The Voice - Semifinals

The best news about tonight's show is that next week is the finals.  It seems like this season has lasted forever.

Tonight each coach is down to their final two singers.  All 8 contestants will sing.  The judges will give scores.  America will vote, and then the combo of scores plus votes will determine the finalists.  Something like that.

I wish both Juliet & Jamar from CeeLo's team could both go forward and that we could send home both of Christina's team members (Chris Mann and Lindsey Pavao).  At least, that's how I feel now before the show starts.  Maybe I'll feel differently when it's over.  (Incidentally, Christina is wearing a tiara tonight and lots of fake blonde curls.  Why?  I dunno.)

CeeLo has a picture of his cat on his shirt.  And he's still clearing his throat.  He really should get that checked out.

So, first up to sing is Tony Lucca from Adam's team.  


A realization

Last week I recorded Good Morning America, so I could see the cast reunions of In Living Color, One Day at a Time, and Laverne & Shirley.  After watching that show, I've come to realize that even though Ann Curry works my last nerve while on The Today Show, I'd much rather watch that than GMA. 

The folks on GMA just don't have the chemistry that the folks on Today do.  And despite Ann's constant flubs, and her talking to world dignitaries as if they were five years old, I still think she's a nice person, and enjoy her ribbing around with Matt and Al, and I love Natalie Morales and Savannah Guthrie. 

Other strikes against GMA:

  • They devoted at least 45 minutes every day to discuss Dancing with the Stars.  Really?!
  • They feature Nancy Grace.  Enough said.
Some pros of GMA are that they have Dan Abrams as their legal consultant (I miss him on NBC), and they put on a good summer concert in Central Park.  I'll have to see who's performing this summer because my sister and I might try to go to one of the concerts.

That's it though.

I'm back to The Today Show.  Good morning, Ann.


Girl Walks into a Bar by Rachel Dratch

Girl Walks into a Bar . . .: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife MiracleGirl Walks into a Bar . . .: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle by Rachel Dratch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book a lot. It's Rachel Dratch's memoir that covers how she got into acting, her work at Saturday Night Live, the limited roles she got after SNL, and how she wound up with a baby when she least expected it.

I really related to Rachel, particularly as she describes her insecurities. She's self-deprecating and very funny. It's a quick fun read.

I especially loved her description of how this went down (one of my favorite SNL scenes ever):

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And then there were five...

It's Idol's elimination night, once again.  In reading recaps this morning, I learned that Ryan Seacrest was really sick yesterday and that Nigel Lithgoe almost hosted the show.  I guess Ryan rallied and he did the show.  But, he also touched or hugged almost everyone, so I hope everyone else stays healthy.

Tonight Ryan introduces a Queen cover band where all the members were hand picked by original band members Roger Taylor and Brian May.  They're the Queen Extravaganza and they perform "Somebody to Love."  They're great.  Brian May and Roger Taylor come out at the end. Great performance.

I skip through the Ford commercial and get to the results.  But first, we watch as the Idols went to TMZ for media training.  It's a stupid bit and I FF>> through that too.


Idol's Top 6 perform

Queen is performing tonight on Idol.   After original members Roger Taylor and Brian May chat with the cast, they all perform a medley of Queen's music:  "Fat Bottomed Girls," "Another One Bites the Dust," and "We Are the Champions," It was a lot of fun--everyone sounded great.

Jessica is singing "Bohemian Rhapsody."  The performance starts in black & white, and then she rocks it out in color.  She did a great job.  Steven said Freddie Mercury would be proud, although he'd never say rock is her forté.  Jen said the vocal was beautiful but during the rock portion she was looking for more animation on stage.  Randy really liked it and appreciated that she did no runs in that.  He suggested she watch Tina Turner since she was that rock-singing big voice in the female form.


The Voice Adam/CeeLo elimination

The night starts with all the contestants on stage.  Carson introduces the judges, reminisces about last night, and says that Florence & the Machine will perform later.

After clips from last night, F&tM perform.  CeeLo's team is on stage too, but it's barely noticeable.  I don't know why they bother with that.

So, I called in last night for Jamar, Katrina, Tony and Juliet.  Let's see if my votes worked.


The Voice quarter finals

Tonight Teams Adam and CeeLo will be performing.  One person will face immediate elimination tonight, and one more will be eliminated tomorrow.

Carson's trying to interview the judges but they're all laughing at an inside joke.  Rude!

I *think* I heard CeeLo say he has gas.  Must be true--Christina pulled out a fan.  Whatever.

Blake said people were pissed about RaeLynn's departure.  Not anyone I talked to.

Christina tried to give Adam & CeeLo some advice on making the decision for immedite elimination.  She said, "Go with your gut..." but then caught herself when she looked at CeeLo.  Okay, that was pretty funny--now he's got his hand on his stomach.  I'm glad I'm not sitting up there.  Anyway, she said to go with their gut and their heart in making the decision.


I recently saw Jon Stewart interview Jane Goodall on The Daily Show about the new Disney movie, Chiimpanzee.  The interview was fascinating, and even though she tells the whole premise of the movie, I still went to see it this afternoon.

It was wonderful.

The footage of this film is amazing.  A lot of it reminded me of the work done on Planet Earth, but there's also an incredible story that is told. A young chimp, Oscar, is orphaned, and the male leader of the chimpanzee family adopts him, which is something rarely seen in nature.  I think what fascinated me most is that Disney's intent was to film the upbringing of a young chimp.  They didn't and couldn't anticipate that this adoption story would take place. 

I recommend this movie for everyone.  I believe it's rated G, so kids can see it too.  Although Oscar is orphaned, the cameras don't graphically show what happened to his mom.  It's hinted at, and there are sounds, but nothing to see.

Be sure to stay through the credits where you get a glimpse into how the movie was shot.  

And finally, here's the interview that got me interested in the first place:

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Jane Goodall
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Look at Me by Jennifer Egan **SPOILERS**

Look at MeLook at Me by Jennifer Egan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This story about identity started off very strongly.  The main character, Charlotte Swenson, a model, is in a terrible car accident.  80 titanium screws are needed to restructure her face, and once she heals, although she still has model looks (somehow), she is unrecognizable to people from her life in New York. 

The premise of Charlotte trying to find herself with this new face was interesting.  Other characters she comes across are also struggling with their own identities.  Charlotte had a high school friend named Ellen.  Ellen's daughter (also named Charlotte) is a 16-year-old girl struggling with her sexual self who winds up having an affair with a much older man.  Ellen's brother Moose is suffering from some sort of mental illness while living what seems to be a "normal" life, and a foreign mystery man learning the ways of America. 

All of the characters have identity issues and that's a uniting theme in the book.  That was fine.

I enjoyed the first 2/3 of the book.  Jennifer Egan is great at character development and at creating a mood.  When she describes something, I get a complete picture of what's going on.  I do enjoy her writing.

But....I felt like there were too many characters.  Many of them with no connection to that uniting theme.  Of the main characters, I found myself skimming through anything to do with Moose.  His interactions with niece Charlotte were tedious.  His breakdown was confusing.  The mystery man's story had no closure...he just disappeared.  (Which kind of makes sense considering who his character is, but I thought some sort of closure was needed with him...an epilogue or something.)  The story about the Internet scheme was just too much, and the characters that came with that were so annoying.  It just became a jumbled mess at the end and I ultimately felt disappointed and annoyed.

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Sometimes it takes me a minute (or two, or five)

I was watching Suburgatory, which guest starred Alicia Silverstone.  It took a full five minutes for it to dawn on me that she and Jeremy Sisto (the dad on Suburgatory) were in Clueless together 17 years ago.  Duh.

Look how cute they were:

And how cute they are now:

AI's Top 6 announced

One more contestant will eliminated from Idol tonight.  Honestly, the Top 7 performers are all so good.  It feels like no one should go home, but alas, we have to get down to one person, so someone's gotta go.

Tonight Kris Allen and LMFAO will perform.  But first, a group song:  Martha & the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street."  They all sounded good, but the choreography was a little awkward.  There was a lot going on on the stage, dancers, band members, pickle-tub drummers, balloons.

Results time.  No, first the Ford commercial.  Yawn.


American Idol -- after the drama

I can barely stand the drama of tonight's opening.  This show slow motion replays of last weeks' Jessica debacle accompanied by some piano music.  They show Jessica laying on the couch afterward.  And re-watching last weeks' show.  Drama, drama, drama.

On with the show, please.

When Ryan comes out, he pays tribute to Dick Clark, who passed away today.   Very sad news.  Ryan said Dick's in a better place, pointing at his watch, and saying "let's get on with the show."  Ryan said, "You got it, boss."

Tonight each Idol is singing 2 songs...one will be a #1 hit from 2000-present, the other will be an old school R&B song.


Results from The Voice and tips for watching The Biggest Loser

Double header tonight with The Voice & The Biggest Loser.  I'll start with The Voice.

As a reminder, the judges lost their minds last night and got rid of two good singers.  Tonight, the bottom two from each team (based on America's votes) will have to sing to try to save themselves.  Also tonight, The Wanted will perform, and we'll get the premiere of Justin Bieber's new video.

Before the results, I just wanted to share a great quote I read today on EW.com's recap.  Mark Snetiker wrote about RaeLynn (the bold emphasis is mine):
Performing “She’s Country,” RaeLynn was the first to take the stage, and take it she did, balancing a delicate stomp around the stage (her boots were decidedly not made for walking) with hay bale obstacles every which way. After the grown-up Toddlers & Tiaras cowgirl finished her little ditty, Blake proclaimed that he had just experienced his proudest moment as a coach: “You prove to America that country can kick ass.” In my opinion, all that performance proved was that RaeLynn could do with a little less RaeLynn-ness.
 Like I said last night, her performance of "She's Country" was her best this season, but I still have to agree with Mr. Snetiker here.

Okay, onto some results.


The Voice - quarterfinals.

Tonight we get to see Team Blake and Team Christina's contestants perform.  There are four artists left on each team.

Carson tells us there's a "shocking" twist tonight.  After the artists perform, Blake & Xtina must eliminate one person from their respective teams.  These folks will go home tonight.  Blake says that if he could kick whomever is responsible for this twist he would.

Blake & Xtina will also perform with their teams and Maroon 5 will perform their new single.  Yay M5!


Elimination night - from 7 to 6

Tonight's group song is Pink's "Raise Your Glass."  For some reason, the choreography included a scene with Colton's head in Phillip's lap, while Phillip ran his fingers through Colton's hair.  I think it was meant to be funny, but truly, it was just awkward.  As a group, they sound pretty good.  Phillip looks uncomfortable with the whole thing though.

After chit chat about fan mail, Ryan calls up Hollie and Jessica.


Idol Top 7 Perform

Tonight's theme is music from 2010 until today.  Akon is the guest mentor.

Skylar gets to go first.  She chooses "Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You" by Kellie Pickler.  Jimmy & Akon were impressed during rehearsals.  She's playing guitar tonight.  She did a great job.  Randy said she could have a hit with a song like that.  He said it was "crazy hot."  Jen said it was a perfect way to start the show.  Steven loved it.

Colton is singing "Love the Way You Lie," the Skylar Grey version.  Jimmy tries to get him to find a way to surpass Phillip this week.  He's at the piano this week, backed by a string section.  He does a fine job, but he just doesn't wow me.  His voice isn't unique...there's nothing that stands out about him when you listen with your eyes closed.  Apparently, I'm in the minority--the crowd seemed to love it.  So did the judges.


The Voice elimination - CeeLo v. Adam

After the recap of last night's events, Carson tells us that Juliet Simms and Tony Lucca reached #1 and #2 on the iTunes rock chart.

Jessie J performs "Domino."  I like Jessie J.   Xtina's team comes out to accompany JJ, but they don't really add much.

Carson next tells us the top 3 artists from each team.

From Team Adam, it should be Katrina, Kim and Tony or Pip. (In my opinion.)   But no, in real life, it's Mathai, Tony and Pip.

Katrina, Kim and Karla (K-K-K?!) have to sing a "last chance performance."


Team CeeLo vs. Team Adam

It's the 2nd night of live shows on The Voice and contestants from CeeLo & Adam's teams will be performing.

Adam looks especially debonair this evening in all black.  Love him.  CeeLo is back to his bald look this evening, thank goodness. 

Up first is Katrina Parker from Adam's team.  She's singing "Tonight, Tonight" by the Smashing Pumpkins.  During rehearsal Adam tells her to be herself, stop being Adele.   But, when she comes out, she's wearing a black cocktail dress with her hair swepts to one side and looks just like Adele.  I'm not familiar with this song, but she had a decent performance.  Christina wanted her to rock out, but overall thought she did a good job.  CeeLo told her the song sounded too show tune-y.  Adam thought she killed it.


Celebrity Apprentice

I've been watching Celebrity Apprentice this season.  In the beginning, I mainly turned it on to see Arsenio Hall, Penn Jillette, and Adam Carolla.  The show has no redeeming quality, I know, but it makes me laugh.  It's just one of those guilty pleasures, and what has really surprised me, is that although I detest Lisa Lampenelli's stand-up comedy, she has made me laugh repeatedly on this show...especially in her confrontations with Lou Ferrigno, who, it turns out, I don't care for much.  I have to admire how she stands up for herself and refuses to back down.  And she was right tonight.  Lou never brings much to the table, but he's so quick to complain in the board room.

Trump did the right thing in firing him tonight.  Hasta la vista!


Black and Blue: The Redd Foxx Story

Black and Blue: The Redd Foxx StoryBlack and Blue: The Redd Foxx Story by Michael Starr
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading and learning about the life of Redd Foxx--he lead a colorful life and is an interesting character. I found little tidbits like the fact that his father and brother were named Fred G. Sanford, or that he was friends with Malcolm Little (aka Malcolm X), to be fascinating. What I didn't care for was the writer's style. He haphazardly jumps back and forth in time, and is quite repetitive. Still, it was an interesting tale.

While reading the book, I ordered a CD or Redd's comedy...he was a funny guy, and even though they always talk about how filthy his comedy was, it's nothing compared to what you hear nowadays.  He used a lot of innuendo and double entendre to discuss, for example, sex.  Nowadays the comedians come out and just throw the F word around...which is not clever, and is rarely funny.

I was a big fan of Sanford and Son and also ordered the series on DVD.  I look forward to watching the shows with a different eye, now that I know about Redd's past and how he did all he could to help fellow actors, friends, and performers from his past.  Did you know that LaWanda Page (aka "Aunt Esther") was an old friend from grade school?  Neither did I, but now that I know that, I think watching Redd's interaction with her during Sanford & Son will be interesting to watch.

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Idol elimination night

Time to eliminate one more contestant from Idol 2012.

I fast-forward through the long intro/recap from last night.  There was no group sing tonight.  Instead they seemed to show a JLo video.  Can't say for sure since I fast-forwarded through that too, as well as the Ford commercial, like I usually do.

Ryan says we're doing results by duet, so first up is Joshua & Jessica.  (Josh isn't feeling well tonight.  He doesn't look well...I hope he's okay.)  Both of these kids should be safe.  First some comments from Jimmy.  "Joshua's right in his sweet spot right now.  10's all around."  "She sang beautifully, with emotion.  But that wasn't enough because she's a great singer with a song without enough voice power.  Right now it's a competition between two power vocalists--Joshua & Jessica...Joshua won because he picked a better song. "  Both are safe.


80's night on Idol

Intros, intros, blah, blah, blah.

Plus a picture of Randy from the 80s.

Tonight each contestant will sing their own song, and then they will also be paired for a male/female duet.  No Doubt's Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal will be guest mentoring.

Deandre is singing "I Like It" by DeBarge.  Aw, love this song.  I hope D. does it justice.  Uh-oh.  I actually like this performance.  First time I've liked him since auditions when he did Maxwell's "Pretty Wings."  I didn't like the falsetto at the very end, but otherwise, he was pretty good.  Steven said it was captivating.  Randy liked that he used more of his natural voice, rather than too much falsetto. That's what I liked about it too.


The Voice - first elimination night

Carson introduces the judges, and I'm relieved to see CeeLo has given up the wig.

There are a lot of rules tonight.  First we will find out who the Top 3 performers are from each team.  Then, the bottom three get to sing for their lives.  But, the judges only get to pick one to stay, so two people from each team will be leaving tonight.


This is probably for the best.  The show has to end at some point, and if we eliminated one at a time, it seems like the show would be on until Christmas.


That other singing competition

The live shows of The Voice begin tonight.  Seems like this show has been on FOREVER, so it's about time (okay, so it's been 8 weeks).  There are two local kids performing tonight, so that's kinda cool.  Erin Willett is on Blake's team, and went to my high school (MANY years after I did).  Moses Stone is on Christina Aguilera's team and is from Laurel, MD, which is about 30-40 minutes east of where I live.  I like them both, and hope they do well.

CeeLo tonight:

Why, CeeLo, why?