Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I hate Fox

Yeah, I said it.


All year, Fox has Idol on Wednesday and Thursday, but for some reason, they moved the singing show to Tuesday for the finale performance show. Do they really want to mess with DWTS that much? What the eff?

Since I'm on vacation, I didn't get to see the show, but I'll bet it was just like Nashville Star, only with a bigger budget. I'll just have to watch it no-filler style on the DVR.

Have I mentioned that I hate Fox?

High Lord. Slayer of the White-Gloved Mouse. Out.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The short version

Since I'm protesting the length of "competition" shows, tonight you guys are getting the short recap as I watch the show no-filler style and pack for my vacation at the same time.

Last week, my results recap got scrubbed by the Blogger outage, so here's what I think about James's elimination: it's about damn time! I thought he was going to go home a week or two ago. I don't have anything against him personally, but I just didn't understand who was voting for this guy. His elimination surprised some people, but definitely wasn't a Daughtry-level shock. I think James's problem is that he wasn't picking up new voters and people were tired of him shrieking glory notes every week.

On to the show:

First up: Scotty with more country music. It's a good choice, if a very, very safe. Beyonce is effing hawt. I liked it, even though it wasn't anything we hadn't already seen.

Lauren also sings . . . wait for it . . . country! Like Scotty, I think she's sandbagging. After all, the two of them only have to outlive Haley's inevitable implosion and then this will be "Country Idol"

Next up is Haley, who I think right now will go home tomorrow because I think the country juggernaut is rolling over everyone. Of course, she's hung around this long despite repeated flirtation with the Bottom 3. Has a Zepplin song ever been on this show? So far this is the best of the night, if only because it wasn't a "safe" song selection.

Taking over for Clive Davis is Jimmy as the spinner of the Wheel of Death™.

Jimmy goes easy on Scotty and picks . . . wait for it . . . more country. It's also good, but not great. I wonder if Randy is going to criticise Scotty for poor song choice like he did to K-Mac on this same night.

Lauren gets more country from Jimmy, and it's not great either, but it's still good enough. Don't get me wrong; I like country music, but they have their own show. This show is supposed to pick the next great pop star, but it's done a remarkably poor job of it.

For Haley, Jimmy picks some Fleetwood Mac, which may signal her impending upset of one of the other two TCOs. I think she's made a strong charge towards the end of the series and could sneak into next week's finale.

The third round is the judges's pick and they also go all-country, all-the-time for Scotty. He has been the most consistent performer of the season and people either love him or they despise him. If he's eliminated, it's because all of James's voters went to Haley.

They softball Lauren, too, but I guess that's kind of their job. She's wearing a different prom dress this week. I don't dislike the performance, but I dislike this song. I give it a big aiiiiiiight. Randy, of course, has to name-drop.

The show is running short on time, but they still show Haley getting her AT&T text that she's singing the Dave Coulier song. Did you know that this was my psycho ex-girlfriend's favourite song. I guess that should have been a tip-off. I didn't think this was pimp-spot worthy, but at least it wasn't country.

The Good
Haley, "What Is and What Should Never Be"

The Bad
Haley, "Rhiannon"
Scotty, "Are You Going to Kiss Me Or Not?"
Haley, "You Oughta Know"
Lauren, "I Hope You Dance"
Scotty, "If She Believes In Me"
Scotty, "Amazed"
Lauren, "She's a Wild One"
Lauren, "If I Die Young"

The Ugly

Of the three, I think Haley will probably be going home. However, if she picked up all of James's voters, the person going home will be Lauren. Scotty has simply been handed too many votes to be eliminated.

Who should go home: Lauren
Who will go home: Haley.

Tomorrow, we'll hope that Blogger doesn't crap out on me again.

High Lord. Defender of Bree-land. Out.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What's wrong with Idol? What's wrong with me?

Every year, people (myself included) invariably complain about Idol. Whether it's our favourite singer getting dumped or the voting not working out the way we like or even the crappy mentors they bring on the show. It always seems that somethings "wrong".

So what is it this year?

The judges are nicer than they've been, which is something I've been wanting every since Simon stopped offering refreshingly honest critiques and started phoning it in.

They've largely done away with the theme weeks that introduced an artist who is there solely to push their latest project.

So why am I less enthused about this year's crop of singers than I have been for a while?

I think part of it is that the show has become bland and predictable, just like DWTS. The singers are self-aware and rather than trying to win, they mostly try to be inoffensive. Despite the promises of a singing "competition", which I truly believe Idol was for about two seasons, it has become a blatant popularity contest, which is ruled by the texting powers of 12 year old girls.

Before I pile on Idol, let's talk about what they've done right:

The new judges panel is generally credible and has moved away from the caustic, attention-whoring quartet that occupied those seats before. I wish Ellen had stuck around because I think she would have fit in much better with J-Lo and Steven and she did when Simon was still on the panel. It seems that they show is trying to be more about the singers than entertaining Simon Cowell or providing a forum for he and Paula to "quarrel". Returning to the 3 person table dropped two points off the Meter O'Suckitude™.

The quality of the singing is generally better. Each year, I say it, and each year it's usually true: the field keeps getting deeper. The 10th singer would have been about 5th back in season 3. That's not to say the winner this year is necessarily better than say Kelly, Carrie or Rueben, but that the overall level of quality of the singers is higher.

The emphasis of the show is back on the music. For about four years, the show seemed to be more about the spectacle and less about the songs. I think this year, with Nigel returning as producer, the emphasis is back on the singers and the stage.

Of course, the show still has its problems, most of which should be very familiar to my eight faithful readers (plus my mom). I'll get to some of those later on.

For tonight's show, each of the kids is singing two songs, one which inspires them and the other from the Leiber and Stoller songbook.

Leading off is T/AG who is going to take a song with way too many glory notes and add some more. Maybe because this song seems to have received a lot of extra airplay lately, James comes off as more cheesy then inspirational. Plus, he was sharp for most of it. Have I mentioned that one of my roommates from college looked just like Journey's new lead singer, Arnel Pineda? In fact, I don't think I've ever seen Arnel and Blobbo in the same room . . . hmmmmmmmmm . . .

Haley is inspired by Michael Jackson and wouldn't you know it; it's not "Man in the Mirror"! Yay! That gets her points right there. Did they sack Jimmy because he gave such crappy advice to Haley and Jacob last week? I'm no Haley fan because her voice annoys me. Why does she get swaying back up singers sitting on the steps? J-Lo chastises her for crappy song selection. Randy follows along because she doesn't fit into the little box he wants to put her in. I didn't like it. I didn't hate it. Meh.

Can you believe Fox canceled "Breaking In"? WTF? The show was just getting good. Plus, it had plenty of nerd humour (last week's episode was centered around Comic Con). I hate that Fox will pull the plug on a good show after five episode just because it doesn't shoot out of the gate with as high a number as they'd like, but then they'll just replace it with something just as crappy, when maybe the first show would have done better if the word-of-mouth got around. Look at a show like The Big Bang Theory, which is probably the funniest sit-com on the air right now: if the Fox suits had followed their usual MO, it would have gone away after four weeks. If I were pitching a show, there's no way I'd ever take it to Fox because they'd cancel it without giving it a chance (Firefly, Fastlane, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, etc.).

OTP Scotty is next, and I'll bet he's inspired by a country song. His fiddle player is smokin' hawt. And he's singing about 9/11, in what I cynically believe to be a blatant move expressly designed to pander for votes. Whoever was in charge of lighting him needs to be fired. As a performance, it's actually pretty good. It's not a stretch for him vocally, but it plays to his strengths and lets him do what he does best. I think at this point, he would have to attack Lauren with a five pound sledgehammer on stage to not make it to the finale. Also, because he was sitting down and playing the guitar, we don't have to watch him hold the microphone like a burrito.

I can't believe that Ralph didn't get eliminated from DWTS last night. Obviously, there are way too many people voting for him. Let's just hope he doesn't do irreparable harm to his leg next week.

Landing in the Pimp Spot this week is Lauren, who is making up for missing prom by wearing a dress that probably cost more than Mrs. High Lord's wedding dress. I wish they'd bring Martina back to be the mentor again; she was one of the better ones. Where Scotty sounds the same every week, Lauren runs the gamut of country music and I like that. I think she's probably the best pure vocalist left, and I think there's a good chance that she could sneak into the finale. However, I think the judges are spot on when they say that she's holds herself back sometimes.

I think I'm developing a Pavlovian urge to punch someone every time Randy says "in it to win it."

The second round starts and Lady Gaga drops by to help the singers out. I watched her concert the other night on HBO and it wasn't half bad. Sure, she's very reminiscent of Madonna from back in the day, but I like that she seems to have Madonna's same single-minded dedication to success, rather than being all about the party, which is what some pop stars are about.

They do a shake up of the order and Haley is next. She's also dressed for prom, even though she's too old. She's very shouty, but that's her thing. It's much better than her first song. The performance part of it is also much better, but I think she's fighting against the current at this point in the season.

Scotty is up next and I don't know if he can be Gagafied. I think he'd probably be a funny guy after about four beers. The burrito is back, but I like that he's not afraid to embrace the Velveeta of the song he picked. I think this is him sandbagging.

If these are the songs of Leiber and Stoller, why are Gaga and Jimmy the mentors?

Lauren is next, meaning they're giving James the real Pimp Spot. She traded her prom dress for sparklies in her hair. She goes Elvis on us, and I think it's a good move. I like that Scotty and Lauren both are trying something other than easy ballad.

Wrapping up the show is T/AG and I'm sure he'll be shouting his way all the way into the finale. Have you figured out that he annoys me? Jimmy annoys me, too, just not as much. I think part of my problem with James is that like Scotty, he sounds basically the same every time he sings, and while that isn't necessarily bad, I just like Scotty better. It also doesn't help that he comes off as a less talented, derivative, not gay Adam Lambert wannabe. He's an energetic performer, but I'm not sure he deserves to be the American Idol. Of course, it would absolutely make the Vote for the Worst crowd's day if he won.

The Good
Lauren, "Do It Anyway"

The Bad
Scotty, "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning"
Lauren, "Trouble"
Haley, "I, Who Have Nothing"
James, "Love Potion #9"
Scotty, "Young Blood"
James, "Don't Stop Believing"
Haley, "Earth Song"

The Ugly

At this point, I think Scotty and James are shoo-ins to get to next week. Lauren will probably also make it because she had a strong night. I think Haley, will be eliminated tomorrow night, and that's probably the right call. Of course, we could also be in for a Daughtery-level shocker, too.

Let's assume for a second that James, Lauren and Scotty are next week's singers. Who will move on? James and Scotty were both handed a gazillion votes in the audition and Hollywood rounds with the massive face time they got. But are they picking up new voters? I don't think so.

I did an unofficial poll at my place of employment and no one there really likes either of the two guys who are left. They're kept around right now solely due to the power of 12 year old girls. I think Jacob and Casey's voters are going to Haley and Lauren.

That means that Lauren could be the silent assassin who sneaks into the finale, especially if she gets almost all of Haley's voters after tomorrow. I guess speculating about stuff like this is the fun of the show with four singers left.

Who should go home: Haley
Who will go home: Haley

I'm going to watch the last few episodes of Breaking In, then either send hate mail to Fox or try and level up my champion in the lone-lands.

High Lord. Grave Digger. Out.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Idol must read my blog

Normally, at this point in the season, the show would be an hour long. But instead, they've taken my advice and have them singing duets in addition to their solo performances. Now, we just need them to introduce Screw Your Buddy Night™ . . .


I started the blog last night and then my computer crapped out on me. I definitely need to do a good, old-fashioned format>reinstall.

So I missed live blogging the show, but I will say that I think the person going home tonight (Thursday) will be Jacob. I had a shaky night and hasn't been handed a gazillion votes in the audition rounds (James, Lauren and Scotty) and he didn't get to sing last (Haley).

Anyway, that's the short version of the blog. Hopefully, I'll get around to reinstalling Windows on my laptop and I'll be okay for next week.

High Lord. Little Wonder. Out.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Results and lots of crap

I'll admit that I haven't been watching much of the results show. On top of being too long, it seems that they've brought in some extra filler, so I don't feel obligated to watch it all.

Seacrest tells us that we're going to be surprised by the results. He plays some games with the kids before finally revealing that the three people in danger are Casey, Jacob and Scotty. In taking a page from DWTS, they aren't necessarily the 3 lowest vote getters; only one of them was.

The obvious choice is for Jacob to be eliminated. He peaked early and had to sing first; he was my call to be eliminated after last night's performance show.

Casey could also be in danger. He was eliminated by voting once before, and could be again.

If Scotty were kicked off, I'd be a little surprised, but not really. He's been a OTP and like Chris Daughtry, he may not be picking up new voters and could be eliminated.

They're running low on time and Seacrest announces that Jacob is safe (and doesn't quite believe it himself), then he tells Casey that he's going home. Casey takes it well; he's been on borrowed time since he was the lowest vote getter once before.

He then sings himself off in his own way, getting lots of hugs from the girls and leaving some random guy hanging when he tries to go up top.

I don't think this is the wrong move, but I think Jacob would have been the correct choice to go home this week (with Casey getting eliminated next week). I wonder who is gong to pick up his voters now . . .

High Lord. Master of Forgotten Lore. Out.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Is it really Carole King night?

After last week's surprising (and encouraging) lack of "Georging", we're down to six singers. The show is 90 minutes tonight, which means there will be 9 minutes of singing and 81 minutes of filler. To get back to the crappy themes, tonight's theme is apparently the songs of Carole King. While I think her songs are good, how does that make these singers into contemporary artists? She hasn't released a studio album since 2001.

How is this really helping them? I'd even prefer the theme to be more like Glee and cover Lady Gaga or someone a little more current.

As we're waiting for the show, how about that NFL draft? Is there even a draft? All I've read about is the lockout and how the owners are crying about how poor they are. Plus, the commissioner was on the radio the other day telling us how the players are trying to end professional football as we know it.

Excuse me, Roger . . . last I checked, it was the owners who opted out of the current collective bargaining agreement, not the players. It seems to me that the owners are the greedy ones, not the players. If Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder think they got a crappy deal back in 2006, why did they sign the contract? Shouldn't they have walked away then? Or was Jerry too busy figuring out how to build his $1.2 billion monolith? Hey, if owners are so poor, where did he get $1.2 billion for that stadium? Oh, that's right: The taxpayers of Texas.

Sorry, guys, I really don't feel sorry for anyone in the NFL labour dispute, least of all the owners.

Now on to the show . . .

Did your TV screens just crack when FRC eye-boinked the camera?

In addition to saddling the singers with a catalog that's fifty years old, Idol brought in Babyface to help mentor the group. Isn't mentoring Jimmy's job? Why does he need and Babyface's help?

First up is GDM who is automatically my choice to go home this week, even before he sings a note on stage. On top of going in the dreaded Dead Man's Spot, I think he peaked too early, and that's a bad combination. As if his dance moves weren't already gay enough, he's wearing a really ugly blue/yellow shirt/vest combo under a hideous plaid jacket. Vocally, he's pretty good, but I think he's lost too much ground already. His performance seemed to get back some of the confidence I think he's lost over the past three or four weeks. Since half of the field will be in the bottom 3, I think he's in real danger of being eliminated this week.

This past weekend, I created a bunch of Free-to-Play LOTRO toons so I'd have enough members to fill out a kinship (that's a "guild" for you WoW players). I called it "Sauron Owes Me Money" just for laughs, and I'm not really interested in leading a kinship, I just want to be able to buy a house in three months for the extra storage and have a place to put all of my extra housing items. So if you're on Elendilmir and just need a place to park a toon or two, send me a tell either on Vraeden or Stealtharella.

For Lauren, Jimmy brings Miley Cyrus in to help boost her confidence. I didn't like Lauren at first, but I think she's grown as the season has progressed. She's got a lot of raw talent, and when the season started, I thought she was the most likely candidate for a Leah Labelle-like meltdown, but to her credit, she's handled everything very well. I wonder if they picked that guy out of the audience at random, or if they're otherwise involved.

Both of the singers so far tonight have been good. I know I've said this every year for the past two or three seasons, but the field this season is deep. Maybe not as good as say, season 5, but very strong nonetheless.

Wrapping up the first half of the show is a duet between alleged couple Haley and Casey. I guess this is why the show is an hour and a half. At least they extended the show for actual singing. They actually have a pretty good harmony together, and not just good in a Sonny and Cher way. Casey hams things up, and their "choreography" is appropriately cheezy. I actually liked it.

I am very unhappy that Obama gave out his long form birth certificate today to shut the "birthers" up. I was hoping that he's sit on it until midway through the next primary season so the Republicans could continue to show themselves to be catering to extreme fringe elements instead of actually being concerned with leading the country. As it is, the whole birth certificate thing has been nothing but a boon to the Democrats, so why did he release it now? Of course, this also makes The Donald the Republican's #1 candidate for the presidency, even though he historically will withdraw just before the election filing deadline.

Next up is Scotty who is going to countryfy "You've Got a Friend". Mrs. High Lord just threw up a little in her mouth. I work with a girl who despises him. Actually, despises him is the wrong word; she thinks he's on the wrong show, and I concur. If you look up "One Trick Pony" in the dictionary, you'll see his picture. I actually dislike this arrangement. He's got the wrong voice for this song. It doesn't help that not only does he have to live up to singing a Carole King song, he also cannot live up to the benchmark of James Taylor. Vocally, it's not bad, but nor is it flawless. He just can't fill the shoes.

Yesterday, filming started on the Avengers movie. Yay!!! Now I just wish they'd make an X-Men movie featuring Psylocke . . .

T/AG gets the random sit-down interview just so we can watch his facial twitches caused by the Tourette's and they can slide in some more product placement. How's he going to work his screech into this? I like the acappella opening. The arrangement works to his strengths. Unfortunately, he gets a little . . . well, a lot . . . shouty at the end, but otherwise, I was pleasantly surprised by James this week. It had a pleasant, nostalgic 50s sound to it.

The country pair of Lauren and Scotty is next. Is it just me or does he look like Alfred E. Newman? Since this is their third duet together, you'd expect them to match up well, but tonight their harmonies are off tonight. It was safe and inoffensive, but nothing particularly memorable.

Just an FYI: I will not be watching any of the royal wedding. My mother, however, has taken the day off from work and told us not to call her until the TV coverage is over unless someone is in the process of being transported to the hospital.

Who's the five year old girl sitting on Steven's lap?

Casey is next and he goes rogue on the pop sensibilities of the show. I liked, even if it was a vocal mess. It was fun and different, which is a good sign for him. I don't know that he's right to be "the" American Idol, though. If he were to win, I think he'd quicly flame out like Taylor Hicks. In fact, stylistically, they remind me a lot of one another. I think he's a very entertaining performer, but I don't see him being a traditional pop artist, which is what this show is supposed to find. I do, however, think that the tweenage girls could having him singing a CCS here in about a month.

The last solo performance is Haley, who is now, by virtue of her placement in the singing order, going to advance to the next round. I just noticed that Haley does her share of eye-boinking the camera. Not as much as FRC, but enough to be annoying. She is sharp in a couple of places, and her outfit is almost as short as another, past, Haley who used to sing on this show (not a complaint, mind you). I didn't think it was the best of the night, but it still wasn't great.

Wrapping up the show are Jacob and James, which is an odd pairing, almost like the Kris/Gokey pairing from a few years ago. At least one of them doesn't spend the entire song ignoring the other singer, showing that he's a ginormous tool like Gokey did. Their harmonies were off throughout the whole thing, but it could have been worse. I think Jacob was the big beneficiary because he had to sing first and we got to see him again just before the voting started.

The Good
Casey and Haley, "I Feel the Earth Move"

The Bad
James, "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow"
Lauren, "Where You Lead"
Haley, "Beautiful"
Casey, "That Old Sweet Roll"
Lauren and Scotty, "Up on the Roof"
Jacob, "Oh, No! Not My Baby"
Scotty, "You've Got a Friend"

The Ugly

Who should be in the bottom 3: Casey, Jacob Scotty
Who will be in the bottom 3: Haley, Jacob, Lauren

Who should go home: Scotty
Who will go home: Jacob

Right now, I think all six of the singers have strong fanbases, and at this point, it's a matter of fractions of a percentage that will divide the votes. Scotty and James got handed a gazillion votes early on. Casey had to be saved, but I think that galvanised his followers into powervoting over and over and over, plus I think he's pick up voters, where some other singers may be losing them.

That leaves Haley, Lauren and Jacob as the people possibly in danger. I think Lauren has picked up the voting blocs of the other girls who were voted off. I don't think Haley is going to win, but Jacob had to go first and he's been weak lately. That's my call, and I'm sticking to it.

By the way, go watch "Breaking In" tonight. Ted McGinley is guest starring.

High Lord. Slayer of the Nameless. Out.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My least favourite night of the season

As we all know, the group of seven is my least favourite results show because that's when they inevitably "George" someone in a very classless move that for some reason has grown legs and kept running year after year after year.

This is when Seacrest puts six singers in two groups of three. He then tells the seventh person that they are safe and that he or she has to pick which group he or she thinks they belong in. George Huff bit on this and selected the group that included Fantasia, LaToya and J-Hud, eschewing a group that included JPL, Jasmine Trias and John Stevens. That was the night Jennifer Hudson was inexplicably eliminated and it ushered in six more years of that crap.

The only elimination move with less class was the way Judd Harris was eliminated back in season 4 after Seacrest told him to take a seat on the couch (but didn't tell him he was safe).

Of the seven singers left, Stefano is the weakest singer, but to his credit, he's stronger than the person who finished #5 in about five or six of the past seasons. Like the past three or four years, the field at this point is pretty deep. There's no obvious frontrunner, which keeps things interesting.

The big question is why are the girls all being eliminated early? And if you think this is an anomaly, last year four of the first five singers eliminated were girls, and three of the first five eliminated singers in season 8 were girls.

I think they have to do something about the voting to dilute the excessive influence of tweenage girls with unlimited text message plans, but whether Idol will do anything is still up in the air, much less what they will end up doing.

On to the show . . .

We start off with a couple of mini-group sings plus the obligatory Ford product placement ad.

Then, surprisingly, Seacrest goes straight to regular results and tells Casey he's safe and Jacob that he's in danger. I guess they're not going to George anyone tonight. Yea!!!!

It seems the show has picked up some class.

Is anyone watching Game of Thrones on HBO? The first episode was on the other night and it's done very well. Mrs. High Lord is reading the books and says they're pretty good, too. I think I might wait until the first season (10 episodes) are over before I try to get through the books. It has a high production value and even though it's "fantasy", it's not corny or cheesy, in very much the same mold as Battlestar Galactica.

Does anyone but me think that last night was kind of a bogus theme? Sure they were supposed to sing more contemporary songs, but several of them went back to 2000 (Born to Fly, and yes, 2000 is in the 20th Century, not the 21st) and 1983 ("Swinging"). Shouldn't they have to sing a song that was written in 2001 or after?

Mrs. High Lord and I were out at Lowe's tonight looking for a new shower to go in the downstairs bathroom. This is a prelude to her gutting and remodeling the upstairs bathroom. This also follows her replacing the kitchen faucet and sink. The guy I sit next to at work asked me what I had done to get suckered into all the work this is going to entail.

I told him that I was stocking up points for the day when I come home from work and tell Mrs. High Lord that I'm taking off for Comic-Con, PAX Prime, DragonCon or something similar (and that I'm going to be coming back with some Jedi robes, a Colonial Viper pilot's flight suit or a Starfleet TOS movie uniform). Or the day when a BMW 3-series coupe shows up in the driveway.

As the results plod along, Stefano and Haley are put into the bottom 3, and Seacrest promptly declares Haley safe.

Next up is Katy Perry, who looks like and extra from the new Green Lantern movie (and showing off the girls very nicely). This is a very weird performance. Maybe it would make more sense if I were drinking.

With about 6 minutes left, we get to find out who is going to be eliminated. I wouldn't be sorry to see either of these guys go because neither is good enough to win. Stefano is the weakest vocalist left and Jacob peaked too early. Neither was the beneficiary of tons of face time (Scotty, James) or was saved by the judges (Casey).

After just a little bit of suspense, Stefano is eliminated, which probably should have happened about two weeks ago. From his backstage footage, he seems like a fun guy. It's just too bad that he spent all of his on-stage time singing power ballads and being just another OTP.

That leaves six singers left, all of whom were the beneficiaries of early face time and who are all (with the exception of James) solid vocalists. The trick now is for the remaining singers to pick up the voters of the people who were just kicked off (Paul, Pia and now Stefao).

I think Scotty and James have a legion of fans who are powervoting their hearts out. I just don't know that they're gaining any traction among the now-unaligned voters. Haley and Lauren have consolidated blocs, plus they're not splitting votes as they were when there were five other girls still on the show.

The way I see it, Jacob and Casey are in play. Jacob is the one who is in most need of a strong performance next week. He's been in the bottom 3 a lot and I don't see him getting many new voters. Casey escaped elimination once, but I think he really has to do something to try and assassinate either Lauren or his rumoured main squeeze, Haley. Like Michael Lynche, he might find himself saved, but still only able to salvage a fourth or fifth place finish.

Next up are the songs of Carole King. What do you want to bet that Casey sings Jazzman?

High Lord. Clubber. Out.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Will this finally be the week Stefano gets whacked?

Maybe the judges will take it upon themselves to finally do some judging and pass out a few harsh reviews to the singers who deserve them. I appreciate that Idol is trying to be nicer because, in truth, there was a time when they had gotten really mean. Remember the "other door" thing that went on a few years ago? Simon, for all of the truth that he spoke, sometimes was mean just for the sake of being mean, and he was often out of line.

Still, he and (occasionally) Randy spoke the truth first. Steven and J-Lo speak the truth that they see as performers, and to their great credit, they often give very constructive feedback (especially J-lo). On the other hand, there comes a time when they need to say, "That just wasn't very good."

I'd rather they did that every now and then than for them to stare at Seacrest in disbelief when a good singer (Pia) gets whacked when others are left to continue one at their expense, then berate "America" for not voting off the "right" person. Last week (and really over the last few years), I posted that the judges should be empowered to do some actual judging, and not just be spectators. While that takes some influence away from "America" (that is if, "America" means tweenage girls with unlimited text messaging plans), it also means maybe the weakest singers will actually get kicked off.

I just read that Idol is considering ways to tweak the voting, but we'll see if anything actually happens. I don't think the judges should be giving numerical scores, but I think they need to have some actual role in determining who stays and who goes like on SYTYCD, at least until the top 6, when the voting should be turned over to "America".

But first, we get to hear from this year's eliminated singers, which is actually kind of nice. Of course, it also reeks of superflous (is there any other kind?) filler. And look, Mark Ballas is in the audience to cheer on his honey, Pia. I wonder whose idea the cross promotion was.

While we're discussing DWTS, I wonder if our friend Jennifer is enjoying all of the shirtless Maks sightings. I know Mrs. High Lord is. I'm just happy the Future Mrs. High Lord 2.0 Kym Johnson is still around.

I am less happy that Kendra hasn't been kicked off, but that's also the judges's fault for giving her the same score as Petra.

Tonight's theme is "songs of the 21st Century", which are supposedly songs that are less than 11 years old.

Leading off is Scotty who's singing "Swinging", which he claims is by Leann Rimes, but was actually first released by John Anderson in 1983. It's nothing to write home about, and in actuality, I hate this song, both the original and this rendition. The opening piece where the other singers impersonated his singing style was very, very funny. Both Jimmy and J-Lo give him some good advice to venture out of his comfort zone. The vocals are consistent and not out of tune, but it was a very safe selection, but even going first won't put him in danger tomorrow night when he gets Georged.

Randy uses the phrase "in it to win it", so everyone drink!

Next up is T/AG, who make some odd facial expressions during his random sit-down interview, which is probably due to his Tourette's. Hey, where is James goes Goth on us, or maybe Depeche Mode, circa 1986. I don't know this song, but if you're into this type of industrial, it's actually not bad. I don't get the marching band drummers, though. And the screeching needs to go. I'm sure the judges will slurp him and he, too, is in no danger of being eliminated, despite the early spot in the order.

Can Randy get through a show without dropping at least three names?

My RK is two bars away from level 47 and I cheated to finish his level 45 class quests. Instead of taking him into CD and Urugarth or grinding skirms to buy the four class quest items from a vendor or paying some ungodly amount of gold to purchase them at auction, me and three friends took four toons into CD/Uru and killed everything that moved to get all of the class quest items we needed for our lowbies. Yeah, I know it's a cheap way to get them, but it was really fast, and really easy, just like Amy Baxter from 10th grade biology class.

The video pieces where the singers make fun of one another are pretty good. Why haven't hey done this before?

Taking up the threespot is Haley. Generally, you can't go wrong with a red dress (see Six, Cylon Number). I apologise for missing part of the performance because the twin blonde back up singers are hawt has hell. Like Paul, there's something about her voice that annoys me, but I can see why people like her. I didn't think it was a good technical vocal, but the performance was very solid. I liked her tonight better than anyone else who has gone so far.

Another candidate to be Georged is GDM who's wearing a shiney metallic suit. Didn't they go out of style about eight years ago. I guess thats in the 21st Century. He doesn't get a marching band or hawt blonde backup singers, but he gets a string section. And he forgets/leaves out some of the words. Then he takes out his ear piece. Other than the flubbed lyrics, the vocal is very good. As a pure singer, Jacob is probably the best of the remaining singers, but I said the same thing about Anwar and look what happened to him.

Has anyone tried out the new MMO Rift? If so, let me know how you like it? I only have time for 1 MMO at a time, and the only one I will probably leave LOTRO for is the new Star Wars game.

Taking full advantage of the save is Casey whose backup singers are much less attractive than Haley's. I'm not a fan of this song, but Casey performs it well. My only issue with the performance is that he's smiling too much for an angry song. He borrows some growling from his (maybe?) girlfriend Haley. I liked it until "the false" made a (superflous) appearance. He gets extra points for stealing a kiss from J-Lo.

I love it when Steven makes the Fox censor work. Plus, Seacrest in the Casey beard is hi-frickin'-larious.

Following Casey is Weak Link who apparently likes girls. I wouldn't have guessed that. Why is he still around? I guess because he's cute, and tweenage girls like that. Now if we can only get him to keep his eyes open for a whole performance. He gets Haley's hawt blonde backup singers. Has Steven hit on them yet? I like that he ventured out of the AFE mold and got away from the power ballad. He does a lot of yelling and groaning, but it as a good change of pace for him.

Tonight's Pimp Spot singer is Lauren, who would probably be voting for Stefano if she hadn't made it to Hollywood. I want the girl from Rock Mafia to be my producer. Like Scotty, she stays country, which is a good thing for her. Haley's backup singers are earning their keep this week. I didn't think her performance was worthy of the placement, but she did a good job. She's got a big voice, but the song got away from her a couple of times.

I just saw that Jimmie Johnson is guess starring on Breaking In tonight. Mrs. High Lord likes it, which means we're counting the days until it gets canceled.

The Good

The Bad
Haley, "Rolling in the Deep"
Lauren, "Born to Fly"
Casey, "Harder to Breathe"
James, "Uprising"
Stefano, "Closer"
Scotty, "Swinging"

The Ugly
Jacob, "Dance With My Father" (see Rule 1A to the right)

Who should be in the bottom 3: Jacob, Scotty, Stefano
Who will be in the bottom 3: Haley, Jacob, Stefano

Who should go home: Stefano
Who will go home: Stefano

Now that we're down to seven, and the field is generally strong, I think the person who will finally get kicked off will be Stefano because he should have gone home a couple of weeks ago. Haley may also be in danger because she doesn't have a Y chromosome and went early in the order. Casey, James and Scotty are shoo-ins right now, while Lauren got to sing last.

I'm going to go make level 47 on my RK now.

High Lord. Amazeling. Out.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I don't have much time tonight

because I'm setting up Mrs. High Lord's new iPad 2. I bought her an iPad last October when her other tablet/eReader crapped out, but it often gets co-opted when the grandkids come over. So we got a new iPad for Mrs. High Lord which can also FaceTime with everyone else in our family who seems to have joined the world of Mac.

I stick with PCs because I like to play computer games that often aren't setup for Macs. So that's what I'm doing as the show goes on.

After a bunch of filler, we get to the halfway point in the show and Kelly Clarkson is on singing with some guy in a cowboy hat. I'm always happy to see the Idols come home. I also like that instead of the one craptacular group sing, they're breaking them up into duets and smaller groups to perform on the results nights.

The bottom three is Haley, Paul and Stefano. Haley is saved first and Paul is then eliminated. Which means Stefano has inexplicably lived to sing another week. Why, "America", why?

I'm no Paul fan, but Stefano? Really? He doesn't even have a tracheotomy scar to show us every week as he goes AFE on us!

Maybe if he had asked us how we were doing yesterday, he's still be there and one of the other guys would have been eliminated.

So next we'll find out who they're going to George. My money is on Scotty.

Until then, I'm going to try and get my RK through the Walls of Moria and then on to Carn Dum.

High Lord. Wing-breaker. Out.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Idol has many problems . . .

not the least of which has been the tendency of "America" to vote off the girls first. I'm not crying over Pia's ouster, but it seems to me that the basic way that the singers are advanced from one round to the next needs to be changed on the most fundamental level.

The way things are, singers who are given lots of face time in the audition and Hollywood rounds build up large followings early on and they are carried on, even at the expense of better singers. If Idol wants to change this, and really be a show that's about the best singer, not the most popular, there are three basic options:
  1. Vote people off
    I've been wanting this one for years. Most of "America" recognises who is clearly the worst of a bunch. By voting off the person who is the worst singer, blocs of voters won't be able to keep their person around for weeks on end.

  2. The judges pick the bottom 3, "America" votes to save two
    Shouldn't the judges have some influence over the show? Of course they should. To be fair, they pick the people who go to Hollywood and they pick the top 24. So why shouldn't they have some influence over the weekly results?

    SYTYCD does something similar, and it works. The judges know who the best and the worst are. Steven and J-Lo obviously don't want to be the bad guys and Randy just doesn't have it in him. So let them nominate a bottom 3 and the voters get to save their favourite. When there are six singers left, everyone is voted through on their own merits.

  3. Have the judges score the singers
    Having paddles would be a little too much like DWTS, but what if they gave the order (best to worst) of the night and that counted as half of the singers's scores?
As you can see, I want the judges to actually judge. Simon was the best at this, even without a direct influence over the results; everyone knew exactly where they stood and the voters often took their cues from him. That is sorely lacking this year, and is partially why there have been surprising eliminations this season. Clearly, something needs to be done because as things stand right now, the chances of anyone wresting control of the show away from 12 year old girls with unlimited text messaging plans are pretty low.

On to the show . . .

The theme tonight is songs from the movie, and I miss Quentin Tarantino.

First up is Paul and his outfit is hideous. His vocals don't suit the song at all. His voice isn't deep or big enough do cover Bob Seger. The whole performance seems cheezy. The sax player is pretty hawt, though. Going in the Dead Man's spot certainly won't help him.

At least Pia gets to go on tour.

Next up is Lauren. My friend Jodi has a pavlovian response to this song that makes her want to punch someone in the face when she hears it. Jimmy gives her some good advice about scooping up Pia's voters, who are now looking for a fanbase to support. She starts out singing to the camera, not the audience, which is a good move for someone who is now pandering for fan votes. This is actually the perfect song for Lauren. It's a little country, and very contemporary, which is something that is generally missing from the show during the theme weeks. She has a couple of out of tune notes, but I think this both a good strategic move, as well as a solid vocal performance.

What the crap is still doing on the show?

Stefano knows he's on borrowed time. He clearly should have been eliminated last week and everyone knows it. He's singing Boyz II Men, and part of what so great about this song is the Boyz's harmonies, which he cannot hope to match. His eyes are like Archuleta's and that is just one more thing to annoy me. I liked him better than Paul, but based on the sum of his performances this year, he needs to get sent packing.

Can someone please send R-Dawg a memo that the phrase "in it to win it" now requires people in my house to chug?

Predictably, Scotty 1) can't keep his head up straight, and 2) sings a country song. His voice reminds me a lot of George Strait, which I'm sure is intentional. I know that some people are tired of his schtick, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Especially when it gets a gazillion votes from both 13 year old girls and their mothers.

Last week, Casey whipped out the stand-up bass and goes for it again. Jimmy tells him to go a different direction, but Casey does his own thing. Was this really from a movie? Or was it just in a movie? (The answer is Moulin Rouge, but he would have been better served by dressing up and trying "Lady Marmalade") Simon would have called this selection "indulgent". I think he's making a strategic decision to try something other than a mainstream pop hit. It could backfire on him, but it could also pay off big. I hope Casey is as self-aware as Chris Sligh and realises what it takes to play the game.

Even though I detest Haley, Mrs. High Lord likes her. She starts out flat. She's 20, so my friend Mike isn't feeling dirty by looking at her, although his son is starting to get "that funny feeling" when she's on. Haley is very shouty, even for an IBG. I don't hate it, but I don't love it either. She may be sandbagging at this point; I think she's got enough voters to stick around for a few more weeks on her own, and she may not want to peak too early. I think she needed to do a little more to pick up some of Pia's voters, though.

Next up is the guy with GDM (that's Gay Dance Moves), Jacob. He's singing Clay's song. Luckily, it's been 9 years since Clay destroyed the rest of the competition with this tune, but unfortunately, he's can't find the right key and it goes all over the place. I think this is the first time I can remember Jacob not delivering a rock-solid vocal. It wasn't corny like Paul, but he just seemed off for the entire performance, which is a shame, since he did so well last week.

Drawing the Pimp Spot is T/AG. Like Casey, he goes his own way and ignores Jimmy's advice. I really hope he crashes and burns. I'll bet he screeches at the beginning, in the middle and again at the end. If I were picking a song from "Heavy Metal", it would have been "Open Arms". To use some political parlance, this plays to his base very well. Even if the vocals are a hot mess in spots. I didn't like that so much of the time was spent on a guitar solo that wasn't being played by the singer, and the frenetic camera action triggered one of Mrs. High Lord's seizures. I wonder what Jimmy had suggested for him. The fact that he got to sing last bodes well, even if the performance wasn't as good as the crowd and judges would have you believe.

The Good
Lauren, "The Climb"
Scotty, "I Cross My Heart"

The Bad
James, "Heavy Metal"
Stefano, "The End of the Road"
Haley, "Call Me"
Casey, "Nature Boy"
Jacob, "Bridge Over Troubled Water"

The Ugly
Paul, "Old Time Rock N'Roll"

As things stand, the remaining singers are solid singers, even though none of them are a head and shoulders better than anyone else.

Who should be in the bottom 3: Casey, Jacob, Paul
Who will be in the bottom 3: Haley, Paul, Stefano

Who should go home: Paul
Who will go home: Stefano

I would fear for the remaining girls, but I think Pia's voters will consolidate behind one of them (probably Lauren) and carry her on for a few more weeks. I was surprised at how good Lauren was tonight, and Scotty turned in another solid performance.

I'd look for Stefano to finally run out of steam tomorrow, but I could be wrong.

Now, it's time for that new Christian Slater show that Mrs. High Lord likes. Of course, that usually means that Fox will move it to Friday night and cancel it.

High Lord. Defender of the Ashen Wastes. Out.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

I'll have a plate of eye-boinks with a side of cheez

Damn, I had forgotten how much I despised FRC. That's Faux-Rocker Constantine for those of you who have tried (like me) to repress all memory of His Velveetaness. My ears actually started to bleed when he was singing.

In other (better) news, Stefano is in the bottom 3, and my level 7 hobbit burglar won a bunch of crap in the LOTRO Welcome Wagon Lotto. Have I mentioned that all of my toons have the fishslap emote now?

Fastforward to about the 0:40 mark.

Casey and Lauren are safe. Duh.

Next to get their results are Paul, Pia and Scotty. I can't see any of these three being in the bottom 3, but if I had to pick one, I'd pick Pia. Scotty has too big a fan bloc and Paul got to sing last. That leaves her as the one who will be taking a trip to the stools . . . along with her hooker boots and the excessive boobage she's sporting tonight. If Mrs. High Lord were to trade me in for a younger model, I would sooooooooooo motorboat her.

And yes, Pia gets sent to the bottom 3. That leaves Haley, Jacob and James as the three possibles for the third stool in the bottom 3. I'm betting it's Jacob.

Haley, as much as I desire her to be eliminated, has been coming on strong lately. James got lots of face time and Jacob was in the dreaded lead-off spot last night, which is never good.

And I'm right again.

Of the three in the bottom 3, I think Stefano is the most likely candidate to get whacked. He's consistently been one of the weaker links this season. He's not awful, but nor is he memorable (ballads will do that). He's patently unoffensive, but nor does he make people want to pick up the phone or send a gazillion texts for him. Plus, he hasn't gotten as much face time as some of the others.

Pia stepped it up a little, but was falling into the same AFE trap. Jacob simply had the misfortune of leading off the show this week. I don't think he's going to win, but he was better than just about everyone else last night and that still gets him into the bottom 3. He also need some new (read: less gay) dance moves.

While we wait for the final results, let me ask this: WTF is Iggy Pop doing on Idol? Does he need the money that badly? I liked him when he was on DS9, but Idol?

My head is still spinning. Now if we can just eliminate Stefano . . .

If Pia and the twins get kicked off tonight, I'm going to be hacked off beyond belief. Jacob is the first to get the news and Seacrest leads him on before telling him that he's safe. Without a lot of fake drama, Seacrest tells us that Pia is leaving.

Randy reacts negatively; I can't tell which he's going to miss more: her singing or the catsuit.

I think he would like to use the save now, but they already burned it on Casey. Dammit, this means that we have to suffer through another week of Stefano. I guess I picked the wrong week to quit drinking . . .

She reminds Mrs. High Lord of Jackie on That 70's Show. I think she spent too much time singing ballads and didn't grab a fanbase early enough. It also highlights the power of the tweenie girl vote; 5 of the last six singers to be eliminated were girls (the sixth being Casey, who was saved). I read that both Namia and Thia think that the girl voters are voting in droves for the boys on a subconscious vendetta.

To back up that point, the last four winners have been guys and seven of the last 8 finalists have been guys, with Crystal being the only girl to make it to the top 2 since Jordin won in season 6.

I didn't think Pia was going to win, but she deserved to outlast Stefano, Haley, James and probably Paul. I guess this is what happens when the voting is left up to "America".

Are there any indications about next week's theme?

High Lord. Shire Brewmaster. Out.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Okay, so we're down to 9

. . . and at least the show has been cut back to an hour and a half. Just in time for a new Christian Slater show to debut afterwards. Speaking of Christian Slater, I saw Heathers the other day on TV. It was just as good today as it was twenty three years ago when he, Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty and Lieutenant Bud Roberts were all young and stuff. The only thing bad about the movie is the hairdoos.

Let's just hope they keep the show moving tonight.

Tonight's theme (blech!) is the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Outfitting them is former only-here-for-the-paycheck "mentor" Gwen Stefani and helping out with the singers is, who must have lost his ticket home from when he was on a couple of weeks ago.

Leading off is Jacob. He switched his song and is singing some Michael Jackson. I think this is a good move; this song fits his voice perfectly. Going first might cause some problems, especially since I don't think there are a lot of people burning up phone lines and texting for an effeminate black man who can belt out showtunes with the best of them. Still, I think his vocals were spot on; he has a lot of control and doesn't lose the melody like some of the others who are still around (Haley, I'm talking to you!).

This is a much better theme than Elton John or Motown. It gives the singers a deep songbook to pick from (assuming Idol gave them free range to choose). Unfortunately, it also means that many of the songs will be pretty old.

Next up is Haley and she's singing a song that should be retired from the Idol songbook. Apparently she thinks the judges want her to be more like Janis Joplin, which is a mistake since that's like telling a guitarist that they should be more like Eric Clapton, and anyone who tries will only be a pale imitation. I think she should be more like Lindsey Cardinale (watching from home). The judges slurp her. It wasn't as awful as I thought it was going to be, but it wasn't as good as the crowd thought. Plus, she still annoys me. Even with frizzy hair.

Wrapping up the first third of the show is Casey who also changed his song midstream. He goes old school and brings out his stand-up bass. I like it, and I don't usually thing he's all that and a side of chips. He's smiling too much for what is supposed to be a fairly maudlin song, and he gets a little shouty at the end.

Lauren could be making a huge mistake by singing Aretha (who is loosely associated with rule #1 to the right). She's sixteen, right? Why is she dressed like she's 23? My friend Mike is feeling dirty right now. It wasn't awful, and she's good a pretty good voice; I liked her a lot more than I liked Haley tonight.

Instead of getting the random sit down interview, T/AG gets preempted by some random banter between Seacrest and the judges. He's singing the Beatles and whips out a ballad no one has heard of. He'll be safe because 19E/Fremantle handed him a gazillion votes in the audition rounds. I like that he's doing something other than running around the stage and screaming . . . at least until the end, when he goes Adam Lambert on us. That knocks him down a peg for me since 1) it's already been done, and 2) I didn't like it the first time around.

Simon says the show is better now that he's gone. Of course it is: Simon has been phoning it in for the last three or four years.

Scotty is doing Elvis. Again. wants him to combine country and rock. I'll bet he makes it country. And he does. The thing that I like about Scotty is that he knows what he does best and doesn't try to do anything that could make him look bad. I think he'll top out at about fourth place because I don't think he's going to pick up new voters as the others get eliminated, but he is the most consistently good performer on the show this season. Tonight felt more like country-bluegrass than country-rock, but it was still very, very good.

For those of you who thought that you were going to get through a post without a LOTRO update, sorry to disappoint you. I really like the new LI system where you can build the "perfect" LI if you're willing to grind item XP. I've got my RK up to level 41, but my guardian is parked at level 33 for now. Almost all of my toons have earned the title "Pie-Eating Champion" and have the fishslap emote. Plus, I started a hobbit burglar named Stealtharella. I'm only level 7, but until Star Wars: The Old Republic drops, it looks like I'll have lots of free (MMO) time.

Kicking off the third half of the show is Pia who changes things up with a little bit of Tina Turner. Oh, what I would give for a "wardrobe malfunction" tonight . . . I like the change of pace, and she even gets to belt out big notes without a ballad's "money note". She's a little shouty, but some of that's the song. Note to Pia: Don't go back to ballads. Her performance consists of her walking around, and not really moving in a way that is indicative of confident stage presence.

An ad for "Rio" just came one. Why can't I get away from that damn movie? First it invades Angry Birds, now it's all over Idol. Crap.

Mrs. High Lord can't stand Stefano and wants him to go away as much as I want Haley to get the boot. Like Pia, he's gone AFE on us so far this year, only he stays the course. Like The Arch, he also needs to open his eyes. He tries a lot of vocal tricks; some of them work, some don't. I just don't see him as "the" American Idol. Frankly, I'm surprised he's made it this far. I guess the show really is driven by teenage girls, because I don't know who else would be voting for him. Yawn. He wasn't awful, but for me, he was the worst of the night, so far. I forsee the bottom three for him. The judges slurp him, too.

Randy tries his best to be critical, but just can't do it. If the show needs one thing, it's a person on the panel who isn't worried about their own career post-Idol and is willing to give out some really tough love to the people who deserve it.

Paul was facing elimination last week, and he could have been in danger again this week, but he got the Pimp Spot and that will advance him to next week. Mrs. High Lord says he sounds like a young Rod Stewart. There is something about his voice that grates on me, but I think that like Scotty, he sticks to what he does best, even if it's not going to get him more votes as the weeks drag on. A close call last week combined with prime placement will mean that he's safe. I didn't love it, and he seemed a little too happy for a prison song.

The Good
Jacob, "Man in the Mirror"

The Bad
Pia, "River Deep, Mountain High"
Scotty, "That's All Right, Mama"
Casey, "Have You Ever Seen the Rain"
Lauren, "Natural Woman"
Paul, "Folsom County Blues"
Haley, "A Little Piece of My Heart"
James, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
Stefano, "When A Man Loves a Woman"

The Ugly

Who should be in the bottom 3: Haley, James, Stefano
Who will be in the bottom 3: Haley, Jacob, Stefano

Who should be eliminated: Stefano
Who will be eliminated: Stefano

One thing I like about this season is that there isn't a lot of dead weight. Haley and Stefano are taking up space, but any of the others could win. I don't think that there is a clear-cut favourite to win at this point, but the talent pool is deep, and that's good. There's also not that one person who is going to inexplicably win (Taylor), nor is there someone who is going to come out of no where to win (Kris), and there isn't a person people will regret voting for (Lee).

Tomorrow night, we'll get our results. On Saturday, I'll know if I'm getting an involuntary "vacation" thanks to the Tea Party extremists who refuse to recognise that America was built on compromise and will shut down the government on (flawed) principle.

High Lord. Tamer of the Shrews. Out.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Home improvement and then some

With 2 people to eliminate tonight, of course the show has to be an hour long. Back in the early days of the Wild Card rounds, they used to eliminate two people in half an hour. Why can't we go back to the good 'ole days?

In other news, Mrs. High Lord got a new sink. And then some. It started out with a visit to our neighbour's house. It seems that Carol got a new faucet with a Touch2O sensor on it so you don't need a handle or lever to turn it on.

That was all the talked about for weeks, so after I got back from Baltimore, I took her up to Lowe's and bought her one. When we went to install it, the bolts holding the old faucet in wouldn't budge, so we decided to take the old sink out and simply replace it. After all, I think it was original to the house, which would make it about 50 years old.

So I trucked back up to Lowe's and bought a new cast iron/porcelain sink to replace the old one. The only problem is that when we went to take the old supply lines off the piping under the countertops, they basically disintegrated. I consider myself a pretty handy guy, but there are three things I really don't like to work with: plumbing, gas and electricity. The first because there are so many things that can go wrong and the other two because you can die.

After watching my old fitting fall apart, I decided I was in over my head, so I went back up to Lowe's and got the installation deal. That was on Sunday. Today the guys came to install Mrs. High Lord's new sink and it's very nice. And cool. We've just been without running water in the kitchen since Sunday. I hope we never have to change out the sink again. Especially since the new cast iron sink weighs about 110 pounds.

In the midst of all the filler, we're actually getting some singing and some results. Scotty and Lauren are up first and they sing some Randy Travis, which is actually pretty good. Of course they're both safe.

After some obligatory product placement, Jacob and Naima take the stage singing Ashford & Simpson. Jacob is safe and Naima is in the bottom 3.

Okay, I can deal with an hour long results show if they replace the single crappy group sing with the Idols performing duets. Wait . . . wasn't this my idea, only to have them singing duets for votes? (The answer is "yes" by the way) I'll take an hour long results show if it features past Idols, even if I don't like them.

Fantasia is up next and I mute the TV. Diana or LaToya should have won!!!!!

I wonder if our old friend Jennifer is doing. She broke up with the show last year, but stopped by to leave a couple of comments, but I haven't heard from her this year. I certainly understand if she's moved on, but I miss her insight and commentary.

They must be running over time because Haley, Pia and Thia take the stage to sing Katy Perry as a trio. Note to Thia: Dresses that look they were made from stolen curtains are NEVER in fashion. Dresses that show off your boobs like Katy Perry wears are ALWAYS in style.

They get their results and only one of the three is going to be in the bottom 3 (because there are more people awaiting their results and that would be anti-climatic to send two of these three to the bottom 3). I'll bet it's Thia, since Pia has been pretty good and Haley got to go last yesterday . . . and I'm right.

Last night was a rough night for me. Usually I think there are only one or two performances that are awful, but there were a bunch I didn't like last night. I think part of the problem is that Elton John is a hard theme that doesn't translate well to other styles, in part because many of the songs that were picked are iconic and well-known, much like Queen songs. I also think that there are some singers this year whom I really dislike and that definitely colours my view of their performances. I try to be objective, but sometimes I just can't do it. This is my blog. So sue me.

The last four guys take the stage to sing "Band on the Run". Of the four, I think Stefano will be sent to the bottom 3 . . . and I'm wrong. It's Paul. Hmmmm . . . . things just got interesting.

So that leaves Naima, Thia and Paul who are up for elimination. I think it's going to be Naima and Thia. Seacrest only makes us sit through a little bit of contrived drama; maybe it was good that Jaime Foxx and were on to make the show run long.

And Paul is safe.

Naima's problem is that she is a little too quirky for the mainstream voters to rally to her. Thia's problem is that she never really developed a style (good or bad) and that she had an image problem coming out of the Hollywood rounds.

I'm sorry to see Naima get kicked off, but she wasn't going to win. I wish it had been Haley in her place. I am happy to see Thia get the boot.

So that makes me 1 of 2 from last night. And now the prospect of the save won't rear it's ugly head for the next four weeks.

I wonder what the theme will be for next Wednesday.

High Lord. Easily Lost. Out.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Would you have saved Casey?

That's the question I've been pondering for the last week. Was he worth it? Does he have a legit chance to win?

Remember that other singers have been in danger or eliminated because of supporter apathy and not on the merits of their own singing. Was that the case with Casey? Or does he really lack in support?

The judges obviously like him. He's gotten a gazillion hours of face time. He started out the show with TCO written all over him. But if no one voting for him, why would they use the save to keep him. They didn't even have him sing the whole song.

But will this buy him a shot at the win? Or just a few more weeks? I think it's safe to say that his legion of powervoters will turn out in droves for the next couple of weeks, but can he snap up the blocs of the two people who get kicked off tomorrow night?

I guess we'll find out, but a part of me hates that Nigel kept the save. Shouldn't the most popular singers be kept around from week to week? Isn't that the point of the show? How would the save have affected past seasons? Would they have kept Jennifer Hudson around? Chris Daughtery was ineligible to be saved since he was voted off in the 4 spot. Who else should have been saved?

As the show starts, we find out that Elton John/Bernie Taupin is this week's theme, although he's not the mentor. I guess calling the voters "racist" after Jennifer Hudson was inexplicably eliminated back in season three in lieu of John Stevens or George Huff was a one way ticket out of town.

Singing in the Dead Man's Spot is Scotty who will somehow manage to countryfy en Elton John song. And sure enough he does. He sounds like George Strait and I think it's good that he's on Idol rather than Nashville Star, because he's going to reach a wider audience before he's unleashed on Music Row. I don't think he's ever going to outsell Carrie, but he should do very, very well, even if he doesn't win. Vocally, he's more of the same, but as Jimmy said, "He may be a one trick pony, but it's the best trick a 17 year old has done". Even going first won't hurt him this week. Simon would have hated him (because Simon despises country music), but Scotty is probably the most consistent performer of the season.

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Next up is Naima, who I find terribly entertaining. I hope she outlasts Lauren and Haley, because those two annoy me. She goes reggae. I hope does some more African dancing. I could do without the poor impersonation of a Caribbean accent. Like Scotty, she is vocally consistent with past performances, but that only means she is below the median line in the field this year. I liked her take on the song, but it was a vocal mess. As someone who has faced elimination more than once, I'm not sure this was a good move for her. Going in the two-spot won't help her, either.

Why can't Jennifer stop talking once her time is up?

Paul needs to shave and has more product in his hair than the cheerleaders from my old high school. I guess there's a contest to wear the wackiest outfit this week. Or there's a contest to wear something that could be mistaken for my grandmother's couch. I don't care for the airy/nasal tone of Paul's voice, or his spastic dance moves, but surprisingly, this almost works for me. I just cringe at the thought of him winning and being "the" American Idol.

After a string of ballads, Pia brings us another ballad. I hate that she's going all AFE on us. Unless she goes big, she's just going to hear another round of "No more ballads!!!" Maybe Sir Elton himself will appear on stage halfway through and rescue her. Yes, she has a big voice. But she is beginning to sound the same week after week. And, I'm asleep. This is how it's done.

Will someone please give J-Lo some money, so she can buy the other half of that dress?

As someone who should have been kicked off last week, Stefano is singing the Tony Danza song. His eyes and demeanor remind me of Lee Dewyze (and that's not good). He seems nervous. I didn't care for the arrangement and his pacing around the stage just made him look amateurish.

Another OTP is up next. I don't think Lauren should have been advanced ahead of some of the other singers who didn't make it out of Hollywood. Her glamour shots make her look 16 going on 24, and that should make every man out there feel dirty. I don't think I would take on this song if I were Celine Dion. Lauren oversings in all the predictable places; was she even born when this song was first released? I didn't hate it as much as I expected I would. Her vocals were good, and her voice didn't annoy me as much as other people tonight. Here's how it's done.

T/AG annoys me personally. His singing is also in the bottom half of the vocal talent spectrum this season. I think he's trading on his sob story from the auditions and the bajillion votes 19E handed to him when they sent the cameras home to shoot footage of his kid. To his credit, it's not a ballad. He's manic on stage, which is what this song demands. It's much better than John Stevens's "Crocodile Rock". It still came off as cheezy. And I think he dropped a line at the begining. The scream at the end did it for me. I hope "America" sends him home tomorrow.

The judges also slurp him. If they need to do one thing this year, it's get mean when people deserve it. Some lawyer at Pepsi is drafting a lawsuit right now.

Mrs. High Lord's fave is Thia; this is one of the few instances where the two of us have diametrically-opposed views on a singer. This starts out flat in a bunch of places. I think Randy is going to unleash "pitchy" on us in his critique. I think it's her weakest performance of the season. Both in terms of tone and tempo, it seemed to be all over the place. The judges liked it, but I didn't.

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The recipient of last week's save is on stage next. Casey is also going the AFE route. You know, Elton had other songs than ballads. I think getting voted off last week has kind of made him gunshy. This seemed very safe, which is unlike him. I think this is the first week when I actively didn't like him.

I don't know what it is this week. Maybe Elton is a little to stylized for this crew. Maybe they need to start singing contemporary songs, not songs from the 70s. There have been lots of singers tonight that I haven't cared for.

Last week, Jacob was easily the best of the night. Did he wet himself when Mary J. showed up in the studio? It's not as good as last week, but he unleashes his pipes and this time, it comes off as being a little over the top. The oversinging and power note at the end made me not like him this week.

This means that Haley gets Pimped this week. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! If there is a singer I detest this season more than anyone else, it's Haley. She's faced elimination almost every week, so we can only hope that trend continues. I know there are people out there who lurve her, but I just don't get it. I think this is a performance that people will either really like or really hate. I fall into the latter category. She seemed more over the top than James usually is, but then again, Elton was always flamboyant that way, too. The Pimp Spot will work to her advantage this week.

Why did no one pick "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" or "Circle of Life"? I guess he'll have to sing them tomorrow when he's on. There were lots of very safe selections this week.

The Good
Scotty, "Country Comfort"

The Bad
Pia, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me"
Lauren, "Candle In the Wind"
Paul, "Rocket Man"
Naima, "I'm Still Standing"
Jacob, "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word"

The Ugly
Casey, "Your Song"
James, "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"
Stefano, "Tiny Dancer"
Haley, "Benny and the Jets"
Thia, "Daniel"

Who should be in the bottom 3: Haley, Stefano, Thia
Who will be in the bottom 3: Haley, Naima, Stefano

Since the save was used last week, it means tomorrow night is a two-fer.

Who should go home: Thia and Haley
Who will go home: Naima and Stefano

I just don't think Naima has enough followers to hang on for very much longer. She didn't get as much face time as others who are still around, and her quirkyness works against her as much as it works for her. Stefano will also be on the the chopping block, but I think his fans may powervote after last week now that they know he can't be saved. If that's the case, I think Naima and Haley will get the axe.

High Lord. Lórien Lookout. Out.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

We need more Hulkmania on Idol

I'm not live-blogging the show tonight because I'm boycotting the hour long results shows that should only be 30 minutes . . . especially when they start running over time.

But I will say that we need more people on Idol punching Seacrest in the face like the Hulkster did tonight.

We also need Thia, Stefano and Haley in the bottom 3 more often. Or, at least until they're all gone.

Unfortunately, the bottom 3 is Thia, Stefano and Casey? WTF? What were you thinking, "America"? Why is Haley still around to plague us?

Oh, well . . . I guess this just goes to show you that the Dead Man's Spot can even strike on of Idol's golden children.

J-Hud takes the stage. I never realised how much taller than Seacrest she was. And, look! There's George Huff, sans the (formerly) omnipresent hat.

After just a little bit of drama (because they're starting to run late), Thia gets sent to safety meaning either Casey or Stefano is getting whacked. My guess is that Stefano will be the one missing the tour.

And . . . NO! Casey will be singing for the save. I'll bet they give it to him. Sure enough they do. Without even making him sing the whole song. But he makes the censor with the 10 second delay work overtime.

Note to everyone going on Idol next week and in the future: Don't go first.

That means that they can't save anyone else, and that Casey probably won't be leading off any more.

So with no one eliminated this week, that means two of them will be kicked off next off week.

Let's hope it's Thia and Haley.

High Lord. Spring-Flinger. Out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's Motown night

Okay, who let the themes back in?

I thought we were done with the themes. We've done okay this year, but last week's songs were mostly 15-30 years old. Now we're going back to a era when most of the singers will be half as old as the songs they're singing.

Maybe 19E figures that since they've already paid a gazillion bucks for the rights to these songs, they may as well get their money's worth.

While we're wading through the filler, let me say that I've been a bad blogger this week because I forgot that the new season of DTWS started on Monday. Luckily, Mrs. High Lord caught it in the DVR and I watched it yesterday when I got home. It's surprising that the Karate Kid (and his combover) was the best of the night. I think he's getting hair advice from The Donald.

Drawing the Dead Man's Spot is fan-fave Casey singing the raisin song. He's been rather screechy in the past and vows in his intro piece to keep it under control. I'm just happy the Idol makeover people managed to attach him with a beard trimmer in his sleep. I give him a big aiiiiiight for this performance, but I think even going first won't endanger him. What's up with the string section on the judges's podium?

Mrs. High Lord likes Thia, even though I can't stand her. Mrs. High Lord likes that she's singing something up-tempo, which is always a plus. In parts the song is bigger than her voice, but she exceeds my expectations. She flubs the lyrics in a couple of places and that's always a bad sign. See rule #1A to the right. Vocally it was pretty good.

Jimmy says Jacob is the guy who the most natural fit for Motown. But it's not just because he's black. I think. Did they get new backup singers? Jacob does a good job in avoiding the oversing. He does a bad job in not coming off as really gay. But he has J-Lo dancing in her chair, which is a good sign. I like it a lot, even if he does all of the runs and stuff that I hate.

Lauren is up next and she's the person who is probably the least prepared for Motown week. She is one of the enigmas to me on the show this year. I don't know who her target audience is. I know she's this year's wide-eyed girl from a small country town, but beyond that, she's just another IBG. I associate this song with Kim Wilde. This is the first time I think she's done really well. In fact, it's almost as good as Jacob. I think she's benefiting from some early poor performances early, so now she appears to be improving, and voters like that.

Next up is Stefano and he's singing some Lionel Ritchie. I forsee a trainwreck. Plus, I hate this song. He puts me to sleep halfway through. He does oversing. Blech. Vocally, he's not awful, but compared to some of the others who have gone tonight, he clearly lost a step.

Of all the singers remaining, Mrs. High Lord and both want Haley to go. Given that she's made the bottom 3 every week, I think "America" believes that, too. At least it's straight-hair week on Idol. I think she's trading on her looks and short shorts, like another Haley of years past (Scarnato, for those of you keeping score). Her vocals also aren't awful, but they're not great either. At least it's not another ballad.

Scott claims to not be familiar with Motown, and I'm sure he'll come up with a way to countryfy it. Sure enough, the sounds like George Strait covering Stevie Wonder. I like Scotty, and I like that I already know how everything he's going to sing is going to sound. While that may get him eliminated in about the six or seven spot, it will definitely get him a contract in Nashville, and probably a more successful career than Josh Gracin and Phil Stacey.

So far, we've had two really good performances and five that were somewhere between meh and okay.

Pia is up next and Mrs. High Lord likes her, too. That's a good sign since I like watching the TV when she's on it. She goes the slow ballad route, which is a change-up from most of the rest of the field. Like Stefano, she leads me down the road to sleep. There's too much vibrato in her voice, which usually means the singer is nervous. It wasn't my favourite performance of hers.

A couple of years ago, Adam Lambert knocked "Tracks of My Tears" out of the park, and now Paul is trying his hand at it. I like the twins he's going singing backup for him. Paul takes his own take to the song, which is good since he's Adam and he's certainly not Smokey. I don't hate it, but I don't think it's great either. Plus, he flubs the lyrics.

One of my favourite singers of this year is Naima. I know she's not the greatest singer, but she's quirky and not as "corporate" as some of the others are. I like that you never know what she's going to do once she starts. Plus, she's got a couple of bigass drums on the stage with her. Like some of the others, she's not the greatest vocalist in the bunch, but at least she's a lot of fun, unlike say, Thia and Stefano. This was easily her best performance of the season.

All of this indicates that T/AG gets the Pimp Spot. He's also singing some Stevie Wonder. He's also okay, but not deserving of the prime placement. He give a high energy performance, but looks tight through the shoulders. Plus, he has to throw in an Adam Lambert wannabe shriek or three. Naima should have stabbed him so she was the final performance of the night.

The Good
Jacob, "You're All I Need to Get By"
Naima, "Dancing in the Street"
Lauren, "You Keep Me Hanging On"

The Bad
Casey, "Heard It Through the Grapevine"
James, "Living for the City"
Thia, "Heat Wave"
Pia, "All In Love is Fair"
Paul, "Tracks of My Tears"
Scotty, "For Once in My Life"

The Ugly
Haley, "You've really Got a Hold On Me"
Stefano, "Hello"

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As far as Motown nights go, this was the best we've had for a long, long time. I just wish that "America" will finally eliminate Haley tomorrow.

Usual faves Casey and Thia could find themselves in danger due to their early placement in the singing order.

Who should be in the bottom 3: Haley, Scotty, Stefano
Who will be in the bottom 3: Haley, Lauren, Stefano

Who should be eliminated: Haley
Who will be eliminated: Haley

I don't think Haley will survive a third trip to the bottom 3. I think she'll be going home. And if she's not, I'm going to throw something at Mrs. High Lord's new TV.

High Lord. Forge Breaker. Out.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Results, results, results . . .

I'm watching results, but not really paying attention since I'm protesting the hour long results shows. I only saw the last half of the show last night, but I really want Haley to be eliminated. Mrs. High Lord likes Thia. T/AG annoys me, too.

After last night, it's official: Pia is the hawtest finalist in the history of the show, just barely passing Kimberley Caldwell, who was followed very closely by Carrie and K-Mac. Here's someone else's list of the 10 hottest AI contestants so far.

I mute the group sing and Lee, whom I detest as the American Idol. I can't believe Crystal lost to him.

However, it makes me happy to know that Haley is in the bottom 3 so far tonight.

Scotty and Pia are both safe. I'm not sure how I feel about Scotty. I like him personally, but I just wonder if he's right for this show. Yes, he could be Carrie Underwood with a Y chromosome, but I think he needs to venture a little bit out of his comfort box, even if he stays in the country genre.

I like Naima, but she's in the bottom 3. Thia is safe, but she annoys me, too. Karen is in the bottom 3, which means our friend Beckeye picked it. Way to go, girl!

Then it's time for a random performer. The last time the BEP were on Idol, all I could do was stare at the crotch of Fergie's outfit. I wonder if tonight will be the same . . . she's in a skirt, so no. But her boobs are padded.

Why the eff aren't these shows 30 minutes long?

There's some fake drama as Naima is declared safe. It's interesting to see the body language among people facing elimination on this show. In years past, sometimes the singers hold each other for consolation or hold hands to show support for one another. This year, they're all standing separately.

Of course, it may be due to the fact that everyone detests Haley.

Karen is given the opportunity to save herself, but it doesn't go her way, and she leaves in tears. Damn, I wish the other person in the bottom 2 were going home.

High Lord. Supreme Master Weaponsmith. Out.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sushi and more

So tonight a bunch of us from work went out for dinner at Ra Sushi. I generally like this place, even though our service tonight was absolutely awful. Is it really that much of a burden to split up a check even after you assure us at the beginning of the night that we can get separate bills? And then take 20 minutes to get our money? Do you just want a $3 tip from everyone?

Anyway, Ra is what I consider to be "Vegas style" which is where the food is really trendy, there isn't a lot of traditional sushi on the menu, all of the staff is hawt twentysomethings and there is always loud music playing.

Long story short: I missed the first 41 minutes of Idol and arrived just in time to hear Haley sing way out of tune. So instead of blogging the rest of the show, I'm just going to watch the rest of the singers and then go to bed. I will be on for the results show tomorrow night.

High Lord. Slayer of the Watcher. Out.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

First results

Okay, let me start by saying how ticked off I am that Nigel reneged on his promise that the results shows would all be half an hour. So I spent the first half of the show at dinner and watching the Big Bang Theory.

I tuned in and found out that Karen is in the bottom 3 and Lauren is announced as safe. I don't know who else is safe. Plus, I really don't care. I'm only half paying attention as it is.

Ashton and Haley get called up. I really hope Haley is sent to the stools . . . and they're both in danger.


Seacrest declares the rest safe, which is good news if you're name isn't Judd Harris.

I guess that means I tuned in at the right time.

There's some yapping and then Karen is declared safe and returned to the couches. Ashton is then put up for elimination, which means Haley is safe. Crap! Even her body language is arrogant.

Ashton sings and I'll be the judges don't use the save on her.

I think we're about five weeks away from this getting interesting. There are some good singers, but a lot of people in the middle and we're just waiting for the mid tier singers to be culled from the group.

Next week, I guess we're back to a dozen finalists.

High Lord. Enemy of Angmar. Out.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Okay, I'm finally watching the show at it's regularly scheduled time

Of course, I'm on the road without a DVR and on the world's crappiest flat panel TV.

I'm still undecided about how I feel about the top 13. But I am happy that the opening round of voting was cut down to one week. I am not happy about the gender equity thing being perpetuated and the fact that face time is still an issue.

We're on for thirteen singers in two hours. They still need to cut back on the filler and inane banter and concentrate on the singing. But the sway pit is gone and that is also good.

I thought we were done with themes . . . but tonight the songs are songs by their personal idol. WTF? Just sing.

First up is Lauren and she's singing Shania Twain. Duh. This could be bad. Plus she's going first. I thought Idol loved her. I hate this song. She is very twangy. It's not awful, but it's not great either. Of course, right now the name of the game isn't to be the best, just don't be the slowest antelope in the herd. You know when you say you "had a good time", even you know you were bad.

Next up is Casey and he thinks "A Little Help From My Friends" is a Joe Cocker song. You're smarter than that, Casey. I think he's got enough votes in the bag that he can screech his way through this song. It's not as good as he can be; I think he's sandbagging. The judges slurp him, but I think he was just being lazy.

Ashton is going third, and she's pretty good. She's been the best vocalist so far tonight, but she's still flat in spots. Her look is definitely channeling later Diana Ross, and that's not necessarily good (too much eyeliner). I was meh on her tonight.

Does Ryan Adams qualify as an "idol"? Really? Paul apparently things so. Bryan Adams, yes. Who the eff is Ryan Adams? He reminds me of that guy who shows up at college parties with a guitar just to pick up chicks. What, did someone else already pick John Mayer? Maybe he's playing the game and angling for chick votes. The sway pit was made for him.

The super-hawt Pia gets the random sit-down interview. I don't to hear her talking. Either stand there looking pretty, jump up and down, or (as a last resort) actually sing. She's taking on Celine, which is usually a mistake since she's not actually Celine. Pia sounds shouty in parts, but vocally it's not as bad as I expected. Jennifer is struck speechless, but it wasn't that good.

T/AG is going to take on Paul McCartney and I hope he doesn't think that he has to do Adam Lambert's annoying screech every week. I am not fan, and I think he has gotten this far based on his face time and not actual talent. Unfortunately, I see him advancing well into the top 10, perhaps as high as number six or seven. I don't think he's going to pick up many new voters, but I think the ones he's got will probably carry him far. It wasn't as bad as I expected, but that doesn't mean it was good.

Eschewing a commercial break (shocker!), Haley is taking on Leann Rimes covering Patsy Cline. Steven is in love with her; oh, how I can't wait to be a dirty old man (right now, I'm just a perv when I pull that same crap). Like James, I don't think she's as good as everyone else thinks. I remember her from the auditions and Hollywood as being loud, out of tune and not as deserving of her spot as others. She's not only way too twangy, but Haley doesn't come close to Leann, and is miles short of Patsy. Plus I hate this song.

I'm undecided on Jacob. He likes child pornography fan R. Kelly. Apparently he also likes Space Jam more than being Trapped in a Closet. I think this is the first time I have heard him really sing and I am less than impressed. I also have a problem with all the stuff he's doing with the song instead of just singing it.

Another girl cruising by on her face time is Thia who should have been jettisoned in Hollywood. I wish someone would step on her. She's singing Michael Jackson. Her vocals aren't bad and considering some of her competition, she actually does pretty well. Tonight, that's not a compliment, by the way.

Is it just me or is everyone tonight playing it safe?

Stefano has an annoying nasal tone; not Chris Richardson annoying, but annoying nonetheless. He shouts a lot. He also seems nervous. And he (unwisely) goes for a power note at the end that runs all over the place. Fail.

In a bit of sucking up to J-Lo, Karen picks Selena as her idol. She starts out rough, with several off-pitch notes. She resists the urge to oversing, at least until the end. I'm happy that she doesn't try to do too much and instead just stands there and sings. Jennifer leads off with "You look so beautiful", which would be the kiss of death under Paula, and J-Lo chides her a little bit about her notes.

If I had my DVR, I would FF through all the judges's (useless) comments.

I don't know if they want to make him this year's Carrie Underwood, but Scotty is going to try anyhow. Somehow, he manages to countryfy "The River" more than Garth did. I think he's actually a pretty good country vocalist. Maybe, he should be on Nashville Star and not Idol. I think if they went hardcore with the theme nights, he'd be gone after disco night. It's a predictable song choice, but it should get him lots of votes. On a night when everyone else has been just okay, Scotty lands as the best of the night (so far). I think as long as he doesn't have to go too far out of his box, he'll be okay. Plus, he got depicted favourably coming out of Hollywood, and that means that he's banking a bajillion votes going into the Top 4.

Naima got a second chance through the Wild Card and she's singing Rhianna. I like her because she seems like she wants to have fun and not just sing a song to avoid elimination. Note to everyone else: happy songs are better than power ballads and easy tunes that don't challenge you. It was vocally unremarkable, but I'm glad she's still around in an otherwise pretty vanilla slate of singer. Her post-song unintelligible rambling is almost enjoyable.

The Good
Scotty, "The River"
Naima, "Umbrella"

The Bad
Pia, "All By Myself"
Thia, "Smile"
Ashton, "When You Tell Me That You Love Me"
Paul, "Come Pick Me Up"
Casey, "A Little Help From My Friends"
James, "Maybe I'm a Man"
Karen, "I Could Fall in Love"
Lauren, "Any Man of Mine"
Jacob, "I Believe I Can Fly"

The Ugly
Stefano, "Lately"
Haley, "Blue"

Overall, I thought the show tonight was kind of meh. There were a lot of safe song selections. A lot of power ballads. It seems like a lot of them were just trying to to be voted off, not trying to win.

Maybe some of the front runners are sandbagging. Maybe they don't want to seem to implode right out of the gate.

Tomorrow, we're eliminating someone. I thought Nigel promised us that all the results shows were going to be half an hour. What the eff? Liar!

I may only be watching the last 10 minutes tomorrow's show.

Anyway, I'll be back then.

High Lord. Hunter of Dark Beasts. Out.