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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Idol Eyes: Top 24, the Dudes

Twenty four reviews in two nights is killing me. I'll be thrilled when we're rid of four of these people so I can chastise awful singing at a more leisurely pace. After last night, I'd be willing to ax even more contestants, but patience is a virtue. It's not one of my virtues, but it is said to exist, so I'll honor it for now on the off chance it pays off in one of these roughed-up diamonds. Blah, blah, singing.

Todrick Hall
Before I get to Todrick, did Randy or Kara fart while Ryan was introducing the judges? No? Well, the judges are warning us of fragile nerves, which makes my job fun. You know what else is fun? Learning about songs people write in the shower about American Idol. I'd get to the singing, but Todrick started out talking. But then he took Kelly Clarkson's "Since You Been Gone," and revealed just how little versatility that song really has. He can sing, but why that?
Odds of leaving: Eh. No numbers. He's sticking around.

Aaron Kelly
Aaron's gonna have a hard time if he lasts long enough for his voice to change. He also needs to be careful not to eat that microphone all in one bite. Okay, jokes aside, it wasn't a great performance. He showed he can probably sing, but it would be nice to actually see it last for an entire song. He sang . . . um, something about goodbye. Simon's right, I don't remember it.
Odds of leaving: Unless every phone south of the Mason Dixon line fails, no way.

Jermaine Sellers
I've got a serious beef with the show's sound crew. The lead vocals are just mixed very poorly, and they wind up sounding softer than the backup singers. Jermaine was the victim of that. He was also the victim of singing terribly. And dressing like Napoleon at a funeral. He sounded good for a lot of it, but he was clearly nervous as evidenced by his spasming lip at the end. "Get Here," was a poor song choice, but I HATE it when the judges tell one singer to pick a song out of their typical style and then criticize the next one for picking a song out of their typical style. But, yeah, pick a song that doesn't make me want to rip my eyelids off.
Odds of leaving: 4 to 1. That's the Chicago pessimist factor.

Tim Urban
Starsky! Or is it Rod Blagojevich before he grew up and cut his hair down to ginormous. I'll go with Blago, because it fits better with singing "Apologize." It's also fitting that they spent so much time explaining how they called him back to the show right before he let his own brand of dreadful tell the story of why they cut him.
Odds of leaving: 1 to 1.
Note: I have never seen a parent look as angry and ready to kill someone as Tim's mom looked during Simon's critique. 

Joe Munoz
At first I thought Joe and the band got skipped to different times on the island. But once he got it, Joe really came through and sounded like someone who wanted to sing professionally. I really like him, and I'm really afraid he might slip through the cracks. I'm also really going to stop using the word really.
Odds of leaving: 7 to 1.

Tyler Grady
"American Woman." He is not up to this. Beneath the Morrisonian visage and vintage-looking new clothes is hiding a frail little dweeb with a bad voice. If anyone in America is grabbing their phones and thumbing their little texts in desperation to bring that back on stage, their last name had better be Grady.
Odds of leaving: Certainty.

Lee Dewyze
Wow, a guy who split the judges in half. As bad as Tyler and Tim were, I can't see how it matters, but Lee did alright. Not as good as Simon thought (as he defended his choice). Some parts were downright awful, not just in the sound, but I mean . . . can you really scream, "LET ME JUST LAY HERE!" without inciting fits of giggles? No. No you can't.
Odds of leaving: I really don't see how T&T have left any room in this week's exit.

John Park
Oh, John, you fell a little too deeply in love with Shania's praise of your bottom end. That was weird. Kara was dead on calling it loungy, because I felt like I was at a 40th wedding anniversary at open mic night at a piano bar. It was as bad as that metaphor. Or simile. Whatever, it was atrocious. He sounded fine, but the end product was a thousand question marks. Oh, I get it. He was singing that for his parent. But John, unless you have 6 million parents who will all vote 10 times, don't do that again.
Odds of leaving: 12

Michael Lynche
I hope he sings about a mountain, because he is one. Let's see . . . no, no mountain. Maroon 5. And he's holding a guitar for no other reason than to make it look like a fiddle next to his mountainicity. He's pretty good, but he made "This Love" sound a little too disco.
Odds of leaving: No way he can squeak between the two losers on the way out the door. No way.

Alex Lambert
Alex will not be confused with Adam Lambert. He will be confused with Alex "Deer in Headlights" Jones. Whoa. Good voice. No composure.
Odds of leaving: Look out, T-Twins, you've got company.

Casey James
Holy McButter, his hair is down. He's glowing. He's the cover of a romance novel. And, unless my judgment is mercilessly clouded by the soft-focus lens they're shooting him with, he sounds ready to record. From what I've heard so far, there's no point in continuing this thing. Casey James, the man with two names, is gonna win this sucker.
Odds of leaving (with Kara): Solid.

Andrew Garcia
What song is this . . . OH, the bullet song! I didn't recognize it with intelligible lyrics. I really liked the performance, shaky as it was at points. I hate how the judges are telling him to do what he did with "Straight Up," when that is exact-a-freakin-actly what he just did with that song. Make it original, just like your last performance. Holy crap, people. All that said, it did look like he had the lyrics written on his guitar. But other than that, I like this hombre.
There are no odds. he's stickin' around.

Idol Eyes: Top 24, the Ladies

Idol's back into the happy realm of voting people the heck off the show, as is my take on which people that might be. We get to trudge through 3 weeks of gender-divided performances and wave goodbye to the bottom 2 guys and gals every week. I like this much better than the "top 2 survive" approach of last season, although it will probably mean a lot more Sanjaya types hanging on for way too long.

That's quite enough intro, since we've got 12 songstresses to make fun of. Let's get right to it.

Paige Miles
Turn it. I never thought of "Alright Now" as a song that should never be covered, but the opening riff corrected that oversight for me. Poor Paige did not sound good. The judges are trying extra hard to convince America they weren't stupid for putting her on stage, but she sounded and looked unbearable.
Odds of leaving: 3 to 1

Ashley Rodriguez
Most of these singers, when they start out singing quietly, they're lucky to find a note the rest of the performance. I give you Exhibit A(shley). She sang "Happy," which rhymed with how it sounded. But, as Heather put it so correctly, she's pretty.
Odds of leaving: Why do I get the feeling everyone wants to be in the bottom 2?

Janell Wheeler
It's a rare Heart song that doesn't wind up as a complete "aw, honey, no" moment on Idol, and Janell's performance of "What about Love" was no exception. The only reason I would want to listen to a performance like that is if the singer was a member of my family who didn't realize I was listening and videotaping and preparing to upload its hideousness onto YouTube straightaway.
Odds of leaving: Goodness me, I don't know what it takes to get eliminated this week.

Lilly Scott
Oh, wow. Finally a voice that sounds pleasant. Lilly picked a song I don't know, and it was the kind of song where even if she was flat or sharp it would sound intentional. Every other performance seemed like the vocals were stumbling their way to the soundboard. By the way, Kara's hair looks like a horse, even more than most ponytails do.
Odds of leaving: no.

Katelyn Epperly
Katelyn and her mall hair brought a nice little raspy soul to "Oh, Darling," but I was a bit distracted by her Classic Peg/JT shoulder bounce. I agree with Kara's roundabout way of saying the girl's makeover makes her look like a hooker. She was good. But this "girls are all strong" business is horse apples.
Odds of leaving: 11 to 1

Haeley Vaughn
Haeley went bobbing for glitter before taking on the Beatles, and as much as I hate to say that her version of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" had promise, it did. It was also incredibly sloppy and annoying. It's almost as though at some points she doesn't even care what comes out her mouth. Still, she's not boring.
Odds of leaving: 9 to 1

Lacey Brown
I didn't think anyone could distract me more with their hair and makeup than Adam Lambert, but Lacey was like an Andy Warhol painting that came to life . . . with a vendetta against Stevie Nicks. "Landslide" wasn't as bad as the judges made it out to be. I think she was trying to be quirky with her intonation. But, yeah, it was kind of like she decided the Smashing Pumpkins didn't make that song sound sad enough.
Odds of leaving: 5 to 1

Michelle Delamour
I totally didn't realize Julia Roberts and Janet Jackson had a kid! Congrats. The song, though, was equal parts plodding and painful. Her version of "Fallin'" had all of Ms. Keys' pitch problems and about a tenth of her power. The judges are trying to convince us these singers are good. I'm willing to give them time, but I don't see anyone yet who seems comfortable on a national stage just yet.
Odds of leaving: probably not.

Didi Benami
First things first: Didi, I'm gonna need my laundry room rug back. The song choice, "The Way I Am," was much better than the wardrobe choice, because it's not a song anyone knows for its power vocals. This is a fine week to be this boring.
Odds of leaving: nuh uh.

Siobhan Magnus
I hope this girl goes home this week, because I'm going to have to check the spelling three or four times every week. But still, she can wield a blowtorch, so, you know. "Wicked Game," is a song with a wide range, which suits a guy with a mean falsetto, but not so much a woman with a weak lower register. Still, she ended good. She's a bit odd, and I like that in the same way John Kreese liked Mr. Miyagi's nerve. I also think that if she loses, she may hurt someone or their bunny.
Odds of going all Fatal Attraction: 6 to 1

Crystal Bowersox
I like her voice and her guitar and her harmonica head gear, and I love her command of the stage. But man, that was one polished, well performed piece of yawn. I'm not concerned at all with her chances, and I think she'll get a lot better, but I'll never think about that performance of "Hand in My Pocket" ever again.
Odds of getting burned much later in the competition: 2 to 1 (but not tonight)

Katie Stevens
Aw, shucks. I feel like David Archuleta just took the stage in drag. I don't mean that to be as weird or insulting as I'm sure that reads. She's a cutie. I don't condone Michael Bublé performances. I do get the feeling that the audio setup of this stage is not right. A lot of singers were a little too close to inaudible, and the judges mentioned Katie seemed like she couldn't hear herself.
Odds of Katie having problems hearing her farewell performance on Thursday: 10 to 1

My picks to get sent packing: Paige and Janell. 

Monday, February 08, 2010

Who's On First?

It's pretty sad that the only things motivating me to blog here are TV (Lost and Idol) and contests, so here's a real piece of family stuff. A week or two ago, Addison and I performed in his elementary school's talent show. It was a lot of fun, even the endless rehearsals of "Who's on First" to which we subjected ourselves.

The night of the performance I had been drumming into Addison's head that only I would have a microphone and that he'd need to project just like before—I would take care of the mic. Right before we went on, he was begging me to let him hold a mic, and I repeatedly told him no. Sure enough, right before we went on, he was handed a mic, and the rest was hilarity.

Since we've finished, Addison hasn't wanted to reproduce the whole routine, but anytime anyone says "I don't know," we'll both say, "Third base!" We'll do intentionally, too, with one or the other asking what the capital of some state or far-off country is. Colin's gotten into the act, too. Yesterday, he said, "What's the capital of . . . third base?"

What indeed, Colin. What indeed.

Friday, February 05, 2010

LOST: LA X Recap | Abridged and Updated

For the benefit of . . . anyone who values their time but also is into LOST, I've trimmed and refreshed the Lost tome. It's still long, but a bit more manageable. Here you go:

I liked this episode, though I wasn’t so sure at first.

First question: Did Juliet’s bomb-bashing, future-changing experiment work? Yes, it did. The island was underwater, the plane never crashed, and this whole series never happened.

Before I continue on with the story of the uncrashed airplane, I want to comment about this crazy little turn on the show, the alternate reality (AR) running concurrently with (though 3 years behind) the original reality (OR). There are basically two schools of thought with time travel. 1) If you go back in time and change something, you won’t really change anything—the future you were trying to change was actually the result of your efforts in the past, and 2) If you go back in time, you can change the future, but it’s dangerous, cuz you could screw something up. Read More

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

LOST: LA X (parts 1 and 2) ~ You bet your Frogurt there are spoilers

This may have been the best episode of Lost yet. That's an ironic thing for me to say, considering that my first reaction to Flight 815 not crashing was, "Holy crap, they've really jumped the shark, haven't they?" But the show's creators stayed true to their formula of injecting plot leaps jarring enough to make weaker viewers faint into a dizzying haze until our brains' timing mechanisms can recalibrate. If, like Charlotte before you, you're experiencing mild nose bleeds, headaches, and dizziness, I'll do my best to fix your sense of time and stop the flashes.

So let's talk plot, themes, and theories for a moment, shall we?

Plot (aka What the crap is going on and when is said crap taking place?)
Having not watched the recap episode and failing to catch up on the last dozen episodes of season 5, I was worried I wouldn't gain my bearings on the first viewing. Despite misplacing my notes from last season's finale, I was surprised to find my Lost legs almost immediately—this show has a way of drawing me into its spell all too quickly.

Read More