‘american idol’ finale live blog

This season of American Idol started out with so much promise; new judges, no more Simon, the promise of new blood in the fading franchise. Things went south quickly, thanks to the early elimination of Pia Toscano, the Judges’ Save used way too early, lack of criticism from the judging panel and obvious examples of producer pimping/manipulation. Tonight, the season 10 winner will be crowned, an underwhelming competition between Scotty “Lovechild of Alfred E. Neuman and Howdy Doody” McCreery and Lauren “Toddlers and Tiaras All Grown Up” Alaina. For me, it’s the battle of who could care less, as my favorite, the sublime Haley Reinhart, was eliminated last week. Stay tuned as I live blog all of the filler segments and performances, and of course, who is crowned Wholesome Southern Teen Idol.

8:02 – When I think that more people vote for American Idol than the presidential election, a little part of me dies.

8:03 – Something that’s plagued me all season: is ‘Alaina’ actually her last name, or is it a middle-name-as-last-name sort of deal? Boggles the mind.

8:05 – Jacob Lusk is loving this Lady Gaga choreography.

8:07 – This isn’t a knock on Lauren’s weight, but she appears to be wearing an outfit from the Fat Elvis collection.

8:08 – Commercial Break Twitter Update (CBTU) “@realityblurred: Um, Lauren’s hometown Idol finale party had tons of empty seats. The camera couldn’t even conceal that.”

8:11 – The fact that both Judas Priest and Iggy Pop have appeared on Idol this season does not bode well for the future of the music industry.

8:15 – No, Ryan, do not go to Randy for any soundbites/reactions tonight. Please.

8:16 – It has occurred to me that I’d enjoy kickin’ it with the Dawg, but in the context of Idol, I’d like to sew his mouth shut.

8:18 – I would rather listen to seven hours of Randy saying, “You’re in it to win it!”than a three-minute Jacob Lusk performance.

8:21 – CBTU “@votefortheworst: Jacob Lusk needs time to queen out by himself. Eliminate Kirk Franklin and Gladys Knight and let Jacob go to town on his own.”

8:26 – I shouldn’t be enjoying this Casey Abrams/Jack Black performance as much as I am.

8:30 – I forgot most of these girls even existed.

8:33 – The top six girls are dressed like strippers at a post-apocalyptic strip club.

8:36 – CBTU “@mattmitovich: True story: Jack Black thinks he’s dueting with Will Ferrell.”

8:40 – Steven Tyler…everyone’s favorite crazy uncle.

8:42 – LOVE Haley’s dress. I wish she was singing with someone a little more current than Tony Bennett, but she sounds wonderful, as usual.

8:46 – J. Lo’s hair, flesh and jumpsuit are all the same color. It’s unsettling.

8:48 – Seriously, who dresses these girls? I can’t even find the words to describe how atrocious their TLC performance ensembles are…

8:50 – I appreciate the sentiment, but “Live Like You Were Dying” is my least favorite Tim McGraw song. Of course he’s singing it with Scotty.

8:55 – CBTU “@rilaws: It’s so weird that Tim McGraw is being styled by George Michael these days.”

8:58 – I can’t wait for this Idol nonsense to be over so we can get to the goodness that is So You Think You Can Dance.

9:02 – Sorry, Mr. J. Lo, but this performance reminds me of the “Island Fantasy Spectacular” put on by my resort on Spring Break.

9:06 – Oh Stefano, don’t ever sing in falsetto again.

9:08 – I think I can safely say this season’s top 13 is the most adept at choreography. Yes, this is something I thought about and analyzed. Help me.

9:11 – This medley is painful. These six voices do not mesh well together.

9:12 – The girls got to sing with Beyonce and the boys get…Tom Jones. Naturally.

9:14 – CBTU “@EWMandiBierly: I wish they’d made the Top 13 girls be Marc Anthony’s feather girls.”

9:23 – This show needed a heavy dose of Gaga’s insanity. Love her.

9:25 – I love playing “Spot Mark Kanemura” during Lady Gaga’s performances. He’s one of my favorite SYTYCD alums.

9:27 – CBTU “@adambvary: Ummm. Is Scotty a little hot for teacher?”

9:31 – Loving that Carrie Underwood is wiping the floor with Lauren. Bow down, bitches.

9:33 – Again, this isn’t a knock on Lauren’s weight, but I couldn’t help but notice that her butt is about three times the size of Carrie’s. I wish I had a screencap so I could marvel at the difference.

9:36 – Beyonce’s back. Snooze.

9:40 – CBTU “@EWAnnieBarrett: Carrie Underwood’s “sun”-kissed legs are the skinniest hot dogs I’ve ever seen.”

9:44 – I will never tire of the commercial where the guy is doing a one-man flash mob in Grand Central.

9:46 – This unknown dude onstage with Bono and the Edge looks like a mix of Ethan Hawke, James Franco and Kris Allen.

9:50 – CBTU “@EWAnnieBarrett: Sorry Bono and the Edge aren’t home right now they’re walking into spiderwebs so leave a message and they’ll call you back.” (Follow her. She’s hilarious.)

9:54 – Uncle Steven woke up from his season-long nap to perform, everyone!

9:57 – CBTU “@MichaelSlezakTV: I am going to have to ‘rise above’ the show’s failure to give a couple of my fave finalists a solo performance slot. #HijackedBySpidey”

10:02 – Okay, folks, here we go…the 2011 American Idol is…SCOTTY MCCREERY!

10:03 – Congrats to Scotty, but ugh, that means we have to hear his stupid “Love You This Big” song ad nauseum.

10:05 – “@rilaws: Time to sing the baby song for babies. Baby gets a bottle after sing-song is over.”

An underwhelming ending to an underwhelming season. I’m ready to move on to bigger and better things…SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE starts tomorrow night : )

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grammys live blog 2011

Hello, readers! Thank you for humoring me and stopping by to check out my second annual live blog of the Grammys. Hopefully we have a night full of entertaining performances ahead of us, if Lady Gaga’s trek down the red carpet in a placenta/womb/egg-like thing is any indication. Also, I’d like to go on record and say if Justin Bieber wins any awards tonight, I will never watch the Grammys again.

8:00 – Kicking things off with a tribute to the one and only Aretha Franklin.

8:03 – Quite a wide variety of ladies singing this tribute. Christina Aguilera needs to tone down the clown hooker makeup.

8:06 – Martina McBride never seems to age. She is gorgeous.

8:07 – LOVE Florence Welch. If her band doesn’t win Best New Artist tonight, there is serious injustice in this world.

8:08 – The longer I look at Christina, the more I’m convinced her and Snooki are the same person.

8:11 – Hell yes to “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves.” I love this song. (A special shout-out to my sistahs!)

8:14 – Lovely message from Aretha. She looks quite healthy.

8:17 – Damn, I missed Christina trip at the end of the tribute. Poor girl; this is just not her month.

8:20 – Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group goes to…Train for “Hey Soul Sister.” I hate that song, but you can’t deny the fact that it revived their career and took over the radio last year.

8:22 – Oh dear lord, Ricky Martin, why are you wearing silver pants?

8:23 – Pod person Lady Gaga has arrived in a relatively tame outfit, too.

8:25 – The pointy shoulders are creeping me out. A lot.

8:26 – Of course she’s playing an organ with dismembered heads on it.

8:28 – Say what you will about Gaga, but she has a legit voice. No need for AutoTune or lip-syncing during her performances.

8:33 – Blake Shelton is introducing his fiancee. Precious.

8:34 – Noooo, Miranda! Not this song! I love it, but I can’t listen to it without crying.

8:38 – Happy to say I made it through that song with dry eyes. It helps to have developed a two-sizes-too-small Grinch heart.

8:40 – Muse is awesome. I have never encountered a song of theirs that I didn’t like.

8:43 – I wonder how Kate Hudson feels about the fact that the father of her unborn child just appeared on national television in a sparkly suit…

8:45 – My mom, on Bob Dylan: “Is he dead yet?”

8:49 – Major props to whoever organized the trio of Bruno Mars, B.o.B. and Janelle Monae.

8:52 – I’m in love with Bruno Mars’ voice. And his freakishly perfect teeth.

8:56 – I’m going to prematurely call this performance of the night. It’s going to take a lot to top these three.

8:58 – Finally…another award. (Not that I’m complaining. I love that the Grammys are so performance-heavy.)

9:00 – Best Female Country Vocal goes to Miranda Lambert, shocking absolutely no one. This song absolutely deserves to win a ton of Grammys.

9:05 – Oh no. I feel a Bieber performance coming on…

9:06 – Bieber is talented, but he has such a punchable face. I’m a terrible person for saying that.

9:08 – Seeing Bieber perform makes me feel elderly. It’s been so long since NSync’s heyday…Justin Timberlake just turned 30, for god’s sake.

9:10 – I have a hatred for precocious child stars, but Will Smith’s son Jaden is adorable.

9:11 – “OMG” is, hands-down, my least favorite song of 2010.

9:15 – Best Rock Album goes to…Muse, aka the only band nominated in this category that wasn’t alive in the 60s.

9:20 – “From ‘Blue Bloods’ and New Kids On the Block,” is a great introduction.

9:21 – Best Pop Vocal Album goes to Lady Gaga. Duhhhh. She’s dressed like a lunatic but I love her.

9:25 – This performance is…odd. A banjo, a convulsing keyboard player and a lead singer who looks like Tim Tebow. My brain hurts.

9:27 – Is this the Avett Brothers or Mumford and Sons? Or does it even matter? They’re both equally boring.

9:28 – Everyone on this stage right now looks like they escaped a polygamist cult.

9:30 – People actually pay to listen to Bob Dylan sing? This disturbs me.

9:32 – This performance quickly turned from strange to AWFUL.

9:34 – Thank god that’s over. I need a Top 40 palate cleanser after that hipster/roving band of weirdos explosion.

9:39 – Clay Matthews looks so. uncomfortable.

9:40 – I love Lady Antebellum so much. “American Honey” is a beautiful song.

9:42 – I have a strong feeling “Need You Now” will win one of the major awards tonight. (Song or Record of the year…I can’t keep them straight.)

9:44 – Best Country Album goes to…Lady Antebellum. A deserved win, for sure.

9:46 – Okay, now why is Gwyneth Paltrow singing with Cee-Lo? Just because she sang this song on Glee?

9:48 – Oh. My. God. I love this acid-trip-meets-the-Muppets performance. “It’s like Elton John on crack,” according to my mother.

9:50 – Gwyneth should be ashamed that she let someone talk her into appearing on the Grammys in a unitard.

9:53 – That performance brought the crazy and cuckoo that Gaga was lacking. Loved it. (Minus Gwyneth.)

9:57 – I hope “Not Like the Movies” is Katy Perry’s new single…great track off of “Teenage Dream.”

10:00 – Go ahead and make fun of me, but I love this song. A lot.

10:01 – Oh my god, how cute was Nicole Kidman singing along to “Teenage Dream”? Love it.

10:03 – Liking the sassy bob on Norah Jones. Not liking John Mayer’s homeless look.

10:04 – Song of the Year goes to…”Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum. Totally called it.

10:12 – Thank you, Seth Rogen, for making a ‘Miley Cyrus getting high’ joke.

10:14 – Rihanna looks stunning in this dress.

10:17 – I’m now intimately acquainted with the veins in Eminem’s face. He’s a bit intense, isn’t he?

10:19 – I just had to google Skylar Grey to see what she looks like, since they seem averse to showing her face on TV.

10:21 – Best New Artist goes to…Esperanza Spalding. Who the F is she? I mean, I kept chanting, “Anyone but Bieber,” but I was hoping for a Florence + the Machine win. Congratulations, whoever you are!

10:30 – It’s kind of cool that a jazz musician won Best New Artist.

10:35 – I find it very hard to believe that this is Sir Mick’s first Grammy performance. He’s such an old kook, but so talented.

10:37 – Stars: They’re just like us! They rock out! (I’m looking at you, Nicole Kidman. You’re too cute.)

10:40 – If the rest of the telecast was just Mick Jagger performing, I would be perfectly okay with that.

10:47 – The extensions on Barbara Streisand’s head are atrocious. Sorry, Babs.

10:50 – Nicki Minaj is loco, but I love her.

10:51 – Best Rap Album goes to…Eminem.

10:59 – This is one of my favorite Rihanna songs, made even better by Drizzy Drake.

11:02 – Oh look, it’s my new favorite American Idol judge and her creepy, possibly undead husband!

11:04 – Record of the Year goes to…”Need You Now.” Wow, both Record and Song of the Year. Crazy.

11:11 – Jason Segal, I love you.

11:12 – Arcade Fire needs to lay off the strobe lights a bit. Do not like.

11:15 – I hate this. Make it stop.

11:22 – FINALLY. Album of the Year goes to…Arcade Fire. Say whaaat? That’s ridic. Should have gone to Gaga.

That’s a wrap, kids. A giant THANK YOU to everyone who popped in to read what I had to say…as of 11:25 tonight, my blog has 691 page views. I can’t even wrap my head around that.

have we found the song of summer 2010?

Every year after Memorial Day, the music industry scrambles to name the song that will be the song of that summer; a song so ubiquitous that it’s forever associated with that year. I can’t hear Rihanna’s “Umbrella” without thinking of the summer of 2007, and the summer of 2009 belonged to Lady Gaga and “Love Game.” It’s still technically spring until mid-June, but it’s safe to award the title of song of summer 2010 to Katy Perry’s “California Gurls.”

Whether you’re from “the golden coast,” the east coast, or somewhere in between, there’s no denying the song’s sunny, upbeat feel. It practically begs to be played somewhere sandy and warm. True to summer song form, it’s as commercial as it gets, the most profound lyric being Perry’s assertion that “there must be something in the water.” The bass line is straight out of the 70’s, evoking images of roller skates and hot pants. Were this song released any other time of the year, it just wouldn’t feel right.

That doesn’t mean it’s without its faults, though. The first verse is fun, and you can’t help but sing along with the chorus, agreeing that California girls are “fine, fresh, fierce.” I start to grit my teeth in the second verse, especially on the line “We freak in my Jeep/Snoop Doggy Dog on the stereo.” Perry’s voice turns into some AutoTuned mishmash of sounds on the last note. The chorus helps restore my faith, but then a guest rap by Snoop Dog makes me turn up my nose. I can’t explain why, but I’ve always found Snoop a bit creepy, but I do appreciate a man who knows what a tankini is and is able to rhyme it with “martini” “weenie” and “in betweeny.” That’s the sign of a linguistic genius, folks.

All criticisms aside, I do turn up the radio every time this song comes on (which is quite often.) Because when your life consists of driving a 15-year-old Buick around northern Connecticut, you can’t help but be jealous of someone who can get away with Daisy Dukes and a bikini top as daily attire. I raise a gin and juice to you, Katy Perry. Enjoy your reign as the summer song of 2010.

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.

i’m a beLEEver : )

Well America, like it or not, your American Idol is….(cue unnecessarily long pause where Lee nearly vomited on himself and Crystal appeared to stop breathing) LEE DEWYZE! The paint salesman from Chicago beat out the single mom from Ohio by a close margin, capping off what some claim to be the worst season of Idol thus far. I wouldn’t say worst…maybe more like most boring? Most phoned-in judging?

I was never a huge Crystal fan, so I was happy with the results. Going into the show last night, I honestly had no clue who would win, because I don’t put much faith in stuff like DialIdol, but I think it came down to the fact that Lee’s fans were more likely to mobilize and vote because he appealed to a younger audience.Regardless if you were a staunch MamaSox supporter or not, you had to smile just a teensy bit at the outpouring of gratitude and pure excitement from Lee after he won.

It will be interesting to see how well Lee does in his post-Idol endeavors; Entertainment Weekly posed the question, “Will Lee be the next Kelly Clarkson or the next Taylor Hicks?” I think it’s wayyyy too soon to tell; let the guy tour, soak in his new life, figure out what kind of music he wants to make, and then pass judgment. I urge any haters to check out Lee’s pre-Idol stuff on YouTube or iTunes before they make any snap decisions.

I made it through 42 episodes of American Idol, which probably means I lost about 60 hours of my life to this show. I will never get to reclaim those lost hours, but I had fun watching and recapping. From the shocking elimination of Alex Lambert to the misused Judges’ Save, and all the way through to the finale, it was an interesting ride.

Thoughts on (the second hour of) the finale:

-LOVED Casey James and Bret Michaels singing “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” Did not love a celebrity who nearly escaped death and had a minor stroke last week performing without telling his doctor.  Bret is the ultimate Comeback Kid, though.

-Not gonna lie, I was enjoying Larry Platt’s dance moves during “Pants on the Ground.” When William Hung came out, however, he just ruined the fun.

-Paula Abdul looked great, but her “roast” of Simon was so awkward.

-All of the past Idol winners and top 12s from past seasons coming back to sing to Simon was a great TV moment. It’s easy to forget how many people have experienced success from this show.

-Joe Cocker kind of scared me…

-Departing musical director Rickey Minor did not get any acknowledgment from the show, which is a shame and kind of embarrassing on the producers’ part.

Photo courtesy of Reuters.

“american idol” top 4: consider the shark jumped.

If all of the preceding episodes of American Idol this season were distress signals, then last night’s performance episode was those signals flat lining. “Songs of the Cinema” night was an all-around disaster. The judges could barely muster up any relevant critiques, and even the praised performances were just so-so in comparison to other things we’ve seen from the contestants this season. This is the top four, people! This is the time when you need to step up your game, not sit back and churn out something mediocre that borders on karaoke.
Before I get to the actual singing, I have to address the ridiculous theme and equally ridiculous mentor. Ryan proclaimed that everyone loves the movies, but that doesn’t mean that everyone loves songs from the movies. Based on the pathetic list of songs the top four had to choose from, I gathered that the theme was actually “Songs Written Specifically For a Movie,” rather than “Any Song In a Movie/On Its Soundtrack.” Nine times out of ten, songs that are penned to play over closing credits of movies are dull and schlocky, which explains why I spent most of last night waiting for Idol to be over so Glee could start. This type of theme is usually a momentum killer, which is exactly what happened.
Jamie Foxx was partly to blame; he spent more time obsessing over his silly “artist” and “contestant” shirts than he did offering any useful critique. No, I don’t think sticking his face in Lee and Casey’s personal space counts as mentoring. Maybe I’m still riding high from the excellent mentoring of Harry Connick, Jr. last week, but it seemed like Foxx was just there for the face time and didn’t care too much about the contestants.
Lee Dewyze and his face full of spray tan opened the show with a shaky version of Seal’s “Kiss By a Rose.” First of all, way to pick an awful song, Lee, and second, please stop dressing like you’re performing at Zeta Chi’s Beer Bash 2010. The pitch was just beyond his grasp the entire song, and all of the words ended in a vague mumble. You know I adore Lee, but I had to hide my face behind a pillow in embarrassment.
Here’s a shocker: Big Mike picked one of Michael Jackson’s cheesiest songs, the Free Willy song “Will You Be There.” Nothing about this performance indicated that Mike has the chops to become the next American Idol. I’m hoping Big Mike will be heading home tonight. Free Willy, indeed.
I missed out on season 8, so I hadn’t seen any duets on Idol until last night. I think it’s a great idea, and I’m all for duets being introduced earlier on in the season. Group night creates lots of drama and entertainment during Hollywood Week, so why not carry that into the rest of the show? Lee and Crystal sang “Falling Slowly” from the movie Once. I loved how their mic stands were positioned to face each other, and I also loved that they both played guitar. I wasn’t too keen on how their voices meshed; Crystal’s Joplin-esque howl was a bit grating against Lee’s gravelly tone. Things definitely picked up around the chorus, and Lee redeemed himself for his hideous solo performance just minutes before. Bonus points to Crystal for calling Lee her “musical crush.”
Back in solo land, Casey chose “Mrs. Robinson,” which is hands-down my favorite Simon and Garfunkel song. It could have been okay, but he chose to sit in the crowd and play a mandolin to a slowed-down version of the song. The judges were so proud of themselves for making the connection between the Graduate and Kara’s supposed crush on Casey, but anyone with half a brain/knowledge of music history knows that the song was originally titled “Mrs. Roosevelt” and was changed only to fit in with the movie. Nice try, though, Randy.
Crystal was the only solo performer to change up her song a bit, but no amount of orchestral rearranging could hide the fact that “I’m All Right” is the song from Caddyshack. It was the best performance of the night, but that’s like saying it was the pile of dog poop that smelled the least. I did enjoy her boyfriend’s American flag pants, though. Forgive me if this sounds incredibly mean, but her boyfriend is way cuter than I thought the boyfriend of Crystal Bowersox should be.
The duet between Casey and Big Mike was like a nonentity, as I think one of them will be going home tonight and the other next week. I do enjoy “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” for the cheesy ballad that it is, and I thought the guitar stylings of the two gents worked well. Casey may not be the next American Idol, but damn, that guy can play the guitar. Their harmonizing wasn’t as bad as I thought, but someone was way sharp during the chorus (methinks it was Casey.)
Will there be a shocking, Chris Daughtry-type elimination tonight as we see who makes it into the top three? You never know with American Idol
Photo courtesy of Fox.com.

i miss the kooky glassblower already.

Last week, as I watched Siobhan Magnus, one of my picks to make it to the top 4, if not top 3, sing her American Idol swan song, I felt a whole lot of…nothing. I’ve experienced many emotions over the years as an avid Idol viewer, but never has that range included apathy. As I watched Siobhan absolutely kick ass on “Think” in that gorgeous two-tone pink dress, I couldn’t help but think that maybe the naysayers are right. Maybe season 9 is the worst season so far, although one could make a compelling argument in favor of the snooze-worthy season 5, with the Blake/Jordin finale, but that’s a topic for another time. The five contestants left standing elicit nothing more than mild enthusiasm from me, yet by this point in other seasons I was already (illegally) downloading performances and anxiously awaiting the day Idols Live tickets went on sale. If I miss an episode of Idol this season, eh, I move on.
So where did American Idol go wrong? How did Ken Warwick and Co. reach this plateau and turn a watercooler show into a defeated shell of its former self? Let’s face it, when you’re being beaten out in ratings by a cheesy (albeit delightfully so) dancing competition made up of minor celebrities, it’s time to panic a little. There are numerous reasons why Idol is slipping this year: the loss of Paula and subsequent addition of Ellen, losing favorite contestants before the top 12, Simon’s last season, etc., but most of the blame can be placed on the contestants themselves. You could have the best recipe in the world, but if the ingredients you use are subpar, the end product isn’t going to taste so great. Clunky metaphors aside, here’s my take on the top 5:
Call Aaron Kelly the Little Engine that Is Trying So Damn Hard. You can almost hear, “I think I can! I think I can!” running through his mind as he makes an earnest face and hits a glory note. His naivety and innocence are refreshing amidst backtalk and egos, and the country tone to his voice is great, but Aaron hasn’t had a true “wow!” moment to make him a legitimate contender. He’s too much like Archuleta 2.0; we’ve already gone down the precociously talented teen guy route before.) I do think he’ll have success in the country industry, but I hope he finishes high school and maybe considers college before taking on the entertainment industry. (Am I really giving out parental advice? In that case…get off my lawn, turn your music down, pull up your pants, etc.)
I take back my earlier comment about feeling nothing during last week’s results show. I felt deep-seated rage that we could have been done with Big Mike and his ridiculous behavior back in the top 9. He represents everything annoying about Idol. “Check me out on iTunes!” Um, no. “I’m doing it for my people!” You don’t have people. You’re a contestant on American Idol. Then there’s the lip licking, the facial mugging, the arm flexing, the weeping, eye-glitter fanatic wife, the need to pick up all lightweight contestants and mentors…I could go on and on. Maybe it’s just my musical taste, but I don’t find his R&B stylings to be anything new and different, nor anything I would download/listen to.
Casey James is the epitome of vanilla: semi-decent to look at, marginally talented, but oh-so-boring. I’m not saying I want my Idols brimming with personality, because hello, I want to sucker punch Big Mike every time he appears on my TV, but I think Casey was born without the personality gene. The goat vibrato slips into his voice far too much for my liking, and the John Mayer-ish faces he makes while playing guitar are frightening. He could make the top 4, barring any shocking eliminations, but his complacency is not going to win him the competition.
I confess that I usually join in on the backlash that comes from a contestant being too heavily pimped by the judges/producers, and this season I bought my round-trip ticket on the anti-Bowersox express. I’ve always criticized Crystal for sticking too close to her “wheelhouse,” as Randy would say. We get it; she likes girls with guitars and soulful jams. Yet when she tried something different-ish, a Shania Twain cover, it was lethargic, half-assed and a bit pitchy. I think tonight’s Sinatra night is literally do or die for Crystal; no instruments and no rearranging of songs allowed. How is she going to fit her crunchy granola hippie style into that box? I wasn’t too keen on her comment on last week’s results show that she “didn’t think” she’d ever been in the bottom 3. Really? You can’t remember? Maybe the judges have been blowing smoke up her butt for so long that she has selective amnesia. I know Crystal is favored to win, but I’ll be shocked if she does….
…Because I think Lee DeWyze is going to come from behind and take the crown right off Crystal’s head. We could have a repeat of last year on our hands: an overhyped favorite and a dark horse in the finale, with the dark horse ultimately victorious. Lee is by no means the most consistent person ever to grace the Idol stage, because he does suffer from pitch problems every week and he’s yet to really command the stage. That being said, he’s the only remaining contestant whose album I would be interested in buying, although if he were competing in any season other than the current one, he’d be a mid-pack player at best.
Tonight’s show should be very interesting…

live-blogging the ACMs

I hadn’t intended on live-blogging the ACMs, but halfway through Reba’s opening monologue, I decided to get my laptop and have at it.

8:18 – Eighteen minutes in and we’ve had three performances and no award presentations. This is why country awards shows are so great.

8:20 – This may be one of the worst Kenny Chesney songs I’ve heard. Every song of his is starting to sound the same.

8:23 – Is it wrong that I’d rather see the Jonas Brothers’ concert in 3D over Kenny’s?

8:26 – Reba looks great, as usual.

8:27 – Mom, upon seeing Faith Hill: “Wow, is this ugly hair night?”

8:29 – Lady A takes song of the year! Love them.

8:31 – Dear Laura Bell Bundy, country music doesn’t need its own Britney Spears. You’re better suited for Broadway.

8:33 – I adored LBB in Hairspray and Legally Blonde, but honey, that was just terrible.

8:40 – I greatly prefer the kinder and gentler side of Toby Keith, instead of his ‘angry American’ shtick.

8:45 – This one-two punch of the Toby Keith song and then USO footage is really getting to me. I will not cry, I will not cry…

8:53 – Sooo I still don’t think I get the difference between Single and Song of the year…

8:54 – Another Lady A win! Hillary Scott looks lovely in that fuchsia dress.

9:00 – Person most out of place tonight: LL Cool J.

9:01 – T. Swift is already more in tune in these 30 seconds than she was in her entire Grammy performance.

9:04 – Taylor’s come such a long way since her performance of “Tim McGraw” with the song’s namesake sitting in the front row.

9:05 – I’d like to know what product Taylor uses in her hair to keep it so frizz-free and bouncy. Also, I’m surprised she sang “Change.” Interesting choice.

9:06 – Julianne Hough is way too orange and her poor boobs look like they’re trying to make a run for it.

9:08 – Fun fact: Gloriana’s Cheyenne Kimball had her own MTV reality show back in the early ’00s, and she dated American Idol‘s Jason Castro on the show.

9:09 – Who is this man in the overalls with the tanorexic lady? Never heard them on country radio before…

9:12 – There will not be any commenting during the upcoming Lady A performance. I must watch every second. “American Honey” is my jam.

9:16 – I will be purchasing both of Lady A’s CDs tomorrow. It’s official.

9:18 – Just voted for Brooks and Dunn to sing “My Maria” and for Carrie Underwood as Entertainer of the Year.

9:21 – Rascal Flatts could literally sing the phone book and people would buy their CD. Whoa, Gary Le Vox is a bit pitchy, dawg.

9:25 – Album of the Year goes to…Miranda Lambert. I’m not really shocked; she’s a total critics’ darling.

9:28 – If I was a famous person, I would go on as many USO tours as I could. Damn it, I’m tearing up again.

9:29 – Jason Aldean’s first album is great, but aside from “Johnny Cash,” everything else he’s put out is just so-so.

9:38 – I can’t listen to this Miranda Lambert song on the radio anymore because the first time I heard it, I was sobbing so hard I could barely drive.

9:42 – I’m losing the remote control battle to Mom and Celebrity Apprentice.

9:44 – I doubt you can find a grown man openly weeping about humanitarian work on any other awards show. Bravo, Montgomery Gentry.

9:46 – Jack Ingram and Dierks Bentley = two very talented men on one stage. Love them both…but this song is kinda lame.

9:51 – I despise this Zegrid commercial where the man paints things on his torso. Creepy.

9:53 – On a CBS-related note, I’m totally geeked for this week’s episode of Survivor.

9:56 – Carrie’s my homegirl, but this song is so treacly and overwrought.

10:00 – Oh, another Lady Antebellum win. Shocking.

10:03 – Tim McGraw brings the total number of ACM performances I’ve cried during to three. Stop toying with my emotions, country music.

10:11 – Brad Paisley is just awesome.

10:15 – I’m glad Brad doesn’t take all of his songs so literally…can you imagine what sort of stunt he could have pulled with “Ticks”?

10:17 – Matthew McConaughey’s “lady” (his word, not mine) looks absolutely mortified that he just shared the location of their daughter’s conception.

10:18 – Brad Paisley may be the first person to ever accept an award while soaking wet.

10:24 – Yessss Brooks and Dunn are singing “My Maria.” Awesome song….but lots of technical difficulties.

10:27 – The fact that Ronnie Dunn is successfully hitting all those falsetto notes is impressive. These two will be sorely missed from the country music scene.

10:29 – I covet Carrie’s white cupcake-ish dress.

10:30 – Randy Travis is starting to resemble Skeletor. And I think approximately zero people are shocked that Brooks and Dunn just won Top Vocal Duo.

10:37 – Reba’s great, but I find 98% of her music to be quite boring. Now “Fancy”…that’s a song I can get behind.

10:40 – Ugh, Josh Duhamel, that’s an ugly suit. Did Fergie pick it out?

10:42 – Miranda Lambert’s dress has just been panned by the illustrious fashion critics also known as my parents.

10:47 – Is this Keith Urban performance live? I’m confused.

10:50 – It’s totally adorable that Nicole Kidman is singing along in the audience.

10:54 – And Entertainer of the Year 2010 is…CARRIE UNDERWOOD! I’m sure my one vote was the deciding factor. You’re welcome, Carrie.

10:56 – And Hootie is closing the show. Goodnight y’all : )

“american idol” top 9: part deux

…And I’m back! Since I last discussed the goings-on at American Idol, we lost Didi and almost lost Big Mike, but then the judges had a momentary lapse of judgment and decided to save the beefy, lip licking super dad. Between Big Mike and Andrew constantly reminding us that they’re fathers on Idol, and Kate Gosselin exploiting her motherhood on Dancing With the Stars, there has never been more parents on TV looking for sympathy. I literally shouted at the TV last week when Simon told Big Mike he was safe. I hate the judges’ save in principle, and it was even more annoying tonight when they were tripping over themselves to congratulate themselves on their great save. On to last night’s festivities…
Adam Lambert, he of the screeching and eyeliner, became the first former Idol contestant to serve as a mentor. As an Idol purist, I called foul at this; why not bring back a truly successful Idol, such as Chris Daughtry? Carrie Underwood? Jennifer Hudson? Before I get a bunch of Lambert fans jumping down my throat, I’m not suggesting that Adam isn’t successful, just that he’s only had a year to cultivate his post-Idol career, while others have had more time. That being said, I thought Adam was the best season 9 mentor thus far, offering useful and insightful advice to the contestants, but whether or not they decided to use it was another story. (I’m looking at you, Andrew.)
Crystal Bowersox started the night by singing “Saved,” an Elvis song I was previously unfamiliar with, although my knowledge doesn’t extend far beyond “Heartbreak Hotel” or “Love Me Tender.” Big shocker here – Crystal vocally nailed it. It wasn’t bad karaoke, but it was fairly forgettable. My whole issue with Crystal is that she’s predictable. I don’t know if I can see her winning the Idol crown this season, and I think her career is going to be middling at best. I just had an argument with a coworker about Crystal, because he thinks she’s going to be “huge in the hippie community.” I responded that a) the fact that he thinks there is a hippie community concerns me, and b) if Crystal is signed by 19/Jive/any sort of Idol-related record label, the hippie community is going to reject her, because she’s going to be all sterilized and pasteurized of her crunchy granola goodness. (It’s also important to note that my coworker’s grasp of reality is practically nonexistent. He still goes to Phish concerts.)
I enjoyed how Adam bluntly told Andrew Garcia that his rendition of “Hound Dog” was boring, and urged him to pep it up. Great advice, but Andrew completely disregarded it and sang a half-assed, lethargic arrangement. If Andrew doesn’t get the axe as part of tonight’s dual elimination, I’ll be shocked. Dude’s been seemingly phoning it in since the top 10.
I never thought I would write this phrase, but Tim Urban had one of the best performances of the night. His version of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” was great. The guitar part was nice, it actually seemed heartfelt, and the vocals weren’t terrible. Way to go, Timmy. You’re probably safe for another week.
Lee has always been my favorite Idol, but it’s getting kind of transparent that the judges are trying to create a competition between him and Crystal. I liked his take on “A Little Less Conversation.” He made it sound modern, and his vocals were, for once, growly and in tune.
Aaron Kelly‘s performance of “Blue Suede Shoes” was vocally on point. It showcased his lower register quite nicely and got rid of that going-through-puberty crack he has going on sometimes. The vocals were about all that went right, though, as Aaron had trouble connecting to a song whose lyrics included “drink liquor from a fruit jar” (or something like that.)
When Siobhan met Adam, the world did not collapse into a black hole of screeching and big hair. Rather, she seemed shyly starstruck, which was cute. I love “Suspicious Minds,” (see Chris Daughtry’s version for proof) but I don’t know if it was the best song for Siobhan. The arrangement was definitely too slow, which hindered her vocals, and the whole pacing seemed off. I loved her pseudo-Elvis jumpsuit and pompadour hair, though. I’m quite scared that Siobhan could be in danger due to the double-elimination tonight, but she’s had worse performances and stayed on, so we’ll see.
I’m still peeved the judges saved Big Mike, so I took a Twitter and potty break during his performance of “In the Ghetto.” Please go home tonight.
Simon’s critique of Katie‘s performance being “very loud and a bit annoying” was spot-on. She sang “Baby, What You Want Me to Do,” and her performance definitely felt very karaoke-ish. Someone in the wardrobe department must hate Katie, for she was in another unflattering, bizarre outfit with way too many accessories. I hope she gets the ax tonight. I’ve had enough of the Miss Teen Connecticut act.
The final performance of the night belonged to Casey, and I have to admit, I don’t remember what song he sang or anything about the performance. (Wikipedia tells me it was “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.” No wonder I couldn’t remember.) That doesn’t bode well for Mr. James.
Stray observations:
-Mama Lambert is very pretty. (She being the woman sitting next to Adam throughout the show.)
-Kara, stop using “fire” as a way to describe things. It’s not an adjective.
-Ryan Seacrest must be stopped. Between his dancing in the aisles during Tim’s performance to his Dunkleman joke, he was out of control last night.
-Having the cast of Glee right behind the judges all night was great; Jane Lynch’s visceral reactions to various comments were priceless.

Photo courtesy of fox.com

‘american idol’ top 11: too awful to make a witty headline.

I almost didn’t want to write about American Idol again, because I mentally checked out of the show about halfway through last night, and because it was so damn boring/awful/pitchy/etc. that I don’t care who goes home tonight; it could be any one of six people and I’d be happy. But I have some perverse dedication to this blog, even though about four people read it on a regular basis (Hi Mom!), and honestly, last night was just too awful not to discuss. The Idols could pick from any number one single in Billboard‘s 50-year history, and they managed to pick some of the schlockiest, cheesiest, over-performed songs on the list. Guest mentor Miley Cyrus wasn’t as bad as I thought she’d be, although her statement that, “People take me seriously because I take myself seriously,” proves all that is wrong with today’s youth.

Lee Dewyze, my current favorite, started the show with “The Letter,” by the Box Tops. The brass ensemble was borderline hokey, although it was a nice departure from the ‘dude stands behind mic stand with guitar’ performances in Lee’s past. I liked the vocals, and he definitely brought more stage presence, although he clearly had no idea what to do with his left hand, the one not holding the microphone, and flailed it around awkwardly.

Why Paige Miles thought it would be a good idea to pick “Take a Look At Me Now (Against All Odds),” a song already covered on Idol by Corey Clark, George Huff, Jessica Sierra, Scott Savol, Katharine McPhee, and Ramiele Malubay, is something I can’t fathom. Calling her performance ‘pitchy’ is an understatement. My living room cleared when Paige started singing. I think my dog was in pain. The girl sang better when she had laryngitis, for crying out loud. It was just awful.

Another performance that falls into the ‘just awful’ category is Tim Urban‘s take on Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” Freddie Mercury rolled over in his grave, for sure, during Tim’s performance. There was nothing exciting about the vocals, and Tim’s attempts to be fun by sliding across the stage, touching audience members’ hands and standing amongst the audience were just cheap gimmicks to cover up the fact that he’s a terrible performer.

Aaron Kelly – whom Ryan called David Archuleta when giving out his numbers – picked another tried and true Idol favorite: Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.” It was okay. It’s nothing I’m going to remember in a week or two, but his vocals were decent, and his performance was another chance for him to show off his earnest faces.

Crystal Bowersox‘s “Me and Bobby McGee” was yet another crunchy granola acoustic jam, this time with a rug on the stage! She really makes it seem effortless, but homegirl has to mix it up with the musical choices in the upcoming weeks if she wants to be a true contender. Enough with the Starbucks music. Take a page out of the books of Lambert, Cook, Allen et al, and find a song that isn’t from your genre of music, and revamp it to fit said genre. Otherwise, I think Mamasox will find herself amongst the eliminated former front runners, including but not limited to Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, and Melinda Doolittle.

I missed Big Mike‘s performance; I’m not sad at all. I don’t like him.

Andrew Garcia‘s performance of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” was cheesy and amateurish. I know, I know, this is an “amateur” talent competition, but I’ve seen more skill from drunken coeds doing karaoke. He lost the guitar and gained a whole lot of awkward stage presence. I won’t be surprised if he’s in the bottom three tonight.

Katie Stevens‘ attempt at being young and cool resulted in ill-advised suspenders and Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” It reeked of high-school talent show. I just can’t get behind Katie as a valid contender for the Idol crown. Her voice is great, just not technically at the level it should be to compete on a nationally televised talent competition.

I may be the only person who enjoyed Casey James‘ “The Power of Love.” Sure, Huey Lewis and the News isn’t the most current song choice, but Casey’s vocals were great. I could have done without the horn section blasting down from the band loft; they definitely contributed to the outdated feel that Randy spoke of, and they pretty much muted Casey’s guitar playing. (I did quite enjoy his comment to Miley that he’s a big fan…of her father. Zing!)

Didi Benami just plain sucked last night. There’s no other way to say it. Her performance of Linda Ronstadt’s “You’re No Good” was cheesy, overdone, and flat. I believe I may have changed the channel to check the weather forecast during this performance.

Siobhan Magnus and her magnificent pink faux-hawk took on Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” Vocally, it wasn’t perfect, but I did like hearing Siobhan’s voice against a more upbeat, less morose song. “The shriek” is getting old fast, though, and while I don’t hate it, I find myself bracing for impact throughout her performances, waiting for that note.

My bottom three prediction for tonight: Urban, Miles, Garcia, with Urban going back to safety first and most likely Miss Miles heading back to her kindergarten class.

Photo courtesy of USA Today.

long live the mullet.

There won’t be an American Idol recap this week for too many reasons to list on here, one of which being I may be suffering from Idol burnout. Anyway, I still cry myself to sleep at night over the travesty that is Alex Lambert’s elimination. Here is Alex’s interview and performance on Ellen. Could he be any more adorable? I think not.