing, she's yelling. Completely oversinging and over-selling the song. Not sure if she blew out her voice in rehearsals, but it's only like 70% there. If that.

Overall, for the "first night" of the finalists, there were more hits than misses. Which makes it hard to figure what America might do.

I also hear, it might be a double elimination.

While I'm worried a bit about Anoop...I think Jasmine and Jorge will be in the bottom two.

Maybe. Don't quote me on that.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

woo-wee, group three

Maybe I'm just in a foul mood.

After watching this group, I JUST DON'T CARE if any of them makes it through (with the exception of Lil.) There was an overwhelming abundance of bland and then the Crazy Train pulled into the station. It was at that point that I started to prefer the McDonald's commercial where the fake fish sings to you demanding his fillet o' fish.

Von Smith - Speaking of large mouth bass...seriously. When he opens his mouth, I am suddenly fearful that he can come through the screen and swallow me whole, along with my couch and my little dog too! I don't know why folks who unhinge their jaws to sing frighten me so, but they do. He does...okay. Possibly above average based on the past couple weeks, but I'm not sold on Von and his magic monstrous mouth.

All the comparisons to looking like Clay Aiken? Just made me sorry for Clay Aiken. I mean, he wasn't crazy before American Idol. He was just in the closet. Now, he sings musicals about comedy groups he's never heard of and styles his hair like Liza Minnelli. Also, I wonder if he was watching and hearing them say, "'re SO much better looking than CLAY."

I mean, ouch.

Taylor Vaifanua - Kicks us off into the night of sucking bland that would not end. Once again, we are in the presence of a girl gripped by the delusion that she has the voice of a diva. Gah.

This girl was on "vibrate." And not in a good way. From the minute she started tapping her foot (too fast for the beat) to the way she was shaking while she sang, thru her not quite holding back her tears (of joy) and emotion during the judges' critique. There's an old saying about never letting them see you sweat. I think the AI version is "never let them see you tremble like a butterfly having a seizure."

Please take your godawful performance and those pleather tights and ease on down the road, T. (WTF were up with those?!! I mean, did someone suggest those tights? horribly bad. Gah.)

Alex Wagner-Trugman - The weird growling was...weird. I honest don't care . His whole performance was a bit too much like visiting the day room of a psych hospital. Little noises and physical ticks coming at you unexpectedly, putting you totally off your oatmeal. It was like watching some viral video you were forwarding about this kid in his room getting his freak on.

I know he fits the "adorable dork" archetype that the show loves, but I just want this guy to go away.

Arianna Afsar - Picks the most douchebag song you can in a singing competition, The Winner Takes it All by Abba. It's totally too big for her voice and the way she tries to make it "current" and "her own" just mangles an otherwise decent song. This puts her in the lead for official "hot vocal mess" of the night.

And while much was made of her "cute" factor...I don't think Disney's going to be knocking down any of her doors.

Ju'Not Joyner - While, I like the idea of slowing down "Hey There, Delilah" and putting an R&B touch on it, I think this was still kinda in the bland arena. I thought he had a few nice moments, but it was still a bit dry for me.

Better than most of the fellas tonight, but I'm not sure that he secured a spot. If not, I see him getting another shot on wildcard night. (To keep it real? Right now, the Top 12 is looking pretty damn white bread.)

Kristen McNamara - It's no secret that I love me some karaoke. I'll hit a karaoke half a dozen times over the course of a year. So, when I tell you that I am familiar with the species of person who "hosts" a karaoke night? You need to trust in that. There are good hosts, who keep the night rolling, have a fun attitude and (in some cases) can actually carry a tune. And then there are the Kristens of the world.

The ones who "host" so that they can 1) sing at least 5+ times throughout the night AND make sure nobody requests one of "their" songs. Kristen may be a joy and a wonder in all other avenues in her life, but I'm telling you, one look, one listen...she's a karaoke host/diva from the word go. And those are the bars you don't go back too, because it's not worth the hassle.

Don't get me wrong. K did a good job with her vocal. She's the best female thus far...although the bar, she be low. But, she lost me entirely when she lied about her hair. She said that her stylist mistakenly used purple dye right before her audition.

People. I'm here to tell you. No one mistakenly dyes their (or a client's ) hair, purple. She just did a 180 when the judges where like "WHAT'S WITH YOUR HAIR?" And she's all, like "fuck, me.


For reals, people.

Nathaniel Marshall - And the psychotic emo rebel has arrived. This kid is rockin' so many "I am SO different from you!" trends, he's like a atlas of wannabe cool. The ink, the piercings....the headbands. Wow. I really am getting old. I do not get boy-girls in headbands. While I am a proud member of several Lady Courts, I will out this boy as not just gay, but Super Gay. And Super Gay in a way that makes other gays uncomfortable. Which is no small feat.

Let's call a spade a spade.
That shiny headband is just a place holder for a tiara.

While choosing a Meatloaf song (even the lamest one) gets you points, the irony that Nate would do ANYthing for love/attention escapes no one. Simon may hamfistedly point out the obvious, but it's true. I hang out with actors and comedians. I can spot an attention whore at 200 yards, but there is no need for my powers, because, you could spot Nate's need for attention from space.

The ONLY person who is thrilled with Nate is Seabreeze. Standing next to that amount of Super Gay, does tend to make Seabreeze look butch. But, then he ruins the moment by beating a dead horse by attempting to force Simon and Nate hug or something. Then he spends an eternity trying to put Nate's headband/tiara on Simon's head.

Felicia Barton - Is it me, or did the girl who replaced the girl and who's had less than zero face time just kick some ass (comparatively)? She had one or two oofie notes, and the delivery was very much Alicia Keyes lite, but her voice was pretty strong and her deliver was fair. She just knocked Kristen out of the the best-of-the-ladies-so-far-tonight velvety chair.

Although, this goes to show you exactly what kind of advantage all that additional footage can bring. While I think she did great, I'm already forgetting what she looks like and any trace of her personality that I might have glimpsed in the video intro. Good luck, lady. You'll need it.

Scott MacIntyre - Call me a bastard, but I can't stop looking at "the eye." Baby, this is why Stevie wears sunglasses. So the audience can focus on your song and your energy and the moment and not look at the giant mole or other physical defect that we Can't Not Look At. I honestly can't tell you how he sang, because I was so aware of my discomfort.

It was like watching somebody give a presentation at the office...but they have a baby arm. You can't absorb ANYthing when there is a baby arm present.

And yes, I'm completely aware that I am a bastard and an a-hole.

Kendall Beard - I heard that this blonde was another Nashville Star reject. She sounded really sharp on some on her notes. I wasn't sure if she was trying to yodel some of her notes. But she reached for a couple notes that were far from her grasp. She does have a big personality.

Her biggest mistake (out of several) was admitting to the world that her mom dresses her. While her dress was kinda kickin', you do not give your mother credit for dressing you. At a show who's core is about manufacturing "what is popular/trendy." Dude. You're mom, she's not trendy.

The only girls in the entire world who gets to say, "My mom made this!" and get away with it are Vera Wang's daughters and Beyonce.

Jorge Nunez - I'm hoping that Jorge sings something in his native language, because that would be HOT. Not that Jorge would be hot. Again, to clarify, I think Jorge has a super cutie hidden under all that...well, not hidden really. He just needs a stylist like no body's business. The hair, the eyebrows. I've heard him compared to the Wolfman and yeah, he gives off that vibe like at any moment...More Hair Will Appear.

It may be muy macho in Puerto Rico, but that boy needs some full body manscaping.

Styling aside, he really brings the heat with the Elton John. The tone of his voice, his energy, he's very charming as well. And then he cries. Call me crazy, but I think think Teen Wolf may have the Boy Spot wrapped up out of this group!

Lil Rounds - Once again, they put the powerhouse at the end of the night. So you don't forget. So you remember their number. So you call and put them through so the season isn't full of Nates and Taylors and they have some talent they can actual work with. I love how the producers are so damn transparent with their little show machinations. Dolts.

Lil commanded the song, the stage, and looked like a million bucks while doing it. She sings Mary J. Blige, which is awesome, because it gives me hope that later in the season, Lil might try another MJB song. Maybe No More Drama or Dance For Me, if I'm lucky!

What can I say?
I need to get my crunk on up in the dancery, people.

Predictions for Moving on:
Male - Jorge
Female - Lil
Magic 3rd -, Scott. I think his crazy eye will bring in the calls.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

this show is a hot tranny mess


A night of energy-lacking, good-songs-but-poor-song-choosing, off-key singing crapola. Wasn't this supposed to be "the most talented 36 ever!" Again!?

What a spectacular waste of time.

Hey, I know these are (mostly) amateurs struggling with their first (for the most part) big break all the while swimming in a fishbowl and reaching for the stars. Yeah. I get that. But I can name at least a 12 people who can sing, with more energy and stage presence than the last two weeks worth of contestants put together.

I'm tired of the train wreck.
I just want someone to carry a tune without hurting my insides.

For the record...FOUR JUDGES is really slowing up the works. What I'd like to suggest to the producers is to rotate judges. Have a passel of judges (either per season or per show) who had NO HAND in selecting the top 36. Let them give real critiques besides, "Dawg. That wasn't hot, Dawg." Or, "You have a spirit about you, a flavor, a scent ...that makes you marketable!"

It's only the second group, and the judges are nearly as boring as the performances. They rarely offer any constructive instructions other than, "I just wanted MORE, man. It just wasn't enough, yo."

Feh. (sigh) On to it.

Jasmine Murray - Pretty girl, decent pipes, fair amount of energy. Picks a fun, current hit Love Song... and then over sings the hell out of it. With plenty of off-key notes through-out. She does decent on the chorus, but it's just...overdone. It's a simple pop melody with simple lyrics and she tries too hard to "make it her own" and turns it into a hot trilly mess. Mostly forgettable. Points for picking a modern song that wasn't Alicia Keys or Kelly Clarkson. It's early, so while the judges unanimously don't like the end result, they are all pretty nice about it.

Matt Giraud - The current hits keep coming when Matt picks Coldplay's latest. He's going to inject it with "soul." Who knew that "soul" was code for bleating through the long notes like a goat on crack. Oof. It got worse from there. I have to say, I'm pretty happy that I won't have to listen to goat boy again. (Fingers Crossed.)

Jeanine Vailles - Wow. Lady has some legs. Lady also looks like she should be working at the Baton Club. No offense, but the girl has embraced the drag queen within. Oof. We're hanging onto this decade with Maroon 5. I have to say, while I think the songs are wildly wrong for the folks picking them, I do appreciate the trend of more current offerings. Although, Maroon 5 is as middle-of-the-road pop songs as it gets. My pen was dying a slow death as Jeanine's what I wrote: off-key, hot mess, good legs.

I think that pretty much sums it up.

Oh. I did like how she stuck it to the producers by calling out the fact that she made it to the top 36...but received ZERO coverage over the past however many weeks. Rock on! Then she kind of laughs it off in an of-putting manor. Oh well, nice not knowing you!

Nick Mitchell/Normund Gentle - I'm really torn about Nick/Normund. Yeah, he's a silly looking guy. Yeah, he's not ever going to be the American Idol. But, the guy has pipes. And if he had enough confidence to take off the comedian mask (which is just one big "woobie") and really commit to a song, I think he'd blow the competition away. He's got power and a good range. I wish for all the world he'd keep his fun in-your-face-Simon personality, look at the camera and say, "America, I'm gonna give this a shot and really sing. When it's over and the dust settles, I'd like a guest spot on The Office. Thank Ye."

But he doesn't have the balls to do it. Still, it was the most awkwardly entertaining thing on this show, since Andrew Lloyd Weber dropped the word, "Glamourpuss."

Part of me wants to be mad at him for taking the spot of someone who's really serious about a musical career...but if THESE people are the level of talent we're working with?...I'm all for Nick/Normund giving Simon an aneurysm week after week.

Allison Iraheta - My first impression of this 16 year old is why does she look like a 40 yr old mom who spent time in a ladies correctional facility? I don't know if it's the hair or the clothes or her scrunchy face, but altogether it screams anything but "16." Her "chit chat" with Ryan is the kind of boring which is so heinous, you begin to daydream about wrapping your mouth around the barrel of a shotgun. And then, she sings. Wowza. Girl's got chops and bringing some hutzspah to Heart. She had a couple sharp spots, but compared to the rest of the night, she's miles ahead of the pack. Simon's 100% right that this girl needs some confidence and to relax enough to just be herself (i.e. "show us your personality.")

Kris Allen - Ah. Finally. The Cute Guy! I was wondering where he was! It really doesn't matter what he sang or how he sang it, Tweener girls everywhere are all, "KRIS! I HEART YOU!" All the 12 year olds who are too cool for the Jonas Bros, finally have a Teen Beat centerfold to root for! Woot! Kris fucks it all up by singing Man in the Mirror. He's a soprano trying to deliver like an alto and it doesn't work...until he hits and maintains the one big note.

OH. He's THAT guy. The "I really can't sing for shit, but I can NAIL that one big note, like nobody's bidness" guy. Hope that works out for him.

Megan Corkrey - My first reaction to Megan was "this girl is fucking adorable." And then she sang off key and twisted around like a 4 year old who has to urinate RIGHT NOW. Huh? Less adorable and more...WTF? While she was all over the place during the song, she does have an interesting tone and style.

When your best compliment is "you could be viable in the market with the right song?" Oof. That's a hard sell. My grandmother could be viable in the market with the right song. And she's been dead since 2007. That's like saying, I could be America's Next Top Model, if we found a magazine looking for a cover girl with glasses which catered to subscribers with a fetish for large asses.

The only thing I know for sure? Tween girls across the country, turned to their parents and said, "I would like an arm sleeve of tattoos. And I want it NOW."

Matt Breitzke - aka the other blue collar guy. Ack. Rock Lite. He had a chance to dial it up mid song and throw some attitude and energy into it...but it came off as "Wedding Singer." In fact, I feel like I'm insulting wedding singers, since I think they'd throw a bit more balls into that song. It was ball-less. Also, I really can't stand when the Idols get all, "WELL I LIKED IT. SO I'M TAKING MY BALL AND GOING HOME," with the judges. The fact that they hate your song is in no way a personal affront. So stop acting like they just peed in your lemonade. Throwing a hissy fit is no way to win fans, boy-o. Especially when your delivery of a rock ballad had ZERO percent rock in it.

Jesse Langseth - so in case you've just arrived from a small cave, you know that Jesse is Jonny Lang's sister. It should be known that I am a HUGE Jonny Lang fan and was really hoping that some of that talent in located in the DNA. Jesse was...okay. I liked her song choice and thought she did...okay. It had good moments, but again, she didn't throw her guts on the floor. She didn't leave it all onstage. It was too safe. Bah. It's late and I'm getting tired and cranky that these people continue to fail in bringing their A-game.

I will give her points for sticking it back to Randy and asking him to be CLEAR about what "MORE" he would like to see. He responded that he wanted her to sing a song that had more than 5 notes in it so they could hear her true range of ability. Now THAT is constructive criticism. Something useful that she can go back and work on for the next round. That is...if she were making it.

Kai Kalama - How do people get this far in the competition (or in life) with "insane hair?" I didn't think I could hate anyone's hair more than The Douche, but I have been proven wrong. I have a sneaking suspicion that would Kai have the balls to shave his head (or really cut it shorty short) he might be quite attractive. Instead, all I see is a Muppet who was rejected from Sesame Street for frightening small children.

His song choice was a snooze, but he had a nice voice, but that doesn't matter because I hate his hair so much I want to climb through the television, sit on his chest and shave him bald.

Mishavonna Henson - another cute lil' button, this one has a nice tone to her voice, but threw herself under the bus with a crap song choice. It's hard to sell a sincere "na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na." Simon hit it on the head. She came across as too serious and not fun or lively.

I know it's all kinds of hell being a teen, but I do recall a couple days when I had a bounce to my step. Mishavonna needs some bounce. She is bounce deficient.

Adam Lambert - Adam is bring the eyeliner. While he's not my particular cup of tea and I think he oversold the song a bit, he picked a song that fit his style and attitude - and was the only one who really brought an abundance of energy to his performance.

He's working that hipster emo look a bit more than I'm into, but there's definitely a reason they threw him in the closing spot. He's eye-humping the camera a bit much, but overall, he's the best fella of the night. And then he and Ryan start dishing about Twilight and start doing each other's hair.

And I'm like FINALLY!
There isn't enough Calgon to take this away.

Predictions for Moving on:
Male - Adam...or Kris.

Female - Allison
Magic 3rd - Nick/Norman.

I think America wants to watch Nick annoy the hell out of the judges.

Petecrest's Predictions:
Male - Adam
Female - Allison
Magic 3rd - Nick...or Megan.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

schedule news

Next week Group 2 takes the stage (which leaves us with the default info of who's performing the following week.)

Group 2: Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta, Jasmine Murray, Jeanine Vailles, Jesse Langseth, Kai Kalama, Kris Allen, Matt Breitzke, Matt Giraud, Megan Corkrey, Mishavonna Henson and Nick Mitchell (Normund Gentle.)

Group 3: Alex Wagner-Trugman, Arianna Afsar, Felicia Barton, Jorge Nunez, Ju'Not Joyner, Kendall Beard, Kristen McNamara, Lil Rounds, Nathaniel Marshall, Scott MacIntyre and Taylor Vaifanua and Von Smith.

Please note: AI will be pre-empted by the President's address next week, so Group 2 performs on Wednesday (2/25) with results on Thursday. Check your VCRs, kids!

prolonged suffering

Your life ebbs slowly away in each prolonged micro-second.
Micro-seconds that you can never get back.

The Group Sing is back. While they finally picked a song from this century, after Tuesday night's train wreck, this is like a slow-skidding, multiple vehicle crash on icy slick roads. Nobody gets injured, but there's a lot of bent fenders and broken tail lights.

I really hope that the other two groups are coming with more talent, because not only could the majority of these folks not sing well, there was a shocking lack of rhythm, musicality or stage presence.

I mean, Tatiana could barely walk across the stage while singing. I thought Casey might actually fall down. Yes, the choreography is 30x worse than a show at Six Flags, but you should be able to sway/bounce to the music. Walking. You should be able to walk in time with the song.

I'm not crazy. You should be able to at least walk, if you want a career as an entertainer.

It's like they were all (but for Danny) resigned to the idea that they blew chunks last night, and would not be stepping over to the safety of the silver retro chairs. They sang and "danced" the song without any energy, focus or...worst of

It was like watching a puppy in a full body cast...doped up so it won't run around and re-injure itself.

Alexis made it thru. I figured her for a wild card spot since she's the judge's darling, so she's not a huge surprise to make it thru. She "yeah-yeah-yeahed" her way thru a repeat performance. She's likable...but I'm not on the Alexis-train.

Michael Sarver was a bit of a surprise. Although, it was such a bad night overall, it really was anyone's game (besides Danny.) It was a bit of a gut punch that it was a "showdown" between him and Anoop. I'm holding out hope that Anoop makes it into one of the Wildcard slots.

Tatiana's shock and tears at losing against Danny was just more proof at her delusion. Even Vegas wouldn't take odds against Danny getting thru to the next round.

I'm kind of hoping that this is the last we'll have to worry about Tatiana...but reality shows love their drama and that girl is the psychotic tv meltdown equivalent to Howard Stern's radio show in the 90's. If they keep her on...even the viewers who hate her will tune in just to see if her head will actually explode. So, who knows?

One clarification from yesterday: Jackie wore some kind of bustier with her crazy belt/spandex ensemble during her performance...the puffy top was in her video/interview segment.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

O What A Lonely Boy

Group 1: Alexis Grace, Anne Marie Boskovich, Anoop Desai, Brent Keith, Casey Carlson, Danny Gokey, Jackie Tohn, Michael Sarver, Ricky Braddy, Stephen Fowler, Stevie Wright, Tatiana Del Toro

Every year the producers try to put a twist or two into this beast of a franchise. This year, they are going back to (if I recall correctly) the semi-final format from the first season. Each group of 12 will compete for 3 spots in the Top 12. The top male, top female and the next top vote getter - whichever gender. After those 9, the judges will each pick one Idol from the remaining contestants in the infamous "Wildcard" round.

While it can be argued that this could leave the ladies at a bit of a disadvantage - as there are 10,000 pre-teen girls clamouring to dial in to vote for "the dreamy one" for every viewer such as myself (who doesn't even bother to vote) - there exists the possibility that as little as 3 women might end up in the Top 12...somehow, I think the show will make sure there are at least 4-5.

Last night was the kind of night, you wish you knew the guy who invented DVR technology, so you could buy him a beer.

What a freaking pile of shit that show was! Aside from Danny, last night was a poor man's karaoke at that dive bar you always drive by, but is too gross to really hang out at...and then suddenly a train derails and hurls tons of shrieking metal into it.

Last night's show was such a train wreck...
How big a train wreck was it?
It was so bad, instead of phoning in votes, people were dialing the NTSB.

[insert rimshot!]

...moving on.

Jackie - While I like her voice and song choice, I was overwhelmingly disappointed in her performance. Yes. It's true that The Douche won last year by co-opting covers of songs and performing very different arrangements from the original recordings. But, he didn't do it the very first week of voting when nobody knew him from Adam!

IDIOT'S GUIDE TO IDOL: Let the audience know you can sing, before you go rogue with your song choice/composition/arrangement/interpretation.

If she had performed a solid, rocking version of A Little Less Conversation, I think she would have been the female to beat. Instead, I wanted to give her a beatdown for her wonked out version and for her godawful choice in apparel. There is a reason people don't wear spandex pants, with giant belts and Jane Fonda-esque workout shirts with puffy shoulders. The nickname Benatard shot to mind. Jackie...if you make it through and dress like that again? The nickname sticks for the rest of the season. You have been warned.

As in past seasons, while the other judges fawned over the first few performers, Simon was dead on that her outfit sucked and that she ruined a perfectly good song choice.

Note to the producers: Having the parents/family/friends in the gallery is an epic waste of time and it 0.00% entertaining. NOBODY CARES. Stop wasting our lives, you

Ricky - Promising song choice with Leon Russell. Oof. And that's where the good news ends. What a bland, boring milk-toast performance. Even his "faux-hawk" looks inept. His delivery is completely bereft of feeling or any soulfulness. Not to mention? Kicking off your "groupie" cult, (The Braddy Bunch) before you even make it thru to Top 12? Bad idea.

Here's a story.

Of an setting expectations
That you will never, ever ever ever meet!

And those T-shirts

That your mom made?
Won't sell at all, so take a seat!

That's money that your parents will never see again. Aces!

Alexis - The judges are never more annoying then when they are preening over the advice they give a contestant, that the contestant actually adheres to. Oh...that Alexis! She's a dirty girl, she is! With her pink highlights and her form-fitting slip dress! What?!! Uh...Britney grinding into a snake, Christina wearing a bikini and leather chaps, Madonna writhing on a bed totin' huge cone knockers? That's durty. Highlights and (more) 80's fashion? Yeah. Hannah Montana is more of a skank than you, Irish Spring.

Triumphantly, Alexis breaks a new land speed record for "Picking A Song That Is Too Big For You," when she attempts to take on Aretha.

IDIOT'S GUIDE TO IDOL: Leave the divas at the door. Unless you are Whitney, Celine or Aretha...don't even go there.

Alexis is not a power balladeer. The shock overwhelms my nervous system to the point of yawning. While she has a good (not great) voice, she's completely drowned out (and out-sung) by the back-up singers when they chime in. You can put a fork into Alexis, 'cuz she's done. Yo! Judges! Fawning over her one more time will not change what we just heard/witnessed. Please, close your pie-holes and let's move on.

And seated next to TED DANSON.
What an odd pairing of celebrity.

How I wish that NPH would bum rush the stage and breakout into a song from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog!

Brent - Word on the street is that Brent Keith was on season 2 of Nashville Star (back in '04) and finished 6th. I didn't recognize him until I saw a pic of him from that season. (Now...and then.)

Yup! That's him. I remember him as fairly milk-toast and timid. I think five years, a haircut and a bit of stubble is a bit of an improvement.

The Man with Two (first) Names is bringing the country. Personally, I prefer classic country of a Johnny Cash, Buck Owens or Loretta Lynn. Unfortunately, he's bringing the (as Pete so rightly called it), the "Big and Rich" type of country...which bores me to tears. It all sounds the same to me. Like if Country and Easy Listening had a bastard child. A bastard child that could only sing one song...and then chokes on a catfish bone.

BK's got a decent enough voice and his energy is good...but when he's done, the two words that no Idol with country aspirations ever wants to hear: Bucky Covington.

[sfx of a church bell ringing, signaling the death knell of your CMA dreams]

Welcome to Mediocre-ville, BK!
You too, can put out a CD that nobody will buy or listen to!

Stevie - You know who I love? Etta James. So, even if Stevie only auditioned with "At Last" because it's Beyonce's flavor of the month, I'll still give the girl style points. When I was her age, I was a fan of Ella Fitzgerald and the Buzzcocks. You don't have to embrace all things pop and trendy as a teen...but if you're going on a show to find the next pop star? better be ready to throw down some fresh trendy grooves.

Oof. I don't often feel sorry for the contestants - you've signed up for this rollercoaster (and after 7 seasons, you better know they will show your ass up every chance they get) - but, I felt a bit for Stevie. Be it nerves or having to figure out how to sing with a headset in her ear - she was not good. Oof. Bad song choice. Too low for her register. Off key in parts. Still, she smiled through and didn't quit. Personally, I think she fell for the oldest Idol ruse and did herself in.

IDIOT'S GUIDE TO IDOL: Don't subvert everything you are just to please the judges. Take the criticism that is constructive and learn from it, but don't throw everything else out and start from scratch.

I think Stevie might have had a shot if she stuck to her guns and sung something that she loves to sing...and saved the Taylor Swift for "country night." It's that old adage, that when you're busy trying to please everyone, you please no one.

Still, points for handing it with grace. Simon's right. This is a fantastic experience and exposure for her. Take it at that...and let the Nickelodeon execs come to you. Because, this adorable girl with the better than average voice will be in the next High School Musical type show/flick currently churning up in Disney's sausage making show machine.

Anoop - I'll say it. I'm rooting for Anoop. Mostly because he's got a pretty strong voice, knows "who he is" as a singer (R&B), seems to be a fan of the show and has a sense of humor about all of it. Unfortunately, he picks a decade old dusty track to trill his rifts. While it's a bit more soulful and the best performance thus far in the evening, still, it's lukewarm. It's like the best tasting three bean salad in a three bean salad competition. And all the other salads smell like feet.

I much rather would have seen him sing something fun and up - more Bobby Brown than Bryan McNight for his first live exposure to the voters. His performance of My Prerogative was way more more fun to watch, yo! I'm optimistic at this point that he can secure the 3rd spot.

Casey - And then there was Casey. This is the point of the show where the train derails entirely. While Stevie hit some bad notes and couldn't quite make it happen, Casey can't pick my jaw up off the floor long enough to tell you how godawful this girl is.

As pretty of a pin-up as she is, HOW the hell did this girl make it to the Top 36?!! The worst song for her range, she makes "cute" faces throughout, like somehow, we'll fall under her adorable spell so we won't hear her butchering The Police. And then there was the winking.

It was reminiscent of that episode in Laverne & Shirley where they mistakenly end up in a Army Training film about VD, playing prostitutes. Laverne eventually embraces the "image" of tramp, complete with the massive, elbow-to-your-ribcage wink. It was on that scale, folks.

Pete had to re-watch it a few times to see it (the camera angle was a bit off), but even Paula commented on the wink. When PAULA tells you that you're overselling your song... Yeeeeah. Not good. To quote the panel...

I gotta say, everything about that was wrong. - Kara
To be honest, that's the least of your problems...the winking. - Simon

The judges served it up straight for once, and for a minute I thought she'd loose it, but points for Hot Casey holding her shit together and taking it with a good attitude. Fear not! She's got a rockin' hot body and seems kinda sweet, so I have no doubt we'll see her on another reality show in short order. I vote Big Brother this summer! Make it happen, CBS! Later, Casey!

Michael - We're more than halfway thru the show and NOBODY has really brought the heat yet. You figure that people still have a chance to impress. Our roughneck just serves it up like better than average karaoke.

I take points off for his "boy choker." It was one step up from puka shells. I also subtract points for Gavin DeGraw. Haven't we heard enough of him, "lately-ahhhh?" Bah. You have the Billboard Top 100 since it freaking started, and you come to me with Gavin DeGraw. (sigh.)

Sarver fails to bring the heat and it completely sounds like a night at my neighborhood karaoke bar. I am semi-bored and uninspired by this performance. Still, it's a lot better than much of the first half of the night...but the panel has obviously had it, because they each rip him a new one.

And I don't feel for him at all because it's getting late and I need some inspiration, dammit!

Ann Marie - Fails to learn from Alexis (and all 7 past seasons) and sings another Aretha number. It's a solid delivery. She's the best of the girls so far, but passion in her performance. No "umph!" No fire, no tension, no guts. I want guts, dammit! Show me your guts!!

The judges are all, "Bah. Good not great." Simon's sure she's headed home. Well, I guess we know who WON'T be Simon's Wildcard pick. Oofie.

Still, I think she's likable. WHAT. She's only 23? Oof. She looks a good 10 years (cough) older. I was kinda rooting for her as one of the "older" contestants. I mean...not that it matters...but she needs to befriend a stylist, a make-up artist and a hairdresser to update that Crystal Gayle in the making hairdo she's currently rocking. She's a PYT and needs to look it.

This is the point of the evening when it feels like everyone (except Casey and Stevie) is getting a gold star just for showing up!. Arg.

Stephen - If they mention that he forgot the words to his song (but still put him through...he must be amazing on that piano) one more time, I'm going to stick a fork in my eye. SHUDDAP about it already. Obviously you believe in him enough to get him to this point. Let the man show us what he's coming with.

Erg. That was the more boring rendition of Rock With You that I've heard. There was no fun in it. No personality. Hell, he looked like he might take a nap in the middle of the song.

Paula, FOR ONCE, has a really good point. She says THIS was the opportunity to sing that song that he f'ed up at the solo audition. It seemed to be a song he was really connecting with (even with the FAIL at the piano), and that he is 100% NOT connected to this Michael Jackson number.

It scares me when Paula Abdul makes coherent statements.
I'm very afraid right now.
Which is almost eerie when you realise who's on deck.

Tatiana - The only exposure to Tatiana for me was the final night of Hollywood week when they split them into rooms and she had her meltdown when Paula tried to give them the old, "I'm sorry to say....(freakish meltdown) you've made it" routine. So, I'm thinking, she must have a voice underneath all that crazy.

And she does. The voice is there. The rest...? Her delivery and behavior are both artificially stoic and manic (hair flips, shark eyes) at the same time. It all feels very forced. But, the voice is solid. The performance is slightly spooky and overdone at points, but for a Whitney song (sigh), she holds her own.

One couch over, Pete is swearing quietly...because she's the best female singer tonight. Will Vote For the Worst (and her talent) keep her around? Or will the nation of pre-teens give her the boot and save someone who doesn't give them the willies? Tune in next week and see our stunning conclusi..

Wait. While most Idols make little pleading motions and show the number to call, Tatiana actually gives a statement at the end of her segment directly to public, to "keep her dream alive." Or her "dream is in your hands. Don't fuck it up." Something like that. It's weird and off putting.

Much like this entire evening.

With the exception of Danny, on the whole? Last night was one craptastic performance after another.

Danny - What can you say about Danny without feeling like a jerk? You might be the nicest person on your block. Danny's nice and he's a widower. You cannot compete with that bubble of fresh loss.

He seems like a real, authentic, sweet person. More importantly, when he sings, he leaves it all on the stage. It's a natural, full-sounding vocal and he's confident without any trace of arrogance. Did I mention he's a widower? A recent one to boot?

Part of me is like, man...I don't want to watch this guy. Not that he's not talented - he's the best vocalist by far tonight. He's on a completely different level performance-wise. But more out of a concern that by sticking himself in this carnival after suffering such a recent devastating loss?

I feel dirty. Like a voyeur. Worse. Like I'm at the Indy 500 watching the most talented driver...on the off-chance he'll lose focus and crash into a wall.

At the same time, when you go through a loss of that scale, there is a sense of freedom. When you face death or the death of a loved one, if you make it out the other side of the worm hole, everything seems possible. If you can get past the anger, you might just be open to universe unfolding as it should. I think/hope that's where he's at.

Also, the jesus worries me a bit. He's a church guy, and I'm really hoping he doesn't go all Mandisa on us. You can be a church guy and still enjoy AC-DC. It's true.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm rooting for Danny, but I don't want to root for him because of his loss (which, at some point, AI will cross the line by trotting out his dead wife one too many times.) I want to root for him because of his skill and confidence and, most importantly, his (fingers crossed) non-douchiness.

But, I'm not ready to fully invest yet.
What can I say? I'm a commitment-phobe of the first degree.

Predictions for Moving on:
Male - Danny
Female - Tatiana
Magic 3rd - Anoop.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Top 36

As in years past, I didn't sit down and consume all of the audition shows.

I'll catch a bit here and there, but for the most part, I prefer for the judges to parse the hundreds of thousands of wanna-bes into a manageable group before I'm ready to invest my time and energy in another season.

I also think those shows can give an unfair advantage to some contestants, in terms of showing personality, which can help a less talented performer immensely early on, when the field is still so large. Unfortunately, if you don't have a sob story, nutty gimmick, penchant for crying, insane fashion sense...or a combination therein, we probably are barely registering your existence at this point.

Of course, Idol has nothing to do with fairness.

Like all television, Idol is about ad dollars (and the future marketing of concert tickets, album sales and merchandising.)

Still, the advantage exists, for better or worse. For example - love them or hate them - I could pick Nick/Norman and Tatiana out of a line up, but, couldn't tell you if Casey was a boy or girl.

Fortunately, the internets can help me keep them least until I've seen them sing a few times and can give them each a duly appointed nickname.

Please note: I will attempt to link a "personal site/fan page" for each as I come across them...uh, if they have one.* This is yet another indicator - some of these kids need to prop up their rabid fan base asap! ...or at the very least get some friends/family who know how to throw up a quick site to start hustling that home town vote!

Some of the more "promotional" sites of folks who may already have a toe in the business have been scrubbed down to decrease any advantage. Ah, the digital age.

Here is your Top 36, with a glimpse into Group 1*, who'll be the first 12 up to bat on Tuesday night (2/17):

Adam Lambert
Alexander Wagner-Trugman
Alexis Grace*
Allison Iraheta
Anne Marie Boskovich*

Anoop Desai*
Arianna Ayesha Afsar
Brent Keith*
Casey Carlson*
Danny Gokey*
Felicia Barton

Jackie Tohn*
Jasmine Murray
Jeanine Vailes
Jessica Langseth
Jorge Nunez
Junot Joyner
Kai Kalama
Kendall Beard

Kris Allen
Kristen McNamara
Lil Rounds
Matt Breitzke

Matt Giraud
Megan Corkrey
Michael Sarver

Mishavonna Henson
Nathaniel Marshall
Nick Mitchell aka Normund Gentle
Ricky Braddy
Scott MacIntyre
Stephen Fowler*
Stevie Wright*
Tatiana Del Toro*

Taylor Vaifanua
Von Smith

At this point, I don't have a favorite...and won't have an opinion on Top 12 or who I think can go all the way, until I listen to all 36 sing at least once.

If you have a prediction or a favorite, put 'em in the comments!

*If you want to check out their Myspace pages, you're on your own. I view Myspace is a social network for teens, so I tend to steer clear of it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

test, one, two

Okay, kids.

Instead of emailing the long awaited Idol Rants, I'll be posting them here.

You can leave comments, or, if you're a bit more long winded (like myself) and are interested in posting on this blog, I think there's a way to make this a group blog. Lemme know and we'll see what we can do.

Feel free to forward this to fans and foes alike.

Now that they've announced the Top 36...I will be coming out of hibernation.

Next week.
See you then!