Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Gone Too Soon

Okay, so it seems as though most of the world stopped today to pay tribute to Michael Jackson, who, for those who have been on the moon for the past nine days, died suddenly in his home on June 25th. I have watched transfixed as people have reacted with a startling sense of loss - I have seen images of people all over the world have created makeshift memorials - a lot of them on the Internet. If my office was any indication of the rest of the world, it stopped. It was eerily silent there today. I wish I could have enjoyed it more, but my heart was heavy. I can't exactly explain why...but that won't stop me from trying.

For myself, I know that his death will be one of those moments I will remember when someone says "where were you when?" I was in the BART station, on my way to see Danielle in Oakland, when I overheard a man talking on his cell phone. It spread much in the way startling news does in 2009...hushed reactions followed by furious texting/facebooking/tweeting. I was maybe a little surprised at how deeply it affected me - it took me days to process it, if I have fully processed it now. I was glued to the television, and once I got home, Walter and I would often exchange glances as the reality of what had happened settled upon us. We've been able to share with Alex what Michael Jackson has meant to us - and watching Alex dance around, happily yelling Beat It, or asking to hear "Michael Jackson Monster" (you know it as Thriller), I think about the childhood we are providing him, and the childhood that eluded Michael - the childhood that he chased for most of his adult life. I hope that he was able to recapture some of his childhood through his own children, for his sake.

It seems in death Michael was able to accomplish what had eluded him in the last years of his life - his star has burned white hot over the past two weeks, as folks remembered the child who stunned us with a big voice and dazzlingly quick feet, to the fun guy with the Gheri Curl who sang Rock with You (I begged to be able to hang the album, which y'all know folded out to be a full sized poster, on my wall), to THAT guy, that dancing machine that moonwalked across my television in 1983 when my entire family watched the Motown 25 special that night. And while I was waiting to watch George Michael sing Careless Whisper, Michael Jackson worked it out. And after that, it was dizzying, Friday Night Videos, saving up to buy albums, yes, albums. Then there was watching We Are the World, trying to find my favorite artists. It's only with age that I realized how big that was...and how that young man of 25ish wanted to use his talent for something more, something good. Looking back, it's easy to see that *that* kind of stardom, for anyone, is dangerous. How can you top yourself? How hard must it be to try and be the best entertainer, the best humanitarian, the best dancer when the records you are chasing are your own?

Yes, of course, years later, he started to let his Freak Flag fly beyond what made any of us comfortable. I'll go on record now that I never thought MJ was guilty of anything but startling poor judgment and stupidity. But honestly? I think that he just *knew* that WE knew how innocuous he was, and I think the downward spiral happened after the trials. Not just because he was, you know, acquitted of heinous crimes, but because he could not believe that the public, the very group of people that he worked so hard to entertain and please, had turned on him. Scorned by the public, he retreated into himself, into his life, into his children. I had stopped listening to new news of Michael Jackson, managing mostly a tsk tsk at what his life had become, wondering why you never saw Michael and LaToya in the same room. I had mostly forgotten up until the last two weeks, that Michael Jackson was an insanely huge part of my pop culture, and my life. I had forgotten that watching him dance transports me back to the 80's once again. I had forgotten that I tried to learn ever dance to every video he did. I had forgotten that I loved Michael Jackson, loved his music, considered him a genius. As Walter has noted, in the 80's, it was Prince, Michael Jackson, and Madonna, and I think they, like my grandmother, were supposed to live forever. It has been very easy to do my Michael Jackson Memorial Programming on Facebook, because that is a songbook that is rich with rhythm and rhyme, poetry, and love. And fun - I dare any of you to play PYT and not snap your fingers!

I cannot help but feel in some ways that I let Michael Jackson down. Like any child, his pleas for attention got bigger and bigger as long as they went unnoticed, and by the time we noticed, by the time we paused, it was because a stranger in the BART in Oakland was saying how sad it was that Michael Jackson passed. I suspect we will never know the official cause of death - the Jackson family will keep that as private as possible. I also suspect that it will involve prescription drugs that should have never been outside of a hospital. I think his death was ultimately caused by the inability of anyone to tell this child "no". Maybe if I had done less tsk tsking and more forgiving - forgiving him for letting us down, for his bad judgement, and choosing to remember his good...you know, what I'd hope anyone would do for me, maybe I wouldn't feel such a loss. It's one more reminder that our icons, however iconic, are human. Michael was a fragile human being, and in that, perhaps he'll make a better angel than old man.

Rest in Peace, Michael, knowing that there will never be another you.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Seasons of Love

525,600 minutes
525,000 moments so dear
525,600 minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

Okay, so, here I sit, about an hour before my official birthday. I'm one of those freaks who ages on the day -- I never say I'm "almost 39" or that "I'm 38 and a half". Nope, right now, I'm 38, and tomorrow, I'll be 39. I've been wondering lately, as I usually do, what I'm supposed to know by now; after all, I'm THIRTY NINE. That seems like a number that has wisdom, and yet, I still know nothing, but feel like I have even less time to figure it all out!

Here's what I've learned over the last 525,600 minutes. I've learned that one of the biggest ironies of life is that the older you get, the more time flies. I can't remember the last time I wished for the future. Even the weekends get here faster, and fly faster than ever before. There's no longer a part that drags, like the month of May right before summer vacation, or what seemed like the endless first 25 days of December. No, it all absolutely flies by at a blinding pace. I used to think that it was having a kid - having a living breathing creature that grows and is constantly reminding you of the passage of time, but I suspect that even if we were still childless, I'd still feel like time is flying. And honestly? I want to stop it. I feel so childish wishing for it, but I do. I want to slow the passage of time so that I can experience moments in the moment and not think...gosh, that was fun. I think that's why I find it all so ironic - I sure wish I had this wisdom when I had 10-week summer vacations!

I spend a lot more time wondering if I'm living my best life. If I'm doing right by Alex, Walter, my staff at work, my career, and wonder if it's all fallen into place. I have a good life; no, I have a blessed life, but I think I may have stumbled onto what causes midlife crises in folk -- it's the realization that there's just not enough time. I think that's why people go a little nuts at this stage of the game -- leaving their families, buying shiny cars, bigger boobs, whatever. I think it's very easy to try and stop the passage of time by going back and re-doing some of our bigger regrets. But time does indeed keep marching on. And as that sage Dolly Parton pointed out, it' s "marching across your face" (though a lovely item called Dr. Feelgood by Benefit will hide those creases!)

I can't figure out if you have more flashbacks when you get older because you have more memories, or if you flashback because you just can't believe there's so many more years between then and now. I can so clearly remember bringing Alex home, and how tiny and helpless he looked in the bassinet, then he looked tiny in his crib, then his bed. It seems like yesterday, and yet upstairs right now sleeps a child who looks more like a boy and less like a baby than he ever has. And, at 3'2", he looks right at home in that bed.

I've decided that I'm no longer counting my birthdays in years. Don't worry, I'm not going to be one of those people who says "I''m having the 25th anniversary of my 39th birthday", or some such bullsh!t like that. No, I think I'm going to start measuring my age in joy. In wisdom. In laughter. In smiles. In the generosity of friends. I'm going to measure it by the times that I feel a warmth that starts in the tiniest part of my soul that reminds me that life is a gift. I may ultimately be a lot older that way, but also a lot richer. I'm a truly blessed individual. I'm not saying that my life is not without its challenges, without questions, but ultimately, when I stand back and survey the landscape of my entire life, there is so much that makes me grateful, and so much that inspires me to do more. To be more. I'm not sure what I did to deserve my life, but I'll roll with it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Final Countdown

Okay, so, DVR and I will be headed to relationship counseling. After getting Alex down (and getting a coworker off the phone), I return to DVR to find that it did NOT tape the first 10 minutes or so. I get no Ryan waxing philosophically about how this is the most important night in their lives, no Paula talking bat sh!t (my new term, I think) crazy talk about anything and everything, no Simon asking Paula why she's so crazy...no, I get Adam singing, so I'll dive in.

Adam is singing Mad World, a good choice, as this is the song that most of DVRing America didn't see that night when Idol ran over. Once again, he does a great job, but if I remember what I saw online correctly, I think that I liked the first time he sang it more. Randara loves it, and Kara makes a good point that he raised the game this season, making the other contestants think about what they were doing. Paula and Adam have a lovey exchange, and not in a call-19-Entertainment way, but an bff-way that's kind of endearing. She tells him to bask in this moment and the audience just goes wild. I think Simon felt like Adam was moving in on his woman because he picks on the performance aspects of it, the dry ice and the long coat Twilight thing. So even that was a backhanded compliment, because comparing anything to Twilight is good, and will put him in a good light. Yes, this is Adam's to lose.

Kris is doing Ain't No Sunshine again, on the piano, which I can't remember if he had it last time he did this...? And once again, I love this. How I love this. While I think that Adam will have to screw up royally to not win, I don't really think Kris winning would be that big of an upset -- this kid can sing. Kris' wife is looking all lovingly at him (at least, I think that's his wife). Randy (what the HELL is Randy wearing...he looks like a test pattern) notes that this is one of his best performances ever. Kara's cougar competes with mine, as she notes that he connects with everyone with his song. This time 19 Entertainment zaps Paula under the table as she says something about Kris Allenizing all over her. Simon starts off by saying that he wasn't sure Kris was the right call for the finals, but that he takes it all back after that performance...and you know what? I believe him! I remember that look he (Simon) had last week after Kris covered Kanye...he never thought he'd end up in the finals. After that, I absolutely believe this is the right two.

I know for Round Two that Adam sings A Change is Gonna Come because before I went upstairs, I turned it on, saw him RULING it, and made myself turn it off to watch it in its entirety. Okay, so this is one of my favorite songs, and I am very funny about people singing it. I realize it's words and music and copyrights, but it's so much more for me. Maybe it's because it was released posthumously by Cooke (something I just found out), and it's become not just a song for civil rights, but a song that is so hopeful that the world will ultimately become more than it ever was. And I feel like you need to *get* that before you start singing it. For instance, if I were to ever hear Miley Cyrus sing this song, I would boycott free radio, retreat to a cabin, and write a manifesto. Having said all of that, Adam sang this song SO well. He got the yearning, the hope, he got it all and it was great. And he contained the screech perfectly. I liked this...these boys are in it to win it. Randy says it was unbelievable, and that he can sing his face off. Kara says it was his best performance ever. And Paula...okay, it was Randaraula tonight, with their individual cliches. Simon says he's back in the game with that performance. Nicely done.

Ryan notes that it must be a big night because Simon is wearing buttons...and...BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Kris Allen is singing What's Going On -- okay, is it me, or has Kris gotten cuter since last week? Damn...anyhoo, I like when he does this with his songs, and I enjoy this. Not sure I feel it's a performance on par with Adam's, but it was really well done, and I liked it. Randy thinks its a little light for this point in the competition, but hello? This was not his song choice...so why ping him on that. Kara says he's been true to himself and compliments Simon Fuller on song choice, I think, as a reminder to the audience that he didn't pick the song. Paula says that Marvin Gaye would have been proud. Simon says he didn't grab the song and make it his own and that it was too laid back for tonight. Maybe that's what Randy meant, but really, this is not a song that's supposed to be loud, and I know they get that. It's meant to raise consciousness, and it doesn't lend itself to the crescendos/decrescendos that A Change is Gonna Come does. Me thinks that the judges realize that Kris is in very real danger of winning this entire thing, so they have to attempt to sway the votes as much as possible. Not a conspiracy, just a thought.

Adam's last song of the night is a song I've never heard, I don't think. Oh, is this the Idol Treacle Tune? Let me rewind...yes, for some reason I thought they were singing this song tomorrow. The Treacle Tune, No Boundaries, is the *prize* for winning this competition. And for someone who watched Fame religiously, I am all about uplifting show tunes...but the Idol Treacle Tune is more miss than hit with me. And this is...okay. I'm kind of eh about it...Randy says it was just all right for him, that it was a little pitchy. Kara loves it because it's a song she wrote (so, naturally, she thinks it's great) and she thanks him for singing it. Paula thanks Adam for what he's bought to Season 8, and that she's a forever fan, and I kind of see them having mani/pedis and mojitos together. Simon clearly hates the song, but sings Adam's praises as one of the more original contestants and that he genuinely believes that he has found a superstar.

And then Ryan tells Adam he's a class act and that he never wavered from who he was this season and HELLO HAS EVERYONE FORGOT THAT THERE'S ONE MORE SONG? Sheesh...oh, Ryan says that Kris is singing after the break. Too little, too late, Seacrest, glad you could get Adam's boot out of your mouth to remember the other contestant.

Okay, so my friend Joe said that Kris struggled a bit, let's see. Awww...yeah, I hear a lot of nerves in Kris right now. Or maybe this song strains his register. Having the two of them sing the same song shows that Adam is more comfortable on stage. But, I will say that the earnestness of Kris' voice suits this song better than Adam's. Randy starts off that he should be very proud of far he's come. Kara admits that this song is a bit high for him, but that she wants people to vote on the season. Paula says he's done a great job to get where he is tonight...Translation from Randaraula - they know he probably won't win, but love him. Simon, now, I kind of love what Simon said -- he said that his first performance was his best (yes), and also that he deserves to be up there, and notes how far he's come from that guy who had no confidence during the auditions.

Okay, wrap up, and this was a good night. I like Kris, and I like how Adam invites folks to vote for Kris, because again, you can be charitable when you've got it sewn up. But again, I think that Kris will have a very nice career after this. I can almost see this being a replay of Season 2, where Ruben won, but arguably Clay Aiken has had a better career. He also, in my mind, mesmerized me with being the only person on the planet who thought he was in the closet. God bless him. But I digress. The show ends with HEY!! Carrie Underwood! You know, I love her! (Hey! Lucky for AI, I chose to DVR Glee as well to see the rest of Carrie!) I love recaps. Aww...remember Norman Gentle?Okay, this also reminds me of how much time I have given to this show!

So, I honestly think that Adam will win. And I honestly hope that Kris will...he's earned it.

Good night, friends!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Three Little Birds

Okay, so, DVR had to hold onto the entire episode while I was having CPK with Louise, which was yummy!

Ryan comes down the stairway from heaven, looking good and telling us that Kris, Danny, and Adam went back to their respective hometowns. I don't remember when they started doing this, but tomorrow will be the quickest results show in history, because I don't really get this, and it takes me about 5 minutes to watch this show. Though I will admit to being a little choked up when David Cook went home last year (and David? I'm very sorry for your loss), I am really not interested in Local-Boy makes good day. Anyhoo, it generally doesn't interest me, and it seems the whole point is to send these kids home is to give them their chosen song while they are there. And sure - that sounds like a great way to unwind before what is probably one of the biggest performances on the show. Makes an incredible amount of sense.

First up - Danny Gokey - Paula chooses Dance Little Sister for him, saying that Terrence Trent D'Arby was an overnight sensation after The Hardline According to TTD dropped, and that Danny has the ability to be an overnight sensation. Think. Discuss. Anyhoo, I admit that was hoping he'd do the "Get up out your Rocking Chair grandma!" line like TTD on the original, but that probably would have been cheesy. Ricky Minor's band, especially the brass, is rocking already tonight. I don't love this, but it's not like I loved the original all that much either. This song works on the cd because, as those of you who own Hard Line know, you're jamming by the time that track comes on, so you just keep partying, and you're all..."yeah! Dance Little Sister" rocks...but if it were earlier in the cd? Perhaps not so much. Personally, I think there are a lot of other songs on THA2TTD (Wishing Well comes to mind). Paula is out of her chair rocking (of course she has to be - she chose it). Randy calls it "dope", saying he started off the night well...Kara likes the song choice because it's in his "money" range, but that his dancing was gyratey (uh? What?), and that she wouldn't remember it. Paula says as the choreographer she thought it was really good, and I think Paula is a little tired of Kara. And because Paula doesn't try to start off sober at the end of season, she starts talking about magic...Simon doesn't love it, wishing for another TTD song (and really? I'm calling a lawyer for plagiarism!). Eh...Danny claims that he wanted to throw it all out there, but it seems kind of phoned in to me. He does that from time to time.

Kris Allen has Apologize by One Republic chosen for him by Randara. At first, I don't know what the bloody hell song this is, but then he starts playing...and I know this one. Did I know that Kris plays the piano? He's doing a good job with this, although it sounds like he's not comfortable with the upper range of the song. I really like Kris, and I really liked that. Randy begins by saying, while he knows the show at this point is about who could win, he thinks that he did a great job of showing the kind of artist it could be. Kara doesn't like it, saying that he wasn't that original (and what? Why did she pick it if she didn't expect him to uh...SING IT). Paula kills him softly, saying she didn't love it, but she loves him and knows that Danny has been phoning it in so she won't be mad if Kris gets that top 2 spot. Okay, so I'm paraphrasing and maybe projecting a little bit, but that's what I heard. Simon calls bullsh!t on Kara telling her that she can't choose a song and then blame him for doing said song. Word. Just freakin' Word, Simon. Simon says he did a competent version, but not was good as the original, and Kara goes ballistic, loud talking the rest of Simon's critique and asking him (Simon) if he's ever arranged a song in his life (saving me from the letter-writing campaign to rid my tv of her...she's gone next season). They argue leaving Kris looking very uncomfortable, and he looks as though he's wondering if they will finish all of this in time for him to get back to the Idol Mansion to watch Transformers. Well, I thought it was good, and for the young voters, I think that may serve him better than TTD will serve Gokey. And I'm only comparing these two because we all know this will come down to who's in the finals with Adam.

Proving that point further, Simon, the only judge that makes sense, chooses Adam's song. Adam gets his text, asking (directing) him to sing "One", by U2. Simon name drops Bono's; St. Bono apparently called Simon to tell him it was fine for Adam to sing a U2 song. I'm wondering where Simon found him - no doubt somewhere trying to turn water into wine [Bono touches wine] "Dammit! I still can't get that!" Okay, so I didn't love this nearly as much as I expected to. It started off wonderfully, but then it kind of got away from him, I think. I don't think this was a song that needed to be altered. Randy loved it; Kara says that it sounded great. Paula says that it sucks to sit next to Simon while he gloats. Paula then says what we all know: that Adam has won this. Even if this sucked, Simon wasn't going to say that, but he says it's brilliant, and that if Adam isn't in the finals, it will be one of the biggest upsets in Idol history. And I'm sure everyone will take that comment as a reminder of Daughtry, or maybe even J.Hud. But for me, the biggest upset in Idol history is still that Tamyra Gray was not in the finals...I loved that mop head Justin Guarini, but if I recall, even HE knew he wasn't supposed to be there. Anyhoo, Adam steps on the smug-o-meter just a bit, saying if the audience rewinds the song, they will see beautiful lyrics. Yeah, kid, those are beautiful lyrics -- that song, according to Walter's estimate, is just about 20 years old, so perhaps, just perhaps, we've heard this song, and the lyrics a time or two before. And now Walter and I are sitting in disbelief that Achtung Baby dropped 20 years ago...can someone tell me where the 90's are...and how 1990 was almost 20 years ago???

Carrie Underwood is in Africa working Idol Gives Back. That's all I got, besides some super cute kids, and that Idol is distributing bed nets to stop the spread of malaria. And yeah, I get that this plugs Idol and Exxon Mobil and that what they are giving probably doesn't skim their profits, but I still think this is a good thing they do, even if the motivation isn't all that altruistic. And I saw this kid who had tears in his eyes, and I can't help it -- sad kids make me cry. Ryan brings it back to Idol, and calls the Judge's Pick the Battle of the Egos, which is...priceless.

Danny's back for his second song...his pick. He's singing You Are So Beautiful. He should ROCK this. Okay...so I can honestly say that I'd never heard some of these lyrics that Danny was singing. I was eh on the beginning, but once he put his raspy into it, I LOVED it. I'll remember it fondly, I think. Randara loved it....Kara even calls it stunning. Paula says she was breathless, and said he did "magic" to it. Simon says it was a vocal master class, but that he didn't need to do a new arrangement (I'm dizzy over here). Okay, I may have to rewind this tomorrow...right now it's late and I'm sleepy, but I didn't hear what the judges heard.

KANYE WEST? Seriously? This is the artist that Kris has chosen...Heartless. Oh no. I really hate Kanye West. just Kris and a guitar, let's see how this goes. Okay, so, Kris is leaving it ALL on the stage tonight -- he's doing what he does best. His guitar, his arrangement, and I love it more than I've ever loved anything Kanye has ever done. More over, I appreciate that Kris seems to get that this is the last week...no sense leaving the studio tonight saying "aww, I should have done". this should have been a mess, and it was N-ICE. They show the judges, and I swear, Simon's look is "oh sh!t, Kris is going to be in the finals." Randy likes this better than Kanye's version, and it's very easy for me to agree with that. Kara starts talking and I tune out because Randy joins in and they are sharing a brain, blending into Randara once again. Paula loved it, and Simon says that he had written him off after Kara and Randy's effed up song choice (I'm paraphrasing), but that he (Kris) totally changed the game with that performance. It was awesome, and he slayed it. Again, because we know Adam is a lock on the finals, now that Danny and Kris are done, I can honestly say that I think that Kris has earned a spot in the finals.

Last up -- AI 8's winner, and he's chosen Crying, by Aerosmith. He says he's twisted it his way, but gives props to Steven Tyler. Adam owns the stage, but his back-up singer in the beginning is bothering me. Okay, so tonight's Adam is the Adam I hated for the first half of the season. This, like "One" was screechy and pretentious and I didn't like it much at all. Randara calls him amazing, rock star, see you at the finals, etc. Paula pulls out her best cliche yet, saying that Adam sets the bar so high she hopes he's collecting frequent flier miles. Simon, who actually watches the show and knows that America can make a mess of things when they are left to vote, wisely reminds Adam that it's not a lock, and more importantly, reminds America that they can't assume he's got it locked up. And then, in blatant favoritism -- all of the judges remind America to vote.

So that's a night. If I'm ranking performances tonight -

1. Kris' 2nd song
2. Kris' 1st song;
3. Danny's 2nd song;
4. Adam's 1st song;
5. Danny's 1st song; and
6. Adam's 2nd song.

And, the ranking is damning with faint praise as I was REALLY unimpressed with "One". All in all, a lot of nerves, not a lot of love. It's a tough one to call.

Good night friends!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's Still Rock N Roll To Me

Okay, so, I had planned to really blog in real time tonight, but instead of was chatting with my really fabulous friend Cat in London...and after tucking Alex in, DVR tells me it's about 40 after the hour. Ryan tells us that Slash is the mentor tonight, which makes it...Rock N Roll night! This will be really great or really cheesy. But Slash is a musician, and we haven't had many of those, so I think he will give great advice. I hope he brings the guitar along. Plus, I find Slash to be quite sexy, ridiculous-carton hair and stupid hats aside. And even in that, there's something smoldering about that guy. My mother would have totally freaked out, but I would have been a complete groupie over Slash.

Ryan tells us about some sort of emergency in the studio, making me think that something has really happened...that one of the contestants got the flu or something, but no, it's just that one of the big idol microphones fell and that the Idols didn't get a dress rehearsal or a real run-through or something like that. Then, apparently, the Idols will pair off and sing a duet. Because, really? They haven't been slammed enough on running out of time? This makes sense?

First up - Adam Lambert - ooh, I kind of feel sorry for the other three that he's leading off, because Adam should, by all estimates, own this night. He refers to Slash as a Rock God, which I kind of like. He does Whole Lotta Love., and I may very well lose all of my Adam goodwill. If he doesn't rock this, and I mean rock it well, I will think he was way too smug to take on one of the best rock bands of all time, with one of their most iconic songs. Okay, so Ricky Minor's band isn't Slash's band but they are still quite fantastic. And Adam is...well, Adam owns this, and it's not a knock-off, he doesn't remind me of Robert Plant or anything. He killed it. Randy loves it. Kara calls him a Rock God, and while I thought it was good, come on Kara. Folk are going to think you and Paula are backstage with the bottle in the paper bag splitting it. Kara then goes a little off her rocker (get it? Rocker!) saying something about he's in his lane and he's alone in his lane, and she must be thinking strictly in terms of Idolettes, because last I checked, Robert Plant is still alive. Paula notes that it's hard to improve a Zeppelin song, but that it was awesome! Simon says it will be impossible to top and he feels sorry for the rest of them (okay, now I think I'm going to start suing for plagiarism), and finally someone notes that this is one of the greatest songs of all time and that he slayed it. Simon is right -- it downright sucks for the other three that he opened. With that.

Next, Alison Iraheta. She reveals that she went with Adam to his hair girl, and uh...well. It's um...so anyway, Alison is doing Crybaby, and I liked it a lot in rehearsal. Slash gives her some advice to not be afraid and then she sneaks a little kiss, and Alison is my hero! Okay, so has anyone checked Alison's birth certificate? I refuse to believe, after this, that she is only 17. I didn't think she'd do this well - that she wasn't mature enough. And that's absolutely the last time I underestimate this girl. What I really like about this is that she didn't throw away the lower notes to get to the "CRYBABY" chorus that everyone knows. She hit every note, and she hit them well. I liked this a lot. Randy says she can sing "her face off" (is this his new line?), but that he didn't love this song choice, that all he heard was "CRYBABY" (I disagree). Kara likes Janis, but not this song, she recommends A Piece of My Heart. Again, I disagree. Okay, maybe I missed something -- I thought she was great! Paula steps into crazy again saying if they ever do a biopic on Janis, she should get the part. Simon says that she's grown leaps and bounds over the past 8 weeks, but that this wasn't very original, but that she should have gone with her first choice, Somebody to Love...only Simon thinks it's the Queen version, but Alison corrects him that she was doing the Jefferson Airplane version. She lips off a bit, and it's actually kind of cute, because she's been so quiet all season, and she's not really smug about it. And Simon likes it too. Translation -- I really want this to be between you and Adam in a couple of weeks, so I'm going to let you slide. I hope when they watch this tape tomorrow, they will realize this was better than they thought it was tonight.

So now we get a duet, but it's not Alison and Adam...it's Kris and Danny. Is this fair, that they have to use their first voice for the performance that won't be judged? They are doing Renegade by Styx. Kris begins a Capella, showing off that lovely tone of his...Danny's is good too. Oh my GOODNESS! Why am I just noticing the resemblance between Danny and Robert Downey, Jr? Okay, so now that Matt is gone, I am no longer cheating on him...this Kris is so cute. However, I don't love this vocal in its entirety. But I'm not completely disappointed, because if I were them, I wouldn't give this my all either, knowing that I won't be judged on it! I did like their voices together though. Randara didn't love the individual vocals, but loved their harmonies. Paula gives a lucid critique that it was compelling...Simon doesn't know what to say. I thought he hated it, but he says that Danny was better than Kris, and I have a bit of an attitude with Simon now. Why go there, Simy?

Next up - Solo Kris takes on the Beatles, singing Come Together, after rejecting Revolution (a wise choice, I think). Kris gets to play Slash's guitar, and Slash (rightly) notes that it made him nervous, as Kris said he almost wet his pants. I love the genuine moments, and I appreciate it when these folk realize that this show has taken them places they never DREAMED of. Okay, so I love Kris, and I love this song...if the Beatles ever had a song with a sexy beat, this is it...and Kris is just too damned nice for this song. My inner cougar ducked out, and then kind of went back in. If I didn't LOVE him, I don't know that I would have liked this, if that makes any sense. Randy wasn't blown away. Okay, this is a first for me and my AI blogging. I am rewinding to listen to this again. Excuse me. Okay, I liked this a lot. He got the sexy right, and my inner cougar came out and sat down the second time. So back to the judges...Randy liked his guitar thing and notes that it's a good performance. Kara didn't love the performance, that he was trying too hard. Paula starts off lucid, noting that it's hard to do a Beatles song, but then she takes a sip and says something about imprint and artistry...and I'm not sure if she liked it. Simon didn't like it that much, comparing it to eating ice for lunch, that afterwards you have nothing. Ryan calls bullsh!t, telling Simon that he's far too rich to have ice for lunch. Once again, I hope, when the judges see the tape, they will see what I saw. No, Kris is not an Alison, or an Adam, or a Danny, but I would bet money that 19 Entertainment will sign Kris beyond the tour. This kid has chops, and I don't appreciate Simon comparing him to Adam...he's NOT Adam. He's not over the top, but he's better than credible. he has a voice and a talent that I would love to hear on the radio...and while I am not comparing the two, I think that John Mayer would sneer at Adam, invite him to pick up a guitar and see where it went. I'm not comparing John Mayer to Kris either, but I am saying that while Adam is the better performer, hands down, I don't necessarily think he's a better vocalist than Kris.

Ooh...Paula has a confession on Fox News tonight. But you know, Fox is questionable, so who knows what Paula is about to say.

Danny is doing Dream On, and rehearsal made me a tad uncomfortable. The screech...oh no. Okay, so Danny doesn't look all that comfortable with this, but the chorus really works with his voice...but then we got to the end and that was an unmitigated mess. I'm sorry, he was out of sync with the band, and that screech is not in the same zip code as his natural range. Holy sh!t, that was bad. Randy says that he knows this wasn't his genre, but gives him an A for effort, noting that he had 3 notes at once with that last note. Kara says he took the swagger compliments and took it a little far, but notes that he took a risk, and says that rock is roll is about being bold and going for it, and she goes on, and I wonder. Why does Kara insists on doing the fist pump? Paula says it wasn't her favorite song, but that she gives him an A++ for going for it. Simon compares the last note to a horror movie, saying it was over-the-top. I think that Paula tells him (Simon) she loves him and he gives her a look as if to say "later, Boo". He compares him to Adam as well, but says it didn't work for him, but that he'll be safe tonight. Translation -- this really sucked, but we are ready for Kris to go instead. Wow.

Last performance of the night is Alison and Adam doing Slow Ride, and I'm hard pressed to hear it because Adam's pants are alarming me. So, I like this better than the other duet, mainly because these two are more comfortable with a band than the other two. But you know what else? They are both very comfortable with the rock thing, and that may work in their favor as well.There is also a camaraderie between Alison and Adam, a generosity in the duet that was lacking with the other two, and you can tell by the way they embrace at the end that they were practicing this all the way to Adam's hair girl and back. Plus, endearing Adam to me even more, I see that he has given her some tips on owning the stage; it was like she siphoned a little of his confidence. And, you know, when you've won AI 8 like Adam has, you can afford to be generous. I liked this a lot. Randara loved it, noting that they pushed each other to be better on stage. Kara says something about Rock God and Rock Goddess. Any more comments like that, and I'm thinking that Kara has her own cup of happiness. Simon says this performance was leaps above the last duet, and that Adam may have given Alison an extra week in the competition. Yup, this is definitely who they want in the finals.

Okay, tonight, if we were judging only on the merits of tonight...Danny should call Jamal and ask him to come pick him up from the Idol Mansion. But we know it doesn't work that way. I'm afraid this might be the end for Kris, but like last week, I'm hard press to call it.

Lastly, to my friend Neesha -- I will keep the DVR if you want to come over and watch for yourself!

'night, Friends!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Song for You

Okay, so, I don’t have the comfort of DVR tonight…I’m at a seminar on achieving excellence, at a training center in Potomac…it’s NICE, but I don’t think they want us in our rooms a lot because seriously? This room is the size of your average work cube. Now imagine a cube with a double bed in it. I’m just grateful that the tv has a remote. Apparently this place used to be a nun school (abbey?) or something, but it is gorgeous and it runs like a campus, right down to the dining hall. As classes go, this one is good, although it cracks me up that I’m Achieving Excellence this week…cuz honestly? I’ve been fine with mediocrity.

So, I turn on Idol to find that Jamie Foxx is the mentor tonight and oddly enough, I don’t have trouble with it. If anyone can teach people how to parlay determination into a multi-faceted career, it’s Foxx. Whether he’s your taste or not, I think there’s no denying he’s talented. Particularly because just about everyone remembers him from Ray now as opposed to Wanda from In Living Color. Plus, I have to admit that one or two of the songs I’ve heard from his latest release make me snap my fingers a bit.

First up? Kris Allen singing The Way You Look Tonight. Jamie says something about the “throat Olympics” making me rethink my being all right with his mentoring. Kris is very humble about the praise that Jamie heaps on him, making me like him all the more. I feel I might be breaking up with Matt. Or at the very least, cheating on him. Just sayin’. So anyway, this is one of my favorites. Performed by one of my favorites, so it will be hard to find fault with this. Okay, I kind of wished that it hadn’t gone up tempo at all, but it’s no matter; I so enjoy Kris’ voice. This was very good, and I’m really starting to believe that he could very well end up in the finals. Randara thinks it’s his best performance yet, and that he’s set the standard very high. Ooh…you can tell that it’s getting serious, because Kara and Paula both look a little dressier than they have before. Paula says he’s evolved to a sophisticated gentleman (hello, Cougar!), and that his crooning was near impeccable. Simon’s not as enthusiastic, but then again, when is he ever? Simon says it’s a bit wet, comparing Kris to a safe cocker spaniel. When Ryan asks what he meant by ‘wet’, Simon says “not dry”. Welcome back, Captain Obvious.

Alison Iraheta – who looks gorgeous! She says being the only girl left is scary. Hey! She’s 17 now! Happy Birthday! I do like Alison; I think she’s very young and fun, but standards night may hurt her if she tries to be all rocker-chick tonight. She’s doing Someone to Watch Over Me, another favorite of mine. Okay, I think I may love all the songs tonight. Jamie gives some credible performance tips, making me almost forget “Throat Olympics”. I’m not sure how I feel about this performance, honestly. It’s *good*, meaning she got all the notes right, and some good emoting. But I think this song is more…uh, for lack of a better word, innocent than she did it. I hear this song and I think “please hurry and take care of me”. She sang it and I heard “you better get your a$$ back here”. Randy says yo about 1000 times, noting that she did it in her style and that he loved it. Kara thinks she’s no longer a one-trick pony and that if that doesn’t land her in the finals, she doesn’t know what will. Paula heard the innocence that I found lacking, and Simon asks her if she thinks she can win at this stage, and she says that she thinks she can. Simon asks because he doesn’t believe *she* believes she can win it and maybe she’s been overshadowed. Simon thinks she may be in trouble tonight, which is not to say that he didn’t like her performance, but I think he’s saying that she didn’t do enough tonight to eclipse the frontrunners. Kara disagrees with Simon (SHOCKING!)

Next up – Matt Giraudi singing My Funny Valentine, and he will either rock this, or he will be going home. I’m writing this on the commercial before I hear the first note. He has a real chance here to own his R&B style. I really hope he does. The bad-hair-day hat is back. During the rehearsal, Jamie looks like he’s thinking about lunch, and then calls him back to give him some real advice, and I remember that Jamie is a classically trained musician. I kinda wish that Matt had done his own piano playing. Okay, what does this song mean? “Your looks are laughable, unphotographable”? Are they singing this song to an ugly person? Okay, the middle and end of this were wonderful, but the beginning was a little rough for me. If they are looking for Matt to leave next, he will not get a great critique…Randy thinks it’s a little pitchy. Kara thinks that he didn’t do much to establish himself and that she missed the connection…Paula loved it, and she really appreciates that he took Jamie’s advice. Simon loves it, calling it the only authentic performance tonight, saying he could tell that he (Matt) loves jazz, and compares him to Nat King Cole. Now I don’t know about all that, but I’m always happy when Simon is happy with my boyfriends.

Which reminds me, I’ve been hearing all this chat about Simon leaving Idol -- that it’s too much for him to do two shows in the UK and this one. Uh-huh. Unless they are ready to end the AI franchise, I’m dismissing this rumor outright. Simon IS American Idol. There are some shows that can absorb losing a major player (NYPD did it for years; ER did for a while before it became complete a$$, and Law and Order proved that you could do it, and do it well), but not AI. Simon is to American Idol what Dorothy Zbornak was to the Golden Girls. Not that the others weren’t spectacularly funny, but she was so integral to the success of the ensemble, it didn't work. The Golden Girls spin-off lasted a season without Dorothy. So I say, forget it. I also say, Rest in Peace, B. Art. Your comedic timing was legendary.

Danny Gokey is singing Come Rain or Come Shine. I’m enjoying Jamie Foxx as the mentor, I really am. Oh, Danny is singing the hell out of this. I love love love it! Although that last note scared me a bit, this was probably my favorite performance of the night, and my favorite one from Danny in like a month, because he was starting to rest on his laurels a bit. He rocked the joint. His vocals were spectacular and he worked that stage like a pro…very nicely done. Randy once again goes on to remind us it’s a singing competition (do we not know that?). Kara says he has swag. Hello, Kara? Swag is what you get in the green room…I’ve never heard swagger abbreviated like that. Paula loves it too. (Lovin’ Paula’s hair, by the way). Simon notes his confidence, saying he proved a point that he thinks he can win this, and you know, I think he can too. Simon notes that Jamie bought out an outstanding performance in Danny. That was kickin.

Okay, this commercial for minute maid brain juice is a total knockoff of an internet joke that continuously cracks me up, so this is only a minor complaint. See, without DVR, I comment on commercials too! And this show Glee seems like it’s going to be a page from my high school life, unlike, say, The Secret Life of the American Teen-Ager…which I like, but Glee Club sounds more like me.

The winner of AI 8, Adam Lambert, is singing Feelin’ Good. I’m full of predictions tonight, because he’s going to rock this joint. Adam starts on the stairs, and I wonder if they all have that option, because it works. I realize I’m going to be in the minority, but I love this white suit…this sh!t is beyond fabulous. Adam is conjuring up Freddy Mercury for me right now, and I mean that very complimentary because I love Freddy Mercury’s voice. Adam’s intonation is spot-on; and his pitch is flawless. Randy says it was too theatrical for his taste, but that he can sing. Kara can’t figure out what the heck she wants to say and stumbles all over herself. Paula has 19 Entertainment about to call the lawyers when Paula says Adam makes her feel better than good. Simon says he’s in it to win it, and laughs that Randy has issues with Adam being theatrical, because if you looked up ‘theatrical’ in the dictionary, there’s Adam staring right back at you. Simon tells Adam that he had the best entrance of the season and that Ryan is no longer allowed to use the stairs, because Adam worked them (we’re running out of time AI! Do you want me or not!?!?!?!?!).

So, I think it’s been a while, but I can honestly say that I enjoy each of the remaining performers. I think America got the top 5 exactly right. I don’t remember if they do the bottom two or the bottom three now that it’s only five, but if I were to rank the performances tonight?

1. Danny
2. Adam
3. Kris
4. Matt
5. Alison

Okay, onto to Dancing with the Stars, and Robin Thicke is on it…and I just love this man. He’s cheesy like his dad, and soulful like his mom. I love ballroom dancing (wow! I love a lot of things tonight. I’m telling you, this leadership center is kind of magical!). I own the DWTS Cardio DVD, which is its own blog, but the ladies dancing remind me of this woman at the Inaugural Ball who stayed on the dance floor with her hands bent in that “dancer stance”. It cracked Michele and me up, which means you just can’t do those hands just anywhere! On DWTS, it looks like good form, on a random dance floor in the National Harbor, it’s completely cheesy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Boogie Wonderland

Okay, so DVR tells me I'm just about an hour behind as I watch the final 7 perform again. There is talk about the judge's save last week, so I must vote tonight to keep my Matt in the competition.

You can tell that Idol is really challenged by time, because I get no Ryan at all -- they launch right into it. I also heard that I wasn't the only one who hated tag-judging, so all four will talk tonight. Good. Because really? Who doesn't get that if Simon doesn't critique, there's no point? Tonight is disco night, usually a favorite of mine, because everyone who knows me knows that next to 80's hip-hop, 70's disco holds the biggest spot in my musical heart.

First up, Lil Rounds - I'm Every Woman, Chaka Khan. Lil is rockin' her booty tonight, but the weave is a bit off putting for me. As much as I enjoy that she shakes up her hair weekly, I'm wondering if her real hair has been completely traumatized by it. At any rate, this is a song that should go very well for her. Big vocals, very disco, and yet it's very very mediocre. It's loud in all the wrong places, and while I appreciate she snuck in a song that is associated with Whitney with the under-30 crowd, it's not good enough to remind me of Whitney or Chaka. Randy says she got the party started, but then puts his head in his hands (translation: hated it) and says this didn't show him what kind of artist she is. Kara says she's been waiting for her to sing an artist like Chaka, but doesn't think it's worth the wait, and that she's been every other woman but herself (Lil, not Kara, but I could see where it could be confusing), and it's a problem. Now, I'm not listening to Paula because I've asked DVR to go back like 10 times to see whoever this is in the audience that is giving the stink eye to the judges. Paula doesn't love it either, so there's another hammer coming from Simon, who says she looks sad...awww, maybe he's going to remember his crush. Oh not so much, because he tells her that he's glad she had fun, but this is the last week we'll be seeing her. No originality and that her vocals were a mess, and it cracks me up when Simon describes something as a mess. Ryan gives Lil a chance to lip off that she was not karaoke. Simon says something that I can't hear and it shuts Lil up rather quickly. It's been fun Lil. Enjoy the tour. But the judges have somewhat proven my point. If Lil were a front runner, I suspect they wouldn't have found this karaoke, but since she's solidly in the lower bottom of talent at this point, I think their comments are even more scathing. Too bad, but I'm content to be done with her. But Simon should make sure he's escorted to his car tonight; Lil's mom looks like she's about to wax his behind.

Next up - Kris Allen, who has his guitar. He's singing...She Works Hard for the Money, by Donna Summer? Seriously? All right, I'm a pretty solid fan of this guy, so I'll give it a chance. Oh me likey. Me likey a lot. He has updated the song nicely, and I like this whole KT Tunstall turn. I'm really digging this performance and I suspect that the judges will either go with brilliant or that it sucked big time. I wouldn't have expected to enjoy this, but I love it, and now I'm an even bigger fan than before. Stop vying with Matt for my affection, Kris, my heart can't take it. Kara launches her inner cougar after arguing with Randy on who was going to go first and tells him that his risk paid off (stop agreeing with me Kara; it makes me uncomfortable). DrunkPaula is in full drink tonight, saying that lots of women shop in the men's department, but that men don't shop in the woman's department, or some such nonsense, and then Simon admits that a translator wouldn't be a bad idea, and then there's something about La Perla...and can you see how this show can really infuriate you sometimes? Anyway, to cut to the chase, all of the judges agree with me and Simon makes a point to say that he's the un-Lil. Walter thinks that Simon is disappointed in Lil, and I'd have to agree. Because most of the time Simon's picks go far. I think he feels bamboozled. Anyhoo, nicely done, Kris.

Danny Gokey takes on September, by Earth, Wind, and Fire. Okay, so, with apologies to all of the Danny fans out there, I don't know that I think his performances are stellar week after week, and there are only a couple of bad notes separating him and Lil. No; I take that back. Danny is working' the stage, and DrunkPaula is out of her seat, and I like this vocal. Randara really likes this, noting that he turned a song without a lot of melody into something great. Paula taps into *her* inner cougar saying he has one of the sexiest voices she's ever heard, and I agree. The raspy works for me. Simon doesn't disagree with the other judges but says he's not sure it's a good performance, and I think I get what he's saying. He's sort of agreeing with Kara that this may not be all that memorable. I don't know. I think at this point, Danny and Matt are splitting the r&b vibe voters, so it's too tight to call.

Alison Iraheta - Hot Stuff, by Donna Summer. And it's taken me this long to figure it out -- her voice reminds me of Adele. Okay, I like her hair better without those unforgiving bangs, but I don't know if I like this performance. It's different, and it has a bit of a rocker thing going on, which helps her, because that's who is she is, but something about this is not working for me, particularly because she's still a little jumpy for me. And I REALLY want her to stay out of Madonna's 1990 wardrobe. Randara doesn't love the arrangement, but notes she's one of the best singers in the competition, and Randy says she proves his point every week, and I'm not sure, even after 8 years, what his point is. Paula doesn't mind the arrangement because it's authentic, like she is (have a sip, Paula). Simon says it was a brilliant performance, despite her coming into this week as an underdog.

Adam Lambert - he has the Ken Doll hair, which I like. He's doing If I Can't Have You, by Yvonne something-or-other. He's slowed this down to a ballad of yearning, and wow. It really, really works. This cat can sing. And as much as I enjoyed his Smokey Robinson week, this is my favorite performance of Adam's, and perhaps in my top 5 of this season. Paula is sitting there with tears in her eyes...can you IMAGINE what sort of monosyllabic babbling she's about to do? Randara call him inspiring and that he's brilliant, and 19 Entertainment claps with glee over the records this kid is going to sell. And then Paula starts waving her hands and I'm hypnotized by her jewelry and she says something rather unintelligible, and the look that Simon is giving her is priceless. I think that Paula thinks she's connected this performance with Adam's worst love affair, and there is something about Adam's over the top look and eyeliner that reminds me of Boy George, and anyone who knows me knows that I still feel like John from Culture Club is one of the biggest bastards on the planet, allowing George's love to go unrequited and driving him into a downward spiral of drugs and shame (read the bio, people! It's heartbreaking). Simon says his vocals were immaculate, which is high praise. Ryan notes that his (Adam's) vocals had melted Paula in a pool of "Abdul" (translation: Red Sky, Absolut, Grey Goose...) There is something about Adam that's very unassuming, and very friendly, and I like how he's never once looked smug as the judges heaped all that praise on him, and for that, I officially declare myself an Adam fan. Good thing, because he's gonna win this thing.

Matt Giraudi - Stayin' Alive. Right off the bat, I'm not loving this song choice, but let's see. Bad hair day hat is back. And oh...how it pains me to write this, but I don't love this. He got it right with the BeeGees, but I think that he would have been better off with a ballad, because his voice is so lovely and we didn't get a chance to see that with this song. A slow, pared down version of "How Deep is your Love" would have been a much better choice. Boo! I'm sad that this wasn't better. Randy notes that he can really sing, but he hated everything else. Kara notes (and I agree -- kill me now) that he bought disco back, as no one had stayed with the true theme of disco. Paula takes about 100 words to say she liked it and that Matt will be sticking around after that. Simon didn't like it, saying it came over as a bit desperate, and that it wasn't a great vocal. While I hope Paula's right, I wasn't as into it as she was.

My man Anoop Desai finishes out the night with Dim All the Lights. I was really hoping that this was going to stay slow and I would have said Anoop is the smartest performer, making the most of what he has. But it speeds up. But it doesn't get crazy fast, and you still get to hear Anoop's lovely voice. I like it okay...oh no. Okay, I'm eh on this. It ended awkwardly and not great, and you can tell that Anoop isn't loving this performance. Randy says that Anoop's arrangement is kind of corny, but that he can sing. Kara really likes it, saying he's really hitting his stride. Paula, well, it's the end of the night so we got some words like magic and real men wearing pink (he does look nice...the shadow beard works for him). Simon hates it. Just plum hates it. Says it's his worst.

Bottom 3? Lil, Anoop, and Matt. Anoop has the mathlete vote and gets sent back to the sofa of safety. But you know...? Maybe Matt benefits from his fans (like me) calling like mad because he was so close to elimination, in which case, Alison joins the bottom three, and if that's the case, I think it's the end of the road for Anoop. If I were Lil, I'd soak in the mansion jacuzzi one last time. Then I'd pack and get excited about joining my kids again. Even the review of her performance was really harsh for me.

Okay, so it's over, and I've caught the beginning of this show with Pacey from Dawson's Creek. If anyone would like to write me and tell me what the heck this show is about, I'd love to know.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Sound of Music

The (Hollywood) Hills are alive with the soundtrack of music. I was too tired and too emotional last night (and I didn't get home until almost 9), so DVR held onto Idol for me until this morning, when I was in the mood for some fun. So, the Idols take on movies under the watchful eye of a legend. Quentin Tarantino. And right away, I'm feeling old because I will agree that Tarantino movies, while not always my taste, were evolutionary in their way. I don't like my legends to be my age. But notice how Quentin does THIS...is aMERican Idol (I'm telling you Ryan is the real star of this show. I love him.

So, any guesses on who does Aerosmith's I don't Wanna Miss A Thing? I'm going with Anoop. Somebody's gonna do it.

Okay, so is it that the judges are seated on Tuesdays, but walk out on Wednesdays. Ryan owns the stairs coming down. I feel just today I've started to openly love Ryan. Why does Randy Jackson always raid Dr. Huxtable's closet? Why does Kara always question everything (though her hair is gorgeous). Paula is sporting a dog choker of diamonds. It's startling and disconcerting all at once.

There's some discussion of last week running over, and to assuage America, they are altering somewhat so that only two judges at a time will talk. So only 1/2 of these kids will get any useful criticism. I'm really digging this short saluting Quentin, and they flashback to him giving Diana DiGarmo what for. I think I would enjoy working for Tarantino, or he would make me cry every day, not sure.

First up - Alison Iraheta - singing I Don't Want to Miss A Thing - I guessed wrong. I didn't always like this song, finding it too treacly for Aerosmith, but I came to love it -- the lyrics are so romantic. Now - okay, I love her voice, but I find sometimes that I have to watch her with my eyes closed...she's kind of jumpy. Plus, what the hell is she wearing? She gives a great performance, I think, even when she's jumping around. One thing about Alison, she's steady -- she has been delivering great performances all season and now that we're getting down to so few, I think it's more noticeable. Paula says she has the same special sauce that Adam does (Simon gives Paula the word authentic), but then says she's bbq sauce -- hot and spice (put Paula's cup down, Simy). He goes on to tell her she's the girl's only hope in this competition (Simon is TIRED of Lil. Lil, you better rock this town tonight).

Anoop Desai - Everything I Do, I Do For You, from Robin Hood. Okay, he did find the treacly song book after all. Quentin tells Anoop to growl more, and you know that Quentin wants Anoop to do well, so they can both be former Mathletes who have gone cool. Anoop is so funny -- it's like he's seen every cheesy lounge singer and performs accordingly, but I can't help it. I love his voice and enjoyed this. Randara is doing Anoop's critique, and Randy tells him he's rocking the house, it was in tune. Kara tells him he has found his place, adding soul to pop songs. She said it was one of his best performances and she felt connected to him. Okay, this two-judge-critique isn't working for me.

Adam Lambert - Born to be Wild, Easy Rider - he tells QT that he's going to give it some electronic element...oh, so I got a feeling I'm going to H-A-T-E this. So, I can probably stop blogging about Idol because there is no question that after that, this kid has won this. I feel so sorry for who has to follow that. Paula is a cliche-spewing machine tonight, saying the he dares to dance in the path of greatness and that fortune rewards the brave. Simon, after asking Paula once again what the hell she's talking about, says it was an incredible vocal but that the performance was like watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and that he doubts this will be as popular as last weeks. I see his point, I don't know that anyone will say that was just "okay" Adam is growing on me, I admit, and I think it's because what I used to find "poser" about him, I now view as a good performer. He worked that stage like a pro tonight, and that's what going to sail him to the finals, he gets that that whole stage is his and he works it, and he works with the band...Nicely done, Adam.

Awww...dang! Matt is following that. That's okay though -- we know that Matt Giraudi has chops. He's singing Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman, Don Juan DiMarco. Another treacly song that I really enjoy. QT seems to enjoy it, but I wonder if he (Matt) thinks he has a funny shaped head because he always has a hat on. Or not..maybe he just had a bad hair day, because it's performance time and no hat. Okay, so, with the exception of a couple of rough notes in the middle, I really liked this. Randara heard what I heard, but go onto say that it was a rough performance that he 'lost more than he won' tonight. I don't see where he flipped it as much as they say he did...it sounded pretty true to the original. I also thought his piano performance really complimented his vocal. It didn't overpower it, and it was so effortless you didn't really notice it (are you still watching, Scott?) I would have liked to have heard what Simon thought, really.

Danny Gokey - no glasses - Endless Love from the also titled movie - So QT gives some great performance advice about not using his hands too much. Okay, maybe I'm emotional from yesterday, maybe I'm imagining that Danny is singing this to his wife, maybe I just love this song and the harp, maybe I'm just a big ole sap because I'm sitting here with a lump in my throat, and I really liked it. Paula calls it beautiful after wondering if it was in the right key. Simon is *disappointed* because of the harp, and that he did the song so traditionally, and he was bored. But then, having said that, Simon realizes that Danny was probably a choked up mess singing it, and congratulates him on his vocal. Translation -- I hated this, but I like you, so I'm not going to slam you too bad.

Kris Allen - Falling Slowly from Once - And I applaud him for choosing something new. This may hurt him though, because I think people take points off in their mind for songs they don't know, myself included. This song begins kind of slow...but I do like it, and I like him. His rendition of this song is very sweet, and I think he did a great job. Randy doesn't like it - he says it was pitchy from note 1. Kara notes that it's difficult to 'pick an obscure song', but that for her, it was one of his best moments. I'm with Kara. Not something I write often.

Lil Rounds - Remember what I just said Girl...you must bring the house DOWN. She's singing The Rose...oh what movie is this song from...anyhoo, I *like* this, but she's not bringing the house down. And how unfortunate for her that Simon will be giving the critique. Okay, that transition was much better in rehearsal, and is it me or is she missing notes all over the place? What's happened to her? She was so much better than this in the beginning? Seriously, has she let her nerves get to her with all of the bad review week after week? Paula says that it's a road worth taking since she's come this far, which means...what? Simon just point blank says he has no idea what she (Paula) is saying, and starts off with "once again", telling her she got it completely wrong, too middle of the road, that she had some nice moments in there, but that there's no excuses anymore. And then he brings down the hammer, telling her that she's not the artist they met 7 or 8 weeks ago and that he's getting frustrated. Wow. This is akin to when he told Michael Sarver that he wasn't good enough to win. Lil lips off, further making me think it's time for her to go. The fact is (and I can't believe I'm about to say this again) Kara is right. Lil cannot make that leap from singer to artist, and it's hurting her. The same could be said for Anoop, I think, but it hurts her more because Anoop continues to deliver strong lovely vocals. Lil's vocals are, at best, streaky. She's not yet had *that* moment, the David Cook Billie Jean moment, the Kelly Clarkson Natural Woman moment, the Fantasia Summertime moment, the Adam Lambert Tracks of my Tears moment...you see where I'm going with this. She's done nothing to make me think she could win this thing, and even being 7 in, and we all know that it's not just the winner who gets a record deal anymore, I don't know that Lil will do much with 19 Entertainment beyond the tour. Too bad.

Okay -- so, that's it. Bottom three Lil, Kris (only because that song wasn't very familiar), and ... while it pains me...Matt. I really hope that my bottom 3 is wrong though. I think Matt goes back to the sofa of safety, and should it be Kris, he gets a legitimate shot at the judge's save.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Better Days

Okay, some of you might have noticed that my blogs are always titled songs. I chose "Better Days" tonight because just about everyone I know calls this "The Grandma Song".

So, time flew by and stood still all at once as I barreled to the inevitable conclusion of having to say good-bye to my Grandmother for the last time. As a woman of faith, I know that my grandmother's soul left this earth seven days ago. But there was still the matter of the funeral. My grandmother, knowing her time was getting short planned the entire service. Which comes as no surprise -- my grandmother likes to plan her own parties, and this, her last one, she ensured was going to be a beaut. So, here are my random observations on the day, in no particular order.

1. Rain, however appropriate for the occasion, complicates things. Umbrellas are a logistical nightmare.

2. I love St. Mary's County -- I love being from there, and it will always be home to me. Having said that, in a lot of ways it's like I step into a time warp. I feel like I'm still a kid, but then I see all the people I've known for a lifetime, and I wonder why they look so old. Life is hard on some. I saw the first person I ever had a crush on and he had no front teeth. What is that?

3. My family is too big. It's virtually impossible to agree on anything. I knew when, at the private family viewing, my aunts started arguing that this was going to be a long day. My family forgot to keep the *fun* in dysfunctional, and I hope in time they can put back together what their sadness and resentment over the years led them to break.

4. There is nothing more comforting for me than the hug from a friend in a time of grief. Hugs through shared grief are nice, and necessary, but it's the ones from your friends -- the family you've chosen - the ones who come solely to offer you support that make you break down, and then sustain you. Maybe it's because in those times, you can be really selfish -- break down, cry, admit that you are not okay. I'm not sure really; I just know that at some point I did something right to have the network of friends that I have. Between the people who were there and the people who called, it's humbling, and a great tribute to what really matters.

5. I was overwhelmed today by the circle of life. I learned today that my grandmother was married in that church. I was baptized, made my 1st Holy Communion, and was Confirmed in that same church, and was back today to say goodbye to someone who has had such a profound effect on the course of my life. I almost expected Monsignor Harris to come out and deliver the eulogy. Of course, he's like 150 now, so he would have been moving slow.

6. I hate when they close the casket in the church, and having to leave the grave site. And I wish that I hadn't seen the workers covering her grave as I was leaving. It's how it goes, but it still sucks.

What follows is what I said in church today about my Grandmother. I will miss her. A lot.

As I watched Miss Fancy courageously battle her illness over the past year, I’ve thought a lot about who she was, and what she’s taught me. There’s not enough time to adequately describe everything she taught me, every memory I will cherish of her, and I would probably forget some of them if I tried. Much of what I learned at her knee was about getting things done. I learned how to snap peas and green beans. I learned how to do laundry. I don’t enjoy it as much as she did, and don’t expect I ever will, but I know how to do it. I know that keeping clothes in the refrigerator makes them easier to iron. I learned how to make cream of wheat last summer when she wanted some and I had no idea what to do. It was my Grandmother who told me to always buy two pairs of shoes at once. I learned that it’s just best to go to a bakery to buy rolls because I could never figure out how hers always came out so perfectly. Some lessons are learned the hard way.

But the things I learned just by watching Grandma are the things that will stick with me the most. My grandmother was very loyal. I watched her take care of my grandfather and my great-grandfather through age and illness, and she did it so quietly, I did not know for years later what a testament of love and loyalty it was. I learned that you can be firm without raising your voice. It’s not that she didn’t yell, but I was far more frightened when she was quiet. I learned that generosity is not always about your wallet, but your time. I know this because she always had time for me. She stayed on the phone while I made macaroni and cheese the first time, warning me that if she didn’t, I’d make a mess of it. So many times when she went to the grocery store it was because one of her kids or grandkids had asked her to make something – vegetable soup, macaroni and cheese, apple-walnut bars, a pound cake. And watching her in the kitchen, I learned that the best cooks not only follow directions, but put a little love in it. I never knew how she remembered that I didn’t eat coconut, but my cousin Ronnie did. I learned the value of hard work, knowing now that my grandmother worked tirelessly until her retirement, and yet there was always a hot meal on the table after we got home from school. I learned that a good cook makes too much, but a great host always has room for one more. I can only hope, particularly in the days to come, that I have learned something about strength.

I imagine last Tuesday, when the good Lord called her home, he greeted her with a hug, saying “well done my good and faithful servant”, and that’s perhaps the greatest lesson of all: to live a life worthy of my grandmother and the lessons she taught – to be loved as she was loved, and to someday fill such a lovely church with such lovely faces.

[For those of you looking, my Idol ramblings will post tomorrow sometime before the elimination show]

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Forever Young

Okay, so, by now those of you who hang out on Facebook know that I lost my Grandmother today...and while I have some thoughts on that, for now I'm content to lose myself in Idol Tuesday. Thank you for the condolences and the well wishes...and with that...

DVR knows what's been going on, so it was faithful enough to record, even though I didn't get home until almost 10. So I don't know who's made a mess of what tonight. Starting off, I notice that we are down to 2 ladies...I'm betting that the new Idol will be a man. Just playing the odds. I'm also thinking that Ryan's "This. Is AMERican Idol" will become a part of television lexicon, joining Chuck Woolery's "two and two" and Don Cornelius' "we wish you love, peace, and SOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLL". I wonder if Bryan (or was it Ryan) Dunklemann, the genius who decided that American Idol wouldn't last beyond Season 1 and declined to be a cohost is still drinking.

Tonight, it's songs from the year you were born, and we are treated to baby pictures of the hosts before the show begins. Randy was cute; Kara looks as pissy as she is now; even Ryan comments that she looks in her picture as she made a poopie. Paula Abdul is adorable...but it's not a baby picture. Neither is Simon's, and despite his protestations that it wasn't him, you can tell that it totally IS him. And Ryan was an adorable kid, which is no surprise.

It' the Elite 8 on American Idol. Starting with Danny Gokey. The oldest contestant on American Idol was born in 1980. Oh for pity sake...I was in 5th grade when Danny was born. FIFTH GRADE. I was practically old enough to drink. He's doing Stand by Me, a version released in 1980. Pretty sneaky, Sis. (Another commercial reference for those of you who were born BEFORE 1980). First off, I like the rimless frames on Danny. Okay, this version speeds up. Interesting. Oh... Paula's on her feet already! This promises to be fun. Okay, so...I *liked* this. It was fine...his vocals were Danny-like, but this did not blow me out of the water. I don't love this arrangement after all. Oh, Randara doesn't love the arrangement either, but he loves Danny, so it's fine that the performance was eh...Kara comment that he made it his own. Paula says he's opened the show and set the bar so high that everyone will have to run to catch up. Simon asks Paula why she talks like that (just now? he questions it). Simon says the beginning was good, the middle was lazy, and the end was terrific, which means that Danny is definitely a frontrunner because they were not at all snappy for a performance that I thought was a teeny bit phoned in.

Next up? Kris Allen - All She Wants to Do is Dance, by Don Henley, 1985. Okay, by 1985, I had friends who had driver's licenses...gracious. So tonight, Kris is in the mosh pit and I am LOVING this arrangement of this song. It's very very funky and I'm loving it. Paula is sitting down showing blatant favoritism -- THIS is making me tap my feet. He's got a great voice, and even though this song didn't exactly showcase that, I enjoyed this performance. Kara feels like funking it up cost the song its youth and didn't love it. Paula didn't like it because she starts off with something that makes no sense, she likes him, but not the performance. Simon says it's indulgent, boring and forgettable. Simon then, when the audience calls Kris hot, saying he is too, but that's not what it's about. I kind of agree with Randy when he says that the arrangement was so good that he failed to notice his song. Everyone's eh...

Lil Rounds -- What's Love Got to Do With It...and she starts with the little Tina stutter step. And how nice for her that she's got hot wheels (translation -- great legs). Lil looks gorgeous tonight -- she's making me want to go back to my stylist and get bangs. Okay, so maybe my mood isn't Idol-riffic...I don't love this. It's almost as though Lil kind of blows through the beginning of her songs to get to the power part, and it's really kind of mediocre, and I hate typing that. Okay, Paula begins with how hot she looks (but what the hell is Paula wearing on her arm? It looks like a badge), but whenever Paula begins with physical, she's not a fan of the vocal. And she wasn't, giving a lucid critique of the song, saying that she's kind of starting to sound karaoke. I'm with it. Simon attempts to paraphrase Paula, and calls it a ghastly copycat performance, saying that he's lost her and doesn't know who she is and that they are not looking for a 3rd rate Tina Turner. Okay, so the stutter step seems to have hurt her. Paula points out (correctly) that is what she said and Simon says he makes more sense than Paula...and with that, Simon has a nickname: Captain Obvious. Randy breaks up their spat by once again reiterating that they love her, but the bloom is off the rose - Randy says that he doesn't think Lil is listening to their critiques (Simon also said that she's either getting bad advice or she's not listening). Kara says she thinks Lil is struggling to make the leap from singer to artist, and I can almost see what she's saying, and then she says she has to pay attention to her lower register and not just the power, and once again, I wonder when AI will call me for a job.

I don't normally comment on commercials, but 1)I think I may need an iPod touch, and 2) I want to see this chick flick with Jennifer Garner and Matthew McConaugHEEEY, because I like her, and well, he's just...good.

Anoop Desai starts off by saying Go Heels,and I can guaran-darn-tee you that I will not like what he sings, regardless of what it is because of that comment. Apparently, Anoop got hankty last week with Kara and he apologizes for lipping off and says he wasn't himself. I missed that. Anoop was born in 1986; I was in my senior year of high school. Anoop was an absolutely beautiful child. He's singing True Colors, a song I love. And if he weren't a TarHeel fan, I'd tell you that once again, Anoop's ability to sing a ballad is amazing. I love to hear him sing when he's not trying to impress his Mathletes friends by singing Usher (and when he's not talking about UNC). I was going to comment that his inability to speed up the tempo will ultimately hurt him because it's not versatile, but then I remember that Baby Archuleta got to the finals the same way...so we'll see. Randy congratulates Anoop on the UNC win (dead to me), and likes what he did and says he's impressive, that it was a nice, controlled vocal. Kara says he controlled the song, and not the other way around and she, along with Paula praise his song choice, and then Paula takes a sip of kool-aid and says his voice was truly magical, like a rainbow. Captain O gives Paula the look, saying this week was good, but that last week was abysmal. He then says that Anoop doesn't have to apologize for his reaction, that it's a back and forward. Kara says she doesn't remember the exchange, and even though she seems sincere, I'm not sure I buy it. Kara doesn't seem that easy going, and if the Idol mansion was tp'd after last week's show, well then, we know who to call, don't we? Anyhoo, he's four for four with the judges.

Scott McIntyre -- The Search is Over (is this REO Speedwagon?) - Scott has lost the piano and has a guitar. And oh Scott...what to say. The vocals are credible, I think, but...I don't love this either. I found his guitar playing to be clunky and not nearly as effortless as his piano playing, and the falsetto made me uncomfortable. I don't hate it, but he just doesn't have enough Idol Equity with me at this point for me to be ehh about this. Kara says she wouldn't have picked this song as it's a very difficult (SERIOUSLY?) , that some parts were ambitious. Paula gives him credit for stepping away from the guitar but that she was surprised it wasn't acoustic, and while some of his high notes were screechy, overall she says "bravo", and right here, I'm calling bullsh!t on Paula. You say all of that and then you say "bravo" why, exactly? Yeah, Scott is a sweetheart and I do enjoy him personally, but none of that has anything to do with the fact that he is a solidly mediocre singer and the "bravo" is a "bravo for being visually impaired and doing all this". As much as I feel like I've patronized Scott this season, I've never done that. [folds up soapbox and puts it away]. So Simon tells him to stick with the piano, and that he is obviously not comfy now and that the song was atrocious and that the guitar playing wasn't much better. Randy says it was just all okay and didn't show him as one of the best undiscovered singers in the country (because he ain't). Scott tries to lip off and they cue the music, which makes me laugh, oddly enough. Moving on...

Alison Iraheta was born 1992 - and I wasn't a student at all...I was just a working slob in the city (which is different from now...uh...wow) She sings I can't Make You Love Me, and this better be good because this is one of my favorite songs and I think I've demonstrated I'm not in the mood for much tonight. Sixteen...damn girl! You can sing! She does Ms. Bonnie proud, and the jazzy lilt of her voice complements this song well. It's great, in my opinion. Paula says that you hear one note and you know it's her and some other stuff that I don't know because again, I'm blinded by her wrist medallion. Simon says he thinks it really good, but says she needs to be more likable, but amends it, saying that they just don't know her well and that on a show like this (read: popularity contest) that's important...Randy compares her to Kelly Clarkson, and tells her to engage the public more because she's one of the best singers tonight. Kara loves it and says that Allison took this song and made it young...but did she really? Allison's hook, in my opinion, is that she has such an old voice.

Matt Giraudi - another cute kid - Part Time Lover - this could be a mess...let's hope it's okay. Okay, I like it - Matt's got his Justin Timberlake on full display, and it doesn't bother me. For some reason, I have this really inappropriate crush on Justin Timberlake. He was in a boy band, he flaked on Janet during the Superbowl Wardrobe Malfunction, and he dumped my girl Cameron Diaz, and yet, I just think he's so talented and sexy, I almost giggle when I see him on tv. Paula's on her feet working her Fly Girl moves. I see her hugging on Simon and I wonder if it's a coincidence that she's hugging Simon during a song called Part Time Lover (or, if she tripped -- I can't dance when I'm drunk either). Okay -- I really loved this, but they just may comment on him losing himself in the arrangement. I don't think that's true, because I liked that jazzy scat thing he was doing...yes, this worked for me. Randaraula are in heaven -- the all love the hell out it -- Randy saying it was the best of the night. Paula says "two words: standing o". Simon rushes through his critique saying it was so much better than last week, and very well done, and I wonder if they are pressed for time. I kind of thought that performance deserved more basking.

And, I see why they rushed because DVR cut off at 9:01. And apparently, this show didn't end until 9:05 maybe...DAMMIT! DVR let me down. I'm going to check You Tube real quick...I feel like my blog is not done...

Okay, I found it on Photobucket (I'm committed to this). Adam Lambert sings Mad World, a song I never heard before, so I have no basis for comparison. Having said that, when Adam Lambert was a baby God reached down and touched his vocal chords. His voice is incredible. I'm not sure I love the song, but I know that I just heard a really incredible vocal, and unless this kid effs up royally, he will be in the finals for Season 8. Again, get rid of the ridiculous make up and the screech and just sing, Boy. Wow. Simon can barely contain himself, notes that he's the only one talking due to the time crunch and stands up. That might be the first ever standing ovation from Simon. Well done, Adam. I did a little research on Wiki, and it appears this song was a Pre-Everybody Wants to Rule the World from Tears for Fears. Impressive.

Okay, that's a wrap...bottom three? Oh it's gets hard at this point, but on the strength of tonight's performances -- Scott, Lil, and I'm pressed to pick a third.


Friday, April 3, 2009

A Change is Gonna Come

Okay, so, I got my hair cut last week. My hair has borne the stress of the last year, and it finally decided to stage a mutiny (taking the place of my uterus, I guess). Anyhoo, I held out as long as I could -- and when I realized that my hair was an uneven mess and it was taking me 20 minutes to arrange it -- I had the equivalent of a comb over. And -- and this is important -- I HAD to wear headbands. Now I'm all about the headbands as accessory, but to need to wear it so that your hair doesn't look a hot mess is a problem. It's one of my mantras -- if you HAVE to wear hair toys daily, you need to visit your stylist. So, I pulled up my big-girl panties, went to my backup stylist (who's now my main stylist -- you can't have a stylist that you can't trust to tell you when your hair looks like sh!t), and told her I trusted her as she picked up the scissors.

And I love it.

It's much shorter, and so much healthier. I thought for a while that it was too serious, because it's straight, but Walter said it was cute, and my work boyfriend said it was playful (and look for a blog in the future on the merits of a work spouse). And I've gotten a lot of compliments on it. Best of all, it takes me about 5 minutes to do in the morning AND my headbands are now accoutrement, once more.

So, I kind of feel like this haircut is a good parallel of my life -- I spend a lot of time not making decisions that ultimately put me in a better place than I was before. And after it's done, I wonder what took me so long in the first place. It took me about six months to buy an iPod, and now I own two. Back in my single days, it took me such a long time to dump the few boyfriends I had that they usually beat me to the punch. I'm very change-averse -- I hate it. I think that's why it takes me so long to make decisions sometimes, I'd just as soon not change anything. My boss retired last year, and I hated the thought of getting her job. And I've been in the job for almost a year and tried very hard not to change anything. Which I've decided means I haven't been doing a very good job (but don't tell anyone). I don't like changing paint color in my house -- what if I hate it? I cried like a baby the day after my wedding; I was very happy with Walter, but as I told him, I was all grown up now! I am still mad that Mike Walter is no longer on Channel 9 News in the morning. Guiding Light is ending after SEVENTY TWO years of production, and while I never watched it, I couldn't help but wonder what was going to be on Channel 9 at 3 in the afternoons now. No, I don't do well with change.

But -- change is a must. To not change is to stagnate. I would probably have been bored if my job hadn't changed. Obviously, making a life with Walter is one of the best things I ever did...it's funny how life works out. Having to change Alex's clothes out what seems like every day because he's growing so much is a constant reminder that life goes on...and even though I'm wistful at watching Alex change and grow (into someone who called me Mean Momma tonight), I embrace the change -- the growth -- I see within him.

Here's the thing -- life is constantly changing. It changes all around you. People retire, folk move away, grandparents pass away, your parents get older (and odder) as they assume the top of the family tree. People divorce, the people you love the most are the people you get to see the least, you work ten hour days to please someone who seems impossible to please, and just when you get into a rhythm, he shuts down and it seems inevitable that he's leaving. Life spins on a dime all the time, and while I grapple with decisions, often times decisions are made for me. Last summer I was so consumed with how I was going to do in my new job that I failed to notice that my body had deteriorated to the point of transfusions and surgery. I was so busy wondering if I should try pregnancy again that I didn't notice that I didn't feel well (and then God helped Dr. Aron make that decision for me). You love people and lose them and you think that you'll never get over them, until you do, until it's three or four (or ten) years later you're living the life of your dreams -- the life you never would have had if you hadn't let go of the one that wasn't working for you in the first place.

I'm still change-averse, but I'm going to work on it. I'm going to try very hard to start embracing change...to be excited about what's on the other side. I'm going to try to make more decisions - better ones - because I need to no longer fear change. I don't want Alex to fear change.

Maybe I should start by finally taking the fibre optic Christmas Tree down. Even Alex is starting to look at it and say..."Momma?"

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Jukebox Heroes

Okay, so with watching Walter's pee wee practice and playing soccer with Alex on the adjacent field (and dinner and bed), DVR tells me that I'm 37 minutes behind. By the time I turn on Idol, Megan is crucifying some song, Danny is rocking the joint, and when Simon says Danny is light years above the first two performers, and I can't wonder who the first person was...I hope it was Scott; I hope it wasn't Anoop. So let's rewind.

Oh! I get to see the opening again! I do like the opening this year. Oh, blah blah blah...something about artistry v. karaoke which reminds me of my ongoing lament about this show. I will never understand what the judges want; when someone is original, they say, "you should sing it like so-and-so", and when they sing like someone, then they say "we want to know who YOU are". So I've come to the conclusion that the judges don't know what they want; they just know what they like. Seeing has I've pretty much run my career like this, I can get on board this thought train.

So, it's pick your own song as long as it's a popular download on iTunes. Oh, this should be entertaining.

Anoop WAS first...dangit. Is this song called "Call It", by Usher? I didn't catch the name. Why oh why is he doing this? This isn't going to work for me. But let's keep an open mind. He just sang the first note and my mind closed. Wait a minute; it's called Caught Up (no one has ever confused me for an Usher fan). Okay, here's why I LOVE Anoop - he's that nerdy guy in college that I really wanted to date, but he never wanted to date me because he thought he was so much cooler than I was. I can't help but love him, and wonder if his teammates at Mathletes are cheering him on. Randy doesn't think it's the right song choice, but he thinks vocally it was okay. This whole night is going to be a mess that these kids get the choice to choose any song from iTunes. Kara tells him he played it safe and "did what Usher did". See? Paula likes that he went playful, but at first she wasn't sure about it. Paula's necklace reminds me of a candy necklace made of Jolly Ranchers. I already know Simon hated it....and he called it a "complete and utter mess", saying he came over as a wannabe (and protractors everywhere drop on the floor in protest). Anoop gets a little lippy and by now everyone knows how this pisses me off. WHY do you do this, particularly this season with the insipid judge's save? Do they not think that folk will remember this? Well, I do.

Megan Joy (again, has she dropped Corkrey?) - Turn your Lights Down - where do I begin with this? Bob Marley -- a WHOLE SONG catalog and you pick Bob Marley. I want to like her; I do I like ...oh, I hate this already. Okay, so I was saying, I *want* to like her. Her voice is definitely not pop -- she reminds me a little bit of Amy Whinehouse, but her song choices continue to suck. This is taking a long time to be over. It's time for her to go, and I say this with apologies to my friend Joe who loves her, but he knows its true. Unless next week is blues week and she gets to work out some Ella Fitzgerald, her weeks are not long for AI. Kara agrees with me, saying this is a bad song choice. Someone in the audience calls Kara a broken record and she gets hankty (shocking). Paula is stumbling for words so you know she hates it too. She suggests that Megan challenge herself by sitting on a stool (I do believe DrunkPaula is back!) Simon says it was monotonous and indulgent and the things that they liked about her are gone and Randy jumped in and said it was liking watching paint dry...BWAHAHAHAHAHA!! Randy calls up Amy Whinehouse, and I'm wondering when I'm going to get a job on AI. Oh, and Megan says she thinks her fans (all of them) were feeling it. It simultaneously cracks me up and annoys me when these kids talk about their fans...they've been around for exactly a month...fans?

Danny Gokey - What Hurts the Most, by Rascal Flatts; Incidentally, this is one of my favorite bands right now. I love them! And I love this song...wow. Danny can sing. I really enjoy that raspy quality in his voice; and I find that I stop what I'm doing to listen to him sing. Paula loves it (shocking!). Simon asks him if they are still okay after his harsh critique last week (so I know something good's coming). He said it was his best performance ever, and that he's what it's all about -- picking a good song and making it his own (even though he didn't deviate much from the Rascal Flatts version; see?). Randy says the show begins now and Kara had goosebumps. Kara and Paula are going to fight over Danny.

Allison Iraheta - Don't Speak - What is UP with this outfit? She looks like Cyndi Lauper back in her heyday, and since we know that Cyndi's heyday was about 10 years before Allison was born, Allison looks a bit of a hot fried mess. I don't love this. I thought she was just maybe feeling her way in rehearsal, but then she was on stage and it was bad. Was it me or was she not in tune with the band? I'm a fan of Allison's, but this wasn't a great choice for her. Randara admit her outfit is distracting, and that she's a rocker and doesn't need the schtick. Paula takes a swig of her kool-aid and says that Allison is smooth sailing toward the end of this. I might disagree with that. She's good, but I don't get the sense that she's topping the votes week after week. Simon calls her precocious and that she's playing dress-up, and that she shouted the song. Precocious is a BAD label on this show. Seeing that I was relieved when her performance ended, I guess I didn't love it.

Next up - Scott McIntyre - Just the Way You Are, by Billy Joel - And yup...it's pedantic and trivial. I like it more than I care to admit, but I still don't think it was great. I like him and the piano, but I would have gone with Bruce Hornsby, maybe. Kara likes it, calling it a smart song choice. Paula makes 19 Entertainment pick up the phone to speed dial the lawyers when she starts off saying proud she is of him, but then quickly says it's not because he's visually impaired but because of all he does to make her forget he's visually impaired, or something like that. Simon calls it his best performance by a country mile, and reminds him to never listen to Paula, who suggested a few weeks back that he let go of the piano. Randy said he did a good job, but I don't really remember what all he said because I'm wondering if my critique of Scott this week is unduly influenced by my being tired of him being in the competition. Nah, I'm completely objective. :)

Matt Giraudi - You Found Me (by the Fray) - Okay, I admit I've never heard of this song before, but I think I've heard of the fray, but I don't like them positioning him in the mosh pit, because it seems like he's trying too hard. I don't love this, and it hurts that my boyfriend didn't move me this week, but it might be because I don't know this song. I fear that Matt might be in trouble because I think that his followers love his R&B thing, not the rocker. Paula and Simon say that he sounds like he's trying to copy the original and that he's losing himself. Randy said that it was the wrong song, saying he needs to let the soul flavah out more. Kara says he's schizo and he needs to decide if he's a rock star or if he's an R&B star. And had he not been in the Bottom 3 last week, I would applaud that decision. But Matt, my friend, when you're that close to going home, you have to dance with the girl that brought you there. I might have to vote tonight, just to make sure I do my part to keep him around.

Lil Rounds - I Surrender - Me thinks that Celine should be left alone, especially if you have a power voice, because you can't help but compare power voices. I love Lil's hair (I got my hair cut like that over the weekend, except I don't have bangs and mine is a little shorter. So, I guess it's not that much like that after all). I think she looks lovely and her voice is so incredible to me. Randara is decidedly 'eh' on this, but they admit that she can sing. Paula doesn't want to see Adult Contemporary Lil, but Mary J Lil, and Simon finds it quite wedding-like. Oooh, I think the bloom is off the rose for Simon when it comes to Lil, and they offer that she should have sang One (like Mary J did). Simon tells her to stop being so old...he actually says 'stop that', which makes me laugh.

Adam Lambert - Play that Funky Music - and his tongue in rehearsal is hanging out further than Lightning McQueen's in Cars. I very much prefer Adam's hair off his face where you can see his lovely blue eyes. I very much prefer for Adam to not do that screech. Okay, so, I really liked the arrangement that he used, and hmmm...I'm going with craptastic, which is not an insult, really. Paula can barely sit down she's danced so much, and for someone who used to choreograph the Fly Girls, her moves tonight were so out of tune with the music, I thought she was having a fit. But then I remembered that Paula is drunk, and now dead to me again by comparing Adam to Steven Tyler and Mick Jagger, saying genius shatters expectations. Yeah, okay, he's a'ight, but Steven Tyler??? Simon essentially tells him that he rocked it last week so he could rest on his laurels. Randy admits that it exceeded his hopes, and Kara says that he was fun. And while I won't go as far as to say I'm an Adam Fan, I will admit that craptastic is praise tonight.

Kris Allen - Ain't No Sunshine - and I really have high hopes for this because I absolutely adore this song (I heard it on the radio on the way home yesterday...) Kris is owning this, I have no commentary because I just stopped and listened. I loved this. Kris is the one that no one is watching who is going to be in the final three. You heard it here. Kara has three words [insert eye roll here]. Kara, I got some words for you. Paula calls it his best performance to date. Simon calls it cool and clever. That was my favorite performance of the night, hands down. Nicely done, Kris.

And that's a wrap...who are my bottom choices tonight? And it pains me to say -- Megan, Anoop, and Lil. I'm afraid for Matt if he's in the bottom again.

This new Osborne show reminds me that our civilization is in complete decline...I think I'll go watch Family Guy. But before I turn it, I watch this woman give her boyfriend an ultimatum -- marry me or lose me -- and they are doing the ceremony and she won't know what's what until it gets to the part where says I Do. Why would anyone do this to themselves? Why would you WANT to marry anyone under those conditions...alas, that is a post for another day.

TTFN, Friends.