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American Idol: Top 9

My reactions to tonight’s Top 9 on American Idol. I write these blog entries as the show progresses and I don’t edit as I’m going along.

Tonight it’s Dolly Parton night. I’ve always been a fan of Dolly. Any guesses as to who will sing “Islands In The Stream”? I’m guessing a rock version from David Cook.

Here we go.

Dolly is looking good but a little plastic. Not too bad though. The reconstructed cheekbones always throw me. At least she doesn’t look like Priscilla Presley.

1. Brooke White, “Jolene”. Typical Brooke performance. I like her but I’m finding her performances a little too predictable now. A few pitch issues in the first part of the first chorus? She doesn’t look entirely comfortable on the stage.

Please for the love of God, someone please up Paula’s dosage so she’s just passed out. It would be such a more enjoyable show if Paula didn’t have to negate every negative comment the others make.

2. David Cook, “Little Sparrow (original arrangement)”. Oddly for me, the beard doesn’t negate the bad haircut. I can totally see Daughtry doing this version. That being said, I’m rather enjoying it. Hate the waving hands in the mosh pit. I liked it for the most part, aside from the ending. I thought the ending didn’t work at all.

3. Ramiele Malubay, “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind”. Her clothes always look sloppy to me. They don’t fit and they look cheap. The performance lacks energy and I could never see a full concert or listen to a full album by her. Bottom three material.

I love the new Apple commercial with the yoga instructor.

4. Jason Castro, “Traveling Through”. Oh god. I hope he surprises me this week. Never mind, it’s not going to happen. Same old. Same old. Pitch is perfect, performance is predictable. Like Ramiele, I don’t think I could listen to an entire album or watch an entire concert by him. For what it is it’s o.k.

5. Carly Smithson, “Here You Come Again”. I’m liking the arrangement of the track. Carly is nailing the pitch and energy of the performance. This is the first time I’ve been slightly reminded of a Céline like quality to her voice. Best performance thus far. I thought Simon was a little harsh, but I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY DO NOT like Ryan’s sniping back at Simon. I think Ryan Seacrest is going way above and beyond his role as “host” and not in a good way.

Still missing the oval around the logo on the bumper.

6. David Archuleta, “Smoky Mountain Memories”. His voice is angelic. He can sing the phone book and make it sound like a hit. He’s got an AC (adult contemporary) thing going on and now I see him as the heir to the path forged by Clay Aiken. Why is he wearing ear pieces? I’ve noticed this on him for the past two weeks.

7. Kristy Lee Cook, “Coat of Many Colors”. Carmen Rasmusen without the yodel. The performance lacks energy. Pitch issues throughout the bridge. She saved herself with the last phrase. I’m not impressed. Who is voting for her? I agree with Simon: pleasant but forgettable. Why does Ryan Seacrest mention her french pedicure and how is it that he knows about these things? I don’t like Kristy’s snarky comments back to Simon.

8. Syesha Mercado, “I Will Always Love You”. The song choice was exceedingly predictable. She’s making it different from both Dolly and Whitney. I appreciate that. Pitch was on. I’m liking the way she phrased the chorus. Wow, I’m impressed with the way she held out the notes on the phrase at the end. Impressive, I wasn’t expecting it.

9. Michael Johns, “It’s All Wrong But It’s Alright”. I like Michael but I’m not liking this performance. It’s sounds way too much like Michael Bolton to me. The last bluesy part of the chorus worked for me else I found it non-engaging.

Please, someone, please up Paula’s dosage.

Just Shut Up.

As an American gay man I should care about the upcoming Presidential election. I believe that the direction of the United States is wavering in all sorts of hideous directions, as well as probably backtracking a bit these days and we need a good solid leader in the starring role to get things back on track. I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, but there are two nominees left vying for the chance from the Democratic side of the stage. Their names are Hillary and Barack. Perhaps you’ve heard of them.

I’m trying really, really hard to maintain interest in this upcoming election. I want to be informed, I want to know the issues and I want to cast an intelligent vote when that right comes up in November. I’m trying desperately to listen to all sides of all arguments so that I can form my own point of view.

What concerns me is this bickering back and forth between Hillary and Barack. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Barack’s words ring hollow to me though I can’t put my finger on why. There’s something about him that does not sit well with my intuition. I don’t really care for him and I could never put in words why I feel this way. Perhaps I haven’t done enough research. I know his speeches sound promising but I don’t hear HOW he’s going to accomplish his vision. I just know that he has a vision and that he’s going to do it. I’d like to know how.

Hillary, whom I supported early on in the political season, is starting to grate on my nerves. I think she knows her stuff and I think she’d make a great leader. She has spit to go along with her polish. But many aren’t buying it. Much of it is not her fault. (People: give up the whole Monica Lewinsky thing, it was a blow job for God’s sake, he didn’t pre-empt the Second Coming or anything.) However, I can’t help but pick out an affectation in her voice that makes her sound less than cuddly. I don’t like the way she sounds in her speeches these days. She’s not talking to me: the American citizen; she’s talking to the country as a whole and it sounds that way. I want a candidate that speaks to me. He or she may be speaking to a group of people, but I want to feel engaged in the conversation. I don’t want to be talked AT, I want to feel like I’m listening on a conversation. To me she’s sounding a little desperate.

I don’t believe that Hillary should drop out of the race at this stage of the game. That wouldn’t be fair to those of us that are still up for a primary election in the coming weeks. But if anyone is going to be a member of a “new-generation of political leaders”, then the two candidates need to suck it up, calm down and start talking with the American people about what THEY are going to do, not what the other should do or won’t do.

I’m hoping that regardless of the outcome of the Democratic convention that we’ll have a ticket that’s either Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama. Unfortunately I fear that egos will prevent that from happening.