American Idol Season 8 Hollywood Week Day 1 (2009)

Find my latest American Idol article here.

I think Barry Manilow is really a nice guy who cares about these kids and wants them to do well.

I get frustrated every time the contestants get to Hollywood.  I just don’t understand the agenda of the show’s producers or the judges.

First of all, I do not understand why the producers decide to spend several minutes of the show rehashing stories about from people that they have already given time to such as that rat-haired blonde Rose who really can sing.  Why do we need to spend 3 minutes following her around at the expense of four other contestants in the same line with her that we barely got to even see much less hear from?  And, why would they spend extra time on the ones who got kicked off after they have already been sent packing?  I want to hear the singers.  This is nothing new, but realizing that the top 24 have already been decided before the shows air this week, I will find it unacceptable and unfair if there are any of the top 24 that have not been shown singing by the time that they announce who has made that cut.  This has happened in the past, and there is no excuse for it.

Second, it was clear that if you can sing at all, a bit will get you through.  That was proved by the idiot, Norman Gentle and Bikini Girl who were not that good at all.  Jackie Tone and her Janis Joplin impersonation were painfully bad.  They got through to the group sing where they will effectively destroy the dreams of up to a half dozen other young people with their antics and lack of talent. 

Third, just for the record, I for one am not sorry that they sent Dennis the Ingrate home.

Fourth, Why do I feel like the judges expect me to think some people are great when they really are not that good just because they, the judges, say so?  I use Lil’ who yelled and sang off pitch and Jackie Tone as a couple of examples.  This has happened in the past, but I usually do not notice it until they get into the final 24.

And fifth, David Osmond may just win this competition.

Google Crawls into Bed with Al Gore (Yuck!)

Thank goodness for Google!

It seems Google has teamed up with Algore to make the world safe for everyone.  They have decided to add the ocean floor and Mars to Google Earth.  That’s cool.  I’ll probably poke around a little and try to learn something from this.

But wait!  What was Algore  doing there?  Oh yeah, he was there to show his support for their new ‘Global Warming Add-on’ feature.  It seems they will use mounds and mounds of satellite data (sometimes dating back as far as a decade) to us how we are destroying the Earth.  This is a new low in the shallow-data scientific propaganda that is the favorite weapon of the Greenies.  Maybe, they drove up and down my street last week to get updated maps of how Global Warming was effecting the ice from the storm we had last Wednesday.  I do live in Texas so the effects of Global Warming were pretty apparent the next day on that ice.

They intend to focus on ‘evidence’ that will support their view.  For instance, they will show the melt off of the biggest glacier in Glacier National Park over the last decade.  They probably will not focus on the glaciers that are growing in Norway, the Himalayas, on Mount Logan in Canada, on Mount Shasta and other places.  This would not be good for their agenda.  Just in case, however, people are not able to interpret disaster from the images, Google will provide videos ‘contributed by scientists and organizations around the world.’   By doing so, they will explain how the images support their Global Warming contentions.

I find it irresponsible and disingenuous for Google and a group of people who claim to be scientists (Al Gore and Jimmy Buffett are definitely not scientists) to put this out as if it will educate people about global warming.  There cannot be enough data at Google’s disposal, at this point, to allow anyone, even a scientist to draw a conclusion about Global Warming, Earth warming trends or the possible effects of either.

The clincher was at the end of the FoxNews article where Google CEO Eric Schmidt said, “What it really is… is a platform for science and research and literally understanding the future of the world.”  Isn’t that statement a little much?  I buy that having this data as a repository for future study could be beneficial down the road, but a good scientist does not draw a conclusion, or ‘predict the future’ when only 1% of the data is available to study.  Truly, you might as well use the melt off from my lawn last week to predict the future.

I’m Closing Gitmo!

It seemed that the White House doors had barely closed behind him, before Obama was claiming that Gitmo would be shut down, and the military tribunals halted.  There was an immediacy to the reporting that had me questioning, “What are we going to do with the detainees?”  I firmly believe that most, and probably all, of the prisoners there have been put there for a good reason, and that they would be trying to harm the U.S. and its citizens if they were not sitting in Gitmo.

It took one day before I saw another story that said (and I paraphrase), “Gitmo was definitely going to be closed…, by the end of the year.”  Nice, business as usual.

I see a good strategy in this for the Obama camp.  Throw a bone to your supporters claiming to be following up quickly on promises, and then begin to stall the process.  It’s a win-win.  You get to have your supporters actually believe that you are doing what you said you would do, while at the same time not doing it  And in this case you are able to continue to keep America safe from bad guys.  I don’t think we even need to speculate about what would happen to Obama politically if one of the detainees were released, and then was later confirmed to be involved in an attack on the U.S. or its citizens.

The ‘throw them a hollow bone’ ploy seems pretty sound as a political strategy.  It’s hard to find any holes in it.  A year from now when Gitmo is still open, Obama can sympathetically say that he too “does not want this horrible place to stay open”, and that they are shutting it down as quickly as possible.  Then he will say how unfortunate it is that it has to remain open for the time being, and by doing so, will by himself another year.

This idea works for almost anything.  Try this one.  Day one: “I have ordered the removal of all U.S. troops from Iraq.”  Day two:  “A schedule is now in place for the removal of all U.S. troops from the Iraqi theatre.  The joint chiefs have now been tasked to come up with a feasible removal plan for all U.S. troops in Iraq.  This, of course, will be gradual and will be accelerated or slowed down as we monitor the stability within the region.”  Wow.  This stuff sounds great.  Why, I think Obama could even increase the size of the force while appeasing his supporters.  Try this one.  Day one: “I have ordered the removal of all U.S. troops from Iraq.”  Day two:  “In order to facilitate the orderly withdrawal of our troops from the Iraqi theatre, and to promote the continued stability of the democratically elected Iraqi government, we will be committing 60,000 additional support personnel to the region for the next twelve months to augment the withdrawal efforts.”  This stuff almost writes itself!

I’m depressed now.

Obama’s Short Honeymoon

Today’s inauguration went off with pomp and circumstance which has not been seen in the world since the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.  Just as when these two were married, the sky seems to be the limit.  How could anything ever go wrong?  Everyone, it seems, is smashing themselves together with the sole aim of showing their support for a new messiah…, I mean president.

I, as most good Americans that voted for someone other then Obama (I am not saying you are a bad American I you voted for Obama), will support him as the elected leader of our country, and hope that he leads us well as a nation.  I am struck with the fear that he will appoint several young, liberal Supreme Court justices in his first year, and then follow in Clinton’s footsteps and expand the use of executive orders, thus legislating from the desk (oval office).

As far as the honeymoon goes, I hope Obama is ready.  Of course, the Republicans in Congress will be looking for anything and everything to criticize.  I look back on Clinton’s presidency and remember how ashamed I was when Republicans refused to support the use of force to stop the genocide that was happening in Bosnia.  If Obama looks to the right for support, he will get none.  This, I think, is expected.

What will be unexpected will be that the first shots will come from his own supporters.  In a few months, as he begins to face the reality of what withdrawal from an instable Iraq means to international peace, he will stall the withdrawal, and former supporters like Cindy Sheehan will draw first blood.  This, however, will only be the beginning.

Guantanamo will be another place where former supporters will turn on him.  It cannot be shut down.  Even if we decide to put all the detainees on trial, it will take years perhaps even a decade to hear them all.

The environmental movement will be even worse.  These people have lived their lives blaming the U.S. and lack of government intervention for every problem that they can conceive (and I do mean conceive).  The point is that in these economic times, it will not benefit Obama to hop on board with a bunch of wealth sapping green ideas, and he won’t.  Their expectations will be through the roof, and he will be able to deliver even less than he probably wants to.

Eventually, all of these and other special interest groups will realize that they are getting little more with Obama than they had with Bush, and then they will re-arm themselves with the only real weapon that they have, blame.  Unfortunately, for Obama, the there will be no one else to blame but him.

Things I have noticed so far about this season’s American Idol (2009)

Find my latest American Idol article here.

I have decided, once again, to blog on this season’s American Idol. So that there will be no confusion, I will include 2009 in the titles of all of my posts. There really isn’t anything new about the show this season. Of course there is an extra judge, Kara DioGuardi, but all she brings to the show is a better looking female judge. She may be more lucid than Paul (who oddly seems to be more on her game this year), but so far, Kara’s only contribution has been to allow more mediocre talent through to Hollywood than in the past. She is nice, encouraging and rarely has anything bad to say. When she does, even that is encouraging, and very Paul-like. Simon seems to have left his critical ear and insensitive attitude back in England this year. He is much nicer, less discerning, less condescending and seems to be more motivated by the production value, personality and back-story of the contestants than their talent. Randy seems like he is just along for the ride. It may be that the program’s editors have chosen not to show the judges savaging undeserving applicants as much, and to concentrate on the ones that have an interesting story for a hook instead of the contestants who are really good, but I for one, am beginning to worry about the talent level of the contestants this season. The only other remarkable thing from this week was Ryan’s unfortunate episode with the blind contestant. He attempted to give the guy a ‘high-five’ and realized, only too late, that the guy had no idea what was going on. He then holds the guy’s hand up so that he can complete his own humiliation. I hear he will be teaching the guy to drive next.

American Idol Top Five, April 29

Find my latest American Idol article here.

It was Neil Diamond Night, and this allowed the contestants a wide variety of song choices.
Oddly the judges did not judge the first song right after they sang it, but waited until after all had sung their first songs to comment. I did not like this tweak to the format, but I assume it was done to keep the show under two hours, and so we would not have to hear Paula babble as many times or for as long. However, this proved to be a big mistake, as Paula (I’m sure her head was clouded by a variety of pills) could not keep the contestants or their songs straight. She thought Jason had sung two songs when he had only sung one, and roundly criticized him for doing badly on both of them. She then proceeded to tell us how hard it is to actually pay attention to the songs and remember important points about the performances, even though she took notes. I am sure this is a first because it forced her to keep her ridiculous ass in her seat. Simon was good and succinct.
Jason Castro:
“Forever in Blue Jeans”- This song was right in his wheelhouse. It was like all of is early season music. I thought it was good, but boring.
Randy thought it was OK.
Simon thought it was forgettable.
“September Morn”- I thought this song started out much better than the first one. The little bit of inflection in his voice made all of the difference. I liked it much better. It seems a little late in the competition for the judges to start criticizing him for being unoriginal and singing ‘safe’ songs, but they did.
Randy thought dogged him pretty on both songs. It may have been the harshest that I’ve ever heard someone told that they sang OK.
Simon thought they were both forgettable, among other harsh words.
David Cook:
“I’m Alive”- Once again he sings a song that sounds like something you would hear on the radio. Usually when a contestant sings a song that is not as well known, I think it is a mistake. However, when David does this it just seems as if he is preparing another hit to be released from his next album.
Randy thought it was very good and very strong.
Simon thought it was just above average.
“All I Really Need is You”- This was just another great performance, and the things I said about the first song go double for this one.
Randy thought he rocked the house with this one.
Simon thought this song was brilliant, and that he actually made the song seem contemporary.
Brooke White:
“I’m a Believer” This song was too low for her in the verses, but beyond that it was just awful. This was one of the worst vocals of the season by any contestant.
Randy thought Brook was better than last week, but a little karaoke.
Simon correctly thought it was a nightmare.
“I am I Said”- This song started much better than the first one. I think she could have gone a little more country with it and would have even been better. Still, it was her best performance in weeks and may be what keeps her around for another week (assuming that her fan-base would not have voted for her if she had done as bad as she did on the first song). It’s better to be strong on the last performance.
Randy thought it was a nice job on a tough song.
Simon thought this was the Brooke that we like.
David Archuleta:
“Sweet Caroline”- This song was just weird at the beginning for me, and his voice sounded a little shaky. Once he got to the chorus it got much better. For me, it was just alright.
Rand thought it was brilliant.
Simon thought it was amateurish.
“America”- Could he not have found a Neil Diamond ballad to sing? That being said, he did a good job of it, but it was a little forgettable.
Randy thought it was another good performance.
Simon thought it was a smart choice of song, but for some reason I felt as if he were taking a shot at the American people when he said it.
Syesha Mercado:
“Hello Again”- She looked pretty again, and her voice sounded good. The nice high note that she sang softly at the end of the first verse was a very good departure from her usual power style on the high notes. I liked the ‘Whitney-like’ version of this song. It was one of my favorite songs by her, and sounded radio worthy. I thought it was the best vocal of the first round.
Randy thought it was strong.
Simon thought it was old-fashioned, but I really think he just decided to beat them all up at the end of the first round. She did not deserve to be lumped in with the others on this song.
“Thank the Lord for the Nightitme”- I liked first song much better. The vocal was good, but I thought overall, it was just OK.
Randy thought liked the Broadway style of the song.
Simon thought she was a very good actress/singer. He dealt her the death blow by saying she could be in trouble, and correctly saying that her second song was forgettable compared with some of the others.

American Idol Results Show, April 23rd

Find my latest American Idol article here.

The group songs have been a mess pretty much all season, and tonight was no exception.  The whole thing was a train wreck, but the girls were especially horrible in it.

I could not have liked Leona Lewis’ song any less.  Simon usually describes that kind of performance as ‘indulgent.’

I have a problem with Brooke not being in the bottom two.  As Simon often says, “It’s a singing competition.”  She did the worst job last night, and it’s not the first time that it has happened.  She has been getting consistently worse every week, and it’s tine for the house-fraus that insist on voting for her to let her go.  She seems like a nice person, but this is not ‘American Sweetie.’  It’s American Idol.  If you can’t let her go because of her lack of ability, then let her go before she has the inevitable breakdown that is coming.

The same goes for Jason Castro, except of course, for the breakdown part.  I doubt that anything could rattle him except seeing his supplier arrested or forgetting where he put his stash.

In the end, it was Carly who left the show.  I think she was the most talented female left on the show, but as Randy said, tonight’s vote was all about popularity.  Brooke and Jason have developed a strong fan base, and honestly, I do not think Carly ever overcame that atrocious tattoo that covers her right arm.  I said early in the season, that tattoos do not go over well in a lot of places in the country, and I guess her early exit proved it.

This week’s results do not bode well for Syesha.  She was below everyone but Carly, even after giving a great performance.  I will be surprised if Jason and Brooke do not do better next week, and I will be equally surprised if Syesha shows nearly as much personality as she did this week.  If she goes next week, get ready for the racist conspiracy theories to once again raise their ugly heads regardless of the reason she actually leaves the show.