American Idol Season 8 Finals Results Show, Wednesday May 20, 2009

I am trying to prepare to have Idol waste two hours of my life tonight.  I expect multiple sub-par musical acts, tiring retrospectives of the season, bad group songs, 15 minute commercial breaks, and badly scripted dialogue from Ryan that will go on and on.

Both contestants looked very odd dressed in white, and it was not a good look for either of them.  Can’t we get the microphones turned on by now?  It’s the last show in Season 8!

After watching the first song, I have an idea.  Record tonight’s performance, buy their album when it is released (if you want to).  Then, instead of pending your hard earned cash, and wasting your time going to see them in concert, you could just play the video from this performance while you listen to the album.  Since they will be lip-syncing, it will be the same vocal recording anyway.  Also, what the hell was Alison screaming at me during that song?

David Cook took the stage, and reminded us why he won last season.  See Jordan, that’s what a real American Idol sounds like when he puts out an album (also, Rueben, Taylor and Fantasia can take notes on this).  That was a great song.  I also liked the classy way he chose to pay tribute to his brother.

I was intrigued by the Golden Idol Awards.  This could actually be funny, and it was for a little while.  Then, they brought out Norman Gentle.  I quickly realized how little I had missed him since he left the show.

Lil Rounds came out and spared up Queen Latifa.  She sounded the best that she has all season.  She also looked better than she did all season.  Maybe she just looks better in black.  The song was better than a lot of stuff that they have had on the show this season.

The song with Alexis Grace, Anoop Dseai and Jason Mraz singing “I’m Yours” was just great.  That song is just cool.  Anoop was really good on it also.

Then we got the obligatory Kris Allen retrospective.

Kris Allen and Keith Urban then teamed up for a duet on “Kiss a Girl.”  It reminded me of a country version of a Bryan Adams song.  It was pretty good.  It seemed like an odd change for Kris who showed us he can sing Michael Jackson and Santana this season.

The girls from this season came out and did a song next.  I was reminded immediately why I hate that ice-pick of a voice that Megan Joy Corkery has.  Then I realized that she is Fergie Jr when Fergie the stage (I now know I hate her voice also).  For some reason someone thought it would be good add Black-Eyed Peas to this recipe.  It was horrendous, but still better than Lady Gaga or Jamie Foxx.  My favorite part of this was the technical difficulty.

Katrina Darrell the Bikini girl has definitely improved her talents during the time she was off the show.  Having Kara sing with her was pretty genius, but I don’t think Katrina really needed her to augment the performance.

Allison then greeted us with the worst version of “Time After Time” that I’ve ever heard.  It’s a pretty song.  All of that affectedness makes it sound awful.  Thank goodness Cyndi Lauper was there to bail it out.  That is, until it just got weird near the end.  Next time I would rather hear Cyndi by herself.

Danny then came out and sang “Hello.”  Lionel is better, but then he joined Danny on stage.  I wish he would record some more popular music again.  I really like Lionel’s voice.  It is holding up much better than a lot of the artists that they have on the show.  How about him as a mentor next season?

Then we got the Adam retrospective.

Adam was wearing the craziest, gayest outfit I have ever seen on the show.  He sort of reminded me of the Gimp from Pulp Fiction.  He was joined by Kiss.  There was something wrong and unstable about this pairing.  Kiss’s act wore out 30 years ago.

If this is what Clive intends to do with Adam, he will be the next Idol failure.  He could make a ton of money if they could figure out how to incorporate his voice into some pop music, but I’m afraid that he will be forced to go toward the metal stuff.  That would be a failed move.  That audience does not watch Idol, and the Idol audience does not listen to that stuff.

Santana took the stage after the break.  The guitar solo was cool, and the way they brought Matt out for Black Magic Woman was the best piece of production this season.  The group song was pretty good there also.

Megan Joy, Michael Sarver and Steve Martin.  What the hell?  Michael was good.  Megan destroyed bluegrass music.  It is now dead as an art form.  I liked the song (after I successfully blocked Megan out).  Who knew Steve Martin was a blue grass artist.

The guys’ song was a little uncomfortable, but it let us know that Rod Stuart and his Jacket were in the house.  I think the frog in his throat should have received a credit also.  The dancing was completely unnecessary, but the mandolin player was cool.  Did they really say he was going on tour?  Really?  Sure it has been cancelled after that.

I realize that the next bit was just to give Tatiana an excuse to sing, but she did not belong with those people.  However, the bit with her and Ryan was actually funny.

Adam was finally going to sing a Queen song, “We are the Champions”.  I’ve waited all season for that even if it is a duet with Kris.  It was great.  It was also good that some of the member of queen were there.

And the winner is…Kris Allen.

I hope they both do very well.

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Is This Funny or Scary? Global Warming Blamed on Fat People

Remember, “the science is settled.”  This is the phrase that is hurled any time a person questions any part of Global Warming ‘science’.  The inevitable result is that there is no governor on the rhetoric that comes out of the Global Warming camp.  It just keeps getting ratcheted up over and over.

A story on Fox News entitled, “Do Fat People Cause Global Warming?” is a good example of this.  In the article ‘fat people’ are charged with the sin of causing global warming.  The people saying this are providing no statistics regarding the percentage of greenhouse gases produced by ‘fat people’ verses ‘skinny people’ or the overall percentage of effect on the planet made by fat people compared to other producers of greenhouse gasses such as volcanoes, the oceans, all other animal life on earth, uncontrolled population growth in third world countries, children born out of wedlock, and all industrial production.

No, the target today is fat people.  They are an easy target, of course.  Everyone loves to blame the fatty, and they are a convenient target for any joke or attempt at physical humor.  I would wager that the percentage of extra CO2 gas produced by fat people would be many times less that one percent of the produced CO2 gas.

This is just another example of Global Warming alarmists trying to get attention and throwing their weight around.  The scary thing is that when they blame, they generally attempt to punish or control those who are being blamed.  I supposed their solution for this will be to tax fat people or products that make a person fat in order to buy carbon credits in order to offset their awful fatness.  Soon we will see a sticker on the counter at McDonalds that will say “35 cents out of every dollar spent here goes to taxes.”

If you do not see a Pandora’s Box being opened here, you are blind.  These ideas will open the door for all sorts of controls on people’s lives including eventual population controls because uncontrolled populations are a much greater ‘threat’ to the planet than fat people.  And who will take the brunt of these new attitudes, the responsible Western democracies that care.  Because, trying to implement these ideas in countries that have no responsibility of their own or in socioeconomic areas of Western democracies where large numbers of children are born out of a marriage, would seen as a racist policy.

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1984

1984 continues the run of great hits that came with the middle of the 1980s.  I had real problems narrowing the list down to 20 for this year.  As a result, from thus point, at least through 1986, I will give a list of songs that almost made the cut at the end.

20.  “Uptown Girl”, Billy Joel– This song was one of the many hits off his Innocent Man album.  It continues the be-bop style that was found in “Tell Her About It”.  The video featured his then wife Christy Brinkley looking very nice, and Joel as a mechanic.  It’s a fun song, and I chose it over his other hit from that year, “An Innocent Man”.

19.  “Say Say Say”, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson– This is the third duet featuring McCartney to chart in a two year period, and the second for the team of Jackson and McCartney.  The other Jackson/McCartney song was “The Girl Is Mine”, and the third duet was the Stevie Wonder/McCartney hit “Ebony and Ivory”.  “Say Say Say” is a fun song, and it stayed in Billboard’s #1 slot for six weeks which was impressive considering the other great music that was out that year.

18.  “Here Comes The Rain Again”, Eurythmics– This is the second song from the Annie Lennox led band to make one of my lists.  It carries on many of the qualities of their earlier hit, “Sweet Dreams” including great vocals, keyboards , and a prominent use of stringed instruments (not just guitars).  Lennox’s voice has a smoky affectedness to it that makes it interesting to listen to.

17.  “I Can Dream About You”, Dan Hartman– This is definitely a one-hit-wonder from a guy I could not have named if you had paid me, but I could easily sing the song a the way through though.  It has a very catchy melody that moves along briskly and is easy to follow.

16.  “Easy Lover”, Phillip Bailey duet with Phil Collins– This is one of my top three duets of the 1980s.  The two Phils’ voices sound great together.  Collins is great as usual, and Bailey shows that he really has some pipes and range when he takes over for his verses.  For those who do not know, Phillip Bailey sang with Earth Wind and Fire before he teamed up with Collins.  He later had a solo career in Christian Contemporary Music, and finally rejoined his old band, re-billed as Phillip Bailey and Earth Wind and Fire to continue releasing music on the Christian charts.

15.  “Sister Christian”, Night Ranger– This was a great Power Ballad by a one-hit-wonder band, and recounts the coming of age of a young woman.  In the video, the band is stereotypically 80s from the hair to the dress.  The song is a very good representation of a power ballad sung by a ‘hard rock group.  It begins with a nice, soft keyboard and vocal, but by the chorus has developed into a full-fledged power ballad.

14.  “Wrapped Around Your Finger”, The Police– This is one of my favorite Police songs.  It has a subdued sultry tone that at times seems almost haunting.  The main instrument in the verses in the chime, and it sounds great as a punctuator for Stings voice.  The melody is easy to sing and memorable, and video looks great with the candles everywhere in a sort of maze.

13.  “Hold Me Now”, Thompson Twins– This is a very nice, easy to sing song by one of the many semi-androgynous British New Wave bands of the 80s.

12.  “Oh Sherrie”, Steve Perry– Steve Perry finally decided that the best way to showcase his great vocal ability was to dump his band, and in 1983 he released his first solo hit, “Oh Sherrie”.  It is a great song that begins with him belting out the first line a cappella.  The background vocals are also nice on this song.

11. “Legs”, ZZ Top– This was the biggest in a strong if hits by the iconic and very hairy guitar band.  Even their guitars were hairy, but ZZ Top was just cool.  I remember the video with that super-hot girl in it.  Nice.  I went to their Eliminator tour, and saw them on the fourth night of four sold out shows at reunion arena in Dallas.  It was great, even though they played a lot of old stuff I had never heard before.  The stage was the dashboard of the car from the video, and halfway through the show it morphed into the control panel for the space shuttle.  This concert was my first exposure to large groups of people smoking pot.

10.  “Pride (In The Name Of Love)”, U2– I have a confession.  I did not like U2 in high school.  I don’t even know why.  As a result, I do not know a lot of their stuff, but as the years have gone by, I have been confronted with the undeniable truth that they recorded some of the great songs of the 80s.  Today, I have a reason not to like them (I don’t see eye to eye with all of Bono’s politics), but I realize that songs like “Pride” are great, and deserve to be in any 80s list.

9.  “Like a Virgin”, Madonna– Madonna made my high school pants go crazy.  Her music before this “Lucky Star” and “Borderline” had a lot more of a be-bop quality.  “Like a Virgin” had a different quality, sexuality, and it worked.  Her slightly nasal voice fit in well with her new attitude.  I still remember her singing this on the VMAs while wearing a hot wedding dress.  Nice.

8.  “Shout”, Tears for Fears– This was the first mega hit for the British pop band.  It has a driving beat that I can still hear as a ‘Boom, Boom, Boom” of the rim-shots in my head as I think about this song.  It is right in a teenager’s wheelhouse with its angst-ridden lyrics that are all about expressing your rage at that age.  Oddly, the angry lyrics and beat are backed up by a very nice vocal, especially in the verses.

7.  “Drive”, Cars– The slow cool sound of this song is a departure from the normally quirky, syncopated style that the band normally put forth.  It showcased Rick Ocasek’s unique vocals, and tackles the unusual subject, for a pop song, of drug abuse.  I chose it over “You Might Think”, which is undeniably a more traditional Cars’ song, simply because I like it better.

6.  “Hard Habit To Break”, Chicago This was the second release (the first being, “Stay the Night”) from the mega-album, Chicago 17.  It featured dual vocals from Bill Champlin and the rising star, Peter Certera.  This song recaptured the more traditional Chicago big-band sound with a great horn part in the middle while retaining their new Power Ballad style that was seen on Chicago 16.

5.  “If This Is It”, Huey Lewis and The News  This was the hardest choice that I have had to make between two songs by the same band in the same year on these lists up to this point.  In the end, I chose “If This is It” over “The Heart Of Rock ‘N’ Roll” because I like to do-wap sound in the first one better than the “Rock Around the Clock” style of the second one (though as I write this, it does not sound like a very good reason).  They are both great songs, and Lewis shows his versatility by being able to sing the ballad or the rock song very well.  In the end, I’ll just flip a coin.  Heads it is, and I still choose “If This is It.”

4. “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”, Yes– Guitar is the star instrument in this progressive rock anthem by the British band, Yes, from the distorted guitar at the beginning to the long guitar solo in the middle of the song.  The vocals, provided by lead singer Jon Anderson have an almost hard rock quality which would have worked with a band such as Poison, Metallica or Def Leppard.  The back-up vocal, provided by Trevor Horn, who wrote the song, provides the familiar refrain “Owner of a Lonely Heart!” in the song.  The whole tone to his vocals is a nice contrast to the rocker sound of Anderson.  The video for this song is a surreal journey into the mind of a crazy person, and could have been a predecessor for the Fear Factor show.

3.  “Time After Time”, Cyndi Lauper– Lauper’s persona at the time was a big turn-off to me, but I’ll have to admit, she could write and sing a song very well when she really wanted to.  I still like this song today, and am pleased when I hear it on the radio or in a restaurant.  It gets tons of play, and is often heard in the score of a movie.  It has been covered on about 50 albums including artists such as Willie Nelson and Christian artist Phil Keaggy.  The most memorable appearances in movies include Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion and Napoleon Dynamite.  It was easy for me to choose this song over her other 1984 whip of a hit “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”

2.  “Hello”, Lionel Richie– After making his mark with the Commodores’ “Three Times a Lady,” and “Still,” and again later with his smash duet with Diana Ross, “Endless Love,”  Richie released his first solo album in 1982 which included the hit, “Truly,” but was otherwise unremarkable.  In 1983, he released his super-album, Can’t Slow Down from which six of the eight songs were released and did well.  The best of these songs was unquestionably “Hello.”  It’s a beautiful love song, and the video featuring Richie who is in love with a blind woman is very memorable. 

I went to see Lionel Richie in concert when I was in high school.  It was a good show with Sheila E. singing in her underwear (hot!), and a superior technical performance when Richie took the stage.  Back then, you had to buy a T-shirt every time you went to a concert, and I bought one that was black with a big Lionel Richie face on it in some puffy raised-up synthetic paint (so gay).  I remember wearing it to Sunday night church (Sunday night was less formal in our church of about 800 regulars).  At the end of the service, I was standing there talking with my buddies when the preacher walked up to me, and tapped me on the back.  “I was just wondering who the black guy was that was staring at me the whole time I was preaching.”  I’m sure I turned red, and I was never quite sure if it was the fact that I wore a concert T-shirt to church that he did not like or the fact that there was a black man on it that he did not like.  In any case, I did not wear that shirt to church again.

1.  “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)”, Phil Collins– I know I am fudging on one of my rules by having “Easy Lover” at #16, and this at number one, but I chose to look at the duet as a different group in this case, much like I would not have a problem putting a Genesis and a Phil Collins song on the same list.  This is one of the most soulful love songs (or ‘my heart has been ripped out’ songs) that you are ever going to hear.  It’s perfect.  The piano part is memorable, and the vocal is great.  I would love to sing along with it, but I can’t make my voice do the kinds of things that Collins can.  This is another song that came on the heals of Collins’ messy divorce, and his pain is evident in the lyrics and vocal.  The song was released as the title song of a movie starring Jeff Bridges and James Wood which was a remake of an old Robert Mitchum movie called Out of the Past.

 

Here is a list of songs I liked that did not make it onto the list in 1984:

“The Warrior”, Scandal

“Almost Paradise”, Mike Reno and Ann Wilson

“Say It Isn’t So”, Daryl Hall and John Oates

“I Just Called To Say I Love You”, Stevie Wonder

“Cruel Summer”, Bananarama

“Missing You”, John Waite

“On The Dark Side”, John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band

“Footloose”, Kenny Loggins

“One Night In Bangkok”, Murray Head

“Joanna”, Kool & The Gang

“God Bless the USA”, Lee Greenwood

“Jump”, Van Halen

“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, Wham!

 

Top 20 80s Pop/Rock Songs (Category)

Top 20 1980’s Pop/Rock Songs By Year (Criteria)

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1980

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1981

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1982

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1983

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1985

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1986

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1987