Archive for February, 2008

American Idol – Guys’ First Night Out

So I’m not sure if anyone reading this actually cares about my thoughts on American Idol, but I enjoy giving them so here goes…

Best performance of the night goes surprisingly, to one of the most under-hyped contestant ever. Yes, that dred-locked character who’s been lurking in the background for the past few weeks can actually sing. As the judges correctly assessed, Jason Castro was natural, effortless, and contemporary with his rendition of Daydreamer. He was also adorably shy and just might steal a few grandma votes from little David.

Michael Johns did a steamy version of Light My Fire and even though I’ve seen him belt that one before, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. I think he has an incredible shot at being in the final.

The obvious favorite of judges and producers is David Archuletta. As I’ve previously mentioned, he’s got vocal skill far beyond his years and he showed it off quite well with Shop Around. His greatest asset, I think is an ability to choose good songs and then figure out the right way to perform them. There were some really obvious vocal slip-ups that I’m surprised weren’t mentioned by the judges, but overall it was a great performance. Also, I’m not going to say it’s happened quite yet, (because I totally still just want give the kid a hug and pinch his cheeks) but David’s constantly blushing demeanor reminds me a little too much of Melinda Doolittle and has the potential to wear a bit thin after a while. I’m just saying that if you’re great (and he just might be), a little confidence doesn’t hurt.

And then there were the rest. Honestly, not one of the remaining guys stood out all to me. I’ll give a quick rundown anyway.

David Hernandez – decent vocals but effortless it was not. He strains too hard and makes weird faces and by the end of the song I was really ready to not hear his voice singing the chorus to Midnight Hour anymore.

Danny Noriega – I can get behind a flamboyant and fabulous performer as much as anyone, I just really doubt that Danny’s got the vocal talent to back up the show. After a mediocre version of Jail House Rock, his sassing of the judges was amusing if not a bit uncomfortable. I think I’m going to have to join the bandwagon and call a Sanjaya on this kid.

Colton Berry – I thought his vocals on Suspicious Minds were great but he smiled and mugged at the camera through the entire song. He could take a lesson from David Archuletta on how to perform a song in a way that actually makes sense with the lyrics.

So who else…

Oh yeah, that kid with the long curly hair. Garret. He was cute. I totally would have had a little crush on him in high school despite the kinda gross peach fuzz hanging out on his upper lip. His attempt at humor was endearing and after an incredibly boring performance he was sufficiently humble and took what I thought was some overly-personal criticism really well.

The “rocker” guy…what was his name?…Robbie something. Anyway, he wasn’t particularly rocking except for the outfit which he later pointed to as proof of his rocking nature. I think I agree with Simon, I just don’t buy it. He has a decent enough voice, but there’s nothing about him that particularly wows me.

The other “rocker” guy is David Cook. I mentioned him before. He did a fairly uninspiring version of some sixties song that I can’t remember right now. I do remember that he used that same old shout he’s been relying on up to this point. I assume he’s got the Daughtry contingent behind him and will do fairly well, but for some reason I’m just not getting it.

So what about the dude who looks a lot like a paler version of that guy from Windtalkers and Flags of Our Fathers. Apparently he has a son. I think we’re supposed to like him because he has a son since the fact that he has has a son was the extent of the information given in his back story and they cut to reaction shots of said son about 20 times during his segment on the show. He sang Moon River. It was less bad than the judges gave him credit for. Sadly, he was also the victim of poor sound mixing because I couldn’t hear his vocals over the music until the very end of the song. I suspect he’ll be gone soon. Oh yeah! Jason Yeager. That’s his name.

Oh Chikezie. Where did your totally awesome and rhyming last name go? Please bring it back. I have to tell you though that was one of the worst arrangements of a song I’ve ever heard on Idol. I think Chikezie Eze (I can at least use it) did a decent job vocally (meaning he held notes and was in tune) but the song itself was unrecognizable. Why would you completely and totally remove all melody from such a great pop tune? I kept waiting for the catchy chorus of I Love You More Today Than Yesterday to kick in and all I got was the same R&B tone from one bit to the next. Simon labeled it old-fashioned and he was right. However, I have to admit that I did kind of like the orange suit once I saw it up close.

Luke Menard – I actually thought he had some nice tones to his voice and I could imagine him doing really well with a more upbeat song, but his performance didn’t do any favors to the slow and sad ballad he chose. He wasn’t completely forgettable but did seem really nervous and the whole thing just wasn’t up to par for a nationally televised, watched-by-millions, singing competition.

So there you have it. I have zero clue who will be knocked out first. My best guesses are Luke Menard and Jason Yeager. Garrett Haley is another that might head out on Thursday. However, usually as soon as I think I have it figured out someone like Melissa McGhee, or Scott Savol, or Haley Scarnato makes the top twelve. Remember them? No? Me neither. I had to look them up. Don’t worry, a few forgettables will slip through this year as well.

So tonight it’s the ladies’ turn. I’m still putting my money on Brooke White for a great/unique performance, but we’ll just have to see…

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February 20, 2008 at 3:42 pm 4 comments

Sigh…

Today’s the 40th Anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

If you were a kid in the 70’s or 80’s you probably miss him just as much as I do.

A word of warning: If you’re not prepared to tear-up at least a little bit you might want to avoid these videos.

February 19, 2008 at 11:32 am Leave a comment

Mortified

As a teenager I always knew adults were full if it when they would say things like “These are the best days of your life.” or “Enjoy it now because you’ll always want to go back to this time.” Um. no. I would not be a teenager again for anything. One of my most teen-angsty moments took place in seventh grade. I was 13 and ridiculously clumsy and it was square-dancing week in P.E. I’m sure I have a journal somewhere detailing the horrors of that day but I think I’ll leave that story untold for now.

Most people had experiences like mine as teenagers. Apparently, a good number of them have decided to share those angst-ridden photos, journal entries, poems, and songs in front of thousands of strangers in a project called Mortified. I’m not sure how I’ve missed all mention of this project until now but until I get a chance to see it in person, these videos from the show are pretty amazing. Be warned, there’s some strong language but it’s funny, poignant, stuff.

February 19, 2008 at 12:55 am Leave a comment

movies I keep meaning to watch but somehow never get around to

Once
Superbad
A Scanner Darkly
Bridge to Terabithia
Apocalypto
For Your Consideration
The Last King of Scotland
Everything is Illuminated
Capote
Children of Men

Because this list just keeps growing I decided it was time to go ahead and sign up for Netflix. After I get through the current batch I’m looking forward to adding a few of those “What You’ve Never Seen _____?!” films to my list and advancing my cinematic awareness a bit.

Once arrived yesterday and I’m ridiculously excited to pop some corn and watch it. So, if anyone’s up for a little Irish musical action tonight, you’re more than welcome to join me.

Oh and if you have any other suggestions of movies I should definitely add to my queue, feel free to pass ’em along.

February 15, 2008 at 11:38 am 1 comment

And another thing….

…about American Idol, while it’s on my mind.

It’s time for new judges, folks. I’m not advocating a clean slate, just a 2/3 clean one. It baffles me that the producers haven’t gotten rid of them yet because in all honesty, and everyone knows this, Randy and Paula are pretty much useless. Even though not one of the the three has their pulse on current music (Il Divo anyone?) at least Simon’s vitriolic commentary has earned him a moderately respected opinion. The other two however, haven’t had an interesting thing to say or do for 7 seasons.

Randy: Recycles less than 10 lines over and over in efforts to describe his emotions after a performance – none of which are remotely enlightening: “I didn’t get it.” “I’m not feeling it, dog.” “There were some pitch problems.” “Not good, not good.” “Now that’s what I’m talking about.” “Lovin’ it dog.”

Paula: Though admittedly interesting when she’s intoxicated has only a a slightly larger vocabulary than Randy but somehow manages to say even less.

So my suggestion is to fire their tails and bring in two new, younger judges. Bring in some young producer to replace Randy – maybe someone in the same vein as Pharrell – someone who actually makes and listens to the kind of music they might want to sell. And then bring in a singer-songwriter female to replace Paula. I realize that obviously anyone they get will be at least a little bit in the “washed-up” category but I’m thinking someone in the spirit of Sarah McLachlan or Jewel or Alanis Morissette, even (as long as we don’t have to hear her sing *shudder*) Natalie Merchant would fit the bill. They just really need someone with a bit of edge who’ll be sympathetic, but opinionated enough to hold the audience’s interest. For some reason, even though she’s probably Paula’s age, I think Linda Perry might be an interesting choice. She’s got the edge the show desperately needs and she acutally produces music that, despite being debatable quality-wise, makes money and gets played on the radio.

So what do you think? Am I right or am I right? Next year people. It’ll be a little tough at first and I’m sure it will take some getting used to, but I think if producers really want the show to continue to be successful and interesting they need to mix up that table a whole lot.

February 14, 2008 at 4:54 pm 2 comments

daytime television

Last week after being home for 3 days with the flu and watching much too much local television I realized the following:

– The advertisements on The Price Is Right just don’t mess around with attempts to engage anyone other than their core demographic. In 30 minutes, I saw commercials for the following products: hover-round, hearing tests, medicare supplements, arthritis medication, blue star ointment, energizer hearing aid batteries, life insurance, centrum silver vitamins and diabetes testing supplies. I suppose they know their audience and I guess that’s how they’ve gotten away with not changing the set…ever.

– All clapping that takes place on the Family Feud is in rhythm.

– During the first few seasons, Who’s the Boss showcased some of the best on screen chemistry I’ve ever seen. Seriously.

– Judge Judy still has the best of the the court room shows on TV but that doesn’t mean I really want to watch it.

That is all.

February 14, 2008 at 11:21 am 2 comments

my type (if he were on tv)


I might could get on board with that. Although I suspect that since the hot blond is the obvious love interest, I might instead be cast as the chubby, but adorably witty best friend, which is cool because you know everyone secretly roots for the best friend.

February 13, 2008 at 5:58 pm 1 comment

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