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.