Thursday, February 26, 2009

12 minus 9 plus three equals six...

And that's how many kids we will have in the pool at the end of tonight's second result episode.

After yet another excuse for a performance show, we're going to whittle the field a little more. Because THIS is American Idol. And this is a simulblog, where I'm typing as the action is unfolding on the East Coast, so if you are in the West and want to be surprised, it's time to leave.

If you want to be spoiled, though, hang out. Because the show has begun.

Ryan starts the show off in the typical fashion, before dramatically asking America "what have you done?" just as he gazes at Normund Gentle, the guy I have a crush on.

And after reminding us how each of the kids got to this point, we're treated to a group sing!! It has a lot of snappy dance moves and even more bad singing. Whew. That finally ends.

And Ryan throws us to a commercial by promising an unseen audition when we return.


Random thought: I love the Etrade commercials with the little babies. Can't help it.

We get to see last night's highlights. Oh yea! And here I've tried so hard to avoid them. Alas.

Ryan asks a selection of the kids assorted time-filling questions. Danny, Alexis and Michael are sitting behind three brand new shiny stools.

Alison is summoned to join Ryan. She gets reminding of how great the judges thought she was. She is sent to the side and Jessie is called. She is also shuffled aside and Matt B. is brought up.

Randy is asked which of the three will make the 12. He hopes that it's Alison. And it is. And she sings.

Alison says she is "so happy." And we're happy for her. Megan is brought to the stage. She gets her reviews. Kris is also at the stage and gets his reviews. Both are shuffled to the side.

Matt G. and Jeanine are put through the same treatment. One of them is a finalist. Paula is asked which one she thinks it is. She says she's torn between three of the four of them.

Ryan puts Jeanine out of her misery with a trip back to the sofa. Matt is also sent away, leaving Kris and Megan are left. Kara starts babbling and goes on about two days too long. Kris Allen is given the good news.

And he gets to sing again.

Okay, now I'm getting a little angry. There is absolutely no reason for these results shows to be more than 30 minutes. They named two of the three, they've done their group sing. And now they're just killing time by rerunning the "What a Wonderful World" retrospective that they showed on the season premiere.

Pardon me while I gripe.

Brooke is back. She's sitting at a keyboard and gives a rah rah speech to the contestants. She looks good and sounds just like Brooke. It's an okay song, very Carole King-ish. Hopefully she'll get lots of downloads. It's available on iTunes, you know.

The rest of the cast is brought to the eyeball. Mishavonna says she stands by her song choice. Kai says he has no regrets. Jasmine says she has no clue what's going to happen. Those three are given the bad news and their pink slips to the sofa, leaving us with Nick/Normund and Adam.

And we have a break...

When we return the guys are given their reviews from the night before. Nick/Normund is told he is leaving and Adam is sticking around. And Adam gets to sing. Again.

And with that we're at six, half of the final field.

Next week we have a performance episode on Tuesday with the results the next night, followed by the Thursday Wildcard episode, details of which are sketchy at best. I'll be seeing you then.

But in the meantime, what are your thoughts of this week and this season in general? Leave them in the comments!

crazy days and normund...

I hate to admit this, but I'm gonna anyway. Outside of what I've caught from last night online, I haven't watched the show, and really don't intend to. (Mainly because my day has been crazed, and I can't squeeze enough time in to watch and write and still be ready for the results.

Besides, y'all have convinced me the show, once again, stunk up the joint.

So I'll give you a brief, but heartfelt, review of what I have been able to see.

I think Alison is a lock to advance. She stole the show and pretty much, at least for me, is my favorite going into the final 12. Adam put on a good, but like Randy said, manic performance that just was too big for that small stage. I wish he would have saved that one for the big stage and brought it down a notch, but hey, he's going to advance based on face time alone. Plus he's talented, so he deserves to move on.

The others I've watched were, well, average to below average. But the one thing I want, even though I doubt I'll get it tonight, is for Nick/Normund to advance. Yes, I agree, he has no place on this show. His act is better suited for the overall variety show like America's Got Talent.

However, when I can't even must enough enthusiasm for this season to sit down and watch and can't garner, for the first time writing this blog, enough energy to even want to review the whole shebang, well, I need something more than mediocre singers singing karaoke.

I want to be entertained. And in all the times today when I could have caught some of the other contestants, I rewatched (and laughed again) Normand making his song his own.

This season is bordering on Season Six dull. And just like season six, when Sanjaya pretty much carried the first half of the season, not because he was a talented singer (because he wasn't) but because he was unpredictable in a sea of predictability. People tuned in to see what he would do, and the show didn't tank. Normand will save this season in the same way. He won't win, nor should he. But he will sell tour tickets. And he may just make me want to watch, if for nothing else, than to see how far he can push Simon into high blood pressure meds.

And four judges is too many. One of them needs to go.

I will see you tonight! Brooke White is the returning alumna hawking her new iTunes offering. Hope she remembers her lyrics.

On second thought, no I don't.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

12 up, nine down...

It's time for group 2, which has to be better as a whole than last week's group one. Has to be. Can't be much worse.

One presumes the theme for tonight is the same as last week, the very broad Billboard #1 songs, which is appropriate, and one can only hope that tonight's semi-finalists remember that they have one shot at advancing so now is not the time to let the nerves take control.

I will probably not be able to watch the full two-hours tonight (which is why God made TiVo) so tomorrow I'll weigh in on the performances, but the ones I'm looking for specifically are Adam Lambert, Jasmine Murray with hopefully a good one from Kai Kalama. (I'm not holding out too much hope for this year's crop of females.) I also can't wait to see what Nick Mitchell/Normand Gentle has in store for us.

So use up the comment thread to share your reviews. I'll be back tomorrow afternoon and, of course, tomorrow night, when we execute another nine people.

See you then.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the first three: a SIMULBLOG!...

We're going to watch three people leave happy and nine people leave with their heads in their hands as they examine the chards of their shattered dreams strewn all around their feet which have nowhere to go except to the closest bus station.

God I love execution night.

And I love that they're having it during family hours so that kids can watch the massacre and old people like me can stay up without missing our 9 p.m. bedtimes.

Okay, so that's only gonna last through the semi-finals, but a girl can enjoy little pleasures while they last.

This is a live post, also known around these parts as a SIMULBLOG, when I'm writing as I'm watching with a publish at every important break, so if you are on the west coast and you want to be spoiled, now is the time to exit stage left, because by the end of the post you're gonna know who's staying and who's going home to wait on the wildcard invite.

Ryan tells us that 24 million votes were phoned in last night, before he gives us a refresher on how this new season's semi-finals are gonna work. Yeah we know Ryan. Three stay. Nine don't. This show could last only 14.5 minutes if they would only avoid the judges' self-congratulation and contrived drama. But whatever.

We get a review on how group one got to Hollywood and to the eyeball stage. Then we're treated to a GROUP SING! Thankfully it's just 12 of them, not the whole 36, although that would not have surprised me. God I love cheesy dancing!

THIS is American Idol!


Oh good. We get reminded of the trainwreck that was the night before. I choose not to watch.

The kids get asked for their own reviews of their own performances. They hem. They haw. Some of them obviously didn't watch the show.

Ryan shows us the three good stools which will be filled with three lucky butts.

He brings Casey to the stage, who says she agreed with the judges that she shouldn't have tried to sing Sting. Randy says she needs to go. She does. Bye Casey.

Stephen is next. He kinda sorta agrees that he chose the wrong song. Kara says he needs to go. He does. Bye Stephen.

Alexis is asked to come on down. I like her hat. Paula reminds Alexis that she was marvelous. And she stays and gets to sit on one of the shiny stools. And she gets to sing. Hey! The winners are gonna sing again. Now THAT is a twist.

This show could be about nine minutes long if it weren't for the commercials. Ricky and Jackie are brought center stage. Ricky is sent away. So is Jackie.

Anoop and Michael are asked to join Ryan. They get reminded of last night's reviews. One of them is advancing. And it's Michael. Anoop is sent to await another callback, which I'm sure he'll get.

Michael gets to sing again.

This show would be about three minutes long if it weren't for the encores.

Oh I hope they keep their promise of reducing this season's results show to 30 minutes.

We get to see some highlights of the Disneyworld extravaganza, ending with a snippet of the David Cook/Carrie Underwood duet, all of which can be seen here. It really is good.

Michael Johns and Carly Smithson remind us of what a great season last year was. They team up for The Letter.

Ann Marie is told to stand. She's reminded how much the judges hated her. Brent does the same. So does Stevie. Nothing like a mass killing! Randy says none of them deserves to stay. And, predictably, none of them do. Oh the carnage.

Danny and Tatiana are left. Both are brought center stage. Paula says the last spot should go to Danny. But we have to wait until "after the break."

Both are reminded of the songs they sang. One will get a stool and the other will get a wildcard. Mark my words. Danny makes it through. Tatiana, in Tatiana fashion, has a Tatiana mini-meltdown and is assisted, sorta, off the stage by the other girls who also got the ax. She will return, girls. Trust me.

Danny gets to close the show with his reprise. And we await next week.

Remember, President Obama will be taking the stage next Tuesday, so we'll be on a Wednesday/Thursday schedule. I like President Obama. I think he will advance.

See you then...

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36 minus 12 minus 9...

We're down to just 36, says Ryan Seacrest. That's easy for him to say, before the first twelve survivors start squawking.

Tuesday night's live competition opener won't go down as the worst semi-final episode certainly, but few of the first group gave anyone much reason to burn up the phone lines.

The judging panel is all weirded out. There are four of them now, Simon's on the left rather than the right. But at least Paula is normal. Paula-type normal that is.

Three of the kids will survive to sing again. There are a couple who might grab a wildcard invitation, but considering that this season, unlike the four seasons that preceded it, the kids have really one shot at stardom, which makes some of their performances and many of their song choices questionable at best and totally odd at worst.

But after a couple of watches (and a few clicks of the get-this-off-my-TV button) here are my thoughts, for what they're worth and, as usual, from worst to first:

Stephen Fowler (Rock With You). My mother always taught me that when you can't say anything nice, say nothing at all. Hi Mom.

Stevie Wright (You Belong With Me). Stevie decides to sing Taylor Swift because "it's really young" like she is, being 17 and all. Ever had a surge of pain in your head that only lasted really seconds but felt like agony for a week? Yeah. Me too. So long Stevie. Be sure to pick up your parting gift on your way out.

Jackie Tohn (A Little Less Conversation). I keep having to look up how to spell Jackie's name. I don't think after today I'll have to do that. After having just left the gym, the girl massacres this Elvis tune. Simon uses the word "clown." I use the word "gone."

Casey Carlson (Every Little Thing She Does is Magic). Casey wants to be Jordin Sparks. So she sings Sting. Or tries to. Even Jordin doesn't sing Sting. And Jordin can sing.

Ann Marie Boskovich (Natural Woman). Ann Marie chooses this song, she says, to let people know "who she is." And she is more Carole King than Aretha Franklin. Randy compares her version to the versions that have been turned in on the idol stage, and while I agree that Ann Marie doesn't have the big voices of Clarkson and Hudson, she wasn't trying to emulate Aretha. Simon thinks she ruined her chance. He may be right about tonight's vote, but I'm not entirely convinced for the competition as a whole.

Brent Keith (Hicktown). Brent does his best to secure the token country slot. Kara and Paula accuse him of playing it safe. Simon says he blew his chance with an "unforgettable" effort. Brent tells Simon that country fans won't forget the effort. I don't know how many country fans vote, though. Since I like variety in the end, I hope he pulls it through, but I'm not banking on a vote advance, but it would surprise me if he's one of tonight's three. If not, the producers would be fools not to bring him back in March.

Anoop Desai (Angel of Mine). I really like this guy, but wasn't over the moon about this song selection or his performance of it. Luckily he's had enough exposure to have enough credit in the bank to survive the night, but considering the qualified love coming from the judging panel, if he doesn't survive tonight, he'll make it through the wildcard round.

Michael Sarver (I Don't Wanna Be). Who can't root for an Everyman oil rigger with a lovely wife and cutie-pie baby who sings Gavin DeGraw. Who? Even Simon asks America to pick up the phone and "give him another shot." I hope they do.

Tatiana Del Toro (Saving All My Love for You). The country's favorite punching bad turns in a suprisingly subdued and pleasant performance. Simon hits it on the head when he observes that Tatiana just "wants to be famous." But, of the women in this group, she proves herself worthy of a place in the semi-finals. It remains to be seen if the combined forces of the VFTW crowd, who've crowned her queen and the average voters can pull her through, but she is an interesting character and sometimes that's what this show needs.

Ricky Braddy (A Song For You). Again I'm taking Simon's side. I really liked this interpretation of this beautiful song, but I'm not putting it in my list of top semi-final performances. Paula reminds him (as if he needs reminding) that Ricky was one of the sacraficial lambs in the Bikini Girl/Tatiana shows thus far, which could cost him in votes. But if he doesn't advance on votes, I think he's a wildcard pick for certain.

Alexis Grace (Never Loved a Man). A "dirtied-up" Alexis takes the eyeball stage with partially pink hair, a black teddi masquerading as a dress and the palest skin in the competition. And despite a few flat moments that ultimately are inconsequential, she restores my faith in this group. Simon invokes the holy name of Kelly. If she doesn't advance by votes, I'll dye my hair pink.

Danny Gokey (Hero). Danny is the lucky first recipient of the pimp spot, wrapping up the show with Mariah's classic and pretty much wrapping up a spot in the final 12. Paula stands. Randy says blazing hot. Kara screams into her microphone. And Simon throws some cold water on the hyperbole. And maybe the judging for Danny was a bit over the top, but on a mediocre, sometimes-painful night, it was okay.

Danny and Alexis should make it through effortlessly, but I never underestimate the voters. Who will fill out the third spot is anyone's guess.

So, who's your pick?

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

it's LIVE tonight...

It's the first live episode of the eighth season, and I'm really trying to summon up some enthusiasm for what's to come. I don't know why I'm rather ambivalent about this year, but I was ho-humming around this time last season and it ended as one of my favorite years. Here's hoping the same will be true this time around.

Twelve of the kids will take the stage tonight, six guys and six women. Then we vote. Tomorrow night at 8 p.m., three of them will advance to the big stage: the top vote getter and the top voted guy and the top voted gal.

Competing in round one are Alexis Grace, Ann Marie Boskovich, Anoop Desai, Brent Keith, Casey Carlson, Danny Gokey, Jackie Tohn, Michael Sarver, Ricky Braddy, Stephan Fowler, Stevie Wright and the ubiquitous Tatiana Del Toro. (Gosh, trying to remember 36 names is a tall order...) If you're having the same issues placing faces with names with voices, here's a link to their bios.

As they did last year, all of the songs will be available for purchase on iTunes. If you care to purchase, clicking through the link on my sidebar earns me a whole nickel for each one you buy. (Hey, times are tough. I'd rent the pup out to stud if he weren't, uh, altered. I may do it anyway.)

Reports are that Michael Johns and Carly Smithson will team up for a duet tomorrow night. One presumes that will be before nine people watch their dreams of superstardom smashed in front of millions. Or not.

I plan to post my views and reviews tomorrow. Don't forget to click over to Dave's to see who he loves and loathes. (Well, we're hoping for no cable or other outages for Dave this week anyway.) Eat up the comment section to post your thoughts or leave them in the shoutbox.

Are you ready?


Thursday, February 12, 2009

forget what you saw...

On Tuesday she forgot her words and pretty much fell to pieces. And she was allowed to survive. And on the non-elevator but fancy chair show, she was put through to the top 36. But WAIT!

We have our first pre-competition casualty. Joanna Pacitti, the stage and recording veteran, has been canned "to avoid the appearance of impropriety." She has been replaced by Felicia Barton.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

elevator, chair, death...

After all these weeks of agony waiting, tonight's the night of the famed elevator ride, chair walk of death. Thirty-six people will survive, twelve of whom will kill entertain us next week.

Personally, I'm dealing with thunderstorms that are causing my lights to flicker, so I'm hoping the cable holds it together, and I'm still dealing with the virus from hell that's got me looking up exorcism in the yellow pages, so it's an open thread so that we can compare, contrast, criticize Tatiana and condemn the judges who continually send her through.

Knock yourself out.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

say goodbye to hollywood...

Tomorrow the semi-finalists will be revealed, after their long and agonizing elevator journey and walk to the chair. But tonight we get to see their last, pathetic attempts to tempt and sway the judges.

And it's another open thread so that we can all moan or applaud their efforts. (I will be switching between Idol and the Dog Show as I root for the always-robbed Havanese to win the toy group.)

And while you're waiting, here's a scathing critique of this year's Hollywood escapades.

So, the floor is yours...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

it's hollywood baby...

Finally. No more auditions. So to speak.

It's Hollywood. Hell Week. Time for catfights and tears. Heroics and humiliation. It's what we endure the auditions for.


It's another open thread, so have at it. I just hope there are group numbers.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

spoiler alert: top 36 leaked?...

As was the case last year, reliable sources have verified (in that spoiler type of way) which 36 lucky people (barring arrests, of course) will survive Hollywood and start performing live in about two weeks.

Don't click the link if you don't want to be spoiled!

MSNBC is reporting what Vote for the Worst reported days ago. And MJ has gone one step further, just in case you've forgotten who these people are or, like me, watched only approximately 13.439% of the auditions. She has most of the rumored semi-finalists linked to their audition footage.

Now at least I know who to look for during the Hollywood episodes, where I hope they resurrect those magical group numbers...


Thanks Rob for the awesome image!