Tuesday, March 30, 2010

American Idol Season 9: The so-called "Top 10" singers

Last week I had lunch with a friend, and the topic of American Idol came up. Like so many of my readers and people I know, she has been greatly disappointed by Season 9 of American Idol, and we spent close to half an hour debating whether Season 9 just sucked or if it was the suckiest season of American Idol ever. (The verdict is still out -- and will be until we see who makes it into the Top 5 -- though as of this writing "suckiest season ever" is in the lead.)

"Why don't the judges just pick the songs for them?" she opined. Which is an excellent question -- and why Simon Cowell's wildly successful UK singing competition, The X Factor, should do much better than Idol when it debuts on this side of the Pond in 2011.

But getting back to tonight's American Idol, featuring the euphemistically named Top 10 contestants... is Usher, like Miley Cyrus, really that hard up for money and/or fame? Really? (Apparently, according to this New York Times article, he is, sort of.) Has American Idol become this decade's American Bandstand, helping stars re-launch their careers?

Getting back to the contestants, I think most of the "Top" 10 will do better ("better" being a relative term) job tonight with R&B (which stands for "Rhythm and Blues," not "Retch and Barf," at least at this point) than they did with Billboard #1s. Seriously, it couldn't get much worse. Though Tim Urban hasn't sung yet.

Btw, I'm watching tonight's R&B performances through the magic of TiVo (due to a family obligation). On the plus side, if tonight's performances suck, I will have wasted less than an hour instead of two. On the down side, I'm going to be even crankier tomorrow morning for having stayed up late.

Now on with the show...

Siobhan Magnus: I love Siobhan, but WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH THE CLOWN GLASSES?! I haven't seen glasses that big since the 1980s. Also, why are the stylists treating Siobhan (particularly her hair) as though she were American Idol Barbie? (Btw, I'm pretty sure I saw that outfit on the original Star Trek.) But getting back to her song choice, "Through the Fire," I'm sorry to say she got seriously burned by that song. And OMG can we please put an end to "that scream"?! Siobhan should live to see another week (more), and even if America doesn't give her the votes, the judges will save her. The grade for Siobhan Magnus: C+

Casey James: Yeah, Casey has a tool... and a guitar. And he knows how to use both of them. (You know what I'm talkin' bout, Kara.) And "Hold On," the boy can also sing, though his performance could still use some work (too stiff). While I found all the smiling a bit disconcerting, the boy can play and like Simon said, it was Casey's best week so far. The grade for Casey James (aka "Hawt Boy"): A-

Michael Lynche: I don't know if I'd consider "Ready for Love" R&B, but whatever. Michael Lynche has a nice voice, but this song -- and performance -- are doing nothing for me. I can't decide if he's sleepwalking through the song or shouting it. In either case, not my favorite Michael Lynche performance, and I think Big Mike's become rather boring (as one of my commenters noted), despite what the judges have to say. (Thank GOD Kara didn't have another breakdown.) The grade for Michael Lynche: B-

Didi Benami: While I think Didi's better, I keep being reminded of Megan Joy from last season every time I hear/see her, and not in a good way. "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted"? I think we may find out tomorrow, when Didi is in the bottom three -- and quite possibly voted off. Not good, dawg. Another pitchy performance, and I just didn't connect with her or the song. Also, seriously, American Idol needs new/different stylists, at least for the female contestants. Didi looked like a sausage stuffed into a sequined casing. The grade for Didi Benami: C

[Slightly O/T: Anyone know how much Kris Allen makes from those Ford commercials?]

Tim Urban [aka "Teflon Tim"]: Let's just get this out of the way, shall we: If Tim Urban looked like a troll, he would have been gone WEEKS ago. But thanks to the "Sweet Love" of thousands of teenage girls, this Jonas Brother wannabe is in the Top 10. Ugh. I can barely stand to listen to him, even though he is not the worst singer to ever grace the American Idol stage, and at least you feel he is actually trying (unlike, say, Sanjaya). Still, if there is any justice, Tim will go away after tomorrow (PLEEEEEEEAAAASE). The grade for Tim Urban: D+

Andrew Garcia: It feels like "Forever" since Andrew Garcia sang Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" doesn't it? And things have only gone downhill for Andrew since then. And tonight's performance, while better than some recent weeks, was to use a Simon-ism, "utterly forgettable," despite what Randy and the rest of the judges just said. Yeah, it wasn't bad, but it was like something you'd hear in your dentist's office. The grade for Andrew Garcia: B

Katie Stevens: "Chain of Fools" is a great song. It could also be used to describe most of this season's American Idol contestants. As for Katie's performance... sigh. What can I say, other than "pitchy"? I still think Katie has a great voice -- good tone and power -- but hasn't learned how to control and really use it, and this performance was OK, albeit too High School Talent Show. As the judges have noted before, I think Katie doesn't know who she is, as an artist, and that's hurting her. The grade for Katie Stevens: B

Lee Dewyze: Walking pneumonia? Not good, especially as Lee doesn't have a lot of energy on stage to begin with. But man, I do love Lee's voice. "Treat Her Like a Lady" was a solid song choice, and he is definitely connecting better with the audience -- or at least the cameras -- tonight. (You all know I'm pulling for Lee, right? But I can still be tough.) I'm with Randy: "That was the bomb. Best performance in weeks" -- and, like Ellen said, "Best performance of the night," at least so far. The grade for Lee Dewyze: A- (Go Lee!)

Crystal Bowersox: I love contestants who can actually play an instrument as well as sing -- and major props to Crystal for playing an instrument (the piano) she hasn't played in years. That takes guts. And, woohoo, that girl can blow! I was right on "That Midnight Train to Georgia" with Crystal. Another great performance (as Randy also said). The grade for Crystal Bowersox: A-

Aaron Kelly: "There Will Be No Sunshine" if Aaron is voted off this week. Yeah, he's not my favorite, but the kid can sing -- way better than Teflon Tim Urban (though he's nowhere near as cute). Another solid performance from Aaron, though not his best. The grade for Aaron Kelly: B+

That's it for tonight, kids. Back tomorrow with the results.

J-TWO-O out.

UPDATED: Teflon Tim Urban lives to sing another week (sadly); Didi Benami does not. And then there were nine...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Why is this post different from all other posts? (A Passover primer)

Seder-masochists rejoice! Your time has come. For tonight at sundown marks the beginning of Passover, a holy week where Jews gather together in a relative or friend's home each night to commemorate the Hebrews' exodus out of Egypt (or Connecticut), where they were slaves under Pharaoh (or the PTA).

Like all Jewish holidays, food and kvetching* play an extremely important role in Passover. And nowhere is this more evident than at the Passover Seder, a ritual Jewish feast where Jews gather to dine and whine (often after schlepping from miles away -- hence the term "Seder-masochist," meaning one who schleps from miles away, often in horrible weather and traffic, in order to tell their family about it over bad kosher wine).

To better explain the Passover Seder (which some of you may be more familiar with as The Last Supper), I have embedded this handy (and humorous) video, titled "The Passover Seder Symbols Song." (FYI, you don't have to be Jewish to find it funny, though it doesn't hurt.)

But wait, there's more! Thanks to my mother-in-law, who sent me the link to this video, you can now learn "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Matzo But Were Afraid to Ask," with America's favorite domestic shiksa, Martha Stewart!

(What, you don't immediately think "Martha Stewart" when you think "Passover Seder" and/or "matzo"?)

*Btw, kvetching isn't just for Jews anymore -- or the Jewish holidays. Now you can let the whole world know what is pissing you off, 24/7, thanks to Kvetch.com (and Twitter).

Wishing you a Happy (and Peaceful) Passover...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Who the heck is Justin Bieber?!

And how did this tweeb (which is a cross between a teen and a dweeb) manage to sell out Madison Square Garden and be one of the most tweeted topics on Twitter for MONTHS now?!

And before you start calling me an old fart, let us recall that I have, on these very cyber pages, confessed my love for Britney Spears and Lady Gaga (their music, at least some of it, not them). I even have a Miley Cyrus song on my iPod.

But Justin Bieber?! Seriously, what do girls see (and, more importantly, hear) in this dude (who, I first thought, was a dudette)? I just don't get it. Btw, neither does my tween daughter, who begged me to write this blog post. Though she also told me to include Justin Bieber's video for "Baby," featuring Ludacris.

All I can say is Justin Bieber is no Davy Jones...


Friday, March 26, 2010

Lips like sugar


Unbeknownst to me, that is, until the kid put on WBLI in the car this morning, you can, indeed, have lips like sugar, sugar kisses -- or sugar cookies, as well as chocolate peanut butter cookies, chocolate brownies, and strawberry or chocolate frosting -- thanks to Betty Crocker lip balms.

And if the taste of sugar cookies isn't your thing, there are a cabinet full of sugar cereal lip balms to smack your lips on.

Want to make your lips magically delicious? No problem. Just smear a little Lucky Charms Lip Balm on them. (There are also Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry lip balms, as well as Cocoa Puffs and Trix, which apparently is not just for kids.)

You can also have lips like buttered popcorn or Cheetos (the latter my daughter INSISTED we buy her a while back), but seriously? Ew.

Call me old-fashioned, but what was wrong with plain old ChapStick...

or just smearing some Vaseline on your lips? (Both of which I still do, for the record -- and I think my lips look and feel just fine, thank you.)

What do you think about all these fancy flavored lip balms? Would you wear one? Do you wear one? Leave me a Comment, below.

Bonus Echo & The Bunnymen "Lips Like Sugar" video:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

American Idol Top 11: The train wreck continues

I'm actually bummed that the producers of American Idol changed tonight's theme from "Teen Idols" to "Billboard #1 Hits" over the weekend. After all, for most of America, the American Idol contestants are Teen Idols (whether they are teens or not). And for us writers, the comedy (or snarkiness) potential was much greater with "Teen Idols" than with "Billboard #1 Hits." (Hmm... maybe that's why the producers switched the theme over the weekend.)

Despite the theme change, Miley Cyrus is still this week's mentor -- and will be pole dancing, I mean singing, her new song, "When I Look At You," on tomorrow's American Idol results show. Can't wait to see the video clips of Miley, like, giving the contestants, like, you know, pointers, dude.

Before we get to the Top 11 contestants, though, what is the deal with Kara DioGuardi and Simon Cowell and the overt flirting? Not only is it making me physically ill, it is very distracting. (Did Kara just yank down Simon's sweater?! EW.)

Now, on with highest rated Party in the USA.

Lee Dewyze: Can Lee deliver "The Letter"? Sigh. I think it got lost in the mail. I still love Lee Dewyze's voice, but like Miley -- and, like, everyone -- observed, Lee really needs to connect more with his fans and the audience, and deliver a great performance, which, contrary to what Randy, Ellen, and Kara said, he did not do. The good news, though -- at least for me, and other Lee Dewyze fans -- is that that performance was good enough to keep him around for another week. But Simon is right that Lee needs to prove he can be a contemporary artist if he wants to stick around for more than a week or two. On a scale of 1 to 10, we give Lee a 6.5.

Paige Miles: First, a fashion note: I really like the way Paige is dressed tonight, though WTF was she wearing when she met with Miley?! As for her song choice, though, PHIL COLLINS?! OMG, shoot me now. Of all the Billboard #1s this young woman could have chosen, she chose Phil Collins's "Against All Odds"?! Well, it was against all odds that she would get this far, but after that ATROCIOUS -- and I mean ATROCIOUS -- performance, she has GOT to go. And for the record, she was never that good -- and should have gone weeks ago. Bring back Lilly Scott! Heck, I'd take Alex Lambert over this chick. On a scale of 1 to 10, we give Paige a 1.

AN ASIDE: My daughter just asked me to multiply 116 x 52, which is 6032. When I asked her why, she said, "That's the number of Billboard number one songs the Idol contestants could have chosen." When put that way, it is downright depressing that we got "The Letter" and "Against All Odds."

Tim Urban: Queen?! Are you KIDDING me?! And, of course, Miley Cyrus has to hug the cute Jonas Brother wannabe. Ew ew ew. I am trying to be objective -- swear -- but Tim Urban can NOT carry a tune, even if it was strapped to his back. To say that that performance was "pitchy" is being kind. That was DREADFUL. Can we send two contestants home this week? The judges or producers only have themselves to blame for giving this no-talent a second chance. (And, for the record, my little girl thought Tim Urban SUCKED. "Not just sucked, but sucked BIG TIME," and I quote.) On a scale of 1 to 10, we give the Jonas Brother wannabe a 1.

Aaron Kelly: Frankly, I wouldn't mind missing the rest of this season of American Idol, but I keep hoping things will get better. Amazingly, despite having tonsillitis and laryngitis, Aaron Kelly sounds WAY better than both Tim Urban and Paige Miles -- even better than Lee Dewyze. Props to Aaron. He's a trooper, even if I hate his song choices. We give Kelly Kelly's son a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Crystal Bowersox: I am slightly disappointed in Crystal's rendition of Janis Joplin's cover of "Me and Bobby McGee." Don't get me wrong. It was light years better than what we've heard so far, and definitely got better -- had that "WOW" moment -- towards the end. And Crystal Bowersox is still my favorite to win American Idol Season 9. But it was kind of flat. Like Ellen DeGeneres said, there is something lacking in Crystal's performance, a lack of connection between her and the audience. And for the record, I do NOT think that performance was as good as Pink. Sorry, Simon. Still, on a scale of 1 to 10, we give Mamasox an 8.

Michael Lynche: Like, OMG, (heart), Miley, like, totally loved Big Mike. I'm a fan, but I don't, like, (heart) Michael Lynche. Not that it's an either/or, but between Michael Lynche and Ruben Studdard, I'd take Ruben. Sorry Big Mike fans. Still, it was a nice performance, albeit it a safe, slightly boring one. And again, not a great song choice. Though, as Simon said, the guy's got tons of charisma and will be around for a while, which is not a bad thing. On a scale of 1 to 10, we give Big Mike a 7.

Andrew Garcia: Speaking of the grapevine, I could use a drink. I am also "thisclose" to losing my mind with these performances. Sigh. WHY DIDN'T ANDREW JUST SING "STRAIGHT UP"?! It was a #1 on the Billboard chart, and clearly the judges want him to sing the damn song. "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" was not a good song choice for Andrew Garcia, though it is a good (make that great) song. And Simon (once again) was absolutely correct in saying Andrew sucked the soul out of that song, and that it was a lousy arrangement. On a scale of 1 to 10, we give Andrew a 3. (Hey, he was better than Paige and Tim! Though that's not saying much.)

Clearly, a change in theme, to something you would think would be hard for contestants to screw up, did not help.

Katie Stevens: Listening to Katie (without looking at her), it is hard for me to believe that's the voice of a just 17-year-old. She has great tone, but OMG, PITCHY. Really pitchy. Make that really really pitchy. Sigh. Even though I'm a big girl, I think I may cry. :~( But, okay, compared to her other performances, this was better. Not great, but better. On a scale of 1 to 10, we give Katie a 5.

Casey James: This one's for you, Kara. I'm a BIG Huey Lewis (and the News) fan, and always liked "The Power of Love" -- and think it was a good song choice for Casey James. He's just not selling it. "It's like he's in a frikkin' cover band," said the spouse (who just joined me). So true. Bleh. ("The best vocal of the night"?! Come on, Ellen! As for Kara... puh-lease.) For the record, the spouse made his comment way before Simon did. On a scale of 1 to 10, we give Casey a 7.5.

Didi Benami: Pretty risky singing a song titled "You're No Good" on American Idol. And while it wasn't bad, it wasn't good. Toooo slooow. (Who arranges these songs anyway? Is it the contestants or someone else? Whoever it is, he or she should be fired.) And it was, all together now... pitchy. Sigh. Seriously, can we send them ALL home and start the season over? On a scale of 1 to 10, we give Didi a 5.

Siobhan Magnus: Clearly, someone has decided that Siobhan is this season's Adam Lambert. And Lord knows this season could use an Adam Lambert. (Hmm. If Siobhan is Adam, does that make Crystal Bowersox Kris Allen?) Hey, Siobhan: I think YOU are wicked cool. Not crazy about this arrangement of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition." A little too slow for me. But it's definitely one of the best performances tonight (though that isn't saying much). And -- right on cue -- there's THAT NOTE. On a scale of 1 to 10, we give Siobhan Magnus a 7.5, maybe an 8.

I've had it with American Idol. And I'm with Simon, tonight SUCKED, and the contestants need to step it up. It's like they don't care. Bleh.

J-TWO-O out.

UPDATED: Yawn. Paige is gone. We're coming for you next, Tim.

The two biggest threats to civilization

No, it's not the passage of the health care bill and reality TV (e.g., The Jersey Shore). I am, of course, talking about CERN's Large Hadron Collider and topless gardening.

Let's cover the latter subject first, shall we?

Bet you didn't know that it was perfectly legal to garden without a top in Colorado, did you? And if Boulder resident Robert P. has anything to say about it, things will stay that way, so his 52-year-old wife can continue to tend to his garden in only pasties and a thong -- the neighbors be damned!

But apparently Mr. and Mrs. P.'s neighbors in Boulder think otherwise, and, as a result, the Boulder City Council is considering expanding the city's anti-nudity ordinance when it meets next month, though according to one report, young, good-looking women will still be allowed to go topless in public.

In other alarming news, this past Friday CERN's Large Hadron Collider set a new world record, accelerating proton beams to 3.5 trillion electron volts, which is more than three times the previous record for any Earth-gobbling, black-hole-making particle accelerator. (Maybe when Geneva disappears, scientists will finally see the error of their ways.)

But are CERN scientists satisfied with the Large Hadron Collider's latest feat? HA-rdly. They want the LHC to ram particles together at a crushing 7 trillion electron volts, recreating conditions when the universe was supposedly created (i.e., the Big Bang).

Now I am not a scientist (nor do I play one on TV), but I know a bit about the Big Bang theory (both the event and the TV show), and I just don't think it's a great idea to replicate the Big Bang -- the words big and bang being a big clue as to what could go wrong.

Moreover, according to a recent New York Times report, the Large Hadron Collider "is riddled with thousands of flawed electrical splices and underperforming magnets, which will require a year’s shutdown in 2012 to fix." Would that be before or after 12/21/2012, i.e., the day the world is supposed to end? Just askin'.

Oh, and have a nice day.

UPDATED: THE END JUST GOT NEARER!!! Per this report, those wild and crazy CERN scientists are going to start smashing protons together -- at a shattering 7 trillion electron volts -- next Tuesday, setting off a series of mini big bangs. On the plus side, if the LHC creates an Earth-gobbling black hole, it means I won't have to worry about writing an American Idol post next Tuesday night. ;-)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nothing says "Easter" like...

Ah spring, when the candy industry's fancy turns to... Easter. Easter, a time of reflection, renewal, and, of course, Cadbury Creme Eggs...

and Peeps.

Truly, few things say "Easter" like fuchsia marshmallow bunnies and neon yellow marshmallow chicks... and the annual Washington Post Peeps Show. (Click on the link to see this year's winner, finalists, and semi-finalists.)

This year, in preparation for Easter, I personally made a pilgrimage to the Peeps Store just outside of Washington, D.C. And let me tell you, it was an extremely spiritual experience. (The words "moveable feast" do not do the Peeps Store justice.)

Behold, the power of Peeps!

Magnificent, are they not?

No wonder that Peeps have been the #1 selling non-chocolate candy at Easter for over 20 years. (For more fascinating Peeps facts, click here.)

And speaking of Peeps, a big "thank you" to my human peeps in D.C. and VA for showing me such a great time while I was in town. You guys are the best.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It could drive a gal to drink


Thanks to a bout of spring fever, a generous invitation to attend The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Happy Hour in D.C., and an understanding spouse and child (the latter's only request: "Go to the Peeps Store and bring me back some Peeps!") I will literally be driving myself to drink tomorrow. Though taking a taxi home (or back to my hotel) afterward.

And could anyone truly blame me -- or anyone -- after this long, cold, depressing winter, and that awful power-cutting storm in the Northeast we just had, for wanting to get away for a night and enjoy one truly happy, carefree hour with friends over a cold bottle (or mug, stein, pint, or glass) of brew?

I think not.

Also, I could really use some girl time, as well as a mani/pedi, and friend of the blog EMM has promised to take me under her wing Saturday and show me a good time. (And my dear friend, Dave S., and his lovely wife, Mrs. S., very kindly invited me over to their place for dinner Saturday. So really, how could I refuse?)

I will, of course, have my trusty laptop with me, in case I feel the urge to blog.

But if you don't hear from me for a couple days, you know why. (What happens at happy hour, stays at happy hour. Maybe.)

Here's to spring, which officially starts on Saturday, and good friends.

A votre santé!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

American Idol Top 12: Like a Rolling Stone (UPDATED)

Fingers (toes and eyes) crossed that the remaining 12 American Idol contestants will come to my emotional rescue tonight and not leave me sticking out my tongue and screaming "I can't get no satisfaction."

(Note: While I am a big fan of the Rolling Stones, or was, like, 20+ years ago, I have to seriously question their judgment in allowing their songs to be eviscerated in front of millions of people. Are the Stones that hard up for money or fame? Really? Sure, there will probably be a few standout performances tonight -- Crystal Bowersox, Siobhan Magnus, Lee Dewyze, Michael Lynche -- but then again, maybe not. Taking on Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones on live TV is a risky proposition for anyone.)

And now, ladies and gentleman, your 12 American Idol finalists...

Michael Lynche: Aaaaw. Issa wittle bebe. Woogie woogie woogie. Sympathy vote! I like "Big Mike," but I won't miss him when he goes. To quote Randy Jackson (which I find myself doing waaay too often), Michael Lynche's version of the Rolling Stones' "Miss You" was "just all right for me, dawg" (contrary to Randy's "you slayed it" -- WHA?!). A good performance, but as Simon Cowell said, "it was verging at times on desperate... and corny." My grade for the Baby Daddy: B-

Didi Benami: So, Didi Benami is singing "Playing with Fire." Will she get burned? Methinks yes. Sigh. Once again Didi has forgotten the cardinal rule of American Idol, which can be summed up in six words: Song choice, song choice, song choice. Say WHA?! Randy? Seriously, you cannot think that performance was "on fire." A little smokey, but on fire? I don't think so. Once again, I disagree with the judges, whom I think will think differently when they listen to the playback. My grade for Didi Benami: B-

Casey James: Another sympathy vote. Good looking, can sing, and his mama raised him and his brother single-handedly after she divorced Casey's daddy and nursed him through a serious illness?! How does American not vote for Casey James?! (If Kara DioGuardi does not weep or go nuts over Casey, I want a refund.) Although it wasn't a great performance, I doubt "It's All Over Now" for Casey. My grade for Casey James: B

Lacey Brown: Another Texan. Yee-haw! Hmm. "Ruby Tuesday." Isn't that the name of a restaurant chain? ;-) Maybe Lacey was confused. Putting the snark aside for a few seconds, I like Lacey's voice; I just think she picks the wrong song and isn't a great performer. Tooooo sloooow. And no "wow factor." Lacey Brown's grade: B- -- and I think she may be going home this week.

Andrew Garcia: Another sad story. Sniff. Very touching, but I refuse to vote based on sympathy. So the question is, will America give Andrew Garcia shelter for another week? Maybe. Maybe not. Not an awful performance of the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter," but definitely not memorable. And -- GASP -- I agree with Kara that the song needed (required?) a bit more intensity. Not a tank, like Simon said, but something... more. Andrew Garcia's grade: B- (Question: Are the judges going to mention "Straight Up" EVERY SINGLE WEEK? Does Paula Abdul get a royalty check every time one of them does or something? ENOUGH.)

Katie Stevens: I like Katie. She's cute, she's bubbly, and she has a good voice. But is she the next American Idol? Not this season. And "Wild Horses"? Well, wild horses may not drag her away, but a lack of votes may. Not a good song choice for young Katie, IMHO -- and toooo sloooow. Also, she still has some pitch problems. Still, the girl can sing. Just think her voice may be better suited to GLEE than to American Idol. A good performance, but far from great. I give Katie Stevens a B.

Tim Urban: Wait, is it Reggae night and someone forgot to tell me? (We've secretly replaced the Urbans with the Wailers. Now if only Tim Urban was Bob Marley.) Or, oo oo, is Tim Urban trying to do Jason Mraz doing the Rolling Stones' "Under My Thumb"? Regardless, it didn't work. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't good. And the judges, I think, sent a pretty clear message that they want Tim Urban gone -- and I do too. Unfortunately, Tim's Jonas Brothers (or Cassidy Brothers, for those of us who remember the 1970s) good lucks may keep him in the competition another week or two (or longer). Tim Urban's grade: C+

Siobhan Magnus: I see my television screen, and I want to paint it black. Though I am somewhat enjoying Siobhan's performance of "Paint It Black," even though it seems a little more "Phantom of the Opera" than Rolling Stones. And, OMG, there's that NOTE she sang in "Freedom." Is she going to be going all Adam Lambert on us, bringing out the drama and that signature high note in EVERY song? And for the record, I typed that BEFORE Kara DioGuardi made her Adam Lambert comment. So there. My grade for Siobhan Magnus: B+ (bordering on an A-)

Lee Dewyze: I can't believe Lee is nervous. He's got the whole package: voice, looks, talent. But I guess you can be good and not know it. How refreshing, though on American Idol that can get you sent home. And Lee Dewyze IS good. And he totally had a John Mellencamp thing going on with the Rolling Stones' "Beast of Burden," in a good way (though I kept waiting for him to segue into "Pink Houses.") But like Simon Cowell said, Lee needs to believe in himself, to make a stand, and have more confidence in himself. Otherwise, his killer voice and brooding good looks will be back in Mt. Prospect before the season is over (though not if I can help it). Lee Dewyze's grade: B+

Paige Miles: "Honky Tonk Woman"? Really? Of ALL the HUNDREDS of Rolling Stones songs, Paige picks "Honky Tonk Woman"? Huh. I'm kind of speechless. Kind of. And those wedgie-inducing shorts Paige is wearing are not helping. Back to Paige Miles' voice, I was about to write that I still did not think her voice was "all that." But now that I know she has laryngitis -- I have to give the girl props. Though I am only going to give her a B. Sorry Paige fans.

Aaron Kelly: First all, I just have to say: Kelly Kelly? His mother's name is Kelly Kelly? That may be worse than Elaine LaLanne. Okay, back to Aaron Kelly. Wait. Back to Kelly Kelly. No, back to Aaron Kelly. Sorry, "Angie" is just not doing it for me. Again, of ALL the HUNDREDS of Rolling Stones songs, Aaron picks "Angie"?! What is going ON?! Enough with the "tender moments." The kid is, what, 16? Why aren't the judges after him for picking songs that seem/sound way too old? Katie must be P.O.'d. I think Aaron has a nice voice -- NOT great. Bet the judges will re-think his performance when they listen back to Aaron's later tonight and/or tomorrow. My grade: a B (and that's being GENEROUS)

Crystal Bowersox: Does Ryan Seacrest have a tear in his eye? Why, I believe he does. Though Crystal's story -- or really her dad's -- about writing the song about her dad working all the time, but that she still loved him, was pretty touching. Sniff. Listening to Crystal sing "You Can't Always Get What You Want (But If You Try Sometimes You Get What You Need)," I find that hard to believe, at least in her case. At the very least, she's going to get into the Top Three on American Idol. Like Randy Jackson said, not Crystal's best performance, but I still love her. But like Simon Cowell said, she's got to bring it here on out if she wants to remain the favorite -- and not wind up like Lilly Scott.

Who do I think is going home after tonight? If I had my way it would be Tim Urban or Paige Miles, though I wouldn't be surprised if Lacey Brown is voted off.

That's all for tonight, peeps. Will update the post tomorrow night, after the American Idol results show.

J-TWO-O out.

UPDATED 3/17/10: Well, the luck of the Irish was not with Lacey Brown tonight. Filling out the bottom three were Tim Urban, who was sent back to safety first, and Paige Miles, both of whom should have gone home before Lacey. But that's American Idol for you. If Idol was fair, Lilly Scott would still be on.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lady Gaga explained

After watching Lady Gaga's latest video, "Telephone," featuring Beyonce (or most of it), it finally occurred to me how to explain Lady Gaga. Imagine if Madonna and Sir Elton John had a love child. That love child would be Lady Gaga (nee Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta).

Seriously, watch Madonna's video "Hung Up" then watch Lady Gaga's "Telephone" (which now contains a warning and requires you to confirm you are over 18 on YouTube).

See a resemblance?

Now watch Lady Gaga performing with Elton John at the Grammy's -- and tell me she is not his (and Madonna's) musical love child.

Need more proof? Check out Elton John's "I'm Still Standing" music video:

Elton John - I'm Still Standing

I rest my case.

Btw, if you want to see some PG-13-rated Lady Gaga videos, click here. And no, we have no plans to go see Lady Gaga after seeing "Telephone." Definitely not appropriate for an 11-year-old (or her prudish mother).

Friday, March 12, 2010

Is there such a thing as too much sex? (A visit to the Museum of Sex)

In this case, the short answer is "yes."

Though Stephen Colbert once quipped that "museums were only for things that no one uses anymore," after recently spending over an hour at the Museum of Sex in New York City, I would have to disagree.

Visiting the Museum of Sex gift shop, conveniently located at the front of the museum, right when you walk in, it was clear that sex is alive and well, at least in New York City. Though the actual exhibits at the Museum of Sex portray sex in a much darker, more depressing light -- literally broadcasting the message "sex kills" in its current exhibit on Rubbers, which features pictures of men and women suffering from syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases and dark tales of HIV/AIDS.

And things didn't get much sexier as my friend, A., and I proceeded through the various exhibits. Despite the sign inviting me to gently touch the genitalia of "real [sex] dolls" in the permanent collection, I passed. (Who knows where that penis had been and who else had touched it.)

And call me naive or a prude but I nearly passed out at the sight of (and accompanying descriptive text for) some of the BDSM equipment on display. And just try going to the bathroom with a video clip of people heatedly "making out," (yes, that's a euphemism) in stereo, blaring just a few feet away.

Indeed, upon leaving the Museum of Sex, wondering if I would ever want to have sex again, I felt it was all some evil plot to lure in unsuspecting souls and turn them off sex.

Thank God for you blog readers, one of whom, who shall remain nameless, sent me this naughty (though safe for work) -- yet funny -- ad for Axe.

- Watch more free videos

Btw, using sex to sell a product, especially a male grooming product, is nothing new, as evidenced by these ads.

Bonus video: "I'm too sexy":

And for those who have yet to see it, and have a strong stomach, here's a link to Lady Gaga's "Telephone" video, featuring Beyonce.

UPDATED 3/15/10: Just found this recent hard-hitting report from CBS News about the "Rubbers" exhibit at the Museum of Sex (which refers to itself as "MoSex.") It's actually worth a look (if nothing else for the John McCain, Sarah Palin, and Barack Obama condom wrappers, which I was unable to photograph).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

American Idol Season 9: Top 8 guys perform (UPDATED)

If it's Wednesday, it must be time for the guys of American Idol.

And let us hope (pray) that the guys of American Idol do better than the gals did last night. (Save me, Lee Dewyze, save me.)

First up for the guys...

Lee Dewyze: Owl City's "Fireflies" seems kind of a weird song choice for Lee. (I would have expected it of Aaron Kelly or Tim Urban, but not Lee.) And not really working for me. My grade for Lee: a solid B. I'm with Simon, he's better than that song, but he's still going to make it into the Top 12.

Alex Lambert: If this were on VH1's Pop-Up Video there would be a thought bubble above Alex Lambert's head saying "Please don't throw up. Please don't throw up." And the weird thing is, he has a really nice voice, and "Trouble" was a good choice. The guy just looks terrified or catatonic whenever he performs. And - GASP - I totally agree with Kara DioGuardi (and Simon). The guy has got to loosen up AND be more confident. Though I draw the line at envisioning Randy Jackson in a bikini. My grade for Alex: A- for the song, C for the performance.

Tim Urban: Watching (and listening) to Tim Urban sing "Hallelujah" for some reason is conjuring images of Sean Cassidy in The Hardy Boys (how great would it be for Urban to sing "Da Doo Run Run"?!) and David Cassidy in The Partridge Family -- and not in a good way. Give me Jason Castro's version. Okay, yes, it was better than Tim's other performances, but really, do you want this guy as your next American Idol? (That would be a rhetorical question, btw.) My grade for Tim Urban: B

Andrew Garcia: So will Andrew Garcia let the "Genie out of the bottle" tonight? Apparently not enough (per the judges). I'm not familiar with the original Christina Aguilera version, but I'm liking Andrew Garcia's version. A leetle pitchy, but a good performance. Another B/B+. However, after listening to Randy, Kara, and Simon trash it, I think Andrew's days are numbered -- to one.

Casey James: It's Casey James unplugged. I'll say this for Casey, he knows who he is (despite what Randy says) -- and he can sing. I'm not familiar with the Keith (no relation to Tim) Urban version, but I can totally hear Casey's version of "You'll Think of Me" on the radio. I give Casey an A-/B+ -- and I give Kara a C (for Cougar).

Aaron Kelly: Aaron isn't there yet. Started really pitchy, though it got better. Still, not a great performance -- and no "wow" moment. Also, I'm not an Aaron Kelly fan. Sorry peeps. B-

Todrick Hall: I wish American Idol would give me somebody to love. There are several singers I like this season (Crystal Bowersox, Siobhan Magnus, Lee Dewyze), but I'm just not feeling the love -- or love -- right now. Though Todrick is finally getting some love from the judges. I like Todrick, and saw him as a front runner during the auditions, but I don't see him as the next American Idol anymore -- and agree with Simon that Todrick belongs on Broadway, and not on the stage of the Kodak Theater. The J-TWO-O family gives Mr. Hall a B/B+

Michael Lynche: Yawn. Tooooo sloooow. (J-THREE-O just yawned.) I like Michael Lynche, but he's no Ruben Studdard, whom he reminds me a bit of. I give it a solid B. WHA?! I don't know who or what Randy was listening to. Or Ellen. Or Kara. It was a good performance but a tearjerker?! The best performance of all the performances on the live show?! WHA?

My (our) predictions: Andrew Garcia is toast (per the spouse, and I agree) and Todrick Hall may be joining him. Will update the post tomorrow, after the results show.

J-TWO-O out.

UPDATED 3/11/10: Thank God and American Idol viewers that Lee Dewyze is safe -- and Todrick Hall is the guy going home, though I liked Todrick. Wait. What?! Alex Lambert is going home tonight? Andrew Garcia is safe? Whoa. Didn't see that coming. Well, good for Andrew, though I still think his nights are numbered. And I still think Alex has a really nice voice. He just needs to work on the rest of the package.

NEXT WEEK ON AMERICAN IDOL... The Rolling Stones -- the theme, that is, not the actual group. (I will have to catch it on TiVo as I have a class until 9 p.m. next Tuesday.)

Senator Scott Brown to bare all yet again

This time for HarperCollins Publishers.

Per a report in today's New York Times, newly elected freshman Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown has been signed by HarperCollins to write "a memoir about his life and political career."

The man has been a United States Senator for, what, five minutes, and already he's inked a deal to write a memoir about his political career? (Though first he's got to run it by the Senate Ethics Committee. I know: like that has ever stopped anyone.) Isn't a Wikipedia page and a Saturday Night Live skit enough?!

But I guess baring his soul (and various body parts) to Cosmopolitan in a two-page centerfold was not enough for Scott Brown.

Now the junior Senator from Massachusetts will have hundreds of pages to strut his stuff.

Though, of course, by the time the book is published, Scott Brown may no longer be junior Senator from Massachusetts. Or the book could catapult Brown to bigger and better things.

Romney - Brown 2012?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

American Idol Season 9: Top 8 girls perform (UPDATED)

Just call me a glutton for punishment -- or American Idol.

Btw, for those of you who didn't catch American Idol judge Simon Cowell on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Monday, Cowell singled out Crystal Bowersox for special praise. Let's just hope she continues to impress Simon -- and Ellen, Randy, and Kara -- and America.

Now, on with the show. First up tonight on American Idol...

Katie Stevens: Oh well. Nice knowing you, Katie. Maybe next year. You took a chance, made a change, but I'm just not feeling you singing Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway," dawg. Katie has a good voice, but that song seemed forced and was -- all together now -- pitchy. And, I can't believe I'm typing this, but Kara is totally right about Katie having a good voice but not knowing who she is as an artist and needing more experience. Unless she has a lot of friends back in Middlebury, CT, she's gone.

Siobhan Magnus: I. Love. Her. Voice. Period. "House of the Rising Sun" was a risky choice, and it was a little too slow -- or "plodding" as Simon said -- but, as Randy would say, Siobhan can blow. I cast my first vote for Siobhan. See you in the Top 12, Ms. Magnus (and hopefully for many weeks to come).

Lacey Brown: So here's "the story" on Lacey, she's got an usual voice, with a dash of Stevie Nicks, and it wasn't a bad performance -- in fact, probably her best performance to date, per both me and the judges -- but it just didn't quite work. I'm with Simon on this one: didn't like the song, but Lacey sang it well. She'll probably make it into the Top 12, but I just don't see Lacey as the next American Idol.

Katelyn Epperly: My favorite Katelyn Epperly performance of the season -- and so far my favorite performance of the evening (J-THREE-O thought so too). No, I did not feel the earth move under my couch, but I'm moved enough to cast my second vote for Katelyn. Maybe. (The spouse, like the judges, found the performance a bit flat.)

Didi Benami: Whyyyyy iiiiiiisssss everyyyyy sooooongggg soooo slooooow toniiiiiiight? Another good -- or OK -- performance, but not great. Too slow. Yeah, she switched it up, and yeah, it was better than last week. And I like Didi's voice. But like Randy said, there were no great moments. (TOTALLY disagree with Kara and Simon that it was great. WHA?!)

Paige Miles: COULD ONE CONTESTANT, ONE, PICK A NON-DEPRESSING SONG THAT DOESN'T TAKE FIVE HOURS TO SING, PLEASE? That performance made me want to reach for a Cymbalta with a vodka chaser. Paige totally turned that "Smile" upside down. Buh-bye.

Crystal Bowersox: For the record, I LOVE Tracy Chapman's "Give me one reason." One of my all-time favorite songs. And no matter how good Crystal does with the song, I will always prefer Chapman's version. Sorry, Crystal fans (of which, btw, I am one). OK. So I really liked Crystal's version of "Give me one reason," and I agree with the judges, that that was the best performance of the night, and she is the one to beat -- and you can totally see what kind of artist Crystal is and what kind of record she would make. But I still prefer Tracy Chapman's version. See you in the Top 3, Crystal.

Lilly Scott: Okay, I did not fall to pieces when I heard Lilly sing Patsy Cline. Again, not a bad performance, but certainly not a great one. (As Simon said, it did not have the "wow factor.") A little too karaoke at the country and western bar for me. But Lilly will be around for at least another week.

My prediction: Paige Miles and Katie Stevens will be voted off, though it could be Paige and Katelyn Epperly. Will update the post with the results Thursday night.

J-TWO-O out.

UPDATED 3/11/10: Whoa. Didn't see that coming. Paige Miles is SAFE and Katelyn Epperly is the one from the back row who's going home. Didn't think Katelyn would be our next American Idol but didn't see Paige being safe tonight.... Funniest moment of the evening: Season 8 blind Idol contestant Scott MacIntyre telling Ryan Seacrest "It's great to see you again, Ryan!".... Second chippy going home is... WHOA... Lilly Scott. So wrong. So so so wrong. I seriously thought she was one of the best women on Idol this season, a real contender. Either people thought she was safe or they didn't get her (maybe put off by her white hair?). Maybe Ellen DeGeneres will get Lilly a recording contract. Majorly bummed...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oscars Shmoscars (Academy Awards highlights)

I have to confess, I am not a big fan of televised awards shows, even the Oscars, but I wound up watching a good chunk of last night's Academy Awards ceremony anyway, even though I hadn't seen most of the films that were nominated.

(I also watched E! Online's Live from the Red Carpet with Ryan Seacrest, which was way better than the ABC version. And frankly, I was puzzled by this year's fashion choices. Zoe Saldana is gorgeous, but that purple and sequined thing she was wearing?! WTF? Also on my worst-dressed list: Mariah Carey, Amanda Seyfried, and Diane Kruger, though there were many, many other stars who when you saw them you thought "WTF were they thinking?!" As for the best dressed? Hands down Tom Ford, who also designed Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, and Colin Firth's tuxedos.)

Onto the show... Despite the mixed reviews, I liked Neil Patrick Harris's Las Vegas-style opening Oscar number. (If or when How I Met Your Mother goes off the air, I think NPH has a career as an awards show MC.) I also liked Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin as hosts, though I use the word "hosts" loosely as they barely graced the stage after their opening duologue, which was a shame.

As for my favorite moments from last night's Academy Awards show, those would have to be Ben Stiller presenting the award for best makeup and Sandra Bullock's best actress acceptance speech (though Steve Martin's quip to Christoph Waltz cracked me up).

As for the best Oscar song, though, this one may be my all-time favorite. ;-)

Got an opinion about the 82nd Academy Awards (aka the Oscars)? Leave me a comment.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Because it's Caturday (Saturday cat humor)

Presenting some of the funniest cat videos from around the Web.

First off, Simon's Cat versus the snow bird...

Now this cat is a real head case...

What cats are really thinking (and saying)...

And, of course, Maru the box (now garbage can) cat...

For more cat humor and funny cat videos, click here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

American Idol Season 9: The Top 10 Girls Perform (UPDATED)

Well, I'm glad to see Crystal Bowersox (whom I really like) is out of the hospital and on the stage tonight. Just hope she's really okay. Kara DioGuardi, on the other hand, is making me sick. And Simon Cowell's plunging neckline ain't helping matters.

Anyway, here's hoping the women of American Idol are better than the guys -- because if they suck, I'm outta here (at least until the Top 12 or 10).

First up for the women of American Idol...

Crystal Bowersox: Love. Her. That's all I gotta say. Here's to a long, healthy run for Mamasox on American Idol. As the Fonz would say: Aaaaay (as in I give her an "A").

Haeley Vaughn: Fine. She likes to make hair accessories. Give her a show on QVC or HSN. But get her off American Idol. Sorry, Haeley's waaaay too perky for me, and I just don't think she's that good. And, to quote Randy, "that was excruciating." C-

Lacey Brown: What can I say? I was bored. It wasn't a bad performance, but it wasn't memorable. (Right now, the only thing memorable about Lacey is her hair.) If I'm being generous, B (for blah).

Katie Stevens: She's funny! She's cute! And she can sing! Give this girl a recording contract! (BOO on Randy. And Kara. She sounded FINE to all of us. Though I take Simon's point that we don't know what kind of recording artist she is -- and she needs to let us know.) Screw the judges. I give Katie a B+.

Didi Benami: Is that you, Megan Joy? (Look it up, people.) Though the spouse says Didi has kind of a Norah Jones vibe. As Randy would say, WHA? That was so not Norah Jones. I wish it was Norah Jones. But it was just some chick from Knoxville, Tennessee, who meows. Though it felt more like a hairball to me. C+

Michelle Delamor: Um, what is she wearing around her hips? Is that a tutu? And what is she singing? Creed? Really? Wait, is it Karaoke Night on Idol and someone forgot to tell me? Regardless, that was DREADFUL. (Seriously, is Kara smoking crack during the commercial breaks? And I cannot believe Simon dug that. Something is clearly going on between those two.) I give Michelle's performance a C-.

Observation: As the spouse just stated: They may not be choosing great songs, but these girls can sing. Yes, but as we all know after eight seasons of American Idol, it's all about SONG CHOICE, SONG CHOICE, SONG CHOICE.

Lilly Scott: I like Lilly. I like her voice, and I like that she's a musician. But I fear she may be a one trick pony -- making every song she sings sound the same. And that's fine for a while, but will get boring fast -- and won't serve her well during those theme weeks. But tonight, she's a star -- and the judges love her. Kudos. A- (And I totally -- TOTALLY -- agreed with Simon that it was a very good performance but not great and that Crystal was better. Sorry, my Lilly Lovin Peeps.)

Katelyn Epperly: Is it 1985 and someone forgot to tell me? "Desperately Seeking Katelyn"? Just sing some Madonna and be done with it, Katelyn. Coldplay may have been smart in theory but this version was waaaaay toooooo sloooooooow. I give it a Zzzzzzzzzz (though the spouse kind of liked it -- and Katelyn).

Aside: Anyone else miss Paula listening/watching Kara? I know I do.

Paige Miles: Am a big fan of Kelly Clarkson and "Walk Away," so kind of hard for me to listen to that version. I think Paige has a good voice -- though far from the BEST (sorry Simon) -- and did a nice job, but... but... it was just all right for me, dawg. B/B-

Siobhan Magnus: I think I like it. Though that outfit is wigging me out. I actually think Siobhan has one of the best voices -- and great range. (And, OMG, Ellen's Snuggie comment just cracked me up.) A-. I like Siobhan and hope she goes far.

Well, glad the show ended on an up note, but I think I've had enough American Idol for a while. So after I post the results tomorrow night (or first thing Friday), I'm taking a break.

J-TWO-O out.

UPDATED 3/4/10: So long to Michelle Delamor and Haeley Vaughn. And what is going on with Kara and Simon?!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

American Idol Season 9: The Top 10 Guys Perform (UPDATED)

Though I use the word "perform" loosely.

Anyway.... Another week, another American Idol blog post. And if Benjamin Franklin (or was it Albert Einstein?) is correct that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting a different result, watching yet another week of American Idol, especially after last week's awful performances, is yet more proof that I am insane.

Also possibly insane, or still channeling Paula Abdul, Kara DioGuardi. (Is it just me, or is she actually starting to look like Paula, too? I guess someone has to flirt with Simon and be his foil, but ugh.)

All right, on with the show. First up...

Michael Lynche: After that performance, I would say it's Michael Lynche's world, at least for now. And that's a good thing because I would hate to be the guy or gal to tell Michael Lynche, who can press four Ryan Seacrests, that his performance sucked. And the score for Mr. Lynche: A-.

And now the rest...

John Park: John Park is bringing me down. Maybe he should have sung the song in Korean. He was better than last week, but not by much. As Randy said, it was flat... pitchy... nothing special. As Simon said, I think Purple Haze will be getting its lead singer back. (Please.) My grade: C+.

Casey James: He doesn't watch TV AND he's handy, too?! Kara's husband, you are so yesterday. Seriously, does it really matter what or how this guy sings? (I personally am not into blonds, at all, or Casey, but I bet there are plenty of chicks who think this guy is hawt and will vote for him no matter how he does.) I thought it was a good performance. Not great, but good. A solid B. But what I think doesn't really matter, does it? Randy and Ellen loved it -- and Kara's just making nice-nice to hubby. As for Simon, the spouse predicted the "bar band" comment. But I would be shocked -- SHOCKED -- if Casey James doesn't make it into the Top 12.

Alex Lambert: I don't know whether to laugh or to cry, and he hasn't even started singing yet. Forget about the Florence Henderson hair, or that he throws up before performances (and football games ) -- we all get an attack of stage fright or performance anxiety -- but he still speaks in the language he made up as a little kid? All that said, I was -- wait for it -- pleasantly surprised. The kid's got a good voice. But like Simon said, he's missing that killer instinct -- and if he's going to make it on this show and in the music industry, he's got to find it, or at least a helping of confidence. Alex Lambert, you get a B+!

Todrick Hall: I liked him better when he was a dancer trying to be a singer. (And for the record, I was a big Paula Abdul fan back in the day.) Feh. Listen to Randy, dude. A great song doesn't need to be -- and shouldn't be -- rearranged. Just sing the dang song -- and don't be afraid to move. On a personal note, I don't know what happened to this guy. He was so good in the auditions. I really thought he could be THE ONE. Now I'm thinking he's the one who's going home, along with John Park.

Jermaine Sellers: Yo, yo, yo, dawg, what's going on? There are far too many of you guys killing me with mediocre performances. And this was at best a mediocre performance. It was pitchy and breathy and all over the place. Yuck. C- (and that's being generous).

Aside: Is it just me or is Simon's neckline getting lower and lower? If this keeps up, we'll be seeing his pupik by the time we hit the Top 10.

Please, Andrew Garcia, save us... Not drowning, but kind of treading water. Nice voice, but bad song choice -- and, all together now, pitchy. Should have stuck with the break dancing, dude. And at the risk of completely turning into Randy Jackson, it was just all right for me. Ellen's right, he set the bar too high with his version of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up." It's been all down hill from there. C

Aaron Kelly: I cannot believe I am about to type this but... he makes me miss David Archuletta. Another mediocre performance. And really sharp -- as in pitchy, not dresser. He's got a good voice, just not good enough. And no stage presence. C+... maybe a B-.

Tim Urban (aka Tim Jonas): (Hanging head.) What is there left to say? (The spouse just turned to me and said: That was like sitting through the high school talent show -- and not in a good way.) The sad thing is, he will make it through to next week because he's cute. The judges only have themselves to blame. Should have kept Chris Golightly. WAIT. WHAT?! SIMON LIKED HIM/IT?! Whaaaaaa? If I'm being generous, I give that performance a C-.

And finally...

Lee Dewyze: Well, he has the voice of an angel -- or Eddie Vedder. And, like Randy (again), I LIKED IT. I may be wrong, but I can totally see Lee Dewyze as your -- and my -- American Idol. He's got the voice, the look, and the smolder factor. I give it an A-, but that's just because I know he's got more in him.

That's it for tonight. Will update the post Thursday or Friday, after the results are announced. After that, I don't think I have the stomach to blog about American Idol for a while. Maybe when they get down to the Top 12 or Top 10....

UPDATED 3/4/10: As predicted, John Park and Jermaine Sellers are gone. And is it just me or was that group number -- "I've got a feeling" -- utterly pathetic? Good thing Idol Tour tickets aren't on sale yet.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bulldog beauty queens and gun-toting caffeine addicts

What do bulldog beauty queens and gun-toting caffeine addicts have in common? Only the fact that both made headlines this morning -- and I have a thing for both bulldogs and Frappuccinos.

Let's start with the bulldogs, shall we? As most of you probably do not know (unless you live in Southern California and own a bulldog), the fifth annual Bulldog Beauty Contest, sponsored by Haute Dogs, took place this Sunday in Long Beach. And as per usual, it did not disappoint.

This year's winner in the English Bulldog category was Mr. Big Bear Lake, Winston, a two-year-old English Bulldog. The winner in the Pug (and best-name) category (though I don't consider pugs bulldogs): Thurston Howl. Btw, all the proceeds from the pageant go to charity.

Moving onto the gun-toting caffeine addicts, who are much less cute (though equally dogged)... As reported in this Associated Press article, a number of gun owners in states where it is legal to openly carry fire arms (like Virginia, home of many of my readers) have been targeting Starbucks and other seemingly liberal, effete dining establishments.

According to the article, however, the baristas at Starbucks haven't risen to the bait -- i.e., refused to serve these gun-toting cappuccino and Frappuccino sippers. Though I think the first sentence of the article may explain why: "Dale Welch recently walked into a Starbucks in Virginia, handgun strapped to his waist, and ordered a banana Frappuccino with a cinnamon bun."

(Now read it again. That sentence just cracks me up every single time. Is that a banana Frappuccino in your cupholder, or are you just happy to see me? I just crack myself up.)

Maybe it's just me, but I don't consider a cinnamon bun eating, banana Frappuccino sipping 71-year-old a major threat, even if he is packing heat. (Though maybe I should.) However, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence thinks otherwise, and has been circulating a petition demanding that Starbucks "offer espresso shots, not gunshots" and declare its coffeehouses "gun-free zones."