May 27

My Heart Hurts

Those of you that follow me on Facebook know this already, others may remember that Joplin, Missouri is my hometown.

Apartment Complex in Joplin Before the Tornado

I have been watching the news and following the feeds basically non-stop since the tornado hit Sunday evening. I’ve been listening to the talk radio station out of Joplin in a sort of stunned fog.

I know that I can’t know exactly what it was like to live through those terrifying 20 minutes of chaos or the disorienting aftermath. But I do know that there is a special hell reserved for those of us who are thousands of miles away waiting for the next Facebook update from a friend who was silent for 10 hours after the storm.

I think everyone on my list has been accounted for without serious injury. I know several people who have lost their homes. I know a few who have family members among the dead.

Apartment Complex After

Apartment Complex in Joplin After Tornado

I know I haven’t been checking here on the old blog much, outside of trying to write about the most disappointing season of American Idol ever… but if you would all please consider making a donation to the American Red Cross to help the efforts in Joplin?

An economically depressed area full of some of the best friends I have ever had needs help. I can’t even tell you how badly I wish I could be there helping with the clean up and recovery.

May 11

American Idol Season Ten: Top F… ah, fuck it.

You guys…

I just can’t do it.

I’m halfway through tonight’s episode and I’m just so disgusted and apathetic about these four contestants that I can’t bring myself to even bother with my critiques.

I mean, come on! The defining moment was learning that Bubba JesusLicker was going to sing “Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning.”

Could there have been a more disgusting manipulation of current events?

I just. Can’t. Sorry. Maybe next week.

May 04

American Idol Season Ten: Top Five Perform Songs from Now and Then

They will do a recent song and an old song.

We said goodbye to Casey Abrams last week. The most talented, interesting, and unique performer the show has ever had, and he doesn’t win.

I can hardly bring myself to watch anymore of this season. I’ve been disappointed in the past by some people who went out earlier than they should have. This year it’s compounded by the fact that there is really only other performer that I think was real competition for Casey. James. And I’m not that excited about him.

Sheryl Crow is the mentor.

James Durbin is kicking it off with “Closer to the Edge” by 30 Seconds to Mars. Great song and he performed it well. And the pyrotechnics are back. He has his niche and he owns it this year.

Jacob Lusk needs to go home. Before he goes, he’s decided “No Air” by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown. Wow he’s hitting some flat sour notes. This caterwauling siren shit has to stop. It was terrible. Absolutely terrible.

Lauren Alaina picked “Flat on the Floor” by Carrie Underwood. Forget about Lauren for a minute and pay attention to the bedazzled and very hot fiddle player. He’s great. And hot. And. umm… oh wait, I’m supposed to be paying attention to Lauren doing yet another mediocre version of a Carrie song.

Scotty McCreery chose a Montgomery Gentry song called “Gone.” Jimmy Iovine things this is gonna move me… it just might, to turn off the sound. This silly little shit is going to win this thing isn’t he? *sigh* Especially now with all the patriotism and flag waving going on, he’s just going to sail through. Maybe those billboards all over San Francisco are right and the world IS going to end on May 21.

Haley Rhinehart is going to do an unreleased Lady Gaga song, “You and I.” There’s something about the way she’s affecting her voice in the verses is causing me to make a face. It’s this strange accented thing that falls kinda flat on the end of the phrases. It makes her sound a bit like a deflating balloon. The song choice is strange, too… we all know that doing an original or a song that most people don’t know is not a good idea.

For his second song, James chose a brilliant song, “Without You” by Harry Nillson. He broke down crying at the end. It was a great performance.

Jacob picked “Love Hurts” by Nazareth. What a strange song choice. And a bizarre harp-laden arrangement. You know what hurts? Listening to this crap. GO HOME.

Lauren is back with “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers. I don’t think she can pull off the maturity this song requires. I hate it when young contestants sing songs that are far too old for them. She totally blew the high night. Didn’t even reach for it, but farted out a gaspy bleat instead of knocking the note out of the park. Look… there is already a Carrie Underwood. We don’t need this Dollar Store version.

Another Elvis song for Scotty. *yawn* “Always on My Mind” is the latest rehash. Awe, isn’t he so cute and sweet and oh so just dadgum wholesome!? Sitting there looking like a miniature George Bush with his silver cross gleaming on his hairless chest. He just needs an apple pie in one hand and confederate flag in the other. Scooping every phrase, giving the stupid Who Me look, and singing Elvis song after Elvis song. That’s what you get with a Scotty American Idol.

Haley is back with “The House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals. The a cappella start was pretty cool… gave a bit of an Adele vibe. Which is funny because I think she did an Adele song earlier in the competition that didn’t have enough of an Adele vibe. Irony, eh? Hmm… the chick that wandered in from the street and ended up on stage might have been my favorite tonight with this performance. It was cool, collected, and her vocals were actually good.

So that’s that.

Haley and James win my vote tonight. Jacob needs to go home. I may have mentioned that already.

What do you think?

Apr 28

American Idol Season Ten: Top Six Perform Carole King

The top six are here to perform songs from the Carole King songbook. I met Carole back in the mid-nineties. She was charming and full of incredible stories.

Last week my little pocket pal, Stefano Langone, went home. He’d been languishing around the bottom three for weeks so it was hardly unexpected. I’d much rather have seen Jacob go home though. If you haven’t noticed, I’m OVER him.

Tonight everyone’s doing two songs – a solo and a duet.

Jacob Lusk picked “Oh No, Not My Baby.” In addition to being all scoopy and wavery, his pitch is terrible in the opening of this song. Painful, even. While he seemed to exhibit a bit more life than the usual sea slug performances he turns in, I still hated every second of it. Go home, become a deacon at your church, cheat on your wife with a rough trick named “Dirk” and live your life somewhere other than on my television.

Lauren Alaina chose “Where You Lead.” I realize she’s really young, but by this point in the season, she should be able to turn out performances that rise above the level of Miss Teen USA pageant talent show. Why did you pull some random guy out of the audience to sit on stage? Vocally? M’eh. She cracked and missed several of her big notes. Not the best she’s ever done. Not likely to be the best of the night… I hope.

Haley and Casey are the first duet of the night. They’re performing “I Feel the Earth Move.” Haley is in full on cruise ship mode. Casey is his normal growly almost-creepy-but-undeniably-good self.

Scotty McCreery has decided to sing “You’ve Got a Friend.” Jimmy Iovine wants him to deliver subtlety and poignancy. I think he’s going to have to explain those big words to Scotty first. I’m sure this would be a big hit single on every country station in the US. Even though it’s sleepy and overdramatic and he scoops every single phrase. I stand by my statement that he doesn’t belong on this show.

James Durbinselected “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” He’s decided to forego the theatrics of marching bands and pyrotechnics and is instead playing his guitar and starting the song a capella. He’s reminding me a little of Jon Bon Jovi tonight. Something about his voice when he’s not really trying to scream. This is probably his best vocal performance all season. Very well done.

Lauren and Scotty are the next duet pair. They picked “Up On The Roof.” Scotty’s harmonies are flat. Ouch. Up next on Hee Haw, Roy Acuff is gonna pick his teeth.

Casey Abrams picked “Heidy Ho.” I understand why he chose the song. It’s all about personality and not at all about vocal ability. I think he’s a better singer than this song for sure. It was creative and cool and different from anything the other contestants do. He’s by far the most entertaining and talented. I just hope he doesn’t get buried by this song.

Haley Rhinehart selected “Beautiful.” Ah, I love being on a cruise. So relaxing… warm sunshine, strong drinks, cool ports of call, and lots of leggy blonde mediocre singers who like to point at me while they sing. Haley will be appearing twice nightly in the Starbrite Lounge on deck 11.

The final duet of the night is coming up – Jacob and James!? They’re doing “I’m Into Something Good.” It was just as weird as you think it was. And then some.

Oy. I could only vote for James and Casey tonight. I just couldn’t care about anyone else. Who did you vote for?

Apr 20

American Idol Season Ten: Top Seven Sing the 21st Century

The top seven are back to perform songs from the 21st century.

We got to say goodbye to Slim Pickens last week. Wait… his name was Paul McDonald, right? He’s taking his terrible suits and creepy whispers home to scare the town folks.

Can we talk for a second about how god-awful the group number “So What” with the ejected Idols was? Holy shit. Somewhere P!nk is crying into her leotard.

Let’s get to the music, shall we?

Scotty McCreery is doing “Swingin'” but he claims it’s by Leann Rimes. Bullshit. This song came out in 1982 by John Anderson. I cry foul! This is not a 21st century song. It goes against the spirit of the theme and I’m going to be pissy about it. Scotty needs to go the fuck away right now. I just want to climb through the tv and cause him bodily harm. I’m so annoyed by his dumbass smirk and beady little eyes. Just STOP IT NOW. *sigh* I’m sure he’s gonna get a shit load of votes.

James Durbin is wearing something that looks a lot like a straight jacket. He’s picked “Uprising” by Muse. This should be interesting. Drum line entrance? Check. Appropriate Adam Lambert mannerisms? Double check. Screechy cat in a closet high notes? Certainly. Was it entertaining? Definitely.

Haley Reinhart has chosen Adele’s “Rollin’ in the Deep” which is a fantastic song. Adele sings the shit out of this song. Haley is no Adele, but she’s not as terrible as I was expecting. It got better when she stopped trying to mimic the british accent after the first verse. I hated the way it ended, but overall I have to say I don’t want to smack her.

Jacob Lusk has decided to finally do a Luther Vandross song. Seriously, this promises to be torturous for me. Yep… “Dance with my Father.” Maudlin and morose and intentionally sappy. Awesome, I just can’t wait. Really, I don’t think I can express just how much I hate this song. And the fact that Nelly McPreachy is performing it just makes it that much worse. Kill me now.

Casey Abrams is really the reason I am still watching this show this season. If he were to get voted off, my enthusiasm level would drop by about 90%. He’s picked “Harder to Breathe” by Maroon 5. Fantastic. Crazy ass good. He put his style on it – scatting and getting insane on it. Fabulously entertaining.

Stefano Langone picked “Closer” by NeYo. He’s been in the bottom three for several weeks now, so it’s gonna be tough for him to avoid going home this week. His performance ability has improved – he’s dancing a bit more and moving around the stage and showing some confidence. He’s swallowing the end of his phrases which makes it sound a bit strange. He’s still better than Jacob or Scotty.

Lauren Alaina closes the show with “Born to Fly” by Sara Evans. I don’t know what’s going on with her tonight, but she should be kicking this song in the teeth, but she’s not giving it any bite. Those notes are right in the middle of her range and she should be able to belt them, but there’s just no power there. Not doing it for me tonight.

Alrighty – it’s up to you all to vote. What do you think? Who’s going home? I’d love to see Jacob go, but I am afraid Stefano’s number might be up.

Apr 14

American Idol Season 10: Top 8 Perform Songs from the Movies

It’s Idol night!

Tonight’s theme is “Songs from the Movies.”

So um yeah… Pia’s gone. It’s a shame, because I think she had the best voice of the girls. I just don’t think she made her personality come to the forefront. But, really, she is beautiful with a good voice. She’s not going to be seriously harmed by the fact that she didn’t win.

Paul McDonald is up first with “Old Time Rock N Roll” by Bob Segar from Risky Business. Can we all agree that he is past his expiration date? He’s wearing a suit from the Porter Waggoner collection. Awful. I think he’s having a grand mal seizure up there. If he sang a note in that performance I couldn’t make it out. It’s all monotonous and whispery.

Lauren Alaina has chosen a Miley Cyrus song from the Hannah Montana movie, “The Climb.” There should be a law against this. Let’s call it the Miley Bieber law. No one may perform any tracks from Cyrus or Justin. I present to you Exhibit A. This performance. Congress needs to get on this immediately. I know they’re all pre-occupied with stopping Planned Parenthood, but the true murder is happening live on stage in Los Angeles. The victim is good musical taste. Still, she did sing it better than horse-face-grins-a-lot Cyrus.

Stefano Langone is going to try to bounce back from being in the bottom three yet again. He’s hoping to do that with “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men from the movie “Boomerang.” I’m not really sure why he’s not connecting with the audience more. He’s adorably cute, he has a great backstory, and more importantly, he’s got a great voice. If he ends up in the bottom three again, it will not be because he didn’t give it his all tonight. He had intensity and drive and he put every ounce of himself on the stage. It was a great performance.

Scotty McCreery has, in a move shocking to absolutely no one, picked a song from “Pure Country.” Have I ever told you the story of how much I hate George Strait? Not just because he put a contract on a song that I co-wrote and never actually put it on his album, but because he keeps singing the same fucking song over and over again? This doesn’t bode well for me enjoying Baby LockDemDoors tonight. He picked “I Cross My Heart.” I think he should have stuck with his original choice of “Everybody’s Talkin'” by Harry Nilsson. I can not stand this smarmy smirky delivery he has. And what the hell is up with his timing being so far off the backing vocalists? This was a mess. His pitch was all over the place too. I just want to smack him in his stupid George W Bush/Alfred E Neuman face. Of course the judges and the grandmas will cream over it.

Casey Abrams picked “Nature Boy” by Nat King Cole. Most recently, it was featured in “Moulin Rouge.” He’s got his standup bass and a closely shorn beard. Jimmy Iovine said that this song was very much a whisper in a hurricane and no one would hear it or get it. He was totally wrong. Sometimes that whisper makes all the other noise in the room stop and focus. This performance was bloody fucking brilliant. BRILLIANT. He got a standing ovation from the audience and judges. I’d have stood up at home if I weren’t so damned tired.

Haley Reinhart picked “Call Me” by Blondie from “American Gigolo.” Blondie is an incredibly hard artist to cover. She’s got such a particular style and the songs were custom fit for her voice. This song is way bigger than this girl who has wandered in from god knows where and keeps getting handed a microphone. This just wasn’t very good.

Jacob Lusk was talked into singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel from “Pursuit of Happyness.” He originally wanted to do “The Impossible Dream” or “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Seriously? I really wish they’d let him stick with one of those songs so he could just go home. You know my thoughts on this guy. I’m sure he’s good. I’m sure there’s a market for him, but *I* am not it. It doesn’t speak to me in the slightest. I hate it when a secular song is turned into some grand gospel number and injected with some spiritual interpretation that may not have been there originally. I’m not saying I don’t like gospel music – that’s absolutely not true. Some of the most beautiful songs ever written are unequivocally spiritual/gospel songs. But this interpretation feels insincere and, well, lazy.

James Durbin is closing the show with “Heavy Metal” by Sammy Hagar from “Heavy Metal.” He’s got Zak Wylde playing guitar with him which is pretty cool. He had a pretty intense argument about this song with Jimmy Iovine and Will.I.Am. I’m not sure that’s going to give him any points with the audience. I really don’t know what to think about this. It’s definitely something I don’t think has ever been done on Idol before. A straight up metal performance like this could go either way. He did it well of course.

The recap at the end always makes me laugh when you see some really feeble performance when compared as a whole to the rest. Tonight those feebs were Paul, Scotty, Lauren, and Hayley. Paul has GOT to go home after tonight. He just has to, right? Right?!?

Apr 06

American Idol Season Ten: Top Nine Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

It’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame night with the top nine.

Gwen Stefani has been brought in to “style” the girls. Oh Goody – Anime Hooker outfits galore! came in to mentor the gang.

Jacob Lusk wisely changed his song choice to “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson rather than “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye. Um… except… wait… didn’t we already have Motown week? What bullshit was that arrogant crack about if he ends up in the bottom three it’s because America isn’t prepared to look at themselves in the mirror? Seriously? Check yo self. And can we talk about the all white outfit that made his ass look bigger than anything J Lo ever carried around? And the singing… scoopy and warbly and full of unnecessary runs and guttural sounds. I just can’t freaking stand it. And the rest of the world seems to think he’s the bomb. But what do *I* know? I thought Clay should have beat Ruben back in Season 2. (Shall I point out that Clay sold more albums than Ruben at a rate of something like 4 to 1?)

Haley Reinhart snuck in again this week and chose Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.” She seemed to outshine several people last week. This week I might actually remember her for longer than the 2 minutes that she stands in front of the judges for judgment. She didn’t really bring anything special to the song, but it was fairly well performed. Her dress looked like she was wearing a padded grey toilet seat around her neck.

Casey Abrams has selected “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. He’s brought back the standup bass. He’s given the song a pretty cool Louisiana bayou kinda feel. Once again, I’m totally enamored. He might be the first Idol contestant that I’ve really thought I’d like to collaborate and jam with. Brilliant.

Lauren Alaina is singing “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin (Carole King, if you please…). Oh look! It’s Anime Hooker garb for the 16 year old! PLUS! Ridiculous fauxhawk with braids! While she’s doing a pretty good job with this song, she’s triggering that cranky old man in me who thinks she’s too fucking young to have ANY idea what she’s singing about. This song really needs to have an emotional connection and real understanding of the lyrics that I just don’t think she is able to pull off. Nothing spectacular.

James Durbin picked an incredible song – “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by The Beatles. James is definitely modeling his performances after Adam Lambert. This reminds me a bit of Adam’s “Mad World” performance. It’s nice to see a bit of restraint from him. What I think is missing is the intensity that the original has. It builds and builds the tension until the outro which is just screaming. He tried to duplicate that a bit with his scream at the end, but it wasn’t as great as it could have been. Still worth keeping him around!

Scotty McCreery picked Elvis in a move that surprises absolutely NO one. *yawn* “That’s All Right Mama” is the choice. I couldn’t hate this more if he had George W Bush and Glenn Beck on backing vocals. Well… maybe I could. It’s still pretty hokey and awful. UMB loved it. I’m still trying to get the taste out of my ears.

Pia Toscano chose “River Deep, Mountain High” by Tina Turner. She’s really turning it out tonight. Sexy, growly, and dead on with her pitch and delivery. Frankly, I think this performance should guarantee her a spot in the top three, if not top two. Fantastic.

Stefano Langone selected Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman.” He’s cute and he can really sing. He understands when to use the run and when to hold a note without ruining it. This was a beautiful version. I’m definitely a fan.

Paul McDonald is still on this show? I guess that means I have to sit through his version of “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash. Frenetic, frantic, spastic, and indulgent… but almost good. Almost. I feel like I’ve been at some tent revival and while I was distracted by him on stage someone picked my pocket.

So – who’s going home? I’m afraid Stefano is in danger because he’s got the least amount schtick of the guys.

Mar 30

American Idol Season Ten: Top Eleven Redux – Elton John Songs

Last week was a doozy, eh?

I’m surprised that the judges used their save so early in the season, but it really would have been a travesty for the most talented of the contestants to go home this soon. No, Casey might not have the best voice, per se, but the music world is full of shitty singers who don’t have half the guts and creativity that Casey has exhibited.

The theme tonight is Elton John. He’s one of my favorite artists of all time. I got to meet him back in 1997 and was starstruck – probably the only time in my life that’s happened — and I’ve met a lot of celebrities.

We’re gonna start the singing with Baby LockDemDoors Scotty McCreery who picked “Country Comfort.” Scotty encompasses just about everything I don’t like about country music. The smirky delivery of an almost yodeled style. Don’t get me wrong – I like country music. I was raised on it and had a record deal in Nashville for crying out loud… but this style just makes me cringe. Unfortunately, he’s not going to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Naima Adedapo is up next with “I’m Still Standing” with a reggae feel. I think this *could* have been cool… but I’m so distracted by the accent that she has adopted to really tell if it worked or not. I really don’t think reggae fans are watching American Idol. She could be in trouble.

Paul McDonald chose “Rocket Man.” What is his obsession with that Slim Pickens jacket? I’m so over him. This is what would happen if one of the muppets came to life and was handed a guitar. I can’t stand another second of this whisper speak singing. Terrible.

Pia Toscano is performing “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me.” Pia has the dress. Pia has the hair. And Pia has the pipes to win this thing. I don’t think she brought anything particularly new or special to the song, but she sang it beautifully. Ultimately, isn’t that is the most important thing?

Stefano Langone continues to rebuff my advances and offers to carry him around in my pocket. I suppose I’ll have to settle for watching him perform “Tiny Dancer,” one of my favorite EJ songs! I’m not a big fan of his staccato delivery of the verses, but his pitch on those great intervals was perfect. He’s definitely good enough to stick around another week. And the offer still stands; I could use a new pocket buddy.

Lauren Alaina picked “Candle in the Wind.” The verse was surprisingly pretty with the lilt she added to the phrases. She totally lost me in the chorus by over doing the lilt. She nearly moved into full on yodel mode and there is no room in an Elton John tune for yodeling. I suspect the voters will really eat this up, though.

James Durbin chose “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.” This went exactly how you would expect it to go with the added bonus of setting the piano on fire. He’s a good rock performer. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. This was a typically good showing from the resident hair band front man.

Thia Megia will now bore us to near suicide with her version of “Daniel.” Yes, she’s pretty. Yes, she’s young. Yes, she has a pleasant voice. Yes, I’d rather watch flies fuck on a freshly painted and not-quite-dry wall. Bo-ring.

Casey Abrams has chosen arguably the best of Elton John’s many great songs, “Your Song.” He really needs to turn in a great vocal performance tonight. And did he ever. I seriously teared up. It was sensitive and beautiful. Brilliant.

Jacob Lusk will now flip his head open and warble a version of “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word.” Jimmy Iovine didn’t want him to over dramatize this song – yet the stage is covered in fog and dramatic lighting. Coupled with the giant drama queen with a microphone up there, this could beat any Meryl Streep flick. I’m sure this appeals to someone. It’s not me.

Hayley chose “Bennie and the Jets.” Who? Why hasn’t security shown up to take this chick away yet? She’s trying to channel Michelle Pfeiffer in Fabulous Baker Boys with her piano theatrics. She was too busy clearing her throat to sing. Wait? What’s that you say? She was trying to growl notes? I see. It’s kinda sad that this stalker chick has wandered in and performed better than some of the other contestants. I almost liked her.

So what did you think of the Elton John show?

Mar 23

American Idol Season 10: Top 11 Sing Motown

It’s Motown Night and we need to just get right to it, no?

Casey Abrams performs “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye. Casey needs to learn that it is absolutely unnecessary to growl every single note. He’s a great showman and once he gets his vocals totally sorted out, he’s going to be great.

Thia Megia picked “Heatwave” by Martha and the Vandellas. Even on an uptempo number she sounds like she’s performing for the Miss Teen USA crown. All she needs now is a flaming baton and a swimsuit. She seemed to be a bit lost in the middle, but that could have been me because I tuned out.

Jacob Lusk the flip top head chose “You’re All I Need” by Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terelle. Someone needs to help Jacob remove that potato from the back of his throat. At least I think it’s a potato… it could be a cock. Seriously, can we discuss the pink elephant here? Gay. Gay. Gay. This was actually a decent performance, though I still maintain that I am not a fan. He needs to learn how to sing a single note without a run or warble.

What’s going on? The audience is filing on the stage to hug him. Oy.

Lauren Alainachose “You Keep Me Hanging On” by Diana Ross and the Supremes. Lauren looks like she might actually be trying to win this thing. This is the first time in weeks that I have really liked her. She sold the song very well.

Stefano Langone is performing Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello.” Stefano is channelling Desi Arnaz tonight. A bit of accent has crept in. I love his vocals on this song. His nerves were a little apparent. He’s quickly becoming my favorite.

Hayley ReinhartSeriously, who is this chick? Did she wander in off the street and no one has bothered to tell her that she can’t go on? I can’t remember anything about her and forget about her the second she steps off stage. “You Really Got a Hold on Me” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles was apparently on the karaoke list and she said, “Hey – I think I can do a completely mundane and screechy version of that song!” And so she did.

Scotty McCreery managed to come in from the farm to sing some of that “colored music.” He picked “For Once in My Life” by Stevie Wonder. This was about as cliched and affected of a country cover I’ve ever heard. It doesn’t help that I can’t look at him without the resemblance to George W. Bush making me want to punch him in the throat. Hated. It.

Pia Toscano is singing “All in Love is Fair,” one of Stevie Wonder’s great ballads. Wow. That actually brought chills. Outstandingly beautiful.

Paul McDonald is performing “Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles. He’s got his acoustic guitar. He’s way better this week than he has been for a while. He’s David Grey mixed with Don McClean and some alien being.

Naima Adedapo chose “Dancing in the Streets” by Martha and the Vandellas. I’m reminded a bit of Shirley Bassey during this performance for some reason… the big voice and huge stage presence. She broke into some African dancing at the end. The whole thing was pretty damn cool.

James Durbin decided to do Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.” Fucking outstanding. Super cool hard rock version of a great Stevie song. The band was hot, and his vocals were off the hook. Brilliant.

Wow – this episode totally didn’t suck! What did you all think?

Mar 17

American Idol Season Ten: Top 12

Tonight’s theme is “Songs from the Year the Contestants Were Born.” They are getting to this theme pretty early. Usually it’s only the top 6 or so that make me feel like a crotchety old man.

Naima Adedapo was born in 1984. She’s performing “What’s Love Got to Do With It” by Tina Turner. As much as I like her, I could barely listen to this. Her pitch was wavering all over the place. I don’t think it was bad enough to send her home, but I’m not rushing out to buy a copy.

Paul McDonald was also born in 1984. He’s picked Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues.” I’m so over this gangly muppet. I started out intrigued, but now… quirky has just become ingratiating and painful. Whether he’s got a cold or not, it was just weak and all kinds of a mess.

Thia Megia was born in 19fucking95. She’s singing “Colors of the Wind” by Vanessa Williams. Suddenly American Idol has become a pre-qualifying round in the Little Miss Toad Suck County Arkansas pageant. She was flat for most of the song. She’s trying so hard to be a vocalist in the vein of Celine Dion or Barbara Streisand, but she simply can’t sing like them. It was boring and bland.

James Durbin, born in 1989, picked “I’ll Be There For You” from Bon Jovi. He sucked every bit of emotion out of this song. He changed the rhythm of the verses to a really straight on the beat thing that I didn’t care for. That being said, his voice is probably the strongest of the entire season.

Hayley Reinhart, born in 1990, picked “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston. Choosing a Whitney song is very risky. So… that’s what a Whitney song sounds like when it’s pushed through a singer’s nose before being strained through a cat’s asshole. Terrible. Horrible.

Am I on my period or is everyone just awful tonight?

Stefano Langone came into being in 1989. He picked “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” by Simply Red (originally Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes). I love this song. Finally a performance that doesn’t make me want to punch myself in the testicles. There was some intensity and more importantly, some good vocals. Head and shoulders above everyone else so far tonight.

Pia Toscano was born in 1988. She’s also picked a Whitney Houston song “Where do Broken Hearts Go.” Pia’s vocals are quite good. She’s easily the best girl. The arrangement is utter shit, though. If there was such a thing as generic elevator dance music, this would be the epitome.

Scotty McCreery, born 1993, and we’re being treated to “Can I Trust You With My Heart” by Travis Tritt. I suspect that he will perform this country song well. He will completely fall on his ass if he has to step into a pop song. Scotty being on this show is the equivalent of comparing apples to motorcycle parts. How do you do that? He’s fine for country. Despite what Randy says, he simply *can’t* sing anything. He’s got a very specific sound for a specific genre. So um, yeah. It was fine.

Karen Rodriguez was born in 1989. She chose a great song, “Love Will Lead You Back” by Taylor Dayne. This might be the first Taylor Dayne song that’s been performed on Idol… I’ll have to look that up. This was a just plain nice performance. Nothing special.

Casey Abrams, born in 1991, chose Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” I love that he has fun with every performance. He doesn’t take himself so seriously. His talent is unmatched this season. Even the weird screaming vocal was cooler than anything else on stage tonight.

Lauren Alaina was born in 1994. She chose “I’m the Only One” from Melissa Etheridge. So she has the flu. That’s too bad for her. It’s also too bad for me because one of my favorite songs was butchered tonight. I didn’t like the arrangement. I didn’t like the fact that she changed the lyrics. I didn’t like the twang she added. She doesn’t sing everything with a twang, so she specifically chose to twang it up. Sigh.

Jacob Lusk was born in 1987. He’s picked “Alone” by Heart. If he’s only 24 why does he look like he’s in his 40’s? I just… I just can’t do it. If the Wilson sisters went to the Assembly of God church in Stool Bend Mississippi they’d be raising babies and pushing paper in some dead end insurance job right now instead of being rock stars. I can’t stand flip-top head and his crazy quivering jaw. He spent most of the song so sharp he could cut glass.

Fuck me this was a hard show to get through tonight.

I can only vote for two performances in good conscience: Stefano and Casey.

So, was it just me? Tell me it was just me…