Wednesday, April 28, 2010

No more typing ALT-0225

Once again, let me reiterate my political platform.

1. You, the good people of the United States, will amend the Constitution so that persons where are not natural-born citizens can become president.

2. I will run for president and you will elect me to be your firm, but benevolent leader.

3. Using all of the legislative tools at my disposal, I will ramrod the following legislation through Congress: All reality show results shows will last no longer than 30 minutes, including commercial breaks.

4. I will sign that bill into law.

5. Immediately after the aforementioned law takes effect, I will abdicate office in favour of someone more qualified to be president.

There it is, my candidacy for presided under the banner of the Reasonable Results Show Time Limit Party.

Tonight's show featured a bottom 3 that was somewhat surprising: Casey, Mike, Siobhán.

That means that Aaron, Crystal, and Lee were safe. How 'bout this season as the season of the girls? I guess Randy really does know what he's talking about. ::eyeroll::

I can see how the five remaining singers are safe; some were handed a gazillion votes beginning in the audition rounds (Mike, Crystal, Casey). Aaron has been picking up votes from the recently-departed (Katie, Tim). Lee has been flying under the radar and might be one of the last standing as the other four knocked each other around (think Jasmine from season 3).

Siobhán's problem isn't a lack of talent, nor is it her song choice. It's that she has an odd (read: non-mainstream) style. As a result, people either really, really like her, or they really, really despise her. This meant she wasn't picking up new voters as the season has progressed. This is vital because--as we all know--American Idol isn't a talent competition, it's a popularity contest.

This makes picking up new voters imperative to staying on the show.

Mike and Aaron (plus to a lesser extent, Lee) have been doing this on a consistent basis by pandering for votes and sticking to the (small) comfort boxes the judges have carved out for them. Crystal and Casey may also find themselves in danger because they've stuck to their own creative instincts.

I think the voting trends are the singular reason why the winner hasn't generally gone on to great commercial success. While playing the game and winning show a base level of talent, it doesn't always mean that the powervoters are willing to buy hundreds of downloads/albums as they are willing to re-dial and re-text for four hours.

To me, Siobhán's screaming was annoying, but like some other singers in seasons past, I always wanted to know what she was going to do next.

What we're left with are five predictable singers who will each do what they do best. How will they finish?

A few weeks ago, I picked Casey to win, but I think Lee is making a quiet charge, Mike has benefited from massive face time and the scare that the save instilled in his followers and Aaron has been picking up votes left and right.

I'll have to cogitate for a while and re-order my top 5, but for now, I'll miss the originality that Siobhán brought to this season.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In to the home stretch

With six singers left, we've pretty much left all of the dead weight behind. Sure there are some people who probably shouldn't still be around (Aaron) while other singers left prematurely (Katie). Still, this crop isn't as bad as Idol's detractors would have you believe.

There's a nice article over at MSNBC which summarises what the rest of us know: Being the frontrunner at this point isn't always a good thing. Crystal is the prohibitive favourite at this point; if your options are her or the field, take her. That said, at this point in the show there have been others who we all thought were going to run away with this thing, only to see them ousted and another singer installed as the winner (Adam Lambert being the latest of these).

Look, right now each singer has a core of powervoters who will back their singer because Seacrest implores them to vote for their "favourite" (not the best). Each week, it's up to the remaining singers to grab as many of the most-recently voted off singer's powervoters. Whoever does this will win. If the fave can't, they'll go home (see Daughtry, Chris and Doolittle, Melinda).

I think if this were a pure talent competition, Crystal would be so far ahead of anyone else, they would call the show off and simply declare her the winner. Since it's not, I think it's very likely that she may have maxed out her voters (at least until Siobhán is eliminated). I just don't see any of the other singers's voters going to her.

Of course, that's great for her since she can then take control (financially and creatively) of her musical future.

While Seacrest yaps, let me geek out the blog for a minute. As you may or may not know, I've gotten in to Lord of the Rings Online, an MMORPG where you run around Middle Earth and try to thwart the plans of the Dark Lord Sauron. My main character is Kindelle, an elf hunter who is right now at level 63 (the level cap is 65). I just started out two other characters, a human captain and an elf minstrel. I figured that I should try a couple of different classes just to see what I like.

I'm also trying to figure out the right combination of legendary weapons; right now, I've got a reforged mace of the second age and a reforged bow of the second age with some legacies I'm not crazy about, but the bow is level 37 and the mace is level 34, so I hate to give them up before I start getting some level 65 weapon drops.

If there are any more LOTRO fans out there (besides our friend James), drop me a line if you're on Elendilmir. I just got to Mirkwood, so I need a tour guide.

This week's mentor is über-MILF Shania Twain, who is back for more Idol after making an appearance during the auditions. Three of the judges want to get into her pants. I guess in lieu of country we get a country/pop cross-over. The singers would be wise to listen to her advice (assuming she's on the show for more than the paycheck . . . cough . . . Gwen Stefani . . . cough . . .).

First up is Lee who is singing a song I'm not crazy about (probably because it was played on the radio seven times an hour back when it was just released). He does his usual Lee-with-a-guitar thing. Why don't the judges bash him for doing the same thing each week, like they do to Casey. I still don't completely buy Lee as a performer and this week he did nothing to improve my opinion of him. Boring. The judges slurp him ("One of the greatest songs of all time"? Really, Randy? WTF are you smoking?). This is his second appearance in the Dead Man's Spot but I don't think it will land him in the bottom 3.

Over on ABC, Melissa Etheridge also wants to get into Shania's pants. Maks is almost shirtless, which makes both Mrs. High Lord and our friend Jennifer jealous. If I were a woman, I'd go gay for Melissa. Plus, she can rock. I think Pam will be going home tonight; two consecutive weeks it the bottom two do not bode well. I find her annoying and Mrs. High Lord doesn't like the way she's always preening for the camera.

Next up is Big Mike, who has gone all John Mayer on us (without the incessant tweeting and kiss-and-tell about Jennifer Anniston). He's the guy with the guitar at the party who has all the girls around him (until Bluto smashes the guitar). I think Mike is overrated, but I can see why people are voting for him. I just don't know that if he wins, his voters will buy is singles/albums/downloads (ie-Ruben). His voice has a good tone, but I wish he'd stay away from ballads. And the false. Do they have so much extra time tonight that they can go to a fifth judge? Or is that just to hand Mike a couple hundred thousand extra votes?

I also wish the camera guy who has the tough job of watching Shania Twain all night could keep the camera still. Hey, get your other hand out of your pants!

Back on DWTS, the flamenco dancers are hawt.

Is it just me or is Len grumpier than usual? (The correct answer is "yes"). I know that's kind of his schtick (like it is for Simon and Piers on their shows), but the stick seems to be a little further up his bum than usual.

Wrapping up the first half of the show is Casey who is sitting on a stool and playing his guitar. [sarcastic voice=on]Way to change things up![/sarcastic voice]. He goes the ballad route instead of with the rockabilly routine. As much as I hate all the ballads they do on this show, I understand why many of the guys are doing them; it's hard to do a woman's songs that are as recognisable as Shania and come across as a believable guy. I didn't think it was bad, but it was good; at least better than Lee's bleating and Mike's sappy songs that his wife likes. Casey knows that as a vocalist, he's middle of the pack (at best) and has to cover it with a good performance and his good looks.

Mrs. High Lord has the remote and she just flipped to my second favourite Melissa Etheridge songs, "Come To My Window", which also features a barely-dressed Edyta (is there any other kind?). In case you're wondering (and I know you are), my favourite Melissa song is "I Want to Be in Love", the video for which features the always-yummy Jennifer Anniston.

Look, it's the first ad for SYTYCD. I know our friend Kristi is happy.

Next up is CBX. I like this song; it's one of Shania's early songs before they all started sounding overproduced. I like the faux-bluegrass sound of this arrangement; it's not for everyone, but it's different. I think right now, Crystal could whip out a flash-frozen salmon and slap everyone on the judges panel with it, and they'd still slurp her. She's just that good. This was my favourite performance of Crystal's, but it was still the best of the night so far.

Crystal's boyfriend is waiting until she makes more money before he pops the question.

Is this an hour of ballads or not? Aaron is also right in his comfort zone, which will please his tweenie fans, but makes me cringe. Is Kara going to tell him that she didn't believe his performance because he's too young to be in love? Like Lee, I thought it to be vapid and boring. Pitchy in spots, too. And he can't keep his eyes open. Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part, but I thought he was the worst of the night (so far).

This leaves Siobhán to pick up her second Pimp Spot in five weeks. In case you hadn't heard, she's now the pick for Vote For the Worst, which I clearly disagree with (it should be Aaron). They're running long because Seacrest is rushing. And Siobhán starts off flat. At least it's not a ballad. My great aunt Mathilda is wondering what happened to the throw pillows on her couch . . . Aunt Matty, Siobhán stole them! The song stars slow, but it picks up at the end, just in time for the screaming. I thought it was aiiiiiiiiight, but not worth the pimpage.

The Good
no one tonight

The Bad
Crystal, "No One Needs to Know"
Casey, "Don't"
Siobhán, "Any Man of Mine"
Mike, "It Only Hurts When I Breathe"
Lee, "Still the One"

The Ugly
Aaron, "You've Got a Way"

I wish they had gone with the broader theme of country rather than Shania Twain songs. I think the singers were undone by a very stylised singer that limited them creatively and vocally.

Who should be in the bottom 3: Aaron, Lee, Mike
Who will be in the bottom 3: Aaron, Casey, Lee

Who should be in the eliminated: Aaron
Who will be eliminated: Aaron

Casey is also in the mix, but I don't think he'll be eliminated. Since this was her weakest performance of the season, I think Crystal might also make a bottom 3 appearance, but this is about two weeks to early to predict a "shocker".

Over on DWTS, more dead weight was released as Jake got his walking papers. No shock there. Let me know when Nicole wins.

High Lord. Out.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The long and winding road

I know it's not Beatles night, but the two hour monstrosity that is Idol Gives Back is dragging. At least they're actually kicking someone off the show.

Plus, they're not going to George anyone (one of the classless stunts they pull every year).

I'm happy to see so many alums on the show and I could do without all of the other "talent".

So far, the bottom 3 are Aaron, Casey and Tim.

Crystal and Lee were declared safe early on (duh!), then Siobhán was sent to the couches. There was some manufactured drama about whether the third part of the bottom troika was Tim or Mike, but Big Mike's voters have been working overtime since he was brought back by way of the save. I think that will carry him until at least the Top 5.

Based on last night alone, Casey should probably be going home, but I don't think it will be him. My guess is for Aaron, but then again, he could also have picked up all of Katie's voters, which would leave Tim as the guy left standing.

Just for the record, let me remind you that I'm 3 for 3 when calling the bottom 3.

As we wait out the last 13+ minutes of the show, I'd like to brag a little bit about my new computer. It's a beast! Liquid-cooled, 9 GB of RAM, quad-core, SLI-capable glowing-red not-quite positronic madness.

On my laptop, LOTRO looks okay, but now I see things like water and fire and orcs at the edge of the map that I never saw before. If only it could level up my legendary weapons faster, too!

Mrs. High Lord is happy Kate got whacked from DWTS, although we both agree that there are some others we wouldn't have minded seeing eliminated before her. We both think that unless Nicole blows out her ACL or bites the head off a pigeon on stage, she's going to win.

In that way, by Nicole and Crystal are the classes of their respective shows. I was just hoping that things might get competitive, but it looks like both shows probably won't.

It's now 5 after 10 and they haven't kicked anyone off. I'm sure the people at the local Fox affiliate WVAH are steaming. Serves them right for all those years that they pre-empted Idol for meaningless UK basketball games.

Okay, it's 16 minutes after 10 and Idol is about to eliminated one of the guys. After a commercial break, of course.

Seacrest saves Aaron, which I think (hope) means Tim will finally get whacked, with not chance of being saved.

Because they've already run 22 minutes over, Seacrest doesn't draw things out too long, then give Tim the swift kick in the backside. Considering that he's been living on borrowed time, he's had a remarkably strong showing. Certainly better than Nikko Smith. After his good-bye video, he doesn't even get to sing.

Next week, I think it will be Aaron shown the door, then all bets are off.

I'm going to go see if I can get my hunter up to level 62.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How much more of Seacrest's yapping do we have to endure?

Every year, it's easy to bash Idol. It seems that there is always a group of people willing to say that the show has jumped the shark and this is the worst season ever.

I try to ignore most of it because the fact of the matter is that the show turns out a remarkably consistent (if predictable) product. This season, the detractors have much more ammunition: Paula left, Ellen came on board and Simon is leaving for greener (?) pastures.

That means next year, the only constants will be Randy and Seacrest. Guess which of them is the more expendable. MSNBC says the show has become all about Seacrest and that he's the problem.

I hardly disagree with either statement, as for the past several seasons, the show has seemed to hinge more on the judges's inane banter than the actual singing and that Seacrest runs his yap too much, unlike other hosts like Tom Bergeron who keep things moving and the emphasis on the talent.

Seacrest has become ubiquitous throughout media, hosting a TV show, his radio program and seeming to be everywhere at all times. I think he wants to be the next Dick Clark, only he's much more annoying and has a better stylist.

It used to be that Seacrest was the singers's friend; he was there to console them after a bad performance, he talked back to Simon when they were too scared to do so themselves, and he stood by to celebrate the good times. Now, he's part of the spectacle. He grills the singers and the judges. He talks too much, stifling the action, not providing a segue from one performance to the next.

I wish he'd either take a double dose of humility pills or just go away.

Lucky for us, Glee is back, which means Idol is only an hour. That's right, 10 minutes, 30 seconds of singing, 48½ minutes of Seacrest, the judges's yappage, product placement and advertising.

Before show starts, let me say that I'd like to see Kate go home tonight on DWTS, but I don't think we'll be that fortunate. At leasts she didn't cry during her pre-dance montage. I'm dismayed that DWTS has gone the Idol route an introduced themes; why can't the theme be the dances? A couple of weeks ago, it was "story" night and last night they had to interpret movies. WTF? Just dance a tango. Or quickstep. Or cha-cha.

Nicole returned to top-form, although grumpy Len denied her the perfect 30 she deserved. Everyone else is fighting for scraps, although I think Erin is coming on strong. Maybe Maks has learned a thing or two about choreography. It helps that Julianne and defending champ Kym aren't on this season and the other two-time champ (Cheryl) got stuck with a guy who has two left feet. I don't think they're going to win, but they could make a strong run at Evan and Anna for second place.

Casey gets the Dead Man's Spot and his "inspirational" song is some Fleetwood Mac. As with all of his performances, it's solidly in his comfort box. This song really needs to have the USC marching band. I'm not wowed, but it's not bad either. Randy calls him out and he's right. I'm not saying that he needs to show up with a sitar, but he's got to try a different tack every now and then.

Getting the random sit-down interview is Lee who no longer has the opportunity to make Danny Gokey babies with Andrew (at least until the tour starts). I don't know why I don't like him. Mrs. High Lord says it's because his eyes always look "sad" and that he's not a very exciting guy. I think he's better than I give him credit, but I can't remember a performance of his that I'd even think about paying money for. His version of "The Boxer" is too slow. The swaying is about to put me asleep. Like Casey, he's a big "meh" for me. Maybe he just needs to smile more.

Borrowed Time probably should have gone home last week, but no, he's still around to torture Mrs. High Lord. If Andrew Lloyd Webber were on again this year, he'd tell Tim the same thing he told The Arch: Open your eyes. I kind of like him tonight, although that could be more a reflection of the competition than how well he actually did.

I wonder about the theme and how deep the song book is this week. I just don't find many "inspirational" songs to be very up-tempo and exciting. Can't we all agree that the most inspirational song to be on the show is "A Moment Like This"?

The big beneficiary of GHA's ouster is Aaron who is trying on a child molester's song. This could either be good or a near biblical disaster (if you don't mind a little hyperbole). I'm leaning towards the latter. Did you know he's only 16? The song is too big for him, although it doesn't get as far out of control as I had feared. At least he's witty enough to make a pre-school graduation joke.

This afternoon, my new computer arrived. It's an Alienware computer I bought from Dell's outlet website.

Mrs. High Lord doesn't think she's going to see me for weeks.

Siobhán is breaking two-thirds of Idol's Cardinal Rule #1 (to the right). This is the first truly "inspirational" song of the night. Frankly, I preferred the Michelle Pfeiffer and Sally Dworsky version in the movie to the Whitney/Mariah radio recording. Siobhán does a perfectly serviceable job and doesn't resort to screaming in an uncontrolled way. The judges undeservedly pan her. The butterflies are a bit odd. Here's a better version.



Borrowed Time 2.0 (aka Big Mike) is rocking the white Members Only jacket, at least before he has to play the guitar. What happened to the days of a singer taking the stage by themselves? Why does everyone have a string section, back-up singers and a diggery doo? Mike is okay, although I don't think the judges should have saved him. This week, he's the best of the night (so far), although that's not saying a lot.

Switching places from last week (when she went first and Casey went last), CBX tries two new things: no instrument and a dress that shows off the girls (not a complaint about either). This makes her second Pimp Spot of the season, and she's the only singer of this crop that I would pay money to hear. This is #24 on the list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (as of 2004). This performance single-handedly destroyed the six remaining singers.

Last week, there was talk that she was thinking about withdrawing, but Seacrest talked her out of it, but now that might have been a hoax [sarcastic voice=on]Noooooooooooo!!!![/sarcastic voice]

The Good
Crystal, "People Get Ready"

The Bad
Mike, "Hero"
Tim, "Better Days"
Siobhán, "When You Believe"
Lee, "The Boxer"
Aaron, "I Believe I Can Fly"
Casey, "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow"

The Ugly
no one tonight

I think a lackluster performance could possibly land Casey in the bottom 3, although I don't think he'll be going home tomorrow night. In fact, I don't think anyone is going home tomorrow; if they follow past patterns, they'll save everyone tomorrow and then eliminate two people next week. After all, it's kind of crappy to kick someone off on "inspirational" song night. Plus, it will give more people a reason to tune in next week.

By the way, my hunter is up to level 61. Once I get to the level cap (65), I'm going to do a bunch of reputation quests and then start leveling up my captain (currently level 11).

There were some singers who weren't great and probably deserved to be grouped into "The Ugly", but I'm feeling unusually magnanimous tonight. Just don't let me watch the recording of the show, or I'll probably downgrade about four of the singers. At this point in the season, I think most of the awful singers are gone, but that doesn't mean that everyone is good.

Who should be in the bottom 3: Aaron, Casey, Lee
Who will be in the bottom 3: Aaron, Casey, Tim

Who should go home: Tim
Who will go home: Aaron

Tomorrow is Idol's big self-important show. Surprisingly, this is the first time this season that Idol has gone long. I'm going to go finish formatting my new computer.

High Lord. Out.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What happened to this being the girls's year?

Wasn't that the proclamation of Randy and/or Kara at the beginning of this season?

For a field of girls that was supposedly stronger than the guys, you wouldn't know it by looking at the people left standing right now. Partially to blame is the Top 24 format that guarantees gender-equity in the Top 12 rather than the (vastly superior) Wild Card rounds.

Another factor at work is that I think tweenie girls--whose unlimited texting plans drive the Idol voting--tend to vote for guys, hence the triumphs of David Cook and Kris Allen the last two years. Yes, I know Jordin won before them, but it's only been in the last couple of years that I think text voting has eclipsed phone voting (and has made DialIdol irrelevant).

With the judges using their save on Big Mike, it was Andrew and (surprise!) Katie left standing when the music stopped.

Andrew's elimination was expected by everyone except his mother. I appreciate that Seacrest didn't mess around with him and just gave him the bad news straight up (as they say). I'm also very relieved that TPTB haven't pulled the classless Judd Harris move since season 4.

I wasn't shocked, but I thought Katie was going to last a few more weeks rather than get kicked off tonight. That she was in the bottom 3 two weeks in a row should have been a hint that she didn't have a large following, but I don't think she was splitting votes with any other singer. In her, I'm relieved that Idol didn't break her as it has done to other 17 year old kids.

It is my ultimate belief that both Katie and Andrew were undone by the judges, specifically Kara. They want to put singers in nice little boxes and not let them out. You heard it last night as they were giving their "feedback" to Siobhán. All four of the judges, Simon and Kara in particular, start off with a preconceived notion of what each singer should sound like in a given theme and is disappointed when they try something new.

Siobhán had the best line when she said something to the effect of, "I don't try to limit myself to a category, I just like to sing."

Way to give Kara the big eff-off in front of 30 million people!

The judges (and by extension the audience) would not let Andrew get away from "Straight Up" in Hollywood. Mixed messages didn't help. When he tried something new, they were disappointed, and when he tried the same thing, they said he wasn't expanding his horizons. They did the same thing to Katie and in the end, it hurt them both.

At the same time, neither did themselves any favours with some of the song selection. Andrew in particular was running scared for the last three weeks instead of just pulling a Siobhán and going out there to sing.

Make no mistake, neither Andrew nor Katie ever had a real chance at winning. However, they should have outlasted some of the people who are still around (Tim and Aaron, I'm talking to you!). I think both will come out of this in good shape. Andrew, like Paige, might do better now that the pressure of Idol is off of him.

After she finishes high school (and go to prom without a date since obviously no one texted/called enough to keep her around), Katie might have a bright future in the business. She just needs to make sure that she doesn't take any advice from Kara.

Next week is the big Idol self-congratulatory help-the-world event, followed by someone being Georged.

Then we'll get down to business and find out who is going to win this thing.

I'm going to either watch V on the DVR or a Bourne movie on TNT.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Save me! Please!

As I've mentioned before, this season of Idol and DWTS has been mostly uninspiring for me. I find the talent to be sub-par, the false drama more contrived than usual and the focus of the show has been taken away from the singers and focused more on the host and judges. Let's hope the show either gets back to its roots or dies a quick death.

I read an interesting piece on the judges save which said that the cost of saving Big Mike might be high. Of course it's high; everyone is in danger once again. And that's the way the show should be.

Each season, there is someone who is voted off seemingly before their time. Whether it was J-Hud, LaToya London or Chris Daughtry, the show at least had some danger to it. When one of the faves landed in the bottom 3, it only motivated their powervoters to work over time the next week. The save eliminated that, at least temporarily.

To me, Mike's loss to the show would not have been catastrophic. Let's face it: he's not going to win. But he's received a massive amount of face time and carried the early mantle of TCO. His style is too narrow and "America" has shown a reticence to brown people winning of late. He has a tremendously loyal bloc of fans (due in large part to the face time), yet I don't think he's picking up new voters (hence last week's elimination). Vocally he's in the aiiiiiiight category and doesn't show a lot of range.

Still, the judges had no choice but to save him. He's too valuable to the show to let go this early.

Speaking of casting, I think that's part of the reason why I'm tiring of the show. It seems that when the top 24/36 is picked, they're not really picking the best vocalists (like they used to). Rather, they're picking types: black girl with a big voice. Wide-eyed teenage boy. Cute blonde girl. "Rocker" guy. This season seemed to have a couple of everybody, and as a result, the crop was mostly mediocre.

Idol seems to have forgotten that its stated mission is to find the next popular music star. Not a rocker. Not a balladeer. Not a Janis Joplin wannabe. Not a country artist.

Pop star. Like Kelly Clarkson was.

In picking types and forcing the singers into themes that are ill-suited to modern radio (big band week, anyone?), they're ensuring the winner might do a bunch of different things well, but doesn't excel at any of them. It is any wonder then that so many of the Idols have essentially disappeared from mainstream radio?

To remedy this, I propose the following:

1. Limit the banter of the judges to actual constructive criticism.

2. Do away with the themes and guest artists who just want to shill their latest album.

3. More singing, less filler. That means all of the singing shows are no more than 90 minutes and all of the results shows stop after half an hour.

4. Replace Seacrest with a host who isn't so narcissistic that he/she thinks the show is all about them.

5. Open up the checkbook and make a rule that no songs will be used that were first released before 2000 (ten years ago).

This will make the singers current, it will maximise their exposure and it will do away with the silliness that has enveloped the show and made it less about the talent and more about selling commercials, product placement and other ancillary brands.

Of course, this will never happen, but we can dream, right?

Last week's theme was the Beatles and this week it's Elvis. Great, two artists who haven't had a live hit in 40 and 33 years respectively. Yeah, Idol, that's a way to stay modern.

Before anyone forgets, let me remind you that Elvis week was when Chris Daughtry got eliminated in one of the genuine "shockers" (which I will also remind you, I correctly predicted).

Two people are going home this week, and I can only hope that this is the week Aaron and Tim get sent packing.

I'm watching the show no-filler, which means that it's 8:23 and I've hit the pause button on the DVR. Idol was originally scheduled for 1 hour with Glee on at 9:00, but with the save, they couldn't eliminate 90 seconds of filler to accommodate the extra performance, so they added 30 minutes to the entire show. Yech.

The "mentor" this week is last season's runner-up, Adam Lambert. Katie needs to be reminded that he doesn't like girls.

Leading off the show is CBX, who is one of the others the judges would have saved. I don't think she's in danger, but who knows? She goes deep into the Elvis songbook for a nice, Bonnie Raitt-ish rendition of "Saved". I'd pay money to see her in concert. I'm not a big fan of blues or roadhouse music, but as usual, Crystal turns in a good solid performance that should have been saved for last. Was that Sheryl Crow in the "friends and family" seats? My only nitpick for Crystal is that she need some dental work done.

Next up is Neck Tattoo, whom the judges would not have used the save. He changes the arrangement and slows it down a little. I'm not a fan of this song, but I like that Andrew is trying something new with it. It doesn't really work for me. Simon told Crystal the liked that she didn't pick an "obvious" Elvis song and that she didn't just do a karaoke version. Andrew does both. I think he's fallen into the same trap that Paige did. About two weeks ago, she was on Letterman sitting in the with the band and she sounded good. It was as if the weight of the world was lifted from her shoulder and she was free to sing. Andrew still has that feel. I think he's scared and going too safe. It doesn't help him that the judges (and as a result the audience) won't let go of "Straight Up". It wasn't as bad as Randy, Kara and Simon said, but nor was it great.

I like Andrew's mom more than Seacrest's. The girl sitting next to Mama Seacrest is smokin' hawt, though.

Mrs. High Lord is willing to pay a large sum of money for Tim to be eliminated tomorrow. This is another "obvious" Elvis song and it's not as bad as I thought it was going to be. He does a good job in pandering to the tweenie voters who are keeping him around. Who was Seacrest dancing with? And WTF is up with the false? It doesn't work for him. He should have taken Adam's advice on the ending. Mrs. High Lord says that the judges are all praising him because they're drinking the kool aid and realise that the only way to get him kicked off is to go the reverse psychology route.

The article I linked to above thinks that Lee has a shot a winning, but I don't. I don't understand why he's still around. He's singing the song that got Daughtry eliminated. I don't think his voice is a good as everyone else and I find him to be boring and flat. I simply don't think he has the charisma to be the "American Idol". That said, he turns in a respectable, if a little forgettable, performance.

Aaron, in case you didn't know, is only 16 years old and he makes Adam feel dirty. This is another bad karaoke version. He should have dressed up like the King because he comes off as a bad (underage) Elvis impersonator. I practically have to beg Mrs. High Lord to FF through the performance.

It seems that Mrs. High Lord and I are watching a different show than the three judges to the right of Simon.

We still haven't caught up with the show in real time, which is good. Siobhán is next and I can only wonder if the shrieking will return (I hope not). Someone call the Idol stylist and tell them that Siobhán should not be allowed to dress like Sheena Easton any more. I know the Idols were in Vegas, but that doesn't mean they had to stop by the Las Vegas Hilton to raid the wardrobe. It's too slow, but the vocals are very good, at least until the inevitable shouting at the end. The judges like the shouting, but I don't. I just want to hear her sing, which is good when she's not going over the top. I like that Siobhán says that she just loves to sing, which is what the show needs, not Kara trying to fit everyone into her convenient little boxes.

Kara's mouth is moving, but I can't understand the words she's saying. They're nonsensical and inane. I wish we could vote her off.

Seacrest's Dunkleman joke was just plain bad.

Like Tim, Big Mike is now officially on borrowed time. The arrangement is too slow, but at least it's not a straight cover. His pained, gospel-singer faces need to go. As does the false. Someone wake me when it's over. At least he doesn't end with a big money note.

After the best performance of last week, GHA once again makes my friend Mike (and Ellen) feel dirty by looking at her. I think she has finally realised that there is no point in playing things safe and has decided to go all-in every week. The two trips to the bottom 2 seem to have lit a fired under her and I like it. She's neither the most talented performer, nor the best entertainer, nor the best vocalist, but I think she really wants to win.

Over on ABC, Edyta and Aiden were whacked from DWTS. Mrs. High Lord can't stand Edyta because she makes the dances about her, not the celeb, which is the strong suit of Derek, Julianne and Cheryl. I thought Jake or Kate would get the axe this week, but I can't complain about Aiden's ouster. Since everyone knows that the show is Derek & Nicole's to lose, the order of elimination is the only thing in question, and that makes for a boring show.

Mrs. High Lord and I have finally caught up with the show live, just in time for Casey, who gets his first Pimp Spot of the season. As with all of his other performances, he doesn't venture out of his box, which plays well to his fans, but I don't think will be getting him any new voters. Like Crystal, I think he knows exactly what kind of performer he is and is using the show as a personal audition for his big payday after the tour rather than actually trying to win.

The Good
Crystal, "Saved"

The Bad
Casey, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy"
Lee, "A Little Less Conversation"
Katie, "Baby, What Do You Want Me to Do?"
Siobhán, "Suspicious Minds"
Andrew, "Hound Dog"
Mike, "In the Ghetto"

The Ugly
Tim, "Can't Help Falling in Love"
Aaron, "Blue Suede Shoes"

As usual, Crystal turns in the best performance of the night, something that shouldn't surprise us. Mrs. High Lord wants some combination of Aaron, Andrew, Lee and Tim eliminated, but I told her that won't happen any sooner than 3 weeks from now.

Who should be in the bottom 3: Aaron, Mike, Tim
Who will be in the bottom 3: Aaron, Andrew, Tim

Who should go home: Aaron, Tim
Who will go home: Andrew, Aaron

The girls are going to be safe for another three weeks or so. Until then, it's the guys who will be splitting votes and getting elminated.

Tomorrow, I think I'm going to be running the Grand Staircase with some buddies, so if you're on Elendilmir, look me up (Kindelle, level 59 elf hunter, almost level 60). I'll be watching the show so check back after the eliminations.

High Lord. Out.

EDIT: I forgot that two people were being eliminated, so I added a second person to the should/will go home lists. I think Tim will outlast Aaron with the tweenie voters, but I also think it's a given that Andrew will be on the chopping block.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Judges's Save rears its ugly head

Okay, so here's the quick recap of tonight's show:
  • All the girls are safe.

  • Casey, Lee and Tim are not the bottom 3.

  • Aaron, Andrew and Mike are.

  • Big Mike was the lowest vote-getter. That was a surprise.

  • The judges used their save on him (unanimously). That was not a surprise.
As much as I hate the save, I think everyone and their brother knew that the judges would save Mike. The others they might have used it on this season are Crystal, Casey and maybe Siobhán.

Did "America" get the vote right this week? Of course not. Tim and Aaron were both safe, which was a travesty. I think they, along with Andrew and Lee, should probably be eliminated ahead of Mike. The other thing this does is supremely motivates his powervoters to work overtime so this doesn't happen again.

Do I think Mike is going to win? Probably not. He's loveable (big teddy bear) like Rueben, only he doesn't have Mr. 205's big voice. And "America" has proven this season that we hate brown people. That's why I think Andrew will get whacked ahead of Tim and Aaron.

In other news, I had to mute the TV while Archuleta was on because I can't stand the sound of him breathing. Or his stupid frakking giggle.

These hour-long results shows are killing me. I wish they'd go back to the half-hour format instead of bombarding us with filler. I did get half of a book read, though.

With the judges invoking their save (which I might remind you, Hitler hates, too), that means two people are going to get whacked next week. My money is on Tim, Aaron and possibly Katie, because I think their fanbases seem to be the weakest.

Mrs. High Lord is happy they saved Mike, and if it should have been used on anyone, the big guy is not a bad candidate. I just wonder if we're ready for a double elimination next week.

Anyhoo . . . I'm off to try and get my hunter up to level 59.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Yawn

Yup, that was me. Both DWTS and Idol are turning out to be snoozers this season. I don't know what's wrong with both shows, but the lack of competition is affecting viewership.

For DWTS, the competition is clearly Nicole's to lose. Everyone else is fighting for scraps. I think Derek is purposely ticking off Len (is he being told to by TPTB?) just to make it look like he and Nicole aren't running away with the thing.

As always, there are celebs on the show who are just taking up space, but this "season" there just seem to be more of them. Kate, Aiden and Jake are not good. Buzz is simply awful; in years past, the "sentimental favourite" has at least had a little bit of talent. I'm not anti-Buzz, but there's no way an 80 year old guy should be on a dancing show.

Erin, Chad, Niecy and Pam are the third tier, but none of them realistically has a chance at winning. The sole occupant of the second tier is Evan, and even he is three steps behind Nicole. Although the ratings don't show it, DWTS is pretty much set. Only the order in which people lose to Nicole is in question.

Have I mentioned that I don't like grumpy Len?

As far as Idol goes, there simply isn't a lot of talent on the show. The middle of the pack is good, but not great. The top of the heap is occupied by a couple of clear front-runners. The only saving grace is a couple of wild cards who could make a late charge if Crystal doesn't slam the door on them.

In other news, how 'bout that basketball game last night? I'm not a basketball fan (short Asian man), but I appreciate competition. It strikes me as odd that the NCAA goes to great length to promote mid-majors in the basketball tournament (Butler, George Mason, Gonzaga), but denies them a chance to play for the big on in football. I also find it odd that they're looking to expand the basketball tournament from 65 teams to 96 solely for the sake of a larger TV contract, but won't scrap the bowl system for a playoff.

If I were going to sue the NCAA/BCS, this would be the first thing I brought up. After all, if a little bit of Cinderella magic is good for basketball, it can only be great for football, right?

(The correct answer is "yes", by the way)

The theme for tonight is the Lennon/McCartney songbook, which has seen some of the best performances to be on Idol (Brooke's "Let It Be") and some of the worst (KLC's "Eight Days a Week"). There are 9 singers left and no "Stacked" to follow the show, which means that there will be 13½ minutes of singing and 106½ minutes of filler.

Sir Paul appears in the opening montage; I guess he was too busy to stop by and be an actual mentor.

More filler.

Yawn. Again.

Aaron leads off the show in the Dead Man's Spot. Does he even know who John Lennon was? The other singers call him "Yoda"? WTF? He's not 900 years old, short and green. I heard he is going to sing "The Long and Winding Road" and preemptively went to sleep. Vocally it's okay, but if you're going to go first, do it with a good song ("Hello, Good-bye") not with something that you'd hear in an elevator. In case you haven't noticed, I'm not a fan. The performance was adequate, but safe and boring. It might land him in the bottom 3.

Are they going in reverse age order?

Going second is GHA who is trying to settle on a prom date. Her pandering for votes is actually funny. She's the little sister of the group. Duh. She picked Brooke's song which could be good. Or it could be awful. There's not much in between. She doesn't mess too much with the arrangement, which is good. She hits most of the notes, which is also good. It's also very, very slow, which is bad. I think she'll get good reviews. I like that she didn't mess with the song, but also didn't sound just like a straight cover. It seems that she took Simon's advice straight up.

I really dislike the backstage interviews. I can't wait until next week when the show cuts down to an hour.

Wrapping up the first third of the show is Neck Tattoo. Was he wearing a Snuggie? He's going for the unintentional pompadour, only less well than Adam. It's not great, but it's better than I expected. He sounds the same every week, which like Crystal, is a good thing. He needs to shave. Where's his mom? Randy calls it corny, which is spot on, because the song is corny to begin with. He also calls it "pop"; isn't that the point of this show? Kara is a stick in the mud.

Big Mike bats clean-up tonight. As usual, he starts out in "the false" but then settles down. This is one of my least favourite Beatles songs, but he's pretty good. This doesn't make me like the song any more, but I like the strings on stage. I also like that he avoids over-singing when the song gets big. He has good vocal control, which only makes me dread the upcoming Siobhán screech.

In retrospect, after hearing almost half of the singers, I'm elevating Katie to "The Good" for the night.

Over on ABC, it's elimination time. My money is on Kate to get whacked. Buzz is clearly the worst dancer, but only people who hate national heroes would vote against the second guy to walk on the moon.

Jake & Chelsea, Kate & Tony, Buzz & Ashly are all in danger. Any of these three couples could be eliminated and I'd be happy. Buzz & Ashly are put into the bottom 2. So are Jake & Chelsea. That means Kate & Tony are safe. (Boo!!!!)

Tom eschews a commercial break and immediately sends Buzz & Ashly home. I think everyone saw this coming. If not this week, then next.

Marking the halfway point of the show is CBX and her dreads. We're reminding that she's a single mom who has taken the rest of the singers under her wing. Awwwwwww. Last week, she left the black outfit behind, and went red (good). This week, she goes back to black and jeans (bad). I don't know that I'd have picked this song if I were her. She rocks it as usual, and that marks her as the most consistent performer of the season. Crystal reminds me a lot of Bo (in the good way). It only makes me wonder how amazing he and Chris Daughtry would have been had they been allowed to play their instruments. She does flub the lyrics (which no one calls her on), but recovers nicely. It wasn't my favourite of her performances, but it was solid and she'll coast into next week.

It's 9:14 and I can't believe they're going to string out the final four singers into 46 minutes. Blech. If this keeps up, I'm going to watch the show no-filler from her on out.

Mrs. High Lord sayd Borrowed Time still needs a haircut. I think he needs to go home. I wonder if he has a Matt Giraud-like third eye on his forehead, which is why he has that goofy haircut; at least it's appropriate for the Mopheads. Like a lot of the early Beatles stuff, this song has the boy-band pop sound that was prevalent in the early 60s. Tim doesn't do much with the song. His legions of fans will powervote for him, but I wish they wouldn't. This week, he wasn't awful (for a change) but he wasn't good, either.

It always interests me when they go to the Beatles songbook. Do the singers pick songs from the early years that are more pop or do they go to the more experimental work or the later, more introspective songs?

Angel and the girl from Bones are on to promote their own show. And look! There's Lacey!

We're two thirds of the way through the field and Casey is wearing a nice white suit. Like Andrew, he needs to shave. I wonder if they can put any less product in his hair. He's got a guitar, but the twist is that it's an acoustic guitar. He goes deep into the Lennon songbook, which means that he can't be criticised for butchering a well-known Beatles tune. I'll bet Simon calls it indulgent. Casey is never the best vocalist, but like Crystal, he turns in a consistent performance every week and sounds the same (in the good way).

I hope Siobhán can recover from a disastrous performance last week because I really like her (when she's not screeching). I hope she just sings this week because as Simon said last week, the scream has just gotten boring. The other singers think she's weird, which shouldn't surprise us; she's a glassblowing apprentice, after all. She follows in the footsteps of Michael Johns and I'm hopeful that we won't have to endure a scream. At the beginning, she's drowned out by the piano (or is it just the dishwasher that Mrs. High Lord started a few minutes ago?). She reaches for a few notes at the end, but keeps it under control, which is refreshing. There were a few pitch problems, but overall, it was an "unexpected" performance, and that is a good thing.

Randy and Ellen say largely complimentary things; Kara wants to put Siobhán in a nice, convenient box and just needs to shut up.

Taking his second Pimp Spot of the season is Lee. He doesn't mess with the song too much, although I wonder if he can top himself from last week. This is one of those Beatles songs that I don't understand, but hey, lots of people like it. I thought it was a big aiiiiiiiiight. Full disclosure: I'm not a Lee fan; it's not that I dislike him, but I just don't see his charm, either. I'm also wondering where the hell the guy with the bagpipes came from. Did you know that you can learn to play the bagpipes in LOTRO? That and the Moor Cowbell. Too bad I've got a hunter that can only learn the clarinet and the lute.

The Good
Katie, "Let It Be"

The Bad
Crystal, "Come Together"
Casey, "Jealous Guy"
Siobhán, "Across the Universe"
Andrew, "Can't Buy Me Love"
Mike, "Eleanor Rigby"
Lee, "Hey Jude"
Aaron, "The Long and Winding Road"
Tim, "All My Loving"

The Ugly

That's my recap. Surprisingly the best of the night was Katie, although Crystal and Casey were close.

Who should be in the bottom 3: Aaron, Lee, Tim
Who will be in the bottom 3: Aaron, Andrew, Tim

Who should go home: Tim
Who will go home: Tim

Tim just needs to go. That's all there is to it. Just send Tim home. Please, "America", I'm begging you . . .

Tomorrow, I'll be watching the show as usual, but not blogging until the end.

Until then, if you're the praying type, please pray for the people of the great state of West Virginia, who have to deal with another mine tragedy. This one happened not to far from where Mrs. High Lord grew up, and she comes from a coal-mining family, so this is a little too close to home.

High Lord. Out.