Wednesday, May 24, 2006

American Idol: Soul Patrol Soul Patrol Soul Patrol!

Ladies and gentlemen (the very few of you out there!), meet your new aging American Idol!

TAYLOR HICKS - American Idol 2006 (Season 5) Winner.
They made us wait until 9:59 to actually find out what we already knew was going to happen. And sure lots of drama filled the 1 hour and 59 minute void prior to that. Wolfgang Puck teaching Kellie Pickler about seafood, Chris Daughtry (mollyless) performing with Live. Katharine McPhee inexplicably singing with Meatloaf (well except Jim Steinman wrote that Celine Dion song as well as Meatloaf's Bat Out of Hell albums...which there will be a 3rd now?? yikes), lots of crazy celebrity/idol duets, Michael Sandecki (clay wannabe) being "stunned" by the actual Clay aiken, the Brokenote Cowboys coming for a performance, PRINCE showing up.... I could go on and on. But it was all just more unintentional comedy in the American Idol realm. And we've covered that all season!
Let's talk about what REALLY matters, Kevin Covais singing "What's up Pussy Cat" My God. I thought I had laughed in my life prior to tonight. Little did I know that I never even began to realize my laughing potential! Even Kellie Pickler couldn't take the song seriously! Ahh good times were had by all.
I think what the problem is, is that I'm speechless (there's always a first). I just feel there is nothing more to write about season 5 of Idol. Taylor Hicks is our American Idol. Already gave my speech about it yesterday. Will his awful single become a top seller? Sure it will. The big question is how will his first album do? Time will tell how our season 5 champ will do. I don't think it's necessarily a sure thing like Kelly and Carrie were. We can talk about it more when Season 6 starts if Taylor decides to lay down some tracks before then!
So with that, I bid farewell for now. Season 5 on a whole, didn't quite meet my expectations, but it was still a thrill of a ride. The blog, on the other hand has evolved over the past 2 years and is starting to take on a life of its own. Time will also tell if I will be as dedicated to lengthy write-ups next year! I think we all can agree that LESS Audition Blogs may be a good thing!
Enjoy the off-season! I know I will. Weeks and weeks of typing-free bliss! And perhaps a little concert during the summer being serenaded by our 1st Idol. (oh come on, I went last year....who would be THAT shocked if I forced some ladies to escort me to another one THIS summer? That's what I thought)
See you next January, until then may I conclude our Season 5 Recaps by unneccesarily quoting our reigning champ, "SOUL PATROL! SOUL PATROL! SOUL PATROL! SOUL PATROL! SOUL PATROL! SOUL PATROL! "

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

American Idol: Final 2 Perform!

The Final Showdown

It's finally here. Hollywood's finest got dolled up for the event (well Mandy Moore and Ben Stiller got camera time). America's favorite guilty pleasure has reached its culmination point and it's time for the country to crown the new idol. Well, it's been quite a road, hasn't it? A grueling and over-extended Audition process, the diluted Hollywood rounds, and the pointless 3 day February Sweeps Semi-Finals, and (most shocking) 41 BLOGS from yours truly! God knows I'm excited to get this over with! But at the same time, I am also a bit sad that amateur hour is coming to a close for 2006. No fear, the 2 hours of off-key concert'ing Wednesday Night will be sure to have me prepared to do without Idol for 7 months and change!

Last year I took a stroll down Memory Lane in our Finale write-up. So, let's do it again!

  • Season 1 - Kelly Clarkson vs Justin Guarini - no Brainer....there were 2 talented people in season 1 and Justin wasn't one of them. Kelly goes on to 2 multi-platinum albums (latest sold over 10 million worldwide) , 2 grammy's, and many other awards to add to her trophy shelf. Still the most successful Idol to date. (and my personal fave!) BTW...She's performing with Rascal Flatts on the Country Music Awards tonight (Tuesday) and her Ford commercial is on the TV as I write this! (I'm proofreading after she performed....she looked hideous and the performance wasn't so good. It means NOTHING!!!)
  • Season 2 - Ruben Studdard vs Clay Aiken - probably still the closest season to date. One could argue season 4 was a close one, but I think the idol producers already had their winner pegged from the beginning. A lot of controversy surrounded the votes on season 2 since they were less than 100,000 votes apart out of the millions that voted. Clay Aiken is still outselling Ruben even though Ruben cashed in with his successful single "Sorry 2004" a couple years back. But his 2nd album fell short in sales when he was unable to promote it due to health issues. Clay is probably working on his next album these days...and the claymates will support him forever. (I am not one of them!)
  • Season 3 - Fantasia BORINGo vs Diana Bubblegum DeGarmo - Ugh...I've made no secret about the fact that I HATED season 3. There were absolutely NO redeeming qualities of the season. (nope...not even laughing at Jon Stevens!) And if they hadn't changed the rules in season 4, the Idol ship may have sunk. Fantasia is quite possibly the worst role model that America can have. She was a teenage mother who has never learned to read! Yet, there she was singing her way to Idol gold. And God was she annoying. And I guess she's doing well these days, but I sure has heck haven't heard any of her tunes besides Tamyra Gray's "I Believe" (the other talented season 1 contestant)
  • Season 4 - Carrie Underwood vs Bo Bice - My 2nd favorite season. This was the year AI established itself as a force to be reckoned with from now until the foreseeable future. It has now become a part America's culture. And Carrie was the perfect girl to root for during this transition. The rules changed...they tweaked a slowly fading machine....instead of 4 weeks of semi-finals and 32 finalists....they went to 3 weeks of narrowing down the final 24. The new rules forced a top 12 of 6 guys and 6 girls. And they thankfully raised the entry age to 28 (at time of auditions...Taylor is 29 now afterall). So there were 2 great performers that made it to the finals in season 4....and it was a tough call going with Carrie last year for my pick, but the finals seemed to be "tailored" for her to win it all. Bo is still doing well with his single "The Real Thing" and Carrie has gone triple platinum with her debut album Some Hearts, which I've already admitted to owning. She also has won 2 Country Music Awards since I've been watching tonight. (And yes...she thanked American Idol. I don't care if Kelly didn't!)

So what does this prove? It proves that American Idol, like it or not, has become a major influence on what our country and the world will be listening to for years to come. And I am totally on board with the Cash Cow that it has become! Season 5 was the first season where there were very few contestants to dislike (although we still had Paris, didn't we?). However, at the same time, there weren't many contestants with the same vocal power of the winners of the past. But still there were great storylines. The Pickler Saga, The Grey Haired Wonder, Katharine coming into her own, Elliot transforming from a Fawn to almost passing as a human, Chris having an obscene affair with a mic stand, Kevin Covais making a fool of himself and guaranteeing a life of chastity for himself for many years to come, and of course....the drama between the judges and our host. Has there ever been more drama with these crazy mainstays? It got to the point of utter annoyance this year, but I still found myself glued to that TV watching the saga unfold.

So a lot of talent this year, and it was hard to see how everything was going to go down. Taylor Hicks was a personal favorite of mine right from the start. Especially when Simon just didn't understand him. He had that love for music that just surrounded his presence in the audition room. I knew there was something special about him. But never in a million years did I think that my liking the guy would be shared my everyone else across the country. All of us united in proving Simon wrong....Taylor went from underdog to "The guy to beat." Even when this guy had an off week....he was still untouchable. The man never hit the bottom 3 (always a good sign since Kelly and Carrie didn't either), and always topped (which has proven itself pretty accurate this year).

Katharine was a favorite of many way back when as well. But we knew that she would have to edge out some stiff competition to get to the final 3, let alone final 2. Once she kicked Chris to the curb during the final 4 week, she had paved her way to the finals. She's got one hell of a voice and has had some of the best performances on idol this year. She and Taylor have had quite a few bumpy performances over the weeks, but both of them were able to rebound when it counted...and that's how we are where we are. Who was able to keep up the momentum for one more week? We'll find out soon enough.

In the meantime, we can break it down ourselves! If you read the Season 4 finale write-up, you will know I like to write up this one a bit differently. We will score them up song by song and then issue the final verdict! You guys know the rules, sing well, perform well, and America will love let's get it on!!!

Randy: It's ON tonight!
Paula: Hopefully they are IN good voice! (Seriously, Paula? 2 weeks in a row?)
Simon: Pray the other one forgets their words


Favorite Previous Round Performance #1

Katharine McPhee
"Black Horse and the Cherry Tree"

Was it disturbing that the McPhans and the Kat Pack took up a collection to send her 1000 roses tonight? Hells Yeah it was! But how was her performance? Well, I think Katharine standing this time around (instead of singing from her knees) may have hurt her a bit. But I still thought she sounded well. The crazy box drummers returned to employment for one more night. One even got some lovin from Kat's posterior while she pranced around the stage. So, it was a decent performance from Katharine, but I think her original performance was better. Here's what the judges thought.

Randy: Yo Yo Yo, so Check it out. You're finally having fun. Better than first time! (ugh Randy! Get your ears cleaned!)
Paula: Fun. More of you, Better of you to come. (??? Sometimes it's better to say no words at all Paula)
Simon: Good with a small "g." Occasion tonight is bigger than that song. I call it a warm-up.

Taylor Hicks

"Living For the City"

Wow. Besides that ridiculous Velvet Jacket he was sporting, did Taylor come tonight to play? Hells yeah he did! I recall him doing this song during Stevie Wonder week, but it seemed like he brought his game to a whole other level this time around. He just rocked it out. A few disappearing lower register notes, but I don't think he was really trying to hit them. He just let the background vocals do their thing as he danced his way into America's living rooms. Good Stuff.

Randy: Yo Yo Yo, so Check it out, Right? I was worried when you picked Stevie but you don't care! You made it your own. We have a hot one right here America!
Paula: We Match! Your jacket looks like blueberries and I AM Blueberries!!! I got your dance down! (yes...blueberries were not mentioned, but I love my ongoing pointless joke! leave me alone!)
Simon: The Audience hated you! (ba dum ching!) Great Start. Smart Song Choice, Worst Jacket I've ever seen in my life (agreed!)

Round 1: Katharine 0 - Taylor 1

Favorite Previous Round Performance #2

Katharine McPhee
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

So Kat went with both previous performances where she sang from the floor. For this 2nd number, she stayed on the floor. And boy was she excited that she was singing in the right key (with the ear monitor malfunctions and all). I'm sure this song will be a B-side on her inevitable Idol Single release (all of the final 2 contestants have released singles). It was a good performance, but I don't think it was quite as good as her jaw dropping rendition last week. But it is the song to look at if you want to see what genre Katharine excels at.

Randy: Yo Yo Yo so Check it out! For me? Yo Yo. Same song again and you worked it out again!!
Paula: God Given Talent. You are Possessed! And all the fathers are crying! (I don't make this stuff up!)
Simon: In Round 1 you were slaughtered. But you've come back with your best performance of the competition.

Taylor Hicks

I thought Taylor performed the Elton John classic with more conviction (thanks for the word, Paula) than when he last sang it during the semi-finals. I remember back then hearing pitch problems all over the place and the judges praising him for his performance. I also remember disregarding the pitch problems in favor of his love for music, which still shines in this guy. But now he's got a confidence of 30 million people watching him from week to week, and he sang that thing like he wrote it himself (he looks old enough to have written it!). Still, probably his weakest performance of the night. But even the weakest was really good.

Randy: Taylor Hicks (wow..that was new Randy!). So Check it Baby! (ugh) Nice song. To be honest it was a little pitchy for me (HUH???)
Paula: What may be pitchy to you is the essence of what Taylor is (...)
Simon: That doesn't make any sense Paula! (agreed) Katharine wins 2nd round.

I guess I'll agree with Simon on this one. Even though I love the Elton tune, it's tough to argue when Katharine rips out the song that dropped jaws across America last week.

Round 2: Katharine 1 - Taylor 1

Awful Cheesy Idol Songs

Katharine McPhee
"My Destiny"'s May. You know what that means, we are introduced to at LEAST 2 songs made purely of home grown CHEESE. I'm talking about leaving the milk in the fridge months after its expiration date and then opening the fridge, and broadcasting what's inside for all of America to see, smell and hear (oh can HEAR cheese!). And American Idol did not let us down this year! Enter "MY DESTINY." Katharine begins to sing with a crazy back-lighting. Was this an attempt at an illusion to make us think that this song was actually COOL? I was almost worried that they wouldn't bring out the crazy Idol Finale Choir this year when we were almost done Kat's song....but my fears subsided when DESTINY took a dramatic swing, the crazy choir came out, and Kat fell back into her off-key singing. Now, we know the contestants are already handicapped with these tunes due to their awfulness, but you have to find a way to shine with these songs and make them your own. Kat kinda just seemed like she was happy to make it that far. She wasn't convincing us that it was her "destiny" to win the crown. And that final note? Talk about Anti-Climatic and Ear piercing. I've been a Katharine fan since early on, but this isn't the final impression you want to leave on America. JUDGES, what do YOU say?

Randy: So I'm keepin it real 1.) You look amazing (ouch) 2.) You Sounded really Good 3.) I did NOT love the song.
Paula: That's not your fault! You are brilliant! (constructive!)
Simon: I am sorry. You went from Brilliant to "quite good" in one song. America if you want to vote for Katharine tonight, remember the 2nd song.

Simon went on to say how much potential Katharine has. And he's right. Even if she doesn't come home with the crown, she should be just fine.

Taylor Hicks
"Do I Make You Proud?"

Okay, so maybe this wasn't the WHOLE Milk left in the fridge. Just the LOW-Fat milk. It wasn't as painful of a song to endure. But it just showed how much of a treat it is to watch Taylor bring a song to life. He may have not been the best singer in the competition (even though he's pretty darn good) he was able to sing each song convincingly and emotionally. Taylor probably hated the song he was singing, but he sucked it up and performed the hell out of it. He knows what road is before him after he gets past this single. Taylor sealed the deal with this showmanship. If you don't believe me, listen to the pack of screaming fans jammed in the Kodak theater and the judges' reactions.

Randy: Yo Yo So Check it out! Slightly better song. But YOU know who Taylor Hicks is and you made it your own dawg!!!
Paula: You were better than the song! I love you! I love Blueberries! I love pancakes! I love Blueberry Pancakes!
Simon: Assuming I was right that the show was tied, then you have just won American Idol.

Round 3: Katharine 1 - Taylor 2

It is now we must remind America that Simon had initially passed on Taylor Hicks, which brought us to this point in the first place. The raging Soul Patrol fanbase has stuck with Taylor through it all. And with that, there's not much more to say. Once Chris was booted out of the competition, it seemed cut and dry to me who was going to win Idol. We have just been going through the motions the past week. So, let's do it!

Elimination Pick: Katharine McPhee


Like I said, love him or hate him, when you think back on Season 5 of American Idol you will remember "THAT GUY WITH THE GREY HAIR." Taylor is not just a performer, he lives and breathes music and people have recognized that. Never in a million years did the Soul Patrol think that Taylor would make it this far, but as the weeks went by it became more and more possible (obviously). He came out strong, fizzled in the middle, but rebounded BIG time. And in a season with no clear favorite, he has earned the title. Now let's just see if America agrees with me and the judges.

Well that's it kids. I went all out tonight with the blog (since I had the time), you can be sure that tomorrow's recap will be quite short. The excitement is in the suspense. After the winner is crowned, there won't be much to talk about. And let's not kid ourselves. Lost is 2 hours tomorrow night too! I'm splitting my time!

I'll save my BIG goodbyes for tomorrow, but it has been a fun ride. And I hope you all have enjoyed the 40+ write-ups that have come your way this season. I never see any comments so I can only assume there are people reading this! (besides the little side emails I get)

Let's have one more goal before this season ends. If you have read and enjoyed these blogs this past season, click on comments, and POST something! I dare you! Can we get 10 comments? That's my dream! (I dream small these days). And if you, dare I say it, disagree with my Taylor pick....go ahead and prove me wrong! Some of you tried to convince me my Carrie pick was bad last year (Oh yes...I remember!). That was different though, it was a tight race. This is all but a sure thing at this point, but comment anyway! I'll admit it, I'm shameless when it comes to my ego!

Okay, tomorrow night, 2 hours of pointless interviews with the hometown crowds, cameos from previous idol contestants, the top 10 or 12 of season 5 return for a summer concert preview, Paula will say something that will prove she is drunk yet again, and then during the final 8 minutes of the show the crown of American Idol will be passed! ENJOY the show, and I'll see you here after the results!


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

American Idol: And Then There Were Two

33.68% 33.26% 33.06% Those are how the results came in. I guess the producers don't really have any reason to LIE to us (well except to increase ratings for the finale). But REALLY? Are we to believe that the race is THAT close? Maybe it is. I'll be the first to admit, I didn't watch all of tonight's 1 hour show (watched first 20 and last 7 minutes), so I didn't get to see Kat and Elliott perform their ditties. Although, I DID get to see Elliott dancing his cares away during Taylor's performance of "Taking it To the Streets" good times...good times! But I have a hard time believing at this juncture that anyone is going to stand in Taylor's way of being crowned Idol this year. And with that, let's take away one of the people standing in his way.

Eliminated: Elliott Yamin 3.) Elliott Yamin
Mikey V: 3.) Elliott Yamin

It was ashame to see him go, but we all knew it was his time. There's really not much else to say! FAREWELL TUMNUS! We'll Miss you! See you next week at the finale! (ZING!)

And for those of you that DID endure that hour long trainride of obvious suspense, you got to see a presentation Clive Davis for 33 Million American Idol related sales. Actually, it's a pretty impressive number (and we can thank Kelly Clarkson for 10 Million of them!!!)

So the showdown is set. McPhever vs Soul Patrol. I have a feeling both will do well next week, but I think my mind is already set on who will be the winner. If only for the fact that AI is so desperate for a GUY to win this show. And if you're going to remember anything from Season 5 of American Idol, it's going to be that crazy 40 Year old Man that was allowed to compete! Taylor IS Season 5. But I've loved the two of these contestants from the very beginning. My votes helped get them I won't count Miss McPhee out. Maybe she will be able to sell-out to the IDOL SONG CHEESE that we'll have to painfully suffer through. Maybe Taylor will be too proud to even attempt to sing the crap justly.

Bigger questions. Who will we see next Wednesday? Will ALL of the previous Idol Champs return? We know Kelly won't be there since she no longer associates with the show. Will we get to see R.J. Helton perform us a little ditty? Oh man...I know I've been waiting for that! I heard Kellie Pickler's Dad is out of prison and will be at the finale. Awwww what a message to send to the kiddies out there!

Lots of questions....all will be answered....NEXT WEEK Stay tuned for the final 2 blogs of the season. (and like i said last night.....BE PATIENT!)


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

American Idol: Final 3 Perform

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Simon Cowell!!!! (Randy: "BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!) .......................I have no words It has become the most annoying thing on Idol I think. More annoying than Paula. But Randy has become a child in front of our very eyes! Anyway, I won't focus on this. Just had to get it out of my system. But at least we could get down to business this week without having to worry about the sleazy exploits of the Balding Rocker and his cheating ways. No folks, there weren't many Mic Stands to look at tonight. Molly the Mic Stand has officially gone into mourning. And what a relief it was to not hear Chris this week! And of course, now that Chris is out of the competition, Simon all of a sudden declared his winner today. That's right, we can all stop watching folks! Taylor Hicks is going to win American Idol! WAY to go out on a limb there Simon! Let's wait until all of the possible threats are out of the competition, then pick a winner! shall we? Ok, well I'm not one to talk. But this competition is far from over, but there should be no surprises this week on who goes home. And with that...let's do what we do best! RECAP!!!
3 Songs were performed by the Three remaining finalists:
  • Song #1 - Industry Mogul Clive Davis unwisely chooses tunes that awfully showcase our contestants.
  • Song #2 - The judges pick pretty decent songs and show the contestants the songs we've wanted to hear them sing since day 1.
  • Song #3 - The contestants are given one more chance to pick their own tune and show us what they're made of.

So how did they do? Let's find out!

Elliott Yamin

The Little Fawn that Could

  • Song#1: "Open Arms" - Journey
  • Song #2: "What You Won't Do for Love" - Bobby Caldwell (Paula's Pick)
  • Song #3: "I Believe to My Soul" - Ray Charles (Donny Hathaway rendition)

Well, the producers didn't do Elliott any favors by putting the guy first. Man, what a road this guy has been on. Can you remember how many times I picked him to go home just because I didn't think America would keep him in? Well they've stuck by him and got him to the final 3. And he's gotten nothing but better with each week. And, in my opinion, he still did fantastic tonight. But the judges were all singing the same tune as me. SONG SELECTION. Sure, he only picked one song. But it's his style of music that just doesn't ring true with the masses. It's great to hear this guy sing every week because he CAN sing. As Paula said, he's "one crazy funky white boy." (then again she also said "You are in excellent voice" Make sense of that!) Even when Clive tries to throw Elliott a bone and lets him sing the POWER BALLAD "Open Arms" from one of the greatest bands ever (I agree Randy), it just seems off. Didn't help that Elliott screwed up the lyrics to the chorus. But he kept going without skipping a beat. I thought he did well on all 3 songs. But the tunes that make Elliott who he is just won't make him an idol. And that's a shame, because he's done so well! But at least he stayed true to himself. And who knows? Maybe America will vote him through for that! If there's any larger testament I can give to Elliott, it's that I went through this whole recap of him without calling him Mr. Tumnus (ok, so I called him a fawn. That doesn't count!). He's come a long way since those awkward early stages of this competition. Good Job TUMNUS!

Katharine McPhee
The Talent Came Back
  • Song #1: "I Believe I Can Fly" - R. Kelly (Clive, seriously, quit your job!)
  • Song #2: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" - Harold Arlen/E.Y. Harburg (Simon's Pick)
  • Song #3: "I Ain't Got Nothing But the Blues" - Duke Ellington/Don George/Larry Fotin(e)

If we hadn't had enough Scott Savol flashbacks to endure during season 5, Clive Davis makes us relive one more with picking an opus by pedaphile R. Kelly. He may as well have picked "Trapped in the Closet - Chapter 36B.3" (If you haven't heard the Trapped in the Closet Saga by R. Kelly yet, you are totally missing out!) Can't say much more about this than the judges did. She totally oversang it. But, how can you NOT oversing an R. Kelly song? R. Kelly's whole career is BASED on the concept of OVERSINGOLOGY! I guess there were tiny moments of brilliance as Simon alluded to, but clearly she saved her good stuff for her next performances.

There's no denying that "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was absotooooootely fannnnnntastic. Quite possibly the best performance of the Season (as Simon alluded to). But let me get into some conspiracy theories here. Did anyone notice how short some of the performances were tonight? Maybe the contestants had a choice how to break up the timings of the songs (as Kat's song #3 was quite short) but it seemed like she was able to sing the ENTIRE "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" for the full effect and complete stupifying of the crowd. And Kat returned to her knees to give the performance. It was novel the first time, this time it got a little eyeroll from me. And the lights dimmed, we got a Bo Bice-like Acoustic beginning, slowly brought in the band, and zoomed in on Kat's lovely face. COME ON!!!!! What IS this? It just seemed to be a rigged performance to me....and it didn't help that Simon picked the song. But like I said, it was still an amazing performance and showed why we loved Katharine in the first place. This girl has got PIPES! But I just think that the producers gave Katharine some extra attention to make the performance a little MORE special. All of this to ensure her spot in the final 2 with Taylor.

As for song #3. I loved it. I have no idea what the judges were talking about. She looked sexy, she had on leather boots and she sang the hell out of that bluesy ditty. And it was a very SHORT song, which kinda made me feel better about her getting so much time for song#2. Simon, kinda incriminated himself by revisiting HIS song pick for her to try and get America to REMEMBER THAT PERFORMANCE! (hint hint anyone??) Hell it worked for me, I voted for her again! But I would've anyway. GOOD JOB KAT!

Taylor Hicks
Balancing the Two Taylors
  • Song #1 - "Dancing in the Dark" - Bruce Springsteen
  • Song #2 - "You Are So Beautiful" - Joe Cocker/Billy Preston (Randy's Pick, hell it was MY pick!)
  • Song #3 - "Try a Little Tenderness" - Otis Reading

I'm all about revisiting my former blogs when I totally call stuff. Well, here we go kids! Last Wednesday's Blog:

"The judges will probably pick one, and He'll probably pick one. For the one he picks, he has to find a balance where he can showcase his talent, but also unleash his inner Taylor. "

Well, tonight, we saw Taylor find the balance! The Wild and Crazy Taylor was Balanced by calm collected DENIRO HICKS and we got ourselves one hell of a trifecta of tunes. Apparently Clive put a special call into Springsteen to get permission to sing "Dancing in the Dark." Good thing he did. Boy, what a good time that was. SURE, he mimicked the video that made Courteney Cox famous (which, in turn, led us to one of the greatest sitcoms ever!) by pulling Paula up onto the stage extension. But who out there didn't LOVE that? (besides Simon?) It was awesome! And the best part was, usually Taylor would resort to not putting his all into the vocals on these up tempo tunes. But I saw the REAL taylor coming out in this one. And I was loving every minute of it!

With "You Are So Beautiful," we have to dig up ANOTHER Results show Blog of mine when we were discussing the "greatest love songs of all time":

"Hmmmm Greatest love songs of all time. Anyone want to put bets that Taylor chooses this week to whip out some Joe Cocker and sing "You Are So Beautiful?" "

So, he didn't do it on Love Songs week. HE SHOULD'VE!!!! And I think Randy agreed with me. Taylor is like Joe Cocker 2.0. I shouldn't say that. Taylor is NO Joe Cocker....but he's got the same mannerisms and the raspy voice. So we finally got him to sing it. I'll admit it, when I thought Taylor would do the tune a few weeks back, I downloaded the ditty on itunes. And as I was listening, I started thinking "man....this song may quite possibly have the least amount of lyrics EVER!!!!" And then I started to doubt that Taylor would actually perform it. But for some reason, with that song, it just doesn't matter. It's such a simple yet "beautiful" (no pun intended) song. And Taylor really did it up nice. Probably a wise choice that he didn't try to do a carbon copy of Cocker's version. When Joe gets to those high notes, he kinda just screams them in a whisper. It works on the recording and for Joe Cocker. But Taylor is in a SINGING competition. So Kudos to HICKS on this one!

Song #3? Who doesn't love a little Otis Reading to cap off the night? When I heard a couple hours before the show (too late for a preview blog!) that Taylor was going to do "Try a Little Tenderness" I couldn't have picked a better song to showcase Taylor. And the best part was Taylor picked it himself (even though Paula tried to steal credit for it). This tune was almost WRITTEN to showcase the 2 Taylors! So needless to say from my quote (referenced above) from last week's blog, Taylor needed to pick a song that shows a healthy balance of Crazy and Talented Taylor.....HE DID IT! It was outstanding. Apart from Simon criticizing the ending of the tune, he was on board too. How could he not be? He's already crowned him winner. America loves that Grey Haired wonder this year. He may not go on to sell millions of albums, but it's been sure fun to watch him perform every week! And we may get to see One crazy funky WHITE boy finally win American Idol! whoops! I think I was supposed to just suggest what I wanted to say without saying it. That's very UN-PC of me. Well, hey if PAULA can say it, why Can't I? She defines what is PC, doesn't she? I mean, she talked on Live television about taping some of her female anatomy to her blouse with double-stick tape! (oh NOW I get PC!) Anything goes after that folks! Sorry!

So there's not much to say here that I haven't already said. I think this week is pretty straight forward. If it doesn't go this way, I will genuinely be surprised (well...that is...until I go read right after I post this).

Bottom 2: Get Real!
Eliminated From Competition: Elliott Yamin. I've said it time and time again, but it may be time to get out your magic flute, cut your hair down to reveal your little horns on your head....take your shoes off and let your hooves breathe....and trot your way back to Narnia to be in service to the Castle of the 4 Thrones. Lucy misses you!

Well that's it kids. We'll know tomorrow who is partaking in the less than anticipated Season Finale this year. I'll admit it, I'm already having conflicted feelings about watching the Lost finale over Idol next wednesday, even though Idol is LIVE. At least Idol is on from 8-10 and Lost is 9-11, so I can work some TiVo magic...somehow!

But this reminds me. As an early warning, due to an intense night of TV watching on May 24th, blogs will most definitely be delayed the following day (or even maybe the day after that! sorry!!!) But hold on to hope. I've been known to pull writing miracles before. Just setting expectations for my impossible situation as we wind down with all of the shows!

I do love rambling! Anyway, hope you enjoyed this lovely write-up and I'll see you for some more elegant and UN-PC writing tomorrow when we find out who will face off in the Kodak Theater. GOOD NIGHT!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

American Idol: An Affair to Remember

Paula may be bawling her eyes out still. But I think we need to be a little sympathetic towards Molly the Mic Stand. For she has lost the love of her life this week. And Raging Rocker Chris shall return to his fatherly duties to his illegitmate children. That's right kids. In the shocker of all shockers, that still wasn't shocking.....the boxer-brief bearing baldy has left the building (elvis pun intended!)

Eliminated: Chris Daughtry
Bottom 2: Katharine McPhee, Chris Daughtry
Dial 3.) Katharine, 4.) Chris

If Idol history has taught us any lesson, it's that sometimes one of the favorites to win a competition may fall out during the Top 4 performances. Look no further than Season 1 (Tamyra Gray) who was beaten out by Karaoke Queen Nikki McKibbin or even Season 3's LaToya Londan who sported about the same amount of personality on stage as Chris. She was beaten out by Tone Def Jasmine Trias and Bubble Gummy Diana DeGarmo. Only in Season 2 and 4 did we get our best 2 contestants to stay in until the end. Alas, here is season 5 where it's anyone's game to lose. Katharine garnered the sympathy vote while people just assumed Chris would be safe. And...well. got it right one more time.

Did anyone see Katharine's face the whole night? She barely cracked a smile. Which would probably lead to Chris's shock when Ryan announced his name. He didn't even try to hide the fact that he thought he was going to win the whole thing. This just goes to show you that Personality goes a long way. Especially when you don't have Carrie Underwood's pipes!

So, we got the scenario that I thought would never happen. Katharine, Taylor, and Elliott. And you know what? It's the 3 most likeable contestants. So, I don't even care who wins! I've voted for all 3 of them! Would be silly of me to continue to do that. So who will be our final 2? Is it even possible to guess at this point? I think we need to judge based on their performances. But if you go by the past few'll see that Taylor and Elliott have been sticking around at the top of the bunch. But we all know that Katharine can turn her A-Game on whenever she wants. This should be a pretty exciting run to the finish line.

I'm just rambling now....but did anyone think that the Elvis Group Medley was maybe one of the best ever in Idol history? They really enjoyed themselves out there and put on a good show. Sure, some of the parts where they all were singing together was cheesy as always....but I like me some cheese every now and then!

And what about Chris singing "Love Me Tender" and leaving Molly behind? Didn't he look so much more comfortable on stage? Why didn't anyone tell him to do this more often? We'll probably find out all of the mysteries on LOST before we figure this one out! (whoops! wrong blog again!)

Well, like I said, I'm rambling. But, I'm excited for the final 2 weeks this year. Should be interesting how it all goes down. See you next week!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

American Idol: Final 4 Perform

American Idol. Elvis Presley. Shocking that it took 5 seasons to bring the 2 together. Of course, this crop of kids were probably the best to showcase the KING's Music on the current King of Television. So why is it then that tonight's show still left me singing the same song of "What is wrong with this season?" I mean it's great that no one can exactly pinpoint a winner this season, because it changes on a weekly basis. But, that just means that none of these kids have consistently "brought it" like winners in the past. And that's what makes it so difficult for me to enjoy this season for the same reasons as I have enjoyed it in the past. This season just seems like there have been more likeable and/or entertaining (for the right or wrong reasons) people on the show. I still have a hard time putting any of these guys up against the likes of Kelly, Clay, Ruben, Carrie, Bo, and Craptasia. But, sometimes I just have to accept that it's only a TV show! And I have to accept that this is just a recap OF that TV show. Therefore...Let's get this "show" on the road!

Our remaining 4 got to visit the Mecca of Rock and Roll and meet the 1st Lady of Rock n' Roll Priscilla Presley as well as Mega Record Producer Tommy Mottola to help them with their tunes this week. Here is the result!

Taylor Hicks
"Admit it, you wish you had a Soul Patrol!"
Song #1 - Jailhouse Rock
Song #2 - In the Ghetto
Just like last week, we got the tale of two Taylors (alliteration intentional). Song 1, Taylor takes the risk with Simon and goes crazy for the crowd pulling in the anti-Simon votes. And I'll be the first to tell you, if this was the only side of Taylor we saw every week (which happened in earlier weeks), I'd be saying it's time to put this guy out of his misery. But when it's part of a package deal, it's a welcome change to see Taylor energize the crowd with his crazy performance antics. Not to mention his Red Pinstripe Suit was nice bold choice for him. Plus...this is Elvis Presley we're talking about. Elvis had his own crazy moves...why not let Taylor do his thing? Did it come off like an amateur Karaoke performance like Simon said? Well, at times during the performance, it may have seemed like it. But, still, there was a genuine Taylor Hicks to that performance that you don't see in your average karaoke bar. And I think Chris should take notes on how to handle a Mic Stand...cause Taylor did an outstanding job! I give performance#1 the thumbs up.
But "In the Ghetto" is definitely the Taylor I prefer, personally. The one where he showcases the gift that made America root for the "underdog" (at the time). You know what I'm talking about....The DENIRO HICKS! When he pulls out this stuff, and rips out the occasional unexpected High Note perfectly, you can actually picture Taylor winning this whole thing. And it also makes performance #1 a bit laughable in comparison. Next week, (he'll be here next week), he'll be doing 3 songs. The judges will probably pick one, and He'll probably pick one. For the one he picks, he has to find a balance where he can showcase his talent, but also unleash his inner Taylor. Good Luck Hicks! You still have my vote!
Chris Daughtry
"I love you Mrs. Mic Stand, do you have children I can adopt too?"
Song#1 - Suspicious Minds
Song#2 - A Little Less Conversation
It's confirmed everyone. Chris wears Boxer-Briefs, so stop filling my email inbox with the damn question! I mean seriously, who really cares what kind of underwear this skanky guy wears? I have to give the readers of this blog the benefit of the doubt that it's not any of you! I mean, did you check out that hoody and Sunglasses he was sporting during Suspicious Minds? Hey, Chris, Tom Cruise called and he wants his aviators back! I think the key to all of the Chris segments was when Tommy Mottola stated for the cameras that Chris has a voice that will sound "amazing on record." That is why our Idol team loves the balding buxom beauty of a buffoon. So Suspicious Minds, it's one of my preferred Elvis tracks. Maybe I couldn't get past the obscene and distracting Mic Stand caressing, but the performance just seemed kind of bland. He brought nothing really special to the performance. He kinda just sang it. And he sang it like he sings everything else. But hey according to Paula, we experienced something amazing. I mean, we couldn't even remember how good the song was until Chris sang it! Well she's convinced he's in the finals. Should we be too? I'd say it's probably still a safe bet. But things still got interesting tonight!
Oh #2. I think I know what Chris was TRYING to do with this song. As I mentioned in the Preview Blog (did everyone enjoy that today? oh yeah...I'm a freak!), if Chris was going to sell this song....he was going to have to step out of his shell and SANG IT (grammar error intentional)!!! And well, I think we saw Chris half out of his shell and half clutching onto Molly (you know...the Mic Stand). And of course, he tried to sing 3/4ths of the song in the Low Elvis Tone. He was trying to make it seductive and intense....but for me he just couldn't sell it.....and then when he finally got back into his vocal was just more of the same Chris and then WOAAAAA look out for that Final Note....."AHHHHHHHHHHHHHCCCCHCHCHOOOO!" Bless you! That was one hell of a scream, don't you think? Simon summed it up best when he simply said "it was ok. not you" He may get a scare this week (if they even do a bottom 2), but for some reason I can't picture Taylor, Elliott, and Katharine being the final 3...without Idol's Season 5 Posterboy in there. And I'm pretty sure he had a saving grace this week.
Elliott Yamin
"Taylor has Grey Hair, Chris is having an affair with a stage prop, and people are still making fun of me!"
- I Can Dream
Song#2 - Trouble
Awww Tumnus. It's great to see this guy get better with each week. I don't want to toot my own horn. But remember back when the kids had to select queen songs and I said whoever did "Somebody to Love" would be helped out immensely from there on out? Well that was definitely Elliott's turning point, and he hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. I know I know. I said that Elliott would struggle this week. But, I was also thinking that it was his time to go with the other 3 powerhouses still around. But Elliott just has that potential to upset one of them (a certain one has been declining in appeal in recent weeks). He whipped out 2 flawless versions of his songs. And I had stated that I didn't know the songs (and actually Simon said the same as me...he came in as an underdog and picked songs people wouldn't know), I actually knew "I Can Dream." And it was a good time. This guy just has a spectacular voice. Sure, it's better if you look the other way when he's singing....especially when he whips out those pearly white 2 front teeth for his final notes that he holds out. But his great performances can't be ignored!
Song 2 was also a great outing for Elliott. And sure we got tons of Band Shots (I totally forgot to mention Ricky Minor or whatever his name is and his dancing with his guitar during Jailhouse Rock with Taylor...crazy stuff), and the crazy dancing background singers, and the drummer having more fun than any of the idol contestants......but Elliott sang the hell out of it. But what Simon said in the end rang very true. He said that Elliott "DESERVES" to be in the next round. It may have been a play on words, since maybe he won't get there due to the popularity of other certain contestants. But, I think with the way this season has been progressing, it IS being judged on the performances from week to week. So Elliott technically should earn his way into that top 3. Good Luck Elliott! I voted for the first time for you this week!
And if his performance wasn't enough of a sale.....we got to see Paula do a Striptease, Ryan make a comment about it, and Simon scold them both! Ahhh another day in the life of Reality Television folks!
Katharine McPhee
"I'm Hot, I'm seductive. I have talent, but I just choose not to use it anymore!"
Song#1 - Hound Dog
Song#2 - I Can't Help Falling In Love
Kat, Kat, Kat....what happened to you? Sure, she had a moment of brilliance and seduction last week with an "on her knees" performance. But last week was also a clear sign of Katharine at her worst with the Phil Collins "Against All Odds" performance. Well...this week continued more on the Phil Collins trend. "Hound Dog" was a mess of a performance. Forgetting the lyrics may have been the least of the problems with it. I won't even comment on Paula giving her props for choreographically making up for her missed words (crap...does that count?) She definitely was enjoying herself prancing all around the stage, flopping herself in front of Randy, but she just wasn't singing! As Simon said, she was shrieking! And I agreed that it did sound a bit theatrical.
And Song# 2 was even worse. I was actually a bit worried about her taking on Elvis's most famous song. Started off really well, but progressed into one more train wreck. Did she overdo it as Simon suggested? That could be it. What did Simon mean that she came in this week with a disadvantage? Because she's a woman? Didn't he call Elliott the underdog this week? Mr. Contradiction anyone? I don't know if Kat is going to be able to appeal enough to her "McPhans" with her 2 sub-par performances. And I can only wonder how she went from one of the best singers in this competition, to reducing herself to the strategies of Constantine or Ace or any of our previous camera seducers. I think I'm actually intrigued to seeing the all-boy showdown! And if that doesn't confirm my straightness to everyone....well...what will?
So, best performers tonight? By far Taylor and Elliott.
Mediocre performer? Chris
Worst? Katharine. I'm not going to get all scientific here. I am putting my trust in America that they'll do what is right.
Bottom 2: Katharine, Chris (Wildcards: You're kidding right?)
Elimination Pick: Katharine McPhee - Sorry Kat, you were one of my favorites. But if you really wanted to win, you would've BROUGHT IT!
So, maybe Elvis was Idol's way of guaranteeing a female leave the group tonight and getting closer to their dream of a male winner of Idol. I'm sure they didn't know it would work out to 3 guys and 1 Girl for Elvis Night, but still. Let me ask you this....who, among you, are going to go out and buy the first Taylor Hicks album? How about Tumnus sings his Narnian Hits? Chris Daughtry and the Screaming Bald Guys? Fuel? (oh my bad...same thing, but with hair) That's what I thought. Actually, it probably doesn't matter who wins this year. I'm sure all of these guys will sell equally as well, but none of them will even be in the same stratosphere as our previous top idols. So, as I said before, let's just accept the show for what it is....a TV Show. It's main goal is to entertain. They will still bring the ridiculously large ratings in next year, and they will keep churning out crappy music that a percentage of those viewers (mostly teens) will definitely buy. But, we can always hold onto hope that in a future year, we may see another contestant with an amazing gift, that will sail through the competition and go on to have a great career. If not, we still got Kelly Clarkson and Fembot Underwood, and that's enough for me!
And with that...I'm out! See you after the results!

American Idol: Final 4 Preview (Setlist)

Yep, I'm officially out of control with the Blog Stuff! In case anyone is having a hard time sweating out the 6 hours before tonight's performance, here's something to hold you over. Tonight's rumored setlist for Elvis Night:
  • Katharine: Hound Dog, Can't Help Falling In Love
  • Taylor: Jailhouse Rock, In the Ghetto
  • Chris: Suspicious Minds, A Little Less Conversation (duh)
  • Elliott: Trouble, If I Can Dream

My initial thoughts? 6 Songs I know, and 2 I don't. The 2 I don't? That's right....Mr. Tumnus picked them again! (sidenote: I probably do know them, but the song titles don't ring any bells for me, and well that just means they're less popular and already give Elliott a tougher road!) I actually think Kat, Taylor, and Chris went exactly with Simon's advice and picked GREAT songs. But, in a predictable move, Chris naturally picked a song that has gotten the most recent radio airplay in "A Little Less Conversation." Problem with Chris is...he's gonna have to show some life on stage for that song to work! But I think he picked a perfect song for him in Suspicious Minds...I'm sure we'll see the ongoing love affair with his mic stand while he utters the words "We Can't Go on Together." Katharine should rock the house in her sexy style with "Hound Dog" and bring that same house to tears with "Can't Help Falling in Love."

But as we know with Idol, there's always a chance for surprise performances, but my gut instinct is that we're going to follow the trend of people getting voted off at the right time for one more week. Let's see if I'm singing the same tune Wednesday night.

Enjoy the show! More Blog to follow!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

American Idol: Reverse Psychology It Is!

Ahh, gotta love the weeks when I can't get it wrong! In one way I picked Elliott, but on the other hand I also said I picked Elliott with Reverse Psychology in mind. And what was that objective you ask? Oh we all know! PARIS HAD TO GO!!!!

Bottom 2: Elliott, Paris (Oh it right this week!)
Eliminated: Paris Bennett 3.) Elliott 4.) Katharine 5.) Paris

Is it me or are people getting elminated off this show according to all of our plans? There has been no ULTIMATE SHOCKERS this season. One could argue Mandisa was a shocker, but she did have a god awful week when she got the boot. Now, we are left with 4 genuine singers. Not one of those 4 are someone you can really hate with a passion. I think, if anything, people have developed a hatred for Chris because they just don't feel like he is a deserving winner this year. Hey, I agree with that group. But we may have to face the fact that it just might happen. The crazy thing is, ANYTHING can happen. I mean all bets would say that Elliott would be next to go. Especially with Elvis Week coming up (we think...they are going to Memphis for a little workshop in Graceland. Hmmm I wonder if the Wednesday Results show will be when Elvis finally comes out of hiding and performs for America! We know he's still alive!!!) I don't know if Elliott quite has developed a charisma large enough to handle the KING. Then again, has Chris? Chris has that brooding quality that Elvis always had....but he's gonna have to let loose on that stage if he's gonna dance to the Jailhouse Rock.

So what does this mean? It means it's anyone's game. Last week we saw Katharine and Chris as a surefire Final 2. But Taylor bounced back and evened the playing field this week. Song selection WILL be key in the final rounds.....and WOOing the crowd is even more essential. Pretty exciting stuff!

Ok, so before I get out of here for the night, I just wanted to jot down some of the most ridiculously funny things that happened on tonight's results show.
  • Justin Guarini was there. Enough said
  • Paris said hi to everyone in the audience individually during her Prince performance and sounded absolutely awful singing! (yeah...i find this funny.....especially when it's topped off with Ryan dancing his white boy dance and carrying Paris's mic equipment!)
  • The crazy IDOL choir came out 3 weeks in advance for when they are truly needed. And not only did they come...but they brought some crazy flamboyant guy in a tanktop going crazy on stage!
  • The Idol Song - oh the Idol horrific that it was worth watching. The best part was watching Chris and Taylor trying to take the performance seriously. ahhh good times.
  • The judges spatting about poll percentages. Randy booing Simon every week (seriously??? dude you're lame!). Paula's dancing in support of Paris. The list goes on and on! but come on people....what was really the funniest thing? we have to say it again...
  • Justin Guarini was there.

And with that I'm off. See you next week where the King returns in the form of 4 amateurs who will attempt to end his post-humous career.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

American Idol: Top 5 Perform

I wanted to open up this write-up tonight saying something witty about why I chose to watch American Idol instead of indulging in one more period of a 1-sided Playoff Hockey game that the Philadelphia Flyers...(I'm sorry...that the buffalo sabres!) played tonight. But, I really couldn't think of anything witty to say about being down 3--0 after the 1st Period! So yes my friends...TiVo and all...I watched every minute of American Idol and every commercial with it. And thank God I did! Did anyone catch that Ford commercial during the 1st Break? Now, if my obsessive ears didn't deceive me, that sure sounded like a never-before-heard KELLY CLARKSON song that we were being treated to! Look out kids! Album 3 will be in stores by the end of '06/beginning of '07. And I just know that you all will be snatching up your tickets to the her summer tour! (whaaat? I won't be there! Me at a Kelly Clarkson concert? what?? oh yeah...I already admitted I went last summer, didn't I? oops). Well, unfortunately, our ears weren't treated all night to the likes of our first Idol. Instead, we have the 5 wannabe's vying for the crown of the 5 year old Talent Show.

Oh yes, I didn't get to this point in my life writing Free Blogs for anyone that wants to read by not knowing how to write up a nice segueway! (no, I'm not bitter that I'm really an IT professional moonlighting as an Entertainment Guru!) On with the show! So tonight we were "treated" to 2 songs from each of our final 5 contestants.

Song #1: A song from the year you were born! (with an exception!)
Song # 2: Something from any of this past week's Billboard Charts (And a twist on this one too!)

Now, thanks to our loyal readers here, I had the chance to get a preview of the songs that would be featured tonight before the contestants even set stage. I thought about posting them to share with you all, but I'm lazy! Anyway, I had some preconceived notions before even going into tonight's performances. And I'll share my pre-performance theories with you before we start analyzing.

1.) Paris will go home because she's singing Prince. Not only Prince but "KISS!!!!" I mean, who DOES that Really????
2.) I love the song "Against All Odds" but I just can't picture Katharine doing it, and I envision it being an utter mess. Plus Scott Savol did it last season.
3.) Not sure if I agree with Elliott's song choices. I don't really know that 2nd one, and well Scott Savol sang the other one!

So without further adieu...let's break things down IDOL style!

Elliott Yamin aka TUMNUS 2.0
Birth Year - 1978 (representin!!!!!)
  • Song #1: "On Broadway" George Benson
  • Song #2: "Home" - Michael Buble (with the crazy accent thing on the e!)

Well let's start with the good stuff. Elliot soooooo was scatting tonight! And well, you gotta give props to the SKAT MAN! He was no MC Skat Kat, but Paula was still diggin "On Broadway." My big issue with Song #1 was his lower register. You can always tell when a singer is awkwardly trying to avoid low notes by changing the melody. It drives me crazy! And Tumnus was doing it tonight. But the rest of his performance was still really good. But I couldn't get visions of Scott Savol and his ghetto fabulous attire trying to sing this song last year to save his butt for one more week. But Elliott did seem to exude (my "Paula word of the week") confidence tonight with his performance. He's getting more comfortable each week on that stage. FLYERS UPDATE: 5-0 Buffalo. whoopity doo.....

As for Song #2, I didn't think I had heard the song before. But it sounded familiar after Elliott start belting it out. I thought he did a really nice job with "Home." A very controlled performance filled with emotion. But will your average Idol fan appreciate a performance like this? I would hope so. But Simon doesn't share in this hope. In fact he warned Elliott that choosing a song with the lyrics "I want to go home" may be the end of him. Will Elliott be phoning home this week? ba dum ching!!! (How did we go 4 months without an ET reference for Elliott?) We'll see.

Paris Bennett aka Fantasia 2.0
Birth Year - 1988 (ouch)

  • Song #1: "Kiss" - Prince (umm,.no that was 1986.)
  • Song #2: "Be Without You" - Mary J. Blige
As I alluded to, the contestants got a little crafty this year with how they finagled the song selections. Prince released "Kiss" in 1986, but our poster boy Tom Jones (zing!) did a cover of the Prince song in 1988. Which actually makes me wonder why a cover was done only 2 years after initial release. But hey, it was the 80's, I'm sure everyone was just all "coked up." (If not, maybe they were trying to get the taste of NEW Coke out of their mouths by revisiting Coke Classic! Man I am just full of the jokes tonight!) Oh yeah...Paris. So, I had predicted Paris doing "Kiss" would be a trainwreck. And maybe I expected the worst. While it was still really bad, it was actually better than what I thought she'd do. I mean, most of it was on key....but how is performing this going to win you American Idol? And I couldn't get out of my head that she is 16 (or 17 I dunno anymore) and performing a sexually energized anthem and moving her hips around like she's a stripper! I think Paris could've come up with a little better of a song choice than ruining one of the best 80's songs ever! Don't get me started on performance #2 and her Mary J Blige cloned performance. Well maybe cloned everything but wardrobe. Paris was sporting some "Camo" gear tonight and Moon Pants topped off with a large Red Belt wrapped around her belly button.
...I don't know why I never thought to do that...
Anyway Randy and Paula danced around the idea that Paris shouldn't have done an MJB (cause me and Mary are close like that!) song since her voice is so unique. But they still dug the performance. And Simon surprisingly called the performance very good! I don't know, maybe it's just me hating Paris with a passion these days, but I couldn't find a single enjoyable thing in that performance! And while the weird Faces and Nasal Singing took a hiatus in place of "I Feel Like Dancin" Hip Moves for the Prince performance, they returned in FULL FORCE for Performance #2. I think we may know who will be dancing in our bottom 2 this week, it's just a question of who America felt more sympathetic towards!
Chris Daughtry aka
The Future father of Half Bald Human/Half Mic-Stand Offspring
Birth Year - 1979
  • Song #1: "Renegade" - Styx
  • Song #2: "I Dare You" - Shinedown

So, let me just ask, when you all do your musical performances in front of hundreds or thousands of people, and you decide to take a walk out into the crowd, do you guys bring your Mic Stands into the audience with you? This guy has some infatuation with that thing and it's like he's slow dancing with it. He's got one arm around the waist and one up on the shoulder for the whole song! I'm a broken record with this....but can we all say this to Chris together "DUDE, You're NOT BO BICE!" Bo was one guy that could work a Mic Stand. For Chris, it seems like it's more of a life-preserver than anything. If a performance is going bad, "it's ok baby...I have you" (you have to picture Chris actually saying this as he's kissing the mic stand). Anyways...the performances. I thought "Renegade" was actually really good. Besides fixating on his posture (which I always do), I thought he nailed it and even brought his own style to the song. Man, I couldn't even tell it was a Styx song. Then again, Chris sings everything the same way, so I don't know if this is a compliment! The judges raved on performance #1 as well and Paula tried to tell him how he's distancing himself from the competition (not sure I quite agree), but all that came out of Paula's mouth was "you're....setting....far...apart....." Anyways, song #2 was a different story, and Chris (AND the judges) gave the whole sob story of how he strained his voice by screaming the Shinedown song 5 times in one day. Well, any amount of screaming won't make the actual selection of the song any better or worse! And those crazy background flames came back to haunt Mr. Clean. So what we got here was the judges trying to push Chris through even though his 2nd performance was pretty lousy. He was straining and couldn't hit all his notes. Was just screaming out there. But, at least we know now...he's been under a lot of pressure so we should feel bad for him and vote him through anyway! This show isn't very subtle these days is it?

Katharine McPhee aka That Girl that Sang on Her Knees
Birth Year - 1984

  • Song #1: "Against All Odds" - Phil Collins
  • Song #2: "Black Horse and The Cherry Tree" - KT Tunstall

Oh I love when I'm right. If you do go above to my predictions (would be a lot more convincing if I told you all BEFORE the performance, and some of you know I did, so speak up!) I mentioned that I thought "Against All Odds" would be a trainwreck for Katharine. I'm not sure why I knew, but the song just didn't seem to fit her. I kinda knew exactly how she'd perform it. And let's put aside the bland performance and take a second to note how OUT of Tune she was for the entire song! It was horrendous! It even fooled Simon into accidentally saying that this was her "Best performance ever!" He awkwardly corrected himself in front of 30 million people. But she definitely made up for it with her weird, yet awe inspiring performance of Song #2. I was thinking today "who the hell is KT Tunstall and what is this country hick song Katharine is doing?" Little did I know, that when I was watching VH1's Top 20 Countdown last week (oh give me a break...I watch mindless TV when I'm on that treadmill!) I actually saw this crazy KT Tunstall and thought "hmm..that's actually a pretty decent song" So, MY BAD Katharine! But let's take one moment to point out the obvious. She sang the song....on her knees. the whole song. every note. yep...she's still kneeling. Has anyone ever done this before? Maybe that's why it worked. It was so crazy that it might just have been her winning ticket! It's at least enough to hopefully erase people's memories of her Phil Collins aspirations. Let's put it this way. I was going to be only voting for 1 person this week after Song #1. But Katharine won back my vote. (hmmm....maybe she won Ace's vote too since he told in an interview that people would have to win him over for his vote..... I'm sure that's exactly what they're doing, stud.) And we can't finish up talking about Katharine without giving a shout-out to all of the BOX DRUMMERS in the WORLD! YOU GO BOX DRUMMERS! There is a surplus of need for the talent you provide!

Taylor Hicks aka Gramps
Birth Year - 1976

  • Song #1: "Play That Funky Music" - Wild Cherry
  • Song #2: "Something" - Beatles (ummmmmm)

Ahh Taylor, the man I had written off comes back with a vengeance. I knew he'd listen to me eventually! And even more importantly, I knew he had it in him! But this guy was just annoying me week after week with his ridiculous antics on stage or even sometimes his lack of energy in his performances. Now there's a middle ground to be found between ridiculous Antics and lack of energy, and I think Taylor found that ground this week. Taylor didn't just do the TWIST during his rousing rendition of Play that Funky Music. He had some other moves....and he just flat out worked the crowd and sang his heart out. I don't know what Simon was listening to, but I saw a fantastic performance in that Paisley Patterned Grey-Haired wonder. And Song #2 was even better. But let's talk about "Something," a Beatles Classic, written by George Harrison and hailed as one of the greatest ballads of all time. We're doing songs from Today's Billboard Charts, right? So Taylor craftily, or cowardly, finds the POP CATALOG chart and finds this ancient song still selling strong. Wouldn't this have been a better performance for maybe the "LOVE SONGS OF ALL TIME" theme last week? It was a perfect suit for Taylor, but I just can't fathom why they allowed him to do it. I agree with Simon that it was a sneaky move on Taylor's (and/or the producer's) part. But, hey, the man put on a great show. Sure, he slipped on a word in Verse #2. "Something in the way she mooo-knows!" I don't think anyone caught it, though except for musical me and musical Taylor. And Taylor and I both shared a secret grimace of personal despair for screwing up an otherwise perfect performance. Yet, to the average listener, it WAS flawless. And that's all that matters. Taylor got my other vote tonight. And if it wasn't for the great performances, it may have just been because I saw a hint of AUDITION TAYLOR in his "Something" performance. Yep, it was DENIRO singing the Beatles! God I've missed that. Keep Deniro around Taylor, and you may keep yourself around for the Season Finale!

By the way...for anyone that was still watching the Flyers game at THIS point, it was 7-1 in favor of the Buffalo Sabres. Yes, my friends Forsberg and the Flyers crew will just have to bounce back next year. Sounds like such a familiar comment coming from a Philadelphian (well maybe except for the Forsberg part).

Ok, so Chris had a great song 1 and a bad song 2 and positive judge reinforcement. Katharine had a bad song 1 and a great song 2 (always a lasting impression for the 2nd song to be better). Taylor had a great song 1 and 2 and is already a popular guy. Elliott had 2 decent performances but nothing that brought the audience to their feet. And well Paris is just a teenage disaster. So is there a need to do a bottom 3 this week? I'm thinking they'll just bring 2 to the center of the stage for elimination. I'm going to guess that Katharine, Chris, and Taylor are safe.

Bottom 2: Elliott, Paris (Wildcard: Chris Bonus Wildcard: Katharine)

Eliminated: Elliott Yamin - I've picked him before to head back to Narnia, and maybe he's just not ready to find the magical wardrobe to return just yet. And during our time together, I've grown to enjoy the furry little fawn. I also thought he did really well tonight. But I also mentioned in the beginning of this write-up that I wasn't thrilled with the song choices. Add that to him going First, Simon saying he's worried for Elliott, and for turning in performances that won't be remembered 4 performances later, you have yourself a worthy candidate for elimination. And since my record with these picks are so bad this year and since I really want Paris to go home, I decided I'd just pick Elliott to see if my Reverse Psychology works!

All joking aside, wouldn't it just be great for American Idol if 2 girls and 2 guys were in the final 4? awww how cute! Of course, I'm sure they'd prefer 3 guys since it's been quite some time since a guy has won. Let alone a guy of the rare demographic that Elliott, Chris, and Taylor represent. I mean seriously, in 4 seasons, not one guy of their demographic has won! You know what Demographic I'm talking about. Come on RUBEN is the only guy that has won? This raises a very controversial question. What does this say about America's feelings on fawns and pre-mature Balding and graying men in this country? (yeah....I'm just a joke machine tonight!)

Have a wonderful Wednesday folks and let's all cross our fingers that we can finally FORGET PARIS!

(PS: It's been confirmed. That WAS Kelly Clarkson in the ford commercial. Man I have good ears!

Thanks Shanna!)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

American Idol: Popularity Can Only Get You So Far

Well folks, it's over. Our lovely Kellie Pickler has talked her way off the stage.

Eliminated: Kellie Pickler
Bottom 2: Kellie, Paris
Top 2: Katharine, Chris 4.) Katharine 5.) Kellie 6.) Paris

It's crazy that sometimes when it's so obvious who should go home, that we have doubts about America sending that one packing. Kellie was so dreadfully worse than the other 5, and yet I still thought and her fanbase would bail her out. Maybe it WAS the fact that she DIDN'T get to have the last word Tuesday night like she usually does ("LOOK AT THE PICKLE!"). And I've been talking week after week about how Kellie and her ballads will be the end of her and how THIS week, of all weeks (LOVE SONGS) could be the week that breaks her. Yet I STILL went with Paris as the safe pick. Well, Paris still made the bottom 2, so I was still in the right ballpark. And how about me picking the same 3 as this week? Crazy that Katharine was actually in the top 2 in votes. Must've been all those last minute text votes I sent her way for fear that America would be stupid enough to listen to the judges. I actually was telling some people today (off the blog) that Simon would probably announce at the results show that he rewatched the performance and would apologize to Katharine. And of course...this is exactly what happened. I'm glad the judges have some redeeming qualities. Well, I think we all agree that Paula needs some "REHAB"ing Qualities. ZING!

Here's a question though. Say Katharine ended up in that bottom 2 for some reason and got voted off, do you think the judges still would've made those apologetic comments in the beginning of the show? I seriously doubt it. They had to know for sure that she did well in the votes or else they would make fools of themselves by apologizing and get blamed for her being casted off. It's the little things that I think about people! That's why I am here!

So how crazy is this? The worst are actually getting voted off early this season and we have bona fide competitors left! And the craziest thing we found out tonight was that TAYLOR is not invincible! He did not get the top 2 votes, nor should he with his performance last night or even his most recent performances. So going back to the subject title of this little write-up, it looks like Talent may still edge out Popularity in the end.

And, to answer my own question from yesterday, we may now have ourselves a bonafide top 2 contestants. In my opinion, and now many others, Katharine and Chris should be the ones facing off in the end. And there's an outside chance that Elliott could edge one of them out. Our very own Mr. Tumnus, not Taylor, is the TRUE underdog this season and has improved the most out of any of the contestants.

Speaking of Chris, I know I was hard on the guy last night. And I may have forgotten to say that he DID do a pretty good job. But I just think this kid has the ability to be awesome, and I've yet to see it. And one thing that irks me, and I've made no secret about it, is his POSTURE on stage. If he's not making love to his mic stand then it's his little HEAD LEAN that he does throughout the entire performance. I mean the guy looks so serious. I just wish he'd loosen up a little. Other than that, upon 2nd viewing (suggested to me by a few of our readers), I did find that I enjoyed his performance a little bit more. You have to understand, it's difficult to catch all the little subtleties of a performance while I'm feverishly jotting down notes to deliver my wonderful thoughts to you all. While Chris did hit some bad notes, the ones he did hit (which were most) were very well executed. But I still think he had help from all of the on-stage theatrics with those crazy guitar players and EXTREME CLOSE-UPS on the strings getting us into a little Spanish Fiesta mood. It's kinda what they did for Katharine last week with the close-ups on her face for the final performance of the night. Clearly, the masterminds behind American Idol have their favorites too, and they'll do anything to lead us in the right direction.

So our Top 5 live to fight another day. Who's next on the chopping block? All bets are on Paris, Taylor, or Elliott.....but any one of them can shell out an amazing performance whenever they feel like it, so it's going to be pretty interesting in the weeks ahead. And what do you know? All in time for MAY SWEEPS! I don't believe they announced the theme for next week, so we'll all be surprised together when the idol hopefuls take the stage next Tuesday. Until then, enjoy Lisa Tucker Thursday night on THE OC! Personally, I know I'm counting the hours! (oh come on! That was sarcasm! Really, you think I watch American Idol AND the OC? I mean, masculinity would be shot!!!)

yeah....I do watch it. Don't give up on me yet!!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

American Idol: Top 6 Perform

The Final 6. Anyone remember the final 6 last season? This is who was left at that point and how they placed:

  1. Carrie
  2. Bo
  3. Vonzell
  4. Anthony Federov
  5. Scott Savol
  6. Constantine

Why am I pointing this out? 2 reasons really. 1st, At this point last season, we had 2 surefire final 2 contestants with the threat of a 3rd or 4th. We had recently seen Constantine pull off Bohemian Rhapsody and threaten to be in that final 2...only to get voted off before the mediocre Federov and the awful Scott Savol (supported by Do we have a certified final 2 that we can point out of our current bunch? I really don't think so. Makes things a bit difficult. But I'm starting to be able to weed out who SHOULDN'T be here. Problem is, I don't see it happening just yet! Bringing me to my 2nd point, which I actually just touched on. We saw Constantine go before Scott and Anthony. I think there's a chance that we're going to see someone leave us on Wednesday that we're not ready to see leave. But we have some time before we have to make our decision.

So, tonight was THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS OF ALL TIME with guidance from Andrea Bocelli and Songwriter/Producer David Foster. How did our contestants pan out? Well, to me? Pretty much as I suspected, for the most part. But does it matter at this point how any of them do or are we running a popularity contest this year? I guess we'll find out on Wednesday.

Katharine McPhee
"I Have Nothing"
Written by David Foster, Made Famous by Whitney Houston

Okay, right off the bat, if you do a Whitney Houston tune, you're going to be, dare I say it, OVER- JUDGED. Worse yet, if you're going to go first, you don't have any support from the judges to say "well, you're no whitney, but you were better than the a lot of other people." AND, we're in the final 6, so that's going to make the judges EXTRA-Cranky. So Whitney, PLUS Going 1st, PLUS going 1st in the final 6 leads to the odds being stacked against you. Yet even with these odds, I thought Katharine did a great job with it! Sure, the beginning was rough, but by the middle of the song she was doing her thing...and delivering an emotional and engaging performance as she does every week. I'm really not sure what the judges had against it, with the exception of reverting to their tired formula of "Well, it's a whitney song, and you're not whitney, so I guess that means you were awful." Maybe I've just come down with a little McPhever over the weeks of this competition and am a little biased towards the cutie? Ryan may have made the best comment of the night that people may be voting for her just on appearance alone. Was she smoking tonight or what?! I've talked to a few other people who also thought Katharine did a good job, so I'm not really sure what to think about this one. So what if it was OLD FASHIONED as Simon said....aren't we talking about the Greatest Love Songs of ALL TIME? Sometimes his comments confuse me. But hey...he's British.

Elliott Yamin
"A Song For You"
Donny Hathaway

And THIS guy....have I done a 180 with him! I mean, he'll always be Mr. Tumnus to me but he is growing more and more confident each week that he stays in the game. He apparently auditioned with the Donny Hathaway song and now had to perform it in front of Donny's daughter (who is one of the crazy backup singers! now we know one of their names!!!) Well, this kid pulled out all the stops tonight and gave the performance of his life. I had never heard the song before; and with Elliott this usually turns me off from his performance. But just the way he delivered the performance tonight, it was mesmerizing....a little less crazy faces and a little more crowd interaction. He made it personable. Sure, maybe it's because it's a song that he's more familiar with....but you could tell that he has matured throughout this process. And if he can drive Paula to tears and speechlessness ....well.... it really doesn't say much because she's on CRACK! (Blueberry Crack nonetheless!!!) The judges raved on this one (mostly...Randy didn't like the arrangement...probably because it didn't sound like Journey with his stellar Bass Guitar riffs) and the raving was justified. Elliott came to COMPETE and hopefully this performance gets him to outlast some of our wannabe's that are being exposed!

Kellie Pickler
"Unchained Melody"
Righteous Brothers (LeAnn Rimes style)

So was my "Wannabe" comment a segueway? Oh you bet! So we got our usual schtick from Miss Pickler. Since it's the LOVE SONG week we got her sob story of having no boyfriend and wanting to dedicate this song to a future love who will make sensual pottery with her like Demi and Patrick in Ghost. How old was this girl when Ghost was in theaters? Did someone feed her this line? Anyway, I think the worst thing that David Foster could've done was suggest that she hit a falsetto note to try and bring her rendition of the Unchained and Unending Melody out of it's monotonous obvliousness. If last week's Pickler song didn't do it for you...then this one had to be the nail in the coffin that Kellie does NOT belong in this competition anymore. She can't sing ballads for the life of her (which I so nicely pointed out last week and was justified this week). She barely sang a note on key and her falsetto note was more painful than it being worth her attempt to hit it. This performance exposed all of Kellie's remaining weaknesses. And the best part? Because the show was running late (due to Paula's Crack Rampage), Simon was cut off and the Idol music began to play giving Kellie no time to sweet talk herself into any more votes. This week will be the 1st true test for Will they keep Kellie in this show a week or 2 or 3 longer? Because there is no way that she should outlast this week if it is not for her "Southern" (and I use quotes) CHARM or her ANTI-VOTES.

Paris Bennett
"The Way We Were"
Barbara Streisand

There Paris goes again...being all nasal. But this week I noticed something else with her performances. She makes weird faces! Now, I know I'm biased against the teenagers staying in the competition this late in the game, but was anyone else bored with this performance? I really couldn't point my finger on it, but I just didn't like it. Even Paula said that she may have OVER-sang parts of the song. Yeah, we know the girl can sing but you have to be able to control that voice instead of belting out power note after power note. I believe this is what our buddy David Foster was trying to get across to Paris in the pre-performance clips. Randy also agreed that he wasn't blown away. Simon called it a good vocal but sounded like impersonating an older artist. Hey...whatever bad comment you want to throw at her is fine with me. Something was wrong with this performance! And once again, I also noted last week that Paris would struggle with Love Songs week. Even Paris said herself, she has no memories of LOVE to draw from to emotionally sing these songs. Come to think of 16 how can you sing any song with TRUE emotion? We've seen Paris working that stage and singing some powerful notes, but maybe that is what's missing. Some sense of identifying with the music. Yeah, I know Carrie never knew what she was singing about, but she didn't need to...there was just something about her that SCREAMED AMERICAN IDOL. Nothing AMERICAN is screaming at me about Paris (French Idol maybe? Oui Oui Ma dame. ba dum CHING!!!)

Taylor Hicks
"Just Once"
James Ingram

Well Bocelli and Foster (sounds like a sleezy lawfirm) seemed to be quite impressed with Taylor saying he picked the perfect song and that he had the potential to break out this week with a great performance. Maybe they got my expectations too high. Is it me, or was this performance just flat out awful? I haven't been shy about me rooting for Taylor less and less each week. I'm not sure what it is. I liked it when he was the underdog, but now that he's everyone's favorite, I'm kinda noticing that he's missing something in this competition. I mean...he hit MOST of his notes...but there was nothing mezmerizing about his performance. And I didn't see how this song was completely the RIGHT song for him. I was predicting some Joe Cocker last week for the raspy soulful contestant (a side of him which he has not shown since ...umm...his audition???). I'm sure Taylor is a great entertainer with his SOUL PATROL, but an American Idol? 7 weeks into this top 12, I'm still not sure if I see it. And...well, we may not have a choice in the matter. I'd like to see Taylor be in the bottom 3 to get a nice scare, but I still think he has his unwaivering support! (minus me these days....)

Chris Daughtry
"Have you Ever Really Loved A Woman"
Bryan Adams

Well Chris gets bonus points from me on Song Selection. I've always been a big fan of the period of the 90's when Bryan Adams was trying to become the next Kenny Loggins (aka new MOVIE SOUNDTRACK GUY) and this song was a classic for him. So our pals Bocelli and Foster noticed that Chris wasn't singing from deep down in his lungs so they had him sing on the floor. Did it help him reach down into that diaphragm for a stronger vocal? Well Yes and No. Tell me....have YOU ever really....really really ever loooooved a MIC STAND? Cause if you haven't, talk to Chris. He is INFATUATED with his....he holds onto that thing like his wife and illegitimate children. I'm surprised he was even able to part with it midway through-out the song. And sure it helps when he's got his dual Don Juan DeMarco spanish guitarists rocking out there with him to keep him company. Theatrics are always good for some points. But, me? I was listening to the VOICE which was to be highly improved based on his FLOOR performance. Was I "Floored?" Nope..sorry. I don't think ANYONE could've been as excited as Paula who probably realized the show was over so she could rush off camera for her next fix! "I LOVE YOU...LOVEY DOVE DUB YOU....LOOOOOOVE YOU!!!!" I mean seriously??? Simon and Randy both gave their quick congratulations as well. Did I miss something? Did no one hear the pitchy notes? the invisible low notes? the off-key high notes? and his on-stage inappropriate Mic Stage lovefest? How does this work into a stellar performance? The only thing I can come up with is that they're trying to sway the votes Chris's way because he is their pride and joy, their hope for a marketing future. Maybe that and the show was running overtime and the producers were yelling at the judges to make it quick....therefore not giving them enough time to even LISTEN to Chris's performance. I have TONS of conspiracy theories, but I won't waste them all on THIS blog! We have 4 more weeks after this!

Okay, so what does this all boil down to. Well way back when I started this blog I was saying that we may be in for a huge upset Wednesday night. Why is this? Because I DON'T think Kellie Pickler will go home even though she had the worst performance EVER! If we're lucky it might be Paris's week to go. I don't see Taylor even hitting the bottom 3 due to his status in prior weeks. I believe I said last week that neither Kellie nor Taylor have even tasted that bottom 3 yet. Everyone else has. Who was in it last week? Elliott and Chris. If we're meant to follow the trend of people getting a boost in votes when they're in the bottom 3 the previous week, then this puts Paris and Katharine back on the hot seat. And MAYBE Kellie will see some time in that bottom 3 this week. Gotta go back into question mode we go.

Who had the best performance? Elliott
Worst Performance? Kellie
Who do I think did well despite the judges? Katharine
Who Can't I stand anymore? Paris
Who do I think is overrated until he proves himself again? Taylor
Who had best song choice of the night? Chris

Bottom 3: Paris, Kellie, Katharine (Wildcard: Chris Bonus Widcard: Taylor)
Eliminated: Paris - I thought of a lot of bad French jokes here, but I changed my mind. Let's face it, if you're not named after a HOTEL these days, PARIS just doesn't work as a first name.

This would be an ideal situation. Lose the young one. But I have a feeling something crazy is going to happen like Katharine or Chris goes home. It's just that time of the competition where we lose someone that is a viable candidate. But to tell you the truth, I wouldn't be shocked if ANYONE went home because there just seems to be no clear cut Favorite this season (besides what we see on all of the websites out there). Wouldn't it be funny though if the bottom 3 kept going back and forth with girls then guys? I mean it really would only work for the next 2 weeks...but 2 weeks ago it was all girls, last week was all guys....maybe we're back to the girls again this week? Ahh who knows. All I do know is that I've thought way too much about this. Doesn't even matter anyway. What are the chances I'll get it all right? Guess we'll see!

Until tomorrow Idol Fanatics.