Let's see who the Top 9 are

Tonight's Idol elimination show starts off with a ridiculous tie-in to a Clash of the Titans* movie preview. Why???

Let's see how much I'll fast forward through tonight. I fast forwarded through all the introductions and listened to Ruben Studdard sing. I think he's slimmed down a bit. In fact, his suit looked two sizes too big. And I just love his smile and dimples. He sounds good, too. Wow--they said he was on SEVEN years ago. Ryan commented on his weight loss and he said he's a vegan now. Is that what I need to do?? Anyway, Ruben's touring with Clay Aiken this summer too.

It just dawned on me that there was no group sing. Are the producers actually listening to the critics??

FF'ing through the Ford music video. (Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting....)

Big Mike is wearing a pink hair extension on the back of his bald head. Why? Don't know.

More FF'ing through the kids' attendance to the Clash of the Titans premiere.

Now we get to the nitty-gritty.

Lee, Casey, Aaron, and Siobhan are safe.

Katie is not.

Usher performs. Love watching him dance. His singing I can take or leave. Will.i.am came out too.

Didi's also in the bottom three. (No surprise.) Tim was sitting right next to Didi, but instead of going to him next, Ryan went to Big Mike. I suspect Tim's also in the bottom three. Yep. Mike and Andrew are safe. Tim's in the bottom three.

Ryan brings back one person--Katie is safe.

Diddy performs for the first time on the Idol stage! (I'm not that excited about it, but Ryan was.) Good performance. I like watching Diddy dance too.

We find out that Tim is safe and Didi is in danger of going home tonight--she'll have a chance to sing for her life. I don't think the judges will waste a save on her. She's singing Fleetwood Mac's Rhiannon. And she's still not singing it well. I feel kinda bad for her--it'd be hard to sing after learning you had the fewest amount of votes. I think instead of singing, she should be in ads modeling mascara and eye makeup. Her eyes are so pretty.

Simon says they're not going to save her, and commended her for sounding much better than last night. The Idolettes say goodbye to Didi.

I need to go check my pool now. I think I had her to go this week, but I don't remember.

*Oh, about Clash of the Titans. I saw the original cheesy movie during a pool party at school in 7th or 8th grade. I remember thinking it was so cool to watch a movie while sitting in an inner tube! The movie was SO bad though....


The Top 10 sing Soul and R&B

I'm watching late (it's 11:15pm) because I was caught up in The Biggest Loser this evening. (That daggone Melissa is back. Damn.) Since it's late, this will be semi-short & sweet. I'll post a link to the Post's more extensive round up tomorrow.

Here we go. Usher is the mentor this week. Hopefully he can teach some of these people stage presence. We'll see.

Siobhan - "Through the Fire" by Chaka Khan. Uh-oh...she's off tonight. Not the right song choice; her voice isn't quite strong enough for the song. First time I didn't love her. The judges talked for what seemed like forever, only to echo what I said.

Casey - "Hold On, I'm Coming" by Sam & Dave. Did he forget the words?!?!?!?!?! I think so. Oh man. That's a shame, because until then, he was doing well. He does great with the blues. Hmm...no one said anything about missed lyrics...maybe I was wrong. Simon even said it was his best yet.

Mike - "Ready for Love" by India.Arie. Ooohh--Usher *is* talking about stage presence and how to project to the audience. Mike's sitting on a stool tonight, so no crazy dance moves. He did a nice job. Judges agreed.

Didi - I'm already cringing before I even hear what she's singing. Then she says she's singing "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" by Jimmy Ruffin. Then she sang for Usher (badly), and then she started crying! Say what?! Apparently, the song moves her. I hate this performance. There's no SOUL in the song--it sounds like a Lawrence Welk version. The judges panned her. She needs to hear Joan Osborne doing it:

Note: If you haven't seen it, PLEASE rent Standing in the Shadows of Motown. Performance of this song by Joan Osborne and the Funk Brothers was my favorite part of the movie.

Tim - "Sweet Love" by Anita Baker. Usher's a good mentor--he's giving good, useful advice. He told Tim to imagine a woman he loves standing right in front of him as he sings, so that the song will come off as believable. Let's see if he can pull it off. Tim's voice is good, but Broadway-ee. He'd be perfect as Marius in Les Misérables.

Andrew - "Forever" by Chris Brown. FINALLY. A great performance from Andrew! Best since that fantastic "Straight Up" he did during Hollywood week. I loved his acoustic version. The judges approved too.

Katie - here I am cringing again. Okay, she's singing, "Chain of Fools" by Aretha Franklin. I'll keep an open mind.... She's much better this week than last. Probably her best all season, but I still can't say I'm wowed.

Lee - I wish Lee would either shave his chin, or grow a full goatee. Anyway, he's singing, "Treat Her Like a Lady" by the Cornelius Brothers. He sounds awesome and he seems so much more confident tonight. Love it! He was on it tonight!

Crystal - no guitar tonight, and stiletto heels. AND piano! She's doing "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight & the Pips. I love it as soon as she sings the start: "L.A." WOO-HOO!!!!!!!! I absolutely loved it!

Aaron - "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" by Bill Withers. He did a good job, but I have a hard time with him being so young singing lyrics so beyond his years. It was decent.

My breakdown:

10. Didi
9. Tim
8. Siobhan
7. Aaron
6. Katie
5. Casey
4. Mike
3. Andrew
2. Lee
1. Crystal

Until tomorrow....


Gotta love it

I was browsing through my site stats, and just noticed that someone landed on my site when they Googled, "yo, man, yo, wow. uh, really? honestly?...i don't know, i don't even know, i mean, i, whoa." Too funny!

(This was part of Randy's critique of Paige the other night on Idol.)


Your Top 10, America!

The goings-on in tonight's elimination show aren't even worth covering (Miley Cyrus performed and then one of the Jonas bros, and some girl sang--he sounded fine, she was terrible). I fast-forwarded through most of the show. All we need to know is that Paige is gone. Simon even saved her the trouble of singing in hopes of being saved by the judges. He basically said there's no way in hell that was going to happen, so why bother. (Okay, so I'm paraphrasing.)

Meanwhile, here are the Top 10:

Starting at the top, L-R: Aaron, Andrew, Crystal, Didi, Katie, Lee, Michael, Siobhan, Tim, Casey


Yay--I found a great book!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was quickly drawn in by this book and really loved it. It's so charming and witty, and even touching at times. I didn't want it to end. I was reading on the train when I read a certain section that tugged at my heart. It was such a sweet moment and who knows what kind of blubbering mess I would've been if I'd been in the privacy of my home. It's the story of a writer who receives a letter from a stranger who found her name and address in a book he purchased. She begins corresponding regularly with the gentleman and is intrigued by his stories about the German Occupation of Guernsey Island, his home, during WWII. Soon, she is exchanging letters with others in his community as well. The story is told through these letters, which makes it feel so personal. I really felt like I knew these people and I didn't want the story to end. I definitely recommend this one.

View all my reviews >>

Top 11 perform on Idol

Miley Cyrus is the "mentor" tonight. She's 17. I think there's only one contestant younger than her. Oh well. BUT....maybe this makes more sense than some of the old fogies mentoring them. Maybe they can relate to her better--at least they will have heard of her.

Let's get on with it. Tonight the contestants are singing Billboard #1's.

Lee comes out with a swinging version of "The Letter" by the Box Tops. I wasn't sure at first, but I liked it. He's trying to work on his stage presence this week, and I think there's been a huge improvement. Love his voice. Three out of four judges liked it a lot. Guess who didn't? Simon said it wasn't a "recordable song."

Paige - "Against All Odds" by Phil Collins. (Hey! I just saw him on the news last night--Genesis was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.) No. Not good. (That was based on the first couple of verses, and then it just got worse....yikes.) I MUST quote Randy tonight:
Uh...yo...man...yo, wow. Uhhh...really, honestly, I don't know if your voice is back or whatever's happening, but that was honestly terrible. It was terrible. Really. Honestly. It was really...and, I don't know...I-I-I don't even know. I mean...whoa. There was nothing about it that was great. There were pitches all over the place. Nothing came together, at all. I don't know. And I know you're probably better than that, so maybe you don't have your voice back or something, I don't know, man, but it was terrible.
Tim - "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen. Upon hearing that's what he's singing, I already think it's a bad song choice. Maybe he'll prove me wrong. Well, he sounds okay, and he did some sort of slide across the stage, so it was fine, but you can see he's trying really hard--he doesn't seem comfortable playing to the ladies in front. He sang much better than Paige, though. Randy said the "dopest thing you did was the slide, man." Ellen said it was corny & pushed too hard. Simon said it was pointless and silly. And, he's surprised it was a #1 record in the first place.

Aaron - admits he has a crush on Miley. She's only about 5 inches taller than him. Cute. Anyway, he's singing, "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith. I think he did a good job tonight--best he's done so far, IMO. (Thus far, I haven't been much of a fan.) He sang through laryngitis & tonsillitis, so, good for him. Kara thought it was the best song choice of the night (so far). Ha! Ryan said, "If you want to vote for David Archuleta, here...."

Crystal - "Me and Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin. Loved it!!! Love her. And she looks great tonight. I had to rewind and watch again before hearing the judges. Ellen & Kara told her to "let go" a little more, and Simon comes along and says, "I wouldn't change a thing."

Mike - "When a Man Loves a Woman" by Percy Sledge. Nice job. But, Simon said it was just too much--like you wanted one scoop of ice cream and got 11 scoops.

Andrew - "I Heard It through the Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye. Uh-oh. He forgot the lyrics while singing to Miley. Oops. Miley suggested he perform without the guitar--I think that was a mistake. He didn't know what to do with his arm. His vocals were okay, but I didn't love it. He peaked during auditions and still hasn't measured up to that. I'm so sad.... Judges didn't like it. Kara said the motions with his hands looked like he was a puppet.

Katie - "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie. Judging from her trial with Miley, this isn't going to be great. It's not. Her voice during the first verse was okay, but when she got to the chorus, no me gusta. There's something about her voice that's grating. Kind of like Shakira. Like fingernails on a chalkboard, to me. The judges liked it. Simon still thinks she should try country.

Casey - "The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis & the News. Hmm...that's an odd choice. He sounds great though! Again...3 out of 4 judges liked it. Kara said he's ready to make an album, but Simon said it was like listening to an 80's cover band.

Didi - "You're No Good" by Linda Ronstadt*. I find it interesting that a singer/musician can have no rhythm. Shouldn't a guitar/piano player be able to find the beat? Anyway, Didi is good in moments, then really off key in others. She has a hard time with consistency. (Kind of like my bowling game.) Randy said she never had the pitch right. Ellen didn't like the song choice. Kara felt she was playing a character. And, Simon says, "there's a certain irony in your screeching out 'you're no good, you're no good, you're no good,' over and over again." (ha!)

Siobhan - "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder. This wasn't my favorite of hers, but I still liked it. Ellen & Randy loved it. Kara did too, I guess, but Simon thinks she needs to change it up a bit.

If I had to rate tonight's performances:

11. Paige
10. Didi
9. Tim
8. Katie
7. Andrew
6. Mike (in the playback at the end, this didn't sound good)
5. Aaron
4. Casey
3. Siobhan
2. Lee
1. Crystal


BTW, Miley did a good job--she gave some good constructive criticism.

*This song SO reminds me of a little girl I used to babysit. She wasn't allowed to watch TV, but we were allowed to listen to her parents' albums. Linda Ronstadt's Greatest Hits was her favorite. She was four at the time. I wonder where she is now--probably in med school somewhere. (We were playing with Legos one time, and she asked me to hand her the "transparent" one. She was four! I was 16, and I would've called it "clear.")

Good news, bad news

Good news: Laura Linney's going to be in a series on Showtime called The Big "C". She's one of my favorite actresses. Bonus: Oliver Platt's in it too. Love him!

Bad news: I read that Miley Cyrus is the "mentor" on Idol tonight. Really, Idol? Really?? Did any of the Idol producers hear her in this?


Results night on AI

Typical banter, typical torture of the contestants.

David Cook!

Yadda, yadda, yadda...

Some singer I wasn't familiar with and fast-forwarded through.

Bottom three = Paige, Tim, and Lacey. But Tim is safe and sent back to sit with the rest of the contestants.

Blah, blah, blah...here comes Ke$ha.

And finally, Ryan announces that Lacey received the fewest votes. She sings (badly) "for her life," and the judges opt not to use their one save for her, so Lacey go bye-bye.

Good news for my pool! I had her to go this week or next. (We do two predictions in the pool--first, the order in which America will vote people off, and second, how you'd like it to go if it were all up to you. I had Lacey to go on America's chart.)


The Main Event

Well, that's what Ryan Seacrest called it--tonight's the night the Top 12 perform on AI. Sorry I missed posting last week--I was out Monday and Tuesday nights, and it just threw off my whole week.

So, here we are. The big stage, bigger audience, the judges were introduced on stage instead of in their seats. I'm doing another pool this year, so I need to work on my "bracket," so-to-speak. Based on tonight's performances my pool-mates and I will rank the contestants in the order we think they will be eliminated, all the way to who we think will win.

Tonight's theme is: The Rolling Stones.

"Big Mike" Lynch is up first, doing "Miss You" (Whatsa matter wit'chu boyyyy...my favorite line. Mike didn't do it though.) He did a good job tonight...the arrangement had a Stevie Wonder feel to it. The judges liked it. Simon thought his dancing was corny, but that he sang it well. He thought the performance was a tiny bit desperate at times.

Didi Benami, - "Play with Fire." Man, she really reminds me of Brooke White from Season 7--she's a better singer though. She sounded good tonight. Judges liked it. Simon said it was solid, but not brilliant.

Casey James - "It's All Over Now." This is my favorite performance of his so far. He had his electric guitar and seemed really comfortable on stage. He reminded me of Jonny Lang. He did great! Wait, what's this? Randy said, "I think you could make a great career like this in the wake of the Kenny Wayne Shepherds, the Jonny Langs." Say what?! Randy's reading my mind. (That reminds me...I need to do a different post about Kenny Wayne Shepherd.) Kara liked the blues and soul...she said it's his best performance. Simon disagreed and said it was like an audition performance, and not incredible, like it should be at this point.

Lacey Brown - "Ruby Tuesday." She was a little "wobbly" in the beginning, but did well with the chorus. The last note was a bit weak too. She had a string quartet that was nice. Randy was "pleasantly surprised." Ellen liked it. Kara thinks she can do better. Simon said she performs like an actress, and that she's over-thinking her performance, but there was nothing wrong with the vocals.

Andrew Garcia - "Gimme Shelter." He sounded good tonight, but I missed seeing him with his guitar. I think he did better than the last two weeks. Randy thought it was pitchy everywhere. Ellen, on the other hand, thought it was his best performance yet. Kara didn't "feel" the meaning of the song--she didn't think he connected with it. She wanted more intensity. Simon thought he gave it 100%, but that something didn't connect. He liked that Andrew tried something different.

Katie Stevens - "Wild Horses." She chose this song because it "spoke to her." The beginning of the song seemed to low for her, but she let go when she got to the chorus and sounded pretty good....maybe a little off from time to time. Randy thought she sang it well, and also mentioned some "pitch moments" that she corrected. Ellen thought she sounded great once she got into it. Kara liked her variations on the melody. Better than last week. Simon said it's the only week where she's chosen a strong song. Turns out he recorded it with Susan Boyle....interesting. Anyway, he told her, "well done."

Tim Urban - "Under My Thumb." Before he takes the stage, we learn that he grew up in a family with 2 parents, 10 kids and ONE SHOWER. Wow. He's got the reggae beat goin' on. The audience doesn't seem to know what to do with the beat and their clapping is all off beat--it's very annoying. He's got a nice voice, but he didn't blow me away. Randy thought it was weird, didn't like the reggae. Ellen said he didn't wow her. Kara applauded the arrangement. Simon applauded him for doing something different, but said it didn't work.

Siobhan Magnus - "Paint It Black." The judges have been complaining all night that the kids weren't using the stage. Not so with Siobhan. She even came out on stairs. I love her. She's so quirky, and sounded great tonight. Randy said, "bringing the drama to season 9--that was hot!" Kara said she's had the best interpretation tonight. Simon said it was the standout performance of the night.

Lee Dewyze - "Beast of Burden." Nice performance--I like his voice a lot. Randy thought it was DOPE. New word for Randy this season! Ellen liked it but said she expected a little more. Kara commended his tremendous growth. Simon thinks his personality doesn't shine, but he has an incredibly great voice. Simon wants to see him have "a moment" on this stage.

Jeez Louise--they just showed a commercial for Glee. It doesn't come back until April 13! I want my Glee now!!!

Next up, Paige Miles - "Honky Tonk Women." I hate to say it, but I don't have much hope for this. Maybe she'll prove me wrong. Eh. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, but I didn't love it. I don't really care for her voice. Randy liked it. Ellen thought she sounded great. Apparently she was having issues with her voice this week...Ellen and Kara commended her for singing her big notes. She has laryngitis. Knowing that, she did sing pretty well. Simon said it was good, but he didn't love the song choice.

Aaron Kelly - "Angie." Nah, it's not working for me, dog. He sang it fine, but I think his voice is too young for the song....you can't hear pain and regret like you do in the original. Randy liked it. Ellen asked if he's trying to do his hair like hers. They do look exactly the same. Ellen loved it. Kara loved it. Simon said he chose the absolute right song. Simon thought it was one of his best performances so far. I'm totally off on this one, I guess.

Crystal Bowersox - "You Can't Always Get What You Want." She's my favorite, hands down. She was great tonight! Randy didn't think it was her best performance, but he loves her. Ellen liked that her personality came out tonight. Simon thought it was the first time she was beaten by someone else (Siobhan) since the competition began.

Alrighty. That's it. We'll see what happens tomorrow. I have to think about my rankings. For tonight, Lacey and Paige were my least favorites, Crystal, Siobhan, and Casey were my faves.


My Oscar picks (and winners)

I'm finding it difficult to make picks this year because I'm not passionate about any particular movie this year. The movie I was most excited about this year, (500) Days of Summer, didn't get any nominations, so I was disappointed about that.

That being said, following is who or what I'd like to win (marked "Val") vs. what I think will win. Movies in bold are those I saw. [Updated just after midnight to show the winners in red.]

Best Actor
  • Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart - Val, will win
  • George Clooney in Up in the Air
  • Colin Firth in A Single Man
  • Morgan Freeman in Invictus
  • Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker
Best Supporting Actor
  • Matt Damon in Invictus
  • Woody Harrelson in The Messenger
  • Christopher Plummer in The Last Station
  • Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones
  • Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds - Val, will win [Even though I didn't see any of the other nominees, I'd say this is probably the best-deserved nomination this year. Not just for Supporting Actor, but overall. This guy was incredible in this movie.]
Best Actress
  • Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side (This was the biggest surprise of the night to me. I loved her acceptance speech and she looked beautiful.)
  • Helen Mirren in The Last Station
  • Carey Mulligan in An Education
  • Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire - Val
  • Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia - will win
Best Supporting Actress
  • Penélope Cruz in Nine
  • Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal in Crazy Heart
  • Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air
  • Mo’Nique in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire - Val, will win
Best Director
  • James Cameron, Avatar - will win
  • Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker (First time a woman won!! Woo-hoo!)
  • Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
  • Lee Daniels, Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
  • Jason Reitman, Up in the Air - Val
Best Picture
  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • The Hurt Locker - will win
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire*
  • A Serious Man
  • Up
  • Up in the Air - Val
* I didn't list out the Best Original/Adapted Screenplay lists, but I suspect Precious has a good chance of winning Best Adapted Screenplay. [I was right!]

We'll see how it goes in just a few hours. I'm excited to see how Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin do as hosts--I think they'll be great.

Update - 12:10 a.m.

It was a pretty good show. I loved the performance by the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers to showcase the nominations for Best Original Score. (Up won, by the way. I might have to get that soundtrack--the music just makes me happy.) Did you notice Russell, last years' SYTYCD winner, dancing with them? My sister spotted some other SYTYCD dancers in the opener with Neil Patrick Harris. I wasn't paying that much attention, so I'll have to go back and watch.

Steve and Alec did a good job. Some jokes were bad, some were really good--I suppose that's to be expected.

I LOVED the tribute they did to John Hughes. It brought me back to high school.

I also like the thing they started last year where colleagues/friends introduce the nominees for Best Actor and Best Actress--it's nice to hear little anecdotes about these Hollywood folks.

At some point, Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper were on stage to present something. Haven't they both been tied to Jennifer Aniston recently? AWK-ward!

I think Avatar won the appropriate awards: Art Direction, Cinematography, and Visual Effects.

OK, I think that's it. Talk amongst yourselves...


A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

A Reliable Wife My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I was very disappointed in this book. I bought it because the reviews on the back cover were appealing. The very first one says, "A thrilling, juicy read...a real page-turner." Umm...not quite. In fact, I found the language to be quite slow, boring and repetitive. The book is about the miserable lives of three main characters. They have no redeeming qualities and any misfortune that comes to them, they bring on themselves.

The premise was interesting: a rich, lonely, older man puts an ad in the paper for a wife in the early 1900s. The young woman he chooses wrote that she's a "simple woman," which is what he wanted. The woman actually came with ulterior motives--to marry him, poison him slowly until he dies, and then inherit all his money. The man has plans of his own. The third character comes onto the scene about halfway through. He's not even worth mentioning.

The execution of all this was terrible. In the midst of this dark tale is a semi-erotic novel full of sex that seemed out of place with the rest of the story. I love a good juicy, trashy novel, and don't mind sex in a book at all, but you've got to have a good story to go with it, and this just didn't work for me.


Results night on American Idol

The group song was I Gotta Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas. They sang pretty well as a group, but they need to work on the choreography and stage maneuverings. It was kinda painful to watch the kid with the mullet.

The guys were the first to go: John Parks and Jermaine Sellers. Interesting that both sang so much better tonight than they did last night. I've seen that happen before--I think the pressure is off so they can go back to being themselves. I wish them luck.

Danny Gokey was back to perform his new single. He's gone the country route, which I'm sad about because I think he's a great R&B singer. Apparently Randy Travis approached him after the show and asked if Danny ever considered country music. He said that he had been influenced by it as a child, and decided to give it a try. In any case, it was good to see him. He looked and sounded good.

Time for the girls. First to go is Michelle--I was right about her. At the beginning of the show, Simon admitted that he had complimented someone the night before, but when he watched it back after the show, he had to turn off the TV. He wouldn't name names though. Then, Kara made a comment that she though Michelle would be in jeopardy because in watching the playback she realized she sang sharp the whole time and it really wasn't good. I suspect this is who Simon was talking about too, because he agreed with Kara. Let the record show that right off the bat I said she wasn't good. She wasn't good tonight either. America made the right decision.

The second girl to go was Haeley. I was wrong on my prediction--I thought it was going to be Lacey because I thought America would feel bad for Haeley and keep her around one more week. America got this one right too. Haeley just wasn't good last night. Oh gosh...Haeley sang even worse tonight because she was signing through tears. Poor thing.... Please just let it cut to commercial. Oh god....it was bad. I feel terrible for her. She's going to hate seeing this. Aw.

Alright, next week we're down to the top 8 guys and top 8 girls.


It's the girls' turn

Tonight the top 10 girls are performing on AI. First up is Crystal Bowersox doing CCR's Long as I Can See the Light. She was in the hospital this week but is feeling much better. She put a gospel spin on the song and showed why I like her so much. I loved it. So did the judges. Simon pointed out that it was at this point in the competition that they realized Kelly Clarkson was a serious artist, and he said he realizes tonight that Crystal is a really serious artist.

Haeley Vaughn is doing The Climb by Miley Cyrus. She says the lyrics mean a lot to her. She sounds a little off, and very young. Which she is, I guess, (she's 16) but this just isn't something I'd want to listen to. I can see little 10-year-olds loving it. Randy said it was excruciating. Ellen & Randy didn't feel she was connected to the song. And Simon said it was a complete and utter mess, and that there was an irony by her singing about The Climb, when she actually fell off. Ouch.

Lacey Brown - Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer. Last week Kara commented that Lacey should do a song like this, and mentioned this song specifically, because it's more Lacey's "vibe" than "Landslide" was. Kara was right on. She seems much more comfortable this week and sounds good. Randy didn't feel she brought anything to it. Ellen, on the other hand, thought it was the right song and that she sounded adorable. Kara thought it was a step in the right direction. Simon thought it was only marginally better than last week.

Katie Stevens - Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae. She sounded good, but not as good as the original. (Sorry--but Corinne Bailey Rae's album, er, CD, ha become one of my favorites.) Judges were eh, but Simon gave her a wink at the end.

DiDi Benami - Lean On Me by Bill Withers. Hmmm...shaky start and I think it's the wrong song choice. She should've done Lovely Day or something not so familiar. Randy said she shouldn't have chosen a deep-rooted soul song like that. Oh, and what's this? Ellen said, "I love Bill Withers. I wish it would've been "Lovely Day" or "Use Me." Thanks for validating me Ellen! Kara & Simon didn't like it either. Aw...I felt bad for her--she couldn't talk after getting the negative comments, I suspect because she would've really broken down. She had tears in her eyes. That has to be hard.

Michelle Delamor - With Arms Wide Open by Creed. Last week she did Alicia Keys, so this is a big change. Oh dear, it's not good. Her voice isn't big enough for the song. Her notes were off and all over the place. Kara said this was her favorite performance of Michelle's ever. Say what?! Well, Kara liked that she was real and believed in it, despite the technical problems. And Simon agreed. Really?! He said she got it 80% right.

Lilly Scott - A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke. I like her voice a lot, but am not sure this is the right song. She reminds me of Katie Melua*. Overall, I liked her performance. Randy said she worked it out. Ellen said she has "It." Ellen said it was the best performance of the night--disagree. I'd put Crystal first, then Lilly. Simon thought it was good, but wasn't crazy about it like the other judges, but he felt Crystal was better tonight. Hmm. I feel like that's been said before....

Katelyn Epperly - The Scientist by Coldplay. Just a girl and a piano. She did a really nice job tonight. It was great. Randy liked it. Ellen thought it was way too slow. Simon said her song was almost identical to Natasha Beddingfield's version of the song, but Katelyn said she wasn't familiar with that version. Simon said she gets a little corny when performing--I kinda agree with that. She stared into the camera too much. I'm not a Coldplay fan and wasn't familiar with this song, so I don't have anything to compare it to as far as the speed of the song...I thought she did a great job.

Paige Miles - Walk Away by Kelly Clarkson. I thought she was decent. I don't have strong feelings one way or the other about her performance. Randy thought it was just okay. Ellen loved it. Kara actually co-wrote that song and felt Paige didn't connect with it...she said Paige shouldn't have been smiling so much as she's telling the guy in the song to take a hike. Simon agreed with Randy--wrong song choice. Simon said the songs are overtaking her.


Siobhan (pronounced SHO-vahn) Magnus - Think by Aretha. She was GOOD! I like her voice a lot. Randy said it was DOPE! Ellen loved it too. Kara couldn't get over that high note. Simon said, "You're such a strange person." He meant it as a compliment. He can't figure her out. He said she's interesting and very, very talented. She's a cutie. (That's me saying that, not Simon.)

Alright folks. We'll see who goes tomorrow. I predict Lacey and Michelle, but what do I know?


*About Katie Melua. I discovered her when I went to Paris in, gosh, 2004, with my sister and friends. We flew on Iceland Air and they had a song playlist you could listen to by plugging your headphones into the armrest. The four songs I remember most were "I'm a Slave 4 U" by Britney Spears, "Take Me Out" by Franz Ferdinand, some French song that I loved, but have forgotten the name, and finally, "The Closest Thing to Crazy" by Katie Melua. I listened to that set over, and over, and over on the way to Paris and any time I hear any of these songs, I'm reminded of our trip. Fun times. I put the songs in the playlist under the clock in the right-hand column. I hope I wrote down the French song somewhere. I'll have to look.


American Idol top 10 guys

The Olympics are over. Time to comment on AI, but this will still be brief because I'm tired tonigth and want to get to bed early.

The guys sang tonight instead of the girls because my girl Crystal was sick and told not to perform tonight.

Big Mike started off with James Brown's This is a Man's World, and he was FANTASTIC! SO much better than last week's performance. Judges loved it.

John Park did Gravity by John Mayer. (I love this song. John Mayer, not so much after his comments to Playboy. Ugh.) John Park did okay with the song--he started out well, but then it got kinda shaky. Judges said he needed to bring more, but Kara pointed out it was way better than last week. Simon called it a "so what?" performance.

Casey James did Gavin Degraw's "I Don't Wanna Be." He sounded fine, but did the song just as it sounds on the radio. Kara's ga-ga over this guy. I don't see it. (He should at least wear his hair pulled back--his photo on the Idol website isn't too bad.) BUT, she didn't like tonight's performance because he didn't stand out. Interesting. Simon agreed with Kara.

Alex Lambert and his mini-mullet and plaid jacket did Everybody Knows by John Legend. His voice reminds me of Jason Mraz. He should've skipped the high note at the end but otherwise, it was good. Judges felt it was a huge improvement over last week. (Please note that Ellen also commented on his mullet.)

Todrick Hall did What's Love Got To Do with It by Tina Turner. I don't really have anything negative to say about his performance, but I just wasn't feeling it. He sang fine, but eh. Judges didn't care for it...Simon said he should stick with dancing.

Oy vey. Still five to go...

Jermaine Sellers - What's Going On by Marvin Gaye. This guy has enough self confidence to go around the world. Good for him--wish I had it. Still, his self-confidence gets on my nerves. I think he thinks he's much better than he actually is. His performance was better than last week in that he was on key most of the time, but I didn't really care for it. Judges didn't like it either.

I know what you're thinking: I thought this was going to be brief! Yeah, me too.


Andrew Garcia - You Give Me Something by James Morrison. I love this guy and am really pulling for him, but tonight's performance started off kinda weak. It got better toward the middle when he got a little more soulful. Randy said it wasn't the right vibe for him. I concur. Ellen pointed out that he set the bar so high with his "Straight Up" performance and he hasn't measured up since. I'm sorry to say I agree. Simon said it was not memorable.

Aaron Kelly - My Girl by The Temptations. This youngster reminds me of David Archuleta, but I like his singing better. Bad song choice though. This song needs the harmonies of the Temptations! Singing by himself, it just sounds flat. Plus, he's only 16--why's he singing this old song? Bad last note, too. Kara liked it a lot. The others were lukewarm. Simon said it was too old-fashioned. Yep, Simon agreed with me.

Tim Urban - I'll call him Shaggy D.A. - "Come on Get Higher" by Matt Nathanson. Good song choice for him, and he sang well, but he didn't stand out. Randy called it karaoke. Ellen didn't think singing was his strong point. Kara also liked the song choice, but, he didn't make it his own. Simon said it was a marked improvement over last week and thought it was more relevant than others tonight.

Lee Dewyze - Lips of an Angel by Hinder. I really love this guy's raspy voice a lot. He did a great job tonight. Simon said that vocally, he's head and shoulders above the other guys, and that he may be the one to beat.

Best performances were the first and the last. The middle was just filler.

'Nite all!