Monday, March 31, 2008

Who will be the next to go?

After last week's ouster of the weakest guy and weakest girl celeb (notice that I didn't say the two weakest dancers), the clock is ticking for Steve and Adam. At this point, it's just a matter of time until they get sent packing. Following them will be some combination of Cristián, Marissa, Marlee and Shannon. Then it's all up in the air.

I'm still bummed that Drew isn't on this year and we are stuck marveling at the sheer banality of Samantha Harris. The only way I will be happy with her on the show is if she jumps up and down until she spills out of her dress.

Before the show starts, I'd like to make my 100% Guarantee of the Week:

That black woman with the big boobs will wear something sparkley on her head. That's right: You heard it here first.

Tonight's dances are the tango and the jive. I like the first one; I could do without the second one. I'm interested to see which couples get which dances and I wonder if the process is random.

I'm not sure I dislike the double-elimination. It does give the dancers two chances to make that first impression. However, I'm not crazy about the forced gender equity that's also killing American Idol. If they just got rid of the two weakest dancers, that make it so much better.

Based on what Marissa is wearing, I'll be she's performing something from "Grease". What the hell happened to Julienne's hair. Speaking of hair, the first guy dropped out of our office "hair" pool. I hear that the next office gimmick is a facial hair pool; I won't be entering that one.

First up are Marlee and Fabian. I think her scores have been artificially inflated. She's better than some of the others, but not as good as the judges's scores might indicate. She gets the jive tonight and it's a good thing she can't hear the singing that goes along with the music. She's okay, but her chemistry with Fabian isn't like it has been with some of the others. I do like that Fabian doesn't try to upstage his partner as some of the others (Louis, Tony) tend to do.
The Judges's Scores: Lucky 7s
The High Lord's Score: 7

And, yes, I'm right about the girl with that thing on her head.

I would have paid real money to see Steve dance the tango with Jonathan instead of Anna. He's kind of stiff, but that could be his "character". I like Sergeant Mahoney, but not as a dancer. After peaking with Jerry, Anna has gotten some really crappy partners (Albert and Steve). He's a likeable guy and while he was better than we've seen him, he's still nothing to write home about. He's definite bottom 3 material.
The Judges's Scores: More Lucky 7s
The High Lord's Score:

Going in the three-hole are Cristián and Cheryl. She's one of my favourite dancers, although I don't know that I'd want to be her partner; she seems to be a harsh taskmistress who would probably work me into a heart attack. Freddie Mercury is rolling over in his grave at this rendition of "Don't Stop Me Now." Their dance is manic and high-energy. They miss a couple of marks and Cristián whacks a stage light with their finishing move, but other than that I liked it.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-9
The High Lord's Score:

Mario and Karina like to dance in airports. I may not pay attention to the dance; Karina's outfit has me hypnotised. I'm going to start a rumour that they're romantically involved. This is the worst rendition of "Roxanne" I have ever heard. I think Gordon, Andy and Stewart just got on a plane and are on their way to beat someone senseless. The judges pan them, but I'm going to blame the music (which was absolutely horrid).
The Judges's Scores: 7-6-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

Tonight is a night of mediocrity. And supremely crappy music. Harold Wheeler should be ashamed of himself.

Next up are Shannon and her 11 year-old partner. She beats the crap out of Derek and she also has something shiney on her head. I don't know whether I should be watching her legs or the frills bouncing around. Shannon also misses a couple of marks, but is otherwise pretty good. Like Cristián before her, the dance is very energetic without being annoying like Marissa. Her stock is rising on this show.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score:

One thing I like about this show is that the banter between Tom and the judges is neither antagonistic nor vain. The interaction between Seacrest and Simon sometimes seems force and sometimes is just downright annoying. Is the show about the singers/dancers or the judges and the host? One show has it right and one show doesn't get it. You pick which one is which.

The worst dancer of the competition (even worse than Penn and Monica) is Adam who knows that his sole and explicit purpose is to keep The Future Mrs. High Lord from three-peating. She looks like Ashly did with Master P a few seasons ago; she dances all around him to unsuccessfully cover for him. The difference is that Adam is actually trying. Adam's feet are heavy (as usual), but deep down I don't think he wants to get canned. His joke about the gay guy in wardrobe is pretty funny. And he's right about Julienne's clothes; the producers obviously don't want her to win again because if they did, she'd be wearing a g-string, two large sequins and a smile.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-7
The High Lord's Score: 6

Lots of 7s tonight. The voters are really going to need to come through for some of these stars. Someone give Samantha something to drink while she's interviewing Adam; if she's not going to "accidentally" spill out of her top, I want to see her snarf all over someone.

Big Hair and Killer Choreographer draw the perfect dance: the jive. "Girlfriend" isn't from Grease, but I'm not sure it's much better. If the Cape Hatteras lighthouse ever goes out, all they'll need to do is shine a LED flash light off Marissa's teeth. She seems to be moving at about 80% speed. The outfit only makes her look tubby. Len says she looks "careful" which is right; her first dance was absolutely manic and this one was slow. Is it her or is Tony killing her? I'm going to blame Tony.
The Judges's Scores: 6-7-6
The High Lord's Score: 7

With three dancers left, Priscilla and Louis take the floor for the tango. Unlike Tony, Louis doesn't kill their chances for this week with tricks and stunts. They just do the dance (always good advice). It was well executed and intentionally stiff. On a night of "mehs", they have been the best so far. They're going to get 9s.
The Judges's Scores: 8-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 8

Going in the 9-spot are Jason and Mrs. Rock-Hard Abs. He gets the jive, which will be hard on him because it's a dance that's not kind to tall people. Edyta's outfit is obviously meant to draw attention away from his deficiencies (not a complaint; I'm just sayin'). The problem for Jason is that the jive accentuates leg movements and if you have long legs, you have to move them faster to stay up with the beat because he's got to move them further than a shorter guy would have to. It wasn't awful, but he got screwed by the draw this week.
The Judges's Scores: 8-7-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

Where the hell did Jeff Probst come from? Doesn't he work for CBS?

In the Pimp Spot are Kristi and Mark. Kristi is trying to focus the Dark Side (anger and aggression). If I ever hear another Duran Duran song on DWTS it will be too soon. It's not as bad as "Hungry Like the Wolf" a couple of years ago, but it's bad. Their tango is pretty good. Mark makes a lot of goofy faces. Kristi's never seemed to move. Her problem is that she may have peaked too early. Technically, she is the best of the celebs. But remember, that was Diana DeGarmo back in AI3 and she came off as robotic. At this point, she is the first choice to either win or be the week 6 unexpected elimination.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 8

Tonight several of the celebs looked bad through no fault of their own. Jason got screwed by the dance selection, Marissa got screwed by her partner's choreography and Mario got screwed by the song.

The weakest dancers left are Steven and Adam. Marissa could also be in danger because she doesn't have a large and obvious fan base and the judges were unnecessarily hard on her. My pick to go home is Adam, but it could be any of the three of them.

Shannon was the big winner tonight because she's improving steadily. She hasn't peaked yet. Expectations are low enough that it can seem like she's getting remarkably better by only improving a little bit and she's also just talented enough to not be put in the lowest tier of dancers.

Tomorrow night, Idol is only an hour long so I'll be able to live-blog both shows, although I might DVR both so I can FF through the filler.

High Lord. Out.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What's Up With the Dead Man's Spot

I think I'm going to trademark the Dead Man's Spot. This year, it has especially deadly and I don't think that's going to abate anytime soon.

According to DialIdol, David C., Archuleta and Carly are safe while the rest of them are statistically in danger. They predict a bottom 3 of Ramiele, Jason and Chikezie with the guy with one name being eliminated.

We'll see if they're right (and I have no reason to think they won't).

As with the other results shows this year, we're on for a full hour this week. Blech. Why aren't these only six minutes long? Just as a warning, I'm going to mute the TV during the "call in" time so a bunch of my brain cells don't die.

On the plus side, we get to see a post-Celeb Fit Club Kimberley Locke.

But first we're treated to the ever-craptabulous group sing. I don't think any Idol crew has ever had less stage chemistry than this group of singers. If they're trying to sell tickets to the summer tour, this is not a good way to start.

They pay some bills and then it's time to shill for iTunes. They even manage to work in a six minute segment that is nothing but product placement.

During the montage, I had a minor panacea. During the recaps, the best performances are shown either first or last. The bad ones are smack dab in the middle. Guess who was in the middle this week? Ramiele and Archuleta. Does anyone but me think that Idol has started giving him the Constantine treatment? Has the luster worn off? Or has the Idol machine realised that he peaked in Hollywood?

First up to face his fate is O1NS. If he's sent to the sofas, he's safe. If it's the stools, he's in danger. I'm going with the stools . . . and I'm right.

AHG is next. Did she cut some of her hair off? She could lose about eight inches and no one would notice. She has started using conditioner. Brooke is safe.

After getting a scare last week, TIG looked a little nervous last night, but I think a bottom 3 scare is good for everyone now and then. Remember that Rueben and Blake both had visits to the seal. And Carly's safe. Say it together: TCO!

Now it's time for the obligatory Ford commercial. And they go all out with some CGI effects. I want those 30 seconds of my life back.

Next up is SSKIM. He'll be safe despite a crappy performance. And he still can't stop giggling. Seacrest doesn't let him talk much. He's safe.

Word Nerd. Pimp Spot = Safe.

CBV was good last night and she's in the bottom 3. I'm 2 for 2 calling the bottom 3 so far.

Next up is ATCO. He's got TCO in his nickname. Of course he's going to be safe.

That leaves Kristy, Ramiele and Jason as the possible candidates for the third stool. We also find out that next week's mentor/publicity stunt is Dolly Parton.

OMG! Was that FRC? It's been three years and he still can't stop eye-boinking the camera!!!

Now it's time for the calls from "viewers". I just hit mute on the TV. The only way I'll listen to these is if I get to ask Nigel why the hell the kids only get to sing for 90 seconds when Simon and Paula can ramble on and on and on and on. If this is going to be a singing show, there needs to be singing!

Now it's time for season 2's second runner-up, Kimberley Locke. Can you believe Clay used to be her gay boyfriend? After singing a record deal and a brief stint on another reality show, we find out that she's now a restaurateur. She's looking very hawt (and she was pretty hot before).

All the people on the stage need to be taking notes. I wonder if this will be available for download on iTunes. How did she lose to Rueben? I can see her losing to Clay, but not Big 2-0-5. If things don't work out between me and Mrs. High Lord, Julienne or Kym, K-Lo is next on my list. The next time I go to New York, I'm going to eat at her place. Interpret that any way you want. You'll notice that the mosh pit is silent and not moving. This is how it should be every week. Of course, everyone currently in the mosh pit was eight years old when she was on the show.

I'm just happy she didn't sing "Over the Rainbow". Again.

Have I mentioned how ab-fab K-Lo is?

So who's still in danger of the third spot? Oh, that's right: Kristy Lee, Jason and Ramiele. We're about to find out, but not before some self-congratulations on the part of IGB.

Smurfette comes out first. That usually means she's going to be safe. Unless they also bring out Kristy Lee and Jason, which Seacrest doesn't. And she's safe. She's temporarily broken the curse of the Dead Man's Spot.

The remaining two singers are brought out. ISMH is unexpectedly declared safe, meaning WDB is in the bottom 3.

I'm surprised that Ramiele didn't get sent packing, but it looks like she's going to get a short reprieve. I'm switching my pick to Chikezie. I know, it's kind of late, but he's the weakest of the three on stage.

Jen the Gelfling is sent to the couch leaving Chikezie and Syesha as the possible bootees.

After paying some bills, we're going to find out who will be singing their last notes until the finals results show. Is DialIdol going to be right-on tonight?

There is some false drama and then Syesha is green-lit. At least for another week.

So long, Chikezie. That leaves everyone on the show with two names. I'm going to miss the orange suit. Maybe it will re-appear on the tour. He was living on borrowed time, and he knows it. I had him picked to be the first person eliminated form the top 12 and he made the tour. And he almost gets through his whole song before the credits start to roll.

Let this be a warning: Don't give in to the AFE. Power-ballads will only get you so far. Sing!

Or you will be sitting at home watching the rest of the season while your brackets implode. Like me.

Next week: 9 become ocho.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

First Dancing Results: No filler

If you're here for the Idol recap, click here.

Because the jerks over at Fox want to bleed their show into my Dancing With the Stars results show, I finished blogging Idol and now I'm watching DWTS on the DVR. I hate that there are 10 singers, 15 minutes of actual singing and Fox still has to make the show an hour and a half long.

Tonight they're eliminating two couples. Tom promises that the first of the eliminations will take place in a few minutes. Why is there a recap montage if they had an hour-long recap show from 8:00 to 9:00 before this?

Unlike Idol, which makes us listen to the worst of the performances on their results show, DWTS has an encore of the best dance, Jason and Edyta's mambo. I didn't like it the first time around, so thank God for fast forward.

We get a recap and raking of the guys that only highlights the danger for Penn and Kym, especially since Steve and Anna are the first couple declared safe. I'm going to be seriously ticked off if Kym gets eliminated first.

Who the hell are the Jonas Brothers and why are they massacring a-ha? (more FF)

The next couple declared safe is Jason and Edyta. Then Mario and Karina are moved to safety. I'm betting it's Adam. Mrs. High Lord knows since she was flipping between DWTS and Idol.

Two of the repeat champions and super-hawt Aussie Kym are candidates for elimination. That's not right!!!!

Now I think Penn is the dead man walking. Maybe Mrs. High Lord will leave me and I can go comfort Kym in her moment of need. We get some false suspense and the eliminated couple is Penn and Kym.

Who didn't see this one coming? I'm bummed. I guess I'll have to settle for secretly oogling Julienne for the next few weeks (until she and Adam get whacked).

Without giving Penn and Kym a final dance, we get the recap on the girls and then Shannon and Derek are declared safe.

Cameron is back in his Superman outfit; I staunch the bleeding in my eyes by hitting fast-forward.

The dancers/acrobats are pretty good, though. The Jonas Brothers are still awful.

Marlee and Fabian are safe. So are Kristi and Mark. No surprises there, so we're obviously going to a break.

My DVR just caught up to the show, so I'm watching in real time now. I should have waited another five minutes before starting the show.

Priscilla, Marissa and Monica are left. I think everyone knows it's Monica who's going home.

Priscilla and Louis are safe (duh!). Samantha dutifully states the obvious. Where are the rules for the drinking game that goes along with this show?

Bruno babbles on for a while before Monica and Jonathan get whacked.

So it's Penn and Monica who are gone. They are clearly this season's worst dancers, although Adam is a close third. I'd look for him to be gone next week, unless VFTW gets behind him, too.

That's it for me tonight. Remember: If you're looking for tonight's Idol recap, just scroll down a little more and you're there.

The final dance song ("The First Cut is the Deepest") is funny as hell.

High Lord. Out.

The big tour preview

Tonight we're getting our first glimpse of the 10 folks who will make the Idol tour that is sure to be coming to a city near you. If you miss it, I'm sure there will be video of the tour performances available for your to download from iTunes.

The results of last week's poll are:



Thanks to all 30 people who voted. Please take a look at this week's new poll (to your right) and please vote.

Just as an FYI: I'm going to be making some more changes to the layout around here. I don't like how narrow the columns are in this layout, so I'm going to try a few things over the next couple of days.

I'll be live-blogging Idol tonight and I'll pick up the DWTS results once the singing on Idol ends.

Last week there was a nasty rumour that this week's theme was going to be the songs of Led Zepplin. Thankfully, I've heard other things were in the works. Namely, that the theme was songs from the year of the singer's birth.

Who's going to be thee first one out? Ramiele steps on to the stage first, but that may not be the singing order. I hope she was paying attention because the last four people to go in the Dead Man's Spot were in the bottom 3 and three of them were eliminated.

Ooooohhhh . . . not good news. Ramiele is going first. She needs a big night or she'll be in serious danger of getting canned. Lucky for her, as long as the catalog is bigger than three songs, this week's theme favours--rather than hinders--the singers. She's taking on a song Carrie has already claimed, not a good move (see my Idol Rule #3 to the right). I like her in the almost-hooker boots. Those shorts with the high waist make her look too hippy (as opposed to hippie). Vocally she was doing okay until she decided to oversing the chorus. I see bottom 3 in her future.

Bad news: They're pleading illness again this week. I don't doubt it; there's a head cold running around my office that's causing people to drop like flies. I think a woman on the other side of the room hacked up a lung this morning. Of course, that could be from the smoking, not the flu.

Next up is WDB/Jen the Gelfling and today's his birthday. It's also my stepdaughter's. I think my present for him this year will be some clippers. He's singing "Fragile" (or is it fra-gee-lay? . . . You know, it's French!) and the guitar shows back up. That's definitely a good move for him since he's not much of a performer without it. I like that he's gone deep into the Sting songbook. He's good, although I'm still not a fan. His pained facial expressions need to go; they just make him look constipated. Simon is right; Jason needs to take this "competition" a little more seriously. It's almost like he's just happy to be there. Does he really want to win or is he really goofy all the time?

Next up is Crying Baby Voice. I like her because she's not what has become the typical "diva" black girl: an overweight belter (ie-Frenchie, K-Lo, Lakisha, J-Hud, et al). I like her a lot, but the themes haven't done her any favours lately. Tonight, she shows that she's more LaToya than Mandisa. It's a good move for her. Although she, too, succumbs to oversinging, she doesn't try to overpower every part of the song. The only thing I didn't like was that she wasn't falling out of her top this week.

Batting clean-up is Season 7's O1NS. His song is "If Only For One Night" and he's going with the AFE. He's got a good voice and I'm happy he's not doing the two-style change-up again. I'm beginning to really hate the "mosh" pit. The swaying and screaming needs to stop. I wasn't blown away; now that he's on the tour, maybe he's sandbagging and trying not to peak too early.

Marking the halfway point of the show is AHG. She was born when I was in 5th grade. I see she washed her hair for the pre-singing piece (and that her mom is kind of hot; not as hot as Bo's mom, though). Her song is "Every Breath You Take" and she's at the piano, which is both familiar and a good move for her. Plus she brushed her hair straight (not that her hair affects her singing). I'm not a fan of this song, but Brooke does it well, if in her very safe style. My problem with her is that like Amanda, every week she sounds the same. Granted that while her voice is much more pleasant than Helmet Hair's, there has been little variation in her performances from week to week.

You know how every year they say, "This is the BEST season ever!"? The field is very deep, but there is no one who is light years better than everyone else. Plus, I don't think any of the remaining singers are truly awful. Remember at this point in past seasons Scott Savol, Carmen Rasmussen, Bucky Covington and John Stevens were still alive. That no one makes me cringe is a testament to how good this crop of singers is. Still, I'd like to see one or two people lay a smackdown on the rest of the field and seize the high ground from the others.

ATCO and his parents let us know that he really wants to win. He goes to the Queen catalog with a "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions" medley. I hope it's not a trainwreck. It kind of is. Very few people can do Freddie Mercury well . . . in fact, the only person I can think of is Freddie Mercury himself. I don't want to be a hater, but I thought he was bad. Way too much oversinging. I obviously heard a different performance than the judges did. Maybe it's because I listened to some Queen on the way home from work today.

The Lucky 7 tonight is TIG. Her mom looks kind of like Xena, Warrior Princess. Her song is "Total Eclipse of the Heart", which could be very good. I had hoped the Easter Bunny would have brought her some sleeves this year, but alas, that was not to be. She reminds me a lot of Diana from season 3, not in her singing style, but in the way that she has a superhuman stage presence and seems a little too polished for this show. To me, she was the best of the night, which can only mean that aiiiiight is the new great. And her husband is still scary as hell.

Next up is SSKIM and Seacrest makes a bad move by trying to get him to talk spontaneously. Can't he say three sentences without giggling? Damn, that's annoying. He's doing John Farnham's "You're the Voice". Mrs. High Lord raves about his singing ability, but I just don't see it. Yes, he's good, but I don't think he's all that and a side of fries. At least his over-singing at the end isn't as bad as some of the others tonight. Simon calls it a theme park performance and it definitely could have been featured on the Main Street Electrical Parade. Smartly, Seacrest doesn't let him speak after the judges's critique.

Getting the almost Pimp Spot is ISMH who is this year's Rasputin. I think she knows she's on borrowed time, which could be beneficial to her. Singers in a similar position (ie-Nikko) tend to play it a little looser and don't worry so much about the pressure because they know they've have outlasted everyone's expectations. I really hate this song, partially since I think Lee Greenwood's a jerk and also because it was sung into the ground back in season 2. The song, though, suits her vocal skills perfectly. I feel like I should be snapping to attention instead of writing my blog as she's singing. The swaying needs to stop. Like Archuleta before her, it also sounds like it would fit in better at Paramount's King's Island or on the fairgrounds for the Fourth of July than on the summer tour. The song choice was impeccable; she certainly knows how to play the game without resorting to cheap tricks like short skirts, pushed-up cleavage and tight jeans. Plus, she got to go near the end of the show, so she might actually avoid the bottom 3 this week.

Seacrest steps into the "mosh" pit in time to introduce Word Nerd. His baby picture makes him look like he's from Talos IV. He ditched the guitar and does his best Daughtry impression. The song choice is interesting. He's making a strong choice for getting into the finale. I think this is the second week in a row that I list him as the best of the night. While I don't particularly care for his style on this show, he didn't get the advantage of lots of early TV time and he's clearly paying attention to my Idol Rule #7. The other TCOs need to take notice.

The Good
David C.
Carly

The Bad
Brooke
Syesha
Kristy Lee
David A.
Chikezie
Michael
Jason
Ramiele

The Ugly
no one this week

Once again, while there were a few people who were clearly better than the rest of the field, none of the singers tonight were downright awful. It appears to me that after the mental meltdown for half of "We Can Work It Out", Archuleta's stock is dropping; of course, as much as they pimped him early on, there really is no other way for him to go than down.

David C. is making a strong charge, while some of the other presumed front-runners are either sandbagging or going into a safe prevent-defense mode. Since we're all football fans, we know that the only thing the prevent defense does is prevent you from winning.

Who should be in the bottom 3: Jason, Michael, Ramiele
Who will be in the bottom 3: Chikezie, Ramiele, Syesha

Who should go home: Ramiele
Who will go home: Ramiele

I'm going to post this and then go back and watch DWTS on the DVR Comcast graciously provides to me for $8.95 a month. Now only if they'd fix that weird tick that I get on the movie channels . . .

High Lord. Out. For now.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Dancing With the Stars: 2nd Round, Still No Cuts

After last week's opening round, I think it's safe to say that one of the women will probably win. Of course, last year the women were generally stronger than the men and Helio still managed a win.

Through one dance, there is a clear set of frontrunners: Kristi, Priscilla and Mario. There is also a clear group of bottom-feeders: Adam, Monica, Penn and Steve. Everyone else is somewhere in the middle.

Frankly, I don't see the four weakest dancers making much progress, but they could. There are a few folks in the middle their who I think were stronger than they showed last week; maybe it was nerves, maybe they just haven't found their groove. I don't know yet, but I think Jason, Marissa, Cristián, Marlee and even Shannon could get a lot better if they don't get voted off first.

On the other hand, Kristi and Mario had better be careful that they don't peak too early and Priscilla needs to show that she can perform in the latin dances as well as the ballroom rounds.

Tonight the stars are dancing again and tomorrow two of them will get whacked. The dances tonight are two of my favourites: the mambo and the quickstep.

After being introduced, the first dancers tonight are Steve and Anna. Steve has the same look that I'd have if I were ever invited to visit Hef at the mansion; he's just happy to be there and wonders how he lucked into it. He still looks a little stiff. He needs to stop counting along in his head. Anna can't cover for him as hard as she's trying. At least he's making an effort. The music doesn't help him. It's a good thing he didn't draw the quickstep tonight because his posture is awful. Mrs. High Lord gives him a 5. He'll be in the bottom 3 for sure.
The Judges's Scores: 6-5-5 (on the same block as Satan)
The High Lord's Score: 6

And yes, that girl is wearing something sparkley on her head. If I had ADD, I couldn't go see the show in the studio; I'd be busy staring at that thing on her forehead.

Going second is Cristián and Cheryl. He's a wild card; he's largely unknown, but he seems to have some skillz and he's got the best partner in the biz. If she hadn't been saddled with Ian and Wayne, she would have had a good chance at being a four-time champion. she's shown that she can get more out of her partners than others might be able to. He looks okay, but is clearly just trying to keep up. this dance doesn't seem to come naturally to him. It was like he was trying too hard to make all his marks and concentrating too much on his posture.
The Judges's Scores: 7-6-7 (It's not just a Boeing!)
The High Lord's Score: 7

Wrapping up the first half . . . hour of the show are Monica and Jonathan. She was clearly the weakest of the girls last week and needs a strong showing tonight. Monica is a lot looser this week . . . as in having more fun. I'm not wowed, but she is light years better than last week. However, since the field of girls is so strong, she'll need a monumental effort from the fans in order to stave off elimination, and frankly, I don't see that happening.
The Judges's Scores: 5-5-5
The High Lord's Score:

Penn and Kym are next and he's going to struggle. It doesn't help that his partner is three feet shorter than he is. The voodoo doll is funny as hell. If I ever become famous enough to become a "star", I want to be partnered with Kym (but only if she's spilling out of her dress every week). His feet are predictably heavy. I have a feeling he's not going to score well, but at least he looks like he's enjoying himself. I wonder what Teller has to say about his performances.
The Judges's Scores: 6-6-5 (Satan's next door neighbour)
The High Lord's Score:

After paying some bills, Mrs. Elvis and Louis get to prove that last week they weren't a fluke. I was surprised by how good she was. I hope I'm in half as good shape as she is when I'm 62. My only complaint is that her face doesn't move thanks to all the Botox. She's graceful and moves well, if naturally. She's a better dancer than Marie, but not quite as good a performer.
The Judges's Scores: Lucky 7s
The High Lord's Score: 8

Starting the second hour of the show is Shannon and Derek. They miss a couple of cues in the opening, but the dancing is pretty good. I don't think she's in danger of going home tomorrow, but she needs to string together a couple of good weeks in order stick around and build a voting base. She's solidly in the middle tier.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score:

Jason and Edyta are next and I think she really wants to win. He's no Emmitt but nor is he Evander. The latin styles will probably be better to him than the ballroom dances. It was aiiiiight, but still a little stiff. He's better than the worse guys, but a couple of steps down from the frontrunners. I guess the "hold off on the 9s and 10s" memo was one week only; I didn't see it.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 7

What happened to Charlotte Jørgensen? After being robbed in season 1, she's fallen off the face of the earth. I wish she'd come back; she was good.

After last week's manic cha-cha-cha, Marissa and Tony need to avoid underachieving again. Unfortunately, she's got some super-big hair and a partner who has killed two partners with his choreography (Stacy and Jane). Being short doesn't help her with this dance; her legs look like they're moving at ludicrous speed just to keep up. She wasn't bad, but not great either.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-7
The High Lord's Score:

Next year, they need to have Jimmy and Guillermo on the show, not in the audience (they're "stars", right?)

I'm sure The Future Mrs. High Lord is about to take out a hit on whoever stuck her with Adam. He still looks stiff, but it's better than last week. His posture is awful; I might start calling him "Slouch". Like with Steve, I think he's trying hard, despite his self-deprecating comments. I'd be surprised if he last more than two more weeks.
The Judges's Scores: 6-7-6
The High Lord's Score:

I think the only reason why the judges gave them 6s and a 7 is because they know if Julienne gets cut, their viewership will drop by a third.

The most overrated performance last week was Marlee and Fabian. They're doing the quickstep. I really hate this song ("Mack the Knife"). She's generally good, but misses a couple of cues. I place her in the middle tier. I didn't think she was as good as the judges. Maybe it's because she comes off as a little robotic.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

Last week Kristi and Mark laid a beat down on every one else. this week, she come out swinging again. Technically, she's very good. The athletes might be 6 of 7 after this year (that is, conceding that race car driving is a sport). If they gave Jason 9s, there's got to be a 10 in there for them tonight; there isn't but when combined with last week's score, they're solidly in first place. The only thing she might want to watch out for is being too good, too early (ie-Sabrina).
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score:

Mario and Karina get the Pimp Spot this week. Before they dance, we get a commercial for "Samantha Who?" which I enjoyed; I was hoping it wouldn't get canceled due to the writer's strike. I'm also hoping that they renew "Pushing Dasies" because Mrs. High Lord likes it (usually the kiss of death; see Firefly, Fastlane, Boston Public, Joan of Arcadia and Brimstone) and I don't want to hear her complaining about how it got canned. Back to the dancing: He worked on his footwork, something extra-important to this dance. I could do without the sleeveless tux with tails, though. He's not as comfortable this week as he was last week. I think he's still the best of the guys, but not in the same class as Kristi and Priscilla.
The Judges's Scores: 9-8-9
The High Lord's Score:

My picks to go home are Adam from the guys and Monica from the girls. I think they're clearly the weakest dancers. The only other person who might be in danger is Steve, who doesn't have the luxury of Adam's syndicated radio show to shill for votes. Penn will be in danger next week, but for now, I think he's safe (but I could be wrong).

Tomorrow, I'll blog Idol and then come back for the second half of DWTS.

Don't forget to help me out with a nickname for Ramiele (see the post below). If I get a couple more suggestions, I'll make it into this week's poll.

High Lord. Out.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I need your help

Since I can't come up with a name for Ramiele. There have been a couple of suggestions, but nothing is sticking.

Please help me!

If you have a nickname for Ramiele that is NOT offensive or in bad taste please leave me a comment. The winner will get a prize to be determined later.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Past glossaries

In a comment, our friend Sunshine asked for a list of nicknames of past singers on American Idol.

Here's last year's (Season 6)

Season 5

I had a couple of nicknames for the singers back in season 4 (Anthony Fedorov was "Scar" or "Trach-boy", Scott Savol was "Private Pyle" or "Rasputin" and Constantine was "FRC" which stands for Faux-Rocker Constantine.

Even though I've been watching the show since season 2, this blog only began at the end of season 3 and everyone was still themselves.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Who gets to go on the tour?

With eleven singers left, the ten people who survive get to go on the Idol tour. The person who gets whacked tonight will just barely miss out on at least four months of professional bliss and shilling for Coca-Cola, Ford and iTunes.

Each year it seems there is a different way for 19E to screw up the show. Last year it was "mentors" who seemingly only went on the show to pimp their latest project. This year, it's the themes.

The themes during the rounds of 24 were inexcusable. To paraphrase my friend Mike says, "You don't got to a sushi bar and order pizza." So why make the kids sing songs that are other than their best? In most cases, those songs are older than the kids singing them. Why not let them sing the kinds of songs they do best? Especially when it's the first time we had heard many of them sing.

The Beatles themes are also equally horrific for the singers. How can anyone compare to the Beatles, much less these kids? One thing that many folks forget about the Beatles is how important the harmonies are to many of the songs, so solo performances will only fall flat.

I've said before that the themes need to go. Or they need to be broad enough that certain singers or styles aren't automatically screwed.

If Idol wants their themes to feature a sort of reality show Darwinism, I've got three ideas for themes that really have legs:
  • The Wheel of Death™ - Right before going on, each singer spins a big wheel. They have to sing the song that comes up. It might be "My Way", "The Humpty Dance", "One Week", "Hungry Like the Wolf", or "9 to 5". There will be a mix of styles and genres. It's pure luck of the draw.

  • Duets - Each singer gets a partner (by choice or random draw) and they sing a duet. It might be "It's All Coming Back to Me Now", "I'll Cover You", "Promiscuous", "Summer Nights", "Islands in the Stream", "I've Got You, Babe" or any number of other songs that feature two performers. Each singer still gets their own votes.

  • Screw Your Buddy Night™ - This idea has very popular among all 12 of my readers, and I don't know why Idol doesn't do it. I'd even license the idea out to them cheap as long as they acknowledge they got it from me. Each singer draws the name of another singer out of hat. Then they pick the song for that singer. No singer may draw the name of someone who picked a song for them (so there's no retribution). Imagine the potential of this!

    Chikezie draws Jason, "Your song is Barry White's "Can't Get Enough of Your Love". So long, sucka!"

    David Cook pulls Ramiele's name out of the hat, "I think your hawt and want you to go out with me, so your song is, 'All Out of Love' by Air Supply. Enjoy!"

    Michael says, "Hey, Archuleta, here you go: Your song is 'Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)' Mush-mouth these lyrics! And tell your stage daddy to stop stalking me!"

    I really think Screw Your Buddy Night™ would be fabulous for Idol. It would let the singers unleash their inner backstabber. Lobby Idol for this; I'll even waive royalties for this idea if they fly me to California and give me tickets to the finale in perpetuity!

Seacrest opens the show by introducing this years pimps . . . er, mentors. Then it's on to the group sing which is abysmal even by the usual standards of Idol group numbers. It seems everyone is out of tune. These are getting worse each week, something I never would have thought possible.

After that, we're brought back to the new (and not improved) results show format: Intro, Group Sing, Recap, Bottom 3 Announcements with Performances, Former Stars Crawling Back Up Onto the Face of the Earth, Elimination. What happened to the "encore" performance? Why are we saddled with the crappiest performances of the night instead of the best?

This new format sucks. If you're going to stretch what should be a six minute show into 60, at least give us the good stuff, not the crap.

AHG comes out first and she's safe.

TIG's next and she's in the bottom 3. Shocker!!!! I think her voters got complacent. Or the votes really don't count and Idol is just doing this for show.

Next up is SSKIM who is quickly pronounced safe. Who didn't see this one coming?

ATCO appears shaken after seeing another TCO relegated to the bottom 3 but he's safe.

After the craptastic Ford commercial, Word Nerd is safe. ISMH is next and I think she knows she's also in the bottom 3. There are four people left and one spot in the bottom 3.

WDB's odds are good and he's safe. Ramiele (I don't have a name for her . . . Help!) is called out next and she will also be safe (I've figured out how this show works!). That leaves Obligatory One-Named Singer, Helmet Hair and Token Black Girl who might be in the bottom 3. Any of those three could be gone.

But first, we have to take calls from the "audience". Here go another 10 minutes of my life that I'm never going to get back. Damn, this part sucks. They even manage to slip some product placement into the phone calls. OMG is this bad!

And then Pickler is back for the Idol reunion. At least we don't have to hear the bottom 3 sing (yet). I think half the cells in the left side of my brain just died during her pre-song piece. She's not half as bad now as she was two years ago. I almost enjoyed her performance.

Look! It's [E.T. voice=on]ell-EEE-ott[/E. T. voice] featured with IGB! And he's shedding man-tears! Did Jennifer just have an idolgasm? I know she's lurving this part of the show!

Syesha is brought out on stage and she's in the Top 10. That leaves the last spot to be taken by Chikezie or Amanda. It's Amanda.

There are three girls up for elimination. Carly is a TCO so she's safe. Amanda has the VFTW crowd behind her. I'm betting it's Kristy Lee.

According to our friends at DialIdol, only Archuleta is statistically safe. They predicted Chikezie, Amanda and Kristy Lee as the bottom 3 with ISMH getting the fewest votes.

Once again the Dead Man's Spot strikes. This year, the person singing first has ended up eliminated or in the bottom 3 exactly half the time (4 of 8 performances). And the person singing in the Pimp Spot has been safe each time.

After come obligatory commercials, Carly is (predictably) declared safe. Kristy Lee is the new Queen of the Bottom 3, a title formerly held by Rock Star: INXS's Suzie McNeill. She's also becoming the new Scott Savol: Rasputin.

Amanda gets whacked after a week when she actually did pretty well. The person singing from the lead off spot has been eliminated three out of the last four weeks. Next week, if you're singing first, you had better be nervous!

It seem TPTB at Idol didn't want Amanda on the tour, which means Kristy Lee will be getting her spot. I didn't see this one coming. I thought for sure she had another week or two in her, especially considering how bad Kristy Lee has been of late. Who is VFTW going to back next? And she actually gets to finish her song as the credits roll.

I've heard the theme next week is Led Zepplin (say it isn't so!!!!). Can anyone confirm this? The themes continue to roll over the singers!

That's it for me. I'm going out of town this weekend, but will be back next Monday for DWTS!

High Lord. Out.

Dancing With the Stars: No Filler Edition

Because Fox decided to take some of the wind out of DWTS's sails, I'm watching the show as it was meant to be watched: on DVR without all the filler.

Mrs. High Lord flipped between Idol and DWTS last night and says the girls are miles better than the guys. I'm forwarding through the crap (and Samantha's mindless bantering).

First us is Shannon Elizabeth and Derek Hough. I like Shannon, and not just because I got to see all of her in American Pie. She's paired with 14 year old Derek, which isn't quite as creepy as it was when he danced with Jennie Garth, but it's close (especially now that Shannon is getting closer to being Stifler's Mom than Nadia). They're doing the cha-cha-cha to the tune of "Shut Up and Drive". My ears are leaking. Shannon is okay; a little stiff, but not awful. A good first outing, though. She's got some talent but definitely needs some work.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-7
The High Lord's Score:

Next up is Monica Seles and Jonathan Roberts. Do you think ABC had to hire extra security in case someone wants to stab her? I used to like this song ("Bubbly") . . . Thanks, Howard Wheeler!!! NOT! Monica is clearly counting along in her head and almost looks paralysed with fear. I don't think she's having fun. She may be trying, but I'd be surprised if she makes it to week four. I'm also happy there was no grunting.
The Judges's Scores: 5-5-5
The High Lord's Score: 6

Going third is Marissa Jaret Winokur with the guy who caused Stacey to lose, Tony Dovolani. She's very manic. Marissa misses a couple of cues, but unlike Monica, looks like she's enjoying her time on the dance floor. It was high energy and fun, but technically a wreck. Her score is more for effort than achievement. Tony might actually be her weak link because he's proven that he can screw up choreography.
The Judges's Scores: Satan!!!
The High Lord's Score:

The former Mrs. Elvis Priscilla Pressley is paired with Louis van Amstel who reportedly wasn't on last year because he made people cry on the DWTS Tour. They draw the foxtrot, which is good for her. I predict that she will be this year's Jane Seymour. Priscilla is actually a pretty good dancer; I wonder why I'm surprised at that. She's very elegant, but she's probably got some moves hidden in there, too. Louis does right by her with just a dance; no tricks or stunts. Just dance. I hope Tony is taking notes.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 8

The five-spot is Kristy Yamaguchi with Mark Ballas, who may or may not still be involved with Sabrina. She wasn't just good . . . Kristy was great! I guess that's not surprising since she's a professional ice skater. She needs to learn a few new skills, but (unlike Shannon or Monica) doesn't have to learn a new skillset. You wonder if Mark getting Kristy is a make-up for getting the shaft last year when Sabrina was unexpectedly booted off. Her only danger is peaking too early.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score:

Last to go is Marlee Matlin and virgin pro Fabian Sanchez. As this year's token handicapped person, Marlee is unexpectedly good. In some ways, being deaf may actually be an advantage because all she has to do is keep count, not get thrown off by the music. Like Heather, she doesn't have a real shot at winning. Her skills are too far behind some of the others (Mario, Priscilla, Kristy, Marissa), but she could have a good showing.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-8
The High Lord's Score:

As a group, the girls are stronger than the guys, who are mediocre at best. Are they eliminating the two weakest dancers or one girl and one guy? I'll have to look into that . . . (Tom probably told us, but I treated the show like porn: if people were talking, I hit fast-forward).

I'll be back later to blog the Idol results.

High Lord. Out.

For now.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Countdown to Kristy Lee's ouster . . .

This is the fourth year I've been tracking the influence of singing order, and specifically going in the Dead Man's Spot vs. getting the Pimp Spot.

So far, two people have been eliminated (Luke and Asia'H) after batting lead off and one person (Syesha) has been in the bottom 3. In each of season 4 and season 5, seven people were in the bottom 3 after going first and three and four people were eliminated.

Over the same time period, of the people singing from the Pimp Spot, only one person has been eliminated (Anthony) and only one other person has been in the bottom 3 (Blake).

Last year was a bit of an anomaly with the singing order. Part of it was that I thin 19E went out of their way to defuse some of the Dead Man's Spot's power. They put TCOs in the lead off spot a lot and once Idol Gives Back kept someone from getting whacked. Melinda went first twice, Blake and Jordin were each there once.

This year it seems the Dead Man's Spot has gone into overdrive. Seven people have gone first, and three of them were either in danger or got canned. Will this trend continue? Or will they start putting David A., Michael, Carly and Brooke into the first spot? The TCOs have certainly done well as far as placement in the order: Michael, Carly and David A. (twice!) have gotten to go last, and they were predictably safe.

I mentioned this in my DWTS post last night, but the order is less important on that show because they limit the number of votes per phone line and email address. Plus, since you can vote during the show, being memorable is less important than it is on Idol. I'll be interested to see how singing order plays out this year.

As an administrative note, I'm going to liveblog Idol tonight and DVR DWTS. If the spirit moves me at 10:00, I'll blog DWTS then. Otherwise, I'll get to it tomorrow afternoon before the Idol results show.

This week the theme is Beatles II. Are they going deeper into the songbook? Will Paul show up and strike Kristy Lee dead in her tracks when she massacres another one of his songs? If he does, I don't think there would be jury in the world who would convict him.

I wonder if the order they introduced the singers is the actual singing order. If so, Amanda may be in trouble, with or without the help of the Vote For the Worst crowd and Ramiele got extra lucky.

All this banter at the beginning of the show really hacks me off. We're six minutes into the show and not one of the kids has picked up a microphone. There are only eleven of them . . . and the show is being dragged out to two hours. I know part of it is to infringe on DWTS's time. But it's also to appease Simon, Paula, Randy and Seacrest's vanity. Just sing, baby!

It's now 8 minutes after and there's still no singing.

Helmet Hair is going first with "Back in the USSR". I'm guessing this will be a trainwreck. Simon was right when he said every song would sound the same. Still, this song is the perfect Beatles song for her. It doesn't demand much from her vocally and she gets to highlight her performance skills. It was good but not great. I'd pay to see her in a club, but maybe not on the tour.

After last week's debacle, ISMH girl is going try and redeem herself next. She also gets the random pre-song interview. Is she really a foot taller than Seacrest? He tries to remind her of home . . . maybe 'cause that's where she'll be next Tuesday night. Are they trying to generate sympathy for her? First they show her dog and then they remind us how often she's been in the bottom 3. Her song is "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" and she hadn't heard it before this week. It actually doesn't sound that bad. It's not the extreme end of the country spectrum and it doesn't get away from her. I'll bring her out of the bottom category tonight. She gets "You look gorgeous" from Paula. It's bottom 3 for her again.

Quote of the night from Kristy Lee: "It's kind of new to me . . . The Beatles thing."

Last week, Goofy Giggling Golden Boy imploded and we get to relive it in the pre-song montage. This week he's doing "The Long and Winding Road". He's going AFE on us, another thing I can't stand (along with the giggling). At least he remembers the words. Is he going to spend all season making puppy dog eyes at the camera? As long as it gets him votes, I guess he will. Do you think he'll be coherent during the post-song interview? . . . Smartly, Seacrest doesn't let him speak too much. I just wish I could get past the fact that I can't stand him when he's not singing. Predictably, the judges fawn all over him.

Look! They're not only pimping David Archuleta, but Seacrest is shilling for the iPhone! I think I'm going to be sick. I wonder how much Apple just paid for that.

They're frontloading the show tonight. ATCO is in the four-spot with "A Day in the Life". As with Amanda before him, Michael reminds us that the singers only get a minute and a half, even in a two hours how. I think he's going for the John Mayer angle, even with a rough note or two. I like him, both as a vocalist and as a performer. If not for pitchy making a couple of appearances, I'd say he was very good. The judges are unnecessarily hard on him. Simon tells him that song didn't work in a minute and a half; With two hours tonight, it's inexcusable to only have 16½ minutes of singing in the entire show. He does get in a plug for sympathy at the end. And I'll bet about 60% of the Idol audience tonight has never heard the full version of that song.

AHG gets another random pre-song interview. Her song is "Here Comes the Sun" which fits into her little box quite nicely. As one of the TCOs she can afford to sandbag a little. I think she'll need to change it up a little, but not at this stage of the competition. It's got a little bit of a country twang to it. Hey, Brooke, my grandmother called and she wants her drapes back. It was safe, but then again, she doesn't have to leave it all out there like some others do (cough*Chikezie*cough).

Following Brooke is Word Nerd. I used to go out with a word-nerd in college; you absolutely did not want to get involved in a game of Scrabble with her because she would clean your clock (and if you were playing a drinking version of the game, you'd be hammered when she whipped out a 72 point double word score). His song is "Day Tripper" and he's quickly moving into the top tier. He makes me wonder if Chris D. would have won had he been allowed to play his guitar on stage. I like it alot; easily the best of the night so far. Did Simon just tell David that he looked "a bit smug"? Hello, Kettle . . . this is the pot!

Did Paula just make Simon snarf?

Another TCO is TIG who Simon is building up as the next Kelly. Her song is "Blackbird" which apparently was originally called "Sparrow". Did she borrow that blouse from Björk? Vocally it was good, but it didn't blow me away. I won't call it flawless, but like Brooke, I think she was playing it safe. And she lays a verbal beatdown on Simon without sounding too arrogant, snarky or smug about it.

Like WDB, I'm not cutting my hair (although I am washing it). There's a pool at work for all the guys; it's $1 in per week, the last guy to get his hair cut takes it all. He's singing "Michelle" and had to learn a little French for the show. He's another guys who's sneaking into the top tier. I just can't get past the fact that he looks like a gelfling. I half expect the Skeksis to send a Garthim bursting through the new stage to capture him. I thought he was aiiiight. It wasn't his best, but he's gaining votes hand over fist. It's a good position to be in at this point in the season.

Taking us into the home stretch of the show is Syesha who is spilling out of her top (not a complaint) and singing "Yesterday", an iconic song if there ever was one. She starts off shaky, probably because she's doing a slow song at ¾ speed. JUST SING THE SONG!!!!! I think I'm falling asleep. I didn't hate it, but I didn't like it either.

Obligatory Single-Name Singer has a harmonica for "I've Just Seen a Face". He's also ditched the orange leisure suit. As with last week's tour de force, he changes things up halfway through the song. I like him a lot. I had originally picked him as the first one to go home, but I think now he stands a fair shot at being around for Idol Gives Back. Despite being panned by the judges, I like him and I like his style.

With ten performances down, Ramiele gets the Pimp Spot tonight. She's wrapping things up with "I Should Have Known Better" which should be better than last week. I don't think it's worthy of its placement, but it's light years better than last week. If she were in any spot other than the last one, she'd be in danger of being in the bottom 3.

Here's how I rank the singers tonight:

The Good
David C.
Chikezie

The Bad
Brooke
David A.
Carly
Michael
Jason
Ramiele
Syesha
Amanda
Kristy Lee

The Ugly

The good news is that this week no one was downright awful. The themes aren't doing the singers any favours. Even the usually bad singers were at least okay. David C. and Chikezie are making strong charges which is good for them.

When the voting started, if you weren't Brooke, Carly, David A. or Michael, you weren't going to win. Now, things may get interesting. The field is deep this year and if not for the pimpage of the TCOs, it might even be level.

That means that there isn't anyone who is head and shoulders above everyone else. Still there is a clear top tier emerging, but instead of just being one or two people (ie-Clay and Rueben), it's probably five people deep with a second tier that's only a performance or two away from making that jump.

Who should be in the bottom 3: Amanda, Kristy Lee, Syesha
Who will be in the bottom 3: Amanda, Kristy Lee, Syesha

Who should be eliminated: Kristy Lee
Who will be eliminated: Syesha

That's it for me tonight. I'll blog the girls on DWTS tomorrow afternoon and then the Idol results show after that.

High Lord. Out.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Dancing with the Stars kickoff

Can you believe this is the sixth season of DWTS? Why it seems only yesterday that ABC rigged the first season for Kelly Monaco to win . . . and diva Louis van Amstel cut off his mullett to appease Lisa Rinna . . .

I'm pretty excited about this year because it seems that for every person who might actually do well (Kristi Yamaguchi) there's an apparent trainwreck waiting to happen (Steven Guttenberg). It also seems they're digging pretty deep into the C-list (Adam Carolla) and the botox clinics (Priscilla Presley).

On the plus side, the athletes are looking to extend their dominance with Jason Taylor, Yamaguchi and Monica Seles taking up a quarter of the field. Mrs. High Lord is very excited about Cristián de la Fuente being on the show; I'm pretty happy about Shannon Elizabeth. The only way we'd be happier was if they were swapped out for Antonio Banderas and Jessica Alba (there's always next year!).

Tonight the guys are dancing, which should be exciting. I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow night when Idol is on at 8:00 and then DWTS kicks off at 9:00. I guess that's why I'm paying Comcast $8.95 a month for the DVR.

Did they get a new stage for the show? If they did, I'm happy they didn't waste five minutes of my life telling me about it (cough*Seacrest*cough). I am dismayed that Samantha "Queen of Unintentional Comedy" Harris is back; I really wanted Drew back after the Bruno vs. Carrie Ann giant rolling head that you couldn't look away from.

The big story lines to me are as follows:
  • Can Cheryl go 3 for 4?
  • Will Tom beat Samantha over the head when she says something stupid?
  • With no SOH this year, who will ABC over-pimp?
  • Will Mrs. High Lord leave me for Cristián so Julienne can become the next Mrs. High Lord?
  • What does ABC have against threepeats?
  • What happened to Creepy Brian? And more importantly, what happened to his teeth?

After a short intro, we find out Penn Jillette and Kym "First Runner Up to be the Next Mrs. High Lord" Johnson are leading off the season. Kym says Penn's the largest competitor they've had, but as I remember, Master P was a pretty big guy. Penn has some heavy feet, but he's not as bad as I expected. I won't put him in the top tier, but he looks like he's having fun and probably deserves an A for effort. I wonder if he can make Kym's two-sided tape disappear . . .
The Judges's Scores: 5-6-5
The High Lord's Score:

The judges are kind of rough on Penn but they do try to slip in some coaching. I thought the judges scores were kind of rough. Maybe they got a memo from ABC to stop throwing 9s and 10s around so freely. And why does that one singer (the black girl with the big boobs) always wear that thing on her head?

Next up are Jason Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska. Like Penn, Jason is about three feet taller than his dance partner. Unlike past football players, he's not retired, so you can bet that if he plays next season, you're going to hear lots of taunting unless he wins. He's also a little awkward; not as bad as Penn, but he's also doesn't throw himself out there like Penn did. Jason seemed stiff. While technically superior, I give him a lower score than the magician for not going all out.
The Judges's Scores: 7-8-7
The High Lord's Score: 7

Do people know what I'm trying to watch TV? Is that why they're calling? I swear I'm going to shut off all the phone in my house during Idol and DWTS . . .

The third guy is Cristián de la Fuente and two-time champ Cheryl Burke. He's "lucky" to draw a Latin dance for the first night. He's also lucky have have drawn Cheryl, who has shown that she can get more out of her partner than any of the other pros. His problem is that he's counting along in his head. Once he gets over that problem, he could be good cuz he's got movez. He makes Carrie Ann moist.
The Judges Scores: 7-7-7
The High Lord's Score:

Unlike Idol, where the judges only yap to hear themselves talk, the judges on this show actually get to do some judging (since their scores help determine the winners) and they offer constructive criticism and coaching.

Adam Carolla jumped the shark when Loveline went off the air. The good news is that he drew Julienne Hough as his partner and I think she really wants the threepeat. I really want him to do well because more Julienne means more interest from the High Lord. He's setting himself up with low expectations which is good. I had forgotten how much the singers irritated me on this show until now. I'd almost rather hear Kristy Lee than this guy singing "Mello Yellow". Adam is clumsy and goofy. I don't see him lasting more than about three weeks. Poor Julienne!
The Judges's Scores: 5-5-5
The High Lord's Score:

At least even the bad ones are trying this year. And Mel is there for the obligatory butt grab.

The youngest guy is Mario along with Karina Smirnoff. Is he this year's boy-bander? At least he's smart enough not to take his background for granted (ie-the "Sabrina" comment). His youth and dancing background will help him out, like it did for Drew. He also strikes me as the kind of guy who really wants to win and is willing to work for it. It helps that he has a fair amount of natural talent. So far, he's the best of the night.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score:

Mrs. High Lord is upset that the show is running over into New Amsterdam. Once again, thanks for the DVR, Comcast!

The Pimp Spot doesn't have quite the advantage on this show that it does on Idol. Probably because they limit the number of votes per phone line. In any event, the guy going last is Steve Guttenberg. According to IMDB, he's been pretty busy lately, but I haven't heard from him since Three Men and a Little Lady. His partner is former runner-up Anna Trebunskaya, who's got some big (but not scary) teeth. Like Carolla, he's also setting the bar low in his warm-up piece. He looks less mobile than Mark Cuban did; does anyone know if Steve has had a hip replaced? I won't say he was awful, but he's not good, either. Like Julienne, Anna has her work cut out for her.
The Judges's Scores: The Satan Score
The High Lord's Score:

Since there's no elimination this week, no one is getting the Tucker Treatment. If the girls are even mediocre, it will be either Steve or Adam getting the boot next week.

Don't forget to vote in my weekly poll. See ya'll tomorrow.

High Lord. Out.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

In honour of St. Patrick's Day

With the Big Beer Holiday coming up tomorrow (as opposed to the Big Tequila Holiday in May), I'd like to share my favourite St. Patrick's Day story with those of you who haven't heard it.

This comes courtesy of "The Baby", a little girl Mrs. High Lord and I have been babysitting since she was about two months old. She's a rambunctious seven year-old now but when she will always be "The Baby" to me.

She was coming over to stay with us one night and she tells me about something she learned at daycare that afternoon. She says, "Today is Patrick's Day."

"Why yes it is," I say. "And what do you do on St. Patrick's Day?"

"You wear green," she replied pointing at the clover leaf on her shirt.

I smile. "That's very good. Do you know who St. Patrick was?"

Thinking that she might actually know something about running the snakes out of Ireland, I was shocked when she proudly demonstrated her knowledge of holidays by saying, "Patrick's a starfish!"

So here's to you, St. Patrick, on your day!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It's game time!

According to our friends over at DialIdol, Goofy Giggling Boy is the only one of the 12 singers who is statistically safe. How is this possible?!?!?! Who the hell is voting for this guy? Of course, it's because Idol has handed him so many votes so early in the competition. Plus, he got the Pimp Spot and that practically guarantees safety.

They're predicting Syesha to get voted off, which kind of makes sense. She was good, but not as bad as some others. Going first is going to earn her a definite spot in the bottom 3 and we shouldn't be surprised if she does get voted off, even if others are more deserving.

The big winner from last night was Chikezie, who went from "just happy to be here" to borderline contender. He can't have a bad week, but if he keeps improving, he'll be this year's big surprise. Carly and Brooke also had good nights.

The big losers were Kristy Lee and Ramiele. ISMH girl was downright awful. Ramiele was boring. Both are also in danger of being eliminated.

SSKIM should have been one of the big losers last night; how many other people could blow the lyrics to half a song--and not just any song, a Beatles song--and still finish in first place in the voting? Idol's incessant pimping benefits him because they handed him a legion of powervoters. However, by showing not only that he's mortal, but that he can flub up on the big stage, it might deter some of the other fans from voting for him once their singer gets kicked off.

We've seen this before. FRC comes to mind as someone Idol backed hardcore at the beginning of the season, but once they saw that there was something of a backlash against him, they abandoned him mid-season. It could happen to Giggling Goofy Boy, too. Or he could end up as the next Daughtry and get booted in the four or five spot.

Last night we were witness to one of my pet peeves from the judges, and I'm not talking about Paula being high.

The judges rightfully ripped Kristy Lee for destroying "Eight Days A Week" but when someone just sings the song, they call it "karaoke" or "boring". The incessant chatter about "making the song your own" has to stop, especially if they're going to jump on people when they do.

I can deal with the judges saying, "That didn't work for me", but don't tell someone that they need to venture out of their box one week, and them slam them when they try a different arrangement. Either they want people to sing straight covers or they want a remix. You can't have it both ways.

This crazy talk needs to stop. Let the kids sing. If you don't like it, say you don't like it. If they try something original, praise the attempt, even if the result isn't quite as good as it could be.

Someone wake me up when the results are announced. I don't know that I can stand what should be an 8 minute show being stretched out into 60.

What the hell is Jim Carrey doing one the show? Oh, wait . . . he's shilling his new movie. I think I'm going to be sick.

After a painful exchange between Seacrest and Jim, we're on to the ab-fab group sing. I wonder if David A. is going to forget the words to this, too. I think Jennifer just had an Idolgasm.

This afternoon at lunch, I had a theological revelation: There is no god. If there were, Kristy Lee Cook would have spontaneously combusted on stage because what happened can only be described as a crime against nature. If there were a Heaven, they surely would have let John Lennon out for just a second to smite the people who were desecrating his music. The fact that the show completed without fire and brimstone only reinforces what atheists have been saying for millennia.

I liked how the recap montage glossed over how boring Ramiele was and how SSKIM flubbed the lyrics.

The first group of four is told to stand. I'll bet one of them is in the bottom 3. Carly, safe. Michael, safe. It's Jason or Syesha in the bottom 3. I'll bet it's Syesha . . . and it is.

And they're making her sing. I guess that's what we get in an hour-long show. I guess that's good since now the eliminated singer won't have to sing after getting the bad news.

Is the Ford ad supposed to be a "Rock the Vote" commercial? I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.

Was that Dennis DeYoung at the Horton Hears a Who! premiere? And did Amanda call him the lead singer of REO Speedwagon?

The next four singers to be called up are Chikezie, Helmet Hair, David C. and ISMH. Chikezie is called to the stage, but we all know he's safe. So is Amanda. David C. is, too. Kristy is the next person in the bottom 3. She knows she deserves to be in the bottom 3, and probably knows she's going home.

That means we're going to have to hear it again . . .

I'm stuffing my ears with gauze as she takes the mic.

And now my eyes are bleeding after the Sanjaya sighting.

I'm barely recovered from Kristy Lee and we're being subjected to another new feature: people calling in to ask the singers questions. This is time off my life that I'm not getting back. I hope this doesn't turn in to a weekly thing or I'll definitely be waiting until 9:51 to tune in to the results shows.

There are four singers left awaiting their results, but they're going to have to hold it in for a little while longer because VCM is back with David Foster accompanying her on the piano. I can't believe she lost to Taylor. Every guy--and some of the girls--watching the show (live or on TV) is thinking "I'd hit that". At least she got an album deal and a Mustang out of being on the show.

David A., Brooke, David H. and Ramiele are all called to the stage. SSKIM is first and he's safe (Duh!). So is AHG. That leaves XSG and Ramiele.

The eliminations are going pretty much according to script. No one has gotten the Judd treatment (so far). I still bet they pull a George on someone when there are 7 people left.

David H. is in the bottom 3. I'm calling them 2-for-3 tonight.

Why do we have to listen to the bottom 3 performances? You'd think that with an hour-long show, they'd show us the best performances from Tuesday, not the weakest. And then to have to listen to crappy questions from random viewers . . . my god, I can't believe I'm actually sitting through this.

The first bottom 3 of the season is: Syesha, David H., and Kristy Lee.

I'm going with Kristy Lee, who is the weakest of the "more stronger" bottom 3 that Paula has ever seen.

Syesha is declared safe. And then, in a shocker, Kristy Lee is declared safe. The show ends for the weakest of the tastefully-named Davids. Wouldn't it be great if he disrobed during his swan song? That would have made my night.

That leaves 11 singers left. And more Beatles next week. I hope they open up the songbook a little more.

And maybe SSKIM will forget the lyrics again.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

You say yes . . . I say NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

It seems that Beatles night is upon us. And just just any Beatles night; apparently, only songs from 1962-1966 were on the list, and even then, there were only 25 to choose from. What the hell is Idol doing to the singers? I've never heard that the song choices were so restrictive.

I think they're trying to engineer the "competition" so that they're not stuck with a winner who will promptly fall off the face of the earth. Let's face it, as entertainment, American Idol is nearly unstoppable. But as a talent finding mechanism, it's basically been a failure.

Of the six winners, three have flopped and the fourth (Jordin) is well on her way. One has become wildly successful . . . in the country genre. That leaves Kelly as the only Idol winner who has gone on to sustained pop success, the stated objective of the show.

Sure some of the also-rans have gone on to various levels of success (Clay, Chris D., Jennifer Hudson), but the rest have either disappeared or been relegated to Celebrity Fit Club and other shows of that ilk. There are a handful of people that Idol has handed the "competition" to: David A., Carly, Michael, and Brooke. Everyone else is just there to lend the show some "credibility" and drag it out for 11 more weeks. Yes, there are a couple of potential spoilers, but those four have a leg up on everyone else.

Each of those four would be safe choices to win. They're polished, attractive and marketable. And it seems that Nigel Lythegoe and his buddies are doing all they can to make sure one of their plants wins this year. I can't say I blame them, though. Idol is, after all, a marketing machine and they are obligated to commit to the winner . . . if only for a one year contract (cough*TaylorHicks*cough).

But it seems to me that if they're going to put on the charade that Idol is an actual competition (which it is . . . a popularity contest), then the field needs to be level. That means everyone gets equal face time, there's a large catalog of songs to choose from and the theme weeks go away, and letting the kids sing songs that play to their strengths, not songs that bring about a sort of reality-show Darwinism.

But, alas . . . that's not to be.

With 12 singers and two hours, I'm ready for 18 minutes of singing and gobs and gobs of filler. I hope you are, too, so stick around; I'll be live-blogging all year along (now that I don't have to spend my nights grading papers and lesson planning).

Syesha must have run over Nigel's dog with her car because she's opening the show. She's taking on "Got to Get You Into My Life". I like the arrangement. She's not as nervous as I would have expected. Vocally she's good. She doesn't work the stage as well as she could have. The judges are tepid. Paula gave her the "you look fantastic" kiss of death. Unpredictably, Simon gives her lots of praise. She could be bottom 3.

Next up is Chikezie who is living on borrowed time. He's not quite in the Nikko zone, but I had him gone last week for sure. In some ways this might be good for him since he can go balls-to-the-wall and still not be disappointed if he gets kicked off. His story about being a TSA screener is pretty funny. He's singing "She's a Woman" and I like it. I hate the sweater vest. The rockabilly opening was very good. On a night when he needed to come up B-I-G, Chikezie delivered. Suddenly my prediction that he'll be the first to go is looking suspect.

Third in the order is Ramiele who dedicates "In My Life" to her gay boyfriend Danny. This is a very safe song for her. It wasn't great. It wasn't bad. A big fat "meh". I'd comment some more, but I fell asleep halfway through. They swaying was hypnotic. Definite bottom 3 material.

After Seacrest shills for iTunes, WDB sings "If I Fell". Get a haircut, you damn hippy! He's back on the guitar, which is a good move for him. I'm not feeling the love for him that Jennifer does, but he's aiiiiiiight. I think this is also a safe selection. And there's too much falsetto.

The big fiver tonight is TIG who gets the random pre-song interview. Her "Come Together" starts strong. She almost gives into the shouting in a couple of places. I wish they'd stick with camera shots of the singer, not the singer on one of the TV screens. I liked the performance a lot. She's a polished professional, which will carry her far. Vocally she's not the best in the field, but as a performer, she's the strongest of the bunch. Plus, she knows how to handle herself during the pre-song interviews without devolving into a giggling little schoolgirl.

We're fifty-six minutes into the show and it's the first of the taste-fully named Davids. His choice is "Eleanor Rigby" who should have been on Rock Star. I'm not a fan of his; I think he's wrong for the show. He's a good singer and performer, though. Probably because he's a quasi-professional. What is it with "rockers" and the need to tilt their heads back while they're shouting? Does anyone other than me find that annoying?

At the top of the second hour, AHG finally put some product in her hair, but she still needs a cut. Have I mentioned that I entered a pool at work; it's guys only, $1 per week, and the last person to get a haircut takes it all. I'm going to win that bad boy, even if I'll be looking like Liu Kang in about a month. Is she wearing pajamas? Brooke picked "Let It Be", which is outside the window I thought they were allowing on the show. If Simon is going to call Amanda out for being a OTP, he's got to do the same for Brooke. Her act has been the same week in and week out. To her credit, she does it well, but I'd like to see a little change-up every now and then (Chikezie took notes this week and look how it paid off!). At least she doesn't mess up a class. The judges will fawn over her. And she's the first singer in tears on stage.

Tonight's Lucky Seven is XSG who used to be a "server" (or whatever the kids are calling it these days). His song is "I Saw Her Standing There", one of the iconic Beatles songs. People forget that the Beatles started life as a boy band (although played their own instruments). His voice is a bit nasally (though not as bad as Chris R.). He seems nervous. With Chikezie doing so well tonight, this David might be the first of the trifecta to appear in the bottom 3.

The 8-Ball is Helmet Hair who gets another random pre-song interview. Her song is "You Can't Do That", not "Helter Skelter" or something like that. Predictably it sounds like everything else she's sung. I like her, not as a vocalist, but as someone who is unique in the history of the show and as someone who comes across as very genuine. She doesn't have a prayer to win, but I that she brings a little bit of excitement to the show (unlike Ramiele).

Taking us into the home stretch is ATCO who woos the girls with his accent (crikey!). His song is "Across the Universe". I'm not a fan of the song; there are better ones in the catalog. I think he's sandbagging this week. It seems very safe, but then again, since he's one of the Chosen Ones, he can afford to hold back early on. It wasn't bad; there was just no "Yo!"

ISMH wants to be this year's Carrie. She's from a small town. She sings country. She's blond. She breathes air. See the similarities? Her song is "Eight Days a Week" meets the Grand Ole Opry. The judges are going to pan her for messing with one of the most recognisable Beatles songs in the world. I'm not crazy about it. Here's were the hypocrisy of the judges comes in: if she had done a straight cover, they'd have called her boring; she re-arranges it and they say she was corny. It made Mrs. High Lord's skin crawl (and not in the good way). She doesn't even rate Paula's "You look fabulous" kiss of death. Someone get me a napkin and a q-tip; my ears are bleeding. At least she has the onions to maul one of the seminal songs in the history of rock n'roll and say she liked it.

With eleven singers gone, that means SSKIM gets the Pimp Spot. Who didn't see this one coming? You in the back . . . put your hand down. Everyone knew he'd get to go last. Was that David dancing in the dress or his mom? His interview highlights why teenagers should not be allowed to be on the show. Some people find the giggling endearing; I think it's grating. And then he forgets the lyrics . . . in several places. It's a good thing we're not voting to kick people off or all the Beatles fans in the world would make sure he'd be gone after forgetting half the song. I don't care how good a singer he is or how much Nigel wants him to win, if they don't call him on mush-mouthing the lyrics, the entire judging panel should be replaced. Randy glosses over the omission; Paula does bring it up. Simon rightfully slams him; good for you! Seacrest softballs him, though.


My rankings for this week are as follows. These do not necessarily reflect vocal ability or performance. It's how much I liked them.

The Good
Chikezie
Carly

The Bad
David C.
Brooke
Amanda
Michael
David H.
Syesha
Jason

The Ugly
Ramiele
Kristy Lee
David A.

Who should be in the bottom 3: David A., Kristy Lee, Ramiele
Who will be in the bottom 3: Kristy Lee, Ramiele, Syesha

Who should go home: Kristy Lee
Who will go home: Kristy Lee

I fell asleep when Ramiele came on during the recap.

Maybe SSKIM should watch Fox's "other" singing show Don't Forget the Lyrics!. How may times does this make someone squandering the Pimp Spot this year?

We'll find out who gets kicked off tomorrow.

High Lord. Out.

A few changes

With Idol starting in about 25 minutes, I've been messing around with the template here at Blogspot. Mainly I did this because I wanted to have Blogger/Blogspot handle my comments, not Haloscan. I've got all the old comments archived, but I feel that the ability to comment that was added here is superior.

There's also been a paintjob and although I'm not sure I love the new look, I think I'm going to take it for a test drive.

If you have any design suggestions, please let me know.

How they'll finish

In what has become an annual ritual of futility, I am going to take it upon myself to predict the finishing order of this year's Top 12. I do not take into account how much I like or dislike someone, but rather how I think "America" will vote, so this is not based on how they should finish, but rather how they will finish.

Line 'em up . . . Mow 'em down!

Every year there are a handful of singers whose only purpose is to get cut. Matt Rogers, Lindsey Cardinale, Melissa McGhee. You know . . . fodder.

This year, those folks are:

12. Chikezie
11. Kristy Lee
10. Ramiele

These people all seem very nice, but none of them are outstanding. They may have gotten a little bit of face time, but not enough to make a difference. Vocally, they are unremarkeable. Not good. Not bad. Just there.

Good stories but not great singers

Many of these people have "compelling" backstories or are interesting for their novelty, but once the votes start flying, they quickly lose their luster. Amanda is the poster child for this phenomenon this year. Her early face time will get her a few votes, but she won't pick up the blocs from eliminated singers.

9. Amanda
8. David H.
7. Jason

Dark Horses

While not clearly in the top tier, these folks can't afford to sandbag. This is where things get interesting because by this time, everyone knows who can phone it in and who needs a home run every week. At the halfway point, the game isn't about picking up new voters, it's getting the powervoters of the person who was voted off the week before.

6. Brooke
5. Syesha
4. David C.

Brooke's problem is that she has not ventured very far out of her comfort zone. Her three performances have basically been the same: hippy, acoustic girl. Syesha needs to unleash the powerful voice within her and David Cook needs to get control over his inner snark. If he mouths off too much, he will come off like Chris Sligh (ie-ungrateful and snotty rather than charming and funny). These three need a late charge in order to stand a chance at making the finale.

The Chosen Ones

Idol has handed these three so many votes you can essentially pencil them in. These three are clearly the frontrunners, not just in terms of talent, but votes.

3. David A.

Despite getting a gazillion votes early on, David A. will peak about midseason and then things will start to go downhill for him. He'll have to get some poise for his interviews; Seacrest can't cover for him every week. Plus, I think he'll have problems picking up votes from some of the others who have been voted off. I originally had him finishing 4th but I think he'll outlast David C.

2. Carly

She will coast through the first through weeks and her background as a professional singer will come in handy when the theme weeks start coming fast and furious. She will also be mentally tougher than some of the other singers (after all, she was dropped from her previous deal, so she knows what it's like to be "voted off" already). While some people already resent her early success, I think she'll pick up enough votes to make it to the finale.

1. Michael

Older singers have always had an advantage on Idol. They have poise and experience. Plus it helps when they have a core group of powervoters at their beck and call even before the real singing starts. The "Aussie Posse" has been alive and well for weeks now and although he may have a bottom 3 scare, it won't get him eliminated. I think he's the last one standing once the confetti falls.

Of course, I don't think I've ever called the winner correctly at the beginning of the Top 12, so don't take me for the gospel.

Remember: All predictions wrong or your money back!

High Lord. Out.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Some Monday ramblings

Yesterday, while visiting the local mall and waiting to find out how much damage Mrs. High Lord did at Kohls, I was listening to the collection of Queen on my iPod. When "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" came on, I had a rather pleasant revelation:

There hasn't been a single "crooner" among the bunch for the last two years. Let's hope they peaked back in season 3 with Sleepy Church Boy John Stevens. Think about it, though: There was Will Makar in season 5 and that's about it. I can only hope their heyday has passed.

Replacing the crooner is the "rocker". First it was Bo and FRC, then Chris Daughtry. This year it's OTP Amanda along with David Cook, who needs to get a move that Chris D. didn't do first (tilt head back, glare into camera, shout lyrics). At least they're letting him play the guitar so he can strum along while tilting his head back, glaring into the camera and shouting lyrics.

There is an article over at CNN about my least favourite contestant, the tastefully-named but speaking-challenged David Archuleta. They claim that his giggling is a reflex and that he does it all the time. I find it annoying as hell. His voice may be what got him this far, and some people may find his shyness loveable, but if you're going to be the American Idol, maybe you should be able to put a coherent sentence together in an interview.

We'll see if he can improve over the next couple of months otherwise I'm predicting that he'll follow in the footsteps of FRC, Chris D. and Melinda and get an early exit.

Tomorrow night there are 12 singers in two hours. That means 18 minutes of singing and 102 minutes of unnecessary advertising, product placement and hey-look-at-me talk from the judges.

See you then!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

On to the Top 12

After the last two nights, it's clear to me that the guys this year are generally stronger than the girls. It's also clear that there are some people who are better performers than they are singers, so this should make things interesting going into the finals.

I know some people are sick of hearing about the impact face time has on the results, but I found an interesting article over at EW which also doubled as Jason Yeager's exit interview.

Jason says:
Nobody knew who I was before I showed up in the top 24. Colton [Berry] was in the same boat; Garrett [Haley] was in the same boat. It's kind of sad sometimes. . . .

I think you're definitely at a disadvantage, and I don't care what people say: You are at a disadvantage when you know that you were there, but according to America, it's like, ''Why didn't they show you during your first round?'' I don't know. ''How come they didn't show you during Hollywood?'' I don't know. ''How come they haven't done any backstories on you?'' I have no idea. So now I'm faced with being in the top 24 — and blessed to be there — but now I've got to do something that's going to get people behind me. . . .

It just made me laugh when Simon was like, ''I think your problem is that you don't stand out.'' I just laughed to myself on the inside, because I did everything everyone else did — all the interviews and whatnot — but I have absolutely no say over what gets used on the show. It was just disappointing. I have so much more I could have shown people if I had the chance. Right now, I'm just trying to swallow all that up.

As we all know, since the advent of the powervoter in season 3, sticking around is all about voting blocs. If you have a solid base of fan support, whether it's people from your hometown (Diana DeGarmo), people who buy into your backstory (Anthony) or people who want to see a trainwreck week after week (Sanjaya), if you have people ready, willing and able to vote for you not just a handful of times, but hundreds of times, you have a definite advantage over people who haven't been seen at all.

Can someone who doesn't get a lot of face time advance? Sure. Bo was shown once during the auditions/Hollywood rounds and he finished second.

But for the most part, the people who don't get shown on TV are simply there to get mowed down. If the Idol cameras follow you home and show you feeding cows on your farm (Carrie) or getting kicked out of your band (Constantine), then you're going to get votes.

If you're Aloha Mischeaux, too bad.

Once the remaining singers are whittled down to the Top 10, things become more about personality and singing, but in the rounds of 24, face time is everything. Even bad or negative publicity is better than none. Sure there was a backlash against "professional" singers this year (as there is every year), but don't you think being shown on TV got Carly some extra votes? Or how about Kristy Lee selling her horse? You don't think that move picked up some fans?

Does it pick the winner? No. Does it unfairly give some singers and advantage over others? Of course.

This is one of my biggest complaints about the beginning weeks of the show, and I hope Idol finds a way to fix it.

In other news, how about Randy taking the opening minutes of the show last week to defend the theme weeks during the rounds of 24? As I remember, he said something to the effect of "we want the kids singing better songs than are being written today so we went back a few years to do it."

What the hell are you talking about, Dawg?!?!?!? Is Paula sharing some of her juice with you?

Last I checked, the kids weren't recording an album for the 60s, an 8-track for the 70s or a tape for the 80s. They're in the 21st Century now! Let them sing songs that reflect that. After all, the winner's songs will be released on iTunes.

The themes have got to go, and not just in the rounds of 24. They need to be very broad (ie-country, hard rock, singer-singwriter, showtunes, etc.), not themes that are destined to sink some singers (ie-Gloria Estefan, Queen). I'm hoping that the age of guest "judges" who just want to come on the show to hoc their latest project are long past. If they're going to bring other people on, make sure they're there to mentor the singers, not pimp themselves.

I'll get off my soapbox . . . for now.

On to the results:

Is Blake pre-empting the goup sing? If he is, I'm going to be pissed. I want to hear 16 people take a shot at a craptacular medley featuring Duran Duran, Expose, Culture Club, The Human League and The Go-Gos not the First Loser from last year.

After paying some bills and then lining the pockets of the people at Fox, Seacrest shows us the remaining 16 singers. Why are we pimping Paula's song and video? Isn't this show about the singers? Or is it about the judges?

Like last week, according to DialIdol, SSK (Star Search Kid David Archuleta) is the only one who is statistically safe. The four who are in danger are Luke, Kady, Syesha and XSG. I don't think Syesha is in danger because she got the Pimp Spot on Wednesday.

David C. is the first singer to be put through to the Top 12. SSK is next and he's safe, too (Duh!). WDB/Jen the Gelfling is third and he's also safe. That's five guys left and three spots. If I'm still sitting on the couch, I'm getting nervous as hell right now.

We're treated to some more commercials as 19E drags out what should be a 12 minute results show into 60 minutes of product placement and commercialism.

The montage of the girls only highlights how weak they were yesterday.

Brooke is the first girl called up. Mrs. High Lord says Brooke needs to cut her 60s flower child hair and she's right. And Brooke's safe. Syesha is next and despite a weak 80s night, she got to go last and she's safe, too. I think to throw us for a loop, Seacrest is going to whack the third girl whose name he calls.

Girl #3 is Kady and she's gone. Damn, I'm good!

I think her downfall is that she is just another interchangeable blonde girl. She's pretty and a good singer, but those come a dime a dozen on this show. Vocally, she's superior to Amanda, but there's never been another singer like the "Rocker Nurse" and there have been plenty of high school pageant queens who can sing.

We're back to the guys and XSG is first. I'll bet he stays . . . (dramatic pause) . . . and he does.

That leaves four guys: Michael, Chikezie, Danny and Dead Man Walking.

Michael is safe leaving three guys and two eliminations.

Luke is next and he's going to get whacked and he knows it. I don't think there was on person in America who isn't related to Luke by blood, marriage or court order who thought he would make the Top 12. Luke was also okay, but he was the equivalent of an IBG for the guys. He was Ace Light, and that's what got him kicked off American Idol.

As he sings his way off, it occurs to me that the band is playing about 20% faster than they need to. If Seacrest didn't waste so much time making us sit through the Randy-Paula-Simon blather, they wouldn't be pressed for time. That leaves FGB and Chikezie going into the commercial break wondering who's going to get the axe. I'll bet it's the brotha (cuz that's how Idol rolls).

If I see another ad for Moment of Truth or that stupid Domino's ad with the fake Brooklyn accents, I'm going to be sick.

The girls are back. The odds are good for these five. Ramiele is the first to be called up and she's safe. I see Danny's not wearing her shades.

TIG is next and she's (predictably) safe. Amanda's next and she's going to sail through. Let's all say it together: FACE TIME!

ISMH and Asia'h are the two remaining girls. They're called to the seal and made to wait through a commercial break. I'll bet Asia'h gets canned. The Dead Man's Spot might claim it's first victim tonight. We get some filler and then Asia'h gets booted.

Repeat after me:

Thou shalt not sing Whitney, Mariah or Celine unless thou art actually Whitney, Mariah or Celine.

As Asia'h sings her way off, Danny looks like he's about to wet himself. Seacrest strings things out for a few agonising minutes and then makes an announcement:

Chikezie is safe; Danny gets canned. Ramiele is in tears. I certainly didn't see this one coming. I thought his "sass" would get him through to the Top 12. He seemed to have lots of lurvers out there and I didn't see Chikezie having a big voting bloc. I guess Soft Cell just wasn't the right call for him.

Anyone surprised at the Top 12? If so, let me know.

High Lord. Out.