Saturday, March 31, 2007

the best is yet to come...

Next up on the Idol parade of themes is American Classics/Swing Classics with guest mentor Tony Bennett, my personal and perennial favorite episode. Bennett's current CD, Duets: An American Classic, is here.

But more importantly, how will Sanjaya wear his hair? I see a slick-back look. And how short will Haley's skirt/shorts go?

So, who do you want to hear sing what?

I can't wait.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

10 becomes 9: a SIMULBLOG!...

Who is going home, and how will Sanjaya wear his hair?

That's what the world wants to know as Ryan opens the show, where we will whittle the field down to single digits and be forced to hear Gwen Stefani's new song.

And this is a SIMULBLOG! It's live writing as the show is unfolding, so if you don't want to be spoiled, RUN! RUN QUICKLY! But come back later.

Because THIS is American Idol!

And Ryan's been Sanjaya'ed as he introduces the show, before shaking off the dead rodent who had taken up residence on his head.

We get to see the highlights from the night before, including the infamous Ponyhawk, as we're sent to the first commerciall marathon...

The kids are fighting the law in the FORD COMMERCIAL. And the law won.

Ryan is sending the three lowest vote getters to the seal.

Blake Lewis is safe.
LaKisha Jones has Gina hair, and she's safe.
Phil Stacey has no hair, and he's in the bottom three. (Hey! I called that!)
Melinda Doolittle is safe. Shocker.
Chris Richardson looks like a boy scout, and he's told he's safe.
Sanjaya Malakar has regular hair, and he's safe, because I gave him a lifetime pass.
Haley Scarnato is told to go hang out with Phil. (Hey! I've been calling that for weeks.)
Jordin Sparks is safe.
Gina Glocksen and Chris Sligh are left. And they're told they're gonna wait. Chris is looking sooo dead.

It's time for the Idol Challenge, that mind-bending game of smarts that my pup wins every week. Pick B!

Gwen Stefani sings. Yadda, yadda. Woo hoo, Yee hoo.

I'd prefer a group sing.

Phil and Haley are waiting. Chris and Gina are told to stand, each gets reminded of the songs they sang, and Chris is sent to the seal.

YAY ME! Three for Three! That's a first!

Phil is sent back to the sofa as his wife cheers. And other people too.

After a gazillion votes, Ryan tells Haley she's safe and sends Chris back to his home. He gets to watch his journey, and, alas, does not get to make Hasselhoff cry.

That one wasn't right.

But so long Chris Sligh. You shoulda never stopped being funny.

Your thoughts?

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

the top 10: gwen's inspiration...

It's the night that the kids sing songs from the people who turn Gwen Stefani on. It's the 10 who are going on tour taking the Stefani list of artists that inspire her.

We're promised an eclectic evening of everyone from The Cure to Donna Summer. I knew it was too much to hope that Gwen Stefani would be a Partridge Family fan. One of these days Laurie Partridge is gonna be a guest. Mark my words.

After week one's destruction of Diana Ross and last week's recovery with the brilliant music from the British Invasion, it's hard to know what to expect. And with music ranging from disco to current, the promise is fulfilled, with varying results, none of which gave me cause to jump up and applaud and elicited only, from me, one OMG!

But anyway, here they are, subject to rewind, review and revision, and, as usual, from worst to first, with the exception of the "special list":

Special List:

Sanjaya Malakar (Bathwater). I'm certain that Sanjaya actually performed, but I can't get past the Nadia faux-hawk. OMG!! Seriously. I can't get past the hair. But Simon's right; he's in his own universe and nothing he does, doesn't do, or anything the judges say is gonna matter. The boy's a force. I am developing a crush. He's a kid who knows he's not on the same talent level as the others, so if he's goin' down, he's gonna do it memorably. I like that in a special list.

And the rest:

Haley Scarnato (True Colors). Gwen says don't mess with the melody. She's right. And while Haley doesn't destroy the melody, she does nothing for it either, giving it the typical Haley cruise ship treatment. Simon calls it unmemorable. Heck, I have to fight to even remember the girl's even in the finals.

Chris Richardson (Don't Speak). Chris gets the pimp spot, but why I don't know. Okay, so it was far better than his last outing, but I still have a tough time listening to Chris' nasal offering. Randy calls it good; Simon doesn't. I'm siding with Simon.

Chris Sligh (Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic). Gwen tells him to work on his rhythm with his song and, well, he just doesn't. Even though Randy and Paula applaud his song choice, Simon rips him a new one, justifiably, to which Chris responds, justifiably, "my bad." Sums it up.

LaKisha Jones (Last Dance). LaKisha starts the night, and Gwen suggests that she should be the one asking KiKi for advice. Not on fashion, Gwen. At least LaKisha stretches a bit beyond what we're used to with this Donna Summer disco number. Simon tells her she's reversed back thirty years from the performance of the week before, as all three judges give her six thumbs up.

Blake Lewis (Lovesong). Simon tells Blake he's entering the Chris Daughtry zone, by taking his own road and venturing into "boring" territory. Regardless of Paula's objections, I agree. Blake's performances are starting to become interchangeable. And even though Simon considers him the frontrunner male, so was Daughtry at this time last season.

Jordin Sparks (Hey Baby). My new favorite Jordin, as Randy says, "took a risk" with this Stefani song. Okay, so it wavered in spots, and Simon called it copycat, but it was tons of fun, and I love this girl, so all is forgiven.

Gina Glocksen (I'll Stand By You). Gina comes out in third spot, Gwen gushes all over her pre-performance, and the judges (and I) gush all over her post-performance. Randy and Paula call it one of her best performances. Simon says not one of her best, but her best and the best of the evening.

Melinda Doolittle (Heaven Knows). Gwen Stefani must really love Donna Summer, because both of the divas pluck numbers from the Summer songbook. I'm not sure who helped Melinda in the wardrobe department, but I doubt that it was Stefani. She gets slobbered over, as is customary, even though Simon's on the mark when he says this performance won't be on the season six highlight reel.

Phil Stacey (Every Breath You Take). Phil's wearing a much-needed cap and delivers his best performance since the semi-finals. The judges agree with me, nicely, and Simon remarks that this is the first time Phil's come across as taking the competition seriously, which, of course, means he'll be in the bottom. And I can't believe I'm putting him last, which means first.

Well, somebody's gonna have to leave tomorrow. And Sanjaya gets a lifetime pass from here on.

Who I want: Haley, Chris R., Chris S. (Haley)
Who should: Haley, Chris R., Chris S. (Haley)
Who will: Haley, Chris S., Phil

See ya, Haley!

So, who's on your special list?


finally a theme...

Well, after hearing songs of the 1990s, then pop week, then songs from the 21st Century to songs of the 1990s to pop week, tonight's theme has finally been revealed.

Nigel says it's none of the above.

Gwen Stefani is the guest coach and the theme is (this is new) "artists that inspire Gwen Stefani." Gee, I hope Gwen likes the same artists that I do.

Remember, tonight's episode is exactly 67 minutes long, probably because they're reserving extra time for crying tweenagers.


Monday, March 26, 2007

vcr alert...

Due to American Idol's insatiable need to decimate any and every potential competitor for our viewing affection, tomorrow's performance episode, originally slated for one hour, has been changed to exactly 67 minutes, from 8 p.m. until 9:07 p.m.

After all, Dancing with the Stars, which altered its schedule to avoid such a conflict, has its first results episode at 9 p.m.

Next week Fox will be spreading marbles across the ABC dance floor and sending Sanjaya over to sing.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

smells like idol spirit...

They're flashing back to the music of the 1990s next week with, presumably, Gwen Stefani as the guest mentor. Do you remember the music of the 90s? Do you even remember the 90s?

Here's some help.

Songs of the 1990s.
More songs of the 1990s.
And even more songs of the 1990s.

Yes. Paula Abdul had some hits. So did Cher. And Boy Bands were all the rage.

Personally, I want to watch Sanjaya perform Mambo #5. Or Livin' La Vida Loca. Yes. That is what I want.

What do you suggest they sing? Give your ideas in the comments.

Oh, and by the way, if you've loved some of the performances, you can purchase the full studio version of your favorites at the
American Idol site. Each audio download is 99 cents and is compatible with your iPod. (I just bought both Jordin and Melinda's from British Invasion night; the quality is terrific.) Videos are also available.

And, while you're there, pick up (or down load, as it were) Elliott Yamin's self-titled album, just released this week. His full version of A Song For You is to die for.

UPDATE: Seems the early spoiler for a 90s week is giving way to a credible "Pop Week." Gee. Could we be more broad? But I still maintain my pledge to vote a solid two hours for Sanjaya, should he choose to perform Hanson.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

10 for the tour: a SIMULBLOG!...

It was a British Invasion, of sorts, and not a Beatle in sight last night as the 11 remaining finalists worked with two of the best mentors to date.

But we all know the rules, and the rules are that somebody's gonna die, get drop-kicked to the curb, or to the nearest bus station, and the 10 remaining after the funeral video know they're gonna be spending a lot of quality time together all summer. With an endless supply of PopTarts.

Because THIS is American Idol.

And this is a SIMULBLOG, where I'm typing as I'm watching with a publish at each important break, so if you don't want to be spoiled while you wait for the broadcast in your neck of the woods, this might not be the best place to be for awhile. Just be sure to come back and leave your thoughts.

Ryan introduces the highlights from the night before, complete with crying little girl Ashley as the main attraction. And then he introduces Peter Noone who performs A Kind of Hush. Oh how I love Herman and his Hermits! The man sounds miles better than last week's Diana Ross pitchy display.

FORD COMMERICIAL! That one was cute. It's Another Saturday Night and the kids are destroying a laundry.

Time for results!

Phil Stacey is told to stand. So is Melinda Doolittle. And Blake Lewis.
They get reminded what they performed and are told they all are safe.

The next three told to stand are Chris Sligh, LaKisha Jones and Jordin Sparks.
They are not in the bottom either.

Sanjaya Malakar, Haley Scarnato and Gina Glocksen are told to stand.
They're not in the bottom. Hugs everywhere! Somewhere little Ashley is crying.

Chris Richardson and Stephanie Edwards are told they are the bottom two. Well, that was an interesting way to send kids to the seal.

Lulu is coming up next...

It's time for the American Idol Challenge where people who've never watched the show can actually WIN! Choose A!!

Ryan does another pitch for Idol Gives Back. He's hitting up corporate America for big bucks.

YAY! It's Lulu with one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite movies, To Sir With Love.

With less than three minutes till the credits roll, this is gonna be quick...

It's Chris Richardson and Stephanie Edwards on the firing line. They each get reminded of their reviews, and after 30 million votes, Chris is sent back to safety.

Stephanie gets to watch her journey, she wipes her tears, and they don't even pretend that they're gonna let her sing.

So long Stephanie.

Please discuss.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

the last 11: to simon with love...

Well, this is the cutoff week for the summer tour as, for some bizarre reason, the show chooses 12 finalists but hacks two from the PopTart stage. And it's the night to recall the brilliant sound of the British invasion, complete with Herman's Hermits' Peter Noone and the beautiful Lulu, who has improved with time, to help the kids polish their accents.

It hurts a 40-plus year old to hear the kids say they didn't know the songs from this era, but considering most of the songs from this decade were brilliant to start with, it isn't terribly surprising that it's the best night of the sixth season thus far. Even though the real star was a little girl with never-ending tears.

But anyway, here they are, my early impressions, subject to rewatch, review and revision, and as always, from worst to first:

Phil Stacey (Tobacco Road). Oh heavens. I don't know what I hated most about this manic, over-the-top performance. I'll start with the mic stand carry. Then I'll mention the screeching. And then there was the running around aimlessly. Simon says he may have a problem tomorrow. And I don't think that warning will be enough to save him.

Sanjaya Malakar (You Really Got Me). There is a little girl in the audience that is hysterically crying. It's flashing me back to the Beatles and all the crying girls. Sanjaya is "singing" (at least far far better than Ryan Starr did this number), running all over the place, hitting every available stage and doing everything but a bump and grind. Well, Peter did tell him to sell it. But all I can see is the little girl. I'm sure she has a Hello Kitty phone tucked into her purse.

Stephanie Edwards (You Don't Have to Say You Love Me). Lulu compares Stephanie to Beyonce and expects that with a big band and great arrangement Stephanie will blow it out of the park. Not so much. Stephanie's problem is that her rendition of this Dusty classic sounded better without the big band. Randy comments that ballads are not her thing because she can't sustain the long notes. Bingo. Every sustained note goes into left field. And it might just be enough - or less than enough - to land her in the bottom.

Chris Richardson (Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying). A bit of bias from me, but this is one of my all-time favorite songs, so I was a little worried. And I all but stood and applauded Peter Noone's scolding that some songs just command to be sung without flourishes. I don't disagree with Randy and Simon that this was CR's best performance to date, because I'm not a huge fan, but I can't and won't slather praise for his consistently thin and nasally vocals.

Gina Glocksen (Paint It Black). I adore Gina, I really do. I do not adore the Rolling Stones. And ditto this song. And this was not good. With so many great rock songs of this era, why she chose a Stones song is a mystery to me. It would have been better to save this one for the tour. Or the shower. Ouch.

Haley Scarnato (Tell Him). Lulu tells Haley to keep the staccato in this number, because without it the song is just like any other song. And Haley throws on a pair of hot pants and heels, decides to command not only the stage, but the first five rows of the auditorium and turns in the best performance she's yet to deliver. And she sheds no tears, which, of course, means she'll probably land in the bottom three on Wednesday.

Chris Sligh (She's Not There). Chris weaves his way through the audience, shaking hands and high-fiving through the first third of this Zombies classic. After last week's disastrous alteration of a classic, he sticks very true to the melody, delivering a well-enunciated, good, not great, not earthshattering, performance. Paula suggests he play more to the audience. Maybe next week a mosh pit?

LaKisha Jones (Diamonds Are Forever). They say she's wearing a million dollars worth of diamonds. Wow. Their wardrobe budget must have really increased this season. They are pretty and almost offset the Sanjaya hairstyle. She really should have listened to Lulu who suggested another song though. Kiki pretty much channels Shirley Bassey, which she's called for. Simon says she just fast-forwarded about 40 years and accuses her of being too old-fashioned. I don't know that I would call it old, but I definitely call it less than what I've come to expect.

Blake Lewis (Time of the Season). Blake could not have chosen a more perfect song. He beatboxes the entry into the song, does not try to embellish it beyond the basic melody. Randy calls it brillant, Paula does the Paula dance and Simon says it's his best yet. I overwhelmingly agree. It was terrific.

Jordin Sparks (I Who Have Nothing). Jordin is every inch the teenager in her pre-performance banter with Ryan. Then she takes the stage and turns into Shirley Bassey, knocks down the first five rows of the audience, gets her reviews and reverts back into teen-mode. Randy says it's the best performance of the night (and Sanjaya is yet to come!). Everything that Stephanie did wrong with a ballad, Jordin did right. It was an exquisite display of vocal talent, and if I were betting at this point, I wouldn't bet against a Jordin appearance in a two-person show in late May.

Melinda Doolittle (As Long as He Needs Me). First off, I don't count this song as a British Invasion song, but this show's been known to stretch the rules for the favored children. And midway through Melinda's performance I didn't give a damn if it fit the rules or not. I gotta get this one on my iPod.

So, who to pick for the firing squad...

Who I want: Phil, Sanjaya, Haley (Sanjaya)
Who should: Phil, Sanjaya, Haley (Sanjaya)
Who will: Phil, Haley, Stephanie

Phil, it's been really nice knowing you.

So, who's on your hit list?


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

12 becomes 11: a SIMULBLOG!

After a less than stellar opening night in a less than stellar season thus far and after the semi-desecration of the Diana Ross catalog, we get to wave bye-bye to our first finalist. Yay! Execution! And, as anyone who was watching on Tuesday knows, it could be any one of about 10 kids who gets the ax.

That has to be a new record.

Because THIS is American Idol, where kids who shouldn't advance far beyond their means and kids who shouldn't get bus tickets back home, all accompanied by Chris Daughtry.

And THIS is a simulblog, where I'm typing as I'm watching, complete with typos and grammatical homicide, and spoilers galore, so if you're sensitive to grammatical murder, or you're in the West and want to be surprised, you might want to check out youtube for the next hour to remind yourself of the murders that took place last night.

Ryan warns us that it's going to be a busy night, because we must be reminded of the events of the previous evening, we must engage in pointless banter with the judges and we get to be treated to a live performance from Miss Ross herself.

And we get a group sing! YAY! A tribute to Diana Ross. Lots of STOP hand gestures, so reminiscent of those wacky 60s days and lots of less than stellar harmony. Just like a group sing should be.

Okay...time for the killing!

Or the commercials...

FORD COMMERCIAL! I've missed those. The kids fast forward through about three decades before driving off in those neato Ford vehicles. Keen.

Wow, they're booking tonight!


Time to start the lineup:

LaKisha Jones is safe.
So is Gina Glocksen.
Brandon Rogers is told to go to the seal and prepare to die.
Jordin Sparks is told to sit back down.
Chris Richardson is safe.
Melinda Doolittle is staying put.
Phil Stacey is sent to stand next to Brandon.
Chris Sligh is told to sit.
Stephanie Edwards is okay.
Blake Lewis is hanging on for another week.
Haley Scarnato and Sanjaya Malakar are left to wait until after the break...

And after the break...

Oooo. It's another one of whose Idol Challenge stumpers. (ANSWER: B!)

Haley and Sanjaya are gonna have to wait until after we hear from Miss Ross, who's splendid in red and gives the kids a lesson in performing.

With Brandon and Phil standing on the seal, we're down to Haley and Sanjaya to round out the bottom three.

Haley is told to sit and Sanjaya is sent to the seal.

Phil Stacey is sent back to safety to the cheers of the audience.

Sanjaya is sent to the sofa and hugs the departing Brandon. That was really no surprise.

Brandon gets to watch his funeral video and gets cut off before he gets to forget his words again. Boy, he sure was cute. I'll miss his face.

So long Brandon.

See you next week. Please discuss.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

and they're off...

Finally. It's taken its toll, but the final 12 hit the big stage for the end run of the sixth season. The guys and the girls share the stage, after three weeks of praising the women and dissing the men. And to help the guys along, they all get to sing the works of Diana Ross.

Oh well, that's fair. The women in this series have been singing boys' songs for years.

Diana says she wants to parent the kids, so I guess that means she'll get to spank a lot of them. And send them to their rooms without microphones.

But here they are, subject to rewatching and revising, and, as always, from worst to first.

Brandon Rogers (You Can't Hurry Love). Brandon has to start the night, which is never good, and he sounds like a kid singing to the record with a broom in his hand, complete with a lyrical brainfart in the middle. The judges tell him that as a lead vocalist, he makes a good background singer. I think they're wrong. Background singers who forget the words normally make good bartenders.

Sanjaya Malakar (Ain't No Mountain High Enough). Oh, how I was hoping that, after the zillions of times this song has been performed and the vastness of the Ross catalogue that no one would choose this. How ironically appropriate that Mr. Malakar did. Especially after his trip to the Curls R Us. And he delivers the best performance the boy has delivered so far, which puts him, for the first time, not the worst, because at least he remembered the words. The judges crucify him, which will all but assure his passage into the final 11.

Haley Scarnato (Missing You). Diana Ross tells Haley that she recorded this song upon the death of Marvin Gaye. Haley then promises to enjoy the song and have fun. Uhhh, okay. She looks very pretty in a Katharine McPhee sort of way. And she forgets the words. The girl who needs to pull Jimmy Hoffa's body out of a hat to survive forgets the words. Randy punches her in the stomach. Paula kicks her lifeless body. But Simon, who remembers her name, brings her to tears with a positive review. I'm leaning toward Simon, because despite the missed notes and missed lyrics, she is certainly not the worst of the worst so far.

Chris Richardson (The Boss). My biggest complaint with Chris is that he always sounds as though he's singing through his nose, and this was about as bad as it gets. His vocals are thin as wafers, and while he does a good job compensating with stage presence, when Simon (finally) told him his vocals were wretched, I actually applauded.

Chris Sligh (Endless Love). Of all of the 12, Chris is not the one I would have predicted for this song. And he tries to put a "contemporary" spin on it, by turning one of the loveliest melodies ever into a sort of dance tune. The assassination of this song gets six thumbs down from the judges; eight thumbs down if you count mine. (My pup has no thumbs or the total would have been ten.)

Blake Lewis (You Just Keep Me Hanging On). Blake tells Diana that he wants to send this song through the time machine, because it's, well, old. And he slows it down to about 33 rpm (young people go ask your parents...) and, essentially, destroys it. Randy reminds him that the classics are classics for a reason, Paula babbles Paulaeese and Simon slaps him on the wrist. Deservedly. TRIVIA: Every finalist [Vanessa Olivarez(2)/Leah LaBelle(3)] who has ever performed this song on the first night of finals was kicked off the next night. I think Blake may break that dubious streak.

Stephanie Edwards (Love Hangover). Not much to say about Stephanie's performance that the judges didn't say. It was bland, a tease with the intro and no payback with the good stuff, as Simon and Paula pointed out. A little bobble with the lyrics as Randy reminded everyone. In a word: unmemorable. And that's going to be her undoing. Just not tomorrow.

Gina Glocksen (Love Child). Miss Ross reminds Gina that this song has tons of words (which is probably why I still can't sing with it on the radio) and that it's important that she not mush them up. She doesn't mush them up, but it's almost as if I could watch her mind wheels cranking as she worked hard to remember the lyrics. Disappointing. The judges give her tepid reviews, rightfully so, even though I'm still trying to figure out how Paula describes this song as a "feel good" one.

Phil Stacey (I'm Gonna Make You Love Me). Phil promises to actually start a song decently. And, by golly, he does! And he delivers his best vocal performance since the first week of the semi-finals. Randy and Paula call the performance boring. Simon says it wasn't great, but it wasn't awful. I say it just may have bought him more weeks than I thought.

Melinda Doolittle (Home). Melinda says she's an old-school Motown girl. So she chooses to sing a Broadway number. The crowd goes nuts and Melinda sheds tears, because she's never heard a reaction like that for her before. And she makes Paula cry already. Randy calls it hawt, even though he says it's not his favorite Melinda performance. Simon gives her props for turning a boring song into something spectacular.

LaKisha Jones (God Bless the Child). We learn that LaKisha prefers to go by KiKi. Okay then. KiKi it is. And after that performance, she can call herself Madame Look At Me I Own This Stage and the Crew that Built It if she wants. Simon tells her that she and Melinda are in one league; the others are, well, in the playoffs for the remaining spots. Gee Simon. Tell us something we don't already know.

Jordin Sparks (If We Hold On Together). Wow. I knew this girl could blow the walls of this joint, but wow. No wonder she got the sweet anchor spot. Randy tells her it's now a three-girl race. It's too early to call that, but Jordin has, with that performance, just thrown her hat into the serious ring. Wow.

Now the tough stuff, that really isn't as tough as it has been in the past.

Who I want: Brandon, Sanjaya, Haley (Sanjaya)
Who should: Brandon, Sanjaya, Haley (Sanjaya)
Who will: Brandon, Haley, Stephanie (Bye, bye Brandon)

So...who's on your short list?


Monday, March 12, 2007

the 12: watching them fall...

Well, season six is shaping up to be a snoozer of a competition, considering that, at this point, it looks as though we have a couple of anointed ones and a couple potential spoilers mixed in with a potload of spot fillers and a couple who shouldn't even been put through to the top 24.

Yep. It's season three all over again.

It's always fun to speculate before the first song is sung on the big stage how the final 12 will fare, but, of course, there's always the wrenches that will be thrown in throughout the next couple of months. One can never predict who will smart off to Simon, who will fail miserably, who will start preaching or whose nekkid photos will crop up next.

Because THIS is American Idol!

But I'll try nonetheless. Here's how I think things might just pan out:

At 12: The kids will sing the songs of Diana Ross (or, perhaps, the more broad theme "Motown" which is the traditional first week theme). Haley Scarnato, who sneaked her way past Sabrina Sloan on a Melissa McGhee pass, will turn a Supremes song into something reminiscent of vanilla pudding and be sent packing. Hopefully, though, she won't forget the lyrics.

At 11: This is tour cut-off time. Whoever gets whacked this week will have to actually buy a ticket to see the Giant PopTart instead of getting a free supply, so the pressure is on if voters want to see their fave in a city near them. People (aside from the tweeners and the VFTW faithful) will be wringing their hands over the continued presence of one young man. They will be crying foul. And just plain crying. And Phil Stacey will be sent home to spend the summer caring for his baby daughter.

At 10: With everyone now safely in the summer tour program book, many voters might use this week as a cooling off period. And we'll say goodbye to another of the guys, because the girls are singing circles around them. So long, Brandon Rogers.

At 9: I wonder if we've done country night at this point. If not, this might be the week. Country night killed Mandisa last season in the first of that year's SHOCKERS, but with so many poor guys from which to choose, this result won't shock anybody. See ya Sanjaya Malakar. Say hi to your sister. And trim your hair.

At 8: With five girls and three guys, the girls are gonna be splitting votes. And one of them is going to go home. I say it's Stephanie Edwards.

At 7: That vote splitting is getting bad, and the Stephanie crowd is going to have to choose a new team. Some will go to Team LaKisha; others will vote Team Melinda. Jordin Sparks loses.

At 6: Chris Richardson's Justin Timberlite ride comes to an end.

At 5: Chris Sligh makes David Hasselhoff cry. Or not.

At 4: It's time for the SHOCKER! In choosing between a rocker, two R&B'ers and a beatboxing male, somebody's gonna fall victim to split voting and the failure to advantage from displaced voters. LaKisha Jones is the new LaToya London and gets Tamyra'd/Daughtry'd in fourth. The prospect for a Diva v. Diva finale smackdown is shattered.

At 3: It was a good ride for Gina Glocksen.

At 2: It's Blake Lewis v. Melinda Doolittle. The beatboxer v. the background singer. Melinda wins in a landslide.

So...there's my breakdown. What's yours?


Thursday, March 08, 2007

and the 12 stand alone: a SIMULBLOG!...

This is it, the last of the semi-finals, when we wave goodbye to four kids whose names will become Idol trivia in about two weeks. What's left will be the last 12 standing, all of whom will appear on the Idol 6 compilation CD and ten of whom will tour the country this summer with a giant Pop Tart.

Season four champ Carrie Underwood is supposed to stop by, and we're finally going to learn the big SURPRISE that they've been teasing us about for days. (Most sources confirm that it has something to do with the show, Africa and Bono, and all will be revealed about 2/3rds of the way through, according to Ken Warwick.)

And, as usual, this is a SIMULBLOG, where I'm writing as the action unfolds, complete with typos and nonsensical sentences, with a publish at every stop, so if you're a comma freak, or you live in the West and want to be SHOCKED at the result, they're playing Qwerty on Pogo, cause this is not the place to be.

Because THIS is American Idol! And people are gonna buy the farm. And quite probably, other people are gonna go apocalyptic. So fasten your seatbelts.

THIS could be a classic!

YAY! We start with a group sing and they're all Stuck in the Middle (With You). It's very appropriate that the girls are in the middle of two of the guys, singing clowns to the left, jokers to the right. Whoever came up with that one was brilliant. Too bad the performance rated about a 9 on the suck-o-meter.

Ryan runs down the agenda, points to the urinal seats and then to the judges, applauding the 37 million votes that poured in. We get to spend far too much time reflecting over the highlights of the past two nights.



Blake Lewis and LaKisha Jones are sent to sit in two of the urinal seats. And told they'll work with Miss (Diana) Ross next week. I don't know if that's a win or not. But they're in the finals.

Chris Sligh is told he's waiting until after the break, and 67 commercials later, he's told what we knew anyway, that he's got a seat next to Blake.

Jordan Sparks is told how pretty she is. She's told to sit at the urinals with the others. YAY!

Phil Stacey is wearing a hat again. He says he's nervous. And he's told to sit by Jordin. He's astonished. He must have read my blog.

Jared Cotter stands middle stage, with the look of resignation. He's given a gentle kick in the rear. And Paula gives him the Paula Pep Talk. He gets to sing his own funeral song as we all wonder if Sundance is sobbing again...


Random observation: Gee whiz, these Idol Challenge questions are tuff...


Melinda Doolittle and Brandon Rogers are both sent to join the good people. Hugs for everybody!

Gina Glocksen and Chris Richardson are called to the eyeball stage, and they're holding hands. They give big hugs when they're sent to join the urinal gang.

----We interrupt this assassination for an important song----

We're treated to a montage of Miss Underwood, just in case we weren't watching that season or in case we've forgotten. She takes to the stage, looking quite pretty. And she sings.


Antonella Barba and Stephanie Edwards are summoned. And Antonella is mercifully executed. The sound you just heard was a nation cheering. Ryan asks her the typical "what will you remember questions, and she tries to get through her goodbye song. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye Antonella!!



Haley Scarnato and Sabrina Sloan are called to the stage, and both of them are crying. Haley stays; Sabrina is outta here. The judges are SHOCKED! So is Sabrina. Sundance is crying. Randy says America got it wrong. Note to Randy: America do not take kindly to Simon getting crappy with the kids sometimes. When will those judges learn?

Sabrina sings her swan song. I liked her. So long Sabrina!


Ryan pats the show on the back for its 200th episode, and he says the show wants to "give something back." The April 24/25 final six show will be huge, with sponsors donating money per vote to fight the war on poverty, both in Africa and at home. The results show will be a mini-finale of sorts, featuring a special Quincy Jones-written song for the six, Pink, Bono, Gwen Stefani and others. Well, that's something to look forward to.


It's down to Sanjaya Malakar and Sundance Head. After a two-hour commercial break, Ryan gives them their reviews from last night and sends Sundance home. The sound you just heard was the sound of Hello Kitty voters screaming.



Okay. Now vent.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

the top 8 gals: saving us from stagnation...

The only thing I can think of saying about last night's guys outing is that it's over. Look up "suckfest" in the dictionary, and the top 8 boys' photo will be there. (Or if it's not, will somebody puleeze start a petition to get it inserted.)

We've been teased with a promised a big old-fashioned "surprise" tomorrow, aside from the visit by Miss Underwood, who will perform her new single Wasted. (Dang, I was hoping for Before He Cheats, complete with baseball bat being taken to the set. I never get anything good.) I suppose it's too much to hope for that seven of the girls make it through with four of the guys and the SURPRISE addition of Frenchie Davis to shake things up, make up for past misjudgments and put the fear of God in Melinda and LaKisha. Yeah. Too much. I know. I never get anything good.

As it is, looks like I'll have to settle for watching the advancement of Sanjaya Malakar, playing the role of John Stevens and Antonella Barba in the role of Jasmine Trias in the remake of season three.

Because THIS is American Idol.

But enough of my fantasies. Here they come and here they are, my early reviews, subject to rewatch, rewind and revision and, as usual, from worst to first.

Antonella Barba (Put Your Records On). Antonella is to tell us a secret, like she has any anymore, and reveals that she plays the violin. And then she proves that, as a singer, she's a terrific violinist. Simon tells her she's surrounded by some terrific "girl singers" and she ain't one of them. But he makes her feel better by telling her that her performance "wasn't her worst." It wasn't her worst, but it was the night's worst. As usual.

Haley Scarnato (If My Heart Had Wings). Haley reveals that she tumbles. Or at least did, until her knee exploded. She picks a safe song, sings it safely, despite a couple of flat moments. Paula tells her she looks great. Never a good thing. Simon calls it "horrible." And in one of the funniest post-performance moments I can recall, Haley essentially whines that she's a seat-filler, clocking in and clocking out, enduring Simon's wrath as part of the job. Note to Haley: that's supposed to make you want to do better, not just give up and phone it in. Don't be surprised when nobody phones in.

Stephanie Edwards (Sweet Thing). I think Stephanie has a ton of talent, but I just can't seem to get enthused over her song selection. She bores me. Randy and Simon call her out on her lack of "individuality" but Randy says she has the "yo factor" and Simon anoints her a finalist. I say if there's an upset in the making, Stephanie may be the victim.

Jordin Sparks (Heartbreaker). Jordin loves football, she tells everyone. And she loves Pat Benatar, so she can't be all bad. Despite a bit of an out-of-breath problem, because her level of energy never waivers (and never varies, unfortunately), she's better than all of the guys combined. Simon calls her shreeky, and he's right to a point. It wasn't her best; her best was two weeks ago. But she does enough to advance.

Sabrina Slaon (Don't Let Go). Sabrina recalls her high school journalism hope of being the next Katie Couric. She looks FAB and delivers a decent performance, one that didn't have me boppin' in my seat, but didn't send me running for the door either. I really don't like these song choices where the backup singers carry much of the load. Randy and Simon give it mediocre reviews, but all three members of the panel give her an enthusiastic final 12 endorsement.

LaKisha Jones (I Have Nothing). Holy Mother of Whitney, I am so incredibly sick of this song. I wouldn't want to hear Houston herself sing it. The judges slobber all over her, as usual. And, while she knocked this song out far better than the girl from last season, I'm too busy starting my petition to ban the song to evaluate further.

Gina Glocksen (Call Me When You're Sober). Gina introduces us to Mr. Pickle, her good luck charm. She's lost the matronly look of last week and is sporting the "edgy" look she was told to sport. She partially screams and loses control of her final glory note, but gets good reviews from the judges, specifically Simon, who makes her cry when he tells her he hopes for her to survive tomorrow.

Melinda Doolittle (I'm a Woman). Melinda admits that she has OCD. But she thinks it's equality. And, as if it weren't enough that she's already gonna win this whole thing, they give her the final slot to ensure her advancement to the finals. Like she needed it. She's a woman, after all, that's W-O-M-A-N. Randy tells her she's a pro and that she may as well chuck this competition and make a record now. Paula spouts platitudes and Simon feigns astonishment that the kitty cat they thought they had is, in actuality, a tiger.

Whew. This is going to be easy. And really tough.

Who I want: Antonella and Antonella.
Who should: Antonella and Haley.
Who will: Haley and Stephanie. I'm calling for the upset that's gonna piss off the world.

Please discuss. See you tomorrow for the announcement that will rock the world.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

top 8 guys: we want our money back...

And so it ends. And begins. Next week we will applaud the beginning of the (overly) long awaited finals. But we get to smash the dreams of four more young people first.

Because THIS is American Idol.

It's guys night, and a few things are certain. They'll probably underperform (hopefully a few of them are sandbagging), and two that probably shouldn't will be pushed through, at the expense of at least one semi-talented guy. America will be pissed. That's why we love this show.

And the verdict? They under underperformed, and two that probably shouldn't will be pushed through, but the two who are left eating dust probably deserve to be there. Half the field of eight deserve to stay home. What a shame that a couple of talented women will be executed in the name of gender equity.

Anyway, here they are, subject to rewind, rewatch (which will NOT happen) and revision, and, as usual, from worst to first:

Sanjaya Malakar (Waiting on the World to Change). Sanjaya, who obviously had a head-on collision with a flat iron reveals he knows how to Hula. Okay. This poor kid seems to be campaigning for the Vote for the Worst vote. He is strides better than the past two weeks, but his better is, well, really bad. When Paula can't even come up with a "well you look nice," it's been a bad night. Sanjaya's a lock for the finals. Hello Kitties!

Phil Stacey (I Need You). Can Phil start any song successfully? At least he's wearing a hat this week, which is about the only positive thing I can find to say. Randy says he "starting with the pluses: which means he's got lots of negatives. Paula actually gives even more real criticism. Simon doesn't get it. Neither do I.

Chris Richardson (Tonight I Wanna Cry). Okay, I officially am wondering what the judges are smoking. I like Chris, but this was not good. There's no power and no distinguishable passion, at least not until the end. The judges, save Simon, love it. I'm confused.

Jared Cotter (If You Really Love Me). Jared needs to pull a rabbit, an alligator, an elephant AND the father of Anna Nicole's baby out of a hat to advance past tonight, and he pulls out another Stevie Wonder song. Ouch. His performance is not painful, but it's not a showstopper. Randy calls it solid. Paula gives actual advice, and Simon translates Paula. But at least I knew the name of the song. Jared just booked his ticket home.

Sundance Head (Jeremy). Sundance, who obviously had a head-on collision with a Rhodesian Ridgeback (and lost), reveals to the world that in actuality he's a thin sexy dude. But he doesn't know how to hula. Randy and Paula give him thumbs up on the Pearl Jam; Simon gives him a thumbs down. My thumbs are down too, but I'm not sure if it's because I don't like the performance, which resembled more like shouting than singing, or I just didn't like the song.

Brandon Rogers (I Just Want to Celebrate). Brandon reveals that he's a classical pianist. And his performance, while miles better than the previous week, is adequate. Randy calls it solid (he likes that word tonight), Paula says he's proven why he's made it thus far and Simon tells him he fears for his future, which might be just enough to spare him.

Blake Lewis (All Mixed Up). Blake introduces us to his alternate personality, and he pulls out a funk/reggae/rap song that I don't know, but don't feel too bad when Randy, Paula and Simon admit they don't know the song either. Simon echoes me when he says he didn't understand a word. I couldn't catch enough of the lyrics to run a decent search. But Simon predicts that Blake will return for his debut on the big stage. I think he will too.

Chris Sligh (We All Want to be Loved). Chris assures us that he's never (nor will he ever) have a perm. Well, that's nice to know. The judges slam him over song choice. Chris' advantage, though, is that he gets anchor position on a crappy night. It wasn't great, but neither was the night.

I'm voting for the girls.

Fearless predictions:

Who I want: Sanjaya and Sundance.
Who should: Sanjaya and Sundance.
Who will: Jared and Phil.

Girls tomorrow. Maybe we'll be entertained. See you then.

Discuss, please.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

sing a song...

I don't normally stray from the show at hand, but for those of us who felt badly for Kenneth and Jonathan after the audition episodes, it's nice to see they're not suffering from national humiliation anymore...

Let's just hope neither one of them has nekkid pictures just waiting to be released. Let's really really hope.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

20 becomes 16: a SIMULBLOG...

Well, if the sidebar poll were the jury, we will be saying so long to Nick, Sanjaya, Alaina and Antonella. If Dial Idol is correct, the ones we won't be saying goodbye to are Sundance, Sanjaya, Melinda and LaKisha. We don't know who's biting the dust tonight, but we do know that the hopes and dreams of four young people will be smashed and scattered into the ground.

I love this show.

Just like always, it's a simulblog, where I'm typing as I'm watching, complete with typos and incoherent thoughts, publishing at every break, so if you're in the West and you want to be surprised, you might want to be elsewhere.

Cause THIS is American Idol. And people are gonna die.

The kids are lined up on the stairs as Ryan does his obligatory chat. After all, we have to fill an hour to totally tank Survivor's ratings. Ryan reminds us that the Pick is in the house and sets up the traditional review of the last two evenings. The kids boogie and sing Joy to the World (no...not the Christmas song). And ... gasp ... it's not that bad! That's just not right to do a passable group sing. Not right at all.

And it's time for a break...


Assassination #1

It's the guys on the sofa, answering Ryan's trite questions.

Phil is told to stand; he is safe.
Chris Sligh stands; he's safe too.
Time for Sundance. He looks scared. He's safe.
Blake's turn. His hair is defying gravity. He's told to sit back down.
Jared is told to come to the stage. I think he just peed his pants. He gets his reviews from last night and he's told to return to the sofa. That was so mean.
Nick is told to stand and he's shot before he even gets a chance to straighten his knees.

He gets to sing the same song. I still don't like it.

So long Nick.

----End Assassination #1----

Random observation: I don't know if I'm smarter than a 5th grader, but I know I'm smarter than those grown-up contestants they keep finding.

----Assassination #2----

Stephanie gets her reviews and is told to sit back down.
Gina's turn. She's reminded what she sang and that she needs edge, and is told she'll be back.
Sabrina is told to stand and told to sit.
It's Melinda next. She's safe. Everyone's shocked. Hee.
Alaina looks pretty, but she's told she's toast.

She shoots off one last snark to Simon, tells the girls she loves them and tries to remember what she sang last night. Somebody please help her. The girls help her out as the background singers just sing the whole song.

That was a sad one. So long Alaina.

----End Assassination #2----

Pickler returns, looking quite, uhhh, curvy. And Ryan can't resist asking her a food question. Some things never do change. And she sings. It's quite, uhhh, country.

Ahh Pickler. Good times. Makes me miss last season.

----Assassination #3----

The guys line up again for the firing squad. And here we go.

Chris Richardson is told to stand. He's told to sit.
Brandon looks like he's going to be sick. He's safe.
Sanjaya and AJ are sent to the stage with Ryan. Both are reminded of their song selections and their reviews. Ryan drags out the bullet in true Ryan dramatic fashion before shooting AJ directly in the heart.

Sanjaya is "shocked." AJ tries to be diplomatic. Paula says tonight's result doesn't reflect that this is a singing competition. Randy concurs. Translation: Sanjaya your butt should be going home.

At least I know I'm going to enjoy a swan song. Shame.

So long AJ.

----End Assassination #3----

----Assassination #4----

LaKisha stands and sits.
Haley is safe
Antonella, Leslie and Jordin are told to stand on the stage. Antonella is safe.
It's between Jordin and Leslie. The girls on the sofa are bawling. Leslie is told she's leaving.

Everybody cries. We get to see the funeral tape for all four as Daughtry sings us - and them - out of town.

So long Leslie.

----End of the Assassinations----

Thanks Rob for the awesome image!