American Idol - Finale Night

As I vowed last week,  I did not watch last night's country spectacular.  People at work tell me they think Lauren's going win--and people I talk to who are still interested want Lauren to win.  If you want a recap of last night's show, check out Lisa de Moraes' blog on washingtonpost.com.

I still don't care who wins, so tonight I'm tuning in to see who the special guests are, and to see if Steven Tyler's going to keep his promise to perform with James at the finale. 

After a bunch of intro talk, and the introduction of Scotty and Lauren, we get a group sing of Gaga's "Born This Way."  All the contestant's are there and everyone's wearing white.  They're also lip-synching horribly.  Jacob thinks he's the star and completely hams it up every time there's a camera near his face.  He is so annoying.  Hey, Phillip Bailey's in the house! 

James is performing first with Judas Priest.  He's dressed like one of the Village People in black with silver studs all over the place.  He looks completely ridiculous.  They go into "Breakin' the law, breakin' the law," and I immediately think of Beavis & Butthead.

(Sorry. That was gross, but it was the only thing I could find that showed what I meant.)

The judges and the audience are on their feet.

Next a tribute to Randy: The Veteran. We got a recap of Randy's most common phrases. So-and-so is IN IT TO WIN IT! Ryan said, "We gotta get you a new writer." That's for sure.

Jacob performs "I Smile" with his heroes...first gospel star Kirk Franklin, and then Gladys Knight came out. Gospel is definitely what Jacob's best at. Nice performance.

Next comes Casey with his beard grown back out, and surprise! Jack Black! They sing Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls." Man...Casey should really be one of the top two. No chance of catching Zs during his performances like when Scotty sings. That was fun.

And here come the ladies of the top 13, dressed in red and singing a Beyoncé medley of "Single Ladies," "Irreplaceable (To the left, to the left...)", "Get Me Bodied," "If I Were a Boy," and "Déjà Vu." Naima thinks she's the star of the whole thing, until Beyoncé herself comes out and does "Crazy in Love." That was a fun performance too, though I am reminded of why some of the girls were voted off early.

Now the tribute to Steven Tyler: The Loose Cannon. We see a series of Steven being bleeped, flirting with the pretty girls, and sharing his Stevenisms.

Next comes Haley performing "Stepping Out with My Baby" with Tony Bennett. I LOVE Haley's dresss...gorgeous. I like Haley doing the jazz thing. Tony even showed off some dance moves.

Next, the tribute to Jennifer Lopez: The Most Beautiful Woman in the World. Lots of guys confessing their crushes on her.

Next comes TLC! I was just thinking about them the other day and downloaded a bunch of stuff. Aw....it's sad to see them without Left Eye. They look good though. Lil Jon starts them off. Naima, Karen, Thia, and (forget her name) come out to perform "Waterfalls."

Next Scotty performs "Live Like You Were Dying" with Tim McGraw. I only watched this because Tim looks good in his t-shirt. I developed a little crush when Tim was on "Who Do You Think You Are." After the episode, I sent a text to my sister, "You know...Tim McGraw really is good looking."

After the commercial, they come back and JLo's not sitting with the judges. Then we go through a clip of some of Idol's "Unsung Heroes," also known as the most embarrassing moments from auditions.

Next, Marc Anthony performs "Aguanile." The song makes me want to get up and Zumba! JLo comes out and dances and shakes her booty. And hey! Sheila E. is on the drums! It's fun to watch Jennifer dancing Latin style. She really is beautiful.

Next there was a tongue-in-cheek bit about whose elimination was most shocking--James or Casey. At the end, Pia comes out wearing a sash that said "Most Shocking." That was cute.

Now the guys perform a medley. First "Kiss" by Prince. (Stefano is no Prince.) Oh, but it's actually a Tom Jones medley. I forgot that he remade "Kiss." Because Scotty can't do anything else, they even threw in a country song that I don't know. And now I'm noticing that Scotty's with the guys, but Lauren wasn't with the girls. I guess last night they mentioned that she'd blown a vocal chord. A couple more songs that I don't recognize, and then Tom Jones and his grey 'fro comes on stage. Where's Carlton when you need him?

It wouldn't be a finale show without a Ford music video. Tonight's edition was a roundup of ALL the Ford videos they did this year. Yawn.

Now I imagine Scotty and Lauren will each win a car. But first, Ford awarded the teachers who most influenced Scotty and Lauren. They got to come to the finale. The teachers each got new cars! Is it because Scotty & Lauren don't drive?? Oh, okay, they get a car too--whichever Ford they want.

Next Lady Gaga performs "The Edge of Glory." She's on a mountain in the middle of the stage. Quite a contraption they've built there. One of her dancers is Mark from SYTYCD, which starts tomorrow!! Love him! This is the routine where I really started to like him:

I can watch that over and over and over. It never gets old.

And now, here's Lauren to perform Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats." Then Carrie joins her on stage. They sing well together. Nice job. That's one of the 4 or 5 country-ish songs I actually do like.

Another time killer with the other contestants describing how they feel about Scotty & Lauren. Paul said, "they can't vote--they can barely drive." James says, "They're children." Stefano says, "So we have two sixth graders in the competition and they're kicking everyone's ass." Paul: "They can't even see R-rated movies." Karen: "Go to your prom!" Casey: "They just learned cursive." Casey: "Thanks a lot America. For making us feel stupid." Okay, that was cute.

Beyoncé's back to sing her new single, "One Plus One." Eh. I didn't care for it. (I'm not a big fan anyway.)

Bono & The Edge perform "Rise Above" from their Broadway SpiderMan show. I thought that show was gone? Is it still going on? I hope Spidey doesn't fall and break his back!

Steven Tyler's at the piano to perform "Dream On." Yes!!! I love seeing this song peformed with a full orchestra. Fantastic! I had to rewind and watch that a couple of times before moving on.

And now....time for the big announcement (that I couldn't care less about). Lauren looks like she's about to throw up. The winner of American Idol is: Scotty McCreery. **Golf claps** Actually--Scotty seemed very sincere and humbled, and graciously hugged his family and each and every contestant. Good for him. He's a good guy. He just needs to learn how to hold a microphone.

Okay, on to the next show. So You Think You Can Dance starts tomorrow! Woo-hoo!

Thanks for reading along!


Idol's Top 3 Perform

I missed posting the results of the elimination show last week because Blogger was down for so long.  Bottom line:  James is gone.  People were shocked.  Now, come on Haley!  If the final two wind up being Lauren and Scotty, I'll have absolutely NO interest in who wins.  I'd watch the finale, but only for all the other performances.  I don't think I can take a country-fied finale.

Last week the contestants got to go home for their big parades and celebrations.  I have some friends who got to see Scotty in Garner, NC.  My friends kids were so excited to see Scotty that they were trembling and close to tears.  I've never understood the tears thing like when you see The Beatles or Elvis perform, but I maybe can understand crying for those groups more than I can for Scotty McCreery.  Maybe I'd cry if I were ten feet from Prince, but somehow I don't think so.

NOTE:  Idol is early next week.  The performance show will be on TUESDAY while the finale will be on WEDNESDAY.  I need to make sure Tivo makes note of that too!

So, Beyonce's on tonight.  She's beautiful, but her hair is too blonde, so her coloring looks weird.  She's listening to the contestant's personal picks tonight.

Scotty goes first with his favorite song by Lonestar, "Amazed."  I'm already over Scotty, so this performance didn't do anything for me.  I don't think it measures up to the original.  He was kind of dull.  ST thought it was beautiful.  JLo says he's grown so much as a performer.  Really??  Every performance of his sounds exactly the same to me.  Randy pointed out a couple of pitchy spots, but he basically liked it.

Lauren is singing "Wild One" by Faith Hill.  Beyonce tried to give her tips on confidence.  Yes, once again someone had to talk to Lauren about confidence.  I think she should've waited another year or two before going out for the show.  She's so young...this has got to be a lot for her.  This song didn't wow me either.  It was alright.  JLo said she attacked it.  Okaaaayyy.  RJ babbled on about the confidence thing and said it was nice.  ST said she sang like she owned the song.  He said she's ready for America to be all over her.

Haley is singing Led Zeppelin's "What Is and What Should Never Be."  She chose this song because it's what she grew up with.  Her dad gets to perform with her--that's kinda cool.  She starts off in a jazzy tone and then gets into the rock part.  I didn't love her song choice, but think she did a good job.  Oh, and did I mention that she fell?  She ran around the stage in 6" heels and took a stumble when going up the stairs.  But, she got right back up and kept on singing.  The judges gave her a standing O!  Randy loved it.  Steven said, "Haley, did you fall for me?"  ST said it was superb.  JLo mentioned that she's fallen on stage, that Beyonce's fallen on stage--but what matters is that she kept going.  Randy gave round one to Haley!

Now it's time for round two.  But first a clip of Scotty's audition.  Zzzzzzz...

In this round, Jimmy's choosing the song.  "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" by Thompson Square.  It reminds Jimmy of Tom Petty stuff, yet it's real country.  Jimmy thinks a touch of this should be in Scotty's first record.  At least when he's playing guitar he's not doing that stupid microphone hold of his.  Still not my thing.  ST liked it.  So did JLo.  She also asked that he shave his hair for the finale because she liked how he looked during his audition.

Lauren's next.  Seems she got a "runner in her panty-hose"!  [Quick--name that movie!*]  Jimmy chooses "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry.  She did a nice job.  I liked this performance better than the first.  JLo and Randy mentioned a coule of stumbles, but they loved it.  ST said she nailed it again.

After commercial, we get to see Beyonce's new video.  (Why else would she be on the show if she didn't have something to promote?)

Jimmy chooses Rihannon by Fleetwood Mac.  He said that ever since he met Haley, he's felt she should sing Stevie Nicks.  I agree.  Haley performs with a fan blowing on her, so it's very dreamlike.  Reminds me of a Mariah performance.  She did a good job.  Randy said her pitch was perfect, but it was a little somber for him.  Steven said it reminded him of why he fell in love with Stevie Nicks in the first place.  Jlo said it was a nice contrast to what she did earlier--it was a beautiful ethereal moment.  Steven says Lauren took round 2.  JLo and Randy said Scotty.

For Round 3, the judges pick the song.

For Scotty it's "She Believes in Me" by Kenny Rogers.  Of course.  Pleasant is the best word to describe this performance.  I can imagine it playing on our Lite FM station while I'm sitting in the dentist chair.  Judges loved it and are proud of themselves for choosing the song.

Oh, by the way, they showed Beyonce's new video before this round started.  I wasn't paying attention though because I went to find out whose car alarm was going off non-stop.

The judges choose "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack.  I hope she does well because I hate this song.  I used to participate in an online message board where this song played automatically each time you opened the page.  I got so tired of it.  Lauren does a good job.  JLo got goosebumps and says Lauren already won this round.  Randy says Lee Ann is a good friend.  Of course she is, Randy.  She's IITWI.  In it to win it.  Steven said she walked out like she owned the Grand Ole Opry.  Oh, and what's this, Lee Ann's a good friend of Steven's too.  JLo is left out of the name dropping.   

And finally, Haley takes on "You Oughta Know" from Alanis Morrisette.  This is a family show judges!  For what it's worth, "Would she go down on you in a theater" was changed to "would she go out with you to the theater," which makes no sense after she just sang, "Is she perverted like me."  Her voice is perfect for this song.  For the chorus anyway.  She got a little low in the first verse.  Randy said those were amazing choruses, but Haley is IITWI!  ST said it was amazing.    JLo said it was a good job, and there's no one who can match her in how high she can go and how much power she puts behind her growl.  Steven said Haley won Round 3.  JLo said Lauren.  Randy agrees with JLo.

That's it.  My rankings:  Haley, Lauren, Scotty.  I better get on the phone!

*Oh, that movie quote from above?  Pretty Woman.


American Idol--Final Four perform

My friend Amy says this is a big week.  She asked me to vote for Scotty, because if he wins, he'll come back to Garner, NC for a big parade, and since she lives there, she really wants to go.  I told her that would be VERY difficult for me--especially if it came at the expense of Haley making it to the Top Three.  I told her I'd think about it after watching the whole show.

As the kids come out, James tripped on the train to Lauren's dress.  That could've been really embarrassing!

Tonight the kids are singing two songs.  Round one will be songs that inspire the contestants, round two will be the songbook of Leiber and Stoller, who Ryan tells us wrote everything from On Broadway, to Jailhouse Rock.  Mentoring the kids for round two is Lady Gaga.

James is first singing Journey's "Don't Stop Believing."  Will it measure up to Glee's version????  Before James starts singing he says, "Come on Randy!  You know the words!"  He does a decent version, but I don't love it.  The judges did thought.  Steven said he couldn't have picked a better song and then got bleeped out for something.  I have no idea what he said. JLo said it was a great performance.  Randy went on and on with his praise.

Haley takes on Michael Jackson's "The Earth Song."  She likes the beautiful message of the song.  She put her all into that, but I think her voice might be a little hoarse.  I love Haley though.  JLo felt that Haley's inspiration.  Said she sang it perfectly, but then went into a diatribe about bad song choice.  How can JLo say one one hand that she sang it perfectly, but then turn around and give such negative and meaningless criticism?  Randy echoed her.  Thank god Steven saved the day! He said "they're both wrong...don't listen to them!"  I think Steven sticking up for her will help--he's probably the most popular judge.  After one week, his book is on the bestsellers list, after all. 

Scotty sings an Alan Jackson song called....I missed the title, and don't feel like rewinding.  Typical Scotty performance.  Oh, I guess the song is about 9/11 and talking to Jesus and loving God.  Pretty calculated choice considering the recent events with bin Laden.  Judges loved it.  Randy told him he's ready for super-stardom.   He played the guitar this time, so at least we didn't have to see that ridiculous microphone hold of his.

Lauren sings Martina McBride's "Anyway."  She did well.  I'm just not a big fan.  Steven loved it.  JLo complimented her for taking the judges advice and doing what she has to do, which I think is another veiled ding at Haley.  Rnady loved it too.  She's back in it to win it.  *Sigh.*

On to round two, with Lady Gaga.  She's looking particularly frightening tonight.  I hate those pointy cheek implants she's been wearing lately.

Haley's up first with "I Who Have Nothing."  During rehearsals, Gaga helped her in adding "drama" to the song.   She was FANTASTIC.  This time she got another friggin' standing "O' from the judges.  That's what I'm talkin' about!  Show her some respect!  In your FACE judges!!  JLo said, "Look what you're capable of!  That was amazing!  One of the best performances of the year."  Randy said everyone needs a "moment" tonight.  Randy said she just had a moment, which puts her in it to win it!  Randy said it was one of her best vocals, EVER.  Steven said, "I always knew it.  Classic moment, with classic Haley.  You just Reinharted yourself into the middle of next week." 

Scotty's singing "Youngblood" by The Coasters.  During rehearsals, Gaga told Scotty that he needs to stay in front of the microphone, because when he sings to the side, we can't hear his tone.  She continued:  "That's your girlfriend, and she says to you, if you don't stick your tongue down my throat, we're through.  So you keep your mouth on that microphone as if your life depends on it or that [bleep] is gonna leave you!...You gotta make love to that microphone."  Scotty blushed the whole time.  He later kissed the cross around his neck, and said, "Lord, this is not my doing."  That was pretty funny.  And now the microphone hold is back.  SO ANNOYING.  His performance was fine.  At least it wasn't a country song.  The best part about Scotty tonight was the exchange with Gaga.  Randy loved it.  Steven said it was a little Pat Boone.  Is that a good thing???????  Steven loved the humor.  JLo thought he hit his stride.

Lauren's up again with big hair and an outfit that makes her look 35.  She's singing Elvis' "Trouble."  She doesn't like singing the lyric, "Because I'm evil." She doesn't want America thinking she's evil.  Come on.  It's just a SONG.  Gaga said, "at the end of the day, the word evil's not that big of a deal is it?"  It was fine.  I didn't love it.  Steven said it was well done.  JLo enjoyed the maturity in the performance that we haven't seen before.  Randy really enjoyed it. 

James is doing "Love Potion No. 9."  Gaga tried to help Scotty with his moves.  She got his hips moving a little.  I didn't love it until the last few notes, where he went really high.  That was great.  JLo said it proved he can sing anything.  Randy says James has a moment every week and he loves it.  Steven said it was a beautiful thing.

May I please note that despite all this praise for Lauren, James and Scotty from the judges, Haley is the only one who got a standing "o" tonight.

My rankings:

1.  Haley's 2nd song
2. Haley's 1st song
3.  James' 2nd song
4.  James' 1st song
5.  Lauren's 2nd song
6.  Lauren's 1st song
7.  Scotty's 2nd song
8.  Scotty's 1st song

PLEASE, just let Haley be in the Top 3!  Sorry Amy--no votes for Scotty tonight.


Bossypants by Tina Fey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Despite the cover photo that completely freaks me out, I decided to read Bossypants after seeing Tina Fey on Oprah a few weeks ago. She truly is a funny woman, and the book didn't disappoint. I laughed out loud quite a few times. Sometimes it was a true guffaw--sometimes just a little snicker, but it happened throughout. In the midst of all the laughs though, are meaningful musings on feminism, marriage, parenting, the entertainment business, insecurities, Saturday Night Live, her role as Sarah Palin, and 30 Rock. (As someone who's not a fan of 30 Rock, I found that chapter particularly interesting. It was like Tina knows that I don't like the show, AND she understands.)

This was a quick, fun read that I definitely recommend.

View all my reviews


Let's get to the Final Four on Idol

Ryan starts the show by announcing Steven Tyler's new book--I love the title, Does the Noise in my Head Bother You? JLo is going to perform tonight, and we're going to see a preview of her new video. And Randy's.......wearing a teal jacket with zippers all over the place. (Ryan jokes that Randy's having a bake sale.) Lady Antebellum will also be performing.

Then it's the group sing, they start with Happy Together. It's decent, until they hit the high note on so happy to-get-THER...and then it's bad.

Ford commercial. I actually watched this time, and Haley got to drive the car, which parallel parked itself. I need to get that feature on my next car.

Time waster--the kids visit the Hell's Kitchen set. Typical Fox cross-promo. Gordon Ramsey challenges them to make an omelet in 10 minutes. Scotty asks if he's going to teach them first, and Gordon laughs. Gordon was actually laughing throughout...I've never seen such a thing. I'm happy to see that I can make an omelet better than all of them. However, Lauren & Jacob won, and then we're told it's to be continued. And now I actually kind of want an omelet. Maybe tomorrow.

Lady Antebellum performs "Just a Kiss." Nice song. I really like how they harmonize.

Some other time waster happens. Fast forward.

Finally. Some results. Ryan asks James to stand. He summarizes the judges' comments, and then we hear Jimmy Iovine's thoughts. He says the first song ("Closer to the Edge") showed where he can go as an artist, the second song ("Without You), he was overcome with emotion and his voice closed down and it hurt him. Jimmy says you have to control your emotions. (Or as my sister said, "Get it together, man!") Jimmy said he usually gives James a 9 or 10 each week, this week he gives him an 8. Ryan sends James to stand on one side of the stage.

Lauren's next. Jimmy says "Flat on the Floor" was great, but in "Unchained Melody," she pulled back on the biggest note of the song because her fear overcame her performance. He said that will keep her out of the finals if it continues. He thinks she'll be in the bottom two because of "Unchained Melody." Interesting! Lauren's sent to the other side of the stage.

This is what they do when there are five people left. Whoever's last, Ryan's going to ask to go to the side they think they should.

Now there's more of the cooking competition. Fast forward.

JLo's up next with "On the Floor." Fun performance. After commercial is a preview of her video "Into You." Looks pretty sexy--lots of beach scenes with a nice looking guy.

Back to results.

Jacob's next. Jimmy says both songs were off. He thinks fear is getting to Jacob too. He says when you lose confidence, everyone knows it. He gave Jacob a 6, and Ryan has him join Lauren.

Haley stands up. Jimmy said Haley had been running 4th or 5th, so she had to do something risky, hence the unknown Gaga song. He commented that not only did JLo give Haley a tough time, but gave him a tough time too. He says Haley showed no fear in the face of severe criticism and she came forward like a lioness and in "The House of the Rising Sun" and Haley gets a 10. She won the night. WOO-HOO! He says if her confidence continues, she's a lock for the finale. Here's hoping! She's asked to join James. I'm going to take that as her being safe.

That leaves us with Scotty. Jimmy says he gave us a clue of who he'll be in the future with "Gone." On the 2nd song, he came up short. Jimmy has no doubt that Scotty will have an incredible recording career whether he wins or not. Ooh..a twist! Ryan doesn't make Scotty choose a side. He tells him right away that he's safe. Oh...but he does want Scotty to go stand with who he thinks is safe. Scotty refuses. Good for him. Ryan leads him over to James & Haley and says the three of them are safe. YES!

Lauren and Jacob are the bottom two. Lauren's crying and can barely hold it together, but the person going home is Jacob. FINALLY.

He looks sad, but he's not crying. He sings us out with Luther--"A House is Not a Home." He ends on a good note...that song suits him just fine.

Lauren's still trying to hold it together on the side of the stage. I don't know if she'll make it...she looks so pitiful. Honey, you're safe. It's okay to smile now.

So, it's down to James, Haley, Scotty and Lauren. If Scotty or Lauren win, I know I won't be buying their albums. If James wins--maybe. I'd have to hear it first. If Haley wins, DEFINITELY.

I kinda think that no matter where Haley winds up in the competition, Jimmy's going to work with her, no matter what. He's been her strongest supporter on the show. I'm looking forward to the results.


Down to the top 5

With Casey gone, I don't really have much invested in Idol anymore--I"m pulling for Haley now, but I don't think she'll win. I think it's James' contest to lose.

Before I get to the show though, I saw Matt Lauer's interview with Steven Tyler the other night on Dateline...interesting guy. He's got a book coming out. I don't tend to read celeb bios, but I have a feeling his will be pretty interesting. Meanwhile, I also plan to read Tina Fey's book as well as Rob Lowe's, based on their interviews on Oprah. What's gotten into me?!

Okay, back to the show. Randy tells us tonight's the night we'll see who's in it to win it! Gosh Randy, you haven't said that in almost...a week!

Tonight they're each singing two songs. One will be from the last few years, and one from back in the day. Can that be any more vague? My "back in the day" is much different than a 25-year-old's "back in the day."

Helping Jimmy Iovine out tonight is Sheryl Crow.

They're starting with contemporary songs. James is up first with "Closer to the Edge" by 30 Seconds to Mars. During rehearsals, James and Sheryl harmonized quite nicely together. Jimmy told James that he fits in this material better than in 1980s rock. For the performance, he started off rather weakly, but when he got to the chorus, he sounded good. It's missing Sheryl's harmony. Steven said he kicked the song's ass. JLo said she's feeling that James wants to take it. Randy said that he's now shown us where he could go as an artist and the type of record he could make. And guess what? "James is in it to win it!" No one mentioned his pitchiness at the beginning.

After commercial, Ryan clarifies that the first song is "contemporary," the second song will be "classic."

Jacob is singing "No Air" by Jordan Sparks & Chris Brown, singing both parts. During rehearsal, his "Jordan Sparks" was painful to hear. Oh, he sounds horrible. I love this song, but I'm hating this performance. He's gone next week. Has to be. Only hit the right key about 50% of the time. Ugh. JLo didn't critique his performance at all. She instead told him he needs to continue to show us what direction he's going. Randy said it's not the right direction for him, most of it was sharp (thank you Randy!), and no one should be singing both parts of a duet on this stage, and he's no Jordan Sparks or Chris Brown.

Lauren takes on "Flat on the Floor" by Carrie Underwood. Sheryl recommended she plant her feet and stay strong while singing. Instead she did her usual walk here, hip wiggle, walk there, hip wiggle. She sounds good though. Oh...she followed the stage advice for the second half of the song. She sang the hell out of that song...best performance she's had, in my opinion. JLo had the "stank face" on the whole performance--she was really into it. Randy said, "That is the direction for you!" "Lauren is in it, y'all!" Steven said "I think you're it." JLo said, "You ate that up."

Scotty's, singing "Gone" by Montgomery Gentry. Jimmy said it has a lot of grit and rock sound to it. His flute-hold of the microphone REALLY gets on my nerves. His performance is fine...not my favorite, but it's different than his usual fare, so that's a good thing. S.T. said up til now Scotty's been like a Puritan, but tonight he danced with the devil. JLo loved it. Randy said, "who knew that you could rock the stage like that?!" And guess what? SCOTTY'S in it to win it! So far, the only one who isn't, is Jacob.

Haley's doing an unreleased GaGa song, called "You and I." Jimmy brought it to Haley--he said GaGa does it on stage, but it's not released. Haley talked to Lady Gaga and got her blessing. JImmy says, "She's got it. And taking on this song is just another way of showing that she's got it." I love it--rocky, gospely, bluesy. Love it. I love Haley! What...the judges didn't even clap for her. Rude! That was weird. JLo didn't like it and didn't think Jimmy gave her the best advice. She needed something that showcased her in a better way. Randy didn't think it was that great of a song. He didn't think it did her any favors. Steven loved it though. He thinks she's "one perfect song away from being the American Idol."

Now it's time for the classics.

James is singing "Without You" by Harry Nilsson. During rehearsals, James cried as he was listening to the lyrics. I get that--it happens to me sometimes too with that song. James was really broken up though. He was thinking of his kids. Nice job...tears in his eyes at the end of the performance. His high note wasn't great, but definitely heartfelt. Randy said it wasn't perfect, but it was emotionally perfect. And he said, "It's yours to lose." Hmmm...where have I heard those words before? Randy & Steven both acknowledged that it was a little pitchy, but it didn't matter. JLo says he's a true artist--has the heart and soul to back up the high notes and screams.

Jacob's unveiling his "rock side" with a Nazareth song, "Love Hurts." His "rock" performance is accompanied by a harp and a brass section. He did much better than the first song, but I'm just so over him that I can't really enjoy it. Steven thought it was a beautiful thing...he got lost in the song, so the audience got lost in him. JLo brought up a "bobble" in the middle of the song, but congratulated him on a good job. I didn't notice a problem, so it's kind of interesting that she brought it up. Randy liked it.

Lauren's singing "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers. She said it's her parents' song. It's not her best performance. Off key quite frequently. JLo said there was nothing to say. Randy said she showed another side of herself. Steven loved it.

I think just like in past seasons, the judges already have in mind who they'd like to see in the top three--Scotty, James and Lauren. So, they give subtle, or not so subtle hints to steer the audience. JLo brings up some tiny flaw in Jacob's song that everyone probably missed, but then doesn't mention Lauren being off key?! And I'm still perplexed about how they didn't clap for Haley.

Scotty is singing "You Are Always on My Mind" by Elvis. Jimmy told Scotty to ignore the advice that he try something new, while at the same time staying true to himself. Scotty's performance was pleasant. Boring, but pleasant. JLo said he showed what a well-rounded artist he is. She said it was beautiful. Randy and Steven loved it.

Haley closes the show with "The House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals. Sheryl recommends she sing acappella at first. She does, and she's wonderful. So haunting. I got chills. I love this, and I'll be downloading it from iTunes. And YES! The judges not only clapped for her this time--they gave her a STANDING O!!! Woo-hoo! In your faces, judges! Randy gave her the award for best performance of the night. S.T. said she sold everyone tonight. JLo said "I don't know if you came out a little angry at us from before? Whatever that little emotion was at the beginning...I don't care, I'm going to sing my butt off right now....that song has never been sang [sic] like that before--great job!"

I'm going to rate these by song tonight:
1. Haley's 2nd
2. Lauren's 1st
3. Haley's 1st
4. James' 1st
5. James' 2nd
6. Scotty's 1st
7. Scotty's 2nd
8. Lauren's 2nd
9. Jacob's 2nd
10.Jacob's 1st

Jacob's got to go. And I'm calling in for Haley, just in case. 10 calls so far.

As a side note, I think the should bring back Sheryl Crow again--she was great. Until tomorrow...


The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

The ImperfectionistsThe Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this story about an international newspaper (written in English, but based out of Rome) created in the 50s, that goes through the changing times into the 2000s. Each chapter is about someone related to the paper--the obituary writer, the copy editor, a reader, etc, and each chapter could stand on its own as a short story. The lives of the some of the characters were kind of sad, but didn't bring me down like it did for some other reviewers. There was one character that I wanted to grab by the shoulders and shake though. Tom Rachman is a wonderful writer and he created a set of characters that I wanted to know about.

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