Wednesday, February 28, 2007

American Idol - Girls Are Dedicated to Beating the Boys

In the American Idol battle of the sexes, the girls emerge victorious for a second straight week.

Gina Glocksen - "Alone"

Coolia: Dedicated to her boyfriend, who looks like a nice guy. I liked Gina more after this performance. It was gutsy to take on a Heart tune, and I like that she brings a little rock flava to a show in danger of being diva-dominated.
Art Haarper : Ehh.
Nerdia: I liked it. She's a good belter.

Terry - Looked like a giant sausage. Sung fairly well with her voicebreaking a few times but not bad overall. But not great either.

Alaina Alexander - "Not Ready To Make Nice"

Coolia: Dedicated to her ma. This was just okay, sorta wedding singer level.
Not too shabby but not very memorable.

Terry - She began fairly well but then fell apart in the middle and brought it back to respectability near the end. She's very pretty but she's out of her league here when it comes to singing talent.

Lakisha Jones - "Midnight Train to Georgia"

Coolia: Dedicated to her grandma, who looks pretty spry for 90. Lakisha picks another high degree of difficulty song and again scores what Paula would call a touchdown. Maybe not as showy as last week, but still shows she's a force to be reckoned with.
Barb: She should wear a longer skirt with her shape.
Art Haarper: Better than the last two, but not great.

Nerdia: Another score. I love her! She looks thinner!
Terry - Another star performance. Not incredible as last week but topnotch nonetheless.

Melinda Doolittle - "My Funny Valentine"

Coolia: Dedicated to her friends who act as her stylists. Well, it's not quite on a par with Constantine's version...but definitely my favorite performance of the night. Melinda shows so much confidence now - it's great to see. Great control and power. Plus she's extremely likable.
Barb: She's kinda strange looking, reminds me of Bettle Midler.
Art Haarper: The best yet.

Nerdia: Ick! Love the song but this one looks too old all ready...she doesn't need to be singing such an old song!
Terry - Now that's how you sing the low range!! Last week Lakisha threw down the gauntlet. This week Melinda picked it up and threw it back at her. Melinda and Lakisha in a duel to the Idol death!

Antonella Barba - "Because You Loved Me"

Coolia: Dedicated to the friends who uploaded her dirty pictures to the internet...whoops...actually to her brother. Well, the dress showed off her legs, even if it did remind me of The Brady Bunch. What hubris to take on a Celine song. She did better than last week but still came up way short, and the sass to Simon is never endearing, even if he was wrong to deny misjudging Jennifer Hudson (Yes, America sent her home but he did say Jennifer was out of her league on Idol...Barbara Walters just showed the clip the other night on her Oscars special).
Art Haarper: She had moments.

Nerdia: Did I miss Jennifer Hudson on Babba Wawwa?? Waaaa! This girl is so far from Jennifer Hudson, she should be slapped...and voted off pronto. What an idiot.
Terry - She did hit that one impressively sweet high note but overall she was pitchy and couldn't handle the song. And then to make matters worse she pulls the diva crap, attacking Simon and making her "fuck him" faces and eye rolls right after he had just showered Melinda with praise for being such a humble breath of fresh air. Just stupid! But not surprising; she projects that "It's all about me and I think way too highly of myself" air.But I'll miss the eye candy when she's gone (which will certainly be very soon).

Jordin Sparks - "Reflection"

Coolia: Tearfully dedicated to her brother. She looks pretty and seems very sweet and likable, and this was a powerful performance. Amazing poise for a 17 year old.
Art Haarper: I wasn't as impressed as the judges.

Nerdia: Good I guess...but dull. I thought the judges over-fawned over her.
Terry - Really good voice for someone so young (17!). Nice rendition, but she's no Xtina and she brought no originality. Lots of potential.

Stephanie Edwards - "Dangerously in Love"

Coolia: Dedicated to her parents, with an interesting story about how they forced her to audition. She had a great dress and really brought it.
Barb: I wasn't that impressed. She seemed all over the place.
Art Haarper: Not that good but then I don't know what Beyonce sounds like.

Nerdia: Good singer but the song was all over the place.
Terry - Very good voice but a boring song and, for me (sorry, Simon, I disagree wholeheartedly) a boring performance as well.

Leslie Hunt - "Feeling Good"

Coolia: Dedicated to her grandpa. This is a cool song, and it's nice to see someone bringing something jazzy to the show. However, the scat proves she's no Ella, and I think she could go home this week.
Barb: I'm not sure what to think.
Art Haarper: Seems ditzy.

Nerdia: Dissapointed this week. Was hoping she'd do a gutsy rock chick song to match her voice.
Terry - Seemed odd to me with a lame scat in there (you can not scat in such a lame fashion when someone like Blake is brilliantly doing it the night just makes you look silly). Nothing special or memorable (other than the bad scat).

Haley Scarnato - "Queen of the Night"

Coolia: Dedicated to her fiancee, who's a hottie. I'm glad to hear her try to rock out, but the Whitney song is a bit big for her.
Barb: I can't hear her. The background singers overpower her.

Nerdia: Not great but not as bad as the judges said.
Terry - Yet another performance from an Idol where the background singers over-powered the lead singer!

Sabrina Sloan - "All the Man that I Need"

Coolia: Dedicated to her grandma. This was a good performance. She's another belter.
Barb: She's good.

Nerdia: Hot! She's in to win.
Terry - Damn girl! She looked Lakisha and Melinda in the eya and said,"Make room for me babies!" She's so sexy and glamorous and has such an unconventional but incredible beauty to go along with a great voice. Wow!The total package.

Final thoughts

Coolia: It's going to be hard for some of these girls who are just good and seem nice to keep up with the uber-talented divas in this competition. I think Leslie, Haley, Gina,and Alaina are all vulnerable, but I predict Alaina and Haley will be going home.
Barb: I think Alaina and Antonella are going home.

Nerdia: I want Antonella to go home and don't get why America doesn't agree. I think the girls the season weighs all the way towards really great talent from the black ladies. I really hope we don't have a repeat of the Fantasia year where the black contestants were compromised with split votes due to honkeys only voting for talentless white chicks like Antonella. Sigh. Who am I kidding? I depress myself.
Terry -
At this point, it appears to be an all girl race to the finish because none of the boys have yet shown they are up to the task of taking down any one of the top 3 women -Melinda, Lakisha or Sabrina. I'm strugging with my picks this week. Going home: Antonell and Alaina.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

American Idol - The Boys Show Some Dedication

Well, the boys did raise their game this week, although they are still not worthy to lick Lakisha's Payless pumps.

Phil Stacey - "Missing You"

Coolia: Dedicated to the Navy (aka, grab the patriot vote). Phil bores me. This is a pretty easy song and he does okay with it, but he's no John Waite.
Didn't care much for the original and liked this one even less. He's better than this song.
Nerdia: Love the song, of course and John Waite gives it a life. This got better at the end but no cigar.

Jared Cotter - "Let's Get It On"

Coolia: Inappropriately dedicated to his parents. Jared is a damn attractive boy, and that should keep him around another week. Good energy, too.
Terry: P
ales in comparison to the original. Speaking of original...I expect that they either somehow improve on the original or at least put their own stamp or originality into it.
Nerdia: Better than last week, for sure.

AJ Tabaldo - "Feelin' Good"

Coolia: This was kinda good, but I still would have to call him "Eh" J. Care factor zero.
He has an very R&B voice and this bluesy rendition didn't fit as well. Not bad but not great.
Nerdia: Showtuney.

Sanjaya Malakar - "Steppin' Out"

Coolia: His outfit recalled Michael Jackson in the "Smooth Criminal" era, and that's not something I want to recall. Mediocre job, but he will survive based on his teen dream appeal and his touching dedication to his grandpa.
You'd better hope those teeny-bopper girls are dialing till their fingers bleed. Oh this was just so wrong, wrong, WRONG! Is this kid a mutton head? They told him last week that the song he chose was too old for him so he follows that up this week with an even older song iwth an older style!?

Nerdia: The Michael Jackson loving kids will save him this week. I didn't hate it.

Chris Sligh - "Trouble"

Coolia: Dedicated to his wife, and I'm shocked by her hotness. Maybe all those sitcoms with the fat guy/cute wife actually do reflect reality. Chris has a really nice tone to his voice, but he picks an awkward song that Taylor did last year, and neither of them did it well.
Why can't my fat nice guy funny ass find a hot babe like that!? (he must be hung like a horse) Not great but the best of the night to this point. Had never heard this song before but he made me want to hear the rest of it.

Nerdia: She looked hot in the video, but plain live. Still, a bizarro couple indeed. It was good...but I'm still annoyed by his arrogance last week.

Nick Pedro - "Fever"

Coolia: Nick dedicates this song to his girlfriend. His version is pretty ordinary, and this song is really overdone on Idol. As the judges pointed out, you really need to add some drama/camp when performing this tune, and Nick was bland.
He fit the song and style and the song and the style fit him (although he could have dressed cooler but that's just picking hairs). The question now is will America embrace the song and style?

Nerdia: Bored by the song....bored by him.

Blake Lewis - "Virtual Insanity"

Coolia: How cute is Blake, even with that stupid hat! I love that he did Jamiroquai and added his "vocal entendres" to it.
Good vocals, real nice flow and scat, and a truly great beat boxer (a nearly lost art). I really dug it and love this guy. Not as good as the original overall but good and had some real originality to it.

Nerdia: I love this guy. He's a real original.

Brandon Rogers - "Time After Time"

Coolia: Oh, Brandon, I hope your heartfelt tribute to your Grandma touches enough voters' hearts to save you, because your too-subtle rendition of a low-difficulty-level song and arguing with the judges surely won't.
I appreciated the sentiment behind the song choice but it was a bad song choice. It did not fit his vocals at all. Not terrible but not very good. A decent lounge act type of performance.

Nerdia: I am sooo, so utterly so dissapointed by you Brandon. You didn't listen last week. You aren't selling it. Have you seen the show? Are you an idiot? Don't argue with the judges, dipwad. That's my lost $25 talking, not me.

Chris Richardson - "Geek in the Pink"

Coolia: Another grandma dedication, complete with some cute photos. Chris picked a difficult song and did a nice job with it. It was fun but I was surprised the judges gushed so much.
Good. Real good. But, at some point sooner rather than later, I'd very much like to see and hear Chris R and not Justin Timberlake Part 2. Still, one of the better of the night.

Nerdia: I just don't feel this guy. Seems bland like Wonder Bread to me.

Sundance Head - "Mustang Sally"

Coolia: Sundance is back! Perfect song choice, and a touching dedication to his infant son. He showed a lot of vocal power, although I still wonder if the world needs another Taylor right now.
His best yet. I wasn't blown away. More like relieived to have finally heard what I heard back at his audition. Song fit his voice and he did well with it. Crying over missing his son will add to his vote totals. Not sure how the song fit the dedication to the son...but, whatever.
Nerdia: What's the fuss about over this guy. I was completely underwhelmed. His video explained his poor performances of late: he wants to go home to be with his new kid.

Final Thoughts and Predictions

Coolia: Definite improvement over next week, but still not up to the girls' level. I think Nick and Phil are going home.
Terry: Overall, much better than last week. MUCH better. And, I LOVED that Simon called them (picking on Brandon but he lobbed the bomb to them all) out on their so blatantly trying to win votes with their sentiments instead of their performances. Loved it!! I think Sanjaya and Brandon are going home.

Nerdia: I think AJ and Nick should go home. Much better than last week but it will be good to weed some of this dead weight out and get down to the real talent.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Nicholson Starts Britney Spears Solidarity Movement

Well, the Ape Culture oscar party was way more fun than the Governor's Ball, I'm sure. As usual, we dressed up in everything from recycled bridesmaid dresses, to a prom dress with a hoop, to Little Miss Sunshine workout gear. The Edgar Winter Dog wore his "The Dogfather" t-shirt in tribute to classic 70s cinema. Theme food included Brains from The Departed (red jello with licorice imbedded), Dinah's Fried Chicken (as seen in Little Miss Sunshine), Letters from Iwo Jima Wasabi Shrimp Cheese Grenade, and Babeloney Sandwiches.

And the show was almost as good as the party. I have to hand it to Ellen -she actually cracked me up a few times. She kept her opening monologue pretty short, and her forays into the crowd were hilarious - especially getting Spielberg to take a photo of her and Clint for her myspace page.

My 20-year crush on Jack Nicholson almost came to a sudden end when I saw his Mr. Clean look. Was he finally admitting defeat to the male-pattern baldness that began in his 20s? Was he simply showing solidarity with Britney? As it turns out, he was bald for his art. He's filming The Bucket List in which he and Morgan Freeman play cancer patients who escape the hospital for a wild roadtrip to do all the things they want to do before they die. Rob Reiner is directing, and my expectations are quite low. Still, it's a relief.

I was disappointed that Peter O'Toole didn't win, and Forrest Whitaker's speech, while moving, struck me as a bit over-rehearsed. I guess I miss the goofy spontaneity of a Sally Field "You like me! You like me!". Glad to see Helen Mirren win, and she looked incredible.

Highlights for me were the live animated short victory for the romantic and thought-provoking The Danish Poet, the interpretive dances for the nominated films, the "comedians get no love" number by Jack Black, Will Ferrell, and John C. Reilly, and Jennifer Hudson's "I Am Telling You, Simon, That I'm Not Out of My League" victory. Lowlights were too many montages - the writers one and the Michael Mann one were uninspired and brought the show to a grinding halt.

While I don't feel it's Scorsese's best work, I was relieved to see him finally get the Oscar, and his speech was good. Glad The Departed won best picture too, even if my favorite newly bald actor was left off the Best Supporting Actor nominee list. Yes, I'm still not over it.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

American Idol - The Girls Save the Season

Our thoughts on the Idol women (2-21-07):

Stephanie Edwards - "How Come You Don't Call Me"

Terry: Without question a really good jazz singer. Now, can she pull off a Harry Connick thing and make America interested.
Nerdia: Love'd her but I agree with Terry.
Coolia: Kinda boring, but a big finish. The judges raved.

Amy Krebs - "I Can't Make You Love Me"

Terry: Too subdued. Seemed as if she was singing the song but not projecting or emoting the real emotion of the song.
Nerdia: Beautiful, sweet girl but seemed vacant. Like Katharine McPhee.
Coolia: She looks like Jessica Biel, but this was boring.

Leslie Hunt - "Natural Woman"

Terry: Bland. Good voice but the background vocals completely overpowered her. But, I dug her raspy power ending.
Nerdia: I, too, dug the raspy voice.
Coolia: The song was a little too big for her, but she's likable. She's a dog walker - I give her points for being a dog person.

Sabrina Sloan - "I Never Loved a Man"

Terry: Looks-wise she reminded me of a Greek Cher with a deep tan. She's hot. Her vocals were more traditionally pure and powerful and I really liked that.
She did a great job and showed real idol savvy in strategy.
Coolia: She did a good job making the song her on, but there's something kind of icky about her.

Antonella Barba - "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"

Terry: Physically the hottest and most naturally beautiful Idol to date. Bar none! Good voice but not a good song choice.
Nerdia: Bar Amy, who I thought was prettier. I'll never forgive Antonella for being bitchy in Hollywood. Or at least complacent to bitchiness. When two women gang up on a third…I can't get over it. I also found her New Jersey popular-girl video annoying. She should suffer. A kind of lingering suffering would be nice.
Coolia: I'm with Nerdia, and I think all the dirty pics that are surfacing are gonna doom this girl. Terrible song choice - did her "best friend" suggest it?

Jordin Sparks - "Gimme One Reason"

Terry: Powerful, compelling engaging and entertaining. One of the best so far. A bit too laid back in the first half of the song but definitely grew
stronger in the second half.
Nerdia: I can remember nothing about this performance.
Coolia: I've liked her in the past but this peformance was kind of boring. And all these flowy tops that Lane Bryant is pushing these days only make chubby girls look ginormous.

Nicole Tranquillo - "Stay"

Terry: Has the pipes and Taylor's herky jerky heartfelt spontaneous moves. The question is does America want to follow Man-Taylor with Woman-Taylor? Probably not.
Nerdia: I love Chaka Kahn and I love that Nicole could hit all these notes….very impressive. But maybe too much of a show-off for tonight. I squirmed when Randy told her she wasn't black enough to sing the song, though. She was missing convincing soul but so were some of the black ladies last season and no one would have dared to say that to them. But I said it last year ad nauseum.
Coolia: She looked possessed. She had crazy facial expressions. But, hey, at least it was something different and interesting.

Haley Scarnato - "It's All Coming Back to Me"

Terry: Too Broadway with to much breathy over sung, over projected singing and too much reverb.
Nerdia: Have to really jump into this song if you're gonna do it right. Haley did it wrong.
Coolia: Nice voice, but boring.

Melinda Doolittle - "Since You've Been Gone"

Terry: One of my favorites going in and she only further solidified herself. Going from scared meek little back-up singer to meek and humble yet much more confident singer. I love this girl!
Nerdia: I too love Melinda and am rooting for her to do well. However, she looks to old to be on this show.
Coolia: Like Terry, I really warmed to her during the audition process, and I was glad to see her deliver a powerhouse performance. She'll definitely make the Top 12.

Alaina Alexander - "Brass in Pocket"

Terry: Alaina - Two words, my dear, "Buh bye." What did she pick a Pretenders song that so obviously did not fit her at all!?
Nerdia: Nothing is so unfit for American Idol but The Pretenders.
Coolia: She's been annoying me through the auditions with her "if I don't make it my life is over" attitude. This performance was just not special enough.

Gina Glocksen - "All By Myself"

Terry: Too much lame low range "feeling" crap for me. I cant' stand badly done low range stuff. It verges on nails on a chalkboard for me. Conversely, her upper range power stuff was really good! She's the only "rocker chick" and they need that token.
Nerdia: Loved her blowing it out of the park at the end. Was the only diva to do the vocal high dive tonight.
Coolia: An appropriate song choice for the girl who so boldy declared she was only thinking of herself in the group performance round before kicking Perla "Charo Part II" Meneses to the curb. She's got power, but her personality is annoying.

Lakisha Jones - "I Am Telling You I Am Not Going"

Terry: Perhaps the most genuine and sincere heart in the entire competition (and that's saying something because Melinda is there). I came into this a fan (the single daddy in me just loves her single mommy story) and she absolutely blew me away. I actually got goose bumps.
Nerdia: I felt like we had just witnessed television history.
Coolia: Wow. I watched it 4 times. Triumphant! What a gusty move, singing Jennifer Hudson's tune, and she sung the crap out of it. She's the best thing to come out of Flint, Michigan since Michael Moore. I've never seen Simon smile so broadly.

Final Thoughts

Terry: Overall, the women were much better than the men. Too bad the judges can't just pick the final 12 and send the most disappointing of the men (who would be the majority) and women home and let us just enjoy the better singers.
Nerdia: I still think Brandon and Sanjaya will turn it around a bit. And look forward to what Chris and Leslie will bring. And laughing at Sundance.
Coolia: I was really worried after watching the boys, but the girls definitely saved the season. Lakisha has set the bar pretty high, but she could still fall into a Mandisa-sized sink hole if she doesn't show range.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

American Idol: The Boys Are Underwhelming

Our thoughts on the Idol boys (2-20-07):

Rudy Cardenas - "Free Ride"

Terry: Disappointing beginning to this new season. He's either merely a mediocre lounge lizard or he was suffering from a serious case of nerves.
Nerdia: He was trying too hard to be high-energy.
Coolia: He looks uncomfortable in his body. I think his head is too small for his body or something, and he sings like a girl. Corny song choice - even The Edgar Winter Dog was laughing.

Brandon Rogers - "Rock With You"

Terry: No flavor whatsoever.
Nerdia: How lackluster for him! Big disappointment.
Coolia: Decent, good control, and Brandon is likable.

Sundance Head - "Nights in White Satin"

Terry: Began singing thru his nose again, but relaxed as the song progressed and ended well but not extremely well.
Nerdia: Ridiculous! We made fun of it.
Coolia: Horrible song choice. I just hate that song, and he looked constipated.

Paul Kim - "Careless Whisper"

Terry: Paul - Uh, Paul. Come here. A little closer. Just a little closer....PUT SOME SHOES ON YOU FREAK! No one wants to share your fungus!
Nerdia: That fungus is called Ego.
Coolia: Yes, the barefoot thing just seems like an affectation. Muddy vocal.

Chris Richardson - "I Don't Wanna Be"

Terry: Finally someone showed some true spark and spunk. I dug it. And, that's saying something because I'm not a Justin Timberlake fan.
Nerdia: I can’t even remember this guy.
Coolia: He's cute and has great energy. He should make the Top 12.

Nick Pedro - "Now and Forever"

Terry: Hey, Nick. Lounge Lizards anonymous called and they're salivating at the number of new members they see lining up tonight.
Nerdia: All I remember is he was bad.
Coolia: I actually thought it was okay. But just okay.

Blake Lewis - "Somewhere Only We Know"

Terry: Yes! Now that's what I'm talkin' bout! Take a song and make it your own! And, for me, he even improved upon the original to boot. By far the best so far! I'm officially on the Blake bandwagon.
Me too. Thought it was very Morrissey and hip. Plus he showed professional facial gestures.
Coolia: Agreed - he reminded me of a Happy Morrissey. Loved the voice and the polished performance. Plus he's cute with great hair. He's my favorite of the boys.

Sanjaya Malakar - "Knocks Me Off My Feet"

Terry: In the immortal words of Homer J. Simpson, "Boring!" Was that a case of severe stage fright? Or, just completely stupidity in choice of song?
Nerdia: But he’s a real cutie-pie.
Coolia: Sanjaya is a harmless teen idol if ever I saw one. He could be the next Sajid Khan. How bad he sings doesn't matter right now - he'll sail into the Top 12.

Chris Sligh - "Typical"

Terry: Nowhere near as good as the original but he DID inject his personality into it. Because I dig this guy's personality I dug it.
Nerdia: I thought he was starting to show some arrogance. The diss on Simon was a dolt’s move.
Coolia: Christie Sligh was winning me back with his great vocal, but then he lost me by sassing Simon. Good on Simon for his "you could be a teletubby" retort!

Jared Cotter - "Back at One"

Terry: Nice. Not memorable but not completely forgettable
Nerdia: I was completely bored.
Coolia: He's good looking, but that was pretty pitchy.

A. J. Tabaldo - "Never Too Much"

Terry: Okay for Idol. Good lounge singer. Decent...but, only because so many of the other guys have so stunk up the joint.
Nerdia: Eh.
Coolia: Ordinary.

Phil Stacey - "I Could Not Ask For More"

Terry: Started out a bit weak but injected some emotion and then kicked it into high gear. My second favorite tonight, behind only Blake.
Nerdia: I can’t get my roomie’s drawing of Nosferatu out of my head.
Coolia: I didn't realize he was in the navy until now - he should milk that. Reminds me of a less talented Magni.

Final Thoughts

Terry: Overall, EXTREMELY disappointing!!
Nerdia: Where in the heck did all the talent go?
Coolia: It's up to the girls to save this season.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

American Idol: Hell Week

The producers of American Idol are beyond cruel. I am not talking about the way they treat the contestants. I'm talking about the way they treat us loyal viewers! We sat through 8 audition episodes, only to have Hollywood week condensed into 2 nights, 1 hour each. I crave more of this drama!

Many people we had gotten attached to in the past few weeks were sent packing so quickly that we didn't even get to see them sing: Porcelana "Queens' own Rocky" Patino, Sean "Fidel" Michel, Jamie Lynn "my daddy's paralyzed" Ward. There were a couple of favorites we did get to see sing but still couldn't really understand why they got booted, like military heroes Jarred Fowler and Rachel Jenkins. You'd think their feel-good-serving-their-country stories would at least get them through a couple rounds.

I was sorry to see Matt "my mom never says she loves me" Sato get booted. He was very likable and his phone calls home always make me teary-eyed. I also hated to see Jory Steinberg sent home so suddenly. Her first audition was a real stand-out. I couldn't believe the judges wouldn't give her a second chance.

The beneficiary of a 2nd and 3rd chance was Sundance Head, who Simon accused of looking like he'd been boiled and singing through his nose in his first audition. He forgot his words in the group number and still survived. This is a testimony to his force of personality and the unique vocal stylings he showed off in his first audition.

I won't miss Perla "Shakira Impersonator" Meneses. While some were hailing her as the second coming of Charo, I thought she made a fatal mistake in singing Shakira for a second time during her first Hollywood audition. I would have cut her at that point since she had put herself in a Shakira box, but the judges gave her one more chance. When she failed to make it work in the group number, she was gone.

It was funny to get a brief glimpse of Robin Troup, who was booted during the group number, where she had to perform with the underwhelming Sundance. Robin had the last laugh - winning the contest to sing with Justin Timberlake on the Grammys. But will we hear from her again?

Of course the most entertaining portion of the show was the pretty girl mafia war between "best friends" Antonella Barba and Amanda Coluccio and Bailey Brown. Hailing from a small town in Texas, Bailey was no match for these Jersey Girls. They chewed her up and spit her out like a piece of taffy on the Atlantic City boardwalk. Bailey was out of her league with these two, but the fault lies squarely on her own shoulders as she froze up like a deer in headlights during the group number and completely forgot her words. Antonella survived and remains a lock for the Top 24, but Amanda got cut after blowing off group preparation by flirting with boys. It's kind of a shame - wouldn't it be fun for Idol to have a true Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan in the mix?

The musical highlight for me, and I'll admit to rewinding and watching it 6 times, was the group song by Rudy Cardenas, Blake "beatboxer" Lewis, Chris "Jack Osbourne for Christ" Sligh, and Tom Lowe. These guys were more in synch than N'Sync in their rendition of "How Deep Is Your Love." They even worked out choreography and harmonies. Bravo!

Tonight the 40 who remain will be whittled down to our Top 24. I hope we get to see a few more performances before the verdict is delivered. Please, Idol, next year give us a couple weeks of this Hollywood Week drama, and cut the audition freakshow shorter.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

2007 Grammy Awards Live Blog

ApeBlog contributors got together to liveblog during the grammys.

The Police reunite and sing "Roxanne."

Coolia: Sting looks amazing. It must be the tantric sex.

Nerdia: I wish they would have done another song, like something from Synchronicity.

C. Crumpet Swank: Who cares?

C. Crumpet Swank: Carrie Underwood looking as boring as ever..

Best pop vocal collaboration - Stevie Wonder and Tony Bennett

(general outrage)

C. Crumpet Swank: Think of how innovating the Shakira song is. Looks like Stevie has been having dinner at Aretha's.

Coolia: Mary J. and U2 should have won if voting was based on the number of plays on my ipod. tony Bennett becomes the first winner to ever thank Target.

Joan Baez introduces Dixie Chicks.

Nerdia: Sometimes I can't tell Joan Baez and Camille Paglia apart.

Coolia: The former Dixie Chunk looks svelte now.

C. Crumpet Swank: She looks kind of like Belinda Carlisle now, but that dress is horrible. It's like an 1984 prom dress.

Prince introduces Beyonce.

C. Crumpet Swank: She looks beautiful.

Black Eyed Peas pay tribute to Booker T. and the MGs.

Coolia: If Fergie had any more eye makeup on, she'd be Tammy Faye.

Best R&B Album - Mary J. Blige, The Breakthrough

C. Crumpet Swank: She said it was her first time accepting award...but she already has 3.

Coolia: She looks great.

Justin Timberlake performs "What Goes Around."

C. Crumpet Swank: I just don't see what the big fuss is about him.

Coolia: I can kinda see it. He's cute, he's got charisma. He's funny and self-depracating on SNL, and now it appears he can actually act...and play the piano. But this close-up camera isn't really working for me.

C. Crumpet Swank: It just draws attention to his worst physical feature - his nose.

Best R&B Vocal performance - Mary J. Blige "Be Without You"

C. Crumpet Swank: They play this ad nauseum, but I haven't gotten tired of it.

Stevie Wonder introduces Corrine Bailey Rae, John Mayer, and John Legend.

Coolia: Overjoyed...overwelmed...overweight. That is not a flattering print for him.

Nerdia: Corrine sounds like Norah Jones to me.

C. Crumpet Swank: John Legend has a really good song called "Save Room for My Love." He won best new artist last year.

C. Crumpet Swank: I'm underwelmed by this trio.

Coolia: Yeah, I just yawned.

C. Crumpet Swank: This ain't no Sheila E with glow in the dark drumsticks doing "The Glamorous Life", which, through the miracle of You Tube, I got to see again.

Coolia: Is that Natasha Bedingfield or Sally Kellerman

Best Pop Vocal Album - John Mayer "Continuum"

Shakira and Wyclef Jean perform "Hips Don't Lie"

Coolia: Shakira's voice is nails on the chalkboard to me. She's like Charo for the new generation.

Burt Bacharach and Seal pay tribute to Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss.

Coolia: Burt looks weird with that caesar hair.

Nerdia: He's so small next to Seal.

Pop Song of the Year - The Dixie Chicks "Not Ready to Make Nice"

Alyson Hanegan announces Gnarls Barkley.

C. Crumpet Swank: I hate when the networks trot out the stars from their TV shows to present awards when they have nothing to do with music.

Coolia: I love the pilot outfits.

C. Crumpet Swank: They're ruining the song with this arrangement. It hasn't gotten off the ground.

Coolia: They could never ruin this song.

Best Rap Album - Ludacris "Release Therapy"

Coolia: Ludacris just thanked Bill O'Reilly. Interesting.

Another plug for voting for the girl who gets to sing with Justin.

C. Crumpet Swank: Do you know how much time they are wasting on this? They can't turn the Grammys into American Idol.

Terence Howard introduces Mary J. Blige singing "Be Without You"

Coolia: I like the big orchestra treatment for this song.

Nerdia: That's great.

Coolia: Sounds like she's being slain in the spirit.

Nerdia: It was no "No More Drama" but still...pretty good.

C. Crumpet Swank: She's like a force of nature. She just blows everyone away.

Best Country Album - The Dixie Chicks "Taking the Long Way"

Reba McEntire introduces Carrie Underwood

Coolia: Her stage presence has improved since Idol.

Nerdia: She's still boring.

Coolia: I like Rascal Flatts, but I wish they were doing their own song instead of "Hotel California". This medley just goes on and on, but I have to admit I'm liking Carrie more than ever before.

Best New Artist - Carrie Underwood

Coolia: Imogen Heap looks like she's starring in A Midsummer Nights Dream.

Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci introduce Smokey Robinson

Coolia: He looks like he's had some work.

Chris Brown wakes everyone up with "Run It"

C. Crumpet Swank: He's only 15. He's the new Usher. Usher is over the hill at 25.

Christina Aguilera sings "It's a Man's World"

C. Crumpet Swank: She's got a great voice and she really knows how to use it. But it's theatrical. I never feel real emotion from her.

Rhianna and David Spade introduce Earth Wind and Fire with Ludacris and Mary J. Blige. Spade jokes that they are filling in for David Bowie an Iman who couldnt be there tonight.

C. Crumpet Swank: That was the best joke of the night.

Nerdia: I love pantsuits like Mary J.'s. It's very 70s polyester.

James Blunt performs "You're Beautiful."

Coolia: I wonder if he's as sick of this song as we are.

Jennifer Hudson declares the winner of Grammy Idol - Robin Troup.

Coolia: Poor Jennifer. That's not a very flattering dress.

C. Crumpet Swank: Her boobs look lopsided.

Record of the Year - The Dixie Chicks "Not Ready to Make Nice"

Group: groan

Coolia: This is turning into the country music awards.

Nerdia: I think the Grammys are trying to make a political statement. "Crazy" was much larger than this.

Chris Rock introduces Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Coolia: This is a pretty subdued performance from the Chilis.

Best Rock Album - Red Hot Chili Peppers "Stadium Arcadium"

Coolia: Yay! At least one award to get excited about.

Don Henley and Scarlett Johansson present Album of the Year.

C. Crumpet Swank: Don Henley's hair looks like Grandpa Munster.

Nerdia: He's so full of himself. Look at him, standing there, being full of himself.

Album of the Year - The Dixie Chicks "Taking the Long Way"

Group: sigh.

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American Idol - San Antonio and Best of the Rest

More catch thoughts on San Antonio and the misnamed Best of the Rest show...

Ones to Watch

  • Baylie Brown - She's cute, blond, young, sweet. As Simon said she had commercial written all over her. She even showed appealing stupidity by asking if that was a good thing. She clearly graduated from Pickler 101. You gotta love her hometown too - Krum, Texas!
  • Akron Watson - It took two songs to get him through, but I thought he had a very smooth voice and a lot of likability. Unfortunately, he was kicked off the show, allegedly due to a past marijuana conviction.
  • Tami Gosnell - A pedi-cab driver without much style, but a warm smile and good voice. I was surprised by how keen Simon was on her, given that she's a bit butch. But I'm interested to see what she'll do in Hollywood.
  • Paul Kim - He wants to prove that Asians can be pop stars, and he's cute with a good voice.
  • Ebony Jointer - She could have done without the car hop gimmick. This girl is tall, beautiful, confident, and possesses a terrific voice. I expect her to rocket into the Top 24, unless her car hop "friend" Ashley Cleland accidently skates over her throat.
  • Lakisha Jones - Her physique and gospel voice draw obvious comparisons to Mandisa. She seems sweet and as a baby mama will likely win viewer sympathy.

Best of the Worst
  • Bryan Kyrish - scary attempt at rocking out, but at least he broke out one of my all time favorites by Ozzy and Lita: "Close My Eyes Forever".
  • Jasmine Holland - She sausaged herself into tight clothes and revealed no talent but quite a camel toe.
  • William Green - the cousin of Akron Watson couldn't sing at all, but had great personality and humor, demonstrated by his faked verbal attack on the judges.
  • Jacob Tutor - He must have thought he was going to auditions for "Deliverance II: Banjo Boy All Growed Up".
Least Favorite Moment

The "wrong door" montage. It really wasn't necessary to lock one of the audition room doors. The producers clearly set this up to just add a final degree of humiliation for the losers, as they try to slink away but can't get out. Icky.

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American Idol - Birmingham and LA Auditions

OK, I had fallen behind in my Idol viewing due to being on the road, but I got a chance to catch up this weekend. Here's my thoughts on the Birmingham and LA auditions.

Ones to Watch

  • Bernard Williams II - Showed impressive range in tackling "Rock With You", also has likabality.
  • Jamie Lynn Ward - She out-picklers Pickler. Not only does she have the cute blond southern looks, but her sob story is going to be tough to beat. "Well, I live with my granny and help her take care of my paralyzed daddy." Sounds very sweet until she goes on to reveal that her daddy shot himself after shooting his ex wife when he caught her cheating on him. Damn. The judges were speechless. "It's all right," Jamie Lynn, said, putting them at ease.
  • Chris Sligh - he looked like Jack Osbourne but sang like a less annoying Michael Bolton. Chris displayed true uniqueness and a great sense of humor, saying that he wanted to be on Idol so he could make David Hasselhoff cry. I'd say he's a lock for the Top 24 if he doesnt combust during Hollywood Week.
  • Alaina Alexander - Cute and likable, Alaina was about to give up the music biz and viewed Idol as her last chance. That hook may keep her around a while, although she doesn't seem very unique.
  • Brandon Rogers - A former back up singer for Anastacia and Christina Aguilera, Brandon definitely showed he has the voice and confidence to make it on his own. I expect he'll make the Top 24. He seems like a nice, genuine guy and his audition was one of the most self-assured of this season.
Best of the Worst
  • Margaret Fowler - aka Big Bird. She claimed to be 26 but eventually admitted to being 50. She resembled a fuzzy Sun in her yellow feathered get up. The midriff top left us gaping in awe.
  • Victoria Watson - She wasn't all that bad, but her extremely long hair and her mother's long hair were a bit creepy. I do have to say it looked suprisingly healthy, though.
  • Nichole Watson - Her mother now leads her support entourage, who were all clad in "Team Nichole" t-shirts, but Nichole revealed her mother had previously told her she "had no talent" when she first indicated she wanted to sing in a pageant. Alas, Nichole is not yet ready for the big time, but at least it seems her relationship with her mom has improved.
  • Martik Manoukian - aka "Eccentric." This dude got way too much airtime, but his panther impressions were bizarre.
  • Phuong Pham - her evil mother told her she wasn't pretty enough to be on Idol. Come on, she's way hotter than Scott "Big Baby" Savol! Phuong phailed though, lacking the pipes.
  • Cavett Carr and Darold Gray - "Sparkles" and her boyfriend were representin' Compton. Neither could sing, but Darold had a fab grill. I found myself wondering if Ms. Carr's parents had named her after Dick Cavett.
  • Eric Mueller - tried to sing like Ozzy but only demonstrated how talented Ozzy really is. Simon was amused because Eric had learned to sing using Paula's and Randy's instructional DVD.
Favorite Moment
  • Sherman Pore - He was 64 and mounted a petition campaign to be allowed to audition. He did this as a tribute to his wife who passed away from cancer just two days before the audition. And he revealed himself to have a lovely crooner's voice. I was choked up and so were Olivia and Paula. Even Simon had to be nice.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Trainwreck Woman

Anna Nicole. What a surprise and yet not so much. Am I disgusted? Am I sad? Yes, yes. She was a train wreck to be sure but not quite Janis Joplin or Courtney Love. She was soft around the edges and yet a legitimate screw up, completely the inducer of her own misery. Was there any other realistic end for her after her son died? She was depressed and on drugs (although news casts were too chicken to say it; Q: “Was she abusing again?” A: “Well, obviously she’s seen here slurring her words. She’s clearly not exhibiting clarity.”)

Anna's mother claimed a while back that Daniel’s death was probably foul play and that Nicole could very well be next. There were, after all, those angry Richie Rich family members calling for her blood after she married all that money and then won the supreme court battle to keep it. And there were all those highly unhelpful clingons circling around her as well. We may need Agatha Christie (see above) to sort it all out. "Tsk tsk, this Anna Nicole," she seems to thinking.

The mystery doesn’t seem to be so much who killed Anna (herself most likely) but why she was so fearful of DNA tests regarding the paternity of her new baby. That seems to be the crux of this American cum Greek Tragedy. As it plays, it might give Oedipus a run for the money.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

More Today Show Angst

As I slap on my face goo on every morning to cover up my various imperfections so I can pretend I look like Tyra Banks, I am continuing to inflict The Today Show on myself. Today’s aggravation involved Matt Lauer, my favorite of the Today Show hosts due to his sense of humor and seemingly smaller degree of bias towards subjects and interviewees. He was doing a spot on how to make your marriages work (possibly a segment close to his heart). He had two marriage experts arguing over whether or not you could keep the that special love magic alive after many years of marriage. The guy said no – get used to it; but the gal said sure you can, but you need to know how to do it. They both agreed marriage took work, much like gardening (their metaphor, not mine). The end result of the segment was that in this day and age of 50% failed marriages, you can keep yours together but you need to know how to do it. NOTHING WAS EVER SAID ABOUT HOW TO DO IT! What a pointless waste of time. Oh boy. Talk about starting off your day on the wrong foot. Then Randy Jackson came on defending the depravity of American Idol in the same uninteresting way he judges on the show. He claimed that comments Hudson made recently in Essence Magazine were misquoted. These comments:

"On 'American Idol,' you go through this mental thing; you've got to get yourself back together. You've been abused, misled and brainwashed to believe whatever they want you to think."

That’s a freakin' long misquote, Randy.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Three Thoughts for Today

Prince performing during the Super Bowl last night was awesome! Here I was so annoyed by his ridiculous aloofness during last year’s American Idol finale and he does this great showstopper at half time that practically wins me back. He played a tight, charismatic and well-executed set in the rain, no less (is that why he wore the head rag?). He reminded me of how great his Staples Center show was in LA back in 2004. If only he were just a little more cuddly.

Barry Manilow
For some reason, Barry popped into my head today. He hasn’t been looking so hot lately. Supposedly he’s just had hip surgery or some such thing. Knowing how secretive Barry can be in his Newsletter and about his love life, I worry that he may be underplaying his ailments. A world without Barry doesn’t set well with me so I am sending him healthy wishes even if he denies any sick-being.

Today Show Debates
I used to watch the Today show a lot when I lived in NYC (the era a few months Bryant Gumbel left to just when Hillary Clinton said “right wing conspiracy,” including the death of Katie Couric's husband and her resulting colonoscopy, Sonny Bono’s death and the first Matt trot around the globe. I stopped watching in disgust at their biased coverage of the beginning of the Iraq War when they didn’t follow up on Michael Moore’s Oscar comments scandal, instead choosing to show saccharine coverage of soldiers happily going off to war they didn't adequately cover the reasons for. I started watching again last week. The show has gotten no better about mediating debates. Today’s debate was about the cervical cancer vaccination. The new anchor is a very chatty cathy Meredith Vieira -- last week she talked over First Lady, Laura Bush...not that I'm so fond of Laura Bush, but show some respect for the office, missy. Meredith let the two debaters talk completely over each other without a single bit of mediating. I had no idea what anyone was saying. It was a pointless waste of airtime. More sound pollution than news coverage.

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Helga...I Never Knew Thee

I spent last weekend with my Auntie Nerdia and I was oft reminded of my predecessor, the snarly former gubernatorial candidate Helga. Helga passed away in May of 2004 and although her portraits about Nerdia’s house were lovely, I heard many accounts that she was never a beotch to suffer fools and just about everyone was a fool in her book -- save a select few.

Myself, I am people puppy. But while I was luxuriating in front of the telly nibbling on turkey bits Nerdia’s significant roomie made for me, I noticed Nerdia was lovingly updating Helga’s memorial page which includes an impressive list of quotes about the most glorious species on Earth of which I'm a card-carrying member. Click below to read Helga’s collection of hilarious dog quotes such as:

Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.-- Franklin P. Jones

This quote is particularly close to my heart as I was also forced to partake in a long bath last weekend at the hands of my doggie-sitters. It was my pleasure to make my obnoxious bath attendant eat some Lever 2000 before he released me from the tub-shaped prison looking all too much like a big wet rat.

Read more quotes about dogs:

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Review: Because I Said So

Ape Culture saw the new Diane Keaton/Mandy Moore romantic comedy
Because I Said So this week. Here are 10 things wrong with it. And two things we liked.

Bad things

  1. Stupid Bits about Technology: Humor about mother's struggles with technology completely unbelievable to the point of annoying - as if the writer didn't know what he was talking about or just didn't want to do his "normal human behavior" homework.
  2. Diane Keaton: lots of overacting all around, but her constant gesturing made us weary.
  3. Sisters: wasted characters. Glutted the story. Piper Perabo as middle sister has even less to do than Jan Brady. She's a good actress totally wasted in this role.
  4. Unfunny Script: not funny, not realistic, not endearing - although there were a few "aww" moments poorly constructed to try to manipulate us.
  5. Wardrobe Malfunctions: Movies are not an excuse for Diane Keaton to wear silly dresses. Since she does this in real life, when she also does it in the movies it becomes hard to see where Diane stops and the character begins.
  6. Director: We expect more from Michael Lehmann, since he made one of Coolia's all time favorite films Heathers. But this generic romantic comedy is more in line with his weaker recent efforts like My Giant and Forty Days and Forty Nights.
  7. Lack of Chemistry: there was no chemistry between Diane Keaton and the daughters. Diane just doesn't do maternal well.
  8. Art Direction: When characters live in extravagant homes - like Mandy Moore's Venice loft, Diane's big townhouse, and Stephen Collins' house on the freakin' Venice canals, someone should at least explain to us how they got so rich. After all, Diane is supposed to have been a single mom raising 3 girls on her own, which doesn't speak to the kind of extreme wealth shown in her home furnishings and outrageous outfits. All homes looked art-directed rather than lived in, like pages from the Pottery Barn catalog.
  9. Plot: There's very little suspense as the choice between beaus is quite obvious to everyone except our heroine and her devoted mother.
  10. In case of emergency...smash a cake in someone's face: This happens repeatedly in this movie. See #4 (Unfunny Script).
Good things
  1. Mandy Moore: Overacted a bit but entirely likable as the every-girl. She has a definite future in romantic comedies, hopefully better-written ones.
  2. Stephen Collins: He's actually kind of sexy when not spewing Christian platitudes on his long-running family show, 7th Circle of Hell.

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