Saturday, May 31, 2008

More Disney thoughts: Food

I'm devoting an entire post to the food because 1) I like to eat, 2) we did the Disney Dining Plan and 3) we planned our vacation around it.

First up, let's talk dining plan. We signed up for the Deluxe Dining Plan, which cost something like $69.99 per person per day. For us, that meant 7 days, or $980. Was it worth it?

Let's break it down. The DDP provides three table service meals, two snacks and a resort refillable mug per person. For the two of us, that was 42 table service meals, 28 snacks and two mugs. We used each and every one of those, although we had to get creative at the end of the week.

A table service meal is defined as eating at a sit-down restaurant. Each person gets an appetizer, an entrée, a dessert and a non-alcoholic drink, or it can be used for a buffet. You can substitute a "counter service" meal for a table service meal (which we did not do). Some restaurants--mostly the upscale ones--count as two table service meals.

For the snacks, basically anything that was quick or was sold at a kiosk/cart counted. I ate a bunch of Mickeycicles, had a bottle of water or a bag of chips; we didn't use all our snacks alloted for each day because there was so much other food available. More on that later.

So is the DDP worth it? I thought so. Mrs. High Lord thought there was too much food. That's partially true. I don't know too many people who eat a full sit-down meal three times a day. However, for the money, we made out like bandits. Remember how much the DDP cost us? $980.

I saved all our receipts and added up the food we ate and the retail cost of the food we ate was $1,499.35. That means we came out about $520 ahead. Gratuity was not included, nor was alcoholic beverages.

Does that mean we really saved $520 on food? No. If we were paying for our meals out of pocket, we would not have eaten so much. Each of us got an appetizer and a dessert; if we were paying, we either would have skipped those courses or split them. We also would have paid more attention to the cost when ordering. For instance, at Narcoossee's, we both had the surf and turf, which retails for $58 a plate. There's no way in hell I would have paid $58 for dinner myself, but since it was already paid for, I didn't mind ordering the most expensive thing on the menu.

Also, remember in the last post when I said we were a day short because of Allegiant's scheduling? After counting all the meals we had planned, we were four meals short of using all the dinners we had paid for. So to avoid leaving meals "on the table", we "bought" lunch at the Coral Reef Restaurant and dinner at Tokyo Dining for our friends Betsy and Dave. So while we didn't actually eat the food ourselves, the meals were used (I figured the price of those meals into our food tally).

In short, if you are traveling without kids and have the time for sit-down meals, I'd get the Deluxe Dining Plan. If you want to see a lot of stuff or you're taking the kids, I recommend the basic dining plan which includes one table-service meal, one counter-service meal and one snack per person per day.

Now on to the culinary highlights.

On Monday morning, we were meeting my mother for a day at the Animal Kingdom. She came down the weekend before and spent Saturday and Sunday with my brother who lives in the Orlando area. She drove down early Monday morning and met us right after breakfast.

We ate at the Pepper Market at Coronado Springs. It's an a la carte place. Sarah had a danish and some juice, which counted as snacks, not a meal. I had a breakfast skillet the featured eggs, bacon and home fries. After meeting up with Mom, we drove over to the Animal Kingdom and parked right up front in the AAA Diamond area.

The three of us did most of the Animal Kingdom stuff including the safari ride, the Nemo stage show and the Kali River Rapids. Mrs. and Mama High Lord stayed mostly dry; I got sprayed once and the cutest little girl--she looked to be a 3 year old Latina--was sitting in the "money seat" when we went down the big hill.

After that, we dried off and ate lunch at Yak and Yeti which is in the Asia section of AK. I know the name sounds kind of funky but in some ways, it was our favourite meal. We can get most of the same kinds of cuisine around here, but Yak & Yeti features a pan-Asian menu that has everything from Indian to Vietnamese to Chinese.

These are our appetizers. In the upper left is the dum sum basket featuring a variety of dumplings. Clockwise from that are the lettuce cups with a chicken and veggie filling, and the third is the seared ahi tuna.



For her entree, Mrs. High Lord had the pho, which is a lemon grass broth with cilantro, veggies and rice noodles. Since it wasn't going to cost any more, she had them add shrimp.



Mom had a big plate of shrimp tempura and I had the seared miso salmon. All three entrees were fab. The salmon was served a little on the rare side which was nice because most people overcook salmon making it dry.



For dessert, we had fried wantons, a sample of fruit (mango, lemon and raspberry) sorbets and I had the chocolate brownie sundae. I know two of those really aren't Asian, but they were really, really good.



And here are Mama and Mrs. High Lord waiting in line for the Kilimanjaro Safari ride.



We did just about everything else, including the Festival of the Lion King, the It's Tough to Be a Bug 3-D movie, and Conservation Station. At about 4 in the afternoon, Mom had to get going; she had training the next day back home. So she dropped us off at the hotel, then drove home. We changed and went to dinner at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

I would love to have the $$$ to be able to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, but we settled for just eating there.

Even though we had made a reservation, they were running behind, so we walked around and checked out the place. Off the back of the Lodge are animals that roam the "savanna". It was pretty cool.

We had decided to eat at Boma, which is the buffet at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. In hindsight, I would not have chosen to eat there, and that's no reflection on the food. We decided that we wanted to try a bunch of different African cuisine, so we decided to eat there.

After talking about it, Mrs. High Lord and I decided that next time we'd rather eat at Jiko, which is one of Disney's "signature" (two meal) restaurants. The food at Boma was excellent, if a little different. Mrs. High Lord enjoyed the three different kinds of hummus. I liked the watermelon rind salad with a ginger flavour. We ate a variety of other things with names I can't remember (or pronounce) and the differing tastes were a departure from what we usually have here in the great state of West Virginia.

Here's Mrs. High Lord with some of her hummus and a bowl of carrot soup.

Some thoughts on our Disney trip

We've been home for two weeks and I thought I'd get some quick thoughts down on our third honeymoon.

First of all, we had a fabulous time. It was everything we'd wanted out of a vacation: no kids, leisure, fun, lots of food and even a little bit of honeymoon romance.

Transportation

We flew a regional carrier, Allegiant Air, which has discount fares and direct flights. The downside is that they only fly on certain days and they nickel and dime you to death. Want a drink on the plane? That will be $3. Want to pick your seat when you book your flight? $11 each leg. Extra bag? Fork over $25.

Of course, since we only paid about $79 per person each way, I'll pay the $3 if I want something to drink (which I didn't). The direct flights were great, the service acceptable and the price was right.

I have one gripe with Allegiant but it's not really their fault. When we booked our vacation, we did it back in January and Allegiant only had fares listed for the first part of May. So we booked our flight down and waited for the return flights to appear, gambling that the prices wouldn't change much (which they didn't). What did change was the flight times.

Flying down, we left at about 6:00 PM on Sunday night and got in a little before 8:00. The usual return flight was immediately before that leaving Sanford International Airport at about 3:30 and getting in at around 5:30.

When the new routes were posted, instead of leaving in the afternoon, the flight originated out of Orlando at 7:00 AM and landed here at about 9:00. So even though we had booked a Sunday-to-Sunday vacation, we were getting in late one Sunday night and leaving the next Sunday morning. In effect, we were losing almost one day of our vacation. Nothing major, but that kind of irked me, especially considering that we were paying for park passes and food for a day we wouldn't be using.

The other transportation issue we had turned out to be a boon. Since we were flying into SFB instead of MCO, Disney did not have a free transfer/shuttle service. Mrs. High Lord made some inquiries and found out that for two of us from SFB to Disney World pick-up and drop-off would cost about $200 via limo, van or shuttle.

I checked with Avis and Budget and we had some coupons with our Entertainment book. So we got a little Nissan Sentra for the entire week for $228. If given the chance, drive!!! I love Disney's shuttle bus service, but driving to the parks was the way to go, especially since we had the AAA Diamond Parking pass. All the spots were up front and we didn't have to wait up to half an hour for the bus that would then make three stops before dropping us off at Coronado Springs. I think this was the best $250 we spent all week. And since the little Sentra got great gas mileage, we only had to fill up the tank once (and even then, we only put about ¾ of a tank of gas in it).

Accomodations

We stayed at Coronado Springs, one of Disney's "moderate" resorts. It's not luxury by any means, but having stayed at the All-Star resorts in the past, it was money well spent. One thing I liked about Coronado Springs was that hosts some of Disney's convention business. That means fewer kids. I don't have anything against kids, but I don't like my hotel being overrun by them.

Here's the pool at Coronado Springs.



We stayed in the 9A Cabana building which is right next to the main building, El Centro. They had a quick market, an a la carte restaurant and a sit-down restaurant. The food was Americanised pseudo-Mexican cuisine that was good, but nothing to write home about either.

This is the main buildings from across the lagoon. If you stay here, make sure your room is not way the hell away from El Centro. It might mean the difference between walking two minutes to guest services and ten.



We had a room with a king-sized bed that came with all the usual amenities. I was surprised that internet access cost extra ($10 per day), but upon reflection, that really wasn't that shocking. After all, Disney wants you out in their parks, not in your room surfing the internet. I also thought it was amusing that there were something like eight Jesus channels on the TV to go with all the Toon Disney and ESPN channels.

The housekeeping staff was prompt to answer requests and everyone else in the resort provided top-notch service, something we've come to expect from Disney.

I'd definitely stay at Coronado Springs again.

Traveling in May

Having grown up in Florida, I know that the weather in May is a crapshoot. Some times it is very pleasant. Other times, it's miserable.

We hit the jackpot. There was only one day when the heat was oppressive (Saturday). All the other times, it was in the mid-80s with moderate humidity. We made a habit of only doing the parks in short spurts. We also broke up our days often spending the mornings at one park then going to another park or resort for dinner. That made a world of difference in terms of our energy level and getting away from the crowds.

Speaking of crowds, we hit the lottery on those, too. Mrs. High Lord says we got lucky because we were going after all the spring breaks and before school got out. I also think the flagging economy also kept some of the usual tourists away. There were lots of folks from overseas (as always). I was happy they were here to spend their strong currency in our country.

Since there were shorter lines than usual, we basically walked on to everything. We had maybe a five minute wait on Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain. We walked into almost all the shows (timing is everything). Hell, we walked right up to the door at the Haunted Mansion. It was fab.

Here's Mrs. High Lord and I after coming off Splash Mountain. We were sitting in the "money seats". I think there were two dry spots on my left side. I've never been sprayed on Splash Mountain, and this time we got it twice.



That was one of the first things we did Tuesday morning and didn't dry off until about 1:00 (after lunch).

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Some Tuesday thoughts

Hullo, everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day holiday.

If you haven't already, thank the family of a vet who died in the line of duty for their sacrifice. It doesn't matter if their brother, mother, father, sister or daughter died in battle, in an accident, in training or from a long-standing war wound, they should have their gratitude for giving us their family member in the protection of the freedoms we get a day off to enjoy.

Some other things to think about on this day:
  • Is there any smarter show on TV than The Big Bang Theory? (The answer is "no" by the way). It's funny while at the same time mixing in jokes about Schrodinger's Cat, Star Trek, perpetual motion and WoW. Maybe it's because I know people like that (I hope I was Leonard and not Sheldon in college), but I really appreciate that they don't dumb down everything for a cheap laugh.

  • Christina Applegate is smokin' hawt in Samantha Who?, which is also funny and smart (but not as smart as Big Bang). I heard both shows got picked up for next year, which is good.

  • BSG continues to intrigue me. It's a shame that it will end after this season. Do you think Gaeta is really the 5th cylon or is it someone else. Remember what Leoban told Roslin back in season 1: "Adama is a cylon". Which Adama? Bill? Apollo? Starbuck (she was supposed to marry into the Adamas)?

  • I could really use a Matsunoma roll from Tokyo Dining in EPCOT right about now.

  • This will probably never happen again, but I made Peter King's MMQB: Tuesday Edition column.

Hope you guys have a great Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Are you ready for the marathon Idol results show?

Tonight is Idol's coronation night, a two hour orgy of craptastic singing, advertising, product placement and filler before crowning David the winner of season 7.

In case you haven't heard, our friends at DialIdol predict that David Cook will win in a landslide. Of course, DialIdol doesn't take into account text messaging, the general public (it only accounts for the people who have installed the software) and the little-known clause in the Idol rules that allows the producers to exclude whole blocs of votes if they want.

I think it would be ab fab if this year's Grand TCO were upset at the finale (especially if it means watching his stage dad go postal on live TV). I've read several arguments for each of the finalists, but our friend Jennifer has one of the best commentaries about the results shows you'll read. Pay special attention to the parts about the gambling sites. If they say someone is going to win, they're probably right since it only takes a few bad bets for them to go bankrupt (and as we all know, bookies aren't in business to lose money).

For me, assuming the votes count, I think Cook has a real chance to beat The Arch. I say this because since they first showed him singing to Kelly Clarkson six years ago, 19E/Randy have done nothing but pimp him up. Even when he blows lyrics and can't open his eyes and can't speak a coherent sentence, they do nothing but fawn all over him. He's gotten loads of face time, nary a negative comment (they even sugarcoated him forgetting the lyrics to a Beatles tune) and Seacrest has never made him sweat. If that's not a TCO, I don't know what is.

Of course, no one would watch if there weren't a little bit of mystery to the finale. That leads us to Cook. What chance does he have? He didn't get near the amount of face time compared to some of the other people who are watching from home (Carly, Brooke, Michael). Nor did he pander for votes when given the chance (like the time Seacrest baited him to mention his brother and that pesky brain tumor). What he's done is nothing short of amazing. He's performed at a consistently high level all year long. While he's stumble a couple of times ("Hungry Like the Wolf" anyone?), he's also been spot on ("Hello", "Billie Jean") and unlike The Arch, he's shown that he's not a OTP.

Sure some of his songs sound the same, but so does Daughtry (one of the "champions" if you believe the montage they showed last night).

Where Cook may have an edge is in picking up powervoters. With four or five to go, the name of the game is to pick up the voting bloc of the person who just got kicked off. At that point, each singer has a core constituency who is going to vote for them no matter what. As Chris Daughtry found out, if you don't gain new voters, you find yourself sitting on the stools instead of lounging on the couches.

So the question becomes this: Who was getting Carly's, Brooke's, Jason's, and Syesha's powervoters. I won't rehash my earlier thesis here, but the show is controlled by powervoters, not the casual voters. Who will pick up the people who are ready, willing and able to vote for someone hundreds (and possibly thousands) of times each night?

Do you really think Brooke's fans went to Cook or the Arch? What about Syesha's? While there are lots of rabid Archie fans out in the world, do you think Jason's stoner following likes The Arch, do they think he's s dweeb? I'm guessing the latter.

I don't think DialIdol is necessarily 100% right (especially after predicting Carly being safe after "Superstar" only to get whacked the next night), but I also say it would be really hard for The Arch to overcome a twelve point deficit. Did his legion of tween fangirls come through with their unlimited text messaging plans for him?

We'll find out in about two hours.

For the record, I think The Arch is going to win. Even though I've heard that the Idol machine wants Cook to win and there are people he'll succeed where Daughtry failed, I think it's inevitable that The Arch will come out on top. He's been handed too many votes not to.

But then again, what fun would a finale be if we knew the results in advance?

In other news, check out this article which says So You Think You Can Dance is a better show and gives several compelling reasons why. I probably won't live blog SYTYCD, but I'll probably be watching. I'd also like to see Idol incorporate some of their better innovations, namely by letting the judges do some actual judging and put people up for elimination instead of making it a free for all and allowing powervoters to take over the show.

And while we're waiting, check out MSNBC's list of the 10 best performances of this season. They also have a list of four ways to improve the show that were submitted by viewers, not their stock columnists (call me, MSNBC; I'll work on the cheap!).

Has anyone out there seen the new Narnia movie? Mrs. High Lord and I are trying to decide if we want to see that or Indiana Jones this weekend. Help me!

Last week's poll results are in.

It seems that there is a general consensus about who the most successful of this year's Idols will be. Interesting that KLC and the Gelfling got more votes than the Arch. I'll wait three or four years before revisiting this topic.

How about those gas prices? On the way home, the price here in the great state of West Virginia inexplicably jumped from $3.89 to $3.99. Just in time for Memorial Day. Thanks for helping us out, Dubya . . . oh, that's right, your family made all its money on oil; you have a vested interest in high gas prices. When we were in Florida last weekend, regular unleaded was $3.59, 30¢ cheaper than in West Virginia. [sarcasm=on]Of course there's no gouging going on.[/sarcasm]

Do you think that they're going to have the past idols on or random acts who just want to be seen on this show?

Seacrest starts off by telling us that there were a record number of votes cast for this year's finale; of course there were, they gave everyone an extra two hours. Although they don't release vote totals, Seacrest tells us that there was an 8 point spread.

They bring Matt back, which is cool. Mikalah . . . not so much. (Where did they dig her up? And what happened to LaToya one of the hometowns?)

And then it's the Top 12 back for an encore group sing. They've obviously turned Brooke's mic off because it doesn't sound half bad. And of course they have to do some cross-promotion with SYTYCD (which starts tomorrow on Fox!).

Did you love how Jason couldn't hold the ending pose and had to goof off? He's going to be raising hell on the tour? (Or maybe he'll just be baked every night . . . no, he does that already).

While Fox pays some bills (or are they just pocketing the cash), I'd like to point everyone over to this article which says GM is in trouble. Good. I hope they go bankrupt so they can no longer unleash crap like the 2001 Oldsmobile Alero on the world.

After that, we get to hear some of the ramblings in the Idol room and then the Davids come out of a duet of Nickelback's "Hero". Cook sings rings around The Arch in the head to head. That just proves that Randy was either high or on the take last night.

Has anyone seen Dadchuleta tonight? What do you want to bet that security has at least four guys with tasers in his immediate vicinity, plus a guy in the rafters with a sniper rifle loaded with elephant tranqs.

I could have done without the not-so-random Mike Myers commercial.

Whoever let Kyle Busch take over the Guru Pitka's remote control cushion while Seacrest was on it needs to get a high five.

The first of the ousted Idols to make it back on the stage is Syesha, who looks smokin' hawt. And there's Seal. He's thinking, "If I weren't married to Heidi Klum, I'd hit that." I'm just happy she's not singing "Kiss From a Rose." They were fab.

Next up is Jason and he's singing solo. Or maybe they'll CGI Shrek into the shot (because you can never get too much Mike Myers . . . NOT!). Yawn.

And then there's a Ford commercial. And of course, the Davids each get an Escape Hybrid. Pretty cool. And much better than the gas-guzzling Mustang Bo and Carrie got.

Following them are the girls singing a Donna Summer medley. Amanda's thinking, "Why am I here? I'm not going on the tour. This is a waste of my time. Oh, wait . . . I want to get a contract. I hope I don't fall off my heels coming down the stairs." Just for a second, I thought they might just have a medley, but then Donna comes out to shill for her new single.

[insert cynical sigh here]

The next performance is for Carly and Michael. Beckeye jst had an idolgasm. Mrs. High Lord wants to know why they have so many old songs on, like "The Letter" from 1967. While they sound good singing together, if the show is about creating a contemporary pop star, why have songs on that are (literally) 40 years old (that's before the Tet Offensive). Why not sing a more modern duet?

I'm sure these songs are a preview of what we're in for on the tour.

Seacrest brings on Jimmy Kimmel and we see a shot of Sanjaya. Do you think FRC is in the house, too? Jimmy was funnier the last time he was on.

The girls were forced to shill for Donna Summer, but the guys get to sing a Bryan Adams song. Does he have a new album coming out? None of these guys were alive in the summer of '69. They could have even sung Bowling for Soup's "1985" and don't think they were conscious for that time. And then the six of them ruin "Heaven". I'm going to have to look up Emily Frumpkin so we can hunt these boys down and beat the crap out of them while they sleep.

Look . . . there's Bryan Adams . . . and he's singing a new single, too. At least I haven't heard it before.

[insert another cynical sigh here]

Jordin isn't on the show, but she's advertising for Disney World. And then David Cook takes the stage with ZZ Top. That's almost as cool as Bo singing with Lynyrd Skynyrd. This is how you rock. Forget that washed up Donna Summer and her new single; These are true music gods and they're doing a classic song, not something off a crappy list (ie-"Band of Gold") and not pimping a new CD.

Who's the guy with the round head and glasses? Was that Cook's dad or was it Ken Starr?

After the best performance of the night so far, Mikalah is on and my ears are bleeding at the sound of her voice.

Couldn't Idol reach into their deep pockets and get Carole King or Carly Simon to sing with Brooke instead of Graham Nash? They're pretty good together and this will be the exact type of album she'll make.

I'd like to make this observation about the finale show: We're an hour in and they've not shown a single clown from the auditions or some craptabular fourth-tier wannabe (like the guy who thought he was Clay from a couple of years ago). We've gotten the finalists in all their glory. Sure there have been a shameless plugs (Mike Myers) but for the most part the pro singers on augmenting the show, not taking it over.

The David C. Guitar Hero commercial is pretty funny.

It made Mrs. High Lord laugh/cream.

I knew it couldn't last. The Jonas Brothers are on. That means bathroom break for the High Lord.

Following them are the craptacular auditions. I take back everything I said about four paragraphs ago. At least Renaldo is funny as hell. Plus he gets to sing with the (USC Marching Trojan) band. Mrs. High Lord is in the kitchen singing "I Am Your Brother". I wonder if that's going to be on iTunes tomorrow. I would really pay money for that.

Check out the funniest Idol ancedote. Evah. You have to skip down to #10A.

After Cook started out rocking the house with ZZ Top, The Arch gets to sing with One Republic. Yawn. He still can't open his eyes. After all the butt-kissing the judges did to The Arch last night, I don't think there's any doubt that this night is Cook's.

Matt Rogers is in Utah with all of The Arch's extended family. Or maybe they're all Osmonds.

I guess Jordin is in the house. And she's pushing her new single. Which I can tolerate because she's the reigning American-Freaking-Idol (at least for another 34 minutes). Not some washed-up has-been looking for a bump in sales. I think my friend Mike just has his Idolgasm. Or at least he was thinking, "If I weren't married, I'd hit that."

Speaking of past Idols, Carrie was selected as the most popular of them all. No surprise there, especially since four of them have basically disappeared.

Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr. would have kicked ass as the Pips. Sure they're cheap laughs, but that was funny as hell. I'm going to have to look that up on YouTube tomorrow.

Mike just had another Idolgasm. Carrie's showing off lots of leg. She's lost some weight (not necessarily a good thing). Yes, she would have wiped the floor with everyone this season, even if she is a little shouty tonight.

The Arch's Guitar Hero commercial is not so great. He's 17 and dancing around in his underwear. Isn't showing video of that a federal offense?

Or maybe it's just that I don't buy him as a "rocker".

The Top 12 come back out to sing George Michael songs. The girls start with "Faith". I'd heard he was going to be on. Then it's the boys's turn to sing "Father Figure"; intentional or coincidence that ex(?)-stripper David H. got the "naked" line? Then all 12 star with "Freedom". Does this mean George himself will be singing "I Want Your Sex"? Or maybe "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go".

I hope he sings the live version of Queen's "Somebody to Love" that absolutely kicks ass. But no, he's singing "Praying for Time", a song that was brought to the public's attention by Carrie on IGB this past year. After a mostly upbeat show, George's song is kind of a downer. He doesn't have a new album, but he is going on tour.

[insert yet another cynical sigh here]

With less than 5 minutes left, we see the David's on stage with Seacrest awaiting the results. The Arch is hoping his dad won't beat him if he loses, and Cook is praying desperately that he doesn't win. Simon babbles about the Davids being "tryers" (whatever the hell that means). Is The Arch really a "tryer"? He did the same thing. Every. Damn. Week.

Unlike years past, this season someone "certifies" the votes (I guess they really do count) and the winner is announced.

It's David.

(dramatic pause)

Cook. My friend Wiesia ought to be happy about that.

By 12 million votes. That's more than the population of Ohio.

I'm actually shocked. DialIdol strikes again. I hope he breaks the curse of the Idols.

Look, there's Mama Cook and the AC.

Now it's time for the CCS (Crappy Coronation Song), "Time of My Life".

"Attention: Maintenance. We need a clean up in row three. Dadchuleta's head just exploded. Clean up, row three."

During the off-season, I hope someone replays Randy sucking up to The Arch over and over and over and over. Of course, it's probably asking too much for him to realise what a jackass he was about it all year.

Congrats, David Cook. You deserve it. And if my unscientific poll is any indication, you'll go on to be the most successful of this year's crop, something you probably deserve.

And congrats to you, too, David Archuleta. Despite my dislike for you and your singing style, this was a good year. We can only hope that there won't be any more kids under the age of 18 allowed to audition.

That's it for this season, kids.

Thanks for sticking with me through all of my voluminous ramblings. I hope you'll check back with me throughout the year. After a few days of cogitation and reflection, I'll post some thoughts on this past year and my inevitable gripes about the show.

I'm just happy the winner was a David.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Girl power!!!!

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

The show opens with Usher (why the hell is he on this show?). As a concerned American citizen, I think I'm going to circulate a Constitutional Amendment that would cap the length of results shows at 10 minutes. Why the hell are these things two hours long? I could take it if they had dancing from past stars or even this year's eliminated crop, but not music acts that have no relevance to the show.

The first results will put two couples through to the second hour where they will dance one more scored round. The third couple will get to watch from backstage.

After some scary music, the second runners up are Cristián and Cheryl. He did very well, but the arm injury was just too big an obstacle to overcome. It's a tribute to Cheryl as a teacher, instructor and choreographer that she managed to get him this far. I guess that's why she's the two-time defending champ. If they want a woman to win again next year, maybe they should pair her with a female celeb.

Then they get to dance again. And I'm happy to see Cheryl's outfit. Mrs. High Lord is similarly happy about Cristián's open jacket.

Why is everyone dressed up for the finale except Tom? Samantha is in her red carpet best and he's still wearing a single-breasted suit. C'mon, Tom this is the finale. You're the best reality show host on TV, so put a tux on.

Oh, look . . . Kym's back . . . Mmmmmmmm . . . Kym Johnson . . . Yum . . .

And there's Monica and Jonathan. Mrs. High Lord is happy.

I like that they're bringing on all the eliminated couples for an encore. No they're not all great dancers, but they all did seem to be having fun. And it fills the time nicely.

Plus I get to see the future Mrs. High Lord again. I hope she gets a good partner next year so she can become the first three-time winner.

And Adam's "up with people" speech brought a tear to my eye . . . or maybe that was just me tripping over the coffee table.

Brandon (the winner of the junior's competition) is officially my hero.

I've been snoring through the last few minutes, but I tuned back in to see Drew want to beat Samantha over the head with the microphone and take over himself. Please do it, Drew!!!!!

I can't believe there are still 45 minutes left in this this. I hope Idol's results show goes quicker. At least it will start an hour earlier.

After some more filler, Jason and Kristi get to reprise their favourite dances from the season. If he comes out and does the MNF paso again, I'm going to turn the TV off.

Kristi and Mark reprise their 50s jive that was an out-of-the-park home run. It's just as good this time and shows that ABC didn't need to rig the show this year to get a woman in the winner's circle. I don't know why they're even bothering to score this round. Mathematically speaking, this pretty much guarantees that she's going to win.

Jason and Edyta finished 3rd in the judges scores which means they needed to finish first in the fan voting to win, something I don't think they pulled off. They bring back their quickstep which I think he's too tall to pull off. It was the same as before, and they have no chance at catching Kristi in the judges scoring. I think he knows he's dancing only for pride right now.

After getting what is basically a ceremonial 30 for their final dance, Jason and Edyta find out that they're . . .

Not the winners.

Good for them. Way to go, Kristi!

And a good job to Jason and Edyta for making a game of it. But everyone knew from week 1 that she was the one to beat and they still managed to perform at a high level week in and week out.

I'm also exhausted by the two hour results show, so I'm going to call it a night.

Check back tomorrow for the Idol results finale.

High Lord. Out.

Finale night

Here we are, kids. It's almost the end of the road. DWTS ends tonight, but first it's the Idol performance finale.

I've been purposely avoiding song spoilers but it seems that the Davids are both singing three songs, one they picked on their own, one they picked off the list of fan submissions and one chosen by music industry legend (and Idol killer) Clive Davis.

This is the culmination of this season: TCO David Archuleta's glorious ascension to the top spot joining commercial successes Ruben Studdard, Jordin Sparks, Taylor Hicks and Fantasia Barrino. Welcome to the show, Archie; this is your now!

While we wait for the show to start, I'm going to tease you guys with some teaser pix of Mrs. High Lord's and my third honeymoon. That's right: It's Disney, baby!!

Here we are on the backside of Cinderella's Castle. This was taken at about 2:00 PM and my shorts are just drying out after being sprayed on Splash Mountain at about 9:30 AM (I was sitting in the "money seat").



This is me meeting Bruce at The Seas With Nemo and Friends.



Since we booked our trip through AAA and got Magic Your Way™ tickets and the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan™, we didn't pay for much out of pocket, but one thing I did splurge on was the "Segway Around the World" tour of EPCOT. It was fab. A little pricey, but fab. And those things are wicked fun to drive around.



My mother came down to see my brother and his family on Sunday, then spent Monday with us at the Animal Kingdom. That's Mama High Lord on the left, Mrs. High Lord in the middle and me on the right.



I'll post more pix once I get a chance to sort through them all because the show is about to start.

We open up with Michael Buffer introducing the Davids. This is actually pretty funny. Do you think they'll replace Seacrest with him? What's with the boxing theme going into the show?

Did they just show Chris D. as one of the "superstars" in the "one to one" segment? Or was it Cook's scraggly beard?

ALW is back and so is Clive Davis with his Wheel of Death™. Why can't they just let them sing instead of plaguing us with all the filler. The past five minutes could have been another minute for each of their songs.

Why are the tastefully named Davids both wearing the same outfit (jeans, blazer, t-shirt)? And why can't The Arch speak without acting goofy? Do you think Randy can make an objective criticism or will he slurp the shorter finalist unapologetically? And why can't Simon wear a shirt to these things that has all of the buttons done?

The Arch won the toss last week and he smartly decided to go second. I don't keep track of the singing order in the finales, but if anyone has some numbers about how they do (Jennifer probably does), please let me know if it has any impact on who wins this thing.

SHBORS opens the show with "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", the first U2 song to appear on the show. It was picked by Clive, which isn't always a good thing. Cook's no Bono, but to his credit, he really doesn't try. This is one of my favourite songs of all time (from one of the greatest albums of the 80s) and unlike his "Hungry Like the Wolf", I don't hate it after the Cook Treatment. I'd almost pay money for this (not as much as Carly's "Superstar", though). I like that he didn't try to rock it out, but he also made it enough of his own to be distinctive from the U2 original.

Next up is SSKIM who has to outdo not only Sir Elton John, but George Michael (and even Roger Daltry). Oh, yeah, and Clay sang this one, too. He hasn't quite gotten over the squinting, although his breathing isn't as apparent. He did get a little shouty at the end. It was aiiiiight, but I'll bet Randy slurps him right up. Yup, he did. It wasn't as good as the judges said. They obviously want him to win.

Next up are the Crappy Coronation Songs™ (™ belongs to Jennifer at Idoling Along). Word Nerd's is called "Dream Big" and without hearing a note, I'm going to say it's a crappy song. To me, the title "Dream Big" should only appear on two things: the vanity license plate for my Porsche 911 GT2 or the adults-only video I'm going to make with Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union. The song is the usual Idol schlock, but he does as good a job as he can with it. I'm happy that he didn't just sing it as a ballad (as The Arch probably will). If there's anything to be learned from Syesha this year, it's that fast, upbeat songs are better than slow, sappy banality. Simon talks it down just to give some extra votes to Archuleta.

Speaking of Idol's Goofy Giggling Golden Boy, his song is titled "In This Moment". And yes, it's a a slow ballad. That's right, same song as he's done a million times this year, only the lyrics are different. Is this the song that he's going to be pushing for the next six months until his album comes out? I keep hoping that the light will come on for me with this kid, but I can't warm up to him. He's too moronic when he's talking, he's shown no range in terms of his song choices and his on-stage mannerisms grate on me too much. The judges fawn over him (as usual).

We're two-thirds of the way through the show and the one thing I'm happy about tonight is that it seems they're letting the kids sing more than just a verse and the chorus. I wish they'd do it more throughout the year. I still dislike the amount of product placement and ads in between the singing.

With his final song, Daughtry 2.0 whips out "The World I Know", a song I dislike. Instead of rocking out his last performance, he proves (at least to me) that he's sandbagging in the hopes that he doesn't really win. Instead of crushing The Arch underneath his Les Paul, he sings a slow song. It's a fine line he's walking; he has to appear competitive, but he's trying his best to throw the competition so he doesn't win and get bound by the "golden shackles" of the Idol winner's contract.

For his final song, The Arch gives us a flashback to his high water mark, reminding us how good he can be, but also retreading a song he's already performed. "Imagine" is probably the most overrated song in the rock n'roll catalog (it may be second to "Stairway to Heaven") and David A. sings it the exact same way he did before. The breathyness is back. He shows that he really is a good vocalist; it's too bad I can't stand to watch him when he sings, though (or listen to him when he talks). Let's see, for The Arch . . . there were three songs . . . and three ballads. Granted that one of them was Clive's fault, not his, but it makes me wonder what kind of album he'll be making. Will he sing "Open Arms" twelve times? At least Cook can mix it up a little. It was a good performance and finished the season well. Overall, though, he's not as deserving as Randy raves on and on.

The Good
David C., "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"

The Bad
David A., "Imagine"
David C., "Dream Big"
David C., "The World I Know"
David A., "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"
David A., "In This Moment"

The Ugly
no one tonight

After listening to the judges suck up to The Arch, it's pretty apparent that Nigel and the producers wanted him to win. I also wonder how he'll hold up to being the American Idol. Between his Daddy, having to tour and get jerked around by 19E do you think he'll have a mental meltdown at some point?

I think Cook should win because he has performed at a consistently high level through the season. Plus he's been able to mix in a variety of styles and even when they don't work, he comes off as very authentic.

The Arch will win because he's been handed so many votes so early on, and I'm not sure that's not the best outcome for everyone involved. The Arch gets the contract, and David C. gets to make the kind of album he wants, not the album Fremantle wants.

Tomorrow's results finale is going to be a two-hour extravaganza featuring the top 12 finalists to go along with hordes of wannabes and trainwrecks who somehow score a way to extend their 15 minutes of TV time.

I'm going to switch over to the DWTS results now so check back in a little bit for those results.

High Lord. Out.

Monday, May 19, 2008

DWTS performance finale!

After rigging the show for Kelly back in season 1, the producers have done their damnedest to ensure that there's a female winner this year. They gave defending two-time champion Julienne a crappy partner in Adam. Then they gave their other two-time champion a partner who is generally unknown to the general public in the hopes that it would keep her out of the winner's circle again.

And to top it all off, they got Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi to pair with the guy who probably should have won last year to be the woman who could win without needing an exec at ABC to make "the call" for her.

It's a tribute to Cheryl Burke that she's advanced this far with a celeb who started behind the 8-ball in terms of votes and then got hurt. She truly is the right combination of teacher, motivator and taskmistress that it takes to turn an underachiever into the winner.

Kristi is the outright favourite to win at this point. Jason has done well under Edyta's tutelage, but he has always come up just a little short. c crashed the party this year and may end up stealing 2nd place because of the sympathy votes.

The opening dance is the cha-cha-cha, a dance all three couples will not only share the style, but the same song. It's up to the pro to choreograph the dance for their partner and the celeb not to botch it.

Opening the show are Cristián and Cheryl. They will be followed by Jason and Mrs. Six Pack, then Kristi and Mark will close out the dance. Then it's time for the best round of the show: the free style.

Remember this is the round when Drew kicked some ass with his "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" dance, Jerry donned the 'fro and Tony's crappy choreography killed Stacy's chances at winning, leaving it up to Emmitt and his Hammer routine to win. Who will surge to the front of the pack this year?

While I'm waiting through the Royal Caribbean commercial, I'd like to point out that my friend Mary from work told me I needed to get a haircut. It's starting to look a little shaggy. It's too short to pull back, but it's too long to stay down. Plus I have lots of wild hairs that are hard to keep under control. In about three more weeks they will be long enough for their weight to hold them down, but right now, I'm approaching the Liu Kang look.

Now back to the dancing:

Could they pick a crappier song than "Dancing on the Ceiling"? I'm underwhelmed by Cristián. I do like the dress. Mrs. High Lord likes the open shirt. They're better with the second viewing, but still not great. Jason also seems to be moving slowly. The steps don't really match the pace and tempo of the music. Jason and Edyta get in lots of tricks, but a couple (like the jump over her head and then scooting back between her legs) seem a little out of sync.

My stepdaughter showed up right as Kristi and Mark were starting their dance so I hit pause on the DVR and let her collect the baby, who was glued to Mrs. High Lord (aka "Mimi"). They talked for a while and now it's time to hit play.

Kristi and Mark are actually keeping up with the music. She gets in lots of hip action to accentuate the frilly dress she's wearing. Plus Bruno will give her a 10 because of the opening kiss.

Jason misses a step or two in the synchronised moves at the end.

The Judges's Scores:
Cristián and Cheryl: 8-9-9
Jason and Edyta: 8-8-8
Kristi and Mark: 10-10-10

The High Lord's Scores:
Cristián and Cheryl: 8
Jason and Edyta: 8½
Kristi and Mark: 9½

Who didn't see those scores coming from the judges?

Wouldn't it be great if Kristi won in May, which also happens to be Asian-American History Month (we get 31 days, Yea!).

After drawing the Pimp Spot for the group dance, Kristi and Mark go first in the freestyle. In the intro piece, I just found out that last year Mark blew out his shoulder; why didn't I know about that? Do you think that was the real reason why Sabrina was prematurely eliminated? They bring in the future Mrs. High Lord to help them out . . . yummy! I love the Chuck Taylors. And the stunts seem to flow well in to the choreography instead of being a series of tricks with a few moves in between. She does miss a hold during one of the lifts, but overall it was fab. You know they brought a 2x4 to the competition when even Len lurves the tricks.
The Judges's Scores: 10-10-10
The High Lord's Score: 9

This is what you call a royal beat-down.

Next up are Jason and Edyta, who have spent this season as the front runners to be the first runners-up. He's thinking too much about the dance and not just letting it go. Even Mrs. High Lord thinks Edyta is hawt. This is no knock on Edyta, but I wonder how well he'd have done if his partner were Cheryl, who always finds her partner's strengths; Edyta still seems to be choreographing a little for herself. I predict a strong second place finish for these two.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 9

I thought for sure they'd get at least a 28.

The last dance belongs to Cristián and Cheryl. To me, he's living on borrowed time, much like Marissa has been for the last couple of weeks. His weak arm has become a glaring weakness. I don't know how well he can really do with only a right arm. Showing him hurting himself in practice will get him lots more sympathy votes. They're the weakest couple left and it's because they can't do everything else the others can. Cheryl choreographs to Cristián's strengths, but I still don't think it's enough. It's not bad, but they're clearly a second-tier couple on a night when that's not going to get them invited to the final dance.
The Judges's Scores:
The High Lord's Score: 8

Unless Kristi finishes dead last in the voting, she's going to win. I think Cristián might be able to land in the top two if he gets really luck in the fan voting, but I think it's very likely that Jason becomes the first loser and Cristián and Cheryl have a good showing, but still finish third.

In a flip to another question I asked, how far could Cheryl have taken Cristián if he hadn't hurt his arm?

Tomorrow it looks like we've got the Idol performance show at 8:00 followed by the two-hour DWTS season finale at 9:00. See ya'll then.

High Lord. Out.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Idol recap time

Where DWTS takes three celebs into the finale, Idol only takes two singers. That means either one of the Davids or Syesha is going to get the boot.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must say that I already know the results. Mrs. High Lord was channel surfing last Thursday night and Seacrest was on Larry King Live! I saw the bottom of the screen with a caption that said something like "David vs. David" which can only mean that Syesha got canned.

I'm still going to watch the show, because that's what I do.

The final three get a trip home to see their peeps and shill for the local Fox affiliates before singing three songs. One is picked by the judges, one by them and one comes straight from the Clive Davis Wheel of Death™, which is apparently now the Nigel Lythgoe Wheel of Death™.

Leading off the show is The Arch who gets "So It Goes" from Paula. I already know how Randy's "critique" will go: "Yo, dawg . . . dat was da bomb . . . I wanna have ur baby . . . I lurve this kid . . . You was yo!" The acapella beginning was good, but his breathyness still annoys the dickens out of me. This sounds like every other song he's sung. Only it's slower. I hope he sings something other than a ballad for his personal selection because I'm about to fall asleep. I know I shouldn't knock him for the song choice (like Randy did to K-Mac a few years ago), but he does the same thing every. Damn. Time. At least Simon sort of calls him on it.

I wonder if Laura got over to Tampa to see CBV (I'll check her blog later tonight) before she sings, "If I Ain't Got You". Did someone sing this already this year? Syesha reminds me why I think she's the best vocalist of this season. The performance is simple and fundamentally sound. She's not getting booted because of her skillz; I'd say she's getting kicked off because David Cook is the best performer and because The Arch got handed a zillion votes at the beginning of the year. The only reason Randy doesn't bash or give her a backhanded comment is because he picked the song.

Simon picked a Roberta Flack song for SHBORS who snuck into the finale and I think he's hoping he doesn't win. His tune is "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"; I don't know this one. It does a good job of showing off his vocal skillz, just like Cook's ALW selection did. Vocally, he doesn't have the range of Syesha or the timbre of Michael, but until the money note at the end, it was actually pretty good.

I think it was hilarious when Paula says something coherent in putting Simon and Randy in their places for going after each other in their song choices.

The Arch is sitting down for an interview, which is a bad sign. Yup, he's a moron. We're in the "personal choice" section of the show and SSKIM picked "With You". Or rather, his daddy picked "With You". And he almost drops a couple of lines. I'll be damned . . . his eyes are open. It's much better than the previous song, although still nothing to write home about. I'm just happy it wasn't a ballad. But I'm still bored as hell by this guy.

Syesha is showing off her legs (not a complaint) to sing "Fever". Someone mop up the drool off of Simon's chin. She's definitely learned that power ballads are not the way to get votes. It's a shame she won't survive because she could have made the finale interesting. She's a better singer that Cook and a better performer than The Arch. Her problem is that she's peaking too late. Cook (unexpectedly) got good early and consistently performed at a high level while The Arch was given the keys to the show the first time they showed him. That left her to scramble for votes while the boys have basically been coasting. The judges are tepid meaning that they really want an all-David finale.

For his choice Word Nerd picked "Dare You to Move" another song I don't know. This should stifle Simon's "that wasn't contemporary" line. Like Brooke, he sounds the same every week, which isn't necessarily bad because he could be on the radio today (unlike Archuleta, who would have been great for 1982). It wasn't fantastic, but he sounded good. Randy just dropped a name; everyone chug! The song does a good job of covering his vocal deficiencies.

They must be running short on time because there weren't any commercials between Cook and The Arch.

For his last round, The Arch picks . . . a ballad!!!!! "Longer" is a great song, but he's sounded the same all night. And like last week. If he wins, he'll have a great (but short) career on the adult contemporary chart. Simon had better say he thought the song choice sucked (even though Nigel picked it) because it doesn't do him any favours. Of course, none of that matters because TPTB want him to move on. Even Randy was unenthusiastic in his slurping.

I hope Syesha gets a better song from Nigel. It's "Hit Me Up" and she's going all out. Of the three of them, she is the most ready for Top 40 radio. Unlike other singers, the "producers" (Nigel) choose a good song for her. She gets to show off her range with only a little oversinging and she works the stage reasonably well, too. Nigel must be feeding Randy his lines . . . or he's listening to a different show than I am.

Don't you love how the judges are all picking on the singers for song choices they didn't make?

The last song is for David C. and it's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing". He's sped up the arrangement, which isn't necessarily a good move. It sounds like typical hard rock power-ballad, but the problem is that he's no Steven Tyler. I wish he'd keep his eyes open for a whole performance, too. The problem with this song is that it exposes him as a second (or third) tier vocalist. He just doesn't have the big voice necessary for this type of song. That was not Pimp Spot worthy.

The Good
Syesha, "Fever"

The Bad
Syesha, "Hit Me Up"
Syesha, "If I Ain't Got You"
David C., "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"
David C., "Dare You to Move"
David A., "With You"
David C., "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"
David A., "Longer"
David A., "So It Goes"

The Ugly
no one tonight

Either the sun fried my brain or I was watching a different show than the judges. Syesha was the best overall, even though "the producers" and the judges didn't do her any favours with song choices. It's too bad she gets canned.

Even though I already know the results, I'm going to watch the group sing to say I saw it. Why was there no disco night this year? These three aren't bad as a group. I think Mrs. High Lord was right when she said that Brooke was throwing off the harmonies. Of course, Jason's general demeanor (ie-being high every week) messed up the performance part of the group sings, too. I can't even hear The Arch because Syesha and Cook are drowning him out.

I also forwarded through the obligatory Ford COMMERCIAL just to say I hate that crap. I also FF'd through Fantasia because I can't stand her, even four years later. If anything, she's more annoying now than she was back in season 3.

I'm unhappy about Syesha getting canned, although it's not a surprise. I would have preferred a David Cook-Syesha finale because I don't think The Arch has the talent or sustainability to be THE American Idol. I can't understand why TPTB want him to win; it's not like they can manipulate him (Daddy already does that) and he's not shown that he can perform contemporary pop music well, so what gives?

Sure he'll sell a lot of downloads early on, but what about in two years? Five years? He'll be gone.

The one thing I'm happy about is that both of the singers in next week's finale will be tastefully named. Other than that, I'm a little meh on the whole thing because I won't be surprised if David C. sandbags throughout the entire finale. It seems to me that he needs to lose in order to have any sort of street cred as an artist. If he wins, he'll just make an album full of schlock and will then be ridiculed for the rest of his career.

He truly wants the Daughtry path to success (ie-on his terms, not Idol's).

That's it for this week's recaps. Now I'm going to watch last week's BSG.

High Lord. Out.

DWTS: No filler review

Howdy, folks.

I'm back from my vacation. My feet are sore and I've got a fabulous farmer's tan. There will be more on the trip to Disney World later (pix, too).

So even though it's Sunday, I'm going to fire up the DVR and watch last week's DWTS and the results show. For the record, I stayed away from the TV on Monday and Tuesday, and I didn't take the computer so I have no idea who did well and who got whacked.

Since I can, I'm going to skip the filler and go straight to the dancing. First up are Jason and Edyta with the foxtrot. He looks stiff (and not in the good way). Of course, posture is very important to the foxtrot, so that could part of it. I'm disappointed that Edyta isn't showing off her six pack. It's a good simple dance without too many stunts and tricks. I'm not blown away, but they did a good, competent job. I didn't have to find out about Jason and Cristián's "friendship".
The Judges's Scores: 9-10-9
The High Lord's Score:

Next up are Marissa and Tony. Stacy stops by to see her. I'm surprised Stacy didn't throttle Tony for killing her chances at winning back in season 2. She's too short for the quickstep to work for them. Her little legs are pumping as fast as they can and she still looks like she can barely keep up. And the wardrobe people still hate her. It wasn't her best dance, but it was probably about as good as she could ever do the quickstep.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-8
The High Lord's Score:

Going in the three-hole are Cristián and Cheryl. The filler piece plays up the injury angle. Is he getting sympathy votes? It seems they are because I didn't think they were as good as the judges gushed last week. Their first dance is the Viennese waltz. Cheryl proves why she was a two-time champ with her choreography. She covers well for Cristián's injury and dances circles around him. After last week's "liftfest", everyone is just dancing this week, a refreshing change of pace. The dance is good, but Cristián spending the entire two minutes with his left arm behind his back is getting old.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 8

That means Kristi and Mark get the Pimp Spot. Another thing about this week is that the music is dance appropriate. There is nary a Duran Duran or Dead or Alive tune to be heard (so far). Kristi's tango is full of solid fundamentals. They're going to get a mix of 9s and 10s. They almost seem to be on autopilot without coming off as robotic. Just as Idol is The Arch's to lose, the only Kristi doesn't win this one is if she gives it away (possibly by killing a puppy on the hardwood).
The Judges's Scores: 10-9-10
The High Lord's Score: 9

After some more filler, it's time for the latin round. Jason and Edyta's second dance is the paso doble. I remember not liking the last one, but that could have been the music that made my ears bleed. And I'm happy that Edyta is nearly naked. Mrs. High Lord is less thrilled that Jason is fully clothed. It's much better than his previous paso. Do you think Carrie is going to get on them for a lift when Edyta's feet came off the ground as he was spinning her around or are we still in a one-life per night mode? Jason's joke about lowering the price of gas was pretty funny, too.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 9

Marissa and Tony's second dance is the rumba (I think; Mrs. High Lord FF'd through the intro). It's okay, but I have a feeling that she's not going to survive. To me, she has the least amount of appeal among the remaining stars and she's on borrowed time. Marissa and Cristián don't have as much name recognition as Kristi and Jason, and she doesn't have the sympathy vote going for her. It's not criticism of her, but I think this is the week she finally gets sent packing.
The Judges's Scores: 8-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 8

After pulling up lame after his last samba, Cristián and Cheryl take another crack at it. I wish she would do something different with her hair (your response: "She has hair?"). His protecting the arm is starting to annoy me like The Arch's breathing. Mrs. High Lord likes his open shirt. I'm meh about him tonight, but he'll probably advance to the finale.
The Judges's Scores: 10-9-10
The High Lord's Score: 8

The last dance of the night belongs to Kristi and Mark who are going to try and match their perfect 30. I'd like to point the appropriate lack of 30 scores this season; in years past they've been a dime a dozen, but this year they've been scarce. They must be running short on time because Tom has been rushing them through and the local affiliate didn't come back from commercial in time to catch the opening. I don't like it as much as their previous jive (since when is the jive a latin dance?), but it's still excellent. I don't think it will get them another 30, but they should still finish in the top spot tonight.
The Judge's Scores: 9-9-10
The High Lord's Score: 9

With the performance show over, I'm now going to FF through the results show and go straight to the results (which is how all results shows should be).

Okay, I lied . . . I stopped to watch the Michael Jackson medley. People forget just how good Michael was before he became Jacko (when he was still black). Oh, what happened to you, Michael?

It was aiiiiight. Check out this other cool version of "Thriller". It's being performed by inmates at a prison in the Philippines.


Back to the results . . . first to be declared safe (and dancing tomorrow) are Kristi and Mark. No surprise there. The only way this should would shock me is if Marissa got advanced to the finals.

Jason and Edyta are next to be passed through . . . leaving Marissa and Tony to get eliminated.

She's been playing with house money for about the last month, so she has nothing to be ashamed of. Out of the celebs this year, Marissa showed the most growth, and she's really what the show is all about: taking a true amateur and turning them into a ballroom dancer.

That leaves us with Kristi, Jason and Cristián (who should finish in that order) going into the finale. I think they really want a woman to win so Kristi got the best partner and they shafted Julienne and Cheryl with second and third tier celebs.

I'm going to take a short break and if Mrs. High Lord doesn't take over the big TV to watch basketball, I'll get to my Idol reviews. If not tonight, I'll blog them tomorrow night after work.

High Lord. Out.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane . . .

Hey, kids.

Just a reminder that I am out of town and will not be blogging DWTS and Idol this week.

I've set the DVR and when I get back, I'll make sure I get a review of all the performance and results shows.

If you're unlucky, I'll blab on about all the other stuff I watch, too (Big Bang Theory, Samantha Who?, Battlestar Galactica, etc.).

To keep you guys from boycotting my blog forevah, here's a pic of the baby to hold you over. I'm counting on her cuteness to keep you all from never coming back.

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Hope ya'll have a great week!!!!!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Today is Mrs. High Lord's and my 10th anniversary.

That's right, she's put up with my crap for 10 years now. Who'da thunk it?

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If anyone knows who won the pool on us, send me an email because they owe me a cut (and I know that no one--except me--had us lasting 10 years).

On Mother's Day, we're flying to Orlando to spend a week in Disney World. If you want to join us, come on down!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Idol Final Four

Forget March Madness, this is the real Final Four!

(I'm only saying that because my brackets blew up in the second round)

Before the show starts, make sure you check out the AI Season 7 Cage Match over wt Entertainment Weekly. And if you're really bored by all the filler on Idol, I'm sure they won't mind if you switch over to FX and watch Rent which is where some of the Idol alums will surely end up.

The results of last week's poll are:

It looks like there's a fair amount of consensus about the show and its standing in the genre of Reality TV. I just hope they solve some of its problems going in to next year.

Also, be sure to check out this week's poll to the right. The question refers specifically to the trend that the winner is generally not the most successful of the Idols (Clay and Chris D. being exhibits A and B). So who will be the most successful of the Idols?

And I don't necessarily mean album sales. By that standard, William Hung is #3 after Kelly and Carrie. Who will be still be around after five years? K-Lo is still struggling in the music industry but has also branched out as a restaurateur. Kimberly Caldwell (the hawtest finalist to ever be on the show) has had a successful TV career on the TV Guide Channel. Diana had a good run on Broadway. J-Hud won an Oscar. Daughtry is laughing all the way to the bank. Ace is going to die on "Bones".

So who will we remember from this season?

Back to this week's show.

According to our friends at DialIdol, everyone except Jason is statistically safe. It appears the margin was so wide that they are predicting there is no chance that anyone other than the Gelfling gets canned.

I can't say I disagree; Jason was clearly the worst singer last night. But after what happened to Carly, I can only wonder if there's any way we get a shocker tonight.

Seeing as I can ramble on for a while, how 'bout them gas prices? Today as I was driving home, I noticed that a gas station on the way home had jacked its price up to $3.89 for regular unleaded. It was $3.69 at 7:03 this morning when I went to work. We're being conditioned to accept these gas prices, even as the rest of the economy is going straight into the crapper.

Remember that when Dubya was installed as president by the Supreme Court, oil cost about $26 a barrel and gas was somewhere in the neighbourhood of $1.36.

[Reagan voice=on]Are you better off today than you were four years ago?[/Reagan voice]

That's what I thought.

We went out to dinner and everywhere is a ghost town. Restaurants. The mall. Hell, even Wal-Mart was deserted. But according to Dubya, we're not in a recession.

I hope you're ready to pay over $4 a gallon for regular unleaded before Memorial Day (if you live in California or Hawaii, you probably already pay over $4 a gallon). The guy I sit next to at work has a 50+ mile commute to work each way; I wonder what the point is where he's better off taking a job managing a gas station or going on welfare rather than come to work every day in the office. And he even drives a Saturn that gets 35 miles per gallon.

Anyway, back to the show . . .

As a favour to BeckEye, here's the way David Cook should have sounded last night.


You're welcome, Wixie.

Seacrest says last night was one of the most dramatic shows ever. That's crap. Last night sucked. And I don't see it getting much better from here.

Isn't the next show the inevitable Clive Davis Wheel of Death™ week? That's always a recipe for disaster (like when Randy told K-Mac her song choice was bad and she said, "I didn't pick it!" because Clive did).

Randy opens the show apologising for hating on Syesha. I think he should apologise for slurping up to The Arch so hard that he can't acknowledge when another singer has a good performance. That ticks me off. Back to ALW week, when Carly and Syesha absolutely destroyed everyone, Randy couldn't say they had good performances for fear of not making his boy out to be "da bomb", even when he knows that they wiped the floor with the rest of the field.

The show opens up not with a medley, but with Steely Dan's "Reeling in the Years". Of all the songs in the Rock N' Roll pantheon, this is the best they can get? What the hell?!?!?!

Could David Cook hate this any more? It's not as bad as past group sings, but I've said it before and I'll say it again: this crew has the least amount of chemistry of any group of finalists. Mrs. High Lord says this season's finalists' problem is Brooke; her voice messed up everyone else's harmonies. I'm not sure about that; I just think they all hate these things.

Seacrest brings out The Arch first. Of course, he's not going to have to wait for his results. Why don't they torture this kid like they did to Camile or John Stevens? And he still can't speak a complete sentence. Have I mentioned how much I hate that?

And of course, he's safe. Drat.

Do you think we're going to have to sit through the phone calls tonight?

Seacrest didn't just compare this group of kids with the Beatles, did he? I think I'm going to be sick. I know they got to sing the songs earlier this year, but these kids aren't anywhere near the Beatles's league.

Following a trip to Vegas, Seacrest brings out the other David. I'll be he's safe, too. After all, how can they have an all-David finale if he gets Tamyra'd tonight? I think he doesn't want to win. I wouldn't, if I were him. I'd want to go in third place which would mean a nice career without all of the expectations and obligations of the American Idol.

We're halfway through the show and we already know the bottom 2 (with no surprises).

That leaves 30 minutes for Maroon 5, Bo Bice, the inevitable Ford commercial (which is bad, even by Idol standards) and boat loads of filler.

Oh, dear God, Seacrest is on stage with the laptop and that can only mean phone calls. I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.

Next up is Maroon 5. Besides taking name that's a Star Wars reference, I don't have a lot of good things to say about it. Mabye it's all the false. Maybe it's that I'd rather see past Idols than some random act that doesn't really have a connection to the show.

Then we get to see Bo. He looks and sounds good. It's too bad he didn't wait a year to try out; he would have crushed Taylor easily and probably would have bagged VCM along the way. Doesn't he have Crohn's Disease or something? I've asked that before . . . he had to leave the tour early as I recall. He'd have been too old for this year, but he would have laid a royal smackdown on everyone this year.

Take notes, kids: This is how it's done.

So there are 10 minutes left in the show. That means a 30 second elimination, a 2 minute good-bye video, a 90 second swan song and six minutes of commercials and filler.

Jason said, "Someone told me I shot the Tambourine Man." BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

He's already got his bags packed, probably a good move. Syesha . . . like . . . is really into . . . like . . . the message . . . of . . . like . . . Sam Cooke.

Seacrest gives us some false drama and declares Syesha safe. That means the gelfling is getting whacked. And he's singing with the "We Are Brothers Forever" guy. What do you want to bet he shows up at the finale? Is anyone surprised about this?

Some people say that he wants to go home. Other people say he's just so laid back that it's cool. I just think he's high all the time.

Now he's going to sing . . . do you think he'll remember the words tonight?

That leaves us Syesha in the middle of a David sandwich for next week's show. They have to sing three songs and I'll bet we hear three ballads from The Arch.

On an administrative note, I will not be blogging either Idol or DWTS next week.

Our anniversary is this coming Friday . . . Mrs. High Lord has put up with me for 10 years. So as a reward for her perseverance, I'm taking her to Disney World. This time next week, we'll be at the top of the Contemporary Resort watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks show from the California Grill. I'm not taking the computer and I'm debating on whether I want to take my cell phone.

However, I will record all the shows on the DVR so I promise I'll watch and blog them when we get home next Sunday.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

DWTS . . . is it live or taped?

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

Hey, look, it's Ashly Del Grosso in the opening number! Hey, Mama!

And what's up with Rascal Flatts? They were at the Idol performance show earlier (which is allegedly "live", although Paula's mad ramblings now cast doubt on that) and now they're no DWTS which is also supposedly live.

I can forgive them since we get to see The Cutest Couple in All of the United States, Apolo Anton Ohno and Julienne Hough. They should be contractually obligated to have children because they would be drop-dead gorgeous. Or maybe Julienne and I should have some children because I'm almost as good looking as he is . . .

Don't tell Mrs. High Lord I said that.

Or I could just make out with Sabrina. I'm going to be in trouble if Mrs. High Lord reads this post. I love you, honey!

Do we really need to see Rascal Flatts again? Why didn't they get all the champions on the show for the reunion? Like the Idol results show, I'd much rather see the alums than people just looking for a cheap plug for their latest album. Of course, I could do with out Mario "I Used to Be Married to Ali Landry (The Doritos Girl) But I Couldn't Keep Mr. Happy In My Pants" Lopez. More Ashly Del Grosso would have been welcome. I hope she's back next year.

Mel and Maks look good. Do you think she's going to get in an ass-grab on Tom? She can't because he's wisely in the balcony.

Three of the winners are backstage; where are Emmitt and Helio? Drew, why don't you grab the microphone and take Samantha's job? Do it, Drew! There's not a jury in California that would convict you.

I hate filler. But I don't mind seeing Karina wearing next to nothing.

Maybe there will be a shocker tonight . . . only not on Idol. Marissa was just declared safe, as was Kristi.

So who will it be? Cristián had the highest score last night to go with gobs and gobs of sympathy votes. I don't think Jason will get canned; he's been too strong for too long.

That leaves Mario as the guy without a chair once the music starts. I guess I don't see a lot of crossover between the R&B crowd and the DWTS viewers. It would make sense, but if there were a shocker, it would be Jason getting the boot.

Cristián was just declared safe and Tom goes out of his way to say that the other person wasn't necessarily in the bottom 2. Samantha "I'm Dumber Than a Box of Rocks" Harris just said (when there were only two couples left), "We're now going to announce in no particular order which of the remaining couples is safe." What the hell? Please, ABC, get rid of her!!!!

And then they eliminate Mario. I think we saw that coming. I'm going to miss her six pack abs. [insert sad face here]

With four couples left, I think we're gearing up for a Kristi/Jason finale, although stranger things have happened. I'm picking Marissa to go next week and Cristián to finish in 3rd place.

Check back tomorrow night for the Idol results.

High Lord. Out.

The inevitable shocker week is upon us.

As our friend Jennifer reminds us, this is the week when the people you least expect get canned. I'd like to remind everyone that it was me and about three other people who predicted Chris Daughtry's ouster back in season 5. I don't think we're in for a similar shocker this year, but you never know; anything can happen.

Because THIS . . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

is American Idol.

In my mind, this show has already been handed to The Arch. I frankly don't see any way that he loses. Jason isn't going to win; in fact, he's on so much borrowed time, he should be paying interest. Syesha is the contestant with no fanbase. I don't know who's voting for her. But she's still around when early TCOs Carly and Michael are watching from home.

The wild card is David Cook. Personally, I don't think he really wants to win. Unless Idol lets him make the kind of record he wants (like they let Carrie make a country album), he doesn't want to get stuck with the usual schlock the winner gets right before they fall off the face of the earth.

If the Spice Girls were to ask Nigel what he wants (what he really, really wants), he'd surely say that it's in the best interest of the show to have a tastefully-named All-David Finale (zigazig-ha!).

Anything else is a bust for the show. If tomorrow is the night that David Cook gets the boot, I predict that viewership will drop. There will be no suspense (not that there's any now) because then you can dispense with the last three weeks of the show and just give The Arch the crown. In order for there to even be some appearance of "competition", David Cook needs to be standing against Archuleta in the last show of the season.

I'll tell you this: If there aren't two Davids singing for the title, I'd have a hard time tuning in for the final show. And I think millions of other folks out there would say the same thing.

I found another article over at CNN that talks about the decline of Idol among younger viewers that's similar to an article at MSNBC I linked to earlier. It basically says that the themes are alienating younger viewers by not showcasing songs they're familiar with. Instead, viewership is up among people over the age of 50, not exactly a target demographic for a show that purports to find the next sensation among pop music. The simple solution is to open up the songbook and let the kids sing the kind of music they're going to make once they get out in the marketplace, not songs that are older than they are.

TPTB at Idol are smart cookies; let's just hope they see the light before too many more people jump ship.

As with past weeks, I'm going to live-blog the show, then jump over to the last few minutes of DWTS for the results.

They're singing two songs tonight and the theme is the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. Good job, Idol, another theme were the songs are at least 10 years old. The list is here.

SHBORS draws the dreaded Dead Man's Spot. I think my friend Wixie is having an Idolgasm because he's singing her favourite song. Of. All. Time. If I weren't a child of the 80s, I might think it was good, but I can't help but think that his "Hungry Like the Wolf" falls short. I think he should have done what he did for ALW week and just sing the song, not try and rock it out. Sometimes you just don't mess with the classics. I'm "meh" on him.

Here's the problem with this theme: Since they're singing the "greatest" songs in the history of rock n'roll, they will all pale by comparison to the originals.

You'll notice that Seacrest isn't taking so fast tlis week. Of course, it's not because there are fewer commercials and less filler; it's because there are two fewer performances to confuse Paula with.

And how about Tiffany making an appearance in the Meatloaf GoPhone ad? I can't believe how hot she still is! I would soooooooo make out with her if Mrs. High Lord ever left me.

You'll notice that last week, Seacrest didn't say that CBV was in the bottom 2. In fact, the only thing we know for sure is that Brooke got kicked off. Like a lot of other conspiracy theorists out there, I think Jason was the other half of the bottom 2, but they didn't dare put him there after Paula's insane rambling in the middle of last week's show. After the random pre-song interview, Syesha's first song is "Proud Mary". She's dressed for the Tina Turner version, not the one by CCR. I liked the first half; not so much for the second (of course, that's because I'm a much bigger fan of CCR than Tina). She does a much better job of commanding the stage than she has in the past. I'm very happy that she's gotten over her impulse to power ballad through everything. Between this and "One Rock and Roll Too Many" she's learned that upbeat performances go farther than the sappy ones with the money note at the end.

Still fully baked, WDB "sings" a Bob Marley song, "I Shot the Sheriff". I had him penciled in for Peter Tosh's "Legalize It". I'm not a reggae fan and I'm not a Jason fan, so you can guess what I think about this . . . Actually, it's not as bad as I thought it was going to be (not a ringing endorsement). He's true to the style (I wonder if he has at herbal aroma about him). His fanboys and fangirls will love it. Me, not so much.

I don't know why Simon is telling Jason not to mess with the arrangement; he could say that about any of these songs. You don't mess with the 500 most influential songs of rock n'roll. Don't make them "your own". Just sing the song. But even then, they get on Syesha for doing a "bad imitation" of Tina Turner, so go figure.

How can people like SSKIM's "personality"? Is there anyone over the age of 14 who doesn't find him gratingly annoying? His "Stand By Me" is serviceable, if unspectacular. And he still can't keep his eyes open. The words are different, but the song is the same as last week . . . and the week before . . . and the week before . . . and the week before. Randy (predictably) slurps him right up. I am having a hard time taking The Dawg seriously after his incessant and unapologetic sucking up to tlis kid. Simon should have called him "karaoke" because that's what it was.

I think they're going to be rushing them through the second songs. Word Nerd is trying to make up for offending every Duranie with The Who's "Baba O'Reilly" which was done very well by Jordis on Rock Star. The first part is too slow. In fact, the whole thing is too slow. Our church organist must have helped him with the arrangement. On a night when he should have absolutely destroyed everyone, David C. came out flat.

Look, there's Rascal Flatts. Hey, aren't they on DWTS tonight? What the hell?

Whitney Wannabe is singing some Sam Cooke. This is damn good. Her "A Change is Gonna Come" is the best of the night (and will probably stay that way). I think we're going to remember her as the best pure vocalist of this season. It's too bad she tackled so many "big" name-level songs so early or we might remember her for her own voice, not singing poor versions of Whitney songs. She's definitely peaking at the right time. Randy knocks her around to he can pimp up his own guy.

Just as I'd be happier if the BCS schools came out and said, "We don't have a Division I football playoff because we're greedy bastards", Randy coming out and admitting that he's going to produce The Arch's winning album would make me happy.

At least Paula (for once) and Simon have their heads screwed on straight. And now Seacrest has to push people along because Randy blathered on too much.

Jen the Gelfling's second song is "Mr. Tambourine Man". He starts of strong and then forgets the words. Isn't there a rule that only one person can forget the words each season and survive? And Brooke did it twice this year, so she used up next season's pass, too. I might have liked it more, if he didn't have to hum the second half of the first verse. At least he owns up to it. He's a goner (unless his lurvers go into Super Power Vote Mode™).

As if to give The Arch a Sharpie to write his name into the finale, he gets The Pimp Spot and he's singing "Love Me Tender". Do you think he's just a shy, goofy teenager, or if he's a real airhead (I'm thinking the latter). And since when is "Love Me Tender" a "fun" song? He obviously doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. Listen to him breathe; damn, that annoys me. Have I mentioned how much I dislike him? And it's too slow; is it the funeral version? Someone please explain his charm to me. It's not as good as the judges said.

The Good
Syesha, "A Change is Gonna Come"

The Bad
Syesha, "Proud Mary"
David C., "Hungry Like the Wolf"
David C., "Baba O'Reilly"
David A., "Stand By Me"

The Ugly
David A., "Love Me Tender"
Jason, "I Shot the Sheriff"
Jason, "Mr. Tambourine Man"

Either Randy is obviously high or The Arch has made some sort of Faustian Pact to win this season. We'll know if Asmodeus appears at the finale to claim his soul.

I thought this was the worst night for Idol in a long time. Part of it was the song catalog. While lots of people would kill to sing some of these songs, they're hard to do since they are the signature songs of the last fifty years.

There's only one person who should go home tomorrow. Of all the Idol sins, forgetting the words is at the top of the list. Brooke did it twice, but it was at the beginning and she was able to start over and cover for it well. And it wasn't like he just dropped a line, he forgot most of a verse.

I don't know if there will be a bottom 2, but if anyone other than Jason goes home, it will be a horrible injustice.

I'll be back in a little bit with a recap of DWTS.

High Lord. Out.

Monday, May 05, 2008

DWTS: No Filler Edition

Did everyone had a Happy Tequila Day today? This is a young person's holiday. The guy I sit next to at work said that in the not so distant past, he would have either made arrangements to call off tomorrow or he'd be warning our boss that he's going to look a little rough and have a "low productivity" day tomorrow. Now we're both in our mid-30s, he has a little girl at home and neither of us are up for a "no pride" night any more.

I did take Mrs. High Lord out for dinner at Rio Grande, an "authentic" Mexican restaurant. We had our usual and the cashier, who knows me by name, asked when someone is going to take me out for dinner; I told him that even if someone else pays the check, it's still my money being used.

Mrs. High Lord had some folks over tonight, so I vacated the house, bought some things I really don't need and am now starting DWTS on the DVR (53 minutes late). I'm going to FF through the crappy parts (filler) and get straight to the dancing.

Opening up the show are Kristi and Mark. I wish Samantha had gotten kicked off last week instead of Shannon. Their first dance is the quickstep, technically one of the most difficult dances. I'm impressed, even though it seems she misses a step or two. Kristi's only problem might be that she has been too good for too long. I don't think it will earn perfect marks, but it will be close.
The Judges's Scores: 9-10-10
The High Lord's Score: 9

In the two-hole we have Mario and Karina and they take a cheap chance at showing Karina in a bikini (not a complaint; I'm just sayin'). They open with the Viennese waltz, and all its twirling. His motions aren't as fluid as Kristi's, but nor does he power through some of the steps like Jason does. He's still counting along in his head, though. The chemistry between them was up; maybe it was the frolicking around in the pool.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 8

The hump dancers are Marissa and Tony. She admits that she never seriously though she would win (duh!), but now that she's gotten this far, why not take a shot at it. They get the foxtrot and the wardrobe people obviously hate her. I'm not blown away, but since she's on borrowed time, it's not all that bad. Ballroom is not her thing, though; she's better in the more freestyle latin themes.
The Judges's Scores: 9-8-8
The High Lord's Score:

Jason and Edyta are batting clean up, and he's worried about appearing too "flamboyant" (read: gay; not that there's anything wrong with that). Just as Karina's filler was a cheap stunt to get her in a bikini, Jason's includes a cheap stunt to show him shirtless (the high light of Mrs. High Lord's night so far). Their first dance is the tango and he looks stiff, although that could be his "character". Technically it's very good, although the choreography left me a bit cold. At least we don't have to hear some gawd-awful rendition of a Duran Duran song this time.
The Judges's Scores: 10-9-10
The High Lord's Score: 8

After hurting himself last week, Cristián and Cheryl refused to drop out (which would have been the sporting and smart thing to do), which will make him look like a giant jackass if he gets kicked off this week. This pretty much means he won't win because he'll be at too great of a disadvantage; he just needs to hope that he outlast Marissa. Their tango would have been so bad if it hadn't been accompanied by the howlingly-bad "Beat It". I was unimpressed, but it wasn't bad. It was a big blah for me. I didn't find it 10-worthy.
The Judges's Scores: 10-9-9
The High Lord's Score:

Starting over at the top of the lineup, Kristi and Mark bring us their samba. What the hell is that thing on her head? Is she supposed to be the sun? There are lots of tough moves and they're really having fun with it. In a couple of places, it seems like they were half a step out of sync.
The Judges's Scores: 8-9-9
The High Lord's Score:

Mario and Karina show us their jive. He's solidly in the second tier. Just as Idol is a David's to lose, this show's finale will be Kristi vs. Jason, but Mario could crash the party and turn out to be this season's Jerry. Overall the dance was aiiiight; Mario is still a big stiff (and not in the good way). Their lift at the end, faltered, which might cost them a point or two overall.
The Judges's Scores: 9-8-9
The High Lord's Score:

Now it's time for Marissa and Tony's second dance, the mambo. Once again, they get some traditional music instead of an 80s tune that's done poorly. They got the lowest scores of the first round, and will probably get the lowest scores of this round, too. Unlike past seasons, Tony isn't killing his partner with bad choreography; he just doesn't have that much to work with.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-9
The High Lord's Score: 8

After a good first round, Jason and Edyta come out and she's barely wearing a dress (again, not a complaint). Their samba is okay. He needs to smile more and count less. I wasn't impressed by the lift at the end that seemed a little forced. Jason didn't show a lot of personality with this one. I think the judges are being a little harsh tonight on this dance. Are they deliberately trying to keep the scores close, or do you think that they're trying to scare the leaders?
The Judges's Scores: 8-7-8
The High Lord's Score: 8

The last dance of the night is Cristián and Cheryl's mambo. Mrs. High Lord likes that he's shirtless. I like Cheryl's metal bikini top. He seems to be nursing that left arm. Is he intentionally not using it or do you think it's really hurting him? I think him protecting the arm should figure in to his score because it's taking something out of the dance.
The Judges's Scores: 10-9-10
The High Lord's Score:

What the hell is Cristián doing in first place? Am I watching a different show?

I think this means for sure that he's safe; between the judges's artificially high scores and the sympathy votes, he should go through easily to next week.

We think Marissa is going to get canned, although Mario could possibly get eliminated, too.

I'm really liking this whole "no filler" approach to reality TV; I may just take it up for every week.

Now I'm going to watch The Big Bang Theory on my DVR.

High Lord. Out.