Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tough Night

Man, the guys really stepped it up this week. Everyone performed much better than they did last week. It's a tough call to say who's going to leave. Phil started with some John Waite. He did alright. Not great, but good. Not sure if I liked the song choice for him. I wouldn't be shocked to see him go this week, but I think he did well enough to go one more week. Jared rocked the house singing Marvin Gaye. Though I thought it was a little odd that he dedicated "Let's Get It On" to his parents. AJ did well with Feeling Good, but it's always tougher when it's not a real mainstream song. I actually disagreed with the judges on Sanjaya. Though at first, I thought the outfit was a bit odd and the song was too old school, he really pulled it off. I liked it. Chris did well with Trouble, but again, not a very mainstream song. I think he can do much better. (Side note - his wife was NOT what I expected. Hottie!). Nick did well with Fever - good choice of song for his style of voice. Blake had the best performance of the night! Excellent song choice for him. Loved the beat box and scat thrown in the middle. Very smooth transition, good arrangement. I agreed with Randy & Simon on Brandon, though. Boring. I also didn't like how he interrupted Randy to try to make excuses for why his performance wasn't up to par. At least, that's what it felt like. It's a shame, too, because I liked Brandon. If he does lose tomorrow night, it just goes to show that you got to bring your "A" game every week and do better than the previous week. I didn't know the song that Chris sang and didn't care for it, either. It reminded me of the Chaka Khan song that Nicole got booted for last week. Very odd choice and strange performance. Don't know why the judges were all up his butt. Sundance blew UP with Mustang Sally. That performance showed exactly why he was put through to Hollywood. Great performance!

Overall, I thought performances were good. Simon had a pole up his butt the whole night, though. He gets like that sometimes and no matter how well contestants do on those nights, they can't please him. I think Phil & AJ are on the cusp, but I think it will be Sanjaya and Brandon going home tomorrow night.

Wonder what will happen tonight. I noticed Antonella was still in the front row with the ladies. If she doesn't get booted by the show, I could actually see the whole "incident" working in her favor. The teenage boys could actually step up the voting to keep her in! We shall see...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscar Night

A few thoughts from last night's Acadamy Awards show:

1. I don't know if anyone actually likes the various musical performances and comedy sketches during various awards shows. Other than late night talk show hosts. It gives them something to make fun of. They should eliminate the extraneous and stick to the awards.
2. Ellen did a great job hosting. She was funny. She engaged the audience. She wasn't mean to anyone. She kept things moving. Excellent job. Hope she'll be back.
3. What the F- were those tumbling silhouette guys? Could have done without them.
4. Fashions were good overall. Reese Witherspoon looked fantastic. Abigail Breslin and Jaden Smith were adorable! Helen Mirren was gorgeous. Philip Seymour Hoffman needed to comb his hair, while Jack Nicholson looked odd without his. I'm guessing it has to do with the movie he's currently filming. No Bjork "what-the-hell-was-that??!?" moments. At least none that I remember or saw.
5. Was surprised, that Eddie Murphy didn't win Best Supporting, but that's fine. I like Alan Arkin. No one was surprised Helen Mirren won for Best Actress. I think I was the only one who was surprised Forest Whitaker won Best Actor. I thought for sure they'd give it to Peter O'Toole. Not necessarily because he deserved it more, but as sort of a cumulative Oscar for all the times he should have won, but didn't. Kind of like when Paul Newman won for The Color of Money. Especially since, if memory serves, a few years ago, they tried to give O'Toole an honorary Oscar, which almost refused saying that he still had time to win one on his own.
6. Good for Martin Scorsese! The Departed kicked ass! Though I'm still not sure why Mark Wahlberg got the Best Supporting nod, and not Matt Damon. I just re-watched the movie when I got the DVD, and the story is absolutely about the parallels of Leo & Matt's characters. Wahlberg didn't really do much, except act like a jerk. Damon had a much bigger part, more integral to the story, more nuanced/subtle, and played it better. Whatever. Guess I'm still sore from Hugh Laurie winning the Emmy and SAG awards over Michael C. Hall. Dex wuz robbed!
7. Next year, they should start earlier, cut the skits/interludes, and wrap it up on time.

Friday, February 23, 2007

New Idol Polls

If only I could figure out how to put these side by side...


Ok, the first eliminations (Paul and Amy), I did not predict, but did not shock me. The second eliminations, if you notice, each contained both of my predicted evictees. :-) The real shocker, though, came in the last 3 minutes of the show. When it was down to Rudy or Sanjaya for the second elimination, Ryan said one of them was eliminated, the other was in the top 4 for the guys. I'm not surprised Rudy was eliminated, but there is no friggin' way Sanjaya was in the top 4! That was just ridiculous! Even if you take the teenybopper vote into account, there's just no way. He was not good enough. The only way I figure it made sense, and I hate to say this, but just about every Indian person in America (and possibly elsewhere) must have voted for him, just because he's Indian. I could have accepted it if he was next to last or something like that. But to put him even in the top half of even just the guys? No way. There is some other force at work. It could be the same sort of group that was coordinating last year to keep the wife-beater (don't remember his name) in the finals, but I haven't heard any rumors. Usually when something like that takes place, you hear something about it...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

And Now... The Ladies

Ok. Overall, the ladies did much better than the guys did. They got off to a much better start with Stephanie. She definitely set the bar high with the opening performance. Good vocals, good performance. Then, it looked like the guys may have been ok when Amy and Leslie struggled through their songs. I agreed with Simon that Leslie looked a bit uncomfortable on stage. I don't know that she's as natural a performer as many of the other contestants. Sabrina brought the house down performing Aretha! I didn't know she had it in her, but she was great! Unfortunately, Antonella was pretty bad with her Aerosmith song. She looked like she was ready to cry when the judges criticized her. She may skate by this week on her looks, though. Jordin surprised with an excellent song choice and a very poised performance for anyone, let alone a 17-year old. I don't know what the hell was up with Nicole and that weird-ass Chaka Khan song. Terrible choice and bad performance. I don't know what Paula was smokin' that she thought it was terrific. Haley struggled with Celine Dion, definitely too big for her. Not very good. Melinda did a great job with Aretha. Very good performance. I think her stage experience showed. She may do what Eliot Yamin did last year, and become more comfortable as she gets used being in the spotlight front and center. Chrissy really likes Melinda. There's something about her that I'm not sure about, though. Chrissy thinks I'm just picking up on her shyness. We'll see. Alaina struggled with a pretty bad performance. Didn't strike the right tone with the judges, either. Seemed to have a bit of attitude, like she thought she was better than she was. Gina brought it. Thought she did a good job. Not a perfect performance, but definitely enough to carry her through to next week. Lakisha was great. Really finished the show with a bang. Don't know if it was quite in another league, but pretty close. Probably the best performance of the top 24 so far.

As far as the elimination, I think it could just as easily be any one of Amy, Leslie, Antonella, Nicole or Alaina. I think absolutely no question, Stephanie, Sabrina, Jordin, Melinda, Gina and Lakisha go on. My money is on Nicole and Alaina to go tonight. If they don't bring it next week, Antonella and Haley are out.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Idol - First Night, Men's Finals

Overall, a pretty unimpressive night. Almost universally, I think they had bad song choices. Started off rough with Rudy. I like Rudy, but his performance was very showtune-y. Kind of Vegas nightclub/karaoke. In fact, most of them came across this way. Not a lot of great "performances." Brandon did a little better (he has good stage presence - his experience shows), but I agree with Simon that he played it too safe. Actually, I agreed with most of what Simon said all night. I think Randy, Paula & Ryan dismiss Simon's critiques as cruelty, when in reality, he often has the most realistic and accurate comments. Sundance was a little rough. He needs more upbeat, soulful songs. Paul was decent, but he needs to put his shoes back on. He'll get by this round because the teenage girls will like him and vote for him. Same with Chris, the Justin Timberlake wannabe. Don't remember Nick's performance. Probably not a good sign. BBB (Beat Box Boy) did well. I thought it was smart to leave out the beatbox for this song. Showcase the singing. He'll sail through this week. Sanjaya didn't do so hot. I knew he was in trouble when he sang the words "I don't want to bore you" in such a lackluster fashion in front of Simon. That's like dangling fresh bloody kill in front of a shark. I'm surprised the white membrane didn't roll up over Simon's eyes. Jack Osbourne... I mean, Chris, had the best performance of the night. No doubt. I will be amazed if he doesn't make top 5. Jared was good, if unremarkable. Same with AJ. Phil was really good. Like him, liked his performance.

I think Rudy and Sanjaya will go home tomorrow night. If Sundance doesn't step it up next week, he's gone. Chris, Blake and Phil should sail through no problem.

I Shall Call Him... Mini-Me

Oh. My. God. Some folks just ain't right. Of course, I don't know if I refer to the people who participated in this contest or to myself for spending a half hour of my time at work looking at these pictures. Some of them look rather fake. But some entrants have taken quite a bit of time getting the right proportions to look like a realistic little person, rather than just shrunken image of a larger person. I especially like the ones that interact (like Condi holding her mini-me's hand) rather than the images just posed next to each other. My absolute favorite, though, and not just because of the image, but because of the caption, is 75-Cent. Came very close to tears, I was laughing so hard.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

General Idol Observations

Before we get to the finals on tonight's American Idol, I will give a few observations on Hollywood Week.

I can't say I wasn't surprised - and a little pleased - at a few of the choices the judges made. By the end of the eliminations, though, I began to notice a pattern. I think the judges were trying to eliminate some of the more attitude-laden contestants. Some of the may have had a little (or a lot) more talent than some of the finalists, but raw talent isn't everything. I think they're getting tired of beautiful prima donnas strutting around on stage singing, "I'm the shit." Ok, not literally, but you know what I mean. I think this was never more evident than in the final two eliminations. First, they showed clips of Antonella & Brunette-chickie's performances. BC definitely appeared to have performed better in the clip they showed (and we all know how perfectly reality shows represent what actually occurred). But they picked Antonella. Afterwards, they showed BC go outside and talk about it. She was genuinely shocked. She spoke of how everyone loved her and every person in there (meaning the other finalists) thought she was going to make it. Seemed a bit full of herself. Then the last two guys. Tall, good-looking Black Guy and Sundance Head. Again, Sundance struggled in the eliminations, while BG rocked the house. They chose Sundance. BG looked visibly shaken. I was surprised. Then, he dropped the F-Bomb (or some profanity that got bleeped) on the way out the room. Then in the elevator, he flipped the double bird to the camera. Class on a stick. With that gesture, the scales tipped and I fell firmly in the Sundance camp. A similar thing happened during the auditions. The girl who made the weird faces got a second chance. I was happy for her, because she seemed genuinely talented. They decided to send her to Hollywood. Yay! But after they told her, she simply left the room without so much as a "thank you" for the 2nd chance! Then, when she came out of the room with the "golden ticket" she held it up to her family saying, "yeah..." with a tone in her voice that suggested that the judges finally came to their senses. They barely showed her during Hollywood week, except during a montage showing contestants who were cut. I was glad.

I think they may be trying to avoid contestants like last year's Brenna and Ayla. Brenna was just obnoxious and kept arguing with Simon. Ayla seemed like one of those people who have gone their whole life getting everything they ever wanted. Then when someone tells them "no," they're shocked and hurt. I think getting cut was probably the best thing that ever happened to Ayla. People like her need to learn before they get out in the real world that everyone's not going to kiss her ass like her parents do. I think the judges would rather have someone like Melissa was last year. She wasn't the best singer, but she took their criticisms to heart, kept working hard and kept improving her performances. Same thing with Elliot Yamin. He made it to the top 3 because he kept getting better and better. Unfortunately for him, Katherine & Taylor were better.

As for the finalists that did make it... The only one of the women that stands out for me was Antonella. She's definitely got the look. She's doesn't have the best voice, but strikes me as the type who could keep getting better each week. A lot of the women this year are good, but not overly original. They seem like the same types that the judges have already seen in the finals for 5 years now. To wow them, and America, they need to bring something fresh to the table. The guys will be a little more interesting. I think it will be down to Brandon & Chris. Brandon is the one who has been a back-up singer to Christina Aguilera, among others. Paula & Olivia Newton-John just melted when he sang in his audition. I think he'll have that effect on a lot of the voting teenage girls, too. Chris, the Jack Osbourne look-a-like, is likeable, fun, hilarious and even more talented. My dark horse contestant is Phil, the guy who missed the birth of his daughter to audition. I'd like to see Blake "the human beat box" do well, but I don't know how much he's got left when you take beat-boxing out of his bag o' tricks. Guess we'll see tonight.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Well, I was doing pretty well there for a while... Guess I'll play catch-up now. First off, I don't know what the appropriate mourning time is, but it's been about two and a half weeks since Barbaro passed, so I thought I would revert to the standard color scheme on the blog instead of the black-armband-equivalent.

Speaking of thoroughbreds (nice segue, eh?), Chrissy and I went to Laurel this weekend. As sort of a combined Valentines trip. Chrissy gave me $20 for betting. I actually did really well! I didn't have to dip in to any of my pre-existing money, I bought some french fries for a snack, and wound up cashing out at the end of the day with $74! So I grabbed dinner that night and on Monday, I ordered a Verizon Music Essentials kit, so I can load and listen to music on my phone. Of course, there's only room for about three short songs on my phone, so today, I ordered a 2G memory card to go with it. That should hold about 200 songs (I think).

Other big news - don't think I mentioned this on here before, but I think most everyone who would read this would already know... WE ARE MOVING!! Yaayyy!!! We got approved for a new apartment in Crofton, so we should be signing next month with a move-in date of 3/14. We have our old place through 3/31, so we should be able to get a good amount of stuff moved a car-load at a time over the course of those two weeks. We're very psyched about the new place. It's a 2-bedroom, 2-bath (woo hoo!) and it actually has a decent-sized kitchen! With a pantry!! Yaaaayy!!

Finally, my sisters were both in town at my Mom's last night. My nephew brought is PlayStation with him and I played DDR (Dance Dance Revolution, for the uninitiated) for the first time. It was actually pretty fun! Not as easy as it looks either. It's more like step aerobics than dancing, really. I was repeatedly told that I was a natural at it. I'm not sure if they were just being nice, but the machine said that I broke several records, so I must have done decent.

Ok, guess that's it for now. Work is picking up. That's good. Mom's feeling better. That's really good. Oh. Idol. Well, I'll get to that another time. I've got all weekend...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The eBay Experiment

Why does that sound like a cheesy B-movie with Michael Wincott and Gary Busey? Anyway, I have a new hobby. For the past year or more, I have been thinking and considering and pondering experimenting with selling items on eBay. Beginning a week ago Sunday (1/28/07), I began listing a few DVDs. As of this post, I have sold 3 out of 13, and am getting ready to put another up for sale. I haven't really made any money yet, since I had to pay to list them and pay to ship the 1 for which I have received payment. But once I get paid for the other two, I will have a small profit! Yaay! Hopefully, I'll be able to put some more things up and get... well... not tons o' cash, but a few bucks here and there. And it's fun!

Saturday, February 03, 2007