Mar 12

Latest Lessons from the Internet

I’m really tired of keeping my mouth shut. I’ve been watching, horrified, for months while people continue to redefine the term “inappropriate.”

I hate hypocrites.

I loathe arrogance.

I despise people who abuse the trust and insult the intelligence of their readers and friends.

So with that, I present to you the things I’ve learned in a very small dysfunctional corner of the internet:

  • It’s perfectly justifiable to ask your sycophants to contribute to your anniversary fund to buy your husband a motorcycle when unemployment is at record highs, your friends are having their homes foreclosed on, are being laid off from their jobs or struggling with health problems almost sure to bankrupt them.
  • No one will notice this request for money is on a blog full of stories about how much money you make as a super busy writer, how much you spend on your hair, shoes, and trips because you’re just so darn cute and likable!
  • It’s perfectly ok to repeatedly and publicly write stories that paint your spouse in a negative light… stories that make all your fans cluck their tongues and commiserate with you for having to run your household with no help whatsoever, with having to deal with mountains of insensitive slights against you while you play the role of the helpless and innocent damsel in distress.
  • It’s acceptable to peer down your nose and cast judgment on friends who have had an extra-marital affair, even when you are yourself guilty of having an extra-marital affair.
  • It’s “good friendship” to constantly remind your friends of their past mistakes.
  • Refusing to stop seeing the man you cheated with because he is your “best friend” and boss, despite how hurt and angry it makes your husband, is normal and acceptable behavior.
  • Posting photos of your husband with his arm around the man you are cheating with and labeling it “My Boys” is the new funniest thing ever!
  • It’s ok to make everything about yourself, even your family’s bad choices.
  • There are no repercussions for questioning the sincerity of all the friends and strangers who offer you prayers and well wishes.
  • There are, however, repercussions for directly commenting on how shitty questioning that sincerity really is – you get twitter dumped and facebook unfriended.
  • High school rules never go away – you can’t be friends with me because you’re friends with him, and I don’t like him, so you must not like him, or I won’t like you. Or something like that.
  • The best way to control your friends is by hiring them and being responsible for their livelihoods. They won’t disagree with you, they’ll keep your secrets, and they will put up with incredibly inappropriate behavior because they are dependent on your money.
  • Putting other people down and reminding them of their flaws at every opportunity hides how really insecure and immature you are.
  • Your self worth should be tied to your fancy college degree, or lack thereof.
  • Artists and musicians contribute nothing to society, or at least much less than a law degree, whether or not the holder of the law degree actually practices law or uses it in anyway.
  • There’s no reason to think that commenting on every post your girlfriend makes might make her husband feel bad.
  • You should always express your deepest and most private feelings for your married girlfriend via whimsical stories of dragons and princesses, because your readers are far too stupid to ever figure out what you are really talking about.
  • Allowing the people around you to rise above their emotional hurdles and improve their lives is ill-advised because it exposes your own weaknesses and faults.
  • Being kind of a big deal on the internet excuses even the most reprehensible behavior. So does italics.
  • Sometimes, all you need is a dildo with a suction cup attachment and some hand sanitizer to make it all better.

The fact that I ever hung out in that corner of the world wide web makes me feel unclean.

The fact that people will still continue to ooh and aah and heap praise on them makes me sad.

The fact that people will come here and insult me for posting this amuses me, if only because defending the indefensible is normally humorous.

Why is it my business? Because my friends have been forced to defend their friendship with me, as if *I* am the immoral asshole in this equation.

That and I’m already being accused of gossiping. I’d rather be hated for what I’ve done, rather than what people assume I have done.

Mar 11

American Idol Season 9: All Acoustic Boys

Aah, it’s Wednesday and there are 8 boys left to sit and judge.

I’ve got a killer sore throat tonight and a bit of a headache, so I’m not in the mood for any bullshit out of the guys. The girls were so boring last night that I wanted to find something else to do. I hope the boys don’t send me off to the medicine cabinet looking for a chemical escape.

Last week America voted just like I thought they would and booted that Godly Queen of Denial, Jermaine Stewart and John Park, who just kept making stupid song choices.

Let’s get to it…

Lee Dewyze has picked “Fireflies” by Owl City. Dude, you can’t copy the effect of an autotuner with just your voice. Luckily you gave that up after the first verse. Unfortunately, you still sound like you’re trying to be Adam Duritz from Counting Crows, and you just aren’t that good. I will say that this is the best performance I’ve seen of Lee’s I’ve seen so far. But that’s a lot like saying one turd is somewhat more aesthetically pleasing than another. Randy thought it was a strange song choice and there were some pitch issues but he “worked it out.” Ellen liked the arrangement, but said his pitch problems “didn’t matter.” Kara called it confident and made the song better. Simon said there was nothing to rave about, but he’s progressed well.

Alex Lambert is performing “Trouble” by Ray Lamontagne. Alex is an odd one to figure out. Tonight his voice sounds a little like Cat Stevens and a Muppet had a love child. It’s not bad, but it’s not altogether good, either. His version of the song wasn’t that special, it stuck pretty closely to the original, but he didn’t seem to have any pitch issues. He also appears to have gotten his nerves in check. There’s enough interesting about him that I’d like to see him stick around awhile. Not to mention the fact that I totally dig his modified mullet and curious scar on his cheek. Randy wasn’t wowed by it. Ellen called him a “mushy banana” in that he’s ripening quickly and getting better and better. Kara said the only thing standing in the way of his winning is his confidence level. Simon wants to see him relax and have a good time but likes his distinct voice.

Tim Urban is tackling “Hallelujah” the Leonard Cohen song that Jeff Buckley popularized. He’s playing acoustic guitar and has switched up the melody a bit. So, I have to admit that I’m pretty shocked by how strong his voice is tonight. The only reason I ever remembered this guy is that he’s easy to look at with his crooked smile and shaggy mop…. I can’t say that I loved the fact that he didn’t complete all of his phrases, perhaps as a stylistic choice, but he sounded quite good. I will remember this performance at least until the end credits roll. Which is more than I can say for What’s His Name that sang first. Randy thought he did a pretty good job. Ellen ran on to the stage and hugged him and called him fantastic. Kara thought he was going home a few weeks ago but thinks he’s in it to win it now. Simon said it was a very smart song choice and called it terrific.

Andrew Garcia has decided to sing “Genie in a Bottle” by Christina Aguilera. I can already tell this will be one of those performances everyone loves. He’s playing acoustic guitar too. Apparently it’s acoustic guitar night on American Idol. There’s not too much to say about his performance. He’s consistently a good singer who for the most part picks decent songs. I think the arrangement would have been better slowed down a touch. Randy thought it was pitchy and didn’t really show his range. Ellen thought it was a great song choice but wishes he had done it a bit different. Kara thinks he peaked so early and has been chasing it since. She’s disappointed that it “just wasn’t great.” Simon thought it was a little bit desperate and over thought.

Casey James is up next with “You’ll Think of Me” by Keith Urban. Hey guess what, he’s also playing acoustic guitar! Shocking! Amazing! Stupendous! There were a few moments tonight that Casey sounded like Bob Segar. It was an interesting song that he performed fairly well. I think he may be the guy to beat… he’s a great guitar player with a decent voice who is smoking hot. And we all know that all the little girlies like a blond with blue eyes, white teeth and a guitar. Randy thought it was a bit too safe of a song choice. Ellen thought it was great. Kara thinks she may be back on the Casey train. We know that is where she would like to be… Simon called it his “second best” and was sincere, but not necessarily memorable.

Aaron Kelly aka TwinklyBits is singing “I’m Already There” by Lonestar. First notes out of the gate were rough. And it so far hasn’t gotten any better. I just can’t buy TwinklyBits singing about his kids. This song is way too old and way too big for him. This is like one of those Star Search Semi-Final performances. That is to say, he’s gotten as far as he has because he’s just oh so put-him-in-your-pocket cute…. but it’s time for the dream to die tonight. His pitch was all over the place, the verses were too low for him, the material too mature, and he just can not compete with the older contestants. I will give him an extra point for NOT playing guitar. That brings his total to 1 point. Randy thought it was really good, but the lower notes were awful. Ellen thought he has sounded better and it was pretty rough. Kara thought he gave it his all, but said the song was completely irrelevant to his life. Simon interrupted Kara and thought it was the right type of song for him to do, though it wasn’t a great vocal.

Todrick Hall is throwing some “Somebody to Love” by Queen at us. What I really hate is that this arrangement has completely pussified a rock anthem into a Baptist church spiritual. Where are the balls? Even the version they did on GLEE had more bite and cock throwing to it. I like Todrick, I think he’s got a better voice than several of the other guys left, but this just totally let the air out of the room. The build didn’t even quite get to the attitude that the song should have started at… I think he was more interested in showcasing those few falsetto notes at the very beginning than in delivering a kick-ass rock song. I would go so far to say that Todrick has never even heard the original Queen version, if he had, he would be embarrassed by this performance. Randy called it one of the best vocals of the season. Ellen called it brave and thought it worked as a gospel song. Kara said it was really good singing but wasn’t sure if it was really good or really bad. Simon said it was good in parts, and thought he would be a good Broadway performer.

Michael Lynche is closing the show tonight with his version of “This Woman’s Work” by Maxwell. There is absolutely no question that Michael can sing. This was a fantastic vocal! It was intense in the right spots, it had just the right amount of softness and falsetto and rough growl. He looked the part, has great stage presence, and delivered the performance of the night. Bravo to the big guy! Randy called it dope and babbled on at length without saying anything. Ellen called it “so beautiful” and said he’s the one to beat. Kara is in tears and said it was amazing. Simon said he nailed it and called it the best performance of any of the live shows of this season.

Here’s my ranking:

  1. Michael Lynche
  2. Tim Urban
  3. Casey James
  4. Andrew Garcia
  5. Alex Lambert
  6. Lee Dewyze
  7. Todrick Hall
  8. Aaron Kelly

I think Aaron and Todrick are in the most danger. Though, there’s a chance that Alex and Tim are fighting for the same votes, and in that case Tim will beat out Alex. What are your predictions?

Mar 10

American Idol Season 9: 8 Girls Left

And then there were 8 girls…

Last week we got rid of Haeley the Annoying and Michelle Delamor. I didn’t expect Michelle to go so quickly, as the red haired screecher, Lacey Brown should have gone out before her.

Katie Stevens is up first with “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson. No pre-packaged interviews tonight to make fun of? Guess it’s a shorter show. Katie’s having pitch issues through the whole first verse. I’m incredibly bored by her. Major Yawn reporting for duty. Where’s my iPhone? I’ve got Words with Friends games to play. Randy said it paled in comparison to Kelly’s version. Ellen thought it was a good song choice but didn’t think she showed any personality. Kara thinks she has a good radio voice but lacks a vision of who she is as an artist. Simon thinks she’s been listening to the judge’s advice but thinks she sucked the energy out of the performance.

Siobhan Magnus chose “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals. This is kind of a strange song choice, that will either go really well or really badly. Most of the audience is going to say, “What the hell is this song?” She started out completely a cappella and dead on the pitch. A very nice start! She’s totally got that sultry look at the camera and shift her eyes thing going for her. This was a really nice display of her voice. Randy loves what she does. Ellen says “You are why I love music.” She called it captivating and current. Kara loved the a cappella start and her vibe. Simon wasn’t such a fan, he thought it was a bit weird. He remains “underimpressed.”

Lacey Brown is singing Brandy Carlisle’s “The Story.” Can we talk for a second about the outfit? Did she raid Doris Roberts’ closet before the show? Holy hell! You just look at her and know that she smells like she took a bath in some heavy floral perfume and is still irritated that her gardener hasn’t weeded the front yard of the townhouse she owns in Boca. And while I’ve been sitting here flabbergasted at the ridiculous leopard print and bright red lipstick, I’ve totally missed the song. Which is probably a good thing… it was super slow, had no real hook, and if I had just heard this as background noise, I’d be wandering around the house looking for an injured cat. I usually love the quirky girl with strange hair that there seems to be on every season…. and in this case I still do – only it’s not Lacey, it’s Lilly. Randy thought the song was sleepy, but called it her best performance in a long time. Ellen agreed it was her best performance to date. Kara said it was effortless and was a “brilliant choice.” Simon didn’t love the song but thought she sang it really well.

No one mentioned the fact that she’s wearing a salmon colored frock that clashes terribly with her bright red hair. I didn’t see her feet, but I would bet she’s got combat boots on.

Katelyn Epperly is performing “I Feel The Earth Move” by Carole King. She’s playing keys and doing absolutely nothing to make this song her own. It was nearly a note for note version without the cool gritty timbre that Carole has. That being said, she has a nice tone, she’s pretty, and isn’t plagued with the same nerves and pitch problems some other contestants are, so there’s that. Randy liked her look but didn’t feel the vibe and thought there wasn’t anything special about it. Ellen doesn’t know that the song was the best choice for her. Kara didn’t feel like she was competing or connected to the song. Simon likes her hair. He called it “request night at a restaurant” and she performed it quite well but didn’t do anything special with it.

Didi Benami is up next with “Rhiannon” from Fleetwood Mac. She’s playing it acoustically on the guitar and playing with the melody a little bit. Again, I find myself absolutely intrigued by Didi. Last week the judges ate her alive for a performance that I loved. This version was very cool with an interesting arrangement. It was quite haunting and I really wanted to hear more of it when it was done. Her tone is unique and she’s able to make huge interval jumps look absolutely effortless. I’m officially a fan. Randy called it “a whole lot better than last week.” He didn’t see a lot of “wow” in it. Ellen said, “Yes indeedy Didi.” Kara called it one of her favorite moments of the show for this whole season. She called her rendition brilliant. Simon thought it was head and shoulders above anything so far tonight. He disagreed with Randy and said it was a complete “Wow” moment for her.

Paige Miles chose “Smile” a standard written by Charlie Chaplin. She seems to be rushing the band just a bit. She’s also just slightly flat. I don’t know what the problem is here… did they lose the monitor or what? This was an ugly mess. Maybe the problem was a terrible arrangement with multiple key changes, or maybe Paige isn’t feeling well, or maybe this was just an absolutely terrible song choice for her. Whatever it is needs to be fixed immediately, because my ears aren’t speaking to me any longer. Randy said it just didn’t work and he hated the arrangement. Ellen said it’s supposed to be uplifting, but it was just sad. Kara said, “it’s just all wrong.” Kara keeps putting the contestants on the spot with stupid questions. Simon called it a horrible choice of song and blamed the awful arrangement on the band.

Crystal Bowersox picked one of my signature songs, “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman. She’s the first contestant to perform the song any where near the way I do. This song has so much opportunity for personality and most of the people who sing it don’t interject any. Crystal of course does. I would have liked to see her go a bit more aggressive with it, but she still performed it quite well. As far as I’m concerned, Crystal is the girl to beat. Randy loved it. Ellen can’t stop calling her “amazing.” Kara commends her for knowing who she is. Simon guarantees she will be in the top 12. He actually said, “You are the one to beat.”

Lilly Scott is closing the show with a Patsy Cline hit, “I Fall to Pieces.” She’s playing an electric mandolin. I just can’t help but smile when she’s singing this song. I love her quirky voice. She changed up the melody a bit and did some cute things with it. That being said, I would never have picked this song for her, and I’m not sure it will be a very big hit with the viewing audience. Randy thought it was hot. Ellen loves her voice and style. Kara said she made Patsy Cline feel current. Simon called it a brave song choice. It didn’t have a wow factor, but it was cute and quirky.

Here’s my ranking:

  1. Siobhan Magnus
  2. Crystal Bowersox
  3. Didi Benami
  4. Lilly Scott
  5. Katelyn Epperly
  6. Lacey Brown
  7. Katie Stevens
  8. Paige Miles

I think Katie and Katelyn are in the most danger of being forgotten and voted off… I really think this competition is down to the first four girls in my ranking. The rest will fall one by one. What do you think?

Mar 08

1000 Posts

I haven’t anything special to say… but I just happened to notice while doing some maintenance today that this is my 1000th post.

Seriously, I would have thought that I had more than that, but I guess the database is better equipped to track that sort of stuff than I am.

So anyway. Today is definitely a Monday, and I’m gonna leave it at that, else I’ll start venting about stuff that will piss a lot of people off.

And we don’t want that, do we?

Mar 04

American Idol Season Nine: Top 10 Girls Disappoint

The boys showed a marked improvement over their performances last week, even if they still left a lot to be desired. It’s time to see if the girls have managed to pull themselves together and turn this into an actual competition for the best, instead the lesser of several mediocre singer evils…

Last week we said a cheerful goodbye to Ashley Rodriguez (who??) and Janell Wheeler who should have stuck around at least one more week in place of Lacey who murdered the Fleetwood Mac song.

Crystal Bowersox
has a twin brother. No mention of what had her in the hospital, but she does say she’s feeling fine and able to perform tonight. She’s picked “As Long As I Can See The Light” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. She’s put a bit of a gospel feel into this arrangement. Her sparse intro was pretty cool. She’s got this very hippie/earth momma vibe about her that reminds me of Melissa Etheridge crossed with Janis Joplin with just a touch of Jewel. This performance wasn’t the best vocal I’ve ever heard, but I will say that I’m glad they switched the performance dates around so that she could still compete. I’m a fan. Randy called her “the truth” and said she was “hot” tonight. Ellen described her performance was “pure natural talent.” Kara said she completely recovered from last week. She called it “effortless.” Simon commended her on ability to bounce back from being ill and said he totally “misunderestimated” her last week. He compared her performance to that moment that they knew Kelly Clarkson would be a star.

Haeley Vaughn makes headbands and hair accessories. Isn’t she just the cutest? She’s picked an ear-bleed-inducing Miley Cyrus song, “The Climb.” The fact that this song is a Billboard top hit makes me insane. Wow she’s pitchy tonight. Again. She’s no less annoying than she’s been in the past. She’s got no real power in her voice. While she’s loud, she’s not strong. This was just a mess. Randy called it “excruciating.” Ellen complimented her smile, but didn’t think she connected to the song at all. Kara thinks she’s got lots of people rooting for her, but thinks she needs about a year of vocal strengthening. Simon called it a “complete and utter mess.”

It seems that so far the judges and I are hearing the same things tonight. It’s about time. I was beginning to think I might need to check my ears.

Lacey Brown is up next. The fact that she’s still here after last week’s massacre of “Landslide” makes me kind of ill. Lacey is an “antiquer.” Isn’t that special? She picked “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None The Richer… you know the song Kara suggested last week. This is a good choice for her, but she’s totally fucked it up by trying to do a super dramatic opening which was a bit pitchy. There were some nice moments in the performance, but her accent is distracting, and the pitch problems haven’t gone anywhere. This is definitely better than Haeley, but not even close to Crystal’s talent level. Randy didn’t think it worked because it was super karaoke. Ellen thought it was adorable, even if she didn’t do anything special to it. Kara thinks she has a unique tone that she likes, but she needs to bring her game up. Simon called it marginally better than last week, but doesn’t think she shows herself as an artist.

Katie Stevens is apparently a kiss whore. “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae is her choice. This is a difficult song to perform. She’s trying too hard to sound just like the recording. This is a prime example of a “karaoke performance.” There was really nothing original, special, or remarkable about it. It’s some 17 year old chick with a decent singing voice singing along to a record in the kitchen. Very so what? She didn’t have any major pitch problems or screechy notes, but she also didn’t power out some of the high notes in the chorus that really give this song some balls. She neutered it. Randy said there were some bright moments. Ellen thinks she has a great voice, but she still is performing songs that are too old. Kara is frustrated by Katie picking the wrong song and not making them special enough. Simon is still not sure what type of artist she’s going to be. He thinks she’s safe, but just barely.

Didi Benami was a mascot for her middle school. Furries delight! I liked her a lot last week. She’s picked “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers. Love it! Loved her arrangement. Loved her changes to the melody; they were not significant but very suited to her voice. She knows who she is and what she can do. She’s got an interesting tone, she’s super cute, and hopefully the judges will agree with me. Randy didn’t think it worked. Thought it was a terrible choice. Ellen loves her voice and energy but didn’t think it was a good song choice. Kara said “it wasn’t good.” Simon thought it was all over the place and screechy. He thought it was generic and a wasted opportunity.

So, we’re back to not hearing the same thing. Seriously? Giving her shit for picking a soulful song? It’s almost enough to make me give up.

Michelle Delamor is a church children’s choir director. She’s lost her mind and is performing “With Arms Wide Open” by Creed. I hate this fucking song. What the hell is she wearing? A dress over jeans? WTF? Michelle is not changing my mind. While she’s got a perfectly pleasant voice for the most part, this song was just wrong wrong wrong. Boring cabaret bullshit. Randy thinks her outfit is hot but she didn’t do enough to the song. Ellen liked that she tried to do something different and it “almost worked.” Kara called it her favorite performance of Michelle’s ever. She thought it was believable. Simon thought she struggled a bit with some of the notes, but he agreed with Kara, that it was believable.

I swear the politics of this show get more and more obvious every season. There are three girls of color competing. The judges clearly can’t pin all their hopes and dreams on Haeley, so they have to talk Michelle up far beyond what she deserves, maybe because she is the prettiest of the three? I call bullshit. They slammed Didi because they have plenty of cute blonde chicks to pick from. They did exactly the same thing with the guys, offering crappy critiques to the guys they obviously want the audience to vote off.

Lilly Scott plays multiple instruments, including the melodica and the Moog. She’s playing “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke, an awesome soul classic. I really like Lilly. I dig her vibe. She’s unique and interesting in a different way from Crystal. Her version of this song was super cool. Her pitch is great, mostly because her general style has a touch of the blues-slide in it. This is up there in my top two so far. Randy thought she worked it out. He called it his favorite of the night. Ellen thinks she’s got “it.” She agreed it was the best of the night. Kara said she just had her first moment. She was riveted. Simon wasn’t crazy about it, but thought it was quite good.

Katelyn Epperly is studying to be a recording engineer. She’s picked “The Scientist” by Coldplay. She’s accompanying herself on the piano. I really want to hate this, but I’m having a bit of trouble mustering it. My main problem is that she doesn’t really look the part of a piano playing singer songwriter. Again, a perfectly pleasant performance, but not really special. Just a slow tempo downer kinda song. Randy liked it, but thought it was way slow. Ellen fell asleep. It was too slow. Kara “kinda loves her.” She said Katelyn is really good but needs to figure out who she is as an artist. Simon thought it was a smart choice of song, but thinks she has a tendency to come across as a bit corny. He said it was a million percent better than last week.

Paige Miles likes to color. Isn’t that just so quirky?!? Paige is singing “Walk Away” by Kelly Clarkson. Simon might be right. She might have the best voice of all the girls. I haven’t really loved her performances yet, so I think she’s picking the wrong song. I was not thrilled by the money note in this performance, it was a bit shrill and not quite on. Randy didn’t think it was the best song choice because it didn’t showcase her voice. Ellen loved her energy and the changes she made. Kara who wrote the song wasn’t sure that Paige grasped the meaning, but thought she could have a hit with it. Simon thinks she has again failed to pick the right song and that she might be getting lost in the shuffle.

Siobhan Magnus is closing the show tonight. Siobhan used to rock a mohawk. She’s going to tackle “Think” by Aretha Franklin. So this is a strange one… I absolutely love the way she’s doing the verses, but I’m not sure the chorus is quite right. But holy hell’s bells grandma, she threw in a sky high money shot that was dead on pitch. I suspect Simon will say she was shouting this song, but if ever a song called for that kind of force, it’s this one. Sure there were a couple of pitch issues, but compared with some of the other performances this was great. Siobhan remains one of my favorites. Randy called her fearless and “dope.” Ellen thought “oh man that was good!” Kara can’t get over that note. Simon thinks she’s such a strange person, there were parts of the song that were terrible, but that note was outstanding.

Ok… let’s get to the rankings.

  1. Crystal Bowersox
  2. Lilly Scott
  3. Siobhan Magnus
  4. Didi Benami
  5. Paige Mills
  6. Michelle Delamor
  7. Katie Stevens
  8. Katelyn Epperly
  9. Lacey Brown
  10. Haeley Vaughn

I think Lacey and Haeley will be going home.

Your turn… who’s going home? Are the judges losing their grip on reality?

Mar 03

American Idol Season Nine: Top 10 Boys. Really?

Great gobs of horrible ear juice, I hope the guys are better this week than last.


Wait. I thought the girls were on Tuesday. Whatever. It’s probably more fair this way. The Wednesday performers would have one more day to rehearse…

Oh. Apparently Crystal Bowersox was deemed unable to perform tonight by her doctor. A quick news search tells me that Crystal may be suffering some complications of diabetes. Hopefully she’s better tomorrow, as she’s one of the select few singers that I actually like this season.

So in last week’s ridiculously drawn out results show, we got rid of Jose Muñoz (guess the ~ budget ran out), and Tyler Grady (you’ll remember him as the Robert Plant impersonator attached to that giant walking chin).

Anyway! Let’s get this train wreck started, shall we?

The theme tonight is, once again, Billboard Hits.

Michael Lynche can bench 505 pounds. Holy shit dude, that’s not even natural. He’s picked “It’s a Man’s World” by James Brown. Quite the dramatic opening from this bruiser. This performance is nothing at all like his ho-hum number last week. Is that some personality I see? Is that some power in his voice? His pitch and tone were fantastic tonight. A huge improvement from last week. Randy gave him a standing clap. Ellen loved his song choice and called it the one to beat. Kara said he had the potential to be a great artist and said he’s not the same guy this week. Simon called the change from a pussy cat to a lion. He called it the best performance he’s given so far.

John Park didn’t learn English until the 4th grade. He’s Korean. He’s picked “Gravity” by John Mayer. He really does have a nice voice with a very smooth vibrato. This song didn’t do much to showcase his range, as the melody doesn’t meander very far from the root note. However, it was a perfectly pleasant performance. I would like to see him do something with a little more energy. “No Such Thing” might have been a better John Mayer choice for him. Randy didn’t think he brought anything special to the song. Ellen thought it was a better song choice than last week. Kara agreed that it was way better than last week. She didn’t think he had much of a connection with the song. Simon thinks John is going home because it was a “so what” performance.

Casey James hasn’t had a TV since he was 7. He’s picked “I Don’t Wanna Be” by Gavin Degraw, a popular choice in past seasons. He’s playing electric guitar tonight, which makes him about a bajillion times hotter. I’m not really loving this performance. He’s going sharp on the end of his phrases and seems as though he doesn’t have enough breath to get through it. He’s a great guitar player however. Randy didn’t think it was the best vocal, but did think he could see him as a successful artist. Ellen thinks everything is there on paper, but he’s a bit stiff with the performance. Kara thought he took two steps backwards tonight, she thought his vocal wasn’t great. Simon thought it was a pretty mediocre performance and thought he lacked the grit necessary to do that song.

Alex Lambert suffers from terrible stage fright. He’s picked “Everybody Knows” by John Legend. He’s playing his guitar this week, so maybe he won’t be so uncomfortable. He’s being less nasal, but there is still a bit of that buzz saw action going on. He is definitely improved. He’s one of those performers who has a “fine” voice that would probably be great as a supporting vocalist in a band. But I don’t yet see any star potential. He’s likely to stick around another week. Randy loves his package. He called the performance a great improvement. Ellen is back to bananas, which somehow means he’s got so much more confidence and compared his voice to Sam Cooke. Kara called it a great improvement. Simon called it “a million times better than last week.” His only issue was the song choice.

Todrick Hall has been dancing on stage since he was 9. He’s chosen Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” He’s changed up the arrangement on this classic 80’s hit, giving it a bit slower R&B vibe that actually works well. I actually quite liked this. I noticed a couple of places in his runs that were slightly off pitch, but the interpretation was fresh and he performed it well. He’s got the potential to battle it out with the top guys. Randy didn’t care for the new arrangement but thought he sung it well. Ellen wants him to move during the performance, and didn’t think it was the right song. Kara thought it was too crazy and all over the place. Simon doesn’t think it’s working out at all for Todrick. He compared it to a corny theme park performance.

Again, I think the judges are absolutely HORRIBLE about this whole “make it your own, but don’t change the song, but be original and take risks, but don’t fuck with the arrangement” hypocrisy they’ve been throwing out lately. Make up your damned minds!

Jermaine Sellers somehow survived elimination, despite sounding like an air-raid siren last week. He “rocks his onesie” which truly is as ridiculous as it sounds. He’s picked “What’s Goin On” by Marvin Gaye. Can I just say he looks completely idiotic with his natty bow tie and FroHawk? This arrangement is just stupid. It’s not even close to current or marketable. He actually SCATTED in addition to once again warning nearby towns of an incoming tornado. I hate everything about this performance. He’s murdered a perfectly good Marvin Gaye classic, he’s looking like a fool (though his pants are NOT on the ground), and there isn’t anything about his voice that I find redeemable. Clearly this means the judges will rave about him. Randy thought it was better than last week, but thought there were a couple of bright moments in a not great performance. Ellen loves his style, but says it just didn’t work for her. Kara thinks he is trying to do too much with his range. Simon is frustrated and disappointed because he’s playing around with the song too much.

Please stop talking about God, Jermaine. It’s clearly a desperate ploy to get middle America to pick up the phone to call and vote for you before they realize you’re a poofter.

Andrew Garcia is a breakdancer. He’s singing “You Give Me Something” by James Morrison. Am I the only one who thinks Andrew looks like a lesbian you used to hang out with at karaoke night? Just me? Ok. I’m not in love with this song. That being said, I do think Andrew has one of the better voices of the guys this season. He’s got good control, just the right amount of gravel when it’s needed, and a great tone. He will sound amazing in the studio. Randy didn’t get it. He thought it was pitchy and he didn’t have the soul to pull it off. Ellen thought there were some pitch problems but really liked the performance. Kara thought he played it too safe this week and wanted to be surprised. Simon is frustrated once again. He thinks it was the wrong song choice. He thought it was just “ok” and thinks Andrew is better than just “ok.”

Aaron Kelley, aka, TwinkyBits (I swear I’m going to make this catch on.) is up next. He’s a budding photographer. “My Girl” by The Temptations is his song choice. This should get him the teenybopper vote for sure. He’s definitely showing some nerves tonight. You can hear it in the vibrato. The falsetto notes were just slightly under the pitch which always makes me cock my head to the side. He’s not going anywhere, but he’s not going to win. Randy thought the first half of the song was brilliant but the last half was not good. Ellen wishes he had chosen a different song. Kara liked the performance and thinks he’s consistent. Simon didn’t like the song and thought it was all over the place. He made the Justin Bieber comparison and said it was too old fashioned.

You all know what I think of Justin Bieber.

Tim Urban comes from a big family. There are nine of them. That’s a lot of hair. Oh good, more prayer happening on stage. He’s picked one of my recent favorite songs, “Come on Get Higher” by Matt Nathanson. He’s playing his guitar and seems much more comfortable this week. I think Tim gets the award for “most improved.” This was VASTLY better than his destruction of “Apologize.” This was a believable performance, definitely suited him and his vocal ability. If he continues to pick songs in this vein he could actually go pretty far. It was as though a different guy got on stage in a shaggy wig and actually sang. I have a bit of issue with the way he pronounces some words, but that’s likely just my own nit-pickiness in action. Randy didn’t get it. He thought it was very karoke and nothing special. Ellen wants to know if he acts because he doesn’t have any charisma or stage presence. Kara liked the song choice but doesn’t think he’s gotten his shit together yet. Simon called it a “marked improvement” and disagreed with the other judges. He called him more relevant than other performers tonight.

Lee Dewyze was a trouble maker in school. Yawn. He’s picked “Lips of an Angel” by Hinder. He had a moment or two that sounded just like Adam Duritz from Counting Crows. There were some good moments in this song, but NOT the really high notes when he’s pushing his voice and it turns to a jackhammer. It was also lacking a bit of energy for me… this song has a pretty cool build up in intensity that never really happened tonight. No one else is really riding the “rocker” train so he’s probably safe. Randy liked that he’s taking chances. He noticed some pitch problems, but liked it anyway. Ellen didn’t think the pitch problems matter. She thought he had passion and intensity. Kara thought there were some significant pitch problems, but he has a very commercial voice. Simon thinks he is vocally head and shoulders above the rest of the boys, but he looks terrified.

So tonight wasn’t quite the trainwreck that I expected. I’m still not in love with anyone yet, and I think that’s a first for all the seasons I’ve been doing this.

Here’s my rankings (remember, this isn’t who I think will be voted off… it’s just how I think they performed):

  1. Michael Lynche
  2. Andrew Garcia
  3. Todrick Hall
  4. Tim Urban
  5. Casey James
  6. Lee Dewyze
  7. Alex Lambert
  8. John Park
  9. Aaron Kelley
  10. Jermaine Sellers

My prediction for who goes home? Jermaine Sellers and John Park.

So… do you have any favorites yet, or do you think they are still so all over the map that it’s impossible to tell? Who do you think is going home?

Feb 25

American Idol: Season 9 10 Boys Who Suck (and 2 not so bad)

The ladies had the stage last night… and tonight it’s the boy’s turn.

I definitely have fewer favorites among the guys.

Todrick Hall is going to start us off. He’s a dancer who was recently performing on Broadway with season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino. “Since You Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson is his choice. To say this is the same song is a falsehood. The arrangement is totally redone in a blues-jazz style that personally, I think works really well. He had some pitchy moments, especially in his over-used runs in the chorus. Ellen loved the reworked style, but was able to discern that it wasn’t the best vocal performance. Randy thought the song was completely obliterated. Kara thought the arrangement was changed too much. Simon thought he was a dancer who was trying to sing. He called it the “murder of a perfectly good song.”

So…. do it just the original, only different, but show some creativity, but don’t change the song.

The judges are nothing if not inconsistent.

Aaron Kelly, or as I call him, TwinkyBits is singing second. He’s only 16, but this is the guy all the eleven year old girls and 42 year old boys are going to swoon over. He’s picked a Rascal Flatt’s song, “Here Comes Goodbye.” Oh boy his nerves have got him by the short hairs tonight. Does he even have short hairs yet? He’s simply not that strong of a singer, and his nerves have stolen his breath control which makes him keep going flat. His money note was wavering and not quite in tune. Ouch. Simon thought it was “quite good.” Kara babbled on about the contest and how it inspires confidence. Randy noticed the pitchy moments, but said he’s got a great voice. Ellen thinks he’s going to be on the show for a long time. Gee, I wonder who they want to push through for next week?

Jermaine Sellers is up now. This is the guy that threw the band under the bus. I remember not really liking him up to this point. He’s picked “Get Here” by Oleta Adams… an absolutely beautiful song. This was stunningly awful. I hate his arrangement. The melody is all over the place, and there’s a point that he built up to that seriously sounded like a tornado siren back in the midwest. His head flip-topped open like a Pez dispenser and someone off camera turned a crank. Utterly unpleasant. Ellen loves his look, but felt it was over performed. Randy thought it was a weird song choice that he tried to do too much with. Kara mumbled something about his age and the unnecessary runs. Simon said it was too old and he over sang it.

Tim Urban, one of the Hair Triplets that as yet has done nothing to stand out from the pack, gets his chance to unleash some serious coiff-age on us now. He’s got a whole Zac Efron vibe about him. Apparently he wasn’t one of the original top 24. He was a last minute replacement for Chris Golightly, the white boy with Sideshow Bob hair that was one of my early favorites. Apparently Chris was under contract with a boy band and the release necessary for him to continue in the competition was not received in time to allow him to continue. Anyway, Tim is here now and has picked “Apologize” by OneRepublic. Ok look… if you’re gonna pick a song whose hook is all about a falsetto note, you should probably be able to hit that note. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t take an expert to figure this one out. Unfortunately for Tim, he never did hit the note, but he sure tried. Over and over again. Each successive attempt was worse than the previous until by the end his vocal chords just flat out gave up, packed their bags, forcefully extricated themselves from his neck and yelled, “Later, Bro!” from stage left. Simon said they made the right decision in not inviting him into the original Top 24. Kara is sure on the babbly train tonight. Said he was cute. Randy called it the wrong song, and noted that he doesn’t have the falsetto to do it. Ellen said it didn’t sound good, but with the sound down, he’s adorable.

Joe Muñoz is up next. I’m not sure who this guy is. I don’t really remember a note from him at all, and you would think those eyebrows would have made an impression on me… He’s picked “You and I Both” by Jason Mraz. The beauty in most Jason Mraz songs is the interesting rhythms that his word make against relatively simple backing tracks. Joe’s timing was really weird. The accented notes were in the wrong place which makes it seem like he’s fighting the band to go a different tempo. Once the chorus came in he seemed to fall into the pocket, but that’s when he started getting breathless. I could be wrong. He may have great breath control, and this was just his impression of Enrique Iglesias who often sounds like he’s on the verge of passing out when he sings. Joe’s pitch was pretty much ok, but there was nothing spectacular about his voice. I hate to say it, but it seems as though the Idol producers must have had an extra ~ in the budget which they decided to spent on him. Ellen thought he was very comfortable on stage. Randy didn’t think it was the perfect song choice but he worked it out. Kara thought he was the best vocal of the night, even though it wasn’t great. Simon didn’t think he showed any star power.

Tyler Grady is the next Hair Triplet up. I remember him, mostly because of his attempts to channel Jim Morrison and Robert Plant. He’s picked “American Woman” by The Guess Who, somewhat predictably. He’s done nothing interesting with the arrangement and it’s quite obvious that he has spent many hours watching concert footage from the early 70’s. He’s got the Jagger Swagger down, but what he doesn’t have is a remarkable voice. He can sing notes in key and they don’t make me want to install icepicks into my aural orifices, but there was nothing about this performance that was different than a 70’s Revue show in some Vegas Hotel and Casino where you can get a lap dance at a slot machine. Can I just say, HOLY HELL with that CHIN dude! It’s like the toe of a square cowboy boot. He could shovel snow out of the drive with that thing! Simon thought it was a memorable performance, though it was cliched and he didn’t spend enough time on his vocals. Kara made the Jim Morrison connection but thought it was too “schticky.” Randy thought it was more style over substance. Ellen thought he lacked the excitement and charisma that he’s trying to emulate.

Lee Dewyze is making his debut… for all I know for the first time on the show. I don’t remember a thing about him. He’s picked a great song, “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol. I absolutely love this song, but if I were a contestant, would never pick it to perform on Idol. I would have been right. This was atrocious. If I could afford a new TV, I would throw the remote through this one as penance for sitting through this off key, a-melodic raspy crap sandwich of a performance. He completely changed the melody to something I hate, and to make it worse, he didn’t even hit the notes in his new ridiculous version. He needs to go back to selling roofing tar, or whatever it was he did before, because I don’t care to ever hear another squawk out his box. Ellen thought it was a good song choice but thought he screamed it. She loves the tone of his voice. Randy didn’t like the song choice and he needed to do more of a rock song. Kara thought he was trying to get to his “sweet spot” and didn’t quite get it. Simon called it the best performance of the night. He said he’s a great singer and is authentically good.

Seriously!? What crack are they smoking? They are not hearing the same thing we are. No question.

John Park is the secret Asian brother to the Hair Triplets. He’s the guy that Shania Twain was all ga-ga over in the auditions, but I don’t believe he was shown in Hollywood at all. He’s picked the standard “God Bless the Child” probably best known by Billie Holliday. John is the first guy who has gotten on stage and actually did something close to singing. He’s got a nice 2nd Tenor/1st Baritone voice. Great vocal quality and control. His pitch and interpretation were great. That being said, stupid song choice. You should only break out a standard like this during the theme weeks when it’s called for. This first performance should have been something way more contemporary. If he’s going for the crooner style he could have easily picked something from the Michael Buble, Harry Connick, or Josh Groban songbook to sound like something that could actually be played on stations where the tween music-buying fanatics will hear him. Simon doesn’t think he has an incredible voice. He thought it was emotionless and flat. Kara agreed with Simon and thought it was loungy. Randy didn’t like the song choice either. Ellen thought he sounded great, but wished he had picked a different song.

Michael Lynche is the personal trainer who got a TON of air time during Hollywood since his wife gave birth on national television. Strangely enough they didn’t show much of him singing. He picked “This Love” by Maroon 5. His version is way too fast and he can barely get all the words out. He’s seemingly compressed a cool melody down into three or four notes with no range or movement. Think a very fast-typing Stephen Hawking and you’ll get somewhere close to where this song landed. I wanted him to do a much better job than this. Ellen thinks he has a ton of personality but he was a bit pitchy. Randy of course likes Michael, said nothing about the song. Kara liked his energy but thought it wasn’t outrageously great. Simon thought he was like the support act before the main show. He said there was nothing unique about his performance.

Fuck. There are still three more to go!?

Alex Lambert is the final Hair Triplet. He’s picked James Morrisson’s “Wonderful World.” Has this dude ever had a vocal lesson in his life? If so, did that instructor never tell him that singing through your nose is not good technique and will make people want to bitch slap you from the stage? It’s hard to tell if he was on pitch because of the incessant buzzing coming from his nasal trumpet. What the hell man? Simon thought it was the most uncomfortable performance of the night. He complimented his voice but said his nerves were killing him. Kara wants to hug Alex. She said his tone is crazy good and he has great potential. Randy also loves his tone. Ellen loves his mullet and bananas. What. The. Fuck?

Casey James, the blond Adonis is up next. He blew me away with his blues piece in Hollywood week. He picked “Heaven” by Bryan Adams. FINALLY! Someone on this show can sing! I was beginning to wonder. He didn’t change the song much, but still managed to not sound just like Bryan Adams. He’s got great stage presence, can play the guitar, and let’s face it, the boy is beautiful. He verges ever so slightly on having goat vibrato but it doesn’t quite go full bleet. He’s got an iconic rock and roll voice that will certainly keep him in the running for a very long time. Kara is off in the corner drooling and playing with the vibrate function on her phone, unable to speak. Ellen thought he sounded great. Randy thought it was a great song choice and his swagger. Kara interjected and called him eye and ear candy. Simon called him cursed with good looks. He thought Casey chose the right song and it was his best performance to date.

Andrew Garcia is the final guy to perform tonight. He was my other early favorite from Hollywood week. I will admit, I’m a sucker for a guy with a guitar. He picked “Sugar We’re Going Down” by Fall Out Boy which he acousti-fied and switched around. UMB and I are currently arguing about whether or not it was a good version. I lean towards yes, he stomps on the “oh hell no” button. Our bickering aside, Andrew’s definitely got his own sense of style and has a pretty firm grasp on where he wants to be as an artist. His voice is quite good and interesting. Unfortunately, I think the comparisons to Casey are inevitable and when it comes down to it, the beautiful blond boy will always beat the schlub with glasses. As a schlub with glasses for most of my life, I know exactly the spot he’s in. Simon was disappointed by the lack of originality but thinks he has a fantastic recording voice. Kara thought it was a strange rendition of the song but still loves him. Randy thought the arrangement was strange, but blathered on like the rest about his performance in Hollywood. Ellen is thrilled he’s on the show and agreed that he was far too serious.

Man, it’s really hard to rank these guys. Outside of the last two guys, it’s really about trying to figure out which corn kernel floated highest in this porcelain throne of suck.

  1. Casey James
  2. Andrew Garcia
  3. John Park
  4. Aaron Kelly
  5. Todrick Hall
  6. Alex Lambert
  7. Tyler Grady
  8. Joe Muñoz
  9. Michael Lynche
  10. Jermaine Sellers
  11. Tim Urban
  12. Lee Dewyze

Ok… so what do you guys think? Am I totally off base, or are the Judges right? Are these REALLY the best guys they could find this year? Do you have any predictions yet on who will win this thing?

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Feb 23

American Idol: Season 9 12 Girls Standing

You know what time it is? That’s right! It’s AMERICAN IDOL TIME!

Love it? Hate it? Whatever. I can’t get enough. I’m addicted. I’ve been watching religiously since season 2. I’ve got several American Idol alumni albums in my collection. And even if you can’t stand the show you can’t deny the popularity and success of many of the past winners (and several runners-up).

And now it’s time to finally get a good look at the top 12 girls for season 9. I have some early favorites, but of course that could all change tonight as some of the less-featured girls get the spotlight.

Simon Cowell thinks this is going to be a girl’s year. I’m not so sure about that.

Tonight the girls are singing Billboard Hits. Let’s just get right down to it, shall we?

Paige Miles is singing first. She’s from Florida. I have almost no recollection of her in the auditions or Hollywood week. She’s picked “All Right Now” by Free. This is a really strange choice. This is a total southern “FREEDOM ROCK” anthem and she lacks the vocal balls to pull this off. I’m not impressed. At. All. All around weird. Simon thinks she has the best voice of all the girls, but didn’t think it was a good song choice. Kara thought it was brilliant choice and she was able to inject some soul into the rock song. Randy didn’t like the choice of song, but thought she did a great job. Ellen thought she pulled it off. Clearly, the judges were too busy adjusting to the new seating arrangement to actually listen to the performance.

Ashley Rodriguez is from Massachusetts. This is another girl who didn’t really get much airtime. She’s picked “Happy” by Leona Lewis. Ok… first things first… this chick needs to learn how to use a microphone. You can’t whisper directly into the face of the mic or all you’ll get out of it is pops and sputters. Secondly, she has to learn how to listen to the music behind her because she never seemed to find the key once she stopped doing that ridiculous 13 year old girl breathe-singing she did through the verse. Kara thought there were some nice moments, but lots of bad spots. Randy thought she did a good job, but doesn’t compare favorably with a big singer like Leona. Ellen thought it was a predictable choice and wants to be shocked. Simon thought it was clumsy and unoriginal.

Janell Wheeler is the wine sales rep from Florida. I remember liking her in Hollywood week when she played her guitar. She’s very pretty and could definitely get by on her looks alone. She’s picked “What About Love” by Heart. Janell’s nerves seem to be getting the best of her tonight… her voice is a bit shaky and unsure. I’m not sure this was the best song choice. She’s not really a rough and ready rock singer. Randy didn’t like the song choice. Ellen liked the choice but noticed some sour notes. Simon thought she delivered 65% and got off key. Kara thought the song was way too big for her.

Lilly Scott is one of my early favorites, with her silver hair and raspy voice. Idol has to have one girl every season that comes in with strange hair and good voices… they usually go home about 6 or 8 weeks in never to be heard from again. I hope this is not her fate. She’s picked “Fixing a Hole” by The Beatles. She’s playing her guitar tonight and this is a very interesting choice. It’s perfectly showing off her quirky nature and playful attitude. She has a great sense of who she is a working musician and I hope she stays around for a long time. Ellen thought it was a random song choice that made it stand out and loved it. Simon said it was the best so far tonight. He felt that she sang the song because it portrayed her as an artist. He doubts her star power. Kara called her “believable” and thought she was comfortable on stage. Randy thinks she’s a real indie artist and thought it was honest and great.

Katelyn Epperly is from Iowa and she had quite a bit of screen time over the past few weeks. She’s picked “Oh Darling” by The Beatles. HOLY HELL WHAT’S WITH THE HAIR!? UMB is reminded of old Madonna with the hairdo. And by old Madonna he means young Madonna. There is absolutely nothing unique or exciting about this performance. I’ve seen this exact performance a million times in every karaoke bar I’ve been in. She does, however, have a good voice. Much better than Paige or Ashley for sure. Simon thought there were moments of screaming, but he likes her a lot. Kara thinks she knows her voice very well and thought she did a good job switching the melody. Kara doesn’t like her look tonight. Randy liked the tone and melody. He likes her vibe. Ellen thought there was a lot of personality in the performance but thought her voice seemed pushed.

Haeley Vaughn is from Colorado. She’s the super young black girl who sings country and is already on my short list as in the running for the “Most Annoying” contestant. She’s picked another Beatles song, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” She’s playing her guitar. She’s switched the arrangement in an interesting way, moving some rhythms around and playing with the melody. There are some ok moments in this performance, and some real cringe-inducing squeaks that made all the animals in my house do that weird ear-flicking thing… you know the thing I mean. Kara thought there were some technical issues with the performance. YOU THINK!? Randy thought it was unpredictable and the top notes were “not that pleasing.” Ellen praised her age and presence and enjoyed it. Simon thought it verged on terrible and her smiling may have made it a utter mess.

Lacey Brown is a veteran of the show from Texas. She almost made it to the top 24 last year. She picked “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. This is one of my all-time favorite songs. Or at least it was before tonight. Seriously, she has turned this beautiful musical poem into a sing-along on the short bus — designed to compel the driver to aim for the nearest cliff. There was this weird lilting volume change on every 4th beat, coupled with some strange accent that I can only describe as Irish as filtered through a Texas-raised goat’s ass. Also, she’s wearing her grandmother’s curtains. Randy thought it was the wrong song for her, and said it was terrible. Ellen thinks she’s better than this performance and she seemed lost. Simon thought it was depressing that he had to listen for so long. Kara thought her voice sounded forced tonight and she should have picked something by Sixpence None The Richer.

Michelle Delamor is from Florida. She’s had quite a bit of screen time up to this week, but I can’t for the life of me remember if I liked her voice or not. She’s picked “Fallin‘” by Alicia Keys. She’s got a nice voice, is on key, and is very pretty. But plain. The song was really kind of predictable and she didn’t do much to change it up. Ellen called it “fantastic, but safe.” Simon thought she did it very well but there wasn’t a “wow” moment. Kara thinks she’s commercial looking but there were a couple of moments that weren’t great. Randy thought she did a pretty good job but she needs to take some risks.

Didi Benami is from Tennessee. Didi is another of my early favorites. She reminds me a lot of Brooke White from a couple of seasons ago. Long time readers will remember how much I loved her. She picked “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michelson, better known as the “here’s my sweater” song. She’s got a great quirky vibe about her, the way she dresses and this song choice is absolutely perfect for her. Didi’s got a ton of personality and she definitely knows her strengths. I expect her to be around for quite a while. Simon thinks she is a good singer but thinks she’s trying too hard to sound like Adele. He didn’t see a spark. Kara thought the song was good and liked her changes to the song. Randy is missing the star factor though she sounded great singing it. Ellen thought it wasn’t the best first impression because it was too low key.

Siobhan Magnus is another of my early favorites. She’s from Massachusetts. Siobhan has that ballsy strong voice that has been lacking so far this show. She’s picked “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak. This is a super hard song to sing, because the range from the verse to the chorus is quite wide. I know from experience. Siobhan’s falsetto is very pretty and this interpretation is quite nice and authentic. Kara liked it though she thinks she gets a bit nasally. Randy thinks she’s got a great voice and wanted her to do a bigger song. Ellen loved the song and thought it was a real performance. Simon liked the song but would have preferred a bit more energetic song.

Crystal Bowersox has been the most memorable girl of the season so far. I have been rooting for her, brown teeth and all, since she first appeared in the auditions. She’s got the dreads and the guitar singer songwriter vibe that I really like. She’s picked “Hand in my Pocket” by Alanis Morrisette. She’s playing acoustically for the intro. AND SHE’S BLEACHED HER TEETH!!! Crystal might not have the strongest voice (though it’s good) but she is definitely the most talented. This was a great cover of this song. It was original and different. Randy thought it was a real and honest performance. Ellen thinks we are lucky she’s on Idol. She adds something fresh. Simon thinks there are thousands of her outside subways everywhere. He thinks she needs to find something original but she’s refreshing. Kara thinks she has greatness in her.

Katie Stevens is going to close the show. She’s 17 and from Connecticut. You will remember her as the girl whose grandmother has Alzheimer’s. She’s performing “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone/Michael Buble. Katie might have one of the best voices in the girl’s group this year. It’s strong and fairly controlled. Her biggest problem is lack of experience. I suspect she’ll be around a while. Ellen thought she has a great voice, but she was acting a bit too old. Simon thought she needed to pick something younger too. He thought it was pageant-y. Kara thought she was pitchy and all over the place. Randy thought she was singing sharp and he’s reminded of Jordin Sparks.

Ok… so here are my rankings from best to worst:

  1. Lilly Scott
  2. Crystal Bowersox
  3. Siobhan Magnus
  4. Didi Benami
  5. Katie Stevens
  6. Michelle Delamor
  7. Katelyn Epperly
  8. Janell Wheeler
  9. Ashley Rodriguez
  10. Paige Miles
  11. Haeley Vaughn
  12. Lacey Brown

So – Who are your favorite girls? Who do you think is going home?

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Feb 22

I Can’t Possibly

be the only person on the planet that wants to see the guys from J.G. Wentworth and die in a horrible fire only to be sent to some damning afterlife where their shitacularly hideous jingles play on an infinite loop at 180 decibels.


Feb 19

The Homogenization of the Homosexuals

I was asked recently to become a contributor on a project being put together by Lori Hahn. The website is called “Our Big Gayborhood” and as you might imagine, it features gay and lesbian writers from all over writing on all kinds of topics.

I’m happy to announce that my first article has been posted! Here’s a taste:

I was driving from my home in the east bay to San Francisco the other afternoon when a typical California jack-ass driver cut me off. I laid on the horn, cursed the driver with festering toe fungus and considered taking a picture of the car and posting it on Craigslist with a virtual “kick me” sign. While grabbing my camera-equipped cell phone I noticed there was a rainbow sticker on the back of the car.

In typical Jester “Ooh, look, bubbles!” fashion I forgot all about the near-miss and realized it was the first time in ages that I had seen a rainbow displayed on a car.

This got me thinking, “Are we not proud?”

Read the rest of the story over at Our Big Gayborhood

Comments and traffic are greatly appreciated!