AI8 – Results for Second Round of 12

Let’s just have a moment of silence for the wittiest contestant to grace the stage since, uhm, Sanjaya Malakar rocked the Fauxhawk:


It won’t be the same without him.  I look forward to his inevitable return on finale night, somewhere in the first hour. . .

On the other hand, it’s a mercy kill.  Watching him do group numbers is like anticipating a root canal.

Canadian Coked Up Rockers

What’s going on north of the border in music land?

First, INXS dumps J.D. Fortune, the winner of “Rock Star: INXS.”  JD has returned to his homeland, broke and homeless.  Turns out, he developed a wee cocaine habit while on the road.  You don’t want to do that with a band like INXS, after the troubles their last front man had with the white powdery stuff.

More sadly, Barenaked Ladies’ co-lead singer, Steven Page, has left the group. They say it’s a mutual decision and that he wants to pursue solo projects and acting.  C’mon, that’s like a politicians retiring to “spend more time with family” just before the indictments are handed down or the hidden documents suddenly appear on the front page of the Washington Post.

BNL is set to record and release an album without Page this year, with a tour planned for the end of the year.  It’ll be weird hearing certain songs sung by Ed Roberts, but I imagine they’ll give it a try.

Someone please go check on Bryan Adams.  I’m worried for him.

AI8 – Second Round of 12

Dangit, I said I wasn’t going to do this.  Yet, here I am again.  Time to analyze the performances which started out very very rough.

Jasmine Murray – Might be in the Wild Card round if there’s room for her.  The judges like her.  But she picked the wrong song and came off as mere karaoke, at best.

Matt Giraud – Another judge’s favorite who might make it to the Wild Card round.  He picked the wrong song, went all over the place with it, but at least he tried something.  He should have gone with an Elton John song or something.

Jeanine Vailes – The march of Wrong Nearly Novelty song continues.  This contestant brings an air of desperation with her, though, as she’s 28 and this is her last chance. UGH.  Who picks a Maroon V song for an IDOL song?  (Besides a certain beat boxer a couple seasons back. . .)  She was uncomfortable to watch.  Too many contestants want to sing modern novelty songs.  Those are the WRONG songs to sing for IDOL.

normangentle.jpgNorman Gentle/Nick Mitchell – I could write a book about this guy.  Maybe I’ve watched too much IDOL in the last 8 years, but this is just what the show needed — someone to punk Simon Cowell.  Someone to point out all the show’s foibles, and to turn the cliches against it.  He sang that Jennifer Hudson song that we all know people shouldn’t attempt on this show.  He ended the song on an abrupt note, rather than a glory note held for ten seconds.  He picked the right song for the lyrics.  He included riffs that were perfectly and purposefully overdone and pretentious, as so many contestants do, mistaking themselves for good singers.  He’s funny, and you know what?  When he wants to, he can sing.  At this point in the show, he’s the best singer of the night by far.  I’m voting for him.

The only odd moment was in seeing his parents there. Felt weird.

Allison Iraheta – Every season needs its Dyed Red Hair Chick.  This year, it’s Allison.  And she’s amazing.  She’s young and shy around the interview, but when she sings, you stand up and pay attention.  She has to make it through.

Kris Allen – Who’s he?  Solid, but boring.  Strong last 30 seconds, but not enough to recover from the yawns in the first half.

Megan Joy Corkrey – The baby doll.  She looks as comfortable behind the mic as Michael Stipe does at times.  She swung her hips from side to side and tentatively approached the mic as she sang.  I’m still not sure if its nerves or personal style.  The judges loved it.  I’m not so sure.  She can sing, but she’s uncomfortable to watch.

Matt Breitzke is very likable.  He has that going for him.  The song was fine.  He sang it decently, but did nothing to stand out.  I also want to slap him for saying “I love that song.”  It’s right up there with, “I had fun” when Ryan asks a contestant how they feel about the way the judges just slapped them around.

Jessie Langseth gets points for choosing “Bettie Davis Eyes” and pairing it with the off the-shoulder top.  If you’re going to go 80s, go all the way! Not bad, but the best parts were the karaoke parts.  When she went off on her own, she nearly lost her breath.

Kai Kalama – That’s not confidence and sexiness he’s showing. It’s awkwardly over the top ego.  This just in: Corkrey dances that way even when in the red room.

On the other hand, America loves a guy who loves his mother than much, and the teenie boppers will think he’s cute.  He’s a decent singer, the presentation needs work, but he has a minor chance.

Mishavonna Henson – “Drops of Jupiter?”  They’ve learned NOTHING this year, have they?  It’s all modern novelty songs. At least she added something of her own to it.  Still, the song is the song.  Her stage presence isn’t all that great, but she sang it a lot better than I thought she’d do.  The last note was horrible, though.  Her biggest problem is Allison, though.  I like her personality, though.

Adam Lambert – Mr. Theatrical closes the show.  And they CLAIM they don’t stack the deck for a strong ending each week. Riiight. But, then, he chose a song from his mother’s favorite rock band.  Yeah, that’s daring. And while it started off strong, it rapidly became over-the-top screaming and shouting and tongue flicking.

Who will go through?  Allison and Norman/Nick.  After that?  Adam. He went last. Matt and Megan and Adam will come close.  Megan and Megan might get called back for the Wild Card.

Update: I’ve had no problems dialing into Nick/Norman’s phone number.  Uh oh.

AI8 – Schadenfreude

Schadenfreude: Delighting in the suffering of others. American Idol, meet Tatiana Fox.

Danny isn’t a surprise. Alexis isn’t really, either.

But Michael? Oh, America, you can be so random sometimes.

I would like to have seen more video of the American Idol thing at Disney.  I wanted to see the performance between David Cook and Carrie Underwood.  I want to see more of the 7 AI Winners Together At Last.  Ah, well.  Maybe on the DVD. ;-)

AI8 – First Round of 12

Only three go through.  Well, only Danny and two others go through. . .

Typing this as I watch it.  Posting it at the conclusion.  Why am I doing this again?  HABIT.

Jackie Tohn – Remember when nobody knew that Elvis song?  Then someone did a remix of it a few years back and now everyone treats it like “Love Me Tender” II?  Crazy.  Somewhere, the “Leggings Are Not Pants” crowd is screaming at their TV.  Somewhere, confused tweenie girls are asking their mothers why Jackie forgot her denim skirt.

But Simon is right — this will be remembered as a quirky performance, and not a serious one.

On the other hand, I like her spirit and the way she makes fun of Jennifer Hudson. ;-)

Rickie Braddy – So, the Idol photographer is a Nikon photographer.  Dear Idol producers — turn on their lapel mics in the red room!  Other than that, who is this kid again? He sang an Alicia Keyes song in Hollywood week that we never saw.

Uh oh, now he’s chosen a serious song and donned the cliched Idol Smoking Jacket to sing it in. Simon will tell him he’s safe and boring.

And he’s annoying me by making every word contain an extra three syllables.   I think he just sang “Ti-eye-I’m-ime.”

We’re two singers in, and I’m already annoyed by the parents in the Red Room.On the other hand, Momma Braddy just snuck in a plug for his website that, it would seem, has not been built yet.  There’s just an Under Construction page there. Whoops.  Bad web form, Mom.

Alexis Grace – Starting with an Aretha song? Brave. Am I the only one who things she “dirtied her look up” a bit too far? She looks like a lingerie model on stage tonight. It’s almost as bad as those moments in Jackie’s song when she tried to be sexy.

She can sing, don’t get me wrong. So far, they all can. But the presentation is a bit weird.

And, look, Ted Danson and Doogie are there.  And her father is Jim Steinman.

Brent Keith is singing a country song.  Shocker.  And his package piece is not functioning.  Ryan gets to vamp for time.  He did as best as he could.  Not sure the camera man was ready for that, though.  Ah, the glories of live TV.

And this is the guy, remember, who looks like Spencer from “The Hills.”

Damn, that mic is super shiny tonight.  Did they polish the head of it with extra Windex or something this year?

This is a boring song. Not much range. Kinda safe.  Simon will hate it.  Not sure it will be memorable enough, but remember: There’s a strong country contingent watching this show.  He’ll do well in the voting, but I doubt it’ll be enough.

“What HAS happened to Bucky Convington?”  I love you, Simon.

Stevie Wright – She came of age as an “Idol” fan.  She doesn’t remember a world without “Idol.”  Crazy. And now she’s singing a Taylor Swift song. She’s right; it’s a good fit, theoretically.

Ouch, that opening is horribly off key.  Wait, so is the rest of the song.  This is the first Crash And Burn of Season Eight, isn’t it?  I feel bad for her now. And now the judges are going to make her cry. Can we just stop talking about her in the third person?!?

Oh, look, there’s Doogie clapping again.

She definitely looks more like her father.

Anoop Desai – He wants to “bring energy,” yet he’s one of the most deadpan interviews so far.  You know he’s doing a “serious” song, because he’s wearing the jacket. . . Yes, this song certainly brings the sense of fun and energy he claims he wants to showcase on “Idol.”  For starters, I don’t think he’s left the same square foot of stage he’s started on it.  Bad song choice.  I’m bored.  At least he’s mostly on key.

Clearly, the judges want him to go through.  Badly.  If America doesn’t vote for him, he’ll show up in the Wild Card round for sure.

Casey Carlson – She’s the cute one who makes bubble tea.  And now she picks a horrible horrible song for “Idol” purposes.  There’s no vocal range in here. There’s nothing in “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” that will show off an Idol contestant’s prowess. She’s toast.  Shame.

I think I’ll go iron or something while she finishes singing this.  I don’t need to watch it.  Painful.

Oh, crap, she’s about to cry on stage.  This is getting awkward. Keep the camera off her.  This is painful.

She’s probably more embarrassed by her mother than her performance, though.

Crap, we still have 5 more to go?  This is getting tedious.  SOMEONE, PLEASE INSPIRE ME!

Michael Sarver – Best known as the oil rig dude. Is this Josh Gracin Redux?  He reminds me of him a lot.  He’s just a slightly better dancer. I kinda like him.  He sounded out of breath in a few places, but I didn’t hate it.

Has Kara disagreed with Randy yet?

In the Red Room, Michael awkwardly sticks the mic between his crotch and the sofa to flash his numbers at the screen, giving him the Most Phallic Visual Double Entendre of the night.

Ann Marie Boskovich – She’s best known for “changing her look” in the parking lot and then looking exactly the same.  She doesn’t sound bad on “Natural Woman.”  Aside from a couple of crowd-pleasing power notes, is there much memorable there?  She seemed to play it safe the rest of the time.

Then she sat on the hard part in the Red Room. Ryan was derailed by his dirty mind instantly. Oh, hey, the Wolverine trailer!  Cool!

Stephen Fowler – There’s no way this lyric-forgetter should be here. He’s going with a Jacko song and you’re never going to believe this, but he’s a Justin Guarini clone.  Not bad, but I don’t care.

Tatiana Del Toro – Oh god.  Shoot us now. Whitney Houston song?  This is not going to go well, is it?  She looks dead in the eyes.  It’s a little uncomfortable the way she rolls her hips on the “making love the whole night through” line.  I feel dirty just watching it.   Her singing is mostly karaoke.  She won’t stand out, aside from daring to go the Whitney route.  She can sing, but it’s nothing original.

“You are a complete and utter drama queen,” proclaims Simon. The man speaketh the truth!

And then the judges start asking their trained monkey to dance for them — laugh, silly girl, laugh!

Danny Gokey is, mercifully, last. He’s singing a Mariah song.  What, he couldn’t find a good Whitney song to change all of the “He”s to “She”s?

I love this guy’s voice, though.  Maybe this isn’t the most exciting song, for the most part, but I like how he sounds, even if he occasionally looks bored on stage when he’s not pointing directly at the camera with his off-hand.

And Kara needs to realize her mic is always on.

Paula’s drunk.

Danny is getting America’s vote.  After that, I have no idea.

Idol Idea

It’s time for a new kind of American Idol.

We’ve had country.  We’ve had rock.  We’ve had pop.  We’ve had soul.

You know what we haven’t had yet?  American Idol’s answer to Weird Al Yankovic.  This year, we have him in Norman Gentile.  While there’s a chance he’s slightly unhinged mentally, he’s got the same thing going for him that Weird Al has: He’s funny and he can sing.

I’ve always said that the one thing Weird Al never gets enough credit for — and Billy Joel fits into this category, too — is his versatility.  Think of all the songs he’s parodied, let along the ones he’s written himself.  He can go from The Beach Boys to Michael Jackson to Nirvana to rap. His voice changes. The music changes.  Yet he plays it all well, with a healthy dollop of humor.

I don’t know yet that Gentile has that versatility, but he can sing when he’s not goofing off and cracking us all up.  Personally, I hope he stays “in character” more often that not.

Don’t concern yourselves with the damage he does to the brand.  We’ve already suffered through Sanjaya, for goodness’ sakes.  He’s not going to win.  Vote for the Worst will take full credit for him every week he makes it through, but the truth is that as the season goes on, the popular vote tends to coalesce to the talents and the well-liked.  But it also goes to the serious singers, the ones that America believes should be in Top 40 radio.

As Simon so famously told one ditched contestant this week: “If it’s any consolation, you couldn’t have won this.”  Norman can’t win this, either, but he’ll provide plenty of entertainment until America fails to vote for him I sufficient numbers.

American Idol has found its jester. Let’s hope we see lots of him before the numbers rise against him.

Twittering for the week

As of this writing, I’ve posted 4328 messages on Twitter.  Here are some very recent ones:

  • Type “NYCC” into Flickr and what do you get? Slave Leia pics. ::sigh:: [This may not still hold true, but it was groan-worthy not too long ago.]
  • Watched some of the Grammys. Too bad Jennifer Hudson can’t carry a tune. She can scream bloody murder, though. [OK, maybe that was a bad turn of phrase, but I stand by the sentiment.  She spent so much time accenting what the gospel choir sang by her usual chin-wagging scream that she never carried a tune.]
  • Also saw The Jonas Bros in action for the first time. The one with the vest on? He can’t really sing, either, can he? Faker. [The Jonas Bros., as it turns out, are locals.]
  • It takes a significant effort to lose this consistently on the lottery. [My perfect record of not winning the lottery continues!]
  • When the Kindle can handle full color comics, count me in. I’d pay $500 for one of those then. . .
  • If I went back to my blog and deleted everything on it that I wrote between the years of 2003 and 2006, would anyone notice? [I’m not going to, but seriously, would you?  Are the archives here worth anything?]
  • Looked at myself in the mirror tonight and my daughter stared back at me. Poor kid has De Blieck genes early on. It’ll change, I’m sure.
  • Can’t believe there’s no plug-in to Export to Kodak Photo Gallery in Lightroom. I guess Kodak never made an API? So sad.

American Idol – Needing a Fast Start

You have to know how to play the American Idol game in order to be successful with it.American Idol logo

And a big part of that game happens in the opening weeks.  I think contestants are finally starting to realize it.  It’s not enough to be a good singer.  And you can’t go all goofy and not have the singing chops to back it up.

(Unless you’re bikini girl.  She was good for a gag early one, but she should never have made it past her first audition in Hollywood.  Thankfully, that horror was dispensed with on Day Two.  Quelle surprise.)

The point is, you need to make a name for yourself at your first appearance.  Get the producers and editors interested in you. Make sure you’re a person of interest to follow during Hollywood Hell Week.  Part of that can be mitigated now by the protracted Hollywood Week shows, but still — look at the memorable personalities you saw in last week’s two shows. How many of them weren’t featured during the audition episodes to begin with? And how many of those who weren’t featured will get the fan votes necessary to make it to the Top 12?  We’re starting with an enormous group of 36 contestants this year.  America can only vote so often, even with unlimited voting.  You need to capture their heart instantly or else you’ll get swept up and spit out.

If that means acting like a complete diva in Hollywood to get the guy with the camera to shine his LED light at you while chasing you across the hotel, then that’s what you’ve got to do.  If it comes naturally, you’re in luck.

American Idol is a singing competition, but it’s still also a reality show.

Fair or not, that’s the way the game is played.  Everyone knows it going in now.  It stinks for the good singers without a “hook,” but that’s what the game is.  And the game is now afoot.

Time for a Link Dump

  • I’m a huge “MacGyver” fan, and I didn’t realize that was Richard Dean Anderson in the Pepsi MacGruber ad on Sunday.  It didn’t help, of course, that they chose the one of three commercials where he has the fewest lines.
  • More examples of Microsoft’s “Songsmith” at work.  For those of you not in the know: this is a Microsoft project that takes lyrical tracks and composed music to go behind them. Thankfull, people have dug up poopular songs to see what the results would be.  They’re all hilarious.  These will never get old.
  • Headset Hotties.  Because, really, there are an awful lot of them in stock photo portfolios everywhere, aren’t there?

New DVD Releases for 03 February 2009

Let’s see what came out today, shall we?

First, the TV stuff:

  • Night Court: The Complete Second Season

At last!  Man, that was a great show.  Where’s the reunion special on this one?

  • Dave’s World: Season Two

This must be Harry Anderson’s Big DVD Week.

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume 14

For those keeping track at home: “Mad Monster,” “Manhunt in Space,” “Soultaker,” and “Final Justice.” I remember the last couple. I probably SHOULD remember the first two. . .

And now for the movies:

  • Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  • Zack and Miri Make a Porno

This is the kind of stuff the kids today like. I can’t believe I just typed in that second title. This used to be a family-friendly blog. . .