3.31.2009

I can't stand Lisa Lampanelli

My sister always tells me not to use the word "hate," so I went with "can't stand." This insult comic is just not funny to me. At. All. The first time I heard her, she was on a radio show, and until they said her name, I thought the DJs were talking to a guy. She's on Jay Leno right now and I haven't even come close to cracking a smile. Poor Vin Diesel is sitting on the couch next to her and he just seems like he'd rather be in hell than sitting next to her. No more. I'm going to change the channel until Jimmy Fallon comes on. Blech.

3.27.2009

The Oil Rigger's gone

Michael got voted off last night's AI. I only know this because I called my mom to find out. Why did I miss it? Because the judges took so much time acting stupid and goofing off, that by the time they decided to announce whether they were going to save Michael or not, Tivo cut off and didn't record the end of the show.

What was with the judges this week? Particularly Simon & Paula. It almost seems like Simon might be drinking some of Paula's juice or something. I hope they're back to normal last week.

Anyway, here's a full round up of the show from Tamara Jones, who's filling in for Lisa de Moraes at Washingtonpost.com. Tamara's just as snarky as Lisa is. I loved this bit:
Michael wears the same happy, hopeful expression no matter what you tell him. We love you, Ol' Yeller.

Sure enough, Michael is still grinning as he trots over to the loser stools. He gives miserable Matt an encouraging man-hug but stops short of licking him in the face.

3.25.2009

The Idols do Motown

Motown Night - Smokey Robinson is the mentor. The kids got to visit Hitsville, U.S.A., the home of Motown. I'd like to go there some day. Michael apparently missed the trip due to illness.

OK, here we go. First up is Matt! (Note, I typed this as I was watching, so didn't always use capital letters or punctuation. Once I pasted it here, I realized I really didn't feel like going through to fix it up. Please bear with me.)

  • Matt - let’s get it on - Fantastic! Sexy, but I miss his hat. (paula agreed--she said he had a sexy, cool vibe.) Simon said it was a brilliant choice of song. this is exactly what he should be doing and Matt is one of the front runners in this competition.

  • Kris - how sweet it is - another marvin song. guitar is back this week--i enjoyed his performance. it got paula on her feet...and, she’s wearing a tutu. Simon says Kris needs to believe in himself--he needs some swagger and confidence. he needs to be conceited to be a star. randy countered with, “you ain’t doing nothing wrong.”

  • Scott - you can’t hurry love - he sounded okay, but i still find him a bit dull (especially in comparison with everyone else). paula loved it. simon said it was completely the wrong song, and a bit cheap. randy said it was a “hotel kind of performance.” Very average. Kara liked that he brought tempo tonight, though execution not perfect. Paula failed on a dumb joke--she gave Simon some crayons and coloring books because he was acting like a 6-year-old. {crickets chirping}

  • Megan - for once in my life - Ugh. her rehearsal sounded yucky. smokey said, “you are SO different!” (is that good or bad?) during her real performance she sounds off key and slightly behind the tempo to me. and, her dance skills are awful....which i guess is why she resorts to her shimmy shimmy move that i’m SO over. judges didn’t like it. basically said what i said--vocals were all over the place, too fast, horrible arrangement, etcetera, etcetera.

  • Anoop - ooh, baby, baby. i can’t imagine singing that song in front of smokey himself. smokey said Anoop did a beautiful job during the rehearsal. Perfect song for him...he sounds so soulful and smooth. paula made same comment i did about singing that in front of two legends (barry gordy was in audience with smokey); simon said it was great vocal, but that anoop looked like he was asleep while singing it. randy told him to bring the tempo back up next week.

  • Michael - ain’t too proud to beg - Smokey told michael not to “sweet talk” the song, and i think i know what he means...michael didn’t get down & dirty with the song...he needed to be more guttural. paula said it was "las vegas-y." simon couldn’t wait for it to end because he was screaming & shouting the song. randy said song was too big for him. Kara said he needs to bring artistry.

  • Lil - heatwave - sporting a 60’s bob hairstyle; uh-oh...smokey said she could sing the phonebook...he’s stealing paula’s line. her voice sounds great. she’s not changing it up any, but i think she’s doing fine and she looks like she’s having fun. randy didn’t love it. nor did kara. kara said that everyone was expecting this to be Lil’s week. (why, because she’s black?! ~kidding!) paula disagreed. she thought it felt fresh because of Lil’s vocals. what does simon have to say? he thought it was an authentic tribute to the sound of motown, however, it was the wrong song and didn’t give her “a moment.” He reminded us that she’s one of the best singers and he’s waiting for her to blow everyone away.

  • Adam - tracks of my tears - smokey said he’s never heard it done like adam’s doing it. said it was tender, sweet and soft. OHMYGOD. LOOK at the Elvis ‘do!! This transformation is amazing--Adam looks so handsome!




    I loved Adam's rendition of this song. Nicely done. he’s got quite a falsetto. smokey gave him a standing O. kara said she had 6 words for adam: “one of the best performances of...the...night.” (okay, so she can’t count). simon said it was THE best performance of the night. he said adam has emerged as a star. and he got a “da bomb” from randy. fantastic! i watched it 3 times.

  • Danny - get ready - danny’s got the right voice for this, and he could’ve done michael’s song too--he’s more throaty. love it! at times he even sounds just a little like levi stubbs. awesome!! paula loved it. simon thought it was clumsy and amateurish. randy said danny reminds him of the great levi stubbs. (hello?! didn’t i already say that?) randy and kara said it wasn’t his best performance, but they liked it. not sure what simon’s problem is....

  • Allison - papa was a rolling stone - i think this’ll be great for her. she’s also got the throaty voice and could’ve done michael’s song. yep, the song was perfect for her. she did great. randy/kara loved it. simon drew a moustache on paula’s face--we don’t know why. simon said allison's a survivor and said tonight was one of the best performances she’s ever done.


hard to rate this week, but here’s how I’d do it:

10. Megan
9. Scott
8. Michael
7. Kris
6. Lil
5. Matt
4. Danny
3. Anoop
2. Allison
1. Adam

ooh! joss stone’s going to be on tomorrow! can't wait!

3.22.2009

Paul Rudd: I Love You, Man!

Deb and I saw I Love You, Man today, and literally laughed til we cried. I've had a major crush on Paul Rudd ever since Clueless and it grew even more today. He is so cute and goofy and funny. Deb and I noticed that there were times it seemed she and I were the only ones laughing, and we're not sure why. And it wasn't just that we were chuckling at the scene--we were really cracking up. I figure we're just more evolved than everyone else in the theater, or maybe we were just in a goofy mood.

The movie is about Paul Rudd's character trying to make some male friends so he'll be able to contribute to the bridal party when he and his fiancé, played by Rashida Jones, get married. He meets Jason Segel and the two of them really hit it off and develop quite the Bromance. Rashida Jones is beautiful, and Jason Segel is really great in the movie too, but the biggest laughs came from Paul Rudd. I just love him.

********

I guess NCAA tournaments caused CBS to run late this evening, so instead of recording The Amazing Race, I ended up with most of 60 Minutes. Good thing. They did a story about Mr. Ayers and Mr. Lopez who will be featured in the movie The Soloist with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jamie Foxx. What a wonderful story. Mr. Lopez, a columnist, found Mr. Ayers, a homeless man, playing beautiful classical music on the streets of Los Angeles. Mr. Ayers is homeless and paranoid-schizophrenic and he plays the music not for money, but to keep the demons out of his head. The gentlemen refer to each other as Mister so-and-so, so 60 Minutes did the same. The two developed a friendship and Mr. Lopez began writing articles (and later, a book) about Mr. Ayers--his talent, background, homelessness, etc. I read one of Mr. Lopez' beautiful articles about Mr. Ayers' first visit to see the L.A. Philharmonic. I'll definitely be going back to read more. What an amazing story. I can't wait to see it played out on screen. And, I'll just have to catch Amazing Race later. (I think they re-play it on the Travel channel.)

3.18.2009

"Results that may shock you!"

That's how Ryan Seacrest started off tonight's elimination show. It's going to be a shocker, huh? Did Adam wind up in the bottom? Will the judges save him?

OK, here are the judges. Why is Randy wearing a lady's scarf tonight? Steven Tyler can pull that off. Randy can't. Kara's got her hair pulled up. Paula used a flat iron, and Simon's wearing the white tee tonight.

As they're running through the recap from last night, I'd like to report that someone posted on a comment board that Kris is just another David Archuleta. Um. Nooooooo.... Kris has personality. (Nope, I still don't like David Archuleta.) Also, Entertainment Weekly has an Idol prediction game going on, if you're interested. In addition to predicting who will be voted off, you get to answer bonus questions, like, "In the recap, will they show a clip of Paula standing and dancing?") By the way, yes, she was standing and dancing during Matt's performance. I got that one right!

Here comes the group sing. They put Scott at the piano tonight so he doesn't have to deal with choreography like he did last week. I hate whatever it is they're singing. Yuck. My friend Valerie pointed out that they seemed to be lip-synching. Plus, at the end, you could still hear the piano, but Scott wasn't sitting there anymore! Bad performance tonight, gang.

Now here's the new Ford commercial--featuring a water balloon fight! I definitely need to know if a car can withstand water balloons before I'd ever consider buying it!

Hmm, this is new. They had a going-away party for Jasmine and Jorge last week. Maybe they always do this, but it's the first time AI has shown clips from it. There didn't seem to be a dry eye in the place.

Time for time-wasting chit chat. Alexis is finding that saying goodbye to performers who leave is harder than she thought it'd be. Oh jeez. Since he's away, Roughneck Michael's daughter asked him why she doesn't want to be with him anymore. Awww.... Well, chances are he'll be seeing her real soon.

Let's get down to the elimination. Danny and Lil are safe. Anoop's safe! Yay! Now Allison and Michael are asked to stand. Paula thinks Allison will be in the bottom three. She was right. Michael is ALSO in the bottom three. What a trick! Michael sat back down, but Ryan pulled him up. Between these two, Allison should be safe--she's a MUCH better singer than he.

Performance from Opry member Brad Paisley. Beep-beep beep-beep beep-beep. (That's me fast forwarding on Tivo.) (Before I FF'd, I noticed that Brad has really long eyelashes.)

Aw dang. Scott is safe. I lose a point on the EW prediction game. I thought he'd be voted off. Megan is safe. Matt.....is safe. Next on the couch are Kris, Alexis & Adam. Kris is in the Top 10. It's down to Alexis and Adam....I think Adam's going to be in the bottom three. I think he pissed off country fans. Simon commented that Adam's performance was even worse when he watched the second time--absolutely dreadful. Could this be the shocking news? Randy suspects that Allison will be in the bottom three. Um, she already is. He meant Alexis. And, Randy was right. Alexis is in the bottom three. Allison clearly does not belong in this grouping. And thankfully, Ryan tells her she's safe.

Please, please, please let Michael be the one who's out. But, we won't know until after Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis perform.

After commercial they did a little montage about Carrie Underwood. She certainly has come a LONG way since her Idol days. Good for her. I can't tell if she cut her hair, of it it's just pulled up and under--it looks like a bob. OK, I think (hope) it's just tucked under. Whatever the case, it makes her look 15 years older.

   


She and Randy Travis are singing "I Told You So" for the first time live on stage. It's a nice song. (I have a hard time admitting when I kinda like a country song, okay?)

After the performance, Ryan asks the judges if they would save Michael or Alexis if voted off. Simon said that there's one they'd consider saving. PLEASE let it be Alexis!

Turns out Michael's safe. Ugh. Alexis' future is now in the judges' hands. Thankfully, Simon says she's the one they were thinking about saving. Her performance tonight will be the deciding factor. She's singing for her life. Uh-oh...I heard some pitchiness..... The judges are huddling together. What pressure for her to see them in that huddle and have to sing like this. They don't even seem to be paying any attention to her. Oh no...her voice cracked a couple times--it doesn't sound good.

And...the news is that her performance was good, but it wasn't good enough. Collective "aw" from the audience. Alexis was gracious; she thanked the judges and said she wished she'd done better.

This is really going to screw with my pool--I had her going along a lot further. And, in response to Ryan's claim that this would shock me? Uh, no. I'm not shocked, just disappointed.

Next week AI will be on Wednesday & Thursday for Motown week. President Obama will be on Tuesday night. I LOVE Motown (which is celebrating it's 50th anniversary), but don't understand why they do Motown week and at the same time criticize the contestants for not being current.

That's all folks.

3.17.2009

Country night at AI

I usually hate "country" night, but tonight wasn't too, too bad. I didn't hate any performance, but if I had to rate them, I'd say that my top 3 were:

Anoop, Danny, Kris, Matt (Okay, I know I said top 3, but I just watched Matt and he deserves to be in the top.)

I hate that Adam's not in the top, but I just didn't like that version of Ring of Fire. But, I wouldn't put him in the bottom either.

My bottom three are:
Scott, Michael (I originally thought he did okay, but compared to everyone else.....), and Alexis (I hate to put her in the bottom because I really like her, but again, compared to everyone else...)

Simon cracked me up tonight calling Lil "Little." Several times. I also laughed at Randy Travis' speechless reaction to Adam--his song, and his black nail polish. He really just didn't know what to say.

I didn't think Lil deserved all the criticism--I thought she sounded great. Also, I was concerned when Megan cracked on her high notes, but then when they explained that she has the flu and had been at the hospital, I had to give her props because except for those two notes, she sounded and looked really good.

Thoughts?

3.11.2009

Shaking things up at AI

Ryan Seacrest announced tonight that in response to America's dismay at the dismissal of greats such as Tamyra Gray and Chris Doughtry before they deserved to go in previous seasons, the judges will now be given to save a contestant if they unanimously agree. This save can be used once between now and when they're down to the top 5 contestants. (This trick wouldn't have helped Tamrya--if I remember correctly, she was 4th.)

So, there was a lot going on tonight. Jasmine and Megan were the first bottom two. Megan was safe. Ryan asked Jasmine to sing again. When she was done, the judges announced they would not be saving her.

Next, Anoop and Jorge were the next bottom two. Anoop was safe, Jorge sang, Simon said no, they won't be saving him. Kind of coldly, actually. I felt bad for Jorge--he seems like a nice kid. (I sort of felt bad for Jasmine too, because who wants to be the first to go? Still, I guessed correctly that she would be going home, so I wasn't surprised.)

I like the idea of this rule, but hope the judges use this new power wisely. For example, if America ever gets complacent and doesn't vote for Danny because they think he's got it in the bag, and then he winds up in the bottom, then by all means, the judges must save him! They must save Danny, Adam, Allison, Lil, Alexis and Matt. Everyone else can go when it's their time.

Kanye West performed tonight. With his attitude, I'm surprised he did American Idol--I figured he'd think it beneath him. Then again, considering the Nielsen numbers on the show, OF COURSE he did it.

Kelly Clarkson also performed--it was great to see her. I'm curious to hear her new album--she said it's a little of this, a little of that.

See you AI fans next week!

The Danny and Adam show

We're finally to the official start of the American Idol competition. Last week, the judges decided to throw Matt AND Anoop into the top rankings, so this week we had the Top 13 instead of the usual Top 12. Nobody completely stunk last night, which is good, but Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert out-shined the rest by a mile. The theme of the night was Michael Jackson. Danny did Pretty Young Thing, and Adam did Black & White. Both performances were fantastic. I can't decide which I liked best, so they're tied for first with me. As for the other performances, here's how I'd rank them:

13. Megan - she's a beautiful girl and I sometimes like her voice, but I find her dance moves distracting and annoying. She just seems awkward on stage, and I can't see her performing in front of large crowds.

12. Jasmine - she has a lovely voice, but no personality whatsoever. I thought her performance was boring.

By the way, I don't remember what everyone sang--I should've written it down.

11. Scott McIntyre - again, lovely voice, just a little dull.

10. Anoop - I've been a big fan of Anoop's but agree with the judges that "Beat It" was just the wrong song choice. I think people like him though, so he'll probably make it through.

9. Michael Sarver, the oil roughneck - he was fine, just middle of the road for me.

8. Jorge - I think the judges were harder on him than he deserved. I thought he sounded really good. The judges said the song was too old fashioned. (Dang, I forget what song it was...oh! I think it was "Never Can Say Goodbye.")

7. Kris Allen - Kris came out with his guitar and did a good job, but he's kind of forgettable.

The next six, as far as I'm concerned make up the true competition:

6. Alexis - she did "Dirty Diana," and I thought she was great. The judges said she over sang in some parts, but I didn't see that. Simon told her it was over the top, and that was a negative thing. Earlier, he'd told Adam that he sang over the top, but was comfortable with it, and that's what you need for Michael Jackson songs. Make up your mind Simon! (Maybe he didn't think Alexis was comfortable?)

5. Lil Rounds - judges gave her performance high praise, but Simon said he hated her outfit. I think it was the pants. In any case, I really like Lil and she started the show off with a bang.

4. Matt - the piano bar guy--I really like him too, and it was nice to see him at the piano. He sang "Human Nature" and did a fine job.

3. Allison with the magenta hair -- she's amazing! A friend mentioned that Allison reminds her of Pink. I'd agree with that, and I love Pink!

1. Danny Gokey - as mentioned, did a fantastic job with "Pretty Young Thing." He's a great performer and I just love his voice. I rewound and watched this two more times.

1. Adam Lambert - also watched Adam's performance three times. He's dynamic and exciting to watch. AND, I guess from his music theater days, he enunciates very well and you could actually understand the lyrics, which isn't always true when Michael Jackson's singing.

Tonight two people will be going home--I predict Jasmine and maybe Anoop, but I hope not. There's also supposed to be some shake up having to do with the judges. Oh the suspense!

Check out Lisa de Moraes for more details of last night's show.

3.10.2009

I've been doing some reading.

Leave the Building Quickly: True Stories Leave the Building Quickly: True Stories by Cynthia Kaplan

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Finished "Leave the Building Quickly" by Cynthia Kaplan today. I read it over the last, hmm, four or five days. Some of the essays here are funny, but I didn't enjoy this collection as much as her first collection "Why I'm Like This." Many of the essays meandered, with no apparent focus or purpose. They read almost like a stream of consciousness. I'd say skip this one, but definitely read "Why I'm Like This."

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

rating: 1 of 5 stars
It seems people either love or hate this book. Count me among those who hated it. I found it tedious to read; didn't care for the Spanish/Spanglish that wasn't always explained in context, nor for the slang and constant use of the N word. I also didn't care for the extensive footnotes about the history of the Dominican Republic. I was determined to finish this book in case I came across the a-ha moment that revealed why people love it so much, but it ever came.

3.06.2009

My newscast can beat up your newscast

I don't know if everyone's like me or not (somehow, I doubt it), but when I'm at home, I have a favorite news channel that I always watch...6am, 6pm, and 11pm most days. For me, it's NBC's local broadcast. So, when I go out of town and watch the news, it just seems so...inferior. Even when I watch the other local channels, I feel that way. If I watch ABC or CBS here at home, I actually feel like I'm in another town.

I just got back from a trip to New Orleans, where I watched a bit of the NBC and ABC local news. Both broadcasts were pretty bad (in my opinion, of course). I've been trying to figure out if the shows truly are inferior, or if it's just that I'm so used to my broadcast, that I can't accept anything else.

Let's see what you think.

On ABC, they had the Wheel of Justice, where they placed the pictures of four wanted criminals onto a wheel. A police officer spun the wheel, and the "winner" had all the details of his crime described on TV. One of the criminals shot his ex's new boyfriend, and another stole a plasma TV from a store. Should they be on the same wheel?! As my sister pointed out, crime is not a game! The production value reminded me of those shows where they draw lottery numbers. Lucky you, I found a clip of the whole thing. Note that in the beginning, the newscaster comments on the success of the Mardis Gras season this year. Yeah, except for the seven people that were shot, but whatever. Okay, here we go:



Is that whole production really necessary? Bizarre.

Over on NBC? They had a reporter? Who read the news with a question? At the end of each sentence? They kept replaying his story? About the city council spending too much money on travel? And each time I heard it? I promptly changed the channel?

Check this out (the reporter, Travers Mackel, really gets going around 1:25 into the video. I can't even watch the whole clip--I can't stand it, so I don't expect you to watch the whole thing either!):

Travers Mackel? On the City Council?

Now, on MY newscast, the anchor people have a genuine rapport with each other. And they should...they've been working togther for 20 years. Of course they get along. But, without that rapport, I don't think this could happen: (I've posted this before, but it's still great):