Thursday, February 25, 2010

Idol results . . . revenge of the Pimp Spot

I'm not going to live-blog the results show tonight. This is my personal protest against making what should take about 8 minutes into a 60+ minute spectacle just to make a few bucks.

Before things start, I'd like to share some data from last year. If you'll remember, the Pimp Spot is usually where Idol sticks the TCOs to protect them from elimination. Yet last year, not only was the Dead Man's Spot dangerous, but going last came with its own perils.

Two singers were placed in the Bottom 3 (Lil in week 6 and Adam in Week 8). On top of that, Anoop was eliminated in week 7 in a double elimination.

Going first was no safer, as four singers landed in the Bottom 3 and Lil was eliminated in Week 7 in the same show that Anoop got the axe. Will the Pimp Spot be just as dangerous this year?

I didn't make any predictions, but I guess I should.

There are eight singers who deserve to get whacked. For them, it's just a matter of the order in which they get canned.

Tonight, I'm predicting that the lead off singers will both get the boot. Paige didn't get much (if any face time) and Todrick isn't a singer (so why did they put him through?). My other two choices for this week are Tim and Haeley, both of whom underwhelmed. In reality, though, it doesn't really matter at this point.

Jermaine could go because he was bad and came off as being a jackass. Joe was nothing special, as was John. For the girls, Lacey, Janell and Ashley were equally bad. So pick four of them and get rid of them.

I'll be watching the show and waiting for the results, just not updating the blog until the end.

High Lord. Out.

For now.


Okay, so Janell, Ashley, Joe and Tyler are gone.

Is anyone surprised? If your hand is up, you're lying.

It was good to see Allison "I Should Have Beaten Gokey" Iraheta and Kris "Just Happy to Be Here" Allen again, although their performances were middle of the road. What do you bet that when Adam is on the show this year, he brings a drag show with him?

I am surprised that Toderick and Paige were safe, but at this point, there are too m any folks without a viable fanbase who are trying to solidify support before the Top 12 starts.

Next week, I predict that the remaining singers will take a few more chances, but I think you'll start to see some of the TCOs and middle of the pack singers start to sandbag.

I finally got my hunter up to level 42. Now, it's on to level 43 . . .

High Lord. Out.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No one can repel talent of that magnitude!

Yes, after last night's all-girl exhibition, it's time for the boys to go.

First, I'd like for everyone to take a moment and reflect on their alma mater's mascot. For me, in high school, we were the Trojans (school newspaper's motto: "We've got you covered!"). I went to undergraduate school at the University of North Florida where we were the Ospreys (a fish hawk). My graduate degrees are from Marshall University, home of the Thundering Herd (one of only a handful of school names that doesn't end in "S"; quick, name 10 of the others!).

Back in 2003, Ole Miss dispensed with their traditional mascot, Colonel Reb, which harkened back to the days of Confederate rebellion and slavery. Now they're searching for a new mascot and nickname to replace the "Rebels". Since school administrators didn't learn from the University of Southern California at Santa Cruz, they allowed the student body to have a say in the matter.

If you remember (and you probably don't), the UCSC students picked the Banana Slug as their mascot and now have a wide variety of Banana Slug merchandise to express their school spirit.

Now it seems some enterprising (and persistent Star Wars fans) have co-opted the Ole Miss process and a growing motion to adopt Admiral Ackbar as their mascot. You can read more here. This would be beyond cool. In fact, I'd move to Oxford, Mississippi and pay out of state tuition just to take a class so I could call myself an Ole Miss Ackbar alum.

Of course, this stands virtually no chance of actually happening, even if the school administrators let it go because I'm sure they won't pay George Lucas the royalties he would demand to use the Admiral as their mascot. Personally, I think it would be a great idea; Ackbar was the supreme commander of the Rebel Alliance fleet, personally leading the assault on the second Death Star from his flagship, Home One. He knows what it takes to be a rebel!

Do you hear me, University of Mississippi? I would pay out of state tuition to take a class if you'd change your nickname to the Fighting Ackbars or something like that!

On to the show . . .

We get a quick introduction and in what is a surprise to absolutely no one, TCO Andrew Garcia gets the Pimp Spot.

Drawing the first spot is Todrick who does what the judges seem to want and changes up a pop song with a new twist on "Since U Been Gone". I liked it. The vocals were weak, but the arrangement will make him "memorable". The performance was okay. The judges, of course, don't listen to their own advice and demands; WTF!?!?!? Randy, Kara and Simon, who spent most of last night telling the singers to make the songs "their own", bashed Todrick for doing what they're encouraging them to do. This annoys me to no end. I don't think he stands a chance at winning; in all likelyhood, he won't make the Top 12, but give the guy credit for at least attempting to bring something new to a pop song rather than going the "safe" route.

Our friend Jennifer hasn't posted her recap from last night. I know she hates the auditions and Hollywood rounds, but for her to be this late is a little out of character. This leads me to believe one of the following things happened:
  1. She won the Powerball and is sunning herself on a beach in Bora Bora.

  2. She broke up with the show and is either watching the Olympics or Lost.

  3. She's face down in a snow-covered ditch somewhere.
I hope she's okay and will get back to the best Idol blog out there.

Next up is Aaron who is very young. I wonder if he can drive. I'm not impressed, especially since they show him flubbing his lyrics in Hollywood. His vocals are okay. His facial expressions are borderline painful. I'm just happy he's not annoying like Archuleta and not apparently prone to having a Leah Labelle-like implosion. The judges slurp him. I don't get it. I think 19E will back him to keep the tween girls (and curious boys) interested in the show and if he wins, they'll be able to manipulate him in ways older--and more experienced--singers (like Crystal and Andrew) won't allow.

Have I mentioned that the new dorm at UNF has a lazy river and all I got was a cinder-block room and a roommate who was always in bed with his girlfriend?

Next up is Jermaine "I Ripped the Band in Public" Sellers who is singing a song I despise. At least he did away with the bad glasses. The wannabe falsetto has to go. He starts off too soft. I don't know if I have a pre-conceived notion that he's a jackass, but I don't care for either the song or the performance. Back in Oklahoma City, Thaddeus Johnson just threw his remote through his TV and shouted, "You cashed me out for this?!?!?!? What. The. F.?!" Ellen bashes him, which does not bode well.

After a commercial, Seacrest gives Tim some face time and then hocs Coca-Cola. Hey, Tim, Eric Forman called and he wants his haircut back. He got cut after the rounds of 24, but now he's back after another singer got ousted over a contract issue. He's singing a whiney song which doesn't make me want to like him. He's got pitch problems, most of which revolve around the unnecessary (is there any other kind?) falsetto.

The guys are unimpressing me tonight. The judges seem to think so, too. Why are they ripping the singers? They picked them.

Joe "Who?" Muñoz is next and I don't remember him from the earlier rounds. He's only there to get eliminated. His vocals are better than I expected. He's inoffensive and generally okay . . . I think. I have to confess I fell asleep halfway through. ¿Why do you think he's Joe and not José?

Not getting out of his 70s groove is Tyler "Nick Simmons" Grady. Isn't the purpose of the show to find a contemporary pop star? "American Woman" is older than I am. He's got good stage presence and his vocals are solid, if unspectacular. I think people will either lurve him or not really care. He won't be like Gokey or Archuleta and inspire legions of equally devoted lovers and haters, but I don't think he's going to make the top 8.

The sound guys seem to have (mostly) fixed the issues that plagued the show last night

We're an hour into the show and I'm almost ready to go to bed because I'm so frickin' bored. Lee is next, but there's a crawl across his forehead announcing a winter weather advisory is moving through the great state of West Virginia. It's almost March the local weather guy (who couldn't predict his own bowel movements, much less a blizzard) needs to bring me some good news. Lee is the first guy to bring out the guitar tonight and he has an unfortunate physical resemblance to Gokey (minus the designer glasses). Parts are too nasally ("It's a singing style!" according to Chris Richardson), but it's generally okay. I'm going to have to fire up a cup o' joe in the Keurig if I want to make it through the rest of the show.

Randy must have taken some of Paula's pills because he's babbling incoherently. If he tells someone that they look gorgeous tonight, Ken Warwick needs to do a piss test on the spot.

Does anyone find it ironic that one of Tiger Woods's mistresses wants a personal apology from the golfer? She gave up a career in porn for him! She was his #1 . . . er, his #2. Or was she his #7? Who can tell? Shouldn't she be apologising to Elin and his kids for being a golddigger who was bagging their husband and father?

"Token Asian Guy" John would (like the rest of heterosexual male America and Canada) ask Shania Twain to marry him if she'd say yes. He goes into the standards songbook for a safe/boring rendition of "God Bless the Child". He's okay. Not bad. Unoffensive. In the first singing we've heard, he comes across as a belter. Why do Asian guys on this show implode early?

Big Mike "I Have My Own Gravity Well That Pulls in Donuts From Across the Cosmos" Lynche was reportedly off the show, but now he's back. He's singing some Maroon 5 (a Star Wars reference) and doing too much falsetto. He makes the guitar look like a ukulele. I don't think he was worthy of all the hype and face time he got in Hollywood, but he'll sail on to the Top 12 easily. Maybe I'm being too stereotypical, but this is not the kind of song I expect to hear from a large, shaved black man. But, hey . . . Hootie won the CMA New Artist of the Year, so anything can happen right? The judges give him some uncharacteristically constructive criticism.

Having survived this year's Group From Hell is Alex "Don't Call Me Adam" Lambert. Someone call Nick Arrojo and tell him to bring his mullet-hunters. Alex looks and sounds nervous. I give him a big "meh". Yawn.

This just in: The Oklahoma City Police are looking for an individual who appears to be under the influence of drugs going on a rampage at an FYE store in a local mall. The suspect is a young black male who is in tears and repeatedly crying out, "Why, God? Why did they cut me and keep these ($&@!%$)holes?" Eyewitnesses are reporting that a women who could possibly be his mother or aunt is brandishing a cast iron skillet and asking people randomly, "Are you Simon? Where's (%$#&@!)ing Simon? I'm going to bash his (*#@$&%!)damn head in!"

As Seacrest introduces "Shirtless Guy" Casey, we see Lilly falling out of her dress (not a complaint). He could be this year's Bucky. Or he could actually be good. Kara and Randy are swaying. Emily from Cobb Middle School (Class of '87): Do you remember our song? I do. Sigh . . . Ah, good times. The song, not so much. Like many of the other guys, he's not awful, but nor does Casey do anything to make me want to like him for butchering one of my sixth grade anthems. The judges predictably slurp him. He uses more product than Katelyn, Crystal and Lilly combined.

Drawing the Pimp Spot is the guys's last chance to have an outstanding performance tonight is Andrew "I'm Not a Gangbanger" Garcia. He needs to borrow some of Gokey's wire-frame glasses, 'cuz the big, chunky specs he's got are fugly. His kid is cute. Of course, he's good. I just wonder if he's peaked too early. I think he should have borrowed a page from Michelle and sandbagged a little this week because if viewers don't see him improve from week to week, they might not vote for him. This is what happened to my girl, LaToya London, as well as Melinda Doolittle. I thought he was better than the judges; they give him their usual quizzical commentary about being boring. He's the best singer of the guys, and probably the best package. Plus, we haven't had a Latino win, have we?

The Good

The Bad

The Ugly
The judges's stupid comments to singers who actually make a song their own

The guys are clearly weaker than the girls this year. Song choice is a little bit of it, but I think this year's crop is simply full of people who are only there while they're waiting for elimination.

Any combination of guys except for Andrew, Mike and Casey could possibly be in danger tomorrow night.

I'm going to go see if Jennifer has posted anything. Then I'm going to try and get my hunter up to level 42. Again.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Now we're getting down to business

That's right . . . tonight we're getting down to the part of the show where the kids are singing for votes. First up are the girls, some of whom have had massive face time and others who were just put through so they could get mowed down in the rounds of 24.

I hope our friend Jennifer is back. It's been a long seven months without her. I just hope she doesn't break up with the show.

Has anyone caught the Olympics? I've been watching it off and on (mostly off). Curling is oddly hypnotic and the skiing just reminds me of what happened to my knee the (first and) last time I hit the slopes.

In other news, this brings a tear to my eye. If this were to actually make the games, I might start watching them. From the comfort and isolation of the man-cave, of course.

So are the early favourites this season? The obvious candidates that I can think of off the top of my head are the high face time singers: Big Mike (I heard they brought him back), the girl whose grandma has Alzheimer's, Andrew "Neck Tattoo" Garcia and Crystal "I'm a Single Mom Who Loves My Baby Boy" Bowersox. Aside from them, everyone is just a big white blur (with a couple of brown people thrown in just for good measure).

They've gone back to the 12 guys/12 girls format, which I hate. This means that over the next three weeks, four people will get whacked each week. I haven't heard if they're bringing back the theme weeks in the rounds of 24; lord, I hope not.

Seacrest opens the show with lots of yapping. What's the over/under on how long the show runs over tonight? I'm guessing six minutes. Set your DVRs to run over time. The Simon/Ellen bit was a waste of time.

Drawing the first Dead Man's Spot of the year is Paige, who I don't remember from the audition/Hollywood rounds. Unless she's dynamite, I think she's bottom 3 material on Thursday, and that's without having heard her sing. She summons Mr. Peabody and tells Sherman to set the WABAC Machine 1970 with a song that was included on the Freedom Rock collection. I'm underwhelmed. Her voice is okay, but over all, she's a big aiiiiiiiiight. Simon thinks she has the best voice of the women, but I didn't hear it; neither did he and Simon tells her as much. The judges all slam her song choice. I think she needed to pick a song that is younger than me.

Next up is Ashley, who makes the mistake of singing another idol's song in the Hollywood round. For her first song, she picks one of Simon's protoge's songs; I'm just happy it's not "Bleeding Love". She's flat in a couple of spots. She makes some funny faces. For a song titled "Happy", it comes off as slow and whiney. At least it's contemporary. Kara calls Leona Lewis "the Mariah Carey of this generation"; she is obviously high. Randy rips her song choice. I don't remember seeing Ashley before, so her only purpose is to provide some padding as Idol jettisons the dead weight. I liked her better than Paige.

The judges all rip her for something that drives me nuts. When they sing a song well, but don't change it much, they say the singer isn't being original. When they go out on a limb and try a new spin on an old song and it doesn't work, they rip them for messing with a good thing. Make up your damn minds!

Idol must be smarting by the rating whupping the Olympics are laying down; they haven't passed up a chance to air a commercial or slip in some product placement.

In the three-hole is IBG #1 Janell, who is (unfortunately) covering her legs with jeans. She goes back to the mid-80s with a Heart song. It's too bad she lacks Ann Wilson's voice; the song is too big for her. Taylor Swift would have been a better choice. The girls are picking lots of safe songs tonight.

I think Ellen is going to be okay as a judge. She's a little too cheerleaderish, but given the other three on the panel, that's not a bad thing. I'm just happy she's coherent. Other people think so, too.

Wrapping up the first third of the show is Lilly. I think she needs to get rid of the platinum blonde hair. I just makes her look pale and pasty. She does something smart and goes into the Beatles songbook. She's also the first singer to bring her guitar to the rounds of 24. I like that she didn't pick one of the obvious Beatles songs and seems to have taken Randy/Simon's advice and done something "original." I also like that she didn't sing for a minute and then close out with a fifteen second money note. Her vocals were okay, but she is the standout of the show so far.

Katelyn has big hair. She hasn't heard of conditioner. She plays piano. She likes Beatles songs, too. It's also very safe, which is bad when following Lilly. To her credit, she has a good voice and is one of the better IBGs in the past couple of seasons. It's shouty in parts, but overall pretty good. She has the same hair as her mom. Kara likes her granola look. I like the strapless leather outfit. Simon likes her legs. So does Ellen.

Taking a break from high school is "I Have an Inexplicable Extra E in My Name" Haeley who now has a nose ring. I almost got a nose ring when I was in high school. Then I remembered that I have allergies and sinus problems. And they only look good on about four people. She's also singing a Beatles song. Her intro piece made her come off a lot like Allison; goofy and young, but not goofy and stupid like The Arch. I'm not feeling this rendition. She likes to shout a lot. I think her voice is going to annoy me like Fantasia's if she sticks around too much longer. Will she bring out the first "pitchy" of the night?

Next up is Lacy "I Can't Believe I Got Whacked for Megan Joy" Brown, an Idol recidivist who has the same colourist as Allison. She also goes old school with some Fleetwood Mac. I appreciate that many of the singers are singing good songs, but I'd like to hear songs that are more contemporary. Lacy also annoys me by throwing in lots of little vocal tricks and runs, which I find distracting. See Rule #2 to the right. It was good for her, but not great by any stretch of the imagination. She draws the first "pitchy", but I think it was partly intentional. I think she's also nervous. Just. Sing. The. Song.

Kara mentioned "The Sundays". Wow. Hadn't heard of them since high school. But she's right; Lacy would have sounded so much better with this song.

And Simon probably wouldn't have called her boring.

Getting the random sit-down interview is Katie. Seacrest says, "Hello, Katie, here's five million more votes. Enjoy!"

Michelle also gets some face time. Who decided they should get the extra screen minutes? She works in retail. I used to work in retail. We have so much in common! Have we seen her before? I don't remember. Michelle takes on my least favourite Alicia Keyes song, but she does a good job. I like that it's less than 10 years old. She also seems confident, which is something the seven girls who went before her can't say. What's with the dress bunched up on her butt? I could have done without the money note at the end, but it was the best vocal of the night. By the way, her sister: smokin' hawt. Don't tell Mrs. High Lord I said that.

Ellen thinks she was sandbagging, which is probably a good move at this point. There's no point in going all-in right now if a singer thinks they're going be around for a while, which Michelle should be. After all, we've seen too many singers peak early and get eliminated before their time (Melinda Doolittle, anyone?).

Without having to wait through yet another commercial break is Didi who reminds me vocally of Megan Joy from last year. She's too jazzy for me, although it works for her. I don't like the vocal gymnastics, but I think that's the song. Her voice is solid and her tone is clean, unlike some of the other who have gone tonight.

Simon thinks a girl is going to win this year. I'll reserve judgement until I hear all 24 of them, but I will say that the field this year seems pretty deep. Even among the girls tonight who were off a little bit, none were downright awful. I think some have a ways to go, but we have heard much, much worse as late as the Top 8 in years past.

Next up is Siobhán, which I can never remember how to pronounce (she-vawn). She has the best profession of any auditioner: glassblowing apprentice. That's a skill I'd love to learn, 'cuz I think it's cool, but I don't know that I have the patience and temperament to do. She's singing Chris Isaak, only without the naked brunette hanging over her. She starts out flat, but quickly finds the right key. I think it was a good song for her, but since I'm not a big fan of the song, it just wasn't for me. She's obviously not used to the whole being on TV thing 'cuz her interview blows.

They've been saving their TCOs for last. Turning the dial up to eleven is Crystal. Someone help me come up with a 3 or 4 letter nickname for her. Did she wash her hair today? She's obviously not the typical Idol, which could work for her or against her. She's singing "Hand in My Pocket" which gets an 11 on a scale of 10 for song choice. Crystal could really be this year's Chris Daughtry. That is, if Chris had breasts and were allowed to play the guitar back in season 5. This is her calling her shot and then knocking it right out of the park. Everybody just got put on notice. I'd almost pay money to download this song. I hate to say this, but I hope she doesn't win because winning (and all that comes with being the American Idol) will kill her. I also appreciate her honesty in that she knows this show wouldn't be her first choice to make it in the music industry, but she's willing to play the game in order to get her opportunity. I see her doing a duet with Daughtry in the finale.

Simon is a moron.

Wrapping up the first Pimp Spot of the year is Katie "My Grandma Has Alzheimer's" Stevens. She's 17 and I think Idol will break her. I hope I'm wrong. I'm not sure she is worthy of the placement. She's got a good voice; not quite the machine that Diana Degarmo was, but definitely old for her age (in a good way). I'm sure my friend Mike is thinking things about her that he shouldn't. So is Ellen. At least until next December. Ellen wants her to be current, and she's right. Has Idol opened up the checkbook and paid for Taylor Swift songs? If not, do it.

The Good

The Bad

The Ugly

Well, there it is. No one was awful, although a couple were close. I think Haeley, Lacy and Paige will be the bottom 3 with any two of them being eliminated and the show won't be poorer for it.

The field is deep, although there is a clear top tier with everyone else fighting for scraps. It's interesting that of the 12 girls who went tonight, 4 or 5 aren't really traditional pop singers, which is what this show is purported to be looking for.

The vocal of the night was Michelle, although the best performance was Crystal (which was in the same league as JD Fortune's version from Rock Star: INXS).

At the end of the show we get the video montage of the 12 guys who will be singing tomorrow. Nine of them look goofy and I want to kick them off immediately. Whether my snap judgement will hold up tomorrow is debatable, but I think there are four girls who stand a good chance at making it to the finale, which is something we couldn't say in years past.

I'm going to see if I can get my hunter up to level 42 now.

High Lord. Out.

EDIT: I went back and watched all the performances no-filler style last night and adjusted my reaction. The last five girls on my list really were awful. I guess I didn't want to slam Paige too hard since she went first, but these girls picked the wrong songs and were too nervous to have finished even in the second tier.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Last night before the voting starts

As if Idol didn't already string things along enough, tonight we're stuck waiting an hour to find out who the last 17 of the Top 24 are.

Remember, this year, they're (unfortunately) going away from the Wild Card format and bringing back the Top 12 Guys and Top 12 Girls before the singing starts. Have I mentioned how much I hate this format? This year, I mean?

Anyhoo . . . We know who six of the final 24 are. Yes, I know they announced 7, but one of them was Big Mike Lynche who is no longer with the show. Who will replace him? Maybe they'll tell us at the end of the show.

First up is Janelle, who auditioned in a pair of Daisy Dukes that were almost short enough to read her lips. Surprisingly, she flubbed her lyrics in the final round, but still wasn't eliminated. She cries. She has great legs. I'll bet she goes through. 'Cuz Simon, Randy and Ellen are all about the hawt girls. She'll be just another IBG. Unless she forgets her lyrics in which case she'll be just another dumb blonde.

Next to get the news is Nick Simmons . . . er, Tyler Somebody. And he's through. 'Cuz Kara is all about the hawt boys.

I don't know if I can handle another 51 minutes of this. Maybe I'll go kill some trolls and come back to watch the show no-filler style.

Are they going to show everyone's final performance before giving them a yes/no? Apparently not because they just pushed through a bunch of people whose names they barely flash before moving on to the next one. I guess they're going to be breeding a new crop of Melinda Liras and Bobby Bennetts. And giving a gazillion votes to Crystal Bowersox, Andrew Garcia and the teenager whose grandma has Alzheimer's.

3-time recidivist Angela is back for more, even as her mother is missing and police are searching for her. Unfortunately, she gets whacked by Kara. Maybe she'll be back for a fourth year. I wouldn't be after this.

I wonder about people who audition over and over. And what makes them come back. That's not to say that if you wash out in Hollywood once that you aren't going to win. Some people need to mature. Idol is tough. The grind takes its toll. But if you've been there three times, don't you think that there's a reason why you keep getting eliminated. Even if you make the voting rounds, you'll probably get canned in the first show or two.

Of course, Angela seems to be the exception. She wasn't eliminated in the past because of her singing. Having to go to jail because of an outstanding warrant and her father dying isn't an indicator of ability. But how can some people keep coming back for more?

Lilly looks like a cross between Tina Yothers and Stevie Nicks. Like Crystal, she needs a Code Blue hair makeover.

More anonymous singers get advanced.

So who is this year's Archuleta? Clay? Fantasia? Bo? KLC?

Will Idolatry be as good this year now that someone put the Go in Gokey?

The last two girls are Haeley and Tori. Which one will go through? Which one will be eliminated? Did they go back to the 12 guys/12 girls thing because they don't want to have to deal with a Top 13? Will the judges's save be back or did it go away?

It's Haeley.

Then we find out who the final guy is. Is it the Latino with the crying dad? Or the black guy with the crazy mom? Andrew had better be the one or I will be very upset. The neck tattoo and chunky glasses are a little distracting, but he seems to be a better artist.

Thaddeus seems to me to be another belter, which I don't think the show needs. He's told he did great, but didn't make it. Some times it's not about you; it's just that other people did better. Take for instance the 2007 New England Patriots. Their season was a "failure" because they went 18-1 and the one loss was in the Super Bowl. Everything about their season was a success, except for one tastefully-named David Tyree catch for which there was perfect coverage and the receiver made a freak catch that he couldn't do again if he tried a thousand more times.

Some times that's the way Idol goes. Some years some folks are just better. I'm not saying there were 12 guys who were better than Thaddeus, but evidently four someones thought so. Besides, there's always next year.

That means Andrew got through, and that preceeds a montage of the people celebrating their good news.

I guess they're not going to address the Big Mike Lynche controversy and who they're going to replace him with. Maybe they'll bring Thaddeus back. Or not.

I'm going to go watch snowboarding now.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We're into the home stretch

With only two episodes left until the real singing (read: for votes) starts, things are getting exciting. I think. No one this year has blown me away. Partly it's because so many of the VSE (Very Special Episode) singers have gotten whacked in Hollywood. That means there are a couple of front-runners who've gotten some face time, but also some people are going to come out of nowhere to make the Top 12 . . . er, Top 13 . . . or however many they decide to take to the big stage.

I'll get to Idol in a few, but I'm going to start with the Olympics, which I have lost Mrs. High Lord to for the next two weeks. First of all, let me say that I don't go wild over the Olympics (summer or winter), but I tune in every now and then. The one thing I don't like about the Winter Olympics is because of the smaller field, Bob Costas doesn't get to make his Central African Republic joke. Plus, I wish they'd send Katie Couric to co-host with him for the opening ceremonies, not Matt Lauer.

What I'd really like to rant about is the video NBC showed of Georgian luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvilli being killed when his luge sled threw him from the track in a freak accident. What doesn't shock me is that someone was injured or killed at the Olympics; sure we take for granted that sports are safe, but the bottom line is that these are dangerous activities that have the risk of death.

I'm ticked off because they showed the accident in the "pre-game" show.

Why did CBS get hit with a half-million dollar fine for showing Janet Jackson's pastie-covered breast and nothing happens to NBC for showing a man being killed? Are boobies so bad that they can't be shown (never mind that everyone has two), but it's okay for NBC to air snuff video?

(The answer is "no" by the way.)

This irks me to no end. Not only is it in bad taste--the story of an Olympic athlete being killed can be effectively told without video of his death--but it reeks of sheer idiocy. I guess it's to be expected in the United States, though; we have movies that show massive gun battles (Red Dawn) getting PG-13 ratings along with movies that show two women's breasts for a matter of seconds (Police Academy 2). Is death and destruction that much preferable to tits?

(The answer is "no" by the way.)

Anyway, I'm enjoying most of what I'm seeing of the Olympics, although I felt bad for whomever lost his/her job over the hydraulic lifts/doors not working at the opening ceremonies.

Idol has just started and I'm a little perplexed by the approach of the show. Apparently we're not going to be seeing the final 71 singers actually singing. They've gone straight to the Rooms of Doom™.

There are three rooms. One will probably be eliminated immediately, and the other two rooms will be brought back to be whittled down to the Top 24, which start next Tuesday.

No wait, they're showing singing. I don't know that I like this approach.

How 'bout that Daytona 500? Almost three hours in two red flags to fix a pothole. I almost had enough time to take a nap. Who doesn't think they should re-surface the track before the 4th of July race? I'm just happy to be able to watch guys drive around turning left again.

Also, it was good to see Danica Patrick have a reasonably good showing. It's too bad she got wrecked. Oh, well, live and learn. 'Cuz that happens.

My Lord of the Rings Online elf hunter is up to level 37. I just opened up a couple of new areas where I'm getting my butt kicked by some new monsters that like to gang up on me. If anyone out there wants to go for some quests in Evendim, the Trollshaws or the Misty Mountains, let me know.

Of the people I've seen tonight, Crystal (guitar playing mom with bad hair) is among my faves. I think she could be really, really good. She makes me wonder how far Chris Daughtry would have gone had he been allowed to play the guitar on stage. Now if only the Idol stylists would call Nick Arrojo and get her some good hair . . .

To me, things look good for Room 1; they've got Crystal but also Andrew Garcia, the Latino with the big, chunky glasses whose parents moved him away from the gangs and who absolutely killed with his unplugged rendition of "Straight Up". If those two are not in the Top 24, it will be a crime.

What will not be a crime is if Crazy Mary Powers and the rest of room 2 gets whacked. Of course, there are enough other people with promise in that room that she might make it to the final-cut down, but I don't know how far she'll get. After all, she seems to be more of a shouter, and they never do well as the season goes on. The rest of the singers they've shown from room 2 are generally unspectacular. Hope is flat for most of her performance, and no one else seems to be much better.

In room 3, Shelby (Bell's Palsy girl) worried about flubbing her lyrics and Aaron effed his up. Everyone else in room 3 should also worry. Of course, making it through this round is no guarantee for the Top 24. And even then, if your dad ran his yap, you can still get kicked off the show before the voting starts.

We're 52 minutes into the show and are they going to start eliminating people now? I read over at MSNBC, that they're going to reveal part of the Top 24 tonight . . . but then again, stranger things have happened.

Room 1 is up first and it's going to be good news (of course).

Next to get the news is room 2 and they're going home. Some will be back, but not everyone.

That means room 3 is also being advanced and then they start introducing the Top 24. Forty-six made it through this round of cuts and twenty-two of them are going to get whacked in the final cuts.

I'm going to yawn through this part of the show because I think it's meaningless drama. I might even skip the show tomorrow and wait for the singing to start before I blog again.

Or maybe not.

High Lord. Out.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hooray for the group sings!

Of all the shows in an Idol season, tonight's is my favourite: the group rounds.

It's brought us some of the greatest performances in the last 8 seasons of the show including this little gem, which is in my opinion, one of the top five performances on the show. Evah.

Last year, the highlight was "White Chocolate".

Who will step up this year? And who will crash and burn?

I know that Idol loves this show because it gets to manufacture "drama". Of course, sometimes, with the likes of Bikini girl and psycho-crazy Tatiana, 19E doesn't need to make anything up.

Remember back in season 2 when nobody wanted to sing with K-Lo and Frenchie? ('Cuz those girls had some mad skillz and were chewing up everyone in their path) Personally, I'd like to be in a group with good singers because they might be able to cover for my (many) deficiencies.

What I like about the group rounds is that it shows who the team players are and who is just out for themselves. That's not to say that a horrendous group performance will doom someone's chances at making the last round of cuts, but a marginal singer in a good group is going to get one more chance and a marginal singer in a bad group is going home.

The show opens and there is lots of the usual bickering. Some groups are on the ball and get done early. Others are clearly in danger. You'd think that people who have watched this show before would know how this day works and would make it a point to be done (and in bed) by midnight.

We get a nice shot of Big Mike (the guy who missed his kid being born for this show), who was put through to the Top 24, but then got kicked off the show because his dad ran his yap to a local newspaper in violation of the 19E confidentiality agreement.

Lessons from the show so far:
  1. Have a sob story when you audition.

  2. If you don't have a sob story, have a kid or be an ordained minister. Like me.

  3. For those people who had marginal auditions, either take clothes off or have big boobs.

  4. Don't tell your folks you made it to the Top 24 if your family can't keep a secret.

  5. Pick a group with good singers. Pick a good song. Don't forget the lyrics.
It's 20 minutes into the show and we're just now getting to the singing. The first group is okay. Their harmonies are a little off, but going first should get them a few extra points.

The foursome with Big Mike was pretty good. Not spectacular and they're better individually than together. Is Michael Castro Jason's brother? Is he going home? You'd think they'd re-cut the episodes if they know that one of the guys they're giving face time to got whacked by the producers. At least the votes they handed to him are going to waste, leveling the field for everyone else.

I got a call tonight from a friend whose kids keep effing up her computer by downloading stuff via Limewire and other P2P programs. You'd thinks she'd have learned after the first three or four times I've re-formatted her computer for her. Here's another free tip: Don't let your kids download programs off the Interweb. Most kids who are between the ages of 13 and 20 are just dangerous around a computer to get themselves in trouble.

Another thing I'm happy about with this season is that 19E seems to have opened up their checkbook and licensed songs that weren't written before Bush (the first one) was president. Remember when that only choices were "I Want You Back" (Jackson 5), "Get Ready" (Temptations) and "Band of Gold" (Freda Payne)? I'm no Lady Gaga fan, but at least it gives us a chance to hear the singers try their hand at stuff that might be on the radio/iTunes/XM today.

And I'm still perplexed by NASCAR using "Bad" as their theme for this season.

Why would anyone even attempt "Sweet Escape" at this point? The only songs worse would be Barenaked Ladies's "One Week" or R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)".

Quick NASCAR update: Four-time defending champ Jimmie Johnson is going to start the Daytona 500 in a back up car after being involved in a wreck triggered by Mike Bliss. I know you all care. Mrs. High Lord does. I think.

Well, the show's over and we got to see some (but not nearly enough) good singers and a bunch of bad ones. At the end of the show, we find out that 71 of the 96 people who made it past the first cut-down made it to the final round. That seems like an inordinantly high number, but it either means the field is deep or Ellen has made the judging panel a little extra generous.

I guess we'll find out next Tuesday.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

It's time for the real singing!

I'm sorry for missing last week, but the audition shows are getting lamer and lamer every year. I do appreciate that they're showing more of the good singers and fewer of the trainwrecks, but I could do without the Lifetime movies and "very special" episode singers. Just show me singing, dammit!

Before the show starts, let me make a few comments about the Super Bowl:

I'm happy for New Orleans, both the team and the city. It gives me hope that one day my Jaguars can make it to--and win--the big one.

Here's the problem with the Colts: They lack the killer instinct. They run their game plan very, very well, but like Tony Dungy before him, Jim Caldwell doesn't go for the throat. Maybe it's the Bill Polian influence, but the fact of the matter is that unlike the 18-1 Patriots of a few years ago, they don't put their foot on the throat of opponents and then press down. The Colts play soft and if not for a suspect Bears team a few years ago, they wouldn't have any championships.

If they want to become a dynasty, they need to start playing ruthless. Forget the bland persona they've become. They need to run up the score, crush their enemies, see them driven before them, and hear the lamentations of the women! Barring a complete change in persona, they'll keep winning divisions championships but won't get back the Lombardi Trophy.

Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson need to take out full page ads in USA Today and the New York Times apologising to the world for ruining the halftime show. Seriously . . . The Who? . . . Who? WTF?!?!?! Next to a Sunday sermon, that was the lamest 12 minutes of my life. Why can't they get Beyonce or Taylor Swift or someone . . . you know . . . under the age of 30?

Lame joke: When will the Eagles make it to the Super Bowl again?

Give up?

At halftime. (rim shot)

John Henson needs to call Sean Payton and give him a "Good night and big balls" for the on-side kick that opened the second half. Personally, if I were the head coach of a Super Bowl team, I'd open the game with an on-side kick, but Payton did the next best thing. As our friend Tuesday Morning Quarterback says, "The football gods favour the bold."

The best commercial of the night was the 15 second Dave/Oprah/Jay spot. Hi-freaking-larious.

Now on to the singing show . . .

Ellen makes her debut in the fourth seat and starts off being funny, which is good. There are rumours that Howard Stern might replace Simon, which is bad.

Howard Stern? Really? First of all, why do they need four judges? They already can't bring a show in on time. Leave the seat empty. Second, Howard Stern? If anyone should take that spot, it should be Gene Simmons. I think this is all a big publicity stunt, but all Stern has going for him is that he likes to hang out with porn stars . . . wait, is that really a bad thing? But having him on the show is.

One thing I can't understand about the Hollywood round is when one of the judges says, "You're just not a very good singer." You guys put them through, so shouldn't they be good?

That doesn't mean that one of them won't have a bad day or flub some lyrics, but aren't all of the 150 or so folks who make the Hollywood round able to sing? Sure some will be better than others, but everyone knows that there are really only two dozen people in the auditorium have even the remotest chance at winning.

After watching the montage of people who came up short, I think nerves are what got them cut, not lack of talent. Of course, if they can't stand the pressure of the Hollywood rounds, the bright lights of the big stage will crush them.

I don't think Mrs. High Lord knows Ugly Betty has been canceled, so don't tell her.

Another thing I've liked about the show tonight is that thirty minutes into the show, they've shown mostly singing. I'd have liked to have seen more of the singing, but I have a feeling there is a licensing issue with the music some of them chose. In years past, we've seen hotel hijinks, hook-ups and people playing in hottubs. I appreciate that they're concentrating on what the show is about: the tunes.

In other news, my elf hunter is up to level 31, but I keep getting my butt kicked in a couple of areas. If anyone wants to play LOTRO and be a guy who stands in front of me and absorbs damage while I most them down with my bow, drop me a line.

While the show is at a commercial, let's talk about sports next weekend.

First up are the Winter Olympics, which start Friday night in Vancouver. While I'm not really interested in the Olympics, it is the biggest sports event in the world (half a step behind is the World Cup) and each time around they get bigger and more expensive. Canada is not a third world country (like Argentina) and they're having trouble finding sponsorship for the games and massive cost overruns are making for a tense situation in our northern neighbours. It makes me wonder if the Olympics are are really worth hosting.

Second is the Daytona 500, the most important race in the world. Sure overseas there is more fandom for open wheel racing, but in terms of money and exposure, NASCAR is the premier auto racing league and Daytona is its biggest race. Now if they can only get Danica Patrick up to speed (so to speak).

It's too bad football is over, cuz other than cars turning left, I don't see myself watching too much else on TV.

With the show ending, I'm happy to have seen more singers and more singing. I guess tomorrow is the highlight of Hollywood, the group drama . . . er, group rounds. Then next week, we'll have one more round of individual singing and then the cut-down show before we go back to the (sucky) Top 24.

I'll try not to be bored with the show like I was last week.

High Lord. Out.