AI elimination night--and my pool begins!

My AI pool starts this week. We rank the order in which we think "America" will vote the contestants off, and then we rank the order in which we would like the vote to go. Here are my rankings:


We'll see how it goes.

Now to the show. Judges come out--Jennifer looks really good tonight in a short black sparkly dress, and her hair swept up. Steven looks particularly thin with black & tan pants with thick vertical stripes.

Ryan brings out the Top 11, and instead of a group sing tonight, the kids are singing in small groups. First up is a duet between Lauren and Scotty. Country tune, of course. They sound really good together. Lauren does especially well. Ryan calls them to the stage for some results. Both of them are safe.

Ford commercial....yadda, yadda, yadda.

We learn tonight that the fan mail people send to the contestants actually does get to them. Someone sent James a custom WWE belt.

Next up are Jacob and Naima, singing Ashford & Simpson's Solid.  They've got some fancy choreography going on too.  They sound good together too.  Note, I think Naima's probably going home tonight, but in my pool, I gave her one more week, so she could redeem herself from that reggae mess last night.  Singing this song, she sounds great.  Ryan comes out with the results:  Naima's in the bottom three, Jacob is safe.

Fantasia is here to perform (wow--she was on the show SEVEN years ago) - she's singing her new single, Collard Greens & Corn Bread.  Old school-sounding song...which starts off sounding amazingly similar to Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell's Your Precious Love.   She gives a great performance--great to see her.  My dad and uncles are going to love that song.  Before she finishes the song, she says, "Steven...I love you."  He puts his hand over his heart.  Cute.  Ryan asks her what's the one thing she knows now that she would share with the contestants--she told them to keep people with them who aren't going to say yes, just because.  It also has to remain about the music.

Next up are Haley, Thia, and Pia.  I suspect Thia's in the bottom three out of this group.  They're singing Katy Perry's Teenage Dream.  They sound good together but are a little off on their moves.  I notice that Thia didn't have a solo.  Results:  Pia and Haley are safe.  Thia's in the bottom. 

Kris Allen's in the audience tonight.  Who's he again??

Next there's a video rundown of the week's goings on (that I fast-forwarded through, but not before I see that they go to perform at a charity event in Phoenix.  That's nice).

Next up to perform are Casey, James, Paul and Stefano, singing Band on the Run.  This is the band they've formed at their home, and all are playing instruments.  Stefano's on keyboards...James & Paul on guitar and Casey on bass.  They did pretty well...a little shaky toward the beginning, but otherwise good.  Casey and James are safe.  Paul's in the bottom three.  Ack.  Messing with my pool already.

Next to perform are Jamie Foxx and Wil.i.am with Hot Wings from the new animated film, Rio.  Speaking of which, did anyone get the free Angry Birds Rio from amazon last week?  Love it.  As for this song--not so much.  They put on quite a production though with samba dancers and a percussion group. 

After the performance, we learn that Paul is safe.  Naima and Thia are going home.

So, where am I?


Not bad--as long as Stefano goes next week, I'll be in good shape!

Until then...ciao!


Sir Elton John night on American Idol

That's right, it's Elton John night on AI. Should be fun.  Two folks will be eliminated after tonight.

Of course, Scotty found the ONE country song that Elton put out.He sings Country Comfort.  Jimmy Iovine makes the comment that folks think Scotty is a one-trick pony.  Put me in that camp.  I really was hoping to see something at least a *little* different tonight.  Nope.  He sang this for his grandma and the judges loved it. 

Next up is Naima with a reggae version of I'm Still Standing.  She connects with the lyrics because people didn't expect her to get this far.  Jimmy takes it a step further to suggest she sing about all the events in the world and how there are a lot of people still standing, and this song is for them. How generous!  I love reggae, but don't care for this reggae version with her fake accent.  Her voice sounds fine, but I wouldn't want to hear that on the radio.  JLo said it was better in concept than it was in pay-off.  Randy agreed and said it was corny.  Steven gave her kudos for picking a song that suited her.

Paul's up next.  What a great smile he has.  Tonight he's singing Rocket Man.  His band covered the song years ago, and it was a disaster, but he's going to try again.  Jimmy suggested he approach this like it's his encore after giving a great performance in front of thousands of people.  He's wearing the white suit covered in roses again.  He sounds pretty good--doing the whisper-y, breath-y thing.  Randy said it was a little pitchy here and there, and JLo feels he's holding back something with his voice and that he should try to go all the way.  Steven asked if he's watering his suit because there seem to be a lot more flowers this week.  Steven likes that he's sometimes pitchy and said he could name five famous singers who do that too.

Pia's doing another ballad--Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me.  She chose it because it's one of her all-time favorite songs.  Jimmy told her to approach it like a rock singer--somewhere between Fergie and Axl Rose.  She promises a fast song next week.  I'm torn on this one.  She sounded good, like she always does, but I wasn't moved by the song like when Elton sings it, or especially George Michael.  It was more of the same, to me.  Judges loved it though.  JLo said she felt her more than she has before--I didn't experience that.  Randy pointed out that she's always GREAT singing ballads...he was just ready for her to change it up.  I'm with Randy.

Stefano is singing Tiny Dancer.  I thought he did better this week, but I still didn't love it.  JLo called it "amazing."  I wouldn't go that far.  Randy said he could tell he was connecting with the audience more.  Steven said he nailed it and thought he was really good.

Lauren chooses Candle in the Wind.  She's anxious to see what America thinks of her soft side.  She adds a slight country tone to it, but sounds nice.  Randy said it was one of her greatest performances.  Steven said it was perfect.  JLo used the word "amazing" again.  I think it's more appropriate for Lauren than it was for Stefano.

James is singing Satruday Night's All Right.  He did a split jump off the stairs in the middle of the performance!  Who knew?  He did a great job!!  Quite a production.  The piano was even set on fire.  I loved it!  Judges loved it.  Randy loves that James enjoys himself.

Thia is singing Daniel.  Jimmy tells her to get away from "dramatic" and to just think about the lyrics, and what they mean, and to sing from her heart.  Thia has a a beautiful voice.  She really does.  Her problem is that she has NO personality on stage.  JLo said it was a beautiful moment for Thia.  Randy liked the relaxed side of her.  He didn't like that it was once again very safe.  Steven thought it was the right song, and she sang it well.

Casey is singing Your Song.  One of Jimmy's cohorts said that CAsey's beard is taking over his face so much that people can't even see him.  So, Casey went for a haircut and a trim.  He comes out a little less scruffy, but still Casey.  He sits on a stool tonight and totally redeems himself.  Great performance.  Randy said it was the greatest save they've ever had.  Randy said it was so nice and so tender.  Steven said putting him through last week was one of the finest moments on this show.  JLo said she's lost sleep over some of the decisions the judges have made, letting good people good.  She said she slept like a baby after saving Casey.  She loved it.

Jacob is next, singing, Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word.  He first heard Mary J. Blige's version.  While he's rehearsing, Mary just happened to be in the back of the room.  She gave him a big hug.  Jimmy warned him about over-dramatizing the song.  He did a good job, though he did look like he might cry a couple of times.  I'm torn on Jacob.  I love when he gets to the powerful parts of his songs, but I don't care much for his singing in the lower registers and softer tones.  Steven loved it.  So did JLo.  Randy loved it, but said something about him finding a note and taking it all the way to the top.

Haley rounds out the night with Benny and the Jets.  Great song to end the show with.  Jimmy said every week something has been missing--tonight he wants her to bring it all--moves, tone and style.  She starts with a jazzy beginning then gets to rocking.    I love this!  My favorite of the night!  JLo had the stank face as she grooved along.  JLo said it all came together--it was amazing.  THIS TIME that word is completely true!  Randy said it was the best performance of the night.  Steven said, "You. Sing. Sexy."  My sister said, "Oh dear.  Steven T. wants to do Haley."

My top three:  Haley!  Casey and James
My bottom three:  Thia, Scotty, Stefano -- I forgot about Naima!

I think Stefano and Thia are in danger.  We shall see!

Random thoughts

Just a few thoughts that have been running through my head:

  • I LOVE Ted (the hair stylist) on What Not to Wear. LOVE.
  • There's a new singing competition called The Voice starting soon on NBC. When I saw Carson Daly in the ads, I was like, eh, no thanks. But then I saw Adam Levine is on. Hello! Might have to watch.
  • Parenthood's back tonight. Yay!
  • I loved Richard during his season of Top Chef, but can't stand him now on the all stars version. Mike's still an ass, so really, I don't want either of them to win. I was really hoping Carla would make it to the end.
  • Borgias looks interesting. I'll probably check it out.
  • My coworker is really cynical and talks all the time about how he thinks Amazing Race stages a lot of their scenes. I have always given them the benefit of the doubt until Vixen & Kynt's snafu a couple weeks. ago. REALLY AR?! Vixen just didn't know what was wrong with her. Oh gosh, what's wrong with Vixen? Why did they miss their plane? Oh no! AND YET....they still managed to catch up with everyone else and get back on an even playing field. I don't buy it. Vixen isn't a great actress so it all seemed fake to me. My coworker has brought me over to his dark side.
  • Nurse Jackie is back! Yay!
  • This is completely unrelated to entertainment, but there was a mugging near the Smithsonian Castle on Monday--in broad daylight. I used to eat lunch out there every day when I was working down town. This just makes me sad.
  • FINALLY going to see Wicked in July. Can't wait!
  • Adele's new album. LOVE.
  • Black Eyed Peas' new album. EH for now, but it'll probably grow on me.
  • Celebrity Apprentice - talk about train wreck television. And who knew Dionne Warwick was such a DIVA?
  • My new favorite TV reviewer is Tim Goodman, aka the Bastard Machine, from the San Francisco Chronicle. He loves Mad Men as much as I do, and is just fun to read.

I guess that's it. Now I'm gearing up for American Idol and getting my pool rankings in gear. I've got a fun group doing it with me this year, so I'm looking forward to it.


How it ended

As I noted in my last post, my DVR cut off the end of American Idol. Thankfully, Lisa de Moraes does a "We Watch So You Don't Have To" recap for washingtonpost.com, and she fills in the gaps for what I missed:
"So the fact that – oh, my God, it’s unreal! I started singing and the fact that you cut it off scared the stuff out of me!” Casey babbles at the judges, still shaking.

The judges see no reason why Casey should get all the best lines during this poignant moment on-camera.

“There’s a nice big wave of hard-earned good fortune for you,” Tyler gushes, meaning we don’t know what.

Then JePe [Jennifer LoPez] tells him to knock off the “antics” and get back to being a musician. And Randy wraps things up with “You don’t need to growl! You can be anything!”

Seabiscuit sees no reason why the judges should get all the best lines either. He jumps in with the last surprise of the night: Because the judges used the Jennifer Hudson Save, two Idolettes will get the hook next week.

On the bright side, TeamIdol has decided to send all 11 on the American Idol Tour!

Okay, thanks Lisa. Good to know.


Down to the top 10

It's time to find out who America's Top 10 will be.  Performing tonight will be Sugarland and Jennifer Hudson.   But first, a few words from Barry Gordy about the Motown Sound, and a recap of last night.  After the judges and contestants are introduced, we see a clip where Marc Anthony gives the contestants a lesson on using "in-ears," those ear buds you see performers wearing when singing live.  They're custom made for each contestant and they can modify how little or how much of the music the contestant hears.  I always wondered about that.  Is it a coincidence that they had this lesson this week, AND it's the first time Randy didn't use the word "pitchy"?  Hmmm...

For the group sing, the kids are fancy tonight--guys in black suits, gals in pretty white dresses.  They perform Ain't No Mountain High Enough - combining Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's version with the version from Diana Ross.  You know, I think this is the first group where every single person can keep the beat when dancing and moving around the stage...I'm impressed.  Next, the kids form two lines and here comes Stevie Wonder!  Steven Tyler was SO EXCITED to see this!  Stevie and the kids sang Signed, Sealed, Delivered.  At the end, Stevie Wonder called out for Steven Tyler.  "How you doin'?  Are you ready for a celebration?  You know, Steven Tyler and I are friends!"  And then he and the whole audience and the judges and Ryan and the contestants sing "Happy Birthday To Ya."  Awww....that was nice.  Naima gave him a painting of himself...I'm wondering if she did the painting??    That was probably the best opening the show's ever had.

I fast forwarded through the Ford commercial, but it seemed to have something to do with the rain and recycling plastic.

Ryan gets down to business and calls up Scott, Pia and Lauren.  Ryan says that because of the votes, they'll all be packing their bags....in a couple of months....because they're safe and going on tour.   Oh, that Ryan.

Sugarland performs Stuck Like Glue.  Catchy tune.  I love Jennifer Nettles hair.  Trying to decide if I should get mine cute like that next week.

I fast-forwarded through the hijinks going on at the house...they were talking about pro-wrestling.  I guess James is a fan.

Next Ryan calls up James and Paul.  Oh good lord.  Ryan tells them that neither are safe tonight.  Then he says, "I mean, you're REALLY not safe tonight."  Then Eye of the Tiger starts playing, and Hulk Hogan appears on stage.  I guess I should've watched the hijinks, but I refuse.  Hogan tells them that they're both safe.  Then he "punches" Ryan Seacrest into the audience, and then he tears his shirt to show off his fake-tanned leather skin.  Ew.

Next up are Jacob, Thia and Stefano.  Jacob is safe.  Thia and Stefano are left on stage, and you know what?  They'd make a cute couple.  Thia is in the bottom three.  And so is Stefano.  I'm not surprised.

Haley, Naima and Casey come up next.  Naima is safe.  CASEY is in the bottom three?!?!?!?!?!  WTF.  It's all my fault.  I didn't call in. 

Jennifer Hudson performs next, she sings Where You At.  She looks fabulous!!!  ♬♪You said you would be right there for me.♫♬  Hmmm...sadly, I can relate to this song.

Ryan announces that Thia is safe.  It's down to Stefano & Casey.  The person with the lowest number of votes is CASEY.  THIS is why they created the Judges Save.  Funny that Jennifer Hudson just performed, since they created that gimmick the year after she was voted off too soon.  I suspect the judges will invoke it tonight, but first, Casey has to sing for his life.  As he's singing, Randy stops the performance, said they don't need to hear him sing anymore, and Steven says "this is crazy--we made the decision to keep you on."  Of course they did!!!!  Casey's overwhelmed, and gets quite dramatic. The whole thing seems kind of staged, actually.

Casey said he figured they wouldn't use the save tonight since there are now 11 people, and that when Randy cut the music, it scared the crap out of him.  JLo said the judges didn't understand why he was in the bottom, and then my damn Tivo cut off.  I'll have to read someone else's recap to find out what she said.  Damn live TV.

So, there it is, everyone's safe.  Time to figure out my pool rankings!


Top 11 perform Motown

It's American Idol night people, and tonight the kids are singing Motown.  Steven looks more like himself tonight--animal print shirt with a black vest.  This is the week that the Top 10 will be decided.  Those 10 will go on tour.

There's a long clip about the history of Motown, for those who don't know, I guess.  One recurring theme in the video clip is that Motown music is timeless...and that is true.  Now I know what I'll be listening to tomorrow!  Also, maybe this weekend I'll pull out Standing in the Shadow of Motown, which was a great documentary about Motown.  If you haven't seen it, please do.  (For what it's worth, I looked back through some old blog posts and I made this exact recommendation in 2009 AND 2010 during AI's Motown week.  Hey, at least I'm consistent.)

Casey's up first, doing Marvin Gaye's I Heard It Through the Grapevine. Casey's got his hair slicked back tonight and is in a black suit.  He's backed up by some violinists...nice touch.  I think he does a great job with this song and with the crowd.  I love Casey!  Steven loved it and says Casey is the perfect entertainer--"perfect pitch, and perfect mix of crazy-ass, out-of-control ego, and that's what makes an artist today."  JLo says he's so unique and can really carve a niche for himself and be amazing.  Randy agreed with both.

Thia's next, performing Heatwave by Martha & the Vandellas.   She "knocked it out of the park" during her studio session with Jimmy Iovine, and he told her she needs to do the same thing live on stage,  It's her first up-tempo performance.  She sounds fantastic!  I love her voice.  And she looks like she's having a great time.  JLo said it was great to see her let loose, and now she says Thia needs to dig even deeper as she goes forward.  Randy echoed JLo, and said he was happy to see her do something different.  Steven loved it.  Said he's "good with it."

Jacob's singing You're All I Need to Get By by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.  Jacob sang the hell out of that song!  His best performance yet--very gospel-ly, rousing.  It was great.   Bob Babbitt, one of the original Funk Brothers, (who played all the Motown music and were featured in that movie I mentioned above) played bass for Jacob.  I watched this performance three times.  Loved it!  Steven came up on stage and gave Jacob a hug.  Standing O from everyone.  Randy said there was absolutely nothing wrong with the performance.  Jennifer was moved.

Lauren's singing You Keep Me Hanging On by The Supremes. Lauren did a good job.  Her voice was strong and she seemed really into it.  She also looks fantastic.  Judges loved it.  Randy said she's got her swagger on.

Stefano is next.  He's singing Hello by Lionel Richie.  Hmmm...yeah, Lionel was with Motown, but when I think of "Motown," I don't really think of anything past 1975.  I feel like this song doesn't count.  AND...I'm positive he won't be able to do anything with it like David Cook did in Season 7.   So far, this is the worst performance of the night.  His voice is okay, but the performance is boring, and talk it feeling like a cruise performance.  And Stefano looks like he's wearing lipstick.  Okay, I'm done with the snark.  JLo didn't feel he connected with the audience.  Randy agreed.  They feel the emotions weren't there.  Steven agreed too.

Haley's singing Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' You've Really Got a Hold on Me.  She's wearing straight hair tonight and looks great.  She gives a great performance.  As Randy said, her bluesy growl was back...that's what I loved too!  Steven said it touched his heart.  He said that's the Haley he's been waiting to see since the first time he heard her.  JLo said she has amazing control over her voice, and that she has the most soulful voice (other than Jacob), in the competition.  Amen to that.

Scotty is singing For Once in My Life by Stevie Wonder.  Scott's not that familiar with Motown, being a country boy and all, and tonight he's going to continue with the country sound.  I would usually say "oh no" to that, but it could work.  More on that later.*  Scotty does a nice job.  I'm chatting with some friends online who LOVED his performance--that's not me, but he did do a good job.  Steven said it was just like Glen Campbell.  JLo thought it was a great version, but it wasn't his strongest vocal performance.  Randy agreed, but said he was smiling the whole time because Scotty's taking chances.

Pia is next, singing Stevie Wonder's All in Love is Fair.  Amazing.  She has such a beautiful voice, and she's beautiful. The judges praised her singing, but said she needs to do something different--maybe something mid-tempo, up-tempo.  Randy said, "Ballad, ballad, ballad....you can't live by ballads alone."  Steven said she's the "closest star in this American Idol universe."

Paul is doing Smokey's Tracks of My Tears.  He's doing a folk-rock version, that is more up Paul's alley.  He's playing guitar tonight.  I like it.  And it's nice to see him with the guitar and not dancing around the stage like Elaine Benes.  Randy liked the performance, especially when he sang tenderly at the end of the song.  He said, "bring more of that out."  JLo said it sounded like there's a tear ("teer"....not "tare") in his voice.  Steven loved it.  JLo said he's the most seasoned performer they have...and she said all he needs is a good producer. 

Ryan pointed out that Randy has not said, "pitchy" once tonight.  That must be a record!!!!

Naima is singing Dancing in the Streets by Martha and the Vandellas.  She's going to throw some African dancing into the performance.  Hmmm...should be interesting.  She's does a great job--probably her best performance yet.  The African drums came out and she did a quick little dance.  This time she didn't try to sing and dance at the same tiime, so she maintained her vocal strength.  It was a fun performance.  Steven said, "once again, we see the whole package."  JLo said she's an exciting performance, and she had her first little goosebumps of the night.  Randy said the song arrangement was brilliant, and everything was very smart.

Bringing up the rear is James, singing Living for the City by Stevie Wonder.  Argh!  Jimmy Iovine was getting ready to say something about Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler getting their soul....and then my sound cut out.  We're having thunderstorms here tonight--don't know if that was the problem or not.  Anyway, James did great and even worked in some little dance steps  Who knew?  JLo said it was an incredible thing to watch.  Randy said it started "a little bit rough," (I wouldn't know because I still didn't have sound at that point), but by the end of the song, it was unbelievable.  Steven said it takes a little crazy to make a difference in the world, and that's what James has.  He said James nailed it. 

Wow.  Tough to make predictions for tomorrow.  I really only have one person in the bottom, and that's Stefano.  I suspect Thia might wind up in the bottom three with him, but I don't know who else.  Maybe Naima, if people didn't "get" her African dance, or maybe Paul.

MY top four were Jacob, Haley, Casey & James.  (I couldn't narrow it down to three.)

*Back to the the country Motown thing.  My friend Amy said that Scotty "countryfied" Motown.  As I mentioned earlier, I probably would've said, "oh no" to that, but then I think about an album called Rhythm, Country & Blues, where R&B singers collaborated with country singers...they countryfied some Motown, and the also R&B'd some country songs.  My dad used to blare this album on long drives across the country and even though country isn't my thing, I do like this album a lot.

And finally, I found a clip of my favorite moment from Standing in the Shadows of Motown.  Joan Osborne performs What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.  Love it, love it, love it.  Embedding was disabled, so you'll have to watch on YouTube.  Enjoy!


12 to 11 on AI

I'm late watching the show tonight, so this will be brief.

Lee Dwyze is going to perform tonight, and AI is raising money for relief efforts in Japan.  Steven Tyler is dressed like a 65-year-old woman on a cruise.  Or, as @jojoribant on Twitter said, "Why is steven tyler dressed like a connecticut wasp cougar?"

Opening number was a mash-up of Born to Be Wild and Gaga's Born this Way.  AI's taking notes from Glee, it seems.

Ford commercial.  Interviews.  Mention of St. Patty's Day. 

Lee Dwyze sounds a bit timid at first, but ultimately gives a nice performance.  Maybe he was having flashbacks of being on the Idol stage in front of Simon. 

Black Eyed Peas perform "Just Can't Get Enough" -- it's a world premiere performance.  Fergie looks different tonight...kind of like Debbie Harry.  I think it's her bright pink lipstick.  I like this song a lot and it reminds me that I've been meaning to get their new album.

Down to business:  Haley, Naima and Karen are in the bottom three.  I don't think Haley belongs there, but I understand why she is.

Turns out Karen had the fewest votes.  She has to sing for her life, and the judges may or may not save her.  She sings Mariah's Hero.  An English/Spanish version, of course.  She was doing well and then hit a bad note at the crescendo of the song.  I don't think the judges will be using their save tonight. 

Randy says it was not a unanimous decision, but they will not be saving her.  I suspect JLo wanted to keep her there.

On to next week!


P.S. On the TV thing

I can't believe when I did my run down on TV the other day, that I did not mention the Showtime show, Shameless.  Now, this is a show I really look forward to each week. 

I kept insisting that my dad watch the show, particularly episode #3 called "Aunt Ginger," which is what really got me hooked.  He found it on OnDemand, and started with episode #1.  After he finished watching "Aunt Ginger," he called to say he'd seen it, and then he laughed for five minutes.  Today he called after having seen episode #5, called "Three Boys," and he could barely get any words out because he was laughing so hard.  It was one of those laughs where he could hardly breathe, let alone talk.  I talked to him again a few hours later, and he brought it up again, and proceeded to laugh for another five minutes.  I don't know the last time I heard my dad laugh like that.  I got a kick out of it, and am so glad he's enjoying the show with me.  I don't know anyone else who's watching, but everyone should be.

In case you're wondering, the show stars William H. Macy as the father of six children.  This is the most dysfunctional family you will ever see, and the title Shameless is the best show title ever.  Great stuff.

America's Top 12

It's Idol night! The show opens with Steven Tyler singing, There's something wrong in the world today...and the judges and Ryan announce that if you download tonight's performances from iTunes, all proceeds will go to the Red Cross to aid in Japan.

The judges and contestants are introduced and Ryan tells us that tonight the kids will be singing songs from the years they were born. I already know there are going to be songs from my high school days--this is only going to depress me.

But, let's get on with it.

Naima's up first, born in October 1984.   She's singing Tina Turner's What's Love Got To Do with It.  She does okay, but doesn't blow me away.  Steven liked it.  JLo said she was pitchy, and mentioned that last week, she gave her a pass for that, because she did something so different, but now it's becoming a pattern.

Paul is another 1984 baby.  He's singing I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues, by Elton John.  Great song.  Paul was just okay too, which disappoints me, because I like him.  He was hoarse in his interview, so maybe that's the problem.   JLo said he sounded good--and that he has so much soul that he overcame that.  Randy liked that he finds a way to make it his own.  Steven said he defines "cool dude and loose mood." Huh?  Steven is channeling Paula, apparently.

Thia was born in, sigh, 1995.  She's singing Colors of the Wind, by Vanessa Williams.  As Tommy Iovine told her, she has quite a lovely tone to her voice.  Nice performance singing-wise, but not too exciting otherwise.  Randy said she's singing ballads every week, and there was nothing special or unique about this performance.  Steven thought she sang it beautifully, but asked "is that song who you think you are?"  She didn't answer yes or no, but said she picked it because of what's going on in the world today.  JLo said she played it too safe and that she needs to work on her vibrato.

James is up next.  He was born in 1989 and singing Bon Jovi's I'll Be There for You.  My sister is going to love this--that's one of her favorite songs.  She'll miss Richie Sambora though.  He sounded a little off in the very beginning, but otherwise, it was a great performance.  He seems very comfortable on the stage and really played to the audience, like he's been doing that forever.  Steven liked it, but warned him not to become too pop-py.  James made a deal with Steven that he'll sing Aerosmith at the finale, and Steven will sing with him.  Then Steven said "shit....." and they silenced everything out.  JLo and Randy liked it too.

Haley was born in 1990.  She's singing Whitney Houston's I'm Your Baby Tonight.  This reminds me of an aerobics class I took in college.  Oh dear...she slipped a little when she went out toward the judges--that could've been bad.  She sounds fine, but again, this probably isn't the best song choice.   I like the way she ended the song, and it made me think she should be singing Teena Marie (RIP Teena) instead of Whitney & Mariah.  Sadly, it would probably work against her because most of America isn't familiar with Teena Marie's music.  Anyway, JLo liked the character in her voice, but said she seems unsure in her movements on stage.  Then Ryan comes out to wipe lipstick off Haley's chin.  Randy was confused by her performance because she doesn't seem to know who she is.  Steven suggested more blues.

Stefano is next.  He was born in 1989.  Stefano mentioned that some of the great options he had for songs in 1989 were Girl You Know It's True, Milli Vanilli; Hangin' Tough, New Kids; and Funky Cold Medina.  Ha!  Then, thankfully, he found Simply Red's If You Don't Know Me By Now.  He did a nice job tonight.  I haven't been that big of a fan, but he redeemed himself.  JLo was singing along.  Randy said it was the best performance of the night so far.  I agree.  Steven loved his phrasing, said it was over the top beautiful.  JLo loved it.

Pia was born in 1988, the year I graduated!  She's doing Whitney's Where Do Broken Hearts Go?  She sounds great, as always.  I don't know if I like the up-tempo arrangement of the song, but she still sounded good.  Steven said she nailed it.  JLo liked that she did something up-tempo.  Said Pia's perfect every time she gets up there.  Randy said, "Pia's in the competition to win it!"

Scotty will be singing Travis Tritt's  Can I Trust You with My Heart? from 1993.  His mom says he was a "chunky monkey" as a baby.  What can I say?  He sounds good singing country music, but to me, his performances all sound the same.  (Not a country fan.)  Not a thing wrong with his performances--they just aren't my thang.  Oh what's this?  Travis Tritt is one of Randy's dearest friends?  Good to know.  *cough*namedropper*cough*.  JLo liked that he pushed it at the end of the song.  Randy liked that he took a chance to hit longer, higher notes.  Steven told him to keep on keepin' on.  (I'm paraphrasing.)

Karen was born in 1989 and will be singing Taylor Dayne's Love Will Lead You Back.  She's not doing it for me.  Taylor has such a strong voice on this song, and Karen sounds a bit weak.  Karen's trying to prove tonight, that she's not just a Spanish singer.  But then she ends en español.  I don't know what it is, but she sounds better singing in Spanish....she must know that.  Randy liked it well enough.  Steven loves when she breaks into Spanish.  JLo said something about if you can't hit the note, don't try it.  I think she liked the performance, but I'm not positive.

Casey!  He was born in 1991, and his parents were in their 40s at the time.  They're the proud older parents.  His parents are so cute.  He's singing Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, and he's slappin' da bass tonight.  (If you haven't seen I Love You, Man, do so now.)  Wow...Casey rocked it out.  He looked like a madman while doing it, but maybe that was just the weird green/yellow lighting.  When he's done he's all smiles and back to his cute self.  Steven said he's crazy & talented all at the same time.  JLo said a few points in the song got a little "screamy-screechy."  Randy said it wasn't his best performance, but liked that Casey is fearless!

Lauren's next, born in 1994.  She's singing Melissa Etheride's I'm the Only One.  Lauren sounds great--probably the best performance she's had.  And this despite the fact that she has the flu.  JLo said, "That's how you make it your own."  Randy said, "that was very nice, so have a cold every week."  Steven said she's a shining star.

And last but not least, it's Jacob's turn.  He was born in 1987.  Jacob's mom embarrasses him by singing for the cameras.  He's singing Heart's Alone.  Jimmy Iovine's happy that Jacob's doing a rock song.  He does a good job, but maybe too much vibrato on long notes.  Toward the end, a couple of his high notes were a little iffy.  Randy said it was a nice performance, even though he was a little sharp "during the modulation."  Steven said, "Your momma may not be able to sing, but she gave you the moxie that makes you who you are."  JLo said she loves that he gives himself completely to every performance, to every moment he's up there. 

Well, this show didn't knock my socks off.  My top 3:  Stefano, Casey and James.  Bottom 3:  Naima, Karen, and sad to say, Paul.

We'll see what happens to-morrow1

Also, since I mentioned Teena Marie earlier, I figured I'd share this.  Love her.


What's happening on TV?

Some random thoughts:

  • Glee made me laugh out loud for the first time in weeks. (That sounds weird. I laugh all the time...I just haven't laughed at Glee in a long time.) I was just telling my sister that I might drop the show, and then tonight, Santana sang "Trouty Mouth" about Sam. I'll at least give it to the end of the season, but am not sure about next year. It's gotten a bit stale. Sue can only thwart Will's efforts with the Glee club so many ways.
  • Harry's Law - I was going to drop this after the first three weeks, but now it's grown on me. It has David Kelly written all over it, so it's very familiar, and I enjoy seeing actors from his previous shows appear from time to time.
  • Might give up Grey's Anatomy soon too. I find that I just don't look forward to it like I used to.
  • Raising Hope is still great, and now I'm enjoying Traffic Light, which follows it.
  • I dropped The Biggest Loser, but plan to watch the finale.
  • I enjoy A&E's Heavy a lot more...no competition or voting people off. Just two folks fighting for their lives. It's more compelling, I guess.
  • Chicago Code - I'm enjoying this show a lot, but Jennifer Beale's Chicago accent is sometimes grating.
  • The season finale of Southland was great. I'm so glad TNT picked that show up.
  • I LOVED An Idiot Abroad, where Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant sent Karl Pilkington around the world. This show made me laugh every time, and I learned a few things along the way, too.

That's all folks!


Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter

Flirting with FortyFlirting with Forty by Jane Porter

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


I wanted to like this book. I turned 40 last year, and I picked it up sometime around my birthday. I didn't care for it at all. I'm not even sure why I finished reading it. There's no reason this book should have been 354 pages, and I should've put it down after 100 pages. The story is told in first person from Jacqueline's point of view and she spends so much time in her head--pondering, philosophizing, and fretting--that I eventually just started skimming through all that. Jacqueline has three best friends--I didn't like any of them, and couldn't figure out why she was friends with them. The only character of any interest, really, was the young boyfriend, Kai.

This is a common story about an older woman, younger man. In my opinion, "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" told it better.

View all my reviews


Cutting down to 12

It's elimination night.

There's a long, dramatic, recap of what happened last night.  Ryan comes out and tells us tonight Diddy Dirty Money will perform, as will Adam Lambert.  (Yay!)  Then we learn that 30 million votes come in.  Someone will be eliminated, unless the judges opt to use their one-time save.  They can do this any time up until there are five contestants left.

Ryan brings out the contestants, and points out that Casey's missing from the group, because he's sick and in the hospital.  Oh no!!  I searched around the internet trying to find out why, but haven't found anything definitive.  I did see that he was also in the hospital on Feb. 25, with stomach pains.  I hope he's okay!

After that, we see the contestant's new digs.  And then they perform a Michael Jackson group-sing medley.  They're singing live and not lip syncing...that's good for some (Pia, James), but not others (Lauren, Karen, Ashton), and they all sounded good on Man in the Mirror.

Before Ryan starts with the torture, we get to watch the Ford music video.  Eh.  Nothing too exciting.  Then, we see that they went to the premiere of Red Riding Hood.  Ugh.  Fast forward.  Too much filler.

FINALLY we start to hear some results.  Ryan calls up Jacob, Stefano and Karen.  Ryan says, "You are all safe..." the crowd cheers, and then he adds, "except, except, Karen."  Well, then that is not "you all" is it?

Adam Lambert performs next...he does an unplugged version of Aftermath.  Adam looks good!  I love him. 

Time for the next three to learn their fate.  Lauren, Ashton and Haley come on up.  Ryan summarized the judges comments on Lauren's performance, which weren't great.  Ryan asked her if she thought the judges were right, and she said, "Yeah, it wasn't good.  I watched it.  It was bad...and I'm sorry."  Aww.  She's about to break down in tears, and Ryan ends the pain by telling her she's safe.  Aston and Haley are both in the bottom three.  WHAT.  We don't have to sit through the torture for the rest of the kids?  Nice.   I think Ashton's outta here, and I don't think the judges would waste the save on her.  They already saved her once, and she didn't measure up.

Now JLo's ex, Diddy, performs.  He performs Coming Home featuring Skylar Grey.  Is that awkward for JLo?  Or for Diddy?  Interesting.  I wonder if they're still friends, or even just friendly.

And now we're gettin' down to the nitty-gritty*[ooh, more on this in a minute].  Karen's safe.  Haley's safe.  So, that leaves Aston to "sing for her life."  She decides to sing Diana Ross again.  Oh man.  It's worse than yesterday.  Well, of course it is--now her nerves are shot.  I feel bad for her.  Now that Barry Gordy's not there, maybe the judges will be more honest about her performance.  When she's finished singing, she's in tears.   This is painful.  JLo announces that they won't be saving her.  "Not this time, baby.  Not this time.  And, it was unanimous.  You know I was rooting for you, baby.  I'm sorry." 

They show Ashton's journey to David Cook's Don't You Forget About Me.  So there it is.  We'll see what happens next week.

*Now, back to that little line, "And now we're gettin' down to the nitty-gritty."  I was thinking of Whodini song, Five Minutes of Funk, when I wrote that.   Five minutes of funk, this ain't no junk, so pull your bottom, off the tree stump, ladies real pretty, from city to city, but now we're getting down to the nitty gritty.  Sorry, I got lost there. 

Here, listen for yourself.  (The line above comes at 3:00.)



AI's Top 13 Debut

Ryan tells us the crowd is ready, and then the cameras show the crowd doing the wave.  Time to get the party started!

The contestants get to sing a song from their personal idols tonight.  This is the first time they'll be working with in-house mentor, Jimmy Iovine, the chairman of Interscope, along with "his team of Grammy Award-winning record producers."

Lauren's up first.  Her idol is Shania Twain, and she'll be singing Any Man of Mine.  She's cute and does a good job, but needs to work on her stage presence--I think she needs a little more energy.  Steven wishes it had been a little more "kick ass."  (I think Steven's saying the same thing I did.)  JLo says Lauren always sounds so amazing, but we need to feel her kicking it into high gear.  Randy echoed the other two, and said they want to see her "shine beyond belief," and he's not sure that song did it for her.  Lauren said she understands the judges, but didn't want to do a ballad because that's what everyone does.

Casey's next.  Singing Joe Cocker's With a Little Help From My Friends, which he first heard when it was the theme of the Wonder Years.  He said Joe Cocker inspired Casey's look--funny!  Casey says when Joe Cocker sings, he feels the music through his whole body, so the audience doesn't just hear him, they feel him.  Casey wants to be felt.  I LOVE Casey!  He's backed by a little choir and sounds amazing.  I'm definitely downloading this on iTunes.  (I assume they're doing that again this year.)  Casey tore it up!!  JLo said he blew her away.   Randy loved it.  Steven said he's a "rainbow of talent" and a "plethora of talent."

Ashton's  singing Diana Ross' When You Tell Me That You Love Me.  Oh gosh...she sings the first line and sounds terrible.  Very weak.  I didn't care for her performance.  She was saved last week by the judges and I think they made a bad decision.  [Note:  here's my sister's theory: "I think the judges purposely put people in who suck to save the top folks and guarantee them a spot - particularly so they have them on their tour."]  Randy says he liked it, but I think he's just kissing up to Barry Gordy, who's in the audience.  Steven liked it too?  And JLo said she's amazing.  Hmm...I'm not feeling it.

Paul's next, singing Ryan Adams' Come Pick Me Up.  Uh-oh.  I think Paul's singing too low...it doesn't sound good.  No Paul!  I like you.  Why'd you do this song?  Well, it got better toward the end.  He's got such a unique voice, but this song didn't do it for me.  Steven said it was a little pitchy, but he loves his voice.  JLo said "there's just something about you" and you moved the crowd.  She said, "I hope America gets it--I don't know Ryan Adams, or that song...."  Paul tells her she should.  Randy knows Ryan Adams and said he loves him too, then he dropped all his knowledge about Ryan Adams, Wilco, Whiskey Town, Don (the producer Paul worked with), and the Traveling Willburies, to show he does get Paul.

Pia's taking on Celine Dion's version of All By Myself.  [Uh-oh...when I hear that song, I have to watch Bridget Jones' Diary within a few days.  [Here's why--sorry, embedding was disabled, so you have to link to YouTube.) Now I know one thing I'll be doing this weekend.]   Wow...Pia's a really beautiful girl and she handled the song beautifully.  I got chills when she hit the high note, though she probably could've held it just a second longer.  JLo said people were wondering what she'd do to top last week, and there it is.  Randy mentioned how over the past 10 years they've advise girls not to tackle Mariah, Whitney and Celine if they can't do them, but Pia has the quality to hit the notes dead-on without even thinking about it.  Randy it was a very "hot, dope, cool performance."  Steven said she slammed it, and that it was beautiful.

James' idol is Paul McCartney, and he'll be singing Maybe I'm Amazed.  Very nicely done.  He sounded so good--and actually sang the song without getting too loud or heavy.  Randy said he slayed it, showed he has a sensitive side, and "this man can sing!"  JLo said he has a melodic quality to his voice.

Haley sings Blue by LeAnn Rimes, which she's been singing since she was a little girl.  She sounded good.  Steven said it was beautiful.  JLo said she does really special things with her voice.  Randy thought it was "a little sleepy, and a little boring."

Jacob's idol is R. Kelly.  Oh Jacob...you gotta find a different idol.  R. Kelly is not someone to idolize.  He's singing I Believe I Can Fly.  I'll try to get through this.  I really like Jacob, but I hate this song.  Here comes the choir again, this time in blue robes.  Wow....Jacob does an amazing job with the song.  What a voice.  Made me forget about R. Kelly.  Steven said Jacob's so good that he can't even judge him.  JLo agreed that it's hard to judge him.  Randy said he has a signature sound, and he's excited every time Jacob hits the stage.

Thia's idol is Michael Jackson...how convenient since Randy told her she reminds him of Michael.  She's singing Smile.  Great song.   How does this tiny little body have such a big voice?  Gorgeous.  It was a little weird when the song picked up tempo in the middle, but she sounded good.  Randy loved her intro, when she was singing by herself with the guitar.  He didn't love the jazzy arrangement, but overall it was good.  Steven agreed.  Also, I'm pretty sure he called her "Pia."  JLo said the arrangement was interesting, but was glad to see her move a little bit.

Stefano's idol is Stevie Wonder and he'll be singing Lately.  Great song.  Uh-oh...what's this?  A techno-disco version of the song?  No, no, no....  His voice was good, but I did not like that arrangement.  JLo seemed to be enjoying it--she was dancing along.  Steven and JLo liked it.  Randy said it started off rocky, but he slayed it.  Really?  Ohhh-kayyyyy.  Debbie and I were waiting for someone to mention that he sounded like a wedding singer.

Karen's doing Selena's I Could Fall in Love.  Mmm....she's okay.  Not as good as last week...a little pitchy.  Jimmy Iovine told her not to talk on the phone...wondering if she's having voice problems.  JLo said she could tell Karen was uncomfortable with some of the notes in the low and high notes.  Randy said it didn't quite come off for him tonight.  Steven agreed.

Scotty's idol is Garth Brooks, and he'll be singing The River.  He's got a nice soothing voice.  Good job.  Randy loved it.  Steven said he did Garth justice.  JLo enjoyed seeing him opening up as a performer and embracing the audience.

Naima's performing Umbrella by Rihanna.  Hmmm....she threw some reggae into the middle of the song.  It was a weird transition, but I guess that was her showing who she is.  Then there was some thunder and lightning and she did a few dance moves, and then finished the song.  I dunno--there was too much going on there.  It was a bit of a mess, and her voice was just okay.  Steven said she was pitchy, but she brought flavor, like no one else has done, and he adores her for that.  JLo didn't care about the pitch because she's got fire.  Said she needs to work on the control of dancing and singing.  Randy gave his little chuckle and then said he does care about the pitchiness, but it was more that she was cutting off notes because she was trying to catch her breath.  He loved the reggae and said she should've done a whole reggae version of the song.  Interesting that Naima's phone number is 1 866 IDOLS 36.  They went with 36 so no one would have to use the unlucky 13 as their phone number.  That's nice.

Do I dare try to rank these?  I think I'll just do Top 3 and Bottom 3.

Bottom:  Stefano, Ashton, and Karen
Top:  CASEY!, Pia, and James

Tune in tomorrow.  We'll see who's cut.


Danza Kuduro

I first heard this song in Zumba classes and always love when it comes on.

Then, when we were on vacation in the Dominican Republic a couple weeks ago, we were sitting near the pool, late at night...probably midnight.  We were alone, but could hear the music playing at a bar nearby.  This song came on and the bartenders and servers were singing and dancing around the bar.  When it was over, they played it again.  The next night, we were at the same bar, and it came on and everyone let loose again.  It became our anthem for the trip.  One night it came on as we were leaving the bar, and we conga-lined our way out.

Now when I hear it I just think of sunny skies and beaches and pools and fruity rum drinks and fun with my friends. I have no idea what made me think of it right now...feeling wistful, I suppose.  I just figured I'd share with everyone. (BTW...ignore the "acting" at the beginning.)


Results night on AI

Is this seriously going to be a TWO-HOUR show?!  What?  I see a lot of fast forwarding in my future.

The show starts with a montage of AI moments up until now.  Ryan comes out an announces they'll make the largest cut ever at this point of the competition.  Then he announces the top 24.  I fast-forwarded through most of that, but noticed that Paul is wearing that fancy white jacket with flowers on it.

So, America will decide the top 10, and then the judges will decide who from the remaining 14 they'd like to see again for the wild card pick.  And what is Steven wearing?   A hot pink puffy shirt?! 

Before the guys are announced, they do a play-by-play of the guys' performance night.  FF>>

Then there some chit chat with the guys.  The guys feel bad knowing some of their friends may be leaving.  Then there's another video montage of some interviews with the guys, i.e., another time filler.  

Finally we get to find out who the top 5 guys are.   Scotty and Robbie are called forward.  Scotty is in the Top 10.  Robbie is not.  (No surprise there.)

Next up, Clint, Jordan and Jovany.  Clint looks like he's hyperventilating and about to have a heart attack.  Jordan, who sang Usher on Tuesday, admits that if he had to do it over, he'd sing John Legend's Ordinary People.  JLo says that would've been a good choice.  Clint and Jordan have not made it to the Top 10.  And...neither did Jovany.  

Now we turn to the ladies.  Blah, blah, blah--recap of last night's show, and then their camera interviews.  FF>>

Finally, Ryan calls up Pia and Lauren A.  Pia said she's dreamed of this since she was a little girl.  It's weird to think that these people were little children when AI first started.  After the vote, Lauren is in the Top 10.  As is Pia.  (Of course she is!)

Next up are:  Ta-Tynisa (sp?) and Julie.  Note:  Julie and Pia look exactly alike.  Ta-Tynisa is a no.  Julie is a no.

After a commercial break, Ryan calls Kendra, Ashthon, and Karen to join him.  Ashthon = no.  Kendra=no.  Karen=yes.  (Kendra was on my top 5...boo.)

Next up are Jacob, Casey, and Tim.  Jacob is in the Top 10.  Casey is too! (He's my FAVORITE!)  Tim is not.  That's the right decision.

Next:  Naima, Thia, and Lauren T.  Naima is not in the Top 10.   Thia is in.  Lauren T. is not.  All three of these were in my top 5...my picks aren't doing so well.

Brett and Paul come up next.  Paul made it.  Brett didn't.

Here come Haley and Rachel.  I suspect Haley's in.  And I'm right.

And now, for the final guy spot:  Stefano and James come up.   James gets the spot.

So, to summarize, America's Top 10 are (those in bold were my picks too):

Guys:  James, Paul, Jacob, Casey, and Scotty
Girls:  Lauren A, Pia, Thia, Haley, and Karen
I hope for Clint, Brett, Kendra and Lauren T. to be picked as wild cards.  

For the wild cards, the judges will select some of the remaining 14 contestants to sing again, and then make a decision.  Six people will be selected to sing: 3 guys and 3 girls.  

Their first choice to sing is Ashthon.  The contestants get to sing anything they've already sung during the competition so far.  Ashthon is singing And I Am Telling You, à la Jennifer Hudson.  She's better than last night, but not as good as Jennifer Hudson. 

Next to sing is Stefano.  He's singing I Need You Now by Smokie Norful (?).  I hear a touch of Donny Hathaway in his voice...he's doing really well tonight. 

The judges call Kendra next, who will sing Georgia on My Mind.  She knocked it out!  I love her voice. 

Jovany's next, singing Jon Secada's Angel, which he dedicates to someone he once loved.  He's switching between English & Spanish, probably hoping it will bring him the same accolades Karen got last night.  He was just okay for me.  Jennifer said, "You did a good job baby.  You did all you could do.  You did all you could do."  That doesn't sound too promising...she sounded kind of disappointed.

Naima's chosen to sing next, so the remaining four are out.  She's singing Donny Hathaway's For All We Know...sounds a little shaky to me.  I'm wishing they had chosen Lauren T. instead.  Oh my...she was bawling at the end of the song.  Ryan told her to breathe.  Steven seemed to like it. 

The last person chosen to sing is Robbie.  The rest are out.  Brett comes to give the judges a hug.  Robbie sings Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word by Elton John.  Ugh...he's singing it too slowly...hurry up!  He sounds better than last night though.  Much better, actually.  Randy said the Robbie they fell in love with is back.

We get the world premiere of JLo's new video while the judges deliberate.  I have a bad feeling my recording's going to cut off before they announce the wild cards.  JLo looks great in her video.  The song has the tune of Lambada in it...reminds me of my Zumba classes.

The judges pick Ashthon, Stefano, and Naima.  Darn...I was pulling for Kendra. 

Okay, that's our Top 13.  The Top 10 will be announced March 24, and that's the week my pool will start.


Ladies night

Tonight the top 12 girls perform.  I hope it's as good a show as it was last night.  We shall see.

Ryan introduces the judges.  JLo's wearing a silver sparkly toga with thigh-high silver boots.  Interesting...

I missed this last night, but the top 5 guys and the top 5 girls from this week, will fast track to the Top 10.  I like that change so things don't just drag on and on, but it makes me wish I'd called in some votes last night.

Time to introduce the girls.  So many of them have difficult names.  I had to turn on close captioning to see what Ryan's saying.  The top 12 girls are:

Ta-Tynisa Wilson
Naima Adedapo
Kendra Chantelle
Rachel Zevita
Karen Rodriguez
Lauren Turner
Ashthon Jones
Julie Zorrilla
Haley Reinhart
Thia Megia
Lauren Alaina
Pia Toscano

Just as the guys did last night, the girls will be singing the songs of their choice.

Ta-Tynisa is up first.  She's 30 seconds in and I already don't like her.  She's singing Rihanna's Only Girl (In the World).  The song is too big for her.  Her voice sounds weak.  Plus I don't like this song anyway, so that's not helping.  She's pitchy too. Ugh.  Oh my.  Was Steven listening?!  He said she sang the song beautifully.  WRONG Steven.  JLo said she started shaky, but she brought it all the way home.  WHAT?  I hope Randy saw things straight.  Yep.  He disagrees!  Thank goodness.  He thought she was just okay.

Naima is dressed in a yellow dress she designed...it's has an Asian flare.  She's singing Summertime.  Nice.  She has a really nice voice.  JLo told her she's like an exotic flower, and Naima says that's what her name means.  Randy said she didn't measure up to Fantasia's version, and said the second half was better than the first.  Steven said she was unbelievable. 

Kendra's next.  We learn that she used to sell bathtubs.  She's singing Impossible, by Christina Aguilera...and sounds amazing.  Very soulful voice.  Randy loved it...loved her vibratto...made him feel connected to her.  He really liked it.  Steven said she was hot...voice, clothes, the whole package.  JLo likes that she has heart.  JLo feels we're just scratching the surface with Kendra.

Rachel is wearing a black cape that she flings off.  She's singing a jazzy version of Fiona Apple's Criminal.  I don't care for her performance...I don't like the musical arrangement, and she seems lost in the song.   Mildly interesting that she has a chicken pox scar on the side of the bridge of her nose right where I have one.  Steven said it was too Broadway for her, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, because maybe that's her niche.  JLo says she needs to decide who she wants to be.  Randy said it just didn't work.  I concur.

Karen is singing Mariah's Hero.  Risky.  Hmmm..mixing English and Spanish--¡muy interesante!  It was pleasing.  Didn't make me jump out of my seat, but it was nice.  She's a gorgeous girl.  JLo has goose bumps, and loved that she changed from English to Spanish.  Randy liked that she made it her own, and he thought the Spanish was better than the English--I agree with him about that.  Steven thinks she should sing with Jacob.  He loved it and thought she was fantastic.

Lauren T. is next with an Etta James tune, "Seven Day Fool."  (I had to look that up.)  I love her performance...great voice, great stage presence.  Randy said, "That's how you do it, man!"  He loved her power, and the bluesy, soul flavor.  Steven said it was spectacular.  JLo said her voice in undeniable, but wanted her to be more animated with the camera.

Ashthon,  the girl with one too many H's in her name, is up next.  She's singing another song I'll have to look up.  Seriously--can't they put that on the screen?  It's Love All Over Me by Monica.  Bad song choice...she sounds good though.  Steven said she has the confidence of a queen and she sings so sweet.  JLo said she has all the makings of a diva with the hair, body, and moves.  Ashthon responded, "I get it from you." Randy likes her and agrees with Steven & JLo, AND me, he didn't love the song.

Julie is up next.  Another beautiful girl. She sings Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway.  A little shaky at first, but then she did okay.  The band and backup singers kind of drowned her out though.  Her version isn't nearly as good as Kelly's.  No, I didn't care for it--she was off-key too much.  JLo didn't feel it was the best thing she's done.  Randy said she didn't sing it nearly as well as Kelly.  Me and Randy are seeing eye-to-eye this season.

Haley is singing Alicia Keys' Fallin'.  Another risk!  So far so good, though.  I love her!  First time I can say that tonight.  She's fantastic!  Uh-oh.  Forget what I just said about me and Randy.  He thought it was karaoke.  DISAGREE.  Steven liked it, said it was great.  JLo agreed with Steven.  JLo said she needs to get out of her head for a minute--JLo felt we could see her thinking about her movements as she was singing.

Thia...the tiny girl with the big voice.  She's singing my favorite song from Fame:  Irene Cara's Out Here on My Own.  God, this song makes me cry every single time I hear it...I don't know why.  Anyway, she did a great job.  Steven loved it.  JLo loved it.  Randy said she's got a beautiful tone to her voice, so it doesn't matter what she's singing or how old she is.  (She's only 15.) Time to pull out my Fame soundtrack, or better yet, maybe I'll watch the movie this weekend.

Lauren A. brings the us our country selection.  She's singing Turn on the Radio by Reba McEntire.  She's got a great voice and is fun to watch.  JLo loved it..said she's a natural.  Randy doesn't think Lauren knows how good she really is.  Randy says she's Kelly Clarkson meets Carrie Underwood.  Steven said we haven't seen the best of her yet.  Lauren has nicknamed Ryan, "Peaches," since they're both from Georgia.

And last but not least, Pia sings The Pretenders' I'll Stand By You.  She's great.  Beautiful voice.  Wow.  Randy points out that she got the first standing O of Season 10.  Randy said she put herself in the top with all the other amazing performances from seasons past.  Steven said, and I quote, "After Monday and Tuesday, even a week says WTF.  That was unbelievable.  That was so over the top.  You went from here to there.  That was gorgeous. Congrats."  JLo said it was out of this world.

OK.  This is difficult.  I have six favorites, but only five will make it through.

My Top 6 are:

Lauren T.

Narrowing it to five, it'd be between Naima and Lauren T.

As for the guys, my Top 5 are:

and hesitantly, Brett

After next week's performances I'll start putting my pool together.  Wish me luck!

Update:  OK, I looked into the Top 10 thing, and according to americanidol.com, "America will vote 5 guys and 5 girls into the finals, and the judges will round it out with their wild card picks."  I also found that the official Top 10 (those who will go on tour), will be announced March 24.  That's when the pool will start.


Here we go again! It's American Idol!

Yep. We're back. I said last season that I was done with the show, but with the addition of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler as judges, and the various changes I heard about over the months, I just had to watch again. And I'm glad I am...I think J-Lo and ST are great additions. I've really enjoyed watching them.

And so, the judges have narrowed the field to 24. Twelve guys and twelve girls. Tonight the guys perform, and because I already have a few I'm pulling for, I'm really looking forward to tonight's show.

The Top 12 guys are: (I've "starred" the ones I most want to see.)

  • Clint Jun Gamboa** (the karaoke host with goofy glasses)
  • Jovany Barreto
  • Jordan Dorsey
  • Tim Halperin
  • Brett Loewenstern** (big curly red hair - he's kind of annoying, but his voice is great)
  • James Durbin
  • Robbie Rosen
  • Scotty McCreery
  • Stefano Lagone
  • Paul McDonald** (bears a slight resemblance to Bradley Cooper)
  • Jacob Lusk**
  • Casey Abrams** (the shaggy red-head that played bass during final auditions)

This week, the contestant's get to sing whatever they want.  

Clint's up first and sings Stevie Wonder's Superstition. He sounds great, but either he's not singing loud enough or the music's too loud. He was fantastic--off to a great start. Judges loved him.

Jovany - He's the guy that showed his (very nice) abs to J-Lo at his first audition. He works in a shipyard. Singing I'll Be by Edwin McCain. He has a nice, pleasant voice, but not a lot of stage presence...maybe because it's a slow song. Steven Tyler said, "Holy Shipyard!" ST and JLo loved it. Randy said it was just okay--and that when you sing a cover song, you gotta bring something to it, and it seemed karaoke to him. I kind of agree with Randy.  

Jordan - he was pretty cocky during the group sessions...having people audition for him. But, it paid off and his whole group made it through, so what do I know? He's singing Usher's OMG. He was kind of all over the place, singing high and low, but it was entertaining. ST said it wasn't his favorite performance. JLo said "Is that who you want to be?" He said no, and she said to her, he's more "Nat King Cole" and he should've done something along those lines. Randy repeated his critique from last time about bringing something different, and talked about his being pitchy in the falsetto. Agreed.  

Tim - have to admit I don't really remember much about him from auditions. He's singing Rob Thomas' Streetcorner Symphony and I love him. He was great. ST said the song didn't do him any justice and felt Tim's done so much better. Hmmm...maybe since I don't remember him, I don't have anything to compare it to. JLo and Randy agreed with ST.  

Brett - I guess he was picked on as a kid, and look at him now, singing The Doors' Light My Fire. He's doing too much shaking all that hair around and it's getting on my nerves. He sounds good though. ST liked it. JLo said there was more hair tossing than she and Beyonce over the past ten years, but she liked his performance. Randy said there were 14 hair shakes and Brett said he didn't even know he was doing it. Randy said, "C'mon!" He said there were some pitch problems in beginning, but he got it together in the end, and Randy likes that he's fun to watch.

James is up next. During auditions we learned that he has Asperger's and Tourette's Syndrome--I'm happy he's been able to pursue his dream, but I'm a little worried that he's trying to hard to be Adam Lambert part deux. I love Adam, and it's too soon to have someone so similar. I don't recognize the song he's singing. (I wish this show would follow SYTYCD's lead and display the song.) I guess it's "You've Got Another Thing Coming." Yep. Googled it. Judas Priest. I didn't love it, but that's more because of the song than his performance. He sounded good. Steven got bleeped...said that was "%&#! crazy good!" JLo loved the way he performed. Randy said, "This is how you do it!" and that he was "nice and tasty" with the high voice. Whatever that means.  

Robbie - can't really remember much about Robbie from auditions either. He's singing, Sarah McLachlan's In the Arms of the Angels. Hmm...I don't care for it. He was pitchy. ST said it was beautiful. I disagree. JLo said he told a story while singing, even though the notes weren't all perfect...she liked his choices better than Sarah McLachlan's. REALLY?! Randy agrees with me and said Robbie didn't seem quite comfortable in the performance. Randy got booed, but he was exactly right.  

Scotty with the deep country voice is next. Hard to believe he's only 17. Had to look up his song too--it's Letter from Home by John Michael Montgomery. Country's not my style, but he did a great job and the crowd loves him. ST says he couldn't have picked a better song. JLo said he's born to sing country music. Randy loved it and that he's a throwback country guy--not someone trying to cross-over to pop. He's from Garner, NC where a friend of mine lives. That would be cool, to have a hometown boy to root for.

Stefano - only vaguely remember him from auditions. He's singing Bruno Mars' Just the Way You Are. (Can I just say that I LOVE this songs. It makes me happy.) Stefano sounds just like Bruno Mars singing it. Lovely voice--ooh, except for that one high note. Everything else was great, and he's a cutie. ST loved it. JLo said he's a "beast up there." Randy said his sharp high note didn't matter because he had them rocking and thinking "this kid could be on the radio right now." Ryan asked if he was singing to anyone in particular, and Stefano said the song was for all the ladies out there. Charmer. :o)  

Paul - he wore that white suit with flowers during auditions. I love his voice, and his smile. He's singing Rod Stewart's Maggie May. Not my favorite song in the world, but he did it very well. ST said he has a real character about his voice. He said, "I love that character in you." Me too! JLo mentioned how his smile lights up the whole place. Randy said he's just so unique and different, and likes the possibility that Idol can embrace that.

Jacob - there was a scene during the announcement of the top 24, where he was clapping for someone and all I could see was this:

Anyway, Jacob's singing Luther Vandross' A House is not a Home. Oh...Luther. I miss him. Anyway, Jacob was FANTASTIC. Perfect song for him. I had to rewind and watch again before hearing the judges critiques. ST said it was divine intervention that brought Jacob here. He said, "I'm honored to be in your presence...you make me cry when you sing." JLo said Luther was her favorite singer of all time, and she said Luther's gone, "but now we have you." Randy said he thinks Luther would be so proud, and we're lucky to have him. Amen.  

Casey - he's a film camp counselor..that's kinda cool. I'm going to nickname him the Shaggy D.A. He's singing I Put a Spell on You by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, made famous by Nina Simone. I absolutely LOVE him!!!! It's hard to imagine how all this soul comes from that body. Watched him twice too. Loved it!! ST said, "that's as good as it gets." JLo said, "Casey...you're sexy Casey." She loved it. Randy loved how Casey transformed himself to the spirit of that song. Awesome.

You know...this was a great show. Lots of talent this season. I think Robbie, Jovany, and Jordan might be in danger. Watching the recap, I'd say Robbie will probably go. We'll find out Thursday.

Tomorrow it's the girls.