Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Auditions: Miami

We're 17 minutes into the show and I don't have a thing to write. Miami sucks. I haven't seen one person who blew me away.

Why do I even bother watching the show at this stage? Someone please call Fox and have them jump straight to Hollywood.

The best two singers so far have been Corliss and Brittany. They're going to have an image problem, but they have good voices in the model of Mandisa, Frenchie and K-Lo. I don't see them having a problem coping with the stress of Hollywood and if they both make it to the singing rounds, they could prove to be quite a force.

One thing that strikes me about the show this year is that there seem to be more girls advancing than guys. This might just be the editing, but it seems that if 2/3 of the people in Hollywood are girls, 2/3 of the top 24 should be girls. To have the forced gender equity in the top 24 means that there will be one or two girls who get cut by inferior guys.

I liked the Wild Card round format they had during the first two seasons and I hope they'll bring it back again this year as one of their overhauls to the show.

Can someone please take "I Can't Make You Love Me" out of the Idol songbook, too?

Syesha is tonight's recipient of the million votes. She seems like a nice girl and she's pretty. I see as having an oversing potential of about 11. I don't think she'll make it out of Hollywood.

Everyone else tonight has sucked. I'm going to call Fox/19E and ask for the last hour of my life back. I'm so despondent about the show tonight I can't even finish the blog.

Or maybe I've had too much sushi this week.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Auditions: Omaha

I'm out of town for the next few weeks so I'll be blogging without the benefit of my trusty DVR (what did I do without it?).

What the hell is Idol doing in Omaha? I know they're trying to be a little diverse in their city selections, but Omaha seems like it's a step up from BFE. If you're from Omaha, please let me know what there is to do there so I don't bash your city for no reason.

While I'm waiting out the bad auditions, I'd like to discuss Tom Brady's "injury." I think the attention paid to Tom's ankle is hi-frickin'-larious. Mrs. High Lord and I believe the ankle wrap is something he and Bill Belichick cooked up in the locker room one day as a way to mess with the media and the Giants.

Since they don't have to file an official injury report until this week, they could spend all last week having Tom limp around feigning all sorts of ailments and there's nothing the league can do about it. I half expected him to appear one day with his arm in a sling or wearing an eyepatch just to see what ESPN and everyone else would say.

Have I mentioned that I'm out of town for the next three weeks? Here in Louisville we're under a severe thunderstorm warning and it's messing with the satellite signal. I have a feeling I'm going to miss half this show.

Speaking of Louisville, how do you pronounce the capitol of Kentucky? Is it loo-EE-ville? LOO-iss-ville? LOO-vul? (answer at the end of this column)

And judging from the first audition (Chris), it doesn't look like Omaha has a lot to offer.

The next guy isn't much better. He's shouting Keith Whitley instead of singing. Plus, he can't remember the lyrics. I can't believe they put him through. I'd have slammed the door on him.

The goth girl/professional wrestler scares the dickens out of me. Her voice is actually pretty good. If she tried just a little bit and changed her image a lot, I could see her doing pretty well.

Estranged daughter Angelica just got handed about a million votes. They're going to put her through despite the fact that she will be prone to oversinging.

Everyone else I've seen tonight has been either outright bad or just a big meh. If these are the best Idol can do this year, it doesn't look like this year will be much better than last. I hope some of those who didn't get shown so far will account for themselves well in Hollywood and in the singing rounds.

By the way, the correct answer is "Frankfort".

High Lord. Out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Auditions: Charleston (SC)

I don't know how many more audition shows I can tolerate. I'm almost to the point where I'm going to skip the opening shows and wait until the Hollywood rounds before tuning in. The self-deluded idiots are really beginning to grate on me.

Isn't this a singing show? Why are they showing us so many bad singers (like opening up with 'fro boy)?

Things I learned this week:

  • Kelly Pickler was the only person in Albemarle, North Carolina who can sing, but everyone there has the stereotypical southern accent. Also, the Sunday lunch crowd tips like crap.

  • Emulating Clay Aiken doesn't work for most people. In fact, I don't think it's worked for anyone . . . except that guy they brought in for the finale two years ago and had Clay show up "unexpectedly".

  • Really scary people cruise and post on American Idol forums. They can't sing, either.

  • Michelle and Jeffrey's brother-sister thing is kind of creepy. Like West Virginia creepy. But they can sing. I wonder how good they will be individually, instead of as a duo. They're also two cases of type 2 diabetes just waiting to happen.

  • Dance team captains shouldn't try out for American Idol; a lot of people find them annoying. I find them annoying. Especially when they have an unfounded sense of entitlement and a vacant look in their eyes.

  • If your wife is 37 weeks pregnant, maybe you should schedule your American Idol audition so the birth won't cause you to lose your place in line.

  • When you try out for the show, it helps if you hawt and your father just died. London was good, but not great. I don't think she'll get much better as the competition goes on.

  • How many 1LTs do you know that look like Lindsey Goodman. Does anyone else think "Black Velvet" should be added to the list of songs that should be stricken from the Idol songbook. I'm surprised they spent as much time on her only to pass on her.

  • Aretha's got a big . . . voice. She's oversinging to the point where it's painful. I think if she had tried something other than Whitney, she might have made it. She needs to pick a different (and less ambitious) song and try out again next year.

  • Unlike Lieutenant Ilia last year, Oliver didn't skip the birth of his daughter so he gets a second shot. I'm also thinking that "Get Here" should be left out of the songbook, too. He should have followed American Idol Cardinal Rule #2: Just sing the song; don't try too hard, don't try any runs and any falsetto is too much falsetto."

After Oliver, my DVR quit recording, so that was it for me this week. I was underwhelmed by Charleston. As of right now, no one has stood out. I hope that an elite tier emerges in Hollywood.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Auditions: San Diego

I love San Diego. It's a beautiful city that's 72ºF all year along. They also have the friendliest homeless people in the world.

The Paris Hilton lookalike just got through singing and she was aiiiiight. They're going to drop her in the first round of cuts in Hollywood.

How 'bout them Patriots! It made me very happy to see the Chargers get beat. And they're still whining (see Hardwick, Nick). It was good to see that even when Tom Brady has a subpar game that they still find a way to win. Now all they have to do is win one more to get that undefeated season.

Like pretty much everyone else in America, I was shocked--shocked!--when the Giants knocked off the Packers. Seriously did anyone else see this coming?

I've got two thoughts on this one:
  1. How is it the Brett Favre still gets a free pass from everyone? He seems like a nice guy and he is going to own all of the meaningful quarterback records until Peyton Manning breaks them, but why are people still making excuses for this guy? When he has a good game (which is often), everyone talks about how great he is. When he has a bad game (which is far more frequent than is good for Green Bay), it's because he's the gunslinger, or he's just Brett being Brett.

    Why does no one on TV ever say something like, "Brett just killed his team by trying to force the ball in there"?

  2. I know it's trendy to kick Tiki Barber while he's down, but isn't it great to see the Giants doing well without him? After publicly criticising his coach last year and this year calling Eli's leadership skills "laughable", he's sitting in the booth while his guys are playing in the Big One.

    I don't know Tiki. I've never met the man. He's written children's books and seems very knowledgeable when he's on TV. But it seems to me that he was a bad teammate when he was in New York. Besides airing the team's laundry in the New York media, he seemed to have forgotten that he had a fumbling problem before Tom Coughlin arrived in town.

    Is there addition by subtraction going on in New York right now? Tiki is gone. So is arrogant ball hog Jeremy Shockey. If I were Tom Coughlin, I think I'd cut Shockey and ride that Boss kid all next year and send Tiki an autographed Ahmad Bradshaw jersey. Now if they can only do something about Amani Toomer's sudden case of the drops.

In American Idol news, they just put through the hunky Aussie guy and now Valerie Reyes is singing. She's broken cardinal American Idol rule #1: "Thou shalt not sing Whitney, Mariah or Celine unless thou art actually Whitney, Mariah or Celine." I'd have put her through because she has big boobs. In fact, I didn't even hear her singing. Seriously, not a word. But the glass of water on my table now has a crack in it.

This audition show isn't as bad as I expected it to be. Fox handed the single dad a million and a half votes a few minutes ago, but at least he can sing. How many more of these audition shows do we have left? So aside from him, who are the early favourites?

I remember disabled daughter girl, the former meth addict and the cagefighter. Everyone else is singing for scraps right now. I'll bet they're all in the Top 24.

The girl with the unsettling obsession with Simon actually has a pretty good voice. I think she will be prone to lots of oversinging, but she could go far in this competition.

I wonder if there's a line in Vegas as to whether Renaldo Lopez ("You Are My Brother") is singing at the finale this season. I also wonder if there's a line as to whether that's the "victory"/kiss-of-death song for this year, too.

Why don't people shut up when the judges tell them to stop? I know some people are in denial and some just want to be on TV. But if you're trying out for American Idol and the judges start laughing or they tell you to stop, it means you're not very good.

Teenager David Archuleta is on and if they put him through, he'll get lots of tween votes and his "vocal paralysis" story will buy him a few million votes. If he makes the Top 24, the show will break him. Kids, and that's people under the age of 18, should not be on this show.

Last to go is some drama left over from season 5. After being DQ'd (and that's not Dairy Queen), Carly is back. She's also aiiiight. I'll bet they put her through, even if she needs to just sing the song. Have I mentioned how I hate it when vocalists try too many runs? Will her overly-tattooed hubby be a liability?

Where are we tomorrow?

High Lord. Out.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

AFC Championship

Since my Jaguars have been eliminated from the playoffs, I am officially on the New England bandwagon. I admit to being a fairweather johnson on this. I have an uncle and cousins who live in Boston, but I am not otherwise a Boston sports person.

I can claim a couple of other connections to the Patriots this year; both Randy Moss and Troy Brown are fellow alums of Marshall (although I'm not sure if both are graduates or just went there). However, mostly I'm on the New England bandwagon because I want to see them run the table.

Part of that is because it's fun to watch history in the making. Part of it is that I enjoy watching their dominance of the game. And a part of it is that if the Pats go 19-0, hopefully that means I won't ever have to hear about the '72 Dolphins again.

Another reason why I'm rooting for New England this week is that I can't stand Philip Rivers. I don't know the man. I've never met him. He could be a good guy. He may be the greatest human being on the face of the planet. But he comes off as a jerk.

Watching him taunt the Jay Cutler and the Broncos a few weeks back made me wish Mike Shanahan would order a hit on Rivers. His "bye-bye" wave was completely classless.

I also think the Chargers are generally a whiney team, and that's another reason why I want them to lose. After being beaten in the Divisional round last year, LaDanian Tomlinson called the Patriots classless for doing Shawne Merriman's "lights out" dance.

On one level, he's right. Doing Shawne Merriman's "lights out" dance is classless. It's classless when the Patriots do it. It's classless when Shawne Merriman does it. He was pissed off the Patriots were performing a classless mockery of a classless self-glorifying dance his own teammate does when he should get a high-five from the guy next to him and then go back to the huddle.

Hey, LaDanian: If you don't want New England doing his dance in your stadium, stop them. Otherwise shut up.

This year, after the Patriots were busted filming the Jets's defensive signals, Tomlinson and others called them "cheaters". Yes, they broke the rules. But wait a second, LT, wasn't your guy Shawne Merriman suspended for four games after testing positive for steroids?

(The correct answer is "yes".)

Doesn't that make him a cheater?

(The correct answer is "yes".)

And while we're talking about these two incidents, which gave the greater competitive advantage? Was it filming a team's defensive signals--which smart teams change after every game--or using a performance enhancing drug?

(The correct answer is "using a performance enhancing drug".)

It seems to me that the Chargers have bought into the whole "on paper we're the most talented team around" mindset and they come off as having a sense of entitlement. I hate that. They fired their coach after going 14-2. They complain and make excuses when they lose. Man up, boys. If you get beat, it was because the other team prepared better and outplayed you. It's not because you were cheated.

I think the NFL really wants New England in the Super Bowl. I wonder if they're going to try and give them the game the way they tried to give Indianapolis last week's game against San Diego. To have the "will they go perfect?" storyline going for another two weeks practically guarantees big ratings for the Super Bowl on 3 February.

It doesn't matter who goes from the NFC now that Dallas is out. Both Green Bay (Brett Favre) and the Giants (big market) bring compelling stories to the table, so both would be good for the league (and selling TV time). But San Diego being in the big game would be a nightmare for the league.

The game a lot of people want to see is New England-Green Bay. You get the dominant team of the decade against the NFL's modern age Golden Boy. Of course, wouldn't it be great if Eli Manning went to the Big Game (and won!)?

I'm going to use my mojo to spur the Patriots to victory now. Not that they really need my help; they've already go the most successful colour scheme in the history of the world going for them.

High Lord. Out.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Auditions: Dallas

I'm watching the show tonight thinking that they have really lightened up from last year. Remember the whole, "It's the other thing" that got really old, really fast?

They've had their share of badness, but it seems they are really trying to be a little more positive this year, as Nigel has said. WARNING: Do not click on the link unless you want to see the slave girl Leia guy.

It always amazes me that they don't show more of the people who are going to make it because when they start showing these audition shows, they already know pretty much who is doing well in Hollywood and who sucks. So why not show everyone who made the Top 24 so the playing field is level for everyone who is going to be singing for votes.

I'm going to get on my "face time" soapbox again. I'm not against face time, I'm against Fox/19E's obvious favouritism. I hate it when people get screwed in rounds of 24 because they weren't shown on TV (Melinda Lira, anyone?) in favour of people who were shown over and over and over (Kellie Pickler).

Here's an idea: Instead of showing an hour of filler during the results shows, why not cut out some of the product placement and blather from Seacrest and spend two minutes with each of the singers and their families? Imagine how much more enjoyable the show would be if we got to know the singers instead of Seacrest and Cowell!

If I see anyone else who is good, I'll update the blog tonight.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Auditions: Philadelphia

Welcome back to the blog: American Idol edition!

After last year, it's taken me a little while to get psyched up for the show. Maybe it was because I think the show is dangerously close to jumping the shark (if it hasn't already). Maybe it's because of the six American Idols, only two can claim any sort of long-term success (Kelly, Carrie), while the also-rans are cleaning up; see Hudson, Jennifer and Daughtry, Chris. The other four Idols have either fallen flat (Fantasia, Jordin) or fallen off the face of the earth (Rueben, Taylor).

Another problem I have with the show is that it's gotten away from the singing. The singers need to sing. Not sit around for the vapid (and random) pre-/post-song interview. Not see washed-up has-beens hoc their latest project. Not make gobs and gobs of dough off of product placement.

Sing.

That's all I ask.

I also really dislike the audition rounds. I know during the first few years they were the big draw.

After all, we all know people who are delusional enough to think they can sing. And there are the kids who are the best singer in their high school, but once they get into a big pond, they're suddenly not so good.

But then around season 3 or 4, something happened. The super-awful singers became self-aware.

Instead of being oblivious to their badness, bad singers started going on the show just to get on TV. It's gotten to the point that only the really good and the really bad singers are put through to the singing rounds.

I'd rather just see the really good singers, not the craptastic ones.

Just sing.

No more of the Simon-Ryan "you're-gay-not-you're-gay" banter.

Singing. Show me singing.

I'm not going to live-blog the audition shows, but if anyone jumps out at me, I'll make a note.

I hope you'll stop by throughout the season and share your thoughts on the show with me and my six readers.

High Lord. Out.

UPDATE:

Assuming she gets through the Hollywood rounds, Fox just handed Angela Martin (disabled daughter girl) three million automatic voters per week.

I'm loving my new DVR. I started watching American Idol at about 8:20 and I'm flipping through the commercials, product placement and the singers who rack up more than about 4 on the Meter-O-Suckitude. I'm going to be able to watch a show in about 8 minutes now. I'll just turn on the results shows forty-two minutes in, forward through the crap and still see the results live.

Now a hawt girl is on. She's blond and a cagefighter. The cameras followed her home where she reveals she had to sell a horse to audition. That's two million votes. I'm not overly impressed. She's Carrie Underwood Light. I'm sure she's the best singer in her church choir and around here that means three letters: TCO.

The guy dressed as slave-girl Leia is the reason why I hate the audition shows. He only went on the show to get on TV. He had no reason to take up someone else's audition spot. It's too bad Fox enables these yokels. I know they think we (the public) want to see this stuff, but I hate it.

Not much else stood out for me. I'm seriously debating on whether I want to watch the rest of the auditions.

I'm out. Again.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Playoffs and getting ready for American Idol

I'm watching my Jaguars play the undefeated(*) Patriots and despite the fact that they drove down the field on their opening drive, I'm not optimistic. New England is a fantastic team and everything will have to go right for my guys if they want to win. The fumble they just gave up won't help.

In the modern era, the home teams are something like 80% in the divisional round. Of all the road teams this weekend, I think the only one who has a better than 50-50 shot is New York tomorrow. I hate to say it, but my Jaguars will have to play a perfect game in order to win.

The Pats don't make too many mistakes, they execute very well, and they can force other teams to implode. I'm not saying the Jags won't win, but I don't see their chances as being better than one in five.

Today on Fox, there were lots of previews for the upcoming season of American Idol. I know it's asking a lot, and I know that many people tune in just for the auditions, but please, please, please!, don't show all of the schmoes who just want to be on TV.

We know that Fox intentionally puts through the bad singers just so Simon can mock them in the auditions, but if this is a singing competition (as the Brit keeps telling us), then show (good) singing.

And speaking of singing, I hope they actually let the singers sing. Not for 90 seconds a pop. But sing a whole song. Not a verse and a chorus. A whole song. Fox needs to cut back on the product placement, the inane banter between the judges and let people sing. This has been driving me crazy for a couple of years now.

This is the one thing Rock Star does so much better than American Idol and I hope (beyond hope because Fox will never give up the money they're making) it will change. Other than that, I'm looking forward to this season.

I may or may not live blog the auditions, so check back. I'll definitely be around once the singing-for-votes stages come around.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year. I'm still writing the wrong date on checks.

High Lord. Out.

UPDATE:

There are three minutes left in the Pats/Jags game and my guys just came up short. Two turnovers against the undefeated Patriots was deadly.

Having said that, I'm happy they put on a good show. I think Jacksonville has a lot to be proud of this season. They finished 11-5 in the regular season (it should have been 12-2, but they didn't even bother with the season finale). The nucleus of this team will be around for a few more years, so I'm hoping this is a portent of things to come.

Even though my guys are going to lose tonight, I'm happy that New England is still undefeated. We're seeing something that might not happen again for another 35 years and it's fun to see. Despite all of the bitching and moaning about "spygate" and running up the score, the fact of the matter is that as of right now, New England is the best team of the modern era.

Let's just hope they can stave off the winner of the Colts/Chargers tomorrow and beat the "challenger" from the NFC.