Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Who's going to make the Top 4

According to DialIdol, it seems that the Pimp Spot will preserve its magic for another week. They say Syesha and David C. are statistically safe, while Brooke is the low vote-getter.

I think last week was the first time someone DialIdol had declared safe actually got whacked. I see Seacrest putting The Arch in the bottom 2/3 just for kicks and to "prove" that he's not invincible, thus further motivating his legions to vote all that much harder for him next week.

To me, the weakest two from last night were Jason and David A., but we all know that The Arch isn't going anywhere, so that leaves Brooke as the other person who might be left standing when the music stops. Some other folks say that Jason wants to go home, but I just think he's a laid back guy who's not going to get too worked up over this show. I don't think anyone seriously thinks he's going to win, but I don't think he just doesn't care either.

Don't forget to vote in this week's poll. Here are the results from last week:



It seems that the clear winner for this year's signature song is David C.'s "Billie Jean". I can't argue with that. In a season with only a handful of "wow" moments, that was certainly one of the highlights.

Part of my problem with this year is that there are not standout performances. Yes, some people have been very good, but it seems that there's a lot of mediocrity. Admittedly, part of it is that there are a lot of talented singers this season and a deep field means that no one is running away with the show week after week (like Clay, Rueben, Carrie and Bo did).

Another part goes to song choice. I wrote a little bit about this last night and if you read last night's Idol post there's a link to an article at MSNBC that talks about song choice.

Because there have been so few contemporary songs, there have been almost no moments when you sit up and say, "I want to listen to that on the radio!"

Even Simon alluded to it last night when the told David C. that his was the only performance that even sounded contemporary. Is this the singers's fault? Of course not; it's the themes. Thanks to the theme rounds being inexplicably and unnecessarily started in the rounds of 24, there have been virtually no songs from the last decade.

And people wonder why no Idol has been successful since Kelly . . .

Maybe it's because they're creating singers who would have sounded fine on the radio 20 years ago and not today. Someone go shake Nigel and get him to wake the hell up. If you want to hear the American Idol on the radio today, have them sing songs we'll recognise.

It can't be an issue of getting rights to a song. You don't think everyone and their brother doesn't want to be heard on Idol? C'mon . . . you got the frickin' Beatles! Get some contemporary songs on the show and more people will tune in. Better yet, the person who wins will actually have listeners once the show ends.

On to the show . . .

. . . And a KLC sighting in the audience. One thing that was good about last night's show was that with 10 songs packed into an hour, it meant that there was much less meaningless banter from the judges (plus, we also got to see what happens to Paula when she's off her meds). It's too bad they couldn't cut out some of the commercials to let the kids sings some more.

I hope there's a medley tonight . . . it starts off like one. And it seems that in opening his eyes, The Arch has picked up FRC's patented eye-boink. And it's a medley with five people who have no vocal chemistry. This does not bode well for the tour. They can't even dance in step. Neil obviously wasn't listening because he didn't rush the stage and beat the crap out of the quintet.

Hey, look . . . there's FRC. And an original eye-boink to boot! At least we got to see a little bit more of my Gina G; I'd like to see a lot more (like FHM more), but I'll take that.

During the recap, couldn't you just see that Simon wanted to rip The Arch a new one over using his song choice to pander for votes? It seems odd that they give us a 2½ minute recap which was longer than the kids got to sing last night?

Now some results:

First out is Jen the Gelfling. I'll bet he's bottom 2. If he's safe, this will be an upset of monumental proportions . . . and he's safe!!!! OMG!! WTF!?!!?

I guess this means Brooke is going to get whacked.

Next to be called to the stage is The Arch. Is this going to be his Ruebenesque trip to the bottom 2? We're reminded that Randy lurves this guy almost in a creepy kind of way. Can he speak with out giggling? Almost . . . you'll notice that Seacrest didn't ask Simon to clarify that his remarks. He's also declared safe. No surprise there.

I need to check with the guys at work and see if Nigel entered our "hair" pool.

Next out is David C. I'll bet this week's shocker is to put him in the bottom 2 . . . and I'm wrong (again). This is why you should nevah listen to me. That leaves Syesha and Brooke as the bottom 2.

And half an hour to kill.

Do you realise that since season 4 that this is only the third time that the person going in the Pimp Spot has been in the bottom 2 or bottom 3. Blake was in the bottom 3 once and Anthony was kicked off (when there were only four people left) when they were in the bottom 3. Other than that, everyone going last has been safe. That's an incredible safety record.

While we sit through the iTunes ad, I'd like to mention my new Bluetooth headset I got for my iPod. It's the super cool Motorola S9 along with a cheapie off-brand Bluetooth transmitter. I can't get the two to pair, although I did get the headset to pair with my Razr. If anyone has any tips, let me know!

Now it's time for the random performance from someone who's never been on Idol before (although her song did get BBG eliminated two years ago). Like what'shername last week, I couldn't give a crap about this girl. If you're going to put some random singer on the stage, why couldn't it be an Idol alum? I'm sure there are lots of them out there who are looking for a gig. Maybe the Brittenum boys, for example.

Oh, crap . . . they're taking calls again. I thought we were done with this crap. Why, Nigel? Why the hell do you think we want to sit through this?!?!?! I just had to hold Mrs. High Lord back; she was about to jump through the screen to strangle Seacrest.

Now it's time for Neil Diamond who, [sarcasm=on]lo and behold!!!![/sarcasm] has a new album. I'd much rather have heard "Heartlight".

If they're going to give the eliminated kid some time to sing before the credits roll, they need to hurry through the album plug. After a slate of commercials, it's finally elimination time.

Brooke and Syesha stand centerstage and then . . . Brooke gets whacked. I wonder if she's going to sing one of her two songs from last night.

Now who's going to forget the lyrics? It seems she can't sing her way off without flubbing the words. At least this time she has the excuse of just getting cut.

I think she peaked about a month and a half ago with "Let It Be" and it's all been downhill since. If she continues in showbiz, I think she's actually got a future. You already know how every one of her songs is going to sound, and if you like her sound, she could sell a lot of songs/records on the A/C charts or even be a serviceable pop singer.

In a show that constantly changes genres, she struggled and showed that she's not mentally tough enough for the week-in/week-out grind that is the American Idol schedule.

Next week, I'd look for Jason or Syesha to get canned, with the other one going in the next go-round. And then it's on to the all-David finale.

So there you have it: Bye, Brooke. See you on the tour.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What the hell is Def Leppard doing on DWTS?

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

I was going to skip the first part of the DWTS results show (until the actual elimination) but Mrs. High Lord had it on and when Def Leppard came on, I just had to blog. It's the giant rolling head I can't look away from.

First of all, what the hell have these guys been up to? First the drummer looses an arm in a car accident (I know I'm going to hell for doing this, but sometime remind me to tell you about the Halloween I went trick-or-treating as Rick Allen), then Steve Clark died of a drug overdose. And then they fell off the face of the earth.

They left behind two legacies: First, they invented the hair band genre. There's not much argument here; they were the first with the most Aquanet. Second, they gave us the greatest song to evah grace the speakers of a gentlemen's club. There's also no argument here either. Name one song that's better when performed with a pole; I'll even give you five minutes to come up with one.

You can't collect. They should be performing on the Pussycat Dolls show, not DWTS. Especially now that Kym and Julienne are gone. There's some blather and now Def Leppard is back singing a song I don't know. Why couldn't it have been "Photograph" or even "Two Steps Behind"?

And what happened to the little kids that dance?

As soon as Cristián and Cheryl are called to the stage, Mrs. High Lord said they're going to drop out. He gives us a briefing on his arm, but he's apparently going to stay. Hmmmmmmmmmmm . . .

They're promptly declared safe. How is he going to go on with a ruptured tendon in his arm?

That leaves Shannon & Derek and Marissa & Tony in the bottom 2.

Not a lot of suspense tonight. With only a short period of scary music, Shannon gets whacked, much to the chagrin of Mrs. High Lord. Now she won't get to oogle Derek any more.

I'm rather surprised. I thought for sure either Cristián or Marissa would have gotten canned tonight.

See you tomorrow for the Idol results.

High Lord. Out. Again.

Idol's Top Five

With the surprising ouster of Carly Smithson last week, we're left with one former TCO who's nearing an on-stage meltdown, a guy who would rather be doing something herbal, a girl who is inexplicably still around after repeated brushes with the bottom 3, a guy who is praying that he doesn't win because then he'll have to make the kind of record he deplores, and the pre-ordained winner.

I read an article over at MSNBC this morning that discussed whether Seacrest might be out as the host next year. Here's another one that blames the song catalog.

Speaking specifically to the second article, over at Idoling Along a commenter asked why they don't sing more songs from the last five years since that's the kind of music the winner will be recording. Good question; apparently Idol doesn't know the answer. I'll address that tomorrow (I need some reason for you guys to tune in!).

There are a lot of factors that go into Idol's ratings slide for this year. Some people say it's the song catalog. Others think it's because there is no "Sanjaya" singer. Many people simply believe the show had jumped the shark.

To me there are two factors that are responsible for a decline in ratings. Before I address those, let me say that a "ratings slide" for Idol still means no one else wants to go up against them. You can think of this year's season of Idol as merely being a "huge" red dragon, not a "colossal" one; you don't want to be going up against either because even in platemail, you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup. Make no mistake, even with viewership down, Idol's numbers are still a wet dream for most TV execs.

On to the two reasons why I think Idol is losing viewers:
  1. We live in a republic where every person has a vote. The public will only become an electorate if they think their votes count. Over the past few seasons, the casual fan has come to believe their vote doesn't count. Not that 19E will disregard their vote (which they can do), but because for the most part, "America" doesn't pick the winner, the powervoters do.

    Rabid fans first came into the Idol gestalt in season 2 with the advent of the Claymates. They were rabidly loyal and quick to rip anyone to shreds who dared to suggest anything other than 1) Clay Aiken was the greatest singer in the world or 2) that he might be gay.

    However, it wasn't until season 3 that the powervoters truly came into their own. This was the season when Diana DeGarmo's hometown unabashedly began voting for her in droves, regardless of how well she actually did. Other singers had similar followings. Since Idol has no cap on the number of votes a single person can cast, it's just a matter of how many times someone can hit redial.

    In this way, a person who will rabidly vote for their favourite (as Seacrest implores us to do) and gets through 400-600 times per night, will do more for their person than 100 other folks who might cast three or four votes for the person they think did the best that week.

    Because of these folks, the casual fan sees their votes as being devalued. It doesn't help that now there are millions of 11 year old kids whose parents have bought them cell phones with unlimited text messaging plans who are also in on the act. So not only can a kid set up an automated dialer for their fave, they can text to their little heart's content.

    All this does is to keep people around who have the most blindly loyal fans instead of the people who have a good week.

  2. There is no suspense to the show anymore. A few years ago, Idol was about finding the best undiscovered talent. It was the chance for an unknown person to come out of nowhere and get their big break. I think season three was the last year of the true amateurs.

    Now, it's a platform for retreads or people who just haven't gotten over the hump to get their chance. And what struggling singer isn't willing to sell their soul for that one big chance?

    How many singers have we seen on the show who have been professionals in every way but name? Or how many had a chance and just hadn't made it big?

    Carly is the best example of this, but don't forget that Sway, FRC and David Cook had deals either as solo artists or as part of a group. Bo, Taylor, Melinda and Robbie all performed professionally.

    The singers make no apology for this, nor should they. After all, they want to be living the dream and if it takes Idol to do so, more power to them. Unfortunately, this had made the people going on the show more self-aware than is good for the show. You have people like Chris Sligh openly admitting that he's playing the game. So was Haley Scarnato last year when she whipped out the girls and lots of short skirts. And KLC this year when she starting picking songs that were blatantly pandering for votes.

    Since the semi-pros have a distinct advantage over the amateurs (Julia DeMato, anyone?), you can pretty much write the ringers/plants into the finals. It's safe to say that this season is David Archuleta's to lose. He's been handed so many votes and Randy can't stop slurping him that he would have to bite the head off a kitten on stage in order not to win. So why tune in to the show if you already know who's gong to win?
What's the solution? First of all, forget about changing the host or the judges. Unless one of them wants out, the chemistry there is not an issue.

While I also believe the song catalog plays a role in viewership, I think if they addressed the two issues above, people would tune in. First of all, we need to be voting people off. That would dilute the influence of the powervoters because it's often very apparent to the public who the worst singer is on any given night and it's unlikely that several singers's powervoters will get together in a coordinated manner to vote a mutual enemy off. It also brings the power of the show back to the general public.

Second, they need to bar anyone who has ever had a recording contract or performed professionally. If you want to maintain interest in the show as a platform to showcase "unknown" talent, you can't have people on the show who have had their chance.

I think if Idol does these two main things, then it will be alright. Of course there are some other changes I'd like to see made (a wide-open songbook, get rid of the mosh pit, more singing and less banter from the judges, etc.), but these two things will stop the ratings slide.

Enough of my ramblings (at least it's not about politics tonight), so on to the show . . .

As with other weeks, I'm going to live-blog the show, so if you see a typo, disregard it because I'll probably catch it tomorrow and with any luck, I'll fix it.

Are we taking bets on whether Brooke flubs the beginning of either of her two songs tonight?

I'd like to take this opportunity to give a shout-out to my old high school yearbook adviser, Faye Milner who lurved her some Neil Diamond. She used to have this ratty old sweatshirt with Neil's mug on the front that she'd wear whenever we'd come in on the weekend or stay late after school. I hope she's watching with bated breath.

I also hope that Neil actually tries to help the kids out instead of pimping his own project.

Leading of the show in the dreaded Dead Man's Spot is WDB. In the intro piece, he's in full stoner mode. Do you really think the Harold and Kumar faction powervotes? His first song is "Forever in Blue Jeans". I wish he'd stay away from "the false", but he doesn't. He's got his safety blanket back (the guitar). At least he can sing with his eyes open. I'm not a fan, but this actually isn't bad. I'm not going say it was great, because it wasn't, but it was pleasant and non-threatening. Going first won't help him.

Going in the two-hole is SHBORS who gets Seacrest to say stupid stuff. His first song is "I'm Alive". He's also playing the guitar, only his is wired. I think he really doesn't want to win; he'd rather be Chris Daughtry than Taylor Hicks. He'll certainly never be performing Neil Diamond songs when he goes on tour, but this rendition is serviceable, if unspectacular.

"I'm a Believer" is a Neil Diamond song, but was made famous by The Monkees and Donkey. AHG wants to rock it out, but it doesn't quite work for me. It's a good song for her, even though she takes on the Shrek version. She shakes the nerves that plagued her last week. I'm really want to make a shiny pants joke that won't turn this into an R-rated blog. It was upbeat and fun, something she has not been for a long, long time.

Who was that guy behind Seacrest in the audience that has his own gravity well?

Next up is SSKIM who's singing "Sweet Caroline" as his first number. Have I mentioned how much I dislike him on this show and how I don't see what apparently his legion of fangirls do? Vocally, he doesn't do a lot with the song and it even sounded a little bit shouty. Blech.

After opening the show last week, CBV gets this Pimp Spot for the second time this year. The people in front need to stop swaying. I think I'm going to be sick. I like her hair down; she's very pretty. She oversings a little bit, instead of a lot. I think if she could get that under control, she'd be fantastic, instead of just really good. "Hello Again" is a nice ballad without being sappy.

Between the rounds, I can't help but wonder what interest Randy has in sucking up to The Arch so much. He was not "da bomb". The Dawg is probably going to be producing the first album.

And Paula is high (as usual). Simon called The Arch amatuerish and he's 100% correct.

During the obligatory Ford commercial, I am always struck by Ford having to announce that "And yes, Ford is not equal to Toyota in quality." As if that makes up for decades of selling crappy cars to consumers that were not well built and are still lagging behind Toyota in terms of amenities and fuel efficiency. Hey, Ford, if you hadn't been selling shit for so long, you wouldn't have to announce it to the world like it was something to be proud of.

Jen the Gelfling's second song is "September Morn" and he's gone with another safe ballad. I think he'll definitely be in the bottom 2/3 (whatever they're having this week) and might very well be gone. I'm not wowed and his puppy dog eyes don't work on me. It seems just like every song he's done for the past five weeks and only the words are different.

"All I Really Need is You" is Word Nerd's second song. It's also aiiiiight. In defense of the kids, it's not like Neil Diamond has a lot of range in his catalog, so it could be that they're doing the best they can with a crappy hand. He croons as best he can, but doesn't really get a chance to rock it out. I'd liked to have seen him perform "Heartlight" if only for the Velveeta factor.

Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it seems that Randy really wants to have an all-David finale. So do Paula and Simon.

I really dislike the Burger Czar commercial where the guys rams the car in front of him at the drive-thru; "Our sandwich is sooooo good it will turn you into a jackass behind the wheel!" I'm sure that's not the message that needs to be sent.

If they're so concerned with time, why do some people still get a sit-down interview? I'm not sure I'd sit behind the piano (ie-the scene of the crime) if I were Self-Implosion Girl. "I Am, I Said" is much more in her element, and that's too bad because she always sounds like a cheap imitation of Carly Simon. This week is more of the same for her, which is both good and bad. At least she didn't flub the lyrics. What the hell is Paula talking about with Idol Gives Back?

With only a few minutes left, The Arch takes on a song I was really looking forward to hearing Michael or Carly try, "America". His voice is too high for this song. He sounds like he's 12 and he just doesn't have the big voice Neil brings to this. Maybe he's hoping to round up KLC's "patriot" voters. I thought it was a mess, although I'm sure the judges will all love it.

Randy slurps him. So does Paula. Simon (in his own way) compliments The Arch for playing the game well; you'll notice that Simon never said he was good.

Finishing out the show is Whitney Wannabe with "Thank the Lord for the Nighttime". Learning a lesson from last week, she's upbeat and not doing one of Neil's ballads. It's not spectacular and I'm not sure it was Pimp Spot worthy, but she was good. I think she's fighting for her life and she knows it.

The Good
no one tonight

The Bad
Syesha, "Thank the Lord for the Nighttime"
Brooke, "I'm a Believer"
Syesha, "Hello Again"
David C., "All I Really Need is You"
David C., "I'm Alive"
Brooke, "I Am, I Said"
Jason, "September Morn"
Jason, "Forever in Blue Jeans"
David A., "Sweet Caroline"

The Ugly
David A., "America"

Of all the themes to have, I'm perplexed by having Neil Diamond this week. It speaks directly to the article above about the themes; after all, how many hits has Neil Diamond had in the last 20 years? In fact, I think the last time he was in the top 10, it was before any of these kids was born.

To me, the worst of the night was The Arch, who had a horrible night. He sounded off his game and the theme didn't help him. Maybe he's sandbagging.

The person in the most danger of going home is Jason, followed by Syesha and Brooke (in that order), but at this point the only question for them is what order they're going to be voted off; the Davids are coasting into the finale.

Who should be in the bottom 3: David A., David C., Jason
Who will be in the bottom 2: Brooke, Jason, Syesha

Who should go home: David A.
Who will go home: Jason

With five weeks to go, you'd think they'd be getting the kids ready to sing the songs they're going to be taking on tour and recording for their album, not performing songs that are 30 years old. Does anyone know what next week's theme is? Because this one sucked.

Neil may be a nice guy, but he did them no favours this week. And I mean that for the network as much as the singers.

I think I'm going to skip the first 50 minutes of the DWTS results show and just tune in to the actual results. I'm betting that Cristián and Cheryl get whacked unless they got mounds of sympathy votes.

High Lord. Out.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Who's still dancing?

I'm barely paying attention to one of my favourite reality TV shows and I'm about to quit watching the other. It seems both DWTS and Idol have already chosen their winners; all we're waiting on now are the coronation of Kristi Yamaguchi and The Arch. Can anyone unseat these two? I'm thinking not, although there are some folks who could make a strong charge at second place.

In other news, have you gotten your "tax rebate" check back? I'm told that the money is starting to appear in bank accounts via direct deposit and actual checks are going out beginning next week. What was the purpose of these things again? Stimulate the economy through consumer spending.

I don't know about you, but our "rebate" isn't going to be stimulating any economy, it's going to pay off debt. A few months ago, I mentioned that our AC died, so we replaced it along with the furnace. Now we've got about $3,000 left to pay it off and an early tax rebate will take a big chunk out of it.

Of course, this doesn't really help the economy, does it? We're not going to be putting new money in, we're just paying off old debt, something I think a lot of folks are going to be doing.

How far will $1,200 get you? About 24 tanks of gas. Or pay off two "starter" credit cards. Plus, it seems too little, too late.

Another question I have is how are we paying for this "economic stimulus program"? We borrowed the money!!! That's right, Dubya went further into debt--a debt the rest of us are going to have to pay off--for a cheap, and now belated, bounce in the polls.

It disgusts me. And I don't mean to pile on to the Republicans, because the Democrats are just as culpable. Why can't we stop mortgaging our national future by borrowing money, but spending if we're going to cut taxes and hike the gas tax to make us un-reliant on foreign oil?

Anyway, on to the dancing . . .

If you don't think Kristi is going to win, you're not watching the show and you're not reading this blog every week. This thing is Kristi's to loose. She has too much poise, too much talent and everyone else is coming up short.

With six couples left, some people are peaking and some are just waiting around to get kicked off. They're doing two dances tonight, one ballroom and one latin.

First up are Tony and Marissa who played second fiddle to Pam Anderson on the short-lived TV show "Stacked" (where she was actually pretty good). Their opening dance is the tango which isn't helped by the fact that she's a head shorter than he, even in the heels. Her tubbiness doesn't lend itself to this dance well, either. I think she's trying, but it was a little flat for me. The folks in wardrobe didn't help her any.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 7

Going second are Cheryl and Cristián. He looks stiff; there's no flow and he's counting along in his head. The sliding around on the floor looked more like an ice-dancing routine than ballroom. I give it a big aiiiight, although Cheryl was much better than he was. The judges are being extra kind tonight.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-9
The High Lord's Score:

After two seasons of score inflation, Kristi and Mark earned the first 30 of the season last week. To ease the tension, Kristi takes him to her venue of choice: the ice rink. The umbrella is an inventive prop. The choreography is inventive and Mark does a good job of playing to Kristi's strengths. I don't know if they'll get another 30, but it will be close.
The Judges's Scores: 9-8-9
The High Lord's Score: 9

Notice how Samantha reminded Mark about how he and Sabrina were the best dancers and still go kicked off. Hey, Samantha, I've got a lead pipe in the trunk of my car; why don't you whack Mark in the knee with it?

A guy seemingly without a large fanbase is Mario and Mrs. Six Pack Abs. I like him, but I don't know him. He seems like he could be a fun guy, but I don't know his music and he doesn't have the same kind of personality that Steve and Adam have, so he's not quite as accessible as those two. Their foxtrot is god, and Karina proves to be a good teacher and a good choreographer. If they get voted off, it won't be for lack of trying or because they're not good dancers. I just don't know who's voting for these two.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score:

Last week, the judges rightfully ripped Shannon for not having any hip action. She and Derek get the tango as their first dance. I think she peaked a couple of weeks ago and maybe the show is starting to get to her (Exhibit A being last week's meltdown). She looks off her game tonight, like she's thinking too much and not just dancing.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score:

My good friend Charley 3.0 just called me and told me to check out Deal or No Deal, where Darth Vader is guest-starring as The Banker and there are stormtroopers playing the roles of the girls.

The last of the dancers are Jason and Edyta with the quickstep. This is normally my favourite of the ballroom dances, but he's just too darn tall. It doesn't work for me, but that's not his fault. His legs are just too long to be moving that fast. The judges are kinder to them than I thought they deserved.
The Judges's Scores: 10-9-10
The High Lord's Score: 8

Now that everyone has danced once, it's time for Marissa and Tony. Am I being a humbug tonight or is anyone else just not wowed by the show this year? Everyone just seems "meh" tonight.
The Judges's Scores: 9-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 8

They're running out of time, so without too much banter Cristián and Cheryl are back. This is much more his speed, and Cheryl is as hawt as ever. They should get a nice bounce out of this performance. He apparently hurt his arm at the end. Like the time when Marie collapsed last year, Tom quickly takes over and covers well. Stopping in the middle of the dance will kill their score.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-7
The High Lord's Score:

Carrie Ann said they judged up until the point of the injury, but the scores look like they took a point or two off for it.

After a disappointing first dance, Kristi and Mark are back and they seem to have their mojo back. It would be a shame if they had to spend a week in 2nd place. She seems to have her attitude back and doesn't look as robotic as she has in the past. Bruno and Carrie going "up top" over Len is priceless.
The Judges's Scores: 10-8-10
The High Lord's Score:

I think Mario and Karina will be in the bottom 2 again and they come out with a technically good, but uninspired (to me) cha-cha-cha. I thought they were good, but they not top tier dancers.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 8

They're rushing through the show thanks to Cristián's injury. Shannon and Derek get the mambo as their second dance. She still doesn't have enough hip action. The cleavage action is good, though. Mrs. High Lord likes Derek's shirtless action. It's much better than their first dance. And Shannon make sure she wiggles her hips in Len's lap.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score:

Why won't Samantha shut her pie hole when other people are talking?

Wrapping up the show are Jason and Edyta. I never thought I'd hear the MNF theme on this show. Who the hell picks the music? I guess it's not a bad theme for the day after the draft. This is almost as bad as using the Superman theme. Music aside, it's not as bad as I thought it would be, although I am still perplexed by the music choice.
The Judges's Scores: 9-8-9
The High Lord's Score:

"Co-players"? Samantha needs to really show off the girls to make me forget how good Drew was in that job.

Despite finishing second in the judging, Kristi and Mark are still the couple to beat. Jason is their only serious competition. Everyone else is fighting for third place.

I hope Cristián is okay.

See you back here for The David Archuleta Show tomorrow and the DWTS results.

High Lord. Out.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Happy Birthday!

If you haven't done so already, you need to go visit our good friend Jennifer at Idoling Along and wish her a belated Happy Birthday for last Friday, 25 April. I would have done so myself but Friday was a busy day for the High Lord's extended family.

Beth Ann, the Official Stepdaughter of the High Lord, was due last Sunday but her baby would have none of that. So five days late, the little one decided she was done cooking and decided to join the rest of us.

Brooklynn was born a little after 8:30 Friday night. Mrs. High Lord and I went down and sat in the waiting room along with her ex-husband and his wife. The Baby Daddy was the only one allowed in the room. We finally got to see her at about 9:45, nabbed a few pix and then let them do whatever it is that you do with new babies.

The baby was 9 lbs., 9 oz. and 21½" long. Everyone is in good health we expect them to be released some time on Monday.

Here's Mommy and little Brooklynn.

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Brooklynn being held by Mrs. High Lord.

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Brooklynn and the Baby Daddy.

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Mrs. High Lord and the Baby.

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Me and Brooklynn. I was hoping that they'd name the baby Davina but alas, that was not to be.

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The baby and her big ole head.

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Beth Ann, Brooklynn and Mrs. High Lord.

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We went back to visit on Saturday morning and took some more pictures.

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Brooklynn sleeping.

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Beth Ann and Brooklynn after a good night's sleep.

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Feeding time. Look at that big head o' hair.

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At 9-9, the baby is too big for the newborn-sized outfit they had brought for her, the Baby Daddy had to bring something else for her to wear. Her feet are so big that they almost didn't fit on the card that shows the kid's first footprint.

I've got about a year before it makes a difference, but I'm trying to pick out my "grandparent" name. I'm shooting for Poppy, but Mrs. High Lord says I need to find out how to say "grandfather" in Vietnamese; she thinks I need a name that's suitably ethnic (whatever the hell that means). If that's the case, I think I'd like to be called "Revered Grandfather" or something similar. Suggestions would be appreciated.

Anyway, thanks for indulging my need to post baby pix; if you stick around long enough, you'll probably see (many) more.

See you back here tomorrow night for DWTS.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Someone is about to be come a memmmmmm-oryyyyyyy . . . All alone in the mooooooooooooon-light.

Sorry, I was possessed by the spirit of the Right Honourable Lord Lloyd-Webber.

Last night, we some some really great performances . . . and some really bad ones, too.

First the results of last week's poll:

It seems that the small sample of Idol watchers who stop by here just want the judges to shut up and let the kids sing. That seems like a reasonable request to me.

Don't forget to vote in this weeks poll (to the right). Not that I'm trying to influence the way you all vote in the poll on my blog, here is an encore of my favourite performance from last night.

In my opinion the two best performances from this year's showtunes theme was Carly and Syesha (in that order, although they were essentially 1 and 1-A). It makes me wish that more people would sing their lungs out instead of going for a sappy ballad with the big note at the end (Scott Savol, Archuleta . . . I'm talking to you). As the tastefully-named David Cook reminds us, we like our Idols to rock, not sing sleepy church songs (*cough*JohnStevens*cough*).

I've read in a couple of places where people claim Carly flubbed some of her lyrics. I've watched the video a couple of time and I don't hear it. I think there are a couple of times when her timing is off from the chorus, but it strikes me as intentional. I know it violates #3 of my rules (also to the right), but I liked it.

Also, I've heard several people say that The Arch messed up some of his lyrics, but I didn't hear that either. Speaking of The Arch, he's boring the hell out of me. Every week sounds the same. Pop Quiz; you've got three seconds to answer: What did he sing last week? Question #2, and you've still only got three seconds so no looking it up on Wikipedia: What did he sing last night?

Can't remember? Me, neither. He's basically sung the same song six weeks in a row; only the words change (and he managed to screw them up on Beatles Night v1.0). I know there are lots of little tweenie girls and grandmas out there who are lurving The Arch, but I don't see how he'll have any sort of long-term success. The public likes their Idols to have a little bit of edge to them, and he just doesn't have it. His voice is good, but to me there's no Yo!

And the way the judges (especially Randy) sucks up to him incessantly . . . to the point where they can't openly praise the other singers when they do well . . . just turns me off to him even more. I've gone over to the dark side and I think he'll win, but that doesn't mean I'm going to buy his CD or download his songs from iTunes.

Oh, well, I'll have to console myself with the fact that this season is all-David, all the time, and that's a good thing.

Now on to the results show:

After a brief intro, it's time for the group song, "All I Ask of You" from "Phantom". This group has absolutely no harmonic skillz. They could really use the talents of Anwar or K-Mac's mom to coach them up. ALW pulls a David Foster and plays the piano for the kids, but that still doesn't help them. I was hoping for a medley. If I were scoring the group sings, I'd give that one a 6 out of 10.

The person who gets kicked off will be in good company; this is also the week Carmen, Phil, John Stevens, Pickler and FRC got whacked, so there is a reasonable chance of success (Pickler). Of course, they could also fall off the face of the Earth (Carmen, Christina).

During the recap, Paula told The Arch that he took a risk . . . Say WHAT!?!?!?! He didn't take a risk; he did what he usually does: turn a song into a pop ballad. There's no risk in that. He's been doing the same damn thing all season long.

I'm also reminded of how painful David C.'s last note was.

Then ALW gets some interview time. I guess this is to make up for him not having a CD to pimp. Of all the mentors they've had in the past few years, he comes off as one of the better ones who seems genuinely interested in the kids. He's in the mold of Barry Manilow, not Gwen Stefani. And he's actually pretty funny, too.

One thing Mrs. High Lord pointed out to me (courtesy of her friend Sonia) is that during the results, Seacrest makes a habit of torturing some of the singers with "after the break" or cheap stunts (ie-what they did to Michael). It's SOP on this show and we (the audience) are not only tolerant of it, but we actually expect it. Have you noticed, though, that he's never made The Arch wait? David A. has gotten his results with little fanfare and no "drama"; he's the only one who has gotten the kind of straight-up, "you're safe/you're in the bottom 3" I think every singer deserves.

We'll see if this trend continues.

Look, it's Dubya. I just hit mute on the remote because I don't want any of my brain cells to die. I half expect him to ask Idol viewers to call in an donate money to pay off the debt he's saddled our country with.

Tonight, there's no bottom 3; it's only two.

The first people to get their results are the Davids. They're both going to be safe. (They are) Yawn.

I didn't do this last week, but I've got to give props to David C. for not giving in to Seacrest when he kept trying to get the singer to mention his brother. Way to go, David, for not cashing in on the sympathy votes when you could have.

To kill some time, The Arch proves once again what a moron he is when he has to speak about . . . uh . . . [giggle] . . . the thing . . . [more stupid giggling].

Where's my "eye roll" emoticon? Here it is:

In the spirit of "Where Are They Now", Idol catches up with Tamyra who's playing in "Rent" and Clay who's gone on to "Spamalot". I'd almost to go to New York to see a couple of shows now. I could go see them both. And look, there's Lakisha in the audience.

Still, we can't have a show without pimping someone and tonight it's not a past Idol, it's Leona Lewis. Who? Did Simon really "discover" this girl? I've never heard of her. Maybe that's because I'm old. I'm also not impressed. She's marginally better than the calls from viewers (which I'm sure are coming). I think I'm going to go update to the new version of iTunes now.

Seacrest calls out Syesha and Brooke out. They're holding hands, which is kind of hot. Syesha is going to be safe; Brooke in the bottom 2. How many times is Seacrest going to beat Brooke up for choking at the beginning of the song last night? I'm all for calling people out when they screw up, but now he's just piling on. I mentioned this last night, but some people think Brooke is close to having a breakdown; I don't think she's as close as say, Leah Labelle or Carmen Rasmussen, but she could be getting closer and closer to melting down on stage.

Ryan asks Brooke if she made the right call in starting over (she did). Then she babbles on for a little while . . . and is then declared safe.

The Dead Man's Spot strikes again!

There are 17 minutes left in the show. I wonder if this means there won't be any calls from the audience . . . we can only hope!

Carly and Jason get called out to get their results. If there's any justice in the world, Jason will get put in the bottom 2 and then he'll get whacked.

As Jason and Carly get their results, you can see the thought-bubble above his head. It goes something like this . . . "I hope I'm safe . . . Vanilla ice cream is really cool . . . Where did I leave those Triscuits? . . . Carly is really hot; if I hold her hand, will her husband kick my ass? . . . Look, a bird!"

Now it's time for the results . . . and Jason is safe.

!!!!!!!!!


It looks like instead of taking calls from the viewing audience, the bottom 2 are going to sing. It's fitting that the encores this week were the two best performances.

Both girls bring the house down. They sing with the kind of big, angry chip that J-Hud had when she got kicked off. You remember that, right? It looked like she was super-pissed off and was going to rip Seacrest and Simon's heads off with her bare hands.

It's a shame one of them will be eliminated tonight when Jason, Brooke and The Arch get to go on.

That's not right!!!!!!

As of right now, the smart money is on Carly to stay. But what the hell do I know? I've been predicting Syesha's ouster for a few weeks now, but I didn't think it would be this week.

Seacrest stalls for time and then announces that Carly is getting whacked. Where's her husband? If I were Seacrest, I'd have security on the lookout for him.

I thought she was going to make at least the top 4. After all, when the season started, she was one of the early TCOs. So what happened? Was it her early over-pimpage? Was it jealousy and resentment over her earlier (failed) record deal? Was it the resistance to wearing sleeves?

Mrs. High Lord has been struck speechless. We don't know what the hell happened tonight. She's in disbelief. It's too bad Carly got the boot this week; now we won't get to hear her rendition of "America".

This basically seals the deal for an all-David finale. No one else has the talent or the fans to get past those two.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

DWTS: So long, Marlee . . .

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

I'm only marginally watching the DWTS results. I saw Shannon in tears and Marlee get kicked into the bottom 2. Aside from that, I'm not paying much attention to it.

The kids in red who were dancing really kicked butt. The short kid and his girlfriend who's a foot taller than he is don't. She's better than he is.

Didn't I hear that Def Leppard was going to be on the show this week? I'm very upset that instead of showing us the best dance of the night, they subjected us to the gawd-awful group dance again. Maybe this is DWTS's way of saying, "We'd show the best dance as the encore, but it would be Kristi and Mark every week."

In other news, CNN is projecting that Hillary is going to win Pennsylvania, thus closing in on Obama for the Democratic nomination. Here's a novel thought for all you Democrats out there: The longer this drags out, the better chance McCain has to slip into the White House. For years the Democrats have ripped each other to pieces during the primaries while the Republicans have quietly consolidated behind a single candidate. So when the general election rolls around, the Dems have already exhausted their campaign chests and picked each other to pieces, making it the Republicans's race to lose. One of the two needs to drop out of the race so the party can start campaigning for the November elections instead of letting their egos rip the party apart (again).

For those of you who are tired of politics, how about some football talk?

I read today that Miami has reached terms with their first-round draft pick. I don't know what the exact terms are but it's not worth it. The only major problem I have with the NFL is that there's no rookie salary cap. Everyone wants one except for the kids going into the draft and their agents.

Right now, no one wants to have the first pick in the draft. It simply costs them too much money. By having to guarantee $25 million to a kid who has never played a down of professional football, that's exorbitant. The point of the draft is to promote parity. However, with the first picks costing so much, the teams that get them want to trade down, but no one wants to trade up.

The way to fix this, and make the draft relevant again, is to limit the amount of money paid to rookies. The NFLPA won't admit it, but they want the rookies's salaries limited. After all, they want that money going into their pockets, not kids right out of college. The league wants to be able to use that money to pay players who are proven. They need to establish a percentage of the salary cap that is can be used on rookies. Contracts shouldn't go beyond two years. After a kid proves that he belongs, then he can cash in.

In what is probably the only thing the NBA does right, they have a rookie salary cap. The NFL could learn a thing or two from them. And they'd better figure out a way to do it before the current contract gets canceled.

In the mean time, we find out Marissa and Tony are safe. So are Cristián and Cheryl. That leaves Kristi, Jason or Mario to be the other couple on the bottom 2.

They pay some bills and then it's time to find out who else might be facing elimination. I'll bet it's Mario.

Kristi and Mark get their results first; that means they're safe. So are Jason and Edyta.

That leaves Mario/Karina or Marlee/Fabian as the ones going home. Both have fanbase problems. Mario is the better dancer, though.

(scary music)

Marlee and Fabian get canned. Neither Mrs. High Lord or I are shocked. You shouldn't be either. She's simply the weakest celeb dancer left. Plus they have no chemistry and her "inspirational" story can only go on for so long. It was good while it lasted, but now was right about the time she needed to go.

High Lord. Out.

The new and "improved" showtunes night

When I heard the them for tonight's show, I had hoped that they'd bring back Briana Davis from season 4. Remember her? She was the blue-haired goth girl who sang "The Phantom of the Opera" in the audition rounds. She was actually pretty good, even though she didn't make it out of the first two rounds in Hollywood.

After a few years of the "showtunes" themes, Idol opened its pocketbook and brought in one of the big guns, Mr. Starlight Phantom Sunset Evita Superstar himself, the Right Honourable The Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber. To the best of my knowledge, he doesn't have a new CD or show to pimp, so he may actually be interested in helping the kids out; [sarcasm=on]Imagine that![/sarcasm]

Even thought I generally hate themes, I'm actually kind of excited about the show tonight. To me, the only Broadway play/song-writer who is on the same level as Webber is Stephen Sondheim. Assuming that they let the kids go deep into the songbook, there are actually lots of good tunes to choose from, so let's hope everyone has a good night. After all, for many of them, Broadway will be their next stop after the Idol tour.

In other news, USA Today is apparently finding out something we've known for years. Namely that going first is the kiss of death. Why is USA Today not paying me to write their Idol commentaries?

Who's going first tonight? And will it spell his or her doom?

We've only got an hour-long show (thank heavens!) which means I'll have about 40 minutes to kill before I start watching the DWTS results show on my DVR. So until then, it's time to see what the Idol kids have up their sleeves.

Cook and Carly lead the finalists out on the stage. I wonder what that portents for the singing order . . .

Randy says tonight will be the hardest that the kids have had. I think the harder part is connecting with an audience that probably won't know many of these songs. After all, how many kids out there know "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" or "Sunset Boulevard". Yes, Madonna did the "Evita" movie a few years ago and "Phantom" was just made into a movie.

Going in the dreaded Dead Man's Spot is CBV with "One Rock and Roll Too Many". It's a shame she's going first, because this is the first time she hasn't bitten off more than she can chew or taken on a song that's too big for her. What the hell is Ricky doing dancing along with her? I thought he was directing the band that's much bigger than the show needs. On a night when most people usually reach for sappy ballads or the like from their favourite show, Syesha does a very good job. The song doesn't get away from her and she gets to show off a good-sized chunk of personality. Her only problem will be that she's a borderline contestant and she had to go first. Like KLC last week, she might get eliminated on the week she had her best performance.

WDB needs to wash his hair and he's in the two-hole. He's almost as goofy as The Arch, and it's annoying when he does it, too. Webber isn't sure Jason understands the song; Webber probably isn't sure Jason knows what his name is. It sounds like typical Jason fare; vapid and a little hollow. He's almost as breathy as Archuleta. The Gelfling's fans will love it, though. I think of this as a big-voice song, which is something Jason doesn't have. The mosh pit needs to stop swaying. I give it a big, fat "meh". Simon was right when he said Jason sounded like he was forced to sing the song by his parents.

I wonder big the songbook was this week. Was it 12 songs? Or was it 80? If they got shafted with only 15 songs to choose from, then the singers need to revolt.

After last week's scare, AHG is singing "You Must Love Me" from Evita. She flubs the opening, which will probably lead to her exit. At least, she covers for it well. Let's see if she can get through the rest of the song. A couple of people have commented that they think she is near the emotional breaking point. I hadn't seen it before; it seems to me that she wears her emotions pretty openly, and that's not always a sign of weakness. However, forgetting the lyrics and needing to start over (which she's done twice now) is. I think the judges are going to rightfully rip her and she'll end up in tears. Paula says she should have kept going; I disagree. Since she was at the beginning, starting over was the right thing to do. You'd have thought that on Earth Day, the Hippie Chick would have come out with a powerhouse performance, but I didn't love her tonight.

Fortunately for SSKIM, he's following a bad performance. Of course, it doesn't matter since he's been handed so many votes already. His song is "Think of Me", which I don't know. ALW gives him some good advice about keeping his eyes open; I wonder if he said the same thing to Cook. The fangirls will love it. Why is no one moving around tonight? Syesha is the only one who stepped away from centerstage. Oh, and why do the judges slurp him every week? I failed to see how The Arch "made the song [his] own." Syesha kicked his ass tonight.

TIG started with a song from "Phantom", but ALW slaps her around and now she's coming out with "Superstar", one of the greatest songs from a musical. Evah. Plus, she's wearing sleeves. Like Syesha, she moves around the stage and wipes the floor with everyone else who has gone tonight. If I were an iTunes downloader, I'd actually pay money for this performance. Note to everyone: ballads suck; big, high-energy songs are the way to go. Her husband still scares me.

What the hell is Randy talking about? That wasn't her best performance? WTF!?!?!?! That was F. A. B.

I think The Arch has some incriminating video on The Dawg. That's the only explanation I can think of for the way he incessantly pimps Idol's Goofy Giggling Golden Boy. And how about Ricky helping Carly out, too?

For the second time in the last five weeks, SHBORS lands in the Pimp Spot, leading me to believe Nigel wants to have an all-David finale. Both of the Davids have been in the clean-up spot twice this year, all but ensuring that they're going to be advancing. He's going with the AFE, which is a departure for him. Before the show starts, I'd have picked him to sing "Superstar" because it's such a rock n'roll song. This is a good move for him since he gets to show a different non-"rocker" side and he also proves that he has a big voice, too. Pitchy shows up a couple of times, exposing him as a second-tier vocalist who's been hiding behind is electric guitar, but that was definitely a good performance.

Here's how I think they did tonight:

The Good
Carly
Syesha
David C.

The Bad
David A.
Jason

The Ugly
Brooke

Who should be in the bottom 3: Brooke, David A., Jason
Who will be in the bottom 3: Brooke, Jason, Syesha

Who should go home: Brooke
Who will go home: Syesha

I wouldn't be surprised if Brooke gets canned, but I think Syesha's number is up. And that would be too bad since she was kicking everyone's ass until Carly came along with a baseball bat and a chip the size of Montana on her shoulder.

The magic of The Arch has worn off for me. He does the same thing every week and it's grown wearisome to me. But he'll still win because so many of the tweenies and grandmas lurve him. I just wish he'd turn out to be more than a power-balladeering OTP.

The big lesson from this show: Remember the lyrics!!!

High Lord. Out.

Monday, April 21, 2008

It's a bummer night

With my favourite pros gone, I guess I'll plot along with the rest of the season. It's sad that there are seven couples left and I'm not really wowed by any of them.

Unless she falls down for about three weeks in a row, Kristi and Mark are going to win. Of course, I thought Sabrina and Mark were going to win, too, and look how that turned out. Still, there is little doubt in my mind that she's the best of the celeb dancers and he's a pretty good choreographer who has done a good job of bringing out her strengths while minimalising her liabilities.

Shannon and Jason are longshots, while everyone else is fighting for scraps. I can't get excited about Marissa or Marlee, Mario has had too many up and down weeks, and Cristián is just kind of blah to me. The big personalities are gone and there really isn't anyone who can come out and challenge Kristi for supremecy.

Oh, and the hour-long results shows aren't helping. Yes, I know they're cheap to produce, but seeing how I'm really only interested in about six minutes of the show, I'm at the point where I'm only going to watch the last part of those shows and not even bother to watch the rest on my DVR.

With the show starting now, I wonder what Derek has done to injury or otherwise get himself hospitalised. While we're waiting through the credits, check out this article that tells us someone else does the math for Samantha so she doesn't use up all her brain cells doing single-digit addition.

We get an hour-and-a-half long show; each couple is dancing once followed by a group dance where apparently anything goes.

Leading off tonight are Jason and Edyta with the cha-cha-cha. This show needs more shots of Edyta in lycra pants and bikini tops . . . or more dances where she wears basically nothing. I've seen people wearing more on French beaches. the dancing is okay. My problem with Jason has nothing to do with his execuation; he's just too darn tall to look anything other than lanky (and not in the good way).
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score:

While the judges were running their yaps, I found an article that discusses widespread and systemic theft on the part of TSA agents who screen luggage. I wonder if they heard about the three bottles of liquor that "disappeared" out of our luggage when Mrs. High Lord and I went on a cruise back in 2004. Of course, no one knows where it went and we certainly won't get reimbursed. It doesn't upset me that someone is going through my luggage when I fly; it upsets me that the people doing apparently aren't monitored and aren't even required to leave their badge number or other identification. I can't imagine how pissed I'd be if it had been jewelry or a video camera and not $60 worth of booze.

Next up are Shannon and Derek. He's apparently all better now. They're doing the rumba and Derek gives her a hula hoop to get some hip action. They're also rolling all over the beach at sunset. How long until the are-they-or-aren't-they rumours start? They're good tonight; I'm not sure it was rumba enough, but it was slow and romantic. They seemed to hit all their marks and their timing wasn't off like it was for Jason and Edyta.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score:

I didn't notice if that girl had the thing on her head again and if I hear Samantha use the word "showmance" again, I think I'm going to drag Drew to the show at gunpoint and make him take her job.

If Nadia and Julienne's brother are the couple with the super-chemistry, then Marlee and Fabian are the couple with no chemistry. To help this, Fabian brings in The Fonz, who can solve any problem in 22 minutes, especially if he gets a little help from Mrs. C. The judges are going to say how inspirational she is, but the fact of the matter is that at this point, she's the weakest dancer on the show. They just don't click.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-7
The High Lord's Score:

The judges clearly want her gone.

The halfway dancers are Cristián and Cheryl. What did Cheryl do to the producers to get "randomly" assigned subpar partners? And what did Julienne do this year to get the same treatment? They're doing the foxtrot, which is good for them. How many flamingoes died to make Cheryl's dress? He slouches a little, but other than that, he dances elegantly and Cheryl does him lots of favours with good choreography (are you taking notes, Tony Dovaloni?)
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 8

Now we see the girl with that thing on her head. I just noticed this tonight, but she's got some big-ass scary teeth. I guess I've been too busy staring at the sparklies and her boobs.

Despite her hair not helping her tubbiness, Marissa and Tony are riding last week's crest with the Viennese waltz. Was the outfit Marissa was wearing in the interview segment from "Bye Bye Birdie"? I was wrong about the choreography this week; Tony's not killing her tonight, it's the music. If I were Marissa, I'd be using my voodoo doll on Harold Wheeler and his song selection. I was too horrified by "Delilah" to pay much attention to the dancing. The judges say things that are nicer than they deserved.
The Judges's Scores: 9-8-9
The High Lord's Score:

I'd like to place a call to Nick Arojo: Marissa needs you, Nick. Code Blue. That's a Code Blue on Marissa! Please do something to tame that hair!

Mrs. High Lord just jumped onto the Kristi and Mark bandwagon because Tiger likes her. I hope she doesn't buy a Buick on me. I find it interesting that she waited until week 6 of the dancing before playing the "Miracle Baby" card with the club foot. They're doing the jive. Is there any dance she does badly? If Idol is The Arch's to loose this year, DWTS is Kristi's for the taking. They do lots of stunts without trying too much. Carrie Ann gives them the big standing-O; you go, girl! All us brown people need to stick together. They're going to get 10s. Their footwork was nearly flawless and their chemistry, while not smokin', is second to none. Plus it was entertaining.
The Judges's Scores: 10-10-10
The High Lord's Score: 10

I'm happy to see that the judges are a little more judicious in dispensing the 30s this season. This one was certainly deserving.

I'll link to this again tomorrow night, but it seems other people have caught on to the power of the Pimp Spot and the curse of the Dead Man's Spot.

Finishing off the couples portion of the show are Mario and Karina. They're also doing the rumba and I think I saw a lift going on. Their dancing his hot, but their timing slips in a couple of places. I think he's in a good position because he's able to fly under the radar because of Kristi's sheer brilliance. I'm confused by the judges; Len says he liked the dance, but was disappointed by the choreography and then he gives them a 9. Bruno breaks and inexplicably gives them a 10.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-10
The High Lord's Score: 8

It seems to me that they really want Marlee gone this week. She's got the lowest score tonight, even though there were others who weren't as good as their scores indicated. I think she's the weakest of the dancers left and unless the fans come through for her, she'll get sent packing tomorrow.

Finishing out the show is the group dance which is predictably bad. The girls's cowgirl outfits are suitably hawt, even if the music is super-lame. I think this is God's way of punishing me for going home after Sunday school last week.

This makes me look forward to another week of Mariah group sings on Idol.

My pick is for Marlee to go get kicked to the curb. I don't think there's much doubt that it's her turn to go.

I'm going to go try and clean the blood out of my ears.

High Lord. Out.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

It's movie time

Howdy, folks. Just checking in for a rare weekend posting.

Mrs. High Lord and I went to the movies this afternoon. We saw The Forbidden Kingdom, the first on-screen collaboration between Jackie Chan and Jet Li. I had heard before that Chan initially passed on the movie, but when he heard Li had signed on, quickly changed his mind. It also features Michael Angarano (Jack's son Elliott from Will & Grace) and the super-hawt Yifei Liu.

It's kind of a schizophrenic movie; as kind of a cross between Rush Hour, Bulletproof Monk, Hero and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, it tries to balance humour, romance, Zen and action. As often as not, it comes up short because they're trying to do too much.

The fight scenes featuring Chan and Li are very good. Unlike many of their previous movies, they mix in several effects that clearly defy the laws of physics for the sake of mysticism or magic, but they're entertaining nonetheless. The "plot" is thin (not quite as thin as the plot in a Jenna Jameson movie, but close) and the dialogue is laughable (not in the good way) in parts. The romance angle is underplayed and the tendency of Sparrow (Yifei) to speak in the third person is somewhere between annoying and confusing.

We only paid the matinee price, so I don't feel like I was ripped off, but I probably would not go to see in in the theaters again. On the up side, I'm getting very excited about the upcoming Iron Man movie . . . not so much about the upcoming Incredible Hulk movie.

As an administrative note, Mrs. High Lord and I are going to Florida for a week in May, so I won't be around to live-blog DWTS and Idol that week, so you'll have to wait until I get back at the end of the week to read my recaps. I'll post more on this when we get closer.

I'm also trying something new at work: I'm trying to lose weight at an office job. It's hard to go from a classroom to a cubicle and not put on a few pounds. I was walking anywhere from 4 to 5 miles a day at the high school, so I've got to find some way to pick up the slack.

To help out with this, I've started taking the stairs whenever I go somewhere in the building (it's only three floors, but every little bit helps). I also set the printer across the room as my default printer instead of the one next to my desk.

And just last week I started wearing ankle weights to work. Yes, it is kind of dorky, but the extra five pounds is sure to add a little bit of muscle, right? I turned one of the back stairwells into my own private Stairmaster; I do three laps up and down each day, right now with 5 pounds on the ankles, but I'm going to work up to 10 pounds (5 pounds per) and increase my laps once I can do it without my legs feeling like they're going to burst into flame. Plus, I can do leg lifts under the desk while I'm just sitting there.

I don't know that it will work, but I've got to do something in terms of exercise and adjusting my diet or I'll put on even more weight. If anyone has any other tips as far as office exercises, let me know.

Anyway, I hope you're having a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Lucky 7 Get Their Results

See the post below for my predictions for tonight.

Here are the results for last week's poll:



It looks like people are still enjoying the show, but there's just not the buzz about it that there's been in the past.

According to our friends at DialIdol, it seems that there are four people who are safe while Carly, Brooke and Syesha are the bottom dwellers. Frankly I'm surprised that KLC has been declared statistically safe, but on another level, I guess I shouldn't be. She gets the country vote, plus she's showing the kind of stick-to-itness that voters like.

Plus she now has the Vote For the Worst Crowd in her corner (although they help Amanda too much). I think Syesha is going to get sent packing. That would make TPTB at Idol happy since they'll have the gender equity they so desire. Plus, she's taken on too many big songs and come up short.

While we're waiting for the show, I'd like to say how cool Statcounter is. It not only counts visitors but it also does a limited amount of tracking said visitors. It has a keyword analysis of people who found my blog through a search engine and even comes with nice nifty graphs to go with it.

One thing that is particularly cool is that it gives me a map of where people are when they visit, assuming their ISP is traceable. In case you're worried about me tracking you down, I don't think it works for everyone because I don't show up on the map (go figure).

Anyway, it seem that people all over the world read the blog so to the person in Russia, I say, "Zdravstvuyte!" To the person from Germany, "Guden tag!" And to the folks in south Florida, "¡Hola!"

I hadn't realised that folks all around the world are finding my blog (even if my accident). It seems my mother really isn't the only other person who reads this thing.

On to the show . . .

We've got another hour-long results show. What are they going to do for an entire 60 minutes? Have I mentioned how much I hate these things.

Of course this week's "mentor" has to pimp their latest project and I hear season 5's very own Elliott Yamin is going to be on tonight.

But first we have the ever-supercalifragilisticexpicrapidocious group sing. There's a lot of oversinging and many missed notes. I so much like the medley group sings. This one was simply painful. This batch of kids has so little chemistry, it's not even funny. I don't know that I'd go see the tour if they can't even sing one good song a week.

Why do we think the producers decided to violate the First Commandment of Idol? When has anyone ever done a Mariah song well? And then to make all seven of them take on some of the hardest vocals knowing they'd be compared to the one person in the world no one can emulate . . .

It was a recipe for disaster and no one truly measured up.

We get the recap and are only reminded 1) how no one was fabulous, 2) how much they want The Arch to win, and 3) how Syesha tends to shout everything.

Following the recap, the Gelfling is brought out and shows just how baked he is. Seacrest puts him on the left. SHBORS is next and Seacrest tries to get him to talk about his brother; good for him for not going out of his way to shill for sympathy. He's on the right.

Next up, TIG is called out and she's showing off her tattoos again. She looked really pretty last night, even if her song choice wasn't very good. She chides Simon and he says he's being a jackass for her own good. She's put in the group on the left with Jason. Hmmmmmmmm . . .

ISMH is brought out in the fourth spot; she's going to be in the group on left of the screen with David C. As of right now, I'm assuming that the Carly/Jason duo is the beginnings of the bottom 3.

Fox pays some bills and then brings us back to another commercial, this time for series sponsor Ford. It would have been funnier if they had all been dressed in drag and pushing vacuum cleaners.

Then it's time for Jennifer to have an Idolgasm. As she rightly points out, he's been on the show more since his season than either the winner or the runner-up. What's up with that? I was never on the Elliott bandwagon, but he's certainly done well for himself. I'm happy to see that he's had almost as much success as the guy who got kicked off the week before he did. What's with the scarf, though? I like that he gets a nice little shout-out to his late mother at the end.

There are three people left and Syesha's number is next. What's with the Bananarama hair? She gets assigned to the Carly/Jason group (presumably the bottom 3).

Brooke will be put in with the Cooks. Funny line about the vegetarians, Brooke!

That leaves The Arch as the one getting Georged because we all know that he's not getting kicked off. Seacrest says he's left backstage wondering what's going on. Of course even Archuleta is smart enough to know what's going on. He's watched the show since season 1, remember?

The question is: Will he bite?

I usually don't pay attention to the commercials, but this one featuring the girl from Pussycat Dolls singing "Rio" is horrendous. What happened to you, Simon LeBon? How far have you fallen, Nick Rhodes? You're letting one of the Pussycat Dolls cover one of your signature songs!!!!

It's now time for the single worst segment ever conceived for results shows: The questions from viewers. KLC does a nice pouty-face. She is legal, right? Have I mentioned how much I hate this segment?

We find out the Word Nerd is single and then it's time for Mariah to show off the girls and sing a song from her new album. Yawn.

She even manages to plug her show. [sarcasm=on]Surprise, surprise![/sarcasm]

If there were a "shocker" happening this week (like in season 3) then we'd find out the Cooks+Brooke were the bottom 3. Of course, I find the likelihood of that to be very low. David C. was the class of the show last night, KLC has been coming on strong lately and Brooke is one of the early-season TCOs. I find it much more conceivable that either Carly, Jason or Syesha is going home tonight.

Am I the only person in the world who is freaked out by The King 3000? The King was kind of creepy, but this new King scares me to death. If I wake up one morning and see The King outside my window or in my bed offering me a breakfast biscuit, I'm going to shoot him. And I don't think there's a jury in the country that would convict me.

They bring the show back and they're back in the groups.

The Arch stands centerstage and he knows that he's going to be forced to choose where he goes. The mosh pit goes crazy.

He's predictably declared safe.

Then David C. is told to swap spots with Syesha. That leaves KLC, Brooke and Syesha in one group, and David C., Carly and Jason in the other.

Seacrest tells him to join the group he thinks is safe. He pulls a Melinda and sits down. Seacrest tells him to move towards the group that has the guys plus Carly (who could probably drink everyone else under the table).

We find out that next week's mentor is Andrew Lloyd Webber. Does that mean the theme is going to be showtunes or Phantom of the Opera/Cats?

The girl group is in danger. I didn't quite call this one right earlier tonight, but I was close.

The easy choice is for KLC to get sent packing (go to hell, DialIdol!), but I think it will be Syesha. So does Mrs. High Lord.

Seacrest sends Syesha to safety. Dammit, I guess I'm not winning this week's pool over at AIC. My new prediction is for a shocker with KLC being declared safe and Brooke getting whacked.

(fake suspense)

Then Brooke is declared safe and KLC gets the boot. Someone verify this for me, but this is the first time I can remember that a singer declared safe by DialIdol got whacked.

I am a little surprised that KLC got canned tonight. She wasn't going to win, but she's been coming on strong over the past few weeks with good strong choices that cover for her deficiencies and don't expose her as a second-tier vocalist.

She's very funny singing her way off to Simon while sitting in his lap. If Kellie Pickler can parlay her time on the show to a reasonably successful career, there's no reason KLC can't, too. She's no Carrie, but she's better than both Bucky and Pickler. And she's pretty.

It's too bad they don't let her finish her song.

That leaves six singers left in what is the deepest and most talented group to make it this far.

What do you think of the results this week?

High Lord. Out.

Who's going to get Georged tonight?

With seven singers left, it's time for Idol to unleash their second-cruelest trick they've got in the bag: Georging a singer.

For those of you who don't remember, this was famously unveiled in season 3, when Seacrest sent the three black girls (Fantasia, J-Hud, and LaToya) to one side of the sage, the three supposed underachievers (Diana, Jasmine and John Stevens) to the other side and then put George in the middle. George Huff was told he was safe and then instructed to go to the group of three that was also safe; the other was that week's bottom 3.

Of course, George went to the side featuring the eventual winner(Fantasia), the girl who should have been the winner (LaToya) and a future Oscar winner (J-Hud). He was promptly told he was wrong and that those three were the bottom 3. Everyone was shocked as hell and during her final song, I thought Jennifer was going to drop the microphone and rip Seacrest's head off on national TV.

They've recycled this stunt every year leading to Bo famously standing in the middle of the stage, Taylor picking the correct group and Melinda taking a seat and not biting.

Who are they going to pull this on tonight?

My money's on Brooke. I think they're going to put the guys on one side, the girls on the other and then make Brooke choose. If she's in the mood to play the game (or they threaten the person who doesn't play with going first next week), she'll pick the guys and then cry as either Syesha or Carly get canned. If she's smart, she'll do what Bo and Melinda did and let them cut to commercial without taking sides.

Of course, this begs the question: Why even mess with this crap at all? Why not just give the singers a straight up "you're safe" or "you're in the bottom 3" as they deserve? The answer is that it makes for good TV.

That doesn't make it right, but unfortunately that's the way it is. I hope no one succumbs to the urge to let Seacrest have some fun at their expense. If enough people just sit in the middle of the stage they have to give up on this stunt, right?

By the way, the cruelest thing Idol ever did was to Judd Harris in season 4 when Seacrest told him to sit down on the couches (notice that he never said Judd was safe) and then eliminated him out of the blue a few minutes later. They haven't tried that trick again, although I wouldn't put it past Nigel and his cronies if they needed a boost in the ratings.

For now, that's my call (I want to go on record with this prediction at 4:50 EDT so if it happens, I'll look like a genius), so I'll see you back here tonight.

High Lord. (Temporarily). Out.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Who's next?

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

I've waited until 9:40 to start the show so I can forward through the filler and get right to the elimination.

I think the couple going home will be either Priscilla/Louis or Marlee/Fabian. Everyone else is pretty good, and will probably make it through. Some people are performing at a consistently high level (Jason, Kristi) or are peaking at the right time (Marissa).

After the recap, Kristi and Mark deservedly get the encore. I'm glad they decided to go with the best performance, not the cheeziest, this week.

I forward through the band I've never heard of and then it's time for some results.

Kristi and Mark are put through with little suspense. Then Samantha declares Cheryl and Cristián to be in danger of elimination. Mild shocker there. I didn't expect them to be in danger, but I don't think they have many weeks left, either.

I FF through the kids.

More results. Jason/Edyta are safe. Then more commercials. I just caught up to the show in real time. Damn, these hour-long results shows are a waste of time.

James Blunt sings. Then Tom declares Mario and Karina to be safe along with Marissa and Tony. The other three couples get their results; Shannon and Derek are safe despite her no-hip action and his food poisoning last week. So are Marlee and Fabian.

That leaves Priscilla and Louis in the bottom 2. It's 50/50 for both of them. I think Cheryl and Cristián will probably stay because Cheryl has a bigger following than Louis.

Tom declares it scary music time.

(suspense)

Then he sends Priscilla and Louis home. After starting strong, she has had two weak nights and now she's going home. I think her problem is that she peaked early and that she doesn't have much of a fanbase. I don't think it was the Botox, but just that she doesn't really have a contemporary audience. Call is Giselle Fernandez Syndrome.

Where others are popular and she certainly has some name recognition, I don't think she picked up enough voters to get a long stay.

That leaves 7 couples left and we're just counting down until Kristi and Mark are declared the winners.

Now what did I do with the number for Priscilla's psychic hotline?

High Lord. Out.

Again.

Happy Tax Day! . . . and some Idol, too.

It's everyone's favourite day of the year: 15 April. For people who end up owing the government money, today's the last day to file. Mrs. High Lord and I got our refund about a month and a half ago; it partly paid off the new furnace and is sending us on our third honeymoon to Disney World next month.

I love how the politicians all use this time of year to try and get a bounce in the polls by proposing a new tax cut. Taking a page from Bob Dole's failed 1996 presidential bid, John McCain proposed temporarily eliminating the federal gas tax for the high-demand summer months. Doesn't he understand that if the gas tax is repealed (even temporarily), all that will happen is that the gas companies will just raise their prices that same 18¢ (24¢ for diesel) and the money will go into their pockets, not sorely needed highway projects?

I'm all for lower taxes, but here's my problem with everyone who runs on a "let's cut taxes" platform: What services are you going to cut?

Cutting revenues without cutting spending is not only irresponsible, it's certifiably insane. How would your household work if you spent more money than you brought in? Eventually you'd go bankrupt (something made harder by Dubya and his buddies). What happens if you take a lower paying job but keep your spending at the same level?

Why do the people in government--and specifically Republicans--not understand this?

If I hear the phrase "tax and spend" used when describing the Democrats again, I think I'm going to beat someone with an olive loaf. At least the Democrats have taxes to pay for their spending.

I'd like to coin a term for Republicans: Spend and Spend. Because that's all they seem to do. The last three Republican administrations have spent more money than they've had. If not for the fiscal discipline of the Clinton Administration, we'd be in a huge world o' hurt.

As things stand, Dubya has cut taxes and borrowed money to fund his war and the upcoming "economic stimulus plan" (read: bribe of the public). How is he going to pay for all the stuff he's spent money on? The same way Reagan and his daddy did: deficit spending. Rather than cutting programs and spending while cutting revenue, Dubya's budgets have all featured borrowing money and taking on debt, a good chunk of which is held by Japan and China.

Is this good for our country? No, of course not. Debt is bad.

How do we fix it?

First of all, we need to have a balanced budget amendment. Do you know why the Euro has been steadily gaining ground on the dollar? It's because countries that are on the Euro are required to have a balanced budget. They have no debt, their economies are stronger, and so is their currency.

Second, it is in the best interest of our country for one party to not have control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency. The tripod form of government works because of checks and balances. The legislative, executive and judicial branches of our government all have checks on one another. Those checks are best used when people of differing views are all represented in our government.

This requires cooperation and compromise. Our government is not made to be run by extremists. It's made to be run by consensus. It means that hardline factions, whether they're unions, fundy Christians or environmentalists, have to moderate their views to work and play well with others. If you look at the history of our country, the times when the deficit has gone most out of control is when a single party controls Congress and the Presidency because there is no one to check their spending.

Our country is the most powerful and influential in the world, but unless we get our economy in order, we risk losing the place and prestige we have spent the last century building.

Enough about that, on to the show . . .

Who was surprised by Michael Johns's ouster last week?

I certainly was. Over at American Idol Conspiracy, I had him picked to be the winner. Now I need to get on someone else's bandwagon to make up all the points I've lost in their contest. Has anyone heard from Beckeye? I heard she was in mourning and was contemplating running away to Amish country so she wouldn't have to hear that The Arch's victory song that her boy should have been singing.

Check out this article over at MSNBC; apparently I'm not the only one who thinks the themes suck.

Speaking of themes, how about this week's: Mariah Carey.

Doesn't anyone read my rules (look to the right)? I guess not. When was the last time someone had a good night singing a Mariah Carey song?

(waiting)

(waiting)

(still waiting)

That's what I thought. In fact, whenever someone does try a Mariah song, they usually get eviscerated by the judges for taking on a song that's too big for them. Why would tonight be any different?

This show has "trainwreck" written all over it. I wonder if Archuleta will forget the words again.

It's too bad Danny's gone; he might actually have had a good night with this theme.

Just kidding.

Maybe.

Who's going to get shafted with The Dead Man's Spot tonight? I'll tell you, the singing order has taken on a life of its own this year and the person going first needs to resign themself to the fact that they're at least going to be in the bottom 3. Already this year, more people have been eliminated from the lead-off spot (4) than all of least season (3).

Did I just see Dennis Blunden in the audience?

Seacrest gives us a brief overview of Mariah's career. Oh, look . . . she has a new CD, too. Coincidence? I think not.

Randy tries to caution the viewers not to have such high expectations of the singers taking on Mariah songs.

Hey, look, SSKIM is going first. And he can't stop with the damn giggling. He's singing "When You Believe" from "Prince of Egypt". I know people were fawning over the Whitney/Mariah duet, but the Michelle Pfeiffer and Sally Dworsky version was better. I'm underwhelmed, although the people in the mosh pit seem to like him. He just doesn't have the voice for this song. And then he brings "the false". Here's one thing that will drive you crazy: listen to him breathe. Mrs. High Lord (the nurse) says when he had the vocal chord operation, he breathes a little extra heavy (and not in the good way) and you can hear it. I don't understand why the judges are slurping him; it wasn't that good.

Next up is TIG who is not only showing off the girls, but she's wearing sleeves! I'm hypnotised by her pendant. Do you think she finally got the message to let the makeover people do their magic? Her song is "Without You" and if anyone could pull off Mariah's pop sound, it's Carly. Alert the people in the mosh pit: It's time to sway. She starts off low so when she hits a higher note, it will sound higher than it really was. I'm underwhelmed, too. Her voice is big, but not Mariah-big. Why do people only sing Mariah's power-ballads? Why not try something like "Dreamlover"? It doesn't get away from her, but she doesn't hit a home run either. You'd think Simon would at least compliment her on dressing up.

The three-spot belongs to CBV; if she gets eliminated this week, the show will officially be as white as "Friends". She's singing "Vanishing", a song I'm not familiar with. Like Carly, she's also showing off the girls with a nice elegant dress to go with her big hair. The runs are a little annoying, but it wasn't all that bad. I think she might be in the bottom 3 (again).

Paula has been in the sauce again; she's barely coherent.

The halfway point is AHG who is finally doing something with her hair. It still looks kind of stringy, but it's not as bad as it was at the beginning of the year. She's back behind the piano; it's kind of her crutch like the guitar is Jason's. Of all the Idols this year, you definitely know how Brooke's CD is going to sound. She's got a good tone, but I can see how someone could tire of her quickly. I actually like her tonight. Not enough to put her in the top grouping, but enough to proclaim her the best of the night so far. She also talks too much (someone, I forget who, calls her "Babbling Brooke").

ISMH is in a world of hurt going into tonight. She doesn't have the big voice she needs for this week. I don't know this song either ("Forever") and it's okay. After avoiding the bottom 3 last week, I see her there again this week, although she might not get eliminated. She manages to work in a little bit of her country twang, and it doesn't sound half bad; the song's got a little bit of Patsy Cline in it anyway.

Mrs. High Lord is wondering if all Mariah Carey songs have ten words and a whole lot of vocal tricks in them. (The answer is "yes", by the way.)

And Smurfette is still in house!

In the six-spot is SHBORS and he's re-arranging a "Be My Baby". Is it his arrangement, or is it one he ripped off of someone else? He sounds like Hootie at the beginning; I keep expect him to break into "Hold My Hand". For sheer originality, I liked it, although it was too slow. He does a nice job of distancing himself from the Mariah version. If he hadn't been in the Pimp Spot two weeks ago, he probably would have been there tonight.

Speaking of the Pimp Spot, tonight's lucky guy is WDB. I would not want to be following the Word Nerd tonight. He's singing "I Don't Want to Cry" and I think he spent the entire practice session staring at Mariah's boobies (not that I blame him; I'm just sayin'). He also has a different take on a Mariah song. He looks constipated. This was not Pimp Spot worthy. Get a haircut, you damn hippie! The vocals are okay; he's not my cup of tea, but he'll probably be safe since he got to go last.

Here's how I think they did this week:

The Good
David C.

The Bad
Brooke
Carly
Kristy Lee
Jason
Syesha
David A.

The Ugly
no one this week

Tonight there was one standout performance, three or so aiiiiights and everyone else fell short.

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

Who should go home: The Arch
Who will go home: Syesha

I think this is the last week for Syesha. The Arch isn't going to be in danger because 19E has handed him the show. Jason is safe 'cuz he was in the Pimp Spot. That leaves five people for three stools.

Kristy Lee is a given for the bottom 3, but she's got enough loyal voters to keep her alive for another week or two. Brooke also has problem picking up new voters, but I think the person who will be stuck without a chair once the music stops will be Syesha.

I'm going to goof off for another half hour and then recap the DWTS results show while I FF through the filler.

We'll see who gets screwed over tomorrow.

High Lord. Out.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Why should I bother watching the show?

That's my question for DWTS this week. C'mon, ABC, convince me that I should stick with this season!

You shafted the two hawtest pros (Kym and Julienne) by giving them dancers you knew were crap and never had a chance to go far, much less win. You sort-of screwed Cheryl, too, but if anyone can whip up a miracle with an average partner, it's her.

Do you want a female champ that you don't have to rig the final show for so badly, you guys will eliminate two of the biggest draws to the show? (Or is that four biggest draws . . .)

The prohibitive favourite to win right now is the combo of Kristi and Mark. Jason and Edyta made a strong charge last week, as did Shannon and Derek. The Louis/Priscilla duo has performed at a consistently high level. Everyone else is just there for kicks. But I still wonder why they got rid of so much of the show's eye candy so early.

In other news, I sent a nasty email to Fox Sports on Saturday night. I had tuned in to watch the NASCAR race in Phoenix (yes, I watch NASCAR), only to find that 1) the race had been pushed back half an hour and 2) the pre-race show was pre-empted.

I'm not sorry about missing some of the pre-race show; it's mostly filler anyway. But what struck me as odd was what they pre-empted it for. Was Dubya on TV? No, even thought that's something I'd expect from Fox.

Was Jessica Alba skinny-dipping off the coast of Belize? No, but I wouldn't have minded if they'd cut away for that.

Baseball. They held up the race for half an hour because of a Yankees-BoSox game. Not a pennant race game. Not a playoff game. Some stupid random New York-Boston game.

And they didn't even bring the game back for the start of the race. They came back to the race about seven laps in. What the hell is this all about? Do the suits at Fox think everyone in the world cares about the Yankees-BoSox? Or does Joe Buck have some incriminating video on someone and he makes them show his snarky mug on the TV all the time?

I can't stand crap like that.

This is the nastygram I sent to Fox:
Hi, guys, I was watching the beginning of the Phoenix NASCAR race tonight (Saturday) and you just cut away to Joe buck at the Red Sox/Yankees. I just changed the channel. It's not that I dislike either the Red Sox or the Yankees (I'm indifferent about baseball) but I cannot stand Joe Buck. He annoys the crap out of me and he's a horrible announcer (can't get down-and-distance right, misidentifies players, talks while the play is going on, etc.). I do not understand why you have him doing NFL games. In fact, when I find out he's doing a game that I want to watch, I mute the TV and catch the radio broadcast either on my stereo or via the Internet so I don't have to listen to what comes out of his pie hole. Please don't plague the rest of America with his snarky "wittcisms", poor play-by-play calling and generally patronizing attitude. Oh, and please put the NASCAR race back on. Thank you for your time.

Here's the email reply I got back:
Dear FOXSports.com Participant,
Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. We are aware that many individuals were displeased with the programming regarding the Yankees-Redsox MLB and Nascar coverage that interfered with each other. We would like to apologize for any displeasure that this caused as well as the inconvenience many of you had to deal with as a result. We have forwarded your comments to the appropriate coverage department so that your voice can be heard. We value the opinion of all of our users and participants, and should we require any more information about this occurrence we will be sure to contact you. We appreciate your time and assistance, and thank you again for your feedback.
Thank you for using FOXSports.com
-- The FOXSports.com Feedback Team

I hope it doesn't happen again (although I find that unlikely).

In other somewhat good programming news, I'm happy to report that whoever was using drugs at the local Fox affiliate, http://www.wvah.com/ has stopped. In past seasons, several times throughout the season, they've pre-empted American Idol for U. of Kentucky basketball. Each time, I send a nasty email to the local station and folks over at the Fox mothership because I don't know why they think people in the great state of West Virginia would want to watch Kentucky basketball.

Of course, I can't understand why anyone would want to watch basketball, but that's just me. This year, maybe the suits at Fox got off the crack they were smoking or they just decided UK sucked too bad to move the network's rating's cash cow to 11:00 PM at night. Or maybe the contract with UK basketball expired. Either way, I don't care, as long as I can watch Idol and bring you this wonderful blog in real time.

On the down side of this, a local boy, Patrick Patterson plays for UK but after getting hurt, there wasn't much reason for folks here to watch him play.

Anyway, enough of me griping about Fox and the morons in their programming department, and on with the show.

Taking a page from Idol, there are eight couples still dancing, but an hour and a half set aside for the show. Each dance is a minute longer than the Idol songs but there's still too much filler.

This week's dances are the rumba and the samba. First up are Mario and Karina with the samba. Is that even a dress or a bunch of dental floss with some sequins attached? I can't even remember Mario's dancing . . . he does tone it down a little; this could be addition by subtraction. They also look like they're having fun (always a good sign). They should get good reviews.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9 (The Inverted Beast)
The High Lord's Score:

And I could see that thing shining off that girl's forehead from clear across the dance floor.

Going in the two-hole are Priscilla and Louis who made a surprise trip to the bottom 2 last week. They get the rumba and Louis is in full tutor mode in the pre-dance filler. At least he got rid of his mullet, even though he shows off that he is a diva. It's okay, but I'm not blown away. The music, while not awful, doesn't help much (the singer is flat for most of the song). The dance seems to lack continuity. It seems to me to be a bunch of moves strung together by strutting around the dance floor. Is that what the dance is about?
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-7
The High Lord's Score: 7

Is Tony going to kill Marissa with his crappy choreography again? Mrs. High Lord likes to watch Tony shake his hips. She'd also like Marissa to do something about all that hair. Her problem is that she's so short and everyone else is (almost unhealthily) thin, that she looks fat. In reality, she's just a little tubby (like Sabrina and Diana DeGarmo) but she's definitely not fat. She's not been helped by the wardrobe people who find the most unflattering outfits for her. The samba is fun; there are a couple of technical flubs, but overall, it was pretty good. I think she needs to focus less on hitting all of her marks and more on charming the crowd.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score:

The halfway dancers are Cheryl and Cristián. I guess I don't understand the rumba. It's definitely slow and is made more for the male celebs. Cheryl did a good job of shimmying around and distracting me with the frilly dress. He's stopped counting along in his head. Not the best of the night, but still pretty good. If he would dance shirtless, Mrs. High Lord would gladly become Ex-Mrs. High Lord.
The Judges's Scores: 7-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 8

Over the weekend, my brother-in-law came over and we put a new dusk-til-dawn light in the front yard. Some hooligans took a baseball bat to our old one so we had to replace it. One of the neighbours was (jokingly) complaining that he couldn't see anything at night since the light was out (we don't have streetlights down at our end of the cul de sac). With the new light, we can read in the living room with the blinds open. I wonder how long it will be before he shoots out one of the bulbs.

Marlee and Fabian are next with the samba. They seem a little bit disjointed this week. It's not fatal, but in a couple of places they seem to be half a step out of sync. They don't have the chemistry of some of the other couples and because of Marlee's handicap, it hurts them even more. It's my opinion that she should probably be the one going home, even though technically she's not the worst celeb dancer left.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

After getting canned prematurely last year with Sabrina, Mark and Kristi are trying to bring some sexy back to the dance. Her kids are cute as hell (not as cute as the the girls on John and Kate Plus 8, though). I'm predicting more 10s this week. The lavender is a bit much. The dancing, though, is near perfect. Unlike other pros, Mark doesn't resort to lots and lots of stunts. They just dance. It helps that his partner is an Olympic gold medalist. If Marlee and Fabian are lacking chemistry (and they are), then Kristi and Mark should be able to bottle it up and sell it in a bottle.
The Judges's Scores: 9-10-10
The High Lord's Score:

Leading in to the final stretch are Derek and Shannon. Does Derek have his own MASH until following him around? Last week it was the neck, this week it's food poisoning. Where's Jonathan to save the day? Their samaba is excellent: energetic but not manic. Technically, it was very good with no major flubs. She's not moving her hips; if that's part of the dance, they should be penalised a point or so. Len calls her on it. Her outfit was meant to give some hip action and it didn't move at all. Their scores are surprisingly generous.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-7
The High Lord's Score:

Landing in the Pimp Spot are Jason and Six-Pack Abs. I wonder who the Fish are going to take with the first pick of the draft. Or if Parcells will trade the pick to his old buddy Jerry Jones so the 'Boys can take that McFadden kid. Back to the dancing. Jason's biggest problem is that he's four feet taller than Edyta. He's also got big long legs and arms that get in his way more often than not. I'm not paying any attention to Jason's dancing. Now that Julienne and Kym are gone, I guess I have to fixate on Edyta. His moves are surprisingly smooth, although he's certainly not Emmitt (he's not even Jerry). Still, the chemistry they have together makes up for their techncial deficiencies.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score:

After starting strong, Priscilla may find herself in danger of elimination tomorrow night. Marissa has made up some ground and I don't see Mrs. Elvis gaining too many new fans. The third person I see potentially being in danger is Marlee, who I also think has a problem in picking up new voters; yes, she gets a certain amount of sympathy votes, but her technique is not top tier.

My picks for the bottom 2: Priscilla, Marlee

Going home: Marlee

Tomorrow, there are seven singers left on Idol, so I'll see you here then.

High Lord. Out.