Friday, April 28, 2006

Ten Tube-Related Questions

Here are 10 questions raised from watching TV this week:

1. From The OC: Who picked out Marissa's dress, and did they really think it was cute? Ewww!

2. From American Idol: Which is the real Kellie Pickler? The dumb bimbo blonde who asked on The Tonight Show "What's a cameo?" or the nice, normal girl from this Entertainment Weekly post-elimination interview?

3. From Veronica Mars: Why don't women realize that when you knock on the door and the person of your affection opens it only halfway (and wearing next to nothing), there's usually another woman on the other side of the door also wearing next to nothing? Poor Veronica had the double-whammy of realizing not only that Logan's "epic love" speech came out of a drunken stupor but that he also slept with possible mass-murderer Kendall Casablancas after he professed his feelings to Veronica.

4. From Survivor: Is it possible for someone to dominate the competitions a la Colby Donaldson and actually win? Hot firefighter Tom dominated, but he also had the benefit of having his entire tribe being the last ones standing. This year, Terry is absolutely dominating the competitions and also has the hidden immunity idol (although he hasn't exactly used it to his best benefit!) and is the last person standing from his tribe after the merge. He seems to have no chance in hell of winning. Why is it so hard for people to respect the game-play and vote for the most worthy rather than who lucked into being in your original tribe?

5. From American Idol again: Can the beautiful people win American Idol? Simon Cowell thinks that Katharine McPhee is too pretty that it's going to hurt her in getting votes. I generally hate the whole girls-don't-like-really-pretty-girls-because-they're-threatening theory, but I think brunette beauties tend to be looked at as Veronicas rather than Bettys. Carrie was more of a Betty - wholesome pretty. So was Kelly, and she was not considered one of the lookers her season. Most of the contestants with model-looks of past years were eliminated fairly early - Christina Christian, Ryan Starr (ehh ... I guess in some people's minds), Kim Caldwell (before she got that horrific haircut), Lisa Wilson (when her mouth was closed), Amanda Avila, Becky O'Donahue. The difference with them and Katharine, though ... she has a fantastic voice to go along with her looks.

6. From Lost: Why does ABC love to show these "recap" shows so much? You'd think one would be enough, but I feel like they've already done two of them for Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy, and the season's not over yet. I'm sure they'll do a season recap after the finale too. Boring!

7. From The Amazing Race: Why does this group of contestants make me miss the much-maligned TAR: Family Edition? Where are those crazy Weavers? I kind of miss hating them! This group is kind of boring. And the ones who aren't boring are totally playing it up to annoying levels (HIPPIES!)

8. From Idol Tonight: Who did Kimberly Caldwell sleep with to get this job? She's a horrible interviewer/host! She shouts most of the show, and she cuts people off when they're trying to answer her question. The whole show is wretched. I only watch to see which former Idol they bring back to interview. This week it was Mandisa and Leah LaBelle (who has jet black hair now ... not a good look for her).

9. From the NBA Playoffs: Has Steve Nash gotten Kobe Bryant's imprint removed from his body yet after Kobe dunked in his face?

10. From Access Hollywood: Will someone please neuter Kevin Federline already? Britney Spears is apparently 5 months pregnant, which will give K-Fed four kids with two different women by age 25. The world does not need another Federline Spawn. And just to remind you why, check out this awesomely hilarious video of K-Fed listening to his song Popo Zau. This video never gets old.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Pickler Picked Off

Wow. America finally picked Pickler to leave instead of stay. And the producers spared us another wretched performance of Unchained Melody. Sweet justice!

I do have to admit, though, she was quite charming and funny in her send-off. I think once the threat of her winning or forcing someone better out was gone, I was able to enjoy her antics more.

But hey - NOW we have a competition, folks!

I think the Top 5 of American Idol 5 may be collectively one of the best ever (they give Season 4 a run for its money and are almost as good as the Canadian Idol 2 Top 5). It will be hard to decide who goes next, although I presume Paris is likely next in line due to her frequent Bottom 3 trips (I loved how she deftly said it was her first time in the bottom 2! Smart girl! She has a future in PR if this singing thing doesn't work out!)

Next week's themes allegedly are The Year You Were Born and This Week's Billboard Chart.

My wish list for The Year Your Were Born:
Taylor (1976) - Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry (just to see Taylor spaz out) or Still The One by Orleans (for a better vocal fit)
Elliott (1978) - The Closer I Get To You by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway (since they'll be singing abbreviated versions, he may be able to edit it so that it doesn't have to be a duet) or Always and Forever by Heatwave
Chris (1979) - I Want You To Want Me by Cheap Trick
Katharine (1984) - Cyndi Lauper, either All Through The Night or acoustic Time After Time
Paris (1988) - I Still Believe by Brenda K. Starr or if she wanted to be really bold, One More Try by George Michael

The Billboard theme is a bit trickier, not only because they sucked on the 21st century theme but also because I can't see the full billboard charts to know what's available. Here's my wish list from what I was able to see:
Taylor - Who Says You Can't Go Home by Bon Jovi
Elliott - So Sick by Ne-Yo
Chris - You and Me by Lifehouse or Ever The Same by Rob Thomas (but he'll probably do Photograph by Nickelback)
Katharine - Save The Last Dance For Me by Michael Buble (AC chart)
Paris - SOS by Rihanna is the only thing that fits her age-wise. She would be unwise to try Be Without You by Mary J. Blige; she's too young for it.

Love Changes Everything

The Love Songs theme on AI5 tonight made my allegiances shift once again. Elliott Yamin's moving, passionate version of "A Song For You" has me wanting him to win and thinking that he has a great chance to do so. Elliott is the classic Idol success story - the underdog everyman with the golden voice. Tonight, he gave the performance of the season. Not that this should be the standard by which Idol performances are made, but he made Paula cry. (although handing her a bottled water would probably make her cry these days. Whoah, is she on drugs, or what?!)

Katharine McPhee also had a strong night (at least in my eyes), singing "I Have Nothing" and putting a different twist on the song. She sounded great and looked fantastic (near-wardrobe malfunction aside), but the judges absolutely annihilated her for tackling a Whitney Houston song when she isn't as good as Whitney. Well no shit, judges. And Chris isn't as good as Freddie Mercury, yet Paula still said he superceded him. And Trenyce isn't as good as Whitney, nor is Vonzell or Jennifer Hudson. Did any of the Three Stooges say that to those three when they sang the same song in previous seasons? Uh, no. Katharine got hosed by the judges' comments tonight. I thought she sounded great and even better when she did a mini-duet with Andrea Bocelli on "The Prayer".

Chris Daughtry killed some of his rocker cred by singing one of the cheesiest songs ever on AI - "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman" by Bryan Adams. He got serious pimpage, though, not only singing last but getting flanked by two guitarists on stage. But I have to hand it to him ... he sounded really good. I think I preferred his version to the original. I'd prefer it more if he'd stop making scary angry faces while singing a love song, though.

Taylor Hicks seemed a bit out of sorts while singing "Just Once", one of my favorite songs. Maybe he's sick. He wasn't as good as James Ingram, but I thought Taylor did a good job, especially with the low notes. The glory notes impressed me as well. I think Simon just doesn't like this song. Just ask Brad Estrin (once you find him at the Chilean karaoke place, that is).

Paris Bennett reverted back to her "Wind Beneath My Wings" performance by singing "The Way We Were". While she brought the power pipes, she really picked such an old-fashioned song. It didn't quite work for me, but she deserves to stay. Unfortunately, I think she's going to be ousted at the expense of ...

Kellie Pickler. Who was god-awful with the most boring version of "Unchained Melody" since that girl sang it on the auditions in Season 3 and put the judges to sleep. I can only hope that even her fans will find it so appalling that they won't be bothered to vote for her. This should be her Constantine Nickelback moment. We shall see!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Catching Up On The Tube

Been out of town all week and am trying to catch up on all the latest dirt. Here are a couple of random things from the tube this past week:

*The OC - Ryan's supposedly at the Berkeley campus in this episode, except it's really the UCLA campus. And Brown, where Seth is at, looks amazingly like USC, which is to Ivy as UCLA is to Cal State LA. Next week, Lisa Tucker from American Idol makes a cameo, playing herself at the prom. Rumor has it that her character was originally named "First Black Girl Ever On Campus". ;)

*American Idol - Ace Young finally folded. About damn time. Now once the Pickle and her clever apologies for being the suck get the deserved boot, we'll truly have a competition. Here's a really bizarre transcript from the post-elimination press conference with Ace. Between the fawning fangirl questions and Ace extolling his virtues so much, I got the heebies from the whole thing. Saw him perform "Butterflies" on Regis and on Ellen today. More heebies. He sang pretty much the whole song in falsetto, and on Ellen, he sang it a capella. Let's just say he's no Bo Bice. Bo knows singing in tune!

And speaking of Bo, the AI producers pulled that "choose which group is the Top 3" crap they pulled on Bo (and George Huff in season 3). Taylor Hicks was the unfortunate one to be put into that situation. There's only one way to handle that situation without shooting yourself in the foot a little bit, and Taylor didn't do it. Bo got it right last year when he refused to pick sides and just stood in the middle of the two groups. That's all you can do without looking like an ass. It seemed like Taylor may have been trying to fake out Seacrest by shaking hands with Chris first and then moving to the other group, but I guess we won't know until he gives his exit interview (which may never happen the way he's apparently going).

*Miss USA Pageant - Didn't see it, but Lisa Wilson from American Idol 3 (the model who made the Top 32 despite frollicking in the pool with creepy Alan Ritchson instead of practicing. She sang a pretty bad version of "Come To My Window" in the semifinals) was second runner-up. No talent contest in this pageant, which must have helped her. Heh. I saw a little bit of the interview portion on the morning news, and the winner, Miss Kentucky, did not sound poised at all. She said something not grammatically correct and ended her sentence with a "So yeah ..." Apparently, being a good spokesperson does not rate very high in the contest.

*Veronica Mars - Things are finally starting to come together in the bus crash mystery. And I repeat - About damn time. This season hasn't been nearly as good as the first season, but it would be hard to top that finale with creepy Aaron Echolls showing up in Veronica's backseat and him locking her in a refrigerator while lighting the porch on fire. I did like the whole reversal of last year with Veronica saving Keith by removing the bullets from Liam's gun (last season Keith saved Veronica from creepy Aaron Echolls and the fiery porch). Veronica came up with some great one-liners, my favorite being to Weevil when he asked if she believed him about his role in the bus crash: "How could I not when you're batting those Maybelline lashes at me?" Ha! (For those who don't watch VM, the dude has these ridiculously long eyelashes that would make any girl insanely jealous)

*What About Brian - Remember the last blog I wrote about how great the show is? Well, uh, yeah. It hasn't lived up to the pilot so far. But I'll still watch! Ain't nothing else on on Mondays!

*The Sopranos - So two different people told me about this great scene where two of the guys go to LA to some celebrity "luxury lounge" and mug Lauren Bacall in order to steal her SWAG. Sounds more Joey than The Sopranos, but it does sound hilarious! I'm sure HBO will show it about 15 more times this week, so catching it shouldn't be a problem.

Still more TV to catch up on ...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

What About Another Hit For ABC

Last year around this time, ABC trotted out a mid-season replacement called Grey's Anatomy. That show, with its talented ensemble cast led by Emmy-winner Sandra Oh and the dreamy Patrick Dempsey, quickly turned into one of the biggest hits on TV, even surpassing its lead-in Desperate Housewives in its second season.

ABC could have another hit on its hands after the debut of another mid-season replacement, What About Brian. The show, which will air regularly on Mondays at 10 but was sneak previewed tonight, was created by the great J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias, Felicity) and stars Barry Watson (7th Heaven) as the title character. The premise of the show: Fifth-wheel Brian, the only single guy in his group of friends, falls in love with his best friend Adam's girlfriend, Marjorie.

In the pilot, Brian realizes he has feelings for Marjorie. He's dating "Car Girl", played by Amy Jo Johnson (ah, it wouldn't be a J.J. Abrams show if he didn't cast someone from Felicity! I'm waiting for Alias to go off the air so he can bring in Greg Grunberg, who has also been in Felicity AND Lost), but obviously isn't too fond of her. Adam comes up with a pact for them to break up with their girlfriends, which Brian does (and Car Girl goes amusingly bat-shit crazy on him). Adam, however, not only doesn't do it, but he proposes to Marjorie instead.

Brian and Marjorie later kiss, and he reveals his feelings to her, but nothings comes out of it, which, of course, sets the rest of the season up for us. Will Brian and Marjorie get together? If they do, you can guarantee it won't last. The tension has to be there or the show won't last (i.e. Moonlighting and Who's The Boss, which both jumped the shark as soon as the two main couples got together). Meredith and McDreamy didn't last. Felicity and Ben had a roller-coaster relationship, Sydney and Vaughn had problems (presumed deaths, of course, being the root of the problems), Dawson and Joey (thankfully ... because those two were only tolerable together in the first season when he was oblivious to it. She was much better with Pacey!), etc.

Anyway, I just hope this show lasts long enough to at least resolve itself. If this ends up the way of Miss Match, I will kick something (I'm still pissed about the cancellation of that one!). The premise is a good one, the pilot was engaging, the cast appealing (I normally have an aversion to Barry Watson, but he was really likeable here, and I can even overlook the fact that Sarah Lancaster, who plays Marjorie, got her start on Saved By The Bell: The New Class ... and how sad is it that I KNOW that?!).

Another thing I really liked about this show was the great music they played - "Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of" was a brilliant choice for the scene in which Brian drove to Vegas to find Marjorie, had second-thoughts and then turned to leave, and then her seeing and stopping him. Other tunes I remember hearing were "Baba O'Riley" and "All-American Girl". The previews for the show used one of my favorite recent songs - "Collide".

If you missed Sunday's pilot, well, you're probably TSOL unless ABC shows it on their website, but the first episode airs Monday at 10 pm on ABC. Check it out!

Friday, April 14, 2006

BB All-Stars

Entertainment Weekly reports that this summer's Big Brother will be an All-Star Edition, a la Survivor: All-Stars. There will apparently be 20 former contestants from which to choose, and 12-14 of those will be re-entering the house based on audience vote.

Big Brother has been a guilty pleasure of mine since the first season. I've seen every season and even started watching the live feeds last year to see Kaysar, Janelle and Howie try to take down the Fiendsheep.

Who would I like to see back?

S1: Curtis
S2: Will (aka Dr. Evil), Monica (aka It's On-ica)
S3: Danielle (who should have and would have won if the jury hadn't seen her diary videos), Roddy (The Devil, tm Danielle), Jason (cute virginal Jason, who sadly would probably not participate), Marcellas the Martyr
S4: Jack
S5: Nakomis (queen of the six-finger plan), Will
S6: Kaysar (too brilliant for his own good), Janelle (quick-witted and not afraid to speak her mind - "Bye bye, bitches!")

The problem with the audience deciding is that people will not want to vote for the people that actually make the show what it is - the evil ones. In order for the show not to become a snooze-fest, you'd need people who wouldn't get along. You'd also need that to avoid built-in alliances. So in the interest of good television, this would be the best cast:

S1: No one. They were all pretty boring.
S2: Dr. Evil and Nicole
S3: Danielle, Roddy and Marcellas
S4: Alison and Robert
S5: Nakomis and Jase
S6: Janelle, Kaysar and Ivette

And yes, Janelle and Kaysar together would be a built-in alliance, but you can't have a BB All-Stars without probably the two most popular players in BB history. We'll see if the third time will be the charm for Kaysar. Doubtful, but you can bet I'll be watching!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Killer Queen Or Queen Killers?

The Idols tackled the great rock band Queen for this week's Top 8 theme. While this would have made a fantastic week on RockStar, on American Idol it was doomed to be a train-wreck. And a few of the Idols did not disappoint.

The first person onboard the train-wreck was Ace Young, who was attempting to put a R&B spin on "We Will Rock You". First of all, the song is not exactly a vocal showcase. Second of all, Ace isn't exactly a "RAWK" kind of guy. He's as much RAWK as AJ McLean is. Which is not at all. Ace is boy-band material all the way. He's Mr. Sensitive crooner; he is not one you'd buy singing this particular song. And then to make matters worse, he went painfully out of tune in the middle of the song when he was moving to the other side of the stage. I think he forgot the words right there too.

Right behind Ace on the train-wreck was Kellie Pickler, who appeared onstage with the dramatic lighting that made her look very Garth Algar-esque while singing "Bohemian Rhapsody". Hearing this country bumpkin singing one of the greatest rock songs of all-time in a high-pitched voice and winking into the camera at the end made me want to either laugh, cry and hurl. And I thought seeing Carrie Underwood singing "Sweet Child O' Mine" was excruciating. In comparison to Kellie, Carrie was practically Lita Ford. But back to Kellie, she also bumbled the words, singing in the beginning "Put a gun against his head/Hold my trigger now he's dead." I can understand messing up the words to almost any other Queen song, but "Bohemian Rhapsody" is one of the most popular songs ever! I have to hand it to Kellie, though. I think that she knows that her idiotic comments are her saving grace, and she pulled them out after that ridiculous performance ("Huh? On paper?" and "Ah don't have an accent!"), which will again keep her out of the bottom 3. I swear, one of these days, America is going to grow tired of her act, right???

Taylor Hicks was not train-wreck material vocally by any means, but some of his moves were. His failure to kick over the mic stand not once but twice epitomized everything I can't stand about him. I know that his liveliness/spazziness on stage is a good amount of his appeal, but I find that to be incredibly annoying. He looks like a fool up there. It's very Jon Peter Lewis-esque, but worse because he doesn't have the excuse of youthful exuberance because Taylor is 42 years old!

Everyone else performed credibly, with Elliott Yamin and Paris Bennett turning in great vocals with "Someone To Love" and "The Show Must Go On", respectively. Katharine McPhee had a few pitchy notes, but overall, I thought her "Who Wants To Live Forever" was really good. Eye-linered Chris Daughtry did his usual thing with the obscure "Innuendo" and showed a good amount of range, but, again, the judges try to prop him up with inaccurate facts. The reason why Queen has never sung "Innuendo" live before is because Freddie Mercury died soon after it was recorded. Idiots. Bucky Covington did a good job with "Fat-Bottomed Girls", but I think he's going to hit the seal tomorrow anyway, along with Ace and possibly Katharine or Chris, if you believe in DialIdol.com.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

No Southern Comfort For R&B Singers

Country night found AI5's resident R&B singers in the bottom 3 this week, none of whom had even seen the seal prior to this week. Mandisa was the unfortunate one to have to leave the show, and she was joined in the bottom 3 by Elliott Yamin and Paris Bennett.

Not to get all Elton John on everyone's ass here, but with next week's train-wreck waiting to happen - Queen night - Paris (who probably wasn't even born while Freddie Mercury was alive) looks doomed to follow in Mandisa's footsteps. Which would deprive the show of any kind of color to speak of.

What could Paris do to stay in the game? She could do a Fantasia-esque "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", or she could use that big voice and range to do "We Are The Champions". It couldn't possibly be worse than what JD Fortune did to that song. Heh.

A few predictions for next week: Chris closes the show (again); Ace sings "You're My Best Friend"; someone sings "Somebody To Love", maybe Katharine or Elliott. Hopefully the song choice of irony bites Kellie in the butt if she sings "Another One Bites The Dust".

Wednesday is supposed to mark the return of the group song. Yay! They cannot possibly top, however, the brilliance of the Jacob Hoggard/Shane Wiebe "Under Pressure" duet in the Canadian Idol 2 finale. Beat those falsetto notes, Ace! Actually, on second thought, please don't even try. My ears can't take your normal falsetto already.