Sunday, May 31, 2009

Video Of The Day - Eminem/Bruno MTV Stunt

The Twilight trailer was supposed to be the big story of the MTV Movie Awards, but I think Bruno (Sacha Baron Cohen's new character) just upstaged that with this little, er, visit he paid to Eminem in the stands (warning - could be offensive):



Staged marketing ploy for both guys or just Bruno? I dunno - judging by that long FCC-mandated silence, I think Eminem was seriously pissed. I heard he and his peeps left for real.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Video Of The Day - Diversity Wins BGT

Looks like America isn't the only country to not like being told by the judges and media who should win talent competitions. I totally saw this coming, btw. Dance group Diversity defeated world-wide internet sensation Susan Boyle on Britan's Got Talent today. Here is their winning routine:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Top 10 American Idol Season 8 Performances

Here's my annual list of Top 10 American Idol performances of the season. Not a lot of variety here - this list is dominated by Kris Allen, Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta, with a cameo apperance by Matt Giraud.

1. Kris Allen - Heartless
This was a game-changing moment. This was Kris Allen's version of the Immaculate Reception or The Catch or Kirk Gibson's home run in the 88 World Series. With Kris teetering on the verge of elimination and with the cards stacked against him, he pulled out this completely unexpected acoustic version of a current rap hit and quite possibly sealed the deal on his victory the next week.



2. Kris Allen - Falling Slowly
This song choice totally endeared Kris to me forever. Choosing this relatively obscure, indie movie song (albeit an Oscar-winning movie song) was a huge risk, but it was also so true to what Kris was as an artist. The way he sang this song - he just got it. He got the whole meaning and sentiment of the song and connected with it in such a moving way. And his subtle melodic change in one of the closing lines ("Falling slowly/Sing your melody") was absolutely gorgeous.



3. Adam Lambert - Tracks Of My Tears
Sometimes less is more, and this performance is what sold me on Adam. This came on the heels of his outrageous, sexed-up sitar-version of "Ring of Fire", after which I was thinking this guy is a trainwreck. And then he did "Tracks Of My Tears" and made me do a total 360. He proved he could do more than just entertain - this is where he proved he could SANG. Like Kris' "Heartless", this had an element of surprise in that no one saw this coming, and Adam's re-arrangement was beautifully sung and composed.



4. Allison Iraheta - Cry Baby (singout)
Best sing-out EVER. I'm still angry that Allison had to do this for her singout because she should never have been voted out the week that Danny Gokey Screamed On. Allison may have been sad as well, but she powered through her tears to really deliver one KICKASS and emotional vocal.

5. Kris Allen - Ain't No Sunshine (finale)
No one reprises songs in the finale and sounds better the second time around. Oh, except Kris Allen. His "Ain't No Sunshine" was phenomenal the first time around on Top 9 week, but he one-upped up it with his reprisal in the finale, this time sitting at a grand piano instead of keyboards and filling the 7,000-seat theater with his dramatic arrangement, his vocals and piano playing. And I normally hate this song.



6. Adam Lambert/Allison Iraheta - Slow Ride
This was the cutest thing ever - two pals having the times of their lives singing a cool rock song together ... and showing Danny Gokey how to sing together in a duet. Both Adam and Allison looked ecstatic to be on that stage together, and that adorable hug at the end of the performance will be one of the lasting images of the season.



7. Kris Allen - To Make You Feel My Love
This is the performance that swayed me towards Kris. I had no horse in the race at the time, and I began to back this horse after he chose one of my most favorite songs of all time. I love Adele's version, I love Garth Brooks' version, but I LOVE Kris Allen's version. The purity and sincerity in his voice is breathtaking. And in the live version, it was adorable how he kept looking to his right while singing. I think that's where his wife was sitting. That's pretty swoon-worthy, yo.



8. Kris Allen - She Works Hard For The Money
You would think that disco + Kris Allen would be tantamount to ketchup + (white) chocolate - not a good fit. But Kris is a smart cookie, and he turned what easily could have been a disaster into the best performance of the night, completely changing this Donna Summers dance song into a Santana-esque but totally KRIS jam. And the ending? KILLER.



9. Allison Iraheta - Papa Was A Rolling Stone
Singing in what I think was her only pimp slot, Allison tore this song up with powerful, funky vocals. Kara and Paula went nuts. As well they should have.



10t. Adam Lambert - Mad World
This is more for the cool, hipster factor more so than me actually loving this performance. Because I think this is kind of like my "Summertime" - it got so much hype that I feel like I should like it more than I actually did. Oh - kind of like Adam himself. Ahem. But, seriously, this was the type of performance that you rarely see on Idol - a cool, not-typical Idol-like song, strong and haunting vocals and a really dramatic performance, with lighting and staging thought out to the tee.



10t. Matt Giraud - So Small
This didn't quite grab me initially, perhaps because I was a little thrown by Matt doing a Carrie Underwood song, but what song did I end up humming the entire week after this show? This one. And so I gave it another listen, and another, and another (I highly recommend the studio version. It's really really good). Matt never really got a lot of credit for his arrangements, or his musicianship, or for doing current music. All of that was evident in this one song.



Bonus Grand Finale Top 5:

1. Adam/Kris/Queen
I'm sure lots of people would have loved it if the show just ended right after this moment, with Adam and Kris singing "We Are The Champions" with Queen and both of them winning. I think both of them said afterwards that this was their favorite moment of the season, that it was the culmination of everything and that no matter what they both won. It was a great moment indeed, with Kris taking the lower parts of the verses and Adam handling the huge notes in the meat of the song. Both of them sounded great (Adam's range is ridiculous), and they looked like kids in a candy store singing with Queen.

2. David Cook - Permanent
Singing for charity and in honor of his late brother, Cook somehow managed to get through this song without crying. I, however, had no such luck. You could hear the emotion in his voice, and I was gutted when he sang the line "Is there some way for me to take his (pause) place". That pause just got to me. Reminded me that no one before or after him has bared his heart and soul on the Idol stage as much as David Cook has. You have to admire that.

3. Alison/Cyndi Lauper
I was fully expecting them to sing "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" because I didn't think the Idol producers had the imagination to do anything else, but they not only did "Time After Time" instead but did the acoustic version. Gorgeous vocals from both of them. Kris Allen said in an interview that he was watching it backstage in tears. Somehow I think he wasn't the only one.

4. Kris/Keith Urban
Kris and Keith Urban up on stage together - two wee but hot guys playing guitar and singing - double your pleasure, double your fun! I was kind of WTF-ing when I heard about this pairing, but I actually LOVED the two of them together on "Kiss A Girl" and loved the song. And I am not a country fan in the least. I think Kris could be huge in country if he wanted to be (he doesn't).

5. Adam/KISS
For sheer spectacle and for Adam's stunningly beautiful vocal in "Beth", this probably should be 1 or 2. But once KISS kind of took over and Gene Simmons rolled his nasty tongue out, I kind of tuned out. I would rather have seen more Adam.

Kris Allen On Best Day Ever

Because I totally missed this last night, and this is the one show that VH1 doesn't repeat 20 times a week, here's Kris Allen on last night's Best Day Ever. He basically goes around singing different lines of "Apologize" after each clip. Kind of like Jimmy Fallon singing "All She Wants To Do Is Dance" during their entire interview. haha

Video Of The Day - Katharine McPhee Paparazzi Protection

Katharine McPhee was recently "rescued" from paparazzi by a homeless woman in Los Angeles. Video of that incident made it on TMZ and other gossip sites. Now, FunnyOrDie.com has made a spoof video commercial featuring Kat and the woman, Qwueen. It's hilarious.

Familiar Faces Return For SYTYCD Auditions In LA, Seattle

The final audition show of So You Think You Can Dance went to Los Angeles and Seattle, and Los Angeles, in particular, saw the return of several former contestants who didn't make the Top 20 last year.

Los Angeles Auditions

Tapper Bianca Revels returns after being one of the last cuts last season. I couldn't tell you how she did because my cable crapped out, but she made it to Vegas.

Siblings Brynelle and Xavier Blanton like to hold hands, so I somehow doubt that partner dancing is going to be as akward for them as it is for everyone watching. Their actual dancing, to Beyonce's "My Heart Still Beats" is also quite awkward. The judges say Brynelle dances like a four-year old. Ouch. They both get sent home, where I am sure they will comfort each other.

Debra Lawson trashes around all dramatically about the stage, dancing to "Breathe Me" by Sia. She has some conflicts between her Judaism and dancing, and Adam Shankman tells her that God would not ask her to give that up. They do not send her through, however.

Suzanne Fernandez does a "fairy medicine dance", and Nigel asks her what she's on ("joy", she says). We then get John Fleming, who has on mime makeup, and Michael Han, an overweight male ballet dancer dancing on pointe while wearing a tank top and track pants. Neither of the three go through.

Thirty year-old Calico Sequiera lindy hops to "Stuff Like That There" (oh how I wish they had done studio versions of songs in season 1 of American Idol so we could have a Kelly Clarkson recording of this). Nigel loves her personality but not so much her dancing on a competition level; she's more of a social dancer. Adam Shankman says in his critique that he would love to dance with her, and she calls his bluff and invites him up there. I love that the judges actually can show why they are the experts, unlike that other show (coughSimonCowell). They give Shankman the full contestant treatment, putting up his name, hometown and age (21-ish). LOL. Then Nigel calls up Joshua Allen, Katee Shean, Lauren Gottlieb and Comfort Fedoke up to judge. Shankman reminds Joshua he put him through, so he gets his ticket to Vegas and runs out the room shrieking for the cameras. SO HILARIOUS.

Asian ballroom dancers Ricky Sun and Asuka Kondoh return from last season. They made it through last year, and this year's routine to "Mercy" by Duffy is good enough to make it again. The judges were fixated on Asuka, but I was pleased that they (ok, well maybe not Shankman) gave Ricky his just due because he was much improved from last year, and I had my eyes trained on him more than her.

Also going to Vegas was the "Naughty Ballerina", Devin Oshiro from last year and another familiar face, but the producers couldn't bother to put their names up. WTF?

Nathan Trasoras reminds me of Ricky Palomino from Season 3. He dances to "Pollen and Salt" by Daphne Loves Derby, and he's AMAZING. He has so much control with his spins and interprets the music so well. But he's only 17 and not eligible to compete this season. Luckily, Season 6 starts in the fall, and he'll be old enough by then, so Nigel gives him an automatic ticket to Vegas for next season.

Former wrestler Sammy Ramirez is a popper with cool moves and a red mohawk that he even incorporated into his choreography. He has a really expressive face and an adorable smile. Shankman LOVES him and was totally crossing his fingers that he knew other dance styles. They send him to choreography, and he makes it through.

Stacy House does a really spaztic dance to "Sweet Dreams" by the Eurythmics. I think I saw the robot in that dance. I really don't know WTF that was. She says that she lives on a farm. Ah, that explains it all. She gets denied.

Amanda Kerby's dad has been living with MS for 13 years and has been her inspiration. Lots of tears and all that while they film the backstory. She dances to "Breathe Me" by Sia, and she has some great moves. She does a lot of intricate things within her spins too. Pervy Uncle Nigel leers over her and even tells her that her beauty is grabbing him more than her dance. Ew. Needless to say, she's going to Vegas.

Phillip Chbeeb is back for another year. Last year he was unable to compete in Vegas due to illness, and this year he doesn't even have to audition, getting stopped by Nigel during warmups to give him a ticket to Vegas. He does get his turn on stage, however, dancing with his friend Arielle Coker (another Vegas-stage contestant from last year). Despite their obvious dance differences (he's a popper, she's contemporary), they dance to "Moonburn" by Craig Lyons, and she does enough to get through, despite the judges spending a lot of time praising Phillip, who wasn't supposed to be judged.

Three women are briefly shown and sent to the choreography round. Alexie Agdeppa danced to "Make You Feel My Love" by Adele. I'd give her a ticket just for that. Actually, I am not sure why she had to do choreography, but she gets her ticket to Vegas. Diana Vaden also goes through. Chanel Smith, danced to Celine Dion's "Then You Look At Me" but gets cut at the choreography round.

Kevin "Shakiro" Cormier looks like he will be a trainwreck, and he is, dancing as if he's trying to hula, samba and hip-hop all at once to "Magalenha" by Sergio Mendes. Oh lord. Bye bye.

Seattle Auditions (aka the audition city of suck)

Christopher Keller dances with a friend, who is not auditioning. He claims the judges will see his charisma and light-heartedness. What they instead saw was him and his friend both pulling some pretty unintentionally hilarious faces while dancing to "True Romance" by She Wants Revenge (thanks for the correction, TangoPoet) and looking like they could barely stand to touch each other. Christopher said they were trying to tell a story about gender roles and dominance. LOL ok.

"Nick Nasty" Salzman does a high-energy breaking routine but loses steam about one minute in. He tries to slide across the stage on his head but fails, and then he cuts his routine short. Then he talks his way out of a yes into a no by dissing Nigel. Oops! C-ya.

B-boy Dmitrious Bistrevsky is 6-foot-6 and all kinds of awkward trying to do these tricks to some demonic-sounding music. Perhaps because he's only been doing this for three months. He should have played sports instead with his size. No-s all around.

After highlights from a bunch of bad auditions, you just know the next person they really show is going to be outstanding. That person is Kelsea Taylor, who is rocking the Amy Whinehouse big hair a little bit and dancing to "Tore My Heart" by Oona. She was entertaining and unique, but the judges sent her to choreography before letting her through to Vegas.

On Day 2, Kuponohi'ipoi "Pono" Aweau is totally this year's Mark Kanemura (which I said before Nigel) - Hawaiian, contemporary/quirky dancing, unusual hair. He dances to "Wasted Time" by Me'Shell Ndegeocello. He goes to the choreography round and then to Vegas.

More unnamed dancers move on, and I guess the producers can't bother to name them because they have a segment with Sex coming up. Oh goodness.

Leonid Kynoshov does some bizarre aerobic-ish routine that mostly consisted of footwork early on and then just him jumping and marching around. He claims to have studied all types of styles. And if by study he means caught a glimpse of it on tv once, then ok! Mia wants a battle between him and Sex, and they hype it up with a boxing analogy and setup - "Sex with Leo". Normally I'd be cursing them for letting him get on TV again, but this battle to "Right Round" by FloRida was hysterical. Sex won round 1 with a body wave. Round 2 was a draw, then in round 3, Leo's two jump turns gave him the lead, while Sex did a worm but then petered out. Mia and Mary gave the win to Leo, but Nigel called it for Sex and then lost his mind, allowing him to go to the choreography round with the caveat that this would be the last chance for him. And he had no chance and got dismissed.

Next week is Vegas week!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kris Allen On Jimmy Fallon Show

Kris Allen was a guest on Jimmy Fallon's show Wednesday night. As if the totally hilarious interview wasn't enough (LOL at Jimmy Fallon singing "All She Wants To Do Is Dance" the entire time), Kris sang "Heartless" right there on the couch and SLAYED it. It sounded even better than it did on the show.



This video doesn't show the segment after Kris with comedian/host Chris Hardwick, which was also hilarious. They talked briefly about how Kris used to watch Singled Out. Chris was all "The American Idol watched my show in the mid-90's?! Unbelievable! You must have been a toddler" and then he did an impression of "toddler Kris" talking about Jenny McCarthy's boobs. Ha!

Video Of The Day - Kris/Adam Top Bunk Joke

Today's Video of the Day can't wait until the morning because this is seriously one of the funniest things I've seen in Kradam-land. Kris Allen and Adam Lambert are asked by Us Magazine who gets the top bunk on the Idol tour bus. Hijinks and innuendo ensue.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

SYTYCD - Bienvenido A Miami (And Memphis)

The So You Think You Can Dance Season 5 auditions continued Tuesday in Miami and Memphis. First up was Miami:

Tony Riendeau dances to "Footloose", and his style is "the Tony style", which he describes as rubber band-ish. A more apt description would have been "lame". And he was awfully clumsy and clunky for someone who was supposed to be rubber band-ish. He gets sent home, but not before Tyce Diorio took his "that was baaaaaad" critique way too far. Nigel claims he would have said yes. Sure, Nigel.

Contemporary dancer Priscilla Marrero looks like Katy Perry to me, but Priscilla is WAY talented. As Nigel said, she has great lines. And she's also very musical. All of the judges love her, and she gets a ticket to Vegas.

Janette Manrara and Romulo Villaverde auditioned last year. She made it to the end but was cut, and he got cut immediately. Dancing to "Oye Como Va", they do ridiculously hard tricks, including this back split lift thing that is insane. Their actual dancing is strong too, and Janette has legs that go on forever. They get a scream from Mary, who threatens to kill Nigel if he doesn't send them to Vegas, and they both get tickets to Vegas this year.

Twins Jennifer and Jessica Guadix try out together, and you just know immediately that they are going to be joke auditioners. They do I have no idea what to "Krazy" by Pitbull, and it's seriously awful. They say they made it up in one day. Gee, you think?

Joseph Smith said he was going to "sha-wham" or "sha-wizz-am" the judges. His fellow contestants give him a standing O. The judges enjoyed the comedy and hip-hop dancing, although Tyce said he was only half-impressed. They let him go to the choreography round, where he does well enough to go to Vegas. He gets his sha-wizz-am from Cat Deeley.

Wislande Letang dances in a really atrocious outfit, and I feel like she's doing half drill team moves, half stripper moves, all of which were half-assed. Wow. And LOL at Mary for saying she was dancing for Nigel and not her or Tyce. Did Wislande really admit it was garbage? At least she's honest!

Dancing to "Thriller", Eric "Silky" Moore is trying to bring tap back. I actually liked his hip hop and breaking better, actually. The tapping with the music kind of distracts me. But he gets a ticket to Vegas because Nigel's apparently loving the tappers this year.

Miss Washington, Paris Torres, does a balletic dance to a slowed-down, quirky version of "Toxic" by Yael Naim. I thought I saw her stumble out of a turn early on. Nigel and Mary loved her, but Tyce gave her constructive criticism on concentrating too much on her legs. He wanted her to go to choreography first, but he was overruled by Mary and Nigel, who sent her through to Vegas.

They did a montage set to "Take Me On The Floor" by the Veronicas of three dancers going straight to Vegas - Henry Rivero, Megan Kinney and Alex Wong. Then African dancer Geo Smith, wearing a huge headdress, jumped off the stage and scared Mary. He looked straight out of the Lion King stage show. The judges liked him but wanted him to go to choreography first, where he earned his ticket to Vegas.

Talia Rickards is doing an audition for the first time in over two years because in 2006, her husband died in a motorcycle accident. Oh no it's the female Danny Gokey, except she gave herself some time and space to grieve, unlike the aforementioned. The way she dances kind of reminds me of a cheerleader, like she could be dancing for the Miami Heat or something, and although Tyce didn't think she had enough to go through and Nigel and Mary both said her dance didn't go anywhere and that it had no substance, they let her through to choreography. And she got through to Hollywood. This really IS like Gokey all over again.

Memphis Auditions

Police officer Marico Flake dances Memphis Jukin'. Never heard of it, but it's awesome. Every little move went in time with the beat to the song ("Everlasting Bass" by Rodney O & Joe Cooley). Loved it! They try to fake him out by saying no to choreography, but I knew they'd give him a ticket to Vegas instead.

Dustin Dorough claims to be Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough's cousin. Somewhere in obscurity, Howie is going "Oh hells no!" Dustin does his "hip hop" dance to Lady GaGa's "Poker Face", and Lady GaGa also says "Oh hells no." As do the judges. Dustin tries to give the flu/bronchitis excuse, but he gets set home.

Chris Carrozza is a total hippie with dreads flying around all over the place, plus some super-flared but too short bell-bottom pants. He basically just bounces around and does little else. Um, ok! He starts to walk away before hearing all of the judges' critiques, which really pisses Nigel off. Heh. I'm all for pissing Nigel off sometimes.

Caitlin Kinney's sister Megan got a ticket to Vegas in Miami, and she would like to join her there. Caitlyn, a former gymnast who had hip reconstructive surgery, dances to "Winter Song" by Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson (which, btw, is now No. 69 on iTunes as of 7:45 am PT Thursday) and is amazing. Her turns are immaculate. Nigel cannot stop spouting superlatives. She's totally through to Vegas.

Anna Dunn's father committed suicide a year ago. I'm fully expecting her to go through with the pimp packaging. She also dances to "Winter Song". Bad editing on the producers' part to do this right after Caitlin's. Nigel and Mary get on her about her head thrashing, but they let her through to choreography, after which she gets her ticket.

Travis Prokop is from Texico, New Mexico (lol). His dad is the football coach at the high school. I sense a "I love my dead gay son" edit coming on. He dances to John Legend's "This Time", and it's really not that great. Nigel and Mary like his potential but want him to get stronger. Lil' C says he has the height of a giraffe but the strength of a hamster. They send him to the choreography round, where he goes through to Vegas.

Brothers Evan and Ryan Kasprzak came together but want to audition separately. I remember Evan from last year - he was the Gene Kelly guy who got cut late in Vegas. He's even better than I remember! He did a jazzy number to "The Best Is Yet To Come". He will kill it with Broadway numbers, if the judges get past thinking he's going to have trouble adapting to other styles. They let him through straight to Vegas because they know he can do choreography. Yay! Ryan taps with no music and uses a whoopee cushion as a prop and for noises. The judges are thoroughly entertained, and Mary and Lil' C let him straight through to Vegas as well.

Twins Lauren and Lydia Guerra dance together to 3 Doors Down's "It's The Only One You've Got". It's really stupid for them to dance together because it's not as if they're going to do partnering with each other on the show. They compliment each other well, but when you separate them, they each have faults. They get sent to choreography, where they both make it through.

I like that they are showing us more actual good dancers this year than in past years. My favorites from this episode were Marico Flake, Evan Kasprzak, Caitlin Kinney and Priscilla Marrero. Tomorrow is Los Angeles and Seattle ... and the return of Sex. Again. Ugh.

Video Of The Day - Adam Lambert's Pink Elephant

Adam Lambert gets asked by TV Guide about the elephant in the room. His reply? "That elephant, man, it's pink, isn't it?" BWAH!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Video Of The Day - Taylor Swift/John Mayer

John Mayer joined Taylor Swift onstage at her concert Friday night at the Staples Center. They sang together on "White Horse" (below) and "Your Body Is A Wonderland". Lucky concert-goers!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Video Of The Day - Diversity

Everyone's talking about Susan Boyle in the Britain's Got Talent competition, but I found this dance crew, Diversity, to be so much more exciting:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Video Of The Day - Michael Johns On Ellen

Michael Johns sings his new single "Heart On My Sleeve" on Ellen. I don't think I've ever heard him sound better.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Video Of The Day - Kris Allen On Ellen

Kris Allen sings an acoustic version of "No Boundaries" on Ellen, which airs Tuesday. Acoustic is definitely his niche. If he had been able to do it like this on the finale, I can't imagine how big of a margin of victory it would have been. And allegedly it already was a large margin, as Billy Bush reported on Access Hollywood. I can believe it because if it was close, they definitely would have made mention of that on the show, like they did with Ruben and Clay.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Video Of The Day - Kris Allen On Leno

Kris Allen was a guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night. He's a total charmer here - funny, relaxed and still humble. He and Leno talk about how Simon said to hide the wife, and Kris says that Katy said the same thing and that they had to get him votes somehow (ha!). They also joke around about him dropping out of school, and Kris tells the story about how he proposed to his wife. I wish he had time to explain a little more about the proposal because from what I read, it's seriously the sweetest thing EVER. Seriously.

SYTYCD Is Back!

I love how Fox goes right from the American Idol finale right to the season premiere of So You Think You Can Dance the very next day. The season starts out with auditions in NYC and Denver, and these are the dancers they focused on:

New York Auditions
Gabi Rojas was raised in the circus, has rheumatoid arthritis, and her body is deteriorating. She dances like a Cirque dancer. Very cool. She gets a standing ovation and a plane ticket to Vegas.

Storyboard-P and Hobgoblin pioneered the "mutation" genre that Ringmasters did on America's Best Dance Crew. Except they do a whole lot less dancing and much more menacing posing than Ringmasters. They get to go to the choreography round but quit pretty quickly.

Katherine (Crazy Kate) Leach looks way too old for this competition, partially because of her white Mom jeans and her old dance partner. She's doing West Coast Swing to Janet Jackson's "Feedback", and it looks like she's teaching a dance class at a senior citizen's home. Err bye.

Peter Sabasino is from a large Italian family, and the producers hit all the stereotypes when they show him eating spaghetti at a big family dinner, with dad talking like Tony Soprano. Rolls eyes. Peter is a tap dancer, and he comes out tapping while wearing a wife beater, basketball shorts and tube socks. Lovely. Nigel Lythgoe loved him, Mary Murphy hated his outfit, Tabitha and Napoleon liked him, and for once they send a non-contemporary dancer straight to Vegas.

Tiffany Geigel has a severe spine disorder (she has only 3 vertebrae) and a distorted body because of it. She was supposed to not make it through the night when she was born, but she's still alive 23 years later. And she's actually an amazing dancer given all of her limitations. She gets mad love and actually also some honest criticism, which I pleasantly surprised me since Nigel can get condescending with stuff like this. She gets sent home with respect, however.

Maksim Kapitannikov uses season 3's Faina to help him audition with a cha cha. You know SYTYCD loves their Russian ballroom dancers. He's not on a Pasha level, but he's solid. Nigel likes his lack of mugging (which seems to be a big pet peeve for him). Mary likes his partnering skills. NappyTabs agreed, and they send him to the choreography round. It looked like he messed up there, but they let him go to Vegas anyway.

Nobuya Nagahama does a bunch of different styles (locking, vogueing, "funk jazz") in his audition, which is entertaining and charismatic. The judges appreciate his well-roundedness and comedy, and they send him to the choreography round, where he gets his ticket to Vegas.

Arielle Taylor made it to Vegas in Season 3 when she was still in high school. I love the music she auditioned with. A quick Google search said it's called "Walking On" by the Blaire Reinhard Band. She gets through to Vegas again. Maybe this will be her year to make the Top 20.

Thomas Martin looks like a mime to me and has zero emotion while he does a Bolero to Destiny's Child's "Emotion" that makes the judges giggle. Fail.

Nina Estrina and Igor Zabrodin are Latin ballroom partners doing a cha cha with a trick at the end. Not sure what Mary called it, but it basically looks like he's spinning her on one knee really super fast at the end. They are a good pair, and Nigel sends them to choreography because they're not contemporary dancers. Rolls eyes again. Igor makes it to Vegas, but Nina does not.

Kellen Stancil does a very heart-felt dance to "Like I Am" by Rascal Flatts. He dances with an umbrella and has the judges mesmerized. Mary asks him what the umbrella represents to him, and he starts crying and says his aunt just passed away and goes into a nice analogy about how an umbrella covers you and comforts you and gives you the feeling that you're safe and can do whatever you want. Vegas-bound!

Chimezie Nwosu totally reminds me of Twitch. He has a Twitch style of dancing - very musical and comedic, and he even dances to Wade Robson's "I Question Mark", which I think Twitch did a solo to. Nigel sends him to choreography, where he earns a ticket to Vegas.

Denver Auditions

Kayla Radomski gets a pimp package, so I'm pretty sure she'll be advancing fairly far. She dances to "Blackbird" and has interesting movement that the judges loved. Yep, Vegas.

Sonya Tayeh loves all the female contemporary dancers, as shown in a montage. But will she love the male-male ballroom pair of Misha Belfer and Mitch Kibel? One is straight, one is gay, btw. That's pretty cool. They dance to that Black Eyed Peas song that all the Latin ballroom dancers use, "Mas Que Nada". Their dancing doesn't seem to be so much in sync, and then it falls off the tracks when they take a huge tumble. Oops! Blades of Glory, indeed. They are allowed to do choreography but are promptly cut there.

Allison Moist auditions to the Star Wars theme with a lion get-up and light sabers. WTF?! And, like with Sex every year, Nigel complains about these joke auditioners. And it's so stupid because he doesn't actually have to let them get that far.

Elias Holloway brings his little brother Enoch to help him out, and they do some Robert Muraine-like moves with too-short t-shirts. The judges enjoy them and send Elias to choreography, but he gets cut there.

And finally the show closes with Brandon Bryant and Natalie Reid, who were the last cuts from last season. Top 2! I call it right now. Natalie auditions to "Breakdown More" by Eric Hutchinson, and Sonya is dry-heaving and having an orgasm. Natalie makes it through, of course. As does Brandon, who is ridiculously talented and amazing and dramatic, dancing to "Carmina Burana". Mary says she'll just die if he doesn't make it to the Top 20. Um, hello? You pretty much have control of that! So barring injury or disaster, he's a lock. And I hope I didn't just jinx him. Eep!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Listen To Kris Allen Single No Boundaries

Not to endorse Kara DioGuardi's songwriting, but here's a link to hear Kris Allen's studio version of "No Boundaries", at PopEater.com.

Much better than what we heard on Tuesday. I still hate that Kris has to sing this for the rest of the year, but hey ... KRIS ALLEN IS THE AMERICAN IDOL. Oh. Em. Gee.

Live Blogging The AI8 Finale

7:03 pm - Ha. Kris and Adam are laughing because Kris has to sing this shitty song. He sounds so much better than last night. You get it, Pocket Idol! Yeah!!! Aww he's crying on his wife's shoulder. Awww!

7:02 pm - And the winner is ... KRIS! Who says "Are you freakin' serious!" and "I'm sorry but Adam deserves this." And he gets a trophy! Ha! He is too cute for words. WOW. He beat the Knoll!

6:55 pm - DUET! "We Are The Champions"! WITH QUEEN! And a choir! SWEET! Awww I'm so glad Kris finally got to duet with a fellow contestant who shows him respect and looks him in the eye, DANNY GOKEY. Kradam 4-eva! haha

6:48 pm - Before the results, the last Golden Idol (I'm going to cut a bitch if we don't get a Kris-Adam duet!). It's Tatiana time!

6:43 pm - "Do You Think I'm Sexy" with the guys in dark suits. Do I? Hmm ... Kris and Adam sure. The rest of you? Not so much. Adam introduces Rod Stewart, who comes out in an ugly plaid jacket singing "Maggie May". And you can see Carrie Underwood in the audience with her usual side-to-side dancing. LOL. Bo Bice singing along in the audience! OK this solo is going on too long. Bring out the boys!

6:33 pm - Carlos Santana starts with a guitar solo, and then Matt Giraud comes in on "Black Magic Woman" and sounds great - no over-embellishments for once. Then "Smooth", finally gives Adam a new-ish song to sing! And Kris dancing! Aaah! Who knew?! Then we get a video of David Cook giving Adam and Kris new Ford Fusions, which segues into the last Ford commercial, with Kris and Adam singing "I Will Remember You" (Ryan Cabrera, I think?). And they both sound fantastic on this song.

Next up is Michael Sarver and Megan Joy get to sing some bluegrass-y song called "Pretty Flowers" with Steve Martin and his banjo. Michael sounds nice. Megan sounds completely different! At times, it's good, at times, it's a hot mess. That's Megan in a nutshell.

6:22 pm - Adam video showcases his confidence and daringness. The video ends with the line "That was when I ruled the world." Hmm ... Oh wow that is quite the costume. He sounds great singing "Beth". That was a great vocal. And then we get pyro and hydrolics and KISS and "Detroit Rock City" and "Rock And Roll All Night". This is so fitting - 70's/80's Glam Rock for the Glambert. And I still don't see where he fits into the current music scene. He does put on a hell of a show, though!

6:10 pm - Allison and Cyndi Lauper sing the acoustic "Time After Time", with Allison doing the Sarah McLachlan part with a ton more edge than Sarah. That was great. Ryan goes to talk to the families. Lots more talk with the oh-so-cute Allens than the Lamberts. Hmmm ...

And now we have Danny Gokey singing "Hello". Other than the big gulps of air, Danny sounds really good on this song. He then introduces Lionel Richie, who duets with Danny on some reggae-lite song I have never heard and then "All Night Long". Oh yay (?) we get dancing Danny. And dancing Paula. Danny sounded good and did some nice harmonizing, but I can totally see the big chasm between Kris/Adam and him.

5:56 pm - More Golden Idols. "Best Attitude". Oh no it's Bikini Girl, and of course she's skanked out in her bikini. Noticed that none of the female swaybots are applauding in the pit. Zinger for Seacrest! "I'd ask you what's new, but I think I know." Ryan has her sing, and she is even worse than in her audition. And then Kara comes out and shows her what's up, outsinging her thoroughly and then tearing off her dress and revealing her own bikini. BWAH!!!! I think I forgive Kara for "No Boundaries" now. Pwned!

5:50 pm - Eww the girls are singing "Glamorous". It sounds a hot mess. And Fergie joins them with "Big Girls Don't Cry". She sounds a hot mess also. What a perfect fit. Why is Allison only doing intros? Give the girl some solos! LMAO at Megan "dancing" in the aisle at the beginning of Black Eyed Peas. And WTF - Censors! If you know the song has lyrics you can't air, don't have them sing it!

5:41 pm - After a video of Kris Allen's journey, he comes out to sing "Kiss A Girl" with Keith Urban. Um, why are they putting him in a country box? Oh ... maybe because he sounds freakin' awesome?! Wow, where did that falsetto come from?! This is FANTASTIC. And he is more than holding his own onstage with Keith Urban. This is about as happy and comfortable as I've seen Kris onstage. BRAVO.

5:35 pm - Anoop Dogg and Alexis Grace open up the first verse of "I'm Yours" before introducing Jason Mraz, and I really don't understand why he's here and not singing with Kris! Wow, Alexis sounds great. She really got screwed at not making the tour.

5:30 pm - Oh no they're doing the Idol awards again. They show a bunch of unmemorable bad auditions, but then they get to Norman Gentle, and you know it's about to get good. He is really freakin' hilarious (and so hilariously out of tune). HA! Seacrest put on his glasses and headband. He's so adorkable. Lil Rounds is singing "Cue the Rain" with Queen Latifah, who is wearing one really unflattering outfit. This performance reminds me how many steps back Lil took after the semifinals, when she totally seemed like a viable modern r&b artist. This is the first time she's given off that vibe since she did "Be Without You" soooo long ago.

5:22 pm - I missed the first 15 minutes of the show due to traffic, but luckily I got to what I know will be one of the highlights of the night - David Cook singing "Permanent", the song he wrote about his late brother. I can't believe he is able to sing this song so soon after his death, and without sobbing (like me!). You can hear the emotion in his voice, though. The line "Is there some way for me to take his place" ... I about lost it right there. Simon was quick to get to his feet to give Cook a standing ovation. That was more than well-deserved. So beautiful. The song will be on iTunes after the show, with all proceeds going to his charity, ABC2 (Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure).

Video Of The Day - AI Judges Parody

Check out the impersonations of the Idol judges in this video. The Randy impression is DEAD ON.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Karanation Song = Massive Fail

Most people came into tonight's American Idol finale with their favorites already in hand - either Kris Allen or Adam Lambert. Now, I feel like a lot of them are hoping it's anyone but their guy after hearing the horrific massive failure of Kara DioGuardi's co-written coronation song, "No Boundaries".

Oh. My. God. Give me "Do I Make You Proud" and "This Is My Now" any day of the week. I feel for whichever poor sap wins and has to sing this song all the fucking time.

The judges didn't come out and say it, but they pretty much gave the night to Adam. I call it a draw if you take out the last song. No one should be judged on that song, and even Kara said as much.

Here's how I saw it:

Round 1 (Reprise):

Adam - Mad World
Oh wow, I don't think that opening package helped Adam. The screaming is a negative for a lot of people. That was quite a dramatic entrance with the lift and the fog. LOL it is kind of Phantom-esque. I think Adam had a tactical error here in picking this song. It was going to be hard to top his earlier performance of this, and this wasn't as good as the last time. However, it was still very good. The ending, though, sounded a bit off. Aww I think I saw Katy Allen giving Adam a standing O. I love the Allens.

Kris - Ain't No Sunshine
Kris is as cute as can be. Music coupons? Awww. As my friend David said, "Someone forgot to buy mom a present!" Ha! Wow, this is a rarity - a reprise that's actually better than the original. Props, Kris Allen. His use of nuances and dynamics and his phrasing are fantastic.

Winner: Kris

Round 2 (Simon Fuller choice):

Adam - A Change Is Gonna Come
Vocally, he really sounds amazing. He didn't take it too far with the high notes, and his lower register sounded good. It was his most balanced vocal performance of the year, I think. I didn't, however, feel the connection to the song. When you think about Syesha singing this last year, if anything you FELT it from her.

Kris - What's Goin' On
I really like what he did with the song, although it did seem a bit too much like She Works Hard For The Money. I don't like the criticism for not being big enough for the stage because what COULD he do with that song to make it bigger while still staying true to himself? Plus, it's not like he picked the song!

Winner: Adam (but not by 1 million percent!)

Round 3 (Craptastic coronation song):

Adam - No Boundaries
Oh my god. This song is awful. Awful lyrics, no melody. And Adam is really pitchy with this song. Oddly, though, I felt like he connected with this song better than the last. But I'd like to know what happened to flashy rocker Adam tonight? Three slow songs tonight? Yikes. They've already homogeonized him.

Kris - No Boundaries
Oh my god. This song is awful. Awful lyrics, but I think this might be more palatable and melodic in Kris' style. The beginning sounded pretty good, but once he hit the too-high chorus, he struggled to reach the high notes. This is not in his range at all. He made the best decision to not rely on backup singers. Adam should have learned his lesson after Cryin'. I didn't like either performance, and I hope to never hear this song again after tomorrow, from either of them.

Winner: No winners here. Just losers. Especially Kara DioGuardi.

Ranking the performances:
1. Kris - Ain't No Sunshine
2. Adam - A Change Is Gonna Come
3. Adam - Mad World
4. Kris - What's Goin' On

BIG GAP

Dead Last: Adam & Kris - No Boundaries

HUGE CHASM

Kara DioGuardi and her co-writers

Video Of The Day - Michael Johns Single Ladies

Michael Johns doing his own version of "Single Ladies" by Beyonce:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Kris vs. Adam - Who Will Win?

I was going to write this big long thing about why I think Kris Allen is going to win American Idol this week (by nabbing the Danny Gokey and anti-Adam Lambert votes), but in light of the comments made by both Kris and Adam in today's press conference, I'll just stop right there. I don't want to contribute to the idiocy and the prejudices of some people out there. Nor do I want to dismiss Kris' talent and tenacity and awesomeness by saying that these other outside factors are going to get him votes. I will instead just let the finalists' words speak for themselves.

From press conference video on the MyFoxOrlando:

Kris: "For me, I hope that having the 'Christian vote' doesn't help with anything. I hope it has to do with your talent and the performance that you give and the package that you have. It's not about religion and all that kind of stuff."

Adam: "This is a singing competition, not a church thing. I would hope that people vote based on what they like to hear. I don't think it has anything to do with your religious background, what color you are, your gender. It doesn't have anything to do with that. It's about music. That's really important to keep that in mind."

Kris: "Yes. Please."

Psst, hey Kris ... If you really want people to only vote based on talent and performance, you might want to stop saying sweet, awesome shit like that or people will vote for you because you're a total sweetheart, mmkay? ;)

So anyway, my confidence in a Kris win (aka seeing the judges and producers heads explode) has dimmed slightly since last Wednesday, but I still think he will pull off the upset. I am not voting for him for any other reason than the simple fact that I have truly enjoyed everything he has done this season (well, maybe not "All She Wants To Do Is Dance". heh). I'm not voting for him because he's cute (although he is VERY cute). I'm not voting for him because he's Christian (I could care less, and he hasn't talked about it at all anyway!). I'm not voting for him because I hate Adam (I like Adam!) or because I hate the manipulation and pimping (I do hate that, but I wouldn't vote for, say, Gokey because of it). I'm voting for Kris because I like Kris. I like his music. I like his taste in music. I like his style of music. I like the way he sings. I like the emotions he puts into his singing. I like his artistry. I like the way he makes songs his own. Simple as that.

Freestyles Suck On DwtS Finale

Once again, the freestyle portion of the Dancing with the Stars finale disappointed, and I don't like the fact that the last thing you see before you vote has NOTHING to do with what you've been seeing all season - ballroom dancing.

The show started with a paso doble face-off, with Shawn Johnson, Melissa Rycroft and Gilles Marini all performing to "So What" (which ... LOL. Again with the bad song choices!). Shawn did the steps right but lacked the emotional connection to the dance. Melissa lacked both. She royally screwed up a bunch of steps in her routine and looked foolish trying to make an aggressive face. Gilles was perfect in both technical steps and passion. He got 10s from all judges. Melissa ridiculously got 10s from Bruno and Carrie Ann and a 9 from Len. Shawn got two 9s and a 10 from Bruno. Seriously, Bruno? Everyone was perfect?!

Then the freestyle round. As far as I'm concerned, there's only been one really good freestyle in the history of this show - Drew and Cheryl's "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy". Most of the other freestyles have been awkward hip-hop dancing or cheesy disco. So really, this year's freestyle didn't disappoint because they were exactly what I was expecting - BLAH.

Shawn and Mark came out looking like the Jabbawockeez and then proceeded to do what looked to be a Broadway-type of dance with a few hip-hop moves and flips. It looked so disjointed to me. Energetic yes, but manic. I did not enjoy it, but all three judges gave them 10s. Uhh ok. I wasn't expecting much from Melissa because her partner Tony killed Stacy Keibler's chances in Season 2 with a lame and safe disco freestyle. Tony chose hip-hop this time (to "Gonna Make You Sweat"). The lifts and tricks were impressive; the hip-hop dancing was NOT. Especially from Tony. Just so awkward. They got all 9s. I figured Cheryl would be the saving grace because her freestyle with Drew was so awesome, and her freestyle with Emmitt Smith was memorable as well. I liked her and Gilles' freestyle (to "Flashdance") best of the three tonight as a package (music, choreography, flow, dancing), but it was still a bit of a letdown. It's not really fair to judge it based on what Cheryl has done before because we're judging Gilles, not her, but you can't help but be letdown by the choreography a little because it wasn't very flashy and didn't have as many tricks as the others. But it was still good. Carrie Ann and Bruno were disappointed and gave them 9s, while Len gave them a 10.

So the combined score of the two dances have Gilles and Shawn in a tie for first with 58. Melissa is third with 56. It will be a close call in tomorrow's finale. Shawn came in with the most fans, so I have to imagine she's got a bit of an edge. I think Gilles should win; he's been fantastic all season.

Idol Finale Rumors

According to a blog post on Our Lady Peace's MySpace, David Cook will be singing "Permanent" on Wednesday's Idol grand finale, and the song will be available on iTunes after the show, with all proceeds going to charity for brain tumor research. I'm not positive, but this might be the first time he sings this song live since the passing of his brother Adam, for whom the song was written. Pass me the Kleenex already.

Also performing on Wednesday's grand finale are:
Black Eyed Peas
Cyndi Lauper (duet with Allison?)
Queen Latifah
Jason Mraz (per his website)
Lionel Richie (I can see him dueting with Danny and Danny trying to dance. haha)
Carlos Santana
Keith Urban (allegedly dueting with Kris)

Carrie Underwood will sing "Home Sweet Home" at the end of Tuesday's show.

The word at Joe's Place Blog is that the coronation song was co-written by Kara DioGuardi and is called "This Is How I Want To Be". Damn, I was hoping for "I Believe I'm Proud And Flying Without Wings Now In My Moment In Time". The finalists are allowed to re-arrange the song but not play instruments.

And when they say the finalists are not allowed to play instruments, they mean Kris is not allowed to play an instrument. I personally think he needs to do at least one song sans instrument to show that it's not a crutch, so I'm okay with that, but I can see how it could be construed to be unfair to Kris.

Ryan Seacrest also said on Larry King Live Friday that the first round of the finale is the contestant's favorite song from this season (my guesses are Adam - Mad World or Black Or White; Kris - Ain't No Sunshine or Falling Slowly). Second round is a song chosen by Simon Fuller. Last round is the coronation song. I don't like that they would have to sing it back to back because ... boring much? If they have the same song, they should do it in different rounds, like in Season 1.

Video Of The Day - Kris Allen Swooned Jamie Foxx

From the Ellen show, around the 3:30 mark, Jamie Foxx talks about mentoring the American Idols. He says Adam Lambert could go stratosphere and that Kris Allen "swooned" him. Yeah, join the club, mmkay?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

TV Guide's Sexiest Idols List

I was flipping channels around today and came across a show on the TV Guide Network called American Idol's Sexiest Stars. And yeah, of course I watched it. Curious, I guess. I couldn't believe there was a whole show on this topic and talking heads discussing this on the show, but I guess the TV Guide network needs to find original programming somewhere. And I wouldn't be surprised if Kim Caldwell pitched this show to her network because a) she was hoping to be selected and b) she's probably tried to get with half the guys on the list.

So this list is kind of bizarre because there are some people who I wouldn't even put on an Idol's Most Attractive Stars list, let alone the sexy list. Taylor Hicks, you're not repulsive, but putting you on a sexy list would be like putting my dad on one. And a lot of them are cute/adorable/wholesome and not so much sexy, like Kris Allen, Kelly Clarkson, Brooke White. (I take that back, actually. Kris can be pretty sexy. Rawr!!). Chris Daughtry sexier than Michael Johns and David Cook? Um, what? Caldwell as #4?! Tart does not automaticaly = sexy. The same applies to Bikini Girl. Can't argue too much with Carrie Underwood and Katharine McPhee being #1 and #2. They are the Betty and Veronica of Idol.

Here's their list:

Idol's Sexiest Stars
1. Carrie Underwood
2. Katharine McPhee
3. Chris Daughtry
4. Kimberly Caldwell
5. David Cook
6. Kellie Pickler
7. Michael Johns
8. Justin Guarini
9. Haley Scarnato
10. Jason Castro
11. Constantine Maroulis
12. Syesha Mercado
13. Kelly Clarkson
14. Kristy Lee Cook
15. Kris Allen
16. Ace Young
17. Brooke White
18. Nadia Turner
19. Blake Lewis
20. Tamyra Gray
21. Chris Richardson
22. Bo Bice
23. Megan Joy
24. Taylor Hicks
25. Bikini Girl & Antonella Barba

Video Of The Day - Eurovision Winner

For anyone who thinks American Idol is the cheesiest show ever ... please take a look at the annual Eurovision contest. This is the winning performance, from Norway:



I liked the 2nd place singer from Iceland so much better - she can sing! But I don't think Eurovision is so much about the singer than the spectacle. The Norway guy had his violin, the two Stepford wives and the three male dancers. Iceland girl had ... a big blue dress:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Video Of The Day - Japanese Rock Prodigy

Ignore the singing and check out this 9-year old Japanese kid playing Ozzy Osbourne's Crazy Train on guitar. It's sick how good this kid is! Ozzy surprises him at the end of the clip, and the kid nearly fantards on him. It's so cute.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Kris vs. Adam Week to Week

Contrary to some opinions out there, Kris Allen didn't just show up Tuesday night, sing "Heartless" and somehow make it to the American Idol finale just because of that song and that song alone. He has been a quiet storm this whole time, building an impressive body of work. As Jamie Foxx said, he blows you away and you don't even know it. And he's been just as good as Adam Lambert has this season, and in some weeks, better. Here's a look back at each week's performances to see how they stacked up.

Semifinals - Group 2:
Kris - Man In The Mirror, Adam - Satisfaction

Kris was totally anonymous guy up to this point. We barely got one line from his audition, got to see him in his Hollywood group performance probably only because he was in with Matt Giraud and White Chocolate, and then got a teeny glimpse of him in his last Hollywood audition in the Green Mile episode. He had a slim chance of advancing in this group (which ended up having 4 of the Top 5!) with that little airtime, but he managed to capture the audience's attention. I thought that it was a pleasant but not WOW-worthy performance, and I didn't think it would be good enough to overcome the lack of airtime despite being one of the better vocal performances of the night. Thankfully, I was wrong, but I think he was also aided by some of the favorites faltering.

I thought Adam was probably going be polarizing, and I had a love-hate thing going on with it. I loved that he put on such a show performance-wise and vocally, but it just wasn't my cup of tea with all the high-pitched but perfectly in tune screaming. That style just isn't my thing, but I knew he would sail through.

Round 1 - Tie

Top 13 - Michael Jackson:
Kris - Remember The Time, Adam - Black Or White

Kris' charm and innate likeability was out in full force here. He just exudes so much joy when he performs that you can't help but like him and like what he is doing. I thought he would have blown his wad with Man In The Mirror, but I think I liked this one better.

Adam was so over the top that it was kind of awesome. He had me laughing the entire time (not in a bad way) at the sheer spectacle of this playing out on the American Idol stage, but when you're doing a song like that you HAVE to go all out like that. He whipped the crowd into a total frenzy.

Round 2 - Adam by a hair

Top 11 - Country:
Kris - To Make You Feel My Love, Adam - Ring Of Fire

"To Make You Feel My Love" is one of my all-time favorite songs, and Kris really did a beautiful job with it. The vocals were pure and sweet and so heartfelt. I felt the emotion from him big-time. Tender moments from the dog, indeed.

Adam's sexed-up, Middle Eastern styled scream-fest was called "indulgent rubbish" by Simon Cowell. I thought it was cool at first, but then Adam started screaming and moaning, and he lost me.

Round 3 - Kris

Top 10 - Motown:
Kris - How Sweet It Is, Adam - Tracks Of My Tears

I liked the spin Kris put on this song while still staying true to the melody. It is one of his least memorable performances of the season for me, though.

Adam went totally lights out with this performance, playing it straight with a beautiful acoustic version of "Tracks Of My Tears". His falsetto was sublime on this song, and he strayed from his usual theatrics to really deliver a great musical performance. This one was my favorite of his this season.

Round 4 - Adam

Top 9 - Downloads:
Kris - Ain't No Sunshine, Adam - Play That Funky Music

The one time Kris got the pimp spot, and it was soooo deserved. His arrangement of this song was so different, original and brilliant. And I normally don't like this song. And he played keyboards! I didn't even know he played. I think he was the first this year to play two instruments on the show.

I didn't really enjoy Adam's "Play That Funky Music" that much (too much shrieking), but it was at least different and as far from karaoke as can be.

Round 5 - Kris

Top 8 - Birth Year:
Kris - All She Wants To Do Is Dance, Adam - Mad World

This was Kris' only mis-step this year, as far as I'm concerned. The song choice was dubious, as was his "jazz funk homework" arrangment. Pocket Idol got really lost in the mosh pit too.

Many people think "Mad World" was the performance of the year, and it was the only one Simon has given a standing ovation to. I thought they went a little overboard, personally, but maybe they did because almost everyone else kind of sucked prior to this. Don't get me wrong - it was really good and different and un-Idol-y, but I thought that if anything Adam did deserved a standing O it was "Tracks of My Tears".

Round 6 - Adam

Top 7 - Movies:
Kris - Falling Slowly, Adam - Born To Be Wild

In a sea of schlocky Bryan Adams ballads, the fact that Kris had the great taste (not to mention the stones!) to pick this little-known (albeit Oscar-winning) duet from an Indie film was good enough for me. But when combined with his beautiful delivery, this made it one of the best of the entire season.

I was not a fan of this song choice, but Adam performed it well, and it stood out on a night full of schlocky ballads.

Round 7 - Kris

Top 7 Again - Disco
Kris - She Works Hard For The Money, Adam - If I Can't Have You

Kris won the night for me again, Cook-ifying this Donna Summer song into an acoustic guitar, slightly Santana-ish, song that I could totally hear on the radio right now. Much like Cook did with "Always Be My Baby", Kris transformed the song into a totally different song, making the song his own and doing some really cool things with it.

Yeah, Adam changed up "If I Can't Have You" and made it his own, but I didn't think that what he did was as drastic and original as what Kris did. I didn't like this arrangement as much; I thought it got a bit boring and overwraught halfway through, and I felt like I was watching a Broadway musical set to the music of the Saturday Night Live soundtrack.

Round 8 - Kris

Top 5 - Rat Pack:
Kris - The Way You Look Tonight, Adam - Feelin' Good

This probably ends up in the bottom third of Kris' repertoire, but I thought he sounded like a total dreamboat - very romantic, which is what the song calls for.

Adam brought another show with "Feelin' Good", from the strut down the steps to the lighting to that crazy glory note he unleashed. I'm not sure how he landed in the bottom 3 for this, but when you look at the Top 2 that night, they really delivered as well. Someone had to be in the bottom.

Round 9 - Adam

Top 4 - Rock & Roll:
Kris - Come Together & Renegade (duet w/ Danny), Adam - Whole Lotta Love & Slow Ride (duet with Allison)

Kris got saddled with the duet partner from hell who acted like it was a singing loudly competition instead of a duet. Kris tried to engage Danny during the song and got ignored, tried to cover for Danny's vocal missteps but got shat on with a vocal riff that Danny did to show off at the end. And then Simon had the gall to say Danny outsung him. WTFever. And then Kris had to sing his solo right after the commercial break! He got negative comments from the judges for "Come Together", but I liked it, and I liked how he played electric guitar with the band and put his spin on it while maintaining the integrity of the song. Sure it was too understated for the night, but the negative comments did not match that performance, especially in light of what happened next (Scream On!)

The night definitely belonged to Adam Lambert, who started the show with a killer "Whole Lotta Love" that sounded a whole lotta like Robert Plant with a whole lotta charisma and sexuality oozing out, and then ended the show with a fun, strong and equal (!) duet to "Slow Ride" with Allison.

Round 10 - Adam

Top 3:
Kris - Apologize & Heartless, Adam - One & Cryin'

This was Kris facing a three-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth with two out and two strikes and the bases loaded ... and hitting a grand slam. Based on importance and improbability, Kris' acoustic take on Kanye West's Heartless may have been the performance of the entire series. With apologies to Fantasia's "Summertime", Bo Bice's "In A Dream" and Kelly Clarkson's "Stuff Like That There" and David Cook's "Always Be My Baby", "Heartless" may take the cake because it was SO out of left field and SO huge for Kris in a way the aforementioned weren't. Kris was not supposed to make the Top 3, let alone the Top 2, and was going up against the juggernauts that the judges have been calling the Top 2 since week one. After being criticized for not changing up "Apologize" for his first song, Kris likely needed a moment like this (snort) or his journey was over. He picked up enough casual voters to put him one million votes ahead or behind Adam, who had been touted as the winner by Simon and the media all week. It was a game-changer that couldn't be denied by TPTB or the biased judges.

Adam became mortal this week. His first song "One" could have been amazing and was in the beginning until he got to the "love is a temple" part and veered from the melody and started screaming the song in a way that Mary J. would probably love but me not so much. And "Cryin'" was a nothing performance. He sung it straight up and was a little out of tune at times. Granted, it was probably the way-too-loud backup singer who made him go out of tune, but this was mediocre for Adam standards.

Round 11 - Kris

So in 11 rounds, the total for me goes:
Kris - 5
Adam - 5
Tie - 1

This race should be close. Both Kris and Adam have given several best-of-the-night performances with each holding the most buzz-worthy performances of the season (save for Gokey's Scream On, which was buzz-worthy in a bad way!) with Heartless and Mad World, respectively.

Bottom line, though, is that comparing the two of them is like comparing apples to oranges. They are so different, and it basically just comes down to personal preference in styles. I prefer the nuances and subtleness of Kris' vocals to the pyrotechnics of Adam's. I prefer the singer-songwriter type of music that he does to Adam's retro glam rock. And I think that the undestated underdog prevailing over the flashy juggernaut makes for a better ending.

Video Of The Day - Matthew Fox/Jimmy Kimmel Staring Contest

Matthew Fox and Jimmy Kimmel have a staring contest. About 2 minutes into the video, they break into song. Heh.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Video Of The Day - Kobe/LeBron Puppets

Very funny Nike commercial featuring Kobe Bryant and LeBron James puppets.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kris, Adam Put The Go In Gokey

America apparently didn't get the memo that Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul put out saying that Adam Lambert and Danny Gokey would be in next week's American Idol finale. Plucky little dark horse Kris Allen made sure of that with a game-changing grand slam last night with his "Heartless" acoustic cover that swung momentum his way big-time and allowed him to pull off the "upset" over Danny.

I have a little bit of a hard time calling this an upset because I think Kris has earned his way into the finale with consistently terrific performances all season ("To Make You Feel My Love", "Ain't No Sunshine", "Falling Slowly", "She Works Hard For The Money", just to name a few) and then with his brilliant Kanye cover. To me, Danny has skated by on backstory and sympathy with nothing outstanding to his credit. He has been good at times (Hollywood round, "Come Rain Or Come Shine", "You Are So Beautiful") but pretty average most of the time, and absolutely horrifying last week ("Dream On"). Between the two guys, based on their body of work, Kris absolutely deserved to make the finale. But so did Melinda Doolittle and Elliott Yamin, and look what happened there.

Adam seemed like a lock for the finale, especially if you listened to Simon telling the voters to vote for him after his last performance last night (good grief, as if the pimping wasn't enough!), but it was Kris who was announced first. I love watching Kris' reactions. It's so cute. He looked slightly less shocked than last week. Good to see the confidence building in him. When Adam was announced as the last finalist, he showed the first crack in the swagger armor and buried his face in his hands. Good to see some humility in him (not that I think he's arrogant). Interesting, however, to see the relatively tepid applause coming from some of his fellow finalists in the audience. Alexis was clapping with her arms in the air, but Megan, Anoop and Matt looked less enthused. I'd like to think they were just being respectful to Danny because it always seemed like everyone got along very well with Adam.

I Zaprudered a lot of the show, over-analyzing every little thing to try to figure out who was going home. When they showed the hometown vists, it was very noticeable that there was no footage of Danny singing at all. Danny sang - a lot - during his visit. But he also sang badly, and maybe Idol didn't want to show a finalist singing badly. And then there was Kris' video, which was first set to "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" and then to "Falling Slowly" ... Kris' studio version, I believe! And they showed him singing it live twice. Wow, are they trying to show him as the viable recording artist that he is?! Is this pimpage I see?! Adam's video was first set to "Born To Be Wild", which Adam sung and recorded on the show, but they didn't use his version, they used the original. The video ended with Adam singing the Star-Spangled Banner. Which Danny also sung at the Brewers game (and they didn't show). Hmm ... they really don't want to show Danny singing badly. And Simon looked uber-pissed while going over Adam's performances, so I was thinking that Adam was going home tonight. Thankfully, he was not.

Funniest moment of the night: Katy Perry (in her Adam Lambert cape. WTF?!) was setting up to sing her new song. Seacrest sat on the couch with the guys and said that Danny told him he wanted to get to the results. Danny whines about having had enough suspense, enough commercials, enough playing around. "Let's just get to it". And then Adam whined back, "I want to see Katy Perry!". BWAH! Kris about fell out of his seat laughing, clapped and did a cute little fist pump.

Also hilarious: The judges' reaction when Kris advanced. Randy does a we're not worthy bow. Kara is mouthing OH MY GOD. Paula looks like a clown with her mouth wide open in a happy state of shock. And Simon has a forced smile on his face and looks like he's thinking "Oh. My. God. What have you done, Americker?" LOL. So much awesome. Take that, judges!

I'm so thrilled by this result I can't even stand it. I'll have more later in the week on why I think Kris is going to win in this "big ding-dong" next week. And winning the coin toss sure doesn't hurt! Go Pocket Idol!

Video Of The Day - Kris Allen Heartless

The most mind-blowing performance of the season - Kris Allen covering Kanye West's Heartless


Want more American Idol videos? Click here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Top 3 Sing For Spot In Finals

Although Simon Cowell has already declared an Adam Lambert-Danny Gokey finale, going so far as to state that Kris Allen wasn't a good enough singer to make the finals, they're still having a Top 3 show to pretend as if America has a choice between the three. And if America really does have a choice, there is only one choice here - a Kris and Adam finale. Put the Go in Gokey!!!

Danny Gokey - Dance Little Sister (Paula's choice)
Paula is the WORST song picker. Danny has a hard enough time remembering the words to Billie Jean, much less a song he has never heard before. It sounded like he kept messing up the last line of the chorus - whatever the fuck he's singing is different than the backup singers. Deja vu, just like what he did to Kris! And he doo-doo-doo's his way through the end of the song during the sax solo. And this is a singing competition - why put in an instrumental solo that isn't instrumental to the song?! This song sounds so cheesy and lounge-y. Dope, Randy?! Oh lord. Thank you, Kara. His dancing has always sucked!

Kris Allen - Apologize (Randy and Kara's choice)
Oooh he's playing the piano. Good choice to take it down a few steps to avoid doing that falsetto too much, but I wish he had done it the entire time. Paula criticized him for a "loud bum note" but gave him no A's for effort. Bitch. Verses sounded great, though, and the ending was beautiful. He didn't do anything too original with it, but just wait till the next song ... Oh damn, Kris is freakin' GENIUS. He set that up BRILLIANTLY for his next song!!!!!!

Adam Lambert - One (Simon's choice)
Simon's so transparent, making sure that he throws in that Adam has Bono's support. Jesus, why do we even bother voting when he's already won? This is pretty ... until he got to the "love is a temple" part. Ugh, wtf are you doing to the melody, Adam?! Everything else before that was great. I'm shocked that Simon didn't use the occasion to throw Kris under the bus as if Kris had been karaoke all season.

Danny Gokey - You Are So Beautiful
Way to show your revelance in today's music scene, Gokey. Oh lord Danny's rambling again. Get a bunch of songs with his mentors? Who the hell are his mentors?! Paula Abdul?! Dang, this is boring. He's just trying to glory note his way through this. At least he's not shouting out of tune this time. Not sure how this is much different than what Lil did to The Rose. Vocal Master Class?! WTF?!

Kris Allen - Heartless
OMFG. You get it, Kris, with your crazy song choice and awesome rearrangement. That is ballsy and gutsy and freaking amazing. Vocals are spot-on too, and, without Bandzilla, almost powerful even. Randy likes it better than Kanye's! HA. Kanye's gonna bust a cap in Randy's ass. But word, Randy. Total word. If Kris has to go out this week, at least he went out balls-to-the-wall with a performance that will have everyone talking. WTG, Pocket Idol!

Adam Lambert - Cryin'
Ahh, Adam's doing early Aerosmith (lol at Kara). He wants to do Steven Tyler proud by not changing it too much but not the same respect for Bono? Dang. WTF is with the backup singer? She's outsinging Adam volume-wise. I never thought I'd see that day. This seems like a step back for Adam, to be honest. That was like a throwaway, not an in-it-to-win-it, like Whole Lotta Love was.

Best of the night was Kris on "Heartless" by a country mile. I think he just knocked Gokey out. Vote for the true artist and the only person who sang anything from this century, let alone anything from the past year! Oh - and also the only person who played not just one instrument but two!

Video Of The Day - Danny Gokey Billie Jean

Trainwreck city from Danny Gokey during his hometown visit last Friday. This is him attempting to sing "Billie Jean". How do you not know the words to Billie Freakin' Jean?! And this is coming on the heels of that massive epic trainwreck called "Scream On" a few days prior to this.



Ladies and gentlemen, THIS could be your American Idol. :|

Monday, May 11, 2009

Gilles Marini Is Perfect

In more ways than one. See photo for Exhibit No. 1. And then see his two perfect dances tonight on Dancing with the Stars. Oh, and did I mention this photo? That they showed on air?

Gilles Marini did everything he could to assure himself a spot in next week's finals, scoring a pair of 30s with a perfect waltz and a perfect salsa to reclaim the top spot for the first time since week 5.

It's a shame that the show may have lost half its audience after the first half hour of showing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. There was wayyyy too much filler tonight. For the first half hour, we got two rehashes from each couple, as they rewatched and commentated on their breakthrough ballroom and latin dances. Melissa & Tony picked the foxtrot and samba, Gilles & Cheryl picked foxtrot and paso doble, Shawn & Mark picked quickstep and paso, and Ty & Chelsie picked quickstep and lindy hop.

And finally they danced over 30 minutes later. Too bad I'm already bored. But here we go ...

Melissa & Tony (Quickstep): There were times that the dance looked too dainty, but that's the only minor quibble I got. That ending was fantastic.
Scores: 9-10-9=28

Gilles & Cheryl (Waltz): Cheryl got Jonathan Roberts to help Gilles out with his ballroom technique. Jonathan is a great teacher; I wish he'd get better partners on this show so he can stay longer than a week or two (and yes, I try to forget about Marie Osmond). I definitely noticed his rise and fall this week. I'm surprised at the 30, though, because it wasn't as exciting and memorable as some of his other dances that didn't get a 30, but it was a beautiful routine.
Scores: 10-10-10=30

Shawn & Mark (Argentine Tango): Another 30?! Um, okay. I was not feeling this one so much. It wasn't really Shawn's dancing, although she seemed a little robotic at times. I just did not enjoy the choreography, especially in the beginning of the routine. That gymnastics leap that Shawn did looked out of place. The lifts were really good, and she looks nice, but I did not think this was her best routine, LEN, nor did I think it warranted all 10s (I didn't think Gilles' first one did either).
Scores: 10-10-10=30

Ty & Chelsie (Viennese Waltz): More overscoring. I thought this looked sloppy, especially the times that Ty was spinning around. No doubt that Ty has charm and an innate likeability, but he's way out of his league compared to the other three.
Scores: 8-9-8=25

Melissa & Tony (Cha Cha Cha): So now they're doing hometown visits prior to the dance. What is this, Idol?! I also find it interesting that the visit showcased her prior dance experience. Are they throwing the bus at her? Oh wait - there's the Bachelor sympathy edit. Nevermind. What is with that outfit for the cha cha cha, though? I thought they were doing the jive. The music ("Save The Last Dance") doesn't help with the confusion either. How is this cha cha cha music?! I don't get this routine.
Scores: 9-9-9=27

Gilles & Cheryl (Salsa): That was a great package for Gilles. No pun intended!!! Ha. And that was a great dance by Gilles. No male celeb (and maybe no female celeb!) has ever shook his ass and hips the way Gilles does. I think Gilles and Cheryl probably got the greatest Len compliment ever when he said that he wished for an 11 paddle!
Scores: 10-10-10=30

Shawn & Mark (Jive): Shawn's baby gym footage from 2 years ago was adorable. Just kidding. But Mark sure didn't do her many favors with costuming, making her look like a 10-year old. And Mark's over-the-top dancing is distracting from Shawn again. Mark does this quite often - he shows off more than he showcases his partner. Kind of like what Julianne does when her partner isn't up to snuff. Or what Danny Gokey did to Kris Allen on their Idol duet last week. Ahem. Shawn and Mark weren't totally in sync in the opening and the end. And that grabbing of the 10 paddles is rehash city - I'm pretty sure someone did that last year. Lacey and Lance maybe?
Score: 9-8-9=26

Ty & Chelsie (Samba): Again with the WTF music. Ty looked like he forgot some of the steps. Chelsie was phenomenal, though. I have to say she's been a great asset to the show. I love the SYTYCD dancers on this show!
Score: 8-7-8=23 (lol at Samantha Harris pausing to add the totals. She's such an idiot.)

So Ty & Chelsie SHOULD be going home this week, but we've been kind of saying that for weeks now. Who knows? But a Top 3 with Gilles, Melissa and Shawn could be epic.

Video Of The Day - Justin Timberlake Plasticville

More of Justin Timberlake on Saturday Night Live. This is like a sequel to his Omeletteville skit, except this time he's working for Plasticville. "Mediocre Face" LMAO.