Thursday, February 26, 2009

Round two results

This season is so bad, Jennifer couldn't even bring herself to watch yesterday's episode and write down her thoughts.

Personally, I thought last night was great. At least as far as semi-final rounds go. No one was downright awful. There were two memorable performances (Allison, Norman/Nick), a couple of very good ones (Kai, Kris, Adam), a few who underperformed (Jasmine, Megan) and everyone else who is just taking up space.

In other news, last week's TCO MWJD boy Danny Gokey acknowledges that the audience may be tired of having his late wife shoved down our throats. Just like I'm tired of hearing about Kai taking care of his mom and Lieutenant Rasczak's day job as a roughneck. MSNBC also has a brief recap of Norman's showbiz bio.

Last week we got a crappy group sing and this one is almost as bad. Surprisingly, some of the individuals who had a bad night last night are actually pretty good tonight. Of course, the "choreography" is cheezy and the Matts are especially bad. And then things fall apart at the end. These things are sucktastic!

I was perusing Beckeye's blog and she had this picture of Jesse in which she looks startlingly like Janeane Garofolo (that is a younger, non-chain smoking Janeane Garofolo). So does that mean that Jesse is suddenly less attractive to me, or is Janeane suddenly hot?

Last night, I picked Adam, Allison and Kai to advance tonight. Our friends at DialIdol think that Allison and Adam are the locks with either Matt G. or Jesse as the most likely to be in the third seat, although statistically everyone else is in play. I stand by my picks because I think Kai is going to get mounds of sympathy votes, however, I would not be surprised if Jesse, Kris, Nick or even Megan is the third person to advance to the finals. I think any or all of those four will be back for the Wild Card round.

After the recap of last night, Seacrest grills the kids on the couch. Nick will be looking for a job (at a drag club), Jesse needs to pick better songs and Janine likes to show off her legs.

Allison is the first person brought to the stage and if she's sent back to the couch, I'm going to stop watching the show and go back to my new Wii fit. He then sets her to the side. Seacrest calls Jesse down to the stage and also sets her to the side.

What's that wily Seacrest up to now?

Matt B. is the next guy who is brought to the stage, implying that only one of the three will advance.

. . . And it's Allison who gets put through to the Top 12. And then she gets to sing. Allison's mother is crying.

Mrs. High Lord wants to know how much psychotropic Red Dye #8 she uses on her hair. She also wants to know what Allison does to her hair that gives it that weird, helmet-like shape.

That means Jesse and Matt B. are going home. Jesse is the victim of no face time and a bad day; Matt is done in by a song that is lousy, even on its best days.

Megan and Kris are the next pair to be brought to the stage. I'll bet they're both going home. Megan doesn't look happy. Kris looks like he's about to throw up. Seacrest then brings Jeanine and Matt G. down.

One of these four is the second spot. I'll bet it's Kris. At least I hope it is.

Jeanine is the first to get whacked. Matt G. is next. That leaves the single mom vs. the JT wannabe.

Mrs. High Lord says it will be Kris because if they put Megan through, the two remaining girls (Jasmine and Mishavonna) will also know that they're gone. Mrs. High Lord says Megan will probably be back for the Wild Card.

I think Kris really is going to throw up on stage.

There are five singers left: Adam, Mishavonna, Kai, Jasmine, and Nick/Norman. And one spot. Who will it be? Did you notice that the families are upstairs now? Not being interviewed (Yea!).

As Kris sings his way off the show, I feel that I must confess something in the interest of full disclosure: I actually voted for Nick last night. I never vote, but Mrs. High Lord said I had to. I know I shouldn't give in to peer pressure, but if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. Then I gave her the phone number and I think she voted for him, too.

At this point in the show, there are 22 minutes left to go and only one seat. The shoo-in for tonight's final place is EBA, who not only got a load of face time in Hollywood, but was handed The Pimp Spot in last night's singing show. Of course, I could be wrong.

The retrospective is nice, especially since we get to see Elliott's mom, Renaldo Lapuz and Leroy Wells.

Then it's time for Brooke White to pimp her newest track. Do you think she'll have to start over four bars in? Guess not. Why isn't David Cook (you know, last years winner) singing EVERY WEEK?

I just dozed off as Brooke was singing. Sorry about that.

Have I mentioned how great my new Wii is? I finally got some playing time on it tonight (my kid and some of his little friends took it over last night with Guitar Hero III). My Wii Fit age is 38 and I am officially overweight with a BMI in the neighbourhood of 26. I can't wait to play Call of Duty or one of the Star Wars games on it.

We've got 10 minutes left in the show and 5 people who are about to get their results.

All five are called to the stage in order: Mishavonna, Kai, Nick, Adam and Jasmine.

Seacrest starts on the left and that means if Seacrest sticks to the script, the fake drama will be for Adam and Jasmine . . . and he throw me for a loop. Mishavonna, Kai and Jasmine all get whacked.

That leaves the final spot from this week's heat up for grabs between Nick/Norman and Adam. Adam is the shoo-in. Can we say TCO? [Obama voice=on]Yes, we can!!!!!![/Obama voice]

Seacrest then throws it to break, where I find Eliza Dushku rather enticing as an alien with a freakishly long tongue who is out to turn everyone's brain to mush so she can eat us.

The look on EBA's face says, "If I lose to this drag queen, I'm going to beat someone down."

As a performer, Adam is good, but I just don't care for him. I don't think he's right for this show. The shouting annoys me. His daddy looks so proud.

Seacrest tells us next week is the Wild Card. Wait, that's not right. Next week is the last of the Top 36. Then it's the wild card the week after that.

I can't really argue with the three who were advance tonight. Allison was clearly the best of the girls, Kris was in the top tier and Adam is the the producers would not allow to get canned. I would have picked differently, but there are no glaringly weak links (Michael Sarver) from this week.

That leaves 12 people for three more spots, then 12(?) folks will be back for the Wild Card and the final 3 singers will get picked.

I'm off to log some more time on the Wii Fit.

High Lord. Out.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's American Idol, round two

After being bumped a night for the Prez, Idol is back with its second heat of the Wild Card rounds. MSNBC says the "new" format has made the show dull. I don't think that it's the format's fault; I think the talent is dull.

One of the things about the Wild Card format--which I like, by the way--is that it favours 19E's TCOs. That is, with three-quarters of the singers going home every week, the people who have gotten lots of face time have an inherent advantage. Hence Melinda Lira almost bum-rushing the judges's table to pound Randy and Simon.

On the other hand, under the "rounds of 24" format, all the unknown singers had to do was not be the slowest antelope in the herd. If someone who hadn't previously been seen (Bo Bice) had a good week, they got to move on. If they just did okay, they lived to tell for at least one more week. If they sucked, they got whacked.

My biggest problem with the rounds of 24 system was the forced gender equity. This meant some deserving guys got cut even though they happened to be stronger than one or two girls or vice-versa. Under the new Wild Card system, only half of the finalists will be chosen under a gender-equity format, the other three will be chosen based on the fan votes.

It's not quite as good as the old "anything goes" Wild Card format, but I'll take it. For now.

Before I get to the show, I'd like to point out one little thing about the Prez and the Republican response to his message. Did you notice the guy they got to do it was Bobby Jindal, the son of Punjabi (India) immigrants. He called Obama's stimulus plan "irresponsible".

I find the GOP's choice of messengers curious. They did it, of course, for two reasons:

1. He's not white.

2. Nobody in Congress can call the Prez's plan for spending and tax cuts "irresponsible". After all, just about every Republican currently sitting in the Senate and House of Representatives (those who didn't get booted out in 2006 or in 2008), was in lock-step for all of Dubya's wanton spending increases. They can't call for "restraint" without rightly being called hypocrites.

So why would Jindal go along with this? He wants the national exposure. Remember Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention back in '04? It basically vaulted him into the Presidency. Is this the first step for Jindal? Will he be the face of a "new" Republican party? I hope so, because the current one needs not only a massive facelift, but deep structural changes.

My other comment about the people who are negative about Obama's stimulus plan is this: Have you got a better idea?

The response most Republicans will start harping on is "tax cuts". This has been tried and it's failed. The Reagan model of tax cuts (called "trickle-down" or "supply side" economics) won't work right now. Under that model, if taxes are cut, people have more money to spend. They invest in the economy, generating other tax revenue, such as sales taxes, increased property taxes, etc.

However, in this economy, that's not feasible. For instance, if you suddenly had more money right now, what would you do with it? I'm willing to bet that given the uncertain economy, most people would either pay off debt or put their money in savings. That's not new spending and won't help the economy. Unless you are certain about your job security and you're not worried about the price of gas going back up to $4 a gallon, you're probably not going to be rampantly spending the extra cash. That is, if you have extra cash and aren't using that money to pay off your credit cards or get out from being upside-down in your mortgage.

Massive government spending, no matter how undesirable in the long run, will stimulate the economy, provided that is it done judiciously. Spending on infrastructure (roads, bridges, dams, etc.) and needed public works (schools, hospitals, airports) will help the economy.

We just need to acknowledge that we didn't get into this mess suddenly and we won't get out of it overnight either.

Like it or not, we're in this thing for the long haul, and we're all in it together, so we may as well get along because otherwise things will only go from bad to worse.

That's it for my political rant of the night so on to the show.

I'm watching no-filler style so I'm going to FF through the commercials.

Going in the DMS (Dead Man's Spot) tonight is Jasmine, who survived the Bikini Girl group. She's very pretty. Her song is "Love Song" and she starts off flat. She doesn't look too nervous and gets better as the song goes on. I think she might need a Wild Card to make the Top 12, because my initial impression is that she won't survive tomorrow night. But hey, if she can survive (Idol Hurricane) Katrina, she can survive a second round of singing to make the finals.

Why can't Randy just speak normally. I've said this before, but he needs to get out of the ghetto and go back to being level-headed and straight-talking.

Next up is Matt Giraud, who was part of this year's best group performance. He's singing Coldplay which I'm a little unsure of. Why do they insist on overpowering the singers with the big band and orchestra? I don't care for the arrangement or his vocal tricks. It seems to me that Coldplay has a very stylised sound and he just doesn't do it for me. He'll be one of the first to get whacked tomorrow.

Who do you think the 13th cylon is?

Jeanine gets the third spot in the order. She sucks up to Simon in the intro piece. Have I mentioned that I'm watching this no-filler? That means I'm not even listening to the judges's comments and only marginally paying attention to the other filler. She's singing "This Love" by Maroon 5 (a Star Wars reference). Her pitch is off, not wildly so, but enough to be noticeable. I wish she had picked a different song because I think I could really like her. And her short shorts. Even Paula likes her legs. Maybe she's letting Mr. Happy think for her (like Simon and Randy).

Is it just me or are they underwhelming again tonight? Did they do away with the awkward interviews with the parents in the Red Room?

Batting clean up is Nick/Norman. This is a good year for the gays, isn't it? He's singing an original(?) song or is it a song I just don't know. He's all schtick, which "America" will either absolutely lurve, or "America" will absolutely loathe. Personally, I think he's great. Or as a very dear friend of mine would say, "grest" (long story, ask me later). Vocally, he's not bad (that's a compliment). If he'd take the show seriously, he could do pretty well. I hope he makes it, but if Tatiana couldn't advance, I don't think he will either. Of all the self-aware singers to be on the show, he is hands-down the best to ever make it this far. He is at the same time the worst nightmare and the producers's wet dream. If he makes it to the Top 12, he'll be the conversation piece of the show (like Sanjaya) but if he makes the tour, he'll be nearly uncontrollable.

Taking on an Idol staple, "Alone" by Carrie Underwood, is Allison, this year's 16 year-old sacrificial lamb. I like the hair, but I don't know that she'll survive the rigors of the show. She starts off strong; her voice is almost perfect for Ann Wilson, at least until she hits the chorus, and then it gets away from her just a little bit. She's not as good at 16 as Diana DeGarmo, but I definitely agree with Paula that she could be one of this year's dark horses. The judges love her. And so do I.

Wrapping up the first half of the show is Kris. Is going to get to use his guitar tonight? He's taking on a Michael Jackson song, "Man in the Mirror" with no guitar. This was one of the last songs I remember when Jacko was still black. His voice has a good tone and he doesn't oversing. Where Allison was a sledgehammer that was simply overpowering (in the good way), Kris is technically spot-on. If the judges don't gush over him, it will be a high crime . . . and Kara bashes his song choice. What the hell does she know? Paula, Simon and Randy get it right.

The Lucky 7 performer is another single mom, Megan. Her song is "Put Your Records On" which was most recently performed by Antonella Barba right before she got canned. Her pitch is off, but with this song, that's okay. I think given that Allison is the class of the night, she's fighting for the third "open" spot and she knows it. Her eyes look nervous; I think if she took the mic off the stand, she'd be a little more comfortable. I don't think she'll make it through tomorrow night's show, but she has Wild Card potential.

Last week we had the roughneck, this week it's the welder's turn. Matt Breitzke looks different from anyone we've had on the show. Like Michael, he'll get lots of sympathy votes based on his past face time. He's singing Tonic, and he's okay. I'm not blown away but nor is he bad. His voice is pretty good, but I don't know how well his style will translate down the stretch. I think he'll get whacked tomorrow, too.

Jesse is another single mom (how many are there this year?) and she's singing "Bette Davis Eyes", one of the 80s anthems. Jesse has a little bit more soul than Kim Carnes and like Kris, she never lets the song get away from her. Plus she has that Angelia Jolie pouty-lips thing going for her. It was top tier for tonight, but I don't think it will get her through tomorrow. Mark her down as a possible Wild Card.

The Idol producers handed Kai about three million votes by showing him taking care of his ill mother (and who doesn't love a mama's boy?). Is he going to be known as "Kai Kalama" for the entire run of the show? You know, is he going to be one of those people who is always their full name? Unlike the Obligatory One-Named Singers (Mandisa, Chikeze, etc.), some people are two-named; he might be one of them. He's song is "What Becomes of a Broken Heart" which could either come off as very good or very indulgent. And like Danny, who is unhesitant to mention his late wife, Kai brings up his mother. Blech; I hate it when they do that (although from the way he says it, I inferred that he was answering a question the producers asked). Like Anwar, his voice has a good healthy tone, although he sounds a little nasal in some place (not as bad as Chris Richardson, though). I wouldn't put him in the "elite" category of this year's singers, but he's good.

Mishavonna is going 11th. She is another recidivist who got cut last year and is back for more. She's singing "Drops of Jupiter" and she seems genuinely happy to get a second shot at the show. I think she's going to be the victim of strong performances by some of the other girls, but going towards the end will help her. Her vocals were okay, but not awful.

Getting the Pimp Spot is emo-boy Adam. He's taking on the Rolling Stones. He'll advance based on his face time and the fact that he's going last. He could have done very well on Rock Star. Speaking of which, how about INXS firing JD Fortune, the winner of Rock Star? I think he's on the wrong show. He'll advance tomorrow, but I think "America" will turn on him about week 7 (like they did to Chris Daughtry). He had a very good stage performance, but his vocals were just aiiiiiight for me.

Going first is going to hurt Jasmine, as will strong performances by some of the other girls. The single mom angle might help Megan and Jesse.

Kai is going to benefit from massive face time and Adam has the advantage of the Pimp Spot.

The Good
Kris
Allison
Kai

The Bad
Adam
Jasmine
Mishavonna
Jeanine
Jesse
Megan
Nick/Norman
Matt B.
Matt G.

The Ugly
no one tonight

Who I want to advance:
Allison, Kris, Nick

Who should advance:
Allison, Kai, Kris

Who will advance:
Adam, Allison, Kai

The good news is that no one was awful. The bad news is that 9 of these folks are going home when five of them probably deserve a shot at the big time.

If you checked earlier in the night and didn't find an update, sorry. I just got through with the blog on DVR at 10:35; we had some family drama.

See you tomorrow for the second round of results.

High Lord. Out.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yea!!!!! They're back!!!

Just because I was bored, I punched in the link to what used to be my favourite Idol blog, Idol Rant. I say "used to be" because one day in about season 5, they just stopped posting.

So imagine my surprise when it came up. With new posts. And a new layout.

I am so happy!!!

Please go check out Idol Rant and share some love.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's time for a bailout!

. . . Meaning that if the rest of the Top 36 singing shows are as bad as last night, I'm going to bail on the show.

Seriously, was it just me or was the opening singing show of this season a little underwhelming. That's a shame because I think several of the singers were better than they showed us last night. Under the previous system (it's not the old system, which is what the Wild Card is), it might have been possible for Casey or Jackie to survive a bad opening performance, but with the one-and-done Wild Card system, three-quarters of the people we saw last night will be gone.

After two more performance shows, there will be 27 people fighting for 12(?) spots in the Wild Card show. And even then, only three of those 27 will advance to the Top 12.

I'm all for the Wild Card rounds, but I think they should have whittled the group down to 32 and done it in four heats of 8, not the gaggle of 12 that is singing this year. We'll see how they tinker with this for next year.

In other news, how 'bout that stimulus plan that has been roundly panned by Republicans in Congress.

What I don't understand is this: How can GOP Senators and Congressmen, who spent the past 8 years rubber-stamping every spending bill that Dubya sent their way, now start talking about fiscal responsibility. These are the same people who have been proponents of a culture of tax cuts and de-regulation that got us into the mess we're in now. These are the same folks who invaded two countries and funded it with by borrowing money from the Chinese and are now blathering about "pawning debt off on to our grandchildren".

I have an idea: If you were in Congress and contributed to the national debt that ballooned under Dubya and his cronies, you have to sit down and shut the hell up when the new president wants to try a combination of spending and tax cuts to jump start the economy. It really burns me up when I hear "fiscal conservatives" talk about wanting to shrink government and have oversight over spending when those same people had no compunctions about a pork-barrel spending bill while they had a majority in both houses of Congress and controlled the presidency.

Sticking with the economy, I wonder when my bailout is coming. We gave . . I repeat . . . WE GAVE a bunch of big banks $350 billion sight unseen and with no controls or oversight (this was when Dubya said we had to do it and we had to do it NOW!). Now it seems that everyone is coming to the federal government for a bailout.

The "American" car companies are looking for money. The banks are looking for more money. States want federal help to balance their budgets. My question is this: Where's my bailout?

Why do greedy bastards get money from the government, while the only thing I get is to pay the bill?

I didn't trade up into a house I can't afford. For the past 11 years, I've made my mortgage payment on time. I drive a new-for-me sports car, but I don't have a car payment and I own it outright. I've put one kid through college and I've got another one starting in September. What about me?

Why don't I get a tax break? I didn't get a $7,500 first-time home buyer's deduction. I'm 11 years into a 15 year mortgage, so re-financing doesn't make any sense for me, unless I get an interest rate in the 2% range.

What do I get? Oh, that's right . . . As a gainfully-employed taxpayer, I get to foot the bill for all of Henry Paulson's friends who brought this economic collapse upon us. Thanks, buddy! I appreciate it!

If there's one thing we should learn from all this is that all levels of government should be required to have a balanced budget. The two easiest things to do for a politician are cut taxes and increase services. Everybody is happy.

Until the bills come due.

The last three Republican administrations have all preached tax cuts as the cure-all for everything. Unfortunately, they've only led to greed, recession and massive debt.

It was only the fiscal policies of Bill Clinton and Alan Greenspan that brought Reagan and Bush 41's deficits under control. That's what we need again.

Like it or not, we either need to raise taxes or cut services. We (collectively) need to make some hard choices and figure out what we as the American people want from our government. And then we need to make sure our politicians understand that fostering debt on to the guy who fills the seat next is unacceptable.

Sorry for the political rant, so I'm watching Idol no-filler style tonight. It's 8:11 right now and I'm watching Pardon the Interruption on the DVR. I'll tune into the show at about 8:25 so I can fast-forward through the viewer questions (or whatever other pointless stunt they try to pull this year) and all the other filler.

I've been reading a wide variety of blogs and recaps of the show and what strikes me about this season is the differing opinions that everyone has. I don't care for MWJD (My Wife Just Died TCO Danny Gokey), but lots of people out there lurve him (due to the face time, no doubt). I liked Ann Marie and Stephen, but other folks had them as the worst of the night.

Usually, there is some general consensus about the frontrunners, but this season, I get the feeling that even those picks are up for grabs.

The only thing people tend to agree on is that Tatiana is certifiably insane and that she's going to advance to the Top 12 by virtue of her face time and Vote For the Worst.

According to DialIdol, Danny is the only one who statistically safe, Alexis is the leader among the girls, Stephen is guaranteed to be gone and everyone else is in play. We'll see if their 85% accuracy rate holds up.

In other news, Tony Kornheiser likes Danny, Anoop, Ricky and "maybe Tatiana". What does he know?

Random thought time: Is there any better snack than warm chocolate chip cookies and milk?

Okay, it's 8:22 and I'm starting the show. After a quick glance at the couch, I wonder if there's any way to pick out the order that they're going to be called out.

Seacrest starts the show with the judges blathering on an on. We get a quick recap of the first 12 singers which I'm going to FF through.

Seeing that this is the first group to sing, it also means we get the first group sing of this year. It's "I'm Yours", a song I absolutely can't stand. This is horrid. And marvelous at the same time.

Casey just eye-boinked the camera. Beckeye just had an Idolgasm. My ears are bleeding. Gimme the remote!

After some commercials, we get the obligatory recap which is sometimes painful to watch (Stevie) and sometimes a pleasure (Alexis). In watching the clips of the show, was it just me or was Randy up Gokey's butt as far as he was up Archuleta's last year? That's why the R-Dawg needs to go.

Now it's time for the first results.

Casey gets called to the stage. And she's gone. Sorry, Beckeye . . . I guess you'll have to find another girl-crush.

Next up is Stephen. Will he get sent back to the couches or to one of the Jetson chairs? He takes his seat next to Casey.

Alexis is the third singer to get her results. I think she's going to be safe. Her dad scares me. He reminds me of someone who would be unmasked by Fred or Daphne "who would have gotten away with it if not for those kids and their dog!" And she's safe. For another three weeks anyway. And now Seacrest is going to make her sing?

I'm 0-1 for my predictions, although I'm happy Alexis made it. I thought she was the best of last night.

Why are these shows an hour long? Remember what I said about amending the Constitution to allow me to be president? If you will, I will ensure that reality TV results shows are no more than 30 minutes long. That's a campaign promise I think we can all live with.

Next up, Jackie and Ricky get called to the stage. Ricky's gone. And he doesn't even get a word in. Jackie is also sent back to the couches.

Anoop and Michael are the next to be called out. We all know Danny will be the guy with the most votes. I'll bet they're both gone. Otherwise the remaining girls have no hope.

If either or both of these guys don't make it, I think they'll both be back for the Wild Card. Wait . . . one of these guys makes it . . . and it's Michael. I hate to see Anoop go, but as I've said before, I think he'll be back in about three weeks. Michael is being billed as a "roughneck", so I think I'm going to start calling him "Rasczak".

Seacrest calls the next two singers down for their results and it's Michael and Carly. Beckeye just had Idolgasm #2 for the night. I love this show; where else can an Australian and Irish woman compete to be the American idol.

They reprise their Idol finale performance of "The Letter". You'd think that with a year-long tour, they could come up with a new act.

That leaves Danny, Tatiana, Ann Marie, Brent and Stevie waiting on their results. We all know Stevie is getting whacked. Ann Marie and Brent probably are, too. Which means either Tatiana or Danny will fill the third seat.

If it's Danny, do you think Tatiana will leap across the stage and throttle Simon?

Ann Marie doesn't even get called to the stage. Nor does Brent or Stevie. All three are eliminated together.

That makes Brent 0 for 2 on reality TV shows.

Predictably, MWJD and PCALG are the two who will get their results last. I'd like to see them both gone. Unfortunately one of them will make it. Both have been the beneficiaries of massive face time and subsequently have been handed millions of votes. Tatiana is the drama queen. Danny is the sob story. Both are reasonably good singers, and whichever one doesn't go through tonight will probably be back for the Wild Card along with Anoop.

By the way, the correct answer to the random thought above is "No".

Tatiana is speechless while she awaits her results. Danny's glasses are ugly as hell.

Seacrest draws it out as long as he can.

. . . And Danny is put through.

Apparently he has only one family member and one friend. And they use every chance they get to remind us that Danny's wife just died about six months ago.

I hope this is the only time he violates Idol Rule #1.

Who will VFTW back now? Or will they hope she makes it to through the Wild Card round?

The first quarter of the Top 12 is Alex, Danny and Michael.

The next 12 are introduced and they're a bunch of people we haven't seen much of. Don't get too familiar with the because three-quarters of them will be gone this time next week.

I'm predicting right now that VFTW will back Nick/Norman.

Overall, I like the Wild Card rounds, but there's just too much show. These heats need to be shorter with only 8 or so singers, not 12 at a time.

So what do you think? Travesty? Or did "America" get it right?

Write your Congressman and Senator and tell them to pass a balanced budget amendment.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

At last! It's time to sing!

After the audition episodes that were heavy on singing and "inspirational" stories, we got Hollywood which was heavy on manufactured drama and light on singing. Now it's time for the 36 remaining singers to have their 90 moments in the sun. Because if they've made it this far, they can't try out for the show again.

On this first night we get 12 singers to be crammed into two hours. Roughly translated, that means there will be 18 minutes of singing and 102 minutes of filler, inane blather from the "judges", product placement, unashamed pimpage of the producers's faves and Simon and Seacrest making snide comments about the other's sexuality.

If I could watch the show without the 102 superflous minutes, I would. However, since my cable and electricity are on (for now), I'm blogging live, not no-filler (as I probably will be tomorrow).

Perusing the first 12 singers, it seems this group is "stacked". We get a bunch of fan faves including Danny, Casey, Michael and Annop. Plus drama queen PCALG (that's Psycho Crazy Annoying Laughing Girl Tatiana Nicole del Toro) who I am predicting right here and now to advance tomorrow.

You see, out of the 12 people singing tonight, only three will advance. One will be a guy and the other will be a girl. The third will be the next highest vote getter. I said this in a comment to last week's post, but I think that due to all the face time she's gotten, Tatiana will have enough fans (plus the VFTW crowd) to get put through without needing a Wild Card.

There are some people who are already predicting the top 12s, but I won't until I hear everyone sing, and then it will be kind of moot since we'll know at least six of them.

In seasons past when there's been the wild card, there have been four heats of eight, with two people getting advanced each week. Then the judges each pick one wild card and then the fans vote in the fourth to round out the top 12. Sometimes, the wild card yields a hit (Clay Aiken) and sometimes a miss (Carmen Rasmussen). We'll see how it shakes out this season.

One thing I like about this year's preliminary rounds is that there is no disastrous theme as there was last year. I saw one song spoiler list and there seemed to be a wide variety of songs that span forty or so years. No matter how much the producers and judges deny it, the themes last year were downright awful. I think it was seven weeks into the show before we heard a song that was first performed in the last five years.

If Idol wants to be relevant to contemporary pop music, the kids must be allowed to perform songs that are being heard on the radio/MTV/iTunes today, not on a "greatest hits" album. Don't get me wrong, I loved all the 80s songs that were heard last year, but they're no guarantee of success.

After the show, I'm going to update the blog template and bring back the glossary and my rules, but in the mean time, let's get down to business.

The singers are performing in the round on the small stage. I wonder who's going to be the first person to flub a lyric or two. I hope it's PCALG.

The judges are introduced and they're the same as always. Paula can't string a coherent sentence together, Simon is kind of arrogant, Randy say "Yo!" a lot and Kara apparently spent a lot of time under the table.

Getting the Dead Man's Spot of the Season is Jackie. She's singing Elvis with a bluesy vibe to it (and with "A Little Less Conversation", she proved the song spoiler list I saw wrong). She's okay, but she has basically the same problem as Amanda from last year: we already know how every song she's going to sing is going to sound. Her style is a little reminiscent of Taylor Hicks and that includes the singing and dancing. I wasn't wowed. She won't make it.

I got a couple of things wrong: the theme is broad (songs from the Billboard Hot 100) and they're getting two minutes to sing. I guess that means there's only going to be 96 minutes of filler.

Ricky is going in the two-hole and his microphone isn't working the red room. I don't like his hair as much as I liked a past Ricky. He's got a good voice, but he looks kind of goofy. I don't remember him getting a lot of face time which means he has an uphill fight against Michael, Anoop and Danny. He's not bad. Paula gives him a standing O, but I don't think he's going to make it through tomorrow, either.

Hey, Kara, sit back from the mic a little bit. Simon tells Ricky he needs more self-confidence and he's right. And the sound guys still need to fix Ricky's lavaliere.

While you're here, don't forget to check out he best Idol blog on the interweb, Idoling Along. There are some other good ones out there (see the sidebar to the right for my faves), but Jennifer's is the most level-headed and well-written. This is her blogosphere and we just take up bandwidth in it.

Going third is Alexis and she's got a new hairdo. Her intro piece reminds us that she's got a little girl. She's singing Aretha (usually a bad move) and showing lots of pasty white skin. Alexis also has a good voice, but is a much better entertainer than Ricky. Her voice is also a lot more versatile than Jackie's. Having a spot early in the batting order will hurt her a little. I like that while she hits some big notes, she successfully resists the temptation to over-sing. So far, she's the best of the night. Simon compares Alexis to Kelly, which seems to be a little bit of a stretch, but that could bode well for her wild card chances. Or it could just mean he spent her entire performance thinking, "Yeah, I'd hit that."

Four judges is still one too many. The R-Dawg needs to go. Paula must be high because she's rambling again.

Seacrest warns us that Idol is "going country" and then announces that Brent is batting clean up. Have we seen him before? He's the victim of an "accident" involving his intro tape. AIC is going to have a field day with this. He works at a hardware store. He lives paycheck to paycheck. He's how old and been "struggling for a while"? Hey, Brent, you belong on Nashville Star, not Idol . . . oh, wait . . . you tried that back in 2004 and it didn't work out for you. If people dissed Joanna Pacitti because she had her chance, they should be all over this guy, too. He was okay, but this is the wrong show for him.

Simon calls him "forgettable" and Brent says he doesn't think country fans will forget him. Aside from Carrie Underwood, who had massive cross-over appeal, there hasn't really been a large bloc of country music fans who watch this show, so he may very well have blown his chance.

What's with Seacrest and the Mr. Rogers sweater?

A third of the way through the show and only one singer has shown us the "Yo!". Two have been aiiiiiight and the fourth was only brought this far to get cut.

The intro tape works for Stevie who was 9 when the show started. She's the next in a long line of teenagers who are just aching to be broken by the show. Stevie is singing Taylor Swift and she's obviously nervous. Plus, she's waaaayyy flat and she's singing too soft. This is unfortunate because she's cute and picked the wrong night to be off her game. At least Jackie had a good tone and sound. Song choice will get her tonight. She's going home.

Was that Doogie Howser/Dr. Horrible in the audience?

As far as I can remember, there has never been a south Asian singer to make it to the voting rounds, so that makes Anoop the first. His voice starts off reminding me off The Arch's (not a good thing); it's very hollow and "breathy". Mrs. High Lord likes him a lot. He's been the best guy so far tonight. To his credit, he doesn't miss any of his marks and his voice has a nice timbre to it. He could also make a strong run at a wild card spot. Randy and Kara say he was sharp; Paula says she is reminded of Bryan McKnight. Simon says he's been better (too bad we didn't get to see all of his singing). I love his parents; they remind me of a good friend's folks who were just the sweetest people I knew.

As with past seasons, the singers are being killed by song choice. It seems that they're playing it safe, which is usually a bad move in the voting rounds.

I don't know if I can take three weeks of these marathon singing shows/advertisement showcases. It's 9:02 and I'm beat already.

Starting up the second hour of the show is Beckeye's secret girl-crush, the super-cute Casey. What's with all the brunettes this year? She's singing the Police, but she also starts out flat. Here's some advice: don't spend so much time dancing, concentrate on singing. She's late in a couple of places. She also has a nerves problem. What do you bet that we hear our first "pitchy" of the season? Based on some things I've read, I had thought Casey was one of the frontrunners going into the singing rounds. She won't survive tomorrow night, either. Beckeye will be heartbroken.

With two people in a row being flat, I wonder if there's something wrong with the monitors in their ears.

Roughneck Michael is next. I'll bet he sings something country. I like him much more than Brent. He's doing a song that's already "owned" by Bo Bice, but that's okay. We didn't hear a pitchy before, but that's what Michael was. I give him a big aiiiiiiiiiight. Wasn't great. Wasn't bad. He'll need a big influx of fan voting based on his face time to make it through.

Simon made Ann Marie go change. After putting on some makeup and losing her denim jacket, she came back and made it this far. She's singing "Natural Woman" which has killed more than its share of singers. Ann Marie is flat in a couple of spots, but shows off her big voice, something Stevie and Casey failed to do. It wasn't quite a home run, but she just made a strong case for being the #1 girl of the night. Randy pans her because she did the Carole King arrangement, not the Aretha version. I must not be watching the same show as the judges because I thought she was good. Maybe their opinions will change when they watch the tape later tonight.

I hate it when the judges smack someone down for not "making the song your own", and then doing the same for "messing with a classic". Make up your damn minds!

After being told "If you forget the lyrics, you're gone" by Simon, Stephen inexplicably got put through from Hollywood. Personally, I don't care how good a singer you are, if you flub the words, you should be automatically be eliminated. Period. In any event, he's back for more with a Michael Jackson song (from when Michael was still black). He's got a good voice and thought his performance was good. I liked it. The judges pan him . . . if he was so bad, why did they bring him back?

Why is it they're telling the singers they need to be "younger" when last year at this time they were singing songs from the 60s? What's up with the judges tonight? I think all their cups are filled with some super-strength cranky.

With 23 minutes left in the show, it looks liked we might actually come in on time tonight.

Now it's time for everyone's drama favourite drama queen, PCALG. If she makes it, I'm going to be sick. And to top everything off, she gets in an annoying laugh and then violates my Idol Rule #1 (see the sidebar to the right). She starts off flat then oversings. What I hate about this girl is that aside from all the drama and primping for the camera, her voice is actually pretty good. Still, I can't get past the way she will do anything to be on TV, including slipping in a few Constantinesque eye-boinks. Paula doesn't know who Tatiana is; I don't think Paula knows who Paula is. Simon calls Tatiana a drama queen; Hello, Kettle? This is the Pot. Note to self: If she advances, hide all the sharp objects in the house; when she speaks, I have the urge to stab someone.

Rule 87 of the Idol Drinking Game: Every time Tatiana giggles, chug.

Fan fave Danny gets the first Pimp Spot of the season. Danny gets lots of sympathy votes because he's a church music director and his wife just died. Plus, his BFF was there for him and got whacked in the Chair of Death. Like Tatiana, he violates Idol Rule #1, which might not be so bad for him since there won't be an obvious comparison to Mariah. I'm not on his bandwagon, but he's okay, which given the last few people who have gone will get him a two week break on the way to the Top 12. Simon is the only one who speaks the truth about him.

The Good
Alexis
Ann Marie
Annop

The Bad
Stephen
Tatiana
Danny
Ricky
Michael
Brent
Jackie

The Ugly
Casey
Stevie

There are two shoo-ins tonight: Danny and Tatiana.

Going last will get The Widower through. The sympathy votes won't hurt him. I stand by my argument for Tatiana's face time getting her the pass. The third spot is up for grabs, which is a shame because there are about five people who should have a chance at the Top 12 from this group. Oh, well, that's just the luck of the "draw". If Von Smith's group is filled with crappy singers, I'm going to be seriously hacked off.

Who Should Advance:
Girl: Alexis
Guy: Anoop
#3:: Ann Marie

Who Will Advance:
Girl: Tatiana
Guy: Danny
#3: Anoop

Those are my calls. All predictions guaranteed wrong or your money back.

Tomorrow night, I'm going no-filler for the results, so check back for the abbreviated recap.

High Lord. Out.

Friday, February 13, 2009

BSG update

Hey, I'm watching BSG and I just saw PC (from the Mac and PC ads) as a brain surgeon!

Holy frak!

Just thought you should know.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I am powerless . . .

You'd think that being the High Lord, I'd get some perks. Not with Comcast.

In case you hadn't heard, we had a wave of fast-moving storms move through the great state of West Virginia last night. At about 5:30, Mrs. High Lord and I got home from work and were sitting down for dinner when the rain started along with gusts of wind that were supposedly going to be up to 60 miles per hour.

Our power flickered but never went out. Unfortunately, our cable (TV and interweb) went out and as of this morning still hadn't come back on. This means I missed the Elevator of Doom episode so I don't know if the Top 36 that was leaked is accurate.

I'm going to have to find a copy of the show from an alternate source if I want to see it. That is, once my broadband connection comes back.

Anyway, I guess I shouldn't complain too much; my stepson and his girlfriend spent the night with us last night because their house is still without power.

So did I miss anything?

High Lord. And the cable. Out.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One more show before the final cuts

I hope everyone had a good weekend. Here we are with one night of singing left then we find out who our Top 36 singers are.

MSNBC doesn't have many nice things to say about this year's Hollywood show. They rightly claim that there has been too much drama and not enough singing. Given that MSNBC is run by NBC, it's surprising that they devote so much time web space to a show on a competitor's network. They even offer valid and constructive criticism.

While we see some of the background before the final cuts, check out this article about 20 of your favourite Muppett characters. It's a nice trip down memory lane for me. Plus I found out that Bert and Ernie aren't gay. Yeah, right.

Also, you might want to check out 15 reasons why Mr. Rogers was the best neighbour ever. Did you know that he was an ordained Presbyterian minister? Or that Mr. Wizard was a World War II bomber pilot who flew over 50 combat missions and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross? I always like to read about my childhood heroes and icons.

Now on to the singing. First up is Emo Boy with Cher's "Believe". An original arrangement, but I'm not a fan. He would be an interesting novelty for the show, but he doens't have a chance at winning.

Matt was part of "White Chocolate" that rocked the house and even made Simon applaud.

Half of the heterosexual BFF duo of Jamar and Danny sang "Hey, There, Delilah" and the other half sang "I Hope You Dance". I could do without both of them.

Next up are two token minorities, Anoop with "My Prerogative" and Jorge singing "I Just Can't Stop". Then there's blind boy Scott who sings "I'm Coming Home". Can we say, "Sympathy votes"?

Kendall is falling out of her dress (not a complaint) with a Carrie Underwood song. Bad move. Stevie is the next in a long line of 16 year-old kids who will be chewed up and spit out by this show. We're reminded that Lil has three kids and then a third of Team Compromise tries her hand a Kelly Clarkson.

Note to all future singers: Doing former Idol winners' songs is usually a bad idea.

Mishavonna is a "repeat offender" hoping for better luck this year. She needs to stop hiding behind her bangs.

We're 20 minutes into the show and we've heard a surprising amount of singing. And thankfully, there hasn't been much drama.

No, wait, I spoke too soon. They just showed Tatiana . . .

I'm always happy to see the actual singing although I wonder about the people who get a good portion of their song shown and those who just get a snippet. I've made this argument before and you'll probably hear it again: Face time matters!

. . . And now she's back. Have I mentioned how much I can't stand this girl? When she sings, she's actually pretty good. I just can't get past her self-centered attitude and annoying laugh. If she makes it to the voting rounds, I think I'm going to be sick.

Alexis, Kenny and Jasmine survived the group rounds and I'd say they're going to get whacked with the rest of group 2. Nathaniel is this year's flaming gay boy and he's going to be destroyed by Idol if he makes it to the Top 36. Joanna, Casey and Stephen forget the words and anyone in the room with them should know that they're going home.

So far: Room 1, good. Room 2, bad.

Did they only get to choose from about five different songs for this? I thought the final singing day was open to anything, but it seems everyone was operating off a very short list.

Norman/Nick leads off group 4. I don't know what to think of him if he makes the voting rounds. Ann Marie is with him and I like her. Even if I don't like the song ("I Hope You Dance"). Ju'Not is also in the same room along with the just-moved Tatiana. If I were in a room and she suddenly showed up, I think I would stab one of the Idol producers. And there probably wouldn't be a jury in the country who would convict me.

I hope the Hollywood rounds aren't an omen of what's to come for this year. If anything else can be done to improve Idol, it's to open up the songbook and let the kids pick songs from a large catalog, not 25 songs out of the Beatles repertoire.

Somehow, they skipped group 3, which is probably a bad sign for them. After all, no face time probably means they're gone. After all, why show singers who won't be pandering for votes later? Kaylan got her song stopped early and she's sharing a room with this year's homeless sympathy story, Leneshe.

Simon bolts early, probably to avoid getting a backside full of someone's boot when they break the bad news to two of the groups.

Room 2 is the first to get the news and . . . they're staying? What the hell? How do you forget your lyrics and get advanced to the next round? Of course, this doesn't mean that they made it to the voting rounds; the just get to the next round of cuts.

India is the lead story in Room 3 and they all get cut. Jason Castro's little brother is one of the ones who is among those who get the bad news. I'm surprised by India's ouster, but after watching her final solo performance, she looked lost and without direction.

The good news for the ones who don't make it is that they can always come back for more. Many of the people who don't get through Hollywood actually can sing. I think it's often an issue of maturity and poise. Idol will break people; we've seen it before and we'll see it again. In some cases, I think getting cut is a good thing. Not at the time, but in the long run, it saves some people from a mental breakdown.

We're left with two groups: Room 1 and Room 4. I'll bet they both make it to tomorrow's show.

Room 1 is the obvious favourite to advance. We know this because Tatiana is in Room 4 and they have to show her last. There's some false drama from Randy and they're predictably put through.

If you've watched the show before, you know that three of the four rooms often advance to the Elevator of Doom show. Randy, Paula and Cara string them along, even making Tatiana cry.

Of course, Matt spoils the suspense and they all make it. At least until tomorrow.

We are left with 50 or so singers who will be whittled down to 36 tomorrow. I hope Tatiana doesn't make it. I'll have to request that President Obama have everyone at 19E drug tested if she does.

High Lord. Out.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Who wants to join my group?

I love the group rounds of Hollywood. From the TV side, it ups the drama. From the singing side, it shows who has the chops for the show and who doesn't.

Remember the girls who didn't want to sing with Frenchie and K-Lo? Or what about the Brittenum Brothers? Some viewers out there dislike the group rounds, but since the group sings are such a part of the show, if someone can't sing in as part of a group, they're going to suck if they make it to the tour.

I also think the group round show off a singer's creativity. They have to work together, but they also have to adapt their singing style to the other three people. They show who can harmonise and who is just a solo act. I also think it shows the singers's work ethic. They're dealing in a situation that is often unfamiliar to them. They're singing with strangers. They've been up for days and been under the pressure of Hollywood (just look at how many people are already crying).

If Hollywood is about separating the wheat from the chaff, the group sings are the combine that knocks people around.

After a short intro, the singers break up in to groups of three or four, a format that lends itself to drama. Remember when the groups were assigned (randomly or by design)? Now that the singers can pick their partners/poison, their fate is fully in their own hands.

We see some familiar faces in some contrived drama. It always amazes me about who comes with business on their mind and who's just there to goof off. It seems to me that the people who get to bed early are either 1) super-prepared and are going to kick ass when it's time to sing, or 2) crash and burn because they're unprepared.

This year it seems there are a handful of teams that are staying up late and are going to suffer in the morning. And if you're watching the show, you know who they are.

Why would anyone (Katrina: I'm talking to you!) sleep in on group sing day? She went to bed early and she only slept for two hours?

Simon shows up and give advice that is always good: Remember the lyrics!

I think that is my rule #1A.

The first group up is White Chocolate and they're kicking ass. They seem loose and are very entertaining. Everyone in the audience wants to beat them down with a lead pipe because the bar was set very high.

Next we see a collection of people who forget the lyrics. I wonder what the actual singing order was. You know that four groups in a row didn't forget their lyrics.

The second group to get highlighted is Action Squad. Did they have to come up with names, too? Their harmonies are somewhere between bad and awful. The dancing isn't much better. And then they forget the words. I see them all getting whacked. And . . . only two of them advance.

Hey, there's always next year.

How many of these singers are recidivists? I've heard that there are people who have been two Hollywood two and three times? Is there a limit? If you make the voting rounds, you can't audition again, but the people who get to Hollywood can return. I think that if I got cut in the a cappella or group rounds, I'd either be back for more with a clearer understanding about how things worked, or I'd just quit. It's not the absolute and of the line as some of the kids seem to think, but if Hollywood makes you crack (ie-Jaclyn Crum), then the voting rounds of the show will chew you up and spit you out.

The third group to be featured singing is The Rainbow Coalition, but they rock out "Somebody to Love". Individually, they're a little rough around the edges, but as a group, their harmonies seem to work. And they don't just sing a straight cover of the song. I liked it.

In the midst of the group sings, Idol features several individual singers (as a way of giving out face time, maybe?) on the way to the final "drama" of the last 10 minutes of the show.

Team Diva gets featured on stage. I really can't understand how Bikini Girl got this far because she's clearly the weak link (both her voice and her preparation) of this foursome. Actually, I do understand . . . Simon and Randy are ruled by Mr. Happy. And it was good to see that Simon finally called Katrina out. I wonder how she feels about herself watching from home. Did she get portrayed unfairly, or did the editors get it right?

Annoying laughing girl and her group goes next. Their harmonies are waaaaayyyyy off. I see all of them getting whacked. And it's probably due to the turmoil caused by Tatiana. OMG, they all got through?!?!?! WTF!?!?!?! I want to reach through the TV and smack someone . . . wait, I want to smack Tatiana.

Getting the "Pimp Spot" is Team Compromise, featuring a guy who is even more flaming gay than Danny Noriega. They're a trio and only two of them make it through. That's the only part that surprises me. I thought Nancy was the one who actually put the most effort into the group sing and she's the one who got whacked. Go figure.

So this year's group day was more of the same (drama and filler). We got one great performance, a few good ones and a handful of cover-your-ears-bad groups.

Next week, they're singing solo again, then we find out who is going to make it to the voting.

I'm going to start my vacation diary soon, so stick around for the food porn.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Those damn auditions are over!!! Yea!!!!!

I don't know if there is anyone in the world who is happier than I am that the auditions are over. Man, I hate those things.

Before we get on to the show, let me say a few words about the Super Bowl:
  • Hey, Faith and J-Hud: Follow one of my Idol rules and just sing the song. I hate it when people have to draw a good song out. Properly sung, the first verse of the national anthem (that's right there are four verses) should take about 58 seconds. Jennifer stretched that out to 2 minutes, 7 seconds. I know this because the guy who sits next to me won $100 on a prop bet that she would go over 2 minutes.

  • James Harrison should have been the MVP.

  • That last play should have been reviewed. I'm not saying that it should have been overturned (it should not have been), but it deserved another look by the referee.

  • This officially makes the Steelers the most successful team of the modern era. I am so happy that they're no longer tied for the most Super Bowl wins with those idiots out in San Francisco and the malcontents in Dallas.

  • Given the Steelers's youth and the fact that their most important players are under contract (and nary a holdout in sight), how many more championships does this team have in it? One? Two? Three?
Now on to the show . . .

MSNBC says there's one too many judges at the table and surprisingly, the dead weight isn't Paula. That's right, dawg, the person taking up space is Randy Jackson. I've said for a long time that if he'd get back to being the most technical judge, he would be an asset. As things stand, he's gone ghetto and says the same eight things over and over.

Personally, I'm tired of his act and want him to either shape up or ship out. As with MSNBC, I don't think they need four people taking up space and valuable time away from the actual singing. Are they going to extend the show or limit the time Simon and Paula spend bickering? Or cut into the already-scant 90 seconds the singers get?

Hey, look, Barry Manilow showed up in Idol Boot Camp. He was only one of the best actual mentors in the history of the show. I hope the kids listened to him because when he was on the show, he seemed to actually care about the singers and wasn't just there to shill for his newest CD (Gwen Stefani: I'm talking to you!).

The first task for the kids is a solo a cappella for a few seconds and then either get moved on or cut. Why do people do the following two things: 1) sing Whitney, Mariah and Celine, and 2) talk back to the judges?

You have to know that at this stage it's not going to help. I know Fox/19E wants the "drama" but if you get to Hollywood and don't make it to the voting rounds, you need to thank the judges for the opportunity (and free trip to California) and then come back for more next year. Why make an ass of yourself on TV? Not only will the editors make you look a thousand times worse, but you won't get another shot the next year.

Another thing I wonder is what people think Hollywood is going to be like. Some of the people seem like they're there to party and hit on others. Or they think their talent will carry them.

Here's a hint: An Idol trip to Hollywood is a business excursion. I'm not saying you shouldn't have fun, but you're there to sing and perform. Not generate drama or get laid. It's only your career on the line. Take it seriously.

Some other tips:
  • Crying can work for you for sympathy, or it can make you come off as someone who will be crushed by the demands of the Idol singing schedule.

  • I don't know that I'd want to sing on the first day or the second day. On one level, I'd like to get a free day in southern California. On another, I'd also rather get the first round of cuts over with.

  • Who's going to be on the next season of DWTS? Donny Osmond says he's in. Melissa Joan Hart, Steve O, Lawrence Taylor and Heidi Klum have also come up as possible contenders. And check this out: Stevie Wonder. WTF?!?!?! Stevie Wonder?

  • Just sing the song. How many times can I say this? Just sing. Don't shout. Don't resort to vocal tricks. Don't try songs that are out of your league because you think it will impress the judges or the voters. Just sing.

  • How will face time impact the show this year? Some people have been advanced without us-the viewing audience--hearing a single note. Other people have gotten their life's (sob) story told and were handed millions of votes early.

  • We need more group sings in Hollywood!!!! Is there any wonder why the group sings sucked last year? It's because they didn't have any!

  • Happened to the bad cylons on BSG? Don't you wonder what's going to happen when the Cavils, Simons and Dorals show up with a sky full of basestars? And what will the humans and good(?) cylons do? Will a basestar full of Ellens and Sauls show up and nuke everyone? And what the hell is Starbuck?

  • I could really use an Oreo and M&M Blizzard right about now.

  • I'm also very glad that the wild card rounds are back.

  • If you are hawt and a so-so voice, you have a much better chance of getting through than if you have so-so looks and just an above-average voice.

  • Don't tell her, but I think I'm going to buy Mrs. High Lord a Snuggie for Valentine's Day. Actually, I bought her a diamond and black coral pendant while we were on the cruise.

  • The first Hollywood show was more of what we're used to. I would have liked to see more singing and less filler, but that's okay for now.
At the end of the show, I get the good news that tomorrow's show will bring us the vaunted (and sometimes dreaded) group rounds. Woo-hoo!!!!!

So who will be this year's Brittenum Brothers? And who will bring us this year's How Deep Is Your Love?

High Lord. Out.