Friday, March 28, 2008

news and notes...

From a quick trip around the inter-web:

Simon says it may not be an auto Archuleta coronation after all, the manically-waving mosh pit is a pain and Kristy Lee Cook is smart.

Next week is not country night - it's Dolly Parton night. And we'll be treated to a Dolly performance and a visit from the brothers Clark on results night. Might this mean no phone calls? Please?

David Cook's Billie Jean has skyrocketed to the top of the iTunes AI download list, displacing Brooke White's Let it Be, which had held the top spot for about two weeks. In fact, three of his studio recordings take up the top five list. And, for the first time, he has nudged David Archuleta in the AOL poll that's totally non-scientific, but still fun to vote in.

And speaking of David #2, Chris Cornell wants everyone to know that he has no problem with his arrangement of Billie Jean closing the show Tuesday. Heck, he shouldn't mind. His Billie Jean is enjoying an Idol bump, sitting at 36th on the top 100 iTunes song chart. Getting covered on Idol does have its perks, you know.

If you're putting your money where your votes are, Archuleta is still the odds-on favorite to win, but his odds are slowly dropping, while others' are gaining momentum. I wonder if they accept Monopoly money?

Dave is still trying to find a name for Ramiele. At this rate she may end up as T1W/OANBSGB -The One Without a Name Before She Got Booted. And Dave does not want to have to spell that one out, so save Dave. Save Ramiele.

Stumbled across any news, notes or other interesting stuff? Leave a link in the comments!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

10-1=9: a SIMULBLOG!...

Last night they celebrated their birthyears (and Jason his birthday) but tonight it's a funeral as one of the 10 becomes a memory until the finale.

Because THIS is American Idol.

And hopes and dreams die here.

And this is a SIMULBLOG where the typing is happening fast and furiously while the action is unfolding on the East Coast, with a publish at every important break, so if you want to know, stick around and chat. If you want to wait, leave. Leave now. Run. Do not walk.

But run back to dish the dirt with the rest of us.

Because the show's about to start!

Ryan has the kids lined up on the stage, asking which one of the ten is gonna sing over the credits tonight. Kim Locke is in the house (YAY!), we're promised a behind-the-scenes something and yes...more phone calls.

And they begin the night with yet another pitch to the songwriters everywhere to submit their recipes. Uh, I mean syrupy ballads.

It's a GROUP SING, complete with chest bumps and the cheeziest of choreography. The more cheeze the better! YAY for the cheeze!

We get to watch the kids as they record their iTunes studio versions. They're cute as they record their singles, and we find out that Ramiele has downloaded David, Michael and Jason. I wonder if she had to pay a buck each.

Probably. Idol is cheap.

We are treated to last night's recap which goes on for longer than last night did.

And we're on it...

The sofa means safe. The stool means they're possibly in the toilet. (Sorry.)

Chikezie is called out first. He's terrified. He gets his reviews and is sent to the stool.
Here comes Brooke White. She defends her use of the band despite the criticisms. She's sent to the sofa of safety.
Carly Smithson is summoned. And after a discussion about pregnancy and Spanx, she's told she's safe and runs to the safety of Brooke's arms.

And it's time for commercial.

That was an interesting crappy Ford commercial.

David Archuleta is called to the stage. And not surprisingly, he's safe.
David Cook has something interesting and curious hanging from his waist. He's told to head to the sofa.
Syesha Mercado is brought out. She's reminded that she got great reviews and is told to hit the stools with Chikezie.
Michael Johns appears. Then disappears to the sofa with the good people.

Dolly Parton is scheduled to be here next week. That means only one thing. It's COUNTRY NIGHT. YeeHaw! Kristy Lee, you're gonna be safe again!

We're back and the idiots are line six. And as much as I hate these phone calls, it's better than somebody pimping a CD.

Unless it's Kimberley Locke. YAY! I love her! She looks FAB. And sounds terrific. Welcome back Kimmell.

Ramiele Malubay is called to the stage. She's told she's safe.
Jason Castro and Kristy Lee Cook step to the stage together. They are reminded of their reviews. America voted and sends Kristy to the safe sofa and Jason to the bad stools.

Jason is joined by Syesha and Chikezie. Jason talks far too much until Ryan shuts him up, sending him to the sofa. Chikezie whispers sweet somethings in Syesha's ear as we're sent to this word from your sponsors.

The highest single show vote this season sends Chikezie home. He listens as Ruben sings him home and watches as we remember his journey.

Ryan thanks half of the world and Chikezie sings us into the credits.

So long Chikezie. You are cool.

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screams, queen and billie jean...

The ten finalists dug through the musical history books Tuesday to scour the charts on a very special year: the year of their birth. Our present? A night of 80s music with a 70s song and a 90s number thrown in for spice.

And our gift? A night of pleasant performances and the resurrection of Kristy Lee Cook. At least for now.

In a group this deep of talent, no one stood out as being the absolute worst - except, perhaps, the increasingly-annoying-screaming-waving "mosh pit" and the jewelry box that vomited all over Paula.

But here are my opinions, a day late and a dime short, and as always from worst to first:

Ramiele Malubay (Alone). Ramiele, we found out post-performance, had lost her voice, so even though sick puppies don't normally get sympathy from the judges, I give her some leeway. Told the song was too big for her, I can't help but agree, and, in the inevitable comparisons with Carrie Underwood, who turned this song into her season four signature, the short one pales in comparison.

Chikezie No-Longer-Eze (If Only For One Night). Chikezie admits he knows it's a risk to pull another ballad out of his hat after the disaster of the orange suit, but decides to do it anyway. And while it's not bad at all, it doesn't have the "sit up and take notice" vibe that this guy, of all the guys, needs to hang in there much longer. He has to know he's on borrowed time and that it's in his best interest to perform like there's no tomorrow. And there may not be.

Kristy Lee Cook (God Bless the USA). Simon calls her song choice the most brilliant in possibly forever. And despite the traditional flat notes, she turns in her best performance of the season, surrounded by images of flags and amber waves of grain. Who doesn't love a good, old-fashioned, apple pie patriotic moment? Kristy, you're safe.

Carly Smithson (Total Eclipse of the Heart). Carly appears still stunned over her appearance in the bottom three the previous week. The judges pick up on her "tenseness". I sensed a bit more desperation in this performance than I've seen in the past, and that final run to wrap up the performance was really not necessary.

Jason Castro (Fragile). Simon calls this performance Jason's second poor one in a row. I don't think it was quite as high on the bad meter as last week, and even Jason admits he should have practiced the guitar more. He's accused of not taking the show seriously, and I can see the merits in that accusation, but Jason's style is his style.

David Archuleta (You're the Voice). David #1 could use some tips on working the stage, but he's making vast improvements on some of the facial distractions, so that's a good thing. Paula tells him he could sing the phone book, and she's probably right, but Simon calls his song choice crappy and one better suited for a theme part, and he's right too. David, wasn't there another song from 1990 that you could have chosen?

Syesha Mercado (If I Were Your Woman). When I hear this song, I think, of course, of Gladys Knight. And while this arrangement left me wishing the Pips would jump out from the band rafters (or up from the annoying moshers), the judges were right in calling it Syesha's finest vocal performance of the season.

Brooke White (Every Breath You Take). After an initial oopsie, that wisely causes her to stop and restart, Brooke pulls off a soft version of this Police classic. The judges praise and pan the performance, praising the front part which featured just Brooke and her piano keys, but panning the second half when Ricky Minor brings in his band, increasing the tempo.

Michael Johns (We Are the Champions). The first time Michael made a huge impression on this show was with the Queen classic Bohemian Rhapsody during Hollywood week. So after being told he still hadn't found his premier song, he decides to dip back into the Queen catalog and turns in his best performance to date. Finally the Aussie makes an impression, after standing the shadows for all these weeks.

David Cook (Billie Jean). Yes David #2 turns in another cover of another cover. And yes, the judges fawn all over him, calling him original, either not knowing that he's borrowing someone else's arrangement or, fully aware of that, commending him for taking the road less traveled. I am well aware of all of that. But he does make a brave choice here, choosing the well-known Michael Jackson song, but taking the lesser-known Chris Cornell take on it, just like he's done in past weeks. It pays off. And he shows in 90 seconds that maybe this race isn't as clear-cut as most of us thought.

So there they are, for what they're worth. So now the question is who is leaving, since we know Kristy Lee is safe.

Who I want: Chikezie, Ramiele, Kristy Lee (for old time's sake)
Who should: Chikezie, Ramiele and Kristy Lee (because my keyboard is on autopilot)
Who will: Chikezie, Ramiele, Syesha

This is a tough call, but I think Chikezie will regret choosing that ballad.

So, who's in your bottom three?

See you tonight for a crappy group sing, crappy Ford commercial and the FAB Kimberley Locke!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

what's your birthyear?...

The Idols are stretching back about as far as they are young to find the songs to sing tonight. Spoilers are in the entry below.

And they're confined to songs recorded in the year they were born.

This, as normal, is the open thread, so we can all criticize, comment, condemn or cry as the ten remaining kids try to redeem themselves from two weeks of Beatle mistreatment.

It's all yours. I will be back sometime tomorrow to offer my three cents.

But until then, have at it...

CAUTION: song spoilers...

Don't look if you don't want to know!

It's songs from the year they were born. Random thought: I have underwear older than these kids.


According to TMZ, here are their choices:

Syesha Mercado: If I Were Your Woman (1987)
David Cook: Billie Jean (1983)
Carly Smithson: Total Eclipse of the Heart (1983)
Chikezie: If Only for One Night (1985)
Brooke White: Every Breath You Take (1983)
Jason Castro: Fragile (1987)
Ramiele Malubay: Alone (1987)
Michael Johns: We Are the Champions (1978)
Kristy Lee Cook: God Bless the USA (1984)
David Archuleta: You're the Voice (1990)

EDIT: And according to MJ the performance order is:

Kristy Lee
David Cook

Let's just hope for a flawless night of performances. And an end to world hunger.

Okay. Let's just hope not to fall asleep.

Are you ready?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

iDols on iTunes...

With Beatles weeks thankfully behind us, and the top 10 firmly entrenched upon the sofa, we're heading into the first half of the final stretch, awaiting Tuesday's 90-minute celebration of that oldie but goody theme of songs that charted during the year of each contestant's birth. (And for perspective, the oldest idol, Michael Johns, was born in 1978; the youngest, David Archuleta, was born in 1990. So, essentially, it's 80s night again.)

Performance sales at iTunes over the past week has changed somewhat but, at the same time, has stayed somewhat the same.

Archuleta's Imagine continues to hold the top spot by a wide margin, followed by a close race for two and three between Jason Castro's Hallelujah and David Cook's Hello. In fact, all of the top ten downloads are semi-final performances. So, those 90-second performance recordings are still the most popular downloads over the full-length studio versions of Lennon/McCartney/Beatles tunes, but considering they've been available for much longer, I don't find it all that surprising.

[The list that formerly included both performance and studio versions has now been stripped of the studio versions, so the rankings this week are not correct. Thanks to Kristi and Sara in the comments for pointing that out and wading through the overall AI list for a more accurate assessment. The overall list, however, does pit the current idols against Idol alumni, such as Jordin Sparks and Daughtry.]

The most interesting leap in sales has been for the video downloads which are available only for the finals performances and which were hovering at or below the bottom of the overall download list last week at this time. Many of them have now surpassed the less-expensive audio-only downloads and are sitting viably at the top half of the chart.

The video downloads are soaring up the charts. At $1.99 they're a little pricier, but they are very high quality. The judges comments are NOT included, so if there was a finals performance that you particularly enjoyed and want to enjoy again, they are worth the two bucks.

Archuleta's The Long and Winding Road, Brooke's Let it Be, David Cook's Eleanor Rigby and Chikezie's She's a Woman find themselves in the top 25 overall list. The others are scattered between the total list of 83 offerings.

Here's the top ten video download list:

1. The Long and Winding Road (David Archuleta)
2. Let it Be (Brooke White)
3. Eleanor Rigby (David Cook)
4. She's a Woman (Chikezie)
5. Come Together (Carly Smithson)
6. Day Tripper (David Cook)
7. Michelle (Jason Castro)
8. If I Fell (Jason Castro)
9. We Can Work It Out (David Archuleta)
10. Blackbird (Carly Smithson)

These numbers are as of 8:06 a.m. Saturday, March 22, so they are subject to change as fans flock to download their faves.

Your thoughts?

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

amanda says goodbye...

And she's under no delusions.

I like this girl even more now.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

you say goodbye: a SIMULBLOG!...

After tonight we'll be down to the touring ten, because someone is going to have to listen to Ruben Studdard as they wave goodbye to the mosh pit.

And we all have to listen to Kellie Pickler.

Because THIS is American Idol.

And this is a SIMULBLOG, which means I'm typing as the action is happening on the east coast with a publish at each significant break, so if you want to know before the show airs in your area, stick around and speculate with us. If you want to remain pure and chaste, well, scat. But come back later and dish with the rest of us.

Because the show is about to start!


Ryan starts the show with the announcement of this season's mentors: Dolly Parton, Mariah Carey, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Neil Diamond. He is sure to mention that each of them are composers, which leads into yet another contest to write this year's crappy coronation song.

It's another Beatles medley GROUP SING!! Not horrible, as group sings go. A little sleepy, but that would be appropriate considering the night before. And Chicken Little with (I think) Jon Peter Lewis are in the audience. Old home week. Kinda.

We get the retrospective from the evening prior. They bring out the stainless stools - three of them.

Brooke White is called to the stage and made to look at the yellow dress. She is reminded of her reviews. She celebrates being told she is in the top ten.

Carly Smithson has sleeves. She's reminded of her reviews and is sent to the bad stools. Carly in the bottom? Wow. Quelle surprise!

David Archuleta walks onstage amid screams. Ryan doesn't even waste time. He sends David to the sofa, and to the summer tour.

Michael Johns says he's a little worried. He defends his song choice. And he's sent to sit with Brooke and Archuleta.

And he sends us to commercial.


We are back and being given a behind-the-scenes tour of the crappy Ford commercial. And then the crappy commercial.

Back to the results.

David Cook is called to center stage. He's reminded that Simon called him smug. And he's sent to the sofa.

Kristy Lee Cook is introduced. She says she thinks last night was her strongest performance. And she's told, once again, that she's landed in the bottom. She gets big hugs from Carly.

Jason Castro is reminded of what he sang. And he's informed that he's going on tour.

Ramiele Malubay is really, really short. And she's in the top ten.

Break time!

[Random thought: That Cottonelle puppy is too adorable.]

Phone calls. Idiot on line three... phone calls...

Time for Pickler. And I still laughed at the lobster scene from Puck & Pickler. Good times. As I'm watching her back on the big stage, it suddenly strikes me as comedic that the third, fourth, sixth and eighth place finishers are all more successful than one and two from season five. Let's hope they all make an appearance this year. (Kim Locke from season two is on tap for next week.)

We begin the promotion for Idol Gives Back with a video of Fantasia and Elliott Yamin's visit to Angola. Fantasia sings and Elliott gets a baby named after him. And he cries. I love him. It's a touching video.

Syesha Mercado is called to the stage. She's reminded what she sang. And she's sent to the top ten group.

Amanda Overmyer and Chikezie are called in together. Chikezie is told he's safe, and he hugs Amanda as he heads to join the touring good people.

The three girls stand on stage and are forced to wait through one more commercial break.

Back at center stage, Carly's told she's safe. Kristy is then told she's dodged yet another bullet, and Amanda gets to watch her funeral footage. And sing her last song.

So long Amanda. You were definitely unique.

beatles, part that english?

Back by popular demand?

Tell popular to mind his own business.

Ryan introduces the top 11 performance episode explaining that a second week of Beatles tunes is on tap because somebody demanded it.

When I find out who that was, I will hunt him down and kill him, because what prevailed on Beatles Part Two night was a two-hour celebration of boring mediocrity. Everything the Beatles weren't about.

But enough of my moaning about the theme. It was what it was.

And here are my reviews, as always from worst to first, and they are what they are.

Kristy Lee Cook (You've Got to Hide Your Love Away). I flirted with putting Kristy Lee first this week, because the girl's got more lives than 14 cats. But I can't. At least she didn't haul out the steel guitar and fiddle for this, but she didn't do anything with this song to merit placing anywhere other than last. Hey, the girl couldn't even make HEY! sound interesting. How many lives do 14 cats have anyway?

Michael Johns (A Day in the Life). The judges rightfully panned the arrangement. Instead of trying to deliver a 90-second buffet of the entire song, he should have just stuck to one of the verses. As a result, it was an off-key, errant, erratic mish-mash of a classic song that left me asking why the guy I originally picked as a possible winner has left absolutely no impression so far - good or bad.

Chikezie No-Longer-Eze (I've Just Seen a Face). Oh boy. Everything that went right with his breakout performance last week went wrong with his second trip to Beatle-land. What started off somewhat strong was suddenly blown (pun intended) when he whipped out his harmonica and shifted into bluegrass mode. It was perfect last week. This week not so much.

Jason Castro (Michelle). Who knew Ma Belle was French?? He thought it was English. It's fortunate that Jason has an adoring fan group, because his high school talent contest treatment of this song - thoroughly devoid of meaning or emotion - on its own certainly wouldn't garner him any. If there was any doubt, there isn't now: Jason without his guitar is kinda like Oreos without milk.

Ramiele Malubay (I Should Have Known Better). Ramiele still is struggling to find the right song. She hit every note, she appeared somewhat comfortable on stage, it was far better than the snoozer she turned in last week, but, even with the more up-tempo number, she just sang the lyrics, and, much like Jason, basically sleepwalked through the whole performance. And like Jason, it wasn't bad. It just was.

Amanda Overmyer (Back in the USSR). I wonder how many parents had to explain to their kids exactly what the USSR was. Simon tells Amanda that she's falling deeper into the predictability pit, and she tries to explain that in only 90 seconds a week, she is trying to advertise what people will see when they sell out a Lafayette bar. Good point, Amanda. And, personally, I hope she doesn't try any melodic ballads anytime soon, because she is the performer that she is, and, as she proved at points of this performance, she struggles with melodies. They get in the way of the growl. But I actually enjoyed this performance somewhat, not as much as previous outings, but in relation to the evening, her kick-off number left some of the others in the dust.

Brooke White (Here Comes the Sun). In a yellow dress that reminded me of a Goodwill commercial, Brooke woo-woos and whoas her way through this yawner then makes the ill-conceived mistake of trying to talk over the judges as they give her her first (justifiable) criticisms of the season.

Carly Smithson (Blackbird). My first thought as Carly took the stage was that the producers must have fired the clothing staff to pay for the new set, primarily because I'm trying to steel myself for one of my least-favorite Beatles songs. Simon calls the choice "indulgent" and I'm still trying to figure out what he means by that. Randy calls it a word that can be found only in the Randy dictionary, and Carly explains that the song represents the Idols as they fix their broken wings and fly above the mosh pit. Or something like that. I'm too distracted by the tattooed "7" on her finger to really try to understand the metaphor.

Syesha Mercado (Yesterday). When I first heard Beatles night, my first question was which Idol would pull out possibly the most iconic of songs. Syesha was never my pick. But, sitting on stage alongside a single guitarist, looking quite lovely, she does an admirable job with the most beautiful of songs and in the process probably saves herself a repeat trip to center stage.

David Cook (Day Tripper). I spent the first half of this performance waiting for him to pull a Terry Fator, considering he took the stage with two microphones in addition to the return of his guitar. But he pulls out a Peter Frampton instead and voice boxes through the middle of the song. It's a cool gimmick and Paula tells him he's ready for a Geico commercial, pleasing David to no end, I'm sure. (Where does Paula come up with these things? Rhetorical question, I know.) It's not one of Cook's best performances, but this Cook's worst is better than the other Cook's best.

David Archuleta (The Long and Winding Road). David laughs at his disaster of the previous week in his pre-performance clip, assuring tweeners and their parents that the most vulgar work in his vocabulary is "dang." Somehow I actually believe that. He then delivers my favorite of all Beatles ballads without missing a note. Or a word. And while technically it was flawless, I think I finally know what is bugging me about him, aside from the lick-lipping which he seems to have controlled somewhat. It's his eyes, which don't fully reflect the emotion of his vocals. I know it's a nit-picky point, but it's a night where I have to find a nit to pick with everybody.

So who's staying? Depends on who's leaving.

Who I want: Kristy Lee, Michael, and somebody else.
Who should: Kristy Lee, Michael, Amanda
Who will: Kristy Lee, Michael, Ramiele

I have called for Kristy Lee's ouster now for approximately three weeks, and the voters are determined to drive me to drink. But, considering the alternatives, I honestly believe it's time to cut her loose. The ones who remain, after all, go on the tour, and all of the ones remaining deserve those spots.

So we'll see.

Who's your bottom three?

See you tonight.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

they're beat(le)-ing again...

How nice it is to, once again, be excited for Idol night.

And it's Lennon/McCartney, part deux.

Will Chikezie repeat the awesome-ness that he was hiding until last week? Will David Archuleta remember his lyrics? Will David Cook play his guitar? Will Jason cut his hair? Will Carly wear sleeves? Will Paula be sober? Will Kristy Lee ever leave?

These questions are waiting to be answered.

So this is a live thread, a place to leave your thoughts leading up to the show, your thoughts during the show, and your thoughts five years from now when somebody is googling "sleeves."


If I find song spoilers, I'll pass them along. EDITED!!


Spoilers for those who want to see:

According to sources:

Amanda: Back in the USSR
Kristy Lee: You've got to Hide Your Love Away
Archuleta: Long and Winding Road
Michael: A Day in the Life
David Cook: Day Tripper
Brooke: Here Comes the Sun
Chikezie: I've Just Seen a Face
Carly: Blackbird
Castro: Michelle
Syesha: Yesterday
Ramiele: I Should Have Known Better

Have fun. And have at it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

iDols on iTunes...

In a mini-competition within a competition, it's interesting to watch the download sales on iTunes of the performances from thus far this season.

For the first time, full-length studio versions from each show are offered for download ($.99 for audio track/$1.99 for video) at iTunes. (Last season, instead of one compilation CD at the end of the season, downloads were available at

While the individual tracks are not included in the charts with non-AI downloads (Syesha is not in competition with Beyonce), the downloads are ranked in relation to each other, giving us an interesting - and just plain fun - competition within a competition. And, potentially, it could give us an idea of sales instead of votes, since ultimately it's sales that determine the true nature of "winner."

So how are they ranking?

All of the shows, the three semi-finals and Beatles night performances, are available for download, so we have a ranking of the season overall and each individual themed episode.

So who's winning. It looks like a guys competition, featuring Brooke White. Seven of the top ten downloads are by Jason or a David. Brooke picks up two spots and Carly has one.

The overall #1 downloaded track for the season is Archuleta's Imagine, which I don't imagine anyone is surprised about.

Here's the top ten overall downloads as of 9 a.m. Saturday, March 15:

1. Imagine (David Archuleta)
2. Hello (David Cook)
3. Hallelujah (Jason Castro)
4. Let it Be (Brooke White)
5. Eleanor Rigby (David Cook)
6. Love is a Battlefield (Brooke White)
7. Another Day in Paradise (David Archuleta)
8. Come Together (Carly Smithson)
9. If I Fell (Jason Castro)
10. Daydream (Jason Castro)

And just to have a bit more fun, let's isolate only the first finals episode, the memorable night of Lennon and McCartney music.

1. Let it Be (Brooke White)
2. Eleanor Rigby (David Cook)
3. Come Together (Carly Smithson)
4. If I Fell (Jason Castro)
5. She's a Woman (Chikezie) - #11 overall
6. Across the Universe (Michael Johns) - #12 overall
7. We Can Work it Out (David Archuleta) - #16 overall
8. You Can't Do That (Amanda Overmyer) - #29 overall
9. In My Life (Ramiele Malubay) - #30 overall
10. Eight Days a Week (Kristy Lee Cook) - #40 overall
11. I Saw Her Standing There (David Hernandez) - #47 overall
12. Got to Get You Into My Life (Syesha Mercado) - #58 overall

For perspective, there are 84 total audio and video tracks available for download. I am starting my own collection of David Cook essentials (with a little Jason Castro sprinkled in for good measure) and I will say that, of the tracks I now have on my iPod, it was money well spent.

Have you downloaded any tracks? Give us a review!

After all, Tuesday is four nights away.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

12 becomes 11: a SIMULBLOG!...

Because THIS is American Idol.

And people die. Kinda sorta. Just like they sing. Kinda sorta.

And since the Beatles were already victims of at least half of the 12 finalists last night, it's only fair that one of the kids gets to be sacrificed in penance for the slaughter.

And this is a SIMULBLOG, which means I'm watching the show live on the east coast, and I'm typing as fast as I can as the action unfolds with a publish at every important stop. So if you want to know before the show airs where you are, this is the place to be. If you hate to be spoiled, this is the time to click the X at the top of the screen.

Because the show's about to start!


Who knew that Horton (you know, the guy that heard the Who) and his Who friends were fans of American Idol? Dr. Seuss is crying in heaven now.

Ryan tells us that over 29 million votes were phoned in; 28 million for one contestant, no doubt.

Horton is now in the audience pitching his movie. So this is why we're being subjected to an hour.

Oh God. Next week's theme is - hold on - more Lennon and McCartney. After all, the 12 kids only used 12 songs out of the expensive catalog list of 25. I think I'll start drinking on Monday.

Group Sing!! And it seems to be starring Michael Johns who shows up in various pairs and trios, and Jim Carrey as Horton in the audience who shows up on camera approximately every 25 seconds. It's pretty much as crappy as we come to expect, but only partially because of the kids. Maybe the show should have scaled back on the lights and put a bit more money into the audio system, because harmonies are not supposed to overpower melodies.

At least I don't think.


As we return from commerical Ryan feels the need to introduce the high/lowlights from last night, starting with Chikezie's star turn and proof that Ryan was sipping from Paula's cup, as I suspected.

The kids are on the sofa.

Carly, Michael, Jason and Syesha are told to stand.

Carly Smithson is reminded of her critiques and is safe.

Michael Johns is safe.

Jason Castro is told to have a seat.

Syesha Mercado is reminded of the judges' remarks and is told she's in the bottom three. She joins Ryan on the stage - where the seal used to be, but is no longer there because we have a new fancy stage without a seal.

She's asked to sing one more time. So this is why we're being subjected to an hour of results.


Crappy Ford Commercial time!! The kids are all dressed-up political-like and "going the distance."

Ryan tells us the show has touched all the kids, and that's why none of them wants to leave. Uh huh. Okay Ryan. So that's the reason. We then get to watch the kids at the - wait for it! - Horton Hears a Who premiere. And I thought the product placement for Coke was over the top.

But at least we know that this is why we're having to watch for an hour.

We're back to the sofa.

Chikezie, Amanda, David #2 and Kristy are told to stand.

Chikezie is told he's safe after Ryan gets one more sweaty brow wipe. Eww.

Amanda Overmyer is safe.

David Cook is looking dapper in his hat and is safe.

Kristy is the one left standing, and she asks for her microphone because she must have watched the tape of her performance.

She's brought to the stage and shrugs at the judges/audience and apologizes that they'll (and us) have to hear her song again. Hell, if I had known that all three bottom-feeders were gonna sing, I would voted for her.

Time for me to take a break. Somewhere away from the television. But SANJAYA is there, applauding his fellow contestant.


The commericals finally end and the kids are on the sofa, all lined up and ready to take some phone calls. So this is why we're extending the show to an hour.

Honestly I don't want to hear people asking for advice on how to pass the auditions or asking Jason which judge he would be if he could be a judge. I hope this is the first and the last of this inane filler material.

Ryan introduces Kat McPhee with David Foster on piano, performing George Harrison's Something. Didn't Taylor Hicks perform this in season 5? She looks very lovely, with a big honking diamond on her hand. And in very un-McPhee fashion, she simply sings the melody. And very nicely.


Ryan tells Archuleta, Brooke, Ramiele and David Hernandez to stand center stage.

Archuleta is given his reviews from last night and is told he's safe.

Brooke White is given her critiques and is sent back to the sofa of safety.

Hernandez and Ramiele are left. And they're holding onto each other for dear life. Ramiele is told she's safe, leaving Hernandez to sing once more.


The bottom three stand center stage, holding hands, awaiting word on which one of them will get to join the good kids on the good sofa. After yet another annoying commerical break, Ryan dismisses Syesha from the bad kids' group, leaving Hernandez and Kristy to face the music.

Kristy is told she's safe, and we're left with one less David to remember.

He watches his goodbye video to the new song from Ruben Studdard.

Good luck, David #3.


hey dudes, don't make it bad...

Somewhere in heaven, John Lennon is crying.

The final 12 - the best. talent. ever. - took to the big stage to open the finals of the seventh season by getting the opportunity no Idol cast has ever had: to open the pages of the Lennon/McCartney songbook, tear out the pages and turn them into spitballs.

Because THIS is American Idol.

But more on that in a bit.

First things first. Ryan shows us the new stage. I'm not impressed. And I don't like the band in the rafters. And I hate the so-called "mosh pit" of screaming people posing a distraction to me and the performers. And I'm sad to see the traditional opening replaced by this new and improved model, although I will give it a few weeks to sink in before I decide I don't like it.

Those changes, however, were merely cosmetic, and should have prepared me for the whiplash of love and hate I was going to spend the next two hours experiencing.

Best. Talent. Ever.

Rethink that line, Randy.

Nevertheless, here they are, my impressions, biased and emotional as they are, a day later as normal and, as always, from worst to first.

Kristy Lee Cook (Eight Days a Week). Potentially the worst finals performance ever in the history of mankind. What she did to this song was unspeakable. Therefore, I will not speak of it.

David Archuletta (We Can Work it Out). Normally when a performer fluffs the lyrics in the finals, that performer is automatically put at the end (or in this case, the beginning) of the line, but David #1 is fortunate enough to go last, following Kristy, which is the only thing that saves him from the bottom. Flubbing the lyrics is unforgivable at this stage of the game, and it's especially unforgivable when it's a classic song. The wonderboy stumbles right out of the gate, never gets any semblance of footing and proceeds to thoroughly destroy this song, justifiably getting his guts ripped out by the judges for the first time this season.

David Hernandez (I Saw Her Standing There). Lucky for David #3, David #1 flubbed his lines. I give David #3 points for using the stage, both in front of and behind the judges, and I give him props for wardrobe, but that's where any praise begins and ends. This was an out-of-breath, over-wrought mess, which should land him standing on the stage tonight.

Ramiele Malubay (In My Life). This is a simple, beautiful, elegant, poignant song. And better suited for the studio than for the stage. Ramiele has a beautiful voice, and her vocals were fine, but she proved that a poor song selection, even performed adequately, does not keep you in the game.

Syesha Mercado (Got to Get You Into My Life). Oh what she could have done with the Beatles version instead of Earth, Wind and Fire's. But whatever. Leading off the show, her performance is not offensive, but not memorable either. In fact, I had forgotten all about her until the ending retrospective of performances. But in that retrospect, she wasn't all that bad. And on a night like this, that's high praise.

Amanda Overmyer (You Can't Do That). Simon was exactly right when he told the rocker that this performance wasn't on par with the performance from the week before, and I might have placed Amanda higher if I had understood at least 30 percent of the lyrics. But I couldn't. So I didn't. But on a night of song slaughter, she wasn't all that bad, and it was entertaining.

[The following six performances saved the show. I am struggling to order them, because I enjoyed each of them so much, that they really could be interchangeable, and I would be satisfied. So, while I will fall short of calling it a tie, it's as close as one.]

Michael Johns (Across the Universe). This is such a pretty song. And Michael delivered it exactly as it should be delivered: simply and elegantly. He gets unfairly slammed for not "making the song his own". Note to Simon: when the song is great, you don't mess with it. Otherwise you get Kristy Lee.

Jason Castro (If I Fell). I really enjoyed Jason's acoustic version of this song, even though he seemed to struggle in parts with the upper notes. But his almost folk styling is part of why I find him so attractive. And, if there hadn't been better performances, his would have easily found its way to the top of the list.

Carly Smithson (Come Together). While I'm not a fan of Carly, I can't help but become more and more enamored with her. This was wild, energetic, fun and unique, so much so that, in his praise, Simon invokes the holy name of Clarkson. That's a bit much, because Carly's got a lot more to prove before we can start making comparisons, but it was a great start. Note to Carly: wear sleeves.

Chikezie No-Longer-Eze (She's a Woman). I loved this. I loved this. From the sweater vest to the vocals to the stage presence to the enthusiasm, the guy I predicted first out totally rocked the house and went from being an afterthought to a contender in 90 seconds. Wonderful!

David Cook (Eleanor Rigby). My favorite Idol takes on one of my favorite songs. I must have done something good yesterday. And, while Randy was right, David #2 did struggle briefly with the front of the song, once he hit his stride there was no stopping him. Simon is right. If talent and not personality drives the vote, this David might have a shot of winning it all. But we know better.

Brooke White (Let It Be). First off, I admire any woman who takes the stage in her bare feet. Brooke did every single thing right with this song. She kept it simple. She stayed true to the melody, where a lesser singer might have foolishly attempted vocal acrobats. The beauty of this song, as it true with so many of the Lennon/McCartney songs, is its simplicity. It was perfection.

So there it is, the good, the bad and Kristy Lee.

Now is the time to boot off the last place finisher, amid a return from Kat McPhee and the announcement of the three mentors. (And there had better be a crappy Ford commercial in there somewhere and, with apologies to Paul McCartney, a group medley, if we have to sit for an hour to find out who's outta here.)

So who stays? And who goes?

Who I want: Kristy Lee, David #3 and David #1 because he forgot the lyrics.
Who should: Kristy Lee, David #3 and Ramiele (Kristy Lee)
Who will: Kristy Lee, David #3 and Syesha

Kristy Lee has already overstayed her welcome.

The tribe has spoken; it's time for her to go. Oh wait. Wrong show.

So, who's going home?

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

the top 12: the beat(les) go on...

The final 12 strut their stuff to the tunes of the Beatles. (All 25 titles). Someone will make our ears bleed. Someone will move us to tears. (And not necessarily in a good way.)

However it goes, this is an open thread, ready and waiting for your jeers and cheers, tears and fears for the next several weeks.

Have at it...

song spoilers?...

At least according to TMZ.

Believe at your own peril. Although I've seen the same titles replicated elsewhere, so I have no reason to disbelieve.

And you won't believe who spoilers say gets the "pimp spot." Really. You won't believe.


the long and winding road...

Is apparently a helluva lot longer than the list of Beatles songs that the kids were given the opportunity to choose from.


That's two-five. Songs. From the Beatles. From which to choose.

Twenty-five songs. Twelve kids.

This has all the makings of a trainwreck.

And the sad part? Most of the kids had never even heard of the songs.

So sayeth Deb Byrd.


there's a prog in my nostication!...

Ack! It's time to predict, forecast, speculate, and otherwise make a fool out of myself, trying to foresee into the future (well, the next eleven weeks or so anyway) and try to decide in what order the 12 remaining Idol kids will be executed. Or be appearing on Ellen, depending on your perspective.

I got nine right out of 12 in predicting the final 12, even before they screeched a note, but some of those choices were destined to be right, so I wouldn't exactly say my record is anything remotely in the vicinity of "good." But it was fun to try.

Remember, the top 10 go on the summer tour. The other two will become the footnotes in American Idol history. And since there's no way to know which one will build a rabid and vocal fanbase (aside from David #1's anyway) and there's no way to know which one is going to totally forget the lyrics (an unforgivable sin, unless your name is David), get totally snotty with the judges, start preaching from the microphone or turn in a showstopping masterpiece, I do take my own projection with more than one grain of salt.

So here goes nothing:

12th Place. Also known as last. In and out. Joining such luminaries as Melissa McGhee, Brandon Rogers, Vanessa Oliverez, Lindsey Cardinale and that girl from season three whose name I refuse to type, will be Chikezie, who's going to lose more than his last name. While there are girls with less stage talent than the former Eze guy, Chikezie is really the most forgettable of the men. And the memory of that orange suit is still lingering.

11th Place. Joining the ranks of Mikalah Gordon, Charlie Grigsby, Matt Rogers, Stephanie Edwards and Chicken Little will be the first of the women. And I predict it will be Kristy Lee Cook, who will have used up all of her get out on bail free cards, after refusing to find her country roots and her country identity, which would have separated her from the pack.

10th Place. Reserving a spot on the tour by the narrowest of margins, kinda like Amy Adams, EJ Day, Julia DeMato, Chris Sligh, Lisa Tucker and Jessica Sierra (well, let's hope not just like Jessica Sierra...) will be Amanda Overmyer, who will still not have figured out that to advance one needs to show nuance in one's vocal stylings. And by the third week of the finals it will have become quite clear that the nurse has grown tired of the show, but not until the voters stick her on a four-month summer tour, forcing her into group sings and pointy poses as payback for the hair.

9th Place. Ending up in the unmemorable ninth spot alongside Mandisa, Jim Verraros, Camile Velasco, Nikko Smith, Gina Glocksen and (if we're still counting him) Corey Clark, will be David Hernandez or David #3. His stripper story will have faded by this point, but voters will have aligned with the other Davids and some of the girls, leaving this David caught with his, ahem, pants down.

8th Place. This spot has historically been filled with some of the most memorable contestants. Bucky Covington, Nadia Turner, Rickey Smith, Jon Peter Lewis, Haley Scarnato and AJ Gill (okay, so maybe not all of them were memorable - I had to look that one up) will be joined by Syesha Mercado, who will prove not so memorable, or, more appropriately "the other singer who's name isn't Carly".

7th Place. This is the first of the SHOCKER ELIMINATIONS. At least it has been in the past. Finding her name in a list with Jennifer Hudson won't be so bad, but she will also have to be listed alongside Ace Young, Ryan Starr, Anwar Robinson, Kim Caldwell and - wait for it - Sanjaya! But it will belong to Brooke White, who, by this time, will have run out of instruments and Carly Simon songs. Dang that Carly.

6th Place. Now they're doing double duty, singing two songs of various themes. This is where we separate the Picklers from the Yamins. One less-than-stellar performance can be forgotten - or in some cases ignored - but two is too many. Notable names are in this group, including the aforementioned Kellie Pickler, Phil Stacey, Constantine Maroulis, Christina Christian, Carmen Rasmusen and everyone's favorite crooner, John Stevens. They will be joined by Ramiele Malubay, who will have turned in totally acceptable performances to this point but will fall victim to "the greatest group of contestants we've ever had."

Now this is where things get dicey, because I can see any of the remaining five contestants standing alone on stage, belting out a sappy song about love, rainbows and puppies, amid a blizzard of confetti. So don't quote me.

5th Place. The end is in sight and the results shows are becoming more and more banter-filled, because they still insist on dragging them out to one hour. Idol has given back already, and we viewers will be either saying get it over already or we will be whining about what a long hot summer it's gonna be without a David on Tuesdays. It's a coin toss. But joining the ranks of Chris Richardson, RJ Helton, Trenyce, Paris Bennett, the adorable George Huff and the not-so-adorable Scott Savol will be Michael Johns. Why? Because he was the scissors to the rock.

4th Place. This is the traditional WHAT?? moment. The place where favorites go to die. And go on to star on television, star in Broadway musicals or make mega-millions on their debut albums and see their names turned into verbs. This is where people get Tamyra'd. Like Tamyra Gray did. And Chris Daughtry. And LaToya London. And LaKisha Jones. And Josh Gracin. And Anthony Fedorov. This is not a bad place to stop. And joining the fourth-place fraternity will be David Cook. And his combover. 19E will be on the phone immediately in negotiations with Lionel Ritchie and I will be downloading my first track of the 7th season.

3rd Place. Oh the pain of this spot. So close. Close enough to smell the confetti, but forced to sing backup at the finale. So unfair. And while the future has been bright for the #4s, third has not been as kind. Sure there's been Kim Locke and Elliott Yamin, who arguably could have won their seasons, but when was the last time you've thought of Vonzell Solomon or Nikki McKibbin? What's Melinda Doolittle up to? And then there was Jasmine Trias. And so the question remains: who will get thrown under the bus with the Clive Davis and/or Paula Abdul song selection? My prediction: Carly Smithson.

2nd Place. Joining in the ranks of the runners-up, following in the footsteps of Justin Guarini, Diana DeGarmo, Bo Bice, Kat McPhee, Blake Lewis and, of course, Clay Aiken, will be Jason Castro, who we will have watched bloom from a shy, dreadlocked guy to a confident dreadlocked guy. There will be screams of manipulation, voter fraud and overall hanky-panky as fan groups from all of the ousted contestants will have banded together to derail the force that is the Arch-Angel.

1st Place. I just don't see any stop to the David Archuleta train. The producers are drooling over him. The judges are drooling over him. The teenage girls are drooling over him. Their mothers are drooling over him. There hasn't been a cute, clean-living, talented young guy from Utah this adorable since Donny Osmond. And the show needs a big-selling winner to make its critics forget all about the seasons that have passed since Underwood won it all. So barring any unexpected catastrophes (or any pornographic photos that get "accidentally leaked," the favorite going in is going to be the Idol coming out and have his portrait hanging on the winners wall next to Clarkson, Studdard, Barrino, Underwood, Hicks and the girl that won last year.

There you go. My unscientific analysis of how the season is going to unfold. My analysis is as good as yours. So, then...

What is yours?

Tonight: the Idols butcher take on the Beatles. This could be interesting.

Let the seventh season begin!


Thursday, March 06, 2008

and then there were 12: a SIMULBLOG!...

We're learning the names of the 12 kids who will take the big (and brand new) stage tonight! YAY! But first we have to hear from last year's runner-up Blake Lewis.

Okay, he's an alumnus, so it's okay.

Because THIS is American Idol.

And this is a SIMULBLOG, where the typing is happening as the action is unfolding on the east coast, so if you don't want to know, go. (But come back.) There will be publishing at every break, so if you want to be spoiled, stay! And chat along with us.

Blake is still singing. Ho hum... He keeps promising to "let me go" but he won't. I want a group sing, dang it!


Random thought: those promos for that moment of truth show make me want to vomit. Just had to say that.

Now back to the show. Ryan shows us the empty 12 seats, just awaiting 12 butts. And, in a continuation of last night, the judges remind us that the show is really just all about them.

So after the shameless self-promotion for Paula's new video, we get to see a retrospective of the guys' performances from Tuesday.

Here we go.

David Cook is given his reviews and is told Lionel Ritchie loved his performance. He's in the top 12. No surprise.

David Archuleta (oh...the suspense) is reminded of his reviews before being sent to sit with David #2.

Jason Castro sounds nervous (why?). He's given his reviews before being sent to sit with the Davids.

And it's time for a break.


It's time to seat a few of the women on the stainless steel stools.

We get a memory reel of Wednesday's performances. Oh goody. It was last night for heaven's sake. I haven't forgotten.

Brooke White is reminded of what the judges told her last night before being sent to sit with the guys.

Syesha Mercado is told to stand. The judges say 100% that she's going to have to sit on that cold stool. And she does.

It's Kady Malloy's turn. And she's told to hit the road, she bit the dust, she's a has-been before she was ever a could-be. She's gone. Toast. Roadkill. I gotta save some of these delicious words for the next victim.

Kady's gone. And I will not even try to begin to describe the quality of her last song. But it makes last night's performance grammy-worthy.


We're back to the guys.

David Hernandez is reminded of his critiques. And he's told to take a stool. Something about that just doesn't sound right. But that's what Ryan said.

Michael Johns hits the floor. He's not told to take a stool (thank heavens) but he's told to go sit with Jason and the three Davids.

Luke Menard, and all his hawtness, is the next to die. Sorry Luke. You're cute. You just gotta learn to sing better.

Danny and Chikeze are left waiting. And wondering. Ohhhh. The suspense.

But first a Domino's commercial!


It's back to the women.

Ramiele Malubay is told to listen to her critiques. Then she's told she's made it through.

Carly Smithson still hasn't found her sleeves, but has a cold, shiny new place to sit.

Amanda Overmyer is told to stand then told to sit.

Kristy Lee Cook and Asia'h Epperson are told to stand together. One will stay; one will go, but they have to wait until we sell more products to unsuspecting and naive viewers. Cause we're all about product at American Idol!


The judges are asked who should get a stool. Randy picks Asia'h. Paula rambles and says both will be stars. Sorry, Paula, I don't think either will be.

They get their reviews. Neither looks happy to have gotten this far. And Asia'h is told she's on her way home. Via Greyhound, no doubt. Kristy Lee takes her seat as Asia'h watches her funeral video.

Ryan gives her the choice to sing. She gives an emphatic yes. She sings as Danny cries.


Danny and Chikeze are called to the stage. Danny is still crying. They are reminded of their Tuesday reviews.

And Chikeze is told to sit on a stool. Danny has more to cry about.

But he ends the show in pure Danny style. Good luck Danny.


The big stage next week! I can't wait!!

8 girls, 6 spots: against all odds...

So the semi-final performance episodes end with eight girls just wanting to have fun dancing with somebody to the beat of the songs of the eighties.

Next week - the big stage.

The girls didn't deliver, as a group, as entertaining a show as their male counterparts the night before, but despite two Whitney songs, one Celine song and one song I never want to hear again ever ever in this or any other lifetime, it was, to date, their best outing.

Because THIS is American Idol. And sometimes they're good. Sometimes they're great and, well, sometimes Paula is coherent.

In fact, I found myself more annoyed with the judges, who wasted precious time in yet another one of their "it's all about us" modes. Thought this year it was going to be all about the kids. Alas.

Nonetheless, here are my reviews, a day late as usual but as always, from worst to first.

Kady Malloy (Who Wants to Live Forever). And to think I cringed a little when Miss Kady took on Heart last week. Imagine what happened to me when I found out she was doing Queen. Even though it was an improvement over the unspeakable act she committed the week before, she didn't deliver anything close to saving her chances to advance to the finals. But I said that last week, so no promises.

Ramiele Malubay (Against All Odds). I hate this song with the intensity of a trillion Easy Bake Ovens. I hated it when Corey Clark sang it; I tolerated Scott Savol's version, and I detested Kat McPhee's. On the hate-o-meter, Ramiele's version falls somewhere between zero and Savol. I won't even try to critique her vocal skills, because I doubt that the next time (God forbid) I have to pull out the Against All Odds Crappy Troop, I'll have forgotten she did it. It was that good.

Kristy Lee Cook (Faithfully). Actually I didn't find her country-fried version of Randy's Journey hit too terribly offensive. I just didn't find it all that good either. Kristy needs, if she survives this week, to establish herself very firmly as this season's country singer. And this, while a modest attempt to do that, didn't fully do so.

Asia'h Epperson (I Wanna Dance with Somebody). Asia'h starts the show with a Whitney number, but fortunately for us, it's not one of her "loud" ones. Asia'h is okay in a sweet, bouncy sort of way, but her version of this song lacked any sense of originality or spark. The judges say she's earned a spot into the finals, despite calling her effort "second-rate Whitney Houston." She may have earned a spot, but I'm not sure she'll get one.

Syesha Mercado (Saving All My Love For You). Again, luck prevails when Syesha, who insists on diving head first into the Whitney book of 80s songs, doesn't pull out one of the "loud" ones. And so we begin the show with a Whitney song and we end the show the same way. Like Asia'h, Syesha doesn't do anything terribly unpredictable with the song, but unlike Asia'h who kicked off the night and was likely forgotten seven performances later, Syesha benefits from the anchor spot, one and two-word concise judging assessments, the close of the show and the opening of the lines. She's lucky.

Brooke White (Love is a Battlefield). Brooke forgoes the instruments this week. She forgoes most of the band. She forgoes her feet too! Sitting on the edge of the eyeball stage, she turns this Pat Benatar classic into a sad, lingering, almost-folk ballad. Randy and Paula are so-so on her arrangement, but Simon brightens her face, calling it her second straight great performance. I concur with Simon.

Amanda Overmyer (I Hate Myself for Loving You). I am already trying to figure out which Beatles song Amanda may pull out of her hat if she makes it that far. After last week's poor song choice meets poor song performance disaster, Amanda gets back into her rocker groove and pulls out all the stops to go from almost worst to almost first in the matter of seven days. The unfortunate thing for her is that she is turning into the one-trick pony Simon feared, even though he lavishes her with praise. She is obviously taking her critiques to heart, though, as she toned the cosmetics and softened the hair, showing off how really pretty she is. Now if she would just pretend to be happy to be there. Baby steps.

Carly Smithson (I Drove All Night). Okay, so this is technically a Cyndi Lauper song, but Celine worked better in the intro. Shoot me. I'm not the biggest Carly fan, so it takes a superior effort for her to take top honors from me. Despite the sleevelessness, which I find myself distracted by, Carly does put this song in its place without hitting a bump or a single pothole.

Tonight is final 12 night. I pegged Luke and Chikeze to be without seats. The women are bit more tricky, and I would like for more than two to leave. But them's the rules.

Who I want: Kady and Kristy.
Who should: Kady and Kristy.
Who will: Kady and Asia'h.

See you tonight.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

girls gone whitney!...

The eight remaining ladies take on the 80s, a decade that none of them probably remember. And no Whitney Houston song is safe. Nor are we.

I'll be back tomorrow to tell the world my views on the quality of the performances, so for now, it's an open thread, for anyone and everyone who wants to praise or pan them, their wardrobe, their song choices or their hairstyles.

Have at it...

8 guys, 6 spots: whitney sang that...

What was billed as 80s night on American Idol's last guys semi-final would have been more appropriately named "songs that were sung in the 80s but made famous during various other decades other than the 80s." Or something to that effect.

Nonetheless, if the songs were cleared on the short 50 list, then the songs were legal, even if they were later covered by Whitney and Celine.

Because THIS is American Idol.

And in the best semi-final show this season, the guys, with a few bumps, further proved that this whole gender equity business is going to probably saddle us with some annoying women while depriving us of some enjoyable and entertaining guys. But that's the way it goes.

There wasn't anyone I vehemently despised last night, but here they are, my reviews of the fellas, sorta a day late and, as always, from worst to first:

Luke Menard (Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go). I have waited seven seasons to see if anyone would take on this Wham! hit. And of all the people, Luke is not the one I would have wished for. Luke, my boy, I have given you the benefit of the doubt because you're hawt and because you seem sweet and because you're from my home state. But Luke, I just can't go this far. You are hawt. You seem nice. And it's been nice having you with us. Wave to us before you go-go.

Danny Noriega (Tainted Love). Complete with purple hair and gnarly dance moves, Danny makes me chuckle, which makes up for how much I didn't love this song. Vocally, I give him a thumbs down; entertainment value gets a thumbs up. Together it's a wash. Which is what he should do to his hair.

Chikeze No-longer-Eze (All the Woman I Need). After the first week's disasterous effort, Chikeze has consistently improved and continued to impress. This was a solid effort, not terribly memorable aside from Simon's snittiness about whether this was a Whitney cover. I'm not sure it will keep the one-name wonder in the competition, though.

David Hernandez (It's All Coming Back to Me Now). David #3 deftly avoids any stripper stories to share as an embarrassing moment (although they would have been preferable to the booger story.) It's a strong effort, with strong, confident vocals, causing Simon to give him the 100% guarantee that he'll make the finals. I don't disagree.

David Archuleta (Another Day in Paradise). David #1 starts his crusade to end homelessness at the piano before grabbing the microphone to stand and finish this maudlin ballad. It's his worst effort to date, but David #1's worst would have been most people's best effort. The judges give him tepid reviews, leading Paula to remind voters/viewers that the boy is not an android. But I'm telling you now, his habit of licking his lips between lines is getting as distracting as his breathing techniques (or lack thereof). Somebody get this boy some Chapstick. Pronto.

Michael Johns (Don't You Forget About Me). Squee! Memories of The Breakfast Club surfaces! I suddenly want a Frito and Dixie Straw sandwich. But enough about me. I wasn't exactly giddy about this outing, but it was sufficient. And, as Simon pointed out, Michael has a great performance bubbling inside him. Hopefully he's sandbagging his way through the prelims, just waiting to release it on the big stage.

Jason Castro (Hallelujah). No guitar for Jason, and it looks a little odd to see him with only a microphone. But, despite a cracked last note, this was a soft, lovely and thoroughly memorable performance. Simon even uses the "brilliant" word, something he does rarely. And he's even getting better at the post-performance banter.

David Cook (Hello). I can't remember a time when a performance has grabbed me by the throat, struck me still and kept me spellbound. (Something tells me it was around season five.) It didn't dawn on me until the judges comments that this was a Lionel Ritchie song, because David #2 had me so captured that, for once, I didn't hear a song from the 80s. I heard David Cook. And I think I am in love.

Now is the tough part. Seven of the eight deserve to stay, but only six can, unless we can figure out a way to knock off one extra girl. But that seems unlikely. And potentially illegal. So who stays and who leaves?

Who I want: Luke and Chikeze
Who should: Luke and Danny
Who will: Luke and Chikeze

Anyone taking guesses how many times we butcher Whitney again tonight? I say two.

See you then.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

the guys sing the 80s!...

And that means it's an open thread to critique, cry, criticize, condemn or whatever makes you feel good.

I'll be back tomorrow, provided this ice storm doesn't leave me in the dark, to give my impressions.

Have at it...

david #3 stays...

Nothing to see. (Well, apparently not anymore, dang it.) No scandal here. At least not one that wasn't foreseen by the Idol bosses anyway.

Like it was or should have ever been questioned.

Hernandez stays
. For as long as the voters allow it anyway.

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Thanks Rob for the awesome image!