“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.

live-blogging the grammys!

Greetings! Welcome to my first-ever live blog! Tonight I’ll be picking apart the Grammys, probably my favorite awards show because we get lots of great performances and very little filler. Just a warning: I may give up if this turns into a disaster, and there’s a very good chance I’ll go to bed before the show is over. Wow…if that’s not confidence in my abilities, I don’t know what is. Stay tuned!

8:00: Another crazy spectacle from Lady Gaga. Hopefully this turns into the piano duet with Elton I heard about…

8:02: I think I’m uncomfortable seeing this much of Gaga’s pelvis.

8:05: This is a Grammy performance for the history books, kids.

8:08: Jay-Z was VERY unamused by Stephen Colbert.

8:10: Colbert is killing it. Why doesn’t he host more award shows?

8:12: And song of the year goes to…Beyonce for “Single Ladies.” Great song, but I think it should have gone to Taylor or Gaga.

8:14: J Lo, you’ve come a long way since that infamous Grammy dress all those years ago…

8:16: This is weird…like Green Day meets “Rent.”

8:19: I actually like that song a lot better with the Broadway treatment.

8:24: Kristen Bell looks TERRIBLE. You are so much better than that dress and “When In Rome,” Kristen.

8:26: And Taylor Swift’s domination begins…now. Aww, Mama Swift is so happy.

8:27: Simon Baker is struggling with his TelePrompter. What’s up with the Groucho Marx glasses?

8:29: I really dislike Beyonce. She’s not as great of a singer as everyone claims her to be. This performance is terribly boring…”If I Were a Boy” is one of her weakest songs.

8:32: And now she’s covering Alanis Morrisette? This makes no sense.

8:42: Something tells me Pink won’t keep this demure white robe on for very long…

8:43: She’s taking pseudo-nudity to new heights. (Pun intended.)

8:44: Between Gaga and Pink, the Staples Center must have a team of bikini waxers on staff.

8:46: Oh Miranda Lambert, I love you and your real-woman figure, but honey, that dress is doing you absolutely no favors.

8:47: Best New Artist is always my favorite award…welcome to the club, Zac Brown Band! This is a surprising win; I thought MGMT had this one.

8:54: Go away, Miley. Your dress is ugly, too.

8:55: BEP is not sounding good live. I can’t look at Fergie without thinking of her peeing her pants.

8:57: “I Gotta Feeling” is such a sing-along song. Also, Fergie may or may not be wearing a futuristic poker visor. I’d like to describe this performance as a hot mess.

9:00: JoBros introducing Lady Antebellum? Yes please.

9:05: Joe Jonas, you look foolish.

9:07: Love me some Lady A. They’re one of the few country artists on my iPod.

9:08: Fun fact – Lady A singer Charles Kelley is Katherine Heigl’s brother-in-law. (She’s married to his brother Josh.)

9:09: Yes! Stephen Colbert is a Grammy winner.

9:11: Colbert’s daughter is an insta-celeb now…she’s going to be the coolest kid at her high school/college tomorrow.

9:17: Norah Jones is like the musical equivalent of wallpaper. She’s talented, but she puts me to sleep.

9:18: Wow…Kings of Leon came out of nowhere for song of the year. “Use Somebody” is a great, anthemic song and definitely deserved to win, although I’m quite shocked they beat out all those other pop hits.

9:20: Much like Miley missed the memo about stilettos, I apparently missed the memo about thick, black glasses. Robert Downey, Jr. is like the 5th person to sport Buddy Holly glasses tonight.

9:22: Why does this song merit a Grammy performance? I find Jamie Foxx unnecessary.

9:24: Seriously, what is going on? Everyone in the audience looks pained, especially Josh Duhamel, who looks like he’d rather be anywhere but watching this.

9:26: Ke$ha and Justin Bieber may be the most awkward pairing of the night. Nice recovery though, Bieber, although you might want to avoid Jay-Z for the rest of the night.

9:28: Also, Ke$ha (dollar sign totally ridiculous and difficult to type) looks like a less-cute version of Ashley Tisdale.

9:32: Alice Cooper is like Russell Brand in 40 years. Take it all in, Katy.

9:33: Kind of an underwhelming selection for Best Rock Album. “21st Century Breakdown” is like a watered-down version of “American Idiot.”

9:35: “Chicken Fried” is incredibly cliched, but it’s such a feel-good country song.

9:40: Just realized the telecast ends at 11:30…I’ll be wicked ired in the morning, but I’ll be blogging until the end credits roll. Have no fear.

9:46: Only Taylor Swift can sing the lyrics “I wore a dress/You wore a dark gray t-shirt” and not get laughed at.

9:47: My parents are not T. Swift fans…Mom thinks she sounds flat, and Dad think she “sings like a 10-year-old.” Clearly they aren’t Grammy voters.

9:49: I love Taylor Swift, Stevie Nicks and “Rhiannon,” but I don’t love them all together.

9:50: My family room has turned into a Taylor Swift-bashing festival. There is no love for Miss Swift among my parents.

9:52: I love Lionel Richie…he’s so comfortingly bland.

9:54: Dang, no 3-D glasses for the MJ tribute.

9:55: Carrie Underwood looks fabulous, as usual.

9:58: LOVE the shots of the celebs in the audience rocking their 3-D glasses.

10:00: Call me insensitive, but that was kind of a lackluster “tribute.” Maybe if it was a more familiar song?

10:01: Paris and Prince seem so well-adjusted and normal. They’re very cute kids.

10:08: Sheryl Crow still exists?

10:10: This may be the most formulaic and boring Bon Jovi song in their entire songbook.

10:12: Jennifer Nettles is a country goddess. I love Sugarland.

10:14: Bon Jovi are such seasoned pros that they can play “Livin’ On a Prayer” with one second’s warning.

10:16: Mos Def and Placido Domingo are totally failing at their witty banter.

10:17: PLEASE LET “I’M ON A BOAT” WIN.

10:19: Who is this cute child with Jay and Rihanna? Also, was Kanye not invited for fear of a VMA repeat?

10:26: Must. Stay. Awake.

10:28: I’m sure this is a lovely tribute, but I can’t stop yawning. We need some upbeat performances, stat.

10:31: Drake, Lil Wayne and Eminem will definitely inject some life into this dying telecast.

10:39: Mr. Grammy President, let’s wrap this up. You’re very eloquent and important, but it’s too late for long speeches.

10:41: Adam Sandler looks old and lost. Love that they played “The Hanukkah Song” as he walked onstage, though.

10:43: Maybe I should take up playing a stringed instrument so I can be featured on the Grammys…maybe the viola?

10:44: This is not a great DMB song. Also, Dave Matthews should never dance. Ever.

10:46: Lea Michele is GORGEOUS. I may prematurely name her best-dressed of the night.

10:48: Beyonce is in the running for worst dressed…that getup is a Lady Gaga reject, and her poor boobs look like they’re being cut in half.

10:53: I’m really hoping Gaga pulls of a win for Album of the Year…”The Fame” is a fantastic pop album.

10:55: Excuse me while I take a nap during Maxwell’s performance.

10:58: The first time I ever saw Roberta Flack in my life, she was on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” singing a spoof called “Killing Me Softly With This Thong.” It was a wonderful first impression.

11:03: The “In Memorium” segments are always so sobering. The music industry loses so much talent every year.

11:04: This lady singing with Jeff Beck has her hair shaped like a Cinnabon. I’m very hungry all of a sudden…

11:12: Quentin Tarantino scares me. A lot.

11:13: I think this is Lil Wayne’s last public appearance before he goes to jail. I love Travis Barker so much…he kills it on the drums.

11:16: I always think of “Degrassi” when I see Drake. I’m sure that does a lot for his rap credibility. Also: Jamie Foxx, you are one of those embarrassing people who sings along at concerts even though you don’t know the words.

11:20: I’m getting very anxious to see who’s going home with Album of the Year!

11:25: Here we go…TAYLOR SWIFT WON?? HOLY CRAP! I was hoping for a Gaga win, but Taylor totally deserves this award. To be that young and that talented – congrats, Taylor.

So there you have it…the 52nd Grammy Awards. Thank you to anyone who bothered to read this; I had fun writing and I hope you had fun reading. See you at the Oscars : )