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American Idol: Top 10.

After taking a week off from live blogging American Idol last week (who wants to watch that when we can watch power outages in Las Vegas?) I’m back watching American Idol on time delay and giving my raw impressions as I watch the performances. I welcome comments and feedback.

There may be spoilers if you haven’t watched the show. I’m just warning you per internet etiquette.

Tonight’s theme is the year they were born. Mostly 80s music? This is making me feel old already.

1. (1987) Ramiele Malubay: “Alone” by Heart. The audience is annoying with their waving arms. That first run she sang was off key. She’s off key quite a bit. Did Carrie Underwood sing this back during her season? I believe she did and it was much, much better than this horrible performance. The audience needs to stop the boos. I completely agree with Randy: “pitchy”.

I still think the “American Idol” logo looks naked without the oval around it. It lacks punch.

2. (1987) Jason Castro: “Fragile” by Sting. Typical Jason: stool, dreads, guitar, breathy vocals. He has one way of singing and he does it well but it doesn’t grab me and I wouldn’t enjoy an entire album of this. “Gee whiz Jason, shave the peach fuzz above your lip until you can grow a real mustache”. What is Paula Abdul wearing for gloves? Zsa Zsa cast offs? Jason seems like a nice kid but he has the personality of a wet dish rag.

3. (1987) Siesha Mercado: “If I Were Your Woman” by Stephanie Mills. Surprise! I totally expected “So Emotional” by Whitney Houston. I’m not familiar with the track but I thought she sang it well. She’s no Jennifer Hudson but I thought she did a very good job and she was on pitch the entire performance. I enjoyed it.

I’m happy that they’re including the Cathy Dennis “Oh whoa whoa whoa whoa” on the music beds this year.

4. (1985) Chikezie: “If Only For One Night” by Patti LaBelle and Luther Vandross. First couple of notes were a little shaky. Not a bad performance, the end was impressive, but unfortunately it’s not suited for mainstream radio. I agree with Randy’s comments in that it sounded very dated.

You would think that the top rated show on the American networks would be able to make the judge’s mikes sound good. What’s up with the hum and the hiss? They need a better sound designer.

5. (1983) Brooke White: “Every Breath You Take” by The Police. Whoops, false starts are always disconcerting but she recovered well. I don’t know how she plays piano with rings on, I always have trouble with my wedding band when I play piano. Maybe the rings are interfering, I heard a few clinkers in the instrumentation. I want to like this but I’m starting to think she’s a one trick pony like Jason and that’s unfortunate because I really want to like her.

The lack of consistency in the American Idol on the bumpers is not good for brand recognition. Can you tell this lack of oval bothers me?

6. (1978) Michael Johns: “We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions ” by Queen. He does Freddy Mercury fairly well. Perhaps he should try the ‘stache, but that’s my spin on it (big fan of the ‘stache). I’m happy that he knows his vocal limits and didn’t try to sing above his natural register. I enjoyed both his vocal performance and his presentation. Good job.

7. (1983) Carly Smithson: (she gets MAJOR points for mentioning Kylie Minogue in her pre-game interview) “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler. I’m always a fan of Carly but this performance isn’t really doing much for me. I almost think she’s trying too hard. I agreed with Randy and Simon, she didn’t seem entirely comfortable while performing.

8. (1990) David Archuleta: “You’re The Voice”. I don’t know this song. It was a typical David Archuleta performance. He nailed the pitch, the performance was good. O.k., it was written by John Farnham. Google says David Foster and Jeff Pescetto did something with it in 1990. I agree with Simon to an extent in that it sounded like a Theme Park Performance, but I think it would be a high-end theme park like DisneyWorld.

9. (1984) Kristy Lee Cook: “God Bless The U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood. At least she’s staying within her genre without going hoedown on us. I still say she’s Carmen Rasmusen without the yodel. She still has some pitch issues that are not characteristic of country music. I think she played it safe this week. Her arm movements looked rehearsed and unnatural.

10. (1982) David Cook: “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson but as performed by Chris Cornell. I hate his hair, it reminds me of a bad beauty parlor cut on an older Italian woman. Vocally he’s on target but he’s a bit of a one trick pony. He’s a cheap version of Daughtry. Predictable.

Who do I think should go home? Chikezie.

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Enough Speaking.

I guess I’m in a little bit of a ranty mood today. Am I the only one that is sick and tired of hearing the antics of Britney Spears and her clan of idiots? I’ve never found her to be exceptionally talented and back when her first song came out I was very hesitant to play it on the radio. I believe my comment was “Wow, technology can do wondrous things!”

I realise1 that a good chunk of the American sheep have become obsessed with all things Hollywood. I know that it’s apparently very important to know which celebrity showed her cooley as she staggered out of the limo last night. Personally I believe that Paris Hilton is the anti-Christ that the wingnuts are always shrieking about.

Here’s my take on this Britney thing. Who cares if she shaved her head months ago. Did the country go whacko years ago when Tyne Daly did the same thing? Of course not. Is Britney a responsible mother? Probably not. Neither is a good chunk of mothers out there today but we don’t see everyone losing2 their mind over it. There’s always going to be good mothers and there’s always going to be bad mothers. It’s just the way it is. Crimminy.

The newest five alarm fire is that she’s speaking in a British accent. Big whoopin’ doopin’ doo. Has anyone thought that she might have wanted to reboot her life or even just a change of pace? I know that if I grew up with that southern accent that she’s had all her life I’d be out making a change too. Truth be known if I could pull of a believable Irish accent I’d do it full-time. “The British accent shows that she has a personality disorder.” Give me a fscking break. Maybe she was just sick of sounding like a hick.

I realise1 that the media wants us to pretend that there’s no war and all is rosy in the United States. Celebrity deconstruction sells ad time much better than world annihilation. But enough already with the Britney talk. Let her be.

Bollocks!

1 Since I can’t speak with a convincing Irish accent, I type with one.

2 As long as I’m ranting, for the love of god please note that ‘lose’ is spelled with one ‘o’. “I’m losing weight so my jeans will be loose.” Loose as in “loose change” = two ‘o’s. Lose as in “lose the sidekick” = one ‘o’. Thank you.

Moby gets credit for inspiring me to superscript my numbered notes.

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The View.

The View.

As a huge Rosie O’Donnell fan, I was delighted when Rosie joined the cast of “The View” in September and have watched the show this entire season. I knew that sooner or later she was going to really bump heads with Elisabeth since they have such opposite views on politics and today they stepped their arguments up a notch. Today they went full tilt.

First of all, I have always found Elisabeth’s way of arguing, by spewing out the same facts over and over again while another person is talking, excessively grating. She doesn’t shut up. She doesn’t let Joy talk. Rosie is also loud but she knows when to ramp it back and let someone else speak. Elisabeth just chatters on and on and Earl has to stop me from yelling “SHUT UP” at the television screen.

I found it odd that the producers went to a “split screen” for the first time this season making me wonder if this was somehow planned, at least on the part of Elisabeth, as today is the last day of sweeps. But that’s just the cynic in me.

There were two delightful moments later in the show that I did enjoy: Alicia Silverstone came out for her interview and completely ignored Elisabeth when she greeted the other hosts and at the end Rosie, with Joey Fantone and Laila Ali, asked if the two guests would consider going on a celebrity version of “Dancing With The Stars”, “you know like celebrity Survivor where they ask all the good ones to come back” (Elisabeth wasn’t on celebrity Survivor, perhaps she turned it down, but I thought it was a nice jab.)

Rosie is on vacation tomorrow (it was pre-planned as it’s her partner Kelli’s birthday) so everyone will be up in arms about that but I can guarantee that I will once again have no interest in “The View” once Rosie is gone.

I can’t take Elisabeth’s constant chattering.

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Oh Alec.

I’m trying to decide if I like Alec Baldwin these days. This picture of him from years ago helps me sway my decision a little bit, but just a little.

Alec Baldwin.

Of course Alec has been part of the latest breaking headlines from Hollywood, after he left a very ridiculous, sad and unbelievably angry and hostile voicemail for his young daughter, Ireland. Yesterday he appeared on “The View”, in a double segment no less, where he joined Barbara Walters and Rosie O’Donnell to give his side of the story of what actually happened and the aftermath of it all.

Alec is now heading up the cause of “Parental Alienation”. He is trying to bring awareness of this to the masses. He has also written a book which will be released in September. Per his appearance on “The View”, Alec wanted out of his contract with NBC for “30 Rock” so he could focus on this instead. Sources say NBC responded with a “no”.

O.k., he said some hateful things to his daughter on that voicemail message. Let’s face it, you really shouldn’t call anyone a pig and especially not your family. Alec knows that. He lost his cool. He took out frustrations with his ex-wife on his daughter. I think that’s readily apparent. It doesn’t make what he did acceptable by any means, but people lose their cool and they need to learn and move on from the experience. But you know what, that message should have never been made public in the first place. Years ago I went on a rant that rivaled Alec’s voicemail performance. I sure as hell wouldn’t have wanted that rant to be seen by anyone in the general public. It’s amazing that I can interact with the target of my venom once in a while and have it be an amicable experience. So in a way, I feel for Alec in that regard.

But what kind of creeped me out was the whole interview itself. Barbara Walters desperately tried to go into 20/20 mode, but Alec wasn’t having any of it and pretty much steered the direction and tempo of the interview. Barbara was visibly uncomfortable with this. Rosie looked like she was a little uncomfortable as well but for different reasons. This style of interview is not her forté and she certainly gets an “E” for effort.

I guess I felt that Alec was trying too hard to do damage control. To me it felt like it was too soon for this sort of thing. He looked like he hadn’t gotten much sleep, he stammered and stuttered a little bit and while I appreciate the scruffy face, he really should have shaved if he wanted to put his best face forward so to speak. People notice that sort of thing.

So do I like Alec Baldwin? I guess time will tell. I’ll download “30 Rock” and catch up on it this summer. I’ll see how he behaves in the future.

For now I’ll keep enjoying his scruff in the proper situations as well.

That’s Just Wrong.

Everyone has been talking about Michael Richards’ (Kramer from Seinfeld) tirade over the weekend when he went off the deep end at some hecklers during one of his stand up routines. I finally got around to watching a clip of the spectacle on YouTube and really couldn’t believe what I saw. I’ve never found the guy that funny to begin with, but it seems to me that if you’re able to go off like that then man you’ve got some stuff buried deep in your psyche that you’ve got to work out.

Like many others have commented elsewhere, I really don’t understand this whole “heckling” thing during stand-up comedy. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Broadway show where an audience member stood up and started participating in the play by yelling lines from the audience. Not once can I think of an instance where a customer stood up at Bertucci’s and yelled at the folks behind the counter, “Honey, throw some cheese on that pie. Yeah, yeah, throw some cheese on that pizza. Dude, that ain’t cheese, throw some really cheese on that pizza.” I mean, c’mon on now. You can laugh out loud at stand up comics but yell things back at them without being spoken to first, well, that’s just wrong.

That being said, I think Michael Richards went away off the deep end there. He wasn’t living up to “The Laugh Factory” sign behind him on the stage. It seemed more like a “Destruction Factory” as whatever was left of his career is probably sitting like a puddle on the stage now.

If it hasn’t crawled into the corner.

Here’s a link to the video on YouTube.

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Soused.

Two lovely women stand in the center of the stage. On them, lights from every direction and millions of eyes from all over America. Moments before, a third had been asked to leave as she received the lowest votes. In typical fashion, she was told “you had the lowest votes, America has voted and you’re going home. Now sing one more time for us!”. So the audience sits one more time through an excruciating performance of “Last Dance” by Donna Summer and then we’re brought to these two girls.

The wring their hands in anticipation. One of them is going home, right now. Which will it be? The host asks the middle judge on the panel, “Paula, why do you think these two ladies are here right now?” Her professional, well slurred and thought out answer? “Simon said because ate pizza and one ate salad.” She then breaks into laughter and the host looks in horror as he realizes she’s making a joke at one of the most dramatic moments of the evening.

Fast forward 30 minutes.

A similar scene is painted again, this time with two male contestants. One of them is going home. The hosts, a little more sheepishly this time, asks the middle panelist a question. “What would you recommend for one of these men going home?” Her reply? “Simon hands out fortune cookies on X factor and the melon eats the corn flake.”

Several weeks ago I wrote that Miss Paula Abdul had gotten her act together and seemed to be handling this year’s American Idol with her trademark poise, confidence and maternal instincts.

Nah. She’s still a lush. Or stoned. Or both.

Here’s another account of the incidents.
Thanks to Rotten Ryan for the Paula cap. I totally stole it from his site.

Those Teeth.

She is a beautiful woman. She’s lost her mind, actually it’s been washed away, but her beauty is still intact. That’s pretty much undeniable. Why then, does she look like she’s about to swallow a whole rat (like Diana did in “V” back in the early 80s) whenever the paparazzi grab a shot of Katie Holmes?

Come To MamaRotten Ryan mentioned this way back in October, but now that the internet is being peppered with another whacko performance* by the increasingly startling Tom Cruise and rumors of a TomKat breakup, pictures such as this are starting to appear again.

I find it all quite unnerving.

*From what I’ve been able to gather, Tom Cruise went to the Kanye West Grammy party where he didn’t like the crowd around him, so he climbed up some ropes or cables as if he were still filming for Mission Impossible. This, of course, was apparently the proper way to get to the VIP section. Once he settled in he did some crazy dance while singing along to the lyrics “we want prenup” and then asked everyone around him their religion and told them that Scientology has improved fianceé’s and his lives. I think someone forgot their Flintstone chewable that morning.