You gotta know when to stop

Now that I'm nearing 40 years old, I've come to recognize the point when I'm drinking that if I have One More Drink, I'll be sick, and will probably wake up with a hangover the next day.

It's not a great analogy, but I think the writers and producers of Sex & the City need to learn the same lesson. They should've stopped at the first movie and left well enough alone.

I saw SATC2 last night and was really disappointed. The jokes were dumb, the movie was way too long, and there just wasn't enough...I dunno, I guess, depth in the story. Michael Patrick King tried too hard for the laughs. There were so many one-liners...I could almost hear the bah-dum-bump rimshot with each one, and 90% of the time, the jokes just weren't that funny.

During the first movie, my emotions ran the gamut from laughter to tears and back again. I felt closure, and I felt satisfied. During the second movie, I found myself groaning a lot, and just felt let down when I left the theater.

I just checked IMDb and see I'm not alone. Voters have given SATC2 3.5 out of 10 stars. Entertainment Weekly gave it a C-. Not great.

Now, I talked to my sister this morning, who had heard all the negative reviews and went into the movie not expecting much. Her expectations were so low, she ended up actually enjoying it. I don't read reviews before I see a movie, so my expectations were probably a little higher, and I was disappointed.

Fortunately, when I got home from the movie, the original SATC movie was on HBO. I watched that and felt satisfied, once again.


Things that make you go hmmm...

So, I just saw that Crystal Bowersox and her boyfriend broke up the day of Tuesday's final performances. She told Ryan Seacrest that the breakup was the reason for all the passion she showed on Tuesday night. Her boyfriend wasn't interested in "the lifestyle" but it's something she really wants. I wonder if it had anything to do with the hug she gave Lee the previous week when she wrapped her leg around him. I feel bad for Cyrstal's ex, but at the same time, I do think Lee and Crystal make a good couple. I really do wonder if that's what's going on.

Here's Cyrstal's interview with Ryan Seacrest:

Meanwhile, I was watching Real Housewives of NYC last night, and my only question is: WTF did Jill *think* was going to happen when she crashed Ramona's party? She was already on the outs with Alex & Bethenny, yet she expected a warm welcome from them all? Time to get over yourself, Jill.


So, who will it be?

It's AI's finale. Ryan says that last week, less than 2% separated the finalists. Then he did an informal poll of the audience. If that were to determine the winner, it's going to be Lee. I heard people saying that Dial Idol was predicting Lee as well. I suspect it's those boy-crazy tweens doing the voting, and whatever votes had been going to Casey will now go to Lee. I hope it's wrong because Crystal really knocked it out last night and deserves to win. I did my part and called for her, but I'm only one person. We'll see what happens.

Ryan introduces Lee and Crystal and they come out in Catholic school gear. Not sure why--I suspect it has something to do with a performance they're going to do. Yep, here come the Top 12 singing "School's Out for Summer," and performing choreography badly. Then a choir of young kids come out with their eyes painted black like Alice Cooper, and then, ta-da! There's Alice Cooper! American Idol is the last place I'd expect to see him.

After a commercial break, last year's winner, Kris Allen, performs "The Truth." (No, I didn't know the song...I checked iTunes.) Nice, subdued performance, but I fast-forwarded about halfway through just cuz I was a little bored.

Next comes a tribute to Simon on his last night. They showed several of Simon's best moments and commentary from the other judges including Paula!

Siobhan and Aaron come out to sing "How Deep is Your Love" with the s--l--o--w--e--s--t intro ever. They harmonize nicely though. And then, there are the Bee Gees!! Yay! Though, nowadays, I can't see them without thinking of this:

Big Mike comes out to sing "Takin' It to the Streets." Will Michael McDonald suddenly appear too? Of course!! He looks good...weird to see him performing without a keyboard. The two Mikes did well.

Now comes a song set to Simon's greatest insults, performed by Dane Cook. Dane then roasted Simon a bit. Ellen looked completely unamused, like, "I'm the funny one here." She's right--Dane Cook wasn't funny. Then it ended, unfunnily, (I'm making that a word) with some former terrible audition-ers. The camera cut away quickly, when one guy grabbed the mic and said he'd be replacing Simon. I suppose that wasn't part of the script.

Now the girls perform Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful." TERRIBLE idea. The only one who sounds good is Crystal. Didi, Lacey, Katie and Siobhan were all off key. I would never pay to see this group live. But I love Didi's earrings. Paige came out and they all did MUCH better on "Fighter" and then, abracadabra! Here's Christina Aguilera, who sounded a little shaky herself at the beginning of her solo. She sounded hoarse. But then she finished strongly. Man, what a voice she has. Love it.

Ricky Gervais and his new beard, which I like, said a funny goodbye to Simon.

Hey folks, SYTYCD starts TOMORROW!!!!!! Yay!

Lee's singing a Hall & Oates song, the name of which eludes me right now. Oh, "I Can't Go For That." Duh. Here come the rest of the guys...as a group, they sound better than the girls did. Now I want to see H&O. I'll have to listen to them tomorrow. Casey starts with "Maneater" -- he sounds good! Even Tim sounded good on this song. Then comes some more bad choreography. Oy. And finally, Darryl Hall and John Oates comes out to do "You Make My Dreams Come True," which makes me want to pull out (500) Days of Summer. Oates looks like he's wearing a Jheri Curl. Seriously. They sound good as ever though.

Crystal comes out to sing Alanis Morissette's "Ironic." Love it! Perfect song for her. And here's Alanis. How funny--I was JUST talking about her yesterday, wondering where she's been! And, she and Crystal are doing "You Oughta Know." Funny, they changed "Will she go down on you in a theater" to "Will she go down with you to the theater." Ha!!! They each walk back and forth across the stage, and the camera barely caught it, but Crystal tripped. Oops. Glad she didn't fall. These two sound great together. [By the way, I was talking with a coworker about Alanis because my coworker was in Naples, FL last week and saw where Alanis' huge beach house.]

Carrie Underwood performs "Undo It." She likes coming back to this show. Ryan said she won five years ago--wow.

Kris Allen comes on to present Lee and Crystal with their new Ford Fiestas, which they designed themselves. That's kind of cool. Then we get the last Ford commercial, in which Lee and Crystal sing, but they show clips from all the previous commercials.

Ryan next welcomes Casey to the stage to perform "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." And wow, there's Bret Michaels. I don't know how he's on stage so soon after his health issues, but he looks and sounds good. Yay! Standing "O" from the audience.

Lee performs a medley with Chicago. Lee's from Chicago, so it makes sense. I was just talking about Chicago TODAY. What is this--is AI reading my mind or something? Or am I reading the producers' minds? Anyway, they start with "Does Anybody Know What Time It Is," then go into "If You Leave Me Now." Lee tries a falsetto and it doesn't work. Next they do a song I know, but don't know the name of.

Another clip about Simon and his flirting. Oh god. I suspect we'll be seeing that kiss between Paula and Simon once again. Yep, there it is.

Oh god...General What's-His Name gets to perform "Pants on the Ground" ON STAGE at the Nokia Theater. He's got quite a few moves for a 60+ year old. Just when this song was completely out of my head. Damn. Oh jeez. Here comes William Hung too. I don't even know what to say about that.

More memories from Paula. It was very sweet, actually. And then, the "curtain" rises and Paula's on stage. Simon looked surprised. Paula then went into some schtick that was kind of uncomfortable. She looks great though. Next, another video montage, to Frank Sinatra's "I Did It My Way." Awww. Paula said the show will go on without Simon. She might be right, but it won't be the same.

Now, here comes Kelly Clarkson (she looks FABULOUS), Reuben, Fantasia, Carrie, Jordin Sparks, Taylor, and Kris Allen to sing. Then a whole bunch of previous contestants comes out...Justin Guarini, Ace, Constantine, Bo, Jason, Elliot, Archuleta, this years' contestants. The song was just okay, but it was great to see everyone. Paula sat in Simon's lap as the kids performed. Where are David Cook and Adam Lambert?! [Note: I just read that David Cook was at a charity event in Kansas, and that Adam has been put on vocal rest.]

Ryan brings Simon onto the stage. He admitted to being emotional. He thanked everyone and said, "It's been a blast."

Next, this years' contestants perform Janet Jackson's "Again." Janet came out and looks simply beautiful. Her hair is cut really short and she just looks amazing. I love her haircut! She performed a slow tune which Ryan later tells us is called "Nothing." She then changed out of her dramatic dress and then performed "Nasty." Whew! Time to dance!
No, my first name ain't baby. It's Janet. Ms. Jackson if you're nasty!
We're getting close to results time. They run through the memories of Lee and Crystal. I'm becoming more and more convinced that they should be a couple. Wouldn't that be a great story. If her beau doesn't marry her soon, she should drop him and get with Lee.

The two come out to perform "With a Little Help From My Friends" and they sound great! And then Crystal introduces Joe Cocker. He's getting older, but he still sounds good. Crystal sang her heart out on this song--Lee didn't contribute much.

OK folks. Time for the results. Finally. It's been a good show, but it's also been a LONG show.

The winner of American Idol 2010 is...

Lee DeWyze

Damn. I feel let down, even though I really do like Lee. Good for him.

Ryan asked how it feels, and Lee said, "I don't know..." He's pretty flabbergasted. At one point, he looked over at Crystal and said, "Crystal, I love you" and they hugged each other. Then the Beautiful Day music started up. Thankfully he sounds better than he did last night.

Good show.

Do I dare declare, here and now, that this is it for my American Idol updates? I'm afraid so, people. I'm just not interested in the show without Simon. The only caveat would be if they suddenly announced that Harry Connick, Jr. will be the new judge.

I'll be back in a few weeks with SYTYCD updates. I don't like to comment during the audition period, but if there's anything earth shattering to share, I will. Of course I'll also be here with other TV, movies, books and music updates as they come to me.

Thanks for reading, AI fans. It's been fun.

You're not the news!

Can I just tell you how much I dislike Access Hollywood? I don't watch this show on a regular basis, but when I do come across it, usually because I'm waiting for something to come on at 8pm, I usually have to change the channel within five minutes because I can't stand to watch much longer than that.

The hosts of the show stand behind counters and report the Hollywood news. Then they discuss and debate whatever has just been presented. For example, they just talked about Lindsay Lohan's new 'do, and what she's been up to since she had some sort of police anklet placed on her leg. (It apparently is an alcohol monitor. I don't know. Don't care.) Anyway, after they present the story, Billy Bush and the other lady come back to discuss in very serious tones whether the band is going to help Lindsay since her dad says alcohol is not the problem, it's prescription drugs.


These discussions and banter are so dumb. Not to mention that the hosts constantly flub whatever it is they're saying anyway. So annoying. Oh, and they call their audience, "AH Nation." Ooh...am I supposed to be impressed?


Oh, look what I found. Here's what I'm talking about:



Lee and Crystal

It's the finale of American Idol. And it's Simon Cowell's last show. And it's the second to last time we get to hear Randy boo Simon when he's introduced. Tomorrow will be it--thank god.

Ryan introduces Lee and Crystal and they each come down an aisle of the Kodak Nokia Theater. Crystal seems to have come too fast, dropped her mic, and then missed her mark. Kind of embarrassing, but hey, at least she didn't fall up the stairs or anything like that.

Tonight we get to hear three songs from Lee and Crystal. The first is a song of their choosing, the second is chosen by the show's executive producer, Simon Fuller, and the third will be the song they release if they win.

Crystal won a coin toss last week and opted to go second tonight. Lee's up first.

First we get a little more background on Lee from his folks who thought he might grow up to be a pro baseball player. But he ultimately wanted to be a rock star.

He starts with his song choice--"The Boxer" by Simon & Garfunkel--this was the song he sang during "Inspirational Song Week." He sounds great and seems happy. Randy said it was a great way to start the night, but that he needed some more energy. Ellen said he did it better than he did the first time. Kara agreed with Randy, but she liked his connection to the song. Simon expected a lot more passion/excitement. He said it was a kiss on the cheek, when he expected a kiss on the lips. "Not from you," he added.

Crystal's dad tells us that Crystal found her mom's guitar when she was 10. She took an interest and taught herself to play.

She comes out to perform "Me & Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin. Good choice--this was one of my favorite performances from her when she sang it the first time. And, I don't know if she heard the comments Lee got, but Crystal brought the energy that was missing in his performance. Great job! Randy thought it was "dope, dude." Ellen found it very compelling. Kara loved it the first time and tonight. Simon said it brought them back to the time they absolutely fell in love with her. He said, "We've got a competition tonight."

Lee's up with Simon Fuller's choice for him: "Everybody Hurts," by REM. So much for more energy. Fuller should've given him "Shiny Happy People." Now, that song has energy. Lee does a decent job--I hate to admit he sounded a little off on a long note in the middle of the song. He got another choir behind him and it was overall a good performance. Randy thought this was better, but mentioned it was a little pitchy in the beginning. There was more passion. Ellen also noted that he was off a couple of times. She wants to see him go all out. Kara liked his emotional connection, even though it wasn't a perfect vocal. Simon said it was a brilliant song choice, though he went a little off melody at parts, but Simon thinks we're hearing that Lee's nervous, and told Lee to give a 10 out of 10 on his 3rd performance, because he is capable of it.

Crystal gets to sing "Black Velvet" by Alannah Myles. Great song choice for her. She's doing it with quite a dramatic arrangement. Woo! She sang the hell out of that song! Awesome! Randy said, "This is what I'm talkin' about. Mama Sox is in it to win it!" Ellen said it was fantastic! Kara said she's supposed to be giving it her all tonight, and she is. Simon said he's almost allergic to that song because he's heard it so many times, and heard so many people murder it, BUT, he said Crystal absolutely nailed it.

Now for the song Lee will release if he wins. It's "Beautiful Day," by U2. Interesting. So, they're using a "real" song vs. a song written for the show. GOOD DECISION. No cheesy releases this year! This time he's got violins backing him up. I don't love this performance, but that's not really Lee's fault--his performance is fine. I've just never cared for the song, is all, so it's hard for me to enjoy it. Randy liked it. Ellen said he did a great job. Kara thought he got swallowed up in the song, but acknowledged that he's grown the most during this season and has a very commercial voice. Simon felt he made the most of it. But he said that Lee is what the competition was designed for--he's a paint salesman who needed a break.

Crystal's song is "Up to the Mountain" by Patty Griffin. I like it--it's got a bit of a country-gospel feel. She sounded great--great performance. Randy said it was one of the greatest performances, at the perfect time, on this show. "Incredible!" Ellen said Cyrstal is in a league of her own, and said, "If you make an album, I'll buy it, and if you go on tour, I'll go. If you make a salad, I'll eat it." Kara liked that she was completely emotionally invested in that song more than any other performance. Before Simon said anything, Crystal thanked him for his years on AI, and for his critiques and support. He said it was by far "the best performance and the song of the night. And, since this is going to be the final critique I'm ever going to give, I would just like to say, that was outstanding." Aw....I'm getting a little creeper in my eye. (That's a term the DJs I listen to in the morning use....don't know where it came from!)

Last week, I thought it was pretty even between Lee and Crystal, but tonight, my vote is 100% for Crystal. She was amazing, while Lee was good. I know they'll both be fine either way, but I'd love to see Crystal win this.

The show ended with a video montage of the season's antics, and a performance from Will Young, the original winner of Pop Idol UK.

Tomorrow is Simon's last show. Ryan hinted that there will be some surprises for Simon. Should be a good show.

Consider youselves lucky

You, Dear Reader, are lucky that you didn't have to experience the nastiness I just experienced. It is called: Dutch Double Zout, also known as double salt licorice. Now, I love black licorice, and feel there's no really no need to add salt to it, but apparently, the Dutch feel differently.

So, how'd this all come to be, you ask? Well, my boss has been talking about this salty licorice for a while. She had a Dutch friend when she was growing up whose mother would give them a piece of salty licorice before school each day. She found the same candy at a store in Albuquerque while on travel a while back, and always asks people to bring her some if they happen to come across the candy store.

Well, one of my coworkers was in Albq. last week and brought back some of this candy. He noted that there was regular salty licorice, and then there was the double salt licorice--he brought back some of both.

I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. My boss had me first try the regular salty licorice, which wasn't too bad. You pucker a little bit, kind of like when you eat a Sour Patch Kid. Since I didn't spit that out, she let me try the Double Zout. OMG. It was definitely SALTY and pretty disgusting. You only get a bit of the licorice flavor and are just overwhelmed by saltiness. It was a small candy, so I decided to just grin and bear it and eat the whole thing. My boss mentioned a couple people who spit it into trashcan immediately. I tried to be dignified.

After I was done, I downed a huge glass of water to rehydrate myself.

I Googled this candy to see what I could find, and came across a pretty funny website called Bad Candy. The authors had a pretty funny description of their experience. (I recommend you also read the description for Sabroso.) I can't really add much to what they said. I just know that my boss can keep all those little candies to herself.


Awkward moment

My sister and I had dinner at our folks' place this evening. Early in the evening we watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off on VH1. We noticed that they dubbed over the word "ass." I commented, "Gosh, they can't say "ass" on Vh1?!" That was weird.

Later in the night, after watching a couple of funny episodes of The Middle, we turned on Sex & the City on TBS. First, Miranda's date said something about not being able to get a BJ (he said the whole word). My sister just looked at me. I think we both felt uncomfortable hearing that language with our parents, in their living room.

Then, in a later scene, Charlotte and Trey were seeing a sex counselor. He gives them homework to do--go hone and share a sexual fantasy with each other. Charlotte shared hers, but then Trey said he couldn't do it, and told Charlotte that he's just not a sexual being. After a while, Charlotte wakes up and hears noises coming from the bathroom. She discovers Trey "taking care of himself," an "adult" magazine falls to the floor. Again...not something you want to be watching with your parents. I often felt this way when I was a teenager and we'd see stuff like that in movies. I was kind of surprised to still feel that way some 20 years later.

Anyway, to ease the awkward tension, my sister exclaims, "So, they can show that on TBS, but they can't say 'ass' on VH1?!"

Great question!


AI winding down

Tonight we find out who will be in the Idol finale next week. I'm predicting Lee and Crystal, but you never know.....

First we have to go through an hour of fluff before we get the results. This includes performances by Justin Bieber and a new artist named Travis Garland. [I'm glad to hear he's a new artist. I was at the gym when the show was on live (I'm watching it on Tivo). I could see this guy performing and I felt really old because I had no idea who he was. Whew!]

So, my sister, mom and I had an email conversation earlier today about the show. It went something like this:
Mom: What did you think of the show tonight? Who do you think will win? I was surprised that Mike got dumped last week. What do you think happened?

Me: well, mike had been in the bottom before, so i wasn't too surprised. i think the final two will be lee and crystal, but i'm not sure who will win. i'll be happy either way. i thought it'd be crystal until tonight. lee did so well!
[Note: I tend to skip capitalization in email...)
Deb: I also wasn't surprised Mike got voted off. Folks love their country singers so Casey gets a lot of those votes. Based on last night I think Idol wants Lee to win. His last performance was amazing, but he also got an amazing song, great lighting and a dramatic group of background singers. Didn't seem very fair if you ask me. But, perhaps they control that on their own and Casey and Crystal decided not to go all out. I'd be happy if either won, but Lee needs a bit more personality - they actually all do. They're a bit ho-hum.

Mom: I agree about the ho-hum personalities, and that was the big thing Mike had going for him. I did think that he was getting a bit big headed. One week Crystal seemed like "I didn't know what I was getting into". I don't think she will be upset if she loses. All of them will probably get some kind of contract!

Deb: Can you imagine the finale if any of them when. They'll have a straight face, maybe a slight smile and that's about it. Mike would have given the best reaction upon winning. He'd probably grab Ryan and throw him into the audience. Hahahaha!
Back to the show. Ryan just spent about 8 minutes talking to the Idolettes about their experience on the show. There were no new or exciting revelations. Contestants say the same thing every year--I never thought I'd make it this far, you have no idea how much work goes into it, yada, yada, yada.

Then there's the Ford commercial that was reminiscent of A-ha's Take On Me video.

Now we get to see the contestants' visits home which explains why we didn't see much last night. Now we see the crowds. That must be a little surreal a a contestant.

When Casey went home to Texas, he went to a hospital in Fort Worth to thank those who saved his life when he was in a car accident six years ago. He later performed for a huge crowd, but we didn't get to hear it.

Okay, here's Travis Garland. He's another YouTube discovery. The guy who "discovered" him said he's better than Justin Timberlake. Um. No. Fast forward.

Now Crystal goes homes to Ohio. She signed some guy's chest, and she told him, "You better bathe." He told her, "Oh no, this is going to be a tattoo." She gave him a look, and he said, "I'm serious." Oh lord. The mayor of Toledo, dressed in Harley gear, gave Cyrstal a key to the city. They held an event called Bowerstock where she performed. Nice reception.

Lee went home to Chicago. He visited his elementary school...talking about screaming little girls! Wow. How cute. He threw out the first pitch at a Cubs game. And he visited the paint store where he used to work. Then a big parade and performance, where he got choked up while singing "The Boxer." Awww...

And now Justin Bieber and his hair perform. All the women in the audience, who are WAY too old for him, are swooning. If I were 25 years younger, I might be swooning too, but not now. Oh, he plays drums too, huh? That's nice.

This reminds me--have you seen the YouTube video of the 6th grader singing Lady Gaga at a school performance? Stay tuned to the end of this post.

Finally, seven minutes left in the show and we get to the results. Ryan says:
After the nationwide vote, the first person in next week's finale is.....

The crowd goes wild!
Joining Lee for a shot at the Title, is...

Crystal seemed so surprised, and then when she went to join Lee, she gave him a HUGE hug, and even wrapped her leg around him. Hmmm...

So, Casey has to say goodbye. He was very gracious, and performed "Daughters" one more time...no guitar this time. And it's a great performance. He picked up a little girl, and sang with her sitting next to him. Maybe it's his niece?, Anyway, it was a sweet ending. If Casey puts out a blues album, I'll buy it immediately.

So next week's the finale. Who will it be???

Oh, here's that YouTube video I mentioned earlier. The kid's pretty impressive.


I ♥ Glee - ***SPOILER***

Just watching tonight's Glee and loved Neil Patrick Harris on the show. More than that, Idina Menzel is cast perfectly as Rachel's birth mother. The first time I saw Lea Michele, I thought, wow, she really reminds me of Idina Menzel.

In case you don't know, Idina Menzel is a Broadway actress, who I first saw in Rent years ago. She originated the role of Maureen. She's now married to Taye Diggs (who was also in the original Rent cast).

That's Idina and Tracie Thoms, who played JoAnne in the movie version of Rent.

Uh-oh...time to pull out the CDs. I'll be listening to them for days.

Oh! I'm still watching Glee, and the duet with Idina Menzel and Lea Michele doing "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables was FANTASTIC. Oh. I just LOVE this show!

Top 3 perform on Idol

Tonight the contestants will be "battling it out for the finale!" (Ryan's words.)

Each contestant will sing two songs--one chosen by them, and one chosen by the judges.

Casey's up first and he's chosen "OK, It's Alright With Me" by Eric Hutchinson. Casey feels the song is a lot like the type of music he writes, so it's a good representation of him as an artist. The song suits him perfectly and he looks happy tonight. I'd buy it. Randy said it was just "all right with me too." Didn't work for him. I guess I'm in the minority. Ellen didn't feel he "brought it." Kara thought it was the wrong song choice. Simon compared it to the salad portion of a dinner--where you're hoping for something better to come along. Simon said it was a dud song choice, but that he sounded good.

Crystal's up next, singing "Come to My Window," by Melissa Etheridge. She chose it because it's always been one of her favorites. She's got the guitar and the harmonica tonight. She did a good job, but I'm afraid it wasn't her best performance. Randy didn't love the arrangement but he did like her vocal on it. Randy said it all worked in the end. Ellen agreed, and said Melissa would be proud. Kara thought she got lost in the arrangement, and that it would've been stronger acoustically. Kara's waiting for Crystal to have a "moment" and hopes she does so on the second song. Simon agreed with the others, and said it wasn't the most stunning version we'd ever hear. But, he gave her props for never compromising herself throughout this whole process. He ultimately said that she made the right choice.

Lee's doing "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. He's signing it because he "gets" this song, and feels that will help him perform it well. Lee knocks this song out of the park. Loved it! Randy thought it was a brilliant song choice, and he can see tonight that Lee's feeling he could win this. FINALLY. Ellen liked it too. Kara said he did what every contestant needs to do, and in her opinion, Round 1 goes to Lee. Simon said the song choice was "absolutely on the money." Simon said that Lee didn't just win round one, he crushed the other two. I have to agree.

Randy and Kara selected John Mayer's "Daughters" for Casey to sing. His voice sounds great on this song. Nice job. Randy feels this song fits him like a glove, unlike the first song, but I don't see how this song was that different from the first. Kara said it showed the more artistic side of him. She was proud that she and Randy chose the song for him. Simon thought it was a much better song choice, but he felt the arrangement was lazy, and that Randy & Kara should've chosen a song that gave him a bigger vocal moment.

Next, Ellen chooses "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney for Crystal. Ellen says she chose this song because it would show some range and allow Crystal to surprise us. Ellen was right--great song choice and Crystal showed great range. MUCH BETTER performance than her first. Randy said, "Great song, great vocals, and America, we got somebody else in it to win it!" Ellen said, "I couldn't have asked for more." Kara said she didn't change the song, but she showed us parts of her voice that we haven't heard--it paid off. Simon was worried about the song choice, but now he gets it. He said it proves that she's got soul, and thinks she'll be thanking Ellen next week for putting her in the Top 2.

I LOVE the bracelet Crystal was wearing tonight--I need to find something like that. It kind of wraps around her arm, below the elbow. I don't even know how to search for that--is it even called a bracelet??

Side note: the contestants went home this week, and in the scenes from home, it's VERY noticeable that the crowds aren't as big as they've been in the past. I know the ratings are down, but this makes it obviously that people have lost interest in the show.

Finally, Simon chooses "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen for Lee, even though we've already heard this song this season. We didn't even see a crowd with Lee--he was on the plane. Simon said, "We've heard the song before, but I don't think we're ever going to hear it like Lee's going to do....We always talk about The Moment, and I wanted him to do something to show he's got potential to be a great artist." Simon was right...Lee sounds great. He even has a choir singing behind him...quite a performance. I will be downloading this. (When I do, it'll be the 4th or 5th version of Hallelujah that I have...others are Jeff Buckley's, Justin Timberlake's and k.d. lang's.) Lee got a standing O from the crowd, which seemed to move Lee to tears. Randy said he's been waiting all season to see who'd throw down the gauntlet to win the whole thing. Lee did it. Lee thanked Simon for the choice. Ellen said it was stunning. Kara said Lee is what the show is all about, and he owned the night. Simon was very, very proud. He said Lee proved that he's a fantastic singer, a great person, and he really hopes Lee makes it to the finale next week.

I think it's a given. I predict a Lee and Crystal finale, and I can't wait. I'll be so happy if either of them win.

Here's how I rank the performances:

6. Casey - OK, It's Alright with Me
5. Crystal - Come to My Window
4. Casey - Daughters
3. Crystal - Maybe I'm Amazed
2. Lee - Simple Man
1. Lee - Hallelujah

P.S. Did some research. Crystal's jewelry is called an arm band, and it looked something like this, which I absolutely love. Crystal's didn't have so many loops in the middle, it just kind of wrapped around from the back to front. So cool.


Okay, so sometimes I'm a movie snob

Just a few things:
  • On Sunday, my dad and I went to see Swedish film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It was great. Even better than the book, methinks. When I read the book, I found there was a certain storyline I didn't care for--I found it dull and it took away from the rest of the action. The rest of the story, however, was just fascinating. Well, whoever wrote the screenplay for the movie took care of that for me--the boring parts were only glanced over briefly, and the plot focused on the part of the book that I loved. The movie was PERFECTLY cast. I can't imagine anyone else playing those characters. Which brings me to my next item:

  • They're making an American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, due in 2012. This bothers me because the original was so good. I checked IMDb and it lists Brad Pitt as being rumored to play the male lead, and sweet Carey Mulligan is rumored to play the female lead. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I don't think either of them are right for the lead roles. I hope the rumors aren't true. Also rumored to be in the movie are George Clooney and Johnny Depp. Of these three men, if I had to choose anyone to play Mikael (Amercianized "Michael") it would be Clooney, I guess. I dunno. I just feel like they should leave well enough alone. Which reminds me:

  • I'll probably wait to see Chris Rock's Death at a Funeral on DVD. One, the original British film was so great, I hate to see it messed with, and two, I really, really, really don't care for Martin Lawrence OR Tracy Morgan, and to have them BOTH in one movie is just too much for me.

  • And finally, to tie this all together, back in 2003, Stephen Hunter wrote a review of the French film, Jet Lag,--starring Juliette Binoche and Jean Reno--for the Washington Post It's my favorite movie review ever. The movie is about two lost souls who meet in an airport. Simple, but lovely. In his review, Stephen Hunter sarcastically writes about how he can't wait for the American version of this film to be made.
    I see Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline, re-creating that wonderful magic from "French Kiss," in the roles now played with too much weariness by French no-names Juliette Binoche and Jean Reno. It'll be shot, of course, at LAX instead of Charles [De Gaulle], and she'll be a management consultant instead of a beautician and he'll be a harried, heroic bond trader instead of a chef. Oh, that'll be so much better.
    He then goes on to talk about how French films have subtext, while American films have subplot. He continues:
    For our rewrite, I'm suggesting a cutting-edge subplot with rap star Mos Def as the pilot of one of the planes on the runway in the background and Christina Aguilera as his sassy flight attendant! We then cut back and forth between Kevin and Meg on the ground and Mos and Christina in the air...."
All of that plot re-creation is what I fear for Death at a Funeral, and even more for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I hope the filmmakers prove me wrong.


Give me a break!

I'm watching LuAnn sing on Real Housewives of New York. I can only hope that she'll watch this show back and give up singing forever. She sounds HORRIBLE.

Yet, the guy she's working with at the studio spends his time kissing her ass and telling her what a great voice she has, probably just so he can be on TV. Oh dear god.

Jill's face at the end of that clip says it all. Ay yi yi.

OMG. The finished song is just BAD. Producer Dude put so many effects onto the song, and it still sounds like crap.

I'm kinda embarrassed for LuAnn. Wow.


Who will be the final three?

It's elimination night. Bottom line:

Casey was safe first.
Then Lee.
Then Crystal.

Mike's out.

Oh, and throughout the show, Fantasia, Daughtry and Bon Jovi performed.

Mike sang Will You Be There again...better than last night, and Kara got up and danced. I'm sure Mike we'll be seeing Michael Lynche again.


Only four remain...

Who will make the top 3 on American Idol? We'll find out tomorrow. Tonight we have Casey, Big Mike, Crystal and Lee performing. At this moment in time, I think Mike will probably go next, but let's see what he does tonight.

The theme is songs from the movies, and Jamie Foxx is the mentor. Each will sing individually, and then there will also be two duets. Jamie brought in some T-shirts--one that says "Contestant" the other that "Artist." Jamie says the kids should be striving to be artists at this point.

Lee goes first and sings, "Kiss from a Rose." During their session, Jamie got right in Lee's face, like he did with Danny Gokey last year, to help pull out his confidence. Lee gets an Artist shirt. When Lee performs, he's a little off key in the lower notes, but sounds good with the big notes. I give him a B. Judges didn't really care for it either ("you were trying too hard to sound like the original"), and Simon declared that Lee is still at the "Contestant" stage. Despite the criticism, Lee felt good about his performance.

Big Mike is up next with something from Michael Jackson. When Ryan first says this, I immediately think of The Wiz and pray that Mike's not singing "Ease on Down the Road." Thankfully, he's not--he's singing "Will You Be There" from Free Willy. I thought he did a nice job (Grade: B, but again, the judges didn't really agree. Kara wanted "goose bumps," but feels Mike played it safe. Simon says he doesn't know what Free Willy is. He did feel that Mike did give it 100% and that he meant it, so that's good.

Lee and Crystal come out to perform one of my favorite songs, "Falling Slowly," from Once,. Kris Allen did a great job with this song last year. Lee and Crystal did even better. Lee's voice is perfect for this song. Crystal does great harmony. I love it! They're both playing guitar and it's great. Grade: A+. Judges loved it. Kara said it was one of her favorite moments of the entire season. She loved their interaction and chemistry and they brought out the best in both of them. Simon said, "I don't know if I would call that a good song--I would call it a fantastic song."

I was fast forwarding through the commercials and then I had to back-track. Was that Wyclef Jean leading a parade in an ad for Ritz crackers?! Wha?

Casey's up next with "Mrs. Robinson." Jamie said that Casey wasn't focused during rehearsals, and asked Casey to pretend he's a woman and for Casey to seduce him. Casey got an Artist shirt. Casey's playng a mandolin and sounds good, but he has NO personality while singing. I wasn't seduced. Grade: C+. Randy asked why he chose that song, and brought up the whole Kara thing AGAIN. Let that die, people! Randy thought Casey sounded cool, but he wasn't jumping up and down. Ellen said, "I wish they would've given you a big-boy guitar." Simon didn't think the performance had the substance required for tonight and thinks Casey could've made more of an impact. He thought it a strange song choice.

Crystal's doing a song from Caddyshack. Uh-oh. She's singing "I'm Alright" by Kenny Loggins. She got an Artist shirt from Jamie. She did a honky-tonk version of the song and I loved it. Yay--she made it her own! I hope the judges give her props for that. Grade: A. Randy liked that she switched it up and made it suit her. Ellen thought she made the song better--I agree. So does Kara. Simon said that Crystal is "back in the game" and winked. (Love that Simon wink!)

Next up are Casey and Mike with "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman" from Don Juan de Marco. Both are performing with guitars. It's a really nice performance. Grade: A Great way to end the show. Randy thought the guitar playing was excellent, sounded shaky at first but then good. Ellen says, "Well, as a matter of fact, yes I have loved a woman." Kara said the duets were better than all of the solos. Simon said the Artists tees should go to the duets.

Voting-wise, I'd rate tonight's performances like so:

6. Casey
5. Mike
4. Lee
3. Crystal
2. Casey & Mike's duet
1. Lee & Crystal's duet

Tomorrow Daughtry, Fantasia and Bon Jovi will be on. We'll see who our Top 3 are.


Amazing Race 16 - ***SPOILER***

Tonight was the final leg of the Amazing Race and unfortunately, the one team I did not want to win, did. The brothers won. I don't like them at all. I know it's a race, but they played dirty, and I hate when people win because of that.

My team, the cowboys, came in second place, and Jet said it perfectly:
There are things that are more important than money. the experience of being able to travel all the way around the world with my best friend, and my brother, and then in the end having our character and our integrity intact, we can walk outta here with our heads held high, and look people straight in the face.
Amen to that--they ran a great race.

AND THEN...the models came in 3rd place, showing up the lesbians. Yes! Catie went to apologize to the ladies for giving them a U-Turn earlier in the race, and the bee-yotch Brandy rolled her eyes and said, "I don't want to hear 'sorry' from you." Um, bitter much? Her girlfriend, Carol, looked so embarrassed to be with her right then...I hope Carol has moved on by now. Anyway, here's the rest:

Brandy: You purposely whacked us. You said you wanted to be the only woman left standing, and you are. Logically, you U-turn teams that are stronger. The cowboys should have been U-turned. You can't seem to think logically. I don't wanna hear 'sorry' from you."

Catie: Maybe y'all should've treated people a little bit nicer.

Brandy: Hey, I'm sorry. You can't handle it?

Catie: I AM handling it. Obviously, I'm the one standing here and not you.



Good TV

Just finished watching ABC's comedy night. The Middle, Modern Family and Cougar Town are all great, but I've decided that Modern Family has made it to my top 10 shows of all time. I sent a note to a friend of mine about this, and decided to post it here too.
modern family is definitely on my top 10 shows of all time list. i LOVE it so much!!!
[Note: I tend to forego capital letters in emails to friends...]
others include:

arrested development
freaks & geeks
friday night lights
the office

hmmm...need one more.

oh, i know! sex & the city!

other contenders:
mad about you
six feet under
cosby show (but not last year or two, that's why it can't really be in the top 10)
curb your enthusiasm (earlier seasons)
will and grace (again, the early years)

ok, that's enough. what're yours?
Update (the next day): Was thinking about this on my way in to work this morning and I have to throw "Glee" in there somewhere. I love it, but am not sure it's in the top 10...yet.

From 5 to 4

Elimination night again on Idol. I noticed during the introduction of the judges there was a marked difference in the applause given for Randy, Ellen and Simon compared to that for Kara. Things were pretty quiet when Ryan introduced her. Interesting.

Next is the group song, which I wish they would do away with on this show. It's just uncomfortable and awkward. They started with "The Lady is a Tramp." Crystal was the Lady (or Tramp). Next, little Aaron started with, "When I was 17...." Now, Aaron is 17, but Michael Jackson did it so much better when he was, like, 10. After that I fast-forwarded through the rest. I couldn't take it.

Next week the top 4 will be singing songs of the cinema, with Jamie Foxx as the mentor. Please, don't let anyone sing Aerosmith's I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing." One, I think we've already heard it this season and two, I'm tired of it on Idol. It should be retired. Also, no "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic.

They did a little segment about what Tuesdays are like for the contestants. They showed a clip of Michael's baby girl--so adorable. So was Crystal's little boy.

Ryan begins the torture. Lee's up first. After five minutes of babbling from Lee, Ryan and Simon, Ryan announces that Lee is safe.

Lady Gaga performs "Alejandro" after the commercial break. It's a very dramatic performance, as usual. I'm gonna have to come back tomorrow to put in a link to this performance since I can't really describe it in words. The main word that comes to mind is "interesting." She spent the first part of the song fighting with a huge piece of black tulle. And she lip-synched all but the intro, and she lip-synched badly.

Noticed something else about Kara. When they came back from commercial break, the cameras were panning over the judges. All but Kara are looking elsewhere, but she stares straight into the camera with a goofy smile the whole time. Something about her has bothered me for a while--I think this is it. She's very camera happy.

Next was the best part of the show--a clip of Harry Connick, Jr's antics from his rehearsals with the contestants. He's so funny! I love Harry! You know, I would love it if he were on this show all the time.

He performed next...ahhhhh....*sigh*.

Uh-oh. Now the Top 5 are coming out to perform some of Harry's songs. They started with "We Are in Love" which happens to be my favorite. It reminds me of my favorite trip to NYC, but I'll save that story for another time. (I will say that I bought Harry's "We Are in Love" and Prince's "Diamonds & Pearls" CDs that day.) Anyway, the Idolettes did a nice job with Harry's stuff.

Back to the results. Ryan starts moving everyone around the stage. (This part is so tedious each week.) Crystal's asked to go to one side of the stage. Michael goes to the other. Aaron's asked to join Big Mike. Casey is sent to stand with Crystal. Hmmm. In my opinion, Casey and Aaron should be in the same group.

Ryan announces that Lee is safe, and that Mike and Aaron are the bottom two. Mike doesn't belong there based on last night's performance.

Ryan finally announces that Aaron's going home tonight. It's the right decision. I'm sure Aaron will be fine. Mike gives Aaron a big hug and whispers some advice in his ear. Kinda funny to see on stage, actually. Big guy, little guy and all that. Aw...he's a sweet kid. I do wish him well.

I think this helps my pool, but I think it helps everyone else's too. We shall see.

OK Idolettes...no Aerosmith, no Celine Dion next week. Thank you.

Harry Connick, Jr.!

Oh, and the Idolettes. Yes, Harry is mentoring this week on AI, and I'm so excited to see him. I don't have high expectations for any of the singers this week--they'll be singing Frank Sinatra, which is way out of their style, but we'll see. Harry's not only mentoring, but he and his orchestra are also backing up the singers. He also did the arrangements and orchestrations. That's a cool move.

I was going to us this opportunity to tell my story about meeting HCJ way back when, but searched through the blog to discover that I already told it back in 2006.

Ah, Harry's still as cute as ever. I just love him. Frank Sinatra's daughters, Nancy and Tina, are in the audience. They present Simon Cowell (a big Sinatra fan) with a monogrammed handkerchief. which he later says he will treasure the rest of his life.

Little Aaron's up first, singing "Fly Me to the Moon." Right off the bat, he's pitchy. He got a little better as it picked up. Eh, it was okay. Didn't blow me away. (Harry sounded good on the piano though!) Randy thought he did a really good job. Ellen said the piano was a little pitchy. Ba-dum-bum. She enjoyed Aaron too. Kara said it was good, but not as strong as last week. She said he needs more charisma. Simon agreed with Kara. He said that if Frank Sinatra is a lion, Aaron is a mouse.

Casey's up next. Looking good dressed in dark gray slacks/vest and a purple button-down shirt. Casey tells a story about a friend who called to get him to do a gig on Tuesday that pays $50. The friend doesn't watch TV and didn't know what Casey would be doing instead on Tuesday. Casey's singing "Blue Skies." Casey was a little off...not his best. Randy didn't like it. Nor did Ellen. She said seemed stiff. Kara liked that he held notes longer than two seconds, BUT, he had a weird vibrato that she didn't care for. Simon said the good news is that the band was good. Bad news is that Casey was not fantastic. Casey admitted that he was uncomfortable without his guitar. Harry said that Casey sang it really well during rehearsal, but that doesn't help the voters. Harry also pointed out that it's hard to hear on stage, so that could've been part of the problem.

Sir Anthony Hopkins is in the audience tonight. I also noticed Rob Reiner earlier.

Crystal's doing "Summer Wind." She tells Harry that she has a deep connection to the lyrics in the song. He liked that, and said he didn't need to give her any advice, she knows what she's doing. Wow, she's in a gorgeous gown, and she sounds great. She did a really nice job with that song. Randy thought it was okay, but a little sleepy. Ellen wanted to see her loosen up a bit, but was impressed. Kara liked it. Simon's not sure it was the right song choice. I guess I liked it better than the judges did.

Big Mike looks bigger than usual in his suit & fedora. Last week, Lisa de Moraes of the Washington Post wrote this about Mike:
Michael Lynche has decided to sing the Twain tune about how it only hurts when he's breathing. In his current state of gigantic-ness, we believe him entirely.
Heehee! Anyway, tonight he's singing "The Way You Look Tonight." Aw, I love this song. It always reminds me of "My Best Friend's Wedding." Mike did a great job. Judges loved it. Kara said he found the "drama" in the song and didn't lose himself in it. Simon said the first three performances were okay, but with Michael, that's all changed. He said it was fantastic.

Lee's singing "That's Life." Lee seems more comfortable tonight and he did a great job! Loved it!!! Randy loved it. Ellen said if this was the last night of performances, he would've won the whole thing. Kara started by asking "Do you think you can win?" He said yes. Kara said he needs to believe it, because he can win this thing. Simon complimented Harry on his work with the contestants. He said Harry brought out his personality and confidence. Simon said it was by far the best performance of the night so far. I concur!

My rankings are in the backward order of performances tonight:

5. Aaron
4. Casey
3. Crystal
2. Mike
1. Lee!! Proved me wrong--he did a fine job!