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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Idol Eyes: Top 10 Usher in the Soul

Two hours and 10 contestants give Ryan Seacrest plenty of time to talk with Usher about his new album. Which would be great if I were bulimic. So let's just try to muddle through somehow.

Siobhan Magnus
Siobhan picked a song that I can't remember ever hearing and I don't want to hear again. I know Chaka Khan is supposed to be this goddess of soul, but I don't know too many of her songs that deserve air time in the 21st Century. She's just not one of my favorite soul singers. Come to think of it, I don't even count Chaka among my top 5 favorite Khans (Cobra, Genghis, Kublai, Shere, and Ricardo Montalban). "Though the Fire" burned with not-goodness. The only thing worse than the garbled, funky mess was the 10-minute judges' review. Ugh^10.
Odds of going home: Nah. There will be much more suck to follow.


Casey James
It's time for the guitar to say goodbye. At least it will be next week. But to be honest, Casey could just go up there and smile, and a billion people would text "vote" to 5702. Crap, I think my wife just caught me staring dreamily at the screen. Time to wrap up. Uh . . . yeah, he's talented, and he doesn't need this show anymore. He really doesn't fit the mold of AI.
Odds of going home: 300 to .0036


Michael Lynche
Big Mike picks good songs and performs them well. He hits his notes. He connects with his audience. He doesn't have an off switch. I love that he was positioned behind the judges' table. It was like he was saying, "Forget you four, I'm singing to the people." He's really something.
Odds of going home: not if there's anything right in the world.


Didi Benami
Didi broke down performing for Usher, which I find fascinating. It had me looking to see if she could display just enough of that emotion to make us feel with her and not so much that we feel for her. But in all that, I think she just missed the rhythm of the song a bit. She wasn't nearly as bad as the judges made her out to be (which they have made a habit with Didi), but she's not doing incredibly well.
Odds of going home: 5 to 1


Tim Urban
Tim, a dud with hair, sings Anita Baker, maybe the best ever at blowing people's minds with understated soul. This has all the makings of a snoozapalooza. Somehow, the song seemed to suit him. But it still made me yawn at the innermost part of my being. Randy outsinging him woke me up a bit. Ellen saved the segment. She's perfect. The whole round of critiques was absolutely brilliant.
Odds of going home: 1.1 to 1


Andrew Garcia
I'll give Usher this: he's giving some really good advice to these people. He may have just saved Andrew's season, because this thing sounds good. Yeah, there it is kid. He's still not the best singer on the show, but he finally did something exciting with a low-key cover. Very nice. Prediction: 7 mentions of "Straight Up." (Shockingly, they all made an obviously intentional effort not to refer to it. Only Ryan called the song by name.)
Odds of going home: 11 to 1

Katie Stevens
Katie < Aretha is the biggest mathematical understatement in the history of numbers. Even comparing Katie's version of "Chain of Fools" to the one from School of Rock is off-base. The judges can love it all they want, but Katie should not be singing Aretha. And none of the judges seem to notice how close R&B and Country really are to each other . . . or how far apart Katie is from Aretha.
Odds of going home: 6 to 1


Lee DeWyze
"Treat Her Like a Lady." Okay, Lee, what do you got? I'll tell you what he's got: an innate ability to make old songs sound not as old. Maybe not 100% fresh, but day-old, and I'll eat that for a dollar. Even if he is wearing a Members Only jacket. Lee rocked that one out, and it made my wife cry a little bit.
Odds of going home: that really shouldn't happen.


Crystal Bowersox
Based on the trailer, Heather really wants to see Knight & Day. I say that because I'm sure this is gonna be great with no need for commentary. But what-what? She's singing Gladys Knight? Just let her sing people . . . shhhhh.





Chills. Man, I knew she could sing, but that was amazing. She showed she's better than what I thought she was. It doesn't hurt that "Midnight Train to Georgia" is a top 10 song for me. Amen, Crystal. Amen.
Odds of . . . no.


Aaron Kelly
Ah, the obligatory "Ain't No Sunshine" performance. He sounded better with Usher. Meh.
Odds of going home: Justin Bieber to 1


Who's in the Bottom Three? Didi, Katie, and Tim, who really must go.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Idol Eyes: Top 11, The Number Ones

Paige. Buh-bye.

When Ryan said the Top 11 were about to get the best of both worlds, I thought it would be hilarious if they all had to pick Miley Cyrus songs. But no, they have to pick #1's on the Billboard Hot 100 charts throughout history. And yes, Miley F. Cyrus is the first mentor of the season. I won't say I'm in heaven. But I don't always share things like that. So let's move on.

Lee DeWyze
Lee's singing "The Letter," and he's performing like he's trapped in the dirtiest phone booth in the history of enclosures. Don't be afraid to touch the walls, pick up the phone, maybe even step outside a bit, yeah? His singing was alright, not great. I think he played with the song a bit too much to where it was all riffs and no rhythm. The judges loved it (except Simon) and I think a lot of people like his Joe Cocker sound and Tom Jones outfit. I think he'll get there eventually.
Odds of going home: 15 to 1

Paige Miles
Ms. Miles is going where Phil Collins and Mariah Carey dare to tread. She might have worn a castoff from Whitney Houston's wardrobe from 1988, but she sounded like . . . Whitney in 2010. Girlfriend just had nothing. That was hard to watch. Tim Urban could go out there and hum a Gregorian monk version of George Michael's "Faith," and still not go home.
Odds of going home: Infinity

Tim Urban
The least crazy person in America is singing "A Crazy Little Thing Called Love" in true church musical fashion. That's the thing with this dude, he just can't make the jump from boy choir to boy band. It's like Michael Bublé without even that mild sense of understated flair. He's Michael Blasé. But as kill-me-now boring as it was, it was still a gazillion times better than Paige.
Odds of going home: Can we send America home for leaving so many lousy people here while infinitely better contestants got sent packing?

Aaron Kelly
Oh, poor Aaron. He's saying he has laryngitis, but we all know it was only a matter of time before his voice changed. I just didn't expect it to happen this year. Maybe it will add a Steven Tyler-esque crackle to his rendition of "Don't Wanna Miss a Thing." Maybe? Yeah, actually. This was the perfect song for this kid, and if he could have staved off puberty for another week, it could have been his defining performance. As it was, it was good enough to get him on tour.
Odds of going home: Not now.

Crystal Bowersox
Finally, Crystal sang a Joplin song. Obviously it rocked. She is a bit understated, and Ellen (as usual) nailed the criticism. Crystal does seem the slightest bit guarded. She seems afraid to be too good. For the first time, I'm genuinely excited to see what comes next from Crystal rather than just being content to know it will be typically good.
Odds of going home: Seriously?

Michael Lynche
Big Mike does not have a problem connecting. He really didn't have to perform after his little Miley interview segment, but I'm glad he did. One thing I love about Michael is that he doesn't take a single note off. He understands he's performing, and I don't know that he stops performing . . . ever. He can also sing real good.
Odds of going home: If home is the top 5, 3:1.

Andrew Garcia
Andy "Heard it through the Grapevine" that he had a free week, so he phoned in a Marvin Gaye cover. I don't see how Andrew can remain in this thing very long, because he doesn't seem interested in letting us know he can sing. Maybe he can, I don't know. But that was a yawner. I also think the dude might be stone-cold drunk.
Odds of going home: Soon.

Katie Stevens
Fergie. Hmm. Seriously, I got no idea how this song ever reached #1 on any nonsarcastic list. I just can't listen to that. It wasn't good. It did feel like Karaoke as an institution went back to high school.
Odds of going home: How long is this freaking show?

Casey James
Unless Casey goes up and sings the national anthem Roseanne Barr style, I don't know what he could do to leave the show. Huey Lewis? Okay. I'll skitch along behind that jeep. Actually, that's pretty much what Casey is doing: biding his time and hanging on for the ride. Judging by the quality of this week's performances, he can get by doing that for another four or five weeks. But sooner or later he needs to do something different and lose the guitar.
Odds of going homo: Wait, what?

Didi Benami
People, come on! Do not sing songs with names like "You're No Good"! Challenge me! The obvious name jokes aside, the song is hopelessly dated. Who in this millennium would want to listen to something like that if they hadn't made an unwritten/unspoken commitment to write some kind of review about it? Gag.
Odds of going home: Paige to 1


Siobhan Magnus
Siobhan meets Stevie and dresses like Sheena Easton. I dig. If Adam Lambert was a shy, awkward girl with less makeup, we'd have Siobhan. As usual, she broke glass near the end. But it might have been her worst performance, just because it was entirely too lighthearted and meaningless. Still, why not? She's Siobhan.
Odds of going home: Granola


The bottom three ought to be Paige, Paige, Paige, Tim, and Paige. And Andrew. But Paige must go.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Name is Adam and I'm Here to Say . . .

I like to make up freestyle raps about my kids. I perform them as first-person narratives from their point of view. "My name is Addison, I rock the mic. Lego Star Wars is what I like." Or, "I'm Colin James, and I'm livin' large. Don't mind Charles 'cuz I'm in charge." That kind of thing. When Addison joins in, it can get pretty funny. Here's how we broke it down this morning:

Me: "Addison Michael, that is my name. Be-ing awe-some is my game."
Addison, without missing a beat: "And I like to lion tame!"

Then he adds, "I don't really. I just made that up because it rhymed."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Unpublished Poem

This one's untitled. And I have no idea . . .


So another star learned to say, "I love you."
So two more people fell into the heat
So magic feelings brought them together
And the credits rise across the screen.


But the love child has to keep on growing
His teeth tear through the ground of his mouth
And he doesn't understand except to cry
The raw screams of growing fill the house


And love's leaves fall to the cold, cold ground
And the trees stand naked reaching for the sun
Because August didn't say that January


Maybe it wasn't finished? I dunno.

Excerpt from an Unpublished Screenplay

I found this in an old notebook I had lying around.

Rook
Well, you probably won't see me too much on the weekends. My girlfriend lives in the 'burbs.

Orlando
So you mean we'll never see you on the weekends or during the week.

Rook
That's not true.

Orlando
Well you're not gonna bring her to this dump.

Rich
Come on, this place could use a woman's touch.

Orlando
I could use a woman's touch, but you won't see anyone bringing their girlfriends over to help me out.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Idol Eyes: Top 12, The Rolling Stones


Idol is down to 12, the absolutely wrong dozen contestants. America didn't get all 12 wrong, but they let enough losers through that we'll have to watch some pretty awful performances of otherwise good songs, beginning with the Rolling Stones songbook.

Michael Lynche
"Miss You," is barely recognizable in Big Mike's hands, although in more of a Witness Protection sense than in an OMG, Britney Shaved Her Head kind of way. He's definitely creating his own sound, and I don't think any performer is going to step on his territory: very important, as we probably learned from Lilly's blend-in-with-the-alt-rock-folk early exit. Not a memorable performance, but not regrettable either.
Odds of going home: 13 to 1


Didi Benami
Weak start. Pay attention, Idol contestants: you cannot wait for the big notes to sing well. If your song starts out soft, you still have to sing strong, on-key, and passionately. If you don't, you'll miss the emotion, and you might (like Didi did) forget the words. You are, forgive me, "Playing with Fire," and Randy is smokin' weed. She forgot the words. She missed the biggest note and all the small ones. Boo.
Odds of going home: 5 to 1


Casey James
Aw, we get a look at the family of hotness. We also get to hear Casey open up his vocals a little bit, and he sounds his usual awesome self. Again, he's not blowing you away with how good he sings, but he's still performing like a rock deity. He sounds like Bob Seeger (again) and looks much, much better.
Odds of going home: 1 in a million


Lacey Brown
"Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday," . . . always a risk to sing a song that features the word goodbye too prominently. Lacey is so odd in her performance because I can't really tell if she's missing the notes on purpose. The line between jazzy and sloppy is fuzzy. Speaking of jazzy, sloppy, and fuzzy, those seem to be the three outfits she couldn't decide between. Someone should really make her pick just one before going out on stage.
Odds of going home: 9 to 2


Andrew Garcia
Andy's pops thought he'd be a custodian? Let's hope he can clean up the mess the last couple weeks have become. Don't shoot me, this thing feeds on word play, sometimes I have to give it junk food. He's singing "Give Me Shelter," and not in his typical, Hey, I'm gonna turn this into an impromptu coffeehouse acoustic track style. The good news, he finally did something with his voice we hadn't heard yet. The bad news, I kind of miss the wannabe "Straight Up" performances. But it was alright.
Odds of going home: 7 to 1


Katie Stevens
I thought Katie deserved to go home last week, and the producers certainly didn't do her any favors assigning her the Rolling Stones. I like her choice of "Wild Horses," though the irony could come back to bite her. Or drag her away. But at least she got the chance to justify her choice before singing. And look at that, she gave her best performance EV-er. I don't know if it's enough to save her (again with the rough beginning) but I think people will remember her enough to call a little bit.
Odds of going home: 347 to 46


Tim Urban
"Under My Thumb" goes reggae? I would normally scoff at this from an Idol contestant, but I give Tim credit for playing with the arrangement that much. His vocals are still so gosh-darn stinkin' golly straight-laced, I feel like the Men's Choir sent their vice president to reggae night at . . . church. I don't know. It wasn't great, but it wasn't the complete train wreck I expected it to be. Still, it didn't scream, "Bring Tim Back!!!" Or even whisper it all that briskly.
Odds of going home: 4 to 1


Siobhan Magnus
"Paint it Black." I want Siobhan to stick around as long as possible just to give me a chance to figure out what the rock is going on with this girl. Just as I try to compile some kind of formula on her, she sings one of her amnesia notes and I can't remember the rest of the song or the previous half hour of my life. She's like the film, The Red Balloon. What's going on? I don't know. I can neither remember it nor forget it.
Odds of going home: Grey


Lee DeWyze
I feel cold and soulless, but these stories mean nothing to me tonight. His performance of "Beast of Burden," is pretty good, though. He's got me debating which is tougher to cultivate: singing the right notes or singing with that sandpapery, hey, sweetie, the coffee's brewing texture he's got going. It was funny how they cut from a shot of Randy saying "dope" to one of Lee's gaping mouth. With Ellen on here, I feel like I'm wasting my time. That song almost came together like a hospital gown . . . priceless.
Odds of going home: 13 to 1


Paige Miles
We now reach the hardcore fraud part of the evening. Or so I thought. Paige's elimination-defying votes came on a massive debt of ear-worthy notes, and I think she covered the balance tonight. She did strike out on the opening phrase, and she wasn't consistent, but she finally showed she can sing a little bit. I don't like the laryngitis shtick, but here we are.
Odds of going home: 7 to 1


Aaron Kelly
He's adopted. Okay, this story found what's left of my soul I think. He's singing, "Angie," and he's got a fauxhawk going on, like when Jonathan Taylor Thomas wanted us to take him seriously. I can't do that for this performance. I wish this kid would lose the sweet, simmering romantic act and bring some energy, because I just can't buy this little boy as a serious, brooding love song singer.
Odds of going home: 6 to 1 (Honestly, it's probably closer to 1 trillion to 1, because this kid is getting Justin Biebered.)


Crystal Bowersox
"You Can't Always Get What You Want," plays regularly in my house to curb little-kid whining. I say that because I don't have much to say about this one. Crystal was her typical rocking self. She's good.
Odds of going home: Ohio


Are we just saying goodbye to one this week? I guess I expect Andrew, Tim, and Didi to be our bottom three, and Tim has reggaed his last rolling stone.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Idol Eyes: Top 16, the Guys

Why Keith Urban? Shut up, I don't know.

After seeing the remaining guys introduced, the performances seem like a waste of time. It's pretty obvious which two remaining guys need to grab their luggage and get the rock outta here, but where's the fun in that? Let's give the chumps one last chance to inspire my sense of cruelty.

Lee Dewyze
Fireflies? What are you, 12? The quality of his voice has some serious potential, but the quality of his note singing makes me skin want to come off. He finished well. He kinda looks like Elijah Wood on a Snickers diet.
Odds of Going Home: 20 to 1


Alex Lambert
You can't go wrong with Ray LaMontagne, unless you can't sing, and Alex can. I'm so glad he's coming along. He can definitely go further, and I think he definitely will. I really think he's the Allison Iraheta of this season. The cool thing is that he sang Ray without messing up the song or blatantly copying the style. Very nice.
Odds of Going Home: 30 to 1 . . . the crappy guys better find some magic vocal chords


Tim Urban
This is definitely Tim's best performance. And he should go home right now. I see a highly successful career in the Children's Music genre for Tim. He's just so darn deliberate. But his voice sounded much, much better than it has. And Ellen is awesome.
Odds of Going Home: 4 to 1


Andrew Garcia
Alright, the weekly attempt to completely reinvent a song commences. If I hear, "It wasn't as good as 'Straight Up' " one more time, I'm gonna have an aneurysm. For some reason I knew it would be "Genie in a Bottle," when I heard it was a Christina Aguilera song, and for some reason, I really liked it. There's something so Jose Feliciano-y about him. But I'm not entirely sure America will feel the same way. The dude needs to sing a song just plain normal, though. He's basically doing a Jimmy-Fallon-does-Neil-Young routine to random vapid pop songs, and if he keeps it up he might just break music.
Odds of Going Home: 9 to 1


Iron Man
Awesome.

Casey James
One impossibly sexy dude covers another . . . wait, that came out wrong. Keith Urban song, great choice. Holy crap, this dude is good. In this song, he sounds pretty much exactly like Bob Seger. Randy's an idiot. Kara's a fraud. There's no way Casey James is going home.
Odds of Going Home: Didn't you read what I just wrote?


Aaron Kelly
Oh dear. Don't sing a song with lines along the lines of 'When you coming home?' 'I'm already there.' Just a tip. Also, if you're going to sing those songs, try to not suck. When it was low, he was weak. When the song got big, he lost control. His voice is good, but his ability to use it is not coming on stage with him.
Odds of Going Home: Directly proportional to the texting powers of whoever the crap is making Justin Bieber trend on Twitter


Todrick Hall
Dude, just sing the dang Queen song. If you change it, you die. . . . Okay, he's singing the song. The performance had its moments, it started shaky, building, building . . . and then he pulls back at the climax of the song! Why? Dude! Why? Oh, man, I think he did a good job, and probably enough to save his sorry act for another week. But he had a chance to make it great, and he just kinda turned around and chilled for awhile.
Odds of Going Home: 5 to 1 if America has a memory; 10 to 1 if they don't


Michael Lynch
A phenomenal Diana Ross impression to start the song. Outstanding. I honestly don't know what he's singing, but I like it. I think it's his best performance so far, and I definitely think he'll be back. Maxwell, okay, I wondered. Alright, yeah, that was great. Michael's got something about him.
Odds of Going Home: Butter


Quick update: the guys are definitively better than the girls. It's not an enormous gap, but they're clearly better.

Who's going home? Dude, I don't know. Andrew Garcia and Tim Urban

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Idol Eyes: Top 16, the Girls

I'm still getting used to transitioning from Lost to American Idol, so if I refer to a bad performance as getting smacked around by the smoke monster, forgive me. The show is down to an hour and in a total rush, so I'll follow suit.

Katie Stevens
The hard part of "Breakaway," you would think, is the hammer-the-high-notes chorus. But since Katie brought the song down into a more attainable range, the chorus was a bit breezier, easier. The opening verse, though, was way below her power. All in all, there were about six notes she sang well. The judges can go on about song choice or image, but she just sang really poorly. And Kara has a new hair color, which is pretty.
Odds of Going Home: 2 to 1


Siobhan Magnus
A capella "House of the Rising Sun" intro? Good. The power finish? Awesome. The reason I'm asking myself questions? Because it's my blog and I can do what I want. There's also not much need for me to critique the song, because Siobhan kicked its tail. Randy touched on an important note by saying she doesn't listen to their advice. Bottom line? If you need the judges' advice all that much, you won't last long. And Simon will change his mind when he watches this again.
Odds of Going Home: No.


Lacey Brown
Do you know this song? (See, I'm asking you questions now.) I don't. And that's a brilliant move for Lacey, because she's making me like a song I can't remember ever hearing before, and she's singing the crap out of it. Another really great performance for the show, and Lacey's best ever. She still looks too colorful for Avatar, but whatever.
Odds of Going Home: 18 to 1


Katelyn Epperly
Oh no, the earth is moving under her feet. As Heather said, her hair kinda looks like a puppy dog. She sounded less like Carole King and more like Carrie Okey. I apologize for the awful joke, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the performance. Her singing wasn't awful, it just had that uneasy quality that said, "I think I can do a better job when I perform this on results night."
Odds of Going Home: 4 to 1


Didi Benami
Let's do two reviews. The first is the guitar playing: NOOOOOO! The second is the singing: yes, dear. I'm not sure which was more convincing, the degree to which the girl can sing or the degree to which she can't play the guitar. There was just no reason to play the guitar there. But she sang effortlessly and mellow but completely meaningful. Very nice.
Odds of Going Home: 11 to 1


Paige Miles
She's not singing that "Smile," is she? Oh. She is. And for the first time ever on this show, she's not smiling. That's weird. Oh, dear, it's like someone shot Toni Braxton. Paige really looked uncomfortable. Like people she loves are being held hostage and their lives depend on her performance. Aw, sweetie. I hope you told them you love them.
Odds of Going Home: Really, Really Good. And home is nice.


Crystal Bowersox
Girl, plug in your guitar. Can't hear it. And please start singing the . . . oh, my, there you go. Now your singing. Oh, she's ripping it. She's killing it. She killed it! Well, that was lovely. If you're gonna choose between starting well and ending well . . . she picked the right one. Very cool.
Odds of Going Home: 1 Billion Trillion to 1


Lilly Scott
Patsy Cline, huh? Sweet. She kept the country twang but sang it all Bjorky. I wouldn't listen to it on a loop or anything, but it's way cool. Lilly is Cyndi Lauper fun. The judges have to race through their praise of her, but she deserves more. I loved it.
Odds of Going Home: 15 to 1


Who's out: Based on these performances? (Yeah, I did it again.) Katie and Paige

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Idol Eyes: Top 20, the Girls for Real

Crystal Bowersox is back on her feet again. Kara has a major case of fountain hair. Ellen is still hilarious. And I'm a little disappointed I have to wait another day to see some bad singers sent home. Here we go . . .

Crystal Bowersox
Apparently there was a major soul memo sent around the AI office, because Crystal picks up where most of the guys left off. Her CCR homage, "As Long as I Can See the Light," was pretty smooth, nothing mind-blowing. But I liked listening to it. Is that enough? It works for me. Randy is channeling Paula with nonsensical philosophizing about truth and reality and unicorns, I think.
Odds of Going Home: 200 to 1


Haeley Vaughn
If your smile is surgically affixed to your face (and Haeley's is) you want to sing more Miley Cyrus than Kurt Cobain. That said . . . whoa. That was awful. She sang "The Climb" as though she were actually in the middle of scaling a mountain. The Big Rock Candy Mountain, maybe, but still it was painful. I just think you're supposed to hit notes and she didn't. And she's still smiling, even after Simon told her the deep dark nasty truth.
Odds of Going Home: 3 Heel Clicks and She's Gone


Lacey Brown
Oh, Lacey, you and your colors. It's like Tammy Faye Baker and Las Vegas had a baby girl. She took Kara's advice as literally as she possibly could, and she sang her cute little alt-pop ditty. Randy and Kara are infuriating me with their "do something with the song" garbage. She sang a nice song and didn't suck. That's all she really needs to do at this point. She doesn't want to be that poor guy whose best performance is probably going to be his "Straight Up" cover he did in Hollywood week.
Odds of Going Home: 9 to 1


Katie Stevens
I'm a little concerned that Katie and the others are falling into the classic trap of confusing her desire to please the judges with the need to wow America. The judges give you advice to help you be impressive, but basing your entire performance on their 30 seconds of criticism will suck the life out of your songs. Katie's definitely ensnared in that. The other trap: taking a cool, smooth song like "Put Your Records On," and thinking you can snooze your way through it. Corinne Bailey Rae flirts and teases her way through that song. Katie just sort of yawned. And NOOOOO! They're telling her to sing a song by someone her age just so they can tell her she's being a copycat next week. DON'T DO IT!!!!
Odds of Going Home: 7 to 1


Didi Benami
Oh, good, another soul song. "Lean on Me." And Didi changed the melody a bit, just like we all do in the shower. Her voice sounded pretty good, but her dancing-ish kind of thing felt like she was being jostled around by invisible cattle. Why cattle? I'm just trying to distract from the vicious critique from Kara. She probably said "that was not good" four times in 15 seconds, which is pretty rough. It was nowhere near as bad as what the judges are saying, but they seem to think this contest is half over. Guess what, judges 4: no one emerges as an artist in week 2.
Odds of Going Home: 5 to 1


Michelle Delamor
Girl's doing Creed, which frees her from any copycat, playing-it-safe accusations. It also precludes me from calling it awesome. Without a commercialized Eddie Vedder impression, "With Arms Wide Open" just doesn't sound like a good song. The person having the worst night: Randy. He keeps saying "do something with it," when he means, "Sing better." Michelle, take my advice: Sing better. Funniest moment: Michelle's fans don't even buy Kara's praise of the song.
Odds of Going Home: No. As bad as that was, people will remember how she looked more than how she sounded.


Lilly Scott
Sam Cooke might be the most generous musician of all time. His songs are more prone to reinvention than Madonna. You can't go wrong with Sam, because it always sounds new. Lilly did a fantastic job, especially at the outset. The beginning was so good I didn't even mind when the ending unceremoniously unraveled. But yeah, Lilly did her thing. She's letting people know who she is, and that confidence will take her a long way.
Odds of Going Home: Given the certainty of her continuation on the show, I want to take this opportunity to point out how strange it is that there's such a thing as even odds. Odds are usually odd, except when they're even. But I digress . . . 


Katelyn Epperly
The Scientist? By Coldplay? Okay, Mall Chick, let's hear it. Hmm. There's really no excuse for missing your opening note when you're sitting at the piano, except for that little fact that millions of people are watching. The big mistake Katelyn made with this was not stripping away the alternative feel. If she changed it up into a bit more of a pop song, it would have been outstanding. As it was, it was plodding and mournful, but not enough to be her funeral march. Kara is impressing me with how annoying she is.
Odds of Going Home: She's just too pretty not to be buried in votes.


Paige Miles
I was thoroughly disappointed in Paige last week, so if she underwhelms this week I'm sticking the fraud label on her. She picked Kelly Clarkson, which is a good move; she has good songs that aren't death-defying. But man, it wasn't great. I did see that her voice is strong, but her energy lacks a bit. And when she goes high? Yikes. I won't say she's going home this time, but I don't see how she can win big on this show.
Odds of Going Home: Thread


Siobhan Magnus
Siobhan having a mohawk is the least surprising piece of news I've heard since Mark McGwire admitted to using steroids. Her choice of Aretha's "Think" was more of a stunner. It wasn't perfect. Aretha has hats that could have done a better job. But still, it was a showcase. I don't ever want to hear that song again, but I still think she deserves enough votes to sail through. The review is spraying awkward all over the stage, and it's delicious.
Odds of Going Home: America, please don't let that happen. Please. Siobhan promises great television for months. Don't let me down. 


Who's Going Home: I'm disagreeing with my own odds, Haeley Vaughn and Lacey Brown are going home.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Idol Eyes: Top 20, the Gir...no, wait

Crystal Bowersox is hospitalized. Ellen is hilarious. Kara is wearing a bathrobe and a brass chandelier chain. This . . . is American Idol.

Michael Lynche
This dude is his own episode of Glee. He's going to take on James Brown, which I think is a great move if it works. Let's listen . . . it's okay. He's playing it really mild, especially for a song punctuated with long instrumental interludes. You really have to tear through that with a voice like thunder, not pad it with velvet. We got the ginormous Velveteen Rabbit. Randy loved it. I just kind of liked it.
Odds of Leaving: 5 to 1


John Park
I like "Gravity." I'm not sure he's got the soul to deliver it. He does, however, have a wardrobe Simon can be proud of. This is really a duplicate of the first performance of the night but to lesser effect. He sang it so nice and melodious, but that song should rip a little. Maybe the problem with it is that the song is really a song John Mayer sings to himself, and Park was trying to sing it to . . . someone, I don't know.
Odds of Leaving: 3 to 1


Casey James
Casey bought and restored his own house? And he can play guitar well? Unless the secret inside the box is Gwyneth Paltrow's head, I don't see how this guy doesn't cruise to the top 5. I'll just say this: I think my wife is more jealous of how I feel about Casey than she's ever been about a female. Pretty funny watching Kara give him her Charlie's-flight-review-of-Maverick routine. She sees real genius in his performance, but she can't show that in there or everyone in that room will know that she's fallen for him. But I'm sure her critique was right on in her opinion.
Odds of Leaving: No no.


Alex Lambert
This kid is "Aw Shucks" personified. And he's the third of the first four to go really soulful . . . but he's the very first to absolutely nail it. He mulletized John Legend to perfection. Oh, man, this is the first performance of the season that I've actually been excited about. His voice sounds unique and strong and smooth. Very cool. Standing, snarkless ovation.
Odds of Leaving: Holy crap, I hope not.


A brief intermission here. I miss Paula. She'd be crying and standing and rambling.

Todrick Hall
Todrick's asking the Turneresque question about what love has to do with it, and the answer is . . . not a whole lot. I'm not in love with a performance that takes an extremely catchy song and turns it into a greased pig. I just now listened to this guy sing, and I can't even remember how it sounded.
Odds of Leaving: 5 to 2


Jermaine Sellers
Wow, who proclaimed this soul week? And who scalped Bobby Brown and put his hair on Jermaine? And what psycho, bow-tie-wearing fool coached Jermaine to butcher the arrangement of "What's Going On?" I'll tell you what's going on, Jermaine, you sound like you're auditioning to be the crown prince of elevator music. I'm actually too bored to yawn.
Odds of Leaving: Really, really good


Andrew Garcia
Who knew Andy Garcia was a breakdancer? Anyway, he's singing a James Morrison song, and I have no idea how it normally sounds, so the changes mean nothing to me. But I do like how it sounds. Although he lost the energy for a little while, he still seems to have a good sense of what he's doing up there. He's a great singer, but . . . I don't know. I was a bit bored by the end of it. Kara's advice is no advice, which is massively annoying. Dude just needs to pick a good song and sing it well. Not rocket science.
Odds of Leaving: 15 to 1


Aaron Kelly
Will this show never end? Aaron's growing a facial hair. He's singing rather well about his girl, but I don't believe for a second that he has a girl or that he's ever so much as faced a temptation. The performance is a waste because it's nothing. He's just singing. And who knew the Vienna Boys Choir kid would have trouble with the falsetto?
Odds of Leaving: 8 to 1 and in bed by 9


Tim Urban
Tim's singing a song that I like so much, I hesitate to even listen to him sing it. But he's not bombing. I just can't imagine this guy making it very much farther. I also can't get over how much he resembles Rod Blagojevich if he were a Brady. I think that might be the best he can do. The problem is, it's not a very challenging song to begin with, and he dialed it back from the original.
Odds of Leaving: I don't know. Do people think he's cute? Is he the Vote for the Worst guy?


Lee Dewyze
I don't really want to hear a guy sing about an "angel" who makes him want to cheat on his wife. That doesn't make me want to vote for him. It makes me want to punch him in the face. He sang well. He needs a belt. Whatever.
Odds of Leaving: Meh.


Okay. I think John and Jermaine are going home.