2.26.2009

Adam, Allison, and....what's his name

Three more contestants made it through to the final 12. Adam Lambert--best guy. Allison--best girl. And the dude that sang "Man in the Mirror" rounds out the top 3 from last night.

They tried to build suspense over whether it would be Nick/Norman or Adam getting through, but really? It would've been more suspenseful if they put Nick/Norman up against the MitM guy. (I really need to look up his name.) The choice is so obvious between Nick/Norman or Adam, but with the other guy, it really could've gone either way.

I've heard many people comment today that the kids from group one were cheated. Many of them were so much better than so many from last night. No fair, and only 3 will come through as a wild card.

Brooke was back tonight to sing her first song from her new solo venture. She thinks it's catchy--it was alright. Her voice is still a little wobbly from time to time, but I'm sure they fixed that on the recording. Good for her.

Next week we'll see the final 12. I didn't recognize many of them, but I look forward to hearing Lil Rounds. My sister tells me we also liked a dark-haired girl from Philadelphia, but I don't remember.

I decided to post this now so I could procrastinate from doing the laundry, but laundry must be done. Off I go.

2.25.2009

Second set of 12 on AI

Let's do a play by play tonight.

The banter between Ryan Seacrest and the judges has something to do with Simon complaining about the lighting last week. It's then noted that he and Randy switched places this week, which actually puts them back to how they usually sit anyway. So, I guess they were saying that Simon wasn't happy with his lighting last week and wanted his old spot back? I hate when banter is about an inside joke.

Anyway, Ryan asked Simon if he has advice for this week's group, and Simon said, "It's too late for advice now."

First up, Jasmine Murray. She really reminds me of Gabrielle Union.



Jasmine was the only who got through from Bikini Girl's foursom in Hollywood. She's singing "Love Song" by Sarah Bareilles. She sounds a weak during the first verse, but better during the chorus. Her hair tossing is getting on my nerves. She's okay, but I'm not blown away. Randy, Kara and Paula said it was the wrong song and pitchy. Simon agreed with Paula that Jasmine's confidence was good, but she just doesn't have a great voice. He doesn't think she's ready for this yet.

Here comes Matt Giraud, the dueling pianist. He got a standing O from the judges in Hollywood. Uh-oh, tonight he's singing Coldplay's "Viva la Vida." Probably not the best song choice, but he'll probably sing it better than Chris Martin. (I'm sure I've mentioned that I'm not a fan of Coldplay.) He sang "Georgia" in Hollywood and was so soulful--don't see how he can make Viva la Vida soulful.... I'm not digging the performance. Wrong song! Kara said he blew her away in Hollywood, but tonight she wasn't blown away. She said the song didn't lend itself to the bluesy soulful singer he is. Paula concurred. Simon dittoed. Randy is still pulling for him, but said he should've picked a more complicated song, and not something simple like this.

Hey, DC's in the house! Jeanine Vailes is a bartender. I wonder where she works. She's singing Maroon 5's "This Love." They're one of her favorite bands--me too! Probably not the right song, though. Her voice sounds strained. Again, no blown-away-ness happening here. Paula's comment is that she has great legs. Simon thought it was terrible...wrong song. But she does have great legs. Randy was glad when it ended. Kara said it was overdone.

Nick Mitchell is next. PLEASE don't do that stupid Norman Gentle character. Oh damn, he's doing it. And singing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going." Groan. I'm tempted to put it on pause and then fast-forward because I'm not amused at all. Thing is, he has a decent voice--I'd just like to see him sing normally for once. Simon prays he doesn't go through to the next round, and hopes America feels the same. That's the thing--America will put him through just because of that. Remember Sanjaya???

During this commercial break they showed the E-trade commercial with the singing baby. "Take, these broken wings..." Those baby commercials freaked me out during the Super Bowl in 2008, but this one I like.



Allison Iraheta, with the bright magenta hair is next. She reminds me of Kelly Clarkson. She’s only a junior in high school, so I guess while on AI, she still has to go to school. She’s singing “Alone” by Heart. First verse--so far so good! Finally--a good singer!!! Randy says she “blew it out the box!” Kara told her she’s great. Paula said she could sing the telephone book and also compared her to Kelly Clarkson. Simon said she’s the best tonight by a mile. Simon said she’s one to watch in this competition.

Kris Allen from Arkansas coming up. I don’t remember him at all from the tryouts. Doing “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson. Nice voice--didn’t quite hit the lower register, but otherwise good. Not great though. Kara said this was the wrong song and that the back end of it was better than the first. She didn’t see in Kris what she saw in Hollywood. Paula disagreed and said he nailed it. She thought he was charming. Simon agreed with Paula. What? Surprise, surprise! He said he’s not the best singer in the competition, but tonight he showed confidence & personality. Said “the chick are gonna love you.” Randy said Simon’s partly right. He was proud that Kris could sing without his guitar.

Damn. We’re only about halfway through!

Heeerrrreee’s Megan! Megan Joy Corkrey with the 3/4-length tattoo sleeve. She’s singing “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae. Great song! And, she’s doing pretty well--her voice is a little shaky here and there. She needs to work on her stage presence a bit--she does a sort-of shimmy thing, over and over. Paula: “You did everything right.” Simon: “You’re a funny little thing aren’t you?” Said she sang the first part better than the second. He hopes America votes for her. Randy compared her to Duffy, Adele, Amy Winehouse--said she has that vibe. Kara said she’s a package artist--unique, pretty, and with right song could be a break-out hit artist on the radio. Oh--turns out she has a name for her little shimmy move-- ”the Corkrey.” I’m sure it will sweep the nation.

Time for The Welder, Matt Breitzke. I liked him during auditions...I hope he does well tonight. He’ll be singing “If You Could Only See” by Tonic. I like his performance. Nice rock sound. Simon: “I really like you, but I absolutely hated that song.” Simon said he would’ve talked him out of that song had he known. Matt said, “I appreciate that--I just disagree.” Randy said the performance was boring. Kara said it didn’t show any side of him...that it fell flat, but he can really sing. Paula said the song didn’t celebrate who they all fell in love with. Matt still disagrees and says he loves that song. Hmm....a bit of a cocky side. Not very becoming.

Single-mom, Jesse Langseth is up next, singing, “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes cuz she loves the story. (This song reminds me of ice-skating back in the early 80’s--there was an ice rink at the mall and we were there every weekend. Saturday AND Sunday.) Anyway, she sang fine, but I thought her performance was a little dull. Randy said it was okay, but he wasn’t blown away. He wants to see where her range could go--this song was a 5-note range. Kara liked her look--slinky & sexy. There were "moments" she liked. Paula finds her captivating. “You’re cool...you’ve got it. And I think that’s a great quality.” Simon disagreed with Paula and said she’s forgettable. But said she has quite a nice voice.

Ooh...here comes Kai Kalama. I think he’s cute, but why is he wearing a sparkly hat in his interview? Singing “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” by Jimmy Ruffin. Great song! I like Kai--he’s got a good voice. (Another aside here: Joan Osborne does a FANTASTIC version of this song in the movie “Standing in the Shadows of Motown.”) Kara said he had pitch issues and the song was old-fashioned. Paula said she loves the throwback songs too, so didn’t fault him for that. She said he has the chops to do well if he really works hard. Simon found it old fashioned and corny. Used his wedding or hotel comparisons. Simon also said Kai would be a good backup singer. Randy agreed. Said it was too safe.

“Drops of Jupiter” by Train will be sung by Mishavonna Henson. This is the 2nd year she tried out; last year she got cut during Hollywood week. She's okay--a little pitchy here and there. Paula said it was the wrong song choice and it didn’t excite her; though, she can sing. Simon said she’s very serious and he was left cold. She said she’s 18 and Simon said she acts like a 50-year-old. Ouch! Randy agreed that she felt older, and didn’t necessarily like a solo singer singing a band song. Kara didn’t mind the song, but feels she needs to loosen up a bit.

I’m guessing (HOPING) they’ve saved the best for last, like they did last week with Danny Gokey. It’s Adam Lambert. He’ll be doing the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.” Yes! He’s good! Quite a performer. So different from anyone we’ve seen on the show before, and, he got Paula on her feet. I rewound and watched it again before hearing the critiques. Loved it! Paula said she felt she was watching an Adam Lambert concert rather than an AI competition. Simon’s finding it difficult...parts were brilliant, parts excruciatingly bad. (Where Simon?) Simon said it would be "a love it or hate it performance." Randy loved it. Randy says he’s the most current artist they’ve ever had. “It was da bomb!” Kara said his vocal technique & ability was outrageous--he can go so low and so high.

So that’s it. Finally. I’d say the night’s best female was Allison, best male was Adam, and the 3rd to get through *might* be Matt the Welder, simply because he seems like a nice guy, everyone likes him, and he got a LOT of face time during the auditions. Until tomorrow....

2.23.2009

Busted!

Saw He's Just Not That into You on Saturday with my sister and a friend. It's one of those movies where I didn't have high expectations and I enjoyed it. I didn't expect it to be bad, but I knew going in that it wasn't going to win any awards. If you're not familiar with the book, it provided advice to women, from a guy's perspective, on how to read signals from men (or lack thereof), so you don't waste time making excuses for his not calling, or not committing, or not marrying you. They took this advice book and turned it into a cute movie surrounding five female characters and the men that come in and out of their lives.

The book's author, Greg Behrendt had a quick cameo as a priest. The editing was weird at that point, and I suspect he had some spoken lines that wound up on the cutting room floor. Instead there was a just a quick flash of his face.

Deb pointed out that two of the main actors, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Justin Long ("Mac" from the Mac/PC commercials) were on "Ed" together. I'd forgotten all about that, but have liked these two ever since.

When we were coming out of the theater, we heard these two guys with their girlfriends talking about how much they disliked this movie. Deb, our friend and I all had the same thought: that's because you've been EXPOSED. We ladies are armed with what to look for now and how to understand (and see through) your odd man behavior!!

In other movie news, the last Oscar nom I needed to see over the weekend was Changeling. It was really good, and somewhat shocking that it's based on true events. It got mixed reviews when it was out, so again, my expectations weren't high, and I was pleasantly surprised. What I really enjoyed though, were the DVD extras about the making of the movie. It was directed by Clint Eastwood and the cast had the highest accolades for him as a director. Angelina Jolie said she never wants to work with another director again.

What I thought was cool is that he doesn't say "ACTION!" or "CUT!" to begin and end the scenes. Instead he gently says, "Okay, go ahead." "And...stop." The actors said it took some getting used to, but they really liked that approach because it erased the tenseness that comes from one second being yourself to ACTION! being in character! Mr. Eastwood said he tries to direct actors the way he'd like to be directed, and he got this method from when he worked on all his Western movies. He said a director shouting "ACTION!" got the horses too excited. Then they'd have to spend a bunch of time calming them down. Instead, if they gently said "start," everything happened smoothly. It makes so much sense. I also liked that one of the actors said (I'm paraphrasing), "Not only do I want him to always be my director, I also want him to be my dad." Very sweet.

I'm going to try to see Gran Torino this week. I've heard nothing but good things.

And the winner is...

I didn't do too badly this year on my predictions (see post below). As a reminder, W was for those I thought would win; S for those I thought should, win. Between the two, I did rather well. Here are the winners from the 81st Academy Awards:

Best Actor in Supporting Role
W∙S Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Best Actress in Supporting Role
W∙S Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Actor
W∙S Sean Penn, Milk

Best Actress
W∙S Kate Winslet, The Reader

Best Director
W Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

Best Adapted Screenplay
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Original Screenplay
S Milk

Best Picture
W∙S Slumdog Millionaire

As you can see, I didn't think Slumdog should or would win Adapted Screeplay. I wasn't expecting a full sweep from Slumdog--I thought the voters might try to spread the wealth in other categories. Anyway, it was a great night for Slumdog, and I'm happy for them.

A few comments about the show:
  • Robert Downey, Jr. looked fantastic--is he living in Benjamin Button's world? He looks a lot younger than he has the last few times I've seen him.
  • Nice that Heath Ledger's award for Best Supporting Actor was accepted by his family--they gave a nice tribute.
  • During the tribute to the "Comeback of the Musical," I thought I was watching the Tony Awards! Interesting that Beyoncé sang "At Last" after all the brouhaha from Etta James.
  • I have mixed feelings about the presentation of awards to the actors/actresses. Usually, the previous years' male winner presents to the female the current year, and vice versa. Well, this year, five previous winners of each category presented the award to the winner in that same category. I missed the reminder of who won last year, but at the same time, I thought the previous winners gave special, indivdualized tributes to each nominee, and that was nice to see. Shirley MacLaine's kudos to Anne Hathaway were particularly heartfelt.
  • In announcing Sean Penn as a Best Actor nominee, my man Robert DeNiro said, "How has Sean Penn get all those jobs playing straight men?!" It's true! Sean Penn so completely becomes whatever character he's playing. After seeing Milk, it wouldn't have surprised me to hear he left Robin Wright Penn and moved in with a male lover.
  • Worst presenters: dude from Twilight and chick from Mamma Mia. The were both deadpan and just reading from the card. Yawwnnn.
  • James Franco and Seth Rogen, in their Pineapple Express characters reviewed the comedies of past year in a short film by Judd Apatow. This was hilarious....I LOL'd when they were LOL'ing at The Reader, one of the most serious movies of the year. (You had to see it.) Seth is looking rather slim & trim these days. Wonder what his secret is?
And, the best line I heard all night didn't come during the Oscars, but from Mickey Rourke during his interview with Barbara Walters. In response to her question about what winning an academy award would mean to him, he said: "...it would be a tremendous honor...but in the big picture, you can't eat it, you can't f*** it, and it won't get me into heaven.

2.22.2009

The Big Day

Welp, I've seen all but two of the movies nominated in the major Oscar categories this year, and I gotta say--there were a lot of good movies out there. The Oscars broadcast will be on in a little more than two hours, so I wanted to come post my predictions. Movies in bold are the ones I didn't see. I'll put a W by the nominees I think will win, and an S by those I think should win.

Best Actor in Supporting Role
Josh Brolin, Milk
Robert Downey, Jr., Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
W∙S Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

Best Actress in Supporting Role
Amy Adams, Doubt
W∙S Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

Best Actor
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
W∙S Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Best Actress
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Meryl Streep, Doubt
W∙S Kate Winslet, The Reader

Best Director
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
S Ron Howard, Front/Nixon
Gus Van Sant, Milk
Stephen Daldry, The Reader
W Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

Best Adapted Screenplay
W The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Doubt
S Front/Nixon
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Original Screenplay
Frozen River
W Happy-Go-Lucky
In Bruges
S Milk
Wall-E

Best Picture
Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
Milk
The Reader
W∙S Slumdog Millionaire

2.20.2009

Gloomy Grey's

I'm watching the 3rd or 4th(?) episode of the crossover event between Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice, and seriously, can anything else happen to the pregnant couple? First they came in because the wife hit her husband with a car. Next, they discover that she has an aneurysm. In the process of taking care of that, the baby went into distress (hence the need for Addison), she comes out of the surgery, but can't talk, so they have to go in again. McDreamy finishes that, and now Addison has announced more bad news about the baby. I'm sure there can probably be all those complications in real life, but when you're used to a story wrapping itself up in one, maybe two, shows, this just feels like it's dragging on and on and on.

And, will McDreamy please just propose already?

Oh, for crying out loud--McDreamy is operating on her AGAIN. Grooooaaaannnnn.....

2.19.2009

3 move on to the Top 12 on AI

Yes, three folks moved on to AI's top 12 last night, and Tatiana was not one of them...thank god. The three who went on were two of my favs, Alexis Grace and Danny Gokey. The third was Roughneck Michael what's-his-name. Ryan Seacrest announced that Michael beat out Anoop by only 20,000 votes. Dang, if I'd been home, I could've saved Anoop. (Well, me and 19,999 other people.) Maybe the judges will bring him back during wildcard week. I think he's an interesting character, and to hear such a soulful sound come from him is both surprising and refreshing.

I'm not

Hmm...I got interrupted and lost my train of thought there. I don't know what "I'm not" about. If I think of it, I'll be back.

2.18.2009

AI's first group of 12

We got to hear the contestants actually sing last night. Because I got home late, I watched it on Tivo and fast-forwarded through most of the show, and just watched the performances. It was too late for me to vote for anyone, but I would have voted for:
  • Ricky Buddy (even though Simon thinks he doesn't believe in himself enough)--he was very soulful and had a nice voice
  • Alexis Grace - she was the best female performer of the night, but to me, she also had the best performance overall.
  • Anoop Desai - even though I hated his song, he's got a great voice, and I've liked him all along
  • Danny Gokey - I just love his voice, and he seems so positive.

This year, the guy with the top votes and the gal with the top votes will go through. Then, whoever had the highest votes after that, male or female, will go through to the top 9. The judges iwll then add 3 wildcards. Hopefully these three guys will all make it through in some fashion.

Here's the blow by blow from Lisa de Moraes.

By the way, I missed the show last night, because I was watching Drumline Live in Baltimore. FANTASTIC! I really had fun at that show.

2.17.2009

Ipod Top 10

I went to iLike.com and got a widget to post the Top 10 Most Played songs on my iPod (check on the right side, under the clock). The last time I posted this list was in October 2007, so it's been a while.

Interestingly enough, I've been listening to a lot of Duffy. "Love and Happiness" by Al Green is thrown in the middle, and Chrisette Michele's "If I Had My Way" rounds out the top 10. Not a lot of variety, but damn, I love that Duffy album.

Something else I've been listening to: Seal's Soul album. For whatever reason (i.e., laziness), I haven't put it onto the iPod yet, and have just been listening to the CD directly. I just love it. I've probably listened to it as much as I have Duffy.

So, I've reset the count and look forward to doing this again in a few months. (That's what I said last time and it ended up being a year and five months. Whatever...I'll do it whenever I think of it.)

AI Update - Joanna Pacitti's outta there

American Idol has announced that Joanna Pacitti, she with the former pro career, will no longer be on the show due to the appearance of impropriety of her being there in the first place. She apparently has ties to execs from 19 Entertainment, one of the groups who produces American Idol. She's been replaced with Felicia Barton, who may have been the one Simon told wouldn't make it anyway when she lost her "sing for your life" round. (Someone wrote that as a comment to a column, but I haven't verified it.)

Here's Lisa de Moraes' post for more info.

2.16.2009

Mission accomplished!

OK, I've seen all the Oscar noms for most of the major Oscar categories. Just got back from seeing The Reader this afternoon. The performances from Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, and especially David Kross (who plays Ralph Fiennes' character as a teenager) were very moving. I suspect Kate Winslet will win the Oscar. The movie's about a short affair between a 15-year-old boy and an older woman, and how it affects the rest of his life. It's also about the atrocities of WWII and the woman's part in them. I'd like to read the book some day.

I meant to mention this earlier. I realized the other night that I have a personal barrier to break through. Long ago, I would never go to a movie by myself. It just felt weird, but then I finally broke down and started going on my own when no one else could go. But, I would only see matinees--I'd never go at night. I thought I'd stand out like a sore thumb among all the couples out on dates Friday or Saturday night. I eventually got over that and started going at night too. As an introvert, I rather like going by myself. It's my "me" time and I enjoy it. But, I realized on Saturday that I just couldn't go to a movie since it was Valentine's Day. Anyone I talked to that had plans for the evening was doing dinner & a movie with their significant others. I just couldn't do it. Maybe next year, if I'm still single, I will try to tackle this. Of course, next year, Valentine's Day will be on Sunday, and I don't typically go to movies on Sunday nights anyway, unless Monday's a holiday, but we'll see.

That reminds me...a friend of mine referred to Valentine's Day as "Singles Awareness Day," aka SAD on Facebook. That gave me a good chuckle.

One down, one to go

I saw Frost/Nixon last night, and have one more Oscar nominee to see. Really enjoyed the movie last night. I imagine those who were around when Watergate and these interviews happened probably enjoyed it even more. I was four when Watergate happened, and seven when David Frost interviewed Richard Nixon. The movie really draws you in to these two characters and there are times where you're on the edge of your seat. (I noted that the people next to me were literally on the edge of their seats....) I'm now interested in seeing the real interview which is on DVD. I'll be heading to Netflix shortly.

The last Best Picture nominee that I need to see is The Reader and I'll be doing that this afternoon. I'm so pleased that the movies are really good this year.

Oh! I watched The Visitor on DVD Friday. Richard Jenkins (the dad from Six Feet Under) is nominated for Best Actor for this film. Another well-deserved nomination. The movie is wonderful--about the relationship between Richard Jenkins, a lonely, unhappy man, and two Muslim immigrants that come into his life. It's written by the same guy who wrote The Station Agent, which is another movie I loved. Check these out...you won't be disappointed.

2.12.2009

NBC, please stop!

I'm am SO sick of seeing and hearing the voices of Octomom, Nadya Suleman, and Anne Curry. NBC, you have milked as much out of that interview as you possibly can, and the udder is dry. Seriously. Stop it.

Arrrrrggghhhhh!!!!!

2.11.2009

AI's top 36

Even after Simon told her, "Just try, for once, not to be annoying,", the judges voted Tatiana through.

All I want to know is:

Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy????!!!!!!

Anyway, I don't think there were many surprises last night. Well, maybe that of Nathaniel getting through--the one with the hilarious look on his face in the Tatiana video. He did okay in singing for his life, but his voice sounds flat to me.

Yes, that's the new thing this year. There were several instances where the judges had two contestants sing so the judges could make their final decision. I guess it's okay, but I doubt it changes anyone's mind. I suspect they already know who they're putting through, but do this to add more interest in their eighth season.

I'm sad that the two best friends, Danny and Jamar, didn't both make it through. Danny did, Jamar didn't. (I agree, though, that Danny's the better performer. However, Jamar is a lot better than Nathaniel, and he's a heck of a lot better than Norman Gentle/Nick Mitchell, whom I don't find the least bit amusing.)

I'm definitely leaning more toward the guys this year...Anoop, Danny, Kai, Stehpen Fowler (the one who walked away from the keyboard Tuesday night), and the welder, Matt (who I prefer to call Goatee Guy) are my favorites.

None of the girls stand out for me. Lil Rounds and Jasmine Murray have great voices, but I'm not falling over for them. I do like Jackie Tohn, who reminds me of Lizzy Caplan from True Blood. What do you think?

Jackie:
  

Lizzy (True Blood):


Jackie, by the way, is an actress, and it looks like she's also done some recording. Interesting that that wasn't brought up during auditions. They brought it up several times with Joanna Pacitti, who forgot her words several times, but still managed to make it through--despite Simon's warning on Tuesday night that if you forgot the words, you'd be out.

Next week, the contestants will perform in groups of 12 and then we'll start to vote. Tatiana is in group 1. PLEASE AMERICA--don't let her continue on!

2.09.2009

Awards, awards, awards

I watched the full broadcast of the Grammys last night, and you know what? It was actually pretty good. As long as I can remember, I've always preferred the American Music Awards to the Grammys because the Grammy were B-O-R-I-N-G. This year, though, the show was full of great performances, and they didn't waste time with an unfunny host.

Loved
Al Green, Justin Timberlake, Boys II Men and Keith Urban singing "Let's Stay Together." What a great song, and a great performance, even though only three of the four B II M were there, and they were relegated to singing backup.

Liked
  • Jennifer Hudson winning Best R&B Album. She looked amazing, and was very gracious in thanking her family in Heaven and those with her last night. She received a standing O for winning the award, and also later when she sang. She's a strong young lady.

  • Al Green (again) with Duffy. They came out to give an award, but also did some singing. Al Green sang "Moon River," and the two together did "Bridge Over Troubled Water." These two need to work on a song together. Actually, Al Green should do one of those albums where he teams up with a bunch of different folks. Duffy would be included, as would Justin Timberlake.

  • Adele and Sugarland. Sugarland did one of their songs first, and then worked with Adele on "Chasing Pavements." I LOVE that song.

  • Four Tops tribute with Smokey Robinson, Ne-Yo, Jamie Foxx, and Duke Fakir, the last surviving member of the Four Tops. Jamie & Ne-Yo did a respectable job with the oldies. I sure miss Levi Stubbs though.

Didn't like
  • Robert Plant and Alison Krauss winning Record (single) of the Year. As usual, the Grammy voters awarded the obscure stuff that no one's ever heard of. They performed "Please Read the Letter," and it was okay, but that was the first time I'd ever heard it, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one. It was okay, but rockabilly ain't just my thang.

  • Coldplay winning so many awards. Eh. I'm so over them. At least Chris Martin actually hit his high notes last night. I would've been happy with any of the other four songs winning Best Song, but nooooooo it was "Viva la Vida." (The other four nominees were: "American Boy," Estelle featuring Kanye West; "Chasing Pavements," Adele; "I'm Yours," Jason Mraz; and "Love Song," Sara Bareillis.)

  • Jonas Brothers with Stevie Wonder. Ummm.... THey first played one of the Jonas Bros songs, yuck. Then they played "Superstition," which was fine, but the Jonas Bros seemed SO dramatic. Look how I play the guitar! Look how I jump and dance and run all around the stage! No, look at me playing the guitar now! I just don't think they "got" the greatness surrounding them.

  • Horrible sound. There were several performances that sounded hollow and echo-y due to the poor sound system. Jennifer Hudson and Justin Timberlake/T.I's performances come to mind.

  • Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift. Just bad. Simon would've hated it.

Huh?
  • Whitney Houston. She made some comment about wishing she'd worn her boots with her evening gown. Then, gave a huge tribute to Clive Davis who'd won an award earlier. Whitney looked good, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear she was sipping on something back stage.

  • M.I.A., who performed super pregnant with Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne & T.I., on her due date, no less. It's one thing to see a woman bouncing around the stage, doing pelvic thrusts and what not, but for her to be 9 months pregnant AND wearing some strange get up that didn't leave much to the imagination? It was just too much!




In Oscar news, I saw The Wrestler on Sunday afternoon. Mickey Rourke did give a terrific and heartbreaking performance. There was one scene where he had his hood pulled up, and you could see a glimpse of the old Mickey Rourke--that made me kind of sad. The movie is a lot more violent than I expected, but it's very good. I thought it was interesting that when the movie ended, no one jumped out of their seat to leave. It was quiet and I think everyone was reflecting on the powerful performance and ending. (Or, maybe they just wanted to hear Bruce Springsteen's song.)

I have one more Best Actor nominee to see--that's Richard Jenkins in The Visitor. I have it at home and will try to watch some evening this week. I still need to see The Reader and Frost/Nixon too. Only two more weeks til the Oscars, so I need to get busy!

2.05.2009

Bikini Girl: Buh-bye.

Just a few comments about American Idol:

  • I hate Bikini Girl. She actually has a decent enough voice (when she's singing. When she's talking, she uses an annoying baby voice) that she doesn't need to flaunt her sexuality at every turn. It's so annoying and the fact that her ploy worked on Simon & Randy bothered me to no end. So, last night, when she basically quit her group so she could sleep, I was thinking, THANK YOU! Then, when she showed up the morning of the auditions and said "You gotta teach me what I missed," I was hoping for Rose (Blonde Dreadlock Girl) to punch her in the face. I'm not prone to violence, but seriously, a punch was warranted. THEN, when she had the nerve to complain that she was tired and her back and feet hurt because she has scoliosis and had been wearing super high heels all day long, I was hoping Paula or Kara would punch her out. I'm glad her performance sucked and that she did not make it through. Her group, Team Diva, murdered Duffy's "Mercy." All except Jasmine, anyway. She reminds me of Gabrielle Union.

  • I LOVED the group featuring Danny (the widow) and his friend Jamar. They sang a capella and all were fantastic. A coworker pointed out that Danny looks like Robert Downey, Jr. He kinda does!

  • There seem to be a lot of good male singers this season. I like that Rocker Dude with the punk hair cut--he was fantastic. So was the big bald guy with the goatee.

  • How about Annoying Laugh Girl (Tatiana?)? I was waiting for her team to strangle her too. All that crying she did when her group made it through was TOO mcuh. "You're all a part of me. Each of every one of you." Whatever. DRAMA. QUEEN.

  • How the heck did Tattoo/Piercing/Stretched Ears/Drama Boy (aka Nathaniel) make it through?!?!?!
That's all I've got. Check out what Lisa de Moraes had to say at washingtonpost.com. She never disappoints.

2.02.2009

Bye-bye Circuit City!

I've been feeling a bit of glee at all the Circuit City liquidation commercials. I usually feel bad when companies go out of business, but not this one. I've been boycotting Circuit City for at least 17 years now, due to their bait-and-switch techniques and I'm glad to see them go.

My sister is in need of a new computer and a friend suggested she shop at Circuit City to take advantage of their sale. She said, "Valerie...you can go with me." I told her, "Nope. I'm still boycotting." Our friend pointed out, though, that I could go in there and be like, "Ha! Take that!!! That's what you get!"

It's kind of tempting....

Whittling down the Oscar nominee list

OK, that subject line makes it sound like I saw several movies over the weekend that I can check off my list, but I really only saw one movie which covers several categories: Best Supporting Actor, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture. That movie is Milk. I absolutely loved it. Sean Penn is an incredible actor and he makes you completely forget that he's Sean Penn--he's so enmeshed into the character. (Wait. Is "enmeshed" even a word? Oh good--it is, AND I used it correctly.)

Anyway, the movie is very uplifting, despite it's tragic ending, and even though it takes place in the 70s, it's very timely and relevant to the stuff going on today regarding equal rights for gay people. I think everyone should see it...it might open some minds. I thought James Franco was great, as were all the other supporting actors. Josh Brolin is nominated for Supporting Actor, and though I think he was really good, I don't think he should win the award this year. Instead, he should've been nominated and won for No Country for Old Men. Maybe this year's nomination is to make up for that. The Academy is funny that way.

In other movie news, I've had the last of the Rocky saga, Rocky Balboa, at home for many weeks from Blockbuster's Netflix-like service. Even though I'd heard many good things about it, I was just never in the mood to watch it. But, there's another Oscar nom I wanted to rent (The Visitor) and I needed my mail movie to take in to get the new one for free, so, I figured I may as well finally watch it.

Well, shame on me for putting it off for so long. I really enjoyed it. It was more along the lines of the very first Rocky--more about his relationships with people and his life than about a big, glammed-up, over-hyped fight with Mr. T. or Dolph Lundgren. Adrian has died (was Talia Shire not interested in doing another movie??) and he's feeling unsettled. He's got one more fight in him. And on it goes. The big fight was amazing. I watched the DVD extras, and though the moves were choreographed, the hits (and sounds) were real. The opposing fighter was played by Antonio Tarver, the first light heavyweight fighter to knock out Roy Jones, Jr. Sly Stallone figured it'd be easier to teach an athlete to act, than to teach an actor to box. It was a good move. Too bad heavyweight fights nowadays aren't exciting like the one in this movie. Now the boxers just stand and hug each other round after round....there's hardly any action and it's so boring. Anyway, if you liked the first Rocky, I think you'll like this one.